1. #1
    Point Blank
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    PB (3/30): NCAA Final Four - The Game Inside the Game


    NCAA Final Four: The Game Inside the Game…For openers, MLB relief did cause many to reach for Rolaids…What now for the 76ers, as The Process hits a detour…


    Point Blank – March 30, 2018

    It is a rare three-sport weekend on the betting boards, the unusual buildup to the Final Four on Saturday being an afternoon filled with MLB action, and it is also a challenging time for the oddsmakers on the NBA front. Just what is the adjustment for the 76ers without Joel Embiid? And there are guys this morning that have to try to make sense out of Suns/Rockets, one in which I cannot blame them for being slow to provide send-outs.

    With a lot of work ahead it will naturally call for the Friday Jukebox to be plugged in to help everyone glide along, and this time the direction gets set by a long-shot that has been offered to those of us that live in Las Vegas, John Mayall appearing Saturday night at Club Madrid at Sunset Station. I will be in attendance, possibly cutting it close if Kansas/Villanova go to OT, but the opportunity to see someone still out there playing the blues at the age of 84, the rare blending of time and life experience bringing even more to the music, was one that I wasn’t going to pass up. Let’s go to some classic Mayall, along with Gary Moore and Buddy Whittington, from the Montreux Jazz Festival a decade ago -




    “So Many Roads” is fitting as the NCAA journey nears an end, while the long MLB tour has just begun. Now time to head to the Alamodome, and The Game Inside the Game for the Final Four, isolating a key matchup element for each that will play a major part in how the scoreboards unfold.


    Item: Will the Loyola offense run into a wall

    Watching Loyola play has been a pleasure because it has been superb basketball – the Ramblers move the ball on offense, their shooting percentage as much a result as the quality of shots taken as the equality of the shooters, and are rarely out of position defensively. It is what good coaching and a group of players that bring the commitment can produce, and on the coaching front you should take a moment for this piece, Porter Moser remembering Rick Majerus.

    In detailing that offense prior the Elite 8 matchups last weekend I included that long chart of all of those layups that the Ramblers made vs. Nevada, and it has been their ability to get good shots near the basket that has keyed this run – how about a sizzling 74-126 on two-point shot attempts in the tourney, for 58.7 percent, compared to 56.8 during the regular season, against weaker competition. How could that happen? Some of it has to do with a subtle luck of the draw. Let’s look at the make-up of the starting lineups of the four teams that Loyola has beaten:

    SR 3
    JR 7
    SO 6
    FR 4

    That mattered, because for those four teams it was both a lack of experience overall, and a lack of tourney experience, while also adding that Tennessee and Kansas State had only one prep day to gear up against a complex offense. Now the matchup gets much tougher – not only is this an experienced and savvy Michigan team, but the Wolverine defense will have ample time to study video.

    For as good as the Ramblers have been in getting shots near the basket, a Michigan defense that rates #4 overall this season has kept opponents from those opportunities - John Beilein’s team has only allowed 42.3 percent on two-point shots in the tourney, a count that would have rated #3 in the regular-season. It has been both superb tactical defense, and also the right mix of size, athleticism and tenacity from the players to make it happen.




    Where did the tactical shift come from, after Michigan had fielded mostly average defenses through the Beilein years? There is an excellent read on that front from the good folks at Cleaning the Glass that is worth your while. Here is a key takeaway from arguably the best X’s and O’s coach in the college game, Beilein in his own words – “The smartest thing is I stopped coaching it (defense) so much. I let other people become the voice of it. I wanted one guy, that’s all he thinks about all day long.”

    That one guy is assistant Luke Yaklich, and it is that defense I will focus on, not only because I believe the matchup works, but also the markets increasing the value. There has been money to the underdog and the over since the game first hit the board, including the first 130 showing now, and that is essentially a collective case being made for the Ramblers offense. That will have me putting #811 Loyola Team Total Under (6:05 Eastern) into pocket, with 62 the value target, but a prospect of finding 62.5 between now and tipoff.

