Articles

Big Al's Daily Angle: EPL and NFL Preview

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Nov 22, 2020

The Sunday sports card features the continuation of Week 11 of the National Football League, along with four matches in the English Premier League.The NFL has 12 games scheduled for Sunday. Seven games begin the card at 1 PM ET. The national game on Fox has New Orleans hosting Atlanta, with the Saints a 4-point favorite with the total set at 49 (all odds from BookMaker). CBS has a rematch of the AFC Divisional playoff game between Baltimore and Tennessee. The Ravens host this showdown as a 6-point favorite with the over/under at 50.Another four games take place in the second window of afternoon games. At 4:05 PM ET, the New York Jets travel to Los Angeles to play the Chargers. The Denver Broncos host the Miami Dolphins at 4:05 PM ET. At 4:25 PM ET, the Dallas Cowboys play at the Minnesota Vikings. The national game on Fox at 4:25 PM ET features Indianapolis hosting Green Bay. The Colts are a 1-point favorite with the over/under at 51.5.Sunday Night Football on NBC features a rematch of two AFC West rivals with playoff aspirations. Las Vegas upset Kansas City in Arrowhead Stadium on October 11th by a 40-32 score. The Raiders were 10-point underdogs in that game. Las Vegas got blasted home the next week after stunning the Chiefs by a 45-20 score to Tampa Bay. Yet the Raiders have since won three straight games to raise their record to a 6-3 mark with their 37-12 win at home against Denver last week. Las Vegas forced five turnovers in that blowout victory. Kansas City’s lone loss this season was against Las Vegas. The Chiefs have since rattled off four straight wins to raise their record to an 8-1 mark since that setback. Kansas City comes off their bye week after they defeated Carolina at home by a 33-31 score two Sundays ago as a 10-point favorite. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the way by completing 30 of 45 passes for 372 yards with four touchdown passes against the Panthers. Kansas City is a 7.5-point road favorite with the total set at 57. Kickoff is shortly after 8:20 PM ET.Match week 9 of the English Premier League continues with four matches on Sunday. At 7 AM ET, Everton travels to Fulham for a game televised on the NBC Peacock app. The Toffees are a -0.5 goal-line favorite with the total set at 2.75. At 9 AM ET, Sheffield United hosts West Ham United, which is also on Peacock. The Hammers are a -0.25 goal-line road favorite with the over/under set at 2.25. The NBC Sports Network has Leeds United hosting Arsenal at 11:30 AM ET. The Gunners are -0.25 goal-line road favorites with a total of 2.75. The Sunday card concludes at 2:15 PM ET with Leicester City traveling to Liverpool for the second match on the NBC Sports Network. The reigning EPL champion Reds are a 0.5 goal-line favorite with the over/under at 3.

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NCAA Saturday Afternoon Football: Cincinnati/UCF Preview

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Nov 21, 2020

The Saturday afternoon game at 3:30 PM ET on ESPN features a showdown of American Athletic Conference powers.Cincinnati has hopes to reach the college football playoffs as they continue their undefeated season. The Bearcats is the seventh-ranked team in the Associated Press poll this week after their 55-13 victory over East Carolina last Saturday as a 27.5-point favorite. Cincinnati is scoring 41.6 points-per-game while averaging 471.9 yards-per-game. They are also holding their opponents to just a 12.4 points-per-game scoring average. Junior quarterback Desmond Ridder completed 24 of 31 passes for 327 yards with three touchdown passes in the victory over the Pirates. He added another 75 rushing yards on eight carries with another touchdown. Ridder is completing 66.7% of his passes this season for 1483 yards with 14 touchdown passes but also with six interceptions. The dual-threat has added another 469 rushing yards with nine touchdowns on an 8.8 yards-per-carry average.Fourth-year head coach Luke Fickell has 15 starters back from the team that finished 11-3 last year that included a 38-6 win over Boston College in the Birmingham Bowl. That was the second-straight 11-win season for this program that wants to put themselves in a position to compete against the elite power five opponents in the nation. Winning the American Athletic Conference championship game remains an obstacle after losing to Memphis in the title game last year by a 29-24 score. The Bearcats avenged that loss to the Tigers earlier this season with a 49-10 blowout victory. They also easily won at SMU by a 42-13 score. With games at Temple and Tulsa on deck, this is likely the stiffest test left for Cincinnati to reach the AAC championship game. Central Florida lost two close games last month to conference rivals with an 8-point loss to Tulsa was followed up by a 50-49 loss at Memphis. The setback to the Golden Hurricane was devastating as they blew an 18-point lead in that game. The Knights have responded with three straight victories where they have averaged 44.3 points-per-game. They defeated Temple at home last Saturday by a 38-13 score as a 28.5-point favorite. Sophomore quarterback Dillon Gabriel completed 12 of 22 passes against the Owls for 268 yards with two touchdown passes to lead his team to victory. He has thrown nine touchdown passes without an interception in UCF’s three-game winning streak. The southpaw is completing 63.3% of his passes this season with 23 touchdown passes and only two interceptions. After passing for 3653 yards with 29 touchdowns in his freshman campaign, Gabriel leads an offensive attack that is number one in the nation with a 393.6 passing yards-per-game average. The Knights were second in the nation last year by averaging 540.5 yards-per-game. The fast-tempo offense under third-year head coach Josh Heupel has been even more explosive this season as they are producing 619.1 yards-per-game, which is the best mark in the FBS. Heupel has eight starters back on both sides of the ball from the group that finished 10-3 last year. UCF has been snake bit in close games, with their three losses last year being by just eight combined points. Cincinnati upset the Knights last year by a 27-24 score as a 3.5-point home underdog. BetAnySports lists the Bearcats as a 4-point road favorite with the over/under set at 65.5.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: EPL and NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Nov 21, 2020

