Articles

Big Al's Daily Angle: NFL and NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Oct 22, 2020

The Thursday sports card features one game in college football along with one game in the NFL, with the World Series seeing a day off before Game 3 takes place on Friday.The Thursday night game on ESPN features another clash of Sun Belt Conference rivals this week. Arkansas State raised their record to a 3-2 mark on the season in the game last Thursday on ESPN with their 59-52 victory at home over Georgia State. The Red Wolves generated 609 yards of offense in this shootout while giving up 583 yards to the Panthers. Head coach Blake Anderson is disproving the conventional wisdom frowning upon rotating quarterbacks. His offense produced 551 passing yards with eight touchdown passes last week. Sophomore Layne Hatcher completed 21 of 28 passes for 332 yards with four touchdowns, with junior Logan Bonner completed 18 of 28 passes for 197 yards with another three touchdown passes. Neither quarterback threw an interception (and wide receiver Roshauud Paul threw the final touchdown pass on a trick play). Bonner was the starting quarterback for the first four games last season before he suffered a season-ending hand injury, which provided Hatcher the opportunity to play with the former Alabama transfer averaging 294.6 passing yards-per-game the rest of the way, which was 8th best in the nation. Hatcher is completing 63.3% of his passes this season for 896 yards with a 9.0 yards-per-attempt passing average along with ten touchdown passes and one interception. But Anderson continues to rotate quarterbacks because Bonner is completing 63.9% of his passes for 938 yards with a 7.0 yards-per-attempt average along with 11 touchdown pass to three interceptions. Appalachian State will take the field for the first time since September 26th when they defeated Campbell by a 52-21 score. The Mountaineers have also defeated Charlotte, with their loss being at Marshall in a battle of perhaps the best two non-power five conference teams this season. Arkansas State is 1-1 in conference play with their loss to Coastal Carolina. Their second loss this season was at Memphis, but they have a quality non-conference victory on their resume with a 35-31 win at Kansas State. Appalachian State has yet to play a conference game this season. BetAnySports lists the Mountaineers as a 13-point favorite with the total set at 66.5. The ESPN broadcast starts at 7:30 PM ET. The Thursday Night Football game on Fox is a battle of two NFC East teams with losing records yet who remain very much alive to win the division and make the playoffs.The New York Giants won their first game of the season last Sunday with their 20-19 win over Washington. Philadelphia has lost two straight games after their 30-28 loss at home to Baltimore last week. They are a half-game behind the first-place Dallas Cowboys with a 1-4-1 record. With six victories on the season quite possibly being the magic number to win their division, this is a critical game despite it being between two teams with just two combined victories between them. Philadelphia has won the last seven meetings between these two teams after they swept their two games last season. BetAnySports lists the Eagles as a 4.5-point favorite with the total set at 45. Kickoff is set shortly after 8:20 PM ET.

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NFL Thursday Night Football: Eagles/Giants Preview

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Oct 22, 2020

The Thursday Night Football game on Fox is a battle of two NFC East teams with losing records yet who remain very much alive to win the division and make the playoffs.The New York Giants won their first game of the season last Sunday with their 20-19 win over Washington. Philadelphia has lost two straight games after their 30-28 loss at home to Baltimore last week. They are a half-game behind the first-place Dallas Cowboys with a 1-4-1 record. With six victories on the season quite possibly being the magic number to win their division, this is a critical game despite it being between two teams with just two combined victories between them. Injuries have played a significant role in shaping the seasons for both of these teams. Philadelphia has placed nine players on the Injured Reserve list, and they have another six players declared out for this game. The Eagles have received some good news so far on the short week with head coach Doug Pederson declaring on Wednesday that he expects left tackle Lane Johnson, wide receiver DeSean Jackson, and cornerback Avonte Maddux to play on Thursday. Philly still has plenty of holes to fill. Philly running back Miles Sanders is out with a knee injury, which will leave their ground game in the hands of Boston Scott and Corey Clement. The 5’7" Scott will likely be the primary ball-carrier, but he has rushed for only 67 yards on 21 carries this season. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey remains out, proclaimed Peterson, after not playing yet this season with his foot injury. Jackson plans to give it a go with his hamstring injury, but it remains unclear how effective the often-injured 33-year-old will be. Tight end Dallas Goedert is on IR with an ankle injury. The Eagles have yet to comment on Zach Ertz, who left the game on Sunday with an ankle injury that will reportedly keep him out three to four weeks. That tight end duo combined for 1523 receiving yards last year. Travis Fulgham has come off the practice squad to generate 284 receiving yards in three games with three touchdowns.The Philadelphia offensive line is without three starters with Jason Peters and Isaac Seumalo on IR and Andre Dillard out indefinitely. Peters resigned in the fall after his replacement, Brandon Brooks, suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. Backup tackle Jack Driscoll, who had been playing for Johnson when he suffered his ankle injury, is out with an ankle injury of his own. Backup lineman Matt Pryor has been taken off the COVID list to offer this team some much-needed depth. The Eagles defense will be without defensive tackle Malik Jackson, who has a quad injury. Middle linebacker T.J. Edwards is one of their projected starters now on IR. Several players remain questionable, including linebacker Duke Riley. This unit is allowing 29.2 points per game along with 355.2 yards-per-game. The Giants have seven players on Injured Reserve, which does not include running back Saquon Barkley who is out the season with his torn ACL. They added Devonta Freeman, who only gained 61 yards on 18 carries against Washington.  Quarterback Daniel Jones leads the team with 204 rushing yards this season. New York is third-to-last in the league, with an 87.8 rushing yards-per-game average. New York is also without wide receiver Sterling Shepard, linebacker Lorenzo Carter, and safety Xavier McKinney, who are all on Injured Reserve. Philadelphia has won the last seven meetings between these two teams after they swept their two games last season. BetAnySports lists the Eagles as a 4.5-point favorite with the total set at 45. Kickoff is set shortly after 8:20 PM ET.

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What is a Reverse Wager?

