Getty Images

Cash in on Cardinals’ troubles with tight ends, and NFL bets you need to make in Week 4

Leave a comment

It’s Wednesday, which means we start poking and prodding the NFL Week 4 odds for the best value bets on the board. We’re not only looking at pointspread picks and Over/Under predictions, but we dive into derivatives, team and player props, and more with our NFL best bets for this week’s NFL action. 

HOLD ON TIGHT

The Arizona Cardinals have been getting crushed by opposing tight ends through three games. In total, the Cardinals have allowed 20 catches for 318 yards and four scores to the position. The player most responsible for this is safety D.J. Swearinger. The man who was unwanted in Washington has a PFF grade of 45.9 and has allowed over a 70 percent completion rate.

Up next in the plus matchup is Seattle Seahawks TE Will Dissly, who has three touchdowns on 11 catches over his last two games. With quarterback Russel Wilson proving he can sling it with the best — 706 yards passing in his past two outings — Dissly has a great chance to go Over any of his props this week.

His prop markets will open soon and we like the Overs on his reception total at less than five, receiving yards at less than 56 and will certainly be playing his anytime score prop, which will be plus money.

PRIME TIME 6-POINT TEASER

Last week we hit our three-team, 6-point, prime time teaser (+160) with three Unders. This week’s prime time games may be forcing us in the other direction.

PHI/GBY Over 39: The Philadelphia Eagles own the sixth-worst defense in points per play but have a Top-10 scoring offense which works well for this teased total. Their defense is averaging three touchdowns against some poor offenses — Washington, Atlanta and Detroit. We see Wentz and Rodgers putting up some points on Thursday.

DAL/NO Over 41: Combined, the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints have eclipsed this total in four of their six games. Dallas is a Top-3 offense in yards per game while scoring three red-zone touchdowns a game this year.

The Saints showed they aren’t ready to roll over and die with Teddy Bridgewater under center and are still a threat to put up points on the turf in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, especially against a Dallas team who has faced the Dolphins, Redskins and Giants.

CIN/PIT Over 37.5: This one scares me the most, but ultimately this is a great matchup for points as the Cincinnati Bengals No. 3 passing offense squares off against the Pittsburgh’s second-worst passing defense. With both teams in the bottom-eight in yards per rush attempt, look for the Bengals and Steelers to settle Monday’s match through the air. Maybe even look for the special team or defensive score prop (+225)

 

CAPITAL NONE

We need to put this one out there while the stink of the Washington Redskins is still fresh in our olfactory senses. The hot mess that is the Redskins has been bad, but especially bad in the first quarter this year.

In their last 12 games, the team with taxation but no representation has scored a total of …one touchdown in the opening frame. If you watched Monday Night Football, then you know that a TD isn’t happening anytime soon with that quarterback play, a short week and a divisional game on deck.

Washington Under 0.5 first-quarter touchdowns is too costly at -175 while its first-quarter team total of 3.5 is tempting, but not at -152. If you can find better odds for those bets or don’t mind the juice, take them.

We’re going to grab the first-quarter Under 7.5 (+105) as we hope the Redskins try to hide their passing game and Daniel Jones struggles early after last week’s roller coaster.

KICKING IT IN L.A.

Tampa Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has left some things to be desired when it comes to execution. The former first-overall pick sits 25th in QBR, below Marcus Mariota and Josh Rosen.

The Bucs have scored a touchdown on just 27 percent of their red-zone trips this year — only better than the Miami Dolphins. This is made even worse by the fact that Tampa Bay is averaging the 10th most red-zone scoring attempts per game. We won’t say no to you if you want to play the Buccaneers’ first score FG (+137).

It makes sense that Jameis and his offense are tied for the lead the league in field goals attempted per game at three. The Los Angeles Rams are also averaging three three-point tries a game which makes the Over 3.5 field goals (-120) a great play, in our opinion. With two struggling offenses and a pair of defenses that are allowing the most and third-most field goal attempts a game, this is our spot for this week’s kicking prop.

 

SAY IT AIN’T SO, SONY

We’re going back to fading Sony Michel after cashing on his Under 83.5 rushing yards last week. Sometimes you have to stick with what’s working, or not working in Sony’s case.

The running back has still forced one missed tackle on 45 rushing attempts with 1.67 yards after contact per attempt and blue skies aren’t on the forecast for last year’s 900-plus yard runner. Michel saw just 22 percent of the offensive snaps last week in a nothing game against the Jets.

With Rex Burkhead getting more action (74 percent) and facing a Buffalo Bills rushing defense that is allowing just 88 rushing yards a game, we’re going back-to-back weeks on the Michel’s Under and will take it as low as 55 yards.

Longshots to consider when betting the Shoemaker Mile

Leave a comment

Monday’s Shoemaker Miles Stakes at Santa Anita Park is a great race for a number of reasons. For starters, the Shoemaker Mile is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” race that offers the winner a guaranteed spot in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

The race also features last year’s Preakness Stakes winner, War of Will, making his season debut. Despite his triumphs on the dirt in 2019, War of Will started his career on the turf and his pedigree suggests that he’s very likely to be just as successful on the grass. That said, the Shoemaker Mile will be his first start off of a six-month break, and I’m going to try to take a swing or two with some horses who could upset the apple cart at longer odds.

