Saturday, August 15, 2015

6 Things To Know Before Your Fantasy Football Draft

Tis the season for fantasy football drafts. The NFL is right around the corner and to millions that means the return of fantasy football. For some fans, the only chance they have at seeing their team win a championship is in fantasy. I would know being a Cowboys fan, so I take fantasy football pretty seriously. Probably a little too seriously.

Anyway, if you're actually trying to win your league this year there are some steps you should take before your draft. I've put together 6 simple things you should know before your fantasy football draft that will give you a better chance at not being a loser this year.

Here's what you should know:

1: The Rules- You won't be successful if you don't know the scoring rules in the league you're in. Are passing TDs worth 4 points or 6? Is it a PPR league? Do kickers get 15 points for field goals of more than 35 yards? (I actually played in a league like that. Kickers routinely went for 50 points. It was ridiculous.) You can't put together a draft strategy until you're clear on what the rules for your league are. Know them inside and out before draft day.

2: The Projections- Matthew Berry said in his Draft Day Manifesto that over the past 3 years, teams that make the playoffs average 93 points per week. If you head in to your draft knowing what players are projected to do for the season, and then just divide that by 16, then you at least have an idea of what your team is going to do on a week-to-week basis. Is that an exact science? Not even a little bit. But if you draft with an idea of what players are going to average weekly you've got a better shot at making the playoffs.

3: The Schedules- That's great that you drafted Cam Newton, Adrian Peterson, Kelvin Benjamin, and Lamar Miller. That's a solid starting squad. Problem is all of them are on a bye in week 4. You need to stagger your lineup so your top QB, RB, and WR aren't all on byes the same week. Same goes for your bench. If you end up with multiple positions on byes in the same week, you're going to have to pray you find some waiver wire miracles. Take a look at the bye week schedule before the draft and have them handy while you're drafting.

4: The Depth Charts- No one expects you to know the depth chart for every team, but you need to have an idea of who the top targets are for WRs and who the handcuffs are for RBs. Otherwise you run the risk of having a whole team of guys who aren't going to see the majority of the action. Not only that, but if you know who the backups are, you can be prepared for when someone gets hurt. And someone always gets hurt. Having an idea of who is next up on the depth chart will help you get that waiver claim in as fast as you can.

5: Defense Matters- So many people wait until the final rounds to draft their defense. I like to call those people idiots. Last year, in a standard scoring ESPN league, the difference between the top scoring defense, Seattle with 187 points, and the 10th scoring defense, Baltimore with 109, was 78 points. We'll round up, so it works out to 5 points per week between the top defense and the 10th defense. Are you telling me you can afford to just give away 5 points per week? And that's assuming you get the 10th best defense by waiting until the last few rounds. You can wait on a kicker, The top kicker last year scored 138 points and the worst scored 101. We're talking about an average of 2 points per week. That's using every kicker from last year. The difference per week between the top kicker and the 20th kicker was less than 1.5 points per week.

6: The Date, Time and Location of your Draft- If you're not sure when and where your draft is, ask the commish. If it's an online draft you really have no excuse to be late. If you have to autodraft because of some extenuating circumstances, so be it. But if you autodraft because you forgot when the draft was, then you forfeit all bragging rights for the season. You don't get to gloat about wins because you didn't draft your team. Also, if the draft is being held at someone's house, don't show up empty handed. Bring some chips and dip. Or a 12-pack. Or both. Both is best.

There you go. 6 simple things you need to know before your fantasy football draft. Good luck this season, unless you're in a league with me.

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

2015 March Madness Bracket Tips

As usual, RJ Bell of Pregame.com has put together a great list of tips for this year's March Madness tournament. You'll be hard-pressed to find a better list of tips, facts, odds, and information.

*** 2015 NCAA Tournament Action:

Over $12 BILLION worldwide expected to be wagered on NCAA Tournament
That’s MORE action combined than generated by the Super Bowl!
(it’s estimated that less than 1% of worldwide sports betting occurs in Nevada

Over 100 million people expected to take part in tournament BRACKET contests!

