Is Your PPH Provider offering the Best Baseball Line Types? Make Sure Your Players Have the Best Options The 2019 MLB season has been in full swing for more than a month and so far, so good, but many surprises. The Mariners are good, the Red Sox are awful, the Yankees are not very good, and neither are the Phillies with their $300 million-dollar man! But tis baseball! This is how the cookie crumbles in baseball and this is what makes the season fun for the gambler. What you must do as a bookie is think like a gambler. The gamblers bread and butter is baseball, they believe baseball season is the best opportunity to make real money, and often they are right, however, often they are wrong. Now is the perfect time to be making money and stashing it away for a rainy day.   What kinds of lines are you offering? ● Baseball is the kind of sport that leaves players hanging. ● Baseball is the kind of sport that leaves bookies hanging. What can bookies do with a sport such as baseball that has big swings? ● You must find a balance when setting baseball lines, and although it may not seem too easy, it’s really not that hard. ● You must keep your players happy. You want them betting with you and nobody else. Now, we are not ignorant, we know that players have several online sportsbooks, especially baseball gamblers. What you must do is keep them interested, keep them coming back for more. First thing is first… ● Are you working with a PPH sportsbook that will work with you, not against you? ● If not, ditch them quick and find one that will work with you. There are many options available, if you are not as happy as you think you could be, then by all means do some shopping. Find that perfect PPH that will meet your needs. Baseball bettors are for the most-part, not superstitious. Football players are the most superstitious gamblers out there, they will wear a pair of socks for three months, as long as they are winning! There is one thing that makes baseball bettors happy. Not only great, but consistent lines. Baseball bettors will not leave you if you set consistent lines and stick to them. Baseball is a grind and the bettors know this. There are 162 games in a season and the bettors plan to make money. Whether or not they do, well that’s another story entirely. Decide what kinds of lines you want to set, stick to it. Remember: You can’t possibly please all of the people all of the time. ● Do your research, find out what the other guys are doing. ●Nobody is asking that you be a mirror image of the competition, you should find a niche that sets you apart from the competition. ● Baseball bettors love dime lines, if you are not offering them, you should be. ● If you are not offering them now, but want to keep what you have, then incorporate a dime line and keep the old system. Gamblers love options. If you have a .20 cent line, keep it but offer a dime line as well. Now find the perfect PPH that will work with you. You pay them a price per head to make your clients happy, they owe you this peace of mind. A PPH is your brand, they speak for you and they build your reputation. PPH Checklist— ●Does your PPH offer you the ability to set your own lines, and/or at a minimum, adjust them? ●Can you call your PPH provider from the United States and speak with a live agent, in English? ●Can your clients call your PPH Provider from the United States and speak to them in English? ●Does your PPH allow you enough space on the baseball menu to allow for several different baseball lines. ●Are the baseball lines jumbled and convoluted, are they hard to read? There are certainly more than simply two baseball line types. The money line and the run line are by far the most popular, but you should be offering all of them. ● Totals ● Grand Salami’s ● First Halves ● Second Halves ●  Team Totals ● Team Prop Bets ● Player Prop Bets The 2019 MLB season is young enough that you still have time to find a fantastic PPH that will serve the needs of your betting clients. Your clients will not look out for you, but you must look out for them. You must find the perfect PPH.  

