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.

Download The Action Network App to track all of your World Cup bets.

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.

Thursday MLB Betting Odds & Pick for Blue Jays vs. Braves: Fade Atlanta’s Bullpen (May 13)

toronto blue jays vs atlanta braves-mlb-odds-bets-picks-may-13

Blue Jays vs. Braves Odds

Blue Jays Odds +140
Braves Odds -165
Over/Under 8.5 (-118 / -103)
Time Thursday, 12:20 p.m. ET
TV MLB Network
Odds updated Thursday at 10:30 a.m. ET and via DraftKings.

Both the Toronto Blue Jays and the Atlanta Braves are equally matched for this week’s interleague series which started on Tuesday. The Blue Jays currently have an 18-16 record while the Braves have a 17-18 record. Both teams are within three games of first place in their divisions, so it should not be a surprise that Tuesday and Wednesday’s game were considered tossups by the betting markets.

For Thursday’s game the Atlanta Braves are the clear favorites, and that is because of the pitching matchup. The starting pitcher for the Braves is reliable veteran  Charlie Morton. Opposing Morton is Ross Stripling who has struggled this season. Can Toronto overcome Atlanta’s edge in starting pitching?

_BookPromo=351

Toronto Blue Jays

Any pitcher who has pitched for only 16 1/3 innings like Ross Stripling has this season is hard to assess. The pitcher could have performed poorly in a small sample size of games, or they are just awful. If Stripling pitches like how he has been pitching this season and last, then the Blue Jays should lose.

In four starts this season, Stripling has a 6.61 ERA and a 4.87 xFIP. Additionally, Stripling is only averaging around four innings per start. In 2020, Stripling had a 5.84 ERA and a 4.95 xFIP in only 49 1/3 innings. However, before 2020, Stripling had a sub-four ERA in each of his first four seasons with the LA Dodgers. If Stripling can return to his form from when he was with the Dodgers, then he could be a dangerous pitcher moving forward.

While the Blue Jays are vulnerable at starting pitcher, their lineup is a strength. Currently Toronto is averaging 4.85 runs per game which is the eighth best in the league. The only disadvantage that the Blue Jays have is that they are without a designated hitter for this week’s series and OF George Springer.

However, according to my model, their projected lineup which includes Stripling hitting would produce 4.48 runs on a typical night. Against the Braves, the Blue Jays should be competitive based on the strength of their lineup.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Atlanta Braves

Unlike Toronto, Atlanta has a reliable starting pitcher for Thursday’s game in Charlie Morton. While Morton is a 37-year-old in his 14th MLB season, he has quietly been one of the most reliable pitchers over the last six years. For the 2021 season, Morton has a 4.98 ERA and a 3.58 xFIP.

Morton should allow fewer runs over the course of a full season as evidenced by the fact that his xFIP is almost one-and-a-half runs less than his ERA. While Morton is a solid pitcher, he has been used relatively conservatively over the last two seasons.

Last year with the Tampa Bay Rays, Morton averaged less than 4 1/3 innings per start. This season with Atlanta, Morton is averaging less than five innings per start. Even if Morton pitches a good game on Thursday, the Braves must rely on their bullpen for much of their game.

Like the Blue Jays, the Braves have a strong lineup. Currently Atlanta averages 4.63 runs per game which is .28 more runs per game than the average MLB team. The Braves are particularly strong at the top of the order with OF Ronald Acuña Jr. and 1B Freddie Freeman.

_BookPromo=1646

Blue Jays-Braves Pick

I am tempted to bet on the Blue Jays moneyline for Thursday’s game, but my model does not like either team’s moneyline. Toronto is particularly vulnerable with Ross Stripling on the mound, and Atlanta is not as good of a team as they are perceived to be.

However, when I simulated Thursday’s game 10,000 times, my model sees an edge with taking the over on Toronto’s team run total. Charlie Morton is a strong pitcher for the Braves, but he is unlikely to pitch for more than five innings. Additionally, the Blue Jays have a lineup that usually has more than four runs a game.

While some sites offer a team total of over 3.5 (-140) on the Blue Jays, my model does not see much of an edge at that number. However, for Toronto to score over 4 runs at only -105 odds, my model sees this team total bet as a large enough edge to merit a bet.

Pick: Toronto Team Run Total Over 4 Runs (-105) (Wynn) would play up to -115

_BookPromo=245

NHL Playoff Fantasy Pool Strategy & Picks: How to Come in First or Dead Last

winnipeg jets

I don’t know if these pools have a universal name across sports, but the concept is simple — you pick a “fantasy team” of sorts before the postseason, and those players accumulate points until they’re eliminated. It works for just about any sport with a bracket-style postseason, and it’s always been somewhat popular in hockey.

There are a few different ways to run a pool like this:

  1. Snake draft, where only one version of each player is owned. This will typically be amongst friends, with a max of eight entries, or else you’ll quickly run out of goalies.
  2. Everyone can pick the same players, so you’ll end up with most of the pool owning Auston Matthews and Nathan MacKinnon. These pools will be bigger, and you need to differentiate yourself.

We’ll be focusing on No. 2. It’s the format our friends at MoneyPuck are using:

  • Pick two forwards and one defenseman from each of the four divisions.
  • Get 1 point for a goal, expected goal, or primary assist, and 0.5 points for a secondary assist.

These playoff elimination fantasy pools offer an extra level of strategic thinking because you must balance picking players who will put up points and advance so that they can continue scoring. You can’t score if you’re not playing.

MoneyPuck posted projections for playoff pools, complete with the most essential stat — projected games played. They’ve got Toronto the highest at 14.7 games played, and St. Louis the lowest at 6.7. Of course, the Stanley Cup finalists will end up playing 20-plus games, but these are averages based on MoneyPuck’s projections.

Team Projected Games
TOR 14.7
COL 14.3
VGK 12.9
PIT 12.6
FLA 12.5
CAR 12.3
EDM 12.1
WSH 11.9
BOS 10.5
T.B 9.9
MIN 9.36
NSH 8.93
NYI 8.6
MTL 8.2
WPG 7.9
STL 6.7

So how do you win a pool like this? You want to treat your roster construction like DFS and get leverage over the rest of the pool. And that means you want to get a little weird. Here are some strategies to help your team stand out, and the team I’m entering.

1. If You’re Not First, You’re Last

The goal of these pools is to win, or come very close to winning. Placing 45th of 350 is the same as finishing last.

This concept will inform the rest of my strategy, which I believe will increase your chances of winning, but also increase your chances of coming in dead last. If you planned to take McDavid, Matthews, MacKinnon and Stone, you’ll finish 45th, and you can stop reading.

2. Pick Teams First, Then Players

In MoneyPuck’s pool, you pick two forwards and a defenseman from each division. I’ll be picking three players from the same team for each.

Why? In a pool this big, you can’t split the baby. You’re going to need to have a handful of players from both Stanley Cup finalists to win. Every round your players advance, their expected points scored go up significantly. If I nail the four semifinal teams, I feel like I’ll have a good chance to win.

But what if I pick the wrong teams and they got knocked out in the first round? Shouldn’t I split it up?

No. Splitting it up will help you finish in the top half of the pool, or maybe the top 20%. But it won’t help you win. It may slightly increase the entertainment value you derive from this pool. But it won’t help you win.

Picking teams will also help your players put up points together — known in DFS as stacking. When Mark Stone scores, there’s a good chance Chandler Stephenson, Max Pacioretty or Shea Theodore were involved. Sometimes three. That’s increasing your upside should the Knights go deep in the playoffs. Because to go deep, they need their best players to score.

I was in a pool last year with 12 forwards, so I did end up having exposure to more teams, but went heavy on Tampa and Vegas. In a big roster format, you’d likely rather have MacKinnon or McDavid than the sixth-option for a team you go heavy on.

3. Get Leverage on the Field

We don’t have historical data on ownership in these types of pools because they’re quite niche, but MoneyPuck posted the percentages of players used so far. MacKinnon, McDavid and Matthews are all north of 70%.

It also appears that most people aren’t totally stacking teams — if MacKinnon is at 70%, Mika Rantanen should be closer to that, but he’s at about 30%. It appears most people are taking the best player from the two best teams in each division, which should help me if I can nail the four semifinalists.

So how do you get leverage on the pool? You fade the highest-owned players, and parlay your own team’s success with the failures of others.

If the Jets beat the Oilers in the first round, anyone who went heavy on Edmonton will be drawing dead. If I take Winnipeg and the Jets advance, I’ve eliminated those entries, and I’m getting points no one else is getting, because no one is going heavy on Winnipeg.

Based on implied odds from DraftKings, Winnipeg has a 40% chance to advance past Edmonton, but I can guarantee their best players will be owned by less than 5% of entries. McDavid’s ownership will be north of 70%, but his team has just a 60% chance to advance.

Don’t take the Blues, Jets, Predators and Islanders, but mix and match good teams with teams who no one wants but have some upside.

_BookPromo=1085

4. Find High-Usage Players & Lines

The best part about rostering McDavid is that he never comes off the ice on the powerplay. If Edmonton scores at 5 on 4, he’s probably involved.

But the flaw in Edmonton’s setup is that he and Leon Draisaitl don’t play together at 5 on 5. You’re eliminating some of your upside if you pair those two because their performance isn’t as correlated as it could be.

Boston and Colorado play their top lines together at even strength and on the powerplay, so you have exposure to them at all times. If you’re going to pick 2-3 players on the same team like me, make sure they’re on the ice together a lot.

5. Add Goalies to Your Stack

If your pool features goalies, you’ll want to pair your tender with your offense. When your offense is scoring, it means your goalie is winning, and advancing so he can win more games. Connor Hellebuyck, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Semyon Varlamov would be my favorite plays if MoneyPuck’s pool used goalies.

6. My Team

Hopefully points 1-5 were compelling enough that you now trust my line of thinking, even if you don’t trust me. Which is fair. Here are the guys I’m using in MoneyPuck’s pool.

East Division

  • Forward 1: David Pastrnak (BOS)
  • Forward 2: Patrice Bergeron (BOS)
  • Defenseman: Charlie McAvoy (BOS)

This was the one division where I thought about taking a rogue defenseman like John Carlson, but I’ll stick with the three-man stack, especially since Boston and Washington play in the first round. Marchand will be the highest owned of the three, so getting Pastrnak and Bergeron at much lower ownerships with almost identical upside is appealing.

My other option here would be heavy on the Islanders. This division is much more up for grabs than people think, but ownership will skew heavy toward Pittsburgh, then Washington and Boston. If New York advances out of this pod, it’s likely Mathew Barzal put up some points.

North Division

  • Forward 1: Mark Scheifele (WPG)
  • Forward 2: Kyle Connor (WPG)
  • Defenseman: Neal Pionk (WPG)

This is my spot to get massive leverage on the field. If Winnipeg wins two rounds, it will essentially eliminate any entries that went heavy on Toronto or Edmonton, which I’d guess will be over than 50%. Maybe more. Connor Hellebuyck just needs to steal a series or two.

I went with Pionk to tie his powerplay usage to Scheifele and Conner, and might be one of about five people to use Neal Pionk.

The second option here is go heavy on Toronto or Edmonton, then get contrarian in one of the other divisions with the Islanders, Panthers or even Wild.

The third option is to truly fade Toronto and take Montreal, which I don’t hate either. No one is going to use the Habs, and their even-strength possessions numbers were still pretty strong this season.

Central Division

  • Forward 1: Nikita Kucherov (TB)
  • Forward 2: Brayden Point (TB)
  • Defenseman: Victor Hedman (TB)

My decision was made for me after seeing early ownership percentages with Carolina’s Sebastian Aho and Dougie Hamilton both north of 40%.

Kucherov is the ultimate upside play. If he flops, or isn’t healthy, you may actually finish last. Again, who cares.

But if he’s himself, you have a top 5 player in the NHL on an elite team owned by almost no one else in the pool.

It’s unclear where Kucherov will play, but he has been working with the first powerplay unit. I thought about going ultra-contrarian and going with Steven Stamkos, too, but I don’t think Brayden Point will be highly owned anyway.

West Division

  • Forward 1: Mark Stone (VGK)
  • Forward 2: Chandler Stephenson (VGK)
  • Defenseman: Shea Theodore (VGK)

I always take Vegas in pools like this because they’re impossibly good and tend to be the contrarian play relative to Colorado. Max Pacioretty is banged up, so Chandler Stephenson it is. I don’t know if he’s any good but Stone makes him good.

You can take Colorado, just make sure you’re taking some underdogs elsewhere, like the Jets or Canadiens in the North.

_BookPromo=1085

NFL Week 1 Odds & Picks: 7 Spreads To Bet After Schedule Release

nfl week 1-odds-picks-predictions-spreads-betting-schedule release

The schedule for Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season is out! And, yes, we’ve already locked in lines.

Our analysts walk you through which spreads they bet immediately, including a case for both sides of 49ers-Panthers.

NFL Week 1 Odds & Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Steelers +6.5 at Bills
Panthers -4 vs. Jets
Washington +1.5 vs. Chargers
Cardinals +2.5 at Titans
Vikings -3 at Bengals
Seahawks +2.5 at Colts
Lions +7.5 vs. 49ers
49ers -7.5 at Lions
Schedule Day Special: Deposit $50, Get $100!

Deposit $50 at BetRivers or SugarHouse

Get $100 FREE automatically

New users only

Steelers at Bills

Pick
Steelers +6.5 (-110)
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
1 p.m. ET on Sept. 12

Matthew Freedman: As great as Bills quarterback Josh Allen is, he’s a mediocre 8-7 against the spread (ATS) as a home favorite. But Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is an A-graded 40-21 ATS (28.1% ROI) as an underdog.

With their elite defense and new rookie running back Najee Harris, I expect the Steelers to keep this game close.


Jets at Panthers

Pick
Panthers -4 (-105)
Book
PointsBet
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET on Sept. 12

Simon Hunter: This is a rookie quarterback (Zach Wilson) and a first-year head coach (Robert Saleh) making their first start together on the road.

Don’t think too hard about it, just bet the Panthers. I’ll be backing them up to -7.

_BookPromo=19


» Return to the table of contents «


Chargers at Washington

Pick
Washington +1.5
Book
DraftKings
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET on Sept. 12

Chris Raybon: Washington’s point differential was +6 last season while the Chargers’ was -42, and while both teams improved in the offseason, it’s hard to argue that the Chargers improved significantly more than Washington to the point where they should be favored on the road.

Washington shored up its biggest weakness, the quarterback position — in the short term, at least — by signing Ryan Fitzpatrick. The 38-year-old was excellent for Miami last season, posting a career-high 76.9 mark in QBR. And he did that behind a Miami offensive line that ranked 21st in Pro Football Focus’ pass-blocking grade (63.5) — a distant cry from Washington’s third-ranked line (77.7).

A Washington pass-catching corps featuring Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas, Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic plus free-agent addition Curtis Samuel and fourth-round wide receiver Dyami Brown represents an upgrade over what Fitzpatrick had last year with Miami, as well.

The Chargers will get reinforcements on defense in the form of former All-Pro safety Derwin James returning from injury and first-round corner Asante Samuel Jr., but they also lost a lot of talent on that side of the ball in linebackers Melvin Ingram and Denzel Perriman and defensive backs Casey Hayward and Rayshawn Jenkins. Washington, meanwhile, finished third in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA last season (-18.3%) and invested in Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis with its first-round pick (19th overall), so it’s safe to say Washington has the edge on the defensive side of the ball. There may not be a defense more equipped to handle reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert and Co.

First-year head coach Brandon Staley, the former defensive coordinator of the Rams, registers as an improvement over Anthony Lynn just by not being Anthony Lynn. Still this will be Staley’s first game as an NFL head coach. And Ron Rivera will field the superior team in Week 1.

I project Washington as the favorite in this matchup and would bet the Football Team up to -1.

_BookPromo=49


» Return to the table of contents «


Cardinals at Titans

Pick
Cardinals +2.5
Book
FanDuel
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET on Sept. 12

Raheem Palmer: The Titans are one team I come into this season wanting to fade.

Despite finishing 11-5 last season, they had a Pythagorean Expectation of just 9.1 wins, which means we should expect them to regress this season. And Arthur Smith, the offensive coordinator who was responsible for turning Ryan Tannehill into an above-average quarterback, has left to become the head coach of the Falcons — just look to Kyle Shanahan’s departure from Atlanta after its Super Bowl appearance in 2016 for a prime example of how a team can totally collapse after their offensive coordinator leaves.

The Titans were heavily reliant on an offense that scored 30.7 points per game, ranking second in expected points added (EPA) per play, third in success rate, and fourth in offensive DVOA. If this offense takes a step back in the absence of Smith, and after the free-agent departures of wide receivers Adam Humphries and Corey Davis as well as tight end Jonnu Smith, they’ll be relying on a defense that gave up 27.4 points per game and ranked 29th in DVOA last season.

The Titans will be charged with stopping a Cardinals offense with Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and 2021 second-round pick Rondale Moore, who caught 178 catches for 1,915 yards and 17 touchdowns at Purdue. And while I’m not the biggest fan of head coach Kliff Kingsbury, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel has his question marks as well — particularly being a defensive-minded head coach managing a team with an abysmal defense after losing their offensive coordinator.

Arizona is the better team and my model makes this game a pick’em, so at +2.5, I’ll be taking the Cardinals. I’ll also be taking their moneyline because I believe they could go on the road and win this game outright. I’ll also add them to Stanford Wong six-point teasers to cross out the key numbers of 3, 6 and 7.

_BookPromo=24


» Return to the table of contents «


Vikings at Bengals

Pick
Vikings -3 (-105)
Book
PointsBet
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET on Sept. 12

Brandon Anderson: Slowly but surely, the Bengals are moving in the right direction. By the end of 2021, they might be one of those teams no one wants to face over the final few weeks of the season.

Luckily for the Vikings, they get to face the Bengals to start the year instead.

Remember that Joe Burrow has started only 10 NFL games, so he’s basically still a rookie, and he’ll be playing his first real full-speed football in 10 months when this game kicks off. It’s also the first game ever for rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, and though Burrow and Chase have that LSU chemistry built in, this is going to take some time to develop in the NFL. The Bengals defense is also a work in progress.

No one expects this team to be anywhere close to the playoffs.

The Vikings, on the other hand, should actually be a playoff contender. Whether they’re in the division hunt may depend on what happens with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, but Minnesota profiles as a very solid, good-not-great all-around team.

The Vikings may not have a Super Bowl ceiling, but they tend to play well under Mike Zimmer against teams they should beat, and the Bengals are one of those teams.

Minnesota improved its offensive line in a big way in the draft, and the offense should be healthy and ready to go with a pair of great receivers, one of the best running backs in football, and a quarterback who plays well with protection against beatable defenses. This is one of those games the Vikings look really good in and get everyone’s hopes up before playing a real opponent.

I trust Minnesota to take care of business in the opener. There’s a chance I could wait and hope this line drops below a field goal, but I’m not sure what we’ll see from Cincinnati to move the line in the Bengals’ direction and I don’t mind laying the points. The Vikings should win by a touchdown or more.

_BookPromo=19

Seahawks at Colts

Pick
Seahawks +2.5 (+100)
Book
PointsBet
Tipoff
1 p.m. ET on Sept. 12

Matthew Freedman: If you give me the chance to bet on quarterback Russell Wilson as an underdog, I’ll do it.

Wilson is 23-10 ATS, good for a 34.5% ROI (per our Action Labs data). And although quarterback Carson Wentz is familiar with head coach Frank Reich’s system from their time together years ago in Philadelphia, the Colts still have a new Week 1 starter — for the fifth year in a row — and Wentz might be slow to build a rapport with his receivers.


» Return to the table of contents «


49ers at Lions

Pick
Lions +7.5 (-110)
Book
FanDuel
Kickoff
1 p.m. ET on Sept. 12

Simon Hunter: I love taking big Week 1 home dogs that everyone else hates.

After injuries spoiled the follow-up to their 2019 Super Bowl appearance then they traded up to draft former North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance with the third overall pick, there’s a ton of drama and hype surrounding the 49ers heading into the 202 season.

The public will be all over San Francisco against a team that fans believe are tanking.

_BookPromo=24

49ers at Lions

Pick
49ers -7.5 (-110)
Best Book
FanDuel

Brandon Anderson: The Detroit Lions are going to be very, very bad. The Lions and Texans are clear favorites for next year’s #1 pick right now, and the tanking could be ugly.

Detroit is basically starting over. They have a new coach and system in place for this one, and there aren’t more than a few players on this roster that are long term answers for the Lions. Jared Goff is an actual definition of a placeholder, and the 49ers are well versed into just how mediocre Goff is, and that was with Sean McVay. Now take McVay away and give him… Tyrell Williams? And Breshad Perriman? It’s going to be ugly.

The Lions have the look of a team that will quickly be something like a two-touchdown underdog against good teams later in the season, and I fully expect the 49ers to be good. I also expect Jimmy Garoppolo to start the season under center, so this team will actually have a good amount of continuity from last year.

San Francisco is better on offense, on defense, at coaching, and any other way you slice it. I don’t anticipate this line moving below a touchdown, and if anything, it could pretty easily be double digits by kickoff this fall. I’m happy to lay the 7.5 points and go with the far better team.

The 49ers could end up a Super Bowl contender, and the Lions will be lucky if they can find the right channel for the game on their TV screens. This could turn into a massacre and a rough start to a long season for the Lions. Count me in.


» Return to the table of contents «


2021 WNBA Odds & Picks: Betting Sky To Win Title & Elena Delle Donne For MVP

wnba-odds-picks-championship-chicago sky-mvp-elena delle donne-2021

The 2021 WNBA season tips off this Friday. And in honor of its return, we asked our analysts to break down their favorite futures.

Find their picks below, including one championship bet and one MVP angle.

WNBA Odds & Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Chicago Sky +850 To Win WNBA Title
Elena Delle Donne To Win WNBA MVP

WNBA Championship Pick

Chicago Sky +850

Bill Monighetti: Injuries at key positions caused the Sky to limp across the finish line in 2020, going 2-7 over their final nine games of the season, including a first-round loss to the Sun in the playoffs.

Most notably, a thigh injury limited Diamond DeShields to only 17 minutes per game and led to sharp declines in every major statistical category. The Sky also lost Azura Stevens to a knee injury after the promising third-year forward had averaged a solid 14 points and 7 rebounds through Chicago’s first five games. According to head coach James Wade, DeShields will be a full go to start the 2021 campaign, while Stevens will begin the year on a minutes restriction.

Of course, I am burying the lede here, as the Sky also added two-time league MVP Candace Parker via free agency this offseason. A balanced, all-around player, Parker will bring a championship pedigree to a Sky roster that is otherwise lacking in playoff experience. Rounding out the team’s core, the Sky will pair arguably the league’s top shooter in Allie Quigley with the league’s top playmaker in Courtney Vandersloot for the ninth straight season.

At +850 to win the championship, the Sky are listed behind the Sparks (+600), who lost Parker in free agency, and well behind the Storm (+175),who replaced former Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard with an unproven talent in Katie Lou Samuelson this offseason. At those odds, it’s a bet I’m willing to make given the star power on this Chicago roster.


WNBA MVP Pick

Elena Delle Donne +600

Michael Arinze: Last year was a tumultuous one for Elena Delle Donne as she sought to receive a medical opt-out from the WNBA due to her ongoing battle with Lyme Disease. Since her opt-out was based on a medical issue and a recommendation from her physician, Delle Donne would have been eligible to receive compensation.

Unfortunately, her request was denied by the independent panel of doctors selected by the league and the players association, who didn’t view her as a high-risk candidate amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mystics organization later stepped in and announced their commitment to honor her salary even if she chose to sit out.

The key takeaway here is that the Mystics had Delle Donne’s back during the ordeal, and I think she’ll be motivated to show her gratitude in spades. Keep in mind that Delle Donne is only two years removed from winning the MVP along with the WNBA title.

It was a historic season for that year her as she became the first and only WNBA player to join the 50-40-90 club. It’s an honor that she shares with only eight NBA players.

A’ja Wilson won the MVP award last year, and the only other player in WNBA history to go back-to-back was Cynthia Cooper in 1997 and 1998.

One common trend with the MVP winner over the last five years is they all managed to reach the WNBA Finals. It’s not enough to just put up points — it helps to be on a good team as well.

Delle Donne is likely to be at the top of the league in terms of win shares. In fact, if we look at the recent MVP winners, none of them came close to her win shares (7.7) when she won the award.

It’s important to remember that the voters are not robots, but rather human beings. So don’t be surprised if it’s a close race and the voters opt for Delle Donne, given what she endured last season.

_BookPromo=49

MLB Odds & Picks for Athletics vs. Red Sox: Back Oakland With Sean Manaea on the Mound (Thursday, May 13)

Athletics vs. Red Sox Odds

Athletics Odds -103
Red Sox Odds -113
Over/Under 9 (-109 / -112)
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Thursday and via DraftKings.

Oakland and Boston look to extend their leads atop their respective divisions Thursday at Fenway Park.

Oakland is off to a fantastic start to the 2021 season, holding a two game lead in the AL West over Houston coming into Thursday’s contest. The A’s have been fantastic in all four phases of the game, especially their starting pitching. They’ll send one of their best Sean Manaea to the mound tonight to see if he can keep the train moving in the right direction.

Boston is off to a surprising start to 2021, mainly because its offense has been one of the best in baseball. The Yankees are starting to come alive in the AL East, so the Red Sox need to continue their fantastic play at the plate in order to hold off their bitter rivals.

Offensive Matchup

Oakland A’s

Oakland’s offense is off to fantastic start, ranking seventh in wRC+ at 102. However, not a lot of that success has come against right handed pitching. The A’s are hitting a measly .208 with a .294 wOBA, which ranks in the bottom five of baseball.

Despite not hitting righties well, they should have a good matchup against Garrett Richards tonight. Richards mainly uses a fastball/slider combination, which is good news for the A’s because they rank in the top half of baseball against both of those pitches.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox have been one of the best offenses in baseball to start the season, ranking first in wOBA and second in wRC+. One of the reasons for that is because they’ve been crushing left-handed pitching to the tune of a .332 wOBA and 111 wRC+.

However, they are likely going to have a difficult matchup against Sean Manaea, who is mainly a sinker ball guy. The Red Sox have two players in their lineup with positive run values against sinkers, so it could be a tough night for Boston’s lineup.


Starting Pitching Matchup

Sean Manaea vs. Garrett Richards

2021 Stats (via Fangraphs)

A’s Starting Pitcher

Sean Manaea, LHP

2021 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Sean Manaea has been flat out awesome so far this season for A’s. Through his first seven starts he’s posted a 3.00 xERA and a 3.76 xFIP, which are the best marks of his career. Manaea is mainly a sinker ball pitcher, throwing it over 58% of the time, but what is surprising is he doesn’t have a very high ground ball rate.

Manaea’s ground ball rate of 38.4% is actually the lowest of his career. His fly ball rate is way up from last season at 39.3%, but that’s actually been a positive for him because his HR/FB of 9.10% and HR/9 rate of 0.88 are lowest of his career.

Another reason Manaea has been fantastic this season is because he’s greatly reduced the amount of hard contact he gives up. His hard contact rate is down almost 12% from last season, which is another reason why his xERA is so low.

He’ll have a fantastic matchup against a Red Sox lineup that struggles against sinkers.

Red Sox Starting Pitcher

Garrett Richards, RHP

2021 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Richards struggled in 2020 with the Padres, posting a 4.58 xERA and 4.46 xFIP. His biggest problem was allowing way too much hard contact. Richards’ hard contact rate was over 39%. So far this season, Richards has been only slightly better posting a 4.55 xERA and a 4.01 xFIP.

Richards primarily uses a fastball-slider combination with a lot of velocity. He throws a hard slider that doesn’t have much horizontal movement, but it really drops off the table.

He hasn’t been effective with either pitch this season, as both are allowing a wOBA over .340. Thats not going to work against this A’s lineup because those are the two pitches they’ve had the most success against this season.

Bullpen/Defensive Matchup

The Red Sox bullpen is pitching way better than their projections coming into the season. Boston has a 3.92 ERA and 3.63 xFIP, both of which are near the top of Major League Baseball. They are also striking out batters left and right, as they have the third highest K% in baseball.

The A’s bullpen is due for some negative regression. So far this season they’ve put up a 3.87 ERA, but has a 4.36 xFIP, which ranks in the bottom half of the league. Oakland by projection standards has the better of the two bullpens, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the later innings.

Athletics-Red Sox Pick

Even though the A’s have been struggling versus right handed pitching, I think this a fantastic matchup for their offense. Manaea has been lights out this season and should be able to shut down a Red Sox lineup that struggles versus sinkers.

Since I have the A’s projected at -156 for the first five innings, I think there is some value on them at -110.

Pick: A’s First Five Innings -110

_BookPromo=49

Unibet Virginia UFC 262 Odds, Promo: Bet UFC Risk-Free Up to $1,000 + Get $100 FREE!

Unibet Sportsbook just launched in Virginia and UFC fans will be itching to sign up for this weekend’s PPV event when they see this offer:

Bet UFC 262 risk-free up to $1,000 plus get $100 free!

_BookPromo=1943

Here are the details:

Unibet Sportsbook

Offer: Bet UFC 262 risk-free up to $1,000 + get $100 free

  • Bet now: Click here
  • Who’s it for? New users in VA

With UFC 262, the NHL playoffs and NBA playoffs all taking place in the coming days, this is a great time to sign up at the newest book in Virginia and score some free money.

To take advantage of this lucrative offer:

  • Click this link
  • Register and deposit
  • Your first bet will be risk-free up to $1,000

Did I mention that Unibet is also giving you $100 in additional free bets to use however you’d like? Well, you get that too!

Sign up at Virginia’s latest and greatest book and bet the fight risk-free!

BET UFC 262 RISK-FREE!

_BookPromo=1943

MLB Odds & Picks for Royals vs. Tigers: Bet on Plenty of Runs in Thursday’s Matinee (May 13)

mlb odds-betting-picks-predictions-kansas city royals-vs-detroit tigers-thursday-may 13-willi castro

Royals vs. Tigers Odds

Royals Odds -103
Tigers Odds -114
Over/Under 9
Time 1:10 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Wednesday night and via DraftKings.

Given the level of organizational dysfunction in Detroit, the Tigers don’t often sweep other teams. In fact, they’ve only completed three 3-game series sweeps since 2019.

However, thanks to the recent — almost inexplicable — collapse by the Royals, the Tigers have a chance to sweep on Thursday.

Detroit’s bats continue to run hot while Kansas City’s luck refuses to turn. Given the absurdity of what these two teams have accomplished recently, I’m staying away from either side and instead targeting a play on the total.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Kansas City Royals

Since this Tweet on April 27, the Royals have gone 2-12 and have lost 10 straight games. The last two losses have been particularly gut-wrenching — and not just because they came at the hands of the worst team in baseball.

In Game 1 of this series, the Royals battled back from a 7-0 hole to tie the game at 7-7 in the top of the ninth inning … only to have the Tigers win the game in the bottom of the frame. Then in Game 2, the Royals took a 2-0 lead in the first inning … only to get shut out the rest of the way, losing 4-2.

Since the last time the Royals won a game (May 1), the Royals lineup ranks 23rd in OPS, the pitching staff ranks 25th in FIP, and the Royals have a run differential of -38. Half of the lineup has been having issues, too:

Royals Starting Pitcher: Daniel Lynch (LHP)

Lynch, the No. 34 overall pick in the 2018 draft and one of the Royals’ top pitching prospects, has had two strange starts in the show.

Lynch was fairly effective in his May 3 MLB debut, allowing just one run in 4 2/3 innings against Cleveland. However, he also left two runners on base when he was pulled, and Scott Barlow immediately allowed a two-run double to Franmil Reyes, thus charging Lynch with three earned runs.

Five days later, Lynch learned about the White Sox vs. lefties the hard way. He allowed eight runs while managing just two outs and threw only 34 pitches. Now, here’s the silver lining: The short start enabled the Royals to move Lynch up a day so he can face the lowly Tigers rather than the mighty White Sox again.

This matchup may be a barnburner, but I’m very intrigued to observe how Lynch pitches against Detroit. In theory, Lynch’s fastball-slider combination should shut down the Tigers. After all, Detroit ranks among the bottom five teams in both weighted fastball and slider runs created (-12.6 combined).

However, the Detroit bats have also been absurdly hot lately.

_BookPromo=358

Detroit Tigers

Over the past seven days, Detroit boasts the second-best offense in the league. The Tigers rank second in OPS (.816), wOBA (.363) and wRC+ (135). They’ve put up some impressive run totals in series against the Red Sox and Twins.

However, even though the Royals have lost 10 straight games and the Tigers have been hot, Detroit still remains 4.5 games behind Kansas City in the American League Central standings. That emphasizes just how poor this season has been for Detroit.

Past this recent stretch of offensive excellence, I wouldn’t expect the Tigers to have much more success. There are too many holes in the roster to fix.

However, the Tigers’ starting pitching hasn’t been horrific. Players like Matthew Boyd and Casey Mize have had their moments, and today’s starter has had similar successes:


Tigers Starting Pitcher: Spencer Turnbull (RHP)

The Tigers’ rotation features many soft-throwing, weak-contact pitchers. Turnbull is just another one of them.

His go-to pitch is a 93-mph fastball that has little-to-no movement on it. As a result, Turnbull doesn’t miss bats often (14th percentile strikeout rate; 10th percentile whiff rate). Nonetheless, he also doesn’t walk many batters (2.37 BB/9), and he forces a respectable volume of ground balls (48.3% GB rate). All-in-all, batters are hitting just .222 off Turnbull’s fastball with an average exit velocity of only 87 mph.

Turnbull also keeps the ball inside the park. In four years with Detroit, Turnbull has never allowed more than .85 homers per nine innings — including just .32 per nine innings last season.

I actually think Turnbull might be due for a bit of positive regression. His 58.6% strand rate should rise closer to his career average (67%) and his xERA is nearly a full point lower than his actual ERA.

For example: In Turnbull’s start against these Royals earlier this season, he allowed three runs on five hits over six innings and thus owned a 4.5 ERA for the start. But, his xFIP was just 3.75, and he struck out five batters while allowing zero walks.

Bet $20 on KC-DET, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on KC-DET as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

Royals-Tigers Pick

This game is difficult to handicap. Each team’s recent play has been so unexpected that I’m unsure what to make of either side.

However, there’s one thing I keep coming back to in this matchup: The bullpens. These two ‘pens have been worked recently.

Over the past four games, Kansas City’s relievers have pitched 19 2/3 innings and Detroit’s relief-pitchers have pitched 13 2/3. Both bullpens have been spread thin, and neither has performed particularly well. The Royals and Tigers share company among the bottom-10 teams in bullpen FIP over the past seven days.

This bullpen dynamic inspires me to wager on the over. Given both team’s relief-pitching situations, I’m banking on late-game fireworks. Furthermore, while each team’s starting pitcher possesses positive qualities, they also come with big question marks.

Today’s umpire, Edwin Moscoso, reports a lifetime record of 4-15 to the under, including an 0-6 start to the 2021 MLB season. I’m betting on more of the same tonight.

Pick: Over 9

NBA Odds & Picks for Bucks vs. Pacers: Target the Total In Game of Two Eastern Conference Playoff Teams (May 13)

milwaukee bucks vs indiana pacers-nba-odds-bets-picks-may-13

Bucks vs. Pacers Odds

Bucks Odds -8.5
Pacers Odds +8.5
Moneyline -400 / +310
Over/Under 240.5
Time Thursday, 7 p.m. ET
TV League Pass
Odds as of Thursday morning and via DraftKings.

Thursday night brings us a key battle of Midwestern postseason teams, as the Indiana Pacers battle the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks won the first two matchups this season, both at home, by 20 and 27 points. They’ll go for the season sweep here.

Both teams are still motivated to win and improve their playoff positioning. The Bucks still have some incentive to push for the 2-seed against Brooklyn, both for a better first-round matchup and to get home court if they do play the Nets eventually.

The Pacers are locked into the play-in tournament now, but they have every incentive to keep winning and try to improve to the 8-seed, since that would mean two chances to win one game rather than needing to win twice to get into the playoffs.

Will the Bucks complete the season sweep, or can the Pacers pull off the upset?

_BookPromo=821

Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee enters this one at 44-25 on the season, and most of the underlying metrics paint the Bucks as a team that are likely better than their record. The Bucks have been good on offense and defense, but the offense has outpaced the defense for the entire season.

Milwaukee leads the league at 119.9 points per game, thanks in part to the Bucks ranking third in pace and in part to season-long torrid shooting by the Bucks. Milwaukee ranks second in the NBA in 3-point percentage and seventh in 2-point percentage, and the Bucks rank top five in 3-point attempts. They also hit the offensive glass hard and rarely turn it over. It’s the portrait of an efficient modern offense really, with the only shortcoming being a lack of free throw attempts.

The Bucks don’t draw many fouls, but they also lead the league in fewest fouls on defense, and they’re one of the elite defensive rebounding teams. Those are both Coach Budenholzer trademarks and give Milwaukee an advantage over most teams.

The rebounding edge will be very significant in this one, since Indiana has been so weak on the glass all year. The Bucks won the battle on the boards by 22 rebounds combined in the first two matchups, and they were +15 in late March when Myles Turner was out, like he is again here.

These are not the Bucks from the past few seasons. They play fast and score a ton of points now, and you better believe they’ll put up points in this one.

The must-have app for NBA bettors

The best NBA betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers are 33-36. They’ve righted the ship a bit lately with three wins in the last four games, but they had lost seven of 11 before that. Indiana is down three starters right now.

T.J. Warren never played this season, Myles Turner has been missing awhile now, and Malcolm Brogdon has been confirmed out again too. The Pacers will also be without reserve guards Jeremy Lamb, Edmond Sumner and maybe Aaron Holiday. Indiana is dragging itself to the finish line right now.

The most important name missing from that set is probably Myles Turner. The Pacers are 11-11 straight up and 11-10-1 against the spread without Turner per Killer Sports, but the real difference comes in the game total and pace of play.

Without Turner, Indiana’s defense has cratered. In 22 games without Turner this season, the games have gone over 16 times, hitting the over 72.7% of the time. The 22 games have closed at a total averaging 223.8 but ended up actually averaging 239.2 points. In other words, games without Turner are finishing more than 15 points higher than the total. That is a gigantic difference. Indiana averages 120.3 points allowed without Turner.

One player who has stepped up huge down the stretch for Indiana is Domantas Sabonis. Sabonis is absolutely mashing right now. Since returning from a couple weeks of injury, Sabonis has recorded three triple-doubles in seven games. He’s averaging 24.6 points, 15.0 rebounds and 11.0 assists per game during that stretch. Sabonis is not making enough of a difference on defense, but in a high-scoring game, he should be a triple-double threat again and may make for a good over bet.

Sabonis will need to have another monster line for Indiana to have a chance here. And even that might not be enough.

Bucks-Pacers Pick

Indiana has not matched up well with Milwaukee this season. The Pacers have been dominated by the Bucks twice already, and though Indiana has never really been healthy all year, the Pacers were healthier in both previous matchups. Even still, the Bucks dropped 130 and 140 on this defense, and Myles Turner played in one of those games.

I don’t love the points here, since the Bucks would have to win by nearly double-digits and may not need to dig in their heels that hard in a game the Pacers probably need a little bit more.

Instead, I’m sticking with the Myles Turner trend and looking to play an over in what should be a high-scoring affair. The question is whether I want to play a Bucks team over or the game total. I trust Indiana to score the way Sabonis is playing right now, so I’ll just play the Turner trend and go over the total of 240.5. I’ll play to 242.

Pick: Over 240.5

_BookPromo=321

MLB Odds & Picks for Phillies vs. Nationals: Take Philadelphia & Eflin Early for Series Sweep (Thursday, May 13)

philadelphia phillies vs washington nationals-mlb-odds-bets-picks-may-13

Phillies vs. Nationals Odds

Phillies Odds -114
Nationals Odds -103
Over/Under 8
Time 1:05 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Wednesday evening and via DraftKings.

The Phillies came back to win a thriller in Washington on Wednesday night in 10 innings. The Nationals were two outs away from victory before an Odubel Herrera game-tying home run in the top of the ninth. Philadelphia went on to score three runs in the 10th inning to come away with a 5-2 win.

By securing wins in the first two games of the series, the Phillies lock up their first road series win of three or more games since September 2019. Philly won the first two games by a combined score of 11-4.

Philly will go for the series sweep on Thursday in a 1 p.m. ET matinee game.

_BookPromo=351

Philadelphia Phillies

In his sixth season in Philadelphia, Zach Eflin is quietly having one of the best seasons of his career. Eflin is off to a 2-1 start with a 3.38 ERA and 2.59 FIP through seven starts, both of which would be career highs.

The strength for Eflin is simple: throw strikes. He has allowed just three walks this season in 45 1/3 innings and has lasted at least six innings in all seven of his starts, due to his ability to keep his pitch count down and limit base runners. Eflin’s 0.60 BB/9 and 1.6 BB% are both the lowest walk rate in baseball.

Offensively, Philadelphia sits about middle of the pack. They rank 14th in the league in batting average, 17th in OPS, 20th in wOBA and 18th in runs per game. However, over the last week, the Phillies sit sixth in average and eighth in OPS.

The Phillies have gotten the performances needed from their top bats, with Jean Segura batting .349, J.T. Realmuto batting .314 and Bryce Harper hitting .308 with a 1.010 OPS. Andrew McCutchen has also been terrific lately, batting .313 over the last two weeks and leading the team with 15 hits, 10 RBIs and four home runs over that stretch.

In last night’s game, the Phillies had four players with multi-hit games, as Harper led the way with three hits, and Hoskins, Knapp and Herrera all picked up two hits.

Realmuto was not in the lineup Wednesday after being hit on the knee with a foul tip. Didi Gregorius left Wednesday’s game with right elbow stiffness. Both are questionable for Thursday, so you might want to check the lineup with an early start time.

_BookPromo=74


Washington Nationals

Patrick Corbin has been one of my favorite pitchers to fade this season. He is 1-3 with a 7.36 ERA and an even worse 8.07 xERA. Teams are batting .270 against him with a 46.3 HardHit%. Teams are batting .387 with a whopping .935 slugging percentage against Corbin’s sinker, which he throws 30% of the time.

Take a look at Patrick Corbin’s league percentile rankings, courtesy of Baseball Savant:

In case it wasn’t clear, blue means bad. Corbin ranks in the bottom part of the league in every category and the bottom three percent of all pitchers in xwOBA, xERA, xBA, and xSLG.

Washington has struggled to score runs this season, ranking just 27th in the league in runs per game. What is strange is they have actually hit the ball pretty well. The Nats are seventh in the league in batting average and 13th in on-base percentage.

Most of their hits have been singles though, as they are 21st in slugging, 18th in wOBA and 23rd in wRC+. They are 25th in at bats per home run.

With Juan Soto missing 10 games with an injury, and Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber struggling mightily, Trea Turner has been the do-it-all man for this Nationals offense. The speedy shortstop leads the team in hits, runs, home runs, RBIs and stolen bases.

_BookPromo=1829

Phillies-Nationals Pick

The Phillies have been red hot lately, going 7-3 in their last 10 games and are within a game of first place in the division. Washington on the other hand, is just 3-7 in its last 10, and now has dropped four in a row.

Philadelphia is also 7-3 in day games this season and has the sixth-best batting average and seventh-best OPS in afternoon games this year. Does that matter? I have no idea, but it felt like something worth sharing.

I find it hard to trust the Nationals bats right now, and I certainly don’t trust Corbin. But while I do think the Phillies complete the series sweep here, their bullpen also makes me nervous.

Already ranking in the bottom third of the league, three of Philadelphia’s top bullpen arms in Connor Brogdon, Jose Alvarado and closer Hector Neris have all pitched in two straight games and are will likely be unavailable on Thursday.

With the bullpen uncertainty, I think the best bet here is to take the Phillies first five innings moneyline at -120 or better.

Pick: Philadelphia Phillies First 5 ML (-113) (Play to -120)

_BookPromo=24

 

NBA Odds & Picks for Spurs vs. Knicks: San Antonio’s Rough Stretch Will Continue at New York (Thursday, May 13)

san antonio spurs vs new york knicks-nba-odds-bets-picks-may-13

Spurs vs. Knicks Odds

Spurs Odds +5
Knicks Odds -5
Moneyline +160 / -195
Over/Under TBD
Time Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET
TV League Pass
Odds as of Wednesday and via DraftKings

The Spurs are clinging to the 10-seed in the West despite dropping last night’s game to the Brooklyn Nets. Now on the second game of a back-to-back, they are tasked with the New York Knicks who lost a nail-biter in overtime to the Lakers on Tuesday.

These two teams are looking to secure seeding in the playoffs, and this game is critical for them both.

_BookPromo=495

San Antonio Spurs

At the time of this writing, the Spurs are almost a lock to be the 10-seed in the West — our Playoff Projection Model gives the Spurs an 86.5% chance of being the 10-seed. The Spurs were without Trey Lyles on Wednesday, and although Gregg Popovich has indicated he will be “back soon,” his status for tonight’s game is up in the air. Use our Fantasy Labs Insiders Tool to keep an eye on his status.

Over the last month, the Spurs are in the bottom 10 in point differential, with a -0.9 points per 100 possessions. They’ve slipped even more over the last two weeks, especially on defense, and they’ve surrendered a whopping 120.1 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass.

The name of the game is scoring more points than your opponent, and when you give up that many points, it’s no surprise that the Spurs are just 2-7 over the last two weeks.

During that span, much of their defensive shortcomings  are because they have the fifth-worst eFG%, allowing 57.8%. Opponents are shooting nearly 40% from 3-point range and an incredible 49% from midrange. The league averages from these locations are 37.7% and 43.2% respectively, per Cleaning the Glass. Considering this will be the Spurs 10th game in 15 days, they are playing on tired legs, and I don’t expect much improvement.

