Tuesday, January 31, 2006
The Suns have pummeled Philadelphia in six of the last seven series meetings by eight points or more. Phoenix has also covered the spread during the last three encounters by a combined 59 points. Phoenix had won two straight on its current six-game trip until it squandered a double-digit lead Sunday at Cleveland during a 113-106 setback.
The 76ers’ defense, non-existent for the better part of the season, rose to the occasion in Iverson's absence, allowing 81 points or less in two straight games for the first time this season. Philadelphia combined good ball movement and patience on offense, along with solid defense, to beat New York on Saturday and Orlando on Sunday.
The 76ers have won and 'covered' five of their last six. They are 2-1 as home dogs this season. The Suns have faltered in their last four chances as road favorites after cashing their first five in that role.
The last three series shootouts in Pennsylvania have been on the high side.
Trends and angles for the remainder of Tuesday's card appear below.
PACERS at WIZARDS
Indiana and Washington have already split a pair at Conseco Fieldhouse. The Wizards bounced back from a 24-point pounding in the first clash to win the rematch as seven-point dogs, 94-85. The Pacers have lost five straight as they try to cope without leading scorer Jermaine O'Neal. Indiana is 3-1-2 against the spread in its last six trips to the MCI Center. Seven of the last 10 series showdowns have been on the low side.
LAKERS at KNICKS
New York played Monday at Atlanta while the Los Angeles Lakers took the night off after losing at Detroit, 102-93. The Knicks have failed to cash four of their last five when toiling on consecutive nights. The Lakers won the initial test this season as five-point home favorites, 97-92. They have won and 'covered' two of three at The Garden. New York snapped a four-game home losing slide Friday when it edged Orlando, 97-94. The Knicks are 2-4 this season as home dogs. Los Angeles has lost seven of its last nine on the road. Five of the last seven series encounters have eclipsed the total.
PISTONS at NETS
New Jersey heads home after absorbing four straight losses on the road to face a Detroit squad that has won 11 in a row. The Pistons prevailed in their first visit to New Jersey this season as four-point favorites, 93-83. The Nets were unable to connect from three-point range that night, misfiring on all seven attempts. Detroit has won five straight on the highway and has cashed four straight as road favorites. New Jersey has failed to get the money in eight of the last 11 series squabbles, including four of five overall and four of six at home. The Nets have won eight straight at Continental Airlines Arena. Four of the last five tussles in the Garden State have tumbled 'under'.
BULLS at MAVS
Chicago has lost six of its last seven against Dallas, with four of the setbacks occurring by 13 points or more. The Bulls lone win came in their last trip to Texas when they upset the Mavericks as nine-point dogs, 107-100. Dallas gained revenge for that loss when it won at Chicago in this season's initial test as one-point favorites, 102-94. The Mavericks have won eight straight and cashed seven of their last eight, including three straight as home chalk. The Bulls have won four straight for the second time this season and they have prevailed in three of their last four on the road. Dallas has been on the low side in 14 of its last 19 trips to the post. Chicago has knuckled 'under' in seven of its last nine on the highway.
NUGGETS at KINGS
Denver will be looking to snap a six-game losing skid at Sacramento (1-4-1 ATS). The Kings return home after dropping five of six on the road, culminating in a Sunday overtime loss at Toronto, 124-123. The Nuggets have dropped two in a row for the first time since losing three straight at the end of December. Denver has won six of its last eight on the road. Sacramento has won three straight and five of its last seven at Arco Arena and has cashed three straight as home underdogs.
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Monday, January 30, 2006
The Palms Sports Books in Las Vegas wasted no time posting a bevy of attractive proposition wagers for the Feb. 5 Super Bowl XL showdown between Pittsburgh and Seattle at Detroit’s Ford Field.
The boutique off-strip bet shop got the jump on most of the local competition by compiling over three pages of proposition wagers. The menu covers the usual, such as team to receive the opening kickoff or team to score first and last.
Since prop bettors have become more sophisticated, it didn't take long for them to zero in on one particularly enticing opportunity.
Palms bet baron Richie Baccilieri offered a wager on the total pass interceptions, posting the number at 2 1/2 with the 'over' the favorite at $1.30. It didn't take long for the 'wise' guys to drive the 'under' to minus $1.65.
One can certainly see the attraction. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has thrown just 10 picks in 340 attempts, an excellent interception rate of 2.9 percent. Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck has been even better, with a miniscule pickoff rate of 2.6 percent. He has nine interceptions in 341 passes, counting the playoffs.
Roethlisberger was picked off in Pittsburgh's divisional road victory at Indianapolis when he was blindsided by Dwight Freeney and the ball squirted out of his hand. That's the lone blemish in 126 postseason attempts by the two Super Bowl quarterbacks.
Seattle committed just 17 turnovers during the regular season, second fewest in the league. Pittsburgh had just 23 giveaways, the sixth fewest. The Palms posted its opening number on total fumbles lost at 1 ½, with the 'over' favored at minus $1.30.
The Steelers and Seahawks’ defenses ranked first and third, respectively, in sacks during the season. Both teams will bring blitzes from every angle imaginable. Seattle, despite not have a single defender with double-digit sacks, totaled 50 takedowns. Pittsburgh was even more diverse, getting sacks from 15 different defenders totaling 47 for the year.
Total quarterback sacks for both teams are on the board at the Palms at five, with the ‘under’ the favorite at minus $1.20.
Seattle tailback and league MVP Shaun Alexander averaged 117.5 yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry, which helped his team rank No. 3 in rushing offense. He also authored 14 rushes of 20 or more yards. Conversely the Steelers yielded just 3.4 yards per carry, a league low. They also surrendered just seven runs of 20 yards or more.
The Seahawks hit the board as $1.20 favorites to have the longest run. The longest run in Super Bowl XL is also posted at 25 ½ yards.
The Palms has also posted special pointspread props not offered on a regular basis during the season. Gutsy bettors who think Pittsburgh will blow the Seahawks out of Ford Field can lay 16 1/2-points with the AFC champs and get $3.50 for every dollar wagered. Seattle supporters can take the 16 1/2, but they will have to lay $4.25 to win a dollar.
