Articles

Ness Notes: Wednesday Nov 3

by Larry Ness

Wednesday, Nov 04, 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." The Mid-American Conference became the first FBS conference to postpone the fall season because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic back on Aug 8 but 'reversed field' on Sep 25 by announcing that a season would be played, one which would feature a six-game, conference-only schedule. All 12 MAC schools will open the season Wednesday, Nov 4 and then play their next two games on Tuesdays or Wednesdays before transitioning to Saturdays for the final three weeks. Each team will play five division opponents and one crossover opponent in Week 1. The two most noteworthy games are defending league champion Miami (Ohio) opening at home against Ball State and Central Michigan (defending West Division champs) at home against Ohio U. CFB-Part 1: Thursday's Notes will feature my usual CFB preview but this special Wednesday edition takes a look at just how much the pollsters know or DON'T know. Here's a brief history of the AP poll. The news media began running their own polls of sports writers to determine who was, by popular opinion, the best football team in the country at the end of the season. One of the earliest such polls was the AP College Football Poll, first run in 1934. In 1935, AP sports editor Alan J. Gould declared a three-way tie for national champion in football between Minnesota, Princeton, and Southern Methodist. Minnesota fans protested, and a number of Gould's colleagues led by Charles "Cy" Sherman suggested he create a poll of sports editors instead of only using his own list, and the next year the poll was born and it has run continuously since 1936. The AP Poll currently lists the top-25 teams in the nation but from 1936 to 1961 the wire service only ranked 20 teams. Surprisingly, from 1962 to 1967 only 10 teams were recognized. From 1968 to 1988 the AP again resumed its top-20 before expanding to the current 25 teams in 1989.The AP began conducting a preseason poll starting in 1950 and I'll take a quick peek back to see where those predictions stand as the season moves into the month of November. Clemson was ranked No. 1 (38 first-place votes), Ohio St No. 2 (21), Alabama No. 3 (2), Georgia No. 4 and Oklahoma No. 5. Not bad, as the current AP poll (as of Nov 1) has Clemson No. 1 (33), Alabama No. 2 (29), Ohio St No. 3, Notre Dame No. 4 and Georgia No. 5. That's four of the top-5 still in the top-5 with Notre Dame, which opened No. 10 in the preseason poll, replacing Oklahoma. The Sooners are a modest 4-2 and are currently ranked No. 19 and just re-entered the poll on Oct 25, after missing THREE straight polls after losing back-to back games following a win in their season opener.Let's look and some big "swings and misses!" Defending champion LSU was ranked No. 6 in the preseason poll and actually received one first-place (that voter should at least be fined, or maybe placed in 'time out.'). The Tigers opened their season at home vs Miss St and lost 44-34. How bad does that loss look now? The Bulldogs haven't won since beating LSU, going 0-4 while totaling just 30 points! Unranked LSU has added a 45-41 loss at Missouri (Missouri came into that game averaging 15.5 PPG) and just last Saturday, lost 48-11 at Auburn, which was also ranked as one of the nation's biggest underachievers prior to that result. Penn St opened No. 7 and after the Big Ten's late start, is 0-2. The Nittany Lions opened with a 36-35 (OT) loss at Indiana, giving the Hoosiers their first win over a top-10 team since 1987! Penn St lost this past Saturday 38-25 at home to Ohio St and dropped out of the poll after being ranked for 64 straight polls (when eligible). Indiana began unranked in the preseason and is currently 2-0 and ranked No. 17, the school's highest ranking since being No. 11 back in 1987.More misses: North Carolina opened at No. 18 and after a 3-0 Start, was ranked No. 5, the school's highest ranking since 1997. However, the Tar Heels are now unranked, after losing 31-28 at Florida State (Seminoles entered that game 1-3 with their lone win coming over Jacksonville St) and 44-41 at Virginia, which entered that contest on a four-game slide. Is it basketball season yet, ask Tar Heels fans? Minnesota went 11-2 last season and beat Auburn 31-24 in the Outback Bowl as a seven-point dog. It marked Minnesota's first 11-win season since 1904 and the Golden Gophers opened No. 19. However, Michigan beat them 49-24 at home and then the not-so Golden Gophers lost 45-44 at Maryland, which lost 43-3 in its season opener at Northwestern plus was coming off a 3-9 season in 2019 (1-8 in the Big Ten). Iowa opened No. 24 but has opened 0-2 for the first time since 2000 and Tennessee opened No. 25 but is 2-3.Underappreciated was Cincinnati, which opened at No. 20 but has started 5-0 while outscoring its opponents 198-60. The Bearcats have won 17 straight at home and this past Sunday earned a No. 6 ranking, the school's highest since ending the 2009 season ranked No. 4. Nowhere to be found in the preseason poll were now-No. 9 BYU, now-No. 15 Coastal Carolina, now-No. 16 Marshall and now-No. 25 Liberty. BYU was coming off a 7-6 season and saw its schedule completely undone by the pandemic. NINE of the 12 schools on BYU's original schedule announced that they were NOT going to play in 2020. BYU plays football as an Independent and had to scramble to patch together a 2020 schedule. BYU has opened 7-0 and have just THREE games left, a road game Friday at No. 21 Boise St, then home games against North Alabama (an FCS school) and SD State. If the Cougars win on the "blue turf," they'll likely finish 10-0. They are currently ranked No. 9, the first time the school has been in the top-10 since Nov 7, 2009. As for Coastal Carolina, Marshall and Liberty, that trio is a combined 17-0. Who could have predicted that? Surely not the experts voting in the AP poll, which is EXACTLY the point I was trying to make.Good luck...Larry

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Big Al's Daily Angle: UEFA Champions League and NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Nov 04, 2020

The Wednesday sports card features eight matches in the UEFA Champions League Group Stage Matchday 4 in the afternoon along with the debut of Mid American Conference college football in the evening. Six games are on deck to kick off the MAC college football campaign. Two games start at 6 PM ET with Eastern Michigan traveling to Kent State and Akron hosting Western Michigan. Three more games take place at 7 PM ET. On ESPN, Ohio travels to Central Michigan to face the Chippewas with the Bobcats a 2.5-point favorite, and the total set at 57.5 (all odds from BetOnline). Northern Illinois hosts Buffalo on ESPN2 with the Bulls a 13.5-point road favorite and an over/under of 52. The CBS Sports Network has Ball State traveling to Miami (OH) with the hosting RedHawks a 2-point favorite with a total of 56. Toledo hosts Bowling Green on ESPNU at 8 PM ET, with the Rockets a 23-point favorite with an over/under of 62.5.In the UEFA Champions League, two matches start at 12:55 PM ET. Lazio earned their fourth point in Group F last week with a 1-1 draw at Club Brugge. They travel to play Zenit Petersburg, who remained winless in group stage play after a 2-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund. This match is a pick ‘em with the over/under set at 2.75.Manchester United won their first two matches in Group H after their 5-0 victory over RB Leipzig last week. They travel to Istanbul Basaksehir, who have lost their first two matches in group stage play after their 2-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain. Man United is a -1.25 goal line road favorite with a total of 2.75.The remaining six matches start at 3 PM ET. Chelsea moved to four points in Group E with their 4-0 victory at Krasnodar last week. They host a Rennes side that has only one point in group play after their 1-0 loss at Sevilla. The Blues are a -1.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 3. Juventus takes the pitch after a 2-0 loss at home to Barcelona last week. They have three points in Group G as they travel to Ferencvaros, who earned their first point in group play with a 2-2 draw with Dynamo Kiev last week. Juventus is a 1.75 goal lone road favorite with the total set at 2.75.Paris Saint-Germain has four points in Group H after their 2-0 win at Istanbul Basaksehir. They visit RB Leipzig, who has three points in the group after their 5-0 loss at Manchester United last week. This match is a pick ‘em with the over/under at 3.Club Brugge has four points in Group F after their 1-1 draw against Lazio last week. They host Borussia Dortmund, who has four points in group play after their 2-0 win against Zenit. Dortmund is a -0.75 goal line road favorite with a total of 3.FK Krasnodar has one point in Group E play after a 4-0 loss at Chelsea. They travel to Sevilla, who has four points in the group stage after their 1-0 win over Rennes. Sevilla is a -1.75 goal line favorite with an over/under of 3.Barcelona won their first two matches in Group G with their 2-0 victory at Juventus last week. They host Dynamo Kiev, who earned their first point in group stage play after their 2-2 draw at Ferencvaros. Barca is a -2.5 goal line favorite with the total set at 3.75.All eight games are available on the CBS Sports All-Access package. Alternatively, the CBS Sports Network broadcasts a whip-around show during the six 3 PM ET games.

