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

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2020

The Wednesday card features a college football showdown between two undefeated teams from the Sun Belt Conference along with games in the American League and National League Championship Series.Atlanta took a 2-0 lead in the NLCS on Tuesday with their 8-7 victory over Los Angeles. Kyle Wright will be the Braves starting pitcher in Game  3 with his 2-4 record in 38 innings in the regular season along with a 5.21 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. The Dodgers will counter with Julio Urias, who was 3-0 with a 3.27 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in eleven regular-season appearances (ten starts).The NLCS is taking place at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. Atlanta will be the designated home team batting last in this game. The Dodgers are a -168 moneyline favorite with the total set at 9.5 (all odds from BetAnySports). FS1 has the broadcast with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM ET. Tampa Bay has a 3-0 lead in the ALCS after they defeated Houston by a 5-2 score on Wednesday. The Rays turn to Tyler Glasnow, who was 5-1 with a 4.08 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 11 starts in the regular season. The Astros pin their hopes to stave off elimination by giving the ball to Zack Greinke. The veteran right-hander had a 3-3 record with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in twelve starts in the regular season.The ALCS takes place at Petco Park in San Diego, with Houston designated as the home team for Game 4. Tampa Bay is a -136 moneyline favorite with the over/under at 8. TBS has the broadcast with the game starting at 8:40 PM ET.The only Wednesday night college football game of the month takes place tonight with Coastal Carolina visiting Louisiana-Lafayette in a battle of unbeaten teams from the Sun Belt Conference. ESPN has the broadcast starting at 7:30 PM ET.Coastal Carolina did not play last week after upsetting Arkansas State at home by a 52-23 score as a 3.5-point underdog. The Chanticleers opened their season by upsetting Kansas on the road for the second straight time by a 38-23 score after pulling off that feat last year as well in Lawrence. The Chanticleers followed that up with a 43-21 victory over Campbell.  Louisiana returns to the field for the first time since their 20-18 victory at home over Georgia Southern as an 11.5-point favorite on September 26th. The Ragin’ Cajuns opened their season with a big update victory at Iowa State by a 31-14 score as a 13-point underdog before following that up the next week with a 34-31 win at Georgia State.Coastal Carolina sees this contest as a benchmark game, as they lost at home to Louisiana by a 48-7 score in their meeting last season on November 7th. But the Ragin' Cajuns view this game as a unique opportunity themselves to flex their muscles with the spotlight of this nationally televised midweek game. Louisiana wants to be considered the best non-power five team in the nation. The Ragin' Cajuns are a 7.5-point favorite with the total set at 58.5.Coastal Carolina did not play last week after upsetting Arkansas State at home by a 52-23 score as a 3.5-point underdog. The Chanticleers opened their season by upsetting Kansas on the road for the second straight time by a 38-23 score after pulling off that feat last year as well in Lawrence. The Chanticleers followed that up with a 43-21 victory over Campbell. Third-year head coach Jamey Chadwell returned 13 starters from the team last year that finished 5-7. It appears very likely that Chadwell’s team this season will shatter the record of five victories as an FBS program they set last year. Coastal Carolina is scoring 44.3 points per game while holding their opponents to 22.2 points per game. Louisiana returns to the field for the first time since their 20-18 victory at home over Georgia Southern as an 11.5-point favorite on September 26th. The Ragin’ Cajuns opened their season with a big update victory at Iowa State by a 31-14 score as a 13-point underdog before following that up the next week with a 34-31 win at Georgia State.Third-year head coach Billy Napier has high expectations for his team that returned 14 starters from the 11-3 squad last year that defeated Miami-Ohio in the Lending Tree Bowl by a 22-17 score. Coastal Carolina sees this contest as a benchmark game, as they lost at home to Louisiana by a 48-7 score in their meeting last season on November 7th. But the Ragin' Cajuns view this game as a unique opportunity themselves to flex their muscles with the spotlight of this nationally televised midweek game. Louisiana wants to be considered the best non-power five team in the nation. With Napier having served as the offensive coordinator for Dabo Swinney at Clemson before coaching the wide receivers at Alabama under Nick Saban from 2013-17, he is one of the hottest young head coaches in the nation. Speculation was that he turned down a power-five head coaching job in the offseason to return to the Ragin’ Cajuns for this season.  Louisiana is a 7.5-point favorite with the total set at 58.5.

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NCAA Wednesday Night Football: Coastal Carolina/Louisiana-Lafayette Preview

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2020

The only Wednesday night college football game of the month takes place tonight with Coastal Carolina visiting Louisiana-Lafayette in a battle of unbeaten teams from the Sun Belt Conference. ESPN has the broadcast starting at 7:30 PM ET.Coastal Carolina did not play last week after upsetting Arkansas State at home by a 52-23 score as a 3.5-point underdog. The Chanticleers got an outstanding performance from redshirt freshman quarterback Grayson McCall who completed 20 of 29 passes for 322 yards with four touchdown passes and just one interception. The dual-threat quarterback added another 44 rushing yards on 17 carries. McCall is completing 66.7% of his passes this season while averaging 11.6 yards-per-attempt for 728 passing yards. He has thrown 11 touchdown passes with only that one interception against the Red Wolves. McCall has been sacked just once behind a veteran offensive line featuring three seniors and four returning starters. He has also rushed for 139 yards with another two touchdowns. Coastal Carolina opened their season by upsetting Kansas on the road for the second straight time by a 38-23 score after pulling off that feat last year as well in Lawrence. The Chanticleers followed that up with a 43-21 victory over Campbell. Third-year head coach Jamey Chadwell returned 13 starters from the team last year that finished 5-7. It appears very likely that Chadwell’s team this season will shatter the record of five victories as an FBS program they set last year. Coastal Carolina is scoring 44.3 points per game while holding their opponents to 22.2 points per game. Louisiana returns to the field for the first time since their 20-18 victory at home over Georgia Southern as an 11.5-point favorite on September 26th. The Ragin’ Cajuns opened their season with a big upset victory at Iowa State by a 31-14 score as a 13-point underdog before following that up the next week with a 34-31 win at Georgia State.Third-year head coach Billy Napier has high expectations for his team that returned 14 starters from the 11-3 squad last year that defeated Miami-Ohio in the Lending Tree Bowl by a 22-17 score. Louisiana’s chief target is Appalachian State that has beaten them four times in the last two seasons, including in both Sun Belt Conference championship games. This showdown was supposed to be the Wednesday night game on ESPN last week before the Mountaineers had an outbreak of COVID-19 within the football program. That game will tentatively take place in December.The Ragin’ Cajuns are led by senior quarterback Levi Lewis who is a two-year starter with the program. Supported by one of the best offensive lines from a non-power five program, Louisiana is averaging 5.1 yards-per-carry. They are scoring 28.3 points per game while allowing 21.0 points per game. The front seven is a concern as they have only registered three quarterback sacks while allowing their opponents to average 191 rushing yards per game. Despite the 3-0 start, this program has been hit hard with injuries along with a handful of COVID cases. Having last played 18 days ago, this could be the closest Napier has had a team at full strength all season.Coastal Carolina sees this contest as a benchmark game, as they lost at home to Louisiana by a 48-7 score in their meeting last season on November 7th. Lewis passed for 296 yards in that game with three touchdowns while leading an offense that averaged 7.73 yards-per-play. But the Ragin' Cajuns view this game as a unique opportunity themselves to flex their muscles with the spotlight of this nationally-televised midweek game. Louisiana wants to be considered the best non-power five team in the nation. With Napier having served as the offensive coordinator for Dabo Swinney at Clemson before coaching the wide receivers at Alabama under Nick Saban from 2013-17, he is one of the hottest young head coaches in the nation. Speculation was that he turned down a power-five head coaching job in the offseason to return to the Ragin’ Cajuns for this season.  BetOnline lists Louisiana as a 7.5-point favorite with the total set at 58.5.

