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MLB power rankings (Week 5)

CE Manager 12 hours, 48 minutes ago
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Power rankings are updated each week on Monday morning.

1. Chicago Cubs (-132) - The Cubs remain the best team in baseball even after a rain-shortened week.  The Cubs are now 17-6 on the season in large part due to their excellent pitching staff.

2. Washington (-128) - Washington is 17-7 after 24 games this season.  The Nationals’ starting pitching continues to be outstanding while their offense is in terrific current form, scoring 17 runs in their last three games.

3. NY Mets (-126) - The Mets remain hot as they are 11-2 over their last thirteen games.  Overall, New York is 15-8 on the season.  Their pitching and offense have been terrific recently, and their winning ways should continue on.

4. Chicago White Sox (-125) - The White Sox continue to win despite many non-believers.  Chicago is now 18-8 on the season.  While it’s true they’ve played an easy schedule, the White Sox pitching has been outstanding so far this season.

5. Kansas City (-124) - Kansas City struggled last week as they went just 1-5, bringing their overall record to 13-11 on the season.  Their struggles may continue this week as they’ll play 3 games against the Washington Nationals.

6. LA Dodgers (-123) - Los Angeles also had a bad week as they went just 1-6 over their 7-game homestand.  The Dodgers are now 13-13 on the season after their offense scored just 12 total runs in those seven games.

7. Pittsburgh (-122) - The Pirates are 15-10 after four weeks of play.  Pittsburgh went 5-1 last week as their offense continues to be in excellent form.  The Pirates have scored 70 total runs in their last ten games.

8. Baltimore (-116) - Baltimore is 14-10 on the season.  The Orioles are a streaky team as they either win or lose in bunches.  They’ve only alternated a win and a loss once this entire season, so pay attention when the Orioles get hot or go cold.

9. Boston (-115) - Boston had a terrific week, and it ended with a 3-game home sweep of the New York Yankees.  Overall, the Red Sox are 15-10 on the season which is very good considering they’ve played a brutal schedule so far this year.

10. St. Louis (-114) - The Cardinals dropped in the rankings this week; they are now 12-13 on the season.  St. Louis will begin this week on a 4-game losing streak thanks to their pitching which gave up 20 total runs in their last four games.

11. Detroit (-113) - Detroit had a breakout week, going 6-1 over their last seven games.  The Tigers are now 14-10 overall, and their reversal of form coincided with a major step-down in class.

12. San Francisco (-112) - San Francisco snapped out of their losing funk after winning four of their last six games.  The Giants are now 13-13 overall, and they have a chance to continue their winning ways with six games against the Reds and Rockies this upcoming week.

13. Cleveland (-111) - Cleveland had a poor week as they went just 1-5 while getting swept at home by the Phillies.  The Indians are only 10-12 on the year despite coming into this season with high expectations.

14. Toronto (-110) - Toronto continues to be a disappointing team.  The Blue Jays are just 12-14 over the first month of the season.  Toronto’s offense has been good, but their pitching has been highly inconsistent, especially as of late.

15. Texas (-105) - The Rangers are a respectable 14-11 on the season.  The Texas offense is carrying the team, and the lineup is in good form as they’ve scored 30 runs over their last five games.

16. Seattle (-102) - The Mariners are 8-3 over their last eleven games, pushing their record to 13-11 on the season.  Seattle’s woeful offense continues to show life as they’ve scored 54 total runs in their last eleven games.

17. Oakland (+100) - Oakland is 13-13 on the season despite going just 3-6 over their last nine games.  The A’s play in a lot of close games; 54 one run games last season.  Oakland has already played in nine one run games this season; they are 5-4 in those games.

18. Arizona (+105) - Arizona is in poor current form; they are just 1-5 over their last six games which all came at home.  Overall, the Diamondbacks are 12-15 on the season.  Arizona will begin a 9-game road trip this week, so things may not get any better this upcoming week.