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Oct 22, 2020

What is a reverse wager?When you are a sports bettor who has been around for a while, you might start looking around for some new bet types.  You’ve mastered moneyline bets, and can correctly predict which teams will cover the spread in a point spread bet, and are familiar with wagering on totals as well.  From that moment on, you can start looking at some more exotic bets.  The kind of bets that might take a little extra time to understand, but that could boost your sports betting experience. You can do so by experimenting with reverse bets.  This wager type can usually be found at any typical sportsbook.  It's not extremely hard to understand, but it does require some explanation before we can dive into implementing it into your sports betting strategy.  The reverse bet can be made by putting several bets together -- similar to parlay betting.  The action reverse has lots of similarities with other betting types.  It could mean you're hedge betting to secure your payout or working with multiple if bets.  The reverse bets are available for all major sports from the MLB to the NBA, but are most popular throughout the NFL football season.There are many outcomes and many different scenarios to draw for reverse bets.  But you have to know how to make use of the outcomes accurately.  Any sportsbook, of course, will take your bets, no matter how complicated.  But it's on you to make sure you’re clear of what you're wagering on and reducing your risk.  In this guide, we'll provide you with all the right material you need to get familiar with reverse wagers.Before we dive into reverse bets, you have to understand what if bets are.  It's a different kind of bet that has a direct correlation with the reverse bet. What is an if bet?The if bet can be best explained as a chain of wagers that only continue when the bettor wins the initial choice, the first bet.  In this way, you're building up a subsequent bet that could continuously be increasing your potential payout.  Similar to a parlay bet, all of your remaining bets can only be won if you manage to win the previous bet.  Now, unlike a parlay, it's not an all-or-nothing bet.  When you lose one leg of your chain of wagers, you might still remain profitable, and it's just a matter of making the right calculations in terms of odds and chances of winning. You can place an if bet on 2-6 teams at most sportsbooks.  But some, like BetAnySports (which is currently our #1-rated sportsbook), offer you the possibility to place up to 15 teams in your if bet!  The more teams you bet on, the more possible combinations, and that means more possible outcomes.  Even better:  BetAnySports also offers rolling if bets, so you can place a straight, parlay or teaser wager and make it contingent on the outcome of a previously placed wager which is still pending (the pending wager can be a wager posted on an event that is in progress or it can be a wager on an event that has yet to begin).  Generally, you want to make sure that you stay in control of your betting slip.  If the first team wins, ties or cancels, all your remaining teams would turn into straight wagers, without being tied into an if bet.In simple terms, it would mean that your bet on team A versus team B has to be a winner before your bet on team C versus team D can be realized.  Now, with a two-team parlay, you are in double-action, which means double the risk.  But, that's where a reverse bet could come into play. How does a reverse bet work?When you understand the basics of an if bet, we can start looking at reverse bets.  Placing a parlay bet without any form of a safety net is a matter of taking the maximum risk.  The moment you change this by making use of reverse wagers, you are reducing your risk and keeping your bankroll safe.  This means placing two or more if bets together into one reverse bet.  If done the right way, your action is covered, and basically, it doesn't matter which teams win for you to not lose your entire stake. To adequately explain reverse wagers, let's take an example.  Let's imagine you're wagering on the NBA.  We'll take two games.  Both focus on the point spread.  The betting lines could look something like this: First bet:  Los Angeles Clippers -4 vs. Chicago Bulls Second bet:  Brooklyn Nets -3 vs. Golden State Warriors As with most point spread odds with a regular 2-team parlay, you would be looking at a potential payout of $260 with an initial wager of $100.  It does require both bets to be a winner, or you'll lose the entire stake of $100.  The other scenario would be to use the reverse betting strategy.  This means you take your initial stake of $100 and turn it into two if bets of $50.Both bets are on the same ticket on the online sportsbook, so you could be taking an if bet in reverse order.  That sounds complicated, but with the following example, it does make sense.  We take the same betting lines: First bet:  Los Angeles Clippers -4 vs. Chicago Bulls Second bet:  Brooklyn Nets -3 vs. Golden State Warriors With an if bet, your first bet has to be successful before you wager on the second bet.  With the reverse wager, any of the two bets could be successful in betting on the other bet.  That could mean double-action or no action at all.  As an illustration, let's have a look at the possible combinations: Wager $50 on the Clippers and if they win, push, or cancel you re-bet this $50 on the Nets.  Wager $50 on the Nets and if they win, push, or cancel you re-bet this $50 on the Clippers. These are two individual if bets that combine in one reverse wager.  The possible outcomes of this bet can be: Both wagers lose, and you lose your initial stake of $100 Both teams win, and you win four times $45.45 = $181.80 One team wins, and the other loses.  That means you have a winning bet which nets $45.45, but you moved $50 onto a bet that eventually failed.  And you also lost 50 dollars on that same team which was the first leg of a reverse wager.  That means you win $45.45, but lost $50 twice, so your total combined loss would be $54.55. As you can see here, it does not necessarily mean that your reverse bet is the perfect choice when you want to minimize your risk.  In a sense, it's a mixture of hedge betting and parlay betting, but without the maximum risk that a regular parlay bet brings. How to use reverse bets in your sports betting strategyWith any bet that's not as common as a moneyline bet, you have to be cautious before diving in.  Bookmakers love people who are playing with their money as a form of practice, but we want you to be a successful sports bettor who grows his bankroll, not the bookmaker’s one.  To get you started the right way, consider these two tips:Keep your risks as low as possibleAs with any multi-event bet, there are tons of risks involved.  Similar to a round-robin bet, the reverse bet is another form of parlay betting.  You could go several routes with lots of possible outcomes, but the more combinations, the more risk you take.  Plus, betting the moneyline underdog on a match is more risk than betting the moneyline favorite, that's a fact.  That means when you place a four-team reverse on moneyline underdogs, it's a lot of risk you're taking.  Always be aware of the risk, and don't get seduced by the high payout that comes along with the high risk you're considering.Additionally, your first game impacts greatly the outcome of the other matches.  Once the first game is a loss, the rest turn into straight bets, and you reduce your potential profit.  So, make sure that you know which game to choose first!Research, research, research!The most crucial factor here is taking the time to do your research.  There's not a single successful sports bettor who goes solely on his gut-feeling.  Any bettor who has been around for a long time either observes sports, does extensive analysis on the matchups, or both combined.  It's essential to take this part of the process seriously.  It might not be the most enjoyable part of the process, but you'll be glad you put in the effort at the end. With all the information in this article, you're one step closer to being a professional sports bettor.  You don’t have to be aware of every single detail and every single type of bet that's out there, but the more you know, the better you can make decisions.  If you find the perfect opportunity for a reverse bet, go for it!  Always ask yourself which type of bet goes along with the chosen events you're betting on.  And take care of your bankroll so you can be around for the long haul.

