Articles

NFL Top 5 Teams

by Wayne Root

Sunday, Oct 25, 2020

1) Pittsburgh 5-0 The Steelers are a legitimate contender for AFC supremacy, and next up is an intriguing matchup Sunday with the Titans in a rescheduled game. With both teams 5-0, one team will be in a position to dominate the AFC. Kevin Bush’s knee injury is quite worrisome though, as Pittsburgh’s second level depth is a real concern and could open up a weakness in their great defense. Of course that remains to be seen as they just usually have “it” defensively. Their defense keyed Sunday’s 38-7 rout of Cleveland, holding the previously-hot Browns to 220 total yards with four sacks and two picks against Baker Mayfield. Great game Sunday at Tennessee. 2) Kansas City 4-1 Did anyone see 245 rushing yards coming from the Chiefs in a game in which they possessed the ball for nearly 38 minutes? Did Coach Reid forget he has a NFL great quarterback they paid a boatload of money to use? The defending Super Bowl champions didn’t look like a team that necessarily needed to add former Jets running back Le’Veon Bell after Monday’s game against the Bills. Now the Chiefs add Bell to the running back mix but few understand why. The guess is that Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy will get far more out of Bell than the Jets did. Maybe they’re saving Mahomes for the playoffs.  Also noteworthy:  Kansas City’s improved defense held Josh Allen to just 122 passing yards. 3) Seattle 5-0 Just one of three undefeated teams with the Titans and Steelers. Seattle sits atop the NFC but for how long is anybody’s guess. Their test to move to 6-0 is Sunday in Arizona. But keep your eyes on a potential upset in Arizona as Kyler Murray leads his Cardinals against the unbeaten Seahawks. Seattle will return with consecutive key games against divisional opponents, which should go a long way to determine whether MVP candidate Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will run away with the NFC West. The Seahawks return from their bye to play two straight division games, first at Arizona on Sunday and then at home against the 49ers. There are no easy games in the rugged NFC West. They better hope the defense gets it going soon because that's been an issue all season. The team’s average margin of victory is 6.8 points and all of their opponents have scored at least 23 points. UGH! 4) Tennessee  5-0 Ryan Tannehill and the Titans continue to prove that last year’s run to the AFC title game was no fluke. Their overtime victory over the Texans on Sunday came behind the exploits of QB Ryan Tannehill and RB Derrick Henry.  Ryan Tannehill threw for 364 yards and Derrick Henry ran for 212 while also chipping in with two catches for 52 yards. Derrick Henry (264 total yards Sunday vs. Houston) continues to build a case for MVP honors. On a short week, the Titans beat the AFC East division-leading Buffalo Bills and ran a two-minute drill in a comeback win over the Texans Sunday.  Within seven days, the Titans have likely erased a lot of doubt about their status as a playoff contender.  In Week 7, they'll play the Pittsburgh Steelers in a battle between the AFC's last two undefeated teams. 5) Baltimore 4-1  This team is not functioning at the level that last season’s team did. They are 5-1 heading into their bye and I still don't think they have played close to their best. They have the Steelers coming out of that bye, so they better be ready. Lamar Jackson’s struggles in the passing game are becoming more and more worrisome and the Ravens allowed too many long runs while not creating a consistent run game of their own.  Jackson had his best game of the season running the ball, with 108 yards on nine attempts.  It remains to be seen if he will win more games with his arm or with his legs. THESE TEAMS ARE LOOKING TO OVERTAKE YOU Green BayBuffaloTampa BayArizonaChicago 

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

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Oct 25, 2020

The Sunday sports card features the continuation of Week 7 of the National Football League, along with Game 5 of the MLB World Series, and the English Premier League.The NFL has 12 games scheduled for Sunday. Seven games begin the card at 1 PM ET. The national game on CBS has the Pittsburgh Steelers traveling to Nashville to face the Titans in a battle of unbeaten 5-0 teams. Tennessee is a 1-point favorite with the total set at 51 (all NFL odds are from BookMaker). The primary game on Fox has the Houston Texans hosting Green Bay with the Packers a 3-point road favorite with an over/under at 57.Another four games take place in the second window of afternoon games. At 4:05 PM ET, Tampa Bay plays in Las Vegas against the Raiders in a game that was previously the Sunday Night Football Game on NBC. After offensive lineman Trent Brown tested positive for COVID-19, the Raiders four other starting offensive linemen went into quarantine with the start time moved given the possibility that this game would need to be delayed until Monday or Tuesday or postponed until next week. These four linemen tested negative for the virus on Saturday, which took them off the COVID-19 list, allowing them to play on Sunday as long as they pass the routine game day test. The Buccaneers are a 4.5-point road favorite with a total of 52.Three more games take place at 4:25 PM ET. The national game on CBS has the San Francisco 49ers traveling to New England to face the Patriots. New England is a 3-point favorite with the over/under set at 45. The rescheduled prime time game on NBC for Sunday Night Football has the Seattle Seahawks on the road at Arizona to play the Cardinals. The Seahawks are a 3-point favorite with a total of 55. Kickoff is at 8:20 PM ET.The World Series continues with Game 5 on Sunday night. Tampa Bay evened this series at 2-2 on Saturday with their dramatic, come-from-behind 8-7 victory.  Los Angeles has penciled-in Clayton Kershaw as their starting pitcher. The veteran left-hander allowed only one run in 6 innings of work in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday. Kershaw has a 2.88 ERA with a 0.84 WHIP in four postseason starts this year, spanning 25 innings. Tampa Bay will counter with Tyler Glasnow, who looks to redeem himself after allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings in Game 1. The right-hander has a 6.08 ERA with a 1.44 WHIP in five playoff starts this postseason, consisting of 23 2/3 innings. BetOnline lists the Dodgers as a -158 moneyline favorite with the total set at 8 runs. Fox has the broadcast with the first pitch scheduled for 8:08 PM ET. Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, is the site for the World Series, with the Rays the designated home team for Game 5. The English Premier League has three matches on the Sunday schedule. At 10 AM ET on the NBC Sports Network, Southampton hosts Everton. The NBC Sports Network doubleheader continues at 12:30 PM ET with Newcastle United traveling to Wolverhampton to play the Wolves. Arsenal hosts Leicester City at 3:15 PM ET for a match broadcast on the NBC Peacock app.

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What is a Moneyline Bet?

