Articles

Big Al's Daily Angle: NCAAF, MLB and NBA Preview

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Oct 02, 2020

The MLB Wild Card playoffs continue today with two games. The Miami Marlins and Chicago Cubs look to play the second game of their best-of-three National League Wildcard series after yesterday's game was postponed. The Marlins won Game 1 of this series on Wednesday with their 5-1 victory over the Cubs. Miami still plans to send out rookie Sixto Sanchez with Chicago countering with Yu Darvish. The Cubs are -195 money-line favorite with the total set at 7 (odds provided by BetAnySports). ABC has the broadcast beginning at 2 PM ET.The San Diego Padres forced a third game with their NL Wildcard Playoff series with the St. Louis Cardinals last night with their 11-9 triumph. The Padres have yet to officially announce a starting pitcher for this game with their starting pitching staff decimated with the injuries of Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet. Lefthander Adrian Morejon may get the call, in what would likely be a bullpen-heavy workload for the San Diego pitching staff. The Cardinals have tapped Jack Flaherty as their starting pitcher. The Padres are a -111 moneyline favorite with a total of 9. ESPN has the game with the start time set for 7:08 PM ET.The NBA Finals continue tonight with Game 2 of the Miami Heat/Los Angeles Lakers series. The Lakers rallied from a 13-point deficit in the 1st quarter to outscore the Heat by a 104 to 73 margin the rest of the way to cruise to a 116-98 victory. Los Angeles covered the -4.5-point spread with the game staying under the 217 point total. Miami suffered two significant injuries in that game, which will have a substantial impact as this series moves forward. Bam Adebayo suffered a strained neck while Goran Dragic endured a plantar tear in his left foot. Both are listed as doubtful for this game, with their possible return in this series very much in doubt. These are second and third-leading scorers on the team, with Adebayo averaging 17.8 points per game and Dragic adding 19.9 points per game. Jimmy Butler also has an ankle issue after Wednesday’s game, but he is listed as probable to play. The Lakers have jumped to a -9.5-point favorite for Game 2 with the oddsmakers and the market estimating that the loss of Adebayo and Dragic being worth about five points. The total is 216.5. ABC has the broadcast at 9 PM ET.The fifth week of the college football season kicks off tonight with Louisiana Tech traveling to Provo to play Brigham Young in a battle of two unbeaten teams. Louisiana Tech comes off a 66-38 victory last week at home over Houston Baptist. BYU made a statement last Saturday night with a 48-7 blowout victory at home over Troy.BYU is a 24-point favorite with the total set at 59. The game will be on ESPN2 with the kickoff slated for 9 PM ET.

Read more

Ness Notes: Friday, Oct 2

by Larry Ness

Friday, Oct 02, 2020

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 4 kicked off last night with a game between the winless Broncos and Jets. It was NOT a well-played game but it was somehow entertaining. Brett Rypien, the nephew of 1992 Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien, made his first NFL start and threw for 242 yards and two TDs but also threw three INTs (one which was returned for a TD). However, he led the Broncos to 37 points, after the team had averaged just 15.0 PPG in opening 0-3. He got some help from newly-acquired RB Melvin Gordon, who ran for 107 yards, including a 43-yard TD run with just under two minutes to go which sealed Denver's win. Rypien became the first QB to win his first start with three interceptions since San Francisco's Jim Druckenmiller beat the St. Louis Rams 15-12 in 1997. As for the Jets, paraphrasing HOF head coach Bill Parcells, "They are who their record says they are!" The Jets are 0-4 SU and ATS. I'll return to the NFL in just a bit.The NBA Finals resume tonight with Game 2. The Lakers dominated the first game, cruising to a 116-98 win but the main storyline for Game 2 is the injuries to Miami PG Goran Dragic (plantar fascia tear in left foot) and PF/C Bam Adebayo (neck strain). Both are listed as doubtful and I think that's an optimistic take. The current line has the Lakers listed as 7 1/2- or eight-point favorites and after winning my NBA Game of the Year on the Lakers in Game 1, I will sit this one out and see what kind of team Miami can put on the floor. Playoff numbers to-date: Favorites are just 40-36-2 ATS, while the under has cashed in 45 of the 78 games (57.7 percent). For those following the "Zig-Zag" Theory (that means playing "on" the SU loser of the previous game), they've gone 27-33-2 ATS (45.0%) or minus-.9.3 net units.MLB Playoff Update: Game 2 of the Marlins/Cubs series was postponed and will be played on Friday but four other series were played on Thursday. The Braves beat the Reds 5-0, snapping their record-tying string of losses in 10 consecutive postseason rounds since their last playoff series win in 2001. The Reds, playing in their first postseason since 2013, did not score a SINGLE run  in the two games (over 21 innings), batting .169 as a team, while hitting 1 of 14 (.071) with RISP. Oakland beat the Chicago White Sox 6-4 in its deciding Game 3, ending a nine-game losing streak in winner-take-all postseason games, a major league record that dated to the 1973 World Series. The A's had also lost six straight playoff series since sweeping Minnesota in the 2006 ALDS, starting with when Detroit swept Oakland in that year's ALCS. Back in the NL, Clayton Kershaw struck out 13 while delivering eight innings of three-hit ball. His 13 strikeouts were a playoff career high and considering he came into the game with a 9-11 record and 4.43 ERA in the playoffs, he and the Dodgers have to be feeling pretty good. The Dodgers eliminated the Brewers with Thursday's 3-0 victory and it's "Good Riddance" to Milwaukee. The Brewers never got above .500 all season and 'snuck into' the expanded playoff field with a 29-31 record as the NL's No. 8 seed.Joining the Marlins and Cubs in playing on Friday, are the Cards and Padres. San Diego's powerful offense finally burst to life in the  6th-inning of Game 2, after slumbering through a 7-4 loss in Game 1 and a listless first five innings last night. The Cards led 6-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth but the Padres hit five HRs while plating NINE runs from the 6th to the 8th inning. The Padres are the first team in postseason history with five HRs from the sixth inning onward in a game and Thursday's victory marked the team's 23rd comeback win of 2020. The Cards will start Jack Flaherty in Game 3, while the Padres are expected to use a "bullpen game." Game 1 and 2 starters Chris Paddack and Zach Davies lasted a combined 4.1 innings, forcing the Padres to use eight relievers on Wednesday and seven more on Tuesday, for a total of 13.2 innings. SIX San Diego relievers have worked in both games. As for the Miami/Chicago game, it's Miami rookie Sixto Sanchez (3-3, 3.46 ERA)  up against the Cubs' Yu Darvish (8-3, 2.01 ERA).Returning to the NFL, the "big story" of Week 4 has to be the postponement of the Pittsburgh/Tennessee game due to COVID-19 concerns. This is the NFL's first real test and all sports fans (and bettors) have their "fingers crossed," The 3-0 Steelers and Titans are two of SEVEN teams still unbeaten, joined by the Bears, Bills, Chiefs, Packers and Seahawks. Green Bay and Seattle are 3-0 ATS but Tennessee is 0-3 ATS, as the Titans have only outscored their three 'victims' by a total of just SIX points.The Pittsburgh/Tennessee game was the only contest featuring unbeaten opponents but there are two games featuring 3-0 teams playing 2-1 opponents. The 3-0 Chiefs host the 2-1 Pats (Chiefs are -7) and the 3-0 Bills are at the 2-1 Raiders (Bills are -3 1/2). The LONE game featuring 0-3 opponents is the Vikings at the Texans (Houston is -4), a game between two 2019 playoff teams. The SNF game on NBC has the 0-2-1 Eagles (winners of the NFC East in 2019) at the 2-1 SF 49ers, the defending NFC champs (Niners are favored by seven points). MNF has the 0-3 Falcons at the 3-0 Packers (Green Bay is favored by 7 points at BookMaker).  See you all Monday for my next Ness Notes report.Good luck...Larry

Read more

What does OTB Mean in Betting?

