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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL and NCAAB Previews and Odds - 12/06/2022

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022

The Tuesday sports card features action in the NBA, NHL, and NCAAB.The National Basketball Association has three games on its docket. Two games tip off at 7:40 PM ET. The Cleveland Cavaliers host the Los Angeles Lakers on TNT as a 4.5-point favorite with the total set at 224. The Miami Heat play at home against the Detroit Pistons as an 8.5-point favorite with an over/under of 221. The Denver Nuggets are at home against the Dallas Mavericks on TNT at 10:10 PM ET as a 5-point favorite with a total of 223. The National Hockey League has nine games on its slate. Four games drop the puck at 7:07 PM ET. The New Jersey Devils host the Chicago Blackhawks as a -365 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Pittsburgh Penguins play at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets as a -280 money line favorite with a total of 6.5. The Tampa Bay Lightning are at home against the Detroit Red Wings as a -230 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Ottawa Senators host the Los Angeles Kings as a -120 money line favorite with a total of 6.5. The New York Islanders play at home against the St. Louis Blues at 7:37 PM ET as a -165 money line favorite with an over/under of 6. The Florida Panthers travel to Winnipeg to play the Jets at 8:07 PM ET as a -115 money line road favorite with a total of 6.5. The Toronto Maple Leafs play at Dallas against the Stars at 8:37 PM ET as a -115 money line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. Two games drop the puck at 10:07 PM ET. The Carolina Hurricanes are at Anaheim against the Ducks as a -275 money line road favorite with a total of 6. The Seattle Kraken are at home against the Montreal Canadiens as a -225 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The college basketball schedule features eight games on national television. Butler hosts Yale on FS1 at 6:30 PM ET as a 7-point favorite with a total of 132.5. Three games tip off at 7 PM ET. Texas plays Illinois at Madison Square Garden in the first game of the Jimmy V. Classic on ESPN as a 3-point favorite with an over/under of 139.5. Temple hosts Saint Joseph’s on ESPNU as an 11-point favorite with a total of 141.5. Georgia Tech plays at home against Georgia on ESPN2 as a 5-point favorite with an over/under of 134. Marquette hosts UNC-Central on FS1 at 8:30 PM ET. Two more NCAA-B games tip off at 9 PM ET. Maryland travels to Wisconsin at ESPN2 in a pick ‘em contest with a total of 129.5. Oklahoma State is at home against Sam Houston on ESPNU as a 10.5-point favorite with an over/under of 131.5. Duke plays Iowa in the second game of the Jimmy V. Classic at the Madison Square Garden as a 3-point favorite with an over/under of 146.5.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAAB and FIFA Men's World Cup Previews and Odds - 12/05/2022

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Dec 05, 2022

The Monday sports card features action in the NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAAB, and the FIFA Men’s World Cup.Week 13 in the National Football League concludes with one game for Monday Night Football. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New Orleans Saints on ESPN and ESPN2's Peyton and Eli “Manningcast” at 8:15 PM ET. The Buccaneers’ two-game winning streak ended in a 23-17 upset loss at Cleveland as a 3-point favorite last Sunday. The Saints lost their third game in four contests in a 13-0 setback at San Francisco as a 9.5-point underdog on Sunday. Tampa Bay is a 3.5-point favorite, with the total set at 41.5 (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise). The National Basketball Association has eight games on its docket. Two games tip off at 7:10 PM ET. The Los Angeles Clippers visit Charlotte to play the Hornets as a 2.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 217. The Milwaukee Bucks play at Orlando against the Magic as a 9.5-point road favorite with a total of 225. Two more NBA games start at 7:40 PM ET. The Atlanta Hawks are at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder as a 5.5-point favorite with an over/under of 231.5. The Boston Celtics play at Toronto against the Raptors as a 1.5-point road favorite with a total of 227.Two NBA games begin at 8:10 PM ET. The Philadelphia 76ers travel to Houston to play the Rockets as a 7-point road favorite with an over/under of 221. The Memphis Grizzlies host the Miami Heat as a 2-point favorite with a total of 226.5. The Dallas Mavericks play at home against the Phoenix Suns at 8:40 PM ET as a 3.5-point favorite with an over/under of 221.5. The Golden State Warriors are at home against the Indiana Pacers at 10:10 PM ET as a 10-point favorite with a total of 241.5.The National Hockey League has six games on its slate. Three games drop the puck at 7:07 PM ET. The Colorado Avalanche visit Philadelphia to play the Flyers as a -215 money line road favorite with an over/under of 6. The New York Rangers host the St. Louis Blues as a -170 money line favorite with a total of 6. The Boston Bruins play at home against the Vegas Golden Knights as a -175 money line favorite with an over/under of 6. The Edmonton Oilers are at home against the Washington Capitals at 8:37 PM ET as a -150 money line favorite with a total of 6.5. The Calgary Flames host the Arizona Coyotes at 9:07 PM ET as a -330 money line favorite with an over/under of 6. The Vancouver Canucks play at home against the Montreal Canadiens at 10:37 PM ET as a -195 money line favorite with a total of 6.5. The college basketball schedule features 12 games involving Division I programs. None of these games are on national television. The FIFA Men’s World Cup knockout stage continues with two matches to conclude the round of 16 on Fox. Croatia battles Japan at 10 AM ET as a -0.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2 (all soccer odds from BetMGM). Brazil faces South Korea at 2 PM ET as a -1.5 goal line favorite with a total of 2.5.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAAB and FIFA Men's World Cup Previews and Odds - 12/04/2022

