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Bettor X making his mark on Super Bowl

By Jeff Fogle  (VSiN City newsletter) 

Confident “Bettor X” struck again, this time placing a $1 million Super Bowl bet on the Eagles with William Hill. More locales are down to Patriots -4 in hopes of balancing the books. Plus, Blake Griffin is now a Piston…and Duke and Kansas both score impressive Big Monday wins. 

Super Bowl Betting: New week, same story. Big bets on the Eagles

After a flurry of big Las Vegas bets on the Philadelphia Eagles last week, a man referred to by ESPN as “Bettor X” was back for more Monday. He placed a $1 million bet on the Eagles on the money line by wiring money to William Hill US (more details from David Purdum in this article). 

He now has several million in play across town, all on the Eagles to beat the Patriots outright. Nick Bogdanovich told and Purdum of ESPN and that Bettor X received plus 165 on the money line. That means a $1 million bet would win $1,650,000 if the Eagles win the Lombardi Trophy. Additional Eagles bets are in that same range of return.

A few stores, including the South Point (where Bettor X wagered $500K last week) and the Westgate have moved their Super Bowl lines down to New England -4. Yesterday we reported that a few of the “outlier” books were showing Patriots -5. That’s no longer the case. As of publication deadlines, most locales globally were at Patriots -4.5. Those needing New England money to help balance out big early bets on the Eagles are showing -4. 

Be sure you keep watching VSiN programming daily for the latest news in the biggest sports betting event in the world. The market is still awaiting word on the status of New England receiver Rob Gronkowski. If he is unable to play, sports books may have to drop even lower to encourage betting enthusiasm for the favorite. If he is cleared and looks ready in practice, there’s still a chance the line could scoot higher later in the week. 

Super Bowl Betting: Player props go up Monday at the South Point

A slew of team props were up on the board last week. Now, individual player props are available for betting as well. The South Point posted a few pages worth Monday afternoon. To give you a taste, let’s focus on the quarterbacks. 

Here are the projected passing lines. You can bet Nick Foles or Tom Brady to go Over or Under any of these…

Foles: 23.5 completions (Under -125), 37.5 attempts, 260.5 gross passing yards

Brady: 23.5 completions (Over -125), 39.5 attempts, 285.5 gross passing yards

Past isn’t necessarily a predictor of the future, particularly with Gronkowski out. But, here’s a look at Brady’s passing lines in his seven prior Super Bowls (these are “net” passing yards rather than gross).

16-27-0-134 vs. St. Louis

32-48-1-354 vs. Carolina

23-33-0-219 vs. Philadelphia

29-48-0-229 vs. the NY Giants

27-41-1-266 vs. the NY Giants

37-50-2-328 vs. Seattle

43-63-1-466 vs. Atlanta (helped by overtime)

That’s four straight with 40 or more attempts. Brady has also thrown interceptions in each of the last three given those high attempt counts. That plays into our next category.

Will Tom Brady Throw an Interception: Yes plus 170, no -190

Will Nick Foles Throw an Interception: Yes plus 140, no -160

Yes is an Underdog for Brady throwing a pick. That may be a linchpin category for anticipating how the overall game plays out. Sharp Brady can cover the spread. Hurried and pressured Brady might top his individual passing targets in a way where risk still gets the best of him. 

More Super Bowl coverage coming throughout the week, leading up to Friday’s big stat-based preview here in VSiN City. 

NBA: Blake Griffin traded to Detroit as LA Clippers begin housecleaning

It will be very interesting to see how “market” Power Ratings will change with a high impact player like Blake Griffin leaving a Western playoff contender to join an Eastern playoff contender after a blockbuster Monday trade.

*The LA Clippers entered Monday action in the #9 slot out West, just a game behind #8 Denver. Perhaps being just two games behind New Orleans was more on their mind. There’s an assumption across the betting marketplace that the Clippers DIDN’T want to reach the playoffs just to get squashed by Golden State or Houston in the first round. New Orleans losing DeMarcus Cousins to a season-ending injury this past weekend stuck a possible anvil on the Pelicans. The Clippers can now focus all of their energy on a complete rebuild as they stockpile resources for future use. 

