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College football betting: Big Ten decision alters 2020 odds

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College football betting got a significant jolt Thursday afternoon, in the seemingly never-ending stream of bad news emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Big Ten announced its football programs – and in fact all fall sports – would play only the conference schedule for the 2020 season.

Oddsmakers at several sportsbooks discussed the impact of the Big Ten’s plan on college football odds.

How does the Big Ten’s decision affect college football win totals?

In a nutshell, all college football season win totals are now off the odds board – if they were even on the board to begin with. South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews had a pragmatic approach very early on in the COVID-19 shutdown, and he now appears prophetic.

“I never put up win totals, because I was afraid of exactly this,” Andrews told Covers. “I always said if they were gonna play at all, it’d be only conference games. This is the first shoe to drop, and I think other conferences will follow.”

Jeff Davis, director of trading for Caesars Entertainment sportsbooks, had only the win totals impacted by Thursday’s news.

“All win totals off the board,” he said. “Nothing else affected at this point.”

How does the Big Ten’s decision affect college football championship odds?

Johnny Avello, director of sportsbook operations for DraftKings, said the futures market for the winner of the College Football Playoff is off the board.

“There are no national championship futures right now,” Avello said, noting the Big Ten has a huge impact on those odds. “You’ve got Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin all probably among the top 30 teams. So you can’t do anything right now. Other conferences have to make their decisions (first).”

Avello fully supports the Big Ten’s move and thinks it might just salvage the college football season.

“I wasn’t sure there was gonna be college football this year, so it’s a step in the right direction,” Avello said. “At least there’s some hope here.”

Andrews was once again ahead of the curve.

“I had national championship up, but I took that down a long time ago, in March,” he said. “It’s a pretty major move by the Big Ten. The Big Ten is a major market. They’re obviously worried about student-athletes and the rest of the students, as well. They’re concerned about everybody.”

How does the Big Ten’s decision impact games?

FanDuel Sportsbook had a slate of Games of the Year, and any of those involving a Big Ten team against a nonconference opponent are now off the board. Any bets already made on those matchups are refunds.

DraftKings also had Games of the Year up, along with Week 1, and took down any matchup pitting the Big Ten vs. a non-Big Ten team. The same could be said at sportsbooks across the country that posted similar odds.

How does the Big Ten’s decision impact Group of 5/FCS schools?

Beyond betting odds, programs in the Group of 5 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and in the Football Championship Subdivision will take a severe hit due to the Big Ten’s decision. Many Group of 5/FCS programs rely on lucrative paydays – sometimes in excess of $1 million – gained by accepting nonconference road games against Power 5 teams.

This season alone, four Group of 5 FBS teams – Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan and Northern Illinois – and two FBS independents – Connecticut and Brigham Young – had two Big Ten opponents on their respective schedules.

Those matchups often help a Group of 5 or FCS school prop up its entire athletic department budget for the year. Losing such lucrative games could wreak financial havoc on those athletic departments, well beyond the football program. And that will be magnified if more Power 5 conferences follow the Big Ten’s lead.

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)