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NCAAF Power Rankings: Week 1 Primer

CE Manager 12 hours, 52 minutes ago
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1. Clemson Tigers -25
- The Tigers came up just short of a national title last season, losing 45-40 to Alabama in the Championship Game. Quarterback Deshaun Watson returns, and he's widely considered to be the nation's top signal caller. After a school record 14 wins in 2015, Clemson looks like a playoff team once again this season.
 
2. Alabama Crimson Tide -24.5
- Alabama loses a lot of talent from last year’s championship team, especially on offense. They need to replace a starting quarterback, but their biggest losses come in the backfield with the departure of Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake. Several defensive stars have also moved on to the NFL, and it remains to be seen if another strong recruiting class can fill all those holes.

3. Oklahoma Sooners -24
- The Sooners are in good shape with Baker Mayfield returning at quarterback, a year after he threw for 3700 yards and 36 TDs. If they can plug a few holes on the offensive line and keep him upright, Oklahoma will be the team to beat in the BIG12.
 
4. Ohio State Buckeyes -23.5
- It was the Buckeyes rivals Michigan that made all the headlines this off-season, but Ohio State returns quarterback J.T. Barrett, and with a strong recruiting class he'll be surrounded by plenty of talent.

5. Florida State Seminoles -22
- The Seminoles will start a freshman at quarterback, but they are stacked on defense and they have a Heisman candidate in the backfield. Their schedule will be a little tougher this year, opening the season against Ole Miss, and facing Louisville and Miami on the road before they play Clemson at home at the end of October.
 
6 Tennessee Volunteers -21.5
- The Vols lost just four games last season, and all four of those games were decided by five points or less. With most of their starters back in 2016, this team appears to be poised to take the next step.

7. Stanford Cardinal -20
- Christian McCaffrey set an NCAA record for all purpose yards last season, and he's one of the favorites to win the Heisman in 2016. Stanford will have a new quarterback, and a tough schedule with road games at Washington, Oregon and Notre Dame will make it difficult to repeat as conference champs.
 
8. Ole Miss Rebels -19.5
- The Rebels are coming off a 10-win season that saw them upset Alabama for the second straight year. They have a stud at quarterback, with Chad Kelly who led the SEC in passing last season, and he threw a conference best 31 TD passes.

9. Michigan Wolverines -19
- While Jim Harbaugh completely turned this program around, going from 5-7 in 2014 to 10-3 last year, many of those wins came against cupcakes. The road to a BIG10 title will be tough, with road games at Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State.
 
10. LSU Tigers -18.5
- Expectations are high in Baton Rouge, and the pressure will be on Leonard Fournette to carry the load offensively. He got off to a great start last season, putting up huge numbers against some of the weaker teams in the country. He managed just 230 yards and two TDs in losses to Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama. If the Tigers are going to be a true contender, Fournette will have to perform better against elite teams.
 
11. Michigan State Spartans -18
- The Spartans lose their starting quarterback Connor Cook, along with several other key starters on both sides of the ball. The good news is that they have a fifth year senior in Tyler O'Connor stepping up to replace Cook, and their defense looks like it should be solid. Playing the Wolverines and the Buckeyes at East Lansing will help.

12. Notre Dame Irish -17.5
- The Irish won 10 games in 2015, but they were just 2-3 versus ranked teams. Their two wins versus Top 25 teams came against Georgia Tech and Temple, who are both unranked heading into 2016.

13. TCU Horned Frogs -17
- All Kenny Hill did was throw for 511 yards and three TDs in his debut for Texas A&M two seasons ago. Things didn't work out for Hill at College Station, but he'll get another chance here with the Horned Frogs in 2016.

14. Washington Huskies -16.5
- The Huskies are a popular pick to win the Pac-12 this season, returning 17 starters in Chris Peterson's third year as coach. Washington should be a contender this season, but will need to win tough road games at Utah and Oregon.
 
15. Oregon Ducks -16
-  The Ducks won their final six games of the 2015 regular season, including road wins at Washington and Stanford. They have to replace Vernon Adams at quarterback, but they still have plenty of explosive offensive weapons, including Royce Freeman in the backfield.
 
16. Texas A&M Aggies -15.5
- The Aggies have won their first five games in each of the last two seasons, but have fallen apart against the top teams in the conference in October and November. The defense that allowed 21.6 points per game in 2015 should be even better with Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall looking to improve on last season’s total of 19/5 sacks combined.

17. UCLA Bruins -15
- The Bruins return 12 starters including sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen. Expectations are high, but they'll have to do better against the run. In a 56-35 loss to Stanford last year, Christian McCaffrey ran for 243 yards and four TDs.

18. Iowa Hawkeyes -14.5
- The Hawkeyes benefited from a soft schedule in 2015, running the table until a 16-13 loss to the Spartans in the BIG10 Championship Game. They'll have a chance to do the same thing this year, with their toughest games coming at home to Michigan and Wisconsin.

