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College football Week 11 opening odds and early action: LSU closing gap on Alabama in SEC showdown

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As the College Football Playoff committee figures out this week’s first release of rankings, a monster Week 11 game will surely impact next week’s rankings. Covers checks in on the opening odds and early action for that matchup and three others, with insights from Matt Chaprales, head of content for PointsBet USA in New Jersey.

No. 2 Louisiana State Tigers at No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (-6)

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa missed much of a Week 8 home win over Tennessee and all of a Week 9 home win over Arkansas, due to a high ankle sprain. It appears Tagovailoa is on target to return for this major Southeastern Conference clash. The Crimson Tide (8-0 SU, 4-4 ATS) thumped Arkansas 48-7 as 32-point favorites, then had a bye in Week 10.

Louisiana State has faced a much more challenging schedule than ‘Bama, with wins over Texas, Florida and Auburn. The Tigers (8-0 SU, 5-3 ATS), who also had a Week 10 bye, fended off Auburn 23-20 as 11.5-point home faves in Week 9.

“We hung a lookahead line of Alabama -9.5 two weeks ago and took a few sharp plays on LSU,” Chaprales said. “We reopened Alabama -6 Sunday night, and the first move was to 6.5, but it’s a significant adjustment, no matter how you slice it. While the market still views ‘Bama as the better team on a neutral field, the gap has certainly closed.

“Needless to say, this should be one of the highest-handle games of the year.”

No. 5 Penn State Nittany Lions at No. 13 Minnesota Golden Gophers (+6)

It’s not much of a surprise that Penn State rides into this Big Ten battle unbeaten, at 8-0 SU (5-3 ATS). The Nittany Lions had a Week 10 bye, after coasting past Michigan State 28-7 giving 5.5 points on the road in Week 9.

It is a surprise that Minnesota is among the ranks of the unbeaten, hosting its biggest game in quite some time. The Golden Gophers (8-0 SU, 5-2-1 ATS) cashed in their last five outings, including a 52-10 wipeout of Maryland laying 14 points at home in Week 9. Minnesota also had a Week 10 bye.

“Arguably the biggest football game for Minnesota in recent history,” Chaprales said. “We opened this Penn State -6 and immediately took a four-figure bet at that number, resulting in a move to -7.”

Iowa State Cyclones at No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners (-13)

Even after a bye week, Oklahoma is trying to get the license plate number of the bus that ran over it in Week 9. The Sooners (7-1 SU, 4-4 ATS) went off as 23.5-point favorites at Kansas State, yet trailed 24-23 at halftime and fell miles behind at 48-23 early in the fourth quarter. Lincoln Riley’s squad then rallied but came up short, 48-41.

Iowa State is also coming off a loss as double-digit home chalk, ending a three-game SU surge. The Cyclones (5-3 SU, 4-3-1 ATS) were 11.5-point Week 9 home faves against Oklahoma State, but lost outright 34-27. Iowa State had a bye in Week 10.

“Oklahoma’s playoff hopes aren’t cooked yet, but the Sooners will obviously need to win out and take care of business in the Big 12 title game,” Chaprales said. “Coming off the shocking loss and a bye, we’re expecting a focused Sooners squad and wanted to be on the high side. Even so, an opener of 13 wasn’t high enough.”

Indeed, PointsBet’s first move was to Oklahoma -13.5, but the line went back to -13 by Monday afternoon.

No. 10 Baylor Bears at Texas Christian Horned Frogs (+1)

Baylor is somewhat quietly undefeated, although it got a pretty good scare in a Week 10 Halloween night game. The Bears (8-0 SU, 4-4 ATS) went to West Virginia as hefty 18-point favorites and got out with a 17-14 victory.

Texas Christian’s salad days – 12 double-digit-win seasons from 2000-2017 – appear to be over, after a 7-6 SU 2018-19 campaign and now standing at 4-4 SU (3-5 ATS) this season. In Week 10 at Oklahoma State, the Horned Frogs fell 34-27 as 1-point favorites.

“Baylor is about as shaky of an 8-0 team as you’ll see and accordingly isn’t getting a ton of respect from the market, as evidenced by this opener,” Chaprales said. “That said, the first few bets have come in on the Bears, ticking the line up to -1.5 as a result.”

That didn’t last long, however, as the line moved back to Baylor -1 by Monday afternoon.

Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.

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

MLB picks and predictions for Opening Day

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It was a long and scary road, but we finally get MLB betting back on Thursday, July 23. Opening Day of the pandemic-shortened 60-game baseball schedule is headlined by a pair of matchups, with the New York Yankees visiting the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers rekindling their rivalry with the San Francisco Giants.

Like we do each MLB season (COVID-19 or not), we’ll be taking a swing at today’s baseball odds and giving our best MLB picks and predictions. Up first: Opening Day 2020.

MLB picks for today

New York Yankees vs Washington Nationals

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was supposed to miss the start of the season back in the spring, but the delay to the 2020 campaign allowed the outfielder to heal up from broken ribs and return to his longball-launching self.

Judge looked great in New York’s warmup games, albeit for a limited number of at-bats. He went 3-for-7 with all three hits leaving the ballpark. And he wasn’t alone, with the Yankees’ other power bats providing plenty of pop around him in the order. He’ll get a chance to go yard again on Opening Day.

PREDICTION: Aaron Judge home run (+210)

San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers

The Giants are no strangers to Clayton Kershaw, who has long dominated the Dodgers’ divisional foes. In 49 career appearances against San Francisco, The Claw is 23-12 with a 1.74 ERA and has allowed just 0.71 hits per innings pitched in those starts.

The Giants don’t pose much of an offensive threat, averaging 8.22 hits per game in 2019. San Francisco has managed 45 total hits in its last eight starts against Kershaw – an average of 0.86 hits per inning faced. Given the Dodgers’ ace looked ready for work in his tune-up efforts, we could see him go seven innings or more on Thursday, panning out to a little over six hits for San Fran.

PREDICTION: Giants between 6-7 total hits (+235)

Mookie Betts has reportedly landed a whale of a contract extension with the Dodgers after joining the ballclub this offseason via a trade with the Boston Red Sox. And what better way to lock down that deal than an impressive effort on Opening Day.

Betts recorded 313 total bases in 2019 (30th) and 353 in 2018 (fourth). He’s been swinging well in training sessions this offseason: in 27 at-bats during the spring/summer schedule, he has 13 total bases, including two doubles and a home run, while hitting leadoff during Summer Camp. We like that to continue into Opening Day.

PREDICTION: Mookie Betts two or more total bases (-182)

Top MLB consensus for today

Want to know who today’s biggest MLB betting and consensus bets are right now? Check out our top MLB consensus picks.

Opening Day betting card

  • Aaron Judge home run (+210)
  • Giants between 6-7 total hits (+235)
  • Mookie Betts two or more total bases (-182)