Articles

NHL Central Division Preview 2021-22

by Scott Rickenbach

Monday, Oct 11, 2021

Central Division 2021-22 Point Total PredictionsWith last season being just 56 games, the first point total listed is the number of points the team earned in the standings last season but extrapolated over a normal 82 game season. Then the second total listed is my prediction range for this season. Arizona Coyotes – 79 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 60s this season. Tough division for a bad team. The Coyotes face teams that frustrate you like Dallas and St Louis. Then they also face teams they can’t keep up with in terms of offensive firepower like Winnipeg and Colorado. It is going to be a long season for Arizona. Chicago Blackhawks – 81 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to uppers 80s this season. Lot of positive additions for this team in terms of new personnel plus they get Jonathan Toews back after he missed last season. This adds up to a revamped team ready to fight for a playoff spot again! Colorado Avalanche – 120 points last year. Predicting a range in the 105 to 110 range this season. Such a strong team but the goaltending needs to stay healthy. I do like Kuemper but will Francouz be back to himself as he returns from injury. Very strong team with scary good scoring talent. Again should be one of the best teams in the league and, if they get top notch goalie work, look out! Dallas Stars – 88 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 90s this season. Ben Bishop starts season still on injured reserve. Can this Stars team get enough from its other goalies? Now a healthy Seguin and Hintz means this team could be better than many realize. They tend to have a tough defense so if the goaltending holds up and they keep their top point producers healthier this time around, this team is going to be challenging for a playoff spot. Minnesota Wild – 110 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 90s this season. Got to give the coaching credit here. Wild continue to overhaul roster but still produce quite consistently. This is a solid team no one likes to face. If they can improve their power play and continue to get strong goaltending, this team could get to 100 points this season. Nashville Predators –94 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 80s this season. This team rebuilding a bit and Pekka Rinne now retired. Juuse Saros fantastic in goal but will things be different without Rinne now right behind him? Also the team skating in front of him has lost a few key pieces and seems to be trending the wrong direction. This team steps back a bit this year. St. Louis Blues – 92 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 80s this season. Still a solid team known for being physical and playing stingy defense but I do not think last year’s regression was just a one-year team. Unless goalie Jordan Binnington can resume the excellent play similar to his rookie season, this team could continue to regress. Winnipeg Jets – 92 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 90s this season. Connor Hellebuyck at goalie makes the Jets tough when he is on because this team certainly has plenty of firepower up front with their top lines. Winnipeg to be particularly tough this season especially if they can get Pierre-Luc Dubois going again after he struggled after coming over from Columbus. 

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NHL Pacific Division Preview 2021-22

by Scott Rickenbach

Monday, Oct 11, 2021

Pacific Division 2021-22 Point Total PredictionsWith last season being just 56 games, the first point total listed is the number of points the team earned in the standings last season but extrapolated over a normal 82 game season. Then the second total listed is my prediction range for this season. Anaheim Ducks – 63 points last year. Predicting a range of uppers 60s to low 70s this season. Horrible power play last season. Ridiculously bad. Special teams important to winning hockey games and Anaheim has issues on the power play and now concern at goalie with back-up Ryan Miller retiring.  Calgary Flames – 81 points last year. Predicting a range of upper 80s to low 90s this season. Should be better this season but coach Sutter has to get more out of this group. The core group could be dismantled if Calgary again falls short but this team has enough talent to do more than they have shown. They just need to be more consistent and cohesive as a group. Edmonton Oilers – 105 points last year. Predicting a range of around the century mark this season. The Oilers are so strong with their top line but now the pieces they have added for additional support could help take this team to the next level. It is far from a sure thing but if Edmonton’s new additions fit in well this team could really surprise near the top this season. Los Angeles Kings – 72 points last year. Predicting a range of upper 70s to low 80s this season. Trying to rebuild with impressive young talent and could be on their way. We’ll see some  improvement this season but this team still another year away at least. San Jose Sharks – 72 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 80s this season. Sharks could be better this season simply with better goaltending. But this is still not a team that will be near the top. They will be fortunate to land in the middle of the pack but I think they have finally made some moves in the right direction with what they have done at the goalie spot at least. Seattle Kraken – This is inaugural season but just like Golden Knights of 2018, this is not a normal expansion team situation and I am predicting a range of upper 80s to low 90s. This team has a ton of talent and did so well in the expansion draft. Just really a stockpile of scorers plus the goaltending has potential to be a fantastic tandem as well. This Seattle team will immediately be one of the better teams in the division most likely. Vancouver Canucks – 73 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 80s this season. This team has talent and coach Green got his two year extension and guys are buying into things here. The Canucks will improve this season. This team was impacted a lot by covid last season, among other distractions. Let us not forget they had a .565 save percentage the season before. They can get back into the range again and I think they will this year. So they are flying under the radar a bit coming in. Keep that in mind.  Vegas Golden Knights – 120 points last year. Predicting a range of upper 90s to low 100s. Still trying to put another run together but have lost some of the players that helped mold an identity in Vegas. That cohesive group they had when they first came into the league and swept the hearts of Vegas fans is a bit of a memory now. Still a very good team no doubt but this could be a bit of a transitional year for the Golden Knights. They will still be a very good team but I think they might be further away from the Cup now than they were before! That is what I mean by a transitional year. 

