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June 2021


Football picksJune 14, 2021

Behind a sturdy offensive line, new Colts QB Carson Wentz reunites with former O-Co Frank Reich, looking to shake off an ugly 2020 season.

new colts QB carson wentz with frank reich

Wentz threw for 4,039 yards in 2019, setting a new NFL record for passing yards without a single wide receiver going over 500 yards


Carson Wentz, New Colts QB

When Philip Rivers retired after one season in Indianapolis, it left ownership with a difficult decision to make. Given the team’s depth, overall talent and potential, they weren’t going to wait long and by mid-February, general manager Chris Ballard announced a deal to reunite QB Carson Wentz with his former O-Co, Frank Reich.

Wentz is coming off an absolutely terrible year in Philadelphia. He ranked dead last in DVOA amongst QBs with more than 200 passes, and had a QBR of 49.6 which was 29th.

Let’s put it this way, the two QBs on either side of Wentz in QBR last season were Gardiner Minshew and Drew Lock. Need I say more?

On the upside, the new Colts QB had a great chemistry with Reich in 2017. Wentz started 13 games going 11-2, and he threw 33 touchdown passes to just seven interceptions. Wentz set a career-high in yards per completion (12.4) and his QBR that year was 78.5, earning him a Pro Bowl nomination.

Unfortunately, Wentz was unable to finish that season after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee. Nick Foles took over, delivered the Eagles their first-ever Super Bowl title and started five games for Philly the next year, but Carson Wentz handled the greater workload with 11 starts from Week’s 3-14.

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2019 Rewind

This was a big year for Wentz. He played in all 16 regular season games as well as the Wild Card loss to Seattle. Although, he did suffer a concussion vs. the Hawks.

  • Wentz in 2019: 4,039 yards passing, 27 TDs, 7 INTs, 6.7 yards per attempt, 62.8 QBR
  • Wentz in 2020: 2,620 yards passing, 16 TDs, 15 INTs, 6.0 yards per attempt, 49.6 QBR

The new Colts QB is often tagged as being injury prone, perhaps unfairly. He’s only missed 12 of a possible 80 NFL starts due to injury (15%), and teammates will attest to his toughness. The fact of the matter is that the Eagles offensive line ranked first overall in terms of adjusted games lost to injury in 2020. When you combine that with a bullheaded QB that likes to extend plays and throw on the move, the inevitable outcome is not pleasant.

Time for an Adjustment

Developed by Football Outsiders, Adjusted Games Lost (AGL) accounts for injury report designations during the season, weighted to account for starters vs. backups. Each teams straight-up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) record from 2020 is also listed.

2020’s Highest No. of AGL to Injury: O-Line

  1. Eagles (57.1): 4-11-1 SU & 4-11-1 ATS
  2. Cowboys (46.4): 6-10 SU & 5-11 ATS
  3. Chiefs (40.4): 14-2 SU & 6-10 ATS
  4. Patriots (39.5): 7-9 SU & 7-9 ATS
  5. 49ers (31.9): 6-10 SU & 7-9 ATS

Philadelphia’s O-Line had an adjusted sack rate of 9.4%, second-highest behind the Texans. The Eagles allowed 65 sacks last year (most in the league), and Wentz bore the brunt 50 times.

  • By comparison, Indianapolis allowed 21 sacks in 2020, T-2nd fewest.

The Colts were notoriously one of the most-injured teams in the league when Andrew Luck was the starting QB. In 2020, Indy’s WR corps ranked sixth in adjusted games lost with 17.9 and their RBs ranked second (16.0), but the O-Line was tied for fourth-fewest with just 7.7 games lost.

2020’s Lowest No. of AGL to Injury: O-Line

  1. Bucs (4.6): 11-5 SU & 9-6-1 ATS
  2. Texans (5.0): 4-12 SU & 6-10 ATS  
  3. Falcons (5.7): 4-12 SU & 7-9 ATS
  4. Colts (7.7): 11-5 SU & 8-7-1 ATS
  5. Dolphins (7.8): 10-6 SU & 11-5 ATS

The combined record for teams with a banged up O-Line was 37-42-1 SU. More importantly for bettors, those teams posted a 29-50-1 ATS (37%). All five finished with a sub-500 record at the window. Teams with a healthy O-Line in 2020 went 41-37-1 ATS (52%). It’s not a mind-blowing stat on its own, but 52% is great deal better than 37% when paying 10 cents of juice.

Indianapolis Colts Odds

I’m tracking NFL offseason betting odds for you throughout the summer. Every time a new team preview is added or the futures market takes a significant swing, I’ll post on social media and you can stay up to date as we countdown to kickoff.

