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What's next for the LeBron's Lakers?

Jeff Fogle  
VSiN City newsletter

July 1, 2018 11:01 PM

USATSI_10881440_168384654_lowres
LeBron James has seen the last of his time in Cleveland.
© USA Today Sports Images

LeBron signs with the Lakers! Spain shocked by Russia at the World Cup! You always get the market angle on major stories right here in VSiN City. A new week begins NOW.

NBA: LeBron James inks 4-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers 

Las Vegas is Lakers country. So a massive celebration spontaneously combusted Sunday evening when it was announced that LeBron James had signed a four-year contract with the LA franchise. 

Market reaction was immediate. The Westgate posted these updated futures prices to win the 2018-19 NBA Championship…

Golden State 10/11 (52% win equivalent)

LA Lakers 7/2 (22%)

Boston 7/2 (22%)

Houston 7/1 (13%)

Philadelphia 14/1 (7%)

Those were the only five teams listed better than 5% to win. You regulars know that sports books create a universe larger than 100% to represent the house edge. Golden State, the Lakers, and Boston by themselves add up to 96%! Throw in Houston, and the top four teams are well clear of 100%.

The Lakers at 7/2 suggests that the market expects at least one more star to follow. Lance Stephenson signed later Sunday evening. But he’s not the type of player who would move the market. It’s been rumored that Kawhi Leonard might be in the mix, though that would have to be via trade. There’s no way “last year’s talent” plus “LeBron” equals 7/2 all by themselves, even with the tendency for Vegas sports books to defend against overwhelming public sentiment. 

Last year in the playoffs, Golden State was -11 to -12 at home vs. Cleveland, -3.5 to -4 on the road. Tough to see that the Lakers would provide a better supporting cast compared to last year’s Cavs unless an additional star was added.

VSiN will cover all the angles from top to bottom throughout Monday’s broadcasts, beginning with Mitch and Pauly in the morning on “Follow the Money.” They’ll be following that $154 million to see how it leads to the next huge NBA headline.

World Cup: Spain shocked on “Penalty Kick” Sunday, after France and Uruguay survive Saturday knockouts

We’ve talked all tournament about how weak the bottom half of the draw was turning out. It just got weaker! Spain was a virtual co-favorite with Brazil to win the 2018 World Championship entering the weekend. Spain is OUT! Now England is best positioned to sneak through while powers like Brazil, Belgium and France battle it out up top. 

The first four “Round of 16” games were played this past weekend. Let’s run through the results in the order they were played. 

France 4, Argentina 3

Total Shots: France 9, Argentina 9

Shots on Goal: France 4, Argentina 4

Corner Kicks: France 0, Argentina 4

Possession Pct: France 41%, Argentina 59%

Estimated Goals: France 1.6, Argentina 1.0

Fans hoped this offensive show would set the tone for the weekend. Alas, it was the only scoring explosion of the first two days. France jumped ahead 1-0 early. Argentina would counter with two goals, before France would connect three times unanswered. Argentina’s last-ditch effort wasn’t enough. Argentina was more impressive in raw stats than the actual game. Natural result of playing aggressively from behind. France was 0.6 goals better in “expected goals” as calculated by soccer analyst Michael Caley. You can get that data game-by-game on his twitter account @Caley_graphics. That means the French were superior at creating high impact chances. Both teams did well scoring on lower impact chances! 

Uruguay 2, Portugal 1

Total Shots: Uruguay 6, Portugal 20

Shots on Goal: Uruguay 3, Portugal 5

Corner Kicks: Uruguay 2, Portugal 10

Possession Pct: Uruguay 39%, Portugal 61% 

Estimated Goals: Uruguay 0.7, Portugal 0.9

That’s right, 20-6 on shots for Portugal! Similar story in terms of the team playing from behind compiling more marks in the boxscore. Uruguay specializes in defense. It held Portugal to just 0.9 expected goals despite allowing those 20 shots in 61% of possession time. Portugal launched a lot of prayers in desperation down the stretch. 

Both Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo were eliminated on the same day. One-man teams can only go so far in this sport. 

We’ll pay close attention to box score dynamics in these later rounds. In group play, the sum of shots on goal and corner kicks did a good job of expressing team differences because there wasn’t much parity. Now that relatively even teams are playing each other, that sum may just be telling us who was playing from behind much of the game (similar to what we saw in the NHL playoffs).

