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Dixie Vodka 400 Picks

Homestead – Miami Speedway – 267 laps / 400 miles

Winners/Top 3 Finishers:

Kyle Larson (+700): Larson has never won at Homestead. He was having a great race his last outing here until a blown engine caused a DNF. His last five races at Homestead resulted in: DNF, 13th, 2nd, and 5th. He also has the sixth best driver rating out of all active drivers at this track. +700 odds isn’t spectacular value, but like I said last week, this guy is too good to not win one sooner rather than later (please be sooner because I can’t bet on you every week).

Matchups:

I had three potential fades this week: Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, or Chase Elliott. I only pick plus money on matchups because I don’t think there is any value in matchup favorites. With Bowman and Ku. Busch being the 10th and 15th favorites to win, respectively, finding any good plus money against them is just about impossible. That leaves me to fade the second-favorite-to-win Chase Elliott.

Fade Elliott: Chase has a pretty good track record at Homestead (pun), but his overall track record on 1.5-mile tracks is not great. In fact, everyone in the top 10 of odds-to-win today, besides Bowman, have a better average finish and driver rating than Elliott at 1.5 mile tracks. Like I’ve said on Twitter, I put a ton of weight into lineup position and pit stall position. Elliott has a sub-par pit stall of 21, and is starting 11th in the lineup today.

Kevin Harvick over Chase Elliott (+125): Kevin Harvick is starting 4th in the lineup and has a favorable pit stall of 14. In the past three races at Homestead, Harvick has a better driver rating (106.7 to Elliott’s 96.8) and has two top 5 finishes to Elliot’s one. While Elliott has a better average finishing position than Harvick, the driver rating difference suggests some bad luck may be the cause of Harvick’s lower finishing position. On a track where pit strategy is key, I’ll take Harvick and his team over Elliott any day.

Martin Truex Jr. over Chase Elliott (+130): Martin Truex Jr. is starting 9th in the lineup but has a pit stall of 29. Truex’s driver rating of 112.9 is favorable to Elliott’s and he has an average finish of 5.33 in the last three races here while Elliott has an average finish of 8. He has also led 123 laps compared to Elliott’s 27. A win for Truex is well overdue and he is the king of 1.5-mile tracks, so the value of +130 is incredible.

Kyle Larson over Chase Elliott (+110): Kyle Larson has a favorable pit stall of 16 but is starting 17th in the lineup. Let’s not forget Larson was out of the Cup Series last season, and his last race at Homestead resulted in a DNF after engine failure, which really hurts his average finishing position. With that aside, he has the sixth best driver rating here and is currently running the best equipment of his career being a part of Hendrick Motorsports. I expect Larson to be the best Hendrick driver today.

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Fins Up – Tua is Growing Before Our Eyes.

First of all, I am a huge Fitzmagic fan. Fitz has been a major asset to the Miami Dolphins from the day he walked into the locker room. He brought experience, class, and positivity to a team and fan base that has been down, emotionally, for years. I speak from experience being a fan since the beginning. I was 9 years old when the Fins had their undefeated season. So, this is the first time in a long time that I feel genuine hope for this team.

As a Fitz fan, I’d love to see him play but as a Dolphin fan I see where Brian Flores is going with this team. This is Tua’s team and he needs the game time experience to make those game time decisions. Never was it more apparent than in this week’s game against Kansas City. The defense started strong by forcing Mahomes into throwing as many interceptions, in the first quarter, as he’s had all season (2) and ran him into a 30 yard sack which is tied for the longest sack in NFL history. With the explosive KC offense, this was not sustainable all game but it gave the offense a chance to get settled.

As the game continued, it was apparent that Tua was not comfortable. Hanging in the pocket too long, throwing short on receivers, and losing targets to injury made the afternoon difficult for Tua. Forward to the fourth quarter where it seemed that Tua had been paying attention in class for the first three quarters because he became more mobile and was hitting his receivers with ease. Tua looked a lot more comfortable and the look that he had was a look of “relax, I got this.” And without an interception, that should have been pass interference, he may have.

Brian Flores knows what he is doing. His controversial move to play Tua over Fitz is working. Tua grew before our eyes this Sunday and showed teams and Fin fans why he was drafted. With Gaskin and Breida out before the game and losing Parker and Gesicki during the game, nobody should have expected that Miami could keep it close but Tua and the boys almost pulled it out.

This Dolphin fan is so excited about the rest of the season with New England, Las Vegas, and Buffalo ahead. Any other year I’d be hoping to win one of them. Now, I’m expecting to win all of them. FINS UP.

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CFB Week 3 Picks

Back to the drawing board after a rough 1-3 Week 2 in CFB.  I’m no mathematician but if I understand statistics then that means I should go 3-1 this week, right? That’s how statistics work?  Comment your picks below and we can get some records going.

Syracuse at #25 Pittsburgh -21.5, o/u 50 – NOON on ACCN

CFB

Last week, Syracuse lost to UNC 31-6 and gave up 480 yards of offense.  Tommy DeVito was sacked 7 times and threw for only 112 yards.  Pittsburgh is coming off what was essentially a mercy rule 55-0 win over Austin Peay.  They went into halftime up 42-0 where both teams agreed to play only 10-minute quarters for the second half (thoughts and prayers to all over-bettors).   Pittsburgh’s defensive line is more talented than UNC’s from everything I’ve gathered; that spells trouble for Syracuse for the second week in a row.