For preseason power rankings and Super Bowl odds, visit my NFL Team Previews HQ!

2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds: 9.5 OV -160
Pre-draft Win Total Odds: 10 UN -135
2020 Record: 11-5
Average Wins 2018-20: 9.3
Odds to win the Division: -105 (T-1st)
Net Strength of Schedule: 3rd best

While shopping odds to win the AFC South, you can easily find sportsbooks giving a five- or 10-cent edge to either the Colts or Titans. When the Titans traded for Julio Jones, the books were hit with a burst of action and moved quickly to reduce their exposure. That’s already starting to settle down and barring injury, we can expect to see these two teams in a horse race to September that’ll determine who the public prefers.

Indy gets a couple of NFC West teams at home to start the season and Reich’s home record in non-conference games is 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS. Of the eight interconference games he played against teams with a winning record, he was 7-1 ATS regardless of site.

The Colts face a test in Week’s 3-5 as they travel to face the Titans, Dolphins and Ravens. The reward is a three-game home set vs. the Titans, Jets and Jaguars in Week’s 8-10.

Last year’s O-Co, Nick Sirianni, has moved onto the HC position at Philadelphia, so new Colts QB Wentz, meet new Colts O-Co Marcus Brady. After spending the past two seasons as Indy’s QB coach, Brady was promoted when Sirianni left. Reich will still call the plays but Brady will help design the gameplan and given his CFL experience and penchant for passing, this should be a full throttle offense.

Indianapolis Colts Trends

As noted above, Reich puts an emphasis on winning non-conference games. Along with the NFC West this year, he’ll take on Tampa Bay in a Week 12 home game.

  • Reich’s overall record vs. the NFC is 9-2-1 ATS, outscoring opponents 26.4 to 19.3.

Something to keep in mind for Week 11, when the Colts travel to Buffalo following a pair of winnable home games vs. the Jets and Jags:

  • Indy’s road record after back-to-back SU/ATS wins where they were favored is 15-8 ATS (65%).

The Colts new QB Wentz has not performed well against the league’s more disciplined teams.

  • Wentz is 7-16 ATS (30%) vs. teams that average fewer than 58 penalty yards per game.

He was 1-4 SU/ATS on the road in this spot last year and he’s also played UNDER six consecutive times when the refs kept their hankies off the field. The league average for penalty yards in 2020 was 46.5 and Wentz posted a 1-6-1 ATS record last year vs. teams whose average was below this mark.

Teams ranking Top 10 for discipline that Indy will face in 2021: Patriots, Texans (twice), Rams, and Dolphins.

Colts Bottom Line

Ryan Kelly centers this O-Line with a stable right side in RG Mark Glowinski and RT Braden Smith. Standout Quenton Nelson lines up at LG and the left tackle position was vacated when former first rounder Anthony Castonzo retired after 10 seasons. The Colts signed Eric Fisher (Chiefs) in free agency, but Fisher is recovering from an Achilles repair and may not be ready for Week 1. Sam Tevi is slated at LT until Fisher is cleared and overall, this group is poised for a Top 10 season.

The new Colts QB Wentz is grouped in the third tier with Joe Burrow, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, Baker Mayfield and Daniel Jones. Shaking off a bad season and getting back together with Reich offers a lot of potential, and if Wentz can stay on the field then winning nine games is realistic. With this schedule, the upside for 10 wins is there but Indy cannot get into a situation where they’re testing their depth chart at QB. Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger are a couple of great young talents but they’ll need more time and for the Colts, the winning has to come now.

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Sports picksJune 12, 2021

Down Below is a picture of Portugal winning the 2016 Euro Final

The 2020 Euros are underway! After being delayed due to Covid-19 in 2020, the competition moved itself to 2021. There are a lot of teams hunting for the Euro trophy this summer, with countries like England, Portugal, France, and Spain favorites to hoist the trophy in the end. Down below is a preview of each group and some betting odds for the tournament.

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Euro Group Preview


Group A: Italy, Switzerland, Turkey & Wales

Italy kicks off Euro 2020 facing Turkey in Rome. Italy have dominated in the qualifying tournament, winning all 10 of the qualifying matches. They have lost only two times in the last three years. Italy should be a very strong contender, with a very stout defensive shape and some quick dynamic forwards.

Switzerland on the other hand play a patient game using their physical strength to keep possession and are hard to break down. The Swiss are a versatile squad and could make some noise throughout the tournament.

Turkey are an experienced team and are coached by the same manager that led them to a 3rd place finish in the 2001 World Cup. The Turkish play a counter-attacking compact style, but against better passing teams they are okay with sitting back. They are tough in defense and tricky on the break, yet can have a tendency to underperform.