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Ness Notes: Wednesday, Oct 21

by Larry Ness

Wednesday, Oct 21, 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 2020 World Series got underway last night and the Dodgers looked every bit the part of the team with MLB's best record in this COVID-shortened season. Three-time Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw shrugged off his rocky playoff history to give up just ONE run on two hits over six innings with only one walk and eight strikeouts. He retired 13 consecutive batters until Tampa Bay's Kevin Kiermaier hit a solo HR in the fifth. In contrast, the Ray's Tyler Glasnow allowed three hits and SIX walks (three would eventually score) in 4.1 innings of work in which he allowed SIX runs (all earned). Cody Bellinger gave the Dodgers an early lead with a two-run HR (two days after his go-ahead HR in Game 7 of the NLCS) and Mookie Betts hit his first postseason HR for the Dodgers in the sixth to open a 7-1 advantage. Betts, Muncy and Taylor each had two hits. Tampa Bay had just six hits, while LA struck out 10 Rays as opposed to allowing just ONE walk.Tampa Bay turns to Blake Snell, who won a Cy Young of his own in 2018, in Game 2, while the Dodgers will hand the ball to Tony Gonsolin. Snell was 4-2 in the 2020 regular season with a 3.24 ERA over 11 starts (Rays were 7-4). In four starts during this postseason, Snell is 2-2 with a 3.20 ERA. He enters off an outing in Game 6 of the ALCS in which he gave up two runs on three hits with four walks in four-plus innings and was CLEARLY unhappy about being removed. The Houston Astros won that game 7-4 but the Rays rebounded to win Game 7. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has named Tony Gonsolin as his Game 5 starter. He said after the World Series opener, "We just feel like we like him in this spot," Roberts referenced Gonsolin's recent bullpen experience, seemingly suggesting the 26-year old could be more of an opener Wednesday, pitching the first inning and perhaps a bit more if he is efficient. The Dodgers would turn it over to the bullpen from there. Gonsolin was 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA in nine games (eight starts / team was 5-3) during the regular season. However, in his two outings this postseason against Atlanta, he's allowed SEVEN earned runs in 6.1 innings for a 9.95 playoff ERA. LA is favored (-135) and the over/under is 8.Peeking ahead to the NFL weekend: NFL Week 7 kicks off with another uninspiring contest (way too many already this season), when the 1-5 NY Giants visit the 1-4-1 Philadelphia Eagles. That said, with the 2-4 Cowboys atop the sad-sack NFC East, the winner of this game is "right in the mix" for the division title. More in Thursday Notes about this game and the NFC East. The Game of the Week is the 5-0 Steelers visiting the 5-0 Titans, a contest that was scheduled for Week 4 but was pushed back to Week 7 because of Tennessee's COVID-19 issues. Ironically, the game is even more significant now. SEVEN of last season's eight division winners are NOT in first place as we enter Week 7, as KC is the LONE division winner from 2019 to actually lead its division here in 2020. TWO of those seven teams meet Sunday in Foxboro. The SF 49ers won the NFC West last season at 13-3 (and advanced to the Super Bowl) but their 3-3 record leaves them in last-place in 2020, behind not only the 5-0 Seahawks but also the 4-2 Rams and Cards. The Pats are more than just the defending AFC East champs, as New England entered 2020 having captured the AFC East title the previous 11 years and in 17 of the last 19 seasons (since 2001). The Pats welcome the 49ers to Gillette Stadium on Sunday with a 2-3 record. New England hasn't been under .500 through the fifth game or later in any season since they were 3-4 in 2002, which was the last season the Patriots did not win 10-plus games. SNF features TB 12 visiting Las Vegas (along with the NFL's No. 1 defense) to face the Raiders, who are coached by Jon Gruden. Most should remember that Gruden coached the Bucs to the franchise's lone NFL championship in SB XXXVII, a 48-21 win over the Raiders, the team he now coaches in his second go-around with that franchise. Good stuff!Thursday's Notes will feature a recap of World Series Game 2 (Thursday will be an off day) plus a 'long' look at the upcoming college football weekend, highlighted by the Big Ten's return to play!

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NFL Stock Rising and Falling: Week 7