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What do the Plus (+) and Minus (-) Signs Mean in Sports Betting?

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Oct 14, 2020

What do the plus (+) and minus (-) signs mean in sports betting?As a sports bettor, you probably have seen loads of different ways to display odds.  And it varies country-by-country.  In American sports betting, the industry standard is the use of the plus sign and the minus sign.  These signs can tell a bettor a lot about the outcome of their bet, but that's just a little teaser.  There's way more to take into consideration as a sports bettor.  In this article, we'll guide you through the ins and outs of sportsbooks, betting lines, and ways to optimize your payout! What kind of odds are there? Let's start by recounting all the possible ways to display odds.  Bookmakers across the world use the following types of odds: Fractional odds Decimal odds American odds The fractional odds use either a slash or a hyphen to display their odds: 4/1 or 4-1.  The decimal odds show the number that you can use to calculate the total amount of money you win:  for example, 4.98.  Since our focus lies on the meaning of the plus sign and the minus sign, we focus on the American odds.  These are also called the moneyline odds, as lots of sports bettors use this odds type for their moneyline bets.In every matchup, there are two teams:  the underdog and the favorite.  Let's take the most crucial match in the NFL -- the Super Bowl -- to illustrate.  In 2020, the San Francisco 49ers played against the Kansas City Chiefs.  This NFL game was the final game of the season, and there was no clear favorite.  Still, the oddsmakers have to choose which party is the underdog, and which is the favorite.  The moneyline odds for Super Bowl 54 at BookMaker sportsbook looked like this: San Francisco 49ers +111 Kansas City Chiefs -130 In this example, the 49ers carried the plus sign and were, therefore, the underdog.  The Chiefs took the minus sign and were, hence, the favorite.  Since both numbers behind the plus and minus signs were close to 100, you could tell that both teams were a close match for each other.  With odds like this, you could have expected a game full of fireworks. What kind of bets can I make with American odds? Once you understand the meaning of the signs that you see a lot across the sports betting landscape, it's time to dive into practical matters.  It should be clear that with the American odds, you can make way more bets than simply the moneyline bets.  We want to show a few of the most popular examples and point out how to calculate your potential payout.  The kind of bets you can start wagering on today are: Moneyline bet Point spread bet Over/Under bet Other types of bets How to make a moneyline bet with American oddsWe slightly went into the moneyline bets already, but we want to provide a deeper understanding of this type of bet.  To calculate your payout for a moneyline bet, you should know that the holy number is 100 dollars.  To show this in practice, we'll take an NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors.  Let's imagine Bill from Las Vegas wants to place a bet on this match.  The odds are as follows: Los Angeles Lakers -250 Golden State Warriors +210 In this example, the Los Angeles Lakers are the favorite, while the Warriors are the underdog.  Now, if we want to calculate our winnings, let’s use the assumption that our bet is 100 dollars.  If you bet $100 on the Warriors, you profit $210 over and above the initial stake of $100.  If you bet $100 on the Lakers, you profit $40 over and above the initial stake of $100.  So, to actually PROFIT $100 with the Lakers bet, you would need to wager $250.When is a moneyline bet straight up?In moneyline betting, two terms are prevalent:  a bet can be straight up, or you can make a straight bet.  Straight bets are types of betting wagers on a single sporting event that carries a point spread, the final score of a game, moneyline, run line or puck line.  You might wonder, doesn't that cover basically all games?  The difference here is that a bet is only straight up when it regards a single sporting event -- the bet should not cross multiple games.  This term is very common across moneyline bets as they always regard a single game.How to make a point spread bet with American oddsThe point spread bet is there to give bettors the possibility to bet on any kind of match, no matter the skill difference between the two teams.  You bet on the difference in the number of points between the two teams.  For example, let’s use an illustration of an NBA game between the San Antonio Spurs against the Philadelphia 76ers.  The odds might look like this: San Antonio Spurs +1.5 Philadelphia 76ers -1.5 In this example, the negative number indicates the favorite, while the positive number indicates the underdog.  Let's say you bet on the Spurs to cover the spread.  For your bet to be successful, the 76ers need to win by at least 2 points.  If not, the gamblers who bet the point spread on the Spurs would win.  The plus and minus sign are predictive of which team is more likely to win the game, straight-up.  Of course, when the point spread is taken into account, the favorite and the underdog will each have close to a 50% chance of covering the spread.How to make an over/under bet with American oddsThe over/under bet is very easy to explain.  Sports bettors put their money on the final score of the match.  Let's take an NFL match between the New England Patriots and the Detroit Lions.  The American odds could look like this for this game: Over 45 +130 Under 45 -150 In this case, it's favored that the final score of the match will be less than (“under”) 45 points.In this case, you should look out for the relative offensive and defensive capabilities of both teams.  This is one of the most straightforward bets to understand, but it can be tough to predict.How to make a parlay bet and a prop bet with American oddsAnyone who places sports wagers now and then is open to taking a risk.  You are wagering your money on the outcome of an event that's insecure.  But some bettors take on more risk than others.  For example, a single bet generally has a greater probability of success than a parlay bet, which offers higher payouts for the additional risk.  To show a couple of examples, this is what a parlay bet could look like using American odds: Match 1: LA Rams -109 Match 2: LA Kings +104 2-team Parlay odds: +292 Let's say you place a wager of $100.  Your potential payout would be $392 based on the odds of the two individual wagers.  It's a risky situation as both your bets need to be successful, but it could bring you big rewards in return.  With parlay bets, you should always be cautious of not betting on too many matches at once.  It’s one thing to have success predicting two or three matches, but to try to predict four out of four (or more) is quite a longshot.  Still, if you enjoy parlay bets, then you should join BetAnySports, as its parlay and teaser odds are the best in the online sportsbook industry.  Now, there are other types of bets that are available for those who enjoy taking risks.  Two examples could be: Proposition bets -- You wager on the probability that Stephen Curry makes more than five three-point goals Futures bet -- You wager on the New York Jets to win the Super Bowl before the start of the season What is the best sportsbook for American odds? No matter where you are in the United States, there are dozens of sportsbooks out there ready to take your bets.  You could choose to go for brick-and-mortar bookies or pick one of the many online options.  Don't forget about the in-game betting option, also known as live betting.  It allows you to bet on outcomes in sporting events throughout the game, not just before it starts.  To pick your favorite sportsbook, we have a short checklist to use: Which bookmakers offer a nice welcome bonus? Which bookmakers have the highest wagering limits? Which bookmakers have the best deposit and withdrawal methods? Which bookmakers offer the best odds on straight bets, parlays and teasers? Which bookmakers deliver a smile on your face in terms of user experience? As you can see, there are a lot of factors, and not every factor is important to every bettor.  If you want a great sign-up bonus, then you might go with BetNow or BetUS.  But if you want to bet $10,000 on an NFL game, then BookMaker should be your sportsbook.  And if you’re looking for the best user experience, then Bovada would be your best choice.  Of course, most gamblers join multiple sportsbooks so they can shop the lines, and win even more money.  When you find a sportsbook that best suits your needs, you’ll have nothing that's holding you back from making some incredible bets!  Do your research and, as always: happy betting!