The must-have app for NBA bettors

The best NBA betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

New York Knicks

The Knicks are in a pickle in the Eastern Conference standings. Although they backdoored a playoff berth due to the Celtics’ loss last night, the Knicks can finish anywhere from the 4-seed to the 6-seed, and they have a nearly equal percentage to finish in each of those spots due to the three-way tie in the loss column with the Hawks and the Heat.

To complicate matters more, the Knicks have a lengthy injury report for tonight’s contest. Reggie Bullock, Alec Burks, Immanuel Quickley and Derrick Rose are all listed as questionable for this matchup. Hopefully for the Knicks, at least some of them will be able to play, otherwise their guard rotations will see an uncomfortable amount of minutes played by Elfrid Payton.

The Knicks have been excellent this season, but much has hinged on the minutes of Rose. They are 22-11 when Rose plays. He brings a toughness and leadership to this team which is a nice complement to his team-best +12.6 point differential.

The key takeaway is that with Rose and also the rookie-sensation Immanuel Quickley, the Knicks’ halfcourt offense dramatically improves. They add 7.1 and 4.8 points per 100 plays, per Cleaning the Glass. They both run this offense effectively, and the Knicks have better ball movement and get better shots when they are on the floor.

Spurs-Knicks Pick

The Spurs are basically locked into the 10-seed, and they may rest a few of their top players, such as DeMar DeRozan, Dejounte Murray and Jakob Poeltl, so it will be critical to watch their injury report. The Spurs have spiraled of late, and this game could be an opportunity to rest some tired legs.

This is a spot for the Knicks to take advantage of a tired Spurs team. The Knicks are 14-2 ATS as a home favorite this year, and they’ve covered by an average margin of 8.69 points.

I expect the Knicks keep this momentum as they finish the season strong.

Pick: Knicks -4.5

_BookPromo=49

MLB Odds & Picks for Cardinals vs. Brewers: Runs Will Be at a Premium With Jack Flaherty, Corbin Burnes on the Mound (Thursday, May 13)

mlb-odds-picks-st. louis cardinals-milwaukee brewers-jack flaherty-may 13

Cardinals vs. Brewers Odds

Cardinals Odds +112
Brewers Odds -121
Over/Under 7.0
Time 1:40 p.m. ET
TV YouTube
Odds as of Wednesday and via PointsBet.

Two below-average offense finish their series with their aces coming into 2021 taking the mound. Jack Flaherty and Corbin Burnes have been integral pieces in their teams’ pitching rotations and will look to pad their individual stats with a team win in mind.

St. Louis and Milwaukee should not be as bad on offense as they are, but the two teams cannot field a combined starting eight of batters hitting over .250. The team that takes advantage of the minimum mistakes offered by Flaherty and Burnes will determine the game.

_BookPromo=351

St. Louis Cardinals

Milwaukee is sixth in Pitcher WAR and faces a Cardinals offense struggling to maintain its top-20 Offensive WAR standing.  If not for the resurgence of Tommy Edman and Paul Goldschmidt the last few weeks, the offense would be as bad as Milwaukee’s. That is not a slight against Dylan Carlson or Nolan Arenado, integral and productive batters for St. Louis.

Jack Flaherty has pitched like an ace for majority of 2021. He has seen some luck (.240 BABIP) considering the spike in Barrels and hard contact Flaherty has allowed. His Barrel Percentage (Barrel%) is down 0.4% from 2020, but that is with only five more hitting events occurring.

Flaherty’s Hard Hit Rate (Hard%) is concerning. It is up 9.7% to 41.1% and his strikeout rate is down 3%. I would also like to see Flaherty average six-plus innings per start, a subjective benchmark sure, but one expected from an ace.

This should not be a concern against the Brewers’ offense, but baseball is weird and a blow-up spot is in play.

_BookPromo=1425

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers entered Wednesday with a -29.5 Offensive WAR and a 65 wRC+ at home against right-handed pitching. Four players have an OPS+ of 100 or better for the Brew Crew (min. 60 AB) and one of them is playing because of the injuries to Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. Another, Omar Narvaez, is on the 10-day IL.

The only things to hang your hat on for this offense is the hopeful return to health for Yelich and a bounce back in the team’s BABIP (23rd in MLB).

Here is an evergreen statement for 2021: The Milwaukee Brewers will lean on their starter to hopefully propel the team to victory. Burnes has been one of the best pitching stories of 2021 prior to his positive COVID test. This will be his first start since April 26.

Is there cause for concern after the layoff and unknown symptoms Burnes had with the virus? Of course. Can the Cardinals take advantage of his time off? Sure. Do I think they will? Not really. Burnes’ first-pitch strike percentage is up 16.5% from 2020, and he has lowered his contact rate on pitches inside the strike zone by 7% while increasing pitches thrown in the zone by nearly 8%.

Burnes has added velocity to his four-seam fastball, slider, cutter and changeup (four of his five pitches). It is safe to say Burnes has figured something out from last season and may be on the verge of being a consistently dominant pitcher.

That is #NotGreat for the Cardinals offense.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Cardinals-Brewers Pick

This is a must-watch game as the NL Central continues to be a jumbled mess. Flaherty and Burnes will keep this game close after a quick turnaround from a night game.

Getting seven runs on PointsBet without the hook is not ideal, but the under was the first spot my eyes lit up on. Not only will both teams have the quick turnaround, but I doubt every regular player suits up on getaway day. Both managers can make their offenses weaker.

Pick: Under 7 Runs (-118, bet to -130 and target 6.5-7.5 runs where applicable)

Bet $20 on the Cardinals or Brewers, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on the Cardinals or Brewers as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

NBA Odds & Picks for Trail Blazers vs. Suns: Back a High-Scoring Western Conference Game (Thursday, May 13)

portland trail blazers vs phoenix suns-nba-odds-bets-picks-may-13

Trail Blazers vs. Suns Odds

Trail Blazers Odds +5.5
Suns Odds -5.5
Moneyline +170 / -215
Over/Under TBD
Time Thursday, 10 p.m. ET
TV TNT
Odds as of Wednesday and via DraftKings

The Suns had their chance to take a leap toward the top-seed against Golden State on Tuesday. However, a nine-point lead after the first quarter was not enough as the Warriors fought back and pulled off a fourth-quarter comeback.

Now, Phoenix not only needs some luck to get the top seed but it also allowed the Clippers to be in striking distance of the two-spot. Making things more difficult, the Suns have the hardest remaining schedule of the three teams.

Portland sits in a much tighter spot. They are racing with the Mavericks and Lakers for seeds five to seven. Adding and added speedbump for Portland is which teams stand between the Trail Blazers and the playoffs. Including their matchup last night with Utah, Portland’s final three games are against the Jazz, Suns and Nuggets, all of which are very talented teams with something on the line.

With the final weekend of the regular season ahead, both teams should play with playoff intensity. Let’s look further to see who has the edge.

_BookPromo=49

Portland Trail Blazers

Portland went through an ugly April rut in which they went 3-10. As the pressure built on them, thanks to a threat of the play-in games, they kicked it into high gear and can end as the five-seed if things fall their way.

As usual for the Trail Blazers, carrying them on this run has been their offense. In their past eight games before Wednesday, the offense is up to an Offensive Rating of 124.5, best in the league per NBA.com.

Trade deadline acquisition Norman Powell has been the boost this offense needed. As he has found his place alongside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, he has been able to contribute more. His scoring is up to 20.9 points per game, and his efficiency is also up to 47.1% from the floor and 40.0% from 3-point range.

While the offense does most of the heavy lifting, it seems Portland has already been bringing playoff intensity on defense. They are up to 12th in Defensive Rating in this eight-game stretch per NBA.com. For most playoff teams, slightly above average is nothing to write home about in terms of defense. However, on the year, Portland ranks 29th in Defensive Rating, so getting down to 12th is a massive upgrade.

With Portland playing some of its best basketball and Phoenix currently in a rough batch, things could be in Portland’s favor. The big challenge ahead of Portland is overcoming the fatigue of playing the second game of a back-to-back and the temptation that brings of playing lackadaisical defense.

The must-have app for NBA bettors

The best NBA betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Phoenix Suns

In a tight race for the West’s top seed, the Suns have failed to step up their game down the stretch. While they have played four teams competing for at least a spot in the play-in tournament, 1-3 is simply not good enough.

Phoenix’s issues have come on the defensive side of the floor as they allowed an average of 127 points in the three losses. The defensive struggles are surprising given that Steph Curry was cold in the Golden State matchup, and Los Angeles was missing LeBron James. Against Portland, they will need the defensive tenacity that has guided them to the 10th ranked Defensive Rating.

While the defense lost its way, the offense has been able to improve its play. During May, the Suns have shot 50.0% from the field and 41.1% from 3 per NBA.com.

Leading the way for the Suns’ improved shooting are role players Jae Crowder and Cameron Payne. In May, these two are averaging a combined 29.0 points per game. Crowder’s points nearly all come from behind the arc as he averages five 3s per game.

Payne’s improvement has been a smaller jump, going from 7.9 points per game for the year up to 12.0 in May per NBA.com. However, his presence as a scoring option has opened opportunities for others like Crowder.

Against Portland’s poor defense, Phoenix should have its opportunity to continue thriving and building confidence for the playoffs.

Trail Blazers-Suns Pick

On the second night of a back-to-back, fatigue is always a question. Add in that the first game had playoff implications and came against defensive-minded Utah, and the impact of fatigue is even more likely. As a team that typically neglects defense, this game will be a test of Portland’s commitment to defense.

Phoenix’s defense faces a similar test as they need to show they can bring back their tough defense. Motivation could be an issue though if they feel moving up or down is unlikely given the scheduling situations.

Both teams having question marks defensively makes me hesitate backing either. If we turn to the total though, those defensive question marks could be an advantage. Add in that both teams have played offense at a high level recently, and the stars seem to have aligned.

Bet on a high-scoring game in Phoenix.

Pick: Over 228.5 up to 234.5

_BookPromo=821

Super Bowl & 2021 NFL Predictions Following Schedule Release

2021-super bowl-nfl-predictions-schedule-release

The 2021 NFL schedule is out, which means it’s once again time to run our model’s simulations for the season.

Travis Reed, our in-house Data Manager, simulated the season 10,000 times to calculate projections for all 32 teams: Their chances to make the playoffs, win the Super Bowl, and more.

Let’s dive right in.

Note: The following projections are alphabetically ordered by city name and assume that Aaron Rodgers will start the season in Green Bay.

Schedule Day Special: Deposit $50, Get $100!

Deposit $50 at BetRivers or SugarHouse

Get $100 FREE automatically

New users only

Arizona Cardinals

  • Projected Win Total: 8.87
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 20.60%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 47.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 2.70%

Atlanta Falcons

  • Projected Win Total: 8.74
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 20.00%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 44.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 1.90%

Baltimore Ravens

  • Projected Win Total: 10.13
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 45.40%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 72.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 9.00%

Buffalo Bills

  • Projected Win Total: 10.47
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 57.10%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 80.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 10.40%

Carolina Panthers

  • Projected Win Total: 7.57
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 7.30%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 24.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 0.20%

Chicago Bears

  • Projected Win Total: 7.68
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 14.10%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 31.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 0.90%

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Projected Win Total: 8.18
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 13.50%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 34.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 1.20%

Cleveland Browns

  • Projected Win Total: 8.9
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 20.50%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 49.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 3.30%
The must-have app for NFL bettors

The best NFL betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Dallas Cowboys

  • Projected Win Total: 8.84
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 41.40%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 52.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 3.10%

Denver Broncos

  • Projected Win Total: 6.8
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 4.90%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 14.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 0.20%

Detroit Lions

  • Projected Win Total: 6.95
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 7.50%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 18.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 0.20%

Green Bay Packers

  • Projected Win Total: 10.11
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 60.30%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 75.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 11.30%

Houston Texans

  • Projected Win Total: 4.31
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 1.10%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 1.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 0.00%

Indianapolis Colts

  • Projected Win Total: 8.24
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 23.30%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 39.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 1.10%

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Projected Win Total: 7.38
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 12.40%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 23.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 0.20%

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Projected Win Total: 10.4
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 53.00%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 77.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 9.00%

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Projected Win Total: 9.4
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 30.00%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 58.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 2.40%

Los Angeles Rams

  • Projected Win Total: 8.95
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 22.80%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 50.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 1.90%

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Projected Win Total: 7.93
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 12.10%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 30.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 1.20%

Miami Dolphins

  • Projected Win Total: 9.36
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 28.70%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 59.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 3.10%

Minnesota Vikings

  • Projected Win Total: 8.05
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 18.10%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 35.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 1.70%

New England Patriots

  • Projected Win Total: 7.35
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 6.70%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 21.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 0.30%

New Orleans Saints

  • Projected Win Total: 9.1
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 23.90%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 54.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 3.50%

New York Giants

  • Projected Win Total: 7.4
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 15.70%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 25.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 0.40%
rb half ppr-rankings-fantasy-draft-2020
Getty Images. Pictured: Saquon Barkley

New York Jets

  • Projected Win Total: 7.52
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 7.50%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 23.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 0.80%

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Projected Win Total: 7.43
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 15.90%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 24.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 0.60%

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Projected Win Total: 8.83
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 20.60%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 47.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 2.50%

San Francisco 49ers

  • Projected Win Total: 8.88
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 21.80%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 47.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 2.30%

Seattle Seahawks

  • Projected Win Total: 9.7
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 34.80%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 62.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 5.80%

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Projected Win Total: 10.36
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 48.80%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 75.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 9.80%

Tennessee Titans

  • Projected Win Total: 9.97
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 63.20%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 73.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 6.80%

Washington Redskins

  • Projected Win Total: 8.16
  • Projected Odds to Win Division: 27.00%
  • Projected Odds to Make Playoffs: 37.00%
  • Projected Odds to Win Super Bowl: 2.20%

2021 NFL Schedule & Projected Odds For All 272 Games

2021-nfl schedule-odds-projections-predictions

The 2021 NFL schedule is officially out!

With the new 18-week season, all 32 teams will each play 17 games to combine for a total of 272 regular-season matchups. And while we only have odds for Week 1 as of writing, that doesn’t mean we can’t forecast odds for the remaining 17 weeks.

That’s exactly what Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, has done in honor of Wednesday’s schedule release. Find his projected point spreads for every regular-season game for the 2021 season below.

Note: The following schedules and projections are formatted alphabetically by team city name. NFC teams are listed first.


Skip to: AFC Teams | NFC Teams


NFL Schedule & Projected Odds

Schedule Day Special: Deposit $50, Get $100!

Deposit $50 at BetRivers or SugarHouse

Get $100 FREE automatically

New users only

Atlanta Falcons Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 PHI @ ATL ATL -3.5
2 ATL @ TB ATL +9.5
3 ATL @ NYG ATL +1
4 WAS @ ATL ATL +0.5
5 NYJ @ ATL ATL -4.5
6 Bye
7 ATL @ MIA ATL +4.5
8 CAR @ ATL ATL -2
9 ATL @ NO ATL +6
10 ATL @ DAL ATL +5
11 NE @ ATL ATL +1
12 ATL @ JAX ATL -1
13 TB @ ATL ATL +5.5
14 ATL @ CAR ATL +2
15 ATL @ SF ATL +6
6 DET @ ATL ATL -6.5
17 ATL @ BUF ATL +8.5
18 NO @ ATL ATL +2

Arizona Cardinals Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 ARI @ TEN ARI +3.5
2 MIN @ ARI ARI -1
3 ARI @ JAX ARI -2.5
4 ARI @ LAR ATI +5.5
5 SF @ ARI ARI +0.5
6 ARI @ CLE ARI +4.5
7 HOU @ ARI ARI -9.5
8 GB @ ARI ARI +3.5
9 ARI @ SF ARI +4.5
10 CAR @ ARI ARI -3.5
11 ARI @ SEA ARI +4.5
12 Bye
13 ARI @ CHI PK
14 LAR @ ARI ARI +1.5
15 ARI @ DET ARI -4
6 IND @ ARI PK
17 ARI @ DAL ARI +3.5
18 SEA @ ARI ARI +0.5

Carolina Panthers Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 NYJ @ CAR CAR -4.5
2 NO @ CAR CAR +2
3 CAR @ HOU CAR -4
4 CAR @ DAL CAR +5
5 PHI @ CAR CAR -3.5
6 MIN @ CAR CAR 0.5
7 CAR @ NYG CAR +1
8 CAR @ ATL CAR +2
9 NE @ CAR CAR -1
10 CAR @ ARI CAR +3.5
11 WAS @ CAR CAR +0.5
12 CAR @ MIA CAR +4.5
13 Bye
14 ATL @ CAR CAR -2
15 CAR @ BUF CAR +8.5
6 TB @ CAR CAR +5.5
17 CAR @ NO CAR +6
18 CAR @ TB CAR +9.5

Chicago Bears Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 CHI @ LAR CHI +7.5
2 CIN @ CHI CHI -3
3 CHI @ CLE CHI +6.5
4 DET @ CHI CHI -6
5 CHI @ LV CHI +2.5
6 GB @ CHI CHI +5.5
7 CHI @ TB CHI +10
8 SF @ CHI CHI +2.5
9 CHI @ PIT CHI +6
10 Bye
11 BAL @ CHI CHI +5.5
12 CHI @ DET CHI -2
13 ARI @ CHI PK
14 CHI @ GB CHI +9.5
15 MIN @ CHI CHI +1
6 CHI @ SEA CHI +6.5
17 NYG @ CHI CHI -2.5
18 CHI @ MIN CHI +5

Dallas Cowboys Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 DAL @ TB DAL +6.5
2 DAL @ LAC DAL +1
3 PHI @ DAL DAL -6.5
4 CAR @ DAL DAL -5
5 NYG @ DAL DAL -6
6 DAL @ NE DAL +2
7 Bye
8 DAL @ MIN DAL +1.5
9 DEN @ DAL DAL -6
10 ATL @ DAL DAL -5
11 DAL @ KC DAL +8
12 LV @ DAL DAL -5
13 DAL @ NO DAL +3
14 DAL @ WAS DAL +1.5
15 DAL @ NYG DAL -2
6 WAS @ DAL DAL -2.5
17 ARI @ DAL DAL -3.5
18 DAL @ PHI DAL -2.5

Detroit Lions Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 SF @ DET DET +6.5
2 DET @ GB DET +13.5
3 BAL @ DET DET +9.5
4 DET @ CHI DET +6
5 DET @ MIN DET +9
6 CIN @ DET DET +1
7 DET @ LAR DET +11.5
8 PHI @ DET DET +1
9 Bye
10 DET @ PIT DET +10
11 DET @ CLE DET +10.5
12 CHI @ DET DET +2
13 MIN @ DET DET +5
14 DET @ DEN DET +5.5
15 ARI @ DET DET +4
6 DET @ ATL DET +6.5
17 DET @ SEA DET +10.5
18 GB @ DET DET +9.5

Green Bay Packers Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 GB @ NO GB -1
2 DET @ GB GB -13.5
3 GB @ SF GB -1
4 PIT @ GB GB -5.5
5 GB @ CIN GB -6.5
6 GB @ CHI GB -5.5
7 WAS @ GB GB -6.5
8 GB @ ARI GB -3.5
9 GB @ KC GB +4
10 SEA @ GB GB -5
11 GB @ MIN GB -2.5
12 LAR @ GB GB -4
13 Bye
14 CHI @ GB GB -9.5
15 GB @ BAL GB +2
6 CLE @ GB GB -5
17 MIN @ GB GB -6.5
18 GB @ DET GB -9.5

Los Angeles Rams Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 CHI @ LAR LAR -7.5
2 LAR @ IND LAR +0.5
3 TB @ LAR LAR +0.5
4 ARI @ LAR LAR -5.5
5 LAR @ SEA LAR +1
6 LAR @ NYG LAR -4
7 DET @ LAR LAR -11.5
8 LAR @ HOU LAR -9
9 TEN @ LAR LAR -4
10 LAR @ SF LAR +1
11 Bye
12 LAR @ GB LAR +4
13 JAX @ LAR LAR -10
14 LAR @ ARI LAR -1.5
15 SEA @ LAR LAR -3
6 LAR @ MIN LAR -0.5
17 LAR @ BAL LAR +4
18 SF @ LAR LAR -3
The must-have app for NFL bettors

The best NFL betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Minnesota Vikings Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 MIN @ CIN MIN -2
2 MIN @ ARI MIN +1
3 SEA @ MIN MIN -0.5
4 CLE @ MIN MIN -0.5
5 DET @ MIN MIN -9
6 MIN @ CAR MIN -0.5
7 Bye
8 DAL @ MIN MIN -1.5
9 MIN @ BAL MIN +6.5
10 MIN @ LAC MIN +1.5
11 GB @ MIN MIN +2.5
12 MIN @ SF MIN +3.5
13 MIN @ DET MIN -5
14 PIT @ MIN MIN -1
15 MIN @ CHI MIN +1
6 LAR @ MIN MIN +0.5
17 MIN @ GB MIN +6.5
18 CHI @ MIN MIN -5

New Orleans Saints Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 GB @ NO NO +1
2 NO @ CAR NO -2
3 NO @ NE NO +1
4 NYG @ NO NO -7
5 NO @ WAS NO +0.5
6 Bye
7 NO @ SEA NO +2
8 TB @ NO NO +1.5
9 ATL @ NO NO -6
10 NO @ TEN NO +1
11 NO @ PHI NO -3.5
12 BUF @ NO NO +0.5
13 DAL @ NO NO -3
14 NO @ NYJ NO -4.5
15 NO @ TB NO +5.5
6 MIA @ NO NO -3.5
17 CAR @ NO NO -6
18 NO @ ATL NO -2

New York Giants Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 DEN @ NYG NYG -2
2 NYG @ WAS NYG +5.5
3 ATL @ NYG NYG -1
4 NYG @ NO NYG +7
5 NYG @ DAL NYG +6
6 LAR @ NYG NYG +4
7 CAR @ NYG NYG -1
8 NYG @ KC NYG +12
9 LV @ NYG NYG -1
10 Bye
11 NYG @ TB NYG +10.5
12 PHI @ NYG NYG -2.5
13 NYG @ MIA NYG +5.5
14 NYG @ LAC NYG +5
15 DAL @ NYG NYG +2
6 NYG @ PHI NYG +1.5
17 NYG @ CHI NYG -2.5
18 WAS @ NYG NYG +1.5

Philadelphia Eagles Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 PHI @ ATL PHI +3.5
2 SF @ PHI PHI +3.5
3 PHI @ DAL PHI +6.5
4 KC @ PHI PHI +8.5
5 PHI @ CAR PHI +3.5
6 TB @ PHI PHI +7
7 PHI @ LV PHI +3.5
8 PHI @ DET PHI -1
9 LAC @ PHI PHI +1.5
10 PHI @ DEN PHI +2.5
11 NO @ PHI PHI +3.5
12 PHI @ NYG PHI +2.5
13 PHI @ NYJ PHI +1
14 Bye
15 WAS @ PHI PHI +2
6 NYG @ PHI PHI -1.5
17 PHI @ WAS PHI +6
18 DAL @ PHI PHI +2.5

San Francisco 49ers Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 SF @ DET SF -6.5
2 SF @ PHI SF -3.5
3 GB @ SF SF +1
4 SEA @ SF SF -2
5 SF @ ARI SF -0.5
6 Bye
7 IND @ SF SF -2.5
8 SF @ CHI SF -2.5
9 ARI @ SF SF -4.5
10 LAR @ SF SF -1
11 SF @ JAX SF -5
12 MIN @ SF SF -3.5
13 SF @ SEA SF +2
14 SF @ CIN SF -3.5
15 ATL @ SF SF -6
6 SF @ TEN SF +1
17 HOU @ SF SF -12
18 SF @ LAR SF +3

Seattle Seahawks Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 SEA @ IND SEA +1.5
2 TEN @ SEA SEA -3
3 SEA @ MIN SEA +0.5
4 SEA @ SF SEA +2
5 LAR @ SEA SEA -1
6 SEA @ PIT SEA +1.5
7 NO @ SEA SEA -2
8 JAX @ SEA SEA -9
9 Bye
10 SEA @ GB SEA +5
11 ARI @ SEA SEA -4.5
12 SEA @ WAS SEA +0.5
13 SF @ SEA SEA -2
14 SEA @ HOU SEA -8
15 SEA @ LAR SEA +3
6 CHI @ SEA SEA -6.5
17 DET @ SEA SEA -10.5
18 SEA @ ARI SEA -0.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 DAL @ TB TB -6.5
2 ATL @ TB TB -9.5
3 TB @ LAR TB -0.5
4 TB @ NE TB -2.5
5 MIA @ TB TB -7
6 TB @ PHI TB -7
7 CHI @ TB TB -10
8 TB @ NO TB -1.5
9 Bye
10 TB @ WAS TB -3
11 NYG @ TB TB -10.5
12 TB @ IND TB -2
13 TB @ ATL TB -5.5
14 BUF @ TB TB -3
15 NO @ TB TB -5.5
6 TB @ CAR TB -5.5
17 TB @ NYJ TB -8
18 CAR @ TB TB -9.5

Washington Football Team Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 LAC @ WAS WAS -2.5
2 NYG @ WAS WAS -5.5
3 WAS @ BUF WAS +6
4 WAS @ ATL WAS -0.5
5 NO @ WAS WAS -0.5
6 KC @ WAS WAS 4.5
7 WAS @ GB WAS +6.5
8 WAS @ DEN WAS -1.5
9 Bye
10 TB @ WAS WAS +3
11 WAS @ CAR WAS -0.5
12 SEA @ WAS WAS -0.5
13 WAS @ LV WAS -0.5
14 DAL @ WAS WAS -1.5
15 WAS @ PHI WAS -2
6 WAS @ DAL WAS +2.5
17 PHI @ WAS WAS -6
18 WAS @ NYG WAS -1.5

_BookPromo=49

Baltimore Ravens Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 BAL @ LV BAL -5
2 KC @ BAL PK
3 BAL @ DET BAL -9.5
4 BAL @ DEN BAL -6
5 IND @ BAL BAL -5.5
6 LAC @ BAL BAL -7
7 CIN @ BAL BAL -10.5
8 Bye
9 MIN @ BAL BAL -6.5
10 BAL @ MIA BAL -2.5
11 BAL @ CHI BAL -5.5
12 CLE @ BAL BAL -5
13 BAL @ PIT BAL -1.5
14 BAL @ CLE BAL -1
15 GB @ BAL BAL -2
6 BAL @ CIN BAL -6.5
17 LAR @ BAL BAL -4
18 PIT @ BAL BAL -5.5

Buffalo Bills Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 PIT @ BUF BUF -5
2 BUF @ MIA BUF -2
3 WAS @ BUF BUF -6
4 HOU @ BUF BUF -14.5
5 BUF @ KC BUF +4.5
6 BUF @ TEN BUF -1.5
7 Bye
8 MIA @ BUF BUF -6
9 BUF @ JAX BUF -7.5
10 BUF @ NYJ BUF -7
11 IND @ BUF BUF -5
12 BUF @ NO BUF -0.5
13 NE @ BUF BUF -5.5
14 BUF @ TB BUF +3
15 CAR @ BUF BUF -8.5
6 BUF @ NE BUF -1.5
17 ATL @ BUF BUF -8.5
18 NYJ @ BUF BUF -11

Cincinnati Bengals Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 MIN @ CIN CIN +2
2 CIN @ CHI CIN +3
3 CIN @ PIT CIN +7
4 JAX @ CIN CIN -3.5
5 GB @ CIN CIN +6.5
6 CIN @ DET CIN -1
7 CIN @ BAL CIN +10.5
8 CIN @ NYJ CIN +1
9 CLE @ CIN CIN +3.5
10 Bye
11 CIN @ LV CIN +3.5
12 PIT @ CIN CIN +3
13 LAC @ CIN CIN +1.5
14 SF @ CIN CIN +3.5
15 CIN @ DEN CIN +2.5
6 BAL @ CIN CIN +6.5
17 KC @ CIN CIN +8.5
18 CIN @ CLE CIN +7.5

Cleveland Browns Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 CLE @ KC CLE +7
2 HOU @ CLE CLE -12
3 CHI @ CLE CLE -6.5
4 CLE @ MIN CLE +0.5
5 CLE @ LAC PK
6 ARI @ CLE CLE -4.5
7 DEN @ CLE CLE -7
8 PIT @ CLE CLE -2.5
9 CLE @ CIN CLE -3.5
10 CLE @ NE CLE +1
11 DET @ CLE CLE -10.5
12 CLE @ BAL CLE +5
13 Bye
14 BAL @ CLE CLE +1
15 LV @ CLE CLE -6
6 CLE @ GB CLE +5
17 CLE @ PIT CLE +1.5
18 CIN @ CLE CLE -7.5

Denver Broncos Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 DEN @ NYG DEN +2
2 DEN @ JAX PK
3 NYJ @ DEN DEN -3.5
4 BAL @ DEN DEN +6
5 DEN @ PIT DEN +6.5
6 LV @ DEN DEN -1
7 DEN @ CLE DEN +7
8 WAS @ DEN DEN +1.5
9 DEN @ DAL DEN +6
10 PHI @ DEN DEN -2.5
11 Bye
12 LAC @ DEN DEN +1
13 DEN @ KC DEN +12
14 DET @ DEN DEN -5.5
15 CIN @ DEN DEN -2.5
6 DEN @ LV DEN +3
17 DEN @ LAC DEN +5
18 KC @ DEN DEN +8

Houston Texans Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 JAX @ HOU HOU +1
2 HOU @ CLE HOU +12
3 CAR @ HOU HOU +4
4 HOU @ BUF HOU +14.5
5 NE @ HOU HOU +7
6 HOU @ IND HOU +11.5
7 HOU @ ARI HOU +9.5
8 LAR @ HOU HOU +9
9 HOU @ MIA HOU +10.5
10 Bye
11 HOU @ TEN HOU +11
12 NYJ @ HOU HOU +1.5
13 IND @ HOU HOU +7.5
14 SEA @ HOU HOU +8
15 HOU @ JAX HOU +5
6 LAC @ HOU HOU +6
17 HOU @ SF HOU +12
18 TEN @ HOU HOU +7

Indianapolis Colts Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 SEA @ IND IND -1.5
2 LAR @ IND IND -0.5
3 IND @ TEN IND +1.5
4 IND @ MIA IND +1
5 IND @ BAL IND +5.5
6 HOU @ IND IND -11.5
7 IND @ SF IND +2.5
8 TEN @ IND IND -2.5
9 NYJ @ IND IND -8
10 JAX @ IND IND -8.5
11 IND @ BUF IND +5
12 TB @ IND IND +2
13 IND @ HOU IND -7.5
14 Bye
15 NE @ IND IND -2.5
6 IND @ ARI PK
17 LV @ IND IND -5.5
18 IND @ JAX IND -4.5

Jacksonville Jaguars Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 JAX @ HOU JAX -1
2 DEN @ JAX PK
3 ARI @ JAX JAX +2.5
4 JAX @ CIN JAX +3.5
5 TEN @ JAX JAX +4
6 MIA @ JAX JAX +3.5
7 Bye
8 JAX @ SEA JAX +9
9 BUF @ JAX JAX +7.5
10 JAX @ IND JAX +8.5
11 SF @ JAX JAX +5
12 ATL @ JAX JAX +1
13 JAX @ LAR JAX +10
14 JAX @ TEN JAX +8
15 HOU @ JAX JAX -5
6 JAX @ NYJ JAX +2.5
17 JAX @ NE JAX +8
18 IND @ JAX JAX +4.5

Kansas City Chiefs Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 CLE @ KC KC -7
2 KC @ BAL PK
3 LAC @ KC KC -9
4 KC @ PHI KC -8.5
5 BUF @ KC KC -4.5
6 KC @ WAS KC -4.5
7 KC @ TEN KC -4
8 NYG @ KC KC -12
9 GB @ KC KC -4
10 KC @ LV KC -7
11 DAL @ KC KC -8
12 Bye
13 DEN @ KC KC -12
14 LV @ KC KC -11
15 KC @ LAC KC -5
6 PIT @ KC KC -7.5
17 KC @ CIN KC -8.5
18 KC @ DEN KC -8

Las Vegas Raiders Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 BAL @ LV LV +5
2 LV @ PIT LV +5.5
3 MIA @ LV LV +0.5
4 LV @ LAC LV +4
5 CHI @ LV LV -2.5
6 LV @ DEN LV +1
7 PHI @ LV LV -3.5
8 Bye
9 LV @ NYG LV +1
10 KC @ LV LV +7
11 CIN @ LV LV -3.5
12 LV @ DAL LV +5
13 WAS @ LV LV +0.5
14 LV @ KC LV +11
15 LV @ CLE LV +6
6 DEN @ LV LV -3
17 LV @ IND LV +5.5
18 LAC @ LV PK

Los Angeles Chargers Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 LAC @ WAS LAC +2.5
2 DAL @ LAC LAC -1
3 LAC @ KC LAC +9
4 LV @ LAC LAC -4
5 CLE @ LAC PK
6 LAC @ BAL LAC +7
7 Bye
8 NE @ LAC LAC -1
9 LAC @ PHI LAC -1.5
10 MIN @ LAC LAC -1.5
11 PIT @ LAC LAC -0.5
12 LAC @ DEN LAC -1
13 LAC @ CIN LAC -1.5
14 NYG @ LAC LAC -5
15 KC @ LAC LAC +5
6 LAC @ HOU LAC -6
17 DEN @ LAC LAC -5
18 LAC @ LV PK

Miami Dolphins Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 MIA @ NE MIA +2.5
2 BUF @ MIA MIA +2
3 MIA @ LV MIA -0.5
4 IND @ MIA MIA -1
5 MIA @ TB MIA +7
6 MIA @ JAX MIA -3.5
7 ATL @ MIA MIA -4.5
8 MIA @ BUF MIA +6
9 HOU @ MIA MIA -10.5
10 BAL @ MIA MIA 2.5
11 MIA @ NYJ MIA -3
12 CAR @ MIA MIA -4.5
13 NYG @ MIA MIA -5.5
14 Bye
15 NYJ @ MIA MIA -7
6 MIA @ NO MIA +3.5
17 MIA @ TEN MIA +2.5
18 NE @ MIA MIA -1.5

New England Patriots Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 MIA @ NE NE -2.5
2 NE @ NYJ NE -3.5
3 NO @ NE NE -1
4 TB @ NE NE 2.5
5 NE @ HOU NE -7
6 DAL @ NE NE -2
7 NYJ @ NE NE -7.5
8 NE @ LAC NE +1
9 NE @ CAR NE -1
10 CLE @ NE NE -1
11 NE @ ATL NE -1
12 TEN @ NE NE -2
13 NE @ BUF NE +5.5
14 Bye
15 NE @ IND NE +2.5
6 BUF @ NE NE +1.5
17 JAX @ NE NE -8
18 NE @ MIA NE +1.5

New York Jets Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 NYJ @ CAR NYJ +4.5
2 NE @ NYJ NYJ +3.5
3 NYJ @ DEN NYJ +3.5
4 TEN @ NYJ NYJ +3.5
5 NYJ @ ATL NYJ +4.5
6 Bye
7 NYJ @ NE NYJ +7.5
8 CIN @ NYJ NYJ -1
9 NYJ @ IND NYJ +8
10 BUF @ NYJ NYJ +7
11 MIA @ NYJ NYJ+3
12 NYJ @ HOU NYJ -1.5
13 PHI @ NYJ NYJ -1
14 NO @ NYJ NYJ 4.5
15 NYJ @ MIA NYJ +7
6 JAX @ NYJ NYJ -2.5
17 TB @ NYJ NYJ +8
18 NYJ @ BUF NYJ +11

Pittsburgh Steelers Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 PIT @ BUF PIT +5
2 LV @ PIT PIT -5.5
3 CIN @ PIT PIT -7
4 PIT @ GB PIT +5.5
5 DEN @ PIT PIT -6.5
6 SEA @ PIT PIT -1.5
7 Bye
8 PIT @ CLE PIT +2.5
9 CHI @ PIT PIT -6
10 DET @ PIT PIT -10
11 PIT @ LAC PIT +0.5
12 PIT @ CIN PIT -3
13 BAL @ PIT PIT +1.5
14 PIT @ MIN PIT +1
15 TEN @ PIT PIT -2.5
6 PIT @ KC PIT +7.5
17 CLE @ PIT PIT -1.5
18 PIT @ BAL PIT +5.5

Tennessee Titans Schedule & Projections

Week Matchup Proj. Spread
1 ARI @ TEN TEN -3.5
2 TEN @ SEA TEN +3
3 IND @ TEN TEN -1.5
4 TEN @ NYJ TEN -3.5
5 TEN @ JAX TEN -4
6 BUF @ TEN TEN +1.5
7 KC @ TEN TEN +4
8 TEN @ IND TEN +2.5
9 TEN @ LAR TEN +4
10 NO @ TEN TEN -1
11 HOU @ TEN TEN -11
12 TEN @ NE TEN +2
13 Bye
14 JAX @ TEN TEN -8
15 TEN @ PIT TEN +2.5
6 SF @ TEN TEN -1
17 MIA @ TEN TEN -2.5
18 TEN @ HOU TEN -7

2021 NFL Strength of Schedule Rankings For All 32 Teams

2021-nfl strength of schedule-rankings-release-1

While we won’t know the exact week-by-week NFL schedule until its released at 8 p.m. ET this Wednesday, we’ve known every team’s list of 2021 opponents for months. So in anticipation of the official release, Sean Koerner has ranked all 32 teams by their strength of schedule by averaging his initial team power ratings for each of their opponents.

You’ll find the rankings from easiest to most difficult below, followed by notes on key takeaways.

Note: The following assumes that Aaron Rodgers will start the 2021 season with the Packers.

Schedule Day Special: Deposit $50, Get $100!

Deposit $50 at BetRivers or SugarHouse

Get $100 FREE automatically

New users only

2021 NFL Strength of Schedule Rankings

Rank
Team
1
49ers
2
Jaguars
3
Colts
4
Broncos
T-5
Dolphins
T-5
Jets
T-7
Titans
T-7
Eagles
9
Bills
T-10
Buccaneers
T-10
Cowboys
T-12
Patriots
T-12
Browns
14
Chargers
15
Falcons
16
Chiefs
17
Seahawks
18
Panthers
19
Rams
T-20
Cardinals
T-20
Texans
22
Ravens
T-23
Giants
T-23
Vikings
25
Packers
26
Raiders
T-27
Washington
T-27
Bengals
29
Saints
30
Lions
31
Bears
32
Steelers

2021 NFL Strength of Schedule Takeaways

The 17th Game Impacted SOS Rankings

Because the 17th game will pit divisions from opposing conferences against one another on a rotating basis each season, and because the exact matchups between teams in those divisions are determined by a team’s standing from the previous season — with reigning division champions vs. reigning division champions, and so on — the 17th game has a substantial impact on the strength of schedule (SoS) for some teams.

We’ve outlined a direct comparison of strength of schedule rankings before vs. after the addition of the 17th game here.

NFC North Teams Have Hardest Schedules On Average

The Vikings have the easiest schedule in this division — and it’s still the nine-toughest in the league.

A couple points help explain this:

  • Koerner is projecting NFC North teams for an average of 7.77 wins, which is the second-lowest among the eight divisions. (The Packers are the obvious outliers, assuming Aaron Rodgers plays in Green Bay this season.)
  • Every season, each division is pinned against two other divisions: One from the same conference and one from the opposing conference. Those matchups account for eight of a team’s 17 games, and well, the NFC North draws the two most difficult divisions for those eight games: The AFC North and NFC West, both of which finished with the top average win percentages in 2020 and again are projected (by Koerner) to finish with the highest average wins.

AFC East Teams Have Easiest Schedules On Average

The most difficult schedule among AFC East teams belongs to the Patriots, who still have only the 20th-hardest in the league.

The most likely explanation for the AFC East’s favorable scheduling is the combination of the divisions they draw for eight games: The NFC South and AFC South, both of which finished in the bottom-half of the league in terms of average win percentage in 2020. Koerner is also projecting AFC South teams for an average of 7.32 wins — the lowest of the eight divisions.

_BookPromo=49

2021 NFL Schedule For the 17th Game: Every Matchup, How They Were Decided, More

nfl-17th game-schedule-opponents-divisions-determined-bye weeks

Yes, the NFL is expanding its season to 17 games starting in 2021 — and we have everything you need to know about the extended schedule.

Find the full list of the additional matchups below, followed by a brief FAQ about how the 17th games were determined.

NFL Schedule For 17th Game

NFC Team (Away) AFC Team (Home)
Washington Bills
Giants Dolphins
Cowboys Patriots
Eagles Jets
Seahawks Steelers
Rams Ravens
Cardinals Browns
49ers Bengals
Saints Titans
Buccaneers Colts
Panthers Texans
Falcons Jaguars
Packers Chiefs
Bears Raiders
Vikings Chargers
Lions Broncos
The must-have app for NFL bettors

The best NFL betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

How Will the NFL’s 17-Game Schedule Work?

The NFL’s 17-game schedule will play out over an 18-week regular season, with one bye scheduled per team.

The league will pin AFC divisions against NFC divisions on a rotating basis each season and determine specific matchups based on a team’s standing in its division the previous season.

The conferences will also rotate which plays host each year. In 2020, AFC teams will host the 17th game.

Who Will NFL Teams Play For 17th Game?

The league will rotate which AFC divisions play which NFC divisions each year, but below are the division matchups for 2021:

  • NFC East vs. AFC East
  • NFC West vs. AFC North
  • NFC South vs. AFC South
  • NFC North vs. AFC West
Schedule Day Special: Deposit $50, Get $100!

Deposit $50 at BetRivers or SugarHouse

Get $100 FREE automatically

New users only

How Will the NFL Determine the 17th Opponent?

A team’s 17th opponent will be determined based on their division standing from the previous season. For example, the reigning first-place Saints of the NFC South will face the reigning first-place Titans of the AFC South. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the last-place Detroit Lions of the NFC North will face the last-place Denver Broncos of the AFC West.

Will There Be Two Bye Weeks with 17th Game?

There will not be two bye weeks with the addition of the 17th game — teams will continue to have only one bye over the new 18-week regular season.

How the 17th Game Impacts NFL Strength of Schedule For 2021

nfl 17th game-impacts-schedule-strength-2021

For the first time in 42 years, the NFL has altered the number of games on its regular-season schedule from 16 to 17.

While the ripple effects of the additional game will be discussed ad nauseam over the next year, which impacts can we attempt to measure right now? Based on the team power ratings as projected by our Director of Predictive Analytics, Sean Koerner, we were able to identify one such potential impact: On strength of schedule (SoS).

Below you’ll find a side-by-side comparison of the SoS rankings for all 32 teams based on their original 16-game schedule vs. their new 17-game schedule (including the difference in ranking).

Note that AFC teams will host NFC teams for the 17th game this season (before the conferences rotate hosting rights for the 17th game next year), which impacts some of the following.


» See A Full List of 17th Game Matchups«


Schedule Day Special: Deposit $50, Get $100!

Deposit $50 at BetRivers or SugarHouse

Get $100 FREE automatically

New users only

How the 17th Game Impacts NFL Strength of Schedule

Team
SoS Rank
17 Games
SoS Rank
16 Games
Difference
49ers
1
2
+1
Jaguars
2
3
+1
Colts
3
1
-2
Broncos
4
T-19
+15
Dolphins
T-5
T-15
+10
Jets
T-5
17
+12
Titans
T-7
T-5
-2
Eagles
T-7
T-15
+8
Bills
9
T-7
-2
Buccaneers
T-10
4
-6
Cowboys
T-10
T-5
-5
Patriots
T-12
10
-2
Browns
T-12
T-13
+1
Chargers
14
T-11
-3
Falcons
15
24
+9
Chiefs
16
T-7
-9
Seahawks
17
T-13
-4
Panthers
18
28
+10
Rams
19
T-7
-12
Cardinals
T-20
18
-2
Texans
T-20
25
+5
Ravens
22
T-19
-3
Giants
T-23
22
-1
Vikings
T-23
23
0
Packers
25
T-11
-14
Raiders
26
29
+3
Washington
T-27
21
-6
Bengals
T-27
26
-1
Saints
29
27
-2
Lions
30
T-31
+1
Bears
31
T-31
0
Steelers
32
30
-2

Biggest SoS Winners with 17th Game

Denver Broncos (+15)

From 19th- to fourth-easiest schedule

Denver’s schedule wasn’t all that difficult to begin with — the AFC West drawing matchups against all four NFC East teams helps raise that floor — but the Broncos benefited from another favorable scheduling rotation: Because AFC West teams will host NFC North opponents for the 17th game this season, the Broncos will face fellow last-place team, the Lions.

New York Jets (+12)

From 17th- to fifth-easiest schedule

AFC East teams will draw NFC East opponents for the first season of the new 17-game era. And based on the Jets’ last-place finish in the AFC East last season, they get to host the Eagles.

Miami Dolphins (+10)

From 15th- to fifth-easiest schedule

The Dolphins reap the same benefits as the Jets: Hosting an NFC East team for this 17th game — specifically the Giants.

Carolina Panthers (+10)

From 28th- to 18th-easiest schedule

The Panthers’ boost is easily summarized by their opponent for the 17th game: The Texans. Given the uncertainty at quarterback in Houston (and that the Texans have the lowest win total in the NFL), Carolina draws a favorable matchup for the extra game.

The must-have app for NFL bettors

The best NFL betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Biggest SoS Losers with 17th Game

Green Bay Packers (-14)

From 11th- to 25th-easiest schedule

Because the NFC North teams draw AFC West teams for the 17th game, the Packers add a road game against the Chiefs to their schedule, negatively impacting their SoS in the process.

Los Angeles Rams (-12) 

From seventh- to 19th-easiest schedule 

NFC West teams will have to face AFC North opponents for their 17th game — and on the road. The Rams finished second in the NFC West last season, so they’ll travel to Baltimore to face fellow second-place finisher, the Ravens.

