The Sports Bookie Blog

Best Betting Action This Week

December 30th, 2008

Great American Sports Bets for the weekYou have now entered Sports Betting Shangri-La. This week is going to be absolutely stellar for handicappers; the Rose Bowl and the Orange Bowl are on tap, along with the NHL Winter Classic. But wait, there’s more: We now have the four NFL Wild-Card matchups all set. Let’s add the best of those games and put some other fresh produce on the shelf for this week’s Top 5 list (all times Eastern; for current lines, visit the Bodog online sportsbook).

1. NFL: Indianapolis at San Diego (Saturday, 8:00 p.m.)

Both these teams looked pretty shaky to start the season, but the Colts (12-4 SU, 8-7-1 ATS) won their last nine in a row at 5-3-1 ATS, while the Chargers (8-8 SU, 7-8-1 ATS) rattled off four straight at 3-1 ATS to steal the AFC West title from Denver. Indianapolis was able to rest its starters for most of the team’s 23-0 blanking of the equally uncaring Titans (-3). The Chargers didn’t have the same luxury; that might cost them this week, as RB LaDanian Tomlinson told NBC after beating the Broncos that he suffered a strained abdominal muscle.

2. NCAAF: Utah vs. Alabama (Friday, 1:00 p.m.)

The Sugar Bowl features the lone surviving undefeated team in the FBS, the 12-0 Utes (7-3-1 ATS). They meet a Crimson Tide club (12-1 SU, 9-4 ATS) that was undefeated until the season finale against Florida. The Utes are getting 10 points at the Superdome in front of what should be a partisan crowd of Tide supporters. However, this is a very good Utah squad with a stud QB in Brian Johnson (24 TDs, nine INTs) and exquisite special teams. The Utes padded their resume this year with victories over Oregon State, BYU and TCU.

3. NFL: Philadelphia at Minnesota (Sunday, 4:30 p.m.)

The Vikings (10-6 SU, 6-10 ATS) don’t do anything the easy way. They grounded out a 20-19 victory over the Giants (+7) to claim the NFC North title on the final day. Now they have to deal with the Eagles (9-6-1 SU, 10-6 ATS), who steamrolled over Dallas 44-6 to earn a Wild Card and cash in as 2-point home faves. The Philadelphia defense returned two fumble recoveries for touchdowns, picked off Tony Romo once and messed up his ribs for good measure. Minnesota has the fourth-worst pass protection in the league with 43 sacks allowed – one fewer than the Eagles.

4. NBA: Boston at N.Y. Knicks (Sunday, 6:00 p.m.)

Boston’s 19-game winning streak came crashing to a thud on the West Coast with losses to the Lakers (-2) and the Warriors (+11). But the Celtics let out their frustrations in a 108-63 revolt against the Kings (+12.5). The C’s remain the top team in the NBA at 28-4 (18-14 ATS), while the Knicks have fallen into their familiar position in the Atlantic basement at 11-18 (15-14 ATS). Blame for their current six-game losing streak is falling on New York’s long-term vision to clear salary cap room for a potential LeBron James signing in 2010. The Knicks are 4-12 SU (but 9-7 ATS) since dealing Zach Randolph to the Clippers.

5. NCAAB: No. 11 Michigan State at No. 23 Minnesota (Wednesday, 12:00 p.m.)

The Spartans are 9-2 SU and 4-4 ATS to start the season strong on the AP poll, but Ken Pomeroy’s advanced stats tell a different tale. The leading stathead in college hoops has Michigan State ranked No. 42 in Division I, with the No. 76-ranked defense. Pomeroy has the undefeated Golden Gophers (11-0 SU, 4-2-1 ATS) even lower at No. 48 overall, dragged down by the No. 79 defense in the nation. The Spartans have played the tougher schedule up to this point, with the two losses coming to Maryland (+7.5) and North Carolina (-10).

Honorable Mentions

NFL: Baltimore at Miami (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)
NCAAF: Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh (Wednesday, 2:00 p.m.)
NBA: Miami at Orlando (Friday, 7:00 p.m.)
NCAAB: No. 18 Villanova at Marquette (Thursday, 2:30 p.m.)
NHL: Boston at Pittsburgh (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.)
MMA: Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic vs. Hong Man Choi, K-1 Premium Dynamite!! (Wednesday, PPV at 2:00 a.m. from Japan)

Visit Bodog for a look around!For all the latest betting lines check out Bodog Sports. For more on this popular American sports betting site, read the latest Review of Bodog Sports at BookieLabRat.com or suss out what the team at GoonersGuide.com thinks of Bodog Online Sportsbook.