*The Detroit Pistons entered Monday action in the #9 slot in the East. They WANT to make the playoffs because they’ve struggled long enough. The addition of Griffin gives them a shot to chase down Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Indiana, or Washington in the lower half of the Eastern brackets. 

Note that Detroit hosts the multi-time defending Eastern champs Cleveland Tuesday night. No word as of publication deadlines if Griffin will be in a Pistons uniform by tipoff. The Clippers host Portland. Be sure to monitor line moves throughout the day to get a sense of both oddsmaker and sharp perceptions of the new lineups. In their last board games…

*Detroit was plus 7.5 at Cleveland

*LAC was plus 2 at New Orleans in the Pelican’s first game without Cousins

We’ll know more by our regular Thursday update of NBA Power Ratings.

Big 12 Basketball: #7 Kansas earns another big road win, crushing Kansas State 

Other than the last few minutes of last week’s Oklahoma game, the Kansas Jayhawks have been a road juggernaut this season. Their odd narrative had been of a team that struggled vs. expectations at home, but repeatedly crushed them in road testers. Another pointspread blowout here. 

#7 Kansas (-1) 70, Kansas State 56

Two-point Pct: Kansas 46%, Kansas State 39% 

Three Pointers: Kansas 9/20, Kansas State 6/27

Free Throws: Kansas 19/26, Kansas State 8/11

Rebounds: Kansas 41, Kansas State 31

Turnovers: Kansas 16, Kansas State 7

Kenpom-Sagarin-BPI: Kansas 9-6-7, Kansas State 35-33-39

Definitely some turnover issues. But, otherwise you see strength up and down the boxscore. The defense shut K-State down while not committing many fouls. The offense attacked the basket to earn cheap points at the free throw line. We should also note that 17 of 21 Kansas field goals were assisted. That’s the kind of teamwork you want to see in playoff style basketball. 

On the road in Big 12 play, Kansas now has win/covers at Texas, TCU, West Virginia, and Kansas State. Whenever KU visits, that’s one of the biggest games of the season for the hosts. And, all of those teams are currently in the Dance brackets. A very positive sign for potential success in March.  

Kansas State had covered five straight before hitting a shooting slump vs. Georgia and now Kansas. Still a spoiler. But, below market expectations in games where the spotlight was shining brightly. 

Big 12 estimated “market” Power Ratings: Kansas 86 at home…85 on the road, West Virginia 86 at home…84 on the road, Texas Tech 84 at home…83 on the road, Oklahoma 82, TCU 80, Kansas State 80 at home…79 on the road, Texas 78, Baylor 78, Oklahoma State 76, Iowa State 74.

Kansas State was getting very clear market respect to only be a one-point home dog vs. Kansas. We had to stick them up at 80 at home because there was no reason to dock Kansas off the cover vs. Texas A&M Saturday. Let’s see if K-State drops a point or two the next time its on the board. 

ACC Basketball: #4 Duke bounces back strong with rout of shorthanded Notre Dame

Though Notre Dame seems pretty clearly to be a Dance-caliber team when Bonzie Colson is in the lineup…the Irish are in danger of not making the NCAA’s after dropping their sixth straight Monday night at Duke. Just what ND needed…shorthanded on a trip to Durham to catch the fired-up Dukies after their Saturday loss to Virginia.  

#4 Duke (-15) 88, Notre Dame 66

Two-point Pct: Notre Dame 42%, Duke 45% 

Three Pointers: Notre Dame 7/25, Duke 12/20

Free Throws: Notre Dame 15/18, Duke 12/16

Rebounds: Notre Dame 29, Duke 43

Turnovers: Notre Dame 10, Duke 12

Kenpom-Sagarin-BPI: Notre Dame 34-31-29, Duke 4-5-4

Colson isn’t expected to return to the lineup until early March (if then) after breaking his foot in practice early in January. The betting markets have had trouble dropping the Irish quickly enough down the Power Ratings. Notre Dame is now 1-5 ATS its last six games, not coming close to the point spread either here or this past weekend at home against Virginia Tech. 

