Articles

Ness Notes: Friday, Sep 25

by Larry Ness

Friday, Sep 25, 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." NFL Week 3 kicked off Thursday night, as the Dolphins easily handled the Jags 31-13 in Jacksonville. Who says Ryan Fitzpatrick is no more than a journeyman? The 37-year-old accounted for three TDs ( two passing / one rushing). He became the first NFL quarterback to notch six wins over the same opponent with SIX different teams. The blowout also gave Miami its first double-digit victory in 39 games, ending the longest drought in the league. NFL home teams have gone 19-13 SU but just 16-15-1 ATS the first two weeks, including home dogs going 3-8 SU but 6-4-1 ATS. Eleven of the 16 Week 2 games went over (average final score was 53.3 PPG), as overs lead unders 20-12 (62.5%).Week 3 features two games between 2-0 teams. The Rams at the Bills (Buff is -2.5) plus on MNF, the 2-0 Ravens host the 2-0 Chiefs. Baltimore is favored by 3.5, as the two teams expected to meet in last season's AFC championship game square off. Think anyone will be watching? The only game between 0-2 teams is the Bengals at the Eagles (Philly is -4.5). There are three games featuring a 2-0 team vs an 0-2 one. The 2-0 Titans are at 0-2 Vikings (Tenn is -2.5), the 2-0 Steelers host the 0-2 Texans (Pitt is -4) and the 2-0 Cardinals host the 0-2 Lions ( Arz is -5.5). SNF has a good one in 2-0 Green Bay at 1-1 New Orleans, Rodgers vs Brees (Saints are -3).The Lakers beat the Nuggets 114-108 last night to take a 3-1 lead in the western conference finals A.D. had 34 points, LBJ 26-9-8 and Dwight Howard got his first start of the postseason, adding 12 & 11. The Nuggets shot 50.6% as a team but it wasn't enough. Does Denver have LA right where it wants? The Nuggets have already overcome two, 3-1 deficits this postseason. Game 5 is Saturday (early line is LA -6). Game 5 of the East is set for tonight, with Miami leading 3-1. Miami can become the first team seeded fifth or lower to reach the NBA Finals since the eighth-seeded New York Knicks lost to San Antonio in 1999. The last team seeded fifth or lower to win an NBA title was Houston in 1995, when it beat Orlando as the West's No. 6 seed. Boston is in the East Finals for the third time in four years but hasn't advanced to the NBA Finals since 2010. Boston last won an NBA title in 2008 and before that, its last title was back in 1986, the last of Bird's three NBA championships. Each team has scored exactly 441 points but that's NOT indicative, as the Heat have been the better team (Miami is 11-2 SU & ATS this postseason). However, Boston is favored by three points in Game 5.of a one-sided series.  Playoff numbers to-date: Favorites are just 37-35-2 ATS , while the under has cashed in 44 of the 74 games (59.5 percent). For those following the "Zig-Zag" Theory (that means playing "on" the SU loser of the previous game), they've gone 26-31-2 ATS (45.6%) or minus-.8.1 net units (last night's game was graded as a 'push').MLB enters its final weekend. The Blue Jays clinched a playoff spot in the AL with their 4-1 win last night over the Yankees. Yes, the Cardinals and Marlins dealt with major COVID outbreaks but let's NOT forget the Blue Jays were denied the ability to play in Toronto by the Canadian government, so they instead played their home games at their Triple-A stadium in Buffalo, NY. The team was forced to open the season with 13 games straight on the road. Kudos to the franchise that won back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993. The Astros can wrap up the final playoff spot in the American League on Friday with a win over the Rangers OR an Angels loss to the Dodgers. Speaking of the Marlins and the Cards. Miami can clinch second place in the NL East and the playoff spot that goes with it Friday with a win over the Yankees AND a Phillies loss to the Rays. The Cards currently hold down second place in the NL Central but they Cards enter Friday to either earn the second-place spot in the division, grab one of the NL's two wild cards or miss the postseason entirely. Note: St Louis could be forced into a make-up doubleheader with Detroit on Monday.Next Ness Notes on Monday by 1:00 ET.Good luck...Larry

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Early MLB Playoffs Preview

by Ben Burns

Friday, Sep 25, 2020

by Ben BurnsThe year of 2020 has reminded us that anything is possible. In the NBA,the fifth seeded Miami Heat took down #1 Milwaukee and are now one win away from advancing to the Finals. In the NHL, the Dallas Stars upset favored Colorado (and Vegas) to advance to the Finals. Should we also expect an unlikely entry in this year's World Series?With the short season and the new playoff format, I'd say it's entirely possible, perhaps even likely, that we'll have an "unexpected" team playing for the title. The Dodgers are favored and for good reason. They're stacked. Anything can happen in a series though and they're certainly not a sure thing to represent the National League. They could face a tough Reds team in the first round. The Padres and Braves are both playing well. Atlanta recently learned that it will get Fried back for the playoffs. The Cubs can't be counted out, particularly if they draw over-achieving Miami in the first round. The Yankees may be favored in the American League but they won't have an easy road ahead of them. Indeed, the AL is wide open. with any team capable of stepping up. Tampa, Oakland and Minnesota are currently the top three seeds but the White Sox and Indians are also tough. Even Toronto, though young, is capable of getting hot at the right time. At this time, with the brackets not quite finalized, I'm willing to make only one prediction. Like everything else in 2020, the playoffs promise to at least be "interesting." Once the matchups are set, I'll report back with some further thoughts. Until then, enjoy the final few days of the regular season.  

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Friday NCAA Football: UTSA/Middle Tennessee St. Preview

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Sep 25, 2020

The first college football game played on a Friday night this season features two teams that appear to be moving in opposite directions in a Conference USA clash that was not on the original schedule for these teams a week ago at this time.The University of Texas-San Antonio is off to a dream start in the first year of head coach Jeff Traylor. The Roadrunners outlasted Texas State on the road in their opening game of the season to pull out a 51-48 victory in overtime on September 12th. UTSA returned home last Saturday to host an FCS opponent in Stephen F. Austin, who they defeated by a 24-10 score as a 17-point favorite. UTSA is averaging 498 yards per game led by a ground game that has to have Traylor pleased. The former SMU running backs coach has overseen an offense that is averaging over 5.0 yards-per-carry, which has led to 279 rushing yards per game in their first two contests. Dual-threat quarterback Frank Harris has thrived in operating the Roadrunners offense, and he has been complemented by running back Sincere McCormick. Middle Tennessee opened the season with an embarrassing 42-0 loss at Army on September 5th, and they were not able to make many adjustments two weeks later with Troy then throttling them by a 47-14 score despite being just a 1.5-point underdog. The Blue Raiders are getting overwhelmed on both sides of the football, but it is probably their woes on offense that are the larger concern. Head coach Rick Stockstill knew finding a running back to present a credible alternative to dual-threat quarterback Asher O’Hara was critical for the offense to take the next step after averaging 26.3 points per game last year. Stockstill hit the transfer market in the offseason to bring in Amir Rasul from Florida State and Martell Pettaway from Western Virginia to compete for the role. But COVID-19 concerns compelled both former highly regarded recruits to opt-out this season, leaving offensive coordinator Tony Franklin with a similar stable of backs that needed the upgrade from last year. Middle Tennessee is averaging only 81 rushing yards per game this season. Junior QB Chase Cunningham is considered the better pure passer to O’Hara, who was last year’s starter. Don’t be surprised if Cunningham gets the start or gets more playing time in this game with Stockstill desperate to jumpstart the offense. UTSA was, originally, scheduled to host Memphis on Saturday, but the Tigers’ COVID outbreak caused them to cancel their game with Houston just last Saturday. These two football programs agreed to this play game six days ago. Middle Tennessee had previously scheduled a trip to conference rival Old Dominion, but that game was canceled last month when the Monarchs opted out of football the season. BetAnySports lists UTSA as a 7-point favorite with a total set at 60. The CBS Sports Network picked up the broadcast this week to replace the Roadrunners clash with the Tigers. Kickoff is set for 8 PM ET.

