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MLB Power Rankings (Week 17)

CE Manager 5 hours, 6 minutes ago
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By: Steve Merril

1. Chicago Cubs (-134) - Chicago remains the best team in baseball with a 59-38 record after going 4-2 last week.  The Cubs scored at least 5+ runs in each win and have now outscored their opponents by +150 net runs this season.

2. Washington (-129)
- A disappointing 2-4 record at home this past week, but the Nationals are still 58-41 on the season and +109 net runs.  Their X_WL record (expected won-loss based on run margin) is 61-38 which is the second best in the league.

3. San Francisco (-127) - The Giants continue to struggle after the All-Star break, going 1-7 with their only win coming by a single run in extra innings.  San Francisco gets a break against Cincinnati to start this week, but then the Giants have a tough four-game series versus the Nationals.

4. Baltimore (-124) - After starting the week 0-3, the Orioles finished 4-0 which included a three-game home sweep of the Indians by a combined score of 15-6.  Baltimore now has the best record in the American League at 57-40 due to a strong offense that leads the league with 148 home runs.

5. Cleveland (-123) - Cleveland played nine straight road games after the All-Star break, going just 4-5 including a 0-3 sweep at Baltimore this past weekend.  The Indians now return home for a tough two-game interleague series versus the Nationals.  Overall, Cleveland is 56-41 which is one game behind the Orioles for the best record in the American League.

6. Boston (-121) - The Red Sox were 4-2 last week and are now 55-41 this season which is 1.5 games behind the Orioles for the best record in the American League.  Boston's offense remains the best in baseball and they have scored at least 8+ runs in four of their past five games.

7. Los Angeles Dodgers (-118) - Despite playing without the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers were still a solid 4-2 on the road last week, winning both series at Washington and St. Louis.  The Dodgers are now 56-44 on the season and just 3 games behind the Giants in the National League West division.

8. Texas (-117) - The Rangers started 1-6 after the All-Star break, but they did finish last weekend on a 2-0 run.  Texas is now 57-42 this season, but just 2.5 games ahead of the Astros who are gaining ground in the American League West division.  Texas is 20-7 in games decided by exactly one-run this season.

9. Toronto (-116) - Toronto started the season just 12-15, but have since gone 43-27.  The Blue Jays have been equally strong on the road (27-22) as at home (28-22).  Toronto starts this week against San Diego, but then has a big three-game homestand versus the Orioles which will matchup the top two home run hitting teams in baseball.

10. Houston (-114) - Houston finish last week on a 4-0 winning run.  The Astros are now 37-16 in their past fifty-three games after starting the season just 17-28.  Houston is now only 2.5 games behind Texas in the American League West division.  Houston’s offense has scored 158 total runs in their last twenty-eight games (5.6 runs per game).

11. Miami (-111) - The Marlins had another winning week going 4-3 .  Overall, Miami is  now 53-45 on the season and just 4.5 games behind the Nationals in the National League East division.  Miami leads the NL with a .272 batting average.

12. New York Mets (-110) - The Mets played nine straight road games after the All-Star break, going 5-4.  Now they get nine straight home games.  Overall, New York is 52-45 this season.  Their pitching has been strong with a 3.34 ERA (3rd in MLB), but their offense has struggled with a .237 batting average which is tied for the worst in the league.

13. St. Louis (-105) - St. Louis had their 5-game home win streak snapped with two losses versus the Dodgers.  St. Louis remains just one of two teams in the entire league that has a losing record at home and a winning record on the road.  The Cardinals are just 25-29 at home this season, while going 27-16 on the road.

14. Detroit (-103) - Despite a 51-48 record, the Tigers have been outscored this season (-6 net runs).  Detroit’s pitching has struggled with a 4.44 ERA (23rd in MLB).  They have two tough opponents this week at Boston and versus Houston.

