Online Gambling: Nevada Becomes First State to Legalize Online Gambling

A crazy day of arm-twisting and legislating was capped off on Thursday when Nevada governor Brian Sandoval signed an emergency measure passed by both Nevada houses, becoming the first state to legalize online gambling in the United States. The powers that be in Nevada, wanting to beat New Jersey as first in the country, rushed through the new law thanks to some rare bipartisanship action by Nevada lawmakers. The bill swept through both the Assembly and Senate on Thursday after a joint hearing before the two judiciary committees.

“This is an historic day for the great state of Nevada,” Sandoval said, surrounded by dozens of state lawmakers. “Today I sign into law the framework that will usher in the next frontier of gaming in Nevada. This bill is critical to our state’s economy and ensures that we will continue to be the gold standard for gaming regulation.”

Nevada Legislators in 2011 passed a bill that put Nevada in position to legalize Internet gambling if the federal government sanctioned it. But when those efforts failed in Congress, Sandoval said Nevada would work toward agreements with other states. This became possible when the Department of Justice issued a ruling in 2011 clarifying that the federal Wire Act of 1961, used to crack down on gambling over the Internet, only applies to sports betting.

The bill is critical to Nevada’s economy because it will enable existing licensed gaming companies to take the lead in making online poker available around the country, potentially giving them a competitive advantage over operators in other states.

Horne said in testimony at the joint committee hearing that online gaming will generate new jobs, $3 million in tax revenue and create an economic output between $10 million and $15 million. The bill also allows Nevada companies to enter compacts with other states that have a player base.

An online gaming license will cost companies $500,000, with the Nevada Gaming Commission having the power to change those fees under certain conditions. The renewal fee has been set at $250,000.

Betting the Oscars: Argo Expected to Take Home Best Picture

A powerful group of films from the major Hollywood studies highlight a solid year for the film industry. Argo, at -465, remains the heavy favorite for the Best Picture. That’s usually the result when a film wins the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Directors Guild Awards, and the Producers Guild Award. Lincoln is the second choice; a $100 bet on the film would net $600 if the Steven Spielberg film is able to pull off the upset. Les Miserables, at 15-1, is the third choice. The Life of Pi (25-1), Zero Dark Thirty (30-1), Silver Linings Playbook (27-1), Django Unchained (36-1), Armour (40-1), and Beasts of the Southern Wild (75-1) all are long shots to bring home the Oscar.

If you are looking for a long shot, look at Silver Linings Playbook. The critically acclaimed movie garnared eight Oscar nominations, and has Harvey Weinstein lurking in the background. Weinstein is the king of the Oscars, knowing how to pick movies that bring home the gold statues. And make money; Silver Linings Playbook has already earned seven times its cost of production.

Lincoln was the front-runner when the nominations were released in November. The Spielberg story of the 16th president bullying the 13th Admentment through a divided Congress received eleven Oscar nominations in addition to the Best Picture. While the initial buzz has subsided, there is still plenty of gas in the take for Lincoln to surprise.

But Argo is the horse to beat in this race. Directed by Ben Affleck, Argo was initially overlooked as an Oscar worthy film. Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln and Les Miserables all got more Oscar hype. But each faltered, and Argo got its surge, winning the Golden Globes and sweeping all the Guild Awards. The failure of Afffleck to receive a nomination for Best Director, usually a must for Best Picture winners, now looks like it might be an advantage to the film. Many observers were dismayed when Affleck was snubbed for Best Director and Best Actor nominations for Argo. To some, the screwing of Affleck can only be rectified by Argo taking down the main prize.

Puck Betting: Buffalo Takes on Maple Leafs in Thursday Night NHL Action

Buffalo Sabres (+105) at the Toronto Maple Leafs (-114) Total: 5.5

 

On Thursday, the 10-7-0-0 Toronto Maple Leafs will match up at home in the Air Canada Centre against the 6-10-1-0 Buffalo Sabres, currently in fifth place in the Northeast division. The Sabres will have a new coach at the helm. Lindy Ruff, in charge of Buffalo since 1997, was fired on Tuesday after the team lost 2-1 at home to Winnipeg. Ruff was the franchise’s winningest coach (571-432-162) and the NHL’s longest active-serving coach with one team.

