World Cup: Can England Solve Sweden’s Stalwart Defense?

England vs. Sweden, 10 a.m. ET, Fox

  • England -112
  • Sweden +390
  • Draw +225

Bet to Watch:

England To Win By 1 Goal +246 

After England won only their second of eight major tournament penalty shootouts, and first at a World Cup, the English media are starting to believe that anything is possible. “Football’s coming home” as far as fans of the Three Lions  are concerned, but if their team is to lift the trophy for the first time in more than 50 years, there are a few roadblocks still to overcome.

Sweden are, without question, a favorable quarterfinal opponent, but that’s not to say Saturday’s match in Samara will be plain sailing for Gareth Southgate’s men. It never is as far as England are concerned, nor is it when they come to blows with this weekend’s challengers.

England have, after all, won just one of their last eight competitive meetings with the Swedes, who have developed a liking for what has become a familiar underdog status under coach Janne Andersson. Indeed, since exiting Euro 2016 and waving goodbye to their greatest-ever player in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, there has been a realization that without a star name to call upon, the players have needed to accept their limitations and, in a roundabout way, turn that into a strength.

The Scandinavians have shown this summer and well beforehand just how difficult they are to break down, simply by sticking to their rigid positions when out of possession and sitting deep. In the past 18 months, they’ve beaten Portugal, France and Italy, so they aren’t to be underestimated, keeping five clean sheets in their last six matches.

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It’s relatively clear how the pattern of this match will play out, with Sweden having had a lower possession share (36%) at this World Cup than any of the remaining teams. Plus, they’re well-aware that England are struggling to create meaningful chances from open play.

England have the tournament’s top scorer in their ranks, and Harry Kane will know that if he can add to his six-goal tally, he may well wrap up the Golden Boot. While there are those who will point to his duties as the penalty-kick taker as the main reason for his success this summer, he’s taken the chances that have come his way. Plus, his performance against Colombia was arguably the Tottenham star’s best all-around display of the tournament.

Sweden may have conceded only twice, but they have allowed their opponents the most shots on goal (61) of the quarterfinalists, and Kane doesn’t need a second invitation to shoot or indeed score. With odds over evens on the striker to do so at any time, that’s a bet that’s well worth considering, but I like the winning margin odds for England in this one.

It’s never straightforward when they are involved, after all, and Southgate’s charges are the only side remaining that are yet to keep a clean sheet. While their quality should win out, you can bank on a tight result, so England to win by exactly one goal would be my tip.

Cameron Smith Ruling Wasn’t Wrong, but it Never Felt Quite Right

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Imagine this: In the fourth quarter of a close football game, one of the referees realizes there was a pass interference missed in the first half, so it gets fixed retroactively. Or this: In the ninth inning of a baseball game, the umpire concludes that he failed to call a third strike earlier and makes a correction.

We get it. Golf is different from other sports. It plays by a set of rules that isn’t analogous to those in which past decisions remain history.

However, that doesn’t mean we can’t question how and when such decisions are applied.

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Enter Cameron Smith and the imperfect storm of controversy that included a Saturday violation and a Sunday verdict involving a player whose mere presence in all of this inspired more than a few conspiracy theories.

On the fourth hole in the third round of the FedEx St. Jude Championsip, Smith took a drop, but his ball landed and stopped on the hazard line, from which he played his next shot. That’s a violation of Rule 17.1.

Nobody is debating this, including Smith himself.

Instead, the debate instead is about when this was assessed.

Rules officials watched the drop in real time and didn’t initially question it as Smith presumably made a bogey on the hole and later signed his scorecard for a 3-under 67. It wasn’t until Saturday night, when one official was watching a re-air of the broadcast, that anyone noticed the violation.

And it wasn’t until some 12 hours later that Smith was informed about it.

“I happened to catch him as he came into the clubhouse and just asked him if he wouldn’t mind coming into the rules office for a minute,” rules official Gary Young explained. “It was probably somewhere around 11:15 [ a.m. CT] when we knew we needed to have a conversation with him. That was when we felt strongly it was at least worth having a conversation. I want to say it was somewhere around 11:20 that I bumped into him.”


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Smith, who was sitting at 11-under for the tournament, just two strokes off the lead, admitted the mistake and accepted the penalty, reportedly telling Young calmly, “the rules are the rules.” (He declined to speak with the media after Sunday’s round.)

The Aussie should be commended for that reaction, but the simple truth is the rules aren’t always necessarily the rules.

If this violation was committed by a player who wasn’t on camera during a Thursday morning round, it wouldn’t have been questioned. The old if-a-tree-falls-in-the-forest defense. Even stickier: If it occurred in the final round on a Sunday, there would be no adjustment the next day. Once everyone is packed up and the checks are deposited, there’s no changing history. You know, like those other sports.

It’s this incongruent enforcement of the rules which makes golf reek of stuffiness and unfairness. (Not to mention bias, which we’ll get to momentarily.) This is akin to driving the speed limit and getting pulled over because the officer found evidence you were speeding the previous day.

All of which begs an important question: What should be the statute of limitations on such penalties?


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Once the scorecard is signed after the round? Once the clock strikes midnight? Once the first player tees off in the next round? Or, as was the case in this scenario, once that specific player begins play the following day?

Five years ago, after Lexi Thompson was assessed four penalty strokes for violations in the previous round, the Rules of Golf were amended so that any player violating a rule without knowledge or intent couldn’t be retroactively penalized. That, of course, doesn’t cover the Smith violation, as it could plainly be seen, if not actually ruled upon.

What the PGA TOUR must acknowledge is that such late determinations impact so much more than the player himself.

For a league with five — count ‘em, five — official betting operators, it needs to understand the potential ramifications in the betting marketplace. Smith had been the outright favorite entering the final round and while his even-par 70 would’ve still left him four strokes out of the eventual playoff, those who played him live before the penalty was announced were overspending without knowing it.

Then there’s the biggest elephant in the room, coyly disguised as a shark.

Earlier in the week, it was reported by The Telegraph that Smith is prepared to accept a $100 million offer to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series after the FedEx Cup playoffs are over, perhaps as soon as the next event in Boston during the first week of September.

When asked about it on Tuesday, Smith said, “my goal here is to win the FedEx Cup playoffs. That’s all I’m here for. If there’s something I need to say regarding the PGA TOUR or LIV, it will come from Cameron Smith. … I’m a man of my word and whenever you guys need to know anything, it’ll be said by me.”

Even in “normal” golf times, the optics of this scenario aren’t great. When it concerns a player who’s rumored to be leaving for LIV, perhaps on the precipice of winning one of the PGA TOUR’s crown jewels, it’s enough to prompt even the most uninventive conspiracy theories.

There’s no doubt executives didn’t want the awkwardness which would’ve occurred with a Smith victory. There’s also no doubt hitting his drop from that spot on the hazard line was a violation. Enforcing it the following day, though, draws a very blurred line between these two statements.

For a league that could use some positive PR, which was eventually gained during the electric playoff between Will Zalatoris and Sepp Straka, this was yet another bad look that wasn’t necessarily wrong, but never quite felt right, either.

Texas WR Isaiah Neyor, OL Junior Angilau Out for Season

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You need to have a potent offense to win the Big 12, and Texas’ took a big hit this weekend with injuries to wide receiver Isaiah Neyor and offensive lineman Junior Angilau.

Both players suffered knee injuries in practice Saturday and will miss the upcoming season.

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Texas owns the second-shortest odds to win the conference behind Oklahoma. The Longhorns are priced as short as +230 (Caesars) and as long as +300 (DraftKings).

Neyor, a transfer from Wyoming, was essentially the entire Cowboys passing offense last season.

His 44 grabs were more than double that of the next-closest player (21) and he also paced the team with 878 yards — no other Cowboy reached 300.

Neyor’s 12 touchdowns were also 10(!!!) more than the next-closest player on the roster, giving him an electric 49.2% weighted dominator rating, which accounts for a receiver’s share in yards/touchdowns (80/20 split).

Texas still has some skill-position studs for quarterback Quinn Ewers, including Bijan Robinson, whose +2541 consensus odds to win Heisman are the shortest for any running back in the country (view all odds here).

There’s also wide receiver Xavier Worthy. All he did was go off for 62-981-12 as a true freshman, finishing tops in the nation for first-year receivers in both reception yards per team attempt and weighted dominator rating.

Angilau, meanwhile, was the most experienced offensive lineman on Steve Sarkisian’s roster. The fifth-year senior had 34 career starts under his belt.

Texas opens the season with UL-Monroe. Call it a tune-up if you want: The Longhorns are -38.5.

The big headliner is the week after, as Texas draws Alabama. The Crimson Tide are laying 15.

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Nashville SC vs. Minnesota United Betting Preview: Our Latest MLS Updated Odds, Picks, Predictions & Expert Tips

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Nashville vs. Minnesota Odds

Nashville Odds -115
Minnesota Odds +260
Draw +290
Over/Under 2.5 (-140 / +100)
Day | Time Sunday | 9 p.m. ET
How To Watch FS1 | fuboTV
Odds updated as of Sunday afternoon via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Nashville SC looks try to improve its disappointing home form when it hosts surging Minnesota United on Sunday in a Western Conference playoff race clash in Major League Soccer action.

The Coyotes entered the weekend sixth in the conference, sitting two points behind fourth-place Minnesota United after a 4-3 home loss to Toronto FC last time out.

The Loons lost for the first time in eight games, suffering a 4-3 road setback against Colorado while missing three players to suspension.

These teams shared the points in a 1-1 draw in the Twin Cities on March 5 in the second match of the season for each club.

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Nashville SC

Nashville overcame expectations in its first two seasons with exceptional home form that hasn’t carried over to 2022 since opening the 30,000-seat GEODIS Park.

The Coyotes’ 4-3 defeat against Lorenzo Insigne and Toronto FC was their third since the venue opened. That’s two more than they weathered through 27 league matches at Nissan Stadium.

The primary culprit? A defense that regressed after posting exceptional 2022 numbers. Manager Gary Smith’s men have conceded multiple goals five times in 11 home games. They’ve score in all three home defeats.

Toronto FC was the first of 39 all-time regular season visitors to Nashville to score more than twice.

By The Numbers

  • +5.4 — Home xGDiff for Nashville, which is good for only ninth in the Western Conference this season.
  • +1 — The Coyotes’ home GDiff, which ranks 11th in the conference.
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Minnesota United

The Loons have transformed from one of the more disappointing sides in MLS into one of the hottest in the last six weeks.

Emanuel Reynoso has led the charge with six goals and three assists during Minnesota’s seven-match unbeaten run.  And Luis Amarilla has three goals in his last two games to bring his total to eight for the season.

Even Minnesota’s most recent 4-3 defeat was a bit of a moral victory, having come while Reynoso, winger Robin Lod and center back Michael Boxall served card accumulation suspensions. They’re all eligible for this affair.

By The Numbers

  • +1.2 — Minnesota’s xGDiff during its seven-match unbeaten run.
  • +7 — The Loons’ GDiff during that span of matches.
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Betting Analysis & Picks

Minnesota’s recent form requires some context: Only two of its last eight opponents would be playoff teams entering the weekend. And the Loons have conceded 15 goals during that stretch.

However, if Amarilla can be consistently productive, that’s a new dimension for a roster too reliant on Reynoso and Lod for scoring.

As for Nashville, it’s actually more consistent at home in this season, though not in a good way. The Coyotes have scored at least once in all but one match, but more than twice only one time.

Recent trends point toward a higher total than oddsmakers originally accounted for, and the line has moved accordingly. However, sometimes buying into trends this time of year is tricky, because the more crowded summer schedule results in some less rational outcomes.

Factoring that in, I still like backing the attacking play here, but splitting my wagers to provide a greater chance of a payout in a lower scoring game.

On the home side, I like Nashville to score exactly two goals at +240 odds and an implied 29.4% probability. That play has a hit rate of 34.8% (8 of 23) between the Coyotes’ home games and Loons’ away matches.

And I’m also backing the visitors to score at least twice +190 odds and an implied 34.5% probability. That wager has hit at a 43.5% rate (10 of 23) on the same splits.

The Picks: Nashville — 2 Goals Exact (+240) | Minnesota — Team Total Over 1.5 Goals (+190)

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MLB Odds & Picks for Yankees vs. Red Sox: How to Bet This Rivalry Game on Sunday Night Baseball

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Yankees vs. Red Sox Odds

Yankees Odds -135
Red Sox Odds +115
Over/Under 9.5 (+100/-120)
Time 7:08 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Red Sox went 20-6 in June. The whole team was coming together. Rafael Devers was slugging alongside J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts, and Trevor Story was finally starting to contribute in Boston. There were bullpen issues, but the rotation was solid.

The injury bug has hit, though, and the Red Sox have fully broken down. Four-fifths of the starting rotation went on the IL, alongside Story, Enrique Hernandez and Devers for a little while.

Since that magical month, the Red Sox are 13-25 and have dropped to last in the division. The Orioles are a full four games ahead of the Red Sox. When was the last time that happened?

There is nothing new about the Yankees, who continue to roast the rest of the big leagues. They picked up a 3-2 victory over Boston just last night.

Can the Red Sox bounce back in this one? Or will the Yankees continue to blow by their inferior division rival?

And, more importantly, where does the value lie in this affair?

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Regression From Yanks?

The Yankees haven’t been the Yankees lately. They’re 8-14 in the second half so far and just 3-8 in August. The Cardinals swept them and the Mariners took two of three.

Luckily, the Yankees have built up so much goodwill that this streak won’t affect them much. The Yanks still have a double-digit lead in the division and a run differential north of +200. They aren’t the best team in baseball anymore — that title goes back to the Dodgers — but they are in the driver’s seat.

The Yankees need to be careful, though. The Astros are the current No. 1 seed in the AL, and I don’t think the Bombers want to lose home-field advantage in a potential 2019 ALCS rematch.

I think this is your general regression. The Yankees weren’t going to play .780 ball over the course of a 162-game season.

While the offense has been top-10, the pitching staff has stumbled since the All-Star break (4.40 xFIP, 24th in MLB).

The Yankees may seem vulnerable, but this is normal.

Starting Pitcher: Jameson Taillon (RHP)

Jameson Taillon has been a model of consistency. He’s tossed 120 innings over 22 starts this season, doing so with an ERA, xERA and FIP all between 3.89 and 4.03. He’s accumulated a 1.5 fWAR and largely has given the Yankees a chance to win.

And given these are the Yankees, they have taken care of business. The Bronx Bombers are a whopping 17-5 in Taillon starts this season. Taillon has been an important and effective middle-rotation guy.

There’s nothing overly special about the righty. He relies on a league-average four-seam fastball, but mixes in five other pitches (mainly a slider and curve). His control is excellent (4.8 BB%), but his batted-ball statistics are messy.

Taillon has tossed against the Red Sox twice this season. He gave up six runs over five innings on July 10, but then followed it up five days later by tossing five one-run innings.

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Tommy Pham Leading Red Sox Offense

Many mocked Chaim Bloom for his seemingly irrational deadline moves. They sold Christian Vazquez, but then went out and acquired Tommy Pham and Reese McGuire. Where is the direction?

I didn’t mind the overall strategy. It’s a soft buy that involves moving a 31-year-old catcher in a contract year for two hot-hitting prospects. They picked up outfield depth and will replace Vazquez with a catcher-by-committee approach. Remember, Boston is still only four games out of a playoff spot.

Additionally, Pham has been the only player worth a damn in the second half. Boston has been a back-half offense over the last two weeks, but Pham has upped his OPS 50 points and has smacked three homers.

Another clutch moment included this:

I’d rather have Pham somewhere in the middle of the lineup than Jackie Bradley Jr.’s .578 OPS, even if it involves a major step-back in defense.

Starting Pitcher: Michael Wacha (RHP)

Micahel Wacha has the third-highest bWAR on the Red Sox this season (2.2). He hasn’t pitched in a month and a half.

That’s the best summary of his season that I can provide.

But it is nice to have Wacha back in the rotation. His bounce-back has been almost impossible. I was calling this guy the worst pitcher in baseball less than a year ago, given he ranked below the 10th percentile in almost every important statistical category.

But he’s put together an astounding resume this season, posting an ERA under 2.70 with a 6-1 record. The Red Sox are also 9-4 in his starts. He pitched a complete-game shutout in a 1-0 win over the Angels just a few starts ago.

For a guy that couldn’t get through three innings with the Rays, it’s staggering to watch. And he looked great in his rehab start in Worcester.

Massive regression is coming for Wacha, though. He’s a soft-tossing righty who doesn’t force enough weak contact. As such, his xERA is approaching 5.00. But considering his xERA was above 5.00 in three of the past four seasons, this is an improvement.

He works primarily through a three-pitch mix, but leans heavily on his changeup, a pitch that has an interesting look.

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Yankees-Red Sox Pick

Sharp money has been hitting the Yankees ML, but it’s a little high for my liking.

The smarter money is on the over, which has taken less than 50% of the tickets, but more than 90% of the handle. The first two games of this three-game set went under, but the Yanks and Red Sox went over their listed total in seven straight matchups prior.

Taillon and Wacha are solid, but also predictable and not infallible. The Yankees’ staff is slumping and the Red Sox’s bullpen is a mess, meaning there are late-game runs to be had.

Let’s not forget that these are two of the hardest-hitting lineups in baseball. The Red Sox aren’t on the same level, but have shown the ability to put runs on the board.

I’ll take the over, which you can still get at 9 (-120) at PointsBet.

Pick: Over 9 (-120)

MLB Same-Game Parlay for Yankees vs. Red Sox: Sunday Night Baseball Odds & Picks

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Yankees vs. Red Sox Odds

Yankees Odds -142
Red Sox Odds +120
Over/Under 9.5 (-105/-115)
Time 7:08 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The historic rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox continues with yet another Sunday-night affair at Fenway Park.

New York and Boston have assumed their customary roles in the rivalry, as the Yankees are leading the division with the second-best record in the American League and the Red Sox are in last place with a below .500 record.

There’s no love lost between these two teams, who have played close games each of the last two nights.

Who will be able to get the job done tonight, though?

The Parlay (+500):

  • Jameson Taillon 5+ Strikeouts
  • Aaron Judge to Hit a Home Run
  • Josh Donaldson to Get a Hit

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Same-Game Parlay — Yankees vs. Red Sox

Jameson Taillon 5+ Strikeouts

Taillon has gone over this number a lot recently. He’s struck out at least five batters in his last three starts, four of his last five starts and six of his last eight starts.

Five starts ago, he faced Boston in New York and struck out five Red Sox batters.

Taillon has a 20% K% this season, and the Red Sox have four hitters in their projected lineup with a K% above 20% against right-handed pitching this season.

Aaron Judge to Hit a Home Run

Judge leads all of baseball with 46 home runs. He’s already homered once in this series and has homered once in five games at Fenway Park this season.

For a right-handed power hitter like Judge, this is a great ballpark for him to hit in, especially with the green monster wall in left field.

Michael Wacha has allowed a .153 ISO to right-handed hitters this season, and Judge has a .379 ISO against right-handed pitchers this season. Wacha has allowed four home runs to right-handed hitters, compared to three home runs allowed to left-handed batters.

Josh Donaldson to Get a Hit

Batting average isn’t Donaldson’s strong suit at this point in his career. A career .266 hitter, Donaldson hasn’t hit .270 since 2017.

He still has value as a power hitter and good defensive third baseman. His bat has woken up with the hits lately, though, as Donaldson has hit .300 in the month of August so far.

Wacha is coming off the injured list to make this start against New York, but in his last four starts, he allowed five, six, seven and eight hits. Wacha has allowed a .264 average to right-handed batters, compared to .155 against left-handed batters.

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How to Bet George Pickens for 2022 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

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Someone grab a frame, so I can hang this stat above my mantle forever.

Roughly 15% of wide receiver George Pickens’ career catches at Georgia consisted of either a sideline toe-tap, dive, jump ball, interception negation or a catch outside the range of an average WR, per SEC connoisseur Clark Brooks.

Absolutely disgusting.

Although the 6-foot-3, human highlight reel saw limited time in college, it’s taken Pickens — the Steelers’ second-round pick — mere months to burst onto the scene as a 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year sleeper. 

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Pickens’ strong training camp — parlayed with a standout performance in Pitt’s preseason opener — netted the former Dawg some big ups in the betting market, as his +5000 open price is absolutely zoomin‘.

Check out all Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds here.

George Pickens’ Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Sportsbook Odds
DraftKings +1000
BetMGM +1000
FanDuel +1200
SugarHouse +1200
PointsBet +1600
Caesars +1800

Pickens was targeted five times in Saturday’s win against the Seahawks. He hauled in three of those for 43 yards and this touchdown from first-round pick, Kenny Pickett.

Also, wide receiver pancakes in the run game should count for some sort of Offensive Rookie of the Year triple points multiplier.

A whopping 10 wide receivers were taken this past spring before Pickens, who missed most of the 2021 national title season at Georgia with a torn ACL.

With Week 1 of the preseason wrapped up, Pickens owns a consensus price tag of +1200 for Rookie of the Year, the sixth-lowest odds for any wide receiver.

Pickett, meanwhile, is the consensus favorite in this market at +700. He’s as short as +650, but can be bet at +850 at FanDuel.

The Steelers are back in action next Saturday vs. the Jaguars.

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Updated Vikings vs. Raiders Odds, Prediction: How Our Expert Is Betting NFL Preseason Game (Aug. 14)

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NFL Preseason Quarterback Matchups

This will be updated before every slate of preseason games.

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Vikings vs. Raiders Odds

Vikings Odds -5
Raiders Odds +5
Moneyline +190 / -230
Over/Under 38
Time Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
TV NFL Network
Odds as of Sunday and via Caesars.

Vikings vs. Raiders Pick

Kirk Cousins will miss this game due to COVID-19 protocols. That means it’ll be Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond under center for the Vikings for one half each.

It’s unclear how the Vikings will handle their other starters, but I would expect them to hold most of them out with Cousins being unavailable.

The Raiders are -4.5 despite the fact Derek Carr, Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller, Maxx Crosby and more are unlikely to play. I can’t come up with a reason why Jarrett Stidham, Nick Mullens and the backups are 4.5 points better than Mannion, Mond and the Vikings backups.

Therefore, I’ll be on the Vikings +4.5. It’s possible this line drops to +3 once it’s official that the Raiders are resting key players, as well. Not to mention, the Vikings should have an edge in the fourth quarter if the Raiders decide to let Chase Garbers close out the game again.

The most likely outcome of this game is the Raiders winning by 3, so I love getting a key number like 4.5 in what should be a low scoring game.

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Cameron Smith Issued 2-Stroke Penalty Before FedEx St. Jude Final Round

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The timing and circumstances around Cameron Smith’s Sunday penalty were bizarre.

Smith woke up on Sunday around +400 to win the 2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship, the first of three playoff events on the PGA TOUR calendar. The Aussie was two strokes behind leader J.J. Spaun, who was at 13-under par.

Then, about 25 minutes before Smith was set to tee off at TPC Southwind, his tournament outlook changed significantly. He was assessed a two-stroke penalty for an “improper drop” that took place almost 24 hours ago during Saturday’s third round.

If Smith was to win the St. Jude on Sunday, he would leap over Scottie Scheffler and become the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking.

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Here is the official statement from the PGA TOUR, a long time after the incident, on the two-stroke penalty:

On the par-3 fourth hole, Smith’s tee shot bounced in the short grass next to the green and into the water. He played his third shot from on the red line that indicated the out of bounds on the hole, which is illegal. Neither he or playing partner Ryan Palmer noticed the error or reported it.

The impact of the penalty is massive from both betting and DFS perspectives.

Spaun and Sepp Straka (12-under) sat atop the leaderboard at Nos. 1 and 2, but there were plenty of big names right below them at 11-under par entering Sunday. Most noteworthy were Smith and Will Zalatoris, both of whom were right around that +400 number to win the tournament.

The news of Smith’s penalty moved him down to +1000 at FanDuel.

It’s also massive in the props market. Smith entered the day tied for third, but losing two strokes puts him at T14 before he teed off.

Before the tournament, Smith received 5% of tickets and handle at BetMGM. That was the fifth-highest ticket number and seventh-most of the handle.

Penalties like this are rare. It’s not every week that a player is docked strokes, especially for something like improper placement of a ball.

The timing and victim are peculiar, as well. Before the tournament, a report from England surfaced that Cameron Smith was going to leave the PGA TOUR after the FedEx Cup was decided in two weeks at the Tour Championship. The plan, reportedly, is to play the Presidents Cup against the United States in September before taking his talents to the Saudi Arabia government-funded tour that is faced by fellow Aussie Greg Norman.

Zalatoris became the lone betting favorite at +310, according to FanDuel, after the announcement. Spaun, meanwhile, moved to +500, and Straka +700, as of 1:24 p.m. ET.

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NFL Preseason Odds, Predictions for Vikings vs. Raiders: Sunday Over/Under Attracting Sharp Action (Aug. 14)

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Vikings vs. Raiders Odds

Vikings Odds +4
Raiders Odds -4
Over/Under 36
Time 4:25 p.m. ET
Channel NFL Network

Odds via Caesars as of 2 p.m. ET.

Decoding betting market movement can be difficult during the NFL preseason.

Many NFL preseason line moves can be chalked up to oddsmakers’ adjustments based on latest player news.

For example, if a coach announces that they will or won’t be playing starters in a given game, sportsbooks will react to account for the statuses of those key players.

With this in mind, let’s look at the spread for Sunday’s Vikings vs. Raiders NFL preseason Week 1 matchup.

On Friday, news broke that Minnesota’s starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins, had tested positive for COVID-19 and therefore would not be playing in today’s game against Las Vegas.

Obviously, the absence of Cousins is noteworthy from an NFL betting perspective, and oddsmakers reacted accordingly by moving the Raiders from -3.5 to -4.5.

Often NFL spread movement like that can look like sharp money taking a position on the game, but in respects to Vikings vs. Raiders, it was not.

However, there’s another line move for Sunday’s lone preseason matchup that we cannot pin to a news adjustment, and after looking over the Action Network’s NFL PRO betting tools, it’s pretty clear that pro bettors are responsible for the movement.

Let’s take a look.

Vikings vs. Raiders Pick


Interestingly, while Vegas’ spread getting longer after the Cousins news broke is predictable, the fact that the total increased was not.

Not having a starting quarterback available should result in lower scoring in vacuum and cause an over/under to drop, in a vacuum.

Unless, of course, that total was too low to begin with.

The Vikings vs. Raiders over/under opened at 34 and now sits between 36.5 and 37 depending on the shop.

In fact, Action Labs’ Bet Signals have tracked five separate instances of smart money flowing on the over, including a Steam Move shortly after 5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

That piece of information is important, as wiseguys were still bullish enough to steam the over even after news of Cousins’ status became public.

One final key point to make here: As I mentioned above, there is variance across the market regarding the Vikings vs. Raiders total.

So, if you do plan on betting the over, please make sure to shop for the best NFL odds and do it at one of the books, like BetMGM or DraftKings, at 36.5, and not one of the handful that have already pushed to 37. Caesars still has the total at 36.

PRO Report Pick: Over 36.5

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Premier League Odds, Picks & Prediction: Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace Betting Preview (Monday, Aug. 15)

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Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace Odds

Liverpool Odds -500
Crystal Palace Odds +1400
Draw +575
Over/Under 3.5 (+125 / -175)
Day | Time Monday | 3 p.m. ET
How To Watch USA Network | fuboTV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Liverpool welcomes Crystal Palace to Anfield for Monday’s Premier League clash, featuring clubs seeking their first victory of the campaign.

The Reds, who are one of the two betting favorites to win the league crown, opened with a disappointing 2-2 draw at Fulham. Aleksandar Mitrović bagged his second goal of the match in the 72nd minute before Mohamed Salah tallied the equalizer in the 80th minute to salvage the road draw.

On the other side, the Eagles were flightless on home soil in their 2-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal. The Gunners, who are one of the top wagering options outside of Liverpool and Manchester City in the title race, kept Wilfried Zaha and the hosts at bay throughout the contest.

That said, let’s see where we can find betting value ahead of this meeting where Liverpool enters as a massive -500 moneyline at most sportsbooks.

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Liverpool

There was plenty of hype surrounding the arrival of talisman Darwin Núñez from Portuguese powerhouse Benfica this summer. And, boy, did the Uruguay international deliver at Craven Cottage. He opened his account in the 64th minute against Fulham and continued to wreak havoc on the host’s back line.

Unfortunately, the Reds’ had all sorts of trouble dealing with Mitrović and the Cottagers’ attack, and were fortunate to escape with a point. I’d like to think the perennial EPL title contender will sort out some of the minor defensive issues that have hounded them, but this could be a continuous concern for manager Jürgen Klopp.

Offensively, this team will have no problems scoring goals in bunches. Núñez has already proven to be a more than reliable replacement for the departed Sadio Mané, who left in the offseason on a move to Bayern Munich.

The Reds, who finished with 1.9 xG against the Cottagers, have a ton of options going forward, including Salah, Luis Díaz and Roberto Firmino.

By The Numbers

  • 1.4 — Expected goals against for Liverpool in its match against Fulham, which was one of the worst numbers in the metric to kick off the season for any club.
  • 3.67 — Combined number of xG (2.12) and xA (1.55) per 90 minutes for Núñez on debut.
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Crystal Palace

If manager Patrick Vieira and the Eagles are going to have any success, they’re going to have to improve off their debut performance. They liked any consistent bite going forward against the Gunners, settling for just two shots on goal in 10 attempts.

Now, Crystal Palace held a 57-43 percent edge in possession, but that stat line is something that holds little to no weight in general the majority of time in my opinion. Honestly, a club can possess the ball as much as it wants, but if you’re not going to produce quality chances from it, the number doesn’t matter much.

The Eagles put themselves in a precarious position in the 20th minute when the visitors struck on a Martinelli goal off a beautifully weighted cross from Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Despite trailing, Crystal Palace struggled to get anything dangerous going from that point forward and finally met its fate when a Marc Guehí own goal in the 85th minute sealed the setback.

By The Numbers

  • 0.04 — The ghastly xG/90 stat line accrued by Zaha in the loss to Arsenal.
  • 0.44 — Opposite of his teammate (but not something to write home about), Odsonne Édouard led the side in xG/90 minutes in defeat.

Betting Analysis & Picks

Yes, I’m well aware it’s too early for anyone to start worrying about their club’s chances of winning a title.

However, with Manchester City bagging another three points in its match against AFC Bournemouth, Liverpool doesn’t want to fall four — or potentially five — points behind the reigning champion.

That said, I fully expect the host side to drop the hammer against Crystal Palace. So, I’m backing a Single Game Parlay pairing Liverpool on the moneyline with the total clearing 2.5 goals via BetMGM at -150 odds.

The Reds earned 3-0 and 3-1 victories against the Eagles last season, so I’m finding it hard to believe we can’t reach three goals in this latest tussle.

If you’re looking for a prop bet to jump on, take a swing on Núñez to score anytime at +120 odds. Salah is sitting at -110 in the same market, so play the fresh face with the better number entering this showdown.

The Picks: Single Game Parlay — Liverpool ML & Total Over 2.5 Goals (-150) | Darwin Núñez to Score Anytime (+120)

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Phillies vs. Mets MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Third Time a Charm for Philadelphia & Wheeler? (Sunday, August 14)

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Phillies vs. Mets Odds

Phillies Odds +118
Mets Odds -138
Over/Under 7 (-124/+102)
Time 1:40 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Phillies and Mets have each won eight of their last 10 games, so these are two teams currently in playoff positioning that also happen to be firing on all cylinders right now.

Philadelphia has experienced a little bit of what the Mets did last year. New York acquired a handful of new players two offseasons ago in a similar fashion, and it struggled and dealt with injuries before failing to make the playoffs.

Philadelphia currently holds one of the three wild card spots in the National League, but it’s dealt with injuries and it isn’t enjoying the season it envisioned before the year.

The Mets lead the Phillies by 10 games in the loss column. Will Philadelphia be able to pull the upset and draw closer?

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How Do Phillies Match Up With Chris Bassitt?

The Phillies’ offense is still missing Bryce Harper, but their young third baseman has been one of the best hitters in the National League for over a month now.

Since the beginning of July, Alec Bohm is hitting .353/.389/.517 with four home runs, five doubles, a triple and 24 RBI.

The main issue for the Phillies’ offense here will be Mets starter Chris Bassitt, who’s been exceptional this season. Since allowing seven earned runs on June 8, Bassitt has completed at least six innings and allowed three earned runs or less in every start.

That’s nine quality starts in a row for Bassitt, who has a 2.19 ERA in that span.

Bassitt has already faced the Phillies once this year and beat them back in May.

The Mets have been great at home this year, with a 39-19 record. Meanwhile, Philadelphia is 11th in all of baseball, averaging 4.53 runs per game on the road.


Mets to Have Difficult Time vs. Zack Wheeler?

The Mets will face Phillies starter Zack Wheeler. Wheeler’s 2.63 ERA this season is actually lower than his 2.78 ERA last year — when he finished second in the Cy Young award voting. Also, his xFIP is nearly a run higher at 3.62 this season.

The Mets are sixth in all of baseball, averaging 4.81 runs per game at home.

Wheeler has a 3.88 ERA on the road compared to a 1.57 ERA at home. He’s faced the Mets twice already this season, and the Phillies have lost both games, though one of them was a quality start for Wheeler.

The Phillies’ starter doesn’t allow a ton of power, but the Mets have a lot of power in their lineup, as Pete Alonso, Daniel Vogelbach and Tyler Naquin each have ISOs above .250 against right-handed pitching this season.

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Phillies-Mets Pick

While the Phillies have lost to the Mets with Wheeler on the mound twice in two tries already this season, I believe that the third time will be the charm.

There’s value on the Phillies moneyline at +115, and I would bet it down to +110.

Bassitt has pitched well lately, but Wheeler is a formidable opponent. The Mets have been great at home, but this game carries more weight for Philadelphia. The Phillies still have work to do to make sure they hang onto their wild card spot, while the Mets have a big 10-game lead in the division.

I took the Phillies at +115 on DraftKings.

Pick: Phillies ML +115

MLB Best Bets: 2 Top Picks From Sunday’s Slate, Featuring Mariners vs. Rangers

MLB-Odds-Picks-Predictions-2-Best-Bets-From-Sundays-Slate-Featuring-Padres-vs-Nationals-Mariners-vs-Rangers-August-14

Another Sunday in Major League Baseball is upon us and we have a full slate of games and numerous betting opportunities. Our analysts have targeted two games and are eying a runline and a moneyline selection.

Here are our best bets from Sunday’s games. 

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MLB Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Padres vs. Nationals
12:05 p.m. ET
Mariners vs. Rangers
2:35 p.m. ET

Padres vs. Nationals

Pick
Padres -1.5 (-155)
Book
FanDuel
Pitchers
Blake Snell vs. Paolo Espino
First Pitch
12:05 p.m. ET

Tony Sartori: The Padres are looking to continue their recent dominance and the Nationals are searching for answers as this weekend series concludes with a Sunday matinee.

Blake Snell is slated to take the mound for San Diego and he’s been on quite a roll. Through 14 starts this season, Snell is 4-6 with a 3.96 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. Those surface-level stats do not tell the whole story. This season, Snell boasts a .288 xwOBA, .209 xBA and a .337 xSLG.

Recently, he’s been even better. Over his past four outings, Snell is 3-1 with a 1.19 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.

Paolo Espino is slated to take the mound for Washington. Through 31 appearances this season, Espino is 0-4 with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. A dive into his metrics doesn’t inspire much confidence as Espino possesses a .341 xwOBA, .273 xBA and a .486 xSLG.

This is one of those plays where you need to shower afterward regardless of whether it hits. There is no denying that taking the Padres runline is greasy, chalky and square. That being said, it is the best bet to make in this game as San Diego possesses the better starting pitcher and lineup.

The Padres are looking to establish themselves as one of the best teams in baseball, while the Nationals look like they are attempting to lock in the number one pick in next year’s draft.

Take the Padres on the runline and play it up to -170.


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Mariners vs. Rangers

Pick
Mariners moneyline (-120)
Book
DraftKings
Pitchers
Logan Gilbert vs. Martin Perez
First Pitch
2:35 p.m. ET

William Boor: Coming off a tough loss on Saturday, the Mariners are looking to clinch a series victory over the Rangers this afternoon and I’m backing them to do just that. With Julio Rodriguez back in the lineup, the Mariners have scored 10 runs over the past two games, but this bet is more of a play on Logan Gilbert.

The 25-year-old right-hander has carved up the Rangers this season. Gilbert has made a trio of starts against the Rangers and has pitched to a 1.02 ERA with 15 strikeouts over 17 2/3 innings. As this contest is in Texas, it’s also noteworthy that two of those starts were on the road and that Gilbert has pitched better away from Seattle this season.

At T-Mobile Park, Gilbert has pitched to a 4.06 ERA, but that dips to 3.01 on the road. There is some concern that Gilbert has struggled since the All-Star break and was lit up in each of his past two starts, but those were both against the Yankees and that offense, despite its current funk, is capable of posting crooked numbers against anyone.

Martin Perez has put together a strong season for the Rangers, pitching to a 2.85 over 22 starts (136 innings). However, his 3.32 xERA suggests he’s been just a tad lucky, so perhaps there’s some room for the Mariners to take advantage and string some runs together. Perez is also coming off his worst start of the season, having given up seven runs over five innings against the Astros.

While both starting pitchers are certainly capable of shutting down the opposing lineup, the Mariners bullpen is a tad better than the Rangers, which will help if this game is close late.

The Mariners are 12-3 against the Mariners this season and I expect them to continue to dominate this matchup. Take Seattle at -120 and play it down to -150.


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MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions for Padres vs. Nationals: Sunday’s Biggest Baseball Betting Model Edge

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MLB Odds: Padres vs. Nationals 

Padres Odds -280
Nationals Odds +235
Over/Under 9 (-105/-115)
Date Sunday, Aug. 14
Time 12:05 p.m. ET
Channel Peacock

*Odds as of Sunday morning

Baseball is a popular sport among sharp sports bettors for a handful of reasons, one of which is the sheer number of games.

With 30 teams playing 162-game seasons, there are plenty of opportunities to find value, and that’s not even including the playoffs, as well.

But just because the season is long and there are a lot of games doesn’t mean that there will be multiple spots to find value every single day.

Sunday’s MLB slate is a prime example.

As of the time of writing, today’s schedule isn’t popping off the page in terms of big edges of which to take advantage of.

With that said, Sunday’s earliest game, Padres vs. Nationals, is offering today’s biggest edge, according to the Action Network’s MLB betting model.

MLB Pick: Padres vs. Nationals

The Padres are massive favorites against the Nationals on Sunday afternoon.

However, that doesn’t mean that San Diego is also the smartest bet for this matchup.

Despite the Padres being -280 road favorites based on live MLB odds, the Action Network’s MLB PRO Projections suggest that the Nationals are actually the valuable side here.

While widely available at +235, our betting model projects Washington at +192, translating to a 4.3% edge.

To be clear, our MLB betting data is not predicting that the Nationals will win this game, but that they’ll win it more often than 29.85% of the time, which is what their current +235 odds imply.

PRO Report Pick: Nationals +235

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Sunday MLB Player Props Odds, Picks: 2 Bets for Shane Bieber & Zack Wheeler (August 14)

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On Saturday, Aaron Nola was at his best and led us to a winning day despite Yu Darvish’s late-game meltdown.

Now to close out the weekend, we’re going right back to those Phillies, as their ace is being mispriced.

Speaking of aces, our other play is a matchup that will feature two aces. However, only one has upside in the strikeout department.

Our Action Labs Props Tool grades each prop on a scale from 1-10, and I’ll be sure to include the grade for each of my betting recommendations in my discussions below.

Shane Bieber Over/Under 5.5 Strikeouts (-107/-125)

Guardians @ Blue Jays
First Pitch 1:37 p.m. ET
Best Line: -107 Sugarhouse

The best pitching matchup of the day is in Toronto this afternoon, and we are getting in on the action by backing Shane Bieber.

Bieber has been excellent this season despite giving up more contact than we are used to seeing from him. That uptick in contact has brought his strikeout rate down nearly eight percent this season, but that shouldn’t stop him from getting over this total.

This should be a much different outing from when Bieber faced Toronto in May. He gave up seven runs and did not record a strikeout in three innings of work.

The Blue Jays don’t strike out all that much — as they enter this matchup 23rd in strikeout rate against righties — but that has brought this total down below Bieber’s per start average.

He averages 6.3 strikeouts per start and has gone over this total in 66.7% of his outings this year. That gives us implied odds of -200 that he will go over again.

That is a value we can’t pass up.

Pick: Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-107)

Action Labs Grade: 9/10

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Zack Wheeler Over/Under 5.5 Strikeouts (+110/-150)

Phillies @ Mets
First Pitch 1:40 p.m. ET
Best Line Bet365

We’re going right back to the well here, as a Phillies starter is being underrated for the second consecutive day.

Yes, the Mets are one of the best teams in the league at putting the ball in play, but that does not mean they won’t strike out against the game’s elite.

Nola had eight punchouts last night over eight innings of work. Zack Wheeler has been just as good as Nola in the strikeout department, as his strikeout rate is only .02 lower than Nola’s.

We’ve also already seen Wheeler go over this total, as he set down seven Mets by strikes during his start against them in May.

That performance is just one of the 14 times he has gone over five strikeouts this season.

As a result, his implied odds of -200 is a massive value when this over is priced at plus money.

Pick: Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+110)

Action Labs Grade: 9/10

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WNBA Odds & Picks: 7 Ways to Bet Sunday’s Slate, Including Sky vs. Mercury, Wings vs. Sparks

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We finally made it. The final day of the regular season is here and at last we have a few pieces of the puzzle in place.

The Connecticut Sun (#3 seed) will be hosting the Dallas Wings (#6 seed) in the first round — a series in which the underdog won the regular season series, 2-1. (However, I do not see that repeating in the postseason.)

We also know the Seattle Storm (#4 seed) have earned first-round, home-court advantage over the team they were trading places back-and-forth with all season, the Washington Mystics (#5 seed). (I am leaning heavily to the higher seed in this series as well and may even be looking to bet the Storm to take the series without even needing to head to Washington.)

However, there’s still plenty to determine on Sunday as the Aces and Sky are still battling for the top seed and the Mercury, Liberty, Dream and Lynx all still have life at the other half of the bracket.

