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Ness Notes: Monday, October 26

by Larry Ness

Monday, Oct 26, 2020

This column will be available Monday through Friday (posted no later than 1:00 ET), EXCLUSIVELY at BigAl.com. I like to call it my daily 'random thoughts' on the sports betting world, although I'll pass along that my therapist refers to it as "thoughtful commentary." NFL Week 7 will conclude tonight with 5-1 Bears in LA to take on the 4-2 Rams at 8:15 ET on ESPN (Rams are favored by six points and the over/under is 44 1/2). Just one of Chicago's wins this season have come over a .500 or better team (Tampa Bay), while all FOUR of the Rams' wins in 2020 have come against NFC East teams, which are a combined 7-20-1. You make the call. Full Week 7 recap in Tuesday's Notes but Pittsburgh's 27-24 Sunday win at Tennessee moved the Steelers to 6-0, while the Titans fell to 5-1. When the Cardinals came back Sunday night to edge the Seahawks, Seattle fell to 5-1 leaving the Steelers as the NFL's lone unbeaten team. The Jets lost 18-10 at home to the Bills and remain the NFL's lone winless team at 0-7 but they covered to give them their first ATS win of the season (1-6 ATS). The Cowboys lost 25-3 at Washington and Dallas now stands alone as the NFL's lone winless ATS team (0-7). How 'bout dem Cowboys!3-Day World Series recap: With the Series tied at one-all, Walker Buehler allowed just ONE run over six innings with 10 Ks in Game 3. He became the first pitcher in World Series history to record double-digit strikeouts in six innings, as the Dodgers won 6-2. The Rays' Charlie Morton allowed five ERs over just 4.1 innings, after entering the game having won all FIVE of his starts in the playoffs for Tampa Bay over the last two years while recording a minuscule 0.70 ERA.Game 4 was a World Series "classic," as the Tampa Bay Rays won Saturday night's contest with one of the wildest finishes in World Series history. The Dodgers broke a 6-6 tie in the top of the 9th by scoring their seventh run of the night, all coming with two outs. Then, with two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning, Brett Phillips, a seldom-used outfielder, hit a single to center field off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, bringing in the tying run. However, Chris Taylor kicked the ball and Randy Arozarena, who started on first, never stopped running. The relay to catcher Will Smith had Arozarena out by 30 feet but Smith dropped the ball and the ricochet allowed Arozarena to dive home with the winning run. The 8-7 Tampa Bay victory tied the Series at two-all.Game 5 saw Clayton Kershaw take the mound with the fifth-worst postseason ERA among pitchers with at least 70 innings, since the advent of the wild card in 1995. Kershaw was excellent in LA's Game 1 win (one ER allowed in six innings with eight Ks) and was treated to an early 3-0 lead. Kershaw allowed two runs in the third but lasted 5.2 innings, while surviving an attempted steal of home by Manuel Margot in the fourth with two outs and LA leading just 3-2. Then, LA used THREE relievers (NONE named Jansen) to pitch 3.1 scoreless innings for the 4-2 victory. Game 6 is set for Tuesday with a pitching rematch from Game 2 of Tampa Bay's Blake Snell and LA's Tony Gonsolin. See Tuesday's Notes for a preview. CFB recap: Saturday featured four games between ranked opponents, No. 6 Oklahoma St at home against No. 17 Iowa St, No. 9 Cincinnati at No. 16 SMU, No. 14 No. Carolina home to No. 23 NC State and No. 18 Michigan at No. 21 Minnesota. The higher ranked team won all four and also went 4-0 ATS. That continued a trend in which of the 15 games featuring ranked opponents in 2020, the higher ranked team has gone 14-1 SU and 13-2 ATS (the lone SU loser was then-No. 3 Florida losing on Oct 10 at then-No. 21 A&M). However, ranked teams against unranked opponents have seen a very different dynamic. Ranked teams did win 10 of the 12 such matchups this past weekend but were able to go just a modest 6-6 ATS, although that was a MAJOR improvement over the numbers Y-T-D. Ranked teams are 54-18 (.750) SU when taking on an unranked opponent so far this season but remain a 'money-burning' 26-45-1 (.366) ATS.No. 19 Va Tech losing at Wake forest was a surprise but No. 8 Penn State losing 36-35 in OT at Indiana was a real shocker. It was Indiana's first win over a top-10 team since 1987! The Indiana shocker was just ONE of seven Big Ten games, as the conference took the field for the first time in 2020 this past weekend. Illinois started things off with a 45-7 rout of Illinois on Friday, as Graham Mertz, the highest-rated quarterback recruit to ever sign with Wisconsin, made quite a 'splash' in his first career start. He entered the year as Jack Coan’s backup but when Coan suffered a serious foot injury in preseason practice, Mertz got the start. He lived up to his billing, completing 20-of-21 passes for 248 yards and five TDs. His 95.2% single-game completion percentage mark set an all-time Big Ten mark. However, Ohio State's Justin Fields would match it the very next day, as he also completed 20 of 21 passes for for 276 yards (two TD passes and one rushing TD), as Ohio St beat Nebraska 52-17. Ohio State has now won 13 straight Big Ten games by double digits! Also making news in the Big Ten was Michigan's dominating 49-24 win at Minnesota. Michigan's junior QB Joe Milton completed 15 of 22 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 52 yards and another score, in his first career start (had 11 pass attempts in his first two seasons). While Indiana's upset of Penn St garnered the biggest headlines out of the Big Ten, let's give a shout out to Rutgers' Greg Schiano. The Scarlet Knights won 38-27 at Michigan St, snapping the school's 21-game Big Ten losing streak in the first game of his second tenure as head coach at Rutgers.6-0 Clemson remained No. 1 in the AP's latest poll (52 of 62 first-place votes), winning its 38th straight regular season game, 47-21 over Syracuse. A win at home over BC this coming Saturday and the Tigers will match Miami's 39-game streak set from 2000-03, leaving only Oklahoma's 45-game winning streak (1953-57) to beat. No. 2 Alabama got the remaining 10 first-place votes after beating Tennessee but the Tide lost WR Waddle on the opening play of that game on his kickoff return (ankle). Ohio St moved up from No. 5 to No. 3, as Notre Dame fell to No. 4 after winning a nation-best 11th straight game, 45-3 at Pittsburgh. Idle Georgia rounds out the top-5.Falling out of the rankings were No. 19 Va Tech, No. 21 Minnesota and No. 23 NC State. Indiana enters the poll at No. 17, matching the school's highest ranking since being ranked No. 17 in 1993. The Hoosiers snapped a 25-year absence from the AP top-25 in 2019 but their stay lasted just one week. Will Indiana remain ranked next week, after playing UNDEFEATED Rutgers this Saturday? Also new to the latest poll is Oklahoma, which returns after a three-week absence. That three-week poll drought was the longest for Oklahoma since the Sooners were left out of the final SIX polls of the 2009 season (Oklahoma finished 8-5 that season). Checking in at No. 25 is Boise St, which beat Utah St 42-13 in its first game of 2020. Boise St finished No. 23 in the final AP poll of 2019 and the Broncos are no strangers to being ranked. In fact, it's the 19th straight season in which the Broncos have been ranked for at least ONE week, tying them with USC for seventh-best all time.Closing shout outs. Joining Clemson at 6-0 in 2020 are BYU (ranked No. 11) and Liberty. The Flames are coached by Hugh Freeze and he led them to an 8-5 season in 2019 (his first at the school), including a 23-16 Cure Bowl win over Georgia Southern. Liberty received 85 points in Sunday's AP poll, second to Memphis' 105 points, among "others receiving votes." Boise St, the 25th-ranked team has 113 points. Let's NOT forget the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, who were ranked (at No. 25) for the first time in last week's poll. The Chanticleers beat Georgia Southern 28-14 this past Saturday and are now up to No. 20. Is there a 'ceiling' for how high they could climb? How about this? Coastal Carolina will host Liberty on Dec 5 in the season- finale for both schools. Could it be a "Showdown of Unbeatens?"Good luck...Larry