The Saturday sports card features a busy slate of college football games along with the return of the English Premier League after their international break last week. The college football card features 31 games between FBS opponents. COVID issues led to the cancellation of the following 14 match-ups between FBS teams scheduled for Saturday: UAB at UTEP; Mississippi at Texas A&M; Georgia Tech at Miami (FL); Charlotte at Marshall; Arizona State at Colorado; UL-Monroe at Louisiana Tech; Wake Forest at Duke; Navy at South Florida; Houston at SMU; Utah State at Wyoming; Texas at Kansas; UNLV at Colorado State; Maryland at Michigan State; San Jose State at Fresno State. Twelves games kick off the college football slate in the noon to 3 PM ET window. Nine games take place at noon. On ABC, Clemson travels to Florida State with the Tigers' 34-point road favorites with the total set at 64 (all lines from BookMaker). Ohio State hosts Indiana on Fox with the Buckeyes a 20-point favorite and an over/under of 66.5. Florida travels to Vanderbilt on ESPN with the Gators 31-point road favorites with a total of 68. On ESPN2,  Appalachian State plays at Coastal Carolina with the Chanticleers 5-point favorites and the over/under at 48. Arkansas State visits Texas State, where the Red Wolves are 5.5-point favorites with a total of 68.5. Army hosts Georgia Southern on the CBS Sports Network as a 3-point favorite with the over/under set at 40.Another ten games take place in the 3:30 PM ET to 4 PM ET window. Seven games kickoff at 3:30 PM ET. ESPN has the American Athletic Conference showdown with Cincinnati traveling to Central Florida as a 4.5-point road favorite with a total of 65.5. Wisconsin travel to Evanston to play Northwestern in a battle of undefeated Big Ten West foes on ABC with the Badgers a 7.5-point road favorite with the over/under at 44. Nevada hosts San Diego State on CBS with the Aztecs' 1.5-point road favorites with the total set at 46.5. ESPN2 has UCLA playing at Oregon, where the Ducks are a 17-point favorite with an over/under of 64. Oregon State hosts California with the Golden Bears 2.5-point road favorite with the total at 46.5. At 4 PM ET, Iowa State hosts Kansas State on Fox with the Cyclones 12-point favorites with the over/under at 46.Seven games kick off from 7 PM ET to 8 PM ET. At 7 PM ET, Tennessee travels to Auburn with the Tigers 10.5-point favorites with the total set at 50.5. ABC broadcasts the Bedlam rivalry game this year at 7:30 PM ET with Oklahoma State playing at Oklahoma, where the Sooners are 7-point favorites with an over/under of 60.5. At 8 PM ET, Washington hosts Arizona on Fox with the Huskies 12-point favorites with a total of 53.5.Two final games close out the card in the evening. At 10:30 PM ET, USC travels to Utah with the Trojans 2.5-point road favorites with an over/under of 57.5. At 11 PM ET, Hawai’i hosts Boise State with the Broncos’ 13.5-point road favorites, with the total set at 55.The English Premier League returns to the pitch after a two-week international break with four matches on Saturday. Chelsea plays at Newcastle United at 7:30 AM ET on the NBC Peacock app. At 10 AM ET on the NBC Sports Network, Aston Villa hosts Brighton and Hove Albion. NBC broadcasts the Tottenham Hotspurs hosting Manchester City at 12:30 PM ET. The card concludes at 3 PM ET with West Bromwich traveling to Old Trafford to play Manchester United on the NBC Peacock app. 

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A College Football Bad Beat for the Ages

by Wayne Root

Saturday, Nov 21, 2020

DOUBLE BAD BEATTulane +5.5 vs Tulsa -5.5Over/Under 53.5———————-Bet TulaneBet Under————Halftime score 0-0Points are ok getting 5.5Under is incredible at 53.5————End of 3rd quarterTulane 14–Tulsa 0Points are looking greatUnder is 39 points from winning; So lock it up————Start of 4th quarterTulane 14 - Tulsa 7    14—14    1:51 left    21—14.     :06 leftTulsa has ball with .06 seconds left. QB throws 37 yard pass to tie and send to OT at 21-21———-First OTTulsa scores FG first 21-24Tulane scores FG 24-24 to tie———-2 OTTulane gets ball. Throws a 94 yard pick-6Final Score:Tulane 24Tulsa 30Tulane bettor had + 5.5 to lose by the hookTulane bettor also had under 53.5 to lose by the hook. And you think you had a bad day?

