Too often emotions get in the way of sports gamblers actually turning a profit, and The Digital Age has helped fuel a silly stream of foolishness, trying to beat down current elite athletes simply because they are the perceived “enemy” in professional sports. And probably the four players who receive the most grief are Tom Brady, LeBron James, Sidney Crosby and Cristiano Ronaldo
Listening to local Las Vegas sports talk radio before the recently completed NBA Finals series began a couple of weeks back, a mockingbird could be heard chirping about the perceived “softness” of Warriors SF Kevin Durant as emotions overtook logic, as they often do, with sentiments following that the Cavaliers LeBron James would have a field day against Durant, who promptly proceeded to average 35.6 ppg on 55.6% shooting in the NBA Finals en route to leading Golden State to the NBA championship and unanimously winning the NBA Finals MVP to boot. So if Durant (9.2 rpg, 5.3 apg 2017 NBA Finals) is “soft,” I’ll take two scoops please. Bench press weight amounts don’t equate to NBA championships just as height has never equated to winning the Slam Dunk Contest, as the 5-foot-7 Spud Webb, winner of the now-outdated event in 1986, can attest to. And if you’re hating on a dude who helps his team go a record 16-1 in the NBA Playoffs (11-6 ATS) with his Mother watching in the stands at every game, there may be no hope for you.
But even more so than KD, James, like some other elite professional athletes in their sports, has received some undeserved hatred which actually may affect those gambling against him with their black hearts, with many piling on a future Hall of Famer and Top 10 NBA player ever in our crazy, breakneck-pace Digital Age. Let’s examine how the NBA’s James, the NHL’s Sidney Crosby, the NFL’s Tom Brady and European Soccer’s Cristiano Ronaldo all get the worst of some gamblers to the point it may be blinding them as well as costing them profits at the betting windows. But at Sportsbook Review, we’re here to try to help you separate the noise from the logic which can make you a better bettor. Don’t let Emotions hurt your bottom line.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA
It seems many turned on King James when he left Cleveland (+335 to win 2017 NBA Championship, Heritage) to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami in 2010 in their “The Big Three,” holding up rhetorical championship fingers as if simply signing players in an effort to create a mini-Super Team would lead to easy NBA championships in South Florida. LeBron and the Heat won exactly zero titles in the process. Although LBJ—Cleveland is 146-152-7 ATS (49%) since returned to his hometown of Akron—is 3-6 in NBA Finals now after losing to the Warriors (-190 to win 2017 NBA Championship, Heritage) last week, think about the ability of just one player in the history of the league who has been able to lead his team to the NBA Finals so many times consistently. And the list is very short and very elite. Bill Russell. Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Michael Jordan. LeBron James.
So why all of the sour emotions toward James still after all these years, as he shaves his weary head in his 32nd year of Life? The Dean of Las Vegas sports radio and long-time host of The EOG Sports Hour (M-F 10 pm PT, KSHP, 1400 AM), John Kelly, injected some Truth into the bitterness narrative last Monday when talking about the subject with esteemed bettor and bookmaker Mike Corrigan. “For me, he’s always been a likable guy. I have to wonder about the critics,” Kelly said. “What don’t you like about LeBron James, on and off the court?”
Corrigan had a great simple and logical answer to Kelly’s rhetorical, saying, “I think it just has to be jealousy. That’s all it can be.” And that makes loads of sense, with James helping put the Cavaliers franchise and the entire city of Cleveland back on the sports map, delivering the Northeastern Ohio city its first professional championship in 52 years in 2016 when the Cavaliers defeated the Warriors.
And when real estate prices, the cost of a beer and morale all go up in the city where the team plays for you (re-) joined and they end up calling it “The Land” because of your presence, then you’re doing something right and jealousy is obviously the thing here. How many fans wouldn’t love to witness LeBron head to their hometown to possibly deliver some Silverware and wonderful hardwood memories? Exactly. And what exactly is the price of making great Memories, healing a city and ending a 52-year-old curse? Long live The King.
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL
Hockey fans are the greatest and extremely knowledgeable. But the persistent hating on Penguins legend Sidney Crosby has become laughable. Like LeBron, all Sid The Kid does is win, as he just proved, leading Pittsburgh (+145 to win 2018 Stanley Cup, BetDSI) to its second straight Stanley Cup and winning the Conn Smythe in the process. Many attack Crosby, the first overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft—for his style of play, but as the team’s first-line Center and Captain, staying healthy and being out on the ice is the top priority. So he’s not a fighter? Few NHL players fight anymore and the role of a good finesse player, Center and Captain on an NHL team is to stay healthy, on the ice and putting the biscuit in the basket. Ask Wayne Gretzky about that. And Crosby has never left his original team, showing loyalty to Owner Mario Lemieux and The Steel City.