    There isn’t going to be much pace in this one, which will force a high level of execution from the Ramblers to get their points, not only in a higher-pressure setting than they have ever been in before, but also shooting at the cavernous backdrop. Meanwhile there are no concerns about Michigan being ready for the moment. Consider this – since that near-tragedy on the runway last March the Wolverines are 14-1 SU and 10-3-2 ATS in single-elimination tourney games, a perfect 8-0 in the Big 10, and in going 6-1 in the Big Dance the only loss was by a single point vs. Oregon in a well-played game.


    Item: What if Kansas can’t disrupt the Villanova flow

    My ratings show the Kansas/Villanova line to be a pinch high, but not enough to bet the underdog. The Jayhawks have gone from being soft and fragile early in the campaign to developing a confidence and resiliency, and when a team has the kind of shotmakers they have, especially now that Malik Newman has grown into his game, they are rarely going to be out of the hunt.

    But there is an issue the precludes involvement, to the point at which I would need a full +7 – this Villanova offense is as difficult to disrupt as any I can recall, the rare group of six players in the main rotation that can all handle the ball, and all knock down shots. As noted here often this season it has evolved into something truly special, the #2 offense in all of college basketball over the past decade, trailing only 2015 Wisconsin. I’ll use a take from Jay Wright on this game to lay out the matchup issue.

    This is Wright reacting to a question about facing the third straight opponent from the Big 12: “It’s the most physical conference in the country. We know this could be a tight game and while they could run out on you, we know it’s going to be a battle. We’re going to have fight and scrap and claw and find a way to steal this in the end.’’

    It is easy to understand the sentiment, because those last two games were against West Virginia and Texas Tech, two teams that were not just near the top of the NCAA defensive ratings overall, but were particularly good at pressuring the ball. In terms of Tech, I called the Red Raiders the single toughest defensive matchup the Wildcats could face this season, and the Red Raiders held them to 40.4 percent from the field, and just seven assists vs. 12 turnovers. Yet Tech still lost by a dozen.



    But does Kansas come from that same mold? No. Let’s look at ball pressure from those three Big 12 defenses:

    TO% Steal%
    WVU #2 #7
    T Tech #17 #46
    Kansas #178 #112

    Now you see the potential matchup problem. If you don’t disrupt Villanova it becomes a matter of hoping that the Wildcats miss shots, and both their ball movement to get good shots, and physical ability to make them, are at one of the highest levels the college game has ever seen. To understand this, go back to the Alabama matchup. The Crimson Tide play solid defense, #20 in the nation, but it was not based on ball pressure, only rating #147 in TO%. Villanova carved them up to the tune of 1.23 PPP.

    If you don’t take something away from the Wildcats they aren’t going to give it away - Jalen Brunson got through those wins vs. Alabama, West Virginia and Texas Tech with only five turnovers. And in terms of being ready for the moment don’t expect Villanova nerves – Brunson, Mikal Bridges and Phil Booth played 125 floor minutes in the Final Four two years ago, capped by that dramatic championship win over North Carolina. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kansas was in the hunt to the final possessions, but unless something looks promising from the Props menu I don’t expect to have any financial involvement.


    Item: Just how bad were those bullpens

    MLB Opening Day brought a great primer on what is to come over the summer months, the notion that it is a full roller-coaster ride. How about such early reminders that you can have a four-run lead behind your aces, Chris Sale, Aaron Nola and Garrett Richards, and not win the games, major bullpen failures by the Red Sox and Phillies, and an in-game hiccup from Richards that becomes challenging to grade (he seemed to be sailing along 4-0 in the 5th inning, making a lot of good pitches, and then BB-BB-HR-HR across a span of four batters).

    The results of any single day should be taken with a grain of salt, but let’s note the gap in the performance outcomes of a couple of key categories from the Starters vs. Relievers yesterday:

    ERA BB/9
    Starters 3.60 3.5
    Relievers 4.62 4.2

    The reason I take the time to do that is because it does matter on opening day, and in fact across the first series. Yes, the ERA of the starters will run good because these will almost always be the best guys from their rotations. But it is also the on-going issue of it being easier to target a starter for opening day than to have everyone in the bullpen be ready, and in particular you can see that from the control counts.