There are storylines to follow, motivations to weigh or not weigh and a million different betting angles you can talk yourself into for the final day, which is as fun as it is terrifying. Overall, the Sunday theme will be similar to last time around: The end of the season is the hardest possible time to bet because it’s just paying a five (or even six or seven for the W) percent vig for what is pure chaos.

Now, there are edges we can hopefully find, but it will be more leans than picks again, even though we did alright Tuesday despite fears of chaos.

Article plays: 54-39-3 (17.1% ROI)
Action Network app plays: 153-133-2 (6.1% ROI)

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WNBA Odds, Picks

Click on game to skip ahead

Matchup Time
Lynx vs. Sun 1 p.m. ET
Dream vs. Liberty 2 p.m. ET
Fever vs. Mystics 3 p.m. ET
Storm vs. Aces 3 p.m. ET
Sky vs. Mercury 5 p.m. ET
Wings vs. Sparks 7 p.m. ET


Lynx vs. Sun

Lynx Odds +8.5
Sun Odds -8.5
Moneyline +310 / -420
Over/Under 164.5
Time 1 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.

Injuries/News

No surprising names here, just the players who have been out for a while for both sides.

Getting Fowles to the Postseason?

Of all the games on Sunday, this is arguably the one with the biggest gap in how much the teams have on the line.

The Sun are locked in to the three seed. On the other side of the court, the Lynx not only have to win and have some luck later in the day, but they have the added motivation to keep Mama Syl’s career going.

Of course, with Connecticut and Curt Miller, that doesn’t always mean what you might think it means. The Sun have had late season “meaningless” games in seasons past where Miller runs his starters pretty much full minutes, so there’s definitely a bit of danger here in buying the “more motivated team” angle.

Plus, it’s not just the WNBA where there is danger in those waters. Just mention the Week 18 Colts-Jags game of last NFL season to a bettor and see their reaction.
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I was actually on the Jaguars side on that one, but this one’s a little different to me because Jacksonville had pride to play for. The Sun just don’t want to get hurt before the postseason.

I logged a Minnesota +10.5 in the app when the line first came out, which I could’ve talked myself into a near-full recommendation on. Now that it’s +8.5 at FanDuel (it’s down all the way to +7 at Caesars), I still like the play, but it’s a lean, not a full pick.

If for some reason the moneyline moves back above +400 where it originally started, I’d also recommend a sprinkle there, but I don’t see the line moving back that way.

Lean: Minnesota +8.5 


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Dream vs. Liberty

Dream Odds +2.5
Liberty Odds -2.5
Moneyline +115 / -134
Over/Under 160.5
Time 2 p.m. ET
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.

Injuries/News

The Dream have four players out on the final day of the season: AD Durr, Nia Coffey, Tiffany Hayes, and Kristy Wallace. 

The Liberty, knock on wood, appear to be fully healthy just in time for the postseason. Of course, that sentence likely just caused a pulled hamstring or two for a team that just can’t seem to line up their health this season.

One of the Strangest Opening Lines I’ve Seen

FanDuel has taken to releasing their WNBA lines a full day before the games, which — first of all — is awesome! In the case of the final day of the season, they even released them a near 48 hours early, giving us Friday evening and all of Saturday to dive into these games.

The trippy thing about the line being live before Friday’s game happening though, was that the Liberty and Dream had two lines out at the same time. One for Friday’s game in Atlanta and one for Sunday’s game in New York.

And here’s where it gets weird.

The Friday line, which again, was in Atlanta, closed around New York -1.5. Since it was indeed in Atlanta, the implication was that the Liberty would be about 4.5 points better on a neutral court and 7.5 points better on their home court.

Now, even if we say home-court advantage isn’t quite what it used to be in the W and bump that all the way down to two points, the Sunday line — in New York — should have opened around New York -5.5.

So, what was the line?

Atlanta -1.5.

WHAT?!? The books thought New York would win in Atlanta and then Atlanta would win in New York? Outside of just setting a line with a gut feeling, I truly don’t know how they got there. It wasn’t the motivation angle. Even if the Liberty won Friday (as they did), Sunday’s game was always going to matter for the Liberty.

The line didn’t budge at first, as some lines sometimes disappear when they are that far off of what makes sense. The books were disagreeing with themselves! In live time! It doesn’t appear as though the books are truly married to whatever crazy logic they were using to get there either because the line has moved all the way out to New York -2.5 (and even -3 at some books).

Maybe the idea is that the Liberty are wildly inconsistent? But this is a fully healthy Liberty team that handily covered on the road in Atlanta on Friday and needs to win again on Sunday. I’m going to be honest, this line is so supremely delicious even after having moved several points, that I’m actually terrified that Vegas knows something. But, I can’t not recommend what I still see as nearly a five-point edge.

Pick: New York -2.5
Pick: New York -134


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Fever vs. Mystics

Fever Odds +11.5
Mystics Odds -11.5
Moneyline +520 / -800
Over/Under 158.5
Time 3 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.

Injuries/News

Kelsey Mitchell is done for the season for the Fever. The other two players who may or may not play are a lot more fluid. Danielle Robinson missed the last Fever game and is likely to sit out because Indiana has no need to push her, though there’s no update as of this writing. Queen Egbo is even more up in the air. The star rookie was pulled from the starting lineup before the team’s last game, but still played 15 minutes.

For the Mystics, Myisha Hines-Allen isn’t with the team due to health and safety protocols, and with the team locked into the fifth seed, one has to imagine Elena Delle Donne will not be playing significant minutes, if at all. That has not been officially announced, though.

Break the Streak?

The Fever are currently riding a gnarly 17-game losing streak. Luckily, they won’t be able to break, or even tie, the all-time record, but it’s a streak in which they have lost by double-digits a dozen times, with a net rating, in total, of -17.1. They are 6-10-1 against the spread in those games and this is accounting for the fact that they are typically double-digit underdogs.

However, with the Mystics locked into the fifth seed, there’s at least some intrigue about the Fever having a chance against a Washington team that may either rest starters or just treat the game as a glorified warm-up for the postseason.
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It’s telling that despite that distinct possibility, the Fever are still double-digit dogs. To reiterate the theme of this preview, this is basically a dart toss, but I’m going with a Fever cover. I bet the moneyline of a super low-stakes dart toss in the app at +630, but the line has already shifted to no higher than +550, which feels just short enough to avoid recommending, even as a lean.

I do, however, like a lean to the over. The worry is that the Mystics play their bench and they aren’t big scorers, but I don’t think the defensive effort in this game will be all-world by any means.

Lean: Indiana +11.5
Lean: Over 158.5


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Storm vs. Aces

Storm Odds +5.5
Aces Odds -5.5
Moneyline +175 / -215
Over/Under 167.5
Time 3 p.m. ET
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.

Injuries/News

The only new name here in recent days is Dearica Hamby, who is out for a few weeks for the Aces.

More Line Chaos!

Earlier we covered the extreme bizarreness of the line for Sunday’s Dream-Liberty game, but this Storm-Aces line can almost rival it.

The line opened at Las Vegas -10.5, which seems crazy on the surface, but makes sense when you factor in the fact that the Aces need to win to grab the top overall seed, whereas the Storm are the fourth seed no matter what happens.

The line lasted at -10.5 for a while before jumping all the way to Aces -4 at every book. There will sometimes be quick shifts in WNBA lines, but it’s rarely a full 6 1/2 points at once. Ah, the joys of betting the final day of the regular season!

Typically when a line moves that big that fast, someone knows something. Maybe it’s someone knows Noelle Quinn goes to the Curt Miller school of playing her players no matter what, but the strange part is the line has started drifting back toward the Aces.

This could be that the public doesn’t know what the books do and they’re a public team regardless, but all in all, it’s just a funky game and a funky line. Say it with me: Betting the final day of the regular season is terrifying and a fool’s errand.

With what I know, I like the Aces side, so I’ll go that way, but only with a lean.

Lean: Las Vegas -5.5 


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Sky vs. Mercury

Sky Odds -6.5
Mercury Odds +6.5
Moneyline -305 / +240
Over/Under 165.5
Time 5 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.

Injuries/News

The Mercury are officially without all of their Big Three to end the season with Brittney Griner unlawfully detained, Diana Taurasi out with a quad injury and Skylar Diggins-Smith in a seemingly very strange spot, having had her contract terminated by Phoenix this week.

For Chicago, it’s the opposite, with no names on the injury report.

The Sky will be Watching ABC

Lots of sports, when they have a full slate of games on the final day of the regular season, will start every game at the same time to avoid any funny business. The WNBA is not doing so this season and it makes sense from a TV perspective. The league gets two ABC games, two ESPN3 games, an Amazon Prime game and an NBA TV game.

However, it makes for some potential funny business. The Sky, as of this second, actually do have a fair amount to play for. They are sitting in the second seed, but if the Storm can go into Michelob ULTRA Arena and come out with a win over the Aces (which will be ending right around the time Chicago will tip-off), the Sky can then clinch home-field advantage for the postseason with a win on Sunday.
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Of course, if the Aces take care of business in the prime 3:00 p.m. ET slot on ABC, then the Sky have nothing to play for. Given the relative age of the squad, as well as the fact that they know they can win a title without having home-court advantage (see; last season), they might not be killing themselves Sunday regardless.

On the other side of the court, the Mercury are facing yet another virtual play-in game. Technically, they can lose and still make the postseason, but they won’t be treating it that way. And before you write off this team without all their stars, take note of their pair of recent, somewhat stunning, wins without any of those three. With home court, the Mercury were able to beat both the Liberty and Wings — a pair of likely postseason teams — with Diamond DeShields leading the charge.

Keep an eye on this line while you’re watching Seattle-Las Vegas on Sunday. The only way I’m going to lean right now is to put a small play on a Mercury win since that number is a solid +240. But, if Seattle goes into Vegas and is looking like they could win, I might get back on the other side of this because I think a fully healthy and motivated Sky team should be able to run all over the Mercury.

Lean: Phoenix +240 


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Wings vs. Sparks

Wings Odds -4.5
Sparks Odds +4.5
Moneyline -190 / +158
Over/Under 164
Time 7 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.

Injuries/News

This is the game with the least on the line on Sunday, so I could see some names popping up here late, but as of now, it’s just the known for Dallas: Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally, and the usual names for L.A. plus a questionable Chiney Ogwumike.

The Full Stay Away

This whole preview has been one big PLEASE STAY AWAY advertisement, but in a sea of Stay Aways, Sunday night’s finale still manages to stand out.

The Sparks are eliminated from the postseason and have been impossible to read, regardless. The Wings have clinched and have barely looked motivated since, having blown a pair of recent leads.

I know you may want to have some action on the last game of the night and I don’t blame you if you want to sprinkle an over, or an L.A. +4.5 since who on earth knows what will happen in this game, but I can’t in good conscious hand out a pick for this game.

Pick: Get some rest for the postseason bets to come


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Guardians vs. Blue Jays MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Betting Guide to Sunday’s Elite AL Matchup (August 14)

guardians vs blue jays-odds-picks-predictions-mlb-sunday august 14 2022

Guardians vs. Blue Jays Odds

Guardians Odds +124
Blue Jays Odds -146
Over/Under 7.5 (-118/-104)
Time 1:37 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

On Sunday, the Cleveland Guardians and Toronto Blue Jays square off in the rubber match of their three-game series. Frankly, there are a couple of really great matchups on this Sunday’s slate, but this may be the best one of them all.

Shane Bieber gets the ball for the Guardians, and he’ll be squaring off against Kevin Gausman for the Jays. The two veterans with lots of big-game experience will look to deliver a series victory for their respective teams.

With a victory, the Guards would create more distance between themselves and the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays look to maintain their lead in the AL Wild Card standings.

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Guardians to Rely on Bieber on Road

Bieber has come back and shut down the naysayers by putting together an excellent 2022 campaign. He didn’t return to Cy Young form, but he’s still been the leader of the Guards’ rotation this season.

In 83 road innings, Bieber has posted a 3.04 ERA with a 3.19 FIP and a 3.28 xFIP. He’s been incredibly solid in a relatively large sample — he’s making his 14th road start on Sunday.

The Guardians have also been a very good offense against RHP all season. Over the past two weeks, the Guards have posted a 121 wRC+ on the road against RHP, which is good for eighth in MLB over that span.

Additionally, the Guards’ bullpen has been lights out over the past couple of weeks. While they have faced some weaker offenses over that time span, the work they’ve done against the Houston Astros — and now the Toronto Blue Jays — is notable.


Jays Have Major Red Flags

Gausman has been relatively unlucky at home this season. He has a 4.19 ERA at the Rogers Centre, but that comes with a 2.30 FIP and a 2.77 xFIP. Therefore, he should be pitching better than he has been.

Surprisingly, the Blue Jays’ offense has been in quite a funk of late. Two weeks is a small sample size, but in that time span, they have the worst wRC+ at home against RHP.

One of the reasons for the struggles: the Blue Jays are a much different team without George Springer at the top of their lineup. They are 49-40 with Springer, and just 12-11 without him.

Furthermore, the Jays’ bullpen has been a shaky bunch this season, and they are in the midst of one of their collective funks over the past couple of weeks.

There are lots of red flags around this team at the moment.

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Guardians-Blue Jays Pick

While Gausman’s lack of luck is not a particularly strong reason to fade the Blue Jays, the Guardians’ offense is not a unit where any slight misstep would be forgiven. They are a patient and tough team, so Gausman could be vulnerable if his defense does not back him up.

Additionally, the Jays’ unreliable bullpen and struggling offense are also huge causes for concern. Considering how mortal the Jays’ offense seems without Springer, the value lies on the Guardians runline.

The Guardians opened as underdogs, and their moneyline sits around +120 odds. Considering the edges the Guardians seem to have in this matchup, they are the team to back — as long as they’re in plus money.

Pick: Guards ML +120

MLB Odds & Picks for Padres vs. Nationals: Will San Diego Blowout Washington?

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Padres vs. Nationals Odds

Padres Odds -275
Nationals Odds +220
Over/Under 9 (-110/-110)
Time 12:05 p.m. ET
TV Peacock
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

We have the third and final game of this series with the NL East‘s Washington Nationals hosting the NL West‘s San Diego Padres. San Diego will look to continue its recent domination while the Nationals continue to search for answers.

Will the Padres take care of business once again, or can Washington pull off the upset as a large home underdog?

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San Diego Padres: Will Snell Stay Hot?

Left-hander Blake Snell is slated to take the mound for San Diego and will look to continue his recent stretch of outstanding pitching. Through 14 starts this season, Snell is 4-6 with a 3.96 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.

Those surface-level stats do not tell the whole story. This season, Snell boasts a .288 xwOBA, .209 xBA and a .337 xSLG.

We have seen these strong metrics translate into brilliant starts recently. Over his past four outings, Snell is 3-1 with a 1.19 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.

While Snell has only pitched against the Nationals twice in his career, he is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. Snell should get plenty of run support as the Padres are slated to go against right-hander Paolo Espino.

Since July 1, the Padres rank ninth in the league in BA, seventh in SLG, ninth in OPS and ninth in wOBA.

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Washington Nationals: How Will Nationals Slow Down Padres?

Paolo Espino is slated to take the mound for Washington. Through 31 appearances this season, Espino is 0-4 with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.

Espino’s metrics suggest further regression is looming. This season, Espino possesses a .341 xwOBA, .273 xBA and a .486 xSLG.

Over his past five starts, Espino is 0-2 with a 5.48 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.

In his one career relief appearance against San Diego, Espino allowed three runs on four hits over 2 1/3 innings. Following Espino is one of the league’s worst bullpens.

Since July 1, the Nationals’ relief pitching ranks just 21st in the league in ERA, 16th in WHIP, 19th in BA, 21st in SLG and 19th in wOBA. Additionally, this pitching staff should not get much run support as the offense has to face left-hander Blake Snell.

When facing left-handed pitchers, the Nationals rank just 19th in the league in SLG, 19th in OPS, 19th in wOBA and 29th in hard-hit percentage.

Padres-Nationals Pick

This is one of those plays where you need to shower afterward regardless of whether it hits. There is no denying that taking the Padres runline is greasy, chalky and square.

That being said, it is the best bet to make in this game. San Diego possesses the better starting pitcher and lineup.

The Padres are looking to establish themselves as one of the best teams in baseball, while the Nationals look like they are attempting to lock in the number one pick in next year’s draft.

Pick: San Diego Padres -1.5 (-155) | Play up to (-170)
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NASCAR Odds, Picks & Predictions for Richmond: The Elite Driver to Bet for Sunday’s Federated Auto Parts 400

nascar-odds-picks-predictions-best-bets-richmond-sunday-august-14-2022

The NASCAR Cup Series drivers are ready to race 400 laps for Sunday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway (3 p.m. ET, USA).

As much as they are ready to go, bettors should be prepared to pause a bit when looking at Saturday’s practice times for today’s race.

Track conditions changed drastically between the first and second practice groups, relegating the second group to times nearly half a second slower per lap than the first group.

That means we need to analyze each group separately and add in track history, as well as performance on this track type and tire combination this year.

When combining all those factors, I’ve dug up one driver that stands out in a multitude of bets.

My favorite of the bunch is below.

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NASCAR Pick for Richmond 

*Odds as of Sunday morning

Let’s start simple.

Joey Logano has finished in the top five in 11 of his last 18 starts at Richmond. For those scoring at home, that’s a 77.8% rate.

Those last 18 starts are significant, because that marks the debut of the Gen-6 car.

Yes, Logano’s one start in the Next Gen car was earlier this year where he finished 17th. But remember, Logano was running strongly all day until a faulty jack on a late pit stop cost him dearly.

Now add in his on track performance this weekend, and he shines.

On first glance, you may tell yourself “Logano was only 13th in practice.”

On second glance, you may say “he only had the 10th best 10-lap average.”

Both of those are true.

It’s also true that he was the fastest driver in both of those times among his practice group.

That’s because he went out in the slower second group, where changing track conditions meant that no driver could put up a time within about 0.4 seconds of the fastest time in the first group.

It’s also true he was on pace for a much better qualifying lap until a wobble dropped him to his current 17th-place starting spot.

Oh, did I mention he has the best average running position on this tire this year?

Put simply, we’re getting a driver that:

  1. Has a 61.1% success rate at finishing in the top five at this track over an 18-race sample size
  2. Was fastest in his practice group
  3. Has the best average running position on this tire this year

The +300 line at the Kambi books is an absolute steal. Even at DraftKings, where he’s +250, there’s value.

My model says he should be +220 for a break-even bet, and I think that’s underrating him. That’s because it’s impossible to appropriately quantify his practice and qualifying times.

The Bet: Joey Logano Top-5 Finish +300 | Bet to: +200

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Chelsea vs. Tottenham EPL Preview: Betting Odds, Picks & Prediction for Premier League Showdown

premier league-betting-odds-picks-predictions-chelsea-tottenham-sunday-august 14

Chelsea vs. Spurs Odds

Chelsea Odds +125
Spurs Odds +210
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (-115 / -115)
Day | Time Sunday | 11:30 a.m. ET
How To Watch USA Network | fuboTV
Odds updated as of Sunday morning via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

The first matchup of the Premier League season featuring two Big Six clubs takes place Sunday when Tottenham visits Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues beat Spurs four times last season in four contests between the clubs, three of which came after the latter hired manager Antonio Conte in November. Chelsea won twice, first in the EFL Cup semifinal round in January and then notched a  2-0 EPL win shortly thereafter.

Despite recent history, the market has moved toward Tottenham since Chelsea opened as +105 moneyline favorite. The visiting side rolled to a 4-1 win against Southampton on debut, doing it without Harry Kane and Son Heung-min contributing scoring goals.

The betting-market respect on Spurs, which began at +3200 at some sportsbooks to win the title and closed as low as +1200,  has continued into this match. While I don’t see value in the three-way moneyline market, I am targeting the total.

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Chelsea

Chelsea struggled to turn final-third possession and game control into  chances against Everton. Kai Havertz isn’t providing enough shot production up top,. Mason Mount had a quiet game and the wing backs didn’t provide quite enough to supplement them.

As impressive as Raheem Sterling was with the ball at his feet, Spurs will most certainly use an extra center back to shade the defense in his direction.

Chelsea completed 20 passes into the final third of the pitch, but just five into the penalty area versus Everton. That shows an inefficient attack, which stems from manager Thomas Tuchel’s comments where he expressed concern.

The defense remains the strongest part of this Chelsea side, especially while N’Golo Kanté is fit. He maintains his value as one of the world’s  best defensive midfielders and the Blues’ defense is dramatically better with him out there.

By The Numbers

  • +0.75 — For all of the talk of regression in the second half of last season, Chelsea was more than good enough to finish top 4 with this xGDiff in the second half.
  • 0.8 — If you take out the penalty awarded to them at the end of the first half, the Blues struggled to create scoring chances and produced this amount of non-penalty xG against Everton last time out.
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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham has scored more EPL goals than any team — even Manchester City and Liverpool — this year. That’s the primary driver of the improved market ratings and the reason Spurs were the most popular bet to win the league at some books.

While Tottenham is improved under Conte, the question is whether or not that level of performance in the second half is sustainable. From a finishing perspective, it’s certainly not. The attack won’t continue to finish more efficiently than every team, plus Spurs inability to dominate the midfield and control possession will likely cost them as a big favorites against lesser sides.

Tottenham relies on creating a handful of big scoring chances, instead of overwhelming foes with shots. From February on, Spurs produced about 1.79 xG per 90 minutes, but average 2.13 goals during that time frame. Betting against Kane and Son is difficult to do, but Chelsea conceded fewer big scoring chances than every team but Manchester City last season.

By The Numbers

  • +7.82 — From Feb. 1 to the rest of last season, no team over-performed its underlying xG created more than Tottenham did. The club scored nearly eight more goals than expected, per Understat.
  • 50.8 — This was the percentage Spurs possessed the ball against Southampton, which is a sign Chelsea will control things in this contest.
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Betting Analysis & Pick

The public and market sentiment is that Tottenham is the better team than Chelsea, but you’d need to think that to justify betting the visitor at this price. I don’t see how that is the case, especially since the Blues are healthy and have their first-choice midfield available.

My concerns with Chelsea are more long term, as I wonder if it has the depth to compete in the midfield over 38 games if N’Golo Kanté, Mateo Kovačić or Jorginho are injured.

Spurs will look to attack when they win the ball by capitalizing on the Blues attempts to press and counter-press.  As they showed beating Manchester City and tying Liverpool, Conte’s plan and his club’s talent can break open the best of defenses. Unlike City and Liverpool, I believe Chelsea’s back three is more equipped to deal with Tottenhham’s wing backs getting forward.

My projections have this match at just 2.35 goals. Plus, from a tactical standpoint. I think this game sets up for Chelsea to dominate field tilt and possession. However, the Blues have lacked an ability to create consistent scoring chances against other elite EPL sides.

I’d bet the total staying under 2.5 goals at -115 or better.

The Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (-110)

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Nottingham Forest vs. West Ham United EPL Preview: Betting Odds, Picks, Prediction for Premier League Match

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Forest vs. West Ham Odds

Forest Odds +310
West Ham Odds -115
Draw +260
Over/Under 2.5 (-115 / -115)
Day | Time Sunday | 9 a.m. ET
How To Watch USA Network | fuboTV
Odds updated as of Sunday morning via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Nottingham Forest and West Ham United arrive at Sunday’s Premier League fixture looking for their first points of the season.

The former dropped all three points in a 2-0 defeat on opening week at Newcastle United, while the latter suffered a 2-0 home loss to reigning champion Manchester City.

This meeting marks the first team these clubs have met since February of 1999. In eight previous EPL meetings, the Hammers have dropped all three points only once against Forest.

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Nottingham Forest

Manager Steve Cooper’s side produced a horrendous showing last week at St. James’ Park, with little going right for the EPL newcomer.

The most glaring issues were on the defensive end. For the entire match, the Reds conceded two expected goals to the Magpies, who had 59 touches in the penalty area for the most of any team in the English top flight last week.

On the offensive end, Forest created only 0.4 xG, zero big scoring chances and managed just 10 penalty area touches. Further, Cooper’s side generated only nine shot-creating actions, ahead of only West Ham on opening weekend.

Some of that can be attributed to new signings Taiwo Awoniy and Orel Mangala failing to feature, but Cooper has work to do if he hopes to earn a result against West Ham.

By The Numbers

  • 38 — Shot-creating actions allowed against Newcastle.
  • 15 — Shots on target allowed by the Forest defense versus the Magpies.
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West Ham United

The result against Manchester City was somewhat predictable for West Ham, which arrived at the fixture as a heavy underdogsand conceded 2.3 xGA to the Cityzens in defeat at London Stadium.

Manager David Moyes’s attack simultaneously struggled, generating only 0.4 xG and eight shot-creating actions. That was the lowest figure in the EPL for all teams during the first week of play.

If there’s a case for optimism for the Hammers, it was that they played decent against bottom-half opposition last season. In 20 such fixtures, it finished the campaign at 11-4-5 (W-L-D), but won 14 of 20 on xG in the process.

The West Ham attack also showed out in those contests, producing 1.58 xG per 90 minutes, which was up from a season-long average of 1.31 xG/90, per fbref.com. Plus, it failed to score in only three outings and notched at least two goals in 13 games.

By The Numbers

  • 4 — Big scoring chances conceded by West Ham against Man City.
  • 6 — Total shots taken by the Hammers against the Cityzens.
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Betting Analysis & Pick

I lean toward Forest on the goal line, but also see value in a prop play.

If there’s a unit of the four that showed its true self on season debut, it’s the the Reds’ defense. I’ll assume the West Ham attack will have a much easier experience playing against an inferior defensive side, thus maintain its goal-scoring record against bottom-half clubs.

That said, I believe there are concerns to be had with this West Ham defense as well. Moyes is already dealing with an injury to Angelo Ogbonna and will likely need to deploy Ben Johnson as a makeshift center back or true center back Craig Dawson against the Reds.

Either way, I believe Forest will be able to create more chances at home, especially with a revved-up crowd. Add in that West Ham kept only four road clean sheets last season and I’ll back both teams to score ahead of match.

The Pick: Both Teams to Score — Yes  (-130) 

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Global Soccer Updated Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions, Best Bets: Our Staff’s 3 Favorite Underdogs, Including Union Berlin & Girona

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There are good weeks and then there are good weeks when it comes to uncovering live underdogs on the soccer landscape.

And last week’s showing from our Action Network soccer handicappers was one of those good — actually, downright awesome — showings on debut of this season’s Global Underdogs feature.

Not one, not two but three of their best bets came through in brilliant fashion to hit moneyline upset winners across the European landscape. First, soccer editor Jeremy Pond got us started with League 2 (yes, that’s fourth division soccer in England) winner Walsall coming up with a 1-0 road win at Newport County. The Saddlers hit at +270 ML odds.

Then came Brett Pund, who nailed Toronto FC (+375) to give us our second win on the card. The Reds earned a thrilling 4-3 win at Nashville. And finally, BJ Cunningham closed the show with Brighton & Hove Albion (+500) holding off Manchester United in a 2-1 upset victory at Old Trafford.

This week, Pund will be joined by colleagues Ian Quillen and Nick Hennion, with the crew finding some interesting picks ahead of the latest card. And they’re hoping they can ride the moment after that insanely awesome start.

If you’re a new or old friend, our experts look for live underdogs at +200 odds or longer playing on the weekend around the globe. Whether it’s a match in Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1 or maybe something from Major League Soccer, the goal is simple: Find a team that could deliver a winner.

That said, let’s take a look at their favorite selections on the latest slate.

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Our Favorite ML Underdogs

GAME PICK | ODDS DAY | TIME
LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Vancouver ML (+475) Saturday | 10 p.m. ET
Mainz vs. Union Berlin Union Berlin ML (+230) Sunday | 9:30 a.m. ET
Valencia vs. Girona Girona ML (+333) Sunday | 1:30 p.m. ET

Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.


Ian Quillen: Vancouver ML (+475) vs. LA Galaxy

  • Odds available at Caesars
  • Day | Time: Saturday | 10 p.m. ET

The Los Angeles Galaxy are talented, but inconsistent and hard to trust as they enter the weekend as heavy home favorites in a tricky clash against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Dejan Joveljic have nine goals each, but manager Greg Vanney can’t get both strikers on the field without exposing his team on the defensive side.

The Galaxy have conceded multiple goals in four of their last six fixtures, plus they’ll be without suspended center back Derrick Williams. And while Los Angeles has won half its 12 home games, it has also lost five of them.

Vancouver has improved after a poor start, taking at least a point in five of its last six away games. The Whitecaps earned a crucial home win over Houston last weekend despite missing a handful of starters to health and safety protocols.

Strikers Lucas Cavallini and Brian White are out, but talisman Ryan Gauld is healthy. And the additions of Andres Cubas and Julian Gressel make this a more well-rounded squad.

At +475 odds, the price on the Canadian visitors is too low against a habitually inconsistent opponent.

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Nick Hennion: Union Berlin ML (+230) vs. Mainz

  • Odds available at DraftKings
  • Day | Time: Sunday | 9:30 a.m. ET

Two Action Network darlings go head to head and I’ll take what I consider to be the best price of the teams available.

Last season, Union won both matchups against Mainz by an aggregate 5-2 margin. Although a Mainz red card aided it in a 3-1 home win, the fact still remains Union won on the road by a 2-1 margin (1.6-1.2 on expected goals) in one of the affairs. Just in the last six meetings, Union has won four times and avoided defeat in five of them.

Plus, Union posted the fifth-best road xGDiff in the Bundesliga last season, while conceding the third-fewest road expected goals, per fbref.com. Further, in road fixtures against sides that finished 2-9 in the table, Union wound up 3-1-3 (W-L-D) with a +0.64 xGDiff per 90 minutes.

The side also kept four of those seven foes under 1.25 xG, while creating at least 1.4 xG in all but two contests. Based on those results, I’m comfortable backing a good team at a great price.

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Brett Pund: Girona ML (+333) vs. Valencia

  • Odds available at BetMGM
  • Day | Time: Sunday | 1:30 p.m. ET

The departure of striker Gonçalo Guedes’ from Valencia this week was a huge loss for the club, which makes this opening La Liga match the perfect spot to oppose it with newly promoted Girona.

Guedes finished last season tied for the most goals (11) on the team, while dishing out the most assists (six) as well. Even with the Portuguese attacker, Valencia still finished 14th in the Spanish top flight in points per home game (1.37) last season.

Meanwhile, Girona ended the prior campaign with the fifth-most points away from home in the Segunda Division, so the club will be fired up to be in the first division for the first time since the 2018-19 season.

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Premier League Betting Prop Picks & Best Bets: Our 3 Favorite Plays, Including Southampton vs. Leeds (Aug. 13-15)

premier league-betting-odds-picks-predictions-best bets-player props-august 13-15

We are about to embark on the second week of the Premier League season, which was chock full of excitement in the opening set of fixtures.

And to give our dedicated Action Network friends and readers even more betting angles, we’re debuting our favorite player props on the docket.

Action Network handicappers Jeremy Pond and Nick Hennion have you covered with the top prop wagers they’re targeting on the latest slate of matches. Their selections are coming from the following contests:

  • Southampton vs. Leeds | Saturday, 10 a.m. ET
  • Chelsea vs. Spurs | Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET
  • Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace | Monday, 3 p.m. ET

So, check out below to see where our analysts have found betting value ahead of the upcoming games in the English top flight.

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Premier League Prop Plays

Southampton vs. Leeds

Southampton Odds +125
Leeds Odds +210
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (-140 / +100)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
How To Watch Peacock Premium
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Nick Hennion

The Pick: Southampton — Team Total Over 1.5 Goals (+100) via BetMGM

AnalysisSince joining the Premier League, Leeds’ road defense has proven horrific.

Last year, it conceded the second-most expected goals away from Elland Road in league play. The season prior, it conceded the most road xG overall.

Although Southampton’s offense was unimpressive against Tottenham, the host generated a combined four xG last season against Leeds, including 2.3 xG on home soil at St. Mary’s Stadium

Although I’m generally low on Southampton’s attack for the season as a whole, manager Ralph Hasenhüttl’s squad should encounter little resistance against a Leeds defense that allowed 1.84 xG against Wolves last week.

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Chelsea vs. Spurs

Chelsea +125
Spurs Odds +220
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (-115 / -115)
Day | Time Sunday | 11:30 a.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Jeremy Pond

The Pick: Goal Bands — 2 to 3 (+100) via DraftKings

Analysis: It didn’t take long for us to get a heavyweight showdown right out of the gate.

Chelsea, which is coming off a season-opening 2-0 road victory at Everton, looked great on debut. On the other side, a slow start that led to a goal deficit didn’t stop Tottenham from throttling Southampton in a 4-1 home rout.

Bottom line, we’re going to get a gem of a match at Stamford Bridge and the value bet I’ve located comes via the Goal Bands (2-3) at plus-money odds. Eight of the last 11 confrontations between these stalwarts have finished between two and three goals, including three of the last four matches.

That said, it wouldn’t surprise me whatsoever if we saw a scoreline that was something like 1-1, 2-0 or 2-1, with the potential winner coming from either side of the pitch. Give me anything at +100 odds or better with this prop.

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Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace

Liverpool Odds -550
Crystal Palace Odds +1500
Draw +550
Over/Under 2.5 (-178 / +146)
Day | Time Monday | 3 p.m. ET
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Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Jeremy Pond

The Pick: Liverpool — 7 or More Shots on Target (-130) via FanDuel

Analysis: This number might seem like it’s a tad high, considering the fact Liverpool could only muster four shots on target in its lackluster 2-2 draw at Fulham last time out.

However, when you combine how important this fixture is for the Reds with their recent history against the Eagles, this is the right side to jump on.

Liverpool recorded seven and 10 shots on target in the last two meetings with Crystal Palace, with Mohamed Salah and his teammates scoring a combined seven goals in the process.

To say the club has been dominant — 17 combined goals in the last five games, including a 7-0 shellacking of the Eagles — would be a gross understatement. So, let’s ride the historical data and see if we can cash this prop.

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2022 St. Jude Classic Final Round Odds and Picks: Will Zalatoris Primed for First Tour Win

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J.J. Spaun is a winner on TOUR this season as he captured the win at the Valero Texas Open in April, but that was an event preceding The Masters with many big names missing from the field. I don’t think there were many outside of his friends and family that thought he would be leading through 54 holes in this elite field at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

Spaun has surprisingly been the third best player in the field in SG: Tee-to-Green this week, while ranking second on approach. It certainly has been a recipe for success for him as he carries a one-shot lead into the final round over Sepp Straka. The players beyond the final pairing are where things get interesting on Sunday in Memphis as both Will Zalatoris and Cameron Smith linger two shots back of the lead.

Overall, 24 players are just five shots back of the leader going into Sunday, setting up an exciting final round in the first playoff event of the season. I expect many fireworks and with a couple of less daunting names leading the way, there has to be some value in the markets going into the final round.

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Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, SG: Ball Striking and SG: Tee-to-Green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but are just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4

Will Zalatoris looks like the player most likely to be your winner on Sunday evening at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. He was someone who was a great fit for this course to start the week and that has certainly played out as he climbed his way out from an over-par opening round.

Since his play on Thursday, Zalatoris has gained more than seven-and-a-half shots on the field with his ball striking. He has been absolutely dialed in with those metrics and it has him positioned to strike for his first win at this level. Many people were on him pretournament, but if you aren’t yet, +450 is the best odds for the player I see winning on Sunday.

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I’m a bit biased because I picked Sam Burns as one of my favorites to start the week, but he has lived up to that despite not quite putting it all together just yet. Burns is just four shots behind the leader going into the final round, all while still not quite finding him full game. He was solid on approach until Saturday, when a couple of bad swings skewed his numbers. He’s also lacked his often hot putter on these Bermudagrass greens. I still think he can pair it all up for a big finish on Sunday and if he finds that going into the final round, he certainly could present some value at +2000 on PointsBet.

The past two days have been stellar golf from Joaquin Niemann as he has gained more than two shots with his irons in each round. The only real question for me going into Sunday is if he is too many shots back to become a factor for the win and ultimately he probably is with so many players between him and the lead. He is a player who I will look to add to the card for a top-10 and even in top-5 markets going into the final round in Memphis. He will certainly be a core play for me as well in matchups and DFS for Round 4.

3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4

We often see on Sundays where pairings feed off of each other in a negative or positive way. I’m expecting the former in the final round at TPC Southwind for the final group as I just don’t see J.J. Spaun and Sepp Straka being able to hold on under the pressure of this tournament. They have both been great this week, but they start my fades going into Round 4.

Spaun has been a bit better than Straka of late, but not by much. His only top 20 since the win in April came just a couple of weeks back as he played to an 8th-place finish at the Rocket Mortgage. Other than that, he’s had more missed cuts than finishes in that timeframe. He started to show some of those struggles on Saturday as he needed a couple of late birdies to get to his current position at the top of the leaderboard after making par on his first nine holes. There isn’t a ton to point to in the data for this fade, but I think the moment may be a bit too much for a player who just captured his first win in the spring after a decade on TOUR.

Bet the FedEx St. Jude Championship risk-free up to $1,000.

It’s really not overly fair to Spaun to compare him to Straka’s play since the Straka win at the Honda Classic. The Austrian has been really, really bad recently with six straight missed cuts and no signs of a player who would find himself anywhere near the top of the leaderboard in these playoffs. The pressure should start to catch up as he goes into the final round and I have to wonder if he can maintain the putting stroke that has kept him in the hunt this week. I’ll take the fade on those prospects, especially as his irons have regressed with each round this week.

The putter finally crashed back to earth for Troy Merritt on Saturday. He shot even par, losing more than a stroke to the field on the greens after gaining more than six shots in his first two rounds. He added some struggling irons to the round today, but somehow managed to hold it together enough to stay in the hunt going into Sunday. I don’t expect that to hold for the final round, making him another fade for me as the St. Jude Classic closes out on Sunday evening.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players in Round 3

2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship Round 4 PrizePicks Plays: Joohyung Kim Among 5 Sunday Picks

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J.J. Spaun shot a 68 on Saturday and holds a one-stroke lead at 13-under par following the third round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship. Now, we look forward to Sunday’s fourth round, which features plenty of prop angles to attack on PrizePicks.

Below, I give out my five PrizePicks flex plays for the fourth round of the 2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship. For those unfamiliar with flex plays in golf, different combinations of overs and unders generate different payouts.

Using the five plays below, getting five-of-five correct registers a 12.5x payout, four-of-five correct registers a 2x payout and three-of-five correct registers a 0.4x payout.
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PrizePicks Plays

Cameron Smith: Round 4 Under 67 Strokes

After pushing on this prop yesterday, we are going to give it another try. Smith is T3 at 11-under par after shooting a 67 on Saturday.

Smith has now shot a 67 or lower in each of the first three rounds, a trend I expect to continue Sunday. Playing the sharpest golf of his career this season, Smith boasts three wins and seven top-15 finishes over his past 13 tournaments.

We have seen this strong play continue through the first three rounds of this tournament. Amongst the remaining field, Smith ranks 12th in SG: Approach-the-Green, 16th in SG: Off-the-Tee, ninth in SG: Tee-to-Green, eighth in Greens in Regulation percentage (GIR%) and 17th in Scrambling.

I would not play this total lower than 67.

Joohyung Kim: Round 4 Under 67.5 Strokes

We successfully hit on this prop Saturday and are going back to the well Sunday. Kim is T17 at 8-under par after shooting a 66 on Saturday.

As we expected, Kim’s Saturday went much better than the first two rounds. His putter was the one club in his bag holding him back entering the weekend and the putts finally started to drop.

With the putter starting to work, it was extremely likely Kim’s score would drop because of how great the rest of his game has been. Amongst the remaining field, Kim ranks 10th in SG: Approach-the-Green, ninth in SG: Off-the-Tee, fifth in SG: Tee-to-Green and sixth in GIR%.

I would play this number down to 67.

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J.T. Poston: Round 4 Under 68.5 Strokes

You may be picking up on a trend here as I am a massive believer in “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That being said, we are going back to the well on another prop we successfully hit Saturday: Poston’s under.

Poston is T29 at 6-under par after shooting a 68 on Saturday. TPC Southwind is a course that suits Poston’s game well, benefiting those who are great iron players with a strong ability to scramble.

On TOUR this season, Poston ranks 51st in SG: Tee-to-Green and 19th in Scrambling. Poston has been playing the best golf of his career recently with four top-25 finishes over his past five tournaments, including his win at the John Deere Classic and his second-place finish at the Travelers Championship.

Poston has shot a 68 or lower in six of his past 10 rounds at TPC Southwind. Add in his recent form and he should be able to do so once again on Sunday.

I would not play this total lower than 68.5.

Xander Schauffele: Round 4 Over 67.5 Strokes

Another play we hit on Saturday: Schauffele should continue to struggle on Sunday. Schauffele has failed to break this total in each of the first three rounds and enters the final round T61 at 1-under par.

We are getting some name-recognition bias with this total, especially considering Schauffele’s poor metrics thus far. Amongst the remaining field, Schauffele ranks just 69th in SG: Approach-the-Green, 58th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 66th in SG: Tee-to-Green and 60th in GIR%.

As predicted, Schuaffele’s putting was not able to keep his game afloat. Those putts started to miss, resulting in a big decrease in Schauffele’s scoring in the third round.

With how poor the rest of his game has been, we should not expect positive regression on Sunday. Over his past seven rounds at TPC Southwind, Schauffele has shot a 68 or higher each time.

I would play this number up to 68.

Shane Lowry: Round 4 Over 68.5 Strokes

The other golfer we are fading on Sunday is Shane Lowry. After the first three rounds, Lowry is T52 at 3-under par.

This could be another situation where we are getting value due to name-recognition bias. Lowry is another golfer whose performance has hinged on his putting, which is most likely unsustainable.

If Lowry just misses a few extra putts on Sunday, his score will take a big dip as the rest of his game has struggled. Amongst the remaining field, Lowry ranks just 54th in SG: Approach-the-Green, 66th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 63rd in SG: Tee-to-Green and 68th in GIR%.

I would not play this total any higher than 68.5.

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NFL Predictions for Saturday Night: Picks for Seahawks vs. Steelers, Dolphins vs. Buccaneers, Cowboys vs. Broncos, More (Aug. 13)

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NFL Preseason Quarterback Matchups

This will be updated before every slate of preseason games.

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Seahawks vs. Steelers

Both teams are evaluating their QB room to determine who will be the Week 1 starter. It will entice both teams to be fairly aggressive on offense, and the competition to be the Week 1 starter will bring out the best in each QB.

I’m taking the over at 37.5.

