Posts by jamiecutteridge

An Idiot’s Guide to Betting On Super Bowl XLIX

As well as being the biggest sporting event in the world, Super Bowl XLIX is the biggest gambling event in the world. You can bet on the game, the coin flip, the national anthem, the half time show, the colour of the Gatorade shower. If it happens on Sunday night, you can bet on it. But where to start with such an array of options? Here’s a newbie’s guide to avoid losing all your money on Super Bowl XLIX.

DON’T BET ON THE COIN TOSS

Betting on the pregame coin flip is the most tempting, yet most futile of all Super Bowl gambles. The odds of winning are 50/50, yet the returns are lower. There’s no skill, no advantage. It’s utterly pointless. A sneakier bet, is for the Seahawks to get the first possession and/or score first. The odds on this shouldn’t be overly weighted, but New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick (yes, him of the deflated balls) will always defer the kickoff and give the opposition the ball. (And if you really want to bet on the coin toss, remember, tails never fails.)

GO ALL IN ON SAFETIES

The odds on a safety appearing in a Super Bowl are always monstrously high (+500 with Intertops.eu) and yet in two of the last three Super Bowls, there’s been a safety. With pressure as high as it gets, mistakes are possible, and with late tactical tweaks from two of the smartest coaches around in the offing, we may even see a repeat of Baltimore’s deliberate safety from two years ago.

CLOSE GAME HEROICS

A couple of minor prop bets here: firstly, have a look at their being a score in the final two minutes of the first half (-300 with AllYouBet.ag). In Tom Brady and Russell Wilson we’ll see two of the smartest QBs in football match up, and both possess fine clock management skills which could see you cashing in on this. The other one is this: we’ve never seen a Super Bowl go to overtime, but this looks like being one of the closest games in years, and may well end up being a pick’um. With that in mind, overtime is a definite possibility.

MVP

There are two ways to approach MVP betting – the smart, QB focused approach, or the fun, ‘who’s going to become a hero’ approach. The QB approach is to back the quarterback of whichever team you think will win – as the QBs, more often than not, come away with the individual prize. Alternatively, you could look for other possibilities. Marshawn Lynch, in possible his last game as a Seahawk, is a strong shout for Seattle, but why not look further down the list. Last year’s MVP Malcolm Smith has barely been heard from since, but saw two turnovers land in his lap. Kam Chancellors’ big play ability may give him an outside shot at the award, and he possibly should have won it last year. For the Patriots, have a look at the Gronk, Rob Gronkowski. The big tight end is Tom Brady’s favourite weapon, and covering tight ends is one of the few weaknesses of the fearsome Seattle defense.

Betting Instinct tip Rob Gronkowski to be named Super Bowl MVP is +1000 with Intertops.eu

It’s not too late to grab your ticket to London’s biggest and best Super Bowl party – happening at Bloomsbury Lanes. Tickets and details at bloomsburylive.com/superbowl

Jamie avatar JAMIE CUTTERIDGE (jamiecutteridge) is a journalist for a real magazine, but spends an inordinate  amount of time writing about NFL. He’s the editor-in-chief of anygivensundaynight.co.uk and its associated  twitter feed @UKNFL

Three big questions heading into the NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs

Can Joakim Noah help the Bulls spring a surprise?

Can Joakim Noah help the Bulls spring a surprise?

The NBA playoffs are one of the highlights of the sporting year: six weeks of non-stop, meaningful basketball games between the best teams in the world, and it doesn’t get better than the opening weekend, with eight back-to-back games dominating Saturday and Sunday’s TV schedules.

While the Western Conference has looked wide open all season, it’s Eastern counterpart has been dominated by the two teams who met in the Eastern final last spring – but will the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers return to face off?  Let’s have a look at three huge questions in the East.

 

NBA Eastern Conference Outright Betting Odds:

Miami Heat -143

Indiana Pacers +140

Brooklyn Nets +1200

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

Can the Heat go back-to-back-to-back?

Since the end of the Celtics-dominated 60s, only two teams have managed to ‘three-peat’ and win three titles in a row. Jordan’s Bulls did it twice in the 90s and the Shaq and Kobe-era Lakers did it at the start of this millennium. As if that wasn’t enough history weighing on the shoulders of the two-time defending champions, only once since 1966 has a team made four finals in a row (the mid-80s Lakers). If King James is to lead the Heat to glory again, he’s not only got to beat the best of the NBA, he’s also got history to contend with.  With home advantage in the East going to Indiana, a tired, aging Heat team may need their best postseason of the ‘big three’-era to go all the way.

 

What’s up with the Pacers?

