Articles

NFL Stock Rising and Falling: Week 5

by Sean Murphy

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020

With COVID concerns running rampant across the league there's plenty of uncertainty in the NFL entering Week 5. It's as good a time as ever to make sense of it all with this week's 'Stock Rising and Falling'.Stock RisingCarolina PanthersAre the Panthers actually for real? That certainly appears to be the case following impressive back-to-back wins over the Chargers and Cardinals. QB Teddy Bridgewater has been a really nice story and he gets a chance to keep it rolling against a very beatable opponent in the winless Falcons this week. Keep in mind, Atlanta will be playing on a short week after getting blown out in Green Bay on Monday night. The Panthers check in as short underdogs.Houston TexansCall me crazy, but I like the Texans a whole lot more now that Bill O'Brien has been relieved of his duties. There's no question O'Brien was holding this squad back in many regards and I look for Houston to play much looser in his absence. The Texans get a nice bounce-back spot on Sunday as they host the Jaguars who come in licking their chops following three straight losses. Seattle SeahawksThe Seahawks have a tremendous opportunity to keep their perfect record intact with a primetime home game against the 1-3 Vikings on Sunday. While Seattle's defense is obviously a problem, it did show some signs of life on that side of the football last week, essentially wrapping up the victory with a late turnover. They'll need to key on Vikes RB Dalvin Cook this week as he's looked outstanding over the last few weeks. Seattle QB Russell Wilson is obviously firing on all cylinders right now and should face little resistance against the Vikes undermanned defense.Stock FallingLas Vegas RaidersThe schedule-makers haven't been overly kind to the Raiders and there certainly isn't a break in sight this week as they head to Kansas City to take on the red hot Chiefs. The Raiders simply aren't built to play from behind as it takes their best offensive piece, RB Josh Jacobs, largely out of the offensive gameplan and puts far too much pressure on below average QB Derek Carr. Las Vegas needs to step up and at least play competitive football to slow the bleeding on Sunday afternoon. Miami DolphinsThe Fins went back in the tank with a loss to the Seahawks last Sunday and there's little reason for much excitement in South Florida - at least until Tua Tagovailoa takes over under center. This week Miami has to travel across the country to face what is sure to be an extremely motivated 49ers squad coming off an ugly home loss to the Eagles last Sunday night. This could very well be QB Ryan Fitzpatrick's last stand before it's Tua-Time.Dallas Cowboys To say that this Sunday's home game is a 'must-win' for the Cowboys would be an understatement. Their reeling thanks to a non-existent defense but catch a break with the lowly Giants coming to Jerry World on Sunday afternoon. QB Dak Prescott simply can't be relied upon to throw for over 500 yards every week, even if he does have an incredible supporting cast at his disposal. At some point the Dallas defense needs to get it together. We'll see if that happens this Sunday.

