Articles

What is Sports Handicapping?

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Oct 05, 2020

What is sports handicapping?Sports fans worldwide find joy in getting together to watch their favorite team.  You might have watched your first game when you were a little kid, but when you grow older, that fascination turns into a genuine passion.  You start to go to the games more often and decide it's time to get familiar with everything behind the sports.You get familiar with the statistics and see the business side behind each club.  Simultaneously, you get familiar with the sports betting industry, and all of a sudden, you're hooked.  Any sports fan out there must be intrigued by the possibility to earn money through his sports knowledge.  It must be exciting to know that, the more you watch sports, the more you read about the leagues, and the more research you do, the more money you can make.  That's how sports bettors are born.After wagering with some small bets here and there, you'll immediately notice there's more to it than just trying your luck.  When you want to become a serious bettor, it's necessary to develop a sustainable strategy which doesn't entirely depend on luck.  One term that's familiar to those who bet on sports is handicapping.  Handicapping is the method to calculate a team’s scoring advantage (or disadvantage) in order to project by how much a team might win (or lose).  Once the scoring differential is calculated, then one can assess the point spread and/or moneyline odds to determine whether a side has value.In this betting guide, we'll take you through everything there is to handicapping.  It's possible to become a handicapper yourself, and we'll have a look at some of the expert handicappers out there.  Whatever you do, stick to your plan and never wager more than you're comfortable losing. How to get started with handicapping To get your handicapping career started, it's essential to paint a clear picture of handicapping.  The definition as given by multiple sources is the following:  "the practice of assigning advantage through scoring compensation, or other advantage given to different contestants, to equalize the chances of winning." It should be clear that handicapping is a widespread term that's thrown around the industry a lot.  You have handicappers, handicapping services, 'cappers, you name it.  Indeed, you’ve probably heard the term “handicap” in sports as disparate as horse racing and golf.  In horse racing, a “handicap race” is a race in which horses carry different weights, allocated by the handicapper.  A better horse will carry a heavier weight, to give it a disadvantage when racing against slower horses.  Thus, the chances of the horses are equalized.  Likewise, in golf, a handicap is a numerical measure of a golfer's potential which is used to level the playing field so lesser golfers can compete against better players.  As you can see, there's a lot to explain about handicapping, but we'll focus merely on sports handicapping.Handicapping is done by oddsmakers in many sports:  the professional sports leagues like the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, but also college football, college basketball, horse racing, golf, bowling, and many other sports.  Indeed, in any sport where one contestant has an advantage over another, oddsmakers will come up with a solution to give bettors on both sides a relatively equal chance to win. Handicapping example When referring to handicapping in sports betting, we're usually referring to handicappers who focus on major sports like the NFL or the NBA.  After the oddsmakers assign a point spread, handicappers will research the matchup to determine on which (if any) side the value lies, with respect to the point spread, or moneyline.  In theory, each team will have a relatively equal chance to cover the point spread.  But, based on one’s handicapping, that might not be the case.Let's take an example of an NFL match between the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys.  This sporting event was supposed to be a close contest, but let's say the Cowboys lost their two most talented players to an injury.  You're now sure the Patriots will win the game in a blowout, but the -450 moneyline odds are prohibitive, so you don’t want to lay the big number.   It doesn't make sense to bet on the Patriots, straight-up.  But there’s another option offered by the bookmakers, and that’s the point spread bet.  Here, the Patriots are the favorite, while the Cowboys are the underdog.  Your betting lines could look something like this: New England Patriots -10 Dallas Cowboys +10 With a point spread bet, the chance to win is relatively equal on both ends.  Since the -450 moneyline odds would have been too risky, it might make sense to lay 10 points with the Patriots, at -110 odds.  That's where handicapping comes in.  How to become a sports handicapper When you're serious about sports betting and want to go beyond betting moneyline wagers or trying an occasional parlay wager, you're up for handicapping.  It takes a while to become a professional handicapper, but it's certainly possible.  To get you started the right way, here are a few steps you can take; Dive into the statistics The most critical factor in handicapping is to immerse yourself in statistics.  When you're predicting which team will win a specific game, you can always make a proper guess, and get lucky.  With handicapping, however, a lot more skill and effort is required.  In essence, the handicapping industry is all about the bettors against the sportsbooks.  Note that sportsbooks are often referred to as 'Las Vegas' since there's a large concentration of different sportsbooks located in that city.When you start with your research, it might feel a bit overwhelming at first.  To give you a better handle, try to review some of the following statistics first: Team stats for the season Player stats for the season Home and away records Matchup history Against the spread records Recent form Individual positional matchups Scheduling advantage/disadvantage Coaching changes and strategy for the game This is a great starting point to making your analysis for any sporting event.  By doing all of this research, your goal is to find something the oddsmakers might have overlooked, in order to get an edge. Understand what value is when you see it When handicapping, you're betting against Las Vegas, which means you are against the sportsbooks.  With any matchup, there could be a difference between how you view it and how the sportsbooks see it.  There are a lot of games every single week.  On a Saturday in November, you might have eight NBA games, 9 in the NHL, 55 in College Football, and over 100 in College Basketball.  When you're not bound to one specific sport, there are an awful lot of possibilities.  And that's why you don't want to settle for the first matchup you come across.When you’re a serious handicapper, you’re looking for the best bets only.  Of course, anyone wants the best bets, but not everyone finds them.  You're here to manage your bankroll the right way and go for a sustainable betting career, so don't settle for the first bet you see.  Scroll through the statistics, and wait until you see a perfect fit.  Keep track of all the data, and wait for the perfect moment to dive in.  It might require some patience but, to keep a healthy bankroll and stay at this for a long time, it's essential only to bet the best bets.  Shop around for the best lines When you're an experienced gambler, you fully understand you're betting against the house, and that the house -- via the standard -110 odds -- has a built-in advantage.  But there are ways to chip away at the disadvantage conferred by the -110 odds.  The easiest way to do this is to bet at an online sportsbook which offers reduced juice.  Our current #1-rated sportsbook is BetAnySports, which offers -105 odds on football and basketball games, rather than -110.  That is a huge advantage for a gambler.  You might ask why BetAnySports chooses to reduce its juice (and, thus, its profit).  It’s because there are hundreds of sportsbooks that are out there.  And all of these sportsbooks compete with each other to attract you as a bettor.  So, you can use this competitive behavior to get the best odds.  Similarly, sportsbooks also offer different lines on a game.  One might have the Steelers favored by 7 points over the Browns, while another sportsbook might set the line at minus 6.  When you’re a professional gambler, it’s imperative to have accounts at multiple (at least three) sportsbooks to shop for the best number, which increases your profit.  In addition to BetAnySports, other sportsbooks that have unique odds, and are great for shopping lines include BetNow and Bovada. What is a handicapping service? When you're betting on sports, you'll likely come across professional handicappers.  These are people who research sports events, and publish their advice.  These publications are called sports picks, and they are sold all across the internet.  It might seem appealing since you don't have to put in the long hours of doing the research yourself, but be careful to only work with a reputable handicapper.  How to select a handicapping service When considering working with a handicapping service or trying out an expert's picks, be smart and do your research.  There are many things to consider, of course, but here are some of the most important: How long has the handicapper been in business?  The longer, the better. Does the handicapper have bona fides?  Are his career achievements noteworthy? Is the handicapper’s analysis logical and sound?  Or is his reasoning faulty? Does the handicapper admit to having a losing day?  Honesty is paramount. The bottom line is that it’s important to work with the best people in any field.  And when you find a handicapper you can trust, it will be worth a fortune. After reading this article, you now know anything there is to handicapping.  The one thing that's left is for you to gain experience.  We're here to provide you with any tips and advice you might need when it comes to sports betting, but it's you that needs to dive in to start wagering.  Have fun and enjoy the ride, because it can be a fun and profitable one!

