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College Football Handicapping: Slow, low scoring teams continue to go under the total

10.06.2015     06:37 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
Last week's college football slate was likely a good one for sportsbooks with unders cashing at 77% clip. Totals finished the week 13-43-2 O/U with the average total around 55 and the average score 49. Some of it was weather related with a number of East Coast games hampered by wind and rain. However, the totals results were based on closing numbers, a number of which had already seen heavy under steam.

Heading into Week 6 we currently see four games lined below 40 points. Note that there were only three games all of last season that closed with a total below 40.

Wake Forest-Boston College 36.5 
Northwestern-Michigan 35 
Florida-Missouri 39.5 
UConn-UCF 38.5

But it's not like scoring is down across the board. Baylor and Texas Tech, two of the fastest, touchdown happy teams in the country are a combined 8-1 O/U. But slow, offensively challenged teams have had no trouble cashing under tickets despite weekly adjustments. For example, Northwestern, Michigan, UConn, UCF, Boston College, and Vanderbilt have cashed only two overs with 26 unders and two pushes combined. Ironically, six of those teams make up three of the four games lined below 40 for this weekend.

Tags: College Football

Sports Betting Podcast 10-5-2015 with Sportsmemo Handicappers Ian Cameron and Teddy Covers

10.05.2015     10:36 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
Monday's Sportsmemo Podcast featured Sportsmemo Handicappers Ian Cameron and Teddy Covers. Ian previewed a few "bet on" and "bet against" teams in the NHL's Eastern Conference. Teddy gave his famed Opening Line Report for Week 5 of the NFL.

Today's segments 
Full Show

Ian Cameron - NHL Eastern Conference

Teddy Covers - NFL Opening Line Report - Week 5

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.

Tags: NHL NFL Ian Cameron Teddy Covers Andrew Lange

Teddy Covers' Las Vegas Wiseguy Report: The NFL's square/sharp divide

10.05.2015     07:50 AM     Teddy Covers     Printer Friendly

Submitted by Teddy Covers blog entry.
On Twitter every Sunday, there’s always significant discussion of what the NFL sharp/square divide games are for that day.  There’s an old quote from legendary Vegas oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro that goes like this: “Squares bet teams, sharps bet numbers.”  And there’s plenty of truth to that quote.  For example, at the weekly Tuesday Group football discussion for pro bettors here in Vegas, nobody says “I like team X this weekend.”  They say, “I like Team X at +3 or higher.”  Recreational players, on the other hand, have a general tendency to focus on teams, not pointspreads. 

That gives pros a leg up when it comes to catching half point wins instead of half point losses in games that finish with a final margin right around the pointspread or total.  Last Thursday’s Ravens-Steelers game is a classic example of that.  Line shoppers, by definition, at least somewhat sharp, won laying -2.5 with Baltimore and pushed taking +3 with Pittsburgh, able to avoid a losing ticket regardless of which side they bet.  The vast majority of non-line shoppers took a push with either side.

It was a similar story with the Broncos-Vikings total that opened around 44, bounced between 42.5 and 43.5 all week and landed right on 43.  Sharp bettors won or pushed regardless of whether they liked the Over or the Under.  Recreational bettors?  Most lost if they bet the Over, with 43.5 the prevailing total on gameday.

There’s always been a difference between the types of teams recreational players look to support compared to the teams that professional bettors are taking. Joes like hot teams – mostly favorites – that played well last week.  Pros, on the other hand, are very comfortable supporting some ugly underdogs, if they’re getting an extra point or two (or three) of value based on their numbers.

When it comes to the 2015 NFL campaign, recreational bettors have done every bit as well at picking winners as sharper bettors have through the first quarter of the campaign.  The sharper bettors pick off an extra win or push here and there, based on line shopping, but when it comes to handicapping the games themselves, in the modern era of sportsbetting, there are plenty of Joes who are more ‘nimble on their feet’ than the pros.

What do I mean by nimble on their feet?  I’ll call it three primary factors for the Joes.  First, the ability to adjust quickly when teams move up or down the totem pole.  Second, the ability to recognize the elite teams that don’t warrant a bet against very often.  And third, the ability to unwaveringly bet against bottom feeders; week after week, even when those bottom feeders change from the previous year!

Pro bettors have their own areas of focus.  I wrote about the fixation with getting the best of the number above; a fixation that makes the difference between a win and a push or a push and a loss often enough to make it essential.  Another area of focus for pro bettors is the spot play; a fixation that has been getting the pros into a bit of trouble in recent weeks in the NFL.

We had a couple of classic spot play examples for Pros in the NFL this past weekend, as well as a couple of nimble feet examples from Joes.  Let me go through three games from Sunday, talking about the handicapping theory behind the wagers, as well as the end result.

