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NFL Top 10 (Week 4)

by Wayne Root

Thursday, Sep 30, 2021

10. Green Bay Packers (2-1)Aaron Rodgers and the Packers appear to be back on track after a clutch win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football. Justin Tucker rightfully stole all of the headlines with his kick for the Ravens, but Mason Crosby was the hero for Green Bay with a 51-yard field goal as time expired. Good game this Sunday against a refocused Steelers team. I remember Pittsburgh at Buffalo in their first game. 9. Los Angeles Chargers (2-1)Justin Herbert and the Chargers pulled off a huge victory over Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, 30-24. Herbert outdueled Mahomes with four TD passes in the win. Two of them were caught by Mike Williams, who finished with a team-high seven catches and 122 yards. Their biggest game of the year this week on MNF against the Raiders. 8. Arizona Cardinals (3-0)Arizona sure made things interesting as it entered halftime trailing Jacksonville by five, but Kyler Murray and Co. woke up in the second half to pull off a 31-19 win. Chase Edmonds has been the more efficient back for the Cardinals by about a yard per attempt, yet James Conner is still getting a more significant workload. The good news is Arizona can throw to what seems like 10 different receivers.A tough matchup vs. the Los Angeles Rams awaits. 7. Buffalo Bills (2-1)Josh Allen torched Washington's defense for four touchdowns through the air and one via the ground in a 43-21 win. Buffalo will look to carry its momentum into what should be an easy matchup vs. Houston. They played one bad game against Pittsburgh, and the narrative flipped on both teams for a week. Well, that’s over — and Buffalo has looked dominant the past two weeks.Their defense swarms, pairing a great back end with athletic linebackers and a pass rush that can finally hold its own. Practice game laying 17 this week vs Houston. 6. Cleveland Browns (2-1)Cleveland didn’t have a great day offensively. Regardless, the offense as a whole can win through the air and on the ground, making them a versatile weapon moving forward in the AFC. The Browns defense wreaked havoc on Justin Fields and the Bears on Sunday, sacking the rookie QB nine times. Myles Garrett was responsible for 4.5 of those sacks. The dominant effort resulted in a 26-6 win for Cleveland. Browns better play hard for 60 minutes this week in Minnesota. 5. Las Vegas Raiders (3-0)The Raiders held on to take down the Dolphins in an overtime thriller and keep their undefeated season going. It's the first time in 19 years they've started a season 3-0. Derek Carr is the best quarterback in the league in four-minute situations at the end of games. Indeed, he’s arguably the most clutch player in the league. And now, it seems his weapons finally fit him. Darren Waller is a stud, Henry Ruggs appears improved, and if Hunter Renfrow isn’t the best pure slot in the league, he’s close. The Raiders don’t make a whole lot of sense so far, but it’s difficult to argue they don’t belong this high in the NFL Power Rankings. Their center was certainly a problem last game. An anomaly? Next up is a trip to L.A., where they'll take on a Chargers team coming off a big win in Kansas City.4. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2) Being called “Basement Dwellers” should inspire the Chiefs this week. The Chiefs find themselves at the bottom of the AFC West following a 30-24 home loss to the Chargers. Don't expect that to last, but it's clear Kansas City has plenty to fix heading into its Week 4 meeting with the Eagles. Kansas City’s offense is good enough to win a boatload of football games. The defense, however, appears to be bad enough for the offense not to make a difference. They’ve now allowed 29, 36, and 30 points over the first three weeks of the season. Additionally, the Chiefs are giving up nearly 2 yards more per play than the NFL average. 3. Baltimore Ravens (2-1) Lamar Jackson is still playing an incredibly carefree style of football in the pocket, and it nearly cost the Ravens on Sunday. However, you can’t just look at traditional stats to explain his performance as a passer. Yes, Jackson only completed 51.6% of his passes against the Lions. But that’s not important given he averaged nearly 20 — yes, 20 — air yards per attempt. The Ravens followed up their dramatic win over the Chiefs with one of the craziest wins you'll ever see vs. Detroit. Justin Tucker cemented his status as the best kicker of all time with a record 66-yard field goal as time expired, sealing a 19-17 victory. He might kick one of 70 yards this week in the thin air of Denver. 2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)This is still a dominant football team, but they ran into an absolute buzzsaw in the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. The Buccaneers probably weren’t going undefeated in 2021. So far, they’re hovering around the top 10 in offensive and defensive efficiency. They aren’t running the ball well, but they also aren’t allowing anything on the ground. The defending champions were beat pretty handily by the Los Angeles Rams. Tom Brady will look to bounce back when he returns home to Foxboro next Sunday night. It’ll be a game that both teams really want to win it for their coach or for their quarterback.  1. Los Angeles Rams (3-0)The Matthew Stafford trade is looking better and better each week. The former Lions signal-caller threw for 343 yards and four touchdowns in Sunday's 34-24 win over the Bucs. His connection with Cooper Kupp has been incredible as the Rams wideout added another two TDs to his total.Stafford looks like an MVP candidate.Los Angeles hasn’t run the ball well yet in 2021, but they’ve dominated through the air. They’re posting 3+ yards more per pass attempt than the NFL average, and they’re averaging a first down every time Stafford drops back to pass. L.A. steals the top spot in our rankings as it prepares for a Week 4 meeting with the Cardinals.—————Teams looking ahead to the Top 1011. Dallas Cowboys 12.Denver Broncos 13. Carolina Panthers14. San Francisco 49ers15. Tennessee Titans 

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Why Are The Dogs Barking So Loudly in College Football?

by Wayne Root

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2021

Underdogs covered big spreads in the past few week against the Top 25 teams and here’s some reasons to consider.   A NEW ERA IN BETTING HIGH SPREADS?With last season Covid disruption among teams and players, many of the unranked teams have benefited with the new rules.  The top 85 teams on average, have 17 returning starters. That is huge for the lesser teams. Additionally, with the transfer protocol, some starters from top teams have transferred to other teams to get more playing time because of a more abundance of starters returning on their own team.  This has lead to a huge improvement and impact of some of the poorer teams. This has resulted to more underdogs covering the spread this early in the season until the oddsmakers catch up with fresh ratings.  These are the games that were affected somewhat by this new phenomena from week 4.  TOP 25 TEAMS UNLV + 30 lost by 8 to FresnoVillanova +30 lost by 21 to Penn StNC State + 10 won outright, Clemson Colo St +24 lost by 10 to IowaRutgers +21 lost by 7 to Michigan Arkansas +5 won outright, TexasBaylor +7 won outright, Iowa StGeorgia St + 28 lost by 10 to Auburn Georgia Tech + 14 won outright, N CarWest Vir + 17 lost by 3 to Oklahoma So Flor + 24 lost by 8 to BYU This Upcoming Saturday It’s doubtful that this way of handicapping and betting underdogs will change anytime soon. Be sure to check back this Saturday to see how our response will be against the Oddsmakers. 