by Sean Murphy

Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

The gap between the NFL's best and worst teams continues to grow wider but this week's slate features eight games with pointspreads of 3.5 points or less. Here's a look at three teams on the rise and three on the decline as we head into Week 7.Stock RisingTampa Bay BuccaneersThe Bucs Super Bowl stock has never been higher after a rout of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last Sunday. Tom Brady and co. find themselves in a bit of a tricky spot this Sunday, however, as they pack their bags and head across the country to face the Raiders in Las Vegas. Once considered a potential suitor for Brady, the Raiders will be eager to show Tom Terrific that he chose wrong heading to sunny Florida over the bright lights of Vegas. Pittsburgh SteelersThe emergence of rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool has given Big Ben another big-time weapon to work with on offense while the Steelers defense continues to play lights out on the other side of the football. Interestingly, Pittsburgh will be hitting the road this week for the first time since it traveled to face the lowly Giants way back in Week 1. The Steelers will head to Tennessee where it will be an unstoppable force vs. immovable object type of battle between Titans running back Derrick Henry and Pittsburgh's stout run defense.Arizona CardinalsThe Cards are fresh off an absolute annihilation of the Cowboys on Monday Night Football but things will get a whole lot tougher this Sunday as they return home to host the Seahawks. Arizona's defense has really stepped up but let's not lose sight of the fact that it has faced the likes of San Francisco, Washington, Detroit, Carolina, New York (Jets) and Dallas (without Dak Prescott) this season. This will be the Cards defense's biggest test to date.Stock FallingBuffalo BillsThe fact that they play in the AFC East is the Bills only saving grace following back-to-back losses at the hands of the Titans and Chiefs. Perhaps we should give them a pass as those two losses did come at the expense of two legitimate Super Bowl contenders, but still, the Bills haven't looked sharp at all - particularly on the defensive side of the football. The good news is, Buffalo finds itself in a true blowup spot against the lowly Jets in New Jersey this Sunday.New England Patriots Any positive momentum the Patriots had been building early in the season seemed to get derailed by Cam Newton's COVID diagnosis. Now the Pats check in having scored a pitiful 22 points over their last two games - both losses against the Chiefs and Broncos. Another likely low-scoring affair awaits this Sunday as they stay in Foxborough to host the 49ers. Newton will need to be in attack mode against an injury-depleted San Francisco defense if New England is going to snap its skid.Jacksonville JaguarsAre the Jaguars back in 'tank mode'? It would certainly appear that way as they haven't posted a victory since Week 1 and have been absolutely ripped to shreds on the defensive side of the football, allowing 30 plus points in each of their last five losses. The good news is they face an up and down Chargers offense this Sunday - perhaps an opportunity to put that streak of futility to rest. The jury is still out as to whether Gardner Minshew can rally the offense to keep pace for four quarters and cover the lofty spread let alone win outright. 

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2020 NCAA Football Trends Through Week 7

by Al McMordie

Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

The NCAA Football season has completed seven weeks.  Meanwhile, the Big 10 Conference will play its first games this week.  So, it's a good time to take stock of what we've seen so far in this 2020 season.The most noticeable trend has been that underdogs have done very well against the point spread.  Overall, underdogs are 80-60-2 ATS.  And dogs have done well both at home (33-22-1 ATS) and on the road (47-38-1 ATS).  If we go further within the numbers, we find that the biggest underdogs have done the best.  NCAA dogs getting more than 13 points have gone 36-19 ATS, including 28-10 ATS in conference games.  But underdogs of 13 or less points have only gone 44-41 ATS (21-16-1 ATS at home; 23-25-1 ATS on the road).Perhaps the most noteworthy trend has been to play on underdogs that did not own a winning record (which would include underdogs playing their first game of the season).  These puppies have barked the loudest, with a 65-35 ATS record.  In contrast, winning teams have gone just 15-25 ATS when installed as an underdog!Teams off an upset loss have not shown a tendency to bounce back this season, as they've gone 8-13 ATS vs. foes not off an upset loss.  And teams off an upset win have gone 12-13 ATS vs. foes not off an upset win.Interestingly, rested teams have gone 13-20 ATS vs. unrested opponents (5-10 ATS as a favorite; 8-10 ATS as an underdog).Finally, revenge-minded teams have gone 45-41-1 ATS, with the underdogs going 34-28-1 ATS, but the favorites lagging behind at 11-13 ATS.

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Thursday Night NCAA Football: Appalachian State/Arkansas State Preview

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

The Thursday night game on ESPN features another clash of Sun Belt Conference rivals this week. Arkansas State raised their record to a 3-2 mark on the season in last Thursday’s game on ESPN with their 59-52 victory at home over Georgia State. The Red Wolves generated 609 yards of offense in this shootout while giving up 583 yards to the Panthers. Head coach Blake Anderson is disproving the conventional wisdom frowning upon rotating quarterbacks. His offense produced 551 passing yards with eight touchdown passes last week. Sophomore Layne Hatcher completed 21 of 28 passes for 332 yards with four touchdowns, with junior Logan Bonner completed 18 of 28 passes for 197 yards with another three touchdown passes. Neither quarterback threw an interception (and wide receiver Roshauud Paul threw the final touchdown pass on a trick play). Bonner was the starting quarterback for the first four games last season before he suffered a season-ending hand injury, which provided Hatcher the opportunity to play with the former Alabama transfer averaging 294.6 passing yards-per-game the rest of the way, which was 8th best in the nation. Hatcher is completing 63.3% of his passes this season for 896 yards with a 9.0 yards-per-attempt passing average along with ten touchdown passes and one interception. But Anderson continues to rotate quarterbacks because Bonner is completing 63.9% of his passes for 938 yards with a 7.0 yards-per-attempt average along with 11 touchdown pass to three interceptions. Anderson is not content with the play of his defense as he fired second-year defensive coordinator David Duggan along with defensive pass game coordinator Ed Pinkham after the Georgia State game. Arkansas State is second-to-last in the Sun Belt Conference by allowing 39.8 points-per-game while ranking last in the conference by giving up 481.8 yards-per-game. Georgia State quarterback C.J. Brown IV passed for 314 yards against the Red Wolves defense with three touchdown passes, and he added another 83 rushing yards with another two touchdowns on the ground. Anderson may have chosen the wrong week to rework Arkansas State’s pass defense when now facing an Appalachian State team that is fifth in the nation by averaging 269.3 rushing yards-per-game. The Mountaineers will take the field for the first time since September 26th when they defeated Campbell by a 52-21 score. Appalachian State has also defeated Charlotte, with their loss being at Marshall in a battle of perhaps the best two non-power five conference teams this season. The Mountaineers returned 13 starters from last year’s team that finished the season 13-1. Appalachian State became the first Sun Belt team to defeat two power-five conference opponents last year with their victories over North Carolina and South Carolina. Their lone loss was to Georgia Southern. Senior quarterback Zac Thomas is completing 62.3% of his passes this season. The third-year starter completed 62.7% of his passes last year for 2718 yards with 28 touchdown passes and just six interceptions. The Mountaineers defense allows 19.3 points-per-game along with 323.3 yards-per-game after giving up 20.0 points-per-game along with 336.1 yards-per-game last season. Arkansas State is 1-1 in conference play with their loss to Coastal Carolina. Their second loss this season was at Memphis, but they have a quality non-conference victory on their resume with a 35-31 win at Kansas State. Appalachian State has yet to play a conference game this season. BetAnySports lists the Mountaineers as a 13-point favorite with the total set at 66.5. The ESPN broadcast starts at 7:30 PM ET. 

