College Football Betting Preview

by WagerHome Blog on August 31, 2023

College Football Betting Preview

Labor Day weekend is just around the corner, which means everyone gets a day off to have a last-summer barbecue. Far more important, however, is that with the calendar ticking over to September, we get a full slate of college football games.

Every team in the AP Top 25 is in action this week, and one of the games features a pair of top-10 teams squaring off on Sunday.

Boise State at No. 10 Washington (-14)

The Pac-12 is still a conference for one more year, and one of the best in the conference is Washington, with quarterback Michael Penix Jr. This team is one of the best in the country and is getting College Playoff talk, largely because of Penix.

Boise State, however, is no slouch. They won eight of their last 10 games a year ago, including a win in the Frisco Bowl. They return quarterback Taylen Green, who led an offense that topped 30 points eight times in 2022.

It’s only Week 1, but Washington wants to justify its preseason hype with a big win. The two touchdown point spread is a little challenging against a team like Boise, but the under on 58.5 is not. Both offenses are good, but Boise has gone under in 10 of its last 11 games on the road.

No. 5 LSU (-2.5) at No. 8 Florida State

The game of the weekend takes place in Orlando. A year ago these teams played, and neither was ranked. Now 12 months later they are both in the top-10 and expecting to compete for a national championship.

Both teams ended last season with 10 wins, and both teams got bowl victories. Florida State beat Oklahoma in the Cheez-It Bowl, while LSU manhandled Purdue in the Citrus Bowl.

This game has everything you want, including two very good quarterbacks returning from last season, and a neutral site to give the game a postseason feel. In the end LSU’s defense is the best of the four units on the field, and that should be enough to get the Tigers the win and the cover.

No. 9 Clemson (-13) at Duke

College Football Betting Preview

Because it’s the first weekend, and because the NFL hasn’t kicked off yet, along with our Sunday game in Florida, we’re getting a Monday game in Durham, North Carolina.

It’s an ACC battle featuring the defending conference champs, Clemson, taking on the surprise of 2022, the 9-4 Duke Blue Devils.

Is a victory over Clemson possible? Sure, if these Tigers are as uneven as they were a year ago. For our purposes, the numbers that matter are 5-1. That is how well Duke did against the spread as the underdog. Roll with the home team to cover.

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WagerHome BlogCollege Football Betting Preview

NFL Cut Day

by WagerHome Blog on August 29, 2023

NFL Cut Day

With each passing day, we get closer to the beginning of the 2023 NFL season, and on Tuesday the 32 teams in the league took a massive step in that direction. New this year, only one roster cut in the preseason to get down to the mandated 53-man rosters.

It was a bloodbath, with nearly 1,000 players hitting the unemployment line all at once. And there were a number of surprise cuts.

Arizona Cardinals Starting Quarterback

With Kyler Murray missing at least a few weeks of games as he continues to rehab from last year’s ACL tear, it was assumed that Colt McCoy would be their starter to open the season. It will not be McCoy, as he has been cut by the team.

Head coach Jonathan Gannon is the one head coach who has not named his actual starter, claiming that it gives the Cardinals “a competitive advantage” for their game at Washington. Seeing as the only two choices now are Joshua Dobbs (on the roster for less than a week) or Clayton Tune (a fifth-round rookie), it’s impossible to see where the advantage lies.

In a non-Cardinals QB note, Bailey Zappe has been cut by the Patriots.

NFL Cuts
Kicker Reunion

The New Orleans Saints have given their kicker job to Blake Grupe, opting to part ways with longtime kicker Will Lutz. But don’t feel bad for Lutz – his old coach, Sean Payton, traded for him before he could hit the open market. Lutz is now the kicker for the Denver Broncos.

In six seasons in New Orleans, Lutz made 84.6% of his field goal attempts.

In other kicker news, a year ago the Browns used a fourth-round pick on Cade York. At 22 he has been released, and Cleveland is giving the job to Dustin Hopkins.

