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NFL Win Totals kicks off busy week in sports betting

Jeff Fogle
VSiN.com

NFL Win totals are up…the Jazz win the last game of Round 1…the Celtics win the first game of Round 2…and Norm Macdonald had a blast…all ahead at VSiN City! 

South Point first to post 2017 NFL Regular-Season Win Totals
We hope you joined Brent Musburger, Chris Andrews, and Vinny Magliulo Sunday for the official release of 2017 NFL Regular Season Win Totals. South Point was the first up globally with these numbers. Let’s take the openers by division so you can envision the key races as you study the numbers. 

  • AFC East: New England 11 (over -120), Miami 7.5, Buffalo 6, NY Jets 5.5 Over (-120).
  • AFC North: Pittsburgh 10.5 (over -120), Baltimore 9.5 (under -125), Cincinnati 8.5 (Over -120), Cleveland 4.
  • AFC South: Tennessee 9.5 (Under -120), Indianapolis 9 (under -115), Houston 8.5 (over -120), Jacksonville 5.5 (over -120).
  • AFC West: Oakland 9.5 (Over -120), Kansas City 9 (over -120), Denver 8.5 (over -120), LA Chargers 7.5.
  • NFC East: Dallas 9.5 (over -120), NY Giants 9 (over -115), Philadelphia 8.5, Washington 7.5. 
  • NFC North: Green Bay 10 (under -120), Minnesota 8.5 (Over -120), Detroit 8, Chicago 5.
  • NFC South: Atlanta 10 (under -120), Carolina 9 (over -120), New Orleans 8.5 (Under -120), Tampa Bay 8. 
  • NFC West: Seattle 10.5, Arizona 7.5, LA Rams 5.5 (over -120), San Francisco 4.5.

Some win totals will have changed based on early betting action by the time you read this. Be sure to watch VSiN programming throughout the day for updates. 

You’ll note that the projected wins add up to more than the possible 256 victories. That’s because sportsbooks bake in a form of vigorish to create a house edge. Generally speaking, the public bets more Overs than Unders, so the grand total adds up to around 260 wins…with even more additional Over vig. 

If you missed Sunday’s programming, hear the official announcements with perspective direct from the oddsmakers by clicking here. Then, fast-moving analysis from the bettor’s perspective courtesy of “The Green Zone” with Jon Von Tobel, Matt Youmans, and guests by clicking here. That’s how the lines were made…then how bettors were looking to attack them.

NBA: Jazz upsets Clippers in Game 7 shocker
The Utah Jazz blew its chance to wrap up its opening-round series with the Los Angeles Clippers at home on Friday night. But Utah bounced back strong Sunday to set up a second-round date with the Golden State Warriors.

Utah ( 4) 104, LA Clippers 91 

  • Two-Point Pct: Utah 52%, LA Clippers 53%
  • Three-Pointers: Utah 6/13, LA Clippers 6/25
  • Rebounding: Utah 46, LA Clippers 38

We included two-point percentage even though the Jazz didn’t win the category because it continued its trend of scoring well inside since Blake Griffin got hurt. That injury clearly made Utah the better team in the paint. When the Clippers could only hit 6 of 25 treys Sunday, the fate of this series was sealed. 

Griffin got hurt in Game 3…

  • Game 4: Utah shot 58% on two-pointers and won rebounding 42-31
  • Game 5: Utah shot 49% on two-pointers and won rebounding 43-34
  • Game 6: Utah shot 48% on two-pointers and lost rebounding 38-41 (in a loss)
  • Game 7: Utah shot 52% on two-pointers and won rebounding 46-38

That’s plus 25 in rebounding while winning three of the last four games (twice on the road), and a composite 52% on two-point shots in a slow-paced halfcourt series (possession counts of 92-89-87-88-92-89-91). In the three Utah victories post-Griffin, those numbers move to plus 28 and 53%.

Game 1 of Utah/Golden State will be Tuesday night. The early line has the Warriors -13, with an Over/Under of 208.5.

NBA: Celtics survive topsy-turvy opener with Wizards
Being a Wizard doesn’t mean you’re supposed to make your own 16-0 lead disappear! The Celtics rallied from that ridiculous hole to earn a 15-point second half lead themselves…only to blow almost all of that! The top seed in the East pulled away down the stretch to coast to a cover.

Boston (-4.5) 123, Washington 111

  • Three-Pointers: Washington 10/23, Boston 19/39
  • Wall: 20 points, 16 assists, 8 turnovers
  • Thomas: 33 points, 9 assists, 2 turnovers

We normally focus on team stats in VSiN City recaps. But handicappers and bettors are definitely focused on the Wall-Thomas dynamic in this matchup. Both guards had high-impact games. But Thomas was able to do that with only two giveaways while Wall wasted too many possessions. At the team level, most categories were even outside of treys. If Boston’s going to make almost half of its bombs at such a high volume, the Wiz have no chance of hanging close. 

