Feds illegally weasel their way into hotel room of illegal sports betting ring
Tags: Las Vegas
Back in July, a handful of dudes were arrested at Las Vegas' Caesars Casino for running an illegal sportsbook out of their hotel room. Want to know how they got busted? The Feds shut down the internet, acted like repairman
, and were able to access the room without a warrant. As a result, there's a chance that the evidence they gained will be thrown out in court.
"They were trying everything they could to get inside without a warrant," Goldstein told the AP.
"Police are allowed to use a certain kind of subterfuge, but what they can't do is create a certain kind of circumstance," Rasch said.
World Cup sports betting ring busted as Las Vegas casino
Huge illegal sports betting ring taken down at Las Vegas' Caesars Palace. One of the accused is high-stakes poker player Paul Phua. You can watch Las Vegas' KLAS report here
Hot dog eaters on board with New Jersey sports betting
Tags: Las Vegas
Good news. MLE, better known at Major League Eating, is 100 percent on board with New Jersey's efforts to legalize sports betting
"Typically, we march in lockstep with our peers in professional sports, but New Jersey is facing a tough fiscal road ahead, and sports betting has the potential to provide much needed revenues to the state," MLE president Richard Shea said in a statement. "It is clear that these other leagues harbor an animus toward New Jersey, that they fear competition and that they desire anything but a level playing field."
College Football Betting Preview: Maryland Terrapins at Penn State Nittany Lions
Submitted by Andrew Lange
Tags: College Football Maryland Terrapins Penn State Nittany Lions Big Ten Andrew Lange Maryland at Penn State
Saturday, 9 am PT - ESPN2
Penn State -3 O/U 48.5
Penn State -4 O/U 47.5
Rob Veno's Power Rating:
Penn State -4.5
Andrew Lange's Recommendation:
Not sure what to expect from Penn State following three straight losses including last week's double overtime heartbreaker against Ohio State. The Nittany Lions have now dropped three straight and with each passing week, their lack of offense and depth is being exposed more and more. After losing a pair of seniors to season-ending injuries, PSU is down to a startling 46 scholarship players. The current NCAA guidelines allow teams to have as many 85. Defensively, they've been able to hold up, but it's doubtful they'll be able to match their numbers the rest of the regular season. Offensively, the offensive line is extremely weak with no run-game to speak of (46 ypg vs. Big Ten). It leaves Christian Hackenberg in a position of having to carry the load. He's hung tough but is under constant duress and as a result ranks 96th nationally with a QB Rating of 117.07.
Maryland will certainly be happy to see a less dynamic offense. The Terps were man-handled by Ohio State and Wisconsin; two physical teams that can run the ball with authority. Outside of those two contests, Maryland has been a solid club with wins over Iowa, at Indiana, and at Syracuse. They also hung tough with West Virginia; a performance that looks all the more impressive with the Mountaineers now 6-2. Make no mistake, the Terps are flawed as well and will have difficulty dealing with Penn State's physicality. But Penn State's inability to move the football on the ground and protect the quarterback puts Maryland in a good position for defensive success.
Teams deal with rash injuries and lack of depth all of the time but Penn State's situation is dire. It makes laying over a field goal extremely difficult in what projects to be a close game. Look for a much better showing from the Terps this week as we grab the +3.5.
NFL Gambling Preview: Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
Submitted by Teddy Covers
Tags: NFL Denver Broncos New England Patriots Teddy Covers Denver at New England
Sunday, 1:30 pm PT - CBS
Denver -3 O/U 54
Denver -3 O/U 55
Rob Veno's Power Rating:
Teddy Covers' Recommendation:
At first glance, this line probably seems high to most people. After all, the Patriots aren’t home underdogs very often; just four times since 2005. We saw New England annihilate Cincinnati as a national TV home dog less than a month ago. And the Pats are 41-21 ATS as a dog in the Belichick era, cashing at a 66% clip long term in this very role.
