Sports Picks For Sale - Scott Rickenbach

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Biography

Scott Rickenbach has parlayed his CPA background with a hardcore work ethic to establish himself as one of the most reliable sports handicappers.

Active since:  2003

Location:  Las Vegas, NV

When it comes to handicapping football games, Scott "The Bulldog" Rickenbach ranks among the best on the entire planet.  Rickenbach will enter the 2020 campaign with a documented 8-year record that is 156 games over .500.  That unbiased mark over the past eight seasons translated to a staggering $77,450 net profit for his loyal clientele.  (Anyone who knows anything about beating the point spread understands how exceptional those numbers are!)

Rickenbach ranks among the most consistent and reliable handicappers in the industry on a year in and year out basis.  With his affinity for statistics (truly a "numbers whiz") Scott naturally chose a career in business in 1993 when he earned his 4-year university degree (Bachelor of Business Administration) and, in the same year, passed all 4 parts of the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) exam on the first sitting.

As a CPA, Scott's business acumen led to razor sharp money management skills.  His internationally renowned "sharp line analysis" assures clients get the most "bang for their buck."  Truly a trained "statistician" and "quant on steroids" if you will, the highly analytical Rickenbach ultimately chose his true passion (high level sports analysis) over high finance.

Now a Las Vegas resident whom is 48 and in his prime in the gambling mecca of the world, Scott brings two decades of experience in sports analytics to the table.  He prides himself on the fact that documented records exist for each and every selection he makes.

His multiple decades of documented results in the industry have included a wealth of top five finishes in all of the sports.  This has included many #1 net profit rankings for multiple seasons and multiple sports, including high ranking finishes in NFL, NCAAF, NBA, NCAAB, NHL, CFL and MLB.

The nickname?  A bulldog is a breed known for its courageousness, tenacity and determination.  Scott earned the nickname, “The Bulldog” for his tenacious pursuit of profits and an unrelenting work ethic to be a top handicapper in the sports betting industry.

Football may be his forte, but Rickenbach is also a documented world champion in both pro and college basketball.  He's been known to reel off ridiculous hot streaks on the diamond, where his O/U plays are among the most sought-after in the industry.  Throw in the fact that he also dominates on the ice and you've found yourself a handicapper who can truly do it all.  How rare is that?!

Scott has built a deep client base and loyal following based on his winning records, his consistent profits, and his honest and open approach to handicapping.  Join "The Bulldog" today and not only will you enjoy some of the best winning runs of your life, you'll see Scott’s integrity and professionalism shine through.

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NHL - Sun, Jun 26 at 8:15 PM

Rickenbach Free Pick Sunday NHL

Colorado Avalanche vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Colorado Avalanche vs Tampa Bay Lightning Over 6 (+105) (Play MGM)

RICKENBACH Free Pick NHL Sunday OVER 6 +105 in Tampa Bay Lightning vs Colorado Avalanche @ 8:15 - Like the fact we have had B2B unders in this series and yet the books have kept the O/U at 6 goals in Game 6. You know this will be a dogfight elimination game from the Bolts perspective and the Avs ...

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MLB - Moneyline - Sun, Jun 26

100% this YEAR! 10* MLB *ESPN* Smash Pass!

MLB sides are 14-8 / 64% this MONTH but after ON FIRE RUN in bases tough few days and 2-3 Saturday. Scott "The Bulldo...

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NHL - Moneyline - Sun, Jun 26

Tests 100% run! 10* NHL *PERFECTION PLAY*

STRONGEST PLAY of the ENTIRE SEASON for HOCKEY GURU Scott "The Bulldog" Rickenbach was +160 DOG WINNER Friday with Ta...

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CFL 2022 West Division Preview

Tuesday, Jun 07, 2022

Canadian Football League West Division Preview for CFL 2022BC Lions – This team is off a 5-9 season last year and now they have a QB situation that is full of inexperience. Maybe Rourke and O’Connor, if called upon, can get it done but are they really the answer after the retirement of Reilly? The fact is the Lions could make a minor move this season if they get solid QB play but this still appears to be one of the weaker teams in the league and when you play in the West with strong teams like the Riders, Stampeders and Bombers that makes things even tougher. Calgary Stampeders – I am looking for Calgary to respond this year after a bit of a disappointing, though winning, season last year. Also, the Stampeders season will be keyed by the performance of QB Bo Levi Mitchell but I definitely like his supporting cast. That said, most signs point to this team having the chance to be in the mix with the Roughriders and Blue Bombers. Edmonton Elks – There were two 3-11 teams last season and one, Ottawa, made a lot of big off-season additions and should be much better. The other, this Elks team, looks like it has not changed nearly enough to see significant improvement. Heading into this season this looks like the worst team in the league. Making matters even worse for Edmonton heading into the season is the Arbuckle injury situation at QB. So this team is one that likely needs faded early and often this season. Saskatchewan Roughriders – The Grey Cup will be in Regina in November so you know this is a special year for the Roughriders. The hope in Saskatchewan is that they can make a run but they’ll need to score better than last season as they did have troubles at times putting up the points and that is what separated from them from the top teams. Having Duke Williams hopefully healthy for the full season at the wideout spot should help the receiving corps with the added deep ball threat. Solid team again this season but will only go as far as QB Cody Fajardo and this receiving group will take them. Winnipeg Blue Bombers – Back to back Grey Cup Champions so certainly they have a bullseye on their backs coming into this season. They signed a lot of their core again but did lose RB Harris who was a such a key player for them. He is now with Toronto. However, it is the system that is also a key with Winnipeg and they continue to get it done. So though a 3-peat may be too much to ask, this team is going to contend once again in my opinion. 

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CFL 2022 East Division Preview

Monday, Jun 06, 2022

Canadian Football League East Division Preview for CFL 2022  Hamilton Tiger-Cats – The Ti-Cats have reached the Grey Cup each of the last two seasons as East Division Champions and yet fell short each season. Can they reach the big game again this season? It will depend heavily on QB Dane Evans. It is now his team with Jeremiah Masoli now having moved on. This is a lot of pressure on Evans but I also really like this defense again this season. On the strength of that defense and with solid weapons in the passing game on offense, you can bank on Hamilton being one of the best teams in the CFL again this season.  Montreal Alouettes – Too many penalties, too many fumbles lost, losing games decided in the final minutes ... all these things combined to lead to a mediocre season for Montreal. I like the Als to have a solid season this year as they are strong at QB and have some talented playmaking options at the skill positions. However, this team did lose some key personnel and I am not solid on the defense just yet. That D, including getting rookie Richards on the field early and with success, is likely going to key the Als season.  Ottawa Redblacks – Ottawa will be much improved after a 3-11 season. They added QB Jeremiah Masoli and a wealth of talent with other player additions to build up a much more competitive roster for 2022. This team is certainly not going to blow teams away but my expectation is they will be able to get the .500 level as they added a lot of weapons for Masoli plus bolstered the offensive line. Defensively they also bolstered their talent level and I expect some value with backing the Redblacks early this season as many will still be expecting the same old Ottawa but Masoli and company have rejuvenated this team.  Toronto Argonauts – Think the Argos could be due for a regression here. They dominated with wins in the final minutes of games last season and won a lot of games by 4 or less points. I know they are still a solid team but you just have to feel their luck is going to run out. They added a couple of aging vets with Banks and Harris. Just feel Toronto is reaching here a bit and they need to be a little stronger defensively. Argonauts known for being a bit inconsistent defensively. Solid QB but just a question mark about the overall cohesiveness of this group with some new faces and, again, teams like Ottawa improving and you know Hamilton is still hungry. All in all, I am expecting a slight regression with the Argos this season. 

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MLB 2022: NL West Division Preview

Wednesday, Apr 06, 2022

NL West Division Preview for MLB 2022Arizona Diamondbacks – Better than last season in my opinion but that is not saying much either as the Diamondbacks lost 110 games last season. Still, Arizona should at least get to the mid-60s in wins this season. The issue for Arizona is their lineup just does not have the necessary pop. But they do have a new pitching coach that is highly respected and the rotation and bullpen certainly has some solid arms so that can help fuel a turnaround here for sure but again it will take time and 70 wins the likely ceiling for this team this season and that is if they get some decent hitting too. Colorado Rockies – This team is in line to lose somewhere close to 90 games just like last season and only the Diamondbacks and Pirates likely to be worse than the Rockies in the National League this season. Colorado has a decent rotation but they play in a hitter-friendly ballpark so they really need a more potent lineup to be successful. They just don’t have the hitters yet but the pitching is coming along.  Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers just continue piling up wins every year and they should again win their division, but I do look for a bit of a drop-off here to a win total in the mid-90s. With the Giants and Padres proving tougher each year and even Arizona and Colorado likely to improve this season it could start to wear on the Dodgers. LA has it all of course but I will be more likely to look for the right spots to fade them as even a strong team like this could lose 65 to 70 games this year. San Diego Padres – This team could challenge Los Angeles for top spot in the division but I expect them to only land in the mid-80s for a win total this season. San Diego has too many injury question marks and that includes in the pitching rotation and they just don’t have reliable enough arms as starters. Additionally, the entire clubhouse was a bit disjointed last season and that could carry into this season as well. This team is close but just not quite there yet and I will watch this team for streakiness this season.  San Francisco Giants – San Francisco is off a shocking season in which they got to 107 wins and we’ll see a major drop this season into the mid-80s for the Giants. Surprisingly, manager Gabe Kapler actually evolved into quite a manager after his struggles back east in Philly. He was great with the Giants last season and got more out of this team than many expected. They have some older guys and I see a big regression this season plus the bullpen and rotation just can’t be quite as good this season. The lineup will miss the bat of Buster Posey as he retired. This team could be over-valued early this season because of over-achieving last season so could be some good value going against them early this year! 

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MLB 2022: AL West Division Preview

Wednesday, Apr 06, 2022

AL West Division Preview for MLB 2022Houston Astros – Look for the Astros to finish in the upper 80s to the low 90s for a win total this season and that should be good enough for the top spot in this division. Just a solid team through and through but one thing that makes it tough on them is everyone always gunning for them. But Houston still has all the right pieces in place and barring major injury issues should win this division. Los Angeles Angels – These team should be right around .500 but this team a little tough to gauge in my opinion with some question marks. Their starting rotation just is not that strong and always has injury concerns. Their lineup has some big bats of course but is too top-heavy. The bullpen is good with this team but can the team even get games to them? That is the big question and I will likely be looking to fade this team more than play on them. Oakland Athletics – This team has really fallen and should have a win total only getting into the lower 70s. Bassitt now with the Mets and Manaea now with the Padres so the A’s rotation is a mess now and their lineup and bullpen not strong enough to make up for that. A team that won mid-80s last season will struggle to avoid 90 losses this season. All the rumors of a move to Vegas have not helped this team either for sure. Just a mess in Oakland truly. Seattle Mariners – This team has improved as they showed last year and should get to mid-80s in wins this season. Really like this lineup and then especially have to like the addition of Robbie Ray to this rotation. Cy Young Winner at the top and then other solid young arms in the rotation and a potent lineup and a respectable bullpen. The 90 wins last season were not a fluke and the Mariners will again be a team to watch this season as they could challenge Astros for the top spot.  Texas Rangers – This team will battle with Oakland in trying to avoid the basement in this division this season. At least they do look improved as the addition of Jon Gray to the rotation certainly helped too. Look for a 90-loss season rather than the 102-loss season suffered last year. Just still not enough in the lineup. Top-heavy lineup but also too many strikeouts usually and the pitching is decent with this team but not great and the lineup not strong enough to carry the team for sure. 

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MLB 2022: NL Central Division Preview

Wednesday, Apr 06, 2022

NL Central Division Preview for MLB 2022Chicago Cubs – This team will struggle to get to .500 this season and is more likely to finish in the low to mid 70s for a win total. Chicago’s starting pitching allows too much contact and that can be a problem when half your games are at Wrigley Field which can certainly be very hitter-friendly at times. This team still has a chance to be competitive but lineup will be the key to the success of this team so watch for streaks with Chicago’s hitters. Cincinnati Reds – This team will struggle to get to .500 this season and is more likely to finish in the low to mid 70s for a win total. I know they had a winning record last season but some off-season attrition hurt this team and this club already had some clubhouse issues. Things are just a little disjointed in Cincinnati and this is a team I will be looking to fade more often than not. Milwaukee Brewers – This team should compete with the Cardinals for the top spot in the division. The key will be Christian Yelich though. This guy has to bounce back or the Brewers will struggle to get to their full potential. They have such solid pitching but need to get the sticks going to get to the next level. Pittsburgh Pirates – This could be the worst team in baseball this season and is likely to, at the very least, be the worst team in the National League. Pittsburgh has potential to again lose 100 games like they did last season. They have a decent lineup but only a few solid arms on the pitching staff and therein lies the problem with this team. They are pitching-thin and it catches up with this team as the season goes on. St Louis Cardinals – This team should challenge the Brewers for the top spot in the division. The Cardinals are such a solid organization. They don’t wow you with a lot of flash but just seemingly every season this team is right there when the dust settles. Once again, St Louis has a shot to challenge for the division title this season. Solid pitching, respectable lineup, and a swan song season for long-time Cardinal Albert Pujols as he re-signed with the team. It all adds up to what could be a magical season for St Louis and I do believe this team could prove to be a “play on” team quite often this year. 

