All posts by Tony Guzman

2020 MLB Season Betting Preview

Baseball is back! Not the way everyone expected but it’s back nonetheless. A 60-game sprint to the playoffs in the Major League Baseball season is anything but ordinary and offers some intriguing opportunities from the betting perspective. Of course, there’s the chalk World Series matchup that MLB is hoping for in the New York Yankees vs Los Angeles Dodgers; with both teams being the favorite to win their respective leagues. There is just no value in betting those two teams.

Plus, that’s just boring no one likes betting the favorites right? It also makes sense that the two best teams would have favorites in individual awards such as Gerrit Cole at the top to win the AL Cy Young Award and Mookie Betts to win the NL MVP award. If there was ever a season to bet against the favorites who added new powerhouses to their rosters, this is it.

Betting Preview: 2020 MLB Season

Over/Under Best Bet The Chicago Cubs O/U 32.5 -108

The Chicago Cubs are going to be in a dog fight in the NL Central as there are three other teams vying for the top spot with the Milwaukee Brewers, rival St. Louis Cardinals, and emerging Cincinnati Reds. There are so many question marks going into this season for the Northsiders beginning with their starting pitching.

Kyle Hendricks was just handed the opening day starter duties by newly appointed manager David Ross who is entering his first season managing the team. He is the only bright spot in the rotation. Yu Darvish who has electric stuff has been as inconsistent as it gets in his Cubs tenure. Jose Quintana lacerated his thumb doing the dishes. Jon Lester who is on the back end of his career and Tyler Chatwood who wouldn’t be a starter on any other ball club.

They haven’t fixed their bullpen issues which have always been an issue in the Theo Epstein era and the glue who holds everything together, Anthony Rizzo has a lingering back issue. FiveThirtyEight came out with their predictions on this upcoming season and have the Cubs right at 32. How accurate is FiveThirtyEight? Last year they had them pegged for 84 wins. How many wins did the Cubs have in 2019? 84.

Bet- Under 32.5 wins at -108

American League Cy Young Award Winner Best Bet Shohei Ohtani 50-1

Shohei Ohtani wasn’t slated to start pitching until May since he is coming off of Tommy John surgery. Now that its late July he’s ready to be the two-way player the Angels had hoped for since signing him back in 2018.

Ohtani is an intriguing pick as he hasn’t pitched in the majors in over two years so there isn’t a lot of film on him which puts him at an advantage to opposing hitters. With the odds at 50-1 according to BetRivers.com, it’s just too hard to pass up as this future screams value.

Bet- Shohei Ohtani AL Cy Young Award Winner 50-1

National League Cy Young Award Winner Stephen Strasburg 12-1

The last time we saw Stephen Strasburg he was dominating the Houston Asterisks in Game 6 of the 2019 World Series. Shockingly enough Strasburg does not have a Cy Young award on his mantle. Last season, Strasburg lead the National League in wins (18) and was second in strikeouts (251) to the reigning NL Cy Young winner, Jacob deGrom.

Unlike deGrom, he won a World Series and was the World Series MVP. Strasburg has had at least 10 strikeouts per nine innings in each of his last six seasons; a model of consistency. With the Nationals contending for back to back rings in one of the toughest divisions in baseball, if Strasburg is his dominant self this could be the year he earns that Cy Young Award.

Bet- Stephen Strasburg NL Cy Young Award Winner 12-1

National League MVP Award Winner Juan Soto 10-1

At this point, you’re starting to sense a theme here as to where this article is going in the National League. Juan Soto is just so far beyond his years as disciplined at the plate as the fire that exudes through his body. With Anthony Rendon signing a big free-agent deal with the Los Angeles Angels, there is no doubt that this is Soto’s team now from an offensive perspective. With an on-base percentage over .400 last year, not only does he hit bombs but is patient at the plate as he takes his walks. Soto is primed for a monster year, even if it’s only 60 games.

Bet- Juan Soto NL MVP Award Winner 10-1

American League MVP Award Winner Bo Bichette 100-1

The Toronto Blue Jays are in the news because they can’t find a ballpark to call home for this 60 game season since the Canadian government did not approve the use of the Rogers Centre in Toronto. There have been talks about maybe PNC Park as a temporary home for them this season which would benefit their young hitters greatly. But, no one is talking about this young core!

It’s mind-boggling that Vladimir Gurrerro Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette aren’t getting the respect they deserve. Vlad Jr. is at 50-1 to win the MVP which is insane value for the caliber of player he is. BetRivers.com doesn’t even have Biggio listed as an option (which is a shame) and Bo Bichette at 100-1! Bichette played in only 46 games last year and had a slash line of .311/.358/.571 with an OPS of .930 and 18 extra-base hits. It’s a long shot but you can’t help but take a stab at it.

