It’s never too early to utter Joe Lunardi’s name…

With college football being well underway, I cannot help but to begin to get antsy for the return of college basketball and all of the drama that comes with it! Currently, I am in the middle of much anticipated read for myself written by Gonzaga Head Coach, Mark Few. Few’s novel encompasses the national obsession that has become Bracketology and March Madness. While this book relates to college basketball annual tournament, it mainly details the mastermind behind Bracketeering, Joe Lunardi.

Click HERE to order a copy!

College basketball officially tips off on November 9th with Kansas vs. Michigan St. and Duke vs. Kentucky as two of the marquee match-ups on day one. Since I’ve mention both Joe Lunardi and Kansas, Lunardi’s preseason bracketology projections are published with all 72 invitees. Obviously his weekly brackets are fluid throughout the season as games are played and team’s identites begin to become more and more transparent as the season plays out. Currently, the four #1 seeds are Gonzaga, Kansas, Texas, and UCLA. Does Joe think that the Big12 is going to be that good this season? Also, is he putting too much stock into UCLA’s Cinderella run last year to the Final Four as an #11 seed to now make them a #1 seed? The beauty about it is, “who knows?!” However I can honestly tell you that no one knows better than one Joe Lunardi. Watch it all shake out as the final bracket comes to fruition for the arrival of the 2022 March Madness tournament come March 15th. As the season commences, look to make your early plays on the UNDER when match-ups occur on a neutral court as players are equipped with early season fresh legs, foreign court = different shooting backdrop, and first game jitters are all variables for early season neutral court games to result in the UNDER.

Click HERE to views CBS’s Preseason Top 25 NCAAB Rankings

Shifting gears a bit, the National League portion of the MLB postseason is set in stone. The top overall NL seed are the San Francisco Giants whereas the NL Wildcard match-up will be played in Los Angeles between the Dodgers and Cardinals on October 6th. As of yesterday, the Cardinals 17-game winning

streak came to an end thanks to the Brewers. Now that the Cardinals have clinched an NL Wildcard birth, look for the baseball universe to level itself out providing the Cardinals with some “L’s” on the horizon along with their motivation factor being poor to weak at best as their postseason spot is already locked up. In lieu of these factors, I believe that there could be some significant value in the Cardinals opponents for the remainder of the 2021 MLB regular season.

Being the NFL junky that I am, I need to get in my NFL two cents for the sake of the post. We are amid Week 4 of the NFL 2021-22 campaign. My Chiefs are 1-2 and the world seems to be ending but I will spare you as the reader on those additional thoughts and emotions. My Week 4 NFL picks reside in San Francisco, Denver, and Los Angeles. This week, I love the 49ers (-2.5) over the Seahawks, the Ravens (+1.5) visiting the Broncos, and the Raiders (+3.5) on the road against the Chargers. You’re welcome, and I digress. I was doing some research the other day on the NFL team’s turnover margin based on their playoff appearance. Last season there were 14 playoff spots available, of those 14 spots 11 of them landed in the top 14 of turnover margin. Is it a coincidence that the majority of the playoff spots go to teams that possess a positive turnover margin? Lets check the 2019 turnover margin stats… The 2019-20 playoffs displayed 10 of the top 12 franchises in turnover margin during that season. Point being, teams with is the upper tier of turnover margin tend to earn a spot in the NFL

Playoffs. We can take this edge and/or stat and make it into a microcosm for the regular season and just simply infer that a team with a greater turnover margin will have value in each and every match-up throughout any given season. For example, this upcoming Week 4 exhibits the Browns visiting the Vikings. The Vikings are 2 point dogs at home; however, they are +3 in turnover margin against the Browns. Here we have a road favorite that has a worse turnover margin than the home dog. You already know which way I am leaning! I believe that their is significant value on the Vikings over the Browns in this Week 4 showdown.


Weekend Football Picks:

BROWNS @ VIKINGS (+2) – PICK = VIKINGS

ARKANSAS @ GEORGIA (O/U 48.5) – PICK = UNDER

KANSAS (+34) @ IOWA ST. – PICK = KANSAS

ARIZONA ST. @ UCLA (-3) – PICK = UCLA

*above are my other three NFL plays for Week 4

As one door closes, another one opens…


As the MLB regular season begins to wind down, a lot of our attention will shift focus over to the NFL. Until the MLB postseason is underway, the majority of America will be dialed in to the NFL after the annual long-awaited start that is Week 1 of the NFL season. To catch everyone up to speed, the San Diego Padres are vastly under performing based on preseason expectations whereas the San Francisco Giants are out doing themselves based on preseason oddsmakers. The preseason Giant’s win total was set at a whopping 75.5 games won with a 0.1% chance to win this year’s World Series. The Giants eclipsed this total on August 15th against the Rockies. They went OVER their win total with almost two months left in the season; let that one sink in. I digress… listed below are the current World Series winner odds for the 2021 MLB Postseason.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1-edited.png

Currently, the Dodgers are set as the leading favorites with the addition of future Hall of Fame pitcher Max Scherzer. Odds aside, come postseason time it is in we as sports gamblers best interest to make our plays on teams that are so called HOT; or at the very least, not bet against them.

