Articles

Premier League 2021 Season Week 1 Recap

by Scott Rickenbach

Thursday, Aug 19, 2021

English Premier League 2021 Season Week 1 Recap Quick Hitters Not a single draw in Week 1 of the season. This was very surprising to me as, out of 10 matches, not a single one ended with a splitting of the spoils. I personally prefer waging on totals and on teams to win rather than betting on the draw. However, for those of you that do like to make that wager you could be in luck this week. I would say the due factor is something to consider as it pertains to seeing some draws in Week 2 of the season! Arsenal’s loss to Brentford in Week 1 was definitely a shocker. Yet, is it not Arsenal that just seems to be one of the hardest clubs in the league to get a handle on recently. They sometimes rise up and play great against top competition and then other times they turn in a disappointing performance against a club they are supposed to beat. Brentford is solid for sure but still they just came up to the Premier League and then Arsenal not only did not win, they did not earn a share of the spoils and, in fact, lost the match by a 2-goal margin and allowed Brentford to deliver the clean sheet as Arsenal was shut out.  Chelsea dominated Crystal Palace 3-0 in Week 1 and one must be careful to evaluate Chelsea only on full season results in the table for last season. The fact is Chelsea was a different club once they made the managerial change and this is going to be a big season for them in my opinion. Quite a few goals scored in Week 1 as there were 34 total in the 10 matches. An average of nearly 3.5 goals per match is well ahead of say a typical 2.5 average. However, the key was some great performances from Manchester United, West Ham, the aforementioned Chelsea, and Liverpool to name a few. When strong clubs are matched up against each other, the goal-scoring can quickly drop depending on the strategies employed by the involved managers. That said, the goal-scoring mentioned above could drop some in Week 2 and take a look at the Manchester City – Tottenham match-up as a good example of what could transpire in bigger matches this week. The Spurs got the 1-0 upset win.  In summary, it is important to pay attention to what happens in Week 1 of a season but equally, if not more, important to not over-react to it. Keep this in mind as we head into Week 2 and beyond and as you are evaluating the clubs and the patterns as the season progresses. 

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NFL, MLB, CFL and WNBA Previews and Odds - 08/19/2021

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Aug 19, 2021

The Thursday sports card features action in the NFL preseason, MLB, the CFL, and the WNBA. The second full week of the NFL preseason kicks off with New England playing at Philadelphia on the NFL Network at 7:30 PM ET. The Patriots defeated Washington at home by a 22-13 score as a 2-point favorite last Thursday. The Eagles were upset, 24-16, at home against Pittsburgh as a 1-point favorite last Thursday. New England is a -1 point road favorite with an over/under of 38 (all odds from DraftKings).Ten games are on the MLB docket. Six games begin in the afternoon. Two games start the card at 1:10 PM ET. The Los Angeles Angels conclude their three-game series at Detroit. The Angels pitch Jose Quintana against the Tigers' Matt Manning. Los Angeles is a -120 money line road favorite with the total set at 9.5. Tampa Bay plays at home against Baltimore in the final game of their four-game series. Shane McClanahan pitches for the Rays against the Orioles Jorge Lopez. Tampa Bay is a -335 money line favorite with an over/under of 9.Seattle plays at Texas at 2:05 PM ET in Game 3 of their three-game series. The Mariners pitch Chris Flexen against the Rangers Spencer Howard. Seattle is a -170 money line road favorite with a total of 8.5. Two games begin at 2:10 PM ET. The Chicago White Sox host Oakland in the fourth game of their four-game series. Dylan Cease pitches for the White Sox against James Kaprielian of the A’s. Chicago is a -165 money line favorite with an over/under of 9. Houston completes their four-game series at Kansas City. The Astros pitch Luis Garcia against the Royals Mike Minor. Houston is a -190 money line road favorite with a total of 9. Philadelphia is at Arizona at 3:40 PM ET in the final game of their three-game series. Zack Wheeler pitches for the Phillies against Madison Bumgarner of the Diamondbacks. Philadelphia is a -200 money line road favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The New York Yankees host Minnesota at 7:05 PM ET in the opening game of their four-game series. The Yankees pitch Jameson Taillon against the Twins John Gant. New York is a -275 money line favorite with a total of 10.5. Cincinnati plays at home against Miami at 7:10 PM ET in Game 1 of their four-game series. Luis Castillo pitches for the Reds against Zach Thompson of the Marlins. Cincinnati is a -240 money line favorite with an over/under of 7.5. Milwaukee concludes their three-game series at St. Louis at 7:45 PM ET. The Brewers pitch Brandon Woodruff against the Cardinals Jon Lester. Milwaukee is a -220 money line road favorite with a total of 8. The Los Angeles Dodgers are at home against the New York Mets at 10:10 PM ET in the opener of their four-game series. Walker Buehler pitches for the Dodgers against the Mets Taijuan Walker. Los Angeles is a -240 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.The third week of the Canadian Football League begins at 10 PM ET, with British Columbia hosting Edmonton on ESPN2. The Lions earned their first victory of the season with their 15-9 upset win at Calgary as a 7-point underdog last Thursday. The Elks remain winless after the first two weeks of the season after a 30-13 upset loss to Montreal as a 5-point favorite on Saturday. British Columbia is a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 47.Three games are on the WNBA docket. Minnesota visits Connecticut at 7 PM ET. Washington travels to Phoenix at 10 PM ET. Atlanta plays at Los Angeles at 10:30 PM ET.

