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Betting windows closed, but NBA Draft dealing likely to continue

Jeff Fogle
VSiN.com

June 22, 2017 08:12 AM
lonzo_ball
Lonzo Ball appears headed for the Lakers in tonight's NBA Draft.
© USA Today Sports Images

Announcements galore! NBA Daze...NHL Knights...Fantasy Weekend…all that and more Thursday in VSiN City.

NBA: Whirlwind of rumors continues, but draft betting is now closed
The 2017 NBA Draft begins Thursday at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. here in Las Vegas) and will be televised by ESPN. Las Vegas prop betting for the draft officially closed at midnight while many of you were sound asleep. 

There’s still plenty of time for blockbuster news to break between now and the first pick. Yesterday we talked about Tuesday’s trades. Wednesday rumors included speculation about the futures of Jimmy Butler (staying in Chicago for now?) Paul George (still likely headed to L.A.), and Kristaps Porzingis (saying goodbye to the Big Apple?); a sense of urgency in Houston (Patrick Beverly and others are trade bait, to clear cap room for a BIG acquisition) and even a possible change of scenery for LeBron James (is he fed up with Cleveland’s owner?). 

Be sure you check out VSiN programming all day Thursday to find out what everyone’s talking about in the hours leading up to the draft. And, check out this mock draft from VSiN Senior Editor Matt Youmans. Do you agree with his assessment?

Additional mock drafts for your perusal
Draft Express
Sports Illustrated’s “The Crossover”
USA Today
Basketball Insiders
New York Times

If you missed the Wednesday visit from Jay Bilas to “Follow the Money” with Mitch and Pauly, here’s an audioboom clip from their draft discussion

NHL: Golden Knights welcome a “Fleury” of expansion picks, after season opening lines are posted!
Even before the Las Vegas Golden Knights officially announced their expansion roster Wednesday evening, the Westgate had posted betting lines in their first games. The Knights will open the 2017-18 season on Oct. 6 at Dallas. Westgate opened the Stars at -250, with the underdog payoff on Las Vegas at plus-220. The Knights’ home opener is set for Oct. 10 against likely arch-rival Arizona. That game was posted at pick-em.

That’s how good Vegas oddsmakers are…they can post a line even before they know who’s on the team!

The least surprising news of the night came when the Golden Knights drafted three-time Stanley Cup champion goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pittsburgh Penguins. That won’t be the first time that T-Mobile Arena roars when his name is announced. 

Here’s a full list of expansion picks from Broad Street Hockey. 

Reviews were generally favorable, as management tried to straddle the line between putting a competitive team on the ice in 2017-18 while stockpiling resources to build a future contender. 

Look for a comprehensive breakdown from guest hockey experts throughout the day Thursday on VSiN.

VSiN-Hall of Fame Fantasy Weekend: Make your plans now!
On Friday-Saturday August 11-12, the Pro Football Hall of Fame and VSIN will jointly present the “Vegas Fantasy Football Experience” at the South Point. Last year, this event was held in Canton, Ohio. In 2017, Brent Musburger and the VSiN team will help bring an extra level of depth and excitement to this memorable experience that fantasy football players will treasure forever.

Attendees will meet Hall-of-Famers Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, and Chris Doleman…who will offer insights and analysis to assist their fantasy draft. 

The cost for the two-day event is $149. A special VIP package that includes a meet and greet with all the legends costs $249. Those rates don’t include rooms for you out-of-towners planning to come in. Special rates are available from the South Point. Click here for complete details, and links to make your reservations

Oh…by the way…that’s also an NFL weekend! The 2017 exhibition slate will have started. Here are featured preseason matchups that visitors can watch and bet on.

Friday August 11
Pittsburgh Steelers at the NY Giants 
Tampa Bay Bucs at Cincinnati Bengals 
San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs 

Saturday August 12
Tennessee Titans at the NY Jets 
Dallas Cowboys at LA Rams 
Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals 

That’s right…your “experience” just might include watching a Pittsburgh Steelers game after meeting Jerome Bettis Friday, then watching an Oakland Raiders game Saturday night after spending time with Tim Brown and holding your league draft.

