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Ness Notes: Wednesday, Oct 21

by Larry Ness

Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

This column will be available Monday through Friday (posted no later than 1:00 ET), EXCLUSIVELY at BigAl.com. I like to call it my daily 'random thoughts' on the sports betting world, although I'll pass along that my therapist refers to it as "thoughtful commentary." The 2020 World Series got underway last night and the Dodgers looked every bit the part of the team with MLB's best record in this COVID-shortened season. Three-time Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw shrugged off his rocky playoff history to give up just ONE run on two hits over six innings with only one walk and eight strikeouts. He retired 13 consecutive batters until Tampa Bay's Kevin Kiermaier hit a solo HR in the fifth. In contrast, the Ray's Tyler Glasnow allowed three hits and SIX walks (three would eventually score) in 4.1 innings of work in which he allowed SIX runs (all earned). Cody Bellinger gave the Dodgers an early lead with a two-run HR (two days after his go-ahead HR in Game 7 of the NLCS) and Mookie Betts hit his first postseason HR for the Dodgers in the sixth to open a 7-1 advantage. Betts, Muncy and Taylor each had two hits. Tampa Bay had just six hits, while LA struck out 10 Rays as opposed to allowing just ONE walk.Tampa Bay turns to Blake Snell, who won a Cy Young of his own in 2018, in Game 2, while the Dodgers will hand the ball to Tony Gonsolin. Snell was 4-2 in the 2020 regular season with a 3.24 ERA over 11 starts (Rays were 7-4). In four starts during this postseason, Snell is 2-2 with a 3.20 ERA. He enters off an outing in Game 6 of the ALCS in which he gave up two runs on three hits with four walks in four-plus innings and was CLEARLY unhappy about being removed. The Houston Astros won that game 7-4 but the Rays rebounded to win Game 7. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has named Tony Gonsolin as his Game 5 starter. He said after the World Series opener, "We just feel like we like him in this spot," Roberts referenced Gonsolin's recent bullpen experience, seemingly suggesting the 26-year old could be more of an opener Wednesday, pitching the first inning and perhaps a bit more if he is efficient. The Dodgers would turn it over to the bullpen from there. Gonsolin was 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA in nine games (eight starts / team was 5-3) during the regular season. However, in his two outings this postseason against Atlanta, he's allowed SEVEN earned runs in 6.1 innings for a 9.95 playoff ERA. LA is favored (-135) and the over/under is 8.Peeking ahead to the NFL weekend: NFL Week 7 kicks off with another uninspiring contest (way too many already this season), when the 1-5 NY Giants visit the 1-4-1 Philadelphia Eagles. That said, with the 2-4 Cowboys atop the sad-sack NFC East, the winner of this game is "right in the mix" for the division title. More in Thursday Notes about this game and the NFC East. The Game of the Week is the 5-0 Steelers visiting the 5-0 Titans, a contest that was scheduled for Week 4 but was pushed back to Week 7 because of Tennessee's COVID-19 issues. Ironically, the game is even more significant now. SEVEN of last season's eight division winners are NOT in first place as we enter Week 7, as KC is the LONE division winner from 2019 to actually lead its division here in 2020. TWO of those seven teams meet Sunday in Foxboro. The SF 49ers won the NFC West last season at 13-3 (and advanced to the Super Bowl) but their 3-3 record leaves them in last-place in 2020, behind not only the 5-0 Seahawks but also the 4-2 Rams and Cards. The Pats are more than just the defending AFC East champs, as New England entered 2020 having captured the AFC East title the previous 11 years and in 17 of the last 19 seasons (since 2001). The Pats welcome the 49ers to Gillette Stadium on Sunday with a 2-3 record. New England hasn't been under .500 through the fifth game or later in any season since they were 3-4 in 2002, which was the last season the Patriots did not win 10-plus games. SNF features TB 12 visiting Las Vegas (along with the NFL's No. 1 defense) to face the Raiders, who are coached by Jon Gruden. Most should remember that Gruden coached the Bucs to the franchise's lone NFL championship in SB XXXVII, a 48-21 win over the Raiders, the team he now coaches in his second go-around with that franchise. Good stuff!Thursday's Notes will feature a recap of World Series Game 2 (Thursday will be an off day) plus a 'long' look at the upcoming college football weekend, highlighted by the Big Ten's return to play!

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NFL Stock Rising and Falling: Week 7

by Sean Murphy

Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

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

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2020 NCAA Football Trends Through Week 7

by Al McMordie

Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

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

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Thursday Night NCAA Football: Appalachian State/Arkansas State Preview

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

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

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

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

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

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What is a Point Spread?