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NFL 2021: Six Upstart Teams That Could Surprise

by Wayne Root

Thursday, Aug 19, 2021

ON AVERAGE, ONLY ABOUT HALF OF LAST YEAR’s PLAYOFF TEAMS WILL RETURN THIS YEAR.  WHICH OF THESE SIX THAT MISSED LAST YEAR WILL MAKE IT?     The league increased the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams to feature seven teams per conference. There will still be four division winners. However, an extra wild-card team has been added in the NFC and AFC.  From the 1991 postseason through 2018, the average number of returning teams is nearly 6.4 per season. Just over half. Can these theses that were close in 2020 get into the playoffs this year; replacing six from last year? DallasNow, heading into this season, there’s at least some good news. One, Dak Prescott is expected to make a full recovery and the O-line is healthy as well. Two, they added players such as first-round pick Micah Parsons and fourth-round pick Jabril Cox to light a fire under Smith and LVE. Three, they have the second easiest schedule according to ESPN. MiamiIn 2021, not only will he be more comfortable but the Dolphins also added Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle to help him improve. Their defense should also continue to shine as an already strong unit just added Jaelan Phillips and Jevon Holland in the draft. Head coach Brian Flores has done a great job re-tooling that defense and they just became even more dangerous with those two potential starters. ArizonaNow looking ahead to 2021, they could be a team to watch. Not only are Murray and Hopkins going to have a full year together, but Arizona also added A.J. Green on offense. As for their defense, Chandler Jones should return after missing 11 games in 2020 and he will have some help in J.J. Watt and Zaven Collins. All that should be enough to finally give them a winning season, helping them to secure a spot in the playoffs. Minnesota Expect the defensive-minded coach to get their defenders playing well again and the offense should be even better in 2021. Not only has Kirk Cousins been underappreciated but he and running back Dalvin Cook have even more help with Christian Darrisaw and Wyatt Davis joining an offensive line that really needed an infusion of talent.Don’t be surprised to see a bounce-back from this team as they get back to the playoffs in 2021. LA ChargersAs far as their defense goes, Joey Bosa is still the leader on that side of the ball and another year of experience for Kenneth Murray should help him improve. There’s also Asante Samuel, Jr. who could end up being a star at cornerback for them. The Chargers have everything needed in order to be a playoff contender this coming season. While it will be hard for them to knock off the Chiefs in the AFC West, it wouldn’t be a shock at all to find them as one of the top seven in the AFC. NY GiantsAdd to that the growth of quarterback Daniel Jones, who is entering year four in the NFL, and the return of running back Saquon Barkley from a torn ACL suffered in 2020, and New York should be back in the mix for the NFC East title with a Wild Card spot as their fall-back option.

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2021-22 NBA: Western Conference Season Win Totals

by Will Rogers

Wednesday, Aug 18, 2021

Looking at the Over / Under totals for this coming (82-game) NBA season and what has to go right for each team to hit the Over number:DALLAS MAVERICKS (48.5) – We know what megastar Luka Doncic brings to the table, but any chance Over bettors have here lies in him getting along with pouting center Kristaps Porzingis. Will Porzingis get enough touches to feel like he’s a real part of the offense, or will Doncic do his thing and force the big guy to search for table scraps?DENVER NUGGETS (46.5) – The number would be higher were it not for the fact that Jamal Murray (ACL) won’t be ready for the start of the season. Can Denver rely on another MVP-type season from Nikola Jokic? A full season of Aaron Gordon will help, and big things are expected from Michael Porter Jr. after his breakout season in 2020-21.GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (48.5) – Back-to-back severe injuries to Klay Thompson sent the Warriors to the lottery two straight times, and now GS is in no-man’s land – desperate to take advantage of every year they can from Stephen Curry but wanting to play youngsters like James Wiseman. Quite a balancing act. Thompson needs to be Thompson for the Dubs to get near 50 wins and be a factor again in the West.HOUSTON ROCKETS (27.5) – Twenty-eight wins for a team in the infancy stages of a complete rebuild seems a heavy lift, but the Rockets have some talent, they play hard and they have added dynamo rookie Jalen Green to the mix. Green has to figure things out early, and other youngsters have to emerge for Houston to sniff the Play-In tournament.LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (45.5) – Even when he’s healthy, you never know when Kawhi Leonard is going to, you know, play. Now that he’s hurt, the Clips don’t expect him on the court at all this season. And Paul George just doesn’t have the chops to carry this team on his back. So look for a step backward. Whether that’s a fall-off-the-cliff situation or a low-lottery spot is anyone’s guess.LOS ANGELES LAKERS (53.5) – Lots of veterans, lots of load management, lots of depth. The Lakers add Russell Westbrook and banana boat buddy Carmelo Anthony to the rotation, but it once again all hinges on LeBron James holding off Father Time and Anthony Davis staying relatively healthy. A mid-50s win total seems reachable.MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (41.5) – Patient through the rebuild, Grizz fans figure that this will be a turn-the-corner season. Ja Morant should get better, and Memphis is crossing its fingers that talented big Jaren Jackson Jr. will be relatively healthy all year. The key players are all young, but new vets Steven Adams and Rajon Rondo will help settle things down when the waters get choppy.MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (34.5) – Over players might want to take a long look at the Wolves, who recently added Patrick Beverly to make sure the other players don’t fall asleep during games. Anthony Edwards is a star in the making, and Karl-Anthony Towns has not shown himself to be a flight risk (yet, anyway). So there’s hope in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.NEW ORLEANS PELICANS (38.5) – All the franchise’s eggs are in the Zion Williamson basket, and if the Pelicans don’t crush the 38.5 number and get to the playoffs, he may be making trade demands that set back the organization. Again. With Lonzo Ball gone, second-year Kira Lewis should start at PG, though much of the offense will again run through Williamson. Still, this a team is on edge waiting for Zion to decide if he wants to be there long-term.OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (23.5) – Let’s see. There’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. And not much else. OKC always seem to play everyone tough, but it’s a talent league – and there’s not much here besides a boatload of first-round draft choices. But that’s for later on, and right now the Thunder will be hard-pressed to win three games a month.PHOENIX SUNS (51.5) – The Suns managed to stay relatively healthy while other teams took turns losing key players to injury. Can the good fortune continue? Will the defending conference champions  downsize Chris Paul’s minutes (he turns 37 next May) to keep him fresh for the playoffs? Load management could keep them short of the 52-30 Over players would need to cash.PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (44.5) – Portland’s business model never seems to change: Get to the playoffs and hope Damian Lillard goes nuts for a month or two, and see what happens. That’s pretty much the plan again, unless management breaks up the Lillard-McCollum backcourt that has started together since 2015. As in New Orleans, there is intense pressure to win.SACRAMENTO KINGS (35.5) – Guard heavy and starving for wings, the Kings could be making a move or two between now and training camp. Buddy Hield is a prime trade candidate. They love newcomer Davion Mitchell, and to see him energizing a defense that last season was one of the worst in NBA history.SAN ANTONIO SPURS (28.5) – Having such a low O/U number seems weird for the Spurs, but they’ve been out of the playoffs for two seasons now, and heading into the season without an obvious All-Star to build around. Maybe Gregg Popovich should have pocketed the Olympic gold and called it quits. This season won’t be easy for him.UTAH JAZZ (51.5) – The Jazz laid it all on the line last season (52-20) but didn’t have another gear for the playoffs. Books see a moderate regression this season, with the same number of wins but over an 82-game slog. Can the Jazz even come close to winning 86 percent of their home games, as they did last season?

