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Jeff's Horse Race Spot Plays Saturday, October 2, 2021

Author: Jeff Hochman
Published: 2021-10-01

Jeff's Horse Racing Spot Plays for Saturday, October 2nd, 2022

 

 

SANTA ANITA PARK

 

 

Race 8 (Grade 2 Santa Anita Sprint)

 

 

#2 Vertical Threat (6/1) win, place, and show

 

 

Vertical Threat has won four of seven career starts, including a 3 1/2 length victory in Russell Road Stakes at odds of 3.5 to 1 on August 27th. Owned by Slam Dunk Racing and MyRacehorse, this 4-year colt by Tapiture is the lone speed. According to Stats Race Lens, VT has the fastest early and second fastest middle pace figures in the race. 

 

He makes his third start off extended layoff, often a horses best effort. Other horses will attract plenty of attention in this race. VT has the highest career Beyer speed figure (102) of this group. Two very efficient works over this Santa Anita dirt track is nice to see. With a clean start, Vertical Threat will be on the lead and it's catch me if you can. When Vertical Threat broke his Maiden by 6 lengths in 2020, track announcer Michael Wrona said "VT looks to be a horse of high promise". This will be the race that proves Wrona right. Hopefully 6/1 or better than straight to the BC Sprint next month at Del Mar.

 

 

 

SANTA ANITA PARK

 

Race 10 (Grade 1 Awesome Again)

 

 

#1 Tizamagician (4/1) win & place

 

The 4-year colt by Tiznow earned a career-high 102 Beyer Speed figure when finishing second behind Tripoli in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic last month. Interesting that Tripoli's Beyer speed rating came back 103, just one point higher. Since Flavien Prat has taken over pilot duties, Tizamagician has two wins and two seconds, all graded stakes. Tizamagician has finished first or second in eight of his past nine races. He loves Santa Anita and loves the No. 1 post with two wins and two seconds. With a clean start, I would expect Tiz to be on or near the lead. We've been on Tiz for quite some time. 

 

Call me a homer, but I truly believe Tizamagician is the right choice. Don't forget, most Tiznow progeny get better with age. Richard Mandella/Flavien Prat win at 37% and finish in-the-money- 76%. I think the value is starting to fade a tad, but anything close to his ML would be a top play for me. Medina Spirit will attract a lot of attention at the window which might help Tiz's odds. Good Luck and stay safe! 

 

 

Follow Jeff on Twitter @jhsportsline 




Jeff's 2021-22 NHL Eastern Conference Spotlight Team

Author: Jeff Hochman
Published: 2021-09-27

Jeff (JH-Sportsline) is an 8-time NHL documented handicapping champion at The Sports Monitor of OK. Jeff cashed 62% in the 2020-21 Covid-19 reduced regular season, and was ranked No. 1 in ROI. It was very challenging finding NHL selections, especially with the realignment and quirky schedule. Jeff has shown a profit in Hockey for seven straight seasons. Jeff's Early Bird NHL discount is available through October 10th. 

 

 

 

Jeff's 2021-22 NHL Eastern Conference Spotlight Team: New York Islanders  (2021 record: 32-17-7, 71 points)

 

 

The Islanders have lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Conference Finals for two straight seasons. They bring back mostly the entire roster from last season. The Islanders jettisoned Jordan Eberle to the Seattle Kraken in the expansive draft. New York signed Zach Parise and Zdeno Chara to add to this talented roster. Adding Chara to this suffocating defensive is smart. New York has superstar Mathew Barzal who posted 17 goals and 28 helpers in 55 games last season. In four full seasons, Barzal has 252 points in 289 games. He might reach the 30-goal mark this season. I think Oliver Wahlstrom is on the cusp of a big season after posting 21 points in 53 games last season. Barry Trotz is a brilliant coach. He won the Stanley Cup with the Capitals (2017-18) in his fourth season with the team. 

 

This will be Trotz's fourth season with the Islanders. Since 2019, New York has won five postseason series and 28 total games, second most to the Lightning. The Islanders have more B+ players than any other team in the Eastern Conference. The two goalies are outstanding. Varlamov had a 2.04 GAA and Sorokan posted a 2.17 GAA last season. They just need to stay healthy so the Islanders can rotate those two studs game to game. This is one hungry team playing in the same exact system for four years. The Islanders should win the Eastern Conference this season after Tampa Bay pulls back a tad.

 

 

 

Jeff's New York Islanders Prediction: (48-27-7, #4 seed in East, 103 points)

 

 

 

Jeff's Eastern Conference Season Point Total best bet: New Islanders Over 99.5 points -115 & Montreal Canadians Under 90.5 -125

 

 

 

The Canadians benefited last season from only having to play teams in Canada. With a normal schedule and reduced talent, Montreal will not reach 90.5 points. The Market is way too high on Montreal right now.

 

 

 

Follow Jeff on twitter @jhsportsline




Jeff's Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby Preview

Author: Jeff Hochman
Published: 2021-09-22

Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby Preview (Parx Casino and racetrack)

 

 

1 1/8 miles on dirt with a $1,000,000 purse

 

 

Saturday, September 25th, Race 12 (5:49 PM E)

 

 

 

 

 

#1 Fulsome (12/1), trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Florent Geroux

 

 

This 3-year old colt by Into Mischief has hit the board in 7 of 9 (5-1-1) lifetime starts with career earnings of $582,504. He won the Grade 3 Smarty Jones last month earning a career best 104 Equibase speed figure. He's 1-for-1 at Parx, 1-for-1 at this distance, and 1-for-1 on a wet track. Rain is expected on Thursday, but should clear out by Saturday. Had a nice work going 5F in 1:00.5 on September 18th. Fulsome is taking a step up in class. He would need to improve quite a bit off his last win although it's doable. Brad Cox winning 30% off horse win in last start. Longshot!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2 Keepmeinmind (8/1), trained by Robertino Diodoro and ridden by Joel Rosario 

 

 

Has hit the board in 6 of 11 (1-3-2) career starts with earning of $739,837. It's just really hard to back a horse that hasn't won in almost two years. Was a solid 2nd behind Essential Quality in Grade 2 Jim Dandy on July 31. After that he finished 4th in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes on August 28th. The bright side, he's getting beat by extremely talented horses. The dark side, his speed figures are going south and that's not what you want to see in this type of race. Toss! 

 

 

 

 

 

#3 Speaker's Corner (12/1), trained by William Mott and ridden by Jose Ortiz

 

 

This is an intriguing horse to me. Three career starts with two wins and one third for earnings of $99,940. His speed figures have gone up in every single race. From a 68 to a 107 in an Allowance victory. Has won two straight races after finishing third at first asking. Trainer W. Mott & Jockey J. Ortiz are winning 35% together over the past 31 weeks. You can't ignore that. This 3-year old colt by Street Sense will be stretching out for the first time. Should not be a problem. Mott wins 16% in this role. Longshot!  

 

 

 

 

#4 Weyburn (12/1), trained by James Jerkins and ridden by Paco Lopez

 

 

Has finished first or second in four of seven (2-2-0) career starts with earnings of $343,520. Finished fourth in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial, second in the TVG Pegasus and fourth in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy. His past performances are very telling. Weyburn is very capable of winning a Listed stakes or even a Grade 3, like the Gotham. But when this 3-year old colt by the late Pioneer of the Nile steps up in class, Weyburn gets beat. Better suited at running 1 mile or less. He's 0-for-2 at this distance and has the worst late-pace speed figures of this bunch. Toss!

 

 

 

 

 

#5 I am Redeemed (20/1), trained by Penny Pearce and ridden by Abner Adorno

 

 

The local bred has finished first or second (3-1-0) in four of seven career starts with earnings of 112,200. He's taking a major step up in class. He obviously loves this track with three wins and one second. He earned a career-best 111 Equibase speed figure on a sloppy track in winning the Storm Cat Stakes on August 23 right here at Parx. The level of competition he's faced so far is nothing to write home about. This horse's chances of winning go up exponentially if the track is wet, sloppy, or muddy. He will save ground and make one big run late. Longshot!

 

 

 

 

#6 Bourbonic (12/1), trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Kendrick Carmouche

 

 

This 3-year old son of Bernardini has finished in the money in five of nine (3-1-1) lifetime starts with earnings of $575,880. His last victory was four starts back (April 23) taking the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. His next three races were a 13th place finish in the Kentucky Derby, fifth place in the Belmont Stakes, and third in the West Virginia derby. I like his chances much better on an off track. He has raced once at Parx finishing second in an AOC (Allowance-Optional claiming) race back in February. Todd Pletcher wins 22% in all stakes races. Declining speed figures is concerning though. Toss!