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Oct 02, 2020

What does OTB mean in betting?Sports betting is a world that could seem difficult to grasp.  From the outside, it might look nothing more than putting some money on a game.  However, the moment you start looking up some statistics or doing a little bit of digging, you'll see how complex the industry is.  You'll come across dozens of terms that might not ring a bell straightaway.  You might wonder if it's internet slang, or if you're dealing with abbreviations.  Usually, you have to think a little bit out of the box to figure out the meaning, or you can simply look it up.There are terms like ATS, which stands for against the spread, and SU, which means straight-up, that are pretty standard in sports betting.  And then there’s the term OTB, which is more complicated since there are two meanings:  off the board and off-track betting.  This article will dive deep into the definitions of OTB so you’ll fully understand both meanings. Deep dive in the meaning of OTBTo accurately find the meaning of OTB, we should make the distinction between two different meanings of the word.  The abbreviation OTB can stand for both off-track betting and off the board.  Before we go any further, let's get some issues out of the way. We're talking sports betting here, so any other internet slang terms are irrelevant.  Those could be: Out of the blue Off the back On the border On the beach Over the bars ​On the boards Over the bridge And the most far-fetched OTB abbreviation that we found was organisasi tanpa bentuk. From now on, we'll focus on sports betting solely and disregard any other OTB acronyms that do not belong to the world of sports betting.Off-track bettingOne meaning for OTB is 'off-track betting,' which refers to legal gambling on horse racing outside of the race track.  Usually, when you are into horse racing, and you feel like watching a couple of races, you head over to the race tracks and enjoy yourself there.  On the race track, besides the horse racing, a lot goes on.  There are lots of ticket windows where bettors can go to place their wagers.  But, the bigger horse racing became, and as technology developed, there was a demand for betting possibilities outside the race tracks.  That's when off-track betting came into play, and the OTB term was born. These days, sportsbooks and bookmakers can accept bets from race tracks all over the world.  Horse racing has become one of the major sports that is watched across the globe from Asia to America.  As a bettor, you can follow the races on your TV, laptop, or desktop and place your wagers on your mobile phone.  It has become much easier to place bets, and thus the betting pools are now much larger!Where can I start with off-track betting?If you're interested in horse racing and want to learn more, we have a broad range of topics that cover horse racing in depth.  That's where you start:  the research.  The moment you become more familiar with horse racing in general and learn about the betting options, it's time to head in.  Before the internet, off-track betting only happened at brick-and-mortar bet shops where you could watch the races simultaneously. However, as mentioned before, you can now watch races from your mobile phone within the comfort of your own home.  In addition to that, you can partake in off-track betting with the help of online sportsbooks.  That brings you the option to wager on any horse race at any race course all over the world.  When you're exploring your options, never settle for the first sportsbook you see.  Instead, review many sportsbooks, and ask: What is the sportsbook’s policy on paying track odds?  Will it cap your winnings? What are the wagering limits?  Can it handle your fat pockets? What betting options do you have?  Only win-place-show bets, or can you partake in quinellas, daily doubles, Pick 4s and Pick 6s? Are there any bonuses, promotions or rebates on losses offered to customers? We’ve researched all the best offshore sportsbooks, and have ranked the very best among our Top 10.  Within our Top 10, several stand out with respect to their horse racing benefits.  BetAnySports is our current #1-rated sportsbook.  And BetAnySports' racebook is terrific, as it offers 10% bonus payouts on winnings at major tracks, as well as a 9% rebate on losing tickets.  GTBets’ racebook goes even further, with a very customer-friendly 15% rebate on monthly losses.  Another great option is MyBookie, as its racebook offers up to an 8% rebate on losing tickets, while BetNow’s racebook gives bettors a 10% rebate on net losses each week.  Unfortunately, at BetNow, there are caps on winnings from exotic wagers.  So, it’s now time to create your account and try your luck.  In the end, it's all about gaining experience.  Not every bet you make will be a success, but you have to stay strong and pull through until you figure out the strategy that works for you.Off the boardThe other definition of OTB is off the board.  It refers to a sporting event that is unable to be wagered on, at the determination of the sportsbook.  This generally happens when there is a major injury, or if there is even a rumor about an injury.  The sportsbook will refuse to take any bets on a particular event when they're uncertain about proper odds for that match.  Of course, uncertainty is a big part of the gambling industry, but sportsbooks are in this industry to make money, and limit risk.  Like sports clubs, they know the results are uncertain, but they build a lot of options to minimize their risks and guarantee profits.  Thus, a sportsbook can choose to take a particular sports event off the table when they're uncertain about their position.The reason for bets being taken off the board can vary:  from a critical player who is injured to uncertainty about weather conditions.  As an example, we could take an NBA match between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors.  There's a lot on the line, and both teams are eager to take home the win.  But, the day before the game, all of a sudden, Steph Curry is rumored to be injured.  When Curry doesn't play or is not in full form, his team might undoubtedly lose.  But with a healthy Curry, it might be a different story.  That creates a situation where a sportsbook has its hands tied as to what to do.  They have three options; They can choose to not even post an opening number, and keep it off the board entirely through game time.  This scenario takes away any uncertainty for the sportsbook. The sportsbook can list the game open for bets, but with lower betting limits than usual.  When this happens, the game is called “circled.”  Then, when there's more certainty about Curry's health, they could remove the circle and change the betting limits to allow larger bet sizes. The sportsbook can also choose to keep the game off the board initially, and not post an opening number until it has more certainty.  That means that it might stay off the board until 30 minutes before game time when starting lineups are announced.  What happens if I have a bet on a game which is taken off the board?You may be one of the first to place your wager on a match after the opening numbers were published.  The next day, though, the game could be taken off the board, and no more bets are possible.  However, you already placed your bet at the odds that were available at the moment of your bet.  In that case, nothing happens with your bet, and it is handled in the same way as it would when the game was not taken off the board.  That's why it's always to your advantage to keep a sharp eye on the betting lines to catch any excellent opportunities. What other sports betting slang terms should you know?You now know two possible meanings for OTB.  But the truth is, there are many more slang terms in sports betting that bettors use daily.  The list goes on-and-on, and bettors will even create their own personal abbreviations and lingo.  However, we created a list of other common sports betting terms that are made up of abbreviations:  ATS - against the spread:  When a team manages to cover the point spread, they win against the spread.  Usually, you'll see an ATS record like 8-2.  That means the team covered the spread eight times and failed to cover the spread two times.  PK - Pk'em:  When both teams are rated equal by the oddsmakers, a bettor can 'Pk’em' and choose either team; there is no point spread.  If your team wins straight-up, then your bet cashes.  SU - Straight-up:  A bet that's straight-up is a moneyline wager where you predict the winning team or horse. Off - off the board:  Another form of referring to off the board is with 'Off' instead of OTB. Cover: When a team covers the spread, they win for their bettors, based on the point spread.  ​WHIP:  A term used in baseball that stands for walks + hits divided by innings pitched.  It allows you to see how many baserunners per inning a pitcher allows. Sharp:  When a bettor only bets at the best numbers, they are considered ‘sharp,’ and will be taken very seriously by a sportsbook.  Chalk:  When you bet on the chalk, you're betting on the favorite.  Dime:  This refers to a bet size of $1,000. Nickel:  This refers to a bet size of $500. Dollar:  This refers to a bet size of $100. Square:  A square is someone who is unconcerned about the numbers or odds, and doesn’t realize their value.   Laying the points:  When you're laying the points, you're referring to betting on the favorite in a point spread wager. Push:  When your wager ends up in a tie, your bet pushes. This can happen in various bets but usually occurs with point spreads or over/under wagers. After reading this article, it's time to take stock and review your betting options.  You are just one click away from placing your bets at any sportsbook that you like.  So don't wait any longer...jump right in, and have fun!