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An NFL Official is Ruining the Game

by Stephen Nover

Monday, Sep 27, 2021

Being well-known and having a certain amount of fame can flattering. It's not a good thing, though, if you are an NFL official. The best NFL officials usually are the ones who you don't know their names. Jerome Boger doesn't fit into that anonymous category. He and his merry flag-waving crew of nincompoops seem to call penalties nearly every down. They were on full display this past Sunday night trying their best to ruin an exciting game between the Packers and 49ers. Boger's calling card is defensive holding. I've never seen so many defensive holding calls as I do when Boger's crew are the official's. The only time Boger and his officiating team didn't throw a flag this past Sunday night was when Davante Adams took a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit from Jimmie Ward on an obvious foul.  Baseball has an umpire who is far worse than any other – Angel Hernandez. He can make the game random when he's behind the plate with his bizarre ball and strike calls.  Boger is the same when it comes to the NFL, making the game less enjoyable by littering the field with his constant penalty flags. Hernandez and Boger each ruin their respective sport because of their dominant incompetency.  I can't stand Boger. I wish the league would force him to retire. But there is a successful betting angle with Boger. According to research compiled by noted totals guru Kyle Hunter, the Over is 115-79 in games Boger has officiated. That's 59 percent. I can't confirm this, but I read where Boger's crew has called more penalties than any other set of officials during 14 of the past 16 seasons. I wouldn't doubt that.  Some of Boger's calls are legitimate. Others are phantom. Boger's onerous effect on games actually has become a handicapping factor because of the Over bias. Sometimes you can find out ahead of time what officiating crew will be doing what game using this Web site: https://www.footballzebras.com/category/assignments/.  It's a site I've been forced to bookmark now because of Boger. 

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NFL Week 3: Top 10 Teams

by Wayne Root

Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021

10. Seattle Seahawks (1-1): The Seahawks are never not going to Seahawks. Disappointing that they couldn’t close it out after having a 14-point lead at home early in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks squandered a 24-9 lead to a Titans team that is allergic to covering wide receivers past 10 yards. That’s a loss that could haunt Seattle two months from now. That was a brutal home loss to the Titans as the defense just fell apart in the second half.  9. Denver Broncos (2-0): Playing the Jags is basically a free win for a lot of teams. Through two games, Teddy Bridgewater is 54-for-70 for 592 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions, and the Broncos are 2-0. That’s why Steady Teddy is under center and Drew Lock is holding a clipboard. Teddy Bridgewater has played well in winning two on the road. They now get the Jets at home in a game they should win to get to 3-0.  8. Baltimore Ravens (1-1): The Ravens hung tough and John Harbaugh’s aggressiveness gave his team an edge to squeak out a very big victory. Jackson finally got the “can’t beat Mahomes” monkey off his back. Well done. Lamar Jackson rebounded after a disastrous start and finally got that win against Patrick Mahomes. Jackson and the Ravens’ running game bulldozed the Chiefs’ defense to keep them from falling into an 0-2 hole. Don’t complain if Jackson and Mahomes meet again in January. That was an impressive victory over the Chiefs, a team that had their number in recent years. The offense looked great, but the defense needs to be better.  7. Cleveland Browns (1-1): Baker Mayfield failed to complete just two of his 21 attempts in Week 2. One was a pick, which caused him to unwisely put his body at risk. Will be worth monitoring if his shoulder injury impacts him moving forward. Baker Mayfield is 40-fo-49 so far on the season. If it walks like a franchise QB and talks like a franchise QB, it’s probably a franchise QB. They found a way against the Texans, but it was clunky at times. They were in a close game until Tyrod Taylor went out. Losing Jarvis Landry for a bit will hurt the offense.  6. Arizona Cardinals (2-0): Kyler Murray is balling out right now. He’s helped the Cards reach 72 points in two games, which ranks only behind the Bucs. Murray is in the MVP conversation early on. Kyler Murray (400 passing yards, four total touchdowns) is an early-season MVP candidate. They are 2-0, but they looked bad on defense in beating Minnesota. The offense bailed them out in a big way. Along with a missed field goal.   5. Las Vegas Raiders (2-0): Beating Baltimore at home before going to get a two-possession win in Pittsburgh is pretty legit. With Miami up next, the Raiders have a real chance to make it three wins in a row to open up the season. Derek Carr and Jon Gruden are firing on all cylinders, and Gus Bradley’s defense has looked competent through two weeks. It’s the first time the Raiders have opened 2-0 with wins over teams that were playoff teams in the previous season during the Super Bowl era. Hard to imagine a better start for the Silver and Black.  At 2-0, they are one of the surprise teams of the NFL. Derek Carr for MVP? He's off to a fast start.  4. San Francisco 49ers (2-0): The 49ers are 2-0 but they didn’t look overly impressive in their Week 2 win over the Eagles. Jimmy Garoppolo left a lot of plays on the field and Philly suffered from self-inflicted wounds. It’s going to be time to go to Trey Lance at some point. Through two weeks, the 49ers have played 2.5 good quarters against a bad Lions team and have otherwise looked mediocre at best. Still, they head back to the Bay at 2-0 and have a lot of room for growth. But the improvement has to come quick with the Packers and Seahawks on deck. The defense did some good things, but it will be really challenged this week against the Packers.  3. Kansas City Chiefs (1-1): The Chiefs only lost by one point and they had a chance to win it at the end before a fumble cost them. They’ll be fine since they have Patrick Mahomes but the defense is an issue with 65 points allowed. Only four teams have surrendered more. Patrick Mahomes finally threw an interception and lost a game in September. So, he can bleed. The Chiefs’ defense has some real issues, especially in the red zone, that can plague them in postseason. The defense has to be better than what it showed against the Ravens in the second half. Even Patrick Mahomes can't rescue them from that all the time. Now they get Justin Herbert this week.  2. Los Angeles Rams (2-0): So far, so good with Stafford ranking third in the league in passer rating at 127.0. The clear second team in the NFC behind the Bucs. The Rams have taken care of Andy Dalton and Carson Wentz to open the season. Want to prove you’re for real? Here comes Tom Brady and the Bucs in Week 3. They are 2-0 after beating the Colts on the road, but now face a huge home game with the Bucs. This will be the first major test for Matt Stafford as quarterback of the Rams.  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0): With nine touchdowns through his first two games, more records are not impossible. His 113.3 passer rating is currently only behind his career high of 117.2 from 2007. Gronk catch. Gronk score. Gronk spike. Gronk party with Tom. Tale as old as time. Gronk was asked about watching game film and he said; “I have Brady watch it for me and then he tells me who to block”. Tom Brady is on pace for 76 touchdown passes, an outrageous number that he won't sniff. The Tampa Bay offense is special right now. Great game this week against the LA Rams.  —————-Teams knocking at the Top 10 door.  11. Dallas Cowboys 12. Los Angeles Chargers 13. Buffalo Bills14. Pittsburgh Steelers 15. Tennessee Titans

