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LAS VEGAS RAIDERS PREVIEW

For the 2021 season to be a success, the Raiders MUST:
Make the playoffs. Is their HEAT on Jon Gruden??

There was a lot of praise heaped on the Raiders for nearly pulling off the season sweep of the Chiefs last year. But the time for moral victories is over. The Raiders need to reach the postseason. Gruden is one of 14 coaches to coach the same franchise since 2018 — and he’s the only one of those coaches to not make the playoffs in that span. He — along with the 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan — are the only two to be below .500. Las Vegas has to be playing into mid-January.

What happens if Gruden doesn’t make the playoffs?  He’s halfway thru his $100M contract and Marc Davis loves him. Can’t possibly get fired!!

The Raiders could start out behind the eight ball. Las Vegas has the second-toughest schedule in the first four games of the season — because the Dolphins (in Week 3) and Chargers (in Week 4) are also challenging games.

Gruden has Josh Jacobs. Dude is the first player in club history to have 2,000 rushing yards in his first two seasons. Is he the answer?

The Raiders have allowed just 57 sacks since 2019, which is tied for sixth-fewest in the NFL. But they traded parts of their offensive line away. How will that affect them?

Can Henry Ruggs — the first of six receivers selected in the first round in 2020 — step up in Year 2? Ruggs did have four receptions of more than 40 yards. Will they finally GO DEEP? Or stay conservative?

Last year, some Raiders fans hoped the team was going to make a move for Tom Brady. This year, some of them are pining for Aaron Rodgers. 
Does this start to take a toll on Derek? What if the start out 1-3?

What all the Derek Carr doubters seem to miss is that he had one of the best statistical seasons of his NFL life in 2020, with a career-high 101.4 passer rating. His passing-yards-per-attempt mark (7.9) also matched a personal professional best. And he’s one of three quarterbacks with 4,000 passing yards and a passer rating over 100 in both 2019 and 2020 — the other two were Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson. Why doesn’t Raiders Nation bow down to him? It’s as if he can’t win them over. 


This is a must. Offense will live to see another day if they have one thing. 

Defense!!!!!!

In the three seasons since the start of the Gruden Era, Part II, the Raiders have posted the NFL’s worst scoring defense, ranking in the bottom three in passing touchdowns and rushing touchdowns allowed over that span. They are last in sacks. Last in third-down percentage. The defense also doesn’t create turnovers. It’s pretty bad. DC Bradley is going to be charged with rebuilding this thing. Some might want to just knock the whole thing over and rebuild from scratch — like they did when they knocked down the Las Vegas Club and built Circa.

The Raiders’ defense has not been kind to Derek Carr. Here is how the Raiders’ defenses have ranked in scoring during the years since Carr was drafted in 2014:
2014: Last
2015: 22nd
2016: 20th
2017: 20th
2018: Last
2019: 24th
2020: 30th

Get help from the rebuilt pass defense? Bradley is great at working with secondaries. I mean, he was the Lex Luthor of the famed Legion of Boom — which is perfect casting, like way better than Jesse Eisenberg (no disrespect). The key will be getting the most out of Damon Arnette and Trayvon Mullen. Arnette was a first-round pick last year, but he’s likely to be feeling a little heat from offseason free-agent signee Casey Hayward.
Hayward played for Bradley with the Chargers and would offer a bit more consistency than the Raiders have had in recent years.

The current Raiders depth chart in the secondary is filled with first- and second-round picks from the last three years. You have Mullen (second in 2019), Johnathan Abram (first in 2019), Arnette (first in 2020) and safety Trevon Moehrig, a second-round pick in 2021. This is a good place to note the team used five of its seven picks in 2021 on defensive players. 

Note: Even if the defense starts to come around, they still play KC and San Diego twice. And if Denver get the QB clicking, how will the Raiders ever make the playoffs???

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NEW ENGLAND QUARTERBACK Cam Newton vs Mac Jones

Cam Newton knows he’s on his way out. He’s not the face of a franchise; especially at New England. He’s not very likable either. 

The New England Patriots will likely take the field in Week 1 with Cam Newton as the starting quarterback. But as training camp draws closer, fans in Foxborough are even more excited about Mac Jones and counting down the days until he takes over.

After making the pick, Belichick made it clear Newton remains the starter. It holds true thus far during voluntary practices as the former NFL MVP is taking first-team reps. But coming off a disappointing season, fans are hoping they don’t have to wait long to see Jones.