Pick: Over 37.5

Dolphins vs. Buccaneers

I’m expecting the Dolphins to start Teddy Bridgewater, which would give the Dolphins a pretty big edge over a Blaine Gabbert-led Bucs team in the first half. I’m going to lock in the Dolphins ML -110 for the first half and if Tua Tagovailoa ends up getting a surprise start, it’ll just be icing on the cake.

Once Skylar Thompson comes into the game (probably later in the second quarter or to begin the second half), the edge will shift to the Bucs — and the under. I’ll be looking to either back the Bucs and/or the under once Thompson comes in.

Pick: Dolphins 1H -110

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Saints vs. Texans

We should see Andy Dalton vs. Davis Mills for most of the first quarter, then it’ll likely be Ian Book vs. Jeff Driskel for the rest of the game. I’ll be interested in backing the under once those two QBs check in — if the price is right.

Cowboys vs. Broncos

Neither Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson is expected to play. When it comes to the QB battle(s) between these two teams, it seems fairly even. I’m going to bite and take the Cowboys +5.

Pick: Cowboys +5

Rams vs. Chargers

Both teams will be resting most of their starters, and this should be a very ugly game. I will stay away from any pre-game bets but be sure to follow me in our app to see any in-game bets I lock in for this or any other game.Fantasy Football CTA for PRO

NFL Player Props Predictions for Seahawks vs. Steelers, Dolphins vs. Buccaneers, Rams vs. Chargers, More (Aug. 13)

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Sean Koerner, Action Network’s Director of Predictive Analytics, entered Saturday 12-4 with his PrizePicks plays in the 2022 NFL preseason.


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The number in parenthesis is a confidence rating from 1-10.

Quarterbacks

Jacob Eason (Seahawks) — Under 80.5 Passing Yards (8)

The Seahawks are likely going to give Geno Smith and Drew Lock 1-1 1/2 quarters as they battle it out to be the Week 1 starter. I can’t imagine Eason plays more than 1-1 1/2 quarters, which means he will have to be pretty efficient to clear this number. I’m projecting him closer to 65.5 pass yds.

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Running Backs

Rachaad White (Buccaneers) — Over 28.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards (8)

The Bucs are very thin at RB today and likely don’t need to see much from veterans like Kenjon Barner or Gio Bernard today. I expect Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Rachaad White to split most of the touches today.

Let’s have some fun and root for the dynamic rookie out of Arizona State today. The rushing + receiving prop fails to account for White’s pass-catching ability. I have this closer to 33.5 total yards and love his upside today.

Abram Smith (Saints) — Over 18.5 Rushing Yards (8)

The Saints may rest Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, which would leave them very thin at RB. They’ll want to get a good look at Smith and could feed him six or more rushing attempts. I’m projecting him closer to 24.5 rush yards.

Trey Ragas (Rams) — Under 22.5 Rushing Yards (8)

The Rams added Ragas a couple weeks ago just as a camp body. He should see a few carries in today’s game, but I’m not expecting the Rams to give him enough work to clear this number.

If rookie Kyren Williams ends up suiting up for the Rams, I’ll upgrade this to a 9 confidence rating. I’m projecting Ragas closer to 15.5 rush yards.

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Wide Receivers

Preston Williams (Dolphins) — Over 1.5 Receptions (6)

The Dolphins are rumored to be floating trade offers for Preston Williams. I’m not sure what they expect to get in return, but they could showcase him today to increase his stock.

Williams will likely be running routes with Teddy Bridgewater under center for the first few series as one of his top targets. I think there’s a solid chance we see him catch a couple of passes early.

Braylon Sanders (Dolphins) — Under 1.5 Receptions (8)

Sanders seems like a longshot to make the roster, and I don’t see him getting enough playing time or targets to haul in two or more catches.

Jason Moore (Chargers) — Under 17.5 Receiving Yards (10)

Moore has missed practice time with a soft tissue injury. Even if he does suit up, I can’t imagine he will play much.

There is a decent chance this prop turns into a DNP as a push, so keep that in mind when making your builds.

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Chris Conley (Texans) — Under 1.5 Receptions (8)

The Texans will have a crowded WR depth chart today and might not need to see a veteran like Conley in the game for too long.

Jalen Guyton (Chargers) — Under 2 Receptions (9)

The Chargers are playing it safe by resting most of their starters. Guyton is a key player in the second unit, so Los Angeles may limit his playing time a bit here.

Guyton is a speedy deep threat who could go over his yardage prop on a single catch, so I like the value we get by taking the under two receptions.

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MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: 2 Best Bets From Saturday’s Slate, Featuring Cubs vs. Reds, Twins vs. Angels (August 13)

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Another Saturday in Major League Baseball is upon us and we have 16 games to pick from, including a doubleheader between the Braves and Marlins.

Our analysts are on two games this evening, focusing on a total between the Cubs and Reds, and a side between the Twins and Angels.

Here are our best bets from Saturday’s MLB slate.

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MLB Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Cubs vs. Reds
6:40 p.m. ET
Twins vs. Angels
9:07 p.m. ET

Cubs vs. Reds

Pick
Under 9.5 (-120)
Book
DraftKings
Pitchers
Adrian Sampson vs. Graham Ashcraft
First Pitch
6:40 p.m. ET

DJ James: Both Adrian Sampson and Graham Ashcraft have been pleasant surprises for their respective rebuilding baseball teams out of the rotation.

Both excel in allowing weak contact on average. Sampson ranks in the top-20% of the league in hard hit rate and exit velocity, while Ashcraft is in the top-20% in exit velocity and top-45% in hard hit rate. They have both been above-average pitchers this season, which has led to 4.00 or lower xERAs.

The Cubs and Reds also both have sub-90 wRC+ marks off of right-handed pitching, and the Cubs only hold a .265 OBP in the last month.

Cincinnati’s bullpen has been underwhelming with a 4.24 xFIP in that same timeframe, while the Cubs have ranked in the top-half of the league at 3.90.

All of these signs point to taking the under in this game. As seen in the Field of Dreams Game, neither of these teams is an offensive juggernaut, especially with a capable starting pitcher on the bump.

Take the under from 9.5 (-120), and play it to 8.5 (-120).

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Twins vs. Angels

Pick
Angels -105
Book
BetMGM
Pitchers
Dylan Bundy vs. Reid Detmers
First Pitch
9:07 p.m. ET

Jules Posner: Now that the pressure is on as the season starts to approach the home stretch, the Minnesota Twins are starting to lose their footing in the playoff race. After going 10-15 in July, the Twins are off to a 5-5 start in August.

With nothing left to play for, the Los Angeles Angels are in a perfect position to play the spoiler in the American League for the rest of the season. Although they are just 6-5 so far in August, the Angels’ offense seems to have come out of its prolonged slump to some degree.

Over the past couple of weeks, the Angels are 14th in MLB with a 105 team wRC+ against RHP at home. They get to take on Dylan Bundy, who carries a 6.33 ERA and a 4.58 FIP on the road into Saturday’s start.

Since being recalled, Angels’ starter Reid Detmers has been pitching very well. Since the beginning of July, Detmers has posted a 1.16 ERA with a 2.15 FIP, and a 2.97 xFIP. The Twins have been around league average against LHP on the road over the past month, but Detmers seems to be setting a ceiling and this is a good time to back him.

Furthermore, the Angels opened the day as slight underdogs and their moneyline has remained stable overnight. The Angels are actually playing decent baseball as of late and I would play them at -115 or better.

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NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: 5 Bets for Dolphins vs. Buccaneers, Saints vs. Texans, More (Aug. 13)

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NFL Odds & Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Chiefs -1 (+100)
1 p.m. ET
Bills ML +110
4 p.m. ET
Buccaneers ML +105
7 p.m. ET
Saints ML -110
8 p.m. ET
Over 33.5
8 p.m. ET

Friday night brought us four picks and three more winners in the NFL preseason. That brings our staff to 5-1 through the first two full nights of the schedule.

On Saturday, we feast. There’s an eight-game slate throughout the day, starting at 1 p.m. ET and ending at 8. It’s as good as it gets — at least in the preseason.

Our staff of betting analysts are back at it, with five picks from four games on Saturday. Check out their breakdowns below.

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Pick
Chiefs -1 (+100)
Best Book

Time
1 p.m. ET

Isaiah Sirois: Andy Reid has a simple preseason formula: the first team plays the first quarter, the second team plays the second quarter, and so on. Reid used a similar strategy last year, and the Chiefs went undefeated in the preseason. Look for Patrick Mahomes to score once or twice as he builds chemistry with his new receivers.

In contrast, the Chicago Bears plan to give their starters 10 to 20 plays. Head coach Matt Eberflus said that number “changes by [the] guy,” so it’s unclear who will see the most run. Unfortunately, Chicago will likely struggle, regardless of who Eberflus sends out there.

The Bears simply lack depth. They have three quarterbacks, one of whom is Nathan Peterman. The receiving corps resembles a USFL team and features castoffs like Equanimeous St. Brown, Dante Pettis and Tajae Sharpe. When asked about the offensive line, Chicago’s own offensive coordinator admitted the unit was “a ways away” and that the coaching staff had “a lot of information still to find out.”

The Bears will find out a lot of information tomorrow — but it won’t be of the positive variety. Back the Chiefs here up to the key number of -3.

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Colts vs.

Bills

Pick
Bills ML +110
Best Book

Time
4 p.m. ET

Brandon Anderson: One of the more reliable indicators in the preseason is coaching history. Some coaches put little effort into these early throw-away games and don’t bother running the starters much. Others tend to show up.

History tells us Sean McDermott’s teams show up.

McDermott is 10-5 in the preseason straight up — and he’s an impressive 8-3 straight up as an underdog, which his Bills are slightly in this one, even at home. In fact, McDermott’s Bills have won eight straight times straight-up as underdogs.

If you blindly bet $100 on McDermott and Buffalo moneyline every time they’re preseason underdogs, you’d be up $762 lifetime with a 69% return on investment, per BetLabs.

The Bills are a loaded and deep roster, maybe the best one in the NFL. Even if some of the star names don’t play much, bank on McDermott getting whatever guys are out there ready in another underdog spot and play the Bills ML and a chance for a ninth straight underdog win.


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Pick
Buccaneers ML +105
Best Book

Time
7 p.m. ET

Sam Farley: The Dolphins’ trip to Tampa to face the Buccaneers has a little bit more interest than usual given the tampering of Tom Brady, although it’ll be background noise without Brady on the field.

Brady’s absence means plenty of Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask for Tampa Bay. It’s a good opportunity for Trask, who was drafted in the second round last year, with Brady’s days in Tampa looking unlikely to extend beyond this season.

Todd Bowles is 7-9 in preseason as a head coach, but it’s worth flagging that he has a .750 win percentage in Week 1 of the preseason, indicating that he takes these more seriously and potentially playing more of his established names.

We won’t see many of Bowles’ stars, but there are fights for roster spots all over the field, particularly at wide receiver. That means we should see the likes of Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller, a couple talented guys who have had their moments with Brady under center, get chances here.

There’s uncertainty over whether we’ll see Tua Tagovailoa for Miami, but the Dolphins have a very talented backup in Teddy Bridgewater. We won’t see any of their talented weapons on offense, which is a shame, but that plays into the hands of the Bucs who are great value at +100 to win this given Bowles’ success in Week 1 of the preseason.

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Pick
Saints ML -110
Best Book

Time
8 p.m. ET

Blake Krass: These preseason games often come down to who has something to prove and who actually wants to play. I think Andy Dalton will be trying to prove himself to his new team, especially after a subpar season in Chicago last year. The Saints also signed K.J. Costello to compete with Ian Book behind Dalton, giving them two hungry young QBs with plenty to prove.

On the other side, Davis Mills will only be playing a series or two at QB for the Texans. With backup QB Kyle Allen out with an injury, that lines up Jeff Driskel to play three full quarters of football. If you have watched Jeff Driskel play quarterback in the NFL, you know that’s bad news for the Texans.

I’m backing New Orleans’ moneyline as a pick’em and will play their spread to -2.5

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Pick
Over 33.5
Best Book

Time
8 p.m. ET

Sam Farley: The Sean Payton-less Saints begin their preseason against a rebuilding Texans team, although starting quarterback Jameis Winston will not be in action.

Dalton will get the start, having earned rave reviews so far in training camp. Book should see significant game time with Taysom Hill now officially a tight end.

On the other side, Mills may play longer than you’d expect with Allen out. That may not scream “Bet the over!” This is the preseason, though.

These are talented quarterbacks that’ll be playing for both teams, most of whom have a reasonable amount of regular-season experience. For that reason, I’m expecting the quality of offensive play to be higher than usual and for the total to be smashed.

This number is around 35 and 36 at most books, but Caesars had it available at 33.5 as of Friday night.

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Serie A Updated Betting Odds, Picks, Preview, Predictions: Our Best Bets, Featuring Lazio & Roma

Serie A is back!

On the heels of its summer respite, the Italian top flight returns for its opening week of action. Powerhouse AC Milan, last season’s title winner, begin its campaign against Udinese, while Juventus faces Sassuolo in arguably the marquee match of the first weekend.

So, where should bettors look this weekend for their bets? Without further delay, here are my three best bets across the 10-match slate.

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Serie A Best Bets

Lecce vs. Inter Milan

Lecce Odds +850
Inter Odds -350
Draw +460
Over/Under 2.5 (-166 / +136)
Day | Time Saturday | 2:45 p.m. ET
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Lecce might be the home team, but I expect it’s in for a long evening come.

Across the last two seasons, Inter has absolutely dominated newly promoted teams in Italy. In 12 such matches, the Nerazurri are 11-0-1 (W-L-D) in those fixtures. Just last season, it was 6-0-0 (W-L-D) in those matches and won all of them by at least 1.4 expected goals, per fbref.com.

In reality, manager Simone Inzaghi’s side covered a 1.5-goal spread in nine of those 11 victories. All told, the 2020-21 Scudetto winners have generated 2.73 xG per 90 minutes in those 12 games and 3.15 xG/90 minutes in the six matches last season.

With a potentially even better attack taking center stage this season, I expect Inter will open on a strong note and roll Lecce.

By The Numbers

  • 11 — Wins by Inter Milan in last 12 matches against newly promoted sides.
  • 5 — Number of times Inter covered 1.5-goal spread against newly-promoted sides last season.

Hennion’s Pick: Inter Milan -1.5 (-115)

Lazio vs. Bologna

Lazio -180
Bologna Odds +460
Draw +330
Over/Under 2.5 (-160 / +130)
Day | Time Sunday | 12:30 p.m. ET
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Although it drastically over-performed its underlying metrics, Lazio (generally) cleaned up at home against the bottom half of the table last season.

In 10 such fixtures, manager Maurizio Sarri’s side finished 7-0-3 (W-L-D), but won eight matches by at least 0.5 xG in the process. It also generated 2.07 xG per 90 minutes in those contests while conceding less than one xG in all but four fixtures.

On the flip side, Bologna has struggled to build defensive consistency away from home. Over the last two seasons, it combined to allow almost 1.7 xG per 90 minutes and conceded the seventh-most road xG last season in Serie A, per fbref.com.

Additionally, Lazio wrecked Bologna in a 3-0 shutout (2.6-0.7 edge in xG) in last season’s meeting at the Stadio Olimpico. Bologna also struggled last season against top sides, conceding 2.2 xG/90 minutes in road fixtures against the top-seven teams in the Italian top flight.

Based on those metrics, I’ll back Lazio with push protection against a clearly inferior side.

By The Numbers

  • 6 — Number of xG losses by Bologna last season against top-seven clubs.
  • 3 — Consecutive home matches won by Lazio against Bologna.

Hennion’s Pick: Lazio -1 (-120)

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Salernitana vs. Roma

Salernitana Odds +550
Roma Odds -220
Draw +350
Over/Under 2.5 (-130 / +108)
Day | Time Sunday | 2:45 p.m. ET
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I’m not going to overthink this fixture and neither should you.

Last season, Salernitana played miserably against the league’s best. In 12 matches against the top six, it earned a result exactly once and picked up all three points a total of zero times. Those games also saw Salernitana concede 2.3 xG per 90 minutes and at least two goals in all but one game.

On the flip side, manager Jose Mourinho’s outfit hammered the bottom five last season. In 10 eligible matches, La Lupa allowed 0.75 xG per 90 minutes and only 0.9 combined xG in two matches against Salernitana.

Although Roma only won seven of those 10 matches, it took the match on xG in all 10 and covered a one-goal spread on xG in nine of 10 matches, per fbref.com.

Positive offensive regression could be on the way based on Roma’s performance in those matches, as it scored 17 goals on 23 expected goals.

By The Numbers

  • +3.54 — The xGDiff for Roma against Salernitana last season.
  • 50 — Percent of Salernitana matches against top-six clubs in which it conceded at least two expected goals.

Hennion’s Pick: Roma -1 (-125)

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MLS Updated Betting Odds, Picks, Preview, Prediction: Our 3 Best Bets, Including LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver (Saturday, Aug. 13)

mls-betting-odds-picks-predictions-best bets-saturday-august 13

The Major League Soccer All-Star Game has passed and the business end of the season has arrived, starting with this weekend’s slate.

Retooled Toronto FC welcomes pesky Portland to Canada for a battle with plenty of pedigree. Sneaky good Montreal will try for an impressive seventh away win when it visits struggling Houston.

And the Los Angeles Galaxy host Vancouver in a Western Conference playoff race six-pointer to highlight the card.

That said, here are our best bets for the upcoming schedule.

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MLS Best Bets

Toronto FC vs. Portland

Toronto Odds -115
Portland Odds +270
Draw +270
Over/Under 2.5 (-175 / +125)
Day | Time Saturday | 7:30 p.m. ET
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Betting opened with Toronto FC as a +130 odds favorite and the number has been sliding heavily in its direction ever since.

That’s understandable given all the star power manager Bob Bradley’s side has added so far this summer, and the improved results that have followed. It also provides an opportunity on visiting Portland’s team total.

The Timbers have scored at least twice in five of 12 away games, plus Toronto has conceded multiple goals in half of its home games. Both trends also skew toward more recent matches, plus the Timbers are markedly different from the early season now that Jaroslaw Niezgoda is in a scoring rhythm. Portland midfielders Sebastian Blanco and Eryk Williamson are both healthy.

There’s a strong chance the Reds have enough talent to simply outscore their opponents since their summer reinforcements — with the exception of holding midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye — don’t really improve their defense that much.

I was on the Toronto early moneyline. However, I’m now backing the Portland team total clearing 1.5 goals at +150 odds and an implied 40% probability. Both plays could hit, but the likelihood that neither do is small.

By The Numbers

  • 45.8 — The percentage of times a visiting team has scored multiple goals in matches between Toronto playing at home and Portland on the road.
  • 1.58 — Goals conceded by the Reds per 90 minutes at BMO Field.

Quillen’s Pick: Portland — Team Total Over 1.5 Goals (+150)

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Houston vs. Montreal

Houston Odds +145
Montreal Odds +170
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (-140 / +100)
Day | Time Saturday | 9 p.m. ET
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Montreal and Houston used to be in the same caliber of underachieving MLS squads. However, the Canadian visitors have clearly lifted themselves out of that category in their second season under manager Wilfried Nancy.

And even though midfielder Djordje Mihailovic hasn’t been quite as good since his return from an ankle injury, his team is undefeated since he came back.

Houston responded from a drubbing at Philadelphia two matches ago with a strong performance last time out in Vancouver. The Dynamo still lost on two late goals.

They’ve posted a 4-4-4 home record (W-L-D) in what was once one of toughest venues for away teams in the league. And Mexico star Hector Herrera has struggled to influence the team since his addition this summer.

If you’re judging solely by expected goals numbers, maybe Houston is correctly slightly favored here. But those numbers include five games when Mihailovic was unavailable and three losses to start the season, while Montreal balanced continental commitments.

Remove that sample and Montreal has lost only twice overall and just once away. That said, back the side to bolster its winning away record at +170 odds and an implied 37% probability.

By The Numbers

  • +1.1 — Montreal’s xGDiff per 90 minutes in five games since Mihailovic’s return to the pitch.
  • 1-2-3  — Houston’s home record (W-L-D) against teams that currently have more wins than losses.

Quillen’s Pick: Montreal ML (+170)

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LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver

LA Galaxy Odds -175
Vancouver Odds +425
Draw +325
Over/Under 2.5 (-175 / +125)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 p.m. ET
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When you frequently watch manager Greg Vanney’s club, what jumps at you is the inconsistency. Yes, the Galaxy has enough talent to beat any side in the league, which is how they’ve topped clubs like Austin FC and Los Angeles Football Club. They’ve also lost at home to pedestrian opponents, including San Jose, Houston and Orlando City.

Vancouver has the look of another such mediocre outfit, but with a little better current quality due to recent improvements. Ryan Gauld’s return to full fitness has helped, as has the acquisition of holding midfielder Andres Cubas and wingback Julian Gressel. Plus, manager Vanni Sartini’s men have now earned at least a point in five of their last six away fixtures.

I played Vancouver on the moneyline in this week’s Global Underdogs feature. Yet, given the Whitecaps’ propensity to share points this season — and absences of Lucas Cavallini and Brian White up front — I also like them getting a more conservative +0.5 goals on the spread line via the Asian Handicap.

At +135 odds and an implied 42.6% probability, you’re backing a bet that has hit 45.8% of the time between Los Abgeles home and Vancouver away games. That increases to 66.7% since the start of May this season.

By The Numbers

  • 3-4-1 — The Galaxy’s home record (W-L-D) since May 1.
  • 2-3-2 — Away record (W-L-D) for Vancouver since May 1 this season.

Quillen’s Pick: Two-Way Handicap — Vancouver +0.5 Goals (+135)

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La Liga Updated Betting Odds, Picks, Preview, Predictions: Our Best Bets, Featuring Valencia vs. Girona

The Spanish top flight returns to action this weekend when La Liga kicks off its 2022-23 season with a full slate of games.

For the games with the best betting value, I’m starting with a pair of matches Saturday involving host Celta Vigo taking on Espanyol and Rayo Vallecano making a trip to face mighty Barcelona.

I close out my best bets for the opening week with newly promoted Girona on the road at Valencia, which I’m expecting to stay in the theme of low-scoring affairs in these debut games.

Join me as we preview my three best bets in Spain this weekend.

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La Liga Best Bets

Celta Vigo vs. Espanyol

Celta Vigo Odds -120
Espanyol Odds +333
Draw +260
Over/Under 2.5 (-105 / -130)
Day | Time Saturday | 11 a.m. ET
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La Liga is known as a league that doesn’t typically have a lot of goals, so I think this game fits the mold of a match that will fall under the total of 2.5 goals at -130 odds in this clash.

When looking at Celta Vigo’s home fixtures last season against teams in the bottom half of the table, those games averaged 2.29 combined expected goals per 90 minutes, according to fbref.com. This same bet also cashed in six of the 10 matches.

Meanwhile, Espanyol’s road metrics against the same opposition showed similar results, averaging 2.04 combined xG per game. There are also rumors of star striker Raúl de Tomás potentially leaving the club during the transfer window, which could be a huge distraction.

By The Numbers

  • 15 — In the 20 Celta Vigo matches against teams that finished 10th or below in the league last year, only five finished with more than 2.5 goals.
  • 2.38 — Away from home last campaign, games involving Espanyol averaged this combined xG per match.

Pund’s Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (-130)

Barcelona vs. Rayo Vallecano

Barcelona Odds -500
Rayo Vallecano Odds +1250
Draw +600
Over/Under 3.5 (+115 / -160)
Day | Time Saturday | 3 p.m. ET
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Barcelona splashed the cash this summer with the additions of striker Robert Lewandowski, former Leeds United winger Raphinha and defender Jules Koundé from Sevilla. However, how many of these players will be registered to the league roster?

Unless there are more departures from the current squad or other sources of funding, the Catalan club might be forced to start the season without the summer signings and others currently on the roster.

This could make the opening game the perfect spot for Rayo to pick up a result or at least avoid a heavy defeat, which is why I like backing the club getting +2 goals on the spread line via the Asian Handicap at -125 odds.

By The Numbers

  • 6 — In the two matches last season between these sides, Rayo Vallecano took all the points with two wins, which includes a victory at the end of April.
  • 71  — Rayo covered this same spread in this percentage (10 of 14 fixtures) against teams that finished in the top seven last year, while only losing by more than two goals just twice.

Pund’s Pick: Rayo Vallecano +2 (-125)

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Valencia vs. Girona

Valencia Odds -115
Girona Odds +333
Draw +250
Over/Under 2.5 (+100 / -135)
Day | Time Sunday | 1:30 p.m. ET
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My final best bet is another game where I’m not expecting a lot of goals due to of a key departure that left the home team this week.

Making his move to the Premier League, Portuguese striker Gonçalo Guedes joined Wolverhampton Wanderers after a season where he finished with 11 goals and six assists.

Valencia won’t have enough time to replace his contributions before this opener, which comes up against a Girona side that had 54% of its matches finish with less than 2.5 goals in the lower division.

By The Numbers

  • 38% — Guedes played a hand in more than a third of Valencia’s goals last season, which will be a big loss until he is replaced.
  • 2.3 — On the road in the Segunda Division, Girona’s matches averaged less than 2.5 goals per game.

Pund’s Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (-135)

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Bundesliga Updated Betting Odds, Picks, Preview, Predictions: Our Best Bets, Featuring Bayern Munich vs. Wolfsburg

bundesliga-betting-odds-picks-predictions-best bets-august 13-14

The Bundesliga began its season last week with Bayern Munich establishing its league dominance once again in a 6-1 win victory at Eintracht Frankfurt.

In other action, Borussia Dortmund earned a 1-0 win against Bayer Leverkusen in a battle of hopeful title challengers, while RB Leipzig dropped points on the road at Stuttgart in a 1-1 draw.

The second week of matches kicks off Friday, with Dortmund visiting Freiburg, which I previewed here at the Action Network. Schalke has its first home game in its return to the Bundesliga when it hosts Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET, while Bayern hosts Wolfsburg in Sunday’s game.

Here are my three favorite bets from across the eight-game weekend slate in the German top flight:

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Bundesliga Best Bets

Leverkusen vs. Augsburg

Leverkusen Odds -340
Augsburg Odds +750
Draw +480
Over/Under 3.5 (+120 / -146)
Day | Time Saturday | 9:30 a.m. ET
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Leverkusen dropped its opener at Dortmund, but the performance was relatively even across the entire 90 minutes. The club lost the expected-goals battle by a 1.5-1.2 margin. It also struggled to create enough high turnovers to create the transition chances needed to break open the Dortmund defense.

Even despite struggles to control the game and create consistent pressure, Leverkusen created two big scoring chances through Patrik Schick and the Czech striker failed to convert both of them. He’s due to regress a bit in his finishing after an unsustainable run of red-hot finishing last season, but I fully expect Schick to be one of the most prolific strikers in Germany this season.

Augsburg created 0.5 xG at home against Freiburg, which isn’t encouraging. United States international Ricardo Pepi had one big chance off the bench, but otherwise, no forward took more than a shot in the match.

My projection makes Leverkusen a 1.73 goal favorite to beat lowly Augsburg and I think we’re getting a slightly cheaper price because of the loss to Dortmund. The market also shows a bit of respect to the extreme counterattacking profile of Augsburg, which will struggle to stop Leverkusen from easily entering the penalty area and creating plenty of chances.

By The Numbers

  • +1.15 — Leverkusen had a +1.15 xG difference per 90 minutes in the second half of last season, which was second best in the Bundesliga and nearly level with Bayern Munich.
  • -0.72 — Augsburg’s xG difference per 90 minutes in the second half of the 2021-22 campaign, which was second worst only to Arminia Bielefeld.

Dabbundo’s Pick: Leverkusen -1.5 (-120 or better)

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FC Schalke vs. Gladbach

Schalke Odds +200
Gladbach Odds +120
Draw +270
Over/Under 3.5 (+140 / -170)
Day | Time Saturday | 12:30 p.m. ET
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Not much can be learned from the first match for either team, as Borussia Mönchengladbach’s win came after a red card to a Hoffenheim player in the 25th minute. The Foals went on to win 3-1, while an early red card against Schalke led to a 3-1 defeat to Köln.

Just about everything went wrong for Gladbach last season, as commitment to manager Adi Hütter was in question from the third week of the campaign and the Foals were unable to quell their constant defensive woes.

By xGA, Gladbach conceded the sixth-most chances in the league. Given the Foals’ solid field tilt metrics, which show more time spent in the opponent’s half, and the defensive quality of the players in the side, that level of defensive frailty is unlikely to continue.

Breel Embolo has left the club, but Farke seems committed to playing Marcus Thuram and Alassane Pleá together up top, That’s where Gladbach was successful in seasons prior to the last campaign.

Both had very down years, which is a major reason the Foals vastly underperformed their xG numbers. I’m buying low on Gladbach once again, especially against a Schalke side that was a bit fortunate to get promoted given its third best xG difference in the 2. Bundesliga.

By The Numbers

  • 1.38 — Schalke conceded this number of xGA per match at home in the 2. Bundesliga last season, which was sixth best in the league.
  • 61  — Number of goals Gladbach conceded last campaign, which marked the third most in the Bundesliga.

Dabbundo’s Pick: Gladbach ML (+120 or better)

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Bayern Munich vs. Wolfsburg

Bayern Odds -750
Wolfsburg Odds +1500
Draw +700
Over/Under 3.5 (-170 / +138)
Day | Time Sunday | 11:30 a.m. ET
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Bayern didn’t look like it missed Robert Lewandowski at all in its first match without him in the Bundesliga.

Since that 6-1 win, the market has since adjusted a bit too far to just one match against an — in my view — overrated Eintracht Frankfurt side to begin with ahead of this contest. Unlike Frankfurt, a club that trended down in performance as things progressed last season, Wolfsburg improved in the second half after a poor start to the campaign.

Werder Bremen scored two goals on its first three shots on low-percentage chances, but Wolfsburg controlled a lot of the exchanges in that match. That won’t happen at Bayern, but it has shown defensive solidity and an ability to keep the host from easily dominating it in transition sequences.

Last season was a disappointing one across the board for Wolfsburg, but new manager Niko Kovač has a solid track record and I expect him to improve the defense like he did at past stops at Frankfurt and Monaco.

This is a hold-your-nose bet, but I’ll feel pretty good about our chances of covering +2.5 goals if Wolfsburg is able to just break through once for a goal. My projection has Bayern by 2.09 goals ahead of this affair.

By The Numbers

  • -6.8 — Wolfsburg underperformed its xG by more than any other team in the Bundesliga last season and positive regression is coming in that area.
  • 4 — Wolfsburg ranked fourth in average shot distance allowed and average non-penalty xG per shot allowed last campaign.

Dabbundo’s Pick: Wolfsburg +2.5 (-120 or better)

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Premier League Updated Betting Odds, Picks, Preview, Projections: Our EPL Best Bets, Featuring Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace

premier league-betting-odds-picks-predictions-best bets-august 13-15

It’s time to overreact to the opening week of Premier League action.

Is Liverpool in trouble? Does Manchester City have the title wrapped up? Is Arsenal a top-four contender? And most importantly how far can Manchester United fall?

Well, BJ Cunningham and Anthony Dabbundo are here to take you through the second set of of matches with their best bets for a full slate.

The pair, which is part of the Wondergoal podcast crew, will be taking you through the English top flight each week, delivering their favorite picks. They’ll also provide their individual model projections for every EPL match.

If you’d like to see picks from Cunningham and Dabbundo during the season for all five European leagues, follow them in the Action Network App.

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Cunningham’s Model Projections


Dabbundo’s Model Projections


Aston Villa vs. Everton

Aston Villa Odds -120
Everton Odds +350
Draw +250
Over/Under 2.5 (-105 / -135)
Day | Time Saturday | 7:30 a.m. ET
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Cunningham: In the opening week of action, these clubs combined for 1.1 expected goals. Everton had an excuse because it was facing Chelsea and was without Dominic Calvert-Lewin. In contrast, Aston Villa has absolutely no excuse for 0.6 xG off 15 shots against promoted Bournemouth.

Under Steven Gerrard last season, Aston Villa wasn’t really that impressive as it only averaged 1.18 xG per match and created 17 big scoring chances in his 27 ganes in charge. That’s bad.

Everton was poor defensively last season, but if you remove the penalty last weekend against Chelsea, it held its foes to 0.9 xG from open play and the Blues only had 29 touches in Everton’s penalty area. However, without Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison last year, the Toffees only averaged 1.00 xG per 90 minutes, And it looks like Calvert-Lewin is going to miss this contest.

I have the Both Teams To Score (No) line projected at -150, so I love the price we’re getting at -105 odds. 

Cunningham’s Pick: Both Teams to Score — No (-105)

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Wolves vs. Fulham

Wolves Odds +135
Fulham Odds +210
Draw +225
Over/Under 2.5 (+100 / -145)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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Dabbundo: Wolves really struggled as favorites last season when facing some teams lower in the table. They drew both matches with Norwich City, tied and lost to Burnley in two meetings and drew and lost two games to Leeds United.

Wolverhampton doesn’t have the attacking firepower to consistently create separation from opponents and that was on full display in the opening match against the Peacocks. 

Fulham is unlikely to press with the same level of intensity Leeds did. Wolves need that space to let its biggest strength — ball-carrying winger types –exploit opponents’ high lines.

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New signing Palhinha was one of the most impressive players against Liverpool, finishing with the third-most tackles won. His ability to stop the ball and the Cottagers’ work rate off the ball defensively should help it adapt to EPL survival.

Fulham did a fantastic job of stifling an elite ball progression side and I expect Wolverhampton to have trouble turning midfield chances into shots.

My projections have this game as close to a toss-up, with Fulham as a slight underdog, but still undervalued given the line. I only make the Cottagers at +105 and would take them at +115 or better on the Draw No Bet wager.

Dabbundo’s Pick: Fulham — Draw No Bet (+125)

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Brentford vs. Man United

Brentford Odds +270
Man United Odds +250
Draw +100
Over/Under 2.5 (-130 / -105)
Day | Time Saturday | 12:30 p.m. ET
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Cunningham: Brentford was outstanding against Manchester United at home last season, but didn’t get the result it deserved. The Bees held a 2.2-2.o xG edge and suffered a 3-1 defeat.

So, what did the it show in its first match against Brighton & Hove Albion? Well, that they still have no interest in pressingbecause the Seagulls passed right through them (29% pressure success rate, per fbref.com) in the tilt.

Brentford was a decent pressing team last season, ranking eighth in PPDA, sixth in high turnovers and third in ball recoveries. So, if a good pressing team like Brighton was able to have a 33% pressure success rate and force nine high turnovers, then the Bees should give Red Devils problems.

Last season United ran well on set pieces, allowing only six goals off 13.13 xG overall. So, do you want to guess who allowed the most xG off set pieces on opening week? The Red Devils. And Brentford was a top-five set piece team last season, scoring 15 goals off 17.17 xG, per Opta.

The home/road splits for each side are quite drastic as well, as Brentford had a +6.8 xGDiff at home, while United was -7.4 xGDiff away from Old Trafford.

I actually have Brentford projected as a slight favorite because let’s not forget, these teams were incredible close on xGDiff last season. Brentford finished at -1.3 xGDiff compared to and Manchester United at +0.3 xGDiff overall.

That said, I love Brentford getting +0.5 goals spread line via the Asian Handicap and will make it my top pick.

Cunningham’s Pick: Brentford +0.5 (-115)

Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace Odds

Liverpool Odds -500
Crystal Palace Odds +1350
Draw +575
Over/Under 3.5 (+125 / -175)
Day | Time Monday | 3 p.m. ET
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Dabbundo: The market isn’t showing much respect to Crystal Palace despite the ckub playing even with Arsenal in the opening match of the season.

Arsenal had its periods of dominance and did earn a 2-0 victory, but Palace attempted more shots in the box and created a comparable amount of xG as well. If you look at ball progression numbers and possession in dangerous areas, the Eagles weren’t at all overrun in the midfield.

Finishing variance swung against the Eagles, who missed the two big scoring chances they created, but I was quite encouraged by the performance overall. 

Liverpool will be without Thiago, who is a major key in the midfield. The Reds were at the peak of their dominance in the EPL last season when he was on the pitch and they were considerably worse in xGDiff per 90 minutes when he didn’t play. His ability to control the tempo of the match, win the ball and recycle possession makes Liverpool’s midfield more dynamic. 

When Thiago didn’t play at Palace last season, the Reds conceded 2.2 xG in the game. However, they still secured a  3-1 win because of a penalty and excellent finishing. Palace continues to be underrated, so I will bet the club getting two goals on the alternative spread as long as it’s -140 or better. 

Dabbundo’s Pick: Crystal Palace +2 (-120)

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Yankees vs. Red Sox MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Total Has Value in Evening Affair (Saturday, August 13)

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Yankees vs. Red Sox Odds

Yankees Odds -155
Red Sox Odds +125
Over/Under 9 (-110/-110)
Time 7:15 p.m. ET
TV FOX
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The best rivalry in the MLB is the New York Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox.

This season, despite the Red Sox being at the bottom of the AL East standings, the Yankees and Red Sox have played some thrilling games.

On Saturday, the rivalry will be in the spotlight once as “America’s Game of the Week” on Fox. Is another high-scoring Yankees-Red Sox game in store?

Let’s dive into it.

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Yankees in Midst of Slump

Since beginning the season 56-21, the Yankees are just 15-20 in their last 35 games.

More recently, the Yankees are 1-6 on their current road trip. Despite recent struggles, the offense has not been the issue. New York is still averaging 4.57 runs per game since the all-star break.

When the Yankees are rolling offensively, it is usually because of the long ball. The Yankees lead the league with 192 home runs on the year and they have hit 34 since the All Star break. New York gets over 52% of its runs via home runs.

Of course, leading the majors in home runs as a team is easier when you have the league’s leading home run hitter. Outfielder Aaron Judge has 46 home runs on the year. However, he has been especially hot of late, with eight home runs in 15 games and 17 home runs in his last 30 games.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo is second with 27 home runs. Rizzo and Judge are among nine Yankees with double digit home runs.

Frankie Montas will get the start for the Yankees. He was the team’s big acquistion at the trade deadline, but he didn’t have a great New York debut. Montas allowed six runs on five hits and walked three in three innings against the Cardinals. Between his time with the As and Yankees, Montas is 4-9 with a 3.59 ERA.

He ranks in the 86th percentile in Chase Rate. However, he gives a ton of hard contact, ranking in the 42nd percentile in Average Exit Velocity and in the 51st percentile in Hard Hit Rate. At Fenway Park, that can be problematic. Montas has only made start at Fenway Park in his career, but he allowed seven runs (one earned) and two home runs.

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Red Sox in Midst of Pitching Nightmare

The Yankees are not the only ones who have been struggling as of late. Boston is just 13-25 in its last 38 games and 8-13 since the All Star break. Pitching has been the main issue as Boston has over a 6.00 ERA since that time.

Kutter Crawford will get the start on Saturday night. He is 3-4 with a 4.30 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 58.2 innings. The 26-year old has allowed seven homers in eight starts this season, which can be an issue against the Yankees.

He has a 2.57 ERA in seven innings against the Yankees this season. Crawford ranks in the 79th percentile in Hard Hit Rate, but in the 42nd percentile in Average Exit Velocity, 45th percentile in xBA, and 32nd percentile in xSLG.

Boston’s lineup has not seen much of Montas, but it has had success against him. Rafael Devers is 5-for-8 against Montas. Alex Verdugo, Tommy Pham, Eric Hosmer and J.D. Martinez are all 2-for-6 against him. Boston’s offense is also much better at home. It hits .263 with a .756 OPS as a team at Fenway compared to .249 with a .691 OPS on the road.

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Yankees-Red Sox Pick

The Yankees and Red Sox have met 11 times this season and there have been 10 runs scored in seven of those meetings.

Another matchup this season finished with nine. Statistically speaking, you’re starting off with a 72% chance that there will be at least nine runs scored and putting you in the range of hitting the over. That is before digging into the matchup.

The Yankees offense can be inconsistent, especially recently. However, when the Yankees are connecting for homers, it can be put big numbers up offensively. Crawford will give them the opportunity to hit a few out of the yard. They will just have to take advantage when those mistake pitches come.

Boston’s lineup has had success against Montas. It will also be Montas’ first experience of the rivalry and it can be overwhelming for some. For example, Boston hits Gerrit Cole extremely well at Fenway.

The Yankees bullpen has struggled as well, including another blown save in last night’s loss. All these signs point to another high scoring battle in the Yankees-Red Sox series.

I will be taking the over.

Pick: Over 9

Phillies vs. Mets MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Value With Underdog to Win (Saturday, August 13)

marlins vs phillies-odds-pick-prediction-mlb-aaron nola-june 13

Phillies vs. Mets Odds

Phillies Odds +165
Mets Odds -200
Over/Under 6 (-120/+100)
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Two of the league’s elite starters will face off on Saturday night as Jacob DeGrom and the Mets will host Aaron Nola and the Phillies.

Philadelphia stayed red-hot with its 2-1 win in the series opener, and it has now been victorious in 14 of its last 16 contests.

DeGrom has appeared true to form in two starts since making his season debut, and in turn the Mets are significant favorites to take this contest at -210.

Philadelphia hung around and stole a win in Max Scherzer’s game last night, so could we see a similar storyline on Saturday?

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Phillies With Premier Pitching on Saturday

Philadelphia’s recent tear has it sitting with an 81.3% chance to make the playoffs according to FanGraphs, and the Phillies get there the team would hold a realistic chance of making some noise.

That’s in large part due to Nola, who can go head-to-head with some of the league’s best starters and give his team a fighting shot, as he will hope to do in this contest against DeGrom.

Nola has pitched to an ERA of 2.39 over his last 4 outings, with a WHIP of just 1.02 during throughout 26.33 innings during that span.

On the season, Nola features a first-pitch strike rate of 70%, which is the highest mark amongst qualified starters, and getting ahead in the count has been a successful formula for him.

Analytically, Nola’s profile suggests the strong results should continue, and over the season he features an xERA of 2.83.

As you would expect from a team which is racking up win-after-win of late, the Phillies have been in tremendous offensive form.

Philadelphia has hit to a fourth-best wRC+ of 126 over the last 14 days, with a woba of .353.

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Mets in Similar Position

DeGrom has looked like his usual self throughout the season’s initial 10 1/3 innings while pitching to a ridiculous xERA of 1.16.

Last time out versus the Braves, DeGrom managed 12 Ks, and claimed his first win of the season.