But before we get carried away with the Pats current four game winning streak, lets not forget that New England has largely been feasting on bottom feeders. Their six victories this season have come against Minnesota, Oakland, Cinci (in a miserable spot for the Bengals), Buffalo, the Jets and Chicago (on a day where Jay Cutler was misfiring). That’s not exactly a who’s who of Super Bowl contenders, to put it mildly.
Yet despite facing teams with a combined winning percentage of just .433 (not counting their games against the Pats), New England’s statistical profile is mediocre at best. The Patriots have outgained their foes by only 0.2 yards per play, right in the same range as teams like New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia – above average squads, but certainly not elite teams.
New England has also suffered a handful of crucial, impactful defensive injuries in recent weeks. They’ve lost their defensive quarterback (LB Jerod Mayo) and their best pass rusher (DE Chandler Jones) to long term injuries. Those injuries didn’t matter last week, in a game where Jay Cutler struggled once again, but they are likely to matter in a matchup against Peyton Manning.
My power ratings have the Broncos more than a field goal better than the 2nd best team in the NFL, by far the most impressive team in the league thusfar this season. Unlike the Patriots, Denver is battle tested, having squared off against the likes of the Colts, Seahawks, Cardinals, 49ers and Chargers already this year. They’ve faced opponents with a combined .622 winning percentage in all games not against the Broncos. Only the 49ers have faced a tougher slate thus far.
And Denver has essentially dominated that elite competition. They have outgained their foes by a whopping 1.5 yards per play, by far the best in the NFL. Denver’s offense is every bit as good as it was last year. Defensively, the additions of DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib have had an immediate impact, as has the return to health of Von Miller, leading to a 23-8 sack ratio between what their defense has created vs. what their offense has allowed. Denver is the ‘class’ in this matchup, and I expect that to show on Sunday.
College Football Handicapping: CRIS vs. Power Ratings Week 10
Tags: College Football Rob Veno
Sportsmemo Handicapper Rob Veno
has been creating his own Power Ratings
for nearly two decades. His numbers are very well respected and an excellent tool for discovering value. Rob’s PRs are a baseline and do not include key injuries or situations but they also don't overreact as much as the betting markets do week to week. Below is a chart of CRIS's current lines and Rob's College Football Power Ratings for Week 10.
|2014 College Football CRIS Lines vs. Rob Veno Power Ratings - Week 10|
Georgia Southern -19.5
Georgia Southern -25.5
Florida State -10.5
Florida State -3.5
Navy (Landover, MD)
Notre Dame -11.5
Notre Dame -14
Virginia Tech -6
Virginia Tech -3
East Carolina -8
East Carolina -7.5
Central Florida -14.5
Central Florida -10.5
Penn State -4.5
Penn State -4
Miami (FL) -7.5
Miami (FL) -15
Appalachian State -5
Appalachian State -10.5
Air Force -2
Air Force -2.5
Central Michigan -18
Central Michigan -15
Western Michigan -4
Western Michigan -6.5
Mississippi State -11
Mississippi State -10
Louisiana Tech -4
Louisiana Tech -7
Texas A&M -32.5
Texas A&M -32.5
Middle Tennessee State
South Carolina -8.5
South Carolina -7
Kansas State -10
Kansas State -14.5
Georgia Tech -4.5
Georgia Tech -3.5
Arkansas State -13.5
Arkansas State -14
Oregon State -6.5
Oregon State -3
San Jose State
Colorado State -3.5
Colorado State -7
Arizona State -6
Arizona State -6
Florida Atlantic -4.5
New Mexico State
Texas State -9
Texas State -7
Ohio State -26.5
Ohio State -28.5
Fresno State -11
Fresno State -11
San Diego State
Utah State -7.5
Utah State -3
Sports Betting Podcast 10-29-2014 with Sportsmemo Handicappers Teddy Covers and Rob Veno
Tags: NBA College Football Teddy Covers Rob Veno Andrew Lange
NBA Handicapper Free Play: Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns
Submitted by Teddy Covers
Tags: NBA Los Angeles Lakers Phoenix Sun Teddy Covers Los Angeles at Phoenix -12 O/U 207
The Lakers are, by far, the worst team in the Western Conference, but the betting markets just haven’t gotten there yet. Even with Phoenix as double digit favorites tonight, there’s still legitimate value betting against LA, particularly in this matchup where the Suns dynamic backcourt can run circles around the Lakers hapless defense.
