Articles

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

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Nov 19, 2020

The NFL Thursday night game, along with one game in college football, takes place on Thursday. Utah State and Wyoming had their Mountain Western Conference game canceled for Thursday night amidst a COVID outbreak in the Aggies football program.Tulane travels to Tulsa for a 7:30 PM ET kickoff in the American Athletic Conference. The Green Wave have won three in a row after their 38-12 win against Army as a 3-point favorite on Saturday. Freshman quarterback Michael Pratt completed 19 of 27 passes for 197 yards with two touchdown passes and without an interception to lead his team to the victory. Pratt is completing only 55.3% of his passes for 1308 yards, but he has thrown 14 touchdown passes with only four interceptions. He has also rushed for 158 yards with five additional touchdowns. Tulane was on a three-game losing streak before rattling off wins against Temple and at East Carolina before their win over the Black Knights last week. Head coach Willie Fritz has not quite seen this team elevate from 'good to great' as he has preached from the team that finished 7-6 last year after defeating Southern Mississippi in the Armed Forces Bowl by a 30-13 score. The Green Wave are only 2-4 in conference play. Tulsa responded from a 16-7 loss at Oklahoma State in their opening game to win four straight games after their 28-24 victory over SMU last Saturday. Senior quarterback Zach Smith completed 26 of 38 passes for 325 yards with three touchdown passes and an interception. The former transfer from Baylor is completing 61.5% of his passes for 1249 yards with ten touchdown passes but six interceptions in his five games. The Golden Hurricane are 4-0 in conference play. After only nine victories in their last three seasons, Tulsa seems to have made the jump to the next level in the sixth year under head coach Philip Montgomery. Thirteen starters are back from the team last year that finished just 4-8 but with a schedule that included nine teams that played in a bowl game. The Golden Hurricane only won two of their eight conference games yet outgained those foes by 45 yards-per-game, including winning the yardage battle against SMU, Cincinnati, and Memphis. Tulsa is a 6.5-point favorite with an over/under of 53.5 (all odds from BetOnline). ESPN has the broadcast.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. 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. 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. Seattle is a 3-point favorite with the total set at 57.5. Kickoff is at 8:20 PM ET.

Read more

Ness Notes: Wednesday, Nov 18

by Larry Ness

Wednesday, Nov 18, 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."Tuesday MACtion featured a pair of games featuring 2-0 schools playing 0-2 ones and as expected, Buffalo moved to 3-0 in defeating Bowling Green 42-17 and Kent St made it three straight wins to open the 2020 season by beating Akron, 69-35. Buffalo RB Jaret Patterson carried it 31 times for a school-record 301 yards and scored four TDs. Patterson has now rushed for 3,323 yards at Buffalo, moving him to second on the school's all-time list (Branden Oliver holds the Buffalo record at 4,049). He sure loves playing BG, as last season he rushed for 298 yards and a MAC-record six TDs against the Falcons. Buffalo outscored BG 14-0 in the third quarter to open a 35-3 and has now outscored its opponents 49-0 in the third quarter over three games. Kent St found itself in a much tougher than expected game vs winless Akron (much more on the Zips in a bit), leading just 35-28 at the half. However, the Golden Flashes were 'golden' in the second half, outscoring the Zips 34-7 to earn a 35-point win and get the cover. Kent QB Dustin Crum threw for 348 yards and three TDs, while adding 104 rushing yards with two TDs. Kent St ran up 750 total yards against the Zips, including 390 on the ground (7.6 YPC). Tuesday's results set up a showdown on Nov 28 (Saturday after Thanksgiving) in which 3-0 Buffalo plays at 3-0 Kent St. The winner will move to 4-0 and will have a near-stranglehold on the East Division title, with a one-game advantage and just two games to go, while also owning the tiebreaker edge.Wednesday's MACtion serves up a three-game card. 2-0 Northern Illinois is at 1-1 Ball St (Cardinals are favored by 14 1/2-points), 1-1 Toledo is at 0-2 Eastern Michigan (Rockets are a 6 1/2-point road favorite) and in the MAC's "Game of the Week," 2-0 Western Michigan is at 2-0 Central Michigan. This game has a similar scenario that will face Buffalo and Kent on Nov 28, but 10 days earlier. The winner puts itself in PRIME position to win the MAC West. The MAC is only playing SIX league games, meaning the team which comes out of the game at 3-0 will effectively own a TWO-game lead, considering it will also have the tiebreaker. Central Michigan opened as a small home favorite but as of Wednesday morning, WMU is the one-point favorite. One thing is for sure, Toledo will be rooting for the Chippewas (of course the Rockets have to make sure they beat EMU, first). Western Michigan 'stole' a win from Toledo last week, meaning if the Rockets and Broncos both win, Toledo will be one game back but WMU will own the tiebreaker (tough 'hill to climb' with just three games left). However, if CMU wins, the Rockets may be looking at a "winner-take-all" home game with the Chippewas at home on Dec 12.CFB 2020's loveable losers: Entering the current CFB week (Nov 17-21), there are SEVEN winless schools among FBS teams that have played at least four games. Throw in Akron, which fell to 0-3 (1-2 ATS) with its loss Tuesday night (Zips get 'grandfathered in') and I'm dubbing them the "Not-So Great Eight!" A list of the seven schools 0-4 or worse follows, in order of the team with the most losses. UL-Monroe checks in at 0-8 (3-5 ATS), followed by 0-7 (0-7 ATS) Kansas and 0-6 (3-3 ATS) Vanderbilt. Four more schools are all 0-4. That group includes 0-4 (0-4 ATS) Penn St, 0-4 (0-4 ATS) Utah St, 0-4 (0-3-1 ATS) UNLV and 0-4 (1-3 ATS) FIU. Doing the math reveals that my "Not-So Great Eight" are a combined 0-40 SU and 8-31-1 ATS (20.5%).I include Akron in my list because while the Zips are just 0-3 to open 2020 (MAC didn't begin play until Nov 4), they own the nation's longest-active losing streak at 20 in a row (last win came back on 10/27/18 when the Zips won 17-10 at home over Central Michigan). Akron has not just lost 20 straight, it's also gone a 'money-burning' 5-15 ATS (25%) in that span. Three of the seven schools that are 0-4 or worse are from Power-5 conferences, Kansas, (Big 12), Vandy (SEC) and Penn St (Big Ten). We've all talked about and heard enough about Penn St and no one cares what Vandy is doing, even SEC fans. However, I will discuss Kansas in some detail (sorry Gayle), as the Jayhawks own the second-longest active losing streak (11) behind Akron.Remember the 'svelt' Mark Mangino? He was hired as Kansas head football coach in December 2001. The program had NOT posted a winning season in any of the SIX seasons prior to his arrival. However, in 2003, his second season at KU, Mangino led the Jayhawks to an appearance in the 2003 Tangerine Bowl (now known as the Camping World Bowl). This was the first bowl appearance for Kansas since 1995. In 2005, his fourth season at KU, the team finished the regular season 6–5, to post its first winning record under Mangino, and went on to the Fort Worth Bowl, its second bowl game in three seasons. In 2007, Mangino coached the Jayhawks to a 12–1 record and a 24-21 win over Va Tech in the 2008 Orange Bowl (their first ever BCS appearance). Kansas finished as the AP's No. 7 team in its final poll that season. Mangino led the Jayhawks to 19 consecutive weeks ranked in the AP and/or USA Today polls (2007–08), 20 wins in a two-year period for the first time in school history, set home attendance average records in each of his last four seasons (2004–2008), led KU to its first appearance in national polls since 1996 and to the school’s highest ranking ever at (No. 2), produced the top-three total offense seasons in school history, the top-two passing seasons and two of the top three scoring seasons and won three Bowl games, the same number Kansas had won in its 102-year history combined, prior to his arrival. However, things fell apart quickly for Mangino. There were allegations of academic fraud and recurring issues of Mangino's chronic, alleged misconduct towards his players. It became the subject of an internal investigation by the University of Kansas Athletic Department. After a prolonged period of negotiations, the university and Mangino's attorneys agreed on a buy-out amount that was large enough to secure his quiet resignation in December 2009.So how have things gone since? Kansas opened the 2020 season with a 21-99 record since 2010 (span of 10 years), including a 6-83 record in the Big 12. The laundry list of head coaches since Mangino was forced out include, Turner Gil, Charlie Weis, interim head coach Clint Bowen when Weis was fired, David Beaty and now Les Miles (note: Joshua Eargleis is currently coaching the Jayhawks, as Miles is following protocols after testing positive for COVID-19). Throw in Kansas' 0-7 SU and ATS record in 2020 and since Mangino left, the Jayhawks are 21-106 (.156) overall, including 6-89 (.063) in Big 12 play. Wondering about KU's ATS record? It's 49-75-3 (41.9%). Anyone have Mangino's cell number or email address?You know me, I can never end without "one last thing." The UMass Minutemen football team is the FOURTH-oldest program currently in FBS. UMass began play in 1879 and has since appeared in three FCS National Championship games, winning the title in 1998. The Minutemen began a two-year FBS transition period in 2011, becoming bowl eligible in 2013. In March 2014, the MAC and UMass announced an agreement for the Minutemen to leave the conference after the 2015 season due to UMass declining an offer to become a full member of the conference. The Minutemen have subsequently played as an independent through the 2019 season. UMass was one of the first schools to say it was NOT going to play in 2020. Here's the statement. "After consulting with university, state and public health officials, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 UMass football season," athletic director Ryan Bamford said in a statement. "We have been in constant communication with university leadership and our football staff since March, with the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff remaining our top priority. The continuing challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic posed too great of a risk, and we reached the conclusion that attempting to play a season would not have placed the members of our program in the safest situation possible." However, UMass reversed that earlier decision in late Sep, saying it intended to play fall football. The problem being, the Minutemen had trouble finding opponents to play. Maybe, UMass should have left well enough alone? Coming off a 1-11 season (3-9 ATS) in which the team allowed 52.7 PPG, the Minutemen were able to schedule just four games. They've opened 0-2, getting outscored 92-10! Paul Revere would NOT be happy.Good luck...Larry

