First, we got an exciting new pod out with buffaloholdem on his thoughts for the upcoming 2017 CFL Season! We’ve featured buffaloholdem’s bets here on the blog before, and my CFL success methodology has definitely been influenced by him…..so I wanted to ask him on how he attacks a sport not many keep up on (including the books) as much as the more popular offerings. The sound is a little off and I cleaned up what I could so you might have to turn things up a bit……but things could be worse: I could be Vince Young and somehow find a way to blow $26 million in 3 years. We talk to Buffaloholdem about his love of the game, why CFL is still such a great sport to find betting value on, and discuss each conferences’ teams, CFL DFS strategy, and give our predictions for the 2017 East, West, and the Grey Cup (Coupe de Grey) Winners.
Kovalev vs Ward 2
I am really surprised Kovalev is a dog, here. He won the first fight IMO as he knocked down Ward once ……but the judges gave Ward’s technical late round boxing the rest of the rounds and a 114-113 decision (if that sounds confusing to you, it is but Max Kellerman does a great job explaining how Ward could win a fight he got knocked down in here). Kovalev hasn’t been talking to press at all this week, hasn’t even listed his purse for the fight, and is seems primed to avenge his only loss of his career. These two great boxers were meant to fight a trilogy, and a Kovalev win assures that.
It’s a big day and a big weekend for sports gambling! Today is the Kentucky Derby, followed by a Cinco de Mayo showdown between two of the greater Mexican boxers in the sports, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs Julio Caesar Chavez Jr.
Julio Caesar Chavez Jr, known to miss weight, came in exactly at 164 lbs and while he looked pretty gaunt, it wasn’t the worst weight cut in the world for him as his big problem isn’t so much eating as it is much weed (it doesn’t make him a bad guy!). Alvarez is on a tear and is coming down in weight to take on his Mexican rival, which should take away some of his punching power as he usually has waned in both power and output when he’s fought at these lower weights. Chavez Jr is very much a defensive boxer like his dad, although he doesn’t have the ability to be a savage like his father did despite, IMO, having slightly better athletic attributes. I see this one going the distance, so I am taking “Fight Goes the Distance – YES” at -120, and a play on Alvarez by points +125, as Alvarez’s modus operandi is to put on a good fight for the fans in this non-title showdown and get that “W” to build up momentum for his eventual super fight with GGG in 2018.
Classic Empire 4-1
J.Boys Echo 28-1
PIT v WSH Under 5 (+120)
Joshua vs Klitschko
Over Rounds 8.5 -115
In what is the most anticipated heavyweight bout in quite some time, the UK’s Anthony Joshua (-250) has a chance to go from wonder prospect to the baddest man on the planet vs veteran Wladimir Klitschko (+200) today at Wembley Stadium. Klitschko, coming off a decision loss to Tyson “I love cocaine” Fury, has always been known to be a prudent fighter. Joshua is a KO artist, but he’s never faced anyone with the defensive boxing of Klitschko. Klitschko often has a stigma of putting on bad fights because of his methodical approach, and his ability to hold guys and not allow them to find their jabbing range. I foresee this one going past 9 rounds, and maybe even the distance, as Joshua has yet to fight a boxer of Klitschko’s chin and pedigree. I fancy Joshua however in a decision (+500), as Klitschko is literally on the Back 9 at 17 and is on his way out…..but his iron chin and guile should see him through to the judge’s scorecards.
Senators vs Rangers Over 5 (+105)
Gennady Golovkin -699
Gary O’Sullivan -3448
Jacksonville +7 (-120)
The Jaguars go into Detroit coming off a close loss at home to a boring ass Texans team. Detroit has the worst passing defense in the league, and if there is one thing Bortles and Co. do is throw the ball, especially when they are behind in a game. Matthew Stafford and the Lions do a great job playing *up* to their competition, but also a bad job playing *down* to it. The public is big on the Lions….I don’t know why. This is the same team that beat Minnesota in OT that also lost to Tennessee at home despite spending the entire first half inside the Titans’ 50 yard line and only scoring 15 points. That’s really hard to do! I like a close game filled with fail here, and maybe a Blake Bortles miracle cover!
Titans at Colts Under 53 (-115)
This is actually a big game in the fail AFC South! Everyone expects this to be a shootout in the dome with two offenses playing pretty well, and both defenses are pretty milquetoast. But Titans’ QB Marcus Mariota’s QBR tanks on the road by 30+ points, and Andrew Luck’s teams in these big games tend to have sphincteritis. I expect a low scoring, tightly contested playoff style game as this is essentially a “loser goes home” game.
Miami -1.5 (EVEN)
Yes, Miami is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 road games. Their win in SD last week was their first on the road in over 2 years. But they get a break this week as Jared Goff, the #1 overall pick, who makes his first start at home. The last QB who was taken first in the draft since 2000 to win his first start at home? David Carr in 2002 with the Texans. I like Miami and their front seven to get after the rookie and create some turnovers into points, as I will admit it will be hard for the milquetoast Miami offense to have many long drives vs the Rams’ top 5 defense….but I’ll take Ryan Tannehill over a QB who doesn’t know the Sun sets in the West. We also have Miami’s season under at 7, and since they’ve won 4 in a row, that’s in jeopardy so we can hedge here, too.