Running Back Carousel

With too many other options at running back in Baltimore, the Ravens have cut Melvin Gordon. The five-year Charger and three-year Bronco has now had failed attempts to play for the Chiefs and Ravens. It may be retirement that is in his immediate future.

Former Super Bowl hero, Damien Williams, is out in Las Vegas. James Robinson rushed for 1,000 yards in 2020 for Jacksonville, but he’s gone from the Jets to the Patriots in the last year, and he was just cut by the New York Giants. And no one met the Colts trade demands for Jonathan Taylor before the roster deadline, so he was placed on the PUP list by Indianapolis, meaning the earliest he’ll play is Week 5.

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The 272 regular season games of the NFL schedule kickoff on Thursday, September 7, and run through Sunday, January 7.

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WagerHome BlogNFL Cut Day

Coke Zero Sugar 400 Betting Preview

by WagerHome Blog on August 24, 2023

We end the regular season back where it began, on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway. It is the Coke Zero Sugar 400, and there is one spot in the playoff field of 16 up for grabs.

It happened last year for Austin Dillon. He qualified for the playoffs in this very race after a wreck took out most of his competitors. The same type of thing would need to happen here, with Bubba Wallace comfortably in the final playoff spot, barring a win from a driver behind him.

Also at stake in the race is the regular season points champion. Martin Truex Jr. has the lead on the strength of six straight finishes in the top 10, along with wins this season at Dover, Sonoma, and New Hampshire. Trailing him by 39 points is Denny Hamlin.

The only result that will really change things for the drivers trying to get into the playoffs, or the drivers jockeying for playoff position, is a win. That means that chaos will reign supreme at Daytona, as there are no consolation prizes for second place.

Favorites to win Coke Zero Sugar 400

  • Chase Elliott (+1100)
  • Ryan Blaney (+1200)
  • Kyle Busch (+1200)
  • Joey Logano (+1200)
  • Denny Hamlin (+1200)
  • Brad Keselowski (+1200)
  • William Byron (+1400)
  • Chris Buescher (+1600)
  • Bubba Wallace (+1800)
  • Kyle Larson (+2000)
  • Ross Chastain (+2000)

Chase Elliott is not one of the 15 drivers that is already in the playoff field. That means that anything short of a win on Sunday, and he is out. Elliott was the runner-up two weeks ago in Indy, but he was just 32nd last week at Watkins Glen.

A host of drivers sit at +1200, and all of them have secured their spot in the playoffs. Hamlin, with an opportunity to win the regular season points title, is the one with the most to drive for. He has struggled on the superspeedways this season, finishing 17th, sixth, 17th, and 14th. His last win at Daytona came in 2020.

Coke Zero Sugar 400 Betting Preview

At +1400, you have William Byron, who hasn’t been very good at the Daytona 500, but here at the Coke Zero Sugar 400, he won in 2020 after finishing second in 2019. Byron won last week at Watkins Glen, and he won in July at the superspeedway in Atlanta.

Bubba Wallace doesn’t necessarily have to win to clinch the final playoff spot, but it would guarantee it. He’s never won at Daytona, but he does have four top-five finishes at Coke Zero Sugar 400, including a runner-up last year.

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The Cup Series Playoffs begin next week, college football kicks off this Saturday, and then we’ll have the NFL, postseason baseball, basketball, and hockey will return, and the betting calendar will be as packed as ever.

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WagerHome BlogCoke Zero Sugar 400 Betting Preview

Tour Championship 2023 Betting Preview

by WagerHome Blog on August 22, 2023

It is time for the Tour Championship 2023! There is still a pretty big golf event coming up in just over a month. The Ryder Cup will be played from September 29 to October 1 in Rome, Italy, pitting the best golfers in America vs. the best golfers in Europe.

This weekend we will crown the best individual golfer in the world for the 2022-2023 PGA Tour season at the Tour Championship. It is the final of three weekends of FedEx Cup Playoffs, with 30 golfers left in the running to win the season title.