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Big Al's Daily Angle: EPL and NFL Preview

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Oct 26, 2020

The Monday sports card features Monday Night Football in the NFL, along with two matches in the English Premier League.The prime-time Monday Night Football game on ESPN this week has the Chicago Bears traveling to Los Angeles to face the Rams. Chicago sits atop the NFC North with Green Bay with a 5-1 record after pulling off two straight upsets. The Bears beat Tampa Bay on Thursday Night Football two weeks ago by a 21-19 score before defeating Carolina on the road last week in their 23-16 victory as a 2-point underdog. The strength of the Bears is their defense as they have not allowed 20 points in three straight games while not allowing more than 26 points all season. In their last two games, Chicago has registered seven sacks along with 15.5 tackles-for-loss and 14 hits on the quarterback. The Bears also have four takeaways in these two games.Los Angeles had their two-game winning streak snapped last Sunday night with their 24-16 upset loss at San Francisco as a 2.5-point favorite. After playing on the road for two weeks, the Rams return to their new home at SoFi Stadium, where they have quickly become very comfortable. The Rams have won both their games at home while allowing only 26 combined points. Quarterback Jared Goff has completed 70% of his passes at home this season with 475 passing yards. The Los Angeles defense has sacked the quarterback eight times in these two home games with 13 tackles-for-loss and 16 hits on the quarterback. These two teams played last season on a cold night on November 17th in Chicago, where the Rams won by a 17-7 score. BetAnySports lists Los Angeles as a 6-point favorite with the total set at 44.5. The kickoff is shortly after 8:15 PM ET.The English Premier League completes their sixth week of the season with two matches involving teams all looking to move up the table after disappointing starts. At 1:30 PM ET, Brighton and Hove Albion host West Bromwich. The Seagulls have only 4 points after five matches, which puts them in 16th place after league action on Sunday. Brighton finished in 15th place last season, so they are worried about avoiding relegation by finishing in the bottom three spots in the 20-team top flight. The Baggies are one of the three promoted teams from the Championship League this season, but they have yet to win a match. They have 2 points coming from two draws in five games, which leaves West Brom in 17th place. BetOnline lists Brighton as a -0.75 goal line favorite with an over/under of 2.75. The NBC Sports Network broadcasts the match. At 4 PM ET, Tottenham travels to face Burnley. The Spurs are in 11th place with two victories in five matches this season. They settled for sixth place last year in Jose Mourinho’s first year as their manager. The Clarets are one of the three teams tied for last place in the table with just one point (albeit with only four matches played). Burnley finished in tenth place last season. Tottenham is a -1 goal line favorite at BetOnline, with the total set at 2.5. The game is available on the NBC Peacock app.

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NFL Monday Night Football: Rams/Bears Preview

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Oct 26, 2020

The prime-time Monday Night Football game on ESPN this week has the Chicago Bears traveling to Los Angeles to face the Rams. Chicago sits atop the NFC North with Green Bay with a 5-1 record after pulling off two straight upsets. The Bears beat Tampa Bay on Thursday Night Football two weeks ago by a 21-19 score, before defeating Carolina on the road last week in their 23-16 victory as a 2-point underdog. Nick Foles took over for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky under center in Chicago’s fourth game against Atlanta. His first start in a Bears’ uniform was the next week at home against Indianapolis, which is the team’s only loss of the season. In his last two games, Foles has completed 53 of his 81 passes for a 65.4% completion percentage while throwing for 441 yards. Chicago has scored 43 points in these two games, but they have settled for five field goals. Foles has also thrown at least one interception in five straight starts going back to his tenure in Jacksonville. That is the longest active streak in the league. The strength of the Bears is their defense as they have not allowed 20 points in three straight games while not allowing more than 26 points all season. In their last two games, Chicago has registered seven sacks along with 15.5 tackles-for-loss and 14 hits on the quarterback. The Bears also have four takeaways in these two games.Los Angeles had their two-game winning streak snapped last Sunday night with their 24-16 upset loss at San Francisco as a 2.5-point favorite. After playing on the road for the last two weeks, the Rams return to their new home at SoFi Stadium, where they have quickly become very comfortable. The Rams have won both their games at home while allowing only 26 combined points. Quarterback Jared Goff has completed 70% of his passes at home this season with 475 passing yards. The Los Angeles defense has sacked the quarterback eight times in these two home games with 13 tackles-for-loss and 16 hits on the quarterback. The Rams are scoring 25.3 points per game this season while holding their opponents to only 19.0 points per game. They are averaging 388.2 yards per game but giving up just 318.5 yards per game. However, the strength of schedule for head coach Sean McVay's team places some doubt on those good numbers since all four of their victories are against the teams from the weak NFC East, where Philadelphia is currently in first place with a 2-4-1 record. Los Angeles' two losses were to Buffalo and then to the 49ers last week. These two teams played last season on a cold night on November 17th in Chicago, where the Rams won by a 17-7 score. BetAnySports lists Los Angeles as a 6-point favorite with the total set at 44.5. The kickoff is shortly after 8:15 PM ET.

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What does Sharp Mean in Sports Betting?