We’ll talk much more about this great event in the weeks ahead. We hope to see you in person August 11-12!

MLB: Run-Line Follow-up and more baseball notes
Today on “A Numbers Game,” Gill Alexander made a great point that we left out of yesterday’s discussion of betting the -1.5 run line on baseball favorites. These are already historically poor percentage bets because they’re shaded against the public’s tendency to overbet chalk. This is even WORSE when you’re backing a home favorite because you’re often giving away the ninth inning. That’s 11% of your offensive scoring opportunities erased when you need to win by at least two runs. And if you do get the ninth inning in a tie game or when playing from behind, your home favorite is just trying to score enough to win by ONE run. They could care less about your need for a decisive victory. 

Asking a pricey home favorite to win by two runs or more works just enough to get you into trouble. You’ll feel great about the blowouts you win (like the Yankees beating the Angels 8-4 Wednesday night). Those extra runs don’t help you when a home favorite just plays for a one-run win late in a nailbiter. 

  • It took some ninth-inning drama, but the horrible Baltimore Orioles pitching staff made it 18 straight games where they’ve allowed at least five runs to their opponent. Cleveland scored two in the ninth on the way to a 5-1 victory. Following up on the “consider laying -1.5 runs with nice payoffs when runs are cheaper against lousy pitching staffs” theme from Wednesday's newsletter…the Orioles haven’t lost any of those games by exactly one run while going dropping 12 of the 18. 

Updating the “O’s Woes” number line: 5-7-5-6-6-8-16-14-10-6-6-5-11-7-5-12-5-5.

(You may have come across some media reports about the Cleveland Indians catching fire in recent days. They are 7-1 their last eight games. But, the bulk of that came against the struggling pitching staffs of Baltimore and Minnesota. Their good fortune continues this weekend when the Twins visit for a three-game turnaround.)

  • Arizona evened up its series with Colorado at one game apiece thanks to a 16-5 blowout Wednesday night. Those two are going to have a heckuva divisional race with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. Though, that trio is so far clear of the NL field right now that fangraphs has all three at better than 80% to reach the postseason. 

Click here for the latest division-by-division assessments from fangraphs. You have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to find the NL West. Note on the way down how Cleveland and Chicago are still prohibitive favorites to win their divisions despite less than stellar starts. 

  • An empty Interleague card Thursday gives us an opportunity to update the record.

AL Still Dominating Interleague

American League overall: 80-57 (plus 18.7 units)
American League at home: 41-24 (plus 11.1 units)
American League on the road: 39-33 (plus 7.6 units)

That’s 63% at home for the Americans, and 54% on the road. It’s up to the San Diego Padres (gulp) to fight for Senior Circuit respect this weekend at home against Detroit. Interesting that smart money was hitting the Cincinnati Reds hard early Wednesday in their series finale at Tampa Bay. The Rays opened around -140, closed around -110, in a game they would win 8-3. Be careful asking the NL to win road games vs. the AL!

NFL: Who will step up to take the AFC South title?
Just two more divisions to go as we continue to study key stats from last season and betting odds for 2017 in the NFL. The AFC South lacks a clear favorite, with a legitimate chance that all four teams will end up being roughly .500 caliber. That may sound like a stretch for last year’s cellar dweller Jacksonville. But smart bettors have been hitting the Over hard on their Regular Season win total. Let’s start at the top and work through this ugly division. 

Tennessee Titans
2017 Regular Season Win Estimate: 9 (Under -125)
Odds to win AFC: 15/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 30/1 

2016 Record: 9-7 
Yards-per-Play: 5.7 on offense, 5.5 allowed
Third Down Conversions: 46% on offense, 37% allowed

Passing: 7.4 yards-per-pass attempt, 29 TD’s, 11 interceptions thrown
Pass defense: 7.2 yards-per-pass attempt, 25 TD’s allowed, 12 interceptions 

Defensive Impact: 18 takeaways, 40 sacks

The Titans are seen as the team most likely to break through to the next level because young quarterback Marcus Mariota continues to climb the learning curve. His personal TD/INT ratio was 26/9 last season…which is good stuff from a second-year starter. He also moved the chains like a veteran. Combine that with decent defense…and it’s clear why the Titans have the highest win total in the marketplace. That said, there’s still some skepticism about Mariota being a true star or this win total would have been 10. 