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What Types of Bets are there in Horse Racing?

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Sep 25, 2020

What types of bets are there in horse racing?When you think about the history of sports, consider the small bets humans used to make with each other:  ‘who can swim across the lake first?’...‘which person can run the fastest?’...and ‘who is the strongest?’  These early tests of athleticism then developed into formal sports, with rules, like marathon races, baseball and weightlifting competitions.  Who would've thought that years later there would be arenas filled with people who would be betting ungodly sums of money on the action?Horse racing was one of these sports that quickly gained in popularity.  It started with small races, but nowadays, there are hundreds of race tracks all over the world.  Indeed, the economic impact (both direct and indirect) of horse racing within the United States is estimated to be north of 120 billion dollars.  And betting plays a significant role.  Every day, there are bettors at race tracks rooting on their horse to finish first.  Not only is horse racing one of the most exciting sports, it can be very lucrative when you approach it the right way.In this betting guide, we'll examine what horse race betting is all about, how you can start wagering on your favorite horse today, and what bet types are the most lucrative. What are the most common horse race wagers? Horse racing is a diverse sport.  There are not just two teams competing against each other to score as much as possible.  No, in most horse races, there are upwards of 12 horses that compete against each other to finish first.  This creates lots of opportunities when we start looking at the bet types.Straight betsWe start with the easiest bets, the straight bets. These are the most common bets and the easiest wagers when you first start exploring the field of horse betting.  Straight bets can be made on single horses in single races.Win betIn any race, there's a winning horse.  With the win bet, all you need to do is pick which horse finishes first, and you have a winning ticket.  Admittedly, there’s often a small chance to choose the right horse, so the payout can be pretty impressive.Place betWith the place bet, you take a slightly different approach.  Instead of picking the winning horse, you pick a horse that will end up in either first or second place.  So the exact position does not matter, as long as your horse ends up in either of the top two positions.  The risk is smaller than the win bet; thus, the payout is also less.Show betWhen you want to reduce your risk further, you can choose the show bet.  Similar to the win and place bets, you pick a horse to finish among the top of the field.  Unlike the other bets, though, with a show wager, your horse can end up in either first, second, or third place.  And if your horse winds up among the top three finishers, your ticket is a winner.Exotic betsThe straight bets are simple and perfect for novice bettors, who simply visit the race tracks for entertainment.  Now, when you wish to delve into horse betting a little further, it's time to look at the exotic bets.  The exotic wagers are a category of bets which require more than just picking a single horse.  Here, we'll guide you through the exotic wagers, one by one.ExactaThe first exotic wager is the exacta bet, and it's a type of wager which necessitates a little more research than a regular win bet.  Unlike the straight bets, with exotic bets, you're picking multiple horses.  Thus, with the exacta bet, you pick two winning horses that will finish in first and second place.  The two horses you select as the top two finishers also must finish in the exact order you chose.  So, only if you select the horse which ends in first place, and the horse that ends in second place, in the correct order, will you have a winning ticket.  The exacta is one of the most popular bets, and professional handicappers especially love this type of bet since the payouts can be very rewarding.QuinellaThe quinella wager is very much like the exacta wager.  The difference, though, is that with the quinella bet, the exact order of the top-two finishers does not matter.  You still pick the horses that finish in first and second place, but you don't need to pick the correct order.  It's an easier bet than the exacta, and thus produces a smaller payout.TrifectaThe trifecta is the next level in exotic wagers.  It's a type of bet which requires you to pick three winning horses in the exact order.  And, because of the huge payouts, less experienced bettors are often enticed by this wager.  However, the chances to win are exceptionally small, as you must successfully predict the top three finishers in the precise order.SuperfectaThe superfecta bet is for those who just want to take on massive risk with both hands.  In this type of bet, you only win if you predict the top four finishers in the correct order.  That means you pick the horse in first, second, third, and fourth place.  The chances are remote; thus, the reward is extremely high. Reducing your riskRisk is part of what makes gambling fun, but gambling can be a bit more comfortable when you're able to reduce that risk.  With the exotic wagers, there are two ways you can reduce it.  And that’s be setting up a box bet, or a wheel bet.  The most common are the exacta box, trifecta box, exacta wheel, and trifecta wheel.Let's take an exacta box, for example.  This bet type is ideal if you like two horses, but can’t decide on the exact order of your favored horses. With a regular exacta bet, if you thought the #1 horse would win, and the #2 horse would finish second, your ticket would be:1 - 2However, with an exacta box, you take each possible combination with your two favored horses.  That means your betting slip looks like this: 1 - 2 2 - 1 So, either way, you have a winning ticket if your horses come in as the top two.  The other option is to set up a wheel.  For example, when we take a trifecta, you have to pick the three winning horses in the exact order.  But, let's say you think horse #1 will win, followed by horse #2, but you haven't decided on third place.  Then, you can set up a wheel that takes all possible combinations.  Your betting slip (if six horses are in the field) would look like this: 1 - 2 - 3 1 - 2 - 4 1 - 2 - 5 1 - 2 - 6 This way, you simply have more chances to succeed.  Instead of having just one bet, you now have four straight trifecta bets.  Of course, your initial stake is a little higher, too.Other types of horse race betsThere are some other types of horse race wagers that we have yet to discuss.  These are among the most difficult to cash.  You could liken them to buying a lottery ticket, and we don’t advise novice gamblers to play them.  Nevertheless, let's dive right in.Daily DoubleInstead of betting on just one single race, with the daily double, you pick the winning horse for two consecutive races.  You can compare it to a parlay bet in regular sports betting.  These two consecutive races could be any throughout the racing day, but it's common to bet on either the first and second race (the early double) or the last two races (the late double).Pick 3 to Pick 6If the daily double is not interesting enough for you, you could go for the Pick 3, where you pick the winning horse in three consecutive races.  And if that isn’t enough of a challenge, you could try a Pick 6, where you pick the winning horse in six consecutive races.  (In between those are the Pick 4 and Pick 5.)  There aren’t many horse bettors who have cashed a Pick 6, but that fact has never stopped people from trying. How to calculate your payout in horse racing Horse racing is entirely different from any other kind of sport.  Usually, there's a bookmaker who comes up with specific odds, and you, as a bettor, have to select a side at those published odds.  With horse racing, all bettors play against each other.  This system is called pari-mutuel odds.  You probably have seen a horse racing tote board if you have ever been to a race track, or even watched the Kentucky Derby on television.  On the tote board, there are prize pools for various bet types (e.g., the place bet), and each horse is listed alongside an amount of money.  The various prize pools -- for win bets, place bets, show bets, etc. -- are divided among the winning bettors.  Let's take an example to illustrate your possible payout.We're at the Kentucky Derby with more than 150,000 bettors in attendance.  They're all wagering on the win bet on their favorite horse for the exact bet size of $5.  That brings a total prize pool of $750,000.  At the end of the race, horse number #1 crosses the finish line first, with 2,000 bettors predicting that outcome.  Have a look at the following formula to see how the payout works: 150,000 x $5 = $750,000 $750,000 / 2,000 = $375 That means each of the 2,000 winning bettors would collect (roughly) $375 from the prize pool.  The reason we say “roughly” is that the track always takes a cut from a prize pool to cover its costs (and government taxes), so the payout will always be a little less than the true pari-mutuel odds.  Horse racing tips and tricks For most, gambling is seen as a fun form of entertainment -- a diversion.  But how do you win?  How do you determine the horses to bet on, and the types of wagers to utilize?  Admittedly, that’s the most difficult part.  And, if we knew the exact outcome of each race, it would also take away all the fun.  But there are things that all bettors can do to put the most money in their pocket.  So, we have two tips we want to share to get you started the right way:Find the right place to place your betsWith horse racing, the approach is a little different than with regular sports betting.  You can visit a race track and start wagering there, or open an account with one of the online bookmakers.  Whatever you do -- make sure you always get the best odds and/or take advantage of the best promotions.  It might be hard at first, but once you compare different sportsbooks here and there, you'll see that some are better than others.  For example, our current #1-rated sportsbook is BetAnySports.  Not only does it offer reduced juice (-105 odds rather than -110 odds) in football and basketball, but it also offers 10% bonus payouts on winnings at major horse tracks, as well as a 9% rebate on losing horse tickets.  And GTBets is another of our highly-rated sportsbooks, and is popular among horse players for its very customer-friendly 15% rebate on monthly losses.Make intelligent decisionsWith sports betting, it’s of utmost importance to make well-thought out decisions.  To that end, we have a couple of rules that you could take as friendly advice: When you're just starting, stay away from exotic wagers and especially the daily double and Pick 3/Pick 6 bets. Don't just bet on a horse because it’s a favorite on the morning line; do your research as well. Is the horse in good form?  Has it raced before at the current track?  How good is its jockey? Are the odds in your favor?  Does it make sense to place a wager in comparison to the risk you're taking? Finally, the last advice we want to give everyone is to have fun!  Horse racing is an entertaining activity that you should enjoy, even when there's a substantial amount of money on the line!

