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,

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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!

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 wining 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

Should we go ‘Bowling?’ Or anything for that matter?…

Well, believe it or not the 2020-21 College Football Bowl season is upon on… at least for now. Currently the first NCAAF bowl games is scheduled only eight days from now on December 19th in Frisco, TX. The presumed bowl season will go from the 19th of December until the 11th of January when the CFP National Championship will take place. However, should the NCAA move forward with these essentially meaningless match-ups known as Bowl Games. Thus far, ten of the original 43 bowl games have been canceled due to the ever persistent pandemic. By this point, time is ticking on these sponsorship, cities, stadiums, and ultimately the NCAA to decide if these games are in fact worth the wager on health concerns. President and Executive

Director of the Military Bowl stated, “there will be fewer pregame events for this year’s game, scheduled for Dec. 28 in Annapolis. Teams will arrive only two or so days before the game, unlike previous years when they were on site for nearly a week for a full schedule of tourist activities, dinners and other events.” To add to the irregularities, in recent years a program would have to win a minimum of six games in order to be eligible to receive a bowl game bid. However, in this 2020 season, you do not need six wins, or five, or four, or three, or two, or even one lousy win; nope, one’s win-loss record is not a qualification that is regarded in determining a bowl birth for the 2020 Bow Season. Hmmmmm

Aside from the bowl season as a whole, we now turn our attention to the BIG 10 at their recent decision to alter their preseason COVID-19 protocols. In early December, the BIG 10 announced that they would adjust their preseason rules/protocols previously stating that a school must have a minimum of six games of competition to compete in the BIG 10 Championship game. However, Ohio St. only has four games under their belt thus far with the season coming to an end. In this scenario, the BIG 10 is thinking one thing and one thing only. “We are going to lose out on so much money if Ohio St. does not play in our conferences championship game and ultimately the College Football Playoff.” Many would say that this treatment for Ohio St. is rather unfair and makes them and their program out to be superior to other schools in the conference. Ohio St. faces of against Northwester for the BIG 10 title game on December 19th. If victorious, the Buckeyes will be 6-0 and more than likely have a shot to compete in the CFP; for better or worse. Did the BIG 10 get this right, is it the right thing to do, is it moral, is money actually pretty important? All of these questions are left for us to ponder to make our own interpretations and judgement(s).

As we discuss the Bowl Season and its continuous for the time being; one college basketball coach is questioning the continuation of the season as a whole. Duke head coach, Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K) is concerned about continuing NCAAB play for the latter part of the season. Are his concerned justified? Or is he just a “worry-wart?” Let’s delve into it. He has this to say, “You have 2,000 deaths a day. You have 200,000 cases. People are saying the next six weeks are going be the worst. To me, it’s already pretty bad. On the other side of it, there are these vaccines that are coming out. By the end of the month 20 million vaccine shots will be given. By the end of January or in February, another 100 million. Should we not reassess that? See just

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what would be best?…Do I think things should be done a little bit different? I mean, yeah. A lot of kids aren’t going to be able to go home for Christmas. It’s probably a time when they should, for mental health. But we’re just plowing through this.” I am in the camp of if all protocols and measures are taken to ensure that all staff and athletes are testing negative than all should be good in the world (the world of basketball at least), especially when there are few to no spectators attending these indoor match-ups. To heat things up, Alabama’s Head Coach (Nate Oats) “stir’s the pot” by questioning one of the most influential coach’s sincerity of his comments. Oats is under the impression that Coach K. is in favor of discontinuing the season large in part due to Duke’s uncharted start to the season with a current record of 2-2 being their worst start in more than 20 years. It is hard to argue with Coach K. and his statements; however, are his intentions authentic and genuine? In the mean time, NCAAB will continue and if you are like me we pray to God that their is a March Madness tournament at the conclusion of this year’s season.