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Ness Notes: Thursday, Oct 8

by Larry Ness

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020

The NFL kicks off its Week 5 when the 5-1 Bucs visit Chicago to take on the 3-1 Bears. You may just have heard that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Tom Brady in the offseason and after a 34-23 loss in Week 1 at New Orleans (in a showdown with Drew Brees), Brady has looked great in three straight wins completing 65.5% with nine TDs and just two INTs. The Bears are also 3-1 and Brady may just remember his "opposite number" tonight. It's Nick Foles, who played a "game for the ages" when he led the Eagles to a 41-33 win against the Patriots (and Brady) in Super Bowl LII. He was the game's MVP completing 28-of-43 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns plus caught a 1-yard TD pass on the “Philly Special" trick play that ranks as one of the most famous plays in NFL history (note: Brady passed for 505 yards in the loss, with three TD passes and zero INTs in 48 attempts). The Bucs are favored by 3 1/2-points and the total is 44.5. Something to ponder? NFL games have averaged a combined 51.3, the highest through four weeks of a season since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Much more NFL in Friday's Notes. MLB Playoffs: In the NL, Travis d'Arnaud and Dansby Swanson each homered for the second straight day, as the Braves beat the Marlins 2-0. Ian Anderson scattered three hits and struck out eight over 5.2 innings, after he fanned nine in six scoreless innings in a wild card win over the Reds. The Braves are now just the THIRD team in MLB history to pitch three shutouts in the first four games of a postseason, joining the 1966 Baltimore Orioles and the 1905 New York Giants. Clayton Kershaw followed up his gem in the clinching game of the first round against Milwaukee (13 Ks over eight scoreless innings) with six strikeouts and no walks over six innings, although he allowed three runs, including back-to-back solo homers by Machado and Hosmer in the sixth. However, he got the "W," as the Dodgers held on for a 6-5 win over the Dodgers. The Padres were down one with a runner on and two outs in the seventh when Cody Bellinger extended his glove above the 8-foot wall to rob Tatis of what would have been a go-ahead HR. Joe Kelly retired Eric Hosmer on a routine grounder to earn the save after Dodgers All-Star closer Kenley Jansen wobbled (AGAIN) in the ninth. How about this? The Padres became the first team in 20 games this postseason to lose when outhomering their opponent. Over in the AL, the Astros had a chance to sweep A's but the wasted leads of 2-1 and 7-4. Houston's bullpen had stifled Oakland in the first two games with seven shutout innings of one-hit relief but Oakland rallied for three runs in the 7th and two more in the eighth for a 9-7 win. The A's entered the day 1-29 when trailing by at least three runs after the sixth inning in postseason games all-time but saved their season under that very scenario. Liam Hendriks recorded the final NINE outs to preserve a 9-7 win. Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run HR in the eighth inning of Game 3 for the Yankees to become the first player with a HR in each of his team's first five games of a single postseason (has six HRs and 13 RBI in those five games) but it wasn't enough, The Rays' Randy Arozarena homered for the THIRD straight game on Wednesday, while Kevin Kiermaier and Michael Perez also went deep for the Rays, who beat Yankees 8-4. Charlie Morton got the win after holding the Yankees to two runs (one earned) on four hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked two in winning his FIFTH straight postseason decision. Masahiro Tanaka took the loss after allowing five runs on eight hits in four-plus innings.In Thursday's games (listed in order of start times), the Marlins, A's, Yankees and Padres all face elimination. I'd post lines for the games but with pitching staffs being taxed with NO days off in these series, we never quite know when the managers will name a starter, allowing linemakers to post a price and handicappers to make a pick..The CFB weekend opens Thursday night with a C-USA game, as Tulane visits Houston (7:30 ET on ESPN). The Green Wave are 2-1 (0-1 in C-USA), while the Cougars will FINALLY actually get to play a game. Houston has had a Sep 3 home game with Rice, a Sep 19 game at Baylor and a Sep 26 home game with North Texas, all postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. NONE of those games have been rescheduled, so the Cougars will only play a maximum of EIGHT games this season (let's hope). The Cougars are listed as a 6.5 favorite. Friday night at 7:00 ET (also on ESPN), it's an ACC contest when 1-2 Louisville visits 1-2 Ga Tech. The Cardinals entered the AP poll at No. 18 after a season-opening 35-21 win over Western Ky but have since dropped out after conference losses to losses to Miami (47-34) and Pittsburgh (23-20). Ga Tech opened its season with a 16-13 win at Florida St but has since lost 49-21 at home to UCF and 37-20 at Syracuse. Louisville is favored by 4.5 points.Before getting to Saturday's games, let me take a quick look back at last week's results. There were two contests last Saturday featuring ranked teams and as has been the case in the early going, the higher ranked team won and covered in each one. No. 2 Alabama beat No. 13 Texas A&M 52-24 and No. 4 Georgia beat No. 7 Auburn. In top-25 showdowns in 202, the higher ranked team sit 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS. However, in something I have been following (and sharing) for years, playing on ranked teams when matching up against unranked opponents can be dangerous to one's bankroll. So far in 2020, that has surely been the case. There were 14 ranked teams playing unranked opponents last weekend and they not only went just 8-6 SU but also a 'money-burning' 4-10 ATS. That leaves ranked teams 32-10 (.762) SU vs unranked opponents in 2020 but an abysmal 14-27-1 ATS (that's just 34.1%).The two most shocking Saturday upsets last Saturday, lead me into my preview of this Saturday's games. Texas (-11) lost 33-31 at home to TCU, when the Longhorns fumbled at the Horned Frogs goal line on a 1st and goal play with about four minutes to go. The 'Horns dropped from No. 9 to No. 22 in the latest AP poll. Then there was Oklahoma (-7.5) losing 37-30 at Iowa St, giving the Hawkeyes their first win in Ames over the Sooners since 1960! Oklahoma has now dropped back-to-back regular-season games (lost 38-35 at home to Iowa St on Sep 26) for the first time since 1999. The Sooners were No. 3 in the AP poll two weeks ago but the loss to Iowa St dropped them out of the top-25, after spending 64 consecutive weeks inside the AP top-25. As fate would have it, Oklahoma and Texas meet in the Red River Showdown for the 116th time on Saturday. Texas holds a 62-48-5 edge all-time but the Sooners have won 14 of the 21 meetings since 2000. However, the "vibe" is different in 2020 for MANY reasons. The Red River Showdown is one of the most unique games in college football. The are fans split down the 50-yard-line. The State Fair of Texas is bustling just outside the Cotton Bowl gates and the bus rides by the teams through the fairgrounds to the stadium are jam-packed with thousands of fans lining the streets either cheering or jeering. COIVID-19 has changed all that. "To pull into the fairgrounds without anybody there will be a little eerie," Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley said. "It'll be different, there's no doubt. And that's just 2020 right now, I guess." What's more, with Oklahoma unranked and Texas at No. 22, NEITHER school is in the top-20 for this game for the 1st time since 1999! Oklahoma is a 2.5-point favorite.Point of interest, this contest is my 10* Rivalry Game of the Year! BE THERE! Getting back to business, Texas is one of SEVEN games this Saturday in which a ranked team faces an unranked opponent, an unusually small number. No. 2 Alabama is at Ole Miss (favored by 24.5 points) and Notre Dame is home to Florida St (Irish are favored by 20.5 points), among top-10 teams. Notre Dame has won EIGHT straight games, tied for the longest active winning streak among Power-5 schools. However, after just SIX meetings between ranked opponents up until now, there are FOUR such meetings on Saturday. No. 1 Clemson gets its first real test of the season when it hosts No. 7 Miami-Florida (Tigers are favored by 14). No. 3 Georgia is home to No. 14 Tennessee, which also owns EIGHT straight wins (Bulldogs are favored by 12.5). No. 4 Florida is at No. 21 Texas A&M (Gators are favored by 6.5) and No. 8 North Carolina is home to No. 19 Va Tech (Tar Heels are favored by 4.5). One quick 'shout out' to Air Force. The Falcons played their first game of 2020 last Saturday when they routed Navy, 40-7. The MWC originally said the league would not play football in the fall, so Air Force was only scheduled to play Navy and Army. However, the MWC will now play a six-game conference schedule, meaning the 'Fly Boys' will play eight games in all. I mention this because Air Force's win over Navy gave them NINE straight wins, the longest active streak among FBS schools (note: Air Force is 7-2 ATS during its winning run). Air Force will next play Oct 24th at San Jose St.Good luck...Larry

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

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020

The NFL, college football, and a full slate of four games in MLB Divisional Series action take place on a busy Thursday sports card.A battle of 3-1 football teams kicks off the fifth week of the NFL season for Thursday Night Football. Tampa Bay has won three straight games after they defeated the Los Angeles Chargers last week by a 38-31 score. Chicago saw their three-game winning streak snapped last week in a 19-11 loss at home to Indianapolis as a 3.5-point underdog. This game will be the first time that Brady will face off against Foles in a battle of starting quarterbacks since Super Bowl LII when the Eagles defeated the Patriots by a 41-33 score. With both players playing for different teams, Tampa Bay is a 3.5-point favorite with the total set at 44.5 (all odds from BookMaker). Fox, the NFL Network, and Amazon will all have the broadcast with the kickoff set shortly after 8:20 PM ET.After experiencing five opening-game cancellations already this season, the Houston Cougars hope to kick off their college football season on Thursday night. The Cougars will be anxious to get on the field again after experiencing their worst season in 15 years with their 4-8 campaign last year. Bettors will need to consider how much of an advantage Tulane has with having three games already under their belts. The Green Wave have two wins on the road already at South Alabama and Southern Mississippi, with their lone loss at home to Navy by a 27-24 score in the middle of those two games. They have had a week off after defeating Southern Miss on the road by a 66-24 score in a game that was a transitional point in their season. Houston is a -6.5-point favorite for the rematch on Thursday night with the total set at 60. ESPN has the broadcast. Four games take place in the MLB Divisional Series. The card begins at 2:08 PM ET with the Atlanta Braves looking to close out their best-of-five series with the Miami Marlins. Atlanta took a 2-0 lead in this series on Wednesday with their 2-0 victory over the Marlins. They turn to Jared Wright as their starting pitcher. Miami counters with Sixto Sanchez. The Braves are -140 money-line favorites with the total set at 9. FS1 has the broadcast.Oakland staved off elimination yesterday in their series with Houston with a 9-7 victory. The A’s turn to Frankie Montas this afternoon at 3:35 PM ET to attempt to even this series at 2-2 and force a final fifth game. Astros manager Dusty Baker is going with his veteran, Zack Greinke this afternoon. The game is a pk'em, with each side laying -105, and the total is 9 runs. TBS televises the game.Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead in their ALDS yesterday with the Yankees with their 8-4 win on Wednesday. They will use Ryan Thompson as their opener with the game scheduled at 7:10 PM ET. New York counters with Jordan Montgomery. The Yankees are a -134 moneyline favorite with a total of 9. TBS also televises this game.Los Angeles is up 2-0 in their NLDS after their 6-5 victory over the Padres on Wednesday. San Diego looks to avoid elimination in the playoffs by turning to Adrian Morejon as their starting pitcher. Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts has tabbed Dustin May as his starting pitcher.  The current odds are Los Angeles -171, with a total of 9 runs. This game will be broadcast on the MLB Network with the first pitch at 9:08 PM ET. 