19. Tampa Bay (+108) - Tampa Bay is just 11-13 in their twenty-four games this season.  They are just 1-3 over their last four games thanks to an offense that scored just 7 total runs in those games.

20. LA Angels (+110) - Los Angeles has some momentum coming into this week after going 4-2 over their last six games.  The Angels are 12-13 overall after the first four weeks of the season.  Their offense has come around recently as they’ve scored 32 total runs in their last six games.

21. Colorado (+115) - Colorado continues to play .500 baseball as the Rockies are now 12-12 after the first four weeks of the season.  The Rockies have proven to be a tough out despite playing a pretty tough schedule.

22. Philadelphia (+118) - Philadelphia opened the season at 0-4, but they’ve gone 15-6 since.  The Phillies are one of the hottest teams in baseball, but can one of the worst rosters in baseball continue to win at this pace?

23. Miami (+120) - Miami finally turned their season around this past week; the Marlins are 7-1 over their last eight games.  Overall, Miami is 12-12 on the season, and they can be a much better team than their record indicates.

24. NY Yankees (+121) - New York had another rough week; they are now just 8-15 on the season.  The Yankees’ offense is in an extended slump as they’ve only scored 46 total runs in their last 18 games.

25. Milwaukee (+122) - Milwaukee is just 9-15 after the first month of the season.  The Brewers’ pitching continues to be a major concern.  They’ve given up 5 runs or more in 13 of their last 14 games.

26. Cincinnati (+123) - After opening the season with a 5-1 record, Cincinnati has gone 5-14 to bring their overall record to 10-15.  Their losing ways can be mainly attributed to their poor pitching which has allowed 145 total runs on the season; the most in baseball.

27. Houston (+125) - The Astros have been a major disappointment this season; Houston has an abysmal 8-17 record.  The team has been terrible on the mound and at the plate, and they simply look like a really bad team.

28. San Diego (+127) - The Padres are just 9-16 after twenty-five games this season.  San Diego’s offense is unpredictable as they’ve been shutout seven times this season, and they’ve scored 5 runs or more nine times this season.

29. Minnesota (+129) - The Twins began this season with an 0-9 record, but they’ve gone 7-9 since to raise their record to 7-18.  Minnesota is just 1-10 on the road, and they just lost four of six home games as well.

30. Atlanta (+130) - The Braves began the season winless at 0-9, and they’ve gone 6-9 over their last 15 games.  Atlanta was on an 5-game losing streak, but they’ve won two of their last three games.


Power Ratings compute offensive and defensive statistics into one number for each team, while accounting for factors like recent performances and strength of schedule. Power Ratings can be used as a baseline for relative spread index to compare current or future match-ups between two teams. The relative spread does not account for non-statistical factors like home-field advantage, recent injuries, game-time decisions, rivalries, publicity, and weather.

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As Always, take it to the books.

Covers Team

Grand Slam: MLB Hot Streaks!

CE Manager 23 hours, 33 minutes ago
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The MLB season is in full swing and baseball is one of those sports where both players and handicappers can fall victim to the dreaded "slow start". Not to worry, as the Covers Experts have come out of the gates on fire and are currently riding some epic hot streaks on the diamond.

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Larry had a big bounce back yesterday after coming up a bit short Monday (1-3). Larry bounced back with a strong Tuesday card (3-1) With a 2-0 MLB Sweep with the White Sox (+800) , and Baltimore (+800). Two more baseball plays loaded today, as well as his NHL Game of the Week.

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- MLB Las Vegas Insider

- NHL Game of the Week


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Marc Lawrence: Red hot 18-2 L20 MLB!

Marc’s scorching hot run on the MLB base paths (18-2 last twenty best bets) continues Wednesday afternoon and evening with a pair of 10*Killer Plays.  Best of all they are each backed with a perfect winning situations inside the games

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A fresh slate of series are on tap today with plenty of opportunity to cash in with some afternoon MLB action. Enjoy the games and take it to the books!


