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2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group B Preview and Odds - 07/18/2021

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Jul 18, 2021

CONCACAF Gold Cup 2021 Group B Preview: Canada, Haiti, Martinique, United States.The 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup takes place from July 10th through August 1st, with the finals in Las Vegas. The United States hosts all the games in 10 stadiums throughout nine cities. The United States Men’s National Team is the favorite in Group B, priced at +170 pre-tournament (all odds from DraftKings). The Stars and Stripes come off a 3-2 victory in extra time against Mexico to claim the CONCACAF Nations League title last month. The USMNT won the Gold Cup for the seventh time in 2017. They finished in second place behind Mexico in the 2019 Gold Cup.Manager Gregg Berhalter will be testing his B team at this event with the players that helped lift the trophy last month off to Europe to train with their professional teams. Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna, Werner Bremen’s Josh Sargent, and Manchester City’s Zack Steffan will not compete. Nineteen of the 23 players on Berhalter’s roster play on an MLS squad, led by Orlando City striker Daryl Dike. The Yanks enter this event on an 8-1-1 run in their last ten matches. They have not lost on home soil since an upset loss to Venezuela in a friendly on June 9th, 2019. In their last nine games played in the United States, the USMNT has scored 40 goals and has conceded only four times, with six clean sheets. FIFA ranks the USA at 20th in the world. The ELO ratings place them 22nd. Canada is priced at +1700 to win the tournament. Les Rouges won the Gold Cup in 2000, and they find themselves amidst a golden generation of talent. Canada has not lost to a team from the CONCACAF region since 2019. They have won six matches in a row with a 31 to 1 goal margin. Manager John Herman will be without two of his best players for this tournament. Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies and Lille’s Jonathan David are training with their professional teams. The Canucks have depth. Vancouver White Cap’s Lucas Cavallini and Turkish Super League star Cyle Larin lead a potent Canadian attack. Canada ranks 70th in the world by FIFA and 41st in the ELO ratings.Haiti has +10000 pre-tournament odds. Les Grenadiers reached the semifinals of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup before losing to Mexico. They won their group in the first round of their World Cup qualifying matches before losing both legs of their playoff with Canada to advance to the second round last month. Manager Jean-Jacques Pierre is dealing with a COVID outbreak on his squad that made five players unavailable in their opening match against the United States. Haiti is led by forward Duckens Nazon who is the national team’s second all-time leading scorer with 29 goals. Columbus Crew forward Derrick Etienne, Jr. joins him in the attack on the wing. Les Grenadiers are ranked 83rd in the world by FIFA and 75th in the ELO ratings.Martinique had pre-tournament odds of +10000. Les Matinino will be playing for the first time since their CONCACAF Nations League matches in November of 2019. The Caribbean island nation has lost only once in their last five matches. Martinique will recall their narrow 3-2 loss to Mexico in the 2019 Gold Cup to inspire confidence in this tournament. Manager Mario Bocaly’s squad has two players with international experience in Emmanuel Riviere and Kevin Fortune leading the attack. Fullback Patrick Burner has top-flight professional experience in France. As a non-member in FIFA, Les Matinino does not appear in their rankings. The ELO ratings place Martinique 101st in the world.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB and CONCACAF Gold Cup Previews and Odds - 07/18/2021

