Articles

The NFL Landscape After Week 6

by Will Rogers

Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020

NFL Week 6 is now in the books after having two games play out on Monday Night. In Week 5 there was a game on Tuesday night. There continue to be a few COVID scares here and there, but for the most part, now it does appear as if the teams and the NFL have a handle on it. The NBA, NHL, and MLB have been massive success stories, so a few setbacks here and there were expected as well in the NFL.The landscape in the NFL has changed after Week 5. Buffalo still has top spots in the AFC East at 4-2, but Miami is hot on its heels at 3-3. The AFC North remains one of the most competitive divisions, as Pittsburgh is 5-0, Baltimore is 5-1 and Cleveland is 4-2. Tennessee came from behind in the final moments to knock off Houston at home and it's now 5-0 in the AFC South. The Colts are 4-2. Kansas City avoided another letdown on Monday night with a win and cover in Buffalo and it's now 5-1 and atop the AFC West, with Las Vegas sitting at 3-2. The NFC East continues to be the biggest train-wreck division, as Dallas still leads it at 2-4. Philadelphia is in second at 1-4 and even the 1-5 Giants and Washington Football team still mathematically have a shot at winning the division. The NFC North is also a competitive one, with Chicago at 5-1, the Packers at 4-1, and the Lions at 2-3. The NFC South is also extremely competitive, with Tampa Bay sitting at 4-2, New Orleans at 3-2, and Carolina at 3-3. And finally, we can look at the NFC West, another fantastically competitive division with Seattle at 5-0, Arizona at 4-2, LA at 4-2, and San Francisco at 3-3. From A Betting PerspectiveIt's very interesting to note that this is just the third time in league history that there are two clubs in the same year that have started off 0-6 against-the-spread.In 1984: Houston Oilers/Green Bay PackersIn 2011: Miami Dolphins/St. Louis RamsIn 2020: New York Jets/Dallas Cowboys.A Closer Look At Week 6 "Against-The-Spread"Faves went 5-9 overall. Home faves were 3-6. Faves -2.5/less went 0-5.  Faves -6/more were 1-3.  Double-digit faves were 0-1.For The Season ATSFavorites have gone 43-47-1. Home faves have gone 27-35. Favorites of -2.5/less are 3-14. Faves of -6/more are 21-18-1. Double-digit faves are 3-3-1.

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How to Hedge a Sports Bet

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020

How to hedge a sports betSports betting is a really fun activity to some folks; for others, it's their profession.  Both parties take risks by placing bets on games that might result in losing money.  The occasional bettor will not do as much research as the seasoned sports bettor who has been gambling for years.  Nevertheless, both parties would prefer to reduce their losses to a minimum.  Now, what if you were presented with an opportunity to lock in a profit on a sports bet?  That would be the ideal scenario for many of us, no matter how big or small your bankroll might be.That's where hedge betting comes in.  Each match has a unique outcome, but with a smart technique, you could go around taking the maximum risk and end up with a guaranteed profit regardless of the outcome of the match.  To understand this practice in sports betting, you must first understand the principle of hedging.Let's take the common practice of buying insurance, for example.  In the United States, car insurance is mandatory, but the same goes for any type of insurance.  The reason we purchase insurance is to offset the economic risk of getting in a car crash and ending up in the hospital.  In essence, you are hedging against a great economic loss.  This might sound very distant from sports betting, but as a bettor, you can start hedging your bets to protect yourself from losing bets.How to get started with hedge bettingOver the years, hedge betting has become more and more popular.  With all sorts of new types of bets arriving, payouts have gotten bigger and bigger.  This has led to bettors seeking ways to secure their profits and/or reduce the risk of ending up with enormous losses.  To get started with hedge betting in the first place, you have to consider your sports betting strategy.  Do you prefer placing simple moneyline bets?  Do you play safe and only bet the favorite, or do you like to go the dangerous route and try your luck with a futures bet on a longshot?  If you are a casual bettor who does not take many risks, then hedging your bets might not even be necessary.  But, if you are, this is how you get started!The first step is to go to your sportsbook to start looking around for any potential winners.  You might go for a moneyline bet on the underdog with a higher risk, but with great looking odds.  You have your eyes on the payout and think about placing a higher stake than usual.  You do, and your underdog is up by 10 points at half-time.  That's fine, but you will not be wagering for a long time if you do not approach this bet with a proper hedging strategy.  To minimize your potential losses, you might choose at half-time to place another moneyline bet on the opposing team (which is currently down by 10 points) on top of your initial bet.  If structured correctly, when the game ends, you will have guaranteed yourself a profit.Hedge betting examplesThere are a couple of scenarios where placing a hedge bet would make a lot of sense.  In some cases, more than others.  For a small moneyline bet or a point spread bet, the risk may not be high enough to start hedging your bet.  It's possible, but it would not make much sense, especially when you're placing multiple bets across the board.  Now, we'll take two examples where it does make sense to start placing hedge bets.Hedge betting for futures betsAs a little refreshment, a futures bet is the type of bet that you place for an event in the far future.  Not every bookmaker offers the possibility to place futures bets, but most online sportsbooks do.  This is an area where sportsbooks have a very big hold (i.e., profit), so it makes sense that bookies offer these bet types.  A good example is predicting the winner of the Super Bowl.  In a competition like the NFL, where 32 teams challenge each other throughout the season, anticipating the final winner is very hard.  You first have to guess the teams that make it to the playoffs, and afterward, the two teams that manage to make it into the big game.  To show the power of hedge betting, let's try to forecast the eventual winner for the upcoming season's Super Bowl.  This could look something like this: Original wager: You bet $100 at the beginning of the season on the Detroit Lions to win the Super Bowl.  Your odds are +6000 (i.e., 60-1) for this bet as the chance of picking the right team is very small.  It does mean that your potential payout is $6,100. Your potential loss is $100. Hedge: If the team you bet on prior to the season to win the Super Bowl actually qualified for the game, then, to reduce your risk, you could bet a $1,000 wager on the opposing team at the time of the event.  Let's assume it's the New York Jets, and the Lions are favored by 6 points, and the moneyline odds are -220/+200.  You could wager $1,000 on the Jets to win the Super Bowl at +200.  That means your potential loss is $1,000 here, but the potential payout is $2,000.In the above example, there are two scenarios: The original bet wins: The Lions win the Super Bowl, and your profit on your futures bet is $6,000 over and above your initial stake of $100. Your hedge bet is a loss, so you lose the stake of $1,000.  Your total profit is $5,000. The hedge bet wins: The Jets win the Super Bowl, and your profit is $2,000 over and above your initial stake of $1,000. Your futures bet on the Lions is a loss at a stake of $100.  Your total profit is $1,900. As you can see, this is a way to hedge a bet to guarantee a profit.  No matter what the sport is -- NBA, NHL, MLB or NFL -- if you have a futures bet, you are taking a high risk.  Now, you can always choose to let your bet ride for the entire season.   But sometimes, you will be presented with an opportunity to hedge your original wager to guarantee yourself a profit.   And professionals will often utilize that hedge strategy.  One further thing to keep in mind.  Sometimes, a proper hedge bet will require you to wager more than your standard bet size to lock in your profit.  For example, what if, in the example above, the Jets were a big moneyline favorite, rather than an underdog.  What if you needed to bet $5,000 on the Jets to win $2,000.  Thus, make sure you are with a sportsbook which accepts large wagers.  And no sportsbook accepts as large a wager as BookMaker.  If you want to get down $50,000 on an NFL side, or $20,000 on an NCAA Football game, it’s not a problem.  Nor is betting $10,000 on an NBA or MLB game.  If you’re a high roller, then join BookMaker!Hedge betting for parlaysAnother type of bet where placing a hedge bet makes a lot of sense is the parlay bet.  With a parlay, you are betting on multiple games at the same time.  You might have heard the term accumulator bet before, which is similar to a parlay bet.  Let's say you place a three-team parlay, and you are following the outcome of the games carefully.  Your original wager is $100 on the parlay bet on three games with the odds at +600.  Two of the three wagers are winners, and you only have one match to go.  You could try your luck, or you could hedge your bet to guarantee your profit. The last match in your parlay can have two different outcomes.  Either your parlay is a success and you cash a +600 ticket, or you lose all of your money.  To guarantee your profit, you can place a bet on the last match on the opposing team in an amount greater than your stake on the accumulator bet.  So, if the odds are -110, then you need to bet more than $110 to guarantee a profit.  In this example, let’s say you bet $220 to win $200 on the opposing team.  Now, that means there are two possible outcomes: The original bet wins: Your parlay wins, and your profit is $600. Your hedge bet is a loss, so your total profit is $380. The hedge bet wins: Your hedge bet wins, and your profit is $200. Your first bet is a loss, so your total profit is $100. How to use hedge betting in your sports betting strategy After going through the examples and seeing what the possibilities are, it's time for you to start thinking about your current betting strategy.  If you are a sports bettor who enjoys taking great risks, then you might consider hedging your bets now and then.  When you are a conservative bettor who does not go beyond a simple moneyline bet, then hedging might not be necessary for you.  To answer the question of whether you should or should not hedge a bet, we have some guidelines to get you started: Is your original bet a futures bet or a parlay bet?  If it is either, then it could mean that there's a lot of risks involved.  Thus, a hedge bet might be a smart choice. How much are you wagering?  Is the stake of your original wager a big part of your bankroll, or would it not hurt that bad if you took a loss?  If you think you can't afford to lose this bet, it might be smart to hedge your bet to guarantee a profit. Did the circumstances change?  Things can happen all the time in sports.  For example, you may have bet on a great team to win the Super Bowl, but its quarterback may sustain an injury late in the season.  You may realize that your once-promising futures wager is not as great of a bet now.  To make sure you do not lose any money, you can use hedge betting to make up for the change in circumstances. These are just three examples of questions to ask yourself when you are considering a hedge betting strategy.  Experienced sports bettors have been hedge betting for years now and will do so in the future.  If you want to join those who do sports betting for a living, hedge betting is strongly advised!

