Last season marked the first time the Calgary Flames failed to make the playoffs since before the 2004-05 lock out despite a respectable 40-32-10 record. This time around the team will hope a pair of familiar faces will help get them back to that familiar territory.
Alex Tanguay will return to the club after a two years out east with the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning. In Tanguay's last season with Calgary (2007-08) he put up 58 points. The year before that? 81. At 30 years old, it's not out of the question to hope that he can at least approach the point-per-game rate he used to fire at.
This year will also see the return of Olli Jokinen after the center was shopped to the New York Rangers mid-season last season. Now on a much cheaper contract, the Flames will welcome his return, likely placing him on a line with Tanguay and team captain Jarome Iginla.
Though they missed the post-season in 2009-10, there are worse options when it comes to NHL betting. With 35/1 odds of winning the Stanley Cup, according to the Bodog Sportsbook, it's not out of the question to see the Flames sneak into the playoffs.
Once there, the leadership of Iginla and goaltending of Miikka Kiprusoff could be enough to give this team a nice May boost.
With opening day fast approaching on Oct. 7, NHL fans will have to tide themselves over with preseason action and prospective NHL futures play. Currently the reigning champion Chicago Blackhawks are early favorites to win the 2011 crown with 6/1 odds.
An old Big East rivalry is rekindled Thursday night for the first time since the Miami Hurricanes left that conference for the ACC as UM visits Pittsburgh in a game that both teams need to prove they were as good as they were expected to be heading into the season. Miami is a 4-point favorite on Bodog's NCAA odds with live betting available.
Pitt opened the season at No. 15 in the rankings but was knocked out of the polls following a 27-24 overtime loss at Utah. The Panthers then beat New Hampshire on Sept. 11 but that didn’t prove much. A rebuilt offensive line has had trouble opening holes for star sophomore running back Dion Lewis. Last year, Lewis was probably the best freshman in the country when he rushed for 1,799 yards and 17 touchdowns. But Lewis had only 27 yards against New Hampshire, an FCS team, and was held to 75 yards on 25 carries against Utah. Pitt is breaking in both guards and a center this year, not to mention a new quarterback in Tino Sunseri, who has completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 459 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. So defenses are gearing up to stop the run.
Miami, meanwhile, opened at No. 13 in the polls and had no trouble in an opening 45-0 win over FCS team Florida A&M. But the Canes blew a chance on the national stage on Sept. 11 by losing 36-24 at Ohio State in which Jacory Harris threw four interceptions – picks were a big problem for Harris last season. Plus the Miami defense allowed 414 total yards to the Buckeyes. UM does lead the nation in tackles for loss and in punt return average – the Canes ran both a kickoff and punt back for a TD against Ohio State.
However, history shows that UM should win tonight, considering Miami has won six in a row in this series since 1998. The Hurricanes also have won 32 consecutive games against unranked non-conference opponents, while the Panthers are 1-10 in their past 11 against ranked non-conference teams. These two have met four times on ESPN’s Thursday night football and Miami is 3-1.
Who you like tonight, Canes or Panthers? Be a player and bet live on the game at Bodog
Yes, both the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees are going to the playoffs, but tonight’s finale of a four-game set in the Bronx has huge seeding implications for the AL playoffs. New York is a -140 favorite on Bodog’s MLB odds and there will be live betting available.
The Rays won a rain-delayed game 7-2 on Wednesday night to cut the Yankees’ lead in the AL East to 1.5 games. After tonight’s game, Tampa Bay has 10 games left and New York nine. A Tampa Bay win would be especially big because it would not only cut the division lead to a half-game but give the Rays the season series at 10-8. Remember, there will be no 163rd game this year in baseball – now if two teams in a division are tied after 162 games, the division goes to the club that won the season series. Obviously if New York wins tonight it ties the season series – in that case, the tiebreaker would be record within the AL East. The Rays are 40-28 and the Yankees are 35-27 in the division. And you also have to throw possible home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs into the mix. Entering tonight the Yanks and Twins are tied with the Rays obviously 1.5 games back. Should the AL East winner end up tied with Minnesota record-wise, the Twins lose out because they lost both season series to Tampa Bay and New York.
It should be noted the Rays have a much easier schedule the rest of the way, so it’s probably fair to say tonight’s winner is your AL East champ and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
The pitching matchup couldn’t be better as it matches the two best lefties and the top two Cy Young candidates in the AL: Tampa Bay’s David Price (17-6, 2.79) and New York’s CC Sabathia (20-6, 3.05). Those two met last Monday in St. Petersburg and both matched zeros through eight innings in the Rays' 1-0, 11-inning victory. Price is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in four career appearances including three starts at Yankee Stadium. Sabathia has a 1.84 ERA this season against Tampa Bay.
