NFL Week 8

Week 7 was a let-down. I had my first losing week in the Supercontest going 2-3, and my proper bets lost -2.09pts too. What the hell happened?!

The blame game:

  • Detroit gave up a double digit lead and lost by 9
  • Atlanta missed a late field goal, had a TD disallowed and weren’t able to cover
  • Philly won the turnover battle at Carolina 3-1, but managed to lose by 11!

Being the right side, isn’t always going to be the winning side.

Let’s move on and look ahead, as there’s another weekend of NFL with some value to be had:

Last week I went against Minnesota, and I’m doing the same again this week for the same reasons. Minnesota’s 4-2 record flatters them. I pointed out that last week they had the most efficient scoring defence in the league. Well Green Bay have overtaken them, (check out the Power Rankings page), but Minny are still second here which is mainly due to luck rather than skill.

I’m on the Bears big time on the ML at 2.20 (+110 US) and ATS at +2, plus first Supercontest pick at +1.5. I’m more opposing the Vikings rather than backing the Bears due to Minny being overrated. The Bears aren’t a good team either, but are better with ‘Super’ Jay Cutler at the QB.

Second game to briefly discuss is Baltimore at home to San Diego. The Ravens could quiet possibly be the best 1-6 team of all time! They’re definitely not as bad as their record. I rank them 18th in the league.  They actually the only team in the NFL to currently have played only 2 home games, they’ve had an awful schedule. Turnovers have been a big problem for the Ravens with a TO differential of -7, only the Cowboys (-9) and the Colts (-8) are worse in this respect. San Diego are -6 in TOs and actually have the highest average offense yards per game in the league (435 yards per game). Apart from constantly getting his wife pregnant, Phillip Rivers is also good at throwing a football. The Chargers’ defence is so bad that he has to air it out to keep them in games. They have the 6th worse points per game against and they are the worst D in the league in Yards against per Offensive Play.

The Ravens lost a close game in the playoffs last year at the eventual champions, the Patriots. I don’t think they’ve gone from being one of the best teams in the league to being one of the worst. Hopefully the real Ravens will stand up this weekend. I’m on them -3.5 in real life and at -3.5 in the Supercontest. This line is too low.

I’m on Arizona -4.5 & ML in bets and at -5 in the Supercontest at Cleveland. The Cards still aren’t getting the respect they deserve. They should be favoured by 7 points at least. Especially as it’s not clear Josh McCown will start for the Browns, he’ll either start and obviously won’t be 100% or Johnny ‘Football’ will have to sober up and take the field. Arizona are one of the top 3 teams in the league so them only having to cover 5 points at a team like Cleveland is a good bet for me.

4th pick in the Supercontest is an easy one: Houston -3 at home to Tennessee with Mariota out.

Final Supercontest pick is the Lions again this week. Even though they are a bad team, and they’ve sacked a bunch of coaches, Kansas City should not be favoured by 5 points over them.

Other thoughts:

There were 3 other games that very nearly made to to Supercontest picks: Giants -3, 49ers +8.5 & Cowboys +6.

I backed the Giants at New Orleans at +3, and I’m also on the Giants ML at 2.40 (+140 US). New Orleans have won their last 2 games and people think they’re a good team again. While the Giants were really lucky to beat Dallas at home last week. New Orleans at -3 is basically staying that on a neutral field, New Orleans would be slightly favoured over the Giants. I’m not having that.

I was tempted by the 49ers only because the total is very low at 39.5 points but the spread is 8.5 points. It’s easier for the favourite to cover a high scoring game rather than a low scoring game. Both teams struggle to score points, and I wouldn’t want to back the Rams to cover 8.5 points against anyone. I have actual money on the 49ers +8.5.

I’ve backed Dallas ML at 3.1 (+210 US) and ATS at +6. I still think that Seattle are overrated.

Final thought: the big game of the weekend is at Denver. 2 Undefeated teams, 2 great defences. Denver have such a home field advantage with the altitude but Green Bay are the superior team. so if I had to choose a side, it would be with the Packers -3. Another good reason is because…

BS ATS stat of the week

Mike McCarthy is 9-0 ATS off a bye.

NBA 2015/16 Season Preview

The NBA season starts on tonight. So it’s only right that I write some words about it. Pre-season bets for the last season were pretty good so hopefully we’ll have some more winners below.

Season Win Totals

The majority of season win totals for the 30 teams are fair. Obviously you’re not going to find amazing value on every team in the league but there are a handful where the line is off by a considerable number of games.