The first regular season game of the 2019 NFL regular season is more than four months away, but one of the biggest offseason betting events takes place this week with the annual NFL Draft. With Nashville hosting this year’s event, the first of seven rounds of picks takes place on Thursday night, April 27 starting at 7 p.m. Rounds 2-3 are scheduled for Friday starting at 7 p.m. and the final four rounds will take place on Saturday afternoon with a scheduled 12 p.m. start. Betting NFL Futures in Light of The NFL Draft All 32 teams will be jockeying for the best players on the board as the first major step towards building a roster that can win a Super Bowl title. Adding even more excitement to this event is a grocery list of prop bet options at all of the top online sportsbooks. If it has something to do with the draft, chances are you can bet on it. The Most Popular NFL Draft Props Everyone is interested in which player will come off the board first on Thursday night when the Arizona Cardinals are officially on the clock. The general consensus and the betting odds heavily favor former Oklahoma quarterback and 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray. His betting odds to become the first overall pick are set at -600, but there has been some talk that Arizona may go in a different direction. Former Ohio State standout at defensive end Nick Bosa is second on the list at +400. Quinnen Williams played defensive tackle for Alabama and he has the third-best odds at +1000. Rounding out the four players on the short list is former Kentucky defensive standout Josh Allen at +3300 Sports Betting – Improve Your Handicapping Skills Another popular draft prop is how many quarterbacks come off the board in the first round. The OVER/UNDER has been set at 3.5 with the odds heavily favoring the OVER at -450. It is hard to find any value in the inherent risk/reward of this bet, but betting the UNDER at +275 is also a risky proposition given how many teams are searching for their next franchise quarterback. The Hardest NFL Draft Betting Props Mock drafts are an inexact science to say the least. Most of the 32 teams are not even sure what they are going to do in the first round, so anything can happen on Thursday night. Trying to predict how many wide receivers will go in the first round is hard enough, let alone the OVER/UNDER on a particular player’s draft position. How many NFL experts posting a mock draft recap just how far they were off base with their first round predictions after the fact? High Value NFL Draft Betting Props There are some draft props on the board with quite a bit of value in the numbers, but you need to know where and how to look. If you are a NFL Draft junkie looking to make some money on your picks, it would be worth your while to shop the betting odds and actual prop bet options across two or three of the top online sportsbooks taking action on the NFL Draft. Book A has former Ole Miss wide receiver DK Metcalf listed at -130 odds that he will come off the board at No. 18 or earlier. The odds he goes past the 18th overall pick are set at -110. Book B’s prop bet odds for this same player are set at -210 that he gets drafted 12th or lower. The odds he is drafted 13 or higher are set at +155. You could actually hedge this prop by betting the UNDER 18 at Book A and the OVER 12.5 with Book B.

This year’s NHL regular season is in the books to set the stage for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Eight teams in both the Eastern and Western Conference will battle it out for a spot in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals. It all starts with the best-of-seven opening round which are also known as the conference quarterfinals. One of the best things about the NHL is the unpredictability of playoff hockey. The top seeds do not always win and upsets happen all the time. When it comes to betting on NHL playoff series prices at the best online sportsbooks, there is often some excellent value to be found in the posted odds. Sports Betting – Improve Your Handicapping Skills Another great thing about betting on series prices is the ability to further hedge your bets once the series gets underway. If you did bet on an underdog before Game 1 and they win right out of the gate, this could actually add value to the updated series odds for the favorite ahead of Game 2. Hedging series price bets between underdogs and favorites is a betting strategy that can sometimes result in a winning play regardless of which team goes on to win. Stanley Cup Playoffs Opening Round Value- Eastern Conference One of the more interesting opening round matchups in the Eastern Conference has the Pittsburgh Penguins listed as -145 favorites against the New York Islanders as +125 underdogs. Pittsburgh lost a home-and-home series as a heavy favorite in each game early in the season. The Penguins went on to win their final two games against New York in the season series, but that was back in early December. How to Bet On Hockey - Betting Hot NHL Goalies More recently, Pittsburgh lost three of their last five regular season games with the Islanders ending things with four victories over their last five games. The Penguins get the edge as the veteran playoff team, but there is still some solid value in New York as an underdog with the home ice advantage. Stanley Cup Playoffs Opening Round Value- Western Conference Another series with a veteran playoff team facing an opponent with limited experience in the postseason is the Western Conference’s Central Division showdown between the St. Louis Blues and the Winnipeg Jets. The Blues’ series price odds to win this best-of-seven matchup are set at -120. The betting odds for the Jets are set at an even-money +100. Professional Handicappers and Online Sportsbooks Each team tallied a total of 99 points in the regular season. Winnipeg has the 3-1 edge in the season series, but all four of those games were played rather early in the 82-game schedule. The difference in this one could be current form. The Blues have been on a solid roll over the entire second half of the season and they come into Game 1 of this series with five wins in their last seven games. The Jets have been one of the bigger surprises with a second-straight trip to the postseason following just one playoff appearance in the previous 10 years. However, they stumbled down the stretch with five losses in their final seven games to finish second in the division standings behind Nashville by one point. Shopping the Series Price Odds All eight opening round playoffs series offer an interesting array of options when it comes to series price bets. This sets up an excellent opportunity to shop the odds across a wider array of online sportsbooks. This is a great way to lower some risk betting favorites or increasing your return on investment betting underdogs. This is also great way to add even more excitement to the action on the ice. The opening round gives you the ability to cash in on multiple winners before the 16-team field is cut in half.