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Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB and WNBA Previews and Odds - 08/18/2021

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Aug 18, 2021

The Wednesday sports card features action in MLB and the WNBA. Fifteen games are on the MLB docket. Five games begin in the afternoon. Cincinnati hosts the Chicago Cubs at 12:35 PM ET in the final game of their three-game series. The Reds pitch Tyler Mahle against the Cubs Adrian Sampson. Cincinnati is a -310 money line favorite with the total set at 9.5 (all odds from DraftKings). Minnesota plays at home against Cleveland at 1:10 PM ET in the third game of their three-game series. Lewis Thorpe pitches for the Twins against Zach Plesac of the Indians. Minnesota is a -130 money line favorite with an over/under of 9. San Diego is at Colorado at 3:10 PM ET to conclude their three-game series. The Padres pitch the recently acquired Jake Arrieta against the Rockies Austin Gomber. Both teams are -110 money line favorites with a total of 14. San Francisco hosts the New York Mets at 3:45 PM ET in the final game of their three-game series. Anthony DeSclafani pitches for the Giants against the Mets Tylor Megill. San Francisco is a -145 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Toronto concludes their two-game series at Washington at 4:05 PM ET. The Blue Jays pitch Jose Berrios against the Nationals Josiah Gray. Toronto is a -180 money line road favorite with a total of 9. The New York Yankees play at home against Boston on ESPN at 7:05 PM ET in the third game of their three-game series. Andrew Heaney pitches for the Yankees against Nick Pivetta of the Red Sox. New York is a -115 money line favorite with an over/under of 10.5. Three games start at 7:10 PM ET. The Los Angeles Angels play at Detroit at 7:10 PM ET in the second game of their three-game series. The Angels pitch Shohei Ohtani against the Tigers Tarik Skubal. Los Angeles is a -140 money line road favorite with a total of 8.5. Atlanta is at Miami to conclude their three-game series. Charlie Morton pitches for the Braves against Jesus Luzardo of the Marlins. Atlanta is a -200 money line road favorite with an over/under of 7.5. Tampa Bay hosts Baltimore in Game 3 of their four-game series. The Rays pitch Louis Head as an opener against the Orioles Spenser Watkins. Tampa Bay is a -335 money line favorite with a total of 9. Milwaukee is at St. Louis at 7:45 PM ET in the second game of their three-game series. Freddy Peralta pitches for the Brewers against Jack Flaherty of the Cardinals. Milwaukee is a -120 money line road favorite with an over/under of 7. Seattle plays at Texas at 8:05 PM ET in Game 2 of their three-game series. The Mariners pitch Marco Gonzales against the Rangers Mike Foltynewicz. Seattle is a -170 money line road favorite with a total of 9. Two games begin at 8:10 PM ET. The Chicago White Sox are at home against Oakland in the third game of their four-game series. Lance Lynn pitches for the White Sox against Cole Irvin of the A’s. Chicago is a -190 money line favorite with an over/under of 9. Houston plays at Kansas City in the third game of their four-game series. The Astros pitch Zach Greinke against the Royals Brad Singer. Houston is a -170 money line road favorite with a total of 9.5. Philadelphia is at Arizona at 9:40 PM ET in Game 2 of their three-game series. Ranger Suarez pitches for the Phillies against Humber Castellanos of the Diamondbacks. Philadelphia is a -125 money line road favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The Los Angeles Dodgers play at home against Pittsburgh at 10:10 PM ET to finish their three-game series. The Pirates pitch J.T. Brubaker against a starting pitcher yet to be determined for the Dodgers. Los Angeles is a -300 money line favorite with a total of 8.5. One game is on the WNBA slate. Seattle visits New York on the CBS Sports Network at 7 PM ET.  

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National League MVP Odds and Arguments