As we approach the postseason, it is important to pay attention to the forecasted weather in each participating city since it in fact will be October. Obviously the month of October is absolutely irrelevant to Tampa Bay’s dome stadium when it comes to weather having a potential affect on the game and its outcome. However, weather might be an important factor to consider when making plays on games in New York or Boston. Coming from personal experience, cold weather situations grant the pitcher with the competitive advantage over the hitter 100% of the time. Why? You might ask. When temperatures are considered “cold” the batter is at a disadvantage because of two reasons: first, hitting is a very technical and exact science that is very difficult to master. This already very difficult “art” becomes much more difficult when the batter is having a tough time feeling his bat, body movements, etc. Second, typically the pitcher has been going at it for a handful of innings by this point allowing him to be both in a rhythm and relatively warm. On the other hand, the batter only gets to step in the batters box every ninth hitter and they may not see the ball hit to them for an inning or so. These factors make it difficult for the batter to get their bodies primed to hit a 95 MPH fastball. Think about it – it would be like racing someone of equal speed as yourself but they get to warm up and you do not, you and I both know who is winning that race. The same goes for the pitcher and batter match-up’s. This was the long version of how cold weather gives the pitcher the advantage while the batter is at a disadvantage throughout cold weather MLB games. One last note on postseason baseball; the odds makers and public gamblers tend to overvalue the home team. During the dog-days of summer travel and jet-lag are genuine factors. However, come postseason baseball for these guys the travel factors are much more minute based on the importance of each game, allowing adrenaline to take care of this void.

Making my NCAAF plays the other day, a theory dawned on me that I would like to think could give me a competitive gambling edge that I am eager to share with all of you. We’ll call it the NCAAF Chain Reaction Theory. Note: This theory/edge only works for NCAAF, not NFL. I believe that NFL teams are much more consistent than NCAAF players/teams making the “regression” portion of the theory less significant. In short, the chain reaction theory strives to predict a NCAAF O/U outcome. My inspiration behind this proposition ties into the regression theory and/or linear regression (famously noted from the film Moneyball). The regression theory explains how a player and/or teams immaculate or faulty performance(s) typically come in the form of luck or chance.

Hence, previous outcomes will balance themselves out and be followed up by a performance or trend that differs from one(s) of the past. My theory is somewhat similar (but obviously different). The regression theory applies to all sports whereas mine (as previously stated) applies only to NCAAF. The easiest way to explain this assumption is by taking both teams’ past performances as opposed to a singular team/player’s past performance that the regression theory attempts to explain. Week in and week out there are countless of examples to back this theory up. If we take Team A and Team B Week 2 O/U totals and notice that both teams scores fell under the same OVER or UNDER category, then one would assume that the opposite would be much more likely to occur for Team A and Team B as they both faced off the very next week. Let me give you a real life example: Buffalo @ Nebraska (54.5 O/U) went UNDER. Both teams’ previous match-up’s ended with the total going OVER. I believe that this could be the theory of regression’s “big brother,” if you will. Take a look for these kind of “spots” in your Week 3 NCAAF plays.


My Week 3 NCAAF Picks:

VIRGINIA TECH (+3) @ WEST VIRGINIA – PICK = VIRGINIA TECH

NEVADA @ KANSAS ST. (+2) – PICK = KANSAS ST.

MISSISSIPPI ST. (-165) @ MEMPHIS – PICK = MISSISSIPPI ST. (ml)

SOUTH CAROLINA @ GEORGIA O/U 48.5 – PICK = UNDER

AUBURN @ PENN ST. (O/U 53) – PICK = UNDER

Keep betting! Save the MLB…

America’s past time very well could become just that in the distant future. Once America’s most beloved sport is beginning to trend downward in ratings and viewership; which is… well, everything! Last month the MLB gifted its fans with a nostalgic experience in Dyersville, Iowa. The Yankees and White Sox squared off on a replica field/stadium from the film Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner. The 2022 MLB campaign is set to continue the Field of Dreams game that will feature the Cubs and Reds. Gladly, this clear PR stunt was quite the success for the MLB and Rob Manfred. I hope and believe that games, ideas, endeavors, etc of this nature will rectify the MLB and all that it represents so that its downward spiral changes its course. To put the MLB and its shortcomings into perspective, last year’s World Series match-up of the Dodgers and Rays captured just 9.8 million views. The 1978 World Series drew an outstanding 44.2 million views! (P. Saunders, 2021) I understand that comparing 2020 and 1978 is like comparing apples and oranges; there is much, much more to occupy us as humans today as opposed to the 70’s. However, if we compare this stat to the very comparable NFL’s Super Bowl than we would see that the NFL is thriving and the MLB is not. In 1978 (Super Bowl XII) the Broncos and Cowboys captivated 78.9 million viewers. Compare this to the most recent Super Bowl between the Bucs and Chiefs that was seen by 96.4 million viewers.