  Betting on sports adds excitement to any game or event you have action on, but nobody bets to lose. The best way to capitalize on that added excitement that sports betting brings to the table is by cashing a winner. Unfortunately, that is not always easy to do with most recreational bettors struggling just to win half of the bets placed. What Makes an Online Sportsbook a Top-Rated Site? You always have to keep in mind that even the best professional handicappers in the sports betting industry are only right around 60 percent of the time. Since most are also professional gamblers, they know how to create a lucrative return on their efforts by tweaking the total units on each bet they place. The more confident the pick, the higher the units bet. When you combine the ability to win 60 percent of your bets with the ability to win an even higher percentage of your bigger unit plays, the overall money won starts to add up. One of the easiest ways to improve your handicapping skills is to buy your picks from the experts. Many selection packages will tell you what to bet on with a recommended unit play. However, you still have to be willing to lose big when they are wrong. Add in the cost of buying the picks and you could end up worse off than when you started. Always remember, there are no guarantees when buying picks and there is no such thing as a lock when it comes to betting on sports. As a recreational sports bettor, these are way to improve your own handicapping skills as a means to improving your overall winning percentage. The first step in the process is to fully examine how you are making your sports picks right now. Are you heavily influenced by what you read and hear in the media? Do you tend to bet on teams that you want to win? Are you simply going with the public consensus for your sports betting picks? These are all pitfalls and traps that are a big contributing factor to your overall winning percentage for one common reason. Everything above takes a highly subjective path to picking winners. You need to start basing your picks on the right factual data that can have a legitimate impact on the outcome of any game you bet on. You should be focusing on the strengths and weaknesses on each side of a matchup. If the No. 30th-ranked defensive team in the NBA in points allowed is playing the highest scoring team in the league, they could have a really tough time covering the spread or keeping the game from going OVER the total line. Successful betting on sports comes down to creating a mental image of how you see a game playing out and then bet accordingly. This will take some extra time breaking things down on your part, but adding a few more winners while eliminating a few losing bets will have a dramatic impact on your betting bankroll over an extended period of time. Become a smarter bettor - Professional Handicappers and Online Sportsbooks Another good way to improve your handicapping skills is to focus your efforts on the sports (and teams) you follow the most. Just because football is not on the board at your favorite online sportsbook does not mean you should start betting hockey games if you have limited knowledge of that sport. Only betting on the things that you like and follow the most takes everything else out of play. You will be much better off increasing the number of bets you place on the sports you know and follow closely, than taking a stab at betting a sport because you got a hot tip on a particular game.

