Articles

Numbers Don't Lie: Bet Against Oakland on Run-Line

by Vegas Writer

Wednesday, Apr 03, 2024

We're about a week into Major League Baseball's schedule, and I'm already prepared to implement a new betting system.Who knows, maybe it isn't new.What I do know is that through six games, by betting against the Oakland Athletics on the run line, you'd be 4-2 thus far.Last year, of Oakland's 112 losses, 85 were by two or more runs. That means you would have gone 85-77 against the Athletics on the run line.I don't have the net profit on those games, but I do know per EV Analytics, you'd be down -15.0 units if you bet Oakland run line every game.Per Statfox, the margin is even greater, as you'd be down 28.7 units.Understandably, the numbers could be skewed in either direction, depending on the prices each database is using.So how would you start this system?Money management is key, obviously. As is discipline. You cannot press outside the designated range when you're winning, and you cannot scale too far back when you're losing. Stick to the program.Designate a specific amount toward this system only, and for the entire season. Let's use $1,000 as a base, for easy arithmetic.Bet 5% of your bankroll every single day on the team playing Oakland, and on the run line. So, your first bet is $50.This season, through Tuesday's 5-4 extra-inning loss to the Red Sox, I can tell you by betting Oakland's opposition on the run line would have brought back +2.79 units of your original starting point, based on closing numbers at DraftKings.If you started at the beginning of the season, your first bet would have been Cleveland -1.5, +125 and you would have won $62.50.Now your bankroll is $1,062.50, and the next bet would have been $53.12 on the Guardians -1.5, +124. You would have won $65.87, bringing your bankroll to $1,128.37.Your next bet would have been for $56.41 on the Guardians, -1.5, +130. You would have won $73.34, bringing your bankroll to $1,201.71.Your next bet would have been $60.08 on the Guardians -1.5, +130. You would have lost $60.08, dropping your bankroll to $1,141.63.Your next bet would have been $57.08 on the Red Sox -1.5, +102. You would have won $58.22, bringing your bankroll to $1,199.85.Finally, on Tuesday, your bet would have been $59.99 on the Red Sox -1.5, +102. You would have lost $59.99 and would have headed into Wednesday's action with your bankroll at $1,139.86.Fact is, the fans don't care because the team is abandoning Oakland for Las Vegas. The players hate the organization and how things have been handled, not to mention the sideshow that's come with it. The owner is a cheapskate who hasn't invested in a franchise player in years.How bad is this team? The collective base salary for the A's last year was $62,243,227. That's all things included, out the door.Shohei Ohtani's base salary with the Dodgers is $75 million this year alone.Believe me, the Athletics are pure value, like last season, when betting against them on the run line.

Read more

Big Al's NBA, NHL, MLB and EPL Previews and Odds - 04/03/2024

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Apr 03, 2024

The Wednesday sports card features NBA, NHL, MLB, and EPL action.The National Basketball Association has nine games on its docket. Two NBA games tip off at 7:10 p.m. ET. The Charlotte Hornets host the Portland Trail Blazers as a 2-point favorite, with the total set at 212.5 (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise). The Los Angeles Lakers travel to Washington to play the Wizards as a 13-point road favorite with an over/under of 234.5. Three more NBA games start at 7:40 p.m. ET. The Atlanta Hawks play at home against the Detroit Pistons as a 12-point favorite with a total of 223. The Boston Celtics are at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder on ESPN as an 8.5-point favorite with an over/under of 230. The Indiana Pacers play in Brooklyn against the Nets as a 7-point road favorite with a total of 230.5. Three NBA games begin at 8:10 p.m. ET. The Milwaukee Bucks host the Memphis Grizzlies as a 13-point favorite with an over/under of 223.5. The Minnesota Timberwolves play at home against the Toronto Raptors as a 15-point favorite with a total of 216. The New Orleans Pelicans are at home against the Orlando Magic as a 4.5-point favorite with an over/under of 208. The Phoenix Suns host the Cleveland Cavaliers on ESPN at 10:10 p.m. ET as a 5.5-point favorite with a total of 226.5. The National Hockey League has five games on its slate. Two NHL games drop the puck at 7:07 p.m. ET. The Toronto Maple Leafs play at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning as a -130 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The New York Rangers are at home against the New Jersey Devils on TNT as a -192 money-line favorite with a total of 6.5. Two NHL games start at 9:37 p.m. ET. The Dallas Stars host the Edmonton Oilers on TNT as a -118 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Los Angeles Kings play at home against the Seattle Kraken as a -180 money-line favorite with a total of 5.5. The Vancouver Canucks are in Arizona to play the Coyotes at 10:07 p.m. ET as a -155 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 6. The Wednesday card in Major League Baseball has 15 games on its schedule. The Baltimore Orioles are at home against the Kansas City Royals at 1:05 p.m. ET as a -166 money-line favorite with a total of 7.5. Three more MLB games throw out the first pitch at 1:10 p.m. ET. The Tampa Bay Rays host the Texas Rangers as a -120 money-line favorite with an over/under of 8. The Miami Marlins play at home against the Los Angeles Angels as a -120 money-line favorite with a total of 8.5. The Milwaukee Brewers are at home against the Minnesota Twins as a -112 money-line favorite with an over/under of 8.5.  The Atlanta Braves visit Chicago to play the White Sox at 2:10 p.m. ET. The Boston Red Sox play in Oakland against the A’s at 3:37 p.m. ET as a -155 money-line road favorite with a total of 8.5. The New York Yankees are in Arizona to play the Diamondbacks at 3:40 p.m. ET as a -112 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The Philadelphia Phillies host the Cincinnati Reds at 4:05 p.m. ET as a -192 money-line favorite with a total of 7.5. Two more MLB games begin at 4:10 p.m. ET. The San Diego Padres play at home against the St. Louis Cardinals as a -148 money-line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The Seattle Mariners are at home against the Cleveland Guardians as a -162 money-line favorite with a total of 7.5.The Pittsburgh Pirates travel to Washington to play the Nationals at 6:45 p.m. ET as a -155 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 9. The New York Mets host the Detroit Tigers at 7:10 p.m. ET as a -125 money-line favorite with a total of 7. The Chicago Cubs play at home against the Colorado Rockies at 7:40 p.m. ET as a -192 money-line favorite. The Houston Astros are at home against the Toronto Blue Jays at 8:10 p.m. ET as a -142 money-line favorite with an over/under of 9. The Los Angeles Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants at 10:10 p.m. ET as a -218 money-line favorite with a total of 8.5. Matchweek 31 in the English Premier League continues with three matches. Two games start at 2:30 p.m. ET. Arsenal plays at home against Luton Town on the USA Network as a -2.5 goal-line favorite with an over/under of 3.5 (all soccer odds from BetMGM). Brighton and Hove Albion play in Brentford in a pick ‘em match with a total of 3. Manchester City is at home against Aston Villa at 3:15 p.m. ET as a -1.5 goal-line favorite with an over/under of 3.5. 