Vegas Grades Committee

Vegas strongly agrees with Committee.
Pro Bettor David Malinsky says NO TEAM left out of Tournament would be favored against ANY at-large selection!
Said another way, Vegas feels as if the Committee was literally PERFECT picking the teams to include in the field.

Also no mistakes with #1 seeds. No non-#1 seed would be favored against any of the #1 seeds.

*** Kentucky

Toughest Tourney game for Kentucky? Vegas consensus says Wisconsin.
Projected spread: Kentucky favored by 5.5 over Wisconsin

Bookmaker Bob Scucci says the 1991 UNLV team would be favored by 6 points over this year's Kentucky team

Vegas Consensus says the 2012 Kentucky championship team would be favored by 3.5 points over this year’s Kentucky team.

Great college team vs. worst pro team?
Vegas estimate: NY Knicks would be favored by 15 points over Kentucky (assuming game played under NBA rules)

Kentucky was a 50/1 longshot to go undefeated when the prop was first offered at the start of the season!

*** Perfect Bracket Odds:

There are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 possible brackets (9.2 quintillion)
That's the number nine followed by 18 zeros!
That’s over ONE MILLION times bigger than 9 TRILLION!

Some examples of just how big this number is:

If one bracket per second were filled out, it would take 292 BILLION years to fill out all possible brackets (that's 20 times longer than the universe has existed).

If all the people on earth filled out one bracket per second, it would take over 42 YEARS to fill out every possible bracket.
If everyone on the planet each randomly filled out a bracket, the odds would be over ONE BILLION to 1 against any person having a perfect bracket.
All possible brackets on normal paper would circle the globe over 21 MILLION TIMES.
All possible brackets (on standard paper) would weigh over 184 TRILLION TONS (that’s over 500 MILLION times more than the Empire State Building weighs)

68 vs. 64 teams:
The calculations above assume a 64 team bracket – if expanded to consider 68 teams, multiple the figures by 16.

*** 14 Bracket Picking Rules from Vegas!
(records since modern era began in 1985 unless otherwise noted)

ROUND OF 64 picks:
TIP: Pick ZERO #1 or #2 seeds to lose.
#16 seeds are 0 for 120
#15 seeds are 7 for 120

TIP: Pick at least ONE #13 or #14 seed to win.
At least one Top 4 seed has lost in the first round 26 of 30 years
#13 and #14 seeds combined win 18% of first round games

TIP: Don't be shy picking upsets with #12 through #9 seeds.
#12 seeds have won at least one game 24 of 26 years (won 3 of 4 last year)
#9 seeds have a winning record against #8 seeds

ROUND OF 32 picks:
TIP: Advance #1 seeds into Sweet 16 in almost all cases.
88% of #1 seeds advance to the Sweet 16

TIP: Keep advancing any #12 seeds you picked to win in Round One.
#12 seeds have won 20 of 44 times in Round Two
#12 seeds have the same number of Sweet 16 appearances overall as #7 seeds
A double digit seed has made the Sweet Sixteen 28 of 30 years

TIP: Pick at least ONE upset of a #2 or #3 seed.
Only ONCE in 30 years has all the top three seeds (#1, #2, #3) made the Sweet Sixteen

TIP: Do NOT pick any seed worse than #12 to win in the Round of 32.
Only 9 of 480 teams (less than 2%) advancing past Round 2 were seeded worse than #12

SWEET 16 round picks:
TIP: Advance exactly THREE #1 seeds into the Elite 8.
70% of #1 seeds make the Elite 8
(that's a higher percentage than #5 seeds that win a single game!)

TIP: Advance no team worse than a #11 seed into the Elite 8
26 seeds worse than 11 have made it the Sweet 16
but only ONE Elite 8 team (out of a total of 240) has been seeded worse than #11

ELITE 8 round picks:
TIP: Advance exactly ONE or TWO #1 seeds to the Final Four.
The Final Four has included exactly one or two #1 seeds 24 of 30 years

TIP: Advance no team worse than a #9 seed to the Final Four.
Only 3 of 144 Final Four teams (since 1979) have been seeded worse than #9

FINAL FOUR round picks:
TIP: Advance NO team worse than a #6 seed to the Championship game.
Only TWO Championship games have had any team worse than a #6 seed (in last 29 years)

TIP: Do NOT advance TWO #1 seeds to Championship game
Since tournament seeding began in 1979
#1 seeds have face off in the finals only 6 times

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME pick:
TIP: Pick a #4 seed or better to win it all.
25 of 26 years the champion has been a #4 seed or better!
(last year was the exception!)