2021 Super Bowl Odds & Picks: 4 Bets To Make Right Now

super bowl odds-picks-bets-longshots-nfl schedule release

Super Bowl Odds & Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Baltimore Ravens +1500
Cleveland Browns +1600
Denver Broncos +2400
Carolina Panthers +7000

The height of free agency is over. The draft is in the books. And the schedule will be out Wednesday night.

With so many key offseason tentpoles come and gone, we asked our crew of analysts to take stock of the NFL futures markets. Below they’ve highlighted four Super Bowl bets (including a couple longer shots) that they’re adding to their portfolio.

Baltimore Ravens

+1500 To Win Super Bowl

Brandon Anderson: Two seasons ago, the Ravens were not just the best regular season team in football. By many advanced metrics, they were one of the great modern regular-season teams ever.

The Ravens took a step back last year on both sides of the ball but were still very good and still a serious Super Bowl threat as the playoffs started. They have a coaching advantage in almost every matchup, and John Harbaugh always gives his teams an extra advantage on special teams.

It felt like NFL defenses figured out Lamar Jackson and this offense a bit last season, but that was always due for some regression after the way the Ravens stormed through defenses the previous year. Now it’s time to regress back the other direction. Baltimore has had a whole offseason to add some twists and respond to the way the defenses responded, and the Ravens also added Sammy Watkins and Rashod Bateman to really beef up this receiving corps.

And, of course, the defense is still really good. So are both lines, as are the special teams. Really, there’s just not a weakness on this roster. And despite what we’ve seen in recent years, I remain convinced that this is the exact style of team built to beat the Chiefs.

At the end of the day, the Chiefs and Bucs are the favorites for a reason, but I like the Ravens just as much as pretty much any other team on the board. That means I’m getting serious value at +1500 at DraftKings, where Baltimore is only the sixth favorite.

I’m happy to stick with the second-best team of the last few seasons and trust them to break through in the playoffs at some point.


» Return to the table of contents «


Cleveland Browns

+1600 To Win Super Bowl

Raheem Palmer: The biggest inefficiency in the NFL is having an above-average quarterback on their rookie deal. That allows teams to maximize their talent without paying their quarterback the majority of their salary cap.

With Baker Mayfield in his fourth season, the Cleveland Browns find themselves in this exact position as they recently exercised his fifth-year option. They’re also in their Super Bowl window as Mayfield won’t demand a new contract until after the 2022 season.

Despite having a negative point differential and Pythagorean Expectation of just 7.7 wins, this Browns team finished 11-5 and was just two wins away from the Super Bowl, losing 22-17 to eventual the AFC champion Chiefs. Although I would normally be looking to fade a team in this situation, this Browns team is different.

This is the first time in a while that the Browns have had stability in the front office and at head coach. In the second year under Kevin Stefanski, Mayfield should be better than last year, especially with the return of Odell Beckham Jr. The Browns also have a solid offensive line with right guard Wyatt Teller and right tackle Jack Conklin, as well as one of the best rushing tandems in the league in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

When you consider how many games the Browns played last season, both at home and on the road in which the weather suppressed their offensive output, it’s pretty clear that we’re looking at a team that should have no problems scoring points.

Schedule Day Special: Deposit $50, Get $100!

Deposit $50 at BetRivers or SugarHouse

Get $100 FREE automatically

New users only

What would help them make the leap to true contender is if their defense catches up to their offense.

Despite Pro Bowl stars in defensive end Myles Garrett and cornerback Denzel Ward, this unit finished just 25th in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA.

The secondary was banged up for most of last season, but they welcome the return of Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit. They also signed safety John Johnson III as well as cornerback Troy Hill, both of whom played last season with the Rams. And finally, with the Browns drafting cornerback Greg Newsome II out of Northwestern, we’re looking at a totally revamped secondary.

The addition of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney also provides a significant boost to a defensive line that sees the departure of Larry Ogunjobi and Olivier Vernon.

The Browns are one of the best teams in the NFL, but they’re still not priced like it. I’ll be taking them at +1700 to win the Super Bowl, but would bet them down to +1500. The Browns to win the AFC (+850) and the AFC North (+145) also make enticing bets.


» Return to the table of contents «


Denver Broncos

+2400 To Win Super Bowl

Samantha Previte: The Broncos to win the Super Bowl at +2400 (4.0% implied probability) on DraftKings is intriguing.

Denver finished 5-11 in the basement of the AFC West last season, meaning it’s definitely a longshot for the Broncos to make the leap to Super Bowl champions. That said, they posted that abysmal record with Drew Lock at the helm and plagued by injuries.

They’ve made a modest number of offseason moves, including signing Teddy Bridgewater and drafting Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain and UNC running back Javonte Williams.

What they do have working in their favor is they may be the winners of this Aaron Rodgers hullabaloo. The Broncos had the second-shortest odds to land Rodgers behind the Packers, and are clearly in pursuit of the three-time NFL MVP.

We have seen what the addition of a future Hall of Fame quarterback can do for a team with the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay finished 7-9 in 2019 and were elevated all the way to Super Bowl champions in 2020 with the signing of Tom Brady.

The Broncos have star power on their roster and could be a team that is “one quarterback away” from being playoff-viable. This pick vastly hinges on how the Rodgers situation shakes out, but at 24-1 odds, it feels like a worthwhile risk.


» Return to the table of contents «


Carolina Panthers

+7000 To Win Super Bowl

Matthew Freedman: I love what the Panthers have done this offseason.

Despite trading for quarterback Sam Darnold, the Panthers probably should have drafted Justin Fields at No. 8, but I still give them credit for adding Darnold cheaply in the first place. He has the potential to be a significant upgrade on Teddy Bridgewater this year.

And in the draft — aside from passing on Fields — the Panthers did a great job. In Round 1, they added a cornerback with shutdown potential in Jaycee Horn. In Round 2, they took wide receiver Terrace Marshall, who can line up all over the formation and will be a Week 1 starter: He has tremendous upside with his physical profile, college production and five-star recruitment history. He could end up being the best receiver in the class.

In Round 3, the Panthers added offensive tackle Brady Christensen and tight end Tommy Tremble. Christensen is old for a rookie because he took two years for an LDS mission and redshirted his first season in college, but he has multiple years of starting experience and is a pro-ready All-American who can start right away. Tremble is an immediate upgrade at the tight end position, where the Panthers were weak last year. The best blocking tight end in the 2021 class, Tremble has the youth and athleticism to develop into a Jonnu Smith-esque after-the-catch receiver.

In Rounds 4-5, the Panthers selected running back Chuba Hubbard and defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon. Hubbard was the best rusher in college football in 2019, and he will be a good backup to starter Christian McCaffrey. Nixon was a unanimous All-American last year and will add high-quality depth to a defensive line that should be better as it moves into its second year under defensive coordinator Phil Snow.

Given the additions the team made this offseason, 70-1 is decent value for a team in a division with the Saints (who are without retired quarterback Drew Brees), Falcons (who have a first-year head coach) and Buccaneers (who won the Super Bowl but have a starting quarterback who will turn 44 before Week 1).


» Return to the table of contents «


Colts Are The Most Overvalued NFL Team Following NFL Schedule Release

colts-overvalued-nfl-schedule-release-simulations-2021

The NFL Draft and the official 2021 schedule release are in the rearview mirror, meaning fans, oddsmakers and bettors have the information they need to look toward the upcoming season.

Most fanbases are cautiously optimistic that this will be their team’s year, while bettors are projecting the league as a whole, trying to find the most valuable Super Bowl, conference and divisional futures, as well as win total over/unders.

Now that the full 2021 NFL schedule is out, we’ve updated our simulations to project the entire season and one team is popping as the most overrated when comparing our model’s results to over/under win totals.

Without further ado, here is the most overrated (and overvalued) team heading into the 2021 NFL season.

Schedule Day Special: Deposit $50, Get $100!

Deposit $50 at BetRivers or SugarHouse

Get $100 FREE automatically

New users only

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts have had a splashy offseason, headlined by a trade for former Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

With the emergence of Jalen Hurts, Wentz became expendable in Philadelphia, which combined with Philip Rivers’ retirement made a deal between the two teams likely.

Indy also added former Kansas City left tackle Eric Fisher earlier this week to anchor the team’s offensive line and protect Wentz’s blindside.

According to the latest NFL odds from DraftKings Sportsbook, just seven teams have a higher win total over/under than the Colts’ 10 wins (+110o/-134u), but our model sees Indy as vastly overvalued by the current market.

While the Colts’ win total is juiced to -134 to fewer than 10 wins, our NFL model projects Indianapolis at just 8.4 wins this season.

So why exactly is our model less bullish on the new-look Colts than the betting market?

It’s pretty simple: Our numbers don’t agree with the boost given to Indy across the market following the acquisition of Wentz to run the offense this season.

NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: How to Value CJ McCollum & Damian Lillard (Wednesday, May 12)

We’re down to just a few games left in the NBA regular season, and the marquee game on tonight’s slate pits the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers against the likely top-seeded Utah Jazz. Two of our top three props tonight come from that one game.

For those who are new to this article, we’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.

Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I’m playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.

The must-have app for NBA bettors

The best NBA betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

NBA Player Props & Picks

Raul Neto, Over 10.5 points (-118)

Wizards vs. Hawks Hawks -6.5
Time | TV 7 p.m. ET | ESPN
Best Book FanDuel

Did you know that the Washington Wizards have players other than Russell  Westbrook and Bradley Beal? It’s true. They even field five actual basketball players each night.

After all, someone has to convert all those Westbrook assists. Westbrook’s assist over/under line is up to an absurd 14.5 by the way. I commented on how silly it was that Westbrook’s line was up to 11.5 assists a few weeks ago — and he’s been so good since then that the line has raised by three full assists.

Our Props Tool rates that under as the best player on the board today, but I’m done betting against Russ numbers this season. Instead, I’m going to be on one of his teammates who should benefit if he gets those 15 assists (which, by the way, he has each of the last five games!).

Enter Raul Neto. Neto has actually started the last 13 games for the Wizards as Washington continues its surprising turnaround push for the playoffs, and he’s mostly out there for his veteran savvy and his defense. But Neto can score some when needed, and the Wiz need to replace 31 points missing tonight with Bradley Beal sidelined.

Neto scored 12 his last time out against in this exact same matchup against the Hawks, and Beal was out in that game too. Neto took 11 shots, a good sign for us.

The last time Beal was out, Neto took 17 shots and scored 24 in one of his best games of the season. When Beal missed a week around the end of April, Neto averaged 11.0 points per game in those four games despite starting only once and playing under 25 MPG, and he averaged 10.5 shots per game.

The takeaway here is that Neto is getting shots up when Beal is out. He’s gone over 10.5 points in four of those last six Beal-less games, and he’s taken enough shots to get there easily in the two unders too.

We project Neto at 13.5 points, giving us a real margin for error here. I’ll play the over to -140.


Damian Lillard, Under 28.5 points (-116)

Trail Blazers vs. Jazz Jazz -1
Time | TV 9:30 p.m. ET | ESPN
Best Book FanDuel

So, we’re betting against Damian Lillard. Yes, that Lillard. The one in the MVP race with 30 or more points in five straight games. The one on the scorching hot Trail Blazers, who are now 8-1 over their last nine with a +136 point differential.

So, why are we betting against Lillard?

He is averaging 28.7 PPG on the season now, right at this number. He had 50 earlier this season, and the only surprise about that is the fact that he’s only hit 50 once all year. Lillard has gone over 28.5 points in 34 of 64 games, hitting the over just over half the time.

Again … why the take under?

Because of the opponent. The Jazz are elite defensively, even as they limp into the playoffs a bit, shorthanded. Lillard can be defended by elite teams, because the rest of the Blazers aren’t good enough to stop defenses from blitzing Dame and getting the ball out of his hands and forcing him into bad shots.

In the season opener, Lillard had his worst game of the season with just nine points. Notice how I had to write out the word instead of a numeral? Lillard was so bad against Utah in the opener that he didn’t even pass the AP-style test of hitting 10 or higher and getting numerals. He shot 4-of-12 from the field. The other Jazz game came a month ago. Lillard scored 23 in that one but shot 8-of-21.

Lillard blitzed the Jazz last year when Utah’s defense wasn’t as good, but Utah has traditionally been tough on him and Lillard has gone under 28.5 points in 16 of 27 career games against Rudy Gobert’s Jazz. That’s a 59% hit rate to our under.

We project Lillard at 23.7 points, far short of this line, with nearly a 19% edge in our favor. The Jazz are still pushing to lock up the 1-seed, so expect their defense to show up here. I’ll play to -135.

_BookPromo=24


CJ McCollum, Over 2.5 3s (-115)

Trail Blazers vs. Jazz Jazz -1
Time | TV 9:30 p.m. ET | ESPN
Best Book BetMGM

If Lillard isn’t going to put up a big scoring line on the Jazz, someone else will have to score for Portland, and that someone is probably CJ McCollum.

This McCollum 3-pointer line remains too low, so we’ll keep coming back to it. The argument remains the same. McCollum is averaging a career-high 23.0 PPG this season in large part because his 3-point volume is up.

Instead of taking under six 3-point attempts per game like he did for most of his career, he’s all the way up to 9.0 attempts per game this season. That means he’s making 3.6 treys per game, by far a career best, and it means this number still feels a full 3-pointer too low.

McCollum has at least seven 3-point attempts in all but eight of his games this season. He almost always gets his shots up, and if he gets that many shots up, even a colder shooting night gives us a shot at three makes. In those two earlier games against the Jazz, McCollum attempted 10 and eight 3-pointers, right around his usual output. He made three in each, hitting the over both times.

For the season, McCollum has at least three 3s in 30 of his 44 games. That hits the over 68% of the time. Even better, he has at least two makes in all but four games, and one of those four was with super low minutes after his injury return. Two makes gets us within range of a winner in a game with a coin-flip line that should be close late.

We project McCollum at 3.4 makes tonight, right around his season average, and this remains a good bet. I’ll play to -135, and I’m happy to play both of these Blazers bets together.

_BookPromo=245

Wednesday NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Spurs vs. Nets, Trail Blazers vs. Jazz (May 12)

While there may be just six games on tonight’s schedule, the slate looms pretty large for a number of teams with postseason aspirations. We’re at a point in the season where every game matters, but two stick out among the rest for our NBA analysts on Wednesday night.

Our crew is looking to bet the spread in two important matchups tonight.You can read their full analysis and picks below.

NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Utah Jazz
9:30 p.m. ET
San Antonio Spurs vs. Brooklyn Nets
8 p.m. ET

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Utah Jazz

Pick
Trail Blazers +2
Book
BetMGM
Tipoff
9:30 p.m. ET
TV
ESPN

Kenny Ducey: No team can say they’ve been better than the Trail Blazers on offense over the past 10 games. Portland leads the way with 122.7 points per 100 possessions during that time-frame. All the while the Blazers stayed strong on the glass, ranking fourth in rebounding rate, and actually have the ninth-best defense over that span.

Folks have long wondered how good the Trail Blazers might look once they pick things up on the defensive side of the ball, and right now we’re seeing flashes. They’ve won a ridiculous eight of their past nine games and still have everything to play for here, battling to stay out of the play-in tournament.

Utah, on the other hand, has picked things up a bit in wake of the injury to Donovan Mitchell, but now without Mike Conley the Jazz could be taking it easy until the playoffs, with the top spot in the West almost locked up.

I think the Blazers’ offense should find a way past a Jazz defense that has slipped ever so slightly of late, and Enes Kanter and Jusuf Nurkic should be competitive on the glass and take away Utah’s advantage there as well. It’s also worth mentioning that the Jazz have been one of the worst teams against post-ups all season long, and Nurkic has turned into a real threat in the post.

I think there are too many ways here that the Blazers can hurt the Jazz, and once they run out in front there should be no looking back as the Jazz look ahead to two easier wins over Oklahoma City and Sacramento to get into the groove heading to the playoffs. I’d take this to a PK.

_BookPromo=245


» Return to the table of contents «


San Antonio Spurs vs. Brooklyn Nets

Pick
Nets -5
Book
PointsBet
Tipoff
8 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Brandon Anderson: On the one hand, it’s not totally clear which Brooklyn Nets players will actually play tonight. Kyrie Irving is questionable after leaving last night’s game with a face contusion.

James Harden plans to play tonight, but he has to clear pregame warmups and we don’t know how much he’ll play, or how hard he’ll go. It’s entirely possible we get 80% of Kevin Durant, no Irving, and like 40% of Harden for 20 minutes.

And you know what? I’m still taking the Nets.

Because it’s the Spurs!! Come on. I know San Antonio just hung 146 points on the Bucks, but the Spurs are still a fringe play-in team at best. Even better, they have virtually nothing to play for here. The Spurs virtually locked into the 10 spot as they sit 2.5 games behind the Grizzlies for ninth and 2.5 games ahead of the Pelicans for 11th.

They’ll have to win two road play-in games against superior teams just to make the playoffs and get blown out in Round 1. Unless Gregg Popovich pulls off another magic trick, a playoff berth is not going to happen.

In tonight’s matchup, the Spurs don’t have an answer for Durant or for whatever version of Harden ends up on the floor, which will certainly be a good one since there’s no way Brooklyn would risk anything less than that if the Beard actually plays.

You never know with Brooklyn, but there’s still a chance we get a full go from all three guys tonight too, and this line could balloon by tip-off time. If I end up with Durant and the leftover Nets against DeMar DeRozan and the Spurs remnant, so be it. I grabbed the Nets at -5 and would roll the dice on them up to -7 unless both Harden and Irving sit.

_BookPromo=117


» Return to the table of contents «


Wednesday NBA Odds, Picks & Projections: Betting Analysis for Wizards vs. Hawks, Trail Blazers vs. Jazz, More (May 12)

For the 2020-2021 NBA season, I’ll be publishing my projections for every NBA game on the Wednesday and Friday slate. Here’s what you’ll find in my model: projected team totals, projected combined totals, projected spreads for the matchup and the implied odds for the moneyline.

Note: My projections won’t be updated in real-time throughout the day, but Action’s PRO Projections tool is dynamic and will reflect the latest injury and lineup news.

I’ll also be highlighting some of the slate’s most intriguing matchups with in-depth, game-level analysis that goes beyond the numbers.

NBA Projections Model

NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks
7 p.m. ET
San Antonio Spurs vs. Brooklyn Nets
8 p.m. ET
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Utah Jazz
9:30 p.m. ET

Although projections give us a solid baseline for what a number should be, it’s also important to handicap each matchup for things that the numbers can’t tell us.

Check out my analysis for tonight’s six-game slate.

Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks

Pick
Hawks -6.5 (BetMGM)
Gametime
7 p.m. ET
TV
ESPN

These two teams met Monday night and face off again for the second game of a two game series that has major playoff implications. The Wizards can clinch a spot in the play-in game while the Hawks want to avoid dropping to sixth in the Eastern Conference, which mean both teams are motivated for this matchup.

Unfortunately for the Wizards, they’ll be playing their second consecutive game without Bradley Beal who is sidelined with a hamstring injury. Under normal circumstances with Beal in the lineup, my model makes this game Hawks -3.52 and the market believes his loss is significant for good reason.

The loss of Beal feels like the Wizards are fighting with one hand tied behind their back as they are scoring a whopping 115.7 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor vs. 104.7 with him off the floor. Replacing 31.4 points per game isn’t easy and it’s no surprise the Wizards are 1-9 with a Net Rating of -10.7 and an Offensive Rating of just 103.5 in 10 games without him this season.

In many ways you have to wonder if oddsmakers are over adjusting this spread based on the result of Monday’s game as well as making Wizards backers pay a premium as they make a run for the playoffs.

The Hawks closed as consensus -8 favorites in Monday’s game and held a 96-79 lead at the end of the third quarter before the Wizards outscored them 45-29 in the fourth quarter and nearly completed the comeback.

The Hawks shot just 8-of-23 (34.8%) in the fourth, while the Wizards were 17-of-24 (70.8%). Of course, it’s a lot easier to score when the other team isn’t making shots, but it’s pretty clear that quarter was an aberration against the Wizards who rank 20th in Defensive Rating (113.3).

One of the alarming things about Monday’s game is that the Hawks dominated on the boards with a 28% Offensive Rebound Rate while out-rebounding the Wizards 55-42. Hawks center Clint Capela grabbed 22 rebounds, including seven offensive rebounds and the Hawks also got to the line 26 times compared to the Wizards; 11 free throw attempts.

Although things might not play out exactly like the first game, the same advantages are there for the Hawks — they rank seventh in Offensive Rebound rate while the Wizards are 18th. The Hawks also shot 51.1% in the mid-range, which is consistent with what you would expect given that the Wizards are dead last in opponent field goal percentage from that area of the floor.

The Hawks didn’t shoot particularly well from 3-point range as they were just 10-of-30 from behind the arc while the Wizards ran over expectation shooting 13-of-26 (50%). For a Wizards team that’s shoots 36.3% from behind the arc regularly and is missing Beal, I’m not expecting this to continue.

Overall, the Hawks have a ton of advantages here and I think this line is short. I’ll lay the 6.5 points with the Hawks and look for them to close out the game strong unlike their performance on Monday.

_BookPromo=245


» Return to the table of contents «


San Antonio Spurs at Brooklyn Nets

Lean
Spurs +5 (PointsBet)
Gametime
8 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

You have to wonder if we’ll ever seen Brooklyn’s Big 3 play together this season again? Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden are essentially playing a game of musical chairs as one manages to get inured as soon as one is scheduled to return to the lineup.

You can’t make this up. In the third quarter, Irving suffered a facial contusion after colliding with Bulls center Nikola Vucevic while going up for a rebound. Although Irving was cleared of a concussion, it’s unclear if he will play tonight. The good news is that the game of musical chairs between the Nets’ Big 3 continues as Harden is a game time decision for tonight’s matchup with the Spurs.

I’m in the minority of people who believe Harden is the Nets’ most important player as his playmaking and scoring make him more difficult to defend. He makes teammates better in ways that no other Nets player can and his playmaking has truly been missed on a team with two heavy isolation scorers.

Of course, Kevin Durant is a nightmare to guard and he comes off a game in which he scored 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting. The Nets don’t seem to be putting emphasis on seeding, so it would be a surprise to see Durant playing on a back-to-back.

Under normal circumstances, I would make this game Nets -5.9, but at this point there’s a ton of uncertainty regarding this lineup and I’m not sure how you place your money on the Nets tonight if the Durant, Irving or Harden can’t go.

As much as Harden helps this team, if he plays without Durant or Irving in this lineup, I think the Spurs have an advantage against a team with a high usage player trying to regain its rhythm.

The Spurs have the motivational edge as they clinch a play-in spot with a win. But you know what they always say about must win games in the regular season: If a team finds itself in one, they might not be very good.

Although the Spurs come off a 146-125 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, they’ve been downright abysmal defensively since the loss of their best wing defender in Derrick White. Over the past two weeks this team is giving up a whopping 118.9 points per 100 possessions in their non garbage time minutes according to Cleaning the Glass.

I guess, this matchup is ideal because the Nets also can’t defend either. The Spurs should find some success with DeMar DeRozan in the mid-range. The Spurs rank eighth in field goal percentage in the mid-range (43.7%) and the Nets’ defense is slightly below average in opponent field goal percentage from that area of the floor.

That said, I can’t give out a play on this game until we learn the status of the Nets big three. We could see both the side and total drop should if Durant, Irving and Harden miss tonight’s game, so I’d lean toward grabbing the Spurs +5 before the line moves based on injury news or sit this one out.

_BookPromo=821


» Return to the table of contents «


Portland Trail Blazers vs. Utah Jazz

Pick
Jazz -1.5 (FanDuel)
Gametime
9:30 p.m. ET
TV
ESPN

The Jazz opened as 4.5-point favorites and we’ve seen this line get steamed down to -2 across the market as books take money on the Trail Blazers who have won four in a row and eight out of their past nine games.

Their lone loss in this stretch came on May 3 in a road back-to-back against the Hawks one night after defeating the Boston Celtics, so that should tell you how locked in this team has been. Over this stretch the Blazers are scoring 124.9 points per 100 possessions and have been holding teams to 110.2 points per 100 possessions defensively, good for a Net Rating of +14.7.

That’s not bad at all for a team that has been reliant on Damian Lillard to win them games in the clutch. They’re certainly motivated as they look to avoid the play-in tournament with two wins out of their final three games.

The Jazz still hold the league’s top record and can clinch the top seed in the Western Conference with two wins or two losses from the Suns. However, they’re still missing their All-Star guards Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley.

The team hasn’t fell apart, though, despite Mitchell missing the past 13 games and Conley missing the past eight. The Jazz are 8-5 during this stretch with an Offensive Rating of 116.0 and a Defensive Rating of 108.3. The Offense has slipped a bit, but the cupboard is far from bare on this team that’s making 17 3s per game.

The starting lineup without Mitchell and Conley has played exceptionally well. With Bojan Bogdanović, Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, Royce O’Neale and Georges Niang on the court, the Jazz are outscoring teams by a whopping 41.8 points per 100 possessions with an Offensive Rating of 136.9 and a Defensive Rating of 95.1 And with the Jordan Clarkson increasing his usage off the bench, the Jazz don’t lack for offense.

The Blazers have improved defensively over the past two weeks, but their games have come against the Rockets, Spurs, Lakers (without LeBron James), Cavaliers, Celtics, Nets (without Kevin Durant), Grizzlies and Pacers (without Domantas Sabonis).

That’s not exactly a murder’s row of opposing offenses and Jazz might be the best offense they’ll face during this stretch. The Blazers rank 25th in opponent 3-point percentage (38.2%), while the Jazz are third in 3-point percentage (39.6%) and first in frequency.

My model makes this game Jazz -4.95, so I personally don’t agree with the move down to -2 (it’s as low as -1.5 at FanDuel as of this writing). The Blazers still struggle to defend, so I’ll lay the points with the Jazz and look for them to win as they look to lock down the No. 1 seed in the West.


» Return to the table of contents «


Trail Blazers vs. Jazz NBA Odds & Picks: Pros Like Lillard & McCollum (Wednesday, May 12)

nba injury-news projected-starting-lineups damian-lillard april-21

NBA Odds: Trail Blazers vs. Jazz

Trail Blazers Odds +3
Jazz Odds -3
Over/Under 234
Time | Channel 9:30 p.m. ET | NBCS-NW

The Portland Trail Blazers travel to Salt Lake City to face the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. This game has massive NBA Playoffs implications.

The Trail Blazers’ primary goal is to maintain their 1.5-game lead on the Lakers for the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, which would enable Portland to avoid the NBA’s play-in tournament. Meanwhile, Utah is trying to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with the Phoenix Suns a mere 1.5 games back.

Utah’s leading scorer, Donovan Mitchell, is out for the remainder of the regular season. Additionally, head coach Quin Snyder will have to manage without his leading assist man, Mike Conley Jr., for the ninth straight game.

The Jazz have weathered the storm well, going 6-4 over their last 10 games. Utah was on a five-game winning streak before Monday’s 3-point loss to the Warriors. It took a clutch, late-game Steph Curry 3-pointer to defeat the Jazz at the Chase Center.

Utah has dominated Portland in two previous matchups this season, winning by an average margin of 19.5.

Of course, Wednesday’s game will be the first time we witness how Utah contends with Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum & Co. without both members of its starting backcourt (Conley, Mitchell). With that in mind, it explains why sharps are backing the Trail Blazers in our latest PRO Report.


The ultimate NBA betting cheat code

Best bets for every game

Our NBA model’s biggest daily edges

Profitable data-driven system picks

NBA Picks: Trail Blazers vs. Jazz

Sharp Action

The line for Wednesday’s crucial Northwest Division showdown between Utah and Portland opened at Trail Blazers +4.5 before being pushed down to +2.

Since this morning, there have been three Action Labs Bet Signals triggered on the Trail Blazers. This flurry of activity is a surefire indicator of the sharp action that is moving Wednesday’s spread.

Big Money

At the time of this writing, the 51% of bettors backing the Trail Blazers has generated 72% of the money wagered on Wednesday’s matchup.

PRO Report Pick: Trail Blazers +2 (-103 at PointsBet and -106 at FanDuel)

Trail Blazers vs. Jazz NBA Odds & Picks: Fade Utah Against Lillard & McCollum (May 12)

portland trail blazers vs. utah jazz-nba-odds-bets-picks-predictions-may-12

NBA Odds: Blazers vs. Jazz

Trail Blazers Odds +4.5
Jazz Odds -4.5
Moneyline +156 / -186
Over/Under 234.5
Time 9:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Wednesday evening and via FanDuel.

The Jazz host the Trail Blazers Wednesday night in the third and final meeting of the season between these teams. The Jazz won the first matchup 120-100 on opening night in Portland and then won again 122-103 on April 8th in Salt Lake City.

The Trail Blazers have won four consecutive games after beating the Rockets  on Monday. They control their own destiny to avoid the play-in tournament and will guarantee themselves at least the sixth seed with wins in two of their last three games.

The Jazz also control their own destiny for the top overall seed in the Western Conference with wins in their final three games. This matchup against the Trail Blazers is their toughest remaining hurdle as they will face the Thunder and Kings in their final two games.

_BookPromo=821

Portland Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers  need Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum at their best. Zach Collins (ankle) remains out indefinitely and is the only Trail Blazer on the injury report.

Lillard and McCollum dealt with injuries in April as the Trail Blazers lost five consecutive games at one point because their top-two shooters weren’t playing up to their normal standards. Both are healthy and back to their elite form as the Trail Blazers have won eight of their last nine games overall with some impressive wins over the Nets, Celtics, Grizzlies and Lakers.

Lillard has scored at least 30 points in five consecutive games and has made 54% of his 3s (27 of 50) over that span. McCollum is also coming off of back-to-back quality performances as he has scored at least 27 in the last two games , including a franchise record 21 points in the first quarter on Monday against the Rockets.

Contributions from other key shooters like Norman Powell, Carmelo Anthony and Anfernee Simons will also be key. If two or more of these three scorers (who each have the ability to carry the offense for at least a quarter at a time) shoot efficiently from beyond the arc, the Trail Blazers should have a great shot at winning outright.

Anthony, who recently became 10th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, is not listed on Wednesday’s injury report after missing the last two games with an ankle injury. Robert Covington and Jusef Nurkic will play key roles defensively and on the boards against the myriad of Jazz shooters and Rudy Gobert.

The must-have app for NBA bettors

The best NBA betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Utah Jazz

If the Jazz win and cover, Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic need to score efficiently from the 3-point line. The Jazz need their shooters to continue to play well with leading scorer Donovan Mitchell (ankle) out at least for the rest of the regular season. Mike Conley (hamstring) and Juwan Morgan (heel) are also out.

Clarkson, the overwhelming favorite for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, hasn’t been incredibly efficient, as his 110.4 points per 100 shots this season rank in the 52nd percentile among combo guards. He’s a streaky shooter but led the Jazz with a season-high 41 points on Monday in the loss to the Warriors, despite missing his first seven 3-pointers of the game and tallying zero total assists.

Bogdanovic will also be a key player for the Jazz. He has found his rhythm lately as he has scored at least 20 points in each of the last eight games, including a season-high 48 points in Friday’s win over the Nuggets.

Ingles has been incredibly efficient for the Jazz as a scorer and distributor, ranking in the 99th percentile among forwards in points per 100 shots (136.8) and in the 99th percentile in assist rate (23.9%). Niang ranks second on the Jazz, shooting 43% on 3s this season.

Royce O’Neale and Rudy Gobert will also need to play well for the Jazz to win. O’Neale will play a key role for the Jazz when guarding Lillard/ McCollum and forcing them to take as tough of shots as possible. Gobert should have an advantage inside against the likes of smaller bigs like Nurkic and Enes Kanter.

Trail Blazers-Jazz Pick

Three-point shooting will decide this matchup, as the Jazz take the most 3s (45.5% of their shots) while the Trail Blazers take the second-most 3s (41.8% of their shots), per Cleaning The Glass. The Jazz rank third with 39.6% accuracy from downtown while the Trail Blazers rank sixth at 38.9%.

With Lillard and McCollum both playing in rhythm and this game carrying so much weight for both teams, I love the value on the Trail Blazers and the points. This game should have a playoff-like feel to it, and I expect Lillard and McCollum to rise to the occasion.

Bogdanovic has been great for the Jazz lately, but they feel overvalued in this spot despite their better defense anchored by Gobert. Gobert will have less of an impact than normal as the Trail Blazers’ perimeter-oriented attack will limit the number of shots he can impact. Take the Jazz on the spread at +4.5 (with value down to +3) or on the moneyline at +156 (with value down to +130).

Pick: Trail Blazers +4.5 (bet down to +3)

_BookPromo=24

Target Suspends In-Store Trading Card Sales After Incident

target-suspends-store-trading-card-sales-incident

When COVID-19 shuttered hobby stores, the big box retailers became the main distributor of trading cards. 

But as the stakes rose, and flippers and breakers were able to make serious margins, the lines to buy got longer and the rules got tighter. 

On Wednesday, days after a fight over trading card erupted in at a Target parking lot in Brookfield, Wis. that led one man to pull a gun, word started to circulate about signs at Target stores. The company confirmed to The Action Network that the gravy train will at least halt temporarily. 

_BookPromo=1831

“The safety of our guests and our team is our top priority,” Target said in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, we’ve decided to temporarily suspend the sale of MLB, NFL, NBA and Pokémon trading cards within our stores, effective May 14. Guests can continue to shop these cards online at Target.com.” 

Online retailers like Target and Walmart can of course better regulate limits as opposed to in store where stories of tracking trucks and anecdotes of back room dealings were told. 

While the card boom has been most documented by cards selling for $20,000 that were only $5,000 two years ago, the explosion in value of packs at big box retailers like Target and Walmart can’t be underestimated. 

Boxes that cost $20 sell for $100 to $200 on eBay, which led to people camping out waiting for shelves to be restocked and, on a few occasions, led to unruly behavior.

2021 AT&T Byron Nelson Market Report: Will Zalatoris More Popular Than Ever

att-byron-nelson-market-report-will zalatoris

Fresh off a missed cut, Will Zalatoris has never been more popular among golf bettors than he is at this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

That’s saying something, because Zalatoris has been one of the most popular players in betting circles this year during his quick rise from the Korn Ferry Tour.

He’s the most popular play this week in his home state of Texas, getting the most bets at both PointsBet and BetMGM. In fact, 16% of all bets placed on the outright market at BetMGM are on Zalatoris, soaring past his previous high of 9%. It’s one of the highest percentages for any golfer this season. The 8% he’s getting at PointsBet is still more than anyone else.

_BookPromo=1831

Before his missed cut at the Wells Fargo Championship, Zalatoris was on a tear going back to the U.S. Open in September where he finished sixth. In the 15 events since, he’s recorded five top-10 finishes. However, he’s yet to win on the PGA TOUR. Bettors don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines when he eventually does win.

Scottie Scheffler has the second-most bets at PointsBet, but it’s Bryson DeChambeau seeing most of the dollars bet. A whopping 27% of the total handle is on DeChambeau, who figures to translate well to a course that should benefit ball-strikers and those long off the tee.

Scheffler, also a Texan, has the third-most bets and handle at BetMGM, making him the second-biggest liability at the book.

Don’t worry, bettors didn’t forget about Jordan Spieth. Another Texas native, Spieth is second in bets and fourth in handle at BetMGM, which is a notch or two below where he’s been the last few months. He’s fourth in handle and bets at PointsBet. Spieth is making his first start since the Masters.

Thomas Pieters is the biggest liability at PointsBet, ahead of Rickie Fowler, DeChambeau and Zalatoris.

The must-have app for golf bettors

Custom scoreboard for your bets

Free picks from experts

Live odds for every golfer

2021 NBA Playoffs: Seven Futures Bets with Value Before the Playoff Seedings Set

2021-nba-playoffs-futures-bets-seeding-lebron-james

The NBA Play-In Tournament is less than a week away. The new twist to the NBA structure, combined with a brutal season structure that had decimated teams with injuries and destabilized the standings power structure, has opened up a wealth of new possibilities for how this might go.

There are two competing lines of thought when it comes to the NBA playoffs this season:

  1. The regular season has never been more de-emphasized, and when the actual games count, we’ll see the same star-laden superteams rising to the top that we expected in preseason. We’ll call this the “Bet The Narrative” paradigm.
  2. This year is complete chaos, and chaos is a ladder. This could be one of those strange seasons like 1999 where the 8th-seeded Knicks reached the Finals. We’ll call this the Chaos Paradigm.

With those two paradigms in mind, here’s a look at the best futures to get in on before the standings set and the playoffs begin next Saturday.

The must-have app for NBA bettors

The best NBA betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

BET THE NARRATIVE

LAKERS +500 TO WIN NBA TITLE (PointsBet):

LeBron will eventually return. Anthony Davis looks more like himself.

The Lakers are the defending champs and for much of the season were a top-3 seed before the injuries hit.

But more importantly, “The Lakers won the title” is one of the most common phrases in NBA history. If you bet $100 on the Lakers every single season since 2000, despite a five-year run that was the worst in franchise history, you would still be up $350.

You can always talk yourself into reasons why the Lakers aren’t going to win, and then more times than not, they do.

You can argue that this isn’t an empirical approach designed to find edges. It’s not. That’s the point.

Often in NBA history, events shape themselves towards the narrative. It’s a baffling thing in a sport that has more tracked, observable possessions than any other, but somehow, the arc of history bends towards the story, not what the data suggests.

You’re getting LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers with the No.1 defense in the league despite all the injuries at 5-1. That’s value.

LAKERS-NETS FINALS MATCHUP +550 (BetMGM):

If the NBA playoffs are dominated by the best players (and they are), then getting LeBron vs. Kevin Durant at +550 is value. Consider that this was +700 in preseason, and that’s incredible value.

If we consider the difference in playoff teams and regular-season teams, the Nets are better built than any other East team to come out on top of the conference. The Lakers are still the Lakers. This is the preseason favorite, we’re through the regular season, the Lakers have LeBron James and Anthony Davis back, and the Clippers continue to show some concerns when it comes to chemistry and leadership (though they are better this season).

Say these things out loud:

“The Utah Jazz beat LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in a best-of-seven series.”

“The Milwaukee Bucks beat Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving in a best-of-seven series.”

It just doesn’t sound right.

At +550, this is still the most likely outcome for the Finals.

_BookPromo=245

PACIFIC TO BEAT ATLANTIC (+240)/ ATLANTIC TO BEAT PACIFIC (+260):

Cover your bases.

Clippers, Lakers, and Suns vs. Nets and Sixers. As long as the Bucks, who have been playoff disappointments two years in a row, don’t finally make The Run, you’re good, or as long as the Jazz don’t overcome every piece of evidence we have about the identities of playoff teams, you’re good.

You can bet this both ways and likely profit, no matter who wins the Finals. Or you can take one side, and when the Finals come around, provided we were right on these two divisions representing, you can take the other side. If we assume the Nets would be favored over the Lakers or Clippers, you can take Atlantic to beat Pacific now and then bet the other team as a dog, comfortably.

PHOENIX SUNS STAGE OF ELIMINATION , FIRST-ROUND +225 (BetMGM):

Right now, the Suns are 86.5% to be the 2-seed in the Western Conference via our Action Network projections. The Lakers are 61% to be the 7-seed and will be favored in the first round of the play-in tournament (likely vs. the Warriors).

The Lakers would be favorites vs. the Suns in that situation. How much? The Suns would have homecourt, a better net rating, etc. that would influence the price. The Lakers are banged up, but are a supremely public team; finding a number where the books don’t get hammered by the public or sharps would be a challenge.

It’s unlikely the Suns would be greater than +200 in those situations so you’re getting a 25% ROI edge if you’re looking to bet the Lakers in that series.

Now, of course, that requires the Lakers and Suns to be the matchup. If it’s the Warriors, Golden State is a larger dog. If it’s Portland, same deal. So that’s the risk here, you’re trying to project how these last three games will go. The Mavericks can lose out and slide to seventh. The Blazers can lose two of three and finish seventh.

But bear in mind that the Suns are 28th in defensive rating in their last 15 games, and 21st in net rating. They are sliding. They still have to be favorites because of homecourt and how they’ve played.

You can wait to be sure, wait for that Lakers-Suns matchup and bet the Lakers as a shorter favorite than you would have expected preseason. But if you’re looking for an edge, this is one.

CHAOS REIGNS

UTAH JAZZ TO WIN NBA TITLE +325 (FanDuel):

Let me take you back to 1999. The Knicks made the Finals as an 8-seed and faced the San Antonio Spurs, in the first of five championships for the Spurs.

The Spurs were the 1-seed in a lockout-shortened, weird, grind-it-out season. They beat the Lakers with Shaquille O’Neal in the second round and swept the Blazers in the conference finals before beating the upstart Knicks. The Spurs were just the best team that year, by any advanced metric and by overall record … just like the Jazz.

President of Basketball Operations Dennis Lindsay is a former member of the Spurs organization. Quin Snyder coached the Spurs’ G-League affiliate, then the Austin Toros.

I’m not saying that’s enough to make the comparison because, you know, you’re missing Tim Duncan in this equation.

But this is the model, maybe this year, the narrative isn’t the play. Maybe history doesn’t matter in a COVID-ravaged, mostly-fanless, messy-as-hell season. Maybe it just really is about who the best team is. The Jazz are  first in net rating, fourth in offense and third in defense. They are third in eFG%; they can shoot. Donovan Mitchell can hit pull-up shots; he’s the most efficient among qualified shooters.

The Jazz being able to thread the needle and win it this year would be very Spurs-like, taking advantage of the one window they have.

MILWAUKEE BUCKS (+800) TO WIN NBA TITLE (FanDuel):

Now, a caveat: You’re likely better off here betting the Bucks series by series and rolling it over. They will be favorites in the first round but dogs vs. the Nets and dogs vs. the Sixers. You can roll that over and come out with a bigger net, most likely.

If you’re wondering how, it’s pretty simple. The Bucks have lost two seasons in a row to teams with two defining characteristics: unbelievably hot shooting and defensive versatility coupled with the athleticism necessary to “form a wall” vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Nets obviously pass the shooting component. The Bucks are surprisingly good at containing primary threats in series (OG Anunoby, Norman Powell, Duncan Robinson) but then get torched by the other guys (Fred VanVleet coming off his worst season shooting, Jae Crowder).

The Nets, however, don’t give you a good choice. Contain Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant as the ball handler, and you have to guard the other on the perimeter, and then you also have to guard Joe Harris. This is where Milwaukee’s improved versatility comes into play. They’ve played more zone. They’ve played more switch. They’ve blitzed more.

Milwaukee is more versatile than ever, which helps at least some. Meanwhile, though the Nets have a nice defensive versatility, they don’t have the bodies to contain Giannis. DeAndre Jordan will struggle in transition, and Nic Claxton will struggle in halfcourt, despite being a great switch defender. Jrue Holiday provides another on-ball creator you can trust.

Then the Sixers present the opposite problem: They can build the wall but lack the shooting (25th in 3-pointers made per 100 possessions) and don’t have the versatility.

In a Finals matchup, the Bucks actually match up favorably with both the Lakers and Clippers, given their athleticism, isolation defense and 3-point volume.

At this point, Milwaukee is being undervalued at this price.

_BookPromo=24

LAKERS +850 TO MISS THE PLAYOFFS (DraftKings):

No, no, I know. I know. Just … no, I know … Look. … No … Just hear me out, OK?!

Two games.

That’s it. The Lakers can’t finish worse than seventh. They might finish sixth, and then this is dead. And again, you might get better value just betting the moneyline on their 7-vs.-8 opponent and then on their opponent in the 7-8-loser-vs.-9-10-winner game.

But LeBron James tried to come back from injury once and immediately went out again. Anthony Davis grabs at about 10 injured body parts per game and falls down twice as often.

If they face the Warriors and Curry goes off for 40 while James isn’t 100%, and then they just happen to have a bad shooting night while Memphis or San Antonio has a good one … that’s it.

I can’t reasonably suggest this, but I have to mention it. You would think if the Lakers were in the final play-in game vs. Memphis, LeBron and Davis would combine to shoot 50 free throws. But if chaos is a ladder, this is the topmost rung.

 

NBA Playoff Picture & Standings: Odds to Make Postseason, Projected Seeding and More

nba-playoff-picture standings play-in-tournament atlanta-hawks 2021

The NBA Playoffs are two weeks away. Teams are battling to the finish for seeding, home court, preferred matchups, and to make it in, or out, of the play-in tournament.

This season the playoff picture looks a bit different with the play-in tournament added. The teams that finish in seventh and eighth in each conference will play for the No. 7 seed; the loser will face the winner of the No. 9 vs. No. 10 matchup for the eighth and final spot in each conference.

Here’s a look at where the eight teams are currently slated to land in the play-in tournament and their odds to make the playoffs.

The must-have app for NBA bettors

The best NBA betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Western Conference Playoff Standings

NBA PLAY-IN TEAMS
Seed
Win %
GB
Odds Yes / No
No. 7 Lakers
0.565
-2000 / +850
No. 8 Warriors
0.529
2.5
-129 / +102
No. 9 Grizzlies
0.522
3
+190 / -250
No. 10 Spurs
0.485
5.5
+340 / -500

Playoff odds as of Wednesday and via DraftKings


Eastern Conference Playoff Standings

NBA PLAY-IN TEAMS
Seed
Win %
GB
Odds Yes / No
No. 7 Celtics
0.507
-910 / +550
No. 8 Hornets
0.478
2
+165 / -215
No. 9 Pacers
0.478
3
+150 / -195
No. 10 Wizards
0.464
3.5
+120 / -155

Playoff odds as of Wednesday and via DraftKings


NBA Playoff Picture

Using our projections, we’ve predicted how the playoff standings would shake out based on simulating the final games of the regular season.

