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Biography

Bryan Power has cashed 9 straight calendar years (All Sports combined), and has established himself in the upper echelon of sports handicappers.

Active since:  2011 

Location:  Cleveland, OH

Bryan Power began selling sports picks on the internet in August 2011.  He quickly established a reputation for winning month after month, and year after year.  Bryan’s 2-year MLB run in 2013-14 (+ $41,295) was an early highlight.  In April 2015, Power formally announced the formation of Power Sports Picks.  And the results have only gotten better since that time.  Immediately, he set a new standard in College Hoops betting by turning a LEGENDARY $84,556 PROFIT over three remarkable seasons (2015-18), capped by a 19-9 record in the 2018 Tournament.  Incredibly, Power has NEVER had a losing record with plays in any calendar year in his career!  And the 2018 football season was one for the ages as Power made a combined $23,888 in NFL and College.  He’s also up $20,144 the last two years in College Football alone.

Bryan's passion for sports, seemingly unlimited energy and his love of numbers have made him an unstoppable force.  He has his own personal (and private) set of "power rankings" which he is constantly adjusting.  He makes a line for every game on the board, well before one is officially released.  More often than not, his number is bang-on.  When it's not, in order to find out why, he digs deeper.  And that's just the beginning.  From there, he incorporates a combination of fundamental, situational, and statistical factors.  Power acutely understands the need to adapt.  Sports betting is constantly changing.  What works one season (or week) won't necessarily work the next.  Give Power an edge and he'll play on or against any team.  Whether its football, basketball, baseball, or even something more obscure like backgammon or women's basketball, the smart money is on Power to finish on top.  Over the years, Power has beaten them all.  Just as he has no favorite teams, he also has no favorite sport.  Offshore insiders — fortunate enough to be in Bryan's "inner circle” — have witnessed his remarkable success rate with the mainstream sports, like football and basketball.  However, Bryan's success with the lesser sports has also quietly become the "stuff of legend."  Start following today and you'll see what we mean!  

Power draws inspiration from many sources and has been fondly referred to as a walking encyclopedia.  When asked "what his secret is," he's been known to reply with this simple quote from Colin Powell:  "There are no secrets to success.  It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."

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NCAA Final Four Preview

Wednesday, Mar 31, 2021

So we’re down to the Final Four. For as much chaos as we’ve seen in this bracket, three of the four teams that are still remaining were in the top four of my own power personal power ratings before the NCAA Tournament started. The obvious exception is UCLA. I thought Gonzaga, Baylor and Houston would all get here. I was far from alone in that assessment, but wanted to mention it anyway! Last month I wrote about how defensive efficiency is key this time of year. Sure enough, both Gonzaga and Houston rank in the top eight nationally in that regard. Baylor is 28th and UCLA is 45th (per KenPom). Several teams ousted in the Elite Eight, like Michigan (4th), USC (7th) and Arkansas (11th) were all pretty high in the defensive efficiency ratings. Personally, I was a little surprised that both Loyola Chicago (2nd) and Alabama (3rd) didn’t make it to the Elite Eight. Interestingly enough, the team that will likely finish #1 in the defensive efficiency ratings at KenPom is Memphis and they just won the NIT.  But you didn’t come here to read about the NIT.Gonzaga is -250 to cut the nets down and given how they’ve looked so far those odds seem LOW. The 30-0 Zags have won all but one of their games by double digits this season. The exception was 87-82 against West Virginia on December 2nd, the third game of the season. Not surprisingly, Gonzaga opened as a 13.5-point favorite over UCLA and that number has already jumped to -14 as of press time. It’s the single largest spread we’ve seen in a Final Four game since the 1996 National Title Game between Kentucky and Syracuse (UK won but did not cover). For the record, the largest spread in semifinal history occurred in 1972. Ironically, it was UCLA over Louisville and the Bill Walton-led Bruins covered the 17-point number in a 96-77 victory. This weekend’s number will not get that high, even though Gonzaga is just the sixth team since 1985 to win its first four Tournament games by 15+ points. As you (probably) already know, two more straight up wins and Mark Few’s team becomes the first team to go unbeaten since Indiana in 1976. The semifinal with more intrigue will be Baylor (-5) vs. Houston. Like the Gonzaga-UCLA game, the total has ticked down a half-point from the opener so far. If you are wondering, in a hypothetical National Title Game matchup vs. Gonzaga, Baylor would be a 5-point underdog. Houston would be +9.5.  But these teams should only worry about each other for right now, not Gonzaga. Baylor is 3-1 ATS in its four Tourney wins. The lone game they did not cover was the 1st round vs. Hartford, a 79-55 win where they were laying 25.5.  Houston is 2-2 at the betting window in its four games, the worst ATS mark among the Final Four teams.  Gonzaga is 4-0 ATS. UCLA is 5-0 ATS (they were in the “First Four.”)  Two of UCLA’s five wins required overtime. The win over Michigan was by two points. Houston and Gonzaga are both 3-1 Under in Tourney action. UCLA is 3-2 Under. Baylor is 2-2. Another intriguing aspect of the Gonzaga-UCLA matchup is tempo. Gonzaga plays at the 6th fastest adjusted tempo in the nation. UCLA is among the 20 SLOWEST. Houston plays slow as well (328th) while Baylor (186th) is middle of the pack in that regard.  Gonzaga is #1 in the country (by a lot) in points per game scored at 91.6. Baylor is 6th (83.7 PPG). Houston (55th) and UCLA (126th) are much further down the list in points per game, but both are in the top 13 in offensive efficiency (as are Gonzaga and Baylor).Houston is #2 in the country in points allowed at 57.6 per game. None of the other three are close to that as Baylor is next highest at 62nd while UCLA and Gonzaga are outside the top 100. But all three still allow fewer than 69 PPG. It should be an exciting finish to the NCAA Tournament! I’m looking forward to it. 