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Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB, NFL, and CFL Previews and Odds - 10/11/2021

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Oct 11, 2021

The Monday sports card features action in the NFL, MLB, and the CFL.Week 5 in the NFL regular season concludes with the Baltimore Ravens hosting the Indianapolis Colts for Monday Night Football on ESPN at 8:15 PM ET. The Ravens won their third game in a row with their 23-7 victory at Denver as a 1-point underdog last Sunday. Baltimore is 3-1 on the season. The Colts ended a three-game losing streak with a 27-17 upset victory at Miami as a 2.5-point underdog on Sunday. Indianapolis improved to 1-3 on the year with the win. The Ravens took the meeting between these two teams last season by a 24-10 score on the road as a 1-point underdog. Baltimore is a 7-point favorite with the total set at 46.The playoffs in Major League Baseball continue with four games in the best-of-five League Divisional Series. Atlanta plays at home against Milwaukee on TBS at 1:07 PM ET. The Braves evened this series at 1-1 with their 3-0 victory on the road against the Brewers on Saturday. Ian Anderson pitches for Atlanta against Freddy Peralta for Milwaukee. The Braves are a -120 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.The Chicago White Sox are at home against Houston on FS1 at 3:37 PM ET. The White Sox won their first game of this series last night with a 12-6 victory at home against the Astros. Houston holds a 2-1 lead in the series. Chicago pitches Carlos Rodon against the Astros Jose Urquidy. The White Sox are a -130 money line favorite with a total of 8.5. Boston plays at home against Tampa Bay on FS1 at 7:07 PM ET. The Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in this series with a 6-4 victory in 13 innings on Sunday. Neither manager has named a starting pitcher for the game. Boston is a -125 money line favorite with an over/under of 9. The Los Angeles Dodgers hosts San Francisco on TBS at 9:37 PM ET. The Dodgers evened this series at 1-1 with their 9-2 victory against the Giants on Saturday. Los Angeles pitches Max Scherzer against San Francisco’s Alex Wood. The Dodgers are a -210 money line favorite with a total of 7.Two games take place in the Canadian Football on ESPN+ for Canadian Thanksgiving Day. Montreal plays at home against Ottawa at 1 PM ET. The Alouettes ended a two-game losing streak with a 23-20 upset victory in overtime at Hamilton as a 3.5-point underdog on October 2nd to improve their record to 3-4. The Redblacks come off a 35-16 loss at Toronto as a 9.5-point underdog last Wednesday, which dropped their record to 2-6. Montreal is a 7.5-point favorite with an over/under of 47.5.Hamilton is at home against Toronto at 4 PM ET. The Tiger-Cats improved to 4-4 on the season with their victory last week against the Alouettes. The Argonauts improved their record to 5-3 with their win against Ottawa. Hamilton is a 5-point favorite with a total of 43.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB, WNBA and NFL Previews and Odds - 10/10/2021