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NFL Monday Night Football: Cowboys/Cardinals Preview

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Oct 19, 2020

The prime-time Monday Night Football game on ESPN this week has the Arizona Cardinals traveling to Dallas to face the Cowboys. Arizona made their first-ever appearance on Monday Night Football against the Cowboys in 1970. These two teams were later featured as the fictional MNF matchup in the film Jerry Maguire, where the Troy Aikman-era Dallas dynasty team traveled to Arizona to face an upstart Cardinals squad, whose general manager was the Eagles' Glenn Frey. When Rod Tidwell made an end zone circus catch in the climactic moments, Tom Cruise was finally able to “show him the money” as the movie's title character sports agent, with Cuba Gooding, Jr. later winning the Best Supporting Oscar for his performance as Tidwell. The playoffs were at stake for that fictional Cardinals team, but this matchup has early playoff implications for both teams. Dallas is just 2-3 on the season, but that still puts them in first place in the NFC East. The Cowboys come off a 37-34 victory over the New York Giants last week in a bittersweet victory for Dallas nation. Quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury in that game that changed the complexion and expectations for the franchise. Andy Dalton played well in relief. He completed 9 of 11 passes for 111 yards to lead the Cowboys to victory. The veteran takes over an offense loaded with talent that leads the league with a 488.0 yards-per-game average. Dallas is scoring 32.6 points per game, but they are also allowing 36.0 points per game. Their two victories have come against Atlanta Falcons and NY Giants teams that began this week winless on the season.Injuries have played a significant role already this season for the Cowboys even before the loss of Prescott. Dallas is without three starters on their offensive line with tackle Tyron Smith and La’El Collins along with center Joe Looney all on Injured Reserve. Tight end Blake Jarwin is also out the season with a knee injury, and linebacker Sean Lee is on IR with a pelvis injury.Arizona has started the season 3-2 after their victory on the road against the New York Jets. However, the Cardinals find themselves in perhaps the most competitive division in the league along with an undefeated Seattle team and the NFC’s last two representatives in the Super Bowl in the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers.Kyler Murray has continued his growth as an NFL quarterback as he already accounted for 13 touchdowns from either passing or running the football. Murray is completing 69.6% of his passes for 1299 yards with another 296 yards on the ground. However, Murray’s six interceptions are a cause for concern. He leads an offense that is tenth in the NFL with a 395.4 yards per game average, which has led to them scoring 25.6 points per game. The Cardinals are sixth in the NFL by averaging 141 rushing yards per game. Arizona has also lost a key player to a season-ending injury with linebacker Chandler Jones out the year with a bicep tear. The All-Pro generated 19 sacks last season. Fellow linebacker Devon Kennard is questionable with the calf injury that kept him out last week. Starting safety Jalen Thompson is also on the IR with an ankle injury. On the offense, guard J.R. Sweezy is questionable with an elbow.BetOnline lists this game as a pick ‘em with the total set at 55. Kickoff is at  8:15 PM ET.