19. North Carolina Tar Heels -14
- The Tar Heels led the nation last season in yards per play (7.28). Despite bringing in a new quarterback, Larry Fedora still has plenty of weapons, including one of the top running backs in the country (Elija Hood).

20. Houston Cougars -13.5
- The Cougars won 13 games last season, and they edged out Florida State in the Peach Bowl 38-24. This year's schedule will be a lot tougher though, beginning with a neutral site game versus Oklahoma in Week 1.
 
21. Georgia Bulldogs -13
- The Bulldogs come into the 2016 season with a new coach, as Kirby Smart replaces Mark Richt after a disappointing 2015 season. Star running back Nick Chubb is back and expected to be 100% after a horrific knee injury he suffered halfway through last year.

22. Louisville Cardinals -12.5
- The Cardinals return 16 starters from last year's team that won six of it's final seven games. A favorable schedule could be enough to open the door for Louisville to emerge as a contender in the ACC.

23. USC Trojans -12
- The Trojans open the season with a tough game against defending champions Alabama, and new head coach Todd Helton has his work cut out for him as he attempts to navigate a difficult schedule with an inexperienced quarterback.
 
24. Utah Utes -11.5
- They say defense wins championships, and the Utes might just have the best defense in the Pac-12.

25. Oklahoma State Cowboys -11
- The Cowboys won 10 games last year with a relatively young team, and they return 16 starters in 2016. This team has all the pieces in place, but ultimately a tough schedule could prevent them from challenging the likes of Oklahoma and TCU in the Big12.

By: Jesse Schule

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As mentioned before we have some action early this year as the California Bears square off against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in Sydney Australia. Game time: Friday August 26th, 2016 10:00 PM ET.

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Not sure who to follow this year? Not to worry, we've got last years records here to help guide you in the right direction!

Matt Fargo earned $13,010 picking at 56%

Marc Lawrence earned $12,684 picking at 60%

Will Rogers earned $11,932 picking at 58%

Larry Ness earned $10,379 picking at 56%

Teddy Covers earned $9,609 picking at 61%

Steve Merril earned $8,736 picking at 60%


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The Barclays: Picks & Analysis

CE Manager Aug 23, 2016
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The PGA regular season is in the books and now we concentrate on the FedEx Cup playoffs. The first stop is The Barclays which is being hosted by Bethpage State Park Black Course in Farmingdale, New York. 121 of the top 125 players in the FedEx Cup standings are in play this week with the top 100 advancing to the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston over Labor Day weekend. That will then be decreased to the top 70 and then eventually to the top 30 for the Tour Championship.

Bethpage Black hosted the 2012 edition of The Barclays, won by Nick Watney, and it is considered one of the toughest stops on tour. It has hosted the U.S. Open twice but we cannot look at those results based on those being a totally different setup. Black is a par 71 that reaches 7,468 yards and consists of narrow fairways and small greens so precision is arguably more important than distance. It ranked No. 15 in difficulty out of 49 tournaments back in 2012 and players will be put to the test once again.

While precision is leading factor, long hitters will have an advantage here as long as they can keep it under control. Three of the four par threes are over 200 yards so we will not see an overabundance of birdie opportunities. There are only three par fives which also hurts scoring chances and some of the par fours are monstrous. Two are measured at over 500 yards with another four between 450 and 500 yards so these are nine holes where big hitters need to take advantage.

There are pros and cons for the Playoffs but the biggest draw is the field as we are getting the best players on tour to compete whereas in years past, the season was done. With $10 Million on the line, motivation won't be an issue. The biggest notable player missing is Sergio Garcia (No. 20) who is sitting out The Barclays for a second straight season. Danny Willet (No. 75), Shane Lowry (No. 87) and Anirban Lahiri (No. 117) are other absentees with Lahiri being the only of the bunch not able to advance.

With such a strong field, the odds are heavily skewed toward to top as usual. Jason Day (+655) is the favorite and reigning champion followed closely by Dustin Johnson (+855). Next is Rory McIlroy at +1,000, Henrik Stenson at +1,050 and Jordan Spieth at +1,500 to round out the top five. Because of the chalky prices, there is a ton of value down the board with Adam Scott at +3,300, Bubba Watson at +3,500 and Rickie Fowler at +4,000, three players that are ranked in the top ten in the world and catching big odds.

 

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Expert Picks

Matt Fargo - The Barclays Winners Package (5 Winners)

Matt is coming off a WINNER just weeks ago with +1,310 Dustin Johnson and looks for another top finish this week! For the season, he has posted 5 winners with Brandt Snedeker (+1,600), Hideki Matsuyama (+2,000), Adam Scott (+1,900) and Charley Hoffman (+2,400) being the others! In 36 tournaments last year he nailed the Winner 11 times for +38.1 Units!

For the best value be sure to grab Matt's PGA Fed Ex Cup Playoff Subscription only $125! Get all picks from The Barclays this weekend, to the TOUR Championship in late September. Also included is this years Ryder Cup played at Hazeltine National GC, in Chaska, MN.