by Big Al Staff

Monday, Oct 26, 2020

What does sharp mean in sports betting? Do you remember the first time you ever made a wager?  It could be that you were playing golf with a friend, and you simply bet on who would have a better score.  You might have bet lunch on the wager.  And that might have been the spark which would kickstart your career as a sports bettor.There are lots of paths to becoming an expert bettor in the NBA, the NFL, and many other sports.  Many bettors will start with simple moneyline wagers, or point spread bets, and they’ll gain experience with those types of bets.  Of course, to be successful, one has to put in hours of research to handicap the games.  And some bettors go all the way, and actually work full-time as a professional handicapper or bettor.  That takes a lot of confidence -- to give up your day job, and put all your money on the line -- to go “all in” in a sports betting career, but it's possible.Now, in our experience, there are several extremely important components to becoming a winning sports bettor.  They include the skill to conduct quality research, the ability to process information, and the determination to get down at the best numbers.  And it’s this last characteristic -- betting at the most favorable numbers -- which will often separate the wheat from the chaff, or the sharps from the squares.In this betting guide, we'll take you through the term 'sharp' -- what it means and how you can become a sharp bettor.  Thus, how you can find the best bets, and only wager these bets. How to recognize sharp money First of all, you should know what sharp money is.  As we mentioned before, when a bettor is sharp, the bettor values numbers, and will only bet at the best numbers.  Now, this does require a point of clarification.  When we say a sharp will only bet at the best numbers, that refers to an instant point in time.  So, if a game’s current line ranges from -4.5 to -5.5, the sharp bettor who likes the underdog will only take +5.5.  In contrast, a square (or casual) gambler won’t be concerned about the number.  If they like the underdog, they’ll be on it regardless of the line.  Sharp bettors are also referred to as “wise guys” and often operate in groups known as betting syndicates.  Sharp money, then, refers to the side of a bet where the experts are betting on.  But this also requires a point of clarification.  Let’s say the Cincinnati Bengals are playing the Cleveland Browns, and the line opened at Cincinnati -6, and was bet up to -7.5.  It’s a misnomer to say, when the line is sitting at -7.5, that “the sharps are on the Cincinnati Bengals.”  Instead, you would want to say, the sharps were on Cincinnati at -6.  And that’s because you always have to include a specific point spread when you refer to what sharps are betting, or which side is a sharp side.  Indeed, once the line has moved to -7.5, sharp bettors may have moved off Cincinnati.  When you know how to spot what the experts are betting on, it can be very lucrative and bring you an edge over the other casual bettors.  But it’s also critical to get down at the same numbers as the sharps; you can’t “follow” sharp bettors at worse numbers.  That’s not a path to success.  To spot sharp money, you need to understand a couple of basic factors.Understand how sportsbooks operateOne of the fundamentals of sports gambling is the sportsbooks. The books are made up of bookmakers and oddsmakers.  Back in the days, it was just Las Vegas where the magic happened, but these days the sportsbooks are all over the world.  With online betting sites popping out the ground like mushrooms, there's even more competition.  However, one thing has remained the same, and that's the way sportsbooks operate.  There's a general belief by the public that bookmakers try their hardest to level the betting action so they receive an equal amount of wagers on both sides of a game.  This will even out the books, and the sportsbook will earn their money on vigorish paid by all bettors.  However, this is actually a myth.  Sportsbooks actually don’t mind taking unbalanced action on each game.  Instead, all they care about is that they make money, overall.Because balanced action is rarely achieved and, indeed, isn’t even the objective, the issue then becomes the factors that will cause a sportsbook to move its lines.  Now, oddsmakers aren't stupid; in fact, they're quite smart.  They have tons of data to learn from and understand that casual bettors not only prefer to bet the favorite instead of the underdog, but also are squares -- that is, they’re relatively unconcerned about the number.  Thus, casual bettors who like the Baltimore Ravens -7.5 over the Arizona Cardinals will also like the Ravens at -8, and at -8.5.  In contrast, the specific number will matter greatly to sharps.Therefore, if a sportsbook moves its number, it will largely do so as a reaction to the bets made by the players it has categorized as sharp bettors, and not the wagers made by casual bettors (not including line moves due to player injuries).  This is done to limit further betting on a particular side by sharp players (and, thus, to limit risk).  The moment you appreciate all of this, you will have a much better understanding of how to value line movements.Keep an eye on line movement and betting percentagesAny matchup will have an opening line, a current line, and a closing line (at the moment of game time).  It's incumbent upon sharp bettors to keep a constant eye on the marketplace to track line movement, and get the best numbers.  Also, by watching the marketplace, you will learn about how specific sportsbooks move their numbers.  Are they the first to get hit by the betting syndicates, or do they cater more toward recreational players, and instead follow the sharp books?  Keeping track of the line movements can inform you of which sides (and at which numbers) the professional bettors are on.The other statistic to keep an eye on is the betting percentage.  The betting percentage does not reveal how much money bettors are wagering on each side of the matchup.  Instead, the betting percentage counts just the raw number of wagers on each side.  So, you could have 73% of the bets on one side of a game, while 27% of the wagers are on the other side.  But maybe that 27% represents more money, because those bets are larger in size.  These statistics are valuable information for the professionals!Reverse line movementAs discussed above, the sportsbooks aren’t as concerned about square action as they are about sharp action.  And that’s because -- if you want to treat sports bets like consumer goods -- there will be inelastic demand for certain sides by square bettors.  But sharp bettors will exhibit elastic demand as a reaction to a price change.  And this fact leads us into our discussion of reverse line movement.  Let’s say the opening point spread was at -6.0 for the Chicago Bears vs. the Las Vegas Raiders, and more than 80% of all wagers were placed on the Bears.  You would expect the line to move higher, towards -6.5.  However, the sportsbook might choose to move the line downward to -5.5, even though there’s just 20% of the wagers on the Raiders.  When you see this happening as a bettor, you know the sharps are on Raiders, and are against the general public.Sharp bettors pool their money in syndicatesProfessional bettors often pool their money in betting syndicates.  They have access to large sums of money and need to bet more money on a game than any individual sportsbook will handle.  For example, maybe they want to bet $275,000 on an NFL side.  Now, they could get down $55,000 at BookMaker, which has the largest betting limits.  But they’ll also need to wager at a multitude of sportsbooks to process the entire bet.  Thus, they’ll choose to hit all the sportsbooks at once to get as much money as possible at the best line.  In reaction to such a coordinated strike, the sportsbooks will move their odds in unison.  This is called a “steam move.”  So, in the absence of meaningful news, when you suddenly see the numbers on a game change across the board, simultaneously, it likely means a big syndicate bet just came in. How do sportsbooks handle sharp money? Alright, so you understand how to spot the sides sharp bettors are playing, and you know how they operate.  How, then, do sportsbooks handle these bettors, and what do they do to keep the sharps at bay?  The most significant factor is the distinction between two sorts of sportsbooks:  sharp books and square books.  To illustrate the difference, we set up a few characteristics of each one.Square books Focus on casual bettors (square bettors) who are biased toward betting on favorites, and also parlays with higher vigorish Have smaller betting limits to prevent sharp bettors from placing big wagers Base their lines on the numbers published by the sharp books, rather than originating odds, themselves Sharp books Welcome sharp bettors with open arms Large betting limits Actively handicap matchups, and originate the odds (that other books follow) Adjust their odds as a reaction to bets made by sharp players Which sportsbooks should you pick? As you can see, there's a distinction between how sportsbooks handle the sharp players and the casual bettors.  When you're choosing among sportsbooks, it's essential to know the difference between these two sportsbook types.  It goes without saying that each bettor should use, at a minimum, three sportsbooks to shop the lines to get the best number.  You should thus ask yourself what kind of sports bettor you are, and which type of sportsbook will best suit your needs.  So, there's a lot to consider when you select the three or four sportsbooks you want to use.The most important factor, from our perspective, are the odds.  And that’s why 5Dimes is our #1-rated sportsbook, and should be the first sportsbook used by any player -- whether a casual bettor or a sharp.  And that’s because BetAnySports has reduced juice; its standard odds on football and basketball games are -105, rather than -110.  After BetAnySports, one’s choice will likely come down to what kind of bettor one is, and what they value most.  If one is a big bettor, and wants to bet, say, $25,000 a game, then BookMaker would be the best choice.  But if one was most interested in a big sign-up bonus, then BetNow or BetUS would be a perfect sportsbook.  And if one is a casual gambler who cares greatly about the website, and overall user experience, then Bovada is the industry leader in that regard.  Finally, if one is a sharp player, and wants to bet into the earliest-published numbers, then BetOnline is tops.  And all six of these sportsbooks are great for bettors who want to shop the lines, as they all offer unique numbers, and don’t follow other sportsbooks.  As you can see, sharp and square are two commonly-used betting terms that will bring you that extra edge in sports betting.  After reading this guide, you now have insight into the way the industry operates and how you can profit from it.  It's always good to learn more, and to know how to implement your knowledge into your betting strategy, which will bring more money into your bankroll!

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NFL Sunday Night Football: Seahawks/Cardinals Preview

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Oct 25, 2020

The Sunday Night Football game on NBC is a battle of two NFC West teams for the second straight week. Tampa Bay and Las Vegas were the originally scheduled teams for this prime time slot.  But with the COVID outbreak threatening the ability for the Raiders to play on Sunday, the NFL switched that game with the Seattle/Arizona clash.The Seahawks look to continue their unbeaten 5-0 start to the season as they return to action after their bye week. Seattle played on Sunday Night Football two weeks ago when they rallied from a 13-0 halftime deficit to defeat Minnesota by a 27-26 score. The Seahawks' defense stopped a Minnesota 4th-and-1 attempt late in the game after Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer bypassed a field goal attempt that could have given his team a 28-20 lead. Converting that fourth down likely wins the game, but when it failed, it provided Russell Wilson the opportunity to embark on the game-winning touchdown drive. Wilson is one of the frontrunners to win the Most Valuable Player award. He is completing 72.8% of his passes for 1502 yards with an 8.9 yards per attempt average. His 19 touchdown passes are the most in the NFL, and he has thrown only three interceptions. Wilson has also added another 153 rushing yards. He leads an offense that is scoring 33.8 points per game while averaging 395.8 yards per game. The Seattle defense remains a concern after they allowed the Vikings to gain 449 yards against them while keeping Wilson off the field for almost 40 minutes of that game two weeks ago. The Seahawks are allowing 471.2 yards per game, which is last in the league by nearly 40 yards per game more than what the Atlanta Falcons are giving up. Seattle will be without safety Jamal Adams for this game as he is out with a groin injury. Arizona plays in their second-straight prime time game after they crushed the Cowboys in Dallas on Monday night by a 38-10 score as a 1-point underdog. That victory raised the Cardinals record to 4-2 on the season in the highly competitive NFC West. Kyler Murray completed only 9 of 24 passes, but he made them count for 199 yards with two touchdown passes and no interceptions. He added another 74 yards on the ground with another touchdown. Murray is completing 65.9% of his passes on the season for 1487 yards with a 7.3 yards per attempt average. He has thrown ten touchdown passes, but he has tossed six interceptions. Murray has added another 370 rushing yards while reaching the end zone six times. The Arizona offense has thrived with the addition of wide receiver De’Andre Hopkins as they are averaging 27.7 points per game along with 402.5 yards per game. Hopkins has caught 47 passes for 601 yards with two touchdowns in a Cardinals uniform, but he is dealing with a lingering ankle injury that limited his participation in Friday’s practice. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury is “hopeful” he can play at full speed in this game. The Arizona defense might have played their best game of the season on Monday in limiting Andy Dalton and the Cowboys’ offense to just 344 yards while forcing four turnovers. The Cardinals are second in the NFL by allowing only 18.7 points per game. But Arizona will be without All-Pro linebacker Chandler Jones who is on Injured Reserve with a biceps injury. Jones generated 19 sacks last season. These two teams split their two divisional games last year. The Seahawks won the first game on the road in September by a 27-10 score before Arizona upset them in Seattle in December by a 27-13 margin. Jones sacked Wilson four times in that game while registering six hits on the quarterback. BookMaker has the Seahawks as a 3-point road favorite with the total set at 55. Kickoff is at 8:20 PM ET. 