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

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Sep 24, 2020

Week 3 of the NFL season kicks off tonight with the Miami Dolphins traveling to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars. Both teams are looking to rebound from losses to divisional rivals on Sunday.Miami has lost their first two games of the season after losing at home to Buffalo by 31-28 score. That setback came after losing at New England in Week 1 by a 21-11 score. Which version of Ryan Fitzpatrick will show up for this game? Fitzmagic completed 31 of 47 passes against the stout Bills defense for 328 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. But in his opening game against the Patriots, Fitzpatrick threw for only 191 yards while throwing three interceptions. Jacksonville followed up a 27-20 upset victory at home against Indianapolis with a narrow 33-30 loss at Tennessee as a 7-point underdog last week. The Jaguars outgained the Titans by a 480 to 354 yardage margin but were held back by a -2 turnover margin from two interceptions from Gardner Minshew. Yet the second-year quarterback has been one of the surprises of the league with a 75.3% completion percentage after his first two games with 512 passing yards along with six touchdown passes. Minshew may be without one of his favorite targets in wide receiver D.J. Chark who is questionable with a chest injury. BetAnySports has the Jaguars as a 3-point favorite with the total set at 49. NFL Network has the telecast with kickoff scheduled for 8:20 PM  ET.ESPN broadcasts their first game on a Thursday night this college football season with the UAB Blazers traveling to Mobile to play the South Alabama Jaguars for this in-state rivalry in the “Battle for the Belt.” Both these teams had the benefit of a bye week to rebound from a loss. These two teams also will be starting a different quarterback from who began their seasons atop their depth charts.  UAB has become a regular fixture for Thursday night football after opening the season with a 45-35 victory over Central Arkansas on September 3rd before losing the next Thursday at Miami (FL) by a 31-14 score as a 15.5-point underdog. The Blazers kept that game competitive through the first half with the Hurricanes only up 14-7 at halftime before the superior athletes of Miami pulled away. South Alabama opened their season on September 3rd as well with a 32-21 upset victory at Southern Mississippi as an 11.5-point underdog. The Jaguars then llost two Saturdays ago on September 12th by a 27-24 score at home to Tulane where they were also 11.5-point underdogs. That result was a disappointment for head coach Steve Campbell with South Alabama blowing a 24-6 lead in the second half. BetAnySports has UAB as a 6.5-point favorite with the total set at 46.5. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 PM ET. The NBA playoffs continue in the Western Conference finals with Game 4 of the Los Angeles Lakers/Denver Nuggets series. Denver avoided digging themselves into an 0-3 hole on Tuesday with a 114-106 upset victory over the Lakers as a 5.5-point favorite. The Lakers are 6-point favorites at BetAnySports with the total set at 49. Tipoff is scheduled for just after 9 PM ET on TNT.MLB has eleven games on the slate for Thursday. The card begins at 1:35 PM ET with the Chicago Cubs playing in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. FS1 will be televising the Detroit Tigers at Kansas City at 8:05 PM ET. Michael Fulmer takes the ball for the Tigers to be countered by Kurt Bubic for the Royals. BetAnySports has Kansas City as a money-line favorite priced at -168 with an over/under of 9.5.

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NCAA Football: UAB/South Alabama Preview

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Sep 24, 2020

ESPN broadcasts their first game on a Thursday night this college football season with the UAB Blazers traveling to Mobile to play the South Alabama Jaguars for this in-state rivalry in the “Battle for the Belt.” Both these teams had the benefit of a bye week to rebound from a loss. These two teams also will be starting different quarterbacks from the one who began their seasons atop their depth charts.  UAB has become a regular fixture for Thursday night football as they opened the season with a 45-35 victory over Central Arkansas on September 3rd before losing the next Thursday at Miami (FL) by a 31-14 score as a 15.5-point underdog. The Blazers kept that game competitive through the first half with the Hurricanes only up 14-7 at halftime before the superior athletes of Miami pulled away. Junior quarterback Tyler Johnston III injured his the shoulder of his non-throwing arm in that game after he completed 15 of 23 passes for 150 yards. He is out indefinitely, which means the UAB offense is in the hands of Bryson Lucero. The redshirt freshman completed only 4 of 12 passes for 55 yards against the tough Hurricanes defense in relief. He is completing only 52.4% of his passes. However, there are reasons for optimism with Pro Football Focus grading out his performances so far this season at 71.3 with Johnston receiving a lower grade of 67.8. The extra week to prepare should help Lucero for this game. Head coach Bill Clark has done a great job keeping this program alive after it went inactive in 2015 and 2016. The Blazers have a 29-14 record since their return to competition with three straight bowl appearances. UAB had the benefit of six spring practices with a core of players that features 21 juniors and seniors. South Alabama opened their season on the opening Thursday of the college football season with a 32-21 upset victory at Southern Mississippi as an 11.5-point underdog. The Jaguars then lost two Saturdays ago on September 12th by a 27-24 score at home to Tulane where they were also 11.5-point underdogs. That result was a disappointment for head coach Steve Campbell with South Alabama blowing a 24-6 lead in the second half. Campbell’s incumbent starting quarterback, sophomore Desmond Trotter, has been slowed with a shoulder injury of his own. Junior Chance Loveritch will get the start tonight after he started the game against the Green Wave although he is likely to split time once again with Trotter. The former junior college All-American completed 18 of 29 passes for 247 yards with two touchdown passes and no interceptions against Tulane. His 9.7 yards per pass attempt average is 13th best in the nation. Trotter has completed 20 of 35 passes this season with two touchdown passes but two interceptions. South Alabama hosts the second game in their new Hancock Whitney Stadium. This on-campus facility will allow a limited capacity. The Jaguars will look to earn their first victory in their new digs after posting a 43-25 record at home at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. South Alabama was just 2-10 last season, but Campbell has fifteen starters returning from that team in his third year with the program. BetAnySports has UAB as a 6.5-point favorite with the total set at 46.5. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM ET.

