In this edition of his weekly column, “The Ticket,” Adam Kramer mentally prepares for NFL training camp injuries, dives deeper into the Summer Olympics, and provides more NFL player prop and UFC bets.
NFL training camp begins today, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Every year, the first scenes of NFL preseason bring me to my happy place. It doesn’t matter that the quarterbacks can’t be hit or that the footage largely consists of just stretching. This moment on the sports calendar symbolizes football’s glorious return, reminding us how close the greatest sport on earth is to coming back.
If you’ve read this column before, you know that I love football (and betting on football). The thought of putting action on a preseason game excites me, and we’re getting close. There is a downside, however.
They are coming — lots of them. In fact, they have already arrived.
Before training camp even began, we learned that Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers will miss the season with a torn Achilles. The second-year back seemed ready to take a massive leap this year, but now that will have to wait.
His injury’s impact on the Rams’ odds to win the Super Bowl and NFC was almost non-existent at most sportsbooks, but the loss is meaningful for a team looking for stability at the position. If it had been Matt Stafford or Aaron Donald, however, the lines would have shifted significantly.
This, of course, is not the last time we will talk about the loss of a player and the way odds shift as a result. If you are hanging onto a meaningful NFL futures ticket right now, you’re going to be holding your breath for the next few months.
Preseason stats and performance? Who cares. You can worry about that come Week 5 if a lackluster start carries over. This time of year, you should be hoping for one thing and one thing only — health.
As a bettor, injuries are the one element that makes NFL futures so difficult to navigate in the offseason. It’s why you (hopefully) wait until the last possible moment to complete your fantasy football drafts. It’s part of the game — I get that — but it’s still a challenging variable to handicap.
As a human being, I hate injuries. I think about the players and their families. I know injuries are bound to happen in a sport so violent, but I still struggle to accept them.
So here’s to a relatively clean training camp. Here’s to as few injuries as possible. And, best of all, here’s to the start of another football season (and more NFL bets).
All 2021 NFL bets, odds, and lines are courtesy of DraftKings. DraftKings offers a deposit bonus of up to $1,000 with your first deposit.
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2021 NFL Training Camp, Summer Olympics & MLB Trade Deadline
Last Week’s Gambling Report Card: Let’s Talk About UFC Judges, Shall We?
I’m not going to sugarcoat it; the judges on call for UFC Vegas 32 last weekend were an atrocity. In fact, it makes me question how the sport does scoring altogether.
While “open scoring” is regularly requested by fans and gamblers, I’m not sure we’ll ever get it. Still, a couple of these decisions — mainly Raulian Paiva over Kyler Phillips and Maycee Barber over Miranda Maverick — were questionable at best (I lost those bets, by the way).
I did, however, win betting on T.J. Dillashaw as a +175 underdog over Cory Sandhagen. This was also a questionable outcome, although it was a much closer fight. In fact, I thought this was one of my favorite fights of the year — an outright five-round war.
Not a great night of betting MMA, but an awesome finish and a wonderful return for Dillashaw after a long hiatus.
What I’m Watching: 2020 Summer Olympics, UFC, & MLB Trade Madness
2020 Summer Olympics
There is something comforting about having the Olympics on at night. I don’t understand all the sports, and I am admittedly betting on athletes I don’t know a lot about, but I still enjoy the Olympics a great deal (even if the lack of fans is strange).
With swimming and gymnastics on deck, I’m all the way in on the Tokyo Summer Games. Plus we have golf — which is always a good watch — and plenty of other reasons to tune in and bet. Like basketball, although maybe we should skip hoops this year based on the way Team USA has been playing lately.
UFC Fight Night
The main event on this weekend’s card is an absolute doozy, a meaty middleweight clash between Uriah Hall and Sean Strickland with potentially huge ramifications on the division. Hall, of course, is coming off a win over Chris Weidman in which he shattered Weidman’s leg with a powerful kick. Strickland, on the other hand, is a sizable chalk on a four-fight winning streak.
All told, there are 15 fights to bet on this Saturday. It’s not the best card we’ve ever seen, but there will be plenty of betting options.
2021 MLB Trade Deadline
The NBA season is over (what a conclusion, by the way), and while the Olympics commanders the spotlight before football takes over, Major League Baseball is still plenty interesting. I’m curious to see how certain teams approach Friday’s trade deadline, especially my first-place New York Mets.
Trevor Story, Kris Bryant, Craig Kimbrel, and others are seemingly on the market. For teams that are in contention, this is an important week. If any big names do switch teams, it could also alter the odds quite a bit.
What I’m Betting
More 2021 NFL Player Props
Last week, I introduced eight player prop bets as we gear up for the NFL season. I’ve also been breaking these down on Take The Points, our amazing NFL-centric podcast that you need to subscribe to if you haven’t already.
This week we’re tackling the NFC East. Here are four more NFL player prop bets that I like:
Dak Prescott Over 4,795.5 Regular Season Passing Yards (-115)
Chase Young Over 8.5 Regular Season Sacks (-110)
Daniel Jones Under 400.5 Regular Season Rushing Yards (-115)
DeVonta Smith Under 775.5 Regular Season Receiving Yards (-115)
UFC Fight Night
Yes, we’re betting some UFC on Saturday. And for the second week in a row, I’m rolling with an underdog in the main event. Here is that play and a few others.
Uriah Hall (+180) vs. Sean Strickland
Ashley Yoder (-130) vs. Jinh Yu Frey
Kyung Ho Kang (-140) vs. Rani Yahya