Bet- Bo Bichette AL MVP Award Winner 100-1

World Series Champion Washington Nationals 19-1

That’s right, the Washington Nationals. When was the last time a National League team won back to back World Series? Not since the Big Red Machine, the Cincinnati Reds, in 1975-1976. In fact, there hasn’t been a back to back World Series winner since the Yankees won three in a row from ’98-’00. The Nats have the firepower in their starting pitching and the experience now that they have been to a World Series just last season. Juan Soto is a potential MVP who is just easy to root for when you watch him play as a natural leader who wears his heart on his sleeve. This is already an odd season and it hasn’t even started yet. So, prepare for unexpected outcomes.

Bet- Washington Nationals World Series Champions 19-1

*All odds according to il.betrivers.com

College Basketball Picks: Late Slate Games

Mid-major conference tournaments are in full effect as bigger schools are wrapping up their 2019-2020 regular season games today and tomorrow. Saturdays tend to trend towards the underdog as two weeks ago three of the top five teams lost outright. There are two A-10 games that peak interest and of course the greatest rivalry in college basketball.

North Carolina (13-17) at 12 Duke (24-6)

Spread: Duke -10.5

Over/Under: 153

Time: 6 p.m ET

TV: ESPN

The greatest rivalry in college sports and arguably in the Mt. Rushmore of rivalries in all sports. DukeNorth Carolina, while both teams are having completely different seasons this game is always appointment TV.

Duke opened as an 11.5 point favorite and there has been significant money coming in on the underdog. In their last meeting, the Tar Heels had all but secured a victory in Chapel Hill until Tre Jones turned into Houdini and sent the game into overtime and the Blue Devils snuck out a victory at the Dean Smith Center.

Look for North Carolina to give Duke all they can handle in this game as the Tar Heels are a much better team than their record indicates.

The Pick: UNC +10.5

George Washington (12-18) at 3 Dayton (28-2)

Spread: Dayton -20.5

Over/Under: 138.5

Time: 7 p.m ET

TV: ESPN+

Yes, the Colonials of George Washington are getting backed in this game and its simple quite frankly. Dayton has already locked up the outright title of the A-10 conference. This line opened at -22 in favor of the Flyers and has seen some significant movement with the sharps backing George Washington.

It has since bet all the way down to -20.5. George Washington has the same exact record ATS as Dayton (15-14) so although the Colonials have a record under .500 the record against the spread is what really matters.

The Pick: George Washington

St. Bonaventure (19-11) at St. Louis University (22-8)

Spread: SLU -5

Over/Under135

Time: 8 p.m ET

St. Louis is on a four-game winning streak and continues to depend on their efficient guard play. Jordan Goodwin who is leading the Billikens with 15.5 ppg has been playing with a lot more assertiveness averaging 22 ppg in the winning streak. Both teams have an 11-6 conference record in the A-10 and are battling for the fourth seed in the upcoming conference tournament. SLU has been terrific at home with a 14-3 record. Look for them to end their regular season on a positive note with a win over St. Bonaventure.

The Pick: SLU -5

College Basketball Picks: The Race for Selection Sunday

Teams are cramming to pad their resume as selection Sunday is just over two weeks away. The Big Ten’s regular-season title is just about secured as Maryland holds a two-game lead over four teams tied for second place with three games to go.

We’ll be talking about two of those teams tied for second place and which angle to wager on in that huge Big Ten matchup. In the Big East, it’s a little bit of a tighter race. Seton Hall only holds a one-game lead over Villanova and Creighton. Five of the top six teams in the conference will be playing today as the focus stays on the early games.

CBB Picks: Race for Selection Sunday

Providence (16-12) at 12 Villanova (22-6)

Spread: Nova -7.5

Over/Under: 137.5

Time: 12:00 p.m ET

TV: FOX

Villanova has been finding their stride at just the right time as they are on a five-game winning streak. The Wildcats are looking to tie things up with Seton Hall atop the Big East Conference. Nova is averaging just over 71 ppg in home conference games and loves shooting the three-ball as they rank 31st in the nation in 3PA.

Providence is coming off of a big win against Marquette at home but the Wildcats are a different story when it comes to the Friars. They have won at Wells Fargo Center since 2016. The Friars are facing a red hot Wildcat team that is clicking on all cylinders.

The Pick: Nova -7.5

16 Penn State (21-7) at 18 Iowa (19-9)

Spread: Iowa -4

Over/Under: 152

Time: 12:00 p.m ET

TV: Big Ten Network

Iowa has been unbeatable at home, Literally. They are 8-0 in conference home games and averaging a whopping 79.3 ppg in those games and currently one game back of a tie for second place. Hawkeyes have one of the best players in the country in Luka Garza. The Wooden Award candidate is nearly averaging a double-double and loves playing at home.

