Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday - NBA Free Pick 1/31/11

Today, I like the Washington Wizards getting +10 (available at Matchbook) visiting Dallas.  Some nice points (readers know I love double-digit points in hoops) for a visiting dog -- with the public potentially overvaluing a strong Dallas team and undervaluing a weak Washington team.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday - Pro Bowl & Line Value 1/30/11

I'm a softy for All-Star Games -- and today is the NFL Pro Bowl, played in Hawaii, Sunday evening, ET.  It is always so interesting to me how the sportsbooks' lines are so "sharp."  But, after all, they are in the business of making money.  On the other hand, they need to balance risk so that they are not too heavy on one side or the other.  They may sometimes lean lines to take advantage of public sentiment, but they also need to manage risk.

The line for the Pro Bowl opened with the NFC favored by 1 to 1.5 points and the total points scored set at 62.5 to 63.  This total is high for regular NFL games, but this is an end-of-season all-star game, where hard-hitting defense will be kept to a minimum.

A quick scan of recent Pro Bowl scores shows that the totals (over/under) for the NFL's All-Star game hovers right around the opening total.  Interestingly, many bettors love scoring -- and note some scores like last year's total of 75 -- or 2004 where the total surpassed 100 points!  As a result, public sentiment is on the "over" -- and has driven the line up a bit, which does give value for the under.  I like the under.  If you want a side, I lean to the NFC.

PS:  Under moved up to 64 at the time of this post; and at 2pm ET, is at 66; I will be waiting on this one...

515pm ET = 66.5

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sat Free Pick 1/29/11

I like Georgetown for several reasons: public sentiment, visiting dog getting decent [5] points, andbig-time game magnifies the potential value.

(Pardon the typos earlier today; blogged quickly from a smartphone).

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fri - Not much sports action 1/28/11

There's not much sports action tonight -- especially with the NHL on its All-Star Break. There's just a tiny amount of college basketball action tonight, with a loaded Saturday on-deck for tomorrow.

In the NBA, I lean to Cleveland, getting +9.5 as a home dog.  Public sentiment is on ANY team against Cleveland right now.  Cleveland is the only NBA team to still have single-digit wins (just 8!) -- but I do not love this play -- as they not only have the worst record in the NBA, they also have the worst record ATS!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thu Free Pick 1/27/11 - NBA

Early in the season, Miami was overvalued.  Then, their slow start led to some value on the Heat.  I feel like the market has them about right -- but think the Knicks are slightly overvalued now.  I do not think that at season's end, they will be amongst the league leaders ATS as they are now on's NBA statistics.  I like Miami -3, visiting the Knicks.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wed, 1/26/11, Free Pick - NCAAB

After last night's win ATS (against the spread) on a "visiting dog getting double-digit points" -- we're going "back to the well" in college hoops again. This time, we'll take George Washington getting +13 points vs. Xavier.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday, 1/25/11 Free Pick - NCAA Hoops

In today's sports betting action, I like a play in college basketball. The Seton Hall-Syracuse game is a big game, with visiting Seton hall getting double-digit points. Public sentiment is on Syracuse, so there is contrarian value on the visitors plus the big points. Based on research I have done, it appears that currently: visitors are undervalued - compared to home teams in NCAA Hoops, at least against the spread.

Super Bowl Opening Line Info

The Super Bowl won't be played for almost two weeks, but betting has already started on the Packers-Steelers match-up. And, betting has already been volatile.

The line opened near pick'em -- oddsmakers leaning the odds to Green Bay slightly. The line then moved all the way up to GB -2, up to -3 -- before settling at GB -2.5. I haven't decided for sure which way I will go for the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh seems better in many statistical categories, but Green Bay performed better against quality opponents.

Please check out these two articles for more information on the line movement:

Monday, January 24, 2011

NHL -- 1/24/11

Had a nice day in the NFL yesterday. Will have some thoughts on the Super Bowl tomorrow.

Tonight, I like the LA Kings in a late game. Public sentiment on the Bruins is giving us some value on the LA Kings. The NHL is a moneyline sport, and we're getting a bit of line value on the change in moneyline odds.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

NFL Conference Championships 1/22/11

In this weekend's games, I am trying to balance factors from a few areas. From my book (see earlier post today), I use an academic and scientific approach to study certain factors and find factors that yield an edge with statistical significance. Some of these factors seem stronger during the NFL playoffs. I also try to consider public sentiment (as always), and other interesting angles such as match-ups and/or traditional handicapping methods.