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Top 5 NFL Rankings (Thru Week 4)

by Wayne Root

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020

We’re speaking of the NFL, where it’s topsy and turvy week-in and week-out. It’s like the swinging doors of the Wild West saloons. Expectedly, there have been some major upswings and downward falls. But those are from the lower-tiered teams.  1. Kansas City Never, ever take the defending Super Bowl champions out of the No. 1 spot in the Power Rankings until they lose their first game. Prior to Week 4, no team had started 4-0 in four consecutive seasons. While everyone gives credit to Patrick Mahomes and Coach Reid, Kansas City's underrated defense deserves praise. Kansas City‘s defense looks more capable over the last couple of weeks. It was only a few years ago they ranked number 30 or lower. Now, Kansas City is alone on top of the heap after one fourth of the season is behind us. Maybe a division game will slow them down.  2. Green Bay Rodgers looks as electric as ever and the Packers look very tough to beat. In fact, they may be in their own separate tier above the Ravens and just below the Chiefs. It must have helped motivate Rodgers when Green Bay drafted a rookie quarterback. But it’s all roses now and Aaron even seems to get along with his coach. Look out when his wide receivers get healthy and return and they bank win after win in their NFC North Division games. That offense is playing at an elite level. Aaron Rodgers is clearly in the MVP race.   3. Baltimore  They bounced back in nice fashion against Washington, but it wasn't exactly a big-time test. Even so, you have to win those types of games and move on. The Ravens lead the NFL in points off turnovers this season with 38. Of course that didn’t matter two weeks ago. Against mild manner Washington, Baltimore looked nothing like the discombobulated unit that was getting crushed by the Chiefs. But no one has looked very good against them either. Lamar Jackson is brilliant whenever he isn’t playing the Chiefs or Titans and their team's blitz-heavy defense has been highly effective against everyone but Kansas City. The Ravens have won their games big and have had great production from their ground game. But can they win the big ones: KC or Pittsburgh? 4. Pittsburgh  The Steelers are back and solid. When the Steel Curtain is making headlines, other teams are in trouble. It's (very) early, but they're on pace to record 80 sacks over a full season which would surpass the 1984 Bears' record of ‘72. They have looked solid to this point, especially on defense. If Ben Roethlisberger can get the most out of his weapons, the Steelers may push the Ravens for the top spot in the AFC North. They got a week off because of the postponement due to COVID-19, so they essentially had an early bye that included practice. Will that help or hurt? Pittsburgh prepares for a stretch of 13 straight games, starting at home on Sunday against an Eagles team that finally has some momentum to build on. 5. Seattle  For the first time in Pete Carroll’s tenure, he has unleashed Russell Wilson in the passing game. Wilson has looked like the frontrunner for MVP at this point as he seemingly throws 10 touchdowns a week to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. The offense wasn't as explosive against Miami, but they still scored over 30 points. They are 4-0, but do we know how good they are as a team? Given the long trip, not surprising the team wasn't hitting on all cylinders but can't complain too much about another efficient Russell Wilson performance. The last time the team was 4-0 they made it to the Super Bowl so Seahawks fans are hoping for similar vibes this season.———Looking to move up6. Buffalo 7. Tampa Bay8. New Orleans9. LA Rams10. Indianapolis 

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Thursday NCAA Football: Houston/Tulane Preview

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020

After experiencing five opening-game cancellations already this season, the Houston Cougars hope to kick off their season on Thursday night. Houston had their second game of the season at Washington State canceled in July when Pac-12 postponed their season. Their opener against Rice was canceled in August. COVID issues led to their games with Baylor and Rice postponed with the fifth game against Memphis rescheduled for December 5th. The Cougars will be anxious to get on the field again after experiencing their worst season in 15 years with their 4-8 campaign last year. Dana Holgorsen became perhaps the first college football program to embrace a soft tanking job with a handful of his players' redshirting. Holgorsen claimed his scout team on defense was the “greatest” in college football history by the end of the season, given its collection of redshirt and transfer talent awaiting eligibility. This Cougars team returns 19 starters from last year, along with another 33 new transfers from junior college, FCS, and FBS programs. One of the players who redshirted last season was senior quarterback D’Eriq King who later decided to transfer programs. King finds himself now playing in a Saturday night prime-time showdown on national television with his Miami Hurricanes playing the Clemson Tigers. Houston moved on at quarterback with sophomore Clayton Tune who passed for 1533 yards while completing 59% of his passes in his seven starts. Tune begins his junior as the leader of Holgorsen’s Air Raid offense this season. Bettors will need to consider how much of an advantage Tulane has with having three games already under their belts. The Green Wave have two wins on the road already at South Alabama and Southern Mississippi ,with their lone loss at home to Navy by a 27-24 score in the middle of those two games. Head coach Willie Fritz has a balanced team in his fifth year with the program. Their 441.0 yards-per-game average on offense is the fourth-best mark of American Athletic Conference teams while their 368.3 YPG total defense mark is third-best in the AAC. They have had a week off after defeating Southern Miss on the road by a 66-24 score in a game that was a transitional point in their season. Fritz benched senior quarterback Keon Howard in the first quarter after falling behind by a 14-0 score. True freshman Michael Pratt came on in relief to spark the team to outscore the Golden Eagles by a 66-10 margin the rest way of the way. Pratt completed only 8 of 18 passes, but those completions went for 142 yards with two touchdowns. He added another 40 yards with his legs. Tulane rushed for 472 yards in that game and averaged 7.9 yards-per-carry with seven of their runs reaching the end zone for a touchdown. The Green Wave lost their leading rusher, Tyjae Springs, in that game in a season-ending ACL injury, but Fritz has assembled a deep roster of capable rushers for his run-first spread offensive attack with the program. Cameron Carroll and Stephon Huderson combined to rush for 283 yards on 26 carries with four of those seven rushing touchdowns in that game with each topping the 100 rushing yard marker. Tulane won the meeting last year between these two teams by at home in New Orleans by 38-31 score. That game was the last time that King played for the Cougars as their quarterback, with Houston dropping to 1-3 with the loss. BetOnline has the Cougars as a -6.5-point favorite for the rematch on Thursday night with the total set at 59.5. ESPN has the broadcast. 