    As for the rest it was filled with the usual idiosyncrasies that become a part of life now for the next half a calendar year, including such novelties as James Shields getting a win despite nary a strikeout of the 25 batters faced, and a Church League Softball SWS% of 4.1. Or how about Zach Duke facing six batters, striking four of them out, yet having a single-game ERA of 18.00, vs. a FIP of -2.10? Plenty of challenges, and plenty of fun, ahead.


    Item: What now for the 76ers

    The Embiid news was particularly painful for those of us that have Philadelphia Future’s in pocket. With him on the court there isn’t anyone in the Eastern Conference that they can’t beat; without him it becomes a question of whether there is anyone that they can get past in the first round.

    How big could the impact be? I am still waiting for Philly/Atlanta openers to hit the board, but let me throw out some bottom line stuff that does show the potential gravity (using Net PP100 as the guide):

    All Pre-B Post-B
    Embiid In +11.6 +10.5 +14.5
    Embiid Out -3.9 -5.2 +.4



    Some of this gap is indeed the special talents of Embiid, but also note that the On/Off court is also about a strong chemistry that they starters have developed – as a group they have statistically been as good as any quintet in the NBA (remember to take that with some grains of salt, because they have been playing pretty much all-out, while some of the Rockets/Warriors minutes come in a coasting mode). But in terms of usage rate on offense, only James Harden has been involved more with his team’s flow when on the court.

    The plus for Brett Brown is that the closing schedule is favorable, which allows him to experiment in developing a new rotation, and perhaps still hang on to at least the #4 seed, and a first round home court. The minus is that the chemistry will now be disrupted twice within a short span, the re-working without Embiid, and then the assimilation when he returns.

    “So Many Roads” indeed…


    In the Sights, Saturday MLB…

    I don’t think the matchups work for either CC Sabathia or Marco Estrada this afternoon, and also want to be ahead of the curve in buying in against two veterans that have their best work behind them, so it is a good time to buy in with #919 Yankees/Blue Jays Over (4:05 Eastern), as long as the 9‘s hold up in the marketplace.

    Sabathia got about everything he could out of his guile to generate that 14-5/3.69 in 2017, but FIP and SIERA both read those same pitches at 4.49, too few batters being retired via contact, in particular a .276 BABIP that does not bode well for someone getting ground-balls at a 49.9% percent clip. To isolate that, of the 22 pitchers that were at 49.5 or better in ground-ball rate, only three had a lower BABIP than CC. Now another calendar year has gone by, birthday #38 coming up in July, so there will be a continued decline in stuff, and most likely a decline in the outcomes that stuff produced in 2017. The key today is that the Blue Jays have plenty of experience against him, and can exercise patience.

    Meanwhile I have written about Estrada often in the past as being a “Poor Man’s Catfish Hunter”, a guy that has made a living high in the strike zone, getting a lot of fly-ball outs in the power alleys. That becomes a tight-rope walk as the years go by and the command isn’t as precise, which was part of his career-high’s in ERA and BB/9 in 2017. The real headache is the matchup today – working high in the strike zone against the current Yankees is a recipe for disaster, because what would be fly ball outs for many other hitters instead get caught by fans.

    The performance arcs for Estrada vs. Stanton/Judge/Sanchez are already ominous:

    PA HR OPS
    Judge 17 2 1.660
    Stanton 11 3 1.636
    Sanchez 17 4 1.294

    It may only get worse for him. Meanwhile the bullpens get weakened by several relievers already working twice in the series, with Aroldis Chapman unavailable after the multiple-inning save last night, so the hitters should get good swings throughout in this one.



    In the Sights, Sunday MLB…

    If the MLB powers that be insist on starting this early we can at least take advantage of some of the consequences, and that will lead to #976 Detroit/Pittsburgh First Half Under (1:10 Eastern) this afternoon, with reasonable 4.5’s easy to find.