Read more

Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, NCAAB, MLB and EPL Previews and Odds - 04/02/2024

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Apr 02, 2024

The Tuesday sports card features NBA, NHL, NCAAB, MLB, and EPL action.The National Basketball Association has nine games on its docket. Two NBA games tip off at 7:10 p.m. ET. The Los Angeles Lakers travel to Toronto to play against the Raptors as a 12.5-point road favorite with the total set at 231 (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise). The Washington Wizards host the Milwaukee Bucks as a 14-point favorite with an over/under of 229. The Oklahoma City Thunder play in Philadelphia against the 76ers on TNT at 7:30 p.m. ET as a 5-point road favorite with a total of 225.5. The Miami Heat play at home against the New York Knicks as a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 208. The Minnesota Timberwolves are at home against the Houston Rockets at 8:10 p.m. ET as an 8-point favorite with a total of 216.5. Two more NBA games start at 9:10 p.m. ET. The Denver Nuggets host the San Antonio Spurs as an 8-point favorite with an over/under of 223. The Cleveland Cavaliers are in Utah to play the Jazz as an 11.5-point road favorite with a total of 216. The Golden State Warriors play at home against the Dallas Mavericks on TNT at 10 p.m. ET as a 1-point favorite with an over/under of  233. The Los Angeles Clippers visit Sacramento to play the Kings at 10:10 p.m. ET as a 3.5-point road favorite with a total of 220.The National Hockey League has eight games on its slate. Three NHL games drop the puck at 7:07 p.m. ET. The Buffalo Sabres are at home against the Washington Capitals as a -135 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Florida Panthers play in Montreal against the Canadiens as a -230 money-line road favorite with a total of 6. The New Jersey Devils host the Pittsburgh Penguins as a -166 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The New York Islanders play at home against the Chicago Blackhawks at 7:37 p.m. ET as a -245 money-line favorite with a total of 5.5. Two NHL games begin at 8:07 p.m. ET. The Minnesota Wild are at home against the Ottawa Senators as a -142 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6. The Boston Bruins are in Nashville to play the Predators as a -122 money-line road favorite with a total of 6. The Calgary Flames host the Anaheim Ducks at 9:07 p.m. ET as a -230 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6. The Vegas Golden Knights play at home against the Vancouver Canucks at 10:07 p.m. ET as a -135 money-line favorite with a total of 5.5. The college basketball schedule has the two semifinal games in the National Invitational Tournament at the Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Indiana State battles Utah on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET as a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 163.5. Seton Hall challenges Georgia on ESPN2 at 9:30 p.m. ET as a 4.5-point favorite with an over/under of 145.5. The Tuesday card in Major League Baseball has 14 games on its schedule. The Milwaukee Brewers host the Minnesota Twins at 4:10 p.m. ET as a -112 money-line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The Baltimore Orioles play at home against the Kansas City Royals at 6:35 p.m. ET as a -166 money-line favorite with a total of 9. Two more MLB games throw out the first pitch at 6:40 p.m. ET. The Philadelphia Phillies are at home against the Cincinnati Reds on TBS as a -148 money-line favorite with an over/under of 9. The Miami Marlins host the Los Angeles Angels as a -148 money-line favorite with a total of 8.5. The Tampa Bay Rays play at home against the Texas Rangers at 6:50 p.m. ET as a -155 money-line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The New York Mets are at home against the Detroit Tigers at 7:10 p.m. ET as a -130 money-line favorite with a total of 8. Two more MLB games start at 7:40 p.m. ET. The Atlanta Braves travel to Chicago against the White Sox as a -230 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 9. The Chicago Cubs host the Colorado Rockies as a -205 money-line favorite. The Houston Astros play at home against the Toronto Blue Jays at 8:10 p.m. ET as a -155 money-line favorite with a total of 8.5. Four MLB games throw out the first pitch at 9:40 p.m. ET. The Boston Red Sox play in Oakland against the A’s as a -162 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 8. The Seattle Mariners are at home against the Cleveland Guardians as a -122 money-line favorite with a total of 7. The San Diego Padres host the St. Louis Cardinals as a -135 money-line favorite with an over/under of 8. The Arizona Diamondbacks play at home against the New York Yankees as a -115 money-line favorite with a total of 9. The Los Angeles Dodgers are at home against the San Francisco Giants on TBS at 10:10 p.m. ET as a -135 money-line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. Matchweek 31 in the English Premier League begins with five matches. Two matches begin at 2:30 p.m. ET. Newcastle United hosts Everton on the USA Network as a -0.5 goal-line favorite with a total of 3. Fulham are at Nottingham Forest in a pick ‘em match with an over/under of 2.5. Two more EPL matches start at 2:45 p.m. ET. Bournemouth plays at home against Crystal Palace as a -0.5 goal-line favorite with a total of 2.5. Wolverhampton visits Burnley in a pick ‘em match with an over/under of 2.5. Tottenham plays at West Ham United as a -0.5 goal-line road favorite with a total of 3.5.

