Bet of the Day – Texas A&M Aggies at Oklahoma State Cowboys, September 30, 2010

Texas A&M Aggies (+3) at Oklahoma State Cowboys (-3), Over/Under 67

Yesterday’s bet, New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays, was a winner.  Today we are back on the football field (Yeah!).  Tonight’s Oklahoma and Texas A&M matchup is the first real big 12 showdown of the year.  It’s like a warm up for Texas and Oklahoma on Saturday.  Don’t tell the Aggies and Cowboys that.  Both teams are entering tonight 3-0 and outscoring their opponents by more than 25 points per game.  Both can score, but can either team defend?  Both teams have had an extra 5 days to prepare for tonight’s game.  Expect an exciting game.

The Texas A&M Aggies have dominated opponents.  But they haven’t played anyone, YET.  The Aggies are averaging 5.9 yards per play (YPP) and 12.2 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense while allowing 3.6 YPP and 17.8 YPPT on defense (very efficient).  They have moved the ball well but have turned the ball over too much.  Senior QB Jerrod Johnson is averaging 7.94 yards per attempt (YPA) for 7 TDs and 4 INTs with a 139.23 QB rating.  In his last game, Johnson threw 4 consecutive picks against a underated Florida International team.  Johnson faces a Cowboy defense that has forced 9 turnovers in 3 games (against OSU in 2009, Johnson threw for 273 yds, 3 TDs and 0 INTs).  The Aggies face Arkansas next week.  Are they looking ahead or is tonight’s game a must win?

The Oklahoma State Cowboys have scored 65 points twice but barely survived a sneaky Troy team at home.  The Cowboys are averaging 7.6 YPP and 10.5 YPPT (very efficient) on offense while allowing 5 YPP and 13.5 YPPT on defense.  Teams have moved the ball well against the Cowboys.  The Cowboy defense will be looking to pressure Jerrod Johnson and force turnovers.  Junior QB Brandon Weeden is averaging 9.65 YPA for 11 TDs and 2 INTs with a 186.33 QB rating.  In 3 games this year, he has nearly passed for 1,000 yards and only sacked 3 times (Jerrod Johnson was 10 times in 3 games).  The Cowboys come into this game with a mediocre opponent next week, biggest game of the year so far, and have had a scare with Troy.  They will be focused.

The Sagarin Ratings have Oklahoma State at 81.35 over Texas A&M at 74.2.  With the 3.01 home advantage, the ratings indicate a fair line of 10.16 points.  With the Cowboys a 3 point favorite, the betting value appears is on the home team.  According to Pregame.com, 82% of bets have been on the Cowboys and the line hasn’t actually gotten closer.  My gut tells me there is some big money from sharp bettors on the Aggies.

My football model predicts Oklahoma State 32.9 over Texas A&M 25.7 for 58.6 total points.  On paper, both teams move the ball and score efficiently.  Texas A&M’s defense allows fewer yards and points but the Cowboys have faced a tougher schedule.  So far, no one has slowed the Cowboys down.  The single biggest variance contributor is the Cowboy pass offense.  If Oklahoma State moves the ball in the air, they will win.

I am a bit torn on this game; it will be close and Aggies will be motivated.  Normally I would go Aggies here.  But I am going to stick with the Cowboys tonight.  Here’s why.  Cowboy’s are the Thursday night home team in their biggest game of the year so far (the first road game of the year for the Aggies).  The Cowboys have a better QB and offense.  The Cowboys had a scare at home against Troy, have had two weeks to prepare, and next week is their let down game.  Aggies may be better than we think, but I am going to make them prove it before I support them.  Bet on the Oklahoma State Cowboys -3.  Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

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Bet of the Day – New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays, Sept. 29, 2010

New York Yankees (-105) at Toronto Blue Jays (-105), Over/Under 8.5

Yesterday’s bet, Boston Red Sox at Chicago White Sox, was a loser.  2-1 yesterday on Twitter picks.  Not too much to pick from today [Thought bubble: I hate betting on the last week of baseball]. The New York Yankees have locked up at least a spot in the playoffs.  The Blue Jays are out but have played well lately.

The Yankees have only won 2 of the last 7 games batting .236 with a .309 OBP for 4.4 runs per game.  They have also allowed 6.4 runs per game over the same stretch.  With manager Joe Girardi resting planned starter Andy Pettitte, you have to wonder if the Yankees are showing up tonight.  Javier Vazquez (10-9, 1.362 WHIP) has disappointed this year.  He had a good stretch in early June, but his last win decision was on July 26.  Vazquez hasn’t pitched since September 10th.