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European Soccer: What To Look For After The Break

Sunday, Mar 28, 2021

Like every other bettor, the NCAA Tournament has been my main focus in March. But now is also a good time to take inventory “across the pond” as the four major European soccer leagues are set to resume this week after an international break. What I’ll do here is look at the races for the Champions League spots (top four) as well as the races to avoid relegation (bottom three) in the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga. Premier League Current Top Four: Manchester City (71 points), Manchester United (57), Leicester City (56), Chelsea (51)Man City is obviously running away from the pack. They can cement their status as the top side in Europe by winning the Champions League two months from now. Man U and Leicester City, the latter being a bit of a surprise, both seem pretty safe when it comes to UCL qualifying for next season. It’s a little interesting that Man U is the only one of the top four not in the semis of this season’s FA Cup. Chelsea has drawn Man City in the FA Cup semis and has just a two point lead over fifth place West Ham in the EPL. Among teams currently outside the top four, I believe Tottenham (48 points) would be the most likely to break through.Current Bottom Three: Fulham (26 points), West Bromwich Albion (18), Sheffield United (14)West Brom and Sheffield are both locks to be relegated next season. I expect Fulham to catch and pass Newcastle United (28 points) even though the Magpies have a game in hand. Currently, Newcastle has an inferior goal differential and one more loss than Fulham, who is desperately trying to avoid a “one and done” in the English top flight (they were promoted this season).Bundesliga Current Top Four: Bayern Munich (61 points), RB Leipzig (57), VfL Wolfsburg (51), Eintracht Frankfurt (47)As was expected, Bayern and Leipzig are both locks to finish 1-2. The big question is whether the two “upstarts” - Wolfsburg and Frankfurt - can maintain their current positions. They both have the same number of losses (3) as the top two sides. Wolfsburg, with an eight-point cushion, should feel fairly safe. Frankfurt, who has been beaten just one time since Jan 12, is a side I expected to be improved this campaign. More “decorated” sides - Borussia Dortmund (43 points) and Bayer Leverkusen (40) - are in the rear view mirror. A match this Saturday at Dortmund looms large, though so do BVB’s nine defeats. I think Wolfsburg and Frankfurt hold on.Current Bottom Three: FC Cologne (23), Arminia Bielefeld (22), Schalke 04 (10)The key here is the team that finishes third from the bottom enters a relegation playoff with the team that finishes third in Bundesliga 2, so it’s not automatic relegation. Obviously, Schalke is going to be relegated. But above them, five teams are separated by just two points and that includes Hertha Berlin (24) and Mainz (24). Right now, Mainz is the highest they’ve been in the table all season. I would not be surprised if they fell back into the relegation zone. Bielefeld is probably a good bet to finish in the bottom three as well. My guess is Koln lives to fight in the German top flight another year. Serie ACurrent Top Four: Internazionale (65 points), AC Milan (59), Juventus (55), Atalanta (55)Inter is set to end Juve’s nine-year run atop Serie A. I expect Juve and Atalanta to also comfortably finish within the top four. In fifth place is Napoli (53 points), who has a better YTD goal differential than Milan, one that is on par with Juve and Atalanta. But the fact that Milan has a nine-point cushion over Napoli is huge. Napoli having been beaten eight times is a killer. The big dropoff (in points) in Serie A comes between 7th and 8th place, but I feel both AS Roma (50 points) and Lazio (49) are closer to the mid-table sides than they are the top five. Goal differential certainly backs my assessment up there. Two of Napoli’s next three matches are very winnable, so they can catch Milan, who seems curiously underpriced for their next two fixtures. But Napoli must make their move now.Current Bottom Three: Cagliari (22 points), Parma (19), Crotone (15)Parma and Crotone are getting relegated. Cagliari likely joins them as the one thing I’m fairly confident in projecting at the bottom of the Serie A table is that Torino (23 points) will AVOID relegation. Torino has a better GD than the two sides ahead of them. One of those is Benevento, whose -24 GD is third worst in the league. But they have 29 points and having a seven point edge over the bottom three is huge right now. I’d say if there’s one team that could fall into the bottom three, it’s Benevento as Torino should pass them by season’s end.La LigaCurrent Top Four: Atletico Madrid (66 points), Barcelona (62), Real Madrid (60), Sevilla FC (55)This race has been decided for some time now as there’s a 10 point gap between the top four and everyone else. If Barca can pull off finishing first over Atletico, it would be an incredible achievement given how we all viewed the two sides a couple months ago. I have no idea how Real Betis (45 points) has caught Real Sociedad for 5th, given their terrible start to the season. I think Sociedad and Villareal deserve to finish above Betis and Granada, but it’s been a somewhat strange season in La Liga. Current Bottom Three: Eibar (23 points), Alaves (23), HuescaUnlike the other three leagues, there are no locks for relegation yet. If I had to guarantee one, I’d say Alaves, who has the worst GD (-21) and most losses (15). There are five clubs that are seven or fewer points clear of safety right now. Among them, I’d say Cadiz is the most vulnerable based on GD. 