The 49ers-Packers game was the ultimate sharp/square divide game this past weekend.  Recreational bettors ignored the spot for Green Bay, while professional bettors fixated on it.  Green Bay had opened the season facing divisional rival Chicago, winning and covering against the Bears.  Then they faced a HUGE revenge game on Sunday Night against the Seahawks.  And then the Packers enjoyed a third straight win and cover in a third straight big game, knocking off KC on Monday Night Football.  At 3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS, the Packers had to fly across the country to take on a 49ers team that just got annihilated in back-to-back road tilts, losing by a combined score of 90-25.  It was not a step up spot for the road favorite, and frankly, Green Bay didn’t play particularly well, especially on offense. 

In theory, it was a good spot for the 49ers, every bit as much as it was a bad spot for the Packers.  After suffering back-to-back blowouts, returning home, Pros expected a step up game from San Fran.  But the Niners offensive woes continued from a team ranked #31 in total offense and #32 in points scored.  Sharp bettors scooped up the 49ers at +8.5 and +8, betting the line down to Green Bay -7.5 at most shops before kickoff.  Square bettors didn’t care what they laid with the Packers, a ‘they’re going to kill ‘em’ mentality.  Which they did.  This game is a classic example of sharp bettors doing what sharp bettors do – focusing on pointspreads and spots – and square bettors doing what square bettors do – focusing on teams and recent results.

The Texans-Falcons game was another game that recreational bettors got right and many sharp bettors got wrong.  Again, the spot screamed disaster for Atlanta.  The Falcons were coming off three consecutive come-from-behind wins, including a pair of intense fourth quarter rallies and a high energy second half comeback at Dallas the previous week.  Returning home against a non-conference foe wasn’t a step-up spot and the pros reacted accordingly, betting Houston from +6 to +4.5.

Recreational players couldn’t care less about the spot.  Instead, they were nimble on their feet recognizing that Atlanta is a completely different animal this year compared to last year; not worried about what their season win number was over the summer.  The Joes were able to recognize this simple truth: "Hey, Atlanta’s pretty good this year” quicker than the Pros, and they cashed in with ease supporting the Falcons on Sunday.

The Eagles-Redskins game was one that sharp bettors got right, although it was a major sweat, regardless of which side you had.  Although the pointspread didn’t move from open to close (Philly -3), the vig to catch or lay the -3 changed from -120 or -125 on the Eagles to -120 or -125 on the Redskins, all sharp money.  I’ve been a little bit surprised that recreational players haven’t jumped ship on the Eagles yet – maybe they will after this loss.  But perhaps Philly’s road win against the Jets the previous week eliminated many of those doubts from a hyped team; a game where the Eagles led 24-0 before fending off a Jets comeback.   And recreational players certainly weren’t looking to support the Redskins off their dismal showing on national TV against the Giants the previous week.

Of course, recreational bettors didn’t comb through the box score numbers from the Eagles – Jets game to notice that Philly still couldn’t move the football for extended stretches of that game, the #30 ranked offense in the NFL.  And casual bettors didn’t seem to notice how the Redskins had played competitive football in both previous home games.  The Redskins controlled the first half, blew a 13-point lead, then rallied for the SU and ATS win in the final minute.  Pros don’t make apologies for those kinds of wins, expecting the Redskins to have an intensity edge in the latter stages as a team coming off a loss facing a team coming off a win.

You’ll find significant sharp/square divides almost every week in the NFL.  Don’t think for a minute that the sharps win the vast majority of those battles – it’s a lot closer to 50:50 than people think.  In the modern era of NFL betting, savvy recreational players have some legitimate edges, while the pro bettor’s biggest edge remains their ability to get the best available pointspread on whatever side they support.

Follow me on Twitter @teddy_covers.

Tags: NFL Teddy Covers

Las Vegas casino dealers busted for $1 million scam

10.05.2015     07:34 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
The long con. A couple of dealers and buddies took down the Bellagio for over $1 million over the span of two years. Of course we wouldn't be discussing this if they didn't get busted.

"Cheating is common," Taylor told The Associated Press. "We arrest 350 to 500 people a year for cheating or theft from a casino. But to have it go this long and for this much money is unusual."

"Fortunately, someone noticed and came forward," he said.

Tags: Las Vegas

PokerStars and Full Tilt approved in New Jersey

10.05.2015     07:23 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
PokerStars and Full Tilt have been given the go ahead to operate in New Jersey.

"We look forward to bringing our popular brands, innovative technology, marketing prowess and world-class security and game integrity to the growing New Jersey online gaming market," he said.

Tags: Poker

Player data leaked at DraftKings

10.05.2015     07:18 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
DraftKings reportedly had issues regarding leaked player data calling into question the regulation of the DFS industry.

With too many employees presumably having access to this inside information, it raises the specter of insiders using this non-public information to gain an edge when they play similar contests for big money on other sites.

At a minimum, DFS employees and insiders should be restricted from playing on any site (not just their own), and access to this type of information should be limited only to the most essential of personnel. If it’s too easily accessible to most employees, the risk and suspicion of insider profiteering will not go away anytime soon.