Here’s a look at where the NBA Playoff picture stands as of today:


Based on our model, here are the results of where each team is expected to land and the most likely first-round playoff matchups in each conference:

Projected Eastern Conference Matchups

No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers
First Play-In Winner
No. 4 Atlanta Hawks
No. 5 New York Knicks
No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks
No. 6 Miami Heat
No. 2 Brooklyn Nets
Second Play-In Winner

Projected Western Conference Matchups

No. 1 Utah Jazz
First Play-In Winner
No. 4 Denver Nuggets
No. 5 Dallas Mavericks
No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers
No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers
No. 2 Phoenix Suns
Second Play-In Winner

East Notes

The Atlanta Hawks can clinch at least a top-six spot in the playoffs Wednesday with a win or a loss by the Boston Celtics. The Knicks can also clinch a playoff spot with a Celtics loss. Our projections give the Hawks 45% chance to secure the No. 4 spot in the East and the Knicks are just behind with a 31% chance.

The Chicago Bulls no longer control their own destiny and would be eliminated by a win from the Washington Wizards.

West Notes

The Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers can secure playoff berths with wins and a loss from the Los Angeles Lakers. As of Wednesday, the Mavericks have an 80% chance to grab the No. 5 spot and the Trail Blazers have a 50% chance to become the No. 6 seed, but the Lakers are still looming at 31% to avoid the play-in.

_BookPromo=821

Wednesday MLB Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets, Including Phillies vs. Nationals, Blue Jays vs. Braves & Twins vs. White Sox (May 12)

mlb-odds-expert picks-best bets-philadelphia phillies-washington nationals-toronto blue jays-atlanta braves-chicago white sox-minnesota twins-may 12

It’s a full slate of MLB action on Wednesday, with only the Rangers and Giants off and the Padres and Rockies playing a doubleheader in Denver. A full slate means plenty of betting action to be found, and our analysts have found four different angles to consider.

In Washington D.C., two of our analysts are on the Phillies-Nationals tilt, with one targeting a side and the other targeting a side’s total. In Atlanta, we have a moneyline underdog worth considering in Blue Jays-Braves, and in Chicago, we’ve got a total play between the Twins and White Sox.

It’s four plays in total across three games. Continue reading to see our staff’s best bets for Wednesday’s MLB action.

_BookPromo=351

MLB Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals
7:05 p.m. ET
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals
7:05 p.m. ET
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Atlanta Braves
7:20 p.m. ET
Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox
8:10 p.m. ET

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals

Pick
Phillies -130
Book
BetMGM
Pitchers
Zack Wheeler vs. Jon Lester
First Pitch
7:05 p.m. ET

Kevin Davis: In the NL East, the Philadelphia Phillies are only one game behind the first-place New York Mets. The Washington Nationals are in last place and are 4.5 games behind the Mets. For Wednesday night’s division matchup between the Phillies and Nats, the Phillies are only narrow -130 moneyline favorites.

Pitching for Washington is Jon Lester, who is at the tail end of his career. While Lester has been a strong pitcher over his 16-year career, he is now a below-average starting pitcher. While Lester has performed moderately well in his two starts this season, the last two years have been abysmal. Last year, Lester had a 5.16 ERA, and a 5.11 xFIP.

Opposing Lester is Zach Wheeler. Since joining the Phillies last season, Wheeler has been everything the team hoped for, averaging at least six innings per start and limiting the opposing offenses. This season, Wheeler has a 2.83 ERA and is averaging more than 6 2/3 innings per start.

Against a Washington lineup averaging only 3.58 runs per game, the fourth-fewest in the league, Wheeler should dominate, while the Phillies’ offense should have little trouble against Lester.

I like the Phillies at -130, and I would bet them up to -145.

_BookPromo=116


» Return to the table of contents «


Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals

Pick
Phillies Team Total Over 4.5 (+105)
Book
DraftKings
Pitchers
Zack Wheeler vs. Jon Lester
First Pitch
7:05 p.m. ET

Brad Cunningham: Jon Lester is still hanging around the league, but that doesn’t mean he’s still effective at age 37. Lester posted career-worst numbers with Chicago last season, including a 5.11 xFIP and only a 6.20 K/9 rate.

He’s lost all of his velocity, as none of his pitches average faster than 90 mph anymore. He gave up three runs in his last start to the Braves and will be facing a lineup that’s been solid against left-handed pitching.

The Phillies have been hitting lefties well this season with a .247 average and 97 wRC+. Lester mainly uses his cutter more than any other pitch, which is bad news because that is the pitch the Phillies have had the most success against this season, ranking seventh in baseball with 3.5 weighted runs. The Phillies’ lineup should be able to get to Lester and the Nationals’ bullpen, which has the worst xFIP in Major League Baseball at 4.87.

I have the Phillies projected for 5.33 runs tonight, so I think there is plenty of value on their team total Over 4.5 runs at +105.

_BookPromo=1428


» Return to the table of contents «


Toronto Blue Jays vs. Atlanta Braves

Pick
Blue Jays +105
Book
William Hill
Pitchers
Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Max Fried
First Pitch
7:20 p.m. ET

Kenny Ducey: In an unsurprising turn of events, a Braves team that was around league average against left-handed pitching last year is now down in 29th place, sporting a 59 wRC+. It’s been a real struggle for those right-handed hitters, particularly Ozzie Albies, who has normally been fantastic within that split to the tune of a .355 career average. He has just four hits in 25 at-bats off of southpaws in the early going, and guys like Freddie Freeman, Austin Riley and Marcell Ozuna have somehow been even worse.

On the other hand, Toronto has woken up in a big way at the plate, checking in as one of the hottest teams in baseball with a 119 wRC+ over the past seven days and also laying claim to being one of the 11 best lineups in the league against lefties.

Max Fried’s season hasn’t gone to plan quite yet, though his return from injury against the Nationals was more like it. He’s certainly a good pitcher, but outside of last year he has been victimized by hard contact, so it’s not too hard to believe this could be the new normal for Fried.

I considered taking the under here, but there is too much here telling me that the Blue Jays should find a way through Fried, and that the Braves should keep struggling against southpaws. I love them as road underdogs.

_BookPromo=1425


» Return to the table of contents «


Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox

Pick
Over 7.5 (-113)
Book
DraftKings
Pitchers
J.A. Happ vs. Dallas Keuchel
First Pitch
8:10 p.m. ET

Mike Ianniello: The Twins will send J.A. Happ to the mound on Wednesday against the White Sox. If you don’t know this already, Happ is left-handed.

Well, the White Sox absolute clobber left-handed pitchers. Chicago is batting an MLB best .300 against southpaws this season and lead the league in OPS (.849), wOBA (.368) and wRC+ (141) against lefties.

Opposing Happ will be Dallas Keuchel, who is another veteran pitcher on the wrong side of his prime. Keuchel has a 3.79 ERA and has allowed at least three runs in four of his seven starts this season. Keuchel throws his changeup 31.1% of his pitches which should be a problem against a Twins teams that is third best in the league against changeups.

These two pitchers both have the some of the lowest strikeout rates in baseball, each sitting in the bottom 10% of all pitchers. There will be a lot balls put into play today and with two lineups with plenty of pop, I like this total to go over 7.5.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets


» Return to the table of contents «


Wednesday MLB Odds, Picks, Prediction: Angels vs. Astros Betting Preview (May 12)

mlb-odds-picks-los angeles angels-houston astros-may 12

Angels vs. Astros Odds

Angels Odds +112
Astros Odds -132
Over/Under 8.5 (-108 / -112)
Time 8:10 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Wednesday morning and via FanDuel.

The Angels and Astros have been hot at the dish of late and have done a lot of winning. Something’s got to give here, however, with one team picking up the series win in the rubber match of a three-game set.

Both teams will send pitchers to the hill who have had some mild success in 2021, but are things about to change on Tuesday against some surging offenses? Let’s dig into the matchup and see if there’s some value in targeting the total here.

_BookPromo=351

Los Angeles Angels

Don’t look now but the disappointing Angels have won three of five games and appear to be figuring some things out. A win on Tuesday night will mean a second consecutive series win, and against two quality opponents in the Dodgers and Astros. Los Angeles has done this behind a much-improved offense which ranks 10th in wRC+ and OPS, but in a larger sense it’s been helped out big-time by its arms.

One of those impressive hurlers will take the hill on Tuesday in Andrew Heaney. The southpaw has been sensational this season, raising his strikeout rate 11.3% to rank inside the top 7% of the league with an elite 36.4% mark. He’s followed that with a .212 expected batting average, and has a shiny 3.35 expected ERA. The whiffs have been there for Heaney, who has increased his swings and misses off the four-seamer by getting his heavy fastball up in the zone, which has helped drive up the effectiveness of his curveball, a pitch he’s throwing more frequently now.

Heaney will be in for a challenge against an Astros team that’s creating the second-most runs per 100 pitches against the fastball, according to FanGraphs. Houston also ranks fifth against righties with a 117 wRC+, to make matters worse.

It won’t be easy, but I suppose if Heaney thinks very hard he can remember that he worked around these Houston bats two seasons ago in two starts, where he allowed just four runs in 9 1/3 innings. It may not sound great, but he’d take five innings of two-run ball right now, I’m sure.

_BookPromo=1425

Houston Astros

The Astros are also very much a team on the rise, entering the winner of four games in six tries and looking for a second consecutive series win in their own right.

Houston’s been able to lay claim to one of the best offenses in baseball lately, scoring a combined 37 runs in its last six games, never once dipping below four in a game. The Astros lead the league with a 137 wRC+ over the past seven days, and we’ve already touched on their prowess against lefties. At the moment, it’d seem to be advantage, Houston.

Then, however, you take a look at today’s starter and realize the sailing may not be so smooth. Do I think José Urquidy is good? Goodness, no. This guy is pitching to an 82% contact rate for a second straight year, strikes nobody out, and allows quality contact on a regular basis. I mean, any time you give up four earned over five at home against the Rockies, you’re doing it wrong.

There have, of course, been some good starts for Urquidy mixed in with the bad, but they’ve been few and far between. The fact remains that this guy is not a good pitcher, as evidenced by his consistently bad expected ERA and low swing-and-miss numbers. If he’s going to pitch to contact against a team that’s masterful at putting the bat on the ball, things aren’t going to go so well.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Angels-Astros Pick

I never have an issue fading Urquidy, and will continue to do that on Tuesday. I will, however, have to concede that I should be fading Heaney as well. Houston’s offense is too hot, and they’ve hit lefties (and fastballs) too well to ignore. It shouldn’t be smooth sailing for either pitcher here.

I think both teams should make plenty of contact and can get us across the finish line for the over.

Pick: Over 8.5 (-108)

Bet $20 on the Angels or Astros, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on the Angels or Astros as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

Thursday DFB-Pokal Final Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: RB Leipzig vs. Borussia Dortmund (May 13)

dfb-pokal final-betting-odds-picks-predictions-borussia dortmund-erling haaland-thursday-may 13

RB Leipzig vs. Dortmund Odds

RB Leipzig Odds +170
Dortmund Odds +155
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (-139 / +114)
Day | Time Thursday | 2:45 p.m. ET
TV ESPN2
Odds updated Wednesday afternoon via DraftKings.

Prior to the final two weeks of the Bundesliga season, fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund and second-placed RB Leipzig will meet Thursday in the the DFB-Pokal Cup final in Berlin.

RB Leipzig has never won this trophy in club history, plus it’s the last chance for manager Julian Nagelsmann to win a title with the team before moving to Bayern Munich at the end of the season. For Dortmund, it has a chance to win a crown prior to two critical games to secure a berth in Champions League next season.

Nagelsmann has never beaten the Black and Yellows in his time with the Red Bulls, plus his side was handed a 3-2 road defeat against Dortmund this past Saturday. They also suffered a 3-1 loss at Leipzig back in January.

Making matters even more tough for RB Leipzig is the fact Dortmund appears to be bolstered by the return of star striker Erling Haaland to the lineup, as he was back training Tuesday and will be in the squad.

Bet $20 on RB Leipzig or Dortmund, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on RB Leipzig or Dortmund as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

RB Leipzig

Leipzig have allowed more than 1.6 expected goals in two Bundesliga matches all season. Both came against Borussia Dortmund. The Black and Yellows have had more success than any other in domestic soccer to break down RB Leipzig’s otherwise elite defense.

For the year, RB Leipzig has allowed 27.2 xGA in 32 Bundesliga matches, which is an excellent showing for a league known more for goals than anything else.

Because its attack is so spread among several talented players, it’s easy to forget if a key contributor or two are missing. However, that’s exactly the case for RB Leipzig entering this final.

Attacking midfielder Chris Nkunku has been their offensive player this year by expected chances created. His 0.71 xG + xA per 90 minutes tops the list of players, plus standout defensive midfielder Tyler Adams will miss this contest.

Adams would have been critical in stopping Dortmund in transition, which means his absence likely creates a Kevin Kampl-Marcel Sabitzer midfield pairing. Sabitzer offers very little defensively, which often leaves Kampl to be potentially exposed in transition.

RB Leipzig has relied so much on getting attacking play and goals from all parts of the pitch. I think it has sometimes struggled in big matches, because it doesn’t  have a main target to run its possession through, like it did last year with Timo Werner. That has made the Red Bulls vulnerable in big matches with Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Champions League opponents.

The must-have app for Soccer bettors

The best soccer betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Dortmund

The potential return of Haaland to this game changes everything. Haaland is already one of the world’s best strikers, and while things are trending toward him playing, it’s not 100 percent he will start this match.

Haaland ripped apart RB Leipzig in transition in the January meeting, which was a decisive win for the Black and Yellows after a sluggish first half. The potential front three of Haaland, Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus hasn’t always been healthy, but when it has Dortmund has an electric transition attack.

Central midfielder Jude Bellingham will be back from suspension and likely partner with Emre Can in midfield, which is the best Dortmund pairing since the Axel Witsel injury.

Dortmund’s current form cannot be understated, though. As much as it struggled and underperformed it xG numbers early on, its Champions League performance and recent league showings suggest that it’s just as good as RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich have been all year.

Since April 1, no team has a higher xG difference per 90 minutes than Dortmund. The Black and Yellows have won five and only lost once during that stretch, which was an unlucky defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Sunday’s match was a decent preview of how this game is likely to play out on the tactical front. RB Leipzig will have more of the ball, with Dortmund looking to hit its foe on the break more often than not. The Red Bulls have an ability to exploit the Black and Yellows’ defense from its wingbacks, but Dortmund has Haaland and Bellingham back and they provide a big boost through the center. 

Despite RB Leipzig’s system being designed to set up pressing traps and prevent high pass completion from its opponents, Nagelsmann hasn’t been able to force Dortmund into giveaways and turn that into clear scoring chances.

The Black and Yellows have completed 79.3%+ of their passes against RB Leipzig in the previous both meetings, which makes them just one of four Bundesliga teams to do so.

So many cup finals are decided by a moment of individual brilliance. Dortmund will have the two best players on the pitch.

Take the Black and Yellows to win the trophy.

Pick: Borussia Dortmund To Lift Trophy (-115)

_BookPromo=49

Celtics vs. Cavaliers NBA Odds & Picks: Sharps Like Cleveland As Dogs (May 12)

NBA Odds: Celtics vs. Cavaliers

Celtics Odds -6
Cavaliers Odds +6
Over/Under 219
Time | Channel 8 p.m. ET | League Pass
The ultimate NBA betting cheat code

Best bets for every game

Our NBA model’s biggest daily edges

Profitable data-driven system picks

The Celtics have been hit harder by the injury bug than any team in the NBA. They have seen almost all of their key players out for significant stretches of time this season.

On Wednesday night, Boston will be without Jaylen Brown — who is out for the year following surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist — and possibly Kemba Walker, who is doubtful after crashing into Heat center Bam Adebayo on Tuesday.

The Celtics have struggled overall and failed to cover in four of their last five games.

The last time Boston covered Against The Spread (ATS) was its 36-point drubbing of the Orlando Magic on May 5. While the Cleveland Cavaliers are a lottery team just like the Magic, they have more offensive firepower to at least keep Boston’s full attention.

Cleveland hasn’t covered ATS in a game in over two weeks. They are in the midst of a somewhat astonishing 11-game losing streak. Throughout this streak, they have continued to rely on Collin Sexton for scoring and playmaking in the absence of Darius Garland, with (obviously) terrible results so far.

But even with that long streak of failures, our latest PRO Report shows that sharp bettors have some belief in the ability of the Cavaliers to keep things close against the shorthanded Celtics.

Let’s take a look.

NBA Picks: Celtics vs. Cavaliers 

Sharp Action 

The line for Celtics vs. Cavaliers opened up at Cleveland +10 before it was driven all the way down to +6.

Since early this morning, there have been four Action Labs Bet Signals triggered on the Cavaliers. This is a huge sign of the sharp action that has been moving the spread entering Wednesday night’s matchup.

Top Experts 

Two of The Action Network’s top NBA experts are betting on Cleveland in Wednesday night’s matchup against the Celtics.

PRO Report Pick: Cavaliers +6 (-110 or -103 at PointsBet)

Cardinals vs. Brewers MLB Odds & Picks: Fade St. Louis Early Against Woodruff (Wednesday, May 12)

major league baseball-betting-odds-picks-predictions-milwaukee brewers-brandon woodruff-wednesday-may 12

Cardinals vs. Brewers Odds

Cardinals Odds +145
Brewers Odds -175
Over/Under 7.5
Time 7:40 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Wednesday morning via BetMGM.

The best remedy for a bad loss is to get right back on the field and play again. That’s exactly what the Milwaukee Brewers will do Wednesday after the St. Louis Cardinals tied the game Tuesday with a run in the eighth inning before plating five in the 11th inning to secure the 6-1 victory.

Milwaukee will call on their ace — Brandon Woodruff — to deliver a bounce-back performance, with John Gant opposing him for St. Louis. Woodruff seems to be the right man for the job, as he’s delivered a quality start in his last six outings. In fact, the Brewers have yet to suffer consecutive losses in his starts this season.

Let’s dig into this matchup and I’ll explain why Woodruff has been one of the most reliable pitchers in Major League Baseball coming off his team’s loss.

Bet $20 on the Cardinals or Brewers, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on the Cardinals or Brewers as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

St. Louis Cardinals

When you look at Gant’s 2-3 record and paltry 2.15 ERA, you’d almost blindly back him in this spot where he’s as high as a +155 underdog. However, Gant’s numbers are more like a mirage, because once you dive in deeper, you’ll find a pitcher that the regression gods are just waiting to get even at some point.

According to FanGraphs, Gant has a 4.40 FIP and that’s more than two runs higher than his season’s ERA. His xERA, which is essentially the hitters’ xWOBA converted to an ERA scale, is 5.68. His 25.8 CSW% is below average, plus his 7.36 BB/9 ratio is almost as high as his strikeout ratio (7.67 K/9).

In other words, every time Gant registers a strikeout, he gives the next hitter a free pass to first base.

Gant’s game seems to be all about pitching to contact, but that hasn’t worked all that well for him, considering hitters have a .301 average on balls put into play. He’s needed to rely on his defense more than ever this year since the average velocity on his fastball has dropped almost three mph from 94.5 to 91.4. Hitters have also had success barrelling him up after comparing their 7.1% barrel rate to his previous two seasons of 2.3% and 2.8 percent.

This is a pitcher who’s really living on the edge, as it’s only a matter of time before it all catches up to him.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Milwaukee Brewers

The starting pitchers in this game couldn’t be more different. I mentioned Gant’s 1:1 K/B ratio, which pales in comparison to Woodruff’s at 4.64. He strikes out roughly 11 batters per nine innings, while walking less than three using the same timeframe.

Hitters are clearly having a difficult time squaring him up, as evidenced by his 3.2% barrel rate, which would finish as the lowest of his career.

Part of Woodruff’s effectiveness is his command of five different pitches: Fourseam fastball (36.4%); sinker (27%); changeup (12.6%); slider (12.1%); and, curveball at 12 percent. His four-seamer and sinker average 96.6 mph, and yet each have a different effect.

The four-seamer attacks the top half of the strike zone, while the sinker works the bottom half. He also delivers his changeup and slider at roughly the same speed at 86.5 miles per hour. Woodruff pitches to the inner quadrant with the changeup, but isn’t afraid to bounce his slider in front of the plate.

His curveball (84.3 mph) is slightly slower than the slider, but generates an additional 74 revolutions per minute, making it even tougher on hitters.

You’ll see pitchers throw four or more pitches at times, but rarely do you see such a balanced distribution. Most pitchers might throw a few of their pitches five or six percent of the time. In contrast, Woodruff throws each one at least 12% of the time.

There’s no question that this is done by design. And the fact that these numbers are almost perfectly weighted tells me he has full knowledge of his splits each time he gets back on the mound. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gameplans every inning with his pitching coach and catcher to ensure they maintain the right balance.

Of course, to do this, one has to have the ability to command five different pitches and throw all of them for strikes.

And that’s precisely where Woodruff separates himself from the field.


Cardinals-Brewers Pick

This was my first deep dive into Woodruff, and I still feel as if I didn’t even scratch the surface. His pitching method isn’t as common with pitchers today, because many lack the feel for throwing such a variety of pitches consistently and effectively.

It’s easier to understand why Woodruff has become one of the best pitchers in the league in such a short time. Imagine being a hitter in the batter’s box, knowing that you can get anyone of his five pitches at any point.

After assessing this matchup, it should make sense why Woodruff and the Brewers are as high as a -180 favorite. However, here are a few more nuggets as parting gifts:

  • St. Louis is 0-3 (-3.11 units) against the Brewers with Gant as a starter.
  • Since the 2018 season, teams that lose by five or more runs in extra innings are 7-3 SU (+4.95 units) and on the run line (+4.65 units).
  • Since the 2018 season, the Cardinals have not lost consecutive starts (6-0 SU) by Woodruff with his next appearance at home.
  • Woodruff is 19-7-1 (73.1%) on the first five run line at home.

I think you can play this game in various ways, whether it’s the first five money line or something else, but I’ll look to target Gant for a fade in the first five since I think he’s long overdue for some regression.

While I still like the money line, whether it’s for the full game or the first five, I’d tend to prefer to avoid laying that kind of juice as it generally doesn’t pay off in the long run.

Pick: Brewers First Five Innings RL (-115)

_BookPromo=1425

Ohio Sports Betting Bill Tweaked as Slow Progress Continues (May 12)

ohio-sports-betting-bill-slow-may 12

Ohio lawmakers clarified that casinos could apply to open retail sportsbooks under an amended sports bill agreed to by a state gaming committee Wednesday, the latest tweak in the legislation’s slow and steady progress toward legalization.

Lawmakers took little further action Wednesday on the much-discussed bill, which would create one of the nation’s largest online and retail wagering markets and continue legal sports betting’s spread across the Midwest; Ohio neighbors Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana and Michigan all already allow statewide mobile wagering.

_BookPromo=1831

Online Sports Betting Details

If signed into law, all 11 casino and hybrid horse track “racinos” would be eligible to apply for an online license, which makes up the vast majority of betting handle in mature markets. Existing Ohio casino operator or sportsbook partners such as BetMGM, Caesars, TwinSpires and Penn National’s Barstool Sportsbook would all be likely market entrants. These casinos, or others, could also partner with other leading national brands such as DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet.

Each of the 20 online license holders can also contract out with an unlimited number of additional sportsbook partners. This could create one of the first uncapped online markets in the country and the first with retail betting options.

The bill also allows other non-gaming entities to earn one of the online licenses as long as they have or can create a “substantial presence” in Ohio. Republican Sen. Nathan Manning, one of the bill’s three GOP cosponsors, said as an example Wednesday that Ford Motor Company could theoretically apply for an online sports betting license under this bill.

It remains to be seen which entities will apply, or ultimately be eligible to do so, but the bill’s proponents believe this will help spark controlled sports betting participation beyond the established brick-and-mortar gaming establishments.

“We want a free market but not the ‘wild, wild west’,” Manning said during Wednesday’s hearing.

Other Ohio Betting Options

The 11 casinos could earn retail sportsbook licenses to take bets under the amended bill as too could other, non-gaming entities. Far less lucrative than the statewide mobile licenses, the bill’s sponsors nevertheless pushed for the brick-and-mortar options to help small businesses, fraternal organizations and other entities, many of which lobbied for market access during sports betting hearings earlier this year.

License holders would be charged a $1 million fee renewable every three years. This fee isn’t substantial enough to discourage the 11 casinos from applying but could prove cost-prohibitive for smaller, less lucrative establishments.

Online and retail sports betting gaming revenues would be taxed 10 percent, the median national average.

Through both online and retail sportsbooks, eligible Ohio bettors could wager on Olympic events as well as in-state college programs, including the Ohio State football team. Industry analysts believe college wagering, and in-state betting in particular, can make up roughly 15 percent of total wagering handle.

The Casino Control Commission would oversee all the aforementioned sportsbooks. The bill directs the commission to choose the winning licensees for the 20 online and retail operators.

Lawmakers Wednesday added a requirement to the bill that commissioners consider regionality when selecting the winning license holders to assure winning operators were equitably distributed across the state. In the same committee hearing, they also striped a clause in the initial draft that granted licenses on a “first come, first serve” basis.

The House and Senate split last year over control for the CCC versus the state lottery, one of several political divides that helped tank 2020 sports betting efforts.

This year’s bill tries to bridge that gap with sports betting options for the Ohio Lottery. The lottery could offer $20 betting pools through its thousands of retailers, with winnings divided from losing wagers akin to the existing lottery games.

Ahead of and during Wednesday’s hearing, the bill’s sponsors stressed many of these clauses were subject to change.

Next Steps

Wednesday’s hearing continues the long sports betting legislative process that proponents have pushed for nearly three years. The more expansive 2021 compromise bill authored by the trio of Senate Republicans hopes to ameliorate lingers political differences, but it remains to be seen when or if lawmakers will come on board.

The bill seems to pacify many of the sportsbook operators, casinos, sports leagues, small businesses and other entities that lobbied for sports betting rights during two months of hearings earlier this year. Sports betting, in principle, already has bipartisan, bicameral support as well as backing from key stakeholders in the GOP-controlled legislature as well as Republican Gov. Mike DeWine.

Still, many of the same issues that thwarted sports betting in recent years remain in the statehouse.

Additionally, the bill’s expansive offerings could still exclude some interested parties from what is already a low-margin industry. But furthering market access in what is already shaping up as one of the nation’s least restrictive sports betting markets could divide revenues even further, especially for those not partnered with an established national sportsbook.

Ohio is among a handful of states with year-long legislative sessions, meaning lawmakers have more time to work through bills than most other states. It took lawmakers more than four months to introduce a first draft, and it could be a while longer until the amended version comes to a vote.

Thursday Premier League Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Aston Villa vs. Everton (May 13)

aston villa vs everton-premier-league-odds-bets-picks-may-13

Aston Villa vs. Everton Odds

Aston Villa Odds +188
Everton Odds +148
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (-122 / +100)
Day | Time Thursday | 1 p.m. ET
TV NBCSN
Odds updated Wednesday afternoon via DraftKings.

Everton continue their push for a Europa League spot when they travel to Villa Park to take on Aston Villa.

Aston Villa’s hopes of a playing in the Europa League are essentially over as they’re eight points behind seventh-place Tottenham with four matches left in the season. However, they did face off against Everton a few weeks ago at Goodison Park, beating the Toffees 2-1.

The Villans  have shown a lot of improvement this season, but they’ve seen a dip in form over the past three months as they’ve been without their captain and best player, Jack Grealish. They will once again be without him on Sunday, and they’ll also be without star striker Ollie Watkins, as he is suspended for this match, so we’ll see if Aston Villa can cope without their two best players.

Everton got a crucial three points over the weekend against fifth-place West Ham, winning 1-0 on the road behind a goal from their main man Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Everton sit one point behind Tottenham with a game in hand for the final Europa League spot awarded to the Premier League. Three points for the Toffees will be vital against a side that beat them only a few weeks ago.

Bet $20 on Aston Villa or Everton, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on Aston Villa or Everton as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

Aston Villa

The Villans’ bad stretch over the past three months without Jack Grealish really was disappointing after the first half of the season was so promising. Now they’ll also be without their leading goal scorer Ollie Watkins, which creates a lot problems for Aston Villa coming into this match.

With Grealish, Aston Villa boast one of the best attacks in the Premier League, averaging 1.74 xG per match. However, with Grealish on the sidelines, the Villans are only averaging 1.09 xG per match. Now, without Watkins, Aston Villa lose their main goal scorer, as Watkins has bagged 13 goals and has a 0.45 xG per 90 minutes scoring rate.

However, Aston Villa dominated Everton a few weeks ago without Grealish, creating 1.99 expected goals and holding 54% possession in the match. It will be a challenge without Watkins, but Aston Villa should be able to repeat that same performance at home this afternoon.

The must-have app for Soccer bettors

The best soccer betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Everton

The Toffees have been really average offensively this season, creating only 1.33 expected goals (xG) per match. A lot of that has come from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is the club’s main goal scorer and is averaging 0.61 xG per 90 minutes. Outside of Calvert-Lewin the Toffees don’t really have another goal-scoring threat, as Richarlison averages 0.34 xG per 90 minutes.

Most of Everton’s success this season has come away from Goodison Park, where they’ve grabbed 36 of a possible 51 points. However, their underlying metrics are not impressive, as the Toffees only have a 0.38 expected goal differential away from home.

It will be interesting to see what formation Carlo Ancelotti goes with for this match. In the meeting a few weeks ago, Everton went with a 4-2-3-1 formation, which is one they haven’t had much success out of this season, as the Toffees have a -0.24 xGD per 90 minutes when playing out of that formation. Everton’s most successful formation is a 4-3-3, which is what they’ve spent the most time in this season and have a had the most success with a +0.45 xGD per 90 minutes.

 

Betting Analysis & Pick

Even though Grealish and Watkins are out for Aston Villa, I still think the Villans are undervalued in this match due to Everton’s underwhelming expected goals record and the fact that Aston Villa were the better side only a few short weeks when these two teams met.

Therefore, I am going to backs Aston Villa’s Draw no Bet line at +107 odds (DraftKings)

Pick: Aston Villa Draw no Bet (+107)

_BookPromo=49

DraftKings UFC 262 Promo: Bet the Main Event at 100-1 Odds!

UFC is back with another big PPV even this Saturday night!

Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira are taking each other on for the lightweight title and DraftKings is allowing new users to bet the fight at 100-1 odds:

Bet $1, Win $100 on either side of the main event!

_BookPromo=247

Full details below:

DraftKings Sportsbook

Offer: Bet $1, Win $100 on the UFC 262 main event moneyline

  • Bet now: Click here
  • Available states: CO, IN, IA, MI, WV, VA, NJ, PA, TN
  • Who’s it for? New users only

If you’re looking to bet on the UFC 262 main event, you won’t find better odds than at DraftKings.

Here’s what you have to do to take advantage:

  • Click this link
  • Make a deposit of $5+ into your sportsbook account
  • Bet $1 on either fighter to win the main event
  • You’ll be issued a single odds boost to use on either fighter
  • Apply your boost to the fighter you want by adding their ML to your betslip and applying the boost

Oliveira is the favorite — currently listed around -135 — which means oddsmakers are giving him around a 57% chance to win. While he’s the statistically better option, Chandler surely has a dog in the fight.

Whomever you like, you won’t find better than 100-1 odds. Head on over to DraftKings and start betting!

GET 100-1 ODDS ON THE MAIN EVENT!

_BookPromo=247

Colorado Sportsbook Promo: Get $500 FREE to Use on UFC 262 at PlayUp!

If you’re looking for some extra money this weekend to use on the UFC before we enter the NBA and NHL playoffs start up, look no further than PlayUp in Colorado:

Deposit $100, Get $500 FREE to use on UFC 262!

_BookPromo=1911

Here are the details:

PlayUp

Offer: Deposit $100, Get $500 FREE!

  • Claim now: Click here
  • Who’s it for? New users in Colorado

Whether your brand new to sports betting, or you’re looking to add another sportsbook to your repertoire, there’s no reason you should pass up on this offer.

You can get 5x the money you deposit for UFC262 by taking advantage of this exclusive offer. Just follow these steps:

  • Click this link
  • Sign up and deposit up to $100 with code ACTION500
  • Get up to a $500 deposit bonus

There’s more! PlayUp is also offering other odds boosts for ALL Coloradans touse on their local teams, including juiced-up odds on Nikola Jokić to win regular-season MVP, as well as boosted Nuggets and Avs futures!

With UFC coming up and local teams gearing up for playoff runs, there’s no better time to boost that bankroll. Head over to PlayUp today and get a 500% deposit match!

GET $500 TO USE ON UFC 262!

_BookPromo=1911

Yankees vs. Rays MLB Odds & Picks: Bet Cole & New York in First Five Innings (Wednesday, May 12)

Yankees vs. Rays Odds

Yankees Odds -190
Rays Odds +155
Over/Under 7
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Wednesday morning via BetMGM.

The New York Yankees kicked off a 10-game road trip with 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday to move to 2-5 against the Tampa Bay Rays on the season.

Jordan Montgomery was brilliant for the Yankees, matching a career high with nine strikeouts and allowing just one run and two hits over six innings in arguably the best start of his career.

New York will now hand the ball to its ace in Gerrit Cole to try and keep the struggling Tampa Bay bats at bay in the second meeting.

Bet $20 on the Yankees or Rays, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on the Yankees or Rays as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

New York Yankees

The one blemish on Cole’s campaign came against the Rays on April 18. Now, blemish is a relative turn, as Cole took the loss despite allowing just two runs in 6 1/3 innings while striking out 10 batters.

Otherwise, Cole has been phenomenal with a 4-1 record in seven starts, never surrendering more than two earned runs. His 1.61 ERA ranks fourth in baseball and sits second with a 1.29 FIP. Cole is second in the league with a 40.2 K%, racking up 66 punch-outs in 44 2/3 innings.

His incredible start has almost flown under the radar, which has come to be expected from him, but Cole has been even more dominant than usual. His 1.61 ERA, 1.29 FIP and 13.30 K/9 would all be the best of his career. Teams are batting just .181 against him, also the lowest of his career.

The biggest reason for Cole’s better numbers has been the uptick in usage of his changeup, specifically to left-handed batters. His changeup usage is up to 15.1% (up from 5.6% last season), plus it’s his second-most used pitch at 22.1% against left-handed hitters. Lefties are batting just .143 against Cole this year, with just 11 hits and 37 strikeouts.

_BookPromo=253

Offensively, the Yankees’ bats continue to be red hot. They sit top 10 in the league in batting average and OPS over the last two weeks, plus they  added seven more hits in Tuesday’s affair.

The good news for the Yankees is the two players that had been continuing to slump were Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, who each hit towering home runs in the opener. Judge picked up his first multi-hit game since May 1.

The Yankees also got big boost to the lineup with the return of 2020 home-run leader Luke Voit. After undergoing offseason knee surgery, Voit made his season debut in Tuesday’s game.

Despite going hitless, Voit just missed his first home run of the season via a long fly to left that Randy Arozarena caught with his back against the wall.


Tampa Bay Rays

Collin McHugh, Cole’s former teammate in Houston, will start for Tampa Bay. McHugh has made just one other start this season, serving as an opener and pitching a hitless two innings, striking out five. In 7 1/3 innings over five games, McHugh has allowed six earned runs and sits with a 7.36 ERA.

Teams are batting .375 against McHugh this season. In a pair of appearances against the Yankees, he allowed five runs (three earned) and five hits over 1 1/3 innings. He throws his fastball just 90.7 miles per hour, but mainly throws a slider (43.3%) and cutter (32.6%) on the mound. Teams are batting .667 against his cutter this year.

Ryan Yarbrough will likely piggyback McHugh after a few innings, and he picked up the win in that game Cole lost, although he did not start that game. Instead, he entered in the second inning after an opener and pitched five innings, allowing just one run on two hits.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

The 6-foot-5 left hander has made seven appearances (four starts), recording a 4.58 ERA. He has allowed 19 earned runs over 37 1/3 innings, striking out 29 batters. Yarbrough has pretty much been excellent or horrible in his outings this year. He has allowed one run or fewer in four games, but gave up at least five runs in the other three.

Yarbrough throws mostly off-speed stuff, using his 82 miles per hour cutter 46.1% of the time, as well as a changeup, sinker and curveball that averages just 70.8 miles per hour. His K% is in the bottom 15% of the league, but his HardHit% and average exit velocity is in the top 3%.

The Rays bats continue to have problems at the plate this season. They rank 25th in batting average, batting .219 on the season, and are 26th in OPS and wOBA.

They managed just three hits last night and a solo shot from Zunino was the only run across the board. Tampa Bay’s expected top bats have done nothing for them with Randy Arozarena batting .258, Brandon Lowe hitting .193 and Austin Meadows at just .189.

Yankees-Rays Pick

The Rays were able to pin a loss on Cole earlier this season in his only defeat. That said, I’m confident the ace will make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Cole allowed just two runs in that start, but the Yankees’ offense was not close to what it has been over the last two weeks. I trust them to give him the run support this time around. Both of the pitchers New York should see early throw a lot of cutters, and the Yankees are fifth in the league over the last two seasons against cut fastballs.

On the other hand, the Rays continue to look lost at the plate, striking out more than any team in baseball. Tampa Bay is batting just .205 at home this year, which is the second-worst home average by any team in the league.

I don’t expect that number to rise against one of the game’s  best pitchers. Instead of laying the full-game price, I think the best bet is to take the Yankees to be leading after five innings and bank on Cole outpitching the Rays’ staff.

Pick: Yankees — First Five Innings (-115)

_BookPromo=351

MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: Wednesday Strikeout Totals With Max Fried & Brandon Woodruff (May 12)

mlb-odds-player props-strikeout totals-max fried-brandon woodruff-may 12

With a full slate of games, there are many props to choose from. Today, there are two strikeout props that I like, both unders.

For this article I will be evaluating my favorite MLB player props based on what my model likes and what the Action Labs Player Prop tool likes. The Action Labs Player Prop tool grades each bet on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade. I will be adding my own personal grades as well.

Below, I have laid out two prop bets that I am playing, the case for each bet, and the best books to find odds on those player props.


2021 MLB Pitcher Prop Record: 25-24, -2.98 Units, -6.1% ROI (My action can be followed on the Action App at BoogieDownPicks).


MLB Player Props & Picks

Max Fried Under 6.5 Strikeouts (-140)

Blue Jays vs. Braves Braves -115
Time  7:20 p.m. ET
Best Book BetMGM

Max Fried has not been his self this season. Last year, Fried had a 2.25 ERA and a modest strikeout rate of 8.04 strikeouts per nine innings. This year, Fried has an ERA of 8.44, but an xFIP of 3.82, suggesting he’s been very unlucky in the early going. Despite the poor results, Fried has improved to 11.25 strikeouts per nine innings. The question for Wednesday night is if he can last long enough against the Blue Jays to hit the over on his strikeout total.

Fried averaged around five innings per start last year. With Fried’s current strikeout rate of 11.25, he would need to go 5 2/3 innings to hit this over. However, with last year’s strikeout rate, he would need to go almost eight innings to reach the over, and last year’s strikeout total is more in line with what we should expect.

Fried hasn’t lasted more than five innings in any start this season, and he only went that long in two of them. While the Blue Jays are strikeout prone, they score 4.85 runs per game, which is the seventh-highest in the league. The Blue Jays could plausibly pile runs onto Fried and cause the Braves to pull him from the game early.

Fried is unlikely to go deep in this one regardless, and that plus the strikeout rate means the target here should be the under on 6.5 strikeouts.

Pick: Max Fried Under 6.5 Strikeouts (-140). Would play up to -165 (BetMGM)

  • Action Labs Score: N/A
  • Kevin Davis Score: 9

_BookPromo=1646

Brandon Woodruff Under 8 Strikeouts (-115)

Cardinals vs. Brewers Brewers -175
Time  7:40 p.m. ET
Best Book Wynn

On Tuesday, I took the under on strikeout total for Brewers starting pitcher Freddy Peralta and it hit. Today I am fading the strikeout total for a different Brewers starter, Brandon Woodruff.

The Brewers have several power pitches who pitch well but don’t generally go deep into games. Woodruff is an exception, as he averages almost six innings per start — a solid total in today’s MLB. With more opportunities for strikeouts than usual for a Milwaukee pitcher, it should be no surprise that Woodruff’s strikeout total is set at 7.5 at most sportsbooks, and at eight strikeouts at Wynn.

Woodruff is averaging 11.02 strikeouts per nine innings. Over the last three seasons, Woodruff has consistently had a strikeout rate between 10.58 and 11.12 strikeouts per nine innings, so his strikeout rate is predictable. Assuming Woodruff goes his usual six innings, he should have 7.35 strikeouts in a typical start.

That means for Woodruff to go over, he needs to either strike out hitters at a rate above his averages, or go deeper in the game than his averages. The Cardinals’ lineup averages 8.86 strikeouts per nine, which is the league median. I do not believe that Woodruff is likely to pitch better than usual and that is why I like the under at preferably eight strikeouts, but even at 7.5 strikeouts as well.

Pick: Brandon Woodruff Under 8 Strikeouts (-115). Would play up to -135 (Wynn)

  • Action Labs Score: 9 (Based on Under 7.5 +113)
  • Kevin Davis Score: 6
The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

WynnBET Tennessee UFC 262 Odds, Promo: Bet Oliveira vs. Chandler Risk-Free Up to $500!

Whether you’re an avid sports bettor or not, you should know that WynnBET is the newest sportsbook to go live in the great state of Tennessee.

With new sportsbooks come new promos, and you need to check out what WynnBET is offering for this weekend’s UFC:

Bet UFC 262 risk-free up to $500!

_BookPromo=1978

Here are the details:

WynnBet Sportsbook

Offer: Bet UFC 262 risk-free up to $500

  • Bet now: Click here
  • Who’s it for: New users in Tennessee

New users’ first bet will be risk-free up to $500 at WynnBET, and what better way to use it than on a free-roll for Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler?

Just follow these steps:

  • Click this link
  • Sign up and deposit
  • Use your FIRST bet on Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler

If your bet wins, you’re all set! If it loses, no worries, as you’ll be refunded with free bets that cover your bet up to $500.

Sign up today, start betting, and put the big bucks on the line in a risk-free fashion!

BET RISK-FREE UP TO $500!

_BookPromo=1978

Blue Jays vs. Braves MLB Odds & Picks: Back Ryu and Toronto’s Bullpen (Wednesday, May 12)

toronto blue jays vs atlanta braves-mlb-odds-bets-picks-may-12

Blue Jays vs. Braves Odds

Blue Jays Odds -105
Braves Odds -105
Over/Under 8.5
Time 7:20 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Tuesday evening and via PointsBet.

Toronto’s Hyun-jin Ryu has been one of the most underrated and consistent starters in the MLB since 2017. He will match up with Atlanta’s Max Fried, yet another Harvard-Westlake alumnus who only lately has progressed into the hurler he looked like upon entering the league that same season.

Does Toronto’s savvy, veteran soft-tosser have the edge, or will it be the opposing southpaw who seems to be coming into his own again?

_BookPromo=1425

Toronto Blue Jays

Ryu is probably one of the most solid starting pitching options in the league, and no one discusses him. He is not flashy. He only ranks in the third percentile of MLB with an average fastball around 90 mph. Frankly, he utilizes his changeup and cutter far more often, so speed does not matter to him.

Importantly, his hard hit percentage against is only 31.3%, and his exit velocity against is only 86.7 mph. He consistently keeps the ball on the ground (48.4%). This will negate a major advantage the Atlanta Braves have over the Blue Jays, as they only hit ground balls 39.8% of the time.

More than likely, Ryu will go at least five innings strong, but the Jays will have to use their bullpen at some point in this game, which currently ranks fourth in the Major Leagues with a 2.92 ERA.

Unfortunately for them, the injury to Kirby Yates to start the season was not the only issue their ‘pen has had with staying healthy. In fact, plenty of mainstays have made their way to the injury list, including Anthony Castro, Rafael Dolis, David Phelps and Julian Merryweather. The rest of the bullpen will have to carry them across the finishline in this one.

As far as the lineup goes, the Jays do not have any advantage over the Braves. Both rank around league average with a 99 wRC+ and 100 wRC+, respectively. However, since April 26, they do rank first in home runs, runs and OPS. Atlanta has been relatively hot, too, but not to this level.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Atlanta Braves

As alluded to earlier, Atlanta will struggle with keeping the ball in the air, but luckily for them, in the same timeframe as the Blue Jays above (April 26), they rank fourth in home runs, fifth in runs and sixth in OPS.

Unfortunately for them, both Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna have not yet hit the ball near the level they usually do. Ronald Acuña, Jr. is tearing the cover off of the ball and is in line for the early-season National League MVP, but Atlanta’s outfield is a bit stretched with Ender Inciarte and Guillermo Heredia sidelined. This explains the slow start for an otherwise extremely powerful lineup.

The Braves bullpen is in far worse of a position. They have a combined 4.45 ERA on the season with a 4.40 xFIP, meaning this is about how they should perform this season.

Atlanta has had bullpen issues in the past, and they do not look like they have gone away. They have a few options, but only five have sub-4.00 ERAs, two of which, Tyler Matzek and A.J. Minter, pitched Tuesday night. It is highly unlikely they are in use again for Wednesday’s game.

Blue Jays-Braves Pick

Given the consistency of Hyun-jin Ryu and his ability to keep the ball on the ground, the Braves will be limited in scoring opportunities. Max Fried has thrown the ball well in his last few outings, so the same could be in store for the Blue Jays.

However, the Blue Jays lineup is starting to heat up, and they are decent against lefties (103 wRC+). They should be able to get to Braves pitching. If Fried cannot make it past six innings, the largest discrepancy here is the weakness of the Braves bullpen. Take the Jays to -120.

Pick: Blue Jays -105 (play to -120)
_BookPromo=1646

BetRivers UFC 262 Odds, Promo: Deposit $50, Get $100 FREE For Oliveira vs. Chandler

BetRivers Sportsbook

Offer: Deposit $50, Get $100 Free to use on UFC 262

  • Bet now in these states: CO, IA, IN, MI, VA
  • Who’s it for? New users only

Another Saturday night means another great UFC card for all you fight fans out there.

