MLB Betting: Once Forgotten, Dodgers Loom Large in NL West

iThe Los Angeles Dodgers are the team to beat in the National League, and no that’s not just the wishful thinking of some guy in Long Beach. Mere months after starting the season as the only team in the NL West without a legitimate shot at the division – or so we thought – the Dodgers have 7/1 odds of winning the World Series.

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One can’t emphasize enough just how much LA has raised expectations. With franchise leader Matt Kemp on and off the DL, struggling with lingering injuries and an inability to hit for power, it seemed as though this might be another down year for a franchise that’s gotten used to disappointment.

Suddenly, it’s anything but. Thanks largely in part to steady production from Adrian Gonzalez in his first full year as a Dodger, the red-hot play of Hanley Ramirez and the impossible-to-miss debut of Yasiel Puig, the LA club that fans have long thought would factor into the NL playoff picture is living up to the hype.

The Cy Young-worthy play of staff ace Clayton Kershaw certainly doesn’t hurt their MLB odds either.

This weekend, tune in to see the Dodgers as they try their luck at home against the Chicago Cubs. The struggling Cubbies may not exactly be in LA’s weight class, but then again, these days few are.

Get your MLB odds at Bovada today.

What To Bet On This Weekend

6554862The dog days of summer are winding down as the NFL preseason is set to kickoff on Sunday. The Hall of Fame Game is the official return of football but there are a couple of other good events to bet on this week and we’ve got the low-down below:

MLB

There are a number of important baseball matchups this week as the non-waiver trade deadline passes on July 31st. On Friday, we’ll see a potential playoff preview as the Cincinnati Reds host the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards are expected to send Shelby Miller to the mound to go up against Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo has struggled on the road this season (3-6, 4.21 ERA) but has been a reliable bet at home (6-2, 2.58 ERA).

The two teams will face-off three times over the weekend.

Golf

The major event you should be looking for this weekend in your sportsbook is the Bridgestone Invitational, the third World Golf Championship event of the golf season and it is also the final event before the last major of 2013, the PGA Championship.

Of course, the sports betting favorite is Tiger Woods at +450 and as a seven-time winner here, you shouldn’t be surprised. Woods has won four times in 2013, including the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, but he hasn’t won this event since 2009. His last two starts have come in major championships, posting a T-32 at the U.S. Open and a T-6 at the British Open, and those are the events that Woods really needs to win as he continues his chase of 18 majors, currently held by Jack Nicklaus.

Masters champion Adam Scott comes in at +1615, while Brandt Snedeker is listed at +1815 and after his win in the Canadian Open last weekend, he joins Woods, Mickelson and Matt Kuchar as the only players to win multiple times in 2013. U.S. Open champion Justin Rose rounds out the favorites at +2050, along with Kuchar.

 

 

Tennis Odds: Big Four, Big Presence on Grand Slam Circuit

usopenweb17s-3-webWith three Grand Slam events already in the rearview mirror and three completely different winners, betting on tennis in 2013 is proving to be anything but predictable. Now with one month left until the US Open unfolds, experts and oddsmakers are looking to make sense of the wild campaign.

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Through July we’ve seen World No. 1 Novak Djokovic showcase the abilities that made him a household name over the course of the past half decade. His dominance in 2011 coupled with his most recent Grand Slam accomplishment – a 2013 Australian Open earlier this year – contribute to his pack-leading 7/4 odds of winning the US Open.

Djokovic sits tied atop the tennis futures along with reigning US Open champion Andy Murray. While Murray’s ascent to the top of the tournament last September will no doubt help his case in 2013, he’ll also benefit from the momentum associated with winning at Wimbledon earlier this summer.

French Open champ Rafael Nadal trails the two on the US Open futures with 7/1 odds while Roger Federer, the only member of the Big Four not to have won a Grand Slam tournament in 2013 sits lower down with 10/1 odds.

Will this year be the second consecutive in which each member of the Big Four wins themselves a Grand Slam? Pressure’s on, Roger.

Get your tennis odds at Bovada today.

What To Bet On This Week

Oakland Athletics v Texas RangersWhen it comes to the major sports leagues to bet on in your sportsbook these days, it might seem like all you really have is baseball to wager on. While the MLB odds are refreshed every day, there’s a number of big sporting events coming up this weekend to keep an eye on. From the racetrack to the octagon, NASCAR and UFC will take the spotlight this Saturday and Sunday.

NASCAR

It should come as no surprise that Jimmie Johnson is the favorite on the betting odds to win Sunday’s Crown Royal 400, which will always been known as the Brickyard 400 because it is held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (officially, the name of the race is the Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com; try remembering that).