In the AFC game, I view the Jets as a "Seattle-plus." You may recall that Seattle snuck into the playoffs -- and after a huge win against the Saints -- were beaten fairly easily by a decent (but not great) Chicago Bear squad. The Jets had a good regular season (better in the first half) -- and coasted into the playoffs. The Jets got by an aging Colts team and then played a huge "revenge game" against bitter division rival, the Patriots (who crushed them a few weeks earlier).

Can the Jets play yet another motivated game against the Steelers on the road? The Jets and coach Rex Ryan are generating a lot of media and fan interest. Perhaps the Jets are really that good -- and can sweep a third week in a row against the likes of the Colts, Patriots, and Steelers. But I am not buying the hype -- and am taking the Steelers and giving the -3.5 points.

On the NFC side, this is a great game and a huge NFC North divisional match-up. I just believe -- and the numbers back me up - that the Packers are superior on both sides of the ball. The Bears quietly put together a better record, but Aaron Rodgers has developed into an elite QB who avoids hurting his team. Games are often decided by mistakes, and I like this factor (avoiding mistakes) that one of my favorite blogs talks about a lot. I don't like giving this many points (-3.5), but will take Green Bay.

NFL Betting Systems -- Playoffs

I recently noticed that one of my more popular blog posts -- is the mention about my book on "NFL Betting Systems," available at Amazon. The post is at this link:

In the book, I collaborated with SportsInsights and used an academic approach to study long-term data and NFL betting systems. There are some variations and methods that seemed to work even better for the NFL playoffs.

With tomorrow's NFL Conference Championships coming up fast, I wanted to highlight some indicators and betting systems that I use for the NFL Playoffs:
  • As always, I look at public sentiment.
  • I also weigh public opinion against the media and "big" stories that can sway the public and create value.
  • NFL regular season performance can, of course, tell a lot about how strong a team really is: how good is the defense, how have they done against quality opponents?
  • Line movement and live value can be a good indicator. Sometimes, we grab the line value, and sometimes, on small line movements, we like to follow what the syndicates may be doing.
The parity in today's NFL makes for some interesting results. Just think of the Jets taking out the Patriots after getting whipped just a few weeks earlier!

I will post my NFL picks later today.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Nice WSJ article on the NFL

Below is some analysis showing the importance of first down in each series.

Not much sports betting action today; selectivity is a good thing... The "vig" is hard enough to overcome. I will post my NFL picks on Saturday.

Sunday's NFL Conference Championship games could be among the most-watched football games in the history of the galaxy. Some of the most defining and important plays of the game, though, will come at points in the telecast when many of us will be fetching a fresh beer: first and 10 at the beginning of a new drive.

You won't see many of these plays in the highlights. More often than not it's a handoff that, on average, goes for just over four yards. But according to an exhaustive study of NFL play data conducted by Yale professor Cade Massey, what happens on first and 10 in an NFL game is a powerful indicator of who will win.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

NHL Tonight -- Islanders

I like the Islanders tonight.

I saw this blog post at SportsInsights and agree that the Islanders are a solid value play based on underwhelming public sentiment on the Islanders. The New York Islanders are actually 5-4-1 in their last 10 games -- and look like some good value.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NBA Tonight - Philly

Was scanning the NBA numbers -- and I like Philly tonight. As you may know, I try to look at the sports gambling world from a few angles.
  • I like this visiting dog getting just under +10 points. Currently, the 76ers are generally available at +9
  • At, Philly remains an undervalued team, with one of the best records against-the-spread.
  • Orlando is having a good year, but the point spread really evens things out.
  • At another of my favorite sites, SportsInsights, this match-up is seeing heavy betting action and Philly is potentially a contrarian value with public sentiment on the "better team."
Visit regularly for more free picks.

Gambling or Investing?

Here is another article related to the 60 Minutes segment on Billy Walters this past Sunday - that I mentioned here. I have interests in investing -- and love the analogies between investing and the sports betting world. I believe that similar approaches (academic, professional, and analytical methods) can yield positive results. Please check out this excerpt from the Pragmatic Capitalist; the entire link is below.