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Ness Notes

by Larry Ness

Thursday, Sep 24, 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."  The Lightning took 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals with a dominating 5-2 win over the Stars. Wouldn't it be "just desserts" if the Lightning won it all this year, after last season's 'disaster.' Even casual fans may remember that the Lightning went 62-16-4 (128 points) in the 2018-19 season, tying the record for most wins in a single season in NHL history. However, the Lightning then got swept in four games by Columbus in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Game 4 is Saturday (early line has Tampa Bay as a -160 favorite.The Miami Heat have not just been the most surprising team in this year's postseason (Came in as the East's No. 5 seed) but they've also been the NBA's best team this playoff season (so far). The Heat beat the Celtics 112-109 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. All FIVE of Miami's starters are averaging in double digits, while Kentucky rookie Tyler Hero is chipping in 16.5 PPG (he had a 37 points last night!). The Heat are now 11-2 SU and ATS this postseason. The West Finals resume tonight from Orlando, as the top-seeded Lakers take on the third-seeded Nuggets. Each of the Nuggets' four previous playoff series (two last year and two this year) have gone to seven games, with Denver winning THREE of them, The Nuggets rallied from 3-1 deficits in each of their first two series this postseason and after falling in an 0-2 'hole' against the Lakers, bounce back with an impressive 114-106 win in Game 3. Are we headed to another seven-game Denver series? The Lakers are favored by six points in tonight's game. Playoff numbers to-date: Favorites are just 37-35-1 ATS , while under cashed in 44 of the 73 games (60.3 percent. For those following the "Zig-Zag" Theory (that means playing "on" the SU loser of the previous game), they've gone 26-31-1 ATS (45.6%) or minus-.8.1 net units.MLB enters the final four days of its COVID-shortened 60-game schedule and there are still a few playoff spots up for grabs in this season's expanded 16-team field. It's no surprise that the Dodgers own MLB's best record (39-17 or that they won the NL West for the EIGHTH consecutive year. However, the Padres have secured a second-place finish in the NL West (all second-place teams are assured a playoff spot), as San Diego (just 70-92 in 2019) will participate in MLB's postseason for the first time since 2006. The surprising Chicago White Sox, off a 72-89 season in 2019, have clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2008. The Yankees were the clear favorites to represent the AL in the World Series at the start of the season, as well as strong favorites to win the AL East. However, the 37-20 Tampa Bay Rays have  won their first AL East title since 2010 and are likely to wind up as the AL's top-seed.The 2020 CFB season has started slowly and late due to COVID-19 but the SEC (the nation's top conference) finally opens its season on Saturday. There has been just one game between ranked opponents up until now, as No. 17 Miami-Florida handled No. 18 Louisville last Saturday, 47-34. However, there are three games this Saturday in which ranked opponents square off against each other. No. 8 Auburn (-7.5) is home vs No. 23 Kentucky, No. 14 Cincinnati (-13.5) hosts 2-0 Army (note: Army was just 5-8 in 2019) and No. 21 Pittsburgh (-3) is home against No. 24 Louisville. There are 14 teams playing unranked teams this weekend and note that while ranked teams are 12-2 SU against unranked opponents so far in 2020, they are a 'money-burning' 5-9 ATS. I'll follow this trend all season here at Ness Notes.Be back Friday at 1:00 ET.Good luck...Larry

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Sports Betting Laws: In Which States is it Legal?