Johnson has won this event four times, including last year and he has won here in all types of ways. He is the series points leader right now and the #48 team has a better handle on the new Sprint Cup car than most of the series right now. Johnson’s four wins in 2013 is tied with Matt Kenseth, but the five-time champ has been far more consistent as he has built a 56-point lead in the standings. You can find Johnson at the top of the odds at +450.

UFC

The UFC holds an event on FOX on Saturday, headlined by a bout between flyweight (125 pounds) champion Demetrious Johnson and challenger John Moraga with Johnson heavily favored at -450. However, Moraga has lost just once in his career and has stoppage victories in his first two UFC fights.

Many are also looking forward to the welterweight (170 pounds) tilt between Jake Ellenberger and Rory MacDonald, who is favored at -230. There is a good chance that the winner will face the winner of the bout between champ Georges St. Pierre and Johny Hendricks, which takes place in November, and the two have been verbally jousting leading up to Saturday, so we should get some fireworks.

MLB Odds: Rays Raise Expectations in Sportsbook

1366510682104The Tampa Bay Rays have come a long way since their less-than-impressive beginning, and their MLB odds are indicative of just how much they’ve improved. Now in the second half of the 2013 campaign, the club is making waves not only within the division, but the American League outright.

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Thanks largely in part to solid, if unspectacular, pitching and a well-balanced offense rife with unheralded contributors getting hot at just the right time, the Rays have not only climbed out of the shadow of their AL East counterparts, they’ve once again started to thrive.

While success is nothing new in Tampa Bay, the fact that they’ve once again established themselves as a threat to win the division, while Toronto, New York and Baltimore all struggle to consistently compete at a high level, is a testament to the squad that general manager Andrew Friedman has put together.

With 10/1 odds of winning the World Series, they’ve garnered more support from oddsmakers than even the Texas Rangers, Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals.

Will the easily forgotten Rays be able to maintain the pace that’s vaulted them into a two-team battle with the Boston Red Sox for division supremacy? Adjust your MLB betting strategies accordingly.

Get your MLB odds at Bovada today.

MLB Game of Day

Melky+Cabrera+Toronto+Blue+Jays+v+Tampa+Bay+z8QKrSE91LExTAMPA BAY RAYS (55-41) at TORONTO BLUE JAYS (45-49)

Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Tampa Bay -133 & 8.5 under -120

Tampa Bay begins its post-All-Star Break mission to claim the top spot in the AL East with a 10-game divisional road trip that begins in Toronto Friday night.

Southpaw David Price (3-5, 3.94 ERA) takes the mound for the surging Rays, who enter this game having won 14 of their past 16 contests. He’ll go up against Esmil Rogers (3-4, 3.64 ERA) who has been both a starter and reliever this season. The Blue Jays have not won consecutive games since their 11-game win streak ended on June 23, sporting a 7-13 (.350) record since then. Tampa Bay has owned this series in recent memory, going 31-15 (.674) over the past three years in this series, though the Toronto has grinded out a 5-5 record this season, including a 2-1 mark at Rogers Centre. The Rays benefitted from the break with SS Yunel Escobar dealing with a hamstring injury, and he’s probable to play after the extra time off. The Blue Jays though, will receive a major reinforcement with OF Melky Cabrera expected to be activated for the game after being out with a knee injury.

Price (1.23 WHIP) isn’t having his best season, but he’s a tremendous workhorse, going nine innings in each of his past two outings. In those games he gave up a total of three runs with 8 K’s and no walks. The start before that on July 2 was arguably his best of the year, giving up no runs on just three hits with 10 strikeouts in seven innings of an 8-0 win at Houston. Overall, Price has 67 strikeouts in 80 innings this year. He has owned the Blue Jays in his career with a 12-2 record (team 14-2) with a 2.28 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. The most recent of those was an eight-inning effort on May 8 in which he gave up four total runs, though just two were earned, with eight strikeouts and one walk. The one guy who has owned him is All-Star OF Jose Bautista, who has four home runs and a .353 BA in 34 career at-bats.  Price has dominated most other Jays though, especially C J.P. Arencibia (1-for-13, 8 K), OF Colby Rasmus (3-for-17, 3 K) and 1B Adam Lind (.194 BA, 9 K in 36 AB). If the Tampa Bay bullpen needs to pitch, it has a middle-of-the-road 3.53 ERA (15th in MLB), but excellent 1.16 WHIP (3rd in majors) this season with 25 saves and 11 blown ones.

