Articles

Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB and NFL Preview

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Oct 12, 2020

First, a particularly sad note today:  Joe Morgan, one of the best players of all-time, and certainly one of my favorite players, has passed away at the age of 77.  My condolences to his family.The Monday card features only one NFL contest along with games in the American League and National League Championship Series. The rescheduled Denver Broncos/New England game, set for 5 PM ET, was postponed after the Patriots had another positive COVID test in their organization. The ALCS continues at 4:07 PM ET with Game 2 of the Houston/Tampa Bay series. The Rays won the opening contest of this best-of-seven series last night with their 2-1 victory. They give the ball to Charlie Morton, who was 2-2 in the regular season with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in nine starts. The Astros counter with Lance McCullers, who was 3-3 during the regular season with a 3.93 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 11 starts. Tampa Bay is a -117 moneyline favorite with the total set at 8.5 (all odds from BetAnySports). TBS has the broadcast. The first game in the NLCS begins at 8:08 PM ET. Atlanta has won all five of their games this postseason after they swept the Miami Marlins in three games. The Braves closed out that series on Thursday with their 7-0 victory, which was their fourth shutout in the playoffs. The Dodgers have also won their five playoff games after they swept the San Diego Padres with their 12-3 victory on Thursday. Los Angeles is a -136 moneyline favorite with an over/under of 8. Fox will broadcast the game. Atlanta will send out Max Fried as their starting pitcher. The left-hander was 7-0 in the regular season with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 11 regular season starts. Los Angeles gives the ball to Walker Buehler, who was 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP in eight starts in the regular season.  Monday Night Football on ESPN features two teams looking for a win. For New Orleans, a victory gets them back over .500 while tying them with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in first place in the NFC South with a 3-2 record. The Saints’ Super Bowl aspirations took a hit when they lost on the road in Las Vegas to the Raiders and then followed that up with a loss at home to the Green Bay Packers. New Orleans righted the ship last week with a 35-29 win at Detroit. But even that effort dew question marks as they spotted the Lions a 14-0 lead before scoring touchdowns on five straight drives before having to hold on to pull that game out after a late Detroit rally. Los Angeles has lost three games in a row after blowing a 24-7 lead in the second quarter last week at Tampa Bay in their 38-31 loss to the Buccaneers. The Chargers have been competitive in these losses. They lost in overtime by a 23-20 score at home to Kansas City in another game where they were once winning. In their 21-16 loss to Carolina two weeks ago, they were in a position to take the lead late in that game before a fumbled lateral pass in that game ruined their potential touchdown scoring drive. New Orleans is currently a 6.5-point favorite with the total set at 49. Kickoff takes place shortly after 8:15 PM ET.

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2020 NBA Playoffs: A Point Spread Recap

by Al McMordie

Monday, Oct 12, 2020

At the start of the NBA Playoffs, there were a lot of theories about which teams would do well in the Orlando bubble environment.  Would it be wise to take the points with the underdogs, or lay the points with the favorites?  Would the better-coached teams have an advantage, and so forth.  I was one of the handicappers who averred that the better NBA coaches would do very well, and speculated that the Miami Heat (Erik Spoelstra), Boston Celtics (Brad Stevens), and San Antonio Spurs (Gregg Popovich) would be the ones to watch.  Unfortunately, the Spurs' NBA-record streak of 22 consecutive Playoff appearances ended, so we never had the opportunity to see how Pop's troops would have performed in the Playoffs, but his team did go 5-3 ATS in the regular season bubble games.  And Boston (10-7 ATS) and Miami (16-5 ATS) certainly acquitted themselves well throughout the Playoffs.With respect to categories like favorites and underdogs, etc., what was most surprising was how evenly divided things turned out.  Let's review the numbers.There were 83 Playoff games played across the 15 series.  And exactly half the games were covered by the favorite (40-40-3 ATS).  Similarly, teams off a straight-up win also covered exactly 50% (43-43-3), as did teams off a straight-up loss (37-37-3 ATS).If one goes further into the numbers, one finds that the shorter-priced favorites did the worst.  Teams favored by less than four points were an awful 7-16-1 ATS, including 2-9-1 ATS off a win.  Meanwhile, teams favored from -4 to -6 points did the best, with a 16-6-1 ATS record, including 8-3 ATS off a win.The unders were profitable at 45-36-2.  And teams off a blowout loss by 15+ points went 11-9-1 ATS in the Playoffs (and 23-12-1 ATS if one includes the regular season bubble games).Finally, teams off back to back losses went 19-14-2 ATS, including 12-4-1 ATS if they weren't getting 5+ points.  Though teams down 2-games-to-none underperformed at 4-5 ATS.Good luck, as always....Al McMordie  