    It will literally be a frigid day for baseball to be played, the first pitch just a couple of degrees above freezing, and the temperature isn’t expected to reach 40 until later in the afternoon. That gives a big edge to budding-ace Michael Fulmer and the developing Trevor Williams, who has some upside. They have the ability to get into a rhythm as each inning unfolds, all the while facing batters that don’t have much opportunity while emerging from a cold dugout. The fact that both throw heavy sinkers is also a plus, especially into offenses that aren’t dynamic, despite the wild opener that they played on Friday.

    I am going to take the bullpens out of play, with concern about any pitcher having to loosen up quickly, but will trust the starters to make a couple of good passes through the lineup vs. hitters that will be out of sync about in having already had two postponements in this series, and may struggle to get their hands warm at the plate today.



    If you want to know when PB is ready to go each day, as well as following along for some of the most important Sports Betting news as it unfolds, make @Vegaspointblank a part of your routine.
    Last edited by Point Blank; 04-01-18 at 11:07 AM.

  2. #2
    Point Blank
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    OK guys, let's set the stage - this will be the full weekend thread, running up through Giants/Dodgers and the Sunday evening NBA. It is also a good time to lay the ground rules out again, much like the managers and umpires gathering at home plate before first pitch.

    The goal here is to be a handicapping discussion thread, a place where ideas can be bounced around that can help everyone find edges across the daily betting boards. There will be attempts to answer all questions on that front, but we do have to bring in the caveat that "Who do you like in XXX vs. YYY?" isn't a discussion, and will be a long-shot to receiver an answer.

    There is a lot going on in the cycle ahead, the NBA Playoffs now filled with intrigue instead of merely a Warriors path to coronation, and the daily MLB filled with more details than any other sport. That will mean the opportunity to take some of the discussions to high levels, and when that happens it also means a lot of edges being uncovered.

  3. #3
    bdsbr
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    “including such novelties as James Shields getting a win despite nary a strikeout of the 25 batters faced, and a Church League Softball SWS% of 4.1.”

    Church League Softball, Ha! Gold Dave! Hilarious!

    Enjoy the weekend!

  4. #4
    golfnutt67
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    John Mayhall plus Gary Moore wow two of my very favorite sure a little past their prime but hell aren't we all very enjoyable

    Not sure what to make of Durant getting tossed like that..... my knee jerk is to blame the ref, but something seems off with KD. He finally gets back into the lineup and lets a couple missed calls get him off his game mentally when they really need him. It's not a good look for him, or the team granted they all seem to be treading water until the playoffs. I really expected a little more self control out of all of them at this point, but the mental and physical toll the last 4 years seems to be showing. Hopefully if they can get healthy it may lead to some decent series pricing in the PO.

  5. #5
    vegasvee
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    bases loaded for the tigers twice with no outs... no runs.

    this one isn't gonna go my way...

    a fine game being pitched by jordan zimmermann overall, too.

  6. #6
    shadymcgrady
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    Any thoughts on tonight's Timberwolves/Mavs game Dave? We all know Dallas is tanking but which night will Cuban and Carlisle choose to give their fans a final win?

    Are the cavs chomping at the bit now that embiid has gone down and the prospect of the 3rd seed is in their grasp?

    Likewise is there value in Philly coming out and obliterating the lowly hawks tonight?
    175 pts

    3-QUESTION
    SBR TRIVIA WINNER 11/29/2021

    $20
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  7. #7
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by vegasvee View Post
    bases loaded for the tigers twice with no outs... no runs.

    this one isn't gonna go my way...

    a fine game being pitched by jordan zimmermann overall, too.
    Though I have nothing going financially in that game, the amount of sheer torture that backers of either side have been through across 10 innings has been remarkable. Baseball at either it's best or worst, I will leave that for others to define which extreme...

  8. #8
    lanceluna
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    Good afternoon Dave,
    I was wondering if you had any thoughts on tonight's game between the Portland Trailblazers and the Los Angeles Clippers? The Blazers have recently handled the Clippers with a fair amount of ease ats the last 2 times they meet. It seems that Lillard will return tonight and with Portland's recent loss to Memphis, do you see any value on Portland at -6? Wishing you and your family a Happy Easter! Thanks for all you do.