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NBA: Potential Risers & Fallers

Saturday, Feb 27, 2021

Potential Risers1. Atlanta - Remember that 4-1 start? Since then, the Hawks are just 10-18. They are currently 11th in the East. However, they have both a positive scoring differential and net efficiency rating for the season. So they’ve inarguably outscored their opponents while outplaying them on a per possession basis. Don’t be surprised if they climb as high as 6th in the East by season’s end and win the Southeast Division.  2. Dallas - The Mavs finished 7th in the West last season, largely because they were 2-11 SU in games decided by three points or less, a league worst. I figured they’d be a shoo-in to move up in the standings. But after 31 games, their record stands at just 15-16. The good news is there are still plenty of games left. I think the ceiling would be a 5th place finish. Currently, they are 9th. This team has NOT done well off an ATS win or when playing without rest. I expect that to change.3. New Orleans - The Pelicans are similar to the Hawks in that their point differential & net efficiency rating indicates they should be closer to .500. They are currently 11th in the West with a 14-18 record. One thing I notice is that 27 of their 32 games have come on one or zero days’ rest. Hopefully, the schedule breaks better for them in the second half. Zion Williamson has looked great recently. The Pelicans’ last 10 games have all gone Over the total, so you know they can score.Potential Fallers 1. Portland - The Blazers are 28th in defensive efficiency, missing two of their three best players and have suffered six 20+ point defeats. Yet somehow they are currently tied for 5th place in the West. Don’t expect that to last, however. By season’s end, they’ll be fighting for a play-in spot. This team has been lucky to this point. Their six wins by three points or less are tied for most in the league.2. Charlotte - The Hornets are already starting to fade. This is a team that’s been an underdog in 25 of its 32 games. They were expected to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. The East is so depth-shy that there will be multiple teams finishing below them this season and even a play-in spot cannot be discounted. But they aren’t going to maintain a .500 record moving forward.3. Philadelphia - The Sixers are not as good as either the Bucks or the Nets. I do not expect they’ll finish with the best record in the conference, which is something they currently own. 4. Cleveland - This one may seem oddly placed as the Cavaliers are 12-21 and unquestionably considered one of the worst teams in the league. But I believe them to be THE worst team and expect a bottom of the standings finish by season’s end. 

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NCAA Tournament Handicapping: Defensive Efficiency Is Key!

Tuesday, Feb 23, 2021

Before you know it, the NCAA Tournament will be underway. With that in mind, I wanted to discuss a key metric I look at every year when handicapping March Madness (well except 2020). Defensive efficiency is key. For those that are unaware, defensive efficiency refers not to the number of points a particular team allows per game, but rather over a given number of possessions. Typically, a team’s defensive efficiency rating is extracted from the number of points it allows per 100 possessions. The site KenPom.com makes even further adjustments and their ratings are the ones I lean on for my own College Basketball picks. Looking at efficiency gives you a better “feel” for how a team really plays defense as opposed to simply looking at the number of points they allow per game. Some teams play at much slower tempos and thus there are a fewer number of possessions per game. Therefore, they are likely to give up a lower number of points per game. (Note: if they don’t, that means they are pretty bad defensively!) Conversely, if a team is giving up fewer points in a game that has more possessions, then they are a significantly better defensive team. Even if you don’t care to understand defensive efficiency, that’s okay. The aforementioned KenPom posts every team’s adjusted defensive efficiency rating and you can view it there. The current top 10 teams in defensive efficiency rating (per KenPom) are: Loyola Chicago, Alabama, Memphis, Gonzaga, Tennessee, Baylor, Houston, Wisconsin, Illinois and VCU. Obviously, you’ve got some names on that list that you’d expect to see. Gonzaga and Baylor are both undefeated and the top two teams in the country. Alabama, Tennessee, Houston, Wisconsin and Illinois are all Top 25 teams you’d expect will perform well in the NCAA Tournament.But there are definitely two names on that list that should jump out to you. First and foremost, you’ve got Loyola Chicago, who is #1 in the entire country in defensive efficiency. The Ramblers are currently ranked in the Top 25, but only projected to be an 8-seed by the “esteemed” Joe Lunardi. In my opinion, this is NOT a team that any #1 seed would want to face in the Round of 32. I would almost certainly take the points with Loyola against any higher seed come tourney time. Remember - they made the Final Four three years ago! VCU is another team to keep an eye on. Right now, the Rams are very much a bubble team. But as a likely double digit seed, they’d make for a very live dog in the Round of 64. Unfortunately for Memphis, they are currently NOT projected to be a NCAA Tournament team. They’d be a real dark horse (to pull an upset or two, not to win the whole thing obviously) if they were somehow to make the field.Underdogs with strong defensive efficiency ratings make for strong plays come NCAA Tournament time. On the flip side, favorites with suspect defensive efficiency ratings are vulnerable to getting bounced early. There are likely to be a handful of teams in this year’s Tourney that will get high seeds despite defensive efficiency ratings outside the top 75. They are: Iowa, Ohio State and Villanova. Ohio State is even in the running for a #1 seed! I would not pick any of these squads to make it to the Final Four. Keep all this in mind when the brackets are released next month. It will help you be a more successful NCAA Tournament bettor. 