You’re going to want some skin in UFC 262, and BetRivers has you covered. Follow the steps below to get $100 FREE to use on Oliveira vs. Chandler:

  • Click your state’s link: CO, IA, IN, MI, VA
  • Register with code BET100
  • Deposit at least $50

Your $100 will come in the form of free bets, which only need to be rolled over 1x to turn into cash — the lowest rollover you’ll find on the market!

You can back Oliveira as the favorite or Chandler as the slight dogl. Either way, you get a free roll on the main event! (You can use your $100 on other markets; UFC 262 is only being used as an example)

Don’t miss out — head over to BetRivers and land an extra Benjamin by simply depositing $50!

Deposit $50, Get $100 FREE!

Toronto FC vs. Columbus: Major League Soccer Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions (Wednesday, May 12)

major league soccer-betting-odds-picks-predictions-columbus crew-lucas zelarayan-wednesday-may 12

Toronto FC vs. Columbus Odds

Toronto FC Odds +165
Columbus Odds +150
Draw +245
Over/Under 2.5 (-134 / -103)
Day | Time Wednesday | 7 p.m. ET
How To Watch ESPN+
Odds updated Wednesday morning via DraftKings.

Life for manager Chris Armas, who’s in his first year as Toronto FC manager, doesn’t get any easier when his side welcomes Columbus to its Florida home away from home for a Wednesday’s Major League Soccer match.

Armas is still looking for his first victory with the Reds, who have been forced to set up a temporary base camp in central Florida due to travel and quarantine restrictions in Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In contrast, Columbus — the defending MLS Cup champion — got its first win of the 2021 campaign last time out after starting things with a pair of draws.

Despite very different beginnings, this might yet be a playoff preview. These teams have represented the Eastern Conference in five of the last six MLS Cup matches.

Bet $20 on Toronto FC or Columbus, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on Toronto FC or Columbus as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

Toronto FC

Some of the Reds’ struggles are understandable given that reigning league MVP Alejandro Pozuelo has yet to see the field. Jozy Altidore, Ayo Akinola, Jonathan Osorio and Chris Mavinga have missed chunks of time as well.

Pozuelo (right quadriceps) remains out and Osorio (right thigh) is questionable for this showdown with the Crew.

However, the Reds’ defensive issues are less excusable. Toronto FC has conceded at least 12 goals in its last five matches across all competitions, as it tries to adjust to Armas’ counter-pressing system. The last of those defeats? A 2-0 loss on Saturday against the New York Red Bulls, who Armas previously managed before heading north of the border.

The Reds have also allowed at least 1.5 worth of expected goals (xG) in terms of chances per game. And goalkeeper Alex Bono has saved fewer than half the shots on goal he has faced, well below his career average of 68.6 percent.

The signing of former MLS best XI left back Kemar Lawrence should eventually help the defense. And going forward, Venezuelan attacker Yeferson Soteldo — a Designated Player signing from Brazilian side Santos — could make his first start after making his debut in Saturday’s defeat.

The must-have app for Soccer bettors

The best soccer betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Columbus

The club’s rebrand, which was made official this week, has proven plenty controversial. Yet on the pitch, manager Caleb Porter’s men continue to grind out results. The most recent was a 3-1 home win over D.C. United this past Saturday, keyed by Lucas Zelarayan’s free kick and a pair of own goals.

Some of the analytical metrics suggest the Crew have been more lucky than good. For example, Columbus is dead last in MLS in xG at 1.63, according to American Soccer Analysis.

However, the same team also considerably outperformed its xG for and against totals in 2020, en route to winning the title. So, it’s worth considering whether there is a lurking variable that xG doesn’t account for overall.

Striker Gyasi Zardes (shoulder) and winger Pedro Santos (knee) are questionable for the match, though both played last time out. Yet, Porter won’t lose a lot if he has to turn to Bradley Wright-Phillips and Derrick Etienne, Jr. as their replacements.

Betting Analysis & Pick

I believe Toronto FC will be fine in the big picture, and might even make a deep MLS Cup run. However, right now, the combination of injuries and an adjustment period to Armas’ tactics could prolong this fallow stretch.

Transitions take time even in the best of circumstances, let alone when you’re missing a league MVP and playing your “home” games behind closed doors in a unfamiliar city thousands of miles from your fans and stadium.

Columbus hasn’t overwhelmed with stylishness to start the season, plus it has injury issues, but Porter’s men aren’t building the plane while flying it.

Given the early form of these two sides and the dubiousness of home-field advantage, Columbus should be the slight favorite. I’ll take them here at +150 odds, with an implied probability of around 40 percent.

Pick: Columbus ML (+150)

_BookPromo=49

MLB Odds, Picks, Prediction: Phillies vs. Nationals Betting Preview (Wednesday, May 12)

Phillies vs. Nationals Odds

Phillies Odds -138
Nationals Odds +118
Over/Under 8.5
Time 7:05 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Wednesday and via DraftKings.

The Philadelphia Phillies (19-17) took the first game of this series with the Washington Nationals (13-18) on the road Tuesday night.

The Phillies were led by strong offensive performances from Bryce Harper, Alec Bohm and Andrew Knapp, all of whom drove in runs in the victory. Harper’s solo shot in the first inning got the scoring going in a game the Phillies lead wire to wire.

The Nationals, meanwhile, were led offensively by Trea Turner, whose three hits — which included a home run — accounted for a large percentage their overall offensive production. Overall, they ended the game with just seven hits.

Both starting pitchers in Wednesday’s game have been solid contributors for their teams so far in 2021; will strong performances by each in this one be enough, or will the lackluster bullpens on both sides cause mayhem in the later innings?

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Philadelphia Phillies

Zach Wheeler will make his eighth start of the season for the Phillies on Wednesday night. Wheeler picked up right where he left off last season, serving as a reliable contributor in the rotation. Over 47 2/3 innings pitched thus far, Wheeler has produced a 3-2 record and a strong 3.02 FIP.

He’s also seen a marked increase in his strikeout levels this season compared to last year, averaging 9.3 K/9 this season compared to just 6.7 K/9 last year. If we dive deeper, we see there he’s been throwing his slider at a much higher rate this season (24% vs. 16% last season) than last. He’s also seen an increase in velocity on that pitch as well (92 mph average versus 90 mph last season).

The result has been a minuscule .201 batting average against so far to go along with his typically low home run rate (0.76 HR/9).

On Wednesday, he’ll take on a Nationals team that has struggled against right-handed pitching so far, collectively hitting to a .294 wOBA, fifth-worst in all of baseball.

_BookPromo=116

Washington Nationals

Jon Lester will take the hill for the Nationals in what will amount to his third start of the season. Over 10 innings so far, Lester has been reliable, pitching five innings in each of his first two starts and compiling a 3.10 FIP.

While the sample size is small, Lester has been less reliant on his fastball and curveball than in recent years, and instead leaned on his cutter as an alternative. When comparing this season versus last, we see that his cutter usage has increased from 32% to 45% so far this year. The result has been an increase in his swinging strike percentage from 7.2% last season to 8.9% so far this season.

Lester’s cutter has been a strong pitch in his repertoire throughout most of his career, so it’s yet to be seen if this is temporary noise or a strategic change brought on by the Nationals pitching coaches.

On Wednesday, he’ll take on a Phillies team that has been near league average against lefties so far this season, hitting to a .314 wOBA thus far (18th in MLB).

_BookPromo=1428

Phillies-Nationals Pick

Despite a subpar start for both teams thus far, both of the starting pitchers in tonight’s game have proven effective so far in 2021. Each has also made notable changes to their approach that has led to marked improvement this year when compared to last. Finally, they both take on opposing offenses that have either struggled or been merely league average in similar matchups so far this season.

The bullpen adds the greatest layer of risk in this one for both sides. Each unit ranks in the bottom-third amongst all teams in both FIP and xFIP, with the Phillies in particular struggling with the long ball (1.48 HR/9).

While the full game under does hold some intrigue, the bullpen risk is too high. With the F5-U at 4.5 runs, I’ll give it some consideration for a half-unit play.

Lean: Under 4.5

_BookPromo=49

NBA Injury News & Starting Lineups (May 12): Anthony Davis, LeBron James Out Wednesday

nba injury-news projected-starting-lineups LeBron-James may-12

Below are the projected starting lineups for each team playing on Wednesday’s NBA slate, along with notable injury news for each squad. For real-time updates to these lineups, check out our Action Labs NBA lineups page.

NBA Injury News

5 p.m. ET Update: LeBron James confirmed that he won’t be in the lineup on Wednesday as he continues to recover from a sprained ankle that has held him out for the last few weeks.

Joe Harris has been added to the injury report with a sore left hip and is out for Wednesday’s game. Kyrie Irving, who suffered a facial contusion on Tuesday, has also been ruled out tonight.

Nassir Little will miss the Trail Blazers’ game against the Jazz Wednesday due to back spasms.

The Celtics have ruled out Marcus Smart, Kemba Walker, and Robert Williams for Wednesday’s game against the Cavaliers. Smart is suffering from a calf injury, Walker will rest on a back-to-back and Williams will miss his second straight game due to a toe injury.

Lonzo Ball and Steven Adams will sit for the Pelicans Wednesday. Ball is unavailable due to a strained right thumb and Adams remains sidelined for the eighth time in 10 games due to a sprained toe.


James Harden plans to return to the lineup for the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday as long as there are no setbacks during the pregame warmup, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Harden has been sidelined the past 18 games with a strained right hamstring. There is no initial report on a minute limitation. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are both listed as questionable ahead of the Nets’ matchup with the San Antonio Spurs.

Anthony Davis said his groin tightened up during Tuesday’s win and that he’ll have to see how he feels before determining his status for Wednesday’s game against the Houston Rockets.

He added there’s a “very strong possibility that I fight through it and play, but also don’t want to have it (linger).” The Lakers could also get LeBron James back, as he continues to work his way back from a lingering ankle injury. If James suits up, it lessens the need for Davis to play on the second night of a back-to-back.

Kristaps Porzingis is currently listed questionable on the second night of a back-to-back Wednesday. He has missed the previous seven games with a sore right knee. Luka Doncic isn’t on the injury report after tweaking his back in a loss on Tuesday.

JJ Redick has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game after he suffered from a sore heel and didn’t return in Tuesday’s loss. Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle added that his heel has been a “good days, bad days situation and that the team will have “to see how he responds to treatment.

Be sure to check the Action Labs NBA page for real-time updates.

The must-have app for NBA bettors

The best NBA betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Projected Starting Lineups

Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks (7 p.m. ET)

Wizards Projected Lineup

PG – Russell Westbrook
SG – Raul Neto
SF – Garrison Mathews
PF – Rui Hachimura
C – Alex Len

Injury news: Bradley Beal (Hamstring) is out

Hawks Projected Lineup

PG – Trae Young
SG – Bogdan Bogdanovic
SF – Tony Snell
PF – John Collins
C – Clint Capela

Injury news: Kevin Huerter (Hip) is probable; Tony Snell (Achilles) is questionable; De’Andre Hunter (Knee) is out


San Antonio Spurs vs. Brooklyn Nets (8 p.m. ET)

Spurs Projected Lineup

PG – Dejounte Murray
SG – Lonnie Walker
SF – DeMar DeRozan
PF – Keldon Johnson
C – Jakob Poeltl

Injury news: Trey Lyles (Ankle) is questionable

Nets Projected Lineup

PG – James Harden
SG – Bruce Brown
SF – Kevin Durant
PF – Jeff Green
C – Blake Griffin

Injury news: Kevin Durant (Hamstring), Blake Griffin (Rest), and James Harden (Hamstring) are questionable, Joe Harris (hip) and Kyrie Irving (Face) are out


Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (8 p.m. ET)

Celtics Projected Lineup

PG – Payton Pritchard
SG – Evan Fournier
SF – Semi Ojeleye
PF – Jayson Tatum
C – Tristan Thompson

Injury news: Kemba Walker (Rest), Robert Williams (Toe) and Marcus Smart (calf) are out

Cavaliers Projected Lineup

PG – Collin Sexton
SG – Isaac Okoro
SF – Cedi Osman
PF – Kevin Love
C – Jarrett Allen

Injury news: Cedi Osman (Ankle) is questionable; Isaiah Hartenstein (Concussion) and Darius Garland (Ankle) are out


New Orleans Pelicans vs. Dallas Mavericks (9 p.m. ET)

Pelicans Projected Lineup

PG – Nickeil Alexander-Walker
SG – Eric Bledsoe
SF – Naji Marshall
PF – James Johnson
C – Willy Hernangomez

Injury news: Steven Adams (Toe) and Lonzo Ball (thumb) are out

Mavericks Projected Lineup

PG – Luka Doncic
SG – Josh Richardson
SF – Tim Hardaway Jr.
PF – Dorian Finney-Smith
C – Willie Cauley-Stein

Injury news: Kristaps Porzingis (Knee) is questionable; JJ Redick (Heel) is out


Portland Trail Blazers vs. Utah Jazz (9:30 p.m. ET)

Trail Blazers Projected Lineup

PG – Damian Lillard
SG – CJ McCollum
SF – Norman Powell
PF – Robert Covington
C – Jusuf Nurkic

Injury news: Nothing new

Jazz Projected Lineup

PG – Joe Ingles
SG – Royce O’Neale
SF – Bojan Bogdanovic
PF – Georges Niang
C – Rudy Gobert

Injury news: Mike Conley (Hamstring) is out


Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET)

Rockets Projected Lineup

PG – DJ Augustin
SG – Danuel House
SF – Jae’Sean Tate
PF – Kenyon Martin Jr.
C – Kelly Olynyk

Injury news: Christian Wood (Ankle), Danuel House (Ankle) and DaQuan Jeffries (Ankle) are questionable

Lakers Projected Lineup

PG – Alex Caruso
SG – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF – Wesley Matthews
PF – Kyle Kuzma
C – Andre Drummond

Injury news: Alex Caruso (Foot) is questionable; LeBron James (Ankle) and Anthony Davis (Groin) are out


Phan’s Bet to Watch

As of 5 p.m. ET, Justin Phan isn’t seeing betting value in any games. To get instant alerts when he sees an edge and his analysis on those picks, sign up for Action Labs.

Wizards vs. Hawks NBA Odds & Picks: Washington Will Cool Down Against Atlanta (Wednesday, May 12)

nba-odds-picks-betting-wednesday-may 12-washington wizards-vs-atlanta hawks-trae young

Wizards vs. Hawks Odds

Wizards Odds +6.5
Hawks Odds -6.5
Moneyline +210 / -255
Over/Under 240
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Wednesday morning and via FanDuel.

Atlanta defeated Washington in a thrilling one-point victory on Monday. Now, it’s time for the rematch.

This time around, the Hawks will strive for a healthy cushion over the Wizards while comfortably keeping pace with the Knicks in the race for the fourth spot in the East.

Washington counters with its lethal offense, but is it a lock to stay this lethal, considering its gaudy shooting numbers in Monday’s game?

Let’s dig into the numbers and find some value in this one.


Washington Wizards

The Wizards are holding on for dear life to the final spot in the Eastern Conference NBA Playoffs play-in tournament. However, life has become a bit easier with the 11th-place Bulls failing to get into the race.

That may be the reason why Washington has covered in just one of the last three after previously covering in five straight. Although, the Wizards’ recent performance against the Hawks exemplified the team’s incredible resilience. Washington rallied from a 16-point deficit to challenge Atlanta in the fourth quarter, but Washington ultimately fell by one point at the final buzzer.

The Hawks and Wizards combined for 249 points in Monday’s game, going over the game total in the process. Washington has now hit the over in six consecutive games, and nine of the last 11. Only four teams in the league have played at a faster pace than the Wizards over the past 10 games, and only one team — Portland — can lay claim to a better offensive rating.

I doubt that many fans or bettors had faith in this squad making the postseason months ago. But, Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal have taken the Wizards to new heights due to their heroic efforts.

The must-have app for NBA bettors

The best NBA betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Atlanta Hawks

The games still very much matter for the Hawks, even with a NBA Playoffs berth virtually guaranteed at this point. Atlanta is in a tight battle with the Knicks for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, which would give them home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

The Hawks’ injury report is relatively quiet. Tony Snell is questionable with Achilles soreness but has been on the injury report a lot lately. De’Andre Hunter has been ruled out, and Kevin Huerter is expected to play.

In Monday’s matchup between these two teams, the Hawks withstood a 50% 3-point shooting night from the Wizards, while pouring in just 33.3% of their own looks from deep. Atlanta also out-rebounded Washington by 13, exercising plenty of dominance on the glass. Monday’s game had no business being as close as it was, save for a massive fourth-quarter performance by the Wizards to outscore the Hawks by 16 points.

The Hawks rank 12th in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage, while the Wizards sit 24th. Over the past 10 games, it’s been the Hawks to shoot it better from downtown as well. It’s fair to assume some regression is in order for Washington.


Wizards-Hawks Pick

On the surface, you’d think these two sides would play another close game due to the Wizards’ insane run of against-the-spread (ATS) wins to get to this point. However, I’m inclined to privilege the larger sample size of the three quarters in which Atlanta dominated Washington as opposed to the one quarter in which the Wizards shredded the Hawks.

Washington’s should see some regression from 3 against this defense. Furthermore, Atlanta should maintain its edge on the glass: The Hawks have been the second-best rebounding team over the past 10 games. Atlanta has an edge in pretty much in every facet of the game, so I have faith in the Hawks to cover this number.

Pick: Hawks -6.5 (-108)

Bet $20 on Atlanta, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on Atlanta as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

UFC 262 Odds, Promo: Bet $20, Win $150 on a Oliveira or Chandler Punch!

Are you looking for an easy way to cash in BIG on the UFC 262 Main Event between Charlies Oliveira and Michael Chandler?

Look no further than PointsBet Sportsbook, where you can turn $20 into $150 if either fighter throws a single punch!

_BookPromo=1119

Check out the details below:

PointsBet Sportsbook

Offer: Bet $20, Win $150 in Oliveira or Chandler throws a punch

  • Bet now: Click here
  • Available states: Michigan, Indiana, New Jersey, Colorado, Iowa
  • Who’s it for? New users only

Unless these two guys decide to only head-butt each other for the duration of the fight, you’re going to end Saturday night $150 richer.

To take advantage:

  • Click this link
  • Deposit at least $20
  • Bet $20+ on the Oliveira or Chandler ML as your FIRST bet

Your account will be manually credited $150 in free bets if a punch is thrown. You can bet $20+ on any UFC 262 fight as your first bet and win $150 if that fight has any punches thrown. 

This offer is an absolute no-brainer. The only thing you need to think about is how you will spend your winnings!

Sign up at PointsBet today and make an easy $150!

WIN $150 ON A UFC 262 PUNCH!

_BookPromo=1119

2021 NFL Week 1 Odds & Schedule: Buccaneers Among Big Favorites in Prime Time Matchups

2021-nfl-week-1-odds-lines-schedule-cowboys-vs-buccaneers

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers start the defense of their Super Bowl title in the season-opening Thursday Night Football game as favorites over the Dallas Cowboys.

The full NFL schedule will be announced on Wednesday night, but the Week 1 slate was released in the morning with marquee matchups all over.

Tampa Bay hosting Dallas on Thursday night is one primetime matchup, along with the Chicago Bears against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football and the Baltimore Ravens traveling to Las Vegas to take on the Raiders on Monday Night Football.

Elsewhere across the league, the Kansas City Chiefs host the Cleveland Browns, who are hoping to build on last season’s success. A key AFC East showdown between New England and Miami takes place and playoff contenders Pittsburgh and Buffalo square off, too.

New Carolina quarterback Sam Darnold gets an early look at his former team when the Panthers host the Jets.

Read below for the full Week 1 schedule and odds, which are available now at DraftKings.

Schedule Day Special: Deposit $50, Get $100!

Deposit $50 at BetRivers or SugarHouse

Get $100 FREE automatically

New users only

NFL Week 1 Odds

Thursday, Sept. 9

Cowboys at Buccaneers (-6.5, 52.5), 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Sunday, Sept. 12

Jaguars (-1.5, 45.5) at Texans, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Steelers at Bills (-6.5, 51.5), 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Jets at Panthers (-5, 43.5), 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Cardinals at Titans (-2.5, 51.1), 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Chargers at Washington (-1.5, 45), 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Vikings (-2.5, 48.5) at Bengals, 1 p.m. ET (FOX)

49ers (-7, 46.5) at Lions, 1 p.m. ET (FOX)

Eagles at Falcons (-3.5, 46.5), 1 p.m. ET (FOX)

Seahawks at Colts (-2.5, 52.5), 1 p.m. ET (FOX)

Browns at Chiefs (-5.5, 53), 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

Dolphins at Patriots (-2.5, 45.5), 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

Broncos (-1.5, 42.5) at Giants, 4:25 p.m. ET (FOX)

Packers at Saints (no line yet), 4:25 p.m. ET (FOX)

Bears at Rams (-7, 45), 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Monday, Sept. 13

Ravens (-5.5, 51.5) at Raiders, 8:15 p.m. ET

The must-have app for NFL bettors

The best NFL betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

How Sportsbooks Are Handling Packers vs. Saints Week 1 Odds Amid Aaron Rodgers Rumors

sportsbooks-packers-saints-week 1-odds-aaron rodgers-rumors

The Green Bay Packers aren’t the only ones waiting on Aaron Rodgers’ next move.

Oddsmakers are waiting to see what will happen, too, before committing to betting lines for the opening game between the Packers and New Orleans Saints in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season.

Most of the major national operators opted not to post a spread or total between the Packers and Saints, who will play Sunday afternoon in the first week of the season. William Hill was the only book operating in most legal betting states to post a line, while the SuperBook in Las Vegas and Colorado also posted lines on Wednesday for the game.

William Hill opened the Saints as 1.5-point favorites, with a total of 51 points. The SuperBook posted the Saints as 3-point favorites and a total of 50.5.

At time of publish, the game was off the board at DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel and PointsBet.

On the first night of the NFL Draft, reports surfaced Rodgers’ displeasure with the franchise had reached new heights and he was ready to leave Green Bay.

The Packers continue to say publicly that Rodgers will not be traded and they expect him to suit up for them this season.

New Orleans has quarterback questions of its own following the retirement of Drew Brees. Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston are both on the roster this year, but how Sean Payton will handle the position is unknown. It could be a week-to-week situation — or even drive-to-drive — considering how Payton has used Hill in the past.

_BookPromo=1831

Unibet Virginia Special Promo: Washington Nationals No-Brainer Boost!

In case you haven’t noticed yet, Unibet is the newest sportsbook to launch in the great state of Virginia.

Their free $100 + $1,000 risk-free bet for new users should be enticing enough to sign up, but this Nationals promo is icing on the cake!

Bet the Nats +100 to score against the Phillies!

_BookPromo=1829

Here are the details:

Unibet Sportsbook

Offer: Nationals to score 1+ run vs. Phillies (boosted to +100)

  • Bet now: Click here
  • Who’s it for? New and existing users

This market is traditionally listed at -10000 odds, which makes it pretty clear why this boost is an absolute no-brainer.

To cash in on the Nats:

  • Click this link
  • Make a deposit (max bet for this promo is $25)
  • Click ‘Odds Boost’ followed by ‘No Brainer Odds Boost’

As mentioned above, new users can also take advantage of their excellent welcome offer of $100 free plus a $1,000 risk-free bet. Just be sure to use the risk-free bet on something other than this offer because, well, this already has no risk.

Sign up at Virginia’s latest and greatest book and snag some easy money on the Nats!

NATIONALS NO-BRAINER SPECIAL

_BookPromo=1829

LPGA, BetMGM Announce Multi-Year Partnership in Deal with Women’s Golf Tour

The LPGA has reached a multi-year agreement with BetMGM to become the tour’s first official betting operator, announced Wednesday.

As part of the deal, LPGA odds will be featured on BetMGM’s weekly menu alongside various other professional golf tours.

“As a leading sports and entertainment company and already a supporter of women’s golf, BetMGM is uniquely positioned to join the LPGA family as an Official Betting Operator,” said Brian Carroll, senior vice president of global media distribution for the LPGA.

Bet $20 on TEAM, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on TEAM as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

“Sports betting and digital gaming are key elements of the future of sports, and BetMGM is on the forefront of both opportunities,” Carroll added. “We are happy to partner with them as we look to provide more opportunities for our fans to interact with the LPGA and learn about our incredible athletes.”

The LPGA has an off week on the schedule, but returns stateside next week for the Pure Silk Championship presented by Visit Williamsburg in Virginia.

That event will be followed by the inaugural Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play hosted by Shadow Creek, a venue which also hosted the PGA TOUR’s CJ Cup last year, in Las Vegas.

BetMGM is also one of four official betting operators for the PGA TOUR.

The must-have app for Soccer bettors

The best soccer betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

English Premier League Odds & Betting Picks for Chelsea vs. Arsenal (Wednesday, May 12)

premier league-betting-odds-picks-predictions-chelsea-marcos alonso-wednesday-may 12

Chelsea vs. Arsenal Odds

Chelsea Odds -118
Arsenal Odds +370
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (+110 / -137)
Day | Time Wednesday | 3:15 p.m. ET
TV NBCSN
Odds updated Wednesday afternoon via DraftKings.

London rivals meet in Premier League action Wednesday when Chelsea takes on Arsenal and looks to continue its excellent recent form, with the the hope of securing its place in next season’s Champions League.

The Blues have a chance to win two trophies in the final weeks of the season and secure a top-four position in England’s top flight in the process. In contrast, Arsenal has little to play for with its chances of European football next year all but over at the moment.

The Gunners have improved under manager Mikel Arteta, but their attacking numbers haven’t been consistent enough and a disastrous start to the year that saw them in 15th place left them too far out of the European race.

Chelsea has the FA Cup final to look forward to Sunday, along with a looming Champions League title match May 29 against Manchester City. The Blues really can’t choose to rotate here, though, with West Ham United and Liverpool chasing them for UCL positions.

Bet $20 on Chelsea or Arsenal, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on Chelsea or Arsenal as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

Chelsea

Since manager Thomas Tuchel took over in late January, the Blues have become the world’s best defense. Like Manchester City, Tuchel has figured out the way to be successful in the COVID-19 era. Chelsea still presses and counter-presses at a solid rate, but not at the level it did under former manager Frank Lampard. Instead, the Blues focus on conservative possession, recycling the ball and being patient to create high-quality shots.

Just four of 16 EPL matches where Tuchel has been in charge have resulted in at least three goals and the Blues have kept 11 clean sheets in that time frame. The underlying defensive numbers are just as impressive, as no team has allowed fewer completed passes into its own penalty area in the entire league since Tuchel’s reign began.

The Chelsea attack took some time to come around, with the early season fitness issues for Kai Havertz causing hurdles since his arrival from Bayer Leverkusen. Combine that with Timo Werner’s notoriously bad finishing run this season and the result has been a struggle to score goals at times.

The must-have app for Soccer bettors

The best soccer betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Arsenal

I’ve been lower than the market all season on the Gunners. I picked them to finish eighth in the league and thought they’d miss out on Europe, which appears to be their fate following a loss to Villarreal in the Europa League semifinal round. Their defense has actually been better than I projected, partially because of Arteta’s defensive possession structure.

One could argue that the global pandemic part of soccer, where Arteta refuses to press and wants slow build up of possession play, would be beneficial to his side. However, after watching how easily West Bromwich Albion ripped Arsenal apart and created big scoring chances, I’m concerned about the club in this spot as well. The Gunners have little to play for and were fortunate to secure all three points at the weekend against the relegated Baggies.

Arsenal won this reverse fixture on Boxing Day, but scored two fluke goals and that was before Tuchel was in charge. Both teams have improved since then, but the Gunners haven’t been able to generate clear chances all year against the league’s elite. When facing Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City, Arsenal has created less than 0.85 non-penalty expected goals in all but one match, which came in an early season 3-1 loss to Liverpool.

The Gunners defense should be able to cause problems for Chelsea if it’s up for the match, though I don’t see how they generate consistent scoring chances against this defensive juggernaut.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Despite the circumstances, this game is not likely to be the most exciting for neutral fans to watch. Two possession-based sides will be doing battle, and given that Arsenal’s pressing numbers are pretty low, Chelsea should have more of the ball and look to poke and prod at its foe’s defense.

The Gunners will look to counterattack, but I don’t trust any of their attacking options given the recent form. My projections are right on with Chelsea at -138 odds, but I do show value in a certain prop market.

My projections give a 56.5% chance that both teams do not score in this match, but the current price at DraftKings is -106 at the moment. That said, I will make that my top pick.

Pick: Both Teams To Score — No (-115 or better)

_BookPromo=49

Serie A Odds, Betting Picks & Predictions for Inter Milan vs. Roma (Wednesday, May 12)

inter milan vs roma-serie-a-bets-odds-pick-may-12

Inter Milan vs. Roma Odds

Inter Milan Odds -157
Roma Odds +390
Draw +325
Over/Under 3.5 (+108 / -134)
Day | Time Wednesday | 2:45 p.m. ET
How To Watch ESPN+
Odds updated Wednesday afternoon via DraftKings.

Roma look to keep their hopes of European football alive when they travel to Milan Wednesday to take on the Serie A champions.

Inter Milan have already secured the Serie A title with three matches left in the season. It’s the first time in nine years that Juventus have been dethroned, and Inter is celebrating accordingly.

As far as this match is concerned, Inter doesn’t have anything to play for and may be rotating some of the guys in their squad. They thrashed Sampdoria this past weekend 5-1, so perhaps they haven’t quite moved on from their championship form.

Roma are in danger of missing out on not only the Champions League, but the Europa League as well. They sit in seventh place, two points ahead of Sassuolo, which would be the final Europa League spot for Italy. Roma have been in terrible form, with only one win in their last five matches in Serie A, and will be playing their third match in only six days on Wednesday.

Bet $20 on Inter Milan or Roma, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on Inter Milan or Roma as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

Inter Milan

The reason Inter have been crowned champions of Italy for the first time in over a decade is because they are elite at both ends of the pitch. Inter average 2.03 xG per match, while only allowing 1.01 xG per match. Romelu Lukaku and Lutaro Martinez have been a lethal goal-scoring tandem up front in Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2 system, scoring a combined 37 goals and putting up a 1.28 xG per 90 minutes combined scoring rate.

Conte’s 3-5-2 system is really a dream come true in modern soccer. It allows Inter to play two strikers of a traditional 4-4-2, but still provides three central midfielders who can outnumber or overwhelm their opponents going forward in attack and can also provide width with the use of two wing-backs. Inter have found a ton of success playing out of this formation, as they have a +1.04 xGD per 90 minutes this season.

The biggest question coming into this match for Inter is where does their motivation lie? They’ve already won the title, and the last three matches are a mere formality, so it’ll be interesting to see what team Conte selects and how motivated they are for three points at home.

The must-have app for Soccer bettors

The best soccer betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Roma

Roma are desperate for three points in this match to lock up the final Europa League spot in the table. It’s been an up-and-down season for Roma, but what has been positive has been their offense, which is averaging 1.93 xG per match in Serie A this season.

The biggest difference between this season and last season is Roma have switched to a 3-4-2-1 formation, which is the same formation teams like Chelsea and RB Leipzig have adopted.

The main objective of the 3-4-2-1 is to completely overwhelm opposing defenses by outnumbering them on the counter-attack. The formation allows Roma some tactical flexibility, to adjust on the fly based on how the match is going.

That has allowed I Giallorossi to dominate possession and keep opponents on their toes. The proof is in the numbers, too, as Roma are averaging +0.61 xGD per 90 minutes, when playing out of that formation, per Understat.

However, Roma have one big flaw. They haven’t been able to beat anyone ahead of them in the Serie A table. In 10 matches against the top-six teams in Italy, I Giallorossi are a disappointing 0-4-6 overall. You can also see it’s pretty much a night-and-day difference when Roma play the league’s best.

So it will be interesting to see which Roma team shows up on Wednesday to face the Serie A champions.

 


Betting Analysis & Pick

With this match meaning pretty much nothing to Inter and everything to Roma, I think that has created some value on the away side, despite their terrible form against the top of the table.

Therefore, I am going to back Roma’s spread of +0.5 at +123 odds (DraftKings)

Pick: Roma +0.5 (+123)

_BookPromo=49

The Best Sportsbook Promos for Wednesday, May 12: Deposit $50, Get $100 FREE to Bet NFL Week 1!

Best Sportsbook Promos for Wednesday, May 12

Sportsbook Best Current Promotion
PointsBet Bet $20, Win $150 if LeBron scores a point!
BetRivers NFL Schedule Release Special: Deposit $50, Get $100 FREE!
FOX Bet Get a $500 risk-free bet
BetMGM Bet $1 on any MLB team, Get $100 no matter what!
theScore Bet Bet the MLB risk-free up to $500
William Hill Get a $500 risk-free bet
FanDuel Get a risk-free bet up to $1,000
DraftKings Get a $1,000 risk-free bet

$150 on LeBron’s return? $100 free to use on the NFL’s schedule release day?

There are quite a few ways to make some cash on a sneaky big Wednesday in sports. Check out the best offers below.


PointsBet Sportsbook

_BookPromo=821


BetRivers/SugarHouse Sportsbook

  • Offer: Deposit $50, Get $100 FREE to Bet on Week 1!
NFL Special: Deposit $50, Get $100 FREE!

FOX Bet Sportsbook

  • Offer: Bet $10, Win $100 if the Lakers score a point!
    • Go to NBA > Futures > Bet Boost > New Customer Exclusive
$100 ON A LAKERS POINT!

BetMGM Sportsbook

_BookPromo=351


theScore Bet Sportsbook

_BookPromo=1466


William Hill Sportsbook

  • Offer: Get a $500 risk-free bet!
    • Use code ACTIONRF
$500 RISK-FREE!

FanDuel Sportsbook

_BookPromo=24


DraftKings Sportsbook

_BookPromo=49

Lakers vs. Rockets Odds, Promos: Bet $20, Win $150 if LeBron James Scores!

The return of The King!

Well, we hope so. If he does play, you’re in for a treat:

Bet $20, Win $150 if LeBron James scores vs. the Rockets!

_BookPromo=608

And if he doesn’t, PointsBet is still going to give you that $150 … as long as someone on the Lakers scores.

PointsBet Sportsbook

Offer: Bet $20, Win $150 if the Lakers score 1+ point

  • Bet now: Click here
  • Available states: New Jersey, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan
  • Who’s it for? NEW USERS ONLY

You don’t need to be an NBA expert to know that LeBron and his teammates don’t put up goose eggs.

This is going to be an exciting game vs. the Rockets, but once LeBron (or any other Laker) scores his first point you can rest assured knowing you won an easy $150.

To take advantage:

Note: LeBron and the Lakers are being used as an example. You can bet $20 on any NBA team this week as your first bet and win $150 if they score a point. 

I know you won’t find an easier way to make money on this game, so what are you waiting for?

This summer is a long grind of betting until football season. Make sure you add an extra $150 to your bankroll courtesy of PointsBet!

BET $20, WIN $150 IF LEBRON SCORES!

_BookPromo=608

NFL Schedule Release Special Offer: Deposit $50, Get $100 FREE to Bet the NFL!

The all-important NFL schedule release day is upon us, and BetRivers & SugarHouse Sportsbooks have you covered with some free money to get in on the gridiron action if you act early.

BetRivers/SugarHouse Sportsbook

Offer: Deposit $50, Get $100 FREE

  • Bet now in these states: CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, VA
  • Who’s it for? New users only

If you’ve been betting for a while, you’ve probably heard of a deposit match. BetRivers isn’t just going to match your deposit, though — they’re going to double it.

With this NFL special, you can turn $50 into $150 by following these steps:

  • Click your state’s link above
  • Register with code BET100
  • Deposit at least $50

Your $100 will come in the form of free bets, which only need to be rolled over 1x to turn into cash — the lowest rollover you’ll find on the market!

Whether you’re looking to bet on Super Bowl futures or get ahead on Week 1 lines, don’t miss out — head over to BetRivers and land an extra Benjamin by simply depositing $50!

NFL Special: Deposit $50, Get $100 FREE!

2021 NFL Week 1 Top Games Ranked By Ticket Interest

2021-nfl-week 1-schedule-games-ranking-ticket-prices

With the NFL schedule out, we got in touch with ticket brokers to see which games will be the hottest ticket come Week 1.

The full Week 1 lineup is here. But we only ranked the top eight games because every other one seemed like it would generate face value or below.

Schedule Day Special: Deposit $50, Get $100!

Deposit $50 at BetRivers or SugarHouse

Get $100 FREE automatically

New users only

1. Cowboys @ Buccaneers

Tom Brady won the Super Bowl, Gronk is back and Dak Prescott returns. We should add it’s in Florida, so if there’s any limitations with COVID, it likely won’t be there!

2. Ravens @ Raiders

Lamar Jackson at the helm for the Ravens in Sin City, which will truly shine for the first time in its new stadium that got sidelined last season. Plus, Jon Gruden on Monday Night Football. It’s gonna be Spider Y Bananas!

3. Browns @ Chiefs

We know the Chiefs are real, but is this Year 2 of the Browns being for real? With Odell Beckham Jr. back and a strong draft, there are high hopes in Cleveland. Arrowhead will be ready for a revenge tour following the Super Bowl loss.

4. Bears @ Rams

Time to feature the other stadium that got jobbed last year — Sofi. More beauty than Allegiant in Vegas — and it better shine under the Sunday Night Football lights for $5 billion.

5. Steelers @ Bills

The Bills Mafia arguably missed last year the most, given their year and how rabid they are. Plus, it’s probably Big Ben’s last go around.

6. Packers @ Saints

It’s not Aaron Rodgers vs. Drew Brees. It’s definitely not Brees and it might not be Aaron Rodgers, if Rodgers has his say. So is a possible Drew Lock versus Jameis Winston really the fifth-best ticket? At least there’s a ton of intrigue.

7. Cardinals @ Titans

Can the Cardinals put it together as Houston West with another year of De’Andre Hopkins and the debut of J.J. Watt? High hopes again for Derrick Henry, Ryan Tannehill and crew who ducked out of the playoffs in disappointing fashion?

8. Jets @ Panthers

It’s getting ugly after No. 7. But we’ll do this one because it’s going to be a real interesting battle. Jets rookie draft pick Zach Wilson going up against the guy he replaced in Sam Darnold.

The must-have app for NFL bettors

The best NFL betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Stuckey: A Pair of Regression Candidates Take the Bump on Wednesday

mlb-odds-picks-starting pitcher regression-john gant-ja happ-st. louis cardinals-minnesota twins-may 12

It’s a bit early in the season to look at MLB pitcher regression candidates as the sample size isn’t enormous. However, two of the pitchers at the top of my list are starting tonight, so I figured I’d share a quick  snapshot of that pair. As always, don’t just assume regression will happen on any given night because a pitcher has been getting lucky.

Ultimately, it comes down to the value of the number, but monitoring these advanced statistics can give you a much more accurate picture when it comes to evaluating how a pitcher is performing.

_BookPromo=351

John Gant, St. Louis Cardinals

Next Projected Start: Tonight at Brewers

  • ERA: 2.15
  • xERA: 5.68
  • FIP: 4.40
  • xFIP: 5.26
  • SIERA: 5.93

This list has to start with Gant, who has struggled mightily with control so far this season. Look no further than his K-BB ratio of 1.04, which is almost unbelievable for a starter with a 2.15 ERA through six starts.

Yes, he does benefit from a very good defense behind him. However, no defense can help a starter with Gant’s current peripherals maintain his surface statistics. Putting runners on base at an extremely high clip (1.70 WHIP!) will end in disaster when you are striking out fewer than eight batters per nine innings. And it’s not like Gant is missing barrels.

I’m not sure how much longer Gant will remain in the rotation, especially as the Cardinals get healthier in that department. I do believe the former reliever is much better suited for a role out of the bullpen, but I’m hoping the Redbirds give him a few more starts from a selfish betting perspective. The return of Miles Mikolas — who made his second rehab start in Triple-A on Tuesday — will likely mean the end of Gant’s time in the rotation.

Until then, the St. Louis bullpen better be ready to go tonight after an extra-innings affair Tuesday night as it’s just hard to see Gant ever getting through five innings with his control struggles.

Betting Outlook: I personally played Milwaukee -155 overnight.

_BookPromo=1425

J.A Happ, Minnesota Twins

Next Projected Start: Tonight at White Sox

  • ERA: 1.91
  • xERA: 4.22
  • FIP: 3.84
  • xFIP: 5.39
  • SIERA: 5.20

Like Gant, Happ is also overperforming his SIERA by more than three runs. That’s troubling to say the least.

Happ doesn’t have the same walk problems (7.3% BB rate) as Gant. However, there are plenty of other worrisome signs for the southpaw, starting with this lack of strikeouts. Happ is one of only eight starters this season (min. 20 IP) with a strikeout rate of less than 15%. His minuscule 5.08 K/9 is a career low by a wide margin, which makes sense given his fastball velocity drop.

So, how has the 38-year-old lefty been able to post a 2-0 record with a sub-two ERA in his first five starts? Well, you can start with a strand rate north of 85% and a .171 BABIP that sits more than 100 points below his career average. In fact, only Wade Miley has a lower batting average on balls in play this year among starters who have thrown at least 20 innings.

The regression monster is coming for Happ. There’s just no way balls will continue finding gloves and runners will continue getting stranded against the stuff (or lack thereof) that Happ now has in his arsenal.

That correction could easily start tonight against a White Sox team that has dominated lefty starters over the past two seasons. Then again, I’m not in a rush to back Dallas Keuchel given some of his peripherals — although that just seems to be the norm with the soft-throwing, strikeout-averse lefty.

Betting Outlook: I don’t see any value in this particular game from a side perspective, but I don’t mind the over 8 one bit.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

AT&T Byron Nelson 2021 Betting Picks & Predictions: Our Best Outrights, Longshots, Matchups & Props (May 13)

2021 at&t byron nelson-best bets-picks-odds

With the second major of the season just around the corner, the PGA TOUR heads to a new venue this week for the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson. One of the great things about betting on golf is that every week is different. No two fields, courses or tournaments are the same week to week. It’s like you get to be a bite-sized sports season every seven days. It’s truly beautiful.

All reports from Dallas seem to indicate that the scoring will come easy and that this tournament could turn into a birdie-fest. Which players are best set up to take advantage of the conditions at TPC Craig Ranch? Check out our favorite outrights, sleeper picks, props and matchup bets for the AT&T Byron Nelson to find out:

AT&T Byron Nelson Picks

The must-have app for sports bettors

Custom scoreboard for your bets

Free picks from experts

Live odds for every game

Outrights

Jason Sobel

Scottie Scheffler (+1900)

I expect this to be a popular play this week, considering Scheffler owns some very Spiethian vibes at this event. The 24-year-old first played here at the age of 17, posting his final three scores in the 60s and finishing in a share of 22nd place – good enough to beat the likes of Martin Kaymer, who was only in between winning The Players and the U.S. Open that week.

While most players use a return to a specific course to give them a little mojo for the week, Scheffler might have it here – even at a different venue – just based on familiarity with the community and the tournament staff. On a week with so many unknowns, that’s as good a reason as any.

Even with some big names in the field, this event feels like it could wind up being the domain of a first-time winner – and few are more deserving of a first victory than Scheffler. Also, I went down the rabbit hole of the dark web and found that 9-year-old “Scott Alexander Scheffler” won the nine-hole, coed, age 7-9 division of the Metro Area Championship by seven strokes right at this very same TPC Craig Ranch.

Yup, those are actual things that happened – him winning here and me actually researching it.

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

Josh Perry

Matt Kuchar (+7000)

I’m going to take a stab on Matt Kuchar in this range. Kuchar hasn’t really played much of a factor since the restart about a year ago, but he’s found his game the past month.

Kuchar has three top-20s in his last four starts, including a couple of solid results in Texas with a third at Match Play and a 12th at Valero. With his approach game coming back around and his usual strength on the greens, this could be a spot for the veteran to play well.

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

Chris Murphy

Bryson DeChambeau (+800)

I typically don’t backing players this high up the board and I know it’s not a sexy pick, but from what I have gathered this week, everything sets up well for Bryson.

This appears to be a course where he can simply set up to bomb it off the tee, with little to no trouble around most landing areas. He will be able to reach all of the Par 5s with ease, and will be one player in the field that can challenge both of the drive-able Par 4s without much additional thought.

One thing that I continue to harp on is just how good Bryson is with the flat stick. He ranks 38th on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting this season, and with the large greens around TPC Craig Ranch, it could turn into a bit of a putting contest.

I don’t like the odds we are getting this week, but I believe DeChambeau will be the winner, possibly going away, which locks him in as my favorite outright for the AT&T Byron Nelson.

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

Matt Vincenzi

Sergio Garcia (+5000)

Against my better judgment, I’m going back to Sergio once again. Hear me out: Sergio was playing excellent golf prior to back-to-back missed cuts, and the pressure of Augusta National seemed to have gotten to him in the 2021 Masters.

However, before his most recent victory at the 2020 Sanderson Farms Championship, the Spaniard was also coming off back-to-back missed cuts. Relative to the guys around him on the oddsboard, I see a lot of value with Garcia here.

He still stripes it off of the tee and can take advantage of the four short par-5s and drivable par-4s.

Yes, he is a horrific putter, but bentgrass is his best surface and he has an excellent history in the state of Texas, having won the Byron Nelson twice. Just close your eyes and bet it.

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

Landon Silinsky

Matt Fitzpatrick (+2100)

It feels as though Fitz has the reputation of being more of a tough course guy, but believe it or not he ranks 30th on the PGA TOUR in Birdie or Better percentage this season. He has really been lighting it up.

