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The Daily Line: Week 1 football picks

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USA TODAY

The Daily Line: Week 1 football picks

The Supreme Court opened the door for sports betting legalization with its May ruling that struck down a 1992 law that banned commercial sports betting in most states. Sports betting is not yet legal in Illinois, but with football season underway, former Northwestern offensive lineman Eric Olson will take a weekly look at the odds surrounding the action on the field.

It is here. Football season is upon us. The best time of year has begun. By way of introduction, I am Eric Olson. I played football for Northwestern from 2012- 2016, started over 30 games at Right Tackle, got a Master’s in Predictive Analytics and love to look at football through the eyes of a sports bettor. I will be writing up my weekly NFL, and a few college picks here at NBC Sports Chicago. With the legalization of sports betting in a handful of states already, and possibly growing to others soon, there will be a lot of new interest and increased awareness on the sports betting factors around the games this year.    The best pieces of advice I can give you are: #1 Don’t bet what you can’t afford #2 If it feels too good to be true, it probably is. And #3 If it feels ugly when you place it, good. Other than that, let’s have some fun and hopefully have some success along the way.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs New York Giants, 9/9 12:00pm CT

The Line: Jaguars -3

Betting Percentage Split: 50/50

The play: Giants +3

The Jacksonville Jaguars wildly overachieved in 2017. The New York Giants wildly under achieved in 2017. Week 1 is a phenomenal time to exploit biases like this from the previous season. In fact, teams that won under six games the year before are an incredible 59% against the spread in week 1 of the following year over the last 8 years. The Giants are not a 3-13 team based on the talent on their roster. Odell is happy, McAdoo and his stupid haircut are out, Saquon is in, the OL is revamped and seemingly there is actually some sort of balance in the locker room. The Jaguars may have the best defense in league for a second straight year, but that doesn’t mean they will recapture the spark they had in 2017. Bortles is still a very, very average NFL quarterback and I am not ready to pencil this team as the new AFC powerhouse for years to come like some people seem so set to do. Take advantage of this situational play and take the team that under achieved the previous year at home getting points with a veteran QB.

San Francisco 49ers vs Minnesota Vikings, 9/9 12:00pm CT

The Line: Vikings  -6.5

Betting Percentage Split: 66% of tickets on the Vikings

The play: Vikings -6.5

Everybody and their mother have the 49ers as their ‘surprise’ team this year. People love to talk about how Jimmy G went 5-0 in his first 5 starts, but look past the fact that he had a pedestrian 7:5 interception to TD ratio, he won his last two games against a Rams team that sat all of their starters and a Jags team that already clinched their division; not to mention, the Niners had one of and will have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. The Vikings return nearly their entire NFC Championship Game roster, make a lateral (maybe slightly upward) move at QB and add Sheldon Richardson to their already stacked defensive line. Simply put, there is nothing, I mean nothing, better than fading over-hyped teams in the NFL. Give me the Vikes to show up at home in week 1 (6-3 ATS at home last year) and take 49ers under 8.5 wins while you’re at it too.

Dallas Cowboys vs Carolina Panthers, 9/9 3:25pm CT

The Line: Panthers -3 (+100)

Betting Percentage Split: 72% of tickets on the Panthers

The play: Cowboys +3

This is an interesting spot for a lot reasons. Two talented teams with a lot of question marks coming into the season. From a betting perspective, we also see one of the most public teams in all of sports (Cowboys) getting only 28% percent of bets. Furthermore, we have seen this line move the opposite direction of the ticket count (you can get -2.5 in some places). In the betting world this is called ‘Reverse Line Movement’ and it usually is an indicator that professional bettors are targeting a particular side. I love siding with the pros here and taking the underdog Cowboys when the public has hopped off their bandwagon. The Panthers lost pro-bowl guard Andrew Norwell in the offseason and will be without Left Tackle Matt Kalil, and possibly Right Tackle Daryl Williams, in week 1, giving what was one of the best units in football last year a ton of questions heading into the season. I like the Panthers to regress this year and the Cowboys to take a few steps forward from their disappointing 2017 campaign. Give me the contrarian Cowboys (a phrase you will not hear often) in week 1 winning outright.

Tennessee Titans vs. Miami Dolphins , 9/9 3:25pm CT

The Line: Titans -2

Betting Percentage Split: 66% of tickets on the Titans

The play: Dolphins +2

The NFL is a strange league, especially when it comes to gambling. The Dolphins went 6-10 last year, got rid of two of their biggest stars in Ndamuking Suh and Jarvis Landry (and Jay Ajayi late last season as well), have injury concerns at QB and play a playoff team in week 1 with a QB who many people think is poised to make the proverbial leap this year. Well, I am not one of those people and I am not a believer in this Titans teams. While getting rid of talent like Suh, Landry and Ajayi may look bad on paper, not only do player acquisitions matter far less than the public perceives them to in the NFL, there was a method to Adam Gase’s madness. He has publicly stated that he got rid of these players, who were often polarizing personalities, to change the locker room culture and instill a level of stability. Will this translate to prolonged success in Miami? I’m not ready to make that leap, however I am ready to say it gives them enough of a spark in week 1 at home to beat an overvalued Titans team. Take the Dolphins and the points.

Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers , 9/9 7:20pm CT

The Line: Packers -7/-7.5

Betting Percentage Split: 53% of tickets on the Packers

The play: Packers – 7/7.5

Somehow, after being one of the most boring teams in the NFL for the past couple years, the Bears are a part one of the most exciting and anticipated games of the weekend. Between the Khalil Mack addition, Aaron Rodgers coming back from injury, Nagy coaching his first game and Trubisky finally getting some freedom, this game has some genuinely interesting storylines to follow. From a gambling perspective, this game was as high as Packers -8.5 at one point and since the Khalil Mack addition it has moved all the way to -7 in some places. With the betting ticket disparity being so even, it’s most likely not professional action moving the line, rather bookmakers knowing that the public will be willing to pay a steeper price for the Bears with added excitement. Khalil Mack is a phenomenal player, as a former offensive lineman, players like him give me nightmares, however, on Sunday, his role will be limited and not nearly worth the 1.5 points they are giving him. Take advantage of this Vegas overreaction and take the Packers at -7 if you can get ‘em.

Bonus College Game:

Duke vs. Northwestern, 9/8 11:00 am CT

The Line: Northwestern -3

Betting Percentage Split: 75% of tickets on Northwestern

The play: Northwestern -3

Full transparency here: I am going to take Northwestern every week. While I hate seeing the public all over the Cats, as we typically fair better in the underdog role, this line indicates that these teams would be a pick-em on neutral field. I do not believe this to be an accurate assessment of these two teams. The two biggest questions coming into the season for NU were the health of Clayton Thorson and who was going to replace the production of RB Justin Jackson. Well, in week 1, Clayton looked phenomenal in his limited role, which will only increase week to week, and Jeremy Larkin went for 143 yards and 2 TDs on 26 carries in his debut as the starting RB. The Cats had arguably one of the most impressive week 1 victories going on the road, in prime time, against an upstart conference foe in Purdue and I love them to carry their 9 game win streak into this game and keep rolling. In what was by far their most disappointing result of the season, Northwestern got rolled by Duke last year, give me the Cats, all day, at home, in this revenge spot.

NBC Sports Chicago provides extensive coverage of Bulls and Blackhawks drafts

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NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago provides extensive coverage of Bulls and Blackhawks drafts

Chicago, IL (June 19, 2018) – With the Chicago Bulls holding the #7 overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft and the Chicago Blackhawks holding the #3 overall pick of the 2019 NHL Draft, NBC Sports Chicago - THE Home of the #AuthenticFan - is set to provide fans with extensive multi-platform coverage of both drafts on Thursday, June 20 and Friday, June 21.  Please note NBC Sports Chicago’s draft coverage details below:

 

THURSDAY, JUNE 20 -- BULLS/NBA Draft coverage

  • 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM CT -- “The 2019 NBA Draft Preview Show” - NBC Sports National NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) previews the upcoming draft featuring NBC Sports Regional Networks NBA experts from coast-to-coast, including NBC Sports Chicago’s Mark Schanowski. Hosted by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Amy Fadool, “The 2019 NBA Draft Preview Show” will be presented in two live airings this day and fans can submit their draft questions to the panel by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #NBAdraftNBC (NOTE: This digital-exclusive presentation will stream live on NBCSportsChicago.com and via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app; fans located anywhere in the U.S. can download MyTeams for free on iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.)
  • 6:00 PM -- “SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado” - Special NBA Draft preview edition LIVE from the Bulls/NBA Draft headquarters at the Advocate Center. (NOTE: Live stream available to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive
  • Between 7:30-8:30 PM (time approx.) -- Live #7 pick reaction/commentary from NBC Sports Chicago’s Bulls experts Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Will Perdue via an extended Periscope segment on the network’s dedicated Bulls Twitter handle (@NBCSBulls), which will include the trio’s responses to fan questions and comments.
  • 10:30 PM -- “Bulls Draft Special presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois” - Featuring Schanowski, Gill, and Perdue live from the Advocate Center, the Bulls Draft Special will dive into detailed discussion surrounding the Bulls first and second round picks, along with showcasing podium moment highlights/interviews featuring the new Bulls rookie from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, an overview of every trade made throughout the evening, plus, post-draft press conference coverage featuring Bulls Executive VP/Basketball Operations John Paxson, along with a post-draft recap interview with Haberstroh. (NOTE: Live stream also available to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive and via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app.)
  • 11:00 PM -- “Bulls Outsiders: Draft Special” - Hosts Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine recap the NBA Draft from their perspective, along with their thoughts on how the Bulls first round pick will impact next season’s roster.  In addition, the Bulls Outsiders: Draft Special will also emphasize heavy viewer interaction via fan engagement on a number of the network’s social media platforms including Twitter (@NBCSBulls; fans urged to utilize the Twitter hashtag #BullsOutsiders in their posts) and Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago). (NOTE: Live stream also available to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive and via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app.)
  • NBCSportsChicago.com/”MyTeams by NBC Sports” app – NBC Sports Chicago’s Bulls digital reporter/producer Mark Strotman will also provide fans with thorough digital coverage of the NBA Draft from the Advocate Center on Thursday night, which will include real-time coverage/commentary throughout the night via @NBCSBulls and on the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app.  In addition, “Sights & Sounds” moments from the Advocate Center will be provided from ‘NBCSChicago’ through Instagram and Instagram Stories. For full NBA Draft content and videos, fans are urged to visit the network’s dedicated Bulls section at NBCSportsChicago.com/Bulls.  
  • “Bulls Talk PODCAST presented by Coors Light” - Bulls fans can also download NBA Draft preview/recap editions of NBC Sports Chicago’s “Bulls Talk PODCAST” throughout the week. Fans can download all of NBC Sports Chicago’s podcasts at NBCSportsChicago.com/podcasts and simply subscribe to them via Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.