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Oct 25, 2020

What is a moneyline bet?Sports betting does not have to be complicated.  Yes, there are hundreds of different paths you can take, with different structures and different ways to create your bets.  But sometimes you can stick to the easiest one.  The easiest one is the moneyline bet.  It's straight-up wagering on the team that'll win the game.  With each matchup, two teams are facing each other, whether it’s in the NBA, the NFL, or a different league.  These two teams try their hardest to outscore the other.  At the end of the game, the team with the highest score takes home the win.The moneyline bet directly connects sports bettors to the game, itself.  Imagine the New York Yankees’ stadium filled with MLB fans who have never placed a bet in their lives.  They're there for the sake of sports, nothing more than that.  Alongside them, you might have sports bettors who have their eyes on the Yankees to win the game.  With every run scored by the Yankees, you'll see both sides emotionally intertwined, unlike with any other bet.In this article, we'll guide you through moneyline betting.  We will start with what the moneyline means, and then provide some practical tips and tricks to placing your first bet. How to get started with moneyline betting You could say, getting started with moneyline betting is getting started with sports betting.  To understand this bet type is to understand the very basics of wagering.  Simply put, moneyline betting is predicting the winner of the match.  In each match, there's a favorite and an underdog.  The bookmaker picks what team is on which side of the coin.  You, as a bettor, can use this information in your decision-making process.The favored team on the moneyline is shown with the minus sign (-), while the underdog holds the plus sign (+).  These signs are the base of the betting odds that come along with the moneyline bet.  The next step in making a moneyline bet is understanding the betting odds thoroughly.How to read moneyline betting oddsThe moneyline odds are often referred to as American odds and are common across the betting industry.  In the United States, the majority of bettors are familiar with moneyline odds.  But remember, it’s not only moneyline bets, but any sort of bet that can be displayed with moneyline odds.  But, to show you the right way, let's give you an example of a moneyline bet with the corresponding betting lines.  Let's take the biggest game of all football games, the Super Bowl.  In this example, we'll take Super Bowl 53:  New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams.  The corresponding betting odds given by BookMaker sportsbook were: New England Patriots -133 Los Angeles Rams +113 In the above example, the Patriots were the favored team.  You can tell so by the minus sign (-) before its odds.  The underdog was Los Angeles, as you can tell by the plus sign (+) before its odds.  The above example shows that the odds for Super Bowl 53 were quite close to each other; there was no heavy favorite in the game -- just a slightly favored team, being the Patriots.  You can use the betting odds as the starting point for your research.  And, as any gambler knows, any game can have any result.How to calculate your moneyline betting payoutLet's get down to the money side of things.  It's always important to know what your payout will be for each moneyline wager.  You have to know in order to decide the amount of money to place on your bet.  To calculate your payout for a winning bet, let's take another example. We'll illustrate it with another NFL match:  San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs. San Francisco 49ers -135 Kansas City Chiefs +115 In the above example, you can tell which team is the favorite and which is the underdog.  The 49ers are the favorite, while the Chiefs are the underdog.  So, to calculate your payout, you should know that the American odds are built up with the assumption that your wager is $100.  That leaves us with the following outcomes for the above example: You pick the favorite, the San Francisco 49ers to win the moneyline bet.  The 49ers win, and you have a winning bet.  Now, you earn $74 if your initial stake is $100.  That would make for a total payout of $174.  When you want to earn $100 with this bet, you need to wager $135 to secure a total payout of $235. You pick the underdog, the Kansas City Chiefs to win the moneyline bet.  The Chiefs win, and you have a winning bet.  You earn $115 if your initial stake is $100.  Your total payout would be $215. Implied probabilityTo understand the moneyline odds completely, we want to introduce the concept of implied probability.  This is the probability a team takes the win in terms of percentages based on the given odds.  There are two formulas to use to calculate the implied probability: Negative American odds / (negative American odds + 100) * 100 100 / (positive American odds + 100) * 100 These two formulas might seem a little abstract, so let's fill the two formulas for the NFL match we used before.  The San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs: 135 / (135 + 100) * 100 = 57.44% 100 / (115 + 100) * 100 = 46.51% As you can tell, the two percentages, when added together, exceed 100%.  On the surface, that doesn’t make sense.  But the reason it exists is that the sportsbook needs to make a profit, and the amount above 100% is its vigorish, or juice.  Think of it this way:  the oddsmakers will overestimate the chances that a team has of winning, and then they pay out slightly less than the “true odds.”  So, to calculate the true odds, just divide each implied probability by the total of all probabilities added together, or 103.95%.  Thus, the 49ers’ true odds would be 57.44/103.95, or 55.26%, while the Chiefs’ true odds would be 46.51/103.95, or 44.74%.  Whether it's an online sportsbook or a brick-and-mortar one, all sportsbooks take a small percentage to cover their operating costs per bet. How to use moneyline betting in your sports betting strategy With the guidelines above, you know everything there is to know about the moneyline bet.  You might still have some questions unanswered.  You might wonder:  'I'm more of a UFC bettor, or I prefer betting the NHL, can I use moneyline bets as well?’  Frankly, whenever there are two combatants that compete for the win, you're able to place a moneyline wager. It could be a match between soccer giants in the Champions League, or a Prop bet between two golfers at The Masters, and moneyline bets will always be there for you.We want to finish this article with some tips and tricks you can utilize to make sure you don't waste a single wager.Be aware of the alternativesIronically, since we're writing an article regarding the moneyline bet, we do want to point out the alternatives.  Not every single match is right for a moneyline wager.  You can have a match where you expect both teams to give everything they’ve got to secure the win, but it's unclear which team will be victorious.  Then, you might be better off picking either a point spread bet, or totals bet.  These bet types are focused more on the precise score instead of the more binary result of Winner and Loser.  Point spread betting focuses on the point differential between two teams, while the totals bet revolves around the aggregate score of the two teams in the match.Besides that, there's the option to create a parlay bet.  When you're confident about a moneyline wager, you might search for an additional match to add to your betting slip.  The odds will add up, and your potential payout will grow.  With the payout growing, your risks increase accordingly.  But, it can get really interesting when doing proper research.Pick the right sportsbookThe sports betting industry is very competitive.  Similar to the regular sports industry, there are hundreds of sportsbooks that work hard to attract and retain loyal clients.  That means you -- as the bettor -- are in a good position because the sportsbooks will compete for your business.  You shouldn't settle for the first sportsbook you come across -- do some proper research first.  We created a quick checklist that you can use when selecting whether a sportsbook matches your needs: Does the sportsbook offer a nice welcome bonus? Can the sportsbook handle your wagering limits? Does the sportsbook offer your preferred deposit and withdrawal methods? Does the sportsbook offer competitive betting odds on parlays, teasers, and straight bets? Besides that, you should make sure that the sportsbook gives you a welcoming feeling.  When it concerns a brick-and-mortar sportsbook, you simply step inside, look around and check for yourself whether it feels right.  For an online sportsbook, you can look at the overall user interface of the website, the way the pages are designed, and (especially for in-game betting) speed.It's good to be loyal to a sportsbook, and many online sportsbooks will give you bonuses when you re-load.  But you shouldn't get stuck with a bookmaker for too long.  New competitors might enter the market with more appealing odds, and lucrative bonuses and promotions.  Then, switching can be a wise decision.  If you’re looking for another sportsbook, then here are several to take a look at.  If a sign-up bonus is your most important criterion, then BetNow, BetUS and MyBookie are your best options.  But if reduced juice is what you’re after, then our current #1-rated sportsbook -- BetAnySports -- should be your sportsbook.  For bettors who want to bet up to $50,000 on an NFL game, BookMaker is the top option.  And if you’re less concerned with high wagering limits, but instead want the most modern, easy-to-use website, then Bovada is great.Stats are your friendThe final tip we want to give each bettor, and we can't say it enough, is to do proper research.  A lot of money is lost by bettors who go rogue and place bets without spending adequate time to complete their research.  All you're doing at that point is handing over your money to the bookie.  That's not wise in terms of bankroll management, and your mindset as a bettor will not be very good.  So, to extend your sports betting career as long as possible, you should embrace statistics.With each matchup, there are two teams that have an extensive record in the league.  That means they both have a track record with offensive stats, defensive stats, individual player stats, and hundreds of other statistics.  Depending on what you’re betting, the stats you would want to consider will vary.  However, it never hurts to do a little extra digging.  With proper research, nothing will stop you from securing your profits!

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

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 24, 2020

The Saturday sports card features a busy slate of college football games along with Game 4 of the World Series, the English Premier League, and UFC 254. The college football schedule has 40 games between FBS opponents for the largest one-day card all season for a Saturday with the Big Ten and Mountain West Conference making their debuts this week. Twelve games kick off the college football slate in the noon to 1 PM ET window. The ABC game has Oklahoma traveling to TCU to play the Horned Frogs at noon. The Sooners are a 6-point favorite with the total set at 59.5 (all football odds from BookMaker). Fox has Ohio State making their season debut hosting the Nebraska Cornhuskers at noon. The Buckeyes are 26.5-point favorites with an over/under of 68. North Carolina State faces in-state rival North Carolina in Chapel Hill for the noon game on ESPN. The Tar Heels are -14.5-point favorites with the total at 60. Georgia Southern visits Coastal Carolina with the Chanticleers a 5.5-point favorite with the over/under at 51 on ESPNU at Noon. FS1 has Kansas State hosting Kansas with the Wildcats laying 20.5 points with the total set at 46. Another 14 games take place in the 2 PM ET to 4 PM ET window of games. At 2 PM ET on ESPN2, Central Florida hosts Tulane with the Knights a 21-point favorite with an over/under of 71. ABC has Notre Dame traveling to Pittsburgh at 3:30 PM ET with the Fighting Irish laying 10 points with the total set at 42.5. Oklahoma State hosts Iowa State on Fox at 3:30 PM ET with the Cowboys a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 52.5. Alabama travels to Tennessee for the CBS game at 3:30 PM ET with the Crimson Tide a 21.5-point favorite with a total of 66. ESPN has Texas hosting Baylor at 3:30 PM ET as a 10.5-point favorite with an over/under of 61. Houston travels to Annapolis to face Navy at 3:30 PM ET, with the Cougars laying 15.5 points and the total set at 55.5. Penn State makes their season-debut at 3:30 PM ET on FS1 when they travel to play Indiana laying 6.5 points with the over/under at 62. At 4 PM ET, Troy hosts Georgia State as a 2-point favorite and the total set at 69 for a game on ESPNU.Fourteen games close out the college football card in the evening. ESPN2 has West Virginia traveling to Texas Tech at 5:30 PM ET with the Mountaineers a 2.5-point favorite with the over/under set at 54.5. LSU hosts South Carolina at 7 PM ET on ESPN with the Tigers a 5-point favorite with an over/under at 55. Boise State makes their debut at 7 PM ET on FS1 as they host Utah State as a 17-point favorite with a total of 52.5. Wyoming travels to Reno to face Nevada as a 3-point favorite at 7 PM ET on the CBS Sports Network, with the total set at 51. At 7:30 PM ET, ABC has Michigan traveling to Minnesota to play the Golden Gophers with the Wolverines' a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 52.5. At 8 PM ET, Louisiana Tech travels to UTSA as a 2.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 53 on ESPNU. SMU hosts Cincinnati at 9 PM ET on ESPN2 as a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 56. At 10:15 PM ET, BYU hosts Texas State on ESPN as a 29-point favorite with the total set at 61. Air Force travels to San Jose State as a 7.5-point favorite and a total of 62 for the game on FS1 at 10:30 PM ET. San Diego State hosts UNLV at 10:30 PM ET as a 13.5-point favorite with the over/under at 50.5 for a game on the CBS Sports Network.The World Series continues on Fox at 8:08 PM ET. Los Angeles will send Julio Urias to the mound as their starting pitcher. Tampa Bay has settled on Ryan Yarbrough as their starting pitcher, with manager Kevin Cash likely to liberally use his bullpen.  BetOnline lists the Dodgers as a favorite priced at -155 with a total of 8. The Rays will be the designated home team for Game 4 played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.Four games are on the English Premier League slate. The NBC Sports Network has Crystal Palace visiting Fulham for that London Derby at 10 AM ET. NBC has Manchester United hosting Chelsea at 12:30 PM ET.Saturday soccer action also features Real Madrid traveling to Barcelona in the first incarnation of El Clasico for the 2020-21 La Liga campaign. beIN Sports has the broadcast at 10 AM ET.UFC 254 takes place on Saturday afternoon, with the headlining event being Justin Gaethje challenging Khabib Nurmagomedov. This fight is available on pay-per-view on ESPN Plus with the tentative starting time scheduled for 4:15 PM ET.