 

 

 

 

 

#7 Hot Rod Charlie (5/2), trained by Doug O'Neil and ridden by Flavien Prat

 

 

Takes over the role of ML favorite after the scratch of Medina Spirit (See below). The 3-year old colt by Oxbow has hit the board in 7 of 10 (2-2-3) career starts with earnings of $1,214,500. Very impressive. HRC crossed the finish line first in the Grade 1 TVG Haskell, but the stewards ruled he interfered down the stretch and was placed 7th. He earned a career-best 113 Equibase speed figure. You might remember HRC finished third in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby behind Mandaloun and Medina Spirit, beaten by just one length. Two races back, HRC finished second in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, beaten 1 1/4 lengths to Essential Quality. There is a lot to love about this horse, especially with the scratch of Medina Spirit, who would have been the post time favorite. Flavien Prat is arguably one the best jockeys in the nation. HRC has the fastest middle pace and late pace speed figures of this bunch. With a clean start, HRC looks like a solid wager. Don't like HRC if the track is wet! The One to Beat!

 

 

 

 

 

#8 Midnight Bourbon (5/1), trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr.

 

 

The 3-year old colt by Tiznow has hit the board in nine of 11 (2-4-3) career starts with earnings of $903,920. His last three races read like this. A second place finish in the Grade 1 Travers last month, DNF (did not finish) in the Grade 1 Haskell, and second in the Preakness Stakes. He earned a career-best 109 Equibase speed figure when finishing second by a nose to Essential Quality on August 28. MB gets overplayed because people like his name. With that said, you have to like his chances off that performance in the Travers. How will he handle racing twice in the less than a month? Contender!

 

 

 

 

#9 Medina Spirit (2/1), trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by John Velazquez 

 

 

Medina Spirit has been SCRATCHED and will point to the Grade 1 Awesome Again at Santa Anita on October 2. Tizamagician, Tripoli, Express Train, Rock Your World and others look to take down Medina Spirit.

 

 

 

#10 Americanrevolution (15/1), trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Luis Saez

 

 

The 3-year old son by Constitution has won three of four career starts with earnings of $271,535. Improving speed figures in his first four starts. From a 67 to career-best 108 in the Albany Stakes on August 27. This is a major step up in class but certainly has the pedigree, connections, and form to improve once again. That win in his last race was this same distance of 1 1/8 miles. He will likely go for the lead from that outside post. Todd Pletcher wins 28% off horse win in last start. Luis Saez wins 25% of his races going 1 1/8 miles on dirt. Live Longshot contender!

 

 

 

 

Jeff's Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby Selections

 

 

 

Play #7 Hot Rod Charlie to Win & Place

 

 

 

Play #10 Americanrevolution to Win, Place, and Show




Jeff's 2021-22 NHL Western Conference Spotlight Team

Author: Jeff Hochman
Published: 2021-09-20

Jeff (JH-Sportsline) is an 8-time NHL documented handicapping champion at The Sports Monitor of OK. Jeff cashed 62% in the 2020-21 Covid-19 reduced regular season, and was ranked No. 1 in ROI. It was very challenging finding NHL selections, especially with the realignment and quirky schedule. Jeff has shown a profit in Hockey for seven straight seasons. Jeff's Early Bird NHL discount is available through October 10th. 

 

 

 

Jeff's 2021-22 NHL Western Conference Spotlight Team: Seattle Kraken  (2021 record: 0-0-0-0)

 

 

 

Head coach Dave Hakstol went 134-101-42 in four season as the Flyers' main man. He was fired from head coaching duties after going 12-15-4 to start the 2018 campaign. It's always fascinating to see if 30 players from different teams can win games with very little time. With that said, I really like this team's roster right now. It starts with their defense which has size, skill, and speed. They have a Top 5 goalie in Philip Grubauer, who was a Vezina Trophy finalist last year with Colorado. Grubauer was 30-9-1 with a 1.95 GAA and .922 save percentage. He notched a league-high (tied with Semyon Varlamov) seven shutouts. Jordan Eberle was a solid get in the expansion draft. He amassed 33 points in 55 games and should provide veteran leadership in the locker room. Alex Wennberg notched 29 points in 56 games for the Panthers last season. Jaden Schwartz (21 points in 40 games) rounds out the first line. Schwartz has scored 20+ goals four times in nine full seasons. He needs to have a big year for a team that lacks scoring punch. Jared McCann can take another step forward after scoring 14 goals and dishing out 18 helpers in 43 games. He's from a well-coached Penguins' team who knows how to score goals. I wish Yanni Gourde was healthy to start the season. He scored 17 goals with 19 assists for the Tampa Bay Lightning. His championship pedigree should help, but Gourde will miss the first two months of the season recovering from shoulder surgery. The Krakin are top-heavy and have very little depth on offense. Seattle should have a top 10 defense if they can stay relatively healthy. I want to root for this team. Not sure where all the goals will come from over an 82-game season. The Pacific Division is not the toughest so that should help. Seattle home games should have plenty of fan support. My projection has Seattle ending with 95 points and a trip to the postseason. We'll need the Krakin to win a lot of low-scoring games. Very doable!      

 

 

 

 

Jeff's Seattle Kraken Prediction: (43-30-9, #8 seed out West, 95 points)

 

 

 

Jeff's Western Conference Season Point Total best bet: Seattle Krakin Over 91.5 (-125)

 

 

 

Next Week: Jeff's 2021-22 NHL Eastern Conference Spotlight team

 

 

 

Follow Jeff on twitter @jhsportsline




Thursday Night Football: NYG @ WSH

Author: BohBoh Bets
Published: 2021-09-15




Grade 1 Travers Stakes Preview

Author: JH-Sportsline
Published: 2021-08-26

Grade 1 Travers Stakes Preview

 

Venue: Saratoga Race Track, Saratoga Springs, NY

 

Date: Saturday, August 28, 2021

 

Time: 6:12 PM ET

 

#1 Midnight Bourbon (9/2), trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr.

 

This 3-year old colt by Tiznow has hit the board in 8 of 10 (2-3-3) career starts with earnings of $673,920. He did not finish in the Haskell, clipping heals and losing than rider Paco Lopez. He's up against it in terms of class and speed figures in this group. Midnight Bourbon's career high Equibase speed figure is 99 which will not get it done. He's never raced at Saratoga, but does have some nice works leading up to this race. Will be on or near the lead with a clean break. Needs to improve quite a bit. Toss.

 

#2 Essential Quality (4/5), trained by Brad H. Cox and ridden by Luis Saez

 

Has done nothing wrong winning 7 of 8 career starts with an impressive $3,545,144 in earnings. He will likely be 1/2 or worse come post time. His one loss was a 4th place finish in the Kentucky Derby. My one concern would be declining speed figures, but that's nitpicking at this point. He won the Jim Dandy (G2) with a 107 speed figure after posting three straight 109 speed figures. There is a 60% chance of rain and EQ is 1-for-1 on a wet track. Brad Cox winning 27% in all stakes races and 31% off horse win. The 3-year old son by Tapit looks to be the class of the field. The One to Beat.

 

 

#3 Keepmeinmind (6/1), trained by Robertino Diodoro and ridden by Joel Rosario

 

Was a solid second (1/2 length) at 9/1 odds behind Essential Quality in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga. He earned a career-high 106 Equibase speed figure. Has hit the board in 6 of 10 (1-3-2) career starts with earnings of $654,987. Hasn't crossed the wire first since winning the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last November. The two horses he beat were Smiley Sobotka and Arabian Prince. Those two horses are not "lighting it up" to say the least. Has been working like a monster and has improving speed figures in three straight races. Contender. 

 

#4 Dynamic One (6/1), trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.

 

Won his last race (Curlin Stakes) by 1 1/4 lengths over Miles D. Has been first or second in 4 of 7 (2-2-0) career starts with earnings of $260,120. Not sure if he has the class to win this type of race. Has the fastest late pace figure according to Equibase, but also the slowest early pace, and second slowest middle pace. This horse needs very fast fractions to run at. Possible, but not likely. The connections are rock solid and should be a square price. Todd Pletcher wins 52% in the second race off a 2-6 month layoff. Would need to step up in a major way. I think a bounce is more likely off his last race. Toss.

