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.

Watch “The Gimme”: 2020 ZOZO Championship Preview Show with Jason Sobel, Peter Jennings and Amanda Rose

Join GolfBet’s Jason Sobel, Amanda Rose and Peter Jennings discuss their favorite bets, DFS picks and all things golf betting ahead of the 2020 ZOZO Championship on tonight’s episode of “The Gimme.”

Enjoy!

NFL Betting Picks: Steelers Spread, Packers-Texans Total, More Week 7 Bets

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Raheem Palmer breaks down four Week 7 picks he made right away. He has a 23-16 (59%) record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action app so far this season.

The books below are offering the best lines as of writing, but you can compare real-time spreads and totals across multiple sportsbooks with our NFL odds page.

NFL Betting Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead to that analysis.

Pick
Bet Now
Steelers -2 at Titans
PointsBet
Packers-Texans Over 56.5
BetMGM
Seahawks -3 at Cardinals
DraftKings
Patriots -1.5 vs. 49ers
FanDuel

Steelers -2 at Titans

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info

Despite a 5-0 record, the Titans open as 1.5-point home underdogs against the Steelers.

How many times have we seen a 5-0 team open as home underdogs? According to our Bet Labs database, it’s happened only once with the 2007 Cowboys losing as 5-point home underdogs to the eventual 16-0 Tom Brady- and Randy Moss-led Patriots.

Nonetheless, every line tells a story, and this one paints a picture that’s particularly grim for the home team.

The Titans have been on a magic carpet ride, catching every break with comeback wins against the Broncos, Jaguars and Vikings. The Titans followed that up with a 42-16 win over the Bills in which they benefited from three turnovers, scoring touchdowns on drives starting at the Buffalo 16, 12 and 26. Most recently the Titans pulled off a miraculous 42-36 comeback win over the Texans that required a missed 2-point conversion, a score with four seconds left in regulation and an opening drive touchdown in overtime in order to get the win.

To put in bluntly, the Titans have been skating on thin ice.

Tennessee’s defense is allowing 272.8 yards per game (27th), a whopping 5.1 yards per rush (30th) and 7.0 yards per pass (25th). They rank 30th in passing success rate and 22nd in rushing success rate while allowing 16% of runs to go for 20 or more yards (per Sharp Football Stats), which ranks 32nd in the NFL. All that tells us that this could be a game in which James Connor and Benny Snell Jr. dominate on the ground.

The Titans have allowed opponents to convert 57.81% of third-down attempts and to score on 14-of -16 red-zone trips (87.5%), both of which are also dead-last in the NFL.

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Joe Sargent/Getty Images. Pictured: JuJu Smith-Schuster (left) and Chase Claypool.

The Titans offense has been their saving grace as they’re second in scoring with 32.8 points per game, dominating many of the same metrics in which they struggle on the defensive side of the ball. When you look at which teams they have played, it paints a clear story of their offensive dominance.

Here are their opponents’ ranks in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA — you can see that Pittsburgh is a clear step up in class compared to the rest:

  • Broncos: 10th
  • Vikings: 15th
  • Jaguars: 32nd
  • Bills: 27th
  • Texans: 25th
  • Steelers: 7th

Pittsburgh’s defense is allowing just 18.8 points per game (second), 4.9 yards per play (third) while ranking first in rushing success rate and fourth in passing success rate. And the Titans have to deal with the prospect of facing this vaunted Steelers pass rush that’s leading the league in sacks (24) and pressure rate (36.6%) without the services of three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. According to Pro Football Focus, he hadn’t allowed a QB sack across 130 pass-block snaps this season.

The Steelers should win this game with their defense and do enough on offense to get the win. Lay the points.

I would play up to -2.5.

[Bet now at PointsBet and get $125 if the Steelers score a point]

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Packers-Texans Over 56.5 + 1H Over 27

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info

This shapes up to be a high-scoring game as both offenses are in an ideal spot against these defenses. Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson are two of the best quarterbacks in the league and their jobs will be easier as neither one of these defenses can effectively pressure the quarterback with the Packers ranking 30th in pressure rate (14.9%) and the Texans ranking 28th (16.7%).

Both of these offenses rank inside the top 10 in terms of explosive play rate (plays of 20 or more yards) with the Packers ranking fifth (12%) and the Texans ranking eighth (11%). There’s also some notable mismatches to consider with a Packers rushing offense that’s averaging 5.0 yards per carry and is fifth in explosive run rate headed up against a Texans defense that is giving up a league-high 5.4 yards per carry and is 30th in rushing plays of more than 20 yards.

As I noted heading into last week’s Buccaneers-Packers matchup, Green Bay has been fortunate to face opposing offenses without their No. 1 receivers, however this is still a unit that is 25th in pass defense DVOA and 23rd in pass defense success rate (51%). The Texans pass defense isn’t any better as they rank 24 in passing success rate (51%).

Bet on both quarterbacks to put on a show. I like the over up to 57 and the first-half over up to 28.

[Bet now at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match]

Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Rodgers.

Seahawks -3 at Cardinals

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET | More Game Info

This is a good spot to sell high on the Cardinals as their 38-10 victory over the Cowboys was a bit misleading.

The Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray connection had a lot of hype, but thus far the Cardinals have just a 47% passing success rate — 19th among NFL teams. In Monday night’s win, Murray was a pedestrian 9-of-24 for 188 yards against a Cowboys defense that is giving up 410 yards per game (sixth), ranks 20th in defensive DVOA and contains a a secondary that Pro Football Focus has graded as the NFL’s worst coverage team.

Although they averaged 7.5 yards per carry and 7.1 yards per pass on offense, the Cardinals were the beneficiary of four Cowboys turnovers that helped swing the game.

Andy Dalton couldn’t capitalize on the loss of Chandler Jones, but this Russell Wilson-led Seahawks offense that’s averaging a league-high 33.8 points a game should have no problem scoring. The Cowboys were sporting a makeshift offensive line with injuries to Tyron Smith, La’el Collins and Zack Martin who left Monday night’s game early with a concussion.

Defensively, the Seahawks have their issues but they have some reinforcements coming with the return of strong safety Jamal Adams, DE Rasheem Green and first- and second-round picks LB Jordyn Brooks and DE Darrell Taylor.

Overall, this game comes down to whether Murray can match Wilson point-for-point. Based on what we saw this past Monday night, I’m not seeing it. The high total of 56 implies we’ll see a high-scoring game, which makes the 3.5 a bargain.

I’ll lay the points with Seattle and I’ll take this up to 4.

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

Patriots -1.5 vs. 49ers

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET | More Game Info

The Titans performance coming off a COVID-19 outbreak spoiled us. There aren’t many football teams that can come off a week and a half of minimal practice and perform optimally. But despite having possibly the greatest coach of all time in Bill Belichick, the Patriots aren’t any different.

Now the Patriots take on the 49ers, whose only wins are against both New York teams and the Rams, whose only wins are against the NFC East.

Injuries have been the biggest challenge for the reigning NFC champions this season. The 49ers had a previous flurry of injuries to Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Richard Sherman, K’Waun Williams and Kwon Alexander on defense. Now they’ve caught the injury bug on offense as they lost center Ben Garland for the season with a calf strain and Trent Williams has an ankle sprain that could cause him to miss time.

Running back Raheem Mostert also has a high-ankle sprain (track his status here), which means we’re likely to see a timeshare with Jerick McKinnon, Jeff Wilson and JaMycal Hasty. This isn’t good news for an offense that’s 19th in points per game (24.7), 25th in offensive DVOA, 21st in yards per play (5.6), 20th in play success rate (47%) and 26th in explosive play rate (26.5%).

Jerick McKinnon
Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Jerick McKinnon

The Rams outscored the 49ers 10-3 in the second half of last Sunday night’s game. Against a better Patriots defense that held Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense to 19 points and the Broncos to zero touchdowns and six field goals, the 49ers’ struggles could continue.

The Patriots are a run-first offense in 2020 and their matchup is ideal against a 49ers’ defense that’s 26th in explosive run rate. By comparison, New England is sixth in explosive run rate. Last week against the Rams, Darrell Henderson had a solid performance rushing for 88 yards on 14 carries. The combination of Cam Newton, James White, Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead figures to be that much more difficult to defend given Newton’s dual-threat ability.

Overall, this is a prime bounce back spot for New England and you have to wonder how much higher this line would be if the results of the Broncos game turned out differently.

I’m laying the points and would bet the Patriots up to -3.

[Bet the Patriots -1.5 at FanDuel completely risk-free for $1,000]

Bayern Munich vs. Atletico Madrid Odds, Betting Pick, Predictions for Champions League Wednesday (Oct. 21)

Bayern vs. Atletico Madrid Odds

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Bayern Munich odds -195 [Bet Now]
Atletico Madrid odds +480 [Bet Now]
Draw +360 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 3 (-124/+100) 
Time Wednesday, 3:00 p.m. ET
How To Watch CBS All Access

The defending champions of Europe are not getting an easy start in its title defense, drawing Atletico Madrid in its opening match. Bayern Munich have looked like the best team in the world over the past year, and manager Hansi Flick’s side has been fairly dominant in the Bundesliga so far this season, aside from one blip.

However, the Bavarians’ attack will be put the test against Atletico, who might be the best defensive team in the world. Atletico’s 4-4-2 formation has translated to fantastic success in the Champions League, as Diego Simeone’s team has made it to quarterfinals in five out of the last seven years.

Let’s break down this early Champions League battle in Munich:

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Bayern Munich

Bayern’s path to the Champions League title last season was full of destruction and humiliation. They won their group without dropping a point and outscored their opponents, 24-5. Then, in the knockout stages, Bayern annihilated Chelsea, 7-1, on aggregate and then obliterated Lionel Messi and Barcelona, 8-2, in a quarterfinal match that will be remembered for years to come.

Bayern followed up their dismantling of Barcelona with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Lyon and finished it off with a 1-0 win over PSG in the final.

Bayern won all 15 matches that they played after the restart in all competitions en route to winning the Bundesliga, DFB Pokal and Champions League. However, they’ve looked a little vulnerable so far this Bundesliga season. They lost away to Hoffenheim, 4-1, in Matchday 2 and needed four goals, including a 93rd-minute penalty, to hold off Hertha Berlin at home before the international break.

Although Bayern have looked like the best offensive team in the world for the past year, they have not faced a defense like Atletico Madrid. In fact, Atletico knocked out Bayern in Champions League semifinals back in 2016 before losing in the final to Real Madrid.

Atletico Madrid

For those who aren’t aware, Atletico Madrid plays a different style of football than the rest of the Europe’s elite clubs. Simeone values achieving defensive perfection over a high-powered attack. For years, “Los Colchoneros” have been Europe’s most difficult defense to break down.

Keeping eight players behind the ball, Atletico create a defensive wall that works in unison to deny the opposing team space to play through the center or between the lines. This forces opponents to play through the wide areas to access the penalty area.

Atletico allowed just 0.88 xGA per 90 minutes in their patented 4-4-2 last season. In fact, it was so good that they had the best defensive xG record across Europe’s major five leagues.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


Although Atletico mainly focuses on defending, they have some fire power up front with Diego Costa, Joao Felix and the newly acquired Luis Suarez. If Bayern is not careful, Atletico could very easily hit them on the counter attack and walk away with a 1-0 victory.

Bayern Munich-Atletico Madrid pick

If there is one team that can shut down the hottest team in the world, it’s Atletico Madrid. They have been dominant defensively in Champions League group play, allowing only 0.84 xG per match over the last four years. They also possess the fire power up front to hit Bayern on the counter, so the German champions may be on upset watch Wednesday at home.

I only have Bayern projected at -117, so I think there is plenty of value on Atletico Madrid +1 at -103 odds at DraftKings.

The PICK: Atletico Madrid +1 (-103)

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UFC 254 Odds & Pick Prediction: Nathaniel Wood Undervalued vs. Casey Kenney at Fight Island

Nathaniel Wood vs. Casey Kenney Odds

Wood odds -190 [BET NOW]
Kenney odds +155 [BET NOW]
Over/Under TBD [BET NOW]
Venue Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
Time Saturday, 11:30 a.m. ET
Channel ESPN2

Odds via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.


On Saturday’s early prelim card, we have a catchweight bout that is sure to be up for Fight of the Night consideration. Casey Kenney, who is fighting for the second time this month on Fight Island, is set to take on Nathaniel Wood at 140 pounds.

Both men are exciting prospects, deserving of more attention from the UFC and the winner is sure to have a number attached to their name come next week. The two have eerily similar paths to this point and this one is sure to be a hotly contested match.

Let’s break down the odds in the Wood vs. Kenney matchup and see where the betting value lies.

Tale of the Tape

Wood Kenney
Record 17-4 15-2-1
Avg. Fight Time 10:54 13:18
Height 5’6″ 5’7″
Weight (pounds) 140 lbs. 140 lbs.
Reach (inches) 69″ 68″
Stance Orthodox Southpaw
Date of birth 5/8/93 3/20/91
Sig Strikes Per Min 5.52 4.25
SS Accuracy 48% 42%
SS Absorbed Per Min 3.30 3.27
SS Defense 55% 60%
Take Down Avg 1.65 1.13
TD Acc 60% 46%
TD Def 83% 53%
Submission Avg 1.1 0.6

Despite being the dog in this matchup, Wood has the edge in reach (1-inch advantage), Significant Strikes differential (+2.22 to +0.98), Strike Accuracy (+6 percentage points) Takedown Accuracy (+14 pct points) and Takedown Defense (+30 pct points).

Wood’s 1.1 Submission Average ranks fifth among active bantamweight fighters, per UFC Stats data, and his three submission wins are tied for fifth among active 135-pounders. Kenney has fought once at a 140-pound catchweight, but both are still in essence bantamweights.

Nathaniel Wood vs. Casey Kenney Betting Pick

Kenney is fresh off an Oct. 3 decision victory over Heili Alateng in the Yas Island octagon. While it may seem unusual for a fighter to have such a quick turnaround after a full 15-minute fight, the scrap was so one-sided that one judge sent in a 30-25 scorecard.

Wood, aptly nicknamed “The Prospect,” enters this one fresh off a summer victory over UFC debut Jon Castaneda, which was also a clear unanimous decision.

Kenney won his prior fight as well in May over UFC vet Ray Smolka by submission and is set as a -190 favorite, which is considerable chalk considering the two match up very well against one another.

Digging into this one, I see value on the underdog and think that Wood is being offered at a discount considering there are paths to victory for him in a match that will likely go to the judge’s scorecard.

Both men are immensely talented but equally matched. Wood is a more aggressive striker, averaging more than one Significant Strike per minute compared to his opponent and has nine knockouts in his pro career. To counter, Kenney has incredible durability, having never been finished in his MMA career.

Both are adept at grappling and controlling fights on the ground. Wood has some highlight submissions to his name in his young UFC career. Kenney has recorded five submissions in his 15 wins. Again, both men are very capable all over.

Each fighter shoots for takedowns often, but Wood has showed some serious skill at stunting takedowns, posting an 83% takedown defense per UFC Stats. Considering Wood seems to have heavier hands, Kenney may be the one who tries to level change first, although Wood may end up leading that dance with his ability to shoot down takedown attempts.

My real lean in this handicap is the location. Fighting out of Tucson, Arizona, Kenney told Michael DeSantis of MMASucka.com during a fight week interview that he traveled back to the U.S. following his Alateng fight:

Kenney had the option to stay on Fight Island after his unanimous decision over Alateng but opted to return home for a 10-day training camp. Had he stayed, it would’ve been another 20 days on the island.

“The safe zone they have us on is good for fight week, but to stay there for almost 30 days would be a little much for me,” Kenney said.

Now, he is back in Abu Dhabi just a few weeks later. There’s a good chance that fatigue factors in with him jumping time zones against the much fresher man in Wood, especially with this fight likely going the distance.

I think that both fighters have bright futures, although I do think Wood is a live dog here. The margin is very thin and I think that this price is too high not to play the dog with a similar profile as his opponent.

I would play “The Prospect” down to +130 to pull the upset in a prelim bout that should be on the main card from a talent perspective.

The Pick: Nathaniel Wood ML (+155)

[Bet UFC 254 now at PointsBet risk-free up to $250]

Rays vs. Dodgers Game 2 Picks & Predictions: Our Staff’s World Series Bets for Wednesday

The Dodgers strolled to a one-game-to-nothing World Series lead last night — well, strolled from the fifth inning on, at least.

So where does that leave our experts for Game 2? All over the betting board.

Find our moneyline, over/under, team total and first-five-inning bets for tonight’s matchup below.

Note: Odds as of 11 a.m. ET.


Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

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Mike Vitanza: Rays Moneyline (+128)

The Tampa Bay Rays will turn to Blake Snell to even up the series on Wednesday night. Snell’s 3.20 ERA so far this postseason is encouraging, but the advanced metrics indicate that he’s been a bit lucky. His 5.43 FIP is more than two runs higher than his ERA, suggesting some negative regression is coming sooner rather than later.

On the other side, Tony Gonsolin will serve as an extended opener for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gonsolin has appeared twice this postseason, pitching two innings in the first start and going as far as 4.1 innings in the second. His appearance tonight will likely fall somewhere in the middle of that range, but we can expect multiple innings from him.

His postseason has not been great; over 6.1 innings pitched, he’s pitched to a 7.61 FIP and averaged 2.84 HR/9. After a strong start from Kershaw last night, the Dodgers will have the luxury of going to the bullpen early if they need to.

Both bullpens were very strong during the regular season. The Dodgers were second in all of baseball with a 3.45 FIP, while the Rays were fourth overall with a 3.65 FIP. Each team was also near the top of the league in WAR at 3.5 and 3.6, respectively. While the Dodgers have the slight edge, I don’t consider it substantial.

Despite some potential negative regression from Snell, the Rays have the advantage in the starting pitching department and this game could get decided in the early innings. With both bullpens more or less negating one another, give me the underdog at +128.

I’m comfortable betting this down to the +120 range.

[Bet the Rays at PointsBet tonight and win $125 if they get a hit.]

Michael Arinze: Dodgers Moneyline (-133)

I originally intended to play the Dodgers in Game 2 as part of a zig-zag strategy, but even after the Rays failed to win Game 1, I’m still holding firm on that plan.

Tampa Bay didn’t hit enough for me in Game 1 and it came into the game with all the advantages, particularly as the more rested team. A Game 1 win by the Rays would have sowed some doubt in the Dodgers ability to win a big game with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. Now, with the Dodgers winning Game 1, I like their chances of carrying the momentum over into Game 2.

Blake Snell gets the start for the Rays and he’s 2-2 with a 3.20 ERA plus a 1.32 WHIP this postseason. However, his 5.43 FIP, which is higher than his ERA by more than two runs, suggests that he’s been a bit fortunate and could be due for some regression. In fact, Snell’s regular-season numbers also pointed to some regression as his 4.35 FIP was more than a run higher than his 3.24 ERA.

Snell’s BB/9 ratio has gone from 3.24 in the regular season to 4.58 in the postseason. That could be problematic when facing a Dodgers team that had the lowest chase rate (26.5%) on balls outside the zone in the MLB. Snell is averaging fewer than five innings per start in the postseason and as the ace of the Rays staff, I think it’s fair to wonder if that production is simply good enough.

His numbers from the regular season to the postseason are down across the board. For example, his GB/FB ratio is down from 1.74 to 1.22, along with his K/9 ratio that has dropped from 11.34 to 8.69. This Los Angeles team seemed to find its hitting shoes last night with its eight-run outburst. It’s also had success against left-handers this postseason as evidenced by its .309 AVG / .409 OBP / .580 SLG slash line.

The Dodgers have opted to go with Tony Gonsolin in Game 2. While Gonsolin is 0-1 with 9.95 ERA and 1.74 WHIP, much of the damage to his stat line came in Game 2 of the NLCS when the Braves chased him from the game after three runs in the fifth inning. Now he’ll face a Rays lineup that has only six plate appearances against him with no hits and three walks.

It’s no secret that Tampa Bay has struggled to get men on base this postseason. It had six hits in Game 1 and only managed to draw one walk while the Dodgers had 10 hits and racked up seven walks. Figure this — as a team, the Rays have just a .208 AVG / .290 OBP / .400 SLG slash line this postseason. At some point they’ll need to manufacture some runs, and yet it was the Dodgers who played small ball yesterday, particularly with three stolen bases on the night.

If the Dodgers can establish a long man in their bullpen should Gonsolin get into trouble, I like their chances to take a 2-0 lead in the series. My model actually makes them a -150 favorite in this game and the current market price is offering me some value. At BetMGM, I can grab Los Angeles as low as -133 and I’m comfortable playing up to -140.

[Bet the Dodgers at PointsBet tonight and win $125 if they get a hit.]

Danny Donahue: Under 8 (-105)

I’m putting faith in Ol’ Reliable here. And by Ol’ Reliable I am of course referring to our largest-sampled PRO betting system, not a jellyfish net.

Following an 11-run output in Game 1, in which the Dodgers single-handedly covered the total, bettors are flocking to the over once again tonight. And generally, that sort of reaction from the public has been an overreaction, leading to some value on the under in spots like these.

In fact, since 2005 (the beginning of our Bet Labs database for MLB), unders that have received less than 35% of bets in games between winning teams have hit at a 55.1% rate.

And while that may not seem like a crazy figure, over a sample of more than 2,600 games, it adds up …

BJ Cunningham: Dodgers Team Total Over 4.5 (+110)

Snell has been a strikeout machine in 2020, posting a 11.34 K/9, which ranks 10th among MLB starters. That has led to an xFIP of 3.03, which is second on the team to Tyler Glasnow. Snell, though, has struggled with his control in the postseason allowing 10 walks and four home runs in his four postseason starts.

Snell is predominantly a fastball pitcher, but he’s been struggling with it this year. He averages just over 95 mph with the heater, but his location has been off, allowing a .444 wOBA to opponents. In fact, eight of the 10 home runs that he’s surrendered have come against his fastball. That won’t bode well against a Dodgers lineup that ranked second in MLB against fastballs this season (53.9 weighted fastball runs).

Snell’s secondary pitches have been nasty this year. His changeup, curveball and slider have combined to allow a .132 average to opponents and all are producing over a 30% whiff rate. He will have to utilize those secondary pitches more often in Game 2 if he’s going to shut down the Dodgers lineup.

Although most of the Dodgers’ success has come against righties this season, they are no slouches against left-handed pitching. LA ranked eighth against lefties during the regular season with a .335 wOBA and 113 wRC+, including 27 home runs. AJ Pollock absolutely crushed lefties this season with .345 average and .468 wOBA, both of which were the best marks on the team.

The Dodgers showed last night just how lethal their lineup is no matter who is on the mound. I have the Dodgers projected for 4.71 runs tonight, so I’ll take their team total over 4.5 runs at +110 again tonight.

Sean Zerillo: First Five Innings Over 4 (-120)

From Zerillo’s Game 2 betting guide (read here):

The Rays opened as +136 (implied 42.4%) underdogs for Game 2 and took a quick peek above +140 (implied 41.6%) before the line declined to its current figure around +120 (implied 45.5%).

As a result, I no longer see value on the Rays’ moneyline, but I would look to bet their moneyline at +137 (implied 42.3%) or better, a 3% edge relative to my projection. I don’t see any present value on the F5 moneyline, and I don’t anticipate that the bet will come back into range, either.

With regards to the total, the full-game number appears to be correct, but the F5 Over 4 (-120) looks actionable at a 3.8% edge — relative to my projection at 4.74. You could attempt to wait for Over 4 (-115), but I think that number closes at 4.5, juiced up to the under.

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Inter Milan vs. Borussia Monchengladbach Odds, Picks, Predictions for Wednesday Champions League

inter milan vs monchengladbach odds-picks-champions league

Inter Milan vs. Gladbach

The No. 1 app for sports bettors: Get live scores, live win probabilities, real-time line moves and much more in The Action Network app.

Inter Milan Odds -175 [BET NOW]
Gladbach Odds +475 [BET NOW]
Draw Odds +335 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 3 (+105/-129) [BET NOW]
Time Wednesday, 3 p.m. ET
TV CBS All Access

Borussia Monchengladbach make their return to the Champions League on Wednesday as the Foals visit Milan to take on Europa League runners-up Inter. Gladbach haven’t been in the Champions League since 2016-17, when they were knocked out following a difficult group.

Gladbach has been given a tough group again this year, and with Real Madrid as a renowned powerhouse in the group, Gladbach will need to take some points off Inter if they want to make it out of the group.

Borussia Monchengladbach

Results wise, Gladbach hasn’t gotten off to a great start thus far in the Bundesliga, but they did face some difficult lineup challenges early on. They dropped their opening match against Borussia Dortmund, 3-0, but played without two of their best attackers in Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram.

Given their style of play, where they like to win the ball in the midfield and quickly break as opposed to building possession, players like Thuram, Plea and Lars Stindl are critical in their attack.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


That performance against Dortmund is throwing off their year long xG numbers, though, because Gladbach has been much better in its last three matches since Plea and Thuram have returned. Yes, they dropped points against Wolfsburg and Union Berlin, but they generated more than 1.5 xG in all three games, and are unfortunate to only have taken five points from those matches.

Gladbach are a team trending up following an excellent finish to last season that got them into the top four on the final day of the Bundesliga season. They’ve only scored one goal from 3.37 xG from open play, so I’m anticipating some positive regression for them in coming matches. Their underlying numbers dating back to last season suggest this team is primed to make a run at Dortmund for the Bundesliga top three.
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Inter Milan

Entering the season, Inter are seen as the team to dethrone Juventus from their 10th-straight Serie A title. Inter finished the restart period well, vaulting into second in the league on the final day, and made a run to the Europa League final. With better finishing on that day, they would have lifted the title. Inter’s attack is off to an excellent start to the season with 9.49 xG in four matches.

They’ve played open, expansive football, and out of manager Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2, generated plenty of pressure and chances from open play. However, they have leaked goals at the back, allowing at least 1.2 xGA in every match. I have my concerns tactically with this defense’s potential to get stretched wide by Jonas Hofmann, Patrick Herrmann and Thuram, which could open up this Inter defense yet again.

Monchengladbach vs. Inter Pick

I think Gladbach is one of the most underrated teams in all of Europe, and I am not quite buying into Inter as true Serie A favorites just yet given their slow start to the season. I make Inter -125 in this game once adjusting for league strength, and show value on the Foals to get a result here away from home.

I’ll take the goal as insurance and sprinkle a half-unit on Gladbach to pull the upset.

The Bet: Gladbach +1; Gladbach +475

Track your Gladbach bets in The Action Network app now for live scores, live win probabilities, line-move alerts, and so much more.

App State vs. Arkansas State Promo: Bet $20, Win $125 if App State Scores a Point!

app state vs. arkansas state-sportsbook promos

Return of the Big 10. The World Series. Week 7 NFL. UFC 254.

What a week of sports — and a great time to boost your bankroll. Speaking of, check out this awesome promo from PointsBet for Thursday night college football: Bet $20, Win $125 if App State scores vs. Arkansas State!

Scores — as in any amount of points other than zero.

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It’s possible for a college football team to score a single point, though it’s never happened in the thousands and thousands of games in the history of the NCAA. That’s fine, though. One point, two points, three points, six points, seven points… whatever! As long as they score, you win.

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Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh Promo: Bet $20, Win $125 if Notre Dame Scores a Point!

notre dame vs. usf-week 3 college football-sportsbook odds and promos

Notre Dame’s win last week was a hairy one considering the spread, but you know what they say — a win is a win. They’ll look to move to 5-0 this week against Pittsburgh, but you can win big at PointsBet even if the Fighting Irish lose: Bet $20, Win $125 if Notre Dame scores vs. Pittsburgh!

Scores — as in any amount of points other than zero.

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Here are the details:

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It’s possible for a college football team to score a single point, though it’s never happened in the thousands and thousands of games in the history of the NCAA. That’s fine, though. One point, two points, three points, six points, seven points… whatever! As long as they score, you win.

To capitalize on this excellent promotion:

If (more like when) you win, your $125 will come in the form of free bets, which need to be rolled over only 1x to turn into cash.

Note: We’ve used Notre Dame as an example, but you can bet $20 on any college football team this weekend as your first bet and win $125 if they score.

Don’t overthink this one. A single measly score equals a big score for you at PointsBet.

BET $20, WIN $125 IF NOTRE DAME SCORES VS. PITTSBURGH!

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World Series Game 2 Odds, Picks & Predictions: Rays vs. Dodgers (Wednesday, Oct. 21)

World Series Game 2 Odds

Rays Odds +120 [Bet Now]
Dodgers Odds -140 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8 (-115/-105) [Bet Now]
Time 8:08 p.m. ET
TV FOX

Odds via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.


Model Projection (full projections here)

  • Rays probability: 45.3% (Fair odds of +121)
  • Dodgers probability: 54.7% (-121)
  • Projected total: 8.23

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The Dodgers blew open a tight Game 1 in the 5th inning on Tuesday, extending a 2-1 lead to 6-1 by the end of the frame, and destroying the F5 under, most of the full-game under, and the Rays’ chances of winning Game 1 of the World Series in the process.

Rays’ manager Kevin Cash decided to leave starter Tyler Glasnow in to face the Dodgers’ lineup for the third time through the order. It was a curious omission.

And despite back to back leadoff walks to start the 5th inning, his 5th and 6th free passes of the evening — Glasnow remained against the middle of the LA order, and the Dodgers took a 1-0 series lead.

Tampa Bay’s chances to win the series declined by 15% — down to 26% — as a result of their Game 1 loss. The series is far from over, but falling behind 2-0 would obviously be detrimental, and I would set the Dodgers as 86% favorites with a two-game lead to start this World Series.

After a shaky first inning on Tuesday, Clayton Kershaw dominated the Rays lineup in Game 1 (6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8 K) as a -159 (implied 61.4%) favorite, but the Dodgers are a far less significant favorite on Wednesday, listed around -140 (58.3% implied) in the betting market, and the Rays have a chance to jump right back into this series.

Down a game, will we continue to find value on the underdog in Game 2?


Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.


Projected Starters

Blake Snell (2-2, 3.20 ERA, 19 K) vs. Tony Gonsolin (0-1, 9.95 ERA, 8 K)

2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell will make his first World Series start and his fifth start of the 2020 postseason on Wednesday.

Tony Gonsolin will make his third appearance of the postseason, and his second start, after facing the Braves in Game 7 on Sunday.

Snell should be good for at least 80, and up to 115 pitches.

The Gonsolin situation is a bit more unclear. He’s starting on two days of rest after throwing 40 pitches and seems likely to give way to Dustin May, or another reliever, after turning over the Rays lineup once.

Blake Snell (Rays)

  • 2020 Postseason Pitching Line: 19.2 IP, 16 H, 7 R, 10 BB, 19 K (4 HR allowed)
  • FIP (4.35) jumped in 2020, but not supported by his xFIP (3.06, three-year low) or SIERA (3.56 in 2019, 3.57 in 2020).
  • xERA (3.95) tells a different story, however, increasing by nearly a full run.
  • Allowed significantly more hard contact (+4.9%) year over year.
  • Strikeout-minus-walk rate declined by 10%, year over year.
  • Allowed more than 1.8 HR/9 over each of the past two seasons, and that issue has continued into the 2020 playoffs.
  • Fastball velocity down 1 mph since 2018, and got crushed in 2020 (.409 xwOBA, .326 xBA).
  • Each of his secondary pitches (changeup, curveball, slider) has returned a positive pitch value both in 2020 and for his career.

Tony Gonsolin (Dodgers)

  • 2020 Postseason Pitching Line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 6 BB, 8 K (2 HR allowed).
  • Ranked amongst the top five starters in walk rate (4%) in 2020 (Kenta Maeda/Zack Greinke territory).
  • High-spin (92nd percentile), plus-velocity (81st percentile) fastball (47%, 95.1 mph) paired with a splitter (30%, 85.1 mph), slider (17%, 87.5 mph) and curveball (6%, 81.7 mph).
  • Fastball could absolutely dominate the Rays lineup — the pitch they have had the least amount of success against:

The Bullpens

In 2020, the Rays’ bullpen ranked seventh in FIP (3.94), 3rd in xFIP (3.94), and 5th in K-BB% (17.4%). By the same metrics, the Dodgers ranked second (3.45), second (3.88) and fourth (17.2%).

The only key reliever that the Dodgers burned on Tuesday was Pedro Baez, who pitched for the fourth time in a week (11 pitches Tuesday, 55 total).

The Rays brought in Ryan Yarbrough (19 pitches) behind Glasnow. They could still use Yarbrough as a starter on three days’ rest in Game 4, or attempt to bring Glasnow back after a 112-pitch effort.

Josh Fleming (2.2 IP, 40 pitches) is the only man on either roster who looks completely unavailable for Wednesday.

Dustin May, who started Game 7 of the NLCS (1 IP, 18 pitches) on short rest could come back again as a bulk man after a couple of days off.

The 23-year-old averaged 98 mph on his fastball in 2020, the hardest pitch by a starter other than Jacob deGrom (98.6 mph) — and the majority of those May fastballs are unhittable sinkers:

May also throws a cutter, curveball and changeup, with each pitch grading out as above-average.

In addition to the elite velocity, May gets elite spin on both the fastball (91st percentile) and curveball (93rd percentile).

Even though he has allowed runs in his past two appearances, May has 10 strikeouts in 7 innings, and has looked like the Dodgers’ secret weapon at times in these playoffs:

 


Check out our new MLB PRO Report, where we highlight key factors that provide betting edges — like large wagers, historically profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks — that when combined with sharp money can powerfully detail the smartest bets on a given slate.


Fielding

Over the past five years, both the Dodgers and Rays have finished in the top five for Defensive Runs Saved in each season, with either team leading the league once (2017 Rays, 2019 Dodgers). In 2020, the Dodgers recorded 29 DRS (second) and the Rays 22 (sixth).

There were a lot of good defensive displays on Tuesday. Mike Zunino was nearly flawless behind the plate for Glasnow with his pitch blocking, saving multiple base advancements for his pitcher.

Justin Turner (-4 DRS since 2019) made an excellent snare at third base to keep the Rays in check:

Cody Bellinger robbed another home run in the ninth inning.

The Dodgers, and particularly Mookie Betts, were also spectacular on the basepaths, becoming the first team to record three steals in one inning of a World Series game since the 1912 Giants.

I neglected to mention the presence of Austin Barnes as Kershaw’s personal catcher on Tuesday. The Dodgers trade offense for defense by regularly inserting Will Smith into their catcher’s spot.

Since 2019:

  • Barnes: +11 DRS in 769.2 innings
  • Smith: +2 DRS in 679.2 innings

Projected Lineups

Data via FantasyLabs

Stadium, Umpire, and Weather Report

Data via Sports Insights

The sample size remains small, but I’ll continue to monitor the over/under split with the roof closed vs. open at Globe Life Field.

The Rangers played 30 regular-season games at Globe Life, and the roof was closed in 22 (73%) of those contests. Unders went 11-9-2 (55%) with the roof closed with an average margin of victory of 0.84 runs.

The over is now at 12-6-1 (66.7%), when the roof stays open in Arlington, covering by an average margin of 2.47 runs.

Umpire Todd Tichenor has shown relatively neutral trends, with a slight lean (52.3%) to the under in his career.

As of writing, more than 82% of the tickets are on the over following a high-scoring Game 1, but 48% of the cash is on the under, triggering the following Bet Labs system:

Series Moneyline Corner

After their Game 1 loss, the Rays’ chances to win the series decreased by 15% to 26% — and if they do come back to win the series, it’s 50% likely to occur in a winner-take-all Game 7.

I mentioned prior to Game 1 that, should the Rays lose, I would be willing to play their series price again at +350 or better.

My target price has not changed, but after re-opening around +345 (implied 22.5%), the line has adjusted closer to +325 (implied 23.5%), and I will continue to wait for a +350 to pop.

Projected Game 2 Odds & Favorite Bets

Click here to access our brand-new live-updating projections page, which easily reveals and grades the biggest edges on today’s slate.

To download my traditional spreadsheet where you can plug in odds from your sportsbooks, click here.

The Rays opened as +136 (implied 42.4%) underdogs for Game 2 and took a quick peek above +140 (implied 41.6%) before the line declined to its current figure around +120 (implied 45.5%).

As a result, I no longer see value on the Rays’ moneyline, but I would look to bet their moneyline at +137 (implied 42.3%) or better, a 3% edge relative to my projection. I don’t see any present value on the F5 moneyline, and I don’t anticipate that the bet will come back into range, either.

With regards to the total, the full-game number appears to be correct, but the F5 Over 4 (-120) looks actionable at a 3.8% edge — relative to my projection at 4.74. You could attempt to wait for Over 4 (-115), but I think that number closes at 4.5, juiced up to the under.

The Picks

  • F5 Over 4.5 (0.5 units, play to -120)
  • Rays Moneyline (1u, play to +137)

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Eagles vs. Giants Odds & Promotions: Bet $20, Win $125 if the Eagles Score a Point!

The Eagles showed a little fight in them at the end of their game vs. Baltimore. I like that.

I also really like these promos for Thursday Night Football…

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Eagles vs. Giants TNF Promos

  • PointsBet: Bet $20, Win $125 if the Eagles score a point
    • States: NJ, IL, IN
  • William Hill: Bet $5 on Eagles +50, Win $100 if they cover
    • States: NJ, CO, WV
  • FOX Bet: Bet $1, Win $50 on the Eagles regardless of the outcome
    • States: NJ, PA

Check out the details below:

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Offer: Bet $20, Win $125 in free bets if the Eagles score at least 1 point vs. the Giants

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Fun fact: It is actually possible to score one point in the NFL. It’s never happened, but if a team attempts an extra point, somehow goes 85 yards backwards and is tackled in their own end zone, the defensive team would receive one point.

You probably won’t win this promo that way, or via a safety, but keep them in the back of your mind in case your team hasn’t kicked a field goal or scored a touchdown.

To take advantage of this easy promo:

The $125 winnings will come in the form of free bets, which need to be rolled over only once to turn into cash. Considering how much is going on in the sporting world right now, that shouldn’t take very long.

Note: We’ve used the Eagles as an example, but you can bet $20 on any team this week as your first bet and win $125 if they score.

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BET $20, WIN $125 IF THE EAGLES SCORE VS. THE GIANTS!


William Hill Sportsbook

Offer: Bet $5 on the Eagles, Win $100 if they cover +50

It’s tough to tell whether Philly is actually as bad as their record suggests, which makes betting on them a scary proposition (betting pun).

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FOX Bet Sportsbook

Offer: Bet $1, Win $50 on the Eagles regardless of the outcome

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NEW JERSEY: BET $1, WIN $50 ON THE EAGLES REGARDLESS OF WHAT HAPPENS!

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Ajax vs. Liverpool Odds, Picks, Betting Predictions for Champions League Opener (Oct. 21)

ajax vs liverpool odds-picks-champions league

Get the No. 1 app for sports bettors: Live scores, live win probabilities, real-time line moves and much more in The Action Network app.

Ajax vs. Liverpool Odds

Ajax Odds +370 [BET NOW]
Liverpool Odds -148 [BET NOW]
Draw +310 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 3.5 (-108/-115) [BET NOW]
Time 3 p.m. ET
TV CBS All Access | Unimás

Odds updated as of Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Clubs loaded with rich footballing histories battle in Champions League action Wednesday when Dutch side Ajax hosts Liverpool at Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam.

When it comes to legendary European sides, you won’t find many with more storied histories than these two powerhouses. They have combined for 10 championships overall on this stage, with Liverpool holding a 6-4 edge in titles.

What makes this showdown even more interesting is the fact this is the first time they are meeting in 54 years, which clearly adds more glitz and glamour to this intriguing fixture.

Having said that, let’s take a look at this Group D meeting and what’s in store:


[Track all of your Champions League bets by downloading the free Action Network App.]


Ajax

Ajax is looking to regain the glory it enjoyed two seasons ago in this competition when it made a dream run to the semifinal round, only to be eliminated by Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.

The club has seen players come and go since that magical tear, so it will be interesting to see how it fares this time around. Historically, Ajax has struggled mightily against English foes, notching just one win against them in its last seven home contests.

Ajax, which enters the contest on the heels of a 5-1 rout of Heerenveen, is led by Brazilian international Antony and Serbian forward Dušan Tadić. Both have three goals for a club sitting in second place in the Eredivisie.

Offensively, Ajax has racked up 11 goals and allowed just three for a +8 goal differential in the Dutch top flight. The club is currently tied for the most goals with first-place PSV Eindhoven.

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Liverpool

Liverpool, the 2019 tournament champion, enters the match slightly off form and looking to regain that high level of play in its group-stage opener.

The Reds, who are currently in third place in the Premier League, are coming off a 2-2 draw against league-leading Everton over the weekend. That result was much more positive than Liverpool’s shocking 7-2 defeat against lowly Aston Villa before the international break.

Mo Salah has been his brilliant self for the Reds, racking up six goals thus far. Offensively, the Reds have little to worry about. It’s the defensive side of the pitch that might have manager Jurgen Klopp slightly concerned after he lost star Virgil van Dijk to an ACL injury in the Everton tie.

Expect Klopp to turn to the back line of Fabinho, Andrew Robertson, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold, with the hope the quartet can keep Ajax’s feisty youngsters at bay during this interesting contest.

As for the data and statistics, Liverpool sits on 12.9 expected goals and 8.0 expected goals against, resulting in a +4.9 xGDiff and +0.97 xGDiff/90 minutes in England’s top flight. The Reds’ xG, xGDiff and xGDiff/90 are tops among all clubs in the league.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


Ajax-Liverpool Picks

Losing Van Dijk the rest of the season is massive and can’t be spun any other way in my opinion. The Reds are deep enough in the back, so I firmly expect them to keep it together barring any other injury setbacks.

That said, I truly expect Liverpool to lock things down in its defensive third and keep the high-flying Ajax offense at bay. With that said, I am backing Liverpool to pick up all three points in the Netherlands.

The Reds want to send a message to the rest of the Champions League clubs that they’re still one of the teams to beat, regardless of who is on the pitch.

I am also playing the total to stay under the number. I don’t think this Ajax side is as loaded up top as its predecessor, which has me believing it will have issues breaking down Liverpool’s defense sans Van Dijk.

The fact Liverpool’s last four Champions League matches have stayed under 2.5 goals has me liking this play even more. Play both with confidence.

Picks: Liverpool ML (-143); Total Under 3.5 Goals (-115)

Track your Liverpool bets in The Action Network app now for live scores, live win probabilities, line-move alerts, and so much more.

2020 ZOZO Odds: Rahm Favored in No-Cut Event Moved State-Side

2020 zozo championship odds-sherwood oaks

Last week’s CJ Cup showed why golf betting can be such a fun endeavor. In a field full of the game’s elite players, it was Jason Kokrak who came on top as a 66/1 outsider.

Casual fans who like to pop in and out of tournaments may have been left quite surprised, but if you’re an avid golf bettor or fan, you probably had an inkling a result like that was coming for Kokrak, who finished the 2019/20 season with three exemplary showings in very competitive fields and then wound inside the Top 20 at the U.S. Open.

Kokrak’s longshot win coming at the tournament where the PGA TOUR and MGM collaborated on the sport’s first-ever gambling-slanted broadcast was likely a serendipitous coincidence for people who want to see more gambling coverage on golf broadcasts.

Hopefully it showed the uninitiated-but-curious why people who bet on the PGA TOUR love it so much. There aren’t very many sports that offer the bang-for-your buck that golf provides. Every week there’s an opportunity to find a Kokrak. Like all things in betting it’s very difficult to pick out a golf winner, but there’s nothing like having your player in the mix on a Sunday afternoon — especially if they win.

Now onto this week’s ZOZO Championship, which was has been moved from Tokyo to Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif. due to the pandemic. This is the second-ever ZOZO and Tiger Woods is the defending champion. Like the CJ Cup, the ZOZO features a field that feels like it could be a major championship.

Jon Rahm, who closed as the favorite at the CJ Cup, is atop the odds once again. Rahm opened at +1000 ($10 bet wins $100) and has plenty of company in Chalkville.

[Editor’s Note: This article has been edited to reflect that Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from the 2020 ZOZO Championship.]

GolfBet

Up next at +1100 is Xander Schauffele, who is coming off a runner-up finish at Shadow Creek and a pair of Top-10 finishes at the PGA Championship and U.S. Open, respectively. Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas close out the Top 4 at +1200.

Tyrrell Hatton and Webb Simpson are the only other golfers listed below 20/1. It doesn’t seem to matter which continent Hatton is playing on right now, the Englishman is just dialed in. After winning the 2020 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, Hatton shot up the leaderboard at Shadow Creek, but wasn’t able to convert his 18-hole lead into a win, though he did finish tied for third.

Collin Morikawa (+2000) checks in next and has really found a home in this range of the oddsboard. Morikawa is coming off a T12 finish at Shadow Creek.

Things start to really bunch up in the next range, as there are 13 golfers currently listed between Patrick Reed at +2500 and Viktor Hovland +4000.

The defending champ, Tiger Woods, finds himself in this range at +3300. Woods hasn’t played since missing the cut at the U.S. Open, but he’s very familiar with Sherwood, as it hosted his Hero World Challenge from 2000-2013.

[Track all of your PGA TOUR bets by downloading the free Action Network App.]

Joining Woods at +3300 is Matthew Wolff. He closed around 20/1 in his last two starts, but a shaky showing at Shadow Creek has sent him to +3300. Wolff was a popular play in both betting and DFS last week, so it will be interesting to see if he sneaks under the radar off his most recent showing.

