|Programming note: Famed sports bettor Alan Boston will join Gill Alexander today on A Numbers Game (10 a.m.-noon ET/7-9 a.m. PT).
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College football: Urban Meyer to retire after the Rose Bowl
The betting market moved on the news of the day with the Buckeyes, who opened as a 4.5-point favorite, now at -6 over Washington.
NBA: Spurs at Lakers (10:35 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Jeff Fogle writes . . .
Back in late October, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton was reportedly reprimanded, admonished, and/or scolded by team president Magic Johnson after the team dropped road games in San Antonio and Minnesota to fall to 2-5. LA’s defense was particular atrocious during that poor start.
The Lakers have played 16 times since that well-publicized meeting and are an astonishing 2-14 to the Under! Heading into tonight’s game against the Spurs, the Lakers are on an eight-game Under streak.
Is that some sort of fluke trend that’s going to stop as soon as people notice? More likely…it’s a meaningful trend that’s going to stop when the market adjusts to how the Lakers are now prioritizing performances.
Here’s the eight-Under streak, with scoreboard sums in parenthesis:
Lakers Limbo (under the bar!)
Lakers/Heat stayed Under 225 (210)
Lakers/Cavs stayed Under 221 (214)
Jazz/Lakers stayed Under 221 (173!)
Magic/Lakers stayed Under 217.5 (212)
Lakers/Nuggets stayed Under 219.5 (202)
Pacers/Lakers stayed Under 220.5 (200)
Mavericks/Lakers stayed Under 223.5 (217)
Suns/Lakers stayed Under 221.5 (216)
Not much of an adjustment yet. The combination of oddsmakers/sharps that shape the totals market are keeping Over/Unders within an arm’s reach of 221. Laker games haven’t even reached 218 on the scoreboard once in the eight-game streak, with midpoints of 210 and 212.
Bettors have to be careful trying to create narratives to “explain” point spread or Over/Under streaks they happen to come across. This one wasn’t particularly hard to anticipate (and ride) given the team’s reaction to that horrible defensive start.
- Lakers players brought more defensive intensity
- Then the team acquired Tyson Chandler
You don’t acquire Tyson Chandler to run track meets. He’s a deliberate, defensive force who’d going to own the glass in his 20 minutes per night. The Lakers are 2-11 to the Under since he joined the team.
LA currently ranks top 10 in defensive efficiency (points allowed adjusted for pace) despite defending so poorly in those first seven outings. The Lakers have allowed less than a point per possession in their last three outings, and four of their last six.
There are no sure things in sports betting. Maybe the Lakers won’t be able to maintain such a high level of defense. Betting markets should eventually catch “down” to the lower scoring totals, though missing a logical 88% dynamic for this long is pretty stubborn. For now, this is at least something bettors should keep an eye on.
It’s not uncommon for observers to focus so much on LeBron James that they miss important overall characteristics of his teams. In LA, he’s sharing the spotlight with the likes of Lonzo Ball, Rajon Rondo, and JaVale McGee. We haven’t even mentioned the antics of Lance Stephenson yet. Might be awhile before a TV network says “you know, these guys sure are playing a lot of Unders.”
Follow the line movements here.
College basketball: Washington (+15) at Gonzaga (11 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
More from Jeff . . .
Gonzaga, the No. 1 college basketball team in the country, goes on the list of elite teams who keep covering point spreads even though everyone knows they’re great. The New Orleans Saints (9-3 ATS) are still on that list in 2018 despite losing at Dallas last time out. New England (8-4 ATS) has been on that list throughout the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. Gonzaga is 8-0 straight up, 7-1 ATS so far this season. Those records include a very impressive upset of Duke out in Maui, and a huge comeback against Creighton this past Saturday…winning the second half on the road 62-44.
Follow the line movements here.
Sports betting industry . . .
Congress’ interest in the expanding U.S. sports betting market is growing, reports ESPN’s David Purdum.