Read more

NCAA Wednesday Night Football: Central Michigan/Western Michigan Preview

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020

Midweek Mid-American Conference action continues on Wednesday, with Central Michigan hosting Western Michigan on ESPN2 in a battle of undefeated teams. Western Michigan outlasted Toledo at home last Wednesday by a 41-38 score as a 1-point favorite. The Broncos trailed for most of this game. They went into halftime with a 24-14 deficit before going down 38-28 with under three minutes to go after the Rockets scored a touchdown. Western Michigan responded by scoring a touchdown with under a minute left to go (but missed the extra point). The Broncos then successfully recovered an onside kick giving their offense the chance to win the game. After getting the ball to the Toledo 9-yard line with the clock ticking away, quarterback Kaleb Eleby invoked Dan Marino by faking a spike that would stop the clock to instead throw the winning touchdown pass with just 17 seconds left to steal the victory. Eleby completed 20 of 29 passes for 284 yards with three touchdown passes to lead his team to victory. The redshirt sophomore is completing 71.1% of his passes for 546 yards with six touchdown passes and no interceptions while adding another two touchdowns on the ground. He leads the MAC with six completions of over 30 yards this season. Eleby played in five games in 2018 after Jon Wassink suffered a foot injury late in the year. He redshirted last year during Wassink’s senior season, where he won the MAC Offensive Player of the Year award. He leads an offense that leads the conference with a 49.5 points-per-game scoring average along with an 8.01 yards-per-play average. Western Michigan opened their season with a 58-13 win against Akron. Eleven starters returned from the team that finished 7-6 last season after a 23-20 loss to Western Kentucky in the First Responders Bowl. That was the sixth straight season for this program to finish bowl eligible. Head coach Tim Lester has aspirations of his team winning the MAC West division in his fourth year with the program. Central Michigan won the MAC West division last year before losing to Miami (OH) in the MAC championship game by a 26-21 score. While the Chippewas then lost to San Diego State by a 48-11 score in the New Mexico Bowl, it remained a remarkable campaign for first-year head coach Jim McElwain who inherited a group that was just 1-11 the previous season while being winless in conference play.McElwain had 13 starters back from that group, but attrition has hit this team. Sophomore cornerback Kyron McKinnie-Harper left the school after legal problems, and fellow sophomore cornerback Montra Braswell transferred to Missouri. Defensive end Laquan Johnson suffered a season-ending injury in the opening game of the season. Central Michigan remains in limbo regarding the eligibility of senior quarterback David Moore who was suspended last season in October for using a banned substance. Moore had his appeal denied earlier this year (in the pre-COVID environment) to overturn a five-game suspension. The Chippewas followed up a 30-27 victory at home against Ohio with a 40-10 win at Northern Illinois last Wednesday as a 5.5-point favorite. Daniel Richardson completed 13 of 19 passes for 196 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The redshirt freshman is completing 60% of his passes for 439 yards this year with three touchdown passes and an interception. He has three completions of over 40 yards. Central Michigan has a balanced offensive attack as they are averaging 219.5 passing yards-per-game along with 210.5 rushing yards-per-game. The Chippewas have a two-headed monster in their backfield with junior running back Kobe Lewis and freshman Lew Nichols who have combined for 293 rushing yards. Central Michigan hosts the MAC’s top-scoring offense with the conference’s best scoring defense that is allowing only 18.5 points-per-game. Western Michigan currently holds the Cannon Trophy between these two teams after defeating the Chippewas last year by a 31-15 score in Kalamazoo. BetOnline has the Broncos as a 1-point road favorite with the total set at 59.5. Kickoff is at 7 PM ET.