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NCAA Basketball: Overrated and Underrated Teams

Sunday, Jan 31, 2021

I did this last month and thought it was somewhat instructive. So I’ll once again compare the current Top 25 rankings (AP/Coaches) and my own power ratings and give you a list of teams I think are overrated and underrated.OVERRATED Missouri (#12 AP/Coaches) - The Tigers did lose earlier this week, so they figure to fall a bit when the new rankings are published Monday. That fall won’t be as precipitous though after holding off TCU (in overtime) on Saturday. In my own power rankings, Mizzou barely cracks the top 40 and I’m pleased that the KenPom ratings say the same. Do not expect this team to make it to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.Virginia Tech (#20 AP/#19 Coaches) - Admittedly, now is not a good time to call the Hokies “overrated” as they just upset Virginia on Saturday. They’ve also beaten Villanova! But this team has done the bulk of its damage in Blacksburg, where last I checked the NCAA Tournament WON’T be taking place. The Hokies are going to move up in the next rankings and I feel it might be a good time to fade as they are just ahead of Missouri in my own power ratings, outside the top 30. UNDERRATEDIllinois (#19 AP/#24 Coaches) - So the Illini are going to move up after beating Iowa on Friday. But they still won’t be high enough, at least in my estimation. This is easily a Top 10 team in America and maybe even Top 5. There are only seven teams in the Top 20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency (per KenPom). The Illini are one of the seven.Colorado (NR) - So the Buffaloes loss to Utah on Saturday pretty much guarantees they won’t be moving into the Top 25. Believe it or not, I faded the Buffs on Saturday. So it may seem strange I’m still calling them “underrated.” But consider that they led the Utes 65-46 with just under nine minutes to go. This is definitely one of the 25 best teams in the country.Arkansas (NR) - The Razorbacks went just 4-5 in January after I called them “underrated” in last month’s column. That’s not enough to dissuade me. All of their losses have been to good teams. Admittedly, most of their wins have been against bad teams. But the SEC remains wide open and I’d put the Hogs up against anybody in the conference with the exception of Tennessee.  

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NBA: How Do The Teams Stack Up So Far?

Sunday, Jan 31, 2021

We’re a little more than one month into the NBA season, so I wanted to share some thoughts on how the two conferences are shaping up. If you’re unaware, the playoff format has been altered. There will be a  "play-in tournament" for teams ranked 7th through 10th in each conference from May 18–21. The 7th place team will play the 8th place team, with the winner earning the 7-seed. The 9th place team will play the 10th place team with the loser of that game being eliminated. The 7th-8th loser will then play the 9th-10th winner, with the winner of that game earning the 8-seed and the loser being eliminated.The top six in each conference do not have to worry about the “play-in tournament” and are assured of playoff berths.Let’s look at who I think has a good shot at finishing in the top six in the East and West. East: The current top six of Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Milwaukee, Indiana, Boston & Atlanta are who I expect to be the top six when the regular season concludes. The order will likely shuffle with Milwaukee being my pick to finish on top, which they’ve done the previous two seasons. The Bucks are #1 in the East in both point differential and net efficiency. Brooklyn is #2 in both and now that they have James Harden, will probably finish no lower than third. I expect them to duke it out with Philadelphia for the #2 seed. The Sixers have cleaned up against sub-.500 foes so far (11-2 SU) and did just beat the Lakers, but I don’t see them making the Conference Finals. Atlanta is among the league’s most improved teams so far and as the likely winner of the Southeast Division could finish ahead of Indiana and Boston, if all goes well.  As for the play-in spots, I think you have to look at the likelihood of both Toronto and Miami improving. These teams have been negatively impacted by COVID with the Raptors playing home games in Orlando and the Heat having a thin roster. The East is too weak for these teams not to finish in the top 10. It’s so weak that even teams like Charlotte, New York and Cleveland have a shot at making the playoffs. When all is said and done, expect the Raptors and Heat to round out the top eight. West: The top three have really solidified themselves already. As expected, the Lakers and Clippers are among those three teams. The surprise is Utah, who has won 11 in a row as of this writing, and currently leads the conference. There’s no “smoke and mirrors” either. The Jazz are 12-3 in games decided by 10 points or more and have the best point differential in the NBA. They’ve covered the spread in all 11 games during this win streak as well and have the best ATS record in the league. The Jazz have actually been favored in 17 of their 19 games so far, so the strong start should actually NOT be that surprising. They have yet to face the Lakers, but did beat the Clippers on New Year’s Day.Denver, who has finished top three in the West each of the previous two seasons, would seem like a lock to finish in the top six again this year. I’ve been very disappointed with the Mavericks recently as they’ve lost five straight to fall to 8-12 SU. But like the Raptors and Heat in the East, expect the Mavs to rise up and I’ve got them projected for the top six here. Phoenix is a young and exciting team and I think they’ll also finish above the “cut line” for the playoff scenario.The West is deeper than the East, making the race for the Play-In spots more intriguing. Unlike the East, I think there are some teams that you can easily “write off” though. Oklahoma City, Sacramento and Minnesota are all pretty bad and I would be stunned if any of those three finished in the top 10. That would leave six teams - Memphis, San Antonio, Houston, Portland, Golden State and New Orleans - fighting for the four spots. All of these teams would make the playoffs if they were in the East. They all have significant flaws, Portland’s horrible defensive efficiency for example, but those things can be overcome. I think it’s pretty clear the Warriors are never getting back to their previous championship heights. Memphis and Houston are both solid defensive teams. San Antonio is one of only three teams currently covering at a 60% rate or higher, so they’ve been undervalued. New Orleans is the worst of the six teams, according to every metric. Since it’s so early in the season, I’m not really comfortable choosing which four of these six will get the chance to play playoff basketball.I’ll be checking back in as the season progresses. 