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

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

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Ness Notes: Tuesday, Oct 20

by Larry Ness

Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020

This column will be available Monday through Friday (posted no later than 1:00 ET), EXCLUSIVELY at BigAl.com. I like to call it my daily 'random thoughts' on the sports betting world, although I'll pass along that my therapist refers to it as "thoughtful commentary." NFL Week 6 concluded with a MNF doubleheader. The Chiefs were to play at the Bills this past Thursday but it was rescheduled to Monday. Both came in 4-1, after each team lost for the first time this season in Week 5. The Bills led 10-7 as the first half was nearing its end but Mahomes hit TE Kelce with a second TD pass to put KC up for good, 13-10. The Chiefs extended the lead to 23-10 and the final was 26-17. Rookie RB Edwards-Helaire ran for 161 yards, as KC ran for 245 yards (on 5.3 YPC). It should not h=go unmentioned that KC ran the ball more times than it passed it for just the SECOND time in Mahomes' 37 starts. That's NOT to say Mahomes was not a major factor. He was 'surgical 21 of 26 for 225 yards with two TDs and zero INTs (QB rating of 128.4). His "opposite number," Buffalo QB Josh Allen, played poorly. He was 14 of 27 for only 122 yards with two TDs and one INT. Allen opened the season by leading the Bills to four straight wins, completing 70.9 percent of his passes, while averaging 331.5 YPG through the air with 12 TDs and just one INT. However, in Buffalo's back-to-back losses, he's completed just 58.8 percent, while averaging only 192.5 YPG passing with four TDs and three INTs.The regularly scheduled MNF game saw the Cards roll over the Cowboys 38-10 in Dallas. It was Arizona's third straight road game but Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott started the game with two fumbles, which gave the Cards all the momentum they needed. The first fumble came after catching a short pass from Andy Dalton and 11 plays later Kyler Murray and Christian Kirk hooked up for a six-yard flip for a TD. Two plays into the next possession, Elliott fumbled again and five plays later, Arizona RB Kenyan Drake scored the Cardinals' second TD and gave them a 14-0 lead. Arizona won the 'turnover battle' 4-0. QB Kyler Murray completed a modest 9 of 24 for 188 yards but had two TD passes and did not throw an INT. He added 74 yards rushing and a third TD to become just the THIRD player in league history with 30 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs in the first 25 games of his career. He's done so in 22 games, tying Daunte Culpepper (Vikings) for the QB quickest to reach the mark. The Cowboys fell to 2-4 but incredibly, remain atop the NFC East, as their three division rivals own a combined 3-14-1 record (more in a bit). League-wide scoring is up this season and NINE teams are currently allowing 30-plus PPG but NO team is allowing more than the Cowboys, who are giving up 36.3 PPG. New head coach Mike McCarthy may also want to point out that his team also owns the WORST turnover ratio of ANY team, at minus-12 (15 giveaways vs just three takeaways).I noted above that Dallas sits atop the NFC East at just 2-4 and that's because defending NFC East champ Philly is just 1-4-1. However, the Eagles are NOT alone among 2019 division champs through Week 6 of NFL 2020. In fact, the LONE division winner from 2019 to be currently leading its division in 2020, is the 5-1 defending Super Bowl champion KC Chiefs in the AFC West. Here's a list of the other six 2019 division champs and their status as the season head to Week 7. In the AFC East, the defending champion Pats are just 2-3. The Pats haven't been under .500 through the fifth game or later since they were 3-4 in 2002, which was the last season the Patriots did not win 10-plus games. Houston won the AFC South in 2019 (for the 4th time in the previous five seasons) but are 1-5 and in deep trouble in 2020. The San Francisco 49ers won the NFC West last season at 13-3 (and advanced to the Super Bowl) but their 3-3 record leaves them in last-place in 2020, behind not only the 5-0 Seahawks but also the 4-2 Rams and Cards. Neither the Packers (4-1), the Ravens (5-1) nor the Saints (3-2) lead the divisions they captured in 2019 (NFC North, AFC North and NFC South, respectively) but that's not because of poor play. The Bears are 5-1 in the NFC North, the Steelers are 5-0 in the AFC North and the Bucs are 4-2 in the NFC South.NFL home teams continue to struggle in 2020, as after going 7-7 SU and 6-8 ATS in Week 6, are 47-43-1 SU (.522) Y-T-D and 39-50-2 (.438) ATS. Home dogs are 8-21 SU and 13-14-2 ATS. The Cowboys fell to 0-6 ATS with their Monday loss, joining the Jets, who remain the NFL's lone winless team. Five teams are tied atop the ATS standings at 4-1. That group includes the 5-0 Seahawks and Steelers plus the 4-1 Packers but also the 2-3 Broncos and 1-4 Chargers. Week 6 games averaged 47.5 PPG and 10 of the 14 went under. There have been 46 overs, 43 unders and two 'pushes' on the season.World Series 2020: Both LCS went the full seven games, although each followed a different path, which I detailed in Monday's Notes. So in the end, the team with the best record in the AL and the team with the best record in the NL, will meet in the 2020 World Series. Just the way it should be, right? That makes sense but I should note that it's only the FOURTH time in the wild-card era (since 1995) that the teams with the best record in each league will meet in the World Series. Tampa Bay is in the World Series for just the second time in franchise history (first time being in 2008, when it lost to Cole Hamels' Phillies). The Rays opened the season ranking 28th in the majors in payroll and the only team to reach the World Series since 1998 with a lower ranking was that 2008 Tampa Bay club. As for the Dodgers, they are in the World Series for the THIRD time in the last four seasons, losing in 2017 to the Astros and in 2018 to the Red Sox. It's the 63rd instance in major league history that a team has reached three World Series in a four-year span and only TWO teams among the group did not win a World Series. The Dodgers sure don't want to join the 1907-09 Detroit Tigers and the 1911-13 NY Giants.  If the Dodgers win, it will be their 7th championship (including one as the Brooklyn Dodgers).The starting pitchers for Game 1 will be Tampa Bay's Tyler Glasnow and LA's Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw and LA are favored (-175) and the over/under is 7 1/2. There's good news for the teams' pitching staffs, as after each team played SEVEN games in SEVEN days in their respective LCS, the World Series will have a one-day break after Games 1 and 2 and another one-day break after Games 3 thru 5 and before Games 6 and 7.  BetAnySports has the series odds at -200 for the Dodgers, with Tampa Bay at +185.Good luck...Larry

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

by Doc's Sports

Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020

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

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Big Al's Daily Angle: World Series Preview

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020

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

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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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