Articles

Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB and CONCACAF Gold Cup Previews and Odds - 07/16/2021

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Jul 16, 2021

The Friday sports card features action in MLB and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.Seventeen games are on the MLB docket with two doubleheaders. All the games are on MLB.TV for free this weekend. Two opening games of seven-inning doubleheaders take place in the afternoon. Minnesota travels to Detroit at 2:10 PM ET as a -115 money line road favorite with the total set at 7 (all odds from DraftKings). Charlie Barnes makes his MLB debut for the Twins against Jose Arena of the Tigers. Miami visits Philadelphia at 4:05 PM ET as a -120 money line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Marlins pitch Sandy Alcantara against the Phillies’ Matt Moore. Three games start at 7:05 PM ET. The New York Mets play at Pittsburgh as a -150 money line road favorite with a total of 7.5. Marcus Stroman pitches for the Mets against a Pirates pitcher yet to be named. San Diego visits Washington as a -145 money line road favorite with an over/under of 7.5. The Padres pitch Chris Paddack against the Nationals Erick Fedde. The New York Yankees host Boston as a -115 money line favorite with a total of 10. Jordan Montgomery pitches for the Yankees against the Red Sox’s Martin Perez. Toronto plays at home against Texas at 7:07 PM ET as a -240 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The Blue Jays pitch Robbie Ray against the Rangers of Jordan Lyles. Two games start at 7:10 PM ET. Milwaukee travels to Cincinnati as a -120 money line road favorite with a total of 8.5. Tyler Mahle pitches for the Reds against a starting pitcher yet to be named for the Brewers. Minnesota plays at Detroit in the second game of their doubleheader as a -160 money line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Twins’ Kenta Maeda takes the mound against a Tigers’ pitcher yet to be named. Atlanta hosts Tampa Bay at 7:20 PM ET as a -130 money line favorite with a total of 8.5. Charlie Morton pitches for the Braves against Michael Wacha of the Rays. Philadelphia is at home against Miami in the second game of their doubleheader as a -140 money line favorite with an over/under of 6. The Phillies’ Zach Eflin pitches against a Marlins pitcher yet to be determined. Two games start at 8:10 PM ET. Kansas City is at home against Baltimore as a -155 money line favorite with a total of 10. The Orioles send out Keegan Akin to face a Royals starting pitcher yet to be named. Houston visits Chicago to play the White Sox as a -140 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9. Lance McCullers of the Astros pitches against Dylan Cease of the White Sox. San Francisco travels to St. Louis at 8:15 PM ET as a -165 money line road favorite with a total of 7.5. The Giants pitch Kevin Gausman against a starting pitcher yet to be determined. The Los Angeles Dodgers play at Colorado at 8:40 PM ET as a -190 money line road favorite with an over/under of 11.5. Julio Urias pitchers for the Dodgers against Antonio Senzatela of the Rockies. The Los Angeles Angels host Seattle at 9:38 PM ET as a -165 money line favorite with a total of 8.5. The Angels pitch Andrew Heaney against Chris Flexen of the Mariners. Two games close out the card at 9:40 PM ET. The Chicago Cubs play at Arizona as a -150 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9.5. Kyle Hendricks pitches for the Cubs against Madison Bumgarner of the Diamondbacks. Oakland plays at home against Cleveland as a -210 money line favorite with a total of 8. The A’s pitch Chris Bassitt against the Indians’ Eli Morgan.The CONCACAF Gold Cup continues two matches in Group B on FS1 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Jamaica plays Guadeloupe at 6:30 PM ET. The Reggae Boyz come off a 2-0 victory against Suriname on Monday. The Gwada Boys lost to Costa Rica, 3-1, on Monday. Jamaica is a -1.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.5. Costa Rica plays Suriname at 9 PM ET. The Tacos look to build off the three points they earned against Guadeloupe to begin the week. The Natio rebound from their 2-0 loss to Jamaica. Costa Rica is a -1.5 goal line favorite with a total of 3.5. 

Read more

NFL Futures - Are Cards Worth A Look In the Desert? 

by Ben Burns

Thursday, Jul 15, 2021

It's never too early to start thinking about the NFL. The schedule was released more than a month ago. Week 1 lines are out, as are futures and team totals. Last year saw Brady and the Bucs take down the title. Not surprisingly, Tampa is favored to win the NFC. The champs aren't the favorites to repeat though. You guessed it, that distinction goes to Mahomes and the Chiefs. Looks like a long year for Houston fans. Let's take a closer look at some of the current futures, courtesy of Pinnacle. Odds To Win Super BowlChiefs +408Bucs +767Bills +125249'ers +1357Browns +1451Rams +1483Ravens +1555Packers +1688Seahawks +1834Colts +2360Chargers +2494Patriots +2638Titans +2778Broncos +3018Saints +3182Dolphins +3772Cowboys +3882Steelers +3904Cardinals +4531Football Team +4832Vikings+5208Bears +5649Falcons +7050Eagles +7591 Lions +7917Panthers +8225Giants +8812Raiders +9146Bengals +11158Jaguars +11741Jets +12913Texans +17602Looking at the odds to win each of the individual divisions provides more insight. They're projecting 2-team battles in the AFC North and South. The NFC North, meanwhile, is currently OTB. Before looking, see if you can predict which team is the biggest favorite. AFC EastBills -140Patriots +260 Dolphins +390Jets +2500AFC NorthRavens +121Browns +151Steelers +375Bengals +2500AFC SouthColts -105Titans -110Jaguars +950Texans +2500 AFC WestChiefs -307Broncos +558Chargers +609Raiders +1823NFC EastCowboys +130Football Team +219Giants +412Eagles +486NFC SouthBucs -190Saints +291Falcons +890Panthers +1046NFC WestRams +17249'ers +208Seahawks +284Cardinals +576Any Longshots Worthy Of Consideration?Only two of the above divisions are "4-team races," the NFC East and the NFC West. Every other division has at least one team which is greater than a 10-1 underdog to win. However, the NFC East and West divisions have four teams capable of winning. That being the case, I think the Eagles (+486) and the Cardinals (+576) both offer potential value.  Next week, I'll take a closer look at the Eagles/Cards schedules, as well as the team O/U lines from around the league. 