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Big Al's Daily Angle: UEFA Champions League and MLB Preview

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

The Wednesday sports card begins with action in the first round of UEFA Champions League Group Stage matches in the afternoon before Game 2 of the MLB World Series takes place in the evening.Los Angeles won the opening game of the 116th Fall Classic on Tuesday with their 8-3 victory over Tampa Bay. The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning before scoring two more runs in both the 5th and 6th innings. The Rays scored two runs in the top of the seventh to end the scoring. Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts hit home runs for Los Angeles. Clayton Kershaw earned the win pitching six innings where he allowed only one run on two hits while striking out eight batters. Tyler Glasnow got the loss for Tampa Bay after allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings of work. The right-hander only allowed three hits, but he issued six bases-on-balls. The game finished over the 7.5 total. Manager Dave Roberts will delay using starting pitcher Walker Buehler until Game 3 on Friday so that he pitches on full rest after he started Game 6 of the NLCS on Saturday. This decision also allows Buehler to pitch a potential Game 7 on regular rest. Roberts will turn to Tony Gonsolin to start in Game 2. The right-hander is 0-1 in two postseason starts with a 9.95 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP in 6 1/3 innings. Gonsolin had a 2-2 record in the regular season with a 2.31 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP in nine appearances, with eight of them being starts. Dustin May and Julio Urias will likely be available to pitch if Gonsolin gets into trouble early.Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has named Blake Snell as his Game 2 pitcher. The left-hander is 0-2 in this postseason in three starts with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP in 14 innings. Snell had a 4-2 record in the regular season with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP in 11 regular season starts. Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, is the neutral site that hosts this World Series. Los Angeles is the designated home team for Game 2. The traditional 2-3-2 scheduling format has resumed for the World Series after playing games without rest in the previous playoff rounds. Off days are scheduled for Thursday and Sunday. Fox broadcasts the game with the first pitch scheduled for 8:08 PM ET. BetOnline lists the Dodgers as a -155 moneyline favorite with the total set at 8.The Group Stage of the UEFA Champions League continues with eight matches beginning at 12:55 PM ET. The two highest-profile matches take place at 3 PM ET with Liverpool playing at Ajax and Bayern Munich hosting Atletico Madrid. All eight games are available on the CBS Sports All-Access package. Alternatively, the CBS Sports Network broadcasts a whip-around show during the six 3 PM ET games. 

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What is a Point Spread?