While Wolff’s odds lengthened, Jason Kokrak’s came down to +3500 off his win. No surprise there, though, it’s fun to see the Canadian listed ahead of players like Tommy Fleetwood (+4500), Adam Scott (+5000) and Paul Casey (+9000).

When a field is as stacked as this one, you’re going to have some surprising prices in the triple digits. This week, Gary Woodland (+11000) and Justin Rose (+11000) both stick out in the 100s.

Once again, I’ll close this piece with a note about Brendon Todd. Last week, Todd was priced in the +5000 range. That was interesting, because Todd normally sits around triple digits. Well, a T52 at the CJ Cup has pushed Todd back to 100/1. That’s a price I’m going to stare at all week before betting it.

Check out the full odds for the 2020 ZOZO Championship below:

2020 ZOZO Championship Odds


Odds as of Monday at 1 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Player Odds
Jon Rahm +1000
Xander Schauffele +1100
Rory McIlroy +1200
Justin Thomas +1200
Tyrrell Hatton +1800
Webb Simpson +1800
Collin Morikawa +2000
Patrick Reed +2500
Hideki Matsuyama +2800
Daniel Berger +3000
Patrick Cantlay +3000
Tony Finau +3000
Matthew Wolff +3300
Tiger Woods +3300
Harris English +3500
Matthew Fitzpatrick +3500
Jason Kokrak +3500
Scottie Scheffler +3500
Bubba Watson +3500
Viktor Hovland +4000
Tommy Fleetwood +4500
Joaquin Niemann +4500
Adam Scott +5000
Abraham Ancer +5500
Jason Day +5500
Rickie Fowler +5500
Russell Henley +5500
Sungjae Im +5500
Billy Horschel +7000
Phil Mickelson +7000
Paul Casey +9000
Sebastian Munoz +9000
Cameron Smith +9000
Brian Harman +10000
Ryan Palmer +10000
Brendon Todd +10000
Lanto Griffin +11000
Adam Hadwin +11000
Kevin Kisner +11000
Kevin Na +11000
Justin Rose +11000
Jordan Spieth +11000
Kevin Streelman +11000
Gary Woodland +11000
Byeong Hun An +13500
Talor Gooch +13500
Harry Higgs +13500
Marc Leishman +13500
Cameron Champ +15000
Corey Conners +15000
Joel Dahmen +17500
Tom Hoge +17500
Mackenzie Hughes +17500
Adam Long +17500
Alexander Noren +17500
Dylan Frittelli +20000
Mark Hubbard +20000
Danny Lee +20000
Carlos Ortiz +20000
Brendan Steele +20000
Tyler Duncan +25000
Takumi Kanaya +27500
Shugo Imahira +40000
Jazz Janewattananond +40000
Andrew Landry +40000
Nick Taylor +40000
Michael Thompson +40000
Richy Werenski +40000
Ryo Ishikawa +60000
Brad Kennedy +60000
Satoshi Kodaira +60000
Shaun Norris +60000
Naoki Sekito +60000
Chan Kim +75000
Gunn Charoenkul +75000
Mikumu Horikawa +75000
Rikuya Hoshino +75000

 

NFL Picks for Week 7: The 5 Spreads & Totals To Bet Right Now

nfl picks-spreads-totals-bets-week-7-2020-copy

Don’t wait until Sunday to start placing your Week 7 NFL bets — there’s value to be locked in early.

Find our staff’s five favorite spread and total picks heading into the week below. Note that we included books that are offering the best lines for each pick as of writing, but you can compare real-time spreads and totals across multiple sportsbooks with our NFL odds page.

Week 7 NFL Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead to that analysis.

Pick
Bet Now
Browns -3 at Bengals
BetMGM
Packers -3.5 at Texans
BetMGM
Steelers -2 at Titans
PointsBet
Seahawks-Cardinals Under 56.5
FanDuel
Buccaneers -2.5 at Raiders
DraftKings

Chris Raybon: Browns -3 at Bengals

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info

Baker Mayfield has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL against pressure, so it wasn’t surprising that the Browns came out flat against the Steelers, getting trounced 38-7. While Pittsburgh ranks No. 1 in pressure rate (36.2% per Pro Football Reference), Cincinnati ranks 29th (15.7%), so this is a great time to buy back in on Cleveland.

The narrative coming into the week will be that the Bengals are making strides after they nearly stole one against the Colts, ultimately falling 31-27, but I still wouldn’t trust this team to outscore a Cleveland squad that averages 27.2 points per game while Cincinnati averages 21.5. The Bengals still rank 26th in yards per play (4.7), 28th in third-down conversion rate (36.0%) and 29th in red-zone touchdown rate (47.1%). And Cincinnati disappointingly failed to put Indianapolis away in a game it jumped out to a 24-7 lead and won the turnover battle, 2-1, mustering only three points over the second half.

I like the Browns up to -4.

[Bet now at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match]

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Raybon: Packers -3.5 at Texans

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info

This is another spot where I’m buying back in on a team that I bet against last week due to matchup.

While Aaron Rodgers and Co. struggled against a Bucs defense that now ranks fourth in pressure rate (25.1%), he should recapture his pre-bye groove against a Texans unit that pressures quarterbacks at the NFL’s fifth-lowest rate (16.7%). Not only do the Texans not get pressure, but they can’t stop anyone on defense, allowing 6.1 yards per play (27th), and have forced just four turnovers all season, which is tied for fifth-fewest.

And while the Packers came out of last week’s blowout with a positive outlook — Rodgers said they needed a kick in the butt — the Texans may be due for a letdown after losing a heartbreaking game to the division rival Titans in a game the Texans led by a TD with fewer than two minutes remaining, effectively ending their season.

In fact, Rodgers is 40-21-1 (66%) against the spread coming off an ATS loss in his career, and he has been nearly as strong off a straight-up loss, cashing more than 60% of the time according to our data at Bet Labs.

I like the Packers up to -4.

[Bet now at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match]

Raheem Palmer: Steelers -2 at Titans

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info

Despite a 5-0 record, the Titans open as 1.5-point home underdogs against the Steelers.

How many times have we seen a 5-0 team open as home underdogs? According to our Bet Labs database, it’s happened only once with the 2007 Cowboys losing as 5-point home underdogs to the eventual 16-0 Tom Brady- and Randy Moss-led Patriots.

Nonetheless, every line tells a story, and this one paints a picture that’s particularly grim for the home team.

The Titans have been on a magic carpet ride, catching every break with comeback wins against the Broncos, Jaguars and Vikings. The Titans followed that up with a 42-16 win over the Bills in which they benefited from three turnovers, scoring touchdowns on drives starting at the Buffalo 16, 12 and 26. Most recently the Titans pulled off a miraculous 42-36 comeback win over the Texans that required a missed 2-point conversion, a score with four seconds left in regulation and an opening drive touchdown in overtime in order to get the win.

To put in bluntly, the Titans have been skating on thin ice.

Tennessee’s defense is allowing 272.8 yards per game (27th), a whopping 5.1 yards per rush (30th) and 7.0 yards per pass (25th). They rank 30th in passing success rate and 22nd in rushing success rate while allowing 16% of runs to go for 20 or more yards (per Sharp Football Stats), which ranks 32nd in the NFL. All that tells us that this could be a game in which James Connor and Benny Snell Jr. dominate on the ground.

The Titans have allowed opponents to convert 57.81% of third-down attempts and to score on 14-of -16 red-zone trips (87.5%), both of which are also dead-last in the NFL.

Steelers-vs-eagles-odds-pick-betting-week-5-2020
Joe Sargent/Getty Images. Pictured: James Conner.

The Titans offense has been their saving grace as they’re second in scoring with 32.8 points per game, dominating many of the same metrics in which they struggle on the defensive side of the ball. When you look at which teams they have played, it paints a clear story of their offensive dominance.

Here are their opponents’ ranks in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA — you can see that Pittsburgh is a clear step up in class compared to the rest:

  • Broncos: 10th
  • Vikings: 15th
  • Jaguars: 32nd
  • Bills: 27th
  • Texans: 25th
  • Steelers: 7th

Pittsburgh’s defense is allowing just 18.8 points per game (second), 4.9 yards per play (third) while ranking first in rushing success rate and fourth in passing success rate. And the Titans have to deal with the prospect of facing this vaunted Steelers pass rush that’s leading the league in sacks (24) and pressure rate (36.6%) without the services of three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. According to Pro Football Focus, he hadn’t allowed a QB sack across 130 pass-block snaps this season.

The Steelers should win this game with their defense and do enough on offense to get the win. Lay the points.

I would play up to -2.5.

[Bet now at PointsBet and get $125 if the Steelers score a point]

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Mike Randle: Steelers -2 at Titans

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET | More Game Info

In a battle of two of the three remaining unbeaten teams, I’m expecting the Steelers to emerge victorious in Tennessee this week.

Due to COVID postponements, the Titans will play their third game in just 12 calendar days. That will be a difficult task against a Steelers defense that ranks first in pressure rate and total sacks. Pittsburgh is also one of the few defenses that can slow down Derrick Henry, ranking first in run defense DVOA. And finally, Pittsburgh’s defensive line leads the league with only 1.97 adjusted line yards allowed per attempt.

The Titans suffered a serious blow when they lost Lewan last week. They also were without wide receiver Corey Davis and lost tight end Jonnu Smith to an ankle sprain. They’ll enter this game shorthanded against one of the most physical teams in the NFL.

The Titans have been the masters of winning close games, a trend that is due for regression. With the exception of a blowout win against Buffalo, Tennessee has won four games by an average of three points per game.

titans-vs-chiefs-betting-pick-spread-afc-championship-game
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. Pictured: Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Tennessee Titans

Pittsburgh should find success both on the ground and in the air against the Tennessee defense.

The Titans rank 19th in run defense DVOA and have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. In the 42-36 overtime win against the Texans, the Titans allowed a combined 21 receptions, 276 yards and three receiving touchdowns to Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks and Darren Fells. And the Steelers’ passing attack features even even more weapons than the Texans, with breakout star Chase Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Eric Ebron. Diontae Johnson should also return for Week 7.

Tennessee has enjoyed a perfect start to the season, but there are too many variables working against the Titans in this matchup. I’m backing the Steelers as the small road favorite and would do so up to -2.5.

[Bet now at PointsBet and get $125 if the Steelers score a point]

Michael Arinze: Seahawks-Cardinals Under 56.5

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET | More Game Info

Through Week 3, overs were 29-19 (60.9%) for +8.94 units. Since then, they’ve gone 17-22-1 (43.6%) for -5.56 units. It was inevitable that at some point we would see some regression towards the mean. Bookmakers have been increasing the numbers on these totals ever so slightly to combat the deluge of over money they’ve been seeing in recent weeks.

Week 7 offers another lofty total when the Seahawks visit the Cardinals. Seattle comes in off a Week 6 bye while Arizona will be on short rest after playing this past Monday night. And with this being a divisional game, it’s safe to say that both teams are fairly familiar with the other.

The divisional angle on this game should not be ignored. In addition to the total going under the last five times these two teams played in Arizona, the total has also gone under over Arizona’s last six games and Seattle is 9-2 to the under over its past 11 games as a road favorite.

And despite their 5-0 record, the Seahawks still have some work to do on the defensive side of the ball. Per TeamRankings, they rank 29th in allowing their opponents 6.2 yards per play and they’re dead-last in allowing 471.2 total yards per game. I would expect defense to have been a key focus area over their bye week. In fact, teams in October with at least a .750-win percentage coming off more than one week of rest are 32-25 (56%) to the under:


I’d be comfortable playing this number down to 55.

[Bet the Seahawks-Cardinals Under at FanDuel completely risk-free for $1,000]

Brandon Anderson: Buccaneers -2.5 at Raiders

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET | More Game Info

Betting early in the week, I’m always looking to lock in a line I suspect will rise by the time the game kicks off — especially if that rise might put me on the wrong side of a key number.

Tampa Bay at -2.5 in a marquee Sunday Night Football spot certainly fits the bill.

Can’t you just see the Bucs getting all the media love this week? They dominated a previously-undefeated Packers squad with a ferocious defensive effort, and suddenly the Bucs look about as good as any team in the NFC. Tom Brady out-dueled Aaron Rodgers and now that offense is looking pretty scary, too, as the pieces get healthy.

nfl-betting-odds-picks-predictions-packers-vs-buccaneers-spread-betting-week-6-2020
Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Brady

Tampa is going to get the hype — but the Bucs are also really this good. They had the best defense in the league even before Sunday, then they had the highest-rated DVOA game of the entire season by any team, only improving their position.

If this game were a week ago, maybe the Raiders would be the team getting the hype. Remember when Vegas hung 40 points on Kansas City and gave the Chiefs their first loss of 2020? That’s ancient history now in bettors’ minds, and Tampa is the hot team instead.

The favorite often gets backing anyway in a big national TV game, and there’s a good chance this game jumps to -3 or -3.5 and costs me a key number or more.

The Raiders beat the Chiefs by connecting on a litany of deep passes, and that covered up for their poor rushing attack and complete lack of defense. But the Bucs defense won’t give up 40 to this one-sided attack. I like Tampa to keep the good times rolling, and I’m grabbing the points while this is under three.

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

Giants vs. Eagles Odds & Promotions: Bet $5, Win $100 if the Giants Cover +50!

The Giants, winners of one straight, will look to establish their presence as an NFC East contender on Thursday against their divisional counterpart in the Eagles.

Whether they can win this pathetic battle or not, you should be able to score some serious coin regardless thanks to these awesome TNF promos!

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Giants vs. Eagles TNF Promos

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William Hill Sportsbook

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The Giants are probably one of the worst teams in the NFL regardless of their glistening one-game winning streak. The Eagles haven’t been too good, either, and I can’t see a 50+ point blowout in the cards on Thursday night.

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Fun fact: It is actually possible to score one point in the NFL. It’s never happened, but if a team attempts an extra point, somehow goes 85 yards backwards and is tackled in their own end zone, the defensive team would receive one point.

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Rays vs. Dodgers Game 2 Sharp Pick: Pros Betting World Series Moneyline (Oct. 21)

Rays vs. Dodgers Game 2 Odds

Rays Odds +120
Dodgers Odds -140
Over/Under 8 (-115/-105)
PRO Projection LAD -121 | O/U 8.23
Time 8:08 p.m. ET
TV FOX

Sign up for a FREE Trial of our MLB PRO Report, which highlights key factors that provide betting edges — like sharp action, large wagers, historically-profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks.


As you could probably have guessed, a Game 1 Dodgers blowout that went over the total was not the desired outcome for sharps — or sportsbooks — last night.

Both the Dodgers and the over were popular sides, and sharps had taken a clear liking to the under at the opening number, which was still three runs short of the final score.

So what’s in store for sharp bettors in Game 2? Well, they certainly haven’t waited around to let us know.


Data as of Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET. For immediate access to our MLB PRO Report, start a Free Trial today! You’ll also get:

  • Pro Betting Systems: historically profitable betting trends and angles built on millions of data points.
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Rays vs. Dodgers Game 2 PRO Report

Some clear morning sharp action, which has been brought to light in part by a bet-vs.-money discrepancy, has landed on the Rays. And this line is falling because of it.

Sharp Action

Opening Rays numbers were as high as the low +140s. Now, Tampa is being found at a consensus of +125.

Sharps have been the driving force in that significant move, as confirmed by two Sports Insights Bet Signals in the form of steam moves. Steam refers to a heavy dose of money hitting the same side of a bet over a very short period of time causing a sudden, market-wide line move and is a strong indication of sharp action.

In this case, two such moves were triggered on Tampa at +138 and +133 — the latter coming just after 9:15 a.m. ET.

Sharp Action edge: Rays

Big Money

Further confirming the Rays to be the sharp side, their 59% early backing has generated 83% of the money thus far, meaning bigger bets are landing on the underdogs.

And while big bets can technically come from anyone, they’re far more likely to come from professional bettors over a large sample. So a discrepancy such as this one certainly serves as another hint toward the pros’ pick.

Big Money edge: Rays


Try PRO for FREE for full access to our new MLB PRO Report, where we highlight key factors that provide betting edges — like large wagers, historically profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks — that when combined with sharp money can powerfully detail the smartest bets on a given slate.

Rays vs. Dodgers Game 2 Sharp Pick: Pros Betting World Series Moneyline (Oct. 21)

As you could probably have guessed, a Game 1 Dodgers blowout that went over the total was not the desired outcome for sharps — or sportsbooks — last night.

Both the Dodgers and the over were popular sides, and sharps had taken a clear liking to the under at the opening number, which was still three runs short of the final score.

So what’s in store for sharp bettors in Game 2? Well, they certainly haven’t waited around to let us know.

Rays vs. Dodgers Game 2 PRO Report

Continue reading “Rays vs. Dodgers Game 2 Sharp Pick: Pros Betting World Series Moneyline (Oct. 21)”

Daily MLB Playoff Betting Model Projections: Game Odds, World Series Probabilities (Updated Oct. 21)

mlb-playoff-betting-model-projections-probabilities-zerillo-alcs-nlcs

Last updated: Wednesday, October 21

This postseason, I’m publishing my projections for every MLB game right here. I’ll also be updating my current series prices and World Series projections each morning.

I’ll follow up with written analysis later in the day, which you can find on our MLB page and on my Twitter.

Download the spreadsheet below to compare odds from your sportsbook to my projections to see if there’s an edge. My projections include moneylines totals and team totals, both full game, and First 5 innings.

You can also easily find my full-game projection edges by looking at the new MLB projections page.

_BookPromo=69


MLB Game Probabilities, Projections: Oct. 21

Click here to access our brand-new live-updating projections page, which easily reveals and grades the biggest edges on today’s slate.

To download my traditional spreadsheet where you can plug in odds from your sportsbooks, click here.


Updated World Series Probabilities

Updated at the conclusion of each game. Click “play” for a time-lapse from the start of the regular season.

 

 

 

 

2020 ZOZO Championship Best Bets: Our Favorite Outrights, Longshots, Props and Matchups at Sherwood Country Club

Like last week’s CJ Cup, the field for the 2020 ZOZO Championship is worthy of a major championship.

Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are all bunched together at the top of the oddsboard, but there will be plenty of firepower on display at Sherwood Country Club this week.

An elite field like this makes it hard to envision a path to success for a longshot winner, but that’s what we thought last week at Shadow Creek where Jason Kokrak won as a 66/1 outsider. You can’t predict PGA TOUR golf, but that’s what makes it so much fun to bet.

Here are our favorite outright bets, sleeper picks, props and matchup plays at the ZOZO Championship:

GolfBet

Outrights

Track all of your PGA TOUR bets by downloading the free Action Network App.

Jason Sobel

Patrick Reed (+2500)

In his past three worldwide starts, Reed has finished 3rd-13th-7th (using 72-hole scoring for the last of those, that being the TOUR Championship). That alone should have us jotting his name down this week, but recent form is hardly the only reason I’m listing him here.

If course correlations are indeed accurate, it bodes well for Reed, who owns two top-10s (and no MCs) in five starts at Muirfield and a pair of runner-up results at Innisbrook.

Then there’s the fact that this will likely take on the feel of a Tiger-hosted event, even if he’s not doing the heavy lifting. Reed loves showing off for his idol, four times finishing top-five (in six starts) at the Hero.

My guess is that Tiger’s inclusion alone will have Reed a bit more motivated than usual – and he’s usually among the most motivated guys around anyway.

[Bet Patrick Reed at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Josh Perry

Webb Simpson (+1800)

Simpson has been putting up solid finishes for months and now he’s heading to a course that should suit his game to a tee. Simpson has played Sherwood CC a few times and finished fifth here at the 2013 Chevron World Challenge.

Sherwood Country Club isn’t super long, so Webb’s lack of distance — at least compared to some of the other favorites — shouldn’t hamper him too much this week. It should also fit his eye as a course where he just needs to keep it in play off the tee and attack with his second shot.

It seems like Harbour Town is a decent corollary course with Sherwood. Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald each have wins here and those three players also have had success at Harbour Town, where Webb won earlier this year.

[Bet Webb Simpson at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Chris Murphy

Viktor Hovland (+3300)

Viktor Hovland has been a bit up and down in 2020. He’s seen his young counterparts contend and win in big events, while his success came on secondary tournaments like his win at the Puerto Rico Open.

Things do seem to be trending in the right direction for the 23-year-old to start this season though, as he’s come out of the gates with a 13th-place finish  at the U.S. Open and a 12th last week at the CJ Cup. Hovland has shown to be an elite ball-striker in his brief time on TOUR, and that has certainly been the case of the last few events.

The part of his game that gets me excited for his winning potential is that he has gained strokes on the field around the green and with his putting in each of his last two tournaments, both of which featured quality fields.

I love the form that Hovland is showing throughout his game coming into this week, and his preference for the bentgrass greens is an added bonus.

[Bet Viktor Hovland at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Matt Vincenzi

Collin Morikawa (+2000)

Morikawa is a top-3 iron player in the world and Sherwood Country Club is a second-shot golf course. At the CJ Cup, the 23-year-old was excellent as usual with his approach shots; as he ranked third in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach (+5.8).

With Muirfield Village (another Nicklaus design) being a corollary course, Morikawa is a natural fit having won there earlier this season at the Workday Charity Open. Additionally, Morikawa is a California native and we’ve seen him play some of his best golf in the state including his PGA Championship victory at TPC Harding Park.

I anticipate driving accuracy to be more important than distance this week, which should fit Morikawa’s game as he ranks fourth in this field in his past 24 rounds in fairways gained. Morikawa also excels at long Par 3’s where he ranks fourth in this field on Par 3: 175-225. With five par 3’s on the course that are all relatively long, playing them effectively can be a difference maker at Sherwood CC.

My only concern with Morikawa is his putting. If he can find a way to putt slightly above field average this week, he should have an excellent chance to secure his fourth PGA TOUR victory.

[Bet Collin Morikawa at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

pga tour-sanderson farms championship-betting-odds-picks-joshua perry-october 2020
Brian Harman is 100/1 to win the 2020 ZOZO Championship. Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

Longshots

Track all of your PGA TOUR bets by downloading the free Action Network App.

Jason Sobel

Danny Lee (+20000)

There’s no foolproof, predictive statistic in the prognostication game – if there was, all of this stuff would be a lot easier. But one that I often like to look at is final-round ball-striking from the previous week’s event. Lee led the field at Shadow Creek in strokes gained off-the-tee on Sunday.

Sure, he can lose his swing somewhere on that short trip between Vegas and L.A., but let’s hope this one remains predictive, as I like Lee as a plus-money top-20 and as a low-cost DFS option.

[Bet Danny Lee at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Josh Perry

Brian Harman (+10000)

Harman has been flying under the radar for the past few months. He just keeps making cuts and putting up good results. He worked his way into contention two weeks ago at the Shriners but a poor showing on Sunday saw him slide outside the top 10.

Harman can keep it in play off the tee and is good with his wedges and putter, so there’s a good chance this type of course will fit his game.

[Bet Brian Harman at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Chris Murphy

Sebastian Munoz (+9000)

Following a slow restart after the COVID break, Sebastian Munoz came on strong to close out his season. He finished inside the top-20 in all three FedEx Playoff events, including 8th-place finishes in the BMW and TOUR Championship. Munoz is one player that got back on the course earlier than others, as this will be his fourth straight week in action and fifth tournament of the new season.

The Colombian really seemed to find his stride last week at Shadow Creek with a 9th-place finish and he ranked 10th in the field tee-to-green. He has shown an ability to compete week in and week out on TOUR, including in some of the strongest fields, making him a longshot worth buying this week at the ZOZO.

[Bet Sebastian Munoz at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Matt Vincenzi

Ryan Palmer (+10000)

Ryan Palmer plays some of his best golf on the West Coast. He comes to the ZOZO Championship in pretty good form following a 17th-place finish last week. The 44-year-old is a steady player who seems to pop up on leaderboards multiple times per year, which is exactly what I am looking for in a longshot.

Sherwood is a very short Par 72 which should allow Palmer to compete with the longest hitters this week. We have seen a resurgence of older veterans winning of late on the PGA TOUR (Cink, Garcia, Laird) and Palmer would love to join that group.

[Bet Ryan Palmer at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

2020 workday charity open picks
Bubba Watson is 35/1 to win the ZOZO Championship. Credit: Gregory Shamus, Getty Images.

Prop Bets

Track all of your PGA TOUR bets by downloading the free Action Network App.

Jason Sobel

Bubba Watson Top-10 Finish (+300)

At the beginning of the PGA TOUR’s restart back in May, when it was announced there would be no fans on-site at tournaments, one of the first players I thought this would impact on a positive level was Watson, who has spoken candidly about not liking crowds.

In his first six starts without fans, though, he posted four MCs and no results inside the top-30. It appears that he’s now coming around, however, as Bubba hit the ball better than anyone else at Shadow Creek last week.

He’s a fan of Riviera, having won there twice, and while it might be sacrilegious to compare Sherwood to Riv, there should be good vibes coming back to the SoCal area.

[Bet Bubba Watson at BetMGM and get an INSTANT $500 deposit match.]

Josh Perry

Harris English Top-20 Finish (+120)

English just keeps racking up solid finishes every week.

With his 10th-place finish at last week’s CJ Cup, English has now placed inside the top-20 in eight of his past 11 starts, so I’ll take the plus-money on him here to do the same in a smaller field.

English’s putting has been a big boost and his stats suggest he doesn’t really have a preferred surface, as he gains about a third-of-a-stroke per round regardless of grass type.

Overall, everything just seems to be working for English. In five of his last 10 events, he’s gained strokes in all four categories.

[Bet Harris English at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Chris Murphy

Cam Smith Top-10 Finish (+550)

I honestly like Cam Smith on a similar level to Sebastian Munoz, so I’ll be taking shares on both players in the win and place markets.

Smith is a player that has a tendency to run hot, and he seems to be rounding into form following his 11th-place finish at the CJ Cup. It was really one bad round on Friday last week that kept him from being more in contention down the stretch, as he shot in the 60s in each of his other three.

I expect the ZOZO to be another low scoring, birdie-fest and that’s generally the type of event I like to buy in on this Australian.

He’s got a good price to Top-10 but I think his ceiling can be higher than that this week.

[Bet Cam Smith at BetMGM and get an INSTANT $500 deposit match.]

Matt Vincenzi

Matthew Fitzpatrick Top-5 Finish (+700)

Fitz excels at every aspect of golf that will be important this week. On a strategic golf course, his ability to hit fairways should put him in the best position to attack the undulating greens of Sherwood Country Club.

Fitz also came in third at the Nicklaus designed Memorial and fits the mold of great wedge players and putters that have won at Sherwood in the past.

The Englishman comes in riding some hot form with a 7th (European Tour) and a 12th last week at Shadow Creek. In the CJ Cup, Fitzpatrick gained 4.9 strokes on approach (seventh in the field) and was third in the field in Fairways Gained.

The excellent accuracy and sharp iron play should get Fitz in the mix this week at the ZOZO.

[Bet Matt Fitzpatrick at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Justin Thomas is 12/1 to win the ZOZO Championship. Credit: Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images.

Matchups

Track all of your PGA TOUR bets by downloading the free Action Network App.

Josh Perry

Justin Thomas (+100) over Jon Rahm

I’ll take the better iron player as a small underdog here on what figures to be a second-shot golf course.

I think the emphasis is going to be on iron play this week and that’s the best aspect of Justin’s game. Rahm can get hot with his irons, but they aren’t nearly as reliable as JT’s.

Thomas has also been in a slightly better run of form, finishing ahead of Rahm in their last three tournaments.

[Bet Justin Thomas at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Chris Murphy

Bubba Watson (-125) over Tiger Woods

I love the form that Bubba Watson had throughout the weekend at the CJ Cup. Following a 2-over start on Thursday, he shot a combined 14-under over his final three rounds to climb into a tie for 7th. He also has experience and good history at Sherwood, with some top finishes, though they came in limited 18-player fields.

The real positive I take from that experience and those scores is that it seems Sherwood may be a “Bubba Track” increasing my favor for him in all markets. For the purpose of this article I’ll stick to the matchup, but I think you can have exposure to him through the win this week.

My pick in the matchup is as much about Bubba’s form as it is about a month away for Tiger Woods. He clearly loves this place after hosting his event here for 13 years, but I am sure his task this week will be finding some tournament form with his eyes on next month’s Masters.

I’ll lay a little bit of juice on Bubba with his form and his ability to contend, as I expect Tiger to be working mostly to knock off the rust.

[Bet this matchup at BetMGM and get an INSTANT $500 deposit match.]

Matt Vincenzi

Webb Simpson (-125) over Tyrrell Hatton

Webb Simpson is as steady as it gets. Finishing no worse than 13th in his past five starts, he has the consistent high floor you are looking for in tournament matchups.

Being a shorter course, Simpson’s accuracy and wedge game make him an ideal fit. Hatton has been playing some amazing golf, but it feels like this is the week where it catches up with him. Two weeks ago, Hatton won the BMW PGA Championship in Surrey, England then immediately took a flight to Las Vegas where he got into contention at Shadow Creek.

As impressive as that is, golf is a tough game and it seems like a spot where we will see some regression.

2020 ZOZO Championship Betting Preview: Our Picks to Win and Best Outright Bets at Sherwood Country Club

2020 zozo championship picks

Like last week’s CJ Cup, the field for the 2020 ZOZO Championship is worthy of a major championship.

Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are all bunched together at the top of the oddsboard, but there will be plenty of firepower on display at Sherwood Country Club this week.

An elite field like this makes it hard to envision a path to success for a longshot winner, but that’s what we thought last week at Shadow Creek where Jason Kokrak won as a 66/1 outsider.

Here are our favorite outright bets for the ZOZO Championship:

GolfBet

Jason Sobel

Patrick Reed (+2500)

In his past three worldwide starts, Reed has finished 3rd-13th-7th (using 72-hole scoring for the last of those, that being the TOUR Championship). That alone should have us jotting his name down this week, but recent form is hardly the only reason I’m listing him here.

If course correlations are indeed accurate, it bodes well for Reed, who owns two top-10s (and no MCs) in five starts at Muirfield and a pair of runner-up results at Innisbrook.

Then there’s the fact that this will likely take on the feel of a Tiger-hosted event, even if he’s not doing the heavy lifting. Reed loves showing off for his idol, four times finishing top-five (in six starts) at the Hero.

My guess is that Tiger’s inclusion alone will have Reed a bit more motivated than usual – and he’s usually among the most motivated guys around anyway.

[Bet Patrick Reed at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Josh Perry

Webb Simpson (+1800)

Simpson has been putting up solid finishes for months and now he’s heading to a course that should suit his game to a tee. Simpson has played Sherwood CC a few times and finished fifth here at the 2013 Chevron World Challenge.

Sherwood Country Club isn’t super long, so Webb’s lack of distance — at least compared to some of the other favorites — shouldn’t hamper him too much this week. It should also fit his eye as a course where he just needs to keep it in play off the tee and attack with his second shot.

It seems like Harbour Town is a decent corollary course with Sherwood. Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald each have wins here and those three players also have had success at Harbour Town, where Webb won earlier this year.

[Bet Webb Simpson at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Chris Murphy

Viktor Hovland (+3300)

Viktor Hovland has been a bit up and down in 2020. He’s seen his young counterparts contend and win in big events, while his success came on secondary tournaments like his win at the Puerto Rico Open.

Things do seem to be trending in the right direction for the 23-year-old to start this season though, as he’s come out of the gates with a 13th-place finish  at the U.S. Open and a 12th last week at the CJ Cup. Hovland has shown to be an elite ball-striker in his brief time on TOUR, and that has certainly been the case of the last few events.

The part of his game that gets me excited for his winning potential is that he has gained strokes on the field around the green and with his putting in each of his last two tournaments, both of which featured quality fields.

I love the form that Hovland is showing throughout his game coming into this week, and his preference for the bentgrass greens is an added bonus.

[Bet Viktor Hovland at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Matt Vincenzi

Collin Morikawa (+2000)

Morikawa is a top-3 iron player in the world and Sherwood Country Club is a second-shot golf course. At the CJ Cup, the 23-year-old was excellent as usual with his approach shots; as he ranked third in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach (+5.8).

With Muirfield Village (another Nicklaus design) being a corollary course, Morikawa is a natural fit having won there earlier this season at the Workday Charity Open. Additionally, Morikawa is a California native and we’ve seen him play some of his best golf in the state including his PGA Championship victory at TPC Harding Park.

I anticipate driving accuracy to be more important than distance this week, which should fit Morikawa’s game as he ranks fourth in this field in his past 24 rounds in fairways gained. Morikawa also excels at long Par 3’s where he ranks fourth in this field on Par 3: 175-225. With five par 3’s on the course that are all relatively long, playing them effectively can be a difference maker at Sherwood CC.

My only concern with Morikawa is his putting. If he can find a way to putt slightly above field average this week, he should have an excellent chance to secure his fourth PGA TOUR victory.

[Bet Collin Morikawa at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

No, Vegas Doesn’t Really Know the Outcome of Future Sporting Events

It seems like any time the margin of victory of a sporting event falls close to the closing line, mainstream sports media personalities declare something along the lines of, “Wow, it ended up as a three-point game and the spread was three, Vegas knew!”

While it’s fun for content and garnering social media engagement, the idea that oddsmakers have some magical model or information not available to the rest of us is simply not true. Why don’t we ever hear about the times that three-point underdogs win by 21 points? Because it doesn’t make for good content.

So, outside of cherry-picked examples, how good are oddsmakers at actually predicting the outcomes of sporting events, specifically in the sharpest betting markets such as the NFL?

Continue reading “No, Vegas Doesn’t Really Know the Outcome of Future Sporting Events”

Sports Betting Tips: The Biggest Mistake Made by Recreational Sports Bettors

This is an open letter to a specific friend of mine. A sports-betting intervention, if you will.

In all honesty, I’m writing this out of a little frustration because it needs to be heard. While the inspiration behind this began with conversations I’ve had with friends, it also applies to the masses.

Stop betting so many games.

One of the biggest downsides of legalized sports betting is the rush of mainstream media companies to cover it.

Continue reading “Sports Betting Tips: The Biggest Mistake Made by Recreational Sports Bettors”

2020 ZOZO Championship Sleeper Picks: Our Favorite Longshot Bets at Sherwood Country Club

zozo sleeper picks

Like last week’s CJ Cup, the field for the 2020 ZOZO Championship is worthy of a major championship.

Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are all bunched together at the top of the oddsboard, but there will be plenty of firepower on display at Sherwood Country Club this week.

An elite field like this makes it hard to envision a path to success for a longshot winner, but that’s what we thought last week at Shadow Creek where Jason Kokrak won as a 66/1 outsider.

Will we see another under-the-radar winner this week?

Here are our favorite longshot bets for the ZOZO Championship:

GolfBet

Jason Sobel

Danny Lee (+20000)

There’s no foolproof, predictive statistic in the prognostication game – if there was, all of this stuff would be a lot easier. But one that I often like to look at is final-round ball-striking from the previous week’s event. Lee led the field at Shadow Creek in strokes gained off-the-tee on Sunday.

Sure, he can lose his swing somewhere on that short trip between Vegas and L.A., but let’s hope this one remains predictive, as I like Lee as a plus-money top-20 and as a low-cost DFS option.

[Bet Danny Lee at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Josh Perry

Brian Harman (+10000)

Harman has been flying under the radar for the past few months. He just keeps making cuts and putting up good results. He worked his way into contention two weeks ago at the Shriners but a poor showing on Sunday saw him slide outside the top 10.

Harman can keep it in play off the tee and is good with his wedges and putter, so there’s a good chance this type of course will fit his game.

[Bet Brian Harman at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Chris Murphy

Sebastian Munoz (+9000)

Following a slow restart after the COVID break, Sebastian Munoz came on strong to close out his season. He finished inside the top-20 in all three FedEx Playoff events, including 8th-place finishes in the BMW and TOUR Championship. Munoz is one player that got back on the course earlier than others, as this will be his fourth straight week in action and fifth tournament of the new season.

The Colombian really seemed to find his stride last week at Shadow Creek with a 9th-place finish and he ranked 10th in the field tee-to-green. He has shown an ability to compete week in and week out on TOUR, including in some of the strongest fields, making him a longshot worth buying this week at the ZOZO.

[Bet Sebastian Munoz at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Matt Vincenzi

Ryan Palmer (+10000)

Ryan Palmer plays some of his best golf on the West Coast. He comes to the ZOZO Championship in pretty good form following a 17th-place finish last week. The 44-year-old is a steady player who seems to pop up on leaderboards multiple times per year, which is exactly what I am looking for in a longshot.

Sherwood is a very short Par 72 which should allow Palmer to compete with the longest hitters this week. We have seen a resurgence of older veterans winning of late on the PGA TOUR (Cink, Garcia, Laird) and Palmer would love to join that group.

[Bet Ryan Palmer at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

2020 ZOZO Championship Betting Picks: Our Favorite Prop Bets at Sherwood Country Club

zozo best bets-props-picks

Like last week’s CJ Cup, the field for the 2020 ZOZO Championship is worthy of a major championship.

Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are all bunched together at the top of the oddsboard, but there will be plenty of firepower on display at Sherwood Country Club this week.

With so much attention being paid to the guys at the top, there’s bound to be some good betting opportunities further down the board.

Here are our favorite prop bets at the 2020 ZOZO Championship:

GolfBet

Jason Sobel

Bubba Watson Top-10 Finish (+300)

At the beginning of the PGA TOUR’s restart back in May, when it was announced there would be no fans on-site at tournaments, one of the first players I thought this would impact on a positive level was Watson, who has spoken candidly about not liking crowds.

In his first six starts without fans, though, he posted four MCs and no results inside the top-30. It appears that he’s now coming around, however, as Bubba hit the ball better than anyone else at Shadow Creek last week.

He’s a fan of Riviera, having won there twice, and while it might be sacrilegious to compare Sherwood to Riv, there should be good vibes coming back to the SoCal area.

[Bet Bubba Watson at BetMGM and get an INSTANT $500 deposit match.]

Josh Perry

Harris English Top-20 Finish (+120)

English just keeps racking up solid finishes every week.

With his 10th-place finish at last week’s CJ Cup, English has now placed inside the top-20 in eight of his past 11 starts, so I’ll take the plus-money on him here to do the same in a smaller field.

English’s putting has been a big boost and his stats suggest he doesn’t really have a preferred surface, as he gains about a third-of-a-stroke per round regardless of grass type.

Overall, everything just seems to be working for English. In five of his last 10 events, he’s gained strokes in all four categories.

[Bet Harris English at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Chris Murphy

Cam Smith Top-10 Finish (+550)

I honestly like Cam Smith on a similar level to Sebastian Munoz, so I’ll be taking shares on both players in the win and place markets.

Smith is a player that has a tendency to run hot, and he seems to be rounding into form following his 11th-place finish at the CJ Cup. It was really one bad round on Friday last week that kept him from being more in contention down the stretch, as he shot in the 60s in each of his other three.

I expect the ZOZO to be another low scoring, birdie-fest and that’s generally the type of event I like to buy in on this Australian.

He’s got a good price to Top-10 but I think his ceiling can be higher than that this week.

[Bet Cam Smith at BetMGM and get an INSTANT $500 deposit match.]

Matt Vincenzi

Matthew Fitzpatrick Top-5 Finish (+700)

Fitz excels at every aspect of golf that will be important this week. On a strategic golf course, his ability to hit fairways should put him in the best position to attack the undulating greens of Sherwood Country Club.

Fitz also came in third at the Nicklaus designed Memorial and fits the mold of great wedge players and putters that have won at Sherwood in the past.

The Englishman comes in riding some hot form with a 7th (European Tour) and a 12th last week at Shadow Creek. In the CJ Cup, Fitzpatrick gained 4.9 strokes on approach (seventh in the field) and was third in the field in Fairways Gained.

The excellent accuracy and sharp iron play should get Fitz in the mix this week at the ZOZO.

[Bet Matt Fitzpatrick at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

2020 ZOZO Championship Betting Picks: Our Favorite Matchup Bets at Sherwood Country Club

zozo best bets-matchups-2020

Like last week’s CJ Cup, the field for the 2020 ZOZO Championship is worthy of a major championship.

Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are all bunched together at the top of the oddsboard, but there will be plenty of firepower on display at Sherwood Country Club this week.

With so many stars in action, there are plenty of tantalizing matchup bets on the board this week. Here are our favorites:

GolfBet

Josh Perry

Justin Thomas (+100) over Jon Rahm

I’ll take the better iron player as a small underdog here on what figures to be a second-shot golf course.

I think the emphasis is going to be on iron play this week and that’s the best aspect of Justin’s game. Rahm can get hot with his irons, but they aren’t nearly as reliable as JT’s.

Thomas has also been in a slightly better run of form, finishing ahead of Rahm in their last three tournaments.

[Bet Justin Thomas at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Chris Murphy

Bubba Watson (-125) over Tiger Woods

I love the form that Bubba Watson had throughout the weekend at the CJ Cup. Following a 2-over start on Thursday, he shot a combined 14-under over his final three rounds to climb into a tie for 7th. He also has experience and good history at Sherwood, with some top finishes, though they came in limited 18-player fields.

The real positive I take from that experience and those scores is that it seems Sherwood may be a “Bubba Track” increasing my favor for him in all markets. For the purpose of this article I’ll stick to the matchup, but I think you can have exposure to him through the win this week.

My pick in the matchup is as much about Bubba’s form as it is about a month away for Tiger Woods. He clearly loves this place after hosting his event here for 13 years, but I am sure his task this week will be finding some tournament form with his eyes on next month’s Masters.

I’ll lay a little bit of juice on Bubba with his form and his ability to contend, as I expect Tiger to be working mostly to knock off the rust.

[Bet this matchup at BetMGM and get an INSTANT $500 deposit match.]

Matt Vincenzi

Webb Simpson (-125) over Tyrrell Hatton

Webb Simpson is as steady as it gets. Finishing no worse than 13th in his past five starts, he has the consistent high floor you are looking for in tournament matchups.

Being a shorter course, Simpson’s accuracy and wedge game make him an ideal fit. Hatton has been playing some amazing golf, but it feels like this is the week where it catches up with him. Two weeks ago, Hatton won the BMW PGA Championship in Surrey, England then immediately took a flight to Las Vegas where he got into contention at Shadow Creek.

As impressive as that is, golf is a tough game and it seems like a spot where we will see some regression.

Projected Odds and Totals for Every Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, and Ligue 1 Match This Weekend (Oct. 23-26)

The return of club football after the international break saw a whole a lot of upsets and intrigue:

  • Liverpool were denied a late winner against Everton by a questionable VAR decision.
  • Chelsea and Tottenham both blew huge leads at home to Southampton and West Ham, respectively.
  • Manchester City asserted their dominance once again over Arsenal.
  • Both Barcelona and Real Madrid were upset in La Liga by Getafe and Cadiz, respectively.
  • AC Milan finally beat Inter Milan for the first time in two years.
  • Napoli routed previously undefeated Atalanta, 4-1, at home with all four goals coming in first half.
  • Juventus were only able to muster a draw at newly-promoted side Crotone.

This weekend’s slate features some tantalizing matches, but domestic leagues are in a sandwich spot. With Champions League and Europa League in action this week and next, a lot of teams in those competitions will have to manage their squads this weekend. Therefore, it may be a good idea to wait until starting lineups come out before heading to the window.

You can use these projections to identify early betting value on the opening lines, and follow me in The Action Network App to see any bets I make throughout the week.

If you’d like to read more about how I determine my projected lines and totals using an expected goals model, you can read about it here.

Note: These projections do not take into account injuries. The injury news highlighted below is for players that regularly would start in each team’s starting XI. 

Premier League

Premier League Notes

  • Manchester United vs. Chelsea: The Red Devils are flying high after back-to-back away wins against Newcastle in the Premier League and PSG in the Champions League. Even though they have a Champions League fixture next Wednesday against RB Leipzig, United have to give this match their full attention because they currently sit in 15th place in the Premier League. Chelsea blew a two-goal lead against Southampton over the weekend and then were involved in a 0-0 snooze-fest against Sevilla in the Champions League. They have to travel to Russia next week to face Krasnodar, so it’ll be interesting to see how Frank Lampard selects his squad for this match.
  • Arsenal vs. Leicester: The Gunners have won every match they were suppose to up to this point in the season, but they have a negative expected goal differential to start the season. The Foxes will be trying to rebound after two straight home losses to West Ham and Aston Villa. Leicester are currently dealing with a lot of injuries, so this is a prime opportunity for Arsenal in their quest to get back into the top four.

Premier League Injury News: 

  • Burnley: Jack Cork (CM) and Ben Mee (CB) are both doubtful to play against Tottenham.
  • Crystal Palace: Jordan Ayew (ST) is out due to a positive COVID test and Gary Cahill (CB) is questionable to face Fulham.
  • Everton: Richarlison (LW) and Seamus Coleman (RB) are both out against Southampton.
  • Leicester: Wilfred Ndidi (CM), Caglar Soyuncu (CB), and Daniel Armartey (CM) are all out and Jamie Vardy (ST) is questionable to face Arsenal.
  • Liverpool: Virgil Van Dijk (CB) and Alisson (GK) are out. Thiago (CM), Naby Keita (CM), and Joel Matip (CB) are all questionable to face Sheffield United.
  • Manchester City: Gabriel Jesus (ST),  Kevin De Bruyne (CM), Benjamin Mendy (LB), and Aymeric Laporte (CB) are all doubtful for Saturday versus West Ham.
  • Manchester United: Harry Maguire (CB) and Jesse Lingard (RW) are both questionable to face Chelsea.
  • Newcastle: Allan Saint-Maximin (LW) is probable to face Manchester United.
  • Sheffield United: Lys Mousset (ST) is out for the next few weeks after having a procedure to repair a ligament in his toe.
  • Tottenham: Giovani Lo Celso (CM), Eric Dier (CM), and Erik Lamela (RW) are all questionable to face Burnley.
  • West Ham: Michail Antonio (ST) and Sebastian Haller (ST) are both questionable to face Manchester City.