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Dec 04, 2022

The Sunday sports card features action in the NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAAB, and the FIFA Men’s World Cup.Week 13 in the National Football League continues with 13 games. Eight games kick off at 1 PM ET. The Baltimore Ravens host the Denver Broncos as a 9.5-point favorite, with the total set at 39.5 (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise). The Cleveland Browns visit Houston to play the Texans as an 8-point road favorite with an over/under of 46.5. The Washington Commanders play in New York against the Giants as a 2-point road favorite with a total of 40.5. The Detroit Lions are at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars as a 1-point favorite with an over/under of 51. The Minnesota Vikings host the New York Jets as a 3-point favorite with a total of 44.5. The Atlanta Falcons play at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers as a 1-point favorite with an over/under of 43. The Philadelphia Eagles are at home against the Tennessee Titans as a 4-point favorite with a total of 44. The Green Bay Packers travel to Chicago to play the Bears as a 4.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 45.  Two NFL games start at 4:05 PM ET. The San Francisco 49ers host the Miami Dolphins as a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 45.5. The Seattle Seahawks play in Los Angeles against the Rams as a 7-point road favorite with an over/under of 41. Two more NFL games begin at 4:25 PM ET. The Las Vegas Raiders are at home against the Los Angeles Chargers as a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 49.5. The Kansas City Chiefs visit Cincinnati to play the Bengals as a 2.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 52.5. Sunday Night Football on NBC at 8:20 PM ET has the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Indianapolis Colts as an 8.5-point favorite with a total of 44. The National Basketball Association has eight games on its docket. The Denver Nuggets play at New Orleans against the Pelicans at 3:40 PM ET as a 1-point road favorite. The Phoenix Suns are at San Antonio against the Spurs at 6:40 PM ET as a 10-point road favorite. Five NBA games tip off at 6:10 PM ET. The Boston Celtics travel to Brooklyn to play the Nets as a 3-point road favorite with an over/under of 234. The Memphis Grizzlies play at Detroit against the Pistons as a 6-point road favorite with a total of 230.5. The Cleveland Cavaliers are in New York against the Knicks as a 2.5-point road favorite. The Washington Wizards play at home against the Los Angeles Lakers as a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 233.5. The Sacramento Kings are at home against the Chicago Bulls as a 3-point favorite with a total of 237.5. The Portland Trail Blazers host the Indiana Pacers at 9:10 PM ET as a 3.5-point favorite. The National Hockey League has five games on its slate. Two games drop the puck at 3:07 PM ET. The Winnipeg Jets play at home against the Anaheim Ducks as a -260 money line favorite with an over/under of 6. The Dallas Stars are at home against the Minnesota Wild as a -150 money line favorite with a total of 6. The Detroit Red Wings visit the Columbus Blue Jackets at 6:07 PM ET as a -120 money line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Buffalo Sabres host the San Jose Sharks at 7:07 PM ET as a -140 money line favorite with a total of 6.5. The New York Islanders play at home against the Chicago Blackhawks at 7:37 PM ET as a -280 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.The college basketball card features eight games on national television. Marist plays Maine at the O2 Arena in London, England on ESPNU at 10:30 AM ET as a 2-point favorite with a total of 126. Kentucky battles Michigan at the O2 Arena in London on ABC at 1 PM ET as an 8.5-point favorite with an over/under of 143. UAB is at home against South Alabama on ESPNU at 2 PM ET as a 13.5-point favorite with a total of 150. Iowa State hosts St. John’s on ESPN2 at 3 PM ET as a 4-point favorite with an over/under of 142.5. Wichita State plays at home against Utah on ESPNU at 4 PM ET as a 3-point favorite with a total of 135. Creighton is at home against Nebraska on FS1 at 4:30 PM ET as a 14.5-point favorite with an over/under of 141. UCLA hosts Oregon on ESPN at 5 PM ET as a 10-point favorite with a total of 142.5. Arizona State plays at home against Stanford on ESPN2 as a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 128.5. The FIFA Men’s World Cup knockout stage continues with two matches in the round of 16 on FS1. France goes against Poland at 10 AM ET as a -1.5 goal line favored with an over/under of 2.5 (all soccer odds from BetMGM). England faces Senegal at 2 PM ET as a -1 goal line favorite with a total of 2.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NCAAF, NBA, NHL, NCAAB and FIFA Men's World Cup Previews and Odds - 12/03/2022