>>Compare the top 3 online sportsbooks for Amercian sports betting 

Manchester Utd favourites to win Premier League

December 30th, 2008

Manchester United have been shortened from 6/4 to 11/8 favourites (PaddyPower) to win the Premier League title following their hard-fought 1-0 win over Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on Monday night reports the Gooners Guide to Betting.

United dominated for most of the game and missed a host of chances before Dimitar Berbatov blasted home the winner in the 69th minute. The result means Sir Alex Ferguson’s men now trail Liverpool by seven points and Chelsea by four in the race for the title but have two games in hand.

Chelsea are 2/1 second favourites (VCBet) with Liverpool available at 9/4 (BetFred) despite being top. Arsenal are 33/1 (Bet365) shots with Aston Villa 66/1. (Bet365)

RELATED LINK :
Get the latest Premier League Live Odds Quotes at Bookie Lab Rat.

2008 – 2009 College Bowl Preview

December 20th, 2008

Jim Tressel and the Fiesta BowlWho says we need a college football playoff system? Thanks to millions of dollars in corporate sponsorship, we have two new bowl games to bet on this year, bringing the total to 34. That’s more than double what any namby-pamby eight-team elimination format would provide.

This football feast comes at just the right time. The softest lines come at the start of the season and at bowl time, when teams from different conferences clash. The lines are even softer in the five major bowl games as the betting public floods the market with cash. We’ll get to those five games in a moment. First, let’s consider the merits of some of these lesser bowl matchups.

The minor bowl games are extra-special betting occasions because they feature teams from the mid-major and low major conferences. The GMAC Bowl between Ball State (12-1 SU, 9-3 ATS) of the MAC and Tulsa (10-3 SU, 7-5 ATS) is chock-full of betting angles and should be a hoot to watch, as well. These are two of the most prolific offenses in the nation, operating in relative obscurity and ripe for the plucking.

Handicapping gets even better when a mid-major is paired up against a team from the BCS conferences. Underdogs have historically done well in bowl games, although there was a market correction last year at 8-24 SU and 14-17-1 ATS. The most compelling matchups from a betting standpoint involve mid-major underdogs with something to prove against major-conference clubs who were looking for a higher-profile bowl game and are too disappointed to be angry about it.

The Las Vegas Bowl is a typical example. This game usually pits the top team in the Mountain West against the No. 4 seed from the Pac-10; over the past seven years, the Mountain West team is 6-1 SU and ATS. This year’s BYU-Arizona matchup is different – BYU is actually the No. 3 seed in the MWC, and Arizona is going bowling for the first time in a decade. The usual motivations are essentially reversed.

The Hawaii Bowl is supposed to match the WAC with the Pac-10 as of 2006, but this year we get Hawaii vs. Notre Dame – still a case of small program vs. big program. However, the juiciest trend coming out of this bowl is the 6-1 mark the over has produced during the past seven seasons. Playing at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu almost guarantees ideal conditions for a high score, and the Warriors (still pass-happy under first-year coach Greg McMackin) can also point at the 10-4-1 ATS record home teams have put up in bowl games at their actual homes.

Popular online sportsbook Bodog will have lines on all 34 bowls, with live betting already scheduled for 31 of those contests – including all five of the BCS bowls. The money spends the same no matter which game you bet on, but these are the five most important games of the season, so let’s dive right in and have a look (all times Eastern; for current lines, visit sports.bodoglife.com).

Rose Bowl: No. 6 Penn State vs. No. 5 USC

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
Jan. 1, 4:30 p.m., ABC
Penn State: 11-1 SU, 7-3-1 ATS, Over 7-4
USC: 11-1 SU, 6-6 ATS, Under 8-3-1

If this is the Rose Bowl, it must be the USC Trojans. They’ve played at the Grandaddy of Them All four of the last five years, going 3-1 SU and ATS. The lone setback was against Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns three years ago for the national championship.

Pete Carroll’s Trojans have won seven straight Pac-10 titles and two national titles since he took over as coach in 2001. This year’s team is ranked No. 5 by the BCS and the AP; quarterback Mark Sanchez (30 TDs, 10 INTs) is already an improvement over John David Booty and posted a higher passer rating (159.1) than 2004 Heisman winner Matt Leinart (156.5).

Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions made an even bigger upgrade at QB, replacing Anthony Morelli (19 TDs, 10 INTs last year) with Daryll Clark (17 TDs, four INTs). The Lions arguably have the better offense in this matchup, but like USC were shut out of consideration for the national title game – the BCS has Penn State all the way down at No. 8. This is an undervalued football club.

