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."
World Series Game 6: I provided a brief recap of Games 3 through 5 in Monday's Notes and now, following LA's 4-2 win in Game 5, the Dodgers are just ONE win away from the team's first World Series title since 1988. The Game 6 pitching matchup is a rematch of Game 2, as Blake Snell takes on Tony Gonsolin. The Rays staked Snell to a 5-0 lead and he didn't allow a hit through four innings, while striking out two Dodgers in each of the first four innings. However, Snell's dreams of a no-hitter ended in the 5th. He walked Kiké Hernandez with two out and served up a two-run HR to Chris Taylor. A walk to Mookie Betts and a single by Corey Seager ended Snell's night. However, four relievers held off the Dodgers, allowing two runs over 4.1 innings, as Tampa Bay evened the Series at one-all with a 6-4 victory. Gonsolin was 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA in nine games (eight starts / team was 5-3) during the regular season. However, in his two outings this postseason against Atlanta, he'd allowed SEVEN earned runs in 6.1 innings for a 9.95 playoff ERA. He threw just 41 pitches in a Game 7 against Atlanta (allowed two runs in two innings) in which the Dodgers won 4-3 to complete their comeback from being in an 0-3 'hole' against the Braves. I found the choice of starting Gonsolin in Game 2 a little strange, as he was pitching on just two days' rest in Game 2 of the World Series and got just four outs, throwing 29 pitches while allowing a solo HR and one walk. In his three postseason starts, he's lasted only 7.2 innings, allowing eight ERs on six hits with almost as many walks (7) as strikeouts (9). His ERA is 9.39 and his WHIP is 1.70.
However, he hasn't pitched since that Game 2, so he takes the mound well-rested. Remember, he pitched well in the regular season (see above). The Dodgers have won Games 1, 3 and 5, while the Rays have won Games 2 and 4. "The trend" says Game 6 sets up as a Tampa Bay win, which would send the World Series to a Game 7, mirroring the two LCS that also went a full seven games. The Dodgers, as they have been in EVERY game so far, are favored (-140) and the over/under is 8. I'll be back tomorrow with a World Series recap OR, a Game 7 preview.
Note: I've gone 8-3, +$5,615 with all LCS and WS plays and Game 6 is my 10* MLB Game of the Week. BATTER UP!
NFL's Week 7 concluded last night with the LA Rams beating the Chicago Bears 24-10. LA's defense dominated, as Chicago's only TD came on an eight-yard fumble return with just 7 1/2 minutes to go and Chicago down 24-3. Jared Goff won the QB 'battle' over Nick Foles, completing 23 of 33 for 219 yards with two TD passes, no INTs and a 108.0 QB rating. In comparison, Foles completed 28 of 40 for 261 yards without a TD pass and two INTs (66.8 rating). Supporting Goff was an LA running game that produced 161 yards, compared to Chicago's 49 rushing yards on 2.9 YPC.
LA's win gave home teams a 6-8 SU and ATS record for the week, as home dogs went 1-5 SU but 3-3 ATS. Here are the Y-T-D numbers. Home teams are barely over .500 at 53-51-1 (.510), while going just 45-58-2 ATS (.437). Home dogs check in at 9-26 SU but a more respectable 16-17-2 ATS. Scoring remains high (Week 7 games averaged 49.1 PPG) but resulted in six overs, seven unders and one push. Y-T-D there have been 52 overs, 50 unders and three pushes.
More NFL from Week 7: In a showdown of unbeatens, the Steelers moved to 6-0 with a 27-24 win in Nashville against the Titans (now 5-1). Arizona's comeback 37-34 OT win in SNF action dropped Seattle to 5-1, leaving Pittsburgh as the NFL's lone unbeaten. Up next, the Steelers are at the 5-1 Baltimore Ravens this Sunday. At the 'bottom of the barrel' are the 0-7 Jets, who had a 10-0 lead at home over the Bills in the mid-second quarter but NEVER scored again in an 18-10 loss. Buffalo never scored a TD, settling for six FGs. Dallas is not winless (Cowboys are 2-5) but remain the NFL's lone winless ATS team, falling to 0-7 with a 25-3 loss at Washington.
The NFC East is a 'disaster,' as the 2-4-1 Eagles sit atop a division that is 7-20-1 (.288) SU and 10-18 (.357) ATS, overall. In contrast, there is the NFC West in which all four teams are above. 500. The division is a combined 18-8 (.692) SU and 16-10 (.615) ATS. The defending NFC champions are the SF 49ers, but they sit in last-place at 4-3, trailing the 5-1 Seahawks, as well as the Cardinals and Rams (both are 5-2). The Niners are not the only 2019 division winner that is finding that repeating in 2020 will not come easily. The Houston Texans won the AFC South in 2019 for the FOURTH time in the previous five years but at 1-6, the Texans are effectively 'dead' in 2020 (Titans lead the division at 5-1). The Brady-less NE Patriots entered 2020 having won 11 straight AFC East titles (as well as 17 of the previous 19) but at 2-4 are already 2 1/2 games behind the 5-2 Buffalo Bills The Pats travel to Buffalo on Sunday and while it may be just Week 8, how isn't it a "must win?" Minnesota was 10-6 in 2019 and earned a wild card spot, where the Vikings upset the 13-3 Saints in New Orleans, but the Vikings have little chance of playing past Week 17 in 2020, as they are off to a 1-5 start.
There are a couple non-playoff teams from 2019 that are 'sitting pretty' through Week 7 of 2020. No team is better positioned than the 6-0 Steelers, who are almost assured of ending their brief, two-season postseason drought in 2020. The TB 12-led Bucs are riding Brady's excellent start in 2020 (18 TDs / four INTs) plus one of the NFL's best defenses (20.3 PPG on 291.3 YPG ) to a 5-2 start. The Bucs last made the playoffs in 2007, a 12-year drought! Week 8 kicks off on Thursday with another ho-hum contest, the 1-6 Falcons at the 3-4 Panthers. Who is responsible for 2020's 'ugly game' Thursday Night schedule?