Read more

Ness Notes: Thursday, Oct 1

by Larry Ness

Thursday, Oct 01, 2020

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." LBJ led the Lakers into the 2020 NBA Finals, marking his 10th appearance (with three different teams). His teams had won just THREE of his previous nine Finals appearances and it sure didn't help that those teams had gone 1-8 in Game 1 of past finals, including a stretch of SEVEN consecutive Game 1 losses! LBJ may have thought "here we go again," when the Heat scored on SIX consecutive possessions in what became a 13-0 run to take a 23-10 lead midway through the opening period. However, it was ALL Lakers after that. Anthony Davis scored 34 points and added nine rebounds, while LBJ had 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, as the Lakers cruised to a 116-98 win. The Lakers did whatever they wanted. They outrebounded Miami 54-36, led by as many as 32 points and made 15 three-pointers. Adding insult to injury, Miami Point PG Goran Dragic left in the second quarter and word is, he has a torn plantar fascia in his left foot (if so, he's done). More bad news  was that Bam Adebayo left in the third quarter after apparently aggravating a left shoulder strain and Jimmy Butler played through a twisted left ankle. Game 2 is Friday and I'll update the situation in tomorrow's Notes.MLB Playoffs: The NL 'joined the party' on Wednesday with four Game 1s. The first game out of the box (Cin/Atl) featured a terrific pitching matchup between Trevor Bauer and Max Fried. The result? Wednesday's starters combined to throw 14.2 scoreless innings and strike out 17 batters in a game eventually won 1-0 by Atlanta in 13 innings. NO postseason game had ever gone so deep into extra innings before the first run was scored and the teams combined for a playoff-record 37 strikeouts. The Marlins and Cubs followed from Wrigley Field with Miami winning 5-1 on the strength of a five-run 7th (ghosts of Steve Bartman?). The Cards beat the Padres 7-4 in San Diego, meaning they need just one more win to eliminate the Padres from the postseason for the FOURTH time since 1996. They swept the Padres in the NLDS in 1996 and 2005, and won 3-1 in the NLDS in 2006, which was the last time San Diego made the postseason. The NL schedule concluded with the No. 1 LA Dodgers taking care of the No. 8 seed Brewers, 4-2.Back in the AL, the Astros (just 29-31 in the regular season) eliminated the Twins with a 3-1 win in Game 2. The Twins are now 0-18 in the playoffs since winning Game 1 of their ALDS at the New York Yankees back on Oc. 5, 2004, losing SEVEN consecutive series. Kudos to Dusty Baker, who took his fifth different team to the playoffs with Houston this season and advanced for the first time in SEVEN series since winning the 2003 NLDS with the Chicago Cubs. The Yankees followed their dominating 12-3 win over the Indians in game 1 with a 10-9 win over the Cleveland Indians, what is now the longest nine-inning game in major league history. It lasted 4 hours, 50 minutes and that does NOT include two rain delays totaling another 76 minutes. The top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays eliminated the Blue Jays with an 8-2 win, The Al's top team (40-20) saw starters Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow dominate Toronto batters, pitching a combined 11.2 innings while allowing just two ERs with 17 Ks and just three walks. While the Blue Jays, Indians and Twins are going home, the A's forced a Game 3 with the White Sox with a 5-3 win. Chicago's Dallas Keuchel allowed FIVE runs (three earned) in just 3.1 innings.It's a deciding Game 3 in the AL between the White Sox and A's on Thursday plus four Game 2s in the NL, with the Brewers, Cubs, Padres and Reds all facing a "win-or-go-home" scenario. So far, home teams have gone 5-7 and there have been five overs and seven unders in MLB's playoffs.CFB 2020 has been greatly impacted by COVID-19 and the month of September was an unusually 'quiet' one. No one is saying "we are out of the woods" just yet but the hope is that we will see MUCH more CFB being played the rest of the way, as the Big Ten begins play in late-October plus the Pac-12, MAC and MWC start up in early November. Fingers crossed. The entire month of September saw just FOUR games played between ranked teams. The higher ranked team won all four, going 3-1 ATS. Saturday provides two contests between ranked opponents, both in the SEC. No. 2 Alabama will host No. 13 Texas A&M ('Bama is favored by 18) and No. 4 Georgia will host No. 7 Auburn (Bulldogs are favored by 6 1/2-points).The CFB weekend opens on Friday, as No. 22 BYU, coming off a disappointing 7-6 season, is hosting La Tech. The 2-0 Cougars are favored by 24 points over a La Tech team that is also 2-0 and  is coming off a 10-3 season in which the Bulldogs beat Miami 14-0 in the Independence Bowl. For what it's worth, the Bulldogs became the first Group of 5 school to shut out a Power-5 school in a bowl game since the BCS/CFP era began in 1998. BYU is one of 13 ranked teams playing unranked teams this weekend, including three top-10 schools. No. 1 Clemson is home to UVa laying 28 points, No. 3 Florida hosts South Carolina and is an 18-point favorite and No. 9 Texas hosts TCU and is laying 12. Beware of ranked teams playing unranked opponents, as Y-T-D, ranked teams are 24-4 SU but only 10-17-1 ATS (that's 37.0 percent). when playing unranked opponents. Will it turnaround? I'll update this trend in Monday's Notes.Before I go, it's Thursday Night in the NFL, as the NFL Network brings us a "Losers Night Out" contest with Denver playing at the NY Jets. The Broncos and Jets are both 0-3 for the second straight season, and each is looking to avoid dropping their first four games in consecutive years for the first time in franchise history. Barring a tie, one team will  avoid an 0-4 start. Denver opened a 2 1/2-point favorite but with the news that the Broncos will start their third different QB this season, the Jets are currently favored by 1 1/2-points (and climbing?). Brett Rypien (nephew of Super Bowl-winning QB Mark Rypien) will make his first NFL start. You make the call. I'm passing. Friday's Notes will focus on NFL Week 4.Good luck...Larry 

