BASEketball in real life…

College basketball is officially underway, at least the exhibition games are, where the big DI powerhouses get to beat up on the lower division schools. The regular season tips-off Monday with games slated all throughout the day beginning at 11am to 11pm CST. I would be remiss to not mention the preseason AP poll. Mr. Lunardi has been so kind to provide us with a preseason look at what he expects the 2023 March Madness bracket to be compiled of. Preseason Bracketology

Specifically looking at the non-Power 5 conferences: Ohio Valley, MEAC, etc, I want to take advantage of a particular early season betting angle. There is not nearly the amount of insight and knowledge surrounding these smaller programs, which gives way for more “holes” in these handicapping lines. I recommend siding with teams that are getting points (underdog) in the first game or two. We might as well take the points while the lines are not as sharp as they might become later in the season when there is a lot more data and statistics to develop these lines.

1North Carolina
2Gonzaga
3Houston
4Kentucky
5Kansas
6Baylor
7Duke
8UCLA
9Creighton
10Arkansas
11Tennessee
12Texas
13Indiana
14TCU
15Auburn
16Villanova
17Arizona
18Virginia
19San Diego St.
20Alabama
21Oregon
22Michigan
23Illinois
24Dayton
25Texas Tech
Preseason AP NCAAB Rankings

Now that we have reached the halfway point of the 2022-2023 NFL season, the most polarizing plays have been on the game TOTALS. Specifically looking at Week’s 1-6, the average total for all games played within this six-week span has gone OVER just once (W4). The other five weeks have averaged a net total of 42 points scored where the average game TOTAL was listed at 45 O/U. If you were blindly “hammering” the UNDER thus far then you would be one happy customer, covering at a 58.2% clip. Taking a look at some other profitable, at least up to this point, trends around the NFL; home underdogs are covering at a 55.1% rate while road underdogs are even more profitable at 58.3% ATS. Overall, underdogs are 69-52-3; the dogs are barkin’ in the first eight weeks! This Monday we are presented with a home underdog as the Saints (+2.5) host the Ravens on MNF. In this spot, home underdogs cover 57% ATS. I would advise siding with the Saints come Monday night, especially if you can get them at +3.

Game 6 of the World Series is set for 7PM CST in Houston. Las Vegas believes that the Astros will be hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy tonight as -145 favorites. The TOTAL for this matchup currently sits at 6.5 or 7, depending on where you’re shopping. I love the OVER in this particular game as both teams’ batting lineups have already seen starting pitchers Zack Wheeler (Phillies) and Framber Valdez (Astros). Game 2 featured these two starters as the TOTAL ended in 7. Now that the hitters from both clubs get to see these two again just seven days later gives the advantage to the offense more so than the defense/pitching. Game 2 stats: Wheeler (5 IP – 5 R), Valdez (6.1 IP – 1 R). Don’t overthink this one, give me the OVER (especially if you can get it at 6.5 O/U).

Football nation has week 1 elations…

The countdown to football season is one of the most anticipated “look-aheads” in all of sports. As Happy Gilmore once famously quoted, “…364 more days until next year’s hockey tryouts…” Some fan bases would tell you that the countdown begins once they come to the realization that their team has a better chance of giving up 100 points in a single game than make the playoffs. Sometimes, this optimism from such fan bases is warranted seeing how on average six of the 14 playoff members are not present in the following season. For example, these teams were absent from the 2021 NFL Playoffs but were members in the 2022 tournament: Cincinnati, Las Vegas, New England, Arizona, San Francisco, Dallas, and Philadelphia. This year exceeded the six number with seven new members entering the NFL Playoffs. So why not start your countdown as soon as possible because each new season is just that! The parody surrounding the NFL is real and might go in the favor of your team any given year! So without further ado, game one of the NFL regular season is just two days out which features the Rams hosting the Bills on September 8th for Thursday Night Football. Here is the full slate of the NFL Week 1 matchups.