Favorites to Win Tour Championship

  • Scottie Scheffler (+130)
  • Rory McIlroy (+330)
  • Viktor Hovland (+500)
  • Jon Rahm (+800)
  • Patrick Cantlay (+1600)
  • Xander Schauffele (+2800)
  • Max Homa (+2800)
  • Matt Fitzpatrick (+4000)
  • Lucas Glover (+4000)
  • Wyndham Clark (+5000)
  • Brian Harman (+5000)

If it looks like there is a big drop after the top four golfers, it’s because there is. And it’s because the scores on Thursday begin with an advantage for the golfers who are leading the FedEx Cup standings. Here is the field of 30 and their corresponding starting score.

Tour Championship 2023 Betting Preview

  • 10 Under: Scottie Scheffler
  • Eight Under: Viktor Hovland
  • Seven Under: Rory McIlroy
  • Six Under: Jon Rahm
  • Five Under: Lucas Glover
  • Four Under: Max Homa, Patrick Cantlay, Brian Harman, Wyndham Clark, Matt Fitzpatrick
  • Three Under: Tommy Fleetwood, Russell Henley, Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele
  • Two Under: Tom Kim, Sungjae Im, Tony Finau, Corey Conners, Si Woo Kim
  • One Under: Taylor Moore, Nick Taylor, Adam Schenk, Collin Morikawa, Jason Day
  • Even Par: Sam Burns, Emiliano Grillo, Tyrrell Hatton, Jordan Spieth, Sepp Straka

The Redemption of Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler is the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world, he leads the FedEx Cup standings, and he will tee off on Thursday at the Tour Championship with a two-stroke lead on Viktor Hovland and a six-stroke lead on 24 of the 29 other golfers in the field.

Without question, Scheffler is in the spot that everyone wishes for themselves.

But we should remember what happened at the Tour Championship last year. Scheffler went into the first round with a two-shot lead, and he was up by six strokes after Saturday. But in one of the most historic collapses in golf history, Scheffler shot a final round three-over 73 and lost the FedEx Cup to Rory McIlroy.

In disbelief after the loss, Scheffler said;

“For whatever reason, my swing wasn’t where it had been the first few days this week.”

He found his swing again, and he is the favorite to win his second straight PGA Tour Player of the Year. But what he really wants is the FedEx Cup that he allowed to slip away 12 months ago.

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WagerHome BlogTour Championship 2023 Betting Preview

NFL Preseason Week 2 Betting Preview

by WagerHome Blog on August 17, 2023

We’ve got NFL preseason games all weekend long, including our first Monday night game of the season. And that means there is a full weekend of NFL betting.

Cincinnati Bengals at Atlanta Falcons (-6) – Friday

It is official. Bijan Robinson, one of the most anticipated running back prospects in years, will make his Falcons debut against the Bengals on Friday night.

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith was a bit of a party pooper, adding to the announcement;

“We’re not going to go crazy. We just need the reps.”

Three reps, ten reps, all signs point to Robinson being worth your time. He’s had a great training camp for the Falcons, and his first time on an NFL field, even in the preseason, will be an event.

NFL Preseason Week 2 Betting Preview

Chicago Bears at Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) – Saturday

These two teams play just 180 miles away from each other, and these two starting quarterbacks are separated by just one-hundredth of a second. A centisecond, as 0.01 is known, was the difference between the 40-time for Bears quarterback Justin Fields at the NFL combine and what Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson ran.

Richardson has been named QB1, and he will get reps. Fields will play again this preseason, and hopefully, it will be this week. The quarterback track meet would be fun to watch.

New Orleans Saints (-3) at Los Angeles Chargers – Sunday

Derek Carr continues his trip around the AFC West. Last week he played the Chiefs, a team he faced 17 times as the quarterback of the Raiders. Now he gets the Chargers, a team he faced 18 times when they were division rivals.