As a rule, the majority of Las Vegas bet shops post more exotic Super Bowl props the week of the game. We'll take a look at those when they become available.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2006
The NCAA Basketball ATS standings through Monday illustrate this point perfectly, as there is just ONE major conference school in the top 10. Moreover, that school (North Carolina State) is not the first team that people think of in an ACC Conference loaded with perennial powerhouses like Duke and North Carolina.
With our apologies to the sharp bettors that have cleaned house this season by betting on these schools, a list of the top 10 ATS teams in the country appears below. (All records are ATS):
1 - SIENA (9-2, 81.8%): The Saints are one of three teams on this list that play in an Added Games conference, out of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. However, Siena is 5-0 ATS this season vs. teams from the main board! The Saints are 6-1 ATS on the road despite a 2-6 SU road mark, and they are 7-1 ATS as an underdog.
2T - LOYOLA MARYLAND (8-2, 80.0%): It has been a banner year for the MAAC as the Greyhounds also come out of that conference. The difference between them and Siena is that Loyola is winning on the court, sitting at 10-4 SU compared to 7-7 for the Saints. The Hounds are 6-1 ATS as a road underdog including four outright road upsets!
2T - UTEP (8-2, 80.0%): Who would have thought that the Miners would be the top main board ATS team in the country to this point? UTEP has been automatic on the road going a perfect 5-0 ATS away from home, with four of those covers coming in an underdog role. This team has covered on the road vs. the likes of Texas Tech and Syracuse.
4 - YOUNGSTOWN STATE (11-3, 78.6%): The Penguins finished at 5-23 SU last season, but they have already matched that win total this year with a 5-11 SU mark. However, unlike last year Youngstown State has been in virtually every game this season. The Penguins are 8-1 ATS in an underdog role, and they are also 7-1 ATS overall on the road.
5 - AIR FORCE (7-2, 77.8%): The Falcons have quietly gotten off to a 14-2 SU start, but Air Force has gone unnoticed because it played possibly the easiest non-conference schedule in the country. Still, the Falcons ATS record speaks for itself and they HAVE managed to go 7-2 SU in their lined games. They have been automatic as a home favorite, going 5-1 ATS and 6-0 SU in that role.
6T - AKRON (10-3, 76.9%): Coming out of the MAC, the Zips are off to a surprising 10-3 SU start as well. They have beaten the teams that they are supposed to beat rather handily, going 8-1 ATS and 9-0 SU as a favorite while winning those games by an impressive average of +13.6 points.
6T - SAMFORD (10-3, 76.9%): The third and final Added Games conference team in our countdown, the Bulldogs out of the Ohio Valley Conference are a fine 9-5 SU. This is another team that has excelled on the road, going 6-1 ATS including 4-3 SU away from home. Samford also shows a covering road effort at Oklahoma on its slate.
8T - CAL POLY SLO (9-3, 75.0%): This has been a pleasant surprise out of the Big West Conference. No, do not expect post-season tournaments for a Mustangs team that is just 4-11 SU, but they have been very competitive. Poly is 6-1 ATS on the road, including a shocking outright upset of CS Fullerton as a 19-point underdog!
8T - NORTH CAROLINA STATE (9-3, 75.0%): At last, we have an entrant from a major conference. NC State has always been tough at home, and this year is no exception as the Wolfpack are 11-0 SU and 5-2 ATS in their own arena. What has set this team apart from those in the past however is a 4-1 road ATS mark.
10 - SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (11-4, 73.3%): The Salukis round out the top ten with a 13-4 SU mark, and this has become one of the toughest home teams in all the land. Southern Illinois is 7-2 ATS at home including 4-0 both SU and ATS in Missouri Valley Conference play, winning those home MVC games by an average of 15.8 points!
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Thursday, January 19, 2006
That's the scenario Sunday when Denver hosts the Panthers and Seattle welcomes Carolina in the NFL's conference championship round.
As the NFC's No. 1 seed, the Seahawks expected to be in the NFC title game. However, their opponent is more of a surprise after fifth-seeded Carolina upset second-seeded Chicago in the divisional playoff round.
But a trip to Seattle figures to be far from intimidating for a Carolina team that stunned the Eagles two years ago in Philadelphia to advance to the Super Bowl.
Shaun Alexander is the player on the spot for the Seahawks. The league's MVP must come up with big in a playoff game at some point. He left the Washington game with a concussion after accumulating six yards on nine carries. Alexander has run for 1,880 yards and scored 27 touchdowns this season.
Carolina must put the ball in the hands of Nick Gongs after DeShaun Foster broke his ankle last week versus Chicago.
Goings is a career backup who carried the ball just 37 times in the regular season. Panthers coach John Fox knows what to expect from Goings. He stepped into the starting lineup last season and rushed for a team-high 821 yards while scoring six touchdowns.
Seattle is more worried about slowing down Steve Smith, a feat no other team has been able to accomplish. Smith has 22 catches for 302 yards, four rushes for 38 yards and four of Carolina’s five postseason touchdowns.
Seattle is a more complete team, especially with Foster on the sideline. However, Carolina has the edge when it comes to playoff experience. The Panthers are also built for the road, where they have won eight of 10 this year.
Carolina has cashed in 11 of its last 12 as underdogs and nine of 10 as road short-enders. The Panthers have got the green in seven straight as road dogs of seven points or less. Conversely, the Seahawks are 8-25 as home favorites of 3 1/2 to seven points.
Seattle was a perfect 8-0 on its home field this year (6-2 against the spread). The Seahawks’ last home loss occurred against St. Louis in the 2004 playoffs, 27-20.
Most offshore books opened the Seahawks as six-point favorites, with the total set at 44.
Everybody was expecting to see Peyton Manning against Tom Brady in the AFC Championship shootout. Denver's Jake Plummer and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger threw a monkey wrench into those plans when they outplayed their more-heralded counterparts last weekend.