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Sep 24, 2020

Sports betting is a common practice of people in all countries.  And over the last 25 years, there’s been a huge evolution in the gambling world, as the placement of bets has largely moved online.  Before the internet, gamblers generally placed their bets at legal, brick-and-mortar books, or over the telephone with illegal bookies.  The gambling landscape further changed in the United States, in 2018, when the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).  It was through PASPA that sports betting was illegal in most states.  But the Supreme Court lifted the federal ban, so each state now has the opportunity to set its own sports betting laws.We've taken the effort to review the progress of gambling legislation in every single state in the United States to see what their rules are in terms of sports betting.  It should also be noted that there's a difference between physical sportsbooks and online sportsbooks.  It's essential to be aware of all the federal laws and state laws, so scroll through to see whether or not your state allows sports wagering. History of sports betting:  When did sports betting become legal? Before we dive in completely, we'd like to share some history to see what happened before the Supreme Court decided to lift the federal ban in 2018.  We should go back to the early 19th century when horse racing was among the most popular sports in the country.  Bettors would love to go to the racetracks to bet on their favorite horse, and it was, in fact, the only sports which allowed wagering.  However, with the introduction of other professional sports like baseball and football, sports gambling become more common.  It wasn't very much later that legislators started to notice that sports betting started to be common ground for fraudsters.Now throughout the start of the 19th century, sports betting was still illegal.  In 1931, Nevada legalized sports betting, which caused an influx of bettors.  Regulating sports betting still wasn't a big thing, but the moment Congress lowered the 10% tax rate that bookmakers had to pay, suddenly state legislatures started to look to sports gambling as a means to raise revenue.  Delaware began a state lottery, and Montana passed a lottery with fantasy sports options.A turning point in legal sports betting in the United States was the passage of PASPA in 1992.  It banned sports betting throughout the United States, but grandfathered in the four states that had already adopted pro-gambling legislation.  And in only one of the four -- Nevada -- did sports wagering exist in the full form we know it today.  That was the most critical moment in the United States’ sports betting history until 2018, when the Supreme Court overturned PASPA to pave the way for the legalization of gambling.Today, bettors can place their wagers on any sport, ranging from professional sports like the NBA, NFL, or MLB to amateur matches, such as NCAA athletics or even the Olympics.  States are now allowed to set their legislative sessions and choose whether they allow sports betting in general, physical sportsbooks, or online game betting.  Without further ado, let's dive right in to see where each state currently is in terms of its legalization of sports betting! In which states is sports betting legal? Let's start with the states where sports betting is entirely legal, which means both online betting and physical sportsbooks (and anything in between).  Please note that this list will surely become outdated relatively soon after our publication, as new states will come on board. Nevada We have largely arranged this list alphabetically, with one exception.  We’ve placed the state of Nevada first, since it has been the home for sports gambling ever since the early nineteenth century.  It used to be the only state in the United States to allow legal sports betting, but things changed over the years.  Many sports bettors still consider Nevada to be the best place for betting since it's a central hub where all sorts of skilled bettors get together.Whereas Nevada is one of the places where sports betting is a regular thing, mobile sports betting is still in its relative infancy.  Most sportsbooks, for example, still require you to physically register before being able to bet through mobile apps. Arkansas The Arkansas Racing Commission suddenly came into play as the governing party that takes care of the sports betting branches. On the 1st of July, in 2019, sports betting officially became legal. The Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort was the place where the first legal sports bets were placed. Several retail locations opened brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, but mobile betting is not legal as of yet. There has been a sports betting bill concerning mobile betting, but it has yet to pass. ​Colorado It wasn't until the 1st of May, 2020 that sports betting became legal in Colorado.   However, the moment it became legal, it started on the right foot with complete legalization. Residents are now allowed to open accounts online and start wagering both online and with brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, but must be physically be within the state’s borders.  And non-residents can also bet on Colorado’s sportsbooks’ apps, provided they’re physically located within the state.  It turned out to become a very competitive state for sportsbooks, creating a very welcoming climate for bettors.  Some of the major names in the sportsbook industry already brought their operations to Colorado, but more are to follow.Every sportsbook has to comply with a 10% tax rate and a $54,000 operating fee. The revenue the government makes from taxes and operating fees is said to fund various state water projects. Delaware Less than a month after the Supreme Court ruling, Delaware decided it was time to open the gates for sports bettors.  On the 5th of June, 2018, Delaware started to allow single-game betting on numerous sports at three casinos.   Note that only physical sportsbooks are authorized to accept wagers.  Mobile betting is not allowed yet.  Gov. John Carney described the new transformation in the industry as "a full-scale sports gaming operation."  Bettors can now head to the casinos to place their wagers, but online sports betting is only available to residents who cross the state line into Pennsylvania or New Jersey. Washington D.C Washington, D.C has legalized sports betting, but has not been successful with its handle in the early-going. The bill became law in late March 2019, and the first wagers were taken in May 2020.  Unfortunately, the District has had just 1.2 million dollars in handle for the first two months.  Of course, the fact that there were virtually no major American sports due to the coronavirus had a lot to do with that.  The District did do something noteworthy, though.  And that was that it became the first jurisdiction to have a sportsbook installed at an arena or stadium, when William Hill set up shop at Capital One Arena. Illinois Illinois is one of these states that didn't immediately jump the fence when PASPA was overturned.  They took some time to work out a plan thoroughly and, on the 9th of March, 2020, sports betting became legal throughout the state.  As part of the sports betting bill, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks have an advantage over online sportsbooks. The brick-and-mortar sportsbooks may allow mobile betting through their operations 18 months before the online sportsbooks may start accepting bets.  This rule has caused some online entities, like DraftKings, to partner with a land-based entity to expedite offering mobile wagering.However, bettors must physically register first before being able to make their online bets.Another cool factor is that several sports stadiums are now allowed to host their betting kiosks.  The one limitation of the sports betting bill is that wagering on "an Illinois collegiate team" is forbidden.  So, there’s no betting on teams like Northwestern, Illinois, Southern Illinois, DePaul or Illinois State. Indiana The sports betting bill in Indiana was signed on May 8, 2019, but it wasn't until September 1, 2019 that legal sports betting officially went live.  The Indiana Gaming Commission oversees the sports betting practices of both online and brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, and issues the requisite licenses.  Sports leagues and colleges may request to disallow betting on a particular sporting event.  In-person wagering is allowed, but the major part of betting happens online or through mobile apps.  With the arrival of several major names in the betting industry, Indiana had an average handle of $154.6 million per month in the first two months of legal betting. Iowa After the Supreme Court ruling, Iowa required some time to work out its sports betting bill. On August 15, 2019, the state started to officially accept bets with multiple sportsbooks opening their operations to customers on that day.  Operators are required to pay a $45,000 licensing fee and a 6.75 percent tax rate on the revenue made from their sports betting practices.Anyone is allowed to make their bets at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, but mobile betting isn't widely accepted yet.  When you want to bet using mobile apps or websites with online betting options, you need to register physically with a sportsbook first.  The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission regulates the sports betting environment in the state. Michigan The official sports betting bill for Michigan was introduced on the December 11, 2019.  However, it wasn't until March 11, 2020 that betting became widely available throughout the state.  Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed it into law and thereby allowed in-person wagering at the MGM Grand Detroit.  Mobile betting is permitted under the law, but expectations are that it will take at least until 2021 until it is available. Mississippi Mississippi was one of the first states to legalize sports betting.  On August 1, 2018, two casinos booked their first sports bets.  The regulations are quite strict, though, with the Mississippi Gaming Commission enforcing strong regulation.  One of these regulatory measurements is the fact that all betting should happen in-person. Mobile betting is allowed, but only while being inside a casino. Montana On May 3, 2019, sports betting was officially legalized in Montana.  The goal was to get everything in place for the start of the next NFL season.  But bureaucracy got in the way, and things took longer than expected.  In March of 2020, sports betting became widely available, and bettors can now place their wagers inside licensed venues.  These venues consist of bars, restaurants, and sportsbooks, with oversight by the Montana Lottery.  You can use mobile apps for betting, but it's not permitted outside of the licensed bet shop. New Hampshire The moment sports betting becomes legal, there's always that lucky person who gets to place the first legal sports bet.  In New Hampshire, it was Governor Chris Sununo who placed the first wager during an opening ceremony on December 30, 2019.  The state lottery regulates all sports betting practices statewide.  Interestingly, New Hampshire has chosen to go the route of offering just one operator, rather than multiple sportsbooks.  Bettors must be at least 18 years old! New Jersey ​Just a couple of days after the Supreme Court lifted its federal ban on sports betting, Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey signed the sports betting bill which would forever change the state.  For years, the state had been at the forefront of the effort to overturn PASPA.  With the legalization, New Jersey has become a betting paradise.  Sports betting brought in roughly $4.5 billion of wagers in 2019, of which more than 80% was placed through online betting.There are many sportsbooks active in New Jersey, and mobile betting is entirely legal for sports bettors.  If you're up for a fun weekend of betting, head over to Atlantic City and gamble some big bucks! New Mexico New Mexico is the home to many Native Americans who have their tribal casinos.  Ever since the Supreme Court came with its new ruling, New Mexico hasn't introduced new legislation.  Nevertheless, the Native Americans consider their tribal casinos legally able to accept sports bets under a gaming compact.  So, sports betting is quasi-legal, and several tribal casinos take wagers.  But it's still somewhat a grey area how far does the license reach for all parties involved. New York The state of New York has legal sports betting, but it’s limited to just under a dozen upstate land-based casinos.  The state is trying hard to legalize mobile betting, but it hasn't found the right support.  So, New York City gamblers will make the trek across the state line to New Jersey to place wagers.  It's rumored that New York is losing roughly $200 million in revenue a year by not legalizing online betting. Oregon Before PASPA was overturned, Oregon was one of the four states which already allowed sports betting. With the federal ban lifted, many sportsbooks opened up shop in the state, and several casinos started marketing activities to promote their services.  The Oregon Lottery oversees all sports betting operations in the state, which also allows mobile betting.  As of now, there’s only one wagering app available in the state.  Unfortunately, no betting on college athletics is permitted in Oregon. Pennsylvania Just a couple of months after the PASPA act got wiped off the table, the state of Pennsylvania officially legalized sports betting. The first legal sports bet in Pennsylvania took place at the Hollywood Casino. By November 2019, bettors had all the options to start wagering in their state.  The legalization of sports betting in Pennsylvania has brought the state nearly $1.5 billion in bets, which is the third-largest amount in the entire United States.  Bettors can use anything from brick-and-mortar sportsbooks to mobile apps, to online sportsbooks - whatever you prefer. Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed a state budget which provided for two physical locations to host sports wagering in Rhode Island.  On November 26, 2018, the Twin River Casino in Lincoln was the first place to allow legal sports betting.  These days, bettors have two locations to go to, but can also use their mobile device for wagering.  In Rhode Island, you have to be just 18 years old to place your bets legally, and can even be a non-resident, provided you’re within the state’s borders.  The Rhode Island Lottery oversees all sports betting practices, and grants licenses to sportsbooks that want to open up shop in the state. West Virginia West Virginia legalized sports betting with the opening of the Hollywood Casino on August 30, 2018.  The West Virginia Lottery Commission oversees all the sports wagering practices that happen across the state.  Within the sports betting bill, both in-person betting and online betting are allowed.  After the legalization, West Virginia brought in roughly $129 million in bets in the last couple of months of 2019. Which states are close to making sports betting legal? Some states just need a little extra push to cross the sports betting goal line.  We'll share an overview of the states that are close to legalization but haven't taken the official steps yet. North Carolina North Carolina legalized sports betting in July 2019, but it hasn’t figured out which form it will take. The law allows the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to offer sports betting at their two tribal casinos.  The bill does not permit any mobile wagering, only in-person betting.  Now the catch here, the law isn't effective yet.  