BOXING BONUS: Kovalev (+115) vs Ward (-145) Prop: “Fight Goes the Distance – Yes” at -170
Big time fight this week with these two titans of boxing. Both are undefeated, and Ward is coming up in weight to fight KO artist Sergey Kovalev. Ward is the sport’s second best defensive boxer (behind Floyd Mayweather) and is master class with his footwork and punching. I expect him to out point and try to frustrate Kovalev’s power and aggression and make him fight his fight. Kovalev has also shown he can outbox too, as he out pointed legend (and AARP member) Bernard Hopkins two years ago (a lean we had here on Miracle Covers). I like this fight to go the distance in a 12 round classic, and if I had to pick a side, I also like Ward to win in a close decision (which is at +105, if you so fancy).
Here are my leans for Week 1:
Browns +4.5 (-115) @ Philadelphia
This is now at +4. And me and Lou discussed on the podcast, we think Philadelphia is really going to stink this year, especially starting a banged up rookie QB in Week 1. They are a young team who isn’t 3 points better than anyone at the moment, nevermind the lowly Browns. Also, RGIII has looked pretty good in pre-season and with new coach and offensive guru Hue Jackson, the Browns should be able to move the ball and throw it downfield. This should be either a close, entertaining game or a close, boring game that sets the sport of American football back 5 years.
Minnesota at Tennessee Under 41 (-105)
With a second year QB (Mariota), and an old backup QB (Hill), and two teams whose wide receiving corps have an average fantasy football draft ranking of 9th round or lower, I expect alot of two and three tight end sets and an over/under of plays with 3 WR sets at 25.5 (the average NFL game, teams run around 110-125 plays). There is a hint that new MIN QB Sam Bradford might actually play in this one, despite being there for like, a week. Titans TE Delanie Walker is questionable with an illness, and he’s a big part of the Titans’ zone read playaction offense. And the game is played on natural grass. This should be the day’s most boring game.
Oakland at New Orleans Over 51 (-110)
Both teams have tremendous offensive talent, all healthy because it’s Week 1. Drew Brees, who just signed a new 2 year deal, does way better at home in the dome than he does on the road. So does his offensive teammates. New Orleans’ defense is the worst in the league, and Oakland’s is about average. This should be the most exciting game of the day.
Baltimore -3 (-115) vs Buffalo
Buffalo’s defense is missing DT Darius due to suspension and WR Sammy Watkins is banged up. They also have some questions at free safety, an important role in Rex Ryan’s scheme. From Greg Bedard below:
There is no more crucial position in Rex Ryan’s defense than the free safety, who is the nerve center for all communication and checks. Graham had his share of issues last season after converting from cornerback. Communication was a big issue for the defense last season, Ryan’s first in Buffalo, and that has to become a strength for the unit to take the next step.
I expect Baltimore to test the safeties early and often with Joe Flacco’s deep ball prowless; they also get some WRs back from injury (Perriman, Smith) they didn’t have last year. Buffalo also will have a hard time exploiting the Ravens’ weakness, CB depth, as their QB Tyrod Taylor is more of a zone read QB as supposed to a guy who can dink and dunk with precision accuracy. Also, Taylor was a Raven, so the front 7 had a good look at his running style during his time there. Betting the Ravens at home has done me well over the years, so going to stick with the trend on this one.
TEASER @ +330:
GB/JAX Over 48
Mickey Gall -300 (now at -400)
So Mickey Gall, who is 2-0 in his young career (with two submissions) faces former WWE wrestler Phil “CM Punk” Brooks this Saturday at UFC 203. I bet this the minute it came out, and as you can see, the action on Gall has poured in. It might even go to -420 (lol) before the fight. CM Punk, who has been training MMA for the last two years, has never fought a professional or amateur MMA fight and has only done a little Kempo in terms of formal martial arts training. The UFC is really only putting him out there to sell a PPV. According to MMA journalist Luke Thomas, CM Punk didn’t technically meet Ohio athletic commission’s stated requirements for licensure (yet they gave him one anyways; who says money doesn’t influence politics!). CM Punk has also had a hard time cutting weight to 170 (which he hasn’t weighed since high school!), which is always a bad sign at 37 years of age. At 23, Mickey Gall is a brown belt in jiu-jitsu from the Jim Miller camp in NJ, one known for its world class rear naked chokes and guillotines. That would be a prop to take the day of the fight (I would guess Gall to win by submission would be at around +150; I’ll probably take that too). If Mickey Gall loses this, I might retire from MMA betting as I clearly don’t know anything (or, the kid takes a paid dive and the sport is rigged).
PARLAY: Jessica Eye (-145) and Mickey Gall (-300) and Werdum (-300) and GGG (Boxing, -600) @ +240
Fight Goes the Distance +165
Khan has lost twice in his career….both by KO. But he has won his last 5 fights vs decision, and his switch from a new trainer from Freddie Roach was more of an emphasis on his defensive boxing, especially since getting KO’d in a fight he was winning vs Danny Garcia in 2012, which cost him a chance at Floyd Mayweather.