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Ness Notes: Monday, Oct 12

by Larry Ness

Monday, Oct 12, 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 Finals: My last update had LA up 3-1 heading into Friday's Game 5. Jimmy Butler became the SIXTH player in NBA Finals history to have multiple triple-doubles in the same title series (35-12-11). Magic Johnson and LBJ have both done it three times, while Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and Draymond Green have done it once. All Miami starters were in double digits, including a career playoff high by Duncan Robinson (26). LBJ had 40-13-7 but while he and Davis were a combined 24 for 36 from the floor, the rest of the Lakers were 14 for 46 (30.4%). The Lakers' reserves shot 5 for 22 (22.7%). That forced a Game 6 last night. After failing to beat the Heat in Friday's Game 5, Lakers coach Frank Vogel changed the starting lineup, moving Davis to the 5 and plugging Alex Caruso in Dwight Howard's place for a smaller, quicker group.After failing to beat the Heat in Friday's Game 5, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel changed the starting lineup, moving Davis to the center position and starting Alex Caruso over Dwight Howard's for a smaller, quicker group. The move paid off, as LA effectively put the game away by outscoring Miami 36-16 in the second quarter. They led by 28 at the half, the second-largest halftime lead in NBA Finals history. Jimmy Butler, after a 40-point triple-double in a Game 3 win for the Heat and a 35-point triple-double in a Game 5 win, was contained, finishing with 12 points. LBJ capped his fourth championship with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, as the Lakers cruised to a 106-93 victory (game was NOT as close as the final score). Anthony Davis had 19 points and 15 rebounds in winning his first NBA title (won a national championship at Kentucky in ). LBJ became the first player in NBA history to be named Finals MVP with three different teams and won the award for the fourth time to trail only Michael Jordan (six). It was the Lakers' 17th NBA title, tying them with the Celtics for the most all-time. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the third wire-to-wire victory to clinch an NBA title in the past 50 seasons, joining the 1982 Lakers and the 1986 Boston Celtics. Much more on the 2019-20 NBA season, the Lakers and LBJ in Tuesday's Notes.MLB Playoffs: Michael Brosseau hit a dramatic home run off Aroldis Chapman with one out in the eighth inning, as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 2-1 Friday night in the decisive Game 5 to reach the ALCS for the first time in 12 seasons. The Rays dominated the regular-season series with the Yankees 8-2 and were the AL's No. 1 seed and making the victory even more 'sweet' was that Tampa Bay's $29 million payroll (28th out of the 30 major league teams) was dwarfed by the Yankees, who had the third-largest payroll at $84 million. Waiting for the Rays were the Houston Astros, who followed three straight 100-win seasons by going just 29-31 during this year's COVID-shortened season but were able to get into an expanded 16-team playoff field by virtue of finishing second in the AL West. The Astros then swept AL Central champs Minnesota 2-0 in the wild card round and eliminated AL west champs Oakland 3-1 in an ALDS matchup. The NLDS features the Atlanta Braves and LA Dodgers. The Braves beat the Marlins 3-0 in Game 3 last Thursday, giving Atlanta a three-game sweep and its first trip to the NLCS since 2001. In the process, the Braves became just the SECOND team in MLB history to throw four shutouts in their first five playoff games, joining the 1905 New York Giants behind Hall of Famers Christy Mathewson and Joe McGinnity. The Braves have already pitched the most postseason shutouts in franchise history and are one shutout shy of tying the MLB record for most in a postseason set by the 2016 Indians over 15 games. Atlanta draws the LA Dodgers in the NLCS, who completed a three-game sweep of their own last Thursday with a 12-3 win over the Padres. Los Angeles advanced to its fourth NL Championship Series in five years and the team with MLB's best regular season record in 2020 (43-17), will be making their 14th NLCS appearance, matching the St Louis Cardinals for the most.The League Championship Series Prices at BetAnySports (before the start of each series) had the Rays -175 and the Astros +165, while the Dodgers were -215 and the Braves +195. To win the World Series the Dodgers were +160, the  Rays +240, the Braves +425 and the Astros +435. Game 1 of the ALCS was last night and the Rays won 2-1. The Rays took a 1-0 series lead on the back of two timely hits and a pair of critical double plays, the latter coming with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the eighth inning. Randy Arozarena his fourth HR of this postseason. and Mike Zunino plated the go-ahead run with a first-pitch single in the fifth inning. Blake Snell allowed a solo HR in the first inning but that was all he allowed in five innings. The Rays' bullpen then produced another exceptional effort, as four relievers combined for FOUR scoreless innings. Houston wasted a solid effort by Valdez (two runs in six innings with eight Ks), as the Astros left 10 men on base and went 2 of 8 with RISP.Game 2 of the ALCS ( 4:07 ET on ) sees Lance McCullers going up against Charlie Morton. The Rays are favored (-125) and the over/under is 8. Game 1 of the NLCS (8:08 ET on FOX) features Atlanta's Max Fried up against LA's Walker Buehler (more in a bit). The Braves led the majors in OPS (.832) and ranked second in team BA (.268), runs (348), HRs (103) and slugging (.483) during the regular season. Checking LA's numbers in those same categories reveals the Dodgers had an .821 OPS, a team BA of .256, scored 349 runs, hit 118 HRs and owned a slugging percentage of .430. However, LA's pitching numbers are dominant by comparison. LA owns a team ERA of 3.02 (Atlanta's is 4.41) with a 1.06 WHIP (Atlanta's is 1.36) and a BAA of .213 (Atlanta's is .247). LA owned a MLB-best 43-17 regular season record, while Atlanta was EIGHT games worse at 35-25. More LA dominance is revealed by LA's MLB-best plus-136 run differential, more than DOUBLE that of Atlanta's (plus-60). However, it's just a seven-game series and Atlanta's pitching staff (see above). "Something has to give" in this Game 1, as the Braves are 12-1 in Fried's 2020 starts, while the Dodgers are 9-1 when Buehler starts. The Dodgers are favored (-135) and the over/under is 8.BATTER UP! I have plays in BOTH games!NFL: It's Monday and that typically means the NFL would be completing its current week with a MNF matchup. However, 2020 has hardly been a "typical" year in ANY aspect of life, let alone the 'world of sports.' The NFL is the 'Big Dog' and likes to think of itself as invulnerable but COVID-19 has had other ideas. Here's what I think we know. The Bills at the Titans (scheduled for yesterday will be played tomorrow (Oct 13). The Broncos at the Pats and Broncos (also scheduled for yesterday) will now be played during Week 6 on Sunday Oct. 18. As a result of that game, the Broncos' Week 6 matchup against the Miami Dolphins has been pushed back to Week 11. From what I've read, here are the other remaining changes to the 2020 schedule: The Kansas City Chiefs-Buffalo Bills Week 6 game on Thursday, Oct. 15 moves to Monday, Oct. 19. The New York Jets-Miami Dolphins Week 10 matchup moves to Week 6. The New York Jets-Los Angeles Chargers matchup moves from Week 6 to Week 11. The Jacksonville Jaguars-Los Angeles Chargers matchup moves from Week 8 to Week 7. The Los Angeles Chargers-Denver Broncos game moves from Week 11 to Week 8. The Los Angeles Chargers-Miami Dolphins game moves from Week 7 to Week 10. Got it?There is a MNF game tonight at 8:15 ET on ESPN. The 1-3 Chargers are at the 2-2 Saints, with New Orleans favored by seven points (over/under is 49 1/2). My usual Tuesday NFL recap will be pushed back to Wednesday's Notes, to cover the Bills/Titans contest. CFB recap: Heading into this past Saturday (Oct 10), there had been just SIX, top-25 showdowns in 2020, with the higher ranked team having gone 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS. However, we saw FOUR such matchups on Saturday. No. 1 Clemson beat No. 7 Miami-Fl  42-17, No. 3 Georgia beat No. 14 Tennessee 44-21 and No. 8 North Carolina beat No. 19 Va Tech 56-45. All three played at home and covered. However, No. 4 Florida was at No. 21 Texas A&M and lost 41-38 (A&M's winning FG came as time expired), becoming the first higher ranked team to lose to a ranked opponent. The Y-T-D record has higher ranked teams at 9-1 SU and 8-2 ATS. As I warned last Thursday, playing on ranked teams when matching up against unranked opponents can be dangerous to one's bankroll. October 10 was a 'nightmare' scenario ATS for the seven ranked teams facing an unranked opponent. Five won but just ONE covered!  No. 17 LSU lost an 'ugly' one at home to Missouri, 45-41, while No. 22 Texas lost its Red River Showdown 53-48 in four OTs to Oklahoma in a "classic" (most combined points in the series' 116-game history)  LSU was stopped FOUR times from the one-yard line with a chance to win and the LSU defense allowed 45 points to a Missouri team that had averaged 15.5 PPG in its first two. With ranked teams going 5-2 SU and 1-6 AY+TS, the Y-T-D record has ranked teams 37-12 (.755) SU vs unranked opponents in 2020 but an abysmal 15-33-1 ATS (that's just 31.3%).4-0 Clemson remains No. 1 in the AP poll with 59 of 62 first-place votes. Its victory over Miami was the Tigers' 36th consecutive regular season win, the fourth-longest streak of all-time. They can tie Nebraska, which won 37 straight from 1992-96, with a Saturday win at Ga Tech. Alabama is No. 2 after a 63-48 win at Ole Miss ('Bama led just 49-45 with under four minutes to go) and will host No. 3 Georgia on Saturday in the season's 'BIGGEST' game to-date (note: it's the ONLY game between ranked opponents this coming weekend). Notre Dame has won NINE in a row (most of any Power-5 school) and is ranked 4th, while North Carolina climbed to No. 5, the school's highest ranking since November of 1997, when Mack Brown was head coach. Hey wait. He's baaaaaack!LSU dropped out of the poll (last defending champ to be unranked the following season was Auburn in 2001, post-Cam), after 43 consecutive appearances in the top-25. No. 22 Texas dropped out after its loss to Oklahoma but the win was not enough for the Sooners to sneak back in the poll and is now 'poll-less' for the second straight week, after being ranked for 64 consecutive polls. Last time both Oklahoma and Texas were unranked was Sep 25, 2016. For those remaining in the poll, the biggest drops were SIX spots by Florida (down from No. 4 to No. 10) and Miami (from No. 7 to No. 13). The biggest move up was Texas A&M going from No. 21 to No. 11. Kansas St made its first appearance in the top-25 at No.22, while USC, the AP's preseason No. 17 team), is back at no. 25 without playing a game. The Trojans are one of SEVEN teams ranked, before playing a game. No. 6 Ohio St and No. 10 Penn St are top-10 teams. It's surely a season like no other!Good luck...Larry

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NFL Monday Night Football: Saints/Chargers Preview