Among North America’s four major pro sports, Ruff’s tenure was second only behind Gregg Popovich, who’s been coach of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs since 1996. In the NHL alone, there had been 170 coaching changes since Ruff was hired on July 21, 1997.

Ron Rolston takes over the team as interim coach. Rolston was in his second season with the Rochester Americans, and spent seven years as coach of USA Hockey’s National Team development program. He lead the United States Under 18 hockey team to three gold medals (2005, 2009, 2011). Rolston went 36-26-10-4 last season in leading Rochester to the playoffs. This season, the Americans (27-18-2-1) are in second in the North Division and sixth in the Western Conference.

“His teams play with structure, discipline. They have a work ethic,” Buffalo General Manager Darcy Regier said. “He has them playing very good hockey, so I think you’ll see some of those traits.”

“The last game was quite honestly a tipping point. And it was evident to me that we were searching for answers to too many questions,”  Regier said. “I think we were making some strides, but in the end, for every two steps forward, it was one step back, and sometimes not that. ”

The Sabres have scored 2.6 goals per game away from home in 2013 while giving up 3.5 goals to its opponents, enough to earn Buffalo a 3-5-0 record away from the HSBC Arena. Buffalo is averaging 27.5 shots per game as visitors, and allowing 34.4 shots to its opponents. Buffalo is 3-7-0 in its last ten games The Sabres have gone over in 10 of its 17 games in 2013.

Despite a 4-2 setback to Tampa Bay on Tuesday night, the Maple Leafs (10-7-0) have enjoyed a solid start to the shortened season. Toronto Coach Randy Carlyle wasn’t too happy with the effort on Tuesday.

“I don’t know if we demonstrated enough determination or desperation until the last 7 minutes of the hockey game,” Carlyle said. “It seemed like we were a flat group for a good period of the game, but at one point I looked up, it was 2-1 after two periods, and we’d only given up 10 shots. If it wasn’t for the lopsided number of power plays, I don’t know if we would have given up 15 shots in the game.”

Toronto is 3-4-0 at home so far this year, scoring 2.4 goals a game while giving up 2.6 goals per game. They are averaging 33.4 shots on goal at home, with a 7% shot success rate. On defense, the Maple Leafs have allowed 32.7 shots on goal for a 8% shot success rate Toronto is 6-4-0 in its last 10 games, with a goal differential of 8 goals so far this season. Toronto has gone under in 6 of its 17 games in 2013.

Trends:

Under is 4-0 in the Sabres last 4 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.
Under is 3-0-1 in the Maple Leafs last 4 overall.
Under is 5-1 in the Maple Leafs last 6 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
Under is 5-1 in the Maple Leafs last 6 vs. a team with a winning % below .400.

Puck Play of the Day: Under 5.5

Betting College Basketball: Cowboys Slight Favorites Over Kansas in Tonight’s Big 12 Action

 

The Kansas Jayhawks are out for revenge and first place in the Big 12 as they take on the Oklahoma St. Cowboys in tonight’s Big 12 action. The Cowboys upset Kansas earlier this month 85-80 at Lawrence, topped off by OSU guard Marcus Smart’s cartwheel and backflip on the Jayhawk logo as Jayhawk fans were leaving Allen Field House tasting a rare home loss. The Jayhawks are one point underdogs in today’s game, with a total set at 135.5

Travis Ford knows the Jayhawks are going to use the backflip as motivating tool. “We’ve had teams do that to us, celebrate when we’ve lost. And it’s a little bit a sign of respect. Now Kansas is going to show it (to their players), going to show our guys celebrating, no question. But that’s respect, we know how hard it is to beat Kansas period, I don’t care where it’s at. But you know, it’s a natural reaction, maybe not a backflip, but it’s a natural reaction.”

