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2019 NFL Draft Preview – Defensive Line

Saddle up, because this year's group of draft-eligible defensive tackles has the pure talent to be one of the more legendary positional classes in recent memory. Featuring three or four players with legitimate early round ability, the class is led by Houston product Ed Oliver - who already announced he will enter the 2019

Saddle up, because this year’s group of draft-eligible defensive tackles has the pure talent to be one of the more legendary positional classes in recent memory. Featuring three or four players with legitimate early round ability, the class is led by Houston product Ed Oliver – who already announced he will enter the 2019 NFL Draft after this season. The positional grouping’s top talents primarily occupy the interior/defensive tackle space for their respective teams, but all have the skill-set to provide versatile coverage as base 3-4 five-techniques. This a particularly outstanding group, especially because the modern NFL seeks diversity in matchup profiles along the defensive front in all setups.

1. Ed Oliver, Houston (6’3″ 290lbs.)
• A truly special talent. We haven’t seen a defensive tackle prospect of Oliver’s caliber since Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy entered the league in 2010 – and the former five-star recruit compares favorably to the latter. In two seasons, Oliver has amassed a colossal line of 139 tackles, 39.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. As an ideal 3-technique profile, most-suitable for a 4-3 base, Oliver possesses a mouthwatering blend of explosion and power, largely attributable to his tremendous understanding of leverage. His performances only improved despite commanding more attention in 2017. It’d take a catastrophic collapse to knock him off his perch as the top eligible interior defender.

2. Raekwon Davis, Alabama (6’7″ 306lbs.)
• The Tide’s mammoth lineman is as physically imposing as he is athletic. After spending a Freshman season buried on the depth chart, Davis exploded onto the scene as a Sophomore in 2017. That season he accumulated 69 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, and added an interception for good measure. He possesses the tantalizing physical skill-set to project as an interior 4-3 defender, but also as a 5-technique in a base 3-4, both of which would maximize his freakish dimension and length. While he enters his Junior campaign as something of a one-year wonder, Davis is firmly on the radar and his size + speed ratio combined with his production are impossible to dismiss.

3. Rashan Gary, Michigan (6’5″ 281lbs.)
• Remember, the modern NFL is about creating mismatches along the defensive line through diversity in speed and length. The in-out defender is ‘in’ at the moment, and Gary will stand as one of the more versatile front seven defenders available when he jumps to the pros. Gary is a power-player with explosion and length, who has had pro caliber coaching over the past two seasons. An all-encompassing talent, he’s one complete season away from entrenching himself as a first-round selection (if he isn’t already).

4. Christian Wilkins, Clemson (6’4″ 300lbs.)
• It caught many by surprise when Wilkins elected to return for his Senior campaign this offseason in search of another national title. He’s a bigger, beefier 3-technique with a skill-set that could appeal to teams seeking a 5-technique as well. A fixture on Clemson’s historically talented defensive line, Wilkins’ ability to disrupt and pocket-push has markedly improved with every passing season. Coming out, some will inevitably ask the unfair, but necessary question: How much of any Clemson defender’s success boils down to an elite supporting cast?

5. Derrick Brown, Auburn (6’5″ 325lbs.)
• One of the most influential pieces of Auburn’s sharp defense in 2017, particularly in the front seven. Brown possesses a huge frame, but exhibits ‘plus’ movements skills and range, as well as deceptive athleticism. On numerous occasions, he was able to collapse a pocket, but also absorb double-team attention and create space for teammates. If he can replicate or improve upon his Sophomore campaign he could easily slide up this ranking. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s an honor roll student with an academic pedigree.

Honorable Mention: Olive Sagapolu, Wisconsin (6’2″ 346lbs.)
• The role of the out-and-out, two-down nose tackle has largely been diminished at the pro level and it’s translated to the college game as well, but players like Olive Sagapolu will always have a place. His role within the Badgers’ defensive front is the primary space-eater and thus his statistical production is quite limited. Sagapolu still notched three sacks as a Junior last year in his only full season of game experience. Former Washington Husky nose tackle Danny Shelton did not produce quality numbers until his Senior campaign in 2014, subsequently being selected in the first-round. While I’m not suggesting this situation will play out as such, be prepared to hear more about the Badgers’ backflipping nose tackle in 2018.

This is the first defensive positional group of NFP’s 2019 NFL draft preview. Here are the standouts on offense: QB, RBWRTEOTG/C

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Five Teams With Favorable Futures Odds

So we’ve got you prepared to bet on the preseason, but that’s still a couple weeks away and you’re growing impatient. All good, you can still throw some money down on NFL action right now, but even if you’re successful you won’t get paid out for those bets

So we’ve got you prepared to bet on the preseason, but that’s still a couple weeks away and you’re growing impatient. All good, you can still throw some money down on NFL action right now, but even if you’re successful you won’t get paid out for those bets until the new year.

Futures odds are available all over the internet to those who think they know how certain teams will fare in 2018. We’ve combed through those numbers to identify five particularly enticing teams that might be worth gambling on this summer.

Chicago Bears (+10000 to win the Super Bowl)

Every season several previously feeble teams rise up and become contenders. Last year at this time, only a handful of teams had lower Super Bowl odds than the Los Angeles Rams, who went on to lead the league in scoring in an 11-win, division-winning campaign.

The 2018 Bears look a lot like the 2017 Rams. New high-energy head coach who is considered a quarterback guru and an offensive genius. Second-year franchise quarterback widely expected to take a big leap forward. Several shiny new offensive weapons for said quarterback. And a sneaky amount of defensive talent.

The Rams didn’t win the Super Bowl last year and the Bears are extremely unlikely to do so in 2018, but it’s rather astonishing that only two teams offer more value on the Super Bowl futures market. A $100 bet on them to make a miraculous run would yield $10,000, which might be worth a shot.