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What is a Bookie?

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Nov 04, 2020

What is a bookie? We're living in a modern society where anyone has access to anything they want at any moment.  When I grew up, if I wanted to purchase a rare, out-of-print record, I would have to travel to different cities in the USA or England to hunt for it.  Now, to find a rare item, it’s as easy as going to Ebay, and you’ll generally have it shipped to your doorstep within a few days.  Going back even further, American settlers had to grow their own food, or hunt for it.  These days, you can order food delivery through Postmates!  Within minutes you might be enjoying cacio e pepe and a chopped salad.  This eliminates the need to leave the house, so we get more comfortable within the comfort of our own four walls.  The rise of the internet has brought a lot of conveniences and even more possibilities.One sector which has drastically changed because of television and, later, the internet is the sports industry.  Before television, professional gamblers might find the need to be present in the arena to stay up to speed on the teams, and to gain the needed edge.  When you were interested in wagering on a match, you had to make a telephonic call to certain people who took bets.  These people were called bookies -- short for bookmakers.  They might either be at an arena, or in a back room, ready and willing to take wagers, before professional sportsbooks were established (and before sports betting was even legal).  My, how the world has changed!These days, there are hundreds of offshore sportsbooks that you can easily access to place a wager.  Also, since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was struck down in 2018 by the Supreme Court, the state of Nevada now has national competition too, as multiple other states across the country have legalized sports betting.  Plus, more importantly, with the rise of the internet in the late 1990s, you can now follow the play-by-play of any sporting event online.  The result is that sports bettors now have unlimited access -- both to sports information, as well as to bookies.  However, with strong competition among bookies, bettors might get overwhelmed when trying to decide the best ones to join.In this article, we'll dive deep into the art of bookmaking.  We'll take you through identifying the right bookmakers to use, and the bookmaker’s role in the sports betting industry.  Basically, everything you need to get started as a successful bettor. What makes the right bookie? The term bookie is slang for bookmaker, a person who accepts bets on sports or other events.  Bookmakers might operate illegally on their own, or as part of a fully-licensed organization, known as a sportsbook.  A bookie sets the betting odds of each match himself, or in collaboration with an oddsmaker.  Large bookmakers will take millions of dollars of wagers every day.  For example, across the state of Nevada, in December 2019, the licensed sportsbooks accepted bets worth over 571 million dollars, and profited over 26 million dollars on those wagers.  Bookmaking is a complicated operation, and there is still intense competition within the industry.  Every year, new sportsbooks pop up, and the market becomes more saturated.  As a bettor, it’s critical to pick the right bookies, and we’re here to guide you through the process.Safety and regulationsThe first thing to consider is the reputation of the sportsbook.  After all, if you’re going to risk your hard-earned money, then you need your capital to be safe and secure.  Whether you choose a licensed bookie inside the United States, or offshore, you can gain comfort in the fact that such bookmaker was granted the proper licenses and certificates to operate in their jurisdiction.It's important to research who you're dealing with.  In our Top 10 Sportsbook rankings, a big factor for being ranked highly is a sportsbook’s longevity.  If a book has a perfect payout record over decades, then it’s a warranted assumption that your money will be safe, and that you will be paid any winnings.  Intertops Sportsbook, for example, was the first sportsbook to take bets online, and it has maintained an unimpeachable reputation throughout its existence.  Technology in sports bettingSince we're talking about online sports betting here, we're very much concerned about technology.  A big differentiator among online sportsbooks is the book’s user interface.  That is, does it have a modern, intuitive website, which is easily navigable by its customers.  Also important is a sportsbook’s live betting platform.  Over the last several years, in-game betting has overtaken pre-game betting as the more popular wager type.  Key to in-game betting is the speed of a sportsbook’s betting platform, as bettors often have a scant amount of time to place their wagers before the odds change.  Additionally, some online sportsbooks even deliver statistics and analytics within their wagering platform to inform their customers about the two opposing teams.  If you’re a bettor who wants the most advanced technology at your chosen sportsbook, then Bovada would be the best sportsbook to join (and is our #3-rated sportsbook, overall).  With the growth of technology, another factor to consider when choosing a sportsbook is its banking methods.  The most advanced online sportsbooks will have a wide range of banking methods, including bank transfer, e-wallets, credit cards and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The more options, the better, since it gives you more flexibility.The importance of betting oddsPerhaps the two most important factors in selecting your bookies are the betting odds, and the uniqueness of their lines, because these two factors directly impact how much, and how often you will win your bets.  First, let’s discuss betting odds.  It’s standard for bookies to offer -110 odds on football and basketball games.  But certain sportsbooks, like BetAnySports and WagerWeb offer reduced juice.  Indeed, BetAnySports is our #1-ranked sportsbook primarily because it offers -105 odds on football and basketball games rather than -110 odds.  And that fact alone is worth over $10,000 dollars a year to the average $500 player.  Besides the odds, the other major factor to consider is whether a sportsbook has unique lines.  Let’s explain.  First, you should understand that each sports gambler needs to have accounts at multiple sportsbooks in order to shop the lines to get the best numbers.  At a minimum, you should have three sportsbook accounts, but ideally, you would want to have five.  And the reason is that every half-point is worth roughly 2% to your win percentage.  You need to have accounts at several online sportsbooks in order to bet into the best numbers.  Of course, this strategy only works if you open accounts at sportsbooks that have unique odds, instead of just copying the odds of other major books (which many sportsbooks actually do).  It would do you no good if you had an account at, say, BookMaker, but also accounts at two other sportsbooks that just copy BookMaker’s numbers!  Most of our top-rated sportsbooks do have unique odds, and include BetAnySports (#1), BetNow (#2), Bovada (#3), BetOnline (#4), BookMaker (#5), and BetUS (#10).  It doesn't matter on which sport you're wagering, the betting odds are paramount.  You might have the New York Yankees at -150 at one bookmaker, but -134 at another.  So, you need to shop around. What is the role of a bookmaker in sports betting? Bookmakers are essential when it comes to the sports betting industry.  Without bookmakers, bettors would be out of action since they would have nowhere to go to place their wagers.  And especially professional bettors.  When you're just betting small amounts of money, it doesn't really matter much, so you could convince a couple of friends to accept the bet.  But, when you want to take things to the next level, you need a proper sportsbook to handle your operations.  Since you're now aware of the essential role of a bookmaker in the industry, let's look at how a bookie makes money.How does a bookie make money?Do bookies make money when bettors place bets?  Of course, without bettors, a bookie wouldn't exist.  But often people don’t understand exactly how a bookie earns money.  First, it must be understood that bookies don’t charge gamblers to place a bet.  There is no service fee, for example.  Instead, the bookmaker charges a fee only on bets that lose.  Typically, that fee is worth 10% of the stake, but some books -- like 5Dimes -- only charge 5% of the stake.  So, if a bettor actually wins over time an amount of money 1.1 times greater than he loses, the bookmaker won’t earn any money off that bettor.  Therefore, it would be reasonable for a sportsbook to try to level the betting action on both sides of a wager.  That means, for example, when the Lakers play against the Knicks, a sportsbook would hope to have an equal amount of money on each team.  This will result in a situation that no matter if the Lakers or Knicks cover the point spread, the sportsbook will make money from the fees it charges on the losing bets.After reading this article, you know all about bookies.  You know it started as an innocent practice that didn't require too much knowledge, but has morphed into a multi-billion dollar industry.  We've discussed what makes a proper bookie, and how sports bettors should select their bet shops. Whatever you do, we are here to assist you in any way!

