College Basketball – Gonzaga at BYU

NBA Trade Deadline, Soccer Transfer Deadline, and Super Bowl coverage will all be posted in the next 48 hours. Stay tuned. 

70-62-2 on NCAAB last season and went up 8.95 units

11-12-1 this season up 0.48 units

Gonzaga -13 at -115 for 3 units. The Zags have put up crazy good numbers this season, averaging 91.4 points and over 18.5 assists. They have beat WCC opponents by an average of 30 points a game. BYU is a WCC opponent. Rui Hachimura is good. BYU doesn’t have a standout player like they have in the past (Jimmer or Kyle Collinsworth). Yoeli Childs is a great forward for BYU, but he still has a lot to do to be on Collinsworth or Jimmer’s level. BYU doesn’t have the depth of talent to keep up with Gonzaga.. even at home.

 

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Copa Del Ray, Coppa Italia, and English Premier League

92-78-9 on Soccer in 2018 up 8.17 units

6-7-2 on Soccer in 2019 down 3.81 units

Sevilla +2.5 at -167 for 10 units. No Dembele, Umtiti, or Rafinha for Barcelona. Let’s be real, Messi is all that matters. Sevilla won the first leg 2-0, but Messi didn’t play. Sevilla have lost to Barcelona by more than 3 only once in their past 6 meetings. This is going to be an exciting-up-and-down fixture. You know what makes it more exciting? Wagering a lot on it.

In all seriousness, Sevilla have scored 7 goals in their past 2 games (including one against Barcelona), thus it will be hard for Barcelona to keep a clean sheet. Sevilla are arguably the best counter-attacking team in Spain now that Ronaldo is gone. Pablo Machin and his 3-5-2 setup are made for 2-0 second leg leads. If Machin’s men get a goal here, this bet wins. Full Disclosure… I am always nervous betting against the best soccer player ever.. but as an old man told me at a blackjack table on a casino cruise yesteryear “scared money don’t make money”.

Real Betis to advance at -226 for 4 units. Betis got the much needed away goal. Espanyol doesn’t have the defense on the road to move on in this tie. Real Betis will score.

Roma +0.5 at -200 for 3 units. Bryan Cristante and Steven Nzonzi should play for Roma as they are banned because of cards for the weekend clash against Milan. There are two main reasons I like this play today… 1. Roma plays a lot better when Dzeko plays, and they win most games he scores in. He is in-form. 2. Roma needs a trophy. The Coppa may not be as important as a top 4 finish (which Roma is on brink of losing), but Roma is in a trophy drought and anything to pick up morale will help.

Chelsea at -147 for 2 units. Bournemouth have lost their past 5 meetings against top-6 competition at home. Chelsea fits that mold. Hazard has 4 goals in his last 3 visits to Vitality Stadium. Sarri said Hazard can leave Chelsea if he wants, Real Madrid could use him…

Crystal Palace +0.5 at -167 for 4 units. Palace are scoring an average of 1.4 goals away from home. Palace just beat an injury-depleted Tottenham and only lost to Liverpool by 1. I’m not saying injury-depleted to take away from Palace’s win, just saying it has to be taken into account when I look at the matchup. Southampton are hot under new manager Ralph Hasenhüttl, but Zaha and Townsend should do enough for Palace here. I think these teams are evenly-matched, so I will take the value of the underdog.

Rayo Vallecano at Alaves Preview

92-78-9 on Soccer in 2018 up 8.17 units

6-4-2 on Soccer in 2019 up 7.19 units

Haven’t written about soccer in over 2 weeks to focus on the Australian Open, NFL Playoffs, and Basketball. I was still watching soccer, just didn’t have the time to really look at the numbers. Now that the AO and NFL are just about over… I can refocus on hockey, soccer, MMA, golf, and other various sports that I degen like snooker.

Alaves/Vallecano Draw at +237 for 4 units.

Alaves at +124 for 4 units.