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MLB 2022: AL Central Division Preview

Wednesday, Apr 06, 2022

AL Central Division Preview for MLB 2022Chicago White Sox – The White Sox projected to win about 90 games this season and once again this season that is hard to argue with. Playing in a division with a bunch of other teams unlikely to have anything better than a .500 season certainly helps their chances too. This team is stacked with a loaded lineup, solid pitching rotation, and strong bullpen. The team to beat for sure and so you can try and perhaps look for value in taking them when they are priced reasonably. Cleveland Guardians – Projected to reach a win total in the mid-70s this season and this is a team that had 8 consecutive winning seasons before falling two games below .500 last year. Lineup is decent but not spectacular. The starting pitching still strong but they lost their pitching coach and that can hurt teams quite often so keep an eye on that. Detroit Tigers – This team is improving and should play .500 ball this season. Solid lineup and good arms in the rotation and this team continues to make progress. The Tigers went 8-19 in April but then 69-66 the rest of the way so just keep in mind; this is not the Tigers team of old. That said, there could be some value on this team early as many bettors have a fresh memory of all the bad Detroit teams in recent seasons. Take advantage as they Tigers likely to offer some early season value in spots. Kansas City Royals – This team will battle with the Guardians to stay out of the cellar in the division as they are also likely to reach a win total in the mid-70s this season. Young arms in rotation just have not quite delivered as KC would have liked so far. But they have a respectable bullpen and the Royals also have a respectable lineup. The problem is that nothing really jumps off the page at you with any one area of this team. They will battle and have some hot streaks during the season but ultimately finish close to 90 losses again most likely. Minnesota Twins – This team should play .500 ball this season but they really disappointed last year. This could be an “over” team in terms of daily wagering as their starting rotation has a lot of question marks and their bullpen – beyond their closer – just is not very well put together. Minnesota has a respectable lineup and they will need it because they are going to have to outscore teams to win most games. 

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MLB 2022: NL East Division Preview

Thursday, Mar 31, 2022

NL East Division Preview for MLB 2022Atlanta Braves – The Braves are projected by most to land at around 90 wins this season and battle it out with the Mets for the top spot in this division. However, they are the defending champs and it so tough to repeat and teams can slump some after winning it all. Not only that, as stacked as this team is, the loss of Freddie Freeman, a Brave for so long, could really impact the heart and soul of this team to an extent. Miami Marlins – The Marlins are expected to finish in a range of mid-70s in wins this season. They have a solid rotation really when you look at it. But the bullpen is solid yet not truly dominant and then this lineup is just not that strong. That is why this team again finishes below .500 and perhaps looking at unders when some of Miami’s top starting pitching is out there will be the way to go with this team. New York Mets – The Mets are projected by most to land at around 90 wins this season and battle it out with the Braves for the top spot in this division.  In my opinion this is the team to beat in the division. However, they will have to improve their road play to win the division as they won just 30 of 81 road games last year! But I like the looks of this lineup and certainly this team is loaded top end talent in the starting rotation too. Solid bullpen as well so this team has the makings to hold off the Braves and Phillies at the top of the NL East as long as they get more road wins which I fully expect this season. Philadelphia Phillies – The Phillies are certainly still a threat in this division but likely to fall into the mid-80s for a win total and fall just short of both the Braves and Mets. Defense matters and the Phillies were one of the worst teams in the majors defensively last season. However, if Nola bounces back and this solid-looking rotation holds up and the bullpen is decent, this team will be tough to beat. They have a rock-solid lineup of hitters and absolutely could make a push this season. The key will be avoiding the dreaded late season fade that tends to plague this team annually in recent years. Washington Nationals – Projected to be in the 70-range for their win total this season as Washington continues its slide that began when the Nats finished below .500 in the shortened 2020 season. This team could have quite a few overs in my opinion. They still have a solid lineup but have a lot of question marks in the starting rotation and this season the bullpen is relying a lot on guys that are not 100% proven just yet to say the least. Remember this team had 34 blown saves last year and that is the most since they moved from Montreal over 15 years ago! This year’s bullpen also looks shaky. Strong hitting, subpar pitching combine for a team likely to be good to lack out for considering overs depending on the pitching match-ups. 

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MLB 2022: AL East Division Preview

Thursday, Mar 31, 2022

AL East Division Preview for MLB 2022Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles are projected by most to finish with a win total in the low-60s. Baltimore only won 52 games last season and will again be one of the worst teams in the majors. This team has been so focused on player development and the farm system that they continue to struggle to put together a competitive team. It is particularly tough because they play in such a strong division with each of the other 4 teams likely to have winning seasons this year! Boston Red Sox – Boston is projected to finish a little above .500 this season with a win total in the mid-80s. The Red Sox won 92 games last season but are stuck in a division that, outside of Baltimore, is filled with top competition. The concern for the Red Sox is with their bullpen but they are still a strong team in terms of their lineup and I will be looking for overs when the right pitching match-ups present themselves involving Boston and their opposition. New York Yankees – The Yankees are expected to challenge win this division and get to a win total in the low-90s but the Rays and Jays are likely to have something to say about that. One of the two could emerge as a challenger to the Yankees absolutely. What would be a weakness with the big bankroll Yankees? It just seems that health issues creep on key players for the Yankees almost always. I do like their bullpen and overall this is a stacked team once again so I will be looking for value line spots to back them but those will be few and far between because they are usually a popular choice in the betting markets.Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays should get into the upper-80s for a win total this season. Amazingly so often one of the lower payrolls in baseball but Tampa Bay still finds a way. They are so competitive. A small market team that is easy to like based on the competitive level they bring despite not having a lot of star power. The Rays won 100 games last season but the key arms of their 2021 rotation (Baz, Patino, McClanahan, Rasmussen) were guys without starting pitching experience at the MLB level and yet the Rays survived that. I am expecting a sophomore slump of sorts in that regard. This is still a strong team but they will ended up in the mid to upper 80s for win total rather than near the century mark. Toronto Blue Jays – The Blue Jays are expected to get into the low-90s for their win total this season. I like the fact that this team is so strong and continues to trend upwards and the young corps is growing up together in Toronto and it is building a solid clubhouse. That counts for sure and this team will challenge the Yankees for the top spot in the division. By the way, a quirky stat but certainly worth noting as this was over the course of the entire season last year: the Blue Jays were actually 2 games below .500 in night games but won 70% of day games last season on their way to a 91-win season. Keep an eye on that trend possibly continuing early on in 2022 as you look for spots to back or fade the Jays.

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2022 NHL Stretch Run Home/Road Values: Western Conference

Wednesday, Mar 02, 2022

2022 NHL Stretch Run Home/Road Values: Western ConferenceEntering March 2nd action, the NHL is about 2/3 of the way through the season and this final upcoming 2 month stretch of regular season action encompasses the final 1/3 of the schedule and is the stretch run for the playoffs. This far into the season some strong home/road patterns have emerged so below I am taking at look at where to keep an eye out for value with FIVE Western Conference teams the rest of the season:Central Division:MINNESOTA – Of course a team at the top of the division like Colorado is strong everywhere and has a dominant home record. However, just a little further down in the standings you have a team like Minnesota that has won 16 of 22 home games but has lost about half its road games! The Wild are a team to keep an eye on fading on the road but backing at home when the pricing is right because of their strong home/road dichotomy.  DALLAS – The Stars are another team, like Minny, that has a respectable overall record yet has shown a strong variance in hosting versus visiting. On home ice Dallas has won 19 of 27 games yet on the road they have won only 40% - 10 of 25 games – on the season!  WINNIPEG – The Jets are decent, yet unspectacular team on home ice with a 14-10-1 record. However, when away from Winnipeg, the Jets have been scary bad with just 10 wins in 29 games!  Pacific Division:VEGAS – The talk about the Golden Knights use to be about protecting the “fortress” here at home (Vegas my home too) and how hard it was for teams to win here. That is no longer the case though as Vegas has won only half its games as a host this season! However, the Knights are a fantastic 15-8-1 on enemy ice so keep this in mind going forward for this stretch run of the season.  LOS ANGELES – The Kings are right behind the Flames at the top of the division but, unlike Calgary, Los Angeles has struggled to win at home just like Vegas has. LA has won only half its home games on the season! One thing to keep an eye on though is that this Kings team is 15-6-5 on enemy ice. Note that having only 6 regulation losses on the road this season puts Los Angeles as the only team in the Western Conference (Penguins the only other team in the entire league) with just 6 regulation losses on enemy ice this season. If the Kings can avoid those dreaded SO or OT losses on the road look out! They have played well away from home! 

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2022 NHL Stretch Run Home/Road Values: Eastern Conference

Wednesday, Mar 02, 2022

2022 NHL Stretch Run Home/Road Values: Eastern ConferenceEntering March 2nd action, the NHL is about 2/3 of the way through the season and this final upcoming 2 month stretch of regular season action encompasses the final 1/3 of the schedule and is the stretch run for the playoffs. This far into the season some strong home/road patterns have emerged so below I am taking at look at where to keep an eye out for value with FIVE Eastern Conference teams the rest of the season:Atlantic Division:TAMPA BAY – The Lightning are a strong team and 2-time defending Stanley Cup Champs so of course it makes sense they have a great home record but usually they are priced out of a lot of home games. However, did you realize Tampa Bay has won an incredible 17 of 26 road games this season? Value potential on the road!FLORIDA – When you can get a manageable price keep an eye out for the Panthers at home but also considering fading them on the road in the right situations. Florida is a fantastic 23-6 at home but is only a .500 team when on enemy ice!MONTREAL – Like Buffalo, the Canadiens are overall a bad team struggling both home and away. But, unlike the Sabres, the Habs have actually been noteworthy in just how unbelievably bad they have been as travelers this season. Montreal has won just 5 of 28 road games on the season!Metropolitan Division:PITTSBURGH – Just behind Carolina in the standings and, unlike the Hurricanes (good everywhere) there is something noteworthy about the Penguins this season for sure. Pittsburgh has lost nearly half its home games this season but the Pens have been fantastic on the road with wins in 18 of 27 games!WASHINGTON – This is another team with a surprising discrepancy as the Capitals have lost 16 of 28 home games but have won 16 of 27 road games this season and this type of knowledge can work in your favor because home ice is often “baked” into the lines and sometimes this leads to value in going against the “baked in” price.

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NHL Western Conference Market Watch 2022: To the Finish Line!

Saturday, Feb 05, 2022

NHL Western Conference Market Watch 2022: To the Finish Line!Here I look at some teams at the All-Star break which are the hockey clubs I expect to see some value going with (or against) the remainder of the regular season. As you can see below this is not a look at all teams. This is a look at teams which I feel will offer betting value after the All-Star break. This listing is comprised of teams that have, in my opinion, underachieved thus far or overachieved thus far. This is what leads to solid value coming right out of the break and you can look for some value in the right situational spots involving these teams:STARS – Dallas is absolutely in striking distance of making a push for a playoff spot and they have been solid at home this season but had struggled away from home. Now, having won 4 straight road games entering the All-Star break, the Stars confidence away form home is growing. Value UPJETS – Winnipeg has a strong goalie in Connor Hellebuyck and he has been known for long streaks of excellence between the pipes. The Jets still have some dangerous highly skilled forwards too and that means this is a team that can get hot plus protects the cage quite well. They had a rough stretch right before the All-Star break but 10 of those 12 games were on the road. Now off the radar of most people, this Winnipeg team better than they have shown. Value UPDUCKS – Anaheim currently sits 3rd in the Pacific Division standings but the two teams just behind them have played 6 less games! The Ducks will have both Calgary and Edmonton gaining ground on them as they make up the extra games they have missed Look for Anaheim to start to wilt under the pressure as they also don’t have the firepower offensively that the Flames and Oilers have. Value DOWNCANUCKS – Not only has Vancouver been a different team since they made the coaching change to Bruce Boudreau, the Canucks also have played 27 road games compared to just 19 home games so far this season. That means Vancouver has 22 home games versus only 14 road games left on the schedule. Couple that with the way this team had been playing after the coaching change and you have a Canucks team that will be playing with a lot of confidence as they bounce back from a difficult stretch just before the All-Star break. Value UPFLAMES – Calgary looked very strong and was skating very well heading into the break. Also, these teams has some highly skilled forwards but also are so impressive in that they are allowing only 2.5 goals per game thanks to getting rock solid goaltending from Jacob Markstrom on many nights! The Flames also solid on special teams particularly the penalty kill. Last but not least Calgary will have a home-heavy schedule the rest of the way after 27 of first 42 games were away from home! Value UP

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NHL Eastern Conference Market Watch 2022: To the Finish Line!

