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It’s the middle of November, and it’s time to start paying attention to playoff standings in the NFL. Thursday night’s AFC East matchup between the Bills and Jets has playoff implications as New York currently is slotted for one of the Wild Card entries, while Buffalo is right behind them.
New York is a small 2.5-point home favorite thanks to home field advantage, but lost both games vs. the Bills last season. Buffalo is a rush-heavy offense that may struggle against a Jets defense that is only allowing 81 rushing yards per game.
The biggest favorite on the board this weekend is Green Bay, who enters this home game against the Detroit Lions after suffering back-to-back road losses against Denver and Carolina.
Kansas City’s “never-give-up” attitude was on full display in the World Series, capped with a two-run tying ninth inning in the deciding Game Five in New York and a five-run 12th inning to secure their first World Series Championship in 30 years.
And if winning the World Series wasn’t good enough, Royals backers did especially well as KC was listed as the underdog in each of their last three wins – including a big +140 payout in Game Five. Backing the Royals in all five games would have returned a net profit of +3.7 units – winning three times at a +140, +120, and +110 underdog, then again as a small favorite and having their lone defeat in the underdog role.
While the Dodgers and Blue Jays entered the postseason with what was thought to be the best starting rotations, neither of those teams reached the World Series. Los Angeles has since parted ways with manager Don Mattingly who has since been hired by Miami.
The National League has already locked up all five teams for the postseason. The Mets and Dodgers have wrapped up their divisions, while St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Chicago have already punched their playoff tickets.
While the Cardinals have not yet clinched the NL Central and overall home field advantage through the NL Playoffs, they are up four games on Pittsburgh with just five games to play, so that is merely a formality at this point.
In the American League, Toronto and Kansas City have locked up their playoff appearances, but there is still much to be decided in terms of the AL West winner and the two Wild Card spots.
With Kansas City beating Toronto 4-3 in Game Six the Royals reached the World Series for the second year in a row. They came up one win short last year of hoisting the trophy, falling to the San Francisco Giants in seven games.
The online sportsbooks view this series as a virtual coin flip, having the Mets as a small -125 favorite to win the World Series despite Kansas City having home field advantage. Remember, in the World Series the format for home field advantage has KC at home for Games 1, 2, 6, and 7.
Game One’s pitching matchup sees New York sending Matt Harvey to the hill against the Royals Edinson Volquez. Harvey has done a great job at home this season going 8-3 with a 2.23 ERA in 19 appearances (13-6 team start record), including two wins in two starts against the Dodgers and Cubs this postseason.
Not many American sports fans understand how the Rugby tournament works, so we’ll start with a brief 2015 Rugby World Cup overview in terms of the points earned for winning (and bonus points).
Like a soccer tournament, there are pools of teams that will each play each other, with the top two teams after the group stage advancing to the Quarterfinals. In soccer, you earn three points for a win, one points for a draw, and zero points for a loss.
In rugby, however, a win earns four points, a draw earns two, and a loss earns zero. There are also bonus points that can be earned for both the winning and losing teams.
After a thrilling week of College Football action we do it again this weekend, including three teams ranked in the AP Top 25 playing before Saturday. Thursday night sees two Top 25 teams taking the field, however the sportsbooks expect those ranked teams to lose outright.
#22 Temple is a 2.5-point road underdog at East Carolina, and while Temple was able to beat ECU last year as a big 10-point underdog, they did so despite being on the road end of a 432-135 total yardage discrepancy. Owls won that game thanks to a 5-0 turnover margin – something they shouldn’t be counting on this time around.
#20 California is a 3.5-point road underdog at UCLA. The Bruins gave up 310 rushing yards in a blowout loss against Stanford this week, but get a much easier on-field matchup against Cal, who employs a pass-heavy offensive attack. UCLA held a 236-57 rushing edge last year in this meeting while winning by a slim two-point
The third week of the NFL regular season kicks off Thursday night when the New York Giants host the Washington Redskins. New York is still searching for their first win of the season, but despite that 0-2 record they have played pretty well so far and had the lead late in their games at Dallas and at home vs. the Falcons.
This online sportsbook likes the Giants' chances of earning that first “W”, having them listed as a 3.5 point favorite. It should be noted that this is Washington’s first road game of the season, and they were just 1-7 straight up on the road last year.
For the NFL Football betting enthusiast, there are a pair of huge favorites this weekend, with New England a big 13.5-point favorite at home against Jacksonville while Seattle is a monster 14.5-point choice at home against Chicago. The Patriots are off to a fast 2-0 start while the Seahawks are winless in two tries.
For the second week in a row, the NFL weekend kicks off with a dud as the 1-3 Houston Texans host the 2-2 Indianapolis Colts. The online sports betting websites have not release an opening line as Colts QB playing status remains in doubt.
Houston was blown out last Sunday in Atlanta, and while Brian Hoyer came in after the Texans fell behind 42-0 to lead his team into the end zone three times, Houston will start Ryan Mallet at quarterback again this week. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Hoyer come in if Mallet struggles again.
Speaking of duds, Jacksonville takes on Tampa Bay this week in a “someone has to win” matchup between two 1-3 clubs.
The online sportsbooks list the Buccaneers as a 2.5-point favorite, almost entirely because of home field advantage.