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An NFL Review On All 32 Teams After Week One

by Wayne Root

Thursday, Sep 16, 2021

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1): Urban Meyer is 0-1 in the NFL. He almost certainly will lose more games this season than he did in his career at Ohio State (nine). Going back to play at home, he needs to stop in New Orleans and ask Sean Peyton how to win in Jacksonville stadium. Forget those college days...THIS IS THE NFL 31. Detroit Lions (0-1): The Lions were down 38-10 but kept fighting back. They actually could have won the game with under 20 seconds of play.  It was not a moral victory for Dan Campbell as he fell a half point short of covering the spread for any faithful betting on the Lions. They will be a double digit dog so if you winning, you might be forced to bet on this loser. 30. New York Jets (0-1): Sam Darnold probably is  reliving nightmares watching Zach Wilson run for his life behind the Jets’ atrocious offensive line Sunday. He had six sacks and 14 pressures. Sam's best advice to Zach, get out of New York. Wilson ended up going 20 of 37 for 258 yards and two touchdowns while throwing one interception. 29. Houston Texans (1-0): Well this is one team that can't go winless. Give David Culley and the Texans a ton of credit. Everyone expects them to be horrible...and they won't disappoint. Who would have thought at any time this season, they would lead the AFC South? Lovie Smith's defense did their job. moving forward, their defense will cover huge point spreads. 28. New York Giants (0-1): Jason Garrett should have been the only one running laps after his play calling as offensive coordinator. They put up an underachieving 13 points. But on the other side of the coin there is no pass rush which leads to those nasty demoralizing third down completions for their opponents.  27. Atlanta Falcons (0-1): Arthur Smith’s offense lost a lot of its hope Sunday. Their penalties (99) were almost as much as their rushing yardage (124). And you would have figured for a ton of passing yards (136) but NOT! In the final three quarters, they rushed for 38 yards. I would say it can't get any worse but I checked their schedule for Sunday...Hello Tampa Bay.  26. Carolina Panthers (1-0): The Panthers scored only one touchdown inside of the Jets 10 yard line on four different occasions. To remind him of last year with the Jets, Sam Darnold was hit eight times. Where was Christian McCafferty inside the 10 yard line? This may be the most average team in the NFL. They can beat 9 teams that are on the bottom and lose to 8 teams that are better. Very pedestrian.   25. Chicago Bears (0-1): I don't think that Sunday's result came unexpectedly. However, their defense was not to have broken coverages resulting in tons of passing yardage.Their only chance at a quick fix is their defense; not Justin Fields. Offensively, their second-round pick, Teven Jenkins is out after back surgery, and his replacement left the game with a quad injury and his replacement left with an ankle injury during the Rams game. So they have their right tackle playing on the all important left side.  24. Minnesota Vikings (0-1): Viking coaches and fans are not brimming with confidence after a season-opening loss to the Bengals. The offensive line was responsible for 70 yards of the teams total 116 in penalties. Cousins seems to look around at which teammate will be flagged for holding or jumping offsides instead of focusing on audibles and passing. How jumpy will the Vikings offensive line be this week in Arizona against a five sacks last week Chandler Jones? 23. Tennessee Titans (0-1): The Titans didn’t do anything right in their 38-13 drubbing. It was expected after having only one week of full practice. They will certainly NOT be judged by what the Cardinals did to them. Additionally, this shows all the strength of the Cardinals defensive front four. Derrick Henry was hit at or behind the line eight times resulting in a net loss of 3 yards over the first three quarters. They were behind 24-6 at halftime after Henry rushed for 8 yards in the half.  22. Indianapolis Colts (0-1): Carson Wentz was the least of the Colts’ problems in their loss to the Seahawks. Frank Reich has some issues to solve on his offensive line. Wentz was sacked, hit or scrambling to the tune of 3 sacks and 10 quarterback hits. The Colts defense was a joke in the first half but finally got things together in the second half. They forced four punts, a turnover and sacked Wilson 4 times. Oh well, Wentz can look forward to next week. Oh wait, it's the Rams and Aaron Darnold.  21. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0): The Tiger King is back. When the Bengals needed him most, Joe Burrow stepped up and made a franchise QB-esque throw on fourth-and-1 from midfield, hitting C.J. Uzomah for 32 yards to set up the game-winning field goal in OT. Moving forward, when Burrow is on the field, they have a chance of winning.  20. Washington Football Team (0-1): Buy all the Taylor Heinicke stock you can. The Football Team rallied after losing Ryan Fitzpatrick to an injury. Washington has two things going for them. A great offensive line and one of the best defenses in the NFL  Yes, they had some defensive miscues but Chargers QB Justin Herbert can make any defense look helpless.  19. Denver Broncos (1-0): The Broncos’ defense is for real. Teddy Bridgewater was 26 of 34 passing for 248 yards and two touchdowns.He took care of the ball (no turnovers) and made plays on third down. That’s all Vic Fangio believes he needs to win games. Except for their defense that completely stifled the Giants. NOTE: The offense completed many third and long for 1st downs but don't expect them to do that against better defenses.  18. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0): The Eagles put on an offensive show. Quarterback Jalen Hurts was 27 of 35 for 264 yards with three touchdowns. Their rookies each had a score and Miles Sanders had 113 total yards. They better enjoy this as the next five games are tattooed on their brains as losses. Niners, Cowboys, Chiefs, Panthers, and Bucs. They might go 1-4. At least it was a nice road win. 17. New England Patriots (0-1): Mac Jones is pro-ready. He threw in rhythm, out of empty formations, with good accuracy and decision making. Bill Belichick kept the game plan conservative but fumbles by Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson were the difference in a loss to the Dolphins. Jones passed for 133 yards in the first half. Jones and the offense will get better as Josh McDaniels opens up the playbook as the season goes on. But the mainstay is that Belichick's defense will win more games than the offense. It's a great combination moving on.  16. Miami Dolphins (1-0): One can't buy into the Dolphins offense to carry the team. The Dolphins’ defense looked elite in holding the Patriots to 16 points, and rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle impressed in his debut. Tua Tagovailoa, the former Alabama signal-caller, went 16-for-27 for 202 yards one touchdown and one interception while adding a rushing score. He has to continue to improve for Miami to be considered a legitimate AFC contender. Like many teams, their games will be won or lost depending on offensive line protection.  15. Baltimore Ravens (0-1): With an 80-0 record after leading by 14 points during a game, the Ravens were unable to get out of their own way Monday night in Las Vegas. Baltimore has a lot of issues to clean up if it wants to be considered a Super Bowl contender. But first, Jackson needs two key starters to return. This is not a "one man" league that can carry a team. Losing Marcus Peters Monday was a huge blow. Carr passed for over 400 yards including 308 in the second half. Baltimore better find Peters replacement fast; Mahomes is coming to Baltimore next.  14. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0): The Raiders did everything they could to lose their first true Las Vegas home game. But Lamar Jackson gave them a gift with an overtime fumble, and Derek Carr hit Zay Jones to set off a week-long party in Sin City. Chucky! Shots! What can we expect in their next game? A short week after the MNF game, partying Monday night and celebrating Tuesday. Traveling 3000 miles to play a very good Pittsburgh Steelers team with the line under 6 points. And the all too familiar letdown and regression. 13. Green Bay Packers (0-1): What the hell was that? After all the offseason drama, Aaron Rodgers posted one of his worst games in a long time, going 15-for-28 for 133 yards and two interceptions. The passer rating when a QB hikes the ball and throws it into the dirt on every play is 39.6. Aaron Rodgers passer rating for Week One was 32.8. Perhaps he spent too much time auditioning for “Jeopardy” in the offseason. They might not win Sunday but you can bet the ball from both sides will be airborne.  12. Buffalo Bills (0-1): This was an early reality check as the Steelers and Big Ben’s corpse went into Orchard Park and stunned the preseason AFC darlings. Josh Allen isn’t going to catch anyone by surprise this season. But what about the Bills' "stop" defense? They allowed the Steelers to have three drives of nine-plus plays in the second half. Josh Allen for some unknown reason could not connect with Stefon Diggs or Cole Beasley. They were all out of sorts as the O-line was called for six holding penalties. Being outscored 23-3 in the second half at home is simply an anomaly...at this time. 11. Cleveland Browns (0-1): The Browns are still the Browns. For three quarters, the Browns controlled the game against the Chiefs. Then, everything flipped as the Chiefs scored two touchdowns in three minutes.One moment, you’re feeling good. Your game plan’s working. The next, the best player in football is pressured right and chucks a bomb to Tyreek Hill across his body for a touchdown. And Hill gives you the peace sign. A loss is a loss, but the Browns showed they have what it takes to hang with the AFC favorites. But the gap between contender and champion is the hardest to traverse.  10. Dallas Cowboys (0-1): How bout dem Cowboys? Does anyone still think Dak Prescott isn’t elite? Anyone? Buehler? Chalk up 403 yards for him. The biggest problem in the first game was not Greg Zuerlein but Ezekiel Elliott with his total of 33 yards on 11 carries. Zuerlein did not kick over the summer due to his back surgery and only once in preseason but there's no excuse for Zeke. Scoring 29 points was a good showing against the Super Bowl Champs. NOTE to all coaches: Do NOT think you can stop Tom Brady in the final 1:30 minutes.  9. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0): The Steelers defense is legit. TJ Watt is a beast. However, it’s YUK on offense. Pittsburgh had only 252 yards of total offense, were four of 12 on third down, gained only 13 first downs outside of penalties and won by a touchdown. Their offensive line will haunt the 39 year old man still trying to be relevant. They opened no holes for rookie first round pick Najee Harris who ended up with 1.1 yards per carry. Big Ben will get sacked and throw INT's if something doesn't change. 8. Arizona Cardinals (1-0): When Kyler Murray is healthy, he is one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in football as he shredded the Titans for five total touchdowns. Their defense was led by Chandler Jones' five sacks and held Derrick Henry to only 33 yards rushing. Having JJ Watt on defense certainly has to give D coordinators nightmares. Having Kyler, JJ and Chandler along with DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk offer plenty of expectations from both sides of the ball. The NFC West is going to be a bloodbath with Murray, Stafford, Wilson and Jimmy G all at QB. 7. New Orleans Saints (1-0): As a fan of Jameis Winston who threw five touchdown passes in the win, for week one, many are happy for him after not playing for the entire last season and learning how to become a quarterback. The game ball should go to Sean Payton who dealt with Brees retirement, 10 new starters because of injuries, a suspension and salary cap issues, a relocation to Dallas to practice and a home game relocation to Jacksonville due to hurricane Ida. And a new starting quarterback. Their biggest immediate problem due to injuries is their depth.  6. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0): On Sunday, new head coach Brandon Staley let Justin Herbert do what he does: 31 of 47 for 337 yards passing. They did have two red zone turnovers however but still manage a win over an elite Washington defense on the road. With Joey Bosa and the defense playing focused, and allowing a more aggressive offense late in the game, the Chargers are well represented in the 4-0 NFC West.  5. San Francisco 49ers (1-0): Is a win a win when you nearly give up a 28 point lead to the Lions. With under a minute, the Lions had a chance to win outright. That's scary close. Coach Kyle Shanahan has plenty of plans for rookie Trey Lance in the weeks ahead. It's difficult for opposing defensive coordinators to game plan for two QB’s. The 49ers suffered two key injuries so pay close attention to upcoming reports.  4. Seattle Seahawks (1-0): Russell Wilson seemed to like what new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron put in the season opener game plan against the Lions. Wilson went 18-for-23 for 254 yards and four touchdowns in a win over the Colts scoring on three of the first four possessions. Their defense had a great game in the Colts backfield with three sacks and 10 QB hits. At least, Wilson won't have to win with his legs and arm with a defense like that.  3. Los Angeles Rams (1-0): Three plays into his Rams career, Stafford showed why McVay wanted him. He faked a handoff and bootlegged out to the left before stopping and hitting Van Jefferson for a 67-yard touchdown that was aided by some putrid Bears tackling. Still, it’s a throw Jared Goff can’t make. A big key was the opening second half 56 yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp extinguishing any hope for the Bears. The Rams needed a running back as they managed only18 yards through three quarters of play. All yardage stats came burning up the clock in the 4th quarter. Who will replace running back Cam Akers is the only question? If they locate his replacement, there will be fireworks in Inglewood this year at the Super Bowl.  2. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0): What's there to say? Coach Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes are inevitable and unstoppable. The only negative after giving up the world to pay Mahomes is that Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill must remain injury free. Forget about having an average defense, they don't seem too concerned as they figure to score 40 points a game.  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0): You’re going to give Tom Brady 80 seconds to get a field goal? That’s a mistake. Brady’s arm looked as crisp as ever in the season opener. The Bucs defense didn't come as advertised. Dak had over 400 yards of passing. They were very fortunate to win, having four turnovers. If one were to grade them from their 2020 game one to this year's game one, they are miles ahead this year. Is there another ring waiting? 