The Blue Jays have won 5 of the last 7 batting .211 with a .276 OBP for 4.0 runs per game.  They aren’t hitting well, but they are winning.  They have held opponents to 3.9 runs per game over the same stretch.  Brett Cecil (14-7, 1.309 WHIP) starts tonight for the Blue Jays.  Cecil hasn’t pitched great lately but has recorded 3 wins in 4 starts.  Cecil doesn’t give up many home runs and walks at home; he improved last time out and should be effective tonight against a ‘resting’ Yankee lineup.

My baseball model projects Toronto 4.55 over New York 4.25 for 8.8 total runs.  The Yankees get on base more effectively, but at home Toronto is much more efficient scoring.  The Yankees have a better bullpen but the Blue Jays have the starting pitcher advantage.  The biggest variance contributor is walks and hits allowed by Javier Vazquez.  They Yankees will need Vazquez to pitch better than his average to win.

Tonight I’m taking the Toronto Blue Jays.  Here’s why.  The Blue Jays score very efficiently at home.  The Yankees clinched last night and the scratch of Pettitte make me question their intent.  Javier Vazquez hasn’t pitched consistently of late.  Bet on the Toronto Blue Jays on the Money Line -105. Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

Bet of the Day – Boston Red Sox at Chicago White Sox, Sept. 28, 2010

Boston Red Sox (-105) at Chicago White Sox (-105), Over/Under 9

Yesterday’s bet, Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears, was a winner.  Slim Pickens on games today.  Speaking of slim, the Red Sox still have the slimmest of hopes for a playoff spot.  But they are playing well.  The White Sox are out but manager Ozzie Guillen is adamant they aren’t packing it in.

The Red Sox have won 4 of their last 7 batting .290 with a .360 OBP for 5.0 runs per game.  The Red Sox are 5.5 games out of the Wild Card; they would need to win out and the Yankees or Rays lose out.  Starting pitcher John Lackey (13-11, 1.451 WHIP) hasn’t been great this year.  He has shown signs of improvement recently (1.146 WHIP in last 3 games) and pitches well against the White Sox.  The Red Sox are a good road team (43-35).  They are batting .263 with a .330 OBP for 5.0 runs per game.  Their weakness is their bullpen (1.469 WHIP with 13 of their total 19 blown saves in road games).  Expect the Red Sox to play to win today but they will need a good outing from Lackey and the bullpen.

The White Sox haven’t been great down the stretch.  They have won 4 of their last 7 but have only hit .233 with a .275 OBP for 2.7 runs per game.  The White Sox swept the previous series over the Red Sox (that sweep came during a long winning streak).  The White Sox start Edwin Jackson tonight.  Jackson (9-12, 1.408 WHIP) is coming off good win at Oakland (7 IP, 5 hits and 2 earned runs).  Jackson hasn’t faced Boston this year but hasn’t done well in the past (2-4, 1.804 WHIP).  It’s hard to gauge if the White Sox are showing up tonight or not.

Using home/away stats, my baseball model predicts Chicago 5.36 over Boston 4.91 for 10.27 total runs.  These teams are extremely close on paper in all categories.  Both teams score very efficiently and field mediocre pitching tonight.  I also ran the model using total stats.  The projected score based on all stats is Boston 5.07 over 4.87 for 9.94 total runs.  Boston gets on base more consistently and scores slightly more efficiently.

Tonight I am taking the Boston Red Sox.  Here’s why.  The Red Sox are hitting well.  The Red Sox have a small playoff chance and need to win.  Chicago has nothing to play for; they aren’t playing a division leader so I am not really sold they want to play the spoiler either.  Edwin Jackson can have control issues and faces an excellent on-base team.  Bet on the Boston Red Sox on the money line -105.  Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

Bet of the Day – Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears, Sept. 27, 2010

Green Bay Packers (-3) at Chicago Bears (+3), Over/Under 46.5

Yesterday was a complete flop.  We will make it up.  Time to move on to Monday Night Football.  The 2-0 Packers visit the Bears in the first of their two-game divisional series.  Both teams can play defense; Is the story tonight the offense?  This will be an exciting games with two highly motivated teams.

