ST. LOUIS, MO. November 16, - Wide receiver Kenny Britt #81 of the St. Louis Rams crosses the goal line with a 63 yard touchdown strike to make the score 10-0 in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Edward Jones Dome November 16, 2014 St. Louis, MO (Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

Week 9 NFL Picks

DENVER BRONCOS VS ST. LOUIS RAMS

15-9 record on the season after a 1-1 week and a push. Big win for me on the Bears Monday night as I bet 5 units and had a nice DFS finish as well in the Sunday night/Monday night Primetime contests. Good luck this week.

Panthers @ Rams

Rams +3
… IT’S A TRAP! Seriously, it is. If you’re not going to bet the Rams then just stay away. Public all over the Panthers but they were horrible all season until last week. I believe we see a similar outcome to the Rams-Seahawks game earlier this season when they won 9-3, which is why this line is so low.

Falcons @ Bucs

Bucs +3.5
Falcons are 2-2 the last 4 games, with all four games being won or lost by 1 score. Tampa Bay has beaten Atlanta already this yeah as well as Carolina, and comes off of a heartbreaking OT loss vs the Raiders. Bucs continue to be a thorn in the Falcons side this week.

Extra Sweat:
Giants -2.5 – Kind of a low/odd line in my opinion but the public is against them and the bye week should help a QB like Eli more than most.

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Week 8 NFL Picks

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14-8 record on the season after a 2-2 week. Another thing I’ve learned so far this season – although the public has already known this for a while – San Francisco is a very poor home team, and Oakland is a very good away team. Here are the plays I like for week 8 NFL.

Chiefs @ Colts

Colts +3
The Colts are a slightly better team than they look, mostly because Andrew Luck who is constantly bashed is a better QB than he looks at the moment too. The Chiefs are a force to be reckoned with at home, and although beating a good Raiders team in Oakland, got lit up in Pittsburgh 43-14 just a couple weeks ago. The Colts open this one up half way through and never look back.

Jets @ Browns

Browns +3
Cleveland wins their first game at home vs a struggling Jets team who play very poorly in other stadiums. Extra value as the line opened at 2 and has slowly moved to 3.

Redskins @ Bengals

Bengals -3
This is the only spot where I am with the public this week, as Washington looks a little inflated to me, Cincinnati can be a very tough place to play, and the Redskins have to travel cross country. Bengals handle them with ease.

Vikings @ Bears

Bears +6
Cutler’s first game back against a tough Vikings team who laid an egg at Phili last week. I look for Vikings’ woes to continue another week or 2 before getting it together. I also think 5.5 point lines tend to be a bettor’s trap, and it’s profitable to bet the dog.

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Week 7 NFL Picks

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12-6 record so far this season after a 2-1 week. I like a quite a few games this week, and here are my favorite plays for NFL week 7.

Vikings @ Eagles

Eagles +2.5
Minnesota off of a bye, which makes them an even heavier public favorite than they should be. Eagles still a great team at home (dismantling the Steelers) and a decent but struggling team away, with close losses to Detroit and division rival Redskins. Scary game to bet, as Minnesota’s defense is tops in the league and has had 2 weeks to prepare for rookie Wentz, but I’m going against the grain in this spot.

Raiders @ Jaguars

Jaguars +1
Raiders traveling across the country to play a struggling Jaguars team. Only problem is the Raiders are 3-0 away this year, and all the games were on the east coast: Saints, Titans, and Ravens. Two of these games however, were 1 point victories. Jags win a close one at the end in what could be a shootout.

Bucs @ 49ers

49ers +2
San Fran looks about as bad as it gets right now, but that was to be expected with Kap playing at Buffalo in his first game back. Bucs off a bye and have been a small public favorite this year, after beating Atlanta and Carolina. I’m going to fade the trap and bet that Kap has a much better game two, home vs a much worse defense. I also expect Hyde to have a pretty big game as the 49ers look to pound the ground all day. Buyer beware: San Fran has been the team that has burned me this season twice.

Chargers @ Falcons

Chargers +7
The only away team I like this week in this fantasy footballer’s wet dream of a matchup. I think the line is perfect, but can’t help but bet the Chargers who have 3 of their losses by 1, 3, and 4 points as well as their 4th loss by 6 in OT. This trend continues from last year and is part of their basic makeup as a team that is in almost every game at the end, due to their subpar defense and great QB. I look for this game to go the same way.

Extra Sweat:
Dolphins +3: Home dog getting 3 points in a division rivalry is usually a bet, but the Bills have McCoy and Miami is poor against the run. I might put a unit or less on the Fins though as I believe the situation dictates it.