The Steelers overcame a bungled call and a fumbled ball to head to their sixth and least-anticipated trip to the AFC title game in a dozen years under coach Bill Cowher.
Pittsburgh had won only two road playoff games in 30 years prior to this season, and none under Cowher. The Steelers now have won a pair in two weeks.
Pittsburgh is playing with a swagger that was missing when it was 15-1 and the top-seed in last year's playoffs.
The Steelers will have a tough time coping with a Denver defense that forced the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots into five turnovers. The Broncos allowed only 16.1 points per game and just 85.2 rushing yards per game. They also forced 16 fumbles along with their 20 interceptions.
Cowher is hoping Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker can dent that defense often enough to avoid putting Roethlisberger in too many third-and-long predicaments. Pittsburgh has succeeded at that in its first two playoff victories. Roethlisberger has put up a 124.4 quarterback rating with only one interception.
Denver operates in much the same manner, running the ball for an average of 4.7 yards per carry and 158.7 per game. The Broncos have used that running game to keep Plummer from having to win games on his own.
Though Plummer has taken a lot of heat as an inconsistent player, he was only intercepted eight times this season and has finally won a playoff game.
Denver was only 29th this season against the pass. However, in the all-important category of points allowed, its opponents have scored only 50 in the past five games combined. During that stretch, teams have tried and failed to beat the Broncos with the pass.
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Most offshore books opened Denver as three-point favorites, with the total set at 41 1/2.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Although they lost Shaun Alexander to an injury, the Seattle Seahawks kicked-off the weekend with a 20-10 win and 'cover' over the Redskins. Despite a 13-point fourth quarter, the game still fell well below the closing total of 40 1/2.
The nightcap at Denver also finished below the total of 45 1/2, as the Broncos ended the Patriots' dreams of a 'three-peat' with a 27-13 victory. Uncharacteristically, New England shot itself in the foot by turning the ball over five times. Champ Bailey's 100-yard interception return (knocked out of bounds at the one-yard line) helped seal the Broncos' first victory since
Sunday was a different story with the visitors scoring upset victories in both games. The Steelers, closing as 10-point underdogs, shocked Peyton Manning and the Colts with a stunning 21-18 upset victory. The Colts fell behind early and were thoroughly dominated. Thanks to a controversial instant-replay reversal and a Jerome Bettis goal-line fumble, Indianapolis very nearly battled back though. However, Mike Vanderjagt missed a field goal in the final minute, sending the Steelers on their way to Denver.
Denver has won its last two meetings with Pittsburgh, but both games were decided by just a field goal. The Broncos are currently favored by 3 1/2 points at most shops. The 'total' sits at 41.
The Bears and Panthers had the lowest 'total' (30 1/2 or 31) of the playoffs thus far. The game sailed above the number though in a 29-21 Carolina victory, sending the Panthers to Seattle to play in the NFC championship game for the second time in three years. The Panthers lost DeShaun Foster to injury but that didn't slow them down, as Jake Delhomme threw for 319 yards (218 to Steve Smith) making the vaunted Bears' defense look ordinary.
The Panthers opened as six point underdogs vs. the Seahawks with a 'total' of 43 1/2. However, early money came in on the 'dog' and the line quickly dropped to plus four. The teams have split a pair of meetings this millennium. The Panthers won by 23 points in 2004. The Seahawks returned the favor with a six point victory, at Seattle, in 2004. Carolina earned the 'cover' in both games.
Let's take a quick look at last season's conference finals and see if we can learn anything that could be valuable for this week's big games.
New England at Pittsburgh
Favored by a field goal, the Patriots traveled to Pittsburgh and snapped the Steelers' 15-game winning streak. The Patriots, who intercepted Rothlisberger three times, jumped out to a commanding 24-3 lead en route to a 41-27 victory. While Rothlisberger looked like a rookie, Brady played with veteran-like poise, completing 14 of his 21 passes. The game flew 'over' the relatively low 'total' of 38.
Atlanta at Philadelphia
After three consecutive losses in the NFC championship game, the Eagles, listed as minus 4 1/2 point favorites, were not going to be denied a fourth time. The Eagles led only 14-10 at halftime. However, the defense was stifling in the second half and the home team would finish with a 27-10 victory. Playing in the cold, Vick was ineffective in his first playoff game, finishing with just 11 completions for 136 yards. He was also unable to run the ball, as his 26 rushing yards were less than the 33 yards he lost while being sacked four times. Playing without Terrell Owens, McNabb was 'workmanlike' in completing 17 of his 26 passes.
As is often the case in the NFL playoffs, home field advantage was an important factor in deciding Saturday's games.
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Monday, January 16, 2006
The championship games are set for next Sunday with Pittsburgh at Denver (Broncos are 3 1/2-point favorites with a total of 41) and Carolina at Seattle (Seahawks are 4 1/2-point favorites with a total of 43 1/2). Pittsburgh is the first No. 6 to advance to a conference title game since the league expanded to its current playoff format in 1990. Ten other No. 6 seeds had tried, including Washington this year, before the Steelers broke through. As for the Broncos, Denver is 12-2 in its playoff history at home, compared to a 3-8 record on the road.
Carolina has now won four straight playoff games on the road (tying an NFL record) and will face a Seattle team which just ended a 21-year drought between playoff wins by beating the Redskins on Saturday. This will be just the second conference championship game for Seattle in its 30-year history (lost the '83 AFC title game to the LA Raiders 30-14) and its first-ever at home. The Panthers, in the league since just 1995, will be making their third NFC title-game appearance.
The NBA features a 12-game schedule on Martin Luther King Day, beginning with games tipping at 1:05 ET. TNT has a great doubleheader, with the Spurs taking on the Grizzlies at 8:05 ET and then the Heat at the Lakers at 10:35 ET. Memphis is the league's top defensive team allowing 86.7 PPG and San Antonio ranks second at 88.8 PPG. These teams just met Saturday night in San Antonio with the Spurs winning 80-79. However, using the Carolina/Chicago "theory", the final will probably come 110-109. San Antonio is favored by 1 1/2-points with a total of 169. It's Shaq vs Kobe in the nightcap, for the fourth time since they 'split'. Miami's won the three previous meetings but LA's covered two of the three. The Heat are favored by 3 1/2-points with a total of 204.