Newton is still expected to start in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins, but he might not hold the gig for long.
Newton ended the season with just an 82.9 passer rating and an ugly 8-10 TD-INT ratio. 

Belichick won’t hand Jones the job until the rookie earns it. If the Patriots make it through the first six games of their schedule with a 4-2 record and this team is in the playoff hunt, Newton might keep the job until the wheels come off.

————
MAC JONES

Meanwhile, rookie first-round pick Mac Jones has reportedly looked darn good during offseason programs after being selected No. 15 overall in late April. 

The 22-year old out of Alabama was fast-tracked during the course of OTAs and mandatory minicamp, on a number of occasions getting more reps than the incumbent Newton and, up until the final day of minicamp, looking better than Cam…It’s not just the physical that stands out. The Pats have thrown everything at Jones, and his grasp of a playbook that’s over 20 years in the making has been impressive. 

Jones is seen as the most pro-ready quarterback from the most-recent NFL Draft class. He dealt with a pro-style playbook at Alabama and dominated to the tune of 41 touchdowns compared to four interceptions while completing 77% of his passes.

An argument can clearly be made that Jones is already more accurate than Cam Newton. That’s a big thing in the Patriots’ timing-based offense under longtime coordinator Josh McDaniels and after the team added a ton of reinforcements at the skill positions during free agency. Much more will be discussed as camps are preparing to open up Football 2021 🏈🏈🏈

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THE LA RAMS AND THE MATT STAFFORD TRADE

Matt Stafford heads to a ready-made contender in the Rams, who have had one of the NFL’s best defenses for several seasons and had previously been one of the league’s most explosive offenses before Goff’s backslide over the past two years.

Jared Goff and head coach Sean McVay we’re at odds with each other so dumping Goff was an immediate success. Giving up draft picks is the only consideration on who won this trade. Detroit will have two first-round picks in 2022 and 2023.

Goff seemed to reach his peak when he threw for 4,688 yards, 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions en route to a Super Bowl appearance during the 2018 season. Over the last two campaigns, he’s thrown for 42 touchdowns and 29 interceptions.

Stafford got a one-way ticket out after 12 seasons with a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since 1992. Although he’s made three postseason trips with the club, Detroit hasn’t been able to put a complete team around him.

This year, with two star defenders in cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Stafford probably won’t have to score 30-plus points to win games. He’ll have a complementary rushing attack and a decent defense. For the most part, Stafford had to put the offense on his shoulders. He’s played with just one 1,000-yard rusher—Reggie Bush in 2013—and one defensive unit that ranked in the top 10 in scoring.

Stafford will get to work in an offensive system that has been friendly to quarterbacks, behind an offensive line that excels in pass protection, and with quality pass-catchers in Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett, and Van Jefferson.

Financials:

The Rams signed Goff to a four-year, $130 million contract extension after his third NFL season, and will take a significant dead-money hit onto their books after making this deal. Goff will count for $22.2 million on LA’s books in 2021 while he is playing for Detroit, while the Rams inherit the two years and $43 million remaining on Stafford’s contract. One additional note to add about Stafford’s contract with the Rams came from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The expectation is that Stafford will not require a contract extension as part of this deal. He will play out the remaining two years for $34 million on his contract with the Rams.

Similarly, Stafford will count for $17.8 million on the Lions’ books in 2021, and Detroit will inherit the four years and $106.6 million remaining on Goff’s deal. Crucially, though, there is no guaranteed money left on Goff’s contract, so the Lions will be able to move on from him after this season if they so choose.

The Rams, after trading for Stafford, will go seven consecutive seasons without making a first-round pick.

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NFL; LOOKING AHEAD AFC EAST PREVIEW

In a division long dominated by the Tom Brady led New England Patriots, the GOAT-less AFC East now seems to belong to the surging Buffalo Bills or perhaps the Tua-rich Miami Dolphins, so we look at the predictions, odds, and picks of which of these developing teams could run away with this division. The Buffalo Bills are just a few roster tweaks away from going deeper into the playoffs, so expect them to post yet another productive season with QB Josh Allen rapidly developing on the job.


Buffalo Bills -150
Win total: 10.5

Remember this is a 17 game season

The team’s salary cap in 2021 will be lower than expected, so GM Brandon Beane will be forced to get clever this offseason if he expects to use free agency and the upcoming draft to fill in the roster spots he is currently lacking.