Read more

Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB and CONCACAF Gold Cup Previews and Odds - 07/15/2021

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Jul 15, 2021

The Thursday sports card features action in MLB and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.Major League Baseball returns after the All-Star break with the New York Yankees hosting the Boston Red Sox on ESPN at 7:08 PM ET. The Yankees had won five of their last seven games before giving up six runs in the bottom go the ninth inning to lose at Houston by an 8-7 score on Sunday. New York has a 46-43 record, which places them in a tie for third place in the American League with Toronto, eight games behind the Red Sox. The Yankees score 4.2 runs per game with a .236 batting average, .319 on-base percentage, and an OPS of .714. Aaron Judge leads the team with a .282 batting average, 21 home runs, and 47 runs batted in. Giancarlo Stanton has a .270 batting average, 15 home runs, and 42 RBIs. D.J. LeMahieu has a .270 batting average, seven homers, and 36 RBIs.Manager Aaron Boone has yet to establish his rotation to begin the second half of the season. The Yankees have a 3.58 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP.Boston has lost two straight games and four of their last five after a 5-4 loss at home to Philadelphia on Sunday. The Red Sox remains 1 1/2 games ahead of Tampa Bay in first place in the AL East. Manager Alex Cora’s team averages 5.1 runs per game, .259 batting average, .317 On-Baser Percentage, and an OPS of .757. Xander Bogaerts leads the team with a .321 batting average. He has added 15 home runs and 51 RBIs. Rafael Devers leads the BoSox with 22 homers and 72 RBIs. He is hitting .282. J.D. Martinez is hitting .299 with 18 home runs and 62 RBIs.Eduardo Rodriguez has been named the starting pitcher by Cora The left-hander has a 6-5 record with a 5.52 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. He is supported by a bullpen that has a 3.62 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. New York is a -125 money line favorite with the total set at 9 (all odds from DraftKings).The CONCACAF Gold Cup continues with the second match in Group B on FS1. Canada plays Haiti at 7:30 PM ET at the Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. Les Rouges come off a 4-1 victory against Martinique on Sunday. Les Matinino scored the first goal in the match, with Emmanuel Riviere's score in the 10th minute. The Canadiens responded with four answered goals from Cyle Larin in the 16th minute, Jonathan Osorio four minutes later, Stephen Estaquio six minutes later, and then Theo Corbeanu in the 89th minute of the second half. Les Grenadiers lost to the USMNT, 1-0, on Sunday. Canada is a -1.5 goal-line favorite with an over/under of 2.75.The United States play Martinique in the second game of the FS1 doubleheader at 9:30 PM ET. The Stars and Stripes have three points in group play from their win against Haiti from Sam Vines' goal in the eighth minute. Les Matinino comes off their three-goal loss to Canada. The USMNT is a -2.75 goal line favorite with a total of 3.5.