Read more

Big Al's Daily Angle: NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020

The Wednesday sports card features three games in midweek Mid-American Conference college football action. All three of these games start at 7 PM ET.Toledo travels to Ypsilanti to play Eastern Michigan looking to rebound from their 41-38 loss at Western Michigan last Wednesday. The Rockets led for most of this game. They went into halftime with a 24-14 lead before seizing a 38-28 edge with under three minutes to go after scoring their final touchdown. Yet the Broncos responded by scoring a touchdown with under a minute left to go (and missing the extra point). Western Michigan then successfully recovered an onside kick giving their offense the chance to win the game. After getting the ball to the Toledo 9-yard line, Broncos’ quarterback Kaleb Eleby invoked Dan Marino by faking a spike that would stop the clock to instead throw the winning touchdown pass with just 17 seconds left to steal the victory away from Toledo. The Rockets controlled the time of possession for more than 38 1/2 minutes while outgaining Western Michigan by 64 yards in settling with the loss. Senior quarterback Eli Peters completed 30 of 46 passes for 339 yards while leading Toledo to 501 yards of offense in the losing effort. He joined 13 other starters returning this year from the Rockets’ team that settled for a 6-6 record while being the only bowl-eligible team not invited to play in a bowl game. The conclusion of their season was the first time since 2013 that Toledo did not play in a bowl. Head coach Jason Candle has brought-in another top-level recruiting class in his fifth season with the program as they look to get back to the postseason. The Rockets opened this season with a 38-3 win at home against Bowling Green.Eastern Michigan remained winless last Wednesday with their 38-31 loss at Ball State as an 8-point underdog. Junior quarterback Preston Hutchinson completed 17 of 29 passes for 250 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions in the loss. He also added 104 rushing yards with three more touchdowns on the ground in leading the Eagles offense. Eastern Michigan opened this season with a 27-23 loss at Kent State. This game will be the first one at home this year for head coach Chris Creighton’s team in his seventh year with the program. Eleven starters are back from the group that finished 6-7 after a narrow 34-30 loss to Pittsburgh in the Quick Lane Bowl, where they did not trail until the final 47 seconds of that game. Toledo is a 6.5-point road favorite with the total set at 61 (all odds from BetOnline). The CBS Sports Network has the broadcast. Ball State hosts Northern Illinois after earning their first victory of the season last Wednesday with their win over Eastern Michigan. Senior Drew Plitt led the Cardinals to the victory by completing 22 of 31 passes for 232 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He led a Ball State offense that gained 536 total yards. The Cardinals opened their season with a 38-31 loss at Miami (OH). Ball State has 14 starters back from the team that finished 5-7 last year. Fifth-year head coach Mike Neu was given a two-year extension through the 2023 season at the end of last season despite his team not becoming bowl eligible.Northern Illinois remained winless last Wednesday after getting blown out at home to Central Michigan as a 5.5-point underdog. Senior quarterback Ross Bowers completed only 16 of 32 passes for 139 yards in the loss. The Huskies managed only 244 yards offense to be outgained by 189 yards to the Chippewas.It has been a difficult start for head coach Thomas Hammock in the second-year with the program. Northern Illinois opened the season with a 49-30 loss at home to Buffalo. After the Huskies finished 5-7 last year, Hammock brought in 57 newcomers on the roster, with 47 of these players being true freshmen. Ten starters form the nucleus of this team led by Bowers under center. Ball State is a 14.5-point favorite with the over/under at 61.5. ESPN News has the broadcast.Western Michigan travels to Central Michigan in a battle of unbeaten teams. The Broncos opened their season with a 58-13 win against Akron before defeating Toledo last week. Eleven starters returned from the team that finished 7-6 last season after a 23-20 loss to Western Kentucky in the First Responders Bowl. That was the sixth straight season for this program to finish bowl eligible. Head coach Tim Lester has aspirations of his team winning the MAC West division in his fourth year with the program. Central Michigan won the MAC West division last year before losing to Miami (OH) in the MAC championship game by a 26-21 score. While the Chippewas then lost to San Diego State by a 48-11 score in the New Mexico Bowl, it remained a remarkable campaign for first-year head coach Jim McElwain who inherited a group that was just 1-11 the previous season while being winless in conference play.The Chippewas followed up a 30-27 victory at home against Ohio with a 40-10 win at Northern Illinois last Wednesday as a 5.5-point favorite. Daniel Richardson completed 13 of 19 passes for 196 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The redshirt freshman is completing 60% of his passes for 439 yards this year with three touchdown passes and an interception. He has three completions of over 40 yards. Western Michigan currently holds the Cannon Trophy between these two teams after defeating the Chippewas last year by a 31-15 score in Kalamazoo. The Broncos are a 1-point road favorite with the total set at 59.5. ESPN2 has the broadcast.