Week 14 NFL Picks:

CHIEFS @ DOLPHINS (+7.5) PICK = DOLPHINS

BRONCOS @ PANTHERS (-3) PICK = PANTHERS

2020: Where 50+ year old’s are boxing & women are playing NCAAF

I think that it is pretty safe to say that the year of 2020 has brought us many new peculiar circumstances; some for better, others for worse. Regardless, this year has allowed our society to alter and experiment in which the ways we act and interpret. Alluding to the title of this post, ten years ago would you think that two grown men whom of which are “out of shape” and way past their prime’s would arrange to box one another? Or, would you believe that a woman would be a member of an SEC football program? Probably not, right? However, it is important to note that venturing out and deviating away from what we believe to be the “norm” is certainly not bad practice. Besides, what is the harm of going against the grain and testing the waters, if you will, of what our past may have been too afraid to endeavor? Sarah Fuller is her name, she is the goal keeper for the Vanderbilt Commodore’s Women’s Soccer team; however, now she is known as being the first female football player in a Power 5 program. During her debut, Vanderbilt got blanked against

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Missouri where she was unable to display her talents to even attempt an extra point. The Commodore’s next opponent is against Georgia which has been… yep, you guessed it – POSTPONED due to COVID-19. However, the game has been rescheduled for December 19th. Although their next opponent’s defense does not get any easier, let’s hope that the Commodore’s offense can move the ball a bit better and give Fuller a chance to showcase her talents.

Now, it would be irresponsible of me to not discuss a boxing match that may never take place again. A 51 and 54 year old had their way with one another in late November for a charity boxing bout. Roy Jones Jr. and Mike Tyson squared off in Los Angeles where the fight resulted in a draw… LAME! It is presumed that Tyson made up to as much as $10 million for the fight and stated that he would donate his entire earnings to charity. In case you missed it (like myself) below are some of the highlights from the fight.

Now, for most you fantasy football playoffs are this coming weekend. If you’re like me, over half of my drafted team is either injured or on the COVID reserved list by this point. During this season, it has been imperative to strategically add and drop players from your roster’s due to the revolving door of injuries and illnesses. Sometimes they hit, and other times they don’t. I suppose that this is the luck and skill portions that go into managing a Fantasy Football squad. A lot more goes on behind the scenes than we as fans know about. These football players have been and are going through extensive protocols to enhance safety measures. How is this going to influence their mental and physical well-being come game time? Only they themselves know the answer to that; that is what has made this year a bit more difficult to navigate our ways through the fantasy football drawing board. My advice is to stick with your workhorses; the athletes that have been consistently available for your roster spots. By now, the healthy are in a rhythm and have had more “in-game” experience during this unusual season providing us (the managers) with a sense of “you know what you’re going to get” with this player. Aside from the fantasy football spectrum, let’s take a look at some of ATS and Totals trends that have accumulated over the past 12 weeks of the NFL season. Best ATS: Pittsburgh, Worst ATS: Dallas – % OVER: Tennessee, % UNDER: LA Rams. As the NFL is over halfway through its season, it is important to keep in mind that OVERS and home-field advantage tend to become more prominent. Why is this you ask? OVERS seem to be a more favorable pick in the latter part of the NFL season because defenses are beat up and very tired (rest benefits defenses more than offenses). Also, the later portion of the NFL season is in the month of December which means cold weather. However, the public obviously knows that the winter means tougher conditions to play in, meaning that game totals and point spreads are over stated due to the “obvious” or “gullible” perceptions. As for the home field advantage “advantage” that we as sports gambler’s may benefit from once again comes from the longevity and rigorous strain that these NFL players endure throughout any given season. In betting terms, home-field advantage is awarded anywhere from 2 – 5 points depending on the location and significance of the match-up. Later in the season, home-field advantage is amplified due to the amount of traveling that any given team has logged during the course of given season. It’s not rocket science, the San Francisco 49ers are going to be more rested and geared up for the 3,000 mile trek to Miami if the match-up is slated for Week 1 of the NFL season as opposed to Week 13 of the NFL season. We have all flown on planes and gone through a long day of travel; it can take a toll on one’s body. Not to mention that you basically lose a day of practice and preparation with a long day of travel such as this example. So what am I getting at here? In the later portions of the NFL schedule/season, look to make your plays on those OVERS and home teams. As always, these insights are just a brainless way to make your plays; but in order to be successful in the long run, you must do your own extensive research.

More potential bubbly basketball…

Yesterday, the 2020 NBA Draft took place. With the number one overall pick, the Minnesota Timber-wolves selected Anthony Edwards out of Georgia. Following him, the next four picks in order were 2. James Wiseman (Memphis) – 3. LaMelo Ball (USA) – 4. Patrick Williams (Florida St.) – 5. Isaac Okoro (Auburn). This year’s draft was was a bit more unique than others in previous years. The “blue-blood”, usual suspect, highly drafted schools of Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky did not have a player drafted until the 15th overall pick. To put this into perspective, over the last three

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years there have been 18 “blue-blood” drafted within the top 15 picks. This begs the question, are the top schools slowly losing their top-dog status? Or are others schools starting to close the gap that has been present for so many years? Or maybe a good mixture of both.