Draft legislation that aims to provide federal oversight to sports betting surfaced out of retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch’s office this week. The 37-page untitled discussion draft, obtained by ESPN, is viewed as an initial step in what’s expected to be a long, tedious process that will play out as legal sportsbooks pop up in an increasing amount of states.
The legislation, which would allow wagering on professional and collegiate sports, would require states to apply for approval from the U.S. attorney general when implementing new sports betting laws and regulations. It would force sportsbook operators to use official league data to grade wagers until at least 2023 and create a mechanism for authorities to target unlicensed operators domestically and offshore.
More from David here
Monday marked a year since the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the sports betting case that would eventually be decided in New Jersey’s favor.
American Gaming Association put together this excellent graphic on how far sports betting has come in a year.
NFL: Drive Point Stats
Jeff updates the stats through Week 13:
These numbers reflect what’s happened only on drives of 60 yards or more. Defensive and special teams touchdowns aren’t counted, nor are any relatively “cheap” field position points scored on shorter drives. The goal is to isolate skill sets in this area on both sides of the ball.
Best Drive Point Offenses: Kansas City 25.3, New Orleans 23.8, Pittsburgh 22.5, Tampa Bay 20.8, LA Rams 19.7, LA Chargers 19.2, Indianapolis 18.4, Seattle 17.8, New England 17.5.
Average Drive Point Offenses: Carolina 16.3, Atlanta 15.8, NY Giants 15.8, Chicago 15.6, Philadelphia 15.3, Baltimore 15.0, Green Bay 14.8, Cincinnati 14.8, Denver 14.4, San Francisco 14.3, Detroit 14.2.
Worst Drive Point Offenses: Minnesota 13.7, Cleveland 13.3, Dallas 12.9, Houston 12.4, Miami 11.8, Oakland 11.2, Washington 10.6, Arizona 10.3, Jacksonville 9.8, Tennessee 9.5, NY Jets 8.3, Buffalo 7.8.
Best Drive Point Defenses: Baltimore 10.3, LA Chargers 10.7, Tennessee 11.0, New England 11.4, Buffalo 11.6, Dallas 11.8, Houston 11.9, Jacksonville 12.5, Chicago 12.6.
Average Drive Point Defenses: Indianapolis 13.3, Seattle 13.4, Minnesota 13.8, Philadelphia 14.0, San Francisco 14.3, Denver 14.3, Arizona 14.4, Cleveland 14.5, Pittsburgh 14.6, Detroit 15.5, Washington 16.5, Miami 16.7, NY Jets 16.8, NY Giants 16.8.
Worst Drive Point Defenses: LA Rams 17.5, Green Bay 17.3, Atlanta 18.9, New Orleans 18.9, Cincinnati 19.7, Oakland 19.9, Carolina 19.9, Kansas City 20.0, Tampa Bay 20.5.
Contest corner . . .
VSiN’s Brent Musburger is currently in the money in the Westgate SuperContest, tied for 80th, 8.5 points behind leader @Pigskin_Junkies.
Full list here.
We’ll announce the Week 14 contest lines at 6 p.m. ET/3 PT today.
Seen & Heard on VSiN
Is the line for Steelers/Raiders too big? Brent explains how the Raiders are more competitive than people realize and that the Steelers without James Conner could look like a much different team.
"The handle was insane." Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading at William Hill, discusses the surprisingly strong betting interest that appeared for the Wilder-Fury fight in LA on Saturday.
Jeff Sherman explains CFB win total policy at the Westgate: Teams must play the original numbers of games, and against the originally scheduled opponents, otherwise it’s a refund.
"The Assassin" himself, Amal Shah, shares some noteworthy info with Brent and Vinny regarding in-play betting for the NHL that hockey bettors may want to consider.
Is Clemson/Bama destined to happen given how good each team is? Hear what Pete Fiutak of CollegeFootballNews.com has to say of the playoff matchups as he joins Gill on A Numbers Game.
Does motivation play a factor in your bowl game handicapping? Jonathan Von Tobel and Sam Panayotovich break down what teams they think will be motivated in their contests and what teams won’t want to get out of bed as they preview Bowl Season on The Edge.