Tags: NFL College Football

NFL Gambling Update: SuperContest consensus plays now 15-5 ATS YTD

10.05.2015     07:08 AM     Printer Friendly


Week 4's SuperContest consensus plays earned a profit for a fourth consecutive week. On the season, top 5 plays are now 15-5 ATS.

1. ARIZONA -7 vs. St. Louis - LOSS 
2. CAROLINA -3 at Tampa Bay - WIN 
3. NY GIANTS +5 vs. Buffalo - WIN 
4. JACKSONVILLE +9 vs. Indianapolis - WIN 
5. CINCINNATI -4 vs. Kansas City - WIN

Weekly Results  
Week 1: 5-0 
Week 2: 3-2 
Week 3: 3-2 
Week 4: 4-1 
Total: 15-5

NFL Gambling: SuperContest Week 4 consensus picks

10.04.2015     07:19 AM     View Original Blog
Below are the top consensus plays for Week 4 of the NFL SuperContest.

1. ARIZONA -7 vs. St. Louis 
2. CAROLINA -3 at Tampa Bay 
3. NY GIANTS +5 vs. Buffalo 
4. JACKSONVILLE +9 vs. Indianapolis 
5. CINCINNATI -4 vs. Kansas City

Least picked Sunday side: Indianapolis -9 vs. Jacksonville

Tags: NFL

College Football Handicapping: Golden Nugget Game of the Year vs. CRIS - Week 6

10.05.2015     07:03 AM     Printer Friendly

Week 6's breakdown of Golden Nugget's Game of the Year lines vs. CRIS's current numbers. It's a great tool to spot week-to-week changes in perception from oddsmakers and the betting markets. A couple sizeable discrepancies this week with Florida going from +4 to -10 at Missouri and Alabama jumping from -7.5 to -16.5 vs. Arkansas.

2015 College Football 2nd Half Kick Off List - Week 6
Golden Nugget GOY
CRIS Current
USC -19
USC -16.5
South Carolina
LSU -8
LSU -12.5
Georgia Tech
Clemson -3
Clemson -7.5
Alabama -7.5
Alabama -16.5
Missouri -10
Florida -4
Tennessee pk
Georgia -3
Miami (FL)
Florida State
Florida State -14.5
Florida State -10
Pittsburgh -6
Pittsburgh -8
Boise State
Colorado State
Boise State -12
Boise State -15
Kansas State
TCU -11
TCU -9
Texas (Dallas)
Oklahoma -6.5
Oklahoma -16.5
Oklahoma State
West Virginia
West Virginia -5
West Virginia -7
Wisconsin -1
Nebraska -1
Notre Dame
Notre Dame -14
Notre Dame -14.5

Tags: College Football Florida Gators Missouri Tigers Alabama Crimson Tide Arkansas Razorbacks SEC

NFL Gambling: SuperContest Week 4 consensus picks

10.04.2015     07:19 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
Below are the top consensus plays for Week 4 of the NFL SuperContest.

1. ARIZONA -7 vs. St. Louis 
2. CAROLINA -3 at Tampa Bay 
3. NY GIANTS +5 vs. Buffalo 
4. JACKSONVILLE +9 vs. Indianapolis 
5. CINCINNATI -4 vs. Kansas City

Least picked Sunday side: Indianapolis -9 vs. Jacksonville

Tags: NFL

College Football Handicapping: 2nd half Kick Off List - Week 5

10.02.2015     07:08 PM     Printer Friendly

To help you with your wagers today, below is a list of teams that receive the kick to start the second half.

2015 College Football 2nd Half Kick Off List - Week 5
Game #
Away Team
Home Team
Receive 2nd Half Kick
North Carolina
Georgia Tech
North Carolina
Penn State
Bowling Green
Ball State
Ball State
Appalachian State
Miami (OH)
Kent State
Miami (OH)
Iowa State
Iowa State
Michigan State
Michigan State
Florida International
NC State
NC State
West Virginia
Virginia Tech
Mississippi State
Texas A&M
Central Florida
Central Florida
Western Kentucky
Kansas State
Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State
Arizona State
Air Force
Boston College
Ohio State
Northern Illinois
Central Michigan
Northern Illinois
Texas Tech
Texas Tech
Boise State
Washington State
Washington State
San Jose State
San Jose State
Arkansas State
Arkansas State
Louisiana Tech
Middle Tennessee State
South Carolina
South Carolina
Eastern Michigan
Old Dominion
Old Dominion
East Carolina
East Carolina
North Texas
Southern Miss
Southern Miss
South Alabama
South Alabama
Georgia Southern
Georgia Southern
Florida State
Wake Forest
Florida State
Colorado State
Utah State
Colorado State
Notre Dame
New Mexico State
New Mexico
Fresno State
San Diego State

Tags: College Football

Sportsmemo's College Football In-Game Discussion - Week 5

10.02.2015     07:05 PM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
Don't miss Sportsmemo's Posting Forum College Football Week 5 in-game discussion. The Sportsmemo Handicappers and posting forum members share their thoughts, opinions, and second half wagers throughout the day. If you're not a forum member, it's free to sign up! All you need is a username and password. Come be a part of the WINNING action!

