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Ionescu makes pro hoop debut, igniting huge Saturday of live sports

By Jeff Fogle  ( 

July 24, 2020 10:41 PM

Not all major sports are back yet. But Saturday brings the first true blockbuster barrage of betting action we’ve seen in months.


It’s the biggest new name in the sport taking on the projected league champions when the New York Liberty face the Seattle Storm in the first game of the 2020 WNBA season. 

The league is playing all games in what it’s calling a “wubble” in Bradenton, Fla. Great marketing to put such a marquee matchup in a high-profile TV window. Storm stars Sue Bird and Breanna Steward have their own large followings. Ionescu’s on track to be the WNBA’s next big star.

Overnight odds were hard to find because oddsmakers know that sharps love attacking opening lines in this sport. Here are the lines from BetRivers.

Saturday WNBA (all times Eastern)

Seattle (-8.5) vs. New York (ESPN, noon)

Los Angeles (-3) vs. Phoenix (ABC, 3 p.m.)

Washington (-2.5) vs. Indiana (CBS Sports Network 5 p.m.)

VSiN will build estimated “market” Power Ratings through the week once there’s some interconnectivity between teams. We know that Seattle will be rated at the top of the league based on early futures odds. All games will be played on a neutral court. So, building those ratings will be easy. 

No early lines up yet in Sunday’s tripleheader…

Sunday WNBA (all times Eastern)

Connecticut vs. Minnesota (ESPN, noon)

Las Vegas vs. Chicago (ABC, 3 p.m.)

Atlanta vs. Dallas (CBS Sports Network 5 p.m.)

For those of you in Las Vegas, that’s a noon local time start for the Aces on Sunday afternoon. 


One day off, and back to the pitch! Two teams had to withdraw from the “MLS is Back” tournament because of positive covid tests. Eight more have been eliminated. The sweet 16 will play the knockout phase over the next four days. 

Betting gets a bit trickier in the knockouts. The standard “three-way” is still available. But, it’s only for “regulation” (90 minutes plus injury time). Goal lines are also for regulation only. Many stores do offer “odds to advance,” which means picking the team that’s going to win straight up either in regulation, overtime, or penalty kicks. For today’s report, we grabbed some early “odds to advance” from an offshore composite. Lines below that are for regulation from Again, all times Eastern. 

Orlando vs. Montreal (ESPN2, 8 p.m.)

Odds to Advance: Orlando -220, Montreal +  160

Three-way: Orlando -106, Montreal +  251, draw +  276

Goal Line: Orlando -0.5 goals (-106), Montreal +  0.5 goals (-119)

Over/Under: 3 goals (Over +  102, Under -125) 

Philadelphia vs. New England (ESPN2, 10:30 p.m.)

Odds to Advance: Philadelphia -115, New England -105

Three-way: Philadelphia +  150, New England +  158, draw +  257

Goal Line: Philadelphia pick-em (-118), New England (-103)

Over/Under: 2.75 goals (Over -116, Under -105) 

We’ve studied early odds for the full round to fine tune are “market” Power Ratings on a goal supremacy scale. We had been using the league’s Wikipedia page for bracket order…only to see that they made a correction yesterday. Here are the estimates in the updated framework. 

Upper Half

Philadelphia (2.1) vs. New England (2.0)…Saturday

Kansas City (2.2) vs. Vancouver (1.1)…Sunday

Toronto (2.3) vs. NYCFC (2.1)…Sunday

Portland (1.9) vs. Cincinnati (1.3)…Tuesday

Lower Half

Orlando (2.0) vs. Montreal (1.6)…Saturday

Seattle (2.3) vs. LAFC (2.7)…Monday

San Jose (2.0) vs. Salt Lake (1.7)…Monday

Columbus (2.3) vs. Minnesota (2.1)…Tuesday

The continued ability of MLS to keep players healthy in its Orlando bubble will hopefully be a good indicator for what to expect with the NBA in coming days. 