He was limited to a 75-pitch count in that start and we can presume New York will play it safe in that regard for today’s contest, although it is certainly worth attempting to gather any word on that from a handicapping standpoint prior to fist pitch.

New York’s recent tear has come with an offensive surge as well, with a 143 wRC+ and .369 both going as the second best mark’s in the MLB since July 31st.

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Phillies-Mets Pick

Both of these teams have displayed some tremendous baseball as of late and this contest is a high-point on Saturday’s slate that many are surely excited to see.

For whatever reason New York has historically had a tough time providing DeGrom with much run support, and it’s certainly possible we see a similar narrative play out Saturday with Nola taking the mound for the Phillies.

Runs could be at a premium in this matchup, and with the kind of form Philadelphia has displayed recently and the quality of pitcher it has on the mound, I feel they are in with a better shot than a +175 number suggests in what should be another nail-biter.

I see value backing the Phillies looking for another surprising victory as they continue to push for a Wild Card berth.

Pick: Philadelphia Phillies +175 (Play to +170)

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Saturday MLB Props, PrizePicks Plays: 5 Picks, Including Marcus Semien & Freddie Freeman (August 13)

Saturday’s MLB slate features 16 games, which means there are plenty of player props to take advantage of across the board.

Player props have become among the most popular bets in the industry, but while the amount of states with legalized gambling is growing, some may feel left out.

Enter PrizePicks.

With PrizePicks, you get the opportunity to essentially parlay game prop over/unders with cash payouts depending on how many you get correct on that day’s slate.

Therefore, let’s take a look at some of the options on Saturday’s Major League Baseball slate and see where we can find some value to turn a profit.

A quick refresher if you aren’t familiar with PrizePicks: You can combine up to five different O/U player props to payout up to 10x your wager.

You can do a Flex Play or a Power Play. A Flex Play gives you lesser odds, but you can win money even if you don’t nail every pick. Meanwhile, a Power Play is similar to a parlay — it’s all or nothing.

Here’s how I would approach today’s MLB slate.


What is PrizePicks? A daily fantasy operator — meaning they’re available in more states (30) than sports betting is! — PrizePicks offers a unique opportunity for action on player props in which you parlay two or more plays together.


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MLB PrizePicks Plays for Saturday, August 13

Dane Dunning Over 5 Hits Allowed

We have the second matchup of this three-game AL West intradivisional series with the Texas Rangers hosting the Seattle Mariners. Through 21 starts this season, Dunning is 2-6 with a 4.04 ERA and 1.36 WHIP.

Dunning has now allowed six or more hits in five of his past seven starts (71%). I expect this tough season to continue for Dunning as he is set to face a deep Mariners lineup.

Through 73 career plate appearances against Dunning, this current Mariners roster possesses a .237 xBA, .407 xSLG, and .325 xwOBA. Additionally, the Rangers went with a bullpen game last night and utilized six of their relievers.

This means that Dunning may have to go deeper into this contest, even if he is not throwing well. Seven of Seattle’s nine projected starters boast an xBA north of .250, making them one of the deepest lineups in baseball.

Marcus Semien Over 0.5 Runs

While we are fading Texas’ starting pitcher, we will be backing a few of their hitters as they are slated to go against left-hander Marco Gonzales. Through 22 starts this season, Gonzales is 7-11 with a 3.98 ERA and 1.39 WHIP.

Gonzales has been in particularly poor form recently, going 2-2 with a 6.30 ERA and 1.63 WHIP over his past five starts. Two of those five starts were against Texas, producing a 4.85 ERA and 1.38 WHIP.

The first hitter we backing is Marcus Semien, who has scored at least one run in four of his past six games (67%). Through 46 career plate appearances against Gonzales, Semien boasts a .277 xBA, .439 xSLG, and .364 xwOBA.

When facing left-handers this season, Semien’s splits take about an 8 percent jump as he possesses a .248 BA, .326 OBP, .425 SLG, and .750 OPS.

Corey Seager Over 1.5 Hits + Walks

The other Rangers hitter we are backing in this contest is Corey Seager. Entering this contest in good form, Seager has gone over this total in six of his past nine games (67%).

It has been a good season for Seager as he possesses a .252 BA, .330 OBP, .470 SLG, and .800 OPS. However, we should expect an even better finish from Seager based on his metrics as he boasts a .378 xwOBA, .286 xBA, and .519 xSLG.

Through 18 career plate appearances against Gonzales, Seager possesses a .296 xBA, .487 xSLG, and .315 xwOBA.

Freddie Freeman Over 0.5 Runs

We have the second matchup of this three-game interleague series with the AL Central’s Kansas City Royals hosting the NL West’s Los Angeles Dodgers. We are backing a few Dodgers hitters in this contest as they are slated to go against right-hander Brad Keller.

Through 21 starts this season, Keller is 6-12 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. His metrics are just as poor, possessing a .317 xwOBA, .256 xBA, and .394 xSLG.

The first hitter we are backing is Freddie Freeman. Freeman has been sensational this season, boasting a .324 BA, .400 OBP, .523 SLG, and .923 OPS.

His metrics suggest that regression should not be an issue as Freeman boasts a .406 xwOBA, .317 xBA, and .548 xSLG. He should be able to keep this great season rolling against Keller. In his career against Keller, Freeman is 1-2 with a walk.

Will Smith Over 0.5 Runs

The other Dodgers hitter we are backing in this game is Will Smith. Scoring at least one run in five of his past eight games (63%), Smith should be able to keep it going against Keller.

Smith has torched left-handed pitching this season, boasting a .321 BA, .412 OBP, .512 SLG, and .924 OPS. Additionally, Smith possesses metrics almost as strong as Freeman’s.

This season, Smith possesses a .371 xwOBA, .273 xBA, and .499 xSLG. Hitting in front of Muncy, Turner, and Lux, someone should be able to push Smith across the plate at some point in this game.

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NFL Preseason Odds, Picks, Predictions: Early Bets for Panthers vs. Commanders, Colts vs. Bills (Aug. 13)

chiefs vs bears-panthers vs commanders-colt vs bills-predictions-odds-picks-august 13-today

NFL Preseason Quarterback Matchups

This will be updated before every slate of preseason games.

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Chiefs vs. Bears

Patrick Mahomes is expected to start and play about one quarter. However, Andy Reid has exaggerated how long he will play Mahomes in previous preseasons.

I might wait for Mahomes to play a series before potentially coming in on the Bears and/or the under (either on the 1H or full game line) in hopes of catching the market before it adjusts to Mahomes being done for the day.

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Panthers vs. Commanders

The Panthers will start Baker Mayfield, who will play 1-2 series, followed by Sam Darnold, who will play 1-2 series. PJ Walker should finish up the first half, then we should see rookie Matt Corral play most of the second half.

The Commanders will play Carson Wentz for about one quarter before turning it over to Taylor Heinicke. Then they’ll let rookie Sam Howell play most of the second half.

Considering this is a game where both teams will likely take a close look at their QBs, I could see them both playing aggressively on offense.

All of these QBs are at or near replacement level, and we won’t be seeing any truly awful ones under center. I’m taking the full-game over at 37.5.

Pick: Over 37.5

Colts vs. Bills

The Cots are expected to play Matt Ryan and the starters for most of the first quarter before turning it over to Nick Foles in the second.

Josh Allen won’t suit up, which means Case Keenum will get the start for the Bills.

The Colts have the edge for the first half, and the Bills should have the edge in the second half. That means I’m taking the Colts +105 for the 1H.

Pick: Colts 1H +105

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Mariners vs. Rangers MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Follow Credible Line Movement (Saturday, August 13)

mariners-vs-rangers-odds-picks-predictions-mlb-saturday-august-13-2022

Mariners vs. Rangers Odds

Mariners Odds -105
Rangers Odds -115
Over/Under 8.5
Time 7:15 p.m. ET
TV FOX
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Texas Rangers look to pull even in their three-game set against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.

After dropping game one by a score of 6-2, the Rangers turn to Dane Dunning to get back in the win column while avoiding a third straight loss. The Rangers are also looking to right a 3-7 record over their past 10 games and avoid falling into fourth place in the AL West.

The Mariners will counter with Marco Gonzalez as he aims to improve upon Seattle’s 7-3 record over their last ten games.

They are also looking to clinch a series victory with a win on Saturday night. Additionally, the Mariners have dominated the season series against the Rangers as they hold a 12-2 record heading into Saturday’s matchup.

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Mariners Fighting Intense Playoff Battle

The Seattle Mariners are trying to hold their place in an incredibly competitive AL Wild Card division. They are one of seven teams with a real chance at clinching a spot in the playoffs, but taking on a division rival is always a tough task at this point in the season.

Marco Gonzalez will make his 23rd start of the season and he has been a weak link in Seattle’s rotation this season. He is also a volatile road pitcher. So far this season he’s posted a 4.47 ERA, a 5.89 FIP, and a 4.71 xFIP over 52 and 1/3 road innings.

The Mariners’ offense has been a little beat up over the past week, but both Julio Rodriguez and Jesse Winker returned to the lineup Friday night and that should give them a boost.

However, generally the Mariners have been struggling on the road against RHP over the past couple of weeks posting an 86 wRC+, which is 18th in MLB.

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Rangers Featuring Solid Home Pitching

While Dane Dunning’s win-loss record does not inspire much confidence, he is still a very tough pitcher to face when he pitches at home. His home ERA sits right at 3.00, while he has also posted a 3.75 FIP and a 3.47 xFIP over 57 home innings. He’ll also be backed by a Ranger bullpen that has been a pretty solid unit this season.

On the other side of the ball, the Rangers’ offense has been the sixth best at home against LHP over the past month. Despite being a disappointing group overall, they get a favorable match up against a contact oriented pitcher like Marco Gonzalez. This could be a good opportunity for them to tee off.

The Rangers’ offense is also relatively healthy and seeing an influx of young talent fill out the back of their batting order. This mix of veterans and young talent could give them a slight edge heading into Saturday.

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Mariners-Rangers Pick

Although the Mariners hold a considerable edge in the season series, the Rangers moved from the underdog to the favorite overnight. Dane Dunning against Marco Gonzalez is definitely a match up that made the Mariners a fade-able team and it seems bettors picked up on that quickly.

However, the Rangers’ moneyline still holds value despite being the favorite. A -115 moneyline is worth the risk. The Rangers seem to hold an edge this game and their line movement verifies that. If money starts to move to the Mariners, the Rangers’ value could get even better closer to game time.

At any rate, I like the Rangers here at -120 or better.

Pick: Rangers ML -115

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NFL Player Props, PrizePicks Plays, Predictions: Colts vs. Bills Picks for Sam Ehlinger, Matt Barkley (Aug. 13)

nfl player props-predictions-chiefs vs bears-colts vs bills

Sean Koerner, Action Network’s Director of Predictive Analytics, is 12-4 with his PrizePicks plays in the 2022 NFL preseason.


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The number in parenthesis is a confidence rating from 1-10.

Omar Bayless (Chiefs) — Under 16.5 Receiving Yards (8)

Bayless has been nursing a back injury so he might be limited, and I’m not expecting him to see enough targets to clear this number. I’m projecting him closer to 12.5.

Justin Watson (Chiefs) — Over 15.5 Receiving Yards (6)

I’m always careful in taking the over for receiving props in Week 1 of the preseason because targets are tough to come by with a lot of teams using a 8-10 WR rotation.

However, I think the Chiefs want to get a good look at Watson today since he has impressed so far in camp. I’m only projecting him for 17.5 receiving yards, which means this is my least confident prop, but I do like his upside today.

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Sam Ehlinger (Colts) — Under 75.5 Pass Yards (8)

Sam Ehlinger will likely start the second half for the Colts. If they decide to let Jack Coan have the entire fourth quarter, though, it’ll be tough for Ehlinger to clear this prop.

This is essentially a bet of Ehlinger not playing the entire second half. I’m projecting this closer to 60.5.

Matt Barkley (Bills) — Under 110.5 Pass Yards (6)

Barkley will likely play the entire second half, but this line is way too high. I’m projecting it closer to 97.5.Fantasy Football CTA for PRO

Brewers vs. Cardinals MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Look For Stylistic Edge in NL Central Bout (Saturday, August 13)

brewers-vs-cardinals-odds-picks-predictions-mlb-saturday-august-13-2022

Brewers vs. Cardinals Odds

Brewers Odds -145
Cardinals Odds +125
Over/Under 7 (-125 / +105)
Time 7:15 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

A pitcher’s duel which we may not ever get to see again will take place in St. Louis on Saturday when Corbin Burnes toes the slab against Adam Wainwright.

St. Louis moved 1.5 games clear of the Brewers in the NL Central with a win on Friday, but according to oddsmakers it should be Milwaukee’s turn to take a game and set up a thrilling rubber match on Sunday.

Are they right? Let’s break this down.

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Brewers Looking at Stylistic Intricacies

The Brewers’ offense has been fleeting of late, checking in with a 91 wRC+ in the last week, though on the whole they’ve been quite impressive since the break with the fourth-best performance in that category.

We know them to be a team which enjoys lifting and driving the ball, considering they’re ninth in barrel rate and 10th in hard-hit rate for the season.

While they’re not exactly great at keeping the ball off the ground, ranking 14th in ground ball rate will do just fine, as will the 11th-best fly ball rate.

Speaking of ground balls, Corbin Burnes continues to be strong in that area, as well as pretty much every other area. His strikeout rate still sits in the top 5% of the league and his 2.83 xERA is proof enough that he’s been every bit the pitcher that his 2.45 ERA would indicate.

We know Burnes is good, so there is really no use in talking any more about his amazing numbers. I will note that he owns a 4.15 ERA in his last three starts, though he has dominated St. Louis both times he’s faced the team this year with 21 strikeouts in 14 scoreless innings.

He’s allowed just four hits.

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Cardinals Not in Love With Matchup

The Cardinals have won nine of 11 games now and don’t seem to be stopping any time soon. They rank second in baseball in wRC+ for the past week, and they’ve done an excellent job at the plate with a 9.5% walk rate and low 16.4% strikeout rate.

Their Isolated Power is an insane .244. Like the Brewers, the Cardinals have generally been good at limiting ground balls this season and rank seventh in fly ball rate.

Wainwright has once again been solid this season at the age of 40. His ground ball rate comes in a hair above league average and is the driving force behind his 3.42 ERA.

There are a few warning signs here, like a .372 xwOBA on contact, which is four points higher than average, and a barrel rate of 7.7%, which is the highest he’s registered in the Statcast era.

With that said, he’s never had particularly great peripherals and he’s always found a way to get outs and win games. Some of that is to do with the Cardinals’ superb defense.

Unlike Burnes, Wainwright has gotten no joy out of this matchup. He’s faced the Brewers three times this season, pitching to a 7.07 ERA and giving up a total of four homers.

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Brewers-Cardinals Pick

The head-to-head is truly lopsided here when you look at both pitchers’ starts against the opposing teams, and it’s very hard to ignore it. The Brewers are a pretty good matchup for Wainwright as a team which can hit the ball in the air, and they’ve been hot in the second half.

I think the oddsmakers have this one right; I’ll take a shot on the Brewers as road favorites despite the heater the Cardinals are on.

Pick: Brewers ML (-145)

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Saturday Premier League Updated Odds, Picks & Prediction: Brentford vs. Manchester United Betting Preview

premier league-betting-odds-picks-predictions-brentford-manchester united-saturday-august 13

Brentford vs. Man United Odds

Brentford Odds +270
Man United Odds +100
Draw +250
Over/Under 2.5 (-130 / -105)
Day | Time Saturday | 12:30 p.m. ET
How To Watch NBC | Peacock Premium | fuboTV
Odds updated as of Saturday morning via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Closing out the Premier League slate Saturday, Brentford welcomes Manchester United to Gtech Community Stadium in search of its first league win over the perennial powerhouse since the 1936-37 season.

The Bees overcame a two-goal deficit in their opener match at Leicester City to pick up the draw and valuable point to start the campaign.

Meanwhile, the Red Devils was beaten at home by Brighton & Hove Albion in the debut of manager Erik ten Hag, which was the first loss at home to the +500 moneyline underdog in the club’s history.

Brentford dropped both matches against Manchester United last season, but this will be a great opportunity for a rare victory against the EPL giant.

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Brentford

Manager Thomas Frank has to be happy with the way his side battled back for a point last weekend, which included multiple first appearances for the club.

Summer signings Aaron Hickey and Ben Mee started the match, while Keane Lewis-Potter made his debut off the bench for the Bees.

These players will be great additions to a team that was very tough at home last season, so the supporters will be fired up for the home opener with United coming to town.

By The Numbers

  • +6.8 Brentford finished the season with a much better xGDiff at home in 2021-22 compared to on the road (-8.2), according to fbref.com.
  • 0 — The Bees haven’t lost their first home game in any of their six previous top-flight campaigns, posting five wins and a draw.
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Manchester United

Between failures in the transfer market and the loss, things haven’t gone to plan so far for ten Hag and there will be no reinforcements in time for this tilt.

The other issue has been the rumors surrounding star striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who was looking for a chance to leave the club this summer.

The United job was always going to be difficult, but all of the external struggles might have ten Hag questioning as to why he came to England from Dutch power Ajax.

By The Numbers

  • 6 — The Red Devils lost their last six away games at the end of the 2021-22 campaign and failed to score in four of those fixtures.
  • 1.70 — On the road last season, United conceded more than 1.5 expected goals per 90 minutes.
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Betting Analysis & Pick

When I look at the odds for this match, the Red Devils are too overvalued in this spot. So, I’m backing Brentford on the Draw No Bet market at +160 odds via BetMGM as my top selection.

The United squad could look different by the end of the transfer window. However, you have to see how the teams are assembled currently and the visitors shouldn’t be this big of a favorite in my opinion.

I also like Brentford getting +0.5 goals on the spread line via the Asian Handicap at any price that’s -120 odds or better, but I think this is the perfect spot for a win by the hosts.

The Pick: Brentford — Draw No Bet (+160)

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NFL Odds, Sharp Betting Pick for Chiefs vs. Bears: Saturday’s NFL Preseason Week 1 Game Landing Smart Money

chiefs-vs-bears-nfl-odds-picks-predictions-best-bet-preseason-saturday-august-13

Chiefs vs. Bears Odds

Chiefs Odds -1
Bears Odds +1
Over/Under 38.5
Date Saturday, Aug. 13
Time 1 p.m. ET
Channel NFL Network

*Odds as of Saturday morning

The latest Chiefs vs. Bears NFL odds are very interesting to me for Saturday afternoon’s preseason matchup.

Depending on the sportsbook, the spread ranges anywhere from a pick’em, to Kansas City -1 and even -1.5.

There is some variance across the market with the over/under as well, as a couple of spots are at 37.5, while others are a point higher at 38.5.

So, what does this mean? What has shaped the game’s odds to this point and how should bettors looking to get down on this game react on Saturday?

Using our NFL PRO betting tools, let’s answer those questions.

Chiefs vs. Bears Pick

To start, let’s look at the most interesting of the Chiefs vs. Bears line moves.

This total initially opened at 33.5 at DraftKings and has rocketed up to between 37.5 and 38.5 as of the time of writing, and you can thank sharp bettors for that movement.

Action Labs’ Bet Signals have tracked four separate waves of smart money flowing on the Chiefs vs. Bears over since this line posted.

In addition, the over has landed a staggering 88% of the money wagered on the over/under market thus far, providing another piece of data regarding why the number has risen so much leading up to Saturday afternoon’s kickoff.

If you are planning on tailing the wiseguys in this game, please be sure to visit the Action Network’s NFL Live Odds Page to shop around for the best line.

There’s absolutely no reason to bet over 38.5 at FanDuel when there are 37.5s easily found at both PointsBet and BetMGM.

PRO Report Pick: Over 37.5

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Guardians vs. Blue Jays MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Target the Total in Toronto (Saturday, August 13)

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Guardians vs. Blue Jays Odds

Guardians Odds +105
Blue Jays Odds -125
Over/Under 8 (-120/+100)
Time 3:07 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Triston McKenzie has been one of the more reliable fixtures in the Cleveland Guardians rotation. He will face Mitch White and the Blue Jays in Toronto on Saturday. White is a solid righty, who ranks in the 84th percentile of Hard-Hit Rate in MLB. McKenzie, however, only ranks in the 33rd percentile and will be facing the team that leads MLB in this metric. This does not bode well for him.

That said, White does not have an easy task at hand, either as Cleveland owns a 107 wRC+ off of righties in the past month. In addition, the Blue Jays have a relatively weak bullpen, meaning Cleveland will be able to push across runs as needed.

All of these signals point to plenty of runs being scored on Saturday afternoon. Toronto also has a team wRC+ of 129 off of righties in the past month, so both teams will hit.

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Cleveland Guardians: Can McKenzie Quiet Blue Jays Bats?

McKenzie is a solid starter. He has a 3.16 ERA and a 3.89 xERA, so he has been a touch lucky this season. This is mainly due to how much hard contact he permits. Opponents are averaging an Exit Velocity of 90.9 mph, which ranks in the 11th percentile. Toronto is a brutal matchup for McKenzie.

George Springer is on the Injured List, but the rest of the Blue Jays are healthy. Toronto only has four hitters with a xwOBA over .320 off of righties over the past month, but they have many other batters, like Alejandro Kirk and Bo Bichette who can piece together good plate appearances. McKenzie is above average in Chase Rate and the Blue Jays rank in the top-10 in said category. Toronto will not swing at poor pitches and since the Blue Jays rank first in Average Exit Velocity, they will hit McKenzie hard.

The hang-up to hitting the total is the Guardians have the best xFIP out of the bullpen in the past month. There is a chance an arm or two may not be available, which would will hinder their success after McKenzie leaves the game. Still, Toronto needs to get to the middle relief portion of this game to add to their total.

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Toronto Blue Jays: Can Pitching Staff Hold Up?

White has a 3.86 ERA and a 4.01 xERA. He does not allow much hard contact, but Cleveland thrives in working the count and finding a way to get on base. The Guardians have seven hitters with a xwOBA over .320 and a few others above .300 off of righties over the past month. This means essentially every hitter in the lineup will have a shot to get on base. They will all provide difficult plate appearances against White and the rest of the Blue Jays’ pitching staff.

Now, Toronto has a 4.04 xFIP out of the ‘pen in the past month, which ranks 18th in MLB. There are weak spots, especially if White exits early. Toronto has enough arms if White makes a quality start, but Cleveland may give him a death by a million cuts in this one.

Guardians-Blue Jays Pick

The total is the best edge in this game. Toronto hammers the ball and McKenzie does not prevent hard hits. The bullpens have some weak spots in middle relief if both of these starters falter. Take this total from 8.5 (-115) and play it to 9.5 (-120). Cleveland’s team total over would also be a good bet, given how every hitter in the lineup can battle.

Pick: Over 8.5 (-115) | play to 9.5 (-120)
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Saturday MLB Props Odds, Picks: 2 Bets for Yu Darvish, Aaron Nola (August 13)

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Aces are wild on this glorious Saturday slate, but I’ve got my eyes on two in particular who are in line for excellent outings today. Let’s get this weekend off on the right foot and dive into my top two player pops for the slate.

Our Action Labs Props Tool grades each prop on a scale from 1-10, and I’ll be sure to include the grade for each of my betting recommendations in my discussions below.

Yu Darvish to Record a Win (-140/+105)

Padres @ Nationals Padres -300
First Pitch 7:05 p.m. ET
Best Line: -140 DraftKings

Yu Darvish has been on an absolute tear since the calendar flipped to May. Since then, 13 of his 16 starts have been quality starts.

Furthermore, in the three starts where he allowed more than three runs, he still went at least six innings in two of them. So if there’s any pitcher almost guaranteed to give us the length needed to record a win, it is Darvish.

What’s made him so successful this season is his command. Darvish’s walk rate is among the top nine percent of all qualified pitchers. It’s also been reflected in his WHIP, which sits at 1.00.

While the Nationals lineup has not exactly fallen off since the trade of Juan Soto and Josh Bell, they don’t have the firepower to keep up with the Padres today. Washington starter Anibal Sanchez has been hit like a pinball this year, and I expect San Diego to pull away while Darvish turns in another quality start.

Pick: Yes -140

Action Labs Grade: 8/10

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Aaron Nola Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+110/-150)

Phillies @ Mets  Mets -200
First Pitch 7:10 p.m. ET
Best Line: +110 Bet365

The New York Mets may have the third lowest strikeout rate in the majors since the trade deadline, but this total is far too low for Aaron Nola.

Nola has returned to Cy Young form, and his duel against Jacob deGrom should be one for the ages. If he wants to keep up with his counterpart, the strikeouts will need to rack up.

Despite the matchup, there should be little concern about Nola going over this total. He’s faced this Mets lineup twice this season. In the first outing, he recorded five strikeouts, but in the second, he had nine.

Not only has he already gone over against the Mets, but that over is a part of the 17 starts that he’s hit his strikeout prop over this season. His over percentage of 77.3 gives us implied odds of -339 that he will go over again.

That is exponential value on this plus-money line.

Pick: Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+110)

Action Labs Grade: 8/10

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Fernando Tatis Drug Suspension Could Cost Collectors, Investors North of $100 Million

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When word circulated that San Diego Padres slugger Fernando Tatis Jr. tested positive for an anabolic steroid and would be suspended for 80 games, a group of fans had to feel sick.

They weren’t feeling sick for the Padres, who signed Tatis to a $340 million contract, they were feeling sick at themselves for investing in the star.

As it turns out, Tatis will only lose some $2.86 million in salary for not playing those games, but the ramifications in the card market could top a nine-figure loss.

“When you take into consideration how much could have been lost here, you not only have to calculate all the trading cards that are graded and in collections, but also the trading cards that are not yet graded, all of the raw product in sealed boxes and cases that will be negatively impacted by this event,” said Ken Goldin, executive chairman of Goldin Auctions. “To me, the total impact to the collecting community could approach $100 million, especially when you take into account that just one single card — the 2016 Bowman Chrome superfractor — likely had a decrease of $2.5 million in itself.”

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The owner of that 1/1 Tatis Superfractor, who goes by @TheCardBully on Instagram, spoke to The Action Network on Friday night.

“I’m really disappointed,” he said. “There was so much anticipation for him to return next week. The disappointment has nothing to do with the short-term financial loss because the card wasn’t even for sale. It’s more of not being able to watch him play this season and into the beginning of next season.”

The card collector said he bought the card in 2018 in a private deal “for a loaf of bread,” but admitted he was offered $2 million for it at a card show in Philadelphia in Sept. 2021 and turned it down.

For his part, Goldin thinks that card is now worth $500,000.

“In my opinion, he can’t ever fully recover from this,” Goldin said. “Unless 20 years from now voters change their standards, there’s no Hall of Fame for him.”

The @cardbully disagrees, but of course, he’s pot committed.

“Pete Rose and Barry Bonds might not be able to get into the Hall of Fame and I don’t think it has affected their high end value,” he said. “This is so early in Tatis’ career and I believe it will blow over far differently than it did with Barry Bonds, who people erroneously attribute his steroid use to his massive success.”

David Ratliff of Signed and Slabbed, which sells signed and slabbed cards, says lack of trust will hurt Tatis cards as much as the steroid news itself.

“They’re going to label him a cheater because he came up with an excuse,” Ratliff said.

Tatis said he inadvertently tested positive as a result of using the drug to treat ringworm. The issue? Clostebol, which he tested positive for, is never used to treat ringworm. Perhaps whoever was giving him the information mixed it up with clobetasol.

“If he came out and said he was caught like Andy Petitte did, it would be different,” Ratliff said. “But here it just seems like he felt the weight of his contract and he wanted to get back on the field and he isn’t accepting responsibility. It’s all a shame because he was the face of the league, he was super likable and he was so fun to watch.”

How many others are affected by Tatis?

In July 2022, industry leading card grader PSA announced the most commonly graded baseball players in the month. Tatis was No. 3 only behind Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Trout — ahead of Derek Jeter and Shohei Ohtani.

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WTA Toronto Tennis Picks, Predictions: Pegula Will Play Halep Tough (August 13)

wednesdays-wta-citi-open-tennis-picks-predictions-pegula-will-comfortably-beat-saville-august 3

We are into the semifinals of WTA Toronto, with four competitors vying for the WTA 1000 title.

I’ve found betting value on two of Saturday’s semifinal matches and provide my best bets and breakdowns below.

Read on to see where I’m putting my money ahead of the semis.

Note: Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.

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Simona Halep (-245) vs. Jessica Pegula (+178)

1 p.m. ET

Simona Halep failed to serve out the second set twice, but she ended up beating Coco Gauff 6-4, 7-6(2). Halep returned very well, holding Gauff to 47% of her return points won and breaking six times.

However, Halep will need to clean up her own service games, winning just 60% of her first serves and 38% of her second serves against Gauff.

In Halep’s career, she’s 321-143 on hard, including a 20-5 record this season. Halep is quick and anticipates well, making her hard to hit through. She controls the baseline well with her heavy, well-placed backhand.

The Romanian can leave groundstrokes short at times, however, and has patches of unforced errors.

Jessica Pegula hit through Yulia Putintseva in her 6-3, 6-3 quarterfinal victory. Despite Putintseva’s ability to get a lot of returns in play, Pegula won 82% of her first serves and wasn’t broken.  She also won 44% of her return points, generating 10 break points during the match.

Pegula is 211-125 as a professional on hard courts, which includes a 16-9 record in 2022.  Pegula is consistent and gets good depth on her groundstrokes. She is strong at the net and hits her flatter groundstrokes into precise areas of the court., Because of this, she can overhit on her groundstrokes at times.

The American did a great job against Putintseva of hanging in rallies for long periods and waiting for her opportunities to attack. This rally tolerance will be very important against a player with the skill set of Halep. Pegula was staying in control of her game, even when Putintseva was baiting her to press on her groundstrokes.

Halep is also leaving her groundstrokes too short in the court, which should allow Pegula to dictate play more often than the Romanian would like. Pegula’s offensive game is looking strong this week and she’s playing with controlled aggression.

Pick: Pegula +3.5 Games (-106 via FanDuel)

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Karolina Pliskova (-122) vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia (+100)

6 p.m. ET

Karolina Pliskova recovered from a set deficit to defeat Qinwen Zheng 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. She was able to break Zheng’s big serve five times during the match. On her own serve, the Czech won 71% of her first-serve points and hit ten aces in the match.

However, Pliskova only won 35% of her second-serve points and hit eight double faults against Zheng. That’s now 16 double faults combined dating back to her previous match against Maria Sakkari.

Pliskova, a former US Open finalist, is 361-189 in her career on hard courts. It’s not been the best season for the Czech, but she’s finding her form this week.

She has a big first serve and aggressive, flatter groundstrokes that she places well. On the other hand, Pliskova does have stretches where she struggles with her rally tolerance and her movement isn’t great either.

Beatriz Haddad Maia backed up her victory over Iga Swiatek by beating Belinda Bencic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals. Haddad Maia won 52% of her second-serve return points and broke four times in the last two sets. In addition, Haddad Maia won 75% of her first serves, although she won just 34% of her second serves.

Haddad Maia has an impressive 42-15 record in 2022, including an 18-8 mark on hard courts. Overall, Haddad Maia is 183-82 on hard courts as a professional.

The Brazilian’s heavy, lefty game is so effective in controlling the baseline. She’s solid from both wings, but dictates play particularly well with her forehand. Haddad Maia is also strong at the net. Her backhand can break down on occasions, though.

It’s hard to go against Haddad Maia in this form. She’s hitting her groundstrokes with such ferocity and with good control.

Haddad Maia has done a great job of finding forehands and hiding her backhand and I look for that to continue against Pliskova. The Brazilian should be able to pin Pliskova in her backhand corner.

Pliskova was also the final match on the court last night and her match lasted over 2.5 hours, so fatigue could be a factor.

Pick: Haddad Maia ML (+100 via PointsBet)

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Premier Lacrosse League Betting Preview: 5 PLL Prop Bets for Week 10

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The Premier Lacrosse League heads to Salt Lake City, Utah for Week 10 and there are several matchups with playoff implications. There are also several player matchups that I’m looking to take advantage of this weekend. So, let’s take a look at my favorite prop bets for PLL Week 10.

If you’re an avid bettor who’s new to lacrosse or a lacrosse fan who’s new to betting, check out my guide on how to bet on lacrosse for some tips to use when placing a lacrosse bet.

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Atlas vs. Whipsnakes (-1.5)

Atlas Odds +100
Whipsnakes Odds -120
Total 23.5
Time Friday, 8 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+

Odds via BetMGM.

Atlas seeks its first win against the Whipsnakes this weekend in the teams’ second meeting of the season. In their previous meeting, the Whipsnakes handed Atlas their first loss of the season, 12-9. Despite the loss, the Atlas had a significant possession advantage and were plagued by poor shooting and the Whipsnakes’ ability to put three two-pointers past Jack Concannon.

Dan Bucaro scored two goals in the first meeting and has managed to record at least one point in six of his seven games. Bucaro has traditionally thrived as a goal scorer, but as Joe Keegan highlighted in his 10-Man Ride Newsletter, Bucaro has recently been pairing with Jeff Teat on the left wing. Following their first meeting, Teat discussed how he didn’t take enough of an active role in the offense when playing the Whips, which was underscored by his one-goal, two-shot stat line. 

I think the Atlas are going to try and get Teat more involved against this Whipsnakes defense and are going to do so via the pairing of Bucaro and Teat. Last week against the Waterdogs, the duo connected on a goal and I think we’ll see some similar opportunities this week. Even if the Whips try to prevent Teat from getting his hands free on the catch-and-shoot, Bucaro should be able to connect on other assist opportunities with any one of Atlas’ offensive weapons. That’s why I’m betting the over on Bucaro’s 0.5 assists prop at +185 (BetMGM). The plus-money value on Bucaro recording one assist is too high to pass up and I would bet it down to +150.

Pick: Dan Bucaro Over 0.5 Assists

Waterdogs (-1.5) vs. Redwoods

Waterdogs Odds -175
Redwoods Odds +145
Total 24.5
Time Friday, 10:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+

Odds via BetMGM.

The Waterdogs are the hottest team in the PLL and are riding a five-game win streak that includes wins against the three teams ahead of them in the standings (Whipsnakes, Atlas, Chrome). Their week 10 opponent is the Redwoods, who — despite their 3-5 record — are playing better down the stretch. While I don’t like betting on either side in this game, I think there is an opportunity to fade one of the Waterdogs star players in Connor Kelly.

Kelly had a monster game last week, recording five points thanks to three singles and a two-pointer. He’s also managed to have at least one goal in all but one of the Waterdogs games. However, his points prop is currently set at 3.5 and is juiced to the over. While Kelly has played well, he’s only had four or more points in four of 22 games as a member of the Waterdogs. 

I think his points prop this week is just too high and you can get some plus money on betting under 3.5 points (+110 on DraftKings).  There is always a risk he could score a two-pointer, but 3.5 is still a safe number when considering his threat from range and that the Redwoods have given up the second-fewest two-point goals (4) through eight games this season. 

Pick: Connor Kelly Under 3.5 Points
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Archers (-1.5) vs. Chaos

Archers Odds -175
Chaos Odds +145
Total 24.5
Time Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+

Odds via BetMGM.

The Chaos take on the Archers for the second time this season and once again we are fading a Chaos defense that has lived and (often) died by its refusal to slide when defenders are beaten. Blaze Riroden is a phenomenal goalie, but he can only do so much against the Archers’ sharpshooters, who are shooting a league-best 34%. This year, Chaos has allowed the second-worst shooting percentage in settled situations and is giving up the highest percentage of unassisted goals. While many of the Archers points and goals props are too high for my liking, there are two players whose props I’m eyeing this week.

The first is Grant Ament, who returned to the Archers lineup three weeks ago after dealing with a hamstring injury to start the season. He’s taken some time to get up to speed, but has seen steady progress and hasn’t been afraid to shoot the ball, averaging more than four shots per game. Given the Chaos’ propensity to not slide early, I think Ament will be more likely to dodge to score than feed on Saturday and think his goals prop at 1.5 (-115 on DraftKings) is worth betting. Ament has recorded two goals in his past three meetings with the Chaos and that was when the Chaos defense was playing significantly better.

Another player I like is Ryan Ambler, who has been flying a bit under the radar. Ambler makes the most of his limited touches, averaging exactly 1.5 points per game in the past two seasons, which is what his points prop is set at this week. However, the Archers have been utilizing Ambler more, particularly in inverted sets (dodging behind the cage against short-stick defenders), and he’s had three goals on 12 shots through the past two games. Ambler has also thrived against this Chaos defense recently, recording two points in the past two meetings. I think it’s worth betting Ambler to go over 1.5 points (-115 on DraftKings) this Saturday.

Picks: Grant Ament Over 1.5 Goals, Ryan Ambler Over 1.5 Points

Chrome (-2.5) vs. Cannons

Chrome Odds -250
Cannons Odds +185
Total 23.5
Time Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+

Odds via BetMGM.

Needing to win out in the final two weeks, the Cannons face a Chrome defense that boasts the second-best settled defensive efficiency in the past three seasons (22.2%). Despite a 1-7 record and playoff hopes dwindling, Lyle Thompson has done all he can to save the Cannons’ season. He currently leads the league in points (36) and goals (22), averaging 4.5 points per game. I think Thompson’s points prop is too high to bet against this Chrome defense, but, as we’ve seen in every game this year, Thompson is going to put up points. That’s why I like betting over 1.5 assists (-150 on BetMGM).

The Chrome managed to hold Thompson to his lowest goal total of the season (two) when these teams faced off in Week 4. However, Thompson used that as an opportunity to distribute the ball to his teammates and tied his highest assist total of the season (3). I think the Chrome defense is going to try and take away Thompson’s strengths as a goal-scorer, which will force him to look to feed. With his assist total set at only 1.5 assists, I think it’s worth betting over that mark at its current price of -150.

Pick: Lyle Thompson Over 1.5 Assists
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2022 Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Strategy: Jonathan Taylor Is the Clear Number 1 Pick

fantasy football rankings-jonathan taylor-running back-number one pick-fantasy football-2022

The top of fantasy football drafts in 2022 features three players who mostly sit above the rest. Two are running backs, and one is a record-breaking wide receiver.

Jonathan Taylor and Christian McCaffrey are on their own levels at the top of the RB rankings (just ask Sean Koerner). Then there’s Cooper Kupp, who won plenty of people their fantasy leagues in early 2022.

Our staff of fantasy football writers is aligned with who should be the No. 1 pick, though. Check out their breakdowns below.

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Sean Koerner

Jonathan Taylor should be the consensus 1.01 in 2022 drafts. Even though his receiving upside is limited, he makes up for it with his rushing production.

Many running backs below him in most rankings have seemingly taken steps backward, the likes of Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley and more. A big reason for that is injuries, which aren’t an issue for Taylor, who hasn’t missed a practice — not a game, not a game — in high school, college or the NFL. No one is truly injury proof, but Taylor has been so far.

He’s the clear No. 1 in drafts this year.Fantasy Football CTA for PRO

Samantha Previte

Taylor is the consensus No. 1 essentially everywhere for good reason.

The 23-year-old built off the momentum he had in the back half of his rookie season and tallied a whopping 1,811 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns last season. He tallied 60 more points than Austin Ekeler — the second highest-scoring running back in 0.5-point PPR leagues — in Weeks 1-17.

Taylor benefitted from the Colts’ heavy reliance on the run game, which could decrease slightly with the upgrade in quarterback from Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan. That said, the team did not add any major competition in the backfield during free agency (most notable was Phillip Lindsay), and Taylor’s 5.5 yards per attempt (the second-highest among RBs last season) should mean he can be highly effective without a massive workload.

Taylor is the safest no-brainer pick in all one-quarterback leagues, regardless of scoring.

Chris Raybon

After averaging an impressive 97.8 scrimmage yards and 0.80 TDs as a rookie, Taylor left the stratosphere in Year 2 with a league leading 2,071 scrimmage yards and 20 TDs. In 33 career games his median for scrimmage yards is 110, and he scored at least one TD in 21, or 64%.

Taylor is set up well to continue to rack up yardage and TDs. The yardage should be there because the Colts have the third-easiest strength of schedule based on opposing win totals, which should allow for plenty of positive game script.

The scoring should be there because the Colts upgraded at quarterback from Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan after a season in which they were still seventh in red-zone opportunities per game. Of course, as with any outlier season, my model expects regression for Taylor, but I’m still projecting him for over 1,600 total yards and 13 TDs.

Even in full PPR formats, I would still give Taylor the nod over Christian McCaffrey. Taylor has now shown he can put up McCaffrey-like point totals and is the younger, more durable player. Taylor won’t turn 24 until January 2023 and has played in 32 of a possible 33 career games. McCaffrey is 26 and has played in 58 of a possible 81 games (72%).

Another alternative is a WR like Cooper Kupp or Justin Jefferson. While I have Taylor and Kupp neck-and-neck in projected PPR points, with Jefferson close as well, I already factor in the added injury risk.

Assuming a non-Superflex league, RB is also the more valuable position. With Taylor in tow, you can usually still snag two WR1s at the Round 2-3 turn.Fantasy Football CTA for PRO

2022 Fantasy Football Sleepers, Rankings: QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs We’re Targeting

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Quarterback Sleepers

Sean Koerner

Jalen Hurts: Hurts is part of my overall draft strategy in all formats.

For me, it’s about when you take a QB in the draft. Hurts is going at the ideal time. He allows you to load up on skill positions at the start of the draft as the QB7.

With Hurts’ massive rushing upside and elite offensive line, as well as his improved weapons, he might be the most likely QB not named Josh Allen to finish the season as the overall QB1. DeVonta Smith should improve in his second season, and adding A.J. Brown is obviously a big boost.

Hurts finished as a top-12 QB 73% of weeks last season, which was the highest rate at the position. I’m targeting him at QB7 so I can make sure the rest of my roster is set.

Trey Lance: Lance did about as well as expected last season in his limited action, and he should be better in Year 2 as the established starter in San Francisco.

Lance is obviously going to offer a ton of rushing upside. He may be limited as a passer, but there have been some encouraging reports out of training camp and he should only improve in that aspect of his game.

The former No. 3 overall pick has strong weapons in the passing game in Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle, as well. Also, Elijah Mitchell offers a steady presence in the rushing game as long as he stays healthy.

Lance is definitely worth taking in one-quarterback or Best Ball leagues. There’s slightly more risk in two-QB formats.Fantasy Football CTA for PRO

Samantha Previte

Jameis Winston: Winston is one of my favorite sleeper targets this season.

