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Biography

Art Aronson has dominated virtually every North American sport since bursting upon the scene in 2012.

Active since:  2012

Location:  Saanichton, BC, Canada 

Since founding AAA Sports in the Summer of 2012, Art Aronson has finished with numerous No. 1, Top 5 and Top 10 placements in almost all of the major North American sports.  2019 was one of Art’s very best seasons.  He finished up over $10,000 in the NFL, and also continued his NBA domination, as his 2-year run in Pro Hoops has garnered a profit of $28,576.  But Art’s success is nothing new.  In 2012, AAA finished among the nation’s leaders in the NFL.  The stars would also align for AAA in 2013-14 as it would finish among the most decorated handicapping services in the industry that year.  Art earned three Top 5 placements in three different sports in the same wagering season, including two No. 1’s (NCAAF and NBA) and finished No. 2 in the NHL.  The 2016 NFL playoffs saw AAA go 11-3 (79%), while more recent achievements include going 20-6 (77%) in the 2019 NCAA Tournament and then delivering an additional $11,236 profit in the 2019-20 season.

Clients can expect A LOT of plays on a daily/weekly/monthly basis from AAA.  Art plays almost every single "weeknight" Football game (both the NFL and College), as well as 5 to 7-game football cards on Saturday and Sunday.  Clients can also expect large NBA, NHL and College Basketball cards each and every day possible.  MLB cards are released very early so that one always has time to shop around for the best lines.  AAA didn't put together its amazing life-time records by playing passively!

AAA does not subscribe to any single handicapping methodology.  Instead Art believes that being flexible is the best way to secure profits over the long term.  Sometimes, Art keeps it simple, while other times he’ll take into account numerous different factors, like motivation, scheduling and significant injuries.  Art especially likes to take advantage of classic "spot bets" (i.e., the "look-ahead" spot, the "letdown" spot, and the "trap" game).

All of that being said, AAA primarily considers itself a “stat based” handicapping service.  One set of criteria which Art always uses when making his decisions are Against The Spread (ATS) statistics.

AAA's biggest plays receive its 10* ranking.  Nearly all of its point spread plays fall in the 8* to 10* range, as AAA has confidence in all of its selections and doesn't believe in significant variances in wager sizes.  Money line selections will sometimes be rated lower than an 8* if it's a big favorite.

Art cordially invites everyone to hop on board as he looks forward to another winning year. 

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NHL - Moneyline - Tue, Dec 06 at 7:07 PM

AAA Sports' No. 1 NHL Free Play!

Los Angeles Kings vs Ottawa Senators

Los Angeles Kings +100 (BetMGM)

1* FREE PLAY LA Kings. The Kings are off a 4-2 loss at home to the Hurricanes, but I think they can bounce back here on the road, where they're 6-5-2-0 so far this season. The Senators are 10-13-1-0 this year, including just 4-6-1-0 at home. They're off a 5-2 win over the Sharks, but with a toug...

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NFL - Over / Under - Sun, Dec 11

10* NFC NORTH TOTAL OF YEAR - +$40K RUN!

Looking back finds AAA Sports on a STAGGERING +$40,000 BIG TICKET 10* NFL package run! Looking back to September 11t...

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NCAAF - Point Spread - Mon, Jan 02

10* BOWL GAME OF YEAR - +$7K IN 2022!

BIG PLAYERS ALERT: After posting over +$7,000 in COLD HARD PROFITS on the College Gridiron in the 2022 Regular Season...

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NCAAF - Point Spread - Sat, Dec 31

10* BOWL GAME OF MONTH **80% BOWL RUN!**

AAA Sports closed out the 2022 College Football season posting +$7,000 in profits. Now they look to build on the reco...

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NBA - Point Spread - Tue, Dec 06

**+$64K NBA SIDES RUN!** 10* ASSASSIN!

OFF 3-0 (100%) PERFECT SWEEP! AAA Sports is RENOWNED for their ability to rip off MONSTROUS all-sports winning streak...

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NCAAB - Point Spread - Tue, Dec 06

10* ULTIMATE BLOWOUT - ANOTHER 3-0 SWEEP?!

Fresh off a PERFECT 3-0 (100%) SWEEP OF THE BOARD, AAA Sports is reday to DO IT AGAIN on Tuesday! They're gearing up ...

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NHL - Puck Line - Tue, Dec 06

10* PUCKLINE ANNIHILATION (OFF 3-0 SWEEP!)

AAA Sports is coming off a PERFECT 3-0 SWEEP to open up the new week. They're now ready to PUNISH the books throughou...

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NFL Week 8 Breakdown

Tuesday, Oct 25, 2022

BEST GAME – New York Giants at Seattle (-3)New York 6-1 SU, 6-1 ATSSeattle 4-3 SU, 4-3 ATSThe football Giants had been living on the currency of their Super Bowl win over the Patriots 14 years ago, but after a lot of down years this group feels like it can make a name for itself in a powerful NFC East (NY, Philly and Dallas are a combined 17-3 SU and 15-5 ATS). The Giants appear to finally have something in QB Daniel Jones and RB Saquon Barkley (each had more than 100 yards rushing last weekend in Jacksonville). Meanwhile, in Seattle coach Pete Carroll could be a contender for coach of the year if he can somehow drag veteran journeyman QB Geno Smith and a group on nobodies into the playoffs.WORST GAME – Carolina at Atlanta (-6.5)Carolina 2-5 SU, 2-5 ATSAtlanta 3-4 SU, 6-1 ATSNot too many flat-out dog games this week as a lot of so-so teams go at each other and try to stay relevant, and the Panthers have to being feeling pretty good about themselves after taking down Tom Brady and the Bucs this past weekend. In their first game after trading Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers wore down Tampa on the ground behind D’Onta Foreman (118 yards) and Chuba Hubbard (63). Atlanta needs to bring its pass defense into the shop for major repairs after giving up 459 passing yards and 35 points in a loss to the Bengals. Good thing for the Falcons that Carolina’s passing game is among the weakest in the league.LARGEST SPREAD – Green Bay at Buffalo (-10.5)Green Bay 3-4 SU, 2-5 ATSBuffalo 5-1 SU, 4-1-1 ATSBad enough that the Packers lost to the Commanders, worse that they didn’t convert a single first down in a game for the first time in 23 years. Now reeling Green Bay has to deal with the best (ok, Philly fans, the SECOND-best) team in the league. Stranger things have happened, and the Packers were good enough to win three straight earlier this season, but this time it feels different. Buffalo was last seen putting the screws to Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City, and Buffalo goes into this one having had two full weeks to recuperate, rest and prepare. The offense should be at top speed.SMALLEST SPREAD – San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams (+1.5)San Francisco 3-4 SU, 3-4 ATSLos Angeles 3-3 SU, 2-4 ATSBoth teams look like they will live or die with their defenses – the Niners are ranked No. 3 overall this season and the Rams are right behind at No. 5. On the other side of the ball, each team has a lot of questions and not many answers. SF is turning the ball over too much, committing too many penalties and settling for too many field goals. The Rams, meanwhile, have scored 10 or fewer points in three of their six games. Hopefully, they were able to figure out a few things on their bye week.LARGEST TOTAL – Miami at Detroit (50.5)Miami 4-3 SU, 3-4 ATSDetroit 1-5 SU, 3-3 ATSTua is back, and even if he wasn’t at his best last time out, it was enough for the Fins to end a three-game losing streak (vs. SF). Now, if he can just rock and roll the way he did pre-ConcussionGate, Miami can resume its resurgence. The Lions, dead last in the league defensively and giving up 412 yards a game, might be just the team to accommodate Tagovailoa. Curiously, this is the only game on the docket with a total of 50 or higher.SMALLEST TOTAL – Tennessee at Houston (41)Tennessee 4-2 SU, 4-2 ATSHouston 1-4-1 SU, 3-2-1 ATSAny chance the Texans might have had to be a factor this season may have been cashiered this past Sunday when they blew a second-half lead and lost to the Raiders in Las Vegas. And that was coming off a bye week. Facts don’t lie – the Texans are a decent cover team but have scored more than 20 points in only one game this season.

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NFL Week 6 Breakdown

Tuesday, Oct 11, 2022

BEST GAME – Dallas at Philadelphia (-5.5)Dallas 4-1 SU, 4-1 ATSPhiladelphia 5-0 SU, 3-2 ATSJerry Jones has probably gone through a few buckets of Maalox already this week as his Boys get set for their early NFC East showdown in Philly. Two of the best teams in a pretty mediocre year for the NFL go at it Sunday night. Dallas is mum of whether QB1 Dak Prescott will be back in action (he may return to practice this week) against the league’s only unbeaten team. The Cowboys have some other health issues to deal with – notably banged-up pass rushes Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence. The Eagles, meanwhile, are perfect so far but flying dangerously close to the sun and could be 2-3 with a few contrarian bounces of the ball.WORST GAME – New England at Cleveland (-3)New England 2-3 SU, 2-2-1 ATSCleveland 2-3 SU, 2-3 ATSJust what Bill Belichick wants – a quarterback controversy. Mac Jones was supposed to be the real deal, but a sprained ankle has opened the door for unheralded and unknown Bailey Zappe – and the fans are now reminiscing about Bledsoe and Brady two decades ago. The Patriots defense shut out the Lions (the NFL’s highest-scoring team) last week, so for those who love D and are not tired of the whole Belichick/NE scene, this game might not be THAT bad. Cleveland is one missed field gal away from a winning record and being tied for first in the NFC North. Not a dog game, but slightly worse than the others.BIGGEST SPREAD – Carolina at Los Angeles Rams (-10.5)Carolina 1-4 SU, 1-4 ATSLos Angeles 2-3 SU, 1-4 ATSThe Rams have quite a few things to sort out, but Concern No. 1 is an offensive line that can’t open holes for the running game. The defending Super Bowl champs are dead last in the league (62 yards a game) running the ball, and that’s makes throwing it even more difficult. Wideout Cooper Kupp is being blanketed and averaging only 7.4 yards per target (way down from previous years). Fortunately for the Rams, the Panthers aren’t much better – they have the worst offense in the NFL. Oddsmakers like the Rams to break out of their funk this week.SMALLEST SPREAD – Washington at Chicago (-1)Washington 1-4 SU, 1-4 ATSChicago 2-3 SU, 2-2-1 ATSSpeaking of teams having trouble moving the ball on the ground, say hello to your dysfunctional Washington Commanders. HC Ron Rivera thinks he knows where the problem lies. Hint: It’s not Ron Rivera. It’s QB Carson Wentz, and when the boss is dissing his most important player, there are major problems. This tight line (Bears -1) is a bit odd considering that Chicago hasn’t been all that bad this season and also QB Justin Fields seems to be figuring things out. Fields was more than decent in last Sunday’s loss to the Vikings and finished with a 118.8 passer rating. He also rushed for 47 yards and had a 52-yard rushing TD called back by a penalty. Still, oddsmakers have listed this one as the lowest total (38.5).LARGEST TOTAL – Buffalo at Kansas City (53.5)Buffalo 4-1 SU, 3-1-1 ATSKansas City 4-1 SU, 2-3 ATSBuffalo has the NFL’s best offense, so it’s a bit counterintuitive that the Bills have covered the total only once in five games. Buffalo is actually 0-3 in games in which the total is 50 or more. The Chiefs, meanwhile, have been in four shootouts already this season and are trying to win games despite a middling pass defense that hasn’t been all that impressive. Expect a lot of over money mid-week which could drive the total even higher before kickoff.