Wales, led by star striker Gareth Bale, have a young squad with some Premier League youngsters. They look to be defensively compact and use a front 3 to attack the opposition. Wales does not have the depth like a lot of other teams in the competition which could lead to an early exit for the Dragons.

Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia

Belgium are the #1 team according to FIFA World Rankings and have a very talented squad for the Euros. Led by Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, and Eden Hazard, the Red Devils like to build play from the back and try to find the mobile front three. The only weakness could be an aging back three, with two starting center-backs over the age of 35.

Denmark are quietly and interesting team to watch at the Euros. Christian Eriksen leads the 10th ranked team according to FIFA into the competition after failing to qualify in 2016. With Kasper Schmeichel in goal for The Red and White, Denmark should be strong on the defensive end. If teams effectively press them in tight areas, Denmark could struggle in this group.

This is Finland’s first time ever qualifying for the Euros. They play in a 5-4-2 which allows them to have a good defensive shape and use the long ball to attack. This style of attack pushes the ball to the ball to find the strikers. They lack squad quality and depth though making it a hard run to get out of the group.

Russia made a good impression in the 2018 World Cup as the host nation. Russia have good team depth and play a unique tactile style of play. Some players have strict roles and assignments while other players are free to roam and create. They have had a mixed year of results but could be a surprise to make it out of the group.

Group C: Austria, North Macedonia, Netherlands, Ukraine

Austria are a versatile squad with a lot of talent from the German Bundesliga. With a mixing of formations, Austria have tried many different tactics in the qualifying tournament. Austria love to press, forcing the opposition into tight passing areas and looking to regain possession in the final third. This Austria Euro squad should be a tough opponent for the teams in their group.

Netherlands like to play a quick passing style of play. They favor short yard passing in tight spaces to allow a breakdown in the defense. They also look to attack on set pieces with their attacking players strong on the ball. Netherlands have been a team on the edge of tournament success for years. This Euro tournament could see this talented team go out early.

North Macedonia have never qualified for a major tournament until this years Euros. They press well and force opposition away from the middle of the pitch and to the wide sidelines. If they can create turnovers, it will set them up in a good position to find the flanking wingbacks.

Ukraine have directly qualified for the Euros for the first time. Ukraine like to attack with 5 players in advance positions, looking to control possession in the middle of the pitch. Though they do use this tactic find goals has been an issue only scoring more than 1 goal in a match against Switzerland.

Group D: England, Croatia, Scotland, Czech Republic

England manager Gareth Southgate has a very talented squad for the Euros. With a lot of depth in the attacking positions, the Three Lions should be a favorite to win the tournament. One or two injuries in the back would hurt the squad and with Trent Alexander-Arnold already coming up injured, losing key players it could derail their Euro chances.

Croatia are a strong squad and use their midfield players to retain possession then attack the flanks. Luka Modric is the key to this Croatian team, playing in advance attacking roles and trailing back to help defensively. They don’t have a lot of depth but the experienced midfield should be a tough out for the other teams in the group

Czech Republic are a well-organized side with some flair unexpectedly. Czech Republic will look to use the flank to attack with crosses into the box. They also look to create a lot with late runs and balls over the top. Czech are susceptible to getting hit on the break and need the two defensive center-mids to play a tight game.

Scotland face stiff competition in their group but have reached their first Euro since 1996. The Scots first appearance in a major since 1998 in fact! Scotland’s reliance on the left side could leave them in a tough position when sides attack the right. They do have some young exciting midfield talent who should show out on the Euro stage.

Group E: Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden

Poland press high led by Robert Lewandowski with the backline stepping up to win the ball and push it to attacking positions. Poland like six players ahead of the ball who will push up to feed the attack. They have the world best number 9 in Lewandowski and he should be in the hunt for the tournaments leading scorer.

Slovakia like to invite the opposition into their third than press once they advance past the halfway mark. Slovakia are good getting behind the backline with balls into the box. They also pose a big threat on set pieces where they often flick it on to a second runner. Without a quality striker, this promising team might have a hard time making it out of the group stage

Spain have won the Euros three times in their history. The “Red Ones” look to move quickly up the pitch with some youthful midfield players. Spain are quick to get the ball out wide and rely less on the heavy possession focus attacking style that won them back to back title in 2008 & 2012. The wingers are key to the attack and look to beat defenders toward the goal.

Sweden advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup, exceeding expectations. They are looking to duplicate a similar style of play that helped them. The have a tradition formation and get a lot of their chances on crosses. Their front line looks to bring good mobility and a solid shape should help Sweden in defence.