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NCAA Saturday Night Football: Michigan/Minnesota Preview

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 24, 2020

The Saturday night game on ABC features the battle for the Little Brown Jug, which is the oldest trophy game in College Football.  The rivalry dates back to 1892, and Michigan leads the series 75-25-3.  This year's game could be one of the best in the series, as both teams are nationally ranked.Michigan returns nine starters from the team that finished 9-4 last year. The Wolverines were 9-2 with losses at Wisconsin and Penn State when they hosted Ohio State to end their regular season. A 56-27 loss to the Buckeyes followed by a 35-16 loss to Alabama in the Citrus Bowl left their fans once again disappointed in the Jim Harbaugh era. It has been a tumultuous offseason for Michigan when it comes to their offensive personnel. Dylan McCaffrey decided to transfer from the program last month, despite the redshirt junior (and brother of Carolina Panthers' star running back Christian) being the presumed quarterback for the Wolverines once Shea Patterson completed his collegiate career. Instead, McCaffrey will be taking his talents to another FBS program. Reports emerged that Joe Milton won the job in the offseason while working with wide receivers since April when things shut down because of COVID. The redshirt junior has drawn comparisons with his strong arm along with his 6’5, 245-lb frame to Cam Newton. The ceiling regarding his talent may be higher than McCaffrey’s high-end range. However, McCaffrey has been the primary backup for the last two seasons. A fallout with Harbaugh and second-year offensive coordinator Josh Gattis could explain McCaffrey’s exit. To further complicate matters, wide receiver Nico Collins then decided to opt-out this season by signing with an agent to prepare for the NFL draft. Is Collins' departure connected with McCaffrey's departure? Does Collins bypass his senior year if Milton had definitively won the starting quarterback job? Perhaps speculating as to why a future NFL draft pick decided to not play during this unusual season is foolhardy. Without a spring game, there is a wide range of possibilities regarding what Michigan will get from the quarterback position on Saturday with Milton making his first career collegiate start.The Wolverines replace four starters on the offensive line, who were all drafted into the NFL in the spring. Milton will have the team’s leading wide receiver back from last year in Ronnie Bell. Michigan also returns Zach Charbonnet and Hassan Haskins, who combined to rush for 1348 yards with 15 touchdowns last year. The Wolverines’ defense returns six starters from a group that was eleventh in the nation by allowing only 307.2 yards per game. This unit should once again be a strength under defensive coordinator Don Brown who rotates his players to ensure a depth of experience. Minnesota has 13 starters back from the team that finished 11-2 last year after defeating Auburn in the Outback Bowl by a 31-24 score. The Golden Gophers started the season 9-0 after defeating Penn State at home under the lights by a 31-26 score in a battle of unbeaten teams. Minnesota’s bubble burst the next week in a loss at Iowa City to the Hawkeyes, before they lost to Wisconsin in their final regular-season game. The Golden Gophers scored 34.1 points per game last year, and they could exceed that mark this season. Quarterback Tanner Morgan returns for his senior season after completing 66.0% of his passes for 3253 yards with 30 touchdowns. The third-year starter has a 15-4 record in his 19 career starts. He will have wide receiver Rashod Bateman back, who caught 60 passes for 1219 yards with 11 touchdowns last season. Mohamed Ibrahim has also returned after rushing for 604 yards in a three-player committee. Ibrahim can handle the lead-back role after rushing for over 1000 yards two seasons ago. Morgan also has all five starters back from his offensive line last year that was one of the biggest in the nation. Minnesota has questions on defense after losing five of its top six tacklers from last season. Four starters are back from a group that was ranked tenth in the nation by allowing 304.6 yards per game. The Golden Gophers did benefit from a charmed-start to the season where they faced two first-year starting quarterbacks before playing six straight teams that were relying on backup QBs. The Nittany Lions exposed their defense by accumulating 518 yards against them. The Badgers later gained 453 yards against this unit. Minnesota did close their season by holding Auburn to just 232 yards while outgaining them by 262 yards. Head coach P.J. Fleck has this program moving in the right direction in his fourth year with the program. The Golden Gophers host this game at their TCF Bank Stadium. Minnesota had the fourth largest increase in home attendance last season, so it is a shame that fans are prohibited given COVID precautions. Michigan begins their season ranked 18th in the Associated Press poll, with Minnesota ranked three slots below them. ESPN College GameDay will make their headquarters inside the empty stadium on Saturday. BookMaker lists the Wolverines as a 3.5-point favorite with the total set at 52.5. The ABC broadcast for the game starts at 7:30 PM ET.

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What is a Straight Bet?

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 24, 2020

What is a straight bet?Ever since people have been playing sports, people have been wagering. The first bets were all innocent, gentlemen’s agreements, with nothing extreme on the line -- nothing more than pride.  Slowly but steadily, though, the entire sports betting industry started to shape itself.  Now, with sporting events prominent across the world, the betting industry has greatly expanded.  These days, we're looking at a multi-billion dollar global industry.There are thousands of professional sports bettors who make their living from wagering on sports.  As a novice bettor, that might sound like a dream and hard to imagine, but it's possible.  With the right technique and strategy, any person can develop a sustainable sports betting career.In this article, we'll tackle the very basics of sports betting:  straight bets.  These are the types of bets in which you bet on an event in a single game, nothing more, nothing less.  Now, these might seem like simple bets, but a thorough understanding of the concept is required to get you started the right way in your sports betting career. What kind of straight bets are there? In any matchup where straight wagers are available, disregarding the specific sport, there are two teams or players facing each other. The goal of the opposing sides is to win the game outscoring the opponent.  This can be done in various ways as every sport is different, but the basics come down to the same.  Thus, there are three kinds of straight bets that are popular across sports, like football and basketball.  The type of straight bets are: Moneyline Point spread Over/under These bets are usually available for any game in the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, or any other major sports league you might want to wager on.  The sport has to have incremental scoring though, not like horse racing where there's only winners or losers.  It's essential to understand the basics of each bet properly before you begin wagering.What is moneyline betting?The moneyline bet is the easiest, and probably the oldest bet, that's around.  With this bet, you simply pick which team you think will win the game.  If you choose the right winner, the sportsbook will pay you, that's how simple it is.  Now, the payout for moneyline bets is a bit different and harder to grasp than the concept of the bet.  Each bookmaker picks a favorite and an underdog.  The favored team takes a minus sign (-), while the underdog takes the plus sign (+).  To properly understand, let's have a look at a possible matchup in the NBA:​Toronto Raptors vs. Golden State WarriorsThe bookmaker might install the Raptors as the underdog and the Warriors as the favorite.  This is shown in the odds that might look something like this: Toronto Raptors +210 Golden State Warriors -250 Just by looking at the odds, you can tell which team has a greater probability to win the game and which team will likely lose.  Most sportsbooks use American odds.  To calculate your payout, you have to consider an initial stake of 100 dollars.  To put that into practice, you could have two different outcomes: You wager on the Raptors on the moneyline, and they win.  You win $210 if you wager $100.  Together, with your initial stake of $100, your total payout would be $310. You wager on the Warriors on the moneyline, and they win. You win $40 if you wager $100.  Together, with your initial stake of $100, your total payout would be $140.  (If you wanted to profit $100, you would have to initially wager $250.) What is point spread betting?The point spread bet takes your handicapping up a notch.  You have to go a little further than merely predicting which team wins the game.  With a point spread bet, you are wagering on the scoring differential at the end of the game.  You pick which team is most likely to cover the spread.  This is best explained by illustrating it with an example.  To do so, let's imagine an NFL matchup between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams.  The bookmaker does its analysis and comes up with the following betting lines: New England Patriots +13.5 Los Angeles Rams -13.5 Similar to the moneyline bet, the bookmaker decides which team is the favorite and which team is the underdog.  You can tell by the plus sign and minus sign alongside the team's name.  The numbers next to the plus and minus signs show how many points a team will have added or subtracted to its final score.  That means if the Patriots want to cover the spread, they need to make sure not to lose the game by more than 13.5 points.  The Rams, on the other hand, would cover the spread if they won by more than 13.5 points.  The exact margin of victory doesn't matter, so long as the spread of 13.5 is covered.The payout on a point spread bet is usually not that hard to calculate.  Typically, the odds for both sides are -110, which gives you a simple rule to live by:With an initial stake of $110, you win $100. Your total payout would be $210.Now, some sportsbooks -- like BetAnySports -- offer reduced juice.  For example, if you bet at BetAnySports, then your odds would be -105, rather than -110.  Sharp bettors understand just how valuable reduced juice is, as you save money on every losing wager.  If you’re looking to bet at another sportsbook, then your best move would be to join BetAnySports.Finally, there's only one outcome in a game which creates a situation where the sportsbook has to pay back the bettors.  And that’s when neither team covers the spread.  It results in a push, and all bettors get their stake returned by the sportsbook.  Of course, the easiest way for a sportsbook to avoid a push is to publish a point spread that’s not a whole number (e.g., +/- 6.5). What is over/under betting? The last straight wager is the over/under bet, also referred to as a totals bet.  The oddsmakers will post a total, which represents a projection of the combined score of both teams.  Bettors then base their predictions on that aggregate number.  You predict that it will be over or under the set number of points given by the bookmaker.  The betting lines could look something like this for a typical NBA match between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers.Over/under:  210 pointsThe betting line is 210 points, regardless of which team is installed as the favorite or underdog.  The bettor picks whether the final combined score will be over or under 210 points at the end of the game.  Similar to the point spread bet, a push would be possible unless the over/under line was not a whole number.The standard betting odds for an over/under bet are also -110, similar to a point spread bet. That gives us the same rules where you profit $100 when wagering $110. What other types of bets are there? The moneyline bet, point spread bet, and over/under bet are the very basics of sports betting.  But if you're experienced in sports betting, you are probably aware of the dozens of other opportunities in terms of wagering.  The moment you're familiar with these bets, you can start looking into more complex bets.  To give you a little grasp of possible wagers you could make, we want to share a few terms with a really short description: Parlay:  betting on the outcome of events for multiple games Teaser bets:  an adjusted form of point spread betting Proposition bets (“Prop” bets):  betting on the outcome of events within a game -- i.e., the team to score the first touchdown Futures bets:  betting on the outcome of an event in the future -- i.e., the winner of the Super Bowl Note that there are countless other betting possibilities that can be considered as side bets from the main bets.  The main bets remain the straight wagers that are still the most popular among sports bettors.  On our site, you can find details about every single betting possibility there is.  Simply dive into our articles section or use the search function to get familiar with everything sports betting has to offer. How to use straight bets in your sports betting strategy When you start betting on sports, you have to form a strategy.  Without a proper plan, you'll be at risk for losing your bankroll.  We want to give you everything you need to extend your sports betting career as far as possible, and eventually give you the possibility to make a living off of wagering.  The following tips will steer you in the right direction and give you the material to form a proper betting strategy.Manage your bankrollWhen you start betting, the first decision you must make is how much money overall you want to put at risk.  That is referred to as your sports betting bankroll.  The golden rule here is don't put at risk more than you're comfortable losing.  But, besides having the ability to lose money, you have to decide how much to wager on each bet, which is generally a smaller percentage of your overall bankroll.  When you start with a bankroll of $1000, for example, you could go with small wagers of $55 or $110.  That way, when you lose a bet here and there, it does not hurt that much, and you have enough runway to keep betting for a long time.Consider the sportsbooks' edgeThe ones who usually make the most money from sports betting are the sportsbooks, themselves.  And that’s because of the fee you pay a sportsbook on each wager.  It's often called the vigorish (or vig) or juice.  The vigorish is determined by the odds you see when placing your bet.  Now, always make sure the bet is worth the risk you're taking, and you're not just paying unnecessary fees.Besides that, you also have to make sure you're working with the right sportsbook.  Whether you like visiting an actual brick-and-mortar sportsbook or prefer the online sportsbook route, there are always alternatives.  Don't settle for the first one you find, but do some proper research to see which bookmaker offers the best odds and most lucrative betting possibilities.  Our current #1-rated sportsbook is BetAnySports, primarily because it offers reduced juice.  Instead of laying -110, you can lay -105 on football and basketball games.  If you are a $500 bettor, for example, you’ll save thousands of dollars in juice every football season by laying -105 rather than -110, so it’s well worth joining BetAnySports.  Dive into the statisticsThe most important advice we can give anyone who is into sports betting is this:  do your research.  As with any industry where money is involved, there are experts who know all it takes to be profitable.  You can follow other people's research or base your decisions on your own analysis.  Dive into the numbers:  see what the teams did in the past and how they are currently performing.  It's not the most fun part as there's no action involved, but it does bring you the knowledge to make thoughtful decisions.  Are you ready to place your first wager?  If you’ve done your research, you’ll be in great shape!

