Articles

NFL Thursday Night Football: Titans/Colts Preview

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2020

First place in the AFC South will be on the line for Thursday Night Football in a showdown between the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans.Tennessee claimed first place in the division on Sunday with their 24-17 victory at home against Chicago as a 6.5-point favorite. That win snapped a two-game losing streak and raised their record to a 6-2 mark. The Titans won that game despite being outgained by 147 net yards. Tennessee scored on a 63-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown that turned out to be the difference in the game. The Titans’ signature victory this season was their 42-16 upset victory at home against Buffalo as a 3-point underdog in their first game back after the COVID outbreak that hit their team. Tennessee is outscoring their opponents by +3.9 points-per-game, but they are getting outgained by -10.2 net yards-per-game. The Titans have benefited from a +10 net turnover margin as they have only turned the ball over four times. Tennessee is seventh in the NFL with a 29.0 points-per-game scoring average, yet they have seen that mark drop to just a 22.7 points-per-game average in their last three games. Their 320.3 yards-per-game average on offense in those games is more than 63 yards-per-game below their season average.Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has thrown 19 touchdown passes to just three interceptions. He is completing 65.7% of his passes for 1981 yards with a 7.8 yards-per-attempt average. Running back Derrick Henry has rushed for 843 yards on 182 carries for a 4.6 yards-per-carry average. He has scored ten touchdowns on the ground.Indianapolis saw their record drop to a 5-3 mark on Sunday with their 24-10 loss at home to Baltimore as a 1-point favorite. The Colts outgained the Ravens by 139 net yards but could not overcome a 65-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown scored by the Baltimore defense. Indianapolis’ offense was only on the field for 26:34 minutes of the game. Colts’ quarterback Philip Rivers completed 25 of 43 passes for 227 yards with an interception in the defeat. Rivers is completing 67.9% of his passes this season for 2087 yards with a 7.6 yards-per-attempt average. The veteran has thrown ten touchdown passes along with seven interceptions. Indianapolis leads the NFL in total defense as they hold their opponents to 290.0 yards-per-game. The Colts are outscoring their opponents by 6.0 points-per-game while outgaining them by 70.5 net yards-per-game. However, Indianapolis’ strength-of-schedule has been questionable, with their victory over Chicago being their lone victory over a team with a winning record. Their wins against the Vikings, Jets, Bears, Bengals, and Lions are against a group of teams with a combined 13-28-1 record. These two teams split their two divisional meetings last year, with the road team winning in both instances. The Colts upset the Titans in Nashville on September 15th by a 19-17 score before Tennessee returned the favor in Indianapolis on December 1st with their 31-17 victory. Indianapolis will be without tight end Jack Doyle who is still recovering from a concussion. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton practiced this week and will return to the field after being out with a groin injury. Tennessee will be without wide receiver Adam Humphries as he recovers from a concussion, along with cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, who is dealing with a knee injury. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney should play tonight after practicing on Tuesday and Wednesday despite his knee issue.BookMaker currently lists Indianapolis as a 1-point favorite with the total set at 48.5. The kickoff on Fox and the NFL Network is at 8:20 PM ET.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2020

The Tuesday sports card features three college football in the Mid-American Conference.Akron travels to Ohio for a game that starts at 7 PM ET. Unfortunately for the Zips, they picked up last Wednesday right where they left off last season -- an 0-12 campaign -- with a 58-13 loss at home to Western Michigan.  Redshirt freshman Zach Gibson made his third career start under center for Akron with their senior quarterback, Kato Nelson, recovering from shoulder surgery over two months ago. Gibson completed 18 of 30 passes for 125 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception for second-year head coach Tom Arth. Thirteen starters are back from the team last year that is still looking to deliver their first victory to their head coach.The Bobcats were upset last Wednesday at Central Michigan by a 30-27 score as a 2.5-point favorite. Freshman quarterback, Kurtis O’Rourke, the younger brother of Ohio’s starting quarterback Nathan a season ago, completed 12 of 19 passes for 231 yards in his first career collegiate start with two touchdown passes and no interceptions. Head coach Frank Solich has 15 returning starters in his 16th year with the program from the team that finished 7-6 last season. The Bobcats culminated their season with a 30-21 victory over Nevada in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Ohio is a 27.5-point favorite with the total set at 57 (all odds from BetOnline). The CBS Sports Network has the broadcast.Bowling Green hosts Kent State at 7:30 PM ET. The Falcons come off a 38-3 loss at Toledo last Wednesday as a 24-point underdog. Boston College transfer Matt McDonald struggled in his first start for Bowling Green as he completed only 8 of 30 passes for 128 yards with two interceptions. Head coach Scott Loeffler has 12 starters back in the second year with the program from the team that finished 3-9 last season. The Golden Flashes defeated Eastern Michigan in their opening game last week by a 27-23 score as a 4.5-point favorite. Kent State’s Dustin Crum may be the best quarterback in the MAC. The senior completed 21 of 29 passes for 219 yards with two touchdown passes and an interception. He added another 35 yards on the ground with a touchdown. The Golden Flashes were 7-6 last season for third-year head coach Sean Lewis in a campaign that concluded with the first bowl win in school history in their 51-41 victory over Utah State in the Frisco Bowl. Thirteen starters are back from that team. Kent State is a 20.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 54.5. ESPNU broadcasts this game. ESPN has Miami (OH) visiting Buffalo at 8 PM ET. The RedHawks upset Ball State last Wednesday as a 1-point home underdog. Sophomore quarterback Brett Gabbert left that game with a head injury that leaves him questionable for this game. He completed 5 of 8 passes for 76 yards before being knocked out of that game. Redshirt sophomore A.J. Mayer completed 16 of 24 passes in relief for 212 yards with three touchdown passes and no interceptions to lead the team to victory. Miami won the MAC championship game by a 26-21 score against Central Michigan before losing to Louisiana in the Lending Tree Bowl by a 27-17 score to complete their 8-6 season. Head coach Chuck Martin has 17 starters back from that team in his seventh season with the program. Buffalo opened up their season last week with a 49-30 win at Northern Illinois as a 14.5-point favorite. The Bulls scored three defensive touchdowns to overcome only having the football for 22:49 minutes of that game. Junior Kyle Vantrease completed 12 of 18 passes for 178 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Fourteen starters are back from the team last year that finished 8-5 with a 31-9 victory over Charlotte in the Bahamas Bowl for head coach Lance Leipold in the sixth year with the school.Buffalo is a 9.5-point favorite with a total of 56.

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NFL Mid-Season Playoff Picture

by Wayne Root

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2020

If the NFL playoffs were to begin based on Week 9-ending records, this is how it would match up.  AFCPittsburgh has a Bye Raiders vs Bills Miami vs Kansas City Baltimore vs Tennessee NFCNew Orleans has a Bye LA Rams vs Seattle Tampa Bay vs Philadelphia  Arizona vs Green Bay  Looking to get into the playoffs  In the AFC, Cleveland and Indianapolis can certainly move up. Most after that would have to go on a 8-0 or 7-1 run. It’s possible but unlikely.  In the NFC, the Chicago Bears have an opportunity if they right the ship.  Value betting bottom teams? It will be interesting to see if a team that is 3-5, can finish the second half of the season 7-1 or 6-2 to finish at 10-6 or 9-7.  I think this week is the most critical week of the season. It might be a chance to see which coach can adapt, manage or MOTIVATE.  This will be followed up next week on the results of the upcoming games in Week 9. If you can identify a certain coach and why his team team fell behind at this point, there’s point spread value AND money to be made on these lower-tiered teams.  Finally  Good luck with all your football information and continue to come back for more thinking out of the box.

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What does "SU" Mean in Betting?