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NFL Week 4 Break Down

Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

Week 4BEST GAME – Kansas City at Tampa Bay (+2.5)Kansas City 2-1 SU, 1-2 ATSTampa Bay 2-1 SU, 2-1 ATSPatrick Mahomes is arguing with coaches. Tom Brady is destroying tablets. What will one of these guys do when one of them loses Sunday night and falls to .500? Light the stadium on fire? KC appears to be having all sorts of trouble after a non-existent running game and disastrous special teams play led to a loss to the Colts. Andy Reid is taking the hit for the Keystone Kops debacle, but the players have a lot of clean up. Speaking of cleaning up messes, Brady’s Bucs went nearly an entire game without a touchdown, then completely fudged up the potential 2-point conversion in a loss to the Packers. Who’s more pissed in the family – Gisele or TB12?WORST GAME – New York Jets at Pittsburgh (-3.5)New York 1-2 SU, 1-2 ATSPittsburgh 1-2 SU 1-1-1 ATSDon’t expect a lot of great quarterback play in this one. Zach Wilson might make his season debut (just waiting for doctors to clear him), and the Jets will no doubt protect him by staying on the ground as long as they can move the chains. If he can’t go, it’s another dose of Joe Flacco. In Pittsburgh, there is some pressure to bench vet Mitch Trubisky and see what they have in rookie Kenny Pickett. Mike Tomlin is not the panicking kind, but if they fall to 1-3 on Sunday, it might be time for someone else under center.BIGGEST SPREAD – New England at Green Bay (-10.5)New England 1-2 SU, 0-2-1 ATSGreen Bay 2-1 SU, 2-1 ATSThe Patriots were finally able to put some points on the board, but still were trounced at home by the Ravens. And now they travel to Green Bay with the very real possibility that Break-Glass-in-Case-of-Emergency quarterback Brian Hoyer will be starting his first game since Week 4 of the 2020 season. NE is tight-lipped about the status of QB Mac Jones (high ankle sprain, on top of a back injury suffered in Week 2), but why risk the health of the future of your franchise in a game that is probably unwinnable anyway? BTW, the last time the Pats were double-digit dogs was in the 2002 Super Bowl, when they were +14.5 and beat the Rams.SMALLEST SPREAD – Denver at Las Vegas (-1.5)Denver 2-1 SU, 1-2 ATSLas Vegas 0-3 SU, 0-3 ATSIs it too late for Josh McDaniels to return to New England? Might be able to solve problems for both franchises. McDaniels was called on the carpet by owner Mark Davis after LV went 1 for 12 on third down and could score only twice in six red zone trips in a loss to Tennessee. Yikes. The books are betting on the losing streak to end, always a dangerous strategy. What should concern McDaniels is that through three games Russell Wilson hasn’t really been Russell Wilson, and this could be the game that that happens.LARGEST TOTAL – Buffalo at Baltimore (51.5)Buffalo 2-1 SU, 2-1 ATSBaltimore 2-1 SU, 2-1 ATSRight now Lamar Jackson is the best player in the National Football League. Whoever is No. 2 is so far behind that no one really cares. Jackson had three touchdown passes and more than 100 yards rushing vs. New England, something no one else has done more than once. The Bills have too much talent and pride to play a field position game in this one, so a wide-open battle can be expected.SMALLEST TOTAL – New England at Green Bay (39.5)This one opened at 42.5, but dropped three points on the news that Mac Jones was dealing with a high ankle sprain. The Patriots won’t talk about the injury, but the entire league knows that the Patriots will try to grind this one out whether or not Jones is a go. Green Bay’s offense appears to have taken a step back as well.

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NFL Week 2 (The Best and Worst!)

Tuesday, Sep 13, 2022

BEST GAMELos Angeles Chargers at Kansas City (-3.5) (Thursday night)Los Angeles 1-0 SU, 1-0 ATSKansas City 1-0 SU, 1-0 ATSAnyone who thought that the Chiefs might be taking their foot off the accelerator pedal was dope-slapped last week when KC went into Arizona and took apart the Cardinals to the tune of 488 total yards --  and 37 points in the first three quarters. KC just looks ready to dominate, even in the tough-as-nails AFC West. The Chargers will probably have to find some kind of a running game (they had just 79 on the ground in their Week 1 win over Las Vegas) to keep this one close. The half-point is enticing, especially if history is any guide – KC started last season 2-7 ATS.WORST GAME New York Jets at Cleveland (-6.5)New York – 0-1 SU, 0-1 ATSCleveland – 1-0 SU, 1-0 ATSIf the Jets were a college team, they would be every team’s Homecoming Weekend opponent. They were out of it early in the opener against the Ravens, forcing Joe Flacco to throw 59 passes – and that’s never a good sign. If the Jets want to avert a journey on another Road to Nowhere, Cleveland would be a good place to start. The Browns are in Waiting for Watson mode, making do with Jacoby Brissette. It was enough against Carolina, but Cleveland will no doubt pound the ball on the ground for at least the first half of the season.LARGEST SPREAD Atlanta at Los Angeles Rams (-10.5)Atlanta – 0-1 SU, 1-0 ATSLos Angeles – 0-1 SU, 0-1 ATSThe Falcons proved to the world that they don’t need Matt Ryan to blow huge leads at home. A total of 416 yards of offense went dust in the wind when Atlanta blew a 16-point fourth-period lead vs. New Orleans and couldn’t get a potential game-winning field goal past the line of scrimmage. The reward for that mess is a visit to the West Coast, where the Rams – licking their own wounds after a humbling 21-point loss at home to the Bills – await. The defending champs will show no mercy if they get ahead. SMALLEST SPREAD Washington at Detroit (-1.5)Washington 1-0 SU, 1-0 ATSDetroit 0-1 SU, 1-0 ATSThe Lions got a back-door cover with 14 late unanswered points in Week 1 vs. the Eagles, and they do have a decent running game which should at least keep them competitive this season. Washington got a W against Jacksonville, but it wasn’t easy – and no one is expecting great things from Carson Wentz this season. The total – 49.5 – is a bit high for two teams that will be spending this week making defensive adjustments.LARGEST TOTAL Minnesota at Philadelphia (52.5)Minnesota 1-0 SU, 1-0 ATSPhiladelphia 1-0 SU 0-1 ATSChargers-Chiefs is actually 54.5, but that’s covered earlier, so we’ll look at this one. This total is directly linked to Philadelphia’s offense and defense. The Eagles actually showed impressive balance (216 yards rushing, 239 passing) in beating the Lions this past week, a win which no doubt has them thinking Why Not Us? in a wide-open NFC East? Jalen Hurts (18 for 32) reminded no one of Johnny Unitas, but a win is a win, and with a soft first-half schedule, beating Minnesota could enable Philly to float to the top of the division by Halloween.LOWEST TOTAL New England at Pittsburgh (40.5)New England 0-1 SU, 0-1 ATSPittsburgh 1-0 SU, 1-0 ATSThe Steelers are a slight underdog in this one, which is head-scratching considering they’re at home against a Patriots team that is walking in quicksand, has not yet shown any signs of life, and is led by a quarterback who might be nursing an injured back. Hard to figure out what the oddsmakers see here, other than the fact that New England always seems to play well in Pittsburgh. Don’t expect too many passes from Mac Jones as the Pats offense keeps trying to figure things out in the post-Cam Newton Era.

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NFL 2022/23 Preview

Sunday, Aug 28, 2022

Winning back-to-back Super Bowls is incredibly difficult, and hasn’t been accomplished since the 2003 and 2004 Patriots were laying the foundation for their dynasty. Even getting to the SB two straight times requires lots of talent and lots of breaks. This year the defending-champion Rams at least have the talent part locked down, and they have made a down payment on the luck portion as they compete in a weakened NFC and NFC West. Arizona may cause some trouble, but San Francisco hasn’t quite got its act together and for the first time in more than a decade Seattle will sit down at the table without Russell Wilson calling signals. Life would have been simpler for the Rams if Aaron Rodgers had followed through on threats to walk away and Tom Brady had extended his departure from two weeks to six months, but the Rams are – on paper – at least as strong as they were last year. Oddsmakers have listed the Rams at +1100 to win the SB for the second straight time, with an O/U win total of 10.5.---The Bills aren’t likely to win 11 straight division titles like the Patriots did between 2009 and 2019, but they have two in a row in their back pockets, and they’re heavy (-225) favorites to make it a hat trick. Buffalo just doesn’t have any obvious weaknesses on a deep roster. The O/U win total is set at 12, which will no doubt scare away some bettors. But if they cover that at 13-4, it likely will result in a home-field edge throughout the playoffs and give them a huge advantage on the road to the Super Bowl (the Bills are favored there, at +600). Such is the strength of the roster that the only concern is the loss of Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll, who is now the HC of the Giants. Strong-armed Josh Allen, an MVP candidate, will continue to lead the offense, while the defense with start five former first-round picks and again be among the best in the league.---Could there possibly be a more enticing opening day game than Bills vs. Rams in Los Angeles? Buffalo opened as a 1-point favorite, but early wagering has pushed the Bills to -2.5.---Futures bettors may be getting cold feet after watching the Packers flame out of the playoffs for two straight seasons, but come on. The Packers are still loaded, they still have Rodgers and they are among the Super Bowl favorites (+1140). Rodgers should have little trouble finding open receivers even after the trade of Pro Bowler Davante Adams, but with AR the issue always seems to be what’s happening off the field. Signing a three-year contract – even at age 37 -- may ease concerns somewhat, but with Rodgers you never know. Oddsmakers give him more than a puncher’s chance to win his third MVP, at +850 and behind Allen (+650), Patrick Mahomes (+750) and Brady (+800).---There’s a concern in New England that Year 3 of the post-Tom Brady Era won’t go any better than Years 1 or 2 – and could even be worse. The reconstructed offense has been a penalty-filled mess in the pre-season, second-year QB Mac Jones has been mediocre and no one even knows what coach is calling the plays. Patriot starters got pushed around by Raider reserve in the final exhibition, raising red flags from Maine to Connecticut. Oddsmakers have adjusted accordingly, dropping NE to +4200 to win the Super Bowl after being listed at +3500 prior to the start of training camp. The Patriots are even a slight (+160) dog to make the playoffs, with the Over/Under win total at 8.5. The Pats face the headwinds of a loaded AFC and an improved AFC East. Bill Belichick has pulled rabbits out of his hat in the past, but the fact remains that his SU coaching without Brady under center is 51-66.

