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Written Monday February 1st, 2021 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed) Last year, I crushed Vegas sportsbooks by winning $8,330 USD on Super Bowl proposition bets. Will I enjoy the same success wagering online this year? First, it is critical that you understand HOW the picks are made. I have set up an Excel spreadsheet where I track the lines from 15-20 online sportsbooks on all possible prop bets. The file has several thousands of rows. This is a gold mine of information allowing me to find great bargains very quickly. I’ll do my best to explain to you how it works. The best way to do so is via a concrete example, so let’s dive right away into the first pick. SUPER BOWL PROP BET #1: CHRIS JONES OVER 2.5 TACKLES+ASSISTS (@130 odds with 10Bet) First, let me show you the lines on this market from five different online bookies: The lines from a given sportsbook can be converted into “fair odds.” Let’s look at the odds from William Hill Canada: +110 on the over, -140 on the under. What would be “fair odds”, i.e. odds if the bookie wasn’t taking a commission (also called the “vigorish”)? I do not want to bore you with the mathematical details, but the answer is: +123 on the over, -123 on the under. If you wish to know how I came up with those numbers, I invite you to read the following article I wrote a few years ago (https://www.professormj.com/pages/sports-betting-lessons-value-betting). Then, you can convert those “fair odds” into “fair probabilities.” Again, you can check out the article above for more details, but in the case of this exemple we obtain a fair probability of 44.9% on the over and 55.1% on the under. To make things clear: William Hill Canada believes Chris Jones has a 44.9% chance of posting more than 2.5 tackles+assists (and obviously a 55.1% chance of recording less than 2.5 tackles+assists). You can repeat the same process for each sportsbook. And then take the average across all sportsbooks who have lines on this specific proposition bet. In the Chris Jones example, the average true probability on the over is 47.1% versus 52.9% on the under. This is literally the average “opinion” of the numerous sportsbooks. If you convert those true probabilities back into odds, you get +112 on the over versus -112 on the under. Those are the critical numbers! They represent the break-even odds, or the minimum odds required to bet. The conclusion goes like this: Bet over 2.5 tackles+assists by Chris Jones if you get odds that are better than +112 (or 2.12 in decimal format); Bet under 2.5 tackles+assists by Chris Jones if you get odds that are better than -112 (or 1.89 in decimal format). Now, since 10Bet is offering +130 odds on the over, that’s a good value wager! Hopefully, your head is not spinning too much from reading all of those numbers. Thank God, I do not need to do these calculations manually for each prop bet! The lone task required is to enter the odds for each prop bet from lots of sportsbooks. My Excel spreadsheet does the rest! See what it looks like: SUPER BOWL PROP BET #2: SHORTEST TOUCHDOWN UNDER 1.5 YARD (@-138 odds with Bet365) Let’s take a look at the lines from a few online bookmakers: Clearly, Bet365 has a weird line on the under. That’s why I am taking advantage of it. SUPER BOWL PROP BET #3: NO ONSIDE KICK ATTEMPT (@-175 odds with Bodog/Bovada) Again, let’s take a look at the different odds on this prop bet: You can tell very quickly which sportsbook has a soft line: Bodog/Bovada at -175 odds on “NO”. Believe me, the Super Bowl becomes so much more exciting when you have 10-20-30 prop bets going on. I really had a blast last year. Enjoy the game my friend!!! Professor MJ https://youtu.be/0hZDE74Q7zA
Written Thursday January 28th, 2021 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed) We lost our lone official pick in the Conference Championship round, which dropped our postseason record against the spread (ATS) from 5-1 to 5-2. That’s still a great record! During the regular season, the picks went 36-31-4. So, overall, we now boast a 41-33-4 ATS record, a 55.4% win rate. Yay! It’s time for our final betting prediction of the season with the defending champions Kansas City Chiefs facing the Tampa Bay Bucs in Super Bowl LV. Let’s do this! SUPER BOWL: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-3 or -3.5) VS TAMPA BAY BUCS Sharp bettors often place their bets not very long after the odds hit the board. Once the Conference Championship games were over, the line opened at 3.5 in favor of Kansas City. Early money went to the Bucs, which led the point spread to drop to three points. Since then, most of the action has gone on the Chiefs. From