Articles

Ness Notes: The Super Bowl (A Look Back)

by Larry Ness

Tuesday, Feb 02, 2021

The AFL and NFL announced that the two leagues had agreed to a merger on the evening of June 8, 1966. Under the agreement, the leagues maintained separate regular-season schedules for the next four seasons (from 1966 through 1969) and then officially merged before the 1970 season to form one league with two conferences (AFC and NFC). An AFL/NFL championship game would begin at the completion of the 1966 season (AFL champ vs NFL champ) through the 1969 season, then would continue beginning in the 1970 season with the AFC champ meeting the NFC champ.The first championship game between the AFL and NFL was played on January 15, 1967 at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers (the name Super Bowl was not adopted until SB III). Vince Lombardi's Packers beat Hank Stram's Chiefs 35-10. Green Bay beat the Oakland Raiders 33-14 the following season but then Namath and the NY Jets shocked the football world with their 16-7 win over the Baltimore Colts on January 12, 1969 (1968 season). The final Super Bowl before the official merger was played on January 11, 1970, when Hank Stram's Chiefs beat Bud Grant's Vikings 23-7.While the Chiefs played in two of the first four Super Bowls, they didn't make a "return engagement" until last season. The Chiefs took on the SF 49ers last January and celebrated the 50th anniversary of the franchise's only Super Bowl victory with a 31-20 win (trailed 20-10 midway through the fourth-quarter). Entering championship Sunday of the current season (January 24, 2021), the defending champions Chiefs were set to host the Buffalo Bills in the AFC's title game, while the Packers were set to host the Bucs in the NFC. The Chiefs and Packers were both three-point favorites and if the two No. 1 seeds had won, it would have set up a rematch of the very first Super Bowl. The Chiefs held up their end with a 38-24 victory over the Bills but the ageless Tom Brady led the Bucs to a 31-26 upset of the Packers, ruining a KC/GB 'reunion!' However, I doubt the NFL, the media or the fans are upset with a Tampa Bay/Kansas City Super Bowl, a showdown between the "G.O.A.T." (Tom Brady) and the "G.O.A.T. in Waiting," Patrick Mahomes. In fact, that will be the title of my next article, posted on Friday. The established NFL won the first two Super Bowls but the upstarts from the AFL evened it at two-all with wins by the Jets and Chiefs. The first post-merger Super Bowl was after the 1970 season and over the next 11 seasons, AFC teams won NINE of the 11 Super Bowls. However, there is a caveat. The Baltimore Colts (Super Bowl V winners) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (winners of four Super Bowls in six seasons from 1974-1979) were two of three NFL teams that had agreed to move from the "Old NFL" to the AFC, not remain in the NFC. The third franchise to move to the AFC (from the NFL) was the ever-lovable Browns, who are still waiting for that franchise's first-ever Super Bowl appearance, no less a Super Bowl win.Traditional NFL fans may just question if those FIVE Super Bowl wins by the Colts and Steelers (as AFC teams) deserve an asterisk. However, there can be NO doubt about the NFC's dominance over the AFC from Super Bowl 16 through 31. In that 16-year span, NFC teams won 15 of the 16 Super Bowls, as only the then-Los Angeles Raiders broke through with a 38-9 win over Washington in SB 18 (1983 season). Following that win by the Raiders, NFC teams won 13 straight Super Bowls, with 11 coming by double digits. The exceptions were San Francisco's 'John Candy' SB 23 win 20-16 over the Bengals (hope readers get it) and the NY Giants' SB 25 "Wide-Right" 20-19 win over the Bills (sure all will get that reference!). The other 11 wins in that 13-0 run by the NFC saw an average margin of victory of 17.6 PPG.The AFC has had the better of it since ending the NFC's 13-0 run when the Broncos beat the defending champion Packers 31-24 in SB 32. Entering Sunday's game, the AFC has captured 15 of the last 23 Super Bowls, with the Patriots accounting for SIX of those wins during that span. New England's six titles puts them in a tie with Pittsburgh, while San Francisco and Dallas have each won five Super Bowls. Only NINE franchises have won at least three Super Bowls, meaning the Chiefs can make it 10, if they can repeat as champs. However, only SEVEN franchises have won consecutive Super Bowls, one of which (Pittsburgh) has accomplished it twice. The most recent team to win back-to-back Super Bowls were the Patriots, who beat the Panthers (2003 season) and then the Eagles (2004). Of course, Brady was New England's QB for those back-to-back wins but some may not remember that Andy Reid was Philadelphia's head coach when the Eagles lost 24-21 to the Pats in SB 39. He'll be on the sidelines for KC come Sunday, looking to join an elite group of head coaches to have won consecutive Super Bowl titles. That group includes Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, Chuck Noll (did it twice!), Jimmy Johnson, Mike Shanahan and Bill Belichick. Think I missed one? Think again. The 49ers won back-to-back Super Bowls (23 & 24) but while Bill Walsh was the team's head coach in the first, George Seifert had taken over the following season when Walsh retired after earning a third Super Bowl titleCheck back Friday for my Brady vs Mahomes article. Good luck...Larry

