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Juan Soto – The San Diego Padres made the biggest splash at the MLB Trade Deadline, acquiring arguably the greatest young hitter since Mike Trout.
Combine that move with adding infielder Brandon Drury, first baseman Josh Bell and closer extraordinaire Josh Hader, and you have a ballclub that’s made the biggest move in the futures markets. The Padres moved from +1000 to +400 to win the N.L. pennant and from +2200 to +1000 to win the World Series (FOX Bet).
Even with the acquisitions, power metrics still say the Los Angeles Dodgers have the best roster in the National League. But, on Covering the Spread, I explained why the Atlanta Braves are still a value play.
Betting on First-Inning Runs – Maybe you want to bet on baseball but don’t want to watch a full game. NRFI (no runs first inning) and YRFI (yes runs first inning) could be more of your jam, where you simply bet on if any runs will be scored in the first frame.
I wrote a general guide to first inning bets, and bettor Jared Smith has also assembled some outstanding resources to help you take the plunge, notably how ballclubs and pitchers have faired in first innings this season.
Premier League Futures – The new season of EPL is already underway, and with it, a number of opportunities to enter the futures markets.
A fun one is the top goalscorer. Last season, per understat.com, among qualifiers, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah led the way in both expected goals and expected goals per 90 minutes. He has the second-shortest odds on FanDuel at +470 behind Erling Haaland, the young Norwegian who joined Manchester City this off season.
However, if you’re looking for someone who vastly underperformed his xG, Harry Kane finished 3.69 xG short of his actual goals scored. Kane has the third best odds +550.
Pass Rush – Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt led the NFL with 23 sacks last season. However, as Ed Feng explained on a solo episode of The Football Analytics Show, sacks are not that predictive from season to season.
Instead, he suggests looking at pressures, the sum of sacks, hits and hurries. PFF has the data to track pressure rate, or pressures divided by pass rush snaps.
In 2021, Watt had a pressure rate of 14.9%, very impressive compared to the NFL average of 10.3% for edge rushers. However, Von Miller had a pressure rate of 15.2% for two teams in 2021. The pass rush abilities of Miller are one reason Buffalo is the Super Bowl favorite (+600 at Circa).
Detroit Lions – Fabian Somner isn’t buying the hype. He believes the Lions will struggle in the secondary, and these PFF passing grades for QB Jared Goff don’t impress him (out of 100):
- 2019: 72.5
- 2020: 71.6
- 2021: 61.7
He also notes that offensive guru Sean McVay was calling the plays those first two seasons. Fabian doesn’t see these Lions contending for the playoffs.
On his appearance on the Deep Dive podcast, Fabian also talked about the NFL stat that has replaced DVOA with bettors and many other betting topics.
Stefon Diggs – Is he still an elite receiver? Diggs had fewer receptions and yards last season than in 2020. In two playoff games, he had only 10 targets. Instead, Gabriel Davis had a monster 8 reception, 201 yard game at Kansas City.
However, JJ Zachariason of Late Round Fantasy Football believes in Diggs. He has shown all the attributes of an elite receiver, and Buffalo’s offense should keep their pass heavy tendencies even without OC Brian Daboll. JJ’s fantasy draft guide had Diggs ahead of CeeDee Lamb and Davante Adams.
On The Football Analytics Show, JJ also discussed how his NFL player projection model works, how to use regression to your advantage, and the importance of supply and demand in fantasy football drafts.
Money in College Football – Many in college football are complaining about money infiltrating the sport through Name, Image and Likeness agreements players are making with companies willing to pay them for advertising. But, as the old saying goes, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.”
Fans have complained for a long time about money ruining college football. College football editor Matt Brown found a newspaper article from 100 years ago about Baton Rouge residents complaining LSU was paying its new football coach too much.
Data driven betting information
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