Football picksJanuary 22, 2020

Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl Betting Preview

Here it is, the last one. Your last chance to win big in NFL football until September. It’s all come down to the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, and if you’ve been following along with these playoffs, this is the way it should be.

You’ve got a team in the 49ers that has come out of the gates pounding in both of their games. On the other side are the Chiefs, who’ve had two bad first quarters, followed by six quarters of greatness.

The Chiefs’ slow starts haven’t hampered them from running the score up in the playoffs. Their bend but don’t break defense has held up well enough to skate past the Texans and Titans with ease.

The Niners have also made it look extremely easy. Jimmy Garoppolo was only forced to pass eight times against the Packers, and the San Francisco defense barely broke a sweat, holding Aaron Rodgers scoreless for the first 30 minutes of the game.

Let’s take a closer look at our betting preview for the big game.

Hail to the Chief

Kansas City’s success in the playoffs can be summed up in two words: Patrick Mahomes. That’s not to put down the rest of the team; only that the NFL hasn’t really seen anything like his past two performances.

Mahomes has nine total touchdowns in the playoffs. He’s completed 65.7% of his passes for 615 yards, has a 131.5 passer rating, and has rushed for 106 yards. Catch him if you can.

Damien Willams, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce have been astoundingly good complements to Mahomes. Even Sammy Watkins is flashing some vintage Watkins highlights in the playoffs. He leads the team with 190 receiving yards in the postseason.

Defensively, it seems like defensive back Daniel Sorensen has been all over the field. He leads the team in tackles and has a forced fumble in the postseason.

They’re Back

San Francisco is back in the Super Bowl after an eight-year absence. After suffering through a couple of rough seasons, GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have returned the Niners to prominence.

Of course, the acquisition of Garoppolo, among others, has helped. The Niners defense is stout, not far off of the Patriots’ regular-season defense, but it’s been their running game that has been winning these playoff games.

In their first playoff win, the 49ers relied on dual-threat back Tevin Coleman. But Coleman went down early on Sunday against the Packers with an elbow injury. Raheem Mostert then completely took the game over, running for 220 yards and an amazing four touchdowns. Garoppolo only had to throw eight passes to secure a 17-point victory. Just as expected, right?

But Did They Cover?

Interestingly enough, these two teams have covered a lot of spreads this season. The Chiefs are the top-ranked team in the NFL at covering, and the Niners come in at third, with 12-5-1 and 11-6-1 records, respectively.

That should make things even more interesting when looking at the spread. The Chiefs are favored by -1.5 right now, with an over/under of 54. So go pick it correctly, maybe right some wrongs from earlier in the season, on your last chance.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. You can also check out our NFL Public Consensus page.

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Basketball picksJanuary 22, 2020

Denver Nuggets vs. Houston Rockets Betting Preview

Just as we all expected a few weeks before the All-Star break, the Nuggets have four more wins and lead the Rockets by a few spots in the West. This makes Wednesday night’s matchup even more interesting. Denver heads to Houston to try and extend its lead over the Rockets and catch up with the Lakers and Clippers. Denver sits tied for third in the conference, while Houston sits at sixth.

Since losing to the Cavaliers, Denver has won three of its last four, dropping one game to the Pacers. The Rockets are on a nosedive, as they’ve lost four straight and five of their last six games. James Harden and company can’t afford to drop another one, so they better bring their A-game Wednesday night.

The Rockets are favored by 8.5 points in this one, with the over/under at 229.5. Let’s take a betting preview of this game.

Diggin’ For Gold

The Nuggets have been red hot this season. No one thought they’d be bad, but how many could’ve predicted 30-13 and third in the West at this point in the season? Led by Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, Denver doesn’t look to slow down anytime soon. Jokic is averaging 19.4 points and 10 rebounds per game, leading the team in both categories.

Murray has been showing why he was a high draft pick this season, putting up 17.6 points and 4.6 assists per game. Denver exemplifies the definition of team sport. It’s all five of the Nuggets players swarming you for four straight quarters. Fighting for every rebound and often winning the turnover battle.

Houston, We Have a Problem

The Rockets would like to forget these past few weeks, losing to teams they should beat with ease. Houston averages over 118 points per game, but that’s been cut down to around 109 in its last four. That’s not great when your defense is giving up nearly 118 over the last four.