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Ness Notes: Tuesday, Nov 3

by Larry Ness

Tuesday, Nov 03, 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." MNF: The NFL concluded its Week 8 last night at MetLife Stadium, as the Tampa Bay Bucs recovered from an 11-point deficit in the second quarter to beat the NY Giants 25-23. The Bucs were stuck in 'FG mode' (just like in the team's 20-19 loss at Chicago in Week 5), settling for three FGs until a Brady to Gronk TDP put them up 15-14 (failed two-point conversion try) in the mid-third quarter. The Giants went back up 17-15 but then Brady's second TD pass of the game and Ryan Succop's 4th FG gave Tampa Bay a 25-17 lead. The Giants pulled within 25-23 on a 19-yard scoring pass from Jones to Tate with 28 seconds left but the two-point conversion pass failed. The Bucs are now 6-2, after winning FIVE of six in which Brady's thrown 17 TD passes against just ONE interception. The Bucs host the 5-2 Saints in Week 9 (SNF on NBC), a rematch of New Orleans' 34-23 win over Tampa Bay in Week 1. The Giants fell to 1-7 but have covered FOUR of their last five games (5-3 ATS on the season).Let's check on the Y-T-D numbers, with Week 8 in the books. Home teams went 7-7 SU and 8-6 ATS, including home dogs going 2-3 SU but 4-1 ATS. Home teams remain barely over .500 at 60-58-1 (.508) on the season while going just 53-64-2 ATS (.453). Home dogs check in at 11-29 SU but a more respectable 20-18-2 ATS. Scoring remains high (Week 8 games averaged 47.6 PPG) but resulted in eight overs and six unders. Y-T-D there have been 60 overs, 56 unders and three pushes.NFL Week 8 highlights: My Friday Notes will be dedicated to a "state of the union' NFL report, as the 17-week season hits its midpoint with Week 9. I noted yesterday that Pittsburgh (7-0) remained the lone NFL unbeaten by winning 28-24 at Baltimore, despite the Ravens owning 457-221 yardage advantage. How'd that happen? Baltimore had FOUR giveaways, including a 'pick-6!' In another head-scratching result, the Eagles beat the Cowboys 23-9. Why do I say "head-scratching" knowing the Cowboys are 0-8 ATS? Try this. The Eagles are the first team to have under 250 total yards (222), turn the ball over FOUR times and get sacked FOUR times and still win a game by 14 points since the Dolphins beat the Jets 14-0 in the 1982 AFC Championship Game (Can you say, AJ Duhe?).Monday's headline read: Tua wins his first NFL start! Can't argue with Miami's 28-17 win over the LA Rams, the Dolphins THIRD straight win (Miami is now 4-3). However, didn't Miami win DESPITE Tua? Tagovailoa (picked 5th overall in the first round) fumbled on his first attempt to throw as Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald knocked the ball loose, setting up the Rams on Miami's 15-yard line. Three plays later, it was 7-0 LA. However, the Dolphins scored 28 consecutive first-half points to take a 28-7 lead, thanks in large part to four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles) by Rams QB Jared Goff. One fumble was returned 78 yards for a TD plus Miami added an 88-yard punt return TD, as well. As for Tua, he completed 12 of 22 for 93 yards with one TD (zero INTs). His longest completion was for 15 yards and his TD pass was a three-yarder. Joe Burrow was the NFL's No. 1 pick and lines up behind an OL that has allowed 28 sacks and 'fuels' a non-existent running game (101.3 YPG), while Cincy's D allows 26.8 PPG. Still, Burrow is completing 67.0% for 2,2272 yards with 11 TDs and five INTs through eight games, after going 26 of 37 for 249 yards with two TDs and zero INTs in a 31-20 win over the Titans. The Bengals lost at Baltimore by 24 points but their other four losses have come by margins of three, five, four and three points.The Colts lost 27-20 at Jacksonville in Week 1 (Jags are 0-6 since) but their 41-21 rout at Detroit (Lions have now lost SEVEN straight at home) was their FIFTH win in their last six games, moving them into a first-place tie with the Titans in the AFC South. Dalvin Cook ran for 163 yards and scored four TDs (three rushing / one receiving), to lead the Minnesota Vikings to a 28-22 victory at NFC North-leading Green Bay. It snapped the Packers' EIGHT-game winning streak in the division. Patrick Mahomes (name sounds familiar) passed for 416 yards and five TDs, as the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs moved to 7-1. I think Mahomes has a future in this league. Meanwhile, the defending NFC champion 49ers lost 37-27 at Seattle, to fall to 4-4. San Francisco sits in last-place in the NFL's best division, behind the Seahawks (6-1), Cards (5-2) and Rams (5-3). To add insult to injury, TE Kittles and QB Jimmy G both got hurt and each will miss multiple games.Wednesday's and Thursday's Notes will focus on college football, as the MAC and more notably the Pac 12 FINALLY 'join the party.' Saturday's showdowns include No. 1 Clemson (40-game regular season winning streak) playing at No. 4 Notre Dame, which owns the longest active winning streak of any FBS team (12 in a row). Then there is No. 5 Georgia and No. 8 Florida meeting in Jacksonville in what's called "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party!" Good luck...Larry

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NFL Thursday Night Football: 49ers/Packers Preview