A lot of this is thanks to his elite putter, as he ranks No. 1 in this field in SG: Putting across his last 48, 36, 16 and 12 rounds. We always knew about the Englishman’s prowess with the flat stick, however, it’s his ball-striking that has vastly improved, as he also ranks ninth in this field in SG: Off-the-Tee, and 11th in both SG: Tee-to-Green and Ball-Striking across his past 36 rounds.

Fitz has gotten himself up to No. 17 in the world and is in the midst of the best stretch of golf in his young career. He finished T-4 at the RBC Heritage, T-9 at THE PLAYERS, T-10 at the API, T-11 at the WGC Concession and T-5 at Genesis. That doesn’t even include his respectable T-34 at Augusta as well. Whichever way you slice it, the man is locked in right now and it’s simply a matter of time before he posts his first career win stateside.

This would be a great week to get it done, as a hot putter could carry him, while the bigger greens at TPC Craig Ranch will mitigate his recent approach play doldrums.

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

Rob Bolton

Marc Leishman (+3400)

The legend of his value in the wind, at least as we know it in the U.S. today, was launched at the Korn Ferry Tour’s WNB Golf Classic in 2008. In a gale in Midland, Texas, he prevailed by 11 strokes at 21-under 267.

Remarkably, while known mudders don’t always deliver on their promise in inclement conditions, the Aussie is as close to a lock as it gets when the trousers are flapping.

The winds will front the equation by the weekend at TPC Craig Ranch where confident ball-striking is required on a largely unknown test.

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

Bryan Berryman

Ryan Palmer (+4000)

The winning score this week should eclipse 20-under par and with little trouble to worry about off the tee, I’m looking for bombers who can make a ton of birdies.

Over the last 50 rounds, Palmer ranks 9th in this field in Birdie or Better percentage and 29th in driving distance. That’s going to be the recipe for success this week. If he can get the putter going like it was earlier in the season, I like his chances to win this event at +4000.

[Bet Ryan Palmer at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]
Credit: Ezra Shaw, Getty Images. Pictured: Sebastian Munoz

Longshots

Jason Sobel

Keith Mitchell (+6600)

I don’t usually like chasing non-superstars after title contentions. There are a finite number of times that these players will contend in a given season and chances aren’t great that they’ll happen in back-to-back weeks.

That said, I can’t resist this number for Mitchell, who held the 54-hole lead at Quail Hollow and finished in a share of third place. I love how he’s driving it right now. In fact, during the weekend telecast, Jim Nantz quoted Brandt Snedeker, who was Mitchell’s partner at the Zurich Classic and said he put on the greatest driving exhibition he’d ever seen that week, then added that Mitchell would’ve won by 10 if it was an individual event.

That’s undoubtedly some hyperbole, but we get the point. On a TPC Craig Ranch course which should play relatively easy for its first run as host venue, I want players who make birdies in bunches. Mitchell totaled 20 of ‘em just a week ago, second in the Wells Fargo field.

I expect him to step on the gas pedal and keep it going this week.

[Bet Keith Mitchell at BetMGM.]

Josh Perry

Satoshi Kodaira (+40000)

This is a play solely off what we saw last week. Kodaira had no business being near the top of the board at Quail Hollow, but he managed to gain strokes both off the tee and on approach for the event. The irons deserted him on Sunday, but overall, it turned out to be a solid event for the former Harbour Town winner.

He’s shown he can come through at long odds when everyone is recovering from a major. Maybe he can duplicate that with everyone looking ahead to one.

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

Chris Murphy

Sebastian Munoz (+10000)

I have a soft spot for Munoz, I seem to go back to him at every opportunity I get. I will again this week for his potential fit at the course and an added Texas narrative.

Munoz is one of the top birdie-makers on TOUR when he’s on — and if we catch him on the right week — he can finish well in top-flight fields. He is a player that I don’t put too much stock in week to week because he seemingly flips the switch on and off without much notice.

I’ll take a flyer on the North Texas grad with the hopes he’s got his sharp game this week at a place where his game is long enough and has the scoring ability to contend throughout the weekend.

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

Matt Vincenzi

Cameron Champ (+8500)

Cam Champ is a guy who will just show up and win a PGA TOUR event every few years.

A few years have passed since his 2019 win at the Safeway Open, and the time has come for him to hoist another trophy.

He is flashing some form recently with a 34th-place finish at the Valero Texas Open and a 26th-place finish at The Masters. He also made a run at the Zurich Classic with Tony Finau as a running mate.

This is low-risk, high-reward bet that presents excellent value this week.

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

Landon Silinsky

Carlos Ortiz (+7000)

I was going to write up Sebastian Munoz in this spot but Mr. Chris Murphy already illustrated why he’s worth backing this week, so instead we’ll go back to the Ortiz well. I don’t know why I have such an affinity for this man, but I do believe he’s a much better golfer than what he’s shown of late and that we won’t be getting 70/1 prices on him for very much longer.

Ortiz ranks 34th on TOUR in BoB% and as we know is one of the better putters on the planet. I like to target him at birdie-fests, which is what we should have this week with the wide open fairways and large greens. He finished T-12 at this event in 2019 back when it was at Trinity Forrest, but that was also a course with pretty wide fairways and prime scoring conditions, so I’ll take my chances that he plays well again this week at a really nice price.

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

Rob Bolton

Talor Gooch (+8000)

As I wrote for my own Sleepers at PGATOUR.com, I love that he’s pegging it this week. It’s his fourth straight week on the road and there’s no urgency to compete, so there’s no reason to think that he’ll look past it for next week’s PGA Championship.

His athleticism plays everywhere, but in the winds of Texas on a new track, it doesn’t hurt having a native of Oklahoma taking aim in a shootout. The non-winner also has a little history on his side as the last two winners of the AT&T Byron were first-timers.

[Bet Talor Gooch at BetMGM.]

Bryan Berryman

Jhonattan Vegas (+12500)

Sticking with the profile here of guys who bomb it and then score it, Vegas is one of the few players in this field that ranks top-20 in both driving distance and birdie or better percentage over the last 50 tracked rounds. He’s quietly put together a very solid season, highlighted by the solo second-place finish at the Puerto Rico Open in February.

If you’re looking to take a shot further down the board this week, I think Vegas is a worthwhile gamble at +12500.

[Bet Jhonattan Vegas at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]
2021-masters-cut-line-brooks koepka
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Brooks Koepka

Props & Matchups

Jason Sobel

Ryan Palmer (+105) over Brooks Koepka

I’m admittedly lukewarm on Palmer as a title contender this week, but he’s a guy I like targeting in H2H matchups, because he gives us a chance to win on both Friday and Sunday. That’s because he’s made the cut in 13 straight starts and 19 of his last 20, dating back to last summer. This one, though, is as much a Koepka fade as a play on Palmer. Making his first start since the Masters, Koepka is competing here after a five-week absence. Over the past two years, he’s had six breaks of at least five weeks, for injuries or other reasons. His results in the first event back: MC-MC-28th-32nd-34th-MC.

For a guy who very possibly just wants a few competitive reps before getting motivated for next week’s major, don’t fool yourself into thinking he’ll come back full-throttle this week.

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

Chris Murphy

Kristoffer Ventura Top-30 Finish (+650)

As I’ve covered extensively this week, I am targeting the bombers at this track, and one player that stuck out to me was Kris Ventura. He is the lesser known Oklahoma State teammate of Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff, but he too has quite a bit of talent.

He was a player I took a flyer on last week and while he fell short of the cut, he fought hard from the more difficult wave and actually had nine birdies in his two rounds.

Ventura is a player that’s long off the tee, but he also ranks 6th in putting this season, which is the combo in player time I am looking for this week. His odds are too long across the board this week, but the conservative approach is the top-30 at a strong price +650.

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

Matt Vincenzi

Charl Schwartzel Top-10 Finish (+550)

I wrote up Charl as a sleeper last week at +12500, and he didn’t disappoint with his performance. He finished in 14th-place while gaining an eye-opening 6.8 strokes on approach and 10.2 strokes tee to green.

His putter held him back at Quail Hollow (-3.5), but throughout his career, he has been an above-average putter, so I think a bounce back with the flat stick is in order.

The Johannesburg, South Africa, native has had somewhat of a resurgence of late with four consecutive finishes in the top 26, including a narrow playoff loss at the Zurich Classic with Louis Oosthuizen as his partner.

I am going to ride Schwartzel’s excellent form for one more week and hope it leads to Charl getting in contention at TPC Craig Ranch

[Bet this prop at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.]

Landon Silinsky

Doug Ghim Top-10 finish (+550)

Ghim is one of the most frustrating players on TOUR right now, because he has the ball-striking chops of the game’s elites, but putts like I do when playing mini golf. Ghim ranks No. 10 on the PGA TOUR in SG: Approach on the season. That is not just in this field, that’s out of all the players on the PGA circuit. He’s been a better approach player this year than Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau and Daniel Berger, just to name a few.

This 25-year old is no joke, and if he could just improve his putting even a little bit, he’s going to be hoisting some trophies in his future. Ghim has some local connections to TPC Craig Ranch as well, as he played his college golf at the University of Texas and also finished in solo fourth place at this very course at the Korn Ferry Tour Q-School tournament back in 2019.

We’ve seen this season that when he gets a few putts to drop he boasts elite upside, so I’m willing to wager he makes enough to post a top-10 for us.

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

Rob Bolton

Marc Leishman (+138) over Will Zalatoris

Such love for Zalatoris, who is (-164) to beat Leishman. Zalatoris could bike to work from home this week and he’s antsy to turn the page on the missed cut at Quail Hollow, but I stopped in my tracks when I saw this line in favor of the Aussie, who is my outright above.

[Bet this matchup at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.]

Bryan Berryman

Luke List Top-20 finish (+220)

Luke List is no longer in the pool of golfers that I consider when taking outright bets. I’ve learned the hard way that his putting is just too inconsistent to rely on for the entirety of a golf tournament.

However, his bomb-and-gouge style of play should set up nicely this week. He averages 313 yards off the tee which ranks sixth on TOUR, and ranks 20th in this field over the last 50 rounds in birdie or better percentage.

Coming off a sixth-place finish last week where he gained strokes in every tracked category, I think he follows it up with another solid week and cracks the top 20 at +250.

[Bet this prop at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.]

MLB Odds & Picks for Mets vs. Orioles: New York Has the Edge Against Matt Harvey (Wednesday, May 12)

mlb-odds-picks-baltimore orioles-new york mets-matt harvey-may 12

Orioles vs. Mets Odds

Orioles Odds +155
Mets Odds -190
Over/Under 7.5 (-110/-110)
Time 12:10 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds updated Wednesday afternoon via BetMGM.

The New York Mets host the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday afternoon in an interleague game. Both teams have performed as they were expected to going into the season. The Mets have a 17-13 record and are in first place in the NL East. New York is in the middle of a six-game winning streak.

The Baltimore Orioles are a sharp contrast to the Mets. Baltimore was projected to finish in last place in the AL East and it currently right there in the cellar. The Orioles are 16-20 nearly one-quarter of the way into the season and are even worse on paper than they’ve performed thus far.

Baltimore has a -13 run differential which is the eighth-worst in the league. That’s thanks mostly to a weak lineup, as several of the Orioles’ pitchers are performing better than their expectations. One of those pitchers is Wednesday’s starter and old New York Mets hero Matt Harvey. Will the Orioles continue to catch lightning in a bottle with Harvey against the team for which he once starred?

_BookPromo=1557

Baltimore Orioles

After emerging as one of the best starting pitchers in the majors in the middle part of the last decade, Harvey, you might recall, fell off a cliff. He spent the last two seasons in Los Angeles and Kansas City and put up a negative WAR on each occasion, overstaying his welcome in both stops.

After seven starts in 2021, Harvey has a 3-2 record with a 3.60 ERA. However, he also has a 4.60 xFIP. At best, Harvey appears to have peaked in value this season.

While Harvey is vulnerable against the Mets, the Orioles’ lineup is in an even worse spot. The O’s average only 3.86 runs per game, which is the fifth-lowest in the league. Only the Detroit Tigers have been worse among American League teams.

With outfielder Anthony Santander hurt, the only reliable offensive players in the Orioles’ lineup are Cedric Mullins and Trey Mancini. There just simply aren’t a lot of spots in the lineup that opposing pitchers have to worry about.

_BookPromo=1425

New York Mets

Taijuan Walker has quietly been one of New York’s best starting pitchers this season. He has a 2-1 record with a 2.38 ERA, and a 3.95 xFIP, and has been averaging 5 2/3 innings per start. While Walker should regress based on his xFIP being more than a run higher than his ERA, he should do well against a weak Orioles lineup.

The other key to the Mets’ success has been their bullpen. New York’s bullpen has an xFIP of 3.59, which is the third-lowest in baseball. With pitchers like Walker keeping the bullpen out of the game until late, part of the reason why the bullpen has done well has been that it has not been overworked.

As good as the Mets’ pitching has been, they’ve needed every bit of it considering the start their offense has gotten off to. New York averages 3.48 runs per game, the third-lowest in the league.

The lineup has several underperforming hitters who you can expect to break out and start hitting up to their expectations before long, including Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso and the newly acquired Francisco Lindor.

The Mets were projected to average 4.26 runs per game this season, and their figure should tick up closer to that total eventually.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Orioles-Mets Pick

The Mets are the obvious pick against the Orioles. They have a better lineup and more reliable pitching. However, the market agrees, and we need to wait on a number that’s more appealing to bet it. At -185, there’s little value on the Mets even if they’re projected to win. Grab the game at -170 if it dips or you can shop around for it, otherwise stay away.

Pick: New York Mets Moneyline if -170 or better.

Bet $20 on the Orioles or Mets, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on the Orioles or Mets as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

FanDuel CEO Matt King Stepping Down, Complicating Company’s IPO

fanduel ceo-matt king

FanDuel‘s parent company Flutter announced Tuesday morning that FanDuel Group CEO Matt King is stepping down. Sources said that it’s King’s personal decision and nothing indicative of the business, nor is anyone else at the top expected to leave.

With King at the helm, FanDuel transformed from a leader in daily fantasy to a leader in sports betting, going head-to-head with its daily fantasy competitor DraftKings for the mobile sportsbook space. They both hit the ground running in 2019, months after the Supreme Court’s decision made it possibly for individual states to make their own decisions regarding the legality of sports gambling.

The must-have app for bettors

The best betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Flutter stock on the London Stock Exchange was down 3% on Wednesday.

Flutter, in a statement, said that King’s stepping down would affect the possible timing of its entry into the US market through an IPO, which was expected by this summer. Flutter had hoped to do so despite an arbitration with Fox, which claims its option to buy 18.5% of FanDuel should come at a discount and not the full valuation as Flutter contends.

Fox’s piece of the pie — Fox Bet and Pokerstars — only accounts for 8.4% of Flutter’s U.S. revenue, Flutter said in an earnings call late last month.

King took over in late 2017, replacing Nigel Eccles. Unlike Eccles and other early FanDuel top executives, King did cash out when Flutter bought 58% of FanDuel in 2018 and another 37% later. Sources say that also factored in to King’s decision to step away.

Preakness Stakes Medina Spirit Odds, Promo: Get a $300 Risk-Free Bet at TVG!

The Preakness is here and boy, do we have some drama on our hands!

After a shocking and controversial upset at the Kentucky Derby, Bob Baffert-trained pony Medina Sprit is listed as a 9-5 favorite to take home the second leg of the Triple Crown. The eyes of the sporting world will on this horse, and you have the chance to back Medina Spirit (or any horse) risk-free at TVG:

Get up to a $300 risk-free bet for the Preakness Stakes!

_BookPromo=1831

Here are the Details:

TVG 

Offer: Bet the Preakness Stakes risk-free up to $300

  • Bet now: Click here
  • Who’s it for? New users in AZ, AK, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, ID, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MT, NH, NJ (under 4NJBets), NM, NY, ND, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, VT, VA, WA, WV, WY

Whether you want to back the favorite or take a longshot, you won’t need to sweat the race at TVG.

To take advantage of the best promo on the market:

  • Click this link
  • Register using code RISKFREE300
  • Place your FIRST single horse win-type bet risk-free up to $300

If you don’t win your bet, no worries! TVG will give you your bet amount back as a bonus.

What are you waiting for? Head on over to TVG to bet the Preakness Stakes!

GET $300 RISK-FREE FOR THE PREAKNESS!

_BookPromo=1831

Preakness Stakes 2021 Opening Odds, Post Positions: Medina Spirit the Favorite; Bob Baffert Gets Two in Field

2021-preakness-odds-post positions-medina spirit-favorite

2021 Preakness Odds

POST POSITION  HORSE ODDS
1 Ram 30-1
2 Keepmeinmind 15-1
3 Medina Spirit 9-5
4 Crowded Trade 10-1
5 Midnight Bourbon 5-1
6 Rombauer 12-1
7 France Go De Ina 20-1
8 Unbridled Honor 15-1
9 Risk Taking 15-1
10 Concert Tour 5-2

_BookPromo=1831

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit has been tabbed as the morning-line favorite for Saturday’s 146th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

Oddsmakers made Medina Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert, the favorite at 9-5 odds in a race that will feature 10 horses going 1 3/16 miles at Pimlico. The Hall of Fame trainer also has the second betting choice in Concert Tour, who opened at 5-2 odds following Tuesday’s post-position draw.

Medina Spirit will break from the No. 3 post in the starting gate, with Concert Tour coming the No. 10 spot. Midnight Bourbon, who finished sixth in the Derby after a terrible start, drew the No. 5 post and will get reigning three-time Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle for trainer Steve Asmussen.

There was heavy speculation as to whether or not Medina Spirit and Concert Tour would be allowed to run in the second jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown after the Derby champion failed a drug test after last Saturday’s annual “Run for the Roses” at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

However,  Baffert and his legal representation came to an agreement with the Maryland Racing Commission — the governing body of thoroughbred racing in the state that oversees the Preakness — that both horses would undergo blood testing, monitoring and medical review leading up to the race.

Beautiful Gift, another Baffert-trained horse entered in Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, will also be under the same strict watch and testing guidelines. Racing officials expect test results to come back Friday for three Baffert-trained horses.

Barring any setbacks, Baffert will have two big chances at winning a record eighth Preakness in his Hall of Fame career. Concert Tour would have likely gone off as one of the top three betting choices in the Kentucky Derby had he entered, but Baffert and the horse’s connections opted to skip the race and point it toward the Preakness after he finished a third in the Arkansas Derby.

Outside of last year when the Triple Crown races were run out of standard order, Baffert has never lost a Preakness when he’s brought a Derby winner to the race. He also trained 2015 Triple Crown winners American Pharoah and Justify (2018), which are the highlights of his decorated career.

The Action Network will be providing in-depth coverage, with analysis, odds and picks leading up to the running of the Preakness. The Belmont Stakes, the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, is scheduled for June 5 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

MLB Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions for Reds vs. Pirates: Wednesday’s Classic Sharps vs. Squares Showdown

mlb-odds-picks-betting-predictions-reds-vs-pirates-wednesday-may-12

MLB Odds: Reds vs. Pirates

Reds Odds -149
Pirates Odds +137
Over/Under 7.5 (-105/-115)
Time 12:35 p.m. ET
TV SportsNet PT

Well, well, well, what do we have here?

The 2021 NFL schedule release is Wednesday night, and while that doesn’t have any direct betting implications, fans will rush to see their favorite team’s path to the playoffs. Meanwhile, bettors will use every piece of information possible to try and find value in Super Bowl odds, conference futures and win total over/unders to name a few wagering angles.

Yet, somewhat surprisingly, even with the attention the NFL will command, a day baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates is landing plenty of action from both sharp and recreational bettors.

And, spoiler alert, sharps and squares are in complete disagreement.

Let’s break down the sharp (and public) side of the game between the Reds and Pirates.

MLB Pick: Reds vs. Pirates

Sharp Action


Eighty percent of moneyline bettors are backing the Reds, while the pros keep buying back the Pirates at plus money.

Action Labs’ Bet Signals, which track and report sharp betting action in real-time, have already tracked two separate waves of smart money flooding on Pittsburgh.

PRO Systems

So, what is the result when public bettors load up on one side of an MLB matchup?

According to The Action Network’s Betting Against the Public PRO Betting System, teams being ignored by the masses, like the Pirates today, have produced a whopping profit of 166.2 units since the start of the 2005 season.

When the public zigs it can be be smart to zag, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing in this Reds vs. Pirates matchup.

Top Experts

One of our MLB betting experts is riding with the Pirates as well, jumping at the chance to snag Pittsburgh in such a profitable historical spot.

PRO Report Pick: Pirates +130

_BookPromo=351

NFL Week 1 Odds: Los Angeles Rams Favored Over Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football

bears-vs-rams-odds-spread-week-1-sunday-night-football-2021

The 2021 NFL schedule won’t fully be released until Wednesday night, but some matchups are already being leaked, like the Chicago Bears visiting the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football in Week 1.

With the ravenous appetite for the NFL as a whole, as well as NFL betting, oddsmakers wasted no time posting Bears vs. Rams spread and over/unders immediately after this Week 1 matchup was leaked even though the game is still about four months away.

Here’s Bears vs. Rams opening odds from the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.

Schedule Day Special: Deposit $50, Get $100!

Deposit $50 at BetRivers or SugarHouse

Get $100 FREE automatically

New users only

NFL Week 1 Odds: Bears vs. Rams

Both the Rams and Bears will have new starting quarterbacks in 2021.

Los Angeles dealt former starter Jared Goff to Detroit for Matthew Stafford, while Chicago let Mitchell Trubisky walk (before eventually signing with the Buffalo Bills) before signing Andy Dalton as a free agent and trading up in the NFL Draft to select Justin Fields.

Dalton is expected to be the Bears’ Week 1 starter at quarterback, but it would not be surprising to see Fields under center against the Rams should he impress throughout offseason workouts and the preseason.

According to Jeff Sherman of the Westgate SuperBook, the Rams opened as 6.5-point favorites against the Bears for Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season.

The Bears vs. Rams over/under is 43.5, suggesting oddsmakers already expect a lower-scoring Sunday Night Football matchup.

Obviously there is plenty of time for the Bears vs. Rams spread and over/under to move over the next four months, so be sure to check in at The Action Network’s NFL Live Odds page for the latest Week 1 odds movement.

The must-have app for NFL bettors

The best NFL betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

2021 NFL Schedule Release: 4 Key Factors, Including 17th Game & Bye Weeks

2021-nfl-schedule-release-17th-game-bye-weeks-tnf

The 2021-2022 NFL schedule is set to drop on Wednesday, May 12. While the opponents have been known for a while, this will be the first chance to know exactly when and where every game will take place.

After seeing many empty stadiums during last season, the schedule release may be an opportunity to plan a tailgate or road trip for many, but for bettors it’s a good time to start focusing on win totals and futures that may have value.

Here are the key factors to look for when the schedule drops on Wednesday.

Schedule Day Special: Deposit $50, Get $100!

Deposit $50 at BetRivers or SugarHouse

Get $100 FREE automatically

New users only

4 NFL Schedule Release Factors

1. 17-Game Schedule

If you haven’t been paying close attention this offseason, you may have missed that the NFL increased the number of games to 17. This year, the teams in the AFC will play nine home games and eight away games and vice versa for the NFC teams.

While this may seem unbalanced, there is no home-field advantage to be gained in the Super Bowl, so best overall record has no meaning between conferences.

The area where it may make a difference is parity within divisions. Division winners from last year will have to play each other, which could help some teams that finished lower in the standings.

As an example, the Packers 17th game is a trip to Kansas City, while in the same division the Bears go on the road to play the Raiders. That is a clear advantage for Chicago.

2. Bye Weeks

There was some speculation that the NFL would add an additional bye along with the extra game, but for now it is sticking with one bye week per team.

For bye weeks, it’s less about the “when” and more about the “who.” There isn’t really advantage to having your bye week early in the season vs. late as far as we can tell.

Teams coming off of a bye facing teams on a regular week of rest have seen an increase of 3%-5% in win probability compared to playing teams with the same amount of rest.

Home teams overall have won 57.2% in our Bet Labs database, while home teams with the bye advantage have won 60.9% of games. That may not seem like a huge jump, but if you can get those extra percentage points against a key opponent, it can increase your odds at a better seed in the playoffs.

You can also have multiple opponents play your team after its bye. With all of the scheduling quirks, it is bound to happen to some teams. When the schedule is released, you hope for your favorite team to see as few as possible.

3. Thursday Night Football Games

Every team is going to play one game on short rest. Home teams have gained approximately 2% in win probability in Thursday games compared to the normal week on a Sunday or Monday.

Last season was the first season in which home teams on short rest had a losing season. Many of those games were moved around and played in front of smaller or no crowds so I would expect that result to be the exception to the norm.

4. Early-Season Schedule

On paper, every team is going to have what looks to be tough stretches. This will have no impact on win probability but could be an opportunity to wait and buy low on futures if you like a team overall, but think it could get off to a rough start.

A prime example from last year is the Houston Texans, who started the season like this:

  • Week 1: at Kansas City
  • Week 2: vs. Baltimore
  • Week 3: at Pittsburgh

Starting the season facing three of the toughest teams in the AFC with two on the road was not an easy stretch. Surely enough the Texans lost all three games.

If you liked the Texans overall before the season, you could stand pat and get a better price on futures simply by waiting.

The must-have app for NFL bettors

The best NFL betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

2021 AT&T Byron Nelson Sleeper Picks: Our Favorite Longshot Bets at TPC Craig Ranch

With the second major of the season just around the corner, the PGA TOUR heads to a new venue this week for the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson. One of the great things about betting on golf is that every week is different. No two fields, courses or tournaments are the same week to week. It’s like you get to be a bite-sized sports season every seven days. It’s truly beautiful.

Without any course history to go off of this week, bettors are flying a bit blind. But while some may look at that as a disadvantage, it could also be viewed as an opportunity to take some shots down the board. We don’t really know how anybody will take to TPC Craig Ranch and that could lead to some bedlam on the leaderboard.

Here are our favorite sleeper picks and longshot bets for the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson:

The must-have app for sports bettors

Custom scoreboard for your bets

Free picks from experts

Live odds for every game

Jason Sobel

Keith Mitchell (+6600)

I don’t usually like chasing non-superstars after title contentions. There are a finite number of times that these players will contend in a given season and chances aren’t great that they’ll happen in back-to-back weeks.

That said, I can’t resist this number for Mitchell, who held the 54-hole lead at Quail Hollow and finished in a share of third place. I love how he’s driving it right now. In fact, during the weekend telecast, Jim Nantz quoted Brandt Snedeker, who was Mitchell’s partner at the Zurich Classic and said he put on the greatest driving exhibition he’d ever seen that week, then added that Mitchell would’ve won by 10 if it was an individual event.

That’s undoubtedly some hyperbole, but we get the point. On a TPC Craig Ranch course which should play relatively easy for its first run as host venue, I want players who make birdies in bunches. Mitchell totaled 20 of ‘em just a week ago, second in the Wells Fargo field.

I expect him to step on the gas pedal and keep it going this week.

[Bet Keith Mitchell at BetMGM.]

Josh Perry

Satoshi Kodaira (+40000)

This is a play solely off what we saw last week. Kodaira had no business being near the top of the board at Quail Hollow, but he managed to gain strokes both off the tee and on approach for the event. The irons deserted him on Sunday, but overall, it turned out to be a solid event for the former Harbour Town winner.

He’s shown he can come through at long odds when everyone is recovering from a major. Maybe he can duplicate that with everyone looking ahead to one.

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

Chris Murphy

Sebastian Munoz (+10000)

I have a soft spot for Munoz, I seem to go back to him at every opportunity I get. I will again this week for his potential fit at the course and an added Texas narrative.

Munoz is one of the top birdie-makers on TOUR when he’s on — and if we catch him on the right week — he can finish well in top-flight fields. He is a player that I don’t put too much stock in week to week because he seemingly flips the switch on and off without much notice.

I’ll take a flyer on the North Texas grad with the hopes he’s got his sharp game this week at a place where his game is long enough and has the scoring ability to contend throughout the weekend.

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

Matt Vincenzi

Cameron Champ (+8500)

Cam Champ is a guy who will just show up and win a PGA TOUR event every few years.

A few years have passed since his 2019 win at the Safeway Open, and the time has come for him to hoist another trophy.

He is flashing some form recently with a 34th-place finish at the Valero Texas Open and a 26th-place finish at The Masters. He also made a run at the Zurich Classic with Tony Finau as a running mate.

This is low-risk, high-reward bet that presents excellent value this week.

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

Landon Silinsky

Carlos Ortiz (+7000)

I was going to write up Sebastian Munoz in this spot but Mr. Chris Murphy already illustrated why he’s worth backing this week, so instead we’ll go back to the Ortiz well. I don’t know why I have such an affinity for this man, but I do believe he’s a much better golfer than what he’s shown of late and that we won’t be getting 70/1 prices on him for very much longer.

Ortiz ranks 34th on TOUR in BoB% and as we know is one of the better putters on the planet. I like to target him at birdie-fests, which is what we should have this week with the wide open fairways and large greens. He finished T-12 at this event in 2019 back when it was at Trinity Forrest, but that was also a course with pretty wide fairways and prime scoring conditions, so I’ll take my chances that he plays well again this week at a really nice price.

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

Rob Bolton

Talor Gooch (+8000)

As I wrote for my own Sleepers at PGATOUR.com, I love that he’s pegging it this week. It’s his fourth straight week on the road and there’s no urgency to compete, so there’s no reason to think that he’ll look past it for next week’s PGA Championship.

His athleticism plays everywhere, but in the winds of Texas on a new track, it doesn’t hurt having a native of Oklahoma taking aim in a shootout. The non-winner also has a little history on his side as the last two winners of the AT&T Byron were first-timers.

[Bet Talor Gooch at BetMGM.]

Bryan Berryman

Jhonattan Vegas (+12500)

Sticking with the profile here of guys who bomb it and then score it, Vegas is one of the few players in this field that ranks top-20 in both driving distance and birdie or better percentage over the last 50 tracked rounds. He’s quietly put together a very solid season, highlighted by the solo second-place finish at the Puerto Rico Open in February.

If you’re looking to take a shot further down the board this week, I think Vegas is a worthwhile gamble at +12500.

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

 

2021 AT&T Byron Nelson Picks: Our Favorite Props & Matchups at TPC Craig Ranch

With the second major of the season just around the corner, the PGA TOUR heads to a new venue this week for the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson. One of the great things about betting on golf is that every week is different. No two fields, courses or tournaments are the same week to week. It’s like you get to be a bite-sized sports season every seven days. It’s truly beautiful.

Here are our favorite matchups and prop bets for the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson:

The must-have app for sports bettors

Custom scoreboard for your bets

Free picks from experts

Live odds for every game

Jason Sobel

Ryan Palmer (+105) over Brooks Koepka

I’m admittedly lukewarm on Palmer as a title contender this week, but he’s a guy I like targeting in H2H matchups, because he gives us a chance to win on both Friday and Sunday. That’s because he’s made the cut in 13 straight starts and 19 of his last 20, dating back to last summer. This one, though, is as much a Koepka fade as a play on Palmer. Making his first start since the Masters, Koepka is competing here after a five-week absence. Over the past two years, he’s had six breaks of at least five weeks, for injuries or other reasons. His results in the first event back: MC-MC-28th-32nd-34th-MC.

For a guy who very possibly just wants a few competitive reps before getting motivated for next week’s major, don’t fool yourself into thinking he’ll come back full-throttle this week.

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

Chris Murphy

Kristoffer Ventura Top-30 Finish (+650)

As I’ve covered extensively this week, I am targeting the bombers at this track, and one player that stuck out to me was Kris Ventura. He is the lesser known Oklahoma State teammate of Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff, but he too has quite a bit of talent.

He was a player I took a flyer on last week and while he fell short of the cut, he fought hard from the more difficult wave and actually had nine birdies in his two rounds.

Ventura is a player that’s long off the tee, but he also ranks 6th in putting this season, which is the combo in player time I am looking for this week. His odds are too long across the board this week, but the conservative approach is the top-30 at a strong price +650.

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

Matt Vincenzi

Charl Schwartzel Top-10 Finish (+550)

I wrote up Charl as a sleeper last week at +12500, and he didn’t disappoint with his performance. He finished in 14th-place while gaining an eye-opening 6.8 strokes on approach and 10.2 strokes tee to green.

His putter held him back at Quail Hollow (-3.5), but throughout his career, he has been an above-average putter, so I think a bounce back with the flat stick is in order.

The Johannesburg, South Africa, native has had somewhat of a resurgence of late with four consecutive finishes in the top 26, including a narrow playoff loss at the Zurich Classic with Louis Oosthuizen as his partner.

I am going to ride Schwartzel’s excellent form for one more week and hope it leads to Charl getting in contention at TPC Craig Ranch

[Bet this prop at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.]

Landon Silinsky

Doug Ghim Top-10 finish (+550)

Ghim is one of the most frustrating players on TOUR right now, because he has the ball-striking chops of the game’s elites, but putts like I do when playing mini golf. Ghim ranks No. 10 on the PGA TOUR in SG: Approach on the season. That is not just in this field, that’s out of all the players on the PGA circuit. He’s been a better approach player this year than Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau and Daniel Berger, just to name a few.

This 25-year old is no joke, and if he could just improve his putting even a little bit, he’s going to be hoisting some trophies in his future. Ghim has some local connections to TPC Craig Ranch as well, as he played his college golf at the University of Texas and also finished in solo fourth place at this very course at the Korn Ferry Tour Q-School tournament back in 2019.

We’ve seen this season that when he gets a few putts to drop he boasts elite upside, so I’m willing to wager he makes enough to post a top-10 for us.

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

Rob Bolton

Marc Leishman (+138) over Will Zalatoris

Such love for Zalatoris, who is (-164) to beat Leishman. Zalatoris could bike to work from home this week and he’s antsy to turn the page on the missed cut at Quail Hollow, but I stopped in my tracks when I saw this line in favor of the Aussie, who is my outright above.

[Bet this matchup at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.]

Bryan Berryman

Luke List Top-20 finish (+220)

Luke List is no longer in the pool of golfers that I consider when taking outright bets. I’ve learned the hard way that his putting is just too inconsistent to rely on for the entirety of a golf tournament.

However, his bomb-and-gouge style of play should set up nicely this week. He averages 313 yards off the tee which ranks sixth on TOUR, and ranks 20th in this field over the last 50 rounds in birdie or better percentage.

Coming off a sixth-place finish last week where he gained strokes in every tracked category, I think he follows it up with another solid week and cracks the top 20 at +250.

[Bet this prop at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.]

 

2021 AT&T Byron Nelson Picks: Our Best Outright Bets at TPC Craig Ranch

2021 at&t byron nelson best bets-picks

With the second major of the season just around the corner, the PGA TOUR heads to a new venue this week for the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson. One of the great things about betting on golf is that every week is different. No two fields, courses or tournaments are the same week to week. It’s like you get to be a bite-sized sports season every seven days. It’s truly beautiful.

Which players does Team GolfBet have their eye on this week for an outright bet? Check out our favorite win-bets at the AT&T Byron Nelson below:

The must-have app for sports bettors

Custom scoreboard for your bets

Free picks from experts

Live odds for every game

Jason Sobel

Scottie Scheffler (+1900)

I expect this to be a popular play this week, considering Scheffler owns some very Spiethian vibes at this event. The 24-year-old first played here at the age of 17, posting his final three scores in the 60s and finishing in a share of 22nd place – good enough to beat the likes of Martin Kaymer, who was only in between winning The Players and the U.S. Open that week.

While most players use a return to a specific course to give them a little mojo for the week, Scheffler might have it here – even at a different venue – just based on familiarity with the community and the tournament staff. On a week with so many unknowns, that’s as good a reason as any.

Even with some big names in the field, this event feels like it could wind up being the domain of a first-time winner – and few are more deserving of a first victory than Scheffler. Also, I went down the rabbit hole of the dark web and found that 9-year-old “Scott Alexander Scheffler” won the nine-hole, coed, age 7-9 division of the Metro Area Championship by seven strokes right at this very same TPC Craig Ranch.

Yup, those are actual things that happened – him winning here and me actually researching it.

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

Josh Perry

Matt Kuchar (+7000)

I’m going to take a stab on Matt Kuchar in this range. Kuchar hasn’t really played much of a factor since the restart about a year ago, but he’s found his game the past month.

Kuchar has three top-20s in his last four starts, including a couple of solid results in Texas with a third at Match Play and a 12th at Valero. With his approach game coming back around and his usual strength on the greens, this could be a spot for the veteran to play well.

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

Chris Murphy

Bryson DeChambeau (+800)

I typically don’t backing players this high up the board and I know it’s not a sexy pick, but from what I have gathered this week, everything sets up well for Bryson.

This appears to be a course where he can simply set up to bomb it off the tee, with little to no trouble around most landing areas. He will be able to reach all of the Par 5s with ease, and will be one player in the field that can challenge both of the drive-able Par 4s without much additional thought.

One thing that I continue to harp on is just how good Bryson is with the flat stick. He ranks 38th on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting this season, and with the large greens around TPC Craig Ranch, it could turn into a bit of a putting contest.

I don’t like the odds we are getting this week, but I believe DeChambeau will be the winner, possibly going away, which locks him in as my favorite outright for the AT&T Byron Nelson.

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

Matt Vincenzi

Sergio Garcia (+5000)

Against my better judgment, I’m going back to Sergio once again. Hear me out: Sergio was playing excellent golf prior to back-to-back missed cuts, and the pressure of Augusta National seemed to have gotten to him in the 2021 Masters.

However, before his most recent victory at the 2020 Sanderson Farms Championship, the Spaniard was also coming off back-to-back missed cuts. Relative to the guys around him on the oddsboard, I see a lot of value with Garcia here.

He still stripes it off of the tee and can take advantage of the four short par-5s and drivable par-4s.

Yes, he is a horrific putter, but bentgrass is his best surface and he has an excellent history in the state of Texas, having won the Byron Nelson twice. Just close your eyes and bet it.

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

Landon Silinsky

Matt Fitzpatrick (+2100)

It feels as though Fitz has the reputation of being more of a tough course guy, but believe it or not he ranks 30th on the PGA TOUR in Birdie or Better percentage this season. He has really been lighting it up.

A lot of this is thanks to his elite putter, as he ranks No. 1 in this field in SG: Putting across his last 48, 36, 16 and 12 rounds. We always knew about the Englishman’s prowess with the flat stick, however, it’s his ball-striking that has vastly improved, as he also ranks ninth in this field in SG: Off-the-Tee, and 11th in both SG: Tee-to-Green and Ball-Striking across his past 36 rounds.

Fitz has gotten himself up to No. 17 in the world and is in the midst of the best stretch of golf in his young career. He finished T-4 at the RBC Heritage, T-9 at THE PLAYERS, T-10 at the API, T-11 at the WGC Concession and T-5 at Genesis. That doesn’t even include his respectable T-34 at Augusta as well. Whichever way you slice it, the man is locked in right now and it’s simply a matter of time before he posts his first career win stateside.

This would be a great week to get it done, as a hot putter could carry him, while the bigger greens at TPC Craig Ranch will mitigate his recent approach play doldrums.

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

Rob Bolton

Marc Leishman (+3400)

The legend of his value in the wind, at least as we know it in the U.S. today, was launched at the Korn Ferry Tour’s WNB Golf Classic in 2008. In a gale in Midland, Texas, he prevailed by 11 strokes at 21-under 267.

Remarkably, while known mudders don’t always deliver on their promise in inclement conditions, the Aussie is as close to a lock as it gets when the trousers are flapping.

The winds will front the equation by the weekend at TPC Craig Ranch where confident ball-striking is required on a largely unknown test.

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

Bryan Berryman

Ryan Palmer (+4000)

The winning score this week should eclipse 20-under par and with little trouble to worry about off the tee, I’m looking for bombers who can make a ton of birdies.

Over the last 50 rounds, Palmer ranks 9th in this field in Birdie or Better percentage and 29th in driving distance. That’s going to be the recipe for success this week. If he can get the putter going like it was earlier in the season, I like his chances to win this event at +4000.

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

2021 AT&T Byron Nelson First-Round Leader Bets and Picks: Spieth, Leishman and Wise Provide Value at TPC Craig Ranch

2021 byron nelson first round leader

THE PGA TOUR heads to Texas this week for the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch. This is the TOUR debut for this Tom Weiskopf design, so we don’t have any course history to lean on when trying to find some value in the First-Round Leader (FRL) market. But that’s why I’m here to help with my six favorite first-round leader bets for the AT&T Byron Nelson:

The must-have app for golf bettors

Custom scoreboard for your bets

Free picks from experts

Live odds for every golfer

Jordan Spieth | +2800 

Tee time: 1:33 p.m. ET

The Texas native first played this event in 2010 as a 16-year-old amateur on a sponsor’s invite. Spieth went on to make the cut  and finish — wait for it– T16 in was his first-ever PGA TOUR start.

Fast forward 11 years and not surprisingly, Spieth is one of the game’s biggest stars. Although he is coming out of a four-year rut, Spieth won again at the Valero Texas Open a few months back, so his game seems to be in a great place right now.

Despite a very middle-of-the-pack first round scoring average, Spieth loves golf in the state of Texas. Especially when the Jesuit Prep Alum gets to play in his hometown.

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

Matt Fitzpatrick | +3300 

Tee time: 1:33 p.m. ET

I love to tout the young Englishman whenever I can, and this week is no exception. He’s one of the best ball-strikers on TOUR, and all signs indicate that SG: Approach will be a key factor in handicapping this tournament.

SG: APP will play a factor in your selections.

“Call me Matt, not Matthew”, aka Fitzy, can flight shots low into the wind, because he’s from England. Where the wind blows and sheep fly. (I think?)

Fitzpatrick is known to get off to blazing starts on Thursdays, and after his recent break, I suspect this week will be no different.

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

Scottie Scheffler | +3300 

Tee time: 1:33 p.m. ET

Add another Texas grad to the list with Scottie Scheffler. He boasts a 69.6 first-round scoring average, which is good enough to sit comfortably inside the top-10 on TOUR.

It’s also worth mentioning, much like his good friend Jordan Spieth, Scheffler also had a stellar amateur performance at this event in 2014.

He’s been such a consistent player the last two years, it’s hard to imagine he only just won Rookie of the Year honors for 2020.

[Bet Scottie Scheffler at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]
muirfield village course history ratings-workday charity open-marc leishman
Photo credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Marc Leishman

Marc Leishman | +5000 

Tee time: 8:34 a.m. ET

Three Australians have won this event in the last 20 years: Adam Scott (’08). Jason Day (’10) and Stephen Bowditch (’15). The Aussies just love this windy, desert golf that Texas offers. It must remind these blokes of Down Under.

Leishman is in great form, finished solo second at this event in 2018 (albeit on a different course) and is known to go low here and there.

Leishman is a solid pick all around in Dallas.

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

Thomas Pieters | +6600 

Tee time: 2:50 p.m. ET

The fiery Belgian tends to pop up every so often on the PGA TOUR, only to find himself with great odds and very little respect from the Vegas bookmakers. (Much to my delight).

After being ranked as high as the Top-30 in the Official World Golf Rankings, the former Fighting Illini has since dropped to just outside the Top-80. However, that should not deter you from betting him.  Pieters enters the week 6th in SG:APP and 12th in SG:Ball Striking.

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

Aaron Wise | +6600 

Tee time: 8:34 a.m. ET

The 2018 winner is a roll-coaster ride of a player. His game has been returning to form recently, and he looks poised for a hot start in Dallas.

His ball-striking stats are great, but he struggles a little bit with the putter. If he can keep hitting it close, the putting might not really matter — especially in just a single round. Wise also played well last week in Charlotte, where he netted a top-10 finish.

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

Suns vs. Warriors NBA Odds & Picks: Fade Curry & Golden State on Back-to-Back (May 11)

nba-betting-odds-pick-suns-warriors-may 11

Suns vs. Warriors Odds

Suns Odds -5
Warriors Odds +5
Moneyline -195 / +160
Over/Under 229.5
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds as of Tuesday morning and via DraftKings.

The NBA play-in tournament begins a week from Tuesday. As we enter the final week of the regular season, we have an exciting game on Tuesday evening featuring the No. 2 seed Phoenix Suns as they visit the Bay Area to take on the No. 8 seed Golden State Warriors.

If the season ended today, the Warriors would face the Lakers in the play-in tournament, and the winner of that game would face the Suns in the first round of the playoffs.

Chris Paul and Steph Curry have had their share of battles over the years. Including the many playoff games, these two will be facing off against each other for the 60th time in their NBA careers.

This should make for an exciting night with two future Hall-of-Famers duking it out and playoff seeding still potentially on the line.  Which team will prevail? Let’s examine below.

_BookPromo=608

Phoenix Suns

The Suns’ offense is a well-oiled machine with Paul running the show. Since the All-Star break, they have ranked second in the league in offensive rating (117.2), second in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.14) and third in effective field goal percentage (56.6%), per NBA Advanced Stats.

On the flip side, their defensive rating (112.1) has slipped to 18th in the league in that same time span.

Phoenix has been able to rely on its offense to lead it to the top of the West. This may not prove to be too much of a hindrance against an inept offensive team such as the Warriors. If Curry is not bombing 3-pointers, I don’t see the Golden State having much of a chance to keep up with the Suns’ offense.

As mentioned above, this will be the 60th time these two players face off. For the record, Paul’s teams (Pelicans, Clippers, Rockets, Thunder, Suns) have been 22-27 (44.9%) straight up but have had a 26-22-1 (54.1%) ATS record.

Dating back to Dec. 7, 2016, in the last eight regular-season games that Curry and Paul have faced each other, Curry has averaged only 23.5 points per game while shooting only 43% from the field, per the SDQL. Paul usually brings his “A” game on defense to face Curry.

When elite teams (defined as teams with a win percentage greater than .600) off a loss face off against a team with no rest, they have gone 79-52-2 (60.3%) ATS since the 2017-18 season, per the SDQL. This is active with the Suns, as they look to avenge their loss to the Lakers against the fatigued Warriors.

