Below are bets that I actually make. My approach entails aggregating conversations with extremely respected oddsmakers and bettors, along with my own handicapping. I want to share that insight and intel.

Sportsbooks prefer you wager solely on marquee games and make multiple parlays. I do not oblige. That may entail taking days off or passing on exciting matchups. Winning takes occasional discipline but the good opportunities will present themselves – if one is mildly patient.

MAIN BETS – Dollar amounts differ for each person but unit sizes (1x through 5x) are an effective method. 5x represents my largest and most confident wager.

LEANS – These represent mere opinions on other games where my conviction is not high enough to place a wager.

completed plays / results

THURSDAY, AUGUST 31 (+3.0 units)

3x Florida/ Utah 1st half under 22.5 – The total got steamed under on the news of Cam Rising’s unavailability but I still see value on the first half. Both teams now figure to want to lean on their defense and prevent their inexperienced quarterback from dangerous situations. In these types of scenarios, both coaches typically approach the game conservatively with the hopes of the opponent making the first big mistake. That’s why I prefer the first half under and also because we can see more risk-taking in the second half if one team trails by multiple scores. WIN

Leans: Florida +4.5 L

TUESDAY, AUGUST 29 (+0 units)

Leans: . L.A. Sparks -4.5 vs. Chicago Sky L

MONDAY, AUGUST 28 (+5.0 units)

5x N.Y. Liberty -1 vs. Las Vegas Aces – The Liberty are catching the Aces at the perfect time, as Las Vegas wraps up a four-game road trip over seven days, which also included a trip to the White House. Following Saturday’s loss in Washington, Aces coach Beckie Hammon conceded her team seemed fatigued. Las Vegas did not score more than 18 points in any quarter against the Mystics, and I question how much energy is left in the tank. Meanwhile, the Liberty are playing their best ball. They just scored 111 points in a 35-point win at Minnesota. WIN

Leans: Braves F5 -1.5 (+100) W

SATURDAY, AUGUST 26 (+4.0 units)

2x each: Notre Dame 1st Half -11.5 (-105) vs. Navy and 1st Half over 24.5 – Sam Hartman will make his much-anticipated Notre Dame debut. The 24-year-old is as experienced and polished as they come so I do not anticipate any rust. Meanwhile, Navy will unveil a new coaching staff with an offense that is expected to pass more than we typically see from the Midshipmen. I feel that will be the key for trying to thread the needle with both the side and total. If Navy is able to score, then we should hit the over with ease. But if the Irish defense is too dominant, like we saw in last year’s meeting, then they will operate with short fields. 

I prefer isolating the first half because the blowout potential could induce a sluggish fourth quarter. Thus, the first half should offer some line value. As for the side and total, I feel there is a much better chance of winning both than losing both, as I want to bank on Hartman being able to pick apart this defense. WIN and WIN

Leans: Braves F5 -1.5 (+100) W

THURSDAY, AUGUST 24 (+0 units)

Leans: Falcons +5.5 L, Eagles +5 L, Lynx +7.5 W

TUESDAY, AUGUST 22 (+3.0 units)

3x Connecticut Sun 1st Quarter -1.5 at Chicago Sky – The Sun have lost three straight games and need to get back on track. I believe Chicago is the right opponent because of their inconsistency. If Connecticut imposes its defensive will and tenacity, the Sun should open with a solid lead. WIN

SATURDAY, AUGUST 19 (+3.7 units)

4x O’Malley/Sterling under 3.5 rounds (-150) – I believe O’Malley is a live underdog and can win this bout with his striking. However, it’s difficult to gauge his ability to survive five rounds because he has defeated so many inferior opponents so quickly. Sterling will seek a takedown and submission, which is +200 and a solid play if you like that side as opposed to the -260 moneyline. I just don’t see how Sterling can avoid O’Malley’s striking or O’Malley can avoid takedowns for 3.5 rounds so I will play the total. WIN

3x Raiders -4.5 at Rams – As we saw last weekend, Josh McDaniels is approaching this preseason with a serious vibe. The broadcast shared that he game-planned for the matchup and the team is thrilled with rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell. Meanwhile, Sean McVay has vocalized an intention to approach the preseason more seriously but that mindset has a ceiling. WIN

3x Jets -3.5 vs. Buccaneers – The Jets have strong quarterback depth with Zach Wilson and Tim Boyle. We saw that on display in last week’s comfortable win. The Bucs also showed flashes but I am backing a team that I feel has more offense. LOSS

FRIDAY, AUGUST 18 (-10.15 units)

5x Mercury +13 (-115) – this spread stuns me. The Mercury have underdelivered this season but I mostly chalk that up to injuries. At full strength, they are a respectable team. On top of that, they are catching the Liberty off two intense matchups with the defending champs. I also expect New York to sit some key players, particularly Breanna Stewart. I would not be all that surprised if Phoenix wins the game. LOSS

2x Mystics/Fever under 161 – Washington is a defensive-minded team and Indiana has a knack for finding scoring droughts. Ellena Delle Donne is expected to return from injury but will be on a minutes count. Shakira Austin has returned, which certainly bolsters the Washington defense. This just feels like too many points, especially for an Indiana squad that struggles mightily in second halves. LOSS

2x Panthers/Giants under 38.5 – Carolina can continue to make excuses for Bryce Young and an offense that was shut out in the preseason opener but I believe there will be growing pains. The Panthers have issues and he is not an overnight savior, if he eventually becomes one. Giants have nothing special for their preseason offense so let’s root for a snoozer. LOSS

LEANS: Reds +135 W, Nationals +170 W, Padres -175 W, Dodgers -145 L

THURSDAY, AUGUST 17 (+8.0 units)

5x Liberty/Aces under 175 – I really like this under and so does everyone I know and respect. Additionally, every recreational bettor I know in Las Vegas (yes, public bettors in Vegas do bet Aces games) is also firing on the under. Perhaps they – and we – are all falling victim to recency bias but the under is the only way I could play this. All three regular-season meetings have gone under but I am more focused on the last two. The Liberty won both because they made a conscious effort to slow the pace, recognizing they cannot run with Las Vegas. Additionally, Candace Parker only played the first meeting and she is out for the season. That is a key ingredient for the Aces, as she could facilitate scoring when the offense bogs down. WIN

3x Mets F5 -125 at Cardinals – I have to fade Adam Wainright, who has allowed 15 ER in just four innings over his last two starts. The 41-year-old is barely hanging on by a thread, regardless of his misplaced confidence. The Mets have enough good bats to handle this. I prefer the first five innings to isolate Wainright but I have no problem with the full game. WIN

LEANS: Browns +3.5 W, Dodgers -150 W7

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