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Oct 12, 2020

Monday Night Football on ESPN features two teams that need a victory. For New Orleans, a win gets them back over .500 while tying them with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in first place in the NFC South with a 3-2 record. The Saints’ Super Bowl aspirations took a hit when they lost on the road in Las Vegas to the Raiders and then followed that up with a loss at home to the Green Bay Packers. New Orleans righted the ship last week with a 35-29 win at Detroit. But even that effort drew question marks as they spotted the Lions a 14-0 lead before scoring touchdowns on five straight drives before having to hold on to pull that game out after a late Detroit rally. Drew Brees completed 19 of 25 passes in that game for 246 yards with two touchdown passes as he continues to fight off critics that suggest his arm strength has diminished to the point where it is holding back the Saints’ offense. His top target, Michael Thomas, has been out the last three games with an ankle injury. He was questionable for this game before the team suspended him for this contest on Sunday for getting involved in a physical altercation with a teammate. Thomas’ absence leaves the Emmanuel Sanders and Tre’Quan Smith as the top two wide receivers for Brees in this game. Sanders had his best performance in a Saints’ uniform last week by catching four balls for 56 yards with a touchdown. Smith has nine receptions in his previous two games for 128 yards. New Orleans has some other injuries of note for this game. Their depth at wide receiver is further stretched with Deonte Harris out for this game with a hamstring. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins is out with his shoulder injury. Left guard Andrus Peat and tight end Jared Cook are questionable with ankle injuries. Defensive end Marcus Davenport (elbow) and cornerback Marston Lattimore (hamstring) are also questionable. Los Angeles has lost three games in a row after blowing a 24-7 lead in the second quarter last week at Tampa Bay in their 38-31 loss to the Buccaneers. The Chargers have been competitive in these losses. They lost in overtime by a 23-20 score at home to Kansas City in another game where they were once winning. In their 21-16 loss to Carolina two weeks ago, they were in a position to take the lead late in that game before a fumbled lateral pass in that game ruined their potential touchdown scoring drive. Despite losing three of their four games, Los Angeles is outgaining their opponents by 26.5 yards per game. Chargers’ head coach Anthony Lynn announced that rookie Justin Herbert would remain the starting quarterback even when Tyrod Taylor was healthy enough to return to action. Their first-round draft pick has demonstrated he is ready for NFL competition in his three games playing for the injured Taylor. Herbert is completing 72% of his passes for 931 yards and an 8.7 yards-per-attempt average. Herbert has thrown five touchdown passes, but he also has three interceptions. Injuries also hang over the Chargers with running back Austin Ekeler out indefinitely with left hamstring and knee issues along with defensive stalwarts Melvin Ingram and Derwin James on their injured reserve. Los Angeles’ offensive line will be once again missing right guard and right tackle Trai Turner and Bryan Bulaga, who did not play last week with injuries. Wide receiver Mike Williams is questionable with a knee injury that kept him out last week while the defensive end Joey Bosa is questionable with a knee injury. Williams and Bosa did participate in limited workouts by the end of the week. Brees has won all three of his games as a Saint playing against this Chargers team that drafted him.  BetAnySports has New Orleans as a 7.5-point favorite with the total set at 50. Kickoff takes place shortly after 8:15 PM ET.

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What does Cover the Spread Mean?

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Oct 12, 2020

What does cover the spread mean?We're here to teach you all about point spread betting, no matter how experienced you might be.  When you're doing some research on sports betting, and find yourself on Twitter or other social media, the term 'cover the spread' might have passed by.  But what does it mean?To understand what the term means, you should understand the bet type it's associated with -- the point spread bet.  Remember that the objective of the bookmaker is to try to get -- as much as possible -- an equal amount of money wagered on each team, so the point spread is a mechanism used to level out the talent disparity between the teams.  With the point spread, the bookmakers assign a number, which will be added or subtracted to the final score of the two teams.  One team is installed as the favorite, while the other is installed as the underdog.  At the end of the game, the favorite has the point spread subtracted from its score, while the underdog has the point spread added to its score.  Then, following that mathematical exercise, the team with the higher score is determined to have covered the spread.  Because the point spread gives both teams a relatively equal chance to cover the spread, no matter the difference in skills, it’s the most popular bet among bettors.In this betting guide, we'll show you how to get started with point spread betting.  No matter which team wins, you can always predict the right team to cover the spread, so let's get you started right away! How to get started with point spread betting The first thing you do when you're diving into this type of bet is to figure out the exact way the point spread works.  Unlike the moneyline wager, where you simply predict which team wins outright, the point spread bet takes it up a notch.  Both teams have roughly an equal chance to cover the spread.  But to give you a proper explanation, we will work with an example.  Let's take an exciting NFL game between the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers.  Your betting lines might look like this for the spread: New England Patriots -2.5 ​Green Bay Packers +2.5 As you can see by the plus sign (+) and minus (-) sign, the Patriots are the favorite, while the Packers are the underdog.  The number of points represents the amount which will be assigned to a team’s final score to determine whether it covers the spread. The New England Patriots need to win by more than 2.5 points to cover the spread The Green Bay Packers need to win the game outright OR lose by less than 2.5 points to cover the spread. No matter the difference in skill, this leaves both teams with a similar chance to cover the spread for their bettors. Now that you understand the basics of this wager type, we'll dive into some variations, and also explain the payouts.Half-pointYou might wonder, why do these betting lines work with half-points?  Certainly, you can't score half-points in major sports like football, basketball, baseball or hockey, but that's part of the reason why the half-point is there.  When any matchup ends with the final score differential being equal to the point spread, then neither team covers the spread -- it’s a push (tie).  Thus all bettors get a refund.  With half-points used in the betting line, there's not a chance that the game will end up as a push.  So, bookmakers are ensured to earn their vigorish.  The other reason why half-points are used is because a point spread is designed to split the betting action equally between the two teams.  Half-points are necessary to help balance a bookmaker’s handle.Run-lines and puck-linesThe most popular sports for point spread betting are football and basketball.  With football betting and basketball betting, there are lots of points scored every single game.  Currently, NFL games average more than 45 points per game, while NBA games average more than 220 points per game.  With sports like hockey or baseball, scoring is a lot less frequent.  An MLB game generates about nine runs per game, while an NHL game gets about six goals, on average.  Many hockey and baseball games have moneyline odds near -200, which bettors tend to dislike.  Thus, bookmakers came up with run-lines and puck-lines to level out the odds, and bring them closer to -110.  In essence, they work the same as regular point spreads, but they're generally set at +/- 1.5 runs (or goals).  The effect of adding/subtracting 1.5 runs might be that an MLB team which would otherwise be favored -240, now would be -130, while an underdog of +200 on the moneyline might be +110 if it gets +1.5 runs.  Thus, gamblers are more inclined to wager on the game because the odds are nearer to -110.  How to calculate your point spread payoutThe first thing you should know about spreads when you want to know how much you can earn is the way the odds work.  With moneyline wagers, parlay wagers, and teaser bets, the odds are all you look at.  They can vary per team and can bring in huge rewards.  With point spreads, you're not getting these extreme payouts.  Instead, the odds are generally close to -110.Even though point spread odds are close to -110, they can vary among sportsbooks.  And some, like BetAnySports (our #1-rated sportsbook), offer reduced juice.  Thus, bettors can lay -105 on a football or basketball game rather than -110.  Also, in popular moneyline sports like hockey and baseball, there's often significant differences among sportsbooks as some oddsmakers will price their odds to realize a larger vigorish -- that is, their profit.  This shows how important it is to find the right bookie.  If you like to bet on baseball, go with sportsbooks like BetAnySports, BetNow, WagerWeb, or GTBets, as those offer “dime lines” rather than 20-cent lines, so their vigorish is less.  Nevertheless, let's assume -110 odds to illustrate a payout calculation.  We'll take a match between the Broncos and the Chiefs -- two of the biggest rivals in the NFL.  Your betting lines could look something like this: Kansas City Chiefs -7.5 (-110) Denver Broncos +7.5 (+110) The Chiefs are the point spread favorite, while the Broncos are installed as the underdog.  Let's assume we're convinced the Chiefs will crush the Broncos and win by more than 7 points.  That brings two possible scenarios: You wager $110 on the Chiefs to cover the spread.  The final score is 24-13 in favor of the Chiefs, which means Kansas City covers as a 7.5-point favorite.  You win $100, and your total payout would be $210. You wager $110 on the Chiefs to cover the spread.  But you are wrong, and the Chiefs only win by three, 17-14, which means they fail to cover as a 7.5-point favorite.  This means the Broncos cover the point spread, and you lose $110. How to use spread betting in your sports betting strategy When reading through this betting guide, you might notice that we don't mention any other sports besides football, basketball, hockey, and baseball.  The reason is simple:  sports like Nascar racing, horse racing, and the UFC don't involve incremental scoring like the four major sports.  It leaves out the possibility to bet the spread.  As we wrap up this article, we want to give you some advice to start your spread betting career the right way.The right sportsbook is keyNo matter if you're in New York or Vegas, Dallas or Arizona, there are tons of opportunities when it comes to finding the right sportsbook.  You should know that not every single sportsbook is available in every state, but that's slowly starting to change.  More states are welcoming sports betting in general; thus, sportsbooks are setting up shop in more states.  And there’s also the fact that many of the best sportsbooks will continue to be the offshore books.  We're always looking out for the customer-friendly sportsbooks that put their bettors first.  We’ve done extensive research to determine which sportsbooks are the right fit for our audience.One thing we look at is the year of establishment and the acquired licenses.  When a sportsbook has been around for decades, and has a perfect payout record, it gives customers a great sense of security.  Besides that, it's essential to know whether the sportsbook has a license to operate in your state.Another key factor is the user experience.  This starts at the moment you deposit money and continues to the placement of the wagers, through the withdrawal of your winnings.  The logistics are important.  Are your preferred deposit and withdrawal options available?  Are the sports you want to bet on available?  How big are the wagering limits?  Is the website modern, fast, and easy-to-use?Perhaps the most important factor are the odds.  When shopping around for the best lines, you will notice it's smart to have accounts at multiple sportsbooks.  Sharp bettors always get the best line.  Plus you can reel in sign-up and reload bonuses and promotions at each separate sportsbook!  When shopping for the best lines, it’s advantageous to be with sportsbooks that use their own numbers (like BetAnySports, Bovada, BetNow or BetOnline), rather than ones that copy them from the major operators.Consider this the start of your journey to find the right sportsbook.  There's no perfect one, and as we said before, it doesn't hurt to have accounts at multiple sportsbooks. Manage your bankroll and do your research!When you're wagering on the point spread, it's your task as a sports bettor to pick the right matchup.  You can't find the right matches without doing proper research first.  With major sports leagues across the world, there's always a game you could bet on.  Start your search by narrowing down the sports on which you like to wager, and then which games are available.  Start with a more straightforward bet, then slowly start building up the confidence to make some bigger wagers and bets with a little more risk.It’s true that sports started for entertainment purposes only.  But with the development of sports betting, sports are now a vehicle to earn money.  Nowadays, thousands of sports bettors wager professionally.  They do so by doing thorough research and placing wagers quickly and effectively.  That also means not placing all their eggs in one basket.  If you manage this the right way, you're in for the long-run, not just short-term gains.We want to wish you happy betting!  Always feel welcome to visit our betting guides to gain additional knowledge about the field of sports gambling!  And remember to enjoy yourself.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, MLB and NFL Preview