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

What is a point spread?The art of wagering and placing bets on events has been around for ages.  All the way back to the ancient Chinese empire, or the gladiatorial games in ancient Rome, people were wagering for entertainment purposes.  Nowadays, our sports look entirely different, and the betting landscape does too.  At first, you could only bet on your favorite team to win the game.  But that has drastically changed. Especially when the math teacher Charles McNeil from Chicago came up with the concept of the point spread.  Very rapidly, you could see the sports betting industry adapt to McNeil’s newly-created betting system.  What first started as an additional betting line available for the NFL is now available throughout many other sports.  These days, bettors can place a point spread bet on each football game, basketball game, the NHL (puck-line), and MLB (run-line). The point spread is one of the most popular forms of sports betting these days.  It might be a little hard to understand at first.  But in this article, we'll guide you through every single step of the process. How to start point spread bettingFirst and foremost, you have to understand the true definition of a point spread.  It means you are wagering on the scoring differential in the game.  The final score of the match consists of an individual score for each team.  With a point spread bet, you predict the difference in points between these two individual scores in favor of the team you chose.  To completely understand the point spread bet, let's have a look at an example of a historic NFL game:  Super Bowl 30.  The betting line for this match at the famed Stardust Casino looked like this: Dallas Cowboys -13.5 Pittsburgh Steelers +13.5 As you can see here, the sportsbooks had the Cowboys as the point spread favorite and the Steelers as the point spread underdog.  Now, the Steelers had to not lose by more than 13.5 points to cover the spread.  The Cowboys, on the other hand, needed to win the game by more than 13.5 points to cover the spread.  The actual margin of victory would not matter, as long as you covered the +/- 13.5 points. Sometimes, when a game’s point spread is a whole number (as opposed to a half-point number), it’s possible for the game to push (i.e., tie).  This happens when the final score of the match has a margin of victory equivalent to the point spread.  In the NFL example above, that was not a possibility, since the line was 13.5.  But if the line was 10, then it would have been a push (since Dallas won, 27-17).  In that instance, sportsbooks would refund the wagers. This type of bet creates the opportunity for bettors to wager on the underdog or the favorite with roughly equal chances, as the oddsmakers try to select a number which will balance the betting action on each team in the matchup.  It does not necessarily mean that if a team wins, they cover the spread. That's the reason why the point spread bet was so revolutionary and has made the entire sports betting industry much more dynamic. How to read point spread betting oddsThe odds for point spread bets tend to be near even-money.  Most of the time, the odds are set at -110, but the pricing can fluctuate per sportsbook.  The odds, of course, provide sportsbooks with the requisite edge to cover their risk of offering a point spread bet and is the basis for their profit. Nevertheless, we'll take a quick example of an NFL match between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets: New England Patriots -3 (-105) New York Jets +3 (-115) As you can see in the example above, the Patriots are the point spread favorite because they hold the minus sign, while the Jets are the point spread underdog as they have the + sign.  One thing here that's different than the previous example is the spread number.  As you can see, it's a whole number.  Thus, it’s possible for the game to end up as a push should the Patriots win by exactly three points. How to calculate your point spread payoutYou probably understand the basics of the point spread bet at this stage, but let's talk about the money now.  Let's find out how you can calculate your payout when it comes to point spread betting.  Because, let's be honest: as a sports bettor, it all comes down to making a profit. The potential payout is not as difficult to calculate as a multiple-legged parlay bet, but a short example hurts nobody.  Let's take the previous example: New England Patriots -3 (-105) New York Jets +3 (-115) We now know the Patriots are the point spread favorite, and the Jets are the point spread underdog.  Your potential profit when betting on either two outcomes in this matchup would be: You are wagering on the New England Patriots to cover the spread. They win by more than 3 points, and successfully cover the spread.  You would have to bet $105 to win $100.  Your total payout would be $205. You are wagering on the New York Jets to cover the spread.  They don’t lose by 3 or more points, and successfully cover the spread.  You would have to bet $115 to win $100.  Your total payout would be $215. One thing to keep in mind when calculating your payout with a point spread bet is the vigorish (or juice) which the bookmakers charge to place a bet.  Make sure you double-check the moneyline odds before placing your bet. How to implement point spread betting in your sports betting strategyThe real handicappers here already know how to make use of point spread betting, but for those who do not know yet, we have some quick tips and tricks.  The first thing you should know is that point spread betting is often referred to as handicapping, and a point spread bettor is a handicapper.  Besides that, this is what we want to share to make sure you start off the right way:Be knowledgeable about the statsWe mention it in nearly every guide that we publish, but doing your research extensively is essential.  It's the key to making an informed decision and thus the key to becoming a profitable sports bettor.  When picking the team which covers the spread, there are various statistics to look at.  For example, each team has a ledger which tracks the Won/Loss record of the team against the spread.  It's called the ATS (against the spread) record. This is a good stat to look at, but it's far from all. You also have to consider the scoring capabilities against the opposing team -- for example, the offensive strength in comparison to the opponent’s defensive power.  Plus, you could have a look at the specific players who usually contribute to the scoring.  If any of these players are injured or are not starting, you have to consider it when handicapping. In general, the more research you do, the better.  So, always make sure you double-check every single stat and carefully make your decisions.  If you're in this for the long run, make sure you treat every single bet with a clear-headed mind. ​Run-lines and puck-linesPoint spread betting is usually done for football or basketball games.   So, either the NBA, NFL, College basketball or College football games.  Because such sports involve a lot of scoring, these competitions go hand-in-hand with point spread betting.  Other competitions like MLB's baseball or NHL's hockey have much less scoring, and are known for being popular with moneyline bets.  But, to make spread betting more appealing to MLB and NHL bettors, the bookmakers came up with two terms:  run-lines and puck-lines.They are essentially regular point spread bets, but they are designed solely for their sport.  Because scoring is much less frequent in games like baseball and hockey, the lines tend to be +/- 1.5 runs (or goals).  Keep in mind that it's basically the same as a basketball or football point spread bet, but the sportsbooks use slightly different terms. Be careful when the line moves One smart trick that most bookmakers use is making sure the line moves to keep equal money on both sides.  The sportsbook is in it to make as much money as possible, thus having equal money on both bets takes away their risk and guarantees their vigorish.  This is referred to as a 'line move,' where the betting lines move in a direction to make one bet look more appealing than the other.You could have a point spread sitting at 3.5 points, with the odds at -110 for both teams.  Now, when the bookmaker notices that there's more money on the underdog, the line might change and have the spread be just 3 points to make the favorite more appealing. Alternatively, the vigorish might shift from -110 to -115 on the underdog, and from -110 to -105 on the favorite, to get more money on the favorite. Make sure you are aware of this factor before placing your bet.  The sportsbook might steer you in a specific direction, but that does not necessarily mean that direction is the right one.  Always make your own decision, no matter how appealing the odds might look.The other important aspect of point spread betting is to shop around for the best line.  Because point spreads are always moving, you could have one sportsbook offer an NFL underdog at +3.5, while another book offers that same team at +4.5.  It is critical to always take the best number, so it’s advisable to have accounts at multiple sportsbooks.  And it’s also advisable to have accounts at the sportsbooks that have unique numbers (as opposed to the books that just copy the point spreads of the majority of operators).  With that in mind, we recommend joining sportsbooks like BetAnySports, Bovada, BetOnline and BetNow, as each of those sportbooks posts unique odds, and are great for line shopping.With all this in mind, it's time to start getting ready to place your first bet.  Search for a matchup in your favorite sport and start digging into the research.  Take this article as your guideline and follow every single step.  Before you know it, you'll be a successful handicapper who can take on every point spread bet without hesitation. 

