Hoping for a bit more Madness come March…

Is it just me, or does it seem like we have not been given college basketball in quite some time? Luckily for us, the wait is just about over! The college basketball season officially tips off November 30th with the Maui Invitational. DISCLAIMER: The Maui Invitational will not be held in Maui, Hawaii; but rather in Asheville, North Carolina. Regardless, we get college basketball! I just feel slightly bad for those kids during their recruiting visit that were told they would have the opportunity to play in Hawaii this upcoming season… sorry bud, better luck next year. Nevertheless, basketball is basketball and a season is a season; at least for the time being. Stay up to date with Joe Leonardi’s Bracketology projections and this preseason Top 25 video below…

Joe Leonardi’s current Bracketology projections

Similar to any other NCAAB season tip-off, many teams compete in non-conference tournaments (i.e “Maui” Invitational reference above) early in their respective seasons. Many of these games feature schools that are not accustomed to the “bright lights” of ESPN coverage. Hence, nerves are inevitably a bit higher being the beginning of the season and playing games that of which are nationally televised. This can be very daunting for young athletes, especially from those smaller, non Power 5 conference program players. Think about it – when you were 19 years old, would your performance alter (for better or for worse) if you knew that you would be watched by millions of viewers. Point being, this “altered” performance is typically in the negative direction. I understand that the “bright lights” can bring out the best in some athletes; however, the latter is more frequently exuded. In recent years, these early, non-conference match-ups tend to lean towards the UNDER; especially when point spreads are in the 20’s and 30’s meaning that a “power-house” is facing off against a small MEAC school, for example.

Now, while I’ve got you, we have to talk about this unusual 2020 MLB Postseason. Hell, who am I kidding, this whole year has been unusual, to say the least. Currently, the MLB Postseason is in the midst of both the American and National League Championships. Thus far the Rays are on top of the Astros (3 games to 2) in the American League and the Braves are leading the Dodgers (3 games to 1) in the National League. Once these match-ups have concluded, we will begin the 2020 MLB World Series. Although this season, postseason, and eventually World Series will differ than all others before; nevertheless, we can still use similar tactics, principles, and trends when gambling on this year’s World Series. Teams that are able to win the ALCS/NLCS in five or fewer games have an advantage if their World Series opponent went six or more games in their series. Why is this? Well besides the obvious answer of more rest, these teams now have the opportunity to map out and set their starting rotations to their preference; whereas their opponent that just got done with a hard fought seven game series may have to just go with the next man up approach. Over the past twelve years, the World Series favorite (once WS match-up is established) has gone 5-7. That’s an alarming stat, right?! Clearly, over recent years the underdog in World Series match-ups provides us (the bettor) with incredible value. Not only are you more likely to win, but your rate of return will be greater than that of which you wagered!

If the 2020 World Series does, in fact, consists of the Rays and Braves than I beg of you to please take the UNDER in each and every game. These two franchises have elite pitching staff’s with flame throwers left and right (see what I did there?) Also in my opinion, both of these teams have very average line-ups that I believe will not be able to keep up with one another’s pitching staff’s. UNDER UNDER UNDER if our 2020 World Series match-up consists of the Rays and Braves.

Weekend Football Picks:

SOUTH FLORIDA (+11) @ TEMPLE – Pick = SOUTH FLORIDA

FALCONS@ VIKINGS (-4) – Pick = VIKINGS

Blue bloods are blue in the face…

2020 march madness blog

Tournament action begins March 19th and their couldn’t be more questions that need to be answered going into this 2020 Madness of March. Is Kentucky’s young talent ready to make a run? Is this the year that a mid-major is crowned champion? Are Dayton and San Diego St. legit? Will the Tar Heels really miss the tournament? I could go on and on. You have to go back 21 years to the last time a mid-major school won the big tournament (UNLV).

As for this year’s tournament is concerned, I will lead by saying that the underdog spot may be quite beneficial in this year’s round of 68; even more so than other years. For additional information regarding this season’s parity you can visit a previous post at this LINK. For example, taking a look at the NBA’s mock draft, two of the first five picks are from mid-major programs (Dayton & Memphis). ncaab champions blog

Besides the obvious parity that exists every year in March, what other clues can we look for when making our plays? According to sport writer, Sascha Paruk, March Madness “survive-and-advancer’s” are not only good at winning their games outright, but also cover ATS at a higher clip than most. Nine of the last ten national champions covered at a 62% clip during their regular season match-ups. In addition, it is crucial to account for a team’s performance over their last three to six games. Far too often do we as the audience (including myself) take a team’s performance early in their season and put too much stock into a game or two that occurred over two months ago. If you notice that team with a weak record has won four out of their last five games is facing off with a squad that is 24-6 but has lost four of their last five. The team playing better might not be too bad of a play; especially if they are getting double digit pints. This next clue is obvious in nature, but is taken for granted by most. DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE! Last year’s Virginia national champions were the best team in all of DI basketball at points allowed per game (56.1). Defense is superior during this time of the year. The most balanced and defensive minded teams are built to make a run. Take a second and third look at those mid-major’s that allow few points to not only cover the point-spread(s); but perhaps even make a run!