Tags: College Football

NFL Week 4 Betting Podcast with Sportsmemo Handicappers Rob Veno and Erin Rynning

10.02.2015     12:35 PM     Printer Friendly


Friday's Sportsmemo Podcast featured Sportsmemo Handicappers Rob Veno and Erin Rynning. Teddy and ER broke down the NFL Week 4 slate.

Today's segments 
Full Show

Rob Veno - NFL Every Game on the Board Part I

Erin Rynning - NFL Every Game on the Board Part II

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.

Tags: NFL Rob Veno Erin Rynning Andrew Lange

NFL Gambling Preview: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

10.02.2015     08:07 AM     Teddy Covers     Printer Friendly

Submitted by Teddy Covers blog entry.
Green Bay at San Francisco 
Sunday, 1:30 pm PT - FOX 
CRIS Opener:
Green Bay -7 O/U 47.5 
CRIS Current: Green Bay -8 O/U 48.5 
Recommendation: San Francisco

Sometimes, the appropriate betting move in the NFL is to hold your nose and bet on the team that nobody wants; a squad offering legitimate pointspread value.  That’s the case with the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

This is truly a dismal spot for the road favorite.  Green Bay faced divisional rival Chicago in their opener, beating up the Bears.  Then they faced a HUGE revenge game on Sunday Night against the Seahawks; a ‘Big Ticket’ winner for myself and my clients with another ATS cover.  And then the Packers enjoyed a third straight win and cover in a third straight big game, knocking off KC on Monday Night Football.  At 3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS, the Packers now fly across the country to take on a 49ers team that just got annihilated in back-2-back road tilts, losing by a combined score of 90-25.  Think Green Bay brings their ‘A’ game here?  I don’t!

The 49ers have played one previous home game this season.  They covered the spread by three touchdowns in that contest, a dominating win over a Vikings squad that hasn’t lost since.  The Niners have been trailing by margin early in each of their last two losses, unable to get Carlos Hyde going as the focal point of the offense.  But Green Bay can’t stop the run, ranked dead last in the NFL, allowing a full 5.0 yards per carry.  That’s a bad omen for any team facing a desperate foe in this pointspread range!  Look for San Fran to keep Aaron Rodgers off the field for extended stretches, grinding out yards and first downs on the ground.

Its surely worth noting that the 49ers said all the right things after last week’s debacle at Arizona.  Colin Kaepernick’s quote following his four interception performance took full responsibility: “I nullified all the efforts of every player on the field today."  Kaepernick has a stellar track record against Dom Capers defense, averaging more than 100 yards rushing in the last three meetings; games in which San Fran averaged 33 points per game.  If we see anything close to that level of offensive production on Sunday and we can expect a competitive game from start to finish.

Tags: NFL Green Bay Packers San Francisco 49ers Teddy Covers

NFL Gambling Alert: Indianapolis' Andrew Luck questionable vs. Jacksonville

10.02.2015     08:04 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
Indianapolis' Andrew Luck (shoulder) is currently listed as questionable for Sunday's divisional game vs. Jacksonville. Luck was reportedly "shut down" after a few throws in practice Thursday. Matt Hasselbeck, who is 40 years old and hasn't started a game since 2012, would likely be Luck's replacement should he sit. The Colts opened -9 but due to his status sportsbooks have taken the game off the board.

Tags: NFL Indianapolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars

College Football Betting Preview: Minnesota Golden Gophers at Northwestern Wildcats

10.02.2015     07:53 AM     Teddy Covers     Printer Friendly

Submitted by Teddy Covers blog entry.
Minnesota at Northwestern 
Saturday, 9 am PT - Big Ten 
CRIS Opener:
Northwestern -6 O/U 39.5 
CRIS Current: Northwestern -3.5 O/U 41 
Recommendation: Northwestern

All the technical trends point towards Minnesota in this ballgame.  The Gophers have been great underdogs in the Jerry Kill era; 10-2 ATS in their last dozen tries, the only two losses coming at TCU last year (in a game where Minnesota’s offensive line was riddled with injuries) and their bowl game against SEC East champs Missouri – two teams that are better than Northwestern.  The Gophers have covered on each of their last NINE visits to Evanston.  Meanwhile, Northwestern has been a pointspread disaster as home chalk, just 2-9 against the number in their last eleven tries.  No surprise, then, that the early money has poured in on Minnesota, driving the NW -6 opener down to the current four point spread.

But there’s one big problem blindly betting trends and angles like the ones presented above – they don’t factor in anything other than past pointspread history.  And whatever Minnesota was in the past – even as recently as their closer than expected loss to TCU in their season opener last month – the Gophers are not the same team right now.  Jerry Kill’s squad has never been able to develop quality depth during his five year tenure with the team, much like his predecessors Tim Brewster and Glen Mason.  That makes the current barrage of Gophers injuries a HUGE factor for this team moving forward.  And, of course, in the collegiate betting world, when the injuries aren’t hitting quarterbacks or big name skill position talent, the markets tend to underreact.