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Oct 10, 2021

The Sunday sports card features action in the NFL, MLB, and the WNBA.Week 5 in the NFL regular season continues with 14 games. The card kicks off at 9:35 AM ET with the New York Jets playing the Atlanta Falcons at Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium in London. The Falcons are a 2.5-point favorite with the total set at 45 (all odds from DraftKings). Eight NFL games continue the card at 1 PM ET. Carolina hosts Philadelphia as a 3-point favorite with an over/under of 45.5. Denver visits Pittsburgh as a 1.5-point road favorite with a total of 39. Tampa Bay plays at home against Miami as a 10-point favorite with a total of 48. Tennessee travels to Jacksonville as a 4.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 49. Green Bay plays at Cincinnati as a 2.5-point road favorite with a total of 51. New England visits Houston as a 7.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 39. Minnesota hosts Detroit as a 10-point favorite with a total of 49.5. New Orleans travels to Washington as a 2.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 43. Four games take place in the second window of afternoon games. Two games start at 4:05 PM ET. The Los Angeles Chargers play at home against Cleveland as a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 47. Las Vegas is at home against Chicago as a 5.5-point favorite with an over/under of 45.5. Two more games begin at 4:25 PM ET. Arizona hosts San Francisco as a 5-point favorite with a total of 48. Dallas plays at home against the New York Giants in the national game broadcast on Fox. The Cowboys are a 7-point favorite with an over/under of 52.5.Kansas City is at home against Buffalo on NBC at 8:20 PM ET for Sunday Night Football. The Chiefs are a 2.5-point favorite with a total of 56.The MLB playoffs continue with two Games 3s in the American League Divisional Series. Boston hosts Tampa Bay on the MLB Network at 4:07 PM ET. The Red Sox evened this series at 1-1 with a 14-6 road victory on Friday. Nathan Eovaldi pitches for Boston against Drew Rasmussen of the Rays. The Red Sox are a -115 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The Chicago White Sox play at home against Houston on FS1 at 8:07 PM ET. The Astros took a 2-0 lead in this best-of-five series with a 9-4 win on Friday. Houston pitches Luis Garcia against the White Sox’s Dylan Cease. Chicago is a -125 money line favorite with a total of 8.5. The finals of the WNBA playoffs begin with Phoenix playing at home against Chicago on ABC at 3 PM ET. The Mercury won at Las Vegas against the Aces, 87-84, as a 5.5-point underdog to win that five-game semifinals series on Friday. The Sky have won six of their last seven games after beating Connecticut in four games after a 79-69 upset win at home as a 4-point underdog on Wednesday. Phoenix is a 3.5-point favorite with an over/under of 166.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB, CFL, Boxing and NCAAF Previews and Odds - 10/09/2021

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 09, 2021

The Saturday sports card features action in NCAAF, MLB, CFL, and Boxing.The third heavyweight title fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder takes place on pay-per-view at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The start time is between 11 PM ET and midnight. Fury is a -295 money line favorite, and Wilder is priced as a +235 money line underdog (all odds from DraftKings). The total is 7.5 rounds. Week 6 of the college football season concludes with 46 games between FBS opponents. Twelve games kickoff the card from noon to 3 PM ET. Six games are on national television at noon. Oklahoma plays Texas at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas in the Red River Rivalry on ABC. The Sooners are a 3.5-point favorite with an over/under of 63.5. Ohio State hosts Maryland on Fox as a 21-point favorite with a total of 71. Mississippi plays at home against Arkansas on ESPN as a 5.5-point favorite with an over/under of 67. Tennessee is at home against South Carolina on ESPN2 as a 10.5-point favorite with a total of 57. Baylor hosts West Virginia on FS1 as a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 43.5. Toledo plays at home against Northern Illinois as a 12.5-point favorite with a total of 52. Seventeen games start from 3:30 PM ET to 6 PM ET. Seven games are on national television at 3:30 PM ET. Georgia visits Auburn on CBS as a 14.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 46. BYU is at home against Boise State on ABC as a 6-point favorite with a total of 58. North Carolina hosts Florida State on ESPN as a 17-point favorite with an over/under of 64.5. Wake Forest travels to Syracuse as a 6-point road favorite with a total of 59. Colorado State plays at home against San Jose State on FS1 as a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 44.5. SMU plays at Navy on the CBS Sports Network as a 13.5-point road favorite with a total of 56. Western Michigan is at home against Ball State on ESPNU as a 12-point favored with an over/under of 57.5. Iowa hosts Penn State on Fox as a 1.5-point favorite with a total of 40.5. Seventeen games close out the Saturday evening card in NCAAF. Three games are on national television at 7 PM ET. TCU travels to Texas Tech on ESPN as a 2.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 61. Kent State plays at home against Buffalo on ESPNU as a 6-point favorite with a total of 65. Air Force hosts Wyoming on the CBS Sports Network as a 5-point favorite with an over/under of 47.5. Michigan visits Nebraska on ABC as a 2.5-point road favorite with a total of 50. Two games are on national television at 8 PM ET. Alabama plays at Texas A&M on CBS as an 18-point road favorite with an over/under of 50.5. USC is at home against Utah on Fox as a 3-point favorite with a total of 53. Two games start at 9 PM ET. Tulsa plays at home against Memphis on ESPN2 as a 3-point favorite with an over/under of 61. San Diego State hosts New Mexico on FS1 as a 19.5-point favorite with a total of 42.5. Two games complete the card at 10:30 PM ET. Nevada plays at home against New Mexico State on the CBS Sports Network as a 29-point favorite with an over/under of 63.5. UCLA is at Arizona on ESPN as a 16-point road favorite with a total of 60.5. The MLB playoffs continue with both second games in the NLDS on TBS. Milwaukee hosts Atlanta at 5:07 PM ET. The Brewers won Game 1 by a 2-1 score on Friday. Brandon Woodruff is their starting pitcher today against the Braves Max Fried. Milwaukee is a -130 money line favorite with an over/under of 7.5. The Los Angeles Dodgers play at San Francisco at 9:07 PM ET. The Giants took the first game of this best-of-five series by a 4-0 score yesterday. San Francisco pitches Kevin Gausman against the Dodgers’ Julio Urias. Los Angeles is a -115 money line favorite with a total of 7. Week 10 in the Canadian Football League continues with Saskatchewan hosting Calgary on ESPN+ at 7 PM ET. The Roughriders are a 4-point favorite with an over/under of 44.5. 