Tonight's college basketball schedule features a 15-game card, including a tripleheader on ESPN. Kansas, which lost Saturday to Kansas St for the first time in 32 meetings, is at Missouri at 7:00 ET. The Jayhawks are favored by 2 1/2-points with a total of 129. Connecticut (14-1) is at Syracuse (15-2) at 9:00 ET, where the Huskies are a 1 1/2-point choice, even though Syracuse is on a 12-game winning streak (total is 148 1/2). At midnight ET, Gonzaga hosts Loyola-Marymount, as the Bulldogs look to extend their home winning streak to 32 straight games. Led by the nation's leading scorer, Adam Morrison (28.2 PPG), Gonzaga is favored by 18 points with a total of 155.
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Friday, January 13, 2006
It doesn't matter which team Denver wanted, because the Patriots are the team the Broncos will get at Invesco Field in the nightcap of a playoff doubleheader. Seattle, the top-seeded team in the NFC, makes its playoff debut at home in Saturday’s first game against Washington.
Oddsmakers clearly think the Patriots will be a tougher opponent for the Broncos than they were on Oct. 16. Denver was in control most of that game before hanging on for a 28-20 win. The Broncos capitalized on a porous Patriots secondary, as quarterback Jake Plummer completed a 72-yard pass to Rod Smith and another for 55 yards to Ashley Lelie in that Week 6 home game.
Veteran linebacker Teddy Bruschi didn't play in the first meeting. The Patriots were also without star defensive tackle Richard Seymour. Corey Dillon and Kevin Falk, their two top running backs, also missed the game.
All have returned, although Bruschi missed New England's 28-3 playoff win against Jacksonville because of a leg injury. Bruschi’s status for Saturday is questionable.
New England quarterback Tom Brady is well on his way to being the best postseason quarterback in history. Brady has piloted the Pats to 10 straight playoff victories and three Super Bowl titles. He has won two MVP awards in the biggest game of all. The Patriots are also 21-1 with Brady at quarterback when they play games in freezing weather. Saturday's long term forecast calls for a cold evening.
Jake Plummer, Denver's field leader, is 1-3 in the postseason. However, he has never had a home playoff game or come off such a splendid regular season. Plummer had a 134.4 passer rating in the Oct. 16 meeting to 79.9 for Brady.
The Patriots have cashed 18 of their last 25 on the road and are 24-8 ATS avenging a same-season setback.
Denver cashed 11 of 15 this season, getting the green at a 5-2-1 clip at home. The Broncos are 9-1 ATS when playing with at least two weeks of rest.
Since the NFL expanded its postseason format in 1990, 30 NFC teams have received first-round byes. All but three, San Francisco in 1995, Chicago in 2001 and St. Louis in 2003, have opened its playoff schedules with victories in the conference semifinals.
Then again, Seattle may not want to depend on history to get it through against the Redskins. The Seahawks haven’t won a playoff game in more than 21 years, having lost their last six since a 13-7 win over the Los Angeles Raiders in 1984.
Seattle is also mired in a six-year streak in which it has lost every time after a bye week.
Washington knows it can beat the Seahawks. The Skins recorded a 20-17 overtime win in early October before Seattle ripped off an 11-game winning streak to secure home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
The Redskins also beat the Seahawks 14-3 during the 2002 campaign in the last game between the two teams in Seattle. In fact, the Seahawks are 0-4 against Washington under coach Mike Holmgren.
The Redskins enter Saturday's divisional playoff test as the hottest team in the league, having won six in a row. Washington needed each of their five wins to close the regular season just to make the playoffs.
Seattle has the NFL MVP and rushing champion in Shaun Alexander, who scored a league-record 28 touchdowns. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck led the conference with a 98.2 passer rating while taking his game and the offense to another level of efficiency.
Washington quarterback Mark Brunell exposed and exploited what became a season-long problem for the Seahawks in the first meeting - getting off the field on third down. Brunell was 12-of-15 for 156 yards on third downs, including 3-of-3 for 61 yards on the overtime drive to the game-winning field goal.
Seattle's pass coverage should be as good as it has been in five weeks with the return of cornerbacks Andre Dyson, Kelly Herndon and Marcus Trufant.
Wide receivers Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram both played with injuries in that October loss to the Redskins.
The Seahawks will need everyone at their disposal to match-up against Washington's defense. The line backing trio of LaVar Arrington, Lemar Marshall and Marcus Washington combined for 32 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in last Saturday's win over Tampa Bay and provide the bite to the Skins attack defense.
Washington will be without defensive end Renaldo Wynn, who broke his right forearm against the Bucs. However, former Seahawk Shawn Springs says he will play after sitting out last week to rest a strained groin.
Seattle has come up short in 36 of its last 55 when favored by 3 1/2 to 9 1/2 points. The Redskins have cashed at a 40-21 clip as underdogs under the same parameters. Washington has also 'covered' its last six versus teams from the NFC-West.
The Seahawks, 8-0 at home this year, have cashed six of eight. Seattle slipped 'under' in its last five home outings, though it has topped the total in 14 of 17 when the number was between 35 1/2 and 42.
Most offshore books opened Seattle as nine-point favorites over Washington, with the total set at 42. Denver hit the board as three-point favorites over New England, with the total posted at 44.