Minnesota’s entire secondary is a question mark for this game; in theory, the strength of their defense.    They’re unbelievably young on special teams.  Shannon Brooks fumbled twice on kick returns last week; punt returner Craig James has put the ball on the turf four times already this year.  Starting cornerbacks Briean Boddy-Calhoun and KiAnte Hardin and starting safety Antonio Johnson could all miss this game.  Safety Damarius Travis is out.  So is left tackle Ben Lauer, left guard Jon Christenson and starting tight end Duke Anyawu and backup tight end Lincoln Plesk.  Middle linebacker Cody Poock has bruised ribs, no sure thing to suit up.  For a team that lacks both depth and offensive firepower, this barrage of injuries has the potential to be devastating.  Kill: “We’ve been injuries”

Northwestern isn’t fully healthy either, banged up following their closer than expected win over Ball State last Saturday.  But this defense is dominant; holding the likes of Stanford and Duke to their lowest point totals and yardage totals of the season.  Look for redshirt frosh QB Clayton Thomas to make a handful of big plays against the battered Gophers secondary, allowing Northwestern to emerge victorious by a touchdown or more.

Tags: College Football Minnesota Golden Gophers Northwestern Wildcats Big Ten Teddy Covers

College Football Handicapping: Week 5 totals get whacked under due to weather

10.02.2015     07:48 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
Below is a list of all of the East Coast college football games expected to be impacted by rain and wind. The weather forecast is courtesy of Sports Options and is obviously subject to change.

#107 Temple at Charlotte 
CRIS Opener: 48 
CRIS Current: 43.5 

#111 North Carolina at Georgia Tech 
CRIS Opener: 62.5 
CRIS Current: 61 

#113 Army at Penn State 
CRIS Opener: 47 
CRIS Current: 47 

#119 Wyoming at Appalachian State 
CRIS Opener: 56 
CRIS Current: 52.5 

#133 Louisville at NC State 
CRIS Opener: 54 
CRIS Current: N/L (injury) 

#139 Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech 
CRIS Opener: 52 
CRIS Current: 46.5 

#157 Air Force at Navy 
CRIS Opener: 57.5 
CRIS Current: 52 

#159 Alabama at Georgia 
CRIS Opener: 54 
CRIS Current: 52.5 

#163 Boston College at Duke 
CRIS Opener: 41 
CRIS Current: 37.5 

#191 Old Dominion at Marshall 
CRIS Opener: 54 
CRIS Current: 53 

#193 Arkansas at Tennessee 
CRIS Opener: 56 
CRIS Current: 54.5 

#203 Florida State at Wake Forest 
CRIS Opener: 45.5 
CRIS Current: 44 

#211 Notre Dame at Clemson 
CRIS Opener: 53 
CRIS Current: 52 

Tags: College Football

Sportsmemo's College Football Every Game on the Board Betting Podcast 10-1-2015

10.01.2015     10:47 AM     Printer Friendly


Here's our Week 5 College Football Every Game on the Board Podcast. Handicappers Alex B. Smith, Ian Cameron, Drew Martin, and Teddy Covers joined host Andrew Lange to break down this weekend's slate from a betting perspective.

Today's segments 
Alex B. Smith - College Football Every Game on the Board Part I (103-131)

Drew Martin - College Football Every Game on the Board Part II (133-161)

Ian Cameron - College Football Every Game on the Board Part III (163-189)

Teddy Covers - College Football Every Game on the Board Part IV (191-218)

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

Tags: College Football Alex B. Smith Ian Cameron Drew Martin Teddy Covers Andrew Lange

College Football Betting Preview: Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Clemson Tigers

10.01.2015     07:48 AM     Rob Veno     Printer Friendly

Submitted by Rob Veno blog entry.
Notre Dame at Clemson 
Saturday, 5 pm PT - ABC 
CRIS Opener:
Clemson -1.5 O/U 53 
CRIS Current: Clemson pk O/U 54 
Recommendation: Clemson

It’s possible that bad weather could take center stage and be the dominant factor in many games along the East Coast this weekend. Current projections call for four consecutive days of rain and varying wind conditions from site to site. Here in Clemson, South Carolina the expected weather concern is rain only but with four straight days of wet weather on Memorial Stadium’s grass surface, you have to handicap how that helps or hinders the fundamentals. Situationally this is a nice spot for Clemson which had two full weeks to prepare for the Fighting Irish but Notre Dame is far more battle tested with their opponent’ average power rating being over 9.5 points stronger than Clemson’s. This game could have major College Football Playoff implications especially for Clemson since this is one of what looks to be two remaining games versus top 15-type teams. With situational angles signaling an advantage to the home team Tigers, let’s look at the fundamentals.

