GAMBLING GUIDE

Bookie Busters: Hoping to continue an epic win streak with Europa League Final, NBA and NHL playoffs

The Rockets are in must-win mode. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

An epic run, some would say, as Bookie Busters stayed hot by going undefeated at 8-0-1. We are now on a 37-12 run over the last five weeks. 75.5%. Remember to Practice Bankroll management, that is the key! Let's keep streaking....

8-0-1 SWEEP

Celtics +1   WIN

Soccer

Dynamo vs. Whitecaps

Over 2.5  WIN

RB Leipzig vs. Hertha Berlin

Over 3 WIN

Levante vs. Barcelona

Over 3.5 WIN

Both Teams to score WIN

Liverpool first Half  WIN

Arsenal -1 PUSH

Tottenham Over 3.5  WIN

Colorado Rapids vs. New York Red Bulls

Over 2.5  WIN

Europa League Final

Atletico Madrid vs. Marseille

Marseille come into this match off a disappointing 3-3 draw vs. Guingamp this weekend. The squad leans heavily on the skills of French international Dimitri Payet who has seven assists and three goals in this tournament. Also having a breakthrough season is winger Florian Thauvin, who has netted 21 goals in Ligue 1.  The French side will need every bit of their contributions after being held scoreless in five matches in this competition, something that doesn't bode well facing one of Europe's elite defenses. Atletico Madrid has allowed only 20 goals in the last 37 matches; credit to goalkeeper Jan Oblak who is making a case for one of the worlds best keepers after keeping 26 clean sheets this season. Attempting to recreate the magic of 2010 and 2012, Diego Simeone's team enter this match as 3-1 favorites to claim the Europa title.

The Pick

The French side hasn't had much luck in EL finals, tasting defeat the last two times they made it to a final,  losing to Parma in 1999 and Valencia in 2004. I expect Los Rojiblancos to play a conservative gameplan limiting what Marseille will be able to do on the offensive side of the field. Look for a marginal victory here from a team that is battle tested in big games and their experience, will conclusively lead them to a narrow victory.

Atletico -118

Atletico to nil

Antoine Griezmann to score

Match Result and Both Teams to Score

Madrid and No   +150

Predicted lineups

Marseille starting XI: Mandanda; Sarr, Rami, Luiz Gustavo, Amavi; Sanson, Lopez; Thauvin, Payet, Ocampos; Germain

Atletico Madrid starting XI: Oblak; Vrsaljko, Savic, Godin, Lucas; Koke, Saul Niguez, Gabi, Correa; Griezmann, Costa

Other sports

Rockets vs. Warriors Game 2

Rockets -1

Not much to this play, Houston in a must-win situation after losing home court. I believe MDA makes the right adjustments on defense and gets his offense going earlier in the shot clock.

Winnipeg Jets at Vegas Golden Knights - Game 3

Vegas-140 Moneyline

Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers -  Game 3

Over 205

For any questions or comments reach me @JerryBoknowz on Twitter


 

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Here's what the data tells us about Bregman. Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Alex Bregman had a rough season in 2020 by his standards. He slashed .242/.350/.451 in 42 regular season games. His regular season included a trip to the 10-day IL for a hamstring strain he suffered in mid-August. His surface-level struggles continued in the postseason, where he slashed .220/.316/.300 in 13 games. However, that postseason sample size does include a tough luck game against the Tampa Bay Rays where he went 0-for-5 with five hard hit balls.

All-in-all, 2020 felt like a lost season for Bregman. He never really got going. He got off to a slow start, but he's always been a slow starter. Once he started to pick it up, he strained his hamstring, and he played poorly after returning from the hamstring strain. Then, he started to turn his batted ball quality around in the playoffs, but he hit into a lot of tough luck outs.

Hard Hit % - 33.6%

Barrel % - 3.9%

K% - 14.4%

BB% - 13.3%

Chase % - 18.1%

Bregman comes from the Michael Brantley school of hitters. He has elite plate discipline and elite bat-to-ball skills. This makes Bregman a fairly consistent hitter. That may sound odd considering his 2020 "struggles" but even an extended period of poor performance for him resulted in a .801 OPS and a 122 wRC+. If his valleys are still 22% better than the league average hitter, then that's a pretty reliable producer.

There aren't any alarming trends in Bregman's statistics. Yes, his K% was slightly up, his BB% is slightly down, but it isn't a massive difference in either category. His Chase % was up, but again, 18.1% is elite discipline. The biggest drop was in his Hard Hit%, where he fell from 38% to 33.6%. Even so, his average exit velocity only dropped .4 MPH, so there's not really a catastrophic trend here.

His .254 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) was low, but he's never put up really high BABIP numbers. In fact, his BABIP has gotten worse every year of his career, from .317 to .311 to .289 to .281 to .254. While his BABIP will likely spike back up next year, it isn't enough to be the difference between the 2019 and 2020 versions of himself. His xBA and xSLG weren't out of whack either. His .256 xBA isn't much better than his .240 AVG, and his .400 xSLG is actually worse than his .451 SLG.

Bregman is as forthcoming with his hitting mechanics, approach, and mental cues as any big leaguer out there. Here is what he had to say about his swing this year. This was a Zoom press conference with the media following the Astros game on September 25th against the Rangers.

Bregman says he wants to hit balls in the air to the pull side and on a line to the opposite field, but in reality, he was hitting flares to the opposite field and hitting them on the ground to the pull side.

The data mostly backs up that claim. In 2019, on balls hit to the pull side, Bregman had an average exit velocity of 90.7 MPH at an average launch angle of 16°, a 40% Hard Hit %, and a 16% HR%. Since Bregman has elite bat-to-ball skills, most of those metrics didn't change. In 2020, his average exit velocity was 90.6, essentially the same as 2019. His Hard Hit % was 42%, a touch better than in 2019. However, his average launch angle dipped from 16° to 11°, which contributed to his HR% dropping all the way to 9%. Bregman hit 47% of his pull side swings on the ground. In 2019, that number was 40%. He absolutely had less production to the pull side in 2020.

The data gets a little hazier going the opposite way when comparing 2019 to 2020, as Bregman actually performed slightly better to the opposite field in 2020 than 2019, but he also only had 20 batted balls to the opposite field all season. Considering the small sample size, it isn't worth diving too deep into the data.

He's right that most of the balls he hit that way were flares. He had an average exit velocity of 83.4 MPH with an average launch angle of 32°, but that's about the same as what he did in 2019. A lot of the statistical drop off comes from balls that were backspun rockets to the pull side in 2019 becoming top spinners or roll overs in 2020.

Bregman also performed horribly against breaking balls in 2020. He batted .150 with a .250 SLG against them in 2020. He had an 84 MPH Average Exit Velocity against them and whiffed 26.5% of the time against them.

It was a far cry from 2019, when he hit .265 with a .588 SLG, 87 MPH average exit velo, and whiffed 18% of the time.

Those numbers lend credence to his statement on his mechanics. It's tough for a hitter to have adjustability against breaking balls if he's blowing out his front side and pulling off of the baseball.

Bregman will spend the offseason working on these mechanical fixes and getting back to the hitter he used to be. If he's consistently hitting the ball in the air to the pull side next year, and he's performing better against breaking balls, then he should be right back in the mix for AL MVP.

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