Saturday, Feb 05, 2022

NHL Eastern Conference Market Watch 2022: To the Finish Line!Here I look at some teams at the All-Star break which are the hockey clubs I expect to see some value going with (or against) the remainder of the regular season. As you can see below this is not a look at all teams. This is a look at teams which I feel will offer betting value after the All-Star break. This listing is comprised of teams that have, in my opinion, underachieved thus far or overachieved thus far. This is what leads to solid value coming right out of the break and you can look for some value in the right situational spots involving these teams:CAPITALS – This team currently in a playoff spot and they are a solid club. However, their goaltending has been of particular concern as the season has gone on and this could ultimately lead to a fade for Washington as the season continues. Value DOWNBLUE JACKETS – This team has only been a “middling” club so far this season but, in my opinion, that is an overachievement for Columbus. This is not a very good hockey club and they give up too many goals. I will be looking for spots to fade them in the 2nd half of the season.  Value DOWNISLANDERS – New York has more games (covid postponements) to make up than any other team in the league. The Islanders will have a chance to pick up big points in the standings. They have one of the best coaches in the game. They have a goalie in Ilya Sorokin that is currently red hot and capable of carrying this team.  Value UPFLYERS – Philadelphia has fallen way down. This team falls strongly into the category of “much better than their record shows” and will be a team you’ll want to keep an eye for value through the remainder of the season. Philly will often be under-valued but they are getting healthier again and they are a talented team. Value UPBRUINS – Similar to Washington, a very solid hockey club but with goaltending question marks. Rask came back but struggled. Ullmark has never really been “the guy” and could struggle in that role for Boston. Swayman was given a shot in the crease as wellS. Bruins just do not have a situation that is settled at goalie and that is a concern. Value DOWNSENATORS – Ottawa started the season 4-15-1. The Senators have since gone 10-7-3 so most people see a team among the worst in the league but the Sens are more competitive than most realize. Keep an eye on this steam to surprise some teams in the 2nd half of the season. They do struggle to score consistently but have been solid recently in keeping the puck out of their own net too. Value UP

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NFL Super Bowl LVI Contenders and Pretenders – AFC

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2022

NFL Super Bowl LVI Contenders and Pretenders – AFCWith one week of regular season action left before the post-season gets underway, here is my list of Contenders and Pretenders from bottom to top in the AFC:1) Baltimore – Pretender – The ultimate pretender it would take a minor miracle for the Ravens to make the playoffs but they are mathematically alive. If they miraculously get in, this team (recent 5-game losing streak) is going nowhere. 2) Pittsburgh – Pretender – Congrats to Big Ben for getting a win in final home game of his career and that is where this story ends. Still a chance to get into the post-season, but this team, even if did get in, does not have the offensive production to advance in the playoffs. 3) Las Vegas – Pretender – The Raiders still have a chance to get in the playoffs, but their tumultuous season -- plagued by the Jon Gruden firing and the off-the-field players incidents -- is just too much to overcome. No post-season success here if they even get in! 4) Indianapolis – Contender – Yes the Colts really blew it last week but now they take on a very bad Jacksonville team and the Jaguars are the only thing that stands between Indy and the post-season. That said, it's highly likely they get in and a well-coached team with some experience at QB and a solid defense will always be able to surprise and contend. Before last week’s loss, the Colts had won 9 of 12 games. 5) Los Angeles Chargers – Pretender – Tough match-up closing the season with the Raiders so they may not even make the post-season. Even if they do, the Chargers' rather weak ground game is a concern on offense.  And a late season loss to the Texans says a lot about this team.  They will be "one and done" in my opinion, if they make post-season. 6) New England – Contender – Such a strong run for the Patriots who have been one of the hottest teams in the league in latter half of season. When your coach is Bill Belichick and you have a solid defense and you are a red hot team, then you are a threat to make a post-season run for sure. 7) Buffalo – Contender – Last year’s playoff experience helps them this season and they have a solid ground game.  Also, Buffalo's QB, Josh Allen, is capable of getting hot at the right time. 8) Cincinnati – Pretender – Have not won a playoff game in 3 decades. The Bengals won the division which is a major accomplishment for them. Burrow’s first playoff experience is unlikely to go well and this is particularly true with a bad offensive line in front of him. 9) Kansas City – Pretender – The Chiefs just have not been the same this season. The offense has inconsistencies. Mahomes just has not been as solid at QB. The Chiefs' defense has too many bad games. This Chiefs seem to be on too much of a decline to make it all the way to the Super Bowl this season although I will say the field in the AFC does appear to be quite wide open. 10) Tennessee – Contender – Should be able to get home field as their final game is against the downtrodden Texans. When a team can run like the Titans can, has a respectable defense, gets a bye week to open the post-season, and has all their games at home, plus is well-coached, you have a chance at getting to the big game!

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NFL Super Bowl LVI Contenders and Pretenders – NFC

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2022

NFL Super Bowl LVI Contenders and Pretenders – NFCWith one week of regular season action left before the post-season gets underway, here is my list of Contenders and Pretenders from bottom to top in the NFC:1) New Orleans – Pretender. Have a chance to make the post-season because SF facing a Rams team with plenty to play for in the final week. But the Saints QB situation in the post-Brees era is why this team won’t go far even if they get into the playoffs. 2) San Francisco – Pretender – Have a decent chance to miss the post-season because they will face a motivated team in the final week of the season. Even if they get in they won’t go far  based on the Jimmy Garoppolo thumb injury holding this team back.3) Philadelphia – Pretender – The inexperience of rookie HC Nick Sirianni and QB Jalen Hurts in post-season action will hurt this team come playoff time. 4) Arizona – Contender – Still has a chance to win the division but would need to win final game plus see the Rams lose in final week. Either way, if they get Conner back at RB and Murray plays well at QB like he is certainly fully capable of, this team can make a run. They impressed at Dallas in Week 17 in a clutch spot.5) Dallas – Pretender – The home loss to Arizona in Week 17 will have a carryover effect into the post-season. This team just too inconsistent to make a legitimate run at winning it all this year. Also had home losses to Las Vegas and Denver which says a lot about this team.6) Tampa Bay – Contender – Guy by the name of Tom Brady is the QB and you know the post-season experience he brings plus Leonard Fournette should be back from injury in time for the playoffs. No longer the team to beat and I don’t see them coming out of the NFC but they are still a key contender.7) Los Angeles Rams – Pretender – I know many would argue this point with me but the Rams fall into this category because I just can’t fully trust Stafford at QB. Over the last 3 games of the season during a crucial push for securing the division title he has more INTs (6) than TDs (5). I know they have Cupp and Beckham as receiving options but proceed with caution as Rams could ultimately have turnovers be their undoing. 8) Green Bay – Contender – Home field locked up and a guy by the name of Aaron Rodgers – loaded with experience – is the quarterback. Also, incredible season for WR Davante Adams and this Packers team plays well on defense too. They are top contender no doubt. Upsets happen and are part of the game, but this is a legitimate top contender to represent the NFC!

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MLB 2022: Early Look at Off-Season Pitching Moves

Monday, Nov 29, 2021

MLB 2022: Early Look at Off-Season Pitching MovesThis article is being written right at the tail end of Thanksgiving weekend in the US. That means it has only been one month since the last Major League Baseball season ended with the Atlanta Braves crowned as champions after defeating the Houston Astros in 6 games. While it may seem early to be talking MLB, we are only a couple months away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training. That said, some of the moves already taking place in this off-season have been big ones.In no particular order, here are a few moves that caught my eye and are worth mentioning:Andrew Heaney signed by Dodgers. I know what you are thinking here is that this is not a big deal but the Dodgers, like the Cardinals, are one of those teams that have a strong tendency to pick up pitchers that have struggled elsewhere and then been able to get them to thrive in their organization. There are no guarantees in anything of course but having a lefty that becomes revitalized in new surroundings can be a big plus as strong southpaw starters aren’t exactly that prevalent these days! Eduardo Rodriguez signed by Tigers. Of course he should be better pitching in Detroit’s home park than in the bandbox known as Fenway Park and with shoddy infield defense behind him there. This Tigers team is showing gradual improvement and getting a lefty that can help stabilize and balance the pitching rotation should help Detroit continue to make steps in the positive direction.Noah Syndergaard signed by Angels. Yes the injury questions will linger but this is a huge move that gives Los Angeles a shot to really make a move in the AL West if he is healthy. Keep in mind he is getting further and further away from the Tommy John surgery he had and this is a pitcher capable of being quite dominant when healthy. If he gets anywhere close to the form he had in the 2016 to 2018 seasons, this is going to be a huge boost for baseball fans in Anaheim! Aaron Loup signed by Angels. Indeed Los Angeles not only getting former Mets for their starting rotation but also their bullpen and Loup had fantastic numbers for New York  last season in 65 appearances! Other significant signings included:Reliever Kendall Graveman (solid bullpen numbers with 2 clubs last season) signed by White Sox. Starting pitcher Steven Matz signed by Cardinals (where so many pitchers flourish after landing!). Reliever Hector Neris (held hitters to .202 BAA last season) signed by Astros. Starting pitcher Kevin Gausman (off huge season with Giants) signed by Blue Jays. Toronto now with a formidable rotation that includes Gausman, Jose Berrios, veteran Hyun Jin Ryu and young breakout talent Alek Manoah.  

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Sports Betting: The Value of Niche Sports

Sunday, Nov 28, 2021

The Value of Niche Sports in Sports BettingThis article is being written right at the tail end of Thanksgiving weekend in the US. That means it was an extremely busy weekend with a ton of sports action. This time of year you have NBA and College Basketball going and also NFL and College Football still going on. Football – College and Professional along with Basketball – College and Professional are the Big Four in sports wagering. However, handicapping other sports is a key to year round profit opportunities. One of those is still quite big as it is Major League Baseball and that keys the livelihood of year round sports bettors during the summer months. The key though is more than just baseball to think about when you think of other sports. Hockey is not followed by nearly as many bettors but, a money line sport just like baseball, there are plenty of opportunities on a nightly basis during the season and, including post-season, this is a sport with a full schedule that has games occurring in all but 3 months of a typical year! The covid pandemic has impacted our world greatly and it resulted in a complete sports shutdown for a period of 4 months form mid-March to mid-July in 2020. During that time I started studying the Premier League and have now added that version of “football” from across the pond to my sports wagering repertoire as it was one of the first leagues to come back after the sports shutdown.The 8th and final of 8 sports I handicap is Canadian Football. Why? Well normally a good chunk of the season is during the slower time of year in our sports wagering world as the season usually begins in June and is running strong through the slower months of July and August when the big sports like American Football and Basketball are in their off-seasons. Keep in mind also that there are just 9 teams currently in the Canadian Football League. You can very closely keep up with all 9 of these teams and find solid value on a week to week basis.In summary, the key point here is that the “other” sports can absolutely be a “value add” to your year-round bankroll pursuit and I personally have found the niche sports to be quite special in that regard. Yes, football (college and NFL) and basketball (college and NBA) will always get the most attention but don’t forget that attention also leads to tighter lines from the odds makers as well! That is why sometimes the best value is often found in the niche sports which is why I am always sure to focus attention on those sports too as it can truly be a big bankroll booster! 

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NHL Central Division Preview 2021-22

Monday, Oct 11, 2021

Central Division 2021-22 Point Total PredictionsWith last season being just 56 games, the first point total listed is the number of points the team earned in the standings last season but extrapolated over a normal 82 game season. Then the second total listed is my prediction range for this season. Arizona Coyotes – 79 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 60s this season. Tough division for a bad team. The Coyotes face teams that frustrate you like Dallas and St Louis. Then they also face teams they can’t keep up with in terms of offensive firepower like Winnipeg and Colorado. It is going to be a long season for Arizona. Chicago Blackhawks – 81 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to uppers 80s this season. Lot of positive additions for this team in terms of new personnel plus they get Jonathan Toews back after he missed last season. This adds up to a revamped team ready to fight for a playoff spot again! Colorado Avalanche – 120 points last year. Predicting a range in the 105 to 110 range this season. Such a strong team but the goaltending needs to stay healthy. I do like Kuemper but will Francouz be back to himself as he returns from injury. Very strong team with scary good scoring talent. Again should be one of the best teams in the league and, if they get top notch goalie work, look out! Dallas Stars – 88 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 90s this season. Ben Bishop starts season still on injured reserve. Can this Stars team get enough from its other goalies? Now a healthy Seguin and Hintz means this team could be better than many realize. They tend to have a tough defense so if the goaltending holds up and they keep their top point producers healthier this time around, this team is going to be challenging for a playoff spot. Minnesota Wild – 110 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 90s this season. Got to give the coaching credit here. Wild continue to overhaul roster but still produce quite consistently. This is a solid team no one likes to face. If they can improve their power play and continue to get strong goaltending, this team could get to 100 points this season. Nashville Predators –94 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 80s this season. This team rebuilding a bit and Pekka Rinne now retired. Juuse Saros fantastic in goal but will things be different without Rinne now right behind him? Also the team skating in front of him has lost a few key pieces and seems to be trending the wrong direction. This team steps back a bit this year. St. Louis Blues – 92 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 80s this season. Still a solid team known for being physical and playing stingy defense but I do not think last year’s regression was just a one-year team. Unless goalie Jordan Binnington can resume the excellent play similar to his rookie season, this team could continue to regress. Winnipeg Jets – 92 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 90s this season. Connor Hellebuyck at goalie makes the Jets tough when he is on because this team certainly has plenty of firepower up front with their top lines. Winnipeg to be particularly tough this season especially if they can get Pierre-Luc Dubois going again after he struggled after coming over from Columbus. 