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2020

The Thursday Night Football game on Fox is a rematch of the NFC Championship Game last January. San Francisco clinched their opportunity to play in the Super Bowl in that showdown on January 19th with their 37-20 victory over the Packers. After the 49ers lost to Kansas City in the Super Bowl LIV, many observers presumed that head coach Kyle Shanahan’s team was well-positioned to avoid the jinx that many Super Bowl losers suffer in the next season.Yet the 49ers’ record fell to just 4-4 on Sunday with their 37-27 loss in Seattle. Their poor fortune was made even worse with significant injuries to both quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and tight end George Kittle, which will keep them out for perhaps the entire season. The loss of the All-Pro tight end robs the Niners’ offense of their most reliable target in the passing game. Kittle has 37 receptions this year for 474 yards. Nick Mullens will be the starting quarterback after completing 18 of 25 passes for 238 yards with two touchdown passes in relief against the Seahawks. For the season, the former Southern Mississippi star has completed 69 of 98 passes for 852 yards with a 70.4% completion percentage and an 8.7 yards-per-attempt average. In his 13 career games, which includes ten starts, Mullens has completed 65.9% of his passes for 3129 passing yards with 17 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. San Francisco already has eleven players on Injured Reserve, including Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman, Dee Ford, and Raheem Mostert. The Niners have several players out indefinitely along with another list of players questionable for this game played on a short week, including wide receiver Deebo Samuel and running back Tevin Coleman. The 49ers also traded away Kwon Alexander, who has missed the last three weeks with a high ankle sprain. He goes to the New Orleans Saints for a conditional fifth-round pick and linebacker Kiko Alonso, who is recovering from a torn ACL. The Niners also experienced a positive COVID test from Kendrick Bourne. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, left tackle Trent Williams, and the questionable Deebo Samuel are all out for tonight’s’ game in quarantine.Green Bay has lost two of their last three games after their 28-22 upset loss at home to Minnesota on Sunday as a 5.5-point favorite. The Packers outgained the Vikings by a 400-324 margin, but they gave up 173 yards rushing to Minnesota in losing that game. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sharp in the losing effort. He completed 27 of 41 passes for 291 yards with three touchdown passes. For the season, Rodgers is completing 65.9% of his passes for 1948 yards. He has thrown 20 touchdown passes to just two interceptions. Green Bay is dealing with a handful of injuries as well. Running back Aaron Jones and left tackle David Bakhtiari questionable and game-time decisions tonight with cornerback Kevin King declared out with his thigh injury for this game on the short week. King Wide receiver Allen Lazard and linebacker Christian Kirksey remain on Injured Reserve. The questionable status of Jones has become more ominous with the positive COVID test from rookie running back A.J. Dillon. Both Dillon and running back Jamal Williams were placed on the COVID reserve list. The Packers elevated Dexter Williams from the practice quad to join Tyler Ervin as their only eligible running backs if Jones is not able to play in this game. The Packers were thoroughly defeated twice last season by the 49ers. They were thumped in their regular-season encounter by a 37-8 score on November 24th before the rematch in the NFC Championship Game. The Niners outscored Green Bay by a combined 74-28 margin in those two games with an average winning margin of 23 points. Both of those games were played in Levi’s Stadium, which will also be the site for this showdown. BookMaker lists Green Bay as a 6.5-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: UEFA Champions League Preview

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2020

The Tuesday sports card features eight matches in the UEFA Champions League Group Stage Matchday 3 in the afternoon to consider.Two matches start at 12:55 PM ET. Borussia Monchengladbach settled for their second draw in Group B play last week with their 2-2 result with Real Madrid. They travel to Shaktar Donetsk, who earned their fourth point in Group B with their 0-0 draw with Inter Milan. Monchengladbach is a -0.25 road favorite with the total set at 2.75 (all odds from BetOnline).Atletico Madrid rebounded from their 5-0 loss to Bayern Munich in their opening match in Group A with a 3-2 win against Red Bull Salzburg last week. They visit Lokomotiv Moscow who has 1 point in group stage play after losing to Bayern Munich by a 2-1 score. Atletico Madrid is a -1.25 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.5.The remaining six matches start at 3 PM ET. FC Porto earned their first points in Group C with a 2-0 victory over Olympiakos last week. They host Marseille, who lost their second group stage match to Manchester City last week by a 3-0 score. FC Porto is a -0.5 goal line favorite with a total of 2.25.Man City has won its first two matches in Group C. They host Olympiakos, who have 3 points in Group C after their loss to FC Porto. Man City is a -2 goal line favorite with the over/under at 3.25.Liverpool won their second match in a row in Group D last week with their 2-0 victory against FC Midtjylland. They travel to Atalanta, who earned their fourth point in Group D last week with their 2-2 draw with Ajax. The Reds are a -0.5 goal line road favorite with a total of 3.5.Bayern Munich takes their perfect record after their first two Group A matches on the road to visit RB Salzburg, who remained with 1 point after losing at Atletico Madrid last week. The Bavarians are a -1.5 goal line road favorite with the over/under installed at 4.Ajax earned their first point in Group D with their 2-2 draw with Atalanta. They travel to an FC Midtjylland who have lost their opening two group stage matches. Ajax is a -0.5 goal line road favorite with a total of 3.25. Real Madrid earned their first point in Group B last week with their 2-2 draw at Monchengladbach. They host Inter Milan, who settled for their second straight draw last week with their 0-0 result with Shakhtar Donetsk. Real Madrid is a -0.5 goal line favorite with the over/under at 3.All eight games are available on the CBS Sports All-Access package. Alternatively, the CBS Sports Network broadcasts a whip-around show during the six 3 PM ET games.

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What does "Laying the Points" Mean in Sports Betting?