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, EPL and NFL Preview

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Oct 04, 2020

The Sunday features 12 games in the NFL, along with the NBA Finals and six games in the English Premier League. The NFL had to cancel two games given COVID-19 precautions impacting the Pittsburgh/Tennessee and New England/Kansas City contests. The NFL card kicks off at 1 PM ET with eight games. The national game on CBS features the Los Angeles Chargers traveling to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay is a 7-point favorite with the total at 42.5 (all odds provided by BetOnline). The national game on Fox has the Cleveland Browns traveling to Dallas to face the Cowboys. Dallas is a 3.5-point favorite with the over/under set at 56.The second window of afternoon games begins at 4:05 PM ET with the New York Giants traveling to Los Angeles to play the Rams. Three more games kick off at 4:25 PM ET with the nationally televised game on CBS being the Indianapolis Colts facing the Bears in Chicago. This game was scheduled for 1 PM ET but was moved to this spot to replace the postponed New England/Kansas City game that was to be featured. The Colts are 3-point road favorites with the over/under at 43.Sunday Night Football features the Philadelphia Eagles traveling to the San Francisco 49ers. Philadelphia settled for a 23-23 tie last week at home against Cincinnati rather than attempt a long field goal with under a minute left in overtime. The Eagles are now 0-2-1 with games with Baltimore and Pittsburgh on deck after this game in San Francisco. The 49ers enter this game with a 2-1 record after their successful road trip to New Jersey over the last two weeks, where they defeated the Jets by a 31-13 score before blowing out the Giants last week at MetLife Stadium by a 36-9 margin. Both teams have been hit hard by injuries, with a handful of players status for this game in question. San Francisco is 7.5-point favorites with the total set at 45. NBC has the broadcast at 8:20 PM ET.The NBA playoffs continue on Sunday with Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Los Angeles took a 2-0 lead in this series on Friday with their 124-114 victory over Miami. The Heat’s Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic did not play in Game 2 with their shoulder and foot injuries. Miami’s second and third-leading scorers are questionable for tonight’s game. The Lakers are 9.5-point favorites with the total set at 219. ABC has the broadcast starting at 7:30 PM ET.The English Premier League has six fixtures scheduled for Sunday, with two matches starting at 7 AM ET. Two more matches begin at 9 AM ET featuring Fulham’s trip to Molineaux to face Wolverhampton to be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network. The Wolves are -1 goal-line favorites with a total of 2.25.Tottenham travels to Old Trafford to face Manchester United at 11:30 AM ET. Man United are -0.5 goal-line favorites with the total set at 2.5. The NBC Sports Network broadcasts the game.Gameweek 4 of the EPL concludes at 2:15 PM ET with Liverpool’s trip to Aston Villa. The reigning English Premier League champions are -1.5 goal-line favorites with the over/under at 3.