Since starting the season like the best team in the league, the Indiana Pacers have had a massive wobble since the All-Star break. It’s hard to put an exact finger on their problems. Roy Hibbert has lost some of that Gandalf ‘YOU SHALL NOT PASS’ ethic which saw him dominate the paint early on, Paul George’s breakout party got shut down and Lance Stephenson began to believe his own hype. Despite this, they’ve secured top spot in the East, and will fancy themselves to make it to the Eastern title game and host Miami. Their seven game series last year went the whole way, and if it does the same this time, Indiana will hold home advantage. If the Pacers from the first half of the season turn up, they’ll be very tough to beat.

 

Can anyone challenge the big two in the East?

It seems like the top two seeds in the East have been secured since before Christmas, and despite their problems no one has come close to matching the Heat and Pacers. But it’s a different looking lineup in the Eastern playoffs than in recent years. The Wizards have finally made good on their promise and have a young, exciting backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal; the Raptors have possibly the best guard in the East (Kyle Lowry), scoring talent and a fearsome home court, and Big Al Jefferson has led MJ and his Charlotte Bobcats into the playoffs. But the two toughest challenges will come from the Chicago Bulls and the Brooklyn Nets. The Bulls are (probably) without Derrick Rose but the combination of coach Tom Thibodeau and centre, and genuine MVP candidate Joakim Noah mean that the Bulls are going to be tough for anyone to beat. The Nets had a nightmare start to the year, but have pulled themselves together to make the post-season, and go into it with a 4-0 record against Miami over the season.

 

 

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Western playoffs may look sexier, but sexiness comes in many forms. Oh, great, now I’m imaging Chris Bosh in a mankini.

 

Betting Instinct Tip – If you’re looking at an outsider to tip, the Bulls are +1800 to win the Eastern Conference with AllYouBet.ag

 

Jamie avatar JAMIE CUTTERIDGE (jamiecutteridge) is a journalist for a real magazine, but spends an inordinate  amount of time writing about NFL. He’s the editor-in-chief of anygivensundaynight.co.uk and its associated  twitter feed @UKNFL

The Best of March Madness

Many a great basketball career has started at college, and few are greater than former UNC alum Michael Jordan

Many a great basketball career has started at college, and few are greater than former UNC alum Michael Jordan

As March Madness enters its second week, Jamie Cutteridge explains what all the fuss is about by looking at five of the greatest moments in the history of the NCAA tournament.

 

If you’ve been on the internet, near the internet, next door to the internet or in the same postcode as the internet in the last week, you’ve probably heard of March Madness. The NCAA tournament is a joyous treat in the often dull month of March. The 64 best teams in college basketball play a straight knockout tournament over three weeks as the future stars of the NBA take on (and often lose to) players who will never see anything like this attention again. Underdogs, drama and wall-to-wall sport. Utterly perfect. As we near the final stages, Betting Instinct brings you five of the best moments in March Madness history to get you pumped for this week’s action.

 

NCAA Championship Betting Odds:

Florida +350

Louisville +450

Michigan State +450

Arizona +550

(All odds provided by AllYouBet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

1982: Jordan wins it late at the start of his journey to greatness.

Picking a best Michael Jordan is impossible. The Flu game, ‘The shot’ against Cleveland in 1989, his final shot to beat Utah in 98, the threes and the shrug against Portland in 1992. He’s the greatest basketball player of all time, and possibly the biggest sporting icon since Adam beat Eve at an egg and spoon race. In his freshman year in college, he scored the winning basket with his team down by one point to beat Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown. Just sit back and enjoy some classic MJ.

 

 

 

1983: NC State shock America

In one of the biggest shocks in American sporting history, unfancied North Carolina State, led by legendary coach ‘Jimmy V’ upset massive favourites Houston to take the title. The Houston team contained future NBA hall of famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, but couldn’t get it done as Lorenzo Charles dunked Dereck Whittenburg’s air-ball to win the game as time as time expired to send his coach into a state of delirium.

 

 

 

1985: Villanova ruin Ewing’s big day. Again

Patrick Ewing’s lack of success is so notable he’s got a theory named after him. After losing out to Jordan in ’82, Ewing and Georgetown  did win the title in 1984, and seemed destined to repeat in 1985 as the heavy pre-tournament favourites reached the big dance to play eight-seeded Villanova. However no-one counted on the Wildcats shooting a quite frankly ludicrous  78.6% to beat Ewing in his college swansong.

 

 

1992: THE SHOT

They call it the shot. They should call it the pass. The eventual champions and number one seeds Duke met Kentucky in an unforgettable regional final that was settled in overtime. Kentucky scored with 2.1 seconds to go to take a one point lead and it looked like the top seeds were on the way out. But then Grant Hill made an unreal pass, Christian Laettner got the ball and… oh just watch it.

