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Dud rehearsal kicks off Week 3 of preseason

Jeff Fogle  
VSiN City newsletter

Well…dress rehearsal week can only get BETTER! We’ll quickly dispense with a 5-0 dud in the NFL before checking in on the MLB pennant races and WNBA Playoffs. The good, the bad, and the ugly (not in that order) from the world of sports betting right now in VSiN City. 

NFL Thursday: Tyrod Taylor returns from scary injury…both offenses were broken in Cleveland’s 5-0 win over Philadelphia

It looked like Tyrod Taylor suffered a major injury early in the game. Twitter insta-diagnosed it as a broken left wrist or a broken arm…only to see Taylor return to action later in the evening. Watch VSiN programming for the latest injury news in the morning. For now, let’s run through the game stats and see if they mean anything for the regular season. 

Cleveland (-3.5) 5, Philadelphia 0 

Total Yardage: Philadelphia 263, Cleveland 258

Yards-per-Play: Philadelphia 4.0, Cleveland 3.7

Rushing Yards: Philadelphia 101, Cleveland 138

Passing Stats: Philadelphia 24-38-2-162, Cleveland 20-31-1-120

Turnovers: Philadelphia 4, Cleveland 1

Normally we’d list the lengths of the touchdown drives. Ha! Hopefully you got discouraged early and turned it off. Never got better. Philadelphia’s Super Bowl hangover still seems to be an issue. Now 0-3 straight up and ATS in the preseason. You don’t get the sense Nick Foles is playing opossum. You get the sense he spent the offseason celebrating too much. Tonight, two interceptions, three sacks, and a strip fumble that set up the safety. 

Both offenses struggled badly. A combined 8 of 28 on third downs, and neither team could do better than 4.0 yards-per-play. Sharps on the favorite get the money thanks to Cleveland’s safety. 

We like to look at the individual quarterback stats in these TV games…

Philadelphia Quarterback Stats

Nick Foles: 13-17-2-127

Nate Sudfeld: 11-21-0-72

Falcons are looking better and better in that season opener. Sure, Foles will improve from what he’s shown this month. But, the team as a whole doesn’t look ready to play to its market Power Rating. 

Cleveland Quarterback Stats

Tyrod Taylor: 11-16-0-65

Baker Mayfield: 8-12-1-76

Drew Stanton: 1-3-0-7

Looks like a lot of carries for Carlos Hyde this season, and a lot of punts. Browns do go 2-1 straight up and ATS amidst a quarterback war. Only 14 points per game on average though. Very tough to get excited about Cleveland until they show some explosiveness with the ball. They do have a shot to be one of those “ugly” value dogs that plays defense and grinds clock.  

Biggest miscue of the night was FOX play-by-play man Jack Buck telling a national audience that “Las Vegas” had priced the Browns as more likely to win the Super Bowl than Atlanta, Jacksonville, or Kansas City. Obviously untrue and INSANE. Disturbing that a chain of information would miss reality by that much…and that an experienced NFL follower like Buck wouldn’t recognize that information as absurd the moment he saw it. That’s like saying “according to Las Vegas, apples fall up,” without double-checking to see if that was really said...and then acting like apples fall up.  

NFL Market Watch: Major move on Houston, as Texans now road favorites over the Rams

Wire services weren’t buzzing about personnel choices for the Los Angeles Rams in their game Saturday against the Houston Texans. But somebody important had already heard! Sean McVay let it be known that Todd Gurley wouldn’t play Saturday, and Jared Goff might not either. Action hit Houston hard late Thursday afternoon Las Vegas time. That game was taken off the board, then put up with Houston as the favorite. 

As we go to press, the Texans are -2 with a total of 40.5. LAR had been -3.5 in yesterday’s report.

Here’s a full rundown for the rest of the weekend, in Nevada Rotation order…

Friday

NY Giants vs. NY Jets -2.5/40.5 (neutral site)

Denver at Washington -3/43.5

New England at Carolina now -1/45 

Detroit at Tampa Bay -3/44 (on CBS)

Seattle at Minnesota -3.5/39.5

Green Bay at Oakland -6.5/41 (on the NFL Network)

Not much of interest happening in Friday’s games. The Jets Over/Under is down a tick from 41. Note that Westgate went back to Jets -2.5 after testing -3. That Detroit/Tampa Bay total is now 44, down from 45 yesterday. 