There still needs to be an amended gaming compact between the Cherokee Indians and the state, so no sports wagering has started.  It’s unclear when an agreement will be reached. Oklahoma Two tribal casinos that are federally-recognized reached an agreement with Governor Kevin Stitt on new gaming compacts, including sports betting.  On June 8, 2020, Stitt announced the approval of the new compacts that are seen as the founding soil for legal sports betting.  However, as there are some influential opposing groups, including the Oklahoma Attorney General, it's unclear when the sports betting bill will be active. Tennessee Tennessee passed the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act on May 25, 2019, and will have sports betting in 2020.  The law permits statewide mobile sports betting, and doesn't require brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.  The state is one of the few that allow just online wagering, no in-person wagering.  Operating licenses are limited, require a $750,000 licensing fee, and have a cap of 85% payout for bettors.  These rules and regulatory difficulties create a challenging climate for bettors and officials to reach an agreement. Virginia On paper, sports betting is entirely legal in Virginia.  In reality, there's no sports betting yet. Governor Ralph Northam signed a sports betting bill in April 2020 to allow in-person and mobile betting, with the Virginia Lottery in charge of approving licenses.  Bettors are allowed to wager on college sports teams, making a pretty welcoming climate for bettors and sportsbooks across the commonwealth.  The earliest that betting could occur would be in December 2020. Which states are moving towards legal sports betting? Quite a long list of states are still figuring out the role for sports betting in their jurisdiction.  It's unclear for some, while others are a step closer to passage of an official bill. Alabama In April 2019, the officials in Alabama proposed a 44-page bill that formed the plans towards the legalization of sports betting.  It would "permit wagering on certain professional or collegiate sports, or athletic events and other events."  The bill would also form the creation of the Alabama Sports Wagering Commission that would then oversee the regulation of sports wagering in Alabama.  The other fact that's evident is a 10% tax rate on sports wagering receipts by all the operators granted a license.  Since Alabama requires the legislature and the voting public's approval, the introduction of an official law could take a while. Alaska ​Governor Mike Dunleavy is open to the legalization of sports betting, and attempted legislation in 2020, but it died in the Alaska legislature.  Dunleavy recently opined that it would be a way to diversify revenue coming into the state’s coffers.  However, Alaska is one of five states still without a lottery, and it also has no major sports teams, so the appetite for sports betting is small. Arizona In early 2019, lawmakers took the effort to introduce another sports betting bill, but it didn’t gain traction.  It would have authorized certain federally recognized Indian tribes to have sports betting at their tribal casinos.  It would also prohibit other parties from offering the means to bettors to place wagers.  It would not allow mobile betting - just in-person sports betting at one of the 24 tribal casinos in Arizona. It's unclear what the next steps are towards legalization, and the last development is another bill introduced by lawmakers in early 2020. California ​The legalization in California is quite difficult.  It would require an amendment in the state's constitution, which isn't the easiest thing to do.  It requires at least a million signatures and a whole lot of hearings, voting processes, and the support of dozens of officials.  The other difficulty is the fact that all gaming is under the control of tribes.  It's unclear when the next steps can be taken towards legalization, but California is working on it, as it especially wants to reduce its $54 billion budget deficit. Connecticut Technically, sports betting is already legal in Connecticut, as a gaming package was passed in 2017 to establish the state’s sports betting industry pending a change in the federal law (which later occured with the elimination of PASPA).  Unfortunately, the conflicts with the state's tribe have proved very hard to overcome.  The lawmakers have tried to make it work and introduced another bill in 2020.  The goal is to allow in-person betting and mobile wagering, but the tribes have shown no willingness to cooperate.  With the belief that the tribes should have the exclusive rights to operate, legal sports betting might be far from happening anytime soon in Connecticut. Florida Florida is another state that conflicts with their tribes. The Seminole tribe would have to grant the state approval before anything can change on the front of legalization. There hasn't been much progress in the past couple of years. But, there's a plan on the table somewhere. The bill should empower the Florida Lottery to oversee sports betting practices in the state, including mobile betting. It will be discussed during the 2020 legislative sessions. Supporters of the bill are aiming for an effective date of the 1st of October. Georgia After doing some polls across the state, it became evident that the Georgians are supporters of the legalization of sports betting, as are the Atlanta professional sports teams.  The bill that got introduced in early 2019, allowing wagering on professional and college sports, is still on the table but hasn't progressed past the committee stage yet.  Since the state doesn't have any operating casinos, there's still a long way to go for Georgia to become a welcoming place for bettors.  And it’s also unclear whether sports gambling would require a constitutional amendment. Hawaii As one of two states without any gambling in any form or shape (Utah is the other), Hawaii does not seem to be in a hurry to authorize sports betting. Still, in early January 2019, a bill was introduced in support of the legalization of sports wagering.  It would have created the Hawaii Sports Wagering Corporation to regulate and operate sports betting on the islands.  We'll keep an eye on the developments, but the odds are small that sports betting will be legal anytime soon in Hawaii. Kansas There have been recent moves by the Kansas legislature to approve sports gambling.  In February 2020, the Senate passed a bill to allow for sports betting at the four state-owned casinos (which are operated by private entities).  But the legislature adjourned early due to the coronavirus.  But the momentum is there for Kansas to legalize sports betting in 2021, if the Senate, House and Governor Laura Kelly can work out the details. Kentucky In early 2020, a 27-page bill went through several committees and officials, but it never went through.  The Republican lawmakers called the issue "divisive," and lobbyists managed to get rid of the bill officially.  The goal was that the Kentucky Racing Commission would be the institution to host a system for sports wagering.  Part of that system would be a $250,000 licensing fee, a hefty tax rate, and a 3 percent share of the handle.  Since the last bill got dismissed, Kentucky has to wait until at least 2021 before sports betting might become legal. Louisiana There will be a referendum this November which will give Louisiana voters the opportunity to legalize sports betting in their individual parish or county.  Specifically, the question before voters will ask, “Shall sports wagering activities and operation be permitted in [your parish or county]?”  Even if just one parish makes the choice to legalize betting, that would be enough for the state to create a regulatory body, and licensing procedures.  So, it’s likely that Louisiana will have legal sports betting by the end of 2021. Maine Maine was very close to legalization.  It would allow mobile belling and in-person betting, even allowing sportsbooks to operate online-only.  The House and the Senate agreed, but Governor Janet Mills decided to use her powers to veto the bill.  On January 10, 2020, it got taken off the table, officially.  The Senate tried to overturn the veto, but the House couldn't follow along.  It won't be until 2021 that there will be another legislative session to discuss the bill. Maryland Maryland is close, very close to legalization.  They're trying hard, and a lot of legislative sessions were dedicated to making a sports betting bill happen, but never did anything pull through.  On this November's ballot, voters will have a referendum before them which would allow the expansion of commercial gaming in Maryland.  The referendum will ask, “Do you favor the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and event betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?”  It's unclear though what the exact details would be for the bill.  Should the voters approve the referendum, then Maryland will likely have something in place before the end of the 2021 NFL season. Massachusetts ​In early 2018, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission brought a 31-page whitepaper to the public eye. They thought of a roadmap that would pave the way towards complete legalization.  Governor Charlie Baker has been giving it his all to bring legalized sports betting to Massachusetts, but hasn't found the right support.  His goal is to make in-person betting possible, as well as mobile wagering and online betting.  We'll follow the developments carefully, as there’s a good chance the Massachusetts legislature explores options in the fall of 2020. Missouri Missouri is working hard to allow bettors to place their wagers without worrying about its legality.  In March 2020, there were two separate sports betting bills that the committee in the House cleared - but it still has to pass a couple of rounds.  Both bills would allow in-person wagering and online betting, but the difference lies in the tax rate. With neighboring states Illinois and Iowa already having their sports betting regulations in place, Missouri wants to make things happen, but there's still a far way to go.  The best guess is that Missouri approves it by the end of 2021. Nebraska State senator Justin Wayne introduced a bill that would classify sports betting as an authorized game of skill.  This would remove traditional sports wagering, fantasy sports, and poker from the state's existing ban.  Unfortunately, Wayne’s bills never made it out of committee, so it’s unclear whether there is a path toward the legalization of sports betting in the near term. ​North Dakota The North Dakota Attorney General have would have been given oversight about all sports betting regulations in the House bill introduced in January 2019.  But that bill failed, and it's unclear whether anything will happen in 2020.   Ohio The Ohio House of Representatives passed a sports betting bill on May 28, 2020.  It is hoped that the Ohio House and Senate can reconcile the differences in the bills before their bodies, and agree on a bill before November.  Currently, the biggest divide between the two is over the regulatory body.  The Senate wants the Ohio Casino Control Commission, while the House favors the Ohio Lottery Commission.  If a bill can be agreed upon, it will likely allow bettors to use in-person betting and mobile betting options.  Governor Mike DeWine has expressed his support of legalization many times before, so it will likely happen, it's just unclear when. South Carolina In early 2017, there was a House Bill with a constitutional amendment required to legalize sports betting in South Carolina.  There would be some strong regulations, but sports betting would become legal. This bill got taken off the table, but a new bill was introduced in early 2019.  Nevertheless, during the 2019 legislative session, nothing happened with the bill, so it failed.  And there’s been no recent push in 2020 to revive efforts to legalize sports betting. ​South Dakota Both the House and the Senate passed a sports betting measure in support of legalization.  It would allow a constitutional amendment that would permit sports betting statewide. The voters in the state will be given a referendum in November 2020 to decide the future of legal sports betting in South Dakota.  One downside is that Governor Kristi Noem is opposed to sports betting expansion, plus there are several tribes that would have to support the bill before it is accepted. Texas As part of the bill that got introduced on February 1, 2019, sports betting operators in Texas would have to obtain a permit that costs $250,000 and be subject to a 6.25% tax rate.  The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation would oversee all sports betting practices under the proposed law.  The current bill didn't go anywhere, and the officials couldn't agree on making it work.  Nevertheless, there are some new bills in the works by Texas lawmakers.  And, since there's such a love for sports in the state, legalization will happen eventually. Vermont When PASPA was overturned by the Supreme Court, it was the Vermont Lottery's executive director who said that not a single person in Vermont wanted sports betting to become legal.  Nevertheless, Senators Michael Sirotkin and Dick Sears introduced a mobile-only sports betting bill in Vermont in early 2020.  Given the skepticism of government officials in Vermont regarding sports betting, there are many hurdles to overcome, but who knows what the future might bring. Wyoming There's not that much happening in terms of legalization in Wyoming. There have been a couple of efforts, but the last effort to authorize sports betting failed by a 32-27-1 margin in early 2020.  With only four licensed casinos in the state, there's not much of a gambling climate in Wyoming.  We're not betting on legalization happening anytime soon in Wyoming.Which states do not have any sports betting legalization? Some states don't want anything to do with sports betting. They're simply not having it. Find out why down here. Idaho & Wisconsin Idaho and Wisconsin both have laws in place that prohibit any form of sports betting. Thus, there are still a ton of hurdles to overcome before legalization might occur.  However, with the local governments' strong stance against gambling, there probably will not be any form of legalization shortly. Minnesota In Minnesota, the big issue is the local tribes. There have been some bills that were introduced to the House and Senate that eventually never went through. The main reason is the firm stance of the 11 federally recognized tribes that do not want to expand gambling beyond their casino games. Utah ​Utah has some strong regulatory measures against gambling baked into the state's constitution.  Any changes to their anti-gambling stance would require a massive shift in leadership after decades of opposition to gambling.  That includes lottery tickets, table games, and sports betting.If your state does not have sports betting at all, or if it’s not convenient, then consider betting at an offshore sportsbook.  Indeed, even if your state does have expansive sports betting, offshore sportsbooks are still a great way to go because of their bonuses, competitive odds, and high wagering limits.  Some sportsbooks -- like our #1-rated BetAnySports -- offer reduced juice (BetAnySports offers -105 odds rather than -110).  And others, like WagerWeb, offer cash back on volume, which is a variant of reduced juice (in effect, WagerWeb's odds are -108 rather than -110).  And, then, our #2-rated sportsbook, BetNow, offers the best sign-up bonus, while our #5-rated sportsbook, BookMaker, takes $50,000 on an NFL side.  Review our Top 10 Sportsbooks list to see which one best suits your needs.