Read more

Big Al's Daily Angle: NLB, NHL and NBA Previews and Odds - 04/01/2024

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Apr 01, 2024

The Monday sports card features NBA, NHL, and MLB action.The National Basketball Association has six games on its docket. Four NBA games tip off at 7:10 p.m. ET. The Boston Celtics travel to Charlotte to play the Hornets as a 17-point road favorite, with the total set at 207 (all odds from DraftKings). The Detroit Pistons host the Memphis Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite with an over/under of 214.5. The Indiana Pacers play at home against the Brooklyn Nets as a 13-point favorite, with a total of 228. The Orlando Magic are at home against the Portland Trail Blazers as a 16-point favorite with an over/under of 209. Two more games conclude the NBA card at 8:10 p.m. ET. The Chicago Bulls host the Atlanta Hawks as a 3-point favorite with a total of 222.5. The Phoenix Suns play in New Orleans against the Pelicans as a 1-point road favorite with an over/under of 225.The National Hockey League has eight games on its slate. Five NHL games drop the puck at 7:07 p.m. ET. The Colorado Avalanche are in Columbus to play the Blue Jackets as a -355 money-line road favorite with a total of 6.5. The New York Rangers play at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins as a -198 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6. The Philadelphia Flyers are at home against the New York Islanders as a -188 money-line favorite with a total of 6. The Tampa Bay Lightning host the Detroit Red Wings as a -192 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Florida Panthers visit Toronto to play the Maple Leafs as a -122 money-line road favorite with a total of 6.5.Two NHL games start at 9:07 p.m. ET. The Edmonton Oilers play in St. Louis to play the Blues as a -198 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Winnipeg Jets play at home against the Los Angeles Kings as a -125 money-line favorite with a total of 5.5. The Seattle Kraken are in San Jose against the Sharks at 10:37 p.m. ET as a -225 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 6.The Monday card in Major League Baseball has 14 games on its schedule. The Atlanta Braves travel to Chicago to play the White Sox at 2:10 p.m. ET as a -225 money-line road favorite with a total of 9. The Chicago Cubs are at home against the Colorado Rockies at 2:20 p.m. ET as a -218 money-line favorite. The Washington Nationals host the Pittsburgh Pirates at 4:05 p.m. ET as a -120 money-line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The Baltimore Orioles play at home against the Kansas City Royals at 6:35 p.m. ET as a -162 money-line favorite with a total of 8.5. Two more MLB games throw out the first pitch at 6:40 p.m. ET. The Philadelphia Phillies are at home against the Chicago Cubs as a -166 money-line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The Miami Marlins host the Los Angeles Angels as a -118 money-line favorite with a total of 8.5. The Tampa Bay Rays play at home against the Texas Rangers on FS1 at 6:50 p.m. ET. The New York Mets are at home against the Detroit Tigers at 7:10 p.m. ET as a -135 money-line favorite with an over/under of 8. The Houston Astros host the Toronto Blue Jays as a -142 money-line favorite with a total of 9. Four more MLB games begin at 9:40 p.m. ET. The Boston Red Sox play in Oakland against the A’s as a -142 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 8. The Cleveland Guardians are in Seattle to play the Mariners as a -115 money-line road favorite with a total of 8. The St. Louis Cardinals visit the San Diego Padres as a -112 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The New York Yankees play in Arizona against the Diamondbacks as a -125 money-line road favorite with a total of 10. The Los Angeles Dodgers play at home against the San Francisco Giants at 10:10 p.m. ET as a -230 money-line favorite with an over/under of 8.

Read more

NCAA Tournament Committee Seeding is a Joke -- So Don't Handicap Using that "Information"