Boston Celtics 42.5 games – Over

This for me is the best Season Win Totals bet. This line is too low. Last year Boston won 40 games and consider this:

  • They’ve added Amir Johnson and David Lee in the off-season.
  • They’re getting a full season from Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder.
  • After getting rid of Rondo and getting the 2 players above in, they went 20-10 after the ASB last season.
  • I’m expecting their younger players such as Marcus Smart and Olynyk to improve.
  • Also if you’re a loyal Winners Win reader since day one you’ll know that I rate their coach Brad Stevens very highly (more on him later).
  • They have the easiest schedule, mainly due to having the Nets, Philly and New York in their division.

This is my biggest preseason bet.

Charlotte Hornets 32.5 games – Over

I would have bet the shit out of the over. But then MKG got injured, he’s out for the season so I ‘m avoiding this one now. He’s their best player, great defender and underrated.  With him they would have certainly won more than 32 games. They could probably still do it.

Minnesota Timberwolves 25.5 games – Over

Last season Minny won 16 games, so to win an extra 10 games is a seemingly tall order. But they can do it, I’ll tell you why:

  • Expect their younger players such as Wiggins to improve…and hopefully LaVine will suck less.
  • Expect their stars to play more than last season. Rubio only played in 22 games, Pekovic 29 games and Garnett 5 games.
  • They’ve added Bjelica who’s the reigning Euroleague MVP. He can have the impact that Mirotic had. Also added the number 1 draft pick in Karl Anthony Towns.

I had concerns that they were going to tank this season but Kevin Garnett won’t be having any of that:

“Here’s what KG told our players: If you’re coming to camp on September 29, and you’re coming with the idea that we’re not going to make the playoffs, don’t even bother coming in. That’s all that needs to be said.”

LA Lakers 29.5 games – Under

Every season, just bet the Lakers under. Even when they’re good, or like this season again; piss poor. Just look at their roster, it stinks. They only have one plus defender and that’s Hibbert. Kobe has only played a total of 41 games the last 2 seasons not that he’s any good anyway. And their coach is obviously terrible too. I just can’t see them getting to 30 games.

Portland Trailblazers 26.5 games – Over

Portland have lost 4 starters from last season in Aldridge, Lopez, Matthews and Batum. So they won’t be winning 51 games and going to the playoffs again this season. But 26.5 games is such an overreaction.

Look at the lines for the last 2 teams. Does anyone who isn’t a rabid Lakers fan think that Kobe & co will win more games than Portland?

Another way to frame it is that the line for Philly is 21.5 wins. So are Portland only 5 wins better than them, or Minny are only 4 wins better than Philly?

There’s no way Portland are going to be a team that wins less than 27 games.

Miami Heat 46.5 games – Under

During the off season, after free agency had finished I made some quick notes on which teams I thought would be under/overrated coming into this season. Miami was the main team who I thought was going to be overrated.  Sure on paper their starting 5 looks strong but there’s a number of red flags:

  • Bosh coming back from blood clots on his lungs
  • Wade has played 59 games on average the last 4 seasons
  • Whiteside is mental
  • Amar’e Stoudemire is slightly less mental
  • 3 of their stars are the wrong side of 30

I don’t think they can win more than 10 more than last season.

Oklahoma City Thunder 57.5 games – Under

KD only played 27 games last season, and had 3 foot surgeries. Westbrook also had surgery this off-season. They’ve decided to pay Kanter a load of money so he’ll have to get a load of minutes. He’s a horrendous defender but he’s quite good offensively. But when you have KD and Westbrook he is not the player that you need.

So I think the under, not by much though.

One final thought about the Thunder: When KD and Westbrook have left because they don’t want to be in a tiny market anymore or they want to win a championship, the Thunder will be left with Dion Waiter and Enes Kantor. They will be a bad team in a bad market, so they’ll be irrelevant. When they traded away James Harden for nothing; that will be referred to as the moment that it all went wrong for the Thunder.

Clay Bennet
Clay Bennet – renowned asshole

NBA Championship

NBA title odds

As long as Lebron is healthy Cleveland will win the East. Which makes them the rightful favourites to win it all. Looking at the odds for the teams in the West I think Golden State should be the favourites there, rather than the Spurs. There’s been some chat about “luck” recently, here’s my 2 pennies’/cents’ worth:

GSW – “Lucky”

  • No injuries.
  • Didn’t have to play their 2 biggest rivals in the West: Spurs or Clippers.
  • Played Cleveland in the Finals with Love and Irving both out.