LA's preseason was not a good one. With a brand new coach and essentially a brand new roster, the Lakers struggled with injuries and attrition. Point guard Steve Nash is out for the year. New starter Jeremy Lin missed most of the preseason with a pair of sprained ankles. Nick Young is out, as are Xavier Henry, Wayne Ellington and Ryan Kelly, severely diminishing LA's depth and flow on both ends of the court.
Now they are playing on the second night of an early season back-2-back situation coming off a demoralizing home blowout loss against Houston, and their top rookie, Julius Randle, just broke his leg. For a team trying to get an aging, ineffective Kobe Bryant back up to speed following a lost season for the former All Star, these injuries certainly don't help matters.
While LA can be expected to look awful again this evening, Phoenix has legitimate ‘bet-on’ potential for the second consecutive season. The markets are respecting some regression from the Suns after they came out of nowhere last year to win 48 games and cover a whopping 52 pointspreads. I’m not buying that argument, especially in this matchup, with offseason addition Isaiah Thomas joining Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic in the backcourt , giving the Suns three quick, dynamic combo guards in their rotation. Last night’s blowout loss for LA is very much a harbinger of things to come. Take Phoenix.
Teddy went 125-96 (56%) +21.9 units in the NBA last year. He opened up the new season with a blowout winner with the Rockets last night. Get onboard right now with a weekly, monthly or seasonal package to take advantage of Teddy’s consistent, long term NBA success.
College Football Gambling: Louisville finally faces top-tier quarterback
Tags: College Football Louisville Cardinals Florida State Seminoles ACC
Louisville's defense has put up some sick numbers
this season: 14.6 ppg, 245.8 ypg, and 3.91 ypp. But it'll be interesting to see how this stop unit fares against an elite quarterback. The Cardinals have faced an extremely favorable schedule quarterback-wise with a host of young and inexperienced signal callers. On Thursday, they face former Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.
Week 1 - Miami's Brad Kaaya was making his first-ever collegiate start on the road.
Week 2 - FCS Opponent
Week 3 - Virginia sophomore Greyson Lambert sports a QB Rating of 112.0; good for 13th in the ACC.
Week 4 - Florida International's quarterbacks own the 113th ranked QB Rating nationally.
Week 5 - Wake Forest's quarterbacks own the 117th ranked QB Rating nationally.
Week 6 - Before getting injured, Syracuse's Terrel Hunt had a 1-4 TD-to-INT ratio and 110.9 QB Rating.
Week 7 - Clemson's Deshaun Watson left the game early with an injury. His replacement, Cole Stoudt, has a QB Rating of 115.17.
Week 8 - NC State's Jacoby Brissett had a solid game vs. the Cardinals: 18-of-32 for 223 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT.
Week 9 - Florida State's Jameis Winston is currently 11th nationally with a QB Rating of 160.0.
NBA Handicapping: Watching the New York Knicks is going to be hilarious
Tags: NBA New York Knicks
Your 2014-15 New York Knicks
"Yeah, absolutely," Smith said when asked if he has had to make a conscious effort to play differently. "I mean, believe it or not, being the type of player I've been, it's a struggle. I'm not going to lie.
"Trying to think about the rest of the team over myself or my scoring is something that I never really had to do before," Smith continued. "I've always been in a situation to score, [now I'm] in position to take my time and let the game come and let my teammates succeed more than myself, I think that's the ultimate win."
College Football Gambling: Another head coach surprised by a pointspread
Tags: College Football Florida Atlantic Owls C-USA
Count us as fans of Florida Atlantic head coach Charlie Partridge who has his Owls a respectable 6-2 against the spread
“We were more surprised by the point spread. We were surprised we were 28-point underdogs, and a lot less surprised we played them even for three quarters. And a lot less surprised it went the (way) it went.”