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NFL Thursday Night Football: Buccaneers/Bears Preview

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020

A battle of 3-1 football teams kicks off the fifth week of the NFL season for Thursday Night Football.Tampa Bay has responded to their 34-23 loss at New Orleans in the opening week of the season with three straight victories after their 38-31 win at home over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Buccaneers’ head coach Bruce Arians commented after the game that his team would have probably lost that contest last season. They fell behind by a 24-7 score in the second quarter before going into the locker rooms at halftime trailing by a 24-14 score. Tom Brady is the difference for this team this year. He played his best game in a Buccaneers uniform by completing 30 of 46 passes for 369 yards with five touchdown passes to lead his new team to the comeback victory. Brady has thrown 11 touchdown throws this season, tied for the 4th most in the NFL. Tampa Bay has increased the total yardage each week, with Brady also improving his passer rating in each game as he becomes more comfortable operating in Arians’ offense. He has also already thrown four interceptions this year to continue the nagging problem of turnovers that plagued this team last year with Jameis Winston under center. The Buccaneers have outscored their last three opponents by a 97 to 58 margin after that initial loss to the Saints. While the Brady addition to the franchise gets most of the attention, this has become an outstanding defense under the leadership of coordinator Todd Bowles. Tampa Bay’s defense is second in the NFL by holding their opponents to just 64.3 rushing yards per game. The Bucs’ are also third with 14 sacks while ranking second with their eight takeaways. The injury bug has hit this team. Tampa Bay lost tight end O.J. Howard for the season to his Achilles injury on Sunday. The Buccaneers’ top four wide receivers did not take part in Tuesday’s practice to prepare for this game on a short week. Chris Godwin and Justin Watson are out for this game with Mike Evans and Scottie Miller remaining questionable. Running back LeSean McCoy is also out for tonight with his stablemate in the backfield, Leonard Fournette, downgraded to doubtful and a game-time decision with his ankle injury. Ronald Jones III should get the majority of carries for Tampa Bay in this game. Chicago’s injury concerns are not as lengthy. The Bears’ depth in their secondary has taken a hit with defensive backs Deon Bush and Sherrick McManis with doubtful with injuries. Chicago is without running back Tarik Cohen, who is out the season with an ACL injury leaving the backfield duties primarily to David Montgomery. But linebacker Khalil Mack is off the injury report this week after being listed as questionable for each of the first four weeks of the season with his knee issues. Chicago saw their three-game winning streak snapped last week in a 19-11 loss at home to Indianapolis as a 3.5-point underdog. New starting quarterback Nick Foles struggled in a performance that begs the question as to whether or not Mitchell Trubisky would have benched if he had put up similar numbers. Foles completed 26 of 42 passes for 249 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception. The Bears rushed the ball only 16 times for 28 yards for a 1.8 yards-per-carry average. This game will be the first time that Brady will face off against Foles in a battle of starting quarterbacks since Super Bowl LII when the Eagles defeated the Patriots by a 41-33 score. With both players playing for different teams, BetAnySports has Tampa Bay as a 3.5-point favorite with the total set at 44.5. Fox, the NFL Network, and Amazon will all have the broadcast with the kickoff set shortly after 8:20 PM ET.