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2020

What does SU mean in betting? In sports betting, there are many terms that bettors use to refer to different forms of wagering.  One of them is 'SU,' short for straight-up.  When you search for the meaning of this term, you might run into other meanings other than the actual sports betting term.  We're not here to tell you the other definitions -- we're all about sports betting.  Straight-up in sports betting refers to whether a team has won the game, without regard to the point spread.  And if a team wins the game, straight-up, then it also would be the winner with respect to moneyline wagers.When you’re poring over gambling stats, you’ll often see references to a team’s SU record, or its SU/ATS record.  Simply put, a team’s SU record is the same thing as its W/L record.  And a team’s SU/ATS record is a juxtaposition of a team’s straight-up record, and its against the spread record, which may, or may not be similar.  Thus, if a team is 10-5/7-8 SU/ATS that would mean it is 10-5 straight-up, but just 7-8 ATS.We'll refer to straight-up betting as moneyline betting from now on, but it is not too complicated.  It's one of the oldest ways to bet on a game, as sports bettors have wagered on this bet type for ages.  We'll quickly show you how a moneyline wager works and how you can soon master the moneyline wager.  Above all, we want you to get a solid handle on sports betting, in general, and that's why we want to share some more sports betting terms that might be of interest.So, in this betting guide, you'll go from a novice bettor, who doesn't know anything about straight-up bets, to an expert moneyline bettor who has the knowledge to start betting successfully. How does straight-up work in sports betting? A straight-up bet is pretty simple.  You just put your money on the team which you think will win the game.  Only if that team wins, you end up with a winning ticket, and you can collect your payout.  That means you need to do thorough research to determine not only which team is stronger than the other, but also where the value lies with respect to the betting odds.  Because when you take betting odds into account, not every bet on a team has value.  We'll explain why by displaying the betting lines for a sample NFL match between the New Orleans Saints and the Arizona Cardinals: New Orleans Saints -230 Arizona Cardinals +190 With every moneyline wager, there's a favored team and an underdog.  These are shown by the minus sign (-) and the plus sign (+).  In this case, the Saints are the favored team, while the Cardinals are the underdog.  The way these odds are displayed is with the moneyline odds (or American odds).  As a bettor, you pick the team which you think will win the game.  But not every wager will make a lot of sense when you take the betting odds into account.  The one thing to always remember is that anything can happen in a game.  In this example, the Saints are roughly a 2-1 favorite over the Cardinals, and would have to win 69.7% of the time for you to just break even.  Who knows what could happen, but you need to understand a game’s specific odds and probability prior to the start of your research process.Calculating your payout with straight-up betsIn the end, it all comes down to the money.  That's why most bettors are betting if we're all being sincere.  The betting odds are the starting point for seeing what the amount of money you could make from any bet.  We'll take the previous example as the starting point of our calculation: New Orleans Saints -230 Arizona Cardinals +190 These numbers alongside each team might look odd and foreign to you, but now you know what the plus and minus sign indicate.  With the numbers following the minus or plus sign, you can calculate your payout to see the amount of money you can take home.  In this example, that would lead to two possible scenarios: You pick the New Orleans Saints -- the favorite -- to win the moneyline bet.  The Saints win, and you have a winning bet.  Now, you earn $44 if your initial stake is $100.  That would make for a total payout of $144. If you wanted to earn $100 with this bet, you would have to wager $230 (for a total payout of $330). You pick the Arizona Cardinals -- the underdog -- to win the moneyline bet.  The Cardinals win, and you have a winning bet.  Now, you earn $190 if your initial stake is $100.  That would make for a total payout of $290. As you can tell, the bets are constructed based on the fact that most wagers are made to win (or lose) $100.  That's how the American odds system works, and what you have to keep in mind when checking out the odds for any given sporting event.  That's all there is to moneyline betting.  It's available for any matchup where two teams compete against each other -- hockey, football, baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, mixed martial arts, and many others.Straight up betting in the NFLWhen you're researching any given NFL match, the Super Bowl, or just regular season, you'll stumble upon a lot of statistics.  There are giant tables behind every single team that carries many individual factors to calculate whether a team is in good form, or underperforming.  You'll look at the number of points they score each game, the yards they gain, but the most important factor is the number of games they win.  But as we’ve mentioned above, winning the game straight-up is not the same as covering the point spread.  We'll show you what spread betting is in the following paragraph.Using straight up when looking at spread bettingAnother popular form of betting is spread betting.  It's a form of betting that takes the final score of a matchup and then adds (or subtracts) a set number of points (i.e., the point spread) to determine which team won the bet.  It might be a little harder to understand than a simple moneyline bet, but a quick example will show you how spread betting works: New York Giants -11.5 Washington Redskins +11.5 We're using two NFC East division rivals in this illustration.  You have two teams here that are not competitive, on the surface.  The sportsbooks have installed the Giants as an 11.5-point favorite.  In this case, the Giants would have to win by more than 11.5 points to cover the spread.  The Redskins are the underdog, and they need to either win the game or lose by less than 11.5 points to cover the spread.Notice the half-point in the spread numbers.  Certainly, you can't score half-points in an NFL match, but oddsmakers utilize half-points for several reasons.  First, and most importantly, it allows a sportsbook to more easily balance the betting action between two sides.  And, a secondary reason is that a half-point removes the chance for a bet to end up as a tie.  When a wager ends up tied, it “pushes,” and the sportsbook will refund all monies to its players.  Bookmakers prefer that this doesn’t happen because, after all, they’re in the business to make a profit, and ties generally reduce their earnings. When you're analyzing whether a team will cover the spread, you can always use the straight-up statistics to inform your judgment for a successful spread bet.  But bear in mind that the two statistics may be wildly different for a team during a season.  And that’s especially true for teams that are either really good, or really bad, as the point spreads in either case will tend to be far away from PK’em.Spread betting line movementWith spread betting, you have a number alongside each team, which gets applied to a team’s final score.  You can make spread bets on any sport that has incremental scoring, but some sports, like hockey or baseball, work a little differently as their spreads are largely fixed.  And that’s because there isn’t much scoring in hockey or baseball games, as they average around six goals or nine runs in a game.  Thus, bookmakers typically set the run-lines and puck-lines at 1.5, and adjust the moneyline odds from there.  So, these bets are quite similar to point spread wagers -- but just with somewhat fixed spread numbers.However, football and basketball point spreads are not fixed, and can have a lot of movement.  So, a game between Army and Navy might open up with the Black Knights favored by 4.5 over the Midshipmen.  But by game day, the line might be down to Army -1.5.  That’s called “line movement.”  Additionally, the moneyline odds associated with a point spread bet can move, as well.  But they’re typically around -110 for football and basketball games (unless you bet with a reduced juice sportsbook, like BetAnySports, which has -105 odds on both sides).  As you can see, with point spreads in constant flux, it’s critical to have accounts at multiple sportsbooks so you can shop for the best number.  Any day that a matchup is online, the betting lines can change, and the spread number might vary.  That means two bettors who both bet on the same team might have completely different results, depending on their particular point spread.  Keeping an eye on multiple sportsbooks is crucial, so we strongly advise you to do so! What other sports betting terms are there? As promised, we want to share some other sports betting terms with you to give you the complete picture of what sports betting is all about.  See it as a short glossary of terms you can use as the start of your research. Without further ado, let's dive right in: Bankroll:  Your risk capital -- how much money you are willing to lose while gambling. Cover:  When a team covers the spread, they win for their bettors, based on the point spread. Edge:  This refers to an 'advantage.’  You have the edge over a sportsbook, for example, when you got down at the best number (in relation to the current or closing number). Exotic Wager:  Any other bets than moneyline or point spread wagers, such as parlays, teasers, round-robins, prop bets, etc. Futures bet:  A bet on a future event which is dependent on the outcome of other preceding events.  For example, you might predict the Super Bowl winner at the beginning of the season. 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.  Hedging:  You can hedge a bet by placing a wager on the opposite side of your original bet to cover your losses and/or guarantee a profit. Juice:  This is another way to refer to 'vigorish' - the fee a bookmaker charges for each losing wager. Longshot:  Any team or horse which is very unlikely to win. Over/Under bet:  You can wager on the combined number of points scored by both teams to be over or under a set amount of points established by the oddsmakers. Parlay:  A single bet comprised of multiple bets.  Each element of a parlay needs to win for your parlay to be successful. Pick:  Often you'll see it written as PK or Pk'em.  It’s a term used when there's no clear favorite in a point spread, so the point spread is zero.  Whichever team wins the game, straight-up, will cover the Pk’em spread. Prop bet:  A wager on a particular factor within a sporting event, like the number of field goals made in the game, or percentage of three-pointers converted by Steph Curry. Totals bet:  Another way to refer to an over/under wager Value:  When you find value, you will have favorable odds on a betting proposition.  You’ll have an edge on the bookmaker. Please note that there are tons of other sports betting terms, but you now have insight into the sports betting world.  You know what SU means and how to implement it, and much more!  So, don't hesitate any longer -- go ahead and place some wagers!