Nevada sportsbooks post big September profits
Tags: College Football NFL Las Vegas
Reportedly their third greatest month ever with $37 million
"More and more people are tearing down the belief that betting on sports is a bad thing and realizing that the entertainment value is through the roof," Vaccaro, now with the sports book at the South Point casino, said. "We have 15 windows open from 9 o'clock to 10 o'clock in the morning on Sundays, and the lines are 25 deep. Guys who have been long-time customers are coming up to me and asking about signing up for the phone app, because they're afraid they're going to get shut out. I think that's a big, big reason why you're seeing more ticket transactions. And it's not going to slow down anytime soon."
Sports Betting Podcast 10-28-2014 with Sportsmemo Handicappers Ian Cameron and Erin Rynning
Tags: NHL NBA Ian Cameron Erin Rynning
Tuesday's Sportsmemo Podcast featured Sportsmemo Handicappers Ian Cameron and Erin Rynning. Ian broke down some of tonight's NHL action while ER kicked off the NBA season with in-depth analysis on the three games for this evening.
Ian Cameron - NHL
Erin Rynning - NBA
To listen to past shows, be sure to visit our Sportsmemo Podcast Homepage
ITunes users can subscribe to the show by searching "Sportsmemo" in the podcast directory.
NHL Handicapper Free Play: Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs
Submitted by Sammy P Sports
Tags: NHL Buffalo Sabres Toronto Maple Leafs Sammy P Buffalo at Toronto O/U 5.5
Recommendation: Buffalo +1.5 -155
It's never a great idea to lay big juice in the NHL, and that is what teams will be doing all season against the Buffalo Sabres. The sportsbooks have made it known that they're not afraid to make teams -300 or greater favorites against the Sabres as evidenced by Buffalo's latest West Coast trip. Buffalo's is coming off a solid 2-1 victory in San Jose on Saturday afternoon. The Sabres come back East to face the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight in what should be a tight checking affair. Buffalo coach Ted Nolan is happy with his team's progression despite their record, ''The last three games in particular, our work ethic is improving, as a result our play is getting better. One thing we learned, hopefully, is if you work, good things happen. That's the way we're going to have to win this season.'' Toronto is struggling almost as much as Buffalo to score goals. They are just 1-4 on home ice this season and have mustered only 2 goals in their last two home games. Anytime you can get a goal and a half for this cheap of a price against a team struggling to score goals take advantage of it.
Sammy 20* NHL Power Play Winner [70-46 60% +28.2 units All Sports Streak] $20
Sammy P unleashes a monster play in the NHL Tuesday night! This huge 20* Power Play Winner is primed for an offensive mismatch on the ice. Sammy looks to continue his top form in all sports! Pick it up for $20; a guaranteed winner or his next selection is on the house!
College Football Betting: How to approach against the spread outliers
Submitted by Andrew Lange
Tags: College Football Andrew Lange
The college football betting markets are usually pretty good at eventually making adjustments on teams who over- or underachieve against the spread. At the end of the season, a majority of the college football landscape is within two games of .500 against the spread. There are obviously exceptions to that rule but being able to spot change with some of the current "outliers" can lead to profits. Let's take a look at some of them and decipher whether or not their ATS results will differ the remainder of the campaign.
Florida State (1-6 ATS) - Because of last year's success, media coverage, and undefeated record, there hasn't been much of any pointspread adjustment on the Seminoles since the start of the regular season (the Golden Nugget GOY lines had them priced WAY too high). As a result, there remains a strong anti-FSU sediment in the markets. They opened -7 at Louisville for Thursday and were immediately bet down to as low as -4.
SMU (1-6 ATS) - In order to be a successful bettor, it's important to keep a "no team is off limits" mindset. It's difficult however with truly bottom feeder clubs. There's always a few bettors who come in late on the Mustangs after the obligatory mid-week fade but when you're this bad, it becomes almost impossible to adjust enough. Likely an accidental cover or two down the stretch but not worth the agony of trying to be proactive.