The 5-foot-11-inch, 195-pound Crosby has helped lead the Penguins to four Stanley Cups—winning three—has won two Conn Smythe trophies, two Hart Memorial (Regular Season MVP) trophies, led Team Canada to the Gold medal in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and also to Olympic Golds in 2010 (Vancouver) and 2014 (Sochi). If you are hating on Sidney Crosby, perhaps you are hating the reality your team or city doesn’t have a Sidney Crosby? Staying healthy and loyal and bringing the greatest trophy in sports back to Pittsburgh is something the 29-year-old has perfected and betting against Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Pittsburgh—which is 467-320 in the Regular Season (59.3%) and 82-57 in the NHL Playoffs (59%) in the 10 years the Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia-native has been captain—seems futile in a Moneyline sport without a pointspread.
The Crosby Hate is real but lame with Red Wings, Rangers, Flames and Flyers fans, among others, all wishing this Canadian national team legend were rushing down the ice in the middle of their hometown team with that famous No. 87 sweater on. And at age 29, those letting their emotions get in the way of appreciation for stick-handling magician Crosby and his talents in the future may have to endure three more Stanley Cups and many more losses at the sportsbook. How many times in the L20 NHL seasons have the Washington Capitals (+300 to win 2018 Stanley Cup, SIA) or the San José Sharks (33/1 to win 2018 Stanley Cup, SIA) made it to the Stanley Cup? Twice? With no Cups to show for it or their cities? No Sid, no Cups?
Tom Brady, New England Patriots, NFL
Probably no professional athlete receives more unnecessary bitterness and more money bet against his team—or not bet on his team—than Patriots QB Tom Brady. Since the now 39-year-old native of San Mateo, CA first became the Patriots QB in 2001, New England has gone a remarkable 166-116-8 ATS (58.9%)—easily the best mark in the NFL and the most profitable of all the QBs. So if you’re a sports bettor and still hung up on the pretty boy image or Deflategate or the vegetarian wife, you’ve missed many opportunities at profit including last season where New England had the best ATS Record in the NFL (16-3, 84.2%) and a perfect 3-0 ATS in the Postseason as Brady took home his fourth Super Bowl MVP award.
And two-time Regular Season MVP, 12-time Pro Bowler and University of Michigan product Brady and New England (+450 to win Super Bowl, 5Dimes). And looking at the 2017 NFL Games of the Year and the NFL Divisional and Conference odds from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook here in scary-hot Las Vegas, we can see that oddsmakers are going to try to make betting on Brady and the dynasty that is the Patriots a little bit harder for the 2017 NFL season. But with TE Rob Gronkowski coming back from Injury, RB LeGarrette Blount ready to break loose and big dropoff in talent in the AFC, we can probably expect to see the much-maligned Brady (33½o -135 TD Passes, BookMaker) and New England representing the AFC again in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF, La Liga, European Soccer
When we live in a pro sports era in which you can watch elite athletes such as James, Durant, Crosby, Brady, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo all alive and playing at the same time, then we are truly blessed and we should never lose sight of what’s really going on. Thirty-two-year-old Real Madrid winger Cristiano Ronaldo also receives quantities of unnecessary hatred from fans, with some saying the Portuguese legend would “choke” in the UEFA Champions League Final against Juventus in May.
CR7 hardly “choked,” and Los Blancos (5/1 to win 2017/18 UEFA Champions League, Interrtops) went on to become the first club to ever win back-to-back UCL titles, beating the Old Lady, 4-1, thanks to a pair of goals from Ronaldo in a match we accurately handicapped for you here at SBR. (You’re welcome. Now send chocolate cake and Icy-Hot.)
Backing any club which has Ronaldo on it, be it league champions Real Madrid in Liga (29-6-3, 106 GF-41 GA in 2016/17) or in UCL play (9-3-1, 36 GF-18 GA) or with the Portugal National team—currently playing in the 2017 Confederations Cup where he serves as Captain for A Selecção (0-1-0, 2 GF-2 GA), who will play their second Group A fixture[against host Russia in Match 5 on Wednesday (FS1, 11 am ET; PORT +100, RUS +275, DRAW +225, 2½u -154, Intertops) in a game from Spartak Stadium in Moscow it would seem Portugal needs after playing to a 2-2 Draw with Mexico in the group opener on Sunday. Group A play for CR7 and Portugal concludes against New Zealand (0-0-1, 0 GF-2 GA) with Match 10 from Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg on Saturday (FS1, 11 am ET; PORT -1667, NZ +2200, DRAW +900, 2½o -250, Intertops). And getting ahead of the line moves at the top Offshore sportsbooks is always imperative in increasing a gambler’s profitability and our trusty SBR Rating Guide can help you find the perfect sportsbook for your specific sports betting needs.
2017 CONFEDERATIONS CUP WEDNESDAY MATCH PICK:Portugal +100 (Intertops)
2017/18 NFL FUTURES PICK:New England Patriots +450 to win Super Bowl (5Dimes)
2017/18 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FUTURES PICK:Real Madrid +500 (Intertops)