by Nelly's Sports

Tuesday, Aug 17, 2021

National League MVP Odds and Arguments  The return of Fernando Tatis has caused his MVP odds to jump from around -110 early in August to -300 currently. He is the overwhelming favorite, but the current price shift has greatly increased the plus-money figures on everyone else to create a window of opportunity for those looking for a sizable score. In-and-out of the lineup much of the season, Tatis has a great risk to miss more time down the stretch to leave the door open in this vote, while the Padres now also look like they will be in danger of missing the playoffs. Here are the top candidates in the MVP race including a few that may be worth considering for a long shot wager in case Tatis falls back out of the lineup.  Fernando Tatis, San Diego, -300 Tatis remains the clear favorite in the NL MVP race as the NL home run leader. He has missed 31 games however and while he returned with two home runs last Sunday after sitting for two weeks, his shoulder issue is a lingering concern that could open the door for another candidate in the final seven weeks of the regular season. Tatis isn’t even a qualified hitter right and he is playing for a 3rd place team that may be losing its grip on a playoff position that was assumed most of the season. Those are things that could matter to some of the older block of BBWAA voters who may already begrudge Tatis for the flair he plays with. Priced at around -300 it is his award to lose but there a few candidates that could warrant a look, banking on Tatis missing time and the Padres continuing to slide in the coming weeks.  Bryce Harper, Philadelphia, +475 A past MVP and one of the most recognized players in the game Harper is fourth in the NL in wRC+ thanks to his high walk rate. His rather pedestrian home run and RBI counts will need to grow substantially in September and most importantly his candidacy will hinge entirely on the narrative that he carries the Phillies to the NL East title. While Atlanta leads the division currently and has looked like the much better team overall, the race is close and a rise to the top fueled by Harper is still in the realm of possibility. Unlike the other candidates on this list Harper won’t face a threat of losing votes to his teammates as he has been the clear top performer on the Phillies.  Max Muncy, Los Angeles, +900 Perhaps the best candidate to catch Tatis in home runs is Muncy who has 26 but also has the potential for a big closing run to reach close to 40 home runs as he often has been a streaky performer. Muncy also is a threat to hit conventional benchmarks of 100 runs and/or 100 RBI to bolster his case. His WAR is also currently the highest in the NL among qualified candidates. He doesn’t play a premium defensive position however and he has plenty of competition within his own locker room as emerging as the clear choice among several standouts for the Dodgers will be a challenge.  Trea Turner, Washington/Los Angeles, +1700 The best value on the board might be Turner, who like Muncy will face the challenge of splitting votes with his teammates. Turner also has not hit quite as well since joining the Dodgers as his season line over 96 games in Washington puts him on this list. Turner has been a valuable defender at an important position, and he has a chance to win a batting title while also a possibly a NL stolen base title with Starling Marte now in the AL. A 30/30 performance is not out of the question for Turner but the problem in that argument is that Tatis has a chance to do that as well. It would take quite a finish but hitting leadoff in a highly productive Los Angeles lineup will afford Turner an opportunity to compile great statistics down the stretch.  Freddie Freeman, Atlanta, +1700 The case for Freeman to take a second straight MVP crown does not currently have much traction but a big final month that clinches an NL East title for Atlanta in the absence of the early season MVP frontrunner Ronald Acuna does offer a compelling argument that could resonate with voters. In contrast to Tatis and Harper, Freeman is beloved by the press and his numbers are not too far off what will be the required pace. A subpar defensive performance is hurting his WAR while he also offers little on the basepaths. If he can match the September that he delivered in 2020, hitting .375 with 32 RBI in the final month, it is not an impossible outcome.  Nick Castellanos, Cincinnati, +5000 Joey Votto, Cincinnati, +5000 These Reds stars have matching odds as both continue to push Cincinnati closer to a playoff spot that seemed highly improbable just a few weeks ago. Jesse Winker is not much further down the list as well as Cincinnati has received great production from the lineup. Castellanos is a serious threat to win the NL batting title while Votto is charging in the home run leaderboard. Both have high strikeout counts with not enough walks to support their case, but both are still in the NL’s top seven in wRC+, while top 10 OPS performers, though neither is close enough on the WAR leaderboard for serious candidacy. If one stands head-and-shoulder over the other to carry the Reds past the Padres for the second NL wild card spot there is a chance, but it is not overly realistic as the pricing suggests.  Manny Machado, San Diego, +6000 While much of this article centers on the possibility of the Padres losing Tatis and crashing out of the playoffs, what if they lose Tatis and still finish strong? That scenario would boost Manny Machado’s case and he has rather quietly produced a great season line in the shadow of his teammate. He could reach the 100 run and 100 RBI benchmarks, and a big final month could get him to 30 home runs and close to a .300 batting average. Climbing into the top 10 for WAR and wRC+ would not take a herculean performance down the stretch and Machado has one of the stronger defensive ratings on this list at a valuable position. Winning the comparison case with his teammate will however require Tatis effectively shutting down for the rest of the season.  Juan Soto, Washington, +7000 Given that Washington has faded out of playoff contention Soto’s case will need to overcome a significant hurdle, but he has taken the most walks in all off baseball even in just 107 games and he could hit over .300 with 30 home runs while getting close to 100 runs and RBI for an MVP caliber traditional line. He is certainly one of the best players in baseball even if he is not a serious threat in this discussion barring significant setbacks for most of the other players on this list. Giancarlo Stanton won the 2017 NL MVP and Harper unanimously won the 2015 NL MVP on non-playoff teams as the playoffs may not be as much of a requirement as it is presumed. In 2017 Stanton only received 10 first place votes in a year where six different players received 1st place votes, a scenario that is possible this year.  Brandon Crawford, San Francisco, +7000 15th in the NL in wRC+ and 5th in WAR, Crawford’s case might be better than this pricing represents. The Giants after all have baseball’s best record and Crawford is a good story as a veteran having a career season. He is only two home runs away from a career high and has a chance to reach 100 RBI for the first time in his career. Crawford could also make a charge to the batting title currently only sitting about a dozen points back. His excellent defensive rating at a premium position adds to the intrigue of his candidacy but Crawford has missed 21 games to keep his counting statistics a notch below where they likely need to be. San Francisco has been the surprise story of the season and voters will be looking for someone to reward as he has a chance to garner some votes, though 1st place votes do not currently seem likely.  Justin Turner, Los Angeles, +9000 Turner’s season line could wind up looking somewhat like the lines of his two teammates on this list with a big final month. He hit .394 in September 2020 before the Dodgers went on to win the World Series and for his career, September has been his best hitting month in terms of batting average. Missing significant time in August has bumped his case down on this list but if he surpasses his teammates in the coming weeks as the Dodgers pass up the Giants for the top spot in the NL, the argument would be clear. Turner is a long shot, but the gap in his odds compared to Muncy and Trea Turner should perhaps not be quite so large as he is the face of the team in Clayton Kershaw’s absence. 