 

 

 

 

1993: The Timeout

The 1993 Michigan Wolverines were the greatest college team of all time. ‘The Fab Five’ as they were known contained Jimmy King,  Ray Jackson, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose and Chris Webber. They took on fellow number one seeds North Carolina in 1993’s title game and trailed by two as Chris Webber brought the ball up court with fifteen second remaining. Webber got trapped in the corner and called a timeout, except Michigan didn’t have any left. A technical foul was called, NC got two free throws and the ball, and won the title.  A horrendous blunder that has overshadowed the rest of Webber’s brilliant career.

 

 

 

That’s just a taste of the drama and magic that March Madness involves. The fun continues from Thursday through to Sunday this week as the sweet sixteen are whittled down the final four. My tips to make the final have been Florida and Louisiana from the start, and they’re still going strong, just. But if you’re looking for value, don’t sleep on eleventh seeded Tennessee in the Midwest region. But no matter who plays, don’t miss out on some magical March madness.

 

Betting Instinct Tip: Tennessee to win the Midwest region is +550 with Intertops.eu

 

Jamie avatar JAMIE CUTTERIDGE (jamiecutteridge) is a journalist for a real magazine, but spends an inordinate  amount of time writing about NFL. He’s the editor-in-chief of anygivensundaynight.co.uk and its associated  twitter feed @UKNFL

NBA All-star weekend: Time for a midseason recap

Kevin Durant had one of the best months in living memory in January

Kevin Durant had one of the best months in living memory in January

The NBA All-star weekend is the beginning of the end of the NBA season. By the time you read this the stars of the association will have decamped to New Orleans for a weekend of dunks, three pointers, and dunks AND three pointers. With a weekend away from the main action, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the season thus far, and look ahead to the rest of the season.

NBA Championship Outright Winner Betting Odds

Miami Heat +210

Indiana Pacers +250

Oklahoma City Thunder +375

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

We’re about 50 games into every team’s season and the gulf between the Eastern and Western Conferences is bigger than it has been in a long, long time. The Eastern conference is simple – there are two good teams and they’re heading towards an inevitable, almighty showdown in the conference finals. It’s unsurprising that one of those teams is the two-time defending champions Miami Heat, led by all-world LeBron James (who hit a last-second dagger on Wednesday night to beat the Warriors in spectacular fashion – well worth a visit to NBA.com) and ably assisted by a ‘getting-older-by-the-second’ Dwyane Wade and Chris ‘Photobomb’ Bosh, who’s having his best season in a few years. The Heat have taken their foot off the gas at times in the last couple of months, but they’ve won eight of their last ten, and have a ten game lead over Toronto in third.

The surprise package in the East are the Indiana Pacers. It’s no shock to see them up there – they gave us a taste of what was to come in their seven-game loss to the Heat in last season’s playoffs, but the way they took those performances into this season caught a few people off guard. Paul George has elevated his game to put himself in the upper echelons of NBA stars and has earned a place as an All-star starter, while Roy Hibbert remains a fearsome rim protector and Lance Stephenson has developed into the biggest x-factor in the league. The Pacers look set to be number one seed in the East and have lost just three games at home this season. If they secure the first seed, it will be tough for even the Heat to get past that test and into their fourth straight finals.

Betting Instinct Tip – The Pacers are +100 at allyoubet.ag to win the Eastern Conference.

As for the Western Conference, well, it’s a mess. Out in front are the Oklahoma City Thunder, spearheaded by man of the moment Kevin Durant. The Slim Reaper had one of the all-time great months in January, scoring a heap of points in an incredibly economic way, more than making up for the continued injury problems faced by Durant’s partner-in-OKC Russell ‘Hipster’ Westbrook. The supporting cast around Durant has continued to grow this year – Serge Ibaka might be the best third wheel in the league, while Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb, Reggie Jackson and Stevan Adams are exciting young pieces coming into their own. Their win over Miami in January showed they could go small-ball and match the Heat- that could be crucial come the playoffs.

Betting Instinct Tip OKC are +375 to win the NBA title at Intertops.eu

The rest of the West is wide open. The Spurs will be there or thereabouts, neither Houston nor Golden State have quite clicked this term while Portland are fading after a fast start. The two teams worth keeping an eye on are recovering from huge injury losses to get back to winning ways. The LA Clippers lost point guard Chris Paul for the last six weeks, but Blake Griffin hugely stepped up in his absence, ensuring they remain in the hunt for the top four seed. If Doc Rivers can get the team playoff ready, Paul’s nous, and Griffin’s form could be terrifying. The other side to keep an eye are the Memphis Grizzlies. Marc Gasol missed a lot of time, but their interior of Gasol and Zac Randolph will cause just about any side problems. They could still emerge from the West as contenders.