  9. #9
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by lanceluna View Post
    Good afternoon Dave,
    I was wondering if you had any thoughts on tonight's game between the Portland Trailblazers and the Los Angeles Clippers? The Blazers have recently handled the Clippers with a fair amount of ease ats the last 2 times they meet. It seems that Lillard will return tonight and with Portland's recent loss to Memphis, do you see any value on Portland at -6? Wishing you and your family a Happy Easter! Thanks for all you do.
    I think the price is high, with Jordan upgraded to probable now for the Clippers, and also Gallinari returning to add another weapon. And might this be another instance in which we might realize that Mo Harkless was an unsung cog in how well the Portland chemistry came together. This from Joe Freeman of the Oregonian made the files:

    Over his last six games, Harkless has reached double-figures in scoring five times and is averaging 14.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks, while shooting 62 percent from three-point range. His defensive versatility and two-way tenacity have been vital to the Blazers' hot play after the All-Star break. The timing of the injury, which comes just as he and the team are playing so well, is hard to swallow.

  10. #10
    shadymcgrady
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    Is it more likely that the sixers will try and develop chemistry or go for the higher seed and win as the objective starting tonight in Atlanta?

    Conversely is cle a decent look at the current price against a decent pelican team at the moment?
    175 pts

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    donation 02/15/2021


  11. #11
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadymcgrady View Post
    Is it more likely that the sixers will try and develop chemistry or go for the higher seed and win as the objective starting tonight in Atlanta?

    Conversely is cle a decent look at the current price against a decent pelican team at the moment?
    It is a million dollar question with the 76ers, but it won't be easy to gauge much of anything this evening because of the make-shift group the Hawks are working with. This is a bit of a hilarity with some of the late-season stuff that must be sorted through:

    FantasyLabs NBA @FantasyLabsNBA

    Lineup note: Hawks available are Taylor, Lee, Prince, Collins, Dedmon, Dorsey, White, Muscala, Plumlee.


    Out of that hodge-podge, the Hawks must get 240 regulation floor minutes, or more if it goes to OT. I have not found any direction to Pelicans/Cavs, though Cleveland does get both Kevin Love and Kyle Korver back on the floor tonight (though J.R. Smith may be a no-go due to illness).
    Last edited by Point Blank; 03-30-18 at 06:55 PM.

  12. #12
    lanceluna
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    Great input, as always Dave. I am now seeing a + 6 1/2 and I now believe I might take a small piece of LA. Have a wonderful evening.

  13. #13
    greedisgoood
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    Can anyone find the box score from the NABC All Star game tonight? I watched a few moments of it and saw nothing but bricks from behind the arc, yet the final score was 98-94. Not much is contested in this game so I’m trying to get a sense of what the Alamodome impact will be this weekend.

  14. #14
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by greedisgoood View Post
    Can anyone find the box score from the NABC All Star game tonight? I watched a few moments of it and saw nothing but bricks from behind the arc, yet the final score was 98-94. Not much is contested in this game so I’m trying to get a sense of what the Alamodome impact will be this weekend.
    For folks trying to plug the Alamodome into the equation, or these cavernous sites in general, here is an interesting piece that will create some food for thought over some of the traditional assumptions that get made -


  15. #15
    Lago
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    Are the Giants running out a pitcher in Derek Holland that the Dodgers can actually score against? The ML of -200 is too high for my taste but I did grab the RL +110. Derek Holland hasn't been an effective starter for four years plus. Also, I am considering the dodgers TT over 4.5. The giants probably aren't expecting more than four innings so probably a bullpen battle.