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CBB Entering 2021: Underrated Teams

Thursday, Dec 31, 2020

Every week, I like to take a look at the AP & Coaches Polls in College Basketball and compare them to my own Top 25 power ratings. It’s always fun (and instructive!) to spot which teams the pollsters and I aren’t necessarily in agreement on. As we get ready to turn the calendar to 2021, here are three teams that I feel are underrated by the pollsters. None are ranked in the Top 25, but all of them SHOULD be. Interestingly enough, ALL three hail from the SEC. So either the pollsters aren’t watching the SEC or my power ratings are giving too much credence to these teams’ non-conference schedules.1. Arkansas - I just cashed an SEC Game of the Month on the Razorbacks Wednesday. They went to Auburn and won by 12. That win keeps the Hogs unbeaten (9-0), yet they are surprisingly unranked. If they beat #12 Missouri on Saturday, you have to figure they’ll climb into the next poll. This is a senior laden team that plays very good defense. They are #15 in my power ratings. 2. LSU - Right behind Arkansas in my power ratings is LSU (#16). The Tigers’ only loss of the season was by four points at St. Louis. Since then, four of their five wins have been by 22 points. They’ve got a huge showdown looming with Florida (more on them in a moment) this weekend. 3. Florida - Wednesday night saw the Gators play for the 1st time since Keyontae Johnson collapsed. That very scary situation occurred on December 12th against Florida State, the Gators only loss of the season. Johnson was the Preseason SEC Player of the Year, so losing him is no “small potatoes.” But the Gators showed they can be quite formidable even without their star as they destroyed Vanderbilt, 91-72, in Nashville. I’ve got the Gators as a Top 20 team. 

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CBB Entering 2021: Overrated Teams

Thursday, Dec 31, 2020

Every week, I like to take a look at the AP & Coaches Polls in College Basketball and compare them to my own Top 25 power ratings. It’s always fun (and instructive!) to spot which teams the pollsters and I aren’t necessarily in agreement on. As we get ready to turn the calendar to 2021, here are three teams that I feel are overrated by the pollsters. All are ranked in the Top 25, but none of them SHOULD be. We’ve got one from the SEC, a conference I covered extensively in my underrated College Basketball teams column. The other two are from the Big 10. 1. Missouri - The Tigers are ranked #12 in the country, but I flat out disagree with that assessment as I’ve got a number of SEC teams rated above them. I had no issue laying a short number against the Tigers, in Columbia, when they faced Tennessee in a battle of unbeatens Wednesday. Sure enough, the Volunteers crushed the Tigers 73-53. Up next for Mizzou is a date with Arkansas, a team that made my underrated list. A loss there and the Tigers could tumble out of the Top 25.2. Michigan State - I bet a lot of you wish I would have written this column prior to Monday as that was when Sparty suffered a humiliating 81-56 defeat in Minnesota. It was their third consecutive defeat, all of those coming in Big 10 play. That’s dropped Tom Izzo’s team down to #17, but my power ratings say they shouldn’t even be ranked. Their best win is the lone time I played them (vs. Duke), but Duke is another team that has no business in the Top 25. Neither the KenPom ratings nor my own consider Michigan State a top 50 team in the country right now.3. Northwestern - Get ready to “sell high” on the Wildcats. Their current #19 ranking is the program’s highest this “late” in the season since 1969! It’s only the 7th time they’ve ever been ranked! After opening Big 10 play with three consecutive upsets (Mich St, Indiana, Ohio St), N’western lost at Iowa (by 15) on Tuesday. Look for that to start a downturn. The upcoming schedule is BRUTAL with the next four games all against legit Top 25 competition. 

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A Look At European Soccer (Serie A & La Liga)

Monday, Nov 30, 2020

With soccer having returned all across Europe last week following the season’s second international break, I thought it would be a good time to examine what’s going on in the “Big 4” leagues.Here I’ll take a look at a pair of wide open leagues: Serie A (Italy) and La Liga (Spain) Serie A: This was supposed to be the year that Juventus’ nine-year run at the top came to an end. They are currently fourth with 17 points. Clubs such as Inter Milan or Atalanta were the picks of many to supplant Juventus. Fresh off an impressive 3-0 win over Sassuolo, Inter is tied for 2nd. Atalanta is 8th as they’ve conceded 16 times, the most of any side in the top half. The big story is AC Milan running ahead of everybody with 23 points taken out of a possible 27. They have not been beaten. Neither has Juventus, but they have four wins and five draws as opposed to AC Milan’s seven wins and two draws. Aforementioned Sassuolo is still tied with Inter for second, but I expect them to drop. Napoli is sitting in 5th and could be the club who moves past Sassuolo into the top four. In the relegation zone, we have a number of sides that could finish bottom three. Don’t be surprised to see Benevento drop there as they’ve conceded 21 times, second most in all of Serie A. La Liga: No one expected Real Sociedad to be running out in front, but they are. Atletico Madrid is just one point behind and has conceded only twice in nine matches with zero losses! Sociedad has conceded only five times and lost once. As tumultuous of a season as it has been, you can never discount Barcelona, the only other La Liga side with a positive double digit goal differential (+10). Barca (currently 7th) should make its way into the top four shortly. What about Sevilla? They’ve recently made a move and are 5th in the table. Real Madrid is 4th. Some of the pretenders have started to fall off, but I’m still surprised to see Cadiz (-3 GD) and Granada (-6) in 6th and 8th place. Not convinced Villareal (3rd) is going to hold its current position either. One side you may want to look to bet against moving forward is Real Betis, who has the worst goal differential in La Liga (-11) but still sits 15th and out of the relegation zone. Yet they have conceded more times than anybody (23) and have the most losses (7). Those four wins seem fluky. 