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NCAA Tuesday Night Basketball: Baylor/Texas Preview

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Feb 02, 2021

A college basketball doubleheader on ESPN tips off at 7 PM ET with a Big 12 battle between two of the top six teams in the nation.Baylor ranks second in the Associated Press poll with a 16-0 record. The Bears defeated Auburn, 84-72, as a 14-point favorite in their Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup on Saturday. Head coach Scott Drew got key contributions from his bench in the victory, with Adam Flagler leading the way with 19 points and Mathew Mayer adding 13 points in just 15 minutes of play. Jared Butler contributed 16 points with five assists. Butler is the team’s leading scorer with a 16.0 points-per-game average. Butler is amongst six players that score at least 8.2 points-per-game for the Bears. Head coach Scott Drew has a deep rotation with nine players averaging at least 13 minutes per game. Drew had six players return from the rotation that finished 26-4 last year.Baylor has high-profile victories against Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma, and the win against the surging Tigers over the weekend. Baylor has the third-best offense in adjusted offensive efficiency according to the numbers at kenpom. They lead the nation with a 43.4% shooting percentage from 3-point land. The Bears rank fourth by rebounding 38.2% of their missed shots. Drew’s team is also the third-best in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency at kenpom. They force turnovers in 26.0% of their opponent’s possessions, ranking fifth. If there was a weakness to this team, it might start with their defensive rebounding. Baylor allows their opponents to rebound 29.9% of their missed shots, 241st in the nation. The Bears do not get as many freebies on the charity stripe given a free throw rate that is 264th.Texas takes the court for the first time since January 26th, when they were upset at home against Oklahoma as a 3.5-point favorite, 80-79. The Longhorns’ showdown with Kentucky on Saturday in their Big 12/SEC Challenge contest got canceled due to the Wildcats' inability to field a team given COVID issues. Head coach Shaka Smart’s team was not going to be at full strength in that game against John Calipari’s group. Starters Courtney Ramey and Jericho Sims were unavailable due to COVID protocols. Smart was also in quarantine with COVID symptoms and not going to be on the sidelines for that non-conference game. All three individuals expect to be on the court tonight. The Longhorns have lost two of their last three games to fall to 11-3 this season. They rank sixth in the AP poll. Texas has several impressive victories against Indiana and North Carolina en route to winning the Maui Invitational while adding wins against Oklahoma State, Kansas, and West Virginia. Their three losses to Villanova, Texas Tech, and the Sooners were all at home to nationally-ranked teams by a combined seven points. Smart’s job was in jeopardy last season. The team hit a low point in an 81-52 loss at Iowa State. Yet Smart rallied his team to win five of their last six games to finish with a 19-12 record in a season interrupted to COVID. Texas was on the bubble to make the NCAA Tournament. Smart's team has won 16 of their last 20 games since that drubbing to the Cyclones. The Longhorns returned twelve players, including all five starters from last year. Smart added a likely one-and-done freshman in Greg Brown, who is contributing 11.8 points-per-game and 8.0 rebounds-per-game. Texas has five players scoring at least 9.0 points-per-game, led by Andrew Jones with a 14.3 points-per-game average.Texas ranks 18th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency at kenpom. On defense, the Longhorns are fourteenth in adjusted defensive efficiency fueled by their half-court defense as they hold their opponents to a 43.8% effective field goal percentage, eighth-best in the country. BookMaker lists Baylor as a 5-point road favorite with the total set at 144.5.

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Get Chiefs +550 To Win the Super Bowl Right Now!