Obviously you and I do not have a crystal ball at our disposal and cannot tell the future of the of the MLB and its entirety. Though, I believe that the MLB and its partners should construct more business proposals of the like of the Field of Dreams ploy that was a clear victory for the MLB and its fans. As far as the here-and-now are concerned, the 2021 MLB crusade has presented us with more than enough of a sample size to make educated plays when gambling on MLB games. Some ordinary statistics that we should be familiar with that have accumulated over the course of the season are as follows: AWAY S/U – 46%, HOME S/U – 54%. FAVORITES – 60%, UNDERDOGS: 40%. However, the real value has came from the AWAY UNDERDOGS on the run line (+1.5); these teams are covering 57% of the time.

These are great plays when you can get these teams at +100 or better even getting +1.5 runs. As for the 2021 O/U trends, they are teeter-tottering at a 50.6% win/loss rate. Hence, those O/U lines have been very sharp all season long; thanks, but I’ll stay away for now. If we are truly itching to make an O/U play then I would advise making them when a home-favorite situation arises with that play being UNDER. One aspect of this angle that has potential for possessing value is the simple fact that the home-favorite has a better than not chance of not batting in the bottom of the 9th inning. Unlike other sports, it is in our best interests to bet against the grain when a “streak” is in occurrence. Baseball is a game of averages; averages tend to even out over time and eventually show their true self/face. As sports gamblers, we should bet against an MLB club that is riding a relatively long winning-streak. Typically, these teams will be favored in each of their current winning-streak games allowing for some value to succumb.

Enjoy this upcoming weekend that is filled with NCAAF galore! Pay attention to a school/program and the amount of seniors that they may have lost from last season. That notation is more important than the name on the front of a programs jersey. For what it is worth, from what I have seen thus far, take FAVORITES in the first half; and if they are down/not covering after the first half then take them in the 2nd half. i.e. UCF over Boise St. (2nd half cover ATS). An example of a favorite that covered the first half already in Week 1 is App St. over E. Carolina. Best of luck! As always, go dogs!!!

It’s no fantasy, I’m back with more football!

What a time to be alive (if you’re a sports fan), the 2021 NFL season is right around the corner and the MLB Playoff picture is beginning to take shape. I would first like to apologize for my recent absence. I began coaching high school level baseball this past summer and took up a lot of my free time that I would typically spend in front of a computer typing for the very minimal audience of this blog. While away, the MLB has been in full swing, the NBA Finals concluded with a Bucks win, and both the NBA & NFL Draft’s occurred.

With the NFL season on the horizon, that also means that the NCAAF seasoning is upon us. Guess who tops the preseason polls for the 2021 season? Yep, Alabama. Below are the preseason rankings for the upcoming NCAAF season.

With the start of the NFL season comes the start of a new year of Fantasy Football. A brand new opportunity to prove to your buddies that you do in fact have an abundance of knowledge when it comes to the NFL and its players. We are beginning to see the NFL take on a new form with fresh faces emerging as some of the top performers and stars in the league. It is important to find that fine line between letting go of the “has-been” veterans that possess “house-hold” name status and begin accepting the transformational new beings of the league and its future.

2021 NFL Pump Hype Video

When it comes to the later rounds of you fantasy drafts, here are some “sleepers” to think about placing in your draft queue… Rondale Moore (WR – Cardinals): Although he only stands at 5-7, Moore is a very athletic and shifty wideout that could cause some serious issues for DB’s due to his unique skill set. Gus Edwards (RB – Ravens): Most believe that JK Dobbins will be the shiny new toy that will be highly utilized this season for the Ravens, however, look for Baltimore to rely on their veteran back to carry more of a workload than most are anticipating. Gabriel Davis (WR – Bills): with this being his Sophomore season, Davis is looking to take that next step and continue his success that he had with QB Josh Allen in their 2020 campaign. Cole Kmet (TE – Bears): With current TE1 (Jimmy Graham) being on the wrong side of 30, Kmet is prime for the opportunity to take over that TE1 position for Justin Fields and Chicago.