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Dec 03, 2022

The Saturday sports card features action in NCAAF, NBA, NHL, NCAAB, and the FIFA Men’s World Cup.Week 14 in college football concludes with eight conference championship games between FBS opponents. Two games kick off at noon ET. TCU plays Kansas State in the Big 12 championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on ABC as a 1.5-point favorite, with the total set at 61.5 (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise). Toledo battles Ohio in the Mid-American Conference championship at Ford Field in Detroit on ESPN as a 3-point favorite with an over/under of 54.5. Troy hosts Coastal Carolina on ESPN at 3:30 PM ET as an 8-point favorite with a total of 47.5. Three more NCAAF games start at 4 PM ET. Boise State plays at home against Fresno State in the Mountain West championship on Fox as a 3-point favorite with an over/under of 54.5. Tulane is at home against Central Florida in the American Athletic Conference championship on ABC as a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 57. Georgia faces LSU on CBS in the SEC championship at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta as a 17.5-point favorite with an over/under of 51.5. Two games conclude the NCAAF card at 8 PM ET. Clemson goes against North Carolina on ABC in the ACC championship at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina as a 7.5-point favorite with a total of 63.5. Michigan plays Purdue on Fox in the Big Ten championship as a 17-point favorite with an over/under of 52. The National Basketball Association has seven games on its docket. The Dallas Mavericks visit New York against the Knicks at 12:40 PM ET as a 1.5-point road favorite with a total of 225. The Los Angeles Clippers host the Sacramento Kings at 4:10 PM ET as a 1.5-point favorite at BetMGM. The Milwaukee Bucks play at Charlotte against the Hornets at 6:10 PM ET as a 6.5-point road favorite at BetMGM. Two NBA games tip off at 8:10 PM ET. The Toronto Raptors are at home against the Orlando Magic as a 10.5-point favorite with an over/under of 216.5. The Minnesota Timberwolves host the Oklahoma City Thunder as a 5.5-point favorite at BetMGM. Golden State plays at home against the Houston Rockets at 8:40 PM ET as a 10.5-point favorite at BetMGM. The Utah Jazz are at home against the Portland Trail Blazers at 9:10 PM ET as a 4-point favorite with a total of 225.5. The National Hockey League has 13 games on its slate. The Minnesota Wild host the Anaheim Ducks at 2:07 PM ET as a -280 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. Seven games drop the puck at 7:07 PM ET. The Edmonton Oilers play at home against the Montreal Canadiens as a -230 money line favorite with a total of 6.5. The Boston Bruins are at home against the Colorado Avalanche as a -170 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The New Jersey Devils travel to Philadelphia to play the Flyers as a -215 money line road favorite with a total of 6. The Ottawa Senators host the San Jose Sharks as a -150 money line favorite with an over/under of 6. The Pittsburgh Penguins play at home against the St. Louis Blues as a -170 money line favorite with a total of 6.5. The Tampa Bay Lightning are at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs as a -130 money line favorite with an over/under of 6. The Vegas Golden Knights play at Detroit to play the Red Wings as a -145 money line road favorite with a total of 6. The New York Rangers are at home against the Chicago Blackhawks at 7:37 PM ET as a -260 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. Three more NHL games begin at 10:07 PM ET. The Vancouver Canucks host the Arizona Coyotes as a -205 money line favorite with a total of 6.5. The Florida Panthers are at Seattle against the Kraken as a -115 money line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Calgary Flames play at home against the Washington Capitals as a -165 money line favorite with a total of 6. The Carolina Hurricanes visit Los Angeles to play the Kings at 10:37 PM ET as a -130 money line road favorite with an over/under of 6. The college basketball card features five games on major national television. Notre Dame hosts Syracuse on ESPN2 at noon ET as a 6.5-point favorite with a total of 134.5. Villanova plays at home against Oklahoma on CBS at 12:30 PM ET as a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 126. Virginia is at home against Florida State on ESPN2 at 2 PM ET as a 19-point favorite with a total of 131. Memphis hosts Mississippi on ESPN2 at 7:30 PM ET as a 7.5-point favorite with an over/under of 132. Houston plays at home against Saint Mary’s on ESPN2 at 9:30 PM ET as a 10.5-point favorite with a total of 118.5. The FIFA Men’s World Cup knockout stage begins with two matches in the round of 16 on Fox. The Netherlands battle the US Men’s National Team at 10 AM ET as a -0.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2 (all soccer odds from BetMGM). Argentina faces Australia at 2 PM ET as a -2 goal line favorite with a total of 2.5.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NCAAF, NBA, NHL, NCAAB, and FIFA Men's World Cup Previews and Odds - 12/02/2022

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Dec 02, 2022

The Friday sports card features action in NCAAF, NBA, NHL, NCAAB, and the FIFA Men’s World Cup.Week 14 in the college football regular season kicks off with three games between FBS opponents. Buffalo hosts Akron at 1 PM ET in the rescheduled game from November 19th that got canceled because of the blizzard in upstate New York. The Bulls are an 11-point favorite, with the total set at 54.5 (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise). Texas-San Antonio plays at home against North Texas on the CBS Sports Network at 7:30 PM ET in the Conference USA championship game. The Road Runners are a 9-point favorite with an over/under of 69.5. USC battles Utah on Fox at 8 PM ET on a neutral Field at Allegiant Field in Las Vegas, Nevada in the Pac-12 championship game. The Trojans are a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 67. The National Basketball Association has 11 games on its docket. The Washington Wizards visit Charlotte to play the Hornets at 7:10 PM ET as a 3-point road favorite with an over/under of 221.5. Five more NBA games tip off at 7:40 PM ET. The Denver Nuggets play in Atlanta against the Hawks as a 1.5-point road favorite with a total of 231.5. The Boston Celtics are at home against the Miami Heat as an 8-point favorite with an over/under of 224.5. The Brooklyn Nets host the Toronto Raptors as a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 223. The Cleveland Cavaliers play at home against the Orlando Magic as a 10-point favorite with an over/under of 215. The Milwaukee Bucks are at home against the Los Angeles Lakers on ESPN as an 8-point favorite with a total of 228.5. The National Hockey League has three games on its slate. The New York Rangers host the Ottawa Senators at 7:07 PM ET as a -180 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The New Islanders play at home against the Nashville Predators at 7:37 PM ET as a -155 money line favorite with a total of 5.5. The Winnipeg Jets are at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 8:07 PM ET as a -245 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The college basketball card features one game on national television. Gonzaga plays Baylor on NBC Peacock at 8 PM ET on a neutral court at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Bulldogs are a 1.5-point favorite with a total of 162.5. The FIFA Men’s World Cup concludes the group stage with four matches. Two games start at 10 AM ET. Uruguay faces Ghana on FS1 as a -0.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.5. Portugal goes against South Korea on Fox as a -0.5 goal line favorite with a total of 2.5. Two more World Cup matches begin at 2 PM ET. Switzerland battles Serbia on FS1 in a pick ‘em match with an over/under of 2.5. Brazil plays Cameroon on Fox as a -1.5 goal line favorite with a total of 3.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAAB and FIFA Men's World Cup Previews and Odds - 12/01/22