  16. #16
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lago View Post
    Are the Giants running out a pitcher in Derek Holland that the Dodgers can actually score against? The ML of -200 is too high for my taste but I did grab the RL +110. Derek Holland hasn't been an effective starter for four years plus. Also, I am considering the dodgers TT over 4.5. The giants probably aren't expecting more than four innings so probably a bullpen battle.
    The Dodgers will certainly appreciate seeing some hittable pitches, of which there have been few so far (including Hunter Strickland throwing with a lot of confidence in the closer role for the Giants, though he likely gets held out on a 3-in-3, should he be needed this evening).

    The guys I feel most sorry for are the ones who bet the No on the "Will any player hit a HR off of both Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen this season", and only got to root for the prop for two days...

  17. #17
    Point Blank
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    And time to get in play on the Saturday Diamonds:

    In the Sights, Saturday MLB…

    I don’t think the matchups work for either CC Sabathia or Marco Estrada this afternoon, and also want to be ahead of the curve in buying in against two veterans that have their best work behind them, so it is a good time to buy in with #919 Yankees/Blue Jays Over (4:05 Eastern), as long as the 9‘s hold up in the marketplace.

    Sabathia got about everything he could out of his guile to generate that 14-5/3.69 in 2017, but FIP and SIERA both read those same pitches at 4.49, too few batters being retired via contact, in particular a .276 BABIP that does not bode well for someone getting ground-balls at a 49.9% percent clip. To isolate that, of the 22 pitchers that were at 49.5 or better in ground-ball rate, only three had a lower BABIP than CC. Now another calendar year has gone by, birthday #38 coming up in July, so there will be a continued decline in stuff, and most likely a decline in the outcomes that stuff produced in 2017. The key today is that the Blue Jays have plenty of experience against him, and can exercise patience.

    Meanwhile I have written about Estrada often in the past as being a “Poor Man’s Catfish Hunter”, a guy that has made a living high in the strike zone, getting a lot of fly-ball outs in the power alleys. That becomes a tight-rope walk as the years go by and the command isn’t as precise, which was part of his career-high’s in ERA and BB/9 in 2017. The real headache is the matchup today – working high in the strike zone against the current Yankees is a recipe for disaster, because what would be fly ball outs for many other hitters instead get caught by fans.

    The performance arcs for Estrada vs. Stanton/Judge/Sanchez are already ominous:

    PA HR OPS
    Judge 17 2 1.660
    Stanton 11 3 1.636
    Sanchez 17 4 1.294

    It may only get worse for him. Meanwhile the bullpens get weakened by several relievers already working twice in the series, with Aroldis Chapman unavailable after the multiple-inning save last night, so the hitters should get good swings throughout in this one.

  18. #18
    MoneyWithNoCash
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    Well Dave , fading the Yankees so far has me wailing out the PigPen blues, so I cranked up some of Jerry wailing out “Liberty” from a 93 show and gonna fly with Giolito on this Saturday to find . My. Own. Way. Home

  19. #19
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoneyWithNoCash View Post
    Well Dave , fading the Yankees so far has me wailing out the PigPen blues, so I cranked up some of Jerry wailing out “Liberty” from a 93 show and gonna fly with Giolito on this Saturday to find . My. Own. Way. Home
    I will be with you on the Pale Hose, although it looks like we have company - I have an anti-Kennedy sentiment that will be in play across the early part of the campaign. He will get bailed out a bit by a pitcher's wind (in from left-field, significant given how many fly balls he will likely be giving up again), but he isn't going to miss many bats.

    Why not a little Saturday AM background for folks watching the numbers bounce around the boards:






    Went to the well but the water was dry
    Dipped my bucket in the clear blue sky
    Looked in the bottom and what did I see?
    The whole damned world looking back at me
    Last edited by Point Blank; 03-31-18 at 12:08 PM.

  20. #20
    benjy21
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    Hey Dave,

    With the offensive firepower being brought to the table in the Villanova Kansas game (Nova #1 & Kansas #5 in KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency), and the prospect of the game being close late, with the associated late game scramble points, do you see value on the over in this matchup with the total currently sitting at 154.5? My main concern with an over is the pace, as neither team plays super fast (Nova #160 & Kansas #150 in KenPom adjusted tempo).
    Last edited by benjy21; 03-31-18 at 11:35 AM.