Note that this game reached 234 points (against a market price of 216) on a low possession count of just 93. Boston’s first two games with Chicago went Over before the Rondo injury scuttled scoring (four straight Unders after he left). Washington’s defense struggled all series with the poor offense of Atlanta. The market will have some fun trying to pin down the right total in this series. 

The sports calendar saw the first round end for these two survivors…and the second round begin…since we were last together Friday morning! That means we must post our preview data with one game in the books. Here are the regular-season rankings in our key indicator stats (seedings in parenthesis). 

Boston (1) vs. Washington (4)

  • Pre-Series Price: Boston -185, Washington 165 (before G1)
  • Offensive Efficiency Ranking: Boston #8, Washington #9
  • Defensive Efficiency Ranking: Boston #12, Washington #20
  • Rebound Rate Ranking: Boston #27, Washington #16
  • Pace Ranking: Boston #12, Washington #11

Both teams have similar guard heavy offenses. Boston has the superior defense, while Washington is better at rebounding (because all playoff teams are better than Boston at rebounding!). Worth noting here that Atlanta’s guards attacked the basket successfully through much of the first round. How will the Wizards stop Isaiah Thomas?! 

NBA: Monday doubleheader features showcase showdowns
The two most anticipated second round series in the NBA Playoffs begin Monday night. This is going to be some doubleheader! The stat previews…

Cleveland (2) vs. Toronto (3)

  • Series Price: Cleveland -600, Toronto 450
  • Game One Line: Cleveland -7, total of 209
  • Offensive Efficiency Ranking: Cleveland #3, Toronto #6
  • Defensive Efficiency Ranking: Cleveland #22, Toronto #8
  • Rebound Rate Ranking: Cleveland #19, Toronto #8
  • Pace Ranking: Cleveland #19 (slower in playoffs), Toronto #8

If these teams’ “regular season” form represented their playoff skill sets, then Toronto would be the clear favorite. Defense and rebounding win championships! But we all know that Cleveland is more experienced in a big-game atmosphere, and has a special gear they use when needed. In terms of “playoff” offense, Cleveland’s explosiveness potential is better than #3 vs. #6 would suggest because LeBron James is so efficient at getting buckets, earning free throws, or dishing out of a double team to a three-point shooter. Cleveland’s defense will seem better than #19 would suggest in crunch time situations. 

All that being said, Toronto has a real chance to make a statement here. They have younger legs. They have nothing to lose as big series underdogs. They will have a rabid home crowd behind them if an upset becomes possible. And, they have excellent balance across all important skill sets. Can they WIN while getting the big-game experience they so badly need? Early market prices are saying NO pretty emphatically. Let’s see. 

San Antonio (2) vs. Houston (3)

  • Series Price: San Antonio -270, Houston 230
  • Game One Line: San Antonio -5.5, total of 213.5
  • Offensive Efficiency Ranking: San Antonio #7, Houston #2
  • Defensive Efficiency Ranking: San Antonio #1, Houston #17
  • Rebound Rate Ranking: San Antonio #6, Houston #14
  • Pace Ranking: San Antonio #27, Houston #3

As we’ve discussed already, Houston plays a very efficient offense at a super-fast pace, while San Antonio plays a very efficient offense at a super-slow pace. The Rockets race downcourt in search of dunks and open treys. San Antonio works through sets until forcing an open look. Both approaches can be beautiful to watch. The market is aware that it’s generally easier to make San Antonio’s approach work in a playoff setting. Can Houston get looks in transition against a superior rebounding and defensive team? Will the Spurs find holes in the Houston defense just as easily as they did against Memphis (116 and 103 points respectively on just 83 and 82 possessions in the final two wins, after 111 points on 86 possessions in the series opener)?

The math favors the Spurs, but Houston can turn that math on its head if they shoot better on three-pointers here than they did vs. Oklahoma City. If both are trading buckets, but the Rockets are making more treys, they have a shot to win four times out of seven. 

In terms of pure team “caliber” or Power Ratings, this could very easily be a conference or league championship in any other season. Get ready for some great basketball!  

We’ll preview the Utah/Golden State series for you tomorrow here in VSiN City. 

NHL: Reflections from the ice
Four hockey playoff games were played over the weekend. A quick recap…

Saturday: Pittsburgh (plus 160) stunned the pre-playoff favorite Washington Capitals 6-2 to sweep both road games at the start of this second-round showdown. Washington won shot count Saturday 36-24 knowing the importance of forcing the split. That’s a combined 71-45 edge in shots for the Caps after two games, but a 9-4 deficit on the scoreboard. Pittsburgh is -135 at home Monday in Game Three, with the Over/Under at 5.5 goals (Over -120, Under even money). Note that’s the only game on Monday’s NHL card.

