Finding comfort zone for 2019 Breeders’ Cup while eyeing huge payout

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Ask any handicapper and they’ll tell you nirvana in horse racing is actually spelled B-R-E-E-D-E-R-S-C-U-P.

It’s unquestionably the best two days of the year when it comes to shopping for value and chasing some gargantuan payoffs.

Yet, to be frank, those big paydays can be very elusive. So, come Nov. 1-2 at Santa Anita Park, while there should be no fear in betting those 20-1 shots, there are times when betting the favorites makes all the sense in the world – especially in the sequence, or horizontal, wagers.

As much as $4 payoffs for a $2 bet are a tad vanilla, because of the larger fields in the Breeders’ Cup – and the willingness of some gamblers to go deep in some races searching for a live longshot – sometimes a very logical sequence will pay more than it would on a typical Wednesday at your favorite racetrack.

Let’s look at last year’s Breeders’ Cup as a guide.

If you liked Monomoy Girl ($5.60) in the Longines Distaff and Enable ($3.60) in the Longines Turf and bet them in the double you got $13.60 which wasn’t bad but wasn’t great either.

But if you played them in the Pick 3 with Mile winner Expert Eye ($13.80) then your Pick 3 return was a much better $99.60 for a $2 bet. If you used them to start the Pick 3 and concluded with Accelerate ($7.40) in the Classic your payoff was $75.60 for $2.

Again, these prices are hardly huge but attacking these sequences does not take a thick bankroll and accounted for a rather nice profit.

Beyond that, extending the length of the sequence does magnify the reward.

The Pick 4 with those four winners paid $631.80, which is great for ticket that included three winners that paid less than $8.

And if you took those three standouts in the final three races, added a handful of horses from the Mile and started with another three or four from the Sprint, including the victorious Roy H ($7.40), the Pick 5 returned $2,254.40.

As for this year, here’s the schedule: Filly and Mare Sprint, then Turf SprintBig Ass Fans Dirt MileMaker’s Mark Filly and Mare TurfSprintTVG MileDistaffTurf and Longines Classic.

There will be rolling doubles and Pick 3s, plus Pick 4s on the Filly and Mare Sprint, Turf Sprint, Dirt Mile, and Filly and Mare Turf; the Dirt Mile, Filly and Mare Turf, Sprint, and Mile; and Mile, Distaff, Turf, and Classic.

There’s also a Pick 5 with the Sprint, Mile, Distaff, Turf, and Classic.

Given some solid favorites such as Come Dancing or Covfefe (Filly and Mare Sprint), Omaha Beach (Dirt Mile), Sistercharlie (Filly and Mare Turf), Mitole and Imperial Hint (Sprint), Midnight Bisou (Distaff) and Bricks and Mortar and Magical (Turf), there are certainly plenty of opportunities to stay in your comfort zone and assemble a ticket that will not empty your wallet and will allow you to head home with a satisfied feeling that you turned a profit on racing’s biggest day.

And you did it without hitting a $50 winner.

Yes, it can happen. Even in the midst of the nirvana for handicappers.

Even in the midst of the Breeders’ Cup.

Watch NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup starting with Future Stars Friday on Nov. 1 from 4-8 p.m. ET (NBCSN) and continuing with Championship Saturday on Nov. 2 from 3:30-9 p.m. ET (NBCSN until 8, NBC from 8-9). 

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