Group F: Hungary, Portugal, France, Germany “Group of Death”

Hungary are clearly the weakest team in the group but doesn’t mean they won’t go down without a fight. They have good top flight talent and a lot of experience. Hungary likes to attack with headers and long balls into the box. Hungary are also a threat from corners and free kicks in header situations.

Portugal won the Euro Championship back in 2016 and also won the Nations League Championship in 2019. They are also a very talented squad with Ronaldo leading the way. Portugal have a solid defense which allows the pace of the offence to be lethal. It’s hard to see any weakness with this squad.

France won the 2018 World Cup and have a good amount of that same team back for the Euros. A loaded roster of talented stars that can score at will. France are the favorite the win the competition, and seem to be in full force ready for the tournament. France’s only issue is they seem to find it have to break down a team that sits defensively heavy.

Germany are also a very talented squad with many top flight players. With their coach leaving after the tournament, the Germans have had a hard time keep a consistent form. They had a rough 6-0 loss to Spain last November that created the unease. Germany have the talent to beat any team in the tournament but without a focal point to run the offence, Germany could be looking at a disappointing tournament.


Check out more info on the groups and must watch matches here.

CHART OF ODDS TO WIN


TEAMODDS TO WIN
France+475
England+600
Belgium+750
Italy+800
Portugal+800
Germany+900
Spain+900
Netherlands+1500
Denmark+2500
Croatia+4000
Turkey+5000
Switzerland+6000
Poland+8000
Austria+10000
Russia+10000
Ukraine+10000
Czech Republic+12500
Wales+20000
Scotland+20000
Slovakia+40000
Finland+50000
Hungary+50000
North Macedonia+50000

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Football picksJune 10, 2021

The Tennessee Titans Super Bowl odds took a booster shot this week when they landed one of  this NFL offseason’s top targets. Julio Jones became the newest Titan, joining A.J. Brown and Josh Reynolds, in exchange for a pair of draft picks. In his prime, Jones was a superstar but his numbers have declined in recent years and when you factor in Tennessee’s offseason departures, this looks more like a lateral move than a major step forward.

Titans Super Bowl odds with Julio Jones

Jones posted three seasons in Atlanta with more than 1,500 receiving yards and he leads the Falcons’ all-time list with 12,896 yards on 848 receptions


Tennessee Titans Super Bowl Odds

The NFL’s trade market for big name receivers has been heating up over the past couple years. On Sunday, Julio Jones became the latest primetime star to relocate, going to Tennessee in exchange for a second- and fourth-round pick. Tennessee will also grab a sixth-round pick in the deal, and Titans Super Bowl odds jumped to +2500.

Tennessee is paying back at 12 to 1 to win the AFC, sixth behind the Chiefs, Bills, Ravens, Browns and Broncos.

Titans Super Bowl odds were originally listed at 33 to 1 in my NFL Offseason Betting HQ. Their power ranking is 12th and poised to climb into the Top 10 by Week 1, but there are several factors to consider. First of all, Jones was targeted by Tennessee to fill the gaps left by Corey Davis (Jets) and Adam Humphries (Bucs). Davis posted 984 yards and five touchdowns last year on 92 targets (65 catches). Humphries had 23 catches on 35 targets for 228 yards and two majors. Josh Reynolds (Rams) was signed in free agency and slotted to fill Davis’ shoes, opposite A.J. Brown, and the new trio could certainly match the former’s numbers, but given Jones’ recent history, this can’t be considered anything more than a lateral move at the moment.

Jones only played in nine games last season, with chronic foot issues. His yards, TDs, first downs, longs, receptions and yards per game are all in a steady decline the past three years. The Titans do have a decent corps of backup receivers that will benefit from Jones’ experience, but this offense is still going to start and end on the ground game.

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Tennessee Titans Odds

I’m tracking NFL offseason betting odds for you throughout the summer. Every time a new team preview is added or the futures market takes a significant swing, I’ll post on social media and you can stay up to date as we countdown to kickoff.

For preseason power rankings and Titans Super Bowl odds, visit my NFL Team Previews HQ!

2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds: 9.5 UN -130
Pre-draft NFL Season Win Total Odds: 9.5 UN -150
2020 Record: 11-5
Average Wins 2018-20: 9.7
Odds to win the Division: Even Money (1st)

The Titans were +110 to win the AFC South, trailing the Colts by just 10 cents. Following the trade for Julio Jones, Tennessee and Indianapolis (+110) have flip-flopped and they remain well ahead of the Jaguars (+800) and Texans (+1400). Considering that divisional odds have only moved 10 cents on the moneyline the past two months, doesn’t that make the +800 jump on Titans Super Bowl odds seem a little extreme?