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Jul 18, 2021

The Sunday sports card features action in MLB and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.Sixteen games are on the MLB docket. The New York Mets visit Pittsburgh at 1:05 PM ET as a -145 money line road favorite with the total set at 8.5 (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise). The Mets pitch Taijuan Walker against the Pirates’ J.T. Brubaker. Toronto hosts Texas at 1:07 PM ET as a -240 money line favorite with an over/under of 7.5 in the first game of their seven-inning doubleheader. Hyun Jin Ryu pitches for the Blue Jays against Kolby Allard of the Rangers. Two games start at 1:10 PM ET. Minnesota plays at Detroit as a -135 money line road favorite with a total of 10.5. The Twins pitch J.A. Happ against the Tigers Wily Peralta. Milwaukee completes their road trip at Cincinnati as a -140 money line road favorite with an over/under of 8. Corbin Burnes pitches for the Brewers against the Reds’ Sonny Gray. Tampa Bay plays at Atlanta at 1:20 PM ET in a pick ‘em with both teams priced at -110 with a total of 9. The Rays pitch Rich Hill against the Braves’ Drew Smyly. Philadelphia hosts Miami at 2:05 PM ET as a -140 money line favorite with an over/under of 7.5. Zack Wheeler pitches for the Phillies against a starting pitcher for the Marlins yet to be determined. Two games start at 2:10 PM ET. The Chicago White Sox plays at home against Houston as a -125 money line favorite with a total of 8. Carlos Rodon pitches for the White Sox against Framber Valdez of the Astros. Kansas City hosts Baltimore as a -155 money line favorite with an over/under of 10. The Royals pitch Carlos Hernandez against the Orioles’ Matt Harvey. San Francisco visits St. Louis at 2:15 PM ET as a -130 money line road favorite with a total of 8.5. Johnny Cueto pitches for the Giants against Wade LeBlanc of the Cardinals. The Los Angeles Dodgers play at Colorado at 3:10 PM ET as a -170 money line road favorite with an over/under of 12. The Dodgers pitch David Price against the Rockies’ Jon Gray. Washington is at home against San Diego at 3:35 PM ET as a -105 money line favorite at BetOnline with a total of 8. Max Scherzer pitches for the Nationals against Joe Musgrove of the Padres.Two games start at 4:07 PM ET. The Los Angeles Angels play at home against Seattle as a -130 money line favorite with a total of 8.5. Patrick Sandoval pitches for the Angels against Logan Gilbert of the Mariners. Oakland hosts Cleveland as a -165 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The A’s pitch Chris Bassitt against the Indians’ Zach Plesac. The Chicago Cubs play at Arizona at 4:10 PM ET as a -120 money line road favorite with a total of 9. Zach Davies pitches for the Cubs against Merrill Kelly of the Diamondbacks. Toronto hosts Texas in the second game of their doubleheader at 5:07 PM ET as a -187 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Stephen Matz pitches for the Blue Jays against Mike Foltynewiz of the Rangers. The New York Yankees host the Boston Red Sox on ESPN at 7:08 PM ET as a -125 money line favorite with a total of 9.5. Jameson Taillon of the Yankees pitches against Martin Perez of the Red Sox. The CONCACAF Gold Cup continues with four matches to conclude action in Group A and B. The United States plays Canada on Fox at 5 PM ET as a -0.75 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.5. The USMNT has won their first two matches in group play after a 6-1 victory over Martinique on Thursday. Les Rouges have won their first two matches in group play with their 4-1 victory against Haiti on Thursday. The winner of the game earns the top seed from Group B, with the Stars and Stripes getting the top seed from the group with a draw given the goal differential initial tie-breaker. The Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, hosts the match.Haiti plays Martinique on FS2 at 5 PM ET as a -0.75 goal line favorite with a total of 2.5. Pride is on the line with both these teams pointless after their first two matches. The match takes place at Toyota Stadium in Dallas. Mexico plays El Salvador on FS1 at 10 PM ET as a -1.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.5. El Tri comes off a 3-0 victory against Guatemala on Wednesday to give them four points. Los Cuzcatlecos are off a 2-0 win against Trinidad and Tobago, clinching their spot in the quarterfinals. Mexico needs a win to ensure their involvement in the quarterfinals. The Cotton Bowl in Dallas hosts the match. Trinidad and Tobago play Guatemala on FS2 at 10 PM ET in pick ‘em match with a total of 2. The Soca Warriors need a victory and a Mexico loss to then go to the goal-differential tie-breaker where they begin the day trailing by five goals to El Tri. Goals scored is the second tie-breaker if Trinidad and Tobago level the net goal differential after a win and Mexico loss to El Salvador. The Toyota Stadium in Dallas hosts the match.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, MLB and CONCACAF Gold Cup Previews and Odds - 07/17/2021