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The Rich Keep Getting Richer

by Tom Stryker

Friday, Oct 08, 2021

Momentum.  Keep that word etched into your memory if you’re thinking about placing a wager on any sport.  When a team is hot, give them the buy sign.  If they’re not, simply shy away. I took that simple train of thought and applied it to this week’s college card.  At first, I was looking to see how some college football teams did off back-to-back SU and ATS wins.  From there, with the help of my college football database, the same one that was featured in the December 13th, 2010, issue of the ESPN Insider magazine, I focused on those squads that achieved their success as favorites in both, dogs in each game, and as a favorite and an underdog.  The best of what I discovered can be found in this week’s System of the Week – The Rich Keep Getting Richer.  Take a look. Since 1980, PLAY ON any home favorite priced at -10 or more, if they are coming off a road war, provided they won and covered their last two contests as double-digit favorites.  41-Year ATS Record = 107-57-4 ATS for 65.2 percent  This Week’s Play = OHIO STATE  The Buckeyes finally got their money train on the right track.  Two weeks ago, Ohio State (-48.5) did just enough to cover the number against Akron.  Last Saturday, head coach Ron Day and his kids were a -15-point road favorite at Rutgers and cashed easily 52-13.  This week, OSU is laying -21 at home against Maryland and that means the Buckeyes are locked into this lucrative technical situation. There is one special parameter that can be added to this general system that really increases its profitability.  If our “play on” host destroyed the Las Vegas pointspread by double-digits last, this system tightens up to an eye-popping 70-27-2 ATS for 72.1 percent.  Last Saturday, OSU was a -15-point favorite at Rutgers and won by 39 points.  The Buckeyes smashed the Las Vegas number by 24 points in that victory which means they fit this tightener perfectly. Good luck with the Buckeyes on Saturday.

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NHL Hockey Futures Bet: Toronto Maple Leafs to Win 2022 Stanley Cup