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Week 6 NFL Picks

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10-5 record on the season. Went 1-2 last week, but won my big bet with the Lions covering +3 at home vs the Eagles, so I can’t complain too much. Here are my picks for week 6.

Eagles @ Redskins

Redskins +3
I would bet contrary to this in a lot of spots, as the Eagles lost and Redskins won last week. However the public is 76% on Eagles thus far, moving the line to from 2 to 3. I also like the Skins here because they are playing home vs a division rival, which usually means a cover for a small home dog.

Falcons @ Seahawks

Seahawks -5.5
I don’t often bet on the team that is off of a bye as I believe it hurts a lot of teams more than it helps, and it’s a somewhat of a bettor’s trap. I do believe however that bye weeks help really good teams, teams like the Seahawks. They needed a rest to get healthier and are coming off of a few big games. Seattle stays hot and brings Atlanta back down to earth in a big way.

Broncos @ Chargers

Chargers +3
Thursday night football and the San Diego Chargers; two things I hate betting on. But like my first bet, I love betting small home dogs in division rivalries. Especially when the public is all over the better/away team. I am definitely wary of this bet, as its against the best defense in the league. I will likely bet 1 unit or less here.

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Week 5 NFL Picks

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9-3 start to the season although a tough week last week, going 1-3 to halt my 8-0 streak. I don’t dislike last week’s bets for the most part, but I do think I made a mistake on betting against the best defense in the league in Denver. I think that even when the indicators are there, it’s still better to stay away.

Onward, here are my picks for week 5.

Eagles @ Lions

Lions +3
Eagles a big public play, and coming off of a bye. But when these two teams met last year, Stafford threw for 350 and 5 TDs in a 48-14 route. The Eagles defense hasn’t changed a whole lot since then, so I’m going against the public and with history.

Titans @ Dolphins

Dolphins -3.5
Miami has looked pretty bad, and so have the Titans. This will be Miami’s second home game this season, the first being two weeks ago vs the Browns where they stumbled but showed flashes of offensive explosiveness in their 6 point win. Their defense also had 3 huge plays, 2 picks and a fumble, get called back due to penalties.

Cardinals @ 49ers

49ers +3
San Francisco started off hot last week going up 14-0 against Dallas, but allowed them to creep back while going stagnant offensively in the second half. The Cowboys basically proved that even with injuries, their offensive line is still likely the best in the league. The same can not be said about Arizona, and now Carson Palmer is sitting. It could get ugly in Candlestick.

Honorable Mentions
Jets +7
Cowboys +1

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Week 4 NFL Picks

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8-0 on the season thus far. 4-0 last week and came oh-so-close to a DFS victory in the $100k. Here are my picks for week 4.

Broncos @ Bucs

Bucs +3
This line would seem to make more sense at Broncos -6, not 3. The public is all over Denver 92% early in the week. I believe Winston plays well vs this tough defense, Siemian has a tough one, and Bucs win it at the end.

Colts @ Jags

Jags +2.5
I feel like this line has been Jags +2 every year since the Peyton Manning days in Indy. And somehow the Colts always win by 1. Vegas knows what they’re doing as usual, Jags cover at home, and the public falls flat.

Rams @ Cardinals

Cardinals -9
I like the Cardinals to bounce back after a tough away loss and embarrass the Rams in Arizona. The low total and large spread signifies a strong defensive performance by Arizona in a convincing win. Let’s call it 27-10.

Cowboys @ 49ers

49ers +3
Dallas playing well and 49ers look like the pits. I have a feeling we see the 49ers from week 1 vs the Rams this week though, and their defense hands it to Dallas and Prescott.

Honorable Mentions
Baltimore -3.5
Bears +3

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Week 3 NFL Picks

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4-0 on the season thus far. 2-0 last week with Vikings and Rams. Here are my picks for week 3.

Cardinals @ Bills

Bills +4
The public is over 80% on the high flying Cardinals, but they are flying cross-country to play a tough Bills defense. The Bills will play Arizona close; I see them winning this one outright a lot here as the gambly Ryan brothers could easily put together a scheme that gets to Palmer all game.

Steelers @ Eagles

Eagles +3.5
A short trip for Pitt, but a tough stadium to play in vs a confident Eagles team coming home after a big win in Chicago. This game should stay close until the very end, and Pitt wins by a point.

Chargers @ Colts

Colts -3
It’s rare that I follow the public, but this week the public is on the Colts 65% and so am I. The Colts don’t look great and San Diego looks like world beaters. Bettors have short memories though, and I think both teams snap back to their true value this game and Colts win convincingly.