(Also) Spurs– “Unlucky”

  • Kawhi was injured at the start of the season.
  • In the games that went to overtime, the Spurs had a record of 1-6. They even lost 2 double overtime games in a row.
  • They needed to beat New Orleans in the final game of the regular season to clinch the 2 seed. They lost, and ended up with the 6 seed and had didn’t have home advantage and had to play the Clippers. They lost in 7 games.

GSW were definitely “lucky”. But they were still clearly the best team in the NBA last season and deserved to win the title. They should be favoured to win the West again. Their stars are all young and in their prime, and they have a deep bench. The Spurs have added LaMarcus Aldridge but have lost of little of their depth. They main concern is around the age of their previous big 3. Tim Duncan’s not going to be awesome forever, more pressingly Tony Parker was just terrible in Eurobasket over the summer.

Last season I thought the title was going to one of Cleveland, GSW or the Spurs, and I think the same for this season. I’m positive that the Warriors should be favoured over the Spurs for the title or the West. I’ve haven’t put a bet on anything yet.


MVP Odds

Best player on a winning team (high seed) – that’s what you need to bear in mind. Plus it’s hard for multiple stars on same team where those votes are split like Paul and Griffin. Although KD did manage to win it 2 years ago with Westbrook on his team. If Westbrook was ever going to win it, it would have been last year with KD out. KD’s coming back from 3 foot surgeries. 7 footers with severe foot problems don’t have a great history, so it’s hard to envisage KD coming back and having a MVP season again straight away. His odds are way too low. If you’re backing KD to win MVP at 6.5/1 after a season of foot surgeries then I think you’re crazy.

I also think you have cognitive problems if you’re backing Lebron for MVP at 3/1. I think this will be the last season that Lebron is the consensus best player in the league. There is going to be voter fatigue around someone who’s won it so many times (he’s won it 4 times but it does seem like he’s won it more). Also I expect the Cavs to coast for much of the season as the East is so bad. They just need to make sure they have a top 4 seed and that everyone is healthy for the playoffs. Lebron will probably have another 2 week break around Christmas to visit Miami to get what Miami has to offer…

Anthony Davis is almost certain to win a future MVP. He problem again this year is that the Pelicans won’t be a top seed. The best they could hope for is a 6th seed, but I think they’ll be 7th. AD’s odds are too low considering.

Steph Curry is the current MVP. Not like we were going to see 33/1 on him being MVP again. This season he’s a 6.5/1 shot. He’s the best player on the best team. I could frame it like this; I think he’s got a better chance than KD, AD or Harden.

Looking at the outsiders, Kawhi is best priced at 50/1 to win, he doesn’t usually play enough games though or score enough points. But if the Spurs do go on the win 60+ games and LMA is scoring 25 PPG then he would be in the running at 40/1.

To sum up: I think it’ll be between Curry and Harden again, with Curry winning. But I haven’t put a bet on.

Defensive Player of the Year

Last season DeAndre Jordan was the favourite to win, but he ended up 3rd. Kawhi was the surprise winner. A surprise as he didn’t play that many games and everyone thought Draymond Green was going to win it in the end.

Looking back at past winners…Marc Gasol in 2013, Joakim Noah in 2014…This is such a crap shoot market. Nothing appeals to me. I pencilled in Rudy Gobert pre-season as a contender but I’m not backing him at a 4/1 favourite. None of the long shots appeal either. If I was forced to put a bet on it would be AD at 9/1.

Rookie of the Year

The ROY usually goes to whoever scores the most PPG

I don’t watch college hoops so I don’t have an edge here. The edge I do have in watching eurohoops isn’t really an edge at all as Pau Gasol is the only overseas player to win the award. I thought Mirotic should have won it last last but it went to Wiggins, who is Canadian but played in a US college prior. Porzingis has potential but I don’t think he’ll have that immediate impact. Hezonja’s problem is that he thinks he is much better than what he actually is.

If I had to make a bet I would go with Karl Anthony Towns. He’s the no.1 pick so will automatically receive a lot of attention and votes but looking at his stats I don’t think he’ll score enough.

Coach of the Year

Ok here we have a bet.

“Oh he’s not gonna go on about Brad Stevens again?”

Yes. I am.

First up I’m gonna get all like Randy from Scream and recount the rules to the COY:

“Jesus Christ, You don’t know the rules?!”
  • It usually goes to the coach of the team that has won the most games.
  • or the coach of the team with the most “unexpected” wins (Actual wins – expected wins)
  • It does not go to the coach of the defending champs*
  • And nobody wins back to back COY. NOBODY!