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Oct 11, 2020

The Sunday card features 11 games in the NFL, along with the NBA Finals and Game 1 in the MLB American League Championship Series. The NFL postponed two games given COVID-19 precautions impacting the Denver/New England and Buffalo/Tennessee contests. The Broncos/Patriots game is tentatively scheduled for Monday at 5 PM ET with the Bills/Titans contest planned for Tuesday evening. The NFL card kicks off at 1 PM ET with seven games. The national game on Fox features the Philadelphia Eagles trip to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers for this in-state rivalry. The Steelers are a 7-point favorite with the total set at 43.5 (all odds provided by BookMaker). The national game on CBS has the Las Vegas Raiders traveling to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in a battle of AFC West foes. Kansas City is a 10.5-point favorite with an over/under of 54.5.Another three games take place in the 4:05 PM ET to 4:25 PM ET window. The nationally televised game is on CBS with the New York Giants traveling to Dallas to face the Cowboys in a clash of NFC East rivals. Dallas is an 8.5-point favorite with a total of 53.The Sunday Night Football game on NBC has the Seattle Seahawks host the Minnesota Vikings at 8:20 PM ET. The Vikings notched their first win of the season last week with their 31-23 upset at Houston against the Texans. Seattle remained unbeaten in a 31-23 victory against the Dolphins in Miami. The Seahawks are a 6.5-point favorite with the over/under set at 57.The NBA playoffs continue on Sunday with Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Miami kept their season alive on Friday with their 111-108 upset victory over Los Angeles as a 5.5-point underdog. The Heat maintains hope that perhaps Goran Dragic can return to the court tonight as he recovers from the foot injury that has kept him sidelined since the opening game of this series. He is listed as questionable. The Lakers’ Anthony Davis is not 100% with his heel injury, but he is probable to play. Los Angeles is a 5-point favorite with the over/under set at 214.5. ABC has the broadcast starting at 7:30 PM ET.The MLB playoffs continue on Sunday with Game 1 of the ALCS between the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays. Houston defeated the Oakland A’s in four games in their best-of-five series on Thursday with their 11-6 victory. Tampa Bay joined them for the right to play in the World Series with their 2-1 win over the New York Yankees in the climactic fifth game of their series on Friday. The Astros send out Framber Valdez as their starting pitcher, with the Rays countering with Blake Snell. Tampa Bay is a moneyline favorite priced at -150, with the total installed at 8.5. TBS broadcasts the game with the first pitch scheduled for 7:37 PM ET.

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NFL Sunday Night Football: Seahawks/Vikings Preview

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Oct 11, 2020

The match-up for Sunday Night Football sees the Minnesota Vikings travel to CenturyLink Field in Seattle to face the Seahawks for the third straight season. Minnesota got their first win of the season last week with their 31-23 upset victory over the Texans in Houston, where they were 3.5-point underdogs. That was a battle of two desperate teams, with Houston deciding to fire head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien after J.J. Watt expressed his frustration with the direction of the franchise. The Vikings are now 1-3 with viable playoff expectations still with the expansion of the postseason pool to seven teams per conference. Outside of their 28-11 loss at Indianapolis in the second week of the season, the Minnesota offense is clicking. The Vikings have scored 61 combined points in their last two games while crossing the 30-point threshold of three of their four games. Rookie wide receiver, Justin Jefferson, has filled in nicely for the departed Stephon Diggs as he has 11 receptions so far this season for 278 yards with a touchdown as he plays second fiddle in the passing game to wide receiver Adam Thielen. Running back Dalvin Cook leads the way with 424 rushing yards this season while averaging 5.7 yards-per-carry. He ran the ball 27 times for 130 yards last week while reaching the end zone twice. Cook’s ability to move the chains helped Minnesota keep Deshaun Watson off the field last week for 36:31 minutes. The Vikings’ defense is allowing 31.3 points per game along with 426.5 yards per game. The team misses defensive end Danielle Hunter who is on injured reserve as their seven sacks rank tied for the 10th lowest sack mark. Seattle looks to start its season with a 5-0 record for the first time in franchise history. They won and covered the point spread for the fourth straight time this season with their 31-23 victory at Miami last week. Pete Carroll is following the advice to “Let Russ Cook” this season. Wilson has passed for at least 300 yards in three of his four games this year while completing 75% of his passes. His 16 touchdown passes have tied Peyton Manning’s NFL record for the most touchdown passes after the first four games in a new season. Wilson may have the best deep ball in the league as he has sixteen completions of over 20 yards this season. He is averaging 9.4 yards per pass attempt. Seattle has scored a touchdown on a remarkable thirteen of their fifteen trips inside the red zone. The Seahawks' increased reliance on passing the ball has not led to more turnovers as Wilson has only thrown two interceptions. Seattle owns a +5 net turnover margin after their first four games. However, the suspect Seahawks’ offensive line has allowed eleven sacks, which are tied for 11th in the league. The increased reliance on passing has resulted in a decline in the numbers for the Seattle defense. They are allowing their opponents to score 27.3 points per game while averaging 476.8 yards per game. Their new superstar safety, Jamal Adams, will not play in this game with his groin injury. The Seahawks are third in the NFL by allowing only 76 rushing yards per game with opposing rushers average just 3.4 yards-per-carry. The Dolphins’ 103 rushing yards last week represent the only team to reach the 100-yard threshold against them this season, and Miami’s leading rusher was Ryan Fitzgerald with his 47 rushing yards. However, perhaps the Seattle rush defense appears impressive because opposing offenses are too busy passing against a unit that has only sacked the quarterback six times this season? The Seahawks are allowing 401 passing yards per game, with opposing quarterbacks completing 66.5% of their passes. Seattle won last year’s meeting between these two teams at their CenturyLink Field by a 37-30 score. BetAnySports has the Seahawks as a 7-point favorite with the total set at 56.5. NBC has the broadcast at 8:20 PM ET.

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How does Boxing Betting Work?

