Sports Business

The Daily Line: Week 10 Football Picks

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NBC Sports Chicago

The Daily Line: Week 10 Football Picks

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.

YTD record: 24-15 against the spread 

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Indianpolis Colts 11/11 12:00pm CT

Line: Colts -3 
Betting Percentages Split: 53% on Jaguars 
The play: Jaguars +3

There is a very simple philosophy in the NFL that simply works when handicapping games. Buy low, sell high. If you blindly bet against teams that had overachieving performances the previous week and bet on teams that underperformed, over time, you will be successful. The NFL is a ‘regress to the mean’ league and the discrepancy amongst teams is much smaller than the public perceives it to be. Well, here we are. Everyone is off the Jaguars bandwagon. I sat here and in my first article of the year I wrote: “I am just not ready to pencil the Jaguars in as the AFC title contenders that everyone seems to think they are for years to come”. Yes, I am happy with myself for calling the regression of the Jaguars. However, the pendulum has shifted too far in the other direction after a myriad of disappointing performances from the Jags. Take a step back for a second, this roster is a 3 POINT UNDERDOG TO THE COLTS. Fade this extreme recency bias and bet that the Jaguars are somewhere in between title contender and bottom feeder. 

New Orleans Saints vs. Cincinnati Bengals 11/11 12:00pm CT

Line: Saints – 6
Betting Percentages Split: 77% of tickets on the Saints
The play: Bengals +6

Alright folks. Listen here. After going 11-1 over a two-week stretch in October, this article has not done well in the last two weeks. That has also coincided with the two of the worst Sunday’s Vegas has had in the last 10 years. Guess what? That trend will not continue. Every year there are about two to three Sundays where the public players win and the house loses. If those are also the first Sunday’s that I lose, I can live with it. Bet with the house and over time you will win money (this article is still over 60% on the year, we’re doing just fine). So here we go again, we are fading the public hard here. The Saints are a very good team, my favorite future I placed before the season was Saints to win the NFC at +700, I really, really liked this roster. However, public perception of this team has never been higher after a string of marquee wins that included the dismantling of the previously unbeatable Rams. So, what do we do? We bet against them. The Bengals are a quietly solid team capable of beating any team in the NFL and getting six points at home, in a noon game following the Saints primetime slot last week is an auto bet from me. Take the Bengals and the points.

Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears 11/11 12:00pm CT

Line: Bears -7
Betting Percentages Split: 63% of tickets on the Bears 
The play: Lions +7

Look! Again! Another overreaction to recent results! This line is simply too big for two divisional teams that, realistically (cover your ears Bears fans), are relatively close to one another in terms of talent. The Bears are a very solid team. Nothing more, nothing less. They will find their way to 9 wins. The Lions are about one (maybe ½) notch below that and will find their way to 7 or 8 wins. Can we agree on that? No? Okay, you know I am right and that disparity just does not warrant a 7-point spread. The Lions threw up a stinker against a surging Vikings team and I expect them to move back closer to the mean and play the Bears close. 

Atlanta Falcons vs Cleveland Browns 11/11 12:00pm CT

Line: Falcons -6.5
Betting Percentages Split: 82% tickets on the Falcons 
The play: Browns +6.5

I sat and stared at my computer screen for a very long time just looking at this line. The Browns meet every criteria I look for in a game. They played a game with a deceiving score last week (they played the Chiefs closer than the score indicates). They have less than 20% of the bet tickets. They are an NFL team (yes, I know, ground breaking) catching significant points at home. They are better than their record indicates, swaying public perception. The line has, multiple times throughout the week, shifted against the public bet tickets, indicating that professionals are betting on the Browns. But, it’s the Browns and this bet felt disgusting. Then I remembered, if it feels gross when you place it, good. So, hold your nose, bet the Browns and the points. 

Bonus College Game: Northwestern vs Iowa 11/10 3:30pm CT

Line: Iowa -11
Betting Percentages Split: 69% of tickets on Northwestern 
The play: Northwestern +11

Do I hate that the public is on Northwestern? Yes. Very much so. This line is WAYYYY too big and frankly, that scares me a little. However, I know the guys in that locker room, I know what their mindset was going into the ND game last week (we cared A LOT more about this week) and I know how much we LOVE playing at Kinnick Stadium. Could you play the angle that we only need to win 2 of our last 3 games to go to the Big Ten Championship? Sure, but, if we win this game we all but lock up our spot. If we lose, we still have to win on the road in Minneapolis and then play an Illinois team that would love nothing more than to knock us off. We do not want to leave this up for chance. We finish it this weekend in Iowa City and win outright, take the Cats and the points.  