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Thursday, January 12, 2006
Redskins are 5-1 ATS L/6 in this seriesRedskins have gone 'under' in 15 of the L/17 on the road Redskins 5-0 ATS L/5 overall Redskins are 8-0 ATS in the L/8 with a 'total' of 35 ½ to 42 points Redskins 10-3 ATS L/13 against conference foesRedskins are 6-0 ATS L/6 against NFC West division opposition Redskins are 8-1 ATS L/9 January tilts Redskins are 10-5 ATS and 40-21 ATS L/61 as a 3 1/2 to 9 ½ point dog Seahawks are 6-2 ATS L/8 at home Seahawks have gone 'over' in 16 of the L/24 overall Seahawks have gone 'under' in 4 of the L/5 at home Seahawks are 19-36 ATS L/55 as 3 ½ to 9 ½ point chalk Seahawks have lost 8 of the L/10 against the moneyline in January Seahawks /Redskins have gone 'under' in 3 straight meetings
New England @ Denver
Patriots are 3-9 ATS L/12 at Denver Patriots have gone 'over' in 6 of the L/9 on the road Patriots are 13-3 ATS L/16 contests with a line of +3 to -3 Patriots are 6-0 ATS L/6 revenging a home loss Patriots are 27-12 ATS L/39 against conference foes Patriots are 17-8 ATS L/25 against a winning team Patriots are 12-4 ATS L/16 January games Patriots QB Tom Brady has won 10 straight playoff games Broncos are 9-2 ATS L/11 overall NFL PlayfBroncos have gone 'over' 8 of the L/12 overall Broncos have gone 'over' 25 of L/31 with total of 42 ½ to 49 points at homeBroncos 11-3 ATS L/14 at home with a line of +3 to -3 Broncos are 8-3 ATS L/11 at home Broncos 3-1 ATS this season against AFC East opposition Broncos are 11-0 L/11 on the moneyline when favored at home Broncos /Pats have gone 'over' in 7 of the L/8 meetings
Pittsburgh @ Indianapolis
Steelers are 1-4 ATS L/5 at Colts Steelers have gone 'under' in 7 of the L/9 road contests Steelers have gone 'over' in 5 straight January games Steelers are 7-2 ATS L/9 on the road Steelers are 7-3 ATS L/10 revenging a loss to an opponent Steelers are 9-1 L/10 on the moneyline after playing the Bengal's Steelers are 6-2 ATS L/8 played on turf Colts are 5-1 ATS L/6 against AFC North division opposition Colts have gone 'under' in 5 of the L/6 games Colts have gone 'under' in 5 of L/6 vs AFC North division opposition Colts are 1-2 ATS this season as 7 ½ to 10 point chalk Colts are 2-8 ATS L/10 after they have scored between 10 to 20 pointsColts are the second highest scoring team in the league at 27.4 PPGColts 26-16 ATS L/42 as favoritesColts/Steelers have gone 'over' in 4 of L/7 meetings
Carolina @ Chicago
Panthers are 0-2 SU visiting the Bears Panthers have gone 'under' in 7 of the L/9 overall Panthers are 5-1 ATS L/6 away Panthers are 5-0 ATS L/5 playoff games Panthers are 17-3 ATS L/20 as underdog Panthers are 1-5 ATS against NFC North division opposition Panthers are 4-1 ATS L/5 as a 3 point road underdog or less Panthers are 1-6 ATS L/7 after scoring between 21 and 30 points in a gameBears are 5-1 ATS L/6 at home Bears have gone 'under' in 11 of the L/14 overall Bears have gone 'under' in 7 of L/8 at home Bears have gone 'under' in 4 straight at home with a total of 32 or less Bears have gone 'under' in 5 of L/6 vs NFC south division opposition Bears are 8-2 ATS L/10 against conference opposition Bears are 3-7 against the moneyline L/10 in January Bears /Panthers have gone 'over' in 2 of L/3 meetings
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Wednesday, January 11, 2006
There are several reasons I like Rutgers to cause the upset tonight over #3 Villanova. First, I believe despite Nova's loss at the weekend to West Virginia they are prime candidates to be in the "looking ahead" mode as they have a National showdown against Texas on Saturday. Second, Rutgers are tough to play inside the RAC and are 9-1 SU at home this season. Third, Villanova connected on 58% of their shots against West Virginia, going 29 for 50 in the process and squandered a 15 point lead in the second half to lose 91-87 because the Mountainers played pressure defense to get them selves back in the game which resulted in many Wildcats turnovers (21 in total). Temple used the same pressure defense strategy against Villanova, so you can rest assure that the Scarlet Knights will come with the same defense. Lastly, Play against a favourite after 3 or more consecutive overs and have outscored their opponents by 12 or more PPG. This system has a 66-30 ATS record and is 7-3 ATS already this season.
Play Rutgers (+9) as your free play tonight.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
UnderTues Jan 10'06 7:00 pm
The New York Rangers and Calgary Flames enter todays meeting at MSG, employing a solid, defensive brand of hockey. Something that is alien in a league that is now based on a free wheeling end to end entertaining style of play. The Flames have allowed the fewest goals per game in the NHL at 2.5 , while the offense averages just 2.6 GPG overall. (Calgary plays very conservatively on the road and is 4-12 favoring the under in its last 16 away contests) The Rangers on home ice are playing stingy D and using the transition game for their chances in the offensive zone, as is evident by the team allowing just 2.00 GPG, while scoring just 2.62 GPG. (New York has gone UNDER in 17 of the L/20 at home in MSG. bottom line: Look for goaltending and defense to be the name of tonights tilt! Goaltending matchup: NYR Lundqvist, Henrik(0.929 SVP, 15-5-4-1) vs Cal Flames Kiprusoff, Miikka (0.913, 22-10-2-3)
Play on the UNDER
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Monday, January 09, 2006
Those trends could take a beating Monday when the teams meet in the Windy City. The Bulls have won and cashed 10 straight versus the Raptors, including a road win in the initial test this season as 2 1/2-point favorites, 105-94.
Chicago has trumped Toronto in the last five home showdowns by an average of more than eight points per game.
Eight of the last 12 series confrontations have been on the high side.
Trends and angles for the remainder of the Monday menu appear below.
SONICS at 76ERS
Philadelphia could be a little weary when it returns home after playing its last seven games on the road. Seattle has thrived at the Wachovia Center, winning and cashing three straight. The 76ers have floundered in four of their last five as home favorites. The last three series tussles have tipped 'under' at Philadelphia.