The Packers opened with a nice road win in Philly and completely shutdown the Bills at home (i.e. 184 yards and 7 points allowed).  Green Bay seems legitimate; tonight they find out about Chicago.  Starting QB Aaron Rodgers is averaging 7.38 yards per attempt (YPA) with 4 TDs and 2 INTs for a 94.0 QB rating.  The Packers are averaging 5.4 yards per play (YPP) and a very efficient 10.6 yards per point scored (YPPT) while allowing 4.8 YPP and 18.8 YPPT on defense.  The Packer defense is very aggressive.  Expect them to try to pressure Bears QB Jay Cutler.  Green Bay is a low penalty and turnover team.  Green Bay took both games in the series last year and have won 3 of the last 4.

The Bears haven’t won in the convincing fashion the Packers have.  But they have won.  Better yet, the pride of Santa Claus, IN and former Commodore, Jay Cutler has thrown only 1 INT (so far, but will he regress to his career mean?).  Cutler is averaging 10.14 YPA with 5 TDs and 1 INT for a 121.2 QB rating.  The Bears are averaging 6.8 YPP and 16.8 YPPT on offense while allowing 4.6 YPP and 17 YPPT on defense.  The Bears’ offense needs to score more efficiently and protect Cutler.  Cutler has been hit 12 times and sacked 6 (Rodgers’ has been hit 6 and sacked 3 times; ‘sources’ confirm he didn’t have to wash last week’s jersey).  The Bears defense is keeping its end of the bargain.  The Bears are the home underdog on Monday night; didn’t handicappers used to print money on that angle?

The Sagarin Ratings have Green Bay 26.46 over Chicago 22.03.  With the 3.16 home advantage, the ratings indicate the fair value line is Green Bay -1.27.  This indicates the betting value is on the Bears +3.

My football model predicts Chicago 25.7 over Green Bay 19.1 for 44.8 total points.  On paper, both teams have solid defenses.  The Bears have given up too many passing yards but their run defense has shutdown opposing teams and is a major driver in model outcome.  Each additional or fewer 15 yards that Green Bay rushes for equates to +/- 1.5 points.  Both teams have balanced and effective offenses.  The Bears have used short passes to RB Matt Forte to supplement the running game; expect that to continue with pressure coming from Green Bay.  The key variance contributors are the Bears pass offense against a stingy Packer defense.  Each additional or fewer 15 yards equates to +/- 1 point based on their historical scoring efficiency.  The Bears have to move the ball in the air for success tonight.

My gut (and data) tells me the Packers are the better team in a neutral game.  But how much does home advantage on Monday night mean for Chicago?  Is +3 enough cushion for the Bears?  I think so and here’s why.  First, the Bears haven’t done anything wrong (Beat an up and coming Detroit team and went to Dallas and won).  Second, they are moving the ball and not making mistakes.  Third, the home underdog on Monday night and road favorite following a lopsided win angles have play here.  Last, there is betting value with the underdog Bears (It is hard to give up points on the road of a divisional Monday night game).  Bet on the Chicago Bears +3. Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

Bet of the Day – New York Jets at Miami Dolphins, Sept. 26, 2010

New York Jets (+1) at Miami Dolphins (-1), Over/Under 35.5

Yesterday’s bet, Alabama Crimson Tide at Arkansas Razorbacks, was a winner.  We also went 3-2 on Twitter picks (252-202-4 to date).  Today’s bet of the day is on the Jets and Dolphins prime time game.  Coming off a big win over the Patriots, the Jets lost Revis  and had a very public DWI arrest for Braylon Edwards.  The Dolphins are now 2-0 and atop the AFC East.  Tonight’s game has plenty of questions hopefully we will have some answers.

The Jets (1-1) throttled the Patriots in the 2nd half last week, flashing the type of play we expect from the much-hyped team.  QB Mark Sanchez played much better throwing for 220 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs for a 124.3 QB rating.  Another step forward will be a challenge against an aggressive Dolphin defense.  The Jets are averaging 4.9 yards per play (YPP) and 13.8 yards per point scored (YPPT) while allowing 4.4 YPP and 23.9 YPPT.  Last week’s offensive performance was better for sure; but the Patriots defense isn’t as good as the Dolphin’s defense.  The Jets’ defense will play well (as they do) but expect some regression on the offensive side of the ball.  The Jets lost both games last year against the Dolphins.  Are they motivated?

Are the Dolphins a surprise 2-0?  Not really, they have won 2 road games (always hard to do) but their opponents weren’t exactly at the top of their game.  Today is a big game; the Home opener against an AFC East Rival.  Starting QB Chad Henne has been mediocre averaging 6.04 yards per attempt for 1 TD and 0 INTs with a 85.1 QB Rating.  The team offensive stats aren’t much better.  Miami is averaging 4.6 YPP and 18 YPPT (Not Efficient!) while allowing 4.4 YPP and 26.5 YPPT (Efficient!) on defense.  The offensive stats aren’t great, but the Dolphins are winning.  They are +2 in turnovers, have 49 less penalty yards, and have a defensive TD; they are a grinding team.  Expect Miami to be up for this game today.