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A Look At European Soccer (EPL & Bundesliga)

Monday, Nov 30, 2020

With soccer having returned all across Europe last week following the season’s second international break, I thought it would be a good time to examine what’s going on in the “Big 4” leagues.Here I’ll look at the English Premier League as well as the German Bundesliga EPL - Many expected Liverpool to take a step back after last year’s historic campaign. Yet there the Reds are, tied with Tottenham Hotspur at the top of the table (21 points). Thus far, we’ve seen a revolving door of contenders in the Premier League with clubs like Everton, Southampton and Aston Villa spending time on top. All three of those sides have fallen off the pace a bit and now currently sit 8th, 6th and 10th respectively. For my money, Tottenham and Chelsea have been the two best sides. Right behind Chelsea is Leicester City in the 4th spot, but they just suffered a terrible loss to Fulham, one of the four clubs that will spend most of the year fighting to avoid relegation (West Brom, Burnley & Sheffield United are the others). Manchester City and Manchester United being middle of the table teams is surprising. Bundesliga - Any discussion of this league must start with Bayern Munich, the best side in all of Europe. Not surprisingly, they are at the top of the table with 22 points. They have scored 31 times in nine matches. Besides Bayern, there are six other sides that have separated themselves from the rest of the pack in Germany’s top flight. Neither Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg have a loss on their resumes, which is something that even Bayern can’t claim. Yet the two undefeated sides still rank just third and fifth in the table due to an abundance of draws. RP Leipzig and Dortmund were both expected to finish in the top four and that’s where both currently are. They each have a +12 goal differential. Only Bayern is better in that metric. Don’t discount Union Berlin (+10 goal differential) or Gladbach either. The bottom of this league is pretty bad, particularly Schalke, who is still winless in its last 25 Bundesliga matches. 

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NFL: 2 Teams That Are Better Than You Think

Friday, Oct 30, 2020

Anyone who regularly follows my picks knows that I am a big believer in YTD scoring differential being a reliable predictor of future outcomes. Yesterday I took a look at three NFL teams that aren’t as good as their record says they are. Now it’s time to take a look at two teams that are better than you might realize.1. Tampa Bay (5-2, +80 pt differential) - The Buccaneers were likely to improve this year for a variety of reasons. But, despite two losses, they are even better than I’d thought. Coming off a 45-20 win over Las Vegas last week, the Bucs now own the league’s top point differential. Tom Brady and the offense commands the attention, but the defense is arguably the best in the NFL. You can’t run on them. They are allowing just 66 rush yards per game! Looking at the two losses, one was in Week 1 whey they outgained the Saints in New Orleans. The other was a Thursday night road game in Chicago where they outgained the Bears substantially on a per play basis, yet lost 20-19 on a last second field goal. Tampa Bay projects to be favored in almost every game from here on out. They have a shot at being the NFC’s top seed. 2. Miami (3-3, +47 point differential) - This is the real surprise of the list. The Dolphins are the only team in the AFC East with a positive point differential. All three wins have been by at least 18 points. The three losses were to New England, Buffalo and Seattle, two of those being one-score games. I believe this team has a legit shot at winning the division this season. Head coach Brian Flores has obviously “rolled the dice” by making the change at QB to Tua Tagovailoa, but he did so on a bye week and Tua obviously has more upside than veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. The team’s point differential is actually the 7th best in football right now. We shall see if that holds up. This week, the Fins are a dog at home vs. the Rams. Next week they’ll be a dog in Arizona. That means they will have been the underdog in seven of their first eight games. The second half schedule looks to be easier and the AFC East could be decided in Week 17 at Buffalo.

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NFL: 3 Teams That Aren't As Good As Their Record