Let’s start out with the horse on the rail, Without Parole. He won the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes going a mile at Ascot back in 2018. His three other career wins have all came at this mile distance as well. Granted, he hasn’t won in six races since the St. James’s Palace but he did finish a fast-closing third two starts ago in a much tougher U.S. debut in the TVG Breeders’ Cup MileIrad Ortiz Jr. rode Without Parole in that race and he will reclaim the mount on him again on Monday.

Without Parole has only had one race this year and it was in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational in which he finished second to last. However, he had several excuses right from the start of that race when he got squeezed coming out of the gate. He also raced in traffic throughout and got cut off several times in the stretch before Frankie Dettori — who had come from Europe to ride him at Gulfstream — finally just wrapped up on him. The Pegasus World Cup Turf also was a race that didn’t allow him to run on Lasix (furosemide) after he’d shown significant improvement racing on Lasix for the first time at the Breeders’ Cup.

Stream the 2020 Shoemaker Mile live here

How much of a factor might Lasix be for some horses? Well, let’s next look at the horse who finished last in the Pegasus World Cup Turf: Next Shares. In his following start (back on Lasix) in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes, Next Shares finished third (beaten just a neck) to River Boyne. Both Next Shares and River Boyne return in the Shoemaker Mile and I prefer the former as a pace play who has plenty of back-class. If you rewatch the Kilroe Mile, Next Shares covered a lot more ground than River Boyne. With a similar effort, Next Shares could certainly turn the tables.

The other thing to like about Next Shares is that his trainer, Richard Baltas, has entered speedster Neptune’s Storm in the Shoemaker Mile. That horse, along with Voodoo Song, should ensure a very brisk pace up front — they’ll also be kept honest by Blitzkrieg and War of Will, both of whom usually race on or near the lead. All of that speed adds up to good news for Next Shares. He’s a Grade 1 winner who has always done his best running when he’s had some pace to run into. The other two keys for him (like all stalking or closing-type runners) is clear running room late, and hopefully he’ll get that with Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez taking the mount.

Lastly, we should take a look at True Valour. It’s hard to make much of an excuse for his flat finish in the Kilroe last out, but he’s truly performed better than what his results on paper might indicate. In the Thunder Road Stakes in February, he looked pretty keen early and it took him a few strides to settle down without throwing his head around and fighting his rider. Turning for home, it was clear that jockey Andrea Atzeni had plenty of horse under him but was just waiting for some running room. It ended up coming too late because River Boyne was in a better spot and had already taken command. True Valour did split horses nicely in the closing stages and was half a jump away from finishing second.

If you go back to the Breeders’ Cup Mile, True Valour had excuses there, too. He was up on heels early and he again took a little bit of time to settle down into a comfortable stride. Then, turning for him, he was just waiting for running room but instead got stuck behind a wall of horses. True Valour ended up steadying pretty badly and lost all chance at that point. I’m a little worried about how headstrong he tends to be early in races, but there’s a scenario here that could have at least two horses battling for the lead early and opening up some daylight on the rest of the field. That means he’ll be less likely to be running up on anyone’s heels and it also ensures that he’ll have a nice setup. Whether he can navigate clear passage late in the race is a separate matter.

Longshot Selections

#1 Without Parole

#3 Next Shares

#2 True Valour

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

How to bet an exacta on a horse race

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Betting an exacta can present a challenge on several levels.

There is, of course, the primary need to analyze past performances and decide which horses are going to finish first and second.

Yet because of the inherently lower payoffs as opposed to what you’ll find in a Pick 3 or Pick 4, you’ll need to structure your wagers effectively in order to turn your selections into a profitable wager.

For starters, an exacta can be a simple wager. If you like two horses equally, you can just box them in the exacta and collect so long as they finish 1-2 in any order. If you like one of them a little more, you can then bet more on the one you prefer, say $10 on a 1-2 exacta and $5 on 2-1.

If you’re a little more uncertain, make sure you structure your bet around the size of the field and the probable payoffs.

If you like a longshot, the higher probable payoffs give you the cushion you need to wager on more combinations and still turn a nice profit.

But if you’re dealing with favorites or horses at relatively low odds, you have to wager more efficiently to preserve your profit.

In a field of six or less, you’re best to either focus on one horse or box two of them instead of boxing three or more horses because of the small payouts the bet will most likely generate.

In a field of seven, a wise strategy would be to box your top two choices and then, if you are worried about other horses, play them top and/or bottom other the other horses. For example, box 1-2, then bet 1-2 over 3-4 and 3-4 over 1-2. This way you are getting coverage on four horses without having to box them.

Once you get an eight-horse field, as long as there is not an overwhelming favorite, you can expand the number of horses you box since the payoffs will typically be higher, giving you a better opportunity to offset the inevitable array of losing tickets in a boxed wager.