Bundesliga

Bundesliga Notes

  • Bayern Munich vs. Frankfurt: The defending champions will try to keep their good run of form going at the Allianz Arena, as they’ve won their last eight matches at home. Frankfurt upset Bayern 5-1 last season and are unbeaten in their last six road games in the Bundesliga.
  • Dortmund vs. Schalke: The Rivierderby will be a little more lopsided than in year’s past. Dortmund will likely won’t field a full strength starting XI after losing to Lazio in the Champions League on Tuesday. Schalke has lost their first two matches on the road by a combined score of 12-0.

Bundesliga Injury News: 

  • Bayern Munich: Leroy Sane (LW), Joshua Kimmich, and Serge Gnarby (LM) are all out against Frankfurt.
  • Leverkusen: Patrik Schick (ST) is questionable to face Augsburg with a muscle injury.
  • Dortmund: Thorgan Hazard (LW) is questionable to face Schalke with a hamstring injury.
  • Gladbach: Denis Zakaria (CDM) is questionable to face Mainz with a knee injury.
  • Frankfurt: Filip Kostic (LM) is out with a knee injury against Bayern Munich.
  • Freibrug: Janik Haberer (CM) is questionable to face Werder Bremen with an ankle injury.
  • Hertha Berlin: Jordan Torunaigha (CB) is questionable and Matteo Guendouzi (CM) is out against RB Leipzig .
  • Hoffenheim: Andrej Kramaric (ST), Paval Kaderbek (RB), and Benjamin Hubner (CB) are all questionable, while Havard Nordveit (CB) is out versus Werder Bremen.
  • Schalke 04: Suat Serder (CM) are is questionable to face Dortmund.
  • Wolfsburg: Paulo Otavio (LB) is out versus Arminia Bielefeld.

Serie A

Serie A Notes:

  • AC Milan vs. Roma: AC Milan are the early leaders in the clubhouse in Serie A after beating their rivals last weekend. They’re averaging 2.52 xG per match, which leads Serie A. Roma is the second-highest scoring team at 2.39 xG per match.

Serie A Injury News

  • Bologna: Andrea Poli (CM), Gary Medel (CM), and Lorenzo Di Silvestri (RB) are all out against Lazio.
  • Genoa: Team has been hit by a COVID-19 outbreak and has 7 players questionable to face Inter.
  • Inter: Ashley Young (LM), Alessandro Bastoni (CB), and Milan Skriniar (CB) are all questionable to face AC Milan due to COVID-19 related issues.
  • Juventus: Matthijs de Ligt (CB), Cristiano Ronaldo, (CF), Weston McKinnie (CM), and Alex Sandro (LB) are all questionable. Federico Chiesa (LM) and Adrian Rabiot are both out against Verona.
  • Parma: Four players have tested positive for COVID and are questionable to face Spezia.
  • Napoli: Lorenzo Insigne (LW) and Pitor Zielinski (CM) are both questionable to face Benevento.
  • Sampdoria: Maolo Gabbiadini (CAM) is out against Atalanta.
  • Udinese: Juan Musso (GK) is out until late December with a knee injury.

La Liga

La Liga Notes: 

  • Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: The first iteration of El Clasico will happen Saturday morning at 10 a.m. ET. This one is interesting due to the fact that both clubs were upset in their last match in La Liga and because they’re in a sandwich spot due to the Champions League schedule. Barcelona has dominated this rivalry over the past few years, as Real Madrid has only beat them once in their last eight meetings.

La Liga Injury News:

  • Athletic Bilbao: Yuri Berchiche (LB) is questionable to face Osasuna due to COVID-19 related issues.
  • Atletico Madrid: Sime Vrsaljko (RB), Jose Gimenez (CB), and Diego Costa (ST) are all out versus Real Betis.
  • Barcelona: Jordi Alba (LB) and Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) are both questionable vs. Real Madrid.
  • Celta Vigo: Hugo Mallo (RB) and Ruben Blanco (GK) are both out versus Levante.
  • Real Madrid: Eden Hazard (LW), Daniel Caravajal (RB), Martin Odegaard (CAM) are all out and Sergio Ramos (CB) and Marcelo (LB) are both questionable to face Barcelona.
  • Villarreal: Gerard Moreno (ST), Daniel Parejo (CM), and Alberto Moreno (LB) are all doubtful to face Cadiz.

Ligue 1

Ligue 1 Notes: 

  • Nice vs. Lille: Lille are the early leaders in Ligue 1. They hold a two point advantage over PSG. Nice currently sits in fourth place, but they have a -3.49 xGD through their first seven matches.
  • Lyon vs. Monaco: Two usual Champions League mainstays are not in a European competition this year, so this match will have their full attention. Lyon is second to only PSG, with 2.53 xGF per match so far this season.

Ligue 1 Injury News

  • Dijon: Yassine Benzia (ST) is out versus Nantes.
  • Marseille: Dimitri Payet (CAM) is out due to a suspension.
  • Monaco: Aleksandr Golovin (CAM) and Fode Ballo (LB) are questionable to play against Lyon.
  • Nice: Youcef Atal (RB) is out versus Saint Etienne due to a hamstring injury.
  • Nimes: Sidy Sarr (CM) is out against PSG due to a groin injury.
  • PSG: Mauro Icardi (ST), Juan Bernat (LB), and Thilo Kehrer (CB) are out. Marquinhos (CB), Marco Verratti (CM), Julian Draxler (CAM), and Danilo Pereira (CM) are questionable to play against Dijon.
  • Saint Etienne: Mathieu Debuchy (RB) is out against Metz with a muscle injury.

Eagles vs. Giants Odds & Promos: Bet $5, Win $100 if Philly Covers +50!

nfl-betting-odds-picks-philadelphia eagles-washington football team-september 13 2020

The Eagles have as good of a chance as any NFC East team to make the playoffs — maybe better. To do so, though, they have to win the easy games, which includes Thursday night against the Giants.

In case you’re not comfortable betting them as slight favorites, you can take them as dogs at William Hill. We’re talking Saint Bernard type of dogs, too.

Bet $5 on Eagles +50, Win $100 if they cover!

Check out the details:

William Hill Sportsbook

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It’s tough to tell whether Philly is actually as bad as their record suggests, which makes betting on them a scary proposition (betting pun).

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Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups: Boston Scott, Deebo Samuel, More Week 7 Targets

waiver-wire-pickups-targets-boston-scott-jerick-mckinnon-deebo-samuel-week-7-2020-1

Sean Koerner — the No. 1 in-season fantasy football ranker in three of the past five seasons, as awarded by FantasyPros — highlights eight players to target on the waiver wire heading into Week 7.

Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups

Player
Pos
Team
Tua Tagovailoa
QB
Dolphins
Boston Scott
RB
Eagles
Philip Lindsay
RB
Broncos
Jerick McKinnon
JaMycal Hasty
RB
49ers
J.K. Dobbins
Gus Edwards
RB
Ravens
Deebo Samuel
WR
49ers

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins

It’s Tua time!

Tagovailoa is worth an add in 2QB/Superflex leagues as he should be the Dolphins’ starting QB for the rest of the season, when healthy.

It made sense for Miami to plan on handing the offense over to Tua after the Week 7 bye, not only will it give him an extra week to prepare, but to allow the entire offense to shift to a left-handed quarterback. The last southpaw to start an NFL game was Kellen Moore back in 2015.

[Go To Sean Koerner’s Week 7 Fantasy Football Rankings]

Boston Scott, RB, Eagles

Miles Sanders is expected to miss one to two games with a knee injury. Considering Week 9 is the Eagles’ bye, it’s likely he doesn’t return until Week 10 when he’s closer to 100% health, so Scott should provide low-end RB2/Flex value for the next two weeks.

If you’re in a pinch at RB and desperately need a win, you should be fairly aggressive in targeting Scott on the waiver wire. Considering his lackluster Week 1 performance in place of Sanders, a 15% Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) bid may be enough to lock Scott in.

The Eagles have yet to rule out Sanders for Week 7 formally, so Scott does carry some risk.

Philip Lindsay, RB, Broncos

Lindsay went off for a 23/101/0 rushing line against the Patriots. It’s easy to get excited about the 100-yard game, but the lack of any passing work is concerning.

Melvin Gordon should return from his week-long hangover this week, and it’s not a given a potential suspension will have to be served this season (it could be delayed until 2021).

jets-vs-broncos-odds-picks-predictions-how-where-to-bet-thursday-night-football
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images. Pictured: Phillip Lindsay

I’m likely going to pass spending the amount of FAAB needed to snag Lindsay. If you do target him, think of it as a gamble on MG3 facing a suspension this season. But if that doesn’t happen, you could be overpaying for a 50/50 timeshare situation with limited upside.

Jerick McKinnon/JaMycal Hasty, RBs, 49ers

McKinnon was likely dropped in a few leagues as Raheem Mostert returned to lead back duties. However, a Week 6 high-ankle sprain has sent Mostert to the IR.

McKinnon needs to be rostered in all leagues, and I would bid 20-40% to land him. He’s undoubtedly the favorite to lead the 49ers backfield for the next several weeks.

However, my rule to “always target the cheapest 49ers RB” applies to Hasty this week. He’ll likely go for peanuts, and a 5-10% bid may be enough to land him.

We’re mostly investing in the 49ers running scheme under Kyle Shanahan by investing in Hasty. There’s a chance (maybe 15%?) that he could be the “2019 Raheem Mostert” — let’s not forget that this time last season, Mostert was available in 99% of leagues before he became the RB7 over Weeks 12-17.

I would only target Hasty if you have the bench space to afford a flier.

J.K. Dobbins/Gus Edwards, RBs, Ravens

Mark Ingram suffered an ankle injury in Week 6 that may force him to miss time. At the time of writing, it appears the injury isn’t believed to be serious. The Ravens have a bye this week, which only increases the chances Ingram will be ready for their next game. However, you may want to take a flier on either Dobbins or Edwards just in case Ingram is not.

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Edwards would be the most likely back to provide short-term RB2 value, with Dobbins offering the most long term upside.

It’s a situation that serves as a reminder that we can’t trust any of these backs as long as all three are healthy. However, if one of them is sidelined with an injury, it would vault the remaining two into fantasy relevance.

Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers

If Samuel is available in your league(s), he needs to be added immediately.

Teams hurting at WR should be aggressive with their FAAB to obtain Samuel, but I wouldn’t do more than 40-50%. The 49ers drew up a jet sweep play on which Jimmy Garoppolo would pitch Samuel the ball out of the backfield. He was able to rack up a 35-yard gain and a 6-yard touchdown on the designed “pass” play. It’s a development that only raises his floor/ceiling based on his after-the-catch ability.

We may see this play return near the goal-line, which would also boost his touchdown potential.

Giants vs. Eagles Odds & Promotions: Bet $5, Win $100 if the Giants Cover +50!

giants-vs-49ers-odds-pick-betting-week-3-2020

The Giants, winners of one straight, will look to establish their presence as an NFC East contender on Thursday against their divisional counterpart in the Eagles.

Whether they can win this pathetic battle or not, they should be able to cover this special spread at William Hill: Bet $5, Win $100 if the Giants cover +50.

Check out the details below:

William Hill Sportsbook

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The Giants are probably one of the worst teams in the NFL regardless of their glistening one-game winning streak. The Eagles haven’t been too good, either, and I can’t see a 50+ point blowout in the cards on Thursday night.

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Eagles vs. Giants Odds & Promotions: Bet $20, Win $125 if the Eagles Score a Point!

The Eagles showed a little fight in them at the end of their game vs. Baltimore. I like that.

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Giants vs. Eagles Odds & Promotions: Bet $20, Win $125 if the Giants Score a Point!

Holy cow, the Giants actually won a game! Sure, it was against Washington and by only one point, but they don’t ask how — they just ask how many. To which the answer is still one…

Nevertheless, the Giants have a big Thursday night game against the Eagles that actually matters for the NFC East standings, as comical as that may sound. Here’s a big promo from PointsBet for the “big” game, too: Bet $20, Win $125 if the Giants score a point!

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Fun fact: It is actually possible to score one point in the NFL. It’s never happened, but if a team attempts an extra point, somehow goes 85 yards backwards and is tackled in their own end zone, the defensive team would receive one point.

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‘Not a Pleasant Experience’: Vegas Books Still Rooting Against Dodgers After Getting Hit Hard in Regular Season

dodgers-world series

While sports betting is now national, how much liability sportsbook operators have still very much depends on what states they do business in.

That’s why BetMGM and William Hill have a lot riding on the Los Angeles Dodgers.

BetMGM has nine retail books in Nevada, a less than five hour drive from Los Angeles. William Hill more than 110 retail books.

“Vegas is a Dodgers and Lakers town,” William Hill bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich said, in what is frankly not the greatest year to be that.

“The pennant was worse for us,” Bogdanovich said. “But game by game all year was not a pleasant experience.”

The Dodgers have gone 52-20 through the regular season and postseason so far. Blindly betting $100 on L.A. in all 72 games would have paid $775  (per our data at Bet Labs) despite the average line being north of -200.

Backing the Dodgers on the run line also proved profitable, netting a $100 bettor $1,124 over 72 games. The only team more profitable on the run line was the White Sox.

It’s even rougher at BetMGM, where Jason Scott, the firm’s vice president of trading, says that the Dodgers are “our biggest single liability” among playoff teams, and “considerably larger than the Lakers.”

While the Lakers won the title, BetMGM had more more money on their Staples Center co-tenant, the Clippers.

“The Rockies would have been worse for us than the Dodgers, believe it or not, because we are new to Colorado and those small bets at 200-1 add up quickly,” Scott said.

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Scott said the aggregate money in Nevada, plus one bettor, who when the Dodgers were down to the Braves in the NLCS bet $100,000 at 4-1, makes Los Angeles a bad result.

Three or four parlays will also pay off big if the Dodgers, their last leg, prevail.

If the Rays win, Scott says BetMGM is a seven-figure winner.

“We didn’t take a ton of action on them,” Scott said. “The Astros would have been even better. No one wanted them early on.”

Jets vs. Chiefs Betting Odds: Kansas City a Historic Favorite Over New York in Week 8 Lookahead Lines

jets-vs-chiefs-odds-spread-favorites-betting-history-week-8

Jets vs. Chiefs Betting Odds

Jets Odds +21
Chiefs Odds -21
Time/Channel  Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. ET, CBS

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The Kansas City Chiefs won’t meet the New York Jets until Sunday, Nov. 1, but that hasn’t stopped oddsmakers from posting an eye-popping point spread for that Week 8 matchup.

Clearly the gap between these two teams is massive, with the Chiefs the current Super Bowl favorites at 4-1 while the winless Jets’ 1000-1 odds are the worst in the league.

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has posted Jets vs. Chiefs lookahead odds for this game and boy, they’re a doozy.

Kansas City is a whopping 21-point favorite (see live NFL odds here) against New York, which would be the fifth-largest point spread tracked by our Bet Labs software.

Here’s a look at the largest spreads in our database, which tracks historical NFL betting information since the start of the 2003 season:

  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos (-27) on Oct. 13, 2013
  • Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots (-24) on Nov. 25, 2017
  • Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys (-22) on Sept. 22, 2019
  • Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-22) on Dec. 23, 2017

The Cowboys were the only favorites of the four to cover the spread, beating the Dolphins 31-6 last season.

It’s important to note that the 21-point Jets vs. Chiefs spread is simply a lookahead line, meaning there’s plenty of time for that number to move/adjust while the four games cited above are true closing lines.

Rays vs. Dodgers Sharp Betting Pick: Odds Movement for World Series Game 1 (Oct. 20)

World Series Game 1 Odds

Rays Odds +155
Dodgers Odds -182
Over/Under 7.5 (+100/-120)
PRO Projection LAD -115 | O/U 7.54
Time 8:09 p.m. ET
TV FOX

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A Glasnow-Kershaw Game 1 matchup doesn’t exactly scream runs. But a lineup that can match up against lefties combined with, well, the Dodgers, doesn’t exactly scream low scores, either.

So oddsmakers opened tonight’s over/under what probably seemed to most as a fair number: 8.

Not to sharps, apparently.


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World Series Game 1 PRO Report

As clearly detailed in our PRO Report, sharps and big bettors — who are likely one and the same — have taken a liking to the under, convincing oddsmakers their opening number was too high.

[Try PRO for FREE to track the sharp indicators on tonight’s moneyline.]

Sharp Action

Four Sports Insights Bet Signals, indicators of market movement caused specifically by sharp action, have been triggered on the under since this line opened.

The most recent even came at the new line of 7.5, and sent the juice on the under up to around -120.

Sharp Action edge: Under

Big Money

Making the move even more clearly a result of sharp action, it’s come while just 40% of bettors have taken the under. But while this may not be the popular side, it is the one attracting more money.

In fact, with that 40% consisting of the bigger bettors — the ones more likely to be sharps — they’ve managed to generate 58% of actual money hitting this total.

Big Money edge: Under


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World Series Odds and Picks: Rays vs. Dodgers Game 1 (Tuesday, Oct. 20)

Rays vs. Dodgers Game 1 Odds

Rays Odds +135 [Bet Now]
Dodgers Odds -160 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 7.5 [Bet Now]
First Pitch 8:11 p.m. ET
TV FOX

Odds above as of 6 p.m. ET via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.


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Model Projection (full projections here)

  • Rays probability: 46.5% (Fair odds of +115)
  • Dodgers probability: 53.5% (-115)
  • Projected total: 7.54

The two teams directly built in the image of Andrew Friedman — the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers — will meet in the 2020 World Series.

Friedman helped to guide the Rays to their first-ever postseason appearance back in 2008, before becoming the Dodgers’ President of Baseball Operations in 2014, where he instilled similar principles and organizational building tactics, with a significantly larger budget.

The Rays, who finished 28th in team payroll ($28.3m) this season, have a chance to take down three of the four richest clubs in the Yankees ($109M, first), Dodgers ($108M, second), and Astros ($82M, fourth), all in the same postseason and en route to their first World Series title.

The Dodgers and Rays were the two best teams in their respective leagues in 2020, finishing both with the best records and best-run differential figures relative to their competition.

And they were each tested in these playoffs — the Rays captured two winner-take-all elimination games, and the Dodgers had to navigate past the Padres (No. 2 in MLB with a +84 run differential) and the Braves (tied with the Rays with a +60 run differential).

Getting the correct World Series result doesn’t necessarily mean that the playoff process was sound, however. The expanded Wild Card round was largely a dud, and the fact that these two great clubs, who had done so much to separate themselves from the rest of their leagues and divisions (pro-rated to 16 game leads over a 162 game season), were placed two games away from elimination after dominating their schedules was ludicrous. Hopefully, MLB reconsiders their stance on this expanded playoff format, and at least gives the No. 1 seed in each league a bye moving forward.

Increasing from a 10-team playoff to a 16-team format, and adding another round, decreased each favorite’s World Series chances by nearly 10% — leaving us with a 4-6% probability of actually seeing the two best teams make it together.

That being said, I’m excited to analyze these two teams and two dominant and diverse pitching staffs as we get ready for an extremely competitive Fall Classic.


Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.


Projected Starters

Tyler Glasnow (2-1, 4.66 ERA, 25 K) vs. Clayton Kershaw (2-1, 3.32 ERA, 23 K)

I previewed both Tyler Glasnow and Clayton Kershaw before prior starts in these playoffs, so allow me to recollect my thoughts on both pitchers, below:

Tyler Glasnow (Rays)

  • Break out 2019 campaign following 2018 trade to Tampa Bay (with Austin Meadows, for Chris Archer)
  • Elite fastball velocity (94th percentile) and curveball spin (92nd percentile)
  • Primarily a fastball (60.6%, 96.6 mph) and curveball pitcher, with a rare changeup (4.7%, 91.1 mph)
  • Reverse Splits since 2019: .227 wOBA vs. LHH; .282 wOBA vs. RHH
  • Increased his curveball usage from 29.2% to 34.8% this season, likely on the recommendation of Tampa Bay’s analytical scouting staff.
  • Increased both his strikeout-minus-walk rate and whiff rate by two percent, while lowering his xFIP from 2.94 to 2.75, even though his xERA increased from 2.3 to 3.13 as a result of additional hard contact allowed

Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)

  • Bounce back 2020 season (3.05 xFIP, 3.11 xERA) after a relatively tougher 2019 campaign (3.50 xFIP, 3.68 xERA)
  • 24.4% strikeout minus walk rate in 2020 was his best mark since 2017 (25.3%)
  • Regained some lost velocity (increasing back from 90.5 mph to 91.6 mph) after the 2017 drop-off (93 mph), and maintained elite spin rate on his fastball (91st percentile)
  • Remains primarily a fastball/slider pitcher, throwing the combination more than 80% of the time while mixing in a slow, looping curveball (average 74.1 mph) every fifth pitch.
  • Remains effective against both righties (career .258 wOBA) and lefties (.251).

The Bullpens

In 2020, the Rays’ bullpen ranked seventh in FIP (3.94), 3rd in xFIP (3.94), and 5th in K-BB% (17.4%). By the same metrics, the Dodgers ranked second (3.45), second (3.88), and fourth (17.2%).

Both teams are capable of attacking you in a variety of ways, with more unique arm angles than any other staff in their respective leagues:

The Rays can present 14 unique arm angles over the course of a series, while the Dodgers can throw up to 10.

Here is what the Astros saw in Game 1 of the ALCS, for example:

Perhaps having a diversity of arm angles is the new way to gain that extra 2% win probability.

Bullpen stats can be misleading — the Rays often use Ryan Yarbrough as a reliever, technically, even though he throws starter-level winnings. And as you have likely noticed, the Dodgers won’t hesitate to use Dustin May or Julio Urias in relief in order to lock down a game.

With regards to Game 1, the Dodgers will likely want to keep both Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol in reserve. Treinen tossed five innings (52 pitches) over the final three games of the NLCS, while Graterol appeared three times in the final four games (40 pitches).

The Rays bullpen will benefit from getting an extra day of rest following the ALCS, with additional days of rest during the series to recover their best arms.


Check out our new MLB PRO Report, where we highlight key factors that provide betting edges — like large wagers, historically profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks — that when combined with sharp money can powerfully detail the smartest bets on a given slate.


Fielding

Over the past five years, both the Dodgers and Rays have finished in the top five for Defensive Runs Saved in each season, with either team leading the league once (2017 Rays, 2019 Dodgers).

In 2020, the Dodgers have recorded 29 DRS (second) and the Rays have 22 (sixth), and both teams have continued to flash the leather in the postseason:

Mark Simon called this, “The World Series of Defensive Excellence,”  and it’s particularly true in the outfield.

Since the start of the 2019 season, Cody Bellinger (+28 DRS), Mookie Betts (+26), and Kevin Kiermaier (+23) are three of the four best defensive outfielders in baseball.

Kiermaier has 122 DRS in center field since 2003, the most of any player at that position. Betts has saved 104 runs since 2016, more than any player in the past five years.

But it doesn’t stop there. Hunter Renfroe (+22) ranks sixth, and Joc Pederson (+11), Chris Taylor (+8), Manuel Margot (+8), and Brett Phillips (+8) all rank in the Top 40.

Willy Adames (+14) has made big strides over the past two seasons and is now one of the smoother defensive shortstops in baseball, and Kike Hernandez (+24 DRS) is one of the most versatile playmakers in the sport — with average or better defense at every position on the diamond outside of catcher and first base.

You may have also noticed the stout defense of Joey Wendle, both at second and third base, or the excellent stretching and scooping by Ji-Man Choi at first for Tampa Bay. Even as they continually move guys to different spots, the Rays maintain a stout defensive front.

Projected Lineups

Data via FantasyLabs

Based upon his Instagram post, there are some rumors that No. 1 MLB prospect Wander Franco could make his debut in the World Series.

The Rays offense, outside of demi-god Randy Arozarena, has struggled a bit in these playoffs, and perhaps they are looking to inject some youthful life into their lineup, or bench, in order to pick up four more wins and grab a title away form a richer and slightly better club.

Long-term, Franco might be a better fit at second or third base rather than shortstop, but he has an incredible hit tool (70 grade) and has recorded more walks (83) than strikeouts (54) across his first two pro seasons while compiling a .336 average with a lighting quick bat:

Stadium, Umpire, and Weather Report

Data via Sports Insights

All the ballpark data we have for the newly-opened Globe Life Park is based on a very small number of games (40), but it’s nevertheless interesting.

The Rangers played 30 regular-season games at Globe Life Park, and the roof was closed in 22 (73%) of those contests.

Unders went 11-9-2 (55%) with the roof closed with an average margin of victory of 0.84 runs. But with a record of 2-5-1 with the roof open, it lost by an average margin of 3.37 runs.

The roof has remained open in Arlington throughout the playoffs, and unders have gone 4-6, putting the over at 11-6-1 (64.7%), when the roof stays open in Arlington.

There are also some notable trends regarding umpire Laz Diaz as well. Let’s get the small sample, yet still hilarious stat out of the way:

Now, you could easily write that one-off, given the limited number of games, but Laz Diaz really likes his favorite. More so than any other MLB umpire:

Historically, favorites have won at a 62% clip with Diaz behind the dish, by an average margin of 0.88 runs.

He has a neutral split with regards to totals, however, standing 238-237-23 (50.1%) relative to the Over.

Projected Odds & World Series Bets

I project the Rays as a 41% underdog in the World Series, but their implied chances to defeat the Dodgers in the betting market are much lower.

I’m comfortable betting Tampa Bay down to +163 (implied 38%) to win the series — a 3% edge relative to my projection. There are some more fun, though slightly less valuable ways to play Tampa Bay in this series, too.

Here is how the Rays’ series win distribution breaks down:

  • Win 4-0: 4% (implied odds of +2400)
  • Win 4-1: 10% (implied +900)
  • Win 4-2: 13% (implied +669)
  • Win 4-3: 14% (implied +614)
  • Lose 4-3: 17% (implied +488)

I played some small dart throws on Rays in 4 (+2500 or better) and Rays in 5 (+1000 or better).

I also like their series spread of +1.5 games (up to -120). As you can see above, I give the Rays a 58% chance (implied odds of -138) of either winning the series, or losing in seven games, so +1.5 games bet at -120 (implied 54.5%) reflects a 3.5% edge relative to that projection.

The Rays also show actionable value in Game 1. Here are my projected odds:

 

As a result, I don’t see value on either the F5 or full game total, but I do see value on both the F5 and full game moneyline, and I would play the Rays F5 moneyline down to +135, and the Rays moneyline to +133 — with either bet representing a minimum 3.5% edge relative to my projection.

The Picks

  • Rays F5 Moneyline (1 unit, play to +135)
  • Rays Moneyline (1u, play to +133)
  • Rays Series Price (1u, play to +165)
  • Rays +1.5 Games (1u, play to -120)
  • Rays in 5 (0.25u, play to +1000)
  • Rays in 4 (0.25u, play to +2500)

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Rays vs. Dodgers Game 1 Picks & Predictions: Our Staff’s Bets for the World Series Opener

A 2020 World Series didn’t necessarily look all that likely back in mid-July. But 60 regular season games and 16 playoff teams later, we’re down to the best team in each league — or at least the one sporting the best regular season record.

And with Game 1 now just hours away, our staff has made their thoughts clear on how to bet the Glasnow vs. Kershaw opener (8:11 p.m. ET, FOX).

Let’s take a look.


Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

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Sean Zerillo: Rays Moneyline (+155)

From Zerillo’s Game 1 Preview, on bullpens:

The Rays can present 14 unique arm angles over the course of a series, while the Dodgers can throw up to 10.

Here is what the Astros saw in Game 1 of the ALCS, for example:

Perhaps having a diversity of arm angles is the new way to gain that extra 2% win probability.

Bullpen stats can be misleading — the Rays often use Ryan Yarbrough as a reliever, technically, even though he throws starter-level winnings. And as you have likely noticed, the Dodgers won’t hesitate to use Dustin May or Julio Urias in relief in order to lock down a game.

With regards to Game 1, the Dodgers will likely want to keep both Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol in reserve. Treinen tossed five innings (52 pitches) over the final three games of the NLCS, while Graterol appeared three times in the final four games (40 pitches).

The Rays bullpen will benefit from getting an extra day of rest following the ALCS, with additional days of rest during the series to recover their best arms.

Continue reading Zerillo’s Game 1 guide, complete with starter and lineup breakdowns, as well as game and series projections.

Michael Arinze: Rays Moneyline (+155)

After making their third World Series in four years, the Los Angeles Dodgers will go with Clayton Kershaw as their Game 1 starter while the Tampa Bay Rays have opted for Tyler Glasnow. This will be just the Rays’ second World Series appearance in history, and it’s no surprise to see them enter this series as underdogs. However, there should be plenty of spots where the dog in this series will have value, and Game 1 provides a great example.

The Rays come into this game with an extra day’s rest after wrapping up their series with the Houston Astros on Saturday. Glasnow last pitched on Wednesday last week and will be on normal rest while Kershaw will be on only four days’ rest. Kershaw already had to have a start pushed back in the NLCS after having back spasms so clearly he’s a pitcher you’d want to have on full rest.

Despite his Hall of Fame credentials, the Dodgers southpaw is just 11-12 with a 4.31 ERA in the postseason and 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in the World Series. For some reason, it hasn’t worked out for him in the playoffs, particularly in pressure situations, and it’ll be all eyes on him yet again in this Game 1 start.

Kershaw will need to be wary of a Rays team that has hit more home runs (25) than any other team in the playoffs. Per Baseball Savant, his best pitches — using whiff rate and PutAway% — are his slider (35% / 22.7%) and curveball (24.7% / 20.6%). However, he’ll be facing a Rays team that has had success this season against the slider (4.3 runs above average) and the curveball (12 runs above average).

As for Glasnow, he mixes in a curveball and changeup with an elite fastball that averages around 96.9 mph. His curveball is likely his best pitch as he generates a 52.8% whiff rate and 36% PutAway% with Uncle Charlie. While Los Angeles is batting 3.1 runs above average against the pitch, it’ll also have to contend with Glasnow’s fastball which can top out anywhere from 97 to 100 mph.

The Dodgers ability to create runs as evidenced by their league-leading 122 wRC+ rating makes them a slight favorite for me in this matchup. My model actually projects their odds at -130 with the Rays at +117. The fact that I can grab the Rays at +155 in the marketplace makes me inclined to grab the value and back the dog in this matchup.

I’m comfortable playing this down to +130.

[Bet the Rays at PointsBet tonight and win $125 if they get a hit.]

Mike Vitanza: First Five Innings Over 3.5 (-124)

Both Clayton Kershaw and Tyler Glasnow have struggled over the course of their last few postseason starts.

Despite a stellar regular season, Kershaw has pitched to a 5.93 ERA and allowed seven earned runs — including three homes runs — over his past two games. On the other side, Glasnow has also not quite been what the Rays hoped for in October. Over 19.1 innings, he’s compiled a 5.88 FIP and allowed 2.8 HR/9. In fact, he’s allowed two home runs in three of four postseason starts this year.

When diving deeper into each pitcher’s career postseason history, the numbers bear a similar story. Kershaw’s struggles have been well documented — over 35 postseason appearances, he has a 4.31 ERA and has allowed 1.4 HR/9, both of which are substantially higher than the 2.43 ERA and 0.7 HR/9 he’s compiled during his career.

Glasnow has had a similar result. While he’s had considerably fewer postseason opportunities than Kershaw, he’s pitched to a 5.40 FIP and allowed 2.4 HR/9 over 26.1 total innings.

While this World Series game is between two ace-caliber pitchers, the postseason history for each has yielded a very different outcome.

Both of these offenses have proven capable of taking advantage of pitchers that were not on the top of their game throughout this postseason, which is something that I don’t expect to change for Game 1.

I’m taking Over 3.5 runs in the first five innings and am comfortable betting this up to -130.

BJ Cunningham: Dodgers Team Total Over 4.5 (+117)

Tyler Glasnow posted the third-best xFIP (2.46) among all qualified pitchers during the regular season. His effectiveness is dependent on his fastball, which averages nearly 97 mph and can top out over 100 mph, but it’s not just about power with Glasnow. He also has elite control of his heater, which he throws over 60% of the time.

Glasnow’s fastball is backed up by an elite curveball, which allowed a meager .120 batting average and produced a 52.8% whiff rate.

Even though Glasnow has great stuff, he hasn’t been elite by any means in the postseason. He’s posted a 4.66 ERA, 3.74 xFIP, and has allowed six homers in eight starts. The Dodgers are going to be the best lineup he’s faced all season, so he’d better improve his control or his World Series debut could be a short one.

The Dodgers owned right-handers in 2020, reporting a .355 wOBA and an MLB-best 126 wRC+ against righties. Mookie Betts, Will Smith and Corey Seager are three of the best players in the MLB when it comes to facing right-handers, as they all posted a wOBA better than .415 during the regular season.

And what happens to be the one pitch the Dodgers annihilate? Fastballs. LA was second best to only the Braves this season against fastballs, accumulating 53.9 weighted fastball runs.

Not to play into the storyline of Kershaw in the playoffs, but I really like the Dodgers matchup offensively in Game 1. So instead of taking the moneyline or run line, I’ll take the Dodgers team total Over 4.5 at +117 (I have them projected for 4.68 runs in Game 1).

That way if Kershaw implodes, my bet is still alive.

[Bet the Dodgers at PointsBet tonight and win $125 if they get a hit.]

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Louisiana Sports Betting Ballot Measure 2020 Voter Guide

louisiana-sports betting-ballot-election guide

Louisiana voters will be able to approve legal sports betting within their home parish this fall.

Louisiana will be the first to ask voters to approve sports betting at the local level instead of statewide. Most parishes, especially those with one or more of the state’s nearly two dozen casinos, will likely approve wagering, but lawmakers will still need to solve critical issues such as operator access and mobile wagering in 2021.

Here’s all that Louisiana voters should know about legal sports betting on the 2020 ballot.

[Sports Betting Legalization Map]

What is the Louisiana Sports Betting Parish Measure?

Louisiana voters in all 64 parishes will see the following on their 2020 ballots:

Shall sports wagering activities and operations be permitted in the parish of (individual parish name)?

The Louisiana constitution restricts certain forms of gambling, but allows parish-level voter referendums on specific gaming expansions if approved by a majority of both houses of the legislature and the governor. Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled legislature overwhelmingly supported the sports betting referendum and Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards approved it for the 2020 ballot.

The legislation behind the referendum did little to explain sports betting beyond placing it on the ballot and granting oversight to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, which already regulates the state’s casinos. A “yes” vote means sports betting could be “permitted” within that parish; a “no” vote means there can be no legal “sports wagering activities” within parish lines.

When Would Sports Betting Begin?

In a best-case scenario, the first legal bet will be placed sometime in the second half of 2021. A more likely scenario is 2022.

Louisiana lawmakers must pass follow-up legislation that answers how sports betting will be conducted in parishes that vote “yes.” The 2021 session isn’t set to begin until April, the latest of any state legislature meeting next year. However, that late start is a small factor in what could be a difficult legislative process.

Despite its more than 20 casinos and thousands of video poker machines, regulated gambling is still controversial in much of Louisiana, where conservative and religious groups opposed to all gaming forms still have considerable influence in the legislature. After a 2019 sports betting bill died short of legalization, lawmakers in 2020 were more amenable to allowing voters to decide if they wanted legal sports wagering, then deal with the follow up in 2021.

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Many of the issues that tanked the 2019 legislation will remain in 2021.

In addition to a contingent of lawmakers opposed to any type of legal gaming, there are stark divides over which entities can offer these games. The casinos and horse tracks have found themselves opposed to the video poker terminal operators, which oversee thousands of such games spread across bars and truck stops throughout the state.

Voters in 47 of the state’s 64 parishes approved daily fantasy games via a similar process as this year’s sports betting ballot measure, but lawmakers failed to pass the needed regulatory legislation until late in 2020.  Video poker supporters pushed to amend the DFS legislation so the machines could offer daily fantasy games, which helped tank both the DFS tax bill and sports betting legalization efforts.

The casinos and horse tracks are among the most high-profile support of legal sports betting, but would undoubtedly oppose any effort to expand wagering to the terminals. It remains to be seen if video-poker supports will push for single-game sports betting, but it could delay or derail legislative efforts next year.

Another possible sticking point is online access.

Mobile wagering makes up the vast majority of total handle in mature markets such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Leading online sportsbook operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel, which supported the 2018 DFS measure and have each contributed $250,000 to the 2020 sports betting question, would undoubtedly push for full mobile wagering in each parish that approves the ballot question.

However, this could dissuade the legislature’s gambling skeptics, who could tolerate retail sportsbooks at licensed casinos in approved parishes, but couldn’t stomach online sports betting.

Even if these concerns don’t play out and sports betting sees a smoother legislative process in 2021 than in other sessions, the slow nature of any legislation, and the likely six or more months it would take for regulators to approve any new sports betting operators, means late 2021 would probably be the earliest launch for the first legal Louisiana sportsbook.

Will the Louisiana Sports Betting Question Pass?

It’s safe to say that some form of sports betting will be legal in Louisiana.

Roughly two-thirds of parishes supported daily fantasy legalization in 2018, including the 10-most populated, and all seem a safe bet voters there will support legal wagering in 2020. Furthermore, it seems improbable that residents in parishes with casinos, including Orleans (New Orleans), Bossier (Bossier City), Calcasieu (Lake Charles), Caddo (Shreveport) and East Baton Rouge (Baton Rouge), would oppose legalized sports betting.

Leading up to the election, supporters have also broadcast pro sports betting ads during football games and online. Along with the $500,000 in combined contributions from DraftKings and FanDuel, sports betting operators Boyd Gaming, Penn National and Caesars have given an additional $625,000 in total donations to Louisiana Wins, a sports-betting support political-action committee. Opposition groups have reported $0.

The parish-by-parish vote all but guarantees sports betting will be legal somewhere in Louisiana after the Nov. 3 ballot results are announced. The bigger issue is how (or even if) online sports betting will be legal in parishes that vote “yes,” and when those residents will be able to place a legal bet.

Eagles vs. Giants Odds & Promo: Bet $1, Win $50 on Philly No Matter What Happens!

bengals-vs-eagles-odds-pick-betting-week 3-2020

The Eagles haven’t exactly been flying high this season, as their record now reads 1-4-1. Actually not half bad for the NFC East, but Philly hasn’t been an easy team to bet, that’s for sure.

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Moore: The Sixers’ Move Away From Analytics Won’t Solve Their Bigger Problems

76ers-ben-simmons-joel-embiid-doc-rivers-analytics-column

There’s a weird kind of twisted irony in the Sixers firing Brett Brown and hiring Doc Rivers as coach.

The Clippers basically opted to pin the team’s foibles on not only the supporting players like Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams, but also on the star players they were so proud of acquiring in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.

When you don’t know what else you can do, you fire the coach.

Now the Sixers have taken the same approach, hiring Rivers in large part to fix the same kinds of problems the Clippers had that led to Rivers’ dismissal, and much like with the Clippers, the problems are only going to be solved by their best players.

The new front office that’s taken shape under Elton Brand is going to be a far cry from the Trust The Process days under Sam Hinkie. Take this quote from Brand when discussing the future of the team after its first-round exit and the planned overhaul of both the coaching staff and front office:

“As I’ve been taking a deep dive in where we failed, what went wrong, and how we can get better, I felt like we need to strengthen our organization from top to bottom, and that starts with the front office,” Brand said. “Balancing our strengths and analytics and basketball strategy with more basketball minds, and whatever happens. My goal, with whatever happens going forward, is making sure we are in position to truly contend.”

That’s pretty clearly code for moving away from an analytically minded approach to more of an old school one. And here’s where Rivers fits in. One of the points of contention with Rivers and the Clippers upon their season review was the use of Harrell in the Clippers’ loss to the Nuggets. Every piece of empirical evidence said that Harrell was unplayable in the series, but Rivers stuck with Harrell and defended that choice.

It’s a matter of instincts.

Brand is signaling a turn towards instincts.

Enter the Dynamic Duo.

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are undoubtedly two of the 20 most talented players in the NBA, but most would not include both in the list of the top 20 best players in the league.

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The Sixers outscored their opponents by more last season with Embiid on the floor without Simmons than with both on the court, and the Sixers outscored their opponents by more last season with Simmons on the floor without Embiid than with both on the court.

There are absolutely reasonable assertions to be made about who is on the floor with those two and what players they’re facing when they play together. The data, however, does signal that they don’t thrive together enough to think that it’s working.

Much of this is obvious. Simmons is not a shooter, not now, maybe never. Embiid is a big man, who too often opts for letting the defense off the hook with mid-range jumpshots. Simmons is a demon in transition, Embiid is an unstoppable force when he actually gets his ass into the post as maybe the one player in the entire NBA whose ass belongs in the post full-time.

The defense of that combination is that the Sixers surrounded the two with limited shooters despite having Al Horford (who shot above 35% from 3 each of the past three seasons), Josh Richardson (who shot above 35% in three of his five seasons), Tobias Harris (who shot 37% from 3 last season), Furkan Korkmaz (40% from 3), Raul Neto (39% from 3) and Shake Milton (43% from 3).

Milton was installed in the starting unit in the restart to try and provide another shot-creator in the backcourt. The fact that with two players considered to be at the top level you are in need of a third creator should signal there’s a greater problem.

This isn’t to say the roster was perfectly built around those two, but when Horford has been a productive and impactful player every spot he’s ever been in his career and then is suddenly an anchor, it’s weird.

When Josh Richardson and Tobias Harris go from productive, efficient players (albeit a bit overpaid) to disappointing with more limited roles, it’s odd.

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Sixers fans remain fixated on the failures of ownership since letting Adam Silver influence them on the decision to first insert Jerry Colangelo into the front office structure and later push Hinkie out, issues they were very much proven right on. However, for all the concerns about ownership, or the front office, or too much analytics, there remains at the heart of the Sixers’ myriad disappointments the reality that their stars have not been optimized.

Simmons seems close. He became an all-world defender this season and is so talented and so athletic, he has stretches of games he outright dominates.

Embiid is… Embiid. He’s dominant in some games vs. overmatched players, often times vs. conceptually good bigs like Andre Drummond. He plays well enough to be talked about as a fringe MVP candidate if he went on a run, which he never seems to. For years the discussion has been about his health holding him back, but at some point we need to look at his game.

His points, assists, rebounds and shooting percentages all dipped this season. He took the 10th-most mid-range field goals per game. That alone isn’t bad; analytic-forward people don’t actually hate the mid-range the way media discussions about them make you think they do.

However, Embiid shot just 40% on those 4.7 shots per game. If you’re Khris Middleton (53%), Devin Booker (46%) or even DeMar DeRozan (46%), those shots are perfectly fine, in your wheelhouse and among the most efficient shots you can take.

For Embiid, it’s not just that he doesn’t shoot them well, it’s that he clearly could be taking better shots. He’s the most efficient, most dominant post-up big man in the league. It’s not that that is all he should take, but the Sixers would undoubtedly be better off if he weren’t top 10 in attempts on another shot with that kind of low efficiency.

The answers to all of these problems are difficult.

“Well, maybe if we add a guard who can create his own shot and score efficiently…”

Moving beyond the fact that Markelle Fultz was supposed to be the answer to that particular riddle, adding a player like that fundamentally means you’re saying Embiid and Simmons together aren’t enough.

The Sixers will probably add some sort of guard who can contribute if they can find suitors for their bloated contracts.

But ultimately, they still have to figure out how to make Simmons and Embiid work.

There’s been a great deal of speculation about Embiiid and Simmons’ relationship. J.J. Redick has said it’s great, with the struggle being they are both introverts. There was speculation from Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard that the two have a jealousy issue between them, which Embiid shot down. Locally, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer said the two “didn’t always get along,” which a Sixers executive refuted.

Ultimately, I don’t think it matters much. Relationships between players are fluid. Bradley Beal and John Wall didn’t get along great for a while, and then a stronger relationship formed over time. Likewise, relationships that seem like they start out great are often poisoned later.

The bigger problem is that you can’t say the relationship is great, on or off the court. You can’t make the argument they shared a bond. Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson are pretty clearly close, that comes through all the time. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray have consistently had one another’s backs, despite being very different.

You cannot say the same for Embiid and Simmons. They can work together, but it’s not a natural fit in the locker room or on the court.

If you surrounded Embiid with four shooters, that would be a better fit, but I’m also not sure it naturally works. Embiid still struggles with double teams four years into his NBA career. That it remains a way to at least limit him is a significant knock against him. Whereas Simmons has found more and more ways to counter his limitations and has figured the game out, Embiid is largely the same player he was two seasons ago.

Embiid would benefit from better spacing if the Sixers traded Simmons, but it wouldn’t matter if you could still double him effectively.