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Ness Notes: Monday, Oct 19

by Larry Ness

Monday, Oct 19, 2020

This column will be available Monday through Friday (posted no later than 1:00 ET), EXCLUSIVELY at BigAl.com. I like to call it my daily 'random thoughts' on the sports betting world, although I'll pass along that my therapist refers to it as "thoughtful commentary." NFL Week 6 opened with four remaining unbeatens and 5-0 Seattle was assured of staying unbeaten, as the Seahawks were on their bye week. The Steelers joined the Seahawks at 5-0 with an impressive 38-7 home beatdown of the Browns, while the Titans moved to 5-0 with a 42-36 OT win at home over the Texans, just four days after handing the Bills their first loss of the season last Tuesday. Houston, which has won the AFC South in FOUR of the last five seasons, is now 1-5 to open 2020. Unlike Pittsburgh and Tennessee, the 4-0 SU & ATS Packers lost their 'Battle of the Bays' in Tampa. Green Bay jumped to a 10-0 lead but the Bucs defense shut down Rodgers and Co. as Tampa Bay scored the game's final 38 points! Three winless teams entered Sunday's action, with two getting off the schneid. The Falcons won 40-23 at Minnesota (Vikings are now 1-5), while the Giants eked out a 201-9 home win over Washington. The one constant of NFL 2020 so far has been, we can always rely on the Jets to not only lose, but also lose ATS. The J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets lost 24-0 at Miami, falling to 0-6 SU and ATS, while 'leading' the way with a league-worst minus-110 point differential.As the league 'manages' its way through the "Era of COVID," we have yet another MNF doubleheader. The Chiefs were to play at the Bills this past Thursday but it was rescheduled until tonight (Fox/NFL Network at 5:00 ET). The Chiefs and Bills are both 4-1 and each team lost for the first time this season in Week 5. The Chiefs are favored () and the over/under is . The regularly scheduled Monday Night game (ESPN at 8:15 ET) features the 3-2 Arizona Cardinals at the 2-3 Dallas Cowboys. The Cards will be playing their THIRD straight road game (never a great spot) but the Cowboys are 0-5 ATS and feature arguably, the NFL's worst defense. Dallas is allowing a league high 36.0 PPG and ranked 29th of 32 teams through Week 5 by allowing 404.4YPG. What's more, QB Dak Prescott has been lost for the season, with Cincy cast-off Andy Dalton going the rest of the way under center. The current line is Dallas minus-1 and the over/under is. Don't forget, a full recap of NFL Week 6 will be the "feature attraction" of Tuesday's Notes.ALCS/NLCS recap: Baseball fans couldn't have asked for more out of the two just completed LCS. The Rays owned the AL's best record (40-20) and took a 3-0 lead over the Houston Astros, who were able to make the expanded 2020 postseason field by finishing second in the AL West, despite a 29-131 record. However, there was no "give-up" on the Astros, who won Games 4 and 5 by identical scores of 4-3, before forcing a Game 7 with a 7-4 win in Game 6. Houston, which had won 100-plus games in each of the previous three seasons, were looking to join the 2004 Boston Red Sox as the only teams to comeback from an 0-3 'hole' and win a seven-game series. However, the Rays took Game 7 by the score of 4-2 on the strength of Charlie Morton's pitching (5.2 scoreless innings), Randy Arozarena's two-run HR and a solo HR and sac fly from Mike Zunino. Arozarena was named ALCS MVP. Getting back to Morton, he improved to 3-0 in Game 7 appearances, having beaten the Yankees as a starter in the 2017 ALCS and the Dodgers in relief in the 2017 World Series. In 14.2 career Game 7 innings, he's given up just one run and six hits.The Dodgers owned MLB's best 60-game record this season (43-17) plus posted a plus-136 run differential that was 52 runs better than any other MLB team. It was 76 runs better than their NLCS opponent (Atlanta) but the Braves took a 3-1 series lead. LA fought back to win Game 5 (7-3) and Game 6 (3-1) setting up a winner-take-all Game 7 against Atlanta rookie Ian Anderson. Anderson made his MLB on August 26 and in six regular season starts, posted a 1.95 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and .172 BAA. He took the mound Sunday night having not allowed a SINGLE run in 15.2 postseason innings, with the Braves winning all three of his starts. As for LA, manager Dave Roberts didn't name a starter until late afternoon. It turned out to be Dustin May, who allowed one run in one inning. Gonsolin followed and allowed two runs in two innings but then Treinen, Graterol and Urias combined for six scoreless and HITLESS innings. Trailing 3-2 in the 6th, pinch-hitter Enrique Hernandez tied it with a solo HR and then Cody Bellinger hit a go-ahead HR in the seventh inning, which turned out to be the game-winner. Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager was named NLCS MVP with five HRs and 11 RBI in the seven games. 2020 World Series preview set for Tuesday.CFB recap: There had been just 10 games so far in which ranked teams have met entering this past Saturday. The Saturday schedule had just ONE such matchup but it was the 'game of the year' so far in 2020. No. 3 Georgia made the trip to Tuscaloosa to take on No. 2 Alabama Saturday night at 8:00 ET on CBS. These two national powers hadn't met in the regular season since 2015 and believe it or not, the last time the Bulldogs played in Tuscaloosa was 2007. That happened to be Nick Saban's first season with Alabama and Georgia won 26-23 in OT. Georgia's defense ranked first nationally in rushing (38.3 YPG), second in total defense (236.7 YPG) and was tied for fifth in scoring defense (12.3 PPG). Meanwhile Alabama's offense led the nation with an average of 51.0 PPG (note: Alabama put up 723 yards the previous Saturday vs Ole Miss!) but 'Bama's defense was shredded at Ole Miss in allowing 647 yards and 48 points.<p>If there wasn't enough drama surrounding the game, Alabama head coach Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19 and it looked for certain that he would not be able to coach the team. However, he was able to get three negative tests in a row and there he was on the sidelines. Georgia led Alabama 24-20 at the half but a Jones to Waddle 90-yard TD pass in the early third quarter sent Alabama on its way to a 41-24 win. Georgia's defense had no answers for the Tide's offense, which rolled up 564 yards. The much-maligned Alabama D held the Bulldogs scoreless in the second half. Saban improved to 22-0 against his former assistants and the Crimson Tide have now won 28 consecutive games against SEC East opponents. Saban also tied Joe Pa for most all-time wins against a ranked opponent with 86. He already owns the most wins over top-five opponents (25) and over top-10 opponents (42).Streak setting or breaking ran 'wild ' in the SEC on Saturday, as Kentucky beat Tennessee in Knoxville for the first time since 1984, having lost its previous 17 visits. Saturday's game wasn't close, as the Wildcats won 38-7. South Carolina made some history of its own, beating Auburn 30-27 at home last Saturday for its first win over the Tigers since 1933! Not to be outdone, the ACC made some waves of its own with Clemson's 73-7 rout of Ga Tech as the 66-point margin of victory was the biggest in ACC history. North Carolina visited Tallahassee 3-0 and ranked No. 5 in the nation while the Seminoles only win of 2020 had come against Jacksonville St, an FCS team. Mack Brown, an FSU grad, had NEVER beaten his alma mater and he wasn't able to do it on Saturday either, as FSU went up 31-7 at the half and was able to hold on for a 31-28 win. Brown is now 0-10 lifetime vs FSU, 0-3 with Tulane and now 0-7 with North Carolina.Alabama's win and cover over Georgia means the higher ranked team has gone 10-1 SU and 9-2 ATS (the lone SU loser was then-No. 3 Florida losing on Oct 10 at then-No. 21 A&M) in meetings between ranked opponents. However, as I have noted each week, playing on ranked teams when matching up against unranked opponents can be dangerous to one's bankroll. There were 11 games in which a ranked opponent met an unranked one last week and the ranked team went 7-4 SU but again struggled ATS, going 5-6. Actually, that's much better than usual. Through games played Oct 17, ranked teams are 44-16 SU (.733) but only 20-39-1 (.339) ATS against their unranked opponents.Clemson remains No. 1 in the latest AP poll (out Sunday), after winning its 37th regular season game. That ties Nebraska, which did the same from 1992-96. Clemson has Syracuse and Boston College up next, so the Tigers will almost assuredly match Miami's 39-game regular season winning streak, set from 2000-03. Clemson will play at current No. 3 Notre Dame on Nov 7 and will need to beat the Irish to move past Miami. If so, only Oklahoma's 45-game regular season winning streak (from 1953-57) stands in the way. Let's hear it for Coastal Carolina, which only moved up to FBS status in 2017, as the Chanticleers are ranked for the first time in school history at No. 25. The Big Ten 'joins the party' this weekend and I'll see you Thursday for my CFB weekend preview.Good luck...Larry

