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

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Nov 12, 2020

Two football games headline the Thursday sports card. First place in the AFC South will be on the line for Thursday Night Football in a showdown between the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans.Tennessee claimed first place in the division on Sunday with their 24-17 victory at home against Chicago as a 6.5-point favorite. That win snapped a two-game losing streak and raised their record to a 6-2 mark. The Titans won that game despite being outgained by -147 net yards. Tennessee scored on a 63-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown that turned out to be the difference in the game. Indianapolis saw their record drop to a 5-3 mark on Sunday with their 24-10 loss at home to Baltimore as a 1-point favorite. The Colts outgained the Ravens by +139 net yards but could not overcome a 65-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown scored by the Baltimore defense. Indianapolis’ offense was only on the field for 26:34 minutes of the game. These two teams split their two divisional meetings last year, with the road team winning in both instances. The Colts upset the Titans in Nashville on September 15th by a 19-17 score before Tennessee returned the favor in Indianapolis on December 1st with their 31-17 victory. BookMaker lists Indianapolis as a 1-point favorite with the total set at 48.5. The kickoff on Fox and the NFL Network is at 8:20 PM ET.The Thursday night college football clash on ESPN features two teams for the Mountain West Conference. Colorado State evened their record at 1-1 last Thursday with their 34-24 upset victory at home against Wyoming as a 3-point underdog. The Rams opened up the scoring in the first quarter with a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown. Colorado State forced three turnovers against the Cowboys, which helped them overcome getting outgained by -123 yards. The Rams gave up 465 yards to Wyoming yet were often bailed out by their six sacks and 13 tackles-for-loss that they generated. Senior quarterback Patrick O’Brien completed 18 of 26 passes for 255 yards with two touchdown passes and no interceptions. He added another touchdown on the ground. The Rams gained only 342 yards against the Cowboys, but they only had the ball for 26:27 minutes. Colorado State averaged 5.42 yards-per-play last week. Boise State was embarrassed in a 51-17 loss at home to BYU last Friday. Things began going south for the Broncos when quarterback Jack Sears was knocked out of that game in the first quarter with a concussion. The junior transfer from USC had started hot by completing all four of his passes for 41 yards. He was under center because the starter last year, Hank Bachmeier, has been out with a COVID-related issue. True freshman, Cade Fennegan, was forced into duty against the Cougars’ defense. He completed 15 of 26 passes for 182 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. However, he could not overcome a BYU offense that racked up 574 yards against the Boise State defense that pulled away in the second half of that game after going into halftime with a 16-3 lead. Head coach Bryan Harsin has been mum about the quarterback status for this game. Privacy reasons preclude the discussion of Bachmeier’s health situation after he did not make the trip to Air Force two weeks ago. Sears is in the concussion protocol program. If Fennegan makes his first career start, he will not have the services of running back George Halani, who is doubtful with the knee injury that kept him out of the BYU game. The sophomore rushed for 1014 yards while earning the MWC Freshman of the Year award last season. BetAnySports lists Boise State as a 14.5-point favorite with the total set at 61.5. The ESPN broadcast starts at 8 PM ET. 

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Ness Notes: Thursday Nov 12

by Larry Ness

Thursday, Nov 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."The 5-3 Indianapolis Colts visit Nashville on Thursday night to take on the 6-2 Tennessee Titans. The Titans can open a two-game lead in the division with a win, while the Colts can move into a first-place tie with the Titans by winning. The teams meet again at Indianapolis in Week 12. The Colts signed QB Philip Rivers in the offseason as a FA and he's been solid but it's the team's defense that's been the key, as the Colts are allowing a league-low 290.0 YPG and 20.0 PPG (3rd-best). The Titans entered the season off their great playoff run of last season (won at New England and Baltimore before losing at KC in the AFC championship game) and got off to a 5-0 start. However, back-to-back losses followed, before last Sunday's 24-17 win over the Bears. The game is a pick'em and the over/under is 48 1/2. MACtion Part 2: Buffalo and Kent moved to 2-0 in the MAC East with wins on Tuesday night and last night, it was Central and Western Michigan winning to move to 2-0 in the West. The Chippewas dominated from the start, taking a 26-0 halftime lead on their way to a 40-10 at Northern Illinois. In stark contrast, Toledo never trailed at Western Michigan and when it went up 38-28 with 2:54 left in the game, it seemed almost a sure thing that Toledo would be off to a 2-0 start. However, the Broncos closed to 38-34 with an 11-play, 70-yard TD with 45 seconds remaining. Needing to recover an onsides kick, WMU did just that and then, with 17 seconds left, got a 9-yard TD pass and converted the extra-point to win 41-38. The MAC is now off until Next Tuesday and Wednesday, again playing three games each night. The "marquee" matchup will be Western Michigan at Central Michigan (Nov 18) with the winner moving to 3-0 and gaining the tiebreaker edge in what is just a six-game schedule. After next week's Tuesday and Wednesday games, the MAC will transition to Saturdays for the final three weeks.CFB Weekend: There are no top-25 matchups set for this weekend, although EIGHT of the AP's top-10 were scheduled to play (No. 4 Clemson and No. 8 BYU had open dates). However, note that the "operative" phrase in my first sentence is "scheduled to play." As of Thursday morning, No. 1 Alabama's game at LSU, No. 3 Ohio State's game at Maryland and No. 5 Texas A&M's game at Tennessee have all been postponed or canceled. Throw in No. 12 Georgia at Missouri plus  No. 24 Auburn at Miss St and FIVE ranked teams have 'lost' games because of COVID-19 issues. Three more games, Memphis at Navy, Air Force at Wyoming and UL-Monroe at Arkansas St have also been postponed or canceled. That's EIGHT games so far (it is only Thursday), following 10 games suffering similar fates last weekend. And so it goes in this "time of COVID."Higher ranked teams will remain 17-3 SU and 16-4 ATS when facing a lower-ranked opponent. As documented here each week, the dynamic of ranked teams against unranked opponents has seen markedly different results. Ranked teams did go a perfect 14-0 SU against unranked opponents last week but still could NOT win more than 50 percent ATS, going 6-7-1. The numbers Y-T-D stand 82-22 SU (.788) but just 42-60-2 ATS (.412). We are still waiting for that "regression to the mean," in which ranked teams start covering against unranked ones. This weekend features 14 games between ranked and unranked teams. That includes FIVE of the nation's top-10 teams, the first being No. 7 Cincinnati hosting East Carolina on Friday. The Bearcats are the highest-ranked Group of 5 team and a "look back" at Wednesday Notes sheds some light on that situation. Cincinnati has won 18 straight at home as it welcomes a 1-5 East Carolina team to Nippert Stadium (Cincy is favored by 27 1/2-points). No. 2 Notre Dame, fresh off its 47-40 double-OT win over Clemson, will put its 13-game winning streak (longest active among FBS teams) on the line when the Fighting Irish visit Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College. Notre Dame has to be careful of a let down but maybe BC's near upset at Clemson on Oct 31 (Tigers barely edged the Eagles 34-28) has gotten Notre Dame's attention. The Fighting Irish are favored by 13 1/2-points. No. 6 Florida also has to be wary of a let down, as the Gators welcome Arkansas to "The Swamp," fresh off their 44-28 win over Georgia. Florida is favored by 17 1/2-points. No. 9 Miami-Fl barely escaped with a 44-41 win at NC State on Nov 6 and plays at Va Tech. The ACC got rid of its two divisions this season (plus added Notre Dame), so the championship game will feature the teams with the league's top-two records. Currently, Notre Dame is 7-0, Clemson 7-1 and Miami 6-1. The 'Canes are a two-point underdog. No. 10 Indiana is ranked in the AP's top-10 for the first time since 1969 and will play at Michigan St, a team which has lost 38-27 to Rutgers at home as a 10-point favorite, won at 27-24 Michigan as a four-TD underdog and lost 49-7 at Iowa. Indiana is favored by seven points.NINE more ranked teams play unranked opponents, including 2020's two 'Cinderella' programs, No. 15 Coastal Carolina and No. 22 Liberty (both are 7-0). The Chanticleers are 5-1-1 ATS and play at 4-3 Troy, where they are favored by 10 1/2-points. Liberty is 5-2 ATS and will host Western Carolina, which is an FCS school (Flames are favored by 33 points). NFL midseason update and Week 10 preview coming in Friday's Notes.Good luck...Larry