what I’ve read, the number of bets has seen a 3:1 ratio favoring Kansas City, while the total money wagered is even more tilted with a 4:1 ratio. All of this betting action tells me one thing: the wise guys took Tampa Bay, while the general public is hammering the Chiefs. Here is another interesting note: over the past 13 Super Bowls, the early action turned out to be right on 10 occasions. That’s right: sharp money has been a winner in 10 of the past 13 Super Bowls! That makes me want to side with the Bucs even more. I thought Tampa’s defensive line was super impressive in Green Bay. They sacked Aaron Rodgers five times, despite facing one of the top pass protecting offensive lines in football. They will now face a patchwork OL that will now be without their starting left tackle, Eric Fisher, who got hurt against the Bills during the AFC Championship game. The Chiefs were already missing their right tackle, Mitchell Schwartz, who has little chance of suiting up for the Big Game. And they have had to deal with the absence of their starting left guard, Kelechi Osemele, since October. All of those losses are a big blow when facing such a ferocious Bucs pass rush that finished 5th in sacks this season. The Bucs will be looking to avenge a 27-to-24 loss back in Week 12. In that game, the Chiefs stormed out of the gate by grabbing an early 17-0 lead through the first quarter. In that quarter alone, Tyreek Hill caught 7 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. What an incredible performance over just one quarter of play! Here are some noteworthy trends for you: The Chiefs are 2-7 ATS over their last 9 games as favorites, but 4-1 ATS as playoff favorites; Kansas City has beaten the spread just once over their last 9 games played on grass; Both teams have done well recently when squaring off with a team with a winning record: the Chiefs are 11-5 ATS and the Bucs 5-2 ATS under such circumstances; Tampa has beaten the spread the last four times they have been underdogs. In light of all of this, I am putting my money on Tampa against the spread. The best spread currently available after looking at 10 different online sportsbooks on January 28 is Bucs +3.5 at -115 odds (bwin). Official pick: Bucs +3.5 at -115 odds FIRST QUARTER TOTAL In the Super Bowl’s first quarter, we often see both teams studying each other. They take small jabs at each other, but rarely hit a knockout punch. Also, you see more often receivers dropping catchable balls or QBs throwing less accurate passes. It usually takes a bit of time before guys settle down. On defense, you see a lot of intensity. Players have been waiting two full weeks to finally hit somebody. For these reasons, I am leaning towards betting the “under” in the first quarter. Lean: Under 10.5 first quarter at -120 odds CRUSHING SUPER BOWL PROPOSITION BETS To me, the Super Bowl is like Christmas, but maybe not for the reasons that you might think of. Every year, the Super Bowl comes with a wide array of proposition bets. There are so many of them that there is NO WAY the sportsbooks can hope to have each market priced adequately. There will always be many soft lines. Last year, I traveled to Las Vegas so that I could place bigger bets. I spent three full days tracking the lines from many sportsbooks. I was the nerdy guy sitting on the floor of casinos, doing his calculations via a huge Excel spreadsheet. I ended up placing 11 bets, most of which having positive odds (which means they were underdogs to win). And yet, I finished with a 9-2 record and racking up $8,330 US in net profit. I will be at it once again this year, but from the comfort of my home. Unfortunately, COVID-19 will prevent me from heading to the sin city. I will spend countless hours tracking the lines from at least 10 sportsbooks and looking for the best edges. I am going to share a few picks on prop bets next week via a YouTube video, but you have the opportunity to receive ALL bets offering great value directly in your mailbox. Simply follow this link for details: https://www.professormj.com/products/super-bowl-lv-proposition-bets A big, big thank you for following my weekly NFL column every week, I appreciate you! Enjoy the Super Bowl my friend!!! Professor MJ https://youtu.be/hLvOVzufsgE