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Big Al's Daily Angle: EPL and NFL Preview

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Oct 19, 2020

The Monday sports card features an NFL football doubleheader along with two matches in the English Premier League.The opening NFL game has the Kansas City Chiefs travel to Buffalo to play the Bills in a contest of two AFC playoff teams from the last season that are looking to rebound from upset losses last week.Kansas City lost their first game of the season last Sunday at home to Las Vegas by a 40-32 score despite being an 11-point favorite. The Chiefs allowed the Raiders to gain 490 yards in what was their worst defensive effort of the season. Kansas City is 20th in the league by allowing 382.8 yards per game. If the Chiefs need to outlast the Bills in a scoring fest, they will have to do this without wide receiver Sammy Watkins and guard Kelechi Osemele, who are out for this game with injuries. Running back Le’Veon Bell signed last week, but he is not eligible to begin playing with the team until next week. Buffalo lost by a 42-16 score at Tennessee as a 3-point favorite last Tuesday. The Bills held the Titans to just 334 yards but allowed them to score a touchdown in all six of their trips to the red zone. Quarterback Josh Allen completed 26 of 41 passes in that game for 263 yards with two touchdown passes and two interceptions. Allen’s improvement this season remains remarkable. After finishing last in completion percentage and 30th in passing yards per game, Allen began Week 6 ranked 6th in the NFL with his 69.3% completion percentage, and his 317.8 passing yards per game average is second-best in the league. This game was previously scheduled as the Thursday night game to begin Week 6 before the COVID issues with the Titans caused this rescheduling. Fox still has the broadcast with the NFL Network, with the kickoff scheduled for 5 PM ET. Kansas City is a 5-point favorite with the total set at 56.5 (all odds from BetOnline).The prime-time Monday Night Football game on ESPN this week has the Arizona Cardinals traveling to Dallas to face the Cowboys. Dallas is just 2-3 on the season, but that still puts them in first place in the NFC East. The Cowboys come off a 37-34 victory over the New York Giants last week in a bittersweet victory for Dallas nation. Quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury in that game that changed the complexion and expectations for the franchise. Andy Dalton played well in relief as he completed 9 of 11 passes for 111 yards to lead the Cowboys to victory. Arizona has started the season 3-2 after their victory on the road against the New York Jets. However, the Cardinals find themselves in perhaps the most competitive division in the league along with an undefeated Seattle team and the NFC’s last two representatives in the Super Bowl in the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers.This game is a pick ‘em with the total set at 55. Kickoff is at  8:15 PM ET.The English Premier League has two matches broadcast on the NBC Sports Network. At 12:30 PM ET, West Bromwich hosts Burnley. West Brom is a -0.25 goal line favorite with the over/under set at 2.25. At 3:30 PM ET, Wolverhampton is on the road at Leeds United with the match listed as a pick ‘em with the total set at 2.5.

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What is the Over/Under in Sports Betting?