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NCAA Thursday Night Football: Boise State/Colorado State Preview

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Nov 12, 2020

The Thursday night college football clash on ESPN features two teams for the Mountain West Conference. Colorado State evened their record at 1-1 last Thursday with their 34-24 upset victory at home against Wyoming as a 3-point underdog. The Rams opened up the scoring in the first quarter with a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown. Colorado State forced three turnovers against the Cowboys, which helped them overcome getting outgained by -123 yards. The Rams gave up 465 yards to Wyoming yet were often bailed out by their six sacks and 13 tackles-for-loss that they generated. The Rams have eight starters back along with seven of their top ten tacklers from a unit that ranked 52nd in the nation last season by allowing 377.4 yards-per-game. Colorado State has a new defensive coordinator in Chuck Heater this season, who returned to the program after serving in the same capacity in 1991 and 1992. Heater was also the defensive coordinator with first-year head coach Steve Addazio when they both were previously at Boston College. Heater moved the defense back to a 4-3 scheme from the 3-4 formation that the Rams have played in the last two seasons. The impact has been immediately seen in their run defense as they rank 24th in the nation in limiting their opponents to 114.0 rushing yards-per-game. Colorado State also ranks fourth in the FBS by holding opposing rushers to 2.5 yards-per-carry.Senior quarterback Patrick O’Brien completed 18 of 26 passes for 255 yards with two touchdown passes and no interceptions. He added another touchdown on the ground. The Rams gained only 342 yards against the Cowboys, but they only had the ball for 26:27 minutes. Colorado State averaged 5.42 yards-per-play last week. Seven starters are back from the unit that ranked 34th in the nation by averaging 437.4 yards-per-game. O’Brien passed for 2803 yards last year in leading an attack that averaged 305.3 passing yards-per-game. The Rams had only six winning seasons in 19 years after their 4-8 record last year. The program moved on from Mike Bobo after five years as they tapped Adazzio after his seven years at Boston College, where he compiled a 44-44 record. Colorado State opened this season two weeks ago with a 38-17 loss at Fresno State.Boise State was embarrassed in a 51-17 loss at home to BYU last Friday. Things began going south for the Broncos when quarterback Jack Sears was knocked out of that game in the first quarter with a concussion. The junior transfer from USC had started hot by completing all four of his passes for 41 yards. He was under center because the starter last year, Hank Bachmeier, has been out with a COVID-related issue. True freshman, Cade Fennegan, was forced into duty against the Cougars’ defense. He completed 15 of 26 passes for 182 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. However, he could not overcome a BYU offense that racked up 574 yards against the Boise State defense that pulled away in the second half of that game after going into halftime with a 16-3 lead. Head coach Bryan Harsin has been mum about the quarterback status for this game. Privacy reasons preclude the discussion of Bachmeier’s health situation after he did not make the trip to Air Force two weeks ago. Sears is in the concussion protocol program. If Fennegan makes his first career start, he will not have the services of running back George Halani, who is doubtful with the knee injury that kept him out of the BYU game. The sophomore rushed for 1014 yards while earning the MWC Freshman of the Year award last season. Wide receiver Khalil Shakir caught ten balls for 139 yards with two touchdowns last week. He is averaging 117.3 receiving yards-per-game with four touchdowns this year. Boise State returned 11 starters from the team that finished 12-2 last year in Harsin’s sixth year with the program. The Broncos opened this season with victories over Utah State and Air Force before their loss to BYU. Boise State won the meeting between these two teams last year in Fort Collins by a 31-24 score. BetAnySports lists Boise State as a 14.5-point favorite with the total set at 61.5. The ESPN broadcast starts at 8 PM ET.