Simmons, on the other hand, looks very much like he could be a dominant force if the Sixers moved Embiid and put four shooters around him. There’s no reason you couldn’t build a “Milwaukee Light” with Simmons surrounded by shooters the way the Bucks have with Giannis Antetokounmpo. You can rightfully counter with the Bucks’ issues with the postseason, but that’s a problem to be solved in the postseason. You need to get to “our team is good enough to win a title” first, and the Sixers have not been.

You can also pursue the path Brown did during the restart, moving Milton (or preferably, a superior guard) into the starting lineup, and moving Simmons to power forward. That move only works if you don’t have Embiid clogging the paint. If you move Simmons into more of a role like Draymond Green’s in Golden State, you need floor spacers and a lob threat, which Embiid is not.

Moving on from either player is terrifying, however.

If Embiid gets himself in shape and takes a leap forward, he’ll be an MVP candidate. (I say this as someone who absolutely put in a preseason MVP bet on him and subsequently set that ticket on fire by January.) Simmons is a Defensive Player of the Year caliber player already, and impacts the game in ways that don’t make the box score.

So, the Sixers will continue to do what they’ve done and make moves around the margins. The hope is Rivers will coach the team into a disciplined approach that Brown could not, and that he’ll get the most out of a combo that may simply not make sense.

One of the key problems is, again, ironically, that the Sixers may need to pay more attention to the data, not less.

The eye test tells you that Harris is a good complementary scorer who can spread the floor around the two stars. The eye test tells you that Al Horford is a consummate, consistent veteran who can add to the Sixers with his big-to-big passing (which is how the Sixers used him consistently to terrible results… and somehow Horford got all the blame for that).

The eye test tells you that the Sixers have a championship-caliber team, and maybe the right coach who can get the most out of them will unlock it.

The data, however, usually tells you more meaningful things about the subtle, under-the-hood mechanisms than it does about big, broad strokes assertions about players.

The Sixers are betting that old school hoopheads can save the day. And, again, ironically, it’s going to be the data that tells whether that approach was right or not.

2020 College Football Rankings: AP Top 25 Poll vs. Our Betting Power Ratings For Week 8

ncaa-college football-betting-ap top 25-the action network projections-week 8-2020

As college football fans, our hearts are getting fuller with each passing week.

The Big Ten will join the college football world this weekend, becoming the fourth Power Five conference to take the field for the 2020 season.

In addition to the Big Ten, the Mountain West will also make its return. Then, we wait. The Pac-12 and MAC are expected back in early November, making things seemingly whole for the first time in 2020.

More conferences taking the field means more big games to bet on. Collin Wilson has us covered on that front.

While the Big Ten and Mountain West haven’t kicked off their seasons yet, Collin has added them — and Pac-12 and MAC teams — to his updated power ratings.

That allows us to find betting value on these teams based on where they’re ranked in the AP Poll — which focuses on past games in previous weeks (or previous seasons) — compared to their standing in his power ratings, which focus on the future.

The Action Network’s College Football Betting Power Ratings

Each week, we compare the AP Top 25 Poll to The Action Network’s College Football Power Ratings to see how the betting market differs from conventional ranking systems.

Our power ratings are fueled by Collin’s projections, which aim to judge the true quality of a team based on advanced metrics, coaching changes, year-over-year roster continuity, and a host of other underlying components.

You can use his ratings to create a point spread between any two teams in the country on a neutral field — just subtract the higher team’s rating from the lower-ranked one.

Collin also publishes projected point spreads for each week’s slate of games every Sunday. You can use those projections to target early betting value even before sportsbooks release official lines for the week’s action.

College Football Rankings: AP Poll Top 25 vs. Our Power Ratings

After Week 7

Notable Team Differences Between the AP Poll and Our Power Ratings

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (-46)

  • AP Poll: 25
  • Power Rating: 71

I love betting on the Chanticleers, so it pains me to write this.

I love CJ Marable running the ball. I love Grayson McCall’s 11:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. I love the concept of the Chanticleer mascot (I mean, the Coastal Carolina website says, “The Chanticleer is a proud and fierce rooster who dominates the barnyard.” What’s not to love?)

But I don’t love Coastal’s No. 71 ranking in Collin’s power ratings.

The fact of the matter is the Chanticleers are a very good Group of Five team. But wins over Kansas and Louisiana shouldn’t make the Chants one of the top teams in the country.

Right now, the projected line for a Clemson-Coastal matchup would make the Tigers 35-point favorites. After watching Trevor Lawrence and Company hang 73 points on Georgia Tech — which sits at No. 53 in the power ratings — who am I to say that spread shouldn’t be even wider?

Luckily for the Chants, they don’t have Clemson on their docket. But I’m going to be very cautious when looking at Coastal Carolina lines moving forward.

Wisconsin Badgers (+9)

  • AP Poll: 14
  • Power Rating: 5

This is a different Wisconsin team.

Gone are the days of Jonathan Taylor, who is now tearing it up for the Indianapolis Colts. Instead, it’ll be Nakia Watson and Garrett Groshek toting the rock in the Badgers’ opening game.

Quarterback Jack Coan suffered a foot injury earlier this month that will put him on the sidelines indefinitely. That injury will hand the keys to Graham Mertz, a redshirt freshman who is the Badgers’ highest-rated quarterback prospect since recruiting’s internet rankings era began, per 247Sports.

But then again, it’s the same Wisconsin team. Wisconsin is Wisconsin. The Badgers will be fine.

The team still boasts solid weapons in the passing game, including tight end Jake Ferguson, the team’s second-leading receiver last season. It also features playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, especially in the back seven.

It almost doesn’t matter what kind of turnover Wisconsin faces from the previous season. It’s still going to be physical. It’s still going to run the ball. It’s still going to epitomize Big Ten football.

The Badgers don’t even need a full three touchdowns to cover against a weak Illinois squad. For a top-five team in the power ratings? I’ll be looking to take advantage if Wisconsin keeps finding itself undervalued early in the season.

Oklahoma State Cowboys (-11)

  • AP Poll: 6
  • Power Rating: 17

Remember when Oklahoma State almost lost to Tulsa at home in its first game of the season as a Big 12 favorite? That was only three games ago.

Luckily for the Cowboys, they have kept their hopes for a conference title alive by toppling the worst team in the conference and a weird West Virginia team.

Now, they’re set to play their biggest game of the season. Iowa State will head to Stillwater in just a few days for a game that will most likely have postseason implications in one way or another.

Despite its offense popping with stars like running back Chuba Hubbard and wide receiver Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State only has the third-lowest scoring output in the conference, just ahead of Kansas and TCU.

Mike Gundy could also utilize a two-quarterback system against the Cyclones, but is this the week to experiment on offense?

After all, Iowa State held a potent Texas Tech offense that can move the ball at will to only 15 points in its last game.

I have no doubt the Pokes will find their offense at some point. There were flashes against a talented West Virginia defense. But it will almost certainly open up even more at some point. It’s too talented not to.

But I’m not sure this is the week, as Iowa State has consistently churned out one of the conference’s top defenses in recent years (maybe that’s not saying much though).

If the Cowboys find a way to get it done on Saturday, there’s a good chance I won’t hesitate backing them moving forward. But I’m definitely wary of doing so against another solid team at this point in the season.

World Series Odds & Promo: Bet $20, Win $88 if There Are 8+ Pitches in the First Inning

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Franchise or Not? Ranking Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, More Young QBs

franchise qbs

It’s not easy to find a franchise quarterback, but it’s pretty easy to know when you don’t have one.

What exactly is a franchise quarterback?

“Franchise” as defined by the franchise tag is too exclusive, limiting it to the five-highest paid players at the position. Though it certainly helps, you don’t need a top-five quarterback to win a Super Bowl: The Eagles won with Nick Foles, the Ravens with Joe Flacco and the Broncos with The Ghost of Peyton Manning — not to be confused with Peyton Manning, the soon-to-be Hall of Famer.

Rather, a franchise quarterback is one who is average or better — a quarterback you would rather pay big money than explore the alternatives, or one who a team will pay even if you don’t (looking at you, Kirk Cousins).

What many don’t realize is that quarterbacks tell us who they are a lot quicker than we think.

That’s because the most important quarterback metric — Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt (ANYA), which is indicative of true quality of play since it accounts for sack yards lost, touchdowns and interceptions — stabilizes around 407 dropbacks. That means that after 400 dropbacks, you would attribute more than half of a quarterback’s performance to skill rather than luck or random variance.

>> Skip to read a more detailed explanation of ANYA and its significance

In statistical terms, to project a quarterback’s future ANYA at 407 dropbacks, you would use 50% of his actual performance in 50% league average. Said another way, you would add 407 dropbacks of league-average performance.

Other metrics, such as completion rate (about 250 attempts) and sack rate (about 200 dropbacks) stabilize even sooner, while traditional yards per attempt stabilizes not long after ANYA (about 430 attempts). Touchdown rate (about 800 attempts) and interception rate ( about 1,000 attempts) take longer, but are accounted for in ANYA, which is why it’s such a useful stat.

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The league-average ANYA over the past three seasons is right around 6.3, though it’s fluctuated from 6.3 in 2018 to 6.2 in 2019 to 6.5 through Sunday of Week 6 this season.

So, with that in mind, which young quarterbacks can we apply this earlier-than-expected sample size to in order to identify whether they are (or are not) franchise quarterbacks?

There’s little argument that Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray are franchise QBs, so instead, I’ve ranked seven quarterbacks belonging to the past three draft classes whose standing as a franchise quarterback is still up for debate — even if it shouldn’t be.

They’re ordered from worst to first below, along with their career ANYA, number of dropbacks and projected “true” ANYA (assuming a league average of 6.3).

Ranking QBs By Franchise Potential


Check out our free NFL odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.


7. Dwayne Haskins, Washington

Draft Class
2019
Dropbacks
391
ANYA
4.52
‘True’ ANYA
5.43

Haskins has dropped back 391 times in his career, and Washington would have been just as well of handing the ball off 391 times instead.

Since Haskins came into the league, 31 quarterbacks have at least as many dropbacks as Haskins, and none have produced fewer ANYA than Haskins’ 4.52.

Could Haskins improve? Sure. Would having more than one NFL-caliber receiver help? Sure. But when your skills clock in as worst in the NFL, even the chances of becoming just average are slim — especially when you’re not adding much on the ground: Haskins has averaged 9.8 rushing yards per game in 11 career starts.

It’s fitting that Haskins’ career highlights are also his career lowlights.

In his first win as a pro, a 19-16 victory over the Lions in Week 12 of 2019, Haskins infamously missed lining up in victory formation — unless taking a selfie with a fan in the stands is the new victory formation.

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Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Dwayne Haskins.

And in Haskins’ most recent game as a pro — his Week 4 start against the Ravens — he threw for a career-high 314 yards, rushed for a touchdown and played turnover-free football. He felt so good about his performance, he decided to gloat to his teammates in the locker room after the game. The only problem? Washington lost, 31-17.

Haskins was promptly given a seat by head coach Ron Rivera in favor of the second-worst QB in ANYA since Haskins came into the league: Kyle Allen.

With all due respect to Rivera, this is a ludicrous development.

It completely goes against maximizing the value of your first-round pick. Why have him sit on the bench when he’s most valuable on the field, helping you lose games and tank for Trevor Lawrence? Allen came a 2-point conversion away from actually winning a football game, for goodness sakes.

6. Sam Darnold, Jets

Draft Class
2018
Dropbacks
1,068
ANYA
5.16
‘True’ ANYA
5.47

At least Haskins had something to gloat about.

As bad as Haskins has been this season, Darnold has been even worse, throwing more interceptions (four) than TDs (three) while completing fewer than 60% of his passes. His ANYA sits at 3.88, which doubles as an accurate estimate of how many games the Jets should expect to win per season if they stick with Darnold at QB.

There are many things to blame Adam Gase for, but ruining Darnold isn’t one of them — Darnold’s ANYA under Gase (5.11) is not much different than his career rate (5.16).

Even Ryan Tannehill, one of the lone exceptions to the rule when it comes to early-career performance foreshadowing what’s to come, put up his best season as a Dolphin under Gase in his first year coaching the team in 2016. Tannehill averaged 6.27 ANYA and leading the team to an 8-5 record that season.

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Here’s why Darnold probably won’t turn it around like Tannehill: Though Tannehill isn’t as talented as some franchise passers, he is lethal off play action, posting a 138.2 passer rating on play action passes since joining the Titans. Most passers see an increase in efficiency on play action passes, but Darnold has posted a 78.2 rating on 115 play action attempts since the start of last season, which is virtually the same as his career rating in all situations (79.2).

5. Daniel Jones, Giants

Draft Class
2019
Dropbacks
722
ANYA
5.02
‘True’ ANYA
5.49

Jones’ rookie year promise is quickly fading. Though he produced just a 3-9 record in 2019, he looked reasonably competent at times, throwing 24 TDs to just 12 interceptions. His ANYA was 5.50 — below-average, but certainly not doomed. (For comparison, Carson Wentz’s ANYA since 2019 is 5.55, and Kyler Murray’s is 5.69.)

Ball security continues to be an issue for Jones, who has lost three fumbles this season and 14 over his short career. Most worrisome, however, is that Jones has taken a step backward as a passer: This season, his ANYA is just 4.20, torpedoing his career mark to 5.02, ranking ahead of only Allen and Haskins among QBs with at least 349 attempts since 2019.

What has caused the regression?

It may be partly due to a brutal opening slate, as five of the Giants’ first six opponents entered Week 6 ranked 11th or higher in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA: Steelers (7th), Bears (5th), 49ers (11th), Rams (8th), Washington (4th).

Jones has also clearly struggled in Jason Garrett’s new system, which our own Matthew Freedman has been predicting all offseason. Dan Duggen of The Athletic has outlined a great explanation of why Garrett’s system is challenging for Jones:

One topic that has come up when talking with coaches not affiliated with the Giants is that Garrett’s scheme is challenging for quarterbacks. One reason is that receivers run a lot of isolation routes. That means the quarterback has to read the coverage and then read which receiver is winning his route. That challenge is compounded by the Giants’ lack of talent at wide receiver, so Jones is rarely throwing into big windows.

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Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Daniel Jones

Jones is a good example of why it’s important to know when different QB rate stats stabilize.

During his rookie year, he posted below-average marks in completion rate (61.9%), yards per attempt (6.6) and sack rate (7.6%), but was above-average in terms of TD rate (5.2%). But, as mentioned, TD rate takes more than twice as long to stabilize as any of those other metrics, and Jones’ sophomore regression has come with a TD rate of just 1.5% this season, knocking his career mark down to 4.1%, which is below the league average since 2018 of 4.7%.

Jones adds more as a rusher than players like Haskins and Darnold, and given the tough slate to start the season, the Giants shouldn’t be ready to throw in the towel quite yet. But if there isn’t marked improvement in his final 10 games, Jones vs. Haskins may very well be more of a wash than any Giants fan would like to admit, and the team may regret beating Washington in Week 6’s tank-off.

4. Baker Mayfield, Browns

Draft Class
2018
Dropbacks
1,266
ANYA
5.90
‘True’ ANYA
6.00

We’re more than 1,200 dropbacks into Mayfield’s career, and his ANYA of 5.90, so this is likely who he is: A slightly below-average passer.

This is the first year under new head coach and former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, so there’s hope at the end of the new system tunnel for Mayfield, but his ANYA through six games of it is 5.33, which is nearly the same as it was in Year 2 of the old system under Freddie Kitchens (5.29).


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Mayfield hasn’t been able to rekindle the success of his rookie year, despite playing every start since with Odell Beckham Jr. added to the mix. Mayfield is shaping up like Stefanski’s former QB in his previous stop in Minnesota, Kirk Cousins, who plays well from a clean pocket but struggles under pressure.

3. Josh Allen, Bills

Draft Class
2018
Dropbacks
1,047
ANYA
5.77
‘True’ ANYA
5.92

Allen’s career ANYA is 5.77 — slightly below Mayfield’s 5.90 mark — but Allen’s rushing prowess and his progression have him well on the way to being considered a franchise QB … if he’s not already one.

The 6-foot-5, 237-pounder has functioned as another running back for the Bills, averaging 7.0 carries for 38.0 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and 0.63 rushing TDs in 32 career starts.

As a passer, he’s seen his ANYA improve each season in offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s system:

  • 2018: 4.37
  • 2019: 5.71
  • 2020: 8.36

If Allen were to continue his 2020 rate for the rest of the season, it would bring his career mark to 6.53.

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Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Allen

Allen is more “franchise QB” than “franchise passer,” as his performance has been impacted more greatly than you’d like to see by the quality of receivers around him. Great QBs make those around him better, but Allen couldn’t function with Zay Jones (39-of-83, 47.0%, 5.9 YPA), and has seen his improvement come after adding John Brown and Cole Beasley in 2019 and Stefon Diggs this season.

Still, if an above-average supporting cast and not throwing to the worst receiver in football is what it takes for Allen to post strong passing numbers, the Bills will take it (and they should).

2. Drew Lock, Broncos

Draft Class
2019
Dropbacks
226
ANYA
5.85
‘True’ ANYA
6.14

Lock has only 226 career dropbacks to his name, so we’re not exactly at the point where we can be too sure about him, but his career ANYA of 5.85 is better than the likes of Haskins, Jones and even Murray (5.69).

Lock is great at avoiding sacks, taking only eight through eight career starts, which is good for an excellent 3.5% sack rate. His interception rate is around league average (2.3%), and if he can continue to avoid negative plays, his future looks bright as he should improve on his below-average yard-per-attempt (6.6) and TD rate (3.7%) figures once Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, KJ Hamler and Jerry Jeudy are all healthy and on the field at the same time.

1. Gardner Minshew, Jaguars

Draft Class
2019
Dropbacks
760
ANYA
6.33
‘True’ ANYA
6.32

Minshew has been solid as a pro, averaging 6.33 ANYA for a nondescript Jaguars ball club, also adding 23.9 rushing yards per game as a starter. In fact, Minshew has been a better passer in terms of ANYA than any quarterback drafted since 2018 besides Lamar Jackson (7.29 ANYA). But that will go largely unnoticed until the Jags are able to back him up with a NFL-level defense and not the one that has allowed 30.2 points per game this season.

Despite being drafted in the sixth round (178th overall) in 2019, don’t be surprised if Minshew outlasts some of the higher profile names of the 2019 draft class, such as Haskins, Jones and perhaps even Lock.

Gardner Minshew
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Gardner Minshew

Defining Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt

We’ve focused on Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt (ANYA) instead of raw Yards Per Attempt (YPA) because YPA only accounts for raw passing yards gained without accounting for negative plays such as sack yardage lost and interceptions thrown. YPA also does not account for the fact that passing yardage accompanied by a touchdown thrown is obviously worth more than yardage gained without a touchdown.

“Net” yards simply means deducting sack yardage from raw passing yards, adding 20 yards per passing touchdown and subtracting 45 yards per interception — it’s simply as a method of converting these high-impact plays into their yardage equivalent based on expected points added or lost.

Here’s the equation:

ANYA = [Passing Yards – Sack Yards + (Passing TDs20) – (Interceptions45)] ÷ [Passing Attempts + Sacks]

For an illustrative example, consider Jameis Winston in 2019.

Winston was tied for fifth in YPA (8.2), but he also led the league in interceptions (30) and lost the eighth-most yardage on sacks (282), so his 18th-place ranking in ANYA (6.15) is much more indicative of his true quality of play as a passer.

For more on how the yardage conversions were arrived at for TDs and INTs, check out Chase Stuart’s work on the subject.

World Series Odds & Promo: Bet $5, Win $100 if the Team You Bet Gets a Hit!

It’s World Series time, which means it’s time to start making some baseball bets if you haven’t been already.

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Moore: Quick Fixes Won’t Be Enough for Clippers Without More From Kawhi Leonard

Fifteen months ago, Steve Ballmer was fired up.

It even says so in this YouTube title.

Fired. Up.

Ballmer had every reason to be, too. For all the jokes the Los Angeles Clippers have endured over the past two months (and rest assured, there are many more in the pipeline), Ballmer did what he intended to. You aren’t going to scratch and claw your way out of the Lakers’ shadow in LA. You need to bust out with dynamite.

Ballmer’s front office did exactly that. They were patient and consistent in recruiting Kawhi Leonard for a long time, and it had paid off in their landing not only Leonard but Paul George.

Right now, George is “Playoff P,” the perennial postseason letdown whose own teammates reportedly rolled their eyes at him after the Clippers’ postseason exit. But then, he was a two-way phenom coming off a top-three MVP finish as a player who had been in big playoff games since his young days in Indiana.

The crazy thing to look at in retrospect amid the carnage of the Clippers postseason and offseason moves which culminated in the firing of head coach Doc Rivers and hiring of assistant Ty Lue is how much the Clippers got right.

The constant criticism of the Milwaukee Bucks stems from what they didn’t do. They may have hired Mike Budenholzer as their coach and built a deep, versatile roster, but they didn’t keep Malcolm Brogdon. They didn’t go far enough.

The Clippers, however, went far enough. When they traded Chris Paul, they rebuilt their team with spare parts but good, fun players like Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari. That got them into the playoffs and gave them the pieces to acquire George from the Thunder. They were willing to give Williams a big extension. They made moves at the deadline to add Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson.

“You can’t look at the job they did and think the Clippers nailed any of the individual moves. What they were missing was something you can’t acquire or develop,” an Eastern Conference executive said this week.

Ballmer at least has not fallen victim to the issues that have plagued so many owners: excessive loyalty.

A team that finds success often is convinced that they just caught bad breaks and they should run it back. If your team is good, at all, you can always convince yourself that the team it was in its wins is the real team, and the team its losses were just little things they needed to tweak, or the product of luck.

Ballmer, instead, seems fully positioned to keep pushing, relentlessly, until he gets the success he wants.

That’s what you want from an NBA Governor.

The question is whether the alternatives to the moves the Clippers are taking away from this year’s disappointment will bear fruit.

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WHY THE CLIPPERS LOST

Here’s the Clippers fan answer: Montrezl Harrell.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that Harrell was not only considered the sole reason for the Nuggets’ upset over Denver, but Doc Rivers’ insistence on playing him in that series was the biggest factor in his dismissal.

From The Athletic:

“Two philosophical points of contention between Rivers and the organization were, more recently, his insistence on playing backup center Montrezl Harrell over starting center Ivica Zubac and, at large, his reluctance to develop or empower the team’s younger talent throughout his tenure.

After a Sixth Man of the Year regular-season campaign, Harrell missed a month in the bubble due to the sickness and eventual passing of his grandmother. Upon returning, he was visibly not himself, offensively or defensively.

Yet Harrell’s postseason role was that of an effective rotation player (18.7 minutes per game), despite the Clippers posting a team-worst minus-11.6 net rating with him on the floor in the playoffs, including a mind-blowing minus-30.1 net rating while sharing the floor with Leonard and George.”

Even sources close to the Nuggets were surprised at the leash Harrell was afforded. As an outside league source noted, “Sometimes there are locker room dynamics that keep you from being the team you need to be. Guys have to be willing to sacrifice.”

The Harrell complaints are legitimate. Nikola Jokic still roasted Ivica Zubac routinely, and had Zubac played more, it’s likely that his numbers would have come to reflect closer to Harrell’s. But Harrell was completely outmatched and presented the Nuggets with consistent options to attack.

They also mirrored regular season signals that showed that Harell and Lou Williams were a tandem you could take advantage of.

However, there is a point where just blaming the sixth man falls short. Every team has players who are vulnerabilities. The Nuggets struggle to score with Torrey Craig, and Michael Porter Jr. was sashimi on defense at all points in the playoffs. The Lakers’ lineups with Kyle Kuzma were bad by their standards.

It’s then that the rest of your team has to be good enough to compensate. The Clippers were not, for several key reasons.

  • Williams was good defensively for the first part of the Clippers-Nuggets series, something that can only be described as fool’s gold. Meanwhile, he averaged just 12.8 points per game in the playoffs and shot a similar outlier 23.5% from 3. (Although it should be noted that Williams’ career playoff 3-point percentage is just 23.7% and his career playoff FG% is just 39.3%. Williams was a huge influencer for the Raptors in 2015, winning Sixth Man of the Year as he has repeatedly, and then shot 31% from the field and 19% from 3. Williams may simply not be a 16-game type of player.
  • Denver was legitimately better. On top of Jokic dominating his matchups, Jamal Murray managed to get by and roast the Clippers’ supposedly dominating wing defense. Jerami Grant stepped up and hit shots. The Nuggets’ defense, which was so poor vs. a cohesive attack against Utah, was spectacular when it had to face an individual-oriented, talent-over-system approach in the Clippers.
  • George was bad, there’s no getting around it. Over the last four games of the series, he averaged fewer than 20 points per game on 39% shooting and 33% from deep. He was defensively ineffective.

What doesn’t get talked about, however, is that this loss is just as much on Leonard.

QUIETLY OVERSTATED

Ultimately, if you’re not a team built on a team concept, if you’re a star player on a star-driven team, it’s your responsibility to carry your squad.

Leonard averaged 25 points, 7.7 rebounds, and five assists in the final three games of the series. Those numbers seem to acquit him, but you did not leverage your entire team and its future to get 25-7-5 from the MVP-level player.

Furthermore, in those games, the Clippers were outscored by 14.8 points per 100 possessions with Leonard on the floor. That’s a team stat, but Leonard’s reputation is that he impacts the game so much, that even if he doesn’t have the stats, you see how much better he makes his team. He didn’t in the Clippers collapse.

Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2).

In Game 7, Leonard shot 6-of-22 from the field for 14 points, and the Clippers were outscored by 21 points with the two-time Finals MVP on the floor.

Yet, somehow, it’s George and Harrell who too most of the blame while Leonard is exempt because “we’ve seen what he can do.”

It’s important to note that Leonard’s playoff resume is, by any standard, overstated. He was not the Spurs’ best player in 2014 when he won Finals MVP. He exited the playoffs early in 2015 and 2016. He was injured in 2017, which obviously can’t be held against him.

Let’s not even try and dissect 2018, beyond saying he was continuing to deal with an injury among … other things. And in 2019 he joined an East contender that had an existing leadership structure with Kyle Lowry.

(This is different from being overrated. Leonard is absolutely as good of a basketball player, skill-wise, as his reputation suggests. But there’s a point where your skills and stats cross over into your reputation for winning. Leonard is properly rated as a top-three NBA player and overstated a consummate winner.)

This last part is important. Williams said after the season that the team was lacking the right chemistry. That follows reports throughout that season that the team struggled with its chemistry. It was also evident against the Nuggets that the Clippers didn’t have a team identity. They were just a bunch of guys thrown together, most with entirely different priorities and feelings on what their roles were.

Leonard is at the center of this.

He is not a leader. This will get tagged as he “leads by example,” which is NBA speak for “an exceptional player who doesn’t say anything.”

“NBA players do not need to be shown the example of working hard or how to win, once they’re on playoff teams,” a league source who has consulted with multiple teams said this week. “They need the message to get everyone on the same page.”

“Your team will always reflect its best player,” is an old NBA GM axiom. The Clippers reflected Leonard in the end. No defining identity, often seemingly awkward, and ultimately holding a reputation beyond the reality.

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THE QUICK FIX

You can’t fire your star player, and Leonard presents the best chance for the Clippers to win a title, without question. Instead, the Clippers did what teams always do when they suffer an epic collapse but can’t blame it on the players — show the coach the door.

To be clear, Rivers’ tenure with the Clippers was a rollercoaster. He handled the exorbitant pressure of navigating the franchise through the Donald Sterling scandal and subsequent fallout with gusto and aplomb.

He struggled as a dual coach-executive the way most men do. He put together serious contenders with the Lob City Clippers who may not have loved playing together, but were great year after year and never caught the breaks they needed. He transitioned and built-up the post-Chris Paul Clippers into a playoff team. His squad was normally ranked top-10 in both offense and defense.

Rivers’ steadfast belief in Harrell was pretty clearly a typical refusal to acknowledge a case of the data showing something that lay behind the eye test. Those tests are routinely failed by coaches, who never want to be beholden to data.

For as many retorts there are that you could see the team was struggling with Harrell, it’s proof of how ultimately, the eye test remains subjective against the data, which said that the team did not play well in the postseason with Harrell.

A LUE BEGINNING

The team fired Rivers and hired Lue, who was always going to return to a head coaching job this offseason after winning a title with the Cavaliers in 2016.

Lue is an excellent coach, fluid and curious. He brings the right combination of championship pedigree and relatability for the players, having played in the league himself.

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Coach Tyronn Lue (right) of the LA Clippers speaks with Terance Mann #14.

The Athletic reported last week that Lue’s willingness to work more closely with the front office, even to the point of allowing broader input on his assistant coaching hires, played a part in the decision, which makes sense.

Rivers, after all, used to be the head of the front office and held a lot of power in the organization going back years.

However, there was one piece from the Athletic we need to drill down on:

“Players like Beverley, Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams — Clippers bedrocks before the arrival of Leonard and George — bristled when Leonard was permitted to take games off to manage his body and to live in San Diego, which often led to him being late for team flights, league sources said. The team also allowed Leonard to dictate to Rivers when he could be pulled from games, among other things. Lue was on Rivers’ bench for all of this, but the Clippers were Rivers’ show.

Upon Lue’s promotion, the first thing he did was to demand that the Cavs’ supporting stars — in this case, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love — sacrifice their individual brands and defer to LeBron. Lue also stripped LeBron of some of the power he’d stolen from Blatt inside the Cavs’ locker room, and demanded the league’s best player get in better shape, which got the attention of the entire team.”

Notably, Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams both refuted this report on social media. The reporters in question, Jovan Buha and Joe Vardon, have stellar reputations and nothing that was reported stands outside an established pattern of consternation with the star player power structure that is common in the modern NBA.

But even if Harrell departs in free agency as many league sources anticipate, Lue will struggle to try and replicate his efforts with LeBron when it comes to Leonard. The two are simply different people, and James has always held the connectivity of a team as sacred and vital going back to his first with the Cavaliers.

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN reported that Leonard has been advocating for the front office to add a point guard. If true, consider what this means: he’s advocating for demoting or moving on from Beverley, a fan favorite and emotional leader, and Jackson, the backup who is a close friend of George.

If the Clippers are going to right the ship, it will take more than removing the Harrell plus/minus anchor and replacing Rivers with Lue. It’s going to take a team that not only makes more sense together, but has an identity, that has a “Clippers basketball” they know how to play.

It will take a team that wants to play together, that loves playing together, the kind of joy and exuberance you saw the Lakers routinely share for one another this season.

The Lakers’ roster is, from top to bottom, objectively not as good as the Clippers. But their team identity was more defined and their chemistry and leadership was much greater. The same can be said for the healthy Golden State Warriors and Nuggets. That’s three teams directly in front of a Clippers team that analytics wonks (who are often right) adored throughout the year.

For the Clippers to go beyond the analytics and the talent and form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, it will take the leadership that has been missing.

And that falls squarely on the shoulders of Leonard.

The Clippers can move the deck chairs all they want, but Leonard is the captain. He’s going to have to find a way to steer the ship past the iceberg safely, or else we’ll hear the band playing the same tune as the life rafts depart next year.

Tuesday Champions League Betting Odds, Prediction & Picks: Lazio vs. Borussia Dortmund (Oct. 20)

Lazio vs. Borussia Dortmund Odds

Lazio Odds +285 [BET NOW]
Borussia Dortmund Odds -115 [BET NOW]
Draw Odds +300 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 3 (+112/-137) [BET NOW]
Time 3 p.m. ET
TV CBS All Access

Odds as of Tuesday 12:30 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


If you’re like me, the Champions League anthem is playing in your head because the tournament is back.

The world’s elite club competition features a host of mouthwatering matchups this fall, one of which features teams who had a knack for finding the back of the net last season.

Lazio and Borussia Dortmund have had opposite starts to their respective league campaigns, but let’s see what that means in terms of how to bet the match:

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Lazio

Lazio is due for a bit of regression from last season, when it was Juventus’ closest challenger for the Serie A title before struggling following the campaign’s summer restart.

The club benefited greatly via 15 goals from the penalty spot last season, when its xG was 7.73 goals lower from open play than its actual total. Lazio’s xGA was also 10.39 higher than the 27 it conceded from open play.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


The Eagles are off to a shaky start this season in Serie A, gaining four points from four games. Lazio didn’t register more than 1.00 xG in either of its last two league matches — a 1-1 draw against Inter and 3-0 loss to Sampdoria.

Striker Ciro Immobile did not feature against Sampdoria on Saturday due to suspension, so his potential return in the Champions League will be a big boost for a struggling Lazio attack.

Borussia Dortmund

Aside from a shocking defeat away to Augsburg in Matchday 2 of the Bundesliga, Dortmund has taken care of business early.

The Black and Yellow beat Hoffenheim, 1-0, on Saturday. Substitutes Erling Haaland and Marco Reus combined on the winner, with Haaland assisting his teammate on the match’s lone goal.

Haaland has 17 goals in 19 league games since joining Dortmund in January and will be fresh to lead the attack in Rome.

Dortmund will always provide attacking flair, with a plethora of quality players to pick from going forward, but the biggest positive so far has been its defense. Manager Lucien Favre’s side ranks second in the Bundesliga at 3.28 xGA through its first four matches, trailing top-of-the-league RB Leipzig.

Dortmund usually is good to score at least a goal in every game it play, so a strong backline led by veteran Mats Hummels going away from home into a place like Stadio Olimpico is a massive boost.

Lazio-Borussia Dortmund pick

Based on form, these sides are going in opposite directions. Dortmund’s biggest downfall over past years has been its defense, which is thriving. Lazio, meanwhile, are struggling all over the field.

Dortmund at the +108 moneyline are good value. The Black and Yellow is on a good run of form, and the defensive stability with its 3-4-2-1 formation under Favre could be the difference between it breaking through domestically and in European competition this season.

Haaland to score first at +370 isn’t bad value either, but I’ll just focus on the Dortmund moneyline here since it’s the clear play given the sides’ current runs of form.

Pick: Dortmund ML +108

[Bet Dortmund now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Tuesday Champions League Betting Odds, Prediction & Picks: PSG vs. Manchester United (Oct. 20)

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester United Odds

Paris Saint-Germain Odds -180 [BET NOW]
Manchester United Odds +440 [BET NOW]
Draw Odds +360 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 3 (-150/+123) [BET NOW]
Time 3 p.m. ET
TV CBS All Access

Odds as of Tuesday 12:30 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Matchday 1 in the Champions League presents a clash of European giants, as Manchester United travels across the channel to face PSG.

United will have fond memories of the Parc des Princes, having knocked out PSG in the Round of 16 back in March 2019 thanks to a very late penalty from Marcus Rashford. Revenge might not be on the Parisians’ minds, but getting three points to start their European campaign will.

Here’s how both sides enter the game and how to go about betting it.

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PSG

PSG is one of the most difficult sides to judge when figuring out how to bet them in the Champions League. Their underlying stats in Ligue 1, as you’d expect, are incredible. Les Parisiens top the French top flight with 19.29 xG through seven games, and their 5.42 xGA is fourth.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


PSG was hit by a COVID outbreak early in the league season but has steadied the ship of late in the league. Over their last three games, PSG has given up a combined 1.29 xGA, including 0.14 in the last match against Nimes.

That’s the problem, though. It’s Nimes.

Manager Thomas Tuchel said he expects Neymar to be fit for this matchup after resting against Nimes, which means the Brazilian superstar will join Kylian Mbappe in attack.

The rest of the PSG squad is up in the air, though. Midfielder Leandro Paredes left the Nimes match with a thigh injury, while new signing Danilo Pereira has been isolated as part of COVID-19 protocol. Julian Draxler also missed the weekend match.

In defense, Marquinhos’ status is uncertain, but Presnel Kimpembe and Abdou Diallo are a strong deputy pairing.

Manchester United

The underlying stats suggest Manchester United have been quite fortunate to start the new Premier League season. United ranks 13th in xG at 5.76 through four matches, and their shocking 9.03 xGA is second-highest in the league.

The Red Devils came out of the international break with a 4-1 win over Newcastle that came with three goals after the 85th minute to flatter the scoreline in their favor, but their first three league games were all causes for concern.

United has suffered home defeats to Crystal Palace and Tottenham, the latter of which was a 6-1 loss that saw their only goal come through a — you guessed it — Bruno Fernandes penalty.

From open play, United is at 2.85 xG through its first four league games and 6.25 xGA. The win over Newcastle was crucial in securing three points, especially with Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton coming up in their next three league games.

Paul Pogba missed out against Newcastle, apparently because of nagging injuries picked up during the international break, but he is fit and among United’s traveling party to Paris. Striker Edinson Cavani will not be ready for his debut, but Anthony Martial will return to the squad after being suspended for the match against Newcastle.

PSG-Manchester United pick

On paper, PSG is on fire and Manchester United is a dumpster fire. The Parisians will be happy to have a fully fit Neymar, although the rest of the squad is uneven due to injuries.

It’s tough to see United turning up for this one given the current run of form. The win in Newcastle, while again nice, did not feature a dominant performance that would make bettors confident going into this matchup.

I like Tuchel’s team to win, but given the uncertainty surrounding PSG’s squad, I think the best bet is to parlay the moneyline, which is currently -186.

I’d pair the moneyline with over 3 goals, which is -121 on DraftKings, to get you to +181. I’d expect goals, but with how reliant United is on penalties of late, the total here provides some security. The talent is definitely there for United to stick with the hosts chance for chance, and I’d expect them to find the net at least once at the Parc des Princes.

The PICK: Parlay PSG moneyline (-186) | Over 3 goals (-121)

[Bet PSG now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Tuesday Champions League Betting Odds, Prediction & Picks: Chelsea vs. Sevilla (Oct. 20)

Chelsea vs. Sevilla Odds

Chelsea odds -120 [BET NOW]
Sevilla odds +320 [BET NOW]
Draw +280 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.75 (-113/-110) [BET NOW]
Time 3 p.m. ET
TV CBS All Access

Odds as of Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


The Champions League returns on Tuesday with the opening matches of the group stage, with Europa League champions Sevilla visiting West London to take on Chelsea.

The Blues have had a rocky start to their Premier League campaign, dropping points to Southampton and West Brom, while losing to Liverpool. They’re slowly integrating new signings into their first XI, but Chelsea’s defensive fragilities remain an issue, much like they were at the end of last season.

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Sevilla

Sevilla has proven itself as one of the toughest outs in all of Europe for the second half of the 2010s. Their defensive style and a willingness to concede possession while not allowing high quality chances, has made them a difficult side to break down for years. They are consistently top four finishers in La Liga.

Despite a disappointing performance to Granada (0.4-1.7 loss on xG), Sevilla started the 2020 season with three good performances, including a 1-1 draw at Barcelona. They also went to extra time with Bayern Munich in the UEFA Super Cup. Sevilla beat Roma, Wolves, Manchester United and Inter en route to the Europa League title in August.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


Sevilla has the fifth-best defensive record in the league through four matches, and will have no problems using the blueprint to beating Chelsea on Tuesday. Sit deep, allow the Blues to have possession, and break through on the counter by exposing Chelsea’s inconsistent defensive abilities.

Chelsea

I was one of many who entered the 2020 season with high expectations for Chelsea. It’s only been five matches, but the Blues look much like they did in the 2019-20 season.

Thin in the defensive midfield, constant defensive miscues on set pieces and poor goalkeeper play from Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Blues score goals for fun, and I maintain that this will be enough to get them in the top four. But Sevilla is a matchup nightmare for them.

West Ham, Sheffield United and Manchester United have given Sevilla the blueprint on how to beat this Chelsea team, and I’m not sure the Blues have corrected any of their issues against counterattacking teams. Chelsea had more than 60% of the ball in all of those matches, yet took one point from a possible 18 in those matches.

Sevilla used a similar blueprint to beat United in the EL semifinals, where Man United had most of the possession, but set pieces and counters did in the Red Devils. The Blues are allowing more than one expected goal per match this season.

Prediction

I project Chelsea as +130 favorites in this match, and show some value on Sevilla to win or draw. Given the tactical advantage for Sevilla, I’ll take them to get at least a point from this match to kick off their Champions League campaign.

The Pick: Sevilla +0.5 (-120)

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Updated 2020 College Football Betting Power Ratings

ncaa-college football-power ratings-week 8-2020

What is a power rating in sports betting?

Well, it’s not all that different from trading stocks — you assign a value to something based on a number of factors, and try to buy it when it’s low, and sell when it’s high.

With stocks, long-term investors look for a clean balance sheet, revenue growth and market capitalization. In sports betting, a gambler should look for price point, market deflation and growth over peers.

For example, Vanderbilt would be a sell due to practice suspensions and one of the lowest returning production marks in college football. I’ll be betting against them if my projected spreads are higher sportsbooks are posting.

In this article, we’ll take a look at our new set of power ratings with the inclusion of active FBS and FCS members.

Simply subtract the lower team’s rating from the higher team’s to create a projected point spread on a neutral field.

How Do I Use These Power Ratings to Bet?

The numbers are designed to be basic for you, the bettor — just take the higher team’s number and subtract the lower team’s number. You’ve got a point spread.

I assign Clemson a 99.5, and North Carolina an 80. That means Clemson would be -19.5 on a neutral field. If an opening point spread was released on Clemson -17, I would likely look to get money down on the Tigers.

Conversely, if the point spread closed North Carolina +21, I would look to back the Tar Heels. Rarely do I ever go against my power ratings, as they are the best indicator to determine market inflation and public perception on a team. But I don’t bet every single discrepancy, either.

When a big discrepancy exists in the market between my Power Ratings and the oddsmaker’s point spread, I need to take a deeper dive to see if there’s something I’m missing, and if there are variables I may not be accounting for in a particular matchup (success rate, explosiveness, trench play, etc).

What Moves a Power Rating?

Earlier this year, I did a sports betting tutorial series examining the scope of power ratings. Conference strength, coaching changes and returning production each play a role during offseason evaluations, but the regular season requires a different approach: Advanced box scores become paramount to adjusting a team’s power rating.

As an example, let’s look at the advanced box score for the 2020 Rose Bowl between Wisconsin and Oregon.

This was an excruciating game for my bankroll with plenty of volume down on Wisconsin as a pick ’em. The Badgers won this game all over the box score — from overall success rate to yardage to negative play percentage.

However, turnovers by the Badgers and explosive drives got Oregon to the window. Nonetheless, Wisconsin earned a positive power rating bump due to its better postgame win expectancy. Meanwhile, the Ducks were docked a point on their overall number.

Terms to Know

Postgame Win Expectancy is a calculation of all variables in a box score that dictate who would win the game if it was played a high number of times. Turnover luck, success rate and yards per play are notable components of this calculation, and can influence a single game. But over a large sample, the team that moved the ball better would win more often than not.

There have been plenty of box scores where a team wins as an underdog, but a negative value is applied to that team’s power rating, because the result was fluky rather than systematic.

Coach scheme changes can adjust a power rating quickly. For example, Oregon will undergo a change from Marcus Arroyo’s conservative play-calling to new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead’s system. Moorhead’s offense features a heavy dose of 11 personnel, west coast spread concepts and modern RPOs.

That offensive philosophy has led to more explosiveness and higher rates of success on standard downs at each of Moorhead’s previous stops at Penn State and Mississippi State. In a situation like this, a power rating can be useful to quickly adjust a team’s forecast for future games. In the case of Mike Leach, an adjustment of totals is coming with an increase in plays per game.

Success Rate and Explosiveness were first defined in Bill Connelly’s Five Factors and are strong indicators for future box scores. While EPA (Expected Points Added) and IsoPPP (Isolated Points Per Play) can be highly variable from season to season, Success Rate is a stable data point for handicappers to use for projections.

Simply put, if a team consistently achieves the desired amount of yards — determined by down and distance — then this is a “play-on” team with your bankroll. Texas A&M ranked 17th in offensive success rate last season and returns 80% of its offensive production for 2020; that combination makes the Aggies a play-on team.

As the 2020 season quickly approaches with Central Arkansas and Austin Peay kicking off in Montgomery, we’ll be keeping track of all these variables in and out of the box score. Be sure to bookmark our power ratings for the latest update on all FBS and FCS teams playing this fall.

College Football Week 8 Havoc Ratings: Volunteers On Downward Spiral

college football-havoc ratings-week 8

Just two short weeks ago, everything was clicking for Tennessee.

The Volunteers had one of the highest ranks for Havoc Allowed, with no interceptions and just five tackles for loss in their season-opening win against South Carolina. However, the season has gone south in a hurry since.

Havoc allowed is a barometer for how much you can trust a team to take care of the football. Multiple fumbles and an interception led to a Georgia runaway in Week 6, while the play-by-play log from Kentucky is a Tennessee fan’s worst nightmare.

Next up for the Volunteers is a meeting with Alabama. The Crimson Tide picked off Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett on three occasions, while netting 10 passes defensed and four quarterback hurries.

When gambling your hard earned dollar, you want investments you can trust. Investing in a cruise line can be exciting in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, but a stable play on Amazon or Apple is sure to line a wallet without risk.

Our Havoc column looks at the defensive Havoc and offensive Havoc allowed each week. The calculation is simply a cumulative number of tackles for loss, interceptions, fumbles and passes defensed divided by the number of plays on both sides of the ball.

Don’t forget to check out my updated Power Ratings and follow me in The Action Network App to see when I bet on games that have the biggest Havoc discrepancies.

Week 8 Havoc

Marshall continues to be the safest bet on the board from a standpoint of havoc allowed. With a sample set that doubles Temple, the Thundering Herd also ranks in the Top 11 in offensive rushing and passing success rate. Florida Atlantic was able to generate 12 tackles for loss in a season opener against Charlotte. The Owls will have to own the trench to cover a three-score spread.