UCLA (1-7 ATS) - Classic case of a team's excessive preseason hype leaving little to no chance for ATS success. The Bruins are a good PAC-12 team. But there are five or six other teams on equal footing. Some adjustment has been made however. A few weeks back, UCLA was laying -13 at home vs. Utah. This week, they're laying -5 at home vs. Arizona.
UL-Monroe (1-6 ATS) - This is an interesting study. Statistically the Warhawks are pretty much on par with last season and they are a generous +10 in turnovers. Also, there wasn't that much preseason hype and their Sun Belt schedule has been favorable thus far. It's hard to keep track of every team in the country and ULM appears to be a team that just hasn't been priced correctly and no one has noticed. And while quarterback Pete Thomas is easy to rip, ULM's passing stats aren't much different than last season when they went 6-6 SU and 5-7 ATS.
Georgia Southern (7-1 ATS) - When teams make the jump to FBS, there's a natural reaction of skepticism. Georgia Southern however entered the Sun Belt at just the right time. A handful of quality teams left for C-USA, Troy is way down, and the scheduling Gods were super-nice with GSU avoiding Arkansas State and UL-Lafayette. That and GSU is a damn good football team that runs an offense no one in the Sun Belt has ever seen. Go back the last three or four years in the Sun Belt and usually one team if that per season averaged over 200 ypg on the ground. Georgia Southern is currently averaging 400 ypg. The perfect storm for ATS success. This week's line of -25 vs. Troy seems rich but don't expect a significant drop off in cashed tickets.
Ole Miss (6-1-1 ATS) - Ever since Hugh Freeze showed up in Oxford it seemed like all the Rebels needed to do what show up to the game on time and ATS success followed. But unlike the Sun Belt, it's hard to hide in the SEC and we saw last week the pointspread catch up up to this team. At Texas A&M +2.5/+3 to -3.5/-4 at LSU? Yes, the LSU game could have gone either way but with dreams of an undefeated season dashed and late season fatigue/injuries starting to set in, you get the feeling that Ole Miss's pointspread covering way may hit a snag or two the remainder of the season.
Utah (6-1 ATS) - I've been vocal about my distaste for Utah's "lucky" ways. They routinely get beat in the box score and yet routinely find ways to win and cover games. Yes, this team does a ton of "little things" but stats don't lie and in my eyes this is a 4-3, 5-2 team at best. They're on my fade list the rest of the regular season.
Western Michigan (7-1 ATS) - The Broncos' ATS success shouldn't come as a surprise: head coach PJ Fleck comes off a sharp, energetic coach, with 100% commitment to turning the program around. Couple that with some great recruiting and a watered down league, and here you have a team trending in the right direction. Oddsmakers however are starting to take notice: they were -8.5 vs. Ohio last week and now -6.5 road chalk at Miami for Saturday. Ship hasn't officially left port but not as juicy as a month ago.
TCU (7-0 ATS) - With Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Baylor down, that has left the door open for the likes of Kansas State, West Virginia, and TCU. Lump all of those teams together and there isn't much if any difference. The Horned Frogs and their new-found offense have taken advantage. This is a telling week however: after back-to-back wins by a combined score of 124-36, TCU is laying -5.5 at West Virginia. TCU the better of the two squads but the price is telling us the gap is pretty big.
College Football Gambling: Betting markets all over Virginia Tech fade
Tags: College Football Virginia Tech Hokies Boston College Eagles ACC
Good article on Virginia Tech's recent struggles
. The betting markets have faded the Hokies hard each of their last two games. Against Pitt, Tech opened -3 but closed -1. Last week, Tech opened -3 vs. Miami but closed +2.5. This week, more of the same with Tech opening -5 vs. Boston College and bet down to -3.
