Against the Spread Blog
The NBA Conference finals began with the San Antonio Spurs thoroughly outclassing a Memphis Grizzlies team that suddenly went from looking like the best team in the playoffs, to resembling a ball club that was just happy to still be playing. At this point, NBA fans are probably aware that the Grizzlies lost both of their Game 1’s in the earlier rounds and managed to win each series, so there is still a lot of basketball left to play.
The Eastern Conference finals will finally get underway on Tuesday, and if the games are anything like the pregame trash talk, then NBA bettors should be in for a treat. If you missed the pre-series media hoopla, Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogal referred to the Miami Heat as ‘just another team’. And of course, LeBron James took offense to that statement, and went off on a media rant explaining how great the Heat really are, by call them a ‘great team’ that needs to be prepared for.
The second leg of this year’s Triple Crown racing season for three-year old thoroughbred’s takes place this Saturday afternoon with the running of the 138th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Track in Maryland. This Grade I stakes race will be run on a dirt track over the distance of 1 ¼ miles and the total prize purse for this event is $1 million.
Just two weeks ago at Churchill Downs, Orb kicked-off the run for the Triple Crown with a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the Kentucky Derby, which is considered the Crown Jewel of this three-race series. The 2 ½ length victory was not unexpected after he went off as the 5/1 favorite to win, but the fact that this colt showed such great closing speed after trailing the whole race was impressive to say the least. This has set Orb up as the 1/1 odds-on-favorite to win the Preakness on Bovada’s current board.
The long 162-game grind to this year’s MLB playoffs has almost reached the quarter pole as we head into the first full week of May. By now we have had a good look at all 30 teams not only in terms of wins and losses, but in their performance on the money line and the total line when it comes to wagering on the games. The following is a brief look at some early MLB betting trends as well as which teams have been the top money makers through Monday’s games.
General MLB Betting Trends
Anytime you follow a sport that piles-up close to 100 games a week, the betting trends for the actual results will quickly paint a good picture of where there was money to be made. The favorites have won 57.24 percent of the time so far and the home team has won 53.85 percent of their games. When you add both categories together, you find that close to 58 percent of the home favorites have won their games, which is a pretty solid return so far.
It is impossible to properly grade an NFL draft until you get a chance to see how each team’s picks ultimately helped or hurt their team, but that could take a couple of seasons to play itself out. What you can do in the short term is look back to see how well each of the NFL’s 32 teams did at matching their current needs with the picks that they made. While this tends to be a subjective process depending on each person’s own particular evaluation of talent, there are still some common threads that come together to paint a pretty clear picture of which teams did the best job improving their overall roster.
The team at the top of my list is the San Francisco 49ers for two main reasons. The first is that this is a team that has been to the NFC Championship Game two straight years and the Super Bowl last season, so the current holes on this team are far and few between. The second is that through some front office maneuvers well before this year’s draft ever took place, the 49ers came in with a huge amount of leverage by holding 14 overall picks heading into the first round.
For whatever reason, Sir Alex Ferguson decided to announce on May 8 that he was going to step down as manager of Manchester United when the season concludes on May 19. It could be because of his upcoming hip-replacement surgery or due to the fact that he’ll leave the club after reaching 1,500 games in charge. It’s also possible that club ownership and upper management talked him into stepping down before all of the suitable replacements, such as Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid and David Moyes of Everton, have been snapped up by somebody else.
Nobody’s really sure other than Ferguson and the announcement comes as a bit of a surprise since the 71-year-old recently announced he’s be staying with the world’s most famous soccer club for at least two more years. He said he was going to retire about 10 years ago, but changed his mind. However, this time there’s no doubt that he means it.
This week the PGA Tour makes a stop at TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida, for The Players Championship, which is often thought of as professional golf's unofficial fifth Major. First round action from the fabled Stadium Course is slated to get underway this Thursday with the final round concluding on Sunday.
The field will include 50 of the top players in the current World Rankings including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, who have already been opened by Bovada as three of the top five favorites on its current list of futures odds to win this year's event. The following is a closer look at a few of these top players along with my top valued longshot to win this week.
The Bettors Edge- Wagering on the Kentucky Derby
This upcoming Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs is the running of the 139th Kentucky Derby. The Crown Jewel of the Triple Crown horse racing season for 20 of the top three-year old thoroughbreds will be contested on a dirt track over the length of 1 ¼ miles. The total prize purse for this grade I stakes race is $2 million.