Houston needs to improve the 15 turnovers per game it is committing. The Rockets rank 15th in the league in turnovers per game.

Harden and Russell Westbrook have been an interesting duo since being reunited, to say the least. Harden is averaging an astounding 36.9 points per game while putting up 7.4 assists. Westbrook is putting up 25.3 points and 7.3 assists, also adding over seven boards per game to the mix. And of course, that Westbrook tenacity.

More Than Expected

The 8.5-point spread is surprising to me. Even with the Rockets at home, Denver has just looked like the better team the past few weeks. Houston may have the talent, but it’s been Denver with the heart and soul to win close games. Wednesday night should give us an idea of just how good Denver can be down the stretch.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. And for more from around the NBA, go to our NBA public consensus page.

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Basketball picksJanuary 15, 2020

Orlando Magic vs. Los Angeles Lakers Betting Preview

The Orlando Magic will head from their own coast to the West Coast Wednesday night to square off with the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers. Orlando has won three of its last four and sits seventh in the Eastern Conference.

The Lakers look for a 10th straight win, as they haven’t lost since their Christmas Day game against the Clippers. The Lakers’ Anthony Davis is questionable headed into the game, and they are in no rush to bring him back with the team winning.

The Magic come in with Aaron Gordon, D.J. Augustine, and Michael Carter-Williams all on the injury report and questionable to return Wednesday night. Gordon and Augustine combine for nearly 24 points per game that Orlando will have to replace in its rotation.

If Davis ends up sitting out another game, the Lakers will be missing their leader in points, rebounds, and blocks, but that hasn’t slowed LeBron James and company down yet. Check out our betting preview for this contest.

Uh Oh, It’s Magic

The Magic have played well this season under new head coach Steve Clifford; unfortunately, not quite well enough to be above .500. They come into the contest at 19-21, 16 games out of first in the Eastern Conference.

Starting center Nikola Vucevic has led the way for the team, averaging 18.8 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. The combination of Vucevic, Jonathan Isaac, and Mo Bamba as proven shot-blockers, has propelled the team to fifth in the league in shots blocked.

Orlando’s starting guards have played well all season, Evan Fournier leads the team in scoring, putting up 19.2 per game. Markelle Fultz has shown vast improvement since being moved to the Magic. Fultz is averaging 11.5 points and 4.5 assists per game.

He’s shooting over 46 percent from the field, which has to be even better than the Magic anticipated when acquiring him. It seems Fultz’s shot isn’t as broken as Philadelphia may have thought.

Man Down

Los Angeles has looked dominant at both ends of the floor all season. Although, one could say that Frank Vogel has had one of the easiest jobs in the league in coaching James and Davis together. Both have been outstanding offensively and defensively.

If Davis sits Wednesday night, look for JaVale McGee to help the Lake Show dominate the paint on both ends. McGee has averaged 5.8 boards and 1.7 blocks per game this season.

Dwight Howard’s return to the Lakers should continue to help in the absence of Davis as well. Howard is averaging 7.7 boards and 7.5 points per game in his resurgence chasing a ring.

Not enough can be said about the play of James this season. He’s playing, well, like James always plays, showing the ability to distribute and score at will, while he locks you down on the other end of the floor. Even if Davis is out, James should have no trouble leading the team to its 10th straight victory.

West Coast Offense

The Lakers are ranked seventh in the league in scoring and third in points allowed. It will be a tough task for an injured Magic team to keep up. Orlando is 19-19-2 against the spread this season, while the Lakers come in 22-17-1 against the spread.

At home, the Lakers are 11-8-1 against the spread. The Lakers are favored by 9.5 headed into Wednesday, with an over/under of 211.5. Time shall tell who covers with a near double-digit spread.

For more on this matchup, check out the matchup page. And for other NBA betting action from around the league, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.

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Football picksJanuary 14, 2020

Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers Betting Preview

The NFC Championship Game is all set after insane Wild Card and divisional round weekends. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are headed out west to square off with the San Francisco 49ers.

We’ll see how many doubters the Packers still have as they face the cream of the NFC crop. The only doubt for those taking the Niners is whether Jimmy Garoppolo and the passing game can keep up with their own elite running game and defense.