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NFL Top 5 Teams

by Wayne Root

Sunday, Oct 25, 2020

1) Pittsburgh 5-0 The Steelers are a legitimate contender for AFC supremacy, and next up is an intriguing matchup Sunday with the Titans in a rescheduled game. With both teams 5-0, one team will be in a position to dominate the AFC. Kevin Bush’s knee injury is quite worrisome though, as Pittsburgh’s second level depth is a real concern and could open up a weakness in their great defense. Of course that remains to be seen as they just usually have “it” defensively. Their defense keyed Sunday’s 38-7 rout of Cleveland, holding the previously-hot Browns to 220 total yards with four sacks and two picks against Baker Mayfield. Great game Sunday at Tennessee. 2) Kansas City 4-1 Did anyone see 245 rushing yards coming from the Chiefs in a game in which they possessed the ball for nearly 38 minutes? Did Coach Reid forget he has a NFL great quarterback they paid a boatload of money to use? The defending Super Bowl champions didn’t look like a team that necessarily needed to add former Jets running back Le’Veon Bell after Monday’s game against the Bills. Now the Chiefs add Bell to the running back mix but few understand why. The guess is that Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy will get far more out of Bell than the Jets did. Maybe they’re saving Mahomes for the playoffs.  Also noteworthy:  Kansas City’s improved defense held Josh Allen to just 122 passing yards. 3) Seattle 5-0 Just one of three undefeated teams with the Titans and Steelers. Seattle sits atop the NFC but for how long is anybody’s guess. Their test to move to 6-0 is Sunday in Arizona. But keep your eyes on a potential upset in Arizona as Kyler Murray leads his Cardinals against the unbeaten Seahawks. Seattle will return with consecutive key games against divisional opponents, which should go a long way to determine whether MVP candidate Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will run away with the NFC West. The Seahawks return from their bye to play two straight division games, first at Arizona on Sunday and then at home against the 49ers. There are no easy games in the rugged NFC West. They better hope the defense gets it going soon because that's been an issue all season. The team’s average margin of victory is 6.8 points and all of their opponents have scored at least 23 points. UGH! 4) Tennessee  5-0 Ryan Tannehill and the Titans continue to prove that last year’s run to the AFC title game was no fluke. Their overtime victory over the Texans on Sunday came behind the exploits of QB Ryan Tannehill and RB Derrick Henry.  Ryan Tannehill threw for 364 yards and Derrick Henry ran for 212 while also chipping in with two catches for 52 yards. Derrick Henry (264 total yards Sunday vs. Houston) continues to build a case for MVP honors. On a short week, the Titans beat the AFC East division-leading Buffalo Bills and ran a two-minute drill in a comeback win over the Texans Sunday.  Within seven days, the Titans have likely erased a lot of doubt about their status as a playoff contender.  In Week 7, they'll play the Pittsburgh Steelers in a battle between the AFC's last two undefeated teams. 5) Baltimore 4-1  This team is not functioning at the level that last season’s team did. They are 5-1 heading into their bye and I still don't think they have played close to their best. They have the Steelers coming out of that bye, so they better be ready. Lamar Jackson’s struggles in the passing game are becoming more and more worrisome and the Ravens allowed too many long runs while not creating a consistent run game of their own.  Jackson had his best game of the season running the ball, with 108 yards on nine attempts.  It remains to be seen if he will win more games with his arm or with his legs. THESE TEAMS ARE LOOKING TO OVERTAKE YOU Green BayBuffaloTampa BayArizonaChicago 

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

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Oct 25, 2020

The Sunday sports card features the continuation of Week 7 of the National Football League, along with Game 5 of the MLB World Series, and the English Premier League.The NFL has 12 games scheduled for Sunday. Seven games begin the card at 1 PM ET. The national game on CBS has the Pittsburgh Steelers traveling to Nashville to face the Titans in a battle of unbeaten 5-0 teams. Tennessee is a 1-point favorite with the total set at 51 (all NFL odds are from BookMaker). The primary game on Fox has the Houston Texans hosting Green Bay with the Packers a 3-point road favorite with an over/under at 57.Another four games take place in the second window of afternoon games. At 4:05 PM ET, Tampa Bay plays in Las Vegas against the Raiders in a game that was previously the Sunday Night Football Game on NBC. After offensive lineman Trent Brown tested positive for COVID-19, the Raiders four other starting offensive linemen went into quarantine with the start time moved given the possibility that this game would need to be delayed until Monday or Tuesday or postponed until next week. These four linemen tested negative for the virus on Saturday, which took them off the COVID-19 list, allowing them to play on Sunday as long as they pass the routine game day test. The Buccaneers are a 4.5-point road favorite with a total of 52.Three more games take place at 4:25 PM ET. The national game on CBS has the San Francisco 49ers traveling to New England to face the Patriots. New England is a 3-point favorite with the over/under set at 45. The rescheduled prime time game on NBC for Sunday Night Football has the Seattle Seahawks on the road at Arizona to play the Cardinals. The Seahawks are a 3-point favorite with a total of 55. Kickoff is at 8:20 PM ET.The World Series continues with Game 5 on Sunday night. Tampa Bay evened this series at 2-2 on Saturday with their dramatic, come-from-behind 8-7 victory.  Los Angeles has penciled-in Clayton Kershaw as their starting pitcher. The veteran left-hander allowed only one run in 6 innings of work in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday. Kershaw has a 2.88 ERA with a 0.84 WHIP in four postseason starts this year, spanning 25 innings. Tampa Bay will counter with Tyler Glasnow, who looks to redeem himself after allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings in Game 1. The right-hander has a 6.08 ERA with a 1.44 WHIP in five playoff starts this postseason, consisting of 23 2/3 innings. BetOnline lists the Dodgers as a -158 moneyline favorite with the total set at 8 runs. Fox has the broadcast with the first pitch scheduled for 8:08 PM ET. Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, is the site for the World Series, with the Rays the designated home team for Game 5. The English Premier League has three matches on the Sunday schedule. At 10 AM ET on the NBC Sports Network, Southampton hosts Everton. The NBC Sports Network doubleheader continues at 12:30 PM ET with Newcastle United traveling to Wolverhampton to play the Wolves. Arsenal hosts Leicester City at 3:15 PM ET for a match broadcast on the NBC Peacock app.