by Hollywood Sports

Sunday, Mar 31, 2024

Successful sports handicapping requires constant re-evaluation of one’s tactics and assumptions. The moment a previous handicapping edge becomes conventional wisdom is the likely moment that past advantage has become a losing relic of the past. Winning bettors continue to innovate as does the books trying to minimize their potential losses. And with the legalization of sports gambling across the country, gambling information as sports content has become more mainstream. Nowhere is this perhaps most evident than during March Madness. There was a time even within the last decade where the seeding of the NCAA Tournament could play into potentially successful empirical angles for or against teams in the Big Dance. But all of this was dependent on the betting public putting stock in how the Tournament Selection Committee made their decisions. If the public incorrectly viewed their seeding as a de-facto objective power ranking, then there might be underlying betting value critiquing that assumption with more insightful power rankings that exposed value relative to the point spread (as always, sensitive to public opinion). There was a time when an eighth seed in the NCAA Tournament was likely one of the #29 to #32 ranked teams in the nation. One could reliably assume that a 12-seeded team fell pretty close to a team that ranks #45 to #50. It would be simply foolish to maintain that expectation these days. After the expansion of the first four round midweek before “Round One” and with more and more attention paid to the NCAA Tournament as a television product, the seeding pays less attention to creating a pure power bracket than it does presenting television programming for three weeks. There is a reason that CBS’s new NCAA Tournament 15-second advertisement features 13 seconds of “dancing” (it’s the Big Dance, get it?) and their celebrity commentators celebrating something other than actual on-the-court basketball highlights. In the world of early entry in the NBA, the transfer portal, and NIL, television is banking on a feeling rather than the product on the floor. Just an initial yet non-exhaustive list of criteria that conflicts with a true power rating bracket demonstrates the problem. The committee seems to take the selection of the top four one-seeds very seriously — and these four top seeds get plenty of television exposure. But then the games begin as the committee attempts to place them in opening round games that have geographic proximity to their campus. More conflicts ensue, with this being only a partial list that I jotted down over the last two weeks from memory. I’m sure I am missing some (and there are probably more that are not made public):— teams from the same conference avoid being in the same potential Sweet 16 bracket.— teams who have already played each other three times avoid being in the same bracket before the Elite Eight. — non-conference opponents who played in the regular season avoid each other before the Sweet 16 bracket. — teams like BYU avoid playing on Sundays.— lower-seeded underdogs avoid playing in locations that would give them a geographical edge. Those conditions alone impact the ability to make a pure bracket. Then consider that the bracket is all but completed the night before Selection Sunday when the bracket is revealed — despite five conference tournament championship games having yet to be played. They don’t care about those results — although those results may have much to say about the true power ratings of the moment (as North Carolina State has demonstrated). Furthermore, cynical observers would suggest that the committee thinks about intriguing potential second and third-round matchups when seeding teams. Perhaps that is hindsight bias because even the random seeding of teams would stumble into compelling storylines. However, for those of us that consider seed numbers the equivalent of character names like “Rachel” and “Ross”, we do not think there is much integrity left in the process. Like the laughable College Football Playoff rankings show that is fully aware of the upcoming games on their multitude of networks that serve as de-facto playoff games (before their playoffs), it’s important to remember that is all a television show, folks. And we can still bet and win money off television programs! Just don’t put too much stock in thinking there is inherent value because the content creators decided to label a team a “Rachel”. I’ll pick on Peter Keating and Jordan Brenner here, whose work Giant Killers methodology I very much appreciated and considered insightful over the last decade or so. Maybe there is simply something about what happens to the people who start taking money from The Athletic, a publication that appears to offer bonuses for how often “insane” can be deployed as a descriptive noun. It's getting stale.Keating and Brenner’s premise remains dependent on the evaluation of seeding. In 2012, this made sense. In 2024, it is laughably outdated. I mean, you can try to imply that the “market” is following your advice when 11-seed Oregon is a favorite against 6-seed South Carolina when 10-seed Nevada is a favorite against 7-seed Dayton, when 11-seed New Mexico is a favorite against 6-seed Clemson (I should have trusted my gut on the Tigers in that one), and two of the four 9-seeds are favored over the 8-seeds. One can also say the stripper is talking to you because she finds you truly handsome and charming if you want to ignore context. Those aren't underdogs, and they weren't underdogs before you hit send when your article was finished. The lines were out a few hours after the Selection Sunday TV show. You published it midweek. However, in the real world, the market caught up long ago to take heed of the publicly available power rankings system (that, coincidentally, is very, very close to your own personal power rankings systems that are (a) conveniently hidden; (b) same all the same assumptions as every other power rankings system, and our (c) still wrong all the time. I still like Keating and Brenner’s stuff, even if it is not as illuminating in 2024. I am very much intrigued with their evolving classification of styles of teams, such as Generic Giant for a Clemson team that plays good defense but does not create more scoring possessions by forcing turnovers or crashing the offensive glass. The recent identification of Wounded Assassins referring to teams like NC State that took a bunch of regular season losses but remain dangerous is intriguing. Labeling Marquette as a Generic Giant when they ranked 20th in the nation in forcing turnovers seemed a major misstep and betrayal of how they previously viewed Shaka Smart-coached teams when he was leading the Havoc at VCU. But that is an aside to simply this: taking credit for the higher-seeded teams whom the market and the bookies all viewed as favorites as “upset” winners is a conclusion that deserves mockery, especially when attempting to target a smarter audience. One can pretend that that point of the Giant Killers series remains filling out the bracket. In the year of our Lord 2024 when legalization of sports betting is abundant, that is not how one is reading this work that started in earnest over a decade ago (and they know it).  Keating and Brenner’s work would be better served moving forward by attacking the oddsmakers' line rather than the tournament selection committee’s number. Yes, attacking the “Rachel” label may be easier, but relying on padded numbers from faulty seedings pretending to be a power ranking system is simply not credible any longer. The work is getting harder. The transfer portal, NIL, and the continued reliance on 3-point shooting are adding more and more in-season and in-game variance to the NCAA Tournament than previous Big Dances. Just when I thought the little guy perhaps had an edge with experienced rosters after the Final Four runs of San Diego State and Florida Atlantic last year, we get chalk this season with only one double-digit seed advancing to the Sweet 16 and only two “non-Power Conference schools” — San Diego State and Gonzaga — reaching the final 16 teams (and those two teams are perennial powers in college basketball). Those are some of the issues I will be thinking about in the offseason as I make some much-needed tweaking to my college basketball handicapping fundamentals. Relying on past models may make it easier to produce content, but it is not producing winning results. And it is fooling fewer and fewer people. Best of luck — Frank.   

