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Betting the Breeders’ Futurity on a $20 budget

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There was a time, not too long ago, when just about any 2-year-old trained by Todd Pletcher was expected to win whenever and wherever they were entered. Between 2009 and 2017, Pletcher’s annual winning percentage with juveniles ranged from 24% to 34%, eye-catching numbers that signified the strength of his stable.

Times have changed. After striking at just a 21% rate with 2-year-olds in 2018, Pletcher’s win percentage has fallen again to 18% in 2019, and he hasn’t won a Grade 1 race for juveniles since 2016. But in my opinion, Pletcher can bounce back in a big way with #10 Gouverneur Morris in Saturday’s $500,000 Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.

A son of Pletcher’s two-time Grade 1 winner Constitution, Gouverneur Morris was bet like a “can’t lose” proposition in his debut on September 2 at Saratoga. Racing over a sloppy, sealed racing surface, Gouverneur Morris tracked quick early fractions, took command in the homestretch, and powered clear to win by nine widening lengths.

This was an exciting debut from a promising prospect, and Gouverneur Morris was suitably rewarded on the speed figure scales, receiving an 83 Beyer and an 85 Brisnet. He’s come back to post a couple of sharp workouts at Belmont Park, so from all appearances, Pletcher has this $600,000 auction purchase ready to continue his ascent through the ranks.

Just as importantly, Gouverneur Morris appears poised to work out a clean trip in the Breeders’ Futurity, Drawing post 10 should allow him to stay out of traffic and hopefully secure a perfect position early on, possibly stalking #1 Tap It to Win and #7 American Butterfly. Pletcher has already won the Breeders’ Futurity twice in the last decade, including in 2014 with Carpe Diem, a Saratoga maiden winner stepping up in class just like Gouverneur Morris.

I plan to make Gouverneur Morris the key horse in my wagers on Saturday, but I won’t bet him exclusively on top. I’ll also support the above-mentioned speedster Tap It to Win and the proven graded stakes winner #2 By Your Side.

Both of these runners have strong points to offer. For example. Tap It to Win is a well-bred son of Tapit out of a Medaglia d’Oro mare, giving him a stamina-oriented pedigree perfect for the Breeders’ Futurity. Trained by Mark Casse, who won this race in 2016 with champion Classic Empire, Tap It to Win had no difficulty winning an August 24 maiden race at Saratoga, earning an 86 Beyer while scoring by 3 ½ lengths over Complexifier, who returned to break his own maiden at Churchill Downs with an 83 Beyer.

As for By Your Side, this Eddie Keneally-trained son of Constitution started his career in very promising fashion, defeating future Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes winner Basin in a Churchill Downs maiden race before winning the Grade 3 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga by three lengths. Yet despite this bright start, By Your Side never really fired in the Hopeful, weakening to finish a dull fifth behind Basin.

It’s hard to say why By Your Side misfired in the Hopeful, but if you draw a line through that effort, he looks like a good fit for the Breeders’ Futurity. Stakes-experienced colts have won seven of the last 10 editions of this race, and By Your Side has posted two fast workouts at Keeneland in preparation for Saturday, suggesting he has an affinity for this track.

Let’s play these three in the exacta while also betting Gouverneur Morris to win:

Wagering Strategy on a $20 Budget

$10 to win on #10 Gouverneur Morris

What to say at the betting window: Keeneland, 9th race, $10 to win on #10

$2 exacta: 10 with 1,2 ($4)

What to say at the betting window: Keeneland, 9th race, $2 exacta 10 with 1,2

$3 exacta: 1,2 with 10 ($6)

What to say at the betting window: Keeneland, 9th race, $3 exacta 1,2 with 10

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series continues on NBC Sports with Fall Stars Weekend from Keeneland on October 5 at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and October 6 at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Canucks vs Golden Knights picks and predictions for Game 1

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Perhaps no team has been more fun to follow during the NHL playoffs than the Vancouver Canucks, and hockey bettors can still get the Canucks at +1,300 to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup. Vancouver is coming off a thrilling series win against the defending champion St. Louis Blues, but now a much more difficult challenge awaits. The Vegas Golden Knights are +350 favorites to win it all, and they’ve certainly looked the part while dropping only one playoff contest.

Game 1 of this series gets underway Sunday, so we’re here to bring you our NHL picks and predictions in this Western Conference semifinal showdown.