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Nover's View: NFL Week 1 Notebook

by Stephen Nover

Tuesday, Sep 14, 2021

It worked. Not for me, for my friend. Figuring the randomness and variance factors would be highly increased in Week 1 of the regular season since many of the teams held out key starters during preseason, he played all underdogs. The 'dogs had their day going 12-4 ATS with eight outright winners. Here are my observations of the opening week insanity:An ominous beginning for the 0-4 NFC North. The Vikings, my preseason pick to win the division, aren't going to finish above .500 unless they fix their offensive line and their secondary plays better. Their offensive line isn't any better than the Bengals. Mike Pettine isn't looking so bad now in Packerland after the disastrous debut of Green Bay's new defensive coordinator Joe Barry. At what point do the Packers realize Kevin King is not a legitimate starting cornerback? The Lions' gunslinging passing days are finished. Jared Goff is the new sheriff in town and he carries a water pistol with his dinks-and-dunks. Don't be fooled by the Lions' 41-33 cover against the 49ers. Detroit trailed, 31-10, at halftime.The Bears have offensive line woes, too. That could delay the inevitable quarterback switch to Justin Fields. The Ryan Fitzpatrick era didn't last long in Washington. Taylor Heinicke risks his popularity by starting now. If you're not concerned about Saquon Barkley, you should be. He averaged 1.8 yards last year before his injury. He averaged 2.6 yards in 10 carries against the Broncos.  It's going to be a quite a contrast in Thursday night games going from the Cowboys-Buccaneers shootout to the Giants versus Washington.  The Urban Meyer disaster train remains in full throttle. I see another Lou Holtz NFL failure here.  I'm not sure what was more unusual, Jameis Winston throwing five TD passes in 20 attempts against the Packers, or Winston not committing a turnover. Now that Michael Gallup is out with an injury, I'd rate the Bengals as having the best wide receiver trio in the NFL with Ja'Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins.  Nice coaching debuts by Brandon Staley and Nick Sirianni, who outcoached the more hyped Arthur Smith. The Chargers were 7-16 in one-score games the past two years under Anthony Lynn. Now they are 1-0 this season.  If you play against the Eagles, you better be able to defend basic zone run reads because that's the key to stopping Jalen Hurts.Kyler Murray is the Lamar Jackson of the NFC. I spent hours during the summer trying to analyze just how good Jerry Jeudy would be in fantasy football. Now he's out with a high ankle sprain. Speaking of fantasy football, Kyle Shanahan has replaced Bill Belichick as the most difficult coach to get a handle on regarding skill position personnel. Shanahan made Trey Sermon inactive and buried Brandon Aiyuk on the bench. Those were two heavily targeted players in the middle rounds of fantasy football drafts. Andy Reid is a Hall of Fame coach. His greatness stems from his innovative schemes that he works on and polishes during the summer. Combine this with Patrick Mahomes and it's no fluke the Chiefs have won their last 11 September games. Mahomes has a mind-blowing 36-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio in these games.  The Texans are already 25 percent there in reaching their season-win total of four. Now the Jets are the major threat to become the first 0-17 team. Houston came up with three takeaways against the Jaguars. The Texans had all of nine takeaways last season, the lowest season figure of this century. The Ravens have won a record 20 preseason games in a row going 18-1-1 ATS. I think John Harbaugh would trade all of those victories to have a healthy Marcus Peters, J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards.  Baltimore is in early trouble with that upset loss to the Raiders. Not only are the Ravens already down to their third-string running back in a top-heavy, run-oriented offense, but they have the Chiefs this week. The Ravens draw the Lions in Week 3, but then have games against the Broncos in Denver followed by home games against the Colts and Chargers. Certainly a great win for the Raiders on Monday. But let's see how they react in a letdown spot traveling to Pittsburgh on a short week with an early Sunday start time. 

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WOW!! What an Opening Week.

by Wayne Root

Thursday, Sep 09, 2021

Recapping the Top 25 losses.  Some of the top programs in the country struggled out of the gates and dropped their 2021 openers. It’s all uphill for them now. We could spot a few scores being run up this weekend.  Eight Top 25 teams lost in Week 1:All the prep work went down.  No. 3 ClemsonNo. 10 UNCNo. 12 WisconsinNo. 14 MiamiNo. 16 LSUNo. 17 IndianaNo. 20 WashingtonNo. 23 Louisiana The first top program to fall came on Friday night when No. 10 UNC lost on the road against ACC foe Virginia Tech. Heisman candidate Sam Howell struggled in Blacksburg and threw three interceptions, which prevented the Tar Heels from pulling off a fourth quarter comeback. Note that Blacksburg is a difficult venue to open the season.  North Carolina wasn’t the only top 25 ACC team to go down over the weekend. In Saturday’s headliners, No. 14 Miami lost badly to No. 1 Alabama while No. 3 Clemson fell in a defensive battle to No. 5 Georgia. A pick-six proved to be the difference, and the only touchdown, in the Tigers-Bulldogs match-up. With Clemson, Miami and North Carolina all losing, that conference is toast.  No. 12 Wisconsin also lost a low-scoring, defensive struggle to No. 19 Penn State on Saturday afternoon. Penn St played to a 0-0 halftime tie and only went 3-13 on third downs. In the other Big Ten match-up between ranked teams, No. 18 Iowa blew out No. 17 Indiana, 34-6. But it was a deceptive blowout.  Ed Orgeron and the No. 16 LSU Tigers ran into an impressive UCLA ground game and lost at the Rose Bowl, 38-27. The No. 23 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns also struggled to keep pace with a talented Texas offense and fell by multiple scores. It’ll be interesting to see if UCLA is for real. They are on their bye week.  Finally, in the upset of the weekend, FCS program Montana held off No. 20 Washington, 13-7. Freshman quarterback Dylan Morris threw three interceptions which sank the Huskies chances at walking away with a win in their season opener. I believe the PAC 12 North went 1-5. Throw in losses by Cal and Stanford, this conference has to be embarrassed. 