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Ness Notes: Friday, Nov 20

by Larry Ness

Friday, Nov 20, 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."As my very favorite pop icon (the legendary Britney Spears) once opined, "Oops!... I Did It Again." Regulars know that I've charted games featuring ranked teams against unranked opponents all season (ranked teams opened the week 94-23, .803 SU but just 53-62-2, 46.1%  ATS) and the current CFB week features 13 such games. The first of those games was played last night, as No. 25 Tulsa (ranked for the first time since 2010) hosted Tulane. Tulsa opened the current season with a competitive 16-7 loss at then-No. 11 Oklahoma St but then ripped off FOUR straight wins. The Golden Hurricane fell behind the then-No. 19 Mustangs 21-0 last Saturday, before outscoring them 28-3 the rest of the way. So what else was new? Tulsa trailed 16-2 at UCF on Oct 3 but came back to win 31-26 and on Oct 30 at home, trailed East Carolina 17-3 before winning 34-30. Nothing to it! Well, "Oops!... Tulsa Did It Again!" Tulsa fell behind Tulane 14-0 last night but for the FOURTH time this season, erased a double-digit deficit. Third-string QB Davis Brin (1st and 2nd string QBs got hurt) ran for one TD and passed for two, including a 37-yard Hail Mary TD pass as time expired in the fourth quarter. The teams traded FGs during the first overtime and on the first possession of the second overtime, Tulane moved to the Tulsa 7-yard line but on third-and-goal, Michael Pratt was intercepted by Zaven Collins, who returned it 96 yards for the game-winning TD in Tulsa's 30-24 victory. The pointspread? It was anywhere from Tulsa favored by four to seven points, depending on when you played it! And the Over/Under ranged from 53.5 to 56 points.  So, for many bettors, this game -- which was 0-0 at halftime -- went OVER the total!  You just CAN'T make this stuff up! The NFL opened its Week 11 with a "Battle 4 First" in the NFC West between the Cards and Seahawks in Seattle. There was a three-way tie at the top of the division when the Cards and Seahawks kicked off last night. Carlos Hyde, back in action after missing three games due to a hamstring injury, rushed for a season-high 79 yards and a TD. Russell Wilson had  a season-low 197 passing yards but completed 23 of 28 with two TDS and zero INTs (119.8 QB rating). However, the 'game ball' should go to the Seattle defense, which held the Cardinals' top-ranked offense to 314 yards, more than 100 below their average (425.5). Arizona gained just 57 yards rushing after entering with a league-best average of 168.9 per game. Note that the Seattle defense entered the game allowing a league-high 448.3 YPG. The Seahawks broke a three-way tie atop the NFC West by moving to 7-3 (Cards are now 6-4), although the Los Angeles Rams (6-3) can join them atop the division by winning at Tampa Bay on Monday night (see Monday's Notes).Sunday's NFL: Let's start at the top AND the bottom. The NFL's only unbeaten team, the 9-0 Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3 ATS), will play at the 1-8 Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags actually won their Week 1 game, upsetting the now 6-3 Colts 27-20 as a home dog, but have since lost EIGHT in a row. Maybe the Jaguars can build on a stretch in which they have lost their last two games by a combined six points or perhaps Pittsburgh could be peeking ahead to an AFC North showdown against Baltimore on Thanksgiving. Then again, maybe the Steelers are simply DUE for a loss. Pittsburgh is favored by 10 1/2-points and the over/under is 46. The 0-9 Jets (coming off a bye week) are surely "DUE for a win," as they travel to Inglewood, Ca for a game with the 2-7 LA Chargers. The Jets have lost nine straight games in the same season for the first time in club history and  they are three losses from matching their longest losing streak ever, a 12-game skid that bridged the 1995-96 seasons. As for the Chargers, all SEVEN of their losses this season have been by EIGHT points or less and more troubling, FOUR times they have blown leads of 16 points or more (are you kidding me?). Could this be the week the Jets break through? New York opened 0-6 ATS but is 2-1 ATS its last three, while after opening 5-1 ATS, the Chargers enter on an 0-3 ATS skid. LA is favored by 9 1/2-points and the over/under is  46.My Thursday recap cap touched on one division leader (Seattle) and I've just mentioned Pittsburgh, the leaders of the AFC North. Let's move on to the remaining division leaders, beginning in the AFC. SNF features a classic AFL rivalry, the Chiefs and Raiders. The defending champs are 8-1 and are coming off a bye to visit Las Vegas, where they will take on the 6-3 Raiders. The Raiders shocked the Chiefs 40-32 at Kansas City back in Week 5, as 11-point underdogs. The Raiders got crushed 45-20 at home by the Bucs in their next game but enter this contest on a 3-0 SU & ATS run.  Mahomes is completing 66.9% for 2,687 yards with 25 TDs and just one INT (115.9 QB rating) but Carr is not far behind, completing 69.3% for 2,56 yards with 16 TDs and just two INTs (107.4 QB rating). The Chiefs are favored by 7  1/2-points and the over/under is 57. The AFC East leading Buffalo Bills (7-3) are on their bye week, meaning the 6-3 Miami Dolphins can move into a tie atop the division with a win at 3-6 Denver. Miami has won FIVE straight (Tua is 3-0 as a starter) and covered each win by averaging 31.6 PPG during its current streak. Buffalo last won the AFC East back in 1995 and Miami last won it in 2008, going 11-5 a year after going 1-15! Miami is favored by 3  1/2-points and the over/under is 45. The Colts and Titans are tied atop the AFC South at 6-3 (will meet in Week 12) and BOTH have tough tests on Sunday. The Colts will host the 7-2 Packers (leaders of the NFC North), while the Titans will play at 6-3 Baltimore. Aaron Rodgers (67.8% for 2,578 yards with 26 TDs, three INTs and a QB rating of 116.4) leads a Green Bay offense averaging 30.8 PPG, while the Colts defense allows a league-low 290.4 YPG and a modest 19.7 PPG. The Colts are favored by two points and the over/under is 51. The Titans return to 'the scene of the crime,' which is the way the Ravens likely view this game. Lamar Jackson was league MVP in 2019, posting a 113.3 QB rating (36-6 ratio) while rushing for 1,206 yards (6.9 YPC / 7 TDs), which set a single-record for QBs. Baltimore set a single season record for team rushing yards and became the first team since at least 1950 to average 200-plus pass YPG (201.6) and 200-plus rush YPG (206) in the same season. The D was not quite in the class of the Ray Lewis era units but the Ravens ranked 3rd in points allowed (17.6 PPG) and 4th in yards allowed (300.6 YPG). However, the Ravens were unceremoniously bounced from the playoffs last season, losing 28-12 at home to the Titans as 10-point favorites. In that game, Baltimore outgained Tennessee 530-to-300 in yards and 29-15 in FDs. Jackson passed for 365 yards and ran for 143 but coughed up THREE turnovers and was 0 of 4 on fourth down attempts. The Ravens will surely remember but they have 'flopped' in their biggest games so far in 2020 and Pittsburgh looms on Thanksgiving Day. Baltimore is favored by five points and the over/under is 49 1/2.Over in the NFC, I mentioned the North leader (Green Bay) just above and have also earlier set the stage in the NFC West. That leaves the NFC East and the NFC South. The 3-5-1 Eagles sit atop the NFC 'Least,' as their competition is the 3-7 NY Giants plus Washington and Dallas (both 2-7). Talk about being in the right place at the right time? However, the Eagles will be tested by a vastly-improved Cleveland Browns team that is 6-3 and eyeing a wild card berth in the AFC. The Browns are favored by three points and the over/under is 47 1/2. The New Orleans Saints have won SIX in a row and at 7-2, lead the 7-3 Tampa Bay Bucs in the NFC South by just a half-game. However, they own the important tiebreaker, having beaten the Bucs in BOTH regular meetings, including a 38-3 beatdown at Tampa in Week 9. It's 'lucky' Week 11 but the Saints will be without QB Drew Brees for an indefinite period of time due to rib and lung injuries. Visiting New Orleans on Sunday will be the 3-6 Atlanta Falcons, who are coming off a bye week and have turned things around after a 0-5 start with a 3-1 record under interim head coach Raheem Morris. This contest marks the first of two matchups between the Falcons and Saints in a three-week span, as the Saints will visit Atlanta for a Week 13 game. When Atlanta lost 23-16 at home to Carolina to fall to 0-5, head coach Dan Quinn was fired (should have been gone right after that INCREDIBLE Super Bowl collapse). The Falcons named Raheem Morris as interim head coach and the Falcons are 3-1 but with ANY luck would be 4-0 (lost to Detroit on the game's final play). Many will remember that the Saints went 5-0 with Teddy Bridgewater at QB in 2019 while Brees recovered from thumb surgery. Former Tampa Bay starter Jameis Winston is expected to replace Brees, although Taysom Hill could also take some snaps from center in addition to his usual reps at a variety of skill positions. The Saints are favored by 3  1/2-points and the over/under is 50.Good luck...Larry