When it comes to filling out a bracket for the annual NCAA Tournament, most bettors will enter their picks into some kind of bracket challenge contest in the hopes of winning some large cash prizes. If you fancy yourself as some kind of bracketology expert, there are other ways you can try and win some cash for your picks. One of the best ways to test your overall bracket skills is to make a few side bets on any number of head-to-head matchups for total tournament wins. It takes six wins to lay claim to a national title by winning the NCAA Tournament. Since only one team can accomplish that feat, the first head-to-head bet you should look to make is your projected champion against any other team it is pitted against. Betting NCAA Basketball - 2019 NCAA Tournament Bracket Betting Tips The next level of bets for total team wins should be with any team you have in your Final Four. They will automatically have one more win in any other head-to-head matchup against a team not on that list. You could apply the same strategy for the teams you have advancing to the Elite 8 or even the Sweet 16. However, things can start to get a bit too tricky with a larger group of teams when betting on head-to-head matchups for most wins. Just as a general note, any team win prop bet that ends in a tie will be deemed to have ‘no action’. Going Chalk with Duke The ACC’s Duke Blue Devils are the No. 1 overall seed for this year’s NCAA Tournament and they have been opened as +210 favorites to win this year’s national title. When it comes to betting their total wins in a head-to-head matchup with conference rival Virginia, you can get -150 odds on Duke verse the +120 odds betting the Cavaliers. Each team is a No. 1 seed in their respective region and they could end up facing one another in the championship game. Virginia’s issues advancing deep in this tournament over the years have been well-documented, including last year’s historic opening round loss as a No. 1 seed. The Blue Devils appear to have the easier route to the Final Four, so I am going with Duke. The betting odds for total tournament wins in a head-to-head matchup between Duke and the third ACC No. 1 seed North Carolina lean even more in favor of the Blue Devils as -170 favorites. The betting odds the Tar Heels win more games have been set at +140. These two bitter rivals met three times this season. North Carolina swept the regular season series, but Duke won when it mattered the most by knocking the Tar Heels out of the recent ACC Tournament. With a healthy Zion Williamson playing at a high level, I am riding the Blue Devils to the national title to guarantee they will have at least one more win than the Tar Heels. What Makes an Online Sportsbook a Top-Rated Site? Betting a Big Ten Battle The Michigan State Spartans edged out the rival Michigan Wolverines for most Big Ten conference wins this season on the strength of a sweep in the two-game regular season series. The bitter in-state foes went on to meet again in Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament Championship with Michigan State winning again 65-60 as a slight 1.5-point underdog. Heading into the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans are set as a No. 2 seed in the South Region along with Duke. The Wolverines drew the No. 2 seed in the West Region with the Gonzaga Bulldogs set as the top team. Betting NCAA Tournament Tips Relating to Seeding - Rounds 1 and 2 The betting odds for most tournament wins in a head-to-head matchup favor Michigan State at -140 with +110 odds for the Wolverines. In my opinion, Michigan has the tougher road to the Elite 8 ahead of a possible showdown with Gonzaga for a trip to the Final Four. I would pencil-in Michigan State as one of my Elite 8 teams given its more manageable path in the South. This head-to-head prop could be the most interesting matchup on the board. My lean is towards the Spartans. Even if Michigan does overachieve by also getting into the Elite 8, this bet will probably end as a PUSH with each team winning three games.

Sports betting is big these days driven by an explosion of betting options at online sportsbooks. Whether you reside in the United States or somewhere across the globe, fast and easy access to an online betting venue is just a click away. There are any number of online sportsbooks that cater to the US sports bettors with that list getting longer and longer each and every year. Individual states such as New Jersey have joined the fray along with Nevada in offering land-based sports betting at brick and mortar sportsbooks along with online capabilities tied to casinos and race tracks within their borders. The Legalities of Online Sportsbook Betting While there is no shortage of ways to bet on sports these days, the question remains as to where is the best place to bet on sports? The offshore sportsbook industry created the online sports betting industry back in the mid-1990’s. Operating from a legal jurisdiction in countries such as Antigua, Curacao and more recently Costa Rica, these industry pioneers brought online sports betting to the masses through the use of the Internet. This also limited outside interference from foreign governments while being fully regulated and governed in their country of origin. This also gave these early online sportsbooks a major leg up on competition. They have mastered the art of online sports betting over the last 20 years or so while newcomers to the game are trying to close that gap in a matter of months. Betting sports online through reputable sportsbooks is still the best way to stretch the value of your betting dollar. Among this extended list of online sports betting venues, it stands to reason that some are going to be better than the rest. Some online sports betting review websites have turned to a rating system that goes from A+ down to a F. Most of the recognized online sportsbooks in the game today fall with the range of A+ to C- with very little difference in quality within the actual grades. Smart Bettors Use Two or Three Sportsbooks When you were back in school, you probably tried to convince your parents that there was very little difference between a C- and an A+ with very little success. Most of the issues in the online sportsbook industry revolve around timely payouts. A book with an A+ rating may offer a quicker turnaround on a payment request than a book at C-, but that is only part of the equation when it comes to finding the best online sportsbook for your individual betting strategy, style and habits. Sports betting review sites are a good starting point when searching online sports betting venues, but you also have to make sure that any review is comprehensive and unbiased in its approach to actually rating a book. Some ratings may be heavily skewed towards a site’s generous welcome bonus for new customers. Most times, the top bonus amount is unachievable given the strict betting requirements tied to payouts. If you consider yourself to be a recreational bettor looking for a little bit of action on the weekends, most online bookie bonus plans will probably not work for you. Longevity in a very competitive business environment should be taken into account. This is not to say that a book that has been around for 15 years should be rated higher than a book that opened for business a few years ago. However, books that have stood the test of time have to be doing something right. 5 Things to Look For When Choosing an Online Sportsbook The best way to find an online sportsbook that is the best fit is to search the individual sites on your own. This may take some extra time on your part, but think of it as test driving a car. Nothing you read about that car is going to replace the feeling you get when you take it out for a little spin on your own.  

