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Bet Now/Bet Later NFL Week 13 odds: It’s time to take the Titans

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Being a successful sports bettor is not about betting on the best team but betting the best number. 

Scoring the optimal odds for your wager can sometimes be a race to the window – or your mobile – to get the spread or total you want before it changes. Or, sometimes it’s a waiting game until just before kickoff, projecting how the public players will manipulate the numbers.

SPREAD TO BET NOW: TENNESSEE TITANS AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-3, 43.5)

The Titans opened as 3.5-point underdogs on the road in Indianapolis for Week 13 and money on Tennessee has cut that half point hook off the visitor. And it may not stop there. The juice on Colts -3 has been discounted, as books are panning for action on the home side.

If you’re sold on the Titans and their sudden offensive surge, you may want to get down on Tennessee +3 before a move under the field goal. The Titans have posted an average of more than 29 points over their last five games and have totaled 77 points in the last two games. To put that turnaround into perspective, Tennessee totalled only 98 points in the first six weeks of the schedule (43 of those coming in Week 1).

Indianapolis has a mini bye to prep for this AFC South showdown but is coming off a crushing loss to Houston last Thursday – a defeat that could spoil their postseason chances at the end of the year. The Colts offense has struggled to produce this month and faces a Titans defense ranked 10th in points against at 19.7 points per outing.

SPREAD TO BET LATER: PHILADELPHIA EAGLES AT MIAMI DOLPHINS (+8.5, 46)

It didn’t take long for the betting public to sour on the Dolphins’ sudden success. Miami was one of the hottest bets in football entering Week 11, covering the spread in five straight before losing SU and ATS to Buffalo. Even with that blip, the public was still playing the points with the Fins in Sunday’s date in Cleveland.

The Browns destroyed Miami and that set the table for this spread, which opened at Eagles -8 and has jumped as high as -9. If you’re seeking for value on the Dolphins at home in Week 13, push pause on your betting and see if this one sneaks to +9.5 or even +10 by kickoff.

Philadelphia is desperate for a victory after losing at home to Seattle. If the Eagles are to catch the Cowboys in the NFC East, that climb begins this Sunday. Philly, however, has sputtered with the football, scoring just 13.7 points per game over its last three outings and asking this offense to cover this large a spread may be too much.

TOTAL TO BET NOW: UNDER 46 GREEN BAY PACKERS AT NEW YORK GIANTS

The Packers come to East Rutherford licking their wounds after a rough outing in San Francisco Sunday night, scoring only eight points in a one-sided loss to the Niners. Green Bay hasn’t looked sharp with the football the past three games, averaging just over two touchdowns per contest in that span. The Cheeseheads will focus on stopping the football heading into Week 13 after this defense was rolled for 37 points by San Francisco.

New York isn’t exactly setting the scoreboard on fire either, managing only 14 points in Chicago this past weekend. The Giants defense is also lacking but gets to come home after two straight road games, and the extended forecast for East Rutherford is calling for cold and rain which could make moving the football a little more challenging for both teams.

This Over/Under opened 46.5 and has dropped to 46. If you like the Under in this matchup, it may be best to play it now before action on a lower-scoring finish drives this number down further.

TOTAL TO BET LATER: OVER 44.5 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT HOUSTON TEXANS

If the Patriots are going to win this one, it will be on the shoulders of their stop unit. The New England defense is tops in the NFL and – outside of getting crushed by Baltimore with 37 points – has checked each of its last four opponents to less than two touchdowns against.

The Patriots offense continues to get stuck in the mud and may not be able to keep up if this game turns into a shootout versus a high-powered Houston passing attack. With the public expected to be playing the Pats, I see this total ticking downward a touch before the weekend.

If you like the Over in this game, wait it out and see if this goes to 44 or 43.5. As mentioned, the Texans have a high-flying attack and this game will be played on the clean indoor track inside NRG Stadium. This is the first time Brady & Co. will play inside all season, so they could find another gear in Houston Sunday night.

Longshots to consider when betting the Shoemaker Mile

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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

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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.