Alaves/Vallecano over 2 at -162 for 3 units. Alaves haven’t lost a La Liga game at home all season. Mendizorrotza has been a good home to Alaves this season. Alaves is right on the edge of making Europa/Champions League for the first time in over a decade. Rayo Vallecano have only won 2 games on the road this season. Vallecano also have the lowest scoring away team in the league. Borja Baston has two goals in his last 3 for Alaves. Alaves play a more free-flowing-fun-to-watch brand of futbol and I expect that to continue today. The overs have been harder to hit than not for Alaves at home this season, but I like this spot.

 

Australian Open Final – Djokovic and Nadal Meet Again

91-44-6 on tennis in 2018 up 42.63 units

18-15 on tennis in 2019 up 2.47 units

Congrats to Osaka. Not going to lie, I was worried when she dropped the second set after being up 5-3. Kvitova had not played in a 3 setter the whole tournament and I think Osaka wore her down. Osaka’s ability to jump on Kvitova’s serve in the first set tiebreak, after struggling with it for the whole set prior, was a thing of beauty. Osaka has now won back 2 back majors and will be a force in women’s tennis for the next decade or more. Osaka’s serve, mental fortitude, and movement make her the best. Osaka is the first Asian man or woman to achieve the #1 World Ranking. Congrats to Naomi!!

Djokovic at -132 for 7 units. The 53rd meeting between two of the best tennis players of all time happens in Australia tonight. Djokovic leads 27-25. Nadal hasn’t beat Djokovic on a hardcourt since the US Open in 2013 (8 meetings since then). Both players have been on the court for around 12 hours this tournament. That is a little amount of time, which shows their dominance. The Serbian has won this tournament all 6 times he has been to the semis. Nadal is 1-3 in Finals here. Djokovic is 34-0 as the top seed in this tournament. That’s silly dominant. Djokovic had only 5 unforced errors in the last round and did not even give up a break point. He tuned himself up. Novak will have to attack Nadal’s backhand with depth if he wants to win. He will. Watch Novak’s serves to Nadal’s backhand. Rafa will “struggle” with handling that shot.

Djokovic/Nadal over 40 at -140 for 4 units. Nadal hasn’t dropped his serve all tournament. This number went over the last time these two met and the last time they met here in Australia too. Nadal’s improved serve should keep him in it, but Djokovic will win in 4 or 5 sets.

Australian Open Women’s Final – No Serena :(

91-44-6 on tennis in 2018 up 42.63 units

16-15 on tennis in 2019 down 5.95 units

Who needs Serena when you have Naomi?

Naomi Osaka (+1.5 Sets) at -244 for 10 units.

Naomi Osaka at +108 for 4 units. Osaka will become the first Asian player to ever achieve the number 1 ranking if she wins here. That is huge. There have been billions of people that have not been able to achieve that status. Literally billions. Naomi had 56 winners against Petra Kvitova in the last round. Naomi had so many good shots that Petra just stopped chasing them at one point. Osaka won over 80% of her first serve points last match and won over 50% of her return points. That is good. At barely over 21 years old, Osaka is the youngest back-to-back major finalist since 20-year-old Ana Ivanovic’s run in 2008.

Petra Kvitova did not play anyone of World Class quality on her way to the Finals; whereas, Osaka had a relatively tough road to get here. Kvitova will not be ready for the step up in competition, even though she is the more experienced player. The streaky hot serve, return game, and ability to place winners will get Osaka the victory. Osaka has not lost a match from a set lead since 2016 at Tianjin.

Friday College Basketball

70-62-2 on NCAAB last season and went up 8.95 units

9-11-1 this season up 0.16 units

I usually don’t bet on road teams like this, but I like all three of these spots. Buffalo, Butler, and Michigan have all been solid teams all season.

Buffalo at -385 for 4 units. Kent State doesn’t have the depth, size, or defense to stop Buffalo. It is that simple.

Michigan at -219 for 3 units. Michigan is 9-10 ATS this season, but they have only lost one game straight up. Indiana has lost 5 in a row and would require a huge upset to beat this Final Four bound Michigan team. Ignas Brazdeikis is fun to watch. If you watch ESPN you wouldn’t believe it, but there are great freshmen that don’t play for Duke. Ignas is one of them.