Tennessee Titans Trends

The Titans won the AFC South last year with a 11-5 SU record. They were 9-7 for four consecutive seasons before that, tying them with the Los Angeles Rams (47-33) for the eighth-best regular season record over the past five years.

  • Tennessee is 46-29-5 OVER (61%) in all games the past five years, the No. 1 highest OVER-percentage in the NFL since 2016.
  • Since 2007, the Titans are 10-2-2 ATS in their first road game of the season. That includes a record of 6-1-1 ATS the past eight years, and 4-1 SU/ATS when their first road game occurs beyond Week 1.
  • After a blowout home win by double-digits, the Titans are fade material, going 3-13 ATS since 2009.
  • The Titans have a record of 22 OVERS, 12 UNDERS (65%) and a couple pushes in non-conference games since 2012.

Tennessee draws the NFC West this year for its interconference rotation. They open against Arizona and host San Francisco in Week 16. For road games, Tennessee is at Seattle in Week 2 and at Los Angeles Rams Week 9. Note that when the Titans met the NFC West in 2017, three of four games went OVER but the average Over/Under odds were just 44.2 points. By comparison, the average Titans total in 2020 was 50.8 points, an increase of +6.6 points per game.

Titans Bottom Line

The Titans rushed the ball on 50.3% of their offensive plays last year, third behind the Ravens (55%) and Patriots (51.3%) — a pair of teams running more out of necessity than proficiency. Tennessee ranked second in yards per carry (5.0), yards per game (161.2) and rushing TDs per game (1.5), and bellcow RB Derrick Henry is set to lead the charge once again.

Henry was the back-to-back rushing leader in 2019-20 and defenses will stack the box, gameplanning on how to stop him more than ever this year. Will it help?

  • Top 10 Rushing DVOA in 2020, according to Football Outsiders: Bucs, Saints, Rams, Bears, Steelers, Falcons, Seahawks, Jets, Colts, Niners
  • All 10 of those teams ranked inside the top 14 in terms of opponent rushing yards per game, allowing 114 yards or less.
  • The Titans went 4-5 SU and 3-6 ATS in nine games against teams that were allowing fewer than 114 yards rushing.
  • The OVER was 6-1-2 (86%) in those games, with each team averaging just over 28 points per game.

Henry has had five seasons of high-productivity rushing and his greatest success in terms of betting value was against mid-ranked rushing defenses that allowed between 90-125 yards per game.

  • Since Henry joined the team, Tennessee is 30-19 ATS (61%) against mid-ranked rushing D.

Tennessee averaged 30.1 carries per game for 137 yards, out-yarding opponents on the ground by 36.5 yards. In the past 30 years, teams that win the rushing battle by more than 36.5 yards are 74.9% against the spread, including a 119-40 ATS (74.8%) record in 2020.

Circle the following dates on Tennessee’s schedule this year vs. mid-ranked rushing D:

Week 1 vs. Arizona
Week 4 at New York Jets
Week 6 vs. Buffalo
Week 7 vs. Kansas City
Week 15 at Pittsburgh
Week 16 vs. San Francisco
Week 17 vs. Miami

If Henry, Brown, Jones and QB Ryan Tannehill are healthy at the time, the betting value this year on Tennessee will be greater in those matchups than it is with the Titans Super Bowl odds.

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Basketball picksJune 9, 2021

We have reached the quarter-pole of the 25th WNBA season, so I figured we should take a look at some of the betting trends league-wide, as well as Championship odds.

WNBA betting favorite Seattle Storm

Defending WNBA Champion and preseason favorites, Seattle Storm, are on the hunt for a repeat as they have jumped out to a 7-2 start. And following that strong start, they remain the betting favorites to win the WNBA Championship at +225 odds behind stars Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird.

The Western Conference is deep this year with the second favorite Las Vegas Aces (+250) showing up big so far with a 7-3 record while the other two Western Conference stalwarts, Phoenix Mercury (+1100) and Los Angeles Sparks (+2000) have also remained relatively level on the odds board.

The second-best record in the WNBA, however, belongs to the Connecticut Sun. At 8-2 overall, the Sun have seen their odds to win the WNBA Championship improve a bit to +1000. With the New York Liberty (+2500) holding the second-best record in the East at just 5-4, the Sun are looking like strong, early contenders to represent their conference in the Finals this fall.

And in spite of slow starts, teams like the Washington Mystics (+550), the Minnesota Lynx (+800), and the Chicago Sky (+650) have actually seen their odds improve some. It is still early in the season, and the odds-makers likely do not want to give up on them quite yet.