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NHL Pacific Division Preview 2021-22

Monday, Oct 11, 2021

Pacific Division 2021-22 Point Total PredictionsWith last season being just 56 games, the first point total listed is the number of points the team earned in the standings last season but extrapolated over a normal 82 game season. Then the second total listed is my prediction range for this season. Anaheim Ducks – 63 points last year. Predicting a range of uppers 60s to low 70s this season. Horrible power play last season. Ridiculously bad. Special teams important to winning hockey games and Anaheim has issues on the power play and now concern at goalie with back-up Ryan Miller retiring.  Calgary Flames – 81 points last year. Predicting a range of upper 80s to low 90s this season. Should be better this season but coach Sutter has to get more out of this group. The core group could be dismantled if Calgary again falls short but this team has enough talent to do more than they have shown. They just need to be more consistent and cohesive as a group. Edmonton Oilers – 105 points last year. Predicting a range of around the century mark this season. The Oilers are so strong with their top line but now the pieces they have added for additional support could help take this team to the next level. It is far from a sure thing but if Edmonton’s new additions fit in well this team could really surprise near the top this season. Los Angeles Kings – 72 points last year. Predicting a range of upper 70s to low 80s this season. Trying to rebuild with impressive young talent and could be on their way. We’ll see some  improvement this season but this team still another year away at least. San Jose Sharks – 72 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 80s this season. Sharks could be better this season simply with better goaltending. But this is still not a team that will be near the top. They will be fortunate to land in the middle of the pack but I think they have finally made some moves in the right direction with what they have done at the goalie spot at least. Seattle Kraken – This is inaugural season but just like Golden Knights of 2018, this is not a normal expansion team situation and I am predicting a range of upper 80s to low 90s. This team has a ton of talent and did so well in the expansion draft. Just really a stockpile of scorers plus the goaltending has potential to be a fantastic tandem as well. This Seattle team will immediately be one of the better teams in the division most likely. Vancouver Canucks – 73 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 80s this season. This team has talent and coach Green got his two year extension and guys are buying into things here. The Canucks will improve this season. This team was impacted a lot by covid last season, among other distractions. Let us not forget they had a .565 save percentage the season before. They can get back into the range again and I think they will this year. So they are flying under the radar a bit coming in. Keep that in mind.  Vegas Golden Knights – 120 points last year. Predicting a range of upper 90s to low 100s. Still trying to put another run together but have lost some of the players that helped mold an identity in Vegas. That cohesive group they had when they first came into the league and swept the hearts of Vegas fans is a bit of a memory now. Still a very good team no doubt but this could be a bit of a transitional year for the Golden Knights. They will still be a very good team but I think they might be further away from the Cup now than they were before! That is what I mean by a transitional year. 

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NHL Metropolitan Division Preview 2021-22

Thursday, Sep 30, 2021

Metropolitan Division 2021-22 Point Total PredictionsWith last season being just 56 games, the first point total listed is the number of points the team earned in the standings last season but extrapolated over a normal 82 game season. Then the second total listed is my prediction range for this season. Carolina Hurricanes – 117 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 90s this season. Now have veterans at the goaltending spot but a lot of things fell into place for Carolina in the regular season last year. Very strong club but drop off expected and now playing in tougher division after moving to the Central for last season only. Columbus Blue Jackets – 70 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 70s this season. This team is better than it has shown on the ice and I feel strongly that the underachieving stops this season but also playing in a tougher division this season and points will be tough to come by. New Jersey Devils – 66 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 80s this season. This team should be much improved because I liked what I saw from this team as the season went on. The late season Devils were much better than the early season Devils and they’ll carry momentum here and be an improved team this season. New York Islanders – 104 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 90s this season. Just need a little more offense as this team relies so heavily on Mathew Barzal in that regard. But great defense and solid goaltending make this one of toughest teams in division. New York Rangers – 88 points last year. Predicting a range of upper 80s to low 90s this season. Lafreniere is the key in his 2nd season as the Rangers improvement will go hand in hand with his improvement. Solid club but just not quite there yet and this division so tough. Philadelphia Flyers – 85 points last year. Predicting a range of upper 80s to low 90s this season. Carter Hart’s inconsistency in goal is a big concern with this club and they did have a 2nd season slump with their head coach after so  much success in his first season. Quality club but still missing something here unless Hart has a phenomenal season. Pittsburgh Penguins – 113 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 90s this season. Likely to be a drop-off here. Still questions in goal. Lost some solid contributors off the roster in off-season. Also, dealing with some early season injury issues already to guys like Malkin and Crosby which is always concerning. Washington Capitals – 113 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 90s this season. Getting Anthony Mantha was big for this club and they have the pieces in place to make another run at the cup one more time for Ovechkin. Trouble is there is so much competition in this division and Carolina back in it too after a season away in the Central Division. We’ll see some drop-off for Washington this season and note goalie Samsonov struggled as the season went on and this is also concerning. 

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NHL Atlantic Division Preview 2021-22

Thursday, Sep 30, 2021

Atlantic Division 2021-22 Point Total PredictionsWith last season being just 56 games, the first point total listed is the number of points the team earned in the standings last season but extrapolated over a normal 82 game season. Then the second total listed is my prediction range for this season. Boston Bruins – 107 points last year. Predicting a range of upper 90s to low 100s this season. Just such a consistent franchise for many seasons now. This team is built so well. Very strong top line many consider the best in the game but the 2nd line will be the key this season because David Krejci not coming back. That means Charlie Coyle will have to try to fill that spot. Buffalo Sabres – 54 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to uppers 60s this season. This will be Don Granato’s first full season as head coach of the Sabres. Should be improvement here as a result but how will they get over the Jack Eichel situation? Should see marked improvement this season but of course Buffalo still has a long way to go.  Detroit Red Wings – 70 points last year. Predicting a range of upper 60s to low 70s this season. The youth rebuild continues. The Red Wings are starting to make some positive steps after being patient with the youth rebuild. That continues this season and Detroit is still a year away from post-season contention but at least they are no longer a doormat for the rest of the league. Losing Jacob Vrana to shoulder surgery right before the season hurts this team. Florida Panthers – 116 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 90s this season. The Panthers surprised with how strong of a season they had last year but their goalie situation is a concern as Sergei Bobrovsky can run hot and cold and that includes from season to season. This team has to drop down some this season in my opinion after overachieving a bit last season. Montreal Canadiens – 86 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 80s this season. Keep in mind the Canadian teams all played together in the North Division last year due to the pandemic. I think that helped some of the teams like the Habs who are now back in a division battling with the likes of Florida and Tampa Bay and Boston plus Toronto comes back to Atlantic from the North as well. That is why, though Canadiens still look solid for this season, I can not predict anything more than staying about level on with last season’s point production.Ottawa Senators – 75 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 70s this season. Like Montreal, now playing in a tougher division. Like Florida, goalie concerns with Matt Murray being the guy. Ottawa will have to battle hard just to have a season that is level on with last season’s production. Like Buffalo and Detroit, this is another team that will not threaten the playoffs this season but is trying to rebuild slowly. Tampa Bay Lightning – 110 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 100s this season. Lost some good players so could drop a little but it is the systems in place here that make this team so strong each and every season in recent years. Strong coaching and a lot of talent coming up through the minors, this team is build way to be strong each and every season and will battle Boston for the top spot in division in my opinion. Toronto Maple Leafs – 113 points last year. Predicting a range of upper 90s to low 100s this season. Maple Leafs did benefit some from a North Division last season which they were a part of but now instead of beating up on Calgary and Vancouver they are back in Atlantic Division with the likes of Boston and Tampa Bay plus a Florida team off a big season. It is only natural to expect the Leafs to regress some as a result and plus their goaltending is a concern as they got more than was expected from that position last season. 

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Premier League 2021 Season Week 1 Recap

Thursday, Aug 19, 2021

English Premier League 2021 Season Week 1 Recap Quick Hitters Not a single draw in Week 1 of the season. This was very surprising to me as, out of 10 matches, not a single one ended with a splitting of the spoils. I personally prefer waging on totals and on teams to win rather than betting on the draw. However, for those of you that do like to make that wager you could be in luck this week. I would say the due factor is something to consider as it pertains to seeing some draws in Week 2 of the season! Arsenal’s loss to Brentford in Week 1 was definitely a shocker. Yet, is it not Arsenal that just seems to be one of the hardest clubs in the league to get a handle on recently. They sometimes rise up and play great against top competition and then other times they turn in a disappointing performance against a club they are supposed to beat. Brentford is solid for sure but still they just came up to the Premier League and then Arsenal not only did not win, they did not earn a share of the spoils and, in fact, lost the match by a 2-goal margin and allowed Brentford to deliver the clean sheet as Arsenal was shut out.  Chelsea dominated Crystal Palace 3-0 in Week 1 and one must be careful to evaluate Chelsea only on full season results in the table for last season. The fact is Chelsea was a different club once they made the managerial change and this is going to be a big season for them in my opinion. Quite a few goals scored in Week 1 as there were 34 total in the 10 matches. An average of nearly 3.5 goals per match is well ahead of say a typical 2.5 average. However, the key was some great performances from Manchester United, West Ham, the aforementioned Chelsea, and Liverpool to name a few. When strong clubs are matched up against each other, the goal-scoring can quickly drop depending on the strategies employed by the involved managers. That said, the goal-scoring mentioned above could drop some in Week 2 and take a look at the Manchester City – Tottenham match-up as a good example of what could transpire in bigger matches this week. The Spurs got the 1-0 upset win.  In summary, it is important to pay attention to what happens in Week 1 of a season but equally, if not more, important to not over-react to it. Keep this in mind as we head into Week 2 and beyond and as you are evaluating the clubs and the patterns as the season progresses. 

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CFL 2021: West Division Season Preview

Wednesday, Aug 04, 2021

CFL 2021 Season Preview – West Division Quick HittersBC Lions – This team went only 5-13 last season (2019) and that included 0-10 in the division and no team in the division allowed more points than the Lions. This is another team, like Edmonton, that is testing out a rather inexperienced defensive line. How quickly units like this jell in a shortened 14-game season is going to be key. BC is talented on offense but this is still a team that pulled up the rear in the West in 2019 and appears to be poised to do the same this season. Also QB Michael Reilly will be playing his 2nd season in BC. Formerly he was with Edmonton and his ratio was a combined 58-25 in 2016-17 and then 50-33 in 2018-19. This includes a 20-15 TD-INT ratio in 2019 with the Lions. Calgary Stampeders – Off a 12-6 season and had best record within divisional games too as the Stampeders were 8-2 in divisional match-ups. Calgary, however, got bounced in the first round of the post-season by eventual 2019 Grey Cup Champion Winnipeg. The Stampeders could have some lingering hunger from the way 2019 ended after a solid regular season. However, Calgary has downgraded a bit in terms of overall talent level in recent seasons. Though well-coached, can they must enough to be the top team in the division this season? I just do not see them being quite as strong as they were in past seasons. Edmonton Elks – The Elks went 8-10 in the 2019 season but snuck into the playoffs where they did win one playoff game against an East Division team but then lost in the 2nd round. Edmonton had trouble in divisional games with a 3-7 record. The Elks have a revamped defense but will it take some time to jell? Yes they are talented but you have to play well together as a unit. The new look on defense could be a pleasant surprise but tough to trust them right out of the gate. The offense looks strong and QB Trevor Harris could have a huge season with all the weapons around him but the new head coach and defensive system will be important to watch early on. Saskatchewan Roughriders – Lost in the division finals to the eventual 2019 Grey Cup Champion Blue Bombers but had a 13-5 regular season including an 8-1 mark at home. The Roughriders are known for being tough to play against in Saskatchewan! In 2021, the Riders might be tough to play everywhere! Can the defense hold up though? Combo of solid QB in a good OC’s system should lead to big things on offense but some concerns about personnel losses on defense. If the D holds together and the offense has the dynamic edge it certainly could, then this team could end up on top in the division. Winnipeg Blue Bombers – Being 3rd best in the West did not stop the Blue Bombers from marching all the way through the post-season to win it all by defeating Edmonton, Saskatchewan, and then Hamilton. Winnipeg, like Saskatchewan was very tough to beat at home as they had an 8-1 record as a host. The Blue Bombers will have a target on their backs because they are trying to repeat but they do look solid again overall with many key pieces back from last year’s team. Even though they won the title with Zach Collaros at QB how will he perform for a full season which would be his first since 2018 with Saskatchewan? The Bombers could drop some. 