My Week 1 plays are in and there are only two games that I was particularly fond of. I like the Cowboys (+6.5) over the Bucs and the Giants (+1) over the Broncos. I foresee the Bucs having somewhat of a Super Bowl hangover and with so many uncertainties at quarterback with the Broncos it seems hard to not take the points especially with them being on the road. Over the past ten seasons, Week 1 underdogs have gone 92-79 ATS (54%); while big Week 1 underdogs getting 6.5 or more points cover at an even better clip of 61%. In short, the worse a team performed in the previous season the better off they are ATS in Week 1 of the following season. Why is this? Simple, the public tends to fade the “lesser” team while clinging on to a team’s past performances. There is just simply too much turnover in the NFL with each game’s outcome being decided by only a few plays to assume that a team will duplicate its previous year’s performance. In this instance, a team that I would like to jump on its bandwagon before it’s too late is the Atlanta Flacons. The Falcons ended the season with an underwhelming 4-12 record. However, the average scores from their games only ended with them losing by 1.1 point(s). You don’t have to be a sports gambling guru to understand that the 2020 Atlanta Falcons could have easily have been an 8-8 club as opposed to the 4-12 showing that they produced. Point here is that the public will only see the 4-12 record that was manufactured from last season and ignore what lies beneath the naked eye. I believe that the 2021 campaign will result in the ball bouncing more favorably for the Falcons and that slight 1.1 deficit margin might shift their way in the winning direction. In hopes of Matt Ryan returning back to a somewhat quality QB; look for Calvin Ridley to have a breakout year with Julio Jones now removed from the Falcons roster; meanwhile with the addition of potential star and 4th overall draft pick TE Kyle Pitts entering the equation should provide the Falcons offense with some fantasy and handicapping value.

Shortened seasons equal larger brackets…

The NBA Playoffs are only about two weeks away. Came quick huh? This is large in part due to the modified and shorted season. The NBA shortened its season by ten games this year due to (you guessed it) COVID. The idea behind the shortened season allows for more flexibility for rescheduling and making-up foreseeable postponed games along the way due to the virus. In conjunction with fewer games on the schedule, back in November the NBA announced that it would alter the playoff format for the 2021 NBA Playoffs. The new format grants four additional teams to enter the playoff bracket (two from the East and two from the West). Coincidentally, the 2020 MLB Postseason also shortened their season and then expanded their playoffs and its participants. Love it, hate it. More meaningfully games for we the viewers – that is a win in my book. Currently, the 76ers lead the way in the Eastern Conference and the Wizards and Pacers possess the 9th and 10th seeds for the additional playoff spots. In the Western Conference, the Jazz hold the #1 seed while the Spurs and Grizzlies own the 9th and 10th seeds. Obviously we have no presumable edge or knowledge in terms of historical trends on the outcome of these “play-in” games that will take place. However, what we do have is historically evidence from the March Madness “play-in” games and how these “play-in” winners fare in the next rounds of their tournaments. The edge that we will be searching for in the situation will come from the winners of the “play-in” round/bracket when they go up against the #1 and #2 seeds in the following round on the NBA Playoffs. Keep in mind that these “play-in” winners are always the lower seed when facing off with their next opponent; much like the new NBA playoff format. Shockingly, these teams are 18-20 since the “play-in” games were implemented into the March Madness bracket. That is good for a 47% win percentage, and I am willing to bet that the cover margin is much higher considering that they are underdogs being the lower seeded team, as stated above. From my perspective, these first round winners are not only playing with “house money” by this point, but are also riding the momentum from their previous win. I believe that the winners of these NBA first round “play-in” games will have some form of momentum on their sides that they will carry with them against the #1 and #2 seeded squads. This is not to say that the #7 and #8 seeds will win in a seven game series, but rather they will be more likely to cover in the early portion of the series. I don’t think that they will win outright at a 47% clip like college “play-in” teams do during March Madness, but they may possess some of that same “mojo” that can provide us some valuable gambler’s edge during the original first round of the NBA Playoffs. Come this NBA postseason, keep in mind that the UNDER hits 59% when/if Game 6 and 7 are required. Also, home favorites have been covering at a high rate during the playoffs in recent years. You’re welcome.

Earlier, I mentioned the MLB and how the NBA is following in its footsteps a bit as far as shortened seasons and modified playoffs/postseasons are concerned. However, this year the MLB is scheduled to have their full 162 game schedule for each franchise. By this point we are 30 games into the season (give or take). This is a solid sample side to evaluate how each club is in terms of being “good” or “bad” to the naked eye. Now what the naked eye cannot calculate is a pitcher’s xERA. No, that x there is not a typo. We all know what a pitcher’s ERA means and tells us: his earned run average and basically how “good” or “bad” a pitcher he is, right? However, xERA is the latest technology that provides an MLB pitcher’s expected ERA. A lot of this data is made up of luck, for lack of better terms. For instance, if a pitcher has recorded a lot of hard hit outs than his standard ERA may reflect positively in his favor. However, xERA might calculate that these hard hit outs would more often than not result in hits. Hence, taking the luck-factor out of the equation and determining a expected earned run average. To be honest, I just learned about xERA, and I’m glad that I did. When gambling on baseball, we the bettor make our plays based on the pitching match-up, correct? Or at least I hope so… Now, I don’t even bother looking at the starting pitcher’s ERA, but rather their xERA. I honestly believe that a pitcher’s xERA is more indicative of his future outings as opposed to his actual ERA. To give you an actual, real life example of this trendy xERA stat, the Indian’s James Karinchak has an ERA of 0.60 and an xERA of 1.15. He is leading