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NFL Sunday Night Football: 49ers/Eagles Preview

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Oct 04, 2020

Week 4 of the NFL season has the Philadelphia Eagles traveling to the San Francisco 49ers. This game looked like a potential preview for the NFC Championship Game at one point. The complexion of this contest has changed after a disastrous start for the Eagles along with a rash of injuries impacting both teams.The stakes for Philadelphia for this game are high. The Eagles settled for a 23-23 tie last week at home against Cincinnati rather than attempt a long field goal with under a minute left in overtime. Philadelphia is now 0-2-1 on the season with tough games with Baltimore and Pittsburgh on deck after this game in San Francisco, so an 0-5-1 start has become a significant possibility for this team. After taking a 17-0 lead in their opening game against Washington, the Eagles were outscored by an 87 to 42 margin. Injuries have ravaged Philadelphia. Offensive tackle Jason Peters became the sixth player they put on injured reserve on Saturday. The Eagles have four other players out indefinitely while cornerback Trevor Williams, wide receiver DeSean Jackson, and cornerback Avonte Maddox are out for this game. Running back Miles Sanders and safety Rudy Ford were upgraded to probable for this game. Sanders has rushed for 190 yards in the last two games while averaging 5.0 yards-per-carry. His presence in the backfield will help quarterback Carson Wentz who is amidst the worst slump of his career. Wentz has a passer rating of 63.9, which is worst in the league of all qualifying quarterbacks. His 59% completion percentage is 28th for qualifying QBs this season. He is not getting much help from his offensive line, whose injuries have only worsened from Brandon Brooks being lost for the season in August to the move to put Johnson on IR on Saturday. Wentz still lacks a credible deep threat at wide receiver, which is the reason why they drafted Jalen Reagor out of TCU with their 1st round draft pick. Yet Reagor is one of their players on IR as he deals with a thumb injury. Wentz has been sacked 11 times, and he leads the NFL with seven turnovers, with six being interceptions. San Francisco is also dealing with a host of injuries, but they enter this game with a 2-1 record after their successful road trip to New Jersey over the last two weeks, where they defeated the Jets by a 31-13 score before blowing out the Giants last week at MetLife Stadium by a 36-9 margin. The 49ers have nine players on injured reserve, including cornerback Richard Sherman. Star defensive end Nick Bosa is out the season with a torn ACL. Another five players are out indefinitely. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running back Raheem Mostert, and cornerbacks Emmanuel Moseley and Akhello Witherspoon are unavailable for this game. The good news for Niners fans is that tight end George Kittle, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, and running back Jerick McKinnon have been upgraded to probable to play in this game.These injuries did not slow down the San Francisco offense last week against the Giants. They gained 420 yards while controlling the time of possession for just under 40 minutes. Nick Mullens completed 25 of 36 passes for 343 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Mullens is proving himself to be one of the best backup quarterbacks in the NFL. In his nine career starts, he has passed for 2620 yards. BookMaker has the 49ers as a 7.5-point favorite with the total set at 45. NBC has the broadcast at 8:20 PM ET.

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What does ATS Mean in Betting?