Read more

Scottie Scheffler's Putter Keeps Him an Underlay Bet

by Hollywood Sports

Sunday, Mar 31, 2024

Scottie Scheffler was an overwhelming favorite this week at the Texas Children’s Houston Open at the Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston. After back-to-back first-place finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and then THE PLAYERS Championship two weeks ago, DraftKings lists Scheffler’s odds to win this tournament at a very low +260.That was a clear underlay value as far as I am concerned when I handicapped the event. Just as a gentle reminder for those too scared to not invest in Scheffler despite those short odds: even when Tiger Woods was at his peak, he was only winning PGA events 27% of the time — and he was averaging more than +1.0 Shots-Gained versus the field than what Scheffler is currently registering. Scheffler has a great track record both here and when playing in his home state of Texas — and his putting has improved with his move to mallet putter this year.But his top priority is getting his body in shape and setting himself up for the Master’s in two weeks — so backing him this week comes with additional risk. At +260, the betting value lies elsewhere. And as it turns out, those bettors backing Stephen Jaeger at +4500 were rewarded as he won the tournament after watching Scheffler miss the opportunity to improve his score to 12-under par and force a playoff. In hindsight, there were many moments where Scheffler’s blade let him down. Missing the five-foot birdie putt on 18 to force the playoff is the most apparent misstep. But he also missed an 11-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole. On the back nine in the final round, Scheffler missed three birdie putts inside 20 feet. He did not make a putt in the entire round outside 11 feet. He lost strokes on the green relative to the field for the fourth time in his twelve rounds going back to the start of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Perhaps most telling was a series of blunders in his second round on Friday. After a nice sand save, he missed a par putt that was inside six feet. While that is an understandable and unfortunate error, Scheffler magnified the problem by quickly setting up again for his bogey putt from 22 inches but lipped the ball around the hole for a double-bogey. He later described it as a “lapse of judgment” — but it may be even more telling. When your putter is the clear weakness in one’s game, abandoning one’s pre-shot ritual in resetting one’s body and mind after a frustrating result was the exposure of a lack of mental discipline. Where was his caddie to stop him from such a hasty reaction? Or, does his caddie lack the authority in their relationship to call him out? The best putters in the world never attempt to tap in a 1-foot, 10-inch putt after missing a makable par putt. The most disciplined and successful putters pick up their ball and reset their ritual process to meld their mental concentration with their physical execution. Scheffler is the best ball-striker in the world. A mental mistake like this is damning. Perhaps that’s what simply happens when one is trying to win their third straight PGA Tour event in a row?Scheffler is currently the favorite to win the Masters Championship coming up in two weeks — he is listed as a +400 favorite at DraftKings. I will not be investing in Scheffler at that price. Even if he is the best golfer in the world — and there are a few professionals on the LIV Tour who will take issue with that in Augusta — there is not nearly enough value in a 4-1 favorite given the volatility of a golf tournament. The leaderboard at the Houston Open demonstrates this. While Jaeger won the tournament at 12-under par, Scheffler was tied for second place at 11-under par with four other golfers. Another four pros finished at 10-under par — and then another three golfers were at 9-under par. When 13 pros are all within three strokes at the end of 72 holes, the value is with the field rather than even the best player in the world. Tiger Woods' history indicates that he only won an event that closely contested one out of every four times. Betting Scheffler at anything below -800 — and especially anything under -400 — is not a formula for success. At these prices, we will continue to look elsewhere on our weekly endeavors betting on the PGA Tour. Best of luck — Frank.

Read more

No Glass Slipper for Cinderella Clemson

by Team Del Genio

Sunday, Mar 31, 2024

The Clemson Tigers needed to pull off their fourth straight upset in the NCAA tournament to advance to the final four. The Tigers opened their tournament by upsetting New Mexico, 77-56, as a 2.5-point underdog despite being installed as a six-seed by the tournament committee. Clemson held the Lobos to 29.7% shooting in that game which was the lowest opponent’s field goal percentage of their season. They followed that up with a 72-64 upset victory against Baylor as a 4.5-point underdog in a game where they held the Bears to 38.9% shooting from the field. On Thursday in the Sweet Sixteen, the Tigers held Arizona to 37.3% shooting in a 77-72 upset victory as a 7-point underdog. The Wildcats missed 23 of their 28 shots from 3-point land as they uncharacteristically started relying on outside shooting. Arizona went into that game averaging only 21 shots from 3-point range per game. Clemson was a good defensive team that ranked 32nd in the country in defensive efficiency going into their Elite Eight game against Alabama. Yet they had been fortunate to have their three opponents in the NCAA tournament make only 17 of their 75 shots from 3-point range. When considering that ACC opponents made 35.8% of their 3-pointers against them this season, it was difficult to expect the Tigers’ opponents to continue to only hit 22.7% of their 3-pointers against them. Now here came an Alabama team that was taking 30 shots a game from 3-point land representing 46.3% of their shots from the field. Head coach Nate Oats' team was the 19th most reliant squad on taking 3-pointers. They made 36.8% of these shots which is the 25th-best mark in the country. Clemson gave up plenty of 3-point attempts. They rank 288th with their opponents taking 40.6% of their shots from 3-point land going into that gameWe expected the Tigers’ Cinderella dreams would probably come to an ending if the Crimson Tide simply approached their season average in hitting 3s. Clemson was a good offensive team that relied on their shooting inside the arc, yet they did not do many other things to help improve their efficiency. They went into the Elite Eight ranking 234th in free throw rate. They ranked 244th in offensive rebounding rate. Head coach Brad Brownell prefers to not foul their opponents at the expense of attempting to force turnovers. Clemson ranked 340th in the defensive turnover rate. The Tigers’ 3-point defense held up early against the Crimson Tide as Alabama missed eleven of their first twelve shots from 3-point land. Yet the Tide finally began to make their 3s as they made 15 of their next 24 shots from 3-point range to end the game with a 16 of 36 (44.4%) shooting clip with their 3s. The Tigers only made 8 of their 26 shots (30.8%) of their 3-point attempts. Clemson’s spotting 24 points from 3-point baskets was the difference in Alabama’s 89-82 victory. In the end, great defense and reliable shooting inside the arc usually only go so far in the NCAA tournament. In one-and-done competitions, the ability to get hot from 3-point land or create more scoring chances is needed to win six games in a row. Good luck - TDG.