 

FRIDAY, JUNE 21 -- BLACKHAWKS/NHL Draft coverage

  • 6:00 PM CT -- “SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado” - Special NHL Draft preview edition featuring on-site, pre-draft reports from NBC Sports Chicago Blackhawks expert Pat Boyle and Blackhawks digital reporter/producer Charlie Roumeliotis LIVE from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C. (NOTE: Live stream available to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive
  • 6:30 PM -- 2019 NHL Draft (LIVE on NBCSN) – NBCSN will provide live first round coverage of the 2019 NHL Draft from Rogers Arena, which will feature in-depth player profile coverage of the Blackhawks #3 overall pick (live stream available via NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app). Liam McHugh and Kathryn Tappen will host coverage alongside Emmy Award-winning analyst Pierre McGuire and NHL Insiders Bob McKenzie, Craig Button, and Darren Dreger.
  • NBCSportsChicago.com/”MyTeams by NBC Sports” app (Blackhawks draft coverage presented by Elgin Hyundai/Dundee Ford) – Boyle and Roumeliotis will be on location in Vancouver throughout the weekend providing fans with thorough digital coverage of the Draft, which will include draft capsules of every Blackhawks draft pick, along with scheduled interviews featuring Blackhawks SVP/GM Stan Bowman and VP/Amateur Scouting Mark Kelley. NBC Sports Chicago will also deliver up-to-the-minute coverage/commentary throughout the weekend via NBC Sports Chicago’s dedicated Blackhawks Twitter handle @NBCSBlackhawks and on the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app. In addition, “Sights & Sounds” moments from Rogers Arena will be provided from ‘NBCSChicago’ through Instagram and Instagram Stories. For full NHL Draft player profiles, content, and videos, fans are urged to visit the network’s dedicated Blackhawks section at NBCSportsChicago.com/Blackhawks.    
  • “Blackhawks Talk PODCAST presented by ChevyDrivesChicago.com” - NBC Sports Chicago will also deliver NHL Draft preview/recap editions of its “Blackhawks Talk PODCAST” featuring Boyle, Roumeliotis, along with special guest interviews. Fans can download all of NBC Sports Chicago’s podcasts at NBCSportsChicago.com/podcasts and simply subscribe to them via Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.

 

 

NBC Sports Chicago, a partnership between the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago Cubs (MLB), Chicago White Sox (MLB) and the NBC Sports Group, features over 275 live pro games in high definition each year.  In addition, NBC Sports Chicago delivers extensive pre/post-game coverage for its core pro team partners, as well as Chicago Bears postgame coverage, local sports discussion programs that includes SportsTalk Live, and massive cross-platform coverage provided by the network’s growing digital platform, NBCSportsChicago.com, the new “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app, and its variety of fan-focused social media outlets. Fans can follow the network on Twitter via @NBCSChicago.  

 

NBC Sports Regional Networks is NBC Sports Group’s portfolio of nine regional networks that delivers more than 2,200 live sporting events and original content to more than 35 million homes. Aligned within Eastern and Western Divisions, the NBC Sports Regional Networks are: NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Philadelphia +, NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Washington + and SNY; and NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago/NBC Sports Chicago+, and NBC Sports Northwest. For more information on NBC Sports Group properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios, headshots and logos, please visit www.NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com.

 

 

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Both Illinois House and Senate pass bill to legalize sports gambling

Both Illinois House and Senate pass bill to legalize sports gambling

When the Supreme Court lifted the federal restriction on legal sports betting outside of Nevada in May 2018, it was off to the races to see which states would legalize sports betting and how it would happen.

Illinois is on the verge of that happening following a legal sports betting bill getting passed in both the Illinois House and Senate. It passed 87-27 in the House on Saturday and passed 46-10 in the Senate on Sunday. All that is missing is governor J.B. Pritzker’s signature, but he is expected to sign given he has been a proponent of legal sports betting.

The bill would allow for betting in sports venues such at Soldier Field or the United Center, but it isn’t yet clear how that would be implemented. Betting on Illinois college teams would be banned as part of the proposal.

Sports betting would be taxed at 15 percent.

Additionally, the bill includes casinos that would be built in Chicago as well as Waukegan and the south suburbs. The bill would also make it possible to have slot machines at O’Hare and Midway airports.

It is not clear when the bill would take effect.