Read more

2021 British Open Preview: Royal St. George Golf Course

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2021

British Open 2021 Preview: Royal St. George Golf CourseThe fourth and final major for the year takes place at the Royal St. George golf course in Sandwich, Kent, in England for the 149th Open Championship. The event tees off at 1:35 AM ET on Thursday. The Golf Network and NBC will share the broadcast.Six major championships took place since the last British Open took place when Shane Lowry won at Portrush in 2019. Last year’s British Open got canceled after the pandemic. This week will be the 15th time that Royal St. George is the site of the Open Championship. Darren Clarke won the tournament the last time Royal St. George hosted in 2011. Ben Curtis won in 2003 after Greg Norman won in 1993 in the two previous British Opens here. Jon Rahm is the favorite at +700 (all odds from DraftKings). The US Open champion last month returned to action by finishing in 7th place at the Scottish Open warmup last weekend. Rahm has fallen back to being ranked second in the world in the global rankings. With two victories at the Irish Open, he has had success on links course. Jordan Spieth is priced at +1400. He is a former British Open champion in 2017 who has made all seven of the cuts in his seven Open Championships with three top-ten finishes. With a win at the Valero Texas Open this year, Spieth has ten top-20 results in his last 14 stroke-play events. Brooks Koepka is at +1600 to win. The major championship specialist has finished in the top five in three of his last four tournaments, including a tie for second place at the PGA Championship and a tie for fourth place at the US Open. The four-time major championship winner has three top-tens in his four British Open starts. Rory McIlroy has a +1800 price. He has five career top-five results at the Open Championship including a victory at the 2014 British Open. McIlroy finished tied for 7th place at the US Open last month. He has since finished tied for 59th place at Irish Open before missing the cut last week at the Scottish Open. Dustin Johnson is listed at +1800. He regained his number one ranking in the world despite not playing last week. Johnson’s most recent event was the  Traveler’s Championship at the end of June, where he finished tied for 25th place. Johnson won last November’s Master’s Championship before later winning in Dubai in February. He finished tied for second place at Royal St. George in the 2011 British Open. Xander Schauffele is priced at +1800. With Rahm winning his first major championship last month, Schauffele may inherit the moniker of being the best player in the world to not win a major. He finished tied for third at the Masters before a tie for seventh place at the US Open last month. He comes off a tie for 10th place last week at the Scottish Open. Schauffele co-led at Carnoustie at the 2018 British Open after 54 holes before settling for a tie for second place. Justin Thomas has +2000 odds to win. The 2017 PGA Champion finished tied for 19th at the US Open last month. He has since taken on a new putter that he tested out in a tie for 8th place finish at the Scottish Open last week. After missing the city at the Open Championship in 2017 and 2018, he finished tied for 11th in 2019.Collin Morikawa makes his debut at a British Open as a +2500 favorite. The 2020 PGA Champion has finished in a tie for 18th, a tie for 8th, and a tie for 4th place at the Masters, PGA Championship, and US Open this year. Morikawa struggled with a tie for 71st place last week at the Scottish Open. Louis Oosthuizen is priced at +2500. He finished tied for 54th place here at the 2011 British Open as the defending Open Champion from winning his lone major the year before. Oosthuizen has finished in second place at the PGA Championship and US Open this summer. Bryson DeChambeau is listed at +3000. After his tie for 26th place at the US Open was his best result at a major championship this year, he has changed caddies. DeChambeau last played at the Rocket Mortage, where he missed the cut two weeks ago. The 2020 US Open champion missed the cut twice in his three British Opens, with his best finish being a tie for 51st place. Viktor Hovland rounds out the top ten favorites at a +3000 price. The 23-year-old is making his Open Championship debut. Hovland withdrew from the US Open with an eye issue that was not an issue three weeks ago when he won BMW International Open in Munich. He has two PGA Tour wins in his young career, and he has finished in the top-13 in two previous US Opens. Hovland has four top-three results this season.