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Ness Notes: Monday, Nov 9

by Larry Ness

Monday, Nov 09, 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."Eights are wild in tonight's MNF contest between the New England Patriots and the NY Jets (8:20 ET on ESPN). The Pats have won EIGHT consecutive meetings against the New York Jets, many of them by lopsided margins. The Pats swept the Jets by a combined 63-14 margin in 2019's two games, as Belichick improved to 30-10 in the rivalry. The Jets have lost all eight of their games this season and entering Week 9, had mustered a league-low 94 points this season, 39 fewer than the next-closest team (Washington had played one fewer game). The Jets have only scored two TDs in their last four games and entered Week 9 ranking last in total offense (259.0 YPG), last in passing (155.9 YPG) and last in third-down conversions (28.3 percent). The post-Brady Patriots have lost four consecutive games for the first time since 2002 and New England hasn't lost five in a row since 1995. Can the 0-8 Jets win? Maybe not but we just saw the 0-8 ATS Cowboys lead the 7-0 Steelers 19-9 into the fourth quarter before collapsing but still being able walk away with an ATS win. The Pats are favored by 10 points and the over/under is 42. I'll take a pass and "get back to work" with the start of NFL Week 10 when the Colts and Titans square off for first place in the AFC South on Thursday night. Tuesday's Notes will feature a Week 9 recap and a mid-season update.CFB recap: Entering the CFB week (Nov 4-7) there had been 16 meetings so far this season between ranked opponents, with the higher ranked team having gone 15-1 SU and 14-2 ATS (the lone SU loser was then-No. 3 Florida losing on Oct 10 at then-No. 21 A&M). However, the past weekend saw No. 1 Clemson lose 47-40 (2-OTs) at No. 4 Notre Dame and No. 5 Georgia lose 44-28 to No. 8 Florida in Jacksonville. Both No. 9 BYU (51-17 over No. 21 Boise St) and No. 13 Indiana (38-21 over No. 23 Michigan) followed the previous weeks' form of the higher ranked teams winning and covering.Clemson saw its 28-game winning streak vs ACC opponents end, as did its 39-game regular season winning streak fall as well (for those 'keeping score,' I incorrectly wrote last Thursday that Clemson had won 40 straight). Notre Dame won its NINTH game over an AP No. 1 team (since 1936) but it was its first since the Irish topped Florida St back in 1993. Notre Dame has now won 13 straight overall (longest active streak among FBS teams) and 23 straight at home (QB Ian Book is 14-0 at home as ND's starting QB). Georgia led Florida 14-0 and 21-14 but trailed 41-24 at the half. Florida QB Kyle Trask threw for 474 yards and four TDs to become the first player in SEC history to pass for four-plus TDs in FIVE straight games. Boise St began the game without starting QB Bachmeier (not unexpected) but then lost QB Spears VERY early, after he went 4 of 4 for 41 yards. The Cougars won in a rout and are 8-0, extending the team's best starting since BYU opened the 2001 season at 12-0. The Wolverine faithful can't help but be getting tired of Jim Harbaugh, as Indiana dominated Michigan, 38-21. However, let's be sure to give Indiana head coach Tom Allen his due, as the Hoosiers' win ended a 24-game losing streak to Michigan (last win came back in 1987), the last time Indiana opened 3-0 in the Big Ten. Could that win move Indiana into the AP top-10 for the first time since 1969? I'll tell you in just a bit when I give the latest AP poll update. Wrapping up, higher ranked teams are now 17-3 SU and 16-4 ATS. As documented here each week, the dynamic of ranked teams against unranked opponents has seen markedly different results. Ranked teams began the college football week 68-22 (.756) SU when taking on an unranked opponent but a 'money-burning' 36-53-1 (.404) ATS. I opined last Thursday, will this trend continue throughout the 2020 season? Or, will there be a "regression to the mean?" Well, ranked teams did go a perfect 14-0 SU against unranked opponents this past week but still could NOT win more than 50 percent ATS, going 6-7-1. The numbers Y-T-D stand 82-22 SU (.788) but just 42-60-2 ATS (.412).New AP poll: Clemson was the AP's preseason No. 1 and had stayed atop the poll each week but the Tigers' loss to Notre Dame (see above) dropped them to No. 4. "Movin' on up" was Alabama, getting 59 of the 62 first-place votes. Notre Dame (two 1st-place votes) jumped two spots to No. 2, its best ranking since the Fighting Irish were 12-0 and ranked No. 1 in the final regular season poll of 2012. Stepping back in time for a moment; despite starting that season unranked, the Fighting Irish ended it 12–0 and ranked No. 1. However, Alabama crushed Notre Dame 42-14 in the BCS National Championship Game and later, adding insult to injury, ALL wins in the 2012 and 2013 seasons were vacated for the use of ineligible players. Returning to 2020, Ohio St remained No. 3 (one vote) and Texas A&M claimed the No. 5 spot (highest ranking since its No. 5 ranking in 2012). Rounding out the top-10, Florida is up to No. 6, Cincinnati is No. 7, BYU is No. 8, Miami-Fl is No. 9 and yes, Indiana did crack the top-10 for the first time since 1969 (does anyone but me remember John Pont, who is the ONLY Indiana head coach to lead the Hoosiers to the Rose Bowl?), at No. 10.Georgia fell EIGHT spots to No. 13 plus No. 21 and No. 23 Michigan dropped out of the rankings. New to the latest poll are No. 23 Northwestern (back in for the first time since 2018) and No. 25 ULL, which returns after being ranked as high as 19th earlier this season. A "shout out" goes to 7-0 Coastal Carolina, which remained at No. 15 and 7-0 Liberty, which has climbed to No. 22 after its 'fantastic finish' win 38-35 at Va Tech as a 17-point underdog. Let me close with a tribute to Nick Saban, like him or not. Alabama has now been ranked No. 1 at some point in each of the last 13 seasons (streak began in 2008, Saban's 2nd season). Alabama has topped the AP poll on 123 occasions, well ahead of Ohio State's 105. Oklahoma is third with 101 weeks at No. 1 and Notre Dame is next at 98. One last "shout out" to Saban; he's been Alabama's head coach for 92 of those 123 No. 1 rankings, which is one more than USC's legendary program has all-time (91).Just like last week, my Wednesday and Thursday Notes will concentrate on the 2020 CFB season and an upcoming preview of the weekend, respectively.Good luck...Larry

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Big Al's Daily Angle: Monday Night Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Nov 09, 2020