the league in xERA, but has the fifth best ERA. On the flip side, T.J. Zeuch owns the leagues worst xERA at 11.94… yikes! However, his actual ERA is much better at a 6.75; meaning that he must be getting fairly lucky during his pitching outings and/or facing below average hitters. To locate a pitcher’s xERA and much more click HERE. I find it extremely useful when searching out my MLB plays to utilize the xERA statistic along with any other advanced metrics that are now recorded in today’s age. Listed below are the current championship odds on both the NBA and MLB courtesy of OddShark.


NBA:

NETS +250

LAKERS +350

CLIPPERS +650

JAZZ +750

BUCKS +800

76ERS +1200

SUNS +1500

MLB:

DODGERS +300

YANKEES +750

PADRES +800

METS +1000

WHITE SOX +1100

ASTROS +1400

BRAVES +1500

Oh, how sweet it is…

The Sweet 16 portion of the NCAAB tournament begins tomorrow at 1:40 PM CST. The Oregon St. Beavers (12) will be taking on the Ramblers of Loyola-Chicago (8). Wow, an 12 vs. 8 match-up in the Sweet 16?! That cannot be to common  in March Madness history. If the parody of past year’s was not “maddening” enough for one such fan, than this year should be providing plenty. In fact, up to this point, the average remaining seed in the tournament is a 6 seed. Hypothetically, the level of competition remaining is equivalent to our USC’s, BYU’s, Texas Tech’s, and San Diego St.’s of the world. Interestingly enough, of these four 6 seeds, only USC is left standing. This Sweet 16 has produced a 15, 12, and two 11 seeds, for better or worse…

If you’re like myself, than your bracket is busted beyond belief. That doesn’t mean that my plays haven’t been covering! (Wink, wink). There is still a lot of tournament left for us to increase our bankroll heading into the start of the 2021 MLB season. By this point in the tournament, the little number next to each team might as well not enough be visible (team seed). Do not let this little number alter or manipulate your thought process in relation to your knowledge and

intuition of recognizing value on your plays. The most important statistical component to review before handicapping the Sweet 16 is a team’s Created Possession Margin. This statistic can be found by taking a team’s rebound margin and adding it to their turnover margin. Be wary of siding with teams that fall within the negative side of this statistical category. The round of 64 and round of 32 provide some of the most exciting moments in all of the tournament. Teams that no one has ever heard of take down the big school and games are being played all throughout the day. However, once the Sweet 16 begins, upsets are not quite as prevalent. This is not to say that underdogs don’t cover the point spread as much; no, not at all! Simply proceed with caution when taking those underdogs on the money-line. A spot that I love to angle and search for a significant edge comes when a Power-5 Conference program is a “lower” seeded team and is still standing by this point. What do I mean by this? Typically, if one of these teams remains, than it means one of two things (or both): one, they were undervalued throughout the season and/or two: they are peaking at the right time as far as their performance is concerned. So what are some of these teams that are still alive in the tournament? USC, Oregon, Oregon St, UCLA, and Syracuse would qualify as potential undervalued Power-5 schools. Look for a few of these teams to really rely on their strength of schedule and experience to will them to covering their respective point-spreads.


Best of luck during this 2021 Sweet 16 and don’t let the seed scramble your brain! My best play for the Sweet 16 is Florida St. (+3) vs. Michigan: PICK – FLORIDA ST. Since I briefly touched on the MLB season, here is a 2021 MLB Mock Draft to get you geared up for the upcoming season that is right around the corner!