15. Pittsburgh (-102) - Pittsburgh is now 51-47 overall on the season.  The Pirates pitching has struggled and they have given up 194 total runs in their last thirty-nine games (5.0 runs per game).

16. Seattle (-101) - The Mariners had a solid 4-2 week and now stand 50-48 on the season.  They are +26 net runs which makes their X_WL (expected won-loss based on run margin) 54-44.  The Mariners 3.95 ERA is the 4th best in the American League.

17. New York Yankees (+102) - The Yankees had a tough ten-game homestand after the All-Star break, but went a respectable 6-4 versus the Red Sox, Orioles, and Giants.  The tough schedule continues at Houston to start this week.

18. Kansas City (+103) - The defending World Champions have battled injuries all season, going just 48-49 overall.  They went 2-4 last week, losing both series at home versus the Indians and Rangers.

19. Colorado (+109) - The Rockies are now 7-3 since the All-Star break, however they have benefited from a 6-1 record versus the Atlanta Braves during that span.  The schedule gets much tougher this week with road series against the Orioles and Mets.

20. Chicago White Sox (+113) - Another losing week for the White Sox who are just 26-40 during their last sixty-six games after beginning the season with a 22-10 record.  They start this week with four games versus the Cubs before getting three games versus the Twins.

21. San Diego (+115) - After sweeping the Giants two weeks ago, the Padres went just 2-5 last week.  San Diego did finish 2-1 at Washington while scoring 18 runs in three games.  They’ve now scored 5 runs or more in 21 of their last 33 games while scoring a total of 191 runs in those games (5.8 runs per game).

22. Philadelphia (+116) - The Phillies were on a 10-3 run entering the All-Star break, but have since gone just 3-7.  Philadelphia's offense is struggling, scoring just 29 runs in their past ten games (2.9 runs per game).

23. Oakland (+120) - The Athletics had another winning week, going 5-2 versus the Astros and Rays.  Oakland is now 7-3 since the All-Star break after going just 38-51 beforehand.  The A's pitching has struggled this year with a 4.61 ERA (26th in MLB).

24. Los Angeles Angels (+121) - The Angels started 6-0 after the All-Star break with sweeps of both the White Sox and Rangers.  However, Los Angeles finished the weekend getting swept by the Astros.  The Angels are now just 43-55 this season, but their X_WL (expected won-loss based on run margin) is 48-50.

25. Milwaukee (+124) - Milwaukee is 3-6 since the All-Star break with back-to-back losing weeks.  They now stand just 41-55 on the season.  Milwaukee will get seven home games this week versus the Diamondbacks and Pirates.

26. Arizona (+127) - Arizona is only 41-57 overall this season after going 1-4 this past week.  The Diamondbacks allowed 35 runs in just five games and they have given up 174 total runs in their last twenty-six games (6.7 runs per game).  Arizona is a terrible 17-35 at home this year, while going 24-22 on the road.

27. Cincinnati (+130) - The Reds started the season 32-57, but have gone 6-3 since the All-Star break mainly due to a weak schedule of opponents (Brewers, Braves, Diamondbacks).  The schedule will get tougher this week at San Francisco and San Diego.

28. Tampa Bay (+131) - Tampa Bay is 38-60 on the season after going 3-4 last week.  The Rays are in terrible current form; they are just 7-24 in their last thirty-one games.  Tampa Bay’s pitching has improved since the All-Star break, allowing just 3.0 runs per game.

29. Minnesota (+132) - The Twins had a solid 4-3 week at Detroit and Boston.  Overall, Minnesota is now 37-61 this season and one game behind Tampa Bay for the worst record in the American League.  The Twins' pitching has been terrible this season, allowing 5.3 runs per game.

30. Atlanta (+134) - Atlanta is a horrible 33-66 overall this season after going 2-8 since the All-Star break.  The Braves are the worst offensive team in baseball, averaging just 3.4 runs per game and batting only .237 this season.