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Ness Notes: Tuesday, Oct 13

by Larry Ness

Tuesday, Oct 13, 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: The Saints overcame a 20-3 deficit to 'escape' with a 30-27 OT win last night over the Chargers. Drew Brees completed 33 of 47 passes for 325 yards (one TD / one iNT) and ran for a TD. He drove the 3-2 Saints to a tiebreaking 36-yard FG by Wil Lutz on the first possession of overtime and then watched as Justin Herbert's five-yard completion to Mike Williams came up a yard short on fourth down at the Los Angeles 49 to end the game. The 1-4 Chargers lost their FOURTH straight game since Herbert, the overall No. 6 pick in the 2020 draft, took over for Tyrod Taylor as the starter. However, it's hard to blame Herbert. He completed 20 of 34 for 264 yards with four TD passes and zero INTs (122.7 QB rating). The rookie is completing 68.8% for 1,1195 yards with nine TDs and three INTs (QB rating of 107.1) in his four starts. He looks like 'a keeper!' In a normal season, MNF concludes the NFL week but we are all WELL aware that 2020 is no 'normal' year. The Titans had their Week 4 game with Pittsburgh postponed and Tennessee's Week 5 game with Buffalo (set for Sunday) was pushed back to Tuesday. The good news is, the 4-0 Buffalo Bills and 3-0 Tennessee Titans will proceed as scheduled after all of the Titans' coronavirus tests from Monday came back negative. It marked the second straight day that the Titans had no new positive COVID-19 tests. Tonight's game features two QBs off to excellent starts. Buffalo's Josh Allen is completing 70.9% for 1,326 yards with 12 TDs and one INT (122.7 QB rating) in four games, while Tennessee's Ryan Tanehill is completing 67.3% for 809 yards with six TDs and one INT (105.8 QB rating) in three games. Both teams are unbeaten but while Buffalo is 3-1 I'll have my  NFL Week 5 recap on Wednesday's Notes.ATS, the Titans are 0-3 ATS, due to just a plus-6 point differential margin. Buffalo is favored by 3 1/2-points and the over/under is 51 1/2. I'll feature my NFL Week 5 recap in Wednesday's Notes.MLB Playoffs: The Tampa Bay Rays eked out a 2-1 win in Game 1 on Sunday night and then came back with a 4-2 victory in Game 2, late Monday afternoon. A two-out throwing error by Astros second baseman Jose Altuve brought Manny Margot to the plate with two on in the bottom of the first and he hit Lance McCullers second pitch over the fence in center to give Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead, one which the Rays never relinquished. Margot then made the "catch of the postseason" in the top of the second, when Houston's George Springer came up with two outs and runners on second and third. Springer hit a fly down the right field line that kept drifting into foul territory toward the wall but Margot made the grab as he hit the wall and then he went over it and fell face first to the concrete below, quickly getting up to hold up his glove, displaying that he made the catch. Tampa Bay is looking like a team of destiny and manager Kevin Cash has masterfully used his deep and talented bullpen. That said, the Astros have had their chances. They left seven runners on base over the first four innings in Game 2 and for the series, the Astros have scored just three runs but left 21 runners on base while losing the first two games. Meanwhile, the Rays are up 2-0, with a modest 10 hits (team BA of .169). The pitching matchup is Ryan Yabrough for Tampa Bay (making his first career postseason start) and Jose Urquidy for Houston. Not exactly a Gibson/Koufax showdown. Game 3 (8:40 ET on TBS) is a pick'em and the over/under is 8 1/2.The NLCS got started last night and "something had to give" in Game 1. The Braves and Dodgers were both 5-0 this postseason and the pitching matchup featured Fried (Braves were 12-1 in his starts in 2020) vs Buehler (Dodgers were 9-1 in his starts). We now know the answer. The lone unbeaten in the 2020 postseason is Atlanta. The game entered the 9th tied at one-all  when Austin Riley hit a solo shot to put the Braves up. An Acuna double, an Ozuna single and an Albies HR, all, like Riley's hit, coming after 0-2 counts, gave the Braves a 5-1 win. The Dodgers owned MLB's best record at 43-17, EIGHT game better than Atlanta's 35-25 mark, but now enter Game 2 (6:05 ET on FS1) looking to bounce back from the team's first loss since Sep 23 (almost THREE weeks ago!). Ian Anderson starts for Atlanta and Tony Gonsolin for LA. 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's won BOTH postseason starts, pitching 11.2 scoreless innings with a 17-3 KW ratio. Gonsolin was an under-appreciated key hurler for Dave Roberts' squad this season. However, the jury is still out on how he will fare tonight, given it's his first post-season appearance. The Dodgers are favored (-135) and the over/under is 8.Final NBA thoughts: Let's hear it for Adam Silver. He was the first to shut down the season (all sports followed) and he worked with the players to pull off a 'bubble' in Orlando which went off with barely any missteps. When the Lakers took Game 6 from the Heat 106-93, it capped the longest season in NBA history. Three-hundred fifty-six days after the season began, the Lakers won the 2019-20 NBA championship, the franchise's 17th all-time (matching the Celtics for most-ever). Individually, LBJ won his fourth title and was named 2020 Finals MVP for the fourth time, as well. He previously won Finals MVP in 2012 and '13 with the Heat and in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, making him the first player in NBA history to win the award with three different franchises. Winning his fourth Finals MVP moves him out of a tie with Magic Johnson, Tim Duncan and Shaquille O'Neal and into second all time, trailing only Jordan, who won the award six times. He also became the second-oldest player to win NBA Finals MVP (35 years, 286 days), behind only Kareem (38 years, 54 days in 1985). A final 'shout out' goes to Jeanie Buss. She took over the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017, as controlling owner after a legal battle with her brothers. She is now the first female controlling owner to lead an NBA organization to a championship.The Lakers won the title but the Heat were the NBA postseason "ATS champs." The Heat finished 14-7 SU this postseason but 16-5 ATS (76.2%). In comparison. the Lakers went 16-5 SU but 11-9-1 ATS. With no homecourt edge, I guess it should be no surprise that favorites were only 41-40-2 ATS. The under has cashed in 48 of the 83 games (57.8 percent). For those following the "Zig-Zag" Theory (that means playing "on" the SU loser of the previous game), they finished 32-33-2 ATS (49.2%) or minus-4.3 net units.Good luck...Larry