Is it better that betting is getting bigger?…

When I launched this blog, in 2017, only one state in the entire country legally offered sports gambling. Nevada first allowed sports gambling in 1931! It has now taken 77 years for the next state to follow suite (New Jersey). By this point, we are seeing more and more states legalize the ever growing phenomena known as sport betting. As of now in the year 2021, we see 20 of the 50 states offer some form of sports gambling. The picture above details each state and their current status regarding sports gambling from a legalization point of view. Nevada’s younger brother, New Jersey, has $2.9 billion in sports wagers placed in any given year. Nearly doubling this number, you will find the amount of money up for grabs in the sports gambling realm in the state of Nevada each year ($5.2 billion). Point being, more and more states are noticing these large dollar signs that these states are beginning to profit from gamblers “losses.” Speaking of the amount of money states generate from sports gambling; one of the largest sports betting events will take place this month. March Madness is only a few weeks away whereas Selection Sunday will take place this coming Sunday (March 14th). When filling out your brackets come Sunday, remember that team’s with elite defenses

typically display that defensive strength in each game; making them more consistent and reliable squads to advance in the tournament. Teams to “proceed with caution” are those that of which rely heavily on the 3-ball. If that does not put this discussion to rest: over the past 20 years, there has never been a team win the tournament that has been outside of the top 20 in defensive efficiency. As usual, make sure you are doing your due-diligence and conducting your own research. Especially given this specific tournament; make sure that you know which teams had to leave players behind due to COVID-19 protocols or what-have-you. Teams and their particular routines may be altered depending on varying COVID procedures that could significantly hinder a team’s play on the court. After all, athletes are in fact creatures of habit… Thus far, 26 of the 31 D1 basketball conferences have announced conference tournament winners meaning that 26 automatic bids to the “big dance” have been punched. Once all 31 conference tournaments have concluded, the comity will determine who the final 37 at-large bids are that will join the tournament.

Shifting away from the hardwood and towards the gridiron, the 2021 NFL Draft is only a month away. Although the NFL Combine will be non-existent this year, the disparity in college talent coming out this year will not be lacking in the slightest. Here is a list of the projected top five players at each offensive position entering the 2021 NFL Draft. Looking ahead to next NFL season, (assuming that there are fans in attendance) lets see if we can find value in the odds makers “over-valuing” home field advantage once these stadiums get their roaring crowds back to full capacity. I believe that the game lines and point-spreads will be inflated in favor of the home team because everyone and their mom over-values the “home field advantage” factor in NFL play. Let’s be honest here, home field advantage is far more “advantageous” in the college football realm. In 2020, we saw more visiting teams win on the road more than we ever have in NFL history. Sure, this was probably large in part due to the lack of fans packing in to cheer on their home team. However, what if this so called “home field advantage” is becoming less and less of and edge for not only the home teams, but for the betters as well?! Look for the odds makers and avid sports gambler to over state the 2020 data and sway more value towards home teams come this next 2021-22 NFL season. Hence, giving road underdogs extremely high leverage heading into the early part of the NFL season come September.

As for some last day college basketball conference tournament championship PICKS, I really like the St. Bonaventure Bonnies laying the 2.5 against the VCU Rams in the Atlantic 10 Championship. Tune into CBS tomorrow at 5 PM CST for the 2021 March Madness Selection Sunday Show. Best of luck this coming tournament! Lord knows that our bankroll and our brackets need it.

Is the MLB behind? Or just in its infancy…

MLB Opening Day is just over a month away and Spring Training is just two days away. Although 2021 MLB Spring Training will have limited fans, the path to normalcy is headed in the right direction. Within the past couple of seasons, a lot of new “stars” have emerged onto the scene; some have even taken the league by storm. To name a few, Juan Soto, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., and Cody Bellinger. Not only are these star studded athletes “up-and-coming” but they too are becoming the face of MLB. Soto is set to make $8.5 million in just this season alone, Tatis Jr. is now a $340 million man over the span of 14 years. That’s a sweet $24.3 million per year, and Bellinger is set to earn $16.1 million this year. NOT TOO SHABBY! Considering that they are 25 (Bellinger) and 22 years old (Soto/Tatis Jr.)

Although Spring Training games technically don’t count towards a team’s regular season W-L record, there still lies some significant value that unfolds during these 33 games. Obviously these athletes too understand that these games are irrelevant in terms of their own personal stats/accolades. However, this is not to say that they are not invested or putting forth full effort. With that being said, if a player and/or team seems to be struggling during their Spring Training games then there is a good chance that this trend could persist and role over into the regular season. Whether that struggle comes from three or four batters in a line-up barely batting their weight or a couple of starting pitchers and a couple of relief pitcher’s ERA’s skyrocketing; it is probably in your best interests to stay away from those athletes and their teams come early season MLB plays. Seems pretty straight-forward, right? In addition, early in the MLB season (Spring Training and regular) look to take the dogs when the total is 9 or higher and the favorite when the total is 7 or lower. Typically when a lot of runs are projected to be scored, the odds makers expect the underdog to score a good amount of runs as well. Hence, you can find good value if we assume that an underdog can outscore the favorite once both starting pitchers nights are done and becomes a game of the bullpens. On the flip side, I would advise leaning towards the favorites when the total is on the lower side because this scenario typically means that either one or both starting pitchers are elite. When this situation arises, whose batting line-up can fail fewer times than the opposing line-up against dominant and/or momentous pitchers. More times than not, the favorite possesses a superior line-up than that of the underdog; meaning that their may be some value in the favorite, despite being the “favorite.” Thus far, it has been a wild off-season for both the MLB and