by Will Rogers

Tuesday, Feb 02, 2021

Like the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl? You can get them at +550.Wait, what?There’s a catch, as there always is. We’re talking about NEXT YEAR’S Super Bowl. William Hill and a few other sites have futures odds already posted for Super Bowl LVI – and in a move that surprises absolutely no one, the Chiefs are heavy favorites.Setting odds for a Super Bowl 12 months in advance is as precarious as betting on it, especially when those in the know are predicting that as many as 10 to 12 teams will have different starting quarterbacks when the new (hopefully Covid-free) season kicks off in September.Barring injury or something unexpected, KC will not be one of the teams in QB transition and will have MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes under center for the fifth season of what should be a long career in the Midwest.After that, things get interesting.***Green Bay, where Aaron Rodgers is making noise about not being all that happy with management, is at +900. That ticket could either be gold or fool’s gold, depending on how angry Rodgers is, and whether he demands to be traded or he and the Pack kiss and make up.***Tom Brady will be entering his age 44 season when his Bucs begin their quest to make it two Super Bowls in succession, and right now William Hill will sell you that ticket at +1000. That number could fluctuate considerably depending on how he looks in this Sunday’s SB.***Buffalo (+1100), Baltimore (+1200) and Seattle (+1600) have QB stability on their sides. Cleveland does as well, but books apparently aren’t sold on Baker Mayfield as the Browns can be had at +2500. Miami is also at +2500, perhaps a reflection of the uncertainty about Tua Tagovailoa’s long-term job security.***Three franchises that have been playoff staples over the years – New England, Pittsburgh and New Orleans – are either in QB flux or may be. The Patriots, who will be QB shopping for the second straight season, are a +6000 long shot; no one really knows what will happen in Pittsburgh (+2500) as Ben Roethlisberger and the team stare at the abyss after that stunning playoff loss to Cleveland; and the Saints (+1600) have a smidgeon of stability as they expect to turn things over to backup Jameis Winston.***Remember Joe Burrow? The future of the Bengals franchise was sidelined for the season last November, but word out of Cincinnati is that he’s recovering quicker than expected from that ACL tear and may even be ready for at least part of training camp. Unimpressed with that news, William Hill lists Cincinnati at +10000.***Finally, there is the hot mess that is the Houston Texans. In a case of unrequited love, the Texans heart Watson but the feeling isn’t mutual. Figuring that Watson will have to be traded sometime before next season, the Texans are also at +10000.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: EPL, NHL, NBA and NCAA Basketball Preview

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Feb 02, 2021

The Tuesday sports card features college basketball with action in the NBA, the NHL, and the English Premier League.The nationally-televised college basketball card begins at 5 PM ET, with Marquette hosting Butler on FS1. The Golden Eagles, 8-9, have lost three in a row after getting upset on Sunday at home to St. John’s, 75-73, as a 3.5-point favorite. The Bulldogs fell to 5-9 with two straight losses with their 68-65 upset loss against Xavier as a 2-point underdog on Saturday. Marquette is a 4-point favorite with the total set at 130 (all odds from BetOnline). Baylor visits Texas at 7 PM ET on ESPN in a battle of two of the top six teams in the nation. The Bears’ 16-0 record puts them second in the Associated Press poll. They defeated Auburn, 84-72, as a 14-point favorite on Saturday. The Longhorns, 11-3, are sixth by the AP. They have lost two of their last three games after their 80-79 loss to Oklahoma as a 3.5-point favorite on January 26th. Baylor is a 5.5-point favorite with an over/under of 144.5. Iowa plays at home against Michigan State on FS1 at 7 PM ET. The Hawkeyes rank 8th by the AP with a 12-4 record. They have lost their last two games after losing at Illinois on Friday, 80-75, as a 3-point underdog. The Spartans fell to 8-6 with their third straight loss as a 6-point underdog on Sunday. Iowa is a 10.5-point favorite with a total of 155.5.Tennessee plays at Mississippi on ESPN2 at ESPN2. The Volunteers are 11th in the AP poll with a 12-3 record. They defeated Kansas by an 80-61 score as a 3-point favorite on Saturday. The Rebels dropped to 8-8 with a 71-61 upset loss at Georgia as a 3.5-point favorite on Saturday. Tennessee is a 4.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 124.Illinois visits Indiana on ESPN at 9 PM ET. The Illini rank 12th in the nation with an 11-5 record. They won their second straight game on Friday by defeating Iowa, 80-75, as a 3-point favorite. The Hoosiers fell to 9-7 with a 74-70 upset loss to Rutgers as a 6.5-point favorite on January 24th. Illinois is a 3-point road favorite with the total at 143.USC is on the road at Stanford on FS1 at 9 PM ET. The Trojans improved to 13-3 after their 75-62 victory as a 13.5-point favorite on January 26th. The Cardinal fell to 10-6 on Saturday in a 79-75 loss at Arizona State. USC is a 2-point road favorite with an over/under of 139.Nevada hosts UNLV on the CBS Sports Network at 9 PM ET. The Wolf Pack, 10-7,  defeated the Rebels on Sunday as a 7.5-point favorite. UNLV fell to 6-8 with the loss. Nevada is a 5.5-point favorite with the total at 143 in the rematch. Dayton plays at Duquesne on ESPN2 at 9 PM ET. The Flyers improved to 10-4 with their 67-56 victory against Rhode Island as a 1.5-point favorite on Saturday. The Dukes, 6-6, won their third game in their last four with their 67-50 win against St. Joseph’s as an 11-point favorite on Saturday. Dayton is a 2-point road favorite with an over/under of 130.Six games are on the NBA schedule. A doubleheader on TNT begins at 7:35 PM ET, with the Los Angeles Clippers playing at Brooklyn. The Clippers improved to 16-5 on Sunday with their 129-115 win at New York as a 9.5-point favorite. The Nets fell to 13-9 after losing at Washington, 149-146, as a 5.5-point favorite on Sunday. The nightcap on TNT has Boston visiting Golden State at 10:05 PM ET. The Celtics fell to 10-8 after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers as a 3.5-point underdog on Saturday. The Warriors improved to 11-9 with their 118-91 victory against Detroit as a 5-point favorite on Saturday. Boston is a 3-point road favorite with the total at 224.5.Ten games are on tap in the NHL. The NBC Sports Network has a doubleheader starting at 6 PM ET with the New York Islanders hosting Buffalo. New York has lost five in a row with their 4-3 loss at Philadelphia on Sunday. The Sabres lost to New Jersey by a 5-3 score on Sunday. The Islanders are a -134 money line favorite with an over/under of 5.5. Minnesota plays at Colorado in the second game on the NBC Sports Network at 8:30 PM ET. The Avalanche defeated the Wild on Sunday by a 4-3 score.Four matches take place in the English Premier League to being Matchweek 22. Arsenal visits Wolverhampton on the NBC Sports Network at 1 PM ET as a -0.25 goal line road favorite with a total of 2.25. Manchester United hosts Southampton on the NBC Sports Network at 3:15 PM ET as a -1.25 goal line favorite with an over/under of 3.