With the preseason underway, we finally get to see some of the new faces and “old” faces in new uniforms. We are all aware of the Brown’s newest and rather suspect acquisition, Deshawn Watson. However, who were some of the other house-hold-names making big splashes around the league? There were a plethora as the league saw Russell Wilson become a Bronco, Tyreek Hill dive into Miami, Khalil Mack came to the Chargers, Davante Adams lusted over Las Vegas as he was reunited with his former college quarterback, Derek Carr. To round out some of the more impactful off season transactions, Matt Ryan was enticed to move to Indianapolis. The lack of continuity that will inevitably exist between a good portion of these franchises could make for a rather unpredictable fantasy football season featuring a rather large amount of “sleepers” emerging whereas those previously mentioned “house-hold-names” could be overvalued if one were to assume that they would continue to produce at a high level despite the change of scenery. In regards to your fantasy football lineups, two teams come to mind when looking to acquire some potential “sleepers” at the WR position. The Cowboys and Chiefs, both of which lost their number one options at the receiving position via trades. Amari Cooper is now a Brown whereas Tyreek Hill is now a Dolphin. With Cooper being targeted 104 times and Hill 159 times, those 263 targets are going to be divvied up amongst other wide-receivers between these two franchises. The Cowboys WR Depth Chart is as follows: CeeDee Lamb > Jalen Tolbert > Noah Brown > Dennis Houston. The Chiefs WR room is as follows: JuJu Smith-Schuster > Marquez Valdes-Scantling > Mecole Hardman > Skyy Moore. As far as running-backs are concerned, fantasypros.com recommends taking a flyer on the following available free-agent RB’s in your respective league(s): Dameon Pierce (Texans), Brian Robinson Jr. (Commanders), Jerick McKinnon (Chiefs), Darrell Henderson Jr. (Rams).

The OVER hit at a 57% rate this preseason. For our Week 1 plays, let’s continue to be on the side of this trend when making our O/U plays with one caveat – divisional rivals tend to favor scores resulting in the UNDER. There you have it, an easy Week 1 blind-play for ya! Divisional opponents = UNDER, all others = OVER. For the record, six of the sixteen Week 1 match-ups are within a division (i.e. AFC West).

If we take the names on the back of the jerseys away from our sports gambling strategies, we can hone in on some previous NFL Week 1 trends to get us ahead of the 8-ball before we even begin to calculate and determine our Week 1 plays. Although there are typically only three NFL preseason opponents nowadays, it is said that if a team goes 0-4 in these games then they only have a 30% ATS rate against their Week 1 opponent. Now that there are only the three games, we only saw one team this preseason windup sitting at 0-4, the Jaguars *only two teams competed in four preseason games: the Raiders and Jaguars by way of the annual NFL Hall of Fame game in Canton, OH.* Nevertheless, there could still be some potential value in fading the handful of teams that finished 0-3: Bucs, Chargers, Commanders, Seahawks, and Vikings. Let’s keep an eye on these six teams as maybe there is some validity and insightfulness to these “waste-of-time” preseason games. Another aspect that we can blindly use for our Week 1 plays around the NFL falls within the turnover margin umbrella. You see, history shows that teams that accrued poor turnover differential one year typically display a much more gracious margin the following year. In a nutshell, this statistic is said to be more so based on luck as opposed to anything else; giving way for a “what goes up, must come down” correlation between any two given franchises seasons. Now, let’s take a look at some of the top performers and under achievers in the 2021 NFL campaign, as far as turnover differential is concerned – shall we?! Of the six teams provided that finished the preseason at 0-3 or 0-4, three of which finished the previous season with a positive turnover margin over their opponents. The Vikings, Bucs, and Seahawks tallied a combined +26 turnover differential. I foresee the tides to turn and for at least two of these organizations to not cover their respective Week 1 point-spread lines. Week 1 features the Packers @ Vikings (+2.5), Bucs @ Cowboys (+2), and the Broncos @ Seahawks (+4.5). Of these three matchups, I am leaning towards fading the Bucs laying a couple of points on the road. Maybe, just maybe, this is the season that Brady finally begins to physically deplete while Dak hits his peak. Give me the points for the home underdog!