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College Football 2022/23

Saturday, Aug 20, 2022

It’s college football season again, and as always it starts – alphabetically (sorry, Air Force; sorry, Akron) and in the polls and certainly in expectations – with Alabama. Who else?Whether you like the AP Poll, the Coaches Poll, Sports Illustrated’s poll, or any one of dozens of podcasts,  the Tide are No. 1. And not too many people doubt that they will be there come Jan. 9 at the championship game in Los Angeles.Just about every online sportsbook has Alabama in the +175 to +185 range to add another national championship to its disputed number. Arguments about polling put the number at between 15 and 20, and the Tide naturally claim the latter number.Oddsmakers have listed Alabama’s Over-Under number at 10.5, and the first win will be in the books after they hand visiting Utah State a fat visitors check for agreeing to take a right to the chin from Nick Saban’s juggernaut on September 3. The Tide are a modest 39-point favorite in that one.---Alabama going into the opener as a five-touchdown favorite raises the issue of huge spreads early in the season. Coaches of power programs are loath to take a loss early on, so they lure a weak opponent with a barrel of cash, grab a confidence-building victory, and hope no one gets hurt as they prep for the conference season and real games. Bettors looking at wide-spread games like to key in on the defense of the dog rather than the offense of the favorite. Another factor is the guaranteed loser’s style of play. Does the patsy have a decent running game that can go on at least one clock-killing drive that leads to winning one of the four quarters? As for the predator, does the coach get off on running up a score? All things to consider.---If you like to cash by fading bad teams, there are some interesting FBS options. New Mexico State is on everyone’s list of among the worst teams in the country, and new coach Jerry Kill (perhaps the best name ever for a coach of a bad unit) hopes to breathe some life into an independent program that is coming off two straight 10-loss seasons and has had only one winning season since 2003 (7-6 in 2017 as a member of the Sun Belt Conference). Two other prime candidates are in the big-time football desert of New England, where Connecticut faces the ultimate long-shot joke odds of 500,000-1 to win the national title, and Massachusetts opens at a 29-point dog against a Tulane team coming off a 2-10 season of its own.---Looking for a possible surprise team? Look West – specifically, look at Utah. The 8.5 O-U on the Utes seems to be undervalued for a team that has won at least nine games in each of the last three full seasons (eliminating the Covid year) and appears to be more than solid this time around. Utah is a legit 2.5-point road favorite in its opener at Florida and features plenty of star power in returning QB Cam Rising and RB Tavion Thomas. Rising has the perfect name for a QB, and a convincing win in the Swamp could get him in the early Heisman conversation. Mix in a decent defense with almost everyone returning from last season, and Utah could open some eyes.---Speaking of the Heisman, the early betting favorite is Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud, who finished fourth last year and stands at +200 in most places. The No. 2-ranked Buckeyes figure to roll this season as they wait for Alabama to stumble. OSU is a two-touchdown favorite at home against No. 5 Notre Dame in the opener. There is talk that Stroud may run the ball more this season, which increases his chances of getting dinged.

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The NBA Western Conference Finals

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Is it time to bid farewell to the NBA as we once knew it?There will be a new champion, and it will come from a group of four teams that couldn’t even make it to Round 2 last season. Besides the Bucks being unable to repeat, we have said adios to Brooklyn, a team built with three stars; Phoenix, which tied its horse to aging Chris Paul but could get only so far; and Philadelphia, who appears to have hitched its wagon to a James Harden whose best days are in the rearview mirror and getting smaller by the game.With the old guard and the old way of assembling teams skating on thin ice, say hello to the Dallas Mavericks and its single-star concept. Whether by design or just Mark Cuban’s inability to add another big gun to the roster, the Mavs have ridden Luka Doncic and a plethora of role players all the way to the Western Conference finals.Dallas opens final four play Wednesday night against the Warriors, a (very) veteran team that represents the last holdout for the three-star concept. If the Mavs are able to overcome considerable odds (GS is -210, Dallas +180 in the series) and actually takes care of business, it could mean that other teams will take a long hard look before they accede to the wishes of superstars and try to load up on talent and let the rest take care of itself.Against the heavily favored Suns in the Western semis, Doncic scoffed when Phoenix took a 2-0 series lead, then put the hammer down in an astonishing Game 7. Doncic scored Dallas’s first 8 points, the Mavs had a 57-27 lead at halftime, and then spent the third quarter conducting an autopsy on the beleaguered Suns. The lead was 46 at one point, as Suns stars Paul and Devin Booker had zero answers.Dallas is hardly expecting Golden State to be as compliant as the Suns were. Steph Curry is Steph Curry, Klay Thompson is rounding into form after returning from injury, and Draymond Green is always ready to bust a vein when things go even a little bit wrong. The Warriors’ pass-and-cut offense allows the defense no rest, and even Doncic will have to work on the other end.Doncic won’t have to do it alone, but any help he gets will come from an unlikely source – because the rest of the rotation is filled with unlikely sources. Jalen Brunson is as close to Robin as there is for Doncic’s Batman, but Brunson will have his hands full running through screens and chasing Curry or Thompson.  Spencer Dinwiddie torched the Suns for 30 (9 more than Paul and Booker had, combined) but is in and out. Reggie Bullock and Dwight Powell scare no one.The Warriors, who are 5-point favorites in Wednesday’s Game 1, will no doubt game plan to tire and slow down Doncic, who was admittedly in poor shape to start the season. In Round 1 Utah made only token efforts at defense, and the Suns simply ran out of gas and lacked a coherent defensive approach. GS coach Steve Kerr will no doubt come up with something, perhaps hounding the ball-dominant Donic the same way that Boston harassed Milwaukee do-everything Giannis Antetkounmpo. Giannas had nothing left by the second half of Game 7 after dealing with multiple defenders and double-teams for two weeks. OTOH, the Bucks couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean from 3, and that’s what Golden State does best.Ask the oddsmakers, and they’ll simply count the number of stars on each team, and tell you that the Warriors will make another run at the title. They’re the betting favorite to win it all at +135, with Boston (+175) and Miami (+490) behind GS. Bringing up the rear are the Mavericks, at +565. More motivation for a team with one star aching to change the power structure and perhaps alter the way teams are built in the Association.

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The NBA Eastern Conference Finals

Monday, May 16, 2022

Remember the Boston Celtics from the first half of this NBA season? Well, you can forget them, because they don’t exist anymore. The .500 Celtics have been replaced with the playoff nightmare that has now taken down the dysfunctional Brooklyn Nets and the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, and is now turning its hungry eyes southward toward Miami.The Celtics have only one day of rest before they deal with the Heat in Miami in Game 1 of what has become a fascinating Eastern Conference playoffs. That fact, plus the first two games being in South Florida, has hardly fazed oddsmakers who have already installed Boston as the favorite to escape the East and take on either Golden State or Dallas in the Finals. Bovada has the Celtics at -170 in the EC finals, and Miami at +150 – even though Miami is a consensus -2 favorite in Game 1.If the Celtics are tired from their seven-game grinder of a series against the Bucks, the momentum from their 28-point (109-81) Game 7 hammering of the Bucks should help compensate for weary bones. Plus, the Heat have only a day to figure out what to do about a Boston offense that suddenly is fat with production from unlikely sources. What kind of odds could you have gotten at the corner bar on Grant Williams outscoring Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 7? Or bottom-of-the-rotation guard Payton Pritchard getting big minutes and hit killer 3 after killer 3?This past Sunday’s domination of the Bucks (Boston outscored Milwaukee by a combined total of 38 points in Games 6 and 7) certainly raised eyebrows in South Beach, and no doubt they will try something different to contain Boston superstar-in-the-making Jayson Tatum. Tatum was “held” to 23, 6 rebounds and 8 assists on Sunday as he willingly passed up shots (something he didn’t do early on this season), but Miami knows it will most likely get the Game 6 Tatum (46, 9 and 4). How Erik Spoelstra decides to defend Tatum will be a fascinating for NBA X’s and O’s geeks. Tatum saw a wide array of double-teams when these teams met in the Bubble EC finals a few years ago, but Tatum has since become a more willing facilitator.On the other end of the court, the Heat will have different issues in trying to penetrate Boston’s best-in-the-NBA defense, the one which has gotten the better of Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant over the last three weeks. No small feat. And consider that Boston’s defensive anchor, center Robert Williams, played sparingly in the Milwaukee series due to a leg injury, and he should be good to go against the Heat.Boston coach Ime Udoka gambled, successfully, that he wouldn’t need Robert Williams in Game 7.In the Bubble EC finals the Celtics were drawn and quartered as they tried to defend Bam Adebayo with Daniel Theis. This time around Theis will be a 10-minute-a-game sub and Al Horford is back to deal with Miami’s length at the position. Toss in Robert Williams, who was a non-factor in the 2020 playoffs vs. the Heat, and the Celtics are a different team in the paint. And this time around Boston’s defense doesn’t have to compensate for opposing guards blowing by Kemba Walker and getting to the rim.In addition to Boston being favored to win this series, the Celtics are listed at +210 to +240 to win the NBA title, depending on the book. That’s after opening the season at +5000. Miami is +440 to +500, after starting the season at +3500.

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American League - Over/Under Preview

Sunday, Apr 03, 2022

A look at Over/Under win totals for each American League team (last year’s record in parentheses):AMERICAN LEAGUE EASTBALTIMORE (52-110) 2022 O/U – 62.5The endless rebuild continues in Baltimore, where the Orioles hope to improve a woeful pitching staff (5.84 ERA) by moving back the fences at Camden Yards.BOSTON (92-70)2022 O/U – 85.5The starting rotation is Scotch-taped together after losing ace Chris Sale to injury for the first part of the season. But the Red Sox always hit, and the lineup got a boost with the signing of free agent second baseman Trevor Story. Expect lots of 8-7 games.NEW YORK (92-70)2022 O/U – 91.5The Yankees were a streaky team last season as the lineup ran hot and cold, partly because of the lack of left-handed bats in the lineup. Hopefully Josh Donaldson, acquired from the Twins, helps provide some balance. Gerrit Cole (16-8 last year) leads a decent rotation.TAMPA BAY (100-62)2022 O/U – 89.5Two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber joins a starting staff that was already solid, fronting for a lineup that scored the second-most runs in the majors in 2021.  Rays have won more games than any team in the A.L. over the past three seasons.TORONTO (91-72)2022 O/U – 92.5Losing Cy Young winner Robbie Ray and second baseman Marcus Semien was tough to swallow, but the Jays still have talent on hand. Expect lots of runs from a solid lineup led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., whose 48 homers last season tied for the ML lead.AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRALCHICAGO (93-69)2022 O/U – 91.5Two straight playoff appearances – and two straight first-round losses. The White Sox are hoping for more this season, behind a deep rotation that has no real ace and an excellent lineup led by Tim Anderson and Jose Abreau.CLEVELAND (80-82)2022 O/U – 76.5Low payroll and low expectations for the Guardians. Veteran manager Terry Francona will have his work cut out with this group. Injuries kept No. 1 Shane Bieber to 16 starts last season, and if he can’t stay on the field more this season, it won’t be pretty.DETROIT (77-85)2022 O/U – 77.5Five straight losing seasons were apparently enough for management, which bumped up the payroll and brought on starter Eduardo Rodriguez and several others. Tigers are hoping Miguel Cabrera can still drive in runs at age 39.KANSAS CITY (74-88)2022 O/U – 74.5Look who’s back! Zack Greinke, who won the Cy in KC in 2009. He’ll head a young staff that showed some promise last season. All eyes will be on shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., considered the top prospect in the majors.MINNESOTA (73-89)2022 O/U – 81.5The offense should not be a problem, especially with the arrival of premier shortstop Carlos Correia. The problem is the pitching staff, which will throw to former Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez. None of the projected starting staff had an ERA under 4 last season.AMERICAN LEAGUE WESTHOUSTON (95-67)2022 O/U – 91.5Correia is gone, but plenty of talent remains from last season’s World Series losers. Justin Verlander returns from Tommy John surgery, and if he’s 80 percent of what he was, the staff will be among the best. Scoring runs won’t be a problem.OAKLAND (86-76)2022 O/U – 70.5At least the A’s are consistent. Develop players, then trade them away before you have to pay them. The post-lockout exodus (Olsen, Chapman, Bassitt) was almost immediate. A move to Las Vegas seems inevitable; only the details remain.LOS ANGELES (77-85)2022 O/U – 83.5If, if, if the Angeles stay somewhat healthy (looking at you, Mike Trout and Tony Rendon), then they’ll have a puncher’s chance at ending their 7-year playoff drought. Noah Syndergaard should bolster the starting staff and Michael Lorenzen should boost the bullpen.SEATTLE (90-72)2022 O/U – 83.5Has it really been 20 years since the Mariners made the playoffs? Yikes. That streak is in serious danger this season as Seattle progresses. Cy Young winner Robbie Ray leads the staff, and if the offense is even a little above average, the Mariners could surprise.TEXAS (60-102)2022 O/U – 74.5The Rangers are another team trying to spend their way out of the dumpster. The middle of the infield will feature Corey Seager and second baseman Marcus Semien. None of the projected starters – including free agent Jon Gray – had a winning record last year.