You can see that Duke dominated inside and out…with a sharp 60% mark on three-pointers and a plus 14 advantage in rebounding. Amazingly, Duke had 15 offensive rebounds compared to just 18 defensive rebounds for ND. That means any missed Duke shot was basically a coin flip to go back to the Blue Devils. 

Duke is now 6-2 ATS its last eight games even with the non-cover and loss to Virginia. We should still expect Duke to be seeded in the top eight come Dance time. Notre Dame’s great computer ratings above won’t help them if they can’t make a run closer to the .500 mark in ACC play after this 3-6 start. 

ACC estimated “market” Power Ratings: Duke 87, Virginia 86, North Carolina 83, Clemson 81 at home…80 on the road, Louisville 81 at home…79 on the road, Florida State 80, Virginia Tech 78, Miami 78, Syracuse 77, Notre Dame 75, NC State 75, Wake Forest 74, Georgia Tech 74, Boston College 72, Pittsburgh 64.

Big Ten Basketball: Red-hot Nebraska now 13-1 ATS its last 14 after knocking off Wisconsin

The jury has several weeks to deliberate whether or not Nebraska is turning into a Dance-caliber team. Nobody can argue about who’s the hottest point spread team in college basketball right now. The Nebraska Cornhuskers “upset” the Wisconsin Badgers Monday night to make it 13 covers in their last 14 games. 

Nebraska (plus 3.5) 74, Wisconsin 63

Two-point Pct: Nebraska 51%, Wisconsin 48% 

Three Pointers: Nebraska 4/19, Wisconsin 7/20

Free Throws: Nebraska 24/28, Wisconsin 16/31

Rebounds: Nebraska 34, Wisconsin 32

Turnovers: Nebraska 6, Wisconsin 13

Kenpom-Sagarin-BPI: Nebraska 60-66-70, Wisconsin 85-67-73

We put “upset” in quotes even though it was obviously a market upset. But, the market has been missing this team for so long that you have to wonder why the Huskers were getting plus 3.5 when they entered with a 7-4 to 3-6 advantage in the Big 10 standings (now 8-4 to 3-7) and a 16-7 to 10-12 advantage in overall record. What does Nebraska have to do to get market respect? 

Nebraska’s Last Five Games

Nebraska (plus 5) beat Michigan 72-52 (covered by 25)

Nebraska (plus 11.5) lost at Ohio State 64-59 (covered by 6.5)

Nebraska (plus 2.5) won at Rutgers 60-54 (covered by 8.5)

Nebraska (-4.5) routed Iowa 98-84 (covered by 9.5)

Nebraska (plus 3.5) won at Wisconsin 74-63 (covered by 14.5)

The tail end of the 13-1 ATS run is a quintet that beat the market by a combined 64 points. And, there wasn’t anything fluky about Monday’s win in Madison. Nebraska won by double digits despite only shooting 4 of 19 on treys. The Huskers won scoring “1’s and 2’s” by a 62-42 count. And they did that while only turning the ball over six times on the road and hitting 86% of their free throws. Classic, fundamental basketball.

Wisconsin has fallen so far that this could just have been taking candy from a baby, with Nebraska being a NIT title threat rather than a Dance darkhorse. Greg Peterson talked yesterday about the resume issues Nebraska can’t really fix with such a weak remaining schedule. Six games remain to advance an 8-4 league record into something more dramatic. 

Big Ten estimated “market” Power Ratings: Purdue 86, Michigan State 86, Ohio State 82, Michigan 80, Penn State 78, Maryland 77, Northwestern 75, Nebraska 74, Indiana 74, Wisconsin 74, Iowa 73, Minnesota 72, Illinois 72, Rutgers 71 at home…70 on the road.