Who’s the real beneficiary here?…

After reading Joe Lunardi’s book that I referred to in the post titled It’s never too early to utter Joe Lunardi’s name… on October 1st, I was surprised to find that there is no true “algorithm” that Joey Brackets formulates while he constructs his bracketology predications week after week. That was one of the many talking-points that I took away from his book. One thought that got brought up that I found very interesting left me pondering: was ESPN the beneficiary of March Madness or was it the other way around? Lunardi states, “It begs the question: did college sports, especially college basketball, grow because of ESPN, or did ESPN grow because of college hoops?” I got to thinking and began to take this idea a step further as it more adequality relates to this particular blog – Has sports in general become more popular because of sports gambling? I would have to argue yes, and quite frankly would not accept the ladder. Sports gambling has allowed for the low to moderate sports fans to become average sports fans, the average sports fan to become an avid sports fan, so on and so forth. It’s not like this is some new thing to us right? Well kind of… in 1949 sports gambling became legalized in Nevada and only Nevada. So maybe it is like a bright and shiny new toy to most of us even though the act of sports gambling has been know for quite some time. However, now that more and more states are beginning to legalize betting while coupling that with the availability and access to online bookies, odds, and other platforms encompassing sports gambling gives way for a whole new crowd of the masses to enter the sports gambling realm. So when you get the chance, ask yourself: who is the real beneficiary? Popularity of sports because of legalized gambling access or gambling in general due to sports. Similar to the ole’ “chicken before the egg” phenomenon because non-sports gambling has been around long before organized sports have been. Oh, I took Quinnipiac (+1) at home over Marist tonight -you’re welcome.

While we are on the topic of beneficiaries; how much is Jimmy G. thriving off the fact that he has a very solid, young head coach and not to mention that he has had the best defense (2019) and the 6th best defense (present), in terms of total yards, in both of his playoff runs.

With this being said, I tend to value the 49ers defense despite the fact that the NFC Championship game will be played on turf which is rather friendly to the OVERS. I like the UNDER in this game at 46.5. I foresee these teams having a very difficult time scoring, especially in the first half. If you are as high on the 49ers defense as I am than you may want to go against the mean of siding with the Rams in this NFC West showdown. The sharpest NFL sports gamblers love to make their living on taking road underdogs that have solid defenses. Hmmmm… oh! the 49ers meet this criteria. This game has a final score of 17-16 written all over it to me for whatever reason. Take that projected total of 33 with a grain of salt, would ya. I say this because over the past four years, the favorites in conference championship weekend have gone 11-5 ATS. Obviously this would contradict the 49ers play; however, Kyle Shanahan (49ers HC) is 7-3 against Sean McVay’s Rams while winning six straight of those seven. This a classic example of “buyer beware.” Nevertheless, should be a great match-up this upcoming Sunday afternoon!

Football lost a great on the 28th…

On December 28th, the NFL lost former player, coach, broadcaster, and video-game endorser unexpectedly. Madden owns the best winning percentage by any coach in NFL history throughout his ten year coaching stint. In 1978, Madden put away the playbook and put on the broadcasting headset; not after posting a 103-32-7 overall record (76%) while coaching the Oakland Raiders. Whether your memories of Madden are most vivid on the gridiron, in the press box, or his iconic voice in Madden ’09;

Brett Favre on the cover of Madden ’09 video game

one thing is for certain, he had a positive impact in some shape or form for all football fans, players, employees, and coaches. Rest in peach John Madden, you will be missed.


With the conclusion of several college football bowl games, we are seeing more and more “opt-outs” ever than before by these athletes. Mix this with coaches being fired faster than being hired makes it very difficult to know where a teams’ head is at entering a particular match-up. This new and evolving variable that is frustrating and taxing to keep track of makes gambling in this era of the bowl season harder than ever. Typically we would like to “proceed with caution” when making a play on odds/lines that seem too good to be true. When it comes to college football and bowl season, I highly recommend neglecting these such odds/lines as a whole. There are others out there that know way more than we do regarding a teams’ psyche, attitude, you name it; best to stay clear of those lines that make us scratch our heads. A good example of this scenario occurred this bowl season at Dallas, TX at the First Responder Bowl. Louisville closed as a 2 pint underdogs against Air Force?… The Cardinals are getting points against a Mountain West team, seems a bit fishy, right? The Cardinals ended up not covering the point spread after losing 31-28 to the Falcons. I have been searching out for some tangible edge(s) to capture for the remainder of the bowl season. Of the 24 games that have taken place, 12 of which have seen the underdogs cover ATS whereas the favorites have also covered half of the bowl games – no edge there. However, thus far there have been four games in which a mid-major program is facing off against a Power 5 foe. In each of these four games the mid-major program has won outright while going 3-1 ATS. Pretty impressive, right? Looking forward, there are only two of these match-ups remaining (Cincinnati vs. Alabama & C. Michigan vs. Washington St.). The Bearcats

currently sit as 14 point underdogs, whereas the Chippewas are 7 point underdogs. If you can shop around and find the hook on these numbers to get to 14.5 and/or 7.5 then I would like to stay true to the trend and side with both the mid-major underdogs over the Power 5 opponents… *as I bite my nails anxiously knowing that Alabama could very well be ahead by 24 points by halftime.*