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Ness Notes: Friday, October 23

by Larry Ness

Friday, Oct 23, 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." World Series Game 3: The best-of-seven series is tied at one victory apiece and the Game 3 pitching matchup is a VERY good one. 26-year-old Walker Buehler takes the mound for the first time since he threw six scoreless innings in a 3-1 triumph against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday in Game 6 of the NLCS. That performance gives him 29 Ks over four postseason starts (19 innings) in 2020. The Dodgers are 3-1 in his starts and Walker owns a 1.89 ERA. I think Buehler is now considered LA's 'ace,' over Kershaw. With an excellent effort here, he could nail down that moniker. However, he faces one tough competitor in Tampa Bay's 36-year-old Charlie Morton. Morton's 3-0 in 2020's postseason, allowing 11 hits and two runs (one earned) over 15.2 innings for an 0.57 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 17-4 KW ratio. In fact, Morton has won all FIVE of his starts in the playoffs for Tampa Bay over the last two years while recording a minuscule 0.70 ERA. The Dodgers are favored (-150) and the over/under is 7 1/2.<p>Note: I enter Friday on an 8-2 run MLB run (+$6,615 at $100/unit) and Game 3 is my 10* MLB Game of the Year. BATTER UP!NFC 'Least' is back! Going back in time, NFC East fans will remember that in a 10-year span from Super Bowl XXI through Super Bowl XXX, an NFC East team won SEVEN of the 10 Super Bowls played in that span (49er fans will point to the fact that "their team" won the other three). However, that was THEN and this is NOW. The Giants and Eagles met last night in Philly, with the Eagles eking out a 22-21 win. Carson Wentz threw an 18-yard TD pass to Boston Scott with 40 seconds remaining for the game-winner. Wentz threw for a season-high 359 passing yards and two TDs, both coming late in the fourth quarter on scoring drives of 78 and 71 yards. He also had a rushing TD. The Giants attempted to answer on the ensuing drive but QB Daniel Jones was stripped of the ball and Philly recovered to seal the win. Improbably (incredibly?), the Eagles now sit ATOP of the division with 2-4-1 record, edging the 2-4 Cowboys by percentage points (.357 to .333). For those unfamiliar, the NFL gives a team half a win and half a loss in a tie game. NFC East teams are a combined 6-19-1 SU and 9-17 ATS. However, the New York Football Giants (as Howard Cosell always referred to them), may be 1-6 but they own the division's only winning ATS record at 4-3.NFL Week 7 resumes on Sunday, with Baltimore (5-1), Indianapolis (4-2), Miami (3-3), Minnesota (1-5) enjoying bye weeks. Only three unbeaten teams remain and barring a tie, ONE team will fall from the rung of unbeatens by Sunday night. The 5-0 Steelers will visit the 5-0 Titans in Nashville on Sunday. This game was originally scheduled for Oct 4, but an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Titans organization forced a postponement. Now, this Week 7 game marks just the EIGHTH time in NFL history that undefeated teams have met this deep into a season. The Steelers are 5-0 for the first time since 1978 and Tennessee for the first time since a 10-0 start in 2008. Tennessee is currently favored by just one point and the over/under is 50 1/2.Speaking of COVID-19, the Raiders were scheduled to host the Bucs in Las Vegas for NBC's Sunday Night Football. However, the Raiders placed four starting offensive linemen plus a safety on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday. All five players were deemed high-risk contacts Thursday. The NFL then announced later on Thursday that the Raiders' game against the Bucs had been moved to 4:05 ET "out of an abundance of caution to ensure that a game would be available for fans on Sunday Night Football." That means, the 5-0 Seahawks will now face the 4-2 Cardinals in Arizona for SNF.Seattle is the NFL's third unbeaten team but has yet to face an NFC West opponent. The Seahawks' 5-0 start is the best in franchise history and the 4-2 Cardinals are above .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2015, which was the last time they made the playoffs. Seattle QB Russell Wilson is widely considered the front-runner for the NFL's MVP award a third of the way through the season, as he's completing 72.8% for 1,502 yards while leading the league with 19 TD passes (just three INTs) and with a 129.8 QB rating. However, THREE of Seattle's five victories have come down to the game's final 15 seconds. Seattle is favored by 3 or 3 1/2-points and the over/under is 56.Another HUGE game is the 3-3 SF 49ers playing in Foxboro vs the 2-3 NE Pats. The 49ers won the NFC West last season at 13-3 (and advanced to the Super Bowl) but their 3-3 record leaves them in last-place in 2020, behind not only the 5-0 Seahawks but also the 4-2 Rams and Cards. The Pats are more than just the defending AFC East champs, as New England entered 2020 having captured the AFC East title the previous 11 years and in 17 of the last 19 seasons (since 2001). The Pats welcome the 49ers to Gillette Stadium on Sunday with a 2-3 record. New England hasn't been under .500 through the fifth game or later in any season since they were 3-4 in 2002, which was the last season the Patriots did not win 10-plus games. New England is a two-point choice and the over/under is 44.I'll close with the NFL's only winless team, the 0-6 (also 0-6 ATS) J-E-T-S Jets, Jets Jets! The Jets are last in the NFL with 75 points scored (every other NFL team has scored at least 100), which is an average of 12.5 per game. The Jets are also one of EIGHT teams allowing 30-plus points per game (30.8), meaning they are losing by an average of 18.3 PPG. Buffalo QB Josh Allen was terrific in Buffalo's 4-0 start, completing 70.9 percent of his passes, while averaging 331.5 YPG through the air with 12 TDs and just one INT. However, Buffalo has lost back-to-back games, 42-26 at Tennessee and then 26-17, as Allen has completed just 58.8 percent, while averaging only 192.5 YPG passing with four TDs and three INTs in the back-to-back defeats. Buffalo is favored by 12 1/2-points and the over/under is 45.Updating the NFL's Y-T-D numbers to include last night's game. NFL home teams continue to struggle in 2020, going a modest 48-43-1 SU (.527) but a 'money-burning' 39-51-2 (.433) ATS. Home dogs are 8-21 SU and 13-14-2 ATS. There have been 46 overs, 44 unders and two 'pushes' on the season.Good luck...Larry