I believe that we are in store for a wild, and exciting March. The typical blue bloods such as North Carolina, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, and UCLA are not at the caliber that these programs are typically at during this time of the year. Hence, leaving that “mid-major-window” much more open than it normally has been in recent years. Remember, do your homework! Just because a school that has had success in the past is facing a mid-major whose mascot is a mystery to you does not mean that they cannot win outright. As always, best of luck and Happy Madness!

Playing the parity…

ncaab team blog

NCAAB is now in full swing. Thus far, we have seen it all in this 2019-2020 college basketball season. We have seen everything from WWE style brawls to the major upsets that Kentucky and Duke both suffered as 28.5 and 25.5 point favorites (Duke losing to Stephen F. Austin, whereas Kentucky fell short to Evansville).

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines the term parity as, “the quality or state of being equal or equivalent.” The 2019-2020 NCAAB season has displayed this so called “parity” more so than ever. Underdogs are covering at a scale-tipping rate this season. Now a days, more and more mid-major schools are striving to keep up with the Power 5 programs in terms of scholarship amounts and quality in facilities, just to name a few. As ncaab bracket blogthese smaller programs begin to creep their way into the equivalence of the Duke’s and Kentucky’s of the world, we should begin to notice that the college basketball parity will be here to stay for the long haul. As you assess your next presumable plays, ask yourself, “why can this underdog not cover?” As opposed to, “how could this underdog possibly cover?” Understand the difference? Other than the Duke and Kentucky examples above, parity may reveals itself many fashions; one of those being the current Bracketology projections administered by Joe Lunardi. Currently, Lunardi has only 30 of the 68 fielded teams in the tournament as Power 5 conference schools. That’s not even half! Not to mention that San Diego St. (non Power 5 program) is currently slated as a number one seed.


superbowl 54 blog II

SUPER BOWL:

Since 1980, the Super Bowl underdog has covered the point spread 52% of the time, the favorite has covered 45% of the time, and the point spread has pushed 3% of the games. This could pose some value when making your Super Bowl plays. However, the true value lies in the OVER/UNDER when it comes to Super Bowl match-ups. This value comes straight fromyour own personal intuition. The 49ers offense is predicated on their rushing abilities. If you couple that with their highly touted defense, then the UNDER is surely to hit if they come out on top of Super Bowl 54. Hence, if you like the 49ers to win, go with the UNDER. On the flip side, if you think that the Chiefs will comeout on top, go with the OVER. Do not be afraid to parlay these two scenarios… (49ers/UNDER or Chiefs/OVER).

Friendly Tip: Prop bets (also refers to as side bets) should be utilized for entertainment purposes only! These prop bets might include: Coin Toss, National Anthem Length, Gatorade Shower Color, and so on. There is typically no real value or edge that can be gathered from these types of bets. Hence, virtually making each of their outcomes a flip of a coin.

 

And then there were 4…

Alright, so I first have to ask who you guys like in San Antonio for this year’s Final Four? Michigan? Loyola-Chi? Kansas? or Villanova? If you are not an advocate fan of either of these programs than the obvious answer is Villanova to win, but you WANT Loyola as this years’ Cinderella to win… Don’t you?!

As for the betting tips, this one is a toughie. “Why is that?”, you may ask. I am here to tell you all that these lines a very sharp. Meaning that the odds-makers did their jobs when configuring these point-spreads. For instance, in the Loyola-Chi v. Michigan match-up the point-spread opened up at MICH -5.5; for now, the line remains at that margin. Next, the Kansas v. Villanova match-up opened up at NOVA -5. Can you guess what the current point-spread sits at? Yep, +/- 5, you guessed it! However, there may in fact be a loop hole for these two match-ups, and it lies within the OVER/UNDER category. You see, these teams are very well rested and have had ample time to game plan schematically on the defensive end for their opponent(s). Take that and sprinkle on the lack of shooting accuracy due to nerves and you got yourself a perfect recipe for tomorrows games to hit that UNDER. Currently, the Loyola-Chi v. Michigan O/U is 129.5; whereas the Kansas v. Villanova line is at 154.5.