2021 WNBA Championship odds

Who let the Dogs out? A look at league-wide results, road underdogs have been very profitable so far this season. While home teams are 27-26 straight up this season (24-28-1 ATS), road dogs so far are cashing at a very profitable 61% rate (20-13 ATS). Even home underdogs are profitable this season at 11-8-1 (58%). Totals have been a complete coin flip so far this season as 26 games have gone OVER while 26 games have stayed UNDER.

Lynx center Sylvia Fowles

Team-wise, the Sun has the best ATS record in the league so far at 8-2. Their strong defense has also led to a 7-3 mark to the UNDER and an unbeaten mark at home (5-0 SU). Surprisingly, the favored Storm is just 3-5 ATS (7-1 SU). So while they are winning, they haven’t been covering. The OVER is 6-2, though, in Seattle’s eight games. The Phoenix Mercury (5-2-1 ATS) and Atlanta Dream (5-2 ATS) have also been big moneymakers vs. the line so far this year.

Minnesota has such a rich history that its rough start, 3-5 SU, has a lot of experts scratching their heads. The Lynx are winless on the road (0-3) and are a money-burning 2-6 ATS on the season, yet are still only +800 to win it all. They continue to get love from the oddsmakers as the Lynx have been favored in five of their eight games, and they are 1-4 ATS when favored.

Another favorite to win the title, Chicago, is just 2-7 SU and ATS (0-5 SU at home). The Sky have dropped seven straight games (0-7 ATS) after opening the season at 2-0 (2-0 ATS). And until their last two games, against Phoenix and Los Angeles, they have been favored in each.

Will the betting trend of the underdog continue? Only time will tell, but I can tell you that a 60% win-rate is huge in sports betting, and it is one of those trends you will at the very least want to pay attention to.

The WNBA will be taking breaking next month for the Olympics and is set to return for their stretch run with the WNBA Playoffs set to begin on September 23.

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Football picksJune 6, 2021

Aaron Rodgers is making headlines this offseason, demanding a trade out of Titletown. The Green Bay Packers odds and hopes of competing in 2021 hinge on the front office’s ability to persuade their superstar to ride out his contract. Get the latest Packers’ odds, trends and betting news as the drama unfolds.

Green Bay Packers odds and Aaron Rodgers news

Rodgers had a phenomenal season in 2020, passing for 4,299 yards and setting a career-high in touchdowns (48)


Rodgers’ Trade Demands

Despite the turbulent trade rumors that have dominated airwaves since April, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers appears to be having a great offseason. Rodgers stole the show on NFL Draft weekend by demanding a trade from the only team he’s ever played for. He was hobnobbing with the stars at the Kentucky Derby in May, vacationing in Hawaii, and guest hosting Jeopardy. Rodgers said that being engaged to Shailene Woodley is the best thing that’s happened to him in the past year and yes, his NFC Conference Championship game vs. Tom Brady is included on that list.

In a statement, Gutekunst said, “Aaron has been a vital part of our success and we look forward to competing for another championship with him leading our team.”

It’s as if Rodgers doesn’t care if he never plays another game in Green Bay. The Packers front office, meanwhile, is showing off its best poker face. GM Brian Gutekunst gives no indication of trading the superstar, unless it gets to a point where a full on holdout is imminent.

The Backup Plan

Green Bay signed Blake Bortles and Kurt Benkert to fill out its QB depth chart. Bortles spent five years in Jacksonville and one with the Rams. His career record as a starter is 24-49 SU and a surprising 35-37-1 ATS. That’s because unlike Rodgers, Bortles is used to getting points from the bookmaker, and lots of them. Benkert was in Atlanta for 2018 and `20 but has never seen the field.

Jordan Love, last year’s first round draft pick, didn’t take a snap in his rookie season behind Rodgers, but he learned from one of the greats and the two apparently had a solid bond. Rodgers holding out would be a costly endeavor, as in $50,000 per day of training camp missed, and that’s on top of all the bonus money he’s shrugged off by skipping OTAs. But you have to think that no Rodgers would mean a ton of first-team snaps for Love. Anyone that has seen Bortles start can realize the upside potential of starting Love instead of Bortles in Week 1.

Rodgers is in the elite class with QBs like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers, and all three were able to make big-time moves in the twilight of their careers. The big difference of course is that all three of those veterans were free agents at the time. For futures bettors, every consideration has to include two scenarios: One with a disgruntled superstar under center and another that makes juggling with chainsaws seem like a fun new hobby.

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Green Bay Packers Odds

I’m tracking NFL offseason betting odds for you throughout the summer. Every time a new team preview is added or the futures market takes a significant swing, I’ll post on social media and you can stay up to date as we countdown to kickoff. For preseason power rankings and Super Bowl odds, visit my NFL Team Previews HQ!