by Al McMordie

Friday, Oct 08, 2021

The 2021-22 NHL season starts next week.  So, it's time for my preseason forecast of the eventual Stanley Cup champion.  This has become one of my popular columns, in large part due to the spectacular success I've enjoyed on my futures predictions over the years.  Last year, we hit the basketball "daily-double" with Baylor (at 12-1 odds) and the Milwaukee Bucks (at 13-2 odds) winning their respective championships.  And that was the 2nd straight NCAA Basketball season we cashed our preseason ticket, as we had Virginia (at 22-1 odds) in the 2019 season!  Also in 2019, I predicted the Washington Nationals (at 18-1 odds), and followed that up in 2020 with the Los Angeles Dodgers (at 4-1 odds).  But, to show I can be dead wrong on occasion, I fell way short with my 2021 MLB prediction on the Minnesota Twins (at 22-1 odds).  Still, I've hit three of the last five MLB futures, as I also had the Houston Astros in 2017 (at 10-1 odds).  And other winners have been the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 (at 7-1 odds), the San Antonio Spurs (2014, 14-1 odds; 1999, 11-2 odds), Golden State Warriors (2016, 5-1 odds; 2018, -160 odds), and Green Bay Packers (2011, 10-1 odds).For this upcoming hockey season, I'm going to turn to a team which has had nothing but heartbreak over the last 54 seasons:  the Toronto Maple Leafs.  But the current odds are quite attractive, as I just took them yesterday at 15-1 odds at William Hill Sportsbook in Las Vegas.  And they're also 14-1 currently at BetAnySports.eu.  The Maple Leafs may have finally found their man in goal.  After a variety of goaltenders led to some pretty mediocre net-minding numbers over the past several years -- annual team GAA of 2.77, 2.84, and 3.04 leading up to last season -- the Leafs turned to veteran Jack Campbell in the latter part of last season with very good results.  Campbell was brought on at the end of the short 2020 season, but he became the Leafs full-time goalie in the final quarter of last season and posted a 17-3-2 record with a sparkling 2.15 GAA and .921 saves pct.  The Leafs are comfortable enough with Campbell being their guy going forward that they let Frederik Andersen go to the Hurricanes by way of free agency in July.  The Leafs and Canes basically swapped net-minders as Petr Mrazek comes to Toronto from Carolina and will serve primarily as Campbell's back-up.     The Leafs' offense didn't see very many changes in the off-season and that's a good thing for a team that finished sixth in Scoring last season with 184 goals in 55 games.  There will be Salary Cap challenges going forward NEXT season, but this is not a team that is trying to build for later.  This is a team which believes it has the talent to win it all this season.  Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares all return to lead the offense that should be better than it was a year ago.  Young Defenseman Rasmus Sandin (Toronto's first round pick in 2018) should be ready to break out on the blue line with substantially more ice time.  If he does, then the Leafs' defense could be much improved.  The window of opportunity is open for the Leafs to win their first Cup since 1967, but it could close quickly after this season given their Cap situation.  Take Toronto at 15-1 odds to win the 2022 Stanley Cup.  As always, good luck...Al McMordie.

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Wilder/Fury III 

by Ben Burns

Friday, Oct 08, 2021

On Sunday, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury will fight for the third time. It's been roughly a year and a half since Fury dominated Wilder. Their first meeting, back in December of 2018, resulted in a draw. Wilder was a fairly big favorite for that first fight. However, Fury is an even bigger one for Saturday night's bout. Let's take a closer look. Wilder/Fury IWilder was favored in the -180 to -200 range. The judges scored it 115–111 for Wilder, 114–112 for Fury and 113–113; a split draw. However, when 27 boxing journalists were polled, fifteen gave the fight to Fury and only three had it going to Wilder. Nine scored it a draw. These two had been talking trash about each other for years. Fury confronted Wilder after he won a fight in 2016 in NY and said: "any time any place anywhere when you're ready, I'll fight you in your back garden like I did Klitschko I'll beat you, you bum! You're a bum!" Wilder responded: "I don't play this, you can run around like you're a preacher and all that but I promise you when you step in this ring I will baptize you!" The fighters had a combined 67-0 record when they finally met. Fury weighed in at 256 1/2 pounds. Wilder was 212 1/2. Afterward, both fighters claimed to have won. Each called out Anthony Joshua after that fight. In an interesting twist, Joshua recently lost and now Fury has offered to train him for his rematch against Usyk.Wilder/Fury IIThe odds were closer for the rematch but the fight was not. Hyped as "Unfinished Business," it appeared clear that things had been settled. The odds opened more in the pick'em range but Wilder closed as a -140 favorite. That didn't phase Fury. He took it to Wilder, knocking him down twice before Wilder's corner eventually threw in the towel, in the seventh round. While Wilder would go on to fire the cornerman who threw in the towel, he was getting pummelled. Wilder won't go away though. Back with a new trainer, he insists that things will be different. He's got a huge ego and has all sorts of excuses for why he lost. One has to wonder what his confidence will be like though. Deep inside, he knows that he lost. Not surprisingly, Fury is now the significant favorite. He's currently laying close to -300. Takeback is roughly +240 with Wilder. With the recent trend of "YouTube stars" fighting over-the-hill fighters, it will be good to see a couple of legitimate heavyweights. Enjoy the fight! 

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NCAAF, MLB, CFL and WNBA Previews and Odds - 10/08/2021