Orange Bowl: No. 12 Cincinnati vs. No. 21 Virginia Tech

Dolphin Stadium, Miami
Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m., FOX
Cincinnati: 11-2 SU, 6-6 ATS, Over 7-5
Virginia Tech: 9-4 SU, 5-7 ATS, Under 7-5

These are the two stepsisters invited to the ball. The Hokies got an automatic berth as ACC champions, and although the conference failed to produce a national title contender, Virginia Tech had to run the gauntlet against some very good clubs to get here. The Hokies had the No. 5-ranked strength of schedule in the nation this year; the Big East champion Bearcats clock in at No. 32.

Both these teams bring strong defenses and pedestrian offenses to Miami, although Cincinnati is fueled by the passing attack of QB Tony Pike (18 TDs, seven INTs), while Virginia Tech feeds off the rushing of Darren Evans (4.3 yards per carry) and the scrambling of QB Tyrod Taylor (5.2 yards). The Hokies also like to use QB Sean Glennon as a pocket-passing option, which gives them the kind of flexibility the last two champions from Florida and LSU enjoyed. The Bearcats have a decided edge in special teams that should come to the foreground in a defense-dominated game.

College bowl betting in the Bodog Sportsbook.

Sugar Bowl: No. 7 Utah vs. No. 4 Alabama

Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans
Jan. 2, 8:00 p.m., FOX
Utah: 12-0 SU, 7-3-1 ATS, Over 9-2
Alabama: 12-1 SU, 9-4 ATS, Under 9-4

Last year’s Sugar Bowl didn’t fit the usual underdog motif – Hawaii was a one-trick offensive pony, and Georgia played angry after not getting a spot in the BCS championship. This year’s BCS buster from Utah is a much more dangerous team. The Utes beat Oregon State and Michigan as well as TCU and BYU, but with the No. 110-ranked strength of schedule, it remains to be seen whether Utah can hang with the big boys.

Alabama also had a surprisingly easy time in the SEC, beating up on the crestfallen West Division before running into the champions of the East, the Florida Gators. That’s where the party ended for the Crimson Tide; that one game vaulted their strength of schedule from No. 68 in the nation to No. 23. Utah will be one of the toughest teams Alabama has faced this season. Covering a double-digit spread will be difficult in what should be another defensive matchup, with the Utes holding an even bigger advantage in special teams than Cincinnati has in the Orange Bowl.

Fiesta Bowl: No. 10 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Texas

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
Jan. 5, 8:00 p.m., FOX
Ohio State: 10-2 SU, 5-6 ATS, Under 6-5
Texas: 11-1 SU, 9-3 ATS, Over 6-6

The college football nation is suffering from Buckeye fatigue. They were embarrassed two years in a row at the national championship game, and losses to USC and Penn State were supposed to keep Ohio State out of the BCS bowl picture. But they got in anyway ahead of higher-ranked teams from Texas Tech and Boise State. Texas, meanwhile, could do nothing but watch while the Oklahoma Sooners cruised to the title game despite losing the Red River Shootout to the Longhorns.

The trap here would be to dismiss Ohio State as overvalued. Losing 35-3 at USC was bad, but that was with Todd Boeckman at QB. He was promptly replaced by freshman Terrelle Pryor (12 TDs, four INTs); his 152.1 passer rating was superior to Boeckman’ 148.9 campaign in 2007. OSU also didn’t have top rusher Chris “Beanie” Wells (5.7 yards per carry) against the Trojans. With Pryor and Wells together, Ohio State was 7-1 SU and 5-3 ATS. That still might not be enough to beat mighty Texas, but all OSU supporters need is the cover.

BCS National Championship Game: No. 1 Florida vs. No. 2 Oklahoma

Dolphin Stadium, Miami
Jan. 8, 8:00 p.m., FOX
Florida: 12-1 SU, 10-2 ATS, Over 8-4
Oklahoma: 12-1 SU, 10-2 ATS, Over 11-1

The Sooners actually came out No. 1 in the BCS rankings, but they’re the underdogs in this matchup. Florida is 9-0 SU and 8-0 ATS since losing 31-30 to Ole Miss as 23-point home faves. The Rebs turned out to be a whole lot better than advertised – they’re going to the Cotton Bowl to face Texas Tech. Florida beat each of its next nine opponents (and its first three) by double digits, including the previously unbeaten Crimson Tide in the SEC title game.

