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Are you ready for some more college football lines?

By Jeff Fogle  ( 

May 29, 2017 11:20 AM

College Football “Game of the Year” point spreads will be announced Monday. Let’s use those to prepare “market” Power Ratings for the coming 2017 season.  

College Football: “Games of the Year” point spreads to be announced Monday

As you heard late last week, South Point sports book director Chris Andrews will release marquee “Game of the Year” matchups for live betting Monday afternoon at 6 p.m. ET, 3 p.m. here in Las Vegas. They will be formally announced on “My Guys in the Desert” with Brent Musburger. 

These point spreads will be available for live betting, and will cover 65 specially chosen attractions from the upcoming regular season. You already know about the Week 1 lines that are up. This new batch will showcase national blockbusters and conference thrillers through the full season.  That’s ALL the big games Alabama will play in the loaded SEC…ALL the big games Ohio State will play (including OSU-Michigan)…ALL the big games Clemson and Florida State will play (including their head-to-head matchup)…well, you get the idea.

For bettors, a dream day…because the well-prepared get to attack opening lines, possibly the most vulnerable lines they’ll see in these matchups through the calendar year (the South Point braintrust is willing to take that risk!). But even if you’re not ready to bet, these “Game of the Year” pointspreads will be helpful when it comes to building "market" Power Ratings

Think about it. You already know that “the market” is comfortable with Alabama -4 over Florida State on a neutral field. We learned that with the Week 1 games. Start a scale where Alabama is FOUR better than Florida State…then build from there.

  • In all of Alabama’s other posted games, determine an approximate neutral field point spread by adjusting 3-4 points for home field advantage. Then, stick those new teams on your scale beneath Florida State (or tied with FSU if Alabama is laying the equivalent of -4 on a neutral field). 
  • In all of Florida State’s other posted games, do the same thing…and stick those opponents on the same scale. 
  • As inter-connectivity increases…you can now do this for many other prominent teams. Check out Alabama-LSU…that tells you where LSU should go as compared to ‘Bama…but it also tells you where BYU should go since we know LSU is -11 over BYU on a neutral field in Houston in Week 1.  

You won’t be able to pin down every single board team because many aren’t yet connected to one of the “Game of the Year” programs. But using the combination of “Week 1” and GOY will get you much of the way there. (Helpful hint: look for important inter-conference games in W1 and GOY to help you bridge the gap between conferences). 

If you didn’t get a chance to write down all the Week 1 numbers last week…here’s an update.

Saturday August 26

  • Oregon State at Colorado State (-2)
  • Hawaii (-3) at Massachusetts
  • South Florida (-21) at San Jose State
  • Rice vs. Stanford (-35.5) (in Sydney, Australia)

Thursday August 31

  • Ohio State (-20) at Indiana
  • Buffalo at Minnesota (-29)
  • Louisiana-Monroe at Memphis (-24.5)
  • New Mexico State at Arizona State (-26)

Friday September 1

  • Charlotte at Eastern Michigan (-12.5)
  • Washington (-31.5) at Rutgers
  • Navy (-18) at Florida-Atlantic
  • Utah State at Wisconsin (-34)
  • Boston College (-2) at Northern Illinois
  • Colorado State vs. Colorado (in Denver, CO; no line-pending result of Oregon State/CSU)

Saturday September 2

  • Bowling Green at Michigan State (-18)
  • Wyoming at Iowa (-13)
  • Miami of Ohio (-6) at Marshall
  • Kent State at Clemson (-40)
  • Massachusetts at East Carolina (no line-pending result of Hawaii/UMASS)
  • Akron at Penn State (-35)
  • Louisville (-27) at Purdue (in Indianapolis, IN)
  • Arkansas State at Nebraska (-19)
  • Florida International at Central Florida (-20)
  • Nevada at Northwestern (-26)
  • Ball State at Illinois (-11)
  • UTEP at Oklahoma (-48)
  • California at North Carolina (-14)
  • South Alabama at Mississippi (-24)
  • Western Michigan at USC (-22)
  • BYU vs. LSU (-11) (in Houston, TX)
  • Maryland at Texas (-20.5)
  • Temple at Notre Dame (-12)
  • Georgia Southern at Auburn (-36)
  • Appalachian State at Georgia (-14)
  • Kentucky (-12) at Southern Miss
  • Houston (-15.5) at Texas-San Antonio
  • South Carolina vs. NC State (-6) (in Charlotte)
  • Tulsa at Oklahoma State (-17)
  • Michigan (-3) vs. Florida (in Arlington, TX)
  • Vanderbilt (-9) at Middle Tennessee
  • Florida State vs. Alabama (-4) (in Atlanta, GA)
  • Troy at Boise State (-11)