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

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Oct 23, 2020

The Friday sports card features the third game of the MLB World Series along with three games in college football and an afternoon game in the English Premier League. Tampa Bay evened the World Series at a game apiece on Wednesday with their 6-4 victory over Los Angeles. After an off-day on Thursday, the Rays give the ball to Charlie Morton, who was 2-2 in nine regular-season starts with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. The veteran right-hander is 3-0 in the playoffs this year with a 0.57 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP spanning 15 2/3 innings. The Dodgers will counter with Walker Buehler, who was 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP in eight regular-season starts. The right-hander has a 1-0 record with a 1.89 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in his 19 innings in this postseason. Los Angeles is a -148 moneyline favorite for Game 3, with the total set at 7.5 (all odds from BetOnline). Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, hosts the World Series with Tampa Bay designated home team for Games 3, 4, and 5. Fox has the broadcast with the first pitch scheduled for 8:08 PM ET.The Friday night college football game on ESPN features the Tulsa Hurricanes traveling to South Florida to take on the Bulls. Tulsa evened their record at 1-1 back on October 3rd with their 34-26 upset win at Central Florida as a 20.5-point underdog. South Florida has lost four games in a row after they lost at Temple last Saturday by a 39-37 score as a 14-point underdog. The Golden Hurricanes are an 11-point road favorite with an over/under of 50. The ESPN broadcast starts at 7:30 PM ET.Louisiana-Lafayette travels to UAB for a game that will be on the CBS Sports Network at 8 PM ET. The Ragin’ Cajuns are 3-1 after they lost their first game of the season last Wednesday in their 30-27 upset loss at home to Coastal Carolina as a 9-point favorite. The Blazers are 4-1 after they defeated Western Kentucky on Saturday by a 37-14 score as a 10.5-point favorite. Louisiana is a 3-point road favorite with a total of 50.The Big Ten kicks off their 2020 season with Illinois traveling to Madison to face Wisconsin. The Illini return 14 starters from the team last year that finished 6-7 after losing to California in the Redbox Bowl by a 35-20 score. The Badgers have 15 starters back from their 10-4 team that lost to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship, before losing to Oregon in the Rose Bowl by a 28-27 score. Wisconsin will have revenge on their mind for this opener after blowing 20-7 and 23-14 leads to the Illini in a 24-23 upset loss at Illinois last year on October 19th. The Badgers are a 19.5-point favorite with an over/under of 51. The Big Ten Network has the game starting at 8 PM ET.The English Premier League begins their sixth game week with Leeds United traveling play at Aston Villa. The match starts at 3 PM ET on the NBC Peacock app.

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NCAA Friday Night Football: Tulsa/South Florida Preview

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Oct 23, 2020

The Friday night game on ESPN features a battle of two American Athletic Conference opponents. Tulsa has only played two games this season, with their scheduled games against Arkansas State on September 26th, along their showdown with Cincinnati last Saturday postponed because of COVID complications. The Golden Hurricanes opened their season with a 16-7 loss at Oklahoma State on September 19th before upsetting Central Florida on the road by a 34-26 score as a 20.5-point underdog two Saturdays ago.Tulsa returned 13 starters from last year’s team that finished just 4-8. The Golden Hurricanes have won only nine combined games in the previous three seasons under head coach Philip Montgomery now in his sixth year running the program. Tulsa did play nine bowl teams last year. Not only did they average a +45 net yards per game mark in conference play despite their 2-6 record, but they outgained SMU, Cincinnati, and Memphis in losing efforts. Senior quarterback Zach Smith is back at quarterback after he passed for 3279 yards with 19 touchdowns last season. The former Baylor transfer completed 17 of 29 passes for 273 yards to lead Tulsa to the upset victory over the Knights. Smith threw for three touchdowns in that game for the third time in his career. He leads an offense that is scoring only 20.5 points-per-game with a 358.0 total yards per game average after their first two games. South Florida opened their season by defeating The Citadel before losing its last four games against four FBS opponents in Notre Dame, Cincinnati, East Carolina, and then Temple on Saturday by a 39-37 score. The Bulls have allowed 40.8 points-per-game in this four-game losing streak while allowing each of these opponents to score at least 28 points. South Florida returned 13 starters from the team last year that finished 4-8 in head coach Charlie Strong’s third year with the program. Strong was let go in the offseason, with the Bulls’ turning to former Clemson co-offensive coordinator hired as their new head coach. The 39-year-old tapped Jordan McCloud as his starting quarterback. The redshirt sophomore started games last season before his year ended prematurely by injury. McCloud is completing 64.3% of his passes this year, but he is averaging only 150 passing yards per game. South Florida is scoring only 19.0 points per game while averaging 329.6 yards per game. The Bulls have been stingy with their pass defense as they are holding their opponents to 173.6 passing yards per game, which is 12th-best in the nation. Defensive back Mehki LaPointe has picked off two passes.South Florida has won all three past meetings between these two teams. The last encounter was in 2018 when the Bulls rallied from a 24-10 deficit to win the game by a 25-24 score on a last-second field goal. BetOnline has Tulsa as an 11-point favorite with the total set at 50. The ESPN broadcast begins at 7:30 PM ET.

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What do Win, Place and Show Mean?

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Oct 23, 2020

What do win, place and show mean?Sports betting dates back centuries.  It all started with small games created within households but slowly went on to more significant events like the gladiators in Rome or the horse racing events in the Chinese empire.  And horse racing really became popular the moment Great Britain started taking pride in the sport.  Not only did they enjoy the actual sport, but maybe more so did they enjoy wagering on their favorite horse.  Nowadays, horse racing is done throughout the entire world.  In the United States, one famous race is the annual Kentucky Derby.With every horse race, there are multiple bets that you could make.  Without getting too complicated right away, we want to shed some light on the win, place and show bets.  These are the most common wagers placed among horse racing bets.  In this article, we'll show you everything you need to know to get started with horse racing bets. Win, place and show betting in horse racing Before we dive into the bet types, you should be aware of the basics of horse racing.  Usually (but not always), a horse race will have 10 to 12 horses in the field.  On top of the horses, there are jockeys:  the men responsible for speeding up their horses at the right moment.  Now, the moment the brackets open up and the race starts, it's time for the jockeys to perform.  It's all about picking the right moment to put your horse to work.  If you wait too long, you might fall behind, or if you're too early, your horse might not have the endurance to stay ahead for the remainder of the race.  With the right research, you'll be aware of which horse and which jockey to bet on to cash a ticket.Now, before we get into the exotic wagers, let's see what the most common bet types are.  These are the win, place and show bets, also referred to as the straight bets in horse racing. What is the win bet in horse racing? The win bet can be compared to a moneyline bet.  It's simple:  you are wagering on your horse to finish in first place.  No result other than winning matters for your wager.  This is the most straightforward bet horse betting has to offer.What is the place bet in horse racing?To reduce your risk a little bit, but with that reducing your payout a little bit as well, you can go for a place bet.  That means you pick a horse that you think will finish either in second place or first place.  With this bet, the payout doesn't change regardless of whether your horse finishes in first or second.What is the show bet in horse racing?The third common bet type is the show bet.  It's a form of wagering that has even less risk than the win bet or the place bet.  With a show bet, the bettor chooses a horse to finish anywhere in the top three positions.  That means, if your horse finishes in first, second or third place, your bet wins.  Show wagers are a perfect starter for novice bettors who are still getting used to horse betting.  Similar to the place bet, it doesn't matter if your horse wins, ends up in second, or finishes in third -- the odds remain the same.  Thus, your payout is equal with any of those outcomes. Calculating your payout with win, place and show betting To calculate the bettor's payout, you should learn two terms that are common among horseplayers:  a pool (the total amount wagered on a bet), and the payout (the price paid out to a winning bettor).  With horse racing, you have a giant tote board that displays the total amount that bettors are wagering on each specific horse.  Then, you also see what the total win pool, the total place pool, and the total show pool are.Calculating a win payout isn't that hard.  You have a look at the tote board and scan for your horse and check the winning odds.  Take your initial stake, and you can calculate your win payout.To calculate your place payouts, you can follow these steps: Take the amount in the place pool and subtract 15% for the takeout - that's the percentage the sportsbook or host track withholds from the betting pool. Now, subtract the total place money that was wagered on your horse and on the other horse which finished among the top two.  The remaining amount of money is the profit in the place pool. Divide this amount equally between the two pools of bettors for the two winning horses at the end of the race. Finally, take the amount in step 3, reserved for the pool of bettors on your horse, and divide it by the amount of money in the place pool that was bet on your horse.  The resultant amount is the profit per $1 wagered.  But horse tracks report payouts based on a $2 wager.  So, double that amount, and then add $2 (which represents the stake), and you have your estimated place price. This might sound complicated and difficult to digest, but a little practice will take you a long way.  To determine your show payoffs, you go the same route, but in step 2, instead of subtracting the pool money on the top two horses, subtract the pool money on the top three horses.  Then, in step 3, divide your profits equally among the three pools of bettors for the top three finishing horses, not two. Different bet types in horse racing All of the above are quite simple bets.  But the real advanced bettors in sports betting take it up a notch.  That's where the complicated bet types come into play.  We can divide the exotic wagers into two types:  bets on single races, and parlay bets. Single race exotic wagering A lot can happen in a single race. A multitude of horses are in a constant battle on the race track, to see which finishes first.  Nevertheless, you, as a bettor, have lots of different plays.  In a single race you could take on these exotic wagers:Exacta - Perfecta - ExactorThe exacta wager (also referred to as a perfecta or exactor) looks a lot like the place bet, but it's a bit more difficult.  With a place bet, it doesn't matter in which order the first two finishers end, plus you are only wagering on a single horse.  With an exacta, you bet on two horses and the exact order matters.  You have a winning ticket when you successfully predict the horse which comes in first, and also the horse which comes in second.QuinellaThe quinella bet is similar to an exacta bet as you have to predict the top two horses, but it doesn't require you to predict the exact order.  The bettor only has to select the top two finishers, regardless of which horse finishes first.  As the risk is smaller than with an exacta, the payout is smaller.Trifecta - TriactorThe trifecta (also referred to as a triactor) takes the exacta up a notch.  Instead of predicting the top two finishing horses, you have to predict the top three horses.  That means you only have a winning ticket when you successfully predict the first, second and third place finishers in the exact order.SuperfectaThis is the most tricky bet of all the bets you could make on a single race.  The more risks you take, the higher your payout could be.  With a superfecta, you have to predict the top four finishing horses successfully.  That means you have a winning ticket when you pick the horses ending up in first, second, third and fourth place, in the exact order.Multiple race exotic wageringWe all know people who just can't take enough risk in their life.  The same goes for some sports bettors.  They're seduced by the extreme payouts that came along with the high risks you take.  Predicting the four winning horses in a single race is hard, but imagine you took that in a parlay with multiple races -- that's where the real longshots come in.  You should know that these bet types are against the house, instead of against the pari-mutuel betting pool among other bettors.Without further ado, let's dive right into the multiple race exotic wagers that are available:Daily doubleThis bet type is usually available at any race track or sportsbook.  It allows you to bet on two consecutive races, usually either the early double (the first and second race of the day) or the late double (the last two races on the card).Pick 3 / Pick 4 or Pick 6This is similar to a double bet, but it's simply larger in terms of consecutive races you are wagering on and the number of horses you predict.  The pick 3, up through pick 6, are not available at all horse tracks or sportsbooks, but usually you can see these available on your betting card.  This is a longshot bet which is difficult to hit, thus the payout is extremely large. How to incorporate win, place and show betting in your strategy Horse racing is enjoyable, and the adrenaline rush of going to the track to see your horse outperform the others is priceless.  But if you're in this for the long run and want to take your sports betting career to the next level, you have to get comfortable with some tips and tricks.  To get you started the right way, or to adjust your current strategy, you can follow these tips:Never underestimate the value of researchMost of us who have gone to the race tracks know how exciting things can get, and with the adrenaline rushing through your veins, you can act spontaneously.  Unfortunately, making decisions based on your gut feeling doesn't deliver you that many winning tickets.  Instead, the smart move is to do your research to determine which horses have the best capabilities, and which jockeys are the best riders.  And that is what handicapping is all about.Use boxes to reduce your riskWhen you're into exacta and trifecta betting, you have lots of different possibilities.  You have to predict the right order, but you also have to make sure you don't lose your entire bankroll straightaway.  To reduce your risk, you can make use of boxes.  The exacta box, as it’s called, places every single combination of your chosen horses into your exacta ticket.  The trifecta box does the same for a trifecta bet.  That means if your chosen horses finish in any order in the number of spots needed for your bet, you're guaranteed a payout.  But do make sure you keep an eye on the costs as they increase per extra wager you make.Certainly, horse racing is a completely different type of sports betting than the typical NFL or MLB matchup, but it's not any less thrilling.  In fact, with the right knowledge and the right means of research, there's a great chance you will make a lot of money along the way.  It also helps to bet with the best race book.  Our #1-rated sportsbook is BetAnySports, which offers 10% bonus payouts on winnings at major tracks, as well as a 9% rebate on losing tickets.  It doesn’t get any better than that, so join BetAnySports today.  You now know the ins-and-outs of horse betting, so have fun!

