McGregor’s Odds Against Mayweather Shift Slightly As Speculation Intensifies

Seeing how neither Conor McGregor nor Floyd Mayweather have any weight classes to conquer, the logical – and lucrative – next step for the two fighters is to have a boxing match.

McGregor would be coming over from the Octagon to the ring where Mayweather has a lifetime’s worth of specialized boxing training. Not surprisingly, the Bovada sportsbook shows McGregor is a +550 underdog against -900 favorite Mayweather in the event their much rumored mega-fight takes place. That’s an improvement for McGregor, who had been a +750 underdog earlier in the week.

Reports this week suggested that the UFC lightweight champion and the undefeated five-division champion have agreed to terms for the fight, leading many to speculate that the only barrier is making sure McGregor fulfills his contractual obligations to the UFC and president Dana White.

Since coming to the UFC in 2013, McGregor has been both featherweight and lightweight champion. The Irish fighter has also become a premier knockout artist, winning 17 of his last 18 fights with 14 of those victories by knockout or technical knockout.

Odds-wise, McGregor has only been the betting underdog once. He closed at -105 ahead of his featherweight unification bout against Jose Aldo at UFC 194 in December 2015. Of course, McGregor won that fight in 13 seconds.

McGregor boxed as a teenager, but fighting as an amateur hardly holds a candle to getting in the ring with Mayweather. Boxing rounds are three minutes long compared to five in the UFC, so having the conditioning and stamina might not be an issue. Of course, McGregor is light-years removed from Mayweather technically and, on top of that, would have to adapt to wearing heavier gloves.

Astoundingly, these are not the most overwhelming odds in favor of Mayweather during his career. He was listed at -3000 before defeating Andre Berto in September 2015. That bout 17 months ago was the last time that Mayweather, who is 49-0 as a pro, stepped into the ring. Some will wonder what that layoff will mean for a fighter who turns 40 before the end of February.

That said, if Mayweather takes the fight, it probably means that he is confident nothing will happen that would put a blemish on his career record. The five-division world champion is excellent technically, which is why 10 of his last 12 wins stretching back to 2006 have been by decision.

US Election Day Betting Preview: Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump Odds

After seeing her odds to become the 45th President of the United States drop dramatically last week when the FBI briefly reopened an email investigation, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has since significantly increased her chances of becoming the first woman to hold the top position in the oval office.

Her betting odds were cut in half from a huge -550 favorite (bet $550 to win $100) on October 25 to -275 on November 1 and are now back to -550.

The former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator and wife of President Bill Clinton has been favored throughout campaigns for the primary and general elections, with Republican candidate Donald Trump pulling out all the stops to discredit her down the final stretch.

Despite his efforts, Trump still finds himself as a large +375 underdog (bet $100 to win $375) in the presidential election after sitting at a low of +175 nearly two weeks ago on September 26 following the last debate that many thought he won.

Bettors can also wager on what political party they think will win the general election on Tuesday, with the Democrats listed as -600 chalk to defeat the Republicans (+400). But there are several additional props available that are both intriguing and telling in terms of the big voting picture nationwide.

For example, total states won by the Democratic and Republican parties are each posted at over/under 25.5, with the deciding factor obviously who will win the bigger states and earn more electoral votes.

Another interesting prop available is, what percentage will the voter turnout be for the 2016 general election? The magic number has been set at 58 percent by oddsmakers, with the over favored at -165.

Surprisingly, there has not been a higher percentage of turnout in the U.S. since 1968, when Richard Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey with slightly more than 60 percent of the country voting, according to voting age population (VAP) data tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau.

There was 57.1 percent in 2008 when President Barack Obama topped John McCain and then the number dipped below 55 percent when Obama was re-elected with a win over Mitt Romney in 2012.

Clinton, Democrats Heavy Favorites on Updated U.S. Presidential Odds

Leading the way in the polls, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party are now sitting as large favorites on the odds to win the 2016 U.S. presidential election this November at the sportsbooks.

The Democrats are listed as the -450 favorites (bet $450 to win $100) on the 2016 U.S. presidential election odds at online sportsbook Bovada, with the Republicans the clear underdogs at +325 (bet $100 to win $325) on that political prop wager.