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Oct 04, 2020

What does ATS mean in betting? Sports betting has been around for centuries and dates back to the old Chinese and Roman empires.  The moment sports became more organized, people started wagering on the matches, and sports betting flourished.  Throughout history, people have bet on everything from cockfights to gladiator matches, and everything in between.Nowadays, sports betting is a multi-billion dollar industry with bettors all around the globe wagering every single day.  With the industry growing, the types of bets grew as well.  Sportsbooks became more creative and looked beyond a simple moneyline wager.  The result is that sports bettors now have the opportunity to make moneyline bets, over/under bets, point spread bets, parlays, teasers, prop bets -- you name it -- if an oddsmaker can calculate the probability, you can likely bet on it.In this betting guide, we'll dive into point spread betting and especially the question:  what does ATS mean in betting?  It's a term that's thrown around the statistics board a lot, but what does it mean, and how can you use it when betting on sports.  Don't worry, we'll guide you through and get you started as an actual sports bettor! What is a point spread? Before we dive into the meaning of the term ATS, let's paint a clear picture of what point spread betting is.  You might not believe it, but it was a former math teacher named Charles McNeil who is credited with conceiving point spread betting.  He loved to wager on basketball and football games.  But in the 1920s and 1930s, gamblers were limited to just moneyline wagers.  So, bookmakers might install Notre Dame as a 4-1 favorite over Army, or USC as a 5-2 favorite over Stanford.  At that time, McNeil created a point system to determine, for example, by how many points USC might defeat Stanford.  And from his point system, he would decide whether or not to make a moneyline wager.  But McNeil also recognized that moneylines stifled gambling.  Many bettors didn’t want to risk $400 to win $100 on Notre Dame against Army.   He correctly deduced that a point spread betting system would be more popular with gamblers, so he opened his own bookmaking shop in Chicago in the 1940s.  He called it “wholesaling odds,” and would rate the two teams to come up with an estimate of the final margin of victory.  Bettors could choose either team, based on McNeil’s estimated number, and either take the points with the underdog, or lay the points with the favorite.  Chicagoans loved the new form of betting, and his bookmaking operation was wildly successful.  McNeil retired from bookmaking in 1950, but the point spread grew to become the dominant way Americans wager on sports.Today, oddsmakers publish point spread odds on all kinds of sports.  The most popular sports are still football and basketball.  However, bettors can now make run-line bets in baseball, puck-line bets in hockey, and goal-line bets in soccer. How to bet against the spread The point spread came into play to give both sides of a wager an equal playing field.  With a regular moneyline wager, the odds might be prohibitive in matchups between two unequal teams.  Gamblers are not fond of having to wager $900 dollars to win $100 on an NFL game.  However, if the point spread in that game was 13.5 points, and a gambler would only have to risk $110 to win $100, then the wager would be appealing. To illustrate further, let's look at the betting lines of an NFL match between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers. New England Patriots -5.5, -110 Pittsburgh Steelers +5.5, -110 With a point spread wager, you have a favorite and an underdog, similar to a moneyline wager.  However, you're wagering on the difference in points with the final score of the match.  That means there are two scenarios of how this bet can play out: To cover the spread, the New England Patriots need to win by more than 5.5 points. To cover the spread, the Pittsburgh Steelers need to win the game outright OR lose by less than 5.5 points. When either of these teams covers the spread, it means they would be assigned a win “against the spread” -- in short ATS.  If it was the first game of the season, then their ATS record would be 1-0 ATS, which means they covered the spread once and never failed to cover the spread.  You will see season records like 7-2 ATS for a specific team, like a college football team, in the statistics.  During the season, such a college football team would have covered the spread 7 times, and failed to cover the spread two times.Point spread betting in other sportsIt’s true that point spread betting is most popular in football and basketball, primarily because they’re the highest-scoring major sports.  In contrast, there aren’t a lot of runs scored in a baseball game, or goals scored in hockey or soccer games.  So, against the spread betting is actually less popular in those sports than moneyline wagers.  Still, in any sport where you have two teams competing against each other, you'll be able to bet the spread.  But they’re called “run-lines,” “puck-lines,” and “goal-lines” in those other sports, rather than point spreads.  The mechanics of betting the spread, though, in these sports is identical.  