I recently just got back from Vegas. Unfortunately I made more money on the craps tables than in the sports-books. With that being said, I did learn a valuable lesson that I plan to continuously search for. This example occurred during the Loyola-Chi v. Nevada game in the Sweet 16. The Ramblers were one point dogs and had a favorable O/U line that I liked. I really wanted to make a play on the Loyola to cover straight up. Then I got to thinking: “Hey, if Loyola covers the spread, the game is more than likely to end up hitting the under, since they like to play at a very slow pace.” Both the Ramblers won and the under hit for my sake! Moral of the story here is to be knowledgeable about the teams you are gambling on and look for those correlated parlays to hit. Parlays are tough but big money makers if played correctly.

 

NBA: Switching gears over the advanced hardwood, I will leave you with this. As the NBA playoffs begin to take shape; utilize a lot of the similar tactics/tools that I mentioned in my Let the Madness (Almost) Begin! post for your NBA playoffs plays.

CAUTION: Be weary of the Houston Rockets recent playoff woe’s mixed with a couple of bad shooting nights form beyond the three. This is a perfect storm for a losing equation, in my opinion. It takes a lot for me to say this being a Rockets fanatic. Hence, I sure as hell hope that I am wrong. I will say that their defense is much improved and Mike D’Antoni has finally learned the equation for winning with his squad.

As always, good luck and strive to learn from each and every one of your plays win or lose.

Let the Madness (almost) begin!

march madness 2018 blog

It is about that time of the sports calendar where we enter in our “winning” brackets with our office colleagues, dorm mates, family members, and so on to compete against one another. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a bit of an edge in your respective pools?! Hell yeah it would be! Well hopefully I can provide that for you in this discussion.

Filling out your bracket can seem like a daunting task to say the least. As you look at all of those empty bubbles you must fill out and which of the 64/68 (I say 68 because of the new formatted play-in games) teams to scratch in, don’t fret. Let’s take it one round at a time – much like a boxer. Before we get started, pretty please do not ever choose a 1 or a 2 seeded team to get upset in round 1. Why? well for starters, a 1 seed has never been upset and as for those 2 seeds, they have a 94% win rate. Just don’t even bother. So there, now you have 8 of your 64/68 teams scribbled in.

The Round of 32: Now, you are free to choose who you wish… within reason. Every team is now vulnerable. In this round you want to be weary of teams that possess one of two (or both) attributes. First, be cautions when choosing teams to advance that tend to foul a lot as free-throws can become major points in tournament games. Second, don’t fall in love with a team that relies heavily on the 3-pointer. These types of teams have games where they go cold and it very well could be in the round you may choose them to advance. NOTICE: These rules of thumb listed above may not only pertain in the round of 32. Rather, it is when you should really begin to evaluate these types of statistics.

The Sweet 16: In the Sweet 16, you really want to dive into teams’ “created possession margin.” This factor can be calculated using this formula: (REBOUND MARGIN) + (TURNOVER MARGIN) = CREATED POSSESSION MARGIN. It’s that easy. You also want to favor teams that are efficient when they shoot. The name of the game is score more points than the other team, right? A good rule of thumb when evaluating your remaining picks is to look for teams that hover around these three statistics: FG% >45, 3P% > 36, and FT% > 71.

The Elite 8: The Elite 8 strategy is a bit less overwhelming in terms of all of the analytics and what not. This round asks more for the bracketers’ (yourself) input and better judgment. When choosing who you want to be represented in San Antonio for the Final Four, make sure you are doing everything in your power to take teams that display as few weaknesses as possible. You also want to keep in mind the conferences from which each of your remaining teams represent. For instance, did one conference demonstrate a power-house factor throughout the season that strengthened a team compared to the other.

The Final 4: By this round, hopefully you have a pretty good idea of who you want winning it all. If not, don’t worry. Let’s take a look at another statistical factor that can be of use. PPS (points per shot) encompasses how many points a team makes per shot attempt. Consider this, team A  hovers around 1.37 PPS is facing team B that holds a 1.24 PPS. If team A and team B each took 70 shots that game then obviously team A would come out victorious (baring these stats hold true).

***I would like to give a special thanks to Andrew Clark and his book titled Bracketeering

Today’s Picks:

CLEMSON (+4 1stH) vs. VIRGINIA – Pick = Clemson

KANSAS ST. (+7.5) vs. KANSAS – Pick = Kansas St. 