JAZZ at WIZARDS
Four of the last six meetings in this East-West rivalry have been decided by four points or less. Washington beat Utah in both clashes last season by one-point. The Wizards have 'covered' three of four versus the Jazz, but came up short in two of the last three at the MCI Center ATS.
MAVS at CELTICS
Dallas has won and cashed six of seven versus Boston with five of the six triumphs coming by 11 points or more. The Mavericks have prevailed in two of their last three trips to Beantown, both SU and ATS.
PACERS at LAKERS
Indiana has come up short in its last three meetings with the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center (1-2 ATS). The Pacers played Sunday at Sacramento while the Lakers had the night off. Four of the last six series skirmishes have dribbled 'under'.
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Friday, January 06, 2006
NFL Wild Card Weekend
Now the REAL NFL football season begins with the Wild Card Weekend, the first of four wonderful weeks of grid iron action.
While the top four seeded teams (Seahawks, Bears, Colts and Broncos) earn a well-deserved bye, the other eight playoff teams square off in what usually is the wackiest weekend of football for the entire season. Can you spell upsets!!!
Over in the NFC, the New York Giants face a tough D in Carolina, while the Washington Redskins travel down south to tackle the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the AFC first round playoffs, the boys from Steel Town travel cross-state to take on the Cincinnati Bengals, while the defending Super Bowl champs New England Patriots find themselves playing a first round playoff game for the first time this Century when they play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Here’s a look at the four Wild Card games, going off this Saturday and Sunday.
NFC Wild Card
Washington (10-6) at Tampa Bay (11-5)TIME: Saturday, 4:30 p.m. EST
LINE: Tampa Bay - 2 ½. Total 37
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Washington Redskins in the first Wild Card Playoff action of the weekend.
These teams back in November, with the Bucs pulling away with a late, come-from-behind 36-35 victory. The Buccaneers captured that game when fullback Mike Alstott rumbled into the end zone on a 2-point conversion with just seconds to play.
Don’t expect this game to be so high scoring, as Tampa Bay finished with the league’s best defense, holding opponents to just 277.8 total ypg. But Tampa’s offense remains a question mark, as QB Chris Simms will be appearing in his first career playoff game.Washington won their final five games to sneak into the postseason, and seem to be peaking at the right time, both offensively and defensively.
Key to the offense is RB RB Clinton Portis, and if he can gain yardage on the ground it will force the Bucs to place seven and eight men in the box, which will then open up the game for QB Mark Brunell.
The Bucs were led offensively by WR Joey Galloway, sidelined with injuries part of last season, who posted career highs of 83 receptions and 1,287 yards, and a franchise single-season record of 10 touchdowns. Rookie RB Cadillac Williams rushed for 1,178 yards, six touchdowns and a team-record six 100-yard games, but only had 20 yards on 10 carries against the Redskins.
Tampa Bay`s defense finished the regular season No. 1 in the league, allowing 277.8 yards per game, but its worst defensive performance at Raymond James Stadium came against the Redskins when they gave up 389 yards and 35 points.
AFC Wild Card
Jacksonville (12-4) at New England (10-6)TIME: Saturday, 8pm ET
LINE: New England -8 ½. Total 37.
The New England Patriots square off for the first time this decade in Wild Card Weekend action when they square off against the Jacksonville Jaguars, looking to win an unprecedented fourth Super Bowl in five years.
The Patriots host this AFC wild-card matchup against the Jags, the last team to beat New England in the postseason. Since that 1998 wild-card defeat in Jacksonville, New England has won nine straight playoff games.
But not one of those wins during this Super Bowl streak came in the opening round of the playoffs. However, after a truly dismal start to the season, the Patriots turned things around and were one of the hottest teams in the NFL down the stretch.
Both teams have tough defenses against the run, so this means the quarterbacks and the passing games will be integral to winning. New England is led by a passing attack that has averaged 257.5 yards per game this season.
We all know Tom Brady will be starting for the Pats. Brady finished the regular season with 4,110 yards passing, becoming the first Patriot to lead the league in that category. He set a career mark for attempts (530) and fell percentage points shy of a new high in passer rating (92.3). He also enters Saturday`s game with a 9-0 record in the postseason, but doesn`t feel his team is getting the credit it deserves.
But the Jags have a big decision: go with the man who has started the past six games in David Garrard, or go with the original number one, that being Byron Leftwich. Right now, the Jaguars are playing some of their best ball, winning eight of their last nine. Garrard was 5-1, while Jacksonville won eight of Leftwich`s 11 starts this season, including four straight before he went down.
The Jaguars haven’t been in a playoff game since 1999. Jacksonville is 6-2 SU/ATS on the road.The Patriots started the season very slow due mainly to a rash of injuries, which directly affected their running attack and secondary. In the second half of the season, the defending champs have seen a resurgence, largely due to several players regaining their health: LB Tedy Bruschi, Richard Seymour, Corey Dillon, and WR David Givens. Still, New England ranks 31st in pass defense and 26th overall. And the injuries along the offensive line have placed the Patriots with the third-worst yards-per-carry average in the NFL.
NFC Wild Card
Carolina (11-5) at New York Giants (11-5)TIME: Sunday, 1pm EST
LINE: Giants -2 ½. Total 43 ½
The Carolina Panthers look to extend its run of three straight road wins as they face the New York Giants at the Meadowlands. This game features one of the leagues best young QBs and top offenses in the Giants going head-to-head against the NFL’s 3rd best D.
The Panthers struggled down the stretch, winning just two of their final four games. However last week against Atlanta, DeShaun Foster led the Panthers in rambling for 165 yards while the Panthers’ powerful D contained Michael Vick and the Falcons’ top-rated running game. Jake Delhomme also tossed a pair of touchdowns to help Carolina earn one of the two remaining NFC playoff spots.