This includes another edge rusher and some linebacker depth, both of which could help Josh Allen’s offense get back on the field with the talented playmakers he now has as targets, including WRs John Brown, Stefon Diggs, and Cole Beasley, plus soft-handed tight end Dawson Knox.

Is this possible? Go two years without losing a division game.  (Probably)

Miami Dolphins +325
Win total: 9


Given that the 10-6 Dolphins almost made the playoffs last season, they seem to be just a few rosters moves away from getting themselves to that next level, but that is assuming they are happy with Tua Tagovailoa as their franchise quarterback.

In his rookie season, Tagovailoa went 6-3 under center, completing 64.1 percent of his passes for just over 1,800 yards and 11 touchdowns with 5 interceptions, numbers that could see improvement as he continues to learn Miami’s offense and adjust to the NFL level.

The Dolphins had the third overall pick in the draft and selected Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.

Because of a strong early schedule, the Dolphins will be 1-3 after four games. 
Week 1 at New England 
Week 2 Home vs Buffalo 
Week 3 at LV Raiders
Week 4 Home vs Indianapolis 


New England Patriots +350
Win total: 9


With Cam Newton starting at quarterback in New England last season, the team posted their worst record since the 2000 season and failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008, the type of failures that do not sit well with GM and HC Bill Belichick.

Now Newton is a question and the Patriots’ starting QB job is open, with backups Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer next in line, though chances are the team’s front office is looking to bring in some more veteran help at QB using free agency the way they did last offseason. 

For the first time in head coach Bill Belichick’s 21-year tenure, the New England Patriots have drafted a quarterback in the first round. The Patriots selected Mac Jones from the University of Alabama with the 15th overall pick during the 2021 NFL draft.

But there are plenty of holes to fill in New England’s roster, including in a defense that is historically excellent, so the Patriots used the draft to snag some young and affordable defensive talent to begin rebuilding the team on that side of the ball.

The Patriots will be 3-0 entering their Week 4 matchup against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, who will also be 3-0 entering the game — further heightening the hype and excitement for what promises to be one of the most memorable nights in Gillette Stadium history.

New York Jets +2000
Win total: 6.5


The Jets’ front office was able to land the highly coveted Robert Saleh as their new head coach, the former defensive guru, and coordinator for the 49ers who was destined to lead his own NFL team at some point.

Saleh has inherited a mess in New York, his Jets roster as holey as Swiss cheese on both sides of the ball. Sam Darnold had become QB non gratis after failing to ever lead the Jets to the postseason and was traded to Carolina for draft picks. 

The Jets took BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with the second pick overall.

New coach, new quarterback, new offensive scheme, new defensive scheme, pretty much new everything — and that’s a good thing because the old way stunk.

The Added 17th Game 

The 17th game for AFC East teams that was implemented by the NFL for 2021 comes at home against the NFC East:

Washington at Bills
Giants at Dolphins
Cowboys at Patriots
Eagles at Jets

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50 Days From the MLB Trade Deadline

BEST PITCHER THAT COULD PUT YOU OVER THE TOP

This pitcher could get many teams to the World Series.  Max Scherzer

Washington’s injury woes — Juan Soto and Stephen Strasburg are both on the injured list — and underperforming rotation have some wondering if the Nationals would look to deal Scherzer this summer if the season went awry.

NEW YORK YANKEES 

As of Tuesday, the Yankees sat in third place in the AL East at 33-32, 10 games behind Tampa Bay and seven behind Boston. They are 2.5 games behind in the Wild Card race.

Max Scherzer is as lethal as ever, even as he approaches his 37th birthday four days before the July 31deadline. His 2.22 ERA is eighth in MLB and he’s only allowed 48 hits in 77 innings entering his start last week against the Giants. He has fanned 104, held opponents to a .180 average and has an 0.82 WHIP.

Remember how he looked May 8 at Yankee Stadium? He annihilated the Yanks lineup, allowing two hits and a run in 7.1 innings while striking out 14 and walking one.

All of that would make the future Hall of Famer a nifty complement to Gerrit Cole. The two could help the Yanks get to October and then be an intimidating 1-2 punch in any playoff series.

Are there other’s? MANY!!

ST LOUIS CARDINALS 

The perfect fit is with the St. Louis Cardinals, who passed on the hometown hero as a free agent.

The Cardinals, with three-fifths of their starting rotation on the injured list – including ace Jack Flaherty who could be out two months with his oblique injury – are in desperate need for a starter. Scherzer is a free agent at the season’s conclusion, and with his family still living in the St. Louis area, they would have a huge advantage retaining him.