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Big Ten Report: Week 1

by ASA, Inc.

Thursday, Oct 22, 2020

ILLINOIS @ WISCONSIN (-18.5 OPEN to -19.5 CURRENT) – Friday, Oct 23rd  ILLINOIS LAST YEAR – The Illini finished with a 6-6 regular season record in 2019 (4-5 in the Big Ten) and went to their first bowl game since the 2014 season (8-5 ATS).  They did lose last year’s bowl game getting beat 35-20 by California in the Red Box Bowl.  They return 14 starters this season including 9 on offense.  QB Brandon Peters returns who threw for 1800 yards and 18 TD’s last year.  They do lose 75% of their rushing yards from last year with RB’s Corbin, Brown & Bonner all moving on.  On defense they finished in the middle of the pack in Big 10 play in both PPG allowed (26) and YPG allowed (408).  The Illini have some key players back on LB and in the defensive backfield but lost some contributors up front.  Their 4 projected starting defensive linemen for this season had only 20 tackles combined last year.        ILLINOIS NEXT UP – Home vs Purdue   WISCONSIN LAST YEAR – The Badgers won the Big 10 West a year ago and lost 34-21 to Ohio State in the conference championship game.  Wisconsin then went on to lose to Oregon 28-27 in the Rose Bowl finishing with a 10-4 record overall (including bowl game) with a 7-2 regular season Big 10 mark.  They lose pretty much all of their key skill players offensively with starting QB Coan out with a broken foot, RB Taylor (now with the Colts), and WR Cephus (now with the Lions).  The new starting QB will be redshirt freshman Mertz who was one of the top rated QB’s in HS two years ago.  He played in 4 games last year and threw 10 passes.  Defensively Wisconsin should be very good again.  They finished 4th nationally in total defense and return 15 of their top 18 tacklers.  WISCONSIN NEXT UP – @ Nebraska   MOST RECENT MEETING – The Illini upset Wisconsin in Champaign last year as 30-point underdogs!  Illinois was 0-3 in league play entering the game and pulled the shocker winning 24-23 on a last second FG.  Wisconsin, however, outgained Illinois 420 to 315 in the loss but had 3 turnovers.  POINTSPREAD NUGGET – The Illini are 13-7 ATS (65%) the last 20 times they’ve been a dog of 20 or more dating back to 2006.   PENN STATE (-7 OPEN to -6.5 CURRENT) @ INDIANA – Saturday, Oct 24th  PENN STATE LAST YEAR – The Nittany Lions finished with a very good 10-2 regular season record last year with their 2 setbacks coming @ Minnesota 31-26 and @ Ohio State 28-17.  That landed them in 2nd place in the Big 10 East and they went on to roll over Memphis 53-39 in the Cotton Bowl.  Starting QB Clifford is back under center after finishing 4th in the league in pass efficiency with 23 TDs and 7 interceptions.  He led an offense that averaged 36 PPG which was good for 2nd in the Big 10 and 15th nationally.  PSU also returns their top 3 RB’s who combined for over 1,600 yards on the ground (one of those players, RB Brown, now may miss the season).  WR Hamler is the biggest loss on offense (900 yards receiving).  They also will be working under a new OC who came over from Minnesota.  Defensively they allowed 16 PPG last year but lost their best player on that side of the ball LB Parsons who has opted out this season and is getting ready for the NFL draft.  The also lose their top 3 tacklers overall and 6 starters on defense have departed.          PENN STATE NEXT UP – Home vs Ohio State   INDIANA LAST YEAR – The Hoosiers 8 wins last season (8-4 in the regular season) was their most since the 1993 season and it was their first winning record since 2007.  That record allowed them the opportunity to face Tennessee in the Gator Bowl, a 23-22 IU loss.  They return the 2nd most starters in the Big 10 with 17 regulars back.  QB Penix was the starter to begin the 2019 season and is back this season.  Injuries derailed his effectiveness last season and he wound up playing in only 6 games.  His replacement was Peyton Ramsey who transferred to Northwestern and is slated to start for the Wildcats.  The Hoosiers return their top rusher (Smith – 845 yards), top WR (Philyor – 1,002 yards), and most of their offensive line.  Much is expected of this unit that finished 3rd in the Big 10 in total offense.  Defensively they held opponents to 24.4 PPG which was their best effort since 1993.  They return 9 starters on that side of the ball.  INDIANA NEXT UP – @ Rutgers   MOST RECENT MEETING – Penn State topped IU 34-27 last season in Happy Valley.  The Nits failed to cover as 15-point favorites and the Hoosiers actually had more first downs, a time of possession edge, and outgained PSU by nearly 100 yards.   POINTSPREAD NUGGET – Penn State is 20-12-1 ATS (62.5%) their last 33 games when tabbed a road favorite dating back to the start of the 2008 season.  RUTGERS @ MICHIGAN STATE (-15.5 OPEN to -13 CURRENT) – Saturday, Oct 24th  RUTGERS LAST YEAR – The good news is Rutgers returns 17 starters which is tied for the 2nd most in the Big Ten behind Northwestern.  The bad news is they stunk with those starters in the line up last season.  They were just 2-10 on the season with their only wins coming vs Liberty and UMass.  All of their 9 Big Ten losses (0-9 in conference play) came by at least 21 points.  QB Langan returns after starting the final 8 games last year and is not a good passer (50% completions with 4 TD’s and 9 interceptions) but brings a running threat to the position.  QB Sitkowski is also back and he started a few games last year and is the much better passer.  Noah Vedral, a grad transfer from Nebraska, will also get a shot to be the regular signal caller.  The Knights scored a TOTAL of 51 points in Big 10 play (5.6 PPG) with those 2 running the show last season.  Greg Schiano returns as the head coach after departing Rutgers back in 2012 to take his shot in the NFL as the head coach of Tampa Bay.  His final season at Rutgers in 2011 he led them to a 9-4 overall record.  They have had one winning season since Schiano left.  RUTGERS NEXT UP – Home vs Indiana   MICHIGAN STATE LAST YEAR – Long time head coach Mark Dantonio and MSU have parted ways despite his 114-57 record in his 13 years leading the Spartan program.  Melvin Tucker takes over after just one year as head coach @ Colorado where he finished with a 5-7 record.  He’s got some inexperience on his roster as MSU returns just 10 starters, the least in the Big 10.  QB is a big question as back up Rocky Lombardi returns but was ineffective when he did get a chance (33% completion rate with 0 TD’s and 2 interceptions).  The other 2 hopefuls at QB are freshman Thorne (never played in a college game) and sophomore Thorne (3 career pass attempts).  One would hope with severe inexperience at QB that MSU could take the pressure off by running the ball but they finished 13th in the Big 10 in that category last year.  The defense was always very good under Dantonio but they must replace most of their front 7 this season including 3 starters on the defensive line who all were regulars the last 3 seasons.   MICHIGAN STATE NEXT UP – @ Michigan   MOST RECENT MEETING – The Spartans traveled to Rutgers last season and shut out the Knights 27-0 as 22-point favorites.  MSU’s defense held Rutgers to 83 yards rushing and 57 yards passing in the game.   POINTSPREAD NUGGET – Since the beginning of the 2018 season, MSU has been a favorite of -14 or more 10 times.  They are 2-8 ATS in those games.   NEBRASKA @ OHIO STATE (-24 OPEN to -26.5 CURRENT) – Saturday, Oct 24th  NEBRASKA LAST YEAR – Believe it or not, the Huskers have had just ONE winning season since 2014.  That’s it.  Last year was not that winning season as they finished 5-7 and failed to make a bowl appearance.  Head coach Scott Frost was brought in from UCF to be this program’s savior and thus far he has a 9-15 record in 2 seasons.  His predecessor, Mike Riley, was fired after 3 seasons with a 19-19 record which doesn’t look so bad right now.  Adrian Martinez is back at QB for the third season.  After his freshman year there was talk about him being the next great QB at Nebraska.  Last year he took a step back with a lower completion percentage, fewer yards passing, fewer TD’s, and more interceptions when comparing it to his freshman year.  He returns with 10 starters on an offense that averaged 415 YPG last season but lost his top WR Spielman who transferred to TCU.  The Husker rush defense has been a major problem the last three seasons as they allowed 215, 195, and 188 YPG on the ground.  They lose 3 starting defensive lineman who have been starters and major contributors over the last few seasons.  The defensive backfield looks to be a strength with all upperclassmen in the starting line up.  NEBRASKA NEXT UP – Home vs Wisconsin   OHIO STATE LAST YEAR – OSU was a perfect 13-0 last season before losing to Clemson in the National Semi Final game.  A game they led 16-0 midway through the 2nd quarter.  The Buckeyes have the 2nd fewest starters returning in the Big 10 with 11 although that never seems to matter as they just reload with superior talent.  One player the does return is QB Fields who is currently one of the favorites to win the Heisman (+250 to +600 range) despite not playing a game this season.  Fields threw for over 3,000 yards last year with 41 TD’s and only 3 interceptions.  They lose all everything RB Dobbins, who had over 2,000 yards rushing last season, but they pick up Oklahoma transfer Trey Sermon (over 2,000 yards rushing in 3 years with Sooners) and last year’s back up RB Teague had 800 yards on the ground.  