- Covers Team

Shively's MLB 'Weekly Dose'

CE Manager May 3, 2016
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It’s that time of the week where Brandon wants to look at several potential good ‘situational and spot bets’ for the week in Baseball. Brandon got off to an unusual slow start on the bases in April, but says he is focused on having a Monster Month of May. Losing has never been part of his repertoire and he will be working as hard as ever to get back in the ‘green’ for his clients along for himself. Now, let’s take a look at some key games/series for this week:

5/03 Chi Cubs @ Pittsburgh---It’s  that time of the week when Jake Arrieta takes the mound, and the lines keep growing larger and larger as Arrieta continues to win and solidify himself as the best pitcher in the Majors currently. However, I am looking at this game and seeing the Pittsburgh Pirates as a huge home underdog with Jonathon Niese on the mound. The Pirates have won ALL five of Niese’s starts this season. This game has big meaning for the Pirates after getting eliminated in an elimination game last year that would have gotten them into the Playoffs. The Pirates are leading the Majors with a .287 batting average. They are 3rd in the Majors drawing the most walks a game. So, there is potential for them to get on base and manufacture enough runs to get a much needed win here. Arrieta had gotten into a bases loaded jam his last start in the first inning vs. the Cubs. He got out of it, but my feeling here is if he gets in a jam against the Pirates offense, then they make him pay. Taking a closer look at the Pirates is much worth it on Tuesday night as they are getting big time $$ at home. 

5/04 Texas @ Toronto---This is a four games series and game 3 is a crucial one for Toronto to win.  Aaron Sanchez looked great this Spring and had much improved numbers from 2015 that earned him a spot in the rotation. Sanchez has been light’s out in four of his five starts this season and carries a 1.15 WHIP into tonight's game. Colby Lewis gets the start for the Rangers and current members of Toronto are hitting .298 against him with a .571 SLG% and he has a 20K/17BB career mark vs. the current Blue Jays roster. Lewis remains to be a victim of the ‘longball’ and I see this appears to be a tough spot for him. Let’s take a closer look at Toronto with Sanchez on the mound Wednesday night. 

5/05 Texas @ Toronto---I’m not wanting to sound like a broken record, but Derek Holland is slated to start on Thursday night. Holland has a 2:1 flyball/groundball rate on the season. He gave up 3 home runs last year in the ALDS deciding game 5. Bautista and Encarnacion both took him deep. I think the advantage tonight is with the Toronto lineup that is stacked with right handed batters, facing a lefty in Holland. Holland’s 2.48 ERA on the season is in part due to facing bad offenses (LA Angels 2x,Mariners, Astros, White Sox. J.A. Happ has won both of his home starts this year and Toronto has given him 7 and 9 runs of support in those games. Happ has a 1.22 WHIP on the season and has been consistent dating back to his last ten starts of last season. He has not given up more than 3 ER in his last 15 starts. Let’s take a closer look at the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night. 

5/06 - 5/08 (Weekend Series)

The Red Sox play the Yankees, this time at Yankee Stadium. After the Yankees got swept last weekend by the Red Sox, I can guarantee they will be looking to win this series. The Yankees can’t play much worse, and can only get better. If the bats heat up, I think the starting pitching can be good enough in this series to get a ‘series win’ in a quick ‘revenge series’. Let’s take a look at taking the N.Y. Yankees to WIN the SERIES against the Boston Red Sox. ‘Series odds’ are usually posted by your respected book around noon time on Friday. 

5/06 Arizona @ Atlanta---Zack Greinke has been terrible at Chase Field this year. Fortunately he gets to face the Braves at Turner Field and has a 25K/3BB career mark vs. current members of the Braves lineup. Aaron Blair will be making his 3rd Major League career start. Greinke has a huge experience edge here and the Diamondbacks have the much better offense. Playing way from Chase Field I think gives them a better chance of winning at this time in the season. The price will be in the -150 range, but I feel it’s worth it for Greinke who has a 1.93 road ERA in two starts this season. 