Read more

Big Al's Daily Angle: NFL and MLB Preview

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Oct 01, 2020

The MLB Wildcard Playoffs continue on Thursday with five games on the schedule. The Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays, and New York Yankees all advanced to the American League Divisional Series with victories on Wednesday.The MLB card begins at 12:08 PM ET with Atlanta looking to close out their series after they defeated Cincinnati in Game 1 on Wednesday by a 1-0 score in 13 innings. The Braves give the ball to Ian Anderson while the Reds counter with Luis Castillo. Atlanta is a -130 money-line favorite as of Wednesday with the total set at 7.5 (all odds provided by BetOnline). ESPN has the telecast.Miami looks to pull the series upset against Chicago at 2:08 PM ET after they shocked the Cubs on Wednesday with their 5-1 victory. Sixto Sanchez gets the pitching assignment for the Marlins with Chicago countering with Yu Darvish. The Cubs are -184 money-line favorites with the over/under number at 7 runs. ABC will televise this game.The lone American League Wildcard game takes place at 3:10 PM ET between the White Sox and the A’s after Oakland staved off elimination on Wednesday with their 5-3 victory. Chicago has decided to send out their rookie starting pitcher Dane Dunning while A’s manager Bob Melvin will counter with Mike Fiers. Oakland are -109 money-line favorites with the over/under installed at 8. ESPN has the broadcast. St. Louis looks to close out their series with San Diego at 5:08 PM ET after they won Wednesday’s game by a 7-4 score. The Cardinals turn to Adam Wainwright while the Padres will rely on Zach Davies. San Diego is priced as -155 money-line favorites with the total set at 8.5. ESPN2 will televise the game.The final MLB game of the day takes place at 10:08 PM ET with the Dodgers hosting Milwaukee after their 4-2 victory on Wednesday. Los Angeles gives the ball to Clayton Kershaw while the Brewers counter with Brandon Woodruff. With Game 1 being the late game on Wednesday, no lines have yet been set for Game 2. This game will be on ESPN.Week 4 of the NFL season kicks off on Thursday with the Denver Broncos traveling to New York to face the Jets. In a matchup only bettors could love, both of these teams remain winless this season.  But if you are a fan of head coaches on the hot seat, starting quarterback drama, and long lists of injured players that will be game-time decisions on Thursday, this game offers a smorgasbord of intrigue. New York has yet to cover the point spread this season after their 36-7 loss in Indianapolis last week. Third-year quarterback Sam Darnold seems to have stagnated in his development after throwing for only 168 yards last week. Drew Lock remains out indefinitely with a shoulder injury for Denver. Jeff Driskel dropped to 1-8 as a starting quarterback in his career last week in the Broncos’ 28-10 loss at home to Tampa Bay. Brett Rypien completed 8 of 9 passes for 53 yards with an interception in the end zone after coming on in relief, which was enough for head coach Vic Fangio to name him the starting QB for this game. BetOnline lists Denver as a 1-point favorite with the total set at 39.5. The NFL Network has the broadcast with the kickoff scheduled for just after 8:20 PM ET.

Read more

NCAA Friday Night Football: BYU/Louisiana Tech Preview

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Oct 01, 2020

Two unbeaten teams face off on Friday night to kick off the fifth week of the College Football with Louisiana Tech traveling to Provo to play Brigham Young. Louisiana Tech has been one of the football programs most impacted by COVID-19. They did not get any spring practices to help settle the quarterback competition with four quarterbacks competing to replace the last year's Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year in J’Mar Smith. They were also breaking in nine new starters on defense for a new defensive coordinator. The Bulldogs then had to delay the start of their season in the fall when 38 players tested positive for COVID. Louisiana Tech had rearranged their schedule to move up their September 26th date with Baylor to September 12th, but that game was canceled, with their COVID outbreak.The Bulldogs were able to get their season started the next Saturday, where they defeated Southern Mississippi on the road by a 31-30 score. Skip Holtz’s team followed that victory up last week with a 66-38 victory at home over Houston Baptist. Senior quarterback Luke Anthony, a graduate transfer from Abilene Christian, has played after winning the starting quarterback job. He has accumulated 463 passing yards with eight touchdown passes in two games while completing 59% of his passes. He leads a Louisiana Tech offense that is scoring 48.5 PPG while averaging 461.5 total YPG. However, the Bulldogs rebuilt defense remains a work in progress after they allowed an FCS program to gain over 500 yards against them last week. Louisiana Tech is allowing 34.0 PPG along with 447.0 Yards-Per-Game. BYU opened its season with a 55-3 victory at Navy on September 7th. When the Midshipmen’s head coach Ken Niumatalolo later admitted that his fall practices had limited contact given COVID concerns, the quality of that victory was put into question. BYU had to wait three weeks to prove themselves, but they made a statement last Saturday night with a 48-7 blowout victory at home over Troy.The Cougars may have their most potent offensive attack in head coach Kalani Sitake’s five seasons with the program. They have scored in each of their eight quarters so far this season to put up 103 total points. Their 51.5 PPG scoring average is 2nd in the nation, and they are averaging 622.0 total YPG. Junior QB Zach Wilson is completing 78% of his passes while averaging 312.0 passing YPG. This offense faced a significant challenge before the season started when their lone returning starter, tight end Matt Bushman who bypassed the NFL to return for his senior season, suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. Wide receivers Gunner Romney and Dax Milne have emerged with 19 combined receptions accounting for 447 yards in their first two games to give this offense downfield weapons they have not had in years. The BYU defense has also looked good by allowing only ten combined points along with just 330 total yards in their first two games. The Cougars are allowing 96.0 passing YPG while holding opposing quarterbacks to complete just 56.8% of their passes. But be careful about reading too much into the pass defense numbers after two games. Navy only threw the ball eight times in their opening game with their spread triple-option offensive. The Trojans are primarily a passing offense, but they only gained 162 passing yards on 36 attempts last week. BYU is a 24-point favorite at BookMaker with the total set at 59. The game will be on ESPN2 with the kickoff slated for 9 PM ET.

