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The wide world of sport betting: From poker to soccer

Jeff Fogle  
VSiN City newsletter

June 20, 2018 12:01 AM

VSiN contributor Alan Denkenson reached the final table of a World Series of Poker Event! Congrats on a sixth-place finish in Super Seniors No Limit Hold ‘em Tuesday evening. Details plus numbers and notes from a busy sports calendar right now in VSiN City!

World Series of Poker: VSiN contributor Alan Denkenson wins $57,465 for sixth-place finish in Event #36, Super Seniors No Limit Hold’em
Almost 2,200 entries, and “Dink” survived all the way to the final table. (Click here to see final results in the event that finished at the Rio after publication deadlines.)

His final hand according to the WSOP website…

Alan Denkenson: Ace-King off suit (all-in)
Robert Beach: Ace-Eight off suit

Flop: 9-8-6 rainbow
Turn: Q
River: 2

Tough to see the eight on the flop. But Alan had caught a break moments earlier when pocket sixes made trips on the flop all-in against pocket jacks. 

Alan has provided invaluable behind-the-scenes guidance in making sure this newsletter properly captures the reality of “advantage play.” Hopefully you had a chance to read his hockey articles during the regular season. He writes to promote his favorite charity, the Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue. Click here if you’d like to donate. Congrats Dink! (The only VSiN contributor to ever be portrayed by Bruce Willis in a movie!)

World Cup Soccer: From Russia, with goals
If you love Overs, three more today at the World Cup as Round 1 ended and Round 2 began. You know the drill. Let’s take them in the order they were played…

Japan 2, Colombia 1
Total Shots: Colombia 8, Japan 14
Shots on Goal: Colombia 3, Japan 6
Corner Kicks: Colombia 3, Japan 6
Possession Pct: Colombia 42%, Japan 58%
Estimated Goals: Colombia 0.7, Japan 1.5

Horrible luck for Colombia that James Rodriguez suffered an injury in training a few days ago. He was held out of the lineup initially, then entered in minute #60 when it was clear Colombia was in danger of losing what was expected to be a sure win. Japan scored early on a penalty kick after a Colombia hand ball in close. Also on that play, a red card that gave the big underdog an 11-10 personnel edge the rest of the way. So, the stats for Japan are consistent with a win of this margin…but those stats were created with an 11-10 edge against a lineup missing a dynamic star. 

Senegal 2, Poland 1
Total Shots: Poland 11, Senegal 8
Shots on Goal: Poland 4, Senegal 2
Corner Kicks: Poland 3, Senegal 3
Possession Pct: Poland 61%, Senegal 39%
Estimated Goals: Poland 0.7, Senegal 1.5

Smaller upset here. But, Group H is in a tizzy with the two favorites falling. That could make things even easier for Belgium and England in Group G to make it to the quarters. The softest division may have lost its best player if Rodriguez can’t regain his usual form. Senegal created fewer opportunities, but had more high percentage chances thanks to that breakaway you probably saw on the highlight shows. Frankly, neither impressed, or looked ready to challenge an elite. A very low sum of corner kicks compared to what we’ve been seeing. 

Russia 3, Egypt 1
Total Shots: Russia 11, Egypt 13
Shots on Goal: Russia 3, Egypt 1
Corner Kicks: Russia 7, Egypt 4
Possession Pct: Russia 49%, Egypt 51%
Estimated Goals: Russia 1.1, Egypt 0.6

Second straight blowout for the hosts, with expected goals (by way of Michael Caley’s twitter account @Caley_graphics) showing a more realistic representation. Russia was the better side here to the tune of 1.1 to 0.6, after winning that measure 1.9 to 0.2 over hapless Saudi Arabia. Still hard to properly evaluate Russia as a potential spoiler. The World Cup generally sends the host through to the knockouts. Maybe playing on home turf with boisterous crowds will make Russia more like a 2.0 team in our Power Ratings than a 1.5 team (as originally priced). May not know until we see them on the field with Spain or Portugal in the next round. 

Now, snapshot previews of Wednesday’s games. Three-way lines are from the Westgate by way of our odds page. Money lines (where draws are refunded) are from an offshore composite.

*Portugal -0.8 goals over Morocco
Three-way: Portugal -165, Morocco plus 550, draw plus 220
Money line: Portugal -500, Morocco plus 300

*Uruguay -2.0 goals over Saudi Arabia
Three-way: Uruguay -650, Saudi Arabia plus 1900, draw plus 625
Money line: Uruguay -3300, Saudi Arabia plus 900

*Spain -1.8 goals over Iran
Three-way: Spain -575, Iran plus 1750, draw plus 575
Money line: Spain -3300, Iran plus 900

Possibly the worst day for competitive soccer in the history of the World Cup! Maybe the dogs will give us some thrills. Those offshore money lines are fairly loose because many places don’t post numbers in such mismatches. Uruguay and Spain are priced comparably because the win “certainty” at that extreme level doesn’t change much with goal fractions. 