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NHL Monday Night Hockey: Penguins/Rangers Preview

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Feb 01, 2021

The NBC Sports Network on Monday features a rematch of East Division rivals from their Saturday thriller. Pittsburgh won their fifth game in their last seven contests with their 4-3 victory over the Rangers in overtime. Trailing 3-2 in the third period, Jake Guentzel tied the game at the 9:18 mark of the third period. Sidney Crosby then won the game at the 2:27 mark in overtime to pick up the two points. The Penguins began their season with two losses at Philadelphia. Since that slow start, Pittsburgh has gone 5-1-1, with their 11 points putting them in fourth place in the East. They tie with Toronto with five victories decided by just one goal. Crosby’s team has been living on the edge this season. They are 3-3-1 when trailing after two periods. Pittsburgh has won four times in overtime already this year, including twice against the Rangers. The Penguins defeated New York at home by a 4-3 score on January 22nd via the shootout. Pittsburgh is thin on their blue line right now, with defenseman Kris Letang suffering a lower-body injury in the first period of the game on Saturday. He is out for tonight. The Penguins already placed defensemen Marcus Pettersson, Brian Dumoulin, Juuso Riikola, and Mike Matheson on their Injured Reserve last month. New York is just 1-3-2 in their last six games after the overtime loss on Saturday. All six of these games were decided by one goal. The Rangers are struggling to protect leads. They blew three leads against the Penguins on Saturday. They are also just 2-1-2 in games when entering the third period with a lead. New York had playoff aspirations to begin the season after drafting the number one player in the 2020 draft, Alex Lafrenierre. Yet the Rangers find themselves in last place in the eight-team East Division with only six points. Head coach David Quinn has been rotating his two goaltenders this season with Alexander Georgiev between the pipes in the loss on Saturday. Igor Shesterkin should get the start tonight. He last played on Thursday in a 3-2 win in Buffalo in overtime where he allowed only two goals. Shesterkin has a 2.73 goals-against-average with a .894 save percentage in five games and four starts.Penguins’ head coach Mike Sullivan will keep Casey DeSmith in goal tonight after he allowed four goals in holding on to the victory on Saturday against the Rangers. DeSmith is 3-0-0 this season in four games and three starts. He has a 3.05 goals-against-average with a .875 save percentage. New York has won only one of their four games at Madison Square Garden this season. They shutout the Islanders on January 16th, 5-0. Pittsburgh’s lone victory this season away from home in five games this season was their triumph in MSG on Saturday. BetAnySports lists the Penguins as a -108 money line road favorite with the total set at 6.5. The NBC Sports Network broadcast starts at 7 PM ET.

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NCAA Monday Night Basketball: Texas Tech/Oklahoma Preview