Seattle Seahawks (+6000 to win the Super Bowl, +400 to win the NFC West)

The Seahawks have suffered so many losses this offseason that their odds to win the division title have plummeted and their odds to win it all are borderline comical. Only 10 teams have worse odds to win the Super Bowl than a team that did exactly that only a few years ago, with the same head coach and same franchise quarterback.

I wouldn’t expect the Seahawks to be favored to win anything now that the Legion of Boom has essentially been dismantled, especially because the offense could still have plenty of trouble protecting and supporting quarterback Russell Wilson. That said, Wilson is still one of the best players in football and a preseason MVP contender. He and Carroll could easily overcome a tough offseason, and betting on that could be fruitful considering how oddsmakers and the public have reacted to a tough run in Seattle.

If you think a Super Bowl run isn’t going to happen in the tough NFC, at least consider those tempting division title odds. The Rams could easily come back to earth after a breakout season and the 49ers have yet to prove the team can do what it did last December for an entire season.

Los Angeles Chargers (+1000 to win the AFC championship)

The Chargers are actually favored to win the AFC West, and they certainly have the talent to beat conference favorites New England or Pittsburgh. 

The Patriots have endured a tumultuous offseason and look more vulnerable than they have in years, while the Steelers are so reliant on their three key offensive players that all it would take is one big injury to remove them from contention. With this possibly being Le’Veon Bell’s last season in Pittsburgh, the team chemistry could take a hit compared to years past.

The Texans and Jaguars both have better odds than the Chargers to win the AFC title (+800 each) but Houston is in for a boom-or-bust year based on what happens with Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt, while Jacksonville is a major wild card, as long as Blake Bortles is their quarterback.

The point is the AFC is wide freakin’ open, and the Chargers are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. They’ve got a quarterback who’s been elected to seven Pro Bowls, one of the best pass rushes in football and plenty of game-changers on both offense and defense.

That makes them a worthwhile bet at +1000, but the NFC is so much stronger than the AFC that I wouldn’t push my luck with their +2400 Super Bowl odds.

Carolina Panthers (+3500 to win the Super Bowl)

How is it that 16 teams — including the 49ers, Chiefs, Giants and Cowboys — have better Super Bowl odds than the Carolina Panthers? Carolina came close to winning the damn thing just a few years ago. Quarterback Cam Newton was the MVP that year, while head coach Ron Rivera was coach of the year for the second time in a three-season span. Outside of that Super Bowl loss to the Broncos, the Panthers lost one game all year.

They haven’t won a playoff game since, but they did make it back to the postseason last year and Football Outsiders ranked them as the ninth-most efficient team in football.

Christian McCaffrey should only get better, superstar linebacker Luke Kuechly appears to be healthy and Newton is Newton — one of the most uniquely talented matchup nightmares in the league.

I wouldn’t expect the Panthers to remain at +3500 for long.

New Orleans Saints (+1800 to win the Super Bowl)

Nobody in the NFC South has high futures odds because the division is so strong as a whole, but it’s still ridiculous that the Saints have lower Super Bowl odds than six other teams, and identical odds to a Texans squad that won just four games last year.

In terms of DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average), the Saints were the best team in the NFL last season. Their future Hall of Fame quarterback had the highest completion percentage in NFL history while leading the conference in yards per attempt and passer rating. New Orleans also became the first team in nearly half a century to possess both the offensive and defensive rookies of the year. The Saints were just one crazy play from a berth in the NFC Championship game and if Diggs doesn’t make that play, the team’s odds would be significantly lower.

That historically kickass rookie class should only make a larger impact in 2018, and now they’ve added a first-round pass rusher (Marcus Davenport), one of the best slot corners in the game (Patrick Robinson), a steady new starting linebacker (Demario Davis) and an intriguing new receiver (Cameron Meredith) to the fray.

Regardless of what the odds say, this team is right there with the Patriots, Steelers, Eagles, Rams and Vikings.

Brad Gagnon has covered the NFL since 2007 and is a member of the Professional Football Writers of America, despite the fact he actually lives in Canada. The Toronto-based sports journalist’s work can also be seen at Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Awful Announcing and The Guardian. He can be found on Twitter @brad_gagnon

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2017 Wins and Losses

Following a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 31st 2017, the Cleveland Browns completed their perfect 0-16 season. On the same day, the Baltimore faithful watched in anguish as the Ravens gave up a last-minute touchdown to the Bengals, essentially handing their wild card spot to the Buffalo Bills.

After starting the season with

Following a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 31st 2017, the Cleveland Browns completed their perfect 0-16 season. On the same day, the Baltimore faithful watched in anguish as the Ravens gave up a last-minute touchdown to the Bengals, essentially handing their wild card spot to the Buffalo Bills.

After starting the season with 4 consecutive losses, the Los Angeles Chargers finished the season with 9 wins (and almost nabbed themselves an AFC wild card spot). The 49ers started the season in a similar fashion, but finished on a 5-game winning streak, defeating three playoff teams.

You may not be a fan of any of the aforementioned teams, but the information probably sounded a bit familiar. That’s because wins and losses tend to be the only stats that anyone remembers. The graphic below reveals the wins and losses for each team in 2017, ranked from greatest to least. It also allows you to filter based on divisional and conference games.



Martin is a data analyst that has been applauded for his ability to make the complex simple. He grew up on a farm in northern Vermont and spent his summers helping his mom lead llama treks at Smugglers’ Notch Resort.

Martin graduated from University of Vermont with a degree in Mathematics. After graduation he left Vermont to work for an educational nonprofit called City Year for two years, and followed that up by attending the data science immersive program at Galvanize in Denver. He is an avid Green Bay Packer fan, and spends his free time playing football and soccer.