Read more

Ness Notes: MLB's Mid-Summer Classic jumps starts 2nd half

by Larry Ness

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2021

The 91st edition of the MLB All-Star Game (after a one-year hiatus) was contested at Coors Field last night in Denver. 40 of the game's 79 players were first-timers, the most ever. Special 'shout outs' are due Boston starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and Arizona 3B Eduardo Escobar. Eovaldi pitched a scoreless 4th inning in his first All Star game of his 10th MLB season, while Escobar hit a single in his only at-bat in his first All Star game of his 11th season. Shohei Ohtani went 0-2 at the plate but made history by pitching a scoreless first inning (1-2-3) for the AL (he was credited with the win). 19 pitchers got in the game but Milwaukee's Corbin Burnes was the ONLY one to pitch more than an inning. It didn't work out well for him, as he allowed two runs on four hits in his two innings to take the loss. One of those four hits was Vladmir Guerrero's 468-foot HR. Vlad Jr. went 1 for 3 with two runs scored, earning him All-Star Game MVP honors. He's the first Blue Jays player ever to win the award and became the youngest player to earn MVP honors.The American League won the game 5-2, continuing its dominance over the National League. It was not always that way. I was born in 1953 and my memories of the All Star game are much different. From 1960 through 1982 (two games were played from 1960-1962) the National League won 23 of the 26 games played, with the American League winning just twice (2nd game in 1962 and in 1972) with one tie (2nd game of 1961). However, last night's AL win was just more of the same for "the junior circuit" (can it seriously be called that these days?). The 5-2 victory was the AL's EIGHTH in a row, extending its dominance over the NL to 26-6 with a tie since the 1988 game.One could logically argue that July 2nd was the halfway point of the 2021 regular season, as it was the 93rd day in the 186-day schedule plus 18 of the 30 teams were in the 80-82 games played range. However, I'm "old school" and the All-Star break has traditionally served as the mid-point between the first and second halves of the MLB season. With that in mind, let's look at where MLB stands if the playoffs began today.How about this to start things off? Not a SINGLE division winner from 2020 entered the All Star break atop its respective division. Let's start in the American League Tampa Bay won the East in 2020 with the AL's best record (40-20) but are currently 53-37 1 1/2-games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox (55-36). Minnesota won the AL Central in 2020 at 36-24 (.600) but the Twins have 'fallen on a cliff' in 2021. Minnesota entered the All Star break 39-50, 15 games back of the 54-35 Chicago White Sox. Chicago ended an 11-year playoff drought with a wild card appearance in 2020 and currently own the biggest lead of any division-leader, as the White Sox are EIGHT games ahead of the second-place Indians (45-42). Oakland won the AL West in 2021 with a 36-24 record, ending Houston's run of three consecutive AL West titles. The Astros won 100-plus games from 2017 through 2019, before falling to 29-31 in last year's pandemic-shortened season. However, Houston qualified for the postseason because of 2020's expanded playoff field and made it all the way to Game 7 of the ALCS, before falling to the Rays. The Astros are back to their winning ways in 2021, as they are 55-36, 3 1/2 games up on the A's. The 2021 postseason is "back to normal," meaning three division winners and two wild cards. That currently would be Boston, Chicago and Houston plus No. 1 wild card Tampa Bay and No. 2 Oakland.Moving to the National League, Atlanta opened the current season having won the last THREE NL East titles (led the Dodgers 3-1 in the NLCS last season before losing THREE in a row!) but is just 44-45 at the break. The NY Mets currently sit atop the division at 47-40, 3 1/2-games clear of the 44-44 Phillies (note: Philadelphia has missed the postseason NINE consecutive years!). The Mets are trying to snap a four-year postseason drought and it doesn't hurt that they are playing in MLB's weakest division (only the Mets own a winning record). The Chicago Cubs won the NL Central with a 36-24 record in 2020, the team's third NL Central title in a six-year span. However, the Cubs entered the break only 44-46 (tied with their longtime rivals St Louis), EIGHT back of the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers. Milwaukee is 53-39, four games up and the second-place Reds. The LA Dodgers won their first World Series title since 1988 in 2020 and opened 2021 having won EIGHT consecutive NL West crowns. The Dodgers opened the current season 13-2 but in contrast to the Mets, the Dodgers play in MLB's toughest division. The surprising Giants, who finished 14 games of the Dodgers in 2020's 60-game season and 29 games behind them in 2019, own MLB's best record (57-32) and a two-game lead over 56-35 LA. The Padres are 53-40, six games back of San San Francisco. The current NL playoff 'picture' features division winners New York, Milwaukee and San Francisco. Los Angeles would be the No. 1 wild card and San Diego its No. 2.From the Department of "Best and Worst." The NL West is home to both the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Giants own MLB's best record at 57-32, while the D'backs own the worst at 26-66. Arizona is "on pace" to win just 44 or 45 games (118 or 117 losses). Can you say the New York Mets of 1962, who went 40-120? However, readers of this article will be more interested in the "moneyline" standings. The answer is, "second verse, same as the first." The Giants own the best moneyline record at plus-$2,001 at $100/game, while the D-backs rank last at minus-$3,371. The Giants are closely followed by the 48-43 Mariners, who check in at plus-$1,923. Only two other teams are better than plus-$1,000, the 55-36 Red Sox at plus-$1,524 and the Rays at plus-$1,035. At the other end of the spectrum, Arizona's season is a total 'nightmare.' The D'backs' moneyline mark is almost $1,500 worse than that of the 28-60 Orioles, whose minus-$1,878 mark is MLB's second-worst. The third-worst mark is owned by the 39-50 Twins, who check in at minus-$1,837.New York, New York and Detroit, plus one last look at the NL West. The 46-43 Yankees own the worst moneyline record of any winning team at -$1,008, while the 47-40 Mets are the ONLY division leader to own a losing moneyline record at minus-$95. What's Detroit have to do with anything? The 40-51 Tigers are the ONLY losing team with a winning moneyline mark at plus-$432. I discussed the NL West's best and worst teams above but here's a closing thought on the division's other three teams. Only four NL teams own 50-plus wins and THREE reside in the NL West. The Dodgers are 56-35 and the Padres are 53-40 but the Rockies are just 40-51. Now guess which of those three owns the best moneyline record. You likely KNOW the answer by how I phrased the question. Yes, the Rockies are minus-$347, while the Padres are minus-$390 and the Dodgers minus-$440. Just like the pointspread, the moneyline is often the "great equalizer."Speaking of MLB's moneyline, no aspect is more important than that of each team's starting pitchers. Handicappers/bettors are well aware that a pitcher's won-loss record is SECONDARY to that of his team's record in his starts. NONE of MLB's top-five money-makers were featured in last night's All Star game. The list includes Chris Flexen (Sea) 12-4, plus-$966, Casey Mize (Det) 10-7, plus-$948, Logan Gilbert (Sea) 8-2, plus-$932, Taijuan Walker (NYM) 13-3, plus-$831 and Aaron Civale (Cle) 12-3, plus-$818. 'Flipping the script,' here's the biggest money-burners; Jorge Lopez (Bal) 4-14, -$893, JT Brubaker (Pit) 4-12, minus-$784, Luis Castillo (Cin) 6-13, minus-$721, Carlos Martinez (StL) 5-11, minus-$709 and Caleb Smith (Arz) 1-8, minus-$694.Best of luck in the second-half, Larry

Read more

Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA and CONCACAF Gold Cup Previews and Odds - 07/14/2021