As a society we have been conditioned to believe that there is a difference between gambling and investing. Of course, this partially true, however, the degree to which we “invest” and “gamble” is smaller than most are likely comfortable admitting. The majority of us have been conditioned to believe that buying a share of Bank of America is vastly different from placing a bet at a roulette table. A closer inspection of “investing” and “gambling” shows that the two are closer than the Wall Street sales machine would like you to believe.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

March Madness Brackets Coming Soon

We like this site, Bracket Science, that specializes in March Madness bracket pools and does some good analytical work. We'll have info on college basketball and value -- but we also love this site's work and research. Here's an excerpt from their recent newsletter:

Duke and Syracuse proved they could be beaten—and the remaining three undefeated teams showed vulnerabilities of their own. So who has the inside track to win the 2011 tourney? Find out at

CONTENDER vs. PRETENDER: There are certain attributes that separate overachieving high seeds from underachievers. Efficiency numbers are important. So is protecting the ball. It also helps to have an All-American. Find out how to pick one and two seed overperformers. Read “Pretender/Contender.”

ANATOMY OF AN UPSET: Two-thirds of tourney games involve underdogs taking on favorites at least four seed positions better than them. Just one in five of these mismatches are won by the Cinderella. There are three basic guidelines that can help you pick 33 percent of upsets right and advanced round-by-round rules that can boost your upset-spotting success rate above 50 percent.
We added this site to our favorite links.

Monday, January 17, 2011

CBS & "60 Minutes" on Sports Betting & Billy Walters

"Sports gambling" and "sports betting" - have always had a "dark side" associated to it. Over recent years, however, there have been press mentions about:
  • "sports investing" (contrarian value) in the sports betting arena -- as well as
  • a few professional gamblers and/or syndicates that win over the long term.
Many sports fans place occasional small and casual bets on sporting events. As in financial trading and many other professions, the vast majority of people end up losing money -- but a small minority have been successful. Our approaches (contrarian methods combined from multiple analytical factors) have proven to add value to handicapping methods. In the link below, CBS and 60 Minutes have a segment on Billy Walters, one of the most successful sports bettors ever. The full link is below the excerpt:

(CBS) When it comes to gambling, everybody knows the house has the advantage. But there are some high rollers who consistently win, and it's hard to find anyone better at winning than Billy Walters.

He bets on football and basketball, is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and has been so successful that many Las Vegas bookmakers are afraid to even take his bets.

Walters has been almost as elusive as Howard Hughes, avoiding publicity, reluctant to reveal his secrets.;segmentTitle

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday - a look at the NFL & NBA

Yesterday's Steelers game was a classic -- and that kind of "randomness" that decides games is what makes sports fun -- but is also a reason why sports betting and gambling is not a sure thing. The game could have gone either way -- especially against the spread. We just try to put the numbers and probabilities on our side.

In today's NFL playoff games, we already mentioned that we like the Patriots. In the other NFL game, we think it is interesting how the media and public suddenly likes Seattle's "Cinderella story." We lean to Chicago - and love them at home - but we don't like giving up the -10 points. Value is all about public perception, and we think Seattle has captured the attention of sports fans with their win over the Saints last week. In addition, power rankings (mentioned previously) favor the Bears.

It's a light day in the NBA, but the LA Clipper-LA Laker game caught our eye. The Lakers are having a great season -- but we often study stats at Covers (especially "against the spread" stats, to get a handle on over/undervaluation) -- and the Lakers have been a public team (overvalued) all season.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

NFL this weekend 1/15/11

I like New England and Pittsburgh this weekend in the NFL... I think that New England is an absolute "monster" this year and that the Jets earned some respect by beating an aging Indy last week. This "respect" potentially evened out the "bubble of overvaluation" surrounding Tom Brady's Patriots.

Pittsburgh also looks like a good play, based on public sentiment, and line value.

Below are some interesting links that you may find useful at SportsInsights.

SportsInsights NFL Marketwatch column

I like this set of power ratings they worked up...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

NFL Playoffs: Jets & GB

I like the Jets & Green Bay this weekend. I lean to Seattle and Baltimore -- but those are just leans. New Orleans scares me because they may have just had championship "laziness" and KC could have snuck in under the radar (and public perception leads to value).

I like these power ratings by SportsInsights:

In particular, there seems to be good value on the Jets because they have a higher power ranking AND are underdogs in this match-up.

Green Bay has a monster and under-rated defense. They will be tested by Philly's O (Vick!) and Philly's NFL's-best running game -- but defense is defense.

2011 BCS Championship

I like Oregon for a few reasons. Attached are some links that I like...