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NCAA Saturday Night Football: Oklahoma/Oklahoma State Preview

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Nov 20, 2020

The Saturday night college football showdown on ABC features the 2020 incarnation of Bedlam, with Oklahoma State and Oklahoma both ranked in the Associated Press Top-20.Oklahoma State would be in the driver’s seat to play in the Big 12 championship game with a victory. The Cowboys rank 14th in the AP poll this week after their 20-18 win at Kansas State back on November 7th. Oklahoma State struggled to move the ball against the Wildcats as they only gained 256 yards. The Cowboys got outgained by 114 net yards but used a +2 net turnover margin, including an 85-yard fumble recovery midway in the 4th quarter, to earn the victory. They are now 5-1 this season, with their lone loss being a 41-34 setback to Texas.Several injuries slowed down Oklahoma State in that game, with running back Chuba Hubbard and wide receiver Tylan Wallace dealing with injuries that limited their production. Three injuries to starters on their offensive line have left head coach Mike Gundy has to start two freshmen on the line. The bye week came at a fortuitous time, yet both Hubbard and Wallace did not practice midweek.  The Cowboys have 17 starters back from the team that finished 8-5 with a 24-21 loss to Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl. Sophomore Spencer Sanders has completed 67.7% of his passes for 766 yards in just over three games in a season slowed by injuries in September. He has thrown five touchdowns, but his three interceptions in 93 pass attempts raise concerns from the 11 interceptions he tossed last season. The Oklahoma State defense is improved, with ten starters along with 12 of the top 13 tacklers back from last season. The Cowboys are holding their opponents to only 17.8 points-per-game along with 311.7 yards-per-game. Oklahoma opened the season with consecutive losses to Kansas State and Iowa State. The Sooners have since rattled off four straight victories culminating with their 62-9 win against Kansas on November 7th. Freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler completed 15 of 27 passes for 212 yards with a touchdown pass and another rushing touchdown. For the season, he is completing 67.8% of his passes for 2018 yards with 18 touchdown passes and six interceptions. Rattler is leading an offense that is scoring 46.1 points-per-game while averaging 515.0 yards-per-game. Running back Rhamondre Stevenson has rushed for 191 yards in his two games this season since returning to action with an 8.0 yards-per-carry average. Oklahoma has scored 124 points in those two games, albeit against Texas Tech and the Jayhawks.Head coach Lincoln Riley has 16 starters back from the group that finished 12-2 after losing to LSU in the college football seminals by a 63-38 score. Riley led his team to the playoffs in all three of his seasons in Lincoln, but he has yet to win a playoff game. A victory against their in-state rivals keeps their hopes alive to play in the Big 12 championship game. AP ranks them 18th in the nation. Oklahoma won last year’s version of Bedlam by a 34-16 score as a 14.5-point favorite. Oklahoma State remained competitive for much of that game despite not having the services of either Sanders or Wallace, who had suffered season-ending injuries. Gundy’s Cowboys have only defeated the Sooners twice since he took over the program in 2005.BetAnySports lists Oklahoma as a 7-point favorite with the total set at 59. The ABC broadcast begins at 7:30 PM ET.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Nov 20, 2020

