Professor MJ: NFL Picks for Week #15!

Hello faithful readers, how are you doing today? Last week I mentioned that I was looking to raise my success rate back above 60% before the NFL regular season ends. We took a good step towards this objective by going 2-0 with our picks as the Panthers upset the Vikings while the Ravens covered the spread in Pittsburgh. We also won both of our leans, as the Falcons and the Broncos both won as slight underdogs.

Let’s get it rolling with more picks this week, let’s dive into the details right now!

PICK #1: New York Giants +7.5 vs Philadelphia Eagles

It will be very interesting to see how Nick Foles does as the new Eagles’ starting quarterback after all-star Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL, an injury that ended his season. The Eagles currently hold the best record in the NFL, as well as the best point differential in the league.

Nick Foles has been in the league since 2012, where he compiled 56 TD passes versus 27 interceptions. While those numbers sound great, they are greatly inflated by an astounding 2013 season where he racked up 27 touchdowns against only 2 picks. So if you look at his numbers since 2014, he has thrown 23 TD passes against 20 interceptions, which is not great at all. Also, he might need a little bit of time to adjust to game speed considering he has only attempted 14 passes this year and 55 last season. In other words, he hasn’t been playing much over the past two years.

Even though the Giants’ season has been over for a while, they will be motivated to play in this heated rivalry. Such games involving opponents that hate each other tend to be close more often than not.

Moreover, the Eagles have been traveling quite a bit of late. This weekend’s game will be their third straight on the road, after playing a couple of matches on the West Coast, more specifically in Seattle and Los Angeles. It will also represent a fourth road game in five matches. That’s a tough stretch.

After winning a high-profile game at the Rams, the Eagles might take the 2-11 Giants a bit lightly, while the Giants will certainly want to rebound after dropping a 30-10 decision against the Cowboys. The score sounds worse than it truly was since the game was tied at 10 apiece through three quarters.

The Giants will also be looking to avenge a 27-24 loss in Philly earlier this year.

PICK #2: Buffalo Bills -3.5 vs Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins pulled off a great upset by beating the Patriots 27-20 in the Monday Nighter. I expect a letdown after such an emotional game, especially with one fewer day to prepare for this key matchup with the Bills.

Buffalo will be more rested than Miami, not only because of the additional day of preparation, but also because this game will be their third consecutive at New Era Field. These two teams hate each other, with the revenge factor going to Buffalo since they lost both meetings by a 3-point margin in 2016.

The Bills are expected to get quarterback Tyrod Taylor back from an injury, which is a good timing since backup Nate Peterman suffered a concussion last week. Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was limited at Wednesday’s practice, but he should be good to go. Playing in the blizzard last week probably didn’t help healing his injured knee, but it didn’t prevent him from making a key touchdown catch against the Colts.

Over their last five visits in Orchard Park, the Dolphins are 1-4 against the spread. As of now, the weather forecast does not involve any snowfall on Sunday, but the temperature should be around 0 degree Celsius (or 32 degrees Farenheit). Playing in the cold could help the Bills a little bit.

LEAN: Denver Broncos -2.5 at Indianapolis Colts

The Broncos finally snapped an 8-game losing streak by handling the New York Jets pretty easily last week. They looked great and seemed to have found their rhythm back. Their defense looked good early in the season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they finish the season strong. They do have some nice talent on this side of the ball.

Meanwhile, the Colts suffered a significant blow when they lost their top cornerback, Rashaan Melvin, to an injury a couple of weeks ago. Their secondary is now awful, and I do believe Trevor Siemian is capable of taking advantage of them with good weapons like Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders at his disposal.

VERY SLIGHT LEAN: Kansas City Chiefs +1 vs Los Angeles Chargers

I’m tempted to take the Chiefs as slight underdogs at home against the red-hot Chargers, even though L.A. will be looking for revenge after losing 24-10 at home against those same Chiefs on week #3. However, I do believe K.C. could be back on track following a critical 26-15 win over Oakland, after going through a difficult 4-game losing streak. The Chiefs will also be at home for a third time over the past four weeks, while the Chargers will need to travel through a couple of time zones on a shorter week since the game is scheduled for Saturday.

DISCUSSING THE PATRIOTS-STEELERS GAME

My initial thought was to bet New England in this one because they tend to strike back after a loss. As a matter of fact, Belichick’s team has beaten the spread the last six times coming off a straight up loss.

I also wonder if there is enough gas left in the tank for Pittsburgh after going through a couple of emotional games against the Bengals and the Ravens. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they won’t be motivated for this game; I’m just asking whether they will have enough energy left to put up a good fight.

Le’Veon Bell got his knee bent in last week’s game, and it seemed to affect him as he struggled to find running lanes. Those of are planning to bet the Steelers might have to worry about his health.