Vancouver Canucks vs Vegas Golden Knights betting preview

Starting Goalies

Canucks: Jacob Markstrom – playoffs – 7-3, 2.44 GAA, .929 SV% (season – 23-16, 2.75 GAA, .918 SV%)

Golden Knights: Robin Lehner – playoffs – 5-1, 2.44 GAA, .904 SV% (season – 19-10, 2.89, .920 SV%)

If this game was actually played in Las Vegas, then Markstrom could easily spend a few hours performing with Cirque du Soleil. The 30-year-old dazzled against Blues with an eye-opening array of acrobatic saves and an impressive 7-3 record. He’ll need to provide more of the same against a dangerous Vegas squad.

The Knights will likely roll with Robin Lehner, who has taken over the spot as Vegas’s starter in the crease—and rightfully so. Still, the Knights have the luxury of having Marc-Andre Fleury as their “backup.” The five-time All-Star matched an NHL record this season with his 14th consecutive playoff appearance.

Injuries

Vancouver: Tyler Myers D (out), Tyler Toffoli RW (out), Micheal Ferland LW (out), Josh Leivo LW (out)

Vegas: Tomas Nosek LW (out)

Betting Trend to Know

Canucks are 0-6 in their last six Sunday games. Find the latest NHL betting trends for Canucks vs. Golden Knights.

MONEYLINE PICK

The Canucks have been a force with the extra man during the postseason, converting 26.2% of their power plays. While the Knights are known for their offensive firepower, it’s their stingy defense that allows them to suffocate opponents—as evidenced by an 86.4% penalty kill during their playoff run. Vancouver is the only team in the league to never beat Vegas in regulation, going 0-11 all time. That’s something I just can’t ignore.

PREDICTION: Vegas ML (-175)

OVER/UNDER PICK

Each team is filled with loads of offensive talent. Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller have combined for 11 goals thus far. Elias Pettersson has racked up 13 points, tied with Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon for the playoff lead.

The Knights can match Vancouver’s scorers, but they’re more balanced—Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch and Mark Stone have each lit the lamp four times during the postseason. The difference is on defense, where Vancouver has allowed the most high-danger chances of all remaining playoff teams.

PREDICTION: Over 5.5 (-110)

PROP PICK

Though I like Vegas to win, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canucks kept it close and continued their offensive success. I’ll take a flyer on Vancouver scoring at least three goals.

PREDICTION: Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)

Canucks vs Golden Knights Betting Card

  • Vegas ML (-175)
  • Over 5.5 (-110)
  • Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)
NHL Parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s NHL Canucks vs Golden Knights picks, you could win $104.93 on a $10 bet?

Use our NHL parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Verlander injury shuffles Astros’ MLB futures odds

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MLB betting got a shake-up Sunday afternoon, specifically on World Series odds and AL pennant odds, with news that Astros star pitcher Justin Verlander could miss the rest of the season – or at least a significant chunk of it – with an arm injury.

Initial reports suggested Verlander had an elbow ailment, but both he and manager Dusty Baker quickly denied that. Baker called it a forearm strain and said that Verlander would be re-evaluated in “a couple of weeks.” The reigning AL Cy Young winner pitched a solid six innings in an 8-2 Opening Day rout of the Seattle Mariners on Friday.

Verlander’s injury led oddsmakers to shuffle futures book odds on the defending AL champions. Covers checked in on the MLB odds moves with a couple of Las Vegas sportsbooks.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ World Series odds?

At CG Technology books, risk analyst Rich Zanco said the Astros quickly moved from +1,200 to +1,800 in World Series futures. The SuperBook at Westgate also had Houston pegged +1,200 prior to Sunday’s news and initially went to +1,600, then dialed it a little further to +1,800.

However, there were apparently buyers on the Astros at that point, prompting the SuperBook to reel the price in to +1,400.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ American League odds?

In AL pennant futures, the Astros initially moved from +600 to +800 at The SuperBook, then ticked back to +700.

World Series odds

Team Odds to win
Los Angeles Dodgers +350
New York Yankees +350
Houston Astros +600
Atlanta Braves +1,600
Minnesota Twins +1,600
Tampa Bay Rays +1,800
Washington Nationals +2,000
Cleveland Indians +2,000
New York Mets +2,000
Chicago Cubs +2,000
Oakland Athletics +2,000
St. Louis Cardinals +2,500
Cincinnati Reds +2,500
San Diego Padres +2,500
Philadelphia Phillies +3,000
Chicago White Sox +3,000
Los Angeles Angels +3,000
Milwaukee Brewers +4,000
Boston Red Sox +5,000
Arizona Diamondbacks +6,000
Colorado Rockies +8,000
Toronto Blue Jays +10,000
Texas Rangers +10,000
Pittsburgh Pirates +20,000
Detroit Tigers +20,000
San Francisco Giants +30,000
Seattle Mariners +30,000
Miami Marlins +30,000
Baltimore Orioles +30,000
Kansas City Royals +30,000

Odds courtesy The SuperBook