Oklahoma has had some lousy major bowl games in recent memory:

2008 Fiesta Bowl: West Virginia 48, OU (-8) 28
2007 Fiesta Bowl: Boise State 43, OU (-7) 42 in OT
2005 Orange Bowl: USC 55, OU (+1) 10
2004 Sugar Bowl: LSU 21, OU (-6.5) 14

You have to go back to the 2003 Rose Bowl win over Washington State – the first Rose Bowl win in team history – before you find some good news for the Sooners. The missing season from that list ended with a Holiday Bowl win over Oregon that was later wiped out due to NCAA violations, then reinstated.

What can OU do for an encore? The Sooners might have the best offense in the nation – yes, even better than Florida’s – with Heisman hopeful Sam Bradford (48 TDs, six INTs) at the helm. The Gators respond with better defense and special teams, although casual fans only identify Florida with reigning Heisman winner and continuing candidate Tim Tebow (28 TDs passing, 12 TDs rushing, two INTs). Points should be harder to come by for both these men than they’re used to.

>>Compare the top three online sportsbooks for US sports betting here at BookieLabRat.com.

English Premier League Bookie Betting Bonuses

December 18th, 2008

Here’s the latest round-up of stake back betting and free bet offers at the top online sportsbooks we rate and recommend for English Football bets.

Click to visit Irish bookie BoyleSports.comFor Ste’s a Jolly Good Fellow  –  Arsenal v Liverpool  –  Sun 4pm SS1
Boylesports will refund all losing single bets on the match if Steven Gerrard scores the first or last goal of this game. Max Refund E300 or currency equivalent per customer.

Click to visit BetFred BookmakerA Christmas Carol 

Arsenal v Liverpool Sunday 21st December, 4pm
If Robin van Persie scores the last goal in the Arsenal v Liverpool game on Sunday, BetFred will refund all losing first/last goalscorer, correct score and scorecast bets as a free bet. Maximum refund is £100 (or your currency equivalent) per customer. Own goals do not count.

Everton v Chelsea Monday 22nd December, 8pm
If Tim Cahill scores the last goal in the Everton v Chelsea game on Monday, BetFred will refund all losing first/last goalscorer, correct score and scorecast bets as a free bet. Maximum refund is £100 (or your currency equivalent) per customer. Own goals do not count.

Click to visit popular bookie PaddyPower.comEscape Claus!  –  Arsenal v Liverpool  –  Sun 4pm SS1
If either team leads at half time and fails to win, Paddy Power will refund all losing 1st/last goalscorer, correct score & scorecast singles.. Max Refund E300/£200 per customer.

Click to visit Australian sportsbook CanbetPremier League Second Chance Specials  

Arsenal v Liverpool  – Sunday, 21 December
If your bet loses and a penalty kick (a direct free kick from the penalty mark) is awarded during the first half of this match, Canbet will refund your bet (Correct Score Only).  Maximum bonus is £50 (€65)…enter the promotional code: EPL21DEC

Everton v Chelsea  – Monday, 22 December
If your bet loses and any player scores a hatrick (3 goals) in this match, Canbet will refund your bet (Correct Score Only).  Maximum bonus is £50 (€65)…enter the promotional code: EPL22DEC

Click to visit Bet365 sportsbook for a look aroundBet365 Bore Draw Offer

Place a pre-match correct score, double result or scorecast bet on ANY FOOTBALL MATCH and Bet365 will refund losing stakes if the match finishes 0-0.

The Weeks Best Betting Action?

December 17th, 2008

Here’s the best betting action this week according to the crew at popular online sportsbook Bodog. For more on Bodog check out the latest Bodog Sportsbook reviews at BookieLabRat.com and GoonersGuide.com.

Eli Manning - NFLOkay, college football fans. Recess is over; time to get back to work. The 2008-09 bowl season starts this Saturday with four games, and while this foursome may feature some of the lightweights on the bowl scene (will there be a second St. Petersburg Bowl?), we’ve got at least two games that promise to be both entertaining and potentially lucrative. The first bowl down the runway kicks off this week’s Top 5 list (all times Eastern; for current lines, visit Bodog Sportsbook).

1. NCAAF: Navy vs. Wake Forest (Saturday, 11:00 a.m.)

The inaugural EagleBank Bowl is compelling for two reasons. It’s the first game on the schedule, which makes it the New Hampshire of the bowl season. And it’s a very interesting matchup between the Midshipmen running attack and the Demon Deacons defense. They’ll be playing at RFK Memorial in Washington, D.C., where the weather forecast calls for temperatures in the low 40s with a 25-percent chance of rain. The under is 7-4 for each team. Wake Forest is a 3-point chalk (even money) despite losing 24-17 to Navy in Week 5 as a 17-point home favorite. 