Each of these teams has their foundation in run-oriented spread principles. Clemson first-year co-OCs Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott, who were promoted last December, are now in charge of ex-OC Chad Morris’s up-tempo, power spread which has run the ball 40+ times in all three games this season. Notre Dame’s stellar run stuffing defensive front represents the toughest wall Clemson’s ground game has faced this season. At only 4.4 yards per carry thus far against a schedule that included Wofford and Appalachian State as two of its three opponents, it seems fair to give Notre Dame’s defense the edge in this area but it should be noted that right before their bye week, Clemson gained 5.2 ypc against a pretty stout Louisville front seven.

Having an extra week to work on things could help but the most significant hurdle Clemson has to climb is the continued absence of key senior center Ryan Norton who will not play for the third straight week. The passing game has to factor in here for Clemson since the obvious weakness to Notre Dame’s defense is the secondary but they’ll need the “good” quarterback Deshaun Watson to show up (73.5% completions) and not the one who has thrown four picks in his last two games (2 each vs. Appalachian State and Louisville).  Through three games, the Tigers do have six touchdown passes of 24 yards or more and that explosiveness needs to show up here.

Brian Kelly’s team is getting used to gutting opponents with their ground game which is averaging 284.8 ypg and 6.7 ypc. But just like Clemson’s rushing offense, this will by far and away be the best run stopping unit the Irish have faced. Clemson’s run defense numbers could be a bit skewed since Appalachian State is the only real good rush offense they’ve faced but they’re still a full notch above anything ND has seen. This is a critical matchup as the current immoveable object (Clemson allowing 2.1 ypc) meets the irresistible force featuring C.J. Prosise (8.1 ypc). Unlike Clemson with Watson, the threat of the QB run does not exist for Notre Dame but the home run speed of Prosise and true freshman Josh Adams once they get through a hole is very dangerous. The passing game with pocket style sophomore DeShone Kizer continues to be a strength which can be attributed to the third stringers’ poise and accuracy thus far as well as the outstanding receiving corps headlined by pro prospect Will Fuller (113.5 rec ypg). Clemson’s secondary is loaded and they’ve given up an amazingly small 43.2% completions but they’ll be severely tested here by ND’s legitimate WR trio containing all upperclassmen.

We’ve yet to see the type of consistent explosiveness out of Clemson that’s become expected but in their first three games some of that has got to be due to the opening game losses of top receiver Mike Williams and Norton. There has been some real progress in the developing of threats at running back and wideout as sophomore Wayne Gallman trampled over Louisville in workhorse style and highly touted true freshman Ray-Ray McCloud whose presence is now creating other exploitable matchups for the Tigers.

In a game like this where the field conditions are yet unknown but projected to be on the poor side and the fundamentals have more questions than clear advantages, it’s tough to have any real conviction in a play. There’s no doubt Clemson is in a nice situational spot and though not thoroughly proven yet, they have the passing game weapons necessary to successfully attack Notre Dame. ND’s previous look at Georgia Tech’s run threat quarterback Justin Thomas could help against Watson but in the end, I’m just not sold enough on the Fighting Irish defense. And, although not tested by this caliber of offense thus far, the feeling here is that the Tiger’s defense with the extra week to prepare will combine that factor with their extremely talented personnel to stifle Notre Dame enough to get this win. My power ratings show Clemson to be -2.5 so they’re suggesting a thin layer of value with the host.

Tags: College Football Notre Dame Fighting Irish Clemson Tigers ACC Rob Veno

College Football Gambling: Bettors react to news of Hurricane Joaquin

10.01.2015     07:09 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
You'll notice that with conference games starting and Hurricane Joaquin knocking on the door of the East Coast, 17 games are totaled in 40's this weekend. According to reports heavy rain and wind is expected from South Carolina to Maine. The Boston College-Duke game for example was bet down from 41 to 36.5. Rain is obviously in the forecast but winds approaching 20 mph is likely the main reason for the line move.

Tags: College Football Duke Blue Devils Boston College Eagles ACC

College Football Betting Preview: Arkansas Razorbacks at Tennessee Volunteers

09.30.2015     02:41 PM     Drew Martin     Printer Friendly

Submitted by Drew Martin blog entry.
Arkansas at Tennessee 
Saturday, 4 pm PT - ESPN2 
CRIS Opener:
Tennessee - 6.5 O/U 56 
CRIS Current: Tennessee -6.5 O/U 56 
Recommendation: Tennessee 
This cross division SEC matchup pins two teams desperately needing a conference win.  The Razorbacks, who were originally lined at 8.5 regular season wins, have dropped three in a row, including out of conference losses to Toledo and Texas Tech. Note that they still have upcoming games at Alabama, at LSU, and at Ole Miss. The Volunteers are currently 2-2 with an overtime loss as well last week’s one-point collapse in Gainesville. Both teams have arguably played well enough to be 7-1 combined, instead, reaching the postseason is far from guaranteed.