The must-have app for NBA bettors

The best NBA betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors’ season has been nothing special. Rookie James Wiseman had his season ended early with a torn ACL, Klay Thompson missed his second season in a row and a season of mediocrity has raised questions about Steve Kerr as a coach.

Yet, here they are on the verge of making the play-in tournament, thanks to Curry carrying the team on his shoulders. He is averaging 31.9 points per game and is close to adding another scoring title to his resume.

After an impressive win over the Jazz on Monday evening, the Warriors will finish the final three games of the season at home against the Suns, Pelicans and Grizzlies. At this point, it’s a strong possibility the Warriors will face the Lakers in the play-in tournament, which would be a gift for all NBA fans.

The Warriors’ defense has really impressed this season. Going into Thursday’s games, they rank fifth in defensive rating (109.2) and third in opponents’ effective field goal percentage (52.1%) in the league, per NBA Advanced Stats. Draymond Green is undoubtedly the anchor behind this defensive unit, but Andrew Wiggins has really stepped up this season, using his length to wreak havoc on his defensive assignment.

On the other hand, their offense has not been up to par, ranking only 23rd in offensive rating (115.9) for the season. If Curry isn’t scoring, there’s little offense that gets generated outside of Wiggins. Kelly Oubre is out with a wrist injury, so they will really have to count on Curry to have a big game to get past the tough Suns. The Warriors have not fared well as an underdog this season, going 16-23 (41.0%) ATS, per the SDQL database.

Home underdogs with no rest off a win as a home underdog have gone 14-35 (28.6%) ATS in the history of the SDQL database, dating back to the 1995-96 season. This is active on the Warriors. Teams in this situation expended all of their energy overcoming odds the night before and struggle the following game. I don’t expect the Warriors to pull an upset two nights in a row against the league’s best teams.

Suns-Warriors Pick

My recommendation is to side with the impressive Suns on Tuesday evening.

Their offense has been incredible, and they will be looking to avenge a loss against the Lakers on Sunday night. They will give their best effort to catch up to the Jazz to overtake the No. 1 seed and avoid a potential first-round matchup against the Lakers.

Paul should continue to bring his best against Curry, who does not have many reinforcements to help overcome the Suns. I expect the Warriors to be a little flat after their upset of the Jazz the evening before and now on the second game of a back-to-back.

With all the factors I mention above, I make the line on this game Suns -7 and therefore see an edge at the current line of -5 and would play it up to -6.5.

Pick: Suns -5 (Play to -6.5).

Bet $20 on the Suns, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on the Suns as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

Updated Knicks vs. Lakers Odds: LeBron James Injury Moving Tuesday Night’s Spread & Over/Under

lebron-james-injury-out-knicks-vs-lakers-odds-spread-tuesday-may-11

Knicks vs. Lakers Odds

Knicks Odds +3
Lakers Odds -3
Over/Under 212.5
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV SportsNet LA

LeBron James’ return to the court will have to wait at least one more games as the King’s injured ankle will keep him out of tonight’s matchup with the New York Knicks.

There was initially some optimism that LeBron would be able to play, but Lakers fans will have to wait a bit longer for the return of their star.

This has also had an effect on Knicks vs. Lakers odds as well.

LeBron James Injury Impact

With the potential of James returning to action, the Knicks vs. Lakers spread sat at Los Angeles -5.5.

However, that number has adjusted to Lakers -3 at PointsBet on the news that LeBron will not be in action tonight.

That this doesn’t mean that LeBron is worth just two points to the spread as oddsmakers were very much pricing the chances that he wouldn’t play into the original 5.5-point spread.

The Knicks vs. Lakers over/under has also dropped from 213.5 to 212.5 due to LeBron’s absence.

Be sure to visit our live NBA odds page for the latest Knicks vs. Lakers spread and over/under movement.

According to The Action Network’s NBA public betting data, 67% of spread bettors have taken the Knicks tonight, while 66% of tickets on the total have come in on the over.

The must-have app for NBA bettors

The best NBA betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

2021 WNBA Title Odds: Seattle Storm, Las Vegas Aces Favored After Finals Matchup

wnba-title-odds-seattle-storm-las vegas aces-favored

2021 WNBA Title Odds

Via DraftKings

Team Odds
Seattle Storm +175
Las Vegas Aces +300
Washington Mystics +350
Los Angeles Sparks +550
Chicago Sky +1000
Phoenix Mercury +1000
Minnesota Lynx +1400
Atlanta Dream +6000
Dallas Wings +6000
New York Liberty +6000
Indiana Fever +8000

With a quick preseason tune-up ending on Tuesday night, the WNBA regular season will tip off on Friday with the Seattle Storm sitting as the betting favorite to win the title.

Seattle, the defending champions after sweeping the Las Vegas Aces in the 2020 championship, are +175 to repeat in 2021. Las Vegas is close behind at +300 along with the Washington Mystics at +350.

The Storm must replace a few key pieces, but bringing back WNBA Finals MVP Breanna Stewart is a good place to start. Stewart, the 2018 MVP, averaged 19 points per game in 2020, her first season since tearing her Achilles in 2019. Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd are also back, but attention will be on newcomer Katie Lou Samuelson, who was acquired this offseason from Dallas. The team also drafted Kiana Williams out of Stanford in the first round and signed veteran Candice Dupree.

Leading scorer A’ja Wilson is back for the Aces, but Las Vegas caught a tough break when Angel McCoughtry suffered a torn ACL last week. However, returning point guard Kelsey Plum (ACL) and Liz Cambage (opt-out) will be key additions that were missing last season.

The Mystics, the 2019 champion, will go as far as Elena Delle Donne can take them. The two-time MVP has struggled to stay healthy at times and missed the 2020 season due to concerns over COVID-19. She’s back this year, although her status for the opening game is in question.

She won’t have to do it all alone, as Tina Charles will also return after missing the 2020 season. They’ll join breakout star, Myishia Hines-Allen, who averaged 17 points per game last year.

The Sparks have to replace top scorers Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray, but returning Chiney Ogwumike as well as bringing in Erica Wheeler and Amanda Zahui B. can help.

The Chicago Sky and Phoenix Mercury round out the top-five on the oddsboard in a tie at +1000.

The Sky made a huge splash bringing in Naperville, Ill., native Candace Parker to her hometown team, adding championship aspirations to a core already featuring Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley.

Phoenix will feature a Big Three of Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith.

 

NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: 3 Rebounding Overs For Tuesday (May 11)

nba-player-prop-bets-picks-tuesday-may-11-2021

Some betting days are tough, and it’s easy to get down in the dumps when you come one assist away from hitting a big parlay, but bettors need to have a short memory and look ahead to the next payday instead of looking back.

In other words, betting is often about rebounding, and Tuesday’s NBA prop picks are all about rebounding. Even better, they’re all at plus juice. It’s a rare Plus Juice Bounce Back Rebounding Day here at The Action Network!

For those who are new to this article, we’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.

Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I’m playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.

NBA Player Props & Picks

Tristan Thompson Over 9.5 Rebounds (+110)

Celtics vs. Heat Celtics +1.5
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Best Book BetMGM

The poor Boston Celtics must have forgotten to renew the luck on their three-leaf clover. Boston has been besieged by injuries all season, and now that Jaylen Brown is out for the season, it feels like it’s time to just get to the offseason and try again next year.

Alas, there are still a few games left to be played, and the Celtics are still jostling for playoff positioning — and this game against the Heat is huge. Boston has to win to have any chance of avoiding the play-in tournament. And since it looks like Robert Williams will be out, too, that pretty much leaves Tristan Thompson as the last big man standing wearing green. He should get heavy minutes, as many as he can handle matching up with Bam Adebayo.

These teams just played over the weekend, and Thompson recorded 12 rebounds off the bench. He’ll start this one with Timelord out, and Thompson has always been a tough rebounder and should have big opportunity and need with another tough rebounder in Brown missing.

Sure enough, Thompson’s rebounding numbers are up lately. He’s averaging 10.8 rebounds per game over his last five outings, and he’s gone over 9.5 boards in four of the five, despite coming off the bench for two of them. Add in the extra minutes, and we have a good shot at double digits again here.

We project Thompson at 10.8 boards, so I like this at any plus number or down to -110.

_BookPromo=245


Khris Middleton Over 5.5 Rebounds (+120)

Bucks vs. Magic Bucks -13
Time 9 p.m. ET
Best Book PointsBet

Some players are just tough to set a line for. Khris Middleton averages 6.0 rebounds per game this season, and he’s been right at or just above 6.0 RPG three seasons straight now. Players who average something close to a whole number make for tough lines — do you set it at 5.5 and force the over better to drink the juice, or do you push it to 6.5 and juice the under?

Somehow we’re being afforded an Option C here, with an opportunity to bet the over and get odds in our favor.

The Bucks were embarrassed by the Spurs on Monday night, and I expect them to come out focused and prepared on Tuesday night. Middleton has done his thing, with steady if not unspectacular numbers and terrific shooting across the board, just like usual. But his rebounding numbers are up lately, which plays in our favor.

He’s gone over 5.5 rebounds in four of his last five games. He’s also over in 10 of his last 16, hitting our over 62.5% of the time. His rebounding average is still right at 6.1 RPG during that stretch, but that’s because of three outlier low games with one, two, and two rebounds. Outside of those three, he’s up to 7.2 RPG across the other 13 recent games.

With Middleton’s rebounds and minutes up, this over is in our favor, especially with such strong odds in our direction. We just need to hope the Bucks don’t come out too focused and blow the Magic out, limiting minutes, but otherwise I like our chances.

I’d play this at any plus number.

_BookPromo=19


RJ Barrett Over 5.5 Rebounds (+100)

Knicks at Lakers Knicks +5.5
Time  10 p.m. ET
Best Book FanDuel

Folks, I don’t wish to alarm you, but Tom Thibodeau is overplaying one of his most reliable players again.

RJ Barrett is among the league leaders in minutes played this season. He’s averaging 34.9 minutes per game on the season and rarely gets a night off, and his minutes are up even further as the season hits the home stretch.

Over the last nine games, Barrett is up to a whopping 39.3 minutes per game, and with a few Knicks out injured and a key game against the Lakers, it’s not like Thibs is going to magically start pulling back the reins now. Barrett is averaging 19.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game during this recent stretch, and he’s gone over 5.5 rebounds in seven of the nine games, hitting the over 78% of the time.

For the season, Barrett is at 5.8 RPG, which is still in our favor, even without the extra minutes boost. He had gone over 5.5 rebounds in 28-of-51 games even before this recent stretch, still hitting the over 55% of the time and now 58% of the games on the full season.

It might be time for the books to bump this line to 6.5. That’s about where we project Barrett, and I’ll grab the over at even odds or play to -120 if needed.

_BookPromo=24

Louisiana Sports Betting Bill Continues to Advance (May 11)

louisiana-sports-betting-bill-advances-may-11

Louisiana lawmakers advanced an online and retail sports betting regulation bill Tuesday in another key step forward for legal wagering in the state.

A Senate judiciary committee passed the bill, which would allow online betting in most Louisiana parishes, without opposition. It could see a vote before the full Senate floor later this month.

Tuesday’s vote comes a day after the House of Representatives passed a companion taxation bill 77-24. Louisiana law requires tax bills to originate in the House and all bills must pass through both chambers with two-thirds supermajorities. Lawmakers in both chambers must also approve identical versions of the regulatory bill before legal wagering can begin, which still likely wouldn’t come until 2022.

These key moves will have bolstered hopes lawmakers will finalize all necessary sports betting legislation before the 2021 regular session adjourns next month. It took lawmakers two years to pass similar daily fantasy legislation; leading DFS providers such as FanDuel and DraftKings aren’t expected to launch until later this year even though Louisiana voters first approved these games in 2018.

Louisiana Sports Betting Bill Details

The regulatory bill would allow the state’s riverboat casinos, horse tracks and lone land-based casino in New Orleans to open retail sportsbooks. Eligible bettors age 21 and up physically located in 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes (which covers all major Louisiana metro areas) will be able to digitally register, deposit and wager within those municipalities from their smartphones or other mobile devices.

Republican Senate President Page Cortez sponsors the regulatory bill, giving it political weight in the GOP-controlled legislature. Cortez said Tuesday the latest version comes with extensive collaboration between lawmakers and would-be Louisiana sports betting stakeholders.

Each of the state’s 20 retail gaming facilities could partner with two separate sportsbook brands, or “skins.” The state lottery could also launch a digital sportsbook, bringing 41 potential online sportsbooks to Louisiana, one of the highest caps in the country.

Cortez’s bill would have allowed thousands of convenience stores to take bets, but that language was stripped from the partner taxation legislation in the House. Cortez, taxation bill sponsor Rep. Todd Stefanski and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder are all working on the sports betting legislation, and lawmakers in Tuesday’s Senate committee approved an updated regulatory bill without the convenience store sports betting options.

Louisiana would have been the first state to allow convenience store betting kiosks as well as certain bars and restaurants. Both the taxation and regulatory bill would still permit restaurant betting kiosks.

Louisiana is among a handful of states with legal video lottery terminals, which are in thousands of bars and restaurants throughout much of the state. The video lottery lobby helped delay daily fantasy legalization efforts in 2019 and remains a powerful political force in the state capitol.

Next Steps for Sports Betting in Louisiana

This week’s votes give early momentum in the long legislative process but significant work remains. The aforementioned gaming facilities are still jockeying for the most favorable legislation, which has already gone through significant revisions, including an industry-favorable tax rate cut.

Despite voters’ lopsided sports betting support across most parishes, gambling in any form remains controversial for many lawmakers. That, the competing interests groups and previous DFS implementation struggles are all factors that could impact 2021 sports betting implementation efforts.

Obstacles aside, the necessary follow-up legislation to 2020’s sports betting ballot measure has crossed every hurdle so far. Challenges remain, but supporters – including many of the legislature’s most powerful figures – have early momentum toward passage ahead of next month’s deadline.

Angels vs. Astros MLB Odds & Picks: Back Ohtani, Los Angeles Early (Tuesday, May 11)

mlb-odds-picks-los-angeles-angels-houston-astros-betting-may-11

Angels vs. Astros Odds

Angels Odds +132
Astros Odds -155
Over/Under 8.5
Time 8:10 p.m. ET
TV SportsNet SW
Odds as of Tuesday morning and via DraftKings.

It’s worth wondering where the Los Angeles Angels might be in the AL West standings had they not endured a disastrous 4-11 stretch a few weeks ago. Three of those losses were to the Houston Astros in a series in which the Angels were outscored 31-12. Houston holds a one-game edge in the season series (4-3), yet the Astros are 1.5 games ahead of the last-place Angels.

The Angels should carry some momentum into Tuesday’s game after rallying from a 4-1 deficit in the sixth inning to defeat the Astros 5-4. Shohei Ohtani will start in the middle game for Los Angeles, and Lance McCullers Jr. will oppose him.

Despite these teams already having faced off seven times, Ohtani has yet to feature against the Astros this season.

The Japanese right-hander has completed five innings in each of his last two starts, which is a feat he hasn’t accomplished since the 2018 season. That’s a positive sign for Ohtani, along with bettors who like to back him in the first five innings of his starts — an option that makes even more sense on Tuesday when you consider that the Angels’ bullpen has logged 14 innings over their last two games.

Los Angeles Angels

There’s been plenty of fanfare over the last week about Shohei Ohtani and his unhittable pitch: The splitter.

Seeing the pitch with your eyes is one thing, but it’s even more absurd when you look at the data.

In 71 pitches this season, no batter has yet to register a hit off Ohtani’s splitter.

According to Baseball Savant, he’s picked up strikeouts 22 times when throwing the pitch, which has a whiff rate of 61.5%. It’s not often you see a pitch that boasts a .030 expected batting average and a .076 expected wOBA.

The obvious criticism of Ohtani is that he walks too many batters. While his 9.16 BB/9 ratio is troubling, it’s all part of who he is as a pitcher. He has a stubborn unwillingness to give in to hitters, which I do find admirable.

Even when they do get on base, batters are hitting just .043 against Ohtani. Only five of his seven runs allowed in this spot were earned, and when runners are in scoring position, his K/9 ratio jumps from 14.46 to 19.64.

Part of me thinks that the Angels are resigned to the fact that he’s going to walk batters because they know he’s shown an ability to wiggle himself out of danger. It’s especially easier to overlook that flaw when you consider the intangibles he brings as both a pitcher and a hitter.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

It’s important to note that Monday’s contest was essentially a bullpen game for the Angels — Junior Guerra was the opener, and he allowed three runs in the first inning before giving way to five more relievers. And on Sunday, the Angels needed five innings from relievers after Jose Quintana was pulled following four innings and 97 pitches due to five walks.

I don’t think that the current state of Angels’ bullpen will be lost on Ohtani, as it would be prudent for him to try to pitch as deep as possible to give the relievers a chance to catch their breath.

Houston Astros

Lance McCullers is off to a good start this season as he’s 2-1 with a 3.58 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Like Ohtani, McCullers also had an issue with walks, but his 4.96 BB/9 ratio would appear to be more palatable. However, McCullers does have less margin for error — while his 10.47 K/9 is impressive, it’s almost one-third less than Ohtani’s.

The question in this matchup for both starting pitchers isn’t one of quality, but rather familiarity. Angels’ hitters have 79 appearances against McCullers, and over that stretch, they have a .290 AVG / .380 OBP / .449 SLG slash line when facing him. Contrast with an Astros lineup with only 23 plate appearances against Ohtani and a .111 AVG / .304 OPB / .167 SLG slash line.

McCullers could be under some pressure to try to match Ohtani inning by inning.

McCullers will need to be wary of Mike Trout, who has two home runs and a .318 ISO against him in 22 at-bats. Justin Upton has the second-most appearances (18) against McCullers in the Angels lineup, and he has a .400 wOBA and two home runs, and four RBI.

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Lance McCullers Jr.

McCullers could be just the pitcher Upton needs to see to get his bat warmed up again. It’s been feast or famine for the Angels’ left fielder who has slugged seven home runs this season while hitting just .216 with a .296 OBP.

The Angels must start fast in this game because they’ll at least want to have a cushioned lead before turning things over to a likely weary bullpen.

Angels-Astros Pick

Hopefully, by now, you understand why I’m leary of backing the Angels for the full game.

The secret is out as to why this game will be a challenge for the Angels, which is why we see the Astros as high as -160 favorites — I don’t think they would be that high if the Angels bullpen were in better shape.

Still, this line is overvalued because it fails to account for the possibility that Los Angeles jumps out to a big lead early in the game, thus making its bullpen woes less of a concern.

That got me thinking about playing the Angels in the first five innings.

They’re already the underdog in this game, which means they’d also get a half run if you back them on the spread.

While the Angels are 3-1 in Ohtani’s starts this season, they’re a perfect 4-0 if you backed them on the run line for the first five innings. If you extend that query to include all his career starts, you’ll also find the Angels are 11-5 for 5.36 units.

BetMGM is offering a first five run line of +0.5 at -125 odds as of Tuesday morning. That’s how I’d look to play this matchup, but I wouldn’t begrudge anyone taking them on the first five money line at +115.

Pick: Angels F5 +0.5 (-125)

_BookPromo=351

Tuesday MLB Odds, Picks, Prediction: Twins vs. White Sox Betting Preview (May 11)

mlb-odds-picks-minnesota twins-chicago white sox-kenta maeda-dylan cease-may 11

Twins vs. White Sox Odds

Twins Odds +106
White Sox Odds -124
Over/Under 7.5 (+100 / -120)
Time 8:10 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Tuesday morning and via FanDuel.

Two offenses struggling to find their way over the past couple of weeks will give it another go on Tuesday in a matchup between one pitcher who’s struggled after some solid seasons, and one pitcher who’s in the midst of a breakout season after struggling for the past two years.

Is there a point in trying to find some value in a side, or should we target the total? Let’s dig into the matchup to find out.

Bet $20 on the Twins or White Sox, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on the Twins or White Sox as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

Minnesota Twins

Kyle Hendricks appears to be the leader in the clubhouse for the “Matt Kemp Award for Suddenly Falling off a Cliff,” but boy, Kenta Maeda isn’t too far behind. A dominant force for the Twins in 2020, Maeda has posted a disastrous 5.02 ERA in six starts, with his solid strikeout numbers taking a huge hit. The whiff rate on Maeda’s splitter has dropped 25% and his strikeout rate is down 11.1%.

The righty is getting way too much of the zone with his split-finger and his slider, and it’s tanked his once-imposing arsenal. He was a master at limiting hard contact last year, pitching to just a 24.7% hard-hit rate, but that number has jumped 20% so far this year. He needs to do a better job of getting his pitches down, and generating more swings and misses. A matchup with the White Sox, who rank fifth in swinging strike rate over the past 14 days, could do just the trick.

It’s sad to talk about the struggles of Maeda, because there is not much good going on with the offense. The Twins have been solid all season long with the bats, but backing up and looking at just the past week, they’ve scored 17 runs to sit in the bottom four of the league. Minnesota needs a jolt, and it needs one now.

_BookPromo=1425

Chicago White Sox

When Drake said, “Point the biggest skeptic out, I’ll make him a believer,” I felt that. I am the biggest skeptic. I’ve tried and tried, but I still can’t get excited about Dylan Cease, even though everything points to him being legitimately good.

Cease, the owner of a lifetime 4.57 ERA, gets the ball for the White Sox today in the midst of a tremendous season. Through six starts, he’s had an elite 32.9% strikeout rate, and has kept quality contact to a relative minimum. His biggest enemy has been the walk; he’s once again issuing free passes at more than a 10% rate for a third straight season.

Cease’s latest outing, however, had me on the way to being a believer. He struck out 11 Cincinnati Reds in a six shutout innings, allowing just a hit and three walks to look rather dominant. He’s gotten into trouble when he’s allowed contact, and hard contact at that, because he has the tendency to get some traffic going on the bases with walks, but when his strikeout stuff is playing up like this he can be pretty tough to beat.

Speaking of contact, the White Sox haven’t been making much of it over the past two weeks. They rank all the way down in 26th, getting the bat on the ball with just 72.6% of their swings, and as a result sit 15th with a 99 wRC+. A once-vaunted offense has been ravaged by injuries to Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert, combining with slumping bats to make a giant mess.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Twins-White Sox Pick

I’m not sure, but I think this total just reflects how bad these offenses have been; I sure hope it doesn’t represent what the oddsmakers are thinking will be a pitchers’ duel. I’m inclined to believe the Twins will pick it up here against a pitcher in Cease due for some regression with an expected ERA almost a full run higher than his dazzling ERA.

I’m not saying the Twins, who can’t hit right now, will score five off of him, but all we need is two or three runs. Maeda, meanwhile, has been so awful that I think even a team struggling with swings and misses as much as the White Sox should be able to get some runs on the board. I’d make this total a full run higher, so getting plus money on the over 7.5 is pretty nice.

Pick: Over 7.5 (+100)

_BookPromo=351

Tuesday MLB Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets, Including Reds vs. Pirates, Phillies vs. Nationals, Mariners vs. Dodgers (May 11)

mlb-odds-expert picks-best bets-cincinnati reds-pittsburgh pirates-philadelphia phillies-washington nationals-seattle mariners-los angeles dodgers-may 11

It’s another busy day in Major League Baseball, with all 15 teams in action, including a number of key divisional series getting underway, such as White Sox-Twins, Cardinals-Brewers, Phillies-Nationals and Yankees-Rays.

Our analysts have eyes on three games, with four bets in total, including a pair of divisional matchups. In Pittsburgh, two of our analysts are on opposite sides of the Reds-Pirates tilt, and we have a total pick on Phillies-Nationals and a plethora of options on Mariners-Dodgers.

Continue reading for our staff’s four best bets from Tuesday’s MLB slate.

_BookPromo=351

MLB Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
6:35 p.m. ET
Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
6:35 p.m. ET
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals
7:05 p.m. ET
Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
10:10 p.m. ET

Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Pick
Reds +110
Book
FanDuel
Pitchers
Jeff Hoffman vs. JT Brubaker
First Pitch
6:35 p.m. ET

Collin Whitchurch: This is less a pick for the Reds or Jeff Hoffman and more a pick against the Pirates, who are worth betting against on any of the rare occasions where they find themselves as the favorites.

Pittsburgh has somehow been favored five times already this season, and they’re 1-4 outright in those games. Going back to the start of the 2020 season, they’ve been favored 16 times and are 5-11 in those games. If you bet $100 against the Pirates each time they were favored since the start of last season, you’d be up $687. The sample is small, but again, we’re talking about the Pirates as favorites. It’s not going to happen very often.

There’s some risk here, sure. J.T. Brubaker might actually be good, for one, and the Pirates hold a significant edge with him going against the entirely mediocre Jeff Hoffman. Brubaker has faced the Reds once this season and escaped with just one earned run allowed in four innings despite four walks.

I think the Cincinnati offense has better luck this time around and Hoffman performs at least tolerably well enough to keep his team in the game. Don’t overthink it, bet against Pittsburgh as favorites. I like the Reds at any number with a plus in front of it.

_BookPromo=1425


» Return to the table of contents «


Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Pick
Pirates -115
Book
William Hill
Pitchers
Jeff Hoffman vs. JT Brubaker
First Pitch
6:35 p.m. ET

Kenny Ducey: I don’t know who needs to hear this, but JT Brubaker is good. The 2015 sixth-round pick has posted two solid seasons so far to begin his career, displaying above-average strikeout and walk numbers, and flashing a devastating slider that’s generated over a 36% whiff rate for a second straight season.

At the very worst, Brubaker is average, and that is more than you can say about his opponent in this matchup, Jeff Hoffman. The righty escaped Coors Field just to treat every start like he’s pitching there. His expected ERA is a whopping 6.26, which is almost two full runs higher than his real-life 4.29 ERA (which is still bad!) He’s walking 11.2% of the hitters he’s facing, and almost one of every two balls put back in play comes off the bat at least 95 mph. He’s pitched to contact in the early going, and that contact has not been soft.

The Pirates have proven capable of breaking out a bit at the plate in the right matchup, taking Kyle Hendricks to town this weekend in a game with strong winds blowing in, and this should be another one of those games where they can capitalize against a poor pitcher. I love them here as short home favorites.

_BookPromo=116
_BookPromo=1428


» Return to the table of contents «


Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals

Pick
Over 9 (+100)
Book
DraftKings
Pitchers
Chase Anderson vs. Erick Fedde
First Pitch
7:05 p.m. ET

Brad Cunningham: Chase Anderson really struggled in 2020 with the Blue Jays, posting a 7.02 ERA, but he was a tad unlucky as his xFIP was all the way down at 4.09. However, he hasn’t gotten much better since he arrived in Philadelphia, posting a 6.10 xERA and 5.42 xFIP through his first six starts.

Anderson mainly uses a fastball/changeup/cutter combination and he’s really been struggling with his fastball, as opponents have tagged it for .381 wOBA this season. Fastballs are the only pitch the Nationals’ lineup has had success against this season, so the should have a good matchup against Anderson, especially with Juan Soto back in the lineup.

Erick Fedde has been one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball over the past few seasons. So far this season, he’s been a little bit better, posting a 4.32 xERA, but he’s still having issues with his control. Fedde has a very high 4.20 BB/9 rate, which is something that has plagued him throughout his career.

Fedde is mainly a sinkerball pitcher, throwing it more than 44% of the time, but he’s struggling mightily with it, allowing a .456 wOBA to opposing hitters this season. That is going to be a major problem against this Phillies lineup, because five guys have a wOBA over .350 against sinkers.

I have 10.93 runs projected for this game, so I think there is plenty of value on Over 9 runs at +100.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

» Return to the table of contents «


Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Pick
Mariners First 5 Innings +0.5 (+135)
Book
PointsBet
Pitchers
Yusei Kikuchi vs. Walker Buehler
First Pitch
10:10 p.m. ET

Tanner McGrath: Today is a momentous day, for two reasons.

First, it’s Dodgers-against-lefties day. If you’re going to fade the Dodgers, it has to be against a southpaw. While the Dodgers boast an offense that ranks among the top five teams in OPS, wOBA and wRC+, the Dodgers are relatively pathetic against lefties.

The Dodgers have posted a .652 OPS, 287 wOBA and 85 wRC+ against that side this season, all stats that rank among the bottom eight MLB teams. Additionally, the Dodgers walk less often against lefties while striking out more.

Secondly, it’s Yusei Kikuchi day. The left-handed Kikuchi has been inconsistent this season and has elicited mixed emotions from baseball bettors. But personally, I love him.

Kikuchi has a fastball that reaches the upper 90s, a softball slider that induces soft contact (87.1 mph average exit velocity this season) and a very cool leg kick. However, Kikuchi’s cutter should win him this game, as it’s his most-used pitch and the Dodgers rank 28th in weighted cutter runs created (-5.6).

Kikuchi has had some rough outings, but he’s pitched seven innings in each of his last two starts and even shut out the Astros on the road in one of them. Given that the Dodgers’ lineup struggles with lefties and the cutter, I think he’s due for a good start today. Plus, Mookie Betts, Justin Turner and Max Muncy are a combined 0-for-9 lifetime against Kikuchi. A small sample size, but perhaps a predictive one.

Walker Buehler has been good this season, and there’s questions in both bullpens, but the value clearly lies with Seattle and its lefty starter. I actually have three plays I’d like to recommend, based on your level of risk aversion:

  • Higher risk: Seattle ML at +215 at William Hill. Would bet this to +200.
  • Medium risk: No Runs First Inning at -125 at PointsBet. Would bet this to -130.
  • Lower risk: Seattle F5 +0.5 at +135 at PointsBet. At a minimum, Kikuchi and the Mariners’ lineup should keep this one close through five. Would bet this to +125.
Bet $20 on the Mariners or Dodgers, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on the Mariners or Dodgers as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

» Return to the table of contents «


Sixers vs. Pacers NBA Odds & Picks: Sharps Like Indiana As Home Dogs (Tuesday, May 11)

nba-player-prop-bets-picks-spurs-hornets-pacers-bucks-march-22-2021

NBA Odds: Sixers vs. Pacers

Sixers Odds -5.5
Pacers Odds +5.5
Over/Under 234
Time | Channel 8 p.m. ET | BSIN

The Indiana Pacers host the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday in one of the many late-in-the-year, regular-season games with huge postseason implications.

Indiana is currently a half game ahead of the Washington Wizards for the No. 9 seed in the Eastern Conference, with the Chicago Bulls desperately trying to catch either of them. The Bulls are three games behind the Pacers with four games left, including Tuesday’s matchup with the Brooklyn Nets.

The last time these teams faced off on March 1 the Sixers received a massive scoring effort from their bench. In that win, reserve guard Shake Milton scored a game-high 26 points on 9 of 14 shooting and went 5 for 5 from the charity stripe.

The timing of the public finding out about the reported dysfunction inside of the Pacers’ organization couldn’t have come at a worse moment. It’s hard to imagine any of the hard feelings that existed within the organization went away because of the report coming out.

In Indiana’s most recent game, it got an impressive bench performance of their own, with Kelan Martin pouring in 25 points in a nine-point victory over the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers.

With the Sixers still trying to make sure they secure the No. 1 seed and the Pacers trying to improve their playoff positioning, this game should be highly competitive. With that in mind, our latest PRO Report shows that sharp bettors are counting the Pacers to cover.

NBA Picks: Sixers vs. Pacers

Sharp Action

The line for the Sixers vs. Pacers game opened at Pacers +6.5 before it was pushed down to +5.5 ahead of the action.

Since this morning, there have been three Action Labs Bet Signals triggered on the Pacers. This is a sure-fire sign of sharp action moving the spread.

Big Money

At the time of this writing, the 31% of bettors backing the Pacers have generated 58% of the money wagered ahead of the matchup.

PRO Systems

The Sixers vs. Pacers game fits neatly into our NBA Tickets vs Money PRO System, which has a 55% win rate and an 8% Return On Investment (ROI) since 2015.

PRO Report Pick: Pacers +5.5 (-103 at PointsBets | -107 at DraftKings)

Mavericks vs. Grizzlies NBA Odds & Picks: Bet Dončić & Dallas to Cover (Tuesday, May 11)

nba-betting-odds-picks-dallas mavericks-luka doncic-tuesday-may 11

Mavericks vs. Grizzlies Odds

Mavericks Odds -1.5
Grizzlies Odds +1.5
Moneyline -125 / +105
Over/Under 226.5
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds as of Tuesday morning via BetMGM.

There’s very little chance of the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks meeting up in this year’s NBA playoffs, barring a pair of miraculously long runs, but this one should have a playoff feel to it either way.

The Grizzlies fought back in the fourth quarter Monday against the New Orleans Pelicans to stave off defeat. That was a big win, and Memphis looks set for the play-in tournament, but they’re still trying to move up to the No. 8 seed since that would give it two chances to win once to get into the playoffs.

Unfortunately, the Grizzlies didn’t close any ground on current No. 8 seed Golden State after it shocked Utah.

The Mavericks are in a fight of their own. Dallas is trying to hang onto the No. 5 seed ahead of Portland and the Los Angeles Lakers, especially since it looks more and more likely that would mean a winnable first-round matchup against the Denver Nuggets.

Neither team is in do-or-die mode here, but both would badly like a win. This will feel like a playoff tuneup, and two of the league’s brightest stars take center stage in Luka Dončić and Ja Morant. So, which star will shine brighter?

Bet $20 on Dallas or Memphis, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on Dallas or Memphis as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks are 40-28 on the season, just five games ahead of the Grizzlies. However, a closer look shows quite a gulf between the teams. Memphis has been floating around average all season, but not so for Dallas. The Mavericks started the season 8-13, but have been a sparkling 32-15 since February 3. That’s a 56-win rate over a typical 82 game season, and that’s really good.

The Mavs have been even better lately — winning 10 of their last 12 — and Dallas is up to eighth in overall Net Rating, per Basketball Reference. The Mavericks are really good, and they’re hiding in plain sight. They’re a serious threat to win in the playoffs.

Of course, that’s largely thanks to Dončić, who is quietly building a back-of-the-ballot MVP case with another outstanding season. He’s  averaging 28.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.7 assists as one of the league’s finest offensive players, and he’s doing that all at just age 22. Dončić will be the best player on the court in this game by a pretty wide margin.

Kristaps Porzingis is supposed to be the second star, but his health continues to come and go, so he’ll watch this one from the sidelines. Maxi Kleber may be out again as well. That could leave Dallas shorthanded in the interior, which could be a problem against Jonas Valanciunas.

So what do the Mavericks do well besides having Dončić? They play smart basketball under head coach Rick Carlisle. Dallas almost never turns it over — just 12.1 times per game — which is third fewest in the NBA.

The Mavericks also have a sparkling offensive profile. They rank near the top of the league in 3-point attempts, even if they only make them at around a league average rate. Plus, they’re lethal inside the arc, ranking second in the NBA in 2-point percentage.

Some of that is Dončić; some is Carlisle and the coaching staff; and, a lot of it’s the combination of both. Whatever the math is, it’s pretty lethal.

The must-have app for NBA bettors

The best NBA betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Memphis Grizzlies

The Mavericks aren’t the only team in this game being helped by superb coaching. Taylor Jenkins has quietly done an outstanding job again for Memphis. With all due respect to Morant, the Grizzlies haven’t had any players play like all-stars this season, and they’re still right in the playoff mix.

And Memphis is doing it because it’s winning the possession battle. The team isn’t great on offense. It’s better on defense, but not great on that end either. On a possession-to-possession basis, the Grizzlies are average. The difference most games is that Memphis just gets lots of extra possessions. They do so by dominating the turnover margin and the rebounding battle.

Memphis ranks top 6 in both offensive rebounding and fewest turnovers per game on one end, and it’s top 8 on defense in those areas, forcing a high number of turnovers with its ball pressure and dominating the defensive glass. More rebounds mean more possessions, and the turnovers help as well.

The Grizzlies aren’t winning with quality; they’re winning with quantity. If you can’t always be better than the opponent, maybe you can outsmart them instead by gaining extra opportunities.

The ultimate NBA betting cheat code

Best bets for every game

Our NBA model’s biggest daily edges

Profitable data-driven system picks

Outside of those two advantages, Memphis has been mostly fine, which is how you end up 35-33 as the season winds down. The Grizzlies don’t have a strong shot profile. They rank near the bottom of the league in 3-point attempts, but aren’t good inside the arc and rarely get to the line.

The defensive profile is better, but still mostly just average outside of the big rebounding and turnover advantages. If a good opponent takes care of the ball, the Grizzlies are outmatched.

And that’s despite the team getting healthier. Jaren Jackson Jr. has returned, but the Grizzlies are just 3-6 when he plays. They’re 3-0 in games without him. Jackson opens up the offense with his shooting, but his defense doesn’t measure up. Then again, Jackson has yet to play a back-to-back set and just played Monday, so he might sit this one out.

Morant has struggled through his sophomore season. His 3-point shooting has disappeared at just 1.1 make per game on 30% behind the arc, and he’s down to 54% True Shooting on the year. Instead, the Grizzlies do it with depth and nine different players averaging nine PPG or better.

And mostly, they do it with coaching and by winning the rebounding and turnover battles.

BetSync with BetMGM for easy bet tracking

Automatically import all your bets

Track your bet win probability

Available in NJ, PA, CO, IN, TN and WV

Mavericks-Grizzlies Pick

The big problem for Memphis this game is that Dallas is well built to offset those its strengths. The Mavericks are very careful with the ball and don’t even really try to force many turnovers, so both sides of that turnover strength by Memphis end up somewhat wasted. The Grizzlies should still win the rebounding battle, but Dallas is around league average on that end.

Put another way, Jenkins has this team doing little things to give them a built-in advantage against many teams each night, but Dallas is not one of those teams. And when you just match possession for possession, the Mavericks  look the much better team, especially as they get stronger down the stretch while the Grizzlies struggle to fit Jackson back into their lineup.

I trust the stronger team with the better matchup. A win here will go a long way toward locking up the Mavericks as the No. 5 seed. I’ll take Dallas to win and cover the 1.5-point spread, plus I’ll play it to -3 as well.

Pick: Mavericks -1.5

_BookPromo=245

Tuesday NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our Best Bets for Sixers vs. Pacers, Knicks vs. Lakers (May 11)

nab-betting-odds-picks-best bets-new york knicks-tuesday-may 11

We have a stacked NBA schedule on tap, with 11 games taking place Tuesday across the league.

There are two nationally televised contests, with things getting started via an intriguing showdown between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. Game time is 7:30 p.m. ET for the opener that kicks off the TNT doubleheader.

The nightcap pits two of the league’s most decorated and storied franchises — the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers — against each other. That contest is slated to tip at 10 p.m. ET at Staples Center.

Kenny Ducey and Malik Smith each have a pick on the loaded card. Let’s take a look at their detailed analysis and top plays.

The must-have app for NBA bettors

The best NBA betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
76ers vs. Pacers
8 p.m. ET
Knicks vs. Lakers
10 p.m. ET

76ers vs. Pacers

Pick
Under 234.5
Book
BetMGM
Tipoff
8 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Kenny Ducey: The trends say one thing, but I think our eyes all say another. The over has hit in 10 of the 15 games the Indiana Pacers have played on the second night of a back-to-back set, but I’m not so certain both teams can get to this pretty-high number.

Sure, the Pacers are tops in pace over the last eight games, but the Sixers have the best defense over that span, allowing just 101.4 points per 100 possessions. That’s almost five points better than the next-best team.

The statuses of Malcolm Brogdon, JaKarr Sampson and Jeremy Lamb are up in the air after the trio missed Monday’s game. And on the second night of a back-to-back matchup, it’s not unfair to assume they’d miss out again. It’s worth noting the Pacers scored just 111 in that win over Cleveland as well.

I’m also concerned that Joel Embiid will miss the game, considering he is listed as questionable and the first-place Sixers have no reason to push it with their oft-injured superstar. Without Embiid, this Sixers offense, which is really all we have to fear when taking this total, will pack a significantly weaker punch. He’s added 11.9 points per 100 possessions on that end, according to NBA.com.

You might want to wait on getting final word on Embiid before pulling the trigger, but I have the utmost confidence that this defense, even with Matisse Thybulle, will absolutely suffocate some tired, defeated Pacers players. This number is simply too high.

Bet $20 on the Sixers or Pacers, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on the Sixers or Pacers as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA


» Return to the table of contents «


Knicks vs. Lakers

Pick
Knicks 1H (+2.5)
Book
BetMGM
Tipoff
10 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Malik Smith: The last time the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers played each other in April, the Knicks were one game over .500 and just beginning to find their offensive rhythm.

The Lakers’ starting lineup in that game was Dennis Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Markieff Morris and Andre Drummond.

On Tuesday, the Lakers expect to have LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the floor and you could argue that both teams will look drastically different compared to a month ago.

One thing that won’t be different will be the Knicks’ intensity, specifically in the first half. All season long, the Knicks have been one of the NBA’s best teams in the first 24 minutes of games

For the season, New York is 45-22-1 against the spread in the first half, which is tops in the league. The Knicks are even better as road underdogs: 18-6-1 ATS in the first half, including 5-1 since that first Lakers meeting, according to Bet Labs.

On the other hand, the Lakers have been the third-worst team in the opening half as favorites and even worse at home (12-22-1 ATS).

Both teams are fighting to keep or improve their place in the standings, so I don’t think there’s a motivation edge for either side there. And while James returning certainly improves the Lakers, the Knicks have shown they fear no one and that includes the hobbled reigning champions.

That said, I think there’s value in playing what has been a profitable betting trend for New York. I like the Knicks to cover the first half as 2.5-point dogs.

_BookPromo=495


» Return to the table of contents «


Cardinals vs. Brewers MLB Odds & Picks: Pitchers Will Shine in NL Central Battle (Tuesday, May 11)

mlb-odds-picks-milwaukee brewers-st. louis cardinals-freddy peralta-may 11

Cardinals vs. Brewers Odds

Cardinals Odds +102
Brewers Odds -120
Over/Under 7.5
Time 7:40 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Monday and via FanDuel.

The Cardinals’ voodoo magic is back, taking only 30 games to turn on and push the team to first in the National League Central. One team they passed on the way to the top is Milwaukee. Keeping up with the Brewers’ injury report is headache-inducing to read and one reason why they have stumbled of late.

Both teams have relied on above-average pitching and shutdown relievers. Both should be on display in the series opener Tuesday. Do you get where I am leaning?

Bet $20 on the Cardinals or Brewers, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on the Cardinals or Brewers as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals just finished a stretch of 17 games in 17 days. Their reward is sitting atop the NL Central, a day off, and then a matchup against Freddy Peralta. Can’t have your cake and eat it too.

St. Louis had its get-right series against the Rockies, averaging five-plus runs per game and boosting its Offensive WAR a tick in the process. The Cardinals’ -3.6 Offensive WAR is 13th in baseball and is powered by, well, their power. The Cards are top 10 in slugging overall and on the road against right-handed pitching. A contact-oriented offense, they sit in the bottom half of MLB in walk and strikeout rate and have BABIP numbers that indicate positive regression.

One specific player who has seen positive regression is Paul Goldschmidt. He has a .296 average with five RBI and a .840 OPS over his last five games and 11 RBI over his last 15 games. His production, matched with Nolan Arenado and strong starts for Tommy Edman and Dylan Carlson, have propelled the St. Louis offense.

Kwang Hyun Kim is still a relative unknown with fewer than 60 innings pitched since joining St. Louis last season. He has increased his strikeout rate and is attached to an unsavory yet unsustainable .346 BABIP. That is partially why his xERA is 5.29, much higher than his 3.06 actual ERA. Nearly half of the balls put in play off Kim have been Barreled or categorized as a hard hit. Good thing the Brewers’ offense is up-and-down to the point that it is top 10 in Hard Hit and Soft Hit percentage at home.

The Cardinals’ bullpen is one of 11 to collect one WAR and has solidified its closer role with Alex Reyes. Giovanny Gallegos is also a high-leverage reliever who has taken on a larger burden with the injury to former closer Jordan Hicks.

_BookPromo=1425

Milwaukee Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers cannot hit and are wasting their sixth-ranked pitching based on Pitching WAR. What is worse is the offense’s performance at home. The Brewers have the lowest wRC+ at home, and are bottom 10 in walk rate, wOBA, average and OPS, and strike out 25% of the time.

And Christian Yelich is on the shelf with a back injury.

Thankfully, pitchers such as Freddy Peralta have buoyed the Brewers and give them a chance to win whenever he toes the rubber. His ERA is one full run higher than his xERA and slightly higher than his xFIP. Peralta is a flyball pitcher who can give up home runs, but his 79.6 Left On Base Percentage (LOB%) is more than acceptable. He also needs to limit his walks (4.78 per 9) against a team that is not inclined to take them.

Peralta needs to pitch six-plus innings to help increase Milwaukee’s chances of winning. Aside from injuries, the Brewers’ bullpen has pitched well, collecting 0.8 WAR. Josh Hader continues to dominate and has not allowed a home run in 2021. After a rough opening to the season, Devin Williams and his ‘Airbender’ have been dynamite.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Cardinals-Brewers Pick

Whichever starting pitcher gets the ball to the backend of their bullpen latest in the game is going to win. Neither offense is set up to continually outscore their opponent and will struggle to plate baserunners. 7.5 runs is a low total but realistic and not juiced for this game. Kim and/or Peralta appear set up for a tough luck no-decision in a low-scoring game.

Pick: Under 7.5 runs (-122, bet to -140)

_BookPromo=351

Fernando Tatis Jr. Tests Positive for COVID, Yankees Coach Also Out Amid Outbreaks

yankees-rays-pdd-fernando-tatis-covid

5:30 p.m. ET Update: Padres manager Jayce Tingler has confirmed that Padres star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. has tested positive for COVID. Jorge Mateo and Jurickson Profar joined Tatis on the injured list as close contacts.


Fernando Tatis Jr. and two other Padres were placed on the IL due to health and safety protocols, one of two possible COVID outbreaks in Major League Baseball on Tuesday.