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CFB 2021: Big 12 Conference Preview

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2021

CFB 2021 Season Preview – Big 12 – Quick Hitters by TeamBaylor – Likely to struggle in Big 12 action. The Bears still transitioning in the 2nd year under a new head coach. Offense could struggle without Brewer. But defense does look stronger. Might be a good “under team” in games this season. Iowa State – The Cyclones look solid again. A lot of starters back for this season. Purdy gives them an experienced QB that has enjoyed success. Well-coached. Willing to be methodical on both sides of the ball. Another one that might be a good “under team” in games this season. Kansas – The Jayhawks are just a bad program plain and simple. Arguably the worst team out of any in the power five conferences. Have been dealing with a coaching nightmare as there has just been no stability in the program. Recruiting and rebuilding for the future but currently still bottom of the barrel team.Kansas State – The Wildcats have a solid QB but there is concern in the trenches on both sides of the ball and if you do not have strong O-lines and D-lines it is tough to consistently win. Only 5 starters expected back on defense here so expect some growing pains. Oklahoma – The Sooners, as seemingly always, are so talented. Oklahoma used to be all offense and no defense but now the D is solid too and that is what makes OU such a powerhouse these days. Rattler and many starters are back on offense and they should off Iowa State for the top spot in conference.Oklahoma State – The Cowboys O-line needs to be better. Overall, only 5 starters expected back on offense. Sanders is a key to the offense but overall some question marks on that side of the ball. The defense has improved though in recent years and that has help keep this program in the mix!TCU – The Horned Frogs are poised to improve. Duggan at QB now and the defense is strong particularly up front. The question with TCU is will they be able to score enough points. D tends to be solid here but how quickly can the offense jell with Duggan under center. Does he have enough weapons? This team could surprise depending on how well the transition goes. Texas – QB Ehlinger is out and a new coach is in with Sarkisian calling the shots. The Longhorns, as per usual, are plenty talented. The questions marks though are at WR on offense and linebacker on the other side of the ball. Also, how quickly will a new coaching staff be able to mesh with this team. Will be one of the top teams in the Big 12 but could be some growing pains this season. Texas Tech – The Red Raiders are trending the wrong way. Defense has improved a little but offense has been down. Have a 3rd year head coach in Wells and a new offensive coordinator. If defense falters after showing some slight improvement recently then this team is really in trouble because the offense has question marks and a new OC. West Virginia – The Mountaineers are in 3rd year under HC Neal Brown and he has done a good job here. He tends to get a lot out of his players and this is a hard-working team. However, though a lot of the offense is back, much of the defense is not and that is a concern for this season. Also, though they seem strong at the skill positions the O-line is a concern on offense. That means lack of QB protection. Kind of a “middling year” is expected this season for West Virginia as they battle through personnel losses. 

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CFB 2021: American Athletic Conference Preview

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2021

CFB 2021 Season Preview – AAC – Quick Hitters by TeamCincinnati – Bearcats look strong again. Class of the conference. Amazing defense expected again.East Carolina – Pirates might be slightly improved. Likely to continue to run the ball more. Now have had more time with more of a normal off-season to work in new schemes on defense too. Houston – Cougars will be improved but some concerns at the skill positions on offense. Defense continuing to improve. Different style of Houston team than the high-scoring aerial attack years. Memphis – Poised for a drop-off. Lost a lot of players. Also, run game has struggled and now with question marks at quarterback the run game will be even more of a concern. Navy – Have had an up and down pattern in recent years but this truly looks like another down season is likely to follow last year’s disappointment. Tough schedule and just not the same talent level at quarterback. SMU – The Mustangs could be solid again. I like their defense and their coaching staff on that side of the ball. Question mark will be a new quarterback on offense and how he meshes with this team. Temple – The Owls have fallen to the bottom again. Problems are mounting with constant coaching changes and now player transfers and plus only about 5 starters expected back on each side of the ball. Tulane –New coordinators and so some growing pains but with time it should pay off. Key question is whether freshman quarterback will thrive in this system. Green Wave likely to be a .500 team. Tulsa – Strong defense. Off amazing 6-0 season in AAC action. However, lost some key assistants from the coaching staff. Most starters do return though so it should be a solid season in 2021. UCF – Central Florida has a new head coach and new coordinators plus lost a lot of starters on defense. But coach Malzahn has a talented quarterback to work with and there is still a lot of talent on this team. The one true challenger to the Bearcats in this conference. USF – South Florida should improve as they are in the 2nd year under coach Scott and now get more of a regular off-season to prepare. Last season was very tough on teams with new coaches as the off-season was so disjointed. This team still has quite a way to go though and will be in rebuild mode this year. Quarterback is a solid talent but, on other side of the ball, lost about half the starters on defense.

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Moneyline Option in ATS Sports

Saturday, Jul 03, 2021

MONEYLINE OPTION IN ATS SPORTSWhen one thinks of moneyline sports betting the first sports that come to mind tend to be baseball or hockey or soccer (which also offers a 3-way moneyline because of the prevalence of draws). However, consideration of the moneyline in ATS sports in sports like Basketball and Football is certainly not out of the question and, in fact, sometimes can offer substantial value.That final word, value, is really the key to everything in the way to approach sports betting. You want to make sure the value is there at the price you are laying based on the specific wager. This has come to the forefront of my mind during the 2021 NBA Playoffs because of the way certain trending has played out and that is why I am writing about it here as basketball winds down and football is right around the corner. Could we see some value in utilizing the moneyline this coming football season?Just using basketball as an example, yes it pays to pay attention to certain trends and utilizing that in your sports betting. These things do tend to be trendy so it is good to watch for patterns. Let us take a look at the patterns of the teams that were the final four teams standing in the quest for the NBA crown in 2021: Clippers, Suns, Bucks, Hawks.These are just examples and certainly not meant to be encompassing but I am just taking a window of time and showing you how strong these trends can be at times. From May 24th to July 1st the Bucks had just 1 game out of 15 that saw the SU winner not also be the ATS winner. From May 26th to July 1st the Hawks 16 games all featured the SU winner also being the ATS winner. From May 23rd until the end of the series on June 30th, the Suns saw only 1 of 16 games finish with an ATS winner that was not also the SU winner. From May 22nd until the end of the series on June 30th, the Clippers had just 1 game out of 19 in which the SU winner was not also the ATS winner.All of that above information – when it is trending like that – how do we just it to our advantage? That is the point of this article. If a team was -3 ATS and the moneyline was -140 you may be enticed to minimize risk of laying the 3 points and instead lay the -140 price on the moneyline. Or the other side of the equation is you might want the value of having the +7 on a team rather than the long odds of playing a +280 dog on the moneyline. This is normal to view these situations in this way but just consider the summary below.What all of the above is showing you is that if you just take the team you handicapped as “the play” for the game, at least in this post-season, it was trending strongly to avoid putting yourself in higher juice or lower payout situations. Like a team plus the points? May as well play them plus money on the moneyline! Like a team minus the points so considering the pricier moneyline? Do not do it…just lay the points! Of course, not all time frames will go like this but it happens and is worth watching for. Paying attention pays off as the saying goes and trends can be strong at times! Keep this in mind when taking a look at ATS sports and considering moneyline options.

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CFL 2021: East Division Season Preview

Friday, Jun 25, 2021

CFL 2021 Season Preview – East DivisionHamilton - Likely the team to beat in the East as this team appears to be built very well for success. Of course what will grab the most attention is that the Tiger-Cats passing attack made some headlines based on what transpired in the off-season. This is a team with a lot of dangerous weapons now available for aerial assaults on opponents. However, defense and also special teams are certainly other less glamorous areas that often are key to winning football games and this is where the Tiger-Cats appear particularly strong. Their return game could be lethal in special teams. As for the defense, they were fantastic in 2019 up until the Grey Cup and allowed a league low 19 points per game! Between retirement and free agency, Hamilton lost some key pieces from that defense but this team is still very well-coached on that side of the ball, has great systems in place, and should quickly form another formidable unit in 2021. Montreal – The 2019 season was the Alouettes first post-season appearance in 5 years and we could see them fall back again this season as it was a bit of an unlikely run for them in 2019. In terms of special teams play the Als got a strong return came going late in the season thanks to Mario Alford and he is back and a big threat every time he touches the ball. But the East Division appears very improved this season and I don’t see the Alouettes again having winning percentages in line with the 5-3 / 63% they produced in 2019 divisional games. In terms of offense and defense coming into this season this team should be respectable on each side of the ball but nothing fantastic. Keep in mind, this was the only team to make the playoffs in 2019 that allowed more points than they scored on the season! Could see some regression for the Alouettes in 2021 especially with improvements expected for Toronto and Ottawa plus Hamilton is looking strong again. Ottawa - Off a horrible 2019 season (3-15) but should improve this season. This is especially true if they get better QB play which is certainly possible with QB Matt Nichols now on board. Hamilton is the favorite in this division and Toronto made some solid offseason additions that have caught attention. Montreal also was in the post-season in 2019. So, after the missed season due to covid in 2020, where will the Redblacks end up in the East out of the 4 teams? It depends of course. They will be improved and should have a respectable defense thanks to new defensive coordinator Mike Benevides and also look to be strong in terms of special teams units. However, will Ottawa get strong enough play on offense to put enough points on the board to win games? That could depend on how well Nichols meshes with the offense under head coach Paul LaPolice. Perhaps the shortened 14-game season will also help the Redblacks hang around in this division but ultimately a 3rd place finish would be a good goal for this team. Toronto - New coaching staff, a lot of new players too which was needed after a 4-14 season. Bethel-Thompson and Arbuckle combine to give the Argonauts multiple options at QB.  Dinwiddie is the new head coach and he is a former QB who had great success as a QB coach in Calgary. That great QB play for the Stampeders helped lead the way to 3 Grey Cup appearances in his 4 seasons as the QB coach there. Big difference with now being the head coach plus having an overhauled roster. But do not be surprised if the Argos show major improvement this season after coming off back to back 4-18 seasons!  This is largely a new roster in Toronto and looks very talented and they have a new coaching staff so there could be some growing pains but, overall, this entire franchise feels rejuvenated heading into the new season. 

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CFB 2021: ACC Coastal Division Preview

Tuesday, Jun 01, 2021

ACC Coastal Division:Duke – This team very likely to be at the very bottom of the standings. They allowed 56 points in each of 3 of last 4 games last season and the only one they did not they allowed 48 points! So defense was already a major concern and now they lost nearly their entire defensive line. Coach Cutcliffe having problems here and losing key players to transfers and exits from the program with the defensive line being a key example of that. Georgia Tech – Middle of the pack team at best and more likely to finish below the .500 level. Known for making too many penalties and mental mistakes. The Yellow Jackets are in year three under head coach Geoff Collins so the new offensive schemes he brought here should be better as they transitioned away from being an option team. However, the defense is still a question mark and, again, GT just has not been a team that executes well. Miami – The biggest problem for the Hurricanes is they play in the same conference as Clemson! This team likely to finish 2nd or 3rd in the conference and should challenge the Tar Heels for 1st in the Coastal Division. A key will be the health of senior QB D’Eriq King but he is progressing well in his recovery from an ACL injury. Can the defensive patchwork that head coach Manny Diaz has planned hold up? This team got tripped up often on the defensive side of the ball last season and they must be better there. They are respectable in the secondary but struggle to stop the run. Will Diaz calling the shots help the defense turn around?North Carolina – The biggest problem for the Tar Heels is they play in the same conference as Clemson! This team likely to finish 2nd in the conference and 1st in the Coastal Division. Sam Howell at QB is a key for UNC. Defensively, based on key experience returning, the Tar Heels are expected to improve. They have added size to the defensive line in recent recruiting classes and those guys are now ready to contribute. Their schedule avoids Clemson in the regular season as well. Pittsburgh – Middle of the pack team could finish at .500 or slightly above. Have talented QB in Pickett but the run game not able to do enough to take the pressure off of him. The defense lost some key guys so could be a regression year on that side of the ball. Considering those factors, this is again a bit of an unpredictable team. If they can get the run game going and, in turn, get Pickett more of chance to succeed through the passing game, we should see some good opportunities for overs with this team because the defense could take a step down this season. Virginia – Middle of the pack team could finish at .500 or slightly below. Too many question marks in my opinion. Also a very tough schedule with some road games that appear very tough to win. The question marks include at wide receiver on offense and then middle linebacker and defensive line on the other side of the ball. Unless those areas surprise, the Cavaliers will not surprise either! Virginia Tech –The Hokies should challenge both the Tar Heels and Hurricanes for playing 2nd fiddle to Clemson as that team is in a class of its own but the Hokies should be a contender in the Coastal Division. Injuries will be key as to how this season goes for Virginia Tech because they have solid talent in terms of starters but just do not have much depth. This will be something to watch with the Hokies and plus I just do not trust their defense. They allowed big points in too many games last season so I will be looking for overs with this team if the offense clicks. They do have some solid talent at the skill positions on offense but can they develop some of the new starters? Watch for early season signs of whether this team jells or not. 