Read more

The Improbable Final Four Run by North Carolina State

by Team Del Genio

Sunday, Mar 31, 2024

North Carolina State was trailing at halftime to a bad Louisville team in their opening game of the ACC tournament less than three weeks ago. The Wolfpack were trailing a Cardinals squad that went 3-17 in the regular season in conference play was not very surprising. NC State limped into the ACC tournament on a four-game losing streak. All four of their losses to Florida State, North Carolina, Duke, and Pittsburgh were by seven or more points. They had a 9-11 record in the conference when their tournament began in earnest two Tuesdays when the oddsmakers installed them as the favorite against Louisville. After that nine-point victory against the team in the basement in the ACC, head coach Kevin Keatts’ team flipped the switch by pulling off four straight upset victories against Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, and North Carolina to win the tournament and vulture the automatic bid. The Wolfpack may not have qualified for the NIT before those four upset victories last week. The only two NCAA tournament teams they had beaten in the regular season were Virginia and Clemson. How did they do it? At the time, it seemed merely a product of some fortunate luck and good shooting. They had their best shooting effort in their previous fifteen games by making 52.9% of their shots against Louisville to win that game despite the Cardinals making 55.2% of their shots. Syracuse turned the ball over 19 times in 26.8% of their possessions in their second game in the tournament the next day. Duke only made 43.1% of their shots against them in their upset win in the quarterfinals. They needed overtime against Virginia despite the Cavaliers making only 37.9% of their shots. Then as a 10-point underdog to North Carolina in the championship game, they shot 54.9% from the field with a 6-of-14 mark from 3-point land to upset the Tar Heels, 84-76, two Sundays ago. North Carolina was uncharacteristically cold from the field by shooting just 37.3%. In their five games in the ACC tournament, NC State shot 37.6% from 3-point range. Sometimes teams find themselves in the conference tournament. Sometimes teams simply find temporary lightning in the bottle. For the Wolfpack, we thought it was the former when we took Texas Tech in the opening round of the NCAA tournament against them. At that time, they ranked 142nd in the country with a 34.2% shooting percentage from 3-point land. They ranked tenth in the ACC and 91st in the nation in defensive efficiency. They were only forcing 12 turnovers per game at just a 16.2% clip of their opponent’s possessions in conference play and below the 17.1% national average. Yet NC State made 5 of their 13 shots from 3-point range against the Red Raiders and 50.9% of their shots overall in an 80-67 victory. Texas Tech only shot 38.7% from the field and missed 24 of their 31 shots from 3-point land. The oddsmakers then installed them as a favorite when they drew a 14-seeded Oakland team coming off their upset victory against Kentucky as a 13-point underdog. Yet the Wolfpack needed overtime for the second time in eight days to outlast the Grizzlies, 79-73. Oakland shot only 36.8% from the field. With the two-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles on deck in the Sweet Sixteen, the oddsmakers installed NC State as a 7.5-point underdog. Yet the Wolfpack pulled off their sixth upset victory in their last eight games since rallying against Louisville in the ACC tournament in a 67-58 victory. NC State held the Golden Eagles to 33.3% shooting which was a season-low for them defensively. Marquette missed 27 of their 31 shots from 3-point land. The Wolfpack deserve credit for holding their last eight opponents to 28.8% shooting from 3-point range. Yet anyone watching that game observed that Marquette missed open 3 after open 3. To reach the Final Four, the Wolfpack have to play one of their victims again during this torrid three-week march. In their victory against Duke in the ACC tournament, the Blue Devils missed 15 of their 20 shots from 3-point land. NC State head coach Kevin Keatts deserves credit for turning his team’s season around. He might have been fired if his team had not rallied in the second half to beat Louisville. The Wolfpack are playing better on defense, and the offense has been energized by playing through D.J. Burns. But they were allowing their opponents to make 35.2% of their 3-pointers before the ACC tournament. Shooting variance has played a role in their success. Ask this Blue Devils team that led the ACC in the regular season by making 38.5% of their 3-pointers. Duke came into the Elite Eight game as confident as ever after they knocked off Houston, 54-51, as a four-point underdog. Mental and physical toughness had been a question mark for this team. The Blue Devils took an early lead and went into halftime with a 27-21 score. Yet the Wolfpack fought back to take the lead early in the second half before taking control of the game and winning by a 76-64 score. Duke missed 15 of their 20 shots from the 3-point line. NC State only made 3 of their 13 shots from 3-point range yet dominated inside where they converted 25 of their 47 shots inside the arc. Burns scored 29 points with 26 of those points coming from his 13 of 19 shooting from 2-point range. North Carolina State improbably advances to the Final Four to play Purdue with the oddsmakers initially installing them as 9.5-point underdogs. Perhaps their bubble bursts in Indianapolis where the Final Four will be played. Yet with seven upset victories during their nine-game winning streak, bettors simply fading the Wolfpack’s improbable victories would have dug themselves a deep hole. Buyer beware if you continue to bet against this NC State team. Good luck - TDG.

Read more

Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, NCAAB, MLB and EPL Previews and Odds - 03/31/2024

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Mar 31, 2024

The Sunday sports card features NBA, NHL, NCAAB, MLB, and EPL action.The National Basketball Association has ten games on its docket. The Denver Nuggets host the Cleveland Cavaliers at 3:40 p.m. ET as a 5-point favorite, with the total set at 212.5 (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise). Four more NBA games tip off at 6:10 p.m. ET. The Los Angeles Lakers travel to Brooklyn to play the Nets as a 5-point road favorite with an over/under of 224. The Los Angeles Clippers play in Charlotte against the Hornets as a 15.5-point road favorite with a total of 215. The Philadelphia 76ers are in Toronto to play the Raptors as an 11-point road favorite with an over/under of 218.5. The Miami Heat visit Washington to play the Wizards as a 10.5-point road favorite with a total of 217.Four NBA games start at 7:10 p.m. ET. The New York Knicks play at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder as a 3-point favorite with an over/under of 215.5. The Dallas Mavericks play in Houston against the Rockets as a 1-point road favorite with a total of 230.5. The Minnesota Timberwolves are at home against the Chicago Bulls as an 8-point favorite with an over/under of 212. The Golden State Warriors are in San Antonio to play the Spurs as an 8-point road favorite with a total of 227.5. The Sacramento Kings host the Utah Jazz at 9:10 p.m. ET as a 13-point favorite with an over/under of 224.5.The National Hockey League has one game on its slate. The Vancouver Canucks play at home against the Anaheim Ducks on TNT at 3:37 p.m. ET as a -500 money-line favorite with a total of 6. The college basketball schedule has the final two games on CBS in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. Purdue battles Tennessee at 2:20 p.m. ET as a 3-point favorite with an over/under of 148. Duke faces North Carolina State at 5:05 p.m. ET as a 7-point favorite with a total of 143. The Sunday card in Major League Baseball has 15 games on its schedule. Two MLB games throw out the first pitch at 1:35 p.m. ET. The Atlanta Braves travel to Philadelphia to play the Phillies as a -135 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The Baltimore Orioles are at home against the Los Angeles Angels as a -155 money-line favorite with a total of 9. Four more MLB games begin at 1:40 p.m. ET. The Cincinnati Reds host the Washington Nationals as a -175 money-line favorite with an over/under of 10. The Tampa Bay Rays play at home against the Toronto Blue Jays as a -115 money-line favorite at BetOnline with a total of 8.5. The Miami Marlins are at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates as a -125 money-line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The New York Mets host the Milwaukee Brewers as a -142 money-line favorite with a total of 8.Three MLB games start at 2:10 p.m. ET. The Minnesota Twins play in Kansas City against the Royals as a -125 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The Houston Astros play at home against the New York Yankees as a -125 money-line favorite with a total of 7.5. The Detroit Tigers are in Chicago to play the White Sox as a -148 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The Texas Rangers are at home against the Chicago Cubs at 2:35 p.m. ET as a -135 money-line favorite with a total of 9.5. The Cleveland Guardians visit Oakland to play the A’s at 4:07 p.m. ET  as a -125 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 8. Three more MLB games begin at 4:10 p.m. ET. The Seattle Mariners host the Boston Red Sox as a -155 money-line favorite with a total of 7.5. The San Diego Padres play at home against the San Francisco Giants as a -130 money-line favorite at BetOnline with an over/under of 8.5. The Arizona Diamondbacks are at home against the Colorado Rockies as a -205 money-line favorite with a total of 9.5. Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN has the Los Angeles Dodgers hosting the St. Louis Cardinals at 7:10 p.m. ET. The Dodgers are a -180 money-line favorite with an over/under of 9.Matchweek 30 in the English Premier League concludes with two matches. Liverpool plays at home against Brighton and Hove Albion on the USA Network at 9:00 a.m. ET as a -1.5 goal-line favorite with a total of 3.5 (all soccer odds from BetMGM). Manchester City is at home against Arsenal on NBC as a -0.5 goal-line favorite with an over/under of 2.5.