Obviously the NCAAF season is arguably in full swing. It does not take a rocket scientist to recognize that college football season is moving a crawl. Will the NCAAB basketball season follow? College basketball’s March Madness was the first large sporting event to be canceled due to COVID-19. We can only hope that the 2020 NCAAB season will go as smooth as possible concluding with a successful March Madness tournament. In fact, the NCAA and its colleagues have proposed that the entire March Madness tournament and its participants be held in a single location; that location being Indianapolis, IN. Typically, the first two rounds are held at specific sites followed by the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 locations. This new suggestion would completely eliminate these original thirteen sites to minimize the amount of travel that players, coaches, media, and fans would have to endure if the pandemic is still prevalent. While we are on the subject of March Madness where ever game played is at a neutral site for both squads; since 2005, the UNDER has hit 56% of the time on a neutral court throughout any point of the season. Early season match-ups that will be played at neutral sites include: Arizona St. (18) vs. Baylor (2), Kansas (6) vs. Gonzaga (1), and Houston (17) vs. Texas Tech (14).

Side note, with Drew Breese being labeled as OUT indefinitely, look to acquiring Taysom Hill in your fantasy leagues. If Jameis Winston starts to “Jameis Winston” and throws interceptions left and right than the New Orleans Saints will begin to utilize Hill more and more making him a very valuable fantasy roster spot.

The COVID-Kids and their counterparts…

Week 8 of the NFL season is this weekend. Although the corona-virus has presented play with numerous amounts of speed bumps, competition has continued on – for better or for worse… The BIG10 football conference has finally resumed play after taking a more conservative stance, as far as athletic competition is concerned. However, the conservative efforts may have been all for not. Just this past week, the Wisconsin vs. Nebraska game has been postponed due to an outbreak among Badger athletes and coaches. With so many postponements/cancellations occurring over the NFL and NCAAF landscape, schools and franchises are beginning to crack down on safety measures and protocols to keep their seasons in tact and play out as smoothly as possible. In fact, the Carolina Panthers organization released CB Josh Hawkins after being recorded on video dancing in a crowded restaurant without wearing a mask. This is a classic example of a “zero tolerance policy.” Below is the video that essentially got him fired.

I know, I know, the video seems very harmless. Whether the decision to release Hawkins was right or wrong is irrelevant. Point being, NFL and NCAAF programs are willing to do whatever it takes to protect their players and keep their season’s afloat.

Aside from the virus in general, let’s get to some NFL mid season gambling trends. We are basically half way through the season and by now we have a very solid sample size on each team and their superiority/inferiority along with their respective identities. Side note: I have the TV on here in front of me and just glanced upon an absurd stat that flashed on ESPN. This season, the New York Jets have a point differential of -118. Take a guess at to what the point differential that the rest of the league has compiled over the course of the season??? +118. To put this in perspective, the team with the second worst point differential in the NFL is the Dallas Cowboys at -67. Yikes. Anyways, if you’re like myself, I have struggled this year in terms of my NFL plays. I would like to think that with a bit more studying and luck on my side, and if these trends continue to persist, I can begin to get on the winning side of my plays! Now, let’s get into some of those betting trends that have presented themselves thus far during the 2020 NFL season. Thus far, road teams are covering 55% ATS; couple that with underdogs are also covering 55% of the games. What does this tell us? Ding, ding, ding: Look at making your plays on those road underdogs. In fact, they are 58% ATS this NFL season. I agree, it is very hard to take underdogs, especially when you know that they are those so called inferior opponents. However, keep in mind that these are all professionals (specifically in the NFL) and it is the best versus the best each and every week; meaning that anything can happen.

The first version of the NFL mock draft has been released, and here is what CBS Sports has from 1 to 32… Spoiler Alert: the Jets are the presumed number one overall pick! Despite the recent positive COVID-19 test from Clemson’s QB Trevor Lawrence, the New York Jets are sure to move on from their previous first round pick (Sam Darnold) and acquire Lawrence to begin their rebuilding process. Click the link below to take a look at the first version of the 2021 NFL Draft.

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

It takes 10 to Tango…

I know, I know, I know. There are more than ten members apart of the BIG10. In fact, there are 14. Announced on September 16th, the BIG10 conference released that they would resume football competition in late October. Come October 24th, the Week 1 BIG10 marquee match-up is slated for Michigan @ Minnesota. For better or worse, no gambling options are yet available for the BIG10 games with players that have opted out, now opting back in. Going forward, who knows how the player in-and-out carousel will unfold.

