Ness Notes: Friday, Sep 25

by Larry Ness

This column will be available Monday through Friday (posted no later than 1:00 ET), EXCLUSIVELY at BigAl.com. I like to call it my daily 'random thoughts' on the sports betting world, although I'll pass along that my therapist refers to it as "thoughtful commentary." 

NFL Week 3 kicked off Thursday night, as the Dolphins easily handled the Jags 31-13 in Jacksonville. Who says Ryan Fitzpatrick is no more than a journeyman? The 37-year-old accounted for three TDs ( two passing / one rushing). He became the first NFL quarterback to notch six wins over the same opponent with SIX different teams. The blowout also gave Miami its first double-digit victory in 39 games, ending the longest drought in the league. NFL home teams have gone 19-13 SU but just 16-15-1 ATS the first two weeks, including home dogs going 3-8 SU but 6-4-1 ATS. Eleven of the 16 Week 2 games went over (average final score was 53.3 PPG), as overs lead unders 20-12 (62.5%).

Week 3 features two games between 2-0 teams. The Rams at the Bills (Buff is -2.5) plus on MNF, the 2-0 Ravens host the 2-0 Chiefs. Baltimore is favored by 3.5, as the two teams expected to meet in last season's AFC championship game square off. Think anyone will be watching? The only game between 0-2 teams is the Bengals at the Eagles (Philly is -4.5). There are three games featuring a 2-0 team vs an 0-2 one. The 2-0 Titans are at 0-2 Vikings (Tenn is -2.5), the 2-0 Steelers host the 0-2 Texans (Pitt is -4) and the 2-0 Cardinals host the 0-2 Lions ( Arz is -5.5). SNF has a good one in 2-0 Green Bay at 1-1 New Orleans, Rodgers vs Brees (Saints are -3).

The Lakers beat the Nuggets 114-108 last night to take a 3-1 lead in the western conference finals A.D. had 34 points, LBJ 26-9-8 and Dwight Howard got his first start of the postseason, adding 12 & 11. The Nuggets shot 50.6% as a team but it wasn't enough. Does Denver have LA right where it wants? The Nuggets have already overcome two, 3-1 deficits this postseason. Game 5 is Saturday (early line is LA -6). Game 5 of the East is set for tonight, with Miami leading 3-1. Miami can become the first team seeded fifth or lower to reach the NBA Finals since the eighth-seeded New York Knicks lost to San Antonio in 1999. The last team seeded fifth or lower to win an NBA title was Houston in 1995, when it beat Orlando as the West's No. 6 seed. Boston is in the East Finals for the third time in four years but hasn't advanced to the NBA Finals since 2010. Boston last won an NBA title in 2008 and before that, its last title was back in 1986, the last of Bird's three NBA championships. Each team has scored exactly 441 points but that's NOT indicative, as the Heat have been the better team (Miami is 11-2 SU & ATS this postseason). However, Boston is favored by three points in Game 5.of a one-sided series.  Playoff numbers to-date: Favorites are just 37-35-2 ATS , while the under has cashed in 44 of the 74 games (59.5 percent). For those following the "Zig-Zag" Theory (that means playing "on" the SU loser of the previous game), they've gone 26-31-2 ATS (45.6%) or minus-.8.1 net units (last night's game was graded as a 'push').

MLB enters its final weekend. The Blue Jays clinched a playoff spot in the AL with their 4-1 win last night over the Yankees. Yes, the Cardinals and Marlins dealt with major COVID outbreaks but let's NOT forget the Blue Jays were denied the ability to play in Toronto by the Canadian government, so they instead played their home games at their Triple-A stadium in Buffalo, NY. The team was forced to open the season with 13 games straight on the road. Kudos to the franchise that won back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993. The Astros can wrap up the final playoff spot in the American League on Friday with a win over the Rangers OR an Angels loss to the Dodgers. Speaking of the Marlins and the Cards. Miami can clinch second place in the NL East and the playoff spot that goes with it Friday with a win over the Yankees AND a Phillies loss to the Rays. The Cards currently hold down second place in the NL Central but they Cards enter Friday to either earn the second-place spot in the division, grab one of the NL's two wild cards or miss the postseason entirely. Note: St Louis could be forced into a make-up doubleheader with Detroit on Monday.

Next Ness Notes on Monday by 1:00 ET.

Good luck...Larry

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