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Breaking Down a Game From Previous Weekend.

by Wayne Root

Wednesday, Sep 08, 2021

Last week Indiana played Iowa. We had the Hawkeyes winning in a blowout. Our question is not if that was a great pick but is Iowa everything we might think they are after crushing Indiana 34-6.As a reminder, Indiana came into this contest ranked #17 while Iowa clocked in at #18. Because of home field, the oddsmakers made Iowa a -3.5 to -4 home favorite. Here’s the question: Did something happen in this utter destruction of Iowa over Indiana to count on moving forward? Especially to week 2 when Iowa face Iowa St. The Hawkeyes scored twice in the first 2:15 of the contest off a 56-yard touchdown run from Tyler Goodson and a 30-yard interception return from Riley Moss to put them up 14-0 almost instantly. Iowa found the end zone twice more in the second quarter, too, and took a 31-3 lead at the break.  This seems like bad breaks in the very first two minutes completely dictated the outcome. Let’s look into their basic numbers of the game.  1. Iowa had just 18 first downs.  2. Iowa made but 4 of 12 third down conversions.  3. Iowa only passed for 145 yards4. Iowa had a total of 158 rushing yards but 56 yards were when the game was 1.5 minutes old. (102later)5. Then the clincher was 50 seconds later, Iowa completed the pik-6 to go up 14-0; game over. Lastly, they were sacked twice and fumbled two times. They managed to score just 3 points in the second half. As a result, this is where it gets tricky. Week 2 has Iowa moving up 8 spots in the Top 25 going from #18 to #10. The entire team, players, fans and students get to strut around all week as a Top 10 team. They hit the road this week as a + 6.5 underdog at Iowa St; their bitter rival. This is the widest spread in over 17 years. To me, it looks like an oddsmakers trap. They are offering Iowa PLUS SIX AND A HALF POINTS and it will become the most public bet this Saturday as of now. My point is to NOT blindly jump on a team based on #18 defeating #17 the prior week. If you can’t check the stats of the previous game, then that’s why you have sports handicapping professionals do it for you. As of this writing, I have only offered my Tuesday thoughts. Come back later in the week for any play I may make on this games and others exactly like it. Good Luck to your football betting season.

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Stephen Nover's 2021 NFC North Division Preview

by Stephen Nover

Saturday, Sep 04, 2021

(Editor's note: Midwest native Stephen Nover has been following the NFL since 1963 when he was a young boy. Stephen has paid particularly close attention to the NFC North Division. This is his season preview of the division. His choice to win the division? The Vikings at a plus $2.85 price. ) Minnesota Vikings – Notching a franchise-low 23 sacks last season after combining for 98 sacks the previous two years, the Vikings have retooled their defense to their previous high standards after surrendering the fourth-most points in the league. Minnesota added Patrick Peterson, Xavier Woods and Mackensie Alexander to its secondary, had run-stuffer Michael Pierce opt back in after missing 2020 while dominant lineman Danielle Hunter and linebacker Eric Kendricks return from injuries. The Vikings' offense is the most explosive in Mike Zimmer's eight years at Minnesota. Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielan are among the best skill position players in the league. Cook rates as the second-best all-around running back in the NFL next to Christian McCaffrey. Given these weapons, Kirk Cousins averaged 292.2 yards passing with a 23-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio during the last nine games of 2020. Minnesota produced at least 27 points in eight of its final 10 games.  Green Bay Packers – Green Bay is the safe pick to win the division having gone 13-3 each of the past two years, reaching the NFC title game both times. Certainly with Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, Davante Adams, an outstanding offensive line, decent pass rush and above average secondary the Packers are again serious Super Bowl contenders while vying to win the division for the eighth time in the last 11 seasons. There is a caveat, though. Rodgers and Packers management have to maintain peace and keep in harmony as they navigate what might be Rodgers' final season in Green Bay. It's also going to be difficult for Rodgers to duplicate his MVP 2020 season when he threw 48 touchdown passes. The Packers also rated low again in special teams. This has been a long-time problem – aside from kicker Mason Crosby – that third-year coach Matt LaFleur has so far failed to fix.  Chicago Bears – The Bears are excited to have drafted Justin Fields, but the cold reality is this: There's a better chance of Matt Nagy getting canned before the season ends than Chicago winning the division. Nagy may not make it past Thanksgiving given his team faces the Rams, Browns, Packers, Buccaneers, 49ers and Ravens during their first 10 games. Beyond Allen Robinson and David Montgomery's strong finish against weak opponents, the Bears don't show much at the skill spots. Andy Dalton hasn't been good in five years. Fields' opportunity is likely to come early. Defense has been Chicago's saving grace. But now that defense isn't elite. First time defensive coordinator Sean Desai must replace six of the team's 12 best defenders and rebuild a secondary minus star cornerback Kyle Fuller. Khalil Mack has a string of six straight Pro Bowls. Mack, however, hasn't reached double-digit sacks either of the last two seasons.  Detroit Lions – It's a different era in Detroit with team career passing leader Matthew Stafford going to Los Angeles, a new general manager, Brad Holmes, and new head coach Dan Campbell. Different doesn't mean better. Aside from a solid offensive line and promising breakout star, tight end T.J. Hockenson, the Lions have major issues as the new brain trust tries to clean the 13-29-1 debris of Matt Patricia. This includes a defense filled with holes, probably the worst wide receiving corps in the league and taking a huge hit behind center going from Stafford to Jared Goff. The Lions are slow defensively. They lack pass rushers. Their cornerbacks and linebackers struggle in coverage. A major fix is needed. Detroit's ground game is serviceable, but Goff goes from having a strong supporting cast and the sharp coaching of passing guru Sean McVay to the behind-the-times style of Campbell and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn. 