Updated NFL Season Win Total Odds: 11 UN -125
2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds (pre-draft): 10.5 OV -145
2020 Record: 13-3
Average Wins 2018-20: 10.7
Odds to win the Division: -125 (1st)

In March, Green Bay Packers odds to win the division were listed at -250. The Vikings were +450 at the time, and Chicago was paying back at 5-to-1.

– Green Bay was 5-1 vs. the division last year and Minnesota went 4-2.

The dark cloud that’s moved in over Wisconsin has halved the Packers’ line and sent Minnesota down to +229. Books still show the Bears at +384, but if anyone is considering a dog play in the NFC North, they better move quick or the betting value will be gone.

Green Bay Packers Trends

– The Packers are 27-10 OVER (73%) against the NFC South since 2005.

Green Bay faced the South as part of its normal rotation last season, going 1-3 O/U before hosting the Bucs in January (OVER). Their one regular season OVER against the South was Week 3 in New Orleans and the Packers open this season against the Saints.

– Green Bay is 48-29 OVER (62%) on the road the past 10 seasons. That includes a record of 5 OVERS and 1 UNDER in Week 1 road games.

– Green Bay is 6-23 ATS (21%) at home vs. disciplined teams that average fewer than 60 penalty yards, as long as the Packers aren’t favored by more than -4 points.

The Pack have long gotten by at home with help from the officials, babying Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers with marginal DPI calls that kept the two superstars on the field. When a more disciplined team visits, however, and one that commands a respectable ATS line, the Packers have been a major play AGAINST team since 2004.

Coach’s Corner

HC Matt LaFleur is 28-8 SU and 22-14 ATS (61%) since taking over in 2019. Only three coaches, John Harbaugh (.647), Sean Payton (.629) and Brian Flores (.625) have a better win percentage against the spread in that time.

– The first five weeks of the season, LaFleur is 8-1 SU/ATS with seven of eight wins by a margin of seven points or greater.

Green Bay’s 2020 defense ranked just above average in points allowed (23.2), yards per play (5.5), third downs (40.6%) and red zone scoring (59.7%), but it wasn’t enough to keep Mike Pettine around. He was at the end of his contract and let go following the loss to Tampa Bay. LaFleur publicly criticized his team’s coaching decisions on the whole vs. the Bucs, drawing attention at one point to the type of coverage called against a play that went for a 39-yard score. Pettine found work in Chicago as a senior assistant.

The Packers are one of 14 teams to hire a new defensive coordinator this year, with Joe Barry taking over. He joins O-Co Nathaniel Hackett and newbie special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton.

Packers Bottom Line

Green Bay opens with the Saints, Lions, Niners and Steelers. It’s easy to picture this team at 3-1 or 2-2 with Rodgers in the lineup. Without him, the Green Bay Packers odds will change dramatically, as will their probability of competing for the division this season.

In the second quarter, Green Bay gets quality matchups vs. Cinci, Chicago, Washington and Arizona, but three of four are on the road. All four of those teams made notable offseason improvements, too. Kansas City is next, followed by the Seahawks, Vikings and Rams.

The Packers have a bye in Week 13. Will the final stretch be tuneup games for Love to take over in 2022? At this point, your guess is as good as mine. Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Amari Rodgers and last year’s red zone target-leader Davante Adams, share the same sentiment as Lambeau’s loyal cheeseheads. Don’t you just love the quiet, NFL offseason?

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Sports picksJune 3, 2021

The final leg of the 2021 Triple Crown is Saturday in New York and I have betting advice for Belmont along with a special race sheet, ready for Friday.

Betting advice for belmont

Winner of the Preakness Stakes, Rombauer will run out of the No. 3 post at Belmont with jockey John Velazquez


Setting the Stage

There is a storyline each year during the Triple Crown that adds to its intrigue. The kind of thing that makes casual May horse racing fans linger until June, before they can begin their next 10 month hiatus. In 2021, the drama that seized everyone’s attention was Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s positive drug test following the race. Distinguished trainer, Bob Baffert, initially denied that his horse had any contact with the steroid betamethasone, but then back-peddled admitting that Medina Spirit had in fact been treated with Otomax, an ointment containing the banned substance.

Medina Spirit, along with Concert Tour, another Baffert-trained horse, were allowed to run in the Preakness and finished third and ninth respectively. It helped subside any major controversy that would have erupted, had a horse that was under investigation been in the running for a Triple Crown. Fast-forward to the 2021 Belmont Stakes and Baffert has been banned by the New York Racing Association while the matter from Churchill Downs is settled.