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National League - Over/Under Preview

Sunday, Apr 03, 2022

A look at Over/Under win totals for each National League team (last year’s record in parentheses):NATIONAL LEAGUE EASTATLANTA (88-73)2022 O/U – 90.5Matt Olson replaces fixture Freddie Freeman at first base, bit otherwise the Braves will run out the same squad that last season produced their first World Series title since 1995. Slugger Ronald Acuna played only half a season in 2021 due to injury, and he will miss maybe a month of this year. Starting pitching could be the only real problem.MIAMI (67-95)2022 O/U – 76.5The rebuild is ongoing, and the Marlins could make a run at .500. The offense was awful last season, but got a boost when Miami acquired corner outfielders Jorge Soler and Avisail Garcia – they combined for 56 home runs last season.NEW YORK (77-85)2022 O/U – 90.5Anything less than a World Series appearance will disappoint Mets fans, who saw their team add Max Scherzer and All-Star Chris Bassitt to a rotation headed by Jacob deGrom. One concern – the Mets are old, and old teams tend to accumulate a lot of injuries.PHILADELPHIA (82-80)2022 O/U – 85.5Bryce Harper won the NL MVP last season, but it was nowhere near enough for the Phillies. So they added two more bats – Nick Castellano and Kyle Schwarber – to juice the lineup. Decent health could help the Phillies make the playoffs for the first time since the 2011 team led by Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard.WASHINGTON (65-97)2022 O/U – 71.5Anything close to .500 would be a dream season for the 2019 champs, who are starting from scratch after selling off most of their top players last season. Signing face of the franchise Juan Soto is a top priority. Ace Steven Strasburg is still recovering from his second straight season-ending injury.NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRALCHICAGO (71-91)2022 O/U – 75.5Lots of question marks at Wrigley this time around. A mid-season salary dump (Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo) led to a predictable late-season dive, but opened the door for youngsters. The top of the rotation isn’t bad – Kyle Kendicks (14-7) and newcomer Marcus Stroman.CINCINNATI (83-79)2022 O/U – 74.5The Reds can score, but can they score enough to compensate for a pitching staff that is dependent on some rookies and already dealing with injuries? NL MVP Jonathan India and veteran Joey Votto anchor a solid lineup. Oddsmakers see a significant dip after last year’s +.500 season.MILWAUKEE (95-67)2022 O/U – 88.5Have to like the chances of any team with three All-Stars – Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta – in the rotation and the game’s best closer in Josh Hader. The offense went flat in the playoff loss to the Braves, but they should at minimum get to the post-season for the fifth straight year.PITTSBURGH (61-101)2022 O/U – 65.5Fans may be tired of rebuilds, but that’s life in Pittsburgh. At least the Bucs can sell the future without lying as the minor league system is littered with talent. That won’t help right now, though. One interesting newcomer is Seiya Suzuki, who hit 38 homers in Japan last season.ST. LOUIS (90-72)2022 O/U – 84.5No one is really sure why manager Mike Schildt was canned, but new field boss Oliver Marmol has a veteran team to lead. Even Card legend Albert Pujols is back for a final good-bye (as DH). Injuries in the rotation could cause some problems early, so scoring runs will be a priority.NATIONAL LEAGUE WESTARIZONA (52-110)2022 O/U – 66.5Watching the bottom line often gets you to the bottom of the division in MLB, and that’s where the Diamondbacks find themselves. They’ve added no one of significance to a team that had the fewest (tied with Baltimore) wins in the MLB a year ago. Should be interesting to see if Madison Bumgarner has anything left.COLORADO (74-87)2022 O/U – 68.5The Rockies seem cemented into fourth place in the West, and hope against hope that newcomer Kris Bryant will jolt the team toward a playoff berth. Losing Trevor Story to the Red Sox was a tough body blow. Pitching is always an issue in Colorado, and they also lost starter Jon Gray. Crossing fingers.LOS ANGELES (106-56)2022 O/U – 97.5More coal to Newcastle, as the 106-win Dodgers bulked up the lineup by buying slugger Freddie Freeman. Are there any holes on this team? Maybe not. Walker Buehler (16-4) is now the ace, but Clayton Kershaw can still get batters out, so losing Max Scherzer won’t be the end of the world.SAN DIEGO (79-83)2022 O/U – 88.5SAN FRANCISCO (107-55)2022 O/U – 85.5Injuries late last season ended the Padres’ post-season hopes, and already NL home run champ Fernando Tatis is hurt (wrist) and will miss a few months. At least the rotation looks healthy right now, with Yu Darvish and Blake Snell carrying a lot of the load.SAN FRANCISCO (107-55)2022 O/U – 85.5The Giants just refuse to go away as a contender. They won’t win 107 again, but a playoff spot is within reach. All eyes will be on top prospect Joey Bart as he replaces Buster Posey behind the plate. Offense could be a problem if long-time vets Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt start to show their age.

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Are The Boston Celtics For Real?

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022

Just what in the name of Sam Adams is happening in Boston these days?Left for dead and getting booed off their home court on a semi-regular basis through the first 50 games of the season, out of nowhere the Celtics have somehow cobbled together one of the greatest turnarounds in NBA regular-season history. Boston was a .500 team last season and .500 again through 50 games this year before going on the mother of all tears – winning 21 of 24, including a 28-point beatdown of a good Jazz team on Wednesday in a game that wasn’t anywhere near as close as the final score indicated.The early part of Boston’s current streak drew little attention as NBA eyes were focused on James Harden shooting his way off another team, Ben Simmons refusing to play at all and the Lakers being either hurt or pissed at the world (sometimes both). But as the Celtics have surged past team after team in the East, the outside world is paying attention.Boston opened the year at +4000 to win it all, a number that has melted to +1000 in some books. FWIW, Stephen A. Smith is starting to blow Boston’s horn as the team to beat, and the number-crunching basketball folks at 538.com have been saying for nearly a month that the Larry O’Brien Trophy will be heading to Beantown come June.So what gives?Offensively the Celtics have ridden the coattails of forwards Jayson Tatum (who has been a 30-ppg machine of late) and Jaylen Brown. But the real work is done on the defensive end. Boston has the NBA’s best defense, and the gap between the Celtics and No. 2 is gaping. Marcus Smart is a dog on the perimeter, and finally-healthy big Robert Williams is fast enough to guard the 3-point line and recover to defend the rim when Boston is caught in transition. The Celtics haven’t had a shot-blocker like Williams since Bill Russell.[It’s interesting to note here that the best defensive players on the best defensive team aren’t getting much love from oddsmakers in the Defensive Player of the Year discussion. Robert Wiliams (+1100) is fourth, behind heavy favorite Bam Adebayo (+115), Rudy Gobert and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Smart (+4000) is a distant eighth.]The rest of the rotation, which was tightened after mid-season trades sent rotation players Dennis Schroder and Josh Richardson out of town, includes rejuvenated veteran big Al Horford, emerging 3-point shooters Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard; and glue guard Derrick White, who came over from San Antonio at the trade deadline.For the first few months of the season rookie coach Ime Udoka (a Gregg Popovich disciple) must have wondered why he took he took the job. Tatum and Brown had continued the My Turn / Your Turn ISO play that Celtics fans had witnessed nightly since the Celtics lost to the Heat in the bubble in the Eastern Conference finals. That style of play led to a 61-61 record over the next year-plus – until everything came together in late January.Ripping through the soft underbelly of the schedule and playing against weak teams and teams dealing with Covid player absences, Boston ran off nine straight wins and then continued white hot post-All-Star break. The dismantling of the Jazz was Boston’s fifth straight, and came on the heels of a 4-0 road trip that included wins over Golden State (yes, the one in which Steph Curry got hurt) and Denver. The Celtics won those four games by an average of nearly 20 ppg.Boston’s surge, combined with periodic inconsistent play by Miami, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Chicago and Cleveland, moved the Celtics to within shouting distance (1.5 games) of first place in the East – a stunning 180 for a fan base which only a few months before had been talking about trading one, or both, of the J’s and embarking on a complete rebuild.Can Boston continue its Sherman-like march to the sea, get out of the East and possibly get that elusive championship banner No. 18, its first since the Garnett-Pierce-Allen title team of 2008? Oddsmakers still like Brooklyn to at least get to the Finals, and the Bucks, 76ers and Heat are all listed higher than the Celtics (+550) in the conference.At a minimum, though, Boston has shot its way into the conversation. And as any talking head this side of Charles Barkley will tell you, offense can come and go but defense and effort are more permanent and can take you far. Last year the Celtics were doused in five by the Nets in the first round after winning the 7-8 Play-In Game. But that was long ago, and in a galaxy far away.