Even though Uruguay doesn’t play its second game until today, we have already seen a line adjustment in the group finale next week matching Uruguay and Russia. The Soviet surge has made that much closer to a toss-up. Again, these lines are a composite from offshore

Money line: Uruguay -150, Russia plus 120
Uruguay -0.25 goals: Russia -125, Uruguay plus 110

That looks like just -0.2 goals for Uruguay, as Russia has to lay juice to get the quarter of a goal. We’ll tighten up the “market” Power Ratings to reflect the new perception of Russia.  

Group A: Uruguay 1.9, Russia 1.7, Egypt 1.2, Saudi Arabia -0.1
Group B: Spain 2.5, Portugal 2.0, Morocco 1.2. Iran 0.7
Group C: France 2.6, Denmark 1.7, Peru 1.5, Australia 1.1
Group D: Argentina 2.4, Croatia 2.0, Iceland 1.3, Nigeria 1.2 
Group E: Brazil 2.8, Switzerland 1.6, Serbia 1.4, Costa Rica 0.9
Group F: Germany 2.7, Mexico 1.8, Sweden 1.4, South Korea 0.9
Group G: Belgium 2.3, England 2.1, Tunisia 0.7, Panama 0.2
Group H: Columbia 2.0, Poland 1.8, Senegal 1.6, Japan 1.2

Maybe Russia should go all the way to 1.8, with Uruguay staying at 2.0. We’ll see what happens after Wednesday’s result for the South American side. 

Back Thursday to run Wednesday’s box score summaries. Don’t forget to watch “Russia 2018: The Tournament Show” Wednesday afternoon on VSiN. Comprehensive breakdowns of game results with an eye on team and player props. Nobody else in the world is covering the World Cup like THIS! 

Tuesday MLB: Yanks stomp Mariners in marquee series opener
So much for Seattle showing everyone it belonged in the championship discussion. The New York Yankees crushed the Mariners Tuesday night in the Bronx.

NY Yankees (-175) 7, Seattle 2 
Total Bases Plus Walks: Seattle 6, New York 24
Starting Pitchers: Gonzalez 6.1 IP, 6 ER, German 7 IP, 1 ER
Bullpen: Seattle 1.2 IP, 1 ER, New York 2 IP, 0 ER

Seattle only had two hits. But they were a double and a home run that helped get something on the board. The Yankees had FOUR dingers. Domingo German threw his third straight quality start for the Bronx Bombers, with 28 strikeouts and only 2 walks in those appearances. Marco Gonzalez of Seattle has seen his ERA jump from 3.28 to 3.80 after facing the Angels and Yanks his last two games. Possibly a sign that Seattle will squash weaklings, but not measure up vs. winners.

New York moves to 48-22 on the season, 39-13 its last 52 games (exact equivalent of -300 on a money line). Seattle falls to 46-27, and an impressive 35-17 over that same number of outings. 

The total does barely stay Under the market price of 9.5, making this the lucky #13 consecutive Under in Yankees games. Consistently stellar pitching. 

A couple of other totals trends we’ve been following, the Chicago White Sox finally played an Over thanks to a two-run double with two outs in their final at bat in Cleveland. Indians won 6-3 against a total of 8.5. Tampa Bay returned to form with a road Under in Houston after last night’s Over. Rays upset the Astros 2-1 against a total of 7. 

Tuesday MLB: Dodgers and Cubs say “let’s play two!”
Ernie Banks probably would have liked to see more slugging than occurred in a pair of pitchers’ duels that were decided late. A 5-5 tie over 19 innings ends both team’s days with a split.

Game 1: LA Dodgers (even) 4, Chicago Cubs 3
Total Bases Plus Walks: Los Angeles 22, Chicago 17
Starting Pitchers: Maeda 3.2 IP, 3 ER, Chatwood 5 IP, 1 ER
Bullpen: Los Angeles 5.1 IP, 0 ER, Chicago 4 IP, 3 ER

Cubs carried a 3-2 lead into the top of the ninth inning. Kyle Farmer hit a two-run double with two outs off Justin Wilson to bring home the ultimate game winner. 