 

 

#5 Miles D (12/1), trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Flavien Prat

 

Interesting horse who could be on the improve. The 3-year old colt by Curlin is lightly raced earning a win, a second, and 4th place finish at first asking. His Equibase speed figures have improved in each of his first three career starts. From an 84 to 100. That 100 was a second place finish in the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga (off track) going 3-wide behind the winner Dynamic One. From a value standpoint, there is no better horse to bet across-the-board than Miles D. Flavien Prat is arguably the best jockey in the nation. Chad Brown/Flavien Prat combo winning 46% and 83% in the money over the past 24 weeks. Big overlay. Longshot Upset.

 

#6 Masqueparade (8/1), trained by Albert Stall Jr. and ridden by Miguel Mena

 

Has hit the board in 5 of 7 (3-0-2) career starts with earnings of $494,208. He likes to press the pace so expect the 3-year old colt by Upstart to be on or near the lead with a clean break. Finished third in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy before winning the Grade 3 Ohio Derby. A major concern would be three straight declining speed figures after winning an Allowance optional claiming event at Churchill Downs. Upstart's progeny are 16-for-85 (19%) in dirt routes over the past five years. Contender.

 

 

#7 King Fury (15/1), trained by Kenneth McPeek and ridden by Jose Ortiz 

 

Has finished first or second in four of eight (3-1-0) career starts with earnings of $362,739. Tried the turf course in the Grade 1 Saratoga Derby Invitational finishing 10th out of 11 horses. You can draw a line through that race. The 3-year old colt by Curlin did not like the turf course. Two races ago, King Fury finished second (1/2 length) to Masqueparade in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby, earning a career-best 105 Equibase speed figure. He won the Grade 3 Stonestreet Lexington Stakes in upset fashion at 18/1 odds back in April. He knows how to make people money. Never run on the Saratoga dirt course which is a concern. Only 1/2 length separated the #6 horse and King Fury. Fury should be more like 10/1. Longshot.

 

 

Jeff's Grade 1 Travers Stakes Pick

 

 

I'm looking for value in this race so playing Essential Quality is not my cup of tea. He's the most likely winner, but lets take a shot with a better price. Don't forget, the ML favorite has won this race just once in the past eight tries.

 

Play #5 Miles D (12/1) for Win, Place, and Show

 

Place: #7 King Fury (15/1)

 

Show #3 Keepmeinmind (6/1)

 

 

Good Luck,

Jeff Hochman of JH-Sportsline




Six Pack of Best Earners for this College Football Season

Author: James Patrick
Published: 2021-08-22

  Some in the sports handicapping industry might question why a handicapper would be willing to educate his potential clientele with information that people are willing to purchase. For me, one of the significant aspects of the James Patrick Sports approach is the help we offer our customers to make some money. Unlike many of the self serving types in this profession, we at James Patrick Sports are willing to assist the general public in making some solid investments in their sports wagering efforts. After evaluating the College Football upcoming season, there are (6) teams that more than adequately prepared themselves for the competition and Big Game James Patrick has selected his Six Pack of Best Earners heading into the College Football regular season. This list represents the teams that Big Game James feels will cash the most winning tickets against the point spread this season. To enhance one s winning percentages this college football season, I suggest considering the following list of six team's as part of your weekly Game Plan. Let's take a look and win!

Fresno State Bulldogs (Mountain West Conference)

Aside from dramatically improving their recruiting rank (29) slots this year, the Bulldogs had (14) players opt to utilize the pandemic blanket waiver, including RB Ronnie Rivers, who should be among the nation’s top all-around players as a super senior in 2021. HC Kalen DeBoer gets a bit of a redo for his rookie year, as (20) starters return. The most important being quarterback Jake Haener, who started every game last season. The Washington transfer improved as the season went along, throwing nine touchdown passes to two interceptions over the final three games while completing (65.7%) of his passes. Haener will have back his top eight receivers, top three rushers and eight offensive linemen with starting experience, giving Fresno State an insanely high ceiling on offense. Pair that with a defense that brings back (10) starters and this team might have enough to navigate a winning season.

Georgia State Panthers (Sun Belt Conference)

This team is experienced and dangerous. The Panthers ran the ball on (68%) of standard downs (18th) nationally. Fifth-year coach Shawn Elliott has brought GSU to three bowls in four years. Elliott has patiently built the program, targeting this season as the potential payoff. He has practically everyone back, including all (11) starters on offense, from last fall’s bowl winner that scored better than (33) ppg. The roster is now loaded with experienced upperclassmen. Look for Brown to be a bit more comfortable with the passing game this fall with all of his targets still in the fold.

Nevada Wolf Pack (Mountain West Conference)

Mountain West champion Nevada welcomes all (22) starters back. The Wolf Pack should have a dynamic offense once again engineered by the conference’s returning offensive player of the year, Carson Strong, who has thrown for almost (5,200) yards in two seasons in Reno. The the return of QB Strong gives Nevada one of the best potential offenses in the Mountain West and a very good shot at a BIG TIME Bowl Game. The defense is also trending in the right direction after holding teams to (23.3) points a game last season. HC Jay Norvell’s team has won at least seven games in each of the last three seasons.

North Carolina State Wolfpack (Atlantic Coast Conference)

HC Dave Doeren and the Wolfpack returned to stability last season after a down 2019. NC State’s (8-4) mark was its sixth winning season in seven years. The Pack is loaded with returning starters. Coordinator Tim Beck improved the offense by over (8) PPG in his first season last year, and this group should improve even more. The offense returns nine starters, including its entire RB corps. The defense returns (10) starters. The Wolfpack’s last three recruiting classes have been improved and this will be a bowl team again.

Rice Owls (Conference USA)

For the first time in years, genuine excitement abounds at Rice. HC Mike Bloomgren and the Rice Owls football program appears ready to take flight this season behind the best class of recruits and out of state transfer talent in school history. The Owls return eight starters from the stingiest Rice defense in two decades, ranking (12th) nationally in scoring defense. The Stanford-type power offense by David Shaw disciple Mike Bloomgren is starting to pay dividends. Be Wise and take the Rice Owls.

Toledo Rockets (Mid-American Conference)

Sixth-year head coach Jason Candle is counting on big things from his returning starters as all (22) are back and this includes six All-MAC players. The offense averaged (35) points per game, so it should be one of the better units in the MAC again. All five offensive linemen return as do other standouts in RB Bryant Koback, WR Isaiah Winstead and WR Matt Landers. Recruiting rankings of the last four years suggest this is the best team in the MAC and will rebound. This team is solid and the defense should also rank among the MAC’s best.

 

Good Luck this Season,

       James Patrick




Jeff's 2021 Grade 1 Pacific Classic Preview

Author: Jeff Hochman
Published: 2021-08-18

2021 TVG Pacific Classic (G1) Preview

 

 

Venue: Del Mar Race Track, Del Mar, CA (Race 10)

 

 

Date: Saturday, August 21st, 2021

 

 

Time: 6:30 PT, 9:30 ET

 

 

 

 

 

#1 Tripoli (5-1), trained by John Sadler and ridden by Tiago Pereira

 

 

Was a close (1/2 length) second in the San Diego Handicap behind today's ML favorite Express Train. Tripoli has never won a graded stakes, something most of these rivals have accomplished. The 4-Year old Colt by Kitten's Joy has finished in the money in nine of 13 career starts (3-3-3), but has earned only $211,960. He's fast, but unproven at this 1 1/4 mile distance. He's local and his works have been "off the charts" at Del Mar leading up to this race. The inside post has no factor in this type of race. Toss.

 

 

 

 

#2 Tizamagician (5-1), trained by Richard Mandella and ridden by Flavien Prat

 

 

Tizamagician is probably in the best form of all the local horses having three wins and two seconds from six starts 2021. All five were graded races including the G3 Cougar ll stakes at Del Mar on July 18th. That race was at the marathon distance of 1 1/2 miles. As was the Toyko City Cup where Tizamagician won in dominating fashion. Overall, Tiz has finished first or second in 12 of 18 (5-7-0) career starts with earnings of $427,851. He can run all day and his last four workouts at Del Mar were done with ease. His August 14th 5f work of 1:00.00 was ranked 8/82 horses. This horses has never been training better according to Hall of Fame trainer, Richard Mandella. Tiz's speed figures fit with this group and should be on or near the lead with a clean start. Horse for course. Contender.  