NFL. Recent MLB transaction have consisted of Elvis Andrus to the A’s for Khris Davis to the Rangers, Trevor Bauer to the Dodgers (highest paid player in 2021), Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals, George Springer to the Blue Jays, Jon Lester to the Nationals, and Blake Snell & Yu Darvish to the Padres (just to name a few). Here is the complete list of all recent MLB transactions/trades. WARNING: There’s a lot! On the flip side, the NLF has also encountered numerous trades that involve a bit of a QB carousel phenomena. In the young NFL off season, we have already seen Goff and Stafford swapping wives placing Jared in Detroit and Matthew in LA. Both Deshaun Watson and Russel Wilson are unhappy with their current franchises and want out! Deshaun wanted the Texans to hire a different head coach whereas Russell wants to run more of a West Coast style offense. To top it all off, the Colts acquire not only Carson Wentz, but his $25.4 million 2021 contract. The real winner and loser in that acquisition is a different story for a different day.

During this continuous global pandemic, what is Major League Baseball doing to “keep up with the Jones’s”? During the odd 2020 MLB season, the organization experimented with a few adjusted rules like a batter beginning on second base at the start of games needing extra innings. It did cut down on the longevity of games, but is it real baseball? Several other minuit rules were tested, including the universal DH rule. From what I have gathered, opinions are split about whether baseball should change their rules or not. Speaking of rule changes, the NFL (football in general) has been in the vast market of experimenting with new and unique leagues with new and unique rules. The NFL has birthed, if you will, the United States Football League, Arena Football League, Xtreme Football League, and Canadian Football League, etc. If there weren’t enough leagues that have tried and failed over the years, I now present to you the FCF (Fan Called Football.) Yes, you the fan get to call the plays for these squads. By the way, one of these squads is

QB’d by Johnny Manziel. A few of the rules that the FCF have implemented include: 7 vs. 7, 50 yard fields, and NO special teams. You can view the next FCF match-up tomorrow night where the Zappers face-off against the Wild Aces, only on Twitch. Although the NFL and their partners have had many failed attempts to construct “one-off” NFL leagues, they have still been profitable, entertaining (somewhat), and competitive (also somewhat). So why hasn’t the MLB tried to incorporate these “one-off” leagues? Is it because they already have the Minor Leagues and that is plenty in their minds? Baseball could easily create a league that has completed different rules that go against typical baseball rules that might encapsulate a whole new fandom market. Not to mention, it could also be a league that is utilized as a portal for experimenting with newly proposed rules that could eventually be implemented into the MLB game.

Football’s out, basketball’s in…

Post Super Bowl is a nice little segway for us sports fans right into the heart of the NBA season and the latter half of the NCAAB season. Super Bowl LV wasn’t much for drama in terms of competitiveness of the game. Tom Brady, yet again, acquired another Lombardi trophy to add to his overwhelming collection. After the Bucs defeated the Chiefs, I got to thinking – “Didn’t Tampa Bay lose their first game of the season?” In Week 1, the Bucs fell short to the Saints in New Orleans. I was curious as to how many champions in the 55 years of the Super Bowl era have lost in Week 1 of their respective seasons. Throughout these 55 years, ten Super Bowl winners have lost their first game of the season. Probably more than you would expect, or at least right around that number, right? Tom Brady’s Patriots, and now Bucs, are victims of four out of those ten loses. This tells us two things,

Image result for tombrady bucs trophy

first: Tom Brady has been in the league for a a very long time. Second: With this being Brady’s seventh time hoisting the trophy, his teams have lost more times than not in Week 1 when they go on to win the Super Bowl… odd right? If there is one thing we all have learned throughout Tom Brady’s lustrous 21 year career, it is to never count him and his squads out of the race.

Now putting football in the rear-view, we as sports fans can solely focus our time and effort on basketball of all levels. Thus far the NBA has seen a new “Big3” emerge in Brooklyn with James Harden joining the dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The Brooklyn Nets preseason chances to win the NBA Finals posted at +800, they currently sit at +440 trailing the leading favorite Lakers at +250. The presumed NBA Finals would consist of the Lakers vs. Nets according to the current odds. However, some dark-horses from each conference to consider are the much improved 76ers that you can get at +1400 and the hungry Clippers that you can get at +500. At the very least, these teams might be a solid play just to make the Finals which would still give you a quality rate of return. Look for the Lakers to lack motivation and the Nets to be over-hyped come the NBA Playoffs. As far as the regular season is concerned; away teams are a winning bet thus far hitting at a 53.7% clip ATS. Underdogs are very similar sitting at a 53.1% cover ATS rate. Hence, look to take those DOGS-AWAY (per usual) when making your NBA plays going forward.

