The Sports Bookie Blog

NFL Pre Pre-Season Run-up

July 28th, 2009

NFL is about to get underway again - hurray!You’ve been waiting for this for months. The 2009 NFL season is only two weeks away – all right, the NFL preseason. But it’s still football, by far the most popular betting sport in North America, and the NFL is our bread and butter at Bodog Sports.

There’s no such thing as an offseason when it comes to business. Important players have changed hands, others were added at the 2009 NFL Draft, and we’re once again left hanging about Brett Favre’s future. Here’s the skinny on what’s been going down.

Favre Watch, Day 181 

It’s been widely assumed since Favre retired from the New York Jets on Feb. 11 that he’d be back in the NFL for 2009, and playing for the Minnesota Vikings. A lot is riding on this decision; even at age 39, Favre put up useful numbers (22 TDs, 22 INTs, 81.0 passer rating) for the Jets and nearly got them into the playoffs. Incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson has a career passer rating of 76.5 in parts of three seasons with the Vikings. The difference between the two is big enough to keep Minnesota’s over/under for wins off the board for now. 

Orton Hears a Who

The Jets are one of 11 teams to go into the 2009 NFL season with new full-time head coaches: 

The Jets are one of 11 teams to go into the 2009 NFL season with new full-time head coaches: Cleveland Browns: Eric Mangini replaces Romeo Crennel
Denver Broncos: Josh McDaniels replaces Mike Shanahan
Detroit Lions: Jim Schwartz replaces Rod Marinelli
Kansas City Chiefs: Todd Haley replaces Herm Edwards
Indianapolis Colts: Jim Caldwell replaces Tony Dungy
New York Jets: Rex Ryan replaces Mangini
Oakland Raiders: Tom Cable replaces Lane Kiffin
St. Louis Rams: Steve Spagnuolo replaces interim coach Jim Haslett
San Francisco 49ers: Mike Singletary replaces Mike Nolan
Seattle Seahawks: Jim L. Mora replaces Mike Holmgren
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Raheem Morris replaces Jon Gruden

Dungy and Holmgren have earned their retirements. Everybody else got the pink slip. All these coaching changes should make the NFL a more volatile commodity for bettors this year – and the most volatile situation is in Denver, where the new Broncos front office got into a feud with QB Jay Cutler (25 TDs, 18 INTs, 86.0 passer rating) and ended up trading him to the Chicago Bears for QB Kyle Orton. (18 TDs, 12 INTs, 79.6 passer rating). That’s a downgrade for the Broncos, but Orton is an undervalued commodity because of his “goofy” personality off the field.

Not Quite Free Michael Vick

If anyone else needs a quarterback, Michael Vick wants to play, but he won’t be available until Week 6. That’s according to league commish Roger Goodell’s ruling on Monday to conditionally reinstate Vick after 18 months in prison for dogfighting-related crimes. Handicappers will want to pay extra attention to this story for two reasons. One, Vick would actually be able to participate in workouts and the final two preseason games, should anyone sign him. There will be betting lines for those games, and Vick figures to need a lot of playing time to get back into game shape. Two, Vick’s ongoing suspension (spun by Goodell as a chance to make a “transition”) is being labeled as harsh in the press and could be lifted upon further review. 

If anyone else needs a quarterback, Michael Vick wants to play, but he won’t be available until Week 6. That’s according to league commish Roger Goodell’s ruling on Monday to conditionally reinstate Vick after 18 months in prison for dogfighting-related crimes. Handicappers will want to pay extra attention to this story for two reasons. One, Vick would actually be able to participate in workouts and the final two preseason games, should anyone sign him. There will be betting lines for those games, and Vick figures to need a lot of playing time to get back into game shape. Two, Vick’s ongoing suspension (spun by Goodell as a chance to make a “transition”) is being labeled as harsh in the press and could be lifted upon further review.

Drafting Table

Here are the five draft picks most likely to make an immediate impact in their rookie campaigns. 

Here are the five draft picks most likely to make an immediate impact in their rookie campaigns. 1. Jason Smith, St. Louis Rams: Smith will slide in at left tackle and give QB Marc Bulger (38 sacks) the blindside protection he sorely needs.

2. Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins: Orakpo can play linebacker or end, and when he’s on the line, the former Longhorn gets to play alongside premium tackle Albert Haynesworth.

3. Robert Ayers, Denver Broncos: This was the second-worst defense in the league last year in terms of efficiency. Ayers offers instant relief on the line as new defensive co-ordinator Mike Nolan switches to the 3-4.

4. Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings: Whether it’s Favre, Jackson or Sage Rosenfels throwing the ball, Harvin is a dazzling skill player fulfilling a big need for the Vikings.

5. Rey Maualuga, Cincinnati Bengals: Maualuga is a pass-rushing linebacker with coverage skills and the opportunity to line up next to former USC Trojans teammate Keith Rivers.

Walk it offNFL football training camps are about to start

Ayers won’t be making any difference for the Broncos until he agrees to sign and report to their training camp, which starts July 30. Both Ayers and fellow first-round pick Knowshon Moreno are holding out; Brandon Marshall will be there, but he’s clearly not happy with his situation in Denver. Or perhaps they just want to avoid the horrible injuries that can happen in camp. We leave you with these (non-heat stroke related) classics: 

Ayers won’t be making any difference for the Broncos until he agrees to sign and report to their training camp, which starts July 30. Both Ayers and fellow first-round pick Knowshon Moreno are holding out; Brandon Marshall will be there, but he’s clearly not happy with his situation in Denver. Or perhaps they just want to avoid the horrible injuries that can happen in camp. We leave you with these (non-heat stroke related) classics: 

1983: Rookie RB Doug Furnas injured in Broncos camp, becomes pro-wrestler instead after a year on injured reserve

1987: Green Bay Packers sophomore DB Elbert Watts tears up his knee in a scrimmage, never plays again

2004: WR David Boston’s knee buckles during a Miami Dolphins practice; career goes into tailspin

Check out the latest sportsbetting offers onsite at Bodog Sportsbook, read a detailed sportsbook review on Bodog Sports or compare Bodog to the other 3 sportsbooks popular with US residents here at GoonersGuide.com.

 

World Cup 2010 South Africa

July 23rd, 2009

Everybody gets to play.

That’s the spirit of the 2010 World Cup, which actually started back in 2007 with a record 204 teams. They’ll be whittled down by November to the 32 countries who will participate in South Africa – assuming the tournament doesn’t have to be relocated because of strike activity or any of the other logistical challenges facing the organizers. Last month’s Confederations Cup appeared to go off without a hitch; FIFA president Sepp Blatter estimates the hosts are “75 percent” of the way there.

The next batch of qualifying games comes up on Aug. 12. That gives us a window of opportunity to look at the futures market and get some value handicapping the outright winner. We already know the identities of six of the teams, including the host nation. Here they are with their odds at top US-OK online sportsbook, Bodog as we went to press:

Holland 12-1
South Africa 80-1
Australia 100-1
Japan 150-1
South Korea 250-1
North Korea 500-1

Dutch football is great to watchSouth Africa were officially joined last month by the Netherlands (the winners of UEFA Group 9) and four members of the Asian Football Confederation – not nearly the same hotbed of soccer as Europe and South America. The North Koreans (officially “Korea DPR” for this event) are making their first appearance in the World Cup since 1966, when they upset Italy 1-0 and made it all the way to the quarterfinals. They punched their ticket for 2010 by finishing second to South Korea in a group of six AFC qualifiers.

It would be a monumental upset for either of the Koreas to get very far next year. Soccer at the international level is dominated by an Elite Eight, Holland among them:

Spain 9-2
Brazil 5-1
Argentina 6-1
England 15-2
Germany 11-1
Italy 11-1
Holland 12-1
France 18-1

Only one country from outside this group has ever won the World Cup, and that was Uruguay in 1930 and 1950. They’re no longer a competitive threat at this level and are priced accordingly at 100-1. But that’s still two more World Cups than the tournament favorites have ever won. After decades of international frustration, Spain is at the top of the soccer world after putting together a 35-match undefeated streak, encompassing their breakthrough victory at Euro 2008.

Brazilian football supportersBrazil is the only other national team ever to go 35 games without a loss. They’re currently on an eight-match winning run and haven’t lost in 15 appearances dating back to last June. That streak, however, nearly came to a grinding halt at the aforementioned Confederations Cup, where the United States went up 2-0 in the championship match before losing 3-2.

The Brazilians have experienced some turbulence with coach Dunga, the former star midfielder who took over the Seleção in 2006. Locals haven’t been happy with the way Dunga has built his team on discipline rather than starpower, but they can’t argue with success – Brazil look a lot now like the World Cup squad Dunga captained to victory in 1994. They’re on top of the CONMEBOL qualifier standings and virtually assured of a trip to South Africa.

The biggest question from the Confederations Cup is whether or not the United States team can truly hold its own against the titans of this sport. They were the ones who put an end to Spain’s undefeated record with a 2-0 win in the semifinals. And yet Team USA is priced at 40-1 to win its first-ever World Cup, behind Russia (28-1) and the Ivory Coast (33-1).