Read more

Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA, NHL, NCAAB, MLB and EPL Previews and Odds - 03/30/2024

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Mar 30, 2024

The Saturday sports card features NBA, NHL, NCAAB, MLB, and EPL action.The National Basketball Association has three games on its docket. The Boston Celtics travel to New Orleans to play the Pelicans at 5:10 p.m. ET as a 5-point road favorite, with the total set at 223 (all odds from DraftKings unless indicated otherwise). The Orlando Magic host the Memphis Grizzlies at 7:10 p.m. ET as a 12-point favorite with an over/under of 207. The Milwaukee Bucks play in Atlanta against the Hawks at 7:40 p.m. ET as a 4.5-point road favorite with a total of 225.5. The National Hockey League has 15 games on its slate. The Florida Panthers play at home against the Detroit Red Wings at 12:37 p.m. ET as a -230 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6. The Vegas Golden Knights are in Minnesota to play the Wild at 3:37 p.m. ET as a -120 money-line road favorite with a total of 5.5. The Edmonton Oilers are at home against the Anaheim Ducks at 4:07 p.m. ET as a -550 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. Two more NHL games drop the puck at 6:07 p.m. ET. The New York Rangers visit Arizona to play the Coyotes as a -192 money-line road favorite with a total of 6. The Colorado Avalanche hosts the Nashville Predators as a -180 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.Seven NHL games start at 7:07 p.m. ET. The Winnipeg Jets play at home against the Ottawa Senators as a -185 money-line favorite with a total of 6. The Toronto Maple Leafs play in Buffalo against the Sabres as a -162 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Pittsburgh Penguins are in Columbus to play the Blue Jackets as a -170 money-line road favorite with a total of 6.5. The Carolina Hurricanes travel to Montreal to play the Canadiens as a -258 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 6. The Philadelphia Flyers are at home against the Chicago Blackhawks as a -245 money-line favorite with a total of 6. The Tampa Bay Lightning host the New York Islanders as a -162 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6.5. The Boston Bruins play in Washington against the Capitals as a -166 money-line road favorite with a total of 5.5. The St. Louis Blues play at home against the San Jose Sharks at 8:07 p.m. ET as a -340 money-line favorite with an over/under of 6. Two more games conclude the NHL card at 10:07 p.m. ET. The Dallas Stars are in Seattle to play the Kraken as a -175 money-line road favorite with a total of 6. The Los Angeles Kings visit Calgary to play the Flames as a -166 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 5.5. The college basketball schedule has the first two games in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. Connecticut battles Illinois on TBS at 6:09 p.m. ET as an 8.5-point favorite with a total of 155.5. Alabama faces Clemson on TBS at 8:49 p.m. ET as a 3-point favorite with an over/under of 164.5. The Friday card in Major League Baseball has 15 games on its schedule. The New York Mets are at home against the Milwaukee Brewers at 1:40 p.m. ET as a -125 money-line favorite with a total of 8. The Detroit Tigers play in Chicago against the White Sox at 2:10 p.m. ET as a -142 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 8. Two MLB games throw out the first pitch at 4:05 p.m. ET. The Baltimore Orioles host the Los Angeles Angels as a -175 money-line favorite with a total of 8.5. The Atlanta Braves are in Philadelphia to play the Phillies on FS1 as a -142 money-line road favor with an over/under of 8. The Cleveland Guardians travel to Oakland to play the A’s at 4:07 p.m. ET as a -142 money-line road favorite with a total of 8. Four more MLB games begin at 4:10 p.m. ET. The Minnesota Twins play in Kansas City against the Royals as a -125 money-line road favorite with an over/under of 8. The Miami Marlins play at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates as a -112 money-line favorite with a total of 8.5. The Cincinnati Reds are at home against the Washington Nationals as a -170 money-line favorite with an over/under of 9.5. The Tampa Bay Rays host the Toronto Blue Jays as a -125 money-line favorite with a total of 8.5. The Texas Rangers play at home against the Chicago Cubs at 7:05 p.m. ET as a -130 money-line favorite with an over/under of 9. Two more MLB games on Fox regional TV coverage begin at 7:15 p.m. ET. The Houston Astros are at home against the New York Yankees as a -135 money-line favorite with a total of 9.5. The San Diego Padres host the San Francisco Giants as a -135 money-line favorite with an over/under of 7.5. The Arizona Diamondbacks play at home against the Colorado Rockies at 8:10 p.m. ET as a -192 money-line favorite with a total of 9.5. The Los Angeles Dodgers are at home against the St. Louis Cardinals at 9:10 p.m. ET as a -225 money-line favorite with an over/under of 8.5. The Seattle Mariners host the Boston Red Sox at 9:40 p.m. ET as a -155 money-line favorite with a total of 7.5. Matchweek 30 in the English Premier League begins with eight matches. Newcastle United plays at home against West Ham United on the USA Network at 8:30 a.m. ET as a -0.5 goal-line favorite with an over/under of 3 (all soccer odds from BetMGM). Five more EPL matches start at 11 a.m. ET. Bournemouth is at home against Everton as a -0.5 goal-line favorite with a total of 2.5. Chelsea hosts Burnley as a -1.5 goal-line favorite with a total of 3. Nottingham Forest plays at home against Crystal Palace on the USA Network as a -0.5 goal-line favorite with an over/under of 2.5. Fulham is at Sheffield United as a -0.5 goal-line road favorite with a total of 3. Tottenham is at home against Luton Town as a -2 goal-line favorite with an over/under of 4. Aston Villa hosts Wolverhampton on NBC at 1:30 p.m. ET as a -1 goal-line favorite with a total of 3. Manchester United visits Brentford at 4 p.m. ET as a -0.5 goal-line road favorite with an over/under of 3. 