Read more

What is Pari-mutuel Betting?

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Oct 01, 2020

Pari-mutuel betting is a different form of betting which is used in only a few sports. In most sports, you simply head over a bookmaker and place your wagers at fixed odds.  But, with pari-mutuel betting, instead of working with fixed odds at a bookmaker, you're playing against other bettors with flexible odds.  The pari-mutuel system is also known as pool betting.  A pool is created by all the wagers placed by anyone on the same event (i.e., the Kentucky Derby), and on the same wager type (i.e., a Win bet).  At the end of the event, the prize is shared among all the winning tickets, minus a small deduction by the house as a commission.The beauty of pari-mutuel wagering is the fact that it's completely legal in basically any part of the world.  Instead of having a central party like a sportsbook which hosts the money, you have a bunch of bettors who take their chances upon each other.  Thus, the pari-mutuel system is common all across the world.  Although, in theory, it's possible to implement in any sport, the pari-mutuel system is often only used in horse racing, greyhound racing and jai alai.  Anyone who has ever been to the racetracks will probably remember the giant tote boards displaying the odds and the total amount of bet by all bettors at the race tracks.In this betting guide, we'll take you through everything pari-mutuel betting has to offer.  We'll dive into the history, the different types of bets, and how to form your pari-mutuel betting strategy.  Oh, and we'll conclude with a recommendation on where you can best place your pari-mutuel wagers. History of pari-mutuel wagering ​Way before bookmakers and sportsbooks came into play, bettors would only wager against each other.  It all started back when friends and acquaintances would make small wagers on some small events….perhaps who had better aim in shooting a pheasant.  With sports evolving from recreational to professional, and events growing in size, betting systems evolved as well. Whereas horse racing dates back to ancient times with Romans and the Chinese empire, the pari-mutuel system came many years later.It wasn't until Joseph Oller, a Spanish entrepreneur who was fed up with bookmakers taking large commissions, started to consider ways to innovate the betting system.  His solution was the pari-mutuel system.  Coming from the French phrase ‘pari mutuel,’ which means mutual betting, the term was born.  Oller traversed through France to implement his new betting system at race tracks.  After facing a small setback by being charged with illegal gambling practices, Oller finally achieved his goal when fixed-odds bookmaking became illegal in France.Pari-mutuel betting took a whole new shift when the totalisator, also known as the pari-mutuel machine, was invented.  Instead of making all the calculations manually, the totalisator would take care of the difficult mathematics.  Thus, the tote board became a thing, and soon the new betting system was adopted in places like Hong-Kong and the United States. Getting started with pari-mutuel wagering When you want to start in horse racing, you need to understand the betting system first. Usually, the novice bettors who wager a couple of bucks on their favorite horse have no idea how everything is calculated.  The mathematics behind the entire system can get quite complicated, but you don't need to understand every aspect.  To get started with the pari-mutuel betting system, you need to understand the basics of horse race betting. That means the different kinds of bet types and how to calculate your payout.  Allow us to guide you through! Different types of pari-mutuel bets As a novice bettor, you should know the distinction between straight bets and exotic bets. Straight bets are bets on a single race, while exotic bets can be on multiple races.  When handicapping horse races, you have many options that go way further than just picking the winning horse.  When you're at the horse racing tracks, you'll probably get one of the betting slips filled with various terms that you might not understand at first.  However, once you're aware of the most common bet types in horse racing, it'll be a lot easier to understand the way pari-mutuels work.  You don't need to know what a daily double is at first, but the straight bets and the most common exotic bets are basic knowledge in pari-mutuels.Win betSimple - pick the winning horse.  All you need to do is pick the winning horse, and you walk away with a payout.  It's hard to pick the right horse, of course, so the payout here can be quite rewarding.Place betThe place bet is slightly different from the win bet.  Instead of picking the horse that finishes in first place, you pick a horse which ends in either first or second place.  That means if your winning horse is in the top-two finishers, you have a winning bet.Show betThe show bet is a little easier than the place bet.  You choose a horse to finish among the top three to land a payout.ExactaNow, let’s look at the more exotic bets.  Instead of betting on one single horse race, you're picking multiple horses, possibly in various races.  It requires more research than the straight bets, but it's also the place where you can find really good value.  For example, with an exacta wager, you're picking two horses to end up as the top two finishers.  Instead of choosing the winning horse, you pick two horses for spots number one and two.One thing that must not be forgotten is that you need to predict the precise order here.  You only walk away with a winning ticket when you pick the horse in the first spot and the second spot in the correct order; any other outcome, and you'll be left empty-handed.QuinellaThe quinella wager is easy to explain once you have the hang of the exacta bet.  The exacta bet is about picking the top two finishers in the correct order, while the quinella bet is about picking the top two finishers in any order.  That means you just pick two horses, and you win as long as the top two.TrifectaThe trifecta is very difficult to predict.  You need to pick the top-three finishers for a single horse race.  That means you correctly pick the first place horse, the one in second place, and the third finisher in the correct order.  Any other outcome, and you lose.  Since the chances are minimal that you'll be successful, the payouts for trifectas are lucrative.SuperfectaAnyone who loves risks will take a shine to the superfecta bet.  It's the extra step from a trifecta bet.  Where the trifecta bet makes you pick the top-three horses in the exact order, the superfecta adds another horse to the line.  You need to pick the top four finishers in the correct order to land a payout.  Again, the chances are small, but the rewards are astronomical! Calculate your payout with a pari-mutuel bet To properly understand the pari-mutuel betting system, we have to explain how your payout is calculated.  When you arrive at the race tracks, you'll see some screens displaying the current odds and the total amount bet.  You should know that the odds you see on the tote board are the probable odds before all the money is in.  They're still subject to change since bettors can still place their wagers.  For any wager type, whether it’s a win bet or a quinella, there's an individual betting pool.  All of this money adds up, and you have one giant pot of money.  The moment the betting lines close, you will receive the final odds -- also known as the payoff odds.  At that moment, all winning bettors will share the prize in the prize pool according to these odds.  We'll share an example to illustrate how it works precisely.Imagine you're at the Kentucky Derby, one of the most important horse races in the world. There are over 150,000 bettors in attendance, all eager to place some wagers that day.  Of all attendees, 80,000 bettors decide to place a win bet on their favorite horse, and they all decide to bet the same bet size of $5.  That means your total prize pool would become $400,000. When the race concludes, horse number 6 finishes first.  Four thousand bettors were right and went with horse number 6.  That will bring the following formula to calculate your payout: 80,000 x $5 = $400,000 $400,000 / 4,000 = $100 This shows the way the pari-mutuel system works.  Of course, we’re leaving out the commission taken by the track.  Thus, the payoff odds will be a little less than displayed in our calculation since the track takes a piece of the pie to cover its costs and government taxes.  Thus, the payout will be slightly less than $100, but you at least can now understand how the payout is calculated. How to win at pari-mutuel betting ​The one question everyone always asks is, how do I win?  It doesn't matter what kind of sport you're betting on -- whether it’s the NFL or Jai Alai -- you want to know how to land that winning ticket.  In horse racing, here are a couple of tips we can provide. Do your research: You can't make a proper decision without knowing your horses.  Look up a horse’s breeding, what class it’s competing in, and its current form.  Besides the horse, make sure you also check which jockey is on top of the horse, and review the jockey’s record.  You can never know too much, so always make an educated prediction. Manage your money: When you're betting, it's always tempting to bet a little more than you planned to.  But don’t.  Instead, create and stick to your plan.  Set some maximum wager sizes and choose at what level you'll stop.  No matter how interesting a bet might be, never risk more than you're able to lose. Bet at the right place: With any bet you make in pari-mutuel betting, the track takes a small cut.  However, you don’t have to bet at the track.  You can also bet at offshore sportsbooks.  And those sportsbooks will often give bettors nice bonuses!  One of our favorite sportsbooks for horse players is MyBookie, whose racebook offers up to an 8% rebate on losing tickets.  And another customer-friendly book is our top-rated BetAnySports, which offers 10% bonus payouts on winnings at major tracks, as well as a 9% rebate on losing tickets. That's all there is to pari-mutuel betting.  It's nothing complicated, and just requires some basic knowledge and a little experience.  From the moment you achieve your first winning bet, and receive the payout, you’ll be on your road to riches!