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Oct 19, 2020

What is the over/under in sports betting?The first step you might take as a sports bettor is to predict the straight-up winner of any type of game -- the moneyline bet.  Now, the next step might be to start making predictions based on the total number of points scored in the game.  You can choose between the point spread bet or the totals bet, also known as the over/under bet.  Many sportsbooks use the term over/under, but totals bets are common in the media as well.  In this type of bet, you are wagering on the total points scored at the end of the match -- the game total.  You choose whether the final score is over or under the number of points provided by the oddsmaker.Over/under odds are not provided for every sport, but the over/under bet is common in the major sports leagues: the NFL, NHL, MLB, and the NBA. You might wonder how does over/under betting work?  Let's dive right in! How does the over/under bet work? The totals bet -- or the over/under bet -- is basically wagering whether the combined score at the end of the match will be over or under the total posted by the oddsmaker.  Now, that sounds simple and, usually, it is.  But to thoroughly understand the way over/under betting works, you should understand how to structure an over/under bet.  As an example, let's take the Super Bowl 52 matchup between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.  The betting line at BookMaker looked like this:New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles Over 48.5 Under 48.5 The oddsmakers used 48.5 as the over/under line for the game.  It's up to each gambler to determine whether there will be a lot of field goals and touchdowns, or a game where both teams struggle to score.  The under bettors would be happy with a conservative game, while the over bettors would want a match full of fireworks.Usually, the total number of points in the matchup ends up being under or over the number provided by the oddsmaker.  But it’s also possible for the game to push (tie).  The possible scenarios of an over/under bet are the following: The final score is over the set number of points - over bettors win The final score is under the set number of points - under bettors win The final score is the same as the set number of points The final score of the game is tied through regulation, and the match goes to overtime That leaves us with a couple of unanswered questions.What if the set total is a whole number?In the Super Bowl example above, the betting line was not a whole number, but it’s also possible for an over/under line to be a whole number (e.g., 48 points). When the posted total is a whole number, then the game could end as a push.  As an example, you could have the Steelers play against the Rams with the betting line being 50 points.  Let's say the final score is 30-20, meaning the total number of points is also 50.  That means there would be no winning bets, and both over and under bets end up as a push.  The sportsbook would refund your wager in that case.Keep in mind that if the over/under bet has a whole number instead of a half-point, your chance of not losing your bet is higher as you have a little extra safety net with the possible push of your bet.What if the game goes to overtime?When you have a thrilling matchup where both teams are tied with each other at the end of regulation, then some additional time is added to the regular playing time.  For your over and under betting, this does not change anything.  The only thing that counts is the total of the match when it's finished, including possible overtime (or extra innings in Baseball).  So, when games are tied at the end of regulation, but have yet to reach the posted total, then over bettors are happy as there's more time to score.  Especially in sports like Basketball or Baseball, where there’s no limit to how much scoring can take place in the extra time. How to read over/under odds To completely understand the over/under bets, you have to understand the way the betting odds work.  You now know the oddsmakers give you a point total with every matchup, and bettors then have the chance to pick whether they chose the final score will be over or under that amount.  Usually, the betting odds are attached to a team, but in this case, it's attached to an outcome of the match, disregarding both teams.  Let's take an example of a matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Baltimore Ravens:Dallas Cowboys vs. Baltimore Ravens Over 43.5 -110 Under 43.5 -110 You should know that some sportsbooks or betting sites have different ways to display the over/under odds.  Some betting sites show the betting odds in one single line, including the moneyline odds.  You should note that the over/under disregards which team wins -- it only looks at the point total.  The other way to display the odds could be: Dallas Cowboys 43.5 (-110) O Baltimore Ravens 43.5 (-110) U In essence, these betting odds say the same thing, but in a different structure.  Now that you understand the way the betting odds work, let's have a look at calculating your payout.  Given the betting lines of the NFL over/under bet in the example, let's see what your potential payout could look like.  In general, there are three possible outcomes.  But in this case, the point total has half-points, which means it cannot end up in a push.  The two outcomes are: You are wagering the over bet, and the point total is above 43.5, your initial stake should be $110 to win $100.  Your total payout is $210. You are wagering the under bet, and the point total is under 43.5, your initial stake should be $110 to win $100.  Your total payout is $210. As you can see here, it does not matter which team wins.  The only thing to look at is the point total.  In general, bettors love over/under betting as the total number of points is often easier to predict than the winner of the match. How to use over/under betting in your sports betting strategy You now know how the totals bets or over/under bets work and how to read the betting odds.  But to be successful with these types of bets, you should know how to use it in your sports betting strategy.  To get you started, we want to share a couple of tips:Start with the statisticsThere's not a single seasoned sports bettor who makes a bet without basing it on proper research.  No matter which sport you are wagering on, you should start by looking up the statistics for each of the teams involved in the match.  Some stats to look up before placing your over/under bet are: Overall offense rating Offense rating against the opposing team Overall defense rating Defense rating against the opposing team Availability of individual players with a high scoring ability The point total being realistic for the matchup Besides that, make sure to analyze both teams individually.  Are the teams in their best form?  Are the teams in a favorable or unfavorable scheduling situation?  For example, maybe an NBA team is playing its third game in four nights, and also went to overtime the previous night.  Thus, they might not be in the best shape to perform as they would if well-rested.  So always keep that in mind as well.You should know that for the over/under bets, you need to have access to a lot of statistics.  For College sports, it makes sense that there are fewer reliable historical stats than for the professional leagues.  College teams change more often, and a team’s best players might be in their first full season.  Thus, the over/under may be easier to predict in professional sports where there’s more continuity.Don't take it too farAs we always recommend, make sure you keep your risks in control.  Don't over-do it.  When wagering on a game between an upper-tier team against a lower-tier team, you might expect the better team to score loads of points.  But what if the better team gets out to a big lead, and takes its foot off the gas?  Does that mean your over/under bet collapses?  It doesn't have to work out that way, but you have to consider it.  When you're a parlay bettor who's not shaken by a little risk, go for it.  But don't end up making a 4-team parlay bet with just over/under bets.With all that being said, we want you to go out there to find a match between the two teams you like.  Then, start doing your analysis.  We have shown a big list of factors to take into consideration when predicting the combined score of both teams.  Once you feel confident and you are ready to place your totals bets, go for it.  Now, when your bet is in place, it's time for you to get comfortable and wait for the game to commence.  Sit back and feel the adrenaline rush through your veins, with each score being tallied.  Whether you're betting over or under, each score can make a difference.

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NFL Sunday Night Football: Rams/49ers Preview

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Oct 18, 2020

The Sunday Night Football game on NBC is a battle of two NFC West teams that have represented the NFC in the last two Super Bowls.San Francisco has continued the trend of teams struggling from the hangover from losing in a Super Bowl. Expectations were high that Kyle Shanahan’s team would avoid a letdown from their 31-20 loss to Kansas City in the Super Bowl last February. Yet the 49ers are just 2-3 on the season after suffering two straight upset losses. San Francisco was upset on Sunday Night Football two weeks ago at home to Philadelphia before getting stunned once again last Sunday at home to Miami by a 43-17 score. The Niners now face the prospect of going winless during a rare three-game homestand before a tough two-game road trip at New England and Seattle. Injuries have played a significant role in the 49ers' disappointing start. San Francisco has 11 players on Injured Reserve, with five additional players have been declared out for the game tonight. The Niners’ defense has been hit particularly hard with cornerback Richard Sherman along with defensive ends Nick Bosa and Dee Ford on IR, linebacker Kwon Alexander out with an ankle injury, and cornerback Emmanuel Moseley questionable as he continues in the concussion protocol. Without these starters last week, the Dolphins’ Ryan Fitzpatrick was able to pass for 350 yards to torch the San Francisco defense. An ankle injury to Jimmy Garoppolo has limited the quarterback to just three starts. He returned last week against the Dolphins but completed only 7 of 17 passes for 77 yards with two interceptions for  Shanahan pulled him at halftime with him struggling to plant on his injured foot. Garoppolo will start tonight. Los Angeles has started the season 4-1 after they defeated Washington last week by a 30-10 score. The Rams missed the playoffs last year despite a 9-7 record after losing to New England in the Super Bowl two seasons ago. The perception was that Los Angeles perhaps became too much of a finesse team last season. The Rams responded by letting running back Todd Gurley depart to rely on a three-headed rushing attack of Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown, and Cam Akers. Los Angeles is running the ball on over 53% of their offensive snaps, which is setting up the play-action passing game that McVay favors. Quarterback Jared Goff leads the NFL with 23 deep shots of 20 or more air yards in the passing game this season.Los Angeles is scoring 27.2 points per game while averaging 403.6 yards per game. The Rams defense is also holding their opponents to just 18.0 points per game, along with only 304.2 yards per game. Their +99.4 net yards per game mark is the best net YPG differential in the league. Los Angeles also leads the NFL in sacks after registering seven last week against Washington. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald leads the way as he sacked the quarterback four times last week. San Francisco hosts at Levi’s Stadium in the 142nd meeting between these rivals. BookMaker lists the 49ers as a 3-point favorite with the total set at 51.5. Kickoff is at 8:20 PM ET.