  21. #21
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjy21 View Post
    Hey Dave,

    With the offensive firepower being brought to the table in the Villanova Kansas game (Nova #1 & Kansas #5 in KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency), and the prospect of the game being close late, with the associated late game scramble points, do you see value on the over in this matchup with the total currently sitting at 154.5? My main concern with an over is the pace, as neither team plays super fast (Nova #160 & Kansas #150 in KenPom adjusted tempo).
    I think it's a pretty sharp line. Here is the issue - while both teams have multiple players that can fill it up, both play sound 3-point defense - Villanova rates #29 and Kansas #41 in 3-Pt% allowed. Those numbers sell the defenses a little short - unlike overall defensive efficiency, which is schedule adjusted (Villanova #14 and Kansas #40), 3-Pt% is not. So factor Kansas playing the #2 overall schedule, and Villanova #16, and you can envision how good both teams are at guarding shooters. The process of the defenses staying with the shooters has a chance to not only limit efficiency, but also slow down the possessions as well.

  22. #22
    The Gooch
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    Here: (NOVA - Mich ML parlay at even money), Then a Nova Loyola parlay at the prevailing line, and two side bets on Nova -5 and Loyola +5.5

  23. #23
    RMFT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Point Blank View Post
    I think it's a pretty sharp line. Here is the issue - while both teams have multiple players that can fill it up, both play sound 3-point defense - Villanova rates #29 and Kansas #41 in 3-Pt% allowed. Those numbers sell the defenses a little short - unlike overall defensive efficiency, which is schedule adjusted (Villanova #14 and Kansas #40), 3-Pt% is not. So factor Kansas playing the #2 overall schedule, and Villanova #16, and you can envision how good both teams are at guarding shooters. The process of the defenses staying with the shooters has a chance to not only limit efficiency, but also slow down the possessions as well.
    Both teams know they belong here but there will be nerves, then the stadium setting - have you read anything that gives insight on how you believe teams will approach tempo? Wondering if under 73 is a fair 1H number?
    Last edited by RMFT; 03-31-18 at 03:18 PM.

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    Forearm Shiver
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    I think Dave's Yanks/Toronto over becomes even stronger when one sees CF will be patrolled by Aaron Judge.

  25. #25
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMFT View Post
    Both teams know they belong here but there will be nerves, then the stadium setting - have you read anything that gives insight on how you believe teams will approach tempo. Wondering if under 73 is a fair 1H number?
    What I don't expect to see much of is either team extending their defense to try to take the ball away because both offenses handle it so well - if we see pressure, it will be more to burn the shot clock down than to force TOs. That moderates things a bit, and note that part of the Villanova offensive success was based on passing up good shots to get better ones, hence a #225 in average possession on offense. But outside of Azubuike, just about all of the key cogs take take the ball down off of the defensive boards and go with it, and because both defenses are sound there will be a push to try to beat them down the floor.

    I am neutral at the value point, but if there is a "magic bullet" for the First Half Under, how about the fact that both defenses are outstanding at not committing fouls, while both offenses rely a significant amount of jump shots, rather than driving to the hole. Might we see few whistles in the first 20 minutes? Here is where each team rated in FTA/FGA, on both offense and defense, which may turn out to be significant:

    Off Def
    VIL #281 #29
    KAN #330 #14

  26. #26
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forearm Shiver View Post
    I think Dave's Yanks/Toronto over becomes even stronger when one sees CF will be patrolled by Aaron Judge.
    I wasn't expecting to see Brett Gardner getting the day off, but take Gardner/Ellsbury out of that OF, and there are indeed some prospects for adventure. Another plus is getting Neil Walker at DH, which is likely what spurred the move, adding a 4th hitter to the lineup that has multiple career HRs, and an OPS of over 1.000 (Walker at 1.066), against Estrada.

  27. #27
    fxman242
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    Uninspiring yankee bats today, only 4 hits with that lineup.....