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Big Al's Daily Angle: WNBA and MLB Odds and Previews - 08/17/2021

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Aug 17, 2021

The Tuesday sports card features action in MLB and the WNBA. Sixteen games are on the MLB docket. Boston plays at New York against the Yankees at 1:05 PM ET in the opening game of their seven-inning doubleheader. The Red Sox pitch Tanner Houck against the Yankees’ Luis Gil. Boston is a -145 money line road favorite with the total set at 7 (all odds from DraftKings).Two games begin at 7:05 PM ET. Toronto travels to Washington for a two-game series. Alek Manoah pitches for the Blue Jays against Erick Fedde of the Nationals. Toronto is a -200 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9.5. The Red Sox play at New York against the Yankees in the second game of their doubleheader. Boston pitches Nathan Eovaldi against the Yankees Jordan Montgomery. Four games begin at 7:10 PM ET. Atlanta continues their three-game series at Miami. Huscuar Ynoa pitches for the Braves against Sandy Alcantara of the Marlins. Atlanta is a -135 money line road favorite with a total of 7.5. Tampa Bay hosts Baltimore in the second game of their four-game series. The Rays pitch Drew Rasmussen against the Orioles John Means. Tampa Bay is a -195 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Detroit plays at home against the Los Angeles Angels in the opening game of their three-game series. Casey Mize pitches for the Tigers against the Angels Dylan Bundy. Detroit is a -125 money line favorite with a total of 9.5. Cincinnati is at home against the Chicago Cubs in Game 2 of their three-game series. The Reds pitch Vladimir Gutierrez against the Cubs Kyle Hendricks. Cincinnati is a -160 money line favorite with an over/under of 9.5. Milwaukee visits St. Louis at 7:45 PM ET in the opener of their three-game series. Corbin Burnes pitches for the Brewers against Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals. Milwaukee is a -160 money line road favorite with a total of 7. Seattle travels to Texas at 8:05 PM ET for Game 1 of their three-series. The Mariners pitch Tyler Anderson against the Rangers Spencer Howard. Seattle is a -160 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9. Three games start at 8:10 PM ET. Oakland plays at Chicago against the White Sox in the second game of their four-game series. Chris Bassitt pitches for the A’s against Reynaldo Lopez of the White Sox. Oakland is a -120 money line road favorite with a total of 8.5. Houston plays at Kansas City in Game 2 of their four-game series. The Astros pitch Framber Valdez against the Royals' Daniel Lynch. Houston is a -200 money line road favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Minnesota is at home against Cleveland in the second game of their three-game series. Bailey Ober pitches for the Twins against Eli Morgan of the Indians. Cleveland is a -145 money line favorite with a total of 9.5.Colorado is at home against San Diego at 8:40 PM ET in the second game of their three-game series. The Rockies pitch German Marquez against a Padres starting pitcher yet to be named. Colorado is a -130 money line favorite with an over/under of 11. Philadelphia visits Arizona at 9:40 PM ET in the opener of their three-game series. Kyle Gibson pitches for the Phillies against a starting pitcher yet to be named for the Diamondbacks. Philadelphia is a -120 money line road favorite with a total of 9. San Francisco is at home against the New York Mets at 9:45 PM ET in the second game of their three-game series. The Giants pitch Logan Webb against the Mets Marcus Stroman. San Francisco is a -155 money line favorite with an over/under of 8. The Los Angeles Dodgers host Pittsburgh at 10:10 PM ET in the second game of their three-game series. David Price pitches for the Dodgers against the Pirates Wil Crowe. Los Angeles is a -320 money line favorite with a total of 9.Five games are on the WNBA slate. Minnesota plays at Connecticut at 7 PM ET. Dallas visits Chicago on the CBS Sports Network at 8 PM ET. Two games tip-off at 10 PM ET. Washington travels to Las Vegas in the second game on the CBS Sports Network. Indiana is at Phoenix. Atlanta plays at Los Angeles at 10:30 PM ET. 

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2021-22 NBA: Eastern Conference Season Win Totals

by Will Rogers

Monday, Aug 16, 2021

Looking at the Over / Under totals for this coming (82-game) NBA season and what has to go right for each team to hit the Over number:ATLANTA HAWKS (47.5) – The Hawks are all in, ponying up the cash to keep forward John Collins and keeping the ball in the hands of Trae Young. They came out of nowhere to make it to the EC finals last season, so opponents won’t be caught by surprise this time around.BOSTON CELTICS (47.5) – Oddsmakers appear to think that last year’s 36-36 season was an aberration. New coach Ime Udoka promises more ball movement and better defense (both were lacking in 2020-21). Can a boatload of above-average veterans (Schroder, Horford, Josh Richardson) lift the overall games of All-Stars Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum?BROOKLYN NETS (55.5) – Steep hill to climb for a team whose 3-cylinder (Irving, Durant, Harden) engine needs constant repair. Do the stars take things easy, stay healthy and rest up for the playoffs, or do they put the pedal to the metal and lay waste to the league like everyone thinks they can? Answer that and you’ll know whether to play the Over or Under.CHARLOTTE HORNETS (36.5) – Every team dealt with injuries last season, Charlotte among them. But even with LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward apparently healthy again, books figure that the Hornets are a fringe playoffs contender at best. Lots of young talent that needs to take a step forward in the improved East.CHICAGO BULLS (39.5) – Bulls could take a step back (despite adding Lonzo Ball) if they have to cut bait with Laurie Markkanen and get nothing in return, but they still have lots of talent. How can a team with Ball, Zach Lavine, DeMar DeRozen and Nikola Vucevic not get to at least .500?CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (28.5) – Are Jarrett Allen and rookie Evan Mobley the new Tim Duncan/David Robinson? And do the Cavs roll with the kids or bleed what they can out of Kevin Love to make a run at the Play-In tournament? Will Collin Sexton blow up team chemistry with crazy shot selection? Should be fun on and off the court with this group.DETROIT PISTONS (25.5) – Detroit hit paydirt with Jerami Grant and Saddiq Bey last season, then lucked out with the No. 1 pick and grabbed Cade Cunningham. Add in second-year burner Killian Hayes, and the pieces are in place. If the kids don’t freak out early, the Pistons could be trouble faster than anyone thinks.INDIANA PACERS (43.5) – The Pacers seem paralyzed by fear of falling to the bottom of the conference, so they don’t make big moves that could elevate the franchise. All their key players (Brogdon, Sabonis, LeVert) are in their prime ages (mid- to late-20s), but Indy is still a few stars short of a move up.MIAMI HEAT (48.5) – Pat Riley will worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes. For today he has added 35-year-old Kyle Lowry to a starting five that was already more than decent. A rebound year from Victor Oladipo and improvement from coming-of-agers Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson would probably mean 50-plus wins in South Beach.MILWAUKEE BUCKS (54.5) – Would you rather have a trophy or a first-round draft pick? The Bucks figured it out, built around Giannis Antetokounmpo and let nature take its course. Covering 54.5 would mean two wins in every three games for an entire season – tough for a team that could be tempted to rest on its laurels pre-All Star break.NEW YORK KNICKS (40.5) – Oddsmakers apparently don’t like the off-season moves (Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier) all that much, and that should produce a slew over Over wagers from NY-area fans who figure that they at least have to get to .500. Don’t they?ORLANDO MAGIC (24) – If the Magic move Terrance Ross and make no new additions, the entire roster will be under the age of 30, and most will be in their early 20s. Thus the low O/U number. If there is one truism in the Association, it’s that young teams lose. A lot.PHILADELPHIA 76ers (51.5) – Lots of pessimism surrounding this team after yet another playoff flameout, and now management looks like it will have to lower its asking price for one-foot-out-the-door PG Ben Simmons. Philly is just one Joel Embiid injury away from the Play-In tournament.TORONTO RAPTORS (37.5) – Kyle Lowry is gone, Goran Dragic is on board but doesn’t want to be, and Toronto is rebuilding with a group of veterans. Got all that? Raptors aren’t even 100 percent sure they will play their home games in Canada this season.WASHINTON WIZARDS (34.5) – Management has plenty of incentive to win at all costs, since its only real All-Star, Bradley Beal, can walk away next summer. Roster has only spotty talent, however, and they need good health for Beal and a strong season from newcomer Spencer Dinwiddie to get to even 35 wins.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB Previews and Odds - 08/16/2021