UPDATE: 

Kentucky: EVEN MONEY ($100 wins $100)
Wisconsin 8/1
Duke 8/1
Villanova 10/1
Arizona 10/1
Virginia 12/1
Gonzaga 22/1
Notre Dame 25/1
Iowa St 30/1
North Carolina 30/1
Baylor 45/1
Kansas 45/1
Maryland 60/1
Utah 60/1
Oklahoma 60/1
Michigan St 70/1
Louisville 80/1
SMU 80/1
Wichita St 80/1
Northern Iowa 85/1
West Virginia 90/1

Game Spreads
(listing of team with most favorable spread for each seed – a great guide for bracket picking)

#1 Villanova -22 over Lafayette (two 1/16 matchups without spreads due to play-in)
#2 Arizona -23 over Texas Southern
#3 Iowa St -13.5 over UAB
#4 North Carolina -9.5 over Harvard
#5 Arkansas -7.5 over Wofford
#6 SMU -3 over UCLA (two 6/11 matchups without spreads due to play-in)
#7 Wichita St -5 over Indiana
#8 San Diego St -2.5 over St John’s
#9 Purdue -1 over Cincinnati
#10 Ohio St -2.5 over VCU
#11 Texas -1.5 over Butler
#12 Buffalo +4 vs. West Virginia.
#13 Valparaiso +5 vs. Maryland
#14 Georgia St +8.5 vs. Baylor
#15 New Mexico St +11.5 vs. Kansas
#16 Coastal Carolina +20 vs. Wisconsin

Vegas Grades Committee

Pro Bettor David Malinsky says NO TEAM left out of Tournament would be favored against ANY at-large selection!
Said another way, Vegas feels as if the Committee was literally PERFECT picking the teams to include in the field.

Also no mistakes with #1 seeds. No non-#1 seed would be favored against any of the #1 seeds.

Two examples of disagreements among the teams selected:
#11 Texas -1.5 over #6 Butler
#10 Ohio St -2.5 over #7 VCU

*** Kentucky

20/1 payoff if Kentucky never trails in ANY Tournament game

6/1 payoff if Kentucky wins EVERY GAME by double digits

How many total minutes will Kentucky trail in the entire tournament? Over/under 25 minutes

Toughest Tourney game for Kentucky? Vegas consensus says Wisconsin
Projected spread: Kentucky favored by 5.5 over Wisconsin

Kentucky is projected to be NOT less than a DOUBLE DIGIT favorite until at least the Final Four.

Bookmaker Bob Scucci says the 1991 UNLV team would be favored by 6 points over this year's Kentucky team

Vegas Consensus says the 2012 Kentucky championship team would be favored by 3.5 points over this year’s Kentucky team.

Great college team vs. worst pro team?
Vegas estimate: NY Knicks would be favored by 15 points over Kentucky (assuming game played under NBA rules)

Kentucky was a 50/1 longshot to go undefeated when the prop was first offered at the start of the season!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

There's Nothing Like It- Some Advice For Richard Sherman

This week news came out that Richard Sherman's girlfriend might go into labor during the Super Bowl. He was asked what he would do, and rightfully he didn't give a straight answer. Earlier today I saw a post saying his girlfriend said he should play in the game. As a brand new dad, I can say without hesitation that there is no way he should play if his child is being born.

First off, how do you explain that to you kid later in life? "Sorry, son. Dad wasn't there because he was playing a football game." Granted, it's a huge game, but in the grand scheme of life, it's still a game. Not only that, but I'd assume Sherman will have more than one child, and chances are he'll be at those births. How is that going to make your firstborn child feel?

