Trusted Since 1992

43-time handicapping champ Al McMordie welcomes you to Big Al's Sports Picks, your home for winning sports information. Get expert advice every day from 20 of the world's best handicappers.

Big Al's Top Sportsbooks

1

2

3

4

5

Terms and conditions apply to all bonus offers. Visit sportsbook for details.

Bet Smarter

Our mission is to make you a smarter (and better) gambler.

Play Confidently

Each pick comes with detailed analysis from champion handicappers.

Honesty and Transparency

We publish our results, and our records are 100% accurate.

2019

Cashed Preseason Futures Wager on Virginia @ 22-1 odds to win NCAA Basketball Title

2019

Cashed Futures Wager on Washington Nationals @ 18-1 odds to win MLB World Series

2018

#1 NFL-Net Wins

#2 NCAAB-Net Profit

#2 NBA-Net Profit

Buy 3 Get 1 Free.
It's Game Time!

Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB, EPL, UFC and NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 24, 2020

The Saturday sports card features a busy slate of college football games along with Game 4 of the World Series, the English Premier League, and UFC 254. The college football schedule has 40 games between FBS opponents for the largest one-day card all season for a Saturday with the Big Ten and Mountain West Conference making their debuts this week. Twelve games kick off the college football slate in the noon to 1 PM ET window. The ABC game has Oklahoma traveling to TCU to play the Horned Frogs at noon. The Sooners are a 6-point favorite with the total set at 59.5 (all football odds from BookMaker). Fox has Ohio State making their season debut hosting the Nebraska Cornhuskers at noon. The Buckeyes are 26.5-point favorites with an over/under of 68. North Carolina State faces in-state rival North Carolina in Chapel Hill for the noon game on ESPN. The Tar Heels are -14.5-point favorites with the total at 60. Georgia Southern visits Coastal Carolina with the Chanticleers a 5.5-point favorite with the over/under at 51 on ESPNU at Noon. FS1 has Kansas State hosting Kansas with the Wildcats laying 20.5 points with the total set at 46. Another 14 games take place in the 2 PM ET to 4 PM ET window of games. At 2 PM ET on ESPN2, Central Florida hosts Tulane with the Knights a 21-point favorite with an over/under of 71. ABC has Notre Dame traveling to Pittsburgh at 3:30 PM ET with the Fighting Irish laying 10 points with the total set at 42.5. Oklahoma State hosts Iowa State on Fox at 3:30 PM ET with the Cowboys a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 52.5. Alabama travels to Tennessee for the CBS game at 3:30 PM ET with the Crimson Tide a 21.5-point favorite with a total of 66. ESPN has Texas hosting Baylor at 3:30 PM ET as a 10.5-point favorite with an over/under of 61. Houston travels to Annapolis to face Navy at 3:30 PM ET, with the Cougars laying 15.5 points and the total set at 55.5. Penn State makes their season-debut at 3:30 PM ET on FS1 when they travel to play Indiana laying 6.5 points with the over/under at 62. At 4 PM ET, Troy hosts Georgia State as a 2-point favorite and the total set at 69 for a game on ESPNU.Fourteen games close out the college football card in the evening. ESPN2 has West Virginia traveling to Texas Tech at 5:30 PM ET with the Mountaineers a 2.5-point favorite with the over/under set at 54.5. LSU hosts South Carolina at 7 PM ET on ESPN with the Tigers a 5-point favorite with an over/under at 55. Boise State makes their debut at 7 PM ET on FS1 as they host Utah State as a 17-point favorite with a total of 52.5. Wyoming travels to Reno to face Nevada as a 3-point favorite at 7 PM ET on the CBS Sports Network, with the total set at 51. At 7:30 PM ET, ABC has Michigan traveling to Minnesota to play the Golden Gophers with the Wolverines' a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 52.5. At 8 PM ET, Louisiana Tech travels to UTSA as a 2.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 53 on ESPNU. SMU hosts Cincinnati at 9 PM ET on ESPN2 as a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 56. At 10:15 PM ET, BYU hosts Texas State on ESPN as a 29-point favorite with the total set at 61. Air Force travels to San Jose State as a 7.5-point favorite and a total of 62 for the game on FS1 at 10:30 PM ET. San Diego State hosts UNLV at 10:30 PM ET as a 13.5-point favorite with the over/under at 50.5 for a game on the CBS Sports Network.The World Series continues on Fox at 8:08 PM ET. Los Angeles will send Julio Urias to the mound as their starting pitcher. Tampa Bay has settled on Ryan Yarbrough as their starting pitcher, with manager Kevin Cash likely to liberally use his bullpen.  BetOnline lists the Dodgers as a favorite priced at -155 with a total of 8. The Rays will be the designated home team for Game 4 played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.Four games are on the English Premier League slate. The NBC Sports Network has Crystal Palace visiting Fulham for that London Derby at 10 AM ET. NBC has Manchester United hosting Chelsea at 12:30 PM ET.Saturday soccer action also features Real Madrid traveling to Barcelona in the first incarnation of El Clasico for the 2020-21 La Liga campaign. beIN Sports has the broadcast at 10 AM ET.UFC 254 takes place on Saturday afternoon, with the headlining event being Justin Gaethje challenging Khabib Nurmagomedov. This fight is available on pay-per-view on ESPN Plus with the tentative starting time scheduled for 4:15 PM ET.