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Feb 01, 2021

A college basketball doubleheader on ESPN concludes at 9 PM ET in a battle between two Big 12 teams nationally ranked in the top 25 coming off victories in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.Oklahoma has won five games in a row to improve to an 11-4 mark after upsetting Alabama in Norman on Saturday, 66-61, as a 3.5-point underdog. The Sooners were without their leading scorer, Austin Reaves, and Alondes Williams against the Crimson Tide due to COVID quarantine protocols. They will not be available for tonight’s game.Lon Kruger’s team has now pulled off three straight upset victories against ranked opponents. Oklahoma defeated Kansas and Texas in conference play before upsetting an Alabama team that was ranked ninth in the nation by the Associated Press. The Sooners took the Crimson Tides’ ninth spot in the new AP poll this week. Kruger has over 70% of the production return last year's 19-12 team. Reaves leads the way this year with a 15.8 points-per-game scoring average while adding 5.1 assists-per-game and 5.1 rebounds-per-game. De’Vion Harmon is second on the team with a 13.1 points-per-game scoring average after pacing the team with 18 points on Saturday. Brady Manek is adding 11.0 points-per-game along with 4.0 rebounds-per-game. Oklahoma is 25th in the nation adjusted offensive efficiency and 28th in defense at kenpom. The Sooners have been tough to score on inside the arc, with opponents making only 45.6% of their 2-point shots. But Oklahoma is allowing opposing shooters to convert 35.8% of their 3-pointers, 262nd in the nation. The Sooners are second in scoring in the Big 12 with a 76.9 points-per-game average.Kruger’s team has high-profile victories against Texas, Kansas, and West Virginia to go along with their win against the Crimson Tide. Oklahoma is 6-3 in Big 12 play with losses to Baylor, Kansas, and Texas Tech. They also lost to Xavier in non-conference play. Texas Tech ended a two-game losing streak on Saturday with a 76-71 victory in Baton Rouge against LSU as a 4.5-point favorite. The Red Raiders trailed 71-64 but scored the final 12 points of the game to pull out the victory. Texas Tech dropped to 13th from 10th in today’s new Associated Press poll with a 12-5 record. The Red Raiders return home, where they have won only once in their four games in conference play. This group is likely Beard’s most talented team in his five years as head coach of this program. While he lost three starters from the team that finished 18-13 last season, he was aggressive in attracting some high-level transfers while bringing in a good freshman class to join junior Kyler Edwards and sophomore Terrence Shannon. Some of the depth Beard had established diminished when five-star freshman Nimari Burnett decided to leave the team to transfer to another school. He was averaging 17.7 minutes-per-game but only scoring 5.3 points-per-game. Georgetown transfer Mac McClung has adapted to Beard’s system to lead the team with a 17.5 points-per-game scoring average. Shannon is second on the team by scoring 13.6 points-per-game. Texas Tech is once again an outstanding defensive team under Beard. They are 13th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to kenpom. The Red Raiders are also seventh in the country by forcing turnovers in 25.0% of their opponent’s possessions. This team thrives in getting second-chance shots. Texas Tech rebounds 35.2% of their missed shots, 22nd in the country. They also get to the free-throw line as they rank 20th in free throw rate. The weakness of this team is shooting the basketball. The Red Raiders make only 33.0% of their 3-pointers and 49.2% of their shots inside the arc, ranking 189th and 202nd, respectively. Kenpom ranks their adjusted offensive efficiency at 24th. Texas Tech is 4-4 in the rugged Big 12 with losses to Baylor, West Virginia, Kansas, and Oklahoma State. They lost to Houston in non-conference play. Their highest-profile wins are against Texas and Oklahoma, along with Saturday’s victory against LSU. BookMaker lists Texas Tech as a 7.5-point favorite with the total set at 131.

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That First 2.3 Million Dollar Super Bowl Bet

by Wayne Root

Monday, Feb 01, 2021

alAll Super Bowl sports bettors should be focusing on many things other than those million-dollar bets that the media loves to report. Sportsbooks are filled with very smart $1000 bettors and right next to them in line to wager is that anonymous ego driven wealthy casino customer. It's a guarantee the hotel/casino PR Department will make his bet a media sensation. ESPN, Yahoo Sports and BETMGM, Caesars or the Las Vegas Westgate will be the first to call them for this story. But what does it really mean? Who cares what some anonymous millionaire bet or how much he wagered? In reality, which side does the bettor who actually earns his living from sports gambling like? The Handicapping Professional is your BEST BET!! Successful sports bettors don’t parade around town bragging about the size of their bets. They are stealth as they don't need everyone to know information which may affect the betting number as they bet at many different sports books grabbing the best numbers.  Someone bet $2.3 million dollars on the Buccaneers in a single wager this week. ESPN was all over it as were others. They reported everything except the person's identity. That's fair but do you want to follow a ghost bettor? What happens when another gambler bets $3.0 million on the Chiefs two days later? Now who do you follow? Neither!! Because they don't matter. Their bets are a creation by the media about someone that has too much money with the casinos not missing a beat.   If a celebrity makes the wager, sure, that’s news just not entertainment news. If Bill Gates makes a $3.0 million bet, that's newsworthy to some but not gambling news. If the "mattress-man" from Houston makes a huge bet, that's worthy of business news tying bets into a self serving store-wide promotion. The absolute real joke is back on those bettors. If the betting line didn’t move, we immediately know that even the sports books had no respect for those wagers.  Public money, even this large, doesn’t move anything. It just goes into their accounting department to be added to the balance sheet.   This is where astute bettors, sharps, math gurus and wise guys along with sports handicapping professionals such as Wayne Allyn Root are truly smarter than the house. And that’s why they win. These guys are your line movers. These players are respected and someone you should follow. Those other guys are basically some millionaire media creation. The real sports betting professionals such as Wayne Allyn Root will not only give great information on the side and total but in this new age era of 400 prop bets is second to none in terms of how to bet the Super Bowl.  Consider this one example of clearly thinking out of the box and using a prop bet for a huge score. When Denver met Carolina, that game was played with an older Peyton Manning at quarterback who could barely launch the football downfield. Wayne Root liked the Broncos side. But why bet $1100 to win $1000 without breaking down why the Broncos would win? His conclusion was that Manning would NOT throw them into the winners circle. It had to be won by defense. So if that was the case, Wayne Allyn Root made and advised all to bet on Von Miller to win the MVP at 16/1 odds. Von Miller did win the MVP and that same $1000 wager PAID A STAGGERING $16,000. That's the difference between an ego driven wealthy media and casino creation and your seasoned sports betting professional such as Wayne Allyn Root. His side, total and top 15 Super Bowl Prop bets are highly anticipated and will be released by Wednesday for all. 