Sunday September 3

  • West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech (-4) (in Landover, MD)
  • Texas A&M at UCLA (-4)

Monday September 4

  • Tennessee (-4) vs. Georgia Tech (in Atlanta, but not Tech’s home field)

In case you’re not aware of potential 2017 thrillers, here’s a partial list focusing on teams high up in the Athlon summer rankings:

  • September 9: Oklahoma at Ohio State, Auburn at Clemson, Stanford at USC
  • September 16: Clemson at Louisville, Texas at USC
  • October 7: Alabama at Texas A&M
  • October 14: Auburn at LSU
  • October 21: Tennessee at Alabama, Louisville at Florida State, Michigan at Penn State, USC at Notre Dame
  • October 28: Penn State at Ohio State
  • November 4: LSU at Alabama
  • November 11: Florida State at Clemson, Georgia at Auburn
  • November 25: Alabama at Auburn, Ohio State at Michigan

All the prep you do now will pay off in early betting, and will put you ahead of the public curve once the season gets underway. Don’t wait until the end of August to get your head in the game! 

NHL: Stanley Cup Finals begin Monday night when Nashville visits Pittsburgh

Not only has the NHL been a godsend for fans and bettors seeking exciting playoff action, but the sport isn’t making us wait a week for the Stanley Cup Finals to get started!

Those begin tonight, when the rested but banged up Nashville Predators visit the talented but war-weary Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1. Let’s take a quick glance back at the preview stats we’ve been studying through the postseason.

Stanley Cup Finals: Nashville vs. Pittsburgh

  • Series Price: Pittsburgh -170, Nashville plus-150
  • Game One Price: Pittsburgh -165, total of 5.5
  • Offensive Ranking: Nashville #11, Pittsburgh #1
  • Defensive Ranking: Nashville #15, Pittsburgh #17
  • Pace Estimate: Fast! 
  • Playoff Records: Nashville 12-4 (Chicago, St. Louis, Anaheim); Pittsburgh 12-7 (Columbus, Washington, Ottawa)

We’ll take those category by category because so much is going on.

  • Pittsburgh is the clear favorite. The Penguins are the defending champions, they were the better team during the regular season, and they have home ice advantage if they need it. The Game 1 and series prices are close together. Handicappers will have to determine if those capture the true flavor of the matchup.
  • Pittsburgh had the best offense in the NHL all season in terms of goals per game. We’ve compared the Penguins to both the San Antonio Spurs (offensive efficiency) and the Houston Rockets (offense at a fast pace) in recent weeks. It should be noted though that Pittsburgh’s offense started to look tired late in the Washington series and through much of the Ottawa series. Because Nashville suffered some injuries, the Penguins still deserve the nod on offense. They’ll need to keep creating chances and convert a few more of them.
  • Both teams had league average defenses during the regular season. Nashville has been more impressive in the postseason at goal denial. And, their highest impact players right now are on that side of the rink. Most close followers of the NHL give the Predators a “current form” edge on this side of the rink. 
  • Both teams played at fast paces during the regular season. Pittsburgh’s games had more shots than anyone else’s. Nashville ranked #5 in the league in shot activity in its games. Unless both teams get ultra-conservative with so much on the line, we’re likely to see some wide-open hockey. 
  • It’s hard to determine which playoff pathway was more impressive. Pittsburgh definitely shone by surviving Columbus and Washington early…but then floundered as a big favorite over what should have been an out-manned Ottawa team. Nashville swept Chicago! The Predators had the better record, but not quite as challenging a slate.

If Pittsburgh can shake off the effects of back-to-back best-of-seven’s going the distance, then it’s their series to win. That’s far from a sure thing…which could set up an exhilarating championship series that puts an exclamation point at the end of what’s already been a fantastic playoffs. 

We’ll review Game 1 for you tomorrow in VSiN City. For additional insights into the series, please read this article by Lou Finocchiaro posted Sunday afternoon here at the website. 