Four college football games dominate the Friday sports card. The Friday night college football game on ESPN involves two ACC teams with disappointing 1-6 records in conference play. Syracuse has lost five games in a row after a narrow 16-13 loss to Boston College as a 14.5-point underdog on November 7th. Freshman quarterback JaCobian Morgan made his first collegiate start in that game with mixed results. He completed 19 of 30 passes for just 188 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception. The Orange only gained 240 yards but were only on the field for just over 21 minutes.Louisville has lost two games in a row as well as six of their last seven contests after their 31-17 loss at Virginia last Saturday. Head coach Scott Satterfield settled for the loss despite the Cardinals outgaining the Cavaliers by 110 net yards. Ye three Louisville turnovers were too much to overcome. Junior quarterback Micale Cunningham threw an interception returned for an 85-yard touchdown that began the scoring for the Cavs. Cunningham later fumbled in Virginia territory with 8:22 left in the fourth quarter to short circuit a potential game-tying touchdown. Louisville won their meeting last season with Syracuse by a 56-34 score, with Cunningham throwing a career-high five touchdown passes in the victory. The Cardinals are an 18.5-point favorite with the total set at 56.5 (all odds from BookMaker). The ESPN broadcast begins at 7 PM ET.Purdue travels to Minnesota for a 7:30 PM ET kickoff with the Golden Gophers. The Boilermakers opened their season with victories against Iowa and Illinois, but they lost at home by a 27-20 score to Northwestern as a 4-point underdog last Saturday. Purdue managed only 265 yards of offense against the Wildcats. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell completed 28 of 51 passes for 263 yards with two touchdown passes in the losing effort. He is questionable for this game with an undisclosed injury. The Boilermakers are hopeful that not only he plays but that junior wide receiver Rondale Moore makes his season debut after missing the first three games with a lower-body injury. Minnesota continued their disappointing season with a 35-7 loss at home to Iowa last Friday night. The Golden Gophers have also lost to Michigan and Maryland this season, with their lone victory in four games being against Illinois. Expectations were much higher for this team who returned 13 starters from the group that finished 11-2 last year. Minnesota upset Iowa last season with a 38-31 score in Iowa City as a 1.5-point underdog. The Hawkeyes are a 2-point road favorite for this rematch with an over/under of 61. The broadcast is on the Big Ten Network at 7:30 PM ET. Florida Atlantic hosts UMass at 8 PM ET. The Owls raised their record to a 4-1 mark last Friday with their 38-19 victory over Florida International. Freshman quarterback Javian Posey ran for 182 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown while completing 10 of 16 passes for 80 yards with another two touchdown passes. The Florida Atlantic defense has been the biggest story for this team under first-year head coach Willie Taggart as they are allowing only 13.0 points-per-game. UMass has only played two games this season as an independent in a sea of teams mostly restricting themselves to conference games. The Minutemen opened their season with a 41-0 loss at Georgia Southern as a 30.5-point underdog on October 17th. UMass returned to the field on November 7th, where they lost at Marshall as a 44-point underdog by a 51-10 score. FAU is a 32.5-point favorite with a total of 51. The CBS Sports Network has the broadcast.The Friday college football card concludes at 9:30 PM ET with New Mexico traveling on the road to play Air Force in a Mountain West Conference showdown. The Lobos are winless this season after their 27-20 loss to Nevada as a 17.5-point underdog. New Mexico opened their season with a 36-21 loss at San Jose State before losing at Hawai’i the next week by a 39-33 score. Junior quarterback Tevaka Tuioti did not play against the Wolf Pack after entering the concussion protocol. He is doubtful for this game, which likely leaves the Lobos with Trae Hall under center. The redshirt sophomore completed 17 of 32 passes for 195 yards with an interception in his start last week. Air Force opened their season with a 40-7 victory Navy, but they have lost their last two games. The Falcons lost at San Jose State by a 17-6 score on October 24th before losing against on Halloween to Boise State by a 49-30 score. With junior Donald Hammond III leaving the program in the fall, the quarterback position has been unsettled for head coach Troy Calhoun in the fourteenth year with the program. Junior Warren Bryan rushed for 87 yards in the losing effort against the Broncos in their last game after replacing Haaziq Daniels, who got knocked out with a shoulder injury. The sophomore started the first two games for Air Force and should return for this contest. Daniels has rushed for 134 yards with a 5.2 yards-per-carry average while adding a passing threat to the flexbone option by completing 13 of 26 passes for 133 yards. Air Force is a 7.5-point favorite with an over/under of 55.5. FS1 has the broadcast.

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NCAA Friday Night Football: Louisville/Syracuse Preview

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Nov 20, 2020

The Friday night college football game on ESPN involves two ACC teams with disappointing 1-6 records in conference play. Syracuse has lost five games in a row after a narrow 16-13 loss to Boston College as a 14.5-point underdog on November 7th. Freshman quarterback JaCobian Morgan made his first collegiate start in that game with mixed results. He completed 19 of 30 passes for just 188 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception. The Orange only gained 240 yards but were only on the field for just over 21 minutes.Head coach Dino Babers moved to the freshman under center with Rex Culpepper struggling in his three starts. The senior has completed only 46.4% of his passes this season with five touchdown passes but six interceptions in 112 pass attempts. He had taken over in mid-October after junior Tommy Devito suffered a season-ending able injury. Syracuse is scoring only 18.3 points-per-game this season, which is 114th in the nation. Their 263.8 yards-per-game mark is 123rd in the country. The Orange’s defense has not fared much better as they rank 103rd in the FBS by allowing their opponents to average 464.4 yards-per-game. Syracuse lost six of their top eight tacklers from last year’s unit that ranked 115th in the nation by giving up 464.1 yards-per-game. The Orange are 1-7 on the season, with their lone win this year against Georgia Tech in September. Babers had 11 starters return from the team that finished 5-7 last year. He has a 24-32 record in his five seasons at Syracuse, with this being his fourth losing season. Louisville has lost two games in a row as well as six of their last seven contests after their 31-17 loss at Virginia last Saturday. Head coach Scott Satterfield settled for the loss despite the Cardinals outgaining the Cavaliers by 110 net yards. Ye three Louisville turnovers were too much to overcome. Junior quarterback Micale Cunningham threw an interception returned for an 85-yard touchdown that began the scoring for the Cavs. Cunningham later fumbled in Virginia territory with 8:22 left in the fourth quarter to short circuit a potential game-tying touchdown. Those events have been the recurring story of the season in Satterfield’s second year with the program. Louisville has turned the ball over 18 times this season, which is the third-most in the nation. The Cardinals have a -12 net turnover margin, which has overwhelmed their +48.5 net yards-per-game advantage. Cunningham rushed for a career-high 197 yards against Virginia on 20 carries with two touchdowns. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 161 yards with no touchdown passes and that one interception. Cunningham is completing 63.2% of his passes for 1907 yards with 15 touchdown passes but nine interceptions, and the dual-threat has added 417 yards on the ground with five more touchdowns. He will not have Javian Hawkins in the backfield after he decided to opt-out for the rest of the season to prepare for the NFL draft. The redshirt sophomore rushed for 822 yards on 6.2 yards-per-carry with seven touchdowns this season. He also had 127 receiving yards with one touchdown reception. Junior running Hassan Hall expects to return after being out the last three games. Louisville returned 16 starters from the team that finished 8-5 with their 38-28 win over Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl. The Cardinals have victories against Western Kentucky and Florida State, but their 2-6 record is far below expectations. Louisville won their meeting last season with Syracuse by a 56-34 score, with Cunningham throwing a career-high five touchdown passes in the victory. BetAnySports lists the Cardinals as an 18.5-point favorite with the total set at 56.5. The ESPN broadcast begins at 7 PM ET.