Self agrees, although he doesn’t admit to showing clips of the backflip to his players. “We need a payback type attitude going down there,” Self said. “They’re good. Before the season, I said I liked their roster better than anybody in the league. That hasn’t changed.”

The Jayhawks have owned the Cowboys like they have owned the rest of the Big 12 conference, leading the overall series between the two teams 106-54. OSU’s win in Lawrence snapped a four game Kansas win streak against Oklahoma St.. The Cowboys do have a history of playing Kansas tough at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, however. Since the Big 12 began in 1997, Oklahoma and Kansas have split the eight games played in Gallagher-Iba. Kansas coach Bill Self, a former player at Oklahoma St., is 9-5 at Kansas against his alma matter.

The Jayhawks, ranked #10 in the Pomeroy ratings, is 21-4 overall and 9-3 in the Big 12 Conference. Scoring 1.01 points each possession, Kansas ranks fifth in the conference in Offensive Efficiency.They are sixth in turnover percentage, first in offensive rebounding, fifth in free throw percentage, and fourth in pace. Kansas’s opponent’s average 0.9 points per possession against Kansas in the Big 12 Conference, second lowest in the conference. Kansas holds opponents to a 42.4% effective field goal rate, second in the Big 12 Conference. They rank sixth in forcing turnovers, second in rebounding, first in blocks, and first in steals.

Junior guard Markel Brown leads OSU in scoring at 15.8 points per game. He averages 17.3 ppg in league play. Smart leads the Big 12 with 2.9 steals per game to go with his 15.0 ppg scoring average. Sophomore Le’Bryan Nash averages 13.3 points and 4.3 rebounds. The Cowboys 9-3 in the Big 12 Conference and 19-5 overall in the 2012-13 season. According to Ken Pomeroy, Oklahoma St. has the #34 rated offense and #16 rated defense in college basketball, adjusted for schedule strength.Oklahoma St. is third in the Big 12 Conference in Offensive Efficiency, averaging 1.1 points per possession on offense. They are third in effective field goal percentage in the conference. They rank third in turnover percentage, eighth in offensive rebounding, sixth in two point field goal percentage, third in free throw percentage, and play at the fastest pace in the Big 12. On defense, the Cowboys are the third ranked team in the Big 12 in defensive efficiency, allowing 0.9 points per possession to its conference opponents. Opponents have a 47.9% effective field goal rate, fifth in the conference. They rank third in forcing turnovers, first in rebounding, second in blocks, and second in steals.

 
Trends:

 

Kansas is 5-1 against the spread in their last six games following a win of more than 20 points.
Kansas is 1-5 ATS in their last six road games.
Oklahoma St. is 4-0 ATS in their last four games after they fail to cover.
Cowboys are 42-20-3 ATS in their last 65 home games.
Cowboys are 2-8 ATS in their last ten games vs. a team with a winning record.
Cowboys are 1-8 ATS in their last nine games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.

 

Betting the Pucks: Pittsburgh Opens -175 Favorites against the Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers (+144) at the Pittsburgh Penguins (-156) Total: 5.5

On Wednesday, the 11-5-0-0 Pittsburgh Penguins will match up at home in the Consol Energy Center against the 7-9-0-1 Philadelphia Flyers, currently in fourth place in the Atlantic division. This will be the second meeting between the two teams. In the season opener Pittsburgh beat the Flyers 3-1 on goals from Tyler Kennedy, James Neal and Chris Kunitz. Philadelphia won its last time out, thrashing the New York Ilsnaders 7-0 on Monday.The Flyers have scored 2.6 goals per game away from home in 2013 while giving up 3.2 goals to its opponents, enough to earn Philadelphia a 3-8-0 record away from the Wells Fargo Center. Philadelphia is averaging 27.5 shots per game as visitors, and allowing 26.8 shots to its opponents. The Flyers have gone under in 59% of its games this year. They have been struggling on offense this year; Philadelphia has scored just 2.65 goals per game this season compared to 3.2 goals per game last season. Their biggest problem has been injuries. The Flyers have no fewer than five players, including top-line winger Scott Hartnell and defenseman Andrej Meszaros, on injured reserve.