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NFL Stock Rising and Falling: Week 10

by Sean Murphy

Thursday, Nov 12, 2020

We're rolling following a perfect 5-0 premium NFL card in Week 9. Now our attention shifts to Week 10 as we take a look at three teams on the rise and three teams on the decline entering Sunday's action.Stock RisingHouston TexansSurprisingly enough, there's a lot to like when it comes to the Texans right now. Since the firing of head coach Bill O'Brien they've shown some signs of life, particularly on the offensive side of the football where QB DeShaun Watson looks a whole lot more comfortable. Houston's schedule remains fairly soft the rest of the month, with a trip to Cleveland this week followed by a home date with the Patriots and a road game against Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.New York GiantsDon't look now but the Giants might actually be building something positive under Joe Judge. They followed up a nice effort in a close loss to the Bucs on Monday Night Football with a come-from-behind win in Washington last Sunday. The New York defense in particular has risen to the occasion in recent weeks and draws another favorable matchup with the inconsistent Eagles at home this Sunday afternoon. If the New York offense can show a pulse, this could be a play-on team down the stretch.Las Vegas RaidersThe Raiders were a 'tough out' last season and they look like even more than that here in 2020 as they're coming off another divisional win last Sunday, improving to 5-3 in the process. Is Derek Carr a legitimate top-level NFL quarterback? That certainly appears to be the case here in 2020 as he's thrown 16 touchdowns compared to only two interceptions - a massive improvement over previous campaigns. Las Vegas draws another winnable matchup this Sunday as it hosts a reeling Denver squad.Stock FallingTampa Bay BuccaneersWhat a difference a week makes. The Bucs got their doors blown off in front of a national audience on Sunday Night Football, falling to 0-2 against the division-rival Saints. The good news is, they draw a favorable bounce-back matchup with the Panthers this Sunday. However, it remains to be seen whether QB Tom Brady can get back in sync with his offense, which perhaps had its chemistry shaken up with the arrival of WR Antonio Brown last week.San Francisco 49ersThe injury bug took hold of the 49ers prior to the start of the season and really hasn't let go. It is quickly becoming a lost season for the Niners and this doesn't look like the week to turn things around with a trip to New Orleans to face the surging Saints. They won't get another home game until December 7th, when they host the Bills.Chicago BearsI think most bettors already knew the Bears were a fraudulent 5-1 team earlier this season but now we've seen it play out on the field as they've dropped three straight games, scoring a pitiful 50 points in the process. The fact that they're the underdog in this Monday's home date with the 3-5 Vikings says a lot. Until Chicago can figure out how to move the football consistently on offense, it will continue to struggle mightily to find its way into the win column. 

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The Masters Tournament: 2020 Preview

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2020

For the first time in the 84 editions of the Masters Tournament, the event will take place in November. The Azalea flowers will not be in bloom, yet the weather will be similar to the traditional early April weekend in Augusta, Georgia, with temperatures expected to be in the high-70s. The raining this week in Augusta is likely to continue through Thursday's opening round and perhaps into the weekend. Given COVID-restrictions, there will not be any patrons watching the event at the Augusta National Golf Course. The favorite this week is Bryson DeChambeau at +650 odds to put on the green jacket on Sunday (all odds from BookMaker). DeChambeau was the best player on the PGA Tour after the restart this summer with seven straight top-eight finishes that culminated with a victory at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in early July. DeChambeau finished tied for 4th place at the PGA Championship before a disappointing 22nd place that Tour Championship the next month in September. However, DeChambeau fulfilled his vast potential two weeks later by winning the U.S. Open with his 6-under par score that dominated a field where no other golfer finished with a score in the red. DeChambeau plans to use his extraordinary driving power to slam through this challenging course to set up short approach shots. However, Augusta National will present the ultimate challenge for this strategy, given its idiosyncrasies on the fairways and greens. The Masters has been a tournament that rewards course experience. DeChambeau has only shot three of his twelve career rounds at Augusta under par. Dustin Johnson is the second favorite at +750 odds. Johnson followed up his tie for second place at the PGA Championship by winning the Tour Championship. Johnson then finished tied for 6th place at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club. Johnson then dealt with the COVID diagnosis that kept him out a month, but he returned last week with a tie for second place at the Houston Open. Johnson has finished in the top-ten in four of his previous five Masters, including a tie for second place last year. Rory McIlroy is the third favorite at +850 odds in his sixth attempt to earn a career grand slam. In 11 trips to Augusta, McIlroy has five top-ten finishes with another four top-25 results. Since becoming a father, McIroy has not finished below 21st place. Yet McIlroy has not placed in the top-five in 12 straight events, including a tie for 8th place at the Tour Championship and a tie for 8th place at the U.S. Open. McIlroy finished tied for 17th place two weeks ago at Sherwood. Jon Rahm has +1176 odds to win this week. He comes into this tournament off a tie for second place two weeks ago at the Zozo Championship at Sherwood. After winning the Memorial this summer, Rahm finished tied for 13th place at the PGA Championship before a fourth-place result at the Tour Championship. Rahm then settled for a disappointing 23rd place at the U.S. Open.  At a practice round, Rahm celebrated his 26th birthday on Tuesday by hitting, perhaps, the most remarkable hole-in-one ever, by skipping the ball along the water in front of the 16th green before it rolled into the hole.  Over the last year, Rahm has six victories along with another five second-place finishes since his tie for ninth place at the Masters last year. Justin Thomas rounds out the top-five favorites at +1176 odds. Thomas has improved his score in each of his five trips to Augusta. His last three rounds at the Masters in the 60s. Thomas concluded the 2019-20 season with a tie for second place at the Tour Championship. He then finished in a tie for 8th place at the U.S. Open before off a tie for second place with Rahm at the Zozo Championship two weeks ago. Tiger Woods has +3253 odds as the defending champion to win his sixth Masters championship. It has been a long time since Woods’ triumphant victory in April of 2019. Woods’ best efforts since then was a top-ten finish last January at Torrey Pines and a tie for 37th place at the PGA Championship in August. The tournament tees off at 7 AM ET on Thursday. ESPN and CBS will split the broadcast. ESPN provides live coverage from 1-5:30 PM ET on Thursday and Friday. CBS broadcasts from 1-5 PM ET on Saturday and then 10 AM-3 PM ET on Sunday. 