In these two teams’ previous matchup this season, the Niners ran away with it, 37-8. That was also the last time the Packers lost a game. The Niners lost two of their last three regular-season games to the Ravens and Falcons.

One of San Francisco’s defensive staples, Kwon Alexander, returned a week ago from injured reserve and played 25 snaps and looks to play more this week. We’ll see if the 49ers have what it takes to slow down a red hot Rodgers. Read on for our betting preview of this contest.

Rodgers’ Re-Mergence

Rodgers’ numbers may not dazzle you the way they used to, but the veteran still managed to throw for over 4,000 yards on the season while coming up with 26 touchdowns to only four picks. His numbers may seem a bit lower than usual, and they are, but much of this can be attributed to him finally having a running game with Aaron Jones, and a stout defense led by Za’darious and Preston Smith.

Since head coach Matt LaFleur joined the Packers this season, much had been said about the relationship between the coach and Rodgers, but one thing is certain: Winning cures all.

Whether LaFleur has leaned on Rodgers and his number one wideout, Davante Adams, or whether he’s relied on Jones, the team has seemingly gotten better as the season has progressed. Whether it’s improved enough to beat the Niners remains to be seen.

Ground and Pound

The 2019 49ers, the ground and pound Niners, the NFC West champs. Whatever the mantra, San Francisco has remained one for the best teams in the NFL all season. What the 49ers aren’t able to accomplish defensively, their running game makes up for offensively.

Moving the ball and controlling time of possession all season, they became the first team in NFL history to have three backs rush for over 500 yards in Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and Matt Breida.

It was Coleman who led the pack for the runners last week over the Vikings, finishing with over 100 yards on the ground and a score to go with it. One thing the Vikings did well against the Niners a week ago was contain All-Pro tight end George Kittle. Kittle was held to 31 yards on Saturday.

Deebo Samuel has stepped up in recent weeks, becoming the 49ers’ secret weapon. Watch for Kyle Shanahan to get the ball in Samuels’ hands in space and let him go to work.

Down on the Upside

The 49ers are favored by 7.5 points headed into the weekend, with an over/under of 45. The upside to taking the underdog here is that you’ll be betting on Rodgers. Always a solid choice. Rodgers has become increasingly hard to bet against over the years.

But with the spread right, it’s not hard to imagine the Packers covering the 7.5. It’s also not hard to picture the Niners running away with this one.

These have been two of the best teams in the NFL against the spread all season. The Packers are 11-6, while the Niners are 10-6-1 against the spread. Green Bay is 3-1 when coming in as road dogs.

San Francisco is 4-4-1 at home when it is favored. Bettors have their work cut out for them this weekend.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page for the game. For more action from around the league, check out our NFL Public Consensus page.

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Basketball picksJanuary 8, 2020

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Golden State Warriors Betting Preview

bucks warriors

The Milwaukee Bucks, who have been red hot of late, head out west for the second game of their four-game road trip, to square off against the Golden State Warriors. These teams have been on complete opposite ends of the spectrum so far this season.

The 32-6 Bucks lead the Celtics and the Heat in the Eastern Conference by five games. The 9-29 Warriors are in last place, 21.5 games out in the Western Conference.

Golden State could rename its squad the Injured Reserves this season, as all of their weapons have been out for all or large pieces of the season. Wednesday will see the return of Draymond Green after he was tossed Saturday versus the Pistons.

Head coach Steve Kerr opted to rest Green and his ailing ankle on Monday night against the Kings after the incident.

The Bucks have remained mostly healthy for much of the season and may have the best player in the league right now. Giannis Antetokounmpo had everything in his arsenal that he needed coming into the season but still has somehow improved. The hot hand of Giannis has led the Bucks not only to the best record in the East but the entire NBA.

Check out our betting preview of this matchup of two of the league’s best and worst teams.

Slowing the Roll

The Bucks had won five straight headed into the first game of their road trip on Monday night. Gregg Popovich and the Spurs put an end to that and handed the Bucks their sixth loss of the season.

The Spurs shot 51.1 percent against a defense that leads the league in opponents’ shooting percentage (.413). The Spurs’ 126 points are the most the Bucks have allowed this season.

