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No Ball, no problem for Summer League champion Lakers

By Jeff Fogle  ( 

Kyle Kuzma was the MVP of the Summer League title game.

Ballin’ without Lonzo, the Lakers win the Las Vegas Summer League behind hot shooting Kyle Kuzma. That plus the latest sports betting headlines direct from VSiN City.

NBA Summer League: Lakers stay hot on treys to win championship

Before Monday night’s Vegas Summer League championship featuring the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trailblazers was even played, the event awarded the Most Valuable Player award to Lonzo Ball. Then the Lakers went out and reminded everyone they weren’t a one-man summer team.

LA Lakers (-1.5) 110, Portland 98

  • 2-point shooting: Portland 46%, Lakers 63%
  • 3-point shooting: Portland 13/33, Lakers 14/24
  • Rebounds: Portland 34, Lakers 38

The main drawback of all the media hype about the Lakers the past two weeks was that Lonzo Ball was getting credit for everything that went right. Great shooters were scoring because he got them the ball. Three pointers were falling because he found the open man. Everybody else’s assists reflected back to him because he was changing the “culture” of the franchise. 

The Lakers shot 26 of 41 on two-pointers Monday, and hit 58% of their treys even though Ball was on the bench. This was a talented GROUP of athletes who worked together to get open looks at a brisk but not overwhelming pace. 

Look at three-point shooting over the last three games…

  • The Lakers beat Brooklyn 115-106, shooting 14 of 26 on three-pointers
  • The Lakers beat Dallas 108-98, shooting 17 of 22 on three-pointers
  • The Lakers beat Portland 110-98, shooting 14 of 24 on three-pointers

Not one hot night, but three games that total 45 of 72 on three-pointers for 62.5%, which is the same as 94% on two’s! 

The biggest individual star was Kyle Kuzma. The rookie out of Utah was picked #27 in the recent draft…but played this tournament like a future star. 

Kuzma Control

  • Round of 16: 20 points (4 of 8 on treys)
  • Quarterfinal: 26 points (3 of 7 on treys)
  • Semifinal: 24 points (5 of 7 on treys)
  • Championship: 30 points (6 of 10 on treys), 10 rebounds

Obviously, there’s a big difference between thriving against others your own age, and thriving in the NBA that’s stacked with superstar veterans. It may be awhile before Kuzma matters at the next level. Ball has to work on defense, long-range shooting accuracy, and driving at the basket in a way that draws fouls.

On the whole, a week that won’t soon be forgotten in the burgeoning rebuild of the Lakers franchise, or in the evolution of this Las Vegas summer highlight. 

NBA: Continuing the Las Vegas/NBA link, will a casino operator own an NBA team?! 

Almost as soon as it was announced Tuesday that Les Alexander was putting the Houston Rockets up for sale, news broke that Houston billionaire and Golden Nugget operator Tilman Fertitta was interested in purchasing the NBA team.

Fertitta’s fortune was built in the restaurant industry (beginning with Landry’s Inc.). In Las Vegas, he’s known as the owner of the Golden Nugget downtown (Fertitta owns all Golden Nuggets across the country, including Atlantic City, Biloxi, and Lake Charles). If you watch a lot of CNBC, you’ve no doubt seen his reality show “Billion Dollar Buyer.” 

It would be a major breakthrough in terms of professional sports leagues’ acceptance of sports betting if Fertitta is able to get NBA approval. In 2008, he was one of the original investors in the Houston Texans NFL franchise. But, the league forced him to sell his shares because NFL rules forbid any employee from having an association with the gambling industry. 

VSiN will stay on top of this developing story through the summer, on our broadcasts and here in VSiN City. 