Typically, bookmakers will install the favored team as a 1.5-run favorite in baseball, or 1.5-goal favorite in hockey or soccer, and then adjust the moneyline odds from there.How to read point spread betting oddsWith most bet types, the odds are what it all comes down to.  You want to shop around for the best lines, and you also want to make sure the odds are the best you can get.  With a point spread, the betting odds are usually (but not always) -110.  A typical example of betting odds for a football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Green Bay Packers: Carolina Panthers -4.5 (-110) Green Bay Packers +4.5 (-110) The betting odds are the same (-110) for both teams.  Thus, there are two components of point spread betting odds. There’s the actual point spread (e.g., +4.5) and the moneyline odds (e.g., -110).  When betting on sports, you’ll notice that sportsbooks move their lines now and then in reaction to, and in anticipation of, bets placed by sports gamblers.  The numbers are in constant flux, and different sportsbooks will have different odds.  As a gambler, you always want the most favorable odds. That's why it's critical to have accounts at multiple sportsbooks.  Our advice is to have at least three sportsbooks to give yourself a good opportunity to get the best number.  And, ideally, you want accounts at sportsbooks that post unique odds -- that is, they’re not “followers” -- they don’t copy odds from other sportsbooks.  The best sportsbooks in this regard are BetAnySports, BetNow, Bovada, BetOnline, and BookMaker.How to calculate your point spread payoutFor many, ATS betting is something done for entertainment purposes.  However, we're betting to make some dollars here, so let's get down to business.  When you're comparing the odds at separate sportsbooks, you need to determine which sportsbook has the best odds for your particular wager.   To calculate your payout, we'll provide you with a short example to illustrate: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6.5 (-115) San Francisco 49ers +6.5 (-105) In the betting lines above, you can see that the Buccaneers are the point spread favorite, while the 49ers are the underdog.  However, the odds for both teams are slightly different, as the sportsbook has moved the moneyline odds away from the standard -110 odds to try to attract more money on San Francisco.  This leaves you with two possibles outcomes of this game: You wager $115 on the Buccaneers to cover the spread.  The final score is 24-13 in favor of the Buccaneers, which means they cover the spread.  You win $100, and your total payout would be $215. You wager $105 on the 49ers to cover the spread.  The final score is 20-19 in favor of the Buccaneers, which means the Buccaneers failed to cover as a 6.5-point favorite. This means the 49ers cover the point spread, and you win $100. Your total payout would be $205. What are the terms you have to know in spread betting? When you're scrolling around social media or various sports betting portals, you will see many gambling-related terms.  It might feel a bit overwhelming at times since you're not entirely sure what they all mean.  You could call up your buddy who knows every term or head to google to get familiar.  We've constructed a short list of all the terms you should know when ATS betting. Against the spread (ATS):  This refers to the statistic that shows the ATS record of a particular team.  The ATS record is made up of the win/loss record in the games where the point spread was available. Cover the spread:  A team covers the spread when their margin of victory or defeat in the game was better than that predicted by the oddsmaker’s point spread. Handicapping:  Handicapping is the method to calculate a team’s scoring advantage (or disadvantage) in order to project by how much a team might win (or lose).  Handicappers are those bettors who engage in the process of handicapping. Half-point: The number of points for a point spread can be either whole or half-point numbers.  The use of half-points is a means to balance out the action, done by oddsmakers.  An additional benefit for the sportsbook is that half-points take away the possibility of a bet resulting in a push (tie), which sportsbooks prefer since they cannot earn their vigorish on bets that tie. Line moves:  The moment a game becomes available for wagering, you'll see a point spread for both teams.  Over time, as bettors put money on one team or another, or significant players are ruled out of the game due to health, the line can change. This movement of numbers is called line movement. Pk'em:  When two teams are so close to each other that there's no clear favorite or an underdog, you end up with a Pk'em game, or PK, for short.  In such games, whichever team wins straight-up will cover the point spread. Push: When a wager, after the application of the point spread, ends up as a tie, your bet will push.  This means that neither team covers the spread, and you will get a refund of your stake. Now that you’ve finished this betting guide, you have everything it takes to figure out what ATS means in sports betting and how to place your first point spread wager.  Any team has its own ATS record, but what will be your record?  Let's see how you will perform and know where you stand in comparison to other handicappers!  As always, happy betting!