Read more

Ness Notes: Wednesday, Sep 30

by Larry Ness

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

MLB's expanded 16-team postseason opened Tuesday with the lower-seed team winning THREE of the four games. The lone exception was the AL's No. 1 seed, Tampa Bay, beating 8th-seeded Toronto 3-1. It all started when the Astros and Twins entered the 9th-inning tied at one-all. A two-out error by Minnesota shortstop Jorge Polanco kept Houston alive in the top of the inning, before a bases-loaded walk forced in the go-ahead run and a two-run single followed. The Astros beat the Twins 4-1 to open their AL playoff series and stretch Minnesota's all-time postseason record to 17 straight losses, while the Astros became the first team in major league history to win a game after reaching the postseason with a losing record. Chicago's Lucas Giolito dazzled in his postseason debut, throwing SIX perfect innings. He didn't allow a baserunner until Tommy La Stella's single up the middle to start the seventh, as the White Sox won 4-1. Tampa Bay's Blake Snell took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against Toronto, helped by some splashy defensive plays by shortstop Willy Adames and a two-run HR from Manuel Margot (Rays won 3-1). The nightcap saw Gerrit Cole strike out 13 batters over seven innings (allowed two runs), while the Yankees ripped probable AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber for seven ERs in 4.2 innings of a 12-3 New York rout.All four AL series continue on Wednesday with the four Game 1 losers in a "win-or-go-home" scenario in their respective Game 2s. The NL 'joins the party' on Wednesday with four Game 1s of their own. Up first it's Cincinnati (in its first postseason since 2013) playing in Atlanta against the Braves, who have won the NL East the last three seasons. However, the Braves have dropped NINE straight postseason series since beating Houston during the 2001 NLDS, not including an additional one-game 2012 NL wild-card loss against St Louis. The Marlins at the Cubs come next. The Marlins are just the second team in MLB history to reach the postseason the year after losing at least 100 games and own the distinction of having been to the playoffs only twice before in franchise history, while winning the World Series both times. Note: There is a Steve Bartman Watch today at Wrigley!<p>The 30-28 Cardinals open at the 38-23 Padres, who are in the postseason for the first time since 2006. I wonder if San Diego is happy to open with St Louis? Fact is, this is the fourth time the Padres and Cardinals have met in the opening round of the National League playoffs. The bad news for San Diego is, the Cardinals eliminated the Padres in 1996, 2005 and 2006, winning NINE of 10 games. Revenge? Lastly, the Dodgers, who finished with a MLB-best 43-17 record, will host the brewers, who like Houston, made the playoffs with a sub-.500 record (29-31). These two teams met in the 2018 NLCS, when Los Angeles needed SEVEN games to advance to the World Series. This series can't go SEVEN but will it go THREE?The NBA Finals are finally here and how many thought we'd actually make it this far? The Miami Heat are just the East's No. 5 seed but they are in The Finals against the LA Lakers, the West's No. 1 seed. Miami is 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. The Lakers cleared enough cap space to lure LeBron James in 2018 free agency and then traded the cache of draft assets they collected in six straight trips to the lottery for Anthony Davis. Owning two of the five best players in the league has the Lakers on the verge of tying the Celtics for the most NBA titles all-time, at 17.The Lakers cleared enough cap space to lure LeBron James in 2018 free agency and then traded the cache of draft assets they collected in six straight trips to the lottery for Anthony Davis. Owning two of the five best players in the league has the Lakers on the verge of tying the Celtics for the most NBA titles all-time, at 17. A.D. (28.8 & 9.3) and LBJ (26.7-10.3-8.9) don't exactly have the kind of supporting cast you would expect from a dominant playoff team but those two are one "Dynamic Duo." While the Lakers own the two-best players in this series, all five Miami starters are averaging in double figures and Kentucky rookie guard Tyler Herro (16.5 PPG) has become a playoff star coming off the bench.LBJ is looking for his FOURTH title and the Lakers would be the third team he's won with (twice with Miami and once with Cleveland). As for A.D, it would be his first. Both teams are 12-3 SU this postseason but Miami is 12-3 ATS, while the Lakers are 9-5-1. LA is favored by 4 1/2-points at BetOnline in Game 1 and are about 4-to-1 to win the title.Good luck...Larry 