Read more

Inside the NFL: Against the Spread (ATS) Numbers thru Week 9

by Wayne Root

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020

Playing at Home Home teams get to enjoy the comfort of being on your home turf, whether it’s maintaining a game-week rhythm or eating meals in your home, or sleeping in your own bed. They also don’t have to contend with travel protocols. But does that add up to more point spread covers? Thru 9 weeks, home teams are 76-70-1; 51.7% straight/up Road Team Perks Performing well in road games has become less difficult, thanks to the advancement of private air travel, football technology and mental fortitude. You have talking headsets now in helmets, and you have signals from the sideline ...so the hardships of yesteryear are behind us somewhat. Thru week 9, visitors are 70-77-1; 47.6%  straight -up Empty Stadiums Nearly empty stadiums make for just one variable that a coronavirus world presents, and accurately projecting its impact will prove to be a difference-maker for everyone's bottom line. The biggest adjustment yet might be the decision to limit fans’ attendance at games. So how has this affected home-field advantage? Although it’s too early in the season to reach a definitive conclusion, it’s evident that the home-field advantage is waning from past NFL seasons. During the 2019 season, home teams were a mere nine games straight up, 132-123-1, combined above .500, (.518 win rate), the lowest home win rate since 2002.  Home teams over-all: 70-77 ATS; 47.6% Home Favorites 41-53 ATS; 43.7% Home Team Advantage?  The assessment begins with a concept that already seems to have become outdated: home-field advantage. In fact, home teams won just 52% of regular-season games last year. That ranks as the third-worst season in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) and worst since 1972.  Home dogs are 29-24; 54.7% Visitor underdogs;53-41 ATS; 56.3%  Outside Factors You're handicapping betting behavior more than anything, especially on the higher-profile games, Denver will still have its altitude, warm-weather teams still must endure late-season elements, and travel will still involve challenges and annoyances that figure to inhibit a team's performance such as navy to back road games. Add to your Handicapping  Over the past five years, a league-high 14.7% of NFL games were decided by exactly three points. The second-most common margin of victory was seven points (9.9%), followed by six points (7.1%). It’s a Dog eat Favorite World in 2020  Underdogs are:  82-65; 55.8% thru week 9.

Read more

Big Ten Betting Report

by Doc's Sports

Tuesday, Nov 17, 2020

We are four games into the Big Ten conference schedule, and the standings are looking exactly like we thought they would at this time of the season… or not. Because of the COVID Pandemic, things have been shuffled around more than usual and teams have suffered either canceled games and or games where they didn’t have key players in the lineup for COVID issues. And then you have some teams, not naming any names yet, who just flat out stink.  To say the Big Ten has been anything short of entertaining football through a month of action would be selling the conference short. We’ve seen plenty of upsets, some games that were extremely hard to watch, and some games that featured little to no defense. However, here we are, with four games left in the shortened season, and some big-name programs have a lot of work left to do if they are to get to where they want to go.  Before I break down the upcoming week, let’s take a look at the standings first.  In the Big Ten East, Indiana leads the division with a perfect 4-0 record. Behind them is Ohio State at 3-0 and Maryland at 2-1. As for the state of Michigan, you know it’s been a rough season for both the Wolverines and Spartans when they are tied with Rutgers in the standings at 1-3. Below them, having an even worse go of it is Penn State, who checks in at 0-4.  In the Big Ten West, the only surprise would be Northwestern leading the division with a perfect 4-0 record. Wisconsin is right behind them but has played only two games (and won both). Below them is where you’ll find Purdue (1-2), Iowa (2-2), Nebraska (1-2), Illinois (1-3) and Minnesota (1-3).  Key Games of the Week No. 9 Indiana at No. 3 Ohio State. (-20) This game at Ohio Stadium will likely go a long way in determining who will finish atop the East Division. Indiana’s remaining schedule after Ohio State is extremely manageable for this team, with Maryland, Wisconsin and Purdue on deck to finish out the season. If the Hoosiers can play a perfect 60 minutes of road football and upset the No. 3-ranked Buckeyes, not only will it provide another wrinkle in the College Football Playoff picture, but it will give them a two-game lead with just three games left to play. The Hoosiers are winning games in large part due to their offense, as they’ve scored 36,37,38, and 24 points in their four wins. The defense has also played well over the last three weeks, not giving up more than 21 points, including pitching a shutout last week against Michigan State. They are getting great QB play from Michael Penix, who has thrown for 1,070 yards and nine touchdowns to just three interceptions. They’ve also gotten good production out of running back Stevie Scott. Scott has rushed for 317 yards and five scores in four contests. If the Hoosiers are going to pull off the upset, they are going to need both guys to go above and beyond their current production in order to keep up with the high-powered Buckeyes’ offense.  Ohio State comes into this game off a mini bye week as their game last Saturday against Maryland was canceled due to COVID concerns at College Park. Ohio State has been as advertised this year, posting a 3-0 record having outscored their opponents 139-69. They are getting tremendous production out of the quarterback position by potential top-three draft pick Justin Fields. Fields has thrown for 908 yards and 11 touchdowns with no interceptions. He’s also rushed for 57 yards and added two scores on the ground. He’s got enough talent to give opposing defenses fits with both his arm and legs. And with the production he’s getting around him, the Buckeyes are going to be hard to stop. His go-to receiver is Garrett Wilson. Wilson has caught 24 balls for 344 yards and two touchdowns. Ohio State has everything to play for in this one as an upset loss would likely push them out of the CFP top four, whereas a win would allow them to move up a spot based on what happens elsewhere.  No. 10 Wisconsin at No. 19 Northwestern (+7.5) The other key game of the week takes place at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois, when the 10th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers take on the No. 19-ranked Northwestern Wildcats. Similar to the above game, this game will likely determine the Big Ten West champion as Wisconsin and Northwestern have been the two best teams in the conference so far this season. It’s not going out on a limb to say we expected the Badgers to be highly ranked and own a perfect record, but with two games played (compared to four by most of the league), the Badgers have some catching up to do. They dominated Michigan last week as they put up 49 points in a 49-11 win. Many thought the three-week layoff would affect them and they would come out rusty, but they put that notion to bed really quick. The offense was efficient under Graham Mertz, and the defense was its usual smothering self. Now they take on a Northwestern team that has played tremendous football through four weeks of play. The Wildcats have ridden a dominant defense to four wins, as they’ve given up just 56 points, for an average of 14 points per game. The offense is doing just enough to win football games. And if I were a betting man, which I am, I’d say this game is going to be a defense battle – which is why the total is set 45.5. 