The Panthers’ 3rd-ranked defense, along with playmakers such as Foster, Smith and Delhomme, give the team a chance to duplicate its 2004 playoff run, when it came within a late field goal of capturing its first-ever Super Bowl.
Carolina is 6-1 in its last seven road contests.
The Giants on the other hand finished fourth in the league at 361.7 yards per game and scored the third-most points with 422. New York is led by RB Tiki Barber, who had a career season with 1,860 rushing yards, second-most in the NFL. Manning had a solid second half to the season, helped along by receivers Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer and Jeremy Shockey. The Giants scored 30 or more points four times and topped the 40-point mark twice.
But the strong second half was led by an ever-improving D, led by Osi Umenyira’s 14.5 sacks and Michael Strahan’s 11.5.
While the Giants’ offense has been running on high octane the whole season, its D has been forced to make do without several key components. The Giants are relying on second-year QB Eli Manning, who is playing in his first playoff game. He will be facing one of the best, if not the best front-seven in football.
On the defensive side of the ball, the key for the Giants’ success this week will be whether Umenyiora and Strahan can pressure Delhomme before he can find Smith.
The Giants also hope their injury-depleted secondary can provide enough coverage to hold up for a few seconds.
The last time the Giants appeared in the postseason was back in 2003 when they blew a 38-14 lead and went on to lose 39-38 in San Francisco. The Panthers last playoff appearance was in the 2004 Super Bowl versus New England. They lost that game by a 32-29 score.
AFC Wild Card
Pittsburgh (11-5) at Cincinnati (11-5)TIME: Sunday, 4:30 p.m. EST
LINE: Pittsburgh -3. Total 44
For the third time this year, division and State rivals Cincinnati and Pittsburgh meet, this time in the opening round of the playoffs, each having won on the road during the regular season.
This game once again features strong Bengals’ offense vs the stingy Steelers D. Cincy is 3rd in the NFL in scoring, with a 26.3 PPG average, while the Steelers defense ranked 4th overall in the league. And this game will also feature contrasting styles in terms of trying to move the ball: the Steelers try to grind it out on the ground while the Bengals look to the strong arm of QB Carson Palmer.
The Bengals will be playing their first playoff game since 1990, while the Steelers of course lost in last year’s AFC Championship game. Pittsburgh has been victorious in each of their last four trips to Cincinnati.
The Steelers finished the regular season with four straight wins, all in dominant fashion. The Bengals on the other hand stumbled, losing their final two games versus Buffalo and Kansas City.
Pittsburgh is on a roll right now, going 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS and are playing well in all facets of the game: offence, defence and special teams. The running attack had ground out a total of 740 yards while the D has allowed a paltry 8 points per game during that four game winning streak.
Overall the Steelers allow 16 ppg, and will begin the playoffs on the road, where they are 7-1 under the total. Pittsburgh is also 6-2 SU/ATS on the road.The Bengals, on the other hand, enter the playoffs off their worst two games of the season, losing 37-27 at home to the Bills, and 37-3 at Kansas City.
While the offence continues to get the job done, the D has struggled during the past seven games, holding opponents under 28 points but twice. However, the two teams did just meet four weeks ago in Cincinnait with the Bengals winning that one 38-31. In that game, Cincy stacked the line to stop the Pittsburgh run and Ben Roethlisberger had 379 passing yards. But in the first game, won 27-13 by Pittsburgh, the Steelers had 221 rushing yards.
Since the 1990 season, home teams who are seeded three and four versus the wildcard if they played their last game at home are 24-7 SU and 20-10-1 ATS (66.7%). New England and Tampa Bay are qualifiers here.
Pay close attention to the winners from these four matchups this weekend. Since 1995, teams that advance out of the Wild Card round are only 17-26-1 ATS in the next round. Teams that won their wild card game on the road have had it especially tough, going just 4-8 ATS.
With that out of the way let’s see how playoff teams perform in certain situations.
Home teams in the NFL playoffs are a profitable 129-92 ATS (58.3%). If these own backyard teams have failed to cover the spread in their last two previous games, these homers zip to 25-10-1 ATS (71.4%). With those two parameters applied and our home team is off a non-division game, then these home teams are near automatic plays with an 18-2 SU and 17-3 ATS record including 8-0 SU and ATS in that role provided their foe is off a home game.
Home teams in Wild Card and Conference Semifinal games are 20-8-1 ATS since 1986 entering off a SU loss in their last game of the regular season versus an opponent off a SU win.
Play on home teams in the playoffs if playing their third straight home game and the pointspread is less than eight points. This trend is 24-11 ATS since 1982.
Home teams in divisional playoffs are 24-12-2 ATS last 38 tries.
Over the last 21 seasons, home teams in divisional playoffs are 46-35-3 ATS (56.8%). If the home team has more wins than their opponent, they are 42-31-2 ATS (57.5%). If the home team has allowed 20 or less points over their last two games combined, 7-15-1 ATS (31.8%). If the home team has allowed 21 points or more over their last two games the record goes to 35-16-1 ATS (68.6%). In that set, and the road team had a winning ATS record on the season, then these home teams rocket to 25-6-1 ATS (80.6%) including 20-2-1 ATS (90.9%) since 1987.
Playoff home underdogs are 14-6 SU & 15-5 ATS since 1980, including 8-1 SU in the wildcard round.
Playoff road teams off back-to-back home games and won SU and ATS in their last game are 9-27 SU and 12-22-2 ATS. If our "play against" visitor was a dog last game, this situation is 0-6 ATS.
Play on road dogs getting between 3 1/2 to 10 points after allowing opponents 400+ total yards in back-to-back games. That is a 45-18 ATS system.
Playoff teams playing their third straight road game are 6-32 straight up since 1980 (0-18 since 1990) and 11-26 ATS since 1980 (1-9 ATS since 1996).
Dome teams are 10-39 ATS overall in playoff games played outdoors including 2-8 ATS in conference finals.
Road teams in the playoffs entering off a SU & ATS win are 5-16 ATS if they were a losing team on the season last year, including 3-10 ATS if they are off BB SU and ATS wins.