TEXAS TECH vs. WEST VIRGINIA (-1 1stH) – Pick = WVU

ARKANSAS vs. FLORIDA (-4) – Pick = Florida

As always, good luck today and this March of college hoops!

Not quite March…

Today in the world is Championship Sunday. Many of you, including myself, are watching the NFL conference championships today. However, I am not writing to discuss these two match-ups today and night. No, rather I would like to shift your mind over to some NCAAB action. We are now in the heart of the 2018 NCAAB season. We are beginning to find out who is legit and who are perspiring into pretenders. Once college basketball teams get into the grit of their respective conferences’ season; you begin to learn a lot about a team’s identity and strengths/weaknesses.

With that being said, March Madness is less than 2 months away! I will be headed to Vegas this March to visit my father and spend a fair amount of time at the sports books. *(Suggestions on which sports book to visit would be much appreciated.)* Anyways, I am a huge college basketball connoisseur and label March as my favorite sporting month of the calendar year. I do not necessarily have a “favorite” team, it is just my favorite sport to watch, I suppose. I had a buddy a few years back who balled at Tulsa U. so I rooted for them for a bit. He is with the Suns organization now (Shaquille Harrison, shout out).

If you are like me, you have been held victim to those crappy years of busted brackets; with some good years along the way, I might add. We will get into March Madness and our brackets once the time inches closer. I only speak of it due to my annual excitement. Although March Madness is still in the distance, we can still become better “betters” to prepare for this coming March. Here a few tips to keep in mind when making your NCAAB plays. Note: these tips may be utilized come postseason time; but they are more accurate during regular season competition.

NCAAB Gambling Tips:

1. Use caution when taking teams that may be looking ahead in their seasons. For example, let’s use the scenario of teams in the Big East. Villanova has owned the Big East for the past few years now. With this being said, you may notice that teams who have Villanova scheduled the match-up after their current one may be “looking ahead.” Think of it this way. Every team in the country has 200% of fuel for every 2 games they play. If DePaul is playing St. John’s on Tuesday and Villanova that next Saturday; they may use 85% of their fuel for the St. John’s game and save 115% for the “big” Villanova game. I love taking teams getting points when I have a hunch that the favorite may be looking ahead

2. If you want to think of this next tip as the opposite of looking ahead, that would seem suitable. Think of the 200% effort for 2 games rule in this tip as well. Using the same scenario, but reverse: say DePaul played Villanova on Tuesday in a nail-biting loss (74-70), that same Saturday they match-up against St. John’s. How much of that 200% do you think that an average DePaul team used against one of the best teams in the country in Villanova? The answer is a lot! Hence, DePaul may only have 70% of their 200% left against St. John’s. That is not a winning equation in my book. With this being said; please, please, and please do not fall in love with a team who plays well against a really good team.

3. Next, this tip is more of a personal opinion for me and my gambling technique(s). When taking a look at the posted game lines. Try and steer away from those lines that hover around the 5.0 – 7.0 area. Why, you ask? Have you ever noticed that a lot of NCAAB games tend to end with one team continuously intentionally fouling to grab more possessions? I like to stay weary of these games because I do not want my plays to cover, and more importantly, not cover! due to garbage fouling time. You see it happen all too often.

Hittin’ the Hardwood

The college basketball season has officially tipped off. Today’s Top 25 match-ups feature 17 of the 25 preseason ranked teams listed in the College Basketball is Less than a Month Away post. You may notice that some of these teams are going up against scrub DI programs leaving the point spread absent, unfortunately. However, some are tip-off blogpresent! These may presume to be the “tighter” match-ups. For instance, North Florida is visiting the “IZZO ZONE” at Michigan State (2nd). I really like the play on North Florida right here simply because the Spartans recently went against a DII opponent and squeaked by with a lousy eight point win. Certainly not a win in Tom Izzo’s book. Make a play on North Florida tonight at 7:00pm CST as 31 and a half point dogs.

Some of the Top 25 teams are not “action eligible” simply because the odds makers have little to no information on the opposing scrubs. The best way to make some money tonight though is to find a loop hole and exploit it. How do we do this? First,  sorry to inform you, but you will be needing to do some research. It is possible to gather intel on mid-major programs. Key factors to look for: Do they have any big time transfers? Are they senior heavy? Did they have a good season last year? If you can find some of these boosters, and mix that with an overrated preseason program, then you have a winning equation!