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NCAAF, EPL and Preakness Stakes Preview

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 03, 2020

College football dominates the Saturday card with the NBA Finals getting the day off and the MLB playoffs beginning the AL Divisional Series on Monday. 27 games between FBS teams make up the CFB card with 18 ranked teams in action. Seven games kick off the college football action at Noon ET. ABC televises Baylor traveling to West Virginia to face the Mountaineers. The Bears are 1.5-point favorites, with the total set at 54 (all college football odds from BookMaker). TCU travels to Texas in another Big-12 matchup to face the Longhorns. Texas is 10.5-point favorites against the Horned Frogs, with a total of 62.5. ESPN has Florida hosting South Carolina with the Gators 17-point favorites with a total of 57. Arkansas State travels to Coastal Carolina to face the Chanticleers on ESPN2. The Red Wolves are 3-point favorites with the total set at 65.Another nine games take place at the 3:30 PM ET-4 PM ET window. The premier game is on CBS in one of the two contests on the Saturday schedule featuring ranked opponents with 13th ranked Texas A&M traveling to Tuscaloosa to face the 2nd ranked Crimson Tide. The Aggies struggled last week in barely getting by a suspect Vanderbilt team by a 17-12 score. Alabama cruised to a 38-19 victory over Missouri in their opening game last Saturday. The Crimson Tide are 18-point favorites with a total of 54. North Carolina travels to Boston College to face the Eagles for the 3:30 PM ET game on ABC. The Tar Heels are 14-point favorites with the over/under at 54. Kansas State hosts Texas Tech on FS1 with the Wildcats a 1.5-point favorite coming on the heels of their upset victory over Oklahoma last week. The total is 63.5. ESPN2 has Memphis traveling to SMU with the Mustangs a 1-point favorite with the over/under at 76. Oklahoma State travels to Kansas to play the Jayhawks for the game on ESPN. The Cowboys are 23-point favorites with the total set at 54.5. At 4 PM ET, ESPN-U has FAU hosting Charlotte. The Owl are 6-point favorites with the over/under at 60.Ten games make up the final slate of games starting with Navy’s visit to the Air Force at 6 PM ET. The Midshipmen are 7-point favorites with the total set at 47.5. The CBS Sports Network broadcasts the game. Oklahoma looks to rebound from their upset loss to Iowa State last week when they travel to Ames to play Iowa State. The Sooners are 7.5-point favorites with the total set at 63. ABC has the broadcast. The marquee game on the card is the other game featuring two ranked teams. 7th ranked Auburn travels to Athens to face Georgia in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. The 4th ranked Bulldogs are 7.5-point favorites with the total set at 44. ESPN has this battle of SEC rivals. The English Premier League begins their fourth week of the 2020-21 season with four matches on Saturday. Everton hosts Brighton at 10 AM ET with the Toffees a -0.75 goal-line favorite with an over/under of 2.5 at BetOnLine. The NBC Sports Network broadcasts that game. The 12:30 PM ET game on NBC features the promoted Leeds United hosting Manchester City. Man City are -1.5 goal-line favorites with the over/under of 3.5 at BookMaker. The 145th Preakness Stakes will race on Saturday at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Traditionally the second jewel in the Triple Crown, the rescheduling of the spring racing schedule has the Preakness as the final leg for the unique 2020 season. Tiz the Law spent most of the year as the Triple Crown favorite with those expectations intensifying after winning the Belmont Stakes. But Authentic upset Tiz the Law at the Kentucky Derby to spoil those plans. With Tiz the Law bypassing the Preakness Stakes without the Triple Crown at stake, Authentic is the clear favorite with the Bob Baffert-trained horse listed at 9-5 morning line odds. Art Collector is the second-favorite at 5-2 morning line odds in the horse’s debut in a Triple Crown race after a strong summer. Swiss Skydiver and Thousand Words are the two other single-digit favorites at 6-1 morning line odds. The Preakness Stakes remains a 1 3/16 mile race even though it is replacing the Belmont Stakes as the final Triple Crown leg which is traditionally a 1 1/2 mile challenge. NBC has the broadcast with post time set for 5:45 PM ET.

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Saturday Night NCAA Football: Georgia/Auburn Preview

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 03, 2020

The 124th meeting of “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” takes place Saturday night with the Auburn Tigers traveling to Athens to face the Georgia Bulldogs. This game has national championship implications since the loser will have a difficult time being one of the four teams to qualify for the College Football Playoff since the abbreviated season will likely not leave room for a team with a loss on their resume. Georgia won their opening game last week at Arkansas with a 37-10 victory. The game felt closer than the 27-point margin suggests, with the Bulldogs going into halftime with just a 7-5 lead. The Georgia defense looks stout once again as they held the Razorbacks to only 280 yards. Eight starters return from last year’s defense that led the nation by allowing 12.6 points per game. Cornerback Eric Stokes and safety Richard LeCounte are both All-American candidates. The Bulldogs offense remains a work-in-progress after they averaged only 4.3 yards per play. Georgia has an unsettled quarterback situation with four players in the mix. The Bulldogs thought they had their solution as to who would replace Jake Fromm last winter when Jamie Newman decided to transfer from Wake Forest as an eligible graduate student. With comparisons to Cam Newton, Georgia thought they might even have a Heisman Trophy candidate under center. Those dreams ended in the fall when Newman opted-out from playing this year due to COVID concerns. J.T. Daniels transferred to the program in the spring from USC after redshirting his sophomore year with the Trojans. Daniels tore his ACL in the opening game last season. The former five-star recruit played eleven games as a freshman, but he did not get cleared to play last week. Head coach Kirby Smart tapped redshirt freshman Dwan Mathis as his starter, but the dual-threat quarterback struggled to move the offense. Former walk-on Stetson Bennett came on in relief to complete 20 of 29 passes for two touchdown passes along with 211 yards to lead the Bulldogs to victory. Bennett is likely to get the start Saturday night off that winning performance. Mathis remains highly-regarded, so he still might get playing time with a specific package of plays to take advantage of his mobility would not be a surprise. Daniels did get cleared to take part in full-contact practices on Monday so he could see action in this game despite his limited work with the offense. Georgia has yet another prized recruit in freshman Carson Beck, who could also figure into the plans of Todd Monken. The first-year offensive coordinator was directing the Cleveland Browns offense last year at this time.The Georgia offense returned only three starters from last year’s group. The Bulldogs are breaking-in new groups at running back and wide receiver, but the offensive line may, once again, present the biggest concern. Georgia gained only 121 yards on the ground last week while averaging only 2.9 yards-per-carry. They also allowed three quarterback sacks.Auburn does not have a quarterback controversy with sophomore Bo Nix leading the team. Nix threw three touchdowns in the second half last week to lead the Tigers to a 29-13 victory at home against Kentucky. Nix completed 16 of 21 passes for 233 yards without an interception while adding another 34 yards on the ground. Yet Auburn needed a +3 net turnover margin to overcome being outgained by the Wildcats by a 383 to 324 margin. The Tigers led by just an 8-7 score at halftime. Auburn struggled to get their running game going as they ran the ball 30 times for only 91 yards with their longest gain being for 13 yards. The Tigers revamped defensive looks tough once again as they generated eight tackles-for-loss with two sacks. Those numbers were with Big Kat Bryant in limited action, but the defensive end appears to be in full health for this showdown.Georgia has won 12 of the last 15 meetings between these two teams since 2006. The Bulldogs won last year’s game by a 21-14 score as a 3-point favorite and a total of 42.5 on November 16th. Nix completed 30 of 50 passes for 245 yards in that game while rushing for another 42 yards. But Nix rarely threatened the Georgia secondary in that game as he averaged just 4.9 yards per attempt. The Auburn defense returns five starters from the unit that limited the Bulldogs to a mere 3.92 yards-per-play.The stakes will be high at Sanford Stadium. BookMaker lists Georgia as a 7.5-point favorite with the total at 44.5. ESPN has the broadcast at 7:30 PM ET.