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CFB 2021: ACC Atlantic Division Preview

Monday, May 31, 2021

ACC Atlantic Division:Boston College – Middle of the pack team could finish at .500 or slightly above. This team strong offensively and has come a long way in the passing game. But their defense is still rebuilding in terms of schemes and personnel. Keep your eye on potential value with overs in their games. Clemson – Class of the ACC as per usual and a great shot at an undefeated regular season. Very tough opener against Georgia but if they can get past that it will be a great shot at perfection through November. Lost some great players of course but this program just at another level. Everyone knows this of course so will be hard to find betting value in their games. Florida State – Middle of the pack team could finish at .500 or slightly below. The Seminoles are rebuilding talent level here because frequent coaching changes – last season was Norvell’s first – means that getting the right talent to match the schemes has been difficult. I expect the offense to be okay but the defense is definitely the heart of the rebuild so this is another team where we could see some potential value with overs in their games. Louisville – Middle of the pack team could finish at .500 or slightly above. Coach Satterfield trying to get the right players for his schemes but this is still a work in process. It is a bad sign how this team regressed last season compared to his first season at the helm in 2019 but this team should bounce back a little. I like their defense a bit but do not trust this offense and this could be a team to keep an eye on for unders as a result. NC State – The biggest problem for the Wolfpack is they play in the same division of this conference as Clemson! This team likely to finish 2nd in the division. If they get strong play at the QB position this team can again score plenty of points. On defense they must get better, against the run in particular, though another concern I have here is that their schedule was rather easy last season. This year they have Clemson on their schedule. Syracuse – This team very likely to be at the very bottom of the standings. The Orange were so bad statistically on both sides of the ball and I just don’t see signs of any great improvement when you think about the competition level they face in the ACC. Also, the offensive line continues to be a concern for this program and so many keys to level of play begin in the trenches. Wake Forest – Middle of the pack team could finish at .500 or slightly below. This team has a solid offense but a questionable defense (again) so this could be another program to watch for plenty of overs in their games. The Demon Deacons have good depth and experience with this year’s team and could continuity with Clawson at the helm. It all adds up to improvement if they could just be better defensively. The trouble too is the latter part of the schedule is tough so even a solid performance early on could become derailed as the season goes on. 

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MLB 2021: NL West Division Preview

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2021

NL West Division Preview for MLB 2021Arizona Diamondbacks – Better than the Giants in my opinion but that is not saying much either. At least San Francisco and the Diamondbacks can rest easier know thing that the Rockies should be the ones that land in the cellar in this division. However, Arizona definitely has issues and I have them pegged to only reach mid-70s in wins. The Dbacks have a mediocre lineup and then the rotation is a real concern because Bumgarner not the same pitcher (not even close) he once was. Also, Weaver got crushed last season and Gallen is missing time with a hairline fracture in forearm to begin this season. Solid bullpen but can this team get enough hitting and enough quality starts from its rotation? Big question marks. Colorado Rockies – This team is a mess and could lose 100 games and only the Pirates likely to be worse than the Rockies in the National League this season. The Rockies strength, especially with Arenado now a member of the Cardinals, is with their pitching rotation. However, having a great rotation is not such a big plus when you play your home games at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Respectable bullpen too but this lineup could use more big sticks to outslug teams and they just do not have that. Bit of a rebuild here for 2022 in my opinion. Los Angeles Dodgers – The World Series Champions are expected by many to rule the roost again in 2021 but they may not even win their own division. LA will certainly be great again but San Diego could give them a run for their money. Dodgers should get to upper 90s in wins. Is hard to find much fault with this team but here is the one key component: hunger factor. It is a long season in baseball and hard to stay fully motivated and is not often you see World Series champs repeating. So it will be another great season in LA but the Padres are nipping at their heels. San Diego Padres – This team could challenge Los Angeles for top spot in the division and should finish in the upper 90s for a win total this season which could put them neck and neck with the Dodgers down the stretch run. This team plays with a lot of energy and emotion and that is great to see. I like their lineup and they have plenty of pop. A key to their season will be how well the new starting rotation meshes. They are relying not only on newcomers Darvish and Snell but also Musgrove. None of those guys were Padres last season. Can they fit in well and get comfortable here? Probably yes but that is something to watch early. The bullpen is also stacked. I mean these guys “won the off-season” but will it translate to success on the field? I do believe so and also believe this team will get stronger as season goes on. San Francisco Giants – Long-time followers know I am not a fan of manager Gabe Kapler. The Giants finished a little better than expected last season as the shortened season helped them. San Francisco still had a losing record though and I expect them to lose at least 90 games in what is now projected to be a full 162-game season. This team has some aging veterans so they haven’t fully begun their youth movement and yet they need to. Their lineup surprised last season but it was a short season and I am not so sure they do that again. This is a concern because the pitching just is not there. The Giants bullpen lost a decent arm when Watson ended up with the Phillies. Also, the rotation only has Gausman in terms of guys who produced a respectable ERA last season but his track record in his career shows he has most always struggled to put together back to back solid seasons. That said, behind him is Cueto, DeSclafani, and Webb and all 4 of those guys had ERAs north of 5.00 last season. Tough year expected by the bay!

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MLB 2021: AL West Division Preview

Sunday, Mar 28, 2021

AL West Division Preview for MLB 2021Houston Astros – Look for the Astros to finish in the upper 80s for a win total this season and challenge Oakland for the top spot in this division as they battle it out. Houston has weathered the storm after the sign-stealing scandal and this team has a deep pitching rotation. Perhaps not as dominant at the top as others but deeper. Also, a solid bullpen and still a solid lineup with a strong infield too. Astros are still a tough team.Los Angeles Angels – These team should be right around .500 but are hard to gauge in my opinion with so many question marks. Bundy, Ohtani, Heaney are the top 3 in the rotation and Bundy struggled so badly not too long ago in Baltimore. Is he totally past all that? What about Ohtani injuries impeding him? Heaney has good stuff but had a mediocre 4.46 ERA last season. Getting a new closer in Iglesias was big and this team has a solid lineup but will the rotation hold up? Starting pitching a key here. Oakland Athletics – Will battle with Houston for top spot in the division and should have a win total in the upper 80s. New closer with Rosenthal instead of Hendricks but overall this is a solid bullpen. Respectable but not dominant rotation. New DH as Khris Davis now with the Rangers. A’s likely better off in that spot now but overall this lineup most produce better. That will be the key to Oakland winning this division. They must hit a little better this season. Keep an eye on that with this team that, thanks to strong management/coaching always seems to manage to do more with less than other teams! Seattle Mariners – Should stay out of the basement in this division thanks to the Rangers but a 90-loss season appears likely. Seattle has Marco Gonzales at top of rotation but never should have traded away Taijuan Walker. Bullpen has former Rangers closer Rafael Montero and some question marks. The lineup is a concern as they were one of worst hitting clubs in the league last season. This will simply be a tough team to trust often. They will have to get their lineup going to even be a threat at getting to a .500 season here. Texas Rangers – This team unlikely to avoid the basement in this division. The Rangers targeted for about mid-60s in wins this season. Kyle Gibson is their number one starter in the rotation. No disrespect to him but he would not be a number one on any other team in the majors. He had a 1.53 WHIP last season! That is only the start of problems with this Texas team. They have major question marks throughout their rotation and their closer Leclerc is off a major shoulder injury and overall the bullpen has a lot of unproven arms heading into the season. The batting lineup one of the worst in the majors and absolutely horrific when it comes to getting on base. A very ugly .285 OBP last season. Rangers could lose 100 games this season unless they get some surprises somewhere. Hope springs eternal at the start of a season but not a lot of it in Texas for these Rangers based on how things look in Arlington. 

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MLB 2021: NL Central Division Preview

Friday, Mar 26, 2021

NL Central Division Preview for MLB 2021Chicago Cubs – This team will struggle to get to .500 this season and is likely to finish in the mid to upper 70s for a win total. The Cubs Hendricks and Davies are now sandwiched with Arrieta at the top of the rotation but the latter was ultimately a bust in Philly. The problem with the Cubs is more than just having only a top two in the rotation. Chicago hit just .220 as a team last season and their lineup strikes out too much.Cincinnati Reds – The Reds should finish slightly above .500 but this team has to start hitting better. They were dead last season in the National League and are forced to rely far too much on their pitching staff. The rotation and bullpen both look rock solid but, again, will this team score enough runs? Probably enough to be competitive but not enough to win this division. Milwaukee Brewers – This team should compete with Cincinnati and battle the Cardinals for the top spot in the division. The Brewers have Woodruff and Burnes for a great 1-2 combo at the top of the rotation and then the bullpen is also stacked with the 1-2 punch of Williams and Hader. One of the issues with this team though is a lineup that piles up the strikeouts. I don’t see where that has been fixed and, though they have some pop, they don’t get on base enough and could struggle against strikeout pitchers.Pittsburgh Pirates – This could be the worst team in baseball this season. The Pirates may not even get to 60 wins. In fact if I would have to get a range I would say between 54 and 59 wins is a likely area for this team’s win total to fall into. Yes, Pittsburgh is that bad! The Pirates lost Jameson Taillon to the Yankees. The rotation has Keller at the top but a lot of question marks behind it. The team seems to be in a constant rebuild. Rodriguez a solid closer but how much will he be needed considering the Pirates are unlikely to have a ton of late leads! The Bucs had the worst slugging percentage and on base percentage in baseball last season. Will be a long season in Pittsburgh! St Louis Cardinals – This team should win the division though the Brewers and Reds will do their best to prevent that. I project the Cardinals to get into the upper 80s with their win total this season. The Cardinals did not hit particularly well last season but the good news is the other 4 teams in the division also have that issue. In fact the NL Central comprised the bottom 5 of the 15-team NL when you look at team batting average last season. St Louis did rate about 10 points better than everyone else in the division though and picking up Nolan Arenado which pushes a fading Matt Carpenter out of the lineup could prove to be a big plus for this team. A concern for the Cardinals is when Kim and Mikolas will be back in the rotation. Kim should only miss his 1st start or 2 of the year but Mikolas situation not as favorable. This will be something to keep an eye on but St Louis still looks like the team to beat in this division. 

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MLB 2021: AL Central Division Preview

Thursday, Mar 25, 2021

AL Central Division Preview for MLB 2021Chicago White Sox – The White Sox projected to win about 90 games this season and certainly that is hard to argue with. The additions include Adam Eaton and Lance Lynn. That bolsters the outfield and the starting rotation respectively and you have to like the pitching here. Chicago has Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, and Lynn at the top of the rotation! Cleveland Indians – Projected to play about .500 ball this season but this is a team that has had 8 consecutive winning seasons. That said, it is hard to imagine the Indians not challenging the White Sox and Twins at the top of this division. Cleveland has Bieber and Plesac at the top of the rotation. Also, Quantrill expected to be a starter and he was strong last season out of the pen. With the young, strong arm of McKenzie in the mix, if Civale also steps up this season this is a very tough rotation. The concern will be getting enough out of the hitters for sure. Detroit Tigers – This team will battle with the Royals to stay out of the cellar in the division. Which team will get to 70 wins, if even that, is the question! The Tigers are in a rebuild mode, as per usual. Manager AJ Hinch could certainly get things going in the right direction with this team but they are still lacking talent right now and have to build slowly due to some payroll missteps that have hamstrung them. Casey Mize is a solid young arm in the rotation but Matthew Boyd has greatly regressed. As for the lineup, not nearly enough power with this club. Kansas City Royals – This team will battle with the Tigers to stay out of the cellar in the division. Which team will get to 70 wins, if even that, is the question! This team looks better than Detroit though. Some good team speed, good young players that are already developing, solid defensively, but will they get enough hitting? Also, behind Keller who is solid in the rotation, the Royals will need more from Singer and especially Minor after he regressed. Minnesota Twins – This team could (and should) challenge the White Sox for the top spot in the division. One has to like your chances when your top three in the rotation are Maeda, Berrios, and Pineda. This team also has a lot of pop in its lineup with plenty of longball power. The Twins just need to hit for higher average and do a better job of getting guys on base at the top of the order and they would then definitely be the team to beat in this division. This team has excellent management and I mean from the manager of the team all the way up to the top in the front office and they are going to challenge Chicago this season. Look for at least 90 wins out of the Twins this season and if the pitching holds up they could win this division. 

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MLB 2021: NL East Division Preview

Sunday, Feb 28, 2021

NL East Division Preview for MLB 2021Atlanta Braves – The Braves are projected by most to land at around 90 wins this season and battle it out with the Mets for top spot in this division. Atlanta has had 3 straight solid seasons as they are returning to the year over year consistency they had displayed for so many years before slipping a few years back. Now the Braves again look like the Braves of old with a solid rotation, including now Charlie Morton too, and they have great young arms too. Then you look at the lineup and this team has a great mix of young up and coming stars as well as veteran talent. It is hard to find a weakness with this team but the bullpen might be one area to watch. Mark Melancon is now with the Padres and so the Braves will have a different closer now and overall the pen could take some time to jell this season. Miami Marlins – The Marlins surprised some in a short season last year but now I look for them to return to a range of, at most, 70 wins. They are still in a rebuild mode which was simply a bit masked by the covid-shortened season last year. Manager Don Mattingly has been pushing the right buttons here but Miami’s bullpen was a weakness last year and their lineup produced a rather low slugging percentage. This team was fortunate to finish above .500 last season, still has some unproven starting pitchers that are still growing into their role in the rotation, and also finished toward the bottom of the league for team fielding. New York Mets – The new owner has opened up the pocketbook for sure and went on a spending spree. That is why a team that finished with a losing record last season is likely to get to around 90 wins this season. They added Lindor to bolster the lineup, McCann who is a solid veteran catcher, and Carrasco to the rotation. He’ll fit in well behind deGrom who is phenomenal. Also, the lineup looks even stronger as Dominic Smith continues to look stronger and stronger in terms of his potential. This lineup looks really strong with a lot of power potential plus the bullpen is strong in terms of closer and set-up men. Philadelphia Phillies – The Phillies could surprise this season. Hard to peg them ending up much better than .500 on the season especially when you consider the strength of the Braves and Mets. Also, the Nationals are similar in overall team strength to the Nationals. However, the reason Philadelphia could surprise is because they have Nola and Wheeler at the top of the rotation plus catcher JT Realmuto, a key piece, came back and they have Bryce Harper and other big bats like Hoskins, Bohm, Gregorius and Segura. The top guys in the bullpen can be strong for the Phils but that is their overall weakness. A horrible pen that was dead last in the majors last season! Keep an eye on this as a key to Phillies season.Washington Nationals – Projected to be in the mid-80s for their win total this season. The Nats finished below .500 last season but they have to be back. They have a powerful line-up especially with the phenomenal hitting of Juan Soto plus Trea Turner and plus perhaps Josh Bell bounces back too. But when you have a solid pitching rotation led by Max Scherzer and you have Stephen Strasburg, if healthy, that is a tough 1-2 combo. Also, a very solid closer for the Nationals but their bullpen was overall a weak link last year and that could again be an issue as well. That is what could prevent Washington from competing with the Mets and Braves for the top spot in the division. 