As a former athlete, I get the mindset. Not to toot my own horn but during my athletic career teams I was on won multiple Junior Olympic medals and played in 2 National Championship games, winning one of them. While those are amazing memories that I will never forget, they are nothing compared to the first time I held my daughter. People keep asking me what that experience was like and I'm truly at a loss for words. I realize some Jr. Olympic Medals and a National Championship pale in comparison to a Super Bowl, but I can't imagine anything being on the same level as being in the room when your first child is born. When my daughter was about 4 minutes old, getting all her measurements taken and crying, she grabbed my finger. It's a moment that absolutely rocked my world and something I will never forget. Even writing about it brings a tear to my eye. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

If Richard Sherman was playing in the last game of his career, or was the keystone player on his team, I could understand him wondering if he should play in the game. But all signs point to him having long career, and while he's very good, I highly doubt he'll be the difference maker tomorrow. Not that he couldn't be, I just don't see the defense struggling if he's not there.

Go ask Hunter Mahan about it. Back in 2013 he left a PGA event he was leading so he could be at the birth of his child. Had he stayed he likely would've won and pocketed a million dollars. The guy literally gave up a shot at a million dollars to be in the room when his daughter was born. That's how special this is.

So from a new dad to someone about to become a dad- Richard, if your son decides he wants to be born tomorrow, go to the hospital. You've won a Super Bowl, you know what that's like already. You have no idea how happy you'll be when your child is born. Plus, if you go and your team wins you'll be a hero. If you stay and they win you'll be the guy who missed his kid's birth because of a game. If you stay and they lose, you'll be vilified even more than you are now. If you go and they win, you'll be the inspirational hero. Do the right thing.

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Super Bowl 49 Prop Bet Odds

As usual, RJ Bell of Pregame.com put together a fantastic list of prop bets and odds for the Super Bowl. He consistently provides the best and most thorough information in the sports betting industry. Here's what he sent out earlier today:

Super Bowl Props

MVP
($100 wins …)

Tom Brady +180
Russell Wilson +350
Marshawn Lynch +500
Rob Gronkowski +900
LeGarrette Blount +1500
Richard Sherman +3000
Julian Edelman +3000
Darrelle Revis +3800
Earl Thomas +4000

Player Stats

Passing Yards
Tom Brady: o/u 262.5 yards
Russell Wilson: o/u 221.5 yards

Rushing Yards
Seahawks: o/u 143.5 yards
Patriots: o/u 95.5 yards
Marshawn Lynch: o/u 91.5 yards
LeGarrette Blount: o/u 62.5 yards
Russell Wilson: o/u 43.5 yards

Receiving Yards
Rob Gronkowski: o/u 79.5 yards
Julian Edelman: o/u 68.5 yards
Doug Baldwin: o/u 54.5 yards
Brando LaFell: o/u 53.5 yards
Jermaine Kearse: o/u 42.5 yards
Luke Willson: o/u 32.5 yards
Shane Vereen: o/u 27.5 yards
Danny Amendola: o/u 23.5 yards

Longshots

+140 if Tom Brady does NOT throw an INT

+160 if there IS a Special Teams or Defensive TD

+220 if any quarter is scoreless

+250 if Patriots score in EVERY quarter

+250 if Darrelle Revis intercepts a pass

6/1 if Tom Brady throws 4 or more TD passes

6/1 if there’s a safety

6/1 if there’s a blocked punt

7/1 if game goes into OT

7/1 if Patriots win by more than 17 points

8/1 if ZERO turnovers in game

9/1 if there’s a kickoff return TD

9/1 if Tom Brady throws for 400+ passing yards

10/1 if an offensive lineman scores a TD

15/1 if Marshawn Lynch gains 150+ rushing yards

15/1 if either team wins by 37+ points

18/1 if Rob Gronkowski gains 150+ receiving yards

20/1 if first score of the game is a safety

20/1 if LaGarrette Blount gains 150+ rushing yards

20/1: ZERO sacks in game

30/1 if Russell Wilson throws for 350+ passing yards

40/1 if Revis has two or more INTs

40/1 if any fake punt gains First Down or a TD

100/1 if no TDs in game

Fun Props

Will Bill Belichick smile during the game on camera? +140 if YES

Will Al Michaels refer to odds at any point during telecast? +150 if YES

Will Marshawn Lynch “grab his crotch” after scoring TD? +400 if YES

Will Katy Perry be showing cleavage during halftime show? +500 if YES

What Color will Belichick’s hoodie be?
Grey: -150
Blue: +175
Red: +700

What Color Gatorade will be dumped on winning coach?
Orange +150
Clear +300
Yellow +400
Red +700
Blue +750
Purple +900
Green +1200