Read more

MLB Early Season Betting Tips/Strategies

by Kyle Hunter

Friday, Mar 29, 2024

It’s the start of another Major League Baseball season. Every team has tons of hope in late March, and we will learn a lot about guys in new situations in the coming months. Let’s take a look at a few key strategies to use early in the season betting on baseball.*Check the weather reports especially closely in the early season. The baseball simply doesn’t fly very well some areas with the cooler weather early in the season. The wind is a big key, and there are some parks where wind blowing in is a huge factor. Everyone knows Wrigley Field is one to watch, but pay close attention to Fenway and Progressive Field as well.The under can have value in these spots.*Look for spots to take road underdogs in the very early going. If you just blindly bet moneyline road underdogs in Major League Baseball in the first ten days of the season, you would have cleared some serious cash in the last 15 years. My speculation is that those underdogs are highly motivated early in the season because they are often coming off a poor season and everyone has hope in the first ten games of the season. As a general rule too, I believe home field advantage is overrated by many bettors. *Remember to factor in defense in your handicap. Too many baseball bettors don’t consider the defenses of the two teams. The starting pitchers, offense, and bullpen are clearly very important. However, whether a team has a strong defense and saves runs or is costing themselves runs by committing errors is a big key. I find that this is even more important early in the season. More errors are committed early in the season when players aren’t quite back into the swing of things. Make sure you are focusing on teams who are at least decent defensively.*Bankroll management- Bankroll management is always key in betting, but being patient and pragmatic with your wagers early in a long baseball season is extremely important. There is a very long season ahead. Use a consistent strategy and don’t overextend in betting. *Don’t overreact to spring training stats- Some bettors look far too much at spring training stats when placing their bets for early season baseball. For younger players the spring training stats matter more, but in proven experienced players I would be careful not to overreact. Many pitchers use the preseason to work on new pitches and see if it will work out. I suggest for veteran players that you use previous seasons data specifically on the early season far more than spring training stats.It’s a long grind of a season. Enjoy the ride! 

Read more

MLB 2024: NL West Division Preview

by Scott Rickenbach

Friday, Mar 29, 2024

NL West Division Preview for MLB 2024First number is the estimated projected wins per sportsbook odds while the second number is last season’s win total. This is followed by quick information on each team that likely impacts their season. Arizona Diamondbacks – 83.5 projected wins. Last season 84 wins. The Diamondbacks look as strong as last season but the defending NL Champs now have a bullseye on their backs after their surprising post-season run last year. Still this is a solid pitching staff and the bullpen really improved in the final couple months of last season. Quite a solid lineup too. Still could this be a .500 season at best? It sure seems to be heading that way considering the improvements others are making. Colorado Rockies – 60.5 projected wins. Last season 59 wins. Another 100+ loss season is likely for Colorado. The Rockies are still young and trying to build for the future. Rotation looks like a concern again and adding to that is a couple of hurlers that will be coming back at some point this season but each of them off of Tommy John surgery. This lineup can score well at home but always tend to be so road-adverse. The bullpen has a lot of lesser-known arms also. Los Angeles Dodgers – 103.5 projected wins. Last season 100 wins. Huge move with the signing of Ohtani of course. But will trying to move Betts from the outfield to the infield end up being a big mistake? The Dodgers have question marks in the rotation outside of Glasnow however. This LA team hit very well last season but also had a high ERA starting rotation last year as well. Looks like starter Tony Gonsolin will miss the season as well. The bullpen no longer has Shelby Miller but still looks to be a strength again. I personally don’t trust the rotation enough and think this team wins in the 90s this season! San Diego Padres – 83.5 projected wins. Last season 82 wins. This team lost too much in my opinion. Juan Soto and Josh Hader and plus losing some starting pitching. The rotation is much different. Can this year’s team, unlike last year, win more close games and extra-innings games? I am not counting on this as this team simply lost too much. Solid top 3 of the rotation but have to question the rest plus can they stay healthy? The bullpen lost too much as well. I feel this team lands in the 70s for their win total. Too many question marks and issues. San Francisco Giants – 83.5 projected wins. Last season 79 wins. The managerial change from Kapler to Melvin is going to trigger improvement from the Giants this season. Also, San Francisco added some solid bats to the lineup that should pay immediate dividends. One concern for the Giants is their starting pitching rotation is top heavy. That keeps this SF team from being stronger and the low to mid 80s sounds about right for a win total for the Giants. Keep an eye on this team as they could surprise as Melvin gets a strong new culture fully ingrained with this clubhouse as the season goes along. If they could get some pitching surprises (positive ones) from the rotation and the bullpen with new guys stepping up, this team could push for 90 wins. 

Read more

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2024 Al McMordie's BigAl.com. All Rights Reserved.