Here is a raw number breakdown of havoc and havoc allowed:

Tulsa continues to be mentioned in the weekly havoc series. Its defensive havoc rank of third nationally faces an offense that ranks 74th in havoc allowed. Zaven Collins, the potential AAC defensive player of the year, will face an offense that hasn’t been able to protect the quarterback or score points in opportunity time.

 

UTSA will be without starting quarterback Lowell Narcisse, who is out after season-ending, left-ankle surgery. Other Roadrunner quarterbacks do have playing time, but get break with a Louisiana Tech defense that is 70th in defensive havoc.

The biggest havoc discrepancy on the board comes from Provo, Utah, where BYU returns after a victorious trip to Houston. The Cougars are cruising with just five scheduled games currently, with Boise State on November 6th holding the keys to the College Football Playoff discussion.

Enter Texas State, which has struggled in a 1-5 season. The Bobcats are among the worst teams in the nation in havoc allowed, with a defensive rank of 59th. Jake Spavital’s defense has allowed more tackles for loss than any team in FBS. The Cougars are Top 13 on both sides of the ball, while posting a Top 20 rank in finishing drives offensively and defensively.

 

 

World Series Predictions: Our Staff’s Rays vs. Dodgers Picks, MVP Bets, Exact Outcome Props, More

Three weeks of an expanded 16-team postseason later, and we’re left with the same two teams that would be playing for a World Series if it were 1920. You know, if the Rays existed in 1920.

But just because it’s a matchup of the American and National League’s best respective teams, doesn’t mean this is an even matchup according to the betting market.

In fact, the Dodgers -200 consensus odds imply a two-in-three chance that LA will lift the Commissioner’s Trophy this year. Does that make them a worthy bet, though?

Our experts seem to have a pretty clear answer. Find their full breakdowns to these picks below.

Expert Pick(s)
Sean Zerillo Rays (+165), Rays +1.5 games (-110), Rays in 4 (+2700), Rays in 5 (+1200)
Stuckey Rays (+165)
BJ Cunningham Rays (+165)
Danny Donahue Rays in 5 (+1200)
Travis Reed Mike Zunino to Win MVP (+4400)
Michael Arinze Series to Go 7 (+220)

Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

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Sean Zerillo: Rays (+165), Rays +1.5 Games (-110), Rays in 4 (+2700), Rays in 5 (+1200)

I project the Rays as a 41% underdog in their second trip to the World Series, but their implied chances to defeat the Dodgers — who are searching for their first title since 1988 — in the betting market are much lower.

I’m comfortable betting Tampa Bay down to +163 (implied 38%) to win the series — a 3% edge relative to my projection — even though I have a preseason future on the Rays. Make sure to shop around for the best price.

The Rays also show actionable value in Game 1 (projected 46.5%, listed around 40% implied), but even after a loss I would give them a 27% chance (implied odds of +270) to win four of the final six games. I suspect that you might be able to bet them around +350 (implied 22.2%) down 0-1, and I’ll certainly add to my position in such a scenario.

There are some more fun, though slightly less valuable ways to play Tampa Bay in this series, too. Here is how the Rays’ series win distribution breaks down:

  • Win 4-0: 4% (implied odds of +2400)
  • Win 4-1: 10% (implied +900)
  • Win 4-2: 13% (implied +669)
  • Win 4-3: 14% (implied +614)
  • Lose 4-3: 17% (implied +488)

I played some small dart throws on Rays in 4 (+2500 or better) and Rays in 5 (+1000 or better).

I also like their series spread of +1.5 games (up to -120). As you can see above, I give the Rays a 58% chance (implied odds of -138) of either winning the series, or losing in seven games, so a +1.5 games bet at -120 (implied 54.5%) reflects a 3.5% edge relative to that projection.

Stuckey: Rays (+165)

My fair odds for this series are Tampa +145 after giving the Dodgers a few cents for park familiarly with a diminishing effect after playing here for the past seven games, so I gladly jumped on +170 and like anything at +160 or above.

The Dodgers are the superior team but the Rays aren’t getting enough respect in the market. They have the better bullpen and defense — arguably the best bullpen and defense in MLB, in fact. And you can win championships with that formula if you get a hot staff.

The Rays certainly have that with three frontline starters who are all lined up ready to go on full rest. The Rays also have an underrated lineup that has good depth and flexibility to match up against both righties and lefties.

You’ll also know you’re putting your money behind the smartest team in all of baseball. They won’t lose this with dumb decisions like keeping Kershaw in too long, as Dave Roberts did last series.

Rays Up.

BJ Cunningham: Rays (+165)

The Rays have gotten to this point with fantastic starting pitching and a lights-out bullpen, and they have an edge over the Dodgers in this series with a better xFIP for both starters and relievers.

Tyler Glasnow is likely going to get the ball in Game 1, with Blake Snell or Charlie Morton getting the ball in Game 2. The Dodgers are going to counter with Kershaw in Game 1, which gives the Rays an edge because they crush left-handed pitching (.343 wOBA) and Walker Buehler in Game 2, who has had some control issues this season. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Rays could be up 2-0 in this series.

Outside of Buehler and Kershaw, the Dodgers do not have a consistent starter that they can hand the ball to get 5+ innings. That means their bullpen could be taxed as this series progresses and give the Rays a rest advantage. Sure they have Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and Julio Urias who could start Games 3 through 5, but all three of those guys have shown throughout the playoffs that they are not consistent starting pitchers and are better in bullpen roles.

The Dodgers will have an advantage offensively, but getting +165 on a team that will likely have an advantage on the mound is too good to pass up.

Danny Donahue: Rays in 5 (+1200)

Were I not sitting on a preseason Rays future, I’d probably echoing BJ’s sentiments and arguing for what I think is a valuable plus-money series price. But instead I’ll be spending a lunch money’s worth of closing line value on this more specific longshot prop.

Given the staggered scheduling structure of the two League Championship Series, the Dodgers’ edge in this series should be slightly smaller in the early going. In other words, of the Rays’ various paths to a World Series championship, I think a quick series is closer to the top of the likelihood chart than people realize.

In Game 1, Tyler Glasnow gets the ball on full rest, while Clayton Kershaw goes on one day short of it — assuming that’s the matchup. Blake Snell then gets to pitch on his full 5-day routine against Walker Buehler Game 2, and Charlie Morton gets an extra sixth day heading into Game 3 — one in which the Dodgers’ plan is even more up in the air.

As the series progresses and pitchers get used in more unusual, World Series-only styles, I could see this scheduling edge start to dwindle a bit. So I’ll try to take advantage of it with this quick-series bet on the underdog.

Travis Reed: Mike Zunino to Win MVP (+4400)

With managers going to the bullpens more often, I think it is less likely than ever that a starting pitcher wins the MVP award. Gone are the days of a starting pitcher going deep into a game three times in a series to stifle the opposing team.

So my focus is on position players, particularly for the Rays. I want to avoid players that are being platooned based on left/right matchups and that are getting consistent playing time. Given that the World Series is going back to using off days, I am not concerned about Tampa Bay giving its starting catcher a day off.

Mike Zunino is further down in the lineup than most of the MVP favorites but has plenty of home run power to make this worth a small play. If the home runs come at the right time and give Zunino a good narrative, he could walk away as the MVP.

Michael Arinze: Series to Go 7 (+220)

Despite a shortened 60-game schedule and a unique playoff format which featured the Division and League Championship Series being played at neutral sites, Major League Baseball still ended up with the two best regular-season teams in the World Series.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will make their third World Series appearance in four years as they hope to finally get over the hump with a win, while the Rays make just their second World Series appearance in search of their first Commissioner’s Trophy.

The saying that styles make fights couldn’t be any truer than when these two teams collide. In the postseason, the Dodgers had a .355 OBP compared to .295 for the Rays, while the Rays hit 25 home runs compared to the Dodgers’ 18. On the pitching front, while both teams have posted identical 3.36 ERAs, the Rays seem to have gotten more out of their starting rotation with 62 innings pitched vs. 51 for the Dodgers.

Whatever Tampa Bay lacks in financial resources, it’s been able to make up for through its analytics department. Rays players seem to constantly be in the right place at the right time as they lead all teams in the postseason with 15 double plays turned — the Dodgers have just four.

I give Tampa Bay the edge in pitching and situational hitting but the Dodgers have the better overall lineup.

These teams are much closer than the series price suggests and much like a good heavyweight fight, I expect this matchup to go the distance in seven.

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Tuesday Champions League Betting Odds, Predictions & Picks: Dynamo Kiev vs. Juventus (Oct. 20)

tuesday-champions-league-betting-odds-picks-predictions-dynamo-kiev-vs-juventus-oct-20

Dynamo Kiev vs. Juventus Odds

Dynamo Kiev Odds +380 [BET NOW]
Juventus Odds -125 [BET NOW]
Draw +250 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (+108/-134) [BET NOW]
Time 12:55 p.m. ET
TV CBS All Access | Unimás

Odds updated as of Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Things could get interesting on Tuesday when Dynamo Kiev hosts global powerhouse Juventus on opening day of Champions League action.

Dynamo Kiev, one of Ukraine’s most decorated and storied clubs, is hoping its return to Europe’s most prestigious tournament reaps some big rewards. The Ukrainian Premier League leader took the long route to get here but should be ready to show it belongs on one of soccer’s grandest stages.

On the other side, Juventus is hoping it can make another deep run into the knockout phase of the competition. However, the club has to begin its quest without the services of Cristiano Ronaldo and Weston McKennie. Both players were ruled out after positive COVID-19 tests.

What makes this fixture quite intriguing is the fact these clubs haven’t faced each other in 18 years.

That said, let’s take a deeper look at the sides:

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Dynamo Kiev

Dynamo Kiev makes its first group stage appearance since the 2016 edition of the tournament. The club needed wins against Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar and Belgian club Gent to get to this point, so manager Mircea Lucescu and his players have to be embracing this opportunity.

Dynamo Kiev is the best of the best at the moment in Ukraine’s top flight, going 4-0-2 through its first six matches to sit tied with FC Vorskla Poltava atop the table. Even more impressive is its 7-0-2 record through nine matches across all competitions.

The club, which has finished runner-up to Shahktar Donestk four years running, has recorded 14 goals and conceded a league-low three for a +11 goal differential.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


Juventus

Juventus has been anything but great at the start of its Serie A campaign.

The Old Lady is 2-2-0 in its opening four matches and sits four points back of league-leading AC Milan. Add in the fact Ronaldo and McKennie won’t be in the starting XI, and you have some questions surrounding a club making the long Ukraine journey.

Juventus, making its 21st appearance in this tournament, has been a model of consistency, reaching the Round of 16 on 18 occasions. Anything less than that would be considered a disaster for manager Andrea Pirlo and the club.

When comparing its numbers against Dynamo Kiev, it’s hard to match these clubs up due to the fact they play in very different leagues with a glaring difference in competition.

With that said, I can tell you Juventus is just slightly above middle of the pack in most statistical categories among Serie A clubs. Juventus currently sits on 5.4 expected goals and 4.6 expected goals against, resulting in a +0.8 xGDiff and +0.25 xGDiff/90 minutes in Italy’s top flight.

Dynamo Kiev-Juventus Picks

If these sides were at full strength, Juventus would be an even bigger favorite in this spot, regardless as to where the fixture was taking place.

However, the fact that Juventus will be without Ronaldo and McKennie, the U.S. international on a one-year loan deal from Bundesliga side Schalke, creates issues that make it a tighter tilt than it would be under normal circumstances.

That said, I am going to stay off a side and back both teams to score. Dynamo Kiev has been in top form thus far and catches a Juventus side that is not firing on all cylinders. The Ukrainian giants might not get the win, but they should have an ample amount of opportunities to crack their foe’s backline.

Throw in the fact Juventus has given up at least one goal in six of its last seven Champions League away matches, and I like my chances in this spot.

I am also going to play the total going over the number on an alternative line. Currently, it sits at 2.5 goals, so I am going to take it to 2.25 goals instead and play it with confidence.

Picks: Total Over 2.25 Goals (-127) | Both Teams To Score — Yes (-112)

[Bet the Dynamo Kiev-Juventus match at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Updated Dallas Cowboys Betting Odds: ‘America’s Team’ Still Favored To Win NFC East Following Cardinals Loss

Each of the following statements is true regarding the 2020 Dallas Cowboys:

  • The team will be without starting quarterback Dak Prescott for the rest of the season.
  • The Cowboys have been one of the most disappointing teams through six weeks.
  • Despite a 2-4 record, Dallas is the betting favorite to win the NFC East.

There’s no question the Cowboys have been ravaged by injuries and comes off a very ugly prime-time loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football.

The good news is the NFC East is so bad that Dallas’ 2-4 record is currently the best in the division, ahead of Philadelphia (1-4-1 ), New York (1-4) and Washington (0-5).

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Dallas Cowboys Betting Odds

Simply by default, sportsbooks have “America’s Team” as the favorite to win the NFC East, evidenced by DraftKings’ +115 odds.

The Eagles are just behind at +135, with the Giants and Washington at 8-1 and 9-1, respectively.

But with that said, the Cowboys are currently the only division favorites with plus-money odds, showing that oddsmakers basically see the NFC East as a toss-up between Dallas and Philly through six weeks of the season.

Unsurprisingly, while sportsbooks think the Cowboys are the likeliest team to take home the NFC East crown, Dallas’ odds to win the Super Bowl have fallen to 60-1, making it the 18th-most likely champion despite having an inside track to a berth in the postseason.

Dallas will take on division-rival Washington in Week 7, with the Cowboys listed as early 3-point road favorites (see live NFL odds here) for Sunday’s game.

[Bet on the Cowboys now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

NFL Week 7 Fantasy Buy/Sell Trade Targets: Stock Rising On Colts’ Taylor

Just like in the game show, “Let’s Make A Deal,” it’s often tempting to pick the hidden prize behind the curtain. Sometimes contestants feel compelled to make a switch and succumb to temptation.

Which fantasy football players should you be tempted by and which ones should you leave “behind the curtain?”

Here are three buys and two sells as we enter the second half of the fantasy football regular season:


Check out our new NFL PRO Report, where we highlight key factors that provide betting edges — like large wagers, historically profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks — that when combined with sharp money can powerfully detail the smartest bets on a given slate.


Fantasy Trade Targets

RB, Jonathan Taylor, Colts

The window to buy Indianapolis’ lead running back is still open, but it’s closing fast. Taylor’s touch share has increased in each of the past four games.

Taylor averaged a robust 5.0 yards per carry against Cincinnati, but was a victim of negative game script when Indianapolis trailed 14-0 after the first quarter.

The Wisconsin rookie has also been productive in the passing game. Taylor has caught 16 of his 17 targets for 162 receiving yards. His 10.1 yards per reception is higher than Joe Mixon (6.6 ypr), Aaron Jones (8.9 ypr), and Ezekiel Elliott (7.2 ypr).

The Colts’ remaining schedule is one of the most running back-friendly in the NFL. After its Week 7 bye, Indianapolis faces seven opponents that rank in the bottom half of league in running back fantasy points allowed.

In Week 8, the Colts face a Detroit team that ranks 30th in scheduled-adjusted fantasy points allowed to running backs (aFPA) per 4for4.

This is your final chance to trade for a 2020 fantasy league-winner.

[Play NFL DFS? Access Our Industry-Leading Tools & Projections For Just $4.95]

RB David Montgomery, Bears

Fantasy players simply aren’t excited by Montgomery’s subpar athletic metrics. Regardless, he remains Chicago’s lead running back with a dominant workload and shallow depth chart.

In the three games following Tarik Cohen’s season-ending knee injury, Montgomery has seen snap shares of 86.2%, 78.6%, and 81%. He simply has no competition in the Bears’ backfield.

Montgomery also has one of the best fantasy playoff schedules possible. Chicago will face Detroit, Houston, Minnesota and Jacksonville, all who rank 23rd or worse in running back rushing yards allowed.

If you need a solid RB2 with RB1 upside in the fantasy playoffs, make a move for Montgomery and prioritize volume over efficiency.

WR, D.J. Chark, Jaguars

If you are looking to trade for an impact wide receiver, take a close look at Jacksonville’s D.J. Chark.

Beset by early-season injuries, Chark has struggled to make a fantasy impact equivalent to his preseason fantasy draft position. Chark has just one Top 12 wide receiver performance and is coming off a disappointing PPR WR29 game against Houston, despite receiving 14 targets.

It’s simple. Chark is an athletic WR1 on a Jacksonville team that projects to be trailing for much of the remaining schedule. Despite leaving Week 2 early and missing Week 3 due to injuries, he still entered Week 6 ranked 13th among all wide receivers in red zone targets.

Without question, Chark is the lead wideout in Jacksonville, with a strong connection to quarterback Gardner Minshew. Take advantage of impatient owners and nab yourself a high-end WR2/low-end WR1 the rest of season.

Fantasy Football CTA for PRO

Fantasy Sell Candidates

RB, Le’Veon Bell, Chiefs

Just like in “Let’s Make a Deal,” sometimes the shiny new box just looks too tempting to resist. That’s what your league mates may feel about the Chiefs’ newly acquired running back.

I can’t see Bell getting the majority of touches when first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire is having such a productive rookie season.

Edwards-Helaire gained 161 yards on the ground in Kansas City’s 26-17 win at Buffalo. That places him second in rushing yards among all running backs, trailing only Derrick Henry.

Bell will serve as the two-minute back and potentially vulture the occasional goal-line touchdown. However, Edwards-Helaire has earned the opportunity touches.

Edwards-Helaire has also been fantastic in the passing game, ranking Top 10 in targets, receptions and receiving yards.

Look for another team in your league that still thinks Bell is a Top 12 fantasy back and pull the trigger before he ever plays a snap for Kansas City.

Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.

QB Tom Brady, Buccaneers 

Brady tossed two touchdowns in Tampa Bay’s 38-10 blowout win over Green Bay. Over the past four games, Brady has 11 touchdowns and just one interception.

That being said, it’s sell time.

While in New England, Brady had a history of decreasing fantasy production during the second half of the season.  Every year since the 2017 season, Brady has failed to be a QB1 during the critical Weeks 13-16 of the fantasy playoffs.

Before Tampa Bay’s late Week 13 bye, Brady will face tough pass defenses at the Giants, at Carolina, at Kansas City and a home game against the Rams. There are too many quarterbacks available on the waiver wire, such as Ryan Tannehill and Matthew Stafford, to justify holding onto the 43-year-old Brady.

Try to unload the future Hall of Famer to a team that just lost Dak Prescott and get an explosive WR3 in return.

[Play NFL DFS? Access Our Industry-Leading Tools & Projections For Just $4.95]

Champions League Odds, Picks & Predictions: Manchester City vs. Porto (Wednesday, Oct. 21)

The No. 1 app for bettors: Get live scores, line moves, win probabilities and more in The Action Network app.

Manchester City vs. Porto Odds

Manchester City odds -385 [Bet Now]
Porto odds +950 [Bet Now]
Draw +525 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 3.5 (-108/-114) [Bet Now]
Time Wednesday, 3:00 p.m. ET
How To Watch CBS All-Access

Manchester City begin their Champions League campaign on Wednesday as they host Porto.

The Cityzens are lucky to even be in this competition as they were originally banned for two years for violating FIFA Financial Fair Play rules. However, that decision was overturned late last season, allowing them to play.

As one of the richest clubs in the world, Manchester City’s failures in the Champions League have been high publicized and has become a nightmare for the Cityzens. They’ll try to erase some of those demons on Tuesday, but they better be careful, because Porto is no pushover.

Manchester City

The Cityzens come into this match with a 2-1-1 record in the Premier League, but have already suffered a shocking 5-2 loss to Leicester City at home.

However, it’s hard to ignore how good the Cityzens were in 2019-20. Even though they finished in second, City’s +65.12 expected goals differential was nearly 30 goals better than Liverpool’s. They were especially dominant at home too, posting an averaging margin of +1.88 xG per game (2.66 xGF, 0.77 xGA).


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


All that said, this is a precarious spot for Manchester City. Not only are they dealing with a rash of injury issues, but City’s slow start has put them behind the eight ball in the Premier League. They have tricky match traveling to West Ham on Saturday, so City are in a sandwich spot on Wednesday.  

Pep Guardiola already has announced that midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus are going to miss the next few matches, which is a huge blow as those are two of their best players.

Porto

Porto finished as champions of Portugal for the second time in the last three years. They are also no stranger to this competition, as they’ve qualified for the Champions League eight out of the past nine years. They are one of the best teams outside the major five leagues in Europe and have plenty of talent to compete against Manchester City.

To try and compare Porto’s talent level to the Premier League, their total squad transfer value (via transfermarkt.com) is really close to Newcastle or West Ham.

The reason Porto won the Primeria Liga is because of their defense. They allowed only 0.74 xG per match and have plenty of experience at the back. Porto is captained by former Real Madrid defender Pepe and have former Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba.

They also have talent going forward in the form of wingers Jesus Corona and Felipe Anderson. Those two provide enough pace and ability on the ball to give Manchester City’s wing backs some difficulties.

Based on the UEFA Coefficients Portugal is the sixth best league in Europe, so Porto’s defensive record is no fluke. Although Manchester City will be the best team they’ve faced in over two years, I think Porto has the talent and the defense to keep them in this match.

Projections and Pick

Given how good Porto’s defense is, I think they will be able to stay in this game against Manchester City. Not having De Bruyne or Gabriel Jesus clearly had an effect against Arsenal and will likely have an effect on Wednesday as well.

Since I have Porto spread projected at +1.12, I think there is plenty of value on them +1.5 at plus money.

Pick: Porto +1.5 (+114)

Track your Porto bets in The Action Network app now for live scores, live win probabilities, line-move alerts, and so much more.

Eagles vs. Giants Odds & Promotions: Bet $20, Win $125 if the Eagles Score a Point!

The Eagles showed a little fight in them at the end of their game vs. Baltimore. I like that.

I also really like these promos for Thursday Night Football…

_BookPromo=102

Eagles vs. Giants TNF Promos

Check out the details below:

PointsBet Sportsbook

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Fun fact: It is actually possible to score one point in the NFL. It’s never happened, but if a team attempts an extra point, somehow goes 85 yards backwards and is tackled in their own end zone, the defensive team would receive one point.

You probably won’t win this promo that way, or via a safety, but keep them in the back of your mind in case your team hasn’t kicked a field goal or scored a touchdown.

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Sign up at PointsBet and make the easiest money you’ll find all week. Seriously, try to find easier money.

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William Hill Sportsbook

Offer: Bet $5 on the Eagles, Win $100 if they cover +50

It’s tough to tell whether Philly is actually as bad as their record suggests, which makes betting on them a scary proposition (betting pun).

Not at William Hill, though.

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Alabama vs. Tennessee Promo: Bet $20, Win $125 if Alabama Scores a Point!

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Return of the Big 10. The World Series. Week 7 NFL. UFC 254.

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Scores — as in any amount of points other than zero.

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Here are the details:

PointsBet Sportsbook

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  • Who’s it for? NEW USERS ONLY

It’s possible for a college football team to score a single point, though it’s never happened in the thousands and thousands of games in the history of the NCAA. That’s fine, though. One point, two points, three points, six points, seven points… whatever! As long as they score, you win.

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Wisconsin vs. Illinois Promo: Bet $20, Win $125 if Wisconsin Scores a Point!

wisconsin vs. illinois-betting odds and promos

Return of the Big 10. The World Series. Week 7 NFL. UFC 254.

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Scores — as in any amount of points other than zero.

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Here are the details:

PointsBet Sportsbook

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It’s possible for a college football team to score a single point, though it’s never happened in the thousands and thousands of games in the history of the NCAA. That’s fine, though. One point, two points, three points, six points, seven points… whatever! As long as they score, you win.

To capitalize on this excellent promotion:

If (more like when) you win, your $125 will come in the form of free bets, which need to be rolled over only 1x to turn into cash.

Note: We’ve used Wisconsin as an example, but you can bet $20 on any college football team this weekend as your first bet and win $125 if they score.

Don’t overthink this one. A single measly score equals a big score for you at PointsBet.

BET $20, WIN $125 IF WISCONSIN SCORES VS. ILLINOIS!

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Ohio State vs. Nebraska Promo: Bet $20, Win $125 if Ohio State Scores a Point!

ohio state vs. nebraska-betting odds and promo

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Scores — as in any amount of points other than zero.

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PointsBet Sportsbook

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It’s possible for a college football team to score a single point, though it’s never happened in the thousands and thousands of games in the history of the NCAA. That’s fine, though. One point, two points, three points, six points, seven points… whatever! As long as they score, you win.

To capitalize on this excellent promotion:

If (more like when) you win, your $125 will come in the form of free bets, which need to be rolled over only 1x to turn into cash.

Note: We’ve used Ohio State as an example, but you can bet $20 on any college football team this weekend as your first bet and win $125 if they score.

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BET $20, WIN $125 IF OHIO STATE SCORES VS. NEBRASKA!

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World Series Game 2 Odds & Promo: Bet $20, Win $125 if the Dodgers Get at Least 1 Hit

Dodgers. Rays. Who’s ready to bet on World Series Game 2?

Whether you want to back L.A.’s Clayton Kershaw or Tampa’s Tyler Glasnow, you’d be silly not to take advantage of one of these no-brainer promotions from legal sportsbooks:

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World Series Game 2 Promos

Here are the details:


PointsBet Sportsbook

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We all know there’s only been one no-hitter in World Series history, with that being Don Larsen’s perfect game back in the 50s.

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Everyone in the Dodgers lineup can hit — from Mookie Betts at the top of the order down to Chris Taylor down at the bottom. I don’t think we’re going to have another Don Larsen experience this year.

BET $20, WIN $125 IF THE DODGERS GET A HIT!


BetMGM Sportsbook

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The Dodgers led the league in regular season home runs by a sizable margin at nearly two per game. The Rays are leading the postseason with practically two per game. Who’d have thunk Randy Arozarena would be leading the league in postseason homers? Anyone? Anyone?

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William Hill Sportsbook

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I’m no history buff, but I’d guess that there’s probably never been a first inning with fewer than eight pitches in it. Not much wiggle room there. Even if every batter swung at the first pitch, there’d likely be a couple of foul balls or whiffs.

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BET $20, WIN $88 IF THERE ARE AT LEAST 8 PITCHES IN THE 1ST INNING!

Cowboys vs. Cardinals Odds & Pick: Your Monday Night Football Betting Guide

Cardinals vs. Cowboys Odds

Cardinals Odds
+1 [BET NOW]
Cowboys Odds
-1 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
55 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
8:15 p.m. ET
TV
ESPN

Odds via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.


We have a big swing game in the NFC to close out our Week 6 Monday Night Football doubleheader as the 2-3 Dallas Cowboys take on the 3-2 Arizona Cardinals in Jerry World. Let’s take a closer look at the matchup as Kyler Murray returns to his home state to take on Andy Dalton.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals come in with a 3-2 record but the resume hasn’t been great: They have a decent win over the 49ers, but the other two wins came against the winless Jets and one-win Football Team. The Cardinals have also dropped games to the Lions and Panthers.

Yes, DeAndre Hopkins has provided a nice spark in the passing game while Murray has improved in his some areas as you would expect in his sophomore season. However, this team profiles similar to 2019: Their passing offense and defense are subpar while the rushing offense and defense remain a strength.

Arizona’s staple is using four wide-receiver sets as much as any team in the NFL. Kliff Kingsbury’s group spreads opposing defenses out, which opens up space for their backs and Murray to run.

It’s worth noting that Arizona won’t be fully healthy for this game. It recently suffered a devastating blow when top pass-rusher Chandler Jones was lost for the season. He’s one of the better edge rushers in the NFL and will put even more pressure on a secondary that hasn’t been playing well. The Cardinals could also be very thin at linebacker for this one.

And on the offensive side of the ball, starting guard J.R. Sweezy recently hit the IR while starting left tackle D.J. Humphries is questionable with a back injury.

Dallas Cowboys

The big news out of Big D this past week was Dak Prescott’s injury. It’s obviously a significant drop-off from him to Dalton, but the Cowboys are in much better shape than almost every other team in the NFL when it comes to surviving an injury to their starting quarterback as Dalton is one of the league’s best backups. (It also helps to play in a division where seven wins might win it.)

So, how much of a drop-off is it from Prescott to Dalton in terms of the point spread? You could argue it’s as high as six points, but I personally have the difference closer to four, though that could change if Dalton performs much better or worse than projected.

_BookPromo=118

Even prior to the Prescott injury, injuries have been a key theme for the Cowboys all season. The offensive line has been one of the hardest hit units. It’s not the same elite unit we’re used to seeing up front. Dallas has lost both starting tackles and already had to deal with the retirement of star center Travis Frederick this past offseason.

The Dallas defense has also had its fair share of injuries, but the group as a whole has been disappointing so far in 2020. From a DVOA perspective, the Cowboys ranked 24th overall on defense and have had holes against both the pass and run according to Football Outsiders.

New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has plenty of work to do with this unit and needs to find a way to create more turnovers, which also plagued the Cowboys last season. He’ll at least get some key guys back in the lineup tonight, including linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, who should provide a major boost even if he’s only limited to mainly passing downs.

Cardinals-Cowboys Pick

I personally think Dalton will be fine in this offense.

As I mentioned before, he’s one of the league’s better backups and he has plenty of toys to work with on the outside and a super back behind him in Ezekiel Elliott. The drop-off along the offensive line is even more of a concern for the 32-year-old, but not having to face Chandler Jones tonight makes the task at hand much more manageable.

Murray and Co. will no doubt have success moving the ball against a bad Dallas defense trying to find its identity, but this is the healthiest the Cowboys will be all season.

I personally make this line Dallas -1 after adjusting for injuries, so the line looks right. I do like some of the matchups and the spot for Dallas, which is why I teased the Cowboys to over a touchdown. If you didn’t follow my lead there, I would look to buy Dallas in-game at +3 or better.

LIVE ANGLE: Cowboys +3 (or better)

[Bet now at PointsBet and get $125 if the Cowboys score a point]

_BookPromo=138

The NFL Prop To Bet For Cardinals vs. Cowboys on Monday Night Football

nfl-prop-bets-picks-chiefs-bills-cardinals-cowboys-monday-night-football

Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, is highlighting his favorite prop(s) for every slate throughout the 2020 season — he’s 48-27 (64%) so far and has a 255-176-5 (59.2%) all-time record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action app.

Find his picks for the Monday Night Football doubleheader featuring the Chiefs at Bills (5 p.m. ET) and Cardinals at Cowboys (8:15 p.m. ET). And if you’re looking for more action, his projections also power the FantasyLabs NFL Player Prop Tool, which grades every prop.


NFL Prop Bet for Cardinals-Cowboys

  • The Pick: Kyler Murray Under 287.5 Pass Yards (-115)
  • Bet Now: BetMGM

I’m projecting Murray at 273.5 passing yards for tonight.

The matchup sets up for each offense to play “keep away” as a way to keep their defense off the field. That will undoubtedly be the Cowboys game plan as I expect them to feed Ezekiel Elliott at a much higher rate from now on with Dak Prescott out for the season. They should engineer a few clock-killing drives and keep the Cardinals offense off the field.

I can see the Cardinals offense operating similarly. Murray should be able to move the ball with ease against the Cowboys defense. However, he has been opting to pull the ball down and use his legs a lot more this season, averaging 59 rushing yards per game. Every time he runs for a significant gain, it’ll be huge for our under — and I expect the Cardinals to lean on the run more as they’ll want to keep their defense off the field with stud EDGE rusher Chandler Jones out.

The Cowboys have been giving up a ton of points this season, but not massive passing yards to opposing QBs: Only Russell Wilson has thrown for more than 287.5 yards against them. That’s one of five opposing QBs, and Kyler has gone over 287.5 in only one of five games so far, too.

The market is a bit inflated due to the Cowboys giving up a ton of points, but the Cardinals are likely to opt to run all over this defense, including Murray.

I’ll take the under down to 280.5, but here are the projected chances of him going over or under various lines based on my 10,000 simulations:

Pass Yards
Over
Under
273.5
50.0%
50.0%
274.5
49.3%
50.7%
275.5
48.7%
51.3%
276.5
48.1%
51.9%
277.5
47.1%
52.9%
278.5
46.4%
53.6%
279.5
45.6%
54.4%
280.5
44.9%
55.1%
281.5
44.4%
55.6%
282.5
44.1%
55.9%
283.5
43.6%
56.4%
284.5
43.2%
56.8%
285.5
42.6%
57.4%
286.5
42.4%
57.6%
287.5
42.1%
57.9%

[Bet now at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match]


NFL Prop Bet for Chiefs-Bills

  • The Pick: Demarcus Robinson Over 29.5 Rec Yards (-105)
  • Bet Now: FanDuel

The last time Robinson cleared this number was Week 10 of 2019 against the Titans. I think he ends that streak tonight.

Sammy Watkins is set to miss the game with a hamstring strain, and Robinson will be one of the WRs who helps pick up the slack. I’m projecting him to run a route on 85-90% of Patrick Mahomes’ dropbacks tonight, which on its face comes with a built-in upside.

DRob is typically fifth or sixth in the target pecking order and has averaged an 11% target rate on pass routes over the past two seasons. We can expect that rate to bump up closer to the 12-13% range as the fourth or fifth option tonight.

I’m projecting DRob to see 4-5 targets in a slightly expanded role. His catch rate of 53.3% on the season illustrates poor play to-date, but we should expect some positive regression from DRob in an expanded role. A big part of the low catch rate has been due to his split on catchable balls: 67% in 2020 vs. 84% in 2019.

I set this line closer to 35.5 and would bet it up to 32.5, but remember that every yard matters, so it’s critical to get the best number. Here are his projected chances of going over or under various lines based on my 10,000 simulations:

Yards
Over
Under
29.5
59.5%
40.5%
30.5
58.4%
41.6%
31.5
56.4%
43.6%
32.5
54.7%
45.3%
33.5
53.0%
47.0%
34.5
51.7%
48.3%
35.5
49.7%
50.3%

If this market has dried up by the time you’re reading, I would bet the over on his receptions up to 2.5 (-150).

[Bet Demarcus Robinson’s Over at FanDuel completely risk-free for $1,000]

Monday NFL Betting Picks: Cardinals vs. Cowboys Spread & Moneyline Bets

nfl-picks-chiefs-vs-bills-cardinals-vs-cowboys-monday-night-football-2020

The NFL closes out Week 6 with a Monday Night Football doubleheader featuring the Chiefs at Bills and the Cardinals and Cowboys.

Our staff details how they’re betting both matchups below.

NFL Picks for Monday Night Football


GO TO: ARI-DAL | KC-BUF


Cardinals vs. Cowboys Picks

PICK
BET NOW
Cardinals +1
Parx
Cowboys ML (-112)
BetMGM

Raheem Palmer: Cardinals +1

Much has been made about the injury to Dak Prescott, but it’s the rest of this Cowboys team that has been the biggest factor in the team’s 2-3 record.

The defense has given up 20, 39, 38, 49 and 34 points through the first five games of this season and rank 24th in defensive DVOA — 20th against the pass and 23rd against the run. The Cowboys are allowing 12% of running plays to go for 20 or more yards and 9% of passing plays to go for 20 or more yards; those marks rank 21st and 25th among NFL teams.

They get linebacker Leighton Vander Esch back but DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald will still be a problem for a secondary that Pro Football Focus has graded as the NFL’s worst coverage team.

On offense, the Cowboys are surrounded by weapons but they’ve been playing musical chairs with their offensive line all season. They lacked continuity without Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, but Prescott was able to overcome the deficiencies of this struggling unit

Are we sure Andy Dalton will be able to do the same given his lack of mobility?

The Cardinals are missing Pro Bowl linebacker Chandler Jones but their pass rush, which is 12th in sacks (14) and sixth in pressure rate (24.7%), still presents a problem for the Cowboys offensive line.

Turnovers aren’t predictive, but bad teams have a tendency to beat themselves. Regardless of how great the skill position players are, the Cowboys are a bad team. They’re third in giveaways this season at 11 with the only teams ahead of them in the Vikings and Eagles playing one additional game.

My full-season numbers including Prescott made this game Dallas -2. If I’m downgrading for Dalton, the Cardinals should be a slight favorite. Oddsmakers opened this line Cardinals -2.5, and while sharp money has taken this to a consensus line of Cowboys -1, I vehemently disagree with the move.

I’ll fade the Cowboys in this spot and would bet the Cardinals down to a pick’em.

[Bet now at Parx and get a $75 if the Cardinals score a touchdown]

Anderson: Cowboys ML -110

Dak Prescott is really good, and the Cowboys are going to miss him a lot. That much is true.

But is it so true that the Cowboys should be home underdogs to the mediocre Arizona Cardinals?

_BookPromo=118

It’s natural to see doom and gloom for the Cowboys season after the Prescott injury, and it’s true that any remaining hopes of winning this season’s Super Bowl are probably gone, but Dallas doesn’t have to win a Super Bowl on Monday night — the Cowboys just need to beat the Cardinals.

Andy Dalton is a perfectly fine quarterback. He’s always been a reflection of the talent around him, and in Dallas, he’ll be surrounded by more offensive talent than he ever played with in Cincinnati.

The Cowboys don’t have Dak Prescott anymore, but they’ve still got Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Ceedee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. Dalton and the offense will be fine, especially against this very average Cardinals defense that’s now missing its best player with Chandler Jones on IR.

Arizona is historically awful in Dallas, losing 14 of 16 games since 1990. And sure, that’s because Dallas is usually just more talented, but that’s still the case tonight. It’s normal for a team to have an upswing after a big injury as they pull together, and I expect a similar run from Dallas. They should not be a home underdog to the Cardinals and I’ll take the moneyline for the win.

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Chiefs vs. Bills Picks

PICK
BET NOW
Chiefs -5.5
PointsBet
Mecole Hardman Under 4.5 Rec
DraftKings

Brandon Anderson: Chiefs -5.5

On paper, the Bills look a lot like the Raiders, who just upset the Chiefs.

Like Las Vegas, which shredded Kansas City with big play after big play in last week’s win, Buffalo is built to attack aggressively downfield in the passing game. And like the Raiders, the Bills probably aren’t going to win the game with their defense. Their defense hasn’t been good this season, so they would likely need to win a shootout like the Raiders.

Add everything up and Buffalo looks like a candidate for the same type of upset, with Josh Allen entering the MVP fray with a huge Monday night win against the champs. Allen has put up huge numbers all season and isn’t afraid to chuck it.

The problem is that I loved the Chiefs against the Raiders last week precisely because of their poor defense and one-dimensional offense, so I have no choice but to love Kansas City for all the same reasons again this week.

Entering last week, Kansas City had the league’s No. 1 rated pass defense, according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA. That’s obviously not the case anymore after their poor showing against the Raiders, but one game doesn’t destroy a month of good work.

The way to beat the Chiefs is not to challenge them to a shootout. It’s their run defense that’s weak, and the right strategy is to control the ball and run at them all game like New England did with some success a few weeks ago, keeping Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense safely off the field. Yes, the Patriots lost with that method while the Raiders won, but don’t be results-oriented.

This matchup favors the Chiefs, and all the better that the Bills are on a weird short week after last Tuesday night’s game. Take the Chiefs in a rare spot giving under a touchdown.

I’d bet them at anything under -7.

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Mike Randle: Mecole Hardman Under 4.5 Rec (-139)

With starting wide receiver Sammy Watkins out for several weeks with a hamstring injury, the speedy Mecole Hardman will likely see an increased workload. However, an increased opportunity will not translate to five or more receptions against the Bills.

In 21 career games, Hardman has never totaled five receptions in a game. In fact, in the three prior games he has played without Watkins, Hardman hasn’t even seen an average of five targets.

Hardman’s 4.33 speed and big-play ability make him the sexy, but not best play, on Monday Night Football.

Teammate Byron Pringle has historically been the player who benefits most in Sammy Watkins’ absence. In Week 5 of last season, Pringle produced the overall WR12 stat line — six receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown — in Watkins’ absence. When Watkins exited in Week 5 of this season, Pringle ran only 11 routes but still caught a 23-yard reception.

I’m sure Kansas City will get Hardman involved as both a rusher and receiver, but this line looks too high. With Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Pringle and Demarcus Robinson, I don’t see Hardman getting to five receptions.

This is also a 9-rated prop on our FantasyLabs Player Prop tool. This season, props with a rating of nine have a 56% (149-114-4) hit rate. I’m taking the under at 4.5 receptions for Hardman.

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NFL Injury Report: Tracking Week 7 Injuries To Miles Sanders, Raheem Mostert, More

Week 6 saw the already thin Eagles get a little thinner offensively after Miles Sanders and Zach Ertz both sustained injuries against the Ravens. Philadelphia has already lost Alshon Jeffery (foot), DeSean Jackson (hamstring), Jalen Reagor (thumb) and Dallas Goedert (ankle) to injury and is now faced with a short turnaround, playing again on Thursday Night Football.

Baker Mayfield’s status will also be worth monitoring this week. Mayfield gutted it out through a rib injury in Week 6 against the Steelers until he was pulled in the third quarter, though the Browns were facing a large deficit by that point.

As always, we’ll be updating this page throughout the week with all the latest injury news and practice reports.

Week 7 NFL Injury Report

Week 7 NFL Injuries

Tuesday Updates

Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (ankle): When McCaffrey suffered a high ankle sprain on Sep. 20, his initial return timeline was set at four-to-six weeks. We are now exactly one month removed from the injury, but CMC will need at least one more week of rest before he is able to return to the field. The Panthers will once again lean on Mike Davis in Week 7, though McCaffrey “has a shot” to play in Week 8 when Carolina faces Atlanta on Thursday Night Football, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo

Monday Updates

Eagles RB Miles Sanders (knee): Sanders is expected to miss the Eagles’ upcoming Thursday night game against the Giants after suffering a knee injury against the Ravens. Sanders’ injury is not considered serious and he’s expected to miss only a week or two.  Expect Boston Scott and Corey Clement to split the backfield work for Philadelphia in Week 7.

49ers RB Raheem Mostert (ankle): Mostert injured his ankle during Sunday’s victory over the Rams after rushing for 90 yards on 11 carries. After sustaining the injury, Mostert returned for one play before departing the game again, this time for good. He’ll undergo further testing on Monday to determine the severity of the injury and establish a recovery timeline.

Browns QB Baker Mayfield (ribs): Mayfield was considered questionable to play with a rib injury coming into the Browns’ loss to the Steelers, though he was able to gut it out through two and a half quarters of play. In the third quarter, Mayfield was replaced by Case Keenum for mop-up duty with the Browns already facing a large deficit. After the game, head coach Kevin Stefanski said that Mayfield is expected to start next week against the Bengals.

Eagles TE Zach Ertz (ankle): After leaving Philadelphia’s loss to the Ravens, Ertz is expected to miss about a month with a high ankle sprain.  That’s roughly on par with the recovery timelines given to Christian McCaffrey and Michael Thomas, who have both also suffered similar injuries this season.

Bengals RB Joe Mixon (foot): A foot injury limited Mixon to only 53% of team snaps in yesterday’s loss to the Colts. After the game, head coach Zac Taylor said Mixon was available to play more snaps late in the game, but Giovani Bernard was a better fit for the two-minute offense. The team is waiting to receive further information about Mixon’s injury, but it doesn’t sound like a long-term concern since he was available to return.

2020 Heisman Odds Tracker: Trevor Lawrence Widens Margin as Favorite

ncaa-college football-heisman trophy-odds-picks-october 2020-week 8

2020 Heisman Odds

Player Odds (10/19)
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson -167 [Bet Now]
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama +300 [Bet Now]
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State +600 [Bet Now]
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama +800 [Bet Now]
Kyle Trask, QB, Florida +1600 [Bet Now]
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama +2500 [Bet Now]
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson +2800 [Bet Now]
D’Eriq King, QB, Miami +3300 [Bet Now]
Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia +3300 [Bet Now]
Trey Sermon RB, Ohio State +4000 [Bet Now]
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU +4000 [Bet Now]
Sean Clifford, QB, Penn State +5000 [Bet Now]
Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State +5000 [Bet Now]
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama +5000 [Bet Now]
Ian Book, QB, Notre Dame +8000 [Bet Now]
Tanner Morgan, QB, Minnesota +8000 [Bet Now]
Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State +8000 [Bet Now]
Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas +10000 [Bet Now]
Adrian Martinez, QB, Nebraska +10000 [Bet Now]
Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M +10000 [Bet Now]
Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma +10000 [Bet Now]
Zamir White, RB, Georgia +10000 [Bet Now]

Above are updated Heisman Trophy odds at DraftKings Sportsbook.

For those new to sports betting, +200 odds mean a $100 bet would win $200 (in addition to the $100 risked).

Last updated October 19.

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October 19 update

The NCAA Football video game may be defunct now, but Trevor Lawrence is making it look like it’s still up and running.

Lawrence jumped from +110 to -167 to win the Heisman Trophy after 404 yards and five touchdowns in Clemson’s 73-7 demolition of Georgia Tech in Week 7.

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones rose to +350 after downing then-No. 3 Georgia. The game also caused Bulldog quarterback Stetson Bennett to drop from +1000 to +3300.

Crimson Tide wide receiver Jaylen Waddle has the best odds of any non-quarterback at +800, while Alabama running back is next at +2500.