Saturday

Kansas City at Chicago -2.5/46.5 (on the NFL Network)

Tennessee at Pittsburgh -4/44 (on the NFL Network)

Houston (-2/40.5) at LA Rams 

San Francisco at Indianapolis pick-em/43.5 

Atlanta at Jacksonville -3.5/40 

Baltimore at Miami pick-em/41.5

New Orleans at LA Chargers -2/43.5 (on CBS)

Pittsburgh’s total is down to 44 from 45. Jacksonville has been getting meaningful support that lifted that game off the key number. Jags were -3 over the Falcons yesterday. Now we’re seeing -3.5 with some -4’s out there. Keep an eye on that Texas/Rams price Friday and Saturday. 

Sunday

Cincinnati at Buffalo -1.5/41.5 (on FOX)

Arizona at Dallas -2/41 (on NBC)

Arizona continues to rise after the news that Dallas won’t play Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott. Cowboys aren’t known for taking dress rehearsals very seriously anyway. Cardinals up to -2 in that Sunday nightery on NBC. 

CFL Thursday: Now THIS was an exciting football game!

Too bad this wasn’t on FOX…

Hamilton (-3.5) 25, Edmonton 24 

Total Yardage: Edmonton 362, Hamilton 557

Yards-per-Play: Edmonton 9.8, Hamilton 8.1

Rushing Yards: Edmonton 112, Hamilton 138

Passing Stats: Edmonton 15-25-0-250, Hamilton 27-44-2-419

Turnovers: Edmonton 2, Hamilton 3

Edmonton led 24-10 at halftime. Hamilton rallied all the way back to steal the win late. Both teams had great yards-per-play numbers. But, Edmonton only functioned in the first half! Punt after punt after punt in the last two quarters. One fewer play per drive means your yards-per-play doesn’t get punished as quickly when you stumble. On the other side, more than 400 passing yards for Hamilton’s Jeremiah Masoli.

Not clear what caused the big line move from Edmonton -1 out of the gate to Hamilton -3.5 before kickoff. Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly did have a daughter born earlier this week (named “Cadence!”). He didn’t miss the game, though. Does a line move that much because the QB didn’t get any sleep for a few days? 

Hamilton moves to 4-5 with the rally. Edmonton falls to 6-4.

MLB Thursday: Red Sox salvage split with 7-0 shutout

So much to talk about today…we’ll sprint around the bases…

Boston (-200) 7, Cleveland 0 

Total Bases Plus Walks: Cleveland 5, Boston 22

Starting Pitchers: Plutko 4.1 IP, 5 ER, Price 8 IP, 0 ER

Bullpen: Cleveland 3.2 IP, 2 ER, Boston 1 IP, 0 ER

One of those getaway spots where the visitor is ready to catch a plane. Just five singles and no walks for the Indians. Four-game series splits at two wins apiece. Boston is now 90-39, and 32.5 units in the black for bettors. Best mark in baseball with Oakland cooling off. Cleveland is 73-54, but down 11 units because of high money line prices during an early slump. 

In other games involving playoff contenders…

*Philadelphia (plus 145) won at Washington 2-0. Big win for the Phils against Max Scherzer. They’re now 69-58 for the season, plus 10 units for bettors.

*Colorado (-210) beat San Diego 4-3. Another low scoring game at altitude. Maybe the baseballs are now stored in a humidor located at the bottom of a cold river. Rockies rise to 70-57, plus 14.5 units for backers. 

*Atlanta (-190) won at Miami 5-0. Braves having a good week, move to 72-55. Atlanta is plus 20 units for bettors. Some really nice surprise stories this season as teams like Washington and the LA Dodgers fall by the wayside. 

*The Chicago Cubs (-200) beat Cincinnati 7-1. Cubs back to 20 games over .500 at 73-53. And, almost back to break-even (minus half a unit) for bettors after a disappointing start. 

*Oakland (-185) LOST at Minnesota 6-4. These last two days a killer for the A’s because it’s now harder to catch Houston from behind in the AL West AND to catch the Yankees from behind for home field in the Wildcard game. A’s fall to 76-52, still up a whopping plus 29 units for Moneyball mavens. 