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Dec 01, 2022

The Thursday sports card features action in the NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAAB, and the FIFA Men’s World Cup.Week 13 in the National Football League kicks off with one game. The Buffalo Bills visit New England to play the Patriots on Amazon Prime at 8:15 PM ET. The Bills are on a two-game winning streak after their 28-25 win at Detroit as a 10-point road favorite last Thursday. The Patriots had their three-game winning streak end in a 33-26 loss at Minnesota as a 2.5-point underdog on Thanksgiving. Buffalo is a 3.5-point road favorite, with the total set at 43.5 (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise). The National Basketball Association has one game on its docket. The Dallas Mavericks play at Detroit against the Pistons at 7:10 PM ET as a 7.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 222. The National Hockey League has 11 games on its slate. Four games drop the puck at 7:07 PM ET. The Colorado Avalanche are at Buffalo to play the Sabres as a -200 money line road favorite with a total of 6.5. The New Jersey Devils host the Nashville Predators as a -215 money line favorite with an over/under of 6. The Tampa Bay Lightning play at Philadelphia against the Flyers as a -215 money line road favorite with a total of 6. The Pittsburgh Penguins are at home against the Vegas Golden Knights as a -115 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. Two NHL games start at 8:07 PM ET. The Carolina Hurricanes visit the St. Louis Blues as a -145 money line road favorite with a total of 5.5. The Minnesota Wild host the Edmonton Oilers as a -140 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Dallas Stars play at home against the Anaheim Ducks at 8:37 PM ET as a -285 money line favorite with a total of 6.5. The Calgary Flames are at home against the Montreal Canadiens at 9:07 PM ET as a -280 money line favorite with an over/under of 6. Two NHL games begin at 10:07 PM ET. The Florida Panthers travel to Vancouver to play the Canucks as a -140 money line road favorite with a total of 6.5. The Seattle Kraken host the Washington Capitals as a -125 money line favorite with an over/under of 6. The Los Angeles Kings play at home against the Arizona Coyotes at 10:37 PM ET as a -250 money line favorite with a total of 6. The college basketball card features seven games on national television. Connecticut is at home against Oklahoma State on FS1 at 6:30 PM ET as a 10-point favorite with an over/under of 138.5. Texas hosts Creighton on ESPN at 7 PM ET as a 6.5-point favorite with a total of 141. Belmont plays at home against Valparaiso on ESPNU at 8 PM ET as an 11-point favorite with an over/under of 140.5. Colorado is at home against Arizona State on FS1 at 8:30 PM ET as a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 139. Kansas hosts Seton Hall on ESPN at 9 PM ET as an 8.5-point favorite with an over/under of 136.5. Washington plays at Oregon State on ESPNU at 10 PM ET as a 5.5-point road favorite with a total of 132.5. UCLA is at Stanford on ESPN2 at 10:30 PM ET as a 6-point road favorite with an over/under of 136. The FIFA Men’s World Cup continues with four matches in the group stage. Two games start at 10 AM ET. Belgium battles Croatia on Fox in a pick ‘em match with the total set at 2.5 (all soccer odds from BetMGM). Morocco faces Canada on FS1 as a -0.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.5. Two more matches begin at 2 PM ET. Spain goes against Japan on Fox as a -1.5 goal line favorite with a total of 2.5. Germany plays Costa Rica on FS1 as a -2.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 3.5. 

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The Trials and Tribulations of Jim Harbaugh (finally) Getting His Guy at Quarterback