Even though football, basketball, baseball and hockey are team sports, each one has a key player that controls the pace of the game. The quarterback is the go-to guy in the NFL. A team’s top scorer has a big impact in NBA games. The starting pitcher in MLB games sets the early pace. The goalie fills that role in the NHL. These are all key positions that have a big impact on the betting lines for individual games in all four sports. This impact gets dialed up even higher in certain sports such as baseball and hockey. Betting lines remain off the board for games in these sports until the starting pitcher and starting goalie for each team has been set. Instagram is a Great Place to Find Winning Sports Picks When it comes to betting on NHL goalies, a good starting point is current form. The regular season lasts 82 games ahead of a postseason that lasts four best-of-seven rounds. Over that length of time, any team’s top goalie is going to have some ups and downs along the way. The ups and downs in the regular season may have an impact on a team’s position in the standings. However, a hot goalie in the playoffs can lead to a Stanley Cup title while one that goes cold can lead to an early exit. When it comes to this season’s betting action, the New York Islanders have the highest return on a moneyline bet in the NHL at plus $1,077 through their first 44 games. They also have the top goalie in the league in Robin Lehner. He has appeared in 23 of those games and he is at the top of the list in goals allowed (2.21) and save percentage (.926). The Islanders’ backup goalie is Thomas Greiss and he has a win-loss-tie record of 13-8-1 with a GAA of 2.62 and a save percentage of .918. New York has made most of its money on the road closing as an underdog. Why NHL Grand Salami is a Fun Bet to Make The Vegas Golden Knights have successfully shaken of a slow start as defending Western Conference Champions. Since beating Colorado 2-1 on Dec. 27 as -145 home favorites, they have won eight of their last nine games to improve to 28-16-4 overall. Leading the way has been veteran goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. With six victories in his last seven starts, he has quickly moved to the top of the list in the NHL in total wins this season with 26. San Jose’s Martin Short is second on the list with 21. Fleury’s overall record this season is 26-11-4 which equates to Vegas winning 63.4 percent of time when he gets the start. That winning percentage jumps all the way to 70 percent over his last 10 starts. This is a perfect example of winning NHL bets riding a hot goalie. Smart Bettors Use Two or Three Sportsbooks The Tampa Bay Lightning are the best team into the league through the first half of the season at 35-9-2 which adds up to 72 total points. The next best team in points with 64 is the Calgary Flames. The Lightning just so happened to lose to the Islanders 5-1 this past Sunday as heavy -165 road favorites. Even with the loss, Tampa Bay has the second-highest return on a moneyline bet at plus $1034. This is the highest scoring team in the NHL with an average of 4.04 goals a game which makes life much easier for its top goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. However, he remains a big part of the winning formula at the other end of the ice with a 2.55 GAA and a save percentage of .922. Even with missing a month of playing time due to injury, he has managed to post an overall record of 18-5-2 in 24 games between the pipes. Before Sunday’s loss, he had won eight of his previous nine starts.