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NFL Arrests by Month

Since the turn of the century there have been 1,010 arrests of NFL players. While that number may seem high, it's actually less than the US average for men ages 20-39. Because they are constantly in the spotlight, the general public hears about these arrests frequently. After collecting the data and categorizing it

Since the turn of the century there have been 1,010 arrests of NFL players. While that number may seem high, it’s actually less than the US average for men ages 20-39. Because they are constantly in the spotlight, the general public hears about these arrests frequently. After collecting the data and categorizing it in a variety of ways, the National Football Post will be releasing a series of visualizations starting with NFL arrests by month. 

You can play around with the data to sort by type of crime and see what inferences you can draw. Some categories have a lot of arrests, like drug crimes, which dramatically increase in the offseason, when tests become sporadic. Some categories only have a single arrest in the last 18 years. 

Mobile users click here

Elise is a data scientist and a football fanatic. She was raised in Seattle where her love for sports grew as she followed the Seahawks, Mariners, and Sonics. After graduating high school, Elise attended High Point University in North Carolina for two years, then before her Junior year of college, she decided to transfer to the University of Washington for their undergraduate mathematics program. She graduated from UW in December 2017 then not long after completed the Data Science Immersive program at Galvanize in Seattle. Elise is looking forward to another competitive fantasy football season as she works on building a predictive model for NFL rushing yards.

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British Open Projections

The field for the 147th British Open is set at the historic Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus Scotland. We’ve modeled over 1500 statistics tracked by the PGA, for every tournament dating back to 2004 and how each stat contributes to what we can expect from players on this stage, at this tournament. It’s a complex

The field for the 147th British Open is set at the historic Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus Scotland. We’ve modeled over 1500 statistics tracked by the PGA, for every tournament dating back to 2004 and how each stat contributes to what we can expect from players on this stage, at this tournament. It’s a complex web of information that can only be properly analyzed by a machine, yet yields some objectively surprising results.

This year’s British Open is no exception as the model is calling for Webb Simpson (125/1 odds) to make a run into the Top Ten at least.

Some surprises:

Back-to-back US Open winner Brooks Koepka (22/1) inside the top 5.
Webb Simpson (125/1) and Phil Mickelson (66/1) inside the top 10.
Emiliano Grillo (100/1) inside the top 15.
Kevin Na (175/1), Luke List (125/1), and Ryan Moore (150/1) inside top the 25.

Perhaps just as surprising are golfers that may underperform this week. Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood don’t make the top 10 cutoff. Alex Noren, Francesco Molinari who finished T2 at TPC Deere Run last week, and Sergio Garcia are all projected outside of our top 25.

Notable left-outs:

Rory McIlroy (16/1) and Tommy Fleetwood (20/1) finishing outside the top 10.
Alex Noren (30/1), Francesco Molinari (33//1), and Sergio Garcia (28/1) all finishing outside the top 25.

A few more points of note:

Top 5:

It’s fascinating that Dustin Johnson gets the call for top ‘dawg from both the oddsmakers and the model. No question he is the best player in the world right now but it’s been a few years since DJ really contended (2011) in this tournament – and at a different course – Royal St George’s. He does have a pair of Top 10’s in 2012 and 2016 and has made the cut every year since 2009 (his first Open).

Justin Rose, not that his name doesn’t come up every year for this tournament – just that his style of play is generally considered to be different than the players on either side of him (Johnson and Koepka).

Speaking of Koepka, few are calling for him to win at Carnoustie though he does show up inside the top 5 here…

Jordan Spieth, although winning this tournament last year – has not put up the best numbers of his already memorable career the past few months. Frankly, I’m a little surprised the numbers bear this out…

Perhaps the third least surprising name to see on this list (aside from Johnson and Rose) is Rickie Fowler, aka Mr. Consistency, aka the Perennial Contender, aka always the Bridesmaid. Rickie almost always brings his A-game, and the data suggests it suits this course well. Curious to see if this is the year his major championship drought comes to an end.

Top 10:

Webb Simpson might be the most surprising pick on this list. Clearly, the model likes something about his game this year and the way he is set up for this tournament. A career-low 61 to open at The Greenbrier (his last start), T10 at the US Open a month ago and earning his 5th career victory at The PLAYERS were each separated by missed cuts.

Top 25:

For a guy with short odds, Rory McIlroy to be projected outside of the top 10, which really speaks to the consistency (or lack thereof) of his game this season.

Other notables:

No love from the model for Matt Kuchar, Scotsman Russel Knox, Adam Scott, Ian Poulter, or Louis Oosthuizen.

About the Author
Pat Ross – Contributor to National Football Post & sports nut with training in statistics, machine learning, and data analysis from Galvanize – Seattle campus. Alumni of University of Colorado and University of Washington. Occasional boater, skier, and golfer.

The Golf Engine Description
In golf, a pro matches up as much with the golf-course as another competitor. Which is why any attempt to predict the outcome of a golf tournament, must take into account the nuances of the course.

Beyond conjecture made by the golf pundits, analyzing past and present data through the use of math can more accurately project future performance.

In this model, we use machine learning to evaluate 1,500 different statistics for every golfer on the PGA tour over each tournament since 2004. The analysis of this massive dataset allows gives us an opportunity to predict players that are sitting on low round scores.