There is generally value to be found fading the global betting public when it comes to American soccer; the MLS has a poor international profile, but many of the best players from the States are club professionals in Europe, like goalkeeper Tim Howard from Everton in the English Premiership. When they come back to play for their home country, they come back to a program with the brainpower and the sponsorship dollars to help them succeed.

Next up for Team USA is Thursday’s CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal match at Soldier Field with Honduras, No. 39 in FIFA’s world rankings and +400 underdogs in Chicago. The Americans are pegged at -160, with the draw at +250. Team USA beat Honduras 2-0 earlier this month at RFK Stadium during the Gold Cup group stage. In June, it was a 2-1 victory for the States during World Cup qualifying, also at Soldier Field. Game time for Thursday is 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Update and Summary of British Open Betting

July 21st, 2009

Cink and Watson - image courtesy BodogLife.comThe British Open is the hardest event in golf – hardest to win, and hardest on the soul, as Tom Watson can tell you.

Watson went to the 18th tee at 3-under and one stroke ahead of Stewart Cink, who earlier drained a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole to stay within shouting distance of the 59-year-old legend. Needing only to make an eight-foot par putt to claim his sixth Open Championship and first since 1983, Watson came up short. Then Cink easily put away his opponent by six strokes over the four-hole playoff to hoist the Claret Jug for the first time.

“It would have been a hell of a story, wouldn’t it?” Watson told reporters Sunday. “And it was almost. Almost. The dream almost came true.”

It was a dramatic event for handicappers as well as the participants. Cink was a 100-1 longshot going into the Open at Turnberry; Watson was part of the field to begin with, then moved to 100-1 after carding a 5-under 65 in Thursday’s opening round, one stroke behind Miguel Angel Jimenez. After three rounds of play, it was Watson in the lead at 4-under and holding court as the 3-1 favorite to finish the job. Cink was three strokes back at 14-1; Jimenez had fallen back into the field (16-1) with a 73-76 during the middle rounds. He finished with a 69 to sit at 2-over.

Although Cink and Watson carried the banner for the United States into their playoff, there was a distinct European flavor at the top of the leaderboard. Lee Westwood (25-1 at the open) and Chris Wood (field, 4-1) ended the tournament at 1-under to tie as the top English golfers at Turnberry. Another stroke behind them was fellow Englishman Luke Donald (80-1), along with Australia’s Mathew Goggin (field) and South Africa’s Retief Goosen (30-1), the two-time U.S. Open champion.

Tiger Woods did not make the cut - image courtesy BodogLife.comThe drama surrounding Watson’s improbable quest for glory helped take the attention off Tiger Woods, who didn’t even make the cut after going into Thursday’s opening round as the 2-1 favorite, well ahead of Sergio Garcia (20-1) and two-time defending champion Padraig Harrington (22-1). Woods followed a frustrating round of 71 with an ugly 74 on Friday, dropping seven strokes between the eighth and 14th tees. That was the worst stretch of six holes in Woods’ entire career as a pro.

Woods is now 0-for-3 in major events this year with only the PGA Championship left on the calendar in August. “I just haven’t put together all four rounds, and you have to play clean in order to win a major championship,” Woods admitted after missing the cut at Turnberry. “I haven’t done that.”

Garcia’s chances at his first major took a turn for the worse on Saturday when he joined Jimenez in the clubhouse with a 76. A final-round 71 left Garcia at 6-over for the tournament and tied for 38th place. As for Harrington, his annus horribilis continued with a 69-74-76-73 to finish 12 strokes over par. But at least he made the cut. Among those who didn’t: Woods, Adam Scott, Mike Weir, Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan and Geoff Ogilvy.

The next event on the PGA Tour calendar is the Canadian Open, starting Thursday at the familiar Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont. This will once again be a very thin field with Woods and nearly all the top golfers in the world not scheduled to appear – which means it’s go time for value shoppers.

Click to visit Bodog SportsbookMake sure to check Bodog Sportsbook for the latest odds; meanwhile, Europe is looking like a popular destination on the futures market, where they are 4-5 favorites to take the 2010 Ryder Cup next October at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales. Team USA is 5-4, with 10-1 odds for a tie.

LabTested Bookmaker Reviews and RatingsFor more on Bodog Sportsbook:

>>Bodog Sports Review at BookieLabRat.com
>>Review of Bodog Sportsbook at GoonersGuide.com

>>Compare Bodog to JustBet and Bookmaker.com, the other two online sports betting sites that offer safe, secure betting services for Americans and bettors from around the world.

Powered by WordPress