The NBA Finals don’t begin until Thursday…so we’ll save our hoops preview for a few days. Nothing major to report on the line. Golden State is still -7 in Game 1, with the total nudging higher to 226.5. Golden State is -250 to win the series, Cleveland returns 210 in the underdog role. 

MLB: Getting a true read on Major League teams

We’re going to spend some time this week trying to work through the “pollution” that can wreak havoc with trying to get a true read on the quality of Major League Baseball teams. There are so many different illusions that can be created by various issues…that we couldn’t possibly get through them all in one day. Today, we’re going to focus on the influence of one-run games.

Generally speaking, one-run decisions are more influenced by luck than those with higher victory margins. That’s kind of obvious. But, if you ignore the impact that fortunate or unfortunate one-run records can have in the standings, then you’re ignoring the obvious!

Colorado is off to a great start this year. Yet we know there’s some temporary air in that balloon because the Rockies are 9-1 in one-run games. Even if you believe that there’s a “skill” to winning nailbiters, by way of “clutch” performance, smart managing, great bullpens, and so on…you’d have to agree that nobody can win 90% of their one-run games on purpose. There had to be some luck involved. 

If you watched Gill Alexander’s Q1 show on “A Numbers Game” last week, you know that the Tampa Bay Rays have been a fantastic bet in 5-inning props this season. Yet, they’re in fourth place in the AL East standings here on Memorial Day. What gives? A 4-9 record in one-run games has helped drag them back to the pack. That’s very likely to regress back toward the .500 mark the rest of the season. Perhaps Tampa Bay is a hidden playoff contender that’s destined to surge past equality in close games and into the pennant hunt as signaled by their 5-inning performance. 

A quick and easy way to clear out the pollution that may be caused by short-term one-run performance is to simply erase those games from the standings. We’ve done that for you. Here’s a division-by-division look at won-lost records in games decided by 2 runs or more through Sunday night’s action. 

  • NL East: Washington 22-14, Atlanta 18-20, NY Mets 15-18, Miami 15-25, Philadelphia 8-20.
  • NL Central: Milwaukee 23-17, St. Louis 18-13, Cincinnati Reds 20-19, Chicago Cubs 17-17, Pittsburgh 14-19.
  • NL West: LA Dodgers 27-13, Colorado 24-18, Arizona 23-17, San Francisco 13-20, San Diego 13-26.

Let’s stop right there so we can discuss each league separately. Washington still dominates the East. Atlanta might be less lousy than you were thinking (hurt by a 3-7 record in nailbiters). You can see how bad Miami and Philadelphia are when you’re only looking at more one-sided results. In the NL Central, the Cubs disappointing start isn’t an illusion. They’re only a .500 team when you take out one-run results. Milwaukee is surprisingly legit. In the West, Colorado falls back from something amazing to still very respectable. It’s the Dodgers that suddenly rise up to where the market has been pricing them. LAD has won more than two-thirds of its games that weren’t decided by one-run. That’s best in the NL by a lot, only a half-game behind best in the Majors. 

  • AL East: NY Yankees 22-13, Tampa Bay 23-17, Boston 21-17, Baltimore 17-15, Toronto 15-20.
  • AL Central: Minnesota 20-17, Chicago White Sox 19-19, Cleveland 16-17, Detroit 14-21, Kansas City 15-22.
  • AL West: Houston 27-12, Texas 21-18, Oakland 17-21, LA Angels 15-19, Seattle 14-22.

It’s Houston that has the best mark in the Majors in decisions of two runs or more. The Yankees are a legit power to this point. And, there’s Tampa Bay looming up as Wildcard caliber at the very least. Cleveland joins the Chicago Cubs in that World Series couplet of 2017 disappointments. Note that Detroit is probably worse than you were thinking, with a 9-6 record in close games helping to hide some skeletons in the closet. 

We’re not going to suggest that this is all you have to do to clean the windshield in this sport. We’ll discuss some other ways through the week. 

Thanks for joining us for the new sports week. If you have any comments or questions about VSiN programming or this newsletter, please drop us a note. If you’d like to subscribe to receive VSiN City in your email box every weekday morning, please click here. We strongly encourage you to follow us on twitter so you can get special programming alerts and news bulletins. How many celebrity interviews have you missed already?! 

See you Tuesday.

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