With the Big Ten opening play this week, five players from the conference sit inside the top 20: Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields (+600), Ohio State running back Trey Sermon (+4000), Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (+5000), Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan (+8000), and Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez (+10000).


October 13 update

Alabama is no stranger to the Heisman Trophy. Now, its players’ chances of taking home college football’s most coveted individual trophy are rising again.

Mac Jones, Jaylen Waddle, Najee Harris, and DeVonta Smith all shot up the board after Alabama’s 63-48 victory over Ole Miss on Saturday.

Harris saw the biggest increase in odds, going from +4000 to +1600 after running for 206 yards and five touchdowns against the Rebels. Jones still has the shortest odds of any Crimson Tide player, jumping from +1000 to +500. Waddle now sits at +1000, and Smith is at +5000.

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask and Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger both took tumbles after Week 6 losses. Trask went from +700 to +1400, while Ehlinger dropped to +8000 from +5000.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence now owns the top spot by himself at +110, but Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields still sits right behind him at +250.


October 7 update

Stetson Bennett has joined the Heisman race.

The Georgia quarterback made his first career start in Week 5 against Auburn and did not disappoint, throwing for 240 yards on 17-of-28 passing with a touchdown and no interceptions. Stetson also appeared in the Bulldogs’ Week 4 win over Arkansas, completing 20 of 29 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns. The Georgia native’s Heisman odds are currently +1400.

K.J. Costello‘s odds took a hit this week, as the Mississippi State QB tumbled to +4000 after throwing three interceptions in a loss to Arkansas. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger also took another notable drop from +2000 to +5000, while Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond fell all the way to +10000 after sitting at +2700 entering Week 5.

Ohio State QB Justin Fields and Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence remain atop the oddsboard at +250 heading into Week 6.


September 29 update

The weeks’ biggest winners — and losers — came from the SEC.

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask delivered an efficient and impressive 416-yard, six-touchdown in performance in the Gators’ victory over Ole Miss. Trask’s Heisman odds subsequently rose from +1800 to +500 after that single performance. His +8.4% week-over-week increase in implied probability was the highest among any Heisman contender in Week 4.

Not to be outdone, Mississippi State QB K.J. Costello also rose to national acclaim following his audacious 623-yard five-touchdown passing performance in the Bulldogs’ 44-34 upset over defending national champions LSU in Baton Rouge. Costello’s Heisman odds rose from relative obscurity at +3300 to +800 exiting Week 4 action. Costello now boasts the fourth-highest odds to take home college football’s most illustrious individual award.

Costello’s dueling partner, LSU QB Myles Brennan, lost substantial ground in the Heisman race following the Tigers’ defeat. His odds fell from +2000 to +10000 week-over-week. Joining Brennan among the week’s losers is Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler, whose odds fell from +600 to +3300 after the Sooners’ home loss to Kansas State. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger also witnessed a marked decline from +1000 to +2000 after failing to dispatch a below-average Red Raiders defense in regulation.

Once a trendy longshot earlier this season, Louisville QB Micale Cunningham’s Heisman odds fell from +3300 on Sept. 14 to +8000 on Sept. 21 after Miami dismantled the cardinals in Week 3. Louisville lost again last week in a hard-fought game against Pittsburgh, pushing the Cardinals to 1-2 on the season — and pushing Cunningham’s name completely off the Heisman Trophy oddsboard.

Other notable players who followed Cunningham off the oddsboard include Louisville running back Javian Hawkins, LSU wide receiver Racey McMath and Arkansas QB Feleipe Franks.


September 21 update

The Big Ten’s decision to return to play has resulted in sweeping changes across the Heisman Trophy Winner futures oddsboard.

At the top of the board, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (+175 to +250), Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler (+400 to +600), Texas QB Sam Ehlinger (+600 to +1000) and Clemson running back Travis Etienne (+1400 to +2500) experienced a combined decline of 21.5% in their implied probability to win the Heisman Trophy.

That decline is directly attributable to the installation of Ohio State QB Justin Fields (+250), who joins Lawrence as the co-favorite to win the award. Among newly added Big Ten Players, Fields hold a commanding edge over Penn State QB Sean Clifford, Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez and Wisconsin QB Jack Coan, each of whom now slots in at +8000 (1.23% implied probability to win).

The other major development in the Heisman Trophy futures market is the ongoing QB battle at Georgia. For the majority of the offseason, Wake Forest transfer QB Jamie Newman was considered the overwhelming favorite to earn the starting job. Then on Sept. 2, Newman chose to opt out of the 2020 season to prepare for the NFL Draft.

Immediately, stock for USC transfer JT Daniels shot through the roof, climbing as high as +1000 as of Sept. 14. But since then, Daniels still has not been cleared for contact, and redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis has earned extended opportunity practicing with the team’s first string.

Mathis’ impressive play has resulted in a full-blown QB battle in Athens, and speculation runs rampant that Mathis may earn the job outright. Subsequently, Daniels’ odds have fallen to +2000, while Mathis has risen to +4000 — even higher than established stars like Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard (+5000). DraftKings sportsbook didn’t even list Mathis on its Heisman board as of one week ago.


September 14 update

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (+175) consolidated his position as the clear-cut favorite to win the Heisman Trophy following the Tigers’ 37-13 win over Wake Forest on Saturday. Lawrence went 22-for-28 passing for 351 yards and three total TD in just over two quarters of action.

Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler (+400) was one of the week’s biggest movers. He passed for 290 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Sooners to a 41-0 halftime lead over Missouri State before head coach Lincoln Riley pulled the Oklahoma starters. Rattler’s move from +700 to +400 represents a 7.5% increase in his implied probability to win the Heisman Trophy.

Lawrence and Rattler notwithstanding, no player did more to improve his Heisman candidacy than Texas QB Sam Ehlinger. He amassed 438 total yards and five touchdowns in the Longhorns’ 59-3 rout of UTEP on Saturday. His Heisman Trophy odds moved from +2500 to +600 — a staggering 10.44% increase in his implied probability to win.

In order to take home college football’s most esteemed individual award, Ehlinger and the Longhorns likely must win the Big 12 regular season, which indeed is no small task. Texas has looming dates against Oklahoma (neutral-site) on October 10 and must travel to Stillwater to play No. 11 Oklahoma State on October 31. Nonetheless, Ehlinger’s performance in Week 1 has placed him squarely in the Heisman Trophy conversation.

Here’s a quick rundown of the week’s other notable risers and fallers:

  • Miami QB D’Eriq King falls from +800 to +1800 (5.85% decrease in implied probability).
  • North Carolina QB Sam Howell falls from +2000 to +3300 (1.82% decrease in implied probability).
  • Notre Dame QB Ian Book falls from +2000 to +4000 (2.32% decrease in implied probability).
  • Louisville QB Micale Cunningham improves from +5000 to +3300 (0.96% increase in implied probability).

UFC 254 Betting Odds: Khabib Nurmagomedov Favored In Return to the Octagon

The UFC’s stint at Fight Island will end Saturday with an absolutely stacked card for UFC 254.

Interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje and UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who hasn’t fought in more than a year, headline the card for Khabib’s belt. The co-main event features No. 1-ranked middleweight Robert Whittaker against No. 3-ranked middleweight Jared Cannonier.

Saturday’s card will start earlier than fight fans are used to with early prelims going off at 10:30 a.m. ET on ESPN+ with six prelim bouts followed by a six-fight main card beginning at 2 p.m. ET.

You can check out the full list of UFC 254 odds for Saturday’s entire card below.


Odds as of Monday at 6 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


UFC 254 Odds

Preliminary Card

  • ESPN+/ESPN2
  • 10:30 a.m. ET

Lightweight fight: Joel Alvarez vs. Alexander Yakovlev

Odds
Alvarez odds -200
Yakovlev odds +160
Over/Under TBA rounds TBA

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Women’s Flyweight fight: Liana Jojua vs. Miranda Maverick

Odds
Jojua odds +260
Maverick odds -345
Over/Under TBA rounds TBA

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Light Heavyweight fight: Da-Un Jung vs. Sam Alvey 

Odds
Jung odds -360
Alvey odds +275
Over/Under TBA rounds TBA

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Welterweight fight: Alex Oliveira vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov

Odds
Oliveira odds -167
Rakhmonov odds +135
Over/Under TBA rounds TBA

[Bet UFC 254 at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]


Catchweight fight: Nathaniel Wood vs. Casey Kenney

Odds
Wood odds +150
Kenney odds -190
Over/Under TBA rounds TBA

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Heavyweight fight: Stefan Struve vs. Tai Tuivasa

Odds
Struve odds -125
Tuivasa odds +100
Over/Under TBA rounds TBA

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Main Card 

  • ESPN PPV
  • 2 p.m. ET

Light Heavyweight fight: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba

Odds
Ankalaev odds -278
Cutelaba odds +215
Over/Under TBA rounds TBA

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Women’s Flyweight fight: Lauren Murphy vs. Liliya Shakirova

Odds
Murphy odds -275
Shakirova odds +200
Over/Under TBA rounds TBA

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Middleweight fight: Jacob Malkoun vs. Phillip Hawes

Odds
Malkoun odds +215
Hawes odds -278
Over/Under TBA rounds TBA

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Heavyweight fight: Alexander Volkov vs. Walt Harris

Odds
Volkov odds -162
Harris odds +130
Over/Under TBA rounds TBA

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Middleweight fight: Robert Whittaker vs. Jared Cannonier

Odds
Whittaker odds -106
Cannonier odds -118
Over/Under TBA rounds TBA

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Lightweight fight: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje

Odds
Nurmagomedov odds -335
Gaethje odds +260
Over/Under TBA rounds TBA

[Bet UFC 254 at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

World Series Odds & Promo: Bet $1, Win $100 if There’s a Home Run!

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Week 7 WR/CB Matchups: Allen Robinson vs. Jalen Ramsey, Shadow Grades & More

Wide receiver-cornerback showdowns might be the most important individual matchups in football.

In this piece, I leverage snap data from Pro Football Focus to project NFL Week 7 WR/CB matchups, especially shadow situations.

For more, see the FantasyLabs Matchups page, where we provide basic and advanced data — including fantasy and red-zone performance — for each offensive skill-position player based on his matchup.

As we get more clarity during the week on the injury status of receivers and corners, I will update my WR/CB projections.

Let’s start with this week’s featured matchup and then run through all the potential shadow matchups and most notable upgrades and downgrades.


JUMP TO: WR/CB Matchup Matrix


WR/CB Matchup of the Week

Bears WR Allen Robinson vs. Rams CB Jalen Ramsey

Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. ET on Monday | TV: ESPN

Against the Cowboys in Week 1, Ramsey had a tough matchup and allowed a line of 8-81-0 receiving on nine targets. On top of that, he was beat deep for a long reception toward the end of the game that was called back by a questionable penalty.

By the eye and the numbers, it was a bad performance.

Since then, however, Ramsey has allowed just 2.0 yards per target on a 37.5% catch rate.

A 2017 All-Pro pass defender, Ramsey has always been great, but this year he has really come into his own. He seems to attack each play with the mindset that he’s the best cornerback in the NFL — and he’s probably not wrong.

For the season, Ramsey has allowed just 4.5 yards per target and only 4.2 targets per game.

Over the past few weeks, Ramsey has played in the slot more than he has at any point of his career, but that usage should be contextualized.

In Weeks 4 and 6, Ramsey played most against Golden Tate and Deebo Samuel, opposing No. 1 wide receivers who see a high percentage of their snaps in the slot (Tate is almost exclusively a slot receiver, and Samuel lines up all across the field).

I can’t explain what happened in Week 5, when Ramsey played almost all of his snaps in the interior and faced Washington slot fodder Isaiah Wright instead of perimeter star Terry McLaurin. That was weird.

But his shadow usage in Weeks 1-4 and 6 suggests that Ramsey will match up with Robinson this week and follow him all over the field.

As for Robinson, he is 32-367-2 on 48 targets over the past month. The quarterback switch from Mitchell Trubisky to Nick Foles has reinvigorated him.

This week, though, our expectations for Robinson should be held in check. When the Bears and Rams played last year in Week 11, Robinson was just 4-15-0 on six targets. Ramsey faced him on 57.1% of his routes and held him to zero catches on two targets.

Given that he made his NFL bones as a rookie by going against Robinson every day in practice with the 2016 Jaguars,  it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ramsey force the receiver into his worst performance so far with Foles under center.

Action: Large downgrade for Robinson

Potential Week 7 Shadow Matchups

Here are the shadow matchups I’m projecting.

WR CB
Allen Robinson, Bears Jalen Ramsey, Rams
Davante Adams, Packers Bradley Roby, Texans
Will Fuller, Texans Jaire Alexander, Packers
Darius Slayton, Giants Darius Slay, Eagles
Travis Fulgham, Eagles James Bradberry, Giants
Deebo Samuel, 49ers Stephon Gilmore, Patriots

Eagles WR Travis Fulgham vs. Giants CB James Bradberry

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET on Thursday | TV: FOX/NFL

With injuries to wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (illness/foot), DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and Jalen Reagor (thumb, injured reserve) and tight ends Zach Ertz (ankle) and Dallas Goedert (ankle, injured reserve), Fulgham has started over the past three weeks and flashed with 18-284-3 on 26 targets.

Jackson is reportedly planning to play in Week 7, and Goedert is now technically eligible to be activated off the IR, but both are far from certain to suit up. Even if they play, they could be limited.

Fulgham has seen double-digit targets in each of the past two weeks, and he could hit that threshold again on Thursday Night Football.

He’ll need that volume if he’s to make up for his tough matchup against Bradberry, a physical press-man defender who has been used in shadow coverage over the past five weeks. Over that time, Bradberry has allowed just 16-140-0 and 5.0 yards per target while breaking up six passes and grabbing two interceptions.

In his first season with the Giants, he has been a lone bright spot for the defense, putting up an 84.4 PFF coverage grade. No other key contributor in the secondary has a mark of even 60. Given how poorly the rest of the secondary is playing, it seems highly like that Bradberry will shadow the big-bodied Fulgham.

As well as Fulgham has played recently, we should expect him to regress to a more sustainable stat line in Week 7.

Action: Large downgrade for Fulgham

Giants WR Darius Slayton vs. Eagles CB Darius Slay

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET on Thursday | TV: FOX/NFL

Sometimes, life just works out. I was so excited about this matchup earlier in the week that I forgot to type the word “for” in my Slayton-Slay tweet.

Watching Slay on Slayton go at each other all game might be the best part of this lackluster Thursday Night Football matchup.

There’s no guarantee that Slay will actually tail Slayton. In Weeks 2 and 4-6, he played almost exclusively at left corner. But in Weeks 1 and 3, Slay shadowed Terry McLaurin and A.J. Green, and of all the other receivers he has faced this season, Slayton might be the most comparable to McLaurin and Green in terms of his size, athleticism and playing style.

Slayton is 25-406-3 on 44 targets for the season. He’s the heart of the Giants passing offense. A boom-or-bust, big-play receiver, Slayton has the capacity to go off for 100 yards and a touchdown in any game — but when he doesn’t have a big yardage total or find the end zone, he usually underwhelms, often for stretches at a time.

In Weeks 2-4, he was 9-134-0 on 20 targets.

His ceiling is high but floor is low, and we could see a game closer to his floor this weekend if he’s shadowed by Slay, who was one of the league’s most reliable cover men for over half a decade in Detroit.

  • 2018: 78.2 PFF coverage grade | 6.2 yards per target
  • 2017: 80.0 PFF coverage grade | 6.8 yards per target
  • 2016: 80.2 PFF coverage grade | 6.8 yards per target
  • 2015: 77.0 PFF coverage grade | 8.5 yards per target
  • 2014: 70.0 PFF coverage grade | 7.0 yards per target

Slay was especially strong in 2016-18, a period that was highlighted by a 2017 All-Pro campaign in which he had league-high marks with eight interceptions and 26 passes defensed.

With the Lions, he regularly faced opposing No. 1 receivers and was one of the few shadow defenders capable of tailing his man from the perimeter to the slot.

After a down 2019 season — perhaps because of head coach Matt Patricia’s defense — Slay has rebounded in his first year with the Eagles.

He hasn’t regained the elite form he had with the Lions, but he has allowed a manageable 7.5 yards per target on 5.5 targets per game and is yet to forfeit a touchdown.

When they matchup up, Slayton will be challenged.

Action: Medium downgrade for Slayton

Packers WR Davante Adams vs. Texans CB Bradley Roby

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

Under the impression that Roby is a shutdown corner, the Texans have had him tail No. 1 receivers over the past six games (going back to the Divisional Round of the playoffs).

I must admit: His individual numbers look good. This year, he has allowed just 6.5 yards per target in his coverage.

“In his coverage” is the key phrase there.

In Week 4, Adam Thielen went off for 8-114-1 on 10 targets with Roby as the primary corner on him, but against Roby specifically, he was just 2-14-1 on four targets.

In Week 6, A.J. Brown was 5-56-2 on seven targets, again with Roby as his primary defender, but against Roby in particular he was 2-22-1 on three targets.

How is that possible?

Thielen and Brown were able to escape Roby often enough to get their production against linebackers and safeties in zone coverage — because even when Roby follows a receiver all across the field to line up opposite him, that doesn’t mean he actually defends that guy throughout the entirety of his route.

In other words, even though Roby has good numbers when targeted, that doesn’t mean the receivers he shadows can’t have big games.

And I’m a little dubious of Roby’s production to begin with.

In Weeks 1 and 2, the Chiefs and Ravens racked up 34-20 and 33-16 victories against the Texans. They didn’t need to throw the ball, and when they did throw, they didn’t need to throw downfield.

In Week 3, Roby benefitted from injury luck against wide receiver Diontae Johnson, who left early in the second quarter with a concussion.

And then in Week 5 he faced the inconsistent Jaguars, who saw No. 1 wide receiver D.J. Chark exit in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.

I doubt that Roby is actually as good as his numbers suggest.

In 2017, Roby had a career-high 77.5 PFF coverage grade with the Broncos and looked like a solidly above-average defender — but he was the No. 3 cornerback next to All-Pro shutdown men Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. He benefited from silk-soft matchups.

But since 2018, when Talib left the Broncos and Roby was elevated to the No. 2 role, he has allowed 8.5 yards per target first with the Broncos (2018) and now with the Texans (2019-20).

What Roby has done recently against No. 1 receivers — and what he’s done across his career — has been solidly unremarkable.

Roby isn’t a bad corner, but he’s not someone a quarterback should avoid.

As for Adams … he’s Davante Adams. He underwhelmed last week with 6-61-0 on 10 targets in his return from a hamstring injury, but there’s a case to be made that Adams is the NFL’s best wide receiver.

Even with Roby on him, Adams should return to form this week.

Action: No change for Adams

Texans WR Will Fuller vs. Packers CB Jaire Alexander

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

This is a matchup between two players coming into their own.

For the first four years of his career, Fuller played behind former teammate DeAndre Hopkins and missed significant time to various injuries.

This year, though, with Hopkins gone and Fuller mostly healthy, he has broken out with 28-455-4 on 41 targets in six games — and that includes his hamstring-impacted, zero-target Week 2. In all other games, Fuller has either 100 yards or a touchdown.

Fuller forever … but maybe not this week.

Alexander is No. 2 at the position with a 90.7 PFF coverage grade and has just 5.3 yards per target allowed on 4.6 targets per game.

Ever since his rookie year, the Packers have periodically tried to use Alexander in shadow coverage, and it usually hasn’t gone well for him.

His first shadow assignment was against divisional rival Adam Thielen in Week 12 of 2018. Thielen went off for 8-125-1 on nine targets. In Week 1 of this season, Alexander once again shadowed Thielen, who was 6-110-2 on eight targets.

As the Meat Puppets once put it: “Some things will never change. You just stand there looking backwards half unconscious from the pain.”

But things have started to change for Alexander. In Weeks 4 and 6 (with a Week 5 bye), he shadowed Calvin Ridley and Mike Evans, both of whom underwhelmed (production vs. Alexander directly in parentheses).

  • Calvin Ridley (Week 4): 0-0-0, five targets (0-0-0, two targets)
  • Mike Evans (Week 5): 1-10-0, two targets (0-0-0, one target)

Given his recent performance and usage as well as his athleticism (4.38-second 40-yard dash), Alexander seems likely to shadow Fuller.

With this matchup, Alexander might revert back to his pre-Weeks 4-6 shadow form. Fuller is dynamic enough to beat any corner.

But Alexander also might be fulfilling the promise he showed three years ago when the Packers selected him in the first round.

Action: Medium downgrade for Fuller

49ers WR Deebo Samuel vs. Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

Despite spending most of Week 6 in Jalen Ramsey’s shadow, Samuel was able to avoid him on enough of his routes to go 6-66-1 on six targets. Under the circumstances, that’s a great line.

Samuel looks to be fully over the foot injury that sidelined him for most of training camp and Weeks 1-3.

The Patriots have the league’s most shadow-heavy defense, and I imagine that Gilmore will spend most of the game on Samuel.

In his return from COVID-19 last week, Gilmore moved across the formation and spent time on both Tim Patrick and DaeSean Hamilton, and although Patrick went off for 4-101-0 on eight targets, none of that came against Gilmore, who was his usual self with zero catches allowed on two targets.

The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, Gilmore has held receivers to a 50.8% catch rate and 6.6 yards per target in his three-plus years with the Patriots.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan will figure out ways to scheme Samuel open and move him out of Gilmore’s coverage when he can, but WR/CB matchups don’t get any harder than this one.

Action: Large downgrade for Samuel

Week 6 Shadow Borderline

There are two cornerbacks with matchups on the shadow borderline. Although these cornerbacks shadow periodically, I cannot say with confidence that they will follow opposing No. 1 receivers across the formation this week.

Jets WR Breshad Perriman vs. Bills CB Tre’Davious White

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

Against No. 1 receivers, the Bills almost always use White in shadow coverage, who has allowed just 7.2 yards per target on a 54.9% catch rate for his career.

Of course, Perriman is hardly anyone’s idea of a No. 1 receiver.

They will likely line up on the same side of the field anyway for many of Perriman’s routes, but the All-Pro defender might not go the full distance of tailing Perriman all over the formation.

Action: Large downgrade for Perriman

Raiders WR Henry Ruggs III vs. Buccaneers CB Carlton Davis

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: NBC

I have become enamored with Davis this year.

Dating back to last season, he has allowed just 6.1 yards per target and become a true shutdown defender.

Davis typically shadows larger No. 1 receivers, so I doubt he will tail Ruggs this week, but they should still see each other a lot through the natural course of the game.

Ruggs has the speed to get deep on any corner, but as long as Davis is able to get his hands on Ruggs early in his routes to slow him down and redirect him, the rookie receiver could struggle.

Action: Large downgrade for Ruggs

Notable Wide Receiver Upgrades

Here are a couple of advantageous matchups that should not be ignored.

Falcons WR Calvin Ridley vs. Lions CB Jeffrey Okudah

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

Ridley is No. 1 in the league with 160.1 air yards and yards after the catch combined per game (AirYAC, a leading and simple-to-understand indicator of receiving production, available in the RotoViz Weekly Stats App).

Okudah was benched in Week 4 and has allowed 19-299-0 on 26 targets and limited action. He’s dead last among starting corners with a 30.4 PFF coverage grade.

Action: Large upgrade for Ridley

Football Team WR Terry McLaurin vs. Cowboys CB Daryl Worley

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

McLaurin is on pace for a 1,300-yard season despite facing the league’s toughest schedule of No. 1 cornerbacks to date. He’s No. 4 with 141.9 AirYAC per game.

Worley is the No. 5 cornerback on a bad pass defense and has allowed 10.1 yards per target on an 81.8% catch rate this year.

Action: Large upgrade for McLaurin

Notable Wide Receiver Downgrades

Here are a couple of disadvantageous matchups to keep in mind.

Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy vs. Chiefs CB Tyrann Mathieu

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

Even without wide receivers Courtland Sutton (knee, injured reserve) and K.J. Hamler (hamstring) and tight end Noah Fant (ankle), Jeudy has played behind backup Tim Patrick over the past two weeks.

Mathieu is a two-time All-Pro safety who has shifted to full-time slot corner.

Action: Large downgrade for McLaurin

Jaguars WR Laviska Shenault Jr. vs. Chargers CB Casey Hayward Jr.

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

Shenault was 3-10-0 on seven targets last week and has been inconsistent as a rookie.

Hayward is coming off the bye and has allowed only 6.8 yards per target with a 50% catch rate this year.

Action: Large downgrade for Shenault

NFL Week 7 WR/CB Matrix

I take a cautious approach to injured players who I expect to be questionable or out. If by the weekend it seems likely that they will play, I will include them in my updates.

Pos = left, right or slot WR or CB
Projected shadow matchups are CAPITALIZED

WR Exp = Wide Receiver Expectation: I rank from 3 to -3 how much I think we should adjust expectations for wide receivers based on matchups. 3: Large upgrade. 2: Medium upgrade. 1: Small upgrade. 0: No change. -1: Small downgrade. -2: Medium downgrade. -3: Large downgrade.

Thanks to Scott Barrett for providing me with some of PFF’s historical data.


Matthew Freedman is 680-545-26 (55.5%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

The Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, Freedman is commonly called the Oracle & the Labyrinthian.

2021 College Football Playoff National Title Odds Tracker: Clemson, Alabama Stare Down National Championship After Big Week 7 Wins

ncaa-college football-national championship-odds-picks-college football playoff-2020

2020-2021 National Championship Odds

Team Odds (10/19)
Clemson +120 [Bet Now]
Alabama +300 [Bet Now]
Ohio State +300 [Bet Now]
Georgia +1200 [Bet Now]
Florida +2500 [Bet Now]
Penn State +3300 [Bet Now]
Notre Dame +5000 [Bet Now]
Texas A&M +5000 [Bet Now]
Wisconsin +5000 [Bet Now]
Michigan +6600 [Bet Now]
Iowa State +10000 [Bet Now]
Minnesota +10000 [Bet Now]
Oklahoma +10000 [Bet Now]
Oregon +10000 [Bet Now]
USC +10000 [Bet Now]
Kansas State +12500 [Bet Now]
Oklahoma State +12500 [Bet Now]
Washington +12500 [Bet Now]
Iowa +15000 [Bet Now]
Memphis +15000 [Bet Now]
NC State +15000 [Bet Now]
Miami (FL) +20000 [Bet Now]
Texas +20000 [Bet Now]
Utah +20000 [Bet Now]
Arizona State +25000 [Bet Now]
BYU +25000 [Bet Now]
California +25000 [Bet Now]
Cincinnati +25000 [Bet Now]
Indiana +25000 [Bet Now]
Kentucky +25000 [Bet Now]
LSU +25000 [Bet Now]
Nebraska +25000 [Bet Now]
North Carolina +25000 [Bet Now]
Northwestern +25000 [Bet Now]
Purdue +25000 [Bet Now]
Stanford +25000 [Bet Now]
Virginia Tech +25000 [Bet Now]
Washington State +25000 [Bet Now]
SMU +30000 [Bet Now]
Temple +30000 [Bet Now]
Marshall +30000 [Bet Now]
Michigan State +35000 [Bet Now]
West Virginia +35000 [Bet Now]
Arizona +50000 [Bet Now]
Arkansas +50000 [Bet Now]

Above are updated College Football National Championship odds from DraftKings Sportsbook.

For those new to sports betting, +150 odds mean a $100 bet would win $150 (in addition to the $100 risked).

Last updated October 19.

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October 19 update

Despite one loss among the top-four teams from a national title odds perspective, the group remains intact. That’s because Georgia‘s loss came at the hands of Alabama

After toppling the then-No. 3 Bulldogs, the Crimson Tide jumped past Ohio State for the second-shortest odds and now sit at +300. Georgia, meanwhile, dropped from +900 to +1200.

Clemson remains in the top spot after a dominant 73-7 win over Georgia Tech. The Tigers keep inching closer toward the “even” mark, moving from +175 to +120.

Despite entering Week 7 as a top-five team, North Carolina sat at +12500. Now, after a loss to Florida State (+75000), the Tar Heels own a +25000 mark.

With the Big Ten opening play this weekend, five teams — Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota — are within the top 12 programs on the odds board.


October 13 update

The top-three teams atop the national championship odds board remain unchanged. However, the previous No. 4 took a tumble.

Florida fell from +1400 to +2200 after suffering a loss to Texas A&M (+5000) in College Station on Saturday. The Gators were replaced by Georgia, which jumped from +1400 to +900 after toppling Tennessee. An upcoming matchup against Alabama (+350) will play a key role in both teams’ odds moving forward.

Texas and Miami both fell down the board as well. The Longhorns dropped to +15000 from +8000 after falling to Oklahoma (+10000), while the U also went to +15000 from +6600 after its loss to Clemson.

LSU, the defending national champions, sit at +25000 after falling to Missouri (+50000) in Columbia.


October 8 update

Not much changed atop the odds board after Week 5, as Clemson remains the favorite at +200. The Tigers are followed closely by Ohio State (+250) and Alabama, whose odds improved from +400 to +300 after a blowout victory over Texas A&M.

Georgia‘s odds shortened to +1400 after a win over Auburn (now +10000) and sits right behind the top three along with Florida (+1400). Oklahoma dropped to +6600 after losing to Iowa State (+25000), while Mississippi State fell from +4000 to +10000 and Texas A&M tumbled from +5000 to +10000.

Reigning champion LSU remains at +10000 to take home this year’s title.


September 29 update

Clemson (+200), Ohio State (+250) and Alabama (+400) remain the three clear prohibitive favorites to win the 2020-21 College Football Playoff National Championship. All three teams have remained at heir currently listed futures odds since Sept. 16. Unless, or until, the Tigers, Buckeyes or Crimson Tide loses, the real National Championship race is for the No. 4 playoff spot behind that trio.

Throughout the offseason, the Oklahoma Sooners appeared to be a strong contender, but their Week 4 loss to Kansas State is now a stubborn smudge on their resume. The Sooners’ national championship odds fell from +2000 to +2800 following their defeat, while Kansas State’s odds subsequently rose from +50000 to +20000.

The defending champion LSU Tigers (+3300 to +10000) also seemed like a reasonable bet to reload after last season’s title, but those hopes were sullied after their season-opening defeat to the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Mississippi State so impressed futures investors in its 44-34 upset, that the Bulldogs’ national championship odds rose staggeringly week over week. As of Sept. 21, Mississippi State was still listed at +25000. But after the Bulldogs’ Week 4 win over LSU, they now boast top-10 odds to win at +4000.

From one Bulldogs team to another: The Georgia Bulldogs were wholly unimpressive in their season opener against Arkansas. Georgia’s first points came via defensive safety, and the Bulldogs trailed the Razorbacks 5-7 entering halftime. They flipped a switch in the third quarter and eventually pulled away in a 37-10 win, but futures investors were clearly dissatisfied with the Bulldogs’ showing — especially their lingering uncertainty at the quarterback position.

As a result, Georgia’s odds dropped from +1200 to +2000, which translates to a 2.93% decrease in implied probability. That drop was the largest of any team in Week 4, which is somewhat surprising considering that the Bulldogs did, in fact, win by a 27-point margin. Texas A&M (+4000 to +5000) suffered a similarly precipitous decline of around 1.45% despite the Aggies’ victory over Vanderbilt.


September 21 update

Week 3 did little to distinguish teams as legitimate national title contenders, but it did rescind a couple of invites to the party.

Louisville’s national championship odds fell from +15000 to +25000 after the Cardinals’ primetime defeat by Miami. The Hurricanes jumped out to a 20-6 halftime lead and maintained at least a two-score lead for the entire ballgame. Miami’s title odds increased concurrently, rising from +12500 on Sept. 16 to +10000 by the end of the weekend.

Other notable risers include Boston College (+25000 to +20000) and Marshall (+35000 to +3000), neither of whom project as legitimate threats to topple the current college football hierarchy.

Duke, Georgia Tech, South Florida, Syracuse and Tulane each fell from +50000 to +10000 following their respective Week 3 losses.

Expect plenty of movement at the top of the ladder this weekend as the SEC finally inaugurates its 2020 conference campaign.


September 16 update

Welcome back to the party, Big Ten.

With the conference’s announcement that they would be returning to the fall college football season, a few notable futures updates followed. Ohio State is the most notable of the bunch, jumping right into the No. 2 spot at +250 odds. As such, Clemson was pulled back from +150 to +200.

Other top contenders, like Alabama (+225 to +400) and Georgia (+400 to +1200) also took considerable hits to their title chances with the insertion of the Buckeyes.

As for the other big names returning with the Big Ten, Penn State comes in at +2800, while Michigan and Wisconsin are both listed at +4000.


September 14 update

The college football National Championship futures market remained mostly stagnant following Week 2 action, as we anxiously await the SEC joining into the mix on September 26.

Among this week’s biggest movers, the Texas Longhorns (+1400) improved from +3300 following their 59-3 shellacking of UTEP. Texas’ implied odds increased 3.73% week-over-week, corresponding with a huge improvement in quarterback Sam Ehlinger’s Heisman Trophy odds.

The Syracuse Orange improved to +20000 despite a Week 2 loss to North Carolina, and the Pittsburgh Panthers moved from +25000 to +10000 after dispatching Austin Peay 55-0.

Notre Dame was this weeks biggest faller after an uninspiring 27-13 win over Duke in South Bend. The Fighting Irish dropped from +2200 to +3300 following Week 2 action, which represents a 1.41% decrease in their implied probability to win the National Championship.

Here’s a quick rundown of the week’s other notable fallers:

  • The Iowa State Cyclones fell from +8000 to +15000 after their home loss to Louisiana-Lafayette.
  • The Florida State Seminoles and Kansas State Wildcats each fell from +15000 to +50000 following home losses to Georgia Tech and Arkansas State respectively.

UEFA Champions League Odds & Picks: Best Group Stage Bets and Futures

The Champions League group stages kick off on Tuesday for the 2019-20 season. This is the best club competition in European soccer, and I really wanted to write about my thoughts on the group stages, as well as note my futures bets to win the cup.

The format features eight groups and four teams in each group. There are six group-stage games for each team, facing every other club in its group home and away with the top two advancing to the knockout stages.

This stage of the competition can be quite chalky, but I am going to try to find some value. Let’s break down where the value is in the group stage, as well as what to look at when betting futures for this season’s Champions League.

Odds as of Monday at 5 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

Group Stage Bets

RB Leipzig to advance +115, to win Group H +450

My favorite pick that may be less obvious to some is RB Leipzig, who are priced at +115 to advance and +450to win the group. I think both give bettors great value.

Julian Nagelsmann is one of the most sought after managers in Europe at just 33 years old and will likely leave for a bigger club in the near future. He took Leipzig to the semifinals of last season’s Champions League, knocking out Tottenham first in the Round of 16 and then Atletico Madrid in the quarterfinals, the latter of which was without former star striker Timo Werner. Some might be scared off this time around by the German international’s move to Chelsea, but I still am very bullish on Leipzig.

The two heavy hitters in this group are PSG and Manchester United. The Parisians are the class and should advance. United, though, I’m a bit worried about. If they played today on a neutral site, I would favor the Reb Bull-backed side to beat the Red Devils. I love Leipzig to advance at +115, and I will also sprinkle a little bit on them to win the group at +450.

 Juventus to win Group G +120

This pick is more a fade of Barcelona, but I do like Juventus at plus-money to win the group. Yes, Cristiano Ronaldo will miss at least Matchday 1 after his positive COVID-19 test during the international break, but I’m not too worried about Juve’s first match, which is away to Dynamo Kyiv.

I don’t think Barcelona should be favored over a side of Juventus’ quality, and these odds should be a pick’em. I will take the +120 all day.

Barcelona are in a transition phase right now. The Blaugrana just lost, 1-0, to Getafe in domestic play with most of its best possible squad available. Lionel Messi is obviously one of the greatest of all-time, but this Barca team has too many holes and hasn’t played well frankly in a long time.

Both clubs have new managers, but I just would favor Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala in attack, along with Juventus’ ever-stingy defense, over what Barcelona has going on right now.

[Bet Juventus now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Chelsea to win Group E -129

This one might take some trust to go along with, but I think it’s the right pick. The favorites in Group E are Chelsea and Sevilla, who are +140 to top the group.

Now, I love that Sevilla are kings of the Europa League, having won the tournament six times since 2005 including last season, and the Spanish side should advance out of the group. I just see Chelsea as the superior team.

The amount of money the Blues spent in the transfer window tells me that manager Frank Lampard and owner Roman Abramovich are looking to remain the Premier League’s top four with an aim to win the Champions League for the second time in club history. Chelsea might not be ready to win this competition this season, but there is enough talent across the field for them to top the group.

New goalkeeper Edouard Mendy could be the biggest addition with Kepa Arrizabalaga’s struggles in net, while veteran Thiago Silva should help Chelsea in defense. In attack, adding Kai Havertz and Werner from the Bundesliga, obviously, is massive. Sevilla will put up a fight in this group, but my money will be on the Blues to top it.

Dortmund to win Group F -143

This play is purely a fade on Lazio. Last season, non-penalty expected goals had Lazio ranked seventh in Serie A while their overall xG had them fifth, only six goals behind champions Juventus and Inter Milan. Non-penalty xG put them 10 behind those two sides that topped the table.

Not much was added in the transfer window, and I think striker Ciro Immobile and Co. benefited greatly from the number of penalty kicks that Lazio were award last season. I think Dortmund to win the group is cheap at -143.

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Atalanta to win Group D +275

This might not be a popular pick, but I really like the value. I would make this far closer to +200.

The big force in Group D is Liverpool, and the Reds have only gained one point from their last two Premier League matches. And that was with a healthy squad.

Liverpool lost center back Virgil van Dijk to a cruciate knee injury on Saturday against Everton, and goalkeeper Alisson is out injured and might not return before the next international break in November, which would cover the first three group stage matches in the Champions League.

Atalanta made it to the quarterfinals last season, and their manager Gian Piero Gasperini is of the highest quality. I liked what they did in the transfer window and love their attacking brand of soccer. The current +275 line implies a probability of 27%, which I think is just too low. I’ll be taking a shot on Atalanta here.

Futures

I am going to have a bit of a layered approach for my futures bets in the Champions League. I typically like to take two long shots that I think have the quality to make a run to the quarterfinals, and two teams that are in the top 10 in odds that are legitimate contenders. It would make sense if those aligned with some picks above, and they do.

Here they are:

  • Juventus +1300
  • Chelsea +2000
  • Inter Milan +3000
  • Atalanta +3500
  • RB Leipzig +6000

[Bet the Champions League now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

I think now is the time to take some longer shots. I can poke holes in every one of the top clubs in Europe right now.

I think it will be tough for Bayern Munich to retain its crown. Manchester City have had infamous struggles in the Champions League and haven’t looked bulletproof to start the Premier League season, while Liverpool have their injury concerns.

I think PSG may have missed their best chance to win the Champions League that season and lost Thiago Silva to Chelsea. I would not bank on Barcelona given the state of affairs there. I like Real Madrid, but think they might have been a bit overrated last season and made no significant additions to the team.

So give me two elite clubs (Juventus and Chelsea), one in the middle (Inter) and two long shots (Atalanta and RB Leipzig) that are also potential up-and-coming sides.

Chiefs vs. Bills Sharp Pick: How Pros Are Betting the Monday Night Football Total

Chiefs vs. Bills Betting Odds

Chiefs Odds -5.5
Bills Odds +5.5
Spread Projection +3.4 (see all projections)
Over/Under 55.5 
Over/Under Projection 55.5 (see all projections)
Time/Channel  5 p.m. ET, FOX

Data as of Monday at 8 a.m. ET.

Sign up for a FREE Trial of our NFL PRO Report, which highlights key factors that provide betting edges — like sharp action, large wagers, historically-profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks.


Due to schedule reshuffling, the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills Week 6 matchup, which was originally set for Thursday, will kick off today at 5 p.m. ET.

Despite sporting identical 4-1 records, Kansas City is a 5.5-point road favorite (click here for live NFL odds) against Buffalo, showing the market clearly views the Chiefs as the superior team.

There is no clear consensus on how the pros are betting the Chiefs vs. Bills spread. However, the total is another story.

Using our NFL PRO Report, let’s detail how sharps are quietly playing this over/under.

Chiefs vs. Bills Betting Pick

Sharp Action

As recently as early Monday morning, the Chiefs vs. Bills over/under sat at 57.5 at BetMGM. But according to Sports Insights’ Bet Signals, wiseguys steamed the under, pushing this number down to 55.5.

Big Money

While not the largest bets-vs.-dollars discrepancy, the under is also garnering 52% of the money on 44% of the tickets, showing that the biggest bets are banking on a lower-scoring game.

PRO Report Angle: Under 55.5

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Bills vs. Chiefs Odds & Picks: Your Guide To Betting the Monday Night Football Spread

chiefs-vs-bills-odds-pick-spread-betting-week-6-2020

Bills vs. Chiefs Odds

Bills Odds
+5 [BET NOW]
Chiefs Odds
-5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
57.5 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
5 p.m. ET
TV
FOX, NFL Network

Odds via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.


The Chiefs and Bills each lost their first game of the season last week. Which team is the better bet to bounce back?

Kansas City Chiefs

Unlike the Bills, the Chiefs enter Monday’s contest with an extra day to prepare, which has historically been a major edge for head coach Andy Reid:

The Chiefs will be without wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring) and guard Kelechi Osemele (knee), but their second-ranked offense in Football Outsiders’ DVOA should still have the edge over a Buffalo defense that has sunken to 27th in DVOA after bleeding 42 points to the Titans.

Wide receivers Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle provide enough depth to fill Watkins’ shoes, while Osemele had’t been playing much better than replacement Mike Remmers, ranking 48th among guards in Pro Football Focus grade, while Remmers ranks 55th.

There are a few reasons Buffalo’s defense could be in trouble in this matchup:

  1. The Bills rank 28th in DVOA vs. No. 1 wide receivers.
  2. The Bills rank 20th in DVOA vs. tight ends.
  3. The Bills blitz at the third-highest rate in the league (40.6%, according to Pro Football Reference).

Anytime you struggle against No. 1 receivers and tight ends, you’re going to have issues facing the Chiefs’ elite pass-catching duo of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, but the biggest worry is that the Bills exacerbate their deficiencies by blitzing at a high rate, which simply does not work against Mahomes.

Instead, it’s been the defenses that sit back in coverage that have fared best against Mahomes and Kansas City’s offense: The Chargers blitzed Mahomes on three out of 54 dropbacks in Week 2 while holding the Chiefs to 23 total points, while the Patriots blitzed on only three of 35 dropbacks in Week 4 while holding the Chiefs to 26 points, with 7 coming by way of the defense.

If the Chiefs can jump out to a lead, Buffalo’s 24th-ranked run defense could struggle to contain Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who will likely be highly motivated after the team just signed veteran Le’Veon Bell, who was released from the Jets last week.

Buffalo Bills

This is a measuring stick game for Buffalo, as a much-improved Josh Allen and the league’s No. 4 passing offense in terms of DVOA matches up against the No. 2 pass-DVOA defense.

Steve Spagnuolo’s defense entered Week 5 ranked top-10 in DVOA vs. No. 1, No. 2 and non-primary wide receivers, allowing just 9.6 receptions per game to the position as a whole — second-fewest in the NFL — which could pose problems for a Buffalo offense that has leaned on wide receivers for 74.6% of its receptions and is without starting tight end Dawson Knox (calf). The Bills will likely involve running backs Devin Singletary and Zack Moss more in the passing game, as KC ranks 28th in DVOA on targets to backs.

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Especially with the Chiefs playing top-two pass defense, the key for opposing offenses is to milk their run game as much as possible against Kansas City’s notoriously porous run defense, which ranks 28th in DVOA this season. The return of Moss (toe) will help in this regard, but it’s still concerning that a team with Josh Allen’s rushing prowess at quarterback ranks dead last in rushing DVOA on offense.

Buffalo’s offensive line is paving the way for only 3.93 Adjusted Line Yards per rush, 25th in the league, and its backs are averaging 3.97 yards per carry, which ranks 23rd.

Primarily due to a lethal play-action game that has produced 6 TDs and a 134.1 passer rating on 69 attempts, Buffalo has been the league’s best under-center offense, averaging 6.8 yards per play. That mark is in danger of falling, however, as the Chiefs rank fourth in under-center yards per play allowed at 4.3.

Chiefs-Bills Pick

The Chiefs laid an egg on defense last week against the Raiders, but match up well with the Bills and have extra time to prepare, which has always been an advantage for Reid.

Reid has also been a smart bet when he takes his team on the road…


…and in primetime…


…and as a favorite with Mahomes as his QB.

The only thing the Bills have going for them in this spot his home field, which historically has not been an edge against Reid’s Chiefs. Both of these teams are in need of a bounce-back game, but the odds are that the Bills will have to wait another week (the Jets are up in Week 7!). I like KC up to -5.

In regard to the total, it looks spot on, which explains why the bets and money are split exactly 50/50 as of this writing.

PICK: Chiefs -5

[Bet now at PointsBet and get $125 if the Chiefs score a point]

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Maryland Sports Betting Ballot Measure 2020 Voter Guide

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The 2020 election will allow Maryland voters to legalize sports betting.

It’s the last remaining state in the area without legal wagering, as other mid-Atlantic states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania have been among the early revenue leaders in the U.S. market.

Gaming stakeholders have spent millions of dollars to support the “yes” vote on Maryland Question 2, also known as the “Sports Betting Measure,” but polling shows it could be a close vote.