Read more

Ness Notes: Tuesday, Nov 17

by Larry Ness

Tuesday, Nov 17, 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: NFL Week 10 concluded with the Vikings beating the Bears 19-13 in Chicago. Kirk Cousins threw for 292 yards and two TDs (both to Adam Thielen, who now has NINE TD receptions on the season), as the Vikings won their THIRD straight after a 1-5 start. In stark contrast, after opening 5-1, the Bears have now lost FOUR in a row. Cousins completed 25 of 36 passes and was intercepted once but is ONE happy guy, as he won for the FIRST time in 10 career starts on Monday night, snapping his record drought. Chicago QB Nick Foles had a poor game (15 of 26 for 106 yards and an interception) and was carted off the field with 37 seconds to go due to an apparent right leg injury. Was it a great performance by the Minnesota D (entered the game allowing 29.2 PPG on 417.9 YPG) or a pathetic effort by the Chicago offense?  Chicago had just 149 total yards (including 41 rushing yards on 2.4 YPC) and accounted for just 10 FDs, converting 2 of 11 on third down and 0-2 on fourth down. Week 10 recap in just a bit.The CFB week begins with Tuesday night MACtion. The MAC completes its Tuesday and Wednesday schedule this week, as the conference will move to Saturday games on Nov 28, Dec 5 and Dec 12 to complete its regular season schedule. The conference championship game (at Ford Field in Detroit) will be played Friday, Nov 18. There were supposed to be three MAC games on Tuesday but the Mid-American Conference made an announcement Sunday afternoon that there will be no "Battle of the Bricks" this year between Ohio U and the Miami-Ohio. The statement read; “The Ohio University at Miami University football game has been canceled due to roster issues with the Ohio football team related to positive covid-19 tests and subsequent contact tracing. The game has been declared a no contest.” After 15 games were postponed or canceled last week in CFB, as of Tuesday morning, the Ohio/Mia-O contest is just one of SEVEN games to already suffer a similar fate. The list includes No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 12 Miami-Fl and No. 15 Marshall. And so it goes...Returning to teams actually playing, tonight's MACtion features a pair of games featuring 2-0 schools playing 0-2 ones. 2-0 Buffalo (2-0 ATS) is at 0-2 Bowling Green (0-2 ATS) at 7:00 ET, while 0-2 Akron is at 2-0 Kent St (both schools are 1-1 ATS) at 8:00 ET. Buffalo is averaging 45.5 PPG and BG is allowing 50.0 PPG, so it's no surprise that the visiting Bulls are a 31-point road favorite. The Zips are averaging 11.5 PPG and allowing 41.0 PPG in their 0-2 start (more in just a second), while Kent is averaging 44.5 PPG in its 2-0 start. Once again, there is no surprise in the pointspread, which has the Golden Flashes favored by 26 points. I'll close with the continuing woes of the Akron Zips (bring back Gerry Faust!). Akron went winless in 2019 at 0-12 and also matched that by going 1-11 ATS. In fact, Akron's last win came back on 10/27/18, when the Zips won 17-10 at home over Central Michigan. Doing the math, Akron takes a 19-game losing streak (nation's longest active) into tonight's game, having gone almost as bad ATS, covering just FOUR of its 19 losses (21.1%). Wednesday's Notes will feature more MACtion plus take a look at CFB's 'lovable losers' in 2020.NFL Week 10 recap and highlights: Let's start with the numbers. Home teams did well, going 11-3 SU and 8-6 ATS (home dogs were 2-3 SU & ATS). Doing the match on the Y-T-D numbers, home teams entered the week below .500 at 65-67-1 (.492) on the season but are now 76-70-1 (.520), although they remain under .500 ATS at  68-77-2 ATS (46.9%). Home dogs are well below .500 at 14-36 (.280) SU but are a small money-maker in going 26-22-2 (54.2%) ATS. Scoring was robust in Week 9, as games averaged 52.9 PPG, resulting in nine overs, four unders and one push. However, Week 10's 14 games averaged just 45.7 PPG (just over a TD less per game!), as EIGHT of 14 games stayed under the total. There have now been 75 overs, 68 unders and four pushes through 10 weeks.I already credited Kirk Cousins for winning a MNF game in his 10th try but also noteworthy in last night's game was Bears kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson opening the second half by returning the kick-off 104-yards for a score. He is now tied for first-place in NFL history with his eighth career kickoff return for a TD. he's pulled even with Josh Cribbs (2005-14) and Leon Washington (2006-14). It also was the longest kickoff return in Bears history, eclipsing a 103-yard TD by Gale Sayers against Pittsburgh on Sep 17, 1967. We lost Gayle ("The Kansas Comet") on Sep 23rd at 77-years-old and if you haven't watched Brian's Song, shame on you! I saw it the first time as a freshman at Ohio U in a crowded dorm lobby, with each one of us trying to hide the tears in our eyes from one another. Steelers fans will surely remember the chant, "Pittsburgh Goin' to the Super Bowl, We've got a Feeling," back in the 1974 season. As the 2020 moves to Week 11, Pittsburgh remains the NFL's lone unbeaten, after taking care of the Bengals 36-10 on Sunday. "Big Ben' couldn't practice all week because of COVID protocols, but passed for a season-high 333 yards with four TD passes. The Steelers are now 9-0 and with Baltimore falling to 6-3 with a 23-17 loss in New England, Pittsburgh has a commanding three-game lead in the AFC North. Up next, is securing home field advantage in the AFC. However, the defending champion 8-1 Chiefs, just may have other ideas. Buffalo still leads the AFC East at 7-3 (more on their game in a bit) but Tua moved to 3-0 as an NFL starter in Miami's 29-21 win over the Chargers, as the Dolphins have now won FIVE in a row and sit 6-3. In the AFC South, the Texans (winners of the division in four of the last five seasons) are 'dead' at 2-7 and it will be a 'fight to the finish' between the 6-3 Colts and Titans. The Colts beat the Titans 34-17 in Week 10 (Thursday night) and the teams will have a rematch at Indy in Week 12.Over in the NFC, the Giants beat the Eagles 27-17, as QB Daniel Jones has now gone without a TO in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. The 3-5-1 Eagles lead the NFC 'Least' but are the 3-7 Giants charging? Washington lost 30-27 at Detroit but is there a better 'feel good' story in NFL 2020 than the journey of Alex Smith? It's taken nearly two years for him to return to the starting lineup. It took him only two games to inject himself into the conversation over whether he can be Washington's future quarterback. He's thrown for a combined 715 yards in Washington's last two losses, nearly leading comebacks from large deficits each time. Smith has returned to a place few thought he would reach again. In Sunday's 30-27 loss to the Detroit Lions, Smith's first start since breaking the fibula and tibia in his right leg on Nov 18, 2018, he completed a career-high 38 passes for 390 yards. Washington tied the game after trailing by 21 points in the second half only to lose on a last-second field goal.Chicago's MNF loss to the Vikings leaves the Packers 'smiling' atop the NFC North. Green Bay had a sluggish 24-20 win over Jacksonville on Sunday but is now 7-2 and no other team in the division has a better record than Chicago's 5-5 mark. Should the Pack really be worried about the 4-5 Vikings and their current three-game winning streak? The Saints won their SIXTH straight game (27-13 over the 49ers) and are now 7-2. However, Drew Brees has multiple rib fractures on both sides of his chest and a collapsed lung on the right side, injuries suffered over two weeks. It is uncertain how much time he might miss. Jameis Winston to the rescue? Oh my! The Tampa Bay 'Bradys' moved to 7-3 with a 46-23 rout of Carolina (TB rolled up 554 yards), as TB-12 threw three TD passes and added a TD run, bouncing back from his embarrassing three-INT game in Week 9, 38-3 at home to the Saints.New Orleans' win over San Francisco leaves the defending NFC champions at 4-6 in the NFC West, a division which features Arizona, the LA Rams and Seattle all tied at 6-3. No postseason in 2020 for the 49ers! Arizona beat the Bills on a 'miracle' Hail Mary 43-yard TD pass with two seconds remaining in the game. Up by two points and NOT wanting to risk the extra-point attempt being blocked and returned for two points, the Cards 'passed.' Arizona was favored by anywhere from one to three points in the game. Oh, the ATS carnage! Meanwhile, the Rams beat the Seahawks 23-16, leaving the Cards, Rams and Seahawks all tied (see above). That sets up Week 11's Thursday night game, as the Cards travel to Seattle for a rematch with the Seahawks. Arizona won 37-34 in OT at home over Seattle back in Week 7. Pretty good way to kick off 'lucky' Week 11. Good luck...Larry