Written Wednesday January 20th, 2021 at 9 a.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed) After going 2-1 against the spread (ATS) in the NFL Wildcard Round, we went a perfect 3-0 last week! The playoffs have been very profitable to us so far with a 5-1 ATS record. Now, we have two great matchups on the menu for the Conference Championship games. I’ve got one official pick, and one lean for you. Also, I will conclude this article by telling you my plan regarding the Super Bowl proposition bets this year. Remember that I crushed Vegas bookies last season by coming back home with more than $8k in profit. Without further ado, let’s dive into this week’s picks for the NFC and AFC Championship games! CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME #1: TAMPA BAY BUCS VS GREEN BAY PACKERS (-3) As I was watching the second half of the Bucs versus Saints game last week, I was thinking that neither team was very impressive. Both teams had ups and downs, especially on offense. In my mind, the winner would probably end up losing in Green Bay in the NFC Championship game. I love anticipating what the point spread will be on each game. In this case, I was expecting the Packers to be 4-point favorites, and that’s exactly how the line opened. At that price, I was comfortable betting Green Bay. Now that the line has dropped to 3.5, and then 3 (as of Wednesday morning, which is when I wrote this article) I am definitely siding with the team from the frozen tundra. Here are four arguments favoring Green Bay in this spot: Argument #1: The rest factor. The Packers will be at home for the third straight week, while the Bucs will be traveling for the third consecutive week. Argument #2: The revenge factor. Do you really want to face Aaron Rodgers a second time after you have crushed him earlier in the year? I don’t think so. Back in Week 6, Tampa hammered Matt LaFleur’s team by a 38-to-10 score. That’s the only game all season where Rodgers did not throw a single TD pass. Oh man, he will be super focused to get some payback! Argument #3: The matchup. Tampa’s defense ranked number one in the league against the run. That’s great, but they finished 18th in terms of passer rating allowed. That’s very bad news when facing Rodgers and company. I know that they held them in check earlier this season, but it’s not going to happen again. Argument #4: The extra day. Green Bay gets an additional day to rest and game plan after playing last Saturday’s first game of the day, while the Bucs played the late game Sunday. I could have added the cold weather, as it is expected to be -6 degrees Celsius at Lambeau Field. However, Tom Brady has played many games in the cold with the Pats, but the rest of his teammates might not enjoy the weather too much, though… So I guess that could be argument #4B! I do like the Packers enough to put some money at risk. Official pick: Packers -3 CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME #2: BUFFALO BILLS VS KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-3) Here is how my point spread prediction went for this matchup: I was expecting the Chiefs to be favored by 6 points if Mahomes plays, while I anticipated K.C. to be 2.5- or 3-point favorites if Chad Henne is the starter. For this reason, I was shocked when the line opened at 2.5 since, in my mind, Mahomes had a 50-50 shot of suiting up for the AFC Championship game. Since then, the line moved to 3, but it is back at 2.5 with some sportsbooks. That completely changed my strategy. If the Bills had been 6-point underdogs, as I expected, I was going to put my money on them. But with such a small point spread, I believe the value lies on Kansas City. Don’t get me wrong: I believe Buffalo has enough talent to beat the Chiefs, even with Mahomes on the field. However, the Chiefs’ QB holds a 25-1 record since November 2019. That cannot be ignored. K.C. players also have more playoff experience. I wouldn’t mind betting Buffalo +6, but I don’t think putting money on Buffalo +3 is a good idea, let alone +2.5. Still, there are quite a few things going Buffalo’s way. First, they post a 7-1-2 record against the spread (ATS) as road underdogs. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are just 1-7 ATS in their last eight games as favorites (including 0-4 as home favorites). Also, don’t forget the famous revenge factor. Back in Week 6, Kansas City topped Buffalo 26-to-17, thanks to 245 rushing yards. The Bills simply couldn’t stop the running game. They have improved since then (as shown last week against the Ravens!), but that is still concerning. So, my final decision is to stay away from this game from a betting perspective due to conflicting arguments. However, if I was forced to bet, I would go with the Chiefs -3. At the time of writing, Sports Interaction has the Chiefs -2.5 at -112 odds, which is pretty tempting. Lean: Chiefs -3 CRUSHING SUPER BOWL PROPOSITION BETS Do you remember last year’s “Crushing Super Bowl Proposition Bets Project”, where I flew to Vegas a few days before the big game, so that I could place bigger bets and shop for the best lines? I had posted a series of seven videos where I detailed