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2021

The Wednesday sports card features action in the NBA Finals and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.The NBA finals continue with Game 4, with Milwaukee hosting Phoenix on ABC at 9:05 PM ET. The Bucks won their first game of the series with a 120-105 victory as a 4.5-point favorite on Sunday.Milwaukee closed the first half on a 30-9 run to go into the locker room at halftime with a 60-45 lead. The Bucks used a 16-0 run to end the third quarter with a 22-point lead. Milwaukee shot 47.8% from the field, including a 39% mark from 3-point range after making 14 of their 36 shots from distance. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 41 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. The Greek Freak made 13 of his 17 shots from the free-throw line in the Bucks’ first game in front of their home fans in this series. He scored 42 points in Game 2. He is averaging 29.2 points per game, 12.8 rebounds per game, and 5.1 assists per game in this postseason. Khris Middleton added 18 points on 6 of 14 shooting. He made 3 of 7 shots from 3-point range. Jrue Holiday scored 21 points on 8 of 14 shooting that included five of his ten shots from 3-point land.Phoenix made 48.2% of their shots on Sunday despite a 29% shooting percentage from 3-point land after making 9 of their 31 attempts. Chris Paul scored 19 points on 8 of 14 shooting. He committed four turnovers and made only one of his four shots from 3-point range. He is scoring 24.7 points per game and 8.7 assists per game in this series.  Devin Booker scored 10 points. He converted 3 of 14 shots from the field and one of seven from 3-point range. Deandre Ayton added 18 points and nine rebounds but played less than five minutes in the second half due to foul trouble. The Suns have a 2-1 lead in the series. They won Game 1 of the NBA Finals, 118-105, as a 5-point favorite last Tuesday. They followed that up with a 118-108 in Game 2 in Phoenix on Thursday. Milwaukee is a 4.5-point favorite, with the total set at 220 (all odds from DraftKings).The CONCACAF Gold Cup continues with a doubleheader on FS1 involving the second match in Group A. El Salvador plays Trinidad and Tobago at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, at 7:30 PM ET. Los Cuscatelecos defeated Guatemala in their opening match, 2-0, on Sunday. The Soca Warriors earned a 0-0 draw with Mexico in their opening game on Saturday. El Salvador is a -0.5 goal line favorite with over/under at 2. Mexico faces Guatemala at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas at 9:30 PM ET. El Tri settled for the 0-0 draw with Trinidad and Tobago to earn a point in Group A play. Los Chapines hope to get their first points in this event after getting beat by El Salvador. Mexico is a -3 goal line favorite with a total of 3.5. 

Read more

CFB 2021: Big 12 Conference Preview

by Scott Rickenbach

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2021

CFB 2021 Season Preview – Big 12 – Quick Hitters by TeamBaylor – Likely to struggle in Big 12 action. The Bears still transitioning in the 2nd year under a new head coach. Offense could struggle without Brewer. But defense does look stronger. Might be a good “under team” in games this season. Iowa State – The Cyclones look solid again. A lot of starters back for this season. Purdy gives them an experienced QB that has enjoyed success. Well-coached. Willing to be methodical on both sides of the ball. Another one that might be a good “under team” in games this season. Kansas – The Jayhawks are just a bad program plain and simple. Arguably the worst team out of any in the power five conferences. Have been dealing with a coaching nightmare as there has just been no stability in the program. Recruiting and rebuilding for the future but currently still bottom of the barrel team.Kansas State – The Wildcats have a solid QB but there is concern in the trenches on both sides of the ball and if you do not have strong O-lines and D-lines it is tough to consistently win. Only 5 starters expected back on defense here so expect some growing pains. Oklahoma – The Sooners, as seemingly always, are so talented. Oklahoma used to be all offense and no defense but now the D is solid too and that is what makes OU such a powerhouse these days. Rattler and many starters are back on offense and they should off Iowa State for the top spot in conference.Oklahoma State – The Cowboys O-line needs to be better. Overall, only 5 starters expected back on offense. Sanders is a key to the offense but overall some question marks on that side of the ball. The defense has improved though in recent years and that has help keep this program in the mix!TCU – The Horned Frogs are poised to improve. Duggan at QB now and the defense is strong particularly up front. The question with TCU is will they be able to score enough points. D tends to be solid here but how quickly can the offense jell with Duggan under center. Does he have enough weapons? This team could surprise depending on how well the transition goes. Texas – QB Ehlinger is out and a new coach is in with Sarkisian calling the shots. The Longhorns, as per usual, are plenty talented. The questions marks though are at WR on offense and linebacker on the other side of the ball. Also, how quickly will a new coaching staff be able to mesh with this team. Will be one of the top teams in the Big 12 but could be some growing pains this season. Texas Tech – The Red Raiders are trending the wrong way. Defense has improved a little but offense has been down. Have a 3rd year head coach in Wells and a new offensive coordinator. If defense falters after showing some slight improvement recently then this team is really in trouble because the offense has question marks and a new OC. West Virginia – The Mountaineers are in 3rd year under HC Neal Brown and he has done a good job here. He tends to get a lot out of his players and this is a hard-working team. However, though a lot of the offense is back, much of the defense is not and that is a concern for this season. Also, though they seem strong at the skill positions the O-line is a concern on offense. That means lack of QB protection. Kind of a “middling year” is expected this season for West Virginia as they battle through personnel losses. 