Winston infamously threw for 5,109 yards, 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in his final season for the Buccaneers and finished as the QB4 for fantasy. Last season, a torn ACL prematurely ended his season. He was the QB14 on a per-game basis in his seven starts in what was a watered-down, conservative version of Winston.

This year, the former No. 1 overall pick will have significantly upgraded weapons this season as well. Michael Thomas, who we haven’t really seen since 2019, is on track to return, and he’ll be joined at wide receiver by first-round rookie Chris Olave. Running back Alvin Kamara is obviously high on the pass-catching depth chart, as well.

Winston is being drafted as the QB23, according to FantasyPros. This feels much closer to a floor than median outcome for a player I could see finishing in the top 12 at the position.

Baker Mayfield: Mayfield, 27, is coming off of a disappointing 2021 campaign in which he completed 60.5% of his passes for a career-low 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. That prompted a public fallout with the Browns. His season was marred by injuries, however, including a knee contusion and partially torn labrum which had a significant impact on his throwing abilities.

I am cautiously optimistic that the change in scenery and personnel could reignite his career. Cleveland deployed a run-heavy scheme last season, limiting his fantasy value significantly. Carolina also has solid weapons, namely pass-catching running back Christian McCaffrey and receiver D.J. Moore, both of whom should boost Mayfield’s stock significantly.

My primary concerns about Mayfield are his health and the Panthers’ offensive line, which ranked 31st out of 32 according to Pro Football Focus’ rankings, though the team did make some much-needed additions this offseason.

Mayfield is being drafted as the QB25, according to FantasyPros, which is dirt cheap for a quarterback who will likely start 16+ games if healthy. I expect him to finish as a high-end QB2 with QB1 weeks sprinkled in.

Mayfield is a solid sleeper target in two-quarterback/Superflex leagues and even as a weekly streamer in bye weeks or positive matchups for one-quarterback leagues

Chris Raybon

Trey Lance: If recent history has taught us anything, it’s that we should fade the noise surrounding a young QB with questionable passing ability but high-end rushing ability.

In 2019, people weren’t sure if Lamar Jackson could throw; he posted the overall QB1 finish at an ADP of QB12. In 2020, it was Josh Allen’s turn to have his passing chops doubted, keeping his ADP in check at QB11; he too finished as the overall QB1. And last season, Jalen Hurts didn’t have enough believers to vault him past QB12 in ADP; he posted QB7 numbers on a per-game basis.

Sure, Lance’s throwing motion looks funky, but so what? He averaged 12 carries for 60 yards in his two starts. While he struggled as a passer in his first start (15-of-29, 197 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT) he was fine in his next one, going 16-of-23 for 249 with 2 TDs and 1 interception en route to a QB9 finish.

Lance will give you those sweet, sweet points on the ground that are almost essential for fantasy QB success unless your name is Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. And Lance’s floor and ceiling as a passer is raised by having two of the best weapons in the league at their respective positions in WR Deebo Samuel and TE George Kittle.

Lance also has one of the best offensive minds in the game in Kyle Shanahan. Jimmy Garoppolo, also known as the quarterback Shanahan just discarded for Lance, averaged 8.4 yards per attempt in this offense. Heck, even Nick Mullens nearly averaged 8.0 YPA in this offense, finishing with 7.9 on a not-insignificant 600 attempts. And Lance himself, despite not always inspiring confidence as a thrower, averaged 8.5 YPA last season in a small sample.

But if for some reason Shanahan isn’t able to coax the same success out of Lance that he has with other QBs, it wouldn’t matter in fantasy because he’d just use him even more as a runner. Lance is antifragile. I have him ranked QB10. At an ADP of QB13, he’s the lowest-drafted QB with legitimate overall QB1 upside.

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Running Back Sleepers

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There is a theme with my four choices. I’m targeting players who might not be their team’s RB1, but they have standalone value when the starter is healthy and immense upside when that player is out.

A.J. Dillon: Dillon may look like it, but he’s not just a bruiser. The third-year man offers pass-catching upside, with four games of four or more receptions last season. If Aaron Jones misses time, he becomes an instant RB1.

Melvin Gordon: New Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett comes from Green Bay, where his offense utilized both Jones and Dillon well last season. He limits Javonte Williams from reaching his full potential and offers RB2 upside if the second-year man misses time. I like targeting him at RB37 in drafts right now.

Kareem Hunt: After five games last season, Hunt was the overall RB5 — and that was with Nick Chubb healthy! Hunt has RB2/flex value when Chubb is healthy, and he becomes a top-10 option if Chubb misses time. His floor/ceiling combination makes him a great value at RB33.

Tony Pollard: With a limited WR corps, the Cowboys may get creative in how they use Pollard this season. He’s a proven receiver and could be lined up out wide more often in 2022-23. If Ezekiel Elliott misses time, Pollard becomes an instant top-5/10 option at running back.

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Don Juan Moore/Getty Images. Pictured: James Robinson.

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James Robinson: Writing off Robinson has practically become a fantasy football pastime over the last three seasons. The former undrafted free agent came out of thin air and burst onto the scene in 2020, recording the most scrimmage yards of any undrafted free agent rookie and finished as the RB4 in half-PPR.

Robinson was once again thrust into the spotlight after first-round pick Travis Etienne Jr. suffered a Lisfranc injury last year in the preseason. In spite of an injury-shortened campaign, he still ended up as the RB23 in 14 games and was just shy of 1,000 scrimmage yards.

It’s understandable why the 23-year-old Robinson would be somewhat of an afterthought after suffering a torn Achilles in December and with Etienne returning. He shockingly avoided the PUP list, however, and could be ready for Week 1.

Etienne is being drafted as the RB23 in half-PPR according to FantasyPros, but I would much prefer getting Robinson nearly five rounds later at RB38. I think the most likely scenario is that this backfield becomes a committee, which gives Robinson a clearer path to finish as a viable fantasy asset.

Cordarrelle Patterson: Lots of strange things have happened in fantasy last season, but I do not think anyone had a Year 9 Cordarrelle Patterson breakout on their bingo card.

Patterson, 31, was largely disappointing and forgotten until he was switched to running back in 2021, when posted career-highs in receiving and rushing, tallying 205 touches for 1,166 scrimmage yards and 11 touchdowns.

Many have been quick to dismiss Patterson’s 2021 season as a fluke. For one, the dual-eligible WR/RB did slow down toward the end of the season, but he still finished as the RB8 in half PPR. He will also have a less appealing quarterback situation going from Matt Ryan to Marcus Mariota, who has not started since 2019. The Falcons made only minor additions to their backfield in Tyler Allgeier and Damien Williams.

I do not expect Patterson to replicate his whirlwind breakout season. However, he has carved out a niche role in this offense, which has a dearth of weapons. Drafting him at RB43 — his half-PPR ADP, according to FantasyPros — imparts minimal risk and significant reward, especially for any PPR formats.

Brian Robinson Jr.: Almost all of the offseason rookie running back hype involved Breece Hall and Ken Walker, but Brian Robinson Jr. could be a sneaky name for deep leagues and best-ball.

Robinson, who ran 271 times for 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns last season for Alabama, is part of what Ron Rivera hopes is a three-pronged approach. J.D. McKissic will remain in his niche, pass-catching role, but Antonio Gibson’s workload could be in jeopardy with Robinson in town.

The big-bodied, bruising Robinson is an interesting foil for Gibson, who has elicited criticism for usage and durability. The rookie could siphon away precious goal-line carries.

Robinson’s ceiling remains at least somewhat capped on a relatively low-upside offense led by Carson Wentz. The team’s time of possession and run-friendly game scripts could be limited if Wentz cannot keep games competitive.

That said, Robinson’s ADP in half PPR is RB63, making him a dirt-cheap, moderate upside play. His touchdown-dependency makes him an even safer play in best-ball formats.Fantasy Football CTA for PRO

Raybon

James Conner: Conner isn’t a sleeper in the traditional sense, but he is undervalued at his RB18 ADP. Conner finished as the RB5 last season despite Chase Edmonds playing 12 games and averaging 13.3 touches in those contests. In the five games Edmonds missed, Conner averaged 21.6 touches, which he parlayed into 96.6 scrimmage yards and 1.4 total TDs a game.

While it’s certainly possible that backups Eno Benjamin, Darrel Williams and/or Keaontay Ingram inherit some of Edmonds’ snaps, it’s highly unlikely they get anything close to 13.3 touches per game. Conner averaged 13.6 touches per game in the 12 games Edmonds played, so a reasonable outcome would be to expect somewhere in the range of 17-18 touches per game this year. That’s great value in this part of the draft, as every RB going after him is likely to be involved in a more prominent committee.


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Wide Receiver Sleepers

Koerner

JuJu Smith-Schuster: It’s crazy that Smith-Schuster is still only 25 years old. It feels like a decade ago that he and Antonio Brown were running the Steelers offense. JuJu is younger than Terry McLaurin!

This change of scenery should help Smith-Schuster, who’s the safest bet of any receiver in Patrick Mahomes’ arsenal. My only concern is that his route tree might overlap Travis Kelce’s a bit, but I’m still high on Smith-Schuster with the Chiefs.

Gabriel Davis: I was super high on Davis entering last season before Emmanuel Sanders was signed. Now, he’s in position to be the No. 2 option in a pass-heavy Bills offense with Josh Allen under center.

Without Sanders last season from Weeks 14-18, Davis was the WR22 in 0.5-point PPR leagues. His ADP is down to WR28, which means his hype is gaining steam.

Allen Lazard: Lazard is one of my favorite WR targets later in drafts. His ADP is still WR46 and could go down throughout the month.

Lazard is still only 26 years old and already has chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. There’s a chance he ends up as the four-time MVP’s favorite target this season, giving him potential 10-touchdown upside.

He’s not the most talented receiver in Green Bay, but he has a ton of upside given his situation.

K.J. Osborn: Osborn should see a boost in new head coach Kevin O’Connell’s new offensive scheme, which I’m guessing will implement more 11 personnel. Osborn’s routes run rate could go from 70% last season up to 90% under the new regime.

In Weeks 13-18, Osborn was the WR16 and at 90% routes run when Adam Thielen was out. He has a high floor at his WR74 ADP.

Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: JuJu Smith-Schuster.

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JuJu Smith-Schuster: It feels odd to call JuJu Smith-Schuster a sleeper, but he enters this season as a perfect zero-to-hero candidate.

Smith-Schuster is coming off of a disappointing, injury-riddled season in which he appeared in just five games and caught 28 passes for 129 yards and one touchdown. He’s in an excellent bounce-back spot with a titanic upgrade at quarterback and a clear path to a significant target share with Tyreek Hill traded to the Dolphins.

Patrick Mahomes offers sky-high upside to his pass-catchers, of which there are fewer in Kansas City. Last season, Smith-Schuster was competing with Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and Pat Freiermuth for a paltry number of targets. He’ll likely compete to be Mahomes’ No. 2 target with 2022 second-round pick Skyy Moore. Given how high-volume the Chiefs’ passing game is, I’m fairly certain there will be enough targets to go around.

Smith-Schuster is currently being drafted as the WR33 in half-PPR. I see that more as his floor than a median outcome. Grab him at a discount while your leaguemates are still bitter about his 2021 season.

Robert Woods: Once a fantasy darling, Woods has fallen out of favor due to age and injury history. He’s recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last November and is on the wrong side of 30. Prior to that, Woods had posted two top-12 WR seasons in the last three years and three straight in the top-20.

While going from Matt Stafford to Ryan Tannehill is a downgrade, Woods has a clearer path to targets on the Titans. His primary competition for targets was projected to be first-round rookie Treylon Burks, who drew immediate hype based on his landing spot and attractive build. However, Burks may not be progressing on schedule and is not taking reps with the first team. I try to not overreact to training camp reports (remember how Ja’Marr Chase allegedly couldn’t catch a football last summer?), but it warrants a bit of concern.

Setting training report scuttlebutt aside, it seems fair to say that the Titans’ WR1 spot remains very much up for grabs. Woods offers great value at WR40, especially if Burks does indeed get a slow start.

Christian Kirk: Kirk was quietly the Cardinals’ top receiver last season with 77 catches for 982 yards and five touchdowns. He finished as the WR24, his best fantasy season to date.

The Jaguars have major post-hype sleeper appeal on the heels of a three-win season. Lawrence remains ridiculously talented and should be partially absolved based on the events surrounding last season. He won’t offer the same upside as Kyler Murray, but I would not be so quick to write Lawrence off completely.

Competition for the Jaguars’ WR1 spot remains wide open, and Kirk could be the one to seize the opportunity. His half-PPR ADP of WR42 is far too low in light of his previous production and positive situation.

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Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Lockett

Raybon

Tyler Lockett: If you’re not rushing to buy the dip on Tyler Lockett, we can’t be friends. It’s true that Lockett lost one of the league’s top QBs, but it’s also true that Lockett is one of the best WRs in the league at getting open. In fact, he averaged more targets (8.0) and catches (5.3) in three games without Wilson than he did in 13 games with Wilson (7.0, 4.4) last season.

Lockett is entering his age-30 season, but showed no signs of slowing down last season. In fact, he posted career-highs in yards per route (2.35) and receiving yards per game (73.4) while posting the second-highest PFF receiving grade of his career at 82.1 – mere tenths of a point away from his career-high 82.5 mark set in 2018.

Lockett finished as the WR13 last season and hasn’t finished outside the top 15 WRs in half-PPR since 2017. His numbers will take a hit without Wilson, but his WR39 ADP essentially removes all the risk. You always want to bet on good players, and Lockett is proven to be nothing but.

Drake London: Best-ball drafters have caught on to London’s sleeper appeal – he ranks 33rd on Underdog – but redrafters haven’t caught up yet, as he’s WR45 in FantasyPros’ half-PPR ADP. His appeal is simple: He was the top WR in the draft and is locked into the WR1 role for his team. Sure, the Falcons don’t project to exactly be a passing juggernaut with Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder atop the QB depth chart, but that’s why London comes priced as one of the cheapest WR1s.

Given London’s size and contested catch ability, it’s easy to worry about his ability to separate. But according to London’s Reception Perception charting, London had no issues getting open, ranking in top-third at getting open against every coverage type, including the 93rd percentile against zone coverage.

Robert Woods: Woods is somewhat risky going to a new team and coming off a torn ACL, but the risk is priced appropriately at WR40.

At this point in the draft, there are a lot of enticing players who could have big weeks here and there, but there’s not much consistency to be had. Woods is expected to not only be the Titans No. 1 WR, but also their top target. And the more Treylon Burks struggles, the more likely it is that Woods remains in that role for the entire season.

Woods is not only one of the cheapest WR1s by ADP, and also one of the cheapest players who projects as their team’s most targeted player, as the likes of London and Rashod Bateman are expected to play second-fiddle to Kyle Pitts and Mark Andrews, respectively.

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Tight End Sleepers

Koerner

Dalton Schultz: Schultz represents an important spot at tight end entering draft season. He’s the last player in terms of ADP before there’s a significant drop at the position. That’s why he’s listed as a sleeper here.

Schultz is now the clear No. 1 TE in Dallas, and his role could increase with Amari Cooper gone and Michael Gallup potentially not ready for the start of the season. He should be one of Dak Prescott’s top-two or three targets every week.

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Pat Freiermuth: Freiermuth wasn’t as exciting as Kyle Pitts in 2021, but he certainly showed glimmers of greatness amid a suboptimal situation.

I was super high on Freiermuth (also known as “Baby Gronk”) as a late-round sleeper last season. He far exceeded expectations and finished as the TE14 in half PPR, all while catching passes from an extremely watered-down Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers’ QB situation is unlikely to improve drastically with Mitch Trubisky likely under center, though Freiermuth has already proven capable of outperforming his situation. His half-PPR ADP according to FantasyPros is TE12, which he could outperform his paltry draft price. The second-year man could end the season in the top five at the position.

Hunter Henry: Henry joined the Patriots during the 2021 free agency frenzy and quickly built a rapport with Mac Jones. Henry tallied 50 catches for 603 yards and nine touchdowns, good enough for a TE9 finish in half-PPR leagues. It was Henry’s fourth-consecutive top 12 finish in fantasy in his five-year NFL career, a trend I expect to continue given the Patriots’ relatively shallow pass-catching depth chart.

Henry isn’t as flashy as some of his other tight end counterparts and draws criticism for being touchdown-dependent. He’s a great best-ball target and a solid overall sleeper with an ADP in half-PPR of TE16, which feels very low for a player who could easily finish inside the top 10 at tight end.

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2022 Fantasy Football Rankings, Predictions: Players We’re Avoiding in Drafts, Including Aaron Rodgers, DeAndre Hopkins, More

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Most players will claim to be in the best shape of their lives entering training camp, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to be high on everyone for the upcoming fantasy football season.

Our fantasy football experts have assembled a list of players they’re not looking to draft ahead of the 2022-23 season. Some are due to age, others because of injury. Some, well, frankly we’re just not too high on.

Check out our expert breakdowns below.


Click here to access our 2022 draft guide.


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Sean Koerner
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Sean Koerner

Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers’ value obviously takes a dip with Davante Adams now plying his trade in Las Vegas. No matter who emerges as Rodgers’ go-to pass catchers this season, they will not replace Adams’ production.

At this stage in his career, Rodgers doesn’t offer the same upside he used to as a rusher, especially compared to some quarterbacks who are going around him in drafts. Also, the Packers may rely more on their run game without Adams and with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon.

Rodgers is a first-ballot Hall of Famer who will make due, but around QB11 it feels like you’re paying more for his name value.

Antonio Gibson: Gibson has displayed the skills to be a workhorse RB1 back in Washington, but he has never been given the chance to fill that role. This year doesn’t look like it’ll be any different.

J.D. McKissic is back in Washington to fill the third-down, pass-catching role in the Washington backfield. Also, Brian Robinson was drafted in the third round and has the skill set and build to potentially take goal-line work away from Gibson.

Gibson will still be the lead back in Washington. He finished as the RB10 last season, but his ceiling is now capped with both McKissic and Robinson in the backfield.

Hunter Renfrow: Renfrow was a potential league winner last season off the waiver wire, although he’s unlikely to have the same kind of impact this year on the Raiders passing game.

Obviously, Renfrow takes a hit from Las Vegas acquiring Davante Adams. The former Clemson star will still see plenty of targets, but he becomes the third passing option when everyone is healthy on the Raiders behind Adams and Darren Waller.

This offense is capable of supporting three relevant pass catchers, so Renfrow will still see plenty of work. His best work, though, came after Henry Ruggs’ release and while Waller was hurt. Expect Renfrow to produce this season, but I’m avoiding him this season.

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Samantha Previte

Travis Etienne: This is no knock on Etienne as a player, but I’m avoiding him at cost with James Robinson avoiding the PUP list and trending toward being ready for Week 1.

Both Etienne and Robinson are recovering from major injuries. Etienne missed the entirety of last season due to a Lisfranc injury he suffered in the Jaguars’ second preseason game, while Robinson is recovering from a torn Achilles he suffered in December 2021.

Robinson’s health could muddy the waters for the Jacksonville backfield as most expected him to miss at least some time with such a major injury. The 23-year-old former undrafted free agent has been shockingly impactful since entering the league in 2020 and has been the team’s top rusher in each of the last two seasons. He is being drafted as the RB38 in half PPR while Etienne is the RB23.

In light of both running backs’ health issues, I doubt the team will use either Robinson or Etienne as a bell-cow, workhorse back. I predict that this shakes out into being a committee, which makes me wary of using such an early pick on Etienne.

Mike Gesicki: Mike Gesicki has quietly been a top 12 tight end in each of the last three seasons, but I am fading him this year at cost.

My primary concern with Gesicki’s ADP is the addition of former Chiefs star Tyreek Hill, who will inevitably siphon away targets from the other pass catchers on this team. Prior to the acquisition, it had appeared Jaylen Waddle would be a blue-chip top 12 receiver after a very strong finish to his rookie campaign. He and Hill are both being drafted in the top 14 at the position and Gesicki is being drafted as the TE11. Meanwhile, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is being drafted as the QB16 which doesn’t quite add up.

Of the three pass catchers mentioned, I predict that Gesicki will suffer the most in terms of fantasy and I would not feel comfortable drafting him inside the top 12 at the position.

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Chris Raybon

DeAndre Hopkins: I’m not a fan of sacrificing a full season of upside for a player who will be suspended six games like Hopkins because the missed games are not properly discounted.

According to FantasyPros’ consensus ADP, Hopkins is still going at WR35 in half-PPR, whereas I have him ranked at WR51 with a projection of 52/695/4.

It doesn’t help that Hopkins was showing signs of decline even before his PED suspension, posting his lowest marks in per-game catches (4.2) and yards (57.2) since his 2013 rookie campaign. His underlying metrics tell the same story, as he also posted his lowest rate of targets per route run (18.2%) since his rookie year (14.5%). That’s a massive 6.4% drop-off from his first year in Arizona (24.6%).
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MMA Prop Squad: +1900 Prop Bet for Devin Clark Among Best Options for UFC San Diego

Welcome to the latest edition of MMA Prop Squad, in which we offer an array of prop bets with oversized odds for Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 41 event.

In this weekly feature, Action Network’s MMA team welcomes in a revolving cast of contributors and fellow combat-sports analysts. Each installment will feature a handful of picks from our squad of prop-betting enthusiasts.

This week marks the return of contributors Tony Sartori and Dan Tom, who both cashed #MMAPropSquad bets at last week’s event – with odds of +430 and +850, respectively.

Contributors Manpreet Jhass and Clint Maclean are also back in the squad this week – and they targeted the same fight, but in different ways – as is full-time writer Billy Ward.

Check out their picks for Saturday’s event, which airs on ESPN (4 p.m. ET) from Pechanga Arena in San Diego, below.

As with all betting, always wager within your means. That guidance is especially important when dealing with prop bets. Although the props often offer tantalizing odds, they also cash far less frequently than standard bet types.


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Dan Tom: Devin Clark in Round 3 (+1900)

Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Protect Ya’ Neck podcast

Perhaps I’m pressing my luck from last week with another round prop here, but I just can’t help myself when it comes to certain stylistic angles in MMA gambling.

This fight, for example, features a hyped-up favorite who has seldom been past the first round taking on a wrestling-based fighter who has spent more time grinding against UFC-level opposition.

Don’t get me wrong: Azamat Murzakanov (11-0) is a talented southpaw striker whose skills have a decent shot of getting Devin Clark (13-6) out of there early. However, we’ve seen Clark fight through broken jaws and the like, and I suspect that the American’s chances to win increase exponentially should he survive the initial storm.

Add in the improvements that Clark has shown since switching his camp to Elevation Fight Team, and I believe that the 32-year-old can make Murzakanov work hard with wrestling early in order to tire out the Russian and capitalize late.

Aside from sprinkling on Clark in round 3, I also kicked for coverage by playing his moneyline (+125) for one unit.

The Pick: Devin Clark Wins in Round 3 (+1900 at FanDuel)


Tony Sartori: Da’Mon Blackshear via submission (+460)

Contributor at The Action Network

An exciting bantamweight bout kicks off UFC San Diego as Youssef Zalal (10-5) meets Da’mon Blackshear (12-4). Fighting out of Fayetteville, North Carolina (shout out J. Cole), Blackshear will make his UFC debut.

Possessing a 12-4 professional record, Blackshear enters his promotional debut in great form. Winning all of his past four fights and six of his past seven, the former Cage Fury bantamweight champion has taken Saturday’s fight on short notice as a way to bring his success into the UFC.

Across multiple promotions (Bellator, CES, CFFC), Blackshear has established himself as a dangerous threat on the mat. Of those six wins mentioned above, five have come via submission.

I expect Blackshear’s strong submission game to be a problem for Zalal, who enters this scrap amid a three-fight losing skid. We saw this in his loss to Ilia Topuria, who scored five takedowns against Zalal and gathered a dominating 8:02 of control time.

If Blackshear dominates in a similar fashion, then it wouldn’t be shocking at all if he were to lock in a choke. Despite a strong start to his UFC career, Zalal has produced three straight disappointing performances and could soon see himself out the door if he drops yet another fight.

Zalal (unsuccessfully) shoots at a high rate and attempts to work from the clinch. If he does so once again in this fight, it could be a recipe for disaster against a much more technically sound grappler in Blackshear. We should expect this fight to be similar to the Zalal-Topuria scrap, which quite frankly Topuria should have won via submission after he had Zalal in a deep guillotine choke that he miraculously survived.

I think that if Blackshear gets Zalal in a similar predicament, then he’ll not be as fortunate.

The Pick: Da’Mon Blackshear Wins via Submission (+460 at FanDuel)

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Manpreet Jhass: Martin Buday in Round 2 (+550)

Contributor at The Action Network and MMA content creator


This week we have two Contender Series alumni facing off in the heavyweight division. Usually, we expect a quick knockout or a slow drawn-out decision. However, at UFC San Digo, I believe we get something in between.

Martin Buday (10-1), a former 20-hour-a-day gamer who used to weigh upward of 375 pounds, came into the UFC with a dominant victory over Chris Barnett. He grinded Barnett against the cage and chipped away at him with knees to the body, which actually broke one of Barnett’s ribs. But he also had an unfortunate stoppage due to an inadvertent shot to the back of the head. Luckily for Martin, the referee deemed it unintentional, and he was still able to pick up the win.

That is Buday’s style: He puts on a relentless pace, almost never taking a step back, until he is able to break his opponents and get them out of there. He does his best work in the clinch, a place where I think he can go with relative ease here.

Lukasz Brzeski (8-1-1) benefitted during his Contender Series bout by fighting a short-notice step-in, which helped him earn his UFC contract. I don’t think he is anywhere near UFC-level, and he’ll be out of the UFC by this time next year. Lukasz has been prone to slowing down in fights that go deeper than four minutes, and I’m expecting Buday to take full advantage of that.

I wanted to target the Round 3 prop here, but I really don’t expect Lukasz to survive 10 minutes in there with a workhorse like Buday.

The Pick: Martin Buday Wins in Round 2 (+550 at FanDuel)


Clint Maclean: Ariane Lipski via submission (+575)

Contributor at The Action Network and host of the Die Hard MMA Podcast

Ariane Lipski and Priscila Cachoeira – The Queen of Violence and the Zombie Girl – have been booked to fight twice before. Now, after last week’s latest postponement due to Lipski’s bad weight, the flyweights are scheduled to meet on Saturday – at bantamweight.

The way these two women fight often produces high-powered violence. Both women look for the finish from the opening bell, and it’s hard to see this being anything but a banger.

The key to this fight for me is going to be the time that Lipski has spent with top-level talent and coaches at American Top Team. When we first saw Lipski, we found out very quickly what she is all about. She’s more than willing to fight fire with fire, and she came into the UFC facing the likes of Molly McCann and Joanne Wood.

After facing a few setbacks, Lipski (14-7) has bought in on her fighting career and moved to one of the best gyms in the world to work specifically on her MMA wrestling and grappling. Lipski was always an aggressive finisher, but giving her offense the extra wrinkle of solid wrestling and stronger positional grappling will make her even more of a dual threat.

Cachoeira (11-4), meanwhile, is known for her durability and willingness to brawl, but the one area in her UFC career where she’s struggled has been her defensive grappling and submission defense. Two of Cachoeira’s four losses have come by submission, and should Lipski put her new skills to the test or simply end up on top after a scramble or knockdown, we could see Lipski shift gears.

I love attacking submission props for fighters who are too tough to go down due to strikes, and Zombie Girl fits that mold. We missed with our previous #MMAPropSquad sub pick. Let’s get back on track here with The Queen of Violence by submission.

The Pick: Ariane Lipski Wins by Submission (+575 at BetRivers)


Billy Ward: Priscila Cachoeira ITD (+500)

Staff Writer at The Action Network

As we know, Priscila Cachoeira’s fight against Arianne Lipski was supposed to happen last week, before Lipski missed weight and then wasn’t cleared medically to go through with the fight. Now, they’re fighting up a weight class at 135 pounds, but only one week later.

However, I’d be surprised if Lipski doesn’t still need to cut some weight this time around. She officially weighed in at 128.5 last week, but that was a hard enough cut, and she wasn’t able to fight following it. That suggests she walks around well heavier than 135 since a seven-pound cut is unlikely to have caused her to be unable to fight.

Generally following weigh-ins, fighters rehydrate and refuel immediately thereafter, and then tend to rebound in weight somewhat higher than their normal weights. Having to cut weight again seven days following that experience is a tall order, especially with Lipski’s weight-miss being blamed on a bout of COVID during this camp.

That’s a problem against Zombie Girl, who comes forward aggressively in all of her fights. Cachoeira is 3-1 in her past four, with two knockouts and a loss on the ground. I don’t expect Lipski to bring her down, so the combination of Cachoeira’s power and a depleted Lipski could spell another TKO win for Zombie Girl.

With her knockout odds being only slightly higher at +550, I’ll cover the chances of a “club-and-sub” situation by playing the “inside the distance” (ITD) line.

The Pick: Priscila Cachoeira Wins by Finish (+500 at DraftKings)


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Saturday Premier League Updated Odds, Picks & Prediction: Man City vs. Bournemouth Betting Preview

Man City vs. Bournemouth Odds

Man City Odds -1200
Bournemouth Odds +1100
Draw +4000
Over/Under 3.5 (-115 / -120)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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Odds updated as of Saturday morning via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Manchester City hosts AFC Bournemouth at Etihad Stadium on Saturday in their Premier League soccer showdown.

While these are clubs of far different statures and history, they both enter this game with three points and a +2 goal differential. Of course, only one fixture has been played by each team in the league and the odds don’t reflect an even match.

The Cherries are looking to play spoiler for against a team that has had its way with its EPl foes over the years. So, do they have any chance of doing so in this meeting?

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Manchester City

It only took Erling Haaland one game to showcase just how good he can be.

The former Borussia Dortmund star netted two goals in his debut against West Ham United, and while one of those goals came via a penalty, he generated 2.17 expected goals in the single game alone.

Of course, part of the reason he generated that xG is because of the playmaking ability around him. With the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish providing support, this attack is going to be a nightmare for defenses to deal with this season.

With a healthy back line and one of the most potent attacking forces in the league, the Cityzens are going to be tough to knock off once again.

By The Numbers

  • 0.25 — City conceded just 0.25 xG against West Ham, picking up right where it left off in terms of defensive structure. City has maintained the fewest xGA in the league in every season since 2016, which is a mind-boggling stat.
  • 95 — Haaland is in this percentile or above in assists per 90 minutes, non-penalty goals per 90 minutes and non-penalty expected goals, and assists per 90 minutes. Good luck, Premier League foes.
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AFC Bournemouth

The Cherries weren’t expected to pick up three points in their opener against a popular side in Aston Villa, but a sturdy performance and solid finishing earned them the victory.

Bournemouth only generated a 0.1 xG differential, but that number doesn’t do the 2-0 scoreline justice. It came in with a plan, afforded Villa very few scoring opportunities and capitalized on the other end.

Manager Scott Parker’s men will have to take a similar approach against City, though the difficulty will be raised 10 times. Statistically, securing a result at Etihad is the second-toughest task in the league, trailing only a visit to Liverpool at Anfield, but this year that might not be the case.

Bournemouth will certainly have its hands full.

By The Numbers

  • 2 — The Cherries conceded just this number of shots on target against Aston Villa, a testament to the barriers they placed around the box for the Lions.
  • 16 — Bournemouth is winless in 16 league games against City, which is tied for the Premier League record of games played without securing a win against a side, per the BBC news outlet.
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Betting Analysis & Pick

This is one of the biggest lines you’ll see all year. It’s rare that any team touches -1000 on the moneyline. And because of that, finding value in this market is difficult.

Manchester City has posted 3 xG or more in five of its last seven EPL games, so at -110 odds, the total of 3.5 goals likely has some value. Bournemouth has a chance at scoring on the counterattack, and particularly if City takes an early lead it’ll be forced to press a touch more.

That could result in the floodgates opening for the Cityzens. It would be impossible to fade City in any way right now, particularly as it doesn’t have European obligations to worry about at the moment.

I’ll trust manager Pep Guardiola’s squad to be ruthless again at a fair price.

The Pick: Total Over 3.5 Goals (-110)

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Saturday Premier League Updated Odds, Picks & Prediction: Brighton vs. Newcastle Betting Preview

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Brighton vs. Newcastle Odds

Brighton Odds +135
Newcastle Odds +225
Draw +210
Over/Under 2.5 (+105 / -145)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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Odds updated as of Saturday morning via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Standout Premier League squads from opening week take the pitch when Newcastle United travels to Brighton & Hove Albion for Saturday’s clash.

The Magpies earned a comfortable 2-0 win over the newly promoted Nottingham Forest, while the Seagulls delivered the upset of the week via  their 2-1 victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

So, where does the value lie in this matchup? Let’s dive into it.

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Brighton & Hove Albion

No one impressed more against its expectations than Brighton, which used a unique formation to surprise United and executed it to perfection.

Manager Graham Potter initiated a 3-2-3-2 lineup and the result was a massively deserved road win on the back of 1.73 expected goals and 1.42 xGA during the contest.

Brighton was a quality side in the 2021-22 campaign. It posted the seventh-best xG total and the sixth-best xGA total in the league. That said, the Seagulls will be looking to build on that and their opening win will serve them well.

By The Numbers

  • 15/4 — Brighton produced 15 shots and four shots on target against United. The club only had two fewer shots overall and one fewer shot on target than its opponent, all while amassing more xG in the meeting.
  • 20 — No player the Seagulls added in the transfer window was over 20 years old, including Julio Enciso and Simon Adingra. The club is young and looking to get even younger, reflecting that in its playing style.
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Newcastle United

Expectations have risen for the Magpies dating back to the Saudi-backed takeover that the club went through in the middle of last season.

When that occurred, Newcastle was in the relegation zone and struggling for points. It was able to avoid a difficult relegation battle altogether and enter the new season comfortably, spending more than 70 million dollars on transfers.

Newcastle excelled in its opening fixture with Nottingham Forest, dominating on all fronts. It generated 1.86 xG and conceded just 0.24 xGA in a 2-0 win. Those are the type of performances the club will be looking for against bottom-half clubs.

By The Numbers

  • 1.64 — Newcastle’s 1.64 xGDiff was the second best of any Premier League squad last week. The only team with a higher number was Manchester City.
  • 62 — The Magpies held this percentage of possession against Nottingham Forest, which was its highest number since registering that same percentage against Brentford in February of last season’s campaign.
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Betting Analysis & Pick

There isn’t much that separates these squads on paper, so that means the three-way line pricing here is rather efficient.

It’s easy to see this fixture going in any direction, but the total might be more approachable. Both squads combined for more than 2.5 xG/game in the prior campaign, while combining for north of 3 xGA/game.

We don’t have a ton to go off of this season, but Newcastle showed an aggressive attacking mindset in its opening game and Brighton was equally impressive on the attack.

In terms of finding the best value on the board, I’ll opt with the over at plus-money as my top selection.

The Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (+105)

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Saturday Premier League Updated Odds, Picks & Prediction: Arsenal vs. Leicester City Betting Preview

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Arsenal vs. Leicester Odds

Arsenal Odds -200
Leicester Odds +525
Draw +350
Over/Under 2.5 (-160 / +115)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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Odds updated as of Saturday morning via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Fresh off its road win against Crystal Palace, Arsenal returns home to Emirates Stadium to battle Leicester City in Saturday’s Premier League match.

The Foxes settled for a draw with Brentford at King Power Stadium to open the scoring and travel to North London hoping to end a three-game losing streak against the Gunners.

A win for manager Mikel Arteta’s squad would be its fourth consecutive at home dating back to last season. Last year, Arsenal finished the campaign with a third-best home xGDiff in the English top flight, easily cruising past Leicester in a 2-0 victory.

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Arsenal

Despite losing the match on expected goals, Arsenal escaped from Selhurst Park with a 2-0 victory to kick off its campaign.

Dating back to last season, that win represents the sixth for Arsenal across its previous eight matches. as well as revenge over Palace for a 3-0 defeat on last time around at Selhurst Park.

For Arsenal, it was dominant in the first half, winning the xG batttle by a 0.65-0.22 margin against manager Patrick Vieira’s squad, which created 1.21 xG against the Gunners’ defense, per fotmob.com.

Now, Arsenal goes against a Leicester defense which has created at least two xG in two of the last three matches. Just across their last 10 head-to-head EPL meetings, the Gunners have generated 1.62 xG/90 against the Foxes.

By The Numbers

  • 3 — Consecutive number of wins for Arsenal against Leicester City.
  • 35.8 — Home expected goals created by Arsenal last season.
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Leicester City

Manager Brendan Rodgers’s squad stormed out to a 2-0 halftime lead against Brentford, but ultimately conceded two second half goals to settle for the tie.

Luck ran amok for Leicester City in that match, as its two goals came on shots that combined for only 0.19 xG overall.

Now, the Foxes hope to repair their road record from last season with a visit to Emirates Stadium. In the 2021-22 campaign, Leicester had the 12th-best road xGDiff while conceding the sixth-most road xG, per fbref.com.

The Foxes also struggled mightily away from home against the Big Six last season. In such tilts, it went 0-4-2 (W-L-D) and conceded 2.13 xG/90 minutes.

By The Numbers

  • 1.65 — Expected goals per 90 minutes conceded by Leicester City away from home during the 2021-22 season.
  • -1.3 — Road goal differential minus Road xGDiff for the Foxes last campaign.
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Betting Analysis & Pick

Don’t overthink this match one bit. Arsenal is no match for Leicester City and should dominate affairs.

Last season at home against non-Big Six opposition, the Gunners finished 11-1-2 (W-L-D) and created no fewer than 1.2 xG in any of those 14 matches. In those games, Arteta’s squad generated 2.20 xG per 90 minutes, which was up from a season-long average of 1.58 xG per 90 minutes.

Those same 14 fixtures also saw Arsenal’s defense concede 0.75 xG or fewer in all but four of them and only 0.65 xG per 90 minutes.

Lastly, six of those 11 wins came by at least two goals, with Arsenal triumphing by at least 1.5 xG In eight of 14 fixtures. Against a Leicester defense that proved incapable of handling the league’s best attacks, back Arsenal to roll.

The Pick: Arsenal -1 (-120)

Bonus Play: Sprinkle on Arsenal -2.5 (+370) 

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Saturday Premier League Updated Odds, Picks & Prediction: Aston Villa vs. Everton Betting Preview

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Aston Villa vs. Everton Odds

Aston Villa Odds -120
Everton Odds +350
Draw +250
Over/Under 2.5 (-105 / -135)
Day | Time Saturday | 7:30 a.m. ET
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Odds updated as of Saturday morning via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

The most-played league fixture in English football history resumes when Aston Villa hosts Everton on Saturday to kick off the second weekend of Premier League play.

Both sides are looking for their first goals and points of the new campaign. Aston Villa suffered a 2-0 road loss against newly promoted AFC Bournemouth. On the other side, Everton was dealt a 1-0 home shutout against Chelsea.

The Villans’ 3-0 home victory over their opponents early last season arguably began the Toffees’ slide toward relegation danger. Aston Villa had a 1-0 win at Goodison Park in early January that hastened the arrival of manager Frank Lampard to take over for caretaker Duncan Ferguson.

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Aston Villa

Expectations for manager Steven Gerrard’s side are as high as they’ve been since Villa made back-to-back UEFA Europa League appearances a decade ago.

Perhaps the weight of that pressure showed in an uninspiring opening defeat on the South Coast. Villa wasn’t as poor as the result, but struggled to create much. Bournemouth scored both of its goals from set pieces.

Center back Tyrone Mings only made the substitutes’ bench after being stripped of the captaincy. A groin injury appears to be limiting the 29-year-old, who appeared in 36 of 38 EPL fixtures a season ago.

Villa will need to improve on its home form to achieve loftier aims this season. Seven of  the Villans’ 13 victories last season came away from Villa Park.

By The Numbers

  • 6-8-5 — Aston Villa’s home record (W-L-D) last season.
  • -0.6 — The Villains’ 2021-2022 home xGDiff in the metric.
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Everton

The Toffees have primarily used the summer transfer window to strengthen their back line, yet they already face injury woes there.

Lampard lost Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina before halftime of Everton’s season-opening defeat. The former is expected to miss several months with a leg fracture, with the latter for several weeks. Loan signing Conor Coady might quickly be called into duty after completing his move from Wolverhampton Wanderers this week.

Salomon Rondon is the only natural striker fit for Lampard’s side, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin out with a knee issue.

Everton will be looking to improve on dreadful away form last campaign. The Toffees took only 10 points from their EPL travels, plus only four in nine away games under Lampard.

By The Numbers

  • 2-13-4 — Everton’s away record l (W-L-D) last season.
  • -12.3 — The Toffees’ away xGDiff from a campaign ago.

Betting Analysis & Pick

As bad as Everton was on its travels, there were signs of improvement late when Lampard began playing a deeper line. The Toffees were competitive in five of their last six away games, all except their final day trip to Arsenal after survival was assured.

It’s also the first time in recent memory Everton visit Villa as the side with much more modest expectations.

Villa will be tasked with taking the game to an opponent in a manner that flummoxed it last season. Half of the home wins a season ago came against teams that combined a similar talent level to Villa with an atypical willingness to send numbers forward. Among them? Everton of Rafa Benitez vintage, Southampton and Leicester City.

So, getting -120 odds on the home side feels too steep here. Yet Everton’s inadequacy up front is real reason not to back to visitor. That leaves the draw at +250 odds and a 28.6% implied probability the play almost by default, even if it’s more about feel than data.

The Pick: Draw ML (+250)

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Saturday Premier League Updated Odds, Picks & Prediction: Southampton vs. Leeds Betting Preview

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Southampton vs. Leeds Odds

Southampton Odds +125
Leeds Odds +210
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (-140 / +100)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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Odds updated as of Saturday morning via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Southampton and Leeds United experienced opposite results on the opening weekend of Premier League action.

The former was on the receiving end of a 4-1 drubbing at Tottenham, while the latter picked up a 2-1 home victory against Wolves.

Now, they switch venues for this clash. Southampton is looking for its second consecutive home victory against Leeds, which has earned a result against its host in three of the last four meetings.

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Southampton

Although it was a poor result for Southampton in its opener, the underlying metrics weren’t indicative.

Against a potent Spurs attack, Southampton’s defense conceded only 1.57 expected goals and a single big scoring chance. At the same time, manager Ralph Hasenhüttl’s attack played dreadfully, producing 0.48 xG on only 10 shots.