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Oct 11, 2020

How does boxing betting work?When we're talking about classic sports, boxing is one of those that pops up straightaway.  Ever since humankind has been around, people have been practicing boxing matches, even before the term boxing was invented.  It all started with men showing their strength to determine who led the wolfpack, who could sleep with women, or just for fun.  Eventually, it became a sport, and bettors flocked to it to place bets. Today, boxing has taken a back seat to UFC, but it’s still an essential sport in the betting world. Boxing reached its pinnacle in the 1970s with Muhammad Ali.  But since Ali, there have been other popular fighters like Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Manny Pacquiao, Deontay Wilder, and Floyd Mayweather.  These boxers became actual superstars, with Mayweather being one of the wealthiest sportsmen in the world.  These days, whenever there’s a big fight like the 2019 bout between Mayweather and Conor McGregor, the whole world tunes in, and billions of dollars flow through bookmakers' hands. You might wonder, how do I start betting on boxing?  Don't worry, we'll guide you through.  At first, it might seem like the only bet to make is a moneyline bet on which fighter will defeat the other.  However, in reality, there are a multitude of prop bets in boxing.  We'll conclude with an overview of some boxing betting tips to get you started the right way. How to get started with boxing betting? With any major sporting event, bettors will come out of nowhere to place some bets.  It could be the Super Bowl, or in the case of boxing, the heavyweight division title fight.  Whatever it might be, you need to know how to place your wagers, and how to get started with boxing betting properly.  The mere basics are simple:  you have two fighters competing in a battle to either win by knockout, or based on points.  Like any other major sport, there's a moneyline favorite and an underdog in the matchup.  And there are some other bet types, as well.  So, let’s dive into each bet that you could make when wagering on a boxing match.Moneyline betsThe most common bet would be the moneyline bet.  It's one of the most popular wagers when it comes to boxing as, unlike other sports, a boxing match rarely ends in a tie.  Similar to other sports, though, with a moneyline bet, you pick the winner straight up.  A quick example of the betting lines for a moneyline bet in a boxing match between Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather: Canelo Alvarez +130 Floyd Mayweather -150 Similar to the NFL or even the MMA, the minus sign represents the favorite, and the plus sign is for the underdog.  We'll dive into calculating the exact payout for this boxing match later on when we dive into the boxing betting odds.Total roundsBoxing matches consist of a certain number of rounds.  Before any matchup, and dependent on the weight class, fighters decide how many rounds they will fight against each other.  This could start with just three rounds of five minutes, to fifteen rounds of three minutes.  It depends on the stamina of the fighters.  However, similar to the UFC, both boxers generally will aim to finish the fight as soon as possible.  However, sometimes fighters may have a strategy to win on points, rather than a knockout, and may try to stretch the fight out to go the distance.  Whatever the strategy, both fighters will try to land the most effective punches.  When one fighter is unable to continue fighting, the match stops, no matter which round they're currently in. Thus, sports bettors love to pick how many rounds a match will last.  In the NFL, the over/under bet is on the total number of points scored.  But with boxing, you're betting on the number of rounds.  The betting lines could look something like this: Over 11.5 rounds -110 Under 11.5 rounds -110 Notice the half-number.  If a round is three minutes long, then half of a round would equal a minute-and-a-half.On-point bettingProfessional boxers score points by landing punches.  The points system works on a 10-point scale.  There are judges who decide, for each round, how many points both fighters receive.  Usually, the more effective fighter receives 10 points, while the other receives nine.  There are a couple of other scenarios: The round is even: both fighters receive 10 points When a fighter is knocked down, they lose points When both fighters get knocked down, they cancel each other out, and no points are subtracted When a fighter commits a foul, he could lose a point The on-point betting system can be seen as the point spread bet.  You can bet on which fighter has a stronger chance of winning when it comes down to the points.  You predict which fighter might win and by how many points.Boxing prop betting:  method of victory, number of rounds & moreIn a boxing match, there's a lot that can happen.  We've seen Mike Tyson bite someone's ear, and that's not even the wildest thing to occur.  It's a sport where adrenaline rushes at high speed, and fighters literally give their all to win.  With boxing props, you can bet on the occurrence or non-occurrence of certain events in a match.  These events might not directly correlate with the outcome of the match.  We'll show a couple of examples: Mike Tyson to win by KO (knockout) Will there be a technical knockout (TKO)? Will any of the fighters get knocked down by the other? Will there be a point deduction? Will the fight go to a decision based on points? Will there be a disqualification (DQ)? Individual bookmakers might ever offer more absurd prop bets like the color of boxing shorts, the number of coaches around the ring, or the number of times the referee stops the fight.  Note that live betting usually also falls under the category of prop betting.ParlayAnyone who enjoys taking an inordinate amount of risk could choose the parlay route.  With parlays, you combine several straight-up bets into one betting slip.  This will create a situation where each of your bets has to be successful before you have a winning ticket.  If just one bet is wrong, your entire parlay would lose, and you end up with empty pockets.How do boxing odds work?When you're aware of all the different bet types, it's time to dive into the boxing odds.  Anyone familiar with sports betting, in general, will understand boxing odds straightaway.  They aren't any different from the betting odds that other sports use.  To adequately explain the boxing odds, let's take the example we previously used: Canelo Alvarez +130 Floyd Mayweather -150 In this example, Alvarez is the underdog, while Mayweather is the favorite.  When you want to win $100 betting on Mayweather, you would stake $150.  When you're on the side of Alvarez, you would need to stake $100 to win $130.  This is the same process as other major sports like football or basketball. Boxing betting tips When you're aware of the basics of boxing betting, it's time to dive into the tips that we want to share.  You can do all the research yourself, or you can rely on professional handicappers, like us, and learn from our years of experience.  We've seen it all when it comes to sports betting, and we want to share it with you! Do proper researchIn sports betting, there's not a single professional handicapper who entirely relies on his gut feeling.  Handicapping is a deliberate process that requires hours of hard work. To find value in the available betting lines, and to be able to make the right decision, you need to do your research.  In boxing, it's no different, but it requires a different way to conduct your research than in team sports like football and basketball.  Some statistics to consider when looking into a boxing match: Basic statistics like weight, height, age, reach, track record, and experience - when a middleweight fights against a heavyweight, you have a mismatch. Previous opponents - does the fighter have the right experience? Boxing style - the fighting style can tell a lot about the match.  When one fighter is known for his strength but is a slow fighter, the opponent who's known for quick jabs might have the upper hand.  Physical condition - is the fighter in form, and what is his motivation to win? There's always more you can dive into, and there's never too much to research.  However, don't think you need to know every single detail before you can make a proper decision.Manage your bankrollWhen you start sports betting, you should be aware of the risk that you can lose money.  You're literally putting your money on the line, so it's you who should think rationally and understand what you're risking.  If you're anxious about your finances and realize you can't afford to lose a couple of bets, then don't go into sports betting.  It's essential to create a plan for yourself and think about the following: How much are you comfortable with losing? How much do you want to wager per bet? What percentage of your bankroll do you wager per bet? What is the amount you want to attain before you withdraw funds? What are the highest odds you are willing to entertain? All of this boils down to the question:  how much risk do you want to take?  Our advice is to always be cautious, and not be too greedy.  Yes, you're in this to make money, but you should realize that it takes money to make money.Pick the right sportsbook and access the best betting oddsIn any sport, it's important to have access to the right betting odds. You're betting against the house, and the house wants nothing more than to win. They want to give you proper odds, of course.  But the bookmaker will always have an advantage.  And this house edge is called the vigorish, or juice.  This edge is calculated by reviewing the betting odds that you can see on the different sportsbooks.  In sports betting, most sportsbooks have standard odds, where they will make both sides in an even competition -110.  In other words, you have to lay $110 to win $100.  But some sportsbooks, like our #1-rated sportsbook, BetAnySports, have reduced juice.  At BetAnySports, you only have to lay -105 rather than -110, so the odds are much more favorable to bettors.When picking a sportsbook, don't overdo the thinking process. And, these days, you can switch between sportsbooks in a matter of minutes.  Also understand that most gamblers have accounts at three to five sportsbooks.  Being registered with multiple sportsbooks allows you to shop the lines, and gives you access to the best betting odds all the time.  It might not matter for just one bet, but we're assuming you're here for a sustainable career in sports betting.  When you calculate all the small differences in the betting odds, it adds up fast.  So, always strive to bet at the best odds.  And should you need advice on which books to join, then be sure to read our Top 10 Sportsbooks reviews.Alright, are you ready to discover the next Mayweather and wager on him in each of his matches?  Boxing is an exhilarating sport where anything can happen.  It only takes a second for a fighter to lose his focus and get knocked out.  It's a sport that's hard to predict at times, but when you find the value, you'll love watching every second of it.  Good luck with all your wagers!