Projected Rank Player Odds
1 Dustin Johnson 12/1
2 Justin Rose 16/1
3 Brooks Koepka 22/1
4 Jordan Spieth 20/1
5 Rickie Fowler 16/1
6 Webb Simpson 125/1
7 Justin Thomas 22/1
8 Jason Day 33/1
9 Phil Mickelson 66/1
10 Jon Rahm 20/1
11 Henrik Stenson 28/1
12 Emiliano Grillo 100/1
13 Paul Casey 40/1
14 Patrick Reed 35/1
15 Rory McIlroy 16/1
16 Tommy Fleetwood 20/1
17 Bubba Watson 80/1
18 Tiger Woods 22/1
19 Kevin Na 175/1
20 Hideki Matsuyama 50/1
21 Bryson DeChambeau 125/1
22 Luke List 125/1
23 Ryan Moore 150/1
24 Tony Finau 100/1
25 Charles Howell III 500/1
26 Patrick Cantlay 100/1
27 Marc Leishman 45/1
28 Zach Johnson 100/1
29 Francesco Molinari 33/1
30 Brian Harman 150/1
31 Branden Grace 40/1
32 Pat Perez 250/1
33 Brandt Snedeker 150/1
34 Matt Kuchar 80/1
35 Chez Reavie 500/1
36 Jimmy Walker 250/1
37 Chesson Hadley 500/1
38 Rafa Cabrera Bello 125/1
39 Gary Woodland 250/1
40 Kevin Chappell 400/1
41 Xander Schauffele 150/1
42 Patton Kizzire 1000/1
43 Charley Hoffman 150/1
44 Brendan Steele 500/1
45 Byeong Hun An 200/1
46 Cameron Smith 200/1
47 Louis Oosthuizen 80/1
48 Ian Poulter 66/1
49 Charl Schwartzel 200/1
50 Adam Scott 125/1
51 Andrew Landry 500/1
52 Peter Uihlein 250/1
53 Kiradech Aphibarnrat 200/1
54 Tyrrell Hatton 40/1
55 Thomas Pieters 75/1
56 Bronson Burgoon 500/1
57 Satoshi Kodaira 1000/1
58 Kevin Kisner 400/1
59 Matt Jones 500/1
60 Retief Goosen 300/1
61 Russell Knox 66/1
62 Russell Henley 200/1
63 Jhonattan Vegas 750/1
64 Paul Dunne 150/1
65 Jason Dufner 250/1
66 Stewart Cink 250/1
67 Padraig Harrington 200/1
68 Anirban Lahiri 400/1
69 Jason Kokrak 1000/1
70 Austin Cook 500/1
71 Beau Hossler 250/1
72 Ernie Els 750/1
73 Keegan Bradley 300/1
74 Adam Hadwin 500/1
75 Daniel Berger 200/1
76 Abraham Ancer 1000/1
77 Matthew Fitzpatrick 60/1
78 Kyle Stanley 200/1
79 Dylan Frittelli 200/1
80 Jonas Blixt 500/1
81 Julian Suri 250/1
82 Kelly Kraft 1000/1
83 Michael Kim 300/1
84 Shane Lowry 150/1
85 Sergio Garcia 28/1
86 Ryan Armour 400/1
87 Shubhankar Sharma 500/1
88 Ryan Fox 125/1
89 Jazz Janewattananond 500/1
90 Alexander Levy 300/1
91 Matt Wallace 400/1
92 Ross Fisher 200/1
93 Matthew Southgate 125/1
94 Fabrizio Zanotti 1000/1
95 Danny Willett 150/1
96 Yuta Ikeda 1000/1
97 Martin Kaymer 200/1
98 Bernhard Langer 750/1
99 Cameron Davis 300/1
100 Lee Westwood 125/1

Data courtesy of Bovada.

Contributor to National Football Post & sports nut with training in statistics, machine learning, and data analysis from Galvanize – Seattle campus. Alumni of University of Colorado and University of Washington. Occasional boater, skier, and golfer.

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FanDuel Sportsbook Launch is Another Legal Sports Betting Milestone

The post FanDuel Sportsbook Launch Marks Another Legal Sports Betting Milestone appeared first on SportsHandle.

The metamorphosis from daily fantasy to sports betting operator became complete on Saturday when the FanDuel Sportsbook launched at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on the same premises as MetLife Stadium,

The post FanDuel Sportsbook Launch Marks Another Legal Sports Betting Milestone appeared first on SportsHandle.

The metamorphosis from daily fantasy to sports betting operator became complete on Saturday when the FanDuel Sportsbook launched at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on the same premises as MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and Jets. FanDuel will remain in the DFS business, but this new sports betting opportunity in the U.S. is much bigger with the vast majority of the market yet to be captured.

A nervous excitement pulsed through the recently-remodeled Victory Sports Bar & Club where 10 ticket windows were staffed by employees wearing collared shirts emblazoned with a FanDuel Sportsbook patch. Some of the employees at the New Jersey sportsbook are brand new hires who received about two weeks of intensive training prior to Saturday.

“I was actually able to sleep last night,” Meadowlands Racetrack General Manager Jason Settlemoir said before the facility opened. “The first thing I do in the morning is turn the TV on and I saw ‘FanDuel Sportsbook set to open’ up at Meadowlands Racetrack. When I came in it was everything I envisioned for this part of it, so I’m excited and ready to go.”

FanDuel Sportsbook Launches at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey On Same Grounds as Giants and Jets’ MetLife Stadium and Only 8 Miles From New York City

Executives and officials on hand for the occasion included Matthew King, appointed CEO of FanDuel in November 2017; also lawmakers Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29th District), Senate President Pro Tempore, and Assembly Member Ralph Caputo (D-28th District), a co-sponsor of the bill that legalized sports wagering in the state.

These, and other officials, offered remarks from a podium at the front of the house about an hour before the sportsbook opened to the public.

“We have a great opportunity here in the State of New Jersey to preserve and create jobs and provide dollars for vital programs that our citizens needs,” Caputo said from the lectern. “This is an economic shot in the arm. And this will be ongoing revenue — not a one shot deal.”

The deal began exactly one month ago on June 14 when Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. became the first sportsbook to open, under the direction of operator William Hill. The MGM-owned Borgata began taking bets shortly thereafter in Atlantic City. Together those two properties (with some help from three days of wagering at Ocean Resort, also operated by William Hill), generated $3.4 million in gross revenue (on a cash basis accounting method). New Jersey collected $293,000 for the state.