Make no mistake: Saul Alvarez will win this fight. He’s only ever lost to Floyd. He has too much on the line as all he needs to do is coast to a victory to guarantee at shot at Gennady Golvkin. THis matchup is a classic “power vs speed”, as it will be the quicker footwork of Khan, coming up in weight, to face the powerful hooks and body shots of Alvarez.
I think Saul gets into the clinch game with Khan when he can and land more power strikes, but Khan will work around him enough to get to a decision. We took the Cotto/Alvarez over on this site a few months ago, and the one theme in that fight was that Saul pretty much dominated, but got conservative in the final 4 rounds and decided to coast to a victory rather than going for a KO vs Cotto (and open himself up to a counter). AGain, all he (and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya) knows is just win the fight, and advance onto a sweet payday vs GGG.
Kentucky Derby Bonus:
Exacta Box (12/13):
PARLAY @ -116:
Jon Jones -600
Mighty Mouse -400
Danny Roberts -400
Gennady Golovkin -10000 (Boxing)
Danny Roberts -400
Dominique Steele looked like absolute dogshit yesterday at the weigh-ins and he immediately took off all his clothes to try as best as possible to make the 170 weight (he came in at 171 and made weight). It is usually very hard to come back from dehydration like that at welterweight and higher.
Rafael Natal +245
It’s not that I don’t think he’s an underdog to Whittaker, he is…..Whittaker is one of the better prospects in the UFC today. I just think the math on the line is wrong as Natal is a very dangerous opponent with excellent jiu jitsu. This should be at +150 or somewhere around there.
If you are thinking about taking OSP tonight, make sure you take the “inside distance” and “win in the 1st round” props. The only way he has a chance to win is in the 1st round as Jon could have some early ring rust and OSP tends to gas out after the first round as he throws everything with power (he does has several first round KOs for this reason). I think Jones wins in Round 2 or 3 by ground and pound.
TOR @ IND Under 194
NBA Unders are hitting at a 65% clip so far this postseason.
Heat are just a bad matchup for Charlotte.
Did any of you know that tonight is Manny Pacquiao’s last fight? Me neither.
Should be a boring fight vs Tim Bradley, and I don’t expect anything too crazy between these two. Manny’s lost his punching power (*sneeze sneeze*) and he’s coming off losing all his sponsors because he was caught saying he hates gays in an interview. Tim Bradley’s last 10 out of 11 fights went to a decision, and the last guy he just TKO’d, Brandon Rios, is one of those guys who should have retired 5 fights ago. Both of the previous fights with these two, went to decision.
Bet this yawn fest and pay rent tomorrow:
Pacquiao vs Bradley FIGHT GOES TO DECISION -350
As I noted back in November, I took the Warriors at +310 to win 73 games and beat the 95-96 Chicago Bulls best regular season record of 72 wins. As it currently stands, Golden State needs to win 5 out of its last 7 games to pull off this feat. Which leads to lots of fun hedging opportunities.
There are only 4 games I can potentially see them losing:
vs Celtics (which is tonight)
The Blazers are a competent team and Lillard is one of the best PGs in the league. But the game is in GSW where they (and San Antonio) are undefeated at home. Which is nuts, considering only 2 teams in NBA history have gone 40-1 at home (the 86 Celtics and the 96 Bulls), never mind undefeated. The line on both GSW and San Antonio going undefeated at home for the rest of the season (regular season and playoffs) is +700, for those wondering.
One hedge I am taking tonight is the Celtics. They have Jae Crowder back, the best coach in the league, and a team which can score against the Warriors. They have lost 4 in a row to the Warriors, but each time doing so by 5 points or less. They covered when (Klay Thompson-less) GSW came to Boston, losing in double overtime. I expect this game to be super competitive and believe the Celtics will cover the 12.5 points (-115). I am also using some of my hedge cash to put the line in a teaser with the over at 222, as well as the +820 money line. This will be a fun game tonight and it’s one of the few times I’ll recommend watching a regular season NBA game all year.
The other two potential losses on the GSW schedule are vs the San Antonio Spurs, who are having an awesome season which has gone under the radar with GSW’s success (which Greg Popovich must love as he subscribes to the Bill Belichick School of Media Attention). The Spurs are 5 games behind GSW for home court throughout the playoffs….so barring a GSW mini losing streak (neither team has lost back-to-back games all year…no team has ever done that in NBA history, and this year *2* may do so!!!!111), there’s no reason for Popovich, known to rest his starters, history or whatever else be damned, to come out “balls out” vs the Warriors in those two games. They already beat the Warriors at home earlier in 2016. But will he actually play his guys to try and beat GSW to thwart history, a la the NY Giants tried to do at home vs the NE Patriots in 2007 in week 17? Time will tell (and we’ll certainly be reading the beat writers in SA to find out on gameday just how he proceeds).
BOXING BONUS: Adrien Broner vs Ashley Theophane Over 8.5 Rounds -320