5/07 LA Dodgers @ Toronto---Ross Stripling has been getting progressively worse for the Dodgers every start after starting out his MLB career not allowing a hit in 7.1 innings. He gave up 5 runs to the Padres inept offense last start. I feel like the Toronto bats are overdue to crank up and facing Stripling might be just what the doctor ordered. The price on this game will be steeper than what I prefer to lay, so looking at laying the 1.5 runs is an option. This is a day game with a 1:07 EST start time which is early for the ‘West Coast’ Dodgers, which also gives us an advantage with Toronto here. 

5/08 Milwaukee @ Cincinnati---This should be a game of inexperienced starting pitching and two of the worst bullpens in baseball being played in a hitters ballpark. I expect the total to be set at 9, or maybe 8.5 here. Neither starter should get past the 5th inning and we could see a lot more runs being scored when the relief, or lack of for that matter, comes in. Let’s take a closer look at the official lineups for this game on Sunday, and if there are no major absences from the lineups, then this game is shaping up to be ‘high scoring’ and for an easy ‘over’. 

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The Covers-Team

Déjà vu? Consensus on fire yet again!

CE Manager May 3, 2016
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Experts Consensus is now 16-3-1 (84%), +10,588 over the last five days and 198-124-9 (61%), +$60,303 in its last 331 plays overall. To put that into perspective, the average professional handicapper winning percentage is 54% and Experts Consensus has maintained a +60% win percentage for over five months straight.

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A minimum of three Experts must line up on the play.
There must be at least a 3:1 ratio (75%) of Experts on that side/total.
Odds and pricing restrictions in place (more details below).


Consensus plays will be priced according to how many Experts are aligned on the play, as well as special pricing on select high odds plays:

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All Consensus picks *released between (+115 & -115) odds will be rated 10* plays.
All Consensus picks *released between (+116 & +135) and (-116 & -135) odds will be rated 9* plays.
All Consensus picks *released between (+136 & +150) and (-136 & -150) odds will be rated 8* plays.
All Consensus picks *released at +151 odds and higher will be rated 7* plays.
All Consensus picks *released between -151 & -175 will be rated 7* plays; nothing to exceed -175.

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The Covers-Team

How Pros Attack the NFL in May

CE Manager May 2, 2016
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Written by: Teddy Covers

Over the past decade, the NFL betting marketplace has evolved into a year round process. The very first Super Bowl odds for 2017 came out before the Broncos beat the Panthers in the Super Bowl this past February. CG Technology posted lines for every NFL game through the first 16 weeks of the season prior to the draft. Week 1 regular season lines are widely available right now. And the NFL Season Win Total marketplace, while still a long way from ‘maturity’, has seen a handful of key shops, like the Westgate Superbook, post virgin numbers in recent days.

My process for handicapping the upcoming NFL season begins immediately after the draft. This is the time of year to focus on those aforementioned season win totals. My NFL prep work begins each spring with a thorough look back at last year’s results.

Why look back, you ask? The answer, of course, is simple – because that’s where I find my very first edges when approaching the upcoming season. If my base power rating heading into the offseason wasn’t wholly accurate, it results in inaccurate adjustments moving forward. Part 1 of my process begins with a thorough examination of the schedules all 32 NFL teams played last year, looking for outliers. 

I’m looking to identify teams that were better than their final records would indicate, because they faced an extremely tough slate. And I’m looking for teams that were weaker than their final records would indicate because they faced an extremely easy slate. But unlike most schedule based analysis, I’m taking my time to review every game that was played through the first 16 weeks of the 2015 campaign (discounting Week 17 results due to extreme randomness).