Here’s everything Maryland voters need to know about the question on their ballots and what to expect in the coming election.

[Sports Betting Legalization Map]

What Is Maryland Question 2?

Maryland voters will see the following on their election ballot under Question 2:

Do you approve the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and events betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?

“The expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and events betting” is required to amend the state constitution, which currently prohibits sports gambling. A majority of 2020 voters must vote “yes” or sports betting remains illegal.

The second clause refers to how gambling tax dollars would be spent if legalized. Legislation that put the referendum on the 2020 ballot specifically directs that sports wagering taxes must be primarily put toward funding public education.

When Would Sports Betting Begin?

If approved in November, Maryland legal sports betting would likely begin sometime in 2021, though elected officials will still need to pass critical follow-up legislation that answers things like:

  • How many operators can enter the state
  • Whether or not online betting will be legal (which does seem like a safe bet)
  • How the operators would be regulated

Maryland lawmakers worked on a comprehensive bill earlier this year that would work through many of those questions until the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the 2020 legislative session. Legislators agreed instead to a streamlined bill that placed the referendum question needed to amend the state constitution but left unanswered most other crucial elements of regulated sports betting.

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Lawmakers were still working through these questions before the 2020 session ended, but bettors should expect, at the very least, retail sportsbooks at the state’s six commercial casinos. Elected officials also seem inclined to support sportsbooks at several state horse tracks.

Statewide mobile betting also seems like a safe bet. Online betting makes up as much as 90% of betting handle in other regional sports betting markets such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Elected officials seemed to largely support online betting during discussions earlier this year.

Legislators will also have to determine how many online licenses, or “skins,” would be available. Industry stakeholders have pushed for a large skin total, pointing to other successful markets such as New Jersey and Colorado, which both allow more than 30 skins.

At a minimum, Maryland bettors should expect at least eight or nine skins between the casinos and horse tracks.

Will the Maryland Sports Betting Question Pass?

Ballot measure questions are difficult to predict, especially those involving controversial subjects such as legal gambling, but most key factors are pointing toward passage.

Campaign spending is entirely in favor of Question 2, with supporters raising close to $3 million and organized opposition groups reporting $0. DraftKings and FanDuel have already contributed $1.5 million and $250,000 in cash contributions, respectively. Three state casinos have combined to chip in more than $50,000 for the “yes” campaign.

The funds have gone in part toward an ad campaign that highlights revenues toward educational purposes from sports betting taxes. Lawmakers from both parties in the Democrat-controlled General Assembly have also publicly supported Question 2, as has Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

Polling has been limited, but a February poll showed only 47% support for legal sports betting with 43% opposition. That came before Maryland formalized the ballot measure — and COVID-19 altered the state’s education funding — so it remains to be seen how well the poll holds up presently.

That poll also came before neighboring Virginia passed its sports betting bill and Washington D.C. opened its first retail and digital sportsbooks. Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey already offer legal sports betting, meaning Maryland will remain the only Mid-Atlantic state without wagering if voters reject Question 2.

The reality that Marylanders will either cross into a neighboring state or continue with unlicensed bookmakers or offshore betting sites to place a wager is one of supporters’ strongest arguments for the ballot question. Even for those disinclined to patronize or even support a legal sportsbook, the amendment is the only way to keep sports betting tax dollars in-state.

2020 ZOZO Championship Betting Preview: Which Stats Matter Most This Week at Sherwood Country Club?

After an exciting week of golf at Shadow Creek Golf Course, the PGA TOUR stays out West to play the ZOZO Championship at Sherwood Country Club in the Thousand Oaks area of California.

Like the CJ Cup, the ZOZO Championship was previously part of the TOUR’s Asian swing, but had to relocate this season due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Last year, the ZOZO Championship was the first-ever tour event held in Japan and did not disappoint, with Tiger Woods earning his 82nd career victory, which tied legend Sam Snead’s record.

Sherwood Country Club is a Par 72 layout, measuring at 7,006 yards. The Jack Nicklaus-designed course features Bentgrass greens and features a unique layout, with five par 5 and five par 3 holes. The course was on the tour schedule from 2000-2013, when it hosted the Hero World Challenge.

This event had previously been an 18-man field, which should be taken into consideration when trying to find a correlation to this week’s tournament.

GolfBet

The ZOZO Championship will be another no-cut event, highlighted a  strong, 78-man field similar to what we saw at Shadow Creek. The most notable addition will be Woods. Historically, he has dominated Sherwood CC, recording five victories and five runner-up efforts in just 12 starts at the course.

Other notable additions include Adam Scott, Tony Finau and Webb Simpson.

Past Winners at The ZOZO Championship (Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club)

  • 2019: Tiger Woods (-19)

Past Winners at Sherwood Country Club ( Hero World Challenge)

  • 2013: Zach Johnson (-13)
  • 2012: Graeme McDowell (-17)
  • 2011: Tiger Woods (-10)
  • 2010: Graeme McDowell (-16)
  • 2009: Jim Furyk (-13)

Let’s take a look at several metrics for Sherwood CC to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds:

Strokes Gained: Approach

Looking at the past winners at Sherwood CC, it’s evident distance won’t be as much of a factor this week. Golfers who can get dialed in with their irons should have a major advantage and I see approach as the most important statistic at this track. I would absolutely consider Sherwood CC to be a second-shot course.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Russell Henley (+24.4) (+5500)
  2. Matthew Wolff (+18.7) (+3300)
  3. Justin Thomas (+17.0) (+1200)
  4. Tiger Woods (+18.1) (+3300)
  5. Jason Kokrak (+17.5) (+3500)

Fairways Gained

Sherwood CC has tighter than average fairways, which will make driving accuracy incredibly important. This is not a course you can bomb and gouge, which means golfers will need to be more strategic when it comes to off-the-tee positioning. The short 7,006-yard course length may neutralize the strength of the TOUR’s longest drivers.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Brendon Todd (+45.0) (+10000)
  2. Tyler Duncan (+39.8) (+25000) 
  3. Corey Conners (+34.8) (+15000)
  4. Collin Morikawa (+30.4) (+2200)
  5. Sungjae Im (+27.7) (+5500)

Strokes Gained Putting: Bentgrass

Putting surface consistently seems to play a role in whether or not golfers have good putting weeks.

Last week, Jason Kokrak won in part because he gained 10.3 strokes putting to go along with a great tee-to-green performance. Kokrak has been a notoriously poor putter, but his best surface statistically is Bentgrass. This exemplifies the importance of looking at specialists on a particular surface.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Brendon Todd (+28.3) (+10000)
  2. Brian Harman (+23.1) (+10000)
  3. Mackenzie Hughes (+21.4) (+17500)
  4. Matthew Fitzpatrick (+18.1) (+3500)
  5. Patrick Reed (+18.1) (+2500)

Par 4: 400-450 Yards

Most of the Par 4s at Sherwood Country Club are short, measuring in the 400- to 450-yard range. This should create a lot of shorter wedge shots, even for golfers who don’t bomb it off the tee. Similar to last week at Shadow Creek, the best defense for this course is its challenging, undulating greens.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds (per round, minimum of 20 rounds):

  1. Russell Henley (+18.9) (+5500)
  2. Patrick Reed (+13.6) (+2500)
  3. Rory McIlroy (+10.6) (+1200)
  4. Joaquin Niemann (+11.4) (+4500)
  5. Jon Rahm (+8.6) (+1000)

Par 3: 175-225 Yards

The Par 3s at Sherwood CC are all fairly long, measuring between 168 and 232 yards.  With all five of the par 5s being relatively short, it won’t give much of an advantage to longer hitters. Therefore, I see the golfers who play the long par 3s this week well as those with the best chance to separate themselves.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Russell Henley (+7.4) (+5500)
  2. Harris English (+5.9) (+3500)
  3. Matthew Fitzpatrick (+4.4) (+3300)
  4. Collin Morikawa (+4.2) (+2200)
  5. Webb Simpson (+4.1) (+1800)

Statistical Model

Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

These rankings are comprised of SG: App (24%) Fairways Gained (24%); SG: Putting bentgrass (21%); Par 3:  175-200 (7%); SG: Par 3: 200-225 (7%); and, Par 4: 400-450 (16%)

  1. Matthew Fitzpatrick (+3500)
  2. Russell Henley (+5500)
  3. Kevin Kisner (+11000)
  4. Webb Simpson (+1800)
  5. Brian Harman (+10000)
  6. Joel Dahmen (+17500)
  7. Tyler Duncan (+25000)
  8. Collin Morikawa (+2200)
  9. Jason Kokrak (+3500)
  10. Justin Thomas (+1200)

[Bet the 2020 ZOZO Championship now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Perry’s ZOZO Championship Betting Picks and Preview: Longshot Brian Harman Is Worth a Flutter

2020 zozo picks-best bets-longshots

Much like last week’s CJ Cup, the 2020 ZOZO Championship is headlined by a venue shift.

After the event debuted with a Tiger Woods win in Japan, it will move to Sherwood Country Club in Los Angeles for the 2020 edition.

Sherwood has never hosted an official PGA TOUR event, but it was the home of what is now the Hero World Challenge from 2000-2013. Woods won five time during that stretch so he should feel comfortable about his chances to defend his ZOZO title.

GolfBet

The Course

Sherwood is pretty short by TOUR standards, measuring just 7,073 yards for a par 72. It includes five par 5s, all easily reachable for most of the field, so I’d expect the winner to get close to 20-under par again this week.

Outside of Tiger Woods, the other previous winners resemble something we’d see at a course like Harbour Town. Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson and Luke Donald each won here, while Graeme McDowell has a pair of victories at Sherwood.

If the bombers can keep it in play, they have the advantage like usual. But given how short the course is, precision players who find a lot of greens should have be able to hang with the big hitters.

With the shift back to California for the first time since the PGA Championship, you may want to keep your eye out for good Poa putters.


[Track all of your PGA TOUR bets by downloading the free Action Network App.]


The Favorites

Jon Rahm and last week’s runner-up Xander Schauffele opened as the co-favorites at +1000 with Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy right behind them at +1200.

If I had to pick someone from this section of the board I’d ride with Thomas since he’s usually the best iron player of that crew, but I’m not really looking to back any of them this week.

That said, I will start my card in this range with Webb Simpson (+2000). Simpson is in a great run of form with six top-20 finishes in his last seven outings. And since Harbour Town seems to be a good corollary course with Sherwood, I’m happy to back Simpson, who won at Harbour Town in June.

[Bet Webb Simpson at bet365. NJ only.]

The Mid-Tier

With a play at the top of the board, I’ll be pretty limited in this range. I do like Brian Harman at +9000, though.

Harman is a good wedge player and has good putting numbers on Poa. The 33-year-old has been consistently playing well and was able to work himself into contention at the Shriners two weeks ago, though a poor final round dropped him outside the top-10.

With this course being on the shorter side, it should favor Harman’s style of play.

[Bet Brian Harman at bet365. NJ only.]

The Longshots

My last play will be on Lanto Griffin at +11000.

Griffin is a solid iron player and is coming off a top-10 finish at the CJ Cup. The 32-year-old seems to be dialed in and has only lost strokes on his approach once in the last four months.

Griffin is typically a good putter who struggles off the tee, but there’s a chance that length won’t be as important this week, so that weakness could be masked a bit.

[Bet Lanto Griffin at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

The Zozo Card

  • Webb Simpson +2000 (1.65 units)
  • Brian Harman +9000 (.37 units)
  • Lanto Griffin +11000 (.3 units)

Total Stake: 2.32 units

Miles Sanders, Zach Ertz Injuries Moving Giants vs. Eagles Odds on Thursday Night Football

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Giants vs. Eagles Betting Odds

Giants Odds +4
Eagles Odds -4
Over/Under 44
Time/Channel  8:20 p.m. ET, FOX

Data as of Monday at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Sign up for a FREE Trial of our NFL PRO Report, which highlights key factors that provide betting edges — like sharp action, large wagers, historically-profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks.


There’s no denying that Carson Wentz has struggled this season, evidenced by a QBR of 51.0 which ranks 25th in the league.

And what should have been a good matchup for Wentz and the Eagles on Thursday night against the Giants just got tougher with injuries to key skill-position players for Philadelphia.

According to reports, leading rusher Miles Sanders and star tight end Zach Ertz will miss Thursday’s game, leaving the Eagles very short-handed on the offensive side of the ball.

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Sanders will not play Thursday due to a knee injury, but could return in Week 8. Ertz’s status is a bit more serious, as an injury to his ankle is expected to keep him off the field for three to four weeks.

The betting market has certainly taken notice, with Philly dropping from -6 to -4 at Parx (click here for live NFL odds) after news of those two injuries broke on Monday afternoon.

The Giants vs. Eagles over/under has also seen some movement, dropping from the opener of 45.5 to 44 at the time of writing.

Interestingly, 74% of early NFL Week 7 bets have come in on Philadelphia, yet 89% of real money wagered is on underdog New York.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills Weather Report: Expect Rain at Bills Stadium on Monday

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Chiefs vs. Bills Betting Odds

Chiefs Odds -5.5
Bills Odds +5.5
Spread Projection +3.4 (see all projections)
Over/Under 55.5 
Over/Under Projection 54.9 (see all projections)
Time/Channel  5 p.m. ET, FOX

Data as of Monday at 1 p.m. ET.

Sign up for a FREE Trial of our NFL PRO Report, which highlights key factors that provide betting edges — like sharp action, large wagers, historically-profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks.


Buffalo is no stranger to inclement weather, especially as the NFL season progresses from fall to winter.

While snow and winds are often the culprit, tonight’s Chiefs vs. Bills matchup should see some rainfall throughout the game.

Let’s take a detailed look at the Chiefs vs. Bills weather forecast to determine just how troubling rain might be on Monday night.

Chiefs vs. Bills Weather Forecast

According to the National Weather Service, Buffalo is expecting scattered showers at 5 p.m. ET, which is when tonight’s game is scheduled to kick off.

Rain should continue throughout the game, but it’s also important to note that winds will be calm and shouldn’t pose much of an issue for both passing attacks.

After sitting at 57.5 very early this morning, the Chiefs vs. Bills over/under has fallen to 55.5 (click here for live NFL odds), so the betting market could very well be reacting to the wet weather forecast.

Can we say for sure that rain is the reason for this total moving? No, but as our NFL PRO Report details, the number is on the move and it’s respected bettors moving it.

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Our Staff’s World Series Picks, MVP Bets, Exact Outcome Props for Rays vs. Dodgers

Three weeks of an expanded 16-team postseason later, and we’re left with the same two teams that would be playing for a World Series if it were 1920. You know, if the Rays existed in 1920.

But just because it’s a matchup of the American and National League’s best respective teams, doesn’t mean this is an even matchup according to the betting market.

In fact, the Dodgers -200 consensus odds imply a two-in-three chance that LA will lift the Commissioner’s Trophy this year. Does that make them a worthy bet, though?

Our experts seem to have a pretty clear answer. Continue reading “Our Staff’s World Series Picks, MVP Bets, Exact Outcome Props for Rays vs. Dodgers”

Our Staff’s World Series Picks, MVP Bets, Exact Outcome Props for Rays vs. Dodgers

Three weeks of an expanded 16-team postseason later, and we’re left with the same two teams that would be playing for a World Series if it were 1920. You know, if the Rays existed in 1920.

But just because it’s a matchup of the American and National League’s best respective teams, doesn’t mean this is an even matchup according to the betting market.

In fact, the Dodgers -200 consensus odds imply a two-in-three chance that LA will lift the Commissioner’s Trophy this year. Does that make them a worthy bet, though?

Our experts seem to have a pretty clear answer. Continue reading “Our Staff’s World Series Picks, MVP Bets, Exact Outcome Props for Rays vs. Dodgers”

Sobel’s 2020 ZOZO Championship Preview & Betting Picks: Bubba, Reed Highlight Smart Plays

pga tour-zoo championship-betting-odds-picks-dfs-october 2020-jason sobel

Another week, another limited-field, no-cut event at a temporary host venue, for which we might have more intel on than the permanent spot.

Just as last week’s CJ Cup took a one-year hiatus from being contested in South Korea by moving to Shadow Creek Golf Course, this week’s ZOZO Championship will eschew Japan in favor of Sherwood Country Club, former host of Tiger Woods’ own Hero World Challenge, back when it was referred to with other title sponsors in the name.

Also like the previous event, this one isn’t a WGC tournament, but it will have the same feel. And since we’re discussing what it isn’t rather than what it is, playing at Sherwood should give it the sense that Tiger is hosting this one, as well, which he isn’t, though returning as the defending champion of the tournament helps perpetuate that sense.

GolfBet

A few other things to note before we get into the picks:

As of the time this was published, Dustin Johnson is still in the field. I’d expect that, much like the timing of Tony Finau’s positive COVID-19 test and subsequent “suspension” over the past few weeks, DJ won’t be able to compete in this one, even if his follow-up tests show a negative. If that is indeed the case, expect every player’s odds to drop a few notches.

If it’s not and Johnson’s allowed to return, keep a sharp eye on a guy who knows this track as well as anyone else, considering his father-in-law(ish) Wayne Gretzky is a member.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Dustin Johnson

The last time a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event was held at Sherwood was 2013, when Zach Johnson defeated Woods in a playoff. Of the 14 total events played here, Tiger won five of them and had five runner-up finishes. If you’d like to give the noted course-horse a little extra consideration because of that, go right ahead — and I’ll do the same below.

That said, I wouldn’t read too much into seven-plus-year-old course history for most of the other players involved.

I’ve mentioned this site pretty frequently, but one of the most valuable applications at Data Golf — especially during a week when there’s no annual history to rely on — is the course fit tool, which tells us which other tracks should correlate to another.

According to this tool, those which fit the best for the same metrics which work at Sherwood are Muirfield Village and Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course. As you’ll notice below, many of my plays this week are on players who have enjoyed success on one (or both) of those courses.

With that in mind, let’s get right to the picks, starting with a guy who’s got plenty going in his direction this week:

Outright Winner

One player to win the tournament.

Patrick Reed (+2500)

In his past three worldwide starts, Reed has finished 3rd-13th-7th (using 72-hole scoring for the last of those, that being the Tour Championship). That alone should have us jotting his name down this week, but recent form is hardly the only reason I’m listing him here.

If those course correlations are indeed accurate, it bodes well for Reed, who owns two Top 10s (and no MCs) in five starts at Muirfield and a pair of runner-up results at Innisbrook.

Then there’s the fact that, as I stated above, this will likely take on the feel of a Tiger-hosted event, even if he’s not doing the heavy lifting. Reed loves showing off for his idol, four times finishing Top 5 (in six starts) at the Hero.

My guess is that Tiger’s inclusion alone will have Reed a bit more motivated than usual –– and he’s usually among the most motivated guys around anyway.

[Bet Patrick Reed now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Other OADers

Potential selections for one-and-done options.

Tiger Woods (+3300)

For those in year-long OAD pools (as opposed to season-long), there’s a definite possibility that we’re nearly 10 full months through the calendar and you’ve yet to write down Tiger’s name.

If you’ve been able to hold off, well, congrats: He posted a T-9 to start the year at Torrey Pines, but has nothing better than a T-37 in a half-dozen starts since. Even though he can (obviously) still win at Augusta, I can’t blindly recommend taking him for next month’s Masters — and so, if you want to use him at some point, this could be the last chance.

As I wrote above, his history here is near-impeccable, to the point where I wouldn’t be surprised if Zozo officials consulted with Tiger on where the defending champion would like to play this year’s event.

Given the potential options, his comfort level is certainly greater at Sherwood than it would’ve been anywhere else.

[Bet Tiger Woods now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Jeff Gross/Getty Images Pictured: Hideki Matsuyama

Hideki Matsuyama (+2800)

If an American company sponsored an event on the Japan Tour, don’t you think the best American player on that circuit would be a little more fired up to show off at that one?

Even though Matsuyama’s runner-up last year won’t be followed with another start in his home country this time, I still think the motivation factor is a bit higher for him than usual.

Last week, it was the same ol’, same ol’ for Hideki, as he posted above-average ball-striking numbers and below-average putting numbers. He does tend to own a nice record in the fall, though, so it would hardly be a surprise to see him contend for this title once again.

[Bet Hideki Matsuyama now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Top Five

One player to finish Top Five.

Bubba Watson (+750)

At the beginning of the PGA TOUR’s restart in May, when it was announced there would be no fans on-site at events, one of the first players I thought this would impact on a positive level was Watson, who has spoken candidly about not liking crowds.

In his first six starts without fans, though, he posted four MCs and no results inside the Top 30. It appears that he’s now coming around, however, as Bubba hit the ball better than anyone else at Shadow Creek last week.

He’s a fan of Riviera, having twice won there, and while it might be sacrilegious to compare Sherwood to Riv, there should be good vibes coming back to the SoCal area.

[Bet Bubba Watson now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Top 10

One player to finish Top 10.

Jason Kokrak (+750)

If we’re looking for the Memorial/Innisbrook connection, then last week’s champion needs to make this list. I don’t usually enjoy including the most recent winner in my previews.

It’s the golf prognosticator’s version of some band opening a concert with its most popular song. Sure,  it sounds good in the moment, but really it’s just low-hanging, crowd-pleasing fruit, giving the people what they want as they nod their heads aimlessly to the beat.

There’s little nuance involved in either decision. On this occasion, though, there’s greater reason to come out rocking with the first tune. Not only should this be a strong course fit for the obviously in-form Kokrak, but the human element — getting that decade-old monkey removed from his back — should have him playing freely throughout the week.

[Bet Jason Konrak now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Jeff Gross/Getty Images. Pictured: Jon Rahm

Top 20

One player to finish Top 20.

Danny Lee (+500 for Top 20)

There’s no foolproof, predictive statistic in the prognostication game. If there was, it’d be a lot easier. However, one I often like to look at is final-round ball-striking from the previous week’s event.

Lee led the field at Shadow Creek in strokes gained off the tee Sunday. Sure, he can lose his swing somewhere on that short trip between Vegas and L.A., but let’s hope this one remains predictive, as I like Lee as a plus-money Top 20 and as a low-cost DFS option.

[Bet Danny Lee now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

DFS Free Bingo Square

A safe plug-and-play option for DFS.

Jon Rahm

It’s easy enough to simply list the world’s No. 1-ranked player as a “safe” DFS play for this week and move on to the next category. But I’m not just blindly taking the best available talent.

Rahm is fresh off a middling T-17 at Shadow Creek last week, but tends to play much better on the second week of a two-week stretch of competition. In fact, of his five global victories dating back to the beginning of last year, four of them occurred when he’d played the previous week.

And really, it doesn’t much matter how he’s played in that prior event, as during that time he’s finished anywhere from runner-up to missed cut before prevailing just seven days later.

Throw in the fact that he won at Muirfield this year and was T-6 at Innisbrook last year, and he should be a strong play if you can spend up this week.

[Bet Jon Rahm now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

DFS ‘Dog

A lower-priced option for DFS.

Joel Dahmen

Following the same rationale that led me to pick Lee above, Dahmen also posted very solid ball-striking numbers during Sunday’s final round. Throw in the fact that he tends to play a lot of his best golf on his native West Coast and he could be a smart discount play near the bottom of lineups.

[Bet Joel Dahmen now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

First-Round Leader

One player to post the low score Thursday.

Joaquin Niemann (+4500)

I’ve been preaching my love for Niemann’s game in my previews over the past two weeks and he’s responded with results of 13th and sixth. I don’t like/dislike him any more or less this week than the previous two, but I’m trying to find the right spot for him.

While he largely improved as the week progressed at the CJ Cup, he posted opening-round 68s in each of his first two starts of this season, so I’ll bank on him going just a little bit lower in this one on Thursday. 

[Bet Joaquin Niemann now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Matchup Man

One player who should beat comparable players.

Matthew Fitzpatrick (+3300)

While three MCs in his last nine starts gives me a little trepidation in taking him for matchups, Fitzpatrick has been so good at the other ones during that span that he needed to make this list. Fresh off a T-12 last week, it’s really only a matter of time before he wins a U.S.-based event, a result which (insert sarcasm font) tends to cash most H2H bets, as well.

[Bet Matthew Fitzpatrick now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Xander Schauffele

The Big Fade

One top player to avoid at this tournament.

Xander Schauffele (+1100)

I know what you might be thinking: Wasn’t he your favorite outright play last week? And didn’t he come in second place? The answers to those questions, of course, are yes and yes.

It honestly pains me to ever fade Schauffele, who is (obviously) one of the world’s best all-around players. But … there’s one clue as to why we should do it this week. In the past 22 months — since Xander’s last victory — he’s now compiled a half dozen runner-up finishes.

Of those previous five, he owns a fifth and a 10th, but also has a 46th, a 63rd and a missed cut. With his odds in the DJ-Rahm neighborhood, I’ll take a pass before potentially jumping back on Schauffele for the Masters next month.

[Bet Xander Schauffele now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Leeds United vs. Wolves Odds & Betting Picks: Bet Both Teams to Score (Monday, Oct. 19)

Leeds vs. Wolves Odds

Leeds Odds +140 [BET NOW]
Wolves Odds +200 [BET NOW]
Draw +235 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (-107/-117) [BET NOW]
Time 3 p.m. ET
TV NBCSN

Odds updated as of Monday at 9:30 a.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


If you were hoping for a touch of excitement to close out the week’s Premier League fixtures, chances are you won’t be disappointed with what’s in store.

Things should heat up Monday in the North of England when Leeds United hosts Wolverhampton, with both clubs hoping to secure all three points in this interesting tussle at Elland Road.

Leeds, which earned promotion from the Championship, has been one of the brightest spots in England’s top flight thus far and sits in ninth place on the league table. Wolves, on the other hand, has had a mixed bag of results and looks to get things in order in this fixture.

That said, let’s take a deeper look at the sides:

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Leeds

When you think of exciting teams in the league, the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and others come to mind. However, you can throw the newly promoted Peacocks right in that mix.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when Leeds made its return to big stage, but was more than pleasantly surprised at the charisma, desire and skill this side showed in its hard-fought, 4-3 loss against Liverpool on debut.

Leeds might have taken the defeat against the defending league champion, but it gained a ton of respect from Liverpool and put the others on notice that it wouldn’t be toiling at the bottom in a season-long relegation scrap.

The Peacocks earned wins against Fulham and Sheffield United after that setback against the Reds before scratching out a 1-1 draw against Manchester City heading into the FIFA break.

Despite Leeds getting off to what could be described as a dream beginning, the club’s statistical numbers are anything but exceptional.

The Peacocks are pretty much middle of the table when it comes to the data, sitting on a subpar 5.5 expected goals and a very poor 8.2 expected goals against this season. That results in a -2.7 xGDiff and -0.67 xGDiff/90 minutes.

The club’s xGA is fourth worst in the league, sitting just ahead of Newcastle United (8.3 xGA), Manchester United (8.4 xGA) and West Bromwich Albion (9.0 xGA) at the bottom of the ranking.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


Wolves

Wolves has been the definition of inconsistent at the start of its campaign, going 2-2-0 prior to the international break. It closed its first set of matches with a 1-0 shutout win against Fulham.

The club sits in 15th place on the table, so getting any kind of result here on the road will be positive for manager Nuno Espírito Santo and the lads.

Wolves opened its season with a 2-0 shutout win against struggling Sheffield United before enduring back-to-back losses against Manchester City (3-1) and West Ham United (4-0), with the latter really raising some eyebrows among the club and its supporters in central England.

When comparing its numbers against Leeds, Wolves is better in all but one category. Wolves boasts 3.8 expected goals and 4.9 expected goals against, resulting in a -1.1 xGDiff and -0.25 xGDiff/90 minutes.

The latter two stats are essentially middle of the pack, which is a promising sign for the club,

Betting Analysis

Oddsmakers really think we are going to see a low-scoring affair at Elland Road, but I believe otherwise. Leeds is the last team that’s going to sit back and let the game come to it, especially when it’s facing an opponent it feels is below its caliber.

That kind of approach also opens you up to defensive mistakes and susceptible to a foe’s counter attack. With that in mind, I am fully expecting a wide-open affair and will back the total going over the number at a ripe price.

I will play both teams to score in the match as well. Leeds has scored in every match this season and Wolves has only been kept off the scoresheet in that West Ham setback.

Play both with confidence in what should be an entertaining contest.

Picks: Total Over 2.5 Goals (-107); Both Teams To Score — Yes (-141)

[Bet the Leeds-Wolves match at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

College Football Pace Report: Projecting Week 8 Totals Using Advanced Metrics

ncaa-college football-odds-pace report-over under-week 8-2020

All of Collin’s projected totals and edges against the betting market are available in our college football model projections, part of Action PRO.


The integration of finishing drives and pace into my projected totals hit a number of games with near-complete accuracy this weekend. Both Houston and BYU had long stints of unanswered scoring, and our projection of 70 fell one point short of 69.

Tulane and SMU projected at 69 points, with a regulation score of 68 before the game went to overtime. Alabama-Georgia projections called for a total of 68, just three points higher than that game finished despite the Dawgs posting a scoreless second half.

The Pace Report uses a number of statistics to come up with a projection for each game (which are all included in Action PRO). But I want to give everyone a sense for how these totals are created.

Oddsmakers in New Jersey and Las Vegas have an assigned point value for each team, and that number is adjusted based on ensuing game results. I go a bit further by applying some math and advanced stats to my projections.

The formula first takes into account yards per play for offense and defense. Plays per game are also integrated to the yards per play difference to come up with a total.

For example, based upon those factors, Texas A&M’s team total in a neutral setting would be 28.1.

But the formula is incomplete, as finishing drives and pace must be accounted for in totals.

As you can see in the updated finishing drives chart, Texas A&M scores 2.88 points per trip past the opponents 40-yard line. The Aggies defense allows 3.9 points per trip when an opponent enters a scoring opportunity. I’ll add a finishing drives total to that raw number for Texas A&M.

Pace is as equally important to determining a total.

Seconds per play can help determine the speed at which a team hikes the ball with time left on the clock. The more snaps per game, the more scoring chances for the team and their opponent depending how good the team is at gaining the proper amount of yards.

(For that we use success rate is defined as gaining 50% of needed yards on first down, 70% of needed yards on second down, or 100% of needed yards on third or fourth down).

 

Integrating Texas A&M’s pace of 29.4 seconds per play, among the slowest in the country, drives their projection down despite strong raw numbers in net yards per play. That shows the power of pace and its effect on totals.

The Aggies (who are off this week) final number fell from 28.1 to 25.3 when integrating these variables.

Here is the total list of projections for every game with the exception of the Big Ten and Mountain West, where no data currently exists.

Week 8 Projected Totals

Our model projections, now part of Action PRO, automatically compare our projected totals to the betting market and grade them on an A-F scale. 

Notes on Week 8 Totals

Tulsa vs. South Florida

I project this total much lower than the market opener. Tulsa has a big edge on defense in finishing drives, which plays a part. Tulsa will unleash plenty of havoc and control the clock with a slow pace of play on offense vs. USF.

Louisville vs. Florida State

Louisville had a handful of scoring opportunities against Notre Dame and came away with seven points. And each team only had seven possessions the entire contest.

Florida State, which didn’t score a single point against North Carolina in the second half, ran for almost twice as many passes against the Heels.

If quarterback Jordan Travis continues to use his legs until start receiver Tamorrion Terry returns, the Seminoles are an under team.

Kansas vs. Kansas State

The Jayhawks may have broken the model for determining a total. Kansas has scored an average of 15.3 points per game thus far in the season. The raw number for plays per game and yards per play net is 17.2. That number got knocked down to 15.5 because of an atrocious finishing drives number.

Combine that with Kansas State running almost dead last in pace, and this game screams under. If the Jayhawks can limit the Wildcats explosiveness this should be an easy under ticket, but that could be a huge ask of Kansas.

Week 7 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Boston Scott, Gus Edwards Headline Murky RB Situations

week 7-fantasy football-waiver wire-adds-pickups-boston scott-gus edwards

Pay close attention to the NFL schedule.

The Week 7 waiver wire is full of opportunities for players coming off their bye week. There are several players who notched big Week 5 stat lines who are still available in many leagues.

Which players have most of your league mates forgotten about?

Here are my top waiver wire choices for Week 7.

Note: We’ve limited their recommendations to players owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. All data as of Monday.

Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

Continue reading “Week 7 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Boston Scott, Gus Edwards Headline Murky RB Situations”

Cardinals-Cowboys MNF Promo: Bet $20, Win $88 if Kyler Murray Throws for at Least 8 Yards

cardinals-vs-panthers-odds-pick-betting-week-4-2020

Normal Monday Night Football features one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the league — Andy Dalton. It also features a young gun in Kyler Murray who has a brilliant new wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins on his side.

888sport doesn’t have a promo on Dalton (not sure what they’re thinking), but you can make some easy money on Murray:

Bet $20, Win $88 if Kyler Murray throws at least 8 yards!

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Check out the details below:

888sport

Offer: Bet $20, Win $88 if Kyler Murray throws for 8+ yards

  • Bet now: Click here
  • Available state: New Jersey
  • Who’s it for? New users only

Looking to make an easy $88 on the second Monday Night Football game of the night? Well, look no further. In fact, please do not look anywhere else because I can guarantee 888sport is the only book giving out exactly $88.

To cash on a measly eight yards from Kyler Murray:

  • Click this link
  • Deposit at least $20 (a promo code will autopopulate)
  • Bet at least $20 on the Arizona-Dallas game as your first bet (odds of -200 or higher; -150, +100, +150, etc.)

Assuming Murray throws at least eight yards, your $88 in winnings will come in the form of free bets, which need to be rolled over only 1x to turn into cash.

We should see some great quarterback play all night, and Murray could shine in the national spotlight. Whether he plays great or terribly, though, you should cash this bet with ease.

BET $20, WIN $88 IF KYLER MURRAY THROWS FOR 8+ YARDS!

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Chiefs-Bills MNF Promo: Bet $20, Win $88 if Patrick Mahomes Throws for at Least 8 Yards

Patrick-mahomes-nfl-mvp-odds-updates-week-4

Once the clock strikes 5 p.m. ET, it’s time to leave the office (AKA turn off your computer) and head over to the TV for Chiefs-Bills. Not only is it an enticing game, but 888sport in New Jersey has an enticing promo to boot:

Bet $20, Win $88 if Patrick Mahomes throws at least 8 yards!

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Check out the details below:

888sport

Offer: Bet $20, Win $88 if Patrick Mahomes throws for 8+ yards

  • Bet now: Click here
  • Available state: New Jersey
  • Who’s it for? New users only

Looking to make an easy $88 on the early Monday Night Football game? Well, look no further. In fact, please do not look anywhere else because I can guarantee 888sport is the only book giving out exactly $88.

To cash on a measly eight yards from Patrick Mahomes:

  • Click this link
  • Deposit at least $20 (a promo code will autopopulate)
  • Bet at least $20 on the Buffalo-Kansas City game as your first bet (odds of -200 or higher; -150, +100, +150, etc.)

Assuming Mahomes throws at least eight yards, your $88 in winnings will come in the form of free bets, which need to be rolled over only 1x to turn into cash.

Unless the former MVP and reigning Super Bowl champ gets hurt almost immediately after the game starts, this is a sure thing.

BET $20, WIN $88 IF PATRICK MAHOMES THROWS FOR 8+ YARDS!

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Updated 2020 World Series Betting Odds: Rays vs. Dodgers Series Price, Exact Outcome Odds

At least one of this year’s World Series participants comes as somewhat of a surprise.

The Rays were +1800 to win the World Series at PointsBet prior to the season. The Dodgers? +350.

The two are now matched up following respective Game 7 victories on Saturday and Sunday, and the Dodgers are pretty sizable favorites.

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World Series Betting Odds

Team Odds (Oct. 19)
Dodgers -200 [Bet Now]
Rays +160 [Bet Now]

Odds via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.


At -200, the Dodgers are given an implied two-in-three chance of winning the World Series. The Rays, on the other hand, are looking at just a 38.5% implication.

But if you’re looking for a bigger payday on either side, here are your exact-series-outcome options.

Exact outcome Odds (Oct. 19)
Dodgers 4-0 +650 [Bet Now]
Dodgers 4-1 +350 [Bet Now]
Dodgers 4-2 +360 [Bet Now]
Dodgers 4-3 +450 [Bet Now]
Rays 4-0 +2000 [Bet Now]
Rays 4-1 +1000 [Bet Now]
Rays 4-2 +650 [Bet Now]
Rays 4-3 +500 [Bet Now]

Game 1 of the World Series is tomorrow (Tuesday) at 8:15 p.m. ET. The Dodgers are -165 favorites to take a 1-0 lead.

Cardinals vs. Cowboys Odds, Pick: Bet on Dallas To Cover the Spread on Monday Night Football

Cardinals vs. Cowboys Betting Odds

Cardinals Odds +1.5
Cowboys Odds -1.5
Projected Spread +1.5 (see all projections)
Over/Under 54.5
Projected Over/Under 55.6 (see all projections)
Time/Channel  8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

What a start to the 2020 NFL season for the Dallas Cowboys.

  • The good: Dallas is in first place in the NFC East.
  • The bad: The Cowboys have won just two of their first five games.
  • The ugly: Starting quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a gruesome ankle injury that will end his season.

The Cowboys have also struggled to cash tickets for bettors this season, sporting a goose egg in the against-the-spread (ATS) win column for an 0-5 ATS record overall.

Dallas is a 1.5-point home favorite (see live NFL odds here) against Arizona on Monday Night Football. As of Monday morning 51% of early bettors are taking the Cowboys for tonight’s game.

And while the splits indicate very balanced overall betting, those backing Dallas may be onto something when you consider how teams have performed in similar situations historically.

According to our Bet Labs software, which archives betting data since the start of the 2003 NFL season, just 31 teams have failed to cover a single point spread through the first five weeks of a season.

Those teams are 22-9 (71%) against the spread (ATS) in that spot.

Now, while that data is encouraging, a sample of 31 games is simply too small for confidently making actionable betting decisions.

However, that angle does fit a larger, more encompassing strategy with a much fatter sample size while keeping an impressive win rate.

Cardinals vs. Cowboys PRO Betting System Pick

According to our Team ATS Records PRO System, teams with poor ATS records — defined as a win rate of 30% or less — facing teams with winning ATS records are 174-110-11 (61%) ATS from Weeks 6-17.

This makes sense as the majority of bettors will avoid teams that have burned them in recent weeks, especially when facing an opponent that has been profitable.

Oddsmakers understand this tendency, especially in a situation like Dallas, which includes losing its franchise quarterback to injury, and will shade lines to make the masses of bettors who will blindly bet on Arizona take bad numbers — or numbers that are intentionally moved to penalize Cardinals backers.

And while Dalton doesn’t exactly light a fire under NFL bettors, he has defied market expectations throughout his career, evidenced by a 70-56-6 (55.6%) ATS record as a starter.

If you’re willing to take an ugly position, the Cowboys are not a bad way to find value on Monday.

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West Brom vs. Burnley EPL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Bet Burnley at Short Price (Monday, Oct. 19)

West Brom vs. Burnley Odds

West Brom odds +145 [BET NOW]
Burnley odds +200 [BET NOW]
Draw +225 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.25 (+100/-120) [BET NOW]
Time 12:30 p.m. ET
TV NBCSN

Odds as of Saturday evening and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


After yet another exciting Premier League weekend filled with goals, late drama and competitive matches, Burnley takes on West Brom to kick off a Monday doubleheader in a battle of the Premier League’s two worst attacking sides.

Burnley and West Brom both enter Monday’s match in the relegation zone with one point between them, and the two sides have a combined minus-13 goal difference in seven games. This match could be a critical relegation six-pointer come the end of the season.

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West Brom

West Brom enters Monday’s match 18th in the table but last in every xG-related statistic. The Baggies are last in both expected goals (xG) at 1.74 and expected goals allowed (xGA) at 10.43. They have managed just one point this season, a draw with Chelsea after giving away a 3-0 halftime lead to the Blues.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


West Brom’s defensive numbers are hampered by a horrid half against Everton while down to 10 men, but the Baggies’ early-season performance is simply a carryover from their mediocre numbers in the Championship last season. West Brom’s underlying stats indicate that manager Slaven Bilic’s side was not one of the top three side in the second division last season, and like fellow newcomers Fulham, the club appears to have made insufficient improvements to its squad for a season in the Premier League.

Just 1.74 xG from 360 minutes of football is poor, even when you factor in West Brom’s relatively difficult opening set of fixtures against Leicester City, Everton, Chelsea and Southampton. West Brom ranks last in pressing, gets pressed more than any other Premier League team and is second last in possession.

None of these numbers are a recipe for generating chances against Burnley, whose possession rate has actually gone from from last season.

Burnley

The Clarets, like their Monday opponents, couldn’t have had a worse start to the new season. Injuries and behind-the-scenes issues have led to consecutive defeats against Leicester, Southampton and Newcastle.

Manager Sean Dyche’s side has struggled to generate much in attack, averaging 0.77 xG per match. However, the Clarets have been unfortunate to concede as much as they have, falling victim to the historically good finishing we’ve seen from across the Premier League to start the season.

Despite conceding eight goals, xG data suggests Burnley should have allowed a Premier League-low 3.65 goals through its first three fixtures. The Clarets’ defense is a major reason why they’ve been able to enjoy such an extended stay in the English top flight despite a limited budget.

West Brom-Burnley pick

I project Burnley as the better team in this match, especially given how poor West Brom has looked at both ends of the pitch. I’ll back the Clarets to win this defensive battle. They shouldn’t be underdogs in this matchup despite their poor start. I grabbed Burnley at +110 and like it all the way to -110 in this match.

Currently, you can get Burnley at +200 on DraftKings.

The PICK: Burnley at -110 or better

[Bet Burnley now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

College Football Misleading Box Scores: Veritable Victors, Dubious Dominators & Bona Fide Busts from Week 7

week 7-college football-misleading boxscores-kentucky tennessee-jamin davis

We’ve all had enough bad beats to understand that the final score does not always do the best job of reflecting each team’s performance. This weekly column highlights matchups where the advanced box score tells a different story than the game’s result. Sports bettors may want to keep this information in the back of their minds before placing next week’s college football wagers.

Check out our new NCAAF PRO Report, where we highlight factors that provide betting edges — like large wagers, historically profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks — that when combined with sharp money can powerfully detail the smartest bets on a given slate.

AffiliatePromoCTA

Deceiving Blowouts

These teams may have cruised to victories over the weekend, but the box score indicates that the game may have been closer than it appeared.

BYU 43, Houston 26

BYU remains undefeated after a 17-point victory at Houston, but this game was much closer than what we can see in the final score. Houston was actually more successful on a per-play basis, posting a 43% success rate to BYU’s 41%. However, BYU was able to hit the explosive plays when it needed to, which proved to be the difference. BYU was able to generate three explosive drives that resulted in touchdowns: one play for 78 yards, seven plays for 85 yards, and five plays for 75 yards.

Clemson 73, Georgia Tech 7

Just kidding.

Wake Forest 40, Virginia 23

Virginia is becoming a regular in this section. For the second week in a row, Virginia had the higher success rate than its opponent and lost by multiple scores. Wake Forest was only to post a 37% success rate but managed to turn that into 40 points, while Virginia posted a 43% success rate. Virginia had eight trips past Wake’s 40-yard line, but only averaged 2.88 points in those opportunities. The Deacons had one less trip inside the 40 than the Cavaliers but were able to finish, averaging 4.71 points per trip. Virginia also lost the turnover battle, 3-0, and allowed three touchdowns of over 40 yards.

Kentucky 34, Tennessee 7

Things can get weird when you throw back-to-back pick sixes. Kentucky only had seven more offensive yards than Tennessee, and the Wildcats’ success rates were almost equal. Having the defense chip in 14 points was more than enough to cover that up. Kentucky needed fewer than 300 offensive yards to cruise to a 27-point win.

Puzzling Point Totals

Everyone knows the terrible feeling of holding an over ticket, watching a team drive into the red zone and then witnessing that team fail to score a touchdown. Sometimes the total does not reflect the offensive efficiency that happened on the field.

Temple 39, South Florida 37

It’s rare to see 76 total points in a game where neither team could generate at least 5.0 yards per play on offense. However, both Tempe and South Florida benefitted from having short fields. The average starting field position in this game was 62.4, which is significantly shorter than the FBS average of 70.3. Both teams were also able to make the most out of their opportunities in opposition territory. South Florida generated 4.22 points on drives past the opponent 40-yard line, and Temple was able to generate 4.86. The FBS average in that category is about 3.7.

UAB 37, Western Kentucky 14

The over/under in this game closed at 44, and under bettors probably deserved a win here. Neither team ran more than 70 plays, and both teams posted success rates in the 30’s (FBS average is about 42%). Additionally, there were only 303 total passing yards and both quarterbacks averaged just 4.6 yards per attempt. However, UAB was able to block a punt that it returned for a touchdown and generated four turnovers.

Confounding Conclusions

This section features games where the final score simply did not line up with the box score.

Arkansas State 59, Georgia State 52

Georgia State generated 7.7 yards per play compared to 6.3 for Arkansas State. However, in a shootout like this one, a few mistakes can be tough to overcome. Fourth down, in particular, did not go well for Georgia State. The Panthers were only able to convert one of four attempts, while Arkansas State converted three of its four attempts. This really was a “whoever has the ball last wins” type of game, and Georgia State fumbled on its final drive to seal the win for the Red Wolves.