Jets @ Chiefs

Chiefs -3
Are we forgetting how good Andy Reid and the Chiefs are so quickly? KC shows up huge in arrowhead and brings Fitzpatrick and the Jets back down to earth.

Honorable Mentions
Panthers/Vikings over 43
Packers -7
49ers/Seahawks under 40.5

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Week 2 NFL Picks

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2-0 in week 1 betting the Jets and SF. Here are my picks for week 2 NFL 2016. Good luck!

Packers @ Vikings

Vikings +2.5
If this line is at 3 anywhere I would snap it up. Tough betting the +2.5 but this line should be way higher. Public over 80% on the super favorite GB Packers, but look for Minnesota to give GB hell as always and Rodgers to struggle.

Seahawks @ Rams

Rams +6.5
The Rams looked terrible week 1 but played a very tough away game in SF. Now the Seahawks who also struggled at home vs a bad Miami team will be away vs a very tough defense and a hobbled Russell Wilson. This game stays close.

kansas city royals world series

2016 World Series Futures

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So my philosophy for betting World Series Futures still holds true at this stage of the game. You have to throw out your far outliers that missed but in large, you have to stick to the same principles that got us here.

Pitching Staff

When I do weigh in on future world series winners, I try to do so in a semi-standardized way. The very first thing I weigh is a pitching staffs viability. Do they have a stable of guys who can maintain production through the course of 162 games. That begins with the starting 5. I need to see strength through 4 guys, and stability in the 5th for any team to look like a real contender.

On top of that, I really want to see a guy with tremendous “Stuff” at the top of the rotation. A guy with high pitch-ability is fantastic, and a must have. A guy with stuff and high pitch-ability can win even when his pitches aren’t hitting spots. A 98 mile per hour fastball on the hands is almost impossible to hit. Whether the fastball is followed by the perfect tilt, off speed pitch down, or not. Guys like that will win you games consistently in the playoffs.

Seeing a strong back end of a rotation is another must. A lights out setup guy and closer shorten games. When teams get into the playoffs, having to win 7 innings opposed to 9 is a huge value. I think that’s easy enough to see.

If a team has those two things, plus a good long relief guy I think they have play-0ff viability.

Don’t Bet On Teams That Strike Out

Offensively the biggest non starter for me is a team that strikes out a ton. As they are playing now, the Huston Astros will never win a world series. Give me a team like the Royals any day: high contact rates, high on base %, high wins rate. A strike out is as killer to an offense as a walk is to a defense. There is literally nothing a TEAM can do to defend a walk. It is very much the same for a “K”. Striking out does nothing for runners on base, nothing to the defense, nothing for the hitter on deck; crippling.

That is the primary thing I look for in an offense. If a team can score runs, they can win as long as they don’t strike out a ton. Someone may point to teams who have had success hitting the long ball and striking out a ton. I would point to the Mets and say “have fun stringing together multiple solo shots against that staff in a 7 game set”.

Team Defenses

Another overlooked factor is defense. But for this you need to look at the makeup of a team. Instead of taking the one factor “defense”, look at a teams fundamentals. How do they approach 2 strikes, runners in scoring position, base running, and decision making defensively. If they do those things well it would point  towards a winner for me.

So compounding all these factors, we may be able to get a clearer look at potential winners.

Look For Opportunities To Hedge In The Playoffs

Another factor that influences my betting in this area is hedging. I will take long-odds teams based on their ability to get into the playoffs. If they make the playoffs, you can hedge your bets by betting against them in each series, and come away with a very profitable situation.

 

Team Odds
Chicago Cubs +290
Washington Nationals +575
Texas Rangers +700
Toronto Blue Jays +850
Cleveland Indians +900
San Francisco Giants +1000
Los Angeles Dodgers +1000
Boston Red Sox +1000
Baltimore Orioles +1600
St. Louis Cardinals +3300
Detroit Tigers +4000
Seattle Mariners +4000
Miami Marlins +4000
Houston Astros +5000
Pittsburgh Pirates +5000
New York Mets +5000
Kansas City Royals +5000
New York Yankees +10000
Colorado Rockies +20000

 

ROYALS +5000

 

HAMMER the Royals at +5000. Do you see what their pitching staff is doing right now? Let me illustrate:

14-16 since finding the mantis

2.03 team era in that time period

5.33 runs per game

2.53 are going lower starter era

0.85 microscopic bullpen era

This run can continue and if it does expect the Royals to make the playoffs. At 5000 this is a great bet.

 

Red Sox +1000

 

Rick Porcello has been a welcome surprise this season for the Red Sox. David Price has been stringing a few starts together that make him look like the ace we know. Drew Pomeranz 2.95 era 10-9 now pitching or a winning team. That’s a stellar top three for one of the most potent offenses in the league. I like this bet a lot.