The Cardinals, after getting All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado in February, could easily package top third-base prospect Nolan Gorman.

TAMPA BAY RAYS

Do you want to return to the World Series? It’s hard to imagine a better bet to be made with $12 million than on a half season of Max Scherzer.

The Rays are in first place; two games ahead of Boston and six ahead of the Yankees. 

50 Day Watch

There are 50 days left before teams have to officially decide whether they keep shopping, start selling, or simply wait until the next sale this winter.

Washington is 28-35 (.444) entering Tuesday and in fourth place in the NL East. They are seven games out in the division and nine games out in the NL Wild Card race. If they sink further, perhaps they dangle Scherzer and re-tool around Juan Soto and Trea Turner.

Stay tuned for a potential shopping spree coming to a city near you.

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TOP FIVE QUARTERBACKS FOR THE 2021 NFL DRAFT

FOR THE 2021 NFL DRAFT

Wouldn’t it be sweet if we could see all these young men develop into the likes of a Brady, Mahomes, Farve, Montana or Marino? So much talent to evaluate and every General Manager is dropping bottles of Tums sweating this week and the next few months. QB’s make the NFL teams their brand and the franchise while missing on a top draft choice will have some coaches fired down the line. We wish all these players the best this week and in the years to come. 

1. Trevor Lawrence—-Clemson
Height: 6’6″ Weight: 213 


Unless something bizarre happens, Lawrence is headed to Jacksonville where he’ll hook up with Urban Meyer and the organization will dip into its deep pool of available cash and hopefully surround him with more than just a patchwork offensive line. How quickly he learns what he can’t get away with against NFL defenses is the determinant to how good he’ll be. Lawrence is regarded as the safest bet at quarterback since Andrew Luck came out of Stanford in 2012, played seven seasons and retired before the age of 30. Lawrence threw 90 touchdowns and 17 picks in three seasons at Clemson and runs like a deer. His game and playing style is so well-rounded that he can function in virtually any offense that awaits him in the NFL. His arm is more then sufficient to run a vertical passing game. His mind is quick enough and his ball placement is good enough to work in a West Coast system. 

Mechanically Lawrence is as solid as it gets, and when you study him pay attention to his footwork in the pocket. Whether throwing from clean pockets or being forced to move and reset, Lawrence stays mechanically sound in those moments from head to toe.

Hopefully, having been the number quarterback for the past two years, nothing has changed his desires or leadership qualities along with his ego. 

2. Zach Wilson——BYU
Height:  6’2″  Weight: 214


Zach is a truly great thrower. His quick and nifty mobility is a complement to his game rather than a staple to old school drop back passer. When it comes to ball placement, accuracy, release, throwing a catchable ball he’s already there. Because of the teams quality of opponents played last season, some consider that a negative. He may have to work harder and get coached for a year on the sidelines like Mahomes did his rookie year. As a compliment, he has some Josh Rosen/Baker Mayfield to his style. Given how the league currently views Patrick Mahomes it is easy to see why Wilson is making a charge for QB1 on some boards. You can see how Wilson is reminiscent of Mahomes on almost every single throw. From the ability to make off-platform throws with ease, his willingness to create outside of the pocket, and his arm aggression, Wilson looks like a baby Mahomes on the field.


3. Justin Fields—-Ohio St
Height: 6′ 2 3/4″ Weight: 227 


His tools – strong arm, clean mechanics, accuracy, toughness, speed and power – are all there. Fields has that unknown risk factor related to how much of their brilliance is attributable to being surrounded by so much talent at OSU. His biggest claim was an eye-popping performance in the national semifinal game against Clemson which shot his stock up. After losing to Lawrence and the Clemson Tigers two seasons ago, Fields put on a show against them this past year, throwing six touchdowns, many of them after taking a brutal hit in the first half. Athleticism is one of his strengths, as Fields is a truly athletic quarterback that has drawn comparisons to Cam Newton. He posted recently a video on Twitter of him running a hand-timed 4.41 40-yard dash 

4. Mac Jones—-Alabama 
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 217 


In the National Championship Game against Ohio State, Jones was 36 of 45 passes for 464 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions. So is that why San Francisco trade up for a chance to draft him? Jones is not very powerfully built and the ball doesn’t pop off his hand with velocity like it does for the other four guys. He seems like a guy with a high floor and a low ceiling. With no combine this year, it’s somewhat difficult to grade him. How much should be attributed to the Alabama program and two incredible wide receivers?  He literally had better skill position players in Tuscaloosa than Cam Newton had in Foxboro. Mac’s name is McCorkle — Mac for short — which is a fact that I think you should know to win a trivia bet. Beyond that, however, Jones was the best at Pro Football Focus’s Adjusted Completion Percentage last season, positing a whopping number of 84.2%. Jones’ greatest strength is his accuracy, deep ball and ability to work at all three levels. He can move a little but he’s not particularly athletic and if he’s behind a less-than-stellar line, he’s going to have little elusiveness to fall back on. 