“Sometimes you get hammered like we did in our last ballgame and you go look at the tape and the tape’s not very good,” Beamer said to begin his opening statement. “But I didn’t feel that was the case with this football team.”
College Football Handicapping: BYU's Mendenhall relinquishes defensive play calling
Tags: College Football BYU Cougars Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
Prior to last week, BYU's defense was allowing less than 5 yards per play. Last week however, head coach Bronco Mendenhall decided to step in and call plays and it backfired in the worst way. The Cougars allowed 55 points, 630 yards, and 8.06 ypp in their loss at Boise State. Mendenhall is now giving back the play calling duties
to defensive coordinator Nick Howell as the team travels to Middle Tennessee State.
“What I plan to do is just support all of our coaches the best way that I can,” Mendenhall explained. “One of the next steps for our program to really grow and develop is to continue to increase the capacity of the coaches on my staff. I’ll certainly be an aid not only to Coach Howell but to (offensive coordinator Robert) Anae and I’ll help any way that I can to make sure the plans are exactly how they’re supposed to be.”
Judge puts temporary kibosh on New Jersey sports betting
Tags: College Football BYU Cougars Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
Can't say we didn't see this
“We continue to have full confidence in the strength and appropriateness of our position as we move forward in the litigation,” New Jersey said in a statement.
NFL Monday Night Football Betting Consensus: Public on Redskins and UNDER (kidding!)
Tags: NFL Washington Redskins Dallas Cowboys
Here are the top consensus bets (side, total, and moneyline) for tonight's Monday Night Football game between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys courtesy of Bookmaker. Keeping in line with tradition, the public is all over the favorite and over. Nearly 80% of primetime NFL games have gone over the total this season. Note that the percentages are based on the number of bets made not total handle.
74.5% - Dallas -9
62.7% - OVER 48.5
72.8% - Dallas -440
College Football Handicapping: Week 10 early line moves
Tags: College Football
Quick look at some of the early moves in the Week 10 college football betting markets.
Florida State at Louisville
CRIS Opener: Florida State -7
CRIS Current: Florida State -4
Comment: Cardinals currently boast nation's top total defense. Seminoles (1-6 ATS) come in off of a bye week.
Boston College at Virginia Tech
CRIS Opener: Virginia Tech -5
CRIS Current: Virginia Tech -3
Comment: Market can't get enough of betting against the Hokies. Last week's massive move from -3 to +3 proved to be right as Tech was embarrassed at home against Miami.
North Carolina at Miami (FL)
CRIS Opener: Miami -11
CRIS Current: Miami -16
Comment: Markets not buying another Tar Heels second half run (6-1 SU/ATS L7 2013) following wins over Georgia Tech and Virginia.
BYU at MTSU
CRIS Opener: BYU -7
CRIS Current: BYU -5
Comment: Cougars’ season all but over after four straight losses; the last of which by 25 at Boise State. Great spot for Blue Raiders with bye weeks bookending a “big name” foe.
USC at Washington State
CRIS Opener: USC -8.5
CRIS Current: USC -7
Comment: Even after getting worked by 22 at home off of a bye week, Cougs earn market support. Trojans off another heartbreaker. PAC-12 South title all but gone.
Rice at Florida International
CRIS Opener: Rice -7.5
CRIS Current: Rice -6.5
Comment: All Ron Turner and Florida International do is cover games (6-2 ATS), baby.
Sportsmemo Handicapper Erin Rynning is your top option for NBA profits
Tags: NBA Erin Rynning
College Football Handicapping: Golden Nugget GOY vs. CRIS - Week 10
Tags: College Football
Week 10's breakdown of Golden Nugget's Game of the Year lines vs. CRIS's current numbers. It's a great tool to spot changes in perception from oddsmakers and the betting markets.
|2014 College Football Golden Nugget GOY vs. CRIS - Week 10|
Golden Nugget GOY
Florida State -17
Florida State -5.5
Ole Miss -2.5
Virginia Tech -16
Virginia Tech -3
Kansas State -3.5
Kansas State -14
Miami (FL) -1
Miami (FL) -16.5
Navy (Landover, MD)
Notre Dame -3
Notre Dame -15
South Carolina -18
South Carolina -8
Texas Tech -1
NFL Gambling Update: SuperContest consensus plays now 23-18 ATS YTD
Another winning week for the SuperContest's top five NFL consensus plays. The 3-2 mark upped the YTD record to 23-18 ATS.