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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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CE Manager 13 hours, 19 minutes ago
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Wiseguy Report: NFC East

CE Manager 17 hours, 35 minutes ago
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Written by: Teddy Covers

I’ve previewed seven of the eight NFL divisions already (click here for the other division reviews), which leaves one last division to dissect before the start of training camps this week – the NFC East.  After this column, I’ll be taking a short break from writing Wiseguy Reports, taking some time to be fresh for the start of football season.  My next report – all about beating preseason NFL – will come in mid- August.

Let’s start with the division favorite Dallas Cowboys, lined at Over/Under 9 wins.  Last year was an unmitigated disaster for Jerry Jones’ squad and their supporters in the betting markets: 4-12 SU, 4-11-1 ATS.  The Cowboys top heavy roster was besieged with key injuries, most notably at quarterback and their defense was an abject disaster.  The Cowboys finished dead last in the NFL with a -22 turnover margin in large part because their defense notched only 11 takeaways all year.  To put that number in perspective, 24 of the 32 NFL teams recorded 21 takeaways or more.

Jason Garrett is 7-22 ATS as a home favorite in his first five years as the Cowboys head coach; a consistent track record of failure.  And the Cowboys are likely to be home favorites at least seven times this season – maybe all eight, with a relatively easy opposing slate of foe.  That stands in sharp contrast to last year when they faced one of the tougher schedules in the NFL.

Dallas is loaded with elite skill position talent.  They’ve arguably got the best offensive line in the league.  They’ll get top CB Orlando Scandrick back after he got hurt in training camp last year and didn’t play.  But with Rolando McClain, Demarcus Lawrence & Randy Gregory all facing league mandated suspensions, there are no shortage of defensive question marks.  And for all of the Cowboys elite talent, quality depth remains a major issue for a roster that has been decimated with injuries in the past.  Tony Romo has missed 24 games over the last five seasons and if he gets hurt again, the Cowboys backup QB situation doesn’t look much better this year than it did in 2015’s debacle.

The New York Giants enter the Ben McAdoo era off three consecutive losing campaigns, without a single playoff appearance since their 2011 Super Bowl title.  The G-men are lined at O/U 8 wins for 2016, coming off a season where their defense was ranked #32 in yardage – dead last in the NFL, behind even the awful Saints stop unit.  Despite those defensive woes, the Giants were actually slight money winners for their supporters last year.

Giants GM Jerry Reese spent $200 million this past offseason – this is not a ‘new coach rebuild’ situation following Tom Coughlin’s dismissal.  Instead it’s a ‘We Have Eli Manning but his prime isn’t going to last much longer’ situation – the Giants are most assuredly in ‘win now’ mode.  With the additions of Oliver Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, Damon Harrison in free agency and Eli Apple with their #1 pick in the draft, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has MUCH more talent to work with in 2016 than he did in 2015.

Manning has done well in McAdoo’s offense for the last two seasons; coming off career high in TD’s and a career best 35-14 TD-INT ratio.  Eli hasn’t missed a game since his rookie season, 11 straight years playing all 16 games.  But the offensive talent surrounding him is very ‘iffy’ .  Odell Beckham Jr is a stud.  But Victor Cruz has been a non-factor, with only 23 catches since 2013.  There’s no #1 RB here.  And the offensive line has some major holes, on paper, heading into training camp.

Like the Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles are publicly stating that they intend to win now, despite firing Chip Kelly in the offseason and trading away a haul of draft picks to move up an nab ‘QB of the future’ Carson Wentz.  The Eagles have a split line with their season wins – some books have a ‘7’, others have 7.5 with juice to the under. 

First year first time head coach Doug Pederson has a pretty thin resume.  His only previous head coaching experience was at the high school level.  He has had only three seasons as an NFL coordinator, handling a Kansas City attack under Andy Reid that did not see off many fireworks.   New defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is switching from 3-4 to 4-3 while replacing four starters, including DeMeco Ryans, Cedric Thornton & Walter Thurmond.  On offense, they’re switching from a zone blocking scheme to a power blocking scheme on the offensive line.  These are not minor changes!