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Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB and NFL Preview

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2020

The Tuesday card features a rare NFL contest on a midweek night along with games in the American League and National League Championship Series. The NLCS continues at 6:05 PM ET with Game 2 of the Atlanta/Los Angeles series. The Braves won the opening game of this best-of-seven series last night with a 5-1 victory. They give the ball to Ian Anderson tonight, who was 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in six regular-season starts. The Dodgers hoped to counter with Clayton Kershaw, but the veteran lefty came down with back spasms, so Dave Roberts will hand the ball to rookie Tony Gonsolin, who was 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP in nine regular-season appearances (eight starts). Los Angeles is a -135 moneyline favorite with the total set at 8 (all odds from BookMaker). This series is taking place at Global Life Park in Arlington, Texas, with the Dodgers the designated home team in Game 2. FS1 has the broadcast. Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead in the ALCS yesterday with their 4-2 victory over Houston. Ryan Yarbrough is the Rays’ starter for Game 3 in a rare appearance where he will not have an opening pitcher before he comes in to pitch bulk innings. The left-hander was 1-4 with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP in 55 2/3 innings during the regular season. The Astros counter will give the ball to Jose Urquidy, who was 1-1 with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in five regular-season starts. The Rays are a -109 moneyline favorite with the over/under at 8.5. The ALCS is being played at Petco Park in San Diego, with Houston now the designated home team for Game 3. TBS broadcasts the game starting at 8:40 PM ET.The NFL contest features two of the remaining five unbeaten teams in the league in the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans. The COVID outbreak in the Tennessee Titans organization caused the postponement of their game with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Continued positive tests last week prompted the league to delay this scheduled game from Sunday until Tuesday. Presuming that there are no further positive tests in the Titans organization on Tuesday, this game will finally take place. Tennessee will not have played football in seventeen days since September 27th when they defeated the Vikings in Minnesota by a 31-30 score to raise their record to a 3-0 mark. Since that game, over twenty players and organizational staff members have tested positive for COVID.The Titans re-opened their practice facility on Saturday, which has afforded the team two practices before this game. Their preparation is similar to what they would have received if playing on a short week on a Thursday night. The team has conducted zoom meetings to prepare for the Bills. Players also got together at a local private high school for informal workouts (violating league policy), for what that is worth. Buffalo has had a relatively normal week of preparation in comparison after their 30-23 victory in Las Vegas on October 4th against the Raiders. The Bills are now 4-0 on the season.  Buffalo is a -3.5-point favorite with the total set at 51.5. CBS has the broadcast starting at 7 PM ET. 

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NFL Tuesday Night Football: Bills/Titans Preview

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2020

The NFL will have a rare game on a Tuesday night, which will feature two of the remaining five unbeaten teams in the league. The COVID outbreak in the Tennessee Titans organization caused the postponement of their game with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Continued positive tests last week prompted the league to delay this scheduled game from Sunday until Tuesday. Presuming that there are no further positive tests in the Titans organization on Tuesday, this game will finally take place. Tennessee will not have played football in seventeen days since September 27th when they defeated the Vikings in Minnesota by a 31-30 score to raise their record to a 3-0 mark. Since that game, over twenty players and organizational staff members have tested positive for COVID. The following Titans players are currently on the Reserve/COVID-19 list: Khari Blasingame (FB), Beau Brinkley (LS), Kamalei Correa (LB), Corey Davis (WR), Kristian Fulton (CB), Adam Humphries (WR), DaQuan Jones (DL), MyCole Pruitt (TE), Jeffery Simmons (DE). The absence of wide receivers Davis and Humphries, along with Simmons at defensive end would be the most impactful for this team. Tennessee has also listed left tackle Taylor Lewan and wide receiver A.J. Brown as questionable with injuries from their Saturday injury report. The extra days of rest may aid their ability to play on Tuesday. The Titans re-opened their practice facility on Saturday, which has afforded the team two practices before this game. Their preparation is similar to what they would have received if playing on a short week on a Thursday night. The team has conducted zoom meetings to prepare for the Bills. Players also got together at a local private high school for informal workouts (violating league policy), for what that is worth. Buffalo has had a relatively normal week of preparation in comparison after their 30-23 victory in Las Vegas on October 4th against the Raiders. The team is scoring 30.8 points-per-game with the elevation of play from quarterback Josh Allen. The third-year pro has thrown 12 touchdown passes with just one interception this season. Allen is completing over 70% of his passes for 1326 passing yards, which is the second-most in the league. Allen is averaging 332 passing yards-per-game in this suddenly powerful passing attack. The offseason addition of wide receiver Stefon Diggs not only gave Allen a legitimate number one target but also allowed John Brown to shift into a complementary role as a second option where he has thrived. Allen ranks second in the NFL with a 9.0 yards-per-attempt passing average. His twenty-one completions over at least 20 yards is also second-most in the league. He is being helped by an offensive line that is providing him 3.04 seconds to throw the football, which is the third-best mark in the NFL. Allen is handling the blitz better this season after completing only 52% of his passes while posting an 81.3 Passer Rating in those situations last season. He has a 117.1 Passer Rating against blitzes this season while completing 61% of his passes. Allen is also completing 77% of his passes with five touchdown passes on third down with a Passer Rating of 146.6. Of the Bills’ 24 first downs this season, 20 have come from Allen throwing the football. Allen completed only 56% of his passes on third down last season. BetOnline has Buffalo as a -3.5-point favorite with the total set at 51.5. CBS has the broadcast starting at 7 PM ET. 