5. Trey Lance——North Dakota St
Height:  6′ 3 3/8″ Weight: 224


In his last full season, Lance threw 28 touchdowns and zero picks as a redshirt freshman in 2019. Because of Covid, his team only played one game in 2020. Much like Josh Allen of Buffalo when he was drafted and could go very deep, Lance may throw the best deep ball of any of the quarterbacks in this draft. There are some clear strengths that he offers. Easy arm talent is the first such strength. All of the top four quarterbacks in this class have what you might consider “plus” arms but Lance might have the best of the bunch. Effortless velocity shows up in every game. Then there is the athletic ability. Lance is a weapon with the football in his hands, and his rushing production at NDSU backs that up. 

He’s exceptionally poised in the pocket and throws with an excellent base and has played in the cold weather as did Allen in Wyoming. He’s also a better than capable runner offering that new type of quarterback that coaches want. Because of just one season of FCS football under his belt, his decision-making and reading defenses skills will need time to grow.

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NBA SEASON ENDING TIPS HEADING INTO THE PLAYOFFS

Pay Close Attention To Late

Season Changes

Smart, expert sports bettors know that it pays to be aware of what the betting public is likely to think and do in a particular situation because that will have an impact on how the lines are set, how they move, and where the value can be found. With my 35 years of experience, I can single handily tell you the Oddsmakers line on the next game of the one just played based on the previous play and how the public perceived the final result. This is especially true heading into the playoffs at the end of the year. The public thinks that teams are scripted by the NBA for playoffs seeding and who generated the best TV money. I certainly pay attention to that but more importantly, seeing an improvement late in a playoff borderline team making a late season charge is certainly different than a team in third an no chance to move up to the number three seed as for solid information. 

Understanding Momentum 

There are all sorts of factors that can lead to a winning streak such as a dose of increased confidence, good health, an easy schedule, and luck among them. To put too much faith in momentum is to believe too strongly that what has happened in the past has a direct bearing on what will happen in the next game. That makes momentum a dangerous concept for NBA sports bettors. Understand what the changes are and look for solid reasons for better play for example. Let’s certainly not ignore negative momentum as internally there could also be reason to go against a certain team. There are usually glaring reason for such shifts in players play or a team’s performance. More important than momentum are matchups. Some teams play better at a slower tempo while other love the transition game. Certain teams defend the perimeter neutralizing the opponent’s three point shooting. 

Look For Road Results

When a team is on a strong streak on the road – One of the simplest ways to measure how tough and talented a NBA team really is is to look at their performance on the road. This is an even bigger factor in the playoffs. Studies have shown that the biggest reason that home court advantage exists is the crowd. With Covid restrictions during the regular season, take that into account. As we move into post-season, the NBA may admit fans. That momentum of having crowds finally would probably help the home underdogs more than anyone. The officials normally are well aware of the crowd, and are not interested in making that crowd angry, so they subconsciously give the home team some advantages. In the playoffs the crowds and the fans are more enthusiastic and vocal. That means that home court advantage is going to be tougher to overcome in the playoffs than it might be in the middle of the regular season. A team that appears to have a lot of momentum on the road is one that is probably tough enough to not be bothered by the extra challenges the playoff offers when they are on their opponent’s hardwood. That will increase their chances of playoff success, and therefore makes them more interesting for sports bettors depending on how big a favorite they are for that particular game. 

When a Good Team is Struggling. 

Let’s first find out why a good team is struggling late in the season. Are their players being rested? Was there a “key” injury? Is their regular season standings set to where they can’t move up in seedings? We always find out the “why”. More significant than a lot of momentum heading into the playoffs is the opposite – a total absence of momentum. Some strong contenders will perform at less than their potential down the stretch because they are looking forward to the playoffs and have little left to accomplish in the regular season. Sometimes, though, the struggles of a good team will go well beyond just trying to save themselves. If a team is losing games they should be able to win, performing well below expectations statistically, and bickering or exhibiting a bad attitude in the press, then it could be an important sign that the team isn’t as ready for the league playoffs as they should be, and may not be as strong in the playoffs as their record would suggest. This is especially true for the lower seeded team that barely make the playoffs. They may have extreme talent but are very young and are fighting among themselves. 