NFL Monday Night Football game on ESPN between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets dominates the Monday sports card.New England limps into this game amidst a four-game losing streak. The Patriots were in a position to win (or at least force overtime) late in the game on the road at Buffalo before Cam Newton turned the ball over with a fumble to hand the Bills a 26-23 victory. New England did outgain the Bills by a 349 to 339 margin in the loss. The Patriots find themselves with a 2-5 record and a losing grip on the opportunity to make the playoffs. New England is averaging only 19.4 points-per-game on offense. Despite losing five of their seven games, they are only being outgained in these contests by -5.6 net yards-per-game, given their 351.7-357.3 yards-per-game averages this season. The Patriots have become a run-oriented offensive attack that is third in the NFL with their 31.6 rushing attempts per game and their 159.7 rushing yards-per-game. Having Newton under center helps that cause with his 298 rushing yards along with a 5.1 yards-per-carry average. But while Newton is completing 66% of his passes, he has only thrown two touchdown passes to his seven interceptions. Newton has fumbled three times, including the fateful turnover that cost his team the opportunity for a victory last week.Newton does not deserve all the blame for the woes of the New England passing game. The Patriots have only ten receptions from the tight end position as they still look to fill the shoes of that Rob Gronkowski used to wear. With Julian Edelman on Injured Reserve and N’Keal Harry out for this game with a concussion, the wide receiver depth chart consists of Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, and Isaiah Zuber off the practice squad. Seventeen players are also listed as questionable by head coach Bill Belichick including cornerback Stephon Gilmore, running back Damien Harris, and offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn. The Jets are winless after eight games with their 35-9 loss in Kansas City last week, where they were 20-point underdogs. New York managed only 221 yards on offense while allowing the Chiefs to gain 496 total yards. The Jets have lost six of their eight games by double-digits. Critics looking for ammunition against head coach Adam Gase can point to the zero points that his offense has scored in the second half in three straight games. New York is averaging only 11.8 points-per-game along with 258.8 yards-per-game. The Jets’ defense is giving up 29.8 points-per-game along with 398.9 yards-per-game. Both units will be without perhaps their best player tonight. Quarterback Sam Darnold is doubtful with a shoulder injury. Defensive end Quinnen Williams is doubtful with a hamstring injury. New York has six players on their Injured Reserve list with another three players declared out. Joe Flacco will likely be the starting quarterback for the Jets with Darnold out. In his three games this season, he has completed only 41 of 79 passes for 397 yards and a 51.9% completion percentage. He has thrown one touchdown pass with one interception while being sacked five times. The Jets’ last victory in this AFC East rivalry was in 2015. New England won both meetings between these teams last season by 30-13 and 33-0 scores. BetAnySports lists the Patriots as a 10-point road favorite with an over/under of 41. Game time on ESPN is at 8:15 PM ET.

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NBA Handicapping: Expert Tips on How to Handicap NBA Basketball Odds

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Nov 09, 2020

Handicapping is something that's not set out for everyone.  It's what separates the recreational bettors from the professionals.  With the NBA, you’ll have certain bettors who only surface during the Playoffs to make a couple of wagers, and then you’ll have those who follow every single move an NBA team makes.  In many ways, the novice bettors feed the sportsbooks, while the professional handicappers feed their bankroll.  Sports wagering is a fun practice which can deliver a strong rush of adrenaline, but it does require a good bit of work to develop a winning strategy. Although it’s been decades since we were rookie bettors, we still remember and understand what that was like.  Thus, we would like to share our experience and knowledge base with anyone who's still uncovering his way as a handicapper.  The path to becoming a professional is no doubt difficult, but it’s also quite possible if you’re willing to put in the work. <h2>Five tips to develop a professional NBA betting strategy</h2>Don't get us wrong, here.  By following our tips, you won't become a professional NBA handicapper right away.  You'll still need to go through the process of watching NBA games in the regular season and playoffs, and possibly even watch some college basketball, to understand the game thoroughly.  We'll start with some betting tips to prevent you from making some common mistakes.  There are no shortcuts to mastering the art of sports betting, but at least these betting tips can help speed up your process.  We've deliberately constructed a list of five sports betting tips that will guide you towards your personal handicapping strategy. 1. Start right:  pick the best sportsbooksThe first thing you’ll need to do when you start as a sports bettor is choose your sportsbooks.  And note that sportsbooks is plural, and not singular.  The reason for that is that the point spreads and odds vary with each sportsbook.  If you only have one sportsbook, then you’re at its mercy with respect to the odds.  But if you have multiple sportsbooks (say, four or five), then you’ll stand an excellent chance to get the best number, and your win rate will naturally increase about two percent.  You might think that any sportsbook is fine, but there are often big differences among them.  We've used dozens of sportsbooks over the years, and have compiled a ranking based on a list of factors.  The value of our effort is that you can skip the research and start using a proper sportsbook straightaway.  However, for transparency, we do want to give you an overview of the criteria we use when evaluating a bookmaker: When did the sportsbook start? Does the sportsbook offer competitive odds? Are the sportsbook’s odds unique (which is necessary for line-shopping), or does it merely copy the odds of industry leaders? Does the sportsbook offer a wide range of banking methods? What are its wagering limits? How modern is the sportsbook’s website and user interface? Is its customer service available 24/7, and responsive when you run into any issues?  What are its sign-up bonuses and promotions?  Most online sportsbooks will either offer free bets, reduced juice, or welcome bonuses when you sign up. 2. Understand the importance of the numberThere are over 1,300 games in a single NBA season, so there are endless betting opportunities.  It's okay to skip the Bucks facing the Celtics at 1 pm, if you see better value on the Rockets/Lakers game that evening.  As an old bookie of mine used to say, ‘why eat hamburger when there’s steak at the end of the table?’  But precisely what constitutes value?  Well, that’s what handicapping is all about.  It’s to calculate the differential between the two teams, and then assess the relative value conferred by the odds.  The moment you start digging in, you will notice that different sportsbooks offer different point spreads on the same matchup.  For example,  BetOnline might have the Lakers favored by 6.5 over the Rockets, while Bovada might deal the line at minus 7.  That half-point difference can be the  reason why you win a bet, rather than push.  And that's when you will fully realize the value of a half-point.  In a nutshell, if you get an extra half-point, you will increase your win percentage by about 1.7%.  So, if you’re betting on sports to make money (as opposed to having fun), then it’s incumbent upon you to have accounts at multiple sportsbooks.  And not just any sportsbook.  But you must have accounts at books that have unique numbers.  That is, they publish their own lines, and don’t just copy the numbers of other leading sportsbooks.  By having four to five accounts at sportsbooks that have unique numbers, you’ll be able to get the best number an overwhelming majority of the time.  Some of the best books with unique odds include our #1-rated book, BetAnySports, our #2-rated book, BetNow, our #3-rated book, Bovada, our #4-rated book, BetOnline, and our #5-rated book, BookMaker.Line movementEvery single sportsbook has the goal of making money.  You're wagering for the same reason.  The moment the sportsbook lists the bet, you'll have sports bettors diving in and making their bets.  From that point forward, the odds are always in flux.  If action comes in heavily on one side, the sportsbook can choose to move the lines to thereby better attract action on the other side.  Or, sometimes, a line moves because the status of a player changes due to injury.  This line movement is often where professional bettors find their edge.  When a line moves, value can be eroded, or it can be increased.Competitive oddsWith any bet, no matter if it's a point spread bet, or a total, you're dealing with betting odds. When you're selecting a sportsbook, it’s important to determine whether their odds are competitive, in comparison to others. Most sportsbooks offer standard -110 odds.  But some sportsbooks offer reduced juice, which is a big advantage for the bettor.  For example, GTBets offers -109 pricing on football and basketball games rather than -110 odds, while BetAnySports goes even further by offering -105 pricing.  And WagerWeb offers a variant on reduced juice.  What WagerWeb gives is 1% cash back on volume.  The net effect of that offer is that its clientele lay -108 rather than -110.  So, if WagerWeb installs the Bucks as a 4.5-point favorite over the Heat, while Intertops also has the number at -4.5, you’ll play at WagerWeb because the odds are just -108.  So, when you choose which sportsbooks to join, you should definitely take into account the odds.3. Knowledge is powerWhen you're betting on the Raptors, you have to know how well Kyle Lowry has been performing lately.  The same goes for Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers, and with a bunch of other NBA players.  Of course, the performance of an individual player won’t necessarily dictate the outcome of a game.  But when you know a player has a sore knee before the sportsbook does, you can take advantage of the odds before they change. On top of that, professional handicappers analyze minute details about every game.  Does a team enjoy a strong home-court advantage?  With how many days of rest is each team playing?  What is the respective motivation of each team?  What are the previous results for both teams?  How have the two teams performed against each other in the past?  And so forth.4. Keep your hand on your pocket:  money managementWhen you bet on sports, you'll need to decide how much money you're willing to put on the line.  If you want to walk away with a large profit, then you’ll have to risk a lot, too.  You can go in without a plan and choose your bet size based on how you’re feeling on that day.  Or you take the better course of action, and make a plan.  With proper planning and money management, you'll be among the professional handicappers who limit their risk.  You can set a couple of rules for yourself, such as: What's my initial bankroll? How much do I wager per bet? What are the maximum odds I'll take on? How many bets do I make each day? How many bets do I make each week? What happens when I'm on a losing streak? These questions are here to give you a basic framework to keep yourself in check -- especially emotionally.  We're playing for the long run here, not just for a quick buck.  That means you'll have to think about a couple of scenarios before you start.  The stricter your rules, the less your emotions will invade your decision-making, and the better your performance will be. 5. Learn from the experts:  understand what professional NBA handicappers valueSimilar to NFL handicappers, NBA handicappers love to share their research and results.  Any professional with a proper track record will publish his analysis along with his selections.  As a newbie NBA handicapper, you can learn a lot from the established handicappers in the industry.  Some handicappers have developed a robust system from decades of experience that allows them to wager on multiple games a week.  We advise you to create your system, of course, but it's always a wise move to understand what others are doing.  When a professional handicapper shares good analysis on the Golden State Warriors, then test that knowledge against your own system to see if you need to make adjustments on the data you value.The other way you could approach this is to pay a handicapper for his expertise.  Often NBA handicappers share some free picks as a preview of their services. You can try these, and if there's a winner among one of those picks, you'll probably earn enough to pay for their services.  The paid NBA picks are often much better than the free choices, of course, and they can reward you with big bucks in your bank account.  Professional handicappers often collaborate, and their pool of knowledge is more than you can acquire by yourself.  But you can use that information to your advantage, and follow the professionals' picks to make money.  Whatever you choose to do, have fun along the way!