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How to Read Las Vegas Odds

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Oct 13, 2020

How to read Las Vegas odds As a sports fan, you have probably seen one of these giant display boards showing all the odds of your favorite games at Las Vegas sportsbooks.  To some, these boards might convey the needed information with the blink of an eye.  To others, it's like walking into a giant maze and not knowing where to search.  In this article, we want to describe how one can get started in the sports betting world, and educate you about betting odds.  We'll guide you through, so you can have a deep understanding!How do odds work?To answer this question, the definition of odds must be clear first.  Odds are a way to display the chance of an outcome of a sporting event.  The odds can provide you with a lot of information about the match:  who is the favorite, who is the underdog, will this be a competitive match, and whether the payout will be large or small?  There are tons of questions that might pop up when looking at the odds that bookies provide.  Now, when you fully understand the difference between several kinds of odds, you will have most of these questions answered before they even pop up.  We want to give you all the information you need in your sports betting career, so let's dive right in.What kind of betting odds are there?Let's start by distinguishing among the different types of odds.  Since we're focusing on Las Vegas (or American) odds in this article, it makes sense to point out that other parts of the world favor different types of odds.  In the United Kingdom, and throughout Europe, odds can be different than in Las Vegas.  The following odds are the most commonly used: American odds Fractional odds Decimal odds It should also be emphasized that the differences among types of odds is a completely separate issue from the different types of bets that one can make (e.g., straight bet, parlay, teaser).How to read American odds?The main type of odds that Las Vegas sportsbooks use is American (or moneyline) odds.  These odds show you straightaway which team is the favorite, and which team is the underdog.  The favored team will have a minus symbol in front of a number, while the underdog will have a plus sign.  Keep it as a rule that the negative number is the team that's most likely to win.  Also, the number alongside the plus or minus sign relates to either winning $100 (if you're betting on the favorite) or losing $100 (if you're betting on the underdog).  To show this in action, we can take a typical NFL game between the New York Giants and the Carolina Panthers. New York Giants +210 Carolina Panthers -250 In this example, the betting lines show that the oddsmaker favors the Carolina Panthers to win the game over the New York Giants.  To calculate your winnings, you can use the following formulae: If you bet $100 on the New York Giants and they win, you profit $210 above your initial stake of $100 If you want to win $100 by betting on Carolina, then you need to stake $250.  If the Panthers win, you profit $100 above your initial stake of $250 How to read Fractional odds?The fractional odds are the oldest type of odds.  They originated with horse racing in Great Britain, which is why this type of odds is still popular in the United Kingdom.  The signs for the fractional odds are either a slash (/) or a hyphen (-) -- for example, 4/1 or 4-1.  This shows that, for every dollar that you wager, you win 4 dollars over and above the already wagered dollar.  As these types of odds are very popular in countries like England, we'll illustrate them with a Premier League soccer example.  A match between Manchester City and Arsenal could look like this: Manchester City 7/5 Arsenal 4/7 You can use these odds to calculate the amount of money you win at the end of your winning bet. The examples above would look like this: 7/5 - every $5 you bet would earn you 7 dollars in return.  Your total return would be $12 including your initial stake of $5. 4/7 - every $7 you bet would earn you 4 dollars in profit.  Your total return would be $11 including your initial stake of $7.  How to read Decimal odds?Another way to display odds is in decimal form, which is commonly used by sports bettors in Europe, Canada, and New Zealand.  This type of odds can give you an indication of the chances of a team to win its game, so the decimal odds are probably the easiest to understand.  Where the fractional odds and the American odds require some quick mathematics -- including your initial stake -- the decimal odds are pretty simple to calculate.  When looking at the NBA, for example, we can put the decimal odds into an example.  First, let's take the formula that you can use to calculate your total returns:Your stake x decimal odds = total returnTo determine the profits you make, the formula is:(decimal odds x stake) - stake = profitWhen we take a look at what the Preseason odds were for three teams to win the NBA Championship in 2020, we can show the exact earnings per bet.  The odds on each team were: Los Angeles Lakers - 5.44 Houston Rockets - 7.39 Philadelphia 76ers - 15.13 Now, this is where we take the formula and fill in the empty spots to calculate our earnings per bet.  In this example, we'll bet $10 per match on a specific team: Los Angeles Lakers - 5.44 = (5.44 x $10) - $10 stake = $54.40 - $10 = $44.40 profit Houston Rockets - 7.39 = (7.39 x $10) - $10 stake = $73.90 - $10 = $63.90 profit Philadelphia 76ers - 15.13 = (15.13 x $10) - $10 stake = $151.30 - $10 = $141.30 profit What are the most common bet types?In the sports betting world, there are not only different types of odds, but also different types of bets.  Here, we will take you through the most common bet types and the most lucrative bet types.  After all, you're wagering here to make some money. Parlay bet Moneyline bet Over/under bet Point spread bet Parlay betWith a parlay bet, you do not bet on one single match, you bet on multiple games.  Your bet only succeeds when every single team wins (or pushes), and not a single match loses.  Because the odds of winning a parlay bet are often very small, you could make giant amounts of money.  A 3-team parlay, for example, usually pays 6-1 odds.  And that is why parlays are always a popular betting option.  As we all know, each sporting event is different from the other.  And even a game which might seem predictable can result in a completely unexpected outcome.  A nice example of the possible profit you could make with a parlay bet occurred in France.  A bettor made a parlay bet that stretched out over 21 games.  For each of the first 20 games, the bettor's chosen team won, which got the attention of the bookmaker.  So, for the 21st (and final) game of the parlay, the bookie invited the bettor to attend the event at the stadium.  After a thrilling match, Bayern München won 2-0, to reward the bettor with a $452,152,96.59 payout, on an initial bet of $565.  Parlay odds can be long, but if you manage to win, you win big!Moneyline betThe moneyline bet is one of the most popular bet types that's available in sports betting.  It's one of the most simple bets you can make as it's nothing more than betting on which team will outscore its opponent to win the match.  Many people call this handicapping -- simply picking the winner of the game.  You either bet on the favorite or the underdog to win the game.  To explain this, let's take Super Bowl 54 with the odds that were available at BookMaker: Kansas City Chiefs -130 San Francisco 49ers +111 As you can see, the Chiefs carried the negative odds, so they were the favored team.  The 49ers carried positive odds, which meant they were the underdog in that game.  With a moneyline bet, you only win if your team triumphs at the end of the match.Over/Under betWhen you become adept at diving deep into the analytics of a sporting event, you might gain an interest in an over/under wager.  With a moneyline bet, you only try to predict the ultimate winner of the game.  But with the over/under bet, you have to analyze the ability to score and/or play defense for both teams.  Thus, you're betting on the final score of the match to be either over or under the amount given by the oddsmakers.  For example, let's once again review Super Bowl 54.  The over/under at BookMaker was set at 53 points, and each side of the wager also had different moneyline odds attached. The odds were: Over 53 -126 Under 53 +104 In this example again, the minus sign indicates the favored outcome, while the positive odds indicate the less probable outcome.  Since we're betting on the final score of a match, you have to pay strong attention to the relative offensive and defensive strengths of each team.  Make a good analysis of the number of points each team might score, and tally it up to determine whether the game will be high-scoring or low-scoring.  When your research is thorough, you can make a bet with confidence.Point spread betOne of the popular bets in sports betting is the point spread bet.  It's one of the bets that might seem a little difficult to grasp at first, but it can be really exciting.  In point spread betting, you are wagering on the difference of points between the two teams at the end of the game.  Oddsmakers provide this type of bet to make betting on both teams interesting, regardless of the skill difference between the two teams.  As an example, let's take an NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Detroit Pistons.  The odds could look something like this: Detroit Pistons +14.5 (-110) Los Angeles Lakers -14.5 (-110) In this example, the Lakers are the favored team to win the match, but they will have to win by more than 14.5 points for your point spread bet to cash.  If the Detroit team wins straight-up, or loses by less than 14.5 points, your point spread bet on the Pistons would cash.  When you are betting on the spread, there's a chance (if the point spread is a whole number) that the game would end up in a tie.  In this case, the bookmaker would refund your stake.How to use Las Vegas odds to get better at sports bettingOne thing any sports bettor wants is to get better, win more often, and eventually bring in more dollars.  When you manage to work with the odds the right way, you can rapidly predict how oddsmakers and sportsbooks will set (and move) the numbers.  Sometimes, the odds might look deceptively easy for one team.  However, don't be suckered into betting on that enticing side.  Always remember that the bookmakers probably know more than you do.  Perhaps a critical player might be injured, or there are internal problems within the team, or some other unknown factor might be affecting the odds.  Always do your own research before you place a bet. If the odds look too good to be true, they probably are!What are rotation numbers?Since we are writing this article for all the Las Vegas sports bettors out there, we can't leave out the rotation numbers.  The rotation numbers are the numbers that are attached to a specific team in a specific game.  The numbers are displayed to the left of the team name on the tote board, or in a printed schedule.  Visiting teams would have odd numbers; home teams would be exactly one number higher, and be even numbers.  They're designed for sports bettors to make a quick bet at their favorite sportsbook.  You simply walk to the betting window, and provide the rotation number, team name, bet type, and amount of money to the ticket writer, and your bet is placed.  A couple of examples of the use of rotation numbers are: "451 - Houston Texans - moneyline - $150" "478 - Los Angeles Rams - point spread - $50 The above examples both refer to individual teams in a specific game.  The number 7 might be associated with a road team in an NHL Hockey game, while 102 might be the rotation number of a home team in an NFL game.  If you want to bet fast and efficiently, you should learn how to use rotation numbers!What is the best way to read Vegas odds?After reading this article, you have all the information you need to get started with your sports betting career.  All that's left for you to do is to find the right place for your bets.  Either you choose a physical sportsbook in your city, or join any of the available online sportsbooks.  Our current #1 sportsbook is BetAnySports -- primarily because it offers reduced juice.  So, you can lay -105 on a football or basketball game rather than -110.  But if you’re looking to bet $50,000 on an NFL game, then BookMaker would be your best option.  Or, if you’re looking for the best sign-up and reload bonuses, then BetNow would be a top choice.  The next steps after this are different for any bettor out there, but to get you started we would like to suggest our game plan: Pick the sporting event of your preference Do a full analysis of the home team and the away team See which online sportsbook offers the best odds Pick your bet type:  moneyline, point spread or over/under Make sure your analysis is thorough Place your bet and expect to win more than you lose That's how we approach sports betting and how you should approach your future bets.  Now, get started, and bring in the big bucks!