Nice Betting Value Is Apparent 

It usually happens in the first round of the playoffs. Some team that has a mediocre over-all win/loss regular season record may be playing their best basketball. Teams that were 15-26 the first part of the season may have for some important list of variables completely did an about face and finished 26-15. That’s the key stat!! If a team has been shooting better from the field, defending better on the perimeter and under the basket, or rebounding better recently then they did on the whole year then it’s quite possible that they have taken their game to a new level. Perhaps they are more comfortable with each other, or their coaches have found a better way to get through to them, or they are healthy. That’s the value of great coaches. They know the season is long and they’ll use all 82 regular season games to adjust the lineups and find the right chemistry. Whatever the reason, this type of momentum is very valuable for bettors because it can lead to a situation in which a team is better than their record, and therefore better than a lot of casual bettors will assume them to be. That could lead to nice value for the basketball bettor.

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BASEBALL BETTING; DO YOU WANT FOOTBALL ACTION OR BASEBALL PROFITS?

Betting Baseball Mission Statement 

Upon completion of reading this, you should be able to see why baseball is by far the best sport to invest your money. With the house edge being significantly smaller compared to other sports, and the ability to predict future outcomes, baseball can quite easily and most definitely become your most profitable sport to bet.

The Largest Sample Size Wins

What statistic do you think is more reliable – Aaron Rodgers’ completion percentage in 16 games, or Juan Soto’s batting average in 162 games? If you have taken any kind of statistics course, you know that larger sample sizes are much more predictive. With so many measurable skills and outcomes, with consistently improving analytics readily available to anyone, over a long 162 game season, it’s relatively easy to create a predictive model for baseball (relative to other sports). And it’s not hard to convince anyone of the logic that this is very true and the reason that Sportsbooks place betting limits on baseball but not on football. Out of all the major American sports, baseball is by far the leader in analytics, research, and advanced statistics. Now popularly known as sabermetrics, this phenomenon has allowed front offices and sports bettors alike to more accurately project a game’s outcome. It comes with more bang for your buck. The only risk the players may have occasionally is less action but more profits to the bankroll to make up that shortcoming. 

Point Spread vs Money Line Betting

Football and basketball regularly make up about two-thirds of all bets placed in the United States. In these sports, most bets are made on the point spread. Instead of simply betting who will win the game, most bettors bet HOW MUCH a team will win (or lose) by in football and basketball. Let’s look to understand the difference of laying points vs betting money lines. In football, if you lay -7 points and bet the favorite and the score is 20-17 with 1:45 to play, the favorite will simply play to use up the clock, maybe kick a field goal and win by by six points. You lose your bet even tho the favorite won the game 23-17. Has the following happened to you betting a top 25 team in hoops? In basketball, you bet the favorite to cover a -12 point spread. With 1:25 to play and up 70-55, the home team favorite calls time out and sends in the second team substitutes. Final score is 72-62. You lose your bet even tho the favorite won the game. Does that sound all too familiar? Two favorites lose and the bettor goes 0-2. 

Batter Up…Bet Baseball 

In baseball, it’s who wins the game. If the LA Dodgers are playing the Colorado Rockies and you bet the Dodgers, all the Dodgers have to do is win the game…period. A game where you don’t have to win by a set amount. Just win the game and get paid. Additionally, in baseball, no matter who I pick though, I know that either team will try to “win” the game. Players will try to score runs on offense, prevent runs on defense, and managers will use strategies to optimize the team’s chance of winning – thus enhancing the chances of my bet winning. This doesn’t happen when betting point “spreads” in football or basketball.

Why To Consider The House Edge

The house edge for baseball is typically half that of point spread odds. Because baseball betting doesn’t have the same draw and popularity of football and basketball, sportsbooks cut their odds prices a long time ago to attract more action. Instead of the traditional -110 odds for even match-ups, -105 is now the norm for baseball. This drops the house edge from 4.55% to 2.44% using the same calculations as above. However, the price advantage doesn’t stop there. For each dollar bet, there is always a ten-cent difference between the amount required to win $1 with a bet on the favorite and the payout a $1 bet on the underdog will win. This difference, or spread, is where the term “dime line” comes from and is the number one reason why one definitely needs to concentrate on baseball.