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How to Read Football Odds

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Oct 08, 2020

How to read football oddsIt's a cozy Sunday afternoon.  You and the boys want to get together for a classic game of NFL action.  On some game days, you would go to the stadium, and spend lots of dollars on tickets.  But more often than not, you would choose to be in the comfort of your house, and tune in through the television.  Of course, any money saved from not having to purchase a game ticket, can be used as your betting money.  And with the advent of online sportsbooks, getting down on a football game couldn’t be easier.A few minutes before kick-off, you hop online to visit one of the popular online sportsbooks to explore the possibilities.  You immediately notice that you can bet not only on your hometown team, but also on all the other NFL games, as well as college football, baseball, and even soccer games across the pond.  You just found an entirely new world that's welcoming you with open arms.The first thing to understand when you place your bets are the betting odds.  And because there’s not a ticket writer who could educate you on the odds (like you might find in Las Vegas at the Wynn sportsbook), you need to understand the numbers yourself.  In this guide, we'll take you through the betting odds and show you how to get started betting on football straightaway! What are the different types of betting odds? Sports betting is a global industry.  It started centuries ago with sports like horse racing and gladiator fights, and now extends to all sports played, world-wide.  As there are many cultural differences, there are also differences in the way people approach sports betting in different countries and regions.  We'll take you through some of the most popular forms of betting odds, including those used in the United States.Fractional oddsIn the United Kingdom, fractional odds are the most common odds used in sports betting.  Bookies in the U.K. display their sports odds in the form of a fraction.  This shows your potential winnings as a proportion of your stake, indicated by a slash (/).   Let's say the Kansas City Chiefs play against the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.  Each team would get certain odds, so your betting lines might look like this: Kansas City Chiefs 4/5 San Francisco 49ers 11/10 This means, for every five dollars you wager on the Chiefs, you would receive four dollars profit.  When you're wagering $100 on the Chiefs, to learn your potential profit, you would use the following formula:  (Stake / Denominator ) x Numerator = Profit ($100 / 5) x 4 = $80 The fractional odds can be quite difficult if you're not used to them, or are poor at math.  Luckily, most bookmakers and oddsmakers in the United States do not use fractional odds.Decimal oddsAnother major part of sports bettors in the world use decimal odds.  It's another way to display the odds of an individual matchup between two teams.  The decimal odds are the most simple form of betting odds, as they take into consideration a 1 dollar bet instead of otherwise.  Let's say you have a match between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots.  You like the underdog Jets to pull the upset and win.  Thus, your betting slip might look like this as an example:New York Jets 2.65This means that for every dollar you are wagering on this bet, you would get $2.65 in return.  Thus, a $100 bet would bring in $265 as a total payout, so your net profit would be $165 after you subtracted your $100 stake.American oddsIf you've ever been to a Las Vegas sportsbook, you have probably seen the American-style odds.  These are also called the moneyline odds.  In the moneyline odds, the bookmakers clearly show which team is the underdog and which team is the favorite.  The underdog carries the plus sign, while the favorite is associated with the minus sign.  The betting lines might look like this: Minnesota Vikings -175 Chicago Bears +155 The American odds are based on a wagering amount of $100.  To calculate the probability of winning a game for both teams, you get two formulas: Chance of the underdog winning = 100/(positive odds +100) = implied probability Chance of the favorite winning = Negative odds/(negative odds - 100) When we fill these formulas in with the example above we get the following chances of winning: 100/(155 + 100) = 39.21% chance of winning -175/(-175 - 100) = 63.63% chance of winning Now, the very first thing which you will notice in our example above is that the two percentages, when added together, exceed 100%, as they’re 102.84%.  On the surface, that makes no sense.  But the reason for this is that any sportsbook needs to make a profit, so the amount above 100% is its vigorish, or juice.  Here’s a different way to think about it:  the oddsmakers will overvalue the chance that a team has to win, and then they pay out slightly less than the “true odds.”  So, to calculate the true odds, just divide each implied probability by the total of all probabilities added together, or 102.84%.  Thus, the Vikings’ true odds would be 63.63/102.84, or 61.87%, while the Bears’ true odds would be 39.21/102.84, or 38.13%.  And whether you’re playing at an online sportsbook or at a brick-and-mortar one, the odds take into account the amount needed by the house to cover its operating costs per bet.How to calculate your payout with moneyline oddsWith sports betting, it all comes down to the dollar signs, doesn't it?  Let’s say you make 10 NFL bets, and want to know how the final scores will impact your bank account.  Some games might win, while others might lose.  To give you a handle on the potential payout when using the moneyline odds, let's take the following example: Jacksonville Jaguars -160 Cincinnati Bengals +140 As we illustrated above, the Bengals, at +140, are the underdog, while the Jaguars, at -160, are the favorite.  With moneyline odds, we assume each bettor wants to win (or lose) $100.  Thus, you have two possible scenarios for a winning bet: You bet $160 on the favorite, and they win.  Your total payout is $260, which means your profit is $100, over and above your initial stake of $160. You want to risk $100 on the underdog.  Thus, if you wager $100 at +140 odds, you would win $140 on top of your initial stake.  Your total payout would be $240. Betting odds calculatorTo give you a helping hand, many betting sites have a betting odds calculator to calculate the possible amount of money you can win.  You simply fill in the amount you want to wager and the odds provided by the oddsmakers.  Within seconds, you know the exact profits that your bet would deliver.  It's an easy way to check where you're at and whether a bet is worth a wager. What are the most common NFL bets? Understanding the odds is one thing, but making sure you understand football betting entirely is another.  You can understand the odds, but when you don't fully understand the different types of bets in football betting, there's less of a chance you'll end up with profits.  First, we'll show you the basic bets that most NFL bettors use; the more advanced bets will come afterward.MoneylineThe moneyline bet is for gamblers who simply want to predict which team ends up with the higher score -- which team wins.  It's probably the easiest bet to understand.  The moneyline odds show you which team is favored and which team is the underdog, as assigned by the bookies.  Of course, just because a team is favored to win does not mean it will.  When choosing a winner, make sure you do thorough research before placing your bet.Over/underThe over/under is also known as a totals bet.  With this wager, you don't pick a winning team, but instead predict whether the game will be relatively higher or lower-scoring.  In other words, you pick whether the match's overall score will be over or under the number of points given by the oddsmakers.  As an example, let's take a matchup between the Washington Redskins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The over/under could look like this: Over 49 Under 49 You have to predict whether both teams would combine to score more points than 49 or less than 49.  It's as simple as that.  The odds for the over/under bet are usually -110, but that depends on the sportsbook at which you place your bet.Point spreadThe point spread bet is the most popular NFL wager with bettors all across the States.  People simply love betting the spread, and it's for a simple reason.  Unlike moneyline wagers, both NFL sides have a (roughly) 50% chance to cover the spread.  And when you're good at betting the spread, you could be in for a consistent cash-flow which turns your betting hobby into a full-time profession.  But, it does require some skills to get to this stage.With a point spread, you're betting on the margin of victory for each team in any given matchup. The betting lines could look like this, as an example: Cleveland Browns -5.5 (+110) Baltimore Ravens +5.5 (-110) Like a moneyline bet, the point spread has a favorite and an underdog, indicated by the positive or negative numbers.  The Browns are the point spread favorite, and need to win by six or more points to bring you a winning ticket.  On the other hand, the Ravens need to either win the game, straight-up, or lose by less than 5.5 points.  And one of the more exciting things about point spread wagering is that the result of the bet often isn’t decided until a game’s final moments, even if it was known much earlier which team was going to be victorious.Half-pointWith point spreads, the spread number is either a whole number or a half-point number.  When using half-points, an oddsmaker can more easily balance the betting action.  Additionally, a half-point number removes any chance of a game resulting in a push (tie), which is a result not favored by the bookmaker.  Remember, bookmakers are in business to earn a profit, and they cannot earn their vigorish (profit) when they have to refund the bettors’ stakes. How to find the best football odds When you're finding a way to develop your winning sports betting strategy, it's essential to pay attention to the odds.  No matter what kind of bet you make -- whether it's a parlay bet or a moneyline bet -- you need the best numbers and the best odds.  It might not matter too much for one bet, but if you're in this long term, it's essential to find the best odds.  The first thing to understand is that sports betting is a marketplace.  There are hundreds of sportsbooks, and each offers slightly different point spreads and slightly different odds, depending on where its oddsmaker establishes the numbers, and how much vigorish it wants.  The vig, also known as the juice, is the profit a bookmaker needs to operate.  And some sportsbooks offer “reduced juice,” which is a huge benefit for the sports bettor.  For example, our #1-rated sportsbook is BetAnySports, primarily because it offers reduced juice on football and basketball games.  Thus, when you play at BetAnySports, you can lay -105 odds on football and basketball games, rather than -110 odds.The best way to approach finding the best football odds is to shop around.  All sharp gamblers have accounts at multiple sportsbooks and keep a watchful eye on the lines.  The numbers constantly change, and the professionals will always be on the lookout for an extra half-point.  When you choose your sportsbooks, it’s critical to have accounts at those books that have unique odds -- that is, they post their own numbers, and don’t copy the odds of other sportsbooks.  That way, you give yourself the best opportunity to snag that extra half-point.  The best sportsbooks in this regard include BetAnySports, BetOnline, BetNow and Bovada. Whatever you do, enjoy betting.  It can be emotional at times, but always remember to have fun.  Never wager more than you're able to lose -- both emotionally and financially -- and always keep your eyes on your bankroll.  We're here to give you the best advice with our betting guides, anything else to make you a winning sports bettor

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2020 NCAA Football: Fast-developing Trends in the Covid-era

by Tom Stryker

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020

As a college football nation, we are obviously fighting through a very difficult time.  There are limited (or no) fans in the stands, an abundance of testing and several concerns floating around every college team on a weekly basis.  Until the man upstairs decides to bless us with a vaccine or a weakening of this ugly virus, we’ll be forced to adapt our handicapping styles and conform to what may, or may not, be working at the time.The Team Stryker Database has been a lifesaver this football season.  What would normally take hours to research, is available at the click of a button in a matter of seconds.  Earlier this week, I created a COVID-19 set of games and tried to find money-making opportunities within them.  All results listed are from kickoff of the 2020 season through Wednesday, October 7th. PLAY AGAINST any 2020 college favorite priced at -4 or more if they are playing a conference opponent.2020 Record = 33-13-1 ATS for 71.7 percent PLAY AGAINST any 2020 college team if they take the field off a SU and ATS win.2020 Record = 20-10 ATS for 66.7 percent PLAY AGAINST any 2020 college favorite priced at -11 or more.2020 Record = 34-16 ATS for 68.0 percent PLAY AGAINST any 2020 college guest provided they arrive with momentum off a straight up win.2020 Record = 20-8 ATS for 71.4 percent PLAY ON any 2020 college football home dog if they are battling a conference foe.2020 Record = 17-5-1 ATS for 77.2 percent As you can see from the results listed above, the dogs are barking this football season.  Of course, it’s early.  These are simply trends that have developed out of the gate.  As teams progress through the year and offenses and defenses mature, these technical situations will likely change.  The results are certainly interesting and definitely worth noting at least for now. Next week, I’ll be back with a look at what’s working during these COVID-19 times in the NFL.  Best of luck as always men!