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NFL Stock Rising and Falling: Week 3

by Sean Murphy

Thursday, Sep 24, 2020

We’re onto Week 3 of the NFL season with 11 teams still undefeated through two games. Here’s a quick look around the league in our latest edition of ‘Stock Rising and Falling’.Stock Rising:Baltimore RavensWhile a perfect 2-0 start was expected, perhaps the Ravens have looked even better than most anticipated through the first two weeks of the season. As I noted at the start of the season, the Ravens are absolutely loaded on both sides of the football – no team brings more roster continuity to this unique 2020 campaign. Now comes Baltimore’s first real test in the form of the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football. Pittsburgh SteelersThe Steelers are back…or at least that’s how it appears through two games. Give Pittsburgh plenty of credit; its defense has come up big in consecutive games against the Giants and Broncos and another favorable matchup awaits this Sunday as it hosts the reeling Houston Texans. Keep in mind, the Steelers offense is still rounding back into form after missing Big Ben for much of last season. There’s still plenty of upside in the Steel City as we head toward October. Dallas CowboysThe Cowboys doubters were coming out of the woodwork in droves before Dallas pulled off its incredible comeback victory against Atlanta last Sunday. Now the Cowboys look poised to go on a run but only if they can keep the momentum building in a road date with the Seahawks this week. After the trip to Seattle, the ‘Boys get a three-game homestand against the Browns, Giants and Cardinals so with a win on Sunday they could be staring down the pipe at a potential 5-1 start. Stock Falling:Denver BroncosBelieve it or not, the Broncos are actually off to a perfect 2-0 ATS start. That ATS success could be short-lived, however, as they deal with a number of key injuries and absences on both sides of the football. QB Jeff Driskel takes the reins under center after holding his own in relief of Drew Lock last week but draws a stiff challenge this Sunday as Denver hosts an underrated Tampa Bay defense. Vic Fangio will need to scheme up the Broncos defense in order to hang tough in this one. New York JetsThe Jets are a mess and perhaps their only saving grace at this point is the fact that they get to host the Broncos next week. Head coach Adam Gase appears to be on borrowed time with this group, which simply hasn’t been able to get it together offensively during his time in the Big Apple. New York heads to Indy this week to face a Colts squad that made quick work of the Vikings last Sunday. Atlanta FalconsHow in the world will the Falcons pick themselves up off the mat following that demoralizing loss in Dallas last Sunday? Atlanta’s pass-funnel defense just isn’t getting it done in spite of its very capable offense. This Sunday’s home game against the 2-0 Bears could be the last stand for head coach Dan Quinn. After Chicago comes a tough trip to Lambeau Field to face the red hot Packers. It’s put up or shut up time in the ATL this week. 