The Sagarin Ratings have Miami 24.01 over New York 23.35.  With the 3.16 home advantage, the fair betting line is 3.82.  With a Miami -1 point spread, the betting value is with the Dolphins.

My football model predicts Miami 17.3 over New York 10.4 for 27.7 total points.  On paper, both teams have excellent defenses.  Despite all the talk, the Jets are more vulnerable to the pass but can stop the run.  Their offensive stats are nearly identical; the Jets score more efficiently.  The key variance contributor is the Jets pass offense.  The Jet’s have to pass the ball with success (similar to last weeks production) to win today.

Today I am taking the Dolphins.  Here’s why.  This is Miami’s home opener against a division rival in prime time.  Miami has a solid defense and doesn’t make many mistakes.  Miami’s Wildcat option is difficult to defend.  The Jets are coming off a big win, have some injury problems, and had team discipline issues this week; are they focused?  Bet on the Miami Dolphins -1.  Follow me on Twitter for all my picks (today’s picks are Jacksonville +3, NY Giants -2.5, Padres ML -125).  Good Luck!

Bet of the Day – Alabama Crimson Tide at Arkansas Razorbacks, Sept. 25, 2010

Alabama Crimson Tide (-7) at Arkansas Razorbacks (+7), Over/Under 56

Just missed with Yesterday’s bet, San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies.  We were 3-1 on Twitter picks yesterday but need a bet of the day win today!  It won’t be easy, the line is tight for the big showdown in Fayetteville, Ark.  The defending national champions visiting Heisman-contending Ryan Mallet and the Razorbacks.  The line is spot on.  It will be an exciting game with big implications for both teams.

Alabama hasn’t been tested yet.  Of course they did shutdown, then #18 Penn State (a game that was over at half). They could have score 100 on Duke and destroyed a San Jose State team the looked better against #11 Wisconsin.  The talking heads are obsessing over Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett and Alabama’s inexperienced secondary.  With all that said, here is an important nugget: Alabama is really good.  How is that for analysis?  Senior QB Greg McElroy leads the Crimson Tide in Fayetteville.  McElroy is averaging 11.75 yards per attempt (YPA) with 6 TDs and 1 INT for a 200.03 QB rating.  Alabama is averaging 8.6 yards per play (YPP) and 12.1 yards per point scored (YPPT) while only allowing 4 YPP and 40 YPPT.  The offensive stats are a bit deceiving.  Considering the number of points they have scored you would think their YPPT is lower; I think this is attributed to their heavy running game.  As with any Nick Saban team, they play good defense and are very athletic.  Their secondary is young but I like that this is their 4th game.   Also, Saban knows how to prepare teams for the big game.

Arkansas went into Athens last week and beat Georgia.  That is a hard thing to do.  Not as hard as it was in 2002 but still difficult.  Arkansas’ QB Ryan Mallet is a big, much-hyped junior averaging 10.81 YPA with 9 TDs and 2 INTs for a 186.5 QB rating.  Alabama held Mallet to 160 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT for a 76.40 QB rating in their 2009 35-7 loss.  The difference.  Alabama had experienced pro-level defensive backs.  Arkansas is averaging 7.7 YPP and 13.7 YPPT while allowing 4.2 YPP and 22.6 YPPT.  Alabama will be better than anything the Razorbacks have seen this year.  But Arkansas is an improving team and playing at home will be a big boost.  Arkansas will need to avoid penalties and turnovers and must play at 100% the entire game.  Alabama likes to jump on teams early and Arkansas has had bouts of team drowsiness (not sure how else to explain their sudden periods of flat play).  Tonight’s game is a major test and could be a big statement for Arkansas.

The Sagarin Ratings have Alabama 93.25 and Arkansas 84.24.  With a 3.01 home advantage, this indicates the fair betting line would be Alabama -6.  Very close to the point spread; too close?

My football model predicts Alabama 32.1 over Arkansas 28.1 for 60.18 total points.  On paper, Alabama;’s ability to run and pass (and manage a game) make them difficult to slow down.  Arkansas has a clear passing advantage.  Both teams have very similar defensive numbers.  Alabama has played a more difficult schedule but Arkansas can score more efficiently (as seen in the last seconds of the Georgia game).  There are two variance contributors that determine the game; Arkansas’ passing and running offense.  This means if Arkansas can’t move the ball to their average, expect a long night for the Razorbacks.