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Aug 16, 2021

The Monday sports card features ten games in Major League Baseball.The New York Yankees host the Los Angeles Angels in a one-game series at 7:05 PM ET. The Yankees have won three of their last four games with their 5-3 victory at Chicago against the White Sox on Sunday. The Angels ended a two-game losing streak with a 3-1 win against Houston yesterday. Los Angeles pitches Jose Suarez against New York’s Gerrit Cole. The Yankees are a -260 money line favorite with the total set at 8.5. Three games start at 7:10 PM ET. Tampa Bay hosts Baltimore after dropping two in a row after a 5-4 loss at Minnesota on Sunday. The Orioles lost their eleventh game in a row after a 6-2 loss at Boston yesterday. Matt Harvey pitches for Baltimore against Collin McHugh of the Rays. Tampa Bay is a -260 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Atlanta plays at Miami after winning six of seven after their 6-5 win at Washington. The Marlins have won four in a row after a 4-1 win against the Chicago Cubs. Miami pitches Braxton Garrett against the Braves Touki Toussaint. Atlanta is a -150 money line road favorite with a total of 8.5. Cincinnati hosts the Chicago Cubs after winning their third game in their last four in a 7-4 win at Philadelphia yesterday. The Cubs lost their eleventh game in a row in their loss to Miami. They pitch Justin Steele against the Reds’ Wade Miley. Cincinnati is a -225 money line favorite with an over/under of 9. Three games start at 8:10 PM ET. Houston visits Kansas City after ending a four-game winning streak with a 3-1 loss in Los Angeles against the Angels. The Royals lost their fourth game in a row in a 7-2 setback against St. Louis. Kansas City pitches Carlos Hernandez against the Astros’ Jake Odorizzi. Houston is a -165 money line road favorite with the total of 10.5. The Chicago White Sox host Oakland on ESPN. The White Sox have lost four of five after a 5-3 loss at home to the New York Yankees on Sunday. The A’s have lost two of three after a 7-4 loss at Texas yesterday. Dallas Keuchel pitches for the White Sox against Oakland’s Frankie Montas. Chicago is a -110 money line favorite with an over/under of 9. Minnesota is at home against Cleveland after winning their fourth game in their last five in a 5-4 win against Tampa Bay on Sunday. The Indians won two of three after an 11-0 win at Detroit yesterday. Cleveland pitches Cal Quantrill against the Twins’ Griffin Jax. Minnesota is a -125 money line favorite, with the total at 9.5. San Diego visits Colorado at 8:40 PM ET. The Padres ended a four-game losing streak with an 8-2 win at Arizona yesterday. The Rockies have lost four of five after a 5-2 setback at San Francisco. Ryan Weathers pitches for San Diego against Antonio Senzatela for Colorado. The Padres are a -135 money line road favorite with an over/under of 12. San Francisco plays at home against the New York Mets at 9:45 PM ET. The Giants have won seven of eight after their win against the Rockies yesterday. The Mets have lost three in a row after a 14-4 loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers last night. They pitch Rich Hill against San Francisco’s Kevin Gausman. The Giants are a -180 money line favorite with a total of 8. The Los Angeles Dodgers host Pittsburgh at 10:10 PM ET. The Dodgers won their seventh game in their last eight after their win last night against the Mets. The Pirates lost their 10th in 11 games after their 2-1 loss to Milwaukee yesterday. Pittsburgh pitches Steven Brault against a starter yet to be named for Los Angeles. The Dodgers are a -380 money line favorite with an over/under of 9.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NFL, MLB, WNBA, CFL and EPL Previews and Odds - 08/15/2021