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NFL Thursday Night Football: Dolphins/Jaguars Preview

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2020

Week 3 of the NFL season kicks off on Thursday between two teams looking to rebound from losses on Sunday. Miami fell to 0-2 this season after losing at home to Buffalo by a 31-28 score. The Dolphins did cover the +5.5 point spread as the underdog in that game. They were let down by their defense that gave up 524 yards to the Bills with 413 yards of those yards in the air. After losing in the opening week to the New England Patriots by a 21-11 score, not only is second-year Brian Flores’ team 0-2 to start the season but both of those losses are to AFC East rivals. The pressure will be amping up for Flores to give the keys to the Dolphins’ offense over to Tua Tagovailoa sooner rather than later. Joe Burrow looks like a veteran already for the Cincinnati Bengals and Justin Herbert appears more than ready to take the starting quarterback job for the Los Angeles Chargers. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been inconsistent this season as the Miami quarterback. He threw for only 191 yards against the Patriots with three interceptions. However, the veteran responded on Sunday by completing 31 of his 47 passes for 328 yards with two touchdown passes and no interceptions. It is hard to decipher which version of Fitzmagic will show up on Thursday night. Tagovailoa will be waiting in the wings.Jacksonville comes off a narrow 33-30 loss at Tennessee where they were 7-point underdogs on Sunday. The Jaguars outgained the Titans by +126 yards but were held back by a -2 turnover margin due to two Gardner Minshew interceptions. Minshew has been one of the surprises of the league this season after his masterfully efficient 19 of 20 passing effort in Week 1 to lead the Jaguars to a 27-20 victory at Indianapolis. Through the first two games of the season, Minshew has completed 49 of 65 passes for a 75.3% completion percentage. He has thrown for 512 yards with six touchdown passes and just those two interceptions last week. The other surprise is in the Jacksonville backfield where it has become apparent why the team released Leonard Fournette with the emergence of undrafted rookie James Robinson. The former Illinois State running back rushed for 102 yards in 16 carries last week. Robinson has tallied 164 rushing yards so far this season on 32 carries. Not many people would have expected the Jaguars to be tied with the Kansas City Chiefs after two weeks with a 28.5 points per game scoring average. Hosting the Dolphins is enticing for them this week considering that the Miami defense is giving up 164 rushing yards per game this season. They are also allowing 10.24 yards per pass attempt which is the highest in the league. However, the Jags may be without Minshew’s favorite target in wide receiver D.J. Chark who is listed as questionable with a chest injury.  BookMaker has Jacksonville as a 3-point home favorite with the total set at 48.  The Jaguars are allowed to seat fans up to 25% of stadium capacity given the state regulations in Florida. This should result in a crowd of 15,000 to 20,000 for this game. This game will broadcast on the NFL Network with kickoff slated for 8:20 PM ET on Thursday. 

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NBA Celtics/Heat Game 4 Preview

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2020

The NBA Eastern Conference finals get back to business on Wednesday after a three-day break that afforded time for the Western Conference finals to get caught up with two games played since the Celtics and Heat last played on Saturday. Boston avoided a disastrous 0-3 start in this series on Saturday by defeating Miami by a 117-106 score as a 3.5-point favorite. That victory gave them the opportunity to even this series at 2-2 in Game 4. There were two developments in that game that gives Boston hope that they can rally to win this series. First, head coach Brad Stevens made the defensive adjustment to play Marcus Smart against the primary Miami ball handler. Smart’s previous primary responsibility on defense was guarding the Heat’s 3-point specialist Duncan Robinson. That assignment may not be the best use of Smart’s elite defensive skills. By instead having Smart defend the Miami primary ball-handler, his ball-hawking skills are better able to disrupt the flow of the Heat offense. Miami shot only 38.8% from the field on Saturday while making only 27% of their 3-pointers. The Celtics also saw the return of Gordon Hayward in Game 3 who made an immediate impact for the team after recovering from an ankle injury. Hayward was able to play more than 30 minutes on Saturday which helped Stevens to shorten his bench that had been getting outplayed by the Miami second unit. With Hayward playing significant minutes, Stevens felt comfortable playing his big three of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker over 40 minutes in Game 3.Hayward is also a zone buster with his outside shooting threat. After scoring only 19 points on 32 possessions against a Miami zone defense in Game 2, the Celtics scored 18 points in the 20 possessions against a zone defense with Hayward on the court. With the happenstance of three days after Hayward’s first appearance in the postseason, he should be able to play significant minutes again tonight. Miami has still won ten of their last twelve games in the playoffs. Jimmy Butler has taken a step back in this series by averaging only 17.0 points per game which is behind the 22.0 points per game that Bam Adebayo is averaging along with Goran Dragic with his 21.7 PPG average in this series. After suffering their first loss in the Eastern Conference finals, this could be the game that Butler attempts to put his team on his shoulders. Boston has won eight of the twelve quarters in this series with +3 net points scored yet are trailing by a 2-1 margin. Despite the Celtics holding double-digit leads in all three games, the Heat have used three dominant quarters in the first two games to give them this opportunity to take a 3-1 series lead. BookMaker lists the Celtics as a 3-point favorite with the over/under set at 210. ESPN has the broadcast for this game with the tip occurring just after 8:30 PM ET.

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

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2020

The NBA Eastern Conference finals get back to business on Wednesday after a three-day break that afforded time for the Western Conference finals to get caught up with two games played since the Celtics and Heat last played. Boston avoided a disastrous 0-3 start in this series on Saturday by defeating Miami by a 117-106 score as a 3.5-point favorite. That victory gave them the opportunity to even this series at 2-2 in Game 4.The Celtics saw the return of Gordon Hayward in Game 3 and he made an immediate impact for the team after recovering from an ankle injury. Hayward was able to play more than 30 minutes on Saturday which helped Stevens to shorten his bench that had been getting outplayed by the Miami second unit. Miami has still won ten of their last twelve games in the playoffs. Jimmy Butler has taken a step back in this series by averaging only 17.0 points per game which is behind the 22.0 points per game that Bam Adebayo is averaging along with Goran Dragic with his 21.7 PPG average in this series. After suffering their first loss in the Eastern Conference finals, this could be the game that Butler attempts to put his team on his shoulders. BookMaker lists the Celtics as a 3-point favorite with the over/under set at 210. ESPN has the broadcast for this game with the tip occurring just after 8:30 PM ET. The Stanley Cup finals return to the ice on Wednesday with Game 3 of the Tampa Bay/Dallas series. The Lightning responded to their upset loss on Saturday by defeating the Stars by a 3-2 score on Monday. Tampa Bay scored two power-play goals in the first period and held a 3–0 lead going into the second period before Dallas started chipping away at the lead but could not score a tying-third goal.The Lightning hopes this will be the game where Steven Stamkos makes his postseason debut. Stamkos has not played since suffering a lower-body injury on February 25th. Tampa Bay was hoping he would be able to take the ice on Monday but he was deemed not quite ready. Dallas has a significant injury of their own with Blake Comeau questionable after absorbing a hard hit in Game 3. Comeau plays an important role in the Stars’ checking line as well as their power play kill unit. With forward Radek Faksa already out, rising Comeau in Game 4 would deplete Dallas’ forechecking game. BookMaker has Tampa Bay installed as a money-line favorite priced at -155 with the total set at 5. The NBC Sports Network has the broadcast starting at 8 PM ET.MLB has a full slate of fifteen games scheduled for Wednesday. The lone afternoon game starts at 4:10 PM ET with the Los Angeles Angels traveling to San Diego to play the Padres. ESPN2 has a national broadcast of the St. Louis Cardinals traveling to Kansas City to play the Kansas City Royals. Carlos Martinez takes the mound for the Cardinals with the Royals countering with Danny Duffy. BookMaker has St. Louis as the money-line favorite at a -124 price with the over/under set at 8.5.

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