The Volunteers have yet to face a team that runs an offensive scheme similar to that of the Razorbacks. Arkansas is a tough hard nosed running team that leans on their offensive line to control clock. They feature multiple offensive linemen that have a shot to play at the next level, although the run game hasn’t been as dominant as projected. Last season, Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins split carries and as a result were fresh and effective deep into games. With Williams out for the season, Collins has been the team’s primary ball carrier and while he’s performed (502 yards, 5.84 ypc), Rawleigh Williams III hasn’t (3.82 ypc) leaving the Razorback less dynamic in the run game thus far. Quarterback Brandon Allen has played well with over 1,100 yards, 7 touchdowns, and only 3 interceptions.  The problem for Arkansas’ offense has not been moving the football (7.0 ypp, 12th nationally) it’s been capitalizing in the red zone. In 18 trips inside the 20, UA has scored touchdowns only eight times and scored points 67% of the time which is one of the worst rates in college football. Those struggles, along with Tennessee’s ability to stop the run now that defensive tackle Danny O’Brien has returned (1 sack, 1 TFL vs. Florida) indicate that Arkansas won’t have an easy time putting points on the board.

My biggest problem with Arkansas however is its defense. There are some alarming red flag-type numbers to be aware of. Three weeks ago, Toledo hit them up for 237 yards through the air which while not horrible, was a precursor of things to come. Both Texas Tech and Texas A&M had no trouble against UA's secondary with 673 yards combined at well over 10 yards per pass. Tennessee's passing numbers don't look all that impressive but it's had more to do with the in-game situations rather than their capabilities. The Vols stuck to the ground with big leads against Bowling Green and Western Carolina and were wise not to test Florida's elite level secondary. Tennessee has weapons at the receiver position and will assuredly unleash them against Arkansas' soft secondary.

It was no doubt a tough pill to swallow having coughed up a win in the Swamp but Arkansas is equally if not more defeated having lost three straight including last week’s OT loss vs. Texas A&M. I think the in-game matchups like stopping the run and success through the air favor the home side and I will lay the -6.5.

Tags: College Football Arkansas Razorbacks Tennessee Volunteers SEC Drew Martin

College Football Betting Preview: West Virginia Mountaineers at Oklahoma Sooners

09.30.2015     01:53 PM     ICC     Printer Friendly

Submitted by ICC blog entry.
West Virginia at Oklahoma 
Saturday, 9 am PT - FS-1 
CRIS Opener:
Oklahoma -7.5 O/U 61 
CRIS Current: Oklahoma -7 O/U 59 
Recommendation: West Virginia

West Virginia enters this game with a 3-0 SU and ATS record although one could argue its quality of competition was lacking as they faced Georgia Southern, Liberty, and a Maryland team with a slew of issues. However, the fact remains that West Virginia has looked very sound on both sides of the football. Quarterback Skyler Howard, a dual threat QB, has grasped West Virginia’s offensive system quickly and been very effective in the first three games averaging over 300 passing with 69% completions and a strong 9-1 TD-to-INT ratio. WVU also has a pair of strong backs in Rushel Shell and Wendell Smallwood and a solid receiving corps with three different receivers with double digits in receptions and over 100 receiving yards led by Shelton Gibson.

Oklahoma’s defense hasn’t exactly put up a lot of resistance early in the season. In their two tougher games against better offenses, the Sooners yielded 24 points to Tennessee and were torched by Tulsa for 38 points on over 600 total yards and they gave up over 8 yards per pass and more than 4 yards per rush. Oklahoma has the advantage of a bye week entering this game but it is worth noting the Sooners stumbled out of their bye week last season losing outright as favorites against TCU. OU’s offense certainly has looked stronger as quarterback Baker Mayfield continues to get more comfortable running Lincoln Riley’s “Air Raid” offense. However, Mayfield has faced a slate of very weak defenses to this point and even their offensive showing in a comeback OT win against Tennessee doesn’t look as strong after the Vols coughed up another big lead in last week’s loss at Florida. We don’t know exactly how strong Dana Holgorsen’s stop unit is just yet but my preseason projection had it as the strength of the team with the potential to be above average by Big XII standards. There as positive signs as they held their two FBS opponents to a combined 6 points and 275 total yards per game while winning those games by a combined score of 89-6 and shattering the pointspread by a combined 50 points. It goes without saying that taking on Oklahoma on the road will be a much tougher challenge but the early season domination suggests potential.

West Virginia actually outgained Oklahoma 513-510 in total yards when these teams met last season despite the Sooners emerging with a 45-33 win. It was a one-score game well into the third quarter but three turnovers by the Mountaineers proved costly. Even with the change in venue, I expect another close game and one in which the underdog can not only cash but potentially win outright.

Tags: College Football West Virginia Mountaineers Oklahoma Sooners Big XII Ian Cameron

College Football Betting Podcast 9-30-2015 with Sportsmemo Handicappers Drew Martin and Erin Rynning

09.30.2015     11:39 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
Wednesday's Sportsmemo Podcast featured Sportsmemo Handicapper Drew Martin and Erin Rynning. Drew, ER, and host Andrew Lange provided a breakdown of the SEC and the Big Ten.