by Hollywood Sports

Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022

I am thinking a lot about the University of Michigan football team -- as I work on the other programs that are in reach of making the College Football Playoff. A successful run in the bowl season and the three College Football Playoff games begins now. I previously wrote about how head coach Jim Harbaugh has made a concerted effort to promote player positivity by pushing them to smile and lift each other up on the sideline along with bypassing post-game on-the-field interviews to allow for his players to be featured on national television. After renegotiating a contract extension after the disastrous 2-4 campaign during the 2020 COVID season, the Wolverines have since gone 24-2 and seem poised to make their second-straight College Football Playoff (even if they were to get upset by Purdue in the Big Ten Championship Game despite being 16.5-point or so favorites). There are plenty of reasons that help explain the improved success of this program. But perhaps an underrated dynamic is that Harbaugh finally has his recruits at quarterback developing and playing at his former position for his alma mater. When Harbaugh arrived at Michigan in 2015, he was considered a quarterback whisperer for his development of players at the position in which he starred for years for the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts among the four teams he played for in his NFL career. Harbaugh was a starting quarterback under head coach Bo Schembechler when playing at Michigan before graduating in 1987. As the head coach for the San Francisco 49ers, Harbaugh nurtured the development of Alex Smith who was considered a bust at the time despite being a former number-one pick in the NFL draft. Harbaugh later made the controversial decision to bench Smith for Colin Kapernick whose running skills helped take the Niners to the Super Bowl. Harbaugh was the head coach at Stanford during Andrew Luck's collegiate career. One of his quarterbacks at the University of San Diego, Josh Johnson, is still in the NFL (Denver) after a 13-year career at 36 years old. When Harbaugh arrived at Michigan in 2015, 5th-year senior quarterback Devin Gardner had just graduated. Junior Shane Morris, redshirt freshman Wilton Speight, and freshman Alex Malzone were in the quarterback room -- all recruits from previous head coach Brady Hoke. While the transfer portal is now commonplace in 2022, this was not the case in 2015 -- but Harbaugh made the unconventional move of convincing Iowa graduate student Jake Rudock to transfer to Michigan to be his starting quarterback. Rudock was a two-year starter but appeared out of favor with the Hawkeyes making his ripe for the picking. Harbaugh coached the veteran up, the Wolverines finished 10-3 on the season, and Rudock would go on to have several seasons in the NFL off the strength of that season. The success of Rudock may have convinced Harbaugh that the transfer portal was an untapped resource to be taken advantage of -- but this assessment might have held the program back, in hindsight. Harbaugh brought in John O'Korn from Houston to compete for the starting quarterback job in 2016 after he was benched in his sophomore season under a new head coach (and spread offense). O'Korn showed potential as the Cougars' starter in his freshman season. Yet O'Korn struggled in making second reads and lost the job to Wilton Speight was a dependable game manager.Speight returned as the incumbent starter for his season in 2017. O'Korn was his backup. After redshirting the previous year, Morris transfers to Central Michigan as a former high-level recruit under Hoke. Redshirt freshman Brandon Peters, a Harbaugh recruit, is the third-stringer. The Wolverines go 8-5 with the offense lacking an explosive passing attack that only had eight touchdown passes all season. Speight gets injured late in the year. Brandon Peters gets the start in the Outback Bowl against South Carolina. The Wolverines lost by a 26-19 score with Peters showing glimpses but not enough to build the program around. Harbaugh hit the transfer portal again by attracting Shea Patterson to come to the program after losing his starting job at Ole Miss in his sophomore season. Patterson was a former five-star recruit that Michigan pursued but listed below is Dylan McCaffrey who came to the program from the same 2016 class. McCaffrey was the son of former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey who was rated as the 5th best Pro-Style QB in the class. Peters remains in the mix in his sophomore season. Like O'Korn, Patterson was a starter in his freshman season putting up promising numbers while doing so in the SEC.  With the writing on the wall, Speight transfers to UCLA for a graduate year. Patterson takes the starting job in 2018 and puts up the most efficient numbers at quarterback for the program since 2000. He successfully adapts from the no-huddle spread run at Ole Miss to Harbaugh's pro-style system. He returns as the definitive first-stringer with McCaffrey as a backup along with freshman Joe Milton who comes in with a rocket of an arm. But Patterson fails to take another step in development in his senior year when the Wolverines go 9-4. Michigan loses to Alabama in the Citrus Bowl by 19 points in their fourth straight loss in a bowl game. Patterson graduates and signs a contract with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent. He is now in the USFL.2020 was gearing up to be the year McCaffrey takes over under center in the fourth year in the program as a redshirt junior. Then the COVID pandemic occurs. The Big Ten cancels their football season in August before later rescinding that move. McCaffrey enters the transfer portal and takes his talent to Northern Colorado where his father was head coach (in 2021 and 2022, he puts up solid but unspectacular numbers playing against FCS competition). Milton wins the starting job to begin the season. Injuries force him out which allows Cade McNamara, a freshman from Nevada. The offense performs better under McNamara who makes is an effective game manager to who the players seem to respond. Milton transfers to Tennessee where he was tapped as the starter by first-year head coach Josh Heupel last year before getting benched for Virginia Tech transfer Hendon Hooker who was a Heisman Trophy candidate before his season-ending injury last month. McNamara returns as a redshirt freshman with an extra year of eligibility from the COVID season in 2021. He faces competition from another quarterback in the transfer portal with former Texas Tech quarterback Alex Bowman entering the program after playing as a freshman before getting injured and losing his job. J.J. McCarthy also enters the fray as a freshman as a five-star recruit. With Bowman joining the program in the fall, McNamara wins the starting job before completing 210 of 327 passes for 2576 yards with 15 touchdowns and only six interceptions. McNamara leads the team to beat Ohio State for the first time in the Harbaugh era. Michigan makes the College Football Playoff for the first time. Yet the allure of McCarthy's upside as a vertical passer and as a runner remains with the Wolverines for the 2022 season. McNamara steadily improved in the offseason while demonstrating the leadership skills that led him to be a captain the previous season. Harbaugh makes the controversial decision to give both McNamara and McCarthy starts to begin the season to determine the quarterback competition. The offense ignites under McCarthy, giving Harbaugh a definitive answer which received almost no pushback from the fanbase. The rest is history, up to this point. McNamara deals with an injury during the season before announcing his plans to transfer. Incidentally, Bowman remains with the program. That is quite a genealogy. In hindsight, the Rudock transfer may have been the most successful move in the transfer portal. Patterson gave the team two solid years, but he did not meet the expectations of a former five-star recruit with the opportunity to work with the quarterback whisperer that was once Harbaugh's reputation. But Harbaugh's own quarterback recruits have been mostly misfires from Peters having middling success at Illinois to McCaffrey being only decent at Northern Colorado now and Milton losing the starting QB job at Tennessee. Watching McNamara lead a new program will be interesting to watch despite him not likely being an NFL quarterback. For the first time in eight years at Michigan, Harbaugh has a five-star quarterback under center that he both recruited and developed. Best of luck -- Frank.