In other Big Ten action Tuesday, Michigan (-7.5) beat Northwestern 58-47. Nebraska’s certainly performing recently much better than “74” would suggest. The market had them as a neutral site pick-em vs. Wisconsin Monday…so we can’t lift them at the moment.  

Moving now to Greg Peterson’s previews for Tuesday. A great chance to include a solid mid-major as Buffalo of the MAC has a road test at Kent State. Buffalo is the class of the MAC, and could easily be seeded in one of the spoiler positions on the #12 or #13 seed line in the NCAA’s if it wins the MAC tournament (Joe Lunardi of ESPN currently has the Bulls as a #12 seed). We’ll continue to pop in dangerous floaters like this when possible. First, a college hoops “cocktail party” with Florida visiting Georgia. 

College Basketball: “Running the Floor” with Greg Peterson

Florida at Georgia (7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network)

Opening Line: Florida -2.5

Offensive Efficiency: Florida #34, Georgia #191

Defensive Efficiency: Florida #99, Georgia #57

Rebound Rate: Florida #205, Georgia #19

Percent of Shots are 3s: Florida #103, Georgia #270

Free Throw Shooting Percentage: Florida #50, Georgia #160

Pace: Florida #115, Georgia #300

Florida has been inconsistent this year, with wins over the likes of Cincinnati, Gonzaga, and at Rupp Arena against Kentucky…but also losses at home to Loyola Chicago and South Carolina. The Gators will be facing a desperate Georgia team that is falling off the bubble after losing five of its last six games.

Georgia’s strength is in the front court. The Bulldogs have the second-lowest 3-Point shooting rate in the conference. Its offense is very reliant to forward Yante Maten. With Florida’s biggest weakness being its post play, Georgia will likely center its game plan around the 6-foot-10 senior who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.

Florida has an advantage in quickness and has found success this year when getting baskets in transition. When Florida is unable to get out and run. The Gators often rely on trying to find an open 3-point shot.

It will be a battle of strength on strength as Florida is a better offensive team that likes to get out and run while Georgia hang its hat on tough defense and slowing the game down. A higher scoring game plays into Florida's hands and a lower scoring game bodes well for Georgia.

Buffalo at Kent State (7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN3)

Opening Line: Buffalo -7

Offensive Efficiency: Buffalo #66, Kent State #173

Defensive Efficiency: Buffalo #112, Kent State #199

Rebound Rate: Buffalo #109, Kent State #162

Percent of Shots are 3s: Buffalo #74, Kent State #192

Free Throw Shooting Percentage: Buffalo #231, Kent State #134

Pace: Buffalo #15, Kent State #138

Buffalo has knocked off all challengers in the MAC this season, getting off to an 8-0 start in conference play. Buffalo has won seven of those MAC games by at least 10 points and has been rolling thanks to a high-octane offense. 

Buffalo opening as a seven-point favorite against Kent State, one of just three teams with a winning record in conference play, shows the divide between the Bulls and every other team not named Toledo in the MAC. This line indicates that on a neutral court. Buffalo would likely be at least a 10-point favorite.

The Bulls play a lot of position-less basketball as all but one of its regular rotation players are capable and willing 3-point shooters. Buffalo rarely has players post up, with the team's focus being to either get a 3 or a layup on every possession.

Kent State has gotten hot recently, winning four of its last five games. The Golden Flashes are a very balanced team and have won their 11 games in a variety of ways. This team ranks in the middle of most major categories in the nation and has its most success when playing games in the 70's.

The Golden Flashes' best chance to both win and cover is preventing the game from being too sped up while cutting to the rim at will on offense. Buffalo likes to turn on the burners and make it a shootout. Buffalo is 15-0 when scoring more than 80 points and 1-5 when it does not.

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See you Wednesday as the Super Bowl countdown continues!

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