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Ness Notes: Wednesday, Oct 7

by Larry Ness

Wednesday, Oct 07, 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: The Miami Heat reached this year's NBA Finals as the East's No. 5 to face the LA Lakers, the West's No. 1 seed. Miami is the first team seeded fifth or lower to reach the NBA Finals since the eighth-seeded New York Knicks lost to San Antonio in 1999. The last team seeded fifth or lower to win an NBA title was Houston in 1995, when it beat Orlando as the West's No. 6 seed. The Lakers rolled in Game 1 by the score of 116-98 and took Game 2 by 10 points (124-114), as Miami was with Dragic and Adebayo. Despite playing without those two starters in Game 3, Miami's starters outscored the Lakers' starting five 89-51 and Jimmy Butler played "the game of his life," with 40 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. Butler became the 21st player to have a triple-double in the NBA Finals but it was just the third 40-point triple-double in Finals history. Game 4 was last night and Adebayo returned for Miami. He scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 33 minutes but Butler was able to score just 25 points (down from 40). The Heat used just three players off the bench and that trio combined for 13 points while shooting an abysmal 4 of 18 (22.2%). LBJ was his usual self (28-12-8) and A.D. bounced from a poor game (15 points) with 22 points and nine rebounds, while starting LA guards Caldwell-Pope and Green combined to score 25 points. LA's bench outscored Miami's 27-13. The Heat stayed with the Lakers all game but LA bettors (INCLUDING ME) lost when Miami rookie Tyler Herro nailed a three-pointer with 1.1 seconds to go. The 102-96 final gave Miami the ATS win. And so it goes in the sports betting world. The Heat fell to 13-6 SU this postseason but are 15-4 ATS, while the Lakers are 15-4 SU but just 10-8-1 ATS. Playoff numbers to-date: Favorites are just 40-39-2 ATS, while the under has cashed in 47 of the 81 games (58.0 percent). For those following the "Zig-Zag" Theory (that means playing "on" the SU loser of the previous game), they've gone 30-33-2 ATS (47.6%) or minus-6.3 net units. Game 5 is Thursday and the early line has the Lakers favored by the same 7 1/2-points they were in Game 4.MLB Playoffs: The NL 'joined the party' on Tuesday with Miami vs Atlanta from Houston. and the Padres vs the Dodgers from Arlington. I noted in Tuesday's notes that Atlanta's Max Fried had made 12 starts in 2020 (including Game 1 of the wild card series) and the Braves have gone 11-1. However, he allowed four ERs on six hits in just four innings. The Braves trailed 4-3 entering the bottom of the 7th but 'exploded' for SIX runs, highlighted by Travis d'Arnaud's three-run HR and two-run shot by Dansby Swanson. The final was 9-5 Atlanta, as five relievers held Miami to just two hits and one run over five innings with seven Ks Atlanta is now 12-1 in Fried's 2020 starts (never in doubt).The Dodgers beat the Padres 5-1 in that series Game 1, which was somewhat strange. Mike Clevinger made it only two pitches into the second inning of his postseason debut for the Padres before leaving with the same elbow injury that sidelined him during the first round. San Diego's heavily worked bullpen couldn't keep putting up zeros, or keeping runners off base, even though the Padres gave up only four hits. Clevinger walked three batters in his one-plus inning of work and then NINE San Diego relievers allowed SEVEN more. The Dodgers had already drawn nine walks before Mookie Betts got their first hit in the sixth inning, when LA boke open a 12- game with FOUR runs. Buehler lasted just four innings, allowing two hits and one ER with eight Ks. Four relievers worked five scoreless innings and the LA staff struck out 14 Padres!Back in the AL, the Astros took a 2-0 lead over the A's with a 5-2 win and the Rays evened their series with the Yankees with a 7-5 win. George Springer hit two HRs and Martin Maldonado also went deep for Houston, as the Astros (just 29-31 in the regular season) moved to 4-0 in the postseason and are now just ONE win away from reaching their FOURTH straight ALCS. Oakland didn't have an at-bat with a runner in scoring position, as the A's are batting only .226 for the series (14 for 62). The NY Yankees became the first team in American League history to hit a grand slam in back-to-back playoff games in Game 1, while setting a franchise record by hitting at least three HRs in three consecutive postseason games. Giancarlo Stanton hit two HRs in Game 2 and has now hit five HRs this postseason, tying an MLB record held by Juan Gonzalez (Rangers, 1996) for HRs by a player in his team's first four playoff games. However, the Rays hit four HRs in Game 2 and more importantly, four Rays pitchers struck out 18 Yankees, an MLB postseason record for a nine-inning game and a postseason record for Yankees batters. Starter Tyler Glasnow allowed three hits and four runs in five-plus innings, while walking three. His 10 strikeouts surpass the previous Rays postseason record of nine done three times. It was the Rays' 10th straight win when Glasnow started. He won his FIFTH straight start and SEVENTH consecutive decision.Wednesday's MLB (in order of starting times). Miami (Lopez) vs Atlanta (Anderson) at 2:08 ET (Braves -210 / 8 .5), Oakland (Luzardo) vs Houston (Urquidy) at 3:35 ET (Astros -110 / 9), Tampa Bay (Morton) vs NY Yankees (Tanaka) at 7:10 ET (NYY -125 / 9) and San Diego (undecided) vs Los Angeles (Kershaw) at 9:08 ET (no line). Thursday's notes zeroes in on CFB Last week's highlights, current AP poll and a look ahead to the weekend.Good luck...Larry

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Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB Preview

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020

The four games in the MLB Divisional Series dominate the Wednesday sports card.The card begins at 2:08 PM ET with the Miami/Atlanta NLDS. The Braves won the opening game of this series between NL East rivals on Tuesday with their 9-5 victory in this best-of-five series. Atlanta will send out Ian Anderson to the mound, who was 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in six regular-season starts. The Marlins counter with Pablo Lopez, who was 6-4 in the regular season with a 3.61 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP in eleven starts. Atlanta is -198 moneyline favorites with the total set at 9 (all odds from BetOnline). This game is being played at Minute Maid Park in Houston with the Braves the technical home team batting last. The MLB Network has the broadcast. Houston looks to complete a three-game sweep of Oakland at 3:35 PM ET. The Astros took a 2-0 lead in this series on Tuesday with their 5-2 victory over the A’s. Jose Urquidy takes the hill on Wednesday with his 1-1 record along with a 2.73 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in five regular-season starts. Oakland hopes to avoid elimination from the playoffs with Jesus Luzardo their starting pitcher. The rookie is 3-2 with a 4.12 ERA and a  1.27 WHIP in twelve games in the regular season that includes nine starts. Houston is a -116 moneyline favorite with the over/under at 9. The Astros are the technical home team with this game played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. TBS has the game.Tampa Bay evened their series with the Yankees on Tuesday with their 7-5 victory. Game 3 of this series on Wednesday with New York now the technical home team at Petco Park in San Diego. The Yankees send out Masahiro Tanaka, who is 3-3 with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in ten regular-season starts. Charlie Morton counters for the Rays who was 2-2 with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in nine regular-season starts. New York is a -122 moneyline favorite with the total set at 9. TBS has this broadcast at 7:10 PM ET.The final game on the MLB card is Game 2 of the San Diego/Los Angeles series. The Dodgers won Game 1 on Tuesday with their 5-1 victory. The Dodgers turn to Clayton Kershaw as their starting pitcher, who was 6-2 with a 2.16 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP in 10 starts. Padres manager Jayce Tingler has settled on Zach Davies as the starter.  The Dodgers are a -225 favorite, with the total set at 8.5 runs.  The Dodgers will bat last as the technical home team with this game played at Global Life Field in Arlington, Texas. This game will be on FS1 with the first pitch scheduled for 9:08 PM ET.