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Ness Notes: Tuesday, Oct 20

by Larry Ness

Tuesday, Oct 20, 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 6 concluded with a MNF doubleheader. The Chiefs were to play at the Bills this past Thursday but it was rescheduled to Monday. Both came in 4-1, after each team lost for the first time this season in Week 5. The Bills led 10-7 as the first half was nearing its end but Mahomes hit TE Kelce with a second TD pass to put KC up for good, 13-10. The Chiefs extended the lead to 23-10 and the final was 26-17. Rookie RB Edwards-Helaire ran for 161 yards, as KC ran for 245 yards (on 5.3 YPC). It should not h=go unmentioned that KC ran the ball more times than it passed it for just the SECOND time in Mahomes' 37 starts. That's NOT to say Mahomes was not a major factor. He was 'surgical 21 of 26 for 225 yards with two TDs and zero INTs (QB rating of 128.4). His "opposite number," Buffalo QB Josh Allen, played poorly. He was 14 of 27 for only 122 yards with two TDs and one INT. Allen opened the season by leading the Bills to four straight wins, completing 70.9 percent of his passes, while averaging 331.5 YPG through the air with 12 TDs and just one INT. However, in Buffalo's back-to-back losses, he's completed just 58.8 percent, while averaging only 192.5 YPG passing with four TDs and three INTs.The regularly scheduled MNF game saw the Cards roll over the Cowboys 38-10 in Dallas. It was Arizona's third straight road game but Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott started the game with two fumbles, which gave the Cards all the momentum they needed. The first fumble came after catching a short pass from Andy Dalton and 11 plays later Kyler Murray and Christian Kirk hooked up for a six-yard flip for a TD. Two plays into the next possession, Elliott fumbled again and five plays later, Arizona RB Kenyan Drake scored the Cardinals' second TD and gave them a 14-0 lead. Arizona won the 'turnover battle' 4-0. QB Kyler Murray completed a modest 9 of 24 for 188 yards but had two TD passes and did not throw an INT. He added 74 yards rushing and a third TD to become just the THIRD player in league history with 30 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs in the first 25 games of his career. He's done so in 22 games, tying Daunte Culpepper (Vikings) for the QB quickest to reach the mark. The Cowboys fell to 2-4 but incredibly, remain atop the NFC East, as their three division rivals own a combined 3-14-1 record (more in a bit). League-wide scoring is up this season and NINE teams are currently allowing 30-plus PPG but NO team is allowing more than the Cowboys, who are giving up 36.3 PPG. New head coach Mike McCarthy may also want to point out that his team also owns the WORST turnover ratio of ANY team, at minus-12 (15 giveaways vs just three takeaways).I noted above that Dallas sits atop the NFC East at just 2-4 and that's because defending NFC East champ Philly is just 1-4-1. However, the Eagles are NOT alone among 2019 division champs through Week 6 of NFL 2020. In fact, the LONE division winner from 2019 to be currently leading its division in 2020, is the 5-1 defending Super Bowl champion KC Chiefs in the AFC West. Here's a list of the other six 2019 division champs and their status as the season head to Week 7. In the AFC East, the defending champion Pats are just 2-3. The Pats haven't been under .500 through the fifth game or later since they were 3-4 in 2002, which was the last season the Patriots did not win 10-plus games. Houston won the AFC South in 2019 (for the 4th time in the previous five seasons) but are 1-5 and in deep trouble in 2020. The San Francisco 49ers won the NFC West last season at 13-3 (and advanced to the Super Bowl) but their 3-3 record leaves them in last-place in 2020, behind not only the 5-0 Seahawks but also the 4-2 Rams and Cards. Neither the Packers (4-1), the Ravens (5-1) nor the Saints (3-2) lead the divisions they captured in 2019 (NFC North, AFC North and NFC South, respectively) but that's not because of poor play. The Bears are 5-1 in the NFC North, the Steelers are 5-0 in the AFC North and the Bucs are 4-2 in the NFC South.NFL home teams continue to struggle in 2020, as after going 7-7 SU and 6-8 ATS in Week 6, are 47-43-1 SU (.522) Y-T-D and 39-50-2 (.438) ATS. Home dogs are 8-21 SU and 13-14-2 ATS. The Cowboys fell to 0-6 ATS with their Monday loss, joining the Jets, who remain the NFL's lone winless team. Five teams are tied atop the ATS standings at 4-1. That group includes the 5-0 Seahawks and Steelers plus the 4-1 Packers but also the 2-3 Broncos and 1-4 Chargers. Week 6 games averaged 47.5 PPG and 10 of the 14 went under. There have been 46 overs, 43 unders and two 'pushes' on the season.World Series 2020: Both LCS went the full seven games, although each followed a different path, which I detailed in Monday's Notes. So in the end, the team with the best record in the AL and the team with the best record in the NL, will meet in the 2020 World Series. Just the way it should be, right? That makes sense but I should note that it's only the FOURTH time in the wild-card era (since 1995) that the teams with the best record in each league will meet in the World Series. Tampa Bay is in the World Series for just the second time in franchise history (first time being in 2008, when it lost to Cole Hamels' Phillies). The Rays opened the season ranking 28th in the majors in payroll and the only team to reach the World Series since 1998 with a lower ranking was that 2008 Tampa Bay club. As for the Dodgers, they are in the World Series for the THIRD time in the last four seasons, losing in 2017 to the Astros and in 2018 to the Red Sox. It's the 63rd instance in major league history that a team has reached three World Series in a four-year span and only TWO teams among the group did not win a World Series. The Dodgers sure don't want to join the 1907-09 Detroit Tigers and the 1911-13 NY Giants.  If the Dodgers win, it will be their 7th championship (including one as the Brooklyn Dodgers).The starting pitchers for Game 1 will be Tampa Bay's Tyler Glasnow and LA's Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw and LA are favored (-175) and the over/under is 7 1/2. There's good news for the teams' pitching staffs, as after each team played SEVEN games in SEVEN days in their respective LCS, the World Series will have a one-day break after Games 1 and 2 and another one-day break after Games 3 thru 5 and before Games 6 and 7.  BetAnySports has the series odds at -200 for the Dodgers, with Tampa Bay at +185.Good luck...Larry

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Teasers 101: What They Are and How to Maximize Their Value