What prevents me from pulling the trigger on New England is how they will be playing a third straight road game, while the Steelers have been at home for four out of the past five weeks (where the only game on the road was in Cincinnati, so not that far). Getting an extra day of rest compared to the Pats also plays in favor of Mike Tomlin’s team.

That’s the conclusion of this weekly NFL write-up, I hope you enjoyed it! Just a quick reminder that it’s important to have an account with many sportsbooks in order to be able to shop for the best line, which is critical to your success in the sports investing business. My website is providing a list of 20 online bookmakers, each getting a grade out of 100% along with a brutally honest review. I invite you to check them out here.

All right, so this is it for today, thank you so much for joining me, I appreciate a lot, and I hope you’ll be back next time. This is Professor MJ saying so long!

Professor MJ: NFL Picks for Week #14!

Hi football fans, I’m happy to be back to present my NFL picks for the week. There are only 4 weeks left in the regular season, it seems like it began not so long ago, time flies by so quickly! Our season record stands at 27-20-2 for a 57.4% success rate. I’m really aiming at getting over 60% before the season ends; it’s not going to be easy, but let’s give it a shot.

I’ve got two picks and two leans (unofficial picks) this week. Enjoy the read!

PICK #1: Carolina Panthers +3 vs Minnesota Vikings

I have picked the Vikings on a few occasions this year, but this time I am fading them. I don’t like how this is going to be their third straight game on the road, and also their fourth over the past five weeks. That’s a lot of traveling in a short period of time. You may argue that the Panthers are coming off a couple of road games, but that’s not as bad, especially considering they had spent their previous three weeks at home.

These two teams met in 2016 with Minnesota coming on top by a 22 to 10 score in Charlotte. Cam Newton threw three interceptions in that game, and he will certainly be looking for payback.

I also feel like Carolina will be hungrier to win that game. Sure, the Vikings are playing for home-field advantage but they have all but locked up the NFC North title already, while the Panthers are literally playing for their lives. They are one game back of the division lead, and one game ahead of the Falcons who are chasing them for the last playoff spot. They NEED this game.

I also like betting a strong team that is coming off a loss, which is the case here since Carolina dropped a 31-21 decision against the Saints last week. Meanwhile, the Vikings are cruising on an 8-game winning streak, which might inflate the line in their favor a little too much because of the public perception. They are a strong team, I’m not disputing that; but are they that much superior to the Panthers to warrant being a 3-point favorite on the road? That means Minnesota would be favored by 8 or 9 points at home against Carolina, which seems too big for me. Well, that’s my personal opinion; you may or may not agree with that statement.

By the way, the Panthers are very likely to welcome tight end Greg Olsen and center Ryan Kalil back from injuries this week. I’m taking the Panthers in this game.

PICK #2: Baltimore Ravens +5.5 at Pittsburgh Steelers

The vast majority of sportsbooks are posting a line of 5, but Sports Interaction still has 5.5. I like quite a few things about this play.

– Earlier this year, the Steelers rolled to a 26-9 victory in Baltimore. The Ravens turned the ball over three times in that game, which certainly did not help. The revenge factor is on their side.

– Much like my first pick, the desperation level is higher for a team fighting for its playoff hopes as opposed to a team who is pretty much guaranteed to reach the postseason but still playing for home-field advantage. Baltimore holds the last playoff spot and they have been playing much better of late, racking up four wins over their past five contests (where the only loss during that stretch was a close 23-20 loss to the Titans).

– Here is a fact that will probably surprise you quite a bit: Baltimore has a better point differential that Pittsburgh this year. Indeed, the Ravens are +73 versus +68 for the Steelers, even though Pittsburgh has three additional wins. And that’s despite the fact that Baltimore lost by 37 points against Jacksonville on week 3! That’s amazing! One of the reasons explaining this weird phenomenon is Pittsburgh having won six games by six points or less. In other words, only four times out of 12 games they have beaten their opponents by more than six points. That makes me more comfortable betting an above-average team with a +5.5 point spread against them.

– To me, the number one reason to lay the Steelers this week is how they probably won’t show up in top form. Not only are they coming off a Monday Nighter, which amounts to one less day of preparation, but that game in Cincinnati was extremely rough and physical. There were many personal fouls and injuries, including a couple of scary ones to Ryan Shazier and Vontaze Burfict. All NFL games are tough, but this one was up a notch. The Steelers will be more banged up than usual, and might letdown a little bit after such an emotional game (even though they are always ready to take on the Ravens). They might also look ahead to a critical game against the Patriots next week, a match that may settle who is going to hold home-field advantage throughout the playoffs in the AFC conference.

LEAN #1: Atlanta Falcons +2 vs New Orleans Saints

As I said earlier, I tend to expect good teams to rebound after suffering a loss. After a slow start to the 2017 season, Atlanta has woken up and I consider them a dangerous team. After losing 14-9 against the Vikings, I believe they will come out firing on all cylinders at home on primetime television. Meanwhile, the Saints are coming off a key win over the Panthers and may not feel like they absolutely need this game like the Falcons do.