Week 8: 3-2
Week 7: 3-2
Week 6: 2-3
Week 5: 2-3
Week 4: 3-2
Week 3: 5-1
Week 2: 3-2
Week 1: 2-3
Totals: 23-18 YTD
NFL Gambling: Indianapolis Colts (5-0 ATS streak) tabbed top SuperContest consensus play
Below are the top consensus plays for Week 8 of the NFL SuperContest.
1. Indianapolis -3 vs. Pittsburgh
2. Houston -2 at Tennessee
3. Baltimore +1 at Cincinnati
4. New Orleans -1.5 vs. Green Bay
5. Kansas City -6.5 vs. St. Louis
Least picked Sunday side: Atlanta +3.5 vs. Detroit
Teddy Covers' Las Vegas Wiseguy Report: Previewing the NBA Season O/U Wins market
Submitted by Teddy Covers
Tags: NBA Atlanta Hawks Cleveland Cavaliers Denver Nuggets Los Angeles Lakers Houston Rockets Utah Jazz Teddy Covers
It’s Halloween week and the brand spankin’ new NBA season is upon us. Some things have changed dramatically, most notably Lebron leaving Miami for a return trip to Cleveland. That sets the books up for a real beating if the Cavs win the title next June since the Cavs opened as high as 60:1 before their enormous talent upgrade.
Other things remain exactly the same, like the fact that the West is much, much stronger than the East, just as it has been since the Bulls run of dominance with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen ended 17 years ago. Let’s take a look at the upcoming NBA season from a betting perspective.
Other than the Cavs, many of the top contenders for the title remain the same. The Spurs, Clippers, Thunder and Bulls are the only other teams besides Cleveland to be priced at less than 10:1 to win the title next June; all elite teams from last year.
The top two teams in the East from 2013-24 – Miami and Indiana – both took major offseason hits, with the Heat losing LeBron and the Pacers losing Lance Stephenson to free agency and Paul George to a broken leg. Oklahoma City, too, has lost their best player, but Kevin Durant should be back in the lineup well before the All Star break.
Jay Kornegay from the Westgate Superbook was kind enough to answer my NBA questions in the midst of a busy football weekend. He listed five teams that the wiseguys have been pounding in the season win totals market.
Atlanta Hawks Over 40.5 Wins
The Westgate opened Atlanta slightly below the offshore number of 41 or 41.5, but that’s not the only reason they’ve been taking sharp money on the Over. The Hawks snuck into the #8 seed in the East last year with a 38-44 record and gave the Pacers a battle before bowing out in the first round of the playoffs.
Personnel wise, the Hawks should be better than last year, with All Star Center Al Horford back on the court following a season ending torn pectoral muscle last December. The addition of defensive stopper Thabo Sefolosha and promising rookie Adreian Payne are minor boosts as well.
The markets (and I) have tremendous respect for second year head coach Mike Budenholzer, a former Greg Popovich assistant, and his pass happy offensive philosophy. Atlanta led the NBA in assists per made field goal last year. And, of course, playing in the East, there are only four or five other good teams for Atlanta to contend with. This a franchise pointed in the right direction even after seven consecutive years of first or second round playoff exits; the only team other than San Antonio to make the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons.
That being said, there are significant concerns about the Hawks stability as a franchise following an offseason of significant upheaval in their front office. The team is for sale with conflicts and lawsuits brewing within the current ownership group. Longtime GM Danny Ferry is taking an indefinite leave of absence after making racially insensitive comments. The Hawks have salary cap space, but that doesn’t necessarily make them likely ‘buyers’ around the trade deadline. NBA teams with front office ‘issues’ don’t tend to be overachievers.