my adventure and showed you my betting tickets. Just to refresh your mind, I ended up making 11 bets; four of them were favorites, while seven were underdogs. In other words, my expected record on those plays was 4-7. Things played out almost perfectly as I finished with a 9-2 record, while racking up $8,330 USD in net profit. Some of you have already emailed me to ask whether I was going to do it again this year. That was the plan without a doubt, but COVID-19 will prevent me from making the trip, unfortunately. Do I really want to spend 3-4 days in Vegas without my girlfriend and kids, and then having to isolate myself for 14 more days without seeing them? Sports betting is a passion to me, but my family is important too. That being said, in terms of proposition bets, the Super Bowl is like Christmas to me. There are so many things you can wager on that sportsbooks cannot keep odds that are accurate on each bet all the time. Every year, there are TONS of weak lines that can be exploited. It’s pretty common that when the kickoff of the Super Bowl comes, all of my online sportsbook accounts are empty because I have wagered all of it on numerous proposition bets. And to be honest, I don’t remember a Super Bowl where I ended up with losses on those bets. Even though I won’t be headed to Vegas, I will still be keeping track of the lines from many online sportsbooks on all prop bets. I always use an Excel spreadsheet where I enter the lines from 10-20 bookies, which allows me to estimate accurately fair odds. It is then easy to spot lines that are out of whack, and therefore exploitable. Those are the lines that we want to hammer. I will find plenty of bargains for sure again this year. I will share a few of them via YouTube videos (maybe 3-5), while also offering the option of subscribing to a package where you receive ALL proposition bets that offer amazing value, as soon as I find them. I cannot promise a specific number of value wagers, but it should be at least 15-20. If you’re interested, you can sign up now by following this link: https://www.professormj.com/products/super-bowl-lv-proposition-bets Have fun this weekend! Professor MJ https://youtu.be/PQvZiu6Z-6o
Written Thursday January 14th, 2021 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed) Last week in the Wildcard Round I made three official picks against the spread: the lone losing bet was the Bills -6.5, while the other two were winners (Ravens -3 and Saints -10). Many people have asked me to recap my preseason win total predictions. Remember that I previewed each of the 32 NFL teams, while making a pick on the over/under for their win total. Those plays were largely based on the simulation of one million seasons using the projected point spreads on all 256 regular season games. It turned out that 20 picks were right versus 12 that were wrong, a nice 62.5% win rate. I ended up racking up more than $8,000 on those bets. I wanted to go to Vegas to place larger bets, but COVID-19 prevented me from making the trip, unfortunately. It’s now time for my Divisional Round picks against the spread. Buckle up, here we go!!! DIVISIONAL ROUND GAME #1: LOS ANGELES RAMS VS GREEN BAY PACKERS (-6.5) When the line opened at 7, I was clearly leaning towards the Rams. Early money agreed with me and went heavily on Los Angeles, so sportsbooks had to drop the line to 6.5. Since then, I have heard that bettors are hammering the Packers. After analyzing the game in-depth, I am now betting Green Bay as 6.5-point favorites. Most of the time, I go against the public, but not this time. The Packers are the number one seed and coming off a bye week. As mentioned several times this season, getting additional time to heal and gameplan has produced a much bigger advantage to great teams, as opposed to weaker squads who do not seem to make good use of this extra time. I believe we all agree Green Bay is a solid team. On top of that, the Packers will be facing a banged up team. Jared Goff, John Wolford, Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald are all hurt. They will likely suit up Saturday, but won’t be 100% for sure. Also, L.A. is not used to playing in cold weather. We are expecting below-zero temperature, a situation where Aaron Rodgers is 29-7 straight up. The Rams defense has been very impressive this season, but here is a jaw-dropping statistic: they have allowed an average of 13.5 points per game at home versus 23.5 on the road. That’s a huge difference! They haven’t been nearly as stifling as visitors this year. I do believe Rodgers and company will find a way to move the ball, especially if Aaron Donald is slowed down by his injured ribs. Green Bay is a perfect 