Kaplan: Chet Coppock's impact on my career

Kaplan: Chet Coppock's impact on my career

The death of legendary Chicago sportscaster Chet Coppock has stoked many memories for me because of the lengthy history he and I had, particularly the huge role he played in my life. I would not be writing this nor would I be broadcasting on radio and TV without him taking me under his wing and giving an inexperienced kid from Skokie a chance to be on the air in Chicago.

Prior to entering the broadcasting profession I was a college basketball coach at Northern Illinois University from 1982-86. Like so many in the coaching profession, I lost my job when my head coach lost his job and I wondered aloud what the heck I was going to do with my life. I knew I had to be in the sports world and I knew deep down that I wanted to be on air. I started a college basketball recruiting newsletter that coaches and fans subscribed to and as I tried to market it I sent a letter to the biggest name in Chicago sports broadcasting that I could think of, Chet Coppock. He was a fixture on radio five nights a week in CHicago.

I distinctly remember walking into my house and seeing the message light blinking on my recorder. "Hey David, okay kid I'll give ya a shot! Tonight, let's talk college basketball. Bring your 'A' game! This is Chet Coppock from Coppock on Sports. Call me back!"

Wow! I was actually going to be on with the one and only Chet Coppock? The Big Rock Candy Mountain himself? I knew it was a big opportunity but I had no idea at that time that that phone call would change my life forever. Chet Coppock gave me a shot and he would become the single biggest professional influence in my career. Regularly he would have me on to talk about college basketball and the recruiting world. DePaul and Illinois basketball were hot topics.

It was always a huge thing to be on his show.

Fast forward to March of 1989. It is a Tuesday night, two days before the start of the NCAA Tournament, and I get a call from then-University of Arizona assistant basketball coach Kevin O'Neill, who was then and remains one of my closest friends in the world. K-O, as he is known, calls me in the early evening to tell me he has a great source telling him then-Michigan head basketball coach Bill Frieder is going to be named the new head coach at Arizona State the next day.

After I make a handful of phone calls to confirm the story, I call Chet.

He is on the air hosting the Doug Collins show, the head coach of the Chicago Bulls at the time. Chet comes to the phone during a commercial break and I tell him my scoop.

"I'll put you right on but if you're wrong I will bury you in this town and you will never get a broadcasting gig," Chet said. "Do you still want to come on? Do you feel confident enough in your story?"

Yes, I told him.

I go on the air, reveal the news and Collins tells me no way that is going to happen. He is a former assistant coach at Arizona State and he, like many others, did not believe the story was accurate. 

The next day the story breaks and the USA Today credits "Coppock on Sports in Chicago."

From that day forward Chet was a huge influence on my broadcasting career and he opened doors for me that I would never have been able to open myself.  Without him I would never be doing what I am doing today.

Rest in peace my friend. You will always be remembered as a legend.

NBC Sports Chicago announces multi-year media rights deal with White Sox, Bulls, and Blackhawks

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NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago announces multi-year media rights deal with White Sox, Bulls, and Blackhawks

STAMFORD, Conn., and CHICAGO, Ill. – January 2, 2019 – NBC Sports Chicago and the White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks today announced a multi-year media rights deal that provides NBC Sports Chicago with exclusive local, multi-platform media rights to present game coverage of all three teams starting with the 2019-2020 season. The deal is subject to formal documentation and pending MLB, NBA and NHL approval.

NBC Sports Chicago and NBC Sports Chicago+ will be the exclusive regional home for all regular season games, pre-season/spring training, and the first round of post-season coverage for the Bulls and Blackhawks. This new agreement also enables the continuation of all games to be streamed on NBCSportsChicago.com and the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

“The Chicago White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks have provided countless memorable moments for this city’s fans, and NBC Sports Chicago has been dedicated to immersive coverage of each and every one,” said David Preschlack, President, NBC Sports Regional Networks and Platform & Content Strategy. “This is a significant agreement, and we are proud to continue to provide the most comprehensive, multi-platform coverage of these historic franchises.”

“We are very pleased to extend our relationship with our partners at NBC Sports Chicago,” said Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls/White Sox Chairman. “In addition to being the experts in consistently delivering the finest game and surrounding game coverage in the business, it is their year-round commitment to providing our fans with innovative and entertaining multi-platform content that makes NBC Sports Chicago among the very best in the regional sports industry. Chicago sports fans are the greatest, and we are pleased that this agreement allows for the very best access to Bulls, Blackhawks and White Sox live action and content.”

“Blackhawks fans should be very excited that we are continuing our partnership with NBC Sports Chicago. In addition to raising the bar on our game day broadcasts, NBC Sports Chicago has elevated non-game day television coverage and evolved their digital and social media platforms into some of the most viewer-friendly in the industry,” said Rocky Wirtz, Chicago Blackhawks Chairman.