Saturday: Ottawa (even money) beat the NY Rangers 6-5 in double overtime. The Rangers playing down 1-0 in the series entering the game won shot count 48-34, but allowed an astounding SIX goals on those 34 shots! The Senators carry a 2-0 series lead after sweeping their home games into Tuesday’s Game 3 at Madison Square Garden. This series gets an extra day off as the league flips the schedule to having one Eastern Conference game, and one Western Conference game each night beginning Tuesday. New York is currently -160 with a total of 5 in that one.

Sunday: Nashville (-155) beat St. Louis 3-1 with an impressive shot count of 34-23 even though the Blues were playing from behind most of the way. The impressive Predators now lead the series 2-1. Game Four will be until Tuesday night in Nashville. 

Sunday: Anaheim (plus 110) beat Edmonton 6-4 in a must-win situation. In a wild one, the Ducks jumped ahead 3-0 in the first dozen minutes…blew all of that lead…but then scored the last three goals of the game to get one of their two needed service breaks. This series rests until Wednesday with Edmonton holding a 2-1 lead. 

Kentucky Derby: Big week of coverage ahead
When it comes to handicapping horse racing, each race is a unique puzzle. The phrase “more art than science” very much comes into play specifically for the Kentucky Derby because it always features three-year old horses with relatively light racing histories. For handicappers, that means…

  • Small sample sizes
  • Inconsistent fields in past races
  • Varied sites and surface conditions all over the globe for those races

It’s a daunting analytical challenge that has captured the imagination of sports fans for just shy of 150 years. 

To get you ready, VSiN will be providing comprehensive coverage through the week…keyed by our studio hosts and experienced expert oddsmakers. Jimmy Vaccaro, Chris Andrews, and Vinny Magliulo have been behind the counter for this race for at least 25 years each! Ron Flatter of “My Guys in the Desert” will be heading out to bluegrass country personally late in the week to report live from Churchill Downs. We’ll also have special guests from the full spectrum of The Sport of Kings. 

To start off the week, here’s a quick look at composite betting odds offshore from oddschecker. We’ve also included first, second, and third place finishes through the brief careers of the contending three-year-olds. 

Contender: composite odds (first, second, third place finishes)
Classic Empire: 4 to 1, (5-0-1 in 7 races)
Irish War Cry: 6 to 1, (4-0-0 in 5 races)
Always Dreaming: 7 to 1 (3-1-1 in 5 races)
McCraken: 7 to 1 (4-0-1 in 5 races)
Guennerva: 10 to 1 (4-2-1 in 9 races)
Girvin: 12 to 1 (3-0-0 in 4 races)
Gormley: 12 to 1 (4-0-0 in 6 races)
Practical Joke: 12 to 1 (3-2-1 in 6 races)
Tapwrit: 20 to 1 (3-1-0 in 6 races)
Thunder Snow: 20 to 1 (4-2-0 in 8 races)
Irap: 20 to 1 (1-3-1 in 8 races)
Hence: 25 to 1 (2-1-1 in 6 races)
J Boys Echo: 25 to 1 (2-1-1 in 6 races)
Lookin at Lee: 25 to 1 (2-2-2 in 9 races)
Patch: 25 to 1 (1-2-0 in 3 races)
State of Honor: 25 to 1 (1-4-2 in 10 races)
Battle of Midway: 25 to 1 (1-2-1 in 4 races)
Sonneteer: 25 to 1 (0-4-2 in 10 races)
Royal Mo: 33 to 1 (2-2-1 in 6 races)
Untrapped: 40 to 1 (1-3-1 in 6 races)
Fast and Accurate: 66 to 1 (3-1-0 in 6 races)

Note that the Kentucky Derby field is limited to 20 horses. There are 21 listed above, which means at least one will drop out between now and race day. Royal Mo is currently the odd horse out but will make the field if there’s a defection.

We’ll supplement broadcast coverage through the week here in VSiN City, while also providing links to other helpful information sources. Here is a great piece from Flatter last week to get you started if you haven't read it already.

If you missed it: Norm Macdonald visited Brent in the VSiN studios Saturday
Comedy’s patron saint of sports bettors Norm Macdonald visited Brent Musburger Saturday afternoon in advance of his weekend performances at the South Point Showroom. 

You can watch those entertaining segments from “My Guys in the Desert” right here.

Here are three articles Norm wrote for Grantland that focused specifically on sports betting…

Keeping Resolutions Volume 1
Keeping Resolutions Volume 2
Keeping Resolutions Volume 3

A busy day in VSiN City kicks off a busy week! If you have any comments about programming or our newsletter, please drop us a note. You can subscribe by clicking here. Follow us on twitter by clicking here. You saw this past weekend how important that twitter feed is with all the breaking stories. See you Tuesday morning. 

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