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Oct 08, 2021

The Friday sports card features action in NCAAF, MLB, CFL, and the WNBA.Week 6 of the college football season continues with three games between FBS opponents. Charlotte visits Florida International on the CBS Sports Network at 7 PM ET. The 49ers fell to a 3-2 record with a 24-14 loss at Illinois as a 10-point underdog on Saturday. The Golden Panthers dropped to 1-4 with a 58-21 loss at FAU as a 10.5-point underdog last week. Charlotte is a 3.5-point road favorite with the total set at 60.5 (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise). Cincinnati hosts Temple on ESPN at 7 PM ET as a 29-point favorite with an over/under of 54. The Bearcats remained undefeated after their 24-13 win at Notre Dame as a 2.5-point road favorite on Saturday. The Owls have won two in a row after their 34-31 upset victory against Memphis on Saturday. Cincinnati is a 29-point favorite with an over/under of 54. Arizona State plays at home against Stanford on ESPN at 10:30 PM ET. The Sun Devils have won two in a row after their 42-23 upset win at UCLA as a 3-point underdog on Saturday. The Cardinal has won three of four after their 31-24 win against Oregon in overtime as an 8.5-point underdog. Arizona State is a 13.5-point favorite with a total of 51.Four games take place in the MLB divisional playoffs. Houston hosts the Chicago White Sox on the MLB Network at 2:07 PM ET. The Astros took a 1-0 lead in the series with a 6-1 victory on Thursday. Houston gives the ball to Framber Valdez to face Lucas Giolito. The Astros are a -130 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Milwaukee plays at home against Atlanta on TBS at 4:37 PM ET. The Brewers have lost four in a row after a 10-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday. Milwaukee pitches Corbin Burnes against the Braves Charlie Morton. The Brewers are a -155 money line favorite with a total of 7. Tampa Bay is at home against Boston on FS1 at 7:02 PM ET. The Rays come off a 5-0 victory in the opening game of this five-game series. Tampa Bay pitches Shane Bay against the Red Sox’s Chris Sale. Tampa Bay is a -135 money line favorite with an over/under of 7.5. The Los Angeles Dodgers visit the San Francisco Giants on TBS at 9:37 PM ET. The Dodgers have won eight in a row after their 3-1 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League wild-card game on Wednesday. The Giants have won eight of nine after an 11-4 loss to San Diego on Sunday. Los Angeles is a -120 money line road favorite with a total of 7. Week 10 of the Canadian Football League continues with Winnipeg hosting Edmonton on ESPN+ at 8:30 PM ET. The Blue Bombers have won five in a row with their 30-9 victory at British Columbia as a 2.5-point favorite last Friday. The Elks come off a 34-24 upset loss at Ottawa as a 9-point favorite on September 28th. Winnipeg is a 12.5-point favorite with an over/under of 42.5. The semifinals of the WNBA conclude with the fifth game of the series between the Phoenix Mercury and the Las Vegas Aces on ESPN2 at 9 PM ET. The Aces forced a final game with a 93-76 upset win in Phoenix as a 1-point underdog on Wednesday. Las Vesag is a 5.5-point home favorite with a total of 169.

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NFL Top 10 (at Week 5)

by Wayne Root

Thursday, Oct 07, 2021

1. CARDINALS;  4-0 The Cardinals stayed undefeated with a statement victory over the Rams on Sunday. They'll look to keep it going when they host the 49ers next Sunday. Kyler Murray the one of the leading MVP candidates heading into Week 5, or at least in the conversation. 2. BUCCANEERS; 3-1 It didn't come as easy as many expected, but Tom Brady and the Buccaneers edged out the Patriots to give the 44-year-old QB a win vs. all 32 NFL teams in his illustrious career. They showed they can win games, even if Tom Brady isn't on top of his game. 3. BILLS; 3-1 It's safe to say Buffalo is all the way back after its puzzling Week 1 loss to the Steelers. The Bills cruised to a 40-0 victory over the Texans on Sunday and will look to stay hot when they visit the Chiefs next Sunday night. The Kansas City game will be a proving ground for the Bills. If they win, they show the league they are the class of the AFC. 4. PACKERS; 3-1After that awful showing in Week 1, they have turned their season around quickly. At 3-1, they have a nice hold of the division after the first month. The Packers earned their third straight win Sunday as they cruised to a 27-17 win over the Steelers. Aaron Rodgers tossed two touchdown passes and rushed for another as he continues to prove that Week 1 dud was a fluke. How many realize that Rodgers is 30,000 passing yards short of Tom Brady?  5. BROWNS; 3-1 It wasn't pretty at Minnesota, but they found a way. That's the sign of a good team. They just keep fighting -- even on bad days. The Browns offense was painful to watch Sunday vs. Minnesota, but a win is a win... right? Cleveland will need a sharper Baker Mayfield and more than 14 points when it visits the Chargers next week. 6. RAMS; 3-1 They put so much into the Tampa Bay game, so there had to be a letdown against the Cardinals. But to that degree? The Rams' dominant run vs. the Cardinals ended Sunday evening as L.A. was outclassed, 37-20. It won't get any easier Thursday night vs. Seattle. Or will it? 7. CHARGERS; 3-1 They beat up on the Raiders Monday night. If the defense plays like that, they will be a real threat in the AFC. Justin Herbert has seven touchdowns and zero interceptions in his last two games, while Austin Ekeler racked up 117 rushing yards Monday night in a win over the undefeated Raiders. So far so good for Brandon Staley's club. 8. COWBOYS; 3-1 After losing their opener on the road, they have really come on strong. The biggest surprise is how well the defense is playing for coordinator Dan Quinn. The Cowboys handed the Panthers their first loss of the season with a four-TD performance from Dak Prescott and a 143-yard, one TD day for Ezekiel Elliott. Trevon Diggs was the star for Dallas with two interceptions, bringing his total on the season to a league-leading five INTs. 9. CHIEFS; 2-2 That offense we saw in Philadelphia is what we expect to see. But the defense still has major issues and now here comes the Bills for a real test. The Chiefs earned a much-needed win over the Eagles on Sunday to bounce back from their two consecutive losses. Philadelphia had no answer for Tyreek Hill, who totaled 11 catches for 186 yards and three TDs. However, they remain in the basement of the AFC West. 10. RAVENS; 3-1 The Ravens made up for nearly losing to the Lions last week by taking down the previously undefeated Broncos, 23-7. That was an impressive road victory against the Broncos. The defense had its best game of the season, which is a good sign. Next, they'll face off against the Colts on Monday NightFootball. —————- Looking to make the Top 10  11. LV Raiders 12. Carolina 13. Seattle  14. Cincinnati  14. Denver