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Big Al's Daily Angle: EPL and NFL Preview

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Nov 08, 2020

The Sunday sports card features the continuation of Week 9 of the National Football League, along with four matches in the English Premier League.The NFL has 12 games scheduled for Sunday. Eight games begin the card at 1 PM ET. The primary game on CBS has Baltimore traveling to face the Indianapolis Colts. The Ravens are a 1-point road favorite with the total set at 47.5 (all odds from BetOnline). The national game on Fox has Kansas City hosting the Chicago Bears. The Chiefs are a 10-point favorite with an over/under of 52.  Another three games take place in the second window of afternoon games. At 4:05 PM ET, Las Vegas travels to Los Angeles to play the Chargers with this game a pick ‘em with a total of 52.5. At 4:25 PM ET, Arizona hosts the Miami Dolphins with the Cardinals a 6-point favorite with the over/under at 49. The national game on CBS at 4:25 PM ET features the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh is a 15-point road favorite against the Cowboys tapping Garrett Gilbert as their starting quarterback with the total set at 44. First place in the NFC South will be on the line for Sunday Night Football in a showdown between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.These two teams met in the opening week of the season. New Orleans won by a 34-23 score as a 4-point favorite (with the total at 48) in what was the first game for Tom Brady in a Tampa Bay uniform. The 43-year old had some difficulties playing in a new offense that day as he completed 23 of 36 passes with two interceptions. Brady has only thrown two interceptions since that game in leading the Buccaneers to a 6-2 record. His 63.9% completion percentage against the Saints defense was the third lowest in his eight games this season. New Orleans raised their record to a 5-2 mark last week with their overtime 26-23 win in Chicago. That game left the Saints dealing with some nagging injuries with quarterback Drew Brees slowed with a shoulder and running back Alvin Kamara suffering from a foot issue. Both of those players are now off the injured list as of Friday, yet head coach Sean Payton was coy about their availability for this game. Wide receiver Michael Thomas remains questionable with an ankle injury, but he may make his return to the field for this game, given the high stakes. The Saints only rushed for 82 yards in their win against the Bucs. That was their lowest rushing output of the season. New Orleans is averaging 119.3 rushing yards-per-game this season while topping the 90 yards threshold six times. Tamara has 431 yards on 87 carries, with Latavius Murray adding another 282 yards on 71 carries. Yet the Buccaneers lead the league by allowing only 70.4 rushing yards-per-game. Tampa Bay has held three of its opponents under 50 rushing yards this year. This high-profile matchup features the two all-time NFL leaders in passing touchdowns with Brady’s 561 career touchdown passes just ahead of the 560 TD Brees has thrown in his career. BetOnline lists the Saints as a 4.5-point favorite with the total set at 50.5. NBC has the broadcast with the kickoff at 8:20 PM ET.Four matches take place in the English Premier League. At 7 AM ET, Tottenham travels to West Bromwich with the Hotspurs' a -1 goal line road favorite with an over/under of 2.75. The NBC Sports Network broadcasts that match as well as Leicester City hosting Wolverhampton at 9 AM ET. The Foxes are a -0.25 goal line home favorite with a total of 2.25. At 11:30 AM ET, Liverpool travels to Manchester City in a showdown between the past two EPL champions. Man City is a -0.5 favorite with the over/under set at 3.25 with the match broadcast on the NBC Peacock app. The final match of the day at 2:15 PM ET has Aston Villa visiting Arsenal. The Gunners are a -0.75 goal line favorite with the total set at 2.75 with this match also on the Peacock app.

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What does "Push" Mean in Sports Betting?