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What is a Moneyline Bet?

by Big Al Staff

Sunday, Oct 25, 2020

What is a moneyline bet?Sports betting does not have to be complicated.  Yes, there are hundreds of different paths you can take, with different structures and different ways to create your bets.  But sometimes you can stick to the easiest one.  The easiest one is the moneyline bet.  It's straight-up wagering on the team that'll win the game.  With each matchup, two teams are facing each other, whether it’s in the NBA, the NFL, or a different league.  These two teams try their hardest to outscore the other.  At the end of the game, the team with the highest score takes home the win.The moneyline bet directly connects sports bettors to the game, itself.  Imagine the New York Yankees’ stadium filled with MLB fans who have never placed a bet in their lives.  They're there for the sake of sports, nothing more than that.  Alongside them, you might have sports bettors who have their eyes on the Yankees to win the game.  With every run scored by the Yankees, you'll see both sides emotionally intertwined, unlike with any other bet.In this article, we'll guide you through moneyline betting.  We will start with what the moneyline means, and then provide some practical tips and tricks to placing your first bet. How to get started with moneyline betting You could say, getting started with moneyline betting is getting started with sports betting.  To understand this bet type is to understand the very basics of wagering.  Simply put, moneyline betting is predicting the winner of the match.  In each match, there's a favorite and an underdog.  The bookmaker picks what team is on which side of the coin.  You, as a bettor, can use this information in your decision-making process.The favored team on the moneyline is shown with the minus sign (-), while the underdog holds the plus sign (+).  These signs are the base of the betting odds that come along with the moneyline bet.  The next step in making a moneyline bet is understanding the betting odds thoroughly.How to read moneyline betting oddsThe moneyline odds are often referred to as American odds and are common across the betting industry.  In the United States, the majority of bettors are familiar with moneyline odds.  But remember, it’s not only moneyline bets, but any sort of bet that can be displayed with moneyline odds.  But, to show you the right way, let's give you an example of a moneyline bet with the corresponding betting lines.  Let's take the biggest game of all football games, the Super Bowl.  In this example, we'll take Super Bowl 53:  New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams.  The corresponding betting odds given by BookMaker sportsbook were: New England Patriots -133 Los Angeles Rams +113 In the above example, the Patriots were the favored team.  You can tell so by the minus sign (-) before its odds.  The underdog was Los Angeles, as you can tell by the plus sign (+) before its odds.  The above example shows that the odds for Super Bowl 53 were quite close to each other; there was no heavy favorite in the game -- just a slightly favored team, being the Patriots.  You can use the betting odds as the starting point for your research.  And, as any gambler knows, any game can have any result.How to calculate your moneyline betting payoutLet's get down to the money side of things.  It's always important to know what your payout will be for each moneyline wager.  You have to know in order to decide the amount of money to place on your bet.  To calculate your payout for a winning bet, let's take another example. We'll illustrate it with another NFL match:  San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs. San Francisco 49ers -135 Kansas City Chiefs +115 In the above example, you can tell which team is the favorite and which is the underdog.  The 49ers are the favorite, while the Chiefs are the underdog.  So, to calculate your payout, you should know that the American odds are built up with the assumption that your wager is $100.  That leaves us with the following outcomes for the above example: You pick the favorite, the San Francisco 49ers to win the moneyline bet.  The 49ers win, and you have a winning bet.  Now, you earn $74 if your initial stake is $100.  That would make for a total payout of $174.  When you want to earn $100 with this bet, you need to wager $135 to secure a total payout of $235. You pick the underdog, the Kansas City Chiefs to win the moneyline bet.  The Chiefs win, and you have a winning bet.  You earn $115 if your initial stake is $100.  Your total payout would be $215. Implied probabilityTo understand the moneyline odds completely, we want to introduce the concept of implied probability.  This is the probability a team takes the win in terms of percentages based on the given odds.  There are two formulas to use to calculate the implied probability: Negative American odds / (negative American odds + 100) * 100 100 / (positive American odds + 100) * 100 These two formulas might seem a little abstract, so let's fill the two formulas for the NFL match we used before.  The San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs: 135 / (135 + 100) * 100 = 57.44% 100 / (115 + 100) * 100 = 46.51% As you can tell, the two percentages, when added together, exceed 100%.  On the surface, that doesn’t make sense.  But the reason it exists is that the sportsbook needs to make a profit, and the amount above 100% is its vigorish, or juice.  Think of it this way:  the oddsmakers will overestimate the chances that a team has of winning, 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 103.95%.  Thus, the 49ers’ true odds would be 57.44/103.95, or 55.26%, while the Chiefs’ true odds would be 46.51/103.95, or 44.74%.  Whether it's an online sportsbook or a brick-and-mortar one, all sportsbooks take a small percentage to cover their operating costs per bet. How to use moneyline betting in your sports betting strategy With the guidelines above, you know everything there is to know about the moneyline bet.  You might still have some questions unanswered.  You might wonder:  'I'm more of a UFC bettor, or I prefer betting the NHL, can I use moneyline bets as well?’  Frankly, whenever there are two combatants that compete for the win, you're able to place a moneyline wager. It could be a match between soccer giants in the Champions League, or a Prop bet between two golfers at The Masters, and moneyline bets will always be there for you.We want to finish this article with some tips and tricks you can utilize to make sure you don't waste a single wager.Be aware of the alternativesIronically, since we're writing an article regarding the moneyline bet, we do want to point out the alternatives.  Not every single match is right for a moneyline wager.  You can have a match where you expect both teams to give everything they’ve got to secure the win, but it's unclear which team will be victorious.  Then, you might be better off picking either a point spread bet, or totals bet.  These bet types are focused more on the precise score instead of the more binary result of Winner and Loser.  Point spread betting focuses on the point differential between two teams, while the totals bet revolves around the aggregate score of the two teams in the match.Besides that, there's the option to create a parlay bet.  When you're confident about a moneyline wager, you might search for an additional match to add to your betting slip.  The odds will add up, and your potential payout will grow.  With the payout growing, your risks increase accordingly.  But, it can get really interesting when doing proper research.Pick the right sportsbookThe sports betting industry is very competitive.  Similar to the regular sports industry, there are hundreds of sportsbooks that work hard to attract and retain loyal clients.  That means you -- as the bettor -- are in a good position because the sportsbooks will compete for your business.  You shouldn't settle for the first sportsbook you come across -- do some proper research first.  We created a quick checklist that you can use when selecting whether a sportsbook matches your needs: Does the sportsbook offer a nice welcome bonus? Can the sportsbook handle your wagering limits? Does the sportsbook offer your preferred deposit and withdrawal methods? Does the sportsbook offer competitive betting odds on parlays, teasers, and straight bets? Besides that, you should make sure that the sportsbook gives you a welcoming feeling.  When it concerns a brick-and-mortar sportsbook, you simply step inside, look around and check for yourself whether it feels right.  For an online sportsbook, you can look at the overall user interface of the website, the way the pages are designed, and (especially for in-game betting) speed.It's good to be loyal to a sportsbook, and many online sportsbooks will give you bonuses when you re-load.  But you shouldn't get stuck with a bookmaker for too long.  New competitors might enter the market with more appealing odds, and lucrative bonuses and promotions.  Then, switching can be a wise decision.  If you’re looking for another sportsbook, then here are several to take a look at.  If a sign-up bonus is your most important criterion, then BetNow, BetUS and MyBookie are your best options.  But if reduced juice is what you’re after, then our current #1-rated sportsbook -- BetAnySports -- should be your sportsbook.  For bettors who want to bet up to $50,000 on an NFL game, BookMaker is the top option.  And if you’re less concerned with high wagering limits, but instead want the most modern, easy-to-use website, then Bovada is great.Stats are your friendThe final tip we want to give each bettor, and we can't say it enough, is to do proper research.  A lot of money is lost by bettors who go rogue and place bets without spending adequate time to complete their research.  All you're doing at that point is handing over your money to the bookie.  That's not wise in terms of bankroll management, and your mindset as a bettor will not be very good.  So, to extend your sports betting career as long as possible, you should embrace statistics.With each matchup, there are two teams that have an extensive record in the league.  That means they both have a track record with offensive stats, defensive stats, individual player stats, and hundreds of other statistics.  Depending on what you’re betting, the stats you would want to consider will vary.  However, it never hurts to do a little extra digging.  With proper research, nothing will stop you from securing your profits!