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2020

What does laying the points mean in sports betting? When you start sports betting, you will hear some terms fly around your ears.  It might begin simply with just the different betting options:  point spread, moneyline, or over/under.  After getting familiar with the basic lingo, you’ll then start to encounter other terms like juice, vigorish, round-robin, bad beat, run-line, puck-line, teasers, prop bet, and on and on.  Slowly, your knowledge will accumulate, and you’ll get more comfortable with the slang.To accelerate your education, we are here to provide a thorough understanding of all the terms that you need to know in your sports betting career -- from a simple moneyline bet to a complicated hedging strategy.  Perhaps the quintessential bet in the North American sports betting industry is the point spread wager.  It's easily the most popular form of football and basketball wagering for many sports bettors out there.  There are many different terms related to spread betting (e.g., cover the spread).  Here, we'll discuss the term 'laying the points.'It's a term used by experienced bettors for any sport where you can use point spreads such as the football and basketball.  We'll dive into the term and then give you a handle on how to implement it into your sports betting strategy. Getting started with point spread betting Alright, so we're focusing on point spreads here.  It's a form of betting where you pick a side in a matchup, and the winner is determined by adding or subtracting a set number of points (the “point spread”) to the final score.  Note that this betting option is only available for sports that work with an incremental, point-based scoring system.  So, let’s illustrate the point spread with an example.  We'll take the Super Bowl 53 matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots.  The betting lines at GTBets Sportsbook were: Los Angeles Rams +2.5 New England Patriots -2.5 In this example, similar to the moneyline bet, you have a favorite and an underdog.  The point spread favorite in this game was New England, while Los Angeles was the underdog.  To cash a ticket on the Rams, bettors needed them to not lose the game by three or more points.  A Patriots bettor, meanwhile, needed New England to win by three or more points to cover the spread.Now, let’s do a deeper dive into gambling slang, and talk about some of the terms that go along with this type of bet.  You should know that bettors love to come up with colorful phrases, and shorthand abbreviations to incorporate into their gambling conversations.  Two common expressions are ‘laying the points,’ and the related term, ‘taking the points.’Laying the points with the favoriteWith point spread betting, you have a favorite and an underdog.  When you hear a sports bettor say they're 'laying the points,' they are talking about betting on the favored team to win by an amount greater than the point spread.  In the example above, if you laid the points, that would mean you bet on New England minus the 2.5 points, and you would need it to win by at least three points to cover the point spread.Taking the points with the underdogThe opposite of laying the points is taking the points.  Instead of betting on the favorite, you're betting on the underdog.  When betting on the underdog in our Super Bowl 53 example above, you’re getting 2.5 points with the Rams.  So, you would win your bet if the Rams did not lose the game by three or more points.  As you can see, an underdog does not necessarily have to win the game, straight-up, to cover the point spread.  It can also cover the spread if it loses the game by an amount less than the point spread. How to use laying the points in your sports betting strategy? Alright, so you now know two of the most important sports betting terms when it comes to point spreads -- laying the points and taking the points.  It's useful jargon that you need when hanging out with gambling buddies, having a chat, and discussing the sporting events you're wagering on.  Beyond knowing how a point spread works and being familiar with gambling terms, you also need to know various wagering strategies.  We'll give you some tips to get you going in the right way.Create rules and be disciplinedAs a sports bettor, you're in the business of putting your money on the line.  You're not just predicting which team wins or who scores the next touchdown for fun -- you're in this to accumulate an enormous amount of money.  So, you have to create some rules for yourself, and establish boundaries and limitations.  The exact rules, of course, are completely up to you.  But we can start you off with some questions to ask yourself: What is the maximum amount of money you are willing to lose while betting on sports? ​What is the maximum amount of money that you are comfortable with losing on a single bet? How often do you want to wager? On which sports do you want to wager? Do you prefer to bet on moneylines, point spreads, over/unders, or prop bets? Are you comfortable with exotic bets like parlays, or do you prefer straight bets? These questions create a firm list of rules and boundaries for your sports betting career.  You can take things as far as you want, but it's good to be disciplined.  Otherwise, your adrenaline may get the better of you and you may wager more than you should on a single bet.  It’s good to constantly review and reflect on your betting patterns to see whether you're still adhering to your own rules.  Additionally, many bookmakers have wagering limits, which can also be handy to keep you in control.Be aware of line movementWe're assuming that you are aware of point spreads, and you made some outlines for your sports betting career.  You're not afraid to lose money anymore, and you're comfortable with putting some money on the line.  From this point, it's time to learn more about point spreads and the way bookies handle these types of wagers.  As you saw in the Patriots/Rams example, a football or basketball matchup has certain point spread numbers.  But be aware that these numbers may change.  This change is called line movement.When a bookmaker wants to open up betting on a game, it will publish its odds.  The initial point spread is called the opening line.  As time passes, gamblers place their bets and, depending on the money flow, as well as any new information, the numbers will change.  This happens right up until game time, when the odds on a game are taken down, and the final number is known as the closing line. This line movement system creates value for bettors and sportsbooks at the same time.  It’s crucial for gamblers to always keep a close eye on the lines, in order to be among the first to notice when a sportsbook changes its numbers.  When the odds significantly change, it’s an indication that something critical has happened to the match-up.  Maybe an important player became ill, sustained an injury, or was traded to another team.  Whatever it might be, the oddsmakers are generally up to speed and likely know more than you do.  In this case, you should do your research to find out what happened.  If nothing newsworthy happened, but the lines materially changed, it's probably due to a betting syndicate placing large wagers.  When a sizable bet is made by sharp gamblers on one side, the bookies will usually move the line to try to curtail the betting action on that one side and/or attract wagers on the other side.The importance of a sportsbookWhen you're working hard to research the games, you also always want to catch the best betting numbers.  The sportsbook plays an essential role in this situation since it’s the one which will eventually pay you.  You're trusting this betting site with your money, so you need to be sure it's safe.  We’ve thoroughly researched the world’s leading sportsbooks to come up with the most trustworthy, reliable and beneficial sportsbooks to recommend to our visitors.  We derived our Top 10 Sportsbook rankings after considering many factors, including longevity, payout record, wagering menu, user interface, sign-up bonuses, and odds.  Our current top sportsbooks include BetAnySports (#1), BetNow (#2) and Bovada (#3).  But each bettor has a different set of factors that are most important, so read our reviews to help you determine the three to five sportsbooks you want to play with.Call for help when you're lostOne always feels great after winning a bet, and then seeing one’s bankroll swell.  We get it.  It’s exciting to see a prediction come true, and earn money on top of that.  Sometimes, however, one goes on a losing streak, and is unable to handle the downturn.  One could react by taking unnecessary risks, such as betting on games that didn’t offer value, or wagering an outsized percentage of one’s bankroll.  That's where many gamblers go wrong -- they’re undisciplined, and not loyal to their own rules.  Eventually, they hit rock bottom, and feel depressed over losing money, and acting irrationally.  However, it doesn't have to be that way.When you start to notice that you can't win on your own -- either because you don’t have the time to do proper research and monitor the odds, or you lack the discipline to only bet on the best games -- you should be able to call for help.  There are reputable professional handicappers in the industry who will gladly help you out.  The reason you're reading this article is to gain knowledge, so why not approach someone who already possesses this expertise.  Handicappers can answer any question you might have, share their insights and analysis, and even provide you with their picks.  Hiring a professional handicapper might be your ticket to success -- and it might turn around your losing streak.You now know how to lay the points and take the points.  But the most important thing is to dive right in by experimenting with some wagers, and learn more as you go!  We're always here to guide you throughout your gambling journey and give you all you need along the way!