The WR’s are young but 3 deep at each spot and the offensive line should be very good.  The defense, which led the nation in YPG and YPP allowed, will potentially start 10 upperclassmen including first round talent DB Wade who opted back in to play this season after opting out during the COVID uncertainty.         OHIO STATE NEXT UP – @ Penn State   MOST RECENT MEETING – OSU blasted Nebraska in Lincoln last year as a 17.5 point favorite.  The 48-7 final score was no fluke as the Bucks outgained the Huskers by 350 yards and scored points in each of their first 8 possessions.  OSU has won 5 straight in this series by an average score of 53-19!  POINTSPREAD NUGGET – Nebraska has been an underdog of 24 points or more just 3 times in their HISTORY!  They are 2-1 ATS in those games.  Their only spread loss in that situation was against this OSU team in 2017 where the Buckeyes covered the 24 points spread by blasting the Huskers 56-14.  IOWA (-4 OPEN to -3.5 CURRENT) @ PURDUE – Saturday, Oct 24th  IOWA LAST YEAR – Iowa finished the 2019 season with a 10-3 record which included a blowout win over USC in the Holiday Bowl.  The Hawkeyes 3 losses to Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin came by a combined 10 points.  The offense returns their top RB (Goodson) and top WR (Smith-Marsette), however who will be running the show at QB is the biggest question mark.  Nate Stanley threw for over 8,000 yards and 68 TD’s as a 3-year starter for Iowa.  The Hawkeyes had a 25-11 record with Stanley as their starter.  Stepping in for Stanley will be sophomore QB Petras who was highly regarded coming out of HS but has attempted just 10 passes in his career.  On defense Iowa loses nearly everyone along the defensive line and their top LB Colbert, who was their 4th leading tackler last year, is opting out of this season due to COVID concerns.  The defense, which finished 12th nationally in YPG & 14th in YPP allowed last season, must replace more than half of their starters (6).  IOWA NEXT UP – Home vs Northwestern   PURDUE LAST YEAR – Head coach Jeff Brohm enters his 4th year as head coach at Purdue.  After raising the excitement level in West Lafayette his first 2 seasons, making a bowl game in each, his Boilers dropped back to 4-8 last year.  Word is that Brohm has tested positive for COVID and may not be on the sidelines for this game.  Although we know that can change (see Nick Saban!).  Many of their problems on offense last year stemmed from injuries at QB (they had 3 different starters throughout the season) and an injury to their top offensive threat WR Moore.  He had 344 yards receiving in their first 2 games alone but played in only 4 games total last year due to an injury.  Moore is back this year and will play after opting out a few months ago.  His QB will be either Plummer or O’Connell, both who played a lot last season and each had over 1,000 yards passing.  The defense was one of the worst in the league last year allowing 31 PPG (12th in the Big 10) and 436 YPG (13th in the conference).  The Boilers do have a lot of experience returning with 17 starters back from a year ago.  They closed out 2019 on a sour note allowing 40+ points to Wisconsin & Indiana – both losses.   PURDUE NEXT UP – @ Illinois   MOST RECENT MEETING – These 2 met last season in Iowa City with Purdue as a 17.5 point underdog.  The Boilers hung tough and picked up the cover but lost 26-20.  Iowa held Purdue to just 33 yards rushing on 18 carries.  The Boilers were -3 turnovers in the game.  POINTSPREAD NUGGET – Since 2013, Iowa has been a road favorite 21 times.  They are in impressive 17-4 ATS in those games.  MICHIGAN (-3 OPEN & CURRENT) @ MINNESOTA – Saturday, October 24th  MICHIGAN LAST YEAR – The Wolverines finished last regular season with a 9-3 record with losses to Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Penn State.  They were then beaten badly by Alabama in the Citrus Bowl.  So when all was said and done, the Wolverines won the games they were supposed to win (won all games as a favorite) and lost the 4 games in which they were underdogs.  You’ll be seeing lots of new faces on the Michigan offensive side of the ball this year as they lost many key players, including QB Shea Patterson.  His replacement is still up in the air according to head coach Jim Harbaugh, however it looks like junior Joe Milton will get the nod as he’s been running with the #1’s in practice for the most part.  He’s attempted 11 passes in his career at Michigan.  He’ll be operating behind an offensive line that lost 4 of 5 starters and his top WR, Nico Collins (730 yards receiving last year), reportedly signed with an agent last month and is no longer no the team.  The offense will be a work in progress.  On defense they should be very good again this season.  They finished 11th in total defense nationally last season and held 6 of their 9 Big Ten opponents to 14 points or less.  Michigan does lose their top 3 tacklers from last season and has 2 new CB’s starting, but many of the other replacements have decent experience.    MICHIGAN NEXT UP – Home vs Michigan State   MINNESOTA LAST YEAR – The Gophers ended last season ranked in the top 10 after winning 11 games for the first time since 1904.  Their only losses came at the hands of Wisconsin & Iowa and they topped Auburn in the Outback Bowl to complete a great season.  The offense should be very good in 2020.  Last year they averaged 34 PPG which was their best production since the 2005 season.  They return QB Morgan, who led the conference with 250 YPG through the air and was the 2nd most efficient signal caller in the league, and he will operate behind an offensive line that returns all 5 starters.  His top WR target, Bateman, opted out during the COVID uncertainty, but has now decided to play this season.  The Gophs did lose their offensive coordinator to Penn State but replaced him with Mike Sanford who has been the OC Notre Dame, Utah State, and head coach Western Kentucky.  Defensively this team was top notch last season ranking 10th nationally in total defense but they did lose 4 key players to the NFL.  They bring back just 4 starters on the defensive side of the ball and lost both LB’s and their top pass rushers up front.  This will be an inexperienced defense that we won’t know a lot about early in the season.  MINNESOTA NEXT UP – @ Maryland   MOST RECENT MEETING – These 2 haven’t met since the 2017 season.  Michigan played host to the Gophers that year and blasted them 33-10 as 16.5 point favorites.  The Wolverine defense held Minnesota to just 164 total yards on that day.  POINTSPREAD NUGGET – Since 2007 Minnesota has been a home underdog 36 times.  They are 23-13 ATS in those games.  MARYLAND @ NORTHWESTERN (-10.5 OPEN to -11 CURRENT) – Saturday, October 24th  MARYLAND LAST YEAR – The Terps started last year OK winning 3 of their first 5 games vs marginal competition.  However, they followed that up by losing their final 7 games to finish 3-9 on the season.  Their wins were against Howard, Syracuse & Rutgers who finished last season with a combined 9-27 record.  Head coach Mike Locksley, who took over prior to last season, has his work cut out for him with a program that has a 14-34 record since joining the Big 10.  The offense returns 7 starters but lost top RB McFarland who now plays for the Steelers.  There is some buzz on that side of the ball as Alabama transfer Tagovailoa (yes Tua’s brother) will be the starter at QB to begin the season.  Redshirt freshman Legendre, who saw action in 3 games last season, will also get a shot at QB.  On the other side of the ball Maryland finished dead last in the conference and 109th nationally in total defense.  They were also last in the conference and 116th nationally in pass defense.  They lost 3 key regulars from their defensive backfield, however their top DB Richardson returns after missing last year with an injury.       MARYLAND NEXT UP – Home vs Minnesota   NORTHWESTERN LAST YEAR – Believe it or not, the Cats won the Big 10 West back in 2018 in the season with an 8-1 regular season conference record.  They reversed those numbers last season finishing 1-8 in Big 10 play and 3-9 overall.  There is hope for Northwestern this year as they return the most starters in the conference (19) and add a new QB and offensive coordinator in hopes of reviving their stagnant scoring numbers.  Last year they finished 13th in the league in total offense and scoring.  Through their first 6 Big 10 games last season, the Wildcats averaged only 6.8 PPG but improved late in the year.  Transfer QB Ramsey was the starter @ Indiana last year and should drastically improve their passing game.  New OC Bajakian come over from Boston College (was with Tampa Bay Bucs prior to BC) where the run heavy Eagles offense averaged 250 YPG rushing in 2019.  Defense held 8 of 12 opponents to 24 points or less and only won 3 games which tells you how bad their offense was.  They return most of the back 7 but have some holes to fill up front.  Top pass rusher Ernest Brown is back and healthy after an injury filled 2019.     NORTHWESTERN NEXT UP – @ Iowa   MOST RECENT MEETING – These 2 haven’t met since the 2017 season when Northwestern went to Maryland as a 2.5 point road favorite and came away with a 37-21 win.  That’s the only meeting between these two programs since the Terps joined the Big 10 in 2014.  POINTSPREAD NUGGET – Northwestern has been a terrible double digit home favorite throughout the years with a 14-29 ATS record in that situation dating back to 1980.  More recently, they are 4-11 ATS in that spot since early 2013.