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NBA Awards Odds Update

Monday, Mar 07, 2022

Homestretch in the Association, and as time runs short here’s a look at the who, what, when, where and why for the leading contenders for individual awards. Odds are current.MVPJoel Embiid -115Nikola Jokic +300Giannis Antetokounmpo +550Embiid seemed giddy after his Sixers sent out non-participant Ben Simmons and role players for James Harden, and indeed Harden’s arrival in Philadelphia may have come too late in the game to disrupt the narrative that Embiid is going to win it after carrying the team on his back in a much-stronger Eastern Conference.  What could deny Embiid the trophy is a 76er slump over the final few weeks – and the schedule appears daunting – that could drop them two or three spots in the cramped East and created doubts in the minds of the voters. Jokic’s odds seem a little skewed considering Denver has slipped to 6th in the West, chances of a repeat MVP sliding along with the team. Antetokounmpo’s brilliance could produce a third MVP, were it not for the fact that Embiid’s relatively good health and Philly’s sustained strong play in the absence of Simmons has kept the spotlight on the Philly center. Ja Morant and DeMar DeRozen could break into the top 3, but Boston’s Jayson Tatum is surging too late after mediocre play for the first two-thirds of the season.MOST IMPROVEDJa Morant  -1100Miles Bridges +900Darius Garland +1500Morant might be in the MVP discussion were it not for the fact that his Grizzlies played well even when he was out injured, but he’s had the MIP Award locked up since the holidays. As Larry Bird said at the All-Star Game 3-point contest way back when, “Which of you guys is playing for second place?” Morant’s numbers are up across the board (his scoring average jumped more than 8 points over last year), and more importantly Memphis is getting long hard looks from pundits who think that the young Grizzlies can win a few playoff rounds in a diminished Western Conference.  Bridges has been a solid contributor in his first year as a starter for Charlotte and Garland has thrived in Cleveland with Collin Sexton out, but this hardware will belong to Morant.ROOKIE OF THE YEAREvan Mobley -650Scottie Barnes +500Cade Cunningham +600Hard to see Mobley NOT becoming the third Cavalier to win the Rookie of the Year trophy (after LeBron James and Kyrie Irving). The big man can do a lot of things that today’s big men are asked to do, and he’s had a huge impact on the team’s success. Mobley had 20 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks and 4 assists this past weekend as the Cavs ended a 6-losses-in-7-games skid by beating Toronto. If Cleveland has a half-decent finish to the season and stays clear of the Play-In tournament, Mobley should have more than enough solid play in the bank to hold off Barnes. Cunningham is the future in Detroit, and he has the Pistons finishing strong, but the No. 1 overall draft pick was hurt early and struggled mid-season. If the team improves and he stays healthy, he will be a MIP candidate in 2022-23.SIXTH MAN OF THE YEARTyler Herro -2500Kelly Oubre +2500Kevin Love +2500Herro put this one to bed early on, being a 20-ppg scorer off the bench (and sometimes starter; he averages 33 minutes) and a key cog in Miami’s system of interchangeable parts. It doesn’t hurt that the Heat control the East and barring a bad run should have home-court advantage for the first three playoff rounds. Oubre (Hornets) and Love (Cavaliers) are long shots at best.DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEARRudy Gobert -150Giannis Antetokounmpo +425Jaren Jackson Jr. +900Yes, the Jazz have slipped and yes there’s probably something to the talk about discord in Salt Lake City. But the chalk right now is Gobert, and strange things would have to happen down the stretch for Gobert not to win this award for the fourth time. East big men Bam Adebayo (Miami) and Robert Williams (Boston) are laying the groundwork for runs at this award when Gobert starts to run out of gas.COACH OF THE YEARMonty Williams -300J.B. Bickerstaff +375Taylor Jenkins +650Williams clinched this award when Phoenix took complete control of the West with an 8-game winning streak in February, and the Suns can spend the rest of the year getting its Chris Paul / Devin Booker backcourt healthy for the post-season. Another Finals trip is definitely possible for Williams. Bickerstaff will get some love from the voters, for sure, but the Cavs’ struggles of late will cost him at the ballot box. Likewise with Memphis’s Jenkins. Boston’s Ime Udoka (+5000) is out the running, but the Celtics are scorching hot and talk of him being on thin ice is now off the table.

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Are The Memphis Grizzlies For Real?

Wednesday, Feb 23, 2022

The home stretch is all that remains in this odd NBA season, and out West, more and more standings watchers and hard-core bettors are starting to pay attention to the Memphis Grizzlies, who may have – under the radar – assembled what may be shaping up as the next powerhouse in the Association.Since flaming out if the Bubble a few seasons ago, the Grizzlies’ numbers are staggering. Over the last two Covid-scarred seasons, they somehow are 82-50 against the spread, including 40-20 this season. Suffice to say, that’s the best in the NBA, and it’s doubtful that any of the other decent cover teams (Oklahoma City, Chicago, Toronto) will have a better betting scorecard once the regular season finishes up in mid-April.How did the Grizz get so good, so fast? Actually, not so fast. Since bottoming out (22-60 SU) in 2017-18, Memphis has gotten steadily better each year since. And lucky. Very, very lucky. Especially on May 15, 2019, when the Ping Pong balls fell their way and the New Orleans Pelicans got the No. 1 pick and were saddled with the heaping, injured mass that now passes for Zion Williamson. The Grizz settled for a 6-foot-3 guard from mid-major Murray State named Ja Morant, and Memphis was off to the races.Like many stars, Morant has missed some time this season, and to be honest his MVP chances suffered a tad when the Grizzlies played well without him. But he’s still on the periphery of the chase, in the mix with luminaries such as Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, DeMar DeRozan, last year’s winner Nikola Jokic and this year’s heavy favorite Joel Embiid. Morant is at +1800 and would need bad things to happen to the others to pull through, but just to be listed in the conversation speaks volumes about what he has done for the franchise.Memphis won’t be able to catch Phoenix for the top seed in the West, and likely won’t fall to fourth unless Utah goes nuts in the final eight weeks. But the Grizzlies have a legitimate shot at catching third-place Golden State for second in the West, and possibly securing home-court advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs.Speaking of the playoffs, neither Memphis’s solid season nor its 8-2 pre-All Star Game tear (that despite a trap game loss at home to Portland in the final game before the break) has impressed oddsmakers all that much. Yes, the Grizzlies have melted the odds of winning the title from +10000 pre-season to +2500 currently, but the books still think either other teams – Golden State, Phoenix, Brooklyn, Milwaukee,Philadelphia, Miami – have a better shot than does Memphis. And they even list Boston (underachiever all year) and Utah (limping of late) at +2500, the same as Memphis. As Rodney Dangerfield would say if he was still here, “How do you get any respect around here?”The final leg of the season starts Thursday night in Minnesota, where the Grizzlies will be a +2.5-point road favorite. Tough games at Chicago and Boston are also on the docket before they begin a very benign eight-game stats-fattening run against teams with losing records before the schedule toughens again over the final few weeks of the regular season.All the while, bettors need to answer a few questions as they ponder laying money down on a young-and-hungry Grizzlies team:1.      After covering two games out of every three since October, is there any meat left on the bone, or will a combination of complacency and books adjusting the spreads bring Memphis back to the pack?2.      Will the Grizzlies, who are the NBA’s No. 1 offensive team (113.8 ppg), be able to continue their success in the playoffs when opponents can game-plan and play tends to slow down?“Our goal is to win the championship, and I feel like as long as we stay locked in, continue to grow together, play together, that goal can be achieved,” Morant said at the All-Star festivities. “We just got to stay the course, take it day by day and let it play out.”

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Strange Times In The NBA

Monday, Feb 14, 2022

Welcome to the peculiar world of the NBA, where one player who refuses to shoot raised the stakes by refusing to even play, then was traded for a player who twice in 13 months has forced a trade to another team by playing by expending hardly any effort.Player empowerment, indeed.So here we are in the post-trade deadline Association, pointing toward the home stretch of the regular season and digesting the betting impact of James Harden now joining forces with Joel Embiid and forming a Super Duo in Philadelphia -- plus figuring out if Ben Simmons can get his head on straight enough to actually play for Brooklyn along with two other stars who for various reasons rack up lots of their own DNPs.The Harden-Simmons swap has certainly been a huge boost for NBA media types, but has it affected the betting world all that much? Let’s take a look:Prior to the start of the season, oddsmakers operated under the assumption that Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving just had more talent than anyone else, and their Nets were installed as heavy +230 favorites to be left standing when the Larry O’Brien Trophy was handed out in June. Then things started to go sideways, Irving was a 50 percent Covid casualty (playing only road games), Durant was hurt and for the second time in 13 months, Harden pouted his way into the trade. Two weeks before the Simmons trade, Brooklyn’s odds moved to +350.With everything that could go wrong actually going wrong, the Nets embarked on a losing streak that by the end of this past week had reached 11. Oddsmakers took notice of it all and made new-look Brooklyn a more attractive +450 to win it all.Anyone laying cash on the Nets at this point must believe that at least two of three things must happen:1.      Durant’s ailing left knee is healed and he is a reasonable facsimile of vintage Durant come playoff time.2.      The city of New York eases Covid's rules and allows Irving to be a full-time player.3.      Simmons gets over whatever is bothering him (or was faking it to force a trade) and blends in.All this assumes that Brooklyn will even qualify for the playoffs. Heading into this week’s action the Nets (21-33-2 ATS this season, BTW) were in 8th place and staring down the barrel of a play-in berth.Things are somewhat rosier in Philadelphia, where fans figure they got the better of the deal by bringing on an offensive force in Harden to pair with Embiid at the cost of a PITA who wasn’t playing for them anyway.The Sixers opened play this season at +1800, a number that made sense considering that one of their two All-Stars was refusing to even show up after botching the playoffs last spring. But Embiid avoided major injuries, not having Simmons has freed others to step up, and by late January the odds had been adjusted to +1000. With Harden on board and everyone feeling the pressure to at least win the East, Philly stands at +700.And there will be pressure. Tons of it, mostly on the shoulders of coach Doc Rivers. Philly has gone all-in,  knowing that it couldn't waste another year of Embiid’s prime and had to make life easier on the oft-injured center in what could be an MVP season. If Harden + Embiid doesn’t equal at least an Eastern Conference title, their franchise that was built on tanking will have to reassess its approach. Again.In the West, the trade-deadline silence from the Lakers camp was deafening. Devoid of available No. 1 draft picks to deal and with a roster filled with unproductive veterans hoping that LeBron James’s coattails with getting them a ring, LA was hamstrung despite being desperate for a roster upgrade.The Lakers had opened the season at +425 and the favorite to win the West, then melted to +1800 by late January amid injuries, poor play and the realization that the Russell Westbook acquisition had turned to dust. The neutered (a whopping +3000) Lakers are now 5 games under .500, in play-in territory themselves, and reduced to hoping that when (if) the post-season arrives, LeBron can somehow intimidate opponents as he once did.Strange times indeed in an NBA which seems to somehow have been turned on its head.