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

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Oct 18, 2020

The Sunday sports card features Week 6 of the National Football League, along with Game 7 of the MLB National Championship Series and the English Premier League.The NFL card has twelve games scheduled for Sunday. Nine games begin the schedule at 1 PM ET. The national game on Fox has the Chicago Bears traveling to Carolina to face the Panthers. Carolina is a 1-point favorite with the total set at 45 (all NFL odds from BookMaker). The Philadelphia Eagles host the Baltimore Ravens in the national game on CBS. The Ravens are 10-point road favorites with an over/under of 46. Only two games take place in the second window. At 4:05 PM ET, the New York Jets are on the road in Miami against the Dolphins. Miami is a 9-point favorite, with the total at 47. The national game is on Fox at 4:25 PM ET with the Green Bay Packers traveling playing the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay in a battle of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. The Packers come off their bye week after defeating Atlanta two weeks ago by a 30-16 score. Green Bay is 4-0 on the season while covering the point spread in all four games. The Buccaneers come off a 20-19 loss at Chicago on the Thursday night game that kicked off Week 5 on October 8th. The Packers are a 1-point road favorite with the over/under set at 55.Sunday Night Football on NBC has the Los Angeles Rams playing at San Francisco against the 49ers in an NFC West divisional rivalry. The Rams enter this game with a 4-1 record after defeating Washington on the road last week by a 30-10 score. The 49ers have been upset in two straight weeks after they followed up a 25-20 loss at home to Philadelphia with a 43-17 loss at Miami last Sunday. Los Angeles is a 3-point road favorite with an over/under of 51.5. Kickoff is at 8:20 PM ET.The NLCS concludes Sunday night with the Atlanta Braves playing the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of that series. The Dodgers forced the need for a seventh game with their 3-1 victory over the Braves yesterday. Atlanta will go with Ian Anderson as their starting pitcher. Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts has tabbed his red-headed RHP, Dustin May, to start the game.  But it will be "all hands on deck" for this decisive Game 7, so expect to see Tony Gonsolin, Brusdar Graterol, and perhaps even Clayton Kershaw get significant innings tonight. The Dodgers are a -150 moneyline favorite at BetAnySports, with the total set at 8. The first pitch is scheduled for 8:15 PM ET on both Fox and FS1. The winner will play Tampa Bay in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday. The Rays defeated the Houston Astros on Saturday by a 4-2 score in Game 7 of the ALCS. The English Premier League has four matches scheduled for Sunday. The NBC Sports Network features West Ham’s trip to Tottenham to face the Spurs at 11:30 AM ET. BetOnline has the Spurs as a -1 goal line favorite with the total set at 2.75.

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What is a Teaser?