And that’s been a big fall for the Republicans at the betting shops over the past month, as Donald Trump had been just a +200 underdog on those odds during the party’s convention in Cleveland in the middle of July – with Clinton at -240 back then.

The Democrats, though, have surged ahead in the polls since that time, thanks to a star-studded convention in Philadelphia combined with a series of missteps by Trump and the Republicans. Forecasts now have Clinton sitting with an 80-90 percent chance of winning the November 8 election.

Clinton has been the frontrunner on the 2016 presidential odds since they opened, riding strong support from the party establishment to a nomination victory over rival Bernie Sanders. Clinton and Sanders were the only serious Democratic contenders, with Vice President Joe Biden declining to enter the race.

It was a different story in the Republican field, however, with a double-digit number of contenders for the nomination slowly getting whittled down in the first half of the year until Trump was left standing at the top of the party’s ticket.

Trump was well back at +2500 on the odds to win the presidency a year ago behind the likes of Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, who was the clear Republican frontrunner when the race got underway. Bush dropped out of the race in late February after poor showings in early primaries.

The next chance for the presidential odds to see some movement might be during the debates, with Clinton and Trump first scheduled to take the stage together on Monday, September 26 at Hofstra University; Trump’s attendance, though, is in question.

Seahawks, Panthers, Packers Top Three Choices to Win NFC By Oddsmakers

The NFC figures to be much more competitive in 2016 as long as the top teams stay healthy throughout the regular season.

The Carolina Panthers ran away with the top seed last year at 15-1 en route to winning the NFC, and they are listed as +400 co-favorites (bet $100 to win $400) to successfully defend their conference crown with the Seattle Seahawks at online sportsbook Bovada.

The Panthers could be even better this year, at least on the offensive side of the ball. That’s because top wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin will be back on the field after missing all of 2015 with a torn ACL. Benjamin enjoyed a great rookie campaign the previous season and should be primed to again be the favorite target of reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton, who went to tight end Greg Olsen a lot more in his absence.

But Carolina is not the only top contender getting a key receiver back this year. The Seahawks will see the return of tight end Jimmy Graham while the Packers will have wide receiver Jordy Nelson back as well. Like Benjamin, both Graham and Nelson have been recovering from knee injuries and hope to be close to 100 percent by the time the season kicks off. Green Bay is the +450 third choice to win the conference and will likely need to take back the NFC North this season in order to make that happen.

The Packers saw their four-year reign atop the division end last year with the Minnesota Vikings winning it in a surprise. The Vikings are an intriguing team for bettors to watch because they have progressed nicely in the first two seasons under head coach Mike Zimmer. Minnesota is listed at +800 to win the NFC in what could be Adrian Peterson’s final year there, and the team is also opening its new stadium in a Week 2 Sunday Night Football matchup with Green Bay that could set an early tone for the two division rivals.

Three other interesting teams in the mix to win the conference this season are the Arizona Cardinals (+600), Dallas Cowboys (+900) and New York Giants (+1000).

Arizona won the NFC West over Seattle last year and finished with the second seed but got pummeled by Carolina 49-15 in the conference championship game. The Cardinals should be better defensively with the addition of Pro Bowl pass rusher Chandler Jones from the New England Patriots while the continued development of promising running back David Johnson should help out quarterback Carson Palmer offensively.

The NFC East battle is also one to watch between the Cowboys, Giants, Philadelphia Eagles (+3300) and defending division champion Washington Redskins (+2000). Dallas will need quarterback Tony Romo to stay healthy to have any shot even though rookie Dak Prescott has been impressive in the preseason.

Meanwhile, New York still has a lot of talent and may bounce back under first-year head coach Ben McAdoo. Washington won the NFC East last year with a 9-7 mark, finishing one game ahead of Philadelphia.

Patriots Still Strong Favorites to Win AFC Title for Third Time in Six Years

With or without Tom Brady, oddsmakers believe the New England Patriots are the team to beat in the AFC this year as the +300 favorites (bet $100 to win $300) at online sportsbook Bovada.

Brady will miss the first four games of the regular season due to a suspension for his role in the Deflategate scandal two years ago, with backup Jimmy Garoppolo set to start in his place beginning with Week 1 at the Arizona Cardinals.