No late finishers, so we can do our divisional shorthand. The numbers you see below are games above .500. Stacking it this way helps you see the races better, and pluck out the best Wildcard hopefuls. 

NL East: Atlanta plus 17, Philadelphia plus 11 

NL Central: Chicago Cubs plus 20, St. Louis plus 14, Milwaukee plus 13

NL West: Arizona plus 15, Colorado plus 13, LA Dodgers plus 6

Dodgers picked a horrible time to slump! They’re taking a step backward every day while others keep moving forward. St. Louis has sizzled since the All-Star break. 

AL East: Boston plus 51, NY Yankees plus 32

AL Central: Cleveland plus 19

AL West: Houston plus 27, Oakland plus 24, Seattle plus 16

Sands in the hourglass starting to run out for Seattle. Though, Oakland may regress and fall back to them. 

WNBA: Washington wails on Los Angeles; ageless Diana Taurasi leads Phoenix to a shocker in Connecticut 

Two more knockouts in the WNBA brackets. One blowout, one shocker. 

Washington (-4.5) 96, Los Angeles 64 

2-point Pct: Los Angeles 38%, Washington 67%

3-pointers: Los Angeles 6/22, Washington 9/23

Free Throws: Los Angeles 10/14, Washington 13/13

Rebounds: Los Angeles 29, Washington 36

Turnovers: Los Angeles 13, Washington 9

Tough travel spot for the Sparks…who pulled away very late on the West Coast Tuesday night. Here they had to play the early game in DC. Was never a contest. Washington shot 28 of 42 inside the arc. A bit odd the hosts kept their starters in the game so long. They were ahead huge the whole second half. Elena Delle Donne played 35 of 40 minutes. Other starters were close behind. Washington peaking at the right time. 

Starting Sunday, #3 seed Washington faces #2 Atlanta in a best-of-five showdown. The market sees Washington as the superior team regardless of seeding. 

Phoenix (plus 4) 96, Connecticut 86

2-point Pct: Phoenix 64%, Connecticut 42%

3-pointers: Phoenix 10/27, Connecticut 9/18

Free Throws: Phoenix 12/13, Connecticut 7/9

Rebounds: Phoenix 40, Connecticut 30

Turnovers: Phoenix 10, Connecticut 5

Analytics is only now starting to make inroads into the WNBA. What advanced stats are showing is that Diana Taurasi isn’t just a “gutsy” team leader who loves to battle…but that she’s one of the most impactful players in the history of the sport. She’s still the Michael Jordan of the league (when you measure what’s most important) at age 36. Here, in a tough travel spot with her season on the line, Taurasi scored 27 points on 10 of 16 shooting (5 of 10 on treys). Brittney Griner also scored 27 points. 

Sunday’s Semifinal Openers (both on ESPN2)

3 p.m. ET: Washington at Atlanta

5 p.m. ET: Phoenix at Seattle

A quick update of our estimated “market” Power Ratings, followed by a trimmed down version of the key regular season indicator stats we ran on Tuesday. We’ve erased the four eliminated teams, so you can handicap Sunday’s series openers. 

WNBA “Market” Power Ratings

88: Seattle 

84: Washington

82: Atlanta, Phoenix 

(We’ll update these again next week based on settled prices in Sunday’s action)

Best Defenses (points allowed/100 possessions)

Atlanta 96.7

Seattle 97.7

Washington 102.4

Phoenix 102.9

Best Rebounding Teams (Pct. of available rebounds grabbed)

Seattle 51.2

Atlanta 49.5

Washington 48.7

Phoenix 48.4

Best Offenses (points scored/100 possessions)

Seattle 107.9

Phoenix 106.4

Washington 105.7

Atlanta 99.0

Most Made Treys per Game

Seattle 9.0 (and most accurate)

Phoenix 8.5

Washington 8.4

Atlanta 5.8

Best at Turnover Avoidance (fewest per game)

Washington 11.30

Atlanta 12.44 

Seattle 12.62

Phoenix 12.74

Looking forward to digging into next week’s box scores as the semifinals get rolling. A lot to talk about Monday with a stat recap of all the NFL dress rehearsals and the first two college football games of the season (Wyoming at New Mexico State and Hawaii at Colorado State). It’s been a busy summer…and now regular season football is imminent. Thanks to all of you who read every day!

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