To cash out on your NCAAB plays, you must first understand that the odds makers cannot cover the vast realm that is college hoops. Let’s put it this way; compared to the NBA, odds makers have only 30 teams to worry about and really hone in on. For NCAAB, they have over 200 DI schools to study up on. 99.9999999% of the time, there will be a game that was over/under looked (however you want to look at it). And that is where you will be able to ncaa blogsteal a win and cash out big! You can be the your own odds maker with as much research you may choose to conduct on one particular match-up. Point being, there are simply not enough hours in the day for odds makers to focus in on all of the match-ups for that particular day, it is simply impossible.

Once the seasons’ wheels begin to turn and we get into conference play, understand the importance of home court advantage and revenge match-ups. The majority of conferences schedule each teams to play twice each year (one at home and one on the road). The best plays to make occur after a team losing a heart breaker on the road, then later presented with a second stab at that same opponent on their home court. Just keep in mind that these are unpredictable teenagers that run on emotions. Home court advantage is monumental (especially in rivalry games). Also, do not ever think that one team is so good that they will always cover the spread. Do not be afraid to bet against these preseason Top 25 teams. Who knows what they are actually made of.

I would also like to leave you with this side note. Last season, I bet a few NCAAB games at the beginning of the season; much like today. Some won, some lost. Anyways, I was very impresed with my Boise State pick and their team as a whole. So what did I do? Much like a heater in Craps, I let em’ ride! That’s right, I made plays on the Broncos of Boise State about 6 or 7 more times until they finally did not cover the spread. They were on some run man… They were MY team for a while. Point being, find YOUR team this NCAAB season!

College Basketball is less than a month away…

A first look at USAToday’s preseason Top 25, who made the list and who did not? Any new faces to the mix? Any historic dynasties get left out?

1. ARIZONA 2. MICHIGAN STATE 3. DUKE 4. WICHITA STATE 5. KANSAS 6. KENTUCKY 7. FLORIDA 8. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 9. LOUISVILLE 10. VILLANOVA 11. NORTH CAROLINA 12. XAVIER 13. WEST VIRGINIA 14. NOTRE DAME 15. NORTHWESTERN 16. MIAMI 17. MINNESOTA 18. UCLA 19. SAINT MARY’S 20. SETON HALL 21. CINCINNATI 22. ALABAMA 23. BUTLER 24. MISSOURI 25. VIGINIA

ryne blog 2018 ncaab final4

After a quick glance, you may have to double take at the sight of Missouri being noticed as one of the 25 best teams in the country. Also, the Trojans of US climbed all the way up to the number eight spot! This is a team that has been dominated by their rivals of UCLA in basketball for years (probably forever). Now, they may get a chance for a little redemption during the 2017-18 season… Wait a minute, where is Gonzaga, Oregon, or Baylor?! Probably a mixture of bad recruitments and/or loss of solid seniors leaves them out of this year’s preseason hopefuls. Nevertheless, I am very excited (like always) for this upcoming college basketball season and the road to San Antonio!

Everyone loves to watch the big match-up’s throughout the week. We call these primetime games. Primetime games include Sunday/Monday Night Football, College Game Day, and obviously playoff competitions. Why do I mention this? Sports-books alike and Vegas will put a lot more focus on configuring the lines for these particular games. Okay, we get it. Get to the point! Okay, one tip that I like to take advantage of every so often is to find match-ups that sports-books and Vegas do not necessarily give two shits about (politely put). The odds makers will typically throw out a number and observe where the money begins to gravitate towards to come up with a more even line come closer to game time. So whether you are searching for small schools in college basketball and football, there will always be “holes” in certain match-ups for these FCS schools. It is in your best interest to find these “holes” early in the week so you can get a good line before the line begins to shift. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find lines like this in professional sports because of the simple fact that their are fewer teams. Fewer teams equates to more time being able to post a solid line. So next time you are searching for lines this NCAAF and NCAAB seasons, take a look at a Virginia Military Academy vs. Furman (for example) line and see if you can find an advantage for your next play!

Do you remember me discussing in a previous post titled Week 3, Already?! to look for significant shifts in the lines? Here are a few of the match-ups whose lines have shifted a bit that are worth mentioning. Keep in mind, go in the direction that the money is flowing towards; even if it means giving up a few points on the point-spread. Jaguars @ Steelers: starling line = Steelers -9. Line as of today = Steelers -7.5 (Pick Jaguars). Seahawks @ Rams: starting line = EVEN. Line as of today = Rams -1.5 (Pick Rams).

As always, good luck this week! I like the UNDER in the Bills and Bengals match-up for whatever its worth.