GAMBLING RECAP

Week 12: Playing favoritism pays off

Tom Brady and the Patriots covered again. Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

The holiday season is upon us, so don't play favorites when fancying gifts. Have an open mind and give from the heart.

In the the world of NFL gambling, doing the complete opposite has been the formula for cashing tickets lately. Playing teams favored and using the "what have you done for me lately mindset," has shown to be profitable.

Favorites have been on an extraordinary 54-24-7 run since the start of Week 7.  Just in November, teams favored are 37-15-4, closing the best month for favorites covering the spread, in the super bowl era.

Sunday, followed the model, as favorites went a remarkable 12-3-1 ATS in week 12. Favorites took a commanding lead vs. the number in 2017, leading the way 89-74-9.

After the dust of the first 11 games settled, the books were headed to a Sunday bloody Sunday. Teams favored started the day 9-2 ATS, with the Patriots and Eagles who were heavy public favorites, covering the double-digit spreads. As the first set of games came to a close, the books were sweltering. The Patriots scored a late touchdown in the final seven minutes of the game to push the lead to 35-17, while the Eagles were cruising vs. the Bears. Needing a public favorite to lose, the attention of bookmakers turned to the Panthers vs. Jets game. Then, a fumble returned for a touchdown by linebacker Luke Kuechly and a late Graham Gano field goal, and Joe Public was eating filet mignon for lunch. The bookmakers did get some slight help with the Bills winning outright, and in the later games, the Cardinals upset the Jaguars. The savior to a horrible day for the books came in the Sunday night game, where the Packers came up short 28-31 but were able to keep the game close as 14 point underdogs.

Biggest underdogs to win

Bills +9 (+320)  16-10

Cardinals +6 (+230) 27-24

Biggest favorites to cover

Patriots (-16.5) 35-17

Eagles (-13.5) 31-3

Falcons (-10)  34-20

Play action or pass went 2-5-2 in Week 12. One game kept us from being great as we hade our teasers tied to the Steelers. The Sunday night game was the difference from ending 7-0-2. We are now 22-21-4 on the year.

Ravens-7     PUSH

Panthers-4  WIN

Colts +4 (bought the hook) PUSH

Falcons TT over 30 WIN

xSteelers-7/Jags+2   LOSS

Steelers-7/Eagles-6.5    LOSS

Chiefs PK/ Steelers-4/Patriots   LOSS

Steelers-4/Eagles-3.5/Bengals+2  LOSS

Steelers-4/FalconsPK/Eagles-3.5  LOSS

Totals

Bookmakers have been extremely sharp when putting out totals. The over-under was 7-9 in week 12 and is 88-86-2 for the year. The Monday night primetime game went under if you got the number late (39.5) and -7.5. Many bettors were able to get in their wagers at o/u 39 and -7, Proving how valuable the half point is off the key number 7. Primetime games this year have been quite profitable for over bettors, sitting at 23-15( 60.5%) through week 12.

We are getting close to the end of the year, here are the Pre-Season Win totals according to Las Vegas Westgate Superbook for future wagers.

 

 

ESPN Power Rankings

1)Eagles

2Patriots

3)Rams

4)Steelers

5)Vikings

Super Bowl Odds

New England Patriots    +250

Philadelphia Eagles    +350

Pittsburgh Steelers    +600

New Orleans Saints    +1200

Minnesota Vikings    +1200

Atlanta Falcons    +1200

Los Angeles Rams    +1400

Carolina Panthers    +1800

Seattle Seahawks    +2200

Kansas City Chiefs    +3300

Los Angeles Chargers    +3300

Jacksonville Jaguars    +4000

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Houston goes up 1-0 in the series

Altuve, Correa help lift Astros to ALCS Game 1 win over Red Sox

Carlos Correa's go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of ALCS Game 1 helped lift the Astros to a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite one rough loss to the White Sox in the ALDS, the Astros looked like the dominant team they are capable of being, taking that series 3-1 to advance and taking ownership of home-field advantage in the ALCS against the Red Sox, who upset the Rays. In Game 1, despite trailing for the middle portions of the game, Houston would get more highlight moments from the faces of the franchise to start the series with a win.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 4

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek

Losing Pitcher: Hansel Robles

Houston strikes first, but Boston sends Valdez to an early exit

Both starting pitchers worked in and out of trouble in the early goings of ALCS Game 1, starting with Framber Valdez in the top of the first. After erasing a leadoff single by inducing a double play, he went on to load the bases on a single and two walks but would strand all three runners to keep Boston off the board. The Astros jumped in front in the bottom half, with Jose Altuve working a leadoff walk, moving to second on a one-out single by Alex Bregman, advancing to third on a wild pitch, then ultimately scoring on a sac fly by Yordan Alvarez to put Houston ahead 1-0 after one frame.

They had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a shaky inning by Chris Sale, who loaded the bases with one out as Houston would get two singles and a hit-by-pitch. That flipped the order over to the top, but a great diving catch by former Astro Kiké Hernández would end the inning. Hernández led off the top of the third against Valdez, and he would tie things up with a solo homer.

Things went downhill from there for Valdez and the Astros, as a one-out walk followed by a single gave the Red Sox the go-ahead run in scoring position. On a groundball that likely should have been a double play to end the inning, it would get through Altuve's legs, scoring a run and keeping the inning alive for Boston. They took advantage, getting an RBI double to extend their new lead to 3-1. Valdez would get one more out before Dusty Baker would give him the early hook, bringing in Yimi Garcia, who finished the frame.

A battle of the bullpens, Altuve ties it up

Like Valdez, Sale would also not make it through three innings, getting two outs while putting two on base before Boston would start their bullpen's night as well. Both sets of relievers settled the game down, with the Red Sox stranding two of Houston's runners in the third as well as the fifth, maintaining their two-run lead. After Garcia finished the third, Cristian Javier entered to eat up a couple of innings, and he would do just that by getting through two frames with just one hit, four strikeouts, and no runs.

Next, Phil Maton took over in the top of the sixth and erased a leadoff walk to keep things in striking distance for the home team. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put another runner on base, getting a one-out single by Chas McCormick. Two batters later, with two outs, Jose Altuve provided yet another career postseason highlight, tying the game 3-3 with a two-run home to re-energize the Minute Maid Park crowd.

Astros take ALCS Game 1

Now a brand new ballgame in the top of the seventh, Brooks Raley came in to face three batters, getting two strikeouts while allowing a single before Dusty Baker would move on to Ryne Stanek, who would get the third out. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Correa continued his march to a monster off-season contract, putting Houston back on top with a solo homer, making it 4-3.

Houston kept the script after Stanek with the new lead in hand, going to Kendall Graveman as the setup man in the top of the eighth. Despite a two-out single, he would get out of the inning with the lead intact, putting Houston three outs away from the victory. After a walk, single, and hit by pitch to start the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, Altuve would drive in his third run of the game, getting a sac fly to extend the lead to two runs at 5-3.

That insurance run proved pivotal, as closer Ryan Pressly was met with a leadoff solo home run by Hernandez, his second of the night for Boston, to make it 5-4. Pressly refocused and was able to get the next three batters in order, though, wrapping up the win to start Houston off with a 1-0 series lead and putting them three wins away from advancing to the World Series.

Up Next: The two teams will have a moderately quick turnaround, with ALCS Game 2 scheduled to start at 3:20 PM Central on Saturday ahead of NLCS Game 1 between the Dodgers and Braves getting the night slot. The pitching matchup is expected to be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his two starts this postseason, going opposite Luis Garcia, who had a rough outing in the ALDS for Houston, giving up five runs without completing three innings in Chicago.

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