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Buying Sports Picks: How to do It

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 03, 2020

Buying sports picks:  how to do itWhen you're diving into the world of sports betting, you'll start to notice there's a lot more to it than you first thought.  At the center is Las Vegas, home to the world’s most famous casinos.  There, you have sportsbooks, where millions of bettors converge every year to bet on games.  But many industries emanate out of the Las Vegas sports betting scene.  There are journalistic endeavors, ranging from books to newsletters to newspapers.  And there are various media, like radio broadcasts, television programs, and podcasts.  And, of course, there are those who provide technological tools, such as odds, statistical data, bet tracking apps, and the like to sports bettors.  And what is the thread which runs through all of this?  It’s information!Bettors quickly learn that information is the key to making money.  It’s not enough to just have a hunch.  You must do research and get access to data, which may not be priced into the number.  But proper research takes a lot of skill, and a lot of time.  And, of course, there’s a huge learning curve.  Very few are successful right out of the gate.  Does that mean you shouldn’t gamble?  No, that’s not necessarily true.  For many, gambling is just a casual pastime; a form of entertainment.  And winning is beside the point.  But, for others, winning is paramount.  And, if you’re one of those bettors, but you don’t have the time or skill to do proper research, then you might consider purchasing advice from a professional sports handicapper.  In this guide, we'll walk you through how, and from whom you should buy sports picks. When should you buy sports betting picks? When you want to wager on a football, basketball, or baseball game, you need to ask yourself, ‘Am I doing this for fun?’ or ‘Am I doing this to make money?’  If you’re betting for fun, then our advice would be to pick the games yourself, and not employ a professional handicapper.  After all, if winning isn’t the main reason you’re gambling, then why not choose your own teams based on your gut?  On the other hand, if you’re trying to make money through sports betting, then you may want to use an expert for your sports wagers.  We have some questions for you to answer before you make this decision: Do you have the skills to do the research yourself? Do you have the time to do the research? Do you understand money management? Are you comfortable with mathematics and probability? Do you have the discipline to only play games that meet certain criteria? Do your sports picks win more often than not? If your answers to each of the above questions is ‘yes,’ then you might not be a candidate to hire a professional sports handicapper.  But if you don’t have the requisite research skills, data, time, discipline, or handicapping knowledge, AND you really want to win, then you very well could benefit from hiring a handicapper.  We're not here to give you advice on whether or not to buy sports picks.  That's up to you.  We're here to show you the different options to help you to make the best decision yourself.How to get started if you want to buy sports picks​So, you’ve decided you may want to purchase sports picks.  But where do you start?  With the advent of the internet, there are now literally tens of thousands of sports handicappers.  How do you know which one to trust?  We’ll give you some things to consider:Which sport are you interested in?Handicappers in the United States might know a lot about NFL picks, college football or the NBA, but what if you're not interested in any of those?  Maybe you prefer to wager on the Premier League, La Liga or the Bundesliga.  If that’s the case, you might have more luck searching for a European soccer handicapper.  When you can answer this question, then you can start to narrow down your search -- or possibly engage multiple handicappers for separate sports.2. Does your handicapper have a long track record of success? One of the most important factors when selecting a handicapper to work with is to identify someone who has a long record of success.  With sports gambling, anyone can have a winning year, or a losing year.  So, try to look past short-term success or failure.  Instead, try to find a sports handicapper who has had great success over decades.  That doesn’t mean he will have won every year (nobody does).  But do your research to find someone who has won more years than not.3. What is the handicapper’s methodology? When you choose a handicapper, you might want to try to find someone who is aligned with your preferred methodology.  Some handicappers are technical, and base their decisions on numbers or statistics, while others are fundamental, and make their picks based on player vs. player matchups.  If you’re a “numbers” guy, for example, you might get frustrated to work with someone whose methodology isn’t based on math.  Then, again, a handicapper’s particular methodology might be unimportant to you, so long as he wins.Use free picks to find a handicapperOne thing you could do before hiring a professional sports handicapper is to search for some free sports picks.  Most expert handicappers do offer complimentary selections to introduce you to their service.  There are no strings attached to these free picks.  If they win, you’re not obligated to subscribe to the handicapper’s service.  But also bear in mind that most handicappers aren’t publishing their very best plays for free.  Instead, the free plays are typically ‘good’ plays, but not ‘great’ plays.  Still, it’s a fantastic way to learn about a handicapper to see if he is the right fit for you.Al McMordie founded Big Al’s Sports Picks in 1992 to help sports bettors become winning gamblers.  And BigAl.com has become one of the leading sports picks sites in the world.  Every day, at the website, there are Picks for Sale, as well as Free Plays for you from 20 world champion handicappers.  Additionally, there are articles, betting tools, sportsbook reviews, and a wealth of other gambling information to make you a winner.The path to successThere’s no doubt that sports handicapping is hard.  It's an undeniable fact that very few sports bettors make a profit.  There's a lot more to it than simply turning on a television set, and watching a game.  That being said, there are a lot of professional handicappers who understand how to break down a game to find an edge.  We know it can all be very overwhelming when you first start exploring your options, but in reality, we can only give one tip:  just start!There's no one formula for bettors to implement to become a winning bettor in their sports betting strategy.  It requires time, effort, blood, and tears before one can develop a sustainable winning strategy.  All you can do is try your luck, document every step along the way, and learn to reflect on your past actions.  The more you learn, the more you can adapt and, eventually, you will reach a point where you have an edge over the sportsbooks.After reading this article, you'll understand there's no simple answer to whether you should buy picks or not.  There's a lot of options, and it's up to you to decide.  We're always here to provide you with knowledge, picks, or help on any question when it comes to sports betting!