So lets rule some people out:

The only coach of Lebron’s team to win COY is Mike Brown in 2008/09 when the Cavs won 66 games. I doubt the Cavs will be winning 60+ games this season, so that rules out Blatt.

*The only coach of the reigning NBA champions to win COY was Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics back in 1964/65. So we can rule out Steve Kerr.

COY winners never repeat so Mike Budenholzer of Atlanta can be ruled out too.

Popovich has won it 3 times, and 2 in the last 4 seasons. I can’t see him winning it 3 out of 5 especially with my slight concerns over the Spurs. I think the GSW will win the most games again so I think we need the coach of a team that will have the most unexpected wins: I  think the Boston will go over their win total comfortably. They could get to 50+ wins and a highish seed in the East, and then Brad Stevens is right in the running for COY and anyone will look at Boston’s squad and ask where are the stars?! He’s already recognised as a top coach. I’m sure Bill Simmons will be flying the flag for him and drumming up support.

Brad Stevens COY 12/1. Have it.

Honourable mentions to Quin Synder & Kevin McHale  20/1. Utah could have a good season and Houston could win a load of games and snag the 2 seed. If you’re worried that McHale is considering a “dummy”, it didn’t stop Mike Brown, Scott Brooks & Byron Scott winning COY!

Guest Post: Bill Belichick

I am pleased to announce that Bill Belichick, the head coach of the reigning Super Bowl champions; the New England Patriots, has agreed to pen a guest post here at Winners Win:

BillBelichickWhen the website Winners Win on Sports asked me to write a guest article, I jumped at the chance. Obviously I’m well known for finding a way to win in any circumstance. I would go to the greatest lengths to find the smaller advantage in order to improve my team’s chances of winning. Show me someone who’s not prepared to hide in a basket full of dirty jockstraps overnight in order to spy on the opposition’s team meeting, and I’ll show you someone who’s not doing enough to win!

Plenty of people may disagree with our methods, and label us “cheats”. But we are certainly not cheats, we simply sometimes act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage.

I’ve alluded to the fact that at the Patriots, we value having the best information possible on all aspects of the game. I know the opposition’s playbook better than they do. Hell, I even know what their backup QB had for lunch last Thursday. I know which referees are more likely to give a PI call. I even know exactly how far each referee will throw his flag when making that call. We’ve even done extensive research on what the optimum temperature our locker room should be on game days…But I had absolutely no idea that Tom Brady was deflating footballs. It was a total shock. Honest.

One thing that’s very important to me is man management. I know which players will need a kick in the ass and which players just need a quiet word. We all know to give Brady plenty of space each month when he’s on his period. We also tailor how we communicate with our players. Most players will understand highly detailed play instructions. Some players, like Rob Gronkowski, have the mental capacity of a 2 year old and only understand much similar play instructions such as:

“Gronk run left. Gronk stop. Gronk catch football”

And even then we have to bride him with ice cream after the match. The big dummy usually eats it so fast he gets brain freeze and ends up spiking the bowl in the middle of Dairy Queen.

Recently in a game with the Indianapolis Colts, they unsuccessfully tried a unique trick play against us. It wasn’t unique to us as we’ve seen them try that many times in practice. Believe me, that one you saw was the best one yet. You should see the tapes we have on the Colts’ Special teams, or as we call them: their Special-needs teams.

In order to win, you should never be afraid to make some “bold” decisions. Even though I’ve won 4 rings and have the most playoff wins as a coach, people still remember that 4th down decision against Manning & the Colts in 2009. If I win another Super Bowl can we just forgot that one regular season game from 6 years ago?! If I was able to display emotions you would tell how angry it makes me.

Bill Belichick

NFL Week 7

In week 6 I was whinging that it was the hardest week to pick games. Well week 7 is one of the easiest. Let’s get down to it:

I mentioned mid-week that my bet of the week is Philly at Carolina. I’m on Philly ML and +3, I’m picking them at +3 in my Supercontest too. Carolina are overrated and are sitting at 6-0 due to an incredibly easy schedule and they have the best turnover differential in the league at +6. They’re not going to keep on having on average 1.2 more turnovers than their opposition each game.

Turnovers are massively important to who wins a game, but they’re also pretty random. So generally speaking it’s a good idea to look at opposing teams who are coming out ahead in the TO battle (Carolina), and back teams who are currently doing poorly in this respect. Detroit have the worst TO differential in the league at -8. They’ve had a tough start to the season in terms of the quality of the teams they’ve faced. They play Minnesota on Sunday. Now have a look at my Power Rankings, and look at Minnesota’s stats. Anything stand out?