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An Underrated Missouri Tigers Team Goes Bowling

by Team Del Genio

Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022

The Missouri Tigers need a victory last Saturday to become bowl-eligible this season. They went into the Battle Line Rivalry hosting Arkansas with a 5-6 record. That showdown offered them the opportunity to avenge a 34-17 loss in Fayetteville last season to the Razorbacks as a 14.5-point underdog. The Tigers went into the game having ended a two-game losing streak in a 45-14 victory at home against New Mexico State as a 29-point favorite the prior week. Missouri had covered the point spread in 4 straight games after losing two of their last three games. In identifying the Tigers as our SEC Underdog of the Year in that game, we considered them better than their 5-6 record suggested. They have won only one time in their five games that got decided by one scoring possession. They were getting this revenge game at home where they were 4-2 this season with a net differential of 11.9 points. At home, they outgain their opponents by 62.5 net yards per game by holding their opponents to 324.7 yards per game and 19.3 points per game. The Tigers had covered the point spread in five of their last seven games at home against teams with a winning road record, and they have covered the point spread in six of their last eight games at home when the oddsmakers installed them as an underdog. They had covered the point spread in six of their last nine games in November.Our faith was rewarded with a 29-27 upset victory by Missouri with the oddsmakers installing them as a 3.5-point underdog in most locations. They went into the locker room trailing by a 21-20 score before scoring an early touchdown in the second half. The Tigers went for the two-point conversion to take a 28-21 lead yet failed to convert. A later field goal in the quarter gave Mizzou a 29-21 lead. Arkansas nailed a 46-yard field goal near the end of the third quarter to narrow the lead to five points. In a critical sequence early in the fourth quarter, Missouri stopped the Razorbacks on the 3-yard line as they settled for a short 20-yard field goal at the 12:40 minute mark of the fourth quarter. Arkansas would not score again as the Tigers pulled out the victory.Brady Cook completed 16 of 26 passes for 242 yards in the winning effort. He tossed a touchdown pass and did not throw an interception. Cook ran the ball another 18 times for 138 yards with a rushing touchdown. The Tigers dominated the yardage battle by a 468-325 margin. With their six victories, Missouri will present bettors with an interesting team to consider. They have wins against South Carolina and the Razorbacks who will be playing in bowl games. They have narrow losses of seven points or less against Florida, Kentucky, Auburn (in overtime), and, most impressively, a 4-point loss to Georgia. Despite playing in the SEC, they outgained their opponents by 33.9 net yards per game. The Tigers' defense ranks 28th in the nation by allowing only 337.1 yards per game. ESPN's bowl forecast projects Missouri into two intriguing albeit second-tier bowl games. One prediction has the Tigers playing Syracuse in the Birmingham Bowl against an Orange team that started the season undefeated before fading in the ACC late in the year. Another possible matchup would likely see them as an underdog against Oklahoma State in a battle of former Big 12 rivals in the Texas Bowl.Good luck - TDG.

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Jim Harbaugh's Pivot to Player Positivity at Michigan

by Hollywood Sports

Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022

After the Michigan Wolverines hit rock bottom with a 2-4 record for the 2020 COVID-impacted season, Jim Harbaugh made several fundamental changes to his program after signing a new contract for lesser money (and a modest buyout if he were to leave for the NFL). Much has been said about his turning to his brother, John, for help with coaching talent on the defensive side of the football. And the offense abandoned Run-Pass Options for more of a power-rushing attack that relies on a zone-blocking scheme from the offenisive line like with the Baltimore Ravens (although last year's starting quarterback, Cade McNamara, did not offer much rushing skill). But a subtle change that Harbaugh made became very evident to many observers after the Wolverines defeated Ohio State by a 45-23 score in Columbus on Saturday: he goes out of his way to de-emphasize his presence so his players can be highlighted and featured in post-game on the field interviews. When Harbaugh first arrived at his alma mater after taking the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl, he was the rock star returning home to re-establish glory for his alma mater. He made a big splash on the recruiting trail with exploits like waiting outside recruit's houses before the midnight window opening when recruiting could begin or conducting glamorous signing day celebrations. Harbaugh was the face and identity of the team which would often backfire when he would blow his gasket on the sidelines arguing a call with the officials. But after no appearances in the College Football Playoff after the 2020 season, Harbaugh's sixth year with the program, and an 0-5 record against Ohio State, the approach was not working. Since last year after signing the renegotiated contract, Harbaugh has made a concerted effort to get as much attention off him as possible. In their first two games of the season against Western Michigan and Washington, Harbaugh made a point of ending his post-game on-the-field interviews as quickly as possible while pressing for one or more of his players to take over fielding questions. This tactic bordered on pure comedy after the victory in Columbus on Saturday with Harbaugh declining to even field an initial question while telling  Tom Rinaldi to speak with quarterback J.J. McCarthy. Harbaugh then put on his Sports Information Direction hat on by going to find running Donovan Edwards and drag him to join that post-game interview with Rinaldi.This Michigan team has also been coached to be overly positive on the sideline. It would be fair to suggest that the Wolverines often played tight in close games early in Harbaugh's tenure. Michigan might have made the college football playoff in the 2016-17 season (even with a close loss to Ohio State) if not for an October loss to Michigan State when the Spartans blocked a punt and returned for a touchdown to steal that game in the final moments.  The Wolverines seemed to play as if they did not want to let down their head coach. After Michigan scored on a 69-yard touchdown pass to Cornelius Johnson to tie the score at 10-10 despite the Buckeyes dominating the 1st quarter, the concerted emphasis on positivity became evident. The players were all smiles on the sidelines, jumping around and raising their hands to fuel to emotions. J.J. McCarthy literally had a happy face written in sharpie on his hand. Rinaldi later commented that Ohio State appeared tight on their sideline. It starts with the coach. It is interesting to contrast that Ryan Day does all the post-game on-the-field interviews for the Buckeyes. I have observed that he has been consistent in an attitude that suggests that the team is letting him down if his team is not up a few touchdowns. Brian Kelly had a similar persona in his first few first years as the Notre Dame head coach. Kelly eventually mellowed -- and the Fighting Irish saw improved results. Positivity can only go so far. Michigan will have to rely on their talent if they want to win a National Championship this season. But a commitment to embrace positivity can play a role in handling adversity. And ensuring that is his players that get the spotlight after big wins for the national television audiences goes a long way to recruiting the next batch of players. It sure looks fun to play at the University of Michigan right now under Harbaugh. And that is a change in fortune -- by design. Best of luck -- Frank.    