Read more

Big Al's Daily Angle: NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Nov 17, 2020

The Tuesday sports card features two games in Mid-American Conference college football action. A third MAC matchup between Miami (OH) and Ohio was canceled on Sunday amidst a COVID outbreak with the Bobcats football team. Buffalo travels to Bowling Green for a game on the CBS Sports Network at 7 PM ET. The Bulls have won their first two games of the season after defeating Miami (OH) last Tuesday at home by a 42-10 score as a 7-point favorite. That victory came on the heels of their 49-30 win at Northern Illinois two weeks ago. Junior quarterback Kyle Vantrease completed 17 of 27 passes for 353 yards with four touchdown passes in the victory. Vantrease is completing 63.6% of his passes this season for 528 yards with five touchdowns and just one interception. He is averaging 12.8 yards-per-attempt. Junior running back Jaret Patterson has rushed for 210 yards on 40 carries after breaking a program record last season with 1799 rushing yards. The first-team conference All-American is complemented by junior Kevin Marks, who has rushed for 141 yards on 22 carries after gaining over 1000 rushing yards last year. Buffalo has 15 starters back from the team that finished 8-5 in head coach Lance Leipold’s fifth-year with the program. The Bulls defeated Charlotte by a 31-3 score in the Bahamas Bowl. Buffalo has expectations of not only earning the opportunity to win their second bowl game in school history but also winning the MAC East division and playing for the conference title in the MAC championship game. Bowling Green has lost their first two games this year after enduring a 62-24 loss at home to Kent State last Tuesday. The Falcons are allowing 50.0 points-per-game, which is the lowest of all the 126 teams competing in the FBS this season. Bowling Green is giving up 595.5 yards-per-game as well, with 302.5 of those yards coming on the ground. Junior quarterback Matt McDonald completed only 6 of 20 passes for 105 yards in the loss to the Golden Flashes. The Boston College transfer has been a disappointment by completing only 14 of his 50 passes this season for a 28% completion percentage. He has only 233 passing yards in two starts with two interceptions and without a touchdown pass. The Falcons offense ranks 122nd in the nation by scoring 13.5 points-per-game, and their 316.0 yards-per-game average ranks 116th in the FBS. Twelve starters are back in head coach Scott Loeffler’s second year with the program. Bowling Green won only 12 games in the previous four seasons after their 3-9 campaign last year. Loeffler has recruited well, but the fruits of that labor have yet to develop. The Falcons lost their opening game at Toledo by a 38-3 score. Buffalo won the meeting between these two teams last season at home by a 49-7 score. Buffalo is a 31.5-point road favorite this year, with the total set at 59.5 (all odds from BookMaker).At 8 PM ET, Akron plays at Kent State for the game on ESPN. The Zips lost their first two games of the season after their 24-10 loss at Ohio last Tuesday. Akron trailed by just a 17-10 score in the fourth quarter before the Bobcats pulled away with a final touchdown. The Zips outgained Ohio by 128 net yards after their offense gained 435 yards by controlling the time of possession for over 34 minutes in that game. Redshirt freshman Zach Gibson completed 18 of 30 passes for 218 yards in the losing effort. He threw a touchdown passes, but his two interceptions contributed to Akron’s -3 net turnover margin. He will likely get his third straight start with senior quarterback Kato Nelson questionable as he recovers from the shoulder surgery he underwent just before the season started. Gibson is supported by a Zips’ rushing attack that is averring 173.0 rushing yards-per-game. Second-year head coach Tom Arth has 70 new players on this roster who are either freshman, redshirt freshman, or transfers. Akron was winless in their twelve games in Arth’s first-year with the program. Kent State won their first two games this season after their 62-24 victory at Bowling Green last Tuesday as a 20.5-point favorite. The Golden Flashes put up 657 yards of offense while producing 34 first downs. Senior quarterback Dustin Crum completed 18 of 27 passes for 271 yards against the Falcons with four touchdown passes. He has six touchdowns to just one interception on the season. Crum leads an offense that is scoring 44.5 points-per-game while averaging 549.0 yards-per-game. Head coach Sean Lewis’s team opened their season with a 27-23 victory at home against Eastern Michigan. Kent State’s pass defense has shined by producing seven sacks and holding their two opponents to 173.0 passing yards-per-game, which is the lowest mark in the MAC. Thirteen starters are back from the Golden Flashes’ team that won their final four games to finish 7-6. Kent State ended last season by defeating Utah State in the Frisco Bowl by a 51-41 score. The Golden Flashes won the meeting last year between these two teams by a 26-3 score at Akron. Kent State is a 25.5-point favorite with the over/under at 58.5.