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Nov 08, 2020

What does push mean in sports betting? In this world, we all have goals and ambitions that we're reaching for.  One person might give his all to become a successful business owner, while another might strive to become the President of the United States.  This extends to the sports betting industry, as well, as it offers great opportunities to achieve financial success.  Any bettor knows that if you wager successfully for an extended period, you will see your bankroll grow substantially.  Slowly but steadily, you'll achieve the milestones you set for yourself.To go on a sizzling-hot streak in sports betting, you not only need to do thorough research, and bet into good numbers, but you also need to have some luck.  With any bet you make, there’s always a chance that it will go down to the wire, and may even result in a tie.  When a wager ends in a tie, that’s referred to as a push.  When a bet pushes, the bookmaker returns the stake to the gambler, and no money is won or lost on the wager.  Certainly, after watching an NFL game for three hours, it can be pretty frustrating to wind up in the same situation as you started.  But given that the standard wager is at -110 odds, bettors will welcome a push more than bookmakers. In this betting guide, we'll take you through push bets.  It might be weird at first, but when you understand the logistics behind a push bet, you can even use it in your favor. How does a push work?It might sound straightforward:  when a wager results in a tie, it's a push.  Now, just because a wager results in a tie doesn't mean the game, itself, also finished in a tie (although that’s possible, too).  Most often, a push occurs when the final score of a matchup has the same differential as the listed point spread, or the aggregate score equals the listed over/under line.  But in rare instances, an NFL game might result in a tie, so moneyline wagers would push in such cases, or a hockey, soccer or baseball game might push against the goal-line or run-line.One thing should be clear.  When a bet pushes, it's not a very big deal since the bookmakers don't charge an extra fee when your bet pushes.  There's no vigorish (vig) charged on pushed bets.  Let's take you through the exact logistics of a push bet by showing you an example of what happens with a push in a spread bet and an over/under wager. Push in spread bets and over/under betsWe'll use a basketball game between the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers to illustrate the possibilities of a point spread bet ending in a push. In our example, the betting lines are: New York Knicks -4 Los Angeles Lakers +4 In this example, the point spread favorite is the Knicks, while the Lakers are the underdog. To cover the spread, the Knicks need to win by at least five points.  On the other hand, the Lakers need to either win the game, straight-up, or lose by less than four points to cover the spread.  However, should the Knicks win the game by exactly four points -- say, 98-94 -- then this bet would end up as a push.  At that moment, the bookies will refund all monies placed on the wager. With an over/under bet, it works the same way. Recall the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts in January, 2015.  That game’s over/under line at BookMaker was 52 points.  When New England won, 45-7, the total pushed, and the monies wagered on the over/under were refunded.Generally speaking, bookies would prefer that wagers do not push, as tied bets mean they don’t earn any vigorish for those wagers.  There are specific strategies employed by sportsbooks to avoid pushed bets, but we'll dive into that later. Push in parlaysWhen a bet pushes in an individual bet, it's evident that you get a refund, and nothing further happens.  However, what if a gambler made a three-team parlay bet, and one of the three wagers pushed.  For the uninitiated, a parlay bet consists of multiple wagers grouped together as one bet.  And each wager needs to succeed for the parlay to win.  Obviously, if any of the individual wagers lose, then the parlay would also lose.  But what if you have a three-team parlay, and one of the bets ends up in a push, while the other two bets win.  In this case, your parlay bet is still valid, but it's now converted into a two-team parlay, and the bet that pushed is, in effect, null and void.  When this happens, your odds also change to reflect the fact that you won only two bets instead of three.  Thus, your payout odds could be reduced from, say, 6-1 on a three-team parlay to 13-5 on a two-team parlay.How to avoid a pushA push should not be viewed as an unfavorable outcome by bettors.  At the end of the day, your stake is refunded by your bookmaker, and you can reinvest the money into other wagers.  However, when you're anticipating a win, and you've just spent a couple of hours watching a game, sometimes a push can be pretty frustrating.  On the other side of the fence, sportsbooks truly don't want bets to push as they might be in a position to make money (if their action is balanced) regardless of which side covered the spread. The question, thus, arises:  how can one avoid a push?  There are several ways to avoid a pushed bet, but the easiest way is for a sportsbook to install a point spread or over/under line on a half-point number. With a regular point spread wager, you will see the lines either offered as whole numbers or half-point numbers.  With whole numbers, there will always exist a chance that the wager will end in a tie, thus pushing.  But with half-point numbers, that possibility is erased, since the scoring in football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer games operates on a whole-number basis.  Many sportsbooks might be incentivized to post a half-point number on a game (e.g., UCLA -3.5 vs. USC) to ensure they won't have to refund anyone. Because a bookie establishes the line, a bettor has less control over whether a bet pushes.  But that doesn’t mean a bettor is out of options.  Say you absolutely don't want to push a bet.  What can you do?  One option is that you can bet on the moneyline rather than a point spread.  Let’s say you wanted to wager on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 54.  But when you logged in to your account at MyBookie, you saw the Chiefs were favored by 1 point.  However, MyBookie also offered the Chiefs on the moneyline at -125 odds, so that would be a very good alternative.  Besides betting on the moneyline, another option for a bettor is that you can choose to buy a half-point.  Generally speaking, most books have standard -110 odds.  But say you’re playing at GTBets Sportsbook, and your over/under line for Super Bowl 54 is 53 points.  If you liked the under, you could buy a half-point, and move the line from 53 to 53.5 points.  Instead of laying -110 odds, you would now be laying -120 odds.  But your bet would be under 53.5 rather than under 53. How do sportsbooks handle push bets?As we mentioned before, sportsbooks prefer that bets do not push.  They are in the business to make money, not allow people to wager and then refund them afterward.  The most effective way is to utilize half-points in combination with line movement at the right moment. When you're taking a close look at the lines offered by sportsbooks, you'll notice that they frequently move.  However, as a sports bettor, the point spread movements also offer the opportunity to shop lines, and find value. What are the best sportsbooks for shopping point spreads?It goes without saying that every half-point matters in sports betting.  Getting that extra half-point is what often turns a loss into a push, and a push into a win.  Therefore, when you are considering the sportsbooks at which to open up accounts, you need to focus on ones with unique lines -- that is, the ones that publish THEIR OWN numbers, and don’t just COPY the numbers of other major sportsbooks.  And if you stop to think about why this is the case, it will make sense to you.  The most important thing to understand is that all sports bettors need at least three sportsbook accounts in order to shop the lines to get the best numbers.  One of the biggest mistakes made by gamblers is that they will only use one bookie.  If you do that, then you will always be held hostage to that bookie’s numbers.  And your win percentage will be about 2% lower than it would be if you had multiple sportsbooks.   When you commit to joining three to five online sportsbooks, it’s best to focus on the ones that offer unique point spreads because you want to have different numbers -- you want to have choices so you can always get the best number whether you like the favorite or the underdog.  It does little good, for example, if you have an account at, say, BookMaker, and your other sportsbooks just copy BookMaker’s numbers (which many sportsbooks do).  It eliminates the advantage you seek by having accounts at multiple sportsbooks.  With that in mind, the best sportsbooks to join for the purpose of getting the best odds are BetAnySports (our current #1-rated sportsbook), BetNow (#2), Bovada (#3), BetOnline (#4), BookMaker (#5), and BetUS (#10).  Not surprisingly, these sportsbooks dominate the upper tier of our Top 10 Sportsbooks for 2020.Of course, when you’re comparing sportsbooks, a lot of factors will come into play in addition to the lines.  Perhaps you value a modern website or a juicy sign-up bonus.  And when you're playing at an online sportsbook, its trustworthiness is also important.  Let’s take a look at various considerations: Licensing and certificates - You should join a sportsbook that is in possession of all the required licenses and certificates issued by the jurisdiction in which it operates. When this is taken care of, you know the bookie is legit, and you can trust them with your money.  Indeed, all the sportsbooks in our Top 10 rankings have pristine payout records over decades. Bonuses and promotions - When you sign up at many sportsbooks, you will be given an initial sign-up bonus, and then also given reload bonuses down the road.  BetNow has the best sign-up and reload bonuses, and is currently our #2-rated sportsbook, overall.  If free money is your most important consideration, then join BetNow!  Modern user interface - In today’s fast-moving world, we want to do things lightning-quick.  And this is no less desirable in the sports betting world where every second counts when you’re fighting to get the best number, or place a bet in a live game during a time out.  For many gamblers, it’s critical to have a modern website which works well for both desktops and mobile devices.  If this is important to you, then Bovada should be your top choice as its website is head-and-shoulders above the rest.  Competitive Odds -  Most sportsbooks offer standard -110 odds for football and basketball games, but some will offer reduced juice, so the odds might be -105, or -107, or -109, depending on the sportsbook.  So, if you want to bet on the Lakers/Celtics game, and each of your sportsbooks had the Lakers favored by 5 points, but one of your sportsbooks offered the odds at -105 rather than -110, then you would place your bet with that reduced juice sportsbook.  Our current #1-rated sportsbook is BetAnySports, which offers -105 reduced juice on football and basketball games.  If you’re betting on sports, BetAnySports is a “must join” sportsbook. As you can see - it is critical to have accounts at multiple sportsbooks.  Feel free to browse our sportsbook reviews to see which ones best fit your needs. How can sports handicappers help you get the best numbers?When you're in the betting industry, it's all about finding value.  It's a numbers game where every single decision you make matters. Not just the matchup you pick to wager, but also the sportsbooks with which you work, and the type of wager you place.  There's a ton to think about, which might feel overwhelming at times.  If you don’t have the time to do all the proper research, it might be smart to ask for help by a professional. One of the best benefits of using a professional sports handicapper is that you will often get the best number before the market moves the numbers.  Let’s explain why.  The sports betting world is a marketplace.  The bet shops open for business when they first publish the odds on a game.  After that, and right up until game time, the numbers are in constant flux, as gamblers across the globe place their wagers.  Most gamblers don’t have the time to stay fixated on the market -- to watch the line moves, and stay abreast of the volume of bets going on one side, or the other.  But professional handicappers are in tune with the marketplace, and the best ones will have a very good feel for which way the market is heading.  Moreover, their research will point them to situations where the odds are off, so they’ll be able to take advantage of soft lines and distribute this information to their clients.  Thus, when you subscribe to a professional handicapper’s service, you can get the benefit of this knowledge, and will often be given selections on games in advance of major line movement.  So, hiring a handicapper is generally a very good idea. After digesting all the information above, you should understand that pushing a bet is not a big deal at all.  Indeed, in many instances it’s a welcome outcome -- especially when you fought for that extra half-point by having multiple sportsbook accounts, and was able to avoid a loss because of those multiple accounts!  Good luck, and have fun in your sports betting career!