I expected the line to favor the Falcons a little bit, and that’s how it opened, but they are now slight underdogs.

LEAN #2: Denver Broncos +1 vs New York Jets

A couple of months ago, you would not have believed me if I had told you that the Jets would be established as favorites in Denver. However, New York has been playing better than expected, while Denver is completely collapsing following a 3-1 start after dropping 8 straight games. Last week’s performance was really bad, as they lost 35-9 to the Dolphins. These guys are professionals, and pride will take over for sure. I do believe they will put a good effort in order to halt their worst skid in 50 years. They even allowed a successful onside kick in the fourth quarter as Miami was already up 33-9.

Meanwhile, the Jets won’t feel as desperate to win after making a nice comeback to overcome a 14-point deficit against the Chiefs last week. They will also be traveling through two time zones, and we all know about the thin air in Denver which requires some adjustments for visiting teams. Despite their poor 3-9 overall record, the Broncos are still 3-3 at home.

Another potential play?

If you believe in reverse line moves, then one game is really standing out this week. About 75% of spread and money line bets have gone on Green Bay so far, and yet the spread moved from Browns +4 points to Browns +3.5 or even +3 points with certain bookies. Sharp money is without a doubt backing Cleveland in this game. I just thought I would let you know.

My advice would be to either bet the Browns or stay away from the game. Cleveland is 3-9 against the spread this season and many people, including me, have been burned by them so it’s hard to feel super confident anytime you are betting this club. But if you are considering backing them this week, I would not call you crazy at all.

This is Professor MJ from Quebec City in Canada, it was good talking to you and I hope you’ll be back next week for more free NFL picks. Thanks and have a great day, see ya!

Professor MJ: 4 NFL Picks for Week #13!

Hi everyone, today I want to give you some insight about my top 4 NFL predictions of the week. Overall this season we are now 25-18-2 for a 58.1% success rate. Let’s try to get back above 60%.

PICK #1: Los Angeles Chargers -13.5 vs Cleveland Browns

At the time of this writing, most bookies are posting a spread of 14, but Bet365 has 13.5 points at -110 odds, or you could buy half a point with Pinnacle and get the Chargers for -13.5 points at -106.

Last year the Browns finished the season with a 1-15 record. Guess who’s the only team they beat? That’s right, the Chargers by a 20-17 score in Cleveland on week #16. Do you think Philip Rivers and company still remember that game? I bet they do, and they must feel like this is payback time.

I also like how the Chargers are getting three additional days of rest after playing last Thursday in Dallas. Meanwhile, the Browns will be playing a third road game in four games. The first two were pretty close from home as they played in Detroit and Cincinnati, but this one in L.A. will require traveling through three time zones.

The Chargers are definitely a team on the rise. Their 5-6 record is deceiving because they have outscored their opponents by 47 points thus far. They opened the season with four straight losses, but have gone 5-2 since then. Also, did you look at the margin of victory in their six losses? Their worst loss was a 14-point deficit against the Chiefs, they also lost by 8 points in New England, while their remaining 4 losses were all decided by 3 points or less. That’s pretty impressive.

PICK #2: Tennessee Titans -6.5 vs Houston Texans

I’m taking the Titans for 4 reasons:

– Here is one more case where the revenge factor comes into play. Back in week 4, the Titans were literally embarrassed in a 57-14 loss in Houston, a game in which DeShaun Watson threw 4 TD passes and ran for one more. Tennessee won’t let the foot off the accelerator this Sunday and will want to crush them. And you’ll probably agree with me that getting blown out is a possibility when your quarterback is Tom Savage.

– The Texans lost the Monday Nighter, which means one less day of preparation and a disrupted routine.

– Houston will be on the road for a third time in four games, including back-to-back weeks. That’s four different cities in as many weeks, which amounts to quite a bit of traveling.

– Losing in Baltimore pretty much sealed Houston’s fate. They are very likely out of the playoff race, and they know it, whereas the Titans are in a dog fight with the Jaguars for the AFC South title, and a playoff berth. I expect Tennessee to be much hungrier to win this match.

PICK #3: Arizona Cardinals +7 vs Los Angeles Rams

This is the prototypical sandwich game for the Rams. Their past two games were high-profile games against the Vikings and the Saints, while their next two will be against the 10-1 Philadelphia Eagles and the 7-4 Seattle Seahawks. It will be very easy to look past a mediocre Cardinals team.

However, Los Angeles should not take Arizona lightly. The Cards are 3-2 at home and they managed to upset the Jaguars at home last week. And it wasn’t a lucky win that occurred because of touchdowns on kick returns or turnovers. Indeed, Arizona racked up 344 totals yards versus only 219 for Jacksonville. Impressive performance by the Cards.

