NFL News and Notes - Handicapping The World Series
You saw it on Monday afternoon when the now-rebuilding Oakland Raiders traded away WR Amani Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys for a 2019 first-round draft pick (give the Raiders the trade advantage there, folks) and you can bet your bottom dollar that more NFL deals will be made between now and the Oct. 30th Trade Deadline ... here's some names we expect to be on the move:
PATRICK PETERSON, CB - The Arizona Cardinals' star wants out of the desert (and who can blame 'em) and odds are he'll land up in the Keystone State ... and we give Philadelphia a slight edge over Pittsburgh based on trading away a draft pick and a warm body.
TREVOR SIEMIAN, QB - The one-time starting slinger for the Denver Broncos is backing up moneybags QB Kirk Cousins in Minnesota but reports are the Vikings like third-stringer Kyle Sloter and so they'll deal Siemian to Jacksonville. Nope, the Jags won't be able to pry loose New York Giants' QB Eli Manning nor Oakland signal-caller DAVID CARR although we won't be shocked if Carr gets moved at the 11th hour with Miami said to be interested.
DAMON "SNACKS" HARRISON, NT - The Giants' 1-6 season may not have rock-bottomed out just yet even after that 23-20 loss-but-cover in Atlanta on Monday Night Football but the front office is looking ahead to 2019 and Harrison doesn't fit into the team's budget. Don't be shocked if he's traded to the New England Patriots for a couple of second/third-round draft picks.
In other NFL News & Notes ...
We head into NFL Week 8 play - it begins Thursday night with the Miami Dolphins at the 7.5-point favorite Houston Texans - with NFL Betting Favorites at 47-55-2 ATS (against the spread) for a .461 winning percentage. Note that NFL Favs and Dogs split in Week 7 play - going 7-7-0 overall - while NFL "Under" players shined last week en route to a 10-4 spread mark. For the year, NFL "Overs" are still - barely - ahead at 55-52-0 for a .514 winning percentage.
The World Series
Las Vegas could see its most heavily bet World Series ever! It’s already shaping up that way because big money hit sports books over the weekend as soon as the Los Angeles Dodgers won the NLCS Saturday night in Milwaukee. Game One in Boston isn’t until Tuesday night. That gives deep-pocked entertainment moguls time to get here and get down.
Of course, Boston has a big following too. Many sports fans and avid sports bettors from the northeast (Boston and New York) and midwest (Chicago) make their way out here in their later years. What better way to spend “retirement” than in a warm weather paradise where gambling is legal?
All this is talk of heavy action even before considering the competitiveness of the series. We have two excellent teams capable of taking fans and bettors through seven thrilling games. TV ratings will be through the roof compared to recent October baseball. This is going to be something special.
Will it be something special to handicap? Honestly, that depends on the prices. Be very careful forcing plays just because you want to have something in a big TV game. These are very even teams…and there’s no reason to get involved if the lines properly capture that.
Dodgers and Red Sox Similarities
*Stud Starter (Kershaw and Sale)
*Commitment to strategy
While neither will be as wacky as Milwaukee in terms of throwing “the book” out the window and doing whatever it takes to get an edge…neither is afraid of making “unorthodox” moves in the middle of the game because that’s what new-age analytics say to do. The Dodgers were a disaster for far too long in the past. Now they have SMART management. Boston has been ahead of the curve for several years in that regard.
Boston is the series favorite because the Red Sox have home field advantage, and were seen as much more dominant in the last round. You beat Houston in five games…you’re playing some baseball!
I agree with the market that Boston should be the favorite. I will handicap this series on a game-by-game basis based on the strengths and weaknesses of each starting pitcher. If a meaningful difference between “middle-of-the-game” relievers starts to show itself, I will take advantage of that the next time out.
There may be an edge that develops in terms of park factors. I don’t believe the mainstream media understands how good this Dodgers offense is. They had to play their home games in a great pitchers’ park. Put them in a park like Fenway…and their bats could really explode. Will market Over/Unders reflect this reality?
You regulars know that I put a lot of weight on PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS when making my decisions. To me, that’s a wash in this series. Both offenses are LOADED…and those offenses are loaded with guys who know how to play defense too. I’ve been so impressed with Boston’s team speed, team smarts, and throwing arms.
But, THE MOTIVATION FACTOR could lead to a successful simple strategy like taking the loser of the first game in the second game…and so on through the series. I’m always careful with betting “need to win” because it gets overplayed in our industry. In THIS series, it might be the only relevant difference from game to game.
How can there be a homework assignment when so much is already known about these two MLB powerhouses? I’ll give you a quick one. Go back and log…game by game…the RELIEF performances for each team through the postseason. I want you to learn each manager’s tendencies for which arms they prefer in which situations. I want you to see which relievers weren’t quite ready for their moment. I want you to see which relievers could or couldn’t get strikeouts on command.
Starting pitchers will throw fewer innings in this World Series than we’ve ever seen unless there’s a huge surprise. Managers have quicker hooks than in the past. And, these both are truly great offenses. YOU need to know everything you can about both bullpens. YOU need to map out what’s likely to happen in innings four through seven before first pitch. If the market is missing something, that’s how you’ll see it.
If you’d like some help finding winners through the Fall Classic, KELSO STURGEON’S top plays can always be purchased at this website by credit card. Questions about extended service and combination packages can be answered in the office by calling 1-800-755-2255 during normal business hours. Remember to check on combination packages that also include the NBA. Pro hoops is off to an early start. But, it’s been a very active start here in Las Vegas with LeBron James playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Dean of Sports Handicapping thanks all of you baseball fans who were with us through the summer for your support and attendance. This could be our final baseball report of 2018. I’ll decide that over the weekend. Games 1-2 are Tuesday and Wednesday. Games 3-4-5 are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If we’re 3-2 heading into next Monday’s report, I might jump in with something I noticed in early action. This coursework is designed to be responsive to real-world handicapping challenges. If the big stories are in football, then that’s where I’ll be. Just keep showing up to class and trust your teacher!
Back with you again Friday with a football discussion for the new weekend of action. When you were attending high school and college, you probably didn’t like homework as much as you do now. You’ve realized that the work you put into handicapping pays a great reward!