The good news? It now goes up against a Leeds defense against which it created four xG across two legs last season, including a 2.3 xG output in last campaign’s fixture at the St. Mary’s Stadium, per fbref.com.

Additionally, Southampton performed significantly better at home against inferior opposition last season. In nine matches against the bottom half, it posted a +0.86 xGDiff/90 minutes, up from a -0.06 xGDiff/90 at home.

By The Numbers

  • 1.55 — Southampton’s xG per 90 minutes at home against bottom-half sides last season.
  • 68 — Percentage of home matches in which Southampton earned at least a point last season.
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Leeds United

If Leeds is to earn a result in this game, it will need to overcome a number of historical hurdles.

Not only did the Peacocks lose both matches to Southampton on xG last season, but it was abysmal away from home in general. Last season, they posted the second-worst road xGDiff in the EPL, allowing almost two xG per 90 in those fixtures.

In the season prior, Leeds posted the seventh-worst road xGDiff in the league, but allowed the most road xG in the entire top flight.

Lastly, despite winning 2-1 at home last weekend, manager Jesse Marsch’s side ran incredibly hot. The final tallies saw Leeds concede only once on 1.84 xG, while grabbing two goals off only 0.8 expected in the contest.

By The Numbers

  • 74 — Total road xG conceded by Leeds in last two seasons.
  • +2.1 — Road Goals minus road xG by the Peacocks in the prior campaign.
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Betting Analysis & Pick

Put simply, I’m expecting pure chaos in this match.

In the last four head-to-head meetings between these clubs, there have been an average of 2.43 combined xG overall. Just last season, the two meetings saw a combined 2.65 combined xG across those legs.

As referenced earlier, we know Leeds has little interest in defending away from Elland Road. Combine that with Southampton’s historical attacking record against bottom-half clubs and I think bettors can count on the host bagging at least a couple of goals.

That said, this Southampton defense absolutely stinks and has only held Leeds under one xG once In the last four head-to-head meetings. Plus, dating back to Marsch’s first match with the Peacocks, they created 1.20 xG/90 minutes.

It’s a steep price, but I believe the juice on the total clearing 2.5 goals is justified and will back it for my top play.

The Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (-135)

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Saturday Premier League Updated Odds, Picks & Prediction: Wolves vs. Fulham Betting Preview

Wolves vs. Fulham Odds

Wolves Odds +125
Fulham Odds +220
Draw +225
Over/Under 2.5 (+105 / -145)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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The Premier League returns this week with another full slate of games, with my focus on Fulham making a trip to Wolverhampton for Saturday’s contest.

Wolves started the campaign very well with a goal in the first six minutes of action against Leeds United. However, the Peacocks found the back of the net twice for a comeback victory on the opening day of fixtures.

Meanwhile, the Cottagers put up a spirited fight against Liverpool before settling for a 2-2 home draw to start their season back in the English top flight.

This feels like a game between clubs going in opposite directions, so I feel all the betting value is with the visitors to get a result.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers

The Portuguese connection continues at Wolverhampton after the side announced the signing of striker Gonçalo Guedes this week from Valencia.

The attacker joins Hwang Hee-chan and defender Nathan Collins as the new additions this summer for manager Bruno Lage, who desperately needs goals from his men this season.

These new players will need to hit the ground running, as last season’s leading scorer Raúl Jiménez is set for a spell on the sidelines after picking up an injury.

By The Numbers

  • -24.4 — Wolves finished the 2021-22 campaign ranked 18th in the Premier League in xGDiff, according to fbref.com.
  • +9.2 — Goalkeeper José Sá saved the club on many occasions last season, posting the best post-shot xG minus goals allowed mark in the EPL.
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Fulham

For a team that has been relegated in its last two attempts in the English first division, Fulham fans will feel good about how the side performed in the opening draw with Liverpool.

This came after a season in the EFL Championship, where manager Marco Silva’s men scored more than 100 goals and notched a +63 goal difference.

The Cottagers are hoping for a few more signings before the end of the transfer window, but they will take a point against the Champions League runners-up every day of the week.

By The Numbers

  • 7 — In the 38 league games last season, Liverpool only allowed 1.4 xG or more this many times, which is what Fulham’s xG tally was last weekend.
  • 1 — On the road in 2021-22, the Cottagers led the Championship in goals scored (50), goal difference (+27) and points secured (44) in the categories.
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Betting Analysis & Pick

Wolves are a team I’m looking to bet against this season due to all of the poor metrics they had during the 2021-22 campaign. With that said, I’m backing Fulham on the Draw No Bet market at +120 odds via BetMGM as my best bet.

To go along with what I pointed out above, Lage’s side also struggled at home, finishing 14th in the EPL in points per game (1.26) and with more points away from Molineux Stadium.

The Cottagers are also a good price to win the match on the moneyline at +220, but I want the extra security in case this ends in a draw.

The Pick: Fulham — Draw No Bet (+120)

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2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship Round 3 PrizePicks Plays: Cameron Smith Among 5 Saturday Picks

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J.J. Spaun shot a 67 on Friday and holds a one-stroke lead (11-under) following the second round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship. Now, we look forward to Saturday’s third round, which features plenty of prop angles to attack on PrizePicks.

Below, I give out my five PrizePicks flex plays for the third round of the 2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship. For those unfamiliar with flex plays in golf, different combinations of overs and unders generate different payouts.

Using the five plays below, getting five-of-five correct registers a 12.5x payout, four-of-five correct registers a 2x payout and three-of-five correct registers a 0.4x payout.
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PrizePicks Plays

Cameron Smith: Round 3 Under 67 Strokes

To help us predict success at this course, let’s look to the past. The previous winners at TPC Southwind have proven to excel in two metrics: SG: Tee-to-Green and Scrambling.

Over the past five years, each winner has finished inside the top six in each of those two categories. Enter Cameron Smith.

On TOUR this season, Smith ranks 24th in SG: Tee-to-Green and 83rd in Scrambling. Those metrics are good, but not great. However, Smith has been playing perhaps the sharpest golf of his career recently as he boasts three wins and seven top-15 finishes over his past 13 tournaments.

We have seen this strong play continue through the start of this tournament as Smith is T5 at 8-under par and has shot a 67 or lower in each of the first two rounds. I expect this trend to continue through the weekend as Smith ranks 10th amongst the remaining field in SG: Tee-to-Green and first in SG: Approach-the-Green.

I would not play this total any lower than 67.

Joohyung Kim: Round 3 Under 68 Strokes

The second golfer we are backing on Saturday is Joohyung Kim. After the first two rounds, Kim is T33 at 4-under par.

While Kim has only gone under this total once through the first two rounds, we should expect a better weekend for the up-and-coming star. Kim’s putter is the one club in his bag that has failed him thus far as he ranks just 62nd in SG: Putting amongst the remaining field.

However, the rest of Kim’s game has been excellent as he ranks seventh in SG: Off-the-Tee, 13th in SG: Tee-to-Green and second in Greens in Regulation percentage (GIR%). If he just gets a few more putts to fall on Saturday, Kim should be able to get under this total once again due to the strength of the rest of his game.

I would play this number down to 67.5.

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J.T. Poston: Round 3 Under 68.5 Strokes

The last golfer we are backing Saturday is J.T. Poston. After the first two rounds, Poston is T33 at 4-under par.

While Poston has only gone under this total once through the first two rounds, I would not be shocked if his performance improves over the weekend. On TOUR this season, Poston ranks 51st in SG: Tee-to-Green and 19th in Scrambling.

Poston is playing the best golf of his career recently with four top-25 finishes over his past five tournaments, including his win at the John Deere Classic and his second-place finish at the Travelers Championship. TPC Southwind is a course Poston usually fares well at as he’s averaged 68.56 strokes over his past nine rounds on the course.

I would not play this total lower than 68.5.

Xander Schauffele: Round 3 Over 67.5 Strokes

We are also fading a couple of golfers on Saturday, starting with Xander Schauffele, who is T33 at 4-under par after two rounds.

Schauffele has failed to break this total in either of the first two rounds, a trend I expect to continue over the weekend. I believe we are getting some name-recognition bias with this total, especially considering Schauffele’s poor metrics thus far.

Amongst the remaining field, Schauffele ranks just 69th in SG: Approach-the-Green, 66th in SG: Tee-to-Green and 69th in GIR%. Schauffele’s putting has kept him alive so far and if he starts to miss a few his score should take a dip.

Even if Schauffele’s game does not get worse, I would be shocked if he sees improvement. Over his past six rounds at TPC Southwind, Schauffele has shot a 68 or higher each time.

I would play this number up to 68.

Sungjae Im: Round 3 Over 68 Strokes

The other golfer we are fading Saturday is Sungjae Im. After the first two rounds, Im is T60 at 2-under par.

This could be another situation where we are getting value due to name-recognition bias as Im has failed to shoot lower than 68 in each of the first two rounds. In fact, Im has only shot lower than 68 once over his past nine rounds at TPC Southwind.

It would be incredibly shocking if Im breaks this streak over the weekend, especially considering his performance thus far. Amongst the remaining field, Im ranks just 51st in SG: Around-the-Green, 63rd in SG: Approach-the-Green, 49th in SG: Tee-to-Green, 42nd in GIR% and 59th in Scrambling.

I would not play this total lower than 68.

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2022 FedEx St. Jude Championship Picks: Round 3 Best Bets

fedex-st-jude-championship-round-3-best-bets

Since the week began, the story of Cameron Smith reportedly signing a deal to join LIV Golf for a figure north of $100 million has been at the forefront of the golf world.

Despite all of the negative attention, the Champion Golfer of the Year remained unperturbed throughout the first two round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship. In round two, the Australian coasted to a 5-under 65, pulling within three of J.J. Spaun’s lead.

Spaun sits at -11, with Sepp Straka and Troy Merritt close behind at -10.

Tony Finau, who’s currently the hottest golfer on the planet, came down to earth a bit in and shot a 2-under 68 after his 6-under 64 on Thursday. At -8, he looks to be in a great spot to challenge for his third consecutive win on TOUR, which would be the first time a player has won in three consecutive starts since Dustin Johnson in 2017.

The tournament seems wide open at this stage, especially after two of the betting favorites, Rory McIlroy (+900) and Scottie Scheffler (+1400), missed the cut.

Spaun, Straka, Merritt, Denny McCarthy and Brian Harman aren’t names you expect to see at the top of the leaderboard in a FedEx Cup playoff event and it’s likely they won’t be there late on Sunday.

With the conditions likely to toughen up over the weekend, I anticipate the cream will rise to the top when all is said and done.

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Round 3 Best Bets

Will Zalatoris to Win: (+2000) (BetRivers)

My best bet entering the week was Will Zalatoris to win the tournament as I outlined in my pre-tournament preview.

Zalatoris’ outright odds closed at +2500, so those jumping on board now are losing a bit of value, but I still believe he is a strong bet.

After getting off to a very slow start (+2 after nine holes and +1 after the first round), the 25-year-old rebounded in a big way during Friday’s second round. Zalatoris tied Tyler Duncan for the round of the day (7-under 63) and put on a magnificent tee-to-green display. He also gained 3.7 strokes ball striking, which led the field.

I came into the week loving TPC Southwind as a quintessential course fit for Zalatoris and Friday’s performance only reaffirmed my initial stance.

Denny McCarthy (-120) over Troy Merritt (BetRivers)

Troy Merritt’s putting has been inconsistent, and at times downright bad, for about a month or so. However, through two rounds at TPC Southwind, he’s found his stroke. Merritt has gained 6.4 strokes putting, which leads the field by a significant margin. I find it extremely hard to believe that the 36-year-old is going to continue lapping the field on the greens.

Denny McCarthy, on the other hand, has gotten to -9 with consistent play across the board. He’s second in the field in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, which is pretty remarkable considering the strength of this field. He’s also only gained 1.8 strokes putting thus far and is arguably the best putter on TOUR. There’s reason to believe his hot putting round is yet to take place.

Brian Harman (+125) over Tony Finau (BetRivers)

This might sound crazy, but I’m fading the hottest golfer in the world for the remainder of the week. Finau is coming off of two consecutive wins and a scorching hot first round, but I believe his Friday round may be a sign of things to come this weekend.

Finau was once again excellent with the putter on Friday, gaining 2.2 strokes on the field. However, his ball striking left a lot to be desired. Finau struggled immensely to put the ball in the fairway and those problems should only get worse as the tournament progresses and the fairways get a little more baked out. He lost 1.0 strokes to the field on approach and lost 0.4 strokes to the field off the tee. In an event where ball striking is paramount, that isn’t going to get the job done.

Harman’s play has been incredibly steady and he’s gaining strokes across the board. It wouldn’t hurt to wait on placing this bet until just before tee time because Finau will probably be taking most of the action.

 

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2022 Fantasy Draft Rankings, Strategy, Tiers: Your Guide To Drafting QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs

fantasy football rankings-tiers-quarterbacks-running backs-wide receivers-tight ends-2022

Sean Koerner, the most accurate fantasy draft expert from 2019-21 according to FantasyPros, is breaking down his draft strategy for every position. The following post features excerpts from from his initial 2022 Tiers Series.

You can find his rankings in our 2022 Fantasy Draft Kit, which is part of our PRO subscription.


2022 Fantasy Football Rankings

Click On A Position To Read Those Tiers
Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

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2022 Fantasy QB Draft Strategy

My draft strategy for the QB position varies based on the league type.

For season-long head-to-head formats where you only start one QB, the position itself comes with a high floor already baked in: the waiver wire. At any given time, you will have over a dozen starting quarterbacks available to you to add as a potential one-week start and can easily find a QB2 (sometimes a QB1) option available to you. That’s why it’s usually a smart strategy to wait as long as possible to draft a QB, and when you do finally target a QB, go for the most upside possible.

For example, you can wait to get Trey Lance in the later rounds. If he ends up producing like a top-five QB, great! If he ends up struggling in Year 2 or gets injured, you will be able to add a top 15-20 QB off the waiver wire, no problem. No other position gives you that sort of safety net.

For leagues that start two QBs or use a Superflex position, the demand for starting QBs goes way up. The reason for this is there are only 32 starting QBs at any given time. No other position deals with as massive of a drop-off from a starting QB to a backup QB. Therefore, it’s critical to draft two or three of them before the top 25-35 of them are off the board.

In these types of formats, it’s more valuable to draft QBs with a higher floor. Having QBs who can start for all 17 games and provide you a solid score week in and week out are way more valuable in these types of formats.

In Best Ball formats, your main goal is to maximize your team’s ceiling. Dual-threat quarterbacks offer a higher weekly ceiling and are great Best Ball targets. However, the best way to maximize value with your QB strategy is to stack them with 1-3 of their pass catchers. By doing so, you are correlating spiked weeks from your QB with other positions on your team. Therefore, if you drafted Amon-Ra St. Brown and T.J. Hockenson earlier in your draft, you should consider targeting Jared Goff as your QB2/3 later in the draft.

Throughout my Tiers, I try to highlight the best formats to target specific QBs and which QBs I’m targeting/avoiding at their current ADP.


2022 Fantasy RB Draft Strategy

Running back continues to be the most critical position in fantasy football.

There are two main reasons RB typically decides the fate of your team each season:

As the NFL becomes an increasingly pass-heavy league and RBs are deployed for specific purposes, there are fewer workhorse backs. Positional scarcity makes it critical to draft at least two workhorse RBs.

The position is very volatile. RBs are the most likely players to miss time due to injury, or to lose their job. Given the position is much more about opportunity rather than talent, it paves the way for late-round picks or even waiver-wire pickups to emerge as league winners.

Because of those two factors, there are a lot of draft strategies focused solely on how many RBs you should acquire early on.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Zero RB strategy, which I agree with … in theory. It mainly focuses on Reason No. 2 above, but ignores Reason No. 1 — that’s why I would dub my approach as the RB Surplus Strategy: I first aim to draft two RBs before the end of Round 4/5 because, as I mentioned, it’s critical to acquire two who are set to open the season with a reliable workload. Then I target high-upside backs in the middle and late rounds.
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Another important component of your draft strategy should be to understand the purpose of your bench. Generally, you don’t want to waste a bench slot on a quarterback or tight end since it’s very easy to find a replacement for either on the waiver wire if you’re in a pinch or need a bye-week fill-in.

If I have seven bench slots, I’ll usually aim to fill them with two to three WRs and four to five high-upside RBs.

Note: for Best Ball, my strategy is very different, and I usually draft 5 RBs total. (You can listen to my Best Ball tips, including how to approach roster construction here.)

The goal of stashing high-upside RBs, specifically, is to hopefully strike gold if one earns a one-off start or becomes their team’s starter indefinitely. Think about the backup RBs who usually require a No. 1 waiver wire claim or the highest Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) bid to acquire when injury or depth chart news breaks mid-season — I can’t tell you how many times a RB who fits that profile was already on my bench.

Drafting RBs with the highest potential to be league winners allows me to be even more aggressive when I have first priority on waiver wire claims or still have a high percentage of my FAAB available.


2022 Fantasy WR Draft Strategy

The running back position is the most critical in fantasy football, but wide receiver is a close second.

With the depth at WR, it’s easy to become complacent while drafting. If you miss out on a certain tier of receivers, you think there will be more talent to choose from later. But you have to be careful not to neglect the position so much over the first five rounds that you end up with Adam Thielen as your WR2.

If WR has ever been the weakest position for one of your teams, you know it can feel like an uphill battle. One reason is the position is more volatile week-to-week, and there aren’t the same short-term buy opportunities when a starter misses time like we see with QB/RB/TEs.

The takeaway here is that it’s important to spend significant draft capital to lock in your WRs. Additionally, it’s essential to have at least three before your draft reaches Tier 7-8 (in most formats).


2022 Fantasy TE Draft Strategy

The tight end position perfectly illustrates why it’s important to think of “tiers” when drafting.

You’ll typically see these tight ends go in the same order I have listed below in your draft (with a few exceptions). Once you get to a given tier, they’ll all go fairly quick once the first TE from that tier is selected. That’s why it’s critical to understand when it makes the most sense to lock in a tight end based on your overall draft strategy.

One added wrinkle to the tight end position is that the waiver wire usually has a couple “league winners” on it every season. This has to do with most leagues only having 12-14 tight ends rostered at any given time. Therefore, tight ends like Dalton Schultz, Dawson Knox, Hunter Henry, Zach Ertz, and Pat Freiermuth were all widely available during the 2021 season.

If you cannot get a stud TE early, do not panic. It’s quite possible you will eventually end up with a reliable TE1 during the season and not have to spend any draft capital in order to do so. I go more in-depth on this in my tiers.

For season-long formats: In general, my approach is to grab either TE in Tier 1. If I miss out on them, I’m more than willing to punt the position and wait to draft one in the later rounds with the intention of playing the waiver wire until I land a reliable TE1. Of course, if a tight end falls too far in the draft, I will snatch him up. In a sense, I let the tight end position come to me instead of “reaching” for anyone.

For Best Ball formats, it’s a fairly similar approach. You probably want to land at least one TE in Tiers 1-4 (no more than one) and target 1-2 TEs from Tiers 5-8. The TE position tends to be fairly TD-depedent and trickier to project week-to-week. However, you don’t have to figure out when a tight end will have a spiked week considering that aspect is taken care of with Best Ball scoring. It makes it easier to target a stud + a couple of cheaper options later on and be set at the position.

When thinking of my Tiers below, it helps to think of visually using my projected points chart above. Here are the high-level takeaways I have when referencing this chart:

  • Tier 1 carries a ton of value. The drop-off from Tier 1 to Tier 2 is the biggest drop-off at any position. Kelce & Andrews are extremely valuable because of this.
  • Tier 2 does give you an edge against waiting until later. However, the market is drafting this tier a bit too close to Tier 1.
  • Dalton Schultz is the sixth dot, and you can see why I consider him sort of in “No Man’s Land.”
  • Tier 4 is three tight ends who are all fairly even in terms of projections, but one of these guys usually falls way too far.
  • Tier 5-6 represent the tight ends we might see on the waiver wire to begin the season. If you do spend draft capital to land any of these TEs, do not feel like you need to hold on to them. Early in the season, we will want to be on the lookout for the next Schultz or Knox. Quickly pivoting to a TE in the middle of a breakout season is key when managing the position in-season.

UFC on ESPN 41 Odds, Picks, Projections: Our Best Bets for Meerschaert vs. Silva, Cachoeira vs. Lipski, Ontiveros vs. Benitez (Saturday, August 13)

A can’t-miss bantamweight fight headlines Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 41 event when Marlon “Chito” Vera takes on former titleholder Dominick Cruz in San Diego.

Vera (19-7-1) and Cruz (24-3) meet in the main event of the 13-fight card at Pechanga Arena, which also features featherweights Nate Landwehr (15-4) vs. David Onama (10-1) in the co-main event. The event kicks off at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT) and airs entirely on ESPN and ESPN+.

So where should you be looking to place your bets? Our crew has pinpointed two fights and picks on Saturday’s stacked card that present betting value.

You can find their analysis and picks on those matches plus Sean Zerillo’s projections below using odds from BetMGM.

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Moneyline Projections

Prop Projections


Billy Ward: Charlie Ontiveros vs. Gabriel Benitez

Staff Writer at The Action Network

Charlie “The American Bad Boy” Ontiveros is fighting Gabriel Benitez at lightweight, and Ontiveros is a big underdog in this one, with the best line currently around +280 after opening +290.

I’m surprised to see Benitez as a -350 favorite to anybody, though. Benitez is 1-4 over his past five fights, with his only win coming against Justin Jaynes. Jaynes was in the midst of a five-fight skid at the time, including losing his first post-UFC fight.

On the Ontiveros side, his first UFC fight was a short-notice bout all the way up at middleweight against Kevin Holland, followed by a TKO loss to Steve Garcia. Ontiveros dominated Round 1 against Garcia with two knockdowns, but he was outmatched on the ground in the second round.

Benitez has recently fought primarily at featherweight but is coming back to lightweight for this one. Given his size and experience at middleweight, Ontiveros could look – and be – close to two weight classes heavier come fight time.

Ontiveros is extremely tall for the weight class at 6-foot-2, which gives him an edge standing but can lead to trouble in grappling exchanges. Benitez has landed all of one takedown in his UFC career, so this is pretty likely to be primarily a standup fight – a good sign for Ontiveros.

His height also confers a five-inch reach edge over “Moggly,” which could be crucial in a standup fight. Particularly since this bout is contested outside of the UFC Apex center, which means a larger cage.

I’d bet Ontiveros down to +250, at which point I’d being to look for Ontiveros knockout or ITD props as an alternative.

The Pick: Charlie Ontiveros (+280 at FanDuel)

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Sean Zerillo: Gerald Meerschaert vs. Bruno Silva

Senior Writer at The Action Network

Meerschaert (“GM3”) gets consistently underrated in betting markets, particularly at middleweigh, where he holds the divisional submission record (six) and a grappling advantage over most fighters.

While he doesn’t always proactively wrestle, most of Meerschaert’s fights end up hitting the mat at some point. His metrics (2.25 takedowns per 15 minutes, 40% accuracy) are more than sufficient to indicate grappling success against Bruno Silva, a powerful striker but a poor defensive wrestler, with five submission losses on his record.

Meerschaert is taller, longer (three-inch reach advantage), and a more technical fighter. He also has grappling and finishing upside. Skill for skill, he may have the advantage too. So why is he such a significant underdog?

GM3 tends to get hurt in each of his fights. His striking defense (51%) – and lack of head movement – is his most significant liability. And Silva is a tremendous hitter with power in both hands who can put anyone on skates.

It seems likely that Meerschaert will get clipped, and hurt, early. Still, if Meerschaert can weather the storm and work his way back into the fight – or repeatedly take Silva to the mat – he stands an excellent chance of seeing his hand raised.

Silva tends to turn and give up his back when returning to his feet, and GM3 will undoubtedly take advantage of any grappling mistakes. And aside from Silva’s power advantage, Meerschaert can compete in the striking; Silva’s striking defense (37%) is a massive liability, in addition to his defensive wrestling and grappling.

While Meerschaert can undoubtedly crumble on the first exchange and blow up our tickets within a matter of seconds, I have to bet his moneyline (projected +243, listed +250 at Caesars).

Additionally, I show value on either his submission prop (projected +472, listed +550 at Caesars) or his inside-the-distance prop (projected +390, listed +400 at Fanduel), and I’ll take a poke at the latter.

The Pick: Meerschaert (+250 at Caesars, 0.5u) │ Meerschaert Wins Inside the Distance (+400 at FanDuel, 0.25u)


Dann Stupp: Priscila Cachoeira vs. Ariane Lipski

Senior Editor at The Action Network

Last week I got a good reminder about the golden rule of betting on combat sports: Back the fighters who are going to go to hell for you. Bet on the badasses who are going to fight like it’s their own money on the line.

Last week, it took just a minute or two before I realized I should’ve backed  Juliana Miller, who fought like her life was on the line, and not Brogan Walker in their TUF 30 tournament final. I won’t make the same mistake this week with Priscila Cachoeira vs. Ariane Lipski, especially because the underdog offers such juicy odds in what should be a competitive affair.

These two flyweights were scheduled to fight twice before. The most recent fight cancellation happened just last week, when Lipski missed weight for the matchup and was ultimately ruled too ill to compete. A previous bout of Covid reportedly affected Lipski preparations and weight cut for the fight, which was quickly rebooked for this week’s San Diego card as a bantamweight bout.

I’m not sure that extra 10 pounds is going to be huge saving grace for Lipski this week, though. It’s not so much Cachoeira’s size as her reckless aggression that could be problematic for Lipski. Cachoeira is tough, she’s willing to eat a punch, and she often fights with her heart on her sleeve. Whether the fight’s at 125 or 135 pounds, those are skills that will serve Cachoeira well, especially if this one goes to the scorecards (which most books have lined at -150).

Admittedly, Lipski is the more technical striker, and she’s arguably more skilled on the ground. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Cachoeira’s crash-first-ask-questions-later offensive attacks leave her prone to Lipski’s submission attempts.

However, I think that when it comes to pure skill base, these ladies are fairly closely matched. And if you throw in Cachoeira’s aggression and fearlessness, it probably evens up the matchup that much more.

I feel that Cachoeira wins this fight at least 45 percent of the time, so getting +170 odds (implied win probability of 37%) is too good to pass up.

The Pick: Priscila Cachoeira (+170 at BetMGM)

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MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: 4 Best Bets From Friday’s Slate, Including Brewers vs. Cardinals, Twins vs. Angels (August 12)

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Friday begins a weekend of marquee matchups in Major League Baseball, including key rivalry series’ like Yankees vs. Red Sox, Brewers vs. Cardinals and Phillies vs. Mets.

Our analysts have picks on two of those games among our four best bets, adding some value with Diamondbacks vs. Rockies and Twins vs. Angels, as well.

Here are our four best bets from Friday’s Major League Baseball slate.

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MLB Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Yankees vs. Red Sox
7:10 p.m. ET
Brewers vs. Cardinals
8:15 p.m. ET
Diamondbacks vs. Rockies
8:40 p.m. ET
Twins vs. Angels
9:38 p.m. ET

Yankees vs. Red Sox

Pick
Yankees -115
Book
BetMGM
Pitchers
Domingo German vs. Nathan Eovaldi
First Pitch
7:10 p.m. ET

DJ James: Domingo Germán has shown some promise with a 2.70 ERA over his last two starts, so he might be finding a groove. He just needs to keep the team above water, and New York should triumph.

Nathan Eovaldi has been underwhelming, to say the least. He does only walk 4% of hitters, but his hard hit rate is 46.7% with an average exit velocity of 90 MPH. The Yankees rank second in both metrics. The Red Sox will likely have to go early to a bullpen that holds the second-worst xFIP in the league over the past month at 4.60.

In addition, the Yankees own a 116 wRC+ in the last month of baseball, while the Red Sox come in at 27th with a 81 wRC+. Enrique Hernández, Trevor Story and Rob Refsnyder are all on the injured list, so the depth has not proven successful.

Take the Yankees to -140. They should be more significant favorites with how poorly the Red Sox are playing.

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Brewers vs. Cardinals

Pick
Cardinals -1.5 (+125)
Book
BetMGM
Pitchers
Eric Lauer vs. Jordan Montgomery
First Pitch
8:15 p.m. ET

Jules Posner: Jordan Montgomery makes his second start for the Cardinals and he was excellent in his debut against his former team, the New York Yankees, at home in his last start. He held the Yankees to two hits over five innings and he gets the face a Brewers team that is 23rd in team wRC+ against LHP on the road over the past month and over the course of the season.

Eric Lauer, the Brewers’ starter, has been more vulnerable on the road this season. Additionally, he is 13th in MLB in run support among starting pitchers. However he is taking on a Cardinals offense that has been wearing out LHP at home this season and his offense has not done the same on the road.

The Cardinals moneyline sits around -165 (-160 MGM), which is a stretch in terms of the amount of juice I want to lay down for the payout. The run line is solidly in plus money and while there is some risk here, the Cards’ favorable situation at home and their 8-2 record over their last 10 games make it worth the risk.

As long as the run line stays in plus money, it’s the best value on the board in this match up.

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Diamondbacks vs. Rockies

Pick
Diamondbacks F5 and ML
Book
BetRivers / FanDuel
Pitchers
Zach Davies vs. Antonio Senzatela
First Pitch
8:40 p.m. ET

Brad Cunningham: This line is a little crazy given how bad Antonio Senzatela has been for the Rockies this year.

Senzatela has a 5.34 xERA and is near the bottom in just about every single advanced metric for MLB pitchers.

He is also a heavy fastball pitcher, going to it over 53% of the time and is allowing a .325 xBA and .451 xwOBA on it. Fastballs are the only pitch the Diamondbacks have a positive run value against, ranking 14th in MLB at +6.8, per FanGraphs.

Zach Davies is actually having a career year in Arizona. His xERA is at 4.08, which is his best mark since 2016. Opposing hitters only have a 31.4% hard hit rate and average exit velocity of 86.8 mph, both of which are in the top 10% of the league.

So, I have no idea why the Rockies are favored, even though it’s at Coors Field. I have the Diamondbacks projected at -132 for the full game and -153 for the full game. So I am doubling up on the Diamondbacks full game at +106 (FanDuel) and first five innings at +112 (BetRivers).


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Twins vs. Angels

Pick
Twins -130
Book
BetMGM
Pitchers
Tyler Mahle vs. Patrick Sandoval
First Pitch
9:38 p.m. ET

Charlie DiSturco: It’s Tyler Mahle Day once again as the right-hander continues to be one of the most undervalued pitchers in baseball.

Mahle’s xERA (3.40) is over a run lower than his actual ERA (4.49) and advanced metrics support positive regression for the right-hander. Opponents have a .210 xBA against Mahle, whose only major flaw is his 8.7 percent walk rate.

But Friday night is a favorable matchup for Mahle, as the Angels offense ranks 27th in wRC+ and 25th in walk rate over the last two weeks. They have had minimal success at the plate and continue to struggle as one of the American League’s bottom-feeders.

Patrick Sandoval starts opposite Mahle, who unlike the right-hander has been fortunate in 2022. The southpaw’s xERA (4.44) sits a run higher than his actual ERA (3.41) and opponents have a .257 xBA.

Sandoval’s walk rate is also in the double digits, but has consistently escaped jams. He has a career-best strand rate of 76 percent and I expect that number to regress toward his career average.

Despite a shutout over 5 1/3 innings his last time out, Sandoval posted a 6.20 ERA in July. He gave up 17 runs across 24 2/3 innings and I’d expect similar struggles against the Twins here.

I love this matchup for Minnesota and think it has the advantage in all facets — starting pitching, bullpen and offense. Mahle continues to be undervalued in the market and I’d back the Twins up to -135 here.

Back Mahle and the Twins to bounce back against the Angels in the series opener on Friday night.

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NFL Odds, Player Prop Bets, PrizePicks Plays: 8 Bets for Lions vs. Falcons, Browns vs. Jaguars, More

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Sean Koerner, Action Network’s Director of Predictive Analytics, is 7-2 with his PrizePicks plays in the 2022 NFL preseason.


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Number in parentheses is confidence rating in pick from 1-10.

Tim Boyle (Lions) — Under 95.5 Passing Yards (8)

Jared Goff will start and potentially play the entire first quarter. We could then see Tim Boyle and David Blough split the remaining three quarters. Boyle is a terrible QB and this number is way too high considering he will likely play 1 1/2-2 quarters. I’m projecting him closer to 80.5 pass yards.

Josh Reynolds (Lions) — Under 20.5 Receiving Yards (9)

The Lions are expected to play their starters for about one quarter tonight. Reynolds is expected to be in that group, but he’ll compete for targets against D’Andre Swift, Amon-Ra St. Brown, D.J. Chark and T.J. Hockenson. I’m projecting him closer to 16.5 receiving yards.

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Damiere Byrd (Falcons) — Under 19.5 Receiving Yards (8)

The Falcons might be playing 10-11 WRs tonight, which means it’s going to be extremely difficult for Byrd to see enough playing time to haul in two or more receptions. I’m projecting him closer to 14.5.

Mike Harley (Browns) — Under 20.5 Receiving Yards (7)

It’s a bit of a mystery how the Browns will handle their WRs tonight, giving Harley a wide range of outcomes. Regarding Week 1 of the preseason, I would only feel comfortable taking the Over 20.5 receiving yards unless I was 100% sure that WR would see four or more targets. I can’t say that about Harley, which is why I’m on the under.

I like how this prop correlates with the Felton Under 21.5 rush yards prop  (coming later) because if Felton ends up lining up tonight as a WR, it’ll increase the chances I end up hitting both props. I’m projecting him closer to 14.5 receiving yards.Fantasy Football CTA for PRO

Demetric Felton (Browns) — Under 21.5 Rushing Yards (8)

Felton has been lining up at WR in camp and is more of a pass-catching back. I could see the Browns wanting to give him carries to see how he does with direct carries. I think it’s more likely we see D’Ernest Johnson, John Kelly, and rookie Jerome Ford see most of the work out of the backfield.

I think Ford ends up seeing a pretty big workload here and consider Felton’s under prop to be an investment in Ford (who doesn’t have any props yet). I’m projecting Felton closer to 16.5 rush yards.

C.J. Beathard (Jaguars) — Under 79.5 Passing Yards (7)

Beathard will relieve Trevor Lawrence after he plays 2-4 series. That means Beathard will likely play the 2nd quarter and may even start the second half before giving way to Jake Luton. Jacksonville also recently signed EJ Perry. If the Jags plan on playing him at all, it’ll only decrease the number of snaps for Beathard, who I’m projecting closer to 65.5 pass yards.

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Keaontay Ingram (Cardinals) — Over 24.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards (6)

The Cardinals are resting James Conner tonight, meaning Eno Benjamin will get the start. Benjamin has already been with the Cardinals for a couple of seasons, so they know what they have in him. Darrel Williams is listed as questionable, so if he ends up being held out, the Cardinals will likely want to get a long look at Ingram.

Ingram was solid at USC, and he could be on the roster bubble. They’ll likely opt to give him more chances than T.J. Pledger/Ronnie Rivers, who are long shots to make the team. I’m projecting him closer to 28.5 total yards and love his upside here.

Malik Taylor (Packers) — Under 18.5 Receiving Yards (8)

Taylor returned to practice last week. Even if he does suit up tonight, it probably won’t be for long. Just know that when you use this prop, there is a chance he ends up not playing, and the prop will be graded as DNP. I’m projecting him closer to 14.5 receiving yards.

Diamondbacks vs. Rockies MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Pitching Advantage Key For Arizona (Friday, August 12)

diamondbacks-vs-rockies-odds-picks-predictions-mlb-friday-august-12-2022

Diamondbacks vs. Rockies Odds

Diamondbacks Odds +106
Rockies Odds -124
Over/Under 12 (-118 / -104)
Time 8:40 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Both the Diamondbacks and Rockies enter their weekend series with a head of steam.

Arizona has won four-of-five and Colorado has won four-of-seven. With that said, the Snakes may have an advantage in the pitching department as the two sides start a three game set.

Let’s get into this one.

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Arizona Diamondbacks in Good Pitching Situation

Zach Davies will be the man for the job on Friday, and a season after he defied his own peripherals for months on end, pitching around an alarmingly high hard-hit rate, the sinker-baller has made drastic improvements in 2022.

Davies is down 11.9% in that area to 31.4%, a number which is not only much better but actually among the top 10% in all of baseball.

He’s been able to induce ground balls around the same high rate (42.8%) and his numbers across the board are all relatively calm. While his xERA of 4.12 isn’t all that glamorous, his xwOBA on contact is much better than league average at .348, and his walk rate has come back down to above-average territory.

Davies hasn’t allowed a run against Colorado in 11 1/3 innings this season — in fact, he’s allowed just seven hits and four walks — though he’s yet to pitch at Coors Field. With that said, as a ground-ball pitcher he’s not exactly the worst guy to believe in at altitude.

As for the bats, the Diamondbacks are up at a 108 wRC+ in the last week with an extremely low 10.3% strikeout rate. Power has been hard to come by, however, and their fly ball rate is the third-lowest in the league during that time.

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Colorado Rockies Looking to Crack Numbers

If you know Antonio Senzatela well (and if you do, I’d suggest seeking help), you would know that the right-hander has always been a better pitcher when at home versus when he’s on the road.

Despite adverse pitching conditions, the righty owns a 4.57 ERA at Coors Field for his career and a 5.12 ERA away from Colorado. This season in the split he’s been 4.02 at home and 5.50 on the road.

None of those numbers are particularly good, and Senzatela has surrendered five runs in nine innings against Arizona this season. The good news is that his last outing took him across seven frames, where he was able to pitch around nine hits and yield just two runs.

Perhaps playing right into Davies’ hands, the Rockies have the third-highest ground ball rate in the majors this season at 45.8% and a meek hard-hit rate of 34.2% in the last week, which is 22nd in the major leagues during that time.

With that being said, Colorado has managed to check in at fifth in wRC+ in the last seven days thanks to a couple of big nights at the plate at home against St. Louis.

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Diamondbacks-Rockies Pick

This seems like a picture-perfect matchup for Davies. While he’s suffered some tough nights at Coors Field in his career like any other pitcher, he theoretically shouldn’t have much of an issue here.

The Rockies hit a ton of ground balls and aren’t making a lot of hard contact, and Davies has been brilliant at getting ground balls and soft contact all year long.

On top of that, Arizona grades out as an above-average team against fastballs with 0.09 weighted runs per 100 pitches, and that should put it in an excellent spot against the fastball-happy Senzatela. That, and the fact that the offense has been getting a bat on everything.

I’d favor the Diamondbacks here and bet them to -115.

Pick: Diamondbacks ML (+105)

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Kansas Sports Betting on Track for Week 1 of the NFL Season

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Kansas is on track for sports betting in less than a month, and FanDuel and DraftKings released pre-registration sign up offers this week.

More operators are expected to join them next week, a source within the industry said. That lines up with the Week 1 NFL start date, which Action Network reported operators were targeting after Kansas passed its sports betting bill in April.

“We’ve done what we need to do to get this moving to try to meet the start date of the NFL football regular season,” David Moses, chairman of the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission said at the regulatory meeting on Friday.

During the meeting, the commission unanimously approved regulations for operators put forth earlier this week by the Kansas Lottery.

Both groups are tasked with implementing Kansas’ sports betting law, which was approved by Gov. Laura Kelly in May.

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Fast-Tracked Approval

No operators have been approved so far, though a clause in the law allows the lottery to issue temporary regulations by the end of August.

Stephen Durrell, Executive Director of the Kansas Lottery, declined to give a start date earlier this week after finalizing regulations to send to the commission. “We are hopeful this will be soon so we can launch sooner rather than later,” he said.

The Kansas Lottery’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 7, though a special meeting may be called before then.

Apps Expected in Kansas

The state’s four casinos may partner with up to three operators each to offer online and retail betting. Several apps have already secured market access:

Online Betting Operator Casino
DraftKings Boot Hill Casino
FanDuel Kansas Star Casino
Barstool Hollywood Casino
Bally Bet Boot Hill Casino

Kansas’ federally recognized Native American Tribes may also update their gaming compacts to offer sports betting.

The law allows professional sports teams and other retail locations to take bets through sports betting kiosks as well.

Sporting Kansas City, an MLS soccer team, is the only professional sports team in the state.

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NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: 4 Bets for Browns vs. Jaguars, Cardinals vs. Bengals, Jets vs. Eagles (Aug. 12)

nfl predictions-odds-picks-packers vs 49ers-cardinals vs bengals-jets vs eagles-august 12

NFL Preseason Quarterback Matchups

This will be updated before every slate of preseason games.

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Falcons vs. Lions

Both teams are expected to play their starters for about one quarter. Then from the second quarter on, we will likely see rookie Desmond Ridder vs. Tim Boyle or David Blough.

I do not see a clear angle for this game, but the full-game total of 35.5 is factoring in a fairly high-scoring first quarter with all of the offensive starters playing. I’ll be looking to see if they float 17 for the second half. In that event, I would likely back the under.

Browns vs. Jaguars

It sounds like Deshaun Watson is going to start this game, it will likely be a combination of Watson and Jacoby Brissett under center for the Browns vs. Trevor Lawrence and C.J. Beathard in the first half.

I will be taking the Browns in the first half, and I would guess the line would quickly move to Browns -2.5.

The second half should be a battle between Josh Rosen and Josh Dobbs vs. Jake Luton and EJ Perry. I will be looking to back the 2H under if it’s above 16.5. Based on game flow, I’m not expecting Brissett or Beathard to play much (or at all) in the second half.

Pick: 1H Browns +0.5 (-115, BetMGM)

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Cardinals vs. Bengals

This game is going to be an absolute disaster.

Both teams will rest most of their starters and be playing third or fourth stringers for much of the game. If there were ever a preseason game that deserves a total in the high-20s, it’s this one.

I’m taking the Under 31.5 for the full game, but I think the best bet will be backing the under for the second half if it’s above 14.5. We could see Jarrett Guarantano vs. Jake Browning for much of the second half and maybe even see Drew Plitt under center towards the end. Woof.

Be sure to follow me in the Action app. I can plan on making various bets in-game, but there are many moving parts. I may ultimately stay away or spot other values.

It’s important to see which bets I officially lock in within the app.

Pick: Under 31.5 -110 (FanDuel)


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Jets vs. Eagles

Both teams will likely be playing their starters for a couple of series to begin the game. I expect the play calling to be fairly aggressive since both teams have a few new weapons on offense they will want to have jell within the offense before the season starts.