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Breeders' Cup Classic Preview

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Nov 07, 2020

The 37th Breeder’s Cup Classic will be the 12th race today at Keeneland race track in Lexington, Kentucky. This 1 1/4 mile race on a dirt track features horses that are at least three-years-old with the $6 million prize in this Grade 1 event. Twelve of the 36 previous winners of this race have been three-year olds. Only five of those winners won a Triple Crown race earlier that year. With the COVID pandemic changing the spring racing schedule, bettors will need to evaluate how those races taking place in the fall affects the three-year-olds in this field. The morning line favorite is Improbable with 5-2 odds. The four-year-old is trained by Bob Baffert, who enters this race with three-straight Grade 1 wins in a row. Improbable’s most recent start was six weeks ago, where he won by 4 1/2 length at the Awesome Again. Improbable’s Beyer rating of 108 in that race was a career-high. Improbable will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., who also was his jockey in his fourth-place finish at the Kentucky Derby last year. Improbable drew the 8th position. The second-morning line favorite is Tiz the Law with 3-1 odds. The three-year-old won the Belmont Stakes and the Travers going into the Kentucky Derby, where his Triple Crown aspirations were thwarted by Authentic in a second-place finish. This event is Tiz the Law’s first race since the Derby on September 5th. Tiz the Law is trained by Barclay Tagg and will be ridden by Manny Franco. Tiz the Law will ride of the second slot.Maximum Security is the third favorite at 7-2 odds. Maximum Security is another four-year-old that is trained by Baffert. Maximum Security won the 1 1/4 mile Pacific Classic in August before losing to Improbable at the Awesome Again six weeks ago. Luis Saez is the jockey. Maximum Security will race out of the final 10th spot on the outside. The Kentucky Derby winner, Authentic, has morning line odds of 6-1. He followed up that effort with a second-place finish to the filly, Swiss Skydiver, at the Preakness Stakes on October 3rd. The three-year-old is the third horse in this field trained by Baffert. Authentic's jockey is John Velazquez. Authentic drew the ninth position. Tom’s d’Etat also has morning line odds of 6-1. The five-year will be racing his final race before going out to stud. Tom’s d’Etat defeated Improbable at the Oaklawn Mile after losing to him at the Whitney. In between those two races, Tom’s d’Etat won the Stephen Foster with his best career Beyer rating of 109. Al Stall, Jr. is the trainer with Joel Rosario taking the harness for his final race today. Rosario has won five of the six races he has ridden Tom’s d’Etat, who drew the fourth hole for this race. By My Standards has morning line odds of 10-1. The four-year-old has won four of the previous six races in 2020. By My Standards' other two races were second-place finishes to Tom’s d’Etat at the Stephen Foster and to Improbable at the Whitney. By My Standards won the Louisiana Derby last year before finishing eleventh at the Kentucky Derby. By My Standards is trained by Brett Calhoun and will be ridden by Gabriel Saez. By My Standards drew the third position. Tacitus has 20-1 morning line odds. The four-year-old has been favored in six of his nine races this year. Yet Tacitus only fulfilled those expectations with a win at the Suburban. Tacitus finished in second place in the Woodward. As a three-year-old, Tacitus finished in third place at the Kentucky Derby before a second-place finish at the Belmont Stakes. Tacitus is trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Jose Ortiz. Tacitus drew the pole position. Higher Power is the second of three horses with morning line odds of 20-1. The five-year-old finished in third place in the Breeder’s Cup Classic last year. His peak performance was last year at the Pacific Classic, where he won the race with a Beyer figure of 107. However, Higher Power is winless in his previous six starts. Higher Power is trained by John Sadler and ridden by Flavien Prat. Higher Power drew the sixth position. The third horse with morning line odds of 20-1 is Global Campaign. The four-year-old was the front-running winner in the Woodward this year. Global Campaign is trained by Stanley Hough and ridden by Javier Castellano. Bettors should take note that his ownership overlaps with Improbable. Global Campaign drew the seventh position. The long-shot in this ten-horse field is Title Ready with morning line odds of 30-1. The five-year-old has never won a graded stakes race. Title Ready’s top Beyer figure was 95. He is trained by Dallas Stewart, with Corey Lanerie serving as his jockey. Title Ready drew the fifth position.NBC has the broadcast of the Breeder’s Cup. This final twelfth race starts at 5:18 PM ET.