I generally don’t like betting a team that is coming off a big win (either because it turned out to be a surprise, or because it happened against a very strong team), but the Rams are also coming off a big win after beating the Saints 26 to 20.

Back in week #7, the Rams embarrassed the Cardinals in a 33-0 shutout. That game is still fresh in Arizona’ mind and they will certainly show up in top form this Sunday.

The line has not moved much despite fairly heavy action on the Rams. As a matter of fact, 74% of spread bets and 64% of money line bets have gone on LA.

PICK #4: Miami Dolphins +1.5 vs Denver Broncos

Jay Cutler has cleared the concussion protocol, so he will be facing his old team, where he played the first three years of his career after getting picked in the first round of the 2006 NFL draft. That’s certainly a motivational factor for him, and his teammates will do their best to get him the W.

This game features a couple of clubs who are on a pretty bad losing skid. Denver has lost its last 7 matches, while Miami has dropped 5 in a row.

The Broncos will be traveling through two time zones and the game will start at 11am for people from Denver. Also, the intensity level won’t be as high for the Broncos after visiting their archrivals in Oakland last week. Granted, the Dolphins will be playing under bizarre conditions as this game is sandwiched between two meetings with the Patriots. After getting beat up at Gillette Stadium last week, I expect them to rebound at home.

Thanks a lot for reading, this is Professor MJ from Quebec City in Canada, I hope to talk to you again very soon. Peace out!

Professor MJ

Professor MJ: 2 NHL Picks for Friday November 24!

Hello hockey fans, today I’m announcing a major change to my NHL picks. As a matter of fact, I’m going to give them a whole new orientation and I hope you’ll enjoy the new approach.

I have decided to stop doing the write-ups, and instead focus on the development and the tracking of specific NHL betting strategies. I have access to data on 9 full NHL seasons (2007/2008 to 2015/2016). I have written down a list of potential winning strategies that I intend to investigate and I will share the results with you.

I have already completed the analysis of the following angle that I call “The NHL Streak Breaker Play”:

Considering the public’s tendency to overreact to recent results, should we bet on NHL teams which are currently on a losing streak facing a team riding a winning streak?

The answer is “yes” under some specific conditions. The research itself is done, but writing and structuring the article which unveils the details is not. The likelihood of posting this report within a week is very high.

Meanwhile, there are two games tonight that meet the criteria for betting according to this strategy so I wanted to let you know about them:

PICK #1: Detroit Red Wings +149 (decimal 2.49) at New York Rangers

PICK #2: Ottawa Senators +165 (decimal 2.65) at Columbus Blue Jackets

It’s important to note that I’ll keep track of the performance of “The NHL Streak Breaker Play”. The money lines stated above were taken from Pinnacle around 10am Eastern Time.

Not only are we going to monitor the morning lines, but also the closing lines. Why? This strategy will recommend fading the public the vast majority of the time (i.e. going against the grain). Therefore, I suspect that most of the time the money line will go up as the day progresses so it might be preferable to wait until we get closer to puck drop before placing your wagers. But as a statistician I always prefer to obtain data rather than going with my “gut feeling”.

So it will be interesting to see if the line does indeed tend to go in our favor from the morning until the start of the game. We’ll then have statistical evidence of whether we should place our bets early or not.

I will let you know as soon as the article is live. If you have ideas of potential strategies that you would like me to explore, don’t hesitate to email me (info@professormj.com).

Thanks a lot for following my work, I hope to provide as much value as I can!

Professor MJ

Professor MJ: NFL Picks for Week #12!

Hello savvy sports investors, how’s it going? We are coming off a disappointing week where we got one correct pick and two that were wrong. Our season record is now 24-15-2, a 61.5% success rate.

I’ve got 4 picks for you this week, and I do feel good about them.

PICK #1: San Francisco 49ers +7 vs Seattle Seahawks

If you believe the fatigue factor is important when handicapping NFL games, then this one is for you. Rest is definitely in favor of the 49ers here. Not only are they coming off their bye week, but the Seahawks played Monday night, thus losing one day of preparation. To top it all off, San Francisco will be at home for a fourth consecutive week after hosting the Cards and the Giants and being on a bye. That is seldom seen in the NFL, especially combined with the 8 extra days of preparation over what Seattle has.

One more thing I like about this pick is the fact that the Seahawks might overlook this game a little bit, as it is being sandwiched between a key matchup with the Falcons last week, and a tough challenge against the 9-1 Philadelphia Eagles next week. The only factor I don’t like about this game is how the Seahawks might be mad and motivated following a home loss on primetime television.

The 49ers will be looking to avenge a 12-9 loss earlier this year against those same Seahawks in Seattle. Paul Richardson caught a 9-yard TD pass with 7 minutes remaining to put the Seahawks up for good, but they definitely had trouble handling the Niners. Seattle swept the season series last year, but they struggled in San Francisco in a 25-23 win, a game where they trailed 14-3 early on. The Seahawks made a comeback before pulling some starters in the fourth quarter because it was the last game of the season and it turned out to be meaningless for them.