Rogers (1.34 WHIP) is coming off a solid outing in which he gave up just one run and four hits in six innings against the Indians. But the last time he pitched at home on July 4, the Tigers lit him up for seven runs on 11 hits in just five innings. Overall, Rogers has a 3.27 ERA and 2-2 record (team is 6-2) in his eight starts this season, but has a 5.74 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in three starts at Rogers Centre. His lone career start against the Rays came earlier this year on June 24, when he gave up four earned runs on seven hits (3 HR) in six innings of a 4-1 loss. He doesn’t have the best endurance, averaging just 5.5 innings per start, but that’s no problem with Toronto’s elite bullpen. Blue Jays relievers have a 2.90 ERA this season (3rd in majors) with a great 1.17 WHIP (4th in MLB) and .224 opponents’ batting average (5th in majors) despite 10 blown saves in just 31 chances. Facing the Rays is tough, as they rank among the top-six teams in the majors in runs (449), on-base percentage (.330 OBP) and slugging (.419 SLG).

Best MLB Matchups Of The Week: July 19-21

imagesThe first weekend of play after the 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in New York is always one of the most anticipated baseball weekends in the sportsbook of the whole season.

Baltimore Orioles @ Texas Rangers

This is a terrific pitching matchup on the MLB odds between two teams who played in the 2012 American League wild card game last season. Wei-Yin Chen is the starter for Baltimore. He brings a 2.82 ERA to the mound in this game, the product of the fact that he has allowed no more than two runs in five of his last six starts. It’s true that Chen is just now coming back from an injury that sidelined him for roughly two months, but if there were worries about his form, Chen answered them on July 10 with a strong seven-inning outing against the very same Rangers in Baltimore. Chen will pitch against Derek Holland, who lifted Texas to victory last Saturday by outdueling Detroit starter Max Scherzer. Holland gave Scherzer his first loss of the season after a 13-0 start.

Detroit Tigers @ Kansas City Royals

This tilt on Friday is an intriguing one because it involves two quality pitchers who are both mired in periods of uncertainty. Anibal Sanchez pitches for Detroit. He missed roughly three weeks with an injury in the second half of June. He returned to the rotation in early July, but in his most recent start, he gave up a sixth-inning grand slam to the Chicago White Sox and lost. However, that grand slam followed an error by his centerfielder, Austin Jackson. One doesn’t quite know what to expect from Sanchez, who has a 2.93 ERA. His opponent, Ervin Santana, has a 3.37 ERA that, until recently, was under three runs. However, Santana has given up at least three runs in each of his last four starts, and eight runs in his most recent start. He’s struggling and needs to use the All-Star break wisely.

 

Miami Marlins @ Milwaukee Brewers

 

This is a sneaky-good pitching matchup because the pitcher with the much lower ERA, Jacob Turner of the Marlins (2.33 ERA), is much less experienced and has produced his ERA in only eight starts this season. Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse has a 3.67 ERA, but he’s a proven pitcher who could be an ace on some teams. He’s a savvy veteran who has started 19 games this season. Will Lohse’s quality win out, or will Turner thwart him? One has to realize that Turner has given up more than three earned runs in only one of his eight starts this season. He’s given up more than two earned runs in only two of his eight starts. Lohse will have to elevate his game to outduel Turner.

Check out all of the latest betting odds at WagerWeb.com on every MLB matchup on the board.

 

NFL Betting: Ranking The AFC North Teams

Cincinnati Bengals  v Pittsburgh SteelersThe AFC North has produced to of the past five Super Bowl winners, and at least two playoff teams in each of those last five years. There isn’t another division that can compete with those numbers, and that is why the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravnes won’t be able to take anything for granted heading in to this season. The Ravens are listed at +2,000 to win the Super Bowl, and the biggest part of the problem could be getting out of their own division.