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Aug 15, 2021

The Sunday sports card features action in the NFL preseason, MLB, WNBA, the CFL, and the EPL.One game is on the NFL preseason schedule. The Indianapolis Colts host the Carolina Panthers on the NFL Network at 1 PM ET. The Colts are a 3-point favorite with the total set at 34.5 (all odds from DraftKings).Fifteen games are on the MLB slate. Three games begin the card at 1:05 PM ET. Milwaukee plays at Pittsburgh as a -210 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9. Atlanta is at Washington as a -155 money line road favorite with a total of 10. Philadelphia hosts Cincinnati as a -145 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Three games start at 1:10 PM ET. Cleveland concludes their series at Detroit as a -115 money line road favorite with a total of 9.5. Boston plays at home against Baltimore as a -300 money line favorite with an over/under of 10.5. Miami is at home against the Chicago Cubs as a -135 money line favorite with a total of 7. Three games begin at 2:10 PM ET. St. Louis plays at Kansas City as a -125 money line road favorite with an over/under of 10. The Chicago White Sox host the New York Yankees on TBS as a -180 money line favorite with a total of 8.5. Tampa Bay is at Minnesota as a -190 money line road favorite with an over/under of 10. Oakland concludes their series at Texas at 2:35 PM ET as a -225 money line road favorite with a total of 9. San Francisco is at home against Colorado at 4:05 PM ET as a -195 money line favorite with an over/under of 8. Houston plays at Los Angeles against the Angels at 4:07 PM ET as a -200 money line road favorite with a total of 10. Two games begin at 4:10 PM ET. San Diego finishes their series at Arizona as a -160 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9. Toronto is at Seattle as a -125 money line road favorite with a total of 9.The MLB card concludes with the Los Angeles Dodgers playing in New York against the Mets on ESPN at 7:08 PM ET. The Dodgers are a -180 money line road favorite with an over/under of 7.5. Six games are on the WNBA docket with the league returning to action after hiatus for the Olympics. Seattle plays at Chicago on ABC at 4 PM ET. Connecticut plays at Dallas at 4 PM ET. Washington visits Las Vegas at 6 PM ET. Atlanta travels to Phoenix on the CBS Sports Network at 6 PM ET. Indiana plays at Los Angeles at 9 PM ET. The English Premier League concludes it's opening week with two matches on the NBC Sports Network. West Ham United plays at Newcastle United at 9 AM ET as a -0.25 goal line road favorite with a total of 2.5. Manchester City visits Tottenham at 11:30 AM ET as a -1 goal line road favorite with an over/under of 2.75.

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2021 NCAA Impact Transfer Quarterbacks

by Nelly's Sports

Saturday, Aug 14, 2021

2021 NCAA Impact Transfer Quarterbacks  After uninspiring results in three years at NC State, Russell Wilson transferred to Wisconsin for the 2011 season and delivered tremendous results. His success set the tone for a new era of college football with transfer acquisitions being a critical component in recruiting. Coming off the abbreviated 2020 season and with relaxed transfer rules in place, there are several proven quarterbacks that changed schools this off-season. Here are a handful of quarterback transfers for the 2021 college football season that could have a big impact in the 2021 season.   Charlie Brewer (From Baylor to Utah) Brewer is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the nation having been the starter for the better part of four seasons at Baylor. He should eclipse 10,000 career passing yards in September and has a career completion rate of 63.5%. His numbers dropped last season in a chaotic season for the Bears with a major Covid pause and a coaching transition, but he should step into a good situation to be successful at Utah. Kyle Whittingham’s program has won consistently riding seven consecutive seasons above .500 and the roster has a significant amount of returning experience. Given his size Brewer isn’t much of an NFL prospect, but he has a chance to end his college career on a high note with a potential Pac-12 contender.  Jack Coan (From Wisconsin to Notre Dame) A steady presence for the Badgers in 2018 and 2019, Coan was named the starter in 2020 ahead of super prospect Graham Mertz before suffering an injury ahead of the season. Coan has good size and is quicker than he appears, though he is not in the mold of Ian Book, the long-time Notre Dame quarterback that was a serious rushing threat. Brian Kelly has not officially named Coan the starter for an Irish team coming off a College Football Playoff appearance, but it would be a surprise if sophomore Drew Pyne beat out Coan. It will be difficult to replicate last season’s success but being Notre Dame’s quarterback is still a high-profile gig and Coan has the potential to have good numbers on a nationally relevant team and will also get a chance to face his former team in Chicago as well.  Grant Gunnell (From Arizona to Memphis)  Gunnell isn’t a household name after being an off-and-on starter for marginal Arizona teams the past two seasons, but he could be by season’s end. He has 15 career touchdowns against only three interceptions however and at 6’6” he will stand out now playing in the American. Ryan Silverfield’s offense should remain a high-scoring unit and Gunnell can go from relative anonymity to being an NFL draft pick like Paxton Lynch was out of Memphis in 2016. Defense has not often been a strength for the Memphis program as Gunnell could produce big numbers in many high-scoring shootout style games with last year’s Memphis quarterback Brady White posting the sixth most passing yards in the nation in 2020.  McKenzie Milton (From UCF to Florida State) A star for UCF from 2016 to 2018 including the undefeated 2017 season, Milton suffered a terrible injury late in the 2018 season. There were questions on whether he would ever play again given the nature of the injury and the subsequent surgeries, but his knee has been rebuilt and he has been cleared to play. He ultimately has won the last 23 games he has started but there are major questions to whether he can return to being the dynamic playmaker he was for the Knights and he will face significantly upgraded opposition in the ACC. Florida State has been a mess in recent years now led by Mike Norvell with the Seminoles going just 3-6 last year. A storybook finish for Milton doesn’t seem likely but it is certainly worth rooting for.  Tyler Shough (From Oregon to Texas Tech)  While Texas Tech has changed coaches and isn’t quite the Air Raid squad of the past, being the Red Raiders quarterback remains a coveted position, especially when the face of the NFL is an alum. Shough was one of the most sought-after recruits after a stellar high school campaign as he has an NFL build and great athleticism. After redshirting behind Justin Herbert, Shough carried high expectations into 2020 at Oregon but ultimately did not have a great statistical season despite a Pac-12 Championship. Texas Tech is not expected to be a Big XII contender but the opportunity to post big numbers in high-profile games will be there.     Terry Wilson (From Kentucky to New Mexico)  An electric playmaker for the 2018 Wildcats team that beat Penn State in the Citrus Bowl, Wilson suffered a season-ending injury early in the 2019 season. He didn’t capture the same level of success last season and with Kentucky having several promising young options at quarterback Wilson found a new opportunity leaving the SEC. His mobility should play well in the Mountain West and while he is heading to a program that has 10 wins combined the past four seasons, he could immediately be among the conference’s top quarterbacks as well as a formidable rusher.  Logan Bonner (From Arkansas State to Utah State)  A two-year starter and quarterback that has played in each of the past four seasons at Arkansas State, Bonner followed coach Blake Anderson to Utah State. That should allow him to have much more comfort and the potential for more immediate success than most transfer quarterbacks. Utah State went just 1-5 last season, but the season had all sorts of challenges with internal Covid issues forcing the cancellation of a game while another game was cancelled due to a player protest. Head coach Gary Andersen left the team after three games as well as not much went right and it showed in the results. Anderson has a 51-37 career record and with Bonner in tow the Aggies could be a mild surprise, as this was an 11-2 team in 2018 and has generally been an above average Mountain West team in the last decade.  Bailey Zappe (From Houston Baptist to Western Kentucky)  Zappe has generated a big buzz now leading Tyson Helton’s offense at Western Kentucky. Zappe set all sorts of records at Houston Baptist, averaging 458 passing yards per game in an Air Raid style offense. The Hilltoppers had a slow start last season but won their final three Conference USA games and they line up as a possible team on the rise in the conference for 2021. Zappe could quickly emerge on the national passing leaderboards if he lives up to the hype and the Hilltoppers have a pair of Big Ten non-conference tests early in the year for showcase opportunities. In Conference USA the Hilltoppers are also a serious contender in the East division and the schedule is favorable for a strong bowl season.  Here are a few other transfer quarterbacks that are worth watching, all of which have a likely path to a starting role at their new school:  Ryan Hilinski (From South Carolina to Northwestern) Tanner Mordecai (From Oklahoma to SMU)  N’Kosi Perry (From Miami, FL to Florida Atlantic)  Chase Brice (From Duke to Appalachian State)  Jacob Sirmon (From Washington to Central Michigan)  D’Wan Mathis (From Georgia to Temple)  Bailey Hockman (From NC State to Middle Tennessee State)  Also worth mentioning is that notable transfers will be fighting for starting roles at several major conference programs including Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, and Arizona. It is too soon to say whether those jobs will be won however. 