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings with the Rams. They are 11-6 as home favorites since Matt LaFleur took over as head coach. Rodgers and Goff did face off against each other in 2018, a game in which the Rams won 29-27 in Los Angeles. Rodgers will get the victory by at least 7 points this time around. Official pick: Packers -6.5 DIVISIONAL ROUND GAME #2: BALTIMORE RAVENS VS BUFFALO BILLS (-2.5) Born in Florida, Lamar Jackson said it would be his first time playing in the snow, if the forecast is right about getting close to an inch of snow this Saturday in Orchard Park, NY. That would make the field more slippery, and therefore more difficult for him to shake and bake as a runner. That’s one of the reason why I’m going with Buffalo as 2.5-point favorites. The Bills will also be at home for the third straight week, while Baltimore will be traveling for a third consecutive time. Also, the Ravens lose one day of preparation after playing last Sunday and now playing Saturday. That’s not a huge blow, but still worth mentioning. Some things are scaring me, though. Baltimore is 6-0 ATS as an underdog in the playoffs. They also match up fairly well against Buffalo since they led the league in yards-per-carry, while Buffalo’s run defense finished 25th in that category. Also, the Bills pass the ball often, which happens to be Baltimore’s strength on defense (they were much softer against the run this year). Still, I’ll go with Buffalo, whose offense has been much more convincing. The Ravens were struggling against a bad Titans defense last week, until Lamar scored on a 48-yard scamper that completely changed the game. Despite a recent surge by Baltimore, the Bills seem to be the stronger team and they will be at home on a cold day. They have been one of the hottest teams in the league during the latter portion of the regular season, and they have what it takes to win their first Super Bowl ever. Official pick: Bills -2.5 DIVISIONAL ROUND GAME #3: CLEVELAND BROWNS VS KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-10) This won’t be an official pick since I don’t have that much confidence, but if I were forced to bet this game I’d bet Cleveland as 10-point dogs. However, I do not like the fact that the Chiefs are coming off a bye. Under such circumstances, Andy Reid is 20-3 in his career, an astounding record! Kansas City will also be at home for the fourth straight week, which means they didn’t have to travel and will be well-rested. Still, I am leaning towards the Browns due to their strong running game facing the Chiefs’ front seven that has been soft at times. Cleveland will be looking to control the clock and leave Patrick Mahomes on the sidelines. After throwing 7 interceptions over the first 7 games of the season, Baker Mayfield has thrown just one in its past 10 matches! He has significantly improved, and he seems to be playing better since Odell Beckham went down to an injury. The Chiefs have beaten the spread in 5 of their past 6 matchups at home against a team with a winning record, but they are just 1-6 ATS as favorites recently. One more thing prevents me from pulling the trigger on this one: was Cleveland’s win in Pittsburgh last week their Super Bowl? Their subconscious might feel like they’ve already accomplished something great, and they may not be as hungry this week in K.C. Lean: Browns +10 DIVISIONAL ROUND GAME #4: TAMPA BAY BUCS VS NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-3) You know how much I love the revenge factor. Beating the same opponent three times within the same season is very hard. That’s the challenge the Saints will be facing this Sunday. And that’s one of the reasons I’ll put my money on Tampa. Am I super confident the Bucs will advance to the NFC Championship Game? No. The Saints might win a close game. If you back New Orleans, your ticket will be a winner only if New Orleans wins the game by 4 points or more. To me, that’s less likely to occur than Tampa either winning the game or losing by less than a field goal. Sure, the Bucs are 0-5 ATS in their last five meetings with Sean Payton. They were also 1-4 ATS as road underdogs recently. However, since their shameful 38-3 loss to the Saints in Week 9, Tampa has scored an average of 34 points per game. It took them more time to develop chemistry on offense, and they have since added Antonio Brown to the mix. New Orleans has beaten the spread the last four times they were home favorites, but they post a disappointing 1-5 ATS record as playoff favorites over the most recent years. I expect a very tight game that could go either way, in which case I prefer to side with the underdog. Official pick: Bucs +3 Enjoy the games! Professor MJ https://youtu.be/uiKo-YKjgok