Video provided below is the Zoom meeting that took place for the announcement of the continuation of the BIG10 football season…

While we are on the topic of BIG10 football, lets go ahead and discuss some college football sports gambling tips to look for throughout the remainder of the season. Let me preface by stating that the information provided was aided by Josh Appelbaum, author and professional sports gambler. We will uncover some of the college football gambling angles and potential teams that may fall under these qualifications/criteria for this upcoming week of college football match-ups. Appelbaum has concluded that home football teams ATS cover 48.8% of the time; hence, road teams cover at a 51.2% clip. To piggy-back on these analytics, ROAD UNDERDOGS have been covering 51.1% of games. By this point, you might be thinking to yourself, 51.2% and 51.1%, those are not winning/significant odds to give YOU, the bettor, an advantageous edge; remember: every added value helps, even the smallest of ones. Once we have our ROAD UNDERDOG method established, we need to look for them in match-ups where the TOTAL (U/D) is less than 50. In these types of games, teams meeting this criteria cover at a solid rate of 53.2%. Again, we are chipping away at our plays of the day being more than just a “flip of a coin.” The idea behind this edge is when a particular game is not projected to produce too many points (by NCAAF standards) than the UNDERDOG will benefit by way of fewer points scores, meaning a “tighter” game. Now, lets sift through the teams that meet these three particular criteria for Week 4 of the college football season. Teams that Josh and I would recommend keeping an eye on to cover this Saturday include: Kentucky (+7 vs. Auburn), Army (+13 vs. Cincinnati), UTEP (+10, vs. LA Monroe), Duke (+5, vs. Virginia), and Vanderbilt (+30.5, vs. Texas AM). For the record, I am very high on the Blue Devils to cover ATS this Saturday. They are in a bounce back spot after their Week 3 loss against Boston College and they meet the three criteria.

As always, best of luck with your future plays and during this college football season. BIG10, welcome back… PAC12, where ya at?! Check out Josh Appelbaum’s book titled “The Everything Guide to Sports Betting” on Amazon, or wherever your get your books. Thanks guys and stay safe!

NFL FF tips, strategies, & angles…

FF 2020 blog

Fantasy owners rejoice! The NFL season looks very promising despite the absence of the four weeks of preseason. Starting with some of the more notable off-season acquisitions, here are a few to keep in mind when beginning to compute your Fantasy Football Draft strategies. First, we can get the obvious one out of the way with Tom Brady (QB) heading south to Tampa Bay with Bruce Arians. Going down the line: DeAndre Hopkins (WR) to the Cardinals, Stefon Diggs (WR) to the Bills, and Emmanuel Sanders (WR) to the Saints; just to name a few. Here is a quick link to obtain your PPR cheat sheet, your welcome PPR CHEAT SHEET BY POSITION

Aside from the ever-growing Fantasy Football phenomena; let’s take a look at some of the Week 1 sports gambling strategies. According to Action Network, the point spread that is most “off” for NFL’s Week 1 is the Steelers @ Giants match-up. Currently, the line is FF players blogSteelers (-3.5); Action Network believes that this line should have the Steelers as a 6 point favorite, despite being road favorites. However, remember your rules… Over the past 10 Week 1’s of the NFL season, teams that are getting 3 or fewer points (UNDERDOGS) are actually winning 52% of those games! This is a money-line fanatic’s dream come true. “So you’re telling me that every team that is getting 3 or fewer points will be profitable on the money-line?!” I would respond with: “Yes, according to history you would be a profitable gambler in Week 1 without doing any real homework and/or number crunching.” Taking this a step further, teams with a worse previous year recorded win percentage in the opening week of the NFL favored quite well against their opponents. In fact, they win outright 43% of the time, and cover ATS 58% of the time. Please, do not fall victim to a teams’ last years successes or detriments.

To all, best of luck this fantasy season and take a look at the 2020 team and their dynamics and roster; not the 2019 version of them. To piggy back on this idea, once Week 2 of the NFL season comes along, do not fall in love with a teams’ Week 1 performance. There are 17 weeks in an NFL season; one week’s result will not uncovered a teams true identity as a whole for the remainder of the season.

NFL Week 1 Picks:

Raiders @ Panthers (+1.5) PICK = PANTHERS

Texans @ Chiefs (-10) PICK = TEXANS