The widely available information that helps set the markets start with last year’s results as their base point. But they don’t do it thoroughly. The conventional models simply add up the combined records of every opponent a team faced to come up with their final strength of schedule for 2015 and to create the SOS for the upcoming 2016 campaign, I’ll focus on last year’s SOS this week, and move to the 2016 SOS in Part 2 of this article next week. Creating numbers that are more accurate than the broader market for BOTH seasons are instrumental in what I’m trying to accomplish.

The aggregate numbers for last year’s strength of schedule -- the starting point for any analysis of the upcoming 2016 campaign -- can be extremely misleading. A team’s final win-loss record tells us nothing about how good they actually were at the time the game was played. There were some enormous in-season power rating shifts last year, just as there are every year. Here are some key examples off the top of my head:

Did you play the Steelers when Ben Roethlisberger was hurt and Landry Jones was behind center, or did you get the full strength Pittsburgh squad? Did you get Dallas with a healthy Tony Romo or a healthy Brandon Weeden behind center? Did you get Atlanta when they were red hot to open the season going 6-1 or did you get the Falcons when they were in free fall, losing six straight. Did you get the Colts with a healthy Andrew Luck or the Colts when Luck was out and Indy was hopeless? Did you get the Chiefs early, when they were 1-5 and their confidence was shot, or did you get them when they were the hottest team in the NFL this side of Carolina over the second half of the season? Did you face the Ravens early, or did you get them down the stretch when half the roster was on IR? What about the Redskins – did you face them when they were off to a slow start, or when they were red hot down the stretch? Did you get Cinci with a healthy Andy Dalton or with AJ McCarron at QB?

 I could go on and on but you get my point – when you played a team is every bit as important as who you played! Yet the markets devalue that concept entirely for at least two reasons – the analytics are time consuming and they require human judgement. There’s no algorhythm that will spit out accurate numbers based on judgement calls, and my process is all about making judgement calls (with some hard numbers thrown in to ensure some semblance of accuracy).

The mainstream numbers are very clear, based on the final records for every team in 2015. Those standard models will tell you that the Dolphins, Jets, Jaguars, Redskins, Panthers and Titans played the six easiest schedules in the league last year, while the Lions, Bears, Packers, Seahawks, Rams and 49ers played the six toughest slates.

So here’s what I do.  I go back to my 2015 spread sheet that details my power rating numbers on a weekly basis from last year. Then I go through the schedule, using my numbers for every squad on the week the game was played. Using that formula, you’ll get some significantly different results than the ones I listed above.

I also discount Week 17 results. Some teams had quit on their coach and their season, other teams were resting starters and other teams were playing their guts out to try to reach the postseason. Power rating models for the final week of the regular season are inherently flawed – that’s why we see enormous line moves that week every single year.

So what does my initial schedule analysis from last year show in relation to this season? My seven toughest slates for 2015 were Cleveland, Buffalo, Dallas, Washington, Pittsburgh, the New York Giants and San Francisco. Yet when you look at the Redskins aggregate numbers from last year, you’ll see the standard formula’s show that they faced one of the easiest schedules in the NFL! Therefore, you already know that I’m going to have a different perception of Washington compared to the broader markets heading into the new campaign. In addition, none of the NFC North teams that had ‘very tough’ slates by standard metrics were ‘very tough’ schedules by my metrics; teams that could be slightly overvalued as a result..

On the easy side, my numbers show that Arizona, Carolina, Jacksonville, KC, Tampa Bay and Miami faced the very easiest slates in 2015, while the New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens also faced much easier than average slates. All of these teams should grade out a notch or two lower than their records would indicate. 

The Arizona numbers, in particular, shocked me – I did not expect to see Bruce Arians squad as the team that faced the single weakest slate of opponents in the entire NFL last year.  In 2015, my clients and I cashed a winning bet supporting the Cardinals Over 8.5 wins. In 2016, based on this metric alone, I’ll be betting Arizona Under their win total or passing.

Next week I’ll finish the thought process, writing about the next step -- identifying accurate strength of schedule numbers for the upcoming 2016 campaign.