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Don't Forget About Defense

by Ben Burns

Monday, Oct 12, 2020

"Chicks dig the long ball." Remember that Nike commercial? It was on the air back in 1999, so perhaps not. It featured Glavine and Maddux, a couple of Cy Young pitchers, trying to learn to hit like Mark McGwire, in order to get noticed by women. Google it.While that commercial aired more than 20 years ago, home runs remain the current rage. That's because teams which hit more "long balls" than their opponent have won nearly every game this postseason. While hitting home runs is clearly very important, it doesn't mean that teams can forget about the little things. Like playing defense. That was evident when watching Game 2 of the ALCS. I had liked what I'd seen defensively, from the Rays, in Game 1. In Game 2, the Rays took their defense to another level. Margot's highlight reel catch was only one of many high quality defensive plays. On the other side, Altuve's mindless throwing error extended Tampa's first inning. (Gurriel was originally given the error but they changed it and gave it to Altuve, who would go on to commit another.) The Rays made the most of it, their next batter (Margot) making the Astros pay with a 3-run home run.   Remember, home runs may get you noticed. But pitching and defense still win ball games. 

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Aaron Rodgers: NFL MVP Futures Wager

by ASA, Inc.

Monday, Oct 12, 2020

There is no question the Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur relationship has taken a step in the right direction this season. The Packers have scored the most points in the NFL so far over the first four games and Rodgers seems to be back to his old self. Even without Davante Adams for 7 quarters this season Rodgers has had no trouble finding open targets. LaFleur’s offensive scheme has been able to get players like Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan open this season, when it struggled to do so at times last year. Rock-solid offensive line play has also provided time for Rodgers to stretch the field and showcase his usual arm strength and pinpoint accuracy.   Through 4 games, Rodgers is on pace for 4,856 yards and 52 Touchdowns with an astounding 0 interceptions. Current BetOnline Odds for MVP: Russell Wilson +125 Aaron Rodgers +375 Patrick Mahomes +650 Josh Allen +900 Lamar Jackson +1200   If Rodgers puts up numbers like that it is hard to see him not walking away with the MVP. That is of course unless Russell Wilson keeps his current pace that would put him at 5,140 yards and 64 with 8 interceptions. Those numbers do seem unfathomable and would smash the current record of 55 touchdowns in a single season. Unfortunately, 64 touchdowns is not achievable no matter how you spin it. Moving forward, Russell Wilson’s current numbers will be very hard to sustain. He has an insane touchdown rate of 11.7% this season. Never in his 8 year career has he ever had a TD rate over 8.2%. During that year in 2018 Russ threw for a career high 35 touchdowns. Those 64 touchdowns he is in on pace for will begin to drop each week to a more realistic number. Aaron Rodgers has a TD rate of 9.4%. This number is much easier to preserve as it is very similar to his 2011 MVP season. During that season he had a TD rate of 9.0%. Rodgers threw 45 touchdowns and finished with 6 interceptions as the Packers went 14-1 with him under center. Expect the MVP odds to continue to slide more toward Rodgers in the coming weeks. With a healthy Davante Adams back after the week 4 bye, Aaron Rodgers looks poised to make another run at the MVP and carry the Packers to a high seed in the NFC. A repeat of last season’s Divisional Round matchup between Rodgers and Russ would be an absolute treat in early 2021.  With the Packers sitting at 4-0 and set to be favored in all but one game moving forward, Rodgers will be a prime candidate for the MVP award barring injury.  Even though we’ve lost some value, getting nearly 4/1 odds at BetOnline is worth a look.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB and NFL Preview