Tough game to call but I think Alabama wins the game.  Here’s why.  Saban and the Tide have big game experience.  Alabama’s offense is grinding and will keep Mallett off the field.  Mallett hasn’t had huge games against his toughest opponents; he needs to prove he can win a game like this. Last, Saban’s Alabama = defense.  They will pressure Mallett and slow down the run.  I am recommending a slightly different betting strategy today for three reasons: 1. I don’t like that the line is stuck on this key number, 2.  I wanted to give everyone a night game but felt I had to cover this game.

I am recommending a 2-team  6.5 point teaser (this is my staple and most profitable type of bet).  Bet Alabama Crimson Tide -7 with Oregon Ducks -11.5 in a 2-team 6.5 point teaser (this will give you Alabama -0.5 and Oregon -5 at -110). Enjoy the afternoon and night game.  Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

Bet of the Day – San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies, Sept 24, 2010

San Francisco Giants (+115) at Colorado Rockies (-125), Over/Under 8

Yesterday’s bet, Miami Hurricanes at Pittsburgh Panthers, was a loser.  Wasn’t even close.  It was the end of a 5 day win streak.  Tonight, the NL West-leading Giants kickoff a series with the Rockies.  While the Giants are in the thick of the NL West race, this series is Colorado’s last chance.  It will be a fun series

Last night, the Giants jumped on the Cubs early for a 13-0 win to regain the NL West lead (it was a bit of a fluke game, so don’t get too enamored with 13 runs).  The Giants have won 4 of their last 7.  Their batting has been decent (.331 OBP for 4.9 runs per game), but their pitching has been excellent. Over the last 7 games, they have allowed a stingy .181 batting average with a .225 OBP for only 1.6 runs per game.  Tonight, Tim Lincecum takes the mound (14-10, 1.307 WHIP).  Wonder boy Lincecum hasn’t been his usual self in 2010 but has pitched well of late.  Lincecum is 6-5 with a 3.55 ERA and 1.410 WHIP in 14 starts against the Rockies (1-2 in 2010).  He will need a huge game against a desperate Rockies team.

Five days ago, the Rockies were 1 game back of the NL West lead and had won 13 of 15 games.  Today they are 3.5 games back and have lost 4 games in a row.  The good news, they are back home at Coors Field where they are 51-24 and .035 OBP points better for the season.  The Rockies continued to hit well on the road, but their pitching wasn’t very good.  Over the last 7 games, they hit .277 with a .364 OBP for 6.9 runs per game, but their opponents hit .287 with a .349 OBP for 5.9 runs per game (in that 7 game sample there was a Rockies 12-2 win to skew the runs per game).  Scoring won’t likely be a problem for the Rockies tonight but starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin (9-9, 1.293 WHIP) will need another strong outing.  Chacin is coming off an 8 inning 9 hit, 0 walk and 0 run outing.  Chacin doesn’t give up many hits or home runs but has bouts with free bases.  Chacin’s best outings have come in 2’s, so expect another good effort tonight.

My baseball model predicts Colorado 5.80 over San Francisco 3.61 for 9.41 total runs.  This is a big spread for my model.  Digging into the home/away stats, Colorado is a better hitting team.  Colorado’s bullpen allows fewer walks and hits.  The key variance contributors are Colorado’s scoring efficiency and Tim Lincecum’s hits and walks allowed.  What does this mean?  If Lincecum pitches to his 2010 road average and Colorado’s home scoring efficiency is at average, the Rockies will be hard to beat (they are actually so efficient at home they could be a full deviation off the average and would still likely win).  It also means, San Francisco has to score runs.

An interesting note from Pregame.com’s Sportbook Spy, of the 2342 bets on this game’s money line, 76% are on the Giants.  The line is moving toward the Rockies, and to me indicates some smart money is on the Rockies.

I don’t normally take a team on a losing streak, but tonight I am taking the Rockies.  Here’s why.  This is it for the Rockies, they have 10 games remaining and a loss tonight would probably be the end.  The Rockies are great at home.  The Rockies bats are still warm.  Jhoulys Chacin is on form and has pitched well against the Giants in the past.  Last, Lincecum’s name alone drives the price down and there is betting value with the Rockies.   Bet on the Colorado Rockies on the money line -120.  Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

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