As far as the college season is concerned, Gonzaga sits at the top of the mountain without ever winning a college basketball title in program history; could this finally be the year for Mark Few and his squad? Possessing the best offense in the land, Gonzaga averages a whopping 93 PPG. Sounds more like an NBA team than a college team. But who is the best scoring defensive team in college basketball – just as important right? Also a mid-major program, Loyola-Chicago possesses the fewest points against per game at 56 PPG. Gonzaga is obviously projected as a #1 seed, but Loyola is a projected #8 seed. Might I add that both teams are mid-majors with one having more recent success over the other… *cough-cough, Loyola-Chicago earned a Final 4 birth just three years ago. Let’s see if the ole adage of “defense wins championships” holds true with the Ramblers come March. I like to think so, this team may have sneaking good odds when picking them to reach a Sweet 16, Elite 8, or even another Final 4! You can currently get the Ramblers basketball team at +4000. Not too shabby considering #8 seeds have won the tournament only once but have been three times. If there is ever a year to gamble on the lower seeds, it is now. Considering we missed out on the 2020 March Madness Tournament, this years tournament cannot get here soon enough. As always, best of luck and happy basketball betting!

Empty Indy & down south Super Bowl…

Well it’s official, college basketball will take after its funnel receiver, the NBA, by hosting its playoff structure within a “bubble.” Not only is this probably the right/smart decision by the NCAA; but it also makes us the viewers as beneficiaries as well. Let me explain: A typical March Madness tournament is stationed in eight competition sites for the first two rounds of the tournament. Eight separate sites essentially allows for eight games to be going on at once which is impossible to keep with, right?! Now that all games will be played in the Indianapolis, IN area, only six sites will now be utilized throughout the first round of March Madness. At first, this may not seem like too big of a difference; however, at second glance games should be scheduled in such a way that allows a viewer to tune in to college basketball all morning, day, and night! And that’s just the first round! (Ex: Game 1 (10am – 12pm) Game 2 (12pm – 2pm) Game 3 (2pm – 4pm) Game 4 (4pm – 6pm) Game 5 (6pm – 8pm) Game 6 (8pm – 10pm). Between you and I, this could be a death wish if you have a girlfriend or are married. For what it’s worth, Joe Lunardi’s current top four overall seeds consists of Gonzaga, Baylor, Villanova, and Virginia. Like most, I truly believe that it is Gonzaga and Baylor that have the most legitimate opportunity to cut down the nets. After watching a few games from both of these squads, I have concluded that they are both superior to all other programs in college basketball. Currently, you can get Gonzaga at +220 and Baylor +415 to win the national championship. To put these odds into perspective, the next closest team with better odds is Villanova (projected 1 seed) at +1000. Hence, by this point it is basically Gonzaga and Baylor vs. The field. It is important to not make these plays until you see a teams’ “path” to the Final Four. Far too often a team is placed in a far superior bracket than other schools, leaving opportunities for other programs with better chances to advance. Don’t get me wrong, Gonzaga and Baylor are by far the two best teams in college basketball, but what if they enter brackets with tough match-ups? As always, you must do your own homework. Always.

In case you live under a rock, Super Bowl LV is right around the corner. Once again, we the viewers are getting the best out of our sports! We get Mahomes and Brady to face off when no one thought that this match-up would ever be possible with Brady previously being a member of the AFC. Historically, in the past ten Super Bowls, the favorite as covered ATS five out of ten times – no trend worth noting, correct? In

addition, over the past ten Super Bowls, guess how many times the OVER/UNDER has hit? Yep, both five out of ten. So how do we gain any sort of significant edge? According to Action Network, teams that have point-spread lines move for them cover 67%. For example, if the Chiefs open at -3 favorites and close at -3.5 favorites than they would have a 67% chance to cover in the Super Bowl era. This Super Bowl marks the second highest total in the Super Bowl era (O/U 56.5). The highest total to close for the Superbowl was at 57 in Super Bowl LI (51) during the historic Patriots comeback versus the Matt Ryan lead Falcons. Being the second highest total, there is a reason this total is set so high, the odds makers truly believe that it is going to be a shoot-out meaning that if you are to bet the total, the only play would be to take the OVER, in my opinion. These two QB’s are accustomed to performing their best under the brightest of lights; and what lights are brighter than the Super Bowl?! Look for Brady and Mahomes to go blow-for-blow with one anther.

Best of luck come next Super Bowl Sunday following the horizon of our 2020 deprived March Madness tournament. Below is a quick Super Bowl LV pump-up video to get you into the sports gambling mood!