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Ness Notes: Thursday October 22

by Larry Ness

Thursday, Oct 22, 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." World Series Update: The 2020 World Series got underway Tuesday night and the Dodgers looked every bit the part of a team with MLB's best record in this COVID-shortened season with an 8-3 victory. Three-time Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw shrugged off his rocky playoff history to give up just ONE run on two hits over six innings with only one walk and eight strikeouts. He retired 13 consecutive batters until Tampa Bay's Kevin Kiermaier hit a solo HR in the fifth. In contrast, the Ray's Tyler Glasnow allowed three hits and SIX walks (three would eventually score) in 4.1 innings of work in which he allowed SIX runs (all earned). Cody Bellinger gave the Dodgers an early lead with a two-run HR (two days after his go-ahead HR in Game 7 of the NLCS) and Mookie Betts hit his first postseason HR for the Dodgers in the sixth to open a 7-1 advantage. Betts, Muncy and Taylor each had two hits. Tampa Bay had just six hits, while LA struck out 10 Rays as opposed to allowing just ONE walk.However, Game 2 told a very different tale, as Blake Snell took charge from the mound in the first four innings, while Brandon Lowe took charge at the plate. Lowe came in batting .083 (4-for-48) with one HR in his previous 13 postseason games but ended his slump in dramatic fashion. Lowe jump started the Rays' offense with a solo HR in the first inning off Tony Gonsolin, then hit a two-run shot in the fifth inning off Dustin May, as the Rays led 5-0 into the bottom of the 5th. Snell didn't allow a hit through four innings, while striking out two Dodgers in each of the first four innings. However, Snell's dreams of a no-hitter ended in the 5th. He walked Kiké Hernandez with two out and served up a two-run HR to Chris Taylor. A walk to Mookie Betts and a single by Corey Seager ended Snell's night. Four relievers held off the Dodgers, allowing two runs over 4.1 innings, as Tampa Bay evened the Series at one-all. The Rays had 10 hits, the first time they reached double digits since Game 3 of their ALDS against the New York Yankees, a single-digit-hit skid that had lasted 10 games. The Dodgers used SEVEN pitchers in the loss but the good news (for both pitching staffs) is that Thursday is an "off day." Game 3 is set for Friday and it features the best pitching matchup of the series, LA's Walker Buehler vs Tampa Bay's Charlie Morton. Early price is LA (-155) with an over/under line of 7 1/2.Note: My 10* MLB Game of the Year is already posted for Game 3. BATTER UP! NFL Week 7 kicks off with another uninspiring contest (way too many already this season), when the 1-5 NY Giants visit the 1-4-1 Philadelphia Eagles (FOX/NFL Network at 8:20 ET). That said, with the 2-4 Cowboys atop the sad-sack NFC East, the winner of this game is "right in the mix" for the division title. The division as whole is 5-18-1 SU and 8-16 ATS. Actually, the two 1-5 teams (NY Giants and Washington) account for SIX of the division's eight ATS wins. The Eagles have won SEVEN straight games against the Giants and haven't lost at home to their NFC East rivals since a 15-7 setback in 2013. Philly is favored by 4 1/2-points and the over/under is 45. Good luck to all who dare play this one. I'll pass and wait until Sunday, when my card will feature my 1st 10* "Signature" 37-Club Play of NFL 2020 (represents my 37 years as a professional handicapper).The college football weekend also kicks off tonight, as 3-2 Arkansas St visits Boone, NC to take on 2-1 Appalachian St. ESPN will be there to televise at 7:30 ET. App St is favored (-13.5) and the over/under is 68. The biggest storyline of the weekend in the college ranks is the return of the Big Ten. CFB's oldest conference (established in 1895) announced it was canceling its fall football season back on August 11. However, a little over a month later (in mid-September), the conference announced that it had adopted “significant medical protocols,” and would return to play the weekend of October 23-24. So here we are and someone had to be first. Kicking off the 2020 Big Ten schedule will be Illinois and Wisconsin, with the 14th-ranked Badgers hosting the Illini in front of an empty Camp Randall Stadium in Madison Friday night at 8:00 ET on the Big Ten Network. The Badgers had won the last nine meetings and 13 of the previous 14, with Wisconsin having outscored Illinois by a combined 145-46 in the four meetings since Paul Chryst took over the Wisconsin program in 2015. So what happened in 2019? James McCourt converted a 39-yard FG as time expired, as Illinois upset Wisconsin 24-23 as a 30 1/2-point underdog. Methinks the Badgers will remember? Wisconsin is favored by 19 points and the over/under is 51.5.The remaining 12 Big Ten schools (six games) will all be in action on Saturday. Top-10 schools Ohio St (No. 5) and Penn St (No. 8) are home to Nebraska and at Indiana, respectively. However, the Big Ten's marquee Game of the week is No. 18 Michigan at No. 21 Minnesota. Most feel as if Harbaugh has underachieved since returning to his alma mater to coach and the Wolverines are coming off a 9-4 season, including a 35-16 loss to Alabama in the Citrus Bowl. As for Minnesota, PJ Fleck's Gophers 'rowed the boat' to an 11-2 season (including a 31-24 win in the Outback Bowl over Auburn as a 7-point dog), the school's first 11-win season since 1904. It's safe to say this is a "big one" for the Golden Gophers, as the last time Minnesota was involved in a matchup of ranked teams to start a season was 1968. Michigan is favored by three points and the over/under is 54 (kick off is 7:30 ET on ABC).Michigan/Minnesota is one of four games featuring ranked opponents. The other three are No. 6 Oklahoma St at home against No. 17 Iowa St (Cowboys are favored by 3 1/2-points), No. 9 Cincinnati at No. 16 SMU (Bearcats are 2 1/2-point underdogs) and No. 14 No. Carolina home to No. 23 NC State (Tar Heels are favored by 15 points). There have been just 11 games featuring ranked opponents in 2020 and the higher ranked team has gone 10-1 SU and 9-2 ATS (the lone SU loser was then-No. 3 Florida losing on Oct 10 at then-No. 21 A&M). As for playing on ranked teams when matching up against unranked opponents, it has been a 'money-burning' proposition so far. Through games played Oct 17, ranked teams are 44-16 SU (.733) against their unranked opponents but only 20-39-1 (.339) ATS!  Friday's game (Wisconsin hosting Illinois) is the first of 12 games in which a ranked team is squaring off against a ranked opponent. Keep the above stat in mind before getting involved with any of the 12 favorites this weekend. That said, following a theory called "regression to the mean," we are overdue to see the ATS record swing back in favor of the ranked teams. Is this the week? Top-10 teams facing unranked opponents are No. 1 Clemson (-46) home to Syracuse, No. 2 Alabama (-21) at Tennessee, No. 3 Notre Dame (-10.5) at Pittsburgh, No. 5 Ohio St (-26) home to Nebraska and No. 8 Penn St (-5.5) at Indiana. Good luck...Larry

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