 

 

 

 

#3 Dr. Post (4-1), trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Joel Rosario

 

 

Dr. Post was the surprise runner-up in 2020 Belmont Stakes and has two wins in his 4-year old season. He also had a lackluster effort in the Met Mile. He's shipping in from the East Coast which is a concern. He'll likely get some support at the window. Dr. Post has finished in the money in six of nine (4-1-1) career starts with earnings of $700,635. No local workouts and the 4-year Colt by Quality Road has not won back-to-back races since his first two starts of his career. Todd Pletcher wins 22% in stakes races. Contender.

 

 

 

 

 

#4 Royal Ship (7/2) trained by Richard Mandella and ridden by Mike Smith

 

 

The other runner for Hall of Fame trainer Mandella. Royal Ship finished third in the San Diego Handicap behind Tripoli and winner Express Train. Royal Ship is the only horse to beat Country Grammar this year. He did so in the Grade ll California Stakes at Santa Anita in April. Country Grammar is OUT with an ankle injury, but was considered to be a top older horse in the nation. Royal Ship has finished in the money in 11 of 14 (6-2-3) career starts with earrings of $293,305. The works are fast in the morning, but there's concern Royal Ship doesn't like the Del Mar surface. He's never run 1 1/4 miles at Del Mar and he's never finished better than third were the turf meets the surf. Contender.

 

 

 

 

 

#5 Express Train (3/1), trained by John Shirreffs and ridden by Juan Hernandez 

 

 

The logical favorite and for good reason. Has three wins at Del Mar, including last month's Grade 2 San Diego Handicap where he defeated four of these rivals. (Tripoli, Royal Ship, Magic On Tap, Sheriff Brown). Express Train has finished in the money in 10 of 12 (4-4-2) carer starts with earnings of $659,300. The 4-year Colt by Union Rags has never won back-to-back races. A really talented horse. With a clean start, he seems dangerous. Contender.

 

 

 

 

 

#6 Magic On Tap (20/1), trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Abel Cedillo

 

 

Wow! A Bob Baffert horse with a morning line of 20/1 in a graded stakes race. What's up? He won the Triple Bend Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita back in May, producing a low equibase speed figure of 89 for a graded stakes race. Followed that by finishing 5th in the San Diego Handicap (G2) with a better speed figure of 96. The 5-year old son by Tapit has finished first or second in 5 of 7 (3-2-0) career starts with earnings of $233,800. He's lightly raced as a 5-year old and the pedigree suggests he will love the 1 1/4 mile distanceBaffertt works his horses very fast and I think this horse is spent. Tough to back although I do love the jockey/trainer combo. Toss.

 

 

 

 

#7 Independence Hall (5/1) trained by M. McCarthy and ridden by F. Geroux

 

 

The third and final horse with a ML of 5/1. Has not won this year going 0-0-2. Has finished in the money in 7 of 10 (4-1-2) career starts with earnings of $654,400. Been nearly two years since the 4-year Colt by Constitution has won a graded race. None of the horses he's beaten has come back to win any significant race. I'm taking a hard stand against this horse. His speed figures just don't measure up to some of these individuals. Toss.

 

 

 

 

#8 Sheriff Brown (30/1) trained by T. Fincher and ridden by E. Maldonado 

 

 

Has hit the board in 14 of 21 (6-5-3) career starts with earnings of $232,811. The 5-year old son of Curlin won three straight Allowance Optional Claiming races before finishing 5th and 7th respectively in graded action. Very low speed figures. This horse has no business being in this race. Crazy things can happen. Like when Dare and Go defeated Cigar at 39/1 to win the Pacific Classic back in 1996. No way! Toss.

 

 

 

 

#9 Cupid's Claws (15/1) trained by C. Dollase and ridden by U. Rispoli

 

 

Was a well-beaten second to Tizamagician in the Grade 3 Cougar ll Stakes on July 18th at Del Mar. The veteran of six years has finished in the money in 11 of 22 (4-4-3) career starts with earnings of $216,940. He defeated Tizamagician in the Tokyo City Cup (G3) last September. Cupid's Claws posted a very slow 100 equibase speed figure and hasn't won since. Ironically, Tiz got his payback by winning the Tokyo City Cup this past April. Cupid's Claws can handle the distance for sure and has been training great. Toss.

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff's Pick:

Play: #2 Tizamagician to Win, Place, and Show.

 

 

Place: # 5 Express Train

 

 

Show: #3 Dr. Post

 

Good Luck,

Jeff Hochman of JH-Sportsline




Free Pick: Braves vs. Marlins

Author: Chris R. Farley (aka FarleyBets)
Published: 2021-08-17

Braves (-135), 2 units: This is an interesting pitcher’s dual between Atlanta and Miami tonight. Huascar Ynoa (4.54 ERA, 1.30 WHIP over 44.2 innings) boasted solid numbers in his tenure earlier this year, as his 3.18 xFIP indicates. Two games really blew up his ERA, one against Chicago where he allowed 6 runs and 3 homers (that just screams absurdity) and his last start against the Brewers back in May, where he permitted 5 runs in 4 innings. Otherwise Ynoa only allowed more than 1 run (a 2 run allowance against Arizona on April 23) in just one other showing on the mound. Over those other 35 exceptional innings (82% of his total pitching in 2021), Ynoa allowed only 5 total runs (averages to 1 run per 7 IP). The impassioned young gun is reportedly 100% and ready to roll today, and I really like Ynoa and the Braves in this spot. Although Miami has put up more points lately, Atlanta’s lineup has more power and has been more consistent, ranking in the top 7 in slugging percentage and WOBA and top 3 in homeruns and points over the last 2 weeks. Sandy Alcantara is one of the better starters in baseball but this is a play on the better offense and a returning, motivated Ynoa to get a vengeful win. The Braves are 59-28 in their last 87 games as a road favorite– take the away team to steal one at LoanDepot Park.




Rob Vinciletti: 2021/22 College Football Fabulous 15

Author: Rob Vinciletti
Published: 2021-08-09

In This College Football Preview Rob takes a look at the Top 15 teams in College Football and offers a Key seasonal stat for each team.
 
1. Alabama- The National Champs will be solid again this year and look like they could be headed for another championship game. They return 8 starters to a defense that allowed under 20 points for a second straight year. On Offense they have 5* recruit Bryce Young who headlines the best recruiting class in the country. They play only 4 true road games and may very well be undefeated when they travel to Auburn in the season Finale. Key Stat: Alabama has covered 19 of 21 in the first of back to back road games and they will be in that Situation October 9th at Texas A@M.
 
 
 
2. Clemson- The Tigers will try and lick their wounds from the nasty beat down a 49-29 loss as a 7 point favorite to Ohio. St. They bring back 9 starters on defense along with 5 on offense. They are a top 5 recruiting team. They replace #1 pick Trevor Lawrence with highly skilled D.J. Uiagalelei who was superb in his debut putting up 40 points at Notre Dame. Clemson over 2 dozen players with 2nd year experience and will be very solid in a deep ACC Conference. Key Stat: They are 1-9 to the spread vs Non conference teams off a win of 10 or more. Keep any eye out for this one on November 27th in South Carolina.
 
 
3. Ohio. St.- The Buckeyes were riding high off a blowout win over Clemson and then were blown out 52-24 their worst bowl loos every by Alabama. This year they should bounce back with just 3 teams that were over .500 last year. They bring back 11 starters along with the nations 2nd best recruiting class. Replacing Justin Fields wont be easy. However it seems whoever they put back their becomes an overnight star. They have their 2 best wideouts back and an expected improvement on a defense that 400 yards and 26 points per game. Key Stat: Ohio St is 1-9 ats before Michigan on November 20th and will be walking into a Michigan St team with 40 point home loss revenge.
 
 
 
4. Oklahoma- The Sooners are loaded with 15 starters and a top 10 recruiting class. They are favored to win the BIG 12 and are off a huge Blowout Bowl win over a Solid SEC Team in Florida. They will put up big numbers once again on offense with enigmatic Qb Spencer Rattler. They key for how far they go will be how well they play on the defensive side of the ball. Expect another Big 12 Championship for this Power house Program. Key Stat: Oklahoma is 11-0 to the spread before back to back games away from home. That Situation occurs on September 25th at home vs West Virginia.
 
 
 
5. Notre Dame- The Fighting Irish have put up an impressive 10 or more wins for 4 straight years and have a top 10 recruiting class and 9 starters back from a team that lost by 17 to Alabama in the playoff last season. The Irish Flourished in the ACC Last year and are now back to their more traditional Schedule. They will have a tough stop unit but with just 3 guys back on offense and a New Qb, we really need to see how well they gel together. Key Stat: 6-2 ats as a road favorite.
 