A Look at the Field
The Kentucky Derby is also the most heavily bet horse race of the year with millions of people with an even casual interest in horse racing wagering money on its outcome. A few of the early favorites for this year’s race include Verrazano, Orb and Revolutionary but the 20-horse field remains deep in talent with a second tier of strong contenders such as Goldencents, Normandy Invasion and Overanalyze. Taking things one step further, a third tier of horses that are more than capable of making some serious noise on Saturday includes Itsmyluckyday, Java’s War and Vyjack.
The start of the 2013 Triple Crown horse racing season is right around the corner with the running of the Kentucky Derby at fabled Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 4. A full field of 20 three-year old thoroughbreds is currently being assembled through a series of prep races that date all the way back to New Year’s Day.
While the final field for the ‘Run for the Roses’ is not quite set, we already know a few of the horses that are favored to win according to Bovada’s futures odds for this event. The following is a brief look at the top three contenders as well as my top value pick with longer odds.
The end of the NBA regular season not only brings the start of the playoffs, which for any basketball bettor is heaven on earth, but it also is time for the league to pass out its annual regular-season awards. The MVP race may lack any sense of intrigue as it was already decided by mid-January. However, most of the other awards were up for debate until the last night of the season, and are still open for interpretation as to which players should win.
The ATS blog might not have an official vote for the regular-season awards, but we do have an opinion. So let’s take a look at a few categories, pick our winners, and even add a couple of gambling-related awards of our own. Here is a peek at the ATS blog’s regular-season awards ballot.
We are not even halfway through the opening round of this year’s NBA Playoffs but the first weekend of games has already been a profitable run for anyone riding the favorites. This past Saturday and Sunday, all eight favorites won their best-of-seven series opener straight-up while posting a profitable 6-1-1 record against the spread. That equates to a $490 return on a $100 wager on each of the favorites.
The tide has quickly turned in Monday and Tuesday’s results with the favorites going 3-2 SU and just 1-4 ATS so like anything else when it comes to betting on sports, you have to pick and choose your spots when trying to ride a profitable wave. After Wednesday night’s games, all eight series will shift to the home court of the lower seed which could be a golden opportunity to start riding the road teams especially if they are getting points.
Another thrilling NBA year has come to a close, and many playoff matchups were still undecided heading into the final night of the regular season. The Los Angeles Lakers made the playoffs and managed to leapfrog the Houston Rockets in the process. The Los Angeles Clippers held off the Sacramento Kings and grabbed the fourth seed in the West, while the San Antonio Spurs lost seven of their last 10 games to fall into the second seed. Over in the East things were a bit clearer as every playoff team had punched their tickets a week earlier.
There are many storylines in play heading into this year’s postseason, as LeBron James and the Miami Heat look to continue writing their legacy, while the New York Knicks have positioned themselves to make their first Finals appearance in over 15 years. The Oklahoma City Thunder are desperate to get over the hump and win their first title in the same conference where the LA Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies believe they are championship-level material. Let’s take a closer look at each playoff series and make a few predictions and figure out the best way to wager on each series.
Mixed martial arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and has already supplanted boxing as the most watched combat sports in the United States. MMA pay-per-view numbers routinely outdraw the majority of boxing events. The Ultimate Fighting Championship—the big leagues for MMA fighters—has made a conscious effort to market the sport to the casual fan by signing a ground breaking, multimillion-dollar deal with the Fox network.
The UFC constantly airs free MMA cards on Fox and its affiliates, and along with their pay-per-view events, the organization produces multiple cards on a monthly basis. Many fans and bettors are still new to the sports, and are in the process of learning and understanding the nuances of a mixed martial arts fight.
One of the most popular and prestigious events in all of sports will get underway this Thursday when 94 of the top golfers in the world begin their quest for a Masters Championship at the fabled Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia.
Over four rounds of play, with the final round set for Sunday, veteran players such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will be looking to add another Green Jacket to their collection while the up and coming studs in the world of golf, such as Rory McIlroy, will be seeking their first. These three superstars of the game are the top three favorites on Bovada’s futures odds board with Woods sitting at 3/1, McIlroy at 8/1 and Mickelson at 10/1 to best a very talented field.
