NFL Draft Grades; 3 Dirty Words; OK City vs Spurs



nfl draft

After NFL draft, the fairest grade could be incomplete
by Chris Andrews
At this point after the NFL draft, the fairest grade you could give to most teams would be “incomplete.”

Nonetheless, some teams seem to have done better than others.

John Falenski, a former Nevada bookmaker profiled in this column a week ago, is the best talent evaluator I know. Here are some of his highlights and lowlights.

Steelers: They drafted like they were in the top of the draft, rather than in the middle. I couldn’t imagine a better fit for their defense than (Ryan) Shazier (first round draft choice.) OT Stephon Tuitt (second round) was a great pick. He underachieved in 2013 but was great in 2012. The Steelers will get him back in shape.

Drei Archer (third round RB/WR) is breathtaking. He ran the fastest 40 yard dash at the combine. Martavis Bryant (fourth round WR) will be everything Limas Sweed was supposed to be but wasn’t.

Texans: They got it right with Jadeveon Clowney. Xavier Su’a Filo (second round G) is a mauler. Everyone is high on (third round TE) CJ Fiedorowicz. Their other third rounder (DT) Louis Nix was a steal. Fourth round QB Tom Savage is not ready yet, and might not be for a few years. But he will be really good.

49ers: They stockpiled a ton of picks for a great draft. First round selection Jimmie Ward will be a great safety. Second round RB Carlos Hyde fits their system perfectly. Third rounder Marcus Martin is powerful and athletic. He gives them needed depth at center.

Raiders: First round LB Khalil Mack was a great pick. I can’t believe he lasted that long. Derek Carr (second round QB) and (third round G) Gabe Jackson were both excellent picks.

Browns: I can’t believe they passed on Sammy Watkins in the first round. They need wide receiver help right now. Johnny Manziel was a good pick but he has no one to throw to. They needed an influx of talent, yet their last draft choice was in the fourth round. This was a great draft. They shouldn’t have traded out of it.

Bills: They panicked. I love Sammy Watkins. He’ll be special, but why trade next year’s No. 1 to get him? Watkins was the best, but there were a ton of receivers in this draft. They mortgaged the future to win now. It was a combination of arrogance and incompetence.

Panthers: Their top two picks are both gambles (first round WR) Kelvin Benjamin needs a lot of growth in all areas. He was only a sophomore at Florida State. Second round DE Kory Ealy looks like a big softy. Unless you’re talking frozen custard, that’s never a good thing.

Seahawks: They kept trading down. They were the kind of team that should be trading up. Instead they wound up with WR Paul Richardson (second round), a guy who is too small to be a regular.

Rams: They drafted two guys I didn’t like with their top two picks. OT Greg Robinson is not a good pass blocker and DT Aaron Donald is too small. They should have done better.

Vikings: First round LB Anthony Barr has no instincts. Either that or he doesn’t play hard. His best plays were when he wasn’t blocked. That doesn’t happen in the NFL. First round QB Teddy Bridgewater is just going to have to prove it to me.

Lions: They needed defensive backs and didn’t draft one. This was the kind of draft with so much talent, you could have drafted for need. Instead Detroit used its No. 1 pick on TE Eric Ebron, who I love, but they absolutely didn’t need. The Lions wound up passing on a lot of defensive talent to acquire some more offense.

Chris Andrews has over 30 years of experience as a bookmaker in Nevada. Check out his new website at and You can follow him on Twitter@AndrewsSports. Contact Chris at


greedy gamblers
Thinking like the pros
3 Dirty Words
by Todd Fuhrman
Sports gamblers are a lot of things. The adjectives used to describe a segment of the population that enjoys wagering on sports are rarely favorable. Come to think of it, I’ve never heard a gambler described as altruistic or philanthropic instead it always comes out selfish or degenerate. Amazing how that works when you compare the stockbrokers you know to bettors…I digress though. However, that’s not the point I’m trying to make here, defending gamblers will have it’s place but my goal is to get you to avoid adjectives that would describe betting behaviors deleterious to one’s bankroll. If any of these adjectives are used to describe the way with which you approach betting (even in a recreational capacity), there could be some real problems brewing underneath the surface just waiting to boil over.