The Patriots look to be as strong as ever on paper with some key new additions on both offense and defense as they go for their eighth straight AFC East title. They have gone 12-4 or better in each of the past six seasons, making it to the conference championship game the previous five years and winning it twice during that stretch.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are the +500 second choice to win the AFC and will be dealing with a suspension to arguably their most important player as well in running back Le’Veon Bell, who will miss the first three games following a repeat violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Bell has managed to play a full 16-game regular season just once in his first three years in the league, missing 10 in 2015 due to injuries and another suspension. If Bell can stay healthy and out of further trouble, Pittsburgh has the best shot of any team in the conference to keep New England from the Super Bowl.

Other top contenders to win the AFC include the Cincinnati Bengals (+700) and three teams from the same division led by the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos. The Bengals have won the AFC North two of the past three seasons, including 2015 before losing 18-16 to the Steelers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Cincinnati is almost a forgotten team in the mix to win the conference, mainly because the franchise has not won a postseason game since 1990, going 0-5 the past five years.

The Broncos have won the AFC West five consecutive seasons but will be without future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning for the first time since 2011. Denver is listed at +800 and will rely on its stout defense to carry the team again with the quarterback picture still murky at this point. Veteran Mark Sanchez, rookie Paxton Lynch and last year’s third-stringer Trevor Siemian all have a shot right now.

The Kansas City Chiefs (+1000) and Oakland Raiders (+1200) will each be trying to end the reign of the Broncos, and winning the division is viewed as the first step toward getting to the Super Bowl.

The Chiefs lost 27-20 at New England in the 2015 divisional round but should be loaded for another run at the AFC West title and figure to have the best shot to dethrone Denver. The Raiders have not made it to the playoffs since they went to the Super Bowl after the 2002 season, and they look to be one of the best young teams in the league with quarterback Derek Carr and defensive end Khalil Mack.

Cubs Becoming Even Bigger World Series Favorites Down the Final Stretch

No team in baseball has more wins than the Chicago Cubs right now, which is one of the main reasons why sportsbooks have continued to drop their odds to win the 2016 World Series.

A late swoon seems unlikely for the Cubs, as a National League Central title is within reach with a double-digit lead over the St. Louis Cardinals. Chicago is a strong +290 favorite (bet $100 to win $290) to win its first championship since 1908 at online sportsbook Bovada, and there do not appear to be many other top contenders.

The Washington Nationals are the +575 second choice to win the World Series behind the Cubs, but they just put ace Stephen Strasburg on the disabled list due to soreness in his right elbow. Strasburg has a history of injuries and will be needed if the Nationals are going to keep Chicago from winning the National League pennant.

Strasburg had lost three straight starts after beginning the season with an outstanding 15-1 mark, making him the favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award. Now, that may go to somebody else.

The Cubs are led by NL MVP favorite Kris Bryant and have had stronger pitching overall this year outside of ace and 2015 NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. Jon Lester has bounced back from a disappointing campaign in the Windy City to become the pitcher the team hoped he would be when signing him to a massive $155 million deal over six years in December of 2014.

The main concern in Chicago is what will happen in October with a history of postseason failure for more than a century.

The San Francisco Giants are the only other real threat in the NL at +1000 odds to win the World Series after taking home the championship the last three even-numbered years. San Francisco was the league’s team to beat heading into the MLB All-Star break, but both Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto have cooled off considerably, and the team is now battling the Los Angeles Dodgers (+1000) for the NL West title.

The Dodgers are hoping to see ace Clayton Kershaw return from a back injury for the playoffs and could also be a tough team from a matchup perspective if he’s healthy.

In the American League, the Texas Rangers (+700), Toronto Blue Jays (+850), Cleveland Indians (+900) and Boston Red Sox (+1000) are all in the mix to win the pennant along with the Baltimore Orioles (+1600). The Rangers have been the best team in the league for most of the season and could challenge the Cubs if Yu Darvish and Colby Lewis can join Cole Hamels in the postseason rotation.

The AL East race remains the most intriguing to watch in the final month of the regular season because the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Orioles all have weaknesses. Toronto is probably the most well-rounded of the three between hitting and pitching, making the team the best bet to not only win the division but also advance the furthest in the postseason.

Chiefs, Giants, Ravens Among Teams Offering Value on Super Bowl LI Odds

Everybody knows about the perennial favorites to win the Super Bowl, led by the New England Patriots at +600 (bet $100 to win $600) and the Green Bay Packers at +850 via online sportsbook Bovada. But what about some of the other teams further down the betting board that might offer some value to win Super Bowl LI in 2017?