How many times will “Deflated” Balls be said during the game?
Over/Under 3 times

How many times will Gisele Bundchen be shown during game?
Over/Under 1.5 times

Cross-Sport Props

Will Dwayne Wade score more points Sunday OR Marshawn Lynch gain more receiving yards?

Will Sidney Crosby score more points or Russell Wilson throw more TD passes?

LeBron James points favored by 3.5 over Tom Brady Completions


Ten 50/50 Props (odds say either side of these props has exactly a 50% chance)
Great fun for radio hosts to battle or to print out and have party guests make picks.
(Odds over 1000/1 against getting all ten correct!)

Heads or Tails – Coin Toss

Over/Under: 2 minutes and 1 second for Idina Menzel to sing National Anthem?

Yes/No: Will the first Coach’s Challenge be overturned?

Yes/No: Will the game be tied again after 0-0?

Yes/No: Will every quarter have over 3.5 points of scoring?

Over/Under: 47.5 total points for the game

Over/Under: 44.5 yards for the game’s longest Field Goal

Over/Under: 44.5 yards for the game’s longest TD

Over/Under: 1.5 yards for game’s shortest TD

Over/Under: 14 points for largest lead by any team in game

Game Information


Patriots favored by 1 point over Seattle

Deflated football controversy has had NO EFFECT on the betting market

Only 5 prior Super Bowls have been so close that the spread was LESS THAN a field goal.

Vegas favorite has won 33 of 48 Super Bowls (69%)

Underdog 6-1 ATS in last 7 Super Bowls

Winner of turnover battle in Super Bowl history has won 36 of 39 games!

Game Trends:


(Patriots) NFL teams scoring 40+ points in the playoffs are on a 4-23 Against The Spread losing run their next game

Patriots 4-11 ATS their last 15 playoff games

Last 20 times Seattle an underdog, lost against the spread only THREE TIMES

Seattle: 34-15-1 ATS last 50 games overall

Seattle in December or later: 19-5-1 ATS (last four seasons)

Seattle: 20-7-1 ATS vs. teams with a winning record


ACTION

An estimated $10 BILLION is projected to be bet on Super Bowl XLIX worldwide!
Over HALF of adult Americans are expected to have some money at risk on the game.
Less than 1% of the total amount bet is expected to be wagered legally in Nevada.

90% of overall SB 49 action in Las Vegas will come from recreational (non-professional) bettors.
This is highest percentage of recreational bettors for any American sporting event.

Vegas Wins 92% of the Time!
Nevada has kept separate Super Bowl accounting for 24 years:
Vegas has won money (in net) 22 years, with bettors winning money only twice.

COIN TOSS

48 prior Super Bowls: exactly 24 heads; 24 tails!

NFC has won 15 of the last 17 coin tosses

Bettors favors Heads so much that some sportsbooks are actually making it cheaper to bet Tails in an effort to the even action.

--


[odds above are a consensus of multiple Las Vegas and online sportsbooks. Bovada and sportsbook.ag the main source for many of the unusual props listed]

Here's what I like-

A bet on Gronk or Earl Thomas for MVP is just too enticing to pass up. Easily worth throwing $20 on. I love the Over on the mentions of "deflated balls" being 3. I think they'll pass that in the first quarter easily. I definitely think Katy Perry will be showing some cleavage, I mean, has anyone seen her perform? I'd be shocked if she didn't have the girls on display at least a little bit.

So there ya go. More Super Bowl props than you could ever begin to consider. Good luck this weekend, everyone. And if you hit it big, don't forget me.


And as always, a big thanks to RJ Bell for putting this all together. He is by far the best in the business.

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Jim Harbaugh To Michigan

According to John U. Bacon, Jim Harbaugh will be named the head coach for the Michigan Wolverines football team. He says the announcement could come as early as Monday. Terms have not been released.