MLB: Monday market shows big bets against tired Yankees and Red Sox

This past weekend, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox played a four-game series in three days, that was more like a five-game series because Saturday’s showdown lasted 16 innings. Some big money bettors apparently felt BOTH teams would be drained from the experience…

  • NYY opened at -117 at Minnesota, the line moved all the way across pick-em to Minnesota -110
  • Boston opened at -130 vs. Toronto, the line dropped all the way to Boston -105

The Yankees scored only two runs in a hitter’s park against a very shaky starter, falling to the Twins 4-2. They also lost the five-inning prop by a score of 2-1. (Aaron Judge’s post-All Star Game slump continued with an 0-3 performance…he’s 1 of 21 since the hoopla.) The Red Sox managed just six hits in a 4-3 loss to Toronto, also dropping the “first half” decision in a 3-0 shutout. 

Note that the Yankees fell to just three games over .500, after peaking at 15 games over several weeks ago. New York is just 4-9 its last 13 games, 9-21 its last 30. Boston is only 3-7 its last 10 games. Tampa Bay won late in Oakland to pull within two games of first place in the AL East.

AL East Contenders

  • Boston 52-42
  • Tampa Bay 50-44 (2 games back)
  • NY Yankees 47-44 (3.5 games back)
  • (Baltimore and Toronto both won Monday, and are both eight games back)

The Wildcard race continues to heat up thanks to the suddenly red-hot Seattle Mariners, who scored a 9-7 extra-inning shocker at plus 200 over Lance McCullers and the Houston Astros.

Through Monday night’s action (top two spots earn Wildcards)…

  • Tampa Bay 50-44
  • NY Yankees 47-44
  • Minnesota 47-45 (a half game out of the final spot)
  • Seattle 47-47 (1.5 games out)
  • Kansas City 45-46 (2 games out)
  • Texas 45-47 (2.5 games out)
  • LA Angels 46-49 (3 games out)

Tampa Bay has won five of its last six to soar past the Yankees. Seattle has won five in a row to get back on the Wildcard radar. 

MLB: Pitching previews for Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Angels

What might be the most appealing series of the new week doesn’t get started until Tuesday night, when National League power Washington visits American League Wildcard contender Los Angeles in Anaheim. This was already likely to be an interesting series before a “blast from the past” was scheduled to take the mound for the Nats. Here are the “three true outcome” stats for the projected starting pitchers in this quick two-game set.

Tuesday (Early Line…LA Angels -125, total of 9.5)

  • Edwin Jackson: 6.9% K’s, 13.8% walks, 3.6 HR/9, 8.31 xFIP
  • Jesse Chavez: 18.2% K’s, 7.9% walks, 1.8 HR/9, 4.74 xFIP

Edwin Jackson? Where did he come from? Prior Washington rotation starter Joe Ross will have Tommy John surgery Wednesday. Jackson was called up from the minors to replace Ross. Note that Jackson’s stats above come from three relief appearances for Baltimore. He probably won’t pitch as poorly as those stats suggest. But, he’s a longshot to thrive at this point. Definitely worth thinking about the Over with those starting pitchers, these offenses, and the fact that the Angels had a day off Monday. 


  • Gio Gonzalez: 23.3% K’s, 10.2% walks, 1.0 HR/9, 4.23 xFIP
  • Ricky Nolasco: 19.7% K’s, 6.7% walks, 2.2 HR/9, 4.60 xFIP

Nolasco has been very home run prone this season, which is the last thing you want to hear when facing an offense like Washington’s. Gonzalez definitely rates the edge in this matchup. Gonzalez has been overshadowed in the headlines by Max Scherzer and Steven Strasburg. That shaky xFIP suggests the headlines are right! Gonzalez is due to regress from his misleadingly good 2.66 ERA. 

Remember to keep an eye on Washington’s bullpen moving forward. A chance for some high-pressure baseball the next two nights. 

MLB: Updating best/worst home run parks so far in 2017

With home runs looming larger than ever in team analysis and game-day handicapping, this seemed like a good time to update which parks have had the most impact on home run counts this season.

We begin with those that have increased home run counts by at least 10%. Note that these “factors” are determined by comparing total home run counts in home vs. road games. A park won’t grade out well just because a power-based team plays there. That power-based offense also plays in the team’s road games! 