Read more

CFB 2021: American Athletic Conference Preview

by Scott Rickenbach

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2021

CFB 2021 Season Preview – AAC – Quick Hitters by TeamCincinnati – Bearcats look strong again. Class of the conference. Amazing defense expected again.East Carolina – Pirates might be slightly improved. Likely to continue to run the ball more. Now have had more time with more of a normal off-season to work in new schemes on defense too. Houston – Cougars will be improved but some concerns at the skill positions on offense. Defense continuing to improve. Different style of Houston team than the high-scoring aerial attack years. Memphis – Poised for a drop-off. Lost a lot of players. Also, run game has struggled and now with question marks at quarterback the run game will be even more of a concern. Navy – Have had an up and down pattern in recent years but this truly looks like another down season is likely to follow last year’s disappointment. Tough schedule and just not the same talent level at quarterback. SMU – The Mustangs could be solid again. I like their defense and their coaching staff on that side of the ball. Question mark will be a new quarterback on offense and how he meshes with this team. Temple – The Owls have fallen to the bottom again. Problems are mounting with constant coaching changes and now player transfers and plus only about 5 starters expected back on each side of the ball. Tulane –New coordinators and so some growing pains but with time it should pay off. Key question is whether freshman quarterback will thrive in this system. Green Wave likely to be a .500 team. Tulsa – Strong defense. Off amazing 6-0 season in AAC action. However, lost some key assistants from the coaching staff. Most starters do return though so it should be a solid season in 2021. UCF – Central Florida has a new head coach and new coordinators plus lost a lot of starters on defense. But coach Malzahn has a talented quarterback to work with and there is still a lot of talent on this team. The one true challenger to the Bearcats in this conference. USF – South Florida should improve as they are in the 2nd year under coach Scott and now get more of a regular off-season to prepare. Last season was very tough on teams with new coaches as the off-season was so disjointed. This team still has quite a way to go though and will be in rebuild mode this year. Quarterback is a solid talent but, on other side of the ball, lost about half the starters on defense.

Read more

Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB and CONCACAF Gold Cup Previews and Odds - 07/13/2021

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2021

The Tuesday sports card features the MLB All-Star Game and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.Coors Field is the site of the 91st MLB All-Star Game with the National League the home team with the Colorado Rockies hosting the event. The Fox broadcast begins at 7:30 PM ET. The Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani is the star attraction this year. The breakout star is the starting pitcher for the American League, and Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash will have him bat leadoff. MLB has made an exception to their designated hitter rule to allow Ohtani to slide to the designated hitter slot to keep him in the game once he completes his pitching assignment. Cash’s starting lineup and batting order are as follows. After Ohtani, the Toronto Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. bats second as the starting first baseman. The Boston Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts bats third at shortstop. The New York Yankees’ Aaron Judges hits cleanup as the starting right-fielder. The Red Sox’s Rafael Devers bats fifth at third bade. The Oakland A’s Marcus Semien bats sixth at second base. Starting catcher Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals’ bats seventh. The Blue Jays left fielder Teoscar Hernandez hits eighth. Cedric Mullins of the Baltimore Orioles bat ninth as the starting centerfielder.Mullins is one of many players for both teams that were late additions to the final rosters. He replaces the Angels’ injured Mike Trout, out with a calf injury. Four Houston Astros’ players opted out. Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Michael Brantley all declined to play to recuperate from nagging injuries. Ryan Pressly is on paternity leave. The Royals’ Whit Merrifield replaces Altuve. The Chicago White Sox’s Tim Anderson takes Correa’s spot. The Tampa Bay Rays Joey Wendle replaces Brantley. The A’s Chris Bassitt takes Pressly's spot. The Cleveland Indians’ Shane Bieber was named to the team, but he will be inactive as he recovers from an injury that has kept him out for the last month. Cash will have eleven pitchers at his disposal after Ohtani. The starting pitchers who likely initially replace the Angels’ phenom include the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, the Chicago White Sox’s Lance Lynn and Carlos Rodon, the Seattle Mariners’ Yusei Kikuchi (cleared from COVID quarantine on Monday), the Texas Rangers’ Kyle Gibson, the Red Sox’s Nathan Eovaldi, and Bassitt. Cash has four relievers at his disposal in Matt Barnes of the Red Sox, Aroldis Chapman of the Yankees, Liam Hendricks of the A’s, and the Detroit Tigers’ Gregory Soto.Max Scherzer will take the ball as the National League starting pitcher for the fourth time. The Washington Nationals hurler replaces Kevin Gausman, who made his most recent start for the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will have this initial starting lineup. The San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tatis, Jr. leads off as the starting shortstop. The Los Angeles Dodgers Max Muncy bats second as the designated hitter. Colorado Rockiers’ third baseman Nolan Arenado bats third. The Atlanta Braves Freddie Freeman hits clean up as the starting first baseman. Nick Castellanos of the Cincinnati Reds bats fifth as the starting right-fielder. The Reds’ left-fielder, Jesse Winkler, hits sixth. The Philadelphia Phillies’ J.T. Realmuto bats seventh as the starting catcher. The Pittsburgh Pirates Bryan Reynolds hits eighth as the starting centerfielder Reds’ second baseman Adam Frazier bats ninth.The Padres’ Manny Machado replaces the Braves’ Ronald Acuna, who is out the season with a torn ACL. The Milwaukee Brewers’ catcher Omar Narvaez takes the spots of the Giants’ Buster Posey, who is out with a thumb injury. The Dodgers’ Mookie Betts, the St.Louis Cardinals’ Yadier Molina (the initial replacement for Posey at catcher), Yu Darvish of the Padres, and the New York Mets’ Jacob DeGrom have all opted out due to injuries. Brandon Woodruff will not be on the roster either after starting for the Brewers on Sunday. Starting pitchers Walker Buehler, Freddy Peralta, and Taijaun Walker are three late additions. Dodgers’ third baseman Justin Turner takes Betts’ spot on the team.Roberts has six starting pitchers at his disposal to replace Scherzer in the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes, the Phillies’ Zack Wheeler, and the Rockies’ German Marquez, plus late additions Buehler, Peralta, and Walker. Five relievers are on the roster: Craig Kimberly of the Chicago Cubs, the Brewers’ Josh Hader, the Giants’ Trevor Rogers, the Cardinals’ Alex Reyes, and the Padres’ Mark Melancon.An MLB record 40 players are making their All-Star Game debut. More than 30 players will be playing competing in their first All-Star Game for the third straight year. Since 2017, the winner of the All-Star Game does not determine home-field advantage in the World Series.The American League has won the last seven midseason classics. The AL won, 4-3, as the home team at Progressive Field in Cleveland in 2019. Last year’s All-Star Game got canceled due to the pandemic. The AL holds a 45-43-2 all-time edge.The National League is a -117 money line favorite with the total set at 11 (all odds from Draft Kings). The CONCACAF Gold Cup continues with the opening two matches in Group D in an FS1 doubleheader at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. Qatar plays Panama at 7 PM ET as a -0.25 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2. Honduras faces Grenada at 9 PM ET as a -2.25 goal line favorite with a total of 3.