Betting Instinct Tip – LA Clippers are +600 to win the Western Conference, while Memphis are +2500, both at allyoubet.ag

Jamie avatarJAMIE CUTTERIDGE (jamiecutteridge) is a journalist for a real magazine, but spends an inordinate amount of time writing about NFL. He’s the editor-in-chief of anygivensundaynight.co.uk and its associated twitter feed @UKNFL

Welcome to gambling Christmas: the Super Bowl

You can bet on almost anything at the Super Bowl, even the toss of a coin

You can bet on almost anything at the Super Bowl, even the toss of a coin

Merry Christmas! Kind of, because you see, while the Super Bowl is many things to many people, to gamblers, specifically NFL gamblers – it’s our Christmas. This season will be no different, with a heap of different stuff to bet on, as well as one of the tastiest looking matchups in years – Denver Broncos taking on the Seattle Seahawks. Here’s the plan – we’ll take a quick look at the game, and then get on to the fun bits – the bets.

 

Seattle Seahawks v Denver Broncos Betting Odds

Seattle win – 1.98

Denver win – 1.78

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

It’s hardly possible to express too much excitement about this matchup. What Peyton Manning has done this season is something else. The Broncos’ offensive unit which he has led has set a record for points, while he has set single-season yardage and touchdown records. His set of receivers offers countless weapons. Well, not countless, that would be ridiculous, but the receiving quartet of the Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker would be pretty terrifying with an average QB at the helm, with Peyton Manning in control, it’s downright obscene, and their running game, spearheaded by Knowshon Moreno is a more than useful accompaniment.

However, Peyton and co will face one of the best defences in the history of the league. A pass rush that can get to the QB in any number of ways, and a secondary led by ‘that guy’ Richard Sherman and backed up by the best safety in football, Earl Thomas. It couldn’t be a tougher test for Peyton, nor could this secondary face a tougher one.

 

It feels like those two will cancel each other out, so the game may come down to how well Seattle can score. Russell Wilson has yet to catch fire in the playoffs, but with x-factor Percy Harvin back and BEAST MODE Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, they’ve got weapons. The Denver D is missing a big piece in Von Miller, but have performed brilliantly against the Patriots and Chargers in the playoffs thus far – two of the best offensive units in the league.

To be honest, we could talk for hours about the game. Here’s the deal – Seattle opened up as favourites, the line quickly moved to make Denver favourites, it’s going to be tight between easily the two best teams in the league, I say grab the points.

 

Betting Instinct Tip  – Seattle +2.5 is 1.91 at allyoubet.ag, get all over that.

 

Now for the fun bit, the Super Bowl has all kind of rubbish you can bet on. Here are a few of my favourites. (All of these are found at Intertops.eu)

 

Heads or tails: 1.98

You can bet on stuff that happens before kickoff! C’mon, who doesn’t want some of that! I’m not going to tell you which way to go, but this is always a fun way to get the gambling night going.

Total penalty yards 126 or over: 2.50

This is an odd little bet, but Denver and Seatle are two of the most penalised teams in the league, averaging over 130 yards a game combined, add in a some Super Bowl nerves (offside and false start penalties) and chippiness (RICHARD SHERMAN) and this one should go over.

More goals in West Brom-Liverpool than Peyton Manning TD passes: 1.87

Cross-sport bets are brilliant and I love this one. Peyton will score points, but Liverpool scored four midweek, and West Brom lost by the odd goal in seven.

There will be a defensive/special team TD: 2.35

There has never been an NFL post-season with a defensive or special teams touchdown. There hasn’t been one so far during the playoffs, bet on the streak to keep going, especially with Percy Harvin involved.

The MVP to thank his coach(es) first: 9.00

I’m all over this one – a lovely bet to finish the night. The MVP will (probably) be a quarterback, Russell Wilson has had Pete Carroll onside from the start, while John Fox’s belief in Peyton brought him to Denver. (Though you may want to cover a Russell Wilson win by taking God at 4.50.)

 

And if you’re still looking for somewhere to watch the game, head down to Bloomsbury Lanes for the mother of all Super Bowl parties. Fun and games, beer pong, pool, bowling, food, we’ve got it covered. Details and tickets at www.bloomsburylive.com/superbowl

 

Jamie avatarJAMIE CUTTERIDGE (jamiecutteridge) is a journalist for a real magazine, but spends an inordinate amount of time writing about NFL. He’s the editor-in-chief of anygivensundaynight.co.uk and its associated twitter feed @UKNFL

Race for NFL playoffs hots up in the cold

Can Larry Fitzgerald help the Cardinals keep up their playoff chase?