Read more

NFL Stock Rising and Falling: Week 4

by Sean Murphy

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

Playing on Sean's NFL 'stock rising' teams and against his 'stock falling' squads would have netted you a 4-2 ATS result last week and now he's back with six more teams to keep an eye on heading into Week 4.Stock RisingChicago BearsWith the Bears off to a surprising (and some believe fraudulent) 3-0 start, it would be easy to assume the value is now gone. I'm not sure that's the case as they were given a big shot in the arm with Nick Foles taking over at quarterback. There's reason to believe value is still on Chicago's side, at least for one more week, as it prepares to host 2-1 Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon.Cleveland BrownsIs it time to start buying what the Browns are selling? The jury is certainly still out after they posted back-to-back wins over two non-contenders in rebuild mode in the Bengals and Washington Football Team. Cleveland faces a much tougher test with a trip to Jerry World to face the 1-2 Cowboys this week. The matchup may not be all that bad, however, as evidenced by the reasonably short pointspread being hung out by the books.Kansas City ChiefsFollowing a close call on the road against the division-rival Chargers, the Chiefs went out and made a major statement with a lopsided win over the Ravens on Monday Night Football. Now comes another opportunity to silence any remaining doubters with a home date against Bill Bellichick's Patriots on Sunday afternoon. I'm still not certain the Chiefs have an elite defense but their offense can more than make up for any blemishes on that side of the football.Stock FallingNew Orleans SaintsMaybe the Saints deserve some credit for at least sticking around in an entertaining Sunday night affair against the red hot Packers but that was essentially a one-man show with RB Alvin Kamara going off. Teams are obviously going to scheme up their defenses to slow Kamara as he's New Orleans' lone offensive threat at the moment. I'm more concerned about the Saints defense, which simply hasn't held up well at all through the first three weeks of the season. A trip to Detroit as a road favorite awaits this week.Minnesota VikingsThe Vikings are completely lost right now and fresh off another demoralizing home loss last Sunday, it's tough to envision them picking themselves up off the mat. The good news is they draw a winnable game against the Texans this Sunday but after that they'll play two of their next three contests against the Seahawks and Packers - both on the road. Mike Zimmer's archaic gameplanning simply isn't going to lead to many 'W's, especially with an injury-ravaged defense - once the strength of the team.New York GiantsAfter getting blown out by an undermanned 49ers squad last week, the Giants will pack up and head to the west coast to face what will be a highly-motivated Rams team on Sunday afternoon. Without RB Saquon Barkley there's really not much for sophomore QB Daniel Jones to lean on in this offense. Defensively, this is a team lacking an identity after allowing 49ers backup QB Nick Mullens to complete 25-of-36 passes for 343 yards and a touchdown last week. 

Read more

Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB and NBA Preview

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

The Wednesday card features Game 1 of the NBA Finals along with a full slate of eight MLB Wild Card Playoff games. The MLB card begins at 12:08 PM ET with the Cincinnati Reds traveling to Atlanta to play the 2nd seeded Braves. Atlanta sends out Max Fried as their pitcher with the Reds countering with the likely NL Cy Young Award winner, Trevor Bauer. Atlanta is a -123 money-line favorite with the total set a 7.5 (all odds listed courtesy of BetOnline). ESPN has the broadcast.Game 2 of the Houston Astros-Minnesota Twins series starts at 1:08 PM ET. The Astros won Game 1 of this best-of-three series on Tuesday with their 4-1 victory. Manager Dusty Baker has yet to announce a starting pitcher for this game as of Tuesday night, but he will likely to rely on Lance McCullers pitching on three days rest along with Jose Urquidy as his first two pitchers since Framber Valdez pitched five innings of relief in Game 1. Jose Berrios starts for the Twins. Minnesota is a -147 money-line favorite, with an over/under of 8. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.Miami travels to Chicago to play the 3rd seeded Cubs at 2:08 PM ET. The Marlins plan to start Sandy Alcantara with Kyle Hendricks taking the mound for the Cubs. Chicago is priced as a -166 favorite, with the total not yet installed as of this writing. ABC will broadcast the game.The White Sox defeated Oakland yesterday by a 4-1 score on Tuesday. Chicago will send out Dallas Keuchel for Game 2 to face off against the A’s Chris Bassitt at 3:10 PM ET. Oakland is a -120 money-line favorite with the over/under at 7. The game will be on ESPN.Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in their series with Toronto on Tuesday with heir 3-1 victory. The Rays turn to Tyler Glasnow for Game 2, who will be dueling with the Blue Jays’ Hyun-Jin Ryu with the game starting at 4:07 PM ET on TBS. Tampa Bay is a -142 money-line favorite with the over/under set at 7.San Diego is the 4th seed in the National League playoff seeding, which has them hosting the St. Louis Cardinals with Game 1 set for 5:08 PM ET on ESPN2. The Padres will start Chris Paddack with the Cardinals countering with Kwang Hyun Kim. San Diego is a -158 money-line favorite with a total of 8.The Yankees throttled the Indians in Game 1 of their series on Tuesday by a 12-4 score. New York turns to Masahiro Tanaka for Game 2 at 7:08 PM ET with Cleveland countering with Carlos Carrasco. The Yankees are -125 money-line favorites with the over/under installed at 8. ESPN broadcasts this game.The final MLB game of the evening takes place in Los Angeles at 10:08 PM ET with the Dodgers hosting the Milwaukee Brewers. LA gives the ball to Walker Buehler with Milwaukee countering with Brent Suter. The Dodgers are -235 money-line favorites with a total of 8. ESPN also has this game. Game 1 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for 9 PM ET on ABC. Los Angeles takes the court for the first time since Saturday when they eliminated Denver in five games in the Western Conference Finals with their 117-107 victory. Miami defeated Boston in six games to win the Eastern Conference Finals by winning Game 6 of that series by a 125-113 score as a 3-point underdog on Sunday. The Lakers are 4.5-point favorites with the over/under at 217.5. 

Read more

NBA Finals: Will Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro be X-Factors?

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

The NBA Finals begins on Wednesday in a series involving two respective leaders of their organizations that played vital roles in the storied history of the other franchise. The Lakers’ LeBron James won his first NBA championship as a member of the Miami Heat while Pat Riley won four championships as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers before eventually becoming the President of the Heat organization. Los Angeles takes the court for the first time since Saturday when they eliminated Denver in five games in the Western Conference Finals with their 117-107 victory. The Lakers have a 12-3 record in the postseason with a Net Rating of +7.7 points per 100 possessions which is the top mark in the playoffs. Anthony Davis led the way for Los Angeles against the Nuggets by averaging 31.2 points per game on 54.2% shooting from the field. LeBron James was just shy of averaging 27 PPG against Denver. While this will be the first NBA Finals appearance for Davis, James will be looking for his fourth NBA championship. He has averaged 28.2 PPG in his ten NBA Finals appearances along with averaging 10.0 rebounds-per-game, 7.7 assists-per-game, and 1.8 steals-per-game. Miami defeated Boston in six games to win the Eastern Conference Finals by winning Game 6 of that series by a 125-113 score as a 3-point underdog on Sunday. The Heat also have a 12-3 record in the postseason with their Net Rating of +4.5 points per 100 possessions being the third-best mark in the playoffs. Miami made only 32.3% of their shots from 3-point land against the Celtics after making 38.0% of their 3-pointers in the previous two playoff rounds. This is an area where the Lakers have been vulnerable as their postseason opponents have made 36.2% of their 3-pointers which is just 9th best in the playoffs. However, LA limited their opponents to attempting 40.1% of their shots from the 3-point line, which was the 4th lowest mark of playoff teams. The Lakers have averaged 23.3 transition points per game in the postseason, which leads all playoff teams. 18.5% of Los Angeles’ possessions in the postseason have come from transition which is the 2nd highest rate in the playoffs. Miami has allowed their playoff opponents to average 1.17 points per possession in transition, which is the 3rd highest mark for playoff teams. The Lakers won both meetings between these two teams during the regular season with their 95-80 victory on November 8th followed up by a 113-110 win on December 13th. Tyler Herro averaged only 7.0 PPG in those two games on 25% shooting from the field and an 18.2% clip from behind the arc. Duncan Robinson averaged just 6.5 PPG on 26.7% shooting while making only 30.8% of his 3-pointers. Yet both players have improved significantly since those games and they have the opportunity to be X-Factors for the Heat in this seven-game series. Herro has scored 16.5 PPG in the playoffs while adding 5.5 RPG and 3.9 APG and shooting 37.8% from the 3-point line. Robinson has added 11.3 PPG in the postseason while making 40% of his 3-pointers. BookMaker has the Lakers as a 4.5-point favorite with the total set at 217.5. ABC has the telecast which begins at 9 PM ET. 