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Ness Notes: Wednesday, Nov 11

by Larry Ness

Wednesday, Nov 11, 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."A three-game MACtion card opened the new CFB week on Tuesday. All three favorites won, going 2-1 ATS. Ohio didn't come close to covering in its unimpressive 24-10 win over Akron, as the Bobcats were favored by about four TDs. Ohio was outgained 435-to-307 yards by Akron but survived by winning the TO 'battle' 3-0. The Zips lost their 19th straight game, with their last win coming 17-10 at home against Central Michigan on Oct 27, 2018. Kent moved to 2-0 with a 62-24 road win over Bowling Green (0-2), outgaining the Falcons 667-365 in yards The Golden Flashes passed for yards (five TDs) and ran for 295 yards. Buffalo never 'broke a sweat' at home against defending MAC champion Miami-Ohio, routing the RedHawks 42-10. The Bulls had 556 yards (353 yards passing and four TDs from QB Vantrease and 203 yards rushing), while Miami had just 258 yards.MACtion Part 2 is Wednesday, with three more games. Eastern Michigan is at Ball St in a matchup of 0-1 teams (). 1-0 Central Michigan won the West last season and looks to move to 2-0 by winning at 0-1 Northern Illinois, where the Chippewas are favored by . The "game of the week" in the MAC is Toledo at Western Michigan. Both have opened 1-0 and the winner obviously moves to 2-0 and in a six-game schedule, would also give them a tiebreaker edge (Broncos are favored). Getting back to Central Michigan, beating Northern Illinois is a "must win," as the Chippewas would be tied at 2-0 with the Toledo/Western Michigan winner. Central Michigan hosts Western Michigan next Wednesday and plays at Toledo on Dec 12 in its regular season finale. ALL games during a six-game regular season matter GREATLY for MAC teams in the division 'hunt.'The first set of College Football Playoff rankings won't be released until Nov 24 and an emerging trend could have the committee asking themselves the following question. How do undefeated Independent and Group of 5 teams fit into the 2020 playoff hunt? Entering the current week, excluding conferences that have played just one game (Pac-12 and MAC), there are 13 remaining unbeaten teams in the FBS (I'm also not counting No. 14 Wisconsin, which has played just one game). The list includes Power-5 schools like No. 1 Alabama (6-0), No. 2 Notre Dame (a traditional Independent playing in the ACC for the 2020 season) and No. 3 Ohio State (3-0), but also Big Ten 'surprises' like No. 10 Indiana (3-0), No. 23 Northwestern (3-0) and unranked Purdue (2-0). The Wildcats and Boilermakers play next week and the Buckeyes and Hoosiers play on Nov. 21. That's six unbeaten schools but that number will be down to four after the above-mentioned Big Ten matchups the next two weeks (Wisconsin could also be 'alive'). However, the other SEVEN unbeaten schools are either Independents or in the Group of 5. That list includes No. 7 Cincinnati (6-0), No. 8 BYU (8-0), No. 15 Coastal Carolina (7-0), No. 16 Marshall (6-0), No. 22 Liberty (7-0), Nevada (3-0) and San Jose State (3-0). 8-0 BYU and 7-0 Liberty are both Independents and both could finish undefeated. However, the Cougars have by far the best chance, as they will be heavily favored in their last two games against North Alabama and San Diego State. Liberty plays at 7-0 Coastal Carolina (Sun Belt) in its regular-season finale on Dec. 12 plus also must play at NC State on Nov 21. I question BYU's strength of schedule and have to believe that the AAC's Cincinnati (ranked 7th) has the best chance at a breakthrough. The Bearcats are scoring 39.3 PPG and allowing just 11.7 PPG. Cincy has beaten Army 24-10 (Army was ranked 22nd at the time and is 6-1 on the season) plus crushed SMU on the road, 42-13. The Mustangs are 7-1 and currently ranked 19th. The Bearcats get 1-5 East Carolina this Saturday but then play three straight on the road, including at UCF, a team averaging 45.0 PPG. The Bearcats will likely have to "run the table" (which would include winning the AAC championship game), to have ANY chance to crack the 'Final Four.'All eyes will turn to that first CFP ranking on Nov 24. The committee has historically kept the top-ranked Group of 5 teams (and Independents not named Notre Dame) too far down the rankings in the initial set. In fact, over each of the last six years, the highest a Group of 5 team has been ranked in the initial standings was UCF's 7-0 team of 2018 at No. 12. The year before, UCF's 7-0 team checked in at No. 18 and an 8-0 Memphis team was ranked 13th back in 2015. However, it's a L-O-N-G way from 12 or 13 to that Final 4.Thursday's Notes will review MACtion from Wednesday, preview the start of NFL Week 10 with the AFC South showdown between the 5-3 Colts and 6-2 Titans plus take a long look at the upcoming SCFB weekend.Good luck...Larry

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NCAA Wednesday Night Football: Toledo/Western Michigan Preview

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2020

Midweek Mid-American Conference action continues on Wednesday with a rivalry game between MAC West division powers on ESPN at 8 PM ET.Toledo began their season last Wednesday with a 38-3 win at home over Bowling Green as a 24-point favorite. Senior Eli Peters answered some questions about the quarterback position by completing 20 of his 32 passes for 214 yards with four touchdown passes and no interceptions. That was Peters’ eleventh career start in the last three seasons after he played in five games last year where passed for 828 yards with five touchdowns splitting time with the now-graduated Mitchell Guadagni. The Rockets finished 6-6 last season, but they were the only bowl-eligible team in the FBS with at least six victories that did to get invited to a bowl game. The last time Toledo did not play in a postseason bowl game was 2013. After a 4-1 start, the Rockets only won two of their final seven games, with those victories eked out after one opponent missed a late field goal and the other foe missing a late two-point conversion attempt. Head coach Jason Candle cleaned house in the offseason preparing for his fifth-year with the program by hiring Mike Hallett and Robert Weiner as his new co-offensive coordinators along with Vince Kehres as his new defensive coordinator. Toledo returned four starters for this new coaching staff. The offense has eight starters back, including junior running back Bryant Koback, who rushed for 74 yards. Senior running back Shakif Seymour added to his 2008 career rushing yards with the program by adding another 93 yards on the ground. Led by this duo, the Rockets averaged 224.5 rushing yards-per-game last season. The Toledo defense limited the Falcons to just 267 yards. Seven starters are back from the unit that was 123rd in the nation by allowing 475.3 total yards-per-game. With a new coordinator along with four of the six tacklers returned from last year, hopes are high that the Rockets will be much better on that side of the football.Western Michigan began their season last Wednesday with a 58-13 win at Akron as a 19.5-point favorite. Sophomore Kaleb Eleby made his debut with the Broncos as their starting quarterback by completing 12 of 16 passes for 262 yards with three touchdown passes and no interceptions. Eleby played in five games in 2018, including against the Rockets, where he passed for 293 yards. He redshirted last year with Jon Wassink embarking on his Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year senior season under center. Head coach Tim Lester led Western Michigan to their sixth straight bowl-eligible season last year. The Broncos’ 23-20 loss to Western Kentucky in the First Responder Bowl ended their season with a 7-6 record. Eleven starters returned from that group. Western Michigan held the Zips to only 256 total yards last week, but their ability to stop the run is a concern for this contest. The Broncos gave up 130 rushing yards to an Akron offense that averaged only 47.6 rushing yards-per-game last year. Western Michigan did register seven tackles-for-loss against the Zips. Toledo won the meeting between these two teams last season at home in the Glass Bowl with their 31-24 victory as a 1.5-point favorite on October 5th. BookMaker lists Western Michigan as a 2-point home favorite with the total set at 58. ESPN has the broadcast at 8 PM ET.