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Rob Vinciletti 2021/22 College Football Fabulous 15

by Rob Vinciletti

Sunday, Aug 29, 2021

In This College Football Preview Rob takes a look at the Top 15 teams in College Football and offers a Key seasonal stat for each team.1. Alabama- The National Champs will be solid again this year and look like they could be headed for another championship game. They return 8 starters to a defense that allowed under 20 points for a second straight year. On Offense they have 5* recruit Bryce Young who headlines the best recruiting class in the country. They play only 4 true road games and may very well be undefeated when they travel to Auburn in the season Finale. Key Stat: Alabama has covered 19 of 21 in the first of back to back road games and they will be in that Situation October 9th at Texas [email protected] Clemson- The Tigers will try and lick their wounds from the nasty beat down a 49-29 loss as a 7 point favorite to Ohio. St. They bring back 9 starters on defense along with 5 on offense. They are a top 5 recruiting team. They replace #1 pick Trevor Lawrence with highly skilled D.J. Uiagalelei who was superb in his debut putting up 40 points at Notre Dame. Clemson over 2 dozen players with 2nd year experience and will be very solid in a deep ACC Conference. Key Stat: They are 1-9 to the spread vs Non conference teams off a win of 10 or more. Keep any eye out for this one on November 27th in South Carolina.3. Ohio. St.- The Buckeyes were riding high off a blowout win over Clemson and then were blown out 52-24 their worst bowl loos every by Alabama. This year they should bounce back with just 3 teams that were over .500 last year. They bring back 11 starters along with the nations 2nd best recruiting class. Replacing Justin Fields wont be easy. However it seems whoever they put back their becomes an overnight star. They have their 2 best wideouts back and an expected improvement on a defense that 400 yards and 26 points per game. Key Stat: Ohio St is 1-9 ats before Michigan on November 20th and will be walking into a Michigan St team with 40 point home loss revenge.4. Oklahoma- The Sooners are loaded with 15 starters and a top 10 recruiting class. They are favored to win the BIG 12 and are off a huge Blowout Bowl win over a Solid SEC Team in Florida. They will put up big numbers once again on offense with enigmatic Qb Spencer Rattler. They key for how far they go will be how well they play on the defensive side of the ball. Expect another Big 12 Championship for this Power house Program. Key Stat: Oklahoma is 11-0 to the spread before back to back games away from home. That Situation occurs on September 25th at home vs West Virginia.5. Notre Dame- The Fighting Irish have put up an impressive 10 or more wins for 4 straight years and have a top 10 recruiting class and 9 starters back from a team that lost by 17 to Alabama in the playoff last season. The Irish Flourished in the ACC Last year and are now back to their more traditional Schedule. They will have a tough stop unit but with just 3 guys back on offense and a New Qb, we really need to see how well they gel together. Key Stat: 6-2 ats as a road favorite.6. Georgia- Kirby Smart has alot to be excited about this year as he has the 4th best Recruiting class and 8 players back on offense. They are deep on both sides with most of their players getting into every game last year. Expect a big year from the Bulldogs despite a tough schedule that Included an opening game against Clemson. One thing is for sure. They will be one of the most explosive teams in the country. Kay Stat- Georgia is 14-0 to the spread as a favorite of 12 or less with revenge. Check Line on October 30th vs Florida.7. Texas [email protected] The Aggies are coming off a powerful 9-1 year led by Jimbo Fisher who has 15 starters back and the 8th best Recruiting class. Most of their tough games are at home as they play just 4 true road games. They will feature a lock down defense that was a top 10 stop unit. They should be solid on offense as well. Look for a big run from this team. Key Stat: The Aggies are 7-0 to the spread as a non conference home favorite of 25 or less. Check the line on September 18th vs New Mexico.8. Cincinnati- The Bearcats have a nice balance of returning starters with 7 back on each side of the ball. They lost just once last year in the bowl game against Georgia, They improved by 8 points on offense and 4 on defense. They have a very manageable schedule and should be a force in the American Athletic Conference. For a Key Stat: Check the Line October2nd as the Bear Cats are 7-0 to the spread in the second of back to back road games and will likely be a dog in Notre Dame.9. Iowa St.- The Cyclones are their best season in over a decade with a 9-3 record and a Big Blowout Bowl win over Oregon. They have 20 starters back including Qb Brock Purdy who should put up tremendous numbers in the Big 12. Should Oklahoma falter the Cyclones will be right there. This will be an exciting season for those in Ames this year. Key Stat: . Iowa St has covered 7 of 8 with rest and they are in this spot October 16th at Kansas St.10. Florida- The Gators who had won 10 and 11 wins the prior 2 years slipped a bit at 8-4 last year. However, they are 12th ranked in recruiting and despite brining back just 9 starters should have a solid team and explosive offense as Qb Emory Jones finally gets his shot at the starters job now that Kyle Trask is gone. Florida should remain solid and get the defense which slipped to 31 points per game straightened out.. Key Stat: Florida is 0-5 to the spread as a dog vs a team with revenge. Watch the line on October 30th when they take on Georgia who they beat by 16 last year.11. North Carolina- The Tarheels have 18 starters back from an 8-4 team and they will light up the score board with Sam Howell behind center. They averaged 42 points last year and will be a force in the ACC and recruited well at #14 overall. The defense which slipped last year and allowed 29 points per game has 8 starters back and if they can find a way to be more consistent and not allow the big plays they will be a top level ACC Team. Key Stat: North Carolina is 0-6 to the spread as a non conference dog of 11 or less points. Check line on October 30th when they travel to Notre Dame.12. Oregon- The Ducks are off a shortened season where they went just 4-3. However they have 16 starters back and several players on the 2019 12-2 team. Oregon has a huge recruiting season ranked #6 overall. Senior Qb Anthony Brown has a plethora of weapons with him and he looked good in limited action. This team will run the ball all day. Expect a major improvement on defense which slipped from 17 to 28 points per game allowed last year. The Ducks are a Major Player in the PAC 12. Key Stat: Oregon has failed to cover 5 of 5 as a non conference dog of 4 or more. They will be in this situation on September 11th at Ohio St.13. Wisconsin- The Badgers went 4-3 last season and the Pandemic and injuries really hurt this team last year. They have a #16 ranked recruiting class and return a ton of talent with 17 starters back. We look for them to get back to their running ways  and can sling it too with Qb Graham Mertz at the helm. The defense remained solid allowing just 17 points per game for a second straight season. Look for a big year in Madison. Key Stat: The Badgers have covered 8 straight as a dog off a non conference win. They may be in this situation on September 25th when they take on Notre Dame.14. Miami Florida- The Canes are loaded for Manny Diaz whose team improved from 6 to 8 wins last year. They have the #11 recruiting class and have 19 starters back. They have a tough schedule this year with the likes of Alabama and Michigan St on the schedule with a tough AC Schedule. However they should be right there in the ACC Coastal division. Key Stat: The Canes have failed to cover 6 of 7 in the 2nd of back to back home games. This situation arrives on September 18th against Michigan St.15. Iowa- The Hawkeyes have a top 25 recruiting class and reeled off 6 straight wins in the short Season to finish up at 6-2. Iowa will be solid on both sides of the ball once again. They have a decent schedule and should be a force in the Big 10 West Division. Key Stat: The Badgers have covered 9 of 10 as a dog of less than 9 in the 2nd of back to back road games. Check the line on November 6th as Iowa travels to NorthwesternIn closing we hope you enjoyed the Analysis and will be with us for another superb season in college football. Rob is the Only 2 time overall seasonal leader in combined football. Be sure to check his page daily for free selections and analysis in all major sports as he continues to use the most powerful and cutting edge data in the industry. Best of luck and enjoy this upcoming season, Rob Vinciletti- Golden Contender Sports.