 

Detroit + 4000

 

I realize that saying I like Detroit in one sentence while saying hammer kc in the other is a bit at odds. One will make it, one will not. I said at the beginning of the season that I liked Detroit and at 4000 right now…still do. Pick your poison between KC and DET…one of these guys will put you in a position for a payout…not both.

 

TEXAS +700

 

If you have money to invest, I think Texas is the safest bet that will still give you a decent return. My favorite favorite if you will. The Cubs are good, Cleveland appears good, but the Rangers are tied for the second best record in baseball and rolling. Solid pitching, solid defense, and a well built offense. If I have a good chunk of money I want to spend in one place…its here.

 

Yu Darvish 10 10 6 4 3 0 0 59.0 49 18 9 14 76 11.59 91.2 2.1 1.07 2.75
Cole Hamels 25 25 18 13 4 0 0 160.2 144 50 19 61 159 8.91 103.2 5.3 1.28 2.80

 

Colby Lewis 15 15 12 6 1 0 0 98.0 81 35 13 19 61 5.60 94.6 3.3 1.02 3.21

I have no problems riding those three arms with a stable of crafty veterans rounding out the back end of their rotation.

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Updated CY Futures – 2016 MLB

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We’re now more than half way through the Major League Baseball season, and we have large bodies of work to evaluate and wager our money on now, so let’s get busy.

American League

Chris Sale +180
Cole Hamels +250
Aaron Sanchez +700
Danny Salazar +1200
Chris Tillman +1200
Justin Verlander +1400
J.A. Happ +1400
Rick Porcello +1600
Steven Wright +2000
Corey Kluber +2000
Michael Fulmer +2800

The American league has been a disaster. Many of the front runners fell off, and teams have flopped. Sprinkle some injuries in to complete the picture of chaos. Other than saying Chris Sale is the truth, I pretty much missed on the American league CY earlier this year. For me however, it will always be about value, and when you are betting for value you are going to miss sometimes.

That being said, let’s take a look at the betting with a little under halfway to go. At this stage of the game it is no longer about finding that golden nugget with astronomical odds. The body of work is too large for any one pitcher to have a complete turnaround from a 100-1 guy to CY. While I am still looking for value, we can’t just dismiss reality and someone’s actual chance at winning the award.

Cole Hamels +250

I’m not really saying that you should bet Hamels at +250. I am more acknowledging the fact that if you got it in at +2000 you are a betting god. I never would have placed Hamels at the top of this list. I think that is due in large part to the blindness I have for the AL West.

With Oakland every 4 years putting together contenders out of nowhere, the Angels always have star stacked squads and under performing, and Houston’s resurgence I have no clue how to read that division. So if you got it in at the beginning of the year… you killed it.

J.A. Happ +1400

J.A. Happ pitches for a team tied for the top spot in the toughest division in baseball. He has lead the team all year, and pitched at a clip worthy of the award. I think that if we see the Blue Jays take the American League East, and Happ finish with a sub 3 era and in the 19-21 win range he wins this award. At 14 to 1 thats not a bad investment.

Zach Britton ???

His odds will be unbelieveable. Remember how I said there were no more golden nuggets? I lied.

For starters, the 28-year-old lefty hasn’t blown a single save opportunity this season, going 34-for-34. If you count the All-Star Game, it’s 35-for-35. His ERA is lower than the limbo bar at a Lilliputian bar mitzvah (0.58). His WHIP is more like a blip (0.75).” (Matz).

He is a reliever so he has a huge battle to fight. If you see him get close to 45 saves however…ding ding WINNER. Eric Gagne 2.0. I have no idea if you can get this bet in anywhere because Bovada does not have him on there list.

National League

Stephen Strasburg -150
Madison Bumgarner +550
Clayton Kershaw +750
Jake Arrieta +1000
Johnny Cueto +1000
Max Scherzer +1000
Jose Fernandez +1600
Noah Syndergaard +2000

Strasburg at negative odds means great value elsewhere in this pool. I realize that Strasburg is a huge favorite but betting negative odds will never play in my book. You never know when a string of bad starts will happen.

Madison Bumgarner +550

If Strasburg doesn’t win this award Madison most likely will. So at 5.5 to 1 I will risk a few bucks on Mad Bum. The Giants are in a great position to win that division, and if they do…it will be on Mad Bum’s back.

Noah Syndegaard + 2000

He’s got the strikeouts, he’s got the era, he just doesn’t have the wins. If Noah turns in on in the second half and the Mets make the playoffs, couples with a Strasburg collapse…this may actually happen. At this late in the game, with odds like this, you have to take a chance.