Read more

The NFL Landscape After Week 10

by Will Rogers

Monday, Nov 16, 2020

The NFL (and society in general), is learning how to play during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Now there's the hope of a vaccine that could be widely available by the time the 2021/22 season starts.It's been a strange season for many reasons. The landscape in the NFL continues to change from week to week.New England and Buffalo were evenly favored to win the AFC East before the season started, but the Bills have a lock on that spot after Week 10 at 7-3. Miami sits right behind at 6-3 and the Patriots are holding on at 4-5. Pittsburgh is 9-0. Should Big Ben Roehtlisberger be mentioned in the MVP talk?! Or at least as Bounce Back Player Of The Year? Regardless, the Steelers keep managing to find ways to win. Baltimore and Cleveland are both at 6-3 in the AFC North.The AFC South is down to two teams. Houston is 2-7 and Jacksonville is 1-8, but both Indianapolis and Tennessee are tied at 6-3. The Chiefs continue to hold down the top spot in the AFC West at 8-1, while Las Vegas isn't too far behind at 6-3. The Raiders won at Arrow Head a couple of weeks ago, and now the defending champs are in Las Vegas in Week 11 looking for vengeance.The NFC "Least" is the most interesting in my opinion, despite all of the teams struggling. Philadelphia leads at 3-5-1, while New York is right behind at 3-7. The Giants just beat the Eagles as well, so they have the leg up in the tiebreaker this season. Right behind them though is Washington and Dallas at 2-7. Funnily enough, any of these teams still have a mathematical shot at capturing the NFC East title after Week 10.Green Bay leads the NFC North at 7-2, with Chicago in second at 5-5. Minnesota and Detroit are both at 4-5. The NFC South is another competitive division. The Saints are 7-2 and the Bucs are 7-3. New Orleans has already won both games over Tampa Bay this season, meaning that the Saints are in the driver's seat at this point (depending of course on how fast Drew Brees can recover from injury, and how well Jameis Winston can play in relief.) The NFC West is another very interesting one, as all four teams still have a shot at winning the division. Arizona, LA, and Seattle are all at 6-3 (Seattle and Arizona play on Thursday night), while the 49ers are 4-6.A Closer Look At Week 10 "Against-The-Spread"Faves: 9-5 ATSHome fave: 6-3Fave -2.5 or less: 3-0Fave -6 or more: 3-2Double-Digit fave: 0-1Divison fave: 6-1For The Season ATSFaves: 66-79-1 ATSHome fave: 41-53 Fave -2.5 or less: 8-19Fave -6 or more: 31-29-1Double-Digit fave: 5-7-1Division fave: 22-28

Read more

Ness Notes: Monday, Nov 16

by Larry Ness

Monday, Nov 16, 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's Week 10 concludes with a MNF matchup between two NFC North rivals, as the Minnesota Vikings meet the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field at 8:15 ET on ESPN. The Vikings opened the 2020 season 1-5 but after a bye in Week 7, have beaten Green Bay and Detroit. In contrast, the Bears opened the season 5-1 but enter this contest off THREE straight losses and a bye looming in Week 11. Clearly, current form favors the Vikings but recent series history is on Chicago's side. Chicago head coach Mike Nagy is in his third season with the Bears and is 4-0 against the Vikings. In contrast Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins is 0-3 in three meetings with the Bears as a Viking (sat out meaningless Week 17 game in 2019), with Minnesota averaging just 12.0 PPG in those contests. Does this factoid figure into one's handicapping? Cousins is 0-9 in his career on Monday nights, which is the worst record of any QB in NFL history! The ball is in your court. Minnesota is favored by three points and the over/under is 43 1/2.There were ZERO games between ranked teams last week, so higher ranked teams remain 17-3 SU and 16-4 ATS. As documented here each week, the dynamic of ranked teams against unranked opponents has seen markedly different results most of this season but we first saw a possible "regression to the mean" two weeks ago. 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. The numbers Y-T-D stood 82-22 SU (.788) but just 42-60-2 ATS (.412) as CFB began its latest week on Nov 10. However, when 'all the dust had settled' on Nov 15, ranked teams had gone 12-1 SU against unranked opponents (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%).CFB highlights: Unfortunately, one of the most notable headlines/storylines of the past week was the fact that 15 games were postponed or canceled due to COVID-related issues. Top-10 teams No.1 Alabama, No. 3 Ohio St and No.5 Texas A&M all did not play on Saturday. Three more ranked teams were unable to play as well, No. 12 Georgia, No. 15 Coastal Carolina and No. 24 Auburn. As noted above, the lone ranked team to lose to an unranked opponent was then-No. 19 SMU, which lost 28-24 at Tulsa. Kudos to the Golden Hurricane who fell behind the Mustangs 21-0, before outscoring them 28-3 the rest of the way. So what else is 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!"Nothing to it" PERFECTLY describes Penn State's 2020 season. The Nittany Lions fell behind a winless Nebraska team 27-6 at the half and despite TWO chances late in the 4th quarter deep in Nebraska territory (when a TD and extra-point could have sent the game to OT), FAILED each time. Penn State's 30-23 loss drops them to 0-4 on the season. You may remember that Penn St was ranked No. 7 in the AP's preseason poll and now become just the FOURTH school in poll history to open in the top-10 and then start 0-4. The most recent time that occurred was back in 1984 with Pittsburgh but Arizona St did it in 1976 and Illinois in 1954. "We ARE Penn St!"All four top-10 teams won this week. No. 2 Notre Dame side-stepped a let down situation by winning 45-31 at Boston College, scoring 45-plus points in back-to-back games for the first time since 1996. Ian Book has now attempted 204 passes without an INT and moved to 28-3 as Notre Dame's starting QB. The Fighting Irish are owners of a 14-game winning streak, the longest active among FBS teams. No. 6 Florida routed Arkansas 63-35, as QB Kyle Trask threw five TD passes in the first half. He has 28 TDs through six games. Heisman voters take note! No. 7 Cincinnati won 55-17 at home over East Carolina on Friday, extending its home winning streak to 19 straight. The Bearcats are allowing just 12.4 PPG on the season. No. 9 Miami, despite missing 13 players due to injury/illness (including four starters), eked out a 25-24 win at Va Tech. The 'Canes have now won back-to-back games in which they trailed in the fourth quarter, after going 0-5 in that situation in 2019. No. 10 Indiana, playing as a top-10 team for the first time since 1967, routed Michigan St 24-0 at East Lansing. The Hoosiers defense held MSU to nine FDs, 191 total yards and forced four takeaways. Indiana is now 4-0 in the Big Ten since 1987.New AP poll: With so many top teams not playing, there was little change in the poll. Alabama (60 of 62 first-place votes) remains No. 1, Notre Dame is No. 2. Ohio St No. 3, Clemson No. 4 and A&M No. 5. Despite being idle, Clemson has now been among the AP's top-five for 50 consecutive weeks (streak began on 11/5/17), the third-longest of all-time. It's no surprise that Alabama owns the longest streak (68 straight was snapped last season), with the 2000-03 Miami Hurricanes second with 55 straight top-5 rankings. Indiana inched up one spot to No. 9 (highest since being No. 4 back in 1967) and when it plays No. 3 Ohio St this Saturday, it will mark the school's first-ever meeting of top-10 teams.The only school to drop out of the poll was No. 19 SMU, replaced by the school that beat them on Saturday, Tulsa (see above). 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). "We are Marshall!" The Thundering Herd  wore all-black uniforms and the number 75 on its helmets to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the plane crash that killed 75 people on Nov 14, 1970, on a flight home from a game at East Carolina. Marshall beat MTSU 42-14 and are 7-0 (one of 12 schools still unbeaten after playing three or more games!) and ranked 15th.Tuesday's Notes will touch on the opening of the new CFB week (more MACtion) but will concentrate on a recap of NFL Week 10.Good luck...Larry