Picking a team with a solid quarterback is a must because rarely does a no-name signal-caller end up winning the big game. That’s why New England with Tom Brady and Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers always seem to top the list. Between them, Brady (four) and Rodgers (one) have won five Super Bowl titles, although you might think the latter would have more by the way the media has built him up the past few years.

Regardless, there are more than a few teams that have above average quarterbacks on their roster who are capable of winning the Super Bowl. The New York Giants have Eli Manning, and he already has won two rings head-to-head against Brady. The Giants are listed at +2200 to win the NFL title this season with a new head coach in Ben McAdoo, who previously served as Manning’s offensive coordinator from 2014-15. McAdoo replaces Tom Coughlin after he helped the team win its last two Super Bowls.

Joe Flacco is another quarterback who has previously won the Vince Lombardi Trophy with the Baltimore Ravens, although he is coming off a season-ending knee injury a year ago. Flacco could be in line for Comeback Player of the Year honors though if he can rebound and get the Ravens back to the Super Bowl. Baltimore is +4000 and has to deal with two other potential playoff teams in the AFC North – the Pittsburgh Steelers (+1200) and Cincinnati Bengals (+2000) – who both made the postseason last year.

The Kansas City Chiefs are another intriguing team that could rise and win the AFC West following the retirement of future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning for the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs are led by Alex Smith and will have running back Jamaal Charles back in the mix after he suffered a torn ACL one month into the season. Kansas City still made the playoffs without him and is +2800 to win the Super Bowl this year.

The Broncos are +1800 to repeat as Super Bowl champions and seem to be one of the most overrated teams heading into the season because they do not know who their starting quarterback will be with Manning out of football. Either veteran Mark Sanchez, rookie Paxton Lynch or last year’s third-stringer Trevor Siemian will start the league’s season opener against the Carolina Panthers in a Super Bowl rematch on September 8.

Another questionable Super Bowl contender is the Dallas Cowboys, also at +1800, especially since quarterback Tony Romo has not played a full season since 2012. Granted, the Cowboys could be good if Romo can stay on the field and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott proves to be the real deal. But there are too many unknowns for Denver and Dallas, and their odds are simply too low to make them worth betting on.

Stern Changes Stance on Legalizing Gambling Ahead of Vegas Conference

The Global Gaming Expo will take place at the end of September in Las Vegas, which is no surprise considering Sin City is well-known worldwide for its gambling. What is surprising though is that former NBA commissioner David Stern is scheduled to speak at the conference on September 29 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

Stern had long opposed sports betting throughout his entire 30-year career as the league’s top-ranking official. However, he appears to have changed his mind in siding with current commish Adam Silver, who has publicly stated his support for legalized and regulated betting on numerous occasions. Stern joining Silver on board the pro-gambling bandwagon can only help strengthen the argument for legalization and regulation, turning another basketball icon from an opponent to a proponent.

Stern’s appearance at the Global Gaming Expo – the world’s largest gaming convention – will focus on the discussion of sports betting and its impact on professional sports. He will talk about the subject with Geoff Freeman, the president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. Previously, Stern was on record as saying that he thought sports gambling would hurt the relationship between fans and their teams because more people would be taking an interest in the sport solely from a betting perspective instead.

Now that Stern is more than two years removed from being commish, he has taken a much different view and believes that additional interest could be good for the game. Silver simply wants the most people he can possibly get to watch the NBA and follow it closely regardless of whether or not they are gambling on the games. He realizes the sport’s growth can be impacted by many different types of people, including bettors. Stern seems to understand that as well and does not have to deal with the heavy opposition on a regular basis since he is no longer in a position of power.

Under Stern’s watch, referee Tim Donaghy was busted in the biggest betting scandal in league history during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. Stern has continuously claimed that Donaghy was a rogue official and acted alone, although many believe other referees were involved too in additional games before and after that time. Legalizing sports betting would likely lead to increased monitoring of referees and other officials as part of regulation in order to further protect the integrity of the game.