Before I sign off, I came across a new development in Las Vegas. Vegas opened its doors to a new casino and resort in October of this year by the name of New Circa Resort in Vegas. What makes this resort unlike anything you’ve ever seen is its 4,000 capacity sportsbook-pool in one as you gaze above at the 143 ft. TV all while relaxing in the pool with your favorite beverage! Circa is just off the Vegas strip located downtown on Fremont St. Next time you decide to visit Sin City, look into planning your stay at Circa Casino and Resort.

Week 8, time to be great…

By this point in the NFL season, we have a very good sample size for each team’s strengths, weaknesses, and identities. A handful of teams currently find themselves in the midst of some rather surprising W-L records nearing the halfway point of the 2021 – 22 campaign; some good, and some not so good. This year’s NFL over-achieving awards go out to the Bengals of the AFC and the Cardinals of the NFC. Interestingly enough, both of these squads are lead by recent Heisman Trophy QB’s that were number one overall draft picks in back-to-back years (2018-19). With it now being Week 8 around the NFL, we can rely on not only our eyes, but also the numbers that each team has accumulated thus far. Stats may be a bit skewed in the early weeks due to several factors; a few being a team’s strength of schedule (or lack thereof), or a couple of poor performances that would rather be anomalies for a particular team. You could fill in the blank with whatever variable you’d like; the point is that by this point in the season we can certainly rely on the statistics to paint a clear picture of league wide trends and each team’s performance(s) moving forward. Up to this point, Away Underdogs have been the most profitable teams to bet on ATS, covering at a 57% clip. As far as the totals are concerned, the UNDER has been the more favorable play covering in 56% of the games. Week 8 presents nine match-ups where the road team will serve as the underdog. Last year was the first year that the NFL saw road teams with a better winning percentage outright, not ATS. This year is not only trending in a similar direction but the road teams are once again winning at an alarming rate when having to pack their bags. Although it is by a slight margin, road teams are currently 54-53 overall.

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Last night the Houston Astros evened up the the World Series tying the Atlanta Braves one game apiece. A quick and blind play that might be worth taking note of is the total based on the where each game is being played. Minute Maid Park is home to the Astros where left field is only 315ft from home plate; Truist park, where the Braves call home, is a much larger park as far as dimensions are concerned. I believe that we can blindly take the OVER when the Astros are at home and the UNDER when the Braves are at home. The homerun ball is so prevalent and such a crucial factor in today’s game leaving me to purchase stock in the fact that ballparks dimensions can have that much of an influence on the outcome/total for each game. Let’s also not forget to take advantage of the National League vacant DH spot while it still exists (that debate is for a different time as far as the universal designated hitter is concerned). With the Braves having a larger ballpark and the DH being substituted for the pitcher makes me lean towards the UNDERS when these World Series games are held in Atlanta, vice-versa when Houston is hosting. So, if you are lost on which way to lean on your World Series plays and just want some action on the game because, well… just because it’s fun, then I recommend leaning towards the game totals depending on which city each World Series game is played in. Game 3 of the World Series will take place in Atlanta tomorrow night at 7:10 CST on FOX where the O/U is currently set at 8.5.

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.

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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

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.

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!