 
6. Georgia- Kirby Smart has alot to be excited about this year as he has the 4th best Recruiting class and 8 players back on offense. They are deep on both sides with most of their players getting into every game last year. Expect a big year from the Bulldogs despite a tough schedule that Included an opening game against Clemson. One thing is for sure. They will be one of the most explosive teams in the country. Kay Stat- Georgia is 14-0 to the spread as a favorite of 12 or less with revenge. Check Line on October 30th vs Florida.
 
 
7. Texas A@M- The Aggies are coming off a powerful 9-1 year led by Jimbo Fisher who has 15 starters back and the 8th best Recruiting class. Most of their tough games are at home as they play just 4 true road games. They will feature a lock down defense that was a top 10 stop unit. They should be solid on offense as well. Look for a big run from this team. Key Stat: The Aggies are 7-0 to the spread as a non conference home favorite of 25 or less. Check the line on September 18th vs New Mexico.
 
 
 
8. Cincinnati- The Bearcats have a nice balance of returning starters with 7 back on each side of the ball. They lost just once last year in the bowl game against Georgia, They improved by 8 points on offense and 4 on defense. They have a very manageable schedule and should be a force in the American Athletic Conference. For a Key Stat: Check the Line October2nd as the Bear Cats are 7-0 to the spread in the second of back to back road games and will likely be a dog in Notre Dame.
 
 
 
9. Iowa St.- The Cyclones are their best season in over a decade with a 9-3 record and a Big Blowout Bowl win over Oregon. They have 20 starters back including Qb Brock Purdy who should put up tremendous numbers in the Big 12. Should Oklahoma falter the Cyclones will be right there. This will be an exciting season for those in Ames this year. Key Stat: . Iowa St has covered 7 of 8 with rest and they are in this spot October 16th at Kansas St.
 
 
 
10. Florida- The Gators who had won 10 and 11 wins the prior 2 years slipped a bit at 8-4 last year. However, they are 12th ranked in recruiting and despite brining back just 9 starters should have a solid team and explosive offense as Qb Emory Jones finally gets his shot at the starters job now that Kyle Trask is gone. Florida should remain solid and get the defense which slipped to 31 points per game straightened out.. Key Stat: Florida is 0-5 to the spread as a dog vs a team with revenge. Watch the line on October 30th when they take on Georgia who they beat by 16 last year.
 
 
 
 
11. North Carolina- The Tarheels have 18 starters back from an 8-4 team and they will light up the score board with Sam Howell behind center. They averaged 42 points last year and will be a force in the ACC and recruited well at #14 overall. The defense which slipped last year and allowed 29 points per game has 8 starters back and if they can find a way to be more consistent and not allow the big plays they will be a top level ACC Team. Key Stat: North Carolina is 0-6 to the spread as a non conference dog of 11 or less points. Check line on October 30th when they travel to Notre Dame.
 
 
 
 
 
 
12. Oregon- The Ducks are off a shortened season where they went just 4-3. However they have 16 starters back and several players on the 2019 12-2 team. Oregon has a huge recruiting season ranked #6 overall. Senior Qb Anthony Brown has a plethora of weapons with him and he looked good in limited action. This team will run the ball all day. Expect a major improvement on defense which slipped from 17 to 28 points per game allowed last year. The Ducks are a Major Player in the PAC 12. Key Stat: Oregon has failed to cover 5 of 5 as a non conference dog of 4 or more. They will be in this situation on September 11th at Ohio St.
 
 
 
 
 
13. Wisconsin- The Badgers went 4-3 last season and the Pandemic and injuries really hurt this team last year. They have a #16 ranked recruiting class and return a ton of talent with 17 starters back. We look for them to get back to their running ways  and can sling it too with Qb Graham Mertz at the helm. The defense remained solid allowing just 17 points per game for a second straight season. Look for a big year in Madison. Key Stat: The Badgers have covered 8 straight as a dog off a non conference win. They may be in this situation on September 25th when they take on Notre Dame.
 
 
 
14. Miami Florida- The Canes are loaded for Manny Diaz whose team improved from 6 to 8 wins last year. They have the #11 recruiting class and have 19 starters back. They have a tough schedule this year with the likes of Alabama and Michigan St on the schedule with a tough AC Schedule. However they should be right there in the ACC Coastal division. Key Stat: The Canes have failed to cover 6 of 7 in the 2nd of back to back home games. This situation arrives on September 18th against Michigan St.
 
 
 
15. Iowa- The Hawkeyes have a top 25 recruiting class and reeled off 6 straight wins in the short Season to finish up at 6-2. Iowa will be solid on both sides of the ball once again. They have a decent schedule and should be a force in the Big 10 West Division. Key Stat: The Badgers have covered 9 of 10 as a dog of less than 9 in the 2nd of back to back road games. Check the line on November 6th as Iowa travels to Northwestern
 
 
 
In closing we hope you enjoyed the Analysis and will be with us for another superb season in college football. Rob is the Only 2 time overall seasonal leader in combined football. Be sure to check his page daily for free selections and analysis in all major sports as he continues to use the most powerful and cutting edge data in the industry. Best of luck and enjoy this upcoming season, Rob Vinciletti- Golden Contender Sports




Nats dealing with COVID-19 outbreak

Author: Simon Sharkey
Published: 2021-07-29

Major League Baseball has postponed Wednesday's game between the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Nationals' clubhouse.

Shortstop Trea Turner, who has been the subject of trade rumors this week, was pulled from Tuesday's game after testing positive for the virus.

Manager Dave Martinez told reporters Wednesday that the team has received 12 positive tests, with four players, including Turner, among the positives, according to MASN's Mark Zuckerman. Some of those affected are experiencing symptoms, though nobody is "very sick," Martinez said.

Contact tracing is now underway, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. The game will be made up on Thursday as part of a straight doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park beginning at 12:05 p.m. ET.

The Nationals previously reached the 85% vaccination threshold, according to Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer. By reaching that mark, the team was allowed to have relaxed COVID-19 protocols at the start of this season.

Washington also experienced a COVID-19 outbreak at the start of this season.

Philadelphia has battled its own COVID-19 issues this year, including an outbreak earlier this month. The Phillies are one of the few teams that haven't reached the 85% threshold.




NBA Finals Game 6 Betting Preview and Predictions

Author: Nick Hub
Published: 2021-07-20

In what has been an exciting NBA Finals series, we are set for game 6 at Fiserv Forum between the Phenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks for what could be an elimination game.  These offenses couldn’t be stopped in Game 5, as the Suns shot 55.2 percent from the floor and the Bucks shot 57.5 percent. The third quarter explosion by Milwaukee really changed things for total bettors, as the Bucks weren’t missing shots and it forced the Suns to pick up the pace just to try to keep up.  In a Game 6 in which Phoenix will be fighting for its life, look for things to be a bit more intense. The Suns know that they need to play a lot harder in order to get back in this series. Milwaukee is looking to win their second NBA Championship and first since 1971. Meanwhile, the Suns have their backs against the wall and must win to survive and force a Game 7 in Phoenix. The public sees a total of 242 points scored in the last game and says this has to go over. However, this recency bias may provide a buy low under opportunity. Over the past decade, playoff unders in Games 6 and 7 have cashed at roughly a 58% clip. This is often due to tired legs, a greater emphasis on defense and the importance and pressure of an elimination game. Additionally, it seems like everyone is on the Bucks tonight to win the championship which makes me play contrarian and lean towards the Suns.  However, the play tonight will be on the total.

 

Take Under 222




Jacob Stallings's Walk-Off Grand Slam Propel Pirates Past Mets

Author: Joseph Salvador
Published: 2021-07-18

In the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded, Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings swung away at Mets closer Edwin Díaz's fastball and as soon as he made contact the crowd at PNC Park erupted.

Stallings homered to left field to complete the 6–0 comeback and win the game 9–7. 

The Mets kept the Pirates scoreless in the first seven frames until a red-hot eighth inning for the home team. Pittsburgh scored five runs in the eighth to make it just a one-run game in the ninth. 

Brandon Nimmo homered to center field to give the Mets some cushion going into the bottom of the ninth but it there was blood in the water.

Stallings walk-off grand slam brought home Ke'Bryan Hayes, Bryan Reynolds and Jared Oliva for the storybook ending. 

The Pirates improve to 36–56 and the Mets fall to 47–42 on the season. 




Ronald Acuña Jr. Leaves Game With Knee Injury

Author: Nick Selbe
Published: 2021-07-10

Days before the All-Star break, the Braves' disappointing season took a cruel turn for the worse.