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

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 24, 2020

The Saturday sports card features a busy slate of college football games along with Game 4 of the World Series, the English Premier League, and UFC 254. The college football schedule has 40 games between FBS opponents for the largest one-day card all season for a Saturday with the Big Ten and Mountain West Conference making their debuts this week. Twelve games kick off the college football slate in the noon to 1 PM ET window. The ABC game has Oklahoma traveling to TCU to play the Horned Frogs at noon. The Sooners are a 6-point favorite with the total set at 59.5 (all football odds from BookMaker). Fox has Ohio State making their season debut hosting the Nebraska Cornhuskers at noon. The Buckeyes are 26.5-point favorites with an over/under of 68. North Carolina State faces in-state rival North Carolina in Chapel Hill for the noon game on ESPN. The Tar Heels are -14.5-point favorites with the total at 60. Georgia Southern visits Coastal Carolina with the Chanticleers a 5.5-point favorite with the over/under at 51 on ESPNU at Noon. FS1 has Kansas State hosting Kansas with the Wildcats laying 20.5 points with the total set at 46. Another 14 games take place in the 2 PM ET to 4 PM ET window of games. At 2 PM ET on ESPN2, Central Florida hosts Tulane with the Knights a 21-point favorite with an over/under of 71. ABC has Notre Dame traveling to Pittsburgh at 3:30 PM ET with the Fighting Irish laying 10 points with the total set at 42.5. Oklahoma State hosts Iowa State on Fox at 3:30 PM ET with the Cowboys a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 52.5. Alabama travels to Tennessee for the CBS game at 3:30 PM ET with the Crimson Tide a 21.5-point favorite with a total of 66. ESPN has Texas hosting Baylor at 3:30 PM ET as a 10.5-point favorite with an over/under of 61. Houston travels to Annapolis to face Navy at 3:30 PM ET, with the Cougars laying 15.5 points and the total set at 55.5. Penn State makes their season-debut at 3:30 PM ET on FS1 when they travel to play Indiana laying 6.5 points with the over/under at 62. At 4 PM ET, Troy hosts Georgia State as a 2-point favorite and the total set at 69 for a game on ESPNU.Fourteen games close out the college football card in the evening. ESPN2 has West Virginia traveling to Texas Tech at 5:30 PM ET with the Mountaineers a 2.5-point favorite with the over/under set at 54.5. LSU hosts South Carolina at 7 PM ET on ESPN with the Tigers a 5-point favorite with an over/under at 55. Boise State makes their debut at 7 PM ET on FS1 as they host Utah State as a 17-point favorite with a total of 52.5. Wyoming travels to Reno to face Nevada as a 3-point favorite at 7 PM ET on the CBS Sports Network, with the total set at 51. At 7:30 PM ET, ABC has Michigan traveling to Minnesota to play the Golden Gophers with the Wolverines' a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 52.5. At 8 PM ET, Louisiana Tech travels to UTSA as a 2.5-point road favorite with an over/under of 53 on ESPNU. SMU hosts Cincinnati at 9 PM ET on ESPN2 as a 2.5-point favorite with an over/under of 56. At 10:15 PM ET, BYU hosts Texas State on ESPN as a 29-point favorite with the total set at 61. Air Force travels to San Jose State as a 7.5-point favorite and a total of 62 for the game on FS1 at 10:30 PM ET. San Diego State hosts UNLV at 10:30 PM ET as a 13.5-point favorite with the over/under at 50.5 for a game on the CBS Sports Network.The World Series continues on Fox at 8:08 PM ET. Los Angeles will send Julio Urias to the mound as their starting pitcher. Tampa Bay has settled on Ryan Yarbrough as their starting pitcher, with manager Kevin Cash likely to liberally use his bullpen.  BetOnline lists the Dodgers as a favorite priced at -155 with a total of 8. The Rays will be the designated home team for Game 4 played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.Four games are on the English Premier League slate. The NBC Sports Network has Crystal Palace visiting Fulham for that London Derby at 10 AM ET. NBC has Manchester United hosting Chelsea at 12:30 PM ET.Saturday soccer action also features Real Madrid traveling to Barcelona in the first incarnation of El Clasico for the 2020-21 La Liga campaign. beIN Sports has the broadcast at 10 AM ET.UFC 254 takes place on Saturday afternoon, with the headlining event being Justin Gaethje challenging Khabib Nurmagomedov. This fight is available on pay-per-view on ESPN Plus with the tentative starting time scheduled for 4:15 PM ET.

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NCAA Saturday Night Football: Michigan/Minnesota Preview

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 24, 2020

The Saturday night game on ABC features the battle for the Little Brown Jug, which is the oldest trophy game in College Football.  The rivalry dates back to 1892, and Michigan leads the series 75-25-3.  This year's game could be one of the best in the series, as both teams are nationally ranked.Michigan returns nine starters from the team that finished 9-4 last year. The Wolverines were 9-2 with losses at Wisconsin and Penn State when they hosted Ohio State to end their regular season. A 56-27 loss to the Buckeyes followed by a 35-16 loss to Alabama in the Citrus Bowl left their fans once again disappointed in the Jim Harbaugh era. It has been a tumultuous offseason for Michigan when it comes to their offensive personnel. Dylan McCaffrey decided to transfer from the program last month, despite the redshirt junior (and brother of Carolina Panthers' star running back Christian) being the presumed quarterback for the Wolverines once Shea Patterson completed his collegiate career. Instead, McCaffrey will be taking his talents to another FBS program. Reports emerged that Joe Milton won the job in the offseason while working with wide receivers since April when things shut down because of COVID. The redshirt junior has drawn comparisons with his strong arm along with his 6’5, 245-lb frame to Cam Newton. The ceiling regarding his talent may be higher than McCaffrey’s high-end range. However, McCaffrey has been the primary backup for the last two seasons. A fallout with Harbaugh and second-year offensive coordinator Josh Gattis could explain McCaffrey’s exit. To further complicate matters, wide receiver Nico Collins then decided to opt-out this season by signing with an agent to prepare for the NFL draft. Is Collins' departure connected with McCaffrey's departure? Does Collins bypass his senior year if Milton had definitively won the starting quarterback job? Perhaps speculating as to why a future NFL draft pick decided to not play during this unusual season is foolhardy. Without a spring game, there is a wide range of possibilities regarding what Michigan will get from the quarterback position on Saturday with Milton making his first career collegiate start.The Wolverines replace four starters on the offensive line, who were all drafted into the NFL in the spring. Milton will have the team’s leading wide receiver back from last year in Ronnie Bell. Michigan also returns Zach Charbonnet and Hassan Haskins, who combined to rush for 1348 yards with 15 touchdowns last year. The Wolverines’ defense returns six starters from a group that was eleventh in the nation by allowing only 307.2 yards per game. This unit should once again be a strength under defensive coordinator Don Brown who rotates his players to ensure a depth of experience. Minnesota has 13 starters back from the team that finished 11-2 last year after defeating Auburn in the Outback Bowl by a 31-24 score. The Golden Gophers started the season 9-0 after defeating Penn State at home under the lights by a 31-26 score in a battle of unbeaten teams. Minnesota’s bubble burst the next week in a loss at Iowa City to the Hawkeyes, before they lost to Wisconsin in their final regular-season game. The Golden Gophers scored 34.1 points per game last year, and they could exceed that mark this season. Quarterback Tanner Morgan returns for his senior season after completing 66.0% of his passes for 3253 yards with 30 touchdowns. The third-year starter has a 15-4 record in his 19 career starts. He will have wide receiver Rashod Bateman back, who caught 60 passes for 1219 yards with 11 touchdowns last season. Mohamed Ibrahim has also returned after rushing for 604 yards in a three-player committee. Ibrahim can handle the lead-back role after rushing for over 1000 yards two seasons ago. Morgan also has all five starters back from his offensive line last year that was one of the biggest in the nation. Minnesota has questions on defense after losing five of its top six tacklers from last season. Four starters are back from a group that was ranked tenth in the nation by allowing 304.6 yards per game. The Golden Gophers did benefit from a charmed-start to the season where they faced two first-year starting quarterbacks before playing six straight teams that were relying on backup QBs. The Nittany Lions exposed their defense by accumulating 518 yards against them. The Badgers later gained 453 yards against this unit. Minnesota did close their season by holding Auburn to just 232 yards while outgaining them by 262 yards. Head coach P.J. Fleck has this program moving in the right direction in his fourth year with the program. The Golden Gophers host this game at their TCF Bank Stadium. Minnesota had the fourth largest increase in home attendance last season, so it is a shame that fans are prohibited given COVID precautions. Michigan begins their season ranked 18th in the Associated Press poll, with Minnesota ranked three slots below them. ESPN College GameDay will make their headquarters inside the empty stadium on Saturday. BookMaker lists the Wolverines as a 3.5-point favorite with the total set at 52.5. The ABC broadcast for the game starts at 7:30 PM ET.