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What is the Hook in Sports Betting?

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Oct 07, 2020

What is the hook in sports betting? Over the years, the sports betting industry has developed into a league of its own.  It now generates billions in revenue every single year, and stretches further than just sports, as you can even make prop bets on who will be elected President of the United States, and so forth.  But the true essence remains in leagues like the NBA, NFL, MLB, and the NHL.  Collectively, the four major sports in the United States sell hundreds of millions of tickets annually to their games, and even more follow along at home, via the internet, television or radio.  It’s true that a majority of sports fans are not gamblers.  But many are, and they dedicate a large portion of their time to predicting a sporting event's outcome.  This group of betting sports fans is also rapidly growing, as gambling -- now legal -- becomes more accepted in society.One thing that newcomers to the gambling world might find is that sports bettors have their own lingo, as certain sports betting terms and abbreviations are used to refer to various actions, situations, or statistics.  Some of the more familiar terms include ‘laying the points,’ ‘key numbers,’ ‘vigorish,’ and ‘longshot’ -- all sorts of terms that are part of the average bettor’s glossary.  The more of these terms you become familiar with, the easier your betting process will be, and the faster you can act upon new information.In this betting guide, we'll dive into the term 'hook,' a term often used in such phrases as: ‘won by a hook,’ ‘favored by 3 and a hook,’ and 'buy the hook.'  By these examples, you can probably figure out that ‘hook’ refers to a half-point on a point spread.  In this article, we'll show you the exact details on how to handle half-points in point spreads. Introduction to point spread betting First, we have to make clear how the point spread bet correctly works.  It's a construction which relates to a competition between two teams in a sporting event with incremental scoring.  Unlike a moneyline wager, which is only concerned with which team actually wins the game, straight-up, a point-spread (or run-line, goal-line, or puck-line) wager is only concerned with the margin of victory.  As with a moneyline wager, there's a favored team and an underdog.  But with a point spread wager, a game’s final score is just the starting point.  To determine a point spread bet’s winner, you have to add (or subtract) the point spread to the final score.  That might not be easy, at first, to grasp, so allow us to illustrate with an example.  Say, the betting line for an NBA game is: ​Milwaukee Bucks -5 Chicago Bulls +5 In this example, you have the Milwaukee Bucks competing against the Chicago Bulls.  Of course, both teams will strive to win the game.  But regardless of which team wins, we’ll need to apply the betting line after the game goes final.  The Bucks are a 5-point favorite, while the Bulls are a 5-point underdog.  The Bucks will cover the spread only if they manage to win the game by more than 5 points.  On the other hand, the Bulls need to either win straight-up, or lose by four points or less, to cover the spread.  If MIlwaukee would win by exactly five points, then the point spread bet would result in a tie, and all monies would be refunded to the bettors.  Now, in the example above, the point spread is a whole number.  However, in many cases, a game’s point spread ends in a half-point.  That's where betting the hook comes into play.  Your betting line could look like this: New Jersey Nets -2.5 Memphis Grizzlies +2.5 The existence of the half-point in this example removes the bet's potential to result in a tie.  When a point spread ties, the bet pushes, and all bettors receive a refund.  Bookmakers -- if their action is balanced on a particular game -- would actually be hurt by a push, as they would not be able to earn their vigorish (or profit). Difference between point spreads with or without a hook So, point spreads with hooks are a way to ensure the bet doesn't result in a push, which may be in a bookmaker’s interest.  But, from a bettor’s standpoint, there are betting strategies -- especially in football, due to key numbers -- that come into play when a game is situated on a half-point.  Let’s explain.  Say, the Minnesota Vikings are playing the Denver Broncos, and the Vikings are favored by 9.5 points, across the board, at every sportsbook.  You really love the Broncos as a big underdog, but are faced with a choice.  Do you bet on the Broncos now, at +9.5 points?  Or do you wait?  The smart answer to this question relates to the betting odds.  Most sportsbooks, as you know, have standard -110 odds in football (though some, like BetAnySports have reduced juice at -105 odds).  So, at -110 odds, if you lose your bet, you lose 10% more than if you would win your bet.  Therefore, the best strategy is to wait to see if you can get +10 points, with the idea that, should the line drop to +9, you would immediately bet on the Broncos at +9.  Some may ask the question, ‘why not just take the +9.5 points?’  The reason is that you are helped more by gaining a half-point, and avoiding a loss, should Denver lose by exactly 10 points, than by losing a half-point, and missing out on a win, should Denver lose by exactly nine points.  Now, why is avoiding a loss more valuable to the bettor than missing out on a win?  It’s because of the -110 odds.  That is, losing is 10% worse to a bettor than winning is good.  Please note that if the point spread is on a whole number (at every sportsbook, across the board) rather than a half-point number, then the smart decision (assuming you couldn’t divine which way the market was going to move) would be to immediately place your bet at that whole number.  And that’s because, due to the -110 odds, you would lose more if you lost a half-point than you would gain by getting an extra half-point. Should Sports Bettors buy the hook? Many gamblers are fans of the strategy of buying half-points.  Typically, sportsbooks will charge an extra 10 cents of juice for the privilege (though the juice will be more expensive in football if you are buying on or off the number 3).  Generally speaking, buying half-points is a strategy we do not endorse.  Instead, it’s a much better strategy to have accounts at, say, three to five sportsbooks to shop for the best numbers.  In any event, let’s illustrate a real-world result of ‘buying the hook.’  Let’s take an NFL example and look at the January 12, 2020 playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks.  At BetOnline Sportsbook, the line on the game was Green Bay -4.5 points.  Now, let’s say you wanted to wager on Seattle.  You could take the Seahawks +4.5 points at -110 odds.  Or, you could buy a half-point, and get the Seahawks at +5, at -120 odds.  In this game, the Packers won by exactly five points, 28-23.  So, bettors who bought the half-point, and took the Seahawks at +5 were able to push, and avoid a loss.  But, was that the best move, based on the historical data?  Since 1980, there were 333 games with a line of -4.5 points.  The underdog covered 167, and failed to cover 166.  If you bet on every underdog at +4.5, you would be down 15.6 net games, after the juice.  However, if you bought a half-point on each of those 333 games, your record would instead be 167-158-8.  Yes, you avoided losses on eight of the 166 games.  Unfortunately, because you laid -120 odds rather than -110 odds on the remaining 158 losses, your net loss worsened to minus 22.6 net games.As you can see in this example, buying the hook is a poor decision in the long run.  However, in reality, nobody would be betting every single 4.5-point underdog.  It’s possible that, given a bettor’s particular circumstances, buying a half-point makes sense (perhaps, for example, as part of a hedging strategy).  But, in general, stay away from buying the hook. The importance of a good sportsbook ​Since we covered spread betting, you know how important finding the right betting lines are.  Often, winning or losing comes down to a half-point.  And, if you can get an extra half-point on your bets, then you will increase your win percentage by roughly 2%.  That’s why having multiple sportsbooks is critical for sports gamblers.  But just as important is the decision at which sportsbooks to open accounts.  You can’t be too casual when making sports wagers; you always need to follow the market, and shop for the best numbers.  The biggest mistake that rookie bettors make is that they only bet with one sportsbook, and are held hostage to that sportsbook’s numbers.  We'll show you a little more on the topic of how sportsbooks operate, and give you some additional information to make a smart decision when choosing your sportsbooks. Why do most bettors lose? Sportsbooks make more money each year than the movie and music industry combined!  The overwhelming majority of sports bettors lose against the bookmakers.  Why is that?  In most cases, bookmakers win against sports bettors for two reasons.  First and foremost, bookmakers have access to a lot of data, and are able to set good odds.  With an 11-to-10 advantage, the bookmakers’ edge is difficult to overcome.  And second, most bettors make really poor decisions that exacerbate the built-in disadvantage they already have.  For example, bettors will frequently bet on parlays that have a much-worse ROI than straight bets.  Or they’ll buy the hook on a football game, and lay -120 odds rather than -110 odds.  But the single-most foolish decision which gamblers make is that they don’t have accounts at multiple sportsbooks. Pick your sportsbook wisely We can't stress enough how important it is to play with the right sportsbooks.  With hundreds of online betting sites, it's easy to settle for the first bookie you come across when surfing around the internet, but it's not the best idea.  You now know how important it is to shop for the best betting lines.  But it’s not just enough to open up three to five accounts.  You also have to choose the right three to five sportsbooks!  Let’s explain.  First, even though most sportsbooks offer standard -110 odds for football and basketball games, some -- like our #1-rated sportsbook, BetAnySports -- offer reduced juice at -105 odds.  If you bet on sports, and you bet just a nickel a game, the average bettor will save over $4,000 in juice over just one NFL season by laying -105 rather than -110.  And we’re not even talking about how much you would save on NBA, NCAA Basketball or NCAA Football bets.  That’s why BetAnySports is a “must-join” sportsbook for any bettor.  Now, that’s one factor in choosing the best sportsbooks.  But another critical factor is that the sportsbook have unique lines.  That is, does the sportsbook publish its own numbers, or does it merely copy the numbers of other major sportsbooks?  If you have an account at, say, BookMaker, it won’t do you any good if your other sportsbooks just copy BookMaker’s numbers because, in that instance, when you shop for numbers, you’ll find all your numbers are the same!  So, you need sportsbooks that have unique lines.  And most of the sportsbooks that rank among our Top 10 do have unique lines, including BetAnySports (#1), BetNow (#2), Bovada (#3), BetOnline (#4), BookMaker (#5) and BetUS (#10).Of course, there are also other factors at play when you choose a sportsbook.  Perhaps you want to wager $50,000 on an NFL side?  If that’s the case, then you would join BookMaker, as it has the largest betting limits.  Or, maybe you want free money?  If so, then you would want to join BetNow, because it has the biggest sign-up bonus.  Or maybe you like to play parlays?  If so, then you would join BetAnySports for its industry-leading parlay and teaser odds.  We’ve researched all the leading sportsbooks, so be sure to read all of our reviews to determine which books are best for you.The sports betting industry is certainly a lot of fun, and can also be vastly rewarding.  We're here to educate you on every aspect of the sports betting realm to ensure you make the right decisions.  We can't guarantee any profits, of course, but we will put you in the best position to win.  Along the way, we will provide you all the information, tips, and strategies you need to bring you the requisite confidence and knowledge to place a winning bet.  Enjoy the ride, and we'll see you around!