Hot Deal: $20 Tuesday Special

CE Manager Aug 23, 2016
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- Covers Team

Preseason Betting Advanced Methods

CE Manager Aug 22, 2016
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Written by: Teddy Covers

Last week, in Part 1 of my Wiseguy Report on NFL Preseason Betting strategies, I listed a handful of key mantras for winning in August. ‘Don’t confuse a team’s regular season capabilities with their preseason goals.’ ‘Bet on teams in August that have a battle for their starting QB spot’. ‘Know your coaches and their track records in various roles (and in various weeks)’. ‘Bet information, not opinions’.  

All of those stand as solid mainstream advice; the stuff the markets are paying attention to. This week, in Part 2 — preseason advanced handicapping methods — I’m going to write about the things that the markets don’t pay enough attention to….but they probably should!

Let me start with a bold statement: ‘3’ is not the most important key number when it comes to betting in the NFL preseason. Neither is ‘7’. No, the most important pointspread number in August is the number ‘1’. The difference between ‘pick ‘em and + or -1.5 is MUCH bigger now than at any other part of the season.

Why? It’s simple. In the regular season, coaches who are trailing play for overtime; looking to set up the game tying field goal when down by three, for example. In the preseason, when a coach is trailing by three in the final minutes, he has only one choice — going for it on fourth down in an effort to get the game winning touchdown. Any coach who kicked a field goal in August in that situation would be viewed as a pariah. It (almost) never happens.

It’s the same story when a team scores late, trailing by only one prior to the extra point attempt. That extra point attempt would never happen in August like it would happen EVERY SINGLE TIME in September — it’s ALWAYS a two point conversion try in the preseason, win or lose.

In the regular season, coaches who are winning won’t make aggressive moves to avoid overtime. You’ll never see a coach who just scored a touchdown to go up by seven points attempt a two point conversion try to go up by nine. Instead, they’ll always, always, always kick that extra point to go up by eight. But here in the preseason, you’ll see coaches like Baltimore’s John Harbaugh following a TD to lead by seven going for two in an effort to get up by nine points, avoiding any chance of OT.

There have been six games decided by a single point through the first two weeks of the preseason, fairly typical for this time of the year — three each week. All of those games featured two point conversion tries that were the difference between a straight up ‘W” and an ‘L’.

Meanwhile, the ONLY game that’s landed on ‘3’ thus far was the Ravens - Panthers Week 1 affair mentioned above, in which Harbaugh went for two up by seven, giving Baltimore a nine point lead. As a result, the Panthers were down by three points facing a fourth and goal from the four yard line on their final drive. In the preseason, that means ‘chuck it to the end zone’ not ‘kick the game tying field goal so we can get this game into overtime’.  

The betting markets still move to -3 (-125) or -3 (-130) before moving off the 3 to 2.5 or 3.5, just like they do in the regular season. The markets do NOT make any significant adjustments when it comes to pricing the + or -1’s in August. That, folks, is the definition of a real edge, one that I probably shouldn’t be talking about in a publicly read column…..

Here’s a second key factor that the markets tend to under-react to. Pointspread outcomes are usually determined after halftime. Over the first two weeks of the preseason there have literally been only a handful of games that have been done ATS wise, by halftime. The vast majority of August games — just like those played in September and beyond — see pointspread fortunes come to fruition over the latter stages of the contest.

Yet the markets focus on first half player rotations as much as any other factor. Savvy bettors did deeper. How long is the second string offensive line slated to play? What about the backup cornerbacks, as opposed to the third stringers, guys who are just hoping to earn a roster spot? Mobile QB’s without experience are often worth more in August than veteran QB’s who stand like a statue in the pocket, unable to create with their feet. If you dig for quality second half information, from local sources you’re preseason results should improve, plain and simple.

The third factor I’m going to write about here has to do with injuries. When you read injury reports for preseason NFL games, they tend to focus on starters, and in particular on guys who deliver the goods in fantasy football. This star wide receiver is going to sit, that star running back, this pro bowl defensive end, etc. Everybody is drafting their fantasy leagues at this time of the year and the mainstream media is well aware that ‘mainstream’ viewers are interested in fantasy news far more than in sports betting news.

Savvy bettors take advantage. The issue is not how many star players are hurt. The issue IS whether those injuries are grouped together, leaving a particular unit severely understaffed. ‘Cluster’ injuries are worth their weight in gold at this stage of the season.  

When a coach has an injury problem in his defensive backfield, his entire gameplan changes — avoid more injuries, keep everything vanilla. If two undrafted rookies have to play for three full quarters, so be it. If his receivers are banged up, you’ll likely see a run heavy gameplan that isn’t good news for their backers. If it’s an offensive line that has cluster injuries, you’ll see a gameplan created to minimize future injury concerns at that position. When a team is missing six starters from a preseason game, the markets notice, probably more than they should. But when a team is missing six defensive linemen from their rotation, it has a MUCH bigger impact on their expected gameplan and their likely pointspread result.


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CE Manager Aug 22, 2016
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