Read more

Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB and CONCACAF Previews and Odds - 07/12/2021

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Jul 12, 2021

The Monday sports card features the MLB Home Run Derby and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.The MLB Home Run Derby takes place at Coors Field on ESPN at 8 PM ET. The money line favorite is Shohei Ohtani, who is listed as a +260 money line favorite (all odds from Draft Kings) to win this event. The Los Angeles Angels’ pitching/hitting superstar has clubbed 33 home runs this season. Fifteen of his home runs clocked at 110 or more miles per hour, tops in the MLB.Joey Gallo is a +450 money line favorite to win the Home Run Derby. The Texas Rangers’ slugger has clubbed 24 homers this season, with 13 of them occurring in his last 19 games.Pete Alonso is a +500 money line favorite to win this event. The Mets’ third baseman has 17 home runs this season. The reigning 2019 champion clubbed 57 homers in that event, including 20 and 23 in the semifinals and finals. Alonso earned bonus time with at least three home runs distancing at least 440 yards in all three rounds. Matt Olson is a +580 money line favorite to win the Home Run Derby. The A’s slugger has 23 home runs this season. Since his final call-up on August 8th, 2017, Olson has banged out 122 home runs, third-most in the Major Leagues during that span. Salvador Perez is s a +700 money line favorite to win the event. The Kansas City Royals catcher has clubbed 21 home runs. Perez aspires to be the first Royals player and the first catcher to win the Home Run Derby.Juan Soto is a +750 money line favorite. He has 11 homers this season. Soto is the 18th player in AL or NL history to reach at least 80 home runs at 22-years-old. Trevor Story is a +800 money line favorite with the Derby. The Rockies shortstop has hit 11 home runs this season. His 487-foot homer on September 5th, 2018, is the longest home run recorded at Coors Field. Three previous Home Run Derby winners were competing in their home park. Trey Mancini is a +1000 money line favorite to win the Home Run Derby. He has hammered 16 home runs for the Orioles. Mancini is a sentimental favorite returning to action this season after not playing last year as he recovered from stage 3 colon cancer. Coors Field is the sixth-most home-run friendly park in MLB. The left-field fence measures 347 feet, with left-center at 390 feet, center field at 415 feet, right-center measuring at 375 field, and the right-field fence at 350 feet. The CONCACAF Gold Cup continues with two matches in the opening round of the group stage on FS1 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Jamaica plays Suriname at 6:30 PM ET as a -1 goal line favorite with a total of 2.5. The second game of the FS1 doubleheader has Costa Rica facing Guadeloupe at 9 PM ET as a -2 goal line favorite with an over/under of 3.

Read more

Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, MLB, WNBA, Euro 2020 and CONCACAF Gold Cup Previews and Odds - 07/11/2021