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What is a Straight Bet?

by Big Al Staff

Saturday, Oct 24, 2020

What is a straight bet?Ever since people have been playing sports, people have been wagering. The first bets were all innocent, gentlemen’s agreements, with nothing extreme on the line -- nothing more than pride.  Slowly but steadily, though, the entire sports betting industry started to shape itself.  Now, with sporting events prominent across the world, the betting industry has greatly expanded.  These days, we're looking at a multi-billion dollar global industry.There are thousands of professional sports bettors who make their living from wagering on sports.  As a novice bettor, that might sound like a dream and hard to imagine, but it's possible.  With the right technique and strategy, any person can develop a sustainable sports betting career.In this article, we'll tackle the very basics of sports betting:  straight bets.  These are the types of bets in which you bet on an event in a single game, nothing more, nothing less.  Now, these might seem like simple bets, but a thorough understanding of the concept is required to get you started the right way in your sports betting career. What kind of straight bets are there? In any matchup where straight wagers are available, disregarding the specific sport, there are two teams or players facing each other. The goal of the opposing sides is to win the game outscoring the opponent.  This can be done in various ways as every sport is different, but the basics come down to the same.  Thus, there are three kinds of straight bets that are popular across sports, like football and basketball.  The type of straight bets are: Moneyline Point spread Over/under These bets are usually available for any game in the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, or any other major sports league you might want to wager on.  The sport has to have incremental scoring though, not like horse racing where there's only winners or losers.  It's essential to understand the basics of each bet properly before you begin wagering.What is moneyline betting?The moneyline bet is the easiest, and probably the oldest bet, that's around.  With this bet, you simply pick which team you think will win the game.  If you choose the right winner, the sportsbook will pay you, that's how simple it is.  Now, the payout for moneyline bets is a bit different and harder to grasp than the concept of the bet.  Each bookmaker picks a favorite and an underdog.  The favored team takes a minus sign (-), while the underdog takes the plus sign (+).  To properly understand, let's have a look at a possible matchup in the NBA:​Toronto Raptors vs. Golden State WarriorsThe bookmaker might install the Raptors as the underdog and the Warriors as the favorite.  This is shown in the odds that might look something like this: Toronto Raptors +210 Golden State Warriors -250 Just by looking at the odds, you can tell which team has a greater probability to win the game and which team will likely lose.  Most sportsbooks use American odds.  To calculate your payout, you have to consider an initial stake of 100 dollars.  To put that into practice, you could have two different outcomes: You wager on the Raptors on the moneyline, and they win.  You win $210 if you wager $100.  Together, with your initial stake of $100, your total payout would be $310. You wager on the Warriors on the moneyline, and they win. You win $40 if you wager $100.  Together, with your initial stake of $100, your total payout would be $140.  (If you wanted to profit $100, you would have to initially wager $250.) What is point spread betting?The point spread bet takes your handicapping up a notch.  You have to go a little further than merely predicting which team wins the game.  With a point spread bet, you are wagering on the scoring differential at the end of the game.  You pick which team is most likely to cover the spread.  This is best explained by illustrating it with an example.  To do so, let's imagine an NFL matchup between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams.  The bookmaker does its analysis and comes up with the following betting lines: New England Patriots +13.5 Los Angeles Rams -13.5 Similar to the moneyline bet, the bookmaker decides which team is the favorite and which team is the underdog.  You can tell by the plus sign and minus sign alongside the team's name.  The numbers next to the plus and minus signs show how many points a team will have added or subtracted to its final score.  That means if the Patriots want to cover the spread, they need to make sure not to lose the game by more than 13.5 points.  The Rams, on the other hand, would cover the spread if they won by more than 13.5 points.  The exact margin of victory doesn't matter, so long as the spread of 13.5 is covered.The payout on a point spread bet is usually not that hard to calculate.  Typically, the odds for both sides are -110, which gives you a simple rule to live by:With an initial stake of $110, you win $100. Your total payout would be $210.Now, some sportsbooks -- like BetAnySports -- offer reduced juice.  For example, if you bet at BetAnySports, then your odds would be -105, rather than -110.  Sharp bettors understand just how valuable reduced juice is, as you save money on every losing wager.  If you’re looking to bet at another sportsbook, then your best move would be to join BetAnySports.Finally, there's only one outcome in a game which creates a situation where the sportsbook has to pay back the bettors.  And that’s when neither team covers the spread.  It results in a push, and all bettors get their stake returned by the sportsbook.  Of course, the easiest way for a sportsbook to avoid a push is to publish a point spread that’s not a whole number (e.g., +/- 6.5). What is over/under betting? The last straight wager is the over/under bet, also referred to as a totals bet.  The oddsmakers will post a total, which represents a projection of the combined score of both teams.  Bettors then base their predictions on that aggregate number.  You predict that it will be over or under the set number of points given by the bookmaker.  The betting lines could look something like this for a typical NBA match between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers.Over/under:  210 pointsThe betting line is 210 points, regardless of which team is installed as the favorite or underdog.  The bettor picks whether the final combined score will be over or under 210 points at the end of the game.  Similar to the point spread bet, a push would be possible unless the over/under line was not a whole number.The standard betting odds for an over/under bet are also -110, similar to a point spread bet. That gives us the same rules where you profit $100 when wagering $110. What other types of bets are there? The moneyline bet, point spread bet, and over/under bet are the very basics of sports betting.  But if you're experienced in sports betting, you are probably aware of the dozens of other opportunities in terms of wagering.  The moment you're familiar with these bets, you can start looking into more complex bets.  To give you a little grasp of possible wagers you could make, we want to share a few terms with a really short description: Parlay:  betting on the outcome of events for multiple games Teaser bets:  an adjusted form of point spread betting Proposition bets (“Prop” bets):  betting on the outcome of events within a game -- i.e., the team to score the first touchdown Futures bets:  betting on the outcome of an event in the future -- i.e., the winner of the Super Bowl Note that there are countless other betting possibilities that can be considered as side bets from the main bets.  The main bets remain the straight wagers that are still the most popular among sports bettors.  On our site, you can find details about every single betting possibility there is.  Simply dive into our articles section or use the search function to get familiar with everything sports betting has to offer. How to use straight bets in your sports betting strategy When you start betting on sports, you have to form a strategy.  Without a proper plan, you'll be at risk for losing your bankroll.  We want to give you everything you need to extend your sports betting career as far as possible, and eventually give you the possibility to make a living off of wagering.  The following tips will steer you in the right direction and give you the material to form a proper betting strategy.Manage your bankrollWhen you start betting, the first decision you must make is how much money overall you want to put at risk.  That is referred to as your sports betting bankroll.  The golden rule here is don't put at risk more than you're comfortable losing.  But, besides having the ability to lose money, you have to decide how much to wager on each bet, which is generally a smaller percentage of your overall bankroll.  When you start with a bankroll of $1000, for example, you could go with small wagers of $55 or $110.  That way, when you lose a bet here and there, it does not hurt that much, and you have enough runway to keep betting for a long time.Consider the sportsbooks' edgeThe ones who usually make the most money from sports betting are the sportsbooks, themselves.  And that’s because of the fee you pay a sportsbook on each wager.  It's often called the vigorish (or vig) or juice.  The vigorish is determined by the odds you see when placing your bet.  Now, always make sure the bet is worth the risk you're taking, and you're not just paying unnecessary fees.Besides that, you also have to make sure you're working with the right sportsbook.  Whether you like visiting an actual brick-and-mortar sportsbook or prefer the online sportsbook route, there are always alternatives.  Don't settle for the first one you find, but do some proper research to see which bookmaker offers the best odds and most lucrative betting possibilities.  Our current #1-rated sportsbook is BetAnySports, primarily because it offers reduced juice.  Instead of laying -110, you can lay -105 on football and basketball games.  If you are a $500 bettor, for example, you’ll save thousands of dollars in juice every football season by laying -105 rather than -110, so it’s well worth joining BetAnySports.  Dive into the statisticsThe most important advice we can give anyone who is into sports betting is this:  do your research.  As with any industry where money is involved, there are experts who know all it takes to be profitable.  You can follow other people's research or base your decisions on your own analysis.  Dive into the numbers:  see what the teams did in the past and how they are currently performing.  It's not the most fun part as there's no action involved, but it does bring you the knowledge to make thoughtful decisions.  Are you ready to place your first wager?  If you’ve done your research, you’ll be in great shape!