Thursday, Oct 29, 2020

Anyone who regularly follows my picks knows that I am a big believer in YTD scoring differential being a reliable predictor of future outcomes. With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at three NFL teams that aren’t as good as their record says they are. 1. Bears (WL record: 5-2, Point Differential -2) - It should be common sense that a team that’s been outscored on the season probably should not have a 5-2 record. Anyone who watched the Bears play on Monday Night Football against the Rams probably doesn’t think they should be 5-2 either. This is a team that’s been extremely fortunate in the early going. They have won two games in which they trailed by double digits in the fourth quarter. They somehow beat Tampa Bay despite being outgained 5.3 to 4.1 on a yards per play basis. The offense isn’t good as it’s been held under 20 points in half of its games, two of those coming since the move to Nick Foles. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears ended up missing the playoffs. 2. Bills (WL record: 5-2, Point Differential: -4) - I’m not nearly as high on this Bills team as some others seem to be. Once again, having a negative point differential seems to justify my position. The Bills snapped a two-game losing streak on Sunday by beating the Jets 18-10. But they did not cover the large spread. It’s also worth mentioning they’ve beaten the winless Jets twice. They have no other wins by more than seven points and were dominated in games against two of the AFC’s best teams (KC, Tennessee). The offense has been held to an average of 17 PPG the L3 weeks, a stretch which has seen them go 0-3 ATS. A win this Sunday against New England would put the Bills at 6-2 and firmly in control of the AFC East. But this is an average, not great team. 3. Cleveland (WL record: 5-2, Point Differential -21) - This is the biggest “offender” on our list. The Browns were dominated in losses to the Ravens and Steelers, but are 5-0 otherwise. Those losses to the Ravens and Steelers were by a combined 63 points. Three of the five wins have come at the expense of Cincinnati (both close) and Washington (were +5 in turnovers). The upcoming schedule is favorable and the addition of a 7th playoff spot this year may very well end up being what snaps Cleveland’s 18-year playoff drought. But this isn’t a very good team. Note their point differential is roughly the same as the 1-6 Falcons!

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2020 NBA Futures Betting: Dallas Mavericks to Win Western Conference

Saturday, Jun 27, 2020

When it comes to predicting future outcomes, I’ve always been of the belief that a team’s point differential is a far more useful tool than their actual won-loss record. This goes for any sport. If this holds true for the Dallas Mavericks, then they very well may emerge as a team you’ll want to be betting on when the NBA resumes games on July 30th.The Mavs owned the league’s 6th best point differential (+6.1 per game) at the time of the stoppage. The only teams to have outscored their opponents by a higher margin per game were: Milwaukee (+11.2), the Lakers (7.4), the Clippers (6.5), Toronto (+6.5) and Boston (+6.3). Collectively, that quintet owned the five best won-loss records in the league. Dallas posted 23 victories by 10 more points in their first 67 games. So they won more than a third of their games by double digits. Only four teams can say they won a higher number of games by 10 or more points.So why didn’t the Mavs have a better record than 40-27 (straight up)? Simple - they were a league-worst 2-9 SU in games decided by three points or less. They also lost three overtime games. Something I have constantly harped on through the years is that a team’s record in close games is NOT a sign of skill, but rather good (or bad) luck. Through its first 67 games, Dallas was clearly snakebit in this regard. Despite the unprecedented way in which the NBA has chosen to conclude its season, the Mavs should experience better results in close games moving forward. One negative sign for the Mavericks moving forward is their 10-16 SU record versus teams that have a .500 or better record. With the bottom-feeders no longer playing games, Dallas will be unable to “beat up” on those opponents. They’ll have to be better against stiffer competition. Of course, many of the close losses that the Mavs sustained in their first 67 games came to .500 or better teams. Again, look for them to be better in that situation.From a personnel standpoint, the Mavs are of course led by Luka Doncic, who has the most 30+ point triple doubles in the league. They won’t have either Willey Cauley-Stein (opted-out of playing) or veteran guard Courtney Lee (calf injury), but are expected to sign Trey Burke as a replacement for Lee.The Mavs lead the league in offensive efficiency and were a league-best 21-10-2 ATS in road games. Remember that homecourt advantage is now “out the window.”  Dallas is currently 15-1 to win the Western Conference at Bovada Sportsbook. Normally, I’d never consider a team at those odds in the NBA Playoffs, but if there was ever a year for a long-shot, it’s definitely this one. Something to keep an eye on - it’s fairly imperative that the Mavs move out of the 7th spot in the Western Conference. Finishing there would likely result in a first round playoff matchup with the Clippers. Even if they can move into 6th place, Dallas will be much better suited for a playoff run. 

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NFL Teams Set to Decline in 2020

Wednesday, Jun 03, 2020

Earlier, I took a long look at NFL teams whose win total should improve from last season. Here I’ll be focused on teams that will win fewer games in 2020 (compared to 2019).  Similar to my “improved list,” oddsmakers are "onto these teams" (check projected win totals below). So I would not say that there’s a ton of value in betting these numbers. However, I do think more than a few will finish UNDER their respective win totals. At the end of this article, you’ll mind my FAVORITE NFL Win total bet for 2020!The first number (listed next to the team) is how many games they won last season. The second number in () is how many they are currently projected to win this season.1. Packers 13 (9)  - Was this the worst 13-3 SU team EVER last year? Probably. The Packers had a pythagorean win expectation of only 9.8 in 2019. They only outscored opponents by 63 points, which was a smaller margin than the 10-6 Vikings (+104), 9-7 Titans (+71) and even 8-8 Cowboys (+113). Green Bay went 9-1 SU in one-score games last season. They were actually outgained on yard per play basis and were +12 in turnover margin. The only saving grace for this year’s playoff prospects is that they play in a weak NFC North.2. Patriots 12 (9)  - The loss of Tom Brady heavily factored into this number. Brady’s replacement (as of now) is Jarrett Stidham, who is a 4th round draft pick with no prior starting NFL experience. Stidham doesn’t exactly have a lot of offensive weapons at his disposal either. After posting a league best turnover margin (+21) last year (against a very easy schedule), the Pats’ defense is set to decline as well.  3. Texans 10 (7.5)  - Coach/GM Bill O’ Brien had a dismal offseason with several questionable personnel decisions. The most flagrant was trading WR DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona. The Texans were actually outscored despite winning 10 games last year. They were outgained on a per play basis as well. Among AFC South teams, both the Titans and Colts are better.4. 49ers 13 (10.5) -  The 49ers had a huge jump in wins last year (went 4-12 SU in 2018). Thus, the “plexiglass principle” kicks in. Last year’s NFC Champs should still be favored to win the West, but they won’t be going 13-3 again.5. Ravens 14 (11.5)  - Similarly, Lamar Jackson and company are not going to win 14+ games for a second straight year! No team in NFL history has ever done that. Still, the Ravens join the Chiefs as the clear top two teams in the AFC.6. Seahawks 11 (9)  - Last year’s Seahawks were the worst 11-win team, perhaps in history.  They benefited from a +12 TO margin and EVERY win was by eight points or less. (Their point differential was only +7!) Their pythagorean win expectation was only 8.2. Even with Russell Wilson, I see Seattle as a single-digit win team in 2020. The NFC West is tough. My favorite win total on the board - Here's an instance where my numbers indicate a team will decline next year and that's NOT being accounted for in the oddsmakers number! Raiders Under 7.5 (Went 7-9 last year) - This is by far my favorite win total on the board, and the odds are currently -105 at BetOnline Sportsbook. The Raiders were -106 in point differential last year. Compare that to the 5-11 Chargers (only -8) and the fellow 7-9 Broncos (-34). They were 7-3 SU in one-score games. Their pythagorean win expectation was only 5.2.  Studies show moving into a new stadium hurts home field advantage for the first two seasons. It should be a much tougher first year in Las Vegas than what’s being expected. Look for the Silver & Black to finish dead last in the AFC West this season. 