He looked sharp last week, and all of his offensive pieces are healthy and clicking. Justin Herbert never plays in the preseason, which makes the Saints a deserved favorite at SoFi on Sunday.

Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) at Washington Commanders – Monday

Rivals by proximity, for the majority of the Ravens’ tenure in Baltimore, they have been a much better team than the Washington Commanders. But Monday’s game might be rather spicey after the two teams get involved in multiple brawls this week at a joint practice.

Players are tired of hitting their teammates, they like hitting other teams, and that can lead to hot tempers. Although the body slam of Commanders’ corner Danny Johnson by Ravens tight end Mark Andrews went well beyond frayed tempers.

Watch the game because the Ravens never lose in the preseason. Enjoy the game because these two teams don’t like each other.

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WagerHome BlogNFL Preseason Week 2 Betting Preview

Running Back Additions in the AFC East

by WagerHome Blog on August 15, 2023

It’s not very often that teams in the middle of the preseason can add an impact free agent. But when you consider what is happening in the AFC East running back market, these are not normal times.

Early on Monday, the New England Patriots announced that they were signing former Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott. Not to be outdone, a few hours later, the New York Jets announced that they had come to terms with former Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook.

It’s a four-team race in what may be the most competitive division in football, and two of the four offenses just got better.

AFC East News: Ezekiel Elliott’s Impact in New England

The Patriots have the longest odds of anyone in the AFC East, paying +800 to win the division. That didn’t change with the signing of Elliott, but the makeup of their backfield did change.

Head coach Bill Belichick likes third-year running back Rhamondre Stevenson, but they were very clear about their intent to add a veteran back to the mix. They flirted with Dalvin Cook and had camp visits with Leonard Fournette and Darrell Henderson. But in Elliott, they get someone who is especially good at finding the endzone.

Elliott has 80 career touchdowns, including 12 last year, and he has as many 50 catches in a season three times. As a third-down option and redzone target, Zeke is a great addition for the Patriots.

Back when Zeke became a free agent in March, the Patriots weren’t even in the top 10 favorites to sign him.

Running Back Additions in the AFC East

AFC East News: Jets All-In on 2023

After an offseason that saw the Jets completely remake their offense, they have added one final piece that could put them over the top. New York is high on second-year running back Breece Hall, but early in the season, he is still going to be slowed by last year’s knee injury.

The signing of Dalvin Cook gives the Jets cover for Hall in the short term and a terrific tandem of running backs for later in the season. There is no time like the present in New York. This is a team built to win now, and the signing of Cook for $8.6 million for one season is about winning a division and making a Super Bowl run.

New York is +270 to win the AFC East, which puts them second behind the Buffalo Bills. But they are -130 to make the playoffs. This kind of opportunity doesn’t come along often for the Jets, and Cook will help make sure they don’t waste it.

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WagerHome BlogRunning Back Additions in the AFC East

NFL Preseason Week 1 Kicks Off

by WagerHome Blog on August 10, 2023

Last week’s NFL Hall of Fame Game was just a teaser. An amuse-bouche, if you will. The tiniest of appetizers to get us ready for the smorgasbord of football to come, the 2023 regular season.

That makes this weekend a full trip to the salad bar with all the fixings. We get 16 NFL preseason games, which amounts to 960 minutes of actual game time over the course of the weekend.

Thursday through Sunday is not a national holiday, but it should be.

Top NFL Games of the Weekend

Green Bay Packers (-4.5) at Cincinnati Bengals

Following two games on Thursday, our Friday of preseason football begins with the Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals and Jordan Love taking the quarterback reins in Green Bay.

This will be his first start as QB1, and even though you should never get too carried away regarding preseason performances, Packers fans are going to want to be wowed.

New York Giants (-3) at Detroit Lions

There is no sneaking up on anyone this year for either of these teams. The Giants are coming off a playoff berth, and the Lions are the preseason betting favorite to win the NFC North. How will both teams respond with the higher expectations?