In another American vs. American fight, Sean Sherk and Evan Dunham will go head-to-head on Bodog’s UFC 119 odds. Dunham is the favorite at -220, while Sherk is getting +180 odds to win.
Dunham is putting his undefeated record on the line. The Oregon native has won all 11 fights he’s been in, and he usually gets a victory via submission. Dunham owns a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which has helped him win more than half of his fights via submission. He didn’t get one in his last bout, however, when he needed a split decision from the officials to beat Tyson Griffin at UFC 115 in June.
Regardless, Dunham is a legit up-and-comer. He’s usually ranked among the Top-10 lightweights in the world and could be gunning his way to a title shot. Dunham brings a little punching power to the octagon, too, as he has two victories via knockout. He hasn’t done it since February 2009, though, when he beat Per Eklund in his UFC debut.
Sherk is undoubtedly a more experienced fighter. He has 38 fights to his name — 33 of them victories — and he’s gone toe-to-toe with some of the best in the world, including Georges St-Pierre.
It’s been a while since Sherk stepped into the ring. He hasn’t fought since May 2009, when he lost to Frankie Edgar by judges’ decision (it was Sherk’s second loss in his last three fights). Part of the reason for the gap in time are the steroid allegations constantly dogging Sherk; he’s tested positive for illegal substances before and, after losing to Edgar, Sherk fled the arena before submitting a urine sample. He was suspended 45 days.
Sherk has subsequently skipped his last three scheduled fights because of injury.
UFC 119 odds continue with Chris Lytle and Matt Serra; it’s a rematch of a fight that took place in 2006, which Serra won.
Serra (+110 odds to beat Lytle) is 11-6 in his career. He’s lost two of his last three fights, though he wasn’t exactly going toe-to-toe with slouches; he lost to Georges St. Pierre and Matt Hughes. Serra got back on track in February, when he knocked out Frank Trigg in the first round at UFC 109.
The fight serves as a strong example that Serra can win in a variety of ways; not only does he have some knockout out power, he’s also an elite submission artist. The New York native was the first American to ever be awarded a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by MMA legend Renzo Gracie. Serra has four career victories via submission.
Lytle is the favorite with -140 odds. The Indiana native has a wealth of experience — he’s appeared in 51 mixed martial arts fights (winning 29 of them), not to mention another 15 boxing matches (he is 13-1-1).
Lytle is riding a three-fight winning streak. He was last seen at UFC 116, when he submitted Matt Brown with a straight armbar. It was the 19th career submission by Lytle; like Serra, he owns a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In fact, it was his second consecutive victory via submission.
Serra and Lytle last met on The Ultimate Fighter 4, where they hooked up in the welterweight finale. Serra earned a split decision despite Lytle being the more active fighter on his feet. Serra made every effort to make takedowns, where he’d then become the more active fighter. Lytle, on the other hand, often waited to be stood up by the referee.
UFC 119 odds kick off today with a light heavyweight scrap between Antonio Rogerio Noguiera and Ryan Bader.
Given the fighters’ history with each other, it should be a very interesting match. Noguiera coached Bader on Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter. If the odds are any indication, the pupil has surpassed the teacher; Bader is a -170 favorite in Saturday’s fight while Noguiera checks in at +140.
Bader has yet to lose in 11 career mixed martial arts matches, the last four of which were UFC sanctioned events. The most recent win came at UFC 110 in February, when Bader knocked out Keith Jardine. Bader has a great wrestling pedigree — he’s a three-time Pac-10 champion — but he can box pretty damn well, too; the knockout of Jardine was Bader’s fifth in 11 fights. Bader has no qualms resorting to wrestling, though, as his three victories via submission can attest.
Noguiera brings plenty more experience to the table than Bader. He has 22 fights under his belt, 19 of which were victories. Five came via knockout, and Noguiera is incredibly skilled at standing and trading blows; he’s a two-time Brazilian Super Heavyweight boxing champ, and he won a bronze medal in boxing at the 2007 Pan Am games.
Boxing isn’t even how Noguiera makes his hay, however. He also owns a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and he’s willing to use it; Noguiera has six career victories via submission.
Noguiera is riding a seven-fight win streak. His last win came at UFC 114 in May, when he earned a split decision against American Jason Brilz. The decision was a controversial one — the crowd booed when it was announced — so Noguiera has plenty to prove on Saturday.