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NFL Teams Set to Improve in 2020

Tuesday, Jun 02, 2020

Six NFL Teams That Will Improve Their Record in 20201.    Bengals - Cincinnati had the worst record in the league last season (2-14 SU). That allowed them to take QB Joe Burrow with the #1 pick in April’s Draft. The Bengals are projected for 5.5 wins in 2020, so oddsmakers see them as likely to improve - substantially. It’s not just because of Burrow. This team wasn't actually as bad in 2019 as you might think. They led in 12 of 16 games. But they were 0-8 (straight up) in one-score affairs and also had a -14 turnover differential. Those numbers will improve this season. It’s a case of “low-hanging fruit” here, but the Bengals WILL win more games in 2020. 2.   Lions - Detroit wasn’t much better than Cincinnati last year. They finished 3-13 (SU). Unlike the Bengals, the Lions did not draft a QB of the future. They didn’t have to though. They are getting back a (hopefully) healthy Matthew Stafford, which should certainly help their 2020 prospects. A futile record in one-score games (3-8 SU) last year was another problem for the Lions, who lost only one game by more than 13 points. One reason I see the Lions being able to possibly go Over this season’s win total (6.5) is that they play in the NFC North, an “up for grabs” division that has no dominant team.3.    Chargers - The Lightning Bolts finished 5-11 SU last season, but were only outscored by eight points! They were actually favored to win nine games, so it was a clear case of underachieving. A league worst -17 turnover differential and a 2-9 SU record in one-score games did them in. Philip Rivers is gone after being a big contributory factor to that poor TO margin. But I worry about how LA is going to replace him. Veteran Tyrod Taylor will presumably begin the season as the starter, even though the team used the #6 overall draft pick on Justin Herbert. Still, I expect LA to be closer to .500 this season, which is right in line with the oddsmakers’ projection of 8 wins. Despite having (arguably) the weakest home field advantage in the league, you have to figure the Chargers will improve upon last season’s 2-6 SU home record. They also failed to win a single division game last season. Look for improvement in that area as well. 4.    Bucs - Even before acquiring Tom Brady (and Rob Gronkowski), Tampa Bay was a team likely to improve in 2020. They outscored and outgained their opponents last year (both on a per game and per play basis). Jameis Winston was the big reason the Bucs were -13 in turnover margin last season. Brady will help cut down on that number and also improve on last year’s 3-6 SU record  in one-score games. By the way, the Bucs’ defense was #5 in DVOA last year. I’m a little scared of how trendy the Bucs are this year, but the fact they could be favorites in as many as 13 games shows the oddsmakers are taking them very seriously. I do see them challenging the Saints for first place in the NFC South and they are a strong bet to win at least 10 games! 5.    Cowboys - It’s definitely fair to say that the Cowboys underachieved last year. They were favored in all but two games, finished with the league’s 6th best point differential (+113), yet ended up 8-8 and missed the playoffs. The Dak Prescott contract situation is a perceived “distraction,” but don’t let it distract you from the fact this is one of the more talented teams in the entire league, particularly on the offensive side of the football. Perhaps most important of all is that Jason Garrett was FINALLY relieved of his head coaching duties. Mike McCarthy probably wasn’t the best possible replacement for Garrett and an unprecedented offseason doesn’t exactly help a first year coach. But McCarthy did win 10 or more games EIGHT times with the Packers. Oddsmakers project his new team to win 10 games in 2020. 6.    Cardinals - I’m starting to see Arizona as a darkhorse team in the NFC West. Some of that has to do with the fact that I project the three other teams in the division (49ers, Seahawks, Rams) to all win fewer games this season compared to last. Fleecing Houston in the DeAndre Hopkins trade is another big reason why the Cardinals may fly higher than their projected win total of 7.5 in 2020. 

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