Right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. left the game after injuring his right knee while attempting to make a leaping grab near the wall. He immediately fell to the ground in pain and did not attempt to retrieve the ball.

The play resulted in an inside-the-park home run for Marlins second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. Acuña eventually needed to get carted off the field.

While the seriousness of the injury is not yet known, it's a devastating blow for one of the game's emerging superstars. Acuña was set to make his second career All-Star start after a stellar start to the season. Entering Saturday's game, the 23-year-old was batting .281/.392/.593 with 24 home runs and 16 stolen bases. He leads the majors with 71 runs scored.

Acuña has finished in the top 12 of MVP voting in each of his first three seasons, winning the 2019 National League Rookie of the Year award. He's a two-time Silver Slugger award winner, and became the ninth-youngest player to hit 100 career home runs in league history earlier this season.




Jeff's 2021 NBA Finals Preview

Author: Jeff Hochman
Published: 2021-07-05

Jeff's 2021 NBA Finals Preview 

 

By Jeff Hochman of JH-Sportsline

 

 

 

Why the Milwaukee Bucks will Win

 

The Bucks seem to have better spacing and ball movement when the "Greek Freak" is not on the floor. I would never say the Bucks are a better basketball team without Giannis. But, seeing is believing. After some huge performances early, the Bucks adjusted their pick-and-roll defense nicely against Trae Young, who was clearly not 100% in the ladder part of the Eastern Conf. finals. In 17 playoff games, the Bucks had a +6.1 point differential. They averaged 109.8 points per game (10th) while allowing 103.7 which ranks No. 2 against a much easier schedule than Phoenix. With or without Giannis, this is a deep and talented roster. A Bucks series win in six or seven games would not be shocking. The Bucks are 58-31 SU and 42-47 ATS this season in a weak conference.

 

 

 

Why the Phoenix Suns will Win 

 

The Suns have no weakness right now and having home-court advantage will help as well. This team is fast, long, hungry, and their team chemistry is off the charts. The Suns played in the very tougher Western Conference which is not breaking news. Phoenix is 63-25 SU and 53-33-2 ATS to date. That ATS number is ridiculously good and the Suns have exceeded expectations all season long. Are the odds-makers disrespecting the Suns? Time will tell. The Suns are ranked No. 2 in point differential (+7.0) this postseason in 16 games. They averaged 108.9 points per game (11th) while allowing 101.9 points per game which ranks No. 1 in the postseason. 

 

 

Head to Head

 

The Suns won both games by 1 point as four-point home dogs and three-point road underdogs respectively. Giannis had 80 points in the two games combined. If he's out/hobbled for this series, the Bucks are in serious trouble.  

 

Series Price: Phoenix Suns -190, Milwaukee Bucks +170

 

 

The Pick: Phoenix Suns -190

 

The Suns have the No. 1 defense, No. 1 ATS record in quite some time, Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Bridges, Crowder. Add in ascending talent Cameron Johnson and Cameron Payne.  Saric and Craig can hold their own too. This is a deep, talented, long team that comes in waves. Wings that can  shoot and defend. They can switch every pick-and-roll. To me, it seems like this team is on a mission. For Chris Paul or whatever, they are highly motivated, healthier, and the more talented team. Not sure how many games, but I'm taking the Suns to win the NBA Finals at -190. If Giannis is close to 100%, the series will be much closer but still lean to the Suns.

 

 

 

Good Luck,

Jeff Hochman




Lightning Coach Jon Cooper on Verge of a Familiar Feeling

Author: Stephen Whyno
Published: 2021-07-05

Jon Cooper was a fresh-faced rising star when he coached the Norfolk Admirals to the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup championship in 2012 after going on a 28-game winning streak during the season.

Now, he is one Tampa Bay Lightning victory away from becoming just the second coach in the NHL’s salary-cap era to hoist the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons. Cooper is one of many parallels between Norfolk nine years ago and Tampa Bay now, although the former lawyer acknowledges he is better at his job thanks to almost a decade behind the bench in the top hockey league in the world.

“I’m a much more experienced, seasoned, better coach than I was then,” Cooper said. “I’ve learned a ton from other coaches, watching other coaches and then from the game. The longer you’re around and you see tendencies in the game and things that you think you can improve upon, it just takes time. I guess that’s why it’s called experience.”

The experience in 2012 was a building block to this moment. Along with Cooper, Lightning forwards Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn were key pieces for the Admirals.

Only three Norfolk players had more points during that playoff run than Johnson. After playing in a reduced role in the 2020 bubble playoffs and even getting put on waivers twice for cap reasons, Johnson got the call to move up in the lineup when Killorn was injured early in the final and delivered.
It was little surprise to Cooper when Johnson scored twice in Game 3 against the Montreal Canadiens to put Tampa Bay up 3-0 in the series.

“There’s a reason Tyler Johnson’s trophy case is fairly full, and it’s because he’s an ultimate team player,” Cooper said. “We never lost faith in Tyler Johnson and he never lost faith in himself. Roles change, you have to adapt and nobody has done it better than Tyler.”
Johnson, like Cooper, Killorn, Palat and a few others, is also a link to Tampa Bay’s 2015 run to the final before losing to Chicago. That made Lightning players realize how tough it was to win and fueled them last year and now.

“Don’t know how many chances you’re going to get,” Johnson said. “I know how fun it was last year when we won, so you want to do that again. Anytime you get this close, you really feel it.”
Cooper feels like there are many similarities between the 2012 Admirals and 2021 Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy tending goal like Dustin Tokarski, Steven Stamkos is leading like Norfolk captain Mike Angelidis, and the mentality of each team is the same.

“You have to have an ability to win games that are semi-high scoring and you have to be able to win games 1-0,” said Cooper, who was a finalist for Washington’s head job in the summer of 2012 and promoted to coach Tampa Bay in March 2013. “Both teams had goaltending, both teams had big strong D and both teams had dynamic forwards. But I guess probably the biggest similarity was they were extremely mentally tough where you could go into games at the start of a game and feel like you had the lead already.”

It has looked like that so far against the Canadiens. The Lightning have never trailed, and now they have an opportunity to cap it off just like the Admirals — with a sweep in the final.
None of it would be possible without Cooper, who players enjoy for how he tries to explain hockey in simple terms. That is very un-lawyer-speak of the 53-year-old who quit his job in 1999 to coach full time.

“You can paint a picture black and white a lot of times and be pretty specific and analyze things, but he does a great job of keeping that message positive and keeping that message coming in different directions,” veteran defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “For us, we know that he’s going to set ourselves up and set our team up for success when he is breaking things down.”

Stamkos, one of the handful of players who predated Cooper’s arrival with the Lightning, feels as if he and his teammates have taken on their confident coach’s demeanor. The way he approaches playoff games and series has certainly rubbed off on players and contributed to what’s is closing in on a potential second consecutive Cup win.

“He wants guys to go out there and do what they’re best at and be confident in doing that,” Stamkos said. “He’s obviously grown as a coach since he’s been here in Tampa, but he’s maintained that expectation: that guys go out there and play with what’s gotten them to this level.”
Cooper is now at a coaching level that has him as the leading candidate to be in charge of Canada’s 2022 Olympic team next winter, assuming the NHL reaches an agreement to send players to Beijing. He would then get the chance to coach Lightning star Brayden Point, Canadiens goalie Carey Price and defenseman Shea Weber and maybe Stamkos and against the likes of Palat, Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman.

That’s a short tournament and a different kind of test. Cooper has already aced the exam of handling the long NHL season and playoffs.
“He’s one of the best guys at getting us adjustments within a series or adjusting to things in the season ... and handling adversity in different fashions, whether it’s a guy getting hurt or a slump in our play,” McDonagh said. “Just has a great sense of where the room’s at at all times and when to step back and let the players handle it or when he needs to step up and let his voice be heard.”




Betting the NFL Preseason in 2021

Author: Jeff Hochman
Published: 2021-07-01

Betting the NFL Preseason in 2021

 

 

by Jeff Hochman of JH-Sportsline 

 

 

The Hall of Fame Game is the first NFL preseason game of the year, which closes the annual Hall of Fame enshrinement festivities. On August 5th, 2021, the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers will kick-off the preseason at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The game marks the seventh appearance by each squad in the annual preseason classic which is tied for the most by any team. Both clubs own 3-3 straight-up record. The game starts at 8:00 PM E and can be viewed on Fox. 