Canadian football odds are jam-packed this weekend as all eight teams are hitting the gridiron. This is your CFL weekend glance.
Montreal (8-3) and Winnipeg (3-8) kick off the action on Friday night. The Alouettes have carved out a two-game lead in the Eastern Division after last week’s 31-14 demolition of Edmonton. The offense was solid if unspectacular, but the important thing is the return of Anthony Calvillo; he threw for 327 yards in the victory. Montreal also got a great special teams effort from Diamond Ferri, who returned a kick 85 yards for a score.
The Blue Bombers, meanwhile, lost a nailbiter 17-13 to Toronto. The Bombers were brilliant on defense but couldn’t find the end zone; it wasted a 100-yard rushing effort by Fred Reid.
Saskatchewan (7-4) and Hamilton (6-5) hook up in the first of two Saturday evening games. Both teams are second in their respective divisions, so this game may have a slight playoff atmosphere as they try to make up ground.
The Roughriders topped first-place Calgary in a wild 43-37 win last weekend; Darian Durant was unconscious, throwing for 500 yards and a pair of scores — including a whopping 255 yards to receiver Andy Fantuz. Hamilton won a 35-31 shootout with BC thanks to a 151-yard rushing effort from Deandra Cobb and three touchdown passes from Kevin Glenn.
The Lions (3-8) and Stampeders (9-2) also hook up on Saturday. Calgary’s defense is reeling after getting obliterated in a loss to Saskatchewan last week; at least the offense did its part, racking up 37 points and 427 yards of total offense. The Lions held their own in a loss to Hamilton but could do nothing to stop the run.
The action wraps up Sunday when Edmonton (2-9) visits Toronto (6-5). The Argos won last week in spite of a horrible effort by Cleo Lemon, who threw for just 90 yards. Edmonton was routed 31-14 by Montreal.
Fred Couples sits atop Bodog’s golf odds this week as a 5/1 favorite to win the SAS Championship. Here’s a breakdown of the best bets to win on the Champions Tour this week.
Couples has been incredibly consistent on the Champions Tour this season. He’s yet to miss a cut in a dozen events, and Couples has finished among the Top-10 in 10 of those 12 tournaments. He’s never missed the Top-25 and has three wins to his credit this season. Couples has been flirting with victory over the past few months, too. In his last three tournaments, the 50-year-old has finished fifth, third, and fifth, respectively. You’d think at some point he’ll break through for another win.
Bernhard Langer is right behind Couples with 5/1 odds to win the SAS Championship. Langer hasn’t been quite as consistent, finishing among the Top-10 in 10 of his 17 starts. The German has tasted victory five times this season, however, including a win at the end of August in the Boeing Classic. Langer didn’t have his best game a few weeks ago, though, when he placed 42nd at the Posco E&C Songdo Championship.
Third in line is Tom Pernice. It’s not surprising to see Pernice here with 8/1 odds to win. The American has been gaining serious momentum on the Champions Tour, finishing among the Top-10 in six straight events. He’s been especially close to victory in his last two tournaments, when he placed third and second, respectively.
Mark Calcavecchia rounds out the top four with 11/1 odds to win the SAS Championship. Calcavecchia has been on fire in recent months, finishing among the Top-6 in four of his last five outings (his worst effort during that stretch was a 15th-place finish).
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This was supposed to be the Philadelphia Eagles’ unveiling of Kevin Kolb. Unfortunately, Michael Vickgoing Madden 11 on the Lions in Week 2 has changed things. Coach Andy Reid is rolling with the hot hand, and Vick’s hands could light a fire right now.
So how has the Michael Vick Experience changed things for oddsmakers? Well, what was once EVEN, is now +3 for the Jacksonville Jaguars at home. The NFL odds are understandable, the Jaguars rank 28th in total yards allowed and Vick is a total yards juggernaut, averaging 229.5 yards passing and 70 yards rushing – nasty.
“Michael Vick is playing out of his mind right now,” Reid said.
So how do the Jags slow down the Vick bandwagon? As impressed as we are with Vick’s development as a quarterback, he can be beaten. Vick was sacked five times against Detroit, had his share of bad passes and took his share of big hits. If the Jags can wake up at home and keep him from making Sports Center, the turnovers will come.
The Jags on offense is another story. If Philly lives up to its rep it’s going to send the house at quaterback David Garrard. Garrard can't have another four-interception day like in Week 2 or Vick will only need checkdowns to win.
Was it right for Reid to sit Kolb for Vick? Leave your comments below!
Then get in the game. Be a player, bet on the Eagles/Jaguars in the Bodog Sportsbook.
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