Game 2: Chicago Cubs (-120) 2, LA Dodgers 1 (in 10 innings)
Total Bases Plus Walks: Los Angeles 17, Chicago 15
Starting Pitchers: Hill 6 IP, 0 ER, Montgomery 6 IP, 1 ER
Bullpen: Los Angeles 3 IP, 2 ER, Chicago 4 IP, 0 ER

Kris Bryant led off the bottom of the 10th with a triple. Albert Amora Jr. would single him home a few minutes later to salvage a split. Cubs are back in a mode where the offense disappears in pressure games. We saw that in Milwaukee recently. Chicago is now 41-29, but drops a half game behind Milwaukee (who won at Pittsburgh) in the NL Central. Dodgers are 38-34, still within striking distance of Arizona in the NL West.

One other game in the NL matching teams with winning records... 

St. Louis (even) 7, Philadelphia 6
Total Bases Plus Walks: St. Louis 22, Philadelphia 21
Starting Pitchers: Weaver 5 IP, 4 ER, Velasquez 6.1 IP, 4 ER
Bullpen: St. Louis 4 IP, 2 ER, Philadelphia 2.2 IP, 3 ER

In the series opener Monday night, both teams blew the game. Tuesday, Philadelphia blew a 4-2 lead, St. Louis blew a 6-4 lead by allowing two runs in the bottom of the eighth, only to score the eventual game winner in the top of the ninth. Fun to watch for fans. Dramatic for bettors. But, evidence that suggests neither team is playoff caliber. Both head to Wednesday with 38-33 records.

WNBA: Catching up 
We haven’t had a chance to talk pro hoops since last week. Three Tuesday night games finished early enough for us to run the box score stats in advance of publication deadlines. We’ll take them in Nevada rotation order. 

Washington (-9.5) 88, Chicago 60
2-point Pct: Chicago 30%, Washington 52%
3-pointers: Chicago 6/20, Washington 6/22
Free Throws: Chicago 16/22, Washington 16/18
Rebounds: Chicago 32, Washington 36
Turnovers: Chicago 17, Washington 12

Interesting that treys and free throws were pretty even, despite this being a 28-point rout. Obviously Washington was crushing inside the arc, and doing a lot better job protecting the ball. Chicago falls to 3-8, and really wasn’t competitive here at all. Washington now 7-5, but in very erratic fashion that doesn’t bode well for the postseason. 

New York (-6) 79, Atlanta 72
2-point Pct: Atlanta 38%, New York 44%
3-pointers: Atlanta 5/27, New York 5/20
Free Throws: Atlanta 27/34, New York 16/20
Rebounds: Atlanta 43, New York 38
Turnovers: Atlanta 17, New York 12

New York snapped out of whatever funk it had been in with a good effort here. Another bad shooting and turnover game for a visitor. Though, Atlanta was able to get close because of a big edge at the free throw line. Odd to see such a big discrepancy favoring a road team in this league. New York moves to 4-6. Atlanta falls back to .500 at 6-6. Though, you can tell from the point spread that the market saw New York as the superior neutral court team regardless of won-lost records. 

Minnesota (-8.5) 91, Dallas 83
2-point Pct: Dallas 56%, Minnesota 46%
3-pointers: Dallas 6/21, Minnesota 3/11
Free Throws: Dallas 21/27, Minnesota 30/35
Rebounds: Dallas 33, Minnesota 32
Turnovers: Dallas 22, Minnesota 12

Goodness, look at those free throw counts. There were FIFTY-ONE fouls called in this game. Must have been brutal to watch. Neither team made a third of their treys. Dallas turned the ball over 22 times despite getting calls in traffic. Minnesota took an 18-point lead to the fourth quarter but failed to cover by half a point. That drops the Lynx to 2-9 against the spread (5-6 straight up with the win). Dallas is 5-5. Tough beat if you laid the points. Though, what are you doing laying such a number with a team that had only covered 20% of the time?!

Here’s a new look at our estimate of “market” Power Ratings. Point differentials between teams would give you a “neutral court” line for a matchup. Use three points for home court. 

87: Connecticut
85: Minnesota
84: Los Angeles
82: New York, Phoenix
81: Seattle, Washington
80: Dallas
79: Atlanta
74: Indiana, Chicago, Las Vegas

Sports Betting: Congressional hearing scheduled for Tuesday 
David Purdum of ESPN reported that a Congressional hearing on sports betting had been scheduled for Tuesday June 26. Click here to read the article, and here to see the official announcement from the Judiciary Committee

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah (with an anti-gambling history) is working on legislation designed to create a standardized framework to be used across the country. More on this story as this develops on our broadcasts and here in the newsletter. 

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