Once the starters are pulled, we will see Gardner Minshew vs. Joe Flacco, and I like the pass-catchers who should still be in the game through the second quarter. I expect the 1st half to be fairly high-scoring; therefore, I am taking Over 17.5 (FanDuel).

I also think Philadelphia has a big enough edge in the first half to take it in the first half. BetMGM is offering Eagles +0.5 at +120 in the first half.

The second half is when the scoring environment drops significantly with Mike White and Chris Streveler vs. Reid Sinnett and Carson Strong. I also give the Jets the slight edge once we get to the second half.

Picks
1H Over 17.5 (+100, BetMGM)
1H Eagles +0.5 (+120, BetMGM)


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Packers vs. 49ers

The Packers are going to start Jordan Love and play him for 2-3 quarters. The 49ers will start Trey Lance before turning the offense over to Nate Sudfeld, likely in the second quarter.

I will be looking into possibly taking the in-game under for the fourth quarter (depending on a few factors) because it will likely be Danny Etling vs. Brock Purdy. I would be surprised if the fourth quarter produces more than seven points.

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MLB Expert Picks For Friday, August 12: Breaking Down 14-Game Slate, Including Phillies vs. Mets, Diamondbacks vs. Rockies

mlb expert picks-odds-best bets-blue jays vs guardians-august 12

We have a 14-game slate this Friday night in the dog days of August, but there are some intriguing matchups like the Yankees vs. Red Sox, Guardians vs. Blue Jays, and Brewers vs. Cardinals

Be sure to check out our MLB odds page for up-to-the-minute odds changes across multiple sportsbooks, and our projections page which helps you find the best value across the board.


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Braves vs. Marlins, 6:40 p.m. ET

Jake Odorizzi vs. Pablo Lopez

Jake Odorizzi makes his second start as a member of the Braves on Friday night. So far on the season, he’s pretty average: 3.91 xERA, 4.68 xFIP, .251 xBA against and .309 xwOBA against, per Baseball Savant. He’s a heavy fastball pitcher, which should work against the Marlins, who have a -21.3 run value against fastballs.

Pablo Lopez is starting regress, as his last four starts, he’s allowed 16 earned runs. The biggest problem for him in this matchup is he mainly has two pitches that he utilizes, a fastball and a changeup, well the Braves have a combined +44.8 run value against those two pitches.

I have the Braves projected at -131 and a total of 7.22, so this one is a pass for me.

Pick: Pass

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Padres vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET

Mike Clevinger vs. Cory Abbott

Juan Soto returns to face him former club only a few weeks after being traded.

The Padres are overvalued at -225 on the road, but I have no interest in playing this current version of the Nationals because Cory Abbott is going to be an opener and then we will get into the seventh worst bullpen in terms of xFIP. No thank you.

Pick: Pass

Guardians vs. Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. ET

Cal Quantrill vs. Jose Berrios

These two starting pitchers have been horrendous this season.

Jose Berrios has an xERA of 5.48, which is the worst mark among qualified starting pitchers this season. He’s allowing a .278 xBA, .500 xSLG, a 45.1% hard hit rate and .430 xwOBACON, all of which are in the bottom 10% among MLB pitchers.

Cal Quantrill’s xERA is sitting at 4.59, but he doesn’t get very many swings and misses, as his whiff and strikeout rate are in the seventh percentile among MLB pitchers. He’s mainly a sinker/cutter pitcher, which is one reason why he doesn’t get many swings and misses. That isn’t going to work against a Blue Jays lineup that has a +15 run value against those two pitches and is second in MLB in terms of wOBA against right-handed pitching.

I have 5.6 runs projected for the first five innings, so I like the value on Over 5 runs at -105 (BetMGM) or better.

Pick: First Five Innings Over 5 runs (-105)

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Orioles vs. Rays, 7:10 p.m. ET

Austin Voth vs. Corey Kluber

Austin Voth is a positive regression candidate, as his actual ERA is sitting at 5.53, but his xERA is over a full run lower at 4.43. However, that is still way below average. He has a three-pitch arsenal of fastball, curveball and cutter, which should have some success against the Rays considering they have a combined -6.3 run value against those three pitches.

Corey Kluber has been the definition of average in his first season in Tampa Bay. His xERA is 4.05, his xFIP is 3.83, but his BB/9 rate is an impressive 1.03. Kluber is heavily reliant on a cutter, curveball, sinker combination, which will be a tough matchup against the Orioles lineup who has a +8.2 run value against those three pitches.

I have this game projected dead on with the market at -152 with a total of 8.1, so I will be passing.

Pick: Pass

Yankees vs. Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. ET

Domingo German vs. Nathan Eovaldi

Domingo German has some pretty bad advanced metric in his four starts since returning to the Yankees’ rotation: 6.61 xERA, 4.77 xFIP, 2.04 HR/9 rate and .313 xBA allowed. It is a small sample size, but FanGraphs has him projected at a 4.66 ERA pitchers. He mainly has a three-pitch arsenal of fastball, curveball and changeup, which are three pitches the Red Sox have had success against (+15.1 run value).

Nathan Eovaldi has been the only bright spot in the Red Sox rotation. He has a 4.28 xERA, 3.32 xFIP, and only a 4% BB rate, which is one of the best marks among MLB starting pitchers. Most importantly, he throws the one pitch that the Yankees have a negative run value against: splitfingers. Eovaldi has a nasty one too, as it’s only allowing a .225 xwOBA and has a 41% whiff rate.

I have the Red Sox projected at -117 for the first five innings, so I like the value on Eovaldi -102 (FanDuel) or better.

Pick: Red Sox First Five Innings (-102)

Phillies vs. Mets, 7:10 p.m. ET

Ranger Suarez vs. Max Scherzer

Should Max Scherzer be this big of a favorite? I say no.

Scherzer’s been fantastic since returning the Mets‘ starting rotation, posting a 2.92 xERA and 3.13 xFIP. He did face the Phillies back in May, which was his worst start of the season, giving up four earned runs in five innings. The Phillies are 12th in MLB in terms of wOBA against right-handed pitching and have a +28.8 run value against the five pitches in Scherzer’s arsenal (fastball, slider, changeup, cutter and curveball), per Baseball Savant.

Ranger Suarez has been pretty good this year. His xERA is 3.83, he’s only allowing a 31.5% hard hit rate, and opposing hitters only have a .304 xwOBA against him. The Mets are also pretty average versus left-handed pitching ranking 15th in wOBA.

I only have the Mets projected at -140, so I like the value on Philadelphia at +172 (FanDuel) and would play it down to +162.

Pick: Phillies +172

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Tigers vs. White Sox, 7:10 p.m. ET

Daniel Norris vs. Michael Kopech

This is an interesting game because of Daniel Norris. He’s been in the bullpen for the past three years and he’s been a sub-4.50 xERA & xFIP pitcher, which isn’t bad. However, when he was a full-time starter for the Tigers back in 2018, his xERA was above five and his K/9 rate was down at 7.79, when as a reliever, he’s posted above nine for the past three years.

Does he go more than two innings? Is he effective when he has to see the lineup multiple times? Those are questions that need to be answered. Plus, he’s facing the best lineup in baseball against left-handed pitching.

Michael Kopech is a negative regression candidate, as his ERA is sitting at 3.38, but his xERA is at 4.00. He’s also having some control issues because his BB% is at 11.7%, which is in the bottom 10% among MLB starting pitchers. He’s also allowing a 41.7% hard hit rate and a 9% barrel rate, per Baseball Savant.

The gap between these two bullpens isn’t really that big: DET 3.98 xFIP vs. CHW 3.78 xFIP, DET 71.3 LOB% vs. CHW 69.8% LOB%, and DET 2.50 K/BB vs. CHW 2.59 K/BB.

I only have the White Sox projected at -132, so I like the value on Detroit at +205 (BetRivers) and would play it down to +158.

Pick: Tigers +205

Mariners vs. Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET

George Kirby vs. Josh Sborz

In his first season in the big leagues, George Kirby has been outstanding, but this line is a little crazy. Yes, he has a 3.52 xERA, 3.42 xFIP, and an extremely low 1.25 BB/9 rate. However, he’s in the bottom 25% among MLB pitchers in hard hit %, barrel rate allowed and average exit velocity allowed.

The Rangers are opening with Josh Sborz, which means it will be a bullpen game for them. Texas‘ bullpen isn’t really that bad, it’s just average. The Rangers have a 4.02 xFIP, 70.9% LOB% and a 2.42 K/BB ratio, all of which are around the MLB average.

I only have the Mariners projected at -131, so I like the value on the Rangers at +165 (PointsBet) and would play it down to +147.

Pick: Rangers +165

Dodgers vs. Royals, 8:10 p.m. ET

Tony Gonsolin vs. Daniel Lynch

Betting against the Dodgers has not been a fun venture over the past few weeks.

Now they get to put their best pitcher on the mound up in Tony Gonsolin and are once again overvalued in the market.

With that being said, Daniel Lynch hasn’t been that great this season, posting a 4.31 xERA and the Dodgers lead MLB over the past 30 days in xwOBA and are top five in wRC+ against left-handed pitching.

Pick: Pass

Athletics vs. Astros, 8:10pm ET

Adam Oller vs. Luis Garcia

This line is a little crazy for Luis Garcia, but Adam Oller and the A’s lineup have been so bad. Oller has over a 6.50 xERA and xFIP in a little over 40 innings and A’s offense is second to last in baseball in terms of wOBA and wRC+.

Yes, he’s been really good, posting a 3.34 xERA & 3.72 xFIP. Opposing hitters only have a .218 xBA & 2.99 xwOBA against him. But, -325 is an extremely high price for one nine inning baseball game, so I will be passing.

Pick: Pass

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Brewers vs. Cardinals, 8:15pm ET

Eric Lauer vs. Jordan Montgomery

I am not so sure Jordan Montgomery should be this big of a favorite.

Montgomery overall for the season has been pretty average, as his xERA is at 4.03 and his xFIP is at 3.66. He’s been pretty fortunate to this point because opposing hitters only have a .231 batting average against him, but his expected batting average allowed is at .263. However, the Brewers have been terrible against left-handed pitching, ranking 25th in wOBA.

Eric Lauer has numbers that are very close to Jordan Montgomery: 4.01 xERA, .237 xBA allowed and .312 xwOBA. The problem is he’s going up against the number one of the best lineups in MLB against left-handed pitching. The Cardinals are tied with the Yankees for the best wOBA in baseball at .343 and have the second best wRC+ at 125.

Even though I do project a little value on the Brewers, the matchup is terrible at the plate, so I am passing.

Pick: Pass

Diamondbacks vs. Rockies, 8:40pm ET

Zach Davies vs. Antonio Senzatela

This line is a little crazy given how bad Antonio Senzatela has been for the Rockies this year.

Senzatela has a 5.34 xERA and is near the bottom in just about every single advanced metric for MLB pitchers.

image via Baseball Savant

He is also a heavy fastball pitcher, going to it over 53% of the time and is allowing a .325 xBA and .451 xwOBA on it. Fastballs are the only pitch the Diamondbacks have a positive run value against, ranking 14th in MLB at +6.8, per FanGraphs.

Zach Davies is actually having a career year in Arizona. His xERA is at 4.08, which is his best mark since 2016. Opposing hitters only have a 31.4% hard hit rate and average exit velocity of 86.8 mph, both of which are in the top 10% of the league.

So, I have no idea why the Rockies are favored, even though it’s at Coors Field. I have the Diamondbacks projected at -132 for the full game and -153 for the full game. So I am doubling up on the Diamondbacks full game at +106 (FanDuel) and first five innings at +112 (BetRivers).

Picks: Diamondbacks First Five Innings (+112) & Full Game (+106)

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Twins vs. Angels, 9:38pm ET

Tyler Mahle vs. Patrick Sandoval

This line is way too short for the Twins.

Tyler Mahle was pretty good for the Reds over the first half of the season. He’s also is due for some positive regression. His actual ERA is sitting at 4.49, but his xERA is 3.27. He’s heavy on using his fastball and has been really dominant with it, considering opposing hitters only have a .172 xBA against it. The Angels are still without Mike Trout in their lineup and excluding him, they have a -19 run value against fastballs.

Patrick Sandoval has been pretty average and nowhere near Tyler Mahle’s level. He’s currently sitting with a 4.40 xERA and  a pretty high 4.26 BB/9 rate. The Twins are an above average team against left-handed pitching in terms of wOBA and BB%.

I have the Twins projected at -143 for the full game and -171 for the first five innings. So I am going to double up on Minnesota and take it at -120 for the full game and for the first five innings at -120 (BetMGM).

Pick: Twins First Five Innings (-120) & Full Game (-120)

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Pirates vs. Giants, 10:15pm ET

Bryse Wilson vs. Carlos Rodon

The starting pitching matchup in this one is a little too big of a mismatch.

Carlos Rodon has been pitching at an elite level in San Francisco: 2.77 xERA, 11.29 K/9 rate, .262 xwOBA allowed and a .207 xBA allowed. He’s been dominant with his fastball, allowing only a .218 xBA and a .281 xwOBA, which is huge considering he goes to it over 60% of the time. The Pirates are the third worst team in baseball against fastballs (-28.9 run value) and is in the bottom five in terms of wOBA and wRC+ against left handed pitching.

Bryse Wilson has been pretty bad this season, posting a 5.52 xERA with some pretty horrible advanced metrics.

image via Baseball Savant

However, the price on the Giants is way too high, so this one is a pass for me.

Pick: Pass


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Brewers vs. Cardinals MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: St. Louis Worthy of Price as Home Favorite (Friday, August 12)

brewers vs cardinals odds-picks-predictions-mlb-august 12

Brewers vs. Cardinals Odds

Brewers Odds +135
Cardinals Odds -160
Over/Under 7.5 (-115/-105)
Time 8:15 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Friday night is the start of a big series between the Cardinals and the Brewers. St. Louis has won eight of its last 10 games to take a half-game lead over Milwaukee in the National League Central division.

This comes after Milwaukee held the division lead throughout the first half of the season.

The Brewers have lost six of their last 10 games and traded away All-Star closer Josh Hader at the trade deadline, a confusing move even among Brewers players.

These two teams are 6-6 against each other this year and have six more matchups left. Friday is the first of three this weekend. Who will ultimately get the job done and take home the victory?

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Are Brewers Undervalued?

While the model I use doesn’t love the Brewers here, intuitively I was a little surprised to see them listed at +140.

The Brewers and Cardinals have played very close games this year. Not only is their head to head record 6-6, but St. Louis has a +4 run differential in those games, which shows how evenly matched these two teams have been.

The Brewers are on the road here, but they’re 31-28 on the road this year. Milwaukee is 11th in all of baseball averaging 4.59 runs per game on the road this year.

Jordan Montgomery will be making his second start for the Cardinals. Montgomery has allowed a .163 ISO to right-handed batters this season and Milwaukee has plenty of power in the lineup as Willy Adames, Andrew McCutcheon, Mike Brosseau and Hunter Renfroe each have ISOs above .200 against left-handed pitching this season.

Montgomery threw five scoreless innings against his former team the Yankees in his first start for the Cardinals, which was also at home.

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Cardinals Tough Matchup for Lauer

Eric Lauer has been exceptional for the Brewers recently. In three of his last four starts, Lauer has allowed just one earned run while completing at least five innings.

He’s faced the Cardinals twice already this year and is 1-1, taking the loss and allowing five earned runs in the most recent game.

St. Louis is seventh in all of baseball averaging 4.84 runs per game at home this year. The Cardinals are 35-20 at home this season.

Lauer has allowed a .205 ISO to right-handed hitters this season and in general seems due for negative regression as he has a 3.59 ERA and 4.77 xFIP.

The Cardinals have plenty of power in the lineup as Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Albert Pujols, and Paul DeJong all have ISOs above .200 against left-handed pitching this season.

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Brewers-Cardinals Pick

While this isn’t a fun pick because the odds are juiced a bit on the Cardinals, I’m really not seeing the argument for going with the Brewers at this point in the year.

The Cardinals have been rolling recently as the return of Paul DeJong and additions to the rotation Montgomery and Jose Quintana have fit their club nicely. St. Louis has also been tremendous at home and they figured out Lauer the last time they faced him pushing across five runs.

I’m gonna hold my nose and take the Cardinals at -165 on DraftKings Sportsbook.

Pick: Cardinals ML (-165)

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PropBetGuy’s Friday MLB Player Prop: How to Fade Brewers’ Eric Lauer in a Crucial NL Central Matchup (August 12)

PropBetGuy will break down some of his favorite MLB plays of the day and track all his bets in The Action Network app.


Eric Lauer Under 16.5 Pitching Outs (+100)

Prop Lauer Under 16.5 Pitching Outs (+100)
Matchup Brewers vs. Cardinals
Time 8:15 p.m. ET
Books Available DraftKings

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We’ve reached the part of the MLB season where teams kick it into high gear for their playoff runs. This should be especially true for the Brewers and Cardinals, who not only are virtually tied atop the NL Central but have also split their 12 matchups as they enter their weekend series.

Eric Lauer takes the bump for the Brewers, and I like the under on his pitching outs line tonight. The lefty has struggled a bit on the road, pitching to a 4.47 ERA and a 4.56 xFIP.

Lauer also registers 4.16 pitches per plate appearances in away games – a number that would rank as the seventh-highest among 111 qualified starting pitchers. This has led to him staying under this line in seven of 11 road outings.

The Cardinals have the second-highest team OPS and wRC+ vs lefties over the last two months, at .853 and 139, respectively. They are a top-nine team in wRC against Lauer’s top three pitches: the four-seam fastball, slider and curveball. They’ve also had success against the southpaw this season with seven runs scored in 11 innings against him.

With these two teams duking it out for divisional supremacy, I expect both managers to tighten their leashes a bit. Lauer already struggles the third time through the batting order, allowing a .925 OPS. Tonight, I have the Cardinals chasing him after five innings.

Pick: Eric Lauer Under 16.5 Pitching Outs (+100) | Playable to (-125)

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NFL Odds, Picks & Predictions for Browns vs. Jaguars: Friday’s Historically-Profitable Preseason Betting Trend

browns-vs-jaguars-nfl-odds-picks-predictions-betting-trends-friday-august-12-2022

Browns vs. Jaguars Odds

Browns Odds -1.5
Jaguars Odds +1.5
Over/Under 37.5
Date Friday, Aug. 12
Time 7:15 p.m. ET

*Odds as of Friday morning

NFL preseason odds are heavily influenced by player news.

Because coaches have their own agendas regarding their starters, teams choose to approach matchups differently.

For example, veteran teams that have remained largely intact likely need less playing time in the preseason to knock off the rust.

On the other hand, young teams or those with new head coaches may look at the preseason as an important time to get in meaningful reps and learn together ahead of the regular season.

From a betting market perspective, this has a significant impact on NFL spreads and over/unders.

For example, both the Browns and Jaguars are expected to play their offensive starters for at least a portion of Friday night’s preseason game, and the latest over/under reflects that.

At 37.5, the Browns vs. Jaguars total is currently the largest of all preseason Week 1 matchups, but what does this mean from a betting value standpoint?

Is the over the savvy play considering that both starting quarterbacks will see some time? Or is this number so large that it’s worth buying the under?

Using our Bet Labs software, a 57.2% NFL betting trend with a 604-game sample size can point us in the right direction.

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Browns vs. Jaguars Betting Trend

According to our NFL betting data, when a preseason total reaches 37 points, it’s time to consider playing the under.

Since the start of the 2004 NFL preseason, unders are 339-254-11 (57.2%) in games that close with totals of at least 37 points.


In fact, this trend has not had a losing preseason since 2013, when games fitting this criteria finished 19-25-1.

Please note that there are no guarantees in sports betting and even a bet that has won 57.2% of the time over a large sample still loses nearly 43% of the time as well, and who knows what will happen in a one-game sample.

However, this trend does show that large NFL preseason totals tend to be overvalued historically.

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NFL Odds, Picks & Predictions for Falcons vs. Lions: Friday’s Week 1 Preseason Matchup Landing Smart Money

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Falcons vs. Lions Odds

Falcons Odds +2.5
Lions Odds -2.5
Over/Under 35.5
Date Friday, Aug. 12
Time 6 p.m. ET 
Channel NFL Network

*Odds as of Friday 

An NFL preseason Week 1 matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions would typically be the least interesting of a five-game slate, especially considering its 6 p.m. ET (and 3 p.m. PT) start.

However, this isn’t your everyday matchup between two teams that combined to win just 10 games the previous season.

The Lions are featured on this season of HBO’s Hard Knocks and are generating a lot of buzz as a result.

So it’s reasonable to expect plenty of eyeballs on Friday night’s Falcons vs. Lions matchup, and with eyeballs typically comes interest from recreational bettors.

However, it’s not just the casual bettors getting down on Falcons vs. Lions.

In fact, the Action Network’s NFL betting data is showing that sharps already took a big bite of this preseason Week 1 matchup.

Falcons vs. Lions Pick

The fact that NFL preseason Week 1 odds opened back on July 20 makes deciphering market movement more difficult than for normal games.

However, once we get to gameday, and the market’s sharpest bettors show their hands, that task becomes much easier.

As recently as 6:12 p.m. ET on Thursday, Detroit was listed as a one-point underdog at DraftKings for tonight’s matchup with Atlanta.

However, that all changed on Friday morning when, according to Action Labs’ Bet Signals, smart money flooded the market to gobble up the Lions, flipping their spread to a consensus line of -2.5 (click here for live NFL odds).

As I mentioned above, the Lions have become quite popular following the season’s first episode of “Hard Knocks,” so it’s no surprise to see the public — evidenced by 70% of spread tickets landing on Detroit — backing Dan Campbell’s squad as well.

While there’s still plenty of time for buyback to potentially hit the market, it’s fair to say that as of the time of writing, both pro and public bettors are aligned on the Lions tonight.

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2022 Atlanta Falcons NFL Win Total Odds, Pick: Will Marcus Mariota & Company Reach 5 Wins?

2022-atlanta-falcons-nfl-win-total-odds-pick-betting-prediction-over-under

While spending a nice, quiet morning in a Vegas sportsbook trying to get over my hangover back in June, I stumbled across the Atlanta Falcons’ 2022 regular-season win total.

Did ya know it’s over/under 4.5 wins?

At first, I was all, “Lol, Atlanta suuuuuckkks.”

Then I had another beer (or three).

Then I thought,  “Ok, Atlanta does suck, but is it going to really be that bad?

“Have there been any offseason changes to push them to five wins this season?

“Is old Matt Ryan really any better than new Marcus Mariota or even rookie Desmond Ridder? If he is, it’s not by much in the year 2022.”

So let’s talk this dumpster fire out.

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Atlanta Falcons Win Total Odds, Pick

Last year, the Falcons went 7-10. This year, the expectations are much lower, and I can see why.

Their schedule is hard. But even with a tough schedule, they still play in one of the easier divisions in the league. I can see a situation where they split wins with both Carolina and New Orleans.

I mean, the Saints have Jameis Winston and a quarterback playing tight end.

That’s two potential wins right there.

And let us not forget about Tampa Bay. Sure, on paper it looks like they will take both of those wins, but in real life, things look a little different. Tampa is up in the air with offensive line injuries, a new coach and Tom Brady away from the team for personal reasons.

I can see a situation where this team melts in epic fashion.

I mean, can you really call someone the GOAT if he lost to Eli Manning not once, but twice on the sport’s biggest stage?

There’s your third win.

While outside of their division looks more difficult, there is a high probability that the Falcons win against the Browns in Week 4, a game in which Cleveland quarterback DeShaun Watson will likely be suspended (as he should be, but that’s a rant for another day).

Atlanta also plays Chicago, Washington and Pittsburgh, with the Steelers trying to replace Big Ben with either a rookie they drafted too early or Mitch(ell) Trubisky.

I could easily see a situation where Atlanta wins two of those games, putting it over the 4.5 win total — and that’s not factoring in the chances of another upset victory along the way.

The pick: Falcons Over 4.5 Wins (-120) via FanDuel

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UFC on ESPN 41 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Marlon Vera vs. Dominick Cruz: Back ‘Chito’ in Second Half of Main Event (Saturday, August 13)

Marlon Vera vs. Dominick Cruz Odds

Vera Odds
-230
Cruz Odds
+195
Over/Under
4.5 (-180 / +145)
Venue
Pechanga Arena in San Diego
Time
Approx. 9:30 p.m. ET
Channel
ESPN and ESPN+
Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings.

A future bantamweight title challenger could emerge from Saturday’s main event between No. 5 ranked Marlon “Chito” Vera and No. 8 ranked contender – and former champion – Dominick Cruz.

Chito enters UFC on ESPN 41 event on a three-fight winning streak, including a five-round decision over Rob Font in April. While Saturday’s bout is only his second five-round fight, the Ecuadorian’s attritional style is better suited to long contests.

Since his three-year layoff from late 2016 to early 2020, Cruz is 2-1 in the UFC. He scored consecutive wins against Casey Kenney and Pedro Munhoz following his title-fight loss to Henry Cejudo. Each of his three career losses has occurred in a title fight.

Below, I’ll provide my analysis and projections for Saturday’s matchup and utilize those factors to bet on the UFC San Diego main event.

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Tale of the Tape

Vera Cruz
Record 19-7-1 24-3
Avg. Fight Time 11:55 16:49
Height 5’8″ 5’8″
Weight (pounds) 135 lbs. 135 lbs.
Reach (inches) 70″ 68″
Stance Switch Orthodox
Date of birth 12/2/1992 5/9/1985
Sig Strikes Per Min 4.33 3.82
SS Accuracy 51% 33%
SS Absorbed Per Min 4.99 2.56
SS Defense 50% 71%
Take Down Avg 0.73 2.88
TD Acc 42% 43%
TD Def 68% 83%
Submission Avg 1.1 0.1

Cruz should be the better minute-winner in the matchup, while Vera likely has the more impactful moments and significantly higher finishing ability.

Cruz is the superior fighter statistically, with a positive strike differential (+1.26 per minute vs. -0.66 for Vera) and a higher efficiency rating (104 to 101 combined accuracy and defense). He’s far less hittable than his opponent (+21% striking defense) and uses unique footwork to create awkward angles to land strikes and dash out of range.

It’s challenging to prepare for Cruz’s striking style.

Moreover, he is a superior wrestler. Cruz should be able to determine where the fight takes place and seemingly has most of the grappling upside in this fight. Vera isn’t particularly adept at fighting off his back or returning to his feet after you take him down, and a trio of takedowns could be enough to swing a decision in Cruz’s favor.

Additionally, Vera is a notoriously slow starter, typically ceding the first round on the scorecards to make his reads and tire out his opponents. As a result, Vera is often overvalued from a pre-fight betting perspective since you can almost always find a better price on his live moneyline after Round 1.

I expect Cruz to win the early rounds and keep this fight competitive. Still, Chito is as durable as they come. Vera has never been knocked down in the UFC, and he barely had a scratch on him after absorbing 271 significant strikes against Font.

As a result, it’s challenging to win rounds against Vera – even with superior volume – since he rarely appears damaged. And Cruz has a reasonably narrow path to victory: He needs to control three of the five rounds without getting hurt. That’s far easier in a three-round fight – particularly if Chito is going to concede the first round – than in a five-round fight.

Cruz has been knocked down in three of his past four fights, and at age 37, he is well beyond the average age for bantamweight, while Chito is in his prime.

Vera will look to his kick game to attack Cruz’s legs and body to slow down his older opponent and tire him out for the championship rounds, where he will amplify the pressure and hunt for a finish.

Conversely, Cruz should try to put Vera’s back flat on the mat as often as possible.

If Vera can’t slow Cruz’s movement, he could be in trouble. Cruz should be able to utilize his footwork to frustrate Chito, particularly early, and Vera will need to land the most significant strike of the round to steal optics away from Cruz’s output.

From a pre-fight perspective, Cruz is the clear betting side. However, I expect Vera to have more success the longer this fight goes, and he could find a late finish or rally to a decision down the stretch.

Vera vs. Cruz Pick

I projected Marlon “Chito” Vera as a 67% favorite (-203 implied) in this fight, and I don’t see value on either side of the moneyline.

Moreover, I projected the fight to go the distance 62% of the time (-160 implied), and I don’t see value concerning the totals or the distance prop (listed -170 Yes, +130 No at Caesars).

However, I project value in the winning method market both on Cruz by decision (projected +257, listed +280 at Fanduel) or Vera inside the distance (projected +198, listed +215 at Draftkings).

If Vera does finish the fight, I see it happening later, as he picks up the pace, and Cruz potentially slows from Chito’s attritional work.

If your book offers a Vera Round 4 / Round 5 / or Decision prop, that’s a solid way to play the matchup.

I placed an SGP with the Over 2.5 Rounds and Vera’s moneyline at DraftKings, and I’ll look to target him at a discount in the live markets after Rounds 1, 2, and/or 3 after Cruz has his best success early.

The Pick: SGP (+100, 0.5u): Marlon Vera / Over 2.5 Rounds

Guardians Favored Over Twins, White Sox for AL Central Title for 1st Time This Season

guardians-favored-over-twins-white-sox-for-al-central-title-for-1st-time-this-season

The Guardians have finally usurped the Twins and White Sox as the favorite for the American League Central crown for the first time all season.

The upstart Twins had been around +600 to win the AL Central before the season started, with the White Sox in -200 territory (66.67% implied odds) to win back-to-back division titles.

Meanwhile, the Guardians were as long as +1500 (6.25% implied) during spring training.

Then, the Twins started off hot, holding onto the division lead until August and even being the sole recipient of MLB’s biggest division lead in May.

Yet, the Twins hovered around plus-money all year, with the market unconvinced regarding the White Sox’s slow start. Chicago was minus-money, hovering around -115, to win the division until summer started.

Minnesota finally usurped the Chicago in June to take the lead as the favorite.

But the Guardians stayed in the race throughout, stalking the leaders within four games throughout the dog days of summer, but the markets didn’t start respecting them until just about that timeframe. Even then, they were closer to +175 to take the crown, despite being in a tight race in a bad division.

Now, after a season long resurgence — and the staid, explosive play of perhaps the most underrated superstar in MLB, Jose Ramirez — the Guardians are in poll position for a playoff spot come October.

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The Guardians are now +120 at BetMGM to win the division.

Prognosticators across the league thought Chicago would run through what they perceived to be a weak division. The White Sox had been -400 to make the playoffs and tied as the fourth-best favorites to win the World Series.

Their odds to miss the playoffs were at +300 (implied odds of 35%) before the season, and that’s going to be a winning ticket unless they win their division.

The White Sox are +250 to win the AL Central and are 3.5 games out of contention.

The Twins, meanwhile, have fallen to +180 underdogs with 52 games to go. The Twins are 1.5 games back from the Guardians atop the division.

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Friday MLB Props Odds, Picks: 2 Bets for Cal Quantrill and Ranger Suarez (August 12)

phillies vs mets odds-picks-predictions-mlb-august 12

Happy Friday, gamblers!

Walk into the weekend by adding these two +EV pitcher props onto your card. total-bases-and-more-for-cubs-vs-reds-thursday-august-11″>Our Field of Dreams player props went 5-0 yesterday, so it’s the perfect time to hop on the Action Labs train.

Our Action Labs Props Tool grades each prop on a scale from 1-10, and I’ll be sure to include the grade for each of my betting recommendations in my discussions below.

Cal Quantrill over 3.5 strikeouts (+100)

Guardians @ Blue Jays
First Pitch 7:20 p.m. ET
Best Line DraftKings

Cal Quantrill has been cruising past this line lately. He’s cashed over 3.5 Ks in five straight starts, now having eclipsed four strikeouts in 13 of his last 18. This includes four straight road starts.

The Blue Jays don’t strike out a lot from a rate perspective, but they’ve sneakily been swinging and missing. The Jays have allowed five of the last seven starting pitchers they’ve faced to go over their listed strikeout total.

Quantrill’s K/9 is way down, and he hasn’t even managed six K/9 yet this season. But he’s been pitching a massive amount of innings, having pitched at least six in 14 of his last 21 starts. The Guardians need an innings eater behind Shane Bieber, and Quantrill has answered the call.

Quantrill may not force whiffs like other starting pitchers, but he’s managed enough opportunities to eclipse his generally low strikeout totals.

The projections are high on Quantrill today, too. Our Action Labs Player Props tool projects Quantrill for 4.2 strikeouts today. FanGraphs SaberSim projections mark him for 3.7.

But we can bet this over at even money on DraftKings.

Pick: Over 3.5 Ks (+100)

Action Labs Grade: 8/10

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Ranger Suarez over 3.5 strikeouts (-165)

Phillies @ Mets
First Pitch 7:10 p.m. ET
Best Line DraftKings

Ranger Suarez is not having the year he did in 2021, but he’s been rather effective in the middle of this Philly rotation. His ERA, xERA, FIP and xFIP all range between 3.68 and 3.89, and he’s managed just over 100 innings in 19 starts. It’s also nice that the Phillies can pair a southpaw with Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

A line of 3.5 strikeouts is too low. He’s struck out at least four batters in eight of his nine starts this season. His pitch count hasn’t even been spectacular, either, with Suarez having tossed less than 95 pitches in seven of those nine outings.

The Mets are a tough cookie to crack, as they’re one of the more disciplined lineups in baseball. But in a relief appearance last season, Suarez managed to strike out three Mets over just 26 pitches in 1 2/3 innings. He forced a 42% CSW rate in the outing.

Suarez has the ability to punch out these Mets, and he should easily catch four strikeouts or more today.

The projection systems agree. Our Action Labs projections have Suarez at 4.9 strikeouts today, while FanGraphs SaberSim projections mark him for 4.3.

Either way, there’s plenty of value in this line.

Pick: Over 3.5 Ks (-165)

Action Labs Grade: 8/10

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Yankees vs. Red Sox MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Nathan Eovaldi, Boston Prolong New York’s Funk? (Friday, August 12)

yankees vs red sox odds-picks-predictions-mlb-august 12

Yankees vs. Red Sox Odds

Yankees Odds -125
Red Sox Odds +105
Over/Under 9.5
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The most storied rivalry in baseball is set to add another chapter as the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will open up another three-game set this evening.

So much has changed since these two rivals last faced one another. The Yankees got more potent at the deadline, while the Red Sox wheeled and dealed but are currently last in the AL East. However, Boston may have an opportunity to steal this opener.

Domingo German will be on the mound for the Yankees. While his 5.09 ERA through four starts may not look great, he’s been much better through his last three outings and appears to have gotten his bearings since returning from injury. Although, his underlying metrics don’t tell the same story as his last few outings.

Getting the ball for Boston will be Nathan Eovaldi. He’s had some ups and downs since returning from the IL in July, but he may be catching the Yankees at the right time. His outing will decide who wins this matchup.

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Eovaldi to Add to Yankees Regression

The Bronx Bombers have taken a step back in the second half as they are no longer the best lineup in the majors. While their descent in statistical rankings is not substantial, the drop-off has significantly impacted the win and loss columns. As a result, the Yankees enter this matchup 2-8 in their last 10.

Over the last two weeks, New York has been hitting just .241 as a team. The Yankees are not swinging and missing more often, it has just been an extended stretch of poor contact made by a powerful lineup. In that same span, their BABIP is just .266, which ranks 26th in the majors.

As for Eovaldi, his underlying metrics may indicate he’s in for another rough outing, but there are a few that point to him having a nice bounce-back performance.

First, there has been no drop-off in his stuff from last season, where he posted a 3.75 ERA and a 2.79 FIP. His command has also been excellent, as his walk rate ranks in the top two percent of all qualified pitchers.

Another metric that displays how effective his stuff has been is his chase rate. Eovaldi’s chase rate is in the top 15 percent of the majors, and it is primarily due to his increased usage of his splitter. That pitch has been highly effective for him this season as it has a BAA of .156.

That pitch has also increased his groundball rate, which will also help counteract the Yankees’ power as they have one of the highest flyball rates in the league.

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Expect Boston to Jump On German

German’s numbers are inflated from a rough first start of the season, but some of his other metrics highlight how bad he has been.

If he qualified for Statcast rankings, his hard-hit rate, xwOBA and xBA would all be near the bottom of the league as he’s given up a great deal of hard contact. Those numbers are the reason that his xERA is 6.66, and his FIP is 5.78 despite him only allowing two runs or fewer in three of his four starts.

Despite the Red Sox being at the bottom of the division, this Boston lineup is dangerous and can do damage against someone with those types of numbers. The Red Sox rank seventh in team batting average and are sixth in hard contact rate.

The top of their order features their four most productive hitters in terms of hard-hit rate and xwOBA. So expect them to be responsible for the tallies on the scoreboard.

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Yankees-Red Sox Pick

A deeper look into this matchup shows whose track record you need to trust between the men on the mound. German has been hit hard consistently since returning, and Eovaldi is due to return to his form from last year.

Conversely, the Yankees may have great numbers against Eovaldi, but that is not the same team that will show up tonight. New York is regressing mightily, and Eovaldi has the stuff to counteract their approach.

Boston has the pop to get to German early. While that may not be in the first inning, it should be on the board by the third or fifth. So while you can back the Red Sox on the final five line, there is still a bit more value on the full game price.

Pick: Boston +110

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Padres vs. Nationals MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: How To Bet San Diego In Juan Soto’s Return To Washington (Friday, August 12)

padres vs nationals odds-picks-predictions-mlb-august 12

Padres vs. Nationals Odds

Padres Odds -250
Nationals Odds +200
Over/Under 9
Time 7:05 p.m. ET
TV Apple TV+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Just 11 days since his final contest with Washington, Juan Soto will return to Nationals Park for a date with his former club on Friday night.

The Padres will send Mike Clevinger to the mound for the start and he has managed an ERA of 3.60 throughout 65 innings to start his 2022 campaign.

Washington will hand the ball to Cory Abbott, who has been more solid than his 5.68 ERA suggests throughout a tiny sample size of 12 innings this season.

Surely the Nationals will likely put a little more attention on this series with little else to play for this season, but will that be enough for it’s depleted roster to pull off the upset in Soto’s return?

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Where Is The Padres’ Offense?

Since making significant deadline acquisitions in Soto, Josh Bell, Josh Hader and Brandon Drury, the Padres have gotten off to a slow start, managing just a 3-5 record with more modest offensive numbers than you might expect.

The Padres have struck out 23.4% of the time over that span, with a wRC+ of just 96 and a wOBA of .301.

However this comes through a small sample size, and it’s easy to project why this new-look Padres offense should eventually wear out opposition staffs, and I believe we will see that narrative play out in this three-game set.

The Padres were more effective against right-handed pitching prior to the deadline additions, with a 101 wRC+ and a .309 wOBA, and it’s easy to see why they should improve on those marks moving forward, as Soto has slugged .552 against righties this season with a .976 OPS, while Bell has slugged .490 with a .890 OPS.

Clevinger has managed an ERA of 3.43 over his last eight starts, with a WHIP of 1.08.

During that span, Clevinger has taken advantage when facing spots in easier ballparks and facing softer competition, and although that trend may not last forever, it could certainly be taken as a positive note entering a matchup against a lowly Nationals lineup.

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What Will Nats Get Out of Abbott?

While the Padres have managed surprisingly poor offensive numbers to start the Soto era, Washington has been surprisingly productive throughout it’s nine games without Soto and Bell.

However, to count on that continuing over a longer sample may be foolish, and Clevinger is certainly drawing a soft matchup against a Nats side which has hit to a wRC+ of just 92 versus righties on the season altogether, and has just lost two very potent bats.

The Nationals’ 629 runs against are most in the league, and Washington also holds the worst run differential in the league by a significant margin at -200.

When the softer arms in Washington’s bullpen enter the game it has often meant things get ugly, and the Nationals will surely hope Abbott can prevent that situation from happening and keep this game close throughout the opening frames.

Abbott has pitched to an xERA of 3.89 throughout his 12 1/3 innings this season with Washington, and may have been somewhat sharper in the MLB than his inflated overall numbers after a disastrous start last time out versus Philadelphia.

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Padres-Nationals Pick

San Diego’s high powered, new-look offense clicked back into gear with some significant outputs over the last two games of its series versus San Francisco, and I think we will see the Padres offence wear down the Nationals poor pitching staff heavily this week.

It would not surprise me at all to see San Diego manage 2-3 notable offensive performances throughout this three-game set against the lowly Nationals, and Friday’s contest could offer a perfect spot for an important opening win.

Clevinger has managed elite numbers in softer spots of late, and I certainly believe we could see that trend continuing entering this contest against the Nationals post-deadline lineup without Soto or Bell.

San Diego should likely manage an early lead in this contest, before building on that as it gets into a soft Nationals bullpen.

I think there’s a strong chance we see a big Padres win in this spot, and I would play the Padres to cover -2.5 down to -115.

Pick: San Diego -2.5 -105 (Play to -115)

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Tigers vs. White Sox MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Will Low-Scoring Trends Continue in Chicago? (Friday, August 12)

tigers vs white sox odds-picks-predictions-mlb-august 12

Tigers vs. White Sox Odds

Tigers Odds +180
White Sox Odds -210
Over/Under 8 (-115/-105)
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

We have the first matchup of this three-game AL Central series as the Chicago White Sox host the Detroit Tigers. The under has hit in four of the last six meetings between these two clubs.

Will we see another low-scoring affair, or can the bats pick it up this time around?

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Can Tigers Find Offense?

The Detroit Tigers enter this series amid a flurry of low-scoring contests as there have been eight or fewer total runs scored in 14 of their last 15 games (93%). I expect this strong trend to continue in this series opener.

Left-hander Daniel Norris is projected to take the mound for Detroit. Though the reliever is making his 28th pitching appearance, this game will only be his second start of the year.

Through those 27 appearances, Norris is 0-4 with a 6.90 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. While those surface-level stats are obviously horrible, his metrics suggest that positive regression is looming.

This season, Norris boasts a .322 xwOBA, .201 xBA and .379 xSLG. Regardless of whether this positive regression will be realized in this game or not, Norris will be on a short leash and could result in a bullpen game for the Tigers.

Since July 1, the Tigers’ relief pitching ranks 10th in the league in ERA, fourth in SLG, seventh in wOBA and third in FIP. However, this pitching staff should not much run support as the Tigers are slated to go against right-hander Michael Kopech.

When facing right-handed pitchers, Detroit ranks just 27th in the league in BA, 30th in SLG, 30th in OPS, 30th in wOBA and 29th in hard-hit percentage since the beginning of July. Through 41 career plate appearances against Kopech, this current Tigers roster possesses a .194 BA, .472 SLG, and .309 wOBA.