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Breaking Down The Confusing LA Lakers

Monday, Jan 24, 2022

If they were of a mind, and healthy enough, the Los Angeles Lakers could send out onto the court a team of five players who either are guaranteed spots in the Hall of Fame, or have a real good chance of getting there.The Lakers played in Miami this past Sunday afternoon in Miami, and the five future immortals of the game – LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard – had a combined plus-minus total of minus-51. And it was only halftime. Anthony Davis (out for more than a month with a sprained left knee) was spared the embarrassment.It wasn’t supposed to be anything like this. Bad enough that LeBron and LA were forced to endure the embarrassment of being part of the Play-In Tournament last season. This season they may have again to hustle to avoid being participants in the gimmick. Peasants are supposed to bow to royalty, not the other way around.But here they are, under .500 after the weekend’s play, with a losing record on the road, a losing record in the conference, closer to last place than to first in the West, and scoring fewer points per game than their opponents. They’re 2-5 SU and also 2-5 ATS in their last seven, and their defense is so bad that 7 of their last 9 games have gone Over.The Lakers are the oldest team in an NBA that celebrates its youth. They average out to over 30 years old per, and of late they have often appeared to be twice that, especially on the defensive end. Against the Heat, Trevor Ariza and backup center Dwight Howard had a grand total of zero points in 27 minutes. Westbrook scored 24, but much of it was after the game had been decided.Having so many vets and so little youth is no doubt a move to placate James, who himself is starting to accumulate aches and pains after so many indestructible seasons. James is actually having a solid offensive season – he’s averaging nearly 29 ppg, which if it holds would be his best offensive year since 2009-10. And that’s playing every position on the court, even center in Davis’s absence.As a franchise the Lakers are not a patient bunch, so they are a team to watch as the trade deadline nears. But what to trade? Talen Horton-Tucker might have a little value, but beyond him, the bench consists of the likes of DeAndre Jordan, Wayne Ellington, and Kent Bazemore, all of whom are just collecting checks at this point in their careers.If the roster remains pretty much intact through the Feb. 10 trade deadline, that could be bad news for coach Frank Vogel. One betting line had Vogel no better than even money to finish the season. Like several other teams battling injuries and player absences due to Covid, the front office most likely wants to see what it has when the gang is all together (Davis is due back any day). Jettisoning Vogel might keep the fan base from all-out revolt.Meanwhile, in Miami, the Heat took their foot off the accelerator late in the game but still managed to defeat the Lakers and cover the number. Getting the game to where it was winnable (LA cut the lead to four in the final minutes) cost James 40 more game minutes on his 37-year-old legs.Thirty-five more games remained on a Laker schedule that often resembles Hour 36 of a 1930s-era dance marathon. Oddsmakers had set LA’s win total at 51.5 for the season, and there’s no way they’re going to get past that number. The next stop is Brooklyn, and while the Nets have had their own share of problems, especially with Kevin Durant now out, they are nothing like what the Lakers are going through.

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The Curious Case Of The Cavaliers

Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022

They say you never go broke betting the chalk in the NBA playoffs, where one superstar player can carry a team to a title and few teams without a star ever get far enough to test that theory.Entering Stage left are your Cleveland Cavaliers, who have been left for dead twice by LeBron James yet somehow have re-tooled and gotten fat enough with talent to raise eyebrows in this most bizarre of seasons. The Cavs are suddenly in the mix in a stacked Eastern Conference.Cleveland’s success has taken both oddsmakers and the betting public by surprise. Nine over .500 straight up at 27-18, the Cavs were a league-best 29-14-2 against the spread heading into Wednesday’s game at Chicago.What in the name of Ben Poquette is going on at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse?The Cavaliers, who are enjoying perhaps their best non-LeBron season since the Mark Price-Brad Daugherty-Larry Nance crew advanced to the conference finals in 1992-93, quietly have built a solid team that plays hard every night, doesn’t generally mail in road games, and should scare the bejesus out of any playoff opponent.Eyebrows were raised on opening night when the Cavs started a double-big lineup of Jarrett Allen and rookie Evan Mobley. Double-bigs don’t usually work in an NBA which places a high premium on switchability and forwards being able to extend defensively past the 3-point line, and the 6-foot-11 Mobley didn’t quite fit that bill. But Mobley right from the get-go (17 points, 3 blocks and 5 assists on opening night) put that thought to rest, and now he’s a heavy favorite (-150) to win the Rookie of the Year Award.The Cavaliers were able to kick things into gear early on, with 10 covers in 11 games in an October-November span that kept them near the top of the East. With skittish oddsmakers still not convinced that the Cavs were for real, bettors were able to climb on a runaway train with 14 straight covers. They’ve come back to Earth a bit since then, but it was one hell of a run for the true believers along Lake Erie.There were plenty of doubters heading into this season. No one knew if the Cavs would be able to replace the scoring provided by PG Collin Sexton, but the Cavs have more than covered up a so-so (20th in the league) offense with the league’s second-best (102 ppg allowed) defense powered by Mobley and Allen.With Sexton out of the season with a knee injury suffered in early November, the backcourt focus has been on emerging star Darius Garland, who may not be a true PG but has emerged as the team’s best ball-handler while still scoring 20 a game. Garland dropped 22 and 12 on Kyrie Irving in Cleveland’s coming-out-party victory over Brooklyn earlier this week.And don’t forget about Kevin Love, whose contract the Cavs have been dreaming about dumping ever since James high-tailed it to the Lakers a few seasons back. Love remains part of the furniture in Cleveland, seems to have moved past his bizarre behavior of last year and actually is in the 6th Man Award conversation. For the first time in a long time the Cavaliers actually need Love, and he seems to want to stick around to see how far this season goes.Exactly how deep into the spring the Cavs will go is anyone’s guess. Cleveland’s +5.1 ppg mark is the best in the East, and if that continues and the Cavs aren’t ravaged by injuries, they’ll have a decent shot at home advantage in the first round of the playoffs. As far as winning a title, the oddsmakers haven’t budged much. They still like six other teams (including struggling Atlanta and Boston) better, and the Cavs are a distant +8000 to win it all.The team, meanwhile, continues to put one foot in front of the other. The pre-All Star Game schedule includes nine games against opponents with sub.-500 records – a chance to solidify its position among the elite in the East and perhaps for bettors to fatten their bankrolls before re-evaluating during the stretch run of one of the most enjoyable seasons in franchise history.

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NBA: Lucky & Unlucky

Friday, Dec 31, 2021

Not all records are how they appear. Some teams are lucky, others not so much. This is true for any sport. As we get ready to turn the calendar to 2022, let’s take a look at lucky - and unlucky - NBA teams. Lucky Washington - The Wizards are 6-0 in games decided by three points or less. Exactly half of those six wins (three) have been in overtime. So this is a team we don’t think will finish in the top six. Quite frankly, if their luck starts to go bad, the Wizards might not even make the play-in round. They have only five double digit wins. The only Eastern Conference teams with fewer double digit wins this season are Orlando and Detroit. The Wizards’ point differential is also third worst in the East, ahead of only those same two teams. So a case can be made, statistically, that the Wizards have been the third worst team in their conference thus far. They are lucky to currently be in eighth place at 18-17. Brooklyn - The Eastern Conference leaders are 4-0 in games decided by three points or less. Now, because they have a better overall record than the Wizards, the 23-9 Nets should still be in good shape. But if their luck turns, maybe they don’t finish first? The status of Kyrie Irving should play a significant role in how Brooklyn performs over the second half of the season.  LA Lakers - The Lakers have five overtime wins. To put that number in perspective, the rest of the Western Conference has just nine overtime wins. Only five teams in the West have a worse point differential than the Lakers. Against teams that are .500 or better, LA is just 4-10 straight up. The championship window appears closed. If the Lakers’ luck were to turn, then it’ll be a second straight season they find themselves in the play-in round.Unlucky  Charlotte - The Hornets are 0-4 in overtime games. No other team has more than two overtime losses. There are only two other teams in the NBA with multiple OT losses without at least one OT win. Despite the poor luck in OT, the Hornets still find themselves in reasonable position in the East, in seventh place. But this is not a team you should start blindly betting on, expecting luck to take a turn for the better. That’s because the Hornets are the worst defensive team in the league. Indiana - The Pacers are a team that could move up. They’ve been without their leading scorer (Brogden) for the last few games. But a bigger issue for them is a league-worst 1-8 record in games decided by three points or less. No other team has more than five losses by three points or less. The difference in home and road wins for the Pacers, currently eight, is the largest in the league. If they can start winning road games and improve their record in close games, then Indiana should get into the play-in round.  

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NFL: Lucky & Unlucky

Friday, Dec 31, 2021

Not all records are how they appear. Some teams are lucky, others not so much. This is true for any sport. As we get ready to turn the calendar to 2022 and play the final two weeks of the regular season, let’s take a look at lucky - and unlucky - NFL teams. Lucky  Atlanta - The Falcons have a 7-8 won-loss record, but have been outscored by 122 points over the course of this season. That point differential is on par with the 2-12-1 Lions, whom Atlanta just defeated last week by a score of 20-16. Such a result is emblematic of how the Falcons’ season has gone. All seven wins have been by eight points or less. Six of their eight losses have been by 13 points or more. So when the Falcons win it’s close. When they lose, it’s a blowout. Having a 7-2 record in games decided by one possession is “lucky.” The Falcons’ overall record should be a lot worse than it is.  Pittsburgh - The Steelers are another team with zero wins by more than eight points. Four of their seven losses have been by double digits. So things aren’t quite as zany here as they are with the Falcons, but having a -70 point differential, Pittsburgh should feel quite “lucky” to still be in playoff contention in what is surely Ben Roethlisberger’s final season.  Las Vegas - Most bettors won’t be as lucky in Sin City as the Raiders have been in their second year residing here. The Silver and Black have the league’s best overtime mark at 3-0 and their last three wins have come by a total of eight points. Las Vegas has taken two ugly losses at the hands of the Chiefs, leaving them with the unusual distinction of being 8-7, but having a -71 point differential. It would be strange for a team that’s been outscored like that to make the playoffs. Green Bay - For the second time in three seasons, the Packers have thrived in close games. They are 6-2 when the final score is eight points or less. Two of those close wins have come in the last two weeks, though it should be pointed out they were in control most of the way in both games. But still, we think it’s worth noting how the Packers’ season point differential of +59 is vastly inferior to the other division leaders in the NFC. They also have the best turnover differential in the NFL at +16.  Tennessee - The Titans have five wins by three points or less. It must be mentioned how their point differential of +31 is drastically inferior to that of the Colts (who are +104), but Tennessee is quite likely to win the AFC South because they swept the season series. If the Titans do end up winning the division and getting a high seed, they should feel quite “lucky.” Unlucky  Seattle - The Seahawks are only 5-10 on the year, which is terribly unlucky when you consider they’ve scored 306 points and only given up 307. They have two overtime losses. The fact Seattle is being outgained by about 80 yards/game is somewhat misleading as they average more yards per play than their opponents. Philadelphia - Most people would not consider the Eagles, who are 8-7 on the year, unlucky. We do. While no one expected them to be above .500 with a shot to make the playoffs, it would be a shame if they failed to get into the postseason. Seven of their eight wins this year have come by double digits. They have a better point differential than the Packers! Philadelphia should have a better record, at least based on point differential. Denver - The Broncos have an outstanding defense. They are tied with the Patriots for fewest points allowed this season. But while New England making the playoffs is all but assured, Denver is highly unlikely to get there. This is because of a terrible offense … and some bad luck. The Broncos are just 1-3 in their last four games, despite allowing an average of just 16.0 points. The last two games were both close losses, by five to Cincinnati and by three to Las Vegas.