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Jul 17, 2021

 The Saturday sports card features action in the NBA, MLB, and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.The NBA playoffs continue with Game 5 of the NBA finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns on ABC at 9:05 PM ET. Milwaukee evened this series at 2-2 with their 109-103 victory as a 4.5-point home favorite on Wednesday. The series moves back to Phoenix, where the Suns are a 4-point favorite with the total set at 219 (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise).Sixteen games are on the MLB slate. Four games are in the afternoon. Minnesota plays at Detroit in the opening game of their seven-inning doubleheader at 1:10 PM ET with Charlie Barnes making his MLB debut for the Twins against Jose Arena of the Tigers. Toronto hosts Texas at 3:07 PM ET as a -250 money line favorite with an over/under of 10. Hyun Jin Ryu of the Blue Jays pitches against Kolby Allard of the Rangers. Oakland plays at home against Cleveland on FS1 at 4:07 PM ET as a -158 money line favorite with a total of 8.5 at BetOnline. The A’s pitch Frankie Montas against the Indians’ Cal Quantrill. The Chicago Cubs continue their visit to Arizona at 4:10 PM ET as a -130 money line road favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Adbert Alzolay pitches for the Cubs against a pitcher yet to be named for the Diamondbacks.Miami plays at Philadelphia at 6:10 PM ET in pick ‘em matchup with both teams priced at -110 with a total of 10. The Marlins’ Ryan Thompson pitches against the Phillies’ Vincent Velasquez. Minnesota plays at Detroit in the second game of their doubleheader at 6:10 PM ET. Kenta Maeda pitches for the Twins against a Tigers pitcher yet to be determined. Two games are scheduled for 7:05 PM ET. The New York Mets are at Pittsburgh as a -170 money line road favorite with an over/under of 9. The Mets pitch Tylor Megill against the Pirates Wil Crowe. San Diego continues their road trip at Washington as a -135 money line road favorite with a total of 9.5. Blake Snell pitches for the Padres against Patrick Corbin of the Nationals. Two games start at 7:10 PM ET. Milwaukee is at Cincinnati as a -125 money line road favorite with an over/under of 8. The Brewers pitch Brandon Woodruff against the Reds’ Luis Castillo. Kansas City is at home against Baltimore pitching Brady Singer against an Orioles pitcher yet to be named. The national game on Fox at 7:15 PM ET offers three games for regional coverage. San Francisco plays at St. Louis as a -125 money line road favorite with a total of 8. The Giants pitch Anthony DeSclafani against Kwang Hyun Kim of the Cardinals. The Chicago White Sox host Houston as a -115 money line favorite with an over/under of 9. Lucas Giolito pitches for the White Sox against Jake Odorizzi of the Astros. Boston continues their road trip in New York against the Yankees with Nathan Eovaldi starting against Gerrit Cole. Tampa Bay plays at Atlanta at 7:20 PM ET in a pick ‘em matchup with a total of 8.5. Josh Fleming pitches for the Rays against the Braves Max Fried. The Los Angeles Dodgers play at Colorado at 8:10 PM ET with Walker Buehler facing Chi Chi Gonzalez. The Los Angeles Angels host Seattle at 9:07 PM ET as a -125 money line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The Angels pitch Alex Cobb against the Mariners’ Yusei Kikuchi. The CONCACAF Gold Cup continues with two matches in Group D on FS1 at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas. Qatar plays Grenada at 7:30 PM ET as a -2.5 goal line favorite with a total of 3.5. Honduras plays Panama at 10 PM ET as a -0.25 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.5. 

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2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group C Preview and Odds - 07/17/2021

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Jul 16, 2021

CONCACAF Gold Cup 2021 Group C Preview: Costa Rica, Jamaica, Suriname, Guadeloupe.The 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup takes place from July 10th through August 1st, with the finals in Las Vegas. The United States hosts all the games in 10 stadiums throughout nine cities. The Group C favorite is Costa Rica with a +1400 pre-tournament price (all odds from DraftKings). The Ticos reached the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup. After reaching the semifinals of the 2017 Gold Cup, Costa Rica lost in a penalty shootout to Mexico in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Gold Cup. They have reached the knockout quarterfinals stage of this tournament six straight times.The Ticos are winless in their last six matches in international play entering this event. They lost on penalty kicks again to Mexico in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Nations League on June 3rd. Joel Campbell leads the attack with 19 goals in 99 caps for the team. Midfielders Celso Borges and Allan Cruz form the foundation in the midfield. Borges plays professionally in Spain, and Cruz plays for FC Cincinnati in the MLS. Paris Saint-German goalkeeper Keylor Navas is not on this roster as he prepares for the upcoming Ligue 1 season. FIFA ranks Costa Rica 50th in the world. The ELO ratings place them 51st. Jamaica was given +2500 pre-tournament odds to win the tournament. The Reggae Boyz have reached three straight semifinals in this competition with two-second place finishes in 2015 and 2017. Jamaica is unbeaten in their last nine group stage matches in the Gold Cup. The team goes into this event winless in their last four matches, although all four games were friendlies. Manager Theodore Whitmore aggressively recruits European professionals who meet the eligibility requirements to represent the Jamaican national team. This roster consists primarily of players who play in the MLS, with a few players who compete in Europe. The MLS’s Philadelphia Union is represented with three players in forward Cory Burke, defender Alvas Powell, and Andre Blake, who was named the top keeper in the league last season. Bayer Leverkusen wing Leon Bailey plays upfront. Miami FC midfielders Lamar Walker and Devon Williams patrol the middle of the field. The Reggae Boyz rank 45th in the world by FIFA and 61st in the ELO ratings.Suriname was listed with +2000 pre-tournament odds. The Natio is making its debut appearance in a Gold Cup competition, although they did compete in the 1985 CONCACAF Championship before the event changed its name. Suriname had won three straight matches this year by a 15-0 goal margin before losing to Canada, 4-0, in their most recent World Cup qualifying match on June 8th.Manager Dean Gorre has a roster dominated by players who play professionally in Europe. The Netherlands are well-represented, led by fullbacks Ridgeciano Haps and Dion Malone, and Ajax right back Sean Klaiber. Gleofilo Vlijter leans the attack after scoring ten goals in the CONCACAF Nations League for the Natio. FIFA ranks Suriname 136th in the world. The ELO ratings place them 130th. Guadeloupe had pre-tournament odds of +25000 to win the tournament. The Gwada Boys are competing in their first Gold Cup since 2011. Their claim to fame in this event was in 2007 when they lost to Mexico, 1-0, in the semifinals. They ride a six-game unbeaten streak with 23 goals scored after winning their qualifying match via penalty kicks against Guatemala on July 6th. Manager Jocelyn Angloma has assembled a young roster consisting of only three players that have at least ten caps international competition for the national team. Only eight players compete in a professional league. The Gwada Boys are not ranked by FIFA as a non-member. The ELO ratings place them 148th in the world.