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Reasons To Play Preseason Football by Joe D'Amico

by Joe D'Amico

Tuesday, Aug 24, 2021

 Betting on the NFL Preseason Years ago, we used to think that anyone that bet preseason football was only doing so because they haven’t been able to do so in nearly six months. But today, smart bettors have come to realize there’s gold in them thar hills. Just like the regular season you must pick your spots because there are a few hidden gems to be taken advantage of in exhibition play. And, if you’re disciplined, you can go into the regular season with a bankroll. Gamechangerz handicapper Joe D'Amico lays out his approach for betting on the NFL preseason. When betting NFLX, there are a few factors to take into consideration. For starters, knowing how many plays or series the “A-Team” or first string will play takes precedence. On paper, some matchups look too good to be true. So be sure to be up to date as to key players playing time. Not just the starters, but their back-ups as well. Speaking of back-ups, in some cases, the #2 or even the #3 spots on a depth chart is up for grabs. Check out the team page and see who is vying for those spots and how many snaps those players are slated to take. Next, the coaching issue. New and existing coaches have tendencies when it comes to preseason play. If it is a new coach to the NFL, perhaps he is looking to make an immediate impact. Some because they just want to win and some because they need to justify their new contracts. When it comes to existing coaches, history shows us that some love to win in August and some couldn’t care less. This is where trends and streaks of past exhibition seasons come into play. This next item is big for me when choosing to bet an NFLX game. I am talking about ticket sales. We all know that there are some teams, no matter the hype surrounding new acquisitions, that just have no shot at making the post-season. Fans know it too. However, there are some teams no matter their forecast that will always sell or have a wait to buy season tickets. Some franchises need to win right away in order to boost individual home games and season ticket sales. Keep an eye on this and it will pay off for you. Every August you can pick up the sports page and read about certain star athletes that just aren’t in “game shape.” These are usually players with long term deals but nevertheless, each august there are a few key guys. Read the news and be sure to follow what major player are in top form. There is one thing that works in the preseason as well as it does during the regular season. That is matchups. Some key QB’s or RB’s need more playing time and face a “B Team” defense resulting in a mismatch. On the flipside, some QB’S and RB’s are struggling to get in sync or learn a new system and some defenses can be overloaded with playmakers that match up well, also resulting in a mismatch. Lastly, often odds makers have the wrong number on quite a few pre-season games. This is done by mistake due to new personnel or because they themselves, don’t know how many snaps or series the starters will play. They also sometimes depend on what they feel are “fan favorites” or teams that get more action by bettors, which in the preseason can result in an “off” line. One thing I know, is I would never go into a battle with a slingshot. I would arm myself with an arsenal of weapons. Some of the topics I brought up are unorthodox but looking at this a different way is what is needed to win this time of year.

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NBA Finals 1991 Thru 2020 -- A Point Spread Review

by Al McMordie

Monday, Jul 05, 2021

The 2021 NBA Finals are upon us, and will feature an intriguing match-up between the Eastern conference's Milwaukee Bucks and the Western conference's Phoenix Suns.After compiling the league's #1 record in each of 2019 and 2020, the Bucks took a step backwards this season and "only" went 46-26 to earn the East's #3 seed.  The Suns were five games better, at 51-21, and garnered the #2 seed in the West.Phoenix has been installed as a 5.5-point favorite for Game 1, and are -190 to win the series at William Hill (Milwaukee is +170).  The key story line is the health of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who sustained an injury in Game 4 of Milwaukee's semifinal series vs. Atlanta.  He won't be fully healthy in this Finals, and is listed as "day-to-day" on the injury report.Let's take a look at the previous 30 years of NBA Finals games to see what history can teach us.Please note that six of the 169 previous games were played on a neutral court (2020).Home teams:  72-88-3 ATS (10-16-1 ATS as dog; 61-70-2 ATS as fave; 1-2 ATS as pk'em)Away teams:  88-72-3 ATS (70-61-2 ATS as dog; 16-10-1 ATS as fave; 2-1 ATS as pk'em)Underdogs:  84-79-3 ATS (36-41-2 ATS off win; 48-38-1 ATS off loss)Favorites:  79-84-3 ATS (58-58-1 ATS off win; 21-26-2 ATS off loss)Off back-to-back losses:  20-23-1 ATS (10-18-1 ATS at home; 9-5 ATS on road; 1-0 ATS on neutral court)Off double-digit loss:  31-30-2 ATS (9-14-2 ATS at home; 20-15 ATS on road; 2-1 ATS on neutral court; 24-19-1 ATS as dog; 7-11-1 ATS as fave)Game 1:  Home teams 19-10 ATS; Favorites 20-10 ATSGame 2:  Home teams 12-16-1 ATS; Favorites 11-18-1 ATS; Teams off losses 16-13-1 ATSGame 3: Home teams 10-18-1 ATS; Favorites 12-15-1 ATS; Teams off losses 17-12-1 ATS; Teams off back-to-back losses 8-7-1 ATSGame 4: Home teams 12-16-1 ATS; Favorites 15-14-1 ATS; Teams off losses 14-15-1 ATS; Teams off back-to-back losses 5-6 ATSGame 5: Home teams 11-14 ATS; Favorites 11-14 ATS; Teams off losses 13-13 ATS; Teams off back-to-back losses 5-5 ATSGame 6: Home teams 5-12 ATS; Favorites 7-11 ATS; Teams off losses 10-8 ATS; Teams off back-to-back losses 2-4 ATSGame 7: Home teams 3-2 ATS; Favorites 3-2 ATS; Teams off losses 2-3 ATS; Teams off back-to-back losses 1-0 ATSOver/Unders:Game 1:  11 overs, 18 unders, 1 pushGame 2: 13 overs, 15 unders, 2 pushesGame 3: 15 overs, 15 undersGame 4: 10 overs, 20 undersGame 5: 14 overs, 11 unders, 1 pushGame 6: 8 overs, 10 undersGame 7: 0 overs, 5 underscombined:  71 overs, 94 unders, 4 pushesGood luck, as always...Al McMordie

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