I could see the Seahawks crumbling through the rest of the season and missing the playoffs. Their defense is banged up, their running game is average at best, and Russell Wilson has been running for his life on many occasions. Thank God he is great at escaping the pressure and extending plays, otherwise they would be doomed with such a mediocre offensive line. I don’t believe they will win by more than one touchdown on the road.

PICK #2: New York Jets +5 vs Carolina Panthers

Both teams are in similar conditions with respect to the rest factor. They are both coming off their bye week and neither team has had to travel much recently. As a matter of fact, prior to having the week off, the Panthers had played a couple of home games in a row, while the Jets had played two out of three games at home.

I’m afraid the Panthers won’t show up in top form this week. First, their last game was a cakewalk when they handled the Dolphins easily by a 45-21 score. Also, they might get caught peeking ahead to their upcoming showdown in New Orleans on week #13.

The cold weather might come into play as well. At the time of this writing (Tuesday November 21), it is expected that it will feel like one degree Celcius or 34 degrees Farenheit next Sunday. That could go in favor of the Jets, who are more used to that kind of weather, especially quarterback Josh McCown who has played a few seasons with cold-weather teams like the Browns and the Bears.

The Jets have been tough to beat at MetLife Stadium this year. They are 3-2, with their only two losses occurring against the Patriots by a 7-point margin and the Falcons by a 5-point deficit, so basically nothing to be ashamed of. Granted, the Panthers are 4-1 on the road, but keep in mind they have lost 17-3 at Chicago.

PICK #3: Chicago Bears +14 at Philadelphia Eagles

Most bookies currently have the Bears as 13.5-point underdogs, but Bovada has set the line at 14 (as of Tuesday November 21). More sportsbooks might follow them considering the public is betting heavily on the Eagles following their impressive win in Dallas that pretty much locked the division title for them. 80% of gamblers are taking the Eagles, both against the spread and straight up. That’s what generally happens when you have a team riding an eight-game winning streak against a team who is on a 3-game losing skid.

Like I said earlier, the Eagles are almost guaranteed to win the NFC East and are coming off a big emotional showdown in Dallas. A letdown is certainly conceivable, especially considering they have the Seahawks up next. It would be very easy to look past a much weaker Bears team. Philadelphia’s past three games have been too easy: the average margin of victory was 26.3. This looks like a textbook trap game for the Eagles.

The Bears should not feel too tired since their past two matches were at home, and they were on a bye before that. They certainly have nothing to lose and will be looking for revenge following a 29-14 home loss to Philadelphia last year.

You might be surprised to hear that the Bears have had many good performances against top teams this season. They lost 23-17 to the Falcons in their opener and were just 5 yards away from pulling the big upset. They beat the Steelers in overtime. They only lost by 3 points against the Vikings. They beat a solid Panthers team by two touchdowns. And they only lost 20-12 in New Orleans. That’s five good outings when facing teams from the upper tier. Combined with the likely letdown by the Eagles, I like the Bears to cover the 14-point spread.

PICK #4: Los Angeles Rams -2.5 vs New Orleans Saints

The winning streak is still alive for the Saints, but they certainly showed some signs of weakness last week when they had to overcome a 15-point deficit late in the 4th quarter to defeat the Redskins in overtime. Their defense looked stingy in their previous four starts by allowing just 12 points per game on average. However, look who they faced in those games: Buffalo, Tampa Bay minus Winston, Chicago and Green Bay without Aaron Rodgers. There is not a single scary offense among those teams. They finally played against a potent offense last week, and they ended up allowing 456 total yards and 31 points to Washington.

The Rams did not look so great either in a 24-7 loss to Minnesota. They will be looking to go back on the winning track right away, and will hope to avenge an embarrassing 49-21 loss in New Orleans last season. They are ready to show Drew Brees’ squad that they are not the same team that they saw in 2016. Jared Goff has significantly improved his play, the cast of players surrounding him is much better, and I do like what new and young head coach Sean McVay has done with this team.

I doubt that the Saints will be overlooking such a strong Rams team, but they might still be a little bit distracted by their critical meeting with divisional rivals Carolina Panthers next week.

Ok so this is it for this week’s NFL write-up, I hope I was able to bring some valuable insight to you. If you appreciate the work that I do for free, remember that you can always help me by clicking the affiliate links in my sportsbook reviews the next time you want to open an account with a new bookmaker.

Thanks for reading this report, I appreciate you, best of luck on the 49ers, the Jets, the Bears and the Rams picks, and I’ll be back next week for more predictions and analyses in the NFL. Bye bye!

Professor MJ

Professor MJ: 4 NBA Picks for Wednesday November 15!