by Doc's Sports

Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020

When you hear someone referring to the term “teaser,” they are referring to a different betting option that’s available to everyone but one that most people don’t know how to utilize. A teaser is similar to a parlay in that it involves two or more selections, and each selection of the bet must win in order to cash your ticket. Teasers are available in any sport that uses a point spread, but are most common in basketball and football, both at the professional and collegiate levels.  Depending on who you ask, some say teasers are sucker bets, while others swear by them if the situation calls for it. I say, a winning bet is a winning bet regardless of what kind of bet it is. Remember, we are at the mercy of the sportsbooks and whatever lines and prices they put out, so we must find a way to beat them and get the best return on our investment. Sportsbooks are usually ruthless and leave bettors with little to no advantage. However, there is one specific betting option that allows us to sweeten the pot and give ourselves a better chance to successfully win bets. Are Teasers Worth Playing? Teasers are worth playing only if you find the right situation and know how to place them correctly. Since we already know that teasers offer a lower payout than straight parlays, we must find a way to maximize our value and win this selection. It’s also important to remember that a winning bet is a winning bet no matter what kind of bet it is.  Football Teasers – NCAAF and NFL Football teasers are the most popular teasers in the betting industry and offer bettors a slew of options. Sportsbooks usually offer teasers that allow you to shift the original line by six points, six and a half points, seven points, or sometimes even 10 points. A 10-point teaser is typically referred to as a sweetheart teaser. As always, an example will make things easier to understand. Let’s say that on a typical NFL Sunday, you are interested in three teams – the Giants -7, the Bills -2.5 and the Dolphins +4.5. If you were to bet these teams in a three-team, six-point teaser, you would be getting each team at very different odds. A six-point teaser would result in the Giants being -1, the Bills being +3.5 and the Dolphins +10.5. On paper, each of these teams should have an easier time covering the adjusted spread. However, as we already know, the game isn’t played on paper. By adjusting the spreads, you have changed the potential payout. If you were to do a three-team parlay with these three teams, you would be getting close to 6/1 odds. Instead, most sportsbooks offer 2.5/1 odds on a three-team, six-point teaser. The risk is much lower, but so is the reward.  However, it should be noted that the above teaser is something I DO NOT recommend doing. Much like any other betting option available to bettors, teasers are only worth playing if they are done correctly and the situation calls for it. We already know that “teasers” offer a much lower payout than straight parlays, but that’s okay because there is one situation where a “teaser” is the best option. Since football has key numbers of three, four and seven, the ability to manipulate the lines in order to beat these numbers is crucial. Instead of laying a ton of money on a -400 favorite to win outright, or -110 to cover a big -7.5-spread, a six-point teaser allows you to bring that favorite through each of the key numbers and make them a -1.5-point favorite. Since a one or two-point margin of victory is very uncommon in the NFL, the odds of the favorite winning by at least a field goal is extremely high. The same rule applies for the underdog. A +1.5-point favorite or higher can be teased up through each of the aforementioned key numbers, thus making it a potentially easier spread to cover. The biggest mistake a bettor can make when playing a “teaser” is teasing a team across zero. In reference to a six-point teaser, making a -3 favorite a +3 dog is frowned up as you are paying for six points but in reality, zero doesn’t count as a number since teams very rarely tie.  If I was looking to play a teaser, I would try and find favorites of -7.5 to -8.5 or and tease them down through seven, four and three. Or you can find underdogs priced at +1.5 to +2.5 and tease them up through those key numbers and get them at over a touchdown.   Basketball Teasers – NCAAB and NBA If you are into basketball, then you may be interested in basketball teasers. They essentially work the same way as the above football example except sportsbooks offer different lines. The majority of sportsbooks will allow you to play a four-point, four-and-a-half-point teaser and a five-point teaser. You can play this option on both the point spread and total of each game. Let’s use a totals example to give you a better idea of how this works. If you like three NBA games and their totals are 202, 189 and 194.5 respectively, you could tease them to either the “over” or “under.” Here is where it gets a little tricky. A four-point teaser to the “over” would reduce the total by four points, thus making the total potentially easier to reach. If you like the “under” a four-point teaser would add four points to the total so that you now have totals of 206, 193 and 198.5, respectively. 

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Big Al's Daily Angle: World Series Preview

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020

The beginning of the 116th Fall Classic dominates the sports schedule on Tuesday. The first game of the World Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers features Tyler Glasnow facing off against Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers reached the World Series by defeating the Atlanta Braves on Sunday night by a 4-3 score in the seventh game of the National League Championship Series. Los Angeles had previously swept the Milwaukee Brewers and the San Diego Padres in their first two playoff series.Los Angeles is 9-3 in this postseason. They are scoring 5.7 runs-per-game while allowing 3.6 runs-per-game in these twelve playoff games. The Dodgers have a .256 batting average in the playoffs with a .350 on-base percentage and an OPS of .806. The Los Angeles bullpen has posted a 3.40 ERA along with a 1.15 WHIP.Kershaw is the Game 1 starter after dealing with back spasms that pushed back his planned Game 2 start in the NLCS. Presumably, these spasms kept him from pitching on short rest in Game 7 on Sunday after starting in Game 4 on Thursday. The veteran left-hander has a 3.32 ERA in the postseason this year with 23 strikeouts and just two bases-on-balls.Manager Dave Roberts has yet to announce his Game 2 pitcher, though Walker Buehler has been tabbed to start Game 3.  For Game 2, Roberts could go with any of Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, or Julio Urias.  By pushing Buehler back to Game 3, Roberts avoids putting him out there on short rest.  And Buehler would then be in line to pitch a potential Game 7 on regular rest.Tampa Bay reached the World Series with their 4-2 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 7 of that series on Sunday. The Rays held on to win the ALCS after seizing a 3-0 lead in that series. Tampa Bay swept Toronto in two games before defeating the New York Yankees by a 3-2 margin in that five-game series. The Rays are 9-5 this postseason. They are scoring 4.1 runs-per-game while allowing 3.8 runs-per-game. Tampa Bay is hitting just .209 in the postseason with a .285 on-base percentage and an OPS of .691. The Rays' bullpen has a 3.41 ERA in these playoffs with a 1.43 WHIP.Manager Kevin Cash has named Tyler Glasnow his starting pitcher for Game 1. The right-hander has a 4.66 ERA with 25 strikeouts and eight walks in his 19 1/3 innings of work this postseason in four starts. Cash has named Blake Snell his Game 2 pitcher, which means Charlie Morton is most likely the starting pitcher he will use for Game 3.Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, is the neutral site that hosts this World Series. Los Angeles is the designated home team for the first two games of the World Series. The traditional 2-3-2 scheduling format resumes with off days scheduled on Thursday and Sunday. Fox will broadcast the games. BetAnySports has installed Los Angeles as the favorite to win the series, with odds at -200.  Tampa Bay is +185.  The Dodgers are the Game 1 favorite, with BetAnySports pricing them at -166, while Tampa Bay is +160. The total is 7.5. The first pitch on Tuesday is at 8:09 PM ET.For fans of prop bets, BetAnySports has listed the following players at the most likely to win World Series MVP:  Mookie Betts.....Dodgers.....+750Corey Seager.....Dodgers.....+800Cody Bellinger.....Dodgers.....+850Randy Arozarena.....Rays.....+900Tyler Glasnow.....Rays.....+950Walker Buehler.....Dodgers.....+1000Charlie Morton.....Rays.....+1500Max Muncy.....Dodgers.....+1550Blake Snell.....Dodgers.....+1600Clayton Kershaw.....Dodgers.....+2000Justin Turner.....Dodgers.....+2000Will Smith.....Dodgers.....+2000Brandon Lowe.....Rays.....+2650Austin Meadows.....Rays.....+3000AJ Pollock.....Dodgers.....+3500Ji-Man Choi.....Rays.....+3800Hunter Renfroe.....Rays.....+4000Julio Urias.....Dodgers.....+4000

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