Read more

UFC 255 Preview

by Ben Burns

Monday, Nov 16, 2020

Say what you want about the rest of 2020 but it continues to be an exciting year for fight fans. Another two titles are up for grabs on Saturday November 21st, at the UFC Apex, in Las Vegas. The main event features flyweight champ Deiveson Figueiredo, defending his belt against Alex Perez. In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko goes for her fourth straight title defense.  Shevchenko, among the most dominant fighters out there, is an extremely heavy favorite. We're talking in the -1400 range, as of this writing. Obviously, I'm not about to suggest that kind of price. So, is it worth taking a shot on the huge underdog? Probably not. Maia (18-6-1) is no slouch, as she's capable on both her feet and on the ground. However, Shevchenko (19-3) is better in both areas. She's won seven of her past eight and has defended her belt three times, twice by KO. Maia's never faced anyone that hits this hard. By comparison, Figueiredo's -300, or so, price tag may look somewhat reasonable. It's still a little too rich for my blood though. I won with Figueiredo (19-1) in his last fight, as he took care of Joseph Benavidez in the first round. That victory came via submission, the seventh of his career. However, the flyweight champ is more known for his hands. He's got serious power for this weight class. Perez (24-5) has been fighting well and checks in off three straight wins. However, it should be noted that his lone UFC loss was by first round TKO, at the hands of Benavidez. It should also be mentioned that Figueiredo was originally supposed to fight Cory Garbrandt while Perez was to go against Brandon Moreno. Though both champions may be too expensive to bet, there are plenty of other enticing options on Saturday's card. Totals have yet to be released but there are some interesting matchups. The Brandon Royval / Brandon Moreno winner could find himself fighting Figueiredo (or Perez) next. Paul Craig vs. "Shogun" Rua should also be pretty good, given that the two fought to a draw last September. Enjoy and good luck! .... Ben Burns 

Read more

Big Al's Daily Angle: NFL Preview

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Nov 16, 2020

The NFL Monday Night Football game on ESPN between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears is the main attraction on the Monday sports card.Minnesota has raised their record to a 3-5 mark with two straight victories. The Vikings defeated Detroit at home last week by a 34-20 score as a 3-point favorite. Minnesota had a +3 net turnover margin to help them win that game. Kirk Cousins completed 13 of 20 passes in the victory for 220 yards with three touchdown passes and no interceptions. Cousins is completing 65.6% of his passes for 1855 yards with an 8.9 yards-per-attempt average. He has thrown 15 touchdown passes, but his 10 interceptions are a source of concern. Cousins has also won only one of his ten career starts on Monday Night Football.Running back Dalvin Cook rushed for 206 yards on 22 carries to lead the Vikings to the victory against the Lions. Cook has 858 rushing yards with 12 touchdowns this season on 6.5 Yards-Per-Carry. Over his last five games, he has rushed for at least 135 yards five times while generation 745 yards over that span. Head coach Mike Zimmer has been frustrated by his defense that has allowed 29.3 points-per-game along with 412.9 yards-per-game this season. Minnesota has played seven rookies on defense, and they enter this game with their most experienced cornerback having only 21 games under his belt in his career. Yet the Vikings have allowed just 22 and 20 points in their last two games. Chicago started the year 5-1, but they have since lost three straight games after their 24-17 loss at Philadelphia last week as a 6.5-point underdog. Nick Foles completed 36 of 52 passes for 335 yards with two touchdown passes in the losing effort. Foles is completing 65.6% of his passes this season for 1746 yards in the seven games he has played this season. But he is averaging only 6.1 yards-per-attempt with ten touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Bears are scoring only 19.8 points-per-game this season, which is 29th in the NFL while averaging 317.8 yards-per-game. Their defense is keeping them in games as they are allowing only 21.1 points-per-game, which is the seventh-best mark in the league. Head coach Matt Nagy has relented on pulling double-duty as the play-caller on offense as he delegated those duties this week to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. Chicago faces depletion at running back with David Montgomery out for this game as he continues through the concussion protocol. With Tarik Cohen out the season with his ACL tear, the Bears must resort to converted wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson along with the recent running backs from Oregon State in third-year pro-Ryan Nall and undrafted free agent Artavis Pierce on their depth chart. Nagy could elevate veteran Lamar Miller from the practice squad after he missed last season with a torn ACL.Bears’ wide receiver, Allen Robinson, is questionable with a knee injury. Nagy has said it is a possibility that center Cody Whitehair could be activated off the COVID list after the team has used three different centers in the last three weeks.BookMaker lists Minnesota as a 3-point road favorite with the total set at 43.5. Kickoff on ESPN is at 8:20 PM ET.

Read more

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2022 Al McMordie's BigAl.com. All Rights Reserved.