Houston Texans
2017 Regular Season Win Estimate: 8.5 (Under -115)
Odds to win AFC: 12/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 30/1

2016 Record: 9-7 
Yards-per-Play: 4.7 on offense, 5.1 allowed
Third Down Conversions: 37% on offense, 38% allowed

Passing: 5.9 yards-per-pass attempt, 15 TD’s, 16 interceptions thrown
Pass defense: 6.6 yards-per-pass attempt, 20 TD’s allowed, 11 interceptions 

Defensive Impact: 17 takeaways, 31 sacks

Houston goes on the list we’ve been discussing the past two weeks of teams with great defenses but lousy offenses. If Houston could only find a quarterback! The Denver Broncos won a Super Bowl with the shadow of Peyton Manning. So, it is possible to go deep if your defense can win games for you. This Texans group didn’t force enough turnovers last season to reach that level. In fact, their offense was so bad that it looked like their opponents were all playing championship level defense. Can Houston figure out how to put together a “league average” offense? That might even put them in the Super Bowl discussion if this defense can keep its brick wall intact. 

Indianapolis Colts
2017 Regular Season Win Estimate: 8.5 (Under -115)
Odds to win AFC: 12/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 30/1

2016 Record: 8-8 
Yards-per-Play: 5.6 on offense, 6.0 allowed
Third Down Conversions: 43% on offense, 42% allowed

Passing: 7.7 yards-per-pass attempt, 32 TD’s, 15 interceptions thrown
Pass defense: 7.6 yards-per-pass attempt, 27 TD’s allowed, 8 interceptions 

Defensive Impact: 17 takeaways, 33 sacks

If the Colts played in a tougher division, they might have finished with a record closer to 6-10 rather than 8-8. That YPP differential is poor, and opposing quarterbacks had a better TD/INT ratio than Andrew Luck did. Luck becomes very turnover prone when he tries to carry this team on his shoulders. He needs more weaponry AND a defense that can hold opponents below six YPP. Tennessee may be good enough to win the division if Mariota keeps learning. Houston may be good enough if they can just get a live body back there. Indianapolis needs to fix A LOT of different things, which makes them a longer shot to matter come December. 

Jacksonville Jaguars
2017 Regular Season Win Estimate: 6.5 (Over -130)
Odds to win AFC: 35/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 75/1

2016 Record: 3-13 
Yards-per-Play: 5.1 on offense, 5.0 allowed
Third Down Conversions: 35% on offense, 37% allowed

Passing: 6.3 yards-per-pass attempt, 24 TD’s, 16 interceptions thrown
Pass defense: 6.6 yards-per-pass attempt, 20 TD’s allowed, 7 interceptions 

Defensive Impact: 13 takeaways, 33 sacks

Why were so many sharps betting Over when the Jags Regular Season Win Total first went up? Start with the fact that they had the stats last year of a 7-9 or 6-10 type team, meaning that they weren’t as bad as that 3-13 record suggested. They had a worse record than the Jets or the Rams, but a much better stat profile. Second, their great defense puts them on the list of franchises that really only need to fix the quarterback position to “arrive” in 2017. It’s tough to “stay” a doormat when you have a solid defense. Thirdly, new “executive vice president of football operations” Tom Coughlin emphasizes fundamentals. If this offense stops throwing TD passes to the wrong team, they could make an instant leap to respectability.  

Now…the line has settled at 6.5-Over -130…which is far from playoff caliber. That early sharp money has help lift perceptions up from bleak to “keep an eye on these guys.”

Who knew the summer sports betting schedule could get so busy? Back with you Friday to close out the week. Remember that your free subscription to VSiN City gets you daily South Point betting sheets in PDF form. Click here to set up morning email delivery. If you haven’t followed us on twitter yet, click here to lock in access to programming and news bulletins throughout the day. If you have any questions or comments, please drop us a note.

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