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2020

The Wednesday sports card features another three college football games in the Mid-American Conference.Eastern Michigan travels to Ball State for a game starting at 7 PM ET. The Eagles lost their opening contest at Kent State by a 27-23 score as a 4.5-point underdog last Wednesday. Junior Preston Hutchinson completed 21 of 35 passes for 241 yards with two touchdown passes and two interceptions while adding another rushing touchdown. Eastern Michigan returned 11 starters from the team last year that finished 6-7 after a 34-30 loss to Pittsburgh in the Quick Lane Bowl. Head coach Chris Creighton is in his seventh season with the program.The Cardinals lost by a 38-31 score last Wednesday at Miami (OH) as a 1-point favorite. Senior Drew Plitt completed 19 of 32 passes for 309 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception in the losing effort. Ball State has 14 starters back from its team that finished 5-7. Fifth-year head coach Mike Neu was given a two-year extension through 2023 after leading the Cardinals to their most victories since 2014.Ball State is a 9-point favorite with the total set at 61.5 (all odds from BetAnySports). The CBS Sports Network has the broadcast.Western Michigan hosts Toledo at 8 PM ET. The Broncos blew out Akron on the road last Wednesday by a 58-14 score as a 19.5-point favorite. Sophomore quarterback Kaleb Eleby completed 12 of 16 passes for 262 yards with three touchdown passes and no interceptions in leading his team to victory. Western Michigan has 11 starters back from the team that lost to Western Kentucky in the First Responder Bowl by a 23-20 score to settle with a 7-6 record. Head coach Tim Lester is back for his fourth season with the program. Toledo looks to builds off a 38-3 victory over Bowling Green last Wednesday as a 24-point favorite. Senior quarterback Eli Peters completed 20 of 32 passes for 214 yards with four touchdown passes and another 67 rushing yards on the ground. The Rockets have 14 starters back for head coach Jason Candle’s fifth season with the team from the group last year that did not get invited to a bowl game after a 6-6 season.Western Michigan is a 3-point favorite with an over/under of 58.5. ESPN has the broadcast.Central Michigan travels to Northern Illinois for a game starting at 8 PM ET. The Chippewas upset Ohio at home last Wednesday as a 2.5-point underdog by a 30-27 score. Redshirt freshman quarterback Daniel Richardson completed 23 of 41 passes for 243 yards with a touchdown pass in leading his team to victory. Central Michigan has 13 starters back in head coach Jim McElwain’s second year with the program. The Chippewas reached the Mid-American Conference championship game last year, where they lost to Miami (OH) by a 26-21 score. After their defeat to San Diego State by a 48-11 score in the New Mexico Bowl, Central Michigan settled with an 8-6 record. Northern Illinois comes off a 49-30 loss at home to Buffalo last Wednesday as a 14.5-point underdog. Sixth-year senior quarterback Ross Bowers completed 17 of 28 passes for 202 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the losing effort. Not only did the Bulls return that interception for a 65-yard touchdown, but their defense scored another two touchdowns from fumble recoveries. The Huskies have ten starters back from the team that finished with a 5-7 record in Thomas Hammock’s second year coaching the team. The Chippewas are 7.5-point road favorites with a total of 58.5. ESPNU has the broadcast.

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What does "PK" Mean in Betting?