Busy night in the NBA with 11 games on the menu; I’ve got 4 value plays for you, and a slight lean on a specific team. Let’s dive right in!

PICK #1: Sacramento Kings +4.5 at Atlanta Hawks (rated 4 stars)

Before the season began, Vegas’ lines implied that the Kings would finish the year with a .341 record compared to .311 for Atlanta. Based on each team’s start to the season, do we have STRONG indication that those numbers were wrong? My personal answer is “no” (though some people may want to argue with that).

Sacramento is 3-10, while Atlanta is 2-12. Both teams have played many more games on the road than at home. Some may argue that the Kings have done worse against the spread (ATS) by going 4-8, versus 6-7 for the Hawks. To me, the numbers are not strong enough to make me deviate from the initial win percentage projections.

So the Kings might be a slightly stronger team, and you’ve got Atlanta that will be a little more tired tonight since they will be playing a fourth game in six nights. And from an injury standpoint, the Hawks are slightly more banged up too (Muscala is doubtful to play and Ilyasova should be back but on a limited basis, while Vince Carter doesn’t have an important role as shown by his 2.6 points per game average and his 12.0 minutes per game).

If you add that all up, my statistical models are claiming the Hawks should be 0.8-point favorites. With a spread of 4.5, I’m definitely taking the Kings. I am basically challenging a 2-12 team to win by 5 points or more. I would even be tempted to buy a half point to force them to win by 6 points or more in order for my bet to lose.

PICK #2: Charlotte Hornets +2.5 vs Cleveland Cavaliers (rated 3 stars)

At the time of this writing, most bookies have a line of 2, but Bovada and Sports Interaction are still posting 2.5 (the latter even has Charlotte +2.5 at -105, which is great!).

The status of Derrick Rose seems unclear at the moment, but the team said that he will be back when feeling 100% so I feel like he is more likely to wait at least one more game. Meanwhile, the Hornets will welcome Nicolas Batum back, who will make his season debut. He was their second-leading scorer last season, but he should get limited minutes in his first start. That might still be a good emotional lift for a team that is going through a four-game losing skid (all four on the road at San Antonio, Minnesota, New York and Boston).

The Cavs will be playing a fourth road game in a row. I’m a bit worried about the fact that Cleveland has defeated the Hornets on the previous six meetings (5-0-1 ATS in those games).

The rest factor plays in favor of Charlotte since they got four complete days off since returning from their most recent four-game road trip. Their legs should be fresh tonight!

PICK #3: San Antonio Spurs +5.5 at Minnesota Timberwolves (rated 2 stars)

My main concern is the Spurs coming off a couple of games against weak opponents (Chicago and Dallas).

However, San Antonio has beaten the T-Wolves on 14 consecutive occasions. They are feeling comfortable playing in Minnesota; not only have they won their previous six trips over there, but they have beaten the spread every single time (6-0).

I have penalized the Spurs for playing the second of back-to-back games by multiplying their estimated win percentage by 0.84. It went from 44% to 37% following this adjustment, which corresponds to a 4.1 spread. Since the line is 5.5 and they have owned the Timberwolves, I’m backing the Spurs.

PICK #4: Portland Trail Blazers -5 vs Orlando Magic (rated 1 star)

This matchup features a team playing a fourth consecutive road game against a well-rested team that has been hosting their last six matches (that’s right, 6!!). That’s a big advantage.

The Magic might letdown a little bit after playing the top team in the league, the Golden State Warriors. After storming out of the gate with a 6-2 record, they have now gone 2-4 since then (which was to be expected considering they were projected to finish the season with a .402 record). They are starting to drop more and more in the standings.

Orlando is going to play a fourth game in six nights.

LEAN (unofficial pick): New Orleans Pelicans -3.5 vs Toronto Raptors

My projected lines are in according with the spread, but I’m tempted to bet the Pelicans for a few reasons. First, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Raptors letdown following a big road win in Houston last night. Secondly, Toronto is playing a third straight road game, while New Orleans will be at home for a third consecutive time. The Pelicans will be looking to avenge a 122-118 loss in Toronto six days ago. However, the team from Canada has defeated the Pelicans on the past five meetings (going 3-2 ATS in those games).

Good luck on your plays and have a great evening!

Professor MJ

Professor MJ: NFL Picks for Week #11!

Hello my friends, it’s good talking to you again, this is Professor MJ from Quebec City!

Our picks went 2-2 last week, so overall this season our record is 23-13-2, which corresponds to a 64% success rate. This week I’ve got 3 picks for you; let’s rock and roll!

PICK #1: Seattle Seahawks -2.5 vs Atlanta Falcons

At the time of this writing (Tuesday November 14), the line is either 2.5 or 3, depending on your bookie. 5Dimes is one of the sportsbooks that currently has 2.5, so I took it.