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NBA Finals Game 4: Lakers/Heat Preview

by Big Al Staff

Tuesday, Oct 06, 2020

The Miami Heat made the NBA Finals a competitive series on Sunday with their 115-104 upset victory the Lakers as a 9-point underdog. They have the opportunity to even this series at two games apiece tonight at 9 PM ET.Jimmy Butler put his team on his shoulders by scoring 40 points while adding 13 assists and 11 rebounds for his first triple-double in the playoffs in his career. That was a throwback performance for Butler when considering that none of his points came from a made 3-pointer. This effort was rated by Basketball-Reference with their second-best Grade Score mark in the NBA playoff history going back to 1984 when they start making those measurements. It was the ninth time that Butler scored at least 30 points in a playoff game in his 44 postseason contests since 2015 when he first made the All-Star team. The Heat won that game despite not having the services of Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo. Dragic remains doubtful for tonight with his foot injury, but Adebayo has been upgraded to questionable. Adebayo was claiming that he wanted to play on Sunday despite his neck injury, but the Miami staff decided against it. With another two days of rest and healing, Adebayo may return to the court tonight. It remains uncertain for how long he will play along to what level of effectiveness he can perform. Miami won all four quarters of Game 3 even without the services of Adebayo and Dragic. The Heat also won the final two-quarters of Game 2 in their 124-114 loss to the Lakers, so they will begin the 1st quarter tonight having won six straight quarters in this series despite the injuries to two of their top three scorers. The Heat won Game 3 despite Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson missing 12 of their 17 shots from 3-point land. That 29.4% shooting clip from downtown was far below the 38.9% shooting percentage they combined to produce during the regular season.The Lakers stumbled out of the gates on Sunday by committing ten turnovers in the 1st quarter after turning the ball over just 11 times on Friday in Game 2. Los Angeles ended the game with 20 turnovers. Kentavious Caldwell Pope and Danny Green missed 10 of their 11 shots from 3-point land in Game 3. Anthony Davis scored only 15 points as well after only playing 33 minutes after getting whistled for three personal fouls in the first half. Davis only had nine shots from the field after scoring at least 32 points in the first two games of this series. Sunday’s game was just the 16th time all season that Davis did not score at least 20 points this season. LeBron James scored 25 points while adding ten rebounds and eight assists in Game 3. However, his eight turnovers were out of character. It is a rare occurrence when James is not the best player on the court, but that was the case on Sunday with Jimmy Butler owning the spotlight.ABC has the broadcast. The Lakers are 7-point favorites at BetAnySports with the total set at 219.

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