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Oct 18, 2020

What is a teaser?Any sports bettor out there who enjoys taking the extra bit of risk that's available, you're in the right place.  You could visit your favorite sportsbook and go for a parlay bet with lots of teams, to potentially get a huge payout for taking a big risk.  That's one option.  Or you could go for a teaser bet and reduce that risk a little.  A teaser is quite similar to a parlay bet as both wagers consist of two or more events to occur.In this article, we'll guide you through teaser betting, how to bet teasers, and see how you can implement it into your sports betting strategy.  After reading this guide, you'll be up to speed to leave your sportsbook in shock after delivering you the big payout. How do teasers work? The first thing you should be aware of is how teasers work.  This means you're wagering on the outcome of multiple events.  With a teaser bet, things are slightly different than parlays.  The difference between a regular parlay bet and a teaser bet is the risk factor.  In a parlay bet, every single outcome relates to the posted odds on the game.  With a teaser bet, you're actually allowed to change the point spread on each game.Let's give you an example to illustrate how this point-moving works.  Let's take a look at some football teasers.  In this matchup, we'll take a two-team teaser.  The original point spread bets would look something like this: Dallas Cowboys +3 (-110) at Los Angeles Rams Kansas City Chiefs +3 (+120) at New Orleans Saints Now, if one chose to bet on those two games at the original lines, then that would be a parlay.  To change it into a teaser bet, we'll go with a six-point teaser on both the underdogs.  Thus, six points are added to the lines for each of the two underdogs.  These two point spread bets would now look like this: Dallas Cowboys +9 (-110) at Los Angeles Rams Kansas City Chiefs +9 (+120) at New Orleans Saints If you'd change that around and bet the six-point teaser on the Rams and Saints, you're looking at the following betting lines: Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams +3 (-110) Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints +3 (-140) In this example, the chance of your bet succeeding would suddenly increase when using a teaser bet.  The original parlay, of course, would pay more, but the chance of being successful is smaller.  In the example above, we took a six-point teaser.  You should know that with every extra half-point -- a 6 1/2-point teaser, for example -- your chances are increased, but your payout is reduced.  Also, the construction of teasers works the same for the over/under bet as it does for the point spread bet.It's common to see teaser bets in NFL wagering.  It's one of those sports which bettors love because of the ever-changing outcomes:  a single score can completely turn a game upside-down.  Most sportsbooks offer 6, 6.5 and 7-point teasers in Football.  And some bookmakers go even further and offer 10-point teasers and, less commonly, teasers of 13+ points.You might wonder if there's teaser betting for other sports as well and, in general, there is.  With basketball teasers, for example, the common offerings are between four and six points.  Basketball games fall closer to the point spread than do Football games.  Thus, the points offered on teasers are slightly different. How do teaser bet odds work? To completely understand the way a teaser bet works, you should know what the odds look like.  Teaser odds can vary with each bookmaker, but the general rule is that you're accepting a better chance to win each bet in exchange for a slightly smaller overall payout.  The lower payout varies on the number of points your teaser has.  A 7-point teaser has a worse payout than a six-point teaser, for example.  But, a 3-team teaser promises a better payout than a two-team teaser.As teasers are typical in competitions like the NFL and the NBA, the odds that sportsbooks tend to use are the American odds or the moneyline odds.  To get a grip of the teaser odds, we have some rules that most sportsbooks will live by: A 7-point football teaser usually gives -140 odds.  That means your initial stake should be $140 to win $100 in profit.  It could be that other bookmakers have discounted odds of -130 or -120. When you move the line to a 6.5 point teaser, it usually changes the odds to -130.  Thus, it takes $130 to win $100. Any six-point, two-team teaser will bring you the odds of -120. When you start increasing the number of teams in your teaser, you'll see your odds change rapidly.  In general, the more risk you take, the greater your payout.  And, as mentioned above, some sportsbooks offer better teaser odds than do others.  The very best online sportsbook in the world for parlay and teaser odds is BetAnySports.  There are many reasons why BetAnySports is the best, but one reason is that it offers "Ties Win" teaser odds (see the table below).  If you enjoy betting on parlays and teasers, then you should join BetAnySports today.How to calculate your payout when teaser betting?Let's be honest here.  For sports bettors, it all comes down to getting paid at the end of the match.  Sure, you're happy when your favorite team wins its game, but you'd probably be happier if the opposing team won -- if that was the team on which you bet.  As you now understand most aspects of the teaser bets, let's take a look at the potential profits you could attain.With a teaser bet, it's pretty challenging to provide you with an exact breakdown of how the payout is calculated.  It varies per match and how your specific teaser bet is constructed.  But, to give you a broader view of the possibilities of how your payout may look, we want to provide you with this "Ties Win" table for NFL teasers from BetAnySports: BetAnySports' Ties Win teaser odds As you can see from the table above, there are lots of possibilities.  Let's take two random odds from the table and calculate the potential profit with an initial stake of $100: With a three-team, 7-point teaser, you're looking at +127 odds.  That means you win $127 above your initial stake of $100.  That makes your total payout $227. With a seven-team, 6-point teaser, you're looking at +845 odds.  That means you'll win $845 above your initial stake of $100.  That makes your total payout $945. How to use teaser betting in your sports betting strategy As you can see, teaser betting can get lucrative, but you have to be cautious at the same time.  Any sports bettor who has been around for a while knows the importance of managing your risk.  Thus, the teaser bet can be a perfect solution for bettors who do want to enjoy some sort of a safety net.  To correctly add teaser betting to your sports betting strategy, we want to give you a few tips to provide you with a head start.Be aware of the different types of teasersThe teaser bet is a type of bet which has lots of different outcomes.  You can change the number of events you bet on, and you can adjust the number of points per match.  That means there are lots of different types of teasers available.  There might be sportsbooks that have teaser cards available, but you can pretty much set up your teaser bet as you like.Before you go online to place a bet, make sure you do some line shopping to find the best point spreads and/or odds.  It might not seem like a big difference for a single bet, but in the long run, you'll be glad you consistently took the best numbers.  (As we mentioned above, BetAnySports offers the best odds on parlay and teaser bets among all online sportsbooks.) Manage your bankrollYears ago, bookmakers created teaser bets as an answer to loads of people losing their parlays.  The extra layer of security because of the additional points became widely popular.  But bookmakers wouldn't be bookmakers if they didn't find an edge to make money themselves.  So, teaser odds are fine-tuned to ensure the house has an advantage.Nevertheless, teasers are very popular among football and basketball bettors, though they’re risky, as every single leg of your teaser bet has to be a winner for you to cash.  That means you're taking quite a risk.  To keep your bankroll in place and have your sports betting career last long, make sure you use a small portion of your funds per wager.  You're wagering for the long run here, not for short term gains.Don't forget your researchWe can't stress it enough:  do your research!  You are betting on multiple events, which means you have to be aware of the possibilities for each match.  You have a small advantage over a regular parlay bet as the outcome of the game can always change upon a single scoring play.  But, similar to a parlay bet, you have to do lots of research.  You can't construct a teaser, for example, on seven different games without doing any type of research.  To make sure you don't make any mistakes:  take the amount of research you typically do for one match and multiply that for each game you add to your teaser.With the knowledge this guide gave you, you're ready to start betting.  Search for your favorite online sportsbook and review its teaser odds.  Take a small percentage of your bankroll and have a try at betting a teaser.  You might just cash a big ticket and see yourself swimming in profit!

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NFC East Division: NFL's Worst Division in 2020

by ASA, Inc.

Saturday, Oct 17, 2020

For years the NFC East was considered a well-rounded division with the Eagles and Giants both winning Super Bowls in recent memory. The Cowboys always have high expectations but cannot get over the hump in the playoffs when the pressure is on. Even the Washington Football Team has been a contender multiple times in past years. Unfortunately, that has all changed and now the NFC East is the worst division in the NFL and might make a push to finish as the worst division in the history of football.  Current NFC East Odds by Bovada:Cowboys          -120Eagles              +135Washington     +1000Giants              +2500The Cowboys did just squeeze by the Giants on Sunday afternoon but lost a major piece in Dak Prescott to a gruesome ankle injury. It was comparable to Gordon Hayward's ankle injury, so he will surely miss the remainder of the year. That leaves Andy Dalton to step into an offense with arguably the best weapons in football. Dallas does sit at the top of the NFC East at 2-3 yet the overall division has a horrid record of 4-15-1.The good news is that there are still 10 total division games to be played within the NFC East. That leaves 10 wins up for grabs that must stay within the division. Theoretically the worst the NFC East could finish would be 14-49-1. That would by far be the worst division record in modern NFL history. In 2014 the NFC South went 22-41-1 and the Panthers snuck into the playoffs with a record of 7-8-1. Last year the NFC East finished a total 24-40 and the Eagles were gifted a playoff spot in week 17 with a 9-7 record. Inevitably, the NFC East will pick up a few wins along the way outside of the division but all 4 teams are in serious personnel trouble moving forward. Dwayne Haskins was just benched in Washington, throwing Alex Smith into the fire fresh off his return. The Cowboys, Eagles, and Giants have all lost key contributors on offense. The good news for the Giants is that they have the best scoring defense in the division, currently ranked 19th in the NFL. That tells you all you need to know about how the NFC East plays defense. 