Difficult divisional decisions…

And then there were 8… Welcome to the Divisional round of the 2020 – 21 NFL Postseason! All Wildcard games went chalk aside from those 6 vs. 3 match-ups on both the AFC and NFC sides of the bracket. Both the Steelers and Seahawks represented the 3 seeds from each conference only to lose outright to the wildcard recipients, Browns and Rams. Does this 6 vs. 3 match-up typically tend to threaten the playoff run for those 3 seeds more often than it should? Let’s take a look at some historical analytics and trends to see what we can come up with. I like to think of this 6 vs. 3 NFL Playoff match-up as the ole’ 12 vs. 5 seeded match-up in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Often times, teams would prefer to avoid being the 5 seed simply based on its win percentage (or lack thereof) against a much lower seeded opponent. Now a days, we are even beginning to see some of these 12 seeds favored over the 5 seeds. How in the hell does that make any sense, right?! I digress, although the 6 seed may never be favored over a 3 seed in the NFL postseason, (mainly due to home-field advantage I would presume) the winning percentage continues to grow as time goes on. Currently, the 6 seed has a winning percentage of 38.1% over the 3 seed in Wildcard Weekend. Not too shabby, right? If you compare it to the win percentage of the 5 seed during Wildcard Weekend (33.3%) than one would have to assume two things: A. How does this make any sense at all?? and B. The 6 vs. 3 NFL match-up might have more similar correlations to the 12 vs. 5 NCAAB match-ups than we think. Taking this another step forward, if these 6 seeds are fortunate enough to capture that 38.1%, how do they fair in the Divisional round when they have to once again go on the road and face the number one seeded team from the conference? Oh, and by the way has had an extra week to rest and prepare… good luck.

This weekend provides us with four divisional games; two on Saturday and two on Sunday. According to MyBookie, the Packers are 7 point favorites over the Rams, the Bills are 2.5 point favorites over the Ravens, the Chiefs are 10 point favorites over the Browns, and the Saints are 3 point favorites over the Bucs. This is the playoffs we are talking about so the lines are going to be sharp. However, this year in particular has been a tough one to crack. To put it into perspective, of the four games slated for this weekend, not even a half of a point from the point spread has been adjusted. These lines were available on Monday and have not budged even the slightest; pretty crazy, right? So what do we do? Are these games truly just a flip of a coin? Do we just go ahead and go with our guts? Or do we just stay away in general and just enjoy the games like a normal football viewer? Surely we can find some sort of edge that can make these extremely sharp lines a bit dull. Last weekend, both 4 seeds fell to the visiting 5 seeds and both 3 seeds fell to the 6 seeds. Historically, the lower seeded teams winning percentage have been trending upwards over the past thirty years, meaning that the high seeded teams would inevitably be trending downwards. In these thirty years, the 5 and 6 seeds have an 11.9% winning percentage during the divisional round. If we assume that the Rams, Bucs, Browns, and Ravens all posses an 11.9% chance of winning this weekend than we can get a better idea of the point spreads and money lines. However, one must take into account that this is the inaugural season for the revamped NFL

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postseason format. Hence, the 5 seed has coincidentally had the same success rate as the 6 seed because they have had to been matched-up against the 2 seed whom of which also had a bye during Wildcard Weekend. After analyzing a more recent graph that takes into account the newly reformatted playoff model, the 2 seed unfortunately possesses the distinct disadvantage when it comes to the new playoff format. Obviously this has to do with the extra bye week that the 2 seed is accustomed to having that is no longer at their disposal. Without the bye week, the 2 seed in the NFL playoff’s Super Bowl winning chances decrease by 8.8%. That is a pretty drastic drop, especially considering that all of the remaining seeds chances to win the Super Bowl increase with the new format. Now, that is not to say that the 6 seeds now has a better chance to win the

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Super Bowl over the 2 seeds. No, but rather that their previous chances have increased compared to the original playoff structure. Point being, if the 2 seeds are the only teams that are projected to have more difficulty to win, advance, and become champions than any other team’s than we should look to make our potential plays against those teams (Bills and Saints). I would advocate the money-line plays on these underdogs. Currently, you can get the Ravens at +125 and the Bucs at +135. In order to get a positive rate of return, we just need one of these teams to win this coming weekend. Adding both the 2 seeds 11.9% (which is greater due to the new playoff format) and taking into account the 2 seed regression of 8.8%, we can informally calculate that there is at least a 41.4% chance of one these 5 seeds winning this weekend with a 20.7% chance of both of them winning outright. I like taking both money lines in this spot with the lines being so sharp. For the record, your boy went 3 for 3 last weekend with two ATS winners and an UNDER that hit.


NFL Divisional Weekend Picks:

RAVENS (+125) @ BILLS – Pick = RAVENS

BUCS (+135) @ SAINTS – Pick = BUCS

RAMS @ PACKERS (O/U 46) – Pick = OVER