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Kopech Solid For White Sox

Like Detroit, the Chicago White Sox enter this amid a run of low-scoring contests as there have been eight or fewer total runs scored in 10 of their last 13 games (77%).

Through 20 starts this season, Kopech is 4-8 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. We should not expect any regression from Kopech in this game as he boasts a .312 xwOBA, .220 xBA and .387 xSLG.

Kopech has thrown against Detroit twice this season, producing a 2.89 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Following Kopech is one of the league’s more underrated bullpens.

Since July 1, Chicago’s relief pitching ranks 14th in the league in ERA, 13th in WHIP, 11th in BA, seventh in SLG, sixth in wOBA and 10th in hard-hit percentage. However, this pitching staff may not get much run support against Norris.

When facing left-handed pitchers, Chicago ranks just 18th in the league in BA, 26th in SLG, 24th in OPS, 25th in wOBA and 21st in hard-hit percentage.

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Tigers-White Sox Pick

The under looks like a great bet from every angle in this game. Norris is due for positive regression but is followed by a strong bullpen even if that does not come to fruition.

Kopech is an extremely strong pitcher who is also followed by a strong bullpen. On top of these facts, each lineup has struggled mightily recently.

The poor hitting from each lineup has resulted in an abundance of low-scoring games recently. Between each team, there have been eight or fewer total runs scored in 24 of their last 28 combined games (86%).

I would rather lay more juice at 8 than play the under at 7.5.

Pick: Tigers/White Sox u8 (-105) | Play up to (-125)

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Phillies vs. Mets MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Max Scherzer, New York Stay Hot Against Equally Scorching Division Rival? (Friday, August 12)

phillies vs mets odds-picks-predictions-mlb-august 12

Phillies vs. Mets Odds

Phillies Odds +180
Mets Odds -225
Over/Under 7
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
TV Apple TV+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Since losing their first two games out of the All-Star break, there has not been a hotter team in baseball than the New York Mets.

The Mets have won 15 of their last 17 games, including a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds this week. The Mets have also enjoyed the return of the game’s best starting pitcher, Jacob DeGrom. The Mets ace struck out 12 in 5 2/3 innings his last time out against the Braves.

DeGrom will start Saturday’s game, however, the Mets will send their other ace, Max Scherzer, to the mound tonight to face the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Mets are not the only hot team in the NL East. Thursday’s loss to the Miami Marlins snapped a seven game win streak, but the Phillies have won 12 of its last 14 games overall. They now hold the second wild-card spot in the National League and are a game up on the San Diego Padres.

Though the NL East rivals have not met since May, the Mets have had the advantage this season. The Mets have won every series this season and hold a 9-3 record. Will the Mets continue its dominance over the Phillies on Friday?

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Can Phillies Bats Get to Scherzer?

It has been a tale of two seasons for the Phillies in 2022. A 22-29 start led to the dismissal of manager Joe Girardi. Since then, Philadelphia is 40-20 and has maintained its level of play despite losing its star and 2021 NL MVP Bryce Harper. The Phillies have gotten their other stars to pick up the slack.

Rhys Hoskins has hit five of his 24 home runs this season in his last 15 games. Kyle Schwarber has four home runs and 10 runs batted in his last 15 games. He also is 4-for-11 with two home runs against Scherzer. Alec Bohm has been one of the hottest hitters in the NL over the last month. He is hitting .366 with four home runs, 20 runs batted in and a .941 OPS in his last 30 games.

Since the All-Star break, the Phillies are averaging 4.9 runs per game and have hit 28 home runs in 19 games since the break. However, runs may be at a premium for the Phillies tonight. While Schwarber hits Scherzer well and Bohm is 5-for-15 against him, Hoskins is 1-for-26 against Scherzer. J.T. Realmuto is just 7-for-58 against Scherzer.  Schwarber may not even be able available tonight after suffering a calf strain against the Marlins.

Ranger Suarez will get the start for the Phillies and he is 8-5 with a 3.68 ERA on the year. In his last seven starts he has been even better, going 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA. Suarez holds LHB to a .207 opposing batting average while RHB hit .271 against him. Facing Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, Starling Marte and Darin Ruf, he could run into some trouble.

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Nobody Hotter Than Mets

It is hard to find a more well-rounded team than the Mets right now. Since the All-Star break, the Mets are hitting nearly .300 as a team, are averaging 5.63 runs per game and have hit 23 home runs in 19 games.

In that span, the Mets have a 3.18 team ERA. They have gotten strong outings from Scherzer, DeGrom, Carlos Carrasco, David Peterson and Taijuan Walker. Additionally, closer Edwin Diaz has allowed just one run since May 27th.

Francisco Lindor has been a catalyst, hitting .350 with seven home runs and 24 runs batted and a 1.023 OPS in his last 30 games. He has also recorded a run in 13 consecutive games, totaling 16 in that span.

Alonso has four home runs and 13 runs batted in his last 15 games. He also has seven of his 29 home runs against LHP and a slightly higher OPS at .918 compared .896 against righties. Marte has gone cold in the last week, but he hits .322 against LHP this season. He is also 2-for-6 against Suarez.

Meanwhile Scherzer just turned 38 a few weeks ago, but he remains as dominant as ever. He is 8-2 with a 1.98 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 95 1/3 innings this season. Since returning from the IL, he has a 1.37 ERA in seven starts. He ranks in the 90th percentile or better in strikeout percentage, walk percentage and chase rate.

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Phillies-Mets Pick

Down Schwarber in addition to already being without Harper, the Phillies will not generate much offense against Max Scherzer.

The Mets are rolling offensively as well. While Suarez does a good job of limiting hard contact, I see him having a difficult navigating the right-handed bats in the heart of the Mets lineup.

I expect the Mets to push a couple of runs against Suarez to give Scherzer some breathing room. I will be backing the Mets on the run line.

Pick: Mets -1.5 (+105)

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Friday NFL Preseason Betting Trends: Updated Odds Movement, Money & Ticket Percentages for All 5 Games

friday-nfl-preseason-betting-trends-odds-movement-money-august-12-2022

Say what you want to about watching NFL preseason games, but it is nice to have a slew of professional football matchups, even exhibition ones, lined up on a Friday night.

Sure, if you’re young and fun and go out on Friday nights, then you probably don’t care.

But if you’re the opposite of young and fun, like me, putting the kids to bed to watch Cincinnati’s backups in action sounds like one helluva time!

There are five NFL preseason Week 1 games tonight, and yes, people are betting each and every one of them.

In fact, some of these games have taken so much action that oddsmakers are moving lines as well.

Using the Action Network’s NFL betting trends, let’s examine the spread and total bets attracting the most attention from football bettors.

Friday NFL Preseason Betting Trends

*NFL odds and betting trends as of Friday afternoon

Falcons vs. Lions Betting Trends

6 p.m. ET | NFL Network

Betting for tonight’s Falcons vs. Lions matchup has been very interesting as 68% of bettors are lining up on this season’s Hard Knocks team.

What’s even more noteworthy is that sharps, those with the respect and resources to move NFL odds, pounded this line on Friday morning (click here to see our Falcons vs. Lions sharp report).

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Browns vs. Jaguars Betting Trends

7 p.m. ET 

While the Browns vs. Jaguars spread hasn’t moved much since opening, the over/under movement has been fun to monitor.

This number has pushed from 33 to 37.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook, however, with 80% of the money wagered now on the under, this line has fallen to 36.5 at many shops, including BetMGM and DraftKings.

So, why is this number dropping in hours leading to tonight’s kickoff?

Perhaps this 57.2% betting trend can shed some light…


Jets vs. Eagles Betting Trends

7:30 p.m. ET

The total pops off the page for Jets vs. Eagles as well, specifically the difference in tickets vs. money wagered.

Ninety-eight percent (!) of bets are on the under to this point, yet 78% of the money is on the over.

You know what they say: follow the money. And if we do just that, we see a total that has risen from 33 to 35.5.

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Cardinals vs. Bengals Betting Trends

7:30 p.m. ET 

We have another tickets-vs.-money situation going on here with the Cardinals vs. Bengals spread.

The Cards have garnered 80% of the money for tonight’s game against the Bengals, and have needed just 47% of the tickets to do just that.

This has convinced a handful of books, like FanDuel and DraftKings, to knock their price down from Arizona +2.5 to +2, while others, like Circa and Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, are already at +1.5.

 


Packers vs. 49ers Betting Trends

8:30 p.m. ET | NFL Network

In terms of betting market activity, Packers vs. 49ers is the calmest of Friday’s five NFL preseason Week 1 games.

Still, the combination of 75% of tickets and 64% of the loot has popped the Packers vs. 49ers over/under up to 35.5, after opening at 33.5, as of Friday afternoon.

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Braves vs. Marlins MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Why Fried Will Dominate the Miami Hitters (Friday, August 12)

braves-vs-marlins-odds-picks-predictions-mlb-friday-august-12-2022

Braves vs. Marlins Odds

Braves Odds -165
Marlins Odds +140
Over/Under 7.5 (-110/-110)
Time 6:40 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Pablo López has been the second-most effective starting pitcher in the Marlins’ rotation, and he will face Max Fried and the Braves on Friday. The Marlins are currently plagued with injuries, with the bulk of their batting order on the Injured List. This has led to abysmal performances against left-handed pitching as they only have a 45 wRC+ against lefties over the last month, which ranks dead last in baseball.

Atlanta, on the other hand, has been pretty consistent. The Braves have a 102 wRC+ against righties. This is not spectacular, but it has been slightly above average.

Fried is definitely the better of these two starting pitchers, but both are more than solid. The key angle in this game with such a low total is to target the most significant edge, which is the Miami offense and its dependably weak offensive production.

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Fried and the Braves Should Thrive

Fried has been the ace for the Braves for some time. He ranks in the 91st percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 95th percentile in Barrel Percentage. Pair that with a lineup, like Miami’s, which has not performed, and there will not be many runs manufactured. Fried holds a 2.60 ERA and 2.88 xERA, and both are phenomenal.

Jazz Chisholm, Jorge Soler, Jon Berti, and Brian Anderson are all on the IL, which encompasses the bulk of the power in the Marlins’ batting lineup. Of the players with at least 10 plate appearances against southpaws, only Jesús Aguilar, JJ Bleday, and Garrett Cooper have a .340+ xwOBA. The rest of the lineup has done nothing of note, and the results will be even more sour with Fried on the bump.

The Braves’ bullpen may have some issues, but they have three pitchers under a 3.00 xFIP who can fill in for Fried when he exits the game. Since April 19, Fried has only two starts where he went fewer than six innings of work, so he should be fine against this Miami lineup.

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Marlins Bullpen Has Heated Up

On the other side, López has some problems with consistency this season. He gave up nine hits to the Chicago Cubs in his last outing, but he does rank in the top half of the league in Average Exit Velocity and in the top 25% of the league in Hard-Hit Rate. His Chase Rate is also elite, which may cause swings and misses for the Braves. They rank fourth in Chase Rate, only behind the Tigers, White Sox, and Orioles in the majors.

Manny Piña, Ozzie Albies, Orlando Arcia, and Adam Duvall are on the IL. The Braves do only have four batters over the .340 xwOBA threshold, so this is not much better than the Marlins. However, most of their order is above a the .310 mark, so they can at least piece together strong at bats.

This becomes difficult to project because of the Marlins’ bullpen and their recent successes. Yes, this team can barely hit right now, but they have a 3.61 xFIP in relief since July 12. They have the arms to assist López in his endeavors on Friday night, so avoiding the Braves on the moneyline is the wise call.

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Braves-Marlins Pick

Fried is the better pitcher of the two, but López matches up well with the Braves’ order and how often they swing and miss. Furthermore, the Marlins’ bullpen has been relatively sharp over the past month.

Take the under on the Marlins Team Total from Under 3 (-110) to 3 (-140). They cannot hit lefties, and Fried is among the best. The Braves have enough relievers to come into this game after Fried, but there is a fair chance he could go eight innings.

Pick: Marlins Team Total Under 3 (-110) | Play to 3 (-145)

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College Football Odds, Picks, Futures: The 655-1 Power Five Conference Champion Parlay to Bet

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Unlike the Group of Five, which produces its fair share of longshot conference champions each season, the Power Five has been less chaos-inclined in recent years.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t value to be mined across the country, but it does mean you can rule out nearly 70% of the teams out before their band strikes up the fight song for the first time this fall.

With that in mind, I’ve laid out my five picks to take home conference titles in the Power Five this season, balancing chalk with a few teams that are on the outside looking in this preseason.

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NC State to Win ACC (+900)

Despite a letdown season — by Clemson standards — Dabo Swinney and company still won 10 games in 2021. And their losses included a single-possession defeat to the eventual national champions and an overtime heartbreaker against NC State.

Both of these season-tilting setbacks came away from Death Valley. Suffice to say, the ACC still runs through Clemson.

So why, given the orange and regalia lovefest above, am I on the Wolfpack and not the Tigers (-125) to win the ACC? In a word, continuity.

Only 19 programs in the entire country return their head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators, and starting quarterback. NC State retained head coach Dave Doeren (17-7, 13-5 ACC last 2 years), OC Tim Beck (1st in ACC passing efficiency), DC Tony Gibson (1st in ACC defensive passing efficiency) and starting quarterback Devin Leary (7:1 TD-INT ratio).

NC State, as a program, returns 77% of its offensive production and 90% of its defensive production from 2021, according to our Collin Wilson. This includes nine starters on defense, not including former All-American candidate Payton Wilson, who returns from injury this fall to anchor the linebacking corps.

The Wolfpack defense finished top-20 nationally in points per game (20.8), yards per play allowed (4.9), opponent third-down conversions (30.1%) and opponent completion percentage (53.1%).

Clemson, meanwhile, has a quarterback competition on its hands should D.J. Uiagalelei falter at all in fall camp or against the Tigers’ cushy nonconference slate (Furman, La Tech).

If Big Cinco is stuck in neutral, I fully expect Swinney to hand the keys over to true freshman Cade Klubnik.

Defensively, the Tigers must replace both starting cornerbacks and will be guided by a first-time defensive coordinator in Wes Goodwin. This will be Goodwin’s first crack at calling plays as a DC.

Brandon Streeter has more experience as an OC (FCS OC stints at Liberty and Richmond), but he’s replacing former Broyles Award winner Tony Elliott.

There are prices out in the market north of 10-1 on the Wolfpack, which is far too high for a veteran team that beat Clemson last season.

Books are pricing Clemson as prohibitively as juggernauts Ohio State and Alabama as though Clemson didn’t put together the worst offensive campaign of the Swinney era in 2021 (26.3 PPG, 82nd).

Toss in the potential loss of Sam Hartman at Wake Forest, and it appears this is a two-horse race in the ACC.

Take advantage of this generous number on the Wolfpack.

To Win ACC


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Baylor to Win Big 12 (+650)

The Baylor Bears are the defending Big 12 champions and were selected by the media to win the conference again in 2022. So naturally, they check in at fourth in oddsmakers’ pecking order. Wait, what?

The Big 12 has long been viewed as an offensive conference, and the fact that Baylor is replacing four skill-position starters and putting its faith in a green starting quarterback with all of two career starts has sportsbooks skeptical.

But I’m bullish on what Blake Shapen can offer a previously one-dimensional BU attack (10th in rush, 92nd in pass).

In the Big 12 Championship gainst Oklahoma State, which finished fourth in total defense, Shapen completed 82% of his passes and three touchdowns, earning title game MVP honors. He’s a solid improvisational runner and has tremendous touch.

The offensive line in front of Shapen returns nearly intact with four starters coming back.

The beef up front will allow OC Jeff Grimes to keep his RVO (reliably violent offense) rolling. The Broyles Award finalist unleashed a devastating running game that paired perfectly with the Bears’ stout defense last season.

As for the running game this fall, Craig “Sqwirl” Williams could be a breakout star if he can stay healthy. The former four-star recruit is a home-run hitter capable of replacing a big chunk of Abram Smith’s 2021 production that included 1,601 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Defensively, Baylor returns a ton from a front seven that helped generate 104 tackles for loss last season (7th nationally). The key will be in the secondary, where Dave Aranda’s team needs to break in three new starters to their 3-3-5 look.

Luckily, the new faces in the secondary are highly-touted, headlined by Lorando “Snaxx” Johnson, a former four-star recruit out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Jalen Pitre won the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in the same role that Johnson will be playing this fall.

Given all of the new starters in Stillwater, an overhaul of the Oklahoma coaching staff and the crushing weight of outsized expectations on the Forty Acres, I’m confident Baylor can at least return to the conference title game in 2022.

To Win Big 12


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Tom Pennington/Getty Images. Pictured: Baylor Bears linebacker Dillon Doyle (5).

Ohio State to Win Big Ten (-210)

The trio of C.J. Stroud, TreVeyon Henderson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba is arguably the best “Big Three” in the history of Ohio State football, which is saying a whole lot. For my money, they’re already in a dead heat with the ‘95 legends of Bobby Hoying, Eddie George and Terry Glenn, just needing to stay healthy this fall to rewrite records books in Columbus.

As for the road ahead, Ohio State plays its first five games at “The Shoe” and catches tricky games against Iowa and Michigan at home as well. The Buckeyes even have the benefit of a bye week immediately after their first road test of the season — at Michigan State on Oct. 8.

The offense has a chance to be historically good, but how far can the defense progress in Year 1 under Jim Knowles?

The Broyles Award finalist is known for complex schemes and a lot of pressure. Last season at Oklahoma State, Knowles’ defense led the nation with four sacks per game, mixing 3-3-5 and 4-2-5 looks, while unleashing a hybrid edge rusher position (Leo), which he now calls Jack at Ohio State.

Zach Harrison and Jack Sawyer will get a crack at the position. If either proves to be effective in the role, that really increases the Buckeyes’ ceiling on defense.

At the end of the day, the Big Ten still runs through Columbus because of Ohio State’s talent advantage and intimidation factor. Ryan Day is 23-1 in Big Ten play as the Buckeyes’ head coach, and now they have a chip on their shoulder after dropping two games last season and getting bullied by their archrival.

Look out for Stroud and the Silver Bullets on their revenge tour.

To Win Big Ten


Alabama to Win SEC (-145)

If you like one blue blood getting off the mat in 2022, how about another coming off of a “rebuilding” season?

Nick Saban may have said that tongue-in-cheek during the offseason, but given how much talent Alabama lost following the 2020 season, it’s not an entirely outlandish statement to make.

After replacing a pair of first-round NFL Draft picks in their backfield and a Heisman Trophy winner on the perimeter, the Crimson Tide still finished top-10 in total offense (7th) and scoring (6th).

The noticeable struggle of course was along the offensive line. Bama’s O-line finished 68th in Sack Rate, 46th in Power Success Rate and a shocking 70th in Stuff Rate.

Essentially, that means three things:

  1. Bryce Young was under duress a lot.
  2. The Tide were mediocre running the ball in short-yardage situations on third and fourth down.
  3. Far too many of their carries were stopped at or before the line of scrimmage.

Offensively, this is the only concern I had about Alabama by the end of last year, and there’s reason to expect a turnaround.

The Tide return both guard positions in Emil Ekiyor Jr. and Javion Cohen. Vanderbilt transfer Tyler Steen moves into the left tackle position with a mountain of SEC experience. At right tackle, super-highly touted sophomore JC Latham will help bookend the line.

And finally, Alabama has two experienced options at center in Darrian Dalcourt and Seth McLaughlin. If McLaughlin plays as he did in the final four games, it’ll be his job to lose.

I fully expect the line to improve this fall with Saban bringing to bear his and his staff’s full attention this offseason.

As for the defense, SP+ projects it to finish with the fourth-best unit in all the land. And it makes sense considering it returns all-world linebacker Will Anderson and six other starters. Pepper in the significant transfer portal coup that was Eli Ricks, and it’s easy to envision a slight improvement on its 2021 performance (20th in scoring, 7th in total defense).

At the end of the day, the three best quarterbacks Alabama will face in the regular season this fall may very well be Quinn Ewers, Hendon Hooker and Jaxson Dart. Two of those high-upside passers have little to no experience, which isn’t a recipe for upsetting Saban.

I’ll stick with the chalk here.

To Win SEC


college football-odds-picks-lsu vs. alabama-texas a&m vs. auburn-liberty vs. ole miss-saturday, november 6
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryce Young.

Utah to Win Pac-12 (+250)

Utah has been waiting for a quarterback with moxie since Brian Johnson upset Alabama 13 years ago. In the last decade, Tyler Huntley was better than Travis Wilson, who was an upgrade over Jon Hays.

It’s been a gradual improvement from below average to decent to really good. But can Cam Rising be great? That’s the question — and the early results are very promising.

Once Rising took over the starting role in September last fall, the Utes went 9-2 straight up, scoring 38 points per game. That included a pair of blowout wins over Oregon and a 42-point outburst against USC.

The dual-threat scored rushing touchdowns in six of his 11 starts and has provided Utah not only with a schematic edge but an emotional one as well.

Utah’s preseason offensive outlook is as good as it has ever been under head coach Kyle Whittingham, buoyed by eight returning starters.

Tavion Thomas at running back and the tandem of Dalton Kincaid and Brant Kuithe at H-back and tight end allows the Utes to present a “pick your poison” scenario to defenses in short-yardage situations.

Defensively, I’m putting my faith in Morgan Scalley. He has to replace six starters, including Devin Lloyd, who was a wrecking machine in 2021. But Scalley has been in Salt Lake City for 15 years, and he knows how to coach up his side of the ball.

Utah has led the Pac-12 in rushing defense in five of the past six seasons, including a four-year streak. It’s also been noticeably more disruptive in recent years, leading the Pac-12 in both tackles for loss and sacks last season.

If it can escape a difficult opener on the road in Gainesville, it’ll have the entire month of September to shore things up on defense with a host of underwhelming offenses on tap (Southern Utah, San Diego State, Arizona State).

Getting USC at home is a major boon, but traveling to Oregon and a potentially tricky game on the Palouse isn’t doing it any favors. Luckily, the Utes have a bye week between USC and Wazzu, allowing them to sidestep a letdown while preparing for a new offensive system from the Cougs.

To me, Utah is the only complete team in the entire conference with a veteran coaching staff to boot. I’ll bank on an Oct. 8 triumph over USC sealing the deal.

To Win Pac-12


Power Five Conference Champion Parlay (655-1)

To borrow a phrase from our own Stuckey, throw some “couch change” on this parlay and pray that NC State can hold up its end of the bargain.

NC State to Win ACC (+900)

Baylor to Win Big 12 (+650)

Ohio State to Win Big Ten (-210)

Alabama to Win SEC (-145)

Utah to Win Pac-12 (+250)

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FanDuel Promo: No Code Needed for a Free Football Bet!

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Did you happen to catch that Titans-Ravens preseason game last night? I mean, if you’re not a fan of either team, probably not. However, the matchup gave us an interesting look at the potential future of the league. It’s just preseason, but Malik Willis looked Larry David voice pretty, pretty good for the Titans. And undrafted rookie Anthony Brown showed off some skills on the other sideline. Preseason doesn’t count in the win/loss column, but it can count in your wallet. Check out what FanDuel is offering:

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Here is the schedule for NFL Week 1:

  • Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams, Sep. 8 at 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinatti Bengals, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Commanders, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings, Sep. 11 at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • New York Giants at Tennessee Titans, Sep. 11 at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers, Sep. 11 at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals, Sep. 11 at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys, Sep. 11 at 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks, Sep. 12 at 8:15 p.m. ET

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Here is the schedule for NFL Week 1:

  • Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams, Sep. 8 at 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinatti Bengals, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Commanders, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings, Sep. 11 at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • New York Giants at Tennessee Titans, Sep. 11 at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers, Sep. 11 at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals, Sep. 11 at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys, Sep. 11 at 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks, Sep. 12 at 8:15 p.m. ET

    Caesars Odds Boosts and Offers for Thursday, August 11

    The bonuses keep coming at Caesars, even after you’ve redeemed a new user promo. For example, you can score new boosted odds markets daily! Here’s one available now:

    • Davante Adams 2022-23 Regular Season Receiving Yards Leader: boosted to +1400 odds
    • Many more!

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BetMGM Bonus Code: Free Football Bet With ACTION200!

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Do we love football or do we love football? Preseason really started last night, and even though we just watched a 4th round rookie QB throw passes to borderline practice squad players, we loved EVERY SECOND of it. And there’s even more preseason football on tap for the rest of the weekend. The best place to bet it? BetMGM

BetMGM Sportsbook is giving you a $1,000 risk-free bet on the NFL. That’s right — you can bet today’s football slate using only free money. You win and the winnings are yours. You lose and you get reimbursed what you lost. Special promos like this can’t be found just anywhere. To take advantage either use code ACTION200 or simply click one of the links below.

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BetMGM Sportsbook — available with online registration and betting currently in the U.S. in Illinois, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, West Virginia, Arizona, Tennessee, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Virginia, Wyoming and Washington D.C. — is offering an incredible risk-free offer to new users. This offer is exclusive to The Action Network, so make sure to sign up here and use bonus code ACTION200.

Already have BetMGM? No problem: See offers at other top sports betting sites.

Best BetMGM Bonus Codes for the NFL, and More

MGM has been a famous brand for decades, but you’ve probably started to hear about them more in the online betting space. They have a casino on the strip in Las Vegas, and they’ve launched their mobile, online sportsbook in 10+ states over the last few years — now including Illinois!

They’ve consistently been a favorite of users around the country thanks to their fair odds, great app and website, and awesome new-user offers, like the ones you’ll find here. These are no-brainer offers, which means they’re essentially giving you $1,000 to start your BetMGM career. Not bad at all.

Here’s how this one works (there are more below, too): Simply click on a link on this page, sign up using bonus code ACTION200, deposit, and bet up to $1,000 on any NFL game. At that point, you’ve claimed your new user bonus. If your bet wins, congratulations — you keep the profits. But if it loses, no sweat! BetMGM reimburses you up to $1,000 in free bets.

Remember that these offers are exclusive to the Action audience, so make sure to take advantage while you can.

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Here is the schedule for NFL Week 1:

  • Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams, Sep. 8 at 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinatti Bengals, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Commanders, Sep. 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET
  • Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings, Sep. 11 at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • New York Giants at Tennessee Titans, Sep. 11 at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers, Sep. 11 at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals, Sep. 11 at 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys, Sep. 11 at 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks, Sep. 12 at 8:15 p.m. ET

BetMGM Odds Boosts and Offers for Friday, August 12

Have you already taken advantage of a new user offer at BetMGM? Well, the awesome bonuses don’t stop there. BetMGM takes care of their existing bettors with new odds boosts every single day! Here’s one available on site now.

  • Padres, Mets, and White Sox all to win: boosted to +200 odds
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Men’s US Open Betting Update: Novak Djokovic’s Odds Slightly Drop Following Updated CDC Guidance

Novak Djokovic hasn’t participated in any of the North American hard court swing following Wimbledon due to his vaccination status, but his US Open hopes got a major boost on Friday morning.

Djokovic, who is unvaccinated against Covid, has already missed the Australian Open this year after a wild immigration sequence saw him receive an exemption from the Australian government before it was withdrawn after he arrived.

The 21-time Slam champion has missed a number of tournaments overall this year, and as it stands, he won’t be able to enter the United States and play in the US Open, one of his best events.

However, the CDC announced that, “unvaccinated people now have the same guidelines as vaccinated people,” in the United States.

The immigration guidelines have not yet been updated, but they’re currently “under review” following the domestic update.

Unvaccinated non-citizens are currently unable to enter the country. If that is changed, Djokovic may show up for America’s Grand Slam event.

Oddsmakers have been cautious to count him out, keeping him available on the market throughout the year.

Djokovic saw a slight decrease in odds following the news, moving from +150 to +130 at some books, and his longest odds available are now +150.

Daniil Medvedev is the second-favorite, listed at +220 over at FanDuel. Carlos Alcaraz slots in behind him (+370), while Rafael Nadal comes in at +500.

Nick Kyrgios, the man who has put together an ungodly summer, is the only other player listed under +1000. He’s +850 to take home his first Grand Slam title.

It will be important to monitor CDC guidance with regards to odds as they’ll shift heavily based on the decision that the organization takes.

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FanDuel is the First US Sportbook to Turn a Profit

fanduel-is-first-us-sportbook-to-turn-profit

FanDuel is the first US sportsbook to report profitability during a single quarter, according to numbers released Friday by parent company Flutter Entertainment.

FanDuel closed Q2 2022 with $22 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization from its sports betting and iGaming operations, Flutter said. The company expects FanDuel to be profitable in all of 2023.

Its chief competitors — DraftKings, Caesars and BetMGM — all reported smaller losses year over year for Q2, but they have yet to turn a profit.

Sports betting operators have cut back massive marketing and promotional costs recently, as no new states launched in Q2 2022.

Marketing as a percentage of revenue reduced by 6% due to maturing business in existing states and “disciplined investment”, Flutter said.

Flutter told investors to anticipate $300 million in losses to round out 2022, ahead of potential new market launches in Kansas, Ohio, Massachusetts and Maryland.

“We are particularly pleased with momentum in the US where we extended our leadership in online sports betting, with FanDuel claiming a 51% share of the market and number one position in 13 of 15 states, helping contribute to positive earnings in Q2,” Flutter Entertainment CEO Peter Jackson said in a statement.

FanDuel’s chunk of Flutter’s total revenue increased from less than 10% in Q2 2019 to over 33% in Q2 2022, he added.

FanDuel, like competitor DraftKings, continues to reap the benefits from having an existing presence in the U.S., prior to legal sports betting, as a daily fantasy sports operator .

Its converted over 60% of its fantasy sports players in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Iowa and West Virginia to sports betting, according to the release.

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The Most Popular Sides For Friday’s NFL Preseason Games, Including the Lions & Totals (Aug. 12)

We have a full slate of preseason NFL games football on Friday night, and bettors are in agreement on a number of sides for the games.

The following contests will be taking place this evening:

  • Falcons vs. Lions, 6 p.m. ET
  • Browns vs. Jaguars, 7 p.m. ET
  • Jets vs. Eagles, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Cardinals vs. Bengals, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Packers vs. 49ers, 8:30 p.m. ET

Here’s where bettors are putting their money on Friday night.

Falcons vs. Lions

6 p.m. ET

The single-most bet on side is the Lions moneyline, as Detroit is garnering 79% of the betting tickets and 99% of the money.

Detroit is -135 on the moneyline and -2.5 favorites against the spread. The Lions have received 72% of the tickets and 66% of the money ATS.

Browns vs. Jaguars

7 p.m. ET

Over in Jacksonville, the Jaguars are -1 ATS and -110 on the moneyline, but not commanding much respect from the public.

Jacksonville got its preseason underway last week in the Hall of Fame Game, where it was dismantled by Oakland, and that’s clearly having an impact in this game’s betting splits.

Deshaun Watson is also expected to play in the contest.

The Browns have gotten 70% of the spread bets and account for 88% of the handle in addition to 77% of the moneyline tickets, though that handle is only 48 percent.

Jets vs. Eagles

7:30 p.m. ET

It’s not a side against the spread that bettors are taking aim at in this game, but rather it’s the total.

There’s a very unique betting split on the over/under, with 98% of the tickets on the under, but just 22% of the money on the same side.

The total has moved from an opening number of 33 up to its current position of 35.5, approximately 7 hours from kickoff.

Sports Betting Is Coming to Kansas: Claim $100 FREE Starting Now

kansas-sports-betting-promo-fanduel-august-12

Hey, Kansas, are you ready for some legal online sports betting? Of course you are. And lucky for you, you won’t be waiting too much longer to be placing your first sports bet in the Sunflower State.

Even luckier, you don’t have to wait any longer to start making some money!

Starting now (yes, you can do this today), you can sign up at FanDuel in Kansas and you’ll automatically start off with a free $100 in your account when the sportsbook goes live! This offer won’t exist once that time comes, though, it’s only for users that pre-register.

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Not in Kansas? FanDuel is already available with online registration and betting currently in the U.S. in Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Arizona, Connecticut, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming — is giving all new users a risk-free sports bet.

Already have FanDuel? No problem: See offers at more sportsbooks for all sports right here.

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Offer: Pre-register at FanDuel in Kansas, Get $100 in free bets!

Claim now: Click here

  • Who’s it for? New FanDuel users in Kansas only

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When FanDuel goes live in Kansas, sports fans all across the state are going to want to dive right in.

Get a head start by registering at FanDuel before sports betting goes live, and you’ll get an extra $100 to start your Kansas sports betting career off right.

All you have to do is:

Click here

  • Choose Kansas as your state
  • Register and verify your account

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If you wait until FanDuel launches in Kansas, you’ll miss out on this free $100. Don’t let this offer slip through the cracks!

Do your bankroll a favor and sign up at FanDuel today so you can be ready to place your Chiefs bet right away!

Speaking of which, here are some Chiefs odds you might be interested in (from FanDuel).

Kansas City Chiefs Odds

  • Week 1 @ Arizona: Chiefs -3
  • Week 2 vs. LA Chargers: Chiefs -3
  • To win the Super Bowl: +1000
  • To win the AFC: +500
  • To win the AFC West: +155
  • Win total O/U: 10.5
  • Mahomes to win MVP: +800

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Teofimo Lopez vs. Pedro Campa Boxing Odds, Pick & Prediction: Bounce-back Spot for ‘The Takeover’ (Saturday, August 13)

Lopez vs. Campa Odds

Lopez odds
-3000
Campa odds
+1300
Over/Under
4.5 (-135 / +105)
Venue
Resorts World Arena, Las Vegas
Time
9 p.m. ET (main event at 11 p.m. ET)
Channel
ESPN
Odds as of Friday and via Caesars.

It’s been a little more than eight months since Teofimo Lopez suffered his first professional defeat, which came at the hands of George Kambosos. And now Lopez is looking to start fresh at 140 pounds.

There are some reasons to think this might be a good idea – vacant titles to contend for would be a major one – but the key when starting over in a new weight class is to begin with a bang, which is where Pedro Campa comes in.

Their fight on Saturday (9 p.m. ET, ESPN) in Las Vegas is clearly the kind that’s intended to get Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) some work in his new weight class, but also a win in which “The Takeover” can look good and get a finish.

Campa (34-1-1, 23 KOs) has a strong enough record on paper, but this is his first fight outside of Mexico. And with Campa a +1300 underdog, oddsmakers don’t like his chances to play spoiler.

A win over Lopez would be the kind of huge upset that immediately puts Campa on the map. The flip side of that is that for Lopez, who’s a -3000 favorite (96.7% implied win proabability), a loss would be a disaster. Even letting Campa make it to the scorecards would be a bad look and a mild surprise, with a -525 line (84%) on the fight ending inside the distance.

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Lopez Must Counter Campa’s Aggression, Power

At 135 pounds, Lopez brought a lot of power to bear. It’s reasonable to question whether he’ll retain that as a major asset now that he’s moving up in weight, but the move seems well-timed for a fighter entering his mid-20s, when putting on mass comes more naturally.

The choice of Campa as an opponent also seems engineered to give him the best chance to put his offense on display. Campa will likely move forward and throw, but he shouldn’t be too difficult for Lopez to counter, and he doesn’t seem to be the kind of fighter Lopez will have to go searching for. Lopez should get plenty of opportunities to counter, which suits his style.

In terms of overall skill and big-fight experience, there’s really no comparison between the two. This is a massive jump up for Campa. For Lopez, the key is taking his time without trying to rush the finish, while also respecting Campa enough to keep from giving him any unnecessary openings to score the one perfect shot that might make him a household name overnight.

The problem for Campa is that Lopez has shown himself to be durable and disciplined in the past. In his fight with Vasiliy Lomachenko he proved that he could stick to a game plan when he had to, but also crank up the volume in the later stages to help seal the deal. The 50 punches Lopez landed in the final round of that fight were the most any opponent had ever landed on Lomachenko in a single round, and Lopez managed it without having to expose himself too much.

The real question here is whether Lopez is taking Campa too lightly, perhaps regarding this fight (just as oddsmakers do) as an easy welcome to the division to help him repair his confidence after the loss to Kambosos.

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Lopez vs. Campa Pick

In any universe where Lopez took his preparations seriously and doesn’t do anything dumb to give the fight away, this should be his fight every single time. As tantalizing as that Campa underdog line may be, it’s just so hard to talk myself into believing that he pulls off the upset here.

The question then becomes, how best to capitalize on Lopez’s overwhelming probability of success?

The safe play is to take Lopez by KO/TKO. He’s definitely going to want to finish this fight to announce his presence in the new division, and he shouldn’t have too much trouble accomplishing that. But to find a halfway decent line, you’re probably better off trying to pick the round. I don’t see him rushing this, both because he’d probably like to get a little work and he doesn’t want to run into anything big from Campa early on, when he’s fresh and dangerous.

For that reason, the -135 line on the fight going over 4.5 rounds is a decent choice at DraftKings. You might also consider spreading out some small action on Lopez to win in Round 4 at +550, and Lopez in Round 5 at +600. If you want to know your money is in the safest possible place, however, I still like Lopez to finish the fight by KO/TKO, and for that DraftKings has an attractive line at -330.

Lean: Teofimo Lopez via KO/TKO (-330 at DraftKings)

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Friday MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: 3 Smartest Bets Include Phillies vs. Mets, Diamondbacks vs. Rockies

friday-mlb-odds-picks-predictions-best-bets-phillies-vs-mets-diamondbacks-vs-rockies

Football is back! Sure, it’s just the NFL preseason, but where football goes, betting interest follows.

Friday night’s NFL preseason Week 1 slate includes five games, which will certainly garner plenty of attention from fans and bettors.

But just because football has returned doesn’t mean we should abandon other sports – like baseball – either.

Remember, our ultimate goal as bettors is to identify value, and when it comes to Friday’s MLB slate, there appears to plenty of that.

Below I detail tonight’s three smartest MLB bets, including three big betting model edges and one over/under with multiple winning systems aligned on the same wager.

Friday MLB Betting Picks

*MLB odds and betting data as of Friday morning

Phillies vs. Mets

7:10 p.m. ET | Apple TV+

When it comes to Phillies vs. Mets on Friday night, we have not one, but two MLB PRO Betting Systems pointing to the same value bet.

As of the time of writing, 66% of tickets on the total have come in on the over, yet our Contrarian Unders for Winning Teams System shows the value actually lies with the under.

By pinpointing games between two winning teams in which overs are being overvalued by the majority of bettors, this strategy has produced a 55% win rate since the start of the 2005 season.

In addition, the wind at Citi Field should help dampen scoring as well.

The latest Phillies vs. Mets weather forecast shows steady 10-mph winds blowing in directly toward home plate on Friday night, making this under a match for our Weather: Wind Blowing in System as well.

Unders fitting this system have produced a 55% win rate as well since 2005, giving bettors another reason to expect a lower-scoring game tonight.

PRO Report Pick: Under 7 (-115)

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Dodgers vs. Royals

8:10 p.m. ET | BSKC

It wouldn’t be an Action Network MLB article from yours truly with a big underdog being undervalued, right?

Kansas City is currently listed as a +195 underdog across the market against the red-hot Los Angeles. Unsurprisingly, our MLB PRO Projections suggest that price is too long.

Our model projects this moneyline at Royals +160, providing a 4.5% edge for Kansas City bettors.

In fact, we can increase this edge a bit further by visiting the Action Network’s MLB Live Odds Page and picking off the Royals at +200, which is available at FanDuel.

PRO Report Pick: Royals +200

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Diamondbacks vs. Rockies

8:40 p.m. ET | SportsNet RM

We have a 12.5-run total tonight at Coors Field!

However, our model pegs the Diamondbacks vs. Rockies total at 11.72, giving faithful under bettors a 4.1% edge.

It may not be the prettiest play, and there are no guarantees in sports betting, but the value appears to be with the under in this matchup.

PRO Report Pick: Under 12.5

2022 College Football Rankings: Brett McMurphy’s Preseason AP Top 25 Poll Ballot vs. Our Betting Power Ratings

ATLANTA — The greatest college football coach of all time also might be the best “Pledge the refrigerator” husband in America?

Yes, it’s true. Alabama’s Nick Saban was asked at SEC Media Days if no one knew anything about him, what he would want them to know.

“How well I clean house,” Saban said. “I get a list every day. I try to play golf in the morning. When I get back, I get a list. Vacuum, ‘Pledge’ the refrigerator. Nobody knows how well I do those things.”

Saban isn’t too bad at other things — like building the greatest dynasty in college football history. In 15 seasons under Saban, the Crimson Tide have played in nine national title games, winning six championships. Last year, in what Saban has called “a rebuilding year,” Alabama lost the national title game to Georgia.

This year marks only the seventh time since 2009 that Alabama is coming off a season in which it did not win the national title the previous season. In those six seasons following a non-championship, Alabama has won four titles and finished ranked No. 4 and No. 8 the other two years.

That’s why I ranked Alabama No. 1 on my Associated Press preseason Top 25 ballot. Besides the best coach, Alabama also has the nation’s best players on offense (QB Bryce Young) and defense (LB Will Anderson Jr.).

Here is the remainder of my AP preseason ballot, along with Action Network senior writer Collin Wilson’s power ratings.

Updated 2022 College Football Betting Power Ratings

Brett McMurphy’s Preseason AP Top 25 Ballot

AP denotes Brett McMurphy’s Associated Press Top 25 ballot.
PR denotes Collin Wilson’s College Football Betting Power Ratings.


1

AP

Alabama

1

PR

2

AP

Ohio State

2

PR

3

AP

Georgia

3

PR

4

AP

Miami

7

PR

5

AP

Texas A&M

11

PR

6

AP

Utah

5

PR

7

AP

Michigan

9

PR

8

AP

Oregon

15

PR

9

AP

NC State

8

PR

10

AP

Baylor

55

PR

Collin and I agree that Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia are the nation’s top three teams. But we don’t agree on much else.

Of the top 10 teams on my AP ballot, only No. 4 Miami, No. 6 Utah and No. 9 NC State are rated in Collin’s top 10 teams. Defending Big 12 champion Baylor is easily the biggest disparity between my AP ballot and Collin’s power ratings. I have the Bears at No. 10, Collin at No. 55. That is not a typo: Number fifty-five!


11

AP

Clemson

4

PR

12

AP

Oklahoma State

36

PR

13

AP

Oklahoma

20

PR

14

AP

Arkansas

12

PR

15

AP

Wisconsin

30

PR

16

AP

Penn State

19

PR

17

AP

Wake Forest

54

PR

18

AP

Notre Dame

6

PR

19

AP