2. NFL: Pittsburgh at Tennessee (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

This is not a recording. Pittsburgh (11-3 SU, 8-6 ATS) was at it again last week, mounting a late comeback to upset the Ravens 13-9 as 3-point road dogs. The Steelers are now in a position to steal the top seed in the AFC from the Titans (12-2 SU, 11-3 ATS). Tennessee is coming off a 13-12 loss at Houston (+3) and will be without the services of both Albert Haynesworth (sprained MCL) and Kyle Vanden Bosch (groin) from the defensive line. The Titans were 0-3 SU and ATS last year when Haynesworth was injured.

NFL betting in the Bodog Sportsbook.

3. NCAAF: No. 17 Brigham Young vs. Arizona (Saturday, 8:00 p.m.)

The Mountain West has two teams who deserve more attention than they’re getting. BYU is not one of them. The Cougars are in the AP rankings at 10-2, but they’ve covered only once in their last eight games, and they were spanked on the road by both Utah (-6.5) and TCU (-1.5). The College Football News ranks BYU’s season performance No. 30 in the FBS with Arizona at No. 51; that presumably leaves the ‘Cats (7-5 SU and ATS) as a value pick for their first bowl game in 10 years. They’re 3-point puppies at –105 juice.

4. NBA: San Antonio at New Orleans (Wednesday, 9:30 p.m.)

These are two of the hottest teams in the NBA. The Spurs (15-8 SU, 12-11 ATS) have won six in a row and 10 of their last 12 (at 8-4 ATS) after a very slow start, while the Hornets (13-7 SU, 9-10-1 ATS) are 8-2 in their last 10 games at 7-3 ATS. An emphasis on 3-point shooting has helped both teams; New Orleans is No. 1 in the league at 40.6 percent from long range, while San Antonio is second at 39.7 percent. Both teams are in the middle of the pack in perimeter defense. On the injury front, Tyson Chandler (stiff neck) has missed two games and is listed as day-to-day.

NBA odds in the Bodog Sportsbook.

5. NCAAB: No. 2 Connecticut vs. No. 8 Gonzaga (Saturday, 4:00 p.m.)

Gonzaga (7-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) has dropped the cash twice in a row after losing 69-64 at Arizona (+6). Saturday’s big date with UConn (8-0 SU, 2-2 ATS) should be an even tougher test for the ‘Zags. The Huskies beat Miami-Florida (+4) and Wisconsin (+5.5) by double digits to take the Paradise Jam preseason tournament. But the rest of UConn’s schedule has been pretty light up to this point, while the Bulldogs (winners of the Hall of Fame Showcase tourney) have loaded up on major programs to strengthen their March Madness resume. Ken Pomeroy’s advanced rankings have Gonzaga at No. 3 and UConn at No. 10 out of the 344 Division I clubs.
 
Honorable Mentions

NFL: Carolina at N.Y. Giants (Sunday, 8:30 p.m.)
NCAAF: Memphis vs. South Florida (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.)
NBA: Phoenix at Portland (Thursday, 10:30 p.m.)
NCAAB: No. 7 Xavier vs. No. 6 Duke (Saturday, 2:00 p.m.)
NHL: Philadelphia at Montreal (Thursday, 7:00 p.m.)
Boxing: Nikolai Valuev vs. Evander Holyfield, WBA heavyweight title (Saturday, 3:00 p.m.)

Stake Back Betting On Premier League Football

December 11th, 2008

Win, lose or stake back betting - cheers!Here’s the latest round-up of sportsbook money back specials on this week’s English premier League football betting. (And one on Barca-Real Madrid).

These little bookie promos pay our surprisingly often so check them out before you decide where to place your weekend bets. 

Visit BetFred.com online bookmakerWhite Hart Drain

Tottenham v Man Utd  –  Saturday 5:30pm Live on Setanta

If the Tottenham v Man Utd game finishes 0-0, BetFred will refund all losing win single first/last goalscorer, correct score and scorecast bets as a free bet.Maximum refund is £100 (or currency equiv) per customer.

Visit BetFred.com online bookmakerHot Coles

Chelsea v West Ham  –  Sunday 4pm Live on SS1

If the Tottenham v Man Utd game finishes 0-0, BetFred will refund all losing win single first/last goalscorer, correct score and scorecast bets as a free bet.Maximum refund is £100 (or currency equiv) per customer.