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Jul 11, 2021

The Sunday sports card features games in the NBA, MLB, WNBA, Euro 2020, and CONCACAF Gold Cup.The NBA playoffs continue with Game 3 of the NBA Finals, with Milwaukee hosting Phoenix on ABC at 8:05 PM ET. The Suns took a 2-0 lead in this series with their 118-108 victory as a 4.5-point favorite on Thursday. The Bucks are a 4-point favorite with the total set at 222 (all odds from Draft Kings).Fifteen games are on the MLB docket. The Chicago White Sox plays at Baltimore at 1:10 PM ET as a -165 money line road favorite with an over/under of 10.5. Dylan Cease pitches for the White Sox against Spenser Watkins of the Orioles. Kansas City plays at Cleveland with Carlos Hernandez pitching for the Royals against Eli Morgan of the Indians. Pittsburgh visits the New York Mets with Chase De Jong facing a pitcher yet to be determined. Toronto visits Tampa Bay as a -124 money line road favorite with a total of 8.5. Robbie Ray pitches for the Blue Jays against Rich Hill of the Rays. Miami hosts Atlanta as a -122 money line favorite with an over/under of 7. Boston plays at home against Philadelphia as a -130 money line favorite with a total of 10. The Red Sox pitch Nick Pivetta against Aaron Nola of the Phillies. Minnesota plays at home against Detroit at 2:10 PM ET as a -225 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Jose Berrios pitches for the Twins against the Tigers’ Wily Peralta. Milwaukee hosts Cincinnati as a -155 money line favorite with a total of 7. The Brewers pitch Brandon Woodruff against Luis Castillo of the Reds. Houston is at home against the New York Yankees on TBS at 2:10 PM ET as a -143 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. St. Louis travels to Chicago to play the Cubs at 2:20 PM ET as a -108 money line favorite. Adam Wainwright pitches for the Cardinals against Trevor Williams of the Cubs. Oakland visits Texas at 2:35 PM ET as a -143 money line road favorite with a total of 8.5. The A’s send out Chris Bassitt to pitch against Kolby Allard of the Rangers. San Francisco plays at home against Washington at 4:05 PM ET as a -225 money line favorite with an over/under of 8. Kevin Gausman pitches for the Giants against Erick Fedde of the Nationals. San Diego is at home against Colorado at 4:10 PM ET as a -185 money line favorite with a total of 9. The Padres pitch Ryan Weathers against the Rockies’ Jon Gray. The Los Angeles Dodgers are at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks as a -220 money line favorite with an over/under of 9. Tony Gonsolin pitches for the Dodgers against Merrill Kelly of the Diamondbacks. The Los Angeles Angels play at San Francisco with Jose Suarez of the Angels facing against Hector Santiago of the Giants. Five games are on the WNBA slate. Las Vegas plays at Dallas on ABC at 1 PM ET. Connecticut visits New York at 2 PM ET. Indiana travels to Atlanta at 5 PM ET. Phoenix plays at Atlanta on the CBS Sports Network at 6 PM ET. Minnesota is at Los Angeles at 9 PM ET. The Euro 2020 finals take place on ESPN at 3 PM ET at Wembley Stadium in London. Italy reached the finals with a 4-2 shootout win against Spain after their match was in a 1-1 deadlock after 120 minutes of play on Tuesday. England advanced to the finals with their 2-1 victory over Denmark on Wednesday. England is a -0.25 goal line favorite with a total of 2.The CONCACAF Gold Cup continues with three matches. Canada plays Martinique on FS1 at 6:30 PM ET at the Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The Canadiens are a -1.75 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.75. USA plays Haiti on FS1 at 8:30 PM ET in the second game at the Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City. The US Men’s National Team is a -1.5 goal line favorite with a total of 3. El Salvador plays Guatemala on FS2 at 10:30 PM ET at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The Salvadorians are a -0.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.

Read more

New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros Preview and Odds - 07/11/2021

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Jul 11, 2021

Sunday MLB TBS Preview: New York York Yankees versus the Houston Astros.The New York Yankees conclude their six-game road trip this afternoon by aiming to sweep the Houston Astros. Gerrit Cole pitched a complete-game shutout last night in a 1-0 victory against the Astros. Cole scattered only three base hits while throwing a career-high 129 pitches. Aaron Judge’s third-inning home run provided the only run that Cole would need. The Yankees have won five of their last six games to improve their record to 46-42. They are in third place in the American League East, eight games behind the Boston Red Sox for first place. New York is averaging 4.1 runs per game this season. They have a team batting average of .236, an on-base percentage of .317, and an OPS of .711. Judge leads the team with 21 home runs, 47 runs batted in, and a .286 batting average. Giancarlo Stanton has added 15 home runs and 42 RBIs with a .266 batting average. Gary Sanchez has 14 home runs and 32 RBIs.Manager Aaron Boone gives the ball to Jameson Taillon this afternoon. The 29-year-old right-hander comes off one of his best efforts in the season on Tuesday when he allowed only one run in seven innings at Seattle. Taillon struck out nine batters with 11 swinging strikes. He has a 4-4 record this season with a 5.05 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. He is supported by a bullpen that has a 3.44 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. The Yankees’ pen has accumulated 21 saves while blowing nine save opportunities.Houston had been on a six-game winning streak, but they play their last game before the All-Star break on a three-game losing streak. The Astros have scored only once during this span after being shut out in the opening game of this series, 4-0. Houston remains in first place in the AL West with a 54-36 record. They are 3 1/2 games ahead of the Oakland A’s. The Astros are scoring 5.4 runs per game this season with a .269 batting average, an on-base percentage of .340, and an OPS of .777. Jose Altuve leads the team with 19 home runs that accompany his .279 batting average and 52 RBIs. Yordan Alvarez has a team-leading 56 RBIs along with a .299 batting average and 16 homers. Michael Brantley leads the club with a .329 batting average. Dusty Baker turns to Framber Valdez with his 5-1 record. The left-hander hopes to rebound from his worst start of the season on Tuesday, where he allowed five runs in five innings of work against Oakland. Valdez had registered six straight quality starts before that subpar effort. The left-hander has a 2.86 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in eight starts in a season that he began on May 28th after opening the year on the shelf with a fractured finger. The Houston bullpen has a 3.98 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. The Astros’ pen has converted 21 saves while blowing 14 save opportunities. TBS broadcasts the game at 2:10 PM ET. Draft Kings lists Houston as a -129 money line favorite, with the total set at 8.5.

Read more

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

© 2024 Al McMordie's BigAl.com. All Rights Reserved.