Sports Picks For Sale - Stephen Nover

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Biography

An award-winning journalist, Stephen Nover’s sports handicapping expertise has been published worldwide.

Active since: 1994 

Locations:  Las Vegas, NV; Cyprus 

Stephen Nover is unique among professional handicappers. A multiple award-winning sportswriter for numerous newspapers, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nover has one the best combinations of gambling and media sources in the world.

The author of two sports gambling books, “Las Vegas Sports Beat” and “Sports Gaming Beat,” along with a book on fantasy football titled, “Winning Fantasy Football,” Nover is a former professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas having taught a football handicapping class there. He also was the co-host of the Sunday night sports betting radio show, “The Stardust Line,” during the 1990's.

Parlaying nearly 50 years worth of professional gambling experience with tremendous knowledge of the players through elite deep-roster Rotisserie leagues, and building on copious gaming and media sources - having worked for newspapers in the Midwest, South and West and also for legendary oddsmaker Roxy Roxborough - Nover is a true wise guy. 

Part of what makes Nover special is the pride he takes in writing his deep-dive analysis, which always is unique, well-researched and sometimes entails out-of-the-box thinking.  Join Stephen every day here at VegasWinners.

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NFL - Point Spread - Mon, Oct 18

Stephen Nover's NFL Monday Night Game of Year

Long-time NFL guru Stephen Nover has found his Monday Night Game of the Year on the Bills-Titans matchup. Stephen is ...

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Most Overrated NFL Coach and Quarterback

Monday, Oct 04, 2021

Judging by how commentators constantly refer to him as a play-calling genius, you would think Kyle Shanahan is a great coach. Going by how many TV commercials he's on and how high profile he is you would think Baker Mayfield is a great quarterback. Truth be told, neither Shanahan nor Mayfield are very good at their respective jobs. I find Shanahan to be the most overrated coach in the NFL and Mayfield to be a bottom-10 quarterback. First Shanahan. He's 31-37 in his four plus years coaching San Francisco. That ranks him in the bottom-10 in win percentage among active head coaches. Shanahan led the 49ers to one Super Bowl and had three disastrous seasons. The 49ers have failed to cover the last NINE times they've been a home favorite. San Francisco is 6-11 ATS in its last 17 games. Maybe Shanahan is an above average play-caller. But you sure couldn't tell that from his two Super Bowls, both losses. Shanahan's play-calling as the Falcons' offensive coordinator during the final minutes of Super Bowl 51 six seasons ago could be considered the worst of all-time. The Falcons had a 28-20 lead with 4:38 left and were in field goal range. But instead of running clock and then kicking a field goal to go up 11 and thus likely wrapping up the game, Shanahan got way too aggressive calling for passes. The Falcons ended up blowing a 25-point lead.Shanahan choked again with questionable Super Bowl play-calling two seasons ago when the 49ers blew a double-digit lead to the Chiefs. The 49ers have had more than their share of injuries last year and this season. Great coaches don't use injuries as an excuse, though. Shanahan and 49ers management made a gutsy decision paying a huge price to trade up to draft Trey Lance. Now with Jimmy Garoppolo dealing with a calf injury, the 49ers should turn the team over to Lance. If Shanahan really is so great, he should be able to coach Lance up. Lance has the mobility and "It'' factor Garoppolo lacks. Let's find out if Shanahan is more Bill Walsh, or more Adam Gase. Mayfield was the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2018 draft. He certainly is not a bust, but he's been more mediocre than good. These are his passer ratings for the past three seasons: 2019: 31st. 2020: Tied for 15th. 2021: 23rd. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski doesn't let Mayfield bomb away like other quarterbacks get to do. Cleveland is run-oriented. Mayfield, though, plays behind one of the best offensive lines in football and the top 1-2 running back combination in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Mayfield should be deadly in play-action and have an extremely high percentage with those factors in his favor. But he doesn't. He's just not that talented, or accurate. Mayfield's performance this past Sunday against the Vikings was cringeworthy. He went 15-for-33 for 155 yards failing constantly to connect with a wide open Odell Beckham Jr. Perhaps it was just a bad day for Mayfield. We all have them. But whatever the circumstance, Mayfield fails to live up to the hype while being the endorsement king of the NFL doing commercials for Progressive and Nissan. It seems Mayfield has more commercials than touchdowns.  I find it sickening to see this overrated mediocrity constantly on TV when there are so many other better quarterbacks. 

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An NFL Official is Ruining the Game

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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Nover's View: NFL Week 1 Notebook

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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Stephen Nover's 2021 NFC North Division Preview

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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