Tess Quinlan

Manchester City now minus money in Premier League futures

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Manchester United and Manchester City are shoulder-to-shoulder in the English Premier League standings, but not on the futures board.

Having won its past three matches by a combined 15-0, Man City has been re-appraised as a -110 favorite to win the league, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. That means the +275 price on Manchester United seems fairly attractive; the season is a marathon, not a sprint, and manager Jose Mourinho has the depth to help his team stay near the top.

Defending champion Chelsea (+500), still waiting on the return of Eden Hazard, is a distant third on the board. Prices have also risen on Tottenham Hotspur (+1400) and Liverpool (+2200).

Top matches this week on the EPL betting lines include Swansea City (+135) hosting Watford (+210, +225 draw). None of Swansea’s past five home matches against Watford have a had a total higher than two. That’s likely to continue. Watford is short-staffed due to injuries and Miguel Britos’ suspension, but getting an away win is attainable for one of the better teams in the EPL’s middle class.

West Ham United (+450) is home to Tottenham Hotspur (-170, +315 draw) with each club in need of a tangible result. A conservatively played contest could help the under 3.0 (-135) hit.

Everton (-160), who needs something good to happen, hosts struggling Bournemouth (+450, +280 draw), who’s yet to make use of striker Josh King. Everton has won its last four matches against Bournemouth and should grind out a win, but the under on the 2.5 total might hold up.

Leicester City (+305) hosts Liverpool (-115, +275 draw) just four days after the teams played in an EFL Cup match. Liverpool had the run of play before losing that match, which means it rates an excellent chance of getting instant revenge. Liverpool’s defensive issues suggest that over might hit on the 3.0 total.

Brighton and Hove Albion (+165) is a shaky play in its Sunday home fixture against  Newcastle United (+185, +205 draw). Newcastle is on a three-match win streak and might be satisfied to wrangle a draw.

Arsenal (-310) hosts West Bromwich Albion (+850, +425 draw) in the lone Monday game. West Brom is a pesky team so goals will be at a premium, but Arsenal has momentum after tying Chelsea last week and is paying a decent -105 on the goal line (minus-1.5).

Los Angeles Dodgers’ World Series odds dip heading into month of September

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The Los Angeles Dodgers’ first losing skid all season has done little to increase their World Series price, which is lower than the 2016 Chicago Cubs’ at the same point of last season.

As they get set to welcome ace Clayton Kershaw back after a six-week absence, the Dodgers are a +220 favorite on the 2017 World Series odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. That’s a fair shot below the +290 another National League legacy franchise, the aforementioned Cubs, commanded last season as the calendar flipped to September.

The Houston Astros are the not-so-close second favorite at +500, with the Boston Red Sox (+700), Washington Nationals (+700), Cleveland Indians (+700) and the Cubs (+750) all below 10/1 odds.

The best news for potential Dodgers bettors is that their five-game losing streak – which involved consecutive series losses against the Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks – might have prevented a rush of casual-bettor money. It will likely also take Kershaw, who will be on a 75-pitch count when he starts on Friday, a few starts to show that he’s in peak form after missing more than a month with a back injury.

In other words, the Dodgers’ price might not move until the September 15-17 weekend, when they visit the Nationals in a  potential NLCS preview.

If either the Astros or Nationals are to make a deep playoff run, they’ll have to score enough in the playoffs to offset their leaky bullpens. Each division leader’s relief corps has an earned run average north of 4.00, which does not fit the recent formula for winning in the postseason.

Either Boston or Cleveland is an acceptable alternative if one is looking for more value than the Dodgers offer, or simply hates laying chalk. The Indians and Red Sox are second and third in MLB in bullpen ERA, and each boasts a staff ace – Corey Kluber for Cleveland, Chris Sale for Boston – who’s capable of flipping a best-of-seven series by winning two games. Those two hurlers are also battling atop the odds to win the AL Cy Young.

The difficulty picking one right now is the fact they would be playing each other in the ALDS if the playoffs were starting this weekend.

It will be interesting to see how the line on the Cubs moves over the next month, especially with a not overly demanding September schedule where they play only two series – both against the Milwaukee Brewers (+5000), their closest pursuer in the NL Central – against a team with a winning record.

Of the two wild card leaders, the Arizona Diamondbacks at +3300 have a far better price than the New York Yankees (+1400) and probably have a better case as a World Series darkhorse.

The Diamondbacks have star power on both ends of the equation (RHP Zack Greinke, 1B Paul Goldschmidt). As a wild card, they could potentially play the Dodgers in the NLDS, which as a best-of-five series has a higher chance of an upset. The Yankees might not have the pitching to win in October, plus there’s the matter of rookie Aaron Judge’s drop-off in play.

 

Vikings, Bradford favorites against Niners on Sunday Night Football

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Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer clearly takes the preseason seriously – and the coach’s attitude toward non-counting games is usually the best trend to go by in August in the NFL.

The Vikings are listed as 4.5-point favorites against the San Francisco 49ers with a 42-point total for their Sunday Night Football matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The game will wrap up Week 3 of the preseason, which is usually the stage where teams will use their first-string offenses and defenses for an entire half. Minnesota is 13-2 straight-up and 12-3 against the spread in the preseason since Zimmer took their coaching reins in 2013.

Vikings QB Sam Bradford will also play before giving way to seasoned backup Case Keenum. The 49ers, who are 5-12-1 ATS over their last 18 games overall (counting preseason) according to the OddsShark NFL Database, will likely be taking a long look at rookie QB C.J. Beathard.

The week’s docket includes two cross-town matchups on Saturday. The Los Angeles Rams are 2.5-point betting favorites against the Los Angeles Chargers, with a 42-point total. The Chargers are 3-7 SU in their last 10 preseason games as an underdog. The Rams are likely due to improve on their 2-7-1 ATS mark over their last 10 preseason home games.

The New York Giants are favored by five points against the New York Jets with a 39-point total. The Giants will have had a short week (four days between games), but won their Week 3 preseason game under coach Ben McAdoo in 2016. The Jets have won the last five preseason matchups against the Giants in odd-numbered years.

With backup QB Nick Foles expected to get extended action, the Philadelphia Eagles are 3.5-point favorites at home against the Miami Dolphins, with a 42.5-point total. The Dolphins are 1-5 ATS in their last six games against the Eagles. Philly is 6-2 ATS in its last eight home games.

The Denver Broncos are three-point favorites against the Green Bay Packers, with a 42.5-point total. The home team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven matchups between Denver and Green Bay. The total has gone under in eight of the Packers’ last 10 preseason road games.

The Dallas Cowboys are three-point favorites against the Oakland Raiders, with a 44.5-point total. The total has gone over in both six of the Raiders’ last eight preseason games and in six of the Cowboys’ last seven preseason games.

The New England Patriots are a two-point road favorite against the Detroit Lions, with a 44-point total. Tom Brady is expected to play for the Patriots, who are 3-0 SU in their last three games in Week 3 of the preseason. Since 2014, Detroit is 10-4 both SU and ATS in the preseason.

And the Seattle Seahawks are 3.5-point favorites against the Kansas City Chiefs, with a 43-point total. The Chiefs are just 1-8-1 ATS in their last 10 games as a preseason underdog. Seattle is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 preseason games as a favorite of 3.0 or more points.