Cubs Heating Up Again to Improve Odds of Winning First Pennant Since 1945

The Chicago Cubs have made it to the National League Championship Series four times since last making it to the World Series in 1945, falling short in each attempt to win their first title since 1908. This year, the Cubs are strong +150 favorites (bet $100 to win $150) at online sportsbook Bovada to get back to the World Series though, and they have improved their positioning with a strong second half to increase their NL Central lead.

The last four times Chicago has held a 12-game division lead in August or September, the team has gone on to win the NL pennant. The Cubs have won the World Series once when that has happened back in 1907 with the last time occurring in 1929. The St. Louis Cardinals won the NL Central a year ago, and they are +1600 to win their third pennant in six seasons. The Pittsburgh Pirates are third in the division and +4000 to win the pennant after all three teams made the postseason last year.

It will be tougher for even two NL Central teams to make the playoffs this season because of the strong competition for the Wild Card spots. The Los Angeles Dodgers (+600 to win the pennant) and Miami Marlins (+1600) are the strongest Wild Card contenders, although both of them could also end up winning division titles in the NL West and East, respectively. Los Angeles is currently tied atop the division with the San Francisco Giants (+425) while Miami is chasing the Washington Nationals, who are listed as the +325 second choice to win the pennant behind Chicago.

The Dodgers are an intriguing choice as one of the hottest teams in baseball, especially because they have charged to the top of the NL West without ace Clayton Kershaw, whose timetable for a return remains unknown. Kershaw began practicing again on Sunday but is still out with a back injury that could keep him out until September or later. If Kershaw can return before the postseason, Los Angeles may be able to win the division considering San Francisco has not been the same team in the second half.

The Giants had the best record in the NL heading into the All-Star break, but their top two pitchers have struggled since then. Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto were viewed as the best one-two combo at that time, and neither has earned a win after the All-Star Game. The team picked up veteran pitcher Matt Moore from the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the trade deadline, but he has failed to pick up a victory in two starts.

The Nationals have overtaken San Francisco as the main competition for the Cubs thanks to strong starting pitching that could help them keep the favorites from cashing in for their backers come October. Washington’s Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer are as good as any top two starters in the league and may be the difference in a seven-game series versus Chicago if both teams end up playing in the NLCS.

AL East Race Could Be Key to Correct Pick on AL Pennant Odds

There is a good possibility that three American League East teams will make the postseason in 2016, just like last year with the National League Central. Whether or not one of them wins the pennant remains to be seen, but all three are among the favorites to advance to the World Series at online sportsbook Bovada.

The Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays have been in a virtual tie atop the division, although oddsmakers think the latter has the best chance of any AL East team to win the pennant at +425 betting odds (bet $100 to win $425). The Orioles and Boston Red Sox – who are 1.5 games behind them – are both listed at +700 to reach the World Series while the other two division leaders lead the pack as the top favorites.

The AL West-leading Texas Rangers are +275 to get back to the World Series for the third time in seven years. The Rangers lost to the San Francisco Giants 4-1 in the 2010 World Series and then fell 4-3 to the St. Louis Cardinals the following season. They are pinning their hopes on a makeshift rotation that has seen starters Yu Darvish and Colby Lewis each spend time on the disabled list. If Darvish and Lewis are healthy heading into the playoffs, they will form one of the best one-two punches of any AL team.

The AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians are battling the Detroit Tigers for the division crown but have cooled off since a strong run at the end of June and into July saw them win 14 in a row. The Indians are the +350 second choice to win the pennant with the Tigers sixth at +1100. Detroit has played very well in the second half and could also steal one of the Wild Card spots away from the AL East. The Houston Astros (+1400) and Seattle Mariners (+1800) are the only other teams with a shot at the Wild Card.

The defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox are both listed at +7500 after they were the early contenders to win the AL Central. The New York Yankees are +4000 and do not look to be much of a threat to any of the teams ahead of them in the AL East, especially following the MLB trade deadline. The Yankees dealt away relievers Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman before the deadline and have since seen first baseman Mark Teixeira announce his retirement effective at the end of the season while Alex Rodriguez is set to be released by the team.

The Red Sox might be the most intriguing pick to win the pennant and return to the World Series for the second time in four years. Boston’s David Ortiz is playing his final season and has put together an outstanding campaign as he looks to win his fourth World Series title. Ortiz was named the 2013 World Series MVP and could end a Hall of Fame career with another championship if the team’s pitching comes together.