The Bottom Line

Assuming you have created a model that gives you a positive expected value, the longer season is an incredible benefit. Compare this to owning a roulette table which has a positive expected value of 5.26%. Would you rather own it for one hour, one day or one month? A lot of variance can happen in one hour and you might not make a profit despite the 5.26% edge. HOWEVER, this variance should smooth out, or regress to the mean over a longer period of time (such as 24 hours or 30 days). Compare this example to the difference between an NFL season and MLB season. There are 256 football games versus 2430 total baseball games. Even if you built an NFL model with a positive expected value, there’s a decent chance you will lose money with such a small sample. By stretching this advantage over 2430 games, you are much more likely to make a profit. So lastly, are you in this for action or in this to make a profit? The baseball is in your hand; throw some strikes and and then hit it 

out of the ballpark. 

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MARCH MADNESS: WILL GONZAGA CUT DOWN THE NETS IN 2021?

The last time we had an undefeated national champion was in 1975-76 season with the Indiana Hoosiers. And the last time we didn’t have Duke and Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament was 1975-76. For those that believe in coincidences, Gonzaga enters the tournament 26-0 and is favored to win it all. Let’s take a look. 

Team Strengths
Most teams have one particular strength that identifies their greatness. Gonzaga’s strength is that they have no weakness. Gonzaga’s offense is an unstoppable force. Not only did they average the most points out of any team, they make more shots than they miss and have the best shooting percentage from inside-the-arc as well at a 63.9% clip. Gonzaga’s roster has a mix of everything, led by leading scorer and sharpshooting senior Corey Kispert and anchored by top NBA prospect and freshman floor general Jalen Suggs. They have also received significant contributions from crafty sophomore big Drew Timme and lengthy junior guard Joel Ayayi.
The Zags are playing at one of the fastest paces in college basketball, with short, efficient possessions. The results have been outstanding as the Bulldogs are simply blowing teams out, outscoring opponents by more than 30.3 points per 100 possessions, the best mark among all D-I teams.

Challenges This Year?
Gonzaga coach Mark Few wanted a very difficult non-conference schedule to show how good this team is and they proved they can handle the best of the best of Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa, Virginia, and defeating BYU two times. However, Gonzaga did get challenged somewhat in the WCC championship game against BYU. While they were 25-0 at the time, it was a blessing in disguise as it showed how the Zags could handle some adversity and not fall apart and go on to win. One of their upcoming tournament games is bound to challenge them but they can outlast any team, and their starting five is the best group of starters in the nation. Their biggest challenge comes from within to prove they are as great as their conference 5 counterparts. Let’s expect them to be playing with a chip on their shoulder to prove just how elite they are.

Team Weaknesses
The Zags basically go six players deep because of a surprising lack of depth. Most of their starters play around 28-30 minutes and playing two games in three days could possibly be tiring the deeper they go. If they face a team that forces fouls, they could find themselves in trouble if they need to sit some starters who are in foul trouble. The Zags have shown they can overcome this very weak obstacles. If we’re grasping for straws, Gonzaga is a bit dependent on interior scoring as 58.3% of the team’s points come from inside-the-arc. That’s barely a problem. If they face a big physical team that challenges them down low, they could have some trouble scoring. Teams like Iowa, Texas Tech, Florida State, and Maryland all boast solid interior defense. 

Why They’ll Cut Down the Nets
This team hands down should be AND is the tournament favorite. Consider this: In 2015, the Kentucky team was one of the best college basketball teams of all time. They came in with an Adjusted Efficiency Margin of 37.43 pre-tourney, clearly three points ahead of the second-ranked team. Currently, 
Gonzaga holds an AEM of 38.05, almost six points ahead of the second-best team. The Zags are ranked better than the 2015 Kentucky team and even further ahead of the rest of the field. Don’t expect Gonzaga to be challenged until the Sweet 16 at the earliest. They are incredibly consistent and are not prone to upsets. 

Why They Won’t Win it All
Great teams have been toppled before during March Madness (Arizona brings in memories). The madness is rarely after the first two rounds. And no team will test them ahead of the sweet 16. Then Baylor, Michigan, and Illinois, all elite teams, can offer challenges to the Bulldogs in the Final Four or championship game. It will be tough, but it has been a while since Gonzaga has seen a top-10 team, so they could absolutely be surprised by one or experience an off night. 