Today's segments 
Full Show

Drew Martin - SEC Report

Erin Rynning - Big Ten Report

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.

Tags: College Football SEC Big Ten Drew Martin Erin Rynning Andrew Lange

College Football Betting Preview: Alabama Crimson Tide at Georgia Bulldogs

09.30.2015     10:23 AM     Otto Sports     Printer Friendly

Submitted by Otto Sports blog entry.
Alabama at Georgia 
Saturday, 12:30 pm PT - CBS 
CRIS Opener:
Georgia -2.5 O/U 54 
CRIS Current: Georgia -2.5 O/U 54.5 
Recommendation: Over

Georgia's defense hasn't been tested at all this season with three games against the pedestrian offenses of UL-Monroe, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina. Keep in mind, the Bulldogs have replaced five of their front seven from a year ago. And last year's defense didn't exactly hold up well against the better offenses of the SEC. For starters, they didn't play Mississippi State and Alabama who ranked second and fourth respectively in SEC play in terms of total offense. The did shut down Auburn but the game was somewhat of an aberration as the Tigers coughed up the football three times. Against South Carolina, who ranked third, Georgia allowed 6.21 yards per play and 38 points. Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, and Kentucky all topped 30+ points as well.

Dating back to last season, we've seen Alabama's defense struggle against dynamic offenses. Auburn hung 44 points and 630 yards and Ohio State moved the ball practically at will en route to a 42-35 bowl win. And two weeks ago, Ole Miss churned out 6.66 yards per play in its 43-37 win over the Crimson Tide. Georgia isn't your typical spread team but they've talked all season about playing at a faster clip. The stats don't show it in large part because of substantial leads in all four games. But you get the sense that the Dawgs know the way to move the ball against Alabama is to be balanced and attack. Nick Chubb probably isn't going to run wild in this game which isn't a bad thing for over bettors. And if Alabama does have a weakness defensively, it's been against the pass.

Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin takes a lot of heat but the offense has been solid under his watch. The Tide rolled up 500 yards of offense each of their first three games before taking their foot off the pedal in last week's blowout win over UL-Monroe. Yes, a lot of pieces are missing from last year's offense, but the system still works and moving the football shouldn't be a major issue so long as they avoid turnovers.

This is no longer the SEC days of old where 17-14 was a common occurrence. Both of these squads can move the football and have game breaking ability as well as defensive playmakers. With the pace projected to be reasonably fast, we'll look over the total.

Tags: College Football Alabama Crimson Tide Georgia Bulldogs SEC OTTO Sports

MLB Handicapper Free Play: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants

09.30.2015     08:51 AM     Otto Sports     Printer Friendly

Submitted by Otto Sports blog entry.
Los Angeles (Bolsinger) at San Francisco (Leake) -128 O/U 7 
Recommendation: San Francisco

Just missed out on a 15 cent steam move but still value as we step in with and fade the Los Angeles Dodgers following last night's NL West clinching victory over the Giants. The Dodgers got yet another gem from Clayton Kershaw and like all teams, celebrated following the victory. Tonight, it wouldn't surprise me to see various key players rest especially since the teams hasn't had an off day since September 17. And it's not like the Dodgers have been going all out to begin with having been in control of the division for much of the season and thus dropping eight of their last 11. They send Mike Bolsinger to the hill who hasn't been right since rejoining the rotation a month ago. In four starts he's allowed seven home runs and owns a dismal 13-12 K-to-BB ratio. And despite a .259 BABIP during that span, his ERA sits at 6.88. Mike Leake hasn't been much better with a 4.86 ERA since joining the Giants back in August. But pitching at home against a potentially light lineup, I give him a good shot at a quality start. Looks like a decent spot to step in and play the home favorite.

Tags: MLB Los Angeles Dodgers San Francisco Giants OTTO Sports

College Football Handicapping: Tennessee seeks better offensive balance

09.30.2015     07:39 AM     Printer Friendly blog entry.
Through four games, Tennessee's run/pass ratio is extremely lopsided with 209 rush attempts to only 102 pass attempts. A lot of that was dictated by the opposition as the Vols had big leads against Bowling Green and Western Carolina and were rightfully timid to challenge Florida's top-tier secondary. Saturday would serve as a good opportunity to get the passing game going based on Arkansas's defensive numbers. Against Texas Tech, the Razorbacks allowed 315 yards at 10.2 yards per attempt. There were similar struggles against Texas A&M with the Aggies throwing for 358 yards at a staggering 12.8 yards per attempt.

"Every game has a story to it," DeBord said Tuesday. "The story of that game was we were running the ball very effectively. There were times I could have probably gone to the passing game, but when the running game’s going good, stay with the running game."

"We want to be able to throw the ball more down the field," Jones said. "That's really a big part of us offensively. ... We'll continue to work on our throw game."

Tags: College Football Tennessee Volunteers Arkansas Razorbacks SEC

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