Butler +2.5 at -105 for 2 units. Butler and Creighton are similar teams, but I’ll take the points. Butler is one of the best defensive teams Creighton has faced this season. Kamar Baldwin struggled for Butler against Villanova, but he has been great this season. I expect him to bounce back here. This will be a close game, but if one team can blow out the other, it’ll be Butler.

Australian Open Semis

91-44-6 on tennis in 2018 up 42.63 units

16-14 on tennis in 2019 down 10.18 units

Pouille/Djokovic under 32.5 at -142 for 6 units. Pouille is 1-7 vs top 5 opponents in his career. Djokovic has won 62 of 64 matches against players from France. Djokovic is the best returner in tennis and has never lost in a Semi here. Pouille will not be ready for the step up in competition that he will face. I like Djokovic to win 3 sets to 0, but this is better value than betting that. Nadal and Djokovic will make for a memorable final.

Australian Open Quarter-Finals

91-44-6 on tennis in 2018 up 42.63 units

16-13 on tennis in 2019 down 5.18 units

Milos Raonic -5 at -115 for 6 units. Raonic had the toughest path to the Quarters beating Wawrinka, Kyrgios, and Zverev. Lucas Pouille is going to have a tough time beating Raonic. Raonic is 3-0 against Pouille and has never lost a set to him. Pouille has never made it past this round. Raonic has and it was against another Frenchman in Monfils. Raonic is 6-1 in breakers this tournament. Raonic’s backhand slice and strong serve get him the win in 3 or 4 sets.

Australian Open Round 3 – Fritz/Federer

91-44-6 on tennis in 2018 up 42.63 units

13-11 on tennis in 2019 down 5.72 units

Taylor Fritz is going against Roger Federer tonight. I have never liked Fritz as much as Tiafoe and other American youngsters, but his play against Monfils was fun to watch. He challenged one call and him and Monfils had a fun interaction while waiting. Fritz is 0-3 vs top 10 players in his career with a loss to Federer. In a few years he may have the ability to beat Federer, but it should still be a fun watch.

Tomas Berdych at -410 for 3 units. Schwartzman has not looked his best so far this tournament, but this isn’t his favorite surface. Berdych has looked great. Berdych hasn’t lost a set yet. Berdych has won 10 of 11 third round matches here. This would be a higher unit play, but Berdych has only played 7 matches over the past 6 months. He is 6-1 in those matches though.

Andreas Seppi at -105 for 6 units. Let me start off by saying I love Frances Tiafoe and his story. He is an uber-talented player than can be a role model and even more to young people around the World. The 5 seed Kevin Anderson was up a set and a break on Tiafoe, then Tiafoe won every set to win the match 3 sets to 1. I think Kevin Anderson’s tweaked elbow played a major role in Tiafoe winning. Tiafoe mixed up his shots and placed some great winners. The young American stepped up to the occasion. Seppi had 14 aces and 38 winners in the last round. Seppi has a 4-1 record in the third round here, with one of those wins being against Federer. Tiafoe may be more athletic and spry, but Seppi’s experience and form will get him the win.

Bautisita Agut +2.5 sets at -318 for 4 units. I like the Bautista Agut ML a lot. Karen Khachanov may be the best tennis player in the World that hardly anyone talks about. Bautista Agut just played 2 grueling 5 setters to get here. Agut’s over 8 hours of court time will catch up to him here, but not before he grabs at least a set.

Marin Cilic at -364 for 3 units. Cilic has beat Verdasco the last 5 times. Cilic is in great form. Not going to overthink this one.

College Basketball – Dayton at VCU

70-62-2 on NCAAB last season and went up 8.95 units

9-10-1 this season up 3.16 units

Dayton +4 for 3 units. VCU does play a lot better at home, but they don’t have a consistent offensive weapon. Marcus Evans and De’Riante Jenkins are great for VCU. Josh Cunningham, Jalen Crutcher, and Obadiah Toppin can all drain 3s for Dayton. VCU struggles with teams that can play inside out like Dayton can. This will be a close game, take the points.