Read more

Bad Beats: NFL 4-Team Parlay

by Wayne Root

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

Let’s discuss this crazy four team parlay over the weekend. You won’t believe this happening.Here are the wagers:Buffalo -1.5Pittsburgh -3.5Chicago + 2.5KC/Balt Over 54.5  Keep in mind that a four team parlay pays 10/1. Many call this type of wager a poor person's football lotto. Scraping up $200 to win $2000 is monthly bills-changing money. So off my friend went to Caesar's Sportsbook to purchase his piece of "game day hope." And he was sure to wear his "lucky" hat.  Game 1)   Buffalo  How great do you have to feel with Buffalo leading 21-3 at halftime against the LA Rams. You never know if a lead is safe in the NFL but the first score in the second half is a score by the Bills extending their lead to 28-3. With under 5:00 minutes left in the third quarter, the Rams are driving but who cares with this lead. The Rams score a touchdown making the score 28-10 and the partying continues. The Rams scored again within two minutes and quieting my friends happy expressions at 28-17. In the fourth quarter, the Rams scored another TD and a successful two point conversion having the score 28-25. OH NO!  On fourth and goal, the Rams went for it and scored another touchdown putting the Rams ahead 32-28. My friend was devastated and very quiet...And crushed. Josh Allen got the ball back with four minutes left and moved down the field and scored with .15 seconds left to win the game and cover the point spread. The smiles are back with this winner. The first game is a winner but meanwhile Chicago is getting blown out so it’s kind of all for naught.  Game 2)   Chicago It’s easy to hate Atlanta. They seem to always make a gambler’s life miserably lately. Always losing money on them. They are set to get a mention in pretty much every bad beat story. They have turned the Bad Beat into an art form, working their genius on the gridiron like other true masters work in clay or oils. This game started off slow. The Falcons led 6-3 after the first quarter. We both were prepared to see a close hard fought game. In the second quarter, Atlanta added a field goal and a touchdown to lead 16-3 as the game was getting away. But the Bears scored and at the end of the first half, the Falcons were leading 16-10. Not a problem. The second half start saw the Falcons add 10 quick points in the first five minutes now leading 26-10. The third quarter ended with no further scores. The last fifteen minutes began with the Bears and Nick Foles scoring a TD to cut the lead to 26-16 as the two point conversion failed. Two minutes later, Foles was back and threw a 37 yard touchdown pass to make it 26-23. He’s only getting plus +2.5 points and with under 4:00 minutes left and Atlanta having the ball, we needed to get the ball back and then a miracle score. Somehow, Atlanta didn’t do anything and our new Bears hero, Nick Foles, threw a 28 yard touchdown pass for a touchdown and let the confetti fly as the Bears won 30-26. I can only imagine the Atlanta Falcons can envision the horrid, soul crushing loss that lives inside of their heads. If others want to say that the Falcons blew another game, it’s probably true. At least two legs of the parlay are in.  Game 3)   Pittsburgh  The Steelers game was also an early game so it was difficult where to pay special attention with three games going at once. I had seen an early score while watching the Buffalo game where Houston was up 14-3 but Pittsburgh roared back to make it 17-14. All we knew for sure was the score at halftime was 21-17. The Steelers made the only score in the third quarter tying the game at 20-20. Now for the long 15 minute fourth quarter. We got in at the six minute mark and added a two point successful play to bring it to 28-20 which ended up as the final. We had purposely chosen these three games because the late games were difficult and we thought the extra time until Monday night would give us time to hedge our bets if lucky to go 3-0 with the early games.  Whoopee, Bravo, Presto. We are 3-0 and the best game is left. The perfect two teams to score a ton of points and we have (he does but by now I am truly involved) the over 54.5.  The One Day Wait.  Your mind starts to think of safe vacation spots for you, your spouse and your kids that wouldn’t be too crowded while the weather’s still warm. You know what would be great? A cabin. A nice one with a Jacuzzi right off some hiking trails. You can distance and if society continues to collapse, you’ll already be safely ensconced on a mountaintop watching the world burn from afar. Frankly, it’s my dream scenario. Or a quick trip to the beach knowing it would be prepaid with my $2000 win. What a life we live!!! ————— MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL Kansas City/ Baltimore ov 54.5  There was plenty of fire in the first half as the Chiefs took a 27-10 lead. There could have been more as we were on a tie on points needed  We figured 30 or 31 points would be scored that half so we were in a great position with 37. I was the one to advise my friend to bet the over for the obvious reasons of two great QBs. I liked the Baltimore side and it looked like a oddsmakers trap giving you Mahomes and +2.5 points so the over seemed like the best choice. NOTE: Only four times in history has the Regular Season MVP and the Super Bowl MVP met with the SB MVP winning all four contest. Now back to the game. Only 19 points were needed after the break to push the total over. Thinking back while watching the second half, I was wondering if Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker’s missed extra point and 42-yard field goal wouldn’t matter.  4th Quarter Finale  Those points mattered. Only three points were scored in the third quarter. My friends heart was sinking. The two teams traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter to leave the Chiefs ahead 34-20 with 8:14 to play. To win $2000, any score would do for over bettors. The Ravens promptly drove down the field, but their drive stalled out with two Kansas City sacks and they turned the ball over on downs. This is starting to be a nightmare. My buddy and I had sweated they two days and three miracle games on Sunday. It’s our fate to win this. Certainly no Greater Power would take us this far and betray our magic ticket bought Sunday from the Church of the Holy Point Spread. Sweating the rest of the game with over eight minutes left was a true sweat thru your shirt moment with $2000 in your front right pocket. Neither of us said much not wanting to say an unlucky thing or being the blamed jinx. It was no longer tictock; it was tic-tic-tic-tic-tic as the minutes were vaporizing at nano speed on the clock. Under five minutes left, under four and three and the the two minute warning. Over bettors were in trouble. Make that big trouble. The Chiefs merely milked the clock and turned the ball over on downs instead of kicking a field goal with 23 seconds to go. So Sad He Lost That had to be the longest and most disheartening loss I have witnessed. I felt it was my money losing by the end. There were no words to say. He won three out of four games and lost money. It was not the right time to say parlays are difficult at best to win. He wins 75% and lost $200. The moral of the story is obvious. Don’t bet parlays. Be sure to read more Wayne Root articles if you enjoyed this one. 

Read more

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

© 2021 Al McMordie's BigAl.com. All Rights Reserved.