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 10, 2020

College football once again dominates the Saturday card with the NBA and MLB playoffs having an off-day before returning to action on Sunday night. 25 games between FBS opponents feature on the NCAAF schedule headlined by four games between teams ranked in the top-25. The FAU/Southern Mississippi and UAB/Rice contests faced postponements due to COVID concerns. Nine games open the noon to 12:30 PM ET window. #3 Florida travels to College Station to play #10 Texas A&M in a battle of SEC teams. The Aggies look to rebound from their loss to Alabama last week while the Gators plan to extend their record to a 3-0 mark. Florida is a 5-point favorite with the total set at 59.5 (all odds provided by BookMaker). ESPN has the broadcast. #18 Virginia Tech makes the trip to Chapel Hill to play North Carolina in a battle of 2-0 teams from the ACC. The Tar Heels are favored by 3 points against the Hokies with an over/under of 57.5. This game will be on ABC.The Red River Rivalry has lost some of its luster this season with Texas owning a 1-2 record while Oklahoma is a surprising 1-2 this year. The Sooners are a 3-point favorite with the total set at 73.5. Fox has the broadcast for this contest annually played on a neutral field at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Liberty hosts UL-Monroe for the noon game on ESPN2. The Flames are 17-point favorites with a total of 63.Another nine games kickoff in the 3:30 to 4 PM ET slate. The headliner is the SEC clash between #12 Tennessee traveling to Athens to play #3 Georgia coming off their big win against Auburn last week. The Bulldogs are a 12.5-point favorite with the over/under set at 43. CBS has the broadcast at 3:30 PM ET. Iowa State hosts Texas Tech at 3:30 PM ET on ABC. The Cyclones are an 11-point favorite with the total set at 64.5. BYU hosts UTSA at 3:30 PM ET as well, with the undefeated Cougars a 34-point favorite, with the over/under at 63. ESPN2 has that game. ESPNU has Middle Tennessee’s trip to Florida International, with the Golden Panthers installed as a 6.5-point favorite, with a total of 57.5 at 4 PM ET. Auburn hosts Arkansas at 4 PM ET on ESPN with the Tigers a 14.5-point favorite with the over/under set at 45.5. The Fox telecast at 4 PM ET has Kansas State traveling to face TCU with the Horned Frogs 9.5-point favorites with the total at 50.5.The evening window features nine games. Temple travels to Annapolis to play Navy at 6 PM ET for a game televised on the CBS Sports Network. The Owls make their season debut as a 3.5-point favorite, with an over/under of 50.5. Alabama travels to Ole Miss at 7:30 PM ET for a game televised on ESPN. The Crimson Tide are a 22.5-point road favorite, with the total set at 68. Florida State travels to South Bend to face an undefeated Notre Dame team on NBC at 7:30 PM ET. The Fighting Irish are a 21-point favorite, with the over/under set at 52.5. Stadium broadcasts Marshall’s trip to Western Kentucky at 7:30 PM ET with the Thundering Herd a 7-point favorite with the total set at 43.5. UTEP travels to Louisiana Tech at 7:30 PM on ESPN with the Bulldogs a 14-point favorite with an over/under of 53.5.The highest-profile game of the day is on ABC where #7 Miami (FL) travels to Clemson to play the #1 Tigers at 7:30 PM ET. Both teams are 3-0 in this ACC showdown. Clemson is a 15-point favorite with an over/under of 60. The Saturday card concludes with Charlotte traveling to Denton to face North Texas at 8 PM ET. The 49ers are a 2.5-point road favorite, with the total installed at 67. ESPNU has the broadcast. 

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NCAA Saturday Night Football: Clemson/Miami Preview

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 10, 2020

The Saturday night game on ABC features two teams ranked in the top-ten in the nation.Clemson is the number one ranked team in the country after returning eleven starters from last year’s team that lost to LSU in the National Championship Game. That loss to the Tigers snapped a 29-game winning streak for Dabo Swinney’s team. Clemson has won 32-straight games in the regular season. They opened this season 3-0 with convincing victories over Wake Forest, The Citadel, and Virginia last week by a 41-23 score. Junior quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the likely front-runner to win the Heisman Trophy. He is completing 73.3% of his passes for 848 passing yards with seven touchdown passes and another three rushing touchdowns. He leads an offense that is scoring 42.3 yards per game while averaging 6.8 yards-per-play. Lawrence has 314 pass attempts without an interception with his lack pick being at Louisville on October 19th of last year. The Tigers defense is holding their opponents to only 12.0 points-per-game and just 4.34 yards-per-play. However, this unit did struggle against Virginia’s dual-threat quarterback Brennan Armstrong last week, who passed for 270 yards and added another 89 yards on the ground. That showing gives the Miami faithful the hope that D’Eriq King can find similar success.Miami has won their first three games of the season with victories over UAB, Louisville, and then Florida State two weeks ago by a 52-10 score. With King running their offense, the Hurricanes are scoring 43.3 points-per-game while averaging 6.7 yards-per-play. The transfer quarterback from Houston is completing 67% of his passes for 736 yards with six touchdown passes. He has rushed for another 157 yards with a touchdown with an impressive 5.4 yards average after contact. Second-year head coach Manny Diaz banked on bringing King in to be his starting quarterback and matching him with former SMU offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee with the hope that this would jump-start a pedestrian offensive attack. The Hurricanes averaged just 25.7 points-per-game and 6.7 yards-per-play last year. The schemes were not the only thing that held the Hurricane offense back last season. This showdown will be the biggest test yet for an offensive line that returns four starters from last year’s maligned group that surrendered 51 sacks. Clemson has registered 27 tackles-for-loss with 13 quarterback sacks.Miami has lost its last three opportunities to face a team ranked in the top-ten. The Hurricanes have not finished in the AP top-ten at the end of a season since 2003. They have been outscored in their last two encounters with a Swinney-coached Clemson team by a 92-3 margin with the most recent meeting being in the ACC Championship Game in 2017 when the Tigers won by a 38-3 score. Diaz was the Miami defensive coordinator for that game. This showdown will be a measuring stick as to just how much progress he has made with this program since replacing Mark Richt as their head coach.The ABC broadcast begins at 7:30 PM ET. BetOnline lists Clemson as a 14.5-point favorite with a total of 60.

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What does "Betting Against the Spread" Mean?