2013 Super Bowl Odds: Baltimore Ravens +2,000

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens cleaned house following their Super Bowl win by saying goodbye to Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Dannell Elerbe, and Anquan Boldin among others. Baltimore locked up Joe Flacco with one of the richest contracts in NFL history, and he will need to step up as the new face of the franchise. Elvis Dumervil and Michael Huff were brought in on the defensive side of the ball to fill the voids left by Ellerbe and Reed, while the line received upgrades with Chris Canty and Marcus Spears. However, it will now be Flacco and an offense that features Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, and Jacoby Jones to lead the way, and the Ravens could have a tough time getting out of the AFC North.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are intent on being the team that knocks Baltimore off and wins the division, which is the next step after reaching the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time in franchise history. The offense took a major step forward last season with quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver AJ Green leading the way, and should be even better with the addition of the top-ranked tight end from the 2013 NFL Draft in Tyler Eifert and running back Giovani Bernard. Cincinnati didn’t stand pat on the defensive side of the ball either despite putting up solid numbers, as they brought in James Harrison to continue his reign of terror in the AFC North only with a new look.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh is another team that feels it can contend for a division title this coming year, as it looks to put last season’s disappointment behind it. The Steelers finished 8-8 last year and missed the postseason, but they will benefit from a healthy roster and last year’s adversity in the long run. The loss of wide receiver Mike Wallace and cornerback Keenan Lewis due to cap constraints doesn’t help though, and neither does losing Harrison to a division rival.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns are hoping that coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner can take quarterback Brandon Weeden and the offense to the next level, and both coaches have reiterated their belief in the talent that is there. Cleveland brought in Davone Bess to solidify a receiving core that it feels will be very good with Josh Gordon and Travis Benjamin both set to take another step forward, and running back Trent Richardson showed flashes of dominance in his rookie season. The Browns also upgraded on defense with first-round pick linebacker Barkevious Mingo and third-round pick cornerback Leon McFadden, so they may be closer to contention than some people think.

Click here to get a full list of NFL futures for the 2013-14 NFL season.

NFL Betting: Previewing the AFC South

houston-texans-arian-foster-afc-south-2013There has been just enough change in the AFC South over the past few years to make the coming 2013 season extremely interesting to watch. The Houston Texans have had a stranglehold on the division for the past couple of years, but things are changing and the Texans are starting to feel some pressure from the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans.

In 2012, the AFC South produced two playoff teams; the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts. The Texans won the division and the Colts were a strong wild card team. During this offseason, the betting sites have been tracking the moves made by all of the AFC South teams and it looks like fans can expect a battle for the division title and there may even be three playoff teams coming from the AFC South in 2013.

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans are still a Super Bowl contender and still the best team in the AFC South. Houston added a lot to its offense when it drafted wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. With Andre Johnson on one side and Hopkins on the other, the Texans will be able to stretch the field out in a way that it could not do in the past. Houston also possesses a powerful running game and an extremely punishing defense. The Texans are set up to be a playoff team and a Super Bowl challenger in 2013.

Predicted finish: First

Indianapolis Colts

Just when the Indianapolis Colts felt that they had a team to be excited about, the off-field troubles start to pile up. Safety Joe Lefeged was arrested on gun charges and wide receiver LaVon Brasil was arrested for drug charges, which led to a four-game suspension to start the 2013 season. The Colts addressed many of their defensive issues in the draft, as most people expected them to do. But head coach Chuck Pagano has his hands full as he deals with the inevitable problems that come with a roster full of rookies who are suddenly rich and famous.

Predicted finish: Second

Tennessee Titans

With their first and second round draft picks, the Titans chose offensive guard Chance Warmack and wide receiver Justin Hunter, respectively. That should give quarterback Jake Locker the protection and target that he needs to expand the offense in 2013. Then the Titans went to work on their defense picking up outside linebackers and defensive ends. The Titans have a lot of holes they need to fill, but it looks like they are taking the right steps towards filling those holes and moving back into playoff contention.

Predicted finish: Third

Jacksonville Jaguars

With new head coach Gus Bradley in charge, the Jacksonville Jaguars are an unpredictable blank slate that could truly go in any direction. The team seems committed to quarterback Blaine Gabbert, which could earn the Jaguars the title of the “New York Jets of the South.” Even with a healthy Maurice Jones-Drew in 2013, the Jaguars will struggle.

Predicted finish: Fourth

Click here to get a full list of NFL futures for the 2013-14 NFL season.

British Open Betting: Odds Shift as Championship Unfolds

British-Open-Claret-JugThe 2013 British Open is underway and it’s already given PGA fans plenty to look forward to over the course of the rest of the work week and upcoming weekend. Considering all the various golf betting options available in the sportsbook, both live and otherwise, we can’t really blame those mailing it in early at the office.

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Although the predominant theme prior to the tournament was Tiger Woods’ pursuit of a 15th Major championship, there are plenty of other storylines that have oddsmakers and experts alike paying special attention to how the PGA moneyline shifts.

After a dismal first day, for example, Rory McIlroy’s eight-over-par showing has supporters reconsidering their position on the once-promising PGA wunderkind. This time last week, the young man had 18/1 odds of winning the Open Championship.

In contrast to McIlroy’s disappointing start, Zach Johnson has put himself in contention with a five-under performance on Day 1. Will that be enough to carry him to success come Sunday?

Fans looking to bet on the British Open can try their luck with outright tournament futures when available, but also various in-play and player-specific props. Calling the winner of the third Major of the 2013 campaign is one thing, but weighing in on exactly how they do it is something else entirely.

Get your golf odds at Bovada today.