Arkansas 33, Ole Miss 21

In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to worry about your quarterback throwing six interceptions. Unfortunately for Ole Miss, Matt Corral somehow managed to do just that. I know “take away the six interceptions” is an enormous caveat, but Arkansas’ path to victory was not something that is sustainable going forward. Ole Miss actually had a slight advantage in success rate and yards per play. Against an Ole Miss team that has a case for the worst defense in the country thus far, Arkansas only generated two offensive touchdowns.

Florida State 31, North Carolina 28

Another case of a few plays swinging the outcome of a game. North Carolina had three more drives past the 40-yard line than Florida State, as well as a 47% success rate compared to 41% for the Noles. Florida State blocked two North Carolina punts, one of which coming just outside the UNC red zone. That block turned into a one-play, 23-yard touchdown drive for the Seminoles. If that wasn’t bad enough for the Tar Heels, Florida State picked off quarterback Sam Howell in the second quarter and returned it for a touchdown. Florida State came away with a victory despite being outgained by over 100 yards.


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European Soccer Forecast: Projected Odds, Totals for This Week’s Champions League Matches

After just a two-month break, the Champions League is back.

This season’s campaign kicks off with major intrigue. Can Bayern Munich defend its title? Will Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City finally end their Champions League nightmares? Can Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, who will miss Juventus’ opener against Dynamo Kiev after his positive COVID-19 test, bring their respective squads back to the promised land?

We will start to get some answers to those questions Tuesday when the competition commences across Europe.

I will be putting out these projections every week until the end of the season. If you’d like to read more about how I determine my projected lines and totals using an expected goals model, you can read about it here.

For Champions League, my projections factor in UEFA Coefficients for every country represented in the competition. The projections also factor in the talent of each squad based on their total transfer value on Transfer Markt. That way, the projections can account for the strength of the domestic league each club plays in and talent level of each club.

Here is the total squad transfer value of every club in the Champions League (via transfermarkt.com): 

You can use these projections to identify early betting value on the opening lines, and follow me in The Action Network App to see any bets I make throughout the week. 

Note: These projections do not take into account injuries. The injury news highlighted below is for players that regularly would start in each team’s starting XI:

Tuesday’s Matches

Notes for Tuesday’s matches:

  • PSG vs. Manchester United: This is, by far, the most fascinating match of Tuesday’s fixtures. PSG finished runner-up to Bayern Munich in the previous Champions League campaign, while Manchester United finished as a Europa League semifinalist last season. These are two are the favorites to come out of Group H, so the opening match is crucial due to the fact RB Leipzig having a favorable game against Istanbul Basaksehir.
  • Chelsea vs. Sevilla: The new-look Blues will see if the high proceed transfers can get them over the Champions League hump. They’ve struggled to open up the Premier League season, with draws against West Brom and Southampton. Sevilla was one of the better defensive teams in La Liga last season, yielding only 0.96 xGA per match.

Tuesday’s Injury News:

  • Juventus: Cristiano Ronaldo (CF) and Weston McKinnie (CM) are out due positive COVID-19 tests.
  • PSG: Mauro Icardi (ST), Juan Bernat (LB), and Thilo Kehrer (CB) are out versus Manchester United. Marquinhos (CB), Marco Verratti (CM), Julian Draxler (CAM), and Danilo Pereira (CM) are questionable.
  • Manchester United: Edison Cavani (ST) and Harry Maguire (CB) are out versus
  • RB Leipzig: Marcel Sabitzer (CAM) is questionable vs. Istanbul Basaksehir.
  • Barcelona: Jordi Alba (LB) and Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) are out vs. Ferencvaros.
  • Chelsea: Eduoard Mendy (GK) is doubtful to face Sevilla.
  • Lazio: Manuel Lazzari (RM) is out vs. Dortmund. Stefan Radu (CB) and Luiz Felipe (CB) are questionable.
  • Dortmund: Thorgan Hazard (LW) is questionable to face Lazio and Lukasz Piszczek (RB) is out.

Wednesday’s Matches

Champions League Wednesday Notes: 

  • Bayern Munich vs. Atletico Madrid: The defending champion was not getting an easy start in its title defense, drawing Atletico Madrid in its opening match. Bayern Munich has looked like the best team in the world for the past year, but its offense will be put the test against Atletico, who might be the best defensive team in the world. Atletico’s 4-4-2 formation has translated to fantastic success in the Champions League, as it has made it to quarterfinals five out of the last seven years.
  • Ajax vs. Liverpool: The Reds will begin life without their best defender, Virgil Van Dijk, who injured his knee against Everton. They may be on upset watch, due to the fact Ajax beat SC Heerenveen, 5-1, in Eredivisie play over the weekend in the Netherlands, while Liverpool has conceded nine goals in their last two matches.
  • Manchester City vs. Porto: The Cityzens will be without Kevin DeBruyne and Gabriel Jesus. They better be careful, too, because Porto is one of the better teams outside the five major European leagues. The club only conceded 0.73 xG per match in the Portugal’s Primeira Liga last season.

Wednesday’s Injury News:

  • Real Madrid: Sergio Ramos (CB) and Marcelo (LB) are out versus Shaktar.
  • Lokomotiv Moscow: Vedran Corluka (CB) and Dmitri Barinov (CM) are out against RB Salzburg.
  • Manchester City: Kevin De Bruyne (CM), Gabriel Jesus (ST), Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) are out against Porto.
  • Porto: Mouhamed Mbaye (ST) and Ivan Marcano (CB) are out against Manchester City.
  • Bayern Munich: Joshua Kimmich (CM) and Leroy Sane (LM) are out against Atletico Madrid.
  • Atletico Madrid: Jose Gimenez (CB) and Sime Vrsaljko (RB) are out against Bayern Munich.
  • Liverpool: Virgil Van Dijk (CB) and Alisson (GK) are out, while Thiago Alcantara (CM) and Naby Keita (CM) are doubtful to face Ajax.

Week 7 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Boston Scott, Gus Edwards Headline Murky RB Situations

week 7-fantasy football-waiver wire-adds-pickups-boston scott-gus edwards

Pay close attention to the NFL schedule.

The Week 7 waiver wire is full of opportunities for players coming off their bye week. There are several players who notched big Week 5 stat lines who are still available in many leagues.

Which players have most of your league mates forgotten about?

Here are my top waiver wire choices for Week 7.

Note: We’ve limited recommendations to players owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. All data as of Monday.

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Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

Running Backs

Nyheim Hines, Colts

Ownership: 46%

Colts rookie running back Jonathan Taylor is getting the majority of touches for Indy, which is clouding Nyheim Hines’ fantasy value. Some owners might start moving on from him.

Hines converted six targets into five receptions and 27 yards. He is the clear third-down and two-minute drill running back, but his upside is capped with Taylor dominating touches.

Hines is only a desperation RB 4/5 play in deeper leagues.

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Justin Jackson, Chargers

Ownership: 45%

Justin Jackson is somehow still under 50% owned in Yahoo leagues, despite looking like his team’s best all-around running back in Week 4 against New Orleans.

If Jackson is available, he presents a great opportunity with Austin Ekeler out for several more weeks.

The Chargers host Jacksonville and Las Vegas over the next three weeks, ranking eighth and second respectively in fantasy points allowed to running backs.

Justin Jackson is the best Week 7 running back waiver pickup.

Frank Gore, Jets

Ownership: 31%

The 37-year old Gore continues to defy time. He is the clear lead running back, albeit on a terrible Jets offense.

On a positive note, Gore averaged 4.2 yards per carry with four receptions in the Jets’ Week 6 loss.

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If you are desperate at running back, Gore can serve as a dart throw Flex play against Buffalo next week.

La’Michel Perine, Jets

Ownership: 18%

If you don’t believe in Gore, the other Jets option is rookie La’Michel Perine.  The Florida-product had seven rushes for 27 yards and two receptions.

Perine is a backup on a winless Jets team — not a desirable fantasy position. He should be left on the waiver wire unless Gore gets hurt or his touches increase.

Boston Scott, Eagles

Ownership: 13%

Monday will bring a very important MRI for Philadelphia running back Miles Sanders. It is rumored the Eagles are very concerned about the status of their leading rusher.

If Sanders is out for any length of time, Boston Scott would step into a very fantasy-friendly role.

Scott was very productive when given the opportunity last season, producing both the overall RB5 and RB2 games in Weeks 14 and 17 respectively.

With upcoming home games against the Giants and Cowboys, Scott would automatically enter the RB2 conversation if Sanders misses time.

J.D. McKissic, Washington

Ownership: 11%

McKissic saw a surprising increase in touches against the Giants. He led Washington with 41 rushing yards and added six receptions for 43 receiving yards. McKissic outpaced rookie Antonio Gibson in both categories.

He is worth consideration as a Week 7 RB4/5 play when Washington hosts a Dallas team allowing the fourth-most rushing yards to opposing backs.

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Giovani Bernard, Bengals

Ownership: 6%

Bernard vultured a first-quarter touchdown from Joe Mixon, and then looked to have an even bigger role when Mixon left with an ankle injury.

Mixon did return, however, leaving Bernard with an otherwise pedestrian three receptions and 28 total yards.

If Mixon misses any significant time, Bernard is a low-end RB2 start in PPR leagues. Without an injury, he is simply not worth rostering.

Gus Edwards, Ravens

Ownership: 3%

This is a precautionary wavier recommendation, as Baltimore lead running back Mark Ingram left Week 6 in the first half with an ankle injury.

Edwards was the clear rusher in Ingram’s absence, getting 14 attempts and a touchdown.

With Baltimore on their bye in Week 7, Edwards should probably be ignored. But if Ingram’s injury is long term, he is an automatic pickup on the run-heavy Ravens.

Wide Receivers

Chase Claypool, Steelers

Ownership: 49%

Somehow, Claypool again qualifies for this column at only 49% ownership in Yahoo leagues.

The second-round Notre Dame product followed up his overall WR1 Week 5 performance with four receptions, 74 yards, and one rushing score.

Claypool has great upcoming matchups at Tennessee in Week 7 and at Dallas in Week 9.

He is the top wide receiver waiver pickup if somehow still available in your leagues.

Henry Ruggs, Raiders

Ownership: 47%

I love making waiver claims for players coming off a bye week.

Ruggs was one of our top waiver pickups last week heading into Las Vegas’ Week 6 bye. If you missed out, you may have one more chance.

In last week’s 40-32 upset win at Kansas City, Ruggs turned just two receptions into 118 yards and a touchdown.

Las Vegas has a very wide receiver-friendly schedule remaining. Here are their upcoming opponents with schedule adjusted-PPR points allowed to wide receivers per 4for4:

  • Week 7:  Tampa Bay (11th most)
  • Week 8:  at Cleveland (3rd most)
  • Week 9:  Denver (6th-most)

Ruggs’ still low ownership in Yahoo leagues puts him atop the waiver column for the last time this season (hopefully).

Laviska Shenault, Jaguars

Ownership: 46%

The explosive rookie from Colorado took a step backward in Week 6.

Shenault saw seven targets but only produced three receptions and 11 total yards.

The Jaguars travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers before their Week 8 bye.

Shenault is not worth a claim this week, but should be watched as a late-season WR3 addition.

Mike Williams, Chargers

Ownership: 45%

The athletic wideout should be completely healthy coming off the Chargers bye week. In Week 5, Williams had a fantastic performance at New Orleans with five receptions, 109 yards, and two touchdowns. He ranked as the overall WR5.

With rookie Justin Herbert winning the starting quarterback job, Williams upside will continue to grow. The Chargers have five fantastic upcoming matchups for fantasy wideouts:

  • Week 7:  Jacksonville (8th in WR PPR aFPA per 4for4)
  • Week 8:  at Denver (7th in WR PPR aFPA)
  • Week 9: Las Vegas (11th-most Receiving Yards Allowed)
  • Week 10:  at Miami (6th-most Receiving Yards Allowed)
  • Week 11:  Jets (5th-most Receiving Yards Allowed)

Besides Claypool, there is a strong case to be made for Williams as the top wide receiver waiver pickup.

[Get Real-Time Week 7 Fantasy Rankings Until Kickoff]

Travis Fulgham, Eagles

Ownership: 31%

Fulgham solidified his overall WR2 Week 5 performance with six receptions, 75 yards, and a touchdown against Baltimore’s top-rated pass defense.

He has solidified his role even with the imminent return of veteran wideouts DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, as well as first-round pick Jalen Reagor.

He has two fantastic upcoming home matchups against the Giants and Cowboys.

Even if the Eagles starting wideouts return, Fulgham is at least a WR3 play over the next two weeks.

Keelan Cole, Jaguars 

Ownership: 29%

Cole enjoyed his best performance of the season with six receptions and 143 receiving yards on nine targets. It was a shocking performance given the return of lead wide receiver D.J. Chark, who drew a team-high 14 targets.

The Jaguars travel to Los Angeles to face a strong Chargers’ secondary, followed by a bye week.

I can’t justify a waiver claim on Cole with the presence of a healthy Chark along with explosive rookie Laviska Shenault.

Tim Patrick, Broncos

Ownership: 18%

Patrick posted his second-consecutive 100-yard receiving performance in Denver’s surprising 18-12 win at New England.

While those performances have benefitted from the absence of star tight end Noah Fant, there are few waiver wideouts with his 2020 resume.

Denver hosts Kansas City and the Chargers before friendly road games at Atlanta and Las Vegas.

Patrick is an under the radar waiver option with legitimate WR3 opportunities over the next month.

James Washington, Steelers

Ownership: 10%

Washington has been the forgotten receiver in the Pittsburgh offense, but he finally found the end zone again in Week 6.

The third-year wideout converted a team-high seven targets into four receptions, 68 yards, and a touchdown.

His weekly range is challenging, with the likely return of Diontae Johnson in Week 7. However, Pittsburgh has great upcoming matchups at Tennessee, at Dallas, home to Cincinnati, and at Jacksonville.

Washington is a speculative WR4 add with weekly WR3 upside in the explosive Pittsburgh offense.

Darnell Mooney, Bears

Ownership: 2%

I simply won’t give up on Chicago wideout Darnell Mooney.

The fifth-round pick from Tulane saw five targets in the Bears 23-16 win at Carolina. Mooney has totaled 24 targets over the past four games.

He remains strictly a feast or famine wideout, but has big-play opportunities against the Rams, Saints, Titans, and Vikings before Chicago’s Week 11 bye.

Tight Ends

Trey Burton, Colts

Ownership: 20%

Burton had a fantastic performance in the Colts 31-27 comeback win over the Bengals.  He totaled four receptions, 58 receiving yards, and two total touchdowns en route to the overall TE1 stat line.

It’s possible that league mates ignore Burton, given the Colts Week 7 bye. However, at the ultra-thin fantasy tight end position, he should be a priority bench stash for the remainder of the season.

Irv Smith, Vikings

Ownership: 9%

Similar to Burton, Smith heads into his bye week coming of a season-best performance. Smith saw five targets for the second consecutive week, and tallied four receptions, 55 yards, and a two-point conversion.

Smith remains a third receiving option on the run-heavy Vikings. He is a great addition in two TE leagues, but not a priority add in traditional one TE formats.

Darren Fells, Texans

Ownership: 5%

With starting tight end Jordan Akins still unavailable, Fells shined again in Week 6.

Fells produced the overall TE4 game with six receptions, 85 yards, and one touchdown.

If Akins is somehow ruled out again in Week 7, Fells would be an automatic start at home against Green Bay. It is just too hard to trust Fells once Akins returns.

Anthony Firkser, Titans

Titans, <1%

A third-quarter injury to starting tight end Jonnu Smith opened the door for Firkser’s career-best performance. He caught eight receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown in Tennessee’s 42-36 overtime win over Houston.

Monitor Smith’s injury, and if he is out, Firkser would be worth considering as a Week 7 start even in a tough matchup with the undefeated Steelers.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills Odds, Betting Pick: Sharp Money Moving Monday Night Football Line

Due to schedule reshuffling, the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills Week 6 matchup, which was originally set for Thursday, will kick off today at 5 p.m. ET.

Despite sporting identical 4-1 records, Kansas City is a 5.5-point road favorite against Buffalo, showing the market clearly views the Chiefs as the superior team.

There is no clear consensus on how the pros are betting the Chiefs vs. Bills spread. However, the total is another story.

Using our NFL PRO Report, let’s detail how sharps are quietly playing this over/under.

Chiefs vs. Bills Betting Pick

Continue reading “Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills Odds, Betting Pick: Sharp Money Moving Monday Night Football Line”

Freedman’s NFL Week 7 Trends & Early Bets: Panthers in Sweet Spot as Divisional Underdogs

nfl-trends-early-bets-picks-odds-predictions-week-7-2020

Minus the now not-so-rare midseason Monday Night Football doubleheader, we are onto Week 7.

Let’s take a look at some applicable trends for the early lines.

Although I am not a trends bettor, I find that trends help me identify spots I should consider further when analyzing games. Using our Bet Labs database, I have uncovered some intriguing NFL trends for five games this week.

All lines are from our NFL Odds page.

Early Week 7 NFL Picks

Click on a pick to skip to that analysis.

Pick
Bet Now
Titans-Steelers Over 52.5
DraftKings
Panthers +7.5 at Saints
DraftKings
Cardinals +3.5 at Seahawks
FanDuel
Chiefs -8.5 at Broncos
FanDuel
Jaguars +8 at Chargers
DraftKings

Titans-Steelers Over 52.5

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

History is very much a flat circle.

This matchup between two unbeaten teams was originally slated for Week 4, but was postponed to Week 7 because of the Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak.

Both teams are near the top of the league in scoring. The Titans have averaged 32.8 points per game this year; the Steelers, 31.2.

It’s unlikely that either team will maintain its pace for the entire season, but I nevertheless expect a high-scoring game this week.

And this isn’t just a 2020 thing for the Titans. In quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s 15 regular-season starts with the team, the over is 13-2, good for a 71.3% return on investment (ROI, per our Bet Labs database).

In Tannehill’s nine starts at Nissan Stadium, the over is 8-1 (76.2% ROI).

  • Action: Over 52.5 (-110) at DraftKings
  • Limit: 55.0 (-110)

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

Panthers (+7.5) at Saints

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

The Panthers intrigue me this week for a couple of reasons.

First, I’ve noticed that road underdogs tend to outperform against the spread (ATS) when they play within their division.

  • Divisional Road Dogs: 544-479-33 ATS | 3.6% ROI
  • Non-Divisional Road Dogs: 913-888-56 ATS | -1.0% ROI

A 3.6% ROI might not seem like much, but over a sample this large it’s significant. And we can dig further into this sample to discover more value.

I have this theory: When divisional opponents play early in the year, they are usually facing each other for the first time. In this situation, road dogs have an edge in the market, which is still rather inefficient as the season takes shape.

Later in the year, when divisional rivals rematch, they are more familiar with each other and their markets are more efficient, which puts road dogs at a disadvantage.

At least that’s my theory, and the regular-season numbers suggest I might be right.

  • Divisional Road Dogs (Sep. – Nov.): 358-285-23 ATS | 8.5% ROI
  • Divisional Road Dogs (Dec. – Jan.): 186-194-10 ATS | -4.6% ROI

In the middle of October, the Panthers are in the sweet spot of this trend.

On top of that, Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for his career has been an ATS dominator.

  • All Situations: 30-10 ATS | 47% ROI
  • Underdog: 20-5 ATS | 56.6% ROI
  • Visitor: 16-3 ATS | 64.4% ROI
  • Road Underdog: 15-2 ATS | 72.5% ROI

These Panthers are live cats.

  • Action: Panthers +7.5 (-114) at DraftKings
  • Limit: +3.5 (-110)

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

Cardinals (+3.5) vs. Seahawks

Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

The Cardinals play on Monday Night Football, so this line hasn’t officially opened, but the lookahead line at FanDuel is up.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is 72-54-7 ATS (11.2% ROI) for his regular-season career. Betting against him is usually a stupid idea.

But I’ve got a stupid idea for Week 7: Let’s bet against Wilson.

Under HC Pete Carroll, the Seahawks have been at their best in three distinct situations (regular season only).

  • As Underdogs: 36-22-3 ATS | 20.5% ROI
  • At Home: 46-34-3 ATS | 12.2% ROI
  • Outside Division: 57-42-6 ATS | 11.5% ROI

In this game, the Seahawks are on the opposite side of all these splits: They are divisional road favorites, and it has historically been profitable to fade the Seahawks as such.

As for the Cardinals, they are 10-4-2 ATS (34.7% ROI) as underdogs under HC Kliff Kingsbury.

I could see this line moving toward the Seahawks after it opens: They are 5-0 and coming off the bye. With that in mind, I’m waiting to bet the Cardinals until later in the week and hoping to catch a better number. But if the spread is still +3.5 by Thursday or Friday, I’ll bet it then.

  • Action: Cardinals +3.5 (-115) at FanDuel
  • Limit: +3.5 (-115)

[Bet Cardinals +3.5 at FanDuel completely risk-free for $1,000]

Chiefs (-8.5) at Broncos

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

The Chiefs play on Monday Night Football, so this line hasn’t officially opened, but the lookahead line at FanDuel is up.

I’m comfortable betting this number now, because if the Chiefs beat the Bills, who are playing on a short week, the spread against the Broncos could reach -10.

With the Chiefs, HC Andy Reid has markedly overperformed in two situations (regular season only).

  • On Road: 37-19-1 ATS | 29.8% ROI
  • In Division: 28-15-1 ATS | 27.7% ROI

On the road inside the AFC West, Reid is 16-5 ATS (49.8% ROI).

Insert here Andy Reid dancing gif. (Note to editor: Don’t actually insert a gif. I’m joking.)

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is 26-13-2 ATS (30.7% ROI) for his career, including postseason.

  • Action: Chiefs -9.5 (-110) at FanDuel
  • Limit: -10 (-110)

[Bet Chiefs -9.5 at FanDuel completely risk-free for $1,000]

Jaguars (+8) at Chargers

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

I’ve heard some bettors talk about how East Coast teams are disadvantaged when they travel West and play in an afternoon game. I guess the general idea is that their biorhythms are off or their schedules are altered or something like that.

Maybe all of that is true, but it hasn’t been a profitable angle to bet. In fact, fading that narrative has generally been sharp.

Since 2003 (that’s as far back as our database goes), East Coast teams are 107-87-8 ATS (6.7% ROI) when playing an afternoon game on the West Coast.

And it’s not as if the Chargers are an imposing team. They are 4-1 ATS (56.2% ROI) this year and coming off the bye, but that’s partially why they’ll be overvalued this week.

I’ve been impressed by rookie quarterback Justin Herbert, but HC Anthony Lynn simply cannot be trusted. There might not be a coach in the league more capable of ruining the natural advantage he should have as a home favorite.

Against Lynn’s Chargers, road dogs are 13-6-1 ATS (31.1% ROI).

  • Action: Jaguars +8 (-110) at DraftKings
  • Limit: +7 (-110)

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]


Matthew Freedman is 680-545-26 (55.5%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

The Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, Freedman is commonly called the Oracle & the Labyrinthian.

PGA TOUR Embraces Betting on Broadcast, and It Felt Normal

As Jason Kokrak stood over what was undeniably the most critical tee shot of his entire life Sunday afternoon, a graphic appeared on the Golf Channel telecast. The MGM-sponsored player, already staked to a one-stroke lead as he prepared to play the 18th hole in The CJ Cup, was the obvious BetMGM favorite at this late point in the final round. But that graphic told us he was an underdog against playing partner Xander Schauffele on that particular par 5.

About 15 minutes later, Kokrak had not only won his first career PGA TOUR title with a final-hole birdie, but he’d also cashed bets for those who believed in him before the tournament, during the event and, yes, with one hole left to play.

And you know what? It all just felt so … normal.

_BookPromo=7

From repeated mentions of the outright board to the explanation of live props, the integration of betting odds not only didn’t feel out of place, but it felt like the natural extension of all dialogue about the tournament, going hand-in-hand with the usual analysis and forecasting.

While bettors received what they’ve been clamoring for with a greater emphasis on gambling to help tell the stories, there weren’t even many quibblers from the “old school” crowd who often cringe at such mentions.

In fact, I spoke with several friends, acquaintances and social media followers who aren’t big bettors, but they still thought live odds were an interesting prism through which they could view the dynamic shifts from one birdie to the next.

I’ll be completely honest here: I always knew this would happen.

And I’ll be honest again: I never thought this would happen so soon.

If you’d asked me, say, a year and a half ago (and some people did ask me then) when PGA TOUR telecasts — not a second-screen experience or a streamed broadcast, but the actual televised event — would start showing live odds, I would’ve set an over/under of sometime in 2023.

Whether it’s the deliberate nature of the game or the residual impact of a full-year schedule, golf is often hesitant to breach such innovation, instead letting other sports lead the way before the game falls in line with any type of seemingly progressive movements.

With that in mind, it can’t be overstated how much (and how quickly) the PGA TOUR has invested in the gambling industry — financially and otherwise — just as it can’t be overstated how much (and how quickly) the gambling industry has invested in the PGA TOUR.

The entities of golf and gambling (and yes, I do understand the admittedly subjective nature of my stance here) have been comfortable bedfellows for centuries, so maybe it’s only natural that the PGA TOUR and the gambling industry will own a similarly symbiotic relationship moving forward.

It might not immediately lead to weekly BetMGM odds on-screen, as it did in at The CJ Cup in Las Vegas. But in the long haul, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The goalposts have officially moved (or the flagsticks, at least) on that over/under of 2023.

The innovation is moving at the speed of light in golf terms. Considering so many potentially positive changes often take too long to come to fruition, this puts the game — and the PGA TOUR specifically — in the driver’s seat.

As we learned this week, though, it is only the beginning of the journey.

Week 7 NFL Odds: Spreads, Totals & Opening Lines For Every Game

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There’s still a pair of Monday night games left on the Week 6 schedule, but oddsmakers have already released Week 7 opening lines.

We’ve outlined all the posted spreads and totals available as of Sunday night below.

Week 7 NFL Odds: Spreads & Totals


Odds as of Sunday night and via FanDuel. Get up to a $1,000 risk-free bet at FanDuel today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Giants at Eagles

  • Odds: Eagles -6.5 [BET NOW]
  • Over/Under: 45.5 [BET NOW]
  • Time: 8:20 p.m. ET on Oct. 22
  • TV Channel: FOX, NFL Network

Steelers at Titans

  • Odds: Steelers -1.5 [BET NOW]
  • Over/Under: 52.5 [BET NOW]
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET on Oct. 25
  • TV Channel: CBS

Cowboys at Washington

  • Odds: Cowboys -3.5. [BET NOW]
  • Over/Under: TBD
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET on Oct. 25
  • TV Channel: FOX

Bills at Jets

  • Odds: Bills -10.5 [BET NOW]
  • Over/Under: TBD
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET on Oct. 25
  • TV Channel: CBS

Panthers at Saints

  • Odds: Saints -7.5 [BET NOW]
  • Over/Under: 51.5 [BET NOW]
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET on Oct. 25
  • TV Channel: FOX

Packers at Texans

  • Odds: Packers -3 [BET NOW]
  • Over/Under: 55.5 [BET NOW]
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET on Oct. 25
  • TV Channel: FOX

Browns at Bengals

  • Odds: Browns -4 [BET NOW]
  • Over/Under: 51.5 [BET NOW]
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET on Oct. 25
  • TV Channel: CBS

Lions at Falcons

  • Odds: Falcons -3 [BET NOW]
  • Over/Under: 56.5 [BET NOW]
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET on Oct. 25
  • TV Channel: FOX

Seahawks at Cardinals

  • Odds: Seahawks -3.5 [BET NOW]
  • Over/Under: TBD
  • Time: 4:05 p.m. ET on Oct. 25
  • TV Channel: FOX

Jaguars at Chargers

  • Odds: Chargers -8.5 [BET NOW]
  • Over/Under: 48.5 [BET NOW]
  • Time: 4:25 p.m. ET on Oct. 25
  • TV Channel: CBS

49ers at Patriots

  • Odds: TBD
  • Over/Under: TBD
  • Time: 4:25 p.m. ET on Oct. 25
  • TV Channel: CBS

Chiefs at Broncos

  • Odds: Chiefs -8.5 [BET NOW]
  • Over/Under: TBD
  • Time: 4:25 p.m. ET on Oct. 25
  • TV Channel: CBS

Buccaneers at Raiders

  • Odds: Buccaneers -2.5 [BET NOW]
  • Over/Under: 53.5 [BET NOW]
  • Time: 8:20 p.m. ET on Oct. 25
  • TV Channel: CBS

Bears at Rams

  • Odds: TBD
  • Over/Under: TBD
  • Time: 8:15 p.m. ET on Oct. 26
  • TV Channel: NBC

Week 7 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Boston Scott, Gus Edwards Headline Murky RB Situations

week 7-fantasy football-waiver wire-adds-pickups-boston scott-gus edwards

Pay close attention to the NFL schedule.

The Week 7 waiver wire is full of opportunities for players coming off their bye week. There are several players who notched big Week 5 stat lines who are still available in many leagues.

Which players have most of your league mates forgotten about?

Here are my top waiver wire choices for Week 7.

Note: We’ve limited their recommendations to players owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. All data as of Monday.

Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

Continue reading “Week 7 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Boston Scott, Gus Edwards Headline Murky RB Situations”

MLS Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Portland Timbers vs. Los Angeles Football Club (Sunday, Oct. 18)

sunday-mls-betting-odds-picks-predictions-portland-vs-los-angeles-football-club-oct-18

Portland vs. LAFC Odds

Portland Odds +128 [BET NOW]
LAFC Odds +180 [BET NOW]
Draw +270 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 3.5 (+100/-130) [BET NOW]
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV MLS Live on ESPN+

Odds updated as of Sunday at 11 a.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Things should be the definition of lit on Sunday when Portland hosts Los Angeles Football Club at Providence Park, highlighting a stacked Major League Soccer card.

The Timbers have been on their game as of late, reeling off five consecutive wins before Wednesday’s 2-1 road loss against Real Salt Lake. That brilliant form has them tied with Seattle and Sporting Kansas City on 30 points each, with the Sounders edging out their Cascadia rival and Midwest powerhouse for the top spot via the tiebreaker.

On the other side, LAFC had to be shaking its head after its stunning 2-1 loss to Vancouver in its most recent outing. The last time LAFC and Vancouver met, the Black and Gold delivered a 6-0 shellacking to the Whitecaps, which made this latest result more than just a head scratcher.

Manager Bob Bradley has to be frustrated by his club, which can look like world beaters one night and a bottom feeder the next. The form LAFC has shown backs that assessment up, with it going 3-3 over its last six fixtures. It’s simply hard to predict which version of this team you’re going to get on a match-by-match basis.

 

Despite its stellar form and record, Portland actually boasts pretty mediocre statistics. The Timbers currently sit on 21.0 xGF and 23.3 xGA this season, which results in a subpar -2.3 xGDiff and -0.16 xGDiff/90 minutes.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


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In contrast, LAFC actually has the better numbers. The club boasts 23.3 expected goals and a decent 19.9 expected goals against for a +3.4 xGDiff, along with a +0.24 xGDiff/90 minutes. The xGDiff and xGDiff/90 minutes numbers are good enough for third overall in the conference.

With all that said, I really like Portland to get the job done against an LAFC side that’s simply not playing well. The Timbers are winless in their last five meetings with their conference rivals, but I fully expect the tide to turn in their favor at Providence Park.

Simply put, Portland is better and realizes a win here, combined with anything but Seattle and Sporting KC victories, would put it atop the Western table.

I am also backing the Timbers to score at least two goals. Portland has scored at least twice in its last four meetings with LAFC, so I see no reason for that trend to halt against an opponent coming off that bad defeat.

The Bets: Portland — Draw No Bet (-137); Portland Total Over 1.5 Goals (-148)

BONUS PLAYS

  • Vancouver +1 (-127) vs. LA Galaxy: I backed the Whitecaps as live underdogs Wednesday in their 2-1 win against LAFC, which gives me even more confidence in them going up against a Galaxy side that has lost six consecutive games. Vancouver is playing its best brand of soccer at the moment, so back the visitor getting a goal at Dignity Health Sports Park.
  • San Jose/Seattle — Total Over 2.5 Goals (-177): This play would probably fall inside my top three picks on the Sunday card. The Sounders hung seven goals on the Earthquakes the last time these sides met, which has me thinking we could see a plethora of goals again. Throw in the fact San Jose is coming off a 4-0 rout of the Galaxy, and you have the makings of a wild affair.

[Bet on the Portland-LAFC match, Vancouver-LA Galaxy match & San Jose-Seattle match at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Stuckey’s Sunday Night Football Guide: Odds & Picks for Rams vs. 49ers (Sunday, Oct. 18)

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Rams vs. 49ers Odds

Rams Odds
-3 [BET NOW]
49ers Odds
+3 [BET NOW]
Over/Under
51.5 [BET NOW]
Kickoff
8:20 p.m. ET
TV
NBC

Odds as of early Sunday and via BetMGM. Get an INSTANT $500 deposit match at BetMGM today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


If the San Francisco 49ers want to become only the second Super Bowl loser since 1995 to return to the big game, they might need this game after getting off to a slow 2-3 start. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams are looking to once again join the discussion as a real NFC contender after a subpar 2019 season.

Let’s take a closer look at this NFC West showdown on Sunday night.

Los Angeles Rams

Let’s slow our roll on the Rams.

Admittedly, they’ve been better than I projected coming into the season and I’ve adjusted their power rating accordingly. However, we’re still talking about a 4-1 team with all four wins coming against the sad NFC East.

Sean McVay has done an incredible job of reconfiguring the offense after a disappointing 2019 season. He’s putting quarterback Jared Goff in better positions to succeed, catering to Goff’s strengths and weaknesses. McVay is doing that through a revamped rushing attack and a heavy dose of play-action that’s the primary driver of a very short passing attack. So far this season, L.A. has used play-action at a 50% frequency, which would be an NFL single-season record.

The offensive line has also played a bit better after a disastrous 2019 but the play-calling has really helped. The Rams aren’t really attacking deep at all, so the offensive line isn’t being asked to protect for long. And again, the schedule of defenses has really helped.

On the other side of the ball, the defense relies on two stars in shutdown corner Jalen Ramsey and the NFL’s best defensive linemen in Aaron Donald. They’re two great foundational pieces, but the rest of the defense leaves a lot to be desired. Some of the recent questionable L.A. signings have really restricted the team’s flexibility, leaving it very top-heavy on defense.

The Rams lack an elite edge rush and are very vulnerable at linebacker.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers come into this Sunday night matchup reeling, losers of two straight at home — both by greater than touchdown favorites.

In fairness, they’ve been hit hard by the injury bug, more so than any team in the NFL this season. Both sides of the ball have had a number of cluster injuries. However, the offense is now finally fully healthy at least, especially with Jimmy Garoppolo finally getting in a full week of full practice. I assume he has to be better than last week against Miami.

The secondary and the ability to generate pressure were the two strengths of this defense last season. Both have been severely hit by injuries in 2020 as San Francisco has had to make do without its best edge rushers and even had to start the game last week without its top three corners.

It does look like the 49ers will at least have Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley back this week, which means they won’t have to rely on guys called up from the practice squad like last week. That should help. Still, this edge rush and secondary are nowhere close to full strength without the likes of Richard Sherman and Joey Bosa.

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Rams-49ers Pick

I personally think this line is a gross overreaction to what we’ve seen over the past few weeks. For what it’s worth, the lookahead line prior to last week was 49ers -3 — that means we’ve seen a very rare 6-point swing in the market over a seven-day span.

Yes, the Rams deserved a bump in everyone’s power ratings — just as the 49ers deserved a downgrade, even with the 49ers getting healthier this week and the Rams beating up on the third-string Washington quarterback. Even so, I still make this game around a pick’em, so I gladly grabbed the +3,5 with the home pup — and love anything +3 or better … .even a juiced +3 at -120.

The 49ers also match up fairly well with the Rams.

As I previously alluded to, this Rams offense just isn’t attacking downfield. That’s how you exploit this beat up 49ers secondary that will still be without Sherman and an elite slot corner in K’Waun Williams. Per Football Outsiders, the 49ers rank 30th in the NFL in defending the deep ball but have still graded out very well when defending the short pass at second overall.

In 2020, linebackers are the running backs of the defense — they just don’t really matter that much in today’s game where most teams are rarely ever playing with three backers (and sometimes two) on the field, but in this particular matchup, linebackers should play a significant role in the outcome. And in that case, the 49ers have a massive advantage.

Their linebackers are excellent in coverage, which is critical against a Rams team that loves to throw to short and features their tight ends. The 49ers also rank sixth in the NFL in covering tight ends.

And even without their full arsenal of edge rushers, the 49ers are still getting pressure at a respectable clip. That’s how you force the mechanical Goff, who continues to struggle immensely under pressure, into key mistakes.

With a clean pocket, Goff leads the NFL with an impressive 91.7% Adjusted Completion Percentage with six touchdowns and one interception. However, under pressure, Goff ranks 27th of 30 quarterbacks (min. 100 pass attempts) with two TDs and two INTs.

In contrast, the Rams are very vulnerable at the linebacker position, which Kyle Shanahan can fully exploit on the ground with Raheem Mostert, and especially over the middle with George Kittle. I also expect the San Francisco offensive line to get a solid push at the line of scrimmage all night against a Los Angeles front that ranks 28th in Adjusted Line Yards (per Football Outsiders).

This is a great buy-low, sell-high spot to jump on board the 49ers in a plus-matchup on both sides to the ball. Linebackers will matter on Sunday night. L.A.’s early schedule might work to our benefit as it’s reasonable to expect its travel will catch soon. The Rams have gone from L.A. to Philly back to L.A., to Buffalo then back to L.A., to DC back to L.A. before now heading to the Bay Area for this game — all since Sep. 13.

PICK: 49ers +3 or better

[Bet now at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match]

49ers vs. Rams Picks: How Our Staff is Betting the Sunday Night Football Spread

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The San Francisco 49ers will host the Los Angeles Rams for a Sunday Night Football showdown.

Our staff has you covered with how they’re betting the spread and total.

49ers vs. Rams Picks

We’ve included books offering the best lines as of writing, but you can compare real-time odds here.

Analyst
Pick
Bet Now
Chris Raybon
49ers +2.5
PointsBet
Brandon Anderson
49ers +2.5
BetMGM

Chris Raybon: 49ers +2.5

The 49ers have lost outright three times as favorites — Week 1 vs. Arizona, Week 4 vs. Philadelphia, Week 5 vs. Miami — setting them up for a great buy-low spot against the Rams this week. The Rams are 4-1 but haven’t truly been tested, with all of their wins coming against the NFC East — the worst division in football.

Kyle Shanahan is just 7-14-1 (33%) against the spread as a favorite but 18-13 (58%) as an underdog, and he should be able to get his team up as it plays its third straight home game, which has historically been a favorable spot for underdogs:

While the 49ers will play in their third straight home game, the Rams have already logged three trips to the East Coast, and this is a big letdown spot against their interstate rival that is getting healthier on both sides of the ball.

Despite all of their injuries on defense, the 49ers still rank third in pressure rate (30.1%), which should give Rams quarterback Jared Goff fits, as his 48.5 passer rating under pressure ranks 25th of 34 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

I bet the Niners at +4 but make this game a pick ’em so would bet them down to +1.5.

[Bet now at PointsBet and get $125 if the 49ers score a point]

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Brandon Anderson: 49ers +3

The 49ers were an absolute disaster last week. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. San Francisco got crushed 43-17 at home, and it probably wasn’t even that close. Ryan Fitzpatrick — Ryan Fitzpatrick!! — lit up this defense, and Jimmy Garoppolo was horrible in his return and got benched in favor of C.J. Beathard at the half.

Meanwhile, everyone’s riding high on the 4-1 Rams, but be careful to note where those four wins came from — the Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, and Washington Football Team. Congratulations to the Rams on winning the NFC East! Let’s see what happens when they play a real team. They’re 0-1 against non-NFC East teams, after all.

You see 4-1 vs. 2-3, and it makes sense that the Rams are favored, but the matchup is all wrong for LA. Sean McVay’s offense has been flying high again this year, but it hasn’t faced the toughest competition, and it’s also done it with a great rushing attack. San Francisco got killed last week in pass defense. The 49ers are quite good defending the run.

On the flip side, the Rams defense has been elite against the pass but not so good against the run, and that plays right into San Francisco’s hands. Raheem Mostert is back and fit, and the 49ers will be content to run, run, run and not put the ball in Garoppolo’s hands.

Run the ball, dominate the clock, and force Jared Goff to beat you. That’s the formula for the 49ers’ success, and the formula favors San Francisco in a great bounce-back spot in front of a national Sunday night audience. Take the 49ers points, and if it drops below +3, just play the moneyline instead.

[Bet the 49ers now at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match]

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Rovell’s Betting Market Roundup: $2 Million Lions-Dolphins Parlay Cashes

Sunday Update: The biggest bet this NFL Sunday is a $2 million, two-team moneyline parlay that would pay $2.1 million on … the Detroit Lions and the Miami Dolphins?

That’s the bet that came into DraftKings this week, and it cashed with relative ease. Miami smashed the Jets 24-0, and Detroit led the entire game against the Jaguars in a 34-16 win.

The 1-3 Lions were a 2.5-point favorite against the Jags with the parlay bettor getting -159 on the moneyline.

The 2-3 Miami Dolphins were 8.5-point favorites over the New York Jets with the bettor getting -385 on the moneyline.

It’s one of the biggest parlays we’ve ever seen and certainly the biggest on a team like the Dolphins, who haven’t been this big a favorite since 2016.

Since 2018, the Lions are 10-25-1, while the Dolphins are 14-23.


Thursday Update: As the week rolls on, sharp bettors usually take a bunch of NFL unders, grabbing the value that is normally extracted from the public rooting for points (and betting overs).

But this week was a bit different when a group of sharps rolled into the Superbook in Vegas on Thursday and pounded nearly every under, which resulted in the totals each coming down a half point, according to the Superbook’s Eric Osterman.

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Overs were 29-19 (60.4%) for the first four weeks as scoring rose across the league, but totals went 7-7 in Week 5. Average points are still up, so there was some market correction.

NFL teams are scoring an average of 25.7 points per game, more than two clear of the previous high for a single season in the modern era (2013).

The totals (shown here at close) have steadily climbed up as a result after a dip from Week 1.

Week Average Total
Week 1 50.4
Week 2 46.2
Week 3 47.8
Week 4 49.4
Week 5 49.7
Week 6 50.3*

*Average as of 6 p.m. ET on Thursday

Osterman said that this week is no different — that they will need every under by game time and for the more public books, you can see how lopsided things still are.

FanDuel has six games where more than 80% of the money is on the over — Washington/Giants (83%), Packers/Bucs (85%), Cleveland/Pittsburgh (89%), Bears/Panthers (89%) Cardinals/Cowboys (91%) and Ravens/Eagles (96%).

William Hill bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich said the book is going to need the under in Chiefs-Bills, the highest total of the season at 57, for “a big number” with the over getting 88% of the money so far.

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Elsewhere, there is big money on the Green Bay Packers, the only NFL team to go undefeated against the spread this year, against the Tampa Bay Bucs, who have been overplayed thanks to Tom Brady (2-3 ATS). Osterman said the line is moving down from Bucs -2 to pick ‘em because sharps are on the Packers.

Other games liked by sharps, Osterman says, are the Texans (+3.5) over the Titans, the Browns (+3.5) over the Steelers, the 49ers (+3.5) over the Rams and the Cowboys (+1.5) over the Cardinals.

Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers Odds, Pick: The Big Sunday Night Football Edge Sharps Are Betting

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Rams vs. 49ers Betting Odds

Rams Odds -3 
49ers Odds +3 
Over/Under 51.5 
Time/Channel  8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

Data as of Sunday at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Sign up for a FREE Trial of our NFL PRO Report, which highlights key factors that provide betting edges — like sharp action, large wagers, historically-profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks.


When it comes to signals, our NFL PRO Report saved the best for last on Sunday.

Tonight’s 49ers vs. Rams Week 6 matchup checks off all five PRO Report boxes, including a 5.6% edge according to The Action Network’s new PRO Model Projections.

Let’s examine which side of 49ers vs. Rams is popping with value ahead of Sunday Night Football.

49ers vs. Rams Betting Pick

Sharp Action

The 49ers vs. Rams spread sat at San Francisco +3.5 earlier in the week, and sharps jumped all over that number.

Seven separate instances of smart money have come in on San Fran, explaining exactly why this spread is now +3 across the market with a handful of shops, like FanDuel, already down to +2.5.

[Track sharp action for every NFL Week 6 game now by signing up for a FREE PRO Trial.]

Big Money

With professional bettors often comes big money, and that’s the case in this matchup.

The 49ers have attracted 54% of the money on just 42% of the bets, confirming that the larger-sized wagers have come down on San Francisco.

PRO Systems

Not only are sharps playing the Niners, but historical data likes their chances to cover as well.

Our Fade Covering Teams PRO System is 317-246-17 (56%) against the spread since 2005 by fading teams overvalued by the market. San Francisco is one of four system matches for Sunday’s Week 6 games.

Model Projections

The Action Network’s NFL betting model projects this spread to be 49ers +0.3, indicating there’s plenty of value in San Fran +3 in a game our numbers essentially see as a pick’em.

Top Experts

Six of our experts have piled on the home underdog as well, giving San Francisco a clean PRO Report sweep.

PRO Report Angle: 49ers +3

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