My Pick:  Pitt -21.5 this is a 3 out of 5 confidence rating.

Tulsa at #11 Oklahoma St. -23, o/u 66 – NOON on ESPN

CFB matchup between Tulsa and Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State beat Tulsa last year 40-21.  The spread on that game was 17.5 or 18.5 when Oklahoma State broke a last second touchdown when running out the clock to cover.  This game started a saying amongst my friends of “that’s just Tulsa football”.  I was pretty much dead all game and got bailed out by a fluke play.  Oklahoma State was 9-3-1 ATS last year and this season they have their entire defense returning.  That’s huge considering the limited practices due to COVID restrictions.  OSU is really known for their offense though, putting up over 32 ppg last season and we should expect to see more of the same this time around.  They should be contenders this year and are my black horse for the Big 12 at +700 and the Championship at +10000.  Also; someone to watch, OSU RB Chuba Hubbard is a guy who ran for over 2000 yards last year, is a heisman candidate and a first round hopeful for the NFL.  With all of that being said, Tulsa was 5-2 ATS as the underdog in 2019 – that’s just Tulsa football.  

My Pick:  Tulsa +23 this is a 4 out of 5 confidence rating.

Navy at Tulane -7, o/u 48.5 – NOON on ABC

CFB Matchup between Tulane and Navy

Obviously, we all know that Navy got absolutely stomped out by the Mormons in week 1 55-3.  It came out recently that the midshipmen hadn’t even engaged in any live tackling prior to that game due to coronavirus fears, whatever that means.  They gave up over 300 yards rushing for a team that is supposed to be known for their front 7.  Tulane’s lead back only rushed the ball 11 times last week but racked up 105 yards on those attempts.  Tulane is coming up off of their first win of the year where they only gave up 65 yards on 35 rushing attempts.  As we all know, Navy does not or cannot pass the ball.  These are 2 run-first offenses, so you might want to peak at the under, but I just hate unders.  The line opened at Tulane -8.5 and has moved down to -7, I’m going to keep my eye on it and take it at -6.5 or I’ll just buy the half point.

My Pick: Tulane -6.5 this is a 5 out of 5 confidence rating.

#17 Miami at #18 Louisville -2.5, o/u 65 – 7:30pm on ABC

CFB Matchup between Miami and Louisville

This is the game of the week and I’m gambling with my eyes on this one.  I watched both the Louisville v Western Kentucky game and Miami v UAB game.  I was far more impressed with Miami than I was with Louisville and I was also more impressed with UAB than I was Western Kentucky.  Louisville allowed WKU to stay in that game with two major special teams mistakes and Western Kentucky’s own mistakes took themselves out of that game.  Miami and UAB played a much cleaner game and in my opinion, it never seemed like UAB had a shot.  

For this Saturday; Miami is a run-first offense, but D’Eriq King has a cannon for an arm, he just overthrew the deep ball a few times.  If he can dial those in Miami will have an even more dangerous offense.  Running back Cam’Ron Harris looked great and he’s healthy for this week after leaving in the 4th with a leg injury.  On top of that D’Eriq King can move.  Louisville allowed WKU’s QB to scramble quite a bit so I see King taking full advantage of that.  I expect this game to come down to the wire, but I see Miami coming out on top.

My Pick:  Miami ML +110 as my lock of the week.

Check out my Twitter for live tweets during the games and more picks! New episodes of The Vig drop weekly.

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Wednesday Night NBA Picks

Last night, I took the DEN/UTA over 217. The final score was 80-78. I can’t think of a time where I have been more wrong with a pick; 60 points off! My logic behind the over was simply that all 6 games of this series hit the over and this was the lowest game total yet. What I failed to research was the history of Game 7 totals. Hand up, that’s on me. I refuse to make the same mistake twice in a row.

MIA +5.5 (-110) and MIA TT over 108 (-115)

Just like everyone else, I don’t buy into Milwaukee. J-But is probably my favorite player in the league and it feels like he has that killer instinct that can keep any team he’s on competitive against the best. I’m not saying that Miami will win this game; we saw how the Bucks bounced back after losing to Orlando in Game 1, but I do think they can cover. The Bucks were without Eric Bledsoe Game 1 and it was clear that they missed his defensive presence, as of right now he is listed as questionable. I’m waiting to place the MIA team total bet dependent upon his status. If he’s playing, I’m not taking that bet.

OKC/HOU 1H under 110.5 (-110) and under 217 (-110)

The under has hit in the last six Game 7’s in a row. I like that stat a lot more than looking at the series’ trends. I’m also taking into consideration the up-tick in defensive play during a Game 7. The cherry on top? My brain. I have been on perhaps the grittiest gambling streak of my entire career this past month. From going up 10 units to down 10 units in a matter of hours I somehow have managed to be even when the toll troll comes to collect. I expect nothing different here. I am down and my brain will bail me out.