It makes for a more wide open field in this final stage of the Triple Crown. Picture a NFL season where Tom Brady didn’t make the playoffs. Below you’ll find betting advice for Belmont along with the latest odds. It’ll certainly be a race worth watching.

Final Results for Preakness, 2021 (146th running)

Rombauer
Midnight Bourbon
Medina Spirit
Keepmeinmind
Crowded Trade
Unbridled Honor
France Go de Ina
Risk Taking
Concert Tour
Ram

I called the winner in two of the undercard races at the Preakness and will have my top picks for the Belmont Stakes ready for Friday. Pre-order today!

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Belmont Stakes Post Positions, Odds

Post time for the 2021 Belmont Stakes is Saturday, June 5 at 6:49 pm Eastern. The draw for post positions at Belmont was Tuesday at 11 am Eastern and with Medina Spirit out and Rebel’s Romance withdrawn for an infection, the field was whittled down to eight.

Post 1: Bourbonic (15-1)
Post 2: Essential Quality (2-1)
Post 3: Rombauer (3-1)
Post 4: Hot Rod Charlie (7-2)
Post 5: France Go de Ina (30-1)
Post 6: Known Agenda (6-1)
Post 7: Rock Your World (9-2)
Post 8: Overtook (20-1)

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Betting Advice for Belmont

Meet the horses, trainers and jockeys for the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes. At 1 1/2 miles, the ‘Test of Champions’ is the longest leg of the Triple Crown and carded as the 11th race on Saturday. The forecast is calling for dry conditions, mostly sunny, high of 82.

No. 1: Bourbonic (15-1)
Best Beyer: 89
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Kendrick Carmouche

First of all, this jockey sounds like a winner. Kendrick Carmouche? Worth a shot. Seriously, though, Carmouche is making his debut at Belmont and although he’s had decent success lately, winning the the Wood Memorial aboard this horse, Bourbonic isn’t expected to contend here. The No. 1 post has produced 24 winners at Belmont including Justify, the most recent in 2018.

No. 2: Essential Quality (2-1)
Best Beyer: 100
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Luis Saez

The early favorite, Essential Quality’s first-ever loss was at the Kentucky Derby. The extended distance will be to his advantage and the No. 2 slot has hit 12 winners all-time, including Tapwrit in 2017. Saez was aboard for the Derby (4th), and has ranked Top 5 in total wins across the U.S. each of the past two years.

No. 3: Rombauer (3-1)
Best Beyer: 102
Trainer: Michael McCarthy
Jockey: John Velazquez

Preakness winner, Rombauer will attract big money at Belmont. Velazquez has ridden the Belmont Stakes 24 times, winning in 2007 with Rags to Riches, and 2012 aboard Union Rags. Still on the upswing, Rombauer will contend.

No. 4: Hot Rod Charlie (7-2)
Best Beyer: 100
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Flavien Prat

A longer distance at the Derby could have played to Chuck’s advantage. Strategy to rest through Preakness for this event will pay off. No. 4 has seen 10 winners but it has been 12 years since the latest. Prat was aboard Rombauer for the win at Pimlico. He technically has a win at the Derby to his credit in 2019, too, benefitting from a disqualification.

No. 5: France Go de Ina (30-1)
Best Beyer: 77
Trainer: Hideyuki Mori
Jockey: Ricardo Santana, Jr.

The odds fit here. Finished seventh at the Preakness and didn’t really contend. Santana, Jr. has two previous rides at Belmont and his best finish was fourth in 2018 (Pneumatic). No. 5 slot is a big winner with 15 all-time, including American Pharoah in 2015.

No. 6: Known Agenda (6-1)
Best Beyer: 94
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Pletcher’s second horse, and probably his best shot here. The smaller field will help, as will the pace. Good odds right now and expert betting advice for Belmont says that this horse is worth a long look.

No. 7: Rock Your World (9-2)
Best Beyer: 100
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Joel Rosario

Built for this race and attracting early money. Two-time stakes winner will look for a fair start and good pace. The No. 7 slot won here in 2019 (Sir Winston) with Rosario aboard. Rosario also won the Belmont Stakes with Tonalist in 2014 and has nine rides here all-time. Jockey also has a Derby win in 2013 and is comfortable running out front.

No. 8: Overtook (20-1)
Best Beyer: 84
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Manny Franco

Pletcher’s monopoly on this field is complete with Overtook, son of Curlin, who finished second here in 2007. Considered a potential ‘Show’ horse, Tiz the Law finished first out of the 8-post in 2020. The jockey aboard Tiz the Law in 2020, none other than Manny Franco.

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