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Oct 12, 2020

First, a particularly sad note today:  Joe Morgan, one of the best players of all-time, and certainly one of my favorite players, has passed away at the age of 77.  My condolences to his family.The Monday card features only one NFL contest along with games in the American League and National League Championship Series. The rescheduled Denver Broncos/New England game, set for 5 PM ET, was postponed after the Patriots had another positive COVID test in their organization. The ALCS continues at 4:07 PM ET with Game 2 of the Houston/Tampa Bay series. The Rays won the opening contest of this best-of-seven series last night with their 2-1 victory. They give the ball to Charlie Morton, who was 2-2 in the regular season with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in nine starts. The Astros counter with Lance McCullers, who was 3-3 during the regular season with a 3.93 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 11 starts. Tampa Bay is a -117 moneyline favorite with the total set at 8.5 (all odds from BetAnySports). TBS has the broadcast. The first game in the NLCS begins at 8:08 PM ET. Atlanta has won all five of their games this postseason after they swept the Miami Marlins in three games. The Braves closed out that series on Thursday with their 7-0 victory, which was their fourth shutout in the playoffs. The Dodgers have also won their five playoff games after they swept the San Diego Padres with their 12-3 victory on Thursday. Los Angeles is a -136 moneyline favorite with an over/under of 8. Fox will broadcast the game. Atlanta will send out Max Fried as their starting pitcher. The left-hander was 7-0 in the regular season with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 11 regular season starts. Los Angeles gives the ball to Walker Buehler, who was 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP in eight starts in the regular season.  Monday Night Football on ESPN features two teams looking for a win. For New Orleans, a victory gets them back over .500 while tying them with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in first place in the NFC South with a 3-2 record. The Saints’ Super Bowl aspirations took a hit when they lost on the road in Las Vegas to the Raiders and then followed that up with a loss at home to the Green Bay Packers. New Orleans righted the ship last week with a 35-29 win at Detroit. But even that effort dew question marks as they spotted the Lions a 14-0 lead before scoring touchdowns on five straight drives before having to hold on to pull that game out after a late Detroit rally. Los Angeles has lost three games in a row after blowing a 24-7 lead in the second quarter last week at Tampa Bay in their 38-31 loss to the Buccaneers. The Chargers have been competitive in these losses. They lost in overtime by a 23-20 score at home to Kansas City in another game where they were once winning. In their 21-16 loss to Carolina two weeks ago, they were in a position to take the lead late in that game before a fumbled lateral pass in that game ruined their potential touchdown scoring drive. New Orleans is currently a 6.5-point favorite with the total set at 49. Kickoff takes place shortly after 8:15 PM ET.

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2020 NBA Playoffs: A Point Spread Recap

by Al McMordie

Monday, Oct 12, 2020

At the start of the NBA Playoffs, there were a lot of theories about which teams would do well in the Orlando bubble environment.  Would it be wise to take the points with the underdogs, or lay the points with the favorites?  Would the better-coached teams have an advantage, and so forth.  I was one of the handicappers who averred that the better NBA coaches would do very well, and speculated that the Miami Heat (Erik Spoelstra), Boston Celtics (Brad Stevens), and San Antonio Spurs (Gregg Popovich) would be the ones to watch.  Unfortunately, the Spurs' NBA-record streak of 22 consecutive Playoff appearances ended, so we never had the opportunity to see how Pop's troops would have performed in the Playoffs, but his team did go 5-3 ATS in the regular season bubble games.  And Boston (10-7 ATS) and Miami (16-5 ATS) certainly acquitted themselves well throughout the Playoffs.With respect to categories like favorites and underdogs, etc., what was most surprising was how evenly divided things turned out.  Let's review the numbers.There were 83 Playoff games played across the 15 series.  And exactly half the games were covered by the favorite (40-40-3 ATS).  Similarly, teams off a straight-up win also covered exactly 50% (43-43-3), as did teams off a straight-up loss (37-37-3 ATS).If one goes further into the numbers, one finds that the shorter-priced favorites did the worst.  Teams favored by less than four points were an awful 7-16-1 ATS, including 2-9-1 ATS off a win.  Meanwhile, teams favored from -4 to -6 points did the best, with a 16-6-1 ATS record, including 8-3 ATS off a win.The unders were profitable at 45-36-2.  And teams off a blowout loss by 15+ points went 11-9-1 ATS in the Playoffs (and 23-12-1 ATS if one includes the regular season bubble games).Finally, teams off back to back losses went 19-14-2 ATS, including 12-4-1 ATS if they weren't getting 5+ points.  Though teams down 2-games-to-none underperformed at 4-5 ATS.Good luck, as always....Al McMordie  