Read more

NCAA Saturday Night Football: Michigan/Minnesota Preview

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 24, 2020

The Saturday night game on ABC features the battle for the Little Brown Jug, which is the oldest trophy game in College Football.  The rivalry dates back to 1892, and Michigan leads the series 75-25-3.  This year's game could be one of the best in the series, as both teams are nationally ranked.Michigan returns nine starters from the team that finished 9-4 last year. The Wolverines were 9-2 with losses at Wisconsin and Penn State when they hosted Ohio State to end their regular season. A 56-27 loss to the Buckeyes followed by a 35-16 loss to Alabama in the Citrus Bowl left their fans once again disappointed in the Jim Harbaugh era. It has been a tumultuous offseason for Michigan when it comes to their offensive personnel. Dylan McCaffrey decided to transfer from the program last month, despite the redshirt junior (and brother of Carolina Panthers' star running back Christian) being the presumed quarterback for the Wolverines once Shea Patterson completed his collegiate career. Instead, McCaffrey will be taking his talents to another FBS program. Reports emerged that Joe Milton won the job in the offseason while working with wide receivers since April when things shut down because of COVID. The redshirt junior has drawn comparisons with his strong arm along with his 6’5, 245-lb frame to Cam Newton. The ceiling regarding his talent may be higher than McCaffrey’s high-end range. However, McCaffrey has been the primary backup for the last two seasons. A fallout with Harbaugh and second-year offensive coordinator Josh Gattis could explain McCaffrey’s exit. To further complicate matters, wide receiver Nico Collins then decided to opt-out this season by signing with an agent to prepare for the NFL draft. Is Collins' departure connected with McCaffrey's departure? Does Collins bypass his senior year if Milton had definitively won the starting quarterback job? Perhaps speculating as to why a future NFL draft pick decided to not play during this unusual season is foolhardy. Without a spring game, there is a wide range of possibilities regarding what Michigan will get from the quarterback position on Saturday with Milton making his first career collegiate start.The Wolverines replace four starters on the offensive line, who were all drafted into the NFL in the spring. Milton will have the team’s leading wide receiver back from last year in Ronnie Bell. Michigan also returns Zach Charbonnet and Hassan Haskins, who combined to rush for 1348 yards with 15 touchdowns last year. The Wolverines’ defense returns six starters from a group that was eleventh in the nation by allowing only 307.2 yards per game. This unit should once again be a strength under defensive coordinator Don Brown who rotates his players to ensure a depth of experience. Minnesota has 13 starters back from the team that finished 11-2 last year after defeating Auburn in the Outback Bowl by a 31-24 score. The Golden Gophers started the season 9-0 after defeating Penn State at home under the lights by a 31-26 score in a battle of unbeaten teams. Minnesota’s bubble burst the next week in a loss at Iowa City to the Hawkeyes, before they lost to Wisconsin in their final regular-season game. The Golden Gophers scored 34.1 points per game last year, and they could exceed that mark this season. Quarterback Tanner Morgan returns for his senior season after completing 66.0% of his passes for 3253 yards with 30 touchdowns. The third-year starter has a 15-4 record in his 19 career starts. He will have wide receiver Rashod Bateman back, who caught 60 passes for 1219 yards with 11 touchdowns last season. Mohamed Ibrahim has also returned after rushing for 604 yards in a three-player committee. Ibrahim can handle the lead-back role after rushing for over 1000 yards two seasons ago. Morgan also has all five starters back from his offensive line last year that was one of the biggest in the nation. Minnesota has questions on defense after losing five of its top six tacklers from last season. Four starters are back from a group that was ranked tenth in the nation by allowing 304.6 yards per game. The Golden Gophers did benefit from a charmed-start to the season where they faced two first-year starting quarterbacks before playing six straight teams that were relying on backup QBs. The Nittany Lions exposed their defense by accumulating 518 yards against them. The Badgers later gained 453 yards against this unit. Minnesota did close their season by holding Auburn to just 232 yards while outgaining them by 262 yards. Head coach P.J. Fleck has this program moving in the right direction in his fourth year with the program. The Golden Gophers host this game at their TCF Bank Stadium. Minnesota had the fourth largest increase in home attendance last season, so it is a shame that fans are prohibited given COVID precautions. Michigan begins their season ranked 18th in the Associated Press poll, with Minnesota ranked three slots below them. ESPN College GameDay will make their headquarters inside the empty stadium on Saturday. BookMaker lists the Wolverines as a 3.5-point favorite with the total set at 52.5. The ABC broadcast for the game starts at 7:30 PM ET.