March Madness Prediction
With a team as talented as Gonzaga, it almost seems like reaching the Elite Eight is the floor for them. It is chalky to pick them as a champion, but there is a reason for that. This is absolutely the best team in the tournament, and they are my championship pick. In a season defined by uncertainty, the one constant has been the dominance of this Gonzaga program. Under head coach Mark Few, the Bulldogs have recorded the best offense in the NCAA and have a top-ten defense as well and it’s no fluke they are undefeated.  
We’ll see how well they can hold up when they are facing tougher competition, as their strength of schedule is still relatively mid-level thus far. But all signs point to this team as the most likely to cut down the nets in a few weeks.

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Betting Against the Public in College Hoops: NCAA Basketball Tournament.

March Madness 2021

Every March the public gears up for the single best sporting event on planet Earth. Four weeks of daily college basketball. Businesses run promotions around this craziness. Betting pools are in every office. Wives sit with husbands to watch “their college team”. The word “madness” might not tell the entire story. Sharp gamblers love when the public is involved. They continually make our handicapping easier year after year. We have a good idea who will win prior to tip off. When the public is involved, they become our barometer of betting.


Different Strategy for March Madness 


There is increased public attention as we near the NCAA Tournament — so Betting Against the Public works particularly well at this time of the college basketball season. The annual countdown to March Madness begins anew. Although many casual fans wait until tournament time before regularly watching college hoops, the long duration of the regular season plus the copious number of Division 1 programs creates ample opportunities for contrarian sports bettors to extract value. 

The Public Begins Madness Betting  

Betting Against the Public has proven to work across all of the major sports, but March Madness is a special time of year. The public loves to bet big name favorites. Their knowledge is based on looking at a top 25 poll and then laying double digits.  When one team garners more than 60% of the bets and is favored by at least 14 points, the favorite wins against the spread 56.5% of the time. 

Betting Trends and Tools


These betting trends reflect real bets placed by real bettors, as opposed to other websites that use “consensus” numbers. By including both sharp and square sportsbooks, our betting percentages and analysis accurately reflect which teams the public is backing across the marketplace.
College basketball offers sports investors many investment opportunities — and at the same time, many challenges.  We have many tools that sports investors can use for college hoops. Tools that the sports professionals utilize hourly. This includes bread-and-butter sports investing tools such as Betting Percentages and Line Moves. In addition, the Number of Bets placed at the counter is often overlooked as an indicator and the public doesn’t have access to that very important information. Parley cards are analyzed and put into algorithms for review. 

Why Bet Contrarian to the Public?


The value derived from betting against the public is directly correlated with the number of bets placed on the game so, naturally, it’s more lucrative to bet against the public when the volume of bets increases during March Madness. If more bets are being placed on a game, it’s more likely that oddsmakers will be forced to adjust their lines based on an influx of “square” or “public” money. These artificially inflated lines create value for anybody willing to take the unpopular side of a game. For example; would the public bet Ball St +8.5 to beat UCLA? Probably not. Would the public be inclined to wager on Michigan -18 against San Diego St? Most definitely! Contrary to popular belief. The oddsmakers do not attempt to balance their book by attracting 50 percent of the action on each side. Instead, they shade their opening lines to capitalize on public perception. They take it in account prior to releasing the point spreads. Over the course of the day, market-setting sportsbooks allow their sharpest bettors to shape the line. It’s only in the most heavily bet games (where sportsbooks have high levels of potential liability) that public money can affect the spread. Sharp bettors get the advantage from knowing the public’s side without the penalty of any line movement. The public rarely will move the betting number. 

Oddsmakers Advantage with Lines


Public bettors overwhelmingly take favorites and overs, which makes perfect sense from a psychological standpoint. It’s human nature to ROOT for winners and scoring, and the media’s propensity to overhype these teams only exasperates this tendency. The sharpest Vegas bettors certainly take advantage of this ongoing betting style. Sportsbooks understand this and shade their lines to exploit the tendencies of casual bettors. Since the “beginning” of time, the majority of public bettors have taken the underdog in just 22.65% of all college basketball games. That number is fairly consistent, regardless of how many bets are placed on each game. But what happens in the rare instances where the majority of public bettors are taking the underdog? Is there still value betting against the public? In those cases, the sharps could lay off that game. Again, if a game has 70% on the same side whether it’s the favorite or the underdog, since we don’t have to bet every game; we analyze, decide and move on. We’re not in the Madness for action, TV games or betting our favorite teams and alma mater. We’re in it to WIN. Our entertainment is always about WINNING. 

Let the Madness begin.