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2020

What does PK mean in betting? PK is short for pick'em, pk’em, or pick.  Pk'em happens when both teams are graded by the oddsmakers to be even in strength --  there's no clear favorite.  Let's take an NFL betting line, for example.  The New York Jets might host the New England Patriots, and the line could be pk’em.  In this case, the winner of the game, straight-up, would cover the spread.  It doesn't happen too often.  In fact, in the NFL’s 9944 games from 1980 to 2019, there were only 114 pk'em lines (1.14 percent).But to answer what pk'em means, appropriately, we should zoom in on point spread betting, in general.  Some of you might be overwhelmed with the previous terms, and might find it hard to get started with sports betting.  We're assuming here that you're aware of the very basics, and thus can place a moneyline wager.  However, the next step in your wagering career is the point spread bet.  When you master the point spread bet, you'll be able to become a real handicapper and attain great profits. How to get started with point spread betting When you're into the NFL or the NBA, it's a wise decision to get familiar with point spread bets.  It's by far the most popular form of betting.  Anyone who’s been around the sports betting industry for a while enjoys point spreads.  Here, we're going beyond betting on which team will win the game.  Instead, we have to determine what is the likely margin of victory, so a lot of factors need to be considered to arrive at an informed decision.Since you usually have a clear favorite and a clear underdog in any matchup, the point spread was created by Charles McNeil (an ex-math teacher-turned-bookmaker) before World War II as a means to level the playing field, and induce more money to be wagered on the games.  Instead of wagering on which team wins, you're wagering on the margin of victory.  Both teams have a set number of points which will be added to, or subtracted from their final score to determine the game’s point spread winner.  When we dive into the numbers, everything will become more evident.Reading betting odds and understanding the point spread payoutThe best way to illustrate the way point spreads work is to use an example.  We'll use a quick example of an NBA match between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers.  It's an exciting match with the Spurs being the favored team.  The bookmaker assigns points to both teams, giving the bettors the following betting lines: San Antonio Spurs -7.5 (-110) Los Angeles Lakers +7.5 (-110) The first thing you'll notice is the fact that there are two different numbers alongside each team.  The first indicates the number of points which will be added to, or subtracted from a team’s final score to determine the winning ticket.  In this example, the Spurs are the favorite, and need to win the game by more than 7.5 points to cover the spread.  The Lakers, on the other hand, are the underdog, and would have to win outright, or not lose by more than 7.5 points, to cover the point spread.The second number alongside each team are the betting odds.  You'll find these associated with any wager type.  But unlike a moneyline wager, they are much closer to each other in a point spread bet.  When you would bet straight-up on the Spurs to win the game, your odds might be -340, meaning you need to wager $340 to win $100.  That's a lot of money to risk for many bettors, so a point spread might be a better alternative.  To win $100 on the Spurs at -7.5, you need to wager $110.  For the Lakers at +7.5, you would also have to wager $110 to win $100.  Most sportsbooks have standard -110 odds for football and basketball games.  But some, like our #1-rated sportsbook, BetAnySports, offer reduced juice, which is a huge benefit for gamblers.  Then, the two teams in a football or basketball game would have odds of just -105.Half-pointsAs you can see in the example above, the point spread numbers carry a half-point rather than a round number.  Bookies came up with this to more easily balance their books, so they can have equal action on both sides, and earn their vigorish with less risk.  Additionally, half-numbers remove the possibility of a bet resulting in a push, which could always happen if the point spread is a whole number (like +/- 7).  When a wager ends in a tie, bettors get a refund of their stake, as no team covers the spread.  In those games, the bookmakers don’t earn any vigorish.Run lines and puck linesWe're continually talking about the NFL and the NBA.  The reason for this is because football and basketball are the most popular sports for the point spread bet.  Nevertheless, you can bet against the spread in hockey, baseball and soccer, as well -- but because there is a lot less scoring, most bettors in those sports still favor betting on the moneyline.  Of course, because there’s a lot less scoring, it's also harder for oddsmakers to come up with competitive spreads.  The bookies have solved for this problem by generally fixing the run-line (MLB), puck-line (NHL) or goal-line (soccer) to be +/- 1.5, and adjusting the moneyline from there.  This allows bettors to wager on baseball, hockey and soccer without having to deal with games of -200 (or higher) odds. How to use point spreads in your sports betting strategy As you can see, with a little research, and a little experience, point spread betting can be easily mastered.  It's the most popular form of wagering for a reason.  Now, with anything popular, there comes a lot of competition.  In sports betting, though, it’s all up to you.  Of course, you're betting against the house, but every bettor has the opportunity to do as much research as he wants to gain an edge.  We've been at this for a long time, and have gained tons of experience over the years.  Indeed, even though we’ve been doing this longer than most of our clients are alive, we still learn new things every sport season.  To give you a headstart over other bettors, we're sharing some of these lessons with you.Use line movement to your advantageThe moment a sportsbook publishes the betting lines for any matchup, bettors can start wagering.  Bear in mind that not every sportsbook will publish its initial odds at the same time.  Some, like BetOnline, BetAnySports, or BookMaker, are extremely early in their publication, while others will come to market later, after the early odds have been bet into, and settled a bit.  Sharp bettors will have accounts at many of the early books.  That means you don’t have to wait to start wagering.  If you notice a soft line, you can get down before it moves.  Remember, you always need to have accounts at multiple sportsbooks to shop the lines, to get down at the best numbers.  Moreover, if you get down early, you may set yourself up for an opportunity to hedge your bet and/or middle a game later, should there be a major line move.Once a betting market opens on a particular game, you will notice that the spread numbers change over time.  Let's imagine a sportsbook opens up its wagers on Sunday night for the following week with the following lines: San Francisco 49ers -5.5 (-115) Denver Broncos +5.5 (-105) Over the following days, thousands of sports bettors will start to place their wagers favoring one team or the other.  Additionally, there’s always the chance that an essential player for either team could have his playing status changed.  Thus, the lines will move in concert with any of these factors.  By Thursday the lines could look like this: San Francisco 49ers -3.5 (-115) Denver Broncos +3.5 (-105) As you can see, the spread numbers have moved significantly -- by a full two points.  To use this line movement to your advantage, you need to be on top of things.  And that’s because the only way to be able to take advantage of it would be if you happened to bet on the Denver Broncos at +5.5.  But that’s what sharp bettors do.  They understand value, so they’ll get the best number more often than not.  And they also follow the injury reports for all the key players so they will know whether or not to bet early, or wait for possibly a better number later.Take your research seriously and gain experienceTo become better at handicapping, you need to combine two factors:  knowledge and experience.  Over time, you'll notice what works for you, and what makes an effective sports betting strategy in your case.  We can't stress enough how important it is to do the research necessary for any matchup to make a proper decision.  We know emotions and excitement might get the better of you, but we'll give you a few factors to consider when starting your research: Home field advantage:  Playing in your own trusted environment is always a nice feeling, but it's no guarantee for success.  Some teams will have a bigger advantage from playing at home than others.  Still, oddsmakers assign a variable number of points based on the home field advantage.  If your estimate of a team’s home field is different (and more accurate) than the oddsmaker’s, you can use this to your advantage! Statistics:  This is a broad term, and it differs for every sport.  But it's important to know what you want to search for.  In football, you'll be looking at yards per play, points per yard, red zone success, and turnover differential as a couple of examples of statistics.  With basketball, you're looking at 3-point shooting percentage, rebound success, turnovers, pace of play, and efficiency rating.  Every sport has different statistics, but the more you take in, the better you can make a decision.  Besides that, always look at the most recent form of both teams.  A team could be mired in a losing streak, or on a red-hot roll.  But beware:  oftentimes, teams playing exceptionally well run into a proverbial brick wall, and lose! Power rankings: ​​​​ Many sports betting websites offer insights on each team and rank them based on their statistics.  These “power rankings” are very useful as a base from which you can do research and adjust the numbers accordingly.Ask for the help of a professionalSome people are sports fanatics.  They have been going to the stadium since they were little and can easily talk, eat, and dream sports every day.  Others aren’t rabid sports fans, but are in the sports betting industry to make money.  If you are one of those who only want to win money, it might be hard to put in the long hours to do research.  You want the excitement of placing wagers and betting, but you don't want to deal with the hard work.  Then, a viable option would be to hire a professional.There are many professional handicappers with a proven track record dating back years that offer their services to the betting public.  Generally, you'll be able to try their services by using some free picks before you make a purchase.  Buying picks is not for everyone.  If you prefer to gamble purely for entertainment, then that's your way to go.  However, if you want to make serious cash through sports betting, it's often a smart choice to find an excellent handicapper to provide you with expert advice!The world of online sports gambling is an exciting arena that surprises you every day.  With the right strategies, nothing will hold you back from earning big profits, and enjoying a cocktail in the Bahamas.  Enjoy yourself, and always remember to have fun along the way!