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Ness Notes: Friday, October 23

by Larry Ness

Friday, Oct 23, 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." World Series Game 3: The best-of-seven series is tied at one victory apiece and the Game 3 pitching matchup is a VERY good one. 26-year-old Walker Buehler takes the mound for the first time since he threw six scoreless innings in a 3-1 triumph against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday in Game 6 of the NLCS. That performance gives him 29 Ks over four postseason starts (19 innings) in 2020. The Dodgers are 3-1 in his starts and Walker owns a 1.89 ERA. I think Buehler is now considered LA's 'ace,' over Kershaw. With an excellent effort here, he could nail down that moniker. However, he faces one tough competitor in Tampa Bay's 36-year-old Charlie Morton. Morton's 3-0 in 2020's postseason, allowing 11 hits and two runs (one earned) over 15.2 innings for an 0.57 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 17-4 KW ratio. In fact, Morton has won all FIVE of his starts in the playoffs for Tampa Bay over the last two years while recording a minuscule 0.70 ERA. The Dodgers are favored (-150) and the over/under is 7 1/2.<p>Note: I enter Friday on an 8-2 run MLB run (+$6,615 at $100/unit) and Game 3 is my 10* MLB Game of the Year. BATTER UP!NFC 'Least' is back! Going back in time, NFC East fans will remember that in a 10-year span from Super Bowl XXI through Super Bowl XXX, an NFC East team won SEVEN of the 10 Super Bowls played in that span (49er fans will point to the fact that "their team" won the other three). However, that was THEN and this is NOW. The Giants and Eagles met last night in Philly, with the Eagles eking out a 22-21 win. Carson Wentz threw an 18-yard TD pass to Boston Scott with 40 seconds remaining for the game-winner. Wentz threw for a season-high 359 passing yards and two TDs, both coming late in the fourth quarter on scoring drives of 78 and 71 yards. He also had a rushing TD. The Giants attempted to answer on the ensuing drive but QB Daniel Jones was stripped of the ball and Philly recovered to seal the win. Improbably (incredibly?), the Eagles now sit ATOP of the division with 2-4-1 record, edging the 2-4 Cowboys by percentage points (.357 to .333). For those unfamiliar, the NFL gives a team half a win and half a loss in a tie game. NFC East teams are a combined 6-19-1 SU and 9-17 ATS. However, the New York Football Giants (as Howard Cosell always referred to them), may be 1-6 but they own the division's only winning ATS record at 4-3.NFL Week 7 resumes on Sunday, with Baltimore (5-1), Indianapolis (4-2), Miami (3-3), Minnesota (1-5) enjoying bye weeks. Only three unbeaten teams remain and barring a tie, ONE team will fall from the rung of unbeatens by Sunday night. The 5-0 Steelers will visit the 5-0 Titans in Nashville on Sunday. This game was originally scheduled for Oct 4, but an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Titans organization forced a postponement. Now, this Week 7 game marks just the EIGHTH time in NFL history that undefeated teams have met this deep into a season. The Steelers are 5-0 for the first time since 1978 and Tennessee for the first time since a 10-0 start in 2008. Tennessee is currently favored by just one point and the over/under is 50 1/2.Speaking of COVID-19, the Raiders were scheduled to host the Bucs in Las Vegas for NBC's Sunday Night Football. However, the Raiders placed four starting offensive linemen plus a safety on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday. All five players were deemed high-risk contacts Thursday. The NFL then announced later on Thursday that the Raiders' game against the Bucs had been moved to 4:05 ET "out of an abundance of caution to ensure that a game would be available for fans on Sunday Night Football." That means, the 5-0 Seahawks will now face the 4-2 Cardinals in Arizona for SNF.Seattle is the NFL's third unbeaten team but has yet to face an NFC West opponent. The Seahawks' 5-0 start is the best in franchise history and the 4-2 Cardinals are above .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2015, which was the last time they made the playoffs. Seattle QB Russell Wilson is widely considered the front-runner for the NFL's MVP award a third of the way through the season, as he's completing 72.8% for 1,502 yards while leading the league with 19 TD passes (just three INTs) and with a 129.8 QB rating. However, THREE of Seattle's five victories have come down to the game's final 15 seconds. Seattle is favored by 3 or 3 1/2-points and the over/under is 56.Another HUGE game is the 3-3 SF 49ers playing in Foxboro vs the 2-3 NE Pats. The 49ers won the NFC West last season at 13-3 (and advanced to the Super Bowl) but their 3-3 record leaves them in last-place in 2020, behind not only the 5-0 Seahawks but also the 4-2 Rams and Cards. The Pats are more than just the defending AFC East champs, as New England entered 2020 having captured the AFC East title the previous 11 years and in 17 of the last 19 seasons (since 2001). The Pats welcome the 49ers to Gillette Stadium on Sunday with a 2-3 record. New England hasn't been under .500 through the fifth game or later in any season since they were 3-4 in 2002, which was the last season the Patriots did not win 10-plus games. New England is a two-point choice and the over/under is 44.I'll close with the NFL's only winless team, the 0-6 (also 0-6 ATS) J-E-T-S Jets, Jets Jets! The Jets are last in the NFL with 75 points scored (every other NFL team has scored at least 100), which is an average of 12.5 per game. The Jets are also one of EIGHT teams allowing 30-plus points per game (30.8), meaning they are losing by an average of 18.3 PPG. Buffalo QB Josh Allen was terrific in Buffalo's 4-0 start, completing 70.9 percent of his passes, while averaging 331.5 YPG through the air with 12 TDs and just one INT. However, Buffalo has lost back-to-back games, 42-26 at Tennessee and then 26-17, as Allen has completed just 58.8 percent, while averaging only 192.5 YPG passing with four TDs and three INTs in the back-to-back defeats. Buffalo is favored by 12 1/2-points and the over/under is 45.Updating the NFL's Y-T-D numbers to include last night's game. NFL home teams continue to struggle in 2020, going a modest 48-43-1 SU (.527) but a 'money-burning' 39-51-2 (.433) ATS. Home dogs are 8-21 SU and 13-14-2 ATS. There have been 46 overs, 44 unders and two 'pushes' on the season.Good luck...Larry

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