Read more

What is a Straight Bet?

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 24, 2020

What is a straight bet?Ever since people have been playing sports, people have been wagering. The first bets were all innocent, gentlemen’s agreements, with nothing extreme on the line -- nothing more than pride.  Slowly but steadily, though, the entire sports betting industry started to shape itself.  Now, with sporting events prominent across the world, the betting industry has greatly expanded.  These days, we're looking at a multi-billion dollar global industry.There are thousands of professional sports bettors who make their living from wagering on sports.  As a novice bettor, that might sound like a dream and hard to imagine, but it's possible.  With the right technique and strategy, any person can develop a sustainable sports betting career.In this article, we'll tackle the very basics of sports betting:  straight bets.  These are the types of bets in which you bet on an event in a single game, nothing more, nothing less.  Now, these might seem like simple bets, but a thorough understanding of the concept is required to get you started the right way in your sports betting career. What kind of straight bets are there? In any matchup where straight wagers are available, disregarding the specific sport, there are two teams or players facing each other. The goal of the opposing sides is to win the game outscoring the opponent.  This can be done in various ways as every sport is different, but the basics come down to the same.  Thus, there are three kinds of straight bets that are popular across sports, like football and basketball.  The type of straight bets are: Moneyline Point spread Over/under These bets are usually available for any game in the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, or any other major sports league you might want to wager on.  The sport has to have incremental scoring though, not like horse racing where there's only winners or losers.  It's essential to understand the basics of each bet properly before you begin wagering.What is moneyline betting?The moneyline bet is the easiest, and probably the oldest bet, that's around.  With this bet, you simply pick which team you think will win the game.  If you choose the right winner, the sportsbook will pay you, that's how simple it is.  Now, the payout for moneyline bets is a bit different and harder to grasp than the concept of the bet.  Each bookmaker picks a favorite and an underdog.  The favored team takes a minus sign (-), while the underdog takes the plus sign (+).  To properly understand, let's have a look at a possible matchup in the NBA:​Toronto Raptors vs. Golden State WarriorsThe bookmaker might install the Raptors as the underdog and the Warriors as the favorite.  This is shown in the odds that might look something like this: Toronto Raptors +210 Golden State Warriors -250 Just by looking at the odds, you can tell which team has a greater probability to win the game and which team will likely lose.  Most sportsbooks use American odds.  To calculate your payout, you have to consider an initial stake of 100 dollars.  To put that into practice, you could have two different outcomes: You wager on the Raptors on the moneyline, and they win.  You win $210 if you wager $100.  Together, with your initial stake of $100, your total payout would be $310. You wager on the Warriors on the moneyline, and they win. You win $40 if you wager $100.  Together, with your initial stake of $100, your total payout would be $140.  (If you wanted to profit $100, you would have to initially wager $250.) What is point spread betting?The point spread bet takes your handicapping up a notch.  You have to go a little further than merely predicting which team wins the game.  With a point spread bet, you are wagering on the scoring differential at the end of the game.  You pick which team is most likely to cover the spread.  This is best explained by illustrating it with an example.  To do so, let's imagine an NFL matchup between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams.  The bookmaker does its analysis and comes up with the following betting lines: New England Patriots +13.5 Los Angeles Rams -13.5 Similar to the moneyline bet, the bookmaker decides which team is the favorite and which team is the underdog.  You can tell by the plus sign and minus sign alongside the team's name.  The numbers next to the plus and minus signs show how many points a team will have added or subtracted to its final score.  That means if the Patriots want to cover the spread, they need to make sure not to lose the game by more than 13.5 points.  The Rams, on the other hand, would cover the spread if they won by more than 13.5 points.  The exact margin of victory doesn't matter, so long as the spread of 13.5 is covered.The payout on a point spread bet is usually not that hard to calculate.  Typically, the odds for both sides are -110, which gives you a simple rule to live by:With an initial stake of $110, you win $100. Your total payout would be $210.Now, some sportsbooks -- like BetAnySports -- offer reduced juice.  For example, if you bet at BetAnySports, then your odds would be -105, rather than -110.  Sharp bettors understand just how valuable reduced juice is, as you save money on every losing wager.  If you’re looking to bet at another sportsbook, then your best move would be to join BetAnySports.Finally, there's only one outcome in a game which creates a situation where the sportsbook has to pay back the bettors.  And that’s when neither team covers the spread.  