We also get to see how the Giants plan to use new tight end Darren Waller and how the Lions are going to feature first-round draft pick Jahmyr Gibbs. All reports out of camp say that Gibbs is the real deal, and if Detroit does make it back to the playoffs, he will be a big reason why.

NFL Preseason Week 1 Kicks Off

New York Jets at Carolina Panthers (-3.5)

We’re not expected to see Aaron Rodgers on Saturday in Carolina, but we will get our first look at the No. 1 overall pick, Panthers quarterback Bryce Young.

There will be growing pains. There will be interceptions. There will be bad decisions. A lot. But head coach Frank Reich loves his new quarterback, and the growth Young experiences from this weekend through the end of the season will be worth watching.

San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) at Las Vegas Raiders

We probably won’t see much of Jimmy Garoppolo this preseason, with the Raiders expected to be cautious with a previously injured foot. But we should see plenty of Trey Lance for the 49ers as Kyle Shanahan and company try to figure out what kind of future he has in San Francisco.

We’ll also see some Sam Darnold and maybe some Brock Purdy, although that is more of a long shot. Whoever plays for San Francisco, everyone will be watching. It’s been a long time since one of the Super Bowl favorites was so unsettled at quarterback.

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WagerHome BlogNFL Preseason Week 1 Kicks Off

Betting on the FedEx Cup Playoffs

by WagerHome Blog on August 8, 2023

Betting on the FedEx Cup Playoffs

The bulk of the golf season is behind us, with all four majors now in the rearview mirror. But the big prize of the FedEx Cup still remains, and the three-tournament playoff to decide the season’s champion begins on Thursday.

Leg one for the 70 qualifiers is at the FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis, Tennessee. From there the top 50 golfers move on to the Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Illinois, south of Chicago. The final 30 golfers that remain go on to Atlanta the final weekend of August for the Tour Championship, and the biggest payday of the season.

Everyone that plays the final weekend in Atlanta will get at least $500,000, the Top-10 will all make more than $1 million, and the check for winning the FedEx Cup is for $18 million.

Favorites to Win FedEx St. Jude Championship

Scottie Scheffler (+650)
Rory McIlroy (+900)
Jon Rahm (+900)
Patrick Cantlay (+1600)
Xander Schauffele (+1800)
Viktor Hovland (+2000)
Tyrrell Hatton (+2200)
Collin Morikawa (+2200)
Wyndham Clark (+2800)
Tommy Fleetwood (+2800)
Rickie Fowler (+2800)

FedEx Cup St. Jude Championship

Rory McIlroy is the defending FedEx Cup champion, although he began his victorious playoffs by missing the cut in the St. Jude last year. Thus is the importance of having a big lead in the standings as you head into the playoffs. The regular season points will carry over until we have our final 30 golfers.

That means no matter what disaster strikes the top three golfers in the world, Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, and McIlroy, they will be around for round two. Rahm is the current FedEx points leader with 3,320 points, Scheffler is second with 3,146, and McIlroy has 2,304. Only Max Homa also has over 2,000 points.

It’s important to note that these odds for this tournament only, not the overall winner of the FedEx Cup, and that none of the top-10 favorites listed here have ever won the St. Jude. However, just out of the top-10 is Jason Day, the 2015 winner of the St. Jude, paying +3000. Tony Finau won this event in 2021, and he is on the odds board at +3500.

Last year at this event Will Zalatoris recorded the first PGA Tour win of his career. He was out of the playoffs the following week with a back injury, and it is the ongoing recovery from that injury that kept him from returning to Memphis this year.

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WagerHome BlogBetting on the FedEx Cup Playoffs

The Best and Worst of the MLB Trade Deadline

by WagerHome Blog on August 4, 2023

You’re either competing for a World Series, or you are trying to get the roster that will enable you to compete for a World Series. There is no other way to be a general manager in the MLB. (The A’s, working to do neither until they have successfully forced their way to Las Vegas, is the exception.)