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Ness Notes (NFL): 4 Games Complete; A Baker's Dozen To Go

by Larry Ness

Thursday, Oct 07, 2021

The NFL's first-ever 17-game schedule (18 weeks) is 64 games into the 2021 season after four weeks. Home teams went 132-123-1 two seasons ago (2019), the worst record since the advent of the 16-game schedule. Then, in 2020, home teams had a losing record for the first time in history, going 127-128-1.One could argue that empty and partially-empty stadiums played a role in that. However, that situation no longer applies in 2021 and after four weeks, home teams are just 30-33 (.476) SU and even worse ATS, going 28-35 (44.4%). You may be wondering about that 64th game but back in Week 1, the Saints had their home opener against the Packers moved to Jacksonville, creating a neutral-site situation.What's also notable is how almost each of the four weeks have been so similar. Home teams were 7-8 SU (6-9 ATS) in Week 1, 8-8 SU (7-9 ATS) in Week 2, 8-8 SU (8-8 ATS) in Week 3 and 7-9 SU (7-9 ATS) in Week 4. How are home dogs doing? They've gone 8-14 SU but are small winners ATS, going 12-10. For over/under bettors, there have been 26 overs and 38 unders. The 64 games have averaged 47.0 PPG. Again, check out the consistency. Week 1 games averaged 46.6 PPG and Week 2 games 45.5 PPG but then Weeks 3 and 4 saw exactly 768 points in the 16 games, averaging 48.0 PPG. The highest scoring game of the current season occurred in Week 1, when San Francisco won 41-33 at Detroit for a total of 74 combined points. There have been three other games in the low-70s. The lowest scoring game of the season came last Sunday, when Cleveland won 14-7 at Minnesota (21 points). Some AFC random thoughts: The Bills are 3-1 and the class of the AFC East. After a 4th-quarter collapse in Week 1 at home to Pittsburgh, Buffalo has won three straight (3-0 ATS), scoring 118 points while allowing 21. Buffalo has two shutouts (35-0 at Miami and 40-0 at home to Houston) in its first four games. The last team to do that was the Baltimore Ravens in 2000 (note: Baltimore won the Super Bowl that season). The AFC North and AFC West have three-way ties at the top. The Bengals, Browns and Ravens are 3-1, with the Steelers sitting in last-place at 1-3 in the North. As for the West, the Broncos, Chargers and Raiders are 3-1, while the five-time defending AFC West champs (Chiefs) are in last-place at 2-2. The South looks like it will be the weakest division in the AFC, as Tennessee leads at 2-2, while Houtson (1-3), Indy (1-3) and Jacksonville (0-4) are a combined 2-10. The Jags are the lone winless team in the NFC and one may ask, "How are you liking the NFL these days, Urban?"Some NFC random thoughts: The NFL's lone unbeaten team is the 4-0 Arizona Cardinals (I bet most people called that!), who play in the highly competitive NFC West. The Rams are 3-1, while the Seahawks and 49ers are 2-2. The defending Tampa Bay 'Bradys' sit atop the NFC South at 3-1 but two of those wins have come via a made FG vs Dallas in Week 1 and a missed FG by New England in Week 4, both on the game's final play. Hence, Tampa Bay's 1-3 ATS record. Can you say, "the Bradys are lucky to NOT be 1-3?"Joining Tampa Bay at 3-1 in the NFC South is Carolina, which is also 3-1 ATS (who wouldn't take Darnold over Brady?). The Saints, without Drew Brees, are averaging 144.0 YPG passing (31st) and sit at 2-2. The Falcons are 1-3 and may just ask for 'asylum' after Sunday's game with the Jets in London. The Packers lead the NFC North at 3-1 (3-0 SU and ATS after that debacle at Jacksonville against the Saints in Week 1). I doubt the Packers will be tested this season, as the Bears are 2-2, the Vikings 1-3 and the Lions 0-4, joining the Jags as the NFL's only two winless teams. Let's NOT forget about the division that earned the moniker NFC 'Least' in 2020.  Washington won the division last season at 7-9 and are 2-2 to open 2021. However, both wins have come via 'miracles' (see the ending of the team's games against the Giants and the Falcons!). Speaking of the Giants, they are 1-3 and the Eagles are also 1-3, 0-3 since beating the Falcons in Week 1. However, "How 'bout dem Cowboys!" Dak is healthy and so is Zeke. Dallas lost on the game's final play at Tampa Bay in the 2021 Season Opener but has then ripped off THREE straight wins and is currently the NFL's lone unbeaten ATS team (4-0). I'm sure most came into the season thinking, "I'm gonna bet on Dallas in every game, it's a "sure thing!" And so it goes...Good luck...Larry