The Eagles have more salary cap money tied into the QB position than any team in the league.  Which, of course, means that their starting QB on opening day is likely to be Sam Bradford –the guy who cost Kelly his job last year; the guy who has failed pretty consistently since being taken #1 overall by the Rams.  All of that $$ at QB has led to this quote from GM Howie Roseman, back on the job after getting forced out in a power struggle with Kelly last year: “What we did in free agency was the best that we could to try to fill a bunch of holes.  Nobody’s sitting here thinking we are a completed picture.”   It’s also worth noting that in the middle of the season, Philly plays three consecutive opponents coming off their bye, then Seattle, Green Bay and Cinci al in a seven week span!  Ouch!

The Washington Redskins were the surprise division winner last year after entering the season projected to be the last place team in the NFC East.  But the markets aren’t particularly bullish on the ‘Skins chances to repeat their success, with Washington lined O/U 7.5 wins off last year’s 9-7 SU, 9-7 ATS campaign.

History is not on the Redskins side.  Their last back-to-back winning seasons came in 1996 and 1997.  Their last back-to-back playoff appearances came in 1991 and 1992; when this franchise was still competing for Super Bowls and football fans had never even heard of Daniel Snyder.

Looking back at last year, Washington’s success seemed to be more about their very weak division and one of the weakest slate of opposing foes in the league than any other factor.  Their nine wins came against the Rams, Eagles (twice), Bucs, Saints, Giants, Bears, Bills and Cowboys.  None of those teams finished with a winning record.  When Washington tried to step up in class – vs. the Patriots, Panthers and Green Bay Packers in their home playoff loss – they were non-competitive, losing by a combined margin of 106-34.  Just to clearly illustrate where this team was power rated at even in December, they were +4 at Chicago; +3 at home vs. the Bills the following week.

Kirk Cousins had a career year in 2015 after entering the season with more career INT’s (19) than TD’s (18): 70% completions and a 101.6 QB rating.  He’s got one of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL to throw to, and he’s playing for a long term contract.  But even with the addition of CB Josh Norman in free agency, this defense is loaded with question marks, as is the offensive line and RB corps.  Throw in a MUCH tougher schedule in 2016 and you can understand why the markets are not expecting a Redskins repeat.

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What is Covers Steamwire™?

CE Manager Jul 25, 2016
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CFL Monday: Top Cappers & Hot Picks

CE Manager Jul 25, 2016
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For all the football fans out there looking for some action before NFL and NCAAF return, the CFL is a great option. It is a wide open game that offers no shortage of excitement and can be very profitable to wager on.

If you are new to the game, let the Covers Experts guide you in the right direction. They know how to spot winning angles north of the border.


Top Cappers through Week 5:

Power Sports: 6-0, (100%), +$6,000 - 10* Game of the Week

Larry Ness: 7-2 (78%), +$4,650 -

Brandon Shively: 5-2 (71%), +$2,775 - 10* Game of the Month

Will Rogers: 7-5 (58%), +$1,560 - ESPN2 CFL Showcase


Monday July 24th 7:30 PM ET Montreal @ Toronto

TOR -6.5 O/U: 46

Favourable Trends:

Montreal

MTL are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
Under is 26-8 in MTL last 34 vs. East.
Alouettes are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.

Toronto

Under is 11-1 in TOR last 12 Mon. games.
Argonauts are 7-20 ATS in their last 27 home games.
Argonauts are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. East.
Argonauts are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in July.

Head to Head

Under is 5-0 in the last 5 meetings in Toronto.
Under is 13-3 in the last 16 meetings.
Alouettes are 22-6 ATS in their last 28 meetings in Toronto.

 

For all Week 5 CFL Expert Picks, click here.

 

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- Covers Team