The Super Bowl on the first Sunday in February is the NFL’s biggest game of the year to bring its season to a close. Just a few weeks later at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR starts its new season with its biggest event of the year with the running of the Daytona 500. While this race pales in comparison to the Super Bowl when it comes to the betting revenue it generates, these is still some solid value for sports bettors looking for a chance of pace. Even if you are just a casual fan of NASCAR’s Cup Series, you can quickly get yourself ‘up to speed’ when it comes to the best way to bet this race. Finding the best online sportsbook for betting NASCAR The first thing you want to avoid is betting on an outright winner. Picking winners in any motor sports race is a low-value bet given all the factors that go into taking the checkered flag. These factors are enhanced when it comes to winning the Daytona 500. Not only do drivers face the pressure factor winning the biggest race of the race, they face the physical factors presented by the nature of this track. Betting on a driver to wreck will have lower odds than their chances to win. Daytona is known for its wide-open racing conditions that tend to knock some of the best drivers out of the race in the early laps. Turning to the posted odds to win this year’s Daytona 500, Brad Keselowski is at the top of the list at +800 betting odds. He has yet to win this race on a track where his average finishing position is 23.0. The Daytona 500 is a restrictor plate race and Keselowski is one of the top restrictor plate racers in the field. This is why Dale Earnhardt Jr. was always one of the top favorites to win when he raced at Daytona. To put things into better perspective, Keselowski has one career win and seven career wrecks at Daytona is 19 career runs in a Cup Series event. The Legalities of Online Sportsbook Betting Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch combined to win 16 Cup Series events last season. Harvick’s odds to win this race are set at +850 with Busch much farther down the list at +1400. Harvick drives the No. 4 Ford and his recent track record at Daytona includes five consecutive finishes of 19th or worse with four races ending in a wreck. His lone victory in the Daytona 500 was back in 2007. Busch is the driver of the No. 18 Toyota and he has never won this race with an average finishing position at Daytona of 19.2. He has posted four-straight runs of 20th or worse at this track over the past two seasons. His lone victory at Daytona in a Cup Series event was in the second race here during the 2008 racing season. Instagram is a Great Place to Find Winning Sports Picks Betting either of NASCAR’s top two drivers to win the 2019 Daytona 500 is a very low-percentage play. Betting Busch to finish ahead of Harvick in the final running order would be a high value play. Since his odds to win are much longer than Harvick to win, he would most likely be a solid underdog when the betting odds for a head-to-head matchup are first released. The head-to-head matchup odds for this race will not be released until the starting running order is set. This is where the best value for  betting any Daytona 500 really lies. It does not matter where the driver you bet on finishes in this race as long as it is at least one place better than the driver they are pitted against.

Next to the NFL for football, betting on NBA basketball games brings in the most action for  most online sportsbooks. The extended 82-game regular season along with four rounds of best-of-seven series in the playoffs provide a steady source of winning opportunities from mid- October right into the month of June. Every expert handicapper who regularly cashes in on their NBA bets probably has a few secret techniques for breaking down the games, but there are three general betting tips that they all employ in an effort to beat the books. The Legalities of Online Sportsbook Betting The first tip is to avoid betting on heavy favorites. If the timing is right, you could go as far as saying that you should go against heavy favorites when there is a large spread to cover on the board. Public perception has more to do with how pointspreads are set than the actual matchup on the court. A good example of this would be the Golden State Warriors. NBA fans expect the champs to win every game by double figures and, if they are wagering on the game, they are likely to lean that way no matter how high the number. The general rule of thumb is when a spread is 10 points or higher you should start thinking about betting the underdog, especially if they have a strong betting record of covering double-digit spreads. There is also the tendency for heavy favorites to take their foot off the gas when they open up a big lead. Many times the true gap between a lopsided matchup is not reflected in the final score. How You Can Become a Smarter Bettor Another betting tip is to turn to the added value in a NBA moneyline if you are betting small underdogs. This is especially true when they are playing at home. This is more of a long-term strategy as opposed to betting just one single game. Over an extended period of time, home underdogs have a