To quote the immortal Gordon Gecko “Greed is Good.” As a bettor though you have to ask yourself at what price am I going about achieving this level of greed. Don’t think for a second the implication here is that wanting to win every single bet you make is greed, not the case in the least. This is more about staying the course as a bettor being imperative for sustaining long term success. There’s nothing wrong with pushing during a hot streak (we all do it at the blackjack tables) but keep it within reason. Don’t take a position 5x your normal stake if a loss sets you back to square 1…in Lehman’s terms don’t take everything you’re up for a week during football and let it ride on the Sunday or Monday night game. Greed also manifests itself when we start seeking out egregious book errors, hoping offshores or land based casinos won’t catch on to your devious ways. Unfortunately this is the fastest way to send a gambling relationship south, especially with a local you’ve come to rely on for prompt payment over the years. Remember gambling is as much about building relationships as any other business; realize the bonds you build with bookmakers and coveted information sources should always be reciprocal arrangements to preserve the pipelines you’ll cultivate so they continue yielding profits for years to come.


Being stubborn in this business is the fastest way to part you from your bankroll. What forms does being stubborn take? It’s a very broad term and I see it constantly displayed by handicappers of all ability levels believing they can always achieve similar success across every sport. I’ve yet to meet a individual that excelled in every sport; there just isn’t enough time during the day (even for those who do it full time) to uncover every angle. The problem herein is that all of us are competitive by nature and instead of just focusing on our strengths, we try to master every sport even during the busiest betting seasons. It should come as no surprise the best groups in the world find better information in particular sports meaning they’ll play much heavier where the strongest edge exists. The other danger of remaining stubborn is failing to realize betting markets evolve. Handicapping the same way in 2014 as you did during 2006 doesn’t work because bookmakers make adjustments. Spot and schedule analysis still plays a vital role but prices often time reflect these hidden angles many of us thrived on for years. Always be willing to review your balance sheets and mistakes, making a conscious effort to stay open minded when it comes to tweaking the process.


Being spontaneous and impulsive when dating might be great to keep things fresh…this isn’t dating. When it comes to sports betting, both are traits that need to be eliminated from your vocabulary. The sharpest bettors in the world are careful and calculating, identifying optimal wagering opportunities well in advance rather than in the spur of the moment. When under the gun the quality of decision making goes right out the window, avoid knee jerk behavior at all costs. This, however, doesn’t apply making a bet minutes before a game especially if you’ve identified a number and buy point well beforehand. Patience is a virtue, waiting for a game to fire on should never be forced. Betting sports isn’t a series of 50/50 coin flip decisions; it’s a long drawn out process where hard work is rewarded over a large sample size. Building a foundation in every sport means knowing the rivals, schedules, players, history, etc and how all factor into the seemingly simple equation that puts certain punters miles ahead of their industry compatriots.



Western Conference Finals start Monday
By: Freddy Wander – StatFox


NBA Playoffs – Western Conference Finals

Game 1
Tip-off: Monday, 9:05 p.m. ET

Line: San Antonio -4.5, Total: 209

The final stage on the road to the NBA Finals is set, as the Western Conference Finals begins on Monday night with the Thunder visiting the Spurs.

After an exciting playoffs thus far, the top two seeds in the West have made it to the finals. The path has been tough though, as Oklahoma City went to seven games in its opening series against the defensive-minded Grizzlies and then needed six games to finish off the offensively talented Clippers. Overall in the postseason, the Thunder have gone 8-5 SU and 7-5-1 ATS while averaging a solid 104.5 PPG (45% FG). San Antonio has also had difficulties getting to this points with a seven-game series to open the playoffs against the Mavericks, before an easier handling of the Trail Blazers in five games. The Spurs had gone 1-6 ATS in their first-round games but then went 4-1 ATS in the second round, defeating Portland by an average of 19.5 PPG in their four wins. Their offense has been extremely efficient so far in the playoffs, scoring 105.5 PPG (49.3% FG), while their defense has allowed just 98.7 PPG (43.7% FG). Overall on the season, Oklahoma City has gone 29-18 SU (24-22-1 ATS) when playing on the road, including 4-2 SU (4-1-1 ATS) over the first two rounds. San Antonio, on the other hand, are 38-10 SU (24-24 ATS) at home this season and are 6-1 SU (4-3 ATS) in the playoffs. The Thunder have owned this series recently, sweeping their four meetings (SU and ATS) in this regular season by a sizable margin of 9.3 PPG. They are now 11-6 SU (12-4-1 ATS) against the Spurs over the past three seasons. Bettors should take notice that Oklahoma City is 53-32 ATS (62%) after having won two of its previous three games over the past two seasons, but San Antonio is 108-73 ATS (60%) after five straight games committing 14 or less turnovers since 1996. PF Serge Ibaka (calf) for the Thunder and PG Tony Parker (hamstring) for the Spurs are both probable for this game.