Penn State has a workhorse of their own in Lamar Stevens who has led the Nittany Lions to a 21-7 record and in a four-way tie for 2nd in the Big Ten. At this point in the season, Iowa is catching Penn State at the right time.

The Pick: Iowa -4.0

13 Seton Hall (20-7) at Marquette (18-9)

Spread: Marquette -2.0

Over/Under: 149.5

Time: 2:30 p.m ET

TV: Fox

Seton Hall is looking to sweep the season series against Marquette at Fiserv Forum. The Pirates are clinging on atop the Big East with a one-game lead over Villanova and Creighton. They have been a good team on the road as they only have one loss in road conference games and averaging 76.5 ppg in those games. This is going to be a great matchup between two of the best guards in the country in Myles Powell and Markus Howard.

Marquette has lost three of their last four games and is reeling. The one thing Marquette can do is score. The Golden Eagles are averaging 78.5 ppg in conference play. But, they are a lowly 1-6 when facing the top four teams in the conference. I think the Pirates will win this game outright so if you want to sprinkle in a little queso on the moneyline, feel free.

The Pick: Seton Hall +2

College Basketball picks: Top 25 Games

College basketball has been anything but consistent in this 2019-2020 season. Early on, the teams ranked number one couldn’t hold their ranking for more than a week. Today, there are three top-25 matchups that should be basically wrapping up the regular-season conference title with a win and Vegas never makes it easy with their on the money lines. But, we don’t shy away from big-time games, we wager on them.

Top-25 CBB Game Picks

3 Kansas (23-3) at 1 Baylor (24-1)

Spread: Baylor -1.5

Over/Under: 127.5

Time: 12:00 p.m ET

TV: ESPN

Kansas is looking to exact revenge at The Ferrell Center in Waco as Baylor has been the only team to knock off Kansas on their home floor and it wasn’t even close. Baylor dominated Kansas 67-55 back on January 11. But this has been a completely different Kansas team since then; rattling off 11 straight wins. Kansas has been averaging 73.8 ppg in February and is 6-0 in road conference games.

Baylor has been the most consistent team in college basketball this year and they’ve been one of the most profitable teams this year. Baylor comes in as the fourth-most profitable ATS at 16-6 according to The Action Network. This is setting up to be a great game with the top-ranked team at home against the third-ranked team that is the powerhouse of the Kansas Jayhawks.

The spread has been fluctuating since it opened up at -1.5 favoring the Bears at home and immediately was bet up to -2.5. The line has since been back down to -1.5 so significant money has been coming in on both sides. I’m looking at a total that has been bet down to 127.5 from 129.5 when betting opened. I would look to bet the over with the recent February scoring surge from Kansas; even up against the stifling Baylor defense.

The Pick: Over 127.5

14 Oregon (20-7) at 24 Arizona (19-7)

Spread: Arizona -4.5

Over/Under: 140

Time: 9:00 p.m ET

TV: ESPN

The second of three top 25 college basketball matchups is in the PAC-12 as Oregon visits Arizona at McKale Center. Oregon has been awful on the road in conference games with just a 2-5 record. In fact, they haven’t won a road conference game since January 30th at Cal. I don’t trust the Ducks here at all.

Meanwhile, Arizona has been great at home in conference play with a 5-1 record and averaging just over 78 ppg in those six games. These two teams faced each other back on January 9 with Oregon needing overtime to squeak out a victory against the Wildcats at home. This time, Arizona returns the favor.

The Pick: Arizona -4.5

2 Gonzaga (27-1) at 23 BYU (22-7)

Spread: Gonzaga -4.5

Over/Under: 158.5

Time: 10:00 pm ET

TV: ESPN2

Gonzaga is one of those teams where handicappers always try to find a game on their schedule where they are most susceptible to losing. That’s because year in and year out they are the standard in college basketball. This is the spot where most people have them losing and I just don’t see it.

Last Thursday they had their classic trap game at home against San Francisco and it was living up to its title in the first half as the Don’s were up 31-22 in Spokane. Only for Gonzaga to outscore San Fran 49-23 in the second half and win by 17 which ended up being an all-time bad beat with Gonzaga being favored by 16.5 points and covering on a last-second three.

Gonzaga is almost never a small favorite, they typically are a double-digit favorite which is why I tend to stay away from their games. The last time the Zags were this small of a favorite was on February 8 (-5) at St. Mary’s and ended up winning by 30 points. Both teams can really light up the scoreboard so I’m leaning towards the over. But, what I’m most confident in this game is the Bulldogs covering on the road.

The Pick: Gonzaga -4.5