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Ness Notes: Tuesday, Nov 10

by Larry Ness

Tuesday, Nov 10, 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."Eights were wild in Week 9's MNF contest between the New England Patriots and the NY Jets. The Pats had won EIGHT consecutive meetings against the New York Jets, while the Jets had lost all EIGHT of their games this season. The Jets had mustered a league-low 94 points this season, 39 fewer than the next-closest team (Washington had played one fewer game) entering Week 9. They had only scored two TDs in their last four games and ranked last in total offense (259.0 YPG), last in passing (155.9 YPG) and last in third-down conversions (28.3 percent). However, the Jets took a 20-10 halftime lead, with their 20 points being more than the team had scored in SEVEN of its previous eight full games. Then, unfortunately for Jet fans, came the fourth quarter. The Pats trailed 27-17 but would score the game's final 13 points, with Nick Folk's 51 yard FG accounting for the game-winner on the contest's final play. Flacco had his best game as a Jet (262 passing yards with three TDs and one INT) but the Jets were outgained 433-to-322 in yards and 30-18 in FDs. The much-maligned Can Newton completed 27 of 35 for 274 yards and while he did not have a TD pass, he did not turn the ball over (Pats had zero for the game as a team). Newton ran for two TDs, as the Pats had 159 yards rushing to the Jets' 59. The Pats snapped their four-game slide and yes, the Jets remain the lone winless team in the NFL at 0-9 but they did easily cover.Week 9 was good to home dogs, which were just 1-4 SU but 4-1 ATS. However, home teams finished just 5-9 SU but led by those home dogs, managed to go 7-7 ATS. Checking in on the Y-T-D numbers, home teams fell below .500 at 65-67-1 (.492) on the season while going 60-71-2 ATS (45.8%). Home dogs are well below .500 at 12-33 (.267) SU but are a small money-maker in going 24-19-2 (55.8%) ATS. Scoring was robust, as games averaged 52.9 PPG, resulting in nine overs, four unders and one push. There have now been 69 overs, 60 unders and four pushes after nine weeks. Week 10 will kick off on Thursday, as the 5-3 Indianapolis Colts are in Nashville to take on the 6-2 Tennessee Titans in an AFC clash.Week 9 highlights: The Jets entered Week 9 as the NFL's lone winless team and despite their easy ATS win, will enter Week 10 at 0-9. In a somewhat similar situation, the Cowboys entered Week 9 at 2-6 but as the league's lone winless ATS team. Dallas' opponent was the NFL's lone unbeaten team, the 7-0 Pittsburgh Steelers (6-1 ATS). Similar to what the Jets did last night vs the Pats, the Cowboys took a 10-point lead into the 4th quarter (19-9) and just like the Jets, the Cowboys allowed the game's final 15 points in a 24-19 loss. However, as a 14-point home dog, Dallas earned its first ATS win of 2020. How 'bout dem Cowboys! Pittsburgh is 8-0 and its closest competitor for the NFL's best record is the defending champion KC Chiefs. Mahomes had four more TD passes (zero INTs), giving him 25 TDs and just one INT on the season (115.9 QB rating). However, the KC running game produced just 30 yards (2.5 YPC) and the defense allowed Carolina 435 yards. KC scored 33 points and when Carolina's 67-yard game-winning FG attempt was long enough but wide-right, the Chiefs held on for a two-point win.The SNF contest set up as a "classic," with Brees and Brady squaring off for the second time this season. However, it quickly turned into a R-O-U-T, as the Saints took over first place in the NFC South with a 38-3 win. New Orleans led 31-0 at the half and Tampa Bay's ONLY score came when the Bucs decided to kick a meaningless FG with just under 6:00 minutes to go (trailing 38-0), just to avoid a shutout (kind of sad). Brees was 26 of 32 for 222 yards with four TDs and zero INTs, while Brady threw for just 209 yards, was intercepted three times and sacked three times. FIVE of Brady's seven INTs in 2020 have come in the team's two losses to the Saints, as he owns an 18-2 ratio in Tampa Bay's other seven contests, in which the Bucs are 6-1.Seattle took its 6-1 record into Buffalo against the 6-2 Bills and neither team could run the ball, as Seattle had 57 yards on the ground (3.4 YPC) and Buffalo 34 (1.8 YPC). So it came down to a mano-a-mano showdown between QBs Russell Wilson and Josh Allen. Allen was the clear winner, completing 31 of 38 for 415 yards with three TDs and no INTs (138.5 QB rating). Wilson threw for 390 yards but had as many INTs (2) as TD passes (2). It was Tua vs Kyler in Phoenix and both played great. Tua moved to 2-0 as an NFL starter as the Dolphins scored the game's final 10 points (a familiar theme in Week 9) for a 34-31 win. Tua completed 20 of 28 for 248 yards with two TDs and no INTs (122.3 QB rating) plus added 35 rushing yards. However, Kyler outperformed him, completing 21 of 26 for 283 yards with three TDs and no INTs (150.5 rating) plus ran for 106 yards on 9.6 YPC with a TD.The Ravens outscored the Colts 17-0 in the second half (there's that recurring theme, again) of Baltimore's 24-10 win at Indianapolis. The Ravens are 6-2 but have lost their two biggest games of the season to the Chiefs and Steelers, both at home. QB Lamar Jackson has taken 'the heat' for those losses but with Sunday's win, he matched Dan Marino's 25-5 record as a starting QB to open one's career (in the Super Bowl era). Dan NEVER won a Super Bowl. Will Lamar follow the same path? Working in his favor is the fact that he's just 23 years-old!The new CFB week opens Tuesday night with MACtion, as six MAC schools play three games. 0-1 Akron is at 0-1 Ohio, 1-0 Kent is at 0-1 Bowling Green and 1-0 Miami-Ohio is at 1-0 Buffalo. Ohio is favored by 27 1/2 points, Kent by 20 1/2 and even though Miami won the MAC last season, Buffalo is favored by 9 1/2-points. Wednesday and Thursdays Notes will feature much more on CFB 2020.Good luck...Larry 