 

You will hear people say "Don't bet on NFL Preseason Football". Big Mistake! It's actually easier than capping the regular season. In most cases you can read ahead of time the exact game plan for each team. I feel the NFL preseason is a great opportunity to start and build a nice bankroll for the upcoming regular season. Many handicappers have the opinion that the preseason games should be left alone and not bet on. I feel just the opposite. If you do your homework--the preseason offers sharps and squares a tremendous opportunity to make a lot of money. Here are my personal keys, stats, systems, angles, reasons, and teams to consider when betting NFL Preseason football in 2021. 

 

 

 

 

1) Depth 

 

 

This one is obvious. Jo public gets so worked up about the starters and skill position players on certain teams during the regular season. But they're the same in the preseason. Teams that can go two-and three-deep (sometimes four-deep) at the skill positions have a decided advantage over a club that has a few stars that will be sitting after the first or second series. A perfect example of a team like that this season, is none other than the Buffalo Bills. Josh Allen, Mitchell Trubisky, and Jake Fromm are a solid top three. They signed Davis Webb who has a big arm. Even if Josh Allen plays very little, the next three should give teams fits in August. Don't forget, the Bills have been running Sean McDermott's system for 4 years. The Bills went 4-0 ATS when we last saw the NFL preseason (2019). On the flip side, the Detroit Lions will break in a brand new head coach (see below), new offensive coordinator, and new defensive coordinator. Jared Goff, Tim Boyle, and David Blough will be learning a brand new offense. The Lions' defense will be learning a new scheme as well. I think this team is heading for a rough preseason! 

 

 

Quarterbacks and continuity are key. NFL preseason wagers, just like those during the regular Season, often come down to the last eight minutes of a game. So find teams that have solid depth at QB and/or has some experience or success in the league. They'll have a tremendous advantage in the closing moments of a game against a third and/or fourth-string defense. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Experience 

 

 

I don't necessarily mean which team has the most grizzled veterans on it. In fact, experience can be a detriment. Most older players hate preseason games. And teams that have established players in certain positions or roles will often see those guys "mail it in" during the preseason because they know the games are "meaningless" and already have their "jobs" locked up. 

 

 

However, experience is a key factor when it comes to handicapping coaches/systems. Organizations that haven't experienced much turnaround have a significant advantage over those that are easing in a new brain trust. For example, the Seattle Seahawks have been running Pete Carroll's system since 2010. The Seahawks are going to be much sharper than a team that is going through drastic changes. Take the Philadelphia Eagles for example. They are breaking in a brand new head coach (Nick Sirianni), new offensive coordinator (Shane Steichen), and new defensive coordinator (Johnathan Gannon). Keying on clubs that have familiarity & continuity, and finding teams that are much less comfortable with their new system is a big key when wagering on preseason games. I can't stress this enough!  

 

 

 

 

 

3) First-Year Head Coaches with new team (Full Season)

 

 

We have seven for the 2021-22 season in alphabetical order by team. First year head coaches can be tricky, but generally perform very well in their first August home game.They went 6-1 ATS in their first home game five years ago, 5-2 ATS four years ago, 4-1 ATS three seasons ago and 6-2 ATS in 2019. That adds up to a a bankrolling 21-6 ATS mark the last four preseasons combined! A lot of expectations are put on these guys coming in. They all want to show the Owner, General Manager, players, and fans that he is the right man for the job. Setting the tone early means playing to win in the preseason. With just three games this preseason, it's even more important to win early.

 

 

 Arthur Smith  (Atlanta Falcons)

 

 

Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions)

 

 

David Culley  (Houston Texans)

 

 

Urban Meyer  (Jacksonville Jaguars)

 

 

Brandon Staley (LA Chargers)

 

 

Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles)

 

 

Robert Saleh (NY Jets)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Competition/Philosophy

 

 

 If you know how head coaches were raised and what their philosophies are than you will have a big advantage this August. I will give you one HC that treats the preseason as the regular season. That would be John Harabaugh of the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are 17-0 ATS over the past four preseasons. Who needs Bitcoin? His 37-12 ATS overall record in the preseason would have made you a small fortune. On the flip side, Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams clearly hates the preseason. He uses August to scout his younger guys while keeping his starters and key backups healthy. The Rams went 1-3 ATS last year. Sean McVay is 5-8 ATS in his career and it could be much worse. The odds-makers are going to inflate the Rams' opponent lines this August. Be careful! Keep an eye on the Seattle Seahawks this August. Pete Carroll has always played to win in the preseason, evident by a 36-18 (66.6%) ATS record. Seattle went 3-1 ATS in the 2019 preseason after going 0-4 ATS in 2018. That was the first time Pete Carroll and the Seahawks never cashed at least one preseason game. I would expect Seattle to make bettors money once again this August.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 5) Motivation

 

 

If you watched the NFL for any number of years you should know that not every Head Coach cares about winning in the NFL Preseason. Different HC's have different agendas when playing in August and they all pretty much stick to their beliefs. I gave you four very good examples above that should hold true once again this upcoming preseason. Each coach handles the preseason differently. Some put a premium on the second game. For some it's the third or even the fourth back in the day. Some coaches just mess around and tinker with their lineups during the preseason and use it to evaluate their younger guys. But here's the key - and this is a big difference between the regular season and preseason football - most coaches are forthright about what the game plan will be. All you have to do is a little research from the local beat writers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6) Scheduling 

 

 

 

The NFL preseason schedule generally isn't too taxing on the teams and players. But there are quirks. The two teams that play the Hall of Fame Game are a good bet to fade in their next game. If some key players are a bit banged up then you can expect those guys to be watching in street clothes. Keep a close eye on how players from the Cowboys and Steelers come out of the Hall of Fame game. Also, NFL teams who play on the West Coast (with little to no humidity), and than travel to play a high humidity East Coast game. It would be wise to fade those West Coast teams, especially if installed as a favorite. This has worked extremely well over the past few years with the new OTA rules in place.

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff's NFL Preseason system to consider in 2021

 

 

If you are looking for a very profitable system/angle in the NFL preseason here is one to consider this year. Teams that get crushed by 28+ points in their first preseason game are a great bet in their very next game (week two). Mostly because the public overreacts and the lines get super inflated. NFL teams in this role are cashing 62% over the past decade. Choose wisely!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff's #1 NFL Preseason Team to "Play On" in 2021

 

 

 

Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings went 7-9 SU in 2020. Mike Zimmer is 18-8 ATS (69%) in the preseason and has always played to win August games, especially following a losing regular season. Kirk Cousins, Kellen Mond, Jake Browning, and Nate Stanley seem capable to execute a veteran system. I especially like the Vikings -3 at home against the Colts in week two (August 21st). The Colts play 

Jeff went 16-6-1 ATS (including postseason) last year documented at The Sports Monitor of OK. Look for more articles in the coming weeks. Jeff was ranked No. 3 in the NFL two seasons ago, No. 3 in the 2017-18 NFL regular season, and No. 1 (tied) in the postseason at The Sports Monitor of OK, cashing just under 70%. Jeff has shown a profit in 8 straight football seasons, fully documented. Jeff is a 7x NFL Top 10 Handicapper. Early Bird Football season packages are now available.

 

 

Good Luck this Football Season!

 

 

Follow me on Twitter @jhsportsline




MLB Announces All-Star Game Finalists, Second Phase of Voting Ends July 1

Author: Andrew Gastelum
Published: 2021-06-28

Shohei Ohtani, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. were among the stars to be named finalists to start the MLB All-Star Game. 

Major League Baseball announced the top-three vote-getters at each position (nine in the outfield) from each league. The players will advance to the second round of voting, which ends on July 1 at 2 p.m. ET. The All-Star starters will be announced later that night, while the rest of the MLB All-Stars will be named on July 4. Pitchers and reserves for each team will be determined by a process that considers selections made by the Commissioner’s Office and the player ballot choices.

Notable absentees from the finalists include Cleveland third baseman José Ramírez, Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor, Nationals shortstop Trea Turner and Rockies shortstop Trevor Story—although the latter two are widely expected to be named to the NL All-Star team as reserves. Those who are not finalists to start the game can still make the All-Star team, being a finalist doesn't guarantee a spot.

Center fielders Mike Trout (Angels) and Byron Buxton (Twins) were among the AL outfield finalists, but neither are expected to return from injury in time for the All-Star Game on July 13 at Coors Field.

The National League team will be coached for the third consecutive year by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, while Rays manager Kevin Cash will lead the American League side.