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Ness Notes: Thursday, Nov 19

by Larry Ness

Thursday, Nov 19, 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."NBA Draft: The NBA finally held its draft last night, some FIVE months later than it was originally scheduled. Surprisingly, the lottery (first 14 picks) played out without a SINGLE deal being made. The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Georgia guard Anthony Edwards with the first pick, the Golden State Warriors took Memphis center James Wiseman with the No. 2 pick and guard LaMelo Ball followed as the third pick to the Charlotte Hornets. I'll get to the two guards in a minute but let me deal with Wiseman and the Warriors, first.Wiseman is a 7-foot-1 center who played only THREE games last season for Memphis because of eligibility issues and a 12-game suspension due to rules violations. The thought (hope?) is that he will be able to give Golden State a physical presence alongside Draymond Green in the Warriors' frontcourt. The Warriors fell to the bottom of the standings last season following FIVE consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, amid injuries to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Just prior to the draft, Thompson suffered a right leg injury during a workout on Wednesday afternoon with several NBA players in Los Angeles. Thompson felt pain in the calf area when he landed on his leg, according to sources. The Warriors are worried it's possibly an Achilles tendon injury but are holding out hope it's not as serious and are determined to wait on the MRI results on Thursday morning. What a turn of events it would be if that MRI reveals real damage. Edwards led all Division I freshmen with 19.1 points per game last season and was the SEC Freshman of the Year and Ball averaged 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists in 12 games for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia's National Basketball League. Maybe it's just me but these two picks eerily remind me of the NBA's 2017 draft, when Washington's Markelle Fultz was that draft's No. 1 pick by the 76ers and UCLA's Lorenzo Ball was chosen No. 2 by the Lakers. Fultz was able to play just 33 games (15 starts) in his two years with Philly, averaging just 7.7 PPG and 3.4 APG while shooting 41.4%, including 26.7% on threes. Fultz was traded to Orlando and last season, played 72 games, making 60 starts. He upped his scoring 12.1 PPG and his assist total to 5.1 per, while shooting 46.5% (although he was still an 'ugly 26.7% on threes). Is that what one expects from the top player in a draft? As for Ball, he was also a major disappointment for the team that drafted him, before the Lakers traded him to New Orleans. Ball has developed into a solid NBA guard (his three-season averages are 10.7-6.1-6.6), who plays very good defense, but it's HIGHLY unlikely he will ever be the player Magic predicted he would be.Will Edwards and LaMelo Ball make it "deja vu all over again" in this latest NBA draft? As reported by Elias Sports Bureau, Edwards joins Fultz as the only players in the lottery era to go No. 1 overall coming from a program with a record of .500 or worse in his final college season. The Georgia Bulldogs went 16-16 (including 5-13 in the SEC) and would have NOT played in the NCAA Tourney if there had been one. If that does give one pause, how about the following comment attributed to Edwards earlier this week that he’s “not really into basketball?” LaMelo is the younger brother of Lonzo and is the NBA really ready for another constant daily press conference from 'Poppa LeVar?' LaMelo has had a winding road up to this point, playing in Lithuania and then Australia, before being chosen by Charlotte. Best of luck to both the T-wolves and Hornets but "color me skeptical!" On to college football. MACtion recap: With Buffalo and Kent St each winning on Tuesday to reach 3-0, it sets up a showdown on Nov 28 (Saturday after Thanksgiving) in which Buffalo plays at Kent St. The winner will move to 4-0 in what is just a six-game schedule in the MAC for 2020. The victor will have a near-stranglehold on the East Division title, owning a one-game advantage while also having the tiebreaker edge, with just two games left. Wednesday's results saw Ball St and Toledo each move to 2-1 with wins over Northern Illinois (31-25) and Eastern Michigan (45-28), respectively. In the MAC's "Game of the Week," Western Michigan rolled up 628 yards in snapping Central Michigan's seven-game home winning streak with a 52-44 win. QB Kaleb Eleby was just 12 of 20 but passed for 382 yards with five TD passes. WRs Eskridge (four catches for 212 yards with three TDs) and Hall (four catches for 110 yards with two TDs) were the beneficiaries of Eleby's outstanding game. However, my guess is the duo may say that they did have "something to do with it," as well. Western Michigan is now 3-0 in the MAC West (Broncos are averaging 50.3 PPG) and has beaten TWO of three schools (Central Michigan and Toledo) that sit at 2-1. The exception is Ball St which will get to host Western Michigan on Dec 12 (regular-season finale for both). However, the Broncos will host Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan the next two Saturdays, teams which are a combined 0-6. Meanwhile, Ball St has to play on the road at both Toledo and Central Michigan. Western Michigan is sure "lookin' good" as the MAC West's division winner.CFB Weekend: There will be three games between ranked teams this weekend, all of which will be played on Saturday (stay tuned). There will be 13 more games, featuring ranked teams against unranked opponents and as I noted in Monday's Notes, we finally saw the ranked teams in those matchups begin to assert themselves the previous two weeks. Ranked teams went a perfect 14-0 SU against unranked opponents from Nov 3-7 but still could NOT win more than 50 percent ATS, going 6-7-1. However, when 'all the dust had settled' from the week of Nov 10-15, ranked teams had gone 12-1 SU against unranked opponents (then-No. 19 SMU's loss to Tulsa being the exception) and more significantly, a MONEY-MAKING 11-2 ATS! That leaves the Y-T-D numbers at 94-23 SU (.803) and 53-62-2 ATS (46.1%) entering this week. The first of those 13 games  will go tonight, when Tulsa hosts Tulane. The Golden Hurricane are ranked (No. 25) for the first time since the final poll of 2010 (24th) and the last time Tulsa was ranked during the regular season was back in 2008. (at No. 19). Tulsa is favored by 6 1/2-points. There are four games on Friday but NONE involving ranked opponents. However, before moving on to Saturday, let's look at the latest COVID-19 disruptions. Ohio U at Miami-Ohio (Tuesday), Utah St at Wyoming (Thursday) and UAB at UTEP (Friday) were all canceled. As of Thursday morning, 11 Saturday games have been either postponed or canceled, including ranked schools No. 5 Texas A&M (for the second straight week), No. 12 Miami-Fl (moved to Dec 19), No. 15 Marshall, No. 22 Texas (moved to Dec 12) and No. 24 ULL. Fingers crossed that this represents the final list of games to be affected this weekend but that may be wishful thinking. Saturday games: The higher ranked teams have gone 17-3 SU and 16-4 ATS when top-25 teams have squared off in 2020 and there are three such matchups this Saturday. No. 3 Ohio St welcomes 9th-ranked Indiana to Columbus. The Buckeyes have won their last 15 Big Ten games by double digits, while the Hoosiers own their highest ranking since being No. 4 back in 1967 and this game marks the school's first-ever meeting of top-10 teams. Ohio St is favored by 20 1/2-points. No. 10 Wisconsin has had two games canceled but have won the two games it has played, 45-7 and 49-11. The Badgers will play at No. 19 Northwestern, which is off to its first 4-0 start in Big Ten play since 1996. The Wildcats have been very successful against the Badgers at home, winning FIVE of the last six matchups at Ryan Field. However, the Badgers are favored by seven points. The third top-25 matchup on Saturday features "Bedlam" in Norman, Oklahoma as the 14th-ranked Oklahoma St Cowboys take on the 18th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. It's a Spencer vs Spencer battle of QBs, as Spencer Sanders of Oklahoma State faces his counterpart Spencer Rattler of Oklahoma. Oklahoma St is 4-1 in the Big 12 and Oklahoma is 4-2 (Iowa St leads at 5-1). A win Saturday by Oklahoma St would not only put the Cowboys in the driver's seat for their first Big 12 Championship Game berth (top-two teams meet on either Dec 12 or Dec 19), but would virtually knock the Sooners out of contention, ending their FIVE year run of conference titles with two regular-season games remaining. That said, Oklahoma is favored by seven points.No. 2 Notre Dame (owners of the nation's longest active winning streak at 14) has an off week and No. 5 Texas A&M has had its game with Ole Miss postponed. Three top-10 teams are involved in top-25 matchups (see above), leaving five, top-10 teams playing unranked opponents. No. 1 Alabama is home to Kentucky, with the Tide favored by 30 points. No. 4 Clemson comes off a bye week AND a loss at Notre Dame on Nov 7, to play at 2-6 Florida St. Trevor Lawrence is back for the Tigers, who are favored by 35 1/2-points. No. 6 Florida plays at winless Vandy (0-6), where the Gators are favored by 31 1/2-points as Kyle Trask continues his OUTSTANDING season (28 TD passes in six games with just three INTs). No. 7 Cincinnati faces its toughest test to-date, playing in Orlando against UCF. The Bearcats are averaging 41.6 PPG and allowing just 12.4 PPPG, but UCF takes the field with an offense averaging 51.3 PPG plus has won 23 of its last 24 home games! The Bearcats are favored by six points. Last but NOT least, we have the 8th-ranked BYU Cougars looking to move to 9-0 on the season with a home win over North Alabama. Pretty sure the Cougars will do just that, as they are favored by 48 points.I didn't forget the NFL, which opens its Week 11 with a "Battle 4 First" in the NFC West between the Cards and Seahawks in Seattle. The NFC West has a three-way tie at the top between the Cards, Rams and Seahawks (all are 6-3).The Cards and Seahawks square off in Seattle and barring a tie, one will move to 7-3. The Rams play Monday night in Tampa against the Bucs, making their path to 7-3 a real test. The Cardinals overcame a 10-point fourth quarter deficit back in Week 7 in a SNF matchup at home, to edge the Seahawks 37-34 on a Zane Gonzalez 48-yard FG with 15 seconds remaining in OT (note: Gonzalez had previously kicked a 44-yarder as time expired in regulation). Seattle is favored by three points and the over/under is 57. The NFL takes 'center stage' in Friday's Notes.Good luck...Larry