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Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB, NFL, CFL and EPL Previews and Odds - 08/14/2021

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Aug 14, 2021

The Saturday sports card features action in the NFL preseason, MLB, the Canadian Football League, and the English Premier League.Ten games are on the NFL preseason slate. Two games kickoff in the afternoon on the NFL Network. The Chicago Bears host the Miami Dolphins at 1 PM as a 3.5-point favorite, with the total set at 37 (all odds from DraftKings). The Denver Broncos visit the Minnesota Vikings at 4 PM ET as a 2.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 33.5.Two games begin at 7 PM ET. The Jacksonville Jaguars are at home against the Cleveland Browns on the NFL Network as a 3-point favorite with a total of 36.5. The Baltimore Ravens host the New Orleans Saints as a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 36. Two games kickoff at 7:30 PM ET. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are at home against the Cincinnati Bengals as a 6-point favorite with a total of 33.5. The New York Jets travel to the Meadowlands to play the New York Giants as a 2-point road favorite with an over/under of 35. The Green Bay Packers play at home against the Houston Texans at 8 PM ET as a 3-point favorite with a total of 35. The San Francisco 49ers host the Kansas City Chiefs at 8:30 PM ET as a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 36.5. The Las Vegas Raiders are at home against the Seattle Seahawks at 9 PM ET as a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 36.5. The Los Angeles Chargers play at the Los Angeles Rams on the NFL Network at 10 PM ET as a 3.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 32.5. Sixteen games are on the MLB docket. Three games start in the afternoon. Milwaukee plays at Pittsburgh at 2:30 PM ET in the first game of their seven-inning doubleheader to make up for their postponed game on Friday. Cincinnati is at Philadelphia on FS1 at 4:05 PM ET. The Reds are a -145 money line road favorite with a total of 9.5. Boston hosts Baltimore at 4:10 PM ET as a -280 money line favorite with an over/under of 10. Atlanta is at Washington at 6:10 PM ET as a -180 money line road favorite with a total of 9. Two games start at 6:10 PM ET. Cleveland plays at Detroit as a -130 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9. Miami hosts the Chicago Cubs as a -135 money line favorite with a total of 7.5.Two games start at 7:05 PM ET. Oakland plays at Texas as a -210 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9. The Brewers play the Pirates in the second game of their doubleheader. Four games begin at 7:10 PM ET. Minnesota hosts Tampa Bay as a -170 money line favorite with a total of 9.5. St. Louis plays at Kansas City as a -120 money line road favorite with an over/under of 10. The Los Angeles Dodgers are at New York against the Mets as a -170 money line road favorite with a total of 8.5. The Chicago White Sox are at home against the New York Yankees as a -135 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. San Diego plays at Arizona at 8:10 PM ET as a -220 money line road favorite with a total of 9. San Francisco is at home against Colorado as a -210 money line favorite with an over/under of 8. Houston is in Los Angeles against the Angels at 9:07 PM ET as a -180 money line road favorite with a total of 9.5. Toronto plays at Seattle at 10:10 PM ET as a -160 money line road favorite with an over/under of 8.5.Two games take place in the CFL. Edmonton hosts Montreal on ESPN+ at 7 PM ET. The Eskimos come off a 16-12 upset loss as a 7-point favorite last Saturday. The Alouettes got the bye last week. Hamilton travels to Saskatchewan on ESPN News at 10 PM ET. The Tiger-Cats got upset last Thursday, 19-6, at Winnipeg as a 2-point road favorite. The Roughriders beat British Columbia, 33-29, as a 6.5-point favorite last Friday. The opening week of the English Premier League continues with seven matches. Manchester United hosts Leeds United on the NBC Sports Network at 7:30 AM ET. The Red Devils are a -1 goal line favorite with a total of 3. Five games begin at 10 AM ET. Everton plays at home against Southampton on the NBC Sports Network as a -0.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.25. Leicester City is at home against Wolverhampton on the USA Network as a -0.75 goal line favorite with a total of 2.5. Chelsea hosts Crystal Palace on Peacock as a -1.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.75. Brighton and Hove Albion travel to Burnley on Peacock as a -0.75 road favorite with a total of 2.25. Aston Villa visits Watford on Peacock as a -0.25 goal line road favorite with an over/under of 2.5. Liverpool travels to Norwich City on NBC at 12:30 PM ET. The Reds are a -1.5 goal line favorite with a total of 3.25. 

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