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NFL, MLB, and NCAAF Previews and Odds - 10/07/2021

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Oct 07, 2021

The Thursday sports card features action in the NFL, NCAAF, and MLB.The fifth week in the regular season of the National Football League kicks off with the Los Angeles Rams visiting the Seattle Seahawks at 8:20 PM ET. The Rams fell to 3-1 on the season after a 37-20 upset loss at home to Arizona as a 3.5-point favorite on Sunday. The Seahawks evened their record at 2-2 with a 28-21 upset victory at San Francisco as a 2.5-point underdog on Sunday. Los Angeles is a 2.5-point road favorite, with the total set at 54.5 (all odds from DraftKings). Fox and the NFL Network have the broadcast.Week 6 of the college football season begins with two games between FBS opponents. Houston travels to Tulane on ESPN at 7:30 PM ET. The Cougars raised their record to 4-1 with a 45-10 upset victory at Tulsa as a 3.5-point underdog last Friday. The Green Wave dropped to 1-4 on the season after a 52-29 upset loss at East Carolina as a 3-point road favorite on Saturday. Houston is a 6.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 59.5.Coastal Carolina goes on the road to play Arkansas State on ESPNU at 7:30 PM ET. The Chanticleers are 5-0 this season after their 59-6 victory against UL-Monroe as a 33.5-point favorite last Saturday. The Red Wolves fell to 1-4 on the year with a 59-33 loss at Georgia Southern as a 2-point underdog on Saturday. Coastal Carolina is a 19.5-point road favorite with a total of 73.5. The playoffs continue in Major League Baseball with the opening games in both American League Division Series on FS1. The Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox at 4:07 PM ET. The Astros have won three of their last four games after beating Oakland, 7-6, last Sunday. They finished the regular season with a 95-67 record. Lance McCullers takes the ball for Houston in the opening game of this best-of-five series. The right-hander had a 13-5 record with a 3.16 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 28 regular season starts. The White Sox were on a six-game winning streak before getting beat by Detroit, 5-2, on Sunday. Chicago ended the regular season with a 93-69 record. Lance Lynn takes the mound for them after posting an 11-6 record with a 2.69 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 28 starts. Houston is a -130 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.Tampa Bay plays at home against the Boston Red Sox at 8:07 PM ET. The Rays had won two in a row before losing in New York against the Yankees, 1-0, last Sunday. They ended the regular season with a 100-62 record, the best record in the American League. Tampa Bay pitches Shane McClanahan tonight. The rookie left-hander has a 10-6 record with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP in 25 starts. The Red Sox have won four in a row after beating the Yankees in Tuesday's American League wild-card game, 6-2. They finished the regular season with a 92-70 record. Eduardo Rodriguez toes the rubber for them tonight. The left-hander has a 13-8 record with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 31 starts and 32 overall appearances. Tampa Bay is a -160 money line favorite with a total of 8.

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