When it comes to wagering on this event, you must always keep in mind that the betting public plays a huge part in how the odds are set. Current form and past performance in previous Masters and Majors in general are important factors, but the perception of which player the bettors think will win is just as important. This tends to sap much of the value out of the odds for the favorites. If you are looking for value when wagering on the Masters the best place to look is in any number of prop bets that are available along with the straight-up odds to win.
When it come to handicapping a MLB matchup an important factor that you want to take into consideration is who will be behind home plate calling balls and strikes. While this information is normally not released for the first game of a new series, it is known for the rest of the games as that series’ umpiring crew will follow a set rotation from that point on.
The human element is a big part of the effect that a home plate umpire can have on the outcome of a game because even though the strike zone is objectively set, it is often times subjectively interpreted between one umpire and the next. If he employs a tighter strike zone, then the edge goes to the better hitting team. If he has a tendency to expand the boundaries, then the team with the better pitching might end up benefitting more.
Social media and the internet have revolutionized the way modern society interacts with the world. It has changed how we deal with our friends and family. It has changed how we view entertainment. It has changed how we consume the news. Heck, it has even changed the way we bet on sports. Who would have thought that something as simple as the internet and social media would change the way we gamble?
Back in the dark ages of sports betting (before smart phones), if you wanted to place a bet while you were out of the house you would have to call your online betting site and have an actual conversation. Nowadays, you can follow a game straight from your phone, have enough information to make an educated halftime wager, then place that bet at an online sportsbook, and not interrupt whatever you were doing in the slightest.
March is simply the best time of the year. The sun is beginning to shine brighter, the days start to get longer, and college basketball throws out the best tournament of the year—March Madness. The single-elimination format simply makes everything so much more exciting. Imagine if all of life’s important decisions could be decided through a March Madness-like tournament. Where to have dinner? What car to buy? What girl to date? Life would be so much easier.
However, there is one area where we can actually make an important decision by having a March Madness tournament—movies. The ATS blog could talk for days on end about films, but just don’t get us started on Tom Cruise, we can’t stand him. But, since it is March, let’s use the single-elimination format to decide one of life’s pressing questions—what is the greatest gambling movie of all-time?
The Miami Heat came close to one of the most hollowed streaks in NBA history. Its astounding to think that a team can keep up the energy and focus to not lose a single game in nearly three months. Miami is on a mission to become an all-time great team, and in order to take their spot alongside the 72-10 Chicago Bulls, they will need to win a title.
The Miami Heat, heading into the playoffs, simply look unbeatable. They blowout teams, make monstrous second-half comebacks, and make the rest of the league resemble a JV squad. The honest truth is that the Heat are going to win this year’s NBA title and there is nothing any other team can do about it—including the Thunder or Spurs. Since the playoffs are only a matter weeks away, let’s take a look at a few Miami Heat futures and try and find the best wagers to make.
March Madness is finally underway, and by now you have already filled out your bracket, said a few prayers, and are ready to watch Cindy from accounting—who had her daughter fill out the bracket—win your office pool once again. March Madness can be brutal.
So, now that your bracket has (probably) already been busted, the only thing left to do is actually wager on some of the games. Here are a few tips and stats for betting college basketball over the next couple of weeks.
The NBA regular season is almost through and, at this point in the year, most teams are stuck in their identity, for good or bad. Some teams have great regular season records and poor against the spread records, while other are fantastic at home but couldn’t cover a line on the road to save their season.
There are many aspects that go into NBA handicapping, and the overall process can be as complicated and detailed as you decide to make it. However, one area that should always be included in your pre-wager analysis is ATS records. Knowing how certain teams perform in various ATS situations is imperative for the profitable sports bettor.
The zombies are coming—they’re coming to get you Barbara. If there was ever one thing that we can all be certain of, it’s that the zombie apocalypse is going to happen. Actually, I’m probably just exaggerating. The Center for Disease Control is not certain that a zombie apocalypse will actually occur, but, the way I see it, if Steve Nash and Jason Kidd can still walk their decaying corpses out on the court every night, then we must not be far off.
Just wait until you see the breaking news ticker on ESPN saying that Kidd was caught gnawing off Carmelo Anthony’s foot in the locker room, and then you will know it has begun. Maybe its because I watch too much Walking Dead, or maybe its because I’m still getting used to living in a world where LeBron James actually has an NBA title, but let’s do a mock NBA lottery draft where we pick the players that we would want on our side during an actual zombie apocalypse.