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Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB, EPL and NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 17, 2020

The Saturday sports card features a busy slate of college football games along with the continuation of the American League and National Championship Series and the return of the English Premier League from its international break. The College football card includes 23 games on the Saturday schedule. Eleven games kick off the slate of games from the noon to 1:30 PM ET window. Clemson travels to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech on ABC at noon. The Tigers are a 27-point favorite with the total set at 64.5 (all odds from BookMaker). Auburn makes the trip to South Carolina to play the Gamecocks on ESPN at noon as a 2.5-point favorite with the total at 53.5. ESPN2 has Navy playing at East Carolina with the Midshipmen a 3-point favorite with an over/under of 55.5. West Virginia hosts Kansas on Fox where they are 22-point favorites with an over/under of 48.5. Army travels to San Antonio to play UTSA at 1:30 PM ET on the CBS Sports Network with the Black Knights an 8-point favorite with a total of 48.5. Another nine games take place between 2:30 PM ET and 6 PM ET. Notre Dame hosts Louisville at 2:30 PM ET on NBC with the Fighting Irish 16.5-point favorites with the total set at 61.5. At 3:30 PM ET, ABC has Central Florida traveling to Memphis to play the Tigers with the Knights a 2.5-point favorite with the total at 75.5. Ole Miss goes to Arkansas to face the Razorbacks at 3:30 PM ET on ESPN with the Rebels a 1.5-point favorite and an over/under of 76.5. Georgia Southern hosts UMass at 4 PM ET on ESPNU with the Eagles a 31-point favorite with the total at 62. ESPN has Mississippi State hosting Texas A&M at 4 PM ET with the Aggies a 5-point favorite with the over/under set at 56. North Texas travels to Middle Tennessee for a 5 PM ET kickoff on the CBS Sports Network with the Blue Raiders a 6-point favorite with a total of 71.5. At 6 PM ET, Louisiana Tech hosts Marshall with the Thundering Herd a 13.5-point favorite with an over/under of 48.5. The evening card features three games starting at 7:30 PM ET with North Carolina traveling to Tallahassee to play Florida State on ABC. The Tar Heels are 13.5-point favorites with the over/under set at 64. The highlight of the Saturday football card is the Georgia-Alabama showdown at 8 PM ET on CBS. The Bulldogs rank third in the nation in the AP poll, with the Crimson Tide ranking second. Alabama is a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 58.Los Angeles forced a sixth game in the NLCS on Friday with their 7-3 victory over Atlanta. The Dodgers turn to Walker Buehler as their starting pitcher on Saturday, with the Braves countering with Max Fried. The NLCS takes place at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, with Los Angeles designated as the home team for Game 6 playing to force a seventh game on Sunday. The Dodgers are a -150 moneyline favorite with the total set at 8. FS1 has the broadcast with the first pitch at 4:38 PM ET.Houston forced a seventh game in the ALCS yesterday when they defeated Tampa Bay by a 7-4 score. The Astros give the ball to Lance McCullers for Game 7 with the Rays using Charlie Morton as their starting pitcher. Petco Park in San Diego hosts the ALCS, with Tampa Bay designated as the home team for this final game. The Rays are a -116 moneyline favorite with the total set at 8. The first pitch is at 8:37 PM ET on TBS.The English Premier League returns after taking last week off to accommodate players fulfilling their national team responsibilities. Gameweek 5 starts with four fixtures on Saturday. Liverpool travels to Everton at 7:30 AM ET in a match on the NBC Sports Network. Chelsea hosts Southampton at 10 AM ET for the second game of the NBC Sports Network doubleheader. At 12:30 PM ET on NBC, Manchester City hosts Arsenal. 

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NCAA Saturday Night Football: Alabama/Georgia Preview

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 17, 2020

Saturday night features the most-anticipated game so far in this college football season the Georgia Bulldogs traveling to Tuscaloosa to play the Alabama Crimson Tide in a battle of the third and second-ranked teams in this week’s AP poll.As if this showdown needed more drama, the status of Alabama head coach Nick Saban remains a question mark after he tested positive for COVID earlier in the week. Saban has not been symptomatic and reportedly tested negative for the virus on Thursday. Protocols require three successive negative tests along with the individual being asymptomatic as prerequisites to return to normal football activities, so Saban may get cleared to be with his team for this game. The Crimson Tide opened as a 7-point favorite, but that number dropped by a couple of points after the news of Saban’s positive test. That line movement could have been the market’s assessment of the head coach’s value on the sidelines for his team and/or that some Alabama players may also test positive.Alabama looked rather un-Saban-like last week in their 63-48 victory Ole Miss. The Rebels made mincemeat of the Crimson Tide defense by accumulating 647 yards of offense in what may have been the worst defensive performance in Saban’s 14-year tenure at Alabama. Mississippi head coach Lane Kiffin may have had some insider knowledge he was able to deploy as Saban’s former offensive coordinator at Alabama. However, Saban extended his record against his former Crimson Tide assistant coaches to a 21-0 mark. Quarterback Mac Jones has seamlessly taken over the Alabama offense. After making four starts last year for an injured Tua Tagovailoa, including the final two games of the year against Auburn and Michigan in the Citrus Bowl, Jones is completing 79.5% of his passes this season for 1101 passing yards with eight touchdown passes and one interception. He ranks second in the nation in Quarterback Rating while leading an offense that is scoring 51.0 points per game while averaging 560.3 rushing yards per game. He is complemented in the backfield by senior running back Najee Harris, who has 347 rushing yards on the season after gaining 206 yards last week against Ole Miss while reaching the end zone five times. Georgia followed up their victory over Auburn two weeks ago with a 44-21 win at home against Tennessee. The Bulldogs seem to have settled on former walk-on Stetson Bennett as their starting quarterback despite two highly-touted freshman recruits and USC transfer J.T. Daniel on the quarterback depth chart. Bennett has been efficient under center while making few mistakes. He completed 16 of 27 passes against the Volunteers for 238 yards with two touchdown passes. He has five touchdown passes without an interception on the season. Mistake-free football suits Georgia head coach Kirby Smart given his outstanding defense that may be the best in the country. The Bulldogs are holding their opponents to only 12.3 points per game and 236.7 yards per game. Alabama has won the last five meetings between these two teams, with the most recent two games played on a neutral field for the SEC Championship and the 2017-18 National Championship. Three of the last four showdowns between these two teams have been decided by 7 points or less.Which unit prevails in this clash between the potent Alabama offense and the elite Georgia defense? Will Smart snap the 21-game losing streak former Alabama assistants have against Saban’s Crimson Tide teams? Will Saban even be on the sidelines for this game? BetOnline has the Crimson Tide as a 4.5-point favorite with the total set at 58. CBS has the broadcast at 8 PM ET.

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