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Breeders' Cup Preview

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Nov 07, 2020

[Editor's Note:  This Breeders' Cup preview was submitted by Eric "Sheets" Haber, a horse racing expert (and long-time BigAl.com client).]It is important to realize that wagering on horse racing is completely price dependent.  Horses which are great bets at 10-1 could be avoided at 2-1.  Horses which are the most likely winners can be terrible bets, and horses which only have 10% winning chances can be incredible bets.  What makes this write-up more complicated is that the odds are unknown.  We have preliminary odds to go on, but I do advise that wagers are not placed until close to post time, as odds can be volatile.  As a result, what I am going to do is give my opinions on where value might exist base on my estimates of winning chances compared to the projected odds, and also give some guidance regarding what odds might be enough to make a horse good value.  I will end each race with who I feel is the most likely winner, and who I feel is the best value.Friday, November 6-----Two-Year-Old DayThe Breeders Cup broke the races into 2 days, with day 1 being dedicated to the babies.  Two-year olds are extremely volatile, more so than older horses who have established some semi-consistent form.  With that said:Juvenile Turf SprintFavorite Golden Pal is going to be even money and is the most likely winner. The price is not good enough to play him though.  There are several live longshots as well, all of which probably have about 10% winning chances, and can be used at 15-1 or higher.  That includes Second of July and Momos.  If either of those horses does drift up to 10-1 you can try them, but overall a very uninspiring start to the card, at least from a betting perspective.Most Likely Winner: Golden PalBest Value: MomosJuvenile TurfExtremely competitive race---Sealway is the most likely winner and is currently around 10-1. Good enough for me if it stays that way.  Perhaps 9-1 would be good enough.  Underneath is a whole mess of horses who can win, but my numbers show me that the next most likely winners are Devilwala and Go Athletico, both of whom are also over 10-1.  In fact, Devilwa is 30-1 morning line. Most Likely Winner: SealwayBest Value: DevilwaJuvenile FilliesHonestly, I make 5 horses pretty much equal, with another just behind, who is extremely long odds.Vequist, Simply Ravishing, Girl Daddy, and Dayoutoftheoffice are close.  I would give Dayoutoftheoffice a tiny edge but not much.  I guess right behind them Crazy Beautiful and Princess Noor are ok, but Crazy Beautiful at 20-1 is just way too long.  It probably has 15% winning chances and is a huge overlay.  I do not like Princess Noor as the favorite. Most Likely Winner: DayoutoftheofficeBest Value: Crazy BeautifulJuv Fillies TurfAunt Pearl is a terrible favorite, with about 10% winning chances and currently 5/2.  Campanelle is the most likely winner by a little bit, and 4-1 is fair.  I will probably end up also going with one of 2 horses who are slightly less likely to win than her, but much longer odds. MissAmulet at 10-1 is about break-even value so you can try her, or if you want something longer, Spanish Loveaffair at 20-1 is just too long, and rates as good value.Most Likely Winner: CampanelleBest Value: Spanish Love AffairJuvenileI make Reinvestment Risk at 9/2 slightly better than Jackie’s Warrior and the latter rates to be about even money.  Also, there are a slew of horses with winning upside, some of whom are extremely long. Dreamer’s Disease, Next, and Rombauer all have upside, all have about 8% winning chances, and rate to be bombs.  Watch the board on this race, but for me Reinvestment Risk will be an easy key if it somehow gets up to 8-1, with sprinkles of those long shots as well.Most Likely Winner: Reinvestment RiskBest Value: Dreamer’s DiseaseSaturday, November 7, The “real” Breeder’s Cup day:Filly and Mare SprintReally not a great betting race to kick off Saturday.  Just no value at all. Gamine is probably the most likely winner but will be going off under even money and just not great.  There are a few who are a little worse, with perhaps 10% winning chances, which probably won’t be going off long enough to generate value.  Those include Come Dancing, and SpeechMost Likely Winner: GamineBest Value: NoneTurf SprintSome real strong value here, with Imprimis and Got Stormy being very vulnerable favorites. Of the shorter horses, Leinster is the best, but the real value comes deeper.  I think that Wolfman Jack and Big Runnuer are probably the most likely winners and they are both over 15-1.  I will be using both, even if they are only 12-1.  Oleksandra and maybe Frontrunthefed could be secondary plays but Wolfman Jack and Big Runner are super strong values here.Most Likely Winner: Wildman JackBest Value: Wolfman Jack/Big RununerDirt MileBoth Go Knicks and Complexity are short prices, and each are vulnerable in their own way.  Art Collector is also short and not worth its price.  If I had to pick between those top 3 chalks, I would say Complexity is slightly the best, but I doubt any of them produce good value.  I guess I would say that if you get Complexity at 4-1 or Go Knicks at 6-1 grab it.  Maybe Go Knicks has a shot to drift up there.  Live longshots might be Sharp Samurai or Owendale Honestly, I give them about an 8% chance to win, so make sure you get 15-1 or more to play them, but you might get it.Most Likely Winner: ComplexityBest Value: Sharp SamuraiFilly and Mare TurfRushing Fall is super solid and clearly the most likely winner.  I feel he will be too short to bet, though.  If somehow you can get 4-1 then grab it, but he will be much shorter.   Mean Mary looks just a tad worse, but she is not long either. Sister Charlie and Starship Jubilee are just a little bit worse than the favorite but could be good relative value---if you can 10-1 on either, grab it. Harveys Lil Girl, Prancealot, and Mucho Unusual are next tier, and if you can get 20-1 on these, you are getting good value.  All in all, though, do not expect too much value here.Most Likely Winner: Rushing FallBest Value: Probably noneSprintAs usual, the sprint is a war.  Just a lot of possible outcomes here.  Firenzie Fire is just behind CZ Rocket in my ratings and might go off 12-1.  If so, then FF is in play. Then, as it usually is the case, there are 2-3 bombs which have 7-8% winning chances who could go off 30-1.  Hog’s Creek Hustle and Echo Town are exceptionally long and will win more often than their prices indicate.  I would stay away from all the favorites and just use the horses mentioned above, with no clear key.Most Likely Winner: CZ RocketBest Value: Firenzie Fire/Echo TownMile (Turf)Factor This is the most likely winner in a competitive race.  It probably has about a 12-15% chance to win, so at 10-1 and higher I like it.  Also, Digital Age is solid at 8-1 as are Halladay and March to the Arch all at decent odds over 10-1. If all of those hold their morning lines, or drift higher, you cannot go wrong with any of them.  The favorites are weaker than all of these. Most Likely Winner: Factor ThisBest Value: March to the ArchDistaffMonomoy and Swiss Skydiver are the most likely winners but should be extremely short--   Cee Cee is only slightly worse and is somehow 12-1 currently.  If she is anywhere near this, she should be the best value/key. Ollie Candy and Dunbar Road are the next tier and 12-1 would be fair on those.   I will be keying Ce Ce though if these odds hold.Most Likely Winner: MonomoyBest Value: Ce CeTurfWow, usually there are 1-2 standouts in this race which I either commit to or try to beat.  I do not know what it is about this year, but my analysis has this race as almost every horse having exactly equal winning chances.  However, there are a few horses which are a tiny bit better, and one of them is a huge bomb.   If I had to narrow this field down, I would say that Mogul, United, Magical, Channel Maker and Donjah are slightly better than the rest. Well, Donja is 25-1 so I will probably be gambling on him.  At least I know I am getting good value relative to his winning chances, which is all I can ask.  Most Likely Winner: United Best Value: DonjahClassicI wish I had something more earth shattering for you in the Classic, but, the most likely winners, to me, are Tiz The Law and Authentic, and neither will be a great price, and no one else rates to be great value. If you can get either of these horses at 5-1 then go for it, but it probably is not happening.  The one longer shot which has a shot to be good value is Tom’s Detat.  I give him about 15% winning chances so I guess if you can get 9-1 or so, he might be worth a stab, but the Classic is just not shaping up as a great betting race.  I do not like any of the other favorites either.  Most Likely Winner; Tiz The LawBest Value: None.Good Luck to All!

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NFL Sunday Night Football: Buccaneers/Saints Preview

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Nov 07, 2020

First place in the NFC South will be on the line for Sunday Night Football in a showdown between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.These two teams met in the opening week of the season. New Orleans won by a 34-23 score as a 4-point favorite (with the total at 48) in what was the first game for Tom Brady in a Tampa Bay uniform. The 43-year old had some difficulties playing in a new offense that day as he completed 23 of 36 passes with two interceptions. Brady has only thrown two interceptions since that game in leading the Buccaneers to a 6-2 record. His 63.9% completion percentage against the Saints defense was the third lowest in his eight games this season. Brady has found his groove with his new team as he has thrown 17 touchdowns to just one interception in his last five games. Tampa Bay has won the turnover battle in six of its seven games since that opening loss to New Orleans. They come off a 25-23 victory at New York against the Giants on Monday Night Football. Brady completed 28 of 40 passes for 279 yards in that game with two touchdown passes. He has completed over 70% of his passes in his last two games while passing for at least two touchdown passes in three straight contests. The Buccaneers return home after playing their previous two games on the road. Only left guard Ali Marpet will be unavailable to Tampa Bay in this game from their active roster as he recovers from a concussion. Defensive end William Gholston has been on their COVID list, but his recent negative tests could put him in a position to play. Wide receiver Chris Godwin is questionable with his finger injury, but head coach Bruce Arians have declared he will play in some capacity. Recently-signed wide receiver Antonio Brown will also be eligible to make his debut with the team.New Orleans raised their record to a 5-2 mark last week with their overtime 26-23 win in Chicago. That game left the Saints dealing with some nagging injuries with quarterback Drew Brees slowed with a shoulder and running back Alvin Kamara suffering from a foot issue. Both of those players are now off the injured list as of Friday, yet head coach Sean Payton was coy about their availability for this game. Wide receiver Michael Thomas remains questionable with an ankle injury, but he may make his return to the field for this game, given the high stakes. The Saints only rushed for 82 yards in their win against the Bucs. That was their lowest rushing output of the season. New Orleans is averaging 119.3 rushing yards-per-game this season while topping the 90 yards threshold six times. Tamara has 431 yards on 87 carries, with Latavius Murray adding another 282 yards on 71 carries. Yet the Buccaneers lead the league by allowing only 70.4 rushing yards-per-game. Tampa Bay has held three of its opponents under 50 rushing yards this year. This high-profile matchup features the two all-time NFL leaders in passing touchdowns with Brady’s 561 career touchdown passes just ahead of the 560 TD Brees has thrown in his career. BetOnline lists the Buccaneers as a 4.5-point favorite, with the total set at 50.5. NBC has the broadcast with the kickoff at 8:20 PM ET.

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