Road dogs priced between 3 1/2 to 10 points inclusive who are off an upset win as an underdog and has a .600 to .750 winning percentage on the season versus a winning team are 40-19 ATS since 1983.
Road teams who won and covered in a playoff game and allowed 24 or more points in that game are 0-15 SU & 1-13-1 ATS their next playoff game, including 0-9 SU & ATS if they won as a dog. In addition, playoff teams who scored 36 or more points are 0-8 SU & ATS if they are on the road in their next game.
No.1 NFC seeds are 13-3 ATS in their 1st playoff game.
Rested playoff teams off a straight-up loss in their last game are 19-9 ATS.
The road team is 8-4 ATS over the last six postseasons in Conference Championship games. They are also 6-6 straight up and have split the two Conference Championship games in each of the past six years.
Teams playing in the postseason after missing out on the postseason for three years are 20-5 ATS since 1994.
Playoff road teams that won the last playoff game by 14 or more points. 22-8 ATS since 1990
Teams playing in their first postseason game that failed to cover in the last two weeks of the regular season are 19-8 ATS since 1990.
Teams in the postseason who had three or more Blowout wins in the regular season versus a team that did not have three or more blowout win in the regular season are a blistering 30-13-4 ATS since 1994. (A blowout win is by 20 points or more).
Super Bowl teams who have won and covered each of their last three games are 11-2 ATS if they scored less than 35 points in their last game, including 7-0 ATS if the opponent has not covered each of their last two games.
In the history of the Super Bowl the team with the higher win percentage is 11-1 SU & 11-1 ATS if their opponent won its conference title game by 17 or more points.
Since 1997, playoff games with an opening total under 40 have seen the ‘under’ go 15-6.
Since 1985, there have been 20 Super Bowl games. Of these, 15 were played with two weeks off, while five were played with no rest. Of the five played the weekend after the Conference Championships, four went 'Under' the total. But 13 of the 15 played two weeks later went 'Over' the total.
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Thursday, January 05, 2006
Obsessing over someone else’s salary never gets me anywhere therefore I will stop focusing on how much athletes are paid…
…until such time that what they make eclipses my annual take-home - which for today’s pro-athlete averages about as long as it took for me to type this resolution.
I will boycott by thumb-on-remote any broadcast that features a sideline reporter…
…unless she’s cute.
Every other column I write in 2006 will focus on a positive aspect of the world of sports...
…and get fired from betED.com faster than you can say “Drug-crazed, ‘roid-raged, felonious-assaulting pro-athlete!”
I will never again write how baseball is not exciting…
…unless I’m writing about a post-season series involving the Chicago White Sox.
I will do whatever it takes to see as many Pittsburgh Penguins games as possible just for a glimpse of the phenom Sidney Crosby…
… until he becomes a Houston or Portland Penguin, ‘cause even he can’t save that team from moving.
I will never ever write another column about Terrell Owens…
… until he returns to the NFL.
In 2006 I will become a huge luge, skeleton, biathlon and bobsledding fan…
…and promptly forget all those whacked out sports until the next winter Olympics in 2010.
2006 will be the year I finally accept the fact that Roger Federer is the best tennis player I have ever seen…
… and will still sadly find him a complete snore.
I will stop hogging the remote…
... any more than my standard 23 consecutive hours each day.
I will try to maintain the same interest in all 2006 golf tournaments even if Tiger Woods isn’t entered…
… but hopefully Michelle Wie will be.
I will start cutting the talking heads on sports broadcasts a little bit of slack.
I just tuned in ESPN's Stuart Scott who had this as his own New Year's resolution for fans:
“When you go to the sporting events and you're watching the athletes compete as hard as they can, stop booing, OK? There's no point in booing these athletes. They've all worked hard. They've all trained hard, and let's see you get out there and do it, all right?”
Fans shouldn’t be allowed to boo? A new record for resolution breaking. A nano-second!
Stuart Scott - I’m Boo-ing ya!
Cheers - and Happy New Year!
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
When Paterno piloted his Nittany Lions to 10 wins in 11 games and a Big-10 championship, it silenced critics who were ready to send him out to pasture. Bowden has lost as many games in the last five years (19) as he did in the previous 15.
The Seminoles seemed like yesterday's news after losing three straight games to end the regular season. Irate boosters were wondering if it wasn't time for Bowden to head for one of Florida's many retirement communities. That was until the Seminoles upset Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game as double-digit underdogs, 27-22.
Penn State, which averaged 35 points and 424 yards per game, appears to have the edge against a FSU offense that often sputtered. Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Michael Robinson was simply sensational for Penn State this season, leading the Lions to 31 points or more eight times.
Florida State's Drew Weatherford wasn't quite as consistent. His season has mirrored the Seminoles' output as a whole. At his best, he has made FSU fans forget the quarterback position was one of the team's biggest question marks in August.
Conversely, Weatherford threw nine picks in four games during Florida State's November swoon after being intercepted just eight times during a 6-1 start.
Weatherford's slump began about the same time the Seminoles lost three starting offensive linemen to season-ending injuries. Working largely from the shotgun, Weatherford rebounded to pick apart the Hokies for 225 yards and a touchdown. Best of all, FSU did not commit a turnover.
The Penn State stop-unit allowed just 99 yards per game rushing on 2.9 yards per carry this year. The Florida State defense will give ground grudgingly as well. The Seminoles have amassed 41 sacks and are permitting just 29 percent on third-down conversions.
The loss of leading tackler A.J. Nicholson, who was sent home by Bowden following an alleged assault, will impact the FSU defense. Though Nicholson had 100 tackles, the Seminoles do have a number of players who can pick up the slack.
Penn State passed its last seven regular season spread tests, getting the green in five straight as favorites. Florida State floundered in six of its last eight ATS.
The Seminoles have been on the low side in 23 of their last 33 on the road against non-conference foes, while the Nittany Lions have followed suit in 26 of their last 36 outside the Big-10.
Most offshore books opened Penn State as nine-point favorites, with the total set at 51.
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