This all comes after New Jersey won its Supreme Court case Murphy v NCAA in May against the NCAA and major pro sports leagues. The two parties together had blocked efforts to legalize for a decade under the now-extinct federal law banning sports wagering outside Nevada, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

“[Legal sports betting] is going to make something that’s been in the shadows and taking place illegally, and make it legal,” said Meadowlands Racetrack Chairman Jeff Gural.

Resources and Training From Paddy Power Betfair, and Their Selection as a Partner

The Meadowland has been preparing for this moment for a while. So has FanDuel, whose acquisition by the powerful Ireland-based bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) was completed just this past week.

PPB has been instrumental in preparing the FanDuel Sportsbook for launch but FanDuel serves as the face of the collective operation. The abundance of signage around the property makes that clear. The sportsbook will be undergoing an expansion and remodeling before football season that will increase the number of ticket windows, televisions and more.

“The betting software is good, it’s simple, quick and accurate,” one ticket writer said. “I like it. “ But no doubt there are some jitters. One employee who booked a $500 wager was “almost shaking,” he told a colleague.

“We’re leveraging the entire global resource base,” FanDuel CEO Matt King told Sports Handle, regarding the collaboration between FanDuel and PPB. “We have their expertise helping to build the mobile app. We’re also using their pricing and their risk-management. And what that means for fans is that we’re going to be able to offer more markets, more bet types than really anybody else out there.”

King is mindful that while the U.S. sports betting opportunity is tremendous, the competition for market share will be fierce. FanDuel beat fellow DFS giant DraftKings to the initial punch, but DraftKings is in the game too as they partnered with Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, which is expected to begin operations before football season.

“This is going to be a very competitive market,” King said. “We think that we’re in a great position because The FanDuel Group is the largest online gaming operator by almost a factor of two. And we think that’s an incredibly powerful position when coupled with the resources we have with Paddy Power behind us.”

Speaking of Paddy Power, there are questions around the industry about why U.S.-based sportsbook operators appear to be idling as European companies make inroads in the U.S. market.

“We put out a request for proposals and received seven or eight,” Gural said of their selection of PPB/FanDuel. “Mostly from abroad.” He said the process of choosing their partner, which has now formed the FanDuel Group, took about a month.

Engaging Clients and Fans Online and in Retail.

One patron at the sportsbook came from Philadelphia just to take in the scene. He didn’t realize until he got there that this was a FanDuel sportsbook.

“Oh really?” he asked. “I think it’s good business, especially in this area. You’d think that’s the logical step for [FanDuel]. They kind of made DFS legal, so once legalized, it’s easier for them jump into this.”

“I don’t even know what I’m wagering today,” said his friend, who hails from Garfield, about nine miles north of the Meadowlands in New Jersey. “I just want to see what the similarities are here to Las Vegas, see what the lines are like. I might play some World Cup.”

Another open question is how the leagues will embrace legal sports betting, or create distance from it. The leagues have been pushing for a controversial “integrity fee” or “royalty,” in which they would take a percentage off the top of all wagers booked legally in states that would grant them such a request. But so far no state has imposed such a cost upon its licensed operators.

The FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands is in a unique position given its proximity to an NFL stadium, MetLife. ESPN’s David Purdum reported that there has been talk about a shuttle between the stadium and the sportsbook.

“We’re deep in the conversation of how this is going to work on a number of fronts,” King said. “We’re looking forward to being great partners in and around the area.”

On the digital front, FanDuel — which has operated exclusively online until Saturday — is close to introducing its online sportsbook product and mobile app.

“We’re weeks away from launching,” King said. “Obviously it’s important we do that with the regulators, so we’ve had people furiously working on it for more than six months, and we’re getting very close.”

Mississippi sports betting and West Virginia sports betting will be next to move. Both states are preparing operators to open up shop before football season. FanDuel also secured a partnership The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, which is one the Mountain State’s five licensed properties gearing up.

The U.S sports betting opportunity is vast, and the opportunity and experience in each state and venue will be at least a little bit unique. And ever changing.

“Greenbrier will be a bit different because they don’t have a facility quite like this,” King said. “It will be interesting to see in a lot of casinos that don’t historically have sportsbooks, how we end up outfitting them and what’s the right retail experience. There’s also going to be additional technology like self-service betting terminals that will coming out. So you’re going to see an evolution of our retail format over time.”

Indeed, the evolution has only just begun.

The post FanDuel Sportsbook Launch Marks Another Legal Sports Betting Milestone appeared first on SportsHandle.

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A Guide to Betting on the Preseason

Tired of betting on baseball and bummed out that the World Cup is coming to an end? Don’t fret, because the NFL preseason gets underway in exactly three weeks. And yes, betting on the preseason is a thing.

A big thing.

In fact, according to US Bookmaking sportsbook director Robert Walker, sportsbooks take as many

Tired of betting on baseball and bummed out that the World Cup is coming to an end? Don’t fret, because the NFL preseason gets underway in exactly three weeks. And yes, betting on the preseason is a thing.

A big thing.

In fact, according to US Bookmaking sportsbook director Robert Walker, sportsbooks take as many bets on preseason NFL games as they do on most August regular-season Major League Baseball contests.

“I think it just speaks to how popular the NFL is,” said Walker, who added that the simplicity of the preseason schedule also makes it easier to bet when compared to the daily grind of Major League Baseball. “People love football, and it’s a long baseball season. I think by July and certainly by August they’re ready for football season.”

With that in mind, here are our rules for betting on the NFL preseason…

1. Don’t bet on preseason NFL games. If the 2016 Browns and 2008 Lions could go 4-0 in preseason before going 0-16, it’s a sign for smart money to stay away. But, if you absolutely can’t resist, rules two through nine can help you navigate these murky waters.