Visit Paddy Power online sportsbookA White Hart-breaker!

Tottenham v Man Utd  –  Sat 5.30pm Setanta
If Dimitar Berbatov scores the last goal in this game Paddy Power will refund all losing 1st/last goalscorer, correct score & scorecast singles on this match.  Max Refund €300/£200 per customer.

Visit Paddy Power online sportsbookAnother Fine Messi

Barcelona v Real Madrid  –  Sat 9pm SS1
If Messi scores the last goal of the above match then Paddy Power will refund all losing 1st/last goalscorer, correct score and scorecast single bets on this match.   Max Refund €300/£200 per customer.

Visit Australian bookie CanbetPremier League Second Chance Special

Middlesbrough v Arsenal  – Saturday, 13 December

If your bet loses and Robin Van Persie scores a goal in the match, Canbet will refund your bet (Correct Score Only).  Maximum bonus is £50 (€65)…enter the promotional code: EPL13DEC

Visit Australian bookie CanbetPremier League Second Chance Special

Portsmouth v Newcastle United  – Sunday, 14 December

If your bet loses and either side comes back from 2-nil down to win the match, Canbet will refund your bet (Correct Score Only).  Maximum bonus is £50 (€65)…enter the promotional code: EPL14DEC

Visit Victor Chandler online bookmaker1st Scorer 2nd Chance

All Premier League Games

Place a 1st goal scorer bet and if your player fails to score the 1st goal but scores at any other time in the match, Victor Chandler will refund your stake as a free bet on any future match. Max refund £100 (€120) per person per match.

Visit Bet365 top rated online sportsbook

Bet365 Bore Draw Offer

Place a pre-match correct score, double result or scorecast bet on ANY FOOTBALL MATCH and Bet365 will refund losing stakes if the match finishes 0-0.

 

>>For the latest sportsbook reviews of these online bookmakers check out BookieLabRat.com or GoonersGuide.com

 

NFL: Preview of Week 15 Betting Action

December 11th, 2008

Handicappers have to wear many hats to do a good job: athlete, statistician, doctor, lawyer, critic. These days, a background in labor relations would be handy.

The NFL Players Association says the New York Giants violated the collective bargaining agreement when they suspended WR Plaxico Burress for the remainder of the season and docked him a week’s wages. The Giants were also supposed to pay Burress $1 million this week as part of his signing bonus. He inked a five-year extension this offseason totalling $35 million, but New York can reportedly recoup $23 million by cutting ties with Burress.

In this case, the union’s grievance won’t be heard until after the season – unlike the court injunction that blocked the suspensions of six players last week in the StarCaps scandal. That includes three members of the New Orleans Saints, who kick off our Top 3 NFL betting games for Week 15.

For current NFL lines, check out the Bodog Sportsbook.

NFL betting previewsNew Orleans at Chicago

Soldier Field, Chicago
Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET, NFL Network
15% chance of rain/snow, 30 degrees, 15 mph winds
New Orleans: 7-6 SU, 9-4 ATS, Over 8-4-1
Chicago: 7-6 SU, 6-6-1 ATS, Under 8-5

The three Saints in question are RB Deuce McAllister, DE Charles Grant (on injured reserve) and DE Will Smith. McAllister was a non-factor in last week’s 24-21 win over Atlanta (+3); Smith was involved in six tackles as the Saints held Atlanta to 99 yards rushing. But Smith’s presence wasn’t enough to keep Matt Ryan from passing for 315 yards. The Saints are No. 25 in the league with 20 TD throws and 3,006 passing yards allowed on the season.

Fortunately for the Saints, Chicago’s offense isn’t tailored to take advantage. The Bears are No. 23 in the league with 5.7 yards per pass attempt; their offensive forte is Matt Forte, the rookie RB with 4.0 yards per carry and 10 of Chicago’s 34 TDs on the season. Devin Hester has yet to reach the end zone this year and has been taken off kick-return duty in favor of Danieal Manning. A Hester punt return TD was key to last year’s 33-25 win by the Bears (+1).

NFL betting previewsPittsburgh at Baltimore

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Md.
Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET, CBS
10% chance of rain, 40 degrees
Pittsburgh: 10-3 SU, 7-6 ATS, Over 7-6
Baltimore: 9-4 SU, 10-3 ATS, Over 8-4-1

The Steelers defense keeps saving the day. Pittsburgh scored two TDs in the final 2:04 to beat Dallas (+4) 20-13 last week, the final major coming on a Deshea Townsend interception return. Pittsburgh’s offense is tied with Baltimore’s near the bottom of the league at 4.8 yards per play – the winless Lions are next at 4.7 yards. But the Ravens are actually more efficient moving the ball. They’re No. 13 in the NFL with 248 first downs, while Pittsburgh languishes at No. 22 with 229.