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

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Jul 16, 2021

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

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2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A Preview and Odds - 07/16/2021

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Jul 16, 2021

CONCACAF Gold Cup 2021 Group A Preview: El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago.The 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup takes place from July 10th through August 1st, with the finals in Las Vegas. The United States hosts all the games in 11 stadiums throughout ten cities. Mexico headlines Group A, the tournament favorite at +115 opening odds (all lines from DraftKings). Manager Gerardo Martino has assembled most of the nation’s top players to compete in this event. The notable exceptions on the roster this summer are forwards Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Raul Jimenez, and goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. Mexico’s starting XI will still have Napoli’s Jesus Corona at forward, Atletico Madrid midfielder Hector Herrera, and Ajax defender Edson Alvarez. El Tri won the last Gold Cup competition in 2019. Their most recent competitive match was against the United States, where they lost by a 3-2 score in extra time in the finals of the CONCACAF Nations League on June 6th. Mexico is ranked 11th in the world by FIFA. The ELO ratings place them 15th. El Salvador opened the tournament with +6000 odds to win the event. La Selecta has finished in third place in their group in each of the last five Gold Cups, advancing to the knockout stage once. This group may be El Salvador’s best national team in years under manager Hugo Perez after a recent successful run in their World Cup qualifying matches. La Selecta enters the event with five victories in their last seven matches over a span where they scored 19 goals. They conceded only twice in their last seven matches, and they have seven clean sheets in their most recent 11 games. Seattle Sounders midfielder Alex Roldan offers a creative spark in the midfield. Toronto FC center back Eriq Zavaleta anchors the backline. FIFA ranks El Salvador 69th in the world. The ELO ratings place them 74th.Trinidad and Tobago had a +10000 price to win the tournament at the start of the event. The Soca Warriors qualified after defeating French Guinea in a shootout, 8-7, after their match on July 6th ended in a 1-1 score. Trinidad and Tobago finished with only one point in the group stage of the 2019 Gold Cup, where they were outscored by a 9 to 1 goal margin. They last earned a victory in a Gold Cup group stage match back in 2015 when they upset Mexico. Interim manager Angus Eve will place a special emphasis on this tournament after the Soca Warriors failed to advance to the second round of the World Cup qualifying matches. They entered this event unbeaten in their last six matches. Midfielder Khaleem Hyland leads the team with 32 caps. Columbus Crew striker Kevin Molino is the squad’s primary scoring threat. Trinidad and Tobago rank 103rd in the world by FIFA. The ELO ratings place them 107th. Guatemala was a late replacement the day before the tournament began after a COVID outbreak led to Curacao pulling out of the event. Los Chapines failed to qualify for the Gold Cup after a loss to Guadeloupe by a 10-9 margin in the penalty kick shootout when that game could not resolve a 1-1 deadlocked score. Guatemala is taking part in its first Gold Cup competition since 2015. Los Chapines have earned clean sheets in eight of their last nine matches heading into this tournament. They finished last in their group with one point in their 2015 Gold Cup matches. Guatemala ranks 127th in the world by FIFA and 88th in the ELO ratings.

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

by Ben Burns

Thursday, Jul 15, 2021

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

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

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Jul 15, 2021

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

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2021 British Open Preview: Royal St. George Golf Course

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2021

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

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

by Larry Ness

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2021

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

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

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2021

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

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CFB 2021: Big 12 Conference Preview

by Scott Rickenbach

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2021

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

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