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Rushing Is Up as NFL Teams Run Their Way Into Playoff Contention

by Team Del Genio

Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022

More teams are running the football, and there is interesting evidence that it is this commitment to the ground game that is leading to their success. Let’s dive into some numbers.Last season, there were four teams to run the ball 30 or more times per game: Tennessee, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New Orleans. Three of those teams made the playoffs. This year after twelve weeks in the regular season, nine teams are averaging 30 or more rushing attempts per game.Chicago: 35.8 rushes per game; Philadelphia: 34.4. rushes per game; Atlanta: 35.7 rushes per game;  New York Giants: 32.5 rushes per game; Cleveland: 31.8 rushes per game; Baltimore: 30.8 rushes per game; Dallas: 30.5 rushes per game; Washington: 30.4 rushes per game; Tennessee: 29.5 rushes per game (rounding up the decimal). The combined record of these nine teams is 58-43. Six of these nine teams have winning records. All six of those teams would make the postseason if the playoffs started this weekend. Critics of teams that commit to establishing the running game argue that running game statistics are fluffed by fourth-quarter numbers where teams with the lead on the scoreboard decide to run the ball more to burn time off the clock. This deserves consideration. Yet that observation does not explain why the teams that are running the ball 30 or more times a game have doubled from last season since the number of victories remains the same (by definition). With the success of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills, more defenses are using 4-2-5 defenses. When defenses rely more on nickel and dime defenses, their roster may see an additional defensive back instead of another linebacker. Depth charts are impacted. Teams are using smaller and quicker linebackers since they are more agile to defend against passing attacks.              In a league that adapts and evolves, it makes sense that some teams would choose to double-down on rushing attacks that are heavier with two running back or two tight end looks that trade wide receivers on the field for skill position players who can block. From the above list of nine teams running the ball 30 or more times a game, do any of them look like pass-first teams who only run the ball when they have the ball in the fourth quarter? Teams like Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, the New York Giants, and Baltimore are all offenses where the quarterback plays a prominent role in the rushing game with designed runs. Cleveland, Dallas, Washington, and Tennessee are all teams who commonly deploy two tight ends or two running backs with a full back. If it is a copycat league, it is interesting to observe even more teams running the ball over the last month. Winning teams running the ball in the fourth quarter does not explain this recent phenomenon. Thirteen teams have averaged 30 or more rushing attempts per game in their most recent three games.Washington: 42.0 rush attempts per game; Dallas: 36.7 rush attempts per game; Carolina: 36.7 rush attempts per game; Chicago: 35.0 rush attempts per game; Baltimore: 35.0 rush attempts per game; Pittsburgh: 34.3 rush attempts per game; Philadelphia: 34.0 rush attempts per game;  San Francisco: 32.7 rush attempts per game; Detroit: 32.0 rush attempts per game; New York Giants: 31.3 rush attempts per game; Cincinnati: 30.3 rush attempts per game; Buffalo: 29.7 rush attempts per game; New York Jets: 29.7 rush attempts per game.That list does not include Atlanta which is averaging 29.0 rushes per game in their last three games. The combined record for those thirteen teams running the ball 30 or more per game in their last three games is 83-63. Nine of those thirteen teams have winning records, and all nine of those teams would play in the playoffs if the postseason started this weekend. Certainly rushing numbers rise for teams winning on the scoreboard. Yet it seems naive to simply explain the rise in running the football to teams winning games. Half the teams win their games each week (excluding the occasional tie). More teams are running the football this season, and they look like they are running their way into the playoffs.Good luck - TDG.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, NCAAB, and FIFA Men's World Cup Previews and Odds - 11/30/2022