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MLB 2021: AL East Division Preview

Sunday, Feb 28, 2021

AL East Division Preview for MLB 2021Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles are projected by most to finish with a win total in the mid-60s. Baltimore is a young team that is trying to build for the future. They just can not keep up with the big spending of divisional foes like the Yankees. In a few years the youth movement should pay off but right now the Orioles have a weak rotation, poor bullpen, and will have to try and notch some victories with big games at the plate. Baltimore was one of the better hitting teams in the American League in the shortened campaign last season. Boston Red Sox – Boston is projected to finish at about .500 this season. The Red Sox still have the long-term reputation but really this team is a shell of its former self. They can win some games with their bats particularly when at home in hitter-friendly Fenway Park. However, though the bullpen has some solid arms, the starting rotation has many concerns. That said, likely to be another season in which Boston again finishes near the bottom of the table for important stats like team ERA and team fielding. This team also does have defensive concerns for sure. New York Yankees – The Yankees are expected to win this division and get to a win total in the mid-90s but the Rays and Jays are likely to have something to say about that. One of the two could emerge as a challenger to the Yanks for sure. What would be a weakness with the bankrolling Yankees? The starting rotation for sure is a concern. Fantastic bullpen it appears but who is going to be the support behind Gerrit Cole in the pitching rotation? The Yankees were only in the middle of the pack for team pitching last season and heavily rely on their sluggers to win games. Generally, as the sluggers go, so go the Yankees. Definitely a strong bullpen when healthy. Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays should get into the mid-80s for a win total this season. Amazingly one of the lowest payrolls in baseball but Tampa Bay still finds a way. They are so competitive. A small market team that is easy to like based on the competitive level they bring despite not having the star power. Of course the losses of Charlie Morton and Blake Snell form the rotation are big changes for this season. Tampa Bay will take a step back as a result but always hard to count these guys out and this is especially true if they get some solid contributions from the guys they picked up including in the Snell deal with the Padres. Toronto Blue Jays – The Blue Jays are expected to get into the mid-80s for their win total this season. But that is just where they seem stuck right now as they do not have the top-tier rotation guys to truly dominate teams. Toronto has to rely on their big sticks to try and win games as their rotation has a lot of mid-level guys but not any real standout dominators. Also, their bullpen has some strong arms but not a lot of depth and is also a bit of a concern. That said, a team whose slugging percentage ranked 4th in the AL last season will again be the key for the Blue Jays and how their season goes this year. 

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NHL North Division Preview for 2021

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021

NHL North Division Preview for 2021Finally hockey is back as we are heading into the New Year and we will have the NHL season underway by mid-January in this unusually scheduled 2021 hockey season that has been impacted by the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic has also resulted in some divisional shuffling for this season. Below I give a quick hitter report on each of the seven teams in the North Division:North:Calgary – Look for Jacob Markstrom to thrive in Calgary. The change of scenery will be great for the goaltender and he continues to show signs he is on the verge of being able to put a team on his back. Overall this is a quality Flames team that should end up in the post-season once again this year. With Giordano and Tkachuk leading by example, this team also has some solid leadership in the lockerroom. Factor in top talent like Gaudreau and Monahan and this is a team that could make some noise if Markstrom comes through between the pipes. Edmonton – The Oilers are another high-quality team that should be playoff bound. Amazingly, even with McDavid and Draisaitl as well as Nugent-Hopkins, this is a team that has missed the playoffs far too often. However, they appear to finally be turning the corner and the Oilers do get a boost with the signing of Tyson Barrie too. I also like the fact that Edmonton was the best team in the league on the power play and 2nd best on the penalty kill last season. Special teams go a long way toward success in this league including in the post-season. Montreal – This team was similar to Chicago last season. By that I mean they were very fortunate to get a shot to make it into the playoffs with the revised format and they took advantage. However, this was not and still is not a true playoff team. The Canadiens are simply a middling team that is trending a bit downward as Drouin underachieved after coming here from Tampa Bay and he was close to Domi who now got sent to Columbus because of not getting along with head coach Claude Julien who is not returning from heart surgery during the post-season. This once-proud franchise hasn’t won a playoff series since 2015 and this year they are unlikely to even have the opportunity as they don’t make the playoffs given the tough North Division they’re in. Ottawa – This is the one team that will keep Montreal out of the basement. Ottawa is in a rebuild mode as they have had 3 straight tough seasons now. The Senators also lost a number of contributors in the off-season. Long-range this team will be better off as a result of the changes made but short-term it will challenge this team’s compete level. A lot of youth on this team plus new personnel to work into the roster. That said, we’ll likely see some improvement with this hockey club as it gets a chance to jell as the season goes on but there will still be some early season struggles and, overall, this team is unlikely to get out of the basement in this division. Toronto – This could finally be the year for the Maple Leafs. The divisional re-alignment for this season only really helps Toronto as they get away from the Lightning and Bruins and I expect the Leafs to take advantage and earn the top spot in this division. That is not to say it will be easy but it does position them well to then make a playoff run too. So much top tier talent plus then they added the veteran presence of Joe Thornton and they will be hungry right along with him as he goes for the Cup at the age of 41. The Maple Leafs certainly can score well with big guns like Matthews and Marner and Tavares. They also can get solid goaltending from Frederik Andersen but will this team get enough defense. They need all the skaters to step up in that department not just the blue line guys. That said, this is a team to keep an eye on for plenty of “overs” too depending on how much “buy in” is seen in terms of team defense. Vancouver – Braden Holtby in goal backed up Thatcher Demko after shining in the post-season and a ton of talent up front where guys like Miller, Pettersson, Horvat, and Boeser lead the way. This is a talented team and they added Nate Schmidt from Vegas to pair with Quinn Hughes on the blue line. It will very likely be between the Canucks and Maple Leafs for the top spot in this division. This team has a great power play and if they can be a little stronger on the penalty kill and their 5 on 5 play at both ends this a team that is absolutely on the cusp and on its way up. Their point totals the last 3 seasons went from 73 to 81 to 93. Another solid season on tap for the Canucks as they have responded well to coach Travis Green. Winnipeg – It was just a couple seasons ago that the Jets were one of the top teams in the NHL. Then they have regressed some each of the past two seasons and the regression is likely to continue this season. Too many issues, too many question marks, problems with chemistry, and a blue line in a state of flux. That latter issue is of particular concern because goalie Connor Hellebuyck is off a fantastic campaign but has had trouble going to back to back with strong seasons. If the D in front of him struggles or he falters some this season, it could be a long campaign for the Jets. The whole Patrik Laine situation took a lot out of this team and guys like Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele are simply being asked to do too much. The result is this team will have to battle hard just to make the post-season this year.

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NHL West Division Preview for 2021

Monday, Jan 11, 2021

NHL West Division Preview for 2021Finally hockey is back as we are heading into the New Year and we will have the NHL season underway by mid-January in this unusually scheduled 2021 hockey season that has been impacted by the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic has also resulted in some divisional shuffling for this season. Below I give a quick hitter report on each of the eight teams in the West Division:West:Anaheim – The Ducks have continued to trend downward the past two seasons and they now enter the 3rd season of a rebuild. Unfortunately for Anaheim fans, the 3rd year is unlikely to be the charm. This team struggles to score goals, allows too many goals, is weak on the power play, and nearly just as bad on the penalty kill. I know they got Shattenkirk to try and shore up the power plays and Grant to try and stabilize the penalty kill but the Ducks just have too many holes and didn’t do enough in the off-season.Arizona – This team has been better the past two seasons then they had been in recent years. However, the Coyotes lost quite a few pieces from last season’s team. Players like Hall, Soderberg, Hinostroza, Grabner, and Richardson are now gone but also a key change at the top could make this season a little shaky for Arizona. The Coyotes have a new GM as Armstrong replaces Chayka. The Coyotes are still solid in goal with Keumper and Raanta but will they score enough to be successful? I look for a drop-off for Arizona this season. Colorado – Had they not suffered a number of key injuries this team likely would have won the Stanley Cup last season. Now, bolstered by even more additions to an already stacked roster, this club has to be the odds on favorite to win it all this season. The Avalanche added Brandon Saad and Devon Toews and this was after adding Kadri and Burakovsky the prior off-season. In other words, Colorado just keeps getting stronger and stronger and this is particularly true in 5 of 5 hockey. With some tweaks to special teams and with healthy netminders, the sky is the limit for the Avs. Los Angeles – The Kings have really dropped off the past two seasons and I expect them to remain near the bottom of the league this season as well. Los Angeles is in rebuild mode and the good news is that the future looks bright with a lot of prospects plus draft picks piled up. However, after unloading aging vets this is a team that clearly is looking at next season and beyond and this will be another year for LA as a result. Los Angeles did have a winning record at home last season but was awful on the road. Keep that in mind as you cap their games this season. Will that trend continue in a covid-impacted season?Minnesota – After taking a dip two seasons ago the Wild were on their way back up last season but now appear ready to drop off again. In the long run it will be better for Minnesota but in the short-term they have lost too much. Gone are guys like Mikko Koivu, goalie Devan Dubnyk, Eric Staal, and Ryan Danato among others. It is a long list of departures for this team. Maybe Cam Talbot will be the answer for this team in goal but will they score enough after losing some key contributors that is the question? Defensively the Wild are considered solid but the key will be how Talbot does in a new uniform. St Louis – The Blues will again be one of the best teams in the league. But will the departure of Alex Pietrangelo hurt the leadership of the team. Who will step up? Will Kyle Clifford help insure the Blues don’t see a drop off in toughness and physicality. Of course the signing of Torey Krug, formerly with the Bruins, is huge for St Louis and this team does indeed look like they just shuffled the deck a bit but should be just as strong. Annually one of the top teams in the NHL this season looks like more of the same but, keep in mind, Jordan Binnington no longer has Jake Allen behind him in goal. Of course that could go one of two ways so keep an eye on how things go on defense and in goal for the Blues early this season. Odds are this team will be firing on all cylinders come playoff time as long as Binnington keeps up his end of the deal! He is dealing with some contract pressure too since his bridge contract expires after this season. San Jose – This team fell off drastically last season and another tough campaign is likely on the way this season. They have a fractured dressing room per se as the culture of this team is simply off. Maybe too many big personalities in the locker room and now veteran Joe Thornton is gone and with the Maple Leafs. This club was great on the penalty kill last season but everything else was, and still is, a concern. Now will Martin Jones step up his game in goal with Devan Dubnyk now arriving from Minnesota. Good goaltending can help a club get hot but I feel there are still too many holes with the Sharks. Vegas – This is going to be an interesting season for the Golden Knights. Certainly they are still a high quality team and should be one of the best in the NHL again. But enter Alex Pietrangelo and exit guys like Stastny, Schmidt, Engelland, Cousins and the list goes on. There was just a certain chemistry among these guys that it will be interesting to see how quickly the new club acclimates. Keep in mind there was a lot of drama too about goalie Marc-Andre Fleury after Robin Lehner came on board. But all in all this is a well-coached team under Peter DeBoer and the kind of team that, if it grows more cohesive as a unit as the season goes on, will be the kind of team no one wants to face in the post-season. 