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Ness Notes: Monday, Nov 2

by Larry Ness

Monday, Nov 02, 2020

This column will be available Monday through Friday (posted no later than 1:00 ET), EXCLUSIVELY at BigAl.com. I like to call it my daily 'random thoughts' on the sports betting world, although I'll pass along that my therapist refers to it as "thoughtful commentary."Sunday NFL highlights: Pittsburgh (7-0) remains the lone NFL unbeaten by winning 28-24 at Baltimore. The Ravens had a 457-221 yardage advantage over the Steelers but had FOUR giveaways, including a 'pick-6!' The NY Jets (0-8) remain the lone winless NFL team with a 35-9 loss at Kansas City (Jets are 1-7 ATS). Dallas led Philadelphia 9-7 at the half Sunday night but went scoreless in the second half and fell 23-9 to the Eagles, remaining a very 'IM-PERFECT' 0-8 ATS. New England (2-5) lost its FOURTH straight (longest skid since 2002), 24-21 at Buffalo. The Bills snapped a SEVEN-game losing streak to New England, which has won the AFC East in each of the last 11 seasons. Buffalo is 6-2. Full Week 8 recap on Tuesday.MNF: The 5-2 Tampa Bay Bucs are at the 1-6 NY Giants at 8:15 ET on ESPN. Has Tom Brady found "the Fountain of Youth" in Florida? He has thrown 15 TD passes against just ONE interception over his last five games, with Tampa Bay going 4-1 in that stretch (exception being a 20-19 loss at Chicago in Week 5). He's sure being helped out by a Tampa Bay defense allowing the fewest yards in the league (291.3 YPG) and a modest 20.3 PPG. The Giants' lone win of 2020 was a 20-19 victory over Washington, which was sandwiched around a 37-34 loss at Dallas (Week 5) and a 22-21 loss at Philly (Week 7). Tampa Bay is favored by 13 points and the over/under is 45.CFB recap: There was only ONE game this past weekend in which ranked teams played each other. No. 3 Ohio State was at No. 18 Penn St last Saturday night and the Buckeyes won 38-25, a final that was also good enough for an Ohio St ATS win. That result continued an on-going trend in meetings between ranked teams this season. The higher ranked team has 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 dynamic of ranked teams against unranked opponents has seen markedly different results. Ranked teams did win 14 of 18 such matchups last weekend but were still a highly unimpressive 10-8 ATS The Y-T-D tally sits as such; ranked teams are 68-22 (.756) SU when taking on an unranked opponent but remain a 'money-burning' 36-53-1 (.404) ATS. Will this trend continue throughout the 2020 season? So far, we are still waiting.The four ranked teams to lose SU to an unranked opponent were then-No. 6 Oklahoma St 41-34 (OT) at home to Texas, then-No. 13 Michigan 27-24 at home to Michigan St, then-No. 15 North Carolina 44-41 at Virginia and then-No. 16 Kansas St 37-10 at West Va. The Longhorns' win at Oklahoma St was Texas' first win on the road over a top-10 opponent since 2010. First-year Michigan St head coach Mel Tucker joined Nick Saban (1995) as the only two MSU head coaches to beat Michigan in their first-ever try. On the flip side of that rivalry, 'the incomparable' Jim Harbaugh is now 1-6 SU at home against Ohio St and Michigan St (as if those two rivalries mean something to Michigan fans and alumni!). New AP poll: Trevor Lawrence was held out of Clemson's game vs Boston College and the Tigers barely survived, coming back from a 28-7 halftime deficit to win 34-28. Clemson had 52 first-place votes the previous week but fell to just 33 on Sunday, edging No. 2 Alabama (29 votes) by just TWO total points. Ohio St remained No. 3 and Notre Dame at No. 4, after the Irish won 31-13 at Ga Tech in less than impressive fashion (note: Notre Dame owns the longest-active winning streak among FBS schools at 12). Speaking of less-than-impressive efforts, Georgia held onto its No. 5 ranking, despite a 14-3 win at Kentucky (the Bulldogs were favored by 17 points). Cincinnati routed Memphis 49-10 for its 17th straight home win and is ranked No. 6, the school's highest since it finished 4th in the final AP poll of 2009 (can you say Brian Kelly?). BYU handled Western Ky 41-10 and the Cougars moved into the AP top-10 (at No. 9) for the first time since Nov 7, 2009. Indiana is ranked 13th, the school's highest since being ranked 11th in 1987. Okla St fell from No. 6 to No. 16 with its loss to Texas, while Michigan fell from 13th to 23rd with its loss to Michigan St. No. 14 North Carolina, No. 16 Kansas St and No. 18 Penn St all dropped out. Penn St had been ranked for 64 straight polls (not including when it was ineligible earlier this year to be considered), which was the 4th-longest active streak. If interested, the top-three active streaks are Alabama (205), Ohio St (138) and Clemson (94).New to the poll are Texas (22nd) and Auburn (24th) which are both back in. Auburn routed LSU 48-11! Special mention goes to 6-0 Liberty, which had a bye but moved into the final spot (25th), for the first time in school history. Of course, Liberty is in just its THIRD season as an FBS member. Liberty replaced Coastal Carolina at the No. 25 spot, as just like the Jeffersons, the Chanticleers are "movin' on up!" Coastal Carolina 'trashed' Georgia St 51-0 on the road this past Saturday and are also 6-0 (5-1 ATS) on the season, moving up to No. 15 in the latest poll.Tuesday's Notes will concentrate on NFL Week 8 and then it's mostly CFB on Wednesday and Thursday, before returning to the NFL on Friday, as the 17-week season hits its midpoint with Week 9.Good luck...Larry

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Big Al's Daily Angle: EPL and NFL Preview

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Nov 02, 2020

The Monday sports card features Monday Night Football in the NFL, along with two matches in the English Premier League.Two teams moving in the opposite direction will challenge bettors in the Monday Night Football game on ESPN. Tampa Bay has won five of their last six games after their opening week loss at home to New Orleans. They play their third game on the road in four games after victory last week in Las Vegas over the Raiders by a 45-20 score as a 3.5-point favorite. Tom Brady completed 33 of 45 passes in that game for 369 yards with four touchdown passes and without an interception. The ageless wonder is completing 65.7% of his passes in his year operating head coach Bruce Arians’ offense. He has thrown for 1910 yards with 18 touchdown passes, which began the week as the second-most in the NFL.  New York will be playing their second straight game on national television in prime-time after they lost at Philadelphia in last week’s Thursday night game by a 22-21 score. The Giants’ leading rusher in that game for the fourth time this season was quarterback Daniel Jones who gained 92 yards on four carries. New York is just 1-5 on the season yet remains only 1 1/2 games out of first place in the NFC East. BookMaker lists Tampa Bay as a 13-point favorite with the total set at 45. The kickoff is shortly after 8:15 PM ET.The English Premier League completes their seventh week of the season with two matches involving all three of the promoted sides. At 12:30 PM ET, West Bromwich travels to Fulham in a battle of two of these that made the step up from the Championship League. The Baggies come off a 1-1 draw at Brighton, which was their third draw in six EPL matches. West Brom has yet to bring home a victory since their promotion. Fulham looks to rebound from a 2- 1 loss to Crystal Palace last Saturday. The Cottagers have managed only one point in their six league matches, so relegation concerns are already developing. BookMaker rates Fulham as a slight favorite (PK, -135) with the over/under set 2.25. The NBC Sports Network has the broadcast.At 3 PM ET, Leeds United hosts Leicester City. The Whites have been one of the biggest surprises in the EPL this season with their opening match shootout with Liverpool that ended in a 4-3 loss before later earning a 1-1 draw with Manchester City. Under manager Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds has won three of their six EPL matches. The Whites defeated Aston Villa by a 3-0 win last weekend. Leicester City has won four of their six games this season after their 1-0 victory at Arsenal. After finishing in 5th place last year, the Foxes feel a top-four finish with a Champions League qualification is in sight.  BookMaker favors Leeds United slightly, as the Whites are PK, -114.  This match will be on the NBC Sports Network.