I’ve got plenty of reasons to go with Seattle in this one, but let me start with arguments that make me worry a little bit. First, the Seahawks are coming off a very physical game against the Cardinals, a game in which many players went down to injuries, including cornerback Richard Sherman who was lost for the rest of the year. Left tackle Duane Brown, who was just acquired from the Texans, went down in the first half and it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to suit up or not. However, the chances are good that Seattle will welcome free safety Earl Thomas back on the field.

I’m also worried about the recent progression shown by the Falcons. They were off to a very disappointing start to the season, but have shown signs of life over the past 3 games. First, they beat the Jets in New York, then lost 20-17 in a tough environment in Carolina and beat the Cowboys 27 to 7 last week.

Ok, let me now reveal why this pick is interesting from my point of view. You know how much I value the rest factor in the NFL; the Seahawks are benefiting from 3 additional days of rest after playing last Thursday night. Also, they will be looking to avenge a 36-20 road elimination loss in the playoffs last year. Please note that the Seahawks had previously beaten them 26-24 in Seattle.

I also like the fact that Atlanta will need to travel three time zones for this game. I’m aware that it’s not such a big deal when playing Monday night, but it’s still an adjustment for them.

As of now, 64% of spread bets and 75% of money line bets have gone on Atlanta, and yet the line has not moved, so perhaps we’ve got a little more sharp money backing Seattle.

PICK #2: Oakland Raiders +7 vs New England Patriots

I know, it’s always risky to fade the Patriots, but I’ll do it anyway. The Raiders are coming off their bye week, so they’ve had plenty of time to gameplan for this critical matchup. Meanwhile, the Pats are coming off an easy 41-16 win over the Broncos, but maybe that game was too easy and did not provide such a good preparation ahead of this Sunday’s game. This is yet another case where a team from the East travels across the country to play on the West coast.

The betting public is literally pounding New England right now, with 87% of spread bets and 94% of money line bets going on Belichick’s squad. As a consequence, sportsbooks have moved the line from 5.5 to 7. I don’t believe it will go higher, so I recommend grabbing it now.

PICK #3: Minnesota Vikings -2 vs Los Angeles Rams

Who would have thought, prior to the start of the season, that this game would feature a couple of 7-2 teams? What a great matchup in perspective, and for the second week in a row I’m betting on the Vikings. Pinnacle and other bookies currently have a 2.5 spread, but Bovada and Sports Interaction are posting a line of 2.

This time, we’ve got a team that has to travel two time zones from West to East. With the game scheduled to start at 1pm Eastern Time, that’s the equivalent of 10am for people coming from Los Angeles.

My main argument concerns the Rams’ past three contests; they are coming off three easy wins over lousy clubs. On Week #7, they shutout the Cardinals 33-0 as Carson Palmer had to leave the game in the first half. They were on a bye the following week before hammering the Giants 51-17 in New York. Finally, they beat up on the Texans 33-7 last week, but do I need to remind you they were missing their all-star QB DeShaun Watson and perhaps the best defensive player in the league, J.J. Watt? They will face a much stiffer test this week, and I’m afraid they won’t be up to the task.

The Rams are 4-0 on the road this year, while the Vikings are 4-1 at home.

We are observing a small reverse line move on this game, as roughly 60% of the bets have gone on the Rams, while the line still went in favor of the Vikings from 2 to 2.5. I like it.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to read this write-up, I hope you found it insightful and I wish you the best of luck on your sports investments. Cheers everyone!

Professor MJ

Professor MJ: 2 NHL Picks for Tuesday November 14!

Hello all, I’ve got two profitable bets out of tonight’s 8 NHL games. I will also briefly mention a couple of leans. Enjoy the read!

PICK: Columbus Blue Jackets -104 (decimal 1.96) at Montreal Canadiens

The Jackets halted a four-game losing streak by defeating the Red Wings 2-1 in a shootout. Meanwhile, the Habs are riding with Charlie Lindgren’s hot hand who has only allowed 5 goals in 4 starts! Sergei Bobrovsky has had Montreal’s number of late, as shown by his 2-0-1 record against the Canadiens last year, stopping 95 of 97 shots. I’m not handicapping totals, but betting the under 5.5 at -110 seems enticing to me.

Over the past five meetings between these two clubs, Montreal has only won once, and that victory occurred in overtime. I’m predicting a 3-1 Jackets win including a goal by Artemi Panarin.

PICK: Dallas Stars +111 (decimal 2.11) at Florida Panthers

The Stars have been alternating wins and losses over their past six games, including the last five where the final score wasn’t even close (at least a 3-goal deficit in each case). They suffered a 5-1 loss at Carolina last night, where the Canes managed to score four goals in the final period. I expect the recent trend to continue with a bounce-back performance against a team that has been struggling mightily of late. As a matter of fact, the Panthers have only won a single game over their past seven contests, with the only win happening against the lowly Sabres.