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022

The Wednesday sports card features action in the NBA, NHL, NCAAB, and the FIFA Men’s World Cup.The National Basketball Association has 13 games on its docket. Two NBA games tip off at 7:10 PM ET. The Cleveland Cavaliers host the Philadelphia 76ers as a 4-point favorite with the total set at 212 (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise). The Atlanta Hawks travel to Orlando to play the Magic as a 6-point road favorite with an over/under of 226. Three more NBA games start at 7:40 PM ET. The Boston Celtics play at home against the Miami Heat as a 9-point favorite with a total of 224.5. The Brooklyn Nets are at home against the Washington Wizards as a 6-point favorite with an over/under of 224.5. The Milwaukee Bucks play in New York against the Knicks as a 5.5-point road favorite with a total of 226.5. Three NBA games begin at 8:10 PM ET. The Memphis Grizzlies visit Minnesota to play the Timberwolves as a 3.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 232. The New Orleans Pelicans host the Toronto Raptors as a 1-point favorite with a total of 224.5. The Oklahoma City Thunder play at home against the San Antonio Spurs as a 5.5-point favorite with an over/under of 237. Three NBA games start at 9:10 PM ET. The Denver Nuggets are at home against the Houston Rockets as an 11.5-point favorite with a total of 231.5. The Phoenix Suns host the Chicago Bulls as a 5-point favorite with an over/under of 224. The Utah Jazz play at home against the Los Angeles Clippers as a 6.5-point favorite with a total of 226.5. The Sacramento Kings are at home against the Indiana Pacers at 10:10 PM ET as a 5-point favorite with an over/under of 239. The Los Angeles Clippers host the Portland Trail Blazers at 10:40 PM ET as a 5.5-point favorite with a total of 226. The National Hockey League has four games on its slate. Three games drop the puck at 7:07 PM ET. The New York Rangers play in Ottawa against the Senators as a -130 money line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Toronto Maple Leafs are at home against the San Jose Sharks as a -300 money line favorite with a total of 6. The Detroit Red Wings host the Buffalo Sabres on TNT as a -135 money line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Edmonton Oilers visit Chicago to play the Blackhawks on TNT at 9:37 PM ET as a -210 money line road favorite with a total of 6.5. The college basketball card features 11 games on national television. Butler plays at home against Kansas State on FS1 at 6:30 PM ET as a 1.5-point favorite with an over/under of 136. VCU is at home against Vanderbilt on the CBS Sports Network at 7 PM ET as a 1.5-point favorite with a total of 129.5. Three NCAAB games tip-off at 7:15 PM ET. Purdue travels to Florida State on ESPN2 as a 14.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 139.5. Duke hosts Ohio State on ESPN as a 6-point favorite with a total of 137.5. Miami (FL) plays at home against Rutgers on ESPNU as a 3-point favorite with an over/under of 136.Xavier is at home against Southeast Louisiana on FS1 at 8:30 PM ET as a 23-point favorite at Caesars with a total of 154. Two more NCAAB games start at 9 PM ET. DePaul hosts Samford on FS2 as a 4.5-point favorite with an over/under of 150. George Washington plays at home against South Carolina on the CBS Sports Network as a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 135.5. Three NCAAB begin at 9:15 PM ET. Indiana is at home against North Carolina on ESPN as a 6.5-point favorite with an over/under of 144.5. Michigan State plays at Notre Dame on ESPN2 as a 2-point road favorite with a total of 136. Nebraska hosts Boston College on ESPNU as a 5.5-point favorite with an over/under of 131. The FIFA Men’s World Cup continues with four matches in the group stage. Two games start at 10 AM ET. Denmark battles Australia on FS1 as a -1 goal line favorite with a total of 2.5 (all soccer odds from BetMGM). France plays Tunisia on Fox as a -1 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.5. Two more World Cup matches begin at 2 PM ET. Argentina goes against Poland on Fox as a -1 goal line favorite with a total of 2.5. Mexico faces Saudi Arabia on FS1 as a -0.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.5.

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NHL Off the Post: November 29th

by Sean Murphy

Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022

With December quickly approaching, it's time to take another quick look around the NHL at several teams you should be keeping an eye on in the coming week. Swimming against the currentThe San Jose Sharks are mired in an awful 7-13-4 start to the season which many expected as the team continues its rebuild in Silicon Valley. It's how they've gotten there that has been interesting. San Jose has recorded five of its seven victories on the road. That leaves it a dreadful 2-11 on home ice. The good news is, the Sharks open a four-game eastern road swing in Montreal on Tuesday. The bad news? They'll have to do so without goaltender James Reimer, who has been played on injured reserve due to a lower-body injury. That leaves Kaapo Kahkonen and his dreadful .871 save percentage to take over as the regular starter between the pipes. The goal-happy Maple Leafs have to be licking their chops at the prospect of catching the Sharks at home with San Jose in a back-to-back and three-in-four spot on Wednesday (and will be priced accordingly). Unleash the KrakenNot much was expected of the Seattle Kraken in their second NHL campaign after they played the role of prototypical expansion team to a tee last season. While their first five-game winning streak was chalked up as nothing more than a brief run of good fortune after following it up with consecutive home losses to the Jets and Wild, the Kraken have proven they're no flash in the pan by delivering their second five-game winning streak in the last month heading into Tuesday's matchup in Los Angeles. Few teams are playing a more exciting brand of hockey, with Seattle having scored 17 goals in its last three games alone. Goaltender (and former L.A. King) Martin Jones is enjoying a renaissance campaign, posting a .903 save percentage with Seattle prevailing in 10 of his 16 starts to date.Singing the Blues(hirts)There's trouble brewing on Broadway after the New York Rangers suffered their third straight loss on Monday, this one coming in excruciating fashion as they blew a 2-0 lead in an eventual 5-3 loss at the hands of the rival Devils. While it's not time to hit the panic button yet, any extended losing streak is concerning when you reside in the ultra-competitive Metropolitan Division. New York currently sits in fifth place, a whopping 14 points behind the aforementioned division-leading Devils. A sweepable home-and-home series with the Senators (who reside in last place in the Atlantic Division) is up next, with the latter contest kicking off a brief three-game homestand in which the Blueshirts will look to right the ship before playing five of their next seven contests on the road.Flyers groundedThe Philadelphia Flyers turned heads out of the gate this season, going 5-2 in their first seven games. It's been all downhill from there and they enter Tuesday's rematch with the Islanders on the heels of 10 consecutive losses. The good news is, they're finally coming off a two-day break, their first since November 5th to 8th. Of note, Philadelphia is 8-2 the last 10 times it has played at home on two or more days' rest. Unfortunately, that extra time off hasn't helped heal their injuries, with Travis Konecny, James Van Riemsdyk, Cam Atkinson and Sean Couturier among the list of key veterans currently sidelined. They're hoping to at least get Konecny back on the ice later this week but even with their full compliment of players, this is a team headed nowhere fast this season. 

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