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NFL Monday Night Football: Buccaneers/Giants Preview

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Nov 02, 2020

Two teams moving in the opposite direction will challenge bettors in the Monday Night Football game on ESPN.Tampa Bay has won five of their last six games after their opening week loss at home to New Orleans. They play their third game on the road in four games after last week’s victory in Las Vegas over the Raiders by a 45-20 score as a 3.5-point favorite. Tom Brady completed 33 of 45 passes in that game for 369 yards with four touchdown passes and without an interception. The ageless wonder is completing 65.7% of his passes in his year operating head coach Bruce Arians’ offense. He has thrown for 1910 yards with 18 touchdown passes, which began the week as the second-most in the NFL. While Brady gets most of the attention for this team, the Buccaneers defense may be the best in the league. Tampa Bay is allowing 20.3 points per game, along with only 271.7 yards per game. They are holding opponents to just 4.8 yards-per-play, which is the stingiest mark in the NFL. The Buccaneers also lead the league in points differential, total yards differential, and with their net sack differential of +17. The Bucs have held five of their six opponents to 20 points or less. New York will be playing their second straight game on national television in prime-time after they lost at Philadelphia in last week’s Thursday night game by a 22-21 score. The Giants’ leading rusher in that game for the fourth time this season was quarterback Daniel Jones who gained 92 yards on four carries. This franchise did not draft Jones in the first round two years ago for him to be their leading rusher. The season-ending injury to running back Saquon Barkley threw a monkey wrench into the vision of what this offense could be under rookie head coach Joe Judge. The Giants signed free agent Devonta Freeman off the street after that injury, but he seems to have lost a step from his time in Atlanta and is now dealing with an ankle injury that has him questionable for this game.Jones is completing 61.9% of his passes for 1410 yards, yet he has only five touchdown passes and has thrown seven picks. He leads an offense that is scoring only 17.4 points-per-game while averaging 282.4 yards-per-game. New York is just 1-5 on the season yet remains only 1 1/2 games out of first place in the NFC East. New York has six players on their Injured Reserve, including linebacker Lorenzo Carter and rookie safety Xavier McKinney from Alabama. Guard Will Hernandez tested positive for COVID earlier in the week, which forced the Giants to put all but four offensive linemen into quarantine. They have not had an additional positive COVID test since then as of Sunday, so he may the only starting lineman they are without for this game. Tampa Bay will be without wide receiver Chris Godwin who is out with a finger injury. The Bucs signed wide receiver Antonio Brown to add depth with a potentially huge upside this week, but he has yet to be cleared by the league to play. Tight end O.J. Howard is out the season with an Achilles’ injury, and defensive tackle Vita Vea is on Injured Reserve with his ankle. This game will be the first appearance for the Buccaneers on Monday Night Football since 2018. These two teams played last year with Jones outdueling Jameis Winston on September 22nd for a 32-31 victory for the visiting Giants, who were a 5-point underdog. BookMaker lists Tampa Bay as a 13-point favorite with the total set at 45. The kickoff is shortly after 8:15 PM ET.

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What does "Off the Board" Mean in Sports Betting?

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Nov 02, 2020

What does "off the board" mean in sports betting? The sports betting industry consists of many different parties, and they're not just located in Las Vegas.  You have millions of bettors throughout the United States, and worldwide who place their wagers at online sportsbooks.  These bettors do their research by reading up on websites, watching television shows, and listening to radio programs and podcasts.  All these media outlets have journalists who dig deep into everything about a single matchup.  Each game is different, and the journalists and bettors know that information is the way to get an edge over others.There are hundreds of thousands of sporting events every year.  And the sportsbooks try to make sure that every game that's being played is available for wagering.  However, sportsbooks also want to limit risk, and make money.  That's why sportsbooks, on their end, have a lot of professionals to do research as well.  When they determine there’s enough uncertainty surrounding the odds on a game, they will take measures into their own hands.That's when the term 'off the board' comes into play.  Off the board refers to a sporting event where the sportsbook refuses to take any bets on that particular event.  Since sportsbooks and bookmakers operate on their own terms and conditions, they are allowed to take any bet off the board when they feel the need.  We'll dive into several reasons why this could happen, and what kind of bets can be taken off the board. Why do games or events go off the board in sports betting? The reasons why a game can be taken off the board can vary, but it all comes down to the sportsbook not wanting to assume undue risk.  They like to be in control of the situation and guarantee some sort of profit for any betting line available on their site.  After all, they're a business which needs to generate profit to stay afloat.  To make a profit, they need to foresee what's coming in and what's going out.  The moment they start to lose control and find it challenging to set betting odds for an individual sporting event, it could lead to a game taken off the board.Imagine you have an exciting match in the NBA coming up between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks.  Both teams are in great shape, and there's no clear underdog or favored team.  It's time for the sportsbooks to list the betting lines, but rumors have it that key player LeBron James might be suffering from an injury.  They're not sure whether LeBron James will be able to play or miss the game entirely.  It's hard to set a betting line at this point.  So, a sportsbook has three options; Don’t post an opening number, and keep the matchup off the board entirely to avoid any uncertainty. Post odds on the game, but perhaps with lower betting limits, at least until there is clarity about LeBron James’ health. Don’t post an opening number, and keep the game off the board until there is clarity about the injury and playing status.  Only when there is clarity does the sportsbook publish its line. When a game is taken off the board, it might be that people already placed their wagers.  In that instance, those bets are valid, and at the odds at the time of the wager.  However, anyone who still wants to bet on the game has to wait until it comes back on the board, and the odds at that point could be different. What kind of bets can go off the board? The most common games to be delisted from sportsbooks are football and basketball games.  Although injuries also occur in baseball and hockey games, a single player -- especially a star player -- will usually have more of an impact in a basketball or football game.  Thus, the odds will change more in football and basketball when a key player’s status changes.  To take one step back in the sports betting process, we'd like to give you some explanation as to what kind of bets there are, and which bets might be taken off the board.  We'll provide a quick description per bet type.  And also note that each bet type can be taken off the board at any time when the sportsbook has uncertainty.MoneylineThe moneyline wager is the most straightforward bet you can make.  All you do is pick which team will win the sporting event of your choice.  It's also referred to as a straight bet.  For example, sports bettors can bet the Patriots to win straight-up over the Bengals, which means the sports bettor predicts the Patriots will win the game.  The typical moneyline betting lines might look something like this: New England Patriots -165 Cincinnati Bengals +145 There's always an underdog and a favored team that you can tell by the minus and plus sign alongside the odds.  The underdog carries the plus sign, while the minus sign is associated with the favored team.  This is common in most bet types, not just straight bets.Over/underThe over/under wager is also referred to as the totals bet.  Instead of picking a winning team, you're betting on whether the final score of the match will be relatively high-scoring or low-scoring.  The sportsbook sets a number, and you have to predict whether the final score will be over or under that number of points.  To give you an example, we'll take an NBA match between the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers. The betting lines might look like this: Knicks/Lakers Over 210 Knicks/Lakers Under 210 You have to decide whether both teams will score enough to bring the final score over or under 210 points.Point spreadOne of the most common and popular bets is the point spread. When you're doing a little digging in sports betting, you've probably seen the terms 'against the spread,' 'cover the spread,' and ‘ATS’ thrown around a lot.  They all come down to spread betting.  With a point spread bet, you bet on the margin of victory in a game between two teams.  We'll illustrate this with an example: New England Patriots -3.5 Cincinnati Bengals +3.5 Similar to a moneyline wager, there is a point spread favorite and an underdog. The Patriots are the favorite, and the -3.5 number means that they need to win by at least 4 points to cover the spread.  On the other hand, the Bengals need to either win the game straight-up, or lose by 3 points or less to cover the spread.Spread betting is most popular for football and basketball, but it's also possible for other sports like baseball, hockey and soccer.  However, because scoring is much, much less in a baseball, hockey or soccer game, sportsbooks usually fix spreads in those sports at +/- 1.5, and adjust the associated moneyline odds from there.  Also, in those sports, this bet type is referred to as run-line (baseball), puck-line (hockey) or goal-line (soccer), rather than point spread -- but it operates the same way.Prop bets and other exotic betsAnother category of wagers is exotic bets.  A perfect example of this is a prop bet -- short for proposition bet.  Prop bets are made on a wide range of subjects.  It could be on which team will score first in a game, or what color of Gatorade will be poured on the winning coach.  There are also teasers, futures bets, round-robins, and many other wager types that we cover in other articles thoroughly.ParlayAll the bets that we mentioned before are all based on the outcome of one single sporting event.  With parlay bets, you're wagering on the outcome of multiple events in one single bet.  You're creating a multi-legged wager that only succeeds if every single individual bet wins.  So you could have your parlay bet look like this; New England Patriots -165 New York Knicks/Los Angeles Lakers Over 210, -110 Los Angeles Lakers PK, -115 These are individual straight bets, all with different betting odds.  The parlay bet combines these betting odds and can bring you very lucrative returns.  The risk you're taking is very high, but the return on investment can be tremendous. How to win at sports betting ​When you're active as a sports bettor, you know there's competition at every turn.  There's a competition among bettors to get down at the best odds; there's a competition between the sportsbooks and the bettors to see who will win the bets; and there's a competition between the teams that are the subjects of the bets.  In the end, the outcome of the matches we're wagering on is out of our control -- you can only watch and hope for the best.  However, when you're looking for trustworthy handicappers, and a reliable, customer-friendly sportsbook, you are in control.Finding the right sportsbookWhen you're shopping around for the best sportsbook that matches your needs, you'll find out that there are a lot of options.  However, not every single sportsbook might offer what you're looking for, and it can be overwhelming to analyze every single one.  We've done the hard work for you and have determined which sportsbooks offer the most to their clients.  We have a long list of factors on which we judge sportsbooks, including: How competitive are the betting odds of the sportsbook?  In other words, what is the vigorish they charge for each wager? Is the sportsbook an established entity, which has a long history of reliable payouts?  How is their reputation? When you sign up, does the sportsbook offer a nice welcome bonus or promotion offer?  And does it have generous reload bonuses? How is the user experience?  Is the website modern, and easy-to-use? Are the wagering limits big? Does the sportsbook have unique odds, which is important for line shopping, or does it copy the odds of other sportsbooks?   These factors are among the most important for our Top 10 Sportsbook rankings.  We recommend creating accounts at multiple sportsbooks since you want to be able to shop around to find the best lines.  Our current #1-rated sportsbook is BetAnySports, which offers reduced juice (-105 odds, rather than -110).  And other great sportsbooks are BetNow, which has the best sign-up and reload bonuses, and Bovada, which has the best website.  For big players, who want to bet 50,000 dollars on an NFL match, then BookMaker would be the best option.Find a professional handicapperSports betting can be stressful if you're mired in a losing streak.  And proper research takes a lot of time.  So, why not follow someone who handicaps sports events for a living?  Some handicappers sell their picks to allow other bettors to capitalize on their research and expertise.  You could compare it to stock traders sharing their signals, or even famous chefs cooking your food in a restaurant.  When you choose a handicapper, make sure you always look at his track record, and also his analysis to see if his methodology matches your beliefs.  Most handicappers offer free picks to start with, so you can get a feel of his performance before making your first purchase.  The beauty with purchasing picks is that the return on investment is usually way higher than the cost of the picks!After reading this article, you know the basics of sports betting, and understand why a bet could be taken off the board.  Right now, find a game which is on the board, and walk up to the betting window!