tendency to win quite a few of those games SU. If the road favorite happens to be playing their third or fourth game in a relatively short amount of time, this adds even more value to a team getting a few points at home. All betting still comes down to the actual matchup on the court, but you should still be looking for value when the spread in any game remains rather slim. Smart Bettors Use Two or Three Sportsbooks The final tip is to rate a team’s performance playing at home as opposed to when it is playing on the road. Through their first 24 games of the 2018/2019 regular season, the Philadelphia 76ers have gone 12-1 SU on their home court verse a 4-7 record on the road. When it comes to covering the spread, they are 7-6 ATS in those 13 home games and 3-8 ATS in the 11 road games. The ‘best of the best’ in the league know how to win on the road on a regular basis. However, there are quite a few teams that have lopsided results between their home and road records. It is common to find a team with a SU losing record overall that still has more wins than losses in front of the hometown crowd. 5 Things to Look For When Choosing an Online Sportsbook Along with a team’s performance at home verse playing on the road is its current momentum. Even the best teams go through rough patches over the course of such a long season of games and even the worst teams are capable of pulling off a stunning SU upset here and there. Once a team wins its third game in a row, it should be on your betting radar. Chances are it will win a few more games before it starts to cool off.

Following 13 weeks of regular season games and one weekend of conference championship games, the cream rose to the top with Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma filling in the four spots in this year’s College Football Playoff. This season’s two semifinal matchups are slated for Saturday, Dec. 29. The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic pits the ACC’s No. 2 Clemson Tigers against the No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a 4 p.m. start on ESPN from AT&T Stadium. In a slated 8 p.m. kickoff on ESPN, the SEC’s No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and the Big 12’s No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners square off in the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. The opening betting lines for the Cotton Bowl had Clemson favored by 10.5 points, but early money on the Tigers have pushed that number as high as 12.5 points at a few online sportsbooks. The total opened at 55 points and it has held steady so far. Alabama was opened as a 14.5-point favorite and for the most part the current spread has settled in at 14 points with the majority of the online books. The interesting thing about this matchup is the total line climbing to 81 points after opening at 79 even with The Tides’ defense ranked fourth in the nation in points allowed (14.8). If you decide to bet the favorites in each game, you might want to lock that number in now as opposed to waiting to see where it goes over the next few weeks. I would definitely expect to see some Notre Dame money come in closer to kickoff and the earlier betting consensus has a slight lean towards Oklahoma in the other matchup. I do believe there is value in either underdog with a stronger lean toward Notre Dame covering against Clemson. The Tigers were 7-6 against the spread this season closing as double-digit favorites in all 13 of their games. Notre Dame was no betting bargain either at 6-5-1 ATS, but that Week 1 upset against Michigan as a three-point underdog still looms big on the overall resume. Alabama won 12 of its 13 games by a double-figure margin as double-digit favorites in every game. The Tide was not as dominant over their last three games at 1-2 ATS as part of an 8-5 record ATS overall. However, anytime Nick Saban has a month to prepare for a game you know his team will be ready. The big question in the Orange Bowl in my book is can these two teams combined to score more than 81 points? The Sooners averaged close to 50 points a game as compared to Alabama’s scoring average of 47.9 PPG, so on paper this should be a shootout. I am still going with the notion that defense win national titles and last time I checked, the Tide had one of the best in the nation. All the value betting the total line in this matchup at 81 points has shifted towards the UNDER and that is the way I would bet this game. This would make my CFP semifinal parlay play Notre Dame +11.5 (12.5 if you can get it) and the UNDER 81 points in the other matchup. My other burning question for this season’s playoff concerns the value in betting the futures for the CFP Championship Game. Alabama is a prohibitive -200 favorite to win it all. I am not a big fan of betting against the Tide, but all the value in betting them to win has been drained. I might bite on the -120 odds that Alabama beats Clemson in the title game, but I still think Notre Dame has an outside chance to beat the Tigers SU. Just for fun, I might put $10 on Oklahoma beating the Irish in the CFP Championship at +3300 as the longest odds for any futures bet on the board.

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