FOX is showing a day-night tripleheader. The MLB Network and FS1 will also carry a game. That’s FIVE nationally televised big league matchups for you to handicap, bet, and watch on the first regular season Saturday of the 2020 campaign. 

Here’s the rundown, with overnight odds from Circa Sports (all times Eastern)…

*FOX (1:05 p.m.): Milwaukee (Burnes) +  137 at Chicago Cubs (Darvish) -140…no total pending wind forecast.

*MLB Network (2:15 p.m.): Pittsburgh (Williams) +  150 at St. Louis (Wainwright) -165…total of 9 (Under -110, Over +  110).

*FOX (4:10 p.m.): San Francisco (to be announced) at Los Angeles Dodgers (Jose Urias), no line posted until Giants announce their pitcher.

*FOX (7:15 p.m.): New York Yankees (Paxton) -120 at Washington (Strasburg) +  110…total of 8.5 (Under -110, Over -110)

*FS1 (9:15 p.m.): Arizona (Ray) +  115 at San Diego (Lamet) -125…total of 8.5 (Under -110, Over -110)

Daily baseball schedules are too heavy for us to run details on the full card in this daily July “countdown” feature. We’ll pick our spots focusing on marquee MLB matchups in this final week leading up to the starts of NBA and NHL action.


Though the story wasn’t as bad as the ESPN headline made it sound, the entire Michigan State football team entered 14-day quarantine Friday after one athlete and a second staff member tested positive for the corona virus. More evidence that it’s going to be very difficult sustaining practice between now and hoped-for September kickoffs.

Big Ten country is receiving worse news by the day. We’ve touched on this periodically through the month. Here are counts of confirmed new cases Friday for each state in the conference.

Big Ten States: Illinois 1,599, Ohio 1,555, Pennsylvania 1,189, Wisconsin 1,018, Indiana 996, Maryland 930, Minnesota 767, Michigan 641, Iowa 530, Nebraska 356, New Jersey 182. 

Some had surges a couple of months ago, so...many of those aren’t “records.” But, they are part of a worsening trend…particularly for Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana. 

Other covid notes from Friday (data from…

*The U.S. suffered a total of 1,141 reported fatalities, the fourth straight day over 1.1K after six weeks of daily totals below a thousand. 

*Florida reported 12,444 confirmed new cases, a jump from the prior four days, and the 12th day of the last 15 over 10K. 

*California reported 10,593 new cases, it’s fourth straight day over the 10K threshold after breaking it for the first time Tuesday. 

*Georgia reported 9,099 new cases over the last two days (4,286 Thursday and 4,481 Friday), its worst 48 hours of the year. 

*Legal sports betting states Mississippi (1,610 Friday) and Nevada (966 Friday) continue to struggle with mitigation. Mississippi has now topped 1K eight of the last 10 days. Nevada has passed 900 eight of the last nine days. 

Please continue to bet safely.

Other Stories of Interest

*NFL owners and players agree on protocols (NFL PR)

*12 NFL rookies test positive for virus (NFL Network)

*Proposal would let Notre Dame vie for ACC football crown in 2020 (ESPN)

*Zion Williamson back on NBA campus in Orlando (Pelicans PR)

*Domantis Sabonis leaves NBA bubble with major foot injury (ESPN)

*MLB’s Blue Jays to play home games in Buffalo (Buffalo News)

*Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez shut down for covid complications (NESN)

*Japan seeing covid resurgence (NY Times)

VSiN Clips/Tweets on Betting Restarts

*Rick Kamla and Danny Burke look at NBA props (A Numbers Game)

*Patrick Meagher and Michael Lombardi discuss NFL props (Lombardi Line)

*Applying analytics to hockey betting with Travis Yost and JVT (The Edge)

*Learn more about VSiN Market Podcast with Josh Appelbaum

VSiN returns Sunday morning to begin the final week of our July countdown through the restart of team sports. 

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