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NHL, NBA and NCAA Basketball Preview

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Feb 01, 2021

The Monday sports card features college basketball with action in the NBA and the NHL.The college basketball card tips off at noon ET with Western Carolina hosting the Citadel. The Catamounts are a 6.5-point favorite with the total set at 169.5 (all odds from BetOnline). Duke visits Miami (FL) at 7 PM ET on ESPN. The Blue Devils had fallen to 5-5 with three straight losses. But a win against Georgia Tech followed up by a 79-53 victory against Clemson as a 5.5-point favorite on Saturday has head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s team on the upswing. The Hurricanes were 6-6 in the middle of January before enduring a four-game losing streak to end the month on a sour note. Miami was upset at Wake Forest on Saturday, 66-54, as a 1.5-point favorite. Duke is a 10.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 139. Texas Tech hosts Oklahoma in a battle of nationally-ranked Big 12 teams on ESPN at 9 PM ET. The Red Raiders, 12-5, rank 10th in the Associated Press poll. They defeated LSU on the road in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday, 76-71, as a 4.5-point favorite. The Sooners are 24th in the AP poll with an 11-4 record. They have won five in a row after upsetting Alabama at home, 66-61, as a 3.5-point underdog in their Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup on Saturday. These two teams played on December 22nd, with Texas Tech winning by a 76-71 score. Texas Tech is a 7-point favorite in this rematch, with the total at 138.5.North Carolina Central plays at home against South Carolina State at 9 PM ET on ESPN2 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference action. The Eagles improved to 3-2 with a 94-61 victory against Carver Bible School on Friday. The Bulldogs remained winless after playing their last game on January 10th in a 70-68 loss at Florida A&M. UNC Central is a 10-point favorite with an over/under of 140.5.Ten games are on the NBA schedule. Two games tip-off the card at 7:30 PM ET with the Los Angeles Clippers visiting Atlanta and Charlotte playing at Miami. The slate concludes at 9 PM ET, with Denver playing at home against Detroit. None of the games are on national television. Five games are on the NHL docket. The New York Rangers host Pittsburgh on the NBC Sports Network at 7 PM ET. The Penguins have won five of their last seven games after defeating the Rangers in Madison Square Garden on Saturday, 6-5. New York has lost five of six games. This showdown is the fourth meeting this season between these Metropolitan Division rivals, with Pittsburgh winning all three games by a goal. The game is a pick ‘em with both teams listed as a money line favorite at -105 with the total at 6.5.The NHL card concludes at 8 PM ET with Calgary traveling to Winnipeg as a -121 money line road favorite with an over/under of 6.

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NCAA Basketball: Overrated and Underrated Teams