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2020 NFL: Is There a Home Field Advantage This Season?

by ASA, Inc.

Thursday, Nov 19, 2020

With limited or no fans allowed at NFL games this season, does it make playing on the road easier? Teams are allowed to pump in sound for games to make it more realistic, but the noise levels do not come close to what 60,000 plus fans can produce. There are other factors that come with playing on the road such as the long travel days or the unfamiliar weather, but the fan noise seems to make it most difficult. Over the past 10 seasons home teams have had a distinct advantage. For this reason oddsmakers have usually given points to home teams, but with no fans this season, home teams don’t have their customary advantage.  Home Records 2010-2019 2019 - 132-1232018 - 153-1012017 - 145-1112016 - 147-1072015 - 138-1182014 - 145-1102013 - 153-1032012 - 146-1092011 - 145-1112010 - 143-113Overall 1447-1106 (56.7%) After 145 games this season, home teams are 76-69 (51.7%) straight up. This even includes last week where home teams went 11-3. A 5% change between this year and the past 10 seasons would suggest road games are easier in 2020. That’s not a monumental change but it might quantify the impact that the fans noise and energy can bring to a home team. It’s hard to definitively say that home field advantage is not real this season, but it appears that it is not as beneficial as it usually is.  On a pure numbers basis, the home teams this season have a positive point differential of +64 this season.  Divide that by the 147 games played this year and the straight numbers home field advantage is +0.43 so less than a half point per game. The real question is, are oddsmakers accounting for this? In 2020 home teams are 68-77-1 against the spread. At only 46.5% it seems like they are not, but when compared to previous seasons it actually is on par. In 2018 home teams ATS covered 49% of the time, while only 44% in 2019. Overall, it appears in recent years that oddmakers are giving too many points to home teams, including 2020. 