The Bucks trail the Rockets by only two-tenths of a point as the second-highest scoring offense in the league. The league’s second-ranked offense should have no issues scoring against the Warriors and their 20th-ranked defense.

The Bucks average 118.1 points per game on the road, also trailing the Rockets for most points per game on the road, but still second in the league, though.

More Like Bronze State

Golden State without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson just isn’t what any of us are used to. The injuries that both players suffered, holding Klay out all season and Curry until at least February, have put a dark cloud over the Warriors this season. So much of a cloud that you barely notice that Kevin Durant isn’t out there either.

Hampering their efforts even more is a recent shoulder injury to D’Angelo Russell. Russell leads the team in both scoring and assists and has been ruled out for the fifth straight game. Russell is considered day-to-day.

The return of Green should help thwart the efforts of Giannis. Expect to see Green on Giannis quite a bit, along with some switching off to Willie Cauley-Stein in the paint.

Down to Brass Tax

The Bucks have played well wherever they’ve played this season. That being said, four of their six losses have come on the road. They have yet to lose back-to-back games this season.

Overall, Milwaukee is 21-17 against the spread. Only three teams in the league cover more often than the Bucks. They’re also 10-8 against the spread when playing on the road this year.

Six of the Warriors’ nine wins have come when playing at home. They rank 19th in the league against the spread, with a record of 17-21, not as bad as one might think with only nine wins. They’re 8-10 against the spread when playing at home, also not horrible.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. And for other NBA betting action from around the league, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.

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Football picksJanuary 7, 2020

Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens Betting Preview

The playoff byes have past headed into the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. After upsetting the Patriots in the Wild Card round, the Tennessee Titans have an even larger task at hand as they head to Baltimore to face off against the top-seeded Ravens.

It’ll be the highest-scoring offense from the first half of the season in the Ravens against the highest-scoring offense from the second half in the Titans.

Derrick Henry and his over 200 scrimmage yards led the Titans past Tom Brady and the Pats last week. Many thought it might be Brady’s last game, or at least his last as a member of the Patriots, at home. From the sound of Brady’s press conference, he’s far from done.

The Ravens are coming in off a Week 17 win over the division-rival Steelers in a game in which Baltimore rested most of its starters. Check out our betting preview of what should be an exciting playoff contest.

Hot At The Right Time

Tennessee picked a great time in the season to get red hot. Since Tannehill has taken over as starter, the Titans are 8-3 overall. Tannehill is coming off a month where he won the NFL’s offensive player of the month award. It’s likely the best statistical month of his career.

Tannehill has made rookie wideout A.J. Brown his number one target, and a formidable one. Brown ranked second in the NFL during the regular season in yards per catch.

The primary reason that the Titans are alive and well in the divisional round is running back Derrick Henry, who racked up 182 yards on the ground against the vaunted Pats defense. He came up with a catch for 22 yards as well, putting him over 200 with a touchdown on the night, not to mention countless first downs.

Henry averaged 5.4 yards per carry against the Patriots, so there’s no reason he can’t have a repeat performance against a defense that isn’t quite as flashy.

Not Bad For A Running Back

Lamar Jackson has led his Ravens to the playoffs and a first-round bye, and as he said earlier in the season, not too bad for a “running back.” Which was, of course, what scouts touted him as coming into the draft.

It looks like Jackson will be quite the NFL starter at quarterback, not only setting a new record for rushing yards from his position but accurately throwing for over 3,000 yards and 36 touchdowns.

Running back Mark Ingram will return to action after a minor late-season injury this weekend. When Jackson hasn’t been able to pick up the first down, it’s been Ingram by his side who can.

When the rushing game can’t get it done, Jackson’s favorite target, Mark Andrews, at tight end has been able to get the job done. Andrews ranked fifth in yards amongst all tight ends during the regular season with 852.

Slim Chance, But A Chance

The Titans may just be the right team at the right time to beat the Ravens, but it would be a heck of a task. If they score the way they did in the second half of the season, they should be able to stay within striking distance, though.

The Ravens are favored by nine headed into the matchup, with an over/under of 47. The Ravens are 10-6 against the spread this season, while the Titans are 9-7. Both teams have pretty evenly covered this season, but who will get the job done this week?

For more on this game, check out our matchup page. For more action from the Divisional Round of the playoffs, check out our NFL Public Consensus page.

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