by Power Sports

Sunday, Jan 31, 2021

I did this last month and thought it was somewhat instructive. So I’ll once again compare the current Top 25 rankings (AP/Coaches) and my own power ratings and give you a list of teams I think are overrated and underrated.OVERRATED Missouri (#12 AP/Coaches) - The Tigers did lose earlier this week, so they figure to fall a bit when the new rankings are published Monday. That fall won’t be as precipitous though after holding off TCU (in overtime) on Saturday. In my own power rankings, Mizzou barely cracks the top 40 and I’m pleased that the KenPom ratings say the same. Do not expect this team to make it to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.Virginia Tech (#20 AP/#19 Coaches) - Admittedly, now is not a good time to call the Hokies “overrated” as they just upset Virginia on Saturday. They’ve also beaten Villanova! But this team has done the bulk of its damage in Blacksburg, where last I checked the NCAA Tournament WON’T be taking place. The Hokies are going to move up in the next rankings and I feel it might be a good time to fade as they are just ahead of Missouri in my own power ratings, outside the top 30. UNDERRATEDIllinois (#19 AP/#24 Coaches) - So the Illini are going to move up after beating Iowa on Friday. But they still won’t be high enough, at least in my estimation. This is easily a Top 10 team in America and maybe even Top 5. There are only seven teams in the Top 20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency (per KenPom). The Illini are one of the seven.Colorado (NR) - So the Buffaloes loss to Utah on Saturday pretty much guarantees they won’t be moving into the Top 25. Believe it or not, I faded the Buffs on Saturday. So it may seem strange I’m still calling them “underrated.” But consider that they led the Utes 65-46 with just under nine minutes to go. This is definitely one of the 25 best teams in the country.Arkansas (NR) - The Razorbacks went just 4-5 in January after I called them “underrated” in last month’s column. That’s not enough to dissuade me. All of their losses have been to good teams. Admittedly, most of their wins have been against bad teams. But the SEC remains wide open and I’d put the Hogs up against anybody in the conference with the exception of Tennessee.  

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Early Season 76ers' Data with/without Joel Embiid

by Hollywood Sports

Sunday, Jan 31, 2021

In handicapping the Philadelphia/Minnesota contest in the NBA on Friday (January 28th), I was looking closely at playing the Over until discovering that Joel Embiid was questionable with a sore back. The possibility that the Sixers would be without Embiid prompting to investigate how they have performed with their star center so far this season.Embiid has not played in four of their first 19 games going into that contest on the road against the Timberwolves. Philadelphia lost all four games. On December 27th, they lost at Cleveland by a 118-94 score. On January 9th, they lost at home to Denver, 115-103. On January 16th, the Sixers lost at Memphis by a 106-104 score. Then on January 25th, they lost at Denver, 119-104. The average score of those losses was 115-101.3. The 76ers have a field goal percentage of 42.5% in those four games with Embiid not playing while allowing their opponents to make 49.0% of their shots.In comparison, Philadelphia averages 116.7 PPG while making 50.7% of their shots in the 15 games Embiid played this season going into the weekend. That translates into +15.4 more PPG and a net 8.2% improvement in their shooting. On defense, the Sixers have held their 15 opponents when Embiid played to 109.4 PPG on 43.2% shooting from the field. While Philadelphia allows 8.1 more PPG without Embiid this season, opponents are shooting 5.8% better from the field. In regards to my potential Over play, the Sixers averaged 226.1 combined PPG in their 14 games with Embiid as opposed to them averaging 216.1 combined PPG in the four games they played without Embiid. So far, the loss of Embiid’s presence on defense has been overwhelmed by the loss of his offensive skills — although analyzing the possible slowing of the tempo without Embiid deserves consideration. I passed on the Over. Embiid took part in the shootaround and later played 27 minutes in Philly’s 118-94 victory that finished well below the 225 total. Fortunately, I avoided losing money on the Over bet I was considering. But the data regarding how Philly plays without Embiid could be valuable moving forward.The 76ers gave Embiid the night off on Sunday to end the month in their game at Indiana. Philadelphia rallied from a 95-82 deficit entering the fourth quarter to defeat the Pacers, 119-110. Analyzing how and why the Sixers scored 37 points in the fourth quarter while limiting Indiana to only 15 points in the final 12 minutes will be interesting. Of initial note is that the 76ers made 45 of their 92 shots for a 48.9% shooting percentage which is well above the 42.5% clip they had shot without Embiid in their previous four games. Yet they also allowed the Pacers to nail 41 of their 84 shots for a 48.8% clip which remains almost identical to the opponent’s field goal percentage of 49.0% they had without Embiid in their previous four games. Perhaps the decline in the Sixers’ defense will continue in the games Embiid does not play this season? That would make sense. Was Philly’s offensive effort against Indiana (without Embiid) an aberration? Or was their big fourth-quarter shooting effort the result of the Regression Gods finally making an appearance for this team that simply been underachieving how they should be playing on offense even without Embiid? This will be interesting to continue to track. Best of luck for us — Frank.

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Our Two Favorite Super Bowl Prop Bets