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Big Al's Daily Angle: EPL and NFL Preview

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Nov 01, 2020

The Sunday sports card features the continuation of Week 8 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 the Pittsburgh Steelers traveling to Baltimore to face the Ravens in an AFC North showdown. Baltimore is a 3.5-point favorite with the total set at 46.5. Tennessee (all NFL odds from BookMaker). The national game on Fox has the Minnesota Vikings traveling to Green Bay in an NFC North rivalry game. The Packers are a 6.5-point favorite with an over/under of 50. Another three games take place in the second window of afternoon games. At 4:05 PM ET, the Los Angeles Chargers travel to Denver with the Broncos a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 44.5. Seattle hosts the San Francisco 49ers at 4:25 PM ET. The Seahawks are a 3-point favorite and the over/under at 53 in this NFC West battle. The national game on Fox at 4:25 PM ET features New Orleans traveling to Chicago to play the Bears. The Saints are a 4-point road favorite with the total set at 43. First place in the NFC East will be at stake in the Sunday Night Football game on NBC despite it being a battle of two teams with losing records and a long list of injuries.Dallas has lost two straight games as well as four of their last five games after they got beat at Washington on Sunday by a 25-3 score. The Cowboys’ offense managed only 142 yards against the Football Team’s defense. Since the season-ending ankle injury to quarterback Dak Prescott, Dallas has scored only 19 points in their 24 offensive drives. Andy Dalton has been declared out for this game after he was on the receiving end of a brutal hit from Washington’s Jon Bostic that knocked him out of the game. The Cowboys will turn to rookie Ben Dinucci as their starting quarterback. Dinucci was a 7th round pick from James Madison, who led the Dukes to the FCS Championship Game against North Dakota State last year. He completed over 70% of his passes in his senior season for 3441 yards with 29 touchdown passes. He also rushed the ball 122 times for 569 yards last year with seven touchdowns, so offensive coordinator Kellen Moore might be able to draw up some plays to take advantage of those skills. Philadelphia snapped a two-game losing streak on Thursday Night Football last week with their 22-21 victory at home against the New York Giants. That win put the Eagles into first place in the division with a 2-4-1 mark. To the victor of this game will go at least a share of first place with three victories on the season. After Dalton was declared out, Philadelphia moved to an 11-point favorite with the total at 43. The game time is 8:20 PM ET.   The four matches on the English Premier League schedule begin at 7 AM ET with Southampton traveling to Aston Villa in a pick ‘em match with the total set at 3. The NBC Peacock app has the game. At 9 AM ET on the NBC Sports Network, Newcastle United hosts Everton with the Toffees a 0.5 goal line road favorite with the over/under set at 2.75 by BetOnline. Manchester United hosts Arsenal at 11:30 AM ET for a match on the NBC Peacock app. Man United is a -0.5 goal line favorite at BetOnline with an over/under of 2.75. At 2:15 PM ET on the NBC Peacock app, Brighton and Hove Albion visit Tottenham with the Hotspurs a 0.75 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.75 at BetOnline.

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