Russia 1, Spain 1, (Russia advances on penalty kicks 4-3)

Total Shots: Russia 6, Spain 25

Shots on Goal: Russia 1, Spain 9

Corner Kicks: Russia 5, Spain 6

Possession Pct: Russia 26%, Spain 74%

Estimated Goals: Russia 0.2, Spain 1.5

On one hand, this feels like a HUGE upset because Spain is so much better than Russia at soccer. But we’ve seen time and time again that superior teams are having trouble getting scoreboard distance within 90 minutes at this event. It really can be THAT hard to score goals if the inferior team parks a bus in front of the net. And, if BOTH teams decide to play ultra-conservatively because they’re too afraid of trying to rally out of a hole, it shortens the game. Caley’s expected goals in regulation were just 0.6 to 0.2 for Spain, which is pretty ridiculous for a global power favored by more than a goal! Spain did crank up the volume in 30 minutes of extra time, but couldn’t find the net. Russia sneaks through on penalty kicks.

Croatia 1, Denmark 1 (Croatia advances on penalty kicks 3-2)

Total Shots: Croatia 22, Denmark 15

Shots on Goal: Croatia 7, Denmark 3

Corner Kicks: Croatia 5, Denmark 4

Possession Pct: Croatia 53%, Denmark 47%

Estimated Goals: Croatia 1.3, Denmark 0.9

Much less exciting than those stats make it seem. Well, there were a lot of late thrills if you love seeing goaltenders block penalty shots! Denmark denied Croatia on an opportunity late in extra time. Both teams had issues finding the net in the PK’s. Here, the favorite sneaks through the coin flip ending. Croatia now a virtual co-favorite with England to win the lower half of the brackets. But if so many games are going to be THIS conservatively played, any name can come out of that hat. 

World Cup Monday: Action continues with Brazil/Mexico, and Belgium/Japan 

Maybe these favorites learned a lesson about playing too safely by watching TV on Sunday. Both Brazil and Belgium are favored by fractionally more than a goal as they try to make it to a much-anticipated quarterfinal showcase. 

Brazil -1.1 goals over Mexico

Three-way: Brazil -195, Mexico plus 500, draw plus 350

Money line: Brazil -700, Mexico plus 400

Goal line: Brazil -1 goal (Brazil -116, Mexico plus 108)

Belgium -1.3 goals over Japan

Three-way: Belgium -290, Japan plus 900, draw plus 375

Money line: Belgium -1000, Japan plus 600

Goal line: Belgium -1.25 goals (Belgium -110, Japan plus 103)

Mexico has been garnering some betting interest on the three-way, but not enough to shake the money line or goal lines in a meaningful way. Brazil is still seen as slightly more than a goal better, based on the Pinnacle odds as of publication deadlines on Brazil minus a goal. Belgium has been getting some support, as Japan is seen globally as the most obvious pretender in the knockouts. 

Let’s update our brackets based on weekend results. “Market” Power Ratings on a goal supremacy scale are in parenthesis, and are based on current betting lines. We’ve dropped France down a tick from -0.5 goals to -0.4 goals. Uruguay is now a slight favorite at a line of plus 0.5 goals (Uruguay -109, France plus 102 with the dog getting half-a-goal at Pinnacle offshore). Early line in Croatia equates to just a 0.3 difference now (Croatia didn’t impress while surviving, and Russia was at least able to hang tough with a global power). So, we had those two converge one tick each from where they had been. 

Top Quarter 

France (2.5) vs. Uruguay (2.1) 

Second Quarter (Monday)

1E Brazil (2.7) vs. 2F Mexico (1.6)

1G Belgium (2.5) vs. 2H Japan (1.2)

Third Quarter

Croatia (2.2) vs. Russia (1.9) 

Bottom Quarter (Tuesday)

1F Sweden (1.6) vs. 2E Switzerland (1.7)

1H Colombia (2.0) vs. 2G England (2.4)

More on the quarterfinals at the end of the week. For now, they’re listed to help you map out betting strategies for the duration. Remember that rolling over “odds to advance” bets on a game-by-game basis is usually significantly better than taking shots at future prices. These prices help you visualize future expectations. 

Don’t forget to watch “Russia 2018: The Tournament Show” on VSiN every afternoon this week for the latest from this huge global sports betting event.

MLB: Washington collapse drags down “The Magnificent 7,” as four projected powers have losing weeks

They sure weren’t magnificent this past week. Well, the Red Sox and Yankees were, both going 4-2 while having to play three games against each other. Some anvils elsewhere. Particularly the Washington Nationals who continued a recent slump with their worst week in quite some time. Just a 1-5 record for the Nats, wasting a zillion runs in their only win. 

Current records entering the new week…

Boston 56-29…plus 12.5 units after a 4-2 week

NY Yankees 54-27…plus 10.5 units after a 4-2 week

Houston 55-31…plus 2 units after a 3-4 week

Chicago Cubs 47-35…minus 2.5 after a 5-2 week

Cleveland 45-37…minus 9 units after a 2-4 week

Washington 42-40…minus 13.5 units after a 1-5 week

LA Dodgers 44-39…minus 20 units after a 3-4 week

Only three teams in the black, and Houston’s barely there after failing to score much this past weekend at Tampa Bay. Many offenses are struggling against the creative pitching approach used by the Rays in recent weeks. Would be something of both the Nationals and the Dodgers missed the playoffs after being priced so high in futures back in March (and still currently!). 