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    Matt Landes
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    Quote Originally Posted by Point Blank View Post
    I wasn't expecting to see Brett Gardner getting the day off, but take Gardner/Ellsbury out of that OF, and there are indeed some prospects for adventure. Another plus is getting Neil Walker at DH, which is likely what spurred the move, adding a 4th hitter to the lineup that has multiple career HRs, and an OPS of over 1.000 (Walker at 1.066), against Estrada.
    Hey Dave,

    How much do you read into batter vs. pitcher stats? From my own experience playing baseball, albeit extremely limited, it mattered quite a bit. But I’ve heard some in the analytics community say it doesn’t move the needle in terms of predictability moving forward, which has always seemed a bit surprising.

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    coolfish7
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    What do we think about Loyola? Pressure and venue don't seem to have been an issue and the defense has showed up again. I found a 2H +6.5/-105 and took it

  30. #30
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolfish7 View Post
    What do we think about Loyola? Pressure and venue don't seem to have been an issue and the defense has showed up again. I found a 2H +6.5/-105 and took it
    After the first media timeout, Loyola completely out-played Michigan, getting far better shots and looking much more comfortable on offense. Some of that may have been Simpson missing so much time for Mich because of foul trouble, with the offense finding no rhythm without him, and in particular not being able to utilize the Wagner size edge down low. The Ramblers are going to be tough to make up ground on with that kind of defense.

  31. #31
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by fxman242 View Post
    Uninspiring yankee bats today, only 4 hits with that lineup.....
    I would also give a lot of credit to Estrada, who had terrific command of his change-up today, not only throwing it for strikes, but throwing it for low strikes. He was able to get Stanton to literally get himself out twice on week numbers off the end of the bat, putting that pitch in the right spot at the right speed. The Estrada margin for error is a fine line - he only struck out 2 of the 27 batters he faced, but his command created some weak contact outs today.

  32. #32
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Landes View Post
    Hey Dave,

    How much do you read into batter vs. pitcher stats? From my own experience playing baseball, albeit extremely limited, it mattered quite a bit. But I’ve heard some in the analytics community say it doesn’t move the needle in terms of predictability moving forward, which has always seemed a bit surprising.
    Over the course of the season you won't read too much about it here, because there is a lot of randomness and sample-size issues involved. One of the few times I will focus in not it is with fly-ball pitchers against power teams, largely because over the last couple of seasons more "fly balls" have been finding their way into the seats. But on most MLB days it is not much of a factor at all for me.

  33. #33
    Lago
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    Quote Originally Posted by Point Blank View Post
    After the first media timeout, Loyola completely out-played Michigan, getting far better shots and looking much more comfortable on offense. Some of that may have been Simpson missing so much time for Mich because of foul trouble, with the offense finding no rhythm without him, and in particular not being able to utilize the Wagner size edge down low. The Ramblers are going to be tough to make up ground on with that kind of defense.
    It's been remarkable to watch this Loyola team give the big dogs fits this march. I backed michigan today and boy do I feel silly. Hard to believe even after four games that this average talent can do this. Michigan had all week to prepare and they are doing no better than anyone else.

  34. #34
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolfish7 View Post
    What do we think about Loyola? Pressure and venue don't seem to have been an issue and the defense has showed up again. I found a 2H +6.5/-105 and took it
    Quote Originally Posted by Point Blank View Post
    After the first media timeout, Loyola completely out-played Michigan, getting far better shots and looking much more comfortable on offense. Some of that may have been Simpson missing so much time for Mich because of foul trouble, with the offense finding no rhythm without him, and in particular not being able to utilize the Wagner size edge down low. The Ramblers are going to be tough to make up ground on with that kind of defense.
    Interesting that the markets really did recognize the game flow in the halftime action, rather than playing back to the expectations - those 6.5's have turned into 5.5's in a lot of shops, and I even seen Michigan down to -5 here in town at the Southpoint. That is against the historical grain for this kind of setting.

  35. #35
    Lago
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    one assist, eight turnovers for michigan. That can't continue. 2/13 from three and if you know michigan, that certainly can continue.

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