2. Don’t overthink the point spread. The winner quite frequently covers the spread because oddsmakers usually set low numbers for games that are largely unpredictable. In the first week of last year’s preseason, no team was favored by more than four points but half of those games were decided by double-digit margins.

3. Consider the coaches. Some are more motivated than others to put together strong team performances, while others are more concerned with evaluation during this time. Pete Carroll, John Harbaugh and Mike Zimmer don’t mess around in the preseason, while Mike Tomlin, Jason Garrett and Doug Marrone probably won’t go out of their way to earn a W. The problem is the oddsmakers are also very much aware of this, but it’s at least worth considering when you’re curious about a particular line.

“A lot of new coaches want to set a tone of winning in the locker room,” Walker said. “Or at least that’s how you handicap it. You listen to what they say, and it means more to some coaches than to others.”

4. Be on the ball. In the preseason it’s more important than ever to try to be a sharp. With less on the line, coaches are liable to let more cats out of the bag by elaborating on strategy and predicting playing time for starters. If you stay on top of what’s being said in the media in the lead-up to preseason games, you’ll have a chance to get an edge over the rest of the betting public and maybe even the oddsmakers.

“There are people who can ascertain information quicker than us,” Walker admitted. “The one thing about NFL football is the information is so available now, as opposed to 20 years ago.”

5. Don’t fall for lower-than-expected totals. Some totals will just look oddly low, even with the backup offense on the field most of the game. After all, backup defenders will be out there, too, right? But offenses are usually playing catch-up to a larger extent in August, which is why your average preseason game contains about five fewer points than your average regular-season affair.

6. Throw preconceived notions out the window. The Browns went 4-0 last preseason, outscoring their opponents 68-29. The Patriots went 1-3.

7. Consider betting half or quarter lines. That’ll make it easier to avoid bad beats stemming from the actions of third-stringers in second-half garbage time. This pertains particularly to bets on favorites.

As Walker notes, “You’ve got guys deciding the point spread who aren’t going to make the team.” Try to avoid that.

8. Consider depth, or lack thereof. You feel particularly well about a team’s backup quarterback or reserve pass-rushers? And you’re sure those players are going to get extensive playing time based on what’s being said in the media? Trust yourself and roll the dice there. But remember, you’re still basically shooting craps.

9. Have fun. Walker notes that while a huge number of bettors wager on preseason games, not a lot of money is spent on those bets. The limits are much lower because of the lack of predictability, which is also why you rarely see anyone attempt to place a big-money bet on an NFL game in August.

“At the end of the day you don’t really know if the team is trying to win the game,” said Walker, who ran the MGM Grand Mirage Race and Sports Book for 12 years. “So as long as I’ve been doing this nobody’s come up and asked to bet $50,000 on a preseason game, and if they did I’d probably call security.”

With less on the line, it might be easier to relax and have some fun with your bet.

“If I bet $10 on it then it makes it that much more enjoyable to watch,” said Walker. “I’m not actually worried. To me it’s like going to the movies. I’m going to have a good time and I’ve got a 50/50 chance of doubling my money.”

“It’s more fun to watch a game with $10 on it than with zero on it.

Brad Gagnon has covered the NFL since 2007 and is a member of the Professional Football Writers of America, despite the fact he actually lives in Canada. The Toronto-based sports journalist’s work can also be seen at Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Awful Announcing and The Guardian. He can be found on Twitter @brad_gagnon

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What to Expect at the Meadowlands’ FanDuel Sportsbook Launch

The post What to Expect at the Meadowlands’ FanDuel Sportsbook Launch appeared first on SportsHandle.

The New Jersey sports betting scene will gain a new player Saturday morning when the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J., introduces the FanDuel Sportsbook at Victory Sports Bar & Club in a soft launch.

The post What to Expect at the Meadowlands’ FanDuel Sportsbook Launch appeared first on SportsHandle.

The New Jersey sports betting scene will gain a new player Saturday morning when the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J., introduces the FanDuel Sportsbook at Victory Sports Bar & Club in a soft launch.

The sportsbook will open at 9:30 a.m. for dignitaries and then to the general public at 11 a.m. “There will be 27 television screens and 10 sports betting stations,” FanDuel spokesman Kevin Hennessey said in an email Tuesday. “It features high-top tables, a VIP area, leaning rails, bar stools, sofas, and dining chairs.”

Patrons will be able to wager on baseball, bet futures and proposition wagers on football, wager on Wimbledon and on the World Cup finals taking place on Sunday night between France and the winner of Wednesday’s England-Croatia match. The sportsbook’s opening is significant for a number of reasons, especially those related to geography.

FanDuel Sportsbook Will Launch at Meadowlands Racetrack as New Jersey Sports Betting Scene Plants a Flag a Short Trip From New York.

the fanduel sportsbook's victory sports bar and club
Inside the Victory Sports Bar & Club.

Before we go into geography, one major milestone here is the official introduction of a heretofore daily fantasy sports operator into the legal U.S. sports betting market.

Either the 1B or 1A to DraftKings in the daily fantasy business, while DraftKings has also landed a couple partnerships, FanDuel’s foray will come first.

Tuesday, Meadowlands COO/general manager Jason Settlemoir confirmed in a conversation with Sports Handle that is indeed the FanDuel Sportsbook — and will not be branded in any way by the powerful Ireland-based bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair (PPB, or Betfair US), which in May announced its (pending) acquisition of FanDuel and the combining of their operations.

“There will be 10 towers or windows with live tellers for sports betting, plus spots for parimutuel horse racing,” Settlemoir said of the physical setup of the facility, which is temporary for now and will expand by the end of August. “And two self-service terminals in there for parimutuel as well,” he added.

Settlemoir would not speak to PPB’s and FanDuel’s discussions on branding, but noted PPB’s sizable investment in FanDuel and of the company’s value.

“From an operator standpoint,  the FanDuel name is totally recognizable within sports to people here in the United States,” he said.