by Team Del Genio

Sunday, Jan 31, 2021

The long list of Super Bowl prop bets offers the betting public many avenues to increase their viewing pleasure in watching the big game. However, for savvy bettors, Super Bowl prop bets provide an avenue to hedge their primary side and totals bets for the game. There are also prop bets that can access the logic of those side and total bets while offering significant value on their own.Here are two prop bets offered by BetOnline that Team Del Genio finds intriguing.(1) Kansas City under 95.5 rushing yards for the game.Running the football against Tampa Bay is going to be difficult for the Chiefs. The Buccaneers allowed only 81.4 rushing yards-per-game this season. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ defense allows opposing rushers to average just 3.7 yards-per-carry which is also the top mark in the NFL. To make running the ball even more difficult, Kansas City will be without their top two starting tackles with left tackle Eric Fisher and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz both out for this game with injuries. Tampa Bay allowed only five teams to rush for more than 94 yards in their 19 games this season. The Chiefs ran the ball 20 times for just 87 yards with their bookend tackles healthy in that game. Under 95.5 rushing yards in the Super Bowl for Kansas City looks good. (2) Tampa Bay over 87.5 rushing yards for the game.After not having more than 14 rushing attempts in a game in the regular season, the Buccaneers turned to their midseason acquisition, running back Leonard Fournette, in the playoffs. The former Jacksonville first-round draft pick ran the ball 19 times for 93 yards against Washington before rushing 17 times against New Orleans and then 12 times against Green Bay. He gained 93, 63, and 55 yards in those games. Head coach Bruce Arians will likely get Fournette going early against a Kansas City run defense that allows 121.9 rushing yards-per-game. That mark is 21st in the league but is perhaps a deceptive number considering teams fall behind against the potent Chiefs’ offense under quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City allows opposing rushers to average 4.6 yards-per-carry, 24th in the NFL.Arians is likely to commit to running the football early in this game. Tampa Bay’s worst game of the season was on November 8th when they lost to New Orleans, 38-3. Arians had Tom Brady throwing the ball on early downs in the first quarter of that game. When the Bucs fell behind in that game, Brady got stuck trying to throw his way back into the game. By the end of the game, Tampa Bay had run the ball only five times for eight yards. That is a mistake Arians will likely not make again. In their 27-24 loss to the Chiefs on November 23rd, the Buccaneers ran the ball only 13 times of 75 yards. Tampa Bay rushed for only 76 yards against the Packers in the NFC Conference Championship Game but did hand the ball off 24 times. That was the first time that the Buccaneers had not gained at least 94 rushing yards in their previous five games going back to December 26th which was just two games removed from their loss to the Chiefs. Arians' recipe for success likely involves gaining more than 87.5 rushing yards in this rematch. Good luck - TDG.

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Does Boston Have the Best Big Two in the NBA?

by Team Del Genio

Sunday, Jan 31, 2021

The conventional wisdom from NBA observers was the Boston Celtics were likely to take a step back this season. They had an NBA Finals appearance for the taking before being upset in the bubble by a surprising Miami Heat team in the NBA Finals. Boston then lost Gordon Hayward in free agency in the offseason to Charlotte. Without replacing his role on the wing, it appeared to many that this Celtics team would take a step back this season in the Eastern Conference race to the rising Heat along with the star-studded Brooklyn Nets, and the ever-dangerous Milwaukee Bucks with Giannis Antetokounmpo inking his long-term contract with the franchise.Yet what if the loss of Hayward was a convenient money-saving move for general manager Danny Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens for what was always their grand plan: build a team around their emerging superstar duo Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum?At first glance, Boston’s 10-8 record at the end of January offers little encouragement. But the Celtics have been impacted by COVID. Tatum has missed five games while being in quarantine. He returned on Saturday in Boston’s showdown with the reigning NBA champions. Even in defeat, his performance with Brown demonstrated the potential this team has when at full strength this season.The Celtics rallied late to put themselves in a position to win the game in the final possession but the Lakers held on for the 96-95. We were happy as Boston plus the 3.5 points was our NBA Non-Conference Game of the Month. Tatum scored 31 points in the losing effort. Brown added 28 points. Anthony Davis led the way for Los Angeles with 27 points with LeBron James adding 21 points. Their 48 combined points were 11 points shy of the Tatum and Brown combination. James and Davis are scoring 25.2 points-per-game and 22.2 points-per-game this season. Last year, the duo scored 25.2 point-per-game and 26.1 points-per-game.Tatum and Brown scored 23.4 points-per-game and 20.3 points-per-game last season. However, after last year’s playoff experience and the condensed offseason, these two have returned with a heightened level of confidence and maturity to their games. Tatum is averaging 26.8 points-per-game with Brown raising his scoring average by almost seven points to a 27.1 points-per-game mark. The 53.9 combined points-per-game they are averaging is more than the James/Davis combination both this season and last season. Brown is only 24-years old. Tatum is a mere 22-years old. The arrow would presumably still be pointing up for both young players regarding what their potential could be. Using the eye test from watching their effort against the Lakers on Saturday, these are two players that have acquired more and more ways to beat opposing defenders.If Davis’ move to Los Angeles last year changed the paradigm from a Big Three to a Big Two with good help in what was needed to win an NBA championship, Ainge and Stevens may have had the seeds growing for achieving that level of success for the salt four seasons. With the money freed up from not resigning Hayward, the Celtics may be in a better position to acquire the talent to complement the skill set of their young dynamic duo.Good luck - TDG.

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