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World Cup Final – My predictions take the results all international matches over the past five years and adjust for strength of schedule. These numbers give France a 53% chance to win the World Cup over Argentina.
A virus has hit the French team, as midfielder Adrien Rabiot and central defender Dayot Upamecano didn’t play in the semifinal. Now, there are worries that the two central defenders who did start the semifinal, Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate, might be affected with the virus.
It seems like Upamecano will be able to play. Even if neither of the semifinal starters can play, France would probably insert William Saliba, who has played every match for an Arsenal team second in Premier League in xG allowed. France has a load of talent on its roster, and I see no reason to adjust my prediction.
Dallas at Jacksonville – Pro bettor Rob Pizzola thinks the market has been too slow to adjust to an improving Trevor Lawrence.
The Jags’ early season struggles on offense were almost solely tied to abysmal red zone performance. In the first eight weeks of the season, Lawrence ranked 39th of 40 qualified QBs in EPA per dropback in the red zone but sixth in EPA per dropback outside of the red zone. His recent performance in the red zone more accurately reflects the rest of his stats.
In addition, Lawrence is getting the ball out quickly, an important factor in mitigating the elite pass rush of Dallas. Rob likes Jacksonville +4, which agrees with The Power Rank prediction of Dallas by 3.2 points.
Check out all the excellent work Rob and his team do at The Hammer sports betting network.
NFL MVP – On Friday’s episode of Props & Hops, pro bettor Hitman looked at the NFL MVP race between Jalen Hurts (-165) and Patrick Mahomes (+190).
Both frontrunners have favorable matchups in week 15
- Mahomes and the Chiefs are -14 at the Texans
- Hurts and the Eagles are -9 at the Bears
However, Hitman prefers the dome environment for Mahomes compared to the blustery outdoor conditions at Soldier Field for Hurts.
In addition, there is a chance that Hurts doesn’t play the last week of the regular season if Philadelphia secures the top seed in the NFC. This suggests value on Mahomes +190 for NFL MVP.
Penalty kicks – With two evenly matched teams in France and Argentina, there is always the chance that penalty kicks decide the World Cup. Ryan O’Hanlon, the ESPN writer who wrote the excellent book Net Gains, did a deep dive into this topic based on a Stats Perform database that covers from 2010 through the 2022 World Cup Round of 16.
Surprisingly, Lionel Messi is not the best at taking penalties. He has converted 86 of 108 penalties, and his 79.6% conversion rate is very close to the 78% rate in the Premier League since the 2010-11 season.
This seems a little crazy, as Messi is statistically the best at just about any other quantifiable action. However, the error is Messi’s conversion rate is about 4%, and this makes it unlikely that he’s better than Harry Kane (56 of 64 for 87.5% but missed a huge one against France in the quarterfinals).
Key injuries and opt outs – The NFL news comes from ESPN.
- New York Jets QB Mike White has not been cleared to play. Zach Wilson will start at home against Detroit.
- Arizona QB Kyler Murray underwent season ending surgery to repair his knee.
- Denver QB Russell Wilson will not play against Arizona despite clearing the concussion protocol. Brett Rypien will get the start. Coach Nathaniel Hackett said Wilson will start their next game against the Los Angeles Rams.
- Atlanta QB Marcus Mariota is on injured reserve with a knee injury. Desmond Ridder will start at New Orleans.
- Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson will not play because of a knee injury. Tyler Huntley will start at Cleveland.
- Los Angeles Rams QB John Wolford is out. Baker Mayfield played the majority of their last game and will start at Green Bay.
- Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett is doubtful with a concussion.
- Purdue QB Aiden O’Connell has opted out of the bowl game against LSU to prepare for the NFL draft.
- Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall has entered the transfer portal but will play against East Carolina.
- Alabama QB Bryce Young and edge Will Anderson Jr., two projected top NFL picks, will play against Kansas State in Sugar Bowl. Coach Nick Saban doesn’t expect any opt outs for the game.
Betscope NBA – Betscope is a betting tool that helps you find the best price based on your beliefs.
In Atlanta at Charlotte last night, founder Colin Davy suspected value on the Hawks. When he changed the game’s implied scoring difference from Hornets -1.8 to -1.5, Betscope suggested Atlanta -4.5, +165 as one of the best ways to bet this.
Atlanta ran away with a 125-106 win on the road.
NFL MVP race – Gridiron Heights from Bleacher Report parodies the race as an airplane contest, and Kirk Cousins shows up in a glider.
Data driven betting information
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