Proximity to New York City — and Proximity to an NFL Stadium in the U.S. Unlike Ever Before.

As for geography, the Meadowlands is located in a very advantageous spot in the swamps of Jersey.

“We’re only eight miles away [from midtown Manhattan], and that really makes us, at this point in time, the only game in the area where you can make a legal sports bet,” Settlemoir said. “This is exciting and a welcome opportunity for us here.”

Previously, Jeff Gural, chairman of New Meadowlands Racetrack LLC and Tioga Downs LLC, expressed his thrill with the New York legislature’s failure to pass a bill legalizing sports wagering before the close of its session on June 20.

“New York did me such a favor by not passing sports betting,” Gural told the Associated Press in June. “That leaves me the entirety of New York City, Long Island, Westchester County. There are 15 million people that live within 20 miles (32 kilometers) of the Meadowlands. They gave me a tremendous gift.”

As as a result, the Meadowlands will stand alone in the highly-populated area at least through the football seasons and likely through March Madness in 2019.

Also in the Meadowlands’ backyard — literally — is MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets, roughly 0.4 miles away.

Another twist is that barring any oversight here, New Jersey will become the first state in which sports wagering is legal to host a regular season NFL game. While the Oakland and to-be Las Vegas Raiders have broken ground on their Nevada stadium, the Raiders will play at least one more season in California.

 

fanduel sportsbook at the meadowlands racetrack location
Alternatively, about a 9-minute walk.

For our younger and/or non-northeastern readers, MetLife Stadium was formerly Giants Stadium and briefly the New Meadowlands Stadium when it opened in 2010. Both the stadium and the Meadowlands Racetrack are part of The Meadowlands Sports Complex.

As recently as December 2017, the NFL argued publicly and in the United States Supreme Court that sports wagering was a threat to the integrity of, and a scourge on their game. Meanwhile the league also held regular season contests in London, where there’s sports betting kiosks on nearly every street corner.

The NFL has since “evolved” on sports betting, put simply. Will the Giants and Jets get the league’s blessing to allow advertising of or to promote the Meadowlands sportsbook at their games?

[Also See: What Happens When Everyone Bets the Home Team?]

Promotions or events would make a lot of sense, maybe informational booths during tailgating parties or game day giveaways. Settlemoir indicated that the Meadowlands is not ready to make any such announcements on that front.

“Mr. Gural and the FanDuel and Betfair personnel management have a great relationship with the guys at the stadium,” he said. “And they’re currently working with the Jets and Giants ownership, and we’ll have to see how that goes, and where we go from here.”

How the FanDuel Sportsbook Will Grow.

First of all, Meadowlands/FanDuel-branded mobile sports wagering is in works. As of July 11, as permitted by the enabling legislation signed by Governor Phil Murphy, any licensed operator may allow mobile betting. So far, none are prepared to do so, which may just mean that the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has not signed off on their software.

“We’re looking to try to roll that out by football season,” Settlemoir said.

Once it’s live, anyone located in the state — even temporarily, hey New Yorkers — will be able to establish an account deposit remotely via the app or online, based on our understanding of New Jersey’s bill.

And the FanDuel physical sportsbook space will expand as well.

“We’re still working on the exact square footage but it will have a much larger footprint by NFL season,” Hennessy explained. “We have plans for 65 television screens and 15 sports betting stations, making the retail location the ideal place to place bets for the upcoming NFL season and for the MLB playoffs. “

It’s not all about sports betting at the Meadowlands, though. They recognize sports betting as a distinct opportunity, but also one to introduce a new and probably younger crowd to harness or horse racing.

As for numbers, the facility is expecting big crowd on a Saturday that coincides with Meadowlands Pace Night — one of the biggest racing nights on the calendar, which Settlemoir says typically draws about 12,000-15,000 visitors.

“Hopefully the sportsbook will be able to help the horse racing side as well, exposing a completely different demographic,” he said. “People that bet sports coming here and being able to see horse racing, and hopefully we’ll see some crossover.”

The post What to Expect at the Meadowlands’ FanDuel Sportsbook Launch appeared first on SportsHandle.

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Comparing Team vs Divisional Wins

It's no secret that the New England Patriots have pretty much owned the AFC East for the past decade. However, did you know that the rest of the AFC East have averaged fewer than 8 wins in the same time frame? If the goal is to make the playoffs, it certainly helps when the rest

It’s no secret that the New England Patriots have pretty much owned the AFC East for the past decade. However, did you know that the rest of the AFC East have averaged fewer than 8 wins in the same time frame? If the goal is to make the playoffs, it certainly helps when the rest of your division tends to produce losing records. The flip side of the AFC East is the AFC North. The Bengals, Steelers, and Ravens have had many strong seasons, often sending two of the three teams to the playoffs (in 2011, all three teams advanced to the playoffs).

The graphic below allows you to choose a division and a team, and it displays the wins for the selected team vs. the average wins for the rest of the division.



Martin is a data analyst that has been applauded for his ability to make the complex simple. He grew up on a farm in northern Vermont and spent his summers helping his mom lead llama treks at Smugglers’ Notch Resort.

Martin graduated from University of Vermont with a degree in Mathematics. After graduation he left Vermont to work for an educational nonprofit called City Year for two years, and followed that up by attending the data science immersive program at Galvanize in Denver. He is an avid Green Bay Packer fan, and spends his free time playing football and soccer.

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Five AFC North Stars Who Are Gamers

JuJu Smith-Schuster – WR Pittsburgh Steelers

Smith-Schuster is one of the NFL’s most vocal proponents of esports. He made headlines last March when he squaded up in Fortnite with Ninja, Drake and Travis Scott in a twitch stream that broke the individual record for viewers on the streaming platform.