The New York Yankees announced their third base coach, Phil Nevin, had tested positive with other staff members in contact tracing. The Yankees are in Tampa Bay on Tuesday and manager Aaron Boone expected the game to be played.

“We have a breakthrough positive involving 3B Coach Phil Nevin, who is fully vaccinated,” the Yankees said in a statement. “He is currently under quarantine protocol in Tampa. Under MLB’s guidance and advice, and with its assistance, additional testing and contact tracing are ongoing.”

Boone said at his press conference that Nevin was the only one confirmed as positive at that time, though tests for other coaches were still pending. Carlos Mendoza replaced Nevin at third base for the game.

The Yankees were -121 favorites with Jordan Montgomery on the mound against Tampa Bay’s Luis Patiño. The Rays came back as +102 underdogs.

That wasn’t the only COVID outbreak of the day, as the Padres made multiple roster moves due to health and safety protocols.

_BookPromo=329

Tatis Jr., Jorge Mateo and Jurickson Profar were all placed on the IL prior to San Diego’s game against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday. This will be the second IL stint for Tatis, who injured his shoulder earlier this season.

Odds for the Padres-Rockies game were immediately taken off the board at the major legal sportsbooks, but re-opened with San Diego listed as a -175 favorite at DraftKings. The Rockies were a +150 underdog.

Royals vs. Tigers MLB Odds & Picks: How to Bet AL Central Matchup (Tuesday, May 11)

mlb-odds-betting-picks-tuesday-may 11-2021-kansas city royals-vs-detroit tigers-brady singer-matthew boyd-pitchers

Royals vs. Tigers Odds

Royals Odds -140
Tigers Odds +120
Over/Under 7.5
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of early Tuesday morning and via PointsBet.

The Kansas City Royals (16-17) and Detroit Tigers (10-24) begin a three-game series on Tuesday night at Comerica Park. The pair of division rivals each strive to gain ground the Chicago White Sox, who currently sit atop the AL Central with a 19-13 record.

Detroit sits in last place in the division — already 10 games behind first place. Meanwhile, Kansas City remains within striking distance at just 3.5 games behind Chicago.

When the Tigers and Royals last met near the end of April, they delivered a pitcher’s duel that ended in a 2-1 Royals victory. Will we witness a similar result tonight, or should we expect to see the bats break out in Detroit?

_BookPromo=358

Kansas City Royals

Brady Singer will make his seventh start of the season on Tuesday night. He struggled in his last outing, allowing three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. Singer’s recent dud notwithstanding, he has generally performed aptly this season. To date, he has pitched to a 3.45 FIP and struck out batters at a strong clip of 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9).

Furthermore, he has limited opponents to a 26.3% Hard Hit rate while also avoiding the long ball, allowing only 0.67 HR/9. However, Singer has had trouble limiting walks: He has allowed 3.41 walks per nine innings (BB/9) thus far.

Singer faces a Tigers team that has had limited success against right-handed pitching, ranking 24th in MLB with a .295 wOBA vs. right-handers.

Kansas City will rely on Singer to pitch deep into the ballgame vs. Detroit, just as he did in the teams’ previous matchup in April. In that outing, Singer delivered seven strong innings, striking out eight batters and allowing only one earned run.

The Royals bullpen hasn’t been awful, but it has struggled a fair amount. Kansas City’s relief-pitchers have collectively pitched to a 4.57 FIP — the eighth-highest mark in baseball.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Detroit Tigers

Matthew Boyd looks to build on his early season success when he takes the hill for the Tigers at home on Tuesday night.

Boyd’s season numbers are outstanding. Over 35 2/3 innings, the southpaw has pitched to a 2.96 FIP and allowed just 0.25 HR/9.

However, his 4.96 xFIP tells a very different story.

First, it’s important to understand the difference between Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) and Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP). While xFIP uses a projected home run rate based on league averages, FIP uses a pitcher’s actual home run rate.

Since Boyd’s 2021 home run rate is so low, his FIP looks very impressive. However, when we investigate Boyd’s performance in previous seasons, his current home run rate seems conspicuous. Simply put, Boyd has allowed home runs at a much higher rate in the past.

In fact, in 2019 and 2020, he allowed 1.89 HR/9 and 2.24 HR/9, respectively. Based on his past performance, we can expect the home run rate to pick up at some point in the near future.

The regression monster likely looms for Boyd, but Kansas City is not particularly well-equipped to take advantage. The Royals have struggled against left-handed pitching, collectively hitting to a .282 wOBA against southpaws (fifth-worst in MLB).

Boyd was unequivocally effective against this same Royals lineup in his last outing, allowing three hits and one earned run in eight full innings. Detroit likely needs Boyd to deliver a similarly lengthy outing again on Tuesday in order to avoid the Tigers’ league-worst bullpen for as long as possible. Detroit’s relievers have allowed a 5.59 FIP to opposing batters in 117 2/3 innings of action (per FanGraphs).

The betting tools used by the pros

Best bets & signals for every game

Projections from proven pros

Profitable betting system picks

Royals-Tigers Pick

The Tigers have been hitting the ball well of-late, averaging 6.4 runs per game over their past five games. Still, Detroit ranks near the bottom of the league against right-handed pitching. Plus, the Tigers must contend with a pitcher (Singer) that has already dominated them once this season.

Despite some negative regression likely coming his way in the near future, Boyd has been even better so far in 2021. Like Singer, he also dominated this opponent in the last meeting between Detroit and Kansas City. Boyd will also be taking on a Royals team that has been one of the worst in baseball against lefties.

That said, the bullpens on each side do add an extra layer of risk. I believe we’ll see another low-scoring affair on Tuesday, but I’m limiting my action to a half-unit.

Give me the under at the current number. If it falls any lower, however, I’m staying away.

Pick: Under 7.5 runs (+100)

Bet $20 on KC-DET, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on KC-DET as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

Orioles vs. Mets MLB Odds & Picks: Will John Means Have More Success in New York? (Tuesday, May 11)

mlb-odds-betting-picks-predictions-tuesday-may 11-2021-new york mets-vs-baltimore orioles-marcus stroman-pitcher

Orioles vs. Mets Odds

Looking for Wednesday afternoon’s game? Click here.

Orioles Odds +125
Mets Odds -148
Over/Under 7 (-103/-120)
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of early Tuesday morning and via DraftKings.

On Wednesday, May 5, John Means achieved something that no other Baltimore Orioles pitcher had done since 1991: Throwing a no-hitter.

Means went the distance in a 6-0 road win vs. Seattle, holding the Mariners without a single hit and striking out 12 batters on 113 total pitches. If it wasn’t for a dropped third strike in the third inning, he would have had a perfect game.

His recent no-hitter punctuates a phenomenal start to his 2021 season. Means boasts a sterling 4-0 record and 1.37 ERA in 46 innings over seven appearances. His next challenge? Attempting to shut down a powerful Mets lineup.

New York has seemingly found its groove after winning five straight games and sweeping the Diamondbacks. That good run of play has vaulted the Mets into first place in the NL East. New York holds a full-game division lead over the Philadelphia Phillies.

The red-hot Mets send starting pitcher Marcus Stroman to the mound in hopes that he can extend the team’s winning streak to six games.

_BookPromo=73

Offensive Matchup

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles have really struggled at the plate, putting up a .297 wOBA and 89 wRC+, both of which rank in the bottom five among MLB teams. Baltimore has particularly struggled to hit right-handed pitching. The Orioles lineup reports a dreadful .207 batting average and has scored the fewest total runs in MLB vs. right-handers.

Baltimore certainly does not have a good matchup against New York starting pitcher Marcus Stroman. First, the Orioles lose the benefit of a DH by virtue of their interleague matchup in a National League stadium. Second, Baltimore only has three players in the lineup that hit sinkers well. That is disconcerting against Stroman, whose primary pitch is a sinker.

New York Mets

Altogether, the Mets have gotten off to a slow start to the 2021 season, putting up a .304 wOBA and 96 wRC+. However, New York has crushed left-handed pitching to the tune of a .335 wOBA and 118 wRC+.

New York draws an advantageous matchup against John Means on Tuesday. The one pitch New York is crushing right now is the fastball. In fact, the Mets already have 10.3 weighted fastball runs this year.

Nonetheless, when New York is forced to hit off-speed pitches, it most prefers to tee off on changeups.

Can you take a wild guess which two pitches John Means throws over 80% of the time? That’s right: Fastballs and changeups.


Starting Pitching Matchup

John Means vs. Marcus Stroman

2021 ZIPS Projected Stats (via Fangraphs)

Orioles Starting Pitcher

John Means, LHP

2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

I don’t expect John Means to repeat his no-hit performance from last Wednesday. However, I do think that Means’ early-season success is sustainable.

Means has drastically improved his changeup, which is now his put-away pitch. Last season, opponents tagged Means’ changeup for a .349 wOBA. He only tallied four total strikeouts on the pitch for a put-away percentage of 6.7%.

This season, he’s held opponents to a .102 average and only one extra-base hit on his changeup. Not only that, but Means has already struck out 22 batters on changeups for a put-away percentage of 29.7%.

Nonetheless, Means will have to be on point with his fastball-changeup combination tonight. Those are the two pitches that the Mets have had the most success against this year; moreover, New York is crushing left-handed pitching.


Mets Starting Pitcher

Marcus Stroman, RHP

2019 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Stroman has been solid through his first seven starts, posting a 2.10 ERA and 3.18 xFIP, both of which are career-best numbers. He has been successful with his entire arsenal, holding opponents under a .270 wOBA on his main three pitches: Sinker, slider, and cutter.

The main reason Stroman is so effective is that he forces a ton of ground balls. Before joining the Mets, Stroman put together four straight seasons with a ground-ball rate above 60%. Instigating a ground-ball rate that high is clear confirmation that his sinker/cutter/slider combination consistently stays down in the zone.

Stroman has made some changes to his arsenal this season. He eliminated his curveball and changeup, neither of which he threw very often anyway. He also added a pretty filthy split-finger:

Stroman draws a fantastic matchup against Baltimore. The Orioles lineup has desperately struggled versus right-handed pitching.


Bullpen/Defensive Matchup

The Orioles bullpen has been surprisingly adept, posting a 3.43 ERA. However, Baltimore’s relievers are due for some negative regression, due to their inflated combined xFIP of 4.49 — over a full run higher than their ERA.

New York’s relief pitchers have also improved markedly year-over-year. The Mets bullpen has posted a 3.04 ERA and 3.59 xFIP and is largely responsible for keeping the team afloat during its hitting slump at the end of April/beginning of May.

The Mets will have the advantage in the later innings during this series.


Orioles-Mets Pick

Even though John Means just threw a no-hitter and has looked untouchable this season, I think the Mets have a good matchup against him. On the flip side, Marcus Stroman and the Mets bullpen should be able to shut down a struggling Orioles offense.

Since I have the Mets projected at -186, I think there is some value on them at -148 (DraftKings).

Pick: Mets -148

_BookPromo=1557

Tuesday MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: Two Strikeout Totals to Target in Royals vs. Tigers & Cardinals vs. Brewers (Tuesday, May 11)

mlb-odds-picks-player props-strikeout totals-brady singer-freddy peralta-may 11

With a full slate of games, there are many props to choose from. Today, there are two strikeout props that I like, both unders.

For this article I will be evaluating my favorite MLB player props based on what my model likes and what the Action Labs Player Prop tool likes. The Action Labs Player Prop tool grades each bet on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade. I will be adding my own personal grades as well.

Below, I have laid out two prop bets that I am playing, the case for each bet, and the best books to find odds on those player props.


2021 MLB Pitcher Prop Record: 23-24, -4.48 Units, -9.5% ROI (My action can be followed on the Action App at BoogieDownPicks).


MLB Player Props & Picks

Brady Singer Under 6.5 Strikeouts (-130)

Royals vs. Tigers Royals -135
Time  7:10 p.m. ET
Best Book BetMGM

The Detroit Tigers’ lineup is averaging 10.41 strikeouts per game, which is the most in the league. Last season, the Tigers averaged 9.78 strikeouts per game, which was the third most in the league. With Tigers hitters being so strikeout prone, how should you factor that in when deciding on their opposing pitcher’s strikeout total?

Brady Singer is having a solid start to the season, as he had a 3.41 ERA and a 4.12 xFIP and he’s averaging exactly one strikeout per inning. Thus, in order for him to reach seven strikeouts and the over to cash, he would need to last seven innings. I do not believe that the Royals will let Singer pitch deep enough for that to happen.

Singer is averaging fewer than five innings per start this season. In only one of his starts did go seven innings and that was his lone start in which he had more than 6.5 strikeouts. While that start was against the Tigers, it is unlikely that Singer replicates that performance.

Pick: Brady Singer  Under 6.5 Strikeouts (-130). Would play up to -150 (BetMGM)

  • Action Labs Score: 10
  • Kevin Davis Score: 7

_BookPromo=1427

Freddy Peralta Under 8.5 Strikeouts (-136)

Cardinals vs. Brewers Brewers -138
Time  7:40 p.m. ET
Best Book FanDuel

Freddy Peralta is the prototypical Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher for this season: A power pitcher who doesn’t go deep in games. Peralta is averaging an absurd 14.91 strikeouts per nine innings this season. The question is: can he pitch enough innings to go over his strikeout total?

For the season, Peralta is averaging exactly five innings per start. In only two starts did Peralta pitch for more than five innings. That is the reason why Peralta has only had more than 8.5 strikeouts in one start this season.

On a typical night with Peralta’s current strikeout rate, Peralta would throw five innings and have 8.28 strikeouts. However, that is assuming Peralta continues having an absurdly high strikeout rate. While Peralta had a 14.42 per nine innings strikeout rate in 2020, the sample size is only 61 1/3 innings combined between the last two seasons.

Over the course of a long season, Peralta should have a strikeout rate of 12.30 according to FanGraphs’ ZIPS projections. With the ZIPS projected strikeout rate, Peralta would have to last 6 2/3 innings to go over his strikeout total. Even if the number were set at 7.5 as it is at several books, the under is still a good bet as he’d need to go six innings to hit that at his projected K rate. That’s just not something you can count on him doing.

Pick: Freddy Peralta Under 8.5 Strikeouts (-136). Would play up to -145 (FanDuel)

  • Action Labs Score: 9 (Based on Under 7.5 +128)
  • Kevin Davis Score: 6

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Yankees vs. Rays MLB Odds & Picks: Expect Pitching Duel on Tuesday (May 11)

mlb-betting-odds-pick-yankees-rays-may 11

Yankees vs. Rays Odds

Yankees Odds -130
Rays Odds +110
Over/Under 8
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Monday evening and via PointsBet.

The Yankees broke out of their slump and went 7-2 during their homestand and finally got the offensive performances expected with the talent in their lineup.

Tampa Bay flies home after a trip to California in which it came away with five wins in seven games, including a four-game sweep of the Angels.

The Yankees and Rays begin a three-game series tied in the AL East standings behind the Red Sox. New York has struggled against Tampa Bay, going just 1-5 through their first six meetings.

_BookPromo=253

New York Yankees

The Yankees desperately need Jordan Montgomery to round into form and help shore up the back-end of the rotation. Montgomery has been solid enough and is coming off his longest outing of the season, going six innings while allowing three runs.

In two starts against Tampa Bay earlier this season, Montgomery struggled to keep the ball in the yard. He allowed eight runs and four home runs in 11 innings over two starts. Outside of those games against the Rays, he has allowed just one home run in his other four starts.

Montgomery’s curveball has been terrific this season, allowing just a 0.71 batting average with a 41.4 K%. Meanwhile, teams have teed off on his cutter for a .455 batting average and .818 slugging percentage.

Over the last two weeks, the Yankees’ bats have come to life. The Bronx Bombers rank 10th in batting average, fifth in OPS, 12th in wOBA and 11th in wRC+ in the last two weeks.

There isn’t a player in the league hotter than Giancarlo Stanton right now.

He leads the league in hits over the last two weeks and is batting .440 with a 1.260 OPS over that span. He has racked up three home runs in the last week and had a walk-off single in the bottom on the ninth on Sunday to give the Yankees a win over the Nationals.

New York could get a big boost to the lineup on Tuesday with the possible return of 2020 home run leader Luke Voit. He has yet to play this season after offseason knee surgery and has looked like his old self in his Triple-A rehab starts, batting 7-for-18 with three home runs.


Tampa Bay Rays

As has become custom for Tampa Bay, it will go with an opener on Monday with Luis Patiño getting the ball to start. In three appearances this year, Patiño has averaged 2.5 innings per outing but been lights out. He has allowed just one run and three hits over 7 2/3 innings while striking out 10.

Behind Patiño will likely be a combination of Ryan Thompson, Andrew Kittredge, Pete Fairbanks, Hunter Strickland, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Yarbrough.

The Tampa Bay bullpen is full of flamethrowers. Take a look at the average fastball velocity for the Rays’ relievers:

  • Fairbanks: 97.7 mph
  • Patiño: 95.9 mph
  • Kittredge: 94.9 mph (sinker)
  • Strickland: 94.9 mph
  • Springs: 93.4
  • Thompson: 92.2 mph

Offensively the Rays have struggled this season. They sit just 24th in batting average, hitting .222 on the season, and rank 23rd in OPS and wOBA.

Tampa Bay has not gotten even close to what it had hoped from its top bats this year. Postseason hero Randy Arozarena is batting just .267, and Brandon Lowe and Austin Meadows are each hitting .195.

The must-have app for MLB bettors

The best MLB betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Yankees-Rays Pick

The Yankees have really picked it up offensively, but they have had their issues with the Rays’ pitching for the past two seasons. New York is batting just .168 against Tampa Bay this season with a .552 OPS. It garnered a batting average of .218 against the Rays last season, the second-lowest of any opponent.

The Tampa Bay offense has been one of the worst in the league, and while Montgomery isn’t the most lethal pitcher, the worst damage has been done against a cutter the Rays struggle to hit.

Tropicana Field has been a home-field disadvantage for Tampa Bay this season. The Rays are batting just .210 at home this year, the third-worst average of any team in its home park.

These teams boast two of the best bullpens in baseball, each ranking top-10 in ERA and xFIP. Coming off a day off, they should both have a full stable of rested arms ready to go. I like this total to stay under 8.5 and would play it up to -120.

Pick: Under 8.5 (Play to -120)

The betting tools used by the pros

Best bets & signals for every game

Projections from proven pros

Profitable betting system picks

Tuesday NBA Odds, Picks, Prediction: Heat vs. Celtics Betting Preview (May 11)

nba-betting-odds-pick-heat-celtics-may 11

Heat vs. Celtics Odds

Heat Odds -1.5
Celtics Odds +1.5
Moneyline -120 / +100
Over/Under N/A
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV TNT
Odds as of Monday evening and via BetMGM.

The Heat head to Boston Tuesday to take on the Celtics in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals but with different playoff implications.

The season series is now tied at one game apiece after the Heat took Sunday’s game between these two squads. That has now put the Celtics two games back in the loss column of both the Heat and the Hawks with this game as a crucial tiebreaker in their season series with Miami.

At the time of this writing, our playoff projector gives Miami a 48.10% chance of being the 6-seed, while it gives the Celtics a 77.90% chance of being the 7-seed in the East.

Can Boston make a final push to avoid the play-in? If it does, it will start tonight.

_BookPromo=821

Miami Heat

The Heat head into this matchup coming off a strong victory over this Celtics team on Sunday. Despite playing relatively mediocre ball this season and posting a point differential of -0.3 on the season, they’ve rounded into form of late with a point differential of +3.2 per 100 possessions over the last two weeks, per Cleaning the Glass.

A primary reason for this turnaround is the Heat are finally healthy (besides Victor Oladipo) and playing a lineup headlined by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

These two players not only give Miami toughness and tenacity on both sides of the floor, but they are also fundamentally better as a team. In all minutes in which they share the floor, Miami is +3.3 points per 100 possessions, and its defense is elite — it surrenders just 108.7 points per 100, which is in the 85th percentile of all lineups, per Cleaning the Glass.

Besides their two stars, the Heat made a move to acquire Trevor Ariza midseason, and his impact cannot and should not be understated. He’s played meaningful minutes, and the Heat are 5.5 points better with him on the court than off of it. He provides valuable defense and has been effective in patrolling the perimeter.

The must-have app for NBA bettors

The best NBA betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Boston Celtics

The Celtics suffered a massive blow with the recent news that Jaylen Brown will undergo season-ending surgery on his left wrist. Our squad wrote our initial reactions to this devastating news for Boston. Besides Brown, the Celtics may be without Robert Williams III, who is doubtful with turf toe on his left foot. Keep tabs on his status using our Fantasy Labs Insiders Tool.

The loss of Brown is terrible for a team that entered the season with title aspirations. He’s one of the best perimeter players in the league, and his loss will be felt throughout the rest of the season.

Without Brown, the Celtics will need to adjust their rotations and lineups. On the season, the Celtics are +1.8 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass. However, without Brown, the Celtics slip to just +1.1 points per 100.

The big issue is that the Celtics will rely heavily on Jayson Tatum, and despite his talent, this is a tough ask because he’s not going to play 48 minutes per night for the rest of the season.

There have not been many opportunities or minutes when the Celtics have been without both Brown and Tatum, but I expect Boston to get crushed in non-Tatum minutes moving forward. When Brown and Tatum were off the floor this season, the Celtics were -7.3 points per 100 possessions. It will be tough for Boston to make up for this no matter how well Tatum plays.

Heat-Celtics Pick

This matchup pits two teams trending in opposite directions against each other. The Heat would likely secure at least the 6-seed with a win, and the Celtics are now reeling after losing four of their last five games.

Miami is playing great basketball of late, and if Williams is unable to play for Boston, Adebayo should feast on the interior.

I expect Miami to take this game and win the season series over Boston.

Pick: Heat -1.5.

Bet $20 on the Heat, Get $100 no matter what!

Bet $20 on the Heat as first bet

Win $100 no matter what

New users; CO, IA, IN, MI, NJ, TN, VA, WV, PA

Tuesday MLB Odds & Picks for Cubs vs. Indians: Bet Cleveland to Win as Heavy Favorite (May 11)

mlb-betting-odds-pick-indians-cubs-may 11

Cubs vs. Indians Odds

Cubs Odds +160
Indians Odds -186
Over/Under 7 (+100 / -121)
Time 6:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds updated Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET and via DraftKings.

The Indians host the Cubs in an interleague matchup Tuesday night. Despite playing in different leagues, both teams have much in common.

Over their last 10 games, the Cubs and Indians are both 7-3. As a result, Chicago is only 3.5 games behind the first-place Cardinals in the NL Central. Similarly, Cleveland is one game behind the first-place White Sox in the AL Central.

Each team has a different strength.

The Indians have a decent lineup but several solid starting pitchers. The Cubs have a strong lineup but several unreliable starting pitchers. On Tuesday, these differences will be very evident as 2020 AL Cy Young Award Winner Shane Bieber is pitching for the Tribe while rookie starting pitcher Adbert Alzolay counters for the Cubbies.

The Indians predictably are -160 favorites with Bieber on the mound. The question is, as heavy favorites, is it worth it to be a Cleveland Belieber on Tuesday night?

_BookPromo=221

Chicago Cubs

The median MLB team is averaging 4.32 runs per game this season, while the Cubs’ lineup averages 4.62.

If Chicago is going to beat Bieber and the Indians, it will be because of their lineup. One reason why the Cubs are 6-2 in May is that their lineup has a wRC+ of 101 for the month. On a typical night this month, the Cubs create 1% more runs per game than the average MLB lineup.

Unlike their National League matchups, Tuesday’s game is played at an American League stadium, meaning Chicago will fill its lineup with a designated hitter. With a DH, the Cubs would score 6% more runs than the typical MLB lineup, according to my model. The question for Tuesday night is whether or not a DH will be enough for Chicago to overcome Shane Bieber and the Indians.

In addition to the Cubs’ lineup, another factor that makes them competitive on Tuesday is Alzolay on the mound. Going into the season, Alzolay was projected to have an ERA close to five. Surprisingly, he has a 4.50 ERA and a 3.40 xFIP. The question with Alzolay is whether or not he can continue pitching this well.

_BookPromo=107


Cleveland Indians

The biggest factor for both teams is Bieber.

Last season, Bieber posted an 8-1 record with a 1.63 ERA and a 2.04 xFIP. Bieber seems to have regressed this season as he has a 2.98 ERA, but he also has a 2.39 xFIP, which is barely higher than last year’s xFIP. Most impressively, Bieber is a high-strikeout pitcher, as he has averaged more than 14 strikeouts per nine innings over the last two seasons.

Additionally, the Indians make sure to get as many innings as possible out of Bieber. He’s averaging almost seven innings per start. Last season, Bieber averaged more than 6 1/3 innings per start. Even if Bieber pitches for fewer innings than usual, Cleveland will be well served by its bullpen, which owns a 3.72 xFIP, the seventh-lowest in the league.

While Cleveland is well-suited with its pitching, particularly on Tuesday night, its lineup is relatively average.

The Indians average 4.25 runs per game, which is around the league average of 4.38. While the Indians’ lineup is not a particular strength, they do have a few hitters who are dangerous.

José Ramírez, the Cleveland third baseman, may have a .259 batting average, but he has nine home runs, and a wRC+ of 143. Additionally, DH Franmil Reyes is another dangerous player in the Tribe’s lineup who has mashed eight homers.

Cubs-Indians Pick

In a lopsided matchup, I usually bet on the underdog. However, for Tuesday’s game, I like the Indians as heavy favorites based on the pitching matchup.

If Bieber played for the Yankees or Dodgers, his team would be at least a -225 favorite when he pitches. Even though the Cubs are a strong team, they are in a bad spot on Tuesday.

My model likes Cleveland, and I would bet it up to -175.

Pick: Indians ML -160 (Play to -175).

_BookPromo=49

Moore: Making The Definitive MVP Case For Denver Nuggets Star Nikola Jokić

There is no comparison for Nikola Jokić.

There has never been a player like him before in the league. Jokić is a capital G “Great” superstar, as he’s proven this season and trying to liken him to anyone else is impossible.

He’s not alone in being one of one, but recognizing that what we’re seeing in the Denver Nuggets’ franchise icon is unlike anything else we’ve witnessed is the first step to moving beyond the biases that Jokić had to bust through to earn his due respect in the NBA.

_BookPromo=1910

In the beginning, it was easy to compare Jokić to Lithuanian legend Arvydas Sabonis. A European big man with touch and high basketball IQ, who was voted one of FIBA’s 50 best player of all time. Sabonis was a EuroBasket Most Valuable Player and a EuroLeague MVP as well.

However, Jokić has moved past that.

Earlier this season in a matchup vs. the Boston Celtics, Mike Gorman — the Celtics’ play-by-play announcer for 40 years — and Brian Scalabrine likened Jokić’s performance to Larry Bird.

You can watch his passes and compare them to Magic Johnson. You can watch his Sombor Shuffle and compare him to Dirk Nowitzki. You can watch his post-up moves and compare him to … well, I don’t know if there’s actually anyone.

He doesn’t dominate with size like Shaquille O’Neal, but he still bullies opposing centers. He doesn’t make it look effortless like Hakeem Olajuwon, but his shots are impossible to block. He has moves and countermoves.

But all of these individual parts do not make the whole. If Giannis Antetokounmpo’s MVP campaign was built off his linear dominance (overwhelm with athleticism; punish help with passing; and, dunk if no help comes), then Jokić’s is built on the palette of an artist bringing a thousand different brush strokes together. No one combines all the pieces together the way he does, and no one does it so effortlessly.


Jokić is going to win the 2021 NBA MVP award. That’s been known for some time and oddsmakers have tracked it, as Jokić went from +800 to +450 to +200 to -125 and now -10000 at many books.

However, it’s important to document and explain why Jokić is most valuable, and much of what I’ll talk about can be tailored to your definition of that third word: valuable. For the purposes of this discussion, we’re defining valuable as impact on a team’s ability to win through whatever means available.

To do that, we’ll use numbers and the eye test. You need both to synthesize your argument.

If you rely on the metrics, you’re ignoring the details that often define why things are so impressive.

If you rely on the eye test, you’re trusting a faulty memory to account for thousands of possessions. We’re looking to get both to line up.


Offense

There’s so much subtlety and complexity to Jokic’s offensive arsenal, but let me simplify it for you.

If you single cover him, he’s going to score on you. If you double him (you should never double him), he’s going to shred you with passing.

If you put a big on him, he’s stretching the floor to 3-point range. If you put a small guy on him, he’s putting that little guy in pick-and-roll trouble.

If defenders over-pursue, he uses that aggression against them. If they lay back, he’ll drop it in.

If they force him to be a shooter, he’ll make tough shots. Force him be a passer, he’ll thread a needle. If you make him the roll man, he’ll hurt you both ways.

There is no good answer for Jokić.

Passing

You’ve seen the highlight reels. I don’t need to convince you Jokić is a great passer, but let’s put it in context.

The handoff is at the center of everything the Nuggets do. It’s the primary mechanism for focusing attention on Jokić, and however the defense responds to those mechanism, he punishes the defense for it.

Here the defense reacts to that handoff action and when Jokić sees the help drifting middle, he fires a pass. The key with all of these passes is to notice not only the ingenuity and vision, but the placement of these passes, right into the shooting pocket.

Michael Porter Jr. doesn’t convert this shot, but off the roll Jokić is able to have two players on him and still bring a third to the perimeter, which opens things up underneath. He’s also able to cleanly get the pass off at a 45-degree angle with Batum right up against him.

The reads are instantaneous, too. As soon as he sees the help come from the corner, he’s passing. The shot fake is just a mechanism to further draw in the defender. Look where this pass lands.

The angles Jokić is able to successfully pass into are ridiculous. This is a pass from the middle of the floor over his right shoulder to the corner.

So much of what Jokić is able to do is when there’s a pass the defense thinks he wants to make, he makes the other just as it comes available.

He moves into a floater here off the closeout from Porzingis. And while the defense is trying to help off to stop his shot, PJ Dozier’s man is helping underneath on the pass they think he wants to make.

Instead …

If Stephen Curry panics defenses with his perimeter threat, Jokić panics them with the multitude of ways he can hurt the opposing defense, even under duress.

This is a hard double and Jokić doesn’t panic. He presses the defense to think he’s passing to the perimeter and instead just waits for Zeller to lose Millsap.

Of course, the outlet passes make the highlights. Jokić’s ability to read instantaneously and deliver on-target and in stride create frustratingly easy buckets.

 

Scoring

A central point to Jokić’s case for MVP is that his scoring isn’t one dimensional. He isn’t reliant on his 3-point shot to open up drives inside, and he’s not handcuffed to the rim.

A big reason there continues to be resistance to the idea that Jokić is a great player is how he looks when you watch him. Jokić spreads the floor here in a pick and roll that gets Tristan Thompson a step off, but Jokić, though he’s in the best shape of his career, still isn’t going to explode past for a dunk.

He draws him in, then spins back the other way and Thompson is still there. This shot looks awkward and forced, but you have to have watched him enough to know what he’s doing sometimes.

Here, when he turns into Thompson, he can (or if he wants) go wider with this last pivot step to try and fade to his right. He chooses not to because by closing the distance between himself and Thompson that fast, it makes it harder for Thompson to adjust and actually block the shot.

Jokić’s strength isn’t discussed enough. It’s one thing to be big, but Jokić uses his size as well as anyone. If you’re undersized, he mauls you like a bear.

Bam Adebayo tries to front and deny Jokić the pass here, and does so for a full 11 seconds. Then, Paul Millsap makes a good lob overhead and all of a sudden Adebayo, because his leverage is so compromised, is basically a small child versus a bigger kid playing keep-away:

A popular tactic in today’s NBA is just to switch everything. There are so few great post-up players, and those shots are so inefficient on average, that the tradeoff for putting a guard on a big is worth it.

There’s also the fact that often times officials will reward the smaller player in those matchups either by allowing them to be more physical than big post defenders, or calling charges.

However, Jokić annihilates these. He doesn’t need to cram a smaller player under the rim and dunk on him. He just needs to get position, which they can’t deny, and then turn:

There are players who did better job defensively on Jokić by the numbers this season, but when I watched Myles Turner — Defensive Player of the Year candidate — did everything the best guarding Jokić. He still got torched.

Turner hangs with him here, but again, Jokić uses the leverage players have to expend to stop him from getting to the rim against them to create space.

Don’t reach. I am begging you. Do not reach on this man.

 

The Complete Player

But again, it’s not these individual skills. It is not a linear path to follow for Jokić’s greatness. It’s the synergy between his skillsets.

Take the following sequence. Jokić posts and the threat of him scoring forces a double team to try and get the ball out of his hands. So he passes, dribbling away from the double, moving away from target and all the way to the far corner with a perfectly on-target pass.

However, the rotations are good and Denver swings the ball back to Jokić at the 3-point line after the defense has disengaged.

He was a threat in the post as a passer and, finally, from 3-point range.

The Evidence

Those are the examples. You need to have watched to see what Jokić can do, how he manipulates the defense and what his skillset is. However, we need concrete evidence to know that the results match our eyes.

They do. Let’s take our premise that there isn’t an answer for Jokić defensively.

Only 10 players have 200 or more post-ups where the player shot or turned the ball over this season, via Synergy Sports. Among those players, Jokić is third in points per possession and second in FG percentage.

So, you can’t single-cover him.

So, teams double. That’s an even worse idea, as you would imagine.

Only five players this season have been hard doubled in the post more than 100 times. The Nuggets score an incredible 127.6 points every 100 times opponents double him down low, with an effective field-goal percentage of 73.6%, which is hotter than the sun.

OK, so you can’t double him.

So, you try and make him a shooter. You wall off the paint and drop in pick-and-roll coverage. Here are the 18 players classified as “big men,” with at least 100 jump shots this season, sorted by effective field-goal percentage:

That’s just big men, though. Jokić is 90th percentile on jump-shot efficiency this season.

Overall, here’s what Jokić’s shot chart looks like:

There is nowhere on the floor he isn’t efficient. There is no path to taking away what he does.

The advanced metrics are all in Jokić’s favor. He has the highest VORP of any player, which stands for Value Over Replacement Player. He’s No .1 in EPM (estimated plus-minus) by a considerable gap.  He’s first by a wide margin in Win Shares, on pace for the 14th-best Win Shares per 48 minutes rate in NBA history, with most of the players above him having had MVP seasons. He is second to Joel Embiid in PER as of this writing, by 0.1 points.

He has also put up his stat line — 26-11-9 — with the second-lowest usage of any candidate. Jokić has produced the most, while needing the ball the least.

With Jokić on the floor, the Nuggets score an average of 120 points per 100 possessions, which is the highest of any candidate. However, Denver is not as good when he is on the floor in net rating (point differential per 100 possessions) at +7.5 as the Sixers are with Embiid (+12.5) in the same category.

The question is how much of an influence does Jokić have on the offense relative to Embiid, and the difference is significant, though the Philadelphia star is certainly the second-most impactful player this season.

It’s important to note Jokić has neither the best on-court net rating, meaning the Nuggets aren’t better with Jokić than with other candidates, most notably Embiid, or the biggest differential in on-vs.-off-court net rating. They aren’t worse when he’s off the floor than the Warriors are when Stephen Curry sits.

I have always rejected the differentials argument, though I like the metric. The reason is I don’t want to reward a player for having bad teammates, because by extension I have to then punish a player for having good teammates. An MVP should be able to point to their team’s success, and that success comes from his team’s play; not just their own.

So, while Jokić doesn’t stand out as the best by either of those on-court performance team-centric metrics, he fits snugly in the middle. Both clearly improve his team and make it elite when he’s on the floor, even if others have been better for one specific reason.

So, of course, we have to talk about the defense.


Defense

Let us now speak honestly. Let’s abandon our preconceptions and approach this with fresh eyes, clear from what impressions or the past tell us.

I’m not here to tell you Jokić is a better defensive player than Embiid or Chris Paul. He is not a monster shot blocker. He is not a rim deterrent like Rudy Gobert. There are situations in which he can be exploited for his lack of lateral quickness. You can put him on skates:

However, I’m here to tell you that you cannot describe Jokić as a bad defender or someone who “doesn’t play defense.” That’s simply not accurate.

Here’s the reality: the list of big men that can reasonably be expected to “lock down” elite perimeter ball handlers is low, just as the number of guards who could reliably guard the league’s few elite big men in the post is low. You can put Jokić on skates if you get him in isolation.

Here’s the problem. Jokić and the Nuggets don’t allow him to be put in those situations. What does it matter if a player has a weakness if you can’t exploit it?

Synergy Sports only has Jokić logged for 15 made baskets against him in isolation defense. Here’s one by CJ McCollum:

That’s good defense. McCollum just made a tough shot and no defender is really going to do better in that situation.

Second Spectrum data provided to Action Network shows Jokic has switched onto a ball handler just 52 times this season. Among all players who have 50 or more switches as the screener defender, he has allowed the eighth-fewest points per possession.

Here’s him on a switch against Kevin Durant:

The key is that he’s done well in the limited number of possessions he’s had to contain elite ball handlers, but more importantly, Denver doesn’t allow him to be in situations where he’ll be exploited.

This is central to understanding NBA defense. A few years ago, I asked Nuggets Assistant Coach Wes Unseld what the team would do when teams forced Jokić to switch onto their elite ball handlers.

“Why would we do that?” he asked.

There’s this idea that offenses get to dictate everything and it’s not true. They present problems and the defense has to solve those issues. For years, Denver struggled with Jokić on the floor defensively, because he was playing drop defense in pick and roll. It’s the easiest for bigs. You have to cover less ground, don’t have to keep anyone in front of you and allows shooters to stay home.

However, Jokić communicated after many struggles that he preferred to play more aggressive. So instead, the Nuggets use Jokić at the level of the screen, either blitzing the ballhander to force him to pass or playing at the level to give Denver’s small guards more time to contain.

Here are two examples where Jokić shows hard versus Paul George, then against Damian Lillard. The star drives on him, but the Nuggets bring help (which you should since it’s Lillard) and the Nuggets’ rotations hold up in a scramble to force a contested mid-range miss.

The Nuggets have the No. 1 defense guarding pick and roll ball handlers, according to Synergy Sports. When you include passes, they are seventh. Jokić as the “big defender” in the pick and roll is 72nd percentile. Those numbers simply aren’t possible if he’s a negative defender.

Now, there are counters to this. Particularly, if you reject the screen like Donovan Mitchell does here and Jokić anticipates too soon, it’s a runway for the ball handler:

And if the screener pops instead of rolls to where the help is, that forces Jokić to recover and cover ground, which he’s never going to be great at:

However, the Nuggets are also 12th in defensive rating overall and 11th since adding Aaron Gordon. Denver is also 30th in transition points allowed per possession and eighth in half-court defense. Guess which one is more important, especially for playoff performance?

Jokić is 19th in the league in deflections per game, plus he’s 25th in steals at 1.4 in the category. Steals and blocks are often bad indicators of actual defensive acumen, but part of how Jokić has grown to be less of a weak point defensively is by using his quick hands to his advantage:

Again, the point here is not that Jokić is an elite defender or even among the top quarter of the league. It’s simply that you can’t make the argument he’s a net negative and trying to show that he’s even neutral is difficult. Jokić grades out, at worse, as a slightly above-average defender this season.


Winning

The knock on Jokić early in the season was that Denver wasn’t good enough for him to be a contender. The franchise started off rough, floating around eighth in the West for the early part of the season.

That’s all changed.

The Nuggets are:

  • 29-13 since February 15
  • 26-9 since March 1 (best in the league)
  • 15-6 since April 1 (best in the league)
  • 10-4 since Jamal Murray’s injury on April 12

As of this writing, they are just three games back of the Sixers in record. Denver will finish with a worse record and a lower seeding, because they play in the Western Conference. The gap between the conferences is as wide as it has ever been, but the Nuggets have won the games they needed to so far.

Then, there’s the availability question.

This season there should be more allowances made for missed time than ever in the league’s history. This is the most brutal, truncated schedule in league history, with player absences due to health and safety protocols, as well as (necessary) incessant testing on top of it.

I’m not as convinced by the argument Jokić’s not having missed a game through 68 played is as convincing as some. However, it should be noted all the other candidates have taken nights off not due to injury or protocols, but just to rest. That’s understandable. Again, this season is nuts.

But Jokić hasn’t.

He has shown up for his team every single night. He has played against the great teams and bottom dwellers, on back to backs and four in five nights. He has played every minute for a team that needed every minute from him.

You cannot, in good conscience, call Jokić anything but a winner by those standards.

Narrative

At this point, most of the various voting blocks that make up the MVP award have fallen line with Jokić. The beat writers have seen him stomp up and down on the local team or they’ve asked their sources. The league sources I’ve spoken to have been fairly resolute in the MVP being Jokić, with one executive who is not from the Nuggets asking me, “Why is the media making this a thing when we all know it’s Jokić?”

The stats wonks will obviously go in his favor. He trounces the competition by most of the available and used metrics (the exception is ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus, which has him ninth in the league). The hardcore analysts like Zach Lowe will respect what he’s done on the floor night in and night out. Former players like Reggie Miller have indicated they believe he’s the MVP as well.

The last remaining real voting group that still has reservations is the one featuring national media personalities.

Having studied the MVP race for more than a decade, I’ll tell you this: you don’t want groupthink. Too often ideas become concrete and there’s no room for disagreement. A vote for Embiid is absolutely valid this season. He’s deserving. So is Steph Curry. These arguments depend on how you define “valuable” and that can be based on whatever idea you present.

What’s truly fascinating, though, is the historical argument that’s arisen. Nick Wright was the first to really bring it to the forefront last week when he said Paul would be his MVP because Jokić would be the worst MVP in the last 35 years when examining the historical legacy of the player.

However, Wright wasn’t the first. If you dug into skeptics’ answers long enough, you would find this question: “Are we going to look back and really say that Nikola Jokić was the MVP?”

There’s a strong resistance to the idea that Jokić is a truly great player. This is baffling upon any detailed examination. Typically, this kind of reservation is held for regular-season stat producers.

If Jokić had been exposed and eliminated in each of his playoff runs, that would be an understandable position. But he hasn’t. He’s playoff certified. He’s won three series and made the Western Conference Finals in two tries, plus in his first season he was a Game 7 Evan Turner performance short.

Jokić was the best player in a series with Leonard and George this season.

How on Earth does that not qualify as great?

There’s something to the way Jokić looks that makes it difficult for some to move past the idea that he simply can’t be a great player. Too slow. Too plodding. Not cool enough. Not a social media star. Not an awesome quote. Too awkward. Plays in Denver.

But the fact that we have an idea of what greatness has to look like betrays everything about what makes sports great. It’s about how you perform on the court, that’s how good of a player you are. This isn’t even about the metrics, which I believe are important to recognize. You can watch Jokić marvel at what he does. I gave you examples above. There are hundreds more.

However, you have to pay attention.

The Nuggets, despite making the Western Conference Finals last season, appeared on national TV just 11 times this season, including last Friday’s Jazz-Nuggets game that was bumped.

I don’t believe that if you pay attention the entire season that Jokić is the only player you can decide is the MVP of the league. There are multiple worthy candidates this year, despite how difficult the season has been. However, you cannot pay the requisite amount of attention to Jokić and conclude he isn’t fantastic or won’t go down as an all-time great player.

And if you’re still skeptical? Keep this in mind: Jokić is 26 years old. He’s just getting started.

The MVP is supposed to reflect the regular season. Even a narrative voter has to accept that a Serbian horse enthusiast dominating the league with his passing and efficiency, leading a team in the West to the best record among squads that made the conference finals last season, and doing so after losing the team’s second best player, is a good story.


Most Valuable

My definition of valuable for the MVP is “most impactful toward his team’s chances of winning.” Jokić’s performance offensively, night in and night out as the focus of all defensive attention, and the way he has masterfully destroyed attempts to stop him, lays the ground work for his candidacy. The Nuggets’ success both before and after Murray’s injury impacts matters as well.

The best players don’t just light up the stat sheet or fill the highlight reel.

They control the game. They bend the opponent to its will and leave it helpless to stop them.

Jokić has done that.

Double teams. Triple teams. Zone. Shooting. Post-ups. Rebounding. Putbacks.

He has been a complete player and no one has impacted their team’s chances of winning more than Jokić, your 2021 NBA MVP.

_BookPromo=1911

Bob Baffert’s Interview Transcripts: Medina Spirit’s Trainer Explains Test Results on Tuesday

bob-baffert-transcript-kentucky-derby-medina-spirit

On Monday, Bob Baffert made his rounds giving interviews explaining why he was innocent and that his horse, Medina Spirit, was never given an illegal drug resulting in a post-race failed test.

On Tuesday, Baffert backtracked.

The trainer, who argued his suspension and the investigation into the Kentucky Derby winner was just “cancel culture”, released a statement with the possible reason for the substance betamethasone being found in Medina Spirit’s system.

Hours later, Baffert’s lawyer said Medina Spirit will be allowed to race in the next Triple Crown event, The Preakness. There will be multiple conditions to the agreement, he said.

_BookPromo=1831

Baffert’s statement from Tuesday morning regarding the failed test is as follows:

“Following the Santa Anita Derby, Medina Spirit developed dermatitis on his hind end,” Baffert said in the statement. “I had him checked out by my veterinarian who recommended the use of an anti-fungal ointment called Otomax. The veterinary recommendation was to apply this ointment daily to give the horse relief, help heal the dermatitis and prevent it from spreading.

“My barn followed this recommendation and Medina Spirit was treated with Otomax once a day up until the day before the Kentucky Derby. Yesterday, I was informed that one of the substances in Otomax is betamethasone. While we do not know definitively that this was the source of the alleged 21 picograms found in Medina Spirit’s post-race blood sample, and our investigation is continuing, I have been told by equine pharmacology experts that this could explain the test results. As such, I wanted to be forthright about this fact as soon as I learned of this information.

“As I have stated, my investigation is continuing and we do not know for sure if this ointment was the cause of the test results, or if the test results are even accurate, as the