Sidney Crosby will once again lead the Penguins attack. Crosby enters tonight’s game with 24 points, second in the league in scoring. He has recorded 17 assists, tied for the league lead. His plus-minus rating of plus 11 is fourth in the NHL this season. Pittsburgh is 3-3-0 at home so far this year, scoring 3 goals a game while giving up 2.8 goals per game. They are averaging 30 shots on goal at home, with a 10% shot success rate. On defense, the Penguins have allowed 23.5 shots on goal for a 12% shot success rate Pittsburgh is 8-2-0 in its last 10 games, with a goal differential of 14 goals so far this season. Pittsburgh has gone over in 56% of its games in 2013. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who turned aside 26 shots in the season opener, has given up two or fewer goals in seven of 11 starts in 2013. Expect a solid game from Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin, who had an assist in the opener, has 53 points (20 goals, 33 assists) in 37 career games versus the Flyers.

 

Trends for tonight’s games:

Philadelphia

The Flyers are 3-11 in their last 14 road games.
The Flyers are 2-9 in their last 11 vs. a team with a winning record.

Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is 40-13 in their last 53 vs. a team with a losing record.
The Penguins are 22-8 in their last 30 home games.
The Penguins are 47-20 in their last 67 games playing on 2 days rest.

 

Total trends:
Over is 5-1-1 in the Flyers last 7 after scoring 5 goals or more in their previous game.
Over is 6-0 in Pittsburgh’s last 6 games playing on 2 days rest.
Over is 8-0 in Pitttsburgh’s last 8 when their opponent scores 5 goals or more in their previous game.
Over is 5-1 in Pittsburgh’s last 6 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.

Betting the Pucks: The Sharks Visit St. Louis as Heavy Dogs

San Jose Sharks (+137) at the St. Louis Blues (-149) Total: 5.5

The St. Louis Blues, in second place in the Central division, welcome the San Jose Sharks into the Scottrade Center on Tuesday evening . The Sharks have scored 2.3 goals per game away from home in 2013 while giving up 2.8 goals to its opponents, earning San Jose a 2-3-1 record away from the HP Pavilion. San Jose is still looking for its first win this month, going 0-4-3 in February so far this year. “We just have to keep working,” Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. “We’ll work our way out of this and that’s all we can do. It’s tough, but we have a lot of veterans here.”

This will be the Sharks’ fourth game on their six game road trip. San Jose is averaging 27.7 shots per game as visitors, and giving up 31.8 shots to its opponents. The Sharks have gone under in 71% of its games this year.

The Blues are coming offf a 3-0 road trip after winning a 4-3 shootout over the Northwest Division leader Vancouver Canucks on Sunday. The win broke the Blues’ five game winless streak. It wasn’t easy coming back home, however. The Blues’ flight out of Vancouver on Monday morning was postponed eight hours due to mechanical problems with the airplane, and St. Louis wasn’t expected to land until well past midnight.

St. Louis is 3-3-1 at home so far this year, scoring 3.1 goals a game while giving up 3.4 goals per game. They are averaging 29.4 shots on goal at home, with a 11% shot success rate. On defense, the Blues have allowed 19.6 shots on goal for a 18% shot success rate. St. Louis is 5-4-1 in its last 10 games, with a goal differential of 4 goals so far this season. St. Louis has gone over in 73% of its games in 2013.

The Blues are expected to start Jake Allen in the net on Tuesday against San Jose. Allen has won his first three starts this season after being called up February 12. The Blues will ride Allen while he is hot, giving him his fourth consecutive start. Allen is taking advantage of his opportunity with Brian Elliott struggling and Jaroslav Halak sidelined with a groin injury.

This is the first of three meetings between these two teams. They last met in the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals, a series that the Blues won in five games.