Here are the All-Star Game finalists, listed in order of most votes:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Catcher: Salvador Pérez (KC), Martín Maldonado (HOU), Yasmani Grandal (CWS)

First Baseman: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR), Yuli Gurriel (HOU), José Abreu, (CWS)

Second Baseman: Marcus Semien (TOR), José Altuve (HOU), DJ LeMahieu (NYY)

Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts (BOS), Bo Bichette (TOR), Carlos Correa (HOU)

Third Baseman: Rafael Devers (BOS), Alex Bregman (HOU), Yoán Moncada (CWS)

Outfielders: Mike Trout (LAA), Aaron Judge (NYY), Byron Buxton (MIN), Michael Brantley (HOU), Adolis García (TEX), Teoscar Hernández (TOR), Cedric Mullins (BAL), Alex Verdugo (BOS), Randal Grichuk (TOR)

Designated Hitter: Shohei Ohtani (LAA), J.D. Martinez (BOS), Yordan Álvarez, (HOU)


NATIONAL LEAGUE 

Catcher: Buster Posey (SF), Yadier Molina (STL), Willson Contreras (CHC)

First Baseman: Max Muncy (LAD), Freddie Freeman (ATL), Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

Second Baseman: Ozzie Albies (ATL), Adam Frazier (PIT), Gavin Lux (LAD)

Shortstop: Fernando Tatís Jr. (SD), Javier Báez (CHC), Brandon Crawford (SF)

Third Baseman: Kris Bryant (CHC), Nolan Arenado (STL), Justin Turner (LAD)

Outfielders: Ronald Acuña Jr. (ATL), Nick Castellanos (CIN), Jesse Winker (CIN), Mookie Betts (LAD), Chris Taylor (LAD), Juan Soto (WSH), Bryce Harper (PHI), Joc Pederson (CHC), Mike Yastrzemski (SF)




Cubs Use Four Pitchers to Throw 2021's Seventh No-Hitter Against Dodgers

Author: Nick Selbe
Published: 2021-06-25

Did you really think we'd get through June without another no-hitter?

Hours after the Red Sox lost a combined no-hit bid against the Rays in the eighth inning, the Cubs went the distance, using four pitchers to no-hit the Dodgers in Thursday's 4-0 win.
Right-hander Zach Davies started the game and went six innings, walking five batters with four strikeouts. Ryan Tepera pitched the seventh, while Andrew Chafin tossed a hitless eighth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel came on for the ninth and walked Chris Taylor to lead off the inning before striking out the next three hitters.

The combined no-hitter was the seventh of the 2021 season and first since Corey Kluber's on May 19. That ties the modern record, joining the 1990, 1991 and 2012 seasons. The most all-time is eight, which happened in 1884.
Of the seven no-hitters in 2021, this is the first utilizing multiple pitchers. The Red Sox took a combined no-hit bid into the eighth inning on Thursday but eventually lost, 1-0, to the Rays on a walk-off wild pitch.

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This is the 17th no-hitter in Cubs history and fourth in the last seven years. It's also the first combined no-hitter in team history. The last Cubs pitcher to throw a no-hitter was Alec Mills on Sept. 13, 2020. The last time the Dodgers were no-hit at home was also against the Cubs on Aug. 30, 2015.




Islanders on the Brink of Elimination After Massive Loss

Author: Fred Goodall
Published: 2021-06-22

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — There was no panic in the Tampa Bay Lightning — just another determined performance against the New York Islanders.

Steven Stamkos had two goals and an assist and Andrei Vasilevskiy notched his fourth career playoff shutout, helping the defending Stanley Cup champions rout the Islanders 8-0 in Game 5 of their semifinal playoff series on Monday night.

“I like to think we play determined all the time, not just tonight,” coach Jon Cooper said after his team moved within one victory of a return to the Stanley Cup Final.

“It’s certainly a response and a mindset and it starts with our goalie,” Stamkos said.

“Vasy just has an amazing ability to bounce back whether he plays great or he doesn’t play great. But when we lose, he takes that personally,” the Lightning captain added. “He was outstanding, made some big saves early, settles us down, we get some goals and get some confidence.”
The Lightning improved to 13-0 in games following a postseason loss since launching their 2020 title run and will take a 3-2 series lead over the Islanders into Game 6 of their best-of-seven matchup Wednesday night in Uniondale, New York.
Game 7, if necessary, would be back in Florida on Friday.

“We’re going to have to have our best game, the best effort from every player on our team. And if we do that, we’ll be back here for Game 7,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said.

“This result, how we played, if that doesn’t motivate us then I’m not too sure what will,” Trotz added. “We put ourselves in a tough bind.”

Stamkos ignited a three-goal opening period — the first against the Islanders all season — by scoring just 45 seconds into the game. His power-play goal at 5:42 of the second began another three-goal period that made it 6-0.
Alex Killorn finished with two goals, Brayden Point delivered his 13th of the playoffs, and postseason scoring leader Nikita Kucherov extended his career-best playoff points streak to eight games with three assists for Tampa Bay, which hasn’t lost consecutive playoff games since being swept by Columbus in the first round in 2019.
Point has scored a goal in eight straight games, the second-longest stretch within a single postseason in NHL history.

“It’s playoff time. It’s not about personal stats. Wins are what matter,” said Point, whose power-play goal made it 7-0.

Vasilevskiy, meanwhile, stopped all 21 shots he faced for his third playoff shutout this year. The Vezina Trophy finalist also blanked Florida and Carolina in series-clinchers in the first two rounds.
Essentially taking up where the Lightning left off in a furious third-period rally that just fell short in a 3-2 loss in Game 4, Stamkos, Yanni Gourde and Killorn scored in the first 15:27 to make quick work of Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who was replaced by Ilya Sorokin after yielding three goals on just 16 shots.

“This group has a lot of pride. ... I thought our response (in third period Saturday) carried over to tonight,” Cooper said. “I loved the effort. But in the end, it’s one win. It’s a clean slate in two nights.”
The Islanders held on to win Game 4, evening the series at two games apiece, when defenseman Ryan Pulock’s diving stop in the closing seconds prevented the Lightning from forcing overtime. But since using a three-goal period of its own to take command Saturday night, New York has been outscored 10-0 over the last four periods of the series.

“A loss is a loss this time of year. Whether it’s in double overtime or how it was tonight,” New York forward Kyle Palmieri said.
“We’re going to wake up down 3-2, heading home with our backs against the wall,” Palmieri added. “But we have a chance to win a game at home and that’s all we’re focused on now.”

UNMATCHED RESILIENCE

Tampa Bay’s sparkling record in games following a playoff loss comes on the heels of being swept by Columbus in the first round two years ago. It’s the longest such streak in NHL history, and Vasilevskiy has been the goaltender in each of the victories. Kucherov has a team-leading 26 points (5 goals, 21 assists) in the 13 games.

POINT’S STREAK

Point, who leads the league with 13 goals this postseason, is the second player in NHL history to score a goal in at least eight consecutive playoff games in a single year. Reggie Leach had a 10-game goal streak for the Philadelphia Flyers in 1976.

COSTLY PENALTY

Islanders center Mathew Barzel sat out the third period after drawing a major penalty for crosschecking Tampa Bay’s Jan Rutta as the second period came to a close. Barzel was also drew a game misconduct penalty.

QUICK STARTERS

The Lightning are 11-1 when scoring the first goal this postseason, 0-4 when they haven’t.




Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes Featured as 'Madden 22' Cover Athletes

Author: Michael Shapiro
Published: 2021-06-17

A pair of future Hall of Famers will serve as the faces of EA Sports' Madden NFL 22 as Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes were announced as the franchise's latest cover athletes on Thursday.

Brady and Mahomes squared off on the gridiron in February, a 31–9 Buccaneers win in Super Bowl LV. Nowadays, though, there doesn't seem to be many hard feelings from Mahomes as he now shares the Madden stage with his Super Bowl rival. 
Madden NFL 22 marks the second time in three years that Mahomes has been featured on the game's cover. Kansas City's quarterback was also the cover athlete for Madden NFL 20, two years after Brady was featured on the cover of Madden NFL 18. Brady and Mahomes are the first athletes to be featured on the Madden cover twice.

Let's hope neither Brady nor Mahomes falls prey to the Madden curse during the 2021–22 season. Michael Vick suffered a season-ending injury after being featured in the Madden NFL 04 cover, and former Browns running back Peyton Hillis never ran for more than 600 yards in a season after starring in Madden NFL 12.
Madden NFL 22 will mark the franchise's 34th installment dating back to 1988, when it was called John Madden Football. An offensive player has graced 10 of the last 11 covers dating back to 2011, with Richard Sherman serving as the lone defensive cover athlete.