Let’s see what’s on tap this week, first for the M7, and then for teams with winning records colliding. 

Magnificent 7 Head-to-Head This Week

Boston (56-29) at Washington (42-40) (Monday-Wednesday)

Wow…Washington could be below .500 by the end of that series. At least they catch the Red Sox in a possible letdown spot after their weekend in New York. 

Teams with Winning Records Squaring Off

Early Week

St. Louis (42-40) at Arizona (47-37) (Monday-Wednesday)

Atlanta (48-34) at NY Yankees (54-27) (Monday- Wednesday)

LA Angels (43-42) at Seattle (54-31) (Tuesday-Thursday)

Really looking forward to seeing how the young Braves handle pressure in the Bronx. And, isn’t it amazing how many series the Yanks have been playing lately against contenders? It’s not like they’re squashing the Tigers and the Royals. Continuing success against quality. (And, they won another of Severino’s starts Sunday night.)

Weekend  

Atlanta (48-34) at Milwaukee (48-35) (starts Thursday)

St. Louis (42-40) at San Francisco (45-40) (starts Thursday)

Oakland (46-39) at Cleveland (45-37) (starts Friday)

Los Angeles Dodgers (44-39) at Los Angeles Angels (43-42) (starts Friday)

Of course, St. Louis and LAA may not have winning records by the time those series start. MLB was hoping the Angels would be more relevant at the time of their rivalry series with the Dodgers. Bad injury luck and ugly results have been the Halos’ story of late. 

Canadian Football League: Hamilton getting rave reviews! This time it’s a football team

Lin-Manuel Miranda isn’t the quarterback for Hamilton any more on Broadway. And, Jeremiah Masoli is making everyone forget that Johnny Manziel is even on the Tiger-Cats roster north of the border. Another huge passing game from Masoli, and another good result for the hot new show in the CFL. 

Hamilton (-4) 31, Winnipeg 17

Total Yardage: Winnipeg 280, Hamilton 480

Yards-per-Play: Winnipeg 5.4, Hamilton 7.9

Rushing Yards: Winnipeg 134, Hamilton 111

Passing Stats: Winnipeg 17-31-0-146, Hamilton 31-41-1-369

Turnovers: Winnipeg 0, Hamilton 1

Wow…almost 500 total yards the week after Hamilton gained 528 at Edmonton. And the 400 yards gained in the first week at powerful Calgary looks great because the Stampeders only allowed 216 and 299 the next two weeks. THIS is a developing sports betting story in Hamilton. Winnipeg still waiting to get its starting quarter on the field. Poor road game for Chris Streveler, who wasn’t facing the awful Alouettes this week. 

Edmonton (-6.5) 41, British Columbia 22

Total Yardage: B. Columbia 319, Edmonton 517

Yards-per-Play: B. Columbia 7.4, Edmonton 8.2

Rushing Yards: Columbia 120, Edmonton 191

Passing Stats: B. Columbia 13-24-1-199, Edmonton 22-30-2-326

Turnovers: B. Columbia 2, Edmonton 2

Gotta wonder about the BC Lions. They were outgained in an opening win by Montreal, and then weren’t competitive here after a bye week. Just squashed in the stats. Part of the yardage loss was really a “plays run” blowout. Edmonton ran 63 plays, compared to just 43 for the losers. BC has to figure out how to stay on the field longer. Similar issue in that win over Montreal, with the Alouettes winning plays run 54-45. 

Montreal (plus 10) 23, Saskatchewan 17

Total Yardage: Montreal 287, Saskatchewan 279

Yards-per-Play: Montreal 4.9, Saskatchewan 4.6

Rushing Yards: Montreal 32, Saskatchewan 60

Passing Stats: Montreal 16-27-0-255, Saskatchewan 18-40-4-219

Turnovers: Montreal 2, Saskatchewan 4

Wait a second…what?! Montreal won a game?! That ends the long streaks of straight up and ATS failures that date back deep into last season. What happened? Saskatchewan lost its starting quarterback to injury the week before…and the backups had no idea what they were doing. Four interceptions on 18 of 40 passing in a league where receivers get a running start and the field is spread out wide. Basically, a battle of expansion-caliber teams. Montreal is still lousy. Saskatchewan is this bad without its regular quarterback Zach Collaros. Market didn’t fully account for how bad the backup QB’s were on the Roughriders. 

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Hope you had a great weekend even if you didn’t sign a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract. Back tomorrow to ride the rapids through another busy sports betting week. Thanks for spending your Monday in VSiN City!

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