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MLB - Teams to Bet and Teams to Fade

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2021

Teams To FadeGiants - Through 79 games, San Francisco is +22.1 units. That’s way out in front of everybody else. No team has finished up that many units in three of the past four seasons. In a division with the Dodgers and Padres, the second half schedule won’t be easy. Red Sox - Boston is second at +14.5 units. We didn’t expect to see them leading the AL East entering July. They are 14-7 in one run games and 10-2 in interleague play. More importantly, they are 21-10 in division games. We don’t think any of those win percentages can be maintained.Mariners - The M’s are +13.6 units. They have a winning record. But only two American League teams have scored fewer runs. No one has been better in extra inning games (7-1), which seems to be more about luck. Team to Bet Astros - Houston has a run differential of +130. There’s only one other team with a run differential better than +100. Only three others are higher than +75. As of now, the Astros are only +2.1 units. They are likely to have a higher win percentage in the second half of the season.Team to Bet (Over)Orioles - Despite giving up 5.5 runs/game, which is the most in the American League, Baltimore has gone Over in only half their games. The pitching isn’t going to get any better. Team to Bet (Under)Pirates - This team scores less than any other in baseball (3.5 runs/game). Pitcher to Bet OnCole (NYY) - He’s -9.8 units, which is last among all starters. But he has a 2.66 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. His team start record is 8-8. He’s likely to win more than he loses moving forward. Pitcher to FadeRodriguez (BOS) - He’s +4.8 units with a 10-5 TSR. But he has a 5.83 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. Those numbers aren’t indicative of a pitcher that should be coming out ahead in two-thirds of his starts. 

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NBA Playoffs: Scoring is (Way) Down!

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2021

Among the four teams left in the NBA Playoffs, scoring is way down. Let’s take a look at each of them.In the regular season, Milwaukee games averaged 234.3 points/game. That was the highest average in the league. But in the playoffs, that average has declined down to 212.3. Over the course of their second round series against Brooklyn, we saw the O/U line decrease by more than 20 points. The first round series vs. Miami saw the O/U line decline by six points from the first game to the last game. A quick note that the total for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals is set to be the lowest of the entire series. The Under is 9-4 in Bucks postseason games.Speaking of the Eastern Conference Finals, Milwaukee's opponent (Atlanta) has seen its playoff games average 213.0 combined points. That’s down from 225.1 in the regular season. The Under is 10-5 in Hawks playoff games. Their regular season scoring average was 113.7. They’ve exceeded that number in just two playoff games. Both were Game 1’s. Over in the West, declines are similar. Clippers games averaged 221.8 points in the regular season. That’s down to 218.4 in the playoffs. Of the four teams left, their decline is the smallest. The Under is 9-9 in their playoff games. But the last five games, four of them against Phoenix, have averaged only 204.2 points. Suns games averaged 224.8 points in the regular season. Playoff games are down to 209.3. They have not scored more than 104 in any of their last four games. There have been four games in the playoffs where Phoenix has failed to break 100 points. Three of them have been at Staples Center, which is where they are playing their next game. The Under is 9-6 in Suns playoff games.I point all this out because oddsmakers were initially slow to react to the big decline in scoring. They seem to have now adjusted better and I’d be shocked if we see another total above 220.0 for awhile. Scoring always declines in the playoffs as defense tightens and the number of possessions decreases. But we’re reaching a point where there could soon be value in taking Overs. 

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NHL 2nd Round Preview

Monday, May 31, 2021

We’ve got four very interesting series set for the second round of the NHL Playoffs. Three are already underway with the Islanders and Bruins tied 1-1 and the Avs and Lightning both out to 1-0 leads. Montreal vs. Winnipeg, a series few saw coming in the North Division, will get underway Wednesday. The Islanders were considered big underdogs to even their series against the Bruins. But they did it, winning Game 2 in overtime by a score of 4-3. Semyon Varlamov started in goal for the Isles in the win, an interesting decision seeing as how he was the starter for both first round losses against Pittsburgh. Rookie Ilya Sorkin was 4-0 in Round 1, but also lost Game 1 in Boston in what was a poor effort. The Game 2 win also snapped the Islanders’ four game losing streak to the Bruins. What’s interesting though is that NY won each of the season’s first five matchups. Game 2 was only the second loss for Boston this postseason.Colorado couldn’t have been more dominant in its 7-1 Game 1 victory over Vegas. They outshot the Knights 37-24. The Knights were coming off a Game 7 win over Minnesota while the Avalanche had swept their first round opponent, the St. Louis Blues. So the Avs haven’t lost in the playoffs yet. They have scored 27 goals in the five wins and allowed 8. This looks like the Stanley Cup favorite right now. But keep in mind Vegas has a tremendous home ice advantage and also finished tied (with Colorado) for the most points in the regular season. Game 2 is Wednesday and the Avalanche are big favorites on the money line.Tampa Bay, the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, is the lone road team to capture Game 1 so far in the second round. They beat Central Division champ Carolina 2-1 on Sunday. They did so despite being outshot 38-30. This series is considered much more “evenly matched” than either of the two discussed previously. Game 2 is Tuesday. The Lightning are allowing 37.9 shots/game in the playoffs, which is high. But they’ve scored three or more goals in every game but two. They’ve scored four or more goals four different times. But don’t sleep on a Hurricanes team that scored three or more goals in all six first round games. Tampa Bay has won the last four times it has been a playoff underdog.The final second round series is Montreal and Winnipeg, who were both upset winners in Round 1. But those respective series couldn’t have gone any different. The Canadiens rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to stun Toronto in seven games and won Game 7 on the road. Meanwhile, the Jets swept the Oilers. However, three of the four games went to overtime. One required coming back from a three-goal deficit and the series clincher went to triple overtime. 

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2021 MLB Betting Preview

Wednesday, Mar 31, 2021

As we get ready to bid adieu to College Basketball this weekend, a new season will begin. Major League Baseball’s 2021 campaign begins Thursday and we are ready with outlooks on some of the clubs we think will perform well and others not so much.We like the Angels and the Braves to do well this season. Look for both to win their respective divisions. The Angels’ season win total is only 83.5, so bet that Over. The number opened at 83, so there’s already been some movement. The Halos are +375 to win the AL West (opened +425) and are +175 to make the playoffs. Lots of value there. Not as much value with Atlanta, who has a win total of 91.5 and is -260 to make the playoffs. But we like the Braves +140 to win the NL East (opened +155). The reason there’s value with the divisional odds is because the Mets made such a splash in the offseason. But we think the Braves are still better.We see long years for the Royals and Mariners. So do the oddsmakers. Kansas City should finish last in the AL Central and we like the Under 71.0 wins. Over in the AL West, can’t see the Mariners hitting their 73.5 win total. Perhaps they could finish above the Rangers. That win total opened 71.0, so somebody likes the M’s. But in all due respect, we do not.To win the World Series, we of course like the Dodgers to repeat, just like everybody else does. They are +350 to do so, which is not a bad value at all. Going Over 104.5 wins (opened 103.5) is probably worth it as well.If you are looking for a sleeper to make a playoff run, look no further than Toronto in the American League. The Blue Jays are -120 to make the postseason, which we like as they should finish second in the East behind the Yankees. Anything can happen once a team is in the playoffs and right now the Jays are 9/1 to win the American League.  As a reminder, new baseballs are being introduced for this season. For what it’s worth, there has been a reduction in scoring during Spring Training compared to last year. 

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The NBA’s Best & Worst ATS

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2021

The NBA’s Best & Worst ATSFour teams have covered more than 60% of their games this NBA season. This quartet includes both conference leaders (as of Tuesday, March 30th), one team that’s in second place in its conference and perhaps the biggest surprise team of all. Let’s look at the four and what they’ve done right (so far).Phoenix is 30-15 ATS through 45 games. Going back to last season’s “bubble,” the Suns are 38-15 ATS their last 53 games. That’s pretty remarkable. They are 19-6 ATS since Feb 5.  No team has fewer double digit losses this season than the Suns’ three. They are 8th in offensive efficiency and 5th in defensive efficiency. Being the least “public team” among the top four in the West, the second place Suns should continue to cover games at a fairly high rate.The team ahead of Phoenix in the West is Utah, who is 30-16 ATS. At one point, from mid-January to mid-February, they covered 19 of 21 games. Outside that one incredible stretch, the Jazz have a losing ATS record. They are third in both offensive and defensive efficiency. No team has more double digit victories than Utah’s 28. To be honest, it is not even close as the team with the next most is the Clippers (21). The Jazz have been underdogs in only two games all season. They are 17-5 ATS and +14.7 PPG at home. Philadelphia leads the East (for now), though it’s fair to say most expect Brooklyn and/or Milwaukee to catch up to them. But the 76ers have a much better ATS record than those teams. They are 27-17-2 at the betting window entering March 30th, including 9-2-1 so far this month. This team has not lost a game all season when playing with two or more days rest (7-0 SU/6-1 ATS). They are 4-0 ATS as home dogs, a situation that probably won’t arise too many more times. The Sixers are not top 10 in offensive efficiency, but are second in defensive efficiency.New York is 27-18-2 ATS and no one expected them to be challenging for a top four spot in the Eastern Conference. But by virtue of leading the NBA in points allowed, the Knicks are doing just that! Surprisingly, it’s when they are favored that they are a better bet. The chalk record is 12-4 SU/11-5 ATS. A word of caution: injuries have really begun to pile up and threaten to derail this surprising season. Mitchell Robinson just broke his right foot.Our condolences if you’ve been betting the following teams this season …Cleveland is 19-28 ATS. They aren’t good (17-30 SU) but should probably be worse off in the standings. The Cavs have the single worst point differential in the NBA, so expect high spreads and the losses to pile up. They are near the bottom of the Vegas power rankings, but oddsmakers have struggled to make the spreads large enough. Letting Andre Drummond walk certainly won’t help. Against the West, the Cavs are 5-17 ATS (-13.7 PPG).  Indiana is 18-26-1 ATS and an obvious disappointment. They have a losing SU record at home where they are 6-14 ATS. Things would be even worse if not for a league-high four overtime wins. Miami is another disappointment and they are 18-27-2 ATS. There have been six games this season where the Heat have been held to 85 points or less, which is the most in the NBA. They are 8-15-1 ATS at home, but just snapped a six-game losing streak (overall) with a win in New York on Monday night. There’s been some bad luck on South Beach as the Heat are 0-4 SU in overtime games.By far, the worst ATS team in the league is Houston (14-32 ATS). There are no words to describe the depths they have fallen to after the James Harden trade. The Rockets have lost 23 of their last 25 games and last Friday saw them become just the fourth team in NBA history to not score a single point over the final 7:30 of a game. 

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Super Bowl 55 Preview

Saturday, Jan 30, 2021

There will be a lot on the line this Sunday as Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes looks to beat the greatest QB of all time in Tom Brady. At age 25, Mahomes has already won a Super Bowl and he's looking for more. In my opinion, both teams definitely have the ability to take home the Lombardi Trophy, but at the end of the day it will come down to who wants it more between these two great QBs. Winning a 7th Super Bowl would only add to Brady's career excellence, while people may never consider Mahomes as the best QB by the time his career ends if he never beats Brady in the big one. Therefore, this will be a terrific matchup between the best against the best. Brady and the Buccaneers took care of business at Lambeau last week, taking down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in a classic. The Bucs have also beaten the Saints and Washington to get to this one. Looking at the roster, Tom has all the targets that one could imagine as well as a stellar defense behind him. Linebacker Shaq Barrett has looked incredible these playoffs, dominating the opposing teams' offensive tackles play after play. He brought down Rodgers three times last week, and it felt like even more. With Evans, Godwin, Miller, Gronkowski, Fournette, Ronald Jones and an excellent offensive line, Brady has a lot to work with and is going to be extremely hard to stop. Plus Antonio Brown is probably going to return. Although the Bucs have a stellar team, with barely any holes, I think that the Chiefs' offense is better than Tampa's. They've got Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Le'Veon Bell, Mecole Hardman and Travis Kelce with the best QB in the league (Mahomes). They may have fewer weapons, but the speed and talent of those guys I just mentioned make them better than the Buccaneers' offense. Don't forget, dating back to last season, Patrick Mahomes is now 25-1 his last 26 games as a starter as well. So if the Chiefs have the better offense, and the Bucs have the better defense, what does that mean? Well both teams are strong on both sides of the ball, but like I said before, this game is between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes and who wants it more. Expect a great Super Bowl.