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 10, 2020

What does "betting against the spread" mean?Sports betting continues to gain in popularity ever since it became legal in the United States.  There are thousands of new bettors arriving at the scene daily.  These bettors want to learn about strategy and gain a fuller understanding of how to win.  Sports betting is not for everyone, of course, but if you approach it the right way, you'll be in good shape for the long run!One of the most popular bets is the point spread bet.  In this sports betting guide, we'll dive into the exact details of figuring out your spread betting strategy.  But first, let’s answer one central question:  What does "betting against the spread" mean?  It's certainly one of the most common gambling terms and, when reviewing statistics, it is abbreviated as ATS.  For beginners, a point spread is a number published by oddsmakers that represents an estimate of the number of points by which the favored team might outscore its opponent.  This number is expressed in both whole and half-numbers (e.g., 4, 4.5, 5).  The point spread was initially devised as a means to level the playing field between two unequal opponents such that each would have roughly the same chance to be a winner for its bettors.  When betting against the spread, a gambler has two choices. Betting on the favorite The bookmakers try to create an equal playing field by establishing a point spread which will be added to, or subtracted from the final scores of the two teams.  Unlike a moneyline wager, with ATS bets, the team which outscores its opponent at the end of the game is not necessarily the point spread winner.  When you're wagering against the spread, it's about trying to assess the value of the point spread.  Is the oddsmaker’s number too low, or too high?  The point spread is best explained by giving a couple of examples.  Let's take an NFL match between the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys. The betting lines might look like this: New York Jets +3 Dallas Cowboys -3 In this example, the Cowboys are the point spread favorite, while the Jets are the underdog.  When you're betting on the favorite -- in this case, Dallas -- it would need to win by more than 3 points to cover the spread to allow you to cash your ticket.  And that’s because Dallas would have 3 points subtracted from its final score to determine the outcome of the wager.  So, if Dallas won the game by just two points, 16-14, then your wager on Dallas -3 would lose.  But if Dallas won by eight points, 21-13, then your wager on Dallas -3 would win.  If Dallas won by exactly three points, say, 17-14, then the bet would be a push (tie). Betting on the underdog The other possibility is to bet on the underdog.  Unlike moneyline betting, where a payout for taking the underdog might be rather large (e.g., 3-1), with point spread wagering, the odds are roughly -110.  This is because your underdog team no longer has to win the game, straight-up.  Instead, it now gets points added to its final score.  And the exact number of points depends on the relative strengths of the two teams.  The greater the difference, then the bigger the point spread.To illustrate betting on the underdog ATS, let's take the example of Super Bowl XLVII between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.  The betting lines at BookMaker sportsbook looked like this: San Francisco 49ers -4.5 Baltimore Ravens +4.5 The 49ers were the pointspread favorite, while the Ravens were the underdog.  If you bet on the underdog Ravens against the spread, you needed them to either win the game outright, or lose by less than 4.5 points to cash your ticket.  In that game, Baltimore won straight-up, 34-31, to reward its bettors.Calculating your payout when betting against the spreadBesides the point spread, the other important factor in ATS betting are the odds.  Because the point spread works to level out the playing field, the odds for each team are generally around -110.  But they don’t have to be.  Sometimes, you’ll see one team at -140 odds, while its opponent is at +120.  And some sportsbooks, like BetAnySports (our #1-rated sportsbook), have reduced juice, such that its customers only lay -105 rather than -110 on football and basketball games.  So, before you place your bet, you need to know what your wager will return should it win.  Let’s dive right in, and look at an example of another NFL match between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers: ​Green Bay Packers -4.5 (-115) Pittsburgh Steelers +4.5 (-105) As we learned in previous examples, the Packers are the point spread favorite, while the Steelers are the underdog.  Here, however, the odds on each team are slightly different.  With Green Bay, bettors need to lay $115 to win $100, while backers of the Steelers only need to lay $105 to win $100.  So, if you bet $105 on the Steelers, and they win the game, your total payout would be $205, which comprises your $105 stake, and $100 of profit. Point spread betting tips and tricks The point spread bet is not complicated, and the basics are easy to understand.  Nevertheless, we want to give you some advice on how to develop your betting strategy.  All bettors have different ways to approach this, but we have a couple of useful tips for anyone, no matter their experience.Point spread betting in other sportsAs you can see by the couple of examples we used, the point spread bet is very popular when it comes to the NFL.  Nevertheless, there are more sports where you can bet the spread.  Another popular sport is the NBA, which works in the same manner as the NFL.The NHL and MLB work slightly differently. They use run-lines and puck-lines.  In one sense, they are the same as other spreads, but the number is generally fixed at +/- 1.5.  With football and basketball point spreads, there’s often a large amount of movement in the marketplace.  An NCAA Basketball game might open at -11, but close at -14.5 if the favorite was steamed.  But if money comes in on the favorite in a baseball game, the run-line would remain fixed at -1.5 runs, but the odds might change from -110 to -135.  The reason for this is quite simple:  there’s a lot more scoring in football and basketball games than in baseball and hockey games, so there’s much more room for an oddsmaker to adjust a football or basketball point spread.What are the best sportsbooks for point spread betting?When sports betting first gained popularity, there weren't that many places to wager.  One could bet at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in Nevada, or over the telephone with their local bookie.  Since the turn of the century, offshore sportsbooks have become commonplace.   Hundreds of betting sites now exist, so it can be somewhat hard to decide which sportsbook to choose.  We are here to help, and have some general rules you can use to determine if a betting site is the right place for you: When you sign up with the sportsbook, do you receive a nice welcome bonus?  And are there reload bonuses? How big are the wagering limits -- can it handle your wishes? How easy is it to deposit your money, and how long does it take to withdraw your profits? What do the odds look like?  Are they competitive when it comes to parlays, teasers, prop bets, and straight bets? Depending on what you value most, your sportsbook of choice could be quite different.  If you’re looking to bet $50,000 on an NFL side, then BookMaker should be your pick, as it has the highest wagering limits.  But if you’re looking for a book which offers reduced juice, so you’ll lay just -105 odds on football and basketball games, then our #1-rated sportsbook, BetAnySports, is by far the best.  Or, if you’re a casual bettor who just wants the most modern and easy-to-use website, then Bovada would be your top choice.  But maybe you’re really into parlays.  If that’s the case, then go with BetAnySports since its parlay and teaser odds are unparalleled.  And if you want a nice welcome bonus, then BetNow is terrific.  Finally, it goes without saying that all sports bettors should have three to five sportsbooks so they can shop the lines.  One of the biggest mistakes gamblers make is that they only have one sportsbook, and are held hostage to that sportsbook’s number.Point spread betting terminologyWe want to finish this article with a couple of terms common when we're talking about point spread betting. Pick'em:  Pick'em or PK, in short, means that the two opposing teams are so close to each other that there's not a favorite or an underdog.  In this case, it doesn't matter which team you pick.  If it wins straight-up, then it covers. Push:  A push occurs when a game, after the point spread is applied, ends up in a tie.  Because neither team covers the spread, bettors are refunded their stake, and no money is made or lost. Half-point:  Point spreads can be either whole or half-point numbers.  By using half-points, an oddsmaker can more easily balance the wagering action.  Additionally, a half-point removes any chance a game might push. Line moves:  Very often, the spread or odds of any given match change when time passes.  That means that the odds you see on Monday night for an NFL game might be completely different from the odds three days previous.  Line moves are necessary for sportsbooks to attract action on a team in order to reduce their risk on a game.  It's on you as a bettor to keep a close eye on this occurrence and to use it to your advantage. Cover the spread:  When a team successfully manages to win following the application of the point spread, it is said that the team covered the spread. Against the spread (ATS):  A statistic used to show a team’s W/L record in games after the point spread was applied. The above terms are the most common across spread betting.  When you successfully understand these terms, it's on you to start gaining the experience you need.  It's essential to find out how you want to approach developing your strategy.  Do you want the statistics and facts to take the lead, or do you prefer working on a trial and error basis?  Whatever you do, it's important to have a plan.First, establish what amount of money is your bankroll.  That means the actual amount you can afford to lose.  Then, based on your bankroll dollar value, you can determine your average bet size. Most professional gamblers will put between 1% and 5% of their bankroll on any single play. Finally, decide on which sports and wager types you like the most.  Do you want to bet on regular season NFL, or just major events like the Super Bowl and the Final Four?  Whatever it might be, form a plan!The most important rule we want to close this guide with is:  have fun!  Sports betting is great entertainment, and we're here to make it as rewarding as possible along the way.  So, happy betting!