The NBA can be a cruel, cruel league at times. One moment a team is on top of the basketball world and ready to contend for a title year after year, and then the next they are struggling just to make the playoffs. The Dallas Mavericks won an NBA title two seasons ago, and were supposed to be a contender during the final few years of Dirk Nowitzki’s legendary career, but, one free-agent gamble later, and they are not even a playoff team.
The Chicago Bulls are in a similar situation with Derrick Rose. The team was supposed to challenge the Miami Heat for NBA supremacy in the East, but one ACL tear and the team is struggling to even be a fifth-seed in the playoffs.
A lot of Canadians still head down to Las Vegas and Atlantic City to enjoy the casinos along with visiting border cities which have built gambling resorts within easy reach of them. However, while gambling used to be strictly forbidden in the Great White North, there are now numerous casinos spread out over Canada. Perhaps the downside to this though as that they’re all owned and operated by the government and the drinks aren’t free.
The argument over which sport is better, boxing or mixed martial arts (MMA), is an ongoing one which
doesn’t really have a logical conclusion since it’s all in the eye of the beholder. However, if you want to
compare popularity, attendances, and television viewers, that’s a different story. And while we’re at it,
let’s also throw in wagering.
When MMA first got off the ground and fans were wondering what these funny-looking caged octagons
were, they didn’t really know what to make of the sport. But over the years, and especially since the UFC
was launched, it’s undoubtedly become one of the world’s fastest-growing and popular sports.
There aren’t very many fence sitters when it comes to ageless boxer Bernard Hopkins. Most fans either
love him or hate him. He grates on a lot of peoples’ nerves because of his constant whining when
being shortchanged on decisions in bouts, even though the losses were thoroughly deserved. I’ve seen
Hopkins throw 12 punches a round on average and then still have the audacity to claim he should have
been declared the winner. His two consecutive middleweight title losses to Jermain Taylor back in 2005
were perfect examples of this. He’s consistently boring and to make matters worse, isn’t averse to
bending the Queensbury of Marquis rules in the ring.
It’s punch, counter-punch today in the NFC West as the 49ers have swung a deal with the Ravens to acquire Anquan Boldin in exchange for a sixth round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. As with the trade of Harvin to Seattle, this moves creates a ripple effect in dynasty leagues. Let’s take a look at the key players whose values need to be reviewed after this move:
Anquan Boldin, WR SF
Boldin is a physical, no nonsense player who fits perfectly within the scheme and philosophy of the “other” Harbaugh’s team. There’s no question he’ll add elements of toughness, leadership and physicality to the San Francisco locker room and on the field.
2013 NFL Free Agency: Top 5 RB Free Agents
Keeping right along with the 2013 NFL free agency, the Top 5 RB free agents is next on our list.
This is where you’ll find the Top 5 WR Free Agents.
The Top 5 RB free agents are pretty easy to identify. The only real issue is figuring out who is the best option to round out at “number five.” After that, the floor literally drops in regard to overall talent.
The Harlem Shake craze/fad/dance is annoying to some but to most it’s an interesting watermark on pop culture as it stands in 2013.
As with anything, athletes are not immune to shaping the culture. These 10 videos represent a cross-section of the most relevant, imaginative and hilarious shakes available.
Since 1950, only seven teams who lost in the previous year’s Finals won the next year, and only one (the Lakers in 2009) has done so in the past 20 years. As you may recall, Miami was runner-up last year.
I attended a minor league baseball game over the weekend because in the non-degenerate part of my life I'm an established baseball writer who covers prospects. While I actually go for the baseball game, I'm in a larger minority than intelligence on The Bachelor.
On April 18th, Tim Tebow was named to TIME magazine's annual list of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World". Despite the prominent tribute from TIME Magazine, and the numerous other accolades, there's a huge question that the diehard New York Jets fans and the Tebow critics still want answered. Can Tim Tebow be influential in helping the Jets win football games?
The MLB regular season is a long and arduous process. And sure, if you’re a fan of a team that’s started off poorly, things might be a little tense right now. But it’s okay—there’s plenty of time left to turn things around. So just relax, and keep yourself sane (and possibly rich) with these prop bets you can make with your friends and/or enemies during any game this year.
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