Can Larry Fitzgerald help the Cardinals keep up their playoff chase?

Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally where the NFL switches into a higher gear as the race for the playoffs heats up. This year is no difference and two games this weekend will decide the shape of the post-season in the NFC.

Cardinals @ Eagles

Three weeks ago, this game looked like being a boring irrelevance as both teams slid towards winter mediocrity, however recent bursts of form have seen Arizona and Philadelphia enter the last few weeks of the season with the playoffs in sight.

Despite an inferior record, the 6-5 Eagles have a smoother road to the knockout stage than the Cardinals. Consecutive wins over the Raiders (featuring 7 (seven – such a ridiculous number that it demanded double brackets) Nick Foles touchdown passes), Packers and Washington Professional Football Team (no place for that nickname), have put them atop the NFC East alongside the Cowboys, even before Dallas’ traditional wintery demise. Their offense is moving the ball nicely, with Foles playing the best football of his young career alongside the league leader in rushing, LeSean McCoy. The Chip Kelly offense has breathed new life into the slumbering DeSean Jackson. After a quiet couple of years, Jackson has the sixth most receiving yards in the league thus far this season, and alongside the controversial Riley Cooper, he makes up one half of a fearsome duo.

The real question mark for the Eagles is their defense. Yes, they’ve restricted teams in their last three wins, but with all due respect Terrell Pryor was barely fit, Scott Tolzein continued to be Scott Tolzein and RG3.0 yards per attempt is a different beast to last year. The newly invigorated Carson Palmer will be a trickier test.

Or will he?

There’s no doubting Carson Palmer’s upside. The former Heismann Trophy winner and number one overall pick in 2003’s talent is not in doubt, but his decision making occasionally is. There’s no QB in the league who throws into double or triple coverage with more regularity, but very few are able to do so with such accuracy. It’s that aspect of Palmer that makes him both frustrating and exciting, and with a pair of receivers such as the legendary Larry Fitzgerald and the breakout Michael Floyd he’s able to take more risks than many signal callers in the league. The Cardinals sit at 7-5 and in with a good shot at the final NFC wildcard spot, but face tough competition from divisional rivals, the San Francisco 49ers.

Unlike the Eagles, Arizona’s defense has been the real star this season. They restricted Andrew Luck and the Colts to just 11 points last weekend, and will go into this game confident of a similar performance, with their dominant defensive front backed up by the star power (and talent!) of Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu in the secondary.

It’s a tough one to call and both teams will know that a win is crucial to keep them in the playoff hunt, but I fancy the Cardinals defense to make the difference in this one.

Betting Instinct tip: Cardinals +3  is 1.91 with Intertops Sportsbook

Saints @ Seahawks

The matchup between possibly the two best teams in the NFC will go a long way towards determining the playoff hopes of these two sides. Both New Orleans and Seattle probably hold the two best home-field advantages in the league and a number one seed in the NFC for either side will make them very tough to beat. Seattle go into this one with a single game lead over the Saints and the winner of this one will see it as a huge step towards the Superbowl.

For the Saints, there was never any doubt about the productivity of their offense going in to the season – the combination of Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham and a myriad of receivers meant scoring points wasn’t going to be the issue. But New Orleans has stepped up on the defensive side of the ball this season. Rob Ryan has been the brains behind the revival from last year’s historically bad unit, and without adding any spectacular pieces (rookie Kenny Vaccaro has been impressive) there has been a huge improvement in that unit – enough to keep them in games when their offense has spluttered.

The Seahawks are known for their tough, uncompromising defense, and this season has been no different. They’ll be without a couple of key pieces from their secondary on Monday after (MORE!) suspensions for substance-related misdemeanours but it still remains a team strong on that size of the ball. That’s not to suggest that the Hawks will struggle to score points – Russell Wilson has continued to impress in his second season, and will be delighted to have Percy Harvin alongside him, after a small debut cameo in their game before the bye week. Add that to Marshawn ‘Beast mode’ Lynch and you have an offense that will go toe-to-toe with the Saints.

There’s much to love about both of these teams, but the line is too high here to back the Seahawks.

Betting Instinct Tip: Saints +5 is 1.91 with AllYouBet.ag

Jamie avatarJamie Cutteridge is a journalist for a real magazine, but spends an inordinate amount of time writing about NFL. He’s the editor-in-chief of anygivensundaynight.co.uk and its associated twitter feed @UKNFL