For some teams, getting that roster for the MLB World Series push means that you are trying to win now. For others, 2024 or 2025 becomes the target date. Partnerships between the two contrasting plans is how we get trades.

The Teams With a Plan

The Houston Astros (+550 to win the MLB World Series) are always looking to win now. They are the defending MLB World Series champions, and one of the keys to that win, Justin Verlander, is back in Houston. He was traded by the Mets to the Astros, where he is a proven winner.

Up I-45, the Texas Rangers (+850 to win the World Series) grabbed Verlander’s teammate in New York, Max Scherzer, as well as left-hander starter Jordan Montgomery from the Cardinals. The Astros and Rangers are locked in a battle for the American League West, and now they have the Hall of Fame arms to create a great pennant race.

The Mets are clearly not looking to win this year, even though that was what they were thinking when they signed Scherzer for 2022 and Verlander for 2023. For Scherzer, they now have shortstop prospect Luisangel Acuna, for Verlander, they got outfielder Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford, and for closer David Robertson, they received catcher Ronald Hernandez and infielder Marco Vargas.

The Best and Worst of the MLB Trade Deadline

Too many teams are unwilling to change courses so quickly, but kudos to the Mets for reading the writing on the wall and setting themselves up nicely for the future.

What’s the Plan?

The Kansas City Royals were the MLB World Series champion eight years ago, but it might as well be 100. They are on pace to have their worst season in franchise history. Trading away Nicky Lopez was a good idea, but for 29-year-old reliever Taylor Hearn, a pitcher was just designated for assignment by the Rangers? It’s an unusual move for a team appearing to be lost at sea.

At the top of the A.L. Central is Minnesota, but all they did was trade middle relievers. No other moves were made, no real push to become a winner, and no real effort to end their 32-year World Series drought. Strange.

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WagerHome BlogThe Best and Worst of the MLB Trade Deadline

USWNT Looks Ahead to Knockout Stage

by WagerHome Blog on August 2, 2023

It was almost the biggest upset in the history of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. In the closing moments and in the early morning hours (back in the United States), the USWNT was nearly knocked out of the tournament by a Portuguese shot that hit the post.

The same Portugal team that had yet to score a goal in any of its previous ten games against the USWNT (all American wins) had taken the best team in the world to the brink of elimination.

But the ball did hit the post, there was no late and crushing goal, and the 0-0 draw when the final whistle blew was enough for the U.S. to move on to the knockout stage as the second-place team in its group.

The Netherlands, who drew with the USWNT, finished on top of the group with two wins and a draw.

Reasons for Concern

The 0-0 draw for the USWNT was the first time they failed to score in 13 games. Their four total goals in the group stage is 14 fewer than what they scored in 2019. Their second-place finish in the group is just the second time in nine World Cups that they didn’t win their group.

The offense looks disjointed, out of sync, and with no clearly defined roles. And for the first time in her legendary career, Alex Morgan doesn’t look like one of the top scorers in the world.

She had a number of chances on Tuesday morning in front of the goal, and all of them went wide of the mark or were easily handled by the defense.

The team will also be without midfielder Rose Lavelle in their next game after she picked up her second yellow card of the tournament.

USWNT Looks Ahead to Knockout Stage

The Betting Public Still Likes the USWNT

  • United States (+320)
  • Spain (+400)
  • England (+425)
  • Germany (+750)
  • Japan (+850)
  • Australia (+1200)

Japan won all three of their group matches and outscored their opponents 11-0. England is also 3-0 in the tournament with eight goals for and just one goal against. And even though Spain did lose to Japan, they are on to the knockout stage and are playing the second shortest odds.

The big story, however, is that even though the USWNT came within inches of losing to Portugal, they are still the favorites to hoist the champions trophy after the final is played on August 20.

Even though the offense is struggling more than it has in years, the bettors believe Lindsey Horan. She said after Tuesday’s match;

“We have to finish [our scoring opportunities], and we will. That’s going to come.”

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WagerHome BlogUSWNT Looks Ahead to Knockout Stage