The difference is power running. The Steelers have absorbed myriad injuries in the backfield, but none of their running options would be mistaken for a bruiser. Baltimore’s Le’Ron McClain, on the other hand, is a 260-pound fullback enjoying his first year as a feature ball-carrier. His relatively small 3.7 yards per carry disguises Baltimore’s efficiency in short-yardage situations – the Ravens are fourth in the league in this department, while the Steelers are No. 24.

NFL playoff odds in the Bodog Sportsbook.

NFL betting previewsN.Y. Giants at Dallas

Texas Stadium, Dallas
Sunday, 8:15 p.m. ET, NBC
10% chance of rain, 60 degrees, 10 mph winds
New York: 11-2 SU, 10-3 ATS, Over 7-5-1
Dallas: 8-5 SU, 6-7 ATS, Over 7-6

Perhaps Big Blue could use a dose of Plax after all. The Giants’ 7-0 SU and ATS streak ended with a thud last week against the Eagles (+6.5), who left the Meadowlands with a 20-14 victory. This was a near-total shutdown by the Philly defense. The Giants managed only 211 total yards, and there were 15 seconds left in the game before the offense finally scored. Domenik Hixon had three catches for 30 yards in Burress’ absence.

Philadelphia is fourth in the NFL in defense at 4.5 yards allowed per play, one spot better than New York at 4.8 yards. The Cowboys are mere percentage points behind the G-Men in that category; if you take out the three Brad Johnson games, Dallas looks a lot more competitive at 7-3 SU and 5-5 ATS. That includes Week 9, when the Giants cruised to a 35-14 win as 9.5-point home faves with Tony Romo and his broken pinkie finger on the sidelines. Dallas is 3-1 SU and 2-1-1 ATS against the Giants with Romo as the starter.

Click to visit Bodog sport>>For more on Bodog Sport read the latest Bodog Sportsbook Review – or suss out how Bodog compares to all online sportsbooks we recommend for US-based bettors

New York Giants still lead Super Bowl Betting

December 9th, 2008

The New York Giants were eased for Super Bowl glory after their seven-game winning streak was snapped on Sunday.

The defending champions were beaten 20-14 by Philadelphia – only their second defeat of the season – even though the Giants clinched the NFC East after Pittsburgh beat Dallas later in the day.

The Giants (11-2) had been as short as +200 but bookmakers have pushed them out to +275 even though that still sees them as clear favourites to retain their crown.

Pittsburgh (10-3) are now +600 joint second favourites with Tennessee  (12-1) after their victory over the Cowboys.

Tennessee wrapped up the AFC South title for the first time since 2002.

Indianapolis are clear fourth favourites at a general +800 after scoring their biggest win of the season, a 35-3 success over the Cincinnati Bengals.

US BETTING LINKS (click to visit these sportsbook sites):
Bookmaker.com, Bodog, JustBet

Betting on a White Christmas?

December 8th, 2008

Snow for Christmas? Really?While some dream of having a white Christmas, I’d much prefer a warm, but not hot, sunny day. Let’s go for 24 to 28 degrees C with no wind – just right for a leisurely stroll along the beach after a no doubt enormous Christmas feast. (Sounds unlikely? Check out Kapiti Coast New Zealand on Google Earth and you’ll see why it sounds THE plan…’cos that’s where I’ll be!)

Anyway, for those of you in the UK, bookmakers like Paddy Power and Ladbrokes are apparently “scurrying to cut odds on it as temperatures dip across the United Kingdom”.

On Wednesday, The Guardian reported that some bookmakers feared they would lose £1 million if the odds weren’t changed. The newspaper said Ladbrokes slashed the odds of having a snow-piled Christmas in London from 7-to-1 to 11-to-4 and 3-to-1. As this blog was posted the odds were at 5/1, so we think this report is pretty much bollocks – just hype to get you to have a flutter on the coolest of betting markets, so to speak.

Click to visit Ladbrokes to check out this White Christmas interactive betting toolCheck out the cool White Christmas betting interactive map onsite at Ladbrokes (left). It’s got lots of facts and figures and suggests that the bookies should not really be sweating it too hard…

Christmas Day snow? – Here’s Laddies definition of what it would take to be deemed “snowing at Christmas (in this instance in your postcode)”: A snowflake, sleet or a snow grain must be officially* have been recorded to have fallen within your postcode area (1st two digits) during the 24 hours of Christmas Day. Parts of any postcode +250 metres above mean sea level do not count for this bet. Lying snow, hail or ice pellets do not count for this bet. *British Weather Services will verify all bets.