As soon as Brady Hoke was fired I said Harbaugh was going to end up at Michigan. It just made too much sense. His style just isn't made for the NFL. He's a very good coach, that's obvious. But his approach doesn't fly with grown men. Not only that, but he'll be an absolute GOD in the football world if he can bring Michigan back to national prominence.

As much as I hate the Wolverines, and I do, I hope he's successful there. College football is better when Michigan is part of the conversation rather than being a punchline.

Will update as more info becomes available.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

JJ Watt For MVP

Seriously, he deserves it. Watt is clearly the defensive player of the year this season, but he should be the overall MVP as well. Here's why.

Put JJ Watt on any team in the NFL and that team instantly gets better. He has no equal. The same cannot be said for anyone else in the league. Take Aaron Rodgers, who is likely to win the award, and put him on the Broncos or Patriots. Those teams might be better, but in all likelihood they're in the same position. Same goes for DeMarco Murray. He's had an incredible year. But there are quite a few running backs who would have performed just as well as he has had they been given the volume of work he's received.

Look, I know it's a quarterback league. I know the NFL desperately wants the award to go to Rodgers, Brady, or Manning. I know those guys get 10x the amount of coverage Watt gets. Granted, Watt has seen a lot more attention this year, and rightfully so. Imagine how bad the Texans defense would be without him. The impact he has every week is astonishing. Coming in to this week he had 17.5 sacks, 1 interception (that he returned 80 yards for a TD, 3 forced fumbles, and 5 fumble recoveries (1 of which he returned for a TD). Oh yeah, he has 3 receiving TDs this year as well.

Just stop. Give him the award. No one in the NFL has had that kind of impact this season.

JJ Watt should be the NFL MVP this year.


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Monday, December 1, 2014

Nelson Cruz Is Proof PEDs Will Always Be A Part Of MLB

On August 5th 2013, Nelson Cruz was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball for his connection to the Biogensis Scandal. To put it more bluntly, he was caught taking performance enhancing drugs.

Now we can go back and forth about the actual benefits of performance enhancing drugs and never end up anywhere close to an agreement. But that's not what matters here. What matters is PEDs are a violation of the rules. Not only that, but using PEDs is a violation that on the surface seems to carry a fairly stiff penalty. Herein lies the issue. The penalty is stiff but doesn't do much to dissuade players from using. Nelson Cruz is a perfect example of this.

After being reinstated it wasn't exactly easy for Cruz to find work. He did eventually sign an $8 million deal with the Orioles for 2014 and helped them win the AL East. This contract was lower than what he could have made had he accepted the Rangers' $14 million qualifying offer. Sounds like the punishment worked right? Received a suspension and had to take a pay cut. Definitely an incentive to not use PEDs.

However, reports have come out today that Cruz is in agreement with the Mariners on a 4-year deal worth $57 million. The vast majority of baseball writers, reporters, tweeters, "experts," and so on are saying they're clearly over-paying for him. It's entirely possible that's the case, but it's also the climate of baseball right now.

My issue is the fact that he clearly benefited from taking PEDs. His punishment really didn't matter. Think of it this way. If you were caught taking illegal drugs at your work, you'd likely be fired. Not only that, but you'd have a tough time getting a job in that field again. I realize baseball is different, but something has to be done. If you're an average player who is on the verge of breaking out, what's stopping you from taking PEDs? A 50-game suspension clearly isn't doing the trick. If MLB wants to actually rid itself of PEDs, the penalties need to be stiffened.

I'd like to see the punishment for PED use to be go from 3 strikes to 2. First time caught gets a 100-game suspension and the second offense would be a lifetime ban. Now you're effecting a massive part of one season, or a good portion of two. That would make guys think twice about breaking the rules. Only being able to play in 62 games rather than 112 is going to seriously impact a performance and therefore future contracts. Or not being eligible for the end of one season and the beginning of another.

Yes, it's a great PR move to suspend these guys for 50 games. But it ultimately has no effect on them. If MLB truly wants to address the issue of PEDs, the penalties needed to be increased to the point where they will impact the player's future contracts.

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