Give yourself a pat on the back and a well done if you identified Minnesota as currently having the most efficient defence (in terms of offensive yards allowed/points allowed). Now do we think the Vikings have a top defence? Or is this something that they’ve been lucky with in the small number of games played so far?

Gold stars for those that reckon they’ve been lucky and are expecting some regression towards the mean.

There’s more: the Vikings have the least efficient offence overall in terms of Yards per Offensive play and the least efficient passing offence in Net Yards gained per Pass Attempt. To be fair, Detroit can’t defend the pass. But if this was the first game of the season the Lions would be -3, but instead they’re getting points. This should be my play of the week instead of Philly actually. I’m on Detroit ML big-time at 2.15 (+115 US) and +2.5 for the Supercontest.

I backed Atlanta early in the week at -3.5 at Tennessee. Mariota’s not playing which makes this bet sweeter and I’m choosing the Falcons -4.5 on the Supercontest too. Easy pick as they’re -6 with Pinnacle as of the time of writing.

Another easy pick for the Supercontest is Kansas City -1.5. Although Roethlisberger is listed as Questionable, Landry Jones is expected to play. While Jones played against Arizona going 8 for 12 for 168 yards and two touchdowns. I’d put more weight in him getting drafted in the 4th round in 2013, nearly getting cut and not playing a snap in the NFL till last Sunday.

I’m gonna be livid if Big Ben gets on the Deer-antler spray tonight and makes a miraculous recovery and plays on Sunday.

Final Supercontest pick is New Orleans +4.5 at the Colts. I don’t think there’s much between these two teams, both have bad defences with QBs playing below their best. I’m on the Saints ML at 2/1 and also took the initial line of +6.

Other thoughts:

I’m on the Browns ML at the Rams at 3.40 (+240) and I was tempted by the Browns +6.5. I don’t think Dallas has been as bad as people have been making out since Romo went out so +3.5 on them on the Giants was a pick I was tempted by as well. The Jets +9 was another pick that was very close, I’d be surprised if lots of people are picking the Pats -9 in the Supercontest. It’s such a square pick IMO.

Kirk Cousins is bad, but Tampa is terrible. So Washington should cover the 3.5 points, even with Tampa coming off a bye week. And if I had to pick a side between Miami and Houston, it would be Miami -4 even though…

BS ATS stat of the week

Dolphins are 9-29 ATS at home against teams with losing records since 2003

..I’m wasting my time looking at passing efficiency, scoring efficiency etc. I should be looking at the “trends”.

More of the Same

My Supercontest picks scored 2.5 points out of 5 again this past week in the NFL. At one point on Sunday it looked like I was only gonna score 1 point. It was a tough week all round for everyone in my Supercontest. The average score was only 2.2 points and only 4 people scored 4 or more points! Even though I only scored 2.5 points I managed to climb 2 places in the rankings to joint 4th place, 1.5 points off the top.

Proper bets posted had another positive week, +1.81 pts, mainly due to Carolina winning at Seattle. I still think both teams are overrated. I’ve updated the Power Rankings for this week and Carolina are still a slightly above average team.  They’re at home to Philly this weekend so all aboard the Philly bandwagon for the bet of the week: Philly ML or ATS at Carolina. That Chip Kelly offence, I’ve always liked it, honest.

Seahawks are at San Fran on Thursday night and nobody wants to back the 49ers judging by the market. Seahawks are overrated, the 49ers don’t suck as much as everyone feared pre-season and Thursday football is a bit of a crapshoot. Therefore I reckon there’s value on the 49ers.

If you check out my Power Rankings you’ll probably think that The Jets are ranked too high and Green Bay are too low. I would agree. The Jets are similar the Broncos where they have an awesome defence with an average (at best) QB. Strange to be comparing Ryan Fitzpatrick to Peyton Manning, but Manning’s numbers are pretty ugly:

  • Manning has had 10 INTs through six games. He’s played five entire seasons with 10 INTs or fewer.
  • He is connecting on 61.6% of this throws in 2015, his lowest rate since he was a rookie (56.7%).
  • His seven TDs are his fewest through six games since, his rookie season.

The Jets are at New England on Sunday so we’ll see how good they really are, while Green Bay and Denver are on bye weeks. They play each other next week at Denver.

I’ll have a full week 7 preview up soon. It’s week 7 already! We’re flying through this season.