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NBA Live Look In: Western Conference

Thursday, Dec 31, 2020

As with the Eastern Conference, the Western Conference has some of the "weaker" teams near the top. Four playoff teams from last year see themselves outside of the playoffs with some new teams replacing them. Those include the 0-2 Rockets, the 1-3 Nuggets and Mavericks, as well as the 1-2 Thunder. Now I personally don't think that the Thunder will be good this season, with  the losses of Chris Paul, Steven Adams and Danillo Gallinari, but to see those other teams struggling early in the year is quite shocking to be honest. The Phoenix Suns have looked stellar to open the year up starting 3-1. The 4-1 Clippers have also looked good, except the one loss which was a complete destruction. Picking the Western Conference Champs at this moment would be very difficult, but I would have to side with the defending champs at the moment as Lebron and Anthony Davis are still very much look like the best duo in the NBA. 

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NBA Live Look-In: Eastern Conference

Thursday, Dec 31, 2020

As it stands right now, the Orlando Magic are the last team in the entire NBA standing undefeated. Not many people would have predicted that, but there you have it. Other teams like the Hawks, Pacers, 76ers and Nets have all looked very strong as well. Even the Cavs are 3-1. Looking at the bad now, the Raptors have started the year with a not so good 0-3 record. The Milwaukee Bucks, last year's #1 seed has also gotten off to a losing start with a 2-3 record. Although things look good for some of those decent teams, I still believe that the Raptors and Bucks will turn it around before the season finishes. There is still plenty of time, but who knows what's going to happen.If I had to pick a winner at this moment to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals, it would probably have to be the Brooklyn Nets. At 3-2, Brooklyn has looked very strong when KD and Kyrie are draining their shots. With guys like Joe Harris, Deandre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie surrounding them, it's going to be hard to slow them down come playoff time. 

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NBA Upcoming Season + Projections

Sunday, Nov 29, 2020

The NBA is scheduled to start up again on December 22nd 2020, right before Christmas. Originally it was supposed to begin in the early New Year, but now,  everyone is getting ready for the new start date. During the short offseason, there have been many moves, and some good FA pickups for some teams. Programs like the Hawks, Warriors, Hornets, Pelicans, Suns, TWolves and more, have all improved over the break and could possibly make a run into this seasons' playoffs. The Hawks are my sleeper team as their new projected starting lineup is: Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Galiinari, John Collins and Clint Capela.  The NBA has also confirmed that there will be a play-in tournament to finish off the season to decide the 7 and 8 seeds. The teams to finish 7-10 all have a chance this season. After the season ends, the #7 seed will host the #8 seed. The winner of that game will then secure the #7 seed in the playoffs. On the other hand, the #9 seed will play the #10 seed to be the potential #8. The winner of that game will then play the loser of the 7/8 to get the Final #8 seed going into the postseason. Therefore, I believe that teams will never let up this season, as some teams do, in order to not be one of those play-in games. And who knows what could happen. One team just has to get hot at the right time and that could possibly cause difficulties for the #1. Although Atlanta is my sleeper team, there are many teams that I wouldn't be surprised if they made a run in the playoffs this season. I believe that this year might be one of the most entertaining season's in history, as the association continues to get more and more talent into the league.  ROTW: Lamelo Ball DPOY: Anthony Davis MVP: Steph Curry Eastern Champs: Miami Heat Western Champs: LA Clippers NBA Champ: Heat in 7 games

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NFL Playoff Picture

Friday, Nov 06, 2020

NFL Playoff Picture: Well, we are officially at the halfway point in the 2020-21 NFL Season. Some teams have shocked us, and some organizations have been a disappointment. With the new format, 14 teams (7 from each conference,) will make the Playoffs. The Pittsburgh Steelers have been one of the biggest news stories of the NFL so far this season as they are the last remaining undefeated squad. Who would have thought that the 38yr old Ben Roethlisberger would be leading his team to the best record in the entire league? As it stands right now, the Steelers and the Seahawks would get the  #1 seeds in each conference. Here's a look at the playoff picture right now and our predictions. If the playoffs ended today ...  AFC: #1 Steelers, #2 Chiefs, #3 Bills, #4 Titans, #5 Ravens, #6 Colts, #7 Browns. NFC: #1 Seahawks, #2 Bucs, #3 Packers, #4 Eagles, #5 Saints, #6 Cards, #7 Rams Predictions ...  AFC: #1 Chiefs, #2 Steelers, #3 Titans, #4 Bills, #5 Ravens, #6 Colts, #7 Raiders NFC: #1 Seahawks, #2 Packers, #3 Saints, #4 Eagles, #5 Cards, #6 Bucs, #7 Bears

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Three Longshots to Win the 2021 NBA Finals

Friday, Oct 16, 2020

Three Longshots to Win the 2021 NBA Finals Portland Trail Blazers: Listed at +4000 to win the entire thing (via BetAnySports) I believe that the Blazers deliver great value to the 2021 season. Damian Lillard proved last season that he can compete with anyone in the league and showed what it was like to bring a team that wasn't the best, into the last playoff spot. Besides Lillard, they have CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, Jusef Nurkic, Hassan Whiteside and Gary Trent Jr --  who stepped up big time in the bubble for them.  All of them are very capable of winning some playoff games. Don't count them out.New Orleans Pelicans: The Pelicans did not make the playoffs this past season which was a disappointment for NOLA fans. Brandon Ingram has turned into an absolute beast at scoring in the mid-range. With his length and wingspan, it's almost impossible to guard him. Zion Williamson, last year's #1 overall selection from Duke, AND Jrue Holiday a lockdown defender. Don't forget about guys like Lonzo Ball, Derrick Favors, JJ Reddick and more. I also expect Jaxon Hayes to have a bigger role this season. With Stan Van Gundy a top contender for the newest head coach, I expect the Pelicans to have a shot at the title in 2021 at +5500 (BetAnySports). Houston Rockets: Many may not consider the Houston Rockets as a "Longshot," but at +3000 (BetAnySports) they are behind 11 teams to win the whole thing. They may be getting a new coach, but it may be for the best if they can find someone who James Harden and Russell Westbrook both like. That's going to be the key factor on whether or not this team will succeed. If neither like the coach or only one does, I don't see this team going too far. But if both of them appreciate the new coach and work well with him (or her), I believe that this Rockets team is definitely a contender. Harden, Westbrook, House, Covington and Tucker is an excellent starting small ball 5, but look for them to add at least a solid big man for this upcoming season in order to have the ability to make a huge run in the playoffs of 2021.

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NBA Finals Preview

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

Why Miami will win the NBA Finals: The Miami Heat just clinched their first NBA Finals since the 2014 season. Back then, they were led by LeBron James. One of the greatest, if not the greatest NBA player to ever live. This year, they will try and take down the man that got them 2 rings. The Heat are filled with talent everywhere. Starting with Jimmy Butler, he's been a scoring machine ever since he got drafted by the Bulls in 2011. Now, he's finally found a team that he could potentially win with. Next, they have Bam Adebayo who just dominated the Celtics in Game 6 with 32pts, 14rebs, and 5 assists. They all say that he's the heart and soul of this young team with how hard he works on both sides of the ball. Then, they have two 3pt Specialists in Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. Both players can knock down shots from anywhere. With guys like Goran Dragic, Andre Iguodala, Derrick Jones Jr and Jae Crowder, I think they have a shot. Why LA will win the NBA Finals: Well, the Lakers are the big favorite coming into this NBA Finals, and I think I know why. They have LeBron James (3x Champ, 15x All Star, 4x MVP,) + Anthony "The Brow" Davis who went absolutely crazy against the Nuggets. Them combined, will be extremely hard to stop. LeBron comes into his 10th NBA Finals appearance with a 3-6 record. Although he's lost 6 of them, let's not forget that most of those were against the SuperTeam Warriors. He led the Cavs to a Championship that no one thought could happen, as they beat the best team in NBA History, according to their record. The Warriors were 73-9 that season. Incredible. He also led the Heat to two titles. Now, he will face his old Coach, Erik Spoelstra, as he looks for his 4th Ring. But this time, he's hungry, he's off a ridiculous season, he's got lots of players behind him, and he wants to prove to everyone that he is the best of all time. It's going to be a good one. What I believe: Don't get me wrong, both teams are very talented. That's why they are in the Finals, but I believe that the Heat will outwork the Lakers and take the Larry O'Brien trophy back to Miami once again. A lot of people don't think so, but this Heat team is the real deal. When the 2-3 Zone that they run with the two forwards up top, I believe that it will confuse the Lakers into some bad shots. Especially if the Heat get their shooting back from Jae Crowder, they are going to be really hard to stop, even with LeBron on the other side. 

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2020 NFL Futures Odds: New England Patriots Unchanged

Saturday, Jul 04, 2020

Signing QB Cam Newton hasn’t really impacted the Patriots betting odds for the 2020 NFL Season … yet.  The Pats remain pegged for 9.0 wins at BookMaker, although that’s a heavily juiced number and other sportsbooks have moved to 9.5. Their odds of making the playoffs are -230 at Bovada, which isn’t much different from where they were at (across the board) before signing Newton.New England has enjoyed a historic run of dominance in the AFC East. Tom Brady took over as the starting QB for the franchise in 2001. Since then, the Patriots have won their division all but two seasons. One of those two seasons was 2008 when Brady basically missed the entire season (team still went 11-5 SU). The other was 2002, his first full year as the starter. That’s 17 division championships in 19 seasons, if you’re keeping score at home.The last time that the Patriots won fewer than nine games in a season was the year 2000, Bill Belichick’s first on the job. They almost certainly will experience a drop in wins from last year (when they won 12 games). But are oddsmakers too pessimistic towards the 2020 Patriots?New England’s only competition (in the AFC East) this season figures to be the Buffalo Bills. Ironically, the Bills have not won the division (or a playoff game) since 1995 -- when Cam Newton was just six years old. The Bills have made the playoffs in two of the last three seasons and improved their roster this offseason. BookMaker has them projected for 9.0 wins this year as well and they are “favored” to make the playoffs at Bovada. It’s not that the Bills are without question marks entering 2020. Quarterback is probably the biggest one as Josh Allen isn’t an accurate passer. The Bills seem to have a better overall roster (right now) compared to the Patriots, but I hardly love them to go Over the win projection of 9.0 either.For the record, don’t expect much from either the New York Jets or Miami Dolphins in 2020. I expect both of those teams to finish with 10 or more losses. If you’re a firm believer in Belichick and like the Newton signing, then by all means bet the Patriots to go Over the season win total. It’s a two-horse race in the AFC East this season. 

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