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NFL Stock Rising and Falling: Week 11

by Sean Murphy

Thursday, Nov 19, 2020

We're coming off another winning Sunday in NFL action and back to take our weekly look around the NFL at three teams on the rise and three on their way down as we head into Week 11.Stock RisingNew England PatriotsPerhaps their come-from-behind win over the hapless Jets in New Jersey two weeks ago will serve as the Pats unlikely turning points, as long as they can build off of last Sunday's impressive primetime win over the Ravens. QB Cam Newton looks healthy again and that's bad news for a rag-tag Texans defense that will try to slow him down on Sunday afternoon in Houston. New England is currently laying less than a field goal.Indianapolis ColtsThe Colts have won three of their last four contests and find themselves in a spotlight non-conference game against the Packers this Sunday They'll have the benefit of a long week of preparation having not played since last Thursday's key win over the division-rival Titans. The Packers are back on track following consecutive wins but neither victory was all that impressive (coming against the injury-ravaged 49ers and lowly Jaguars). Kansas City ChiefsOf course, we could install the Chiefs at the top of this article virtually every week, but here we'll make a point to include them as they've scored a whopping 111 points over their last three games. Kansas City's lone loss this season came in stunning fashion at home against the Raiders back in early October so you can be sure it will be up for this revenge matchup in Las Vegas on Sunday. While the Chiefs are undefeated on the road this season, two of their four wins have come by single-digit margins.Stock FallingCincinnati BengalsI'm not going to knock the Bengals for last week's tough road loss against the undefeated Steelers but the fact is, they've had a miserable time trying to find the win column since their schedule toughened up in October. Cincinnati checks in having won just once in its last five games and while it does draw a favorable matchup against the Washington Football Team this Sunday, it's a tough spot from a motivational standpoint coming off that big measuring-stick division showdown with Pittsburgh.Philadelphia EaglesThe Eagles had a fine opportunity to take control of the NFC East with a victory over the Giants last Sunday but ultimately fell short. They've been sputtering all season, playing a maddeningly inconsistent brand of football - par for the course in the NFC 'Least'. This Sunday's game in Cleveland is winnable but it's getting awfully tough to predict when the Philadelphia offense in particular will finally get it together, if at all this season.Baltimore RavensThere's sure to be somewhat of an overreaction in the betting marketplace to the Ravens losing that rain-soaked game in New England last Sunday night. With that being said, there's no question Baltimore is having a difficult time reaching the heights that it saw last season. Sitting at 6-3 it is in desperate need of a strong bounce-back performance at home against the Titans on Sunday as a very difficult road game against the Steelers looms next week. QB Lamar Jackson looks like a quarterback that might be putting a little too much pressure on himself.

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NFL Thursday Night Football: Seahawks/Cardinals Preview

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Nov 19, 2020

The Thursday night game on Fox presents a battle of two first-place teams in the NFC West. Both Arizona and Seattle share 6-3 records after the Cardinals won the first meeting between these two teams with their 37-34 overtime victory on October 25th. Arizona has won two of their next three games after that triumph. The Cardinals come into this game on an emotional high after the Kyler Murray-to-DeAndre Hopkins Hail Mary 43-yard touchdown pass snatched victory from the claws of defeat in the final moments of their game on Sunday with Buffalo. Murray completed 22 of 32 passes for 245 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception while adding another 61 rushing yards with two touchdowns on the ground in leading his team to the 32-20 victory. Murray is completing 68.2% of his passes this season for 2375 passing yards with 17 touchdown passes and just eight interceptions. He has another 604 rushing yards along with ten rushing touchdowns. The Cardinals have scored 33.3 points-per-game in the three games since their first meeting with the Seahawks while averaging 471.3 yards-per-game. They also got running back Kenyon Drake back from injury against the Bills. He ran the ball 11 times for 100 yards. Seattle has lost two straight games after their 23-16 setback in Los Angeles against the Rams on Sunday. Quarterback Russell Wilson struggled by throwing two interceptions while completing only 22 of 37 passes for 248 yards. Wilson also lost a fumble amidst being under constant pressure from the Los Angeles defensive front. He got sacked six times while getting hit 12 times. The Seahawks’ offensive line has allowed 30 sacks this season, tied for the fourth-most in the league. They have allowed 104 pressures on the quarterback along with 11.6 pressures on the QB per game. Those marks rank fourth and third-worst in the NFL. Wilson is responsible for seven turnovers in the last two games. Seattle is allowing their opponents to score 29.6 points-per-game and the 448.3 yards-per-game they are allowing remains the worst of all 32 teams. Yet the Seahawks have improved to allowing 386.7 yards-per-game in the three games since playing in Arizona last month. Injuries have played a significant role in Seattle’s last two losses. Starting center Ethan Pocic did not play last week as he goes through the concussion protocol, and he is questionable for Thursday’s game. Backup center Kyle Fuller is listed as questionable, as well, after suffering a high ankle sprain on Sunday. Head coach Pete Carroll has not had the services of his top two running backs, Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde, since the first meeting with the Cardinals (with Rashad Penny already out indefinitely with a knee injury). Both running backs, along with Travis Homer, are questionable for this game, but Hyde did take part in a limited practice on Tuesday.  Homer was downgraded to doubtful for tonight, but Hyde will return to the field to join DeeJay Dallas as the Seahawks’ primary running backs for this game.Wide receiver Tyler Lockett is questionable with a knee strain after being limited to only two catches for 28 yards against the Rams, although being covered by cornerback Jalen Ramsey played a role with those under-performing numbers. Seattle cornerbacks Quinton Dunbar and Shaquill Griffin are also questionable in what will be challenging circumstances for the Seahawks playing on a short week.  Both cornerbacks were declared out on Wednesday.Arizona received disappointing news on Wednesday with nose tackle Corey Peters declared out the season with a knee injury. He is the fourth defensive linemen to be placed on Injured Reserve, including starting defensive end Zach Allen. Pro Bowl linebacker Chandler Jones is also on Injured Reserve with his bicep injury. Defensive end Jordan Phillips is also out with a foot injury.Seattle did not have Jamal Adams available in the October clash with the Cardinals. Adams is healthy again as he registered seven tackles with two sacks and one forced fumble on Sunday. The Seahawks also added defensive lineman Carlos Dunlap since that first game with Arizona. BetAnySports lists Seattle as a 2.5-point favorite with the total set at 57. Kickoff is at 8:20 PM ET.

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