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NBA Finals Game 2: Lakers/Heat Preview

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Oct 02, 2020

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.  They outscored 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. The final score may not communicate just how dominant the Lakers were in this opening game. For the tenth time in sixteen playoff games, LA reached the 60 point threshold in the first half by putting up 65 points in the first twenty-four minutes of play. The Lakers made 60% of their shots from 3-point land in the first half. They finished the game with a 39% mark on 15 of 38 shooting from downtown. They dominated the interior with Anthony Davis leading the way with 34 points along with nine rebounds and five assists. The Lakers also got to the free-throw line 27 times, which was 13 more attempts than what the Heat were able to manage. Miami continued their recent struggles with their 3-point shooting as they made only 11 of their 35 shots from the 3-point line for a 31% shooting percentage. After shooting 38% from behind the arc in their first two playoff series, the Heat shot just 32.3% from 3-point land in the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston. Yet head coach Erik Spoelstra has bigger problems now. Miami endured 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 experienced a plantar tear in his left foot. Both are listed as doubtful for this game after playing 21 and 14:50 minutes, respectively, on Wednesday. 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 word from the Miami camp is that Adebayo intends to play even with the injured shoulder. It is anyone’s guess how long he can give it and how effective he will be far from 100%. Dragic seems definitive to be out for tonight’s game. Not only was the team’s second-leading scorer, but he was chipping in 4.0 Rebounds-Per-Game along with 4.6 Assists-Per-Game for the Heat. Miami has its third-worst offensive rating and worst defensive rating when he is not on the court. Spoelstra is likely to bump on Tyler Herro’s minutes while giving more playing time to Kendrick Nunn to make up for Dragic’s absence. Nunn’s return to the rotation is intriguing as he was in the starting lineup for this team during the regular season. Nunn had fallen out of favor in the bubble, but that may speak to the emergence of Herro than it does a drawback to Nunn’s game. He scored 18 points with five rebounds and two assists off the bench in Game 1.Kelly Olynyk, Meyers Leonard, and Solomon Hill are the frontcourt players expected to get more playing time for the injured Adebayo. Spoelstra may elect to deploy smaller lineups without Adebayo with the hopes that his team can shoot their way to victory. 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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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 

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