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Ness Notes: Monday, Oct 12

by Larry Ness

Monday, Oct 12, 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."NBA Finals: My last update had LA up 3-1 heading into Friday's Game 5. Jimmy Butler became the SIXTH player in NBA Finals history to have multiple triple-doubles in the same title series (35-12-11). Magic Johnson and LBJ have both done it three times, while Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and Draymond Green have done it once. All Miami starters were in double digits, including a career playoff high by Duncan Robinson (26). LBJ had 40-13-7 but while he and Davis were a combined 24 for 36 from the floor, the rest of the Lakers were 14 for 46 (30.4%). The Lakers' reserves shot 5 for 22 (22.7%). That forced a Game 6 last night. After failing to beat the Heat in Friday's Game 5, Lakers coach Frank Vogel changed the starting lineup, moving Davis to the 5 and plugging Alex Caruso in Dwight Howard's place for a smaller, quicker group.After failing to beat the Heat in Friday's Game 5, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel changed the starting lineup, moving Davis to the center position and starting Alex Caruso over Dwight Howard's for a smaller, quicker group. The move paid off, as LA effectively put the game away by outscoring Miami 36-16 in the second quarter. They led by 28 at the half, the second-largest halftime lead in NBA Finals history. Jimmy Butler, after a 40-point triple-double in a Game 3 win for the Heat and a 35-point triple-double in a Game 5 win, was contained, finishing with 12 points. LBJ capped his fourth championship with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, as the Lakers cruised to a 106-93 victory (game was NOT as close as the final score). Anthony Davis had 19 points and 15 rebounds in winning his first NBA title (won a national championship at Kentucky in ). LBJ became the first player in NBA history to be named Finals MVP with three different teams and won the award for the fourth time to trail only Michael Jordan (six). It was the Lakers' 17th NBA title, tying them with the Celtics for the most all-time. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the third wire-to-wire victory to clinch an NBA title in the past 50 seasons, joining the 1982 Lakers and the 1986 Boston Celtics. Much more on the 2019-20 NBA season, the Lakers and LBJ in Tuesday's Notes.MLB Playoffs: Michael Brosseau hit a dramatic home run off Aroldis Chapman with one out in the eighth inning, as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 2-1 Friday night in the decisive Game 5 to reach the ALCS for the first time in 12 seasons. The Rays dominated the regular-season series with the Yankees 8-2 and were the AL's No. 1 seed and making the victory even more 'sweet' was that Tampa Bay's $29 million payroll (28th out of the 30 major league teams) was dwarfed by the Yankees, who had the third-largest payroll at $84 million. Waiting for the Rays were the Houston Astros, who followed three straight 100-win seasons by going just 29-31 during this year's COVID-shortened season but were able to get into an expanded 16-team playoff field by virtue of finishing second in the AL West. The Astros then swept AL Central champs Minnesota 2-0 in the wild card round and eliminated AL west champs Oakland 3-1 in an ALDS matchup. The NLDS features the Atlanta Braves and LA Dodgers. The Braves beat the Marlins 3-0 in Game 3 last Thursday, giving Atlanta a three-game sweep and its first trip to the NLCS since 2001. In the process, the Braves became just the SECOND team in MLB history to throw four shutouts in their first five playoff games, joining the 1905 New York Giants behind Hall of Famers Christy Mathewson and Joe McGinnity. The Braves have already pitched the most postseason shutouts in franchise history and are one shutout shy of tying the MLB record for most in a postseason set by the 2016 Indians over 15 games. Atlanta draws the LA Dodgers in the NLCS, who completed a three-game sweep of their own last Thursday with a 12-3 win over the Padres. Los Angeles advanced to its fourth NL Championship Series in five years and the team with MLB's best regular season record in 2020 (43-17), will be making their 14th NLCS appearance, matching the St Louis Cardinals for the most.The League Championship Series Prices at BetAnySports (before the start of each series) had the Rays -175 and the Astros +165, while the Dodgers were -215 and the Braves +195. To win the World Series the Dodgers were +160, the  Rays +240, the Braves +425 and the Astros +435. Game 1 of the ALCS was last night and the Rays won 2-1. The Rays took a 1-0 series lead on the back of two timely hits and a pair of critical double plays, the latter coming with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the eighth inning. Randy Arozarena his fourth HR of this postseason. and Mike Zunino plated the go-ahead run with a first-pitch single in the fifth inning. Blake Snell allowed a solo HR in the first inning but that was all he allowed in five innings. The Rays' bullpen then produced another exceptional effort, as four relievers combined for FOUR scoreless innings. Houston wasted a solid effort by Valdez (two runs in six innings with eight Ks), as the Astros left 10 men on base and went 2 of 8 with RISP.Game 2 of the ALCS ( 4:07 ET on ) sees Lance McCullers going up against Charlie Morton. The Rays are favored (-125) and the over/under is 8. Game 1 of the NLCS (8:08 ET on FOX) features Atlanta's Max Fried up against LA's Walker Buehler (more in a bit). The Braves led the majors in OPS (.832) and ranked second in team BA (.268), runs (348), HRs (103) and slugging (.483) during the regular season. Checking LA's numbers in those same categories reveals the Dodgers had an .821 OPS, a team BA of .256, scored 349 runs, hit 118 HRs and owned a slugging percentage of .430. However, LA's pitching numbers are dominant by comparison. LA owns a team ERA of 3.02 (Atlanta's is 4.41) with a 1.06 WHIP (Atlanta's is 1.36) and a BAA of .213 (Atlanta's is .247). LA owned a MLB-best 43-17 regular season record, while Atlanta was EIGHT games worse at 35-25. More LA dominance is revealed by LA's MLB-best plus-136 run differential, more than DOUBLE that of Atlanta's (plus-60). However, it's just a seven-game series and Atlanta's pitching staff (see above). "Something has to give" in this Game 1, as the Braves are 12-1 in Fried's 2020 starts, while the Dodgers are 9-1 when Buehler starts. The Dodgers are favored (-135) and the over/under is 8.BATTER UP! I have plays in BOTH games!NFL: It's Monday and that typically means the NFL would be completing its current week with a MNF matchup. However, 2020 has hardly been a "typical" year in ANY aspect of life, let alone the 'world of sports.' The NFL is the 'Big Dog' and likes to think of itself as invulnerable but COVID-19 has had other ideas. Here's what I think we know. The Bills at the Titans (scheduled for yesterday will be played tomorrow (Oct 13). The Broncos at the Pats and Broncos (also scheduled for yesterday) will now be played during Week 6 on Sunday Oct. 18. As a result of that game, the Broncos' Week 6 matchup against the Miami Dolphins has been pushed back to Week 11. From what I've read, here are the other remaining changes to the 2020 schedule: The Kansas City Chiefs-Buffalo Bills Week 6 game on Thursday, Oct. 15 moves to Monday, Oct. 19. The New York Jets-Miami Dolphins Week 10 matchup moves to Week 6. The New York Jets-Los Angeles Chargers matchup moves from Week 6 to Week 11. The Jacksonville Jaguars-Los Angeles Chargers matchup moves from Week 8 to Week 7. The Los Angeles Chargers-Denver Broncos game moves from Week 11 to Week 8. The Los Angeles Chargers-Miami Dolphins game moves from Week 7 to Week 10. Got it?There is a MNF game tonight at 8:15 ET on ESPN. The 1-3 Chargers are at the 2-2 Saints, with New Orleans favored by seven points (over/under is 49 1/2). My usual Tuesday NFL recap will be pushed back to Wednesday's Notes, to cover the Bills/Titans contest. CFB recap: Heading into this past Saturday (Oct 10), there had been just SIX, top-25 showdowns in 2020, with the higher ranked team having gone 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS. However, we saw FOUR such matchups on Saturday. No. 1 Clemson beat No. 7 Miami-Fl  42-17, No. 3 Georgia beat No. 14 Tennessee 44-21 and No. 8 North Carolina beat No. 19 Va Tech 56-45. All three played at home and covered. However, No. 4 Florida was at No. 21 Texas A&M and lost 41-38 (A&M's winning FG came as time expired), becoming the first higher ranked team to lose to a ranked opponent. The Y-T-D record has higher ranked teams at 9-1 SU and 8-2 ATS. As I warned last Thursday, playing on ranked teams when matching up against unranked opponents can be dangerous to one's bankroll. October 10 was a 'nightmare' scenario ATS for the seven ranked teams facing an unranked opponent. Five won but just ONE covered!  No. 17 LSU lost an 'ugly' one at home to Missouri, 45-41, while No. 22 Texas lost its Red River Showdown 53-48 in four OTs to Oklahoma in a "classic" (most combined points in the series' 116-game history)  LSU was stopped FOUR times from the one-yard line with a chance to win and the LSU defense allowed 45 points to a Missouri team that had averaged 15.5 PPG in its first two. With ranked teams going 5-2 SU and 1-6 AY+TS, the Y-T-D record has ranked teams 37-12 (.755) SU vs unranked opponents in 2020 but an abysmal 15-33-1 ATS (that's just 31.3%).4-0 Clemson remains No. 1 in the AP poll with 59 of 62 first-place votes. Its victory over Miami was the Tigers' 36th consecutive regular season win, the fourth-longest streak of all-time. They can tie Nebraska, which won 37 straight from 1992-96, with a Saturday win at Ga Tech. Alabama is No. 2 after a 63-48 win at Ole Miss ('Bama led just 49-45 with under four minutes to go) and will host No. 3 Georgia on Saturday in the season's 'BIGGEST' game to-date (note: it's the ONLY game between ranked opponents this coming weekend). Notre Dame has won NINE in a row (most of any Power-5 school) and is ranked 4th, while North Carolina climbed to No. 5, the school's highest ranking since November of 1997, when Mack Brown was head coach. Hey wait. He's baaaaaack!LSU dropped out of the poll (last defending champ to be unranked the following season was Auburn in 2001, post-Cam), after 43 consecutive appearances in the top-25. No. 22 Texas dropped out after its loss to Oklahoma but the win was not enough for the Sooners to sneak back in the poll and is now 'poll-less' for the second straight week, after being ranked for 64 consecutive polls. Last time both Oklahoma and Texas were unranked was Sep 25, 2016. For those remaining in the poll, the biggest drops were SIX spots by Florida (down from No. 4 to No. 10) and Miami (from No. 7 to No. 13). The biggest move up was Texas A&M going from No. 21 to No. 11. Kansas St made its first appearance in the top-25 at No.22, while USC, the AP's preseason No. 17 team), is back at no. 25 without playing a game. The Trojans are one of SEVEN teams ranked, before playing a game. No. 6 Ohio St and No. 10 Penn St are top-10 teams. It's surely a season like no other!Good luck...Larry

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