The Thunder really struggled offensively in their first-round series (102.1 PPG on 43.5% FG and 32.4% threes), but scored 107.2 PPG (47.6% FG and 34.3% threes) in the series win over Los Angeles. SF Kevin Durant (31.4 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.4 BPG in playoffs) has put up 30+ points in 9-of-13 postseason games and went for 39 points on 12-of-23 shooting while adding 16 rebounds, five assists and two blocks in Game 6 against the Clippers. He was also amazing from the free-throw line, making 58-of-66 (88%) from the charity stripe in the second round. Durant lit up San Antonio for 26.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 3.8 APG during the regular-season sweep, but also committed 6.0 TOPG. PG Russell Westbrook (26.6 PPG, 8.4 APG, 8.0 RPG, 1.7 SPG in playoffs) also played well against the Spurs this season with 21.3 PPG, 7.3 APG and 2.0 SPG in three meetings, but had his worst game of the second round in Thursday’s Game 6, netting 19 points on just 4-of-15 FG with 12 assists and two steals. Despite the poor shooting performance in the contest, Westbrook still made an impressive 49% from the field in the semifinals. PF Serge Ibaka (12.2 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.2 BPG in playoffs) has averaged just 7.3 PPG and 4.7 RPG over his past three games, but left in the third quarter on Thursday with a calf injury. He had at least one block in each of the six games in the second round. PG Reggie Jackson (10.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG in playoffs) has scored in double-digits in three of the past four games and has played 25+ minutes in each of those contests. C Stephen Adams (3.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.4 BPG in playoffs) had a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) in Game 6 as he played for the injured Serge Ibaka.

The Spurs dominated the Blazers in their five-game series, scoring 108.8 PPG (48.8% FG) against them while allowing just 95.4 PPG (41.8% FG). Although they had seven players average double-figures in the season series with Oklahoma City, San Antonio managed just 96.8 PPG on 44.2% FG in the four defeats. Star PG Tony Parker (19.3 PPG, 4.9 APG in playoffs) left Game 5 of the second round with a Grade 1 left hamstring strain, but is expected to be fine for Monday’s game. He has often been the main source of scoring for the Spurs in this postseason, posting 20+ points in 6-of-12 games. PF Tim Duncan (15.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.7 BPG in playoffs) averaged just 13.8 PPG in the second round and shot only 46% from the field after hitting 58% FG in the opening round. The 38-year-old has also upped his minutes in the playoffs (33.8) from the regular season (29.2 MPG). Both Parker (20.5 PPG, 5.5 APG) and Duncan (14.8 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.8 BPG) played well versus the Thunder this season, but didn’t get much help from teammates. SF Kawhi Leonard (14.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.8 SPG in playoffs) was huge in the second round, averaging 17.0 PPG and 2.8 SPG while putting up a big effort in the series-clinching game on Wednesday with 22 points, seven rebounds and five steals. Leonard was efficient all-around in the series, shooting 56% from the field and 53% from three-point range. SG Manu Ginobili (13.9 PPG, 4.3 APG, 1.8 SPG in playoffs) had just 8.6 PPG against the Trail Blazers while making just 29% FG, including 2-of-14 threes. C Tiago Splitter (9.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.1 SPG in playoffs) had one double-double in the second round after doing so three times in the first round.

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