Even before joining

JuJu Smith-Schuster – WR Pittsburgh Steelers

Smith-Schuster is one of the NFL’s most vocal proponents of esports. He made headlines last March when he squaded up in Fortnite with Ninja, Drake and Travis Scott in a twitch stream that broke the individual record for viewers on the streaming platform.

Even before joining that stream, Smith-Schuster signed an apparel deal with esports organization FaZe Clan. FaZe originally started as a Call of Duty trick-shot clan. They were immensely popular in the “golden age” of COD on YouTube and have since expanded to represent top players in a variety of games.

At only 21 years old, Smith-Schuster was the youngest player in the NFL in the 2017 season. Like other fans of Call of Duty, he probably tried to emulate the insane moves pulled off by members of the group considered COD’s most elite snipers.

While Smith-Schuster probably never progressed to the level of pulling off a double-ladder spin quick scope – shown here by FaZe Fakie – he did play the game on “insane,” the highest sensitivity possible which requires a deft touch on the joystick. According to his teammates, he’s the man to beat in a Steelers locker room that offers plenty of competition

Le’Veon Bell – RB Pittsburgh Steelers

Another key part of Pittsburgh’s high-octane offense, Bell is also a huge gamer. He is relentless on the field and, while growing up, was relentless on the sticks as well.

“My mom used to have to take the game from me ’cause I would play it so much,” Bell told SB Nation. “Call of Duty is what got me started, I got so addicted to the game, I’d do my homework before school so that after practice I would be able to instantly go home and get on the game. When I was younger, it was Grand Theft Auto, but now it’s mostly COD and Madden.”

Now, not only is Bell a fan of the game, he is actually a character in COD:WWII. Alongside teammate Alejandro Villanueva, Bell was featured in the game’s “Headquarters” mode.

“Oh, I’ve always been a “Call of Duty” fan, but I didn’t expect to ever be in the game,” Bell told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I’d never even thought about that. It was crazy that I had the opportunity to do it. I’ve been playing Call of Duty for years, since I had PS3.”

For him and Villanueva to be in the game took seven hours of motion capture over two days. The motion capture is the most extensive for a COD game to date as the franchise returned to its gritty, realistic roots for WWII. Before that version, the series had taken a futuristic vibe with titles like Black Ops III and Infinite Warfare.

Alejandro Villanueva – LT Pittsburgh Steelers

He was mentioned alongside, Bell but he has a unique perspective on Call of Duty that few NFL players can share. After graduating from West Point, Villanueva served in three tours in Afghanistan where he was awarded a Bronze Star, for rescuing injured soldiers under enemy fire.

A common thread in his life, from being an Army Ranger overseas to now being a starting left tackle, has been Call of Duty.

“I was [in Afghanistan] in 2011, ’12, ’13, ’14 and ’15, so I played every single game that came out,” Villanueva told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I played all of them. Whatever one was the new one, I was playing.”

On the surface, people may be surprised that soldiers spend their free time playing a model of war, but Villanueva explains that video games are a symbol of home. Villanueva, who was entered the army as a second lieutenant, often played with enlisted soldiers.

“When we were doing the real thing, we were still playing video games,” he said in the same interview. “Enlisted soldiers, they’re young guys who just got out of high school. You graduate from high school, you’re living your high-school life, and then a year and a half later, you’re in Afghanistan and doing the real life.”

Baker Mayfield – QB Cleveland Browns

Finally moving away from Pittsburgh, we turn to Cleveland’s new bastion of hope. The No. 1 overall pick, Baker Mayfield, lit up offenses at Oklahoma and now will lead a Brown’s offense that has the potential to be explosive for the first time in years.

Now that he has won a Heisman, and been drafted first overall, it’s hard to imagine Mayfield doing anything other than football. But, according to his college roommate Sooners fullback Jaxon Uhles, Mayfield once considered a career as a pro gamer.

“He told me at one point he was about to quit football when he was in high school and just play video games; become a professional video gamer,” Uhles told NCAA.com.

Mayfield’s dedication is obvious, going from a three-star recruit to a Heisman winner, so it’s hard to bet against his success in the virtual arena. As for what game Mayfield would be competing in? It would likely be Halo.

“One-on-one, I don’t think there’s anyone on campus who can beat me,” Mayfield told NCAA.com. “I’m gonna put that out there.”

While Halo’s competitive scene has fallen off since Mayfield’s high school days, many old pros in that scene have found a new home in Fortnite. Most notable is Ninja, who was one of the best Halo players before being vaulted to international stardom as the streaming face of Fortnite. Mayfield also made the switch and can be seen getting dubs in the game on his Instagram account with his girlfriend on his back.

AJ Green – WR Cincinnati Bengals

Green was mentioned in the AFC East iteration of this series when he went head-to-head against LeSean McCoy in a Call of Duty: Ghosts Grudge Match. While McCoy won that contest, Green didn’t take it sitting down, accusing the Bills RB of screen peeking.

“You cheating mayne, you been watching my screen,” Green said in this video.

Green is a huge fan of the game and says when football season ends, Call of Duty season begins.

“That’s all I do, I play Call of Duty non-stop,” Green told the PostGame.

In addition to COD, he also plays a lot of NBA 2K. That is similar to many other players around the league. They typically play shooters and sports simulation games like Madden, NBA 2K and FIFA.

This is part seven of our division-by-division look at some of the star gamers around the league. If you want to read more here are the completed divisions: AFC East, AFC West, NFC South, NFC North, NFC East and NFC West.

Mitch Reames – The intersection of the NFL and esports

After graduating from the University of Oregon’s Journalism program, Mitch began writing about esports for SportTechie.

He identified the potential for content serving fans of both sports and esports, and will be focusing on that fan sector in his writing for NFP.

When he’s not playing Fortnite, Rocket League or Hearthstone, Mitch is rooting on the LA Rams, Oregon Ducks and his fantasy team.

Follow him on Twitter @Mitch_Reames

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