It results in a push, and all bettors get their stake returned by the sportsbook.  Of course, the easiest way for a sportsbook to avoid a push is to publish a point spread that’s not a whole number (e.g., +/- 6.5). What is over/under betting? The last straight wager is the over/under bet, also referred to as a totals bet.  The oddsmakers will post a total, which represents a projection of the combined score of both teams.  Bettors then base their predictions on that aggregate number.  You predict that it will be over or under the set number of points given by the bookmaker.  The betting lines could look something like this for a typical NBA match between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers.Over/under:  210 pointsThe betting line is 210 points, regardless of which team is installed as the favorite or underdog.  The bettor picks whether the final combined score will be over or under 210 points at the end of the game.  Similar to the point spread bet, a push would be possible unless the over/under line was not a whole number.The standard betting odds for an over/under bet are also -110, similar to a point spread bet. That gives us the same rules where you profit $100 when wagering $110. What other types of bets are there? The moneyline bet, point spread bet, and over/under bet are the very basics of sports betting.  But if you're experienced in sports betting, you are probably aware of the dozens of other opportunities in terms of wagering.  The moment you're familiar with these bets, you can start looking into more complex bets.  To give you a little grasp of possible wagers you could make, we want to share a few terms with a really short description: Parlay:  betting on the outcome of events for multiple games Teaser bets:  an adjusted form of point spread betting Proposition bets (“Prop” bets):  betting on the outcome of events within a game -- i.e., the team to score the first touchdown Futures bets:  betting on the outcome of an event in the future -- i.e., the winner of the Super Bowl Note that there are countless other betting possibilities that can be considered as side bets from the main bets.  The main bets remain the straight wagers that are still the most popular among sports bettors.  On our site, you can find details about every single betting possibility there is.  Simply dive into our articles section or use the search function to get familiar with everything sports betting has to offer. How to use straight bets in your sports betting strategy When you start betting on sports, you have to form a strategy.  Without a proper plan, you'll be at risk for losing your bankroll.  We want to give you everything you need to extend your sports betting career as far as possible, and eventually give you the possibility to make a living off of wagering.  The following tips will steer you in the right direction and give you the material to form a proper betting strategy.Manage your bankrollWhen you start betting, the first decision you must make is how much money overall you want to put at risk.  That is referred to as your sports betting bankroll.  The golden rule here is don't put at risk more than you're comfortable losing.  But, besides having the ability to lose money, you have to decide how much to wager on each bet, which is generally a smaller percentage of your overall bankroll.  When you start with a bankroll of $1000, for example, you could go with small wagers of $55 or $110.  That way, when you lose a bet here and there, it does not hurt that much, and you have enough runway to keep betting for a long time.Consider the sportsbooks' edgeThe ones who usually make the most money from sports betting are the sportsbooks, themselves.  And that’s because of the fee you pay a sportsbook on each wager.  It's often called the vigorish (or vig) or juice.  The vigorish is determined by the odds you see when placing your bet.  Now, always make sure the bet is worth the risk you're taking, and you're not just paying unnecessary fees.Besides that, you also have to make sure you're working with the right sportsbook.  Whether you like visiting an actual brick-and-mortar sportsbook or prefer the online sportsbook route, there are always alternatives.  Don't settle for the first one you find, but do some proper research to see which bookmaker offers the best odds and most lucrative betting possibilities.  Our current #1-rated sportsbook is BetAnySports, primarily because it offers reduced juice.  Instead of laying -110, you can lay -105 on football and basketball games.  If you are a $500 bettor, for example, you’ll save thousands of dollars in juice every football season by laying -105 rather than -110, so it’s well worth joining BetAnySports.  Dive into the statisticsThe most important advice we can give anyone who is into sports betting is this:  do your research.  As with any industry where money is involved, there are experts who know all it takes to be profitable.  You can follow other people's research or base your decisions on your own analysis.  Dive into the numbers:  see what the teams did in the past and how they are currently performing.  It's not the most fun part as there's no action involved, but it does bring you the knowledge to make thoughtful decisions.  Are you ready to place your first wager?  If you’ve done your research, you’ll be in great shape!

Read more

Free newsletter

Get Free Picks, Big Game alerts, and Winning Info from our champion handicappers.

Sign up

Ready to Win?
It's Game Time!

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2020 Al McMordie's BigAl.com. All Rights Reserved.