Best HR parks so far in 2017 (thru Sunday’s games)

  • Yankee Stadium: up 44% compared to road games
  • Arizona: up 38%
  • Philadelphia: up 37%
  • Colorado: up 23%
  • Minnesota: up 23%
  • Angel Stadium of Anaheim: up 11%
  • Texas: up 10%
  • Dodger Stadium: up 10%

So, Ricky Nolasco has to face the Nationals in a good home run park! 

Moving to the other extreme. Here are stadiums that have reduced home run counts by at least 10% this season.

Worst HR parks so far in 2017 

  • San Francisco: down 38% compared to road games
  • Kansas City: down 35%
  • Boston: down 32%
  • NY Mets: down 30%
  • Pittsburgh: down 22%
  • St. Louis: down 21%
  • San Diego: down 19%
  • Miami: down 13%

Some real extremes so far this season. It may feel like home runs are flying over fences everywhere. But, we have four different stadiums where counts are down at least 30% compared to those teams’ road games. Fenway Park in Boston really jumps out, because that’s typically thought of as a good home run site. The Red Sox are hitting (and allowing) homers on the road. Perhaps there’s a weather or “prevailing wind” issue in play to this point in 2017. 

As you handicap the nightly cards, remember to think about the impact each stadium might have on proceedings.  

CFL: Early lines and estimated “market” Power Ratings for Week 5 

Time for a sneak peak at early lines for the Canadian Football League, which will help us update our estimated “market” Power Ratings. Those market ratings locked in fairly quickly at least in terms of being within arm’s reach of what the following week’s lines would be. A good sign for at least getting in sync with perceptions of the nine “north of the border” teams.

This week’s early pointspreads… 

  • Montreal at Ottawa (-4.5, total of 50)
  • Edmonton (-3.5, total of 55) at Hamilton
  • Winnipeg at Boston College (-7, total of 56.5)
  • Saskatchewan at Calgary (-10.5, total of 57.5)
  • Ottawa at Toronto (-2, total of 54) (note: this is second game of week for Ottawa)

Remember that Montreal/Ottawa is WEDNESDAY night, which sets up an awkward “two games in five days” stretch for the Redblacks. 

Because of that, we’re going to assume part of “Toronto -2” in Ottawa’s second game is reflective of the fatigue issue. We’ll adjust one point for that in our estimated market ratings. 

CFL Estimated “market” Power Ratings (ATS in parenthesis) 

  • Calgary 83…(1-3 ATS)
  • Edmonton 82…(1-2 ATS)
  • British Columbia 82…(3-1 ATS)
  • Ottawa 79…(3-1 ATS)
  • Winnipeg 78…(2-1 ATS)
  • Toronto 78…(2-2 ATS)
  • Montreal 77…(2-2 ATS)
  • Saskatchewan 75…(2-1 ATS)
  • Hamilton 75…(0-3 ATS)

You’ll notice that we added in records against the spread to help show how condensed things are. The two best teams have been overpriced out of the gate. Hamilton down at the bottom has been surprisingly horrible. But, other projected dregs have actually managed to hang pretty tough so far.

If you’re new to VSiN City, these Power Ratings represent our best guess at how “the market” sees teams once informed money has sharpened up oddsmaker openers. This isn’t how “we” rate the teams ourselves. This is our guess at how “the market” rates the teams based on settled pointspreads. The scale represents neutral field expectations. 

We’re using a value of three points for home field advantage when retro-fitting the scale. You should use that when imagining possible pointspreads in future matchups. Calgary would be -1 over Edmonton on a neutral field, -4 at home. 

If you’re a CFL fan, we’ll preview Montreal/Ottawa in Wednesday’s report. Thursday, we’ll look at the rest of the weekend. 

That’s it for Tuesday. Back tomorrow with an interesting Q A follow-up to last Wednesday’s discussion on baseball “arbitrage” betting. If you’re new to betting the bases, or a veteran interested in adding a new dimension to your approach, we think you’ll enjoy that special interview.

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See you Wednesday.

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