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The Masters Preview

by Matt Fargo

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2020

It may be close to seven months later than expected, but the 2020 Masters Tournament is finally upon us. There will be differences from the normal April slot but not enough to make a significant difference where we have to handicap this tournament another way. (By the way, don't miss my 5-Pack of Masters picks -- it's available right now.)  The cutline has been lowered from top 70 and ties, to top 50 and ties which is due to the amount of daylight available. Weather will play a factor as opposed to other years but it should not be significant. Temperatures will be cooler but only about 10 degrees less on average and there is rain in the forecast which could benefit the bombers if conditions become soggy. Augusta National measures 7,475 yards for a par 72, but with rain expected at times throughout the week, it will probably play longer than that. While crushing the ball off the tee might benefit some, ball striking is now a big factor as hitting greens in the right spots can lead to easier putts. Only three times in the last 16 years has the winner finished outside the top 26 in driving accuracy, and only twice have they finished out of the top 10 in greens in regulation. Basically, it is a second shot course which means the approaches are important just to get into position. Hitting an approach shot to the wrong place in some cases means not even being able to go after the pin, whether it be a chip shot or putt. That brings big scores into play so the thought process of shots is just as important as the physical part of the game. Americans dominated here early on with Gary Player being the only non-American to win through the first 43 years and he actually did it three times. Since then, it has been up for grabs as over the last 40 years, Americans have won the green jacket 21 times (nearly half of those by just three players) with the rest of the world not far behind with 19 wins. Past history plays a big part as you will see names near the top that you rarely see in other events as successful players here are usually successful a few times. Tiger Woods looks to become the first golfer in history to win the Masters in back-to-back years twice. The most shocking fact is that the European contingent has struggled at Augusta. Granted, it is a totally different experience but with the huge amount of world class players, a European had not won since 1999 (Jose Maria Olazabal) until when Danny Willett was the surprising winner in 2016 and then Sergio Garcia followed that up with a win in 2017. In total, the green jacket has been given to only eight European players (Nick Faldo 3 times, Jose Maria Olazabal 2 times, Seve Ballesteros 2 times, Bernhard Langer 2 times, Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle, Willett and Garcia). How do first time participants fare at Augusta? Not very well as a Masters rookie has not won here since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. There have been numerous close calls along the way but experience, even if it is just a little, has prevailed. Twenty-six participants will be playing the Masters for the first time, including world No. 4 Colin Morikawa and reigning PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Scottie Scheffler. Three key metrics come into play at Augusta National. Strokes Gained: Total is a huge one considering players with the best all around game are rewarded. Over the last 36 rounds, the top five in this field are Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas and this list should come as no surprise. Next is Strokes Gained: Approach as mentioned before, hitting the right spots is massive. Over the last 36 rounds, the top five in this field are Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Matthew Wolff, Henrik Stenson and Chez Reavie. It should be noted that DeChambeau is No. 71 out of the 93 players in the field. The third important metric is Strokes Gained: Putting on fast bentgrass. Because of the date change, the bentgrass greens went through their hot summer and that type of strain heats up and comes under stress which makes for a slicker surface. Even with rain in the forecast, greens are projected to still run at a 13. Over the last 36 rounds, the top five in this field are Andrew Putnam, Brendon Todd, Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker and Jordan Spieth.  Notables: Dustin Johnson +900  Johnson led the field in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee last week in Houston and was top 15 in putting. Since 2015 in four Masters starts, he has finished sixth, fourth, tenth and second.  Justin Thomas +1,300 Thomas has improved in every trip he has made here, going from T39 to T22, T17 and T12 in his next three. He has two runner-ups in his last four starts as well as an eighth and a tenth.  Xander Schauffele +1,600 Schauffele steps up on the big stage as has finished in the top-10 in six of the last 10 majors that he has played. He has a top 25 in 11 straight starts including two runner-ups in his last four.  Brooks Koepka +1,700 Koepka is back from his latest injury and he looked good in his first start back, placing fifth at the Houston Open. Improved each of four trips here, 33rd to 21st to 11th to second.  Jason Day +3,000 Day has made eight of nine cuts at Augusta including three top fives. Injuries are always a concern but he seems to be healthy at the moment. He finished seventh at Houston last week. Tony Finau +3,300 Finau will be a popular pick, both in the betting markets and DFS, and rightfully so with five tops tens in his last 10 starts. But he has just one career win. Two tops tens in two Masters starts. Bubba Watson +3,300 Watson comes in playing at a high level with four top 25s in his last five starts including a seventh and fourth in his last two. He is a two time champ here and has a 12th and fifth in his last two. 

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2020 NFL Trends Thru Week 9

by Al McMordie

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2020

We're roughly at the halfway point of the 2020 NFL season, so this is a good time to review how the season has gone, from a point spread perspective.The one thing which jumps out when you look at the numbers is that it's been a "dog" season.  No, I'm not referring to the quality of play, but rather the fact that the underdogs have barked loudly.Over the first nine weeks, underdogs have gone 77-56, 57.8%.And they've made money whether at home (27-27, 56.2%) or on the road (50-35, 58.8%).  And whether they were off a win (25-20, 55.5%) or off a loss (44-27, 61.9%).  And also whether their opponent was off a win (40-31, 56.3%) or a loss (30-15, 66.6%).They've been especially good in the weekday (non-Sunday) games, as they've cashed 14 of 21 (66.6%), including a perfect 9-0 ATS when priced as an underdog of +4.5 or less points.The worst category for underdogs has been if they were off an upset win.  In that instance, they've burned money with a 10-13 (43.4%) record.With respect to over/unders, the games have largely been high-scoring, with the Overs going 71-59-3.  In this set, the division games have largely been responsible for the Overs, as they've gone 27-17-1 Over, while non-division games have gone 44-42-2 Over.Good luck, as always...Al McMordie.

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