Kari Lehtonen will be in net for Dallas, but I’m not worried about that considering he’s been posting a better GAA and save percentage than starter Ben Bishop. He has been doing a solid job thus far this year.

The road team has won the past five meetings between these two teams, which is quite surprising! The Stars got the victory on four of their last five visits in Florida.

LEANS

I’m leaning towards the Capitals at +118 (decimal 2.18) at the Preds. Both teams are coming off a winning streak against tough opposition. Indeed, the Caps have just defeated the Oilers and the Penguins, while the Preds have been even more impressive with wins over Pittsburgh, Columbus, Los Angeles and Anaheim. I expect a very tight game, in which case I’m taking the underdog to pull off the small upset.

I also like the line on the Kings at -165 (decimal 1.61) against the Canucks. Los Angeles will be playing a third straight home game, while Vancouver will be on the road for the fourth consecutive time (more travel = more fatigue). The Canucks have been outscored 9-1 over their past couple of games. The Kings won’t take this game lightly despite facing weaker opposition since they have just lost two home games in a row (to the Sharks and Lightning). They will display an all-out effort to avoid losing a third straight game in front of their fans.

Have a good evening!

Professor MJ

Professor MJ: One NBA Pick for Monday November 13!

Hello NBA fans, today I’ve only got one pick rated one star, so nothing to write home about unfortunately. Let’s have a look at the details!

PICK: Milwaukee Bucks -3.5 vs Memphis Grizzlies (rated 1 star)

Don’t you have a feeling these teams are headed for different directions? The Grizzlies stormed out of the gate with a surprising 5-1 start to the season, but have now gone 2-4 since then. Meanwhile, the Bucks went through a four-game skid before defeating the Spurs in San Antonio and handling the Lakers at home. They are now back to a .500 record and are looking to win a third straight match since acquiring Eric Bledsoe from the Phoenix Suns.

I also like the fact that Memphis will be playing a fifth road game in a row, which takes a toll on the body. From an injury standpoint, the Grizzlies might be in a bit of trouble with JaMychal Green being doubtful and Jarell Martin listed as questionable. Coach David Fizdale might have to go with small lineups more often, which is not good news when you are playing yet another game away from home.

The home team has won each of the previous seven meetings between these two clubs.

Have a good start to your week!

Professor MJ

Professor MJ: One NHL Pick (and food for thought on Wild-Habs) for Thursday November 9!

Hello NHL fans, today I’m going to provide one value play, and I will also comment the Wild-Canadiens game a little bit (food for thought, in case you are considering betting this game).

PICK: Edmonton Oilers -123 (decimal 1.813) at the New Jersey Devils

Both of these teams are off to a surprising start to the 2017-2018 season, but not for the same reasons.

On one side, you’ve got the Oilers who finished with the 7th most points in the league during the regular season last year, compiling a .573 record. Considering their core players were mostly young (McDavid, Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins), many people expected them to be even better this year. As a matter of fact, Vegas’ lines indicated they were going to have a .624 record. However, they have stumbled out of the gate with only 5 wins in 14 games (a .357 record).

That being said, I have no doubt in my mind that they will eventually return to form. Having won two of their past three games, is it the start of a new beginning for them?

Meanwhile, the Devils were projected to finish with the 27th-best record in the NHL this year, but they have been exceeding expectations by a wide margin after winning 9 of their first 11 matches! It was obvious they were not going to sustain this kind of success throughout the year, and I was waiting for them to start tumbling. Now that they’ve lost their last three contests, I wouldn’t be surprised if they go on some kind of bigger losing skid.

In summary, you’ve got the Oilers who seem to be on the rise again, while New Jersey might start struggling a lot more. If the money line on that game had been set prior to the start of the season, you can bet Edmonton would have been much more heavily favored. Take advantage of this line while the Oilers are still being underrated and the Devils overrated.

Please note that Edmonton has defeated New Jersey on five of the previous six meetings, including a 6-3 win six days ago.

A few notes about the Minnesota Wild versus Montreal Canadiens game

Charlie Lindgren has been confirmed as the Habs’ starting goalie. In case you were not aware of it, he was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and he grew up as a Wild fan. Therefore, he will be very motivated, but Montreal will probably be missing Jonathan Drouin, a big loss for the Canadiens.

The Wild have prevailed in all of the past six meetings with Montreal, including a 6-3 victory a week ago in Minnesota. Will the streak continue, or will the Habs finally get revenge?

Minnesota will be playing the second leg of back-to-back games after playing in Toronto last night.

I will be publishing a new article very soon about a specific NHL betting strategy which suggests taking teams coming off a losing streak when facing an opponent that is currently riding a winning streak. I will provide very specific details and criteria that must be met in order for you to pull the trigger, but for now just know that this strategy does not necessarily suggest betting the Wild tonight, but it is close. I am definitely staying away from that game because of the conflicting arguments above.

Have a good day guys, I hope you liked this write-up!

Professor MJ