Here’s what our favourite Irish bookie had to say:

Paddy Power’s Cold Comfort – White Christmas Betting

If Paddy’s great-great-great-grandfather was unfortunate to be offering odds on ye Olde White Christmas down in ye Olde Betting Shoppe way back in the early half of the 18th Century, then more than likely the family would be something less risky – like shark fishing or grenade juggling – these days. That’s because – after an uncharacteristic bout of research – we discovered that according to the Met Office, the heyday for White Christmases was between 1550 and 1850 when the Northern Hemisphere “was in the grip of a ‘Little Ice Age'” which is like the a normal ice age, but with cuter woolly mammoths. After the recent spell of cold weather, could banking on a White Christmas in London @ 4/1 be an Ice little earner?

White Christmas Betting*
New York     6 – 4 
Dublin           3 – 1 
London         4 – 1

For more on the online sportsbooks in this blog post check out the following:
>>Review of Ladbrokes Bookmaker
>>Review of Paddy Power Bookmaker

 

NFL and NCAA Latest Football Stats

December 5th, 2008

Get Best odds on NFL or NCAAFThe 19th Century English author Anthony Trollope was onto something when he said he judged men by their actions with other men, not by what they said to the heavens. Trollope would have made an excellent football handicapper. The following 10 stats and factoids for this weekend’s slate are based on actual events, 100-percent free of bluster.

Miami vs. Buffalo: The average temperature in Buffalo last December was 30.5 degrees Fahrenheit. But Sunday’s game is being played at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, and the retractable roof is closed and locked now that baseball season is over. It will be a climate-controlled 72 degrees inside the former SkyDome.

Buffalo vs. Ball State: The over is 20-8 in Buffalo’s last 28 games against MAC opponents. The over is also 3-0 in the last three meetings between the Bulls and Cardinals. Quarterbacks Drew Willy and Nate Davis have combined for 46 touchdown throws and just 12 interceptions this year.

St. Louis at Arizona: Kurt Warner is 4-2 SU and 3-3 ATS against his former employers. Warner is an MVP candidate this year with a 99.3 passer rating; the man who replaced him in St. Louis, Marc Bulger, has a career-low 67.1 rating playing behind a banged-up offensive line.

Navy vs. Army: Army is playing just its second game in four weeks. The Black Knights had a bye in Week 12 and Week 14. Navy’s last game was on Nov. 25, when the Midshipmen (+3) bounced Northern Illinois 16-0. They had Weeks 11 and 13 off.

Minnesota at Detroit: The Lions defense is last in the league at 6.3 yards allowed per play. Detroit is also worst in points allowed (393), rushing touchdowns allowed (22) and interceptions (two). Minnesota is sixth in the NFL with 83 first downs rushing.

Check out the NFL betting in the Bodog Sportsbook.

 

Western Kentucky at Florida International: FIU is ranked No. 115 out of 120 FBS teams in time of possession at 26:51 per game. WKU is No. 89 at 29:03. The Golden Panthers have allowed opponents to complete 44 percent of their third-down opportunities compared to 43.1 percent for the Hilltoppers.

Cleveland at Tennessee: Ken Dorsey was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist for the Miami Hurricanes. He’s made one brief appearance in each of the last three seasons for the Browns, going a combined 0-for-4 with a sack and a pick. Dorsey starts this week for the injured Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson.

USC at UCLA: The Trojans have allowed a total of 39 points in their last seven games. That includes three shutouts and two games (against Notre Dame and Cal) with a lone field goal. UCLA is No. 111 in the nation in offense with 294.5 yards per game.

New England at Seattle: Rosevelt Colvin owns two UPS stores in his hometown of Indianapolis. But he’s swapping brown for Patriots blue, red, silver and white. New England signed its former star linebacker and two-time Super Bowl winner to shore up an injury-plagued defense. Colvin was cut by the Houston Texans in training camp this year.

Alabama vs. Florida: Gators RB/WR Percy Harvin was a high-school champion in track & field. The Virginia native and Heisman candidate set state records in three sprinting events, plus the long jump and triple-jump. Harvin (sprained ankle) is reportedly a game-time decision for this SEC title matchup.

Check out the latest NCAA football odds in the Bodog Sportsbook.

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