Denver Nuggets Over 40.5 Wins
Like Atlanta, the Westgate opened with the Nuggets slightly below the offshore number of 41.5. Denver is coming off a disastrous, injury plagued 36-46 campaign that saw them finish #11 in the loaded West. Prior to the season, Denver fired longtime head coach George Karl and watched GM Masia Ujiri bolt for Toronto. Three different players suffered torn ACL’s and a fourth, center JaVale McGee, appeared in only five games. 15 different Nuggets started at least one game, and the result was a 21 game drop-off from their 57 win season the previous year.
The markets are clearly expecting at least a modest upgrade for 2014-15. One key is the return to healthy of point guard Ty Lawson. Denver averaged a full six points per 100 possessions more with Lawson on the floor than off it last year. The addition of free agent sharpshooter Aaron Afflalo is an upgrade. And the Nuggets roster is very deep after last year’s injuries allowed a host of youngsters to get ample playing time. The markets also like the home court in Denver, offering the Nuggets some legitimate opportunities for cheap wins facing teams playing in altitude in back-to-back situations.
Houston Rockets Under 49.5 Wins
Globally, the Rockets win total had significant variance, lined anywhere between 48 and 50.5. Last year, Houston went 54-28, good enough for the #4 seed in the West before their first round playoff exit at the hands of the Trail Blazers. But that early playoff exit exposed several key weaknesses of the roster GM Daryl Morey has created, most notably their defensive ineptitude.
Houston’s offseason can only be described as a failure. They cleared salary cap space for a run at a marquee free agency, dumping Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. But instead of gaining a big free agent, they lost one, when Chandler Parsons landed in Dallas. His replacement, Trevor Ariza, had a breakout season in Washington last year, but he doesn’t have Parsons upside. Head coach Kevin McHale is well liked by his players, but he’s been a perennial underachiever as a head coach, particularly in the postseason, nor is he known for any ability to coach defense. In the loaded West, I can certainly understand why the markets are expecting some regression.
LA Lakers Under 31.5 Wins
The Lakers opened as high as 32.5 wins offshore, but the sharp money has been pounding LA Under at virtually every sportsbook across the globe. The public, as usual here in Las Vegas, is betting on LA, leading to an odd split. Jay Kornegay said that the Westgate Superbook has liability on the Lakers OVER their win total, even after the wiseguys have been hitting the Under, in part because the Westgate opened with a relatively low win total number that didn’t attract significant early wiseguy Under money.
Since winning back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010, LA has declined precipitously. Last year, the Lakers went 27-55, ranked #14 out of 15 teams in the West. This year, they are relying on the return to excellence of Kobe Bryant, entering his 19th season in the league and coming off a lost season recovering from a torn ACL and a serious knee injury. The additions of Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer certainly haven’t impressed the wiseguys, and yet another coaching change, this time to Byron Scott, is not viewed as a major upgrade. More than any other factor, the sharps are fading LA because of their defensive liabilities; bad news in a Western Conference loaded with strong offensive ballclubs.
Utah Jazz Over 25.5 Wins
25.5 was the prevailing win total number for Utah globally, and the sharp money is pointing towards the Jazz as an improved team following a miserable 25-57 team last year, dead last in the West. The markets like the coaching change, replacing Ty Corbin with Quin Synder. The markets also like the look of the Jazz young roster, loaded with recent lottery picks Trey Burke, Alex Burks, Dante Exum, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter all aged 24 or younger. And, like the Nuggets, Utah has a built in home court edge greater than most teams simply because they play in altitude, giving them a real edge against opponents on the second night of back-to-backs.
But Utah opened last year 1-14 and closed out the campaign on a 4-20 run. Snyder is under no pressure to win this year – he’s got the green light for a developmental season for a franchise without a playoff win since 2010. And that Jazz built in home court edge declined from a 30-11 record in 2013 to a 16-25 record last year; a record they’ll have to improve upon significantly if the Over is going to cash.
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