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NHL Central Division Preview for 2021

Thursday, Dec 31, 2020

NHL Central Division Preview for 2021Finally hockey is back as we are heading into the New Year and we will have the NHL season underway by mid-January in this unusually scheduled 2021 hockey season that has been impacted by the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic has also resulted in some divisional shuffling for this season. Below I give a quick hitter report on each of the eight teams in the Central Division:Central:Carolina – Losing some veteran leadership could hurt this team a little this season. But hard-nosed coach Rod Brind’Amour continues to get a lot out of this team and seems capable of pushing the right buttons at the right time. Having Jacob Slavin on your blue line is a big plus and the top line with guys like Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teraveinen make this a tough team for opponents with some high-end talent. Look for another playoff run from the Hurricanes this season as they are excellent on special teams too. Chicago – The Blackhawks will be one of the worst teams in the league this season. Goaltending questions, key veteran and leadership departures, and a young group of players still adjusting to a young coach in Jeremy Colliton. It will likely be rough season in Chicago and there is no modified playoff system this year that will allow the Blackhawks to get into the playoffs like they miraculously did last season. Columbus – It is still hard to forecast this team too high but they always are gritty under coach John Tortorella and, therefore, often end up surprising. The fact they lost more man-games to injury than any other team in the NHL last season certainly bodes well for a potential improvement this season. However, their power play was one of the worst in the league last season and overall the team generally struggles to score goals. That said, goaltending play will again be a key for the gritty Blue Jackets. Dallas – Amazing run to the Stanley Cup finals for the Stars last season but they were certainly helped by facing an Avalanche team dealing with a number of key injuries when they met Colorado in the post-season. It will be a tough climb back and the Stars did see some veteran leadership depart heading into this season. This is a playoff team but I don’t see them going as deep this season. Too many other teams are a couple notches above this team. Jamie Oleksiak makes too many mistakes to be on the 2nd defensive pairing for this team in my opinion and that says a lot about the fact this team is just a notch or two below the top teams heading into this season. Detroit – The Red Wings join the Blackhawks as a team likely to challenge for the bottom spot in the league this season. It has been an ongoing rebuild for Detroit that is catching up with them here as they went too long with hanging on to veterans in prior seasons as they wanted to maintain their playoffs streak at a cost of not building for the future. Now the Red Wings are paying for that. All is not totally lost for this season as a healthy Danny DeKeyser will certainly help the blue line plus the Red Wings did add a couple of lower priced veterans to make sure they are at least a little more competitive this season and have some veteran leadership. However, this is still a team with an eye more toward the future than this season. Florida – Joel Quenneville is an excellent coach and the Panthers are talented up front. But the problem has been inconsistent goaltending and problems with the blue line. Florida did make some defensive acquisitions and also made sure to acquire some toughness too. But how long until those guys acclimate to Quenneville’s system? I look for this to be a bit of a transitional season for the Panthers as it takes some time for their defense to jell. Nashville – John Hynes is a quality coach but too many subtractions from this roster for my liking. Gone are Nick Bonino and Kyle Turris and Craig Smith and Austin Watson among others. I know some changes were needed but did the Predators do a little too much maneuvering? Also, Saros is making a bid to replace Rinne as the #1 netminder and he started the entire playoff series against the Coyotes. However, is the sign of Saros’ ascent or Rinnes’s deciine? The fact is the Predators are likely to fall just short of a post-season invite this year in my opinion.Tampa Bay – It is so difficult to repeat in a normal season and this one is not normal and neither was last season’s Stanley Cup winning season for Tampa Bay. That said, I am expecting a bit of a slump for the Lightning this season. Of course they are still one of the elite teams in the NHL and very well coached but you know they will also have targets on their back this season. Keep in mind too that normally Columbus and Dallas would not be in their division but this season they are. That means plenty of games against a pair of revenge-minded teams in the Blue Jackets and Stars. It goes without saying that the Bolts will still be one of the best teams in the league but I do expect a bit of a dropdown this season based on all of the above factors. 

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NHL East Division Preview for 2021

Thursday, Dec 31, 2020

NHL East Division Preview for 2021Finally hockey is back as we are heading into the New Year and we will have the NHL season underway by mid-January in this unusually scheduled 2021 hockey season that has been impacted by the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic has also resulted in some divisional shuffling for this season. Below I give a quick hitter report on each of the eight teams in the East Division:East:Boston – Still one of the best teams in the league but the loss of Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara means the veteran leadership of this team has taken a bit of a hit. While the youth movement is likely to pay dividends long-term we could see this team take a small step back in 2021. The Bruins are still solid up front but the loss of two veteran defensemen will be felt some this season. Buffalo – The Sabres are growing well under head coach Ralph Krueger. Their point totals for the season have climbed from 62 to 76 to 81 and Buffalo appears poised to continue forward trajectory this season. However, the key will be newly acquired Taylor Hall performing at the level the very talented left winger is fully capable of. Buffalo looks like a playoff contender. New Jersey – This is a very young team, one of the youngest in the league, but perhaps veteran head coach Lindy Ruff can get the most out of them. Adding left winger Andreas Johnsson plus goalie Corey Crawford certainly has strengthened this team. This team is very talented but also very young. Perhaps the veteran presence of coach Ruff and goaltender Crawford will be enough to help this team through the growing pains. The talent is certainly there but this is also a very tough division. New York Islanders – The Islanders came so close last season but are likely to fall back this season. For one thing, the Isles simply clicked at the right time in the post-season last year and that fueled their impressive run. For another thing, New York lost some key guys and veteran leadership from last season’s team. It is always tough to count out a Barry Trotz coached team but this East Division is loaded for this season.New York Rangers – Of course the only way to go for the Rangers was up but the fact is they could make big strides this season. The Rangers won the draft lottery and got Alexis Lafreniere and he’ll be an immediate contributor. Also, they picked up some other key pieces heading into this season but the key with the Rangers is being consistent. When they play inspired hockey they are a tough team to face but too often they go through the motions and it shows. If coach David Quinn can encourage a little more toughness from this team the potential to fight for a playoff spot this season is certainly there. Philadelphia – The Flyers were great in Alain Vigneault’s first season as the head coach. However, he has done that in other stops too and then generally taken a step back after the first season. This time could be different however as Vigneault has a team loaded with talent and a fantastic netminder Hart whose mentor, Elliott, also signed on for another year. If the Flyers can get a little more from some veteran guys like Voracek and van Riemsdyk, this club certainly has potential for another exciting post-season run. Also, Hart needs to play better on enemy ice. He has been fantastic at home but must improve his road play.  Pittsburgh – There is a bit of an absence of toughness on this team and the core stars like Crosby and Malkin as well as Letang aren’t getting any younger! It does seem like the Penguins are on the fade as other teams in this year’s East Division have been stepping up their game while Pittsburgh has remained a bit flat and unaggressive. Yes the Penguins are going for a 15th straight season of making the playoffs but they just don’t have the roster depth anymore to make a real deep run it appears. Washington – Adding the veteran leadership of Zdeno Chara should help this team which certainly did not need a lot of help to begin with. The Capitals won the Cup just a few seasons ago when they beat the Golden Knights. However, perhaps the issue has been coaching since Barry Trotz went to the Islanders. The Caps may have resolved that now too with the hiring of Peter Laviolette. This is a physical hockey club and this team appears positioned well to make a strong push for a cup with veterans like Alex Ovechkin also fired up about the coaching change and some new faces on the roster.

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MAC Conference West Division Football Preview for 2020

Thursday, Oct 29, 2020

MAC Conference West Division Football Preview for 2020:Heading into the first week of November 2020 only two conferences have yet to get underway in this unusually scheduled 2020 football season that has been impacted by the pandemic. One of those two conferences is the MAC. Below I give a quick hitter report on each of the six teams in the Mid-American Conference West Division:West:Ball State – The Cardinals have a lot of talent but their last 3 losses last season came by a combined 8 points. They struggle to win close games and one of the concerns coming into this season is they appear thin at defensive line and this is a Ball State team which had a rough season on defense last year. Central Michigan – A lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball but will a solid quarterback be able to step up? There is certainly a ton of talent at the other skill positions on offense. Might be good to look at overs in the Chippewas games as the defense lost a lot of starters from last year. Eastern Michigan – This team lost a ton of talent from last year’s team. The players the Eagles lost were key players so this may seem hard to believe but an Eastern Michigan team that won 6 games last season and went to a bowl is truly in rebuild mode this season. I expect them to finish near or at the very bottom of the MAC West. Northern Illinois – This team is likely to finish near the bottom of the division this season. The Huskies are coming off back to back years where they simply have suffered a lot of key losses from their roster. This is the season it catches up with them. Toledo – Mediocre the last two seasons but the Rockets should be soaring again this season. At least in terms of being the top team in the West Division. Toledo had a great ground attack on offense last season but it was the defense that let this team down. Now this season the Rockets return a lot of veteran experience on defense and that should pay off with a much stronger season on that side of the ball. Western Michigan – The Broncos are a tough team to call because they do appear to be solid in the trenches as both lines look strong. But, on offense, they lost key pieces at quarterback and running back and that could hold this team back. If Western Michigan finds some answers there, this is a team that could challenge the Rockets for the top spot in the West. However, if they struggle in those areas this team could easily drop down to as low as 4th too. In a short 6-game MAC season this is something to watch closely in the early going. 

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MAC Conference East Division Football Preview for 2020

Thursday, Oct 29, 2020

MAC Conference East Division Football Preview for 2020:Heading into the first week of November 2020 only two conferences have yet to get underway in this unusually scheduled 2020 football season that has been impacted by the pandemic. One of those two conferences is the MAC. Below I give a quick hitter report on each of the six teams in the Mid-American Conference East Division:East:Akron – Head coach Tom Arth came here with a 49-21 record. He went 0-12 with the Zips in his first season. This football program is still in rebuild mode and in for another long season.Bowling Green – Head coach Scot Loeffler was a good hire even though he and the Falcons struggled in his first year here. Respectable ground game last season and pass defense was respectable as well. Still issues though and lost about half their starters from last year.Buffalo – The Bulls look like the class of the MAC this season and return a lot experience from last year’s team. They were one of the best rushing teams in the nation last year. On the other side of the ball, a very strong defense returns a lot of talent. This team should prove to be tops in the MAC. Kent State – Head coach Sean Lewis now in his 3rd season with the program and the Golden Flashes are starting to turn things around. However, this team lacks depth. That could be particularly problematic in a season impacted by covid-19. So far this College Football season we have seen that be a factor in other conferences that have already begun play and injuries are an issue too for teams with less depth. They finish in the middle of the pack in the MAC East most likely. Miami (Ohio) – The Redhawks are the only team likely to challenge Buffalo in the East. They won the MAC Championship Game last season over Central Michigan. They return a ton of talent from last season’s team but are a little thin on defense and, keep in mind, their overall production on offense was not overly impressive last season. Also, special teams units took a major hit in terms of players lost from last season. Still a good team but I don’t think they’ll be able to top the Bulls this season.Ohio University – Another team whose special teams took a hit in the off-season. Also, though this teams returns a fair number of players from last season, they did lose a lot of top players including 7 all-conference selections. That kind of talent being gone is why I feel strongly that the Bobcats will be battling with the Golden Flashes in the “middle of the pack” in the MAC East this season. 

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Sports Betting in 2020: A Summer Like No Other

Saturday, Jun 27, 2020

With the Covid-19 Pandemic still on the minds of everyone in the summer of 2020, sports bettors and professional handicappers can at least finally take some solace in the fact that North American sports are set to resume in July. Below I am providing a few quick hitters or food for thought on each of the 3 sports that are about to be underway. Of course, we will soon all be turning most of our attention toward football. Indeed, preparation for the upcoming college and NFL seasons is already underway but now is the time to talk about NBA, NHL, and MLB action!In my 3 decades of exposure to sports betting and my 2 decades as a professional sports handicapper, I certainly have never seen anything like this - none of us has! The fact remains the Covid-19 Pandemic will continue to impact the sports world even as we now, finally, play on! It looks like MLB finally has figured things out and is set to resume in the final week of July just prior to NBA and NHL resuming.In terms of MLB, I feel the handicapping world needs to pay special attention to the scheduling for this shortened season. With playing each divisional foe 10 times and then the corresponding division foes (East vs East, Central vs Central, West vs West) being played 5 times I feel this could have a big impact on teams’ success factors. I will use the NL East as an example. Many feel that the Braves, Nationals, Mets and Phillies each have a respectable shot at winning the divisional title. However, the Marlins are nowhere close to being in that discussion. When also factoring in that Miami’s AL East foes will include the Yankees and Rays plus respectable Blue Jays and Red Sox teams, I just do not foresee the Marlins winning many games at all. This is just one example so keep scheduling in mind in a strange 2020!As for the NHL, I feel this could be the least impacted of the sports. These teams will be going quickly into post-season action and I feel the neutral ice venues will not be a big factor. That said, the usual post-season success factors of riding teams with strong team chemistry and grabbing hot goalies as well as watching for big coaching or other match-up edges in the series match-up are all important. Use these factors as “bread and butter” for profits at the betting window throughout the NHL post-season.The NBA, like the NHL, will have the neutral site factor in play. Some believe that teams with a sub-par road performance factor may not perform as well in this situation. However, keep in mind that going away for a true road game at enemy territory is one thing. But, traveling just once to stay at a neutral site location for the length of a post-season is another thing altogether. Take the 76ers as an example. They were so strong at home but so unimpressive on the road this season. However, per my above argument, I feel that does not mean they should be automatically faded. In fact, a bigger factor for the post-season is now the health factor that has been afforded by the time off. Now the Sixers have Ben Simmons back and Joel Embiid healthy again. That is likely to prove to be a bigger factor to consider! The point being that health factors or roster changes since the season was shutdown are worth considering.

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