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Ness Notes: Friday, Oct 9

by Larry Ness

Friday, Oct 09, 2020

This column will be available Monday through Friday (posted no later than 1:00 ET), EXCLUSIVELY at BigAl.com. I like to call it my daily 'random thoughts' on the sports betting world, although I'll pass along that my therapist refers to it as "thoughtful commentary."NBA Finals: The Lakers rolled in Game 1 by the score of 116-98 and took Game 2 by 10 points (124-114), as Miami was with Dragic and Adebayo. Despite playing without those two starters in Game 3, Miami's starters outscored the Lakers' starting five 89-51 and Jimmy Butler played "the game of his life," with 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. Butler became the 21st player to have a triple-double in the NBA Finals but it was just the third 40-point triple-double in Finals history. Adebayo returned for Miami in Game 4  (scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 33 minutes) but Butler was able to score just 25 points (down from 40). The Heat used just three players off the bench and that trio combined for 13 points while shooting an abysmal 4 of 18 (22.2%). LBJ was his usual self (28-12-8) and A.D. bounced from a poor game (15 points) with 22 points and nine rebounds, while starting LA guards Caldwell-Pope and Green combined to score 25 points. LA's bench outscored Miami's 27-13. The Heat stayed with the Lakers all game and the final was 102-96. Herro nailed a three-pointer with 1.1 seconds to go to give Miami the cover. The Heat fell to 13-6 SU this postseason but are 15-4 ATS, while the Lakers are 15-4 SU but just 10-8-1 ATS. Playoff numbers to-date: Favorites are just 40-39-2 ATS, while the under has cashed in 47 of the 81 games (58.0 percent). For those following the "Zig-Zag" Theory (that means playing "on" the SU loser of the previous game), they've gone 30-33-2 ATS (47.6%) or minus-6.3 net units. Game 5 tips tonight at 9:00 ET on ABC. The Lakers are looking for their first title since 2010, when they defeated the Boston Celtics in seven games. A win in Game 5 (or in Game 6 or 7) would give the franchise its 17th title all-time, which would tie them with the Celtics for most in NBA history. LBJ is looking for his FOURTH NBA title in his 10th Finals. Many like to play "the G.O.A.T game" of comparing him to MJ but "I Like Mike," who was SIX-for-SIX in NBA Finals' appearances, winning MVP honors in each one. Anthony Davis is one win away from his first NBA title. "They're going to make adjustments," Davis said after Tuesday's 102-96 victory by the Lakers, giving them a 3-1 edge in the best-of-seven game series. "We have to be prepared for it." Ask Miami's Jimmy Butler and despite the hole the team is in, believes the Heat are capable of rallying. "We just got to lock in on us knowing that we can control a lot of these things," Butler said. "But our confidence ain't going nowhere. It's going to stay high. I'm going to make sure that it stays high because it's going to have to be at an all-time to get this next win." LA is favored by seven points and the over/under is 216. Game 6, if necessary, is scheduled for Sunday. My next Ness Notes is Monday, so I'll be back with a recap of the Finals OR, a preview of Game 7. MLB Playoffs: The Braves beat the Marlins 3-0 in Game 3, giving Atlanta a three-game sweep and its first trip to the NLCS since 2001 (note: the Marlins had won all SEVEN of their previous postseason series!). In the process, the Braves became just the SECOND team in MLB history to throw four shutouts in their first five playoff games, joining the 1905 New York Giants behind Hall of Famers Christy Mathewson and Joe McGinnity. The Braves have already pitched the most postseason shutouts in franchise history and are one shutout shy of tying the MLB record for most in a postseason set by the 2016 Indians over 15 games. Awaiting the Braves in the NLCS will be the LA Dodgers, who complete a three-game sweep of their own with a 12-3 win over the Padres. Los Angeles advanced to its fourth NL Championship Series in five years and the team with MLB's best regular season record in 2020 (43-17), will be making their 14th NLCS appearance, matching the St Louis Cardinals for the most. The Dodgers and Braves will open the best-of-seven NLCS on Monday in the Texas Rangers' new $1.2 billion stadium with fans in attendance for the first time during this pandemic-altered season.Over in the American League, the Houston Astros beat the Oakland A's 11-6, eliminating the AL West champs, 3 games to one. Houston 'snuck into' the postseason despite a 29-31 record but improved to 5-1 in the playoffs. The Astros and A's combined for 24 HRs (12 each), the most in a postseason series of five games or fewer. The Astros ranked 20th in the majors with a .240 average and 14th with 279 runs during the regular season and while their batting slump continued through the wild-card round, Houston batted .322 as a team in the ALDS, scoring 33 runs (8.3 per) with those 12 HRs. Few people outside of Houston are rooting for the Astros these days but one has to feel good for Dusty Baker, their 71-year-old manager. He earned his first closeout win since the 2003 NLDS, improving (?) to 4-13 in closeout games. The Astros will head to San Diego's Petco Park to await the winner of Game 5 between the Yankees and Rays.The Tampa Bay Rays went an AL-Best 40-20 during the regular season and captured the AL East title for the first time since 2010. In the process, the Rays took EIGHT of 10 from the Yankees but I doubt anyone on Tampa Bay expected their ALDS with their hated rivals would be a 'walk in the park.' The Yankees won 9-3 ion Game 1, while the Rays rebounded to win Games 2 and 3, 7-5 and 8-4. However, the Yankees didn't flinch under the pressure of an elimination game, as Luke Voit and Gleyber Torres hit impressive HRs, while Jordan Montgomery and three relievers combined on a three-hitter. The Yankees beat the Rays 5-1 Thursday night to even the best-of-5 series at 2-all. The Yankees are trying to reach the ALCS for the THIRD time in four seasons following eliminations by the Astros at that stage in 2017 and last season. Meanwhile, the Rays are trying to advance to the ALCS for the first time since 2008, when they made it to their only World Series. Somewhat ironically, the pitching matchup of Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow is a rematch of last year's ALDS Game 5 between Houston and Tampa Bay. I'm NOT sure why MLB decided to play the four Division Series WITHOUT a day off (Championship Series will be contested without any days off, as well), as it has taxed the pitching staffs of all teams and in particular any that are forced to "go the distance." That's the case here with the Rays and Yanks. Cole will pitch on three days' rest for the FIRST in his career, while Glasnow is being asked to pitch on TWO days' rest. New York is favored (-155) and the over/under is  7 1/2.Note: Game 5 of NY/TB is my 10* Division Series Game of the Year.The NFL opened its Week 5  with 3-1 Tampa Bay visiting 3-1 Chicago. The Bucs came in on a three-game winning streak and with all due respect to the Bears' 3-1 start, their three wins had come over a trio of teams that owned a combined 1-11 record. Tom Brady never lost to Chicago in five meetings as a member of the Patriots and was liking 'itching' to get another shot at Nick Foles, facing him for the first time since New England lost to Philadelphia in Super Bowl 52. However, the six-time champion came up short, as Chicago won 20-19. Brady threw for 253 yards and one TD but he and the Bucs couldn't finish their drives, settling for four FGs (three inside of 40 yards). Foles, the Super Bowl 52 MVP, completed 30 of 42 passes for 243 yards and a TD in his second start after replacing Mitchell Trubisky. Green Bay and Detroit have byes in Week 5 plus the schedule has been 'shuffled' due to COVID-19 issues. For the SECOND consecutive week we will have a MNF doubleheader, as the Denver/New England game has been moved from Sunday to Monday, joining the regularly scheduled MNF contest between the Chargers and Saints. There was early talk that game might be moved to Indianapolis because of Hurricane Delta, but that's no longer an issue. What's more, the 4-0 Bills were scheduled to play the 3-0 Titans in Nashville on Sunday but while the game will go on, it has been moved to TUESDAY! The Bills (-8.5) and Titans are two of SIX teams still unbeaten. The 4-0 Packers and Seahawks are both also 4-0 ATS and while the Packers have a bye week, Seattle will host the 1-3 Vikings on SNF (Seattle is favored by seven points). The defending Super Bowl champions Chiefs are 4-0 (3-1 ATS) have won 13 straight games (including a 3-0 run in last year's postseason) and will host the 2-2 Raiders, laying 11.5 points (and seemingly climbing). The Steelers are the last of the NFL's six unbeatens at 3-0 and after having their game at Tennessee postponed last Sunday, will welcome in-state rival Philadelphia to the Steel City on Sunday (Pittsburgh is favored by seven points). The Eagles are 1-2-1 but reside in first-place in the pathetic NFC East, ahead of 1-3 Dallas and Washington, plus the 0-4 NY Giants. NFC East teams are 3-12-1 SU and 5-11 ATS. In contrast, AFC West teams are a combined 11-5 ATS.There remain four winless NFL teams, as the Falcons, Giants, Jets and Texans are all 0-4. The Falcons, Jets and Texans are all also 0-4 ATS, while the Giants are 2-2. With Chicago's win last night, home teams moved to 26-22 SU, while going just 21-25-2 ATS in 2020 (Home dogs are now 5-13 SU and 8-8-2 ATS). I mentioned in Thursday's Notes that NFL games have averaged a combined 51.3 through four weeks of a season, the highest since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Last night's game stayed under but overs still lead unders at 26-20-2 (56.5%). Linemakers have adjusted totals higher very quickly.Good luck...Larry

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