Football and Gambling

Football and Gambling

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Texas will attempt to go 2-0 in conference play and turn its season around Thursday night when it visits an Iowa State team trying to make its mark in the Big 12.

The Longhorns were a disappointment in 2012, as head coach Mack Brown led them to a 9-4 overall record with a 5-4 record during conference play. The team has not improved too much so far in 2013, going 2-2 in their first four games with losses coming from two non-conference teams (at BYU, Ole Miss at home). The Cyclones have been a team looking to find its identity over the past few years, attempting to have its first winning season since going 7-6 and finishing fourth in the Big 12 in 2009. ISU should have some momentum going into this game coming off a 38-21 win at Tulsa, its first victory of the season. Since 1992, these two teams have played each other a total of nine times with the Longhorns coming out on top in eight contests, including the past two meetings. Texas has not done as well covering the spread in these meetings with a 5-4 ATS mark. In Iowa, the Longhorns are undefeated with a 4-0 SU record (3-1 ATS). Texas starting QB David Ash is doubtful for this game after suffering his second head injury of the year against Kansas State before last week's bye. His dual-threat play will be missed if they are forced to turn to senior Case McCoy under center if Ash is declared out. Iowa State will counter them with a solid passing offense (50th nationally) led by Sam Richardson, who is probable despite a nagging ankle injury. Texas has gone 17-8 SU over their past 25 games and this is a must-win for the Longhorns if they hope to have the type of season expected of them and compete for the Big 12 championship. Iowa State is 1-4 both straight up and ATS in their last five games and will need a solid performance from all of their players to keep this game close.

Texas was expected to come into the 2013 season and compete for the Big 12 championship, but recent performances have put both the team and Mack Brown on the hot seat. QB David Ash (760 passing yards, 7 TD) is doubtful for the Thursday night game against Iowa State after missing the second half of his last game with a head injury. He was replaced by senior QB Case McCoy who has been a decent fill-in for Ash over the season. McCoy has one start on the year, which came in a 44-23 loss at home against Ole Miss, when the senior completed 24-of-36 passes (67percent) for 196 yards and a touchdown. McCoy has completed 64percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions overall in his four years at Texas. Complementing McCoy on offense will be RB Jonathan Gray, who on the year has rushed the ball 66 times for 350 yards (5.3 YPC) and three touchdowns. Gray is coming off a huge game against Kansas State where he carried the ball 28 times for 141 yards (5.0 YPC) and two touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, look for top DE prospect Jackson Jeffcoat and CB Carrington Byndom to try and improve the Longhorns' mediocre 28.0 PPG allowed, which ranks 78th overall in the nation. Texas will need to keep using both the run (36th in nation) and pass (37th in nation) to go 2-0 in the Big 12.

Iowa State has struggled for years in the tough Big 12 conference, but has a group of young players that look to turn around the fortune of the program. QB Sam Richardson is one of these young players and has put together a solid season so far. In three games, Richardson has completed 62.5percent of his passes for 757 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions. He has been relied on heavily as a sophomore, averaging just over 37 pass attempts per game with multiple touchdowns in each contest. One of the top players receiving these passes has been WR Quenton Bundrage, another sophomore. He has 13 receptions for 186 yards and three touchdowns on the season. The Cyclones will look towards RB Aaron Wimberly to continue his great play from last week against Tulsa (137 rushing yards) and revive their 92nd-ranked rushing attack (135 YPG). Veteran leadership from LB Jeremiah George (27 tackles) will be needed to help Iowa State's 66th-ranked defense (25.3 PPG allowed) to slow down Texas.

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Sunday's monumental Super Bowl clash between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers generated wagering of almost $94 million, giving Nevada bookies a hold of 7.3 percent, according to official numbers from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
Board chairman A.G. Burnett said late Monday: "Unaudited figures show a sports book win of $7,206,460 was recorded on wagers totalling $98,936,798. This resulted in a hold percentage of 7.3 percent."
Comparative numbers from 2012 show wagering at $93,899,840, giving bookies a win of $ 5,064,470 or 5.4 percent when the N.Y. Giants beat New England 21 to 17.
This year the 49ers started out as 5-point favourites, but gamblers bet the line down to 3 points, and the 65 points scored in New Orleans easily exceeded the over/under of 49. Late money poured in for the over wager and for the 49ers, who have built a reputation as a second-half team, but they were pipped at the post by the Ravens in a 34 vs. 31 win.
Nevada sports books have lost only twice on the Super Bowl in the past 20 years, most recently in 2008, when New York beat the Patriots, costing bookies a record $2.6 million.

Football betting: A look at college football's opening week

While most of college football's elite squads are involved in projected mismatches to begin the season, there are a few contests that should be quite competitive. The marquee attraction will be on Labor Day night in Landover, Maryland when 5th-ranked Boise State will square off against 6th-ranked Virginia Tech. The Broncos have gone undefeated in each of the last two regular seasons but haven't had to face a team like the Hokies during the stretch.

While Virginia Tech's fans won't have to travel far to watch the matchup, Boise State is a 2.5-point favorite in the battle. Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore fired 39 TD passes in 2009 to lead the offense. The Hokies counter with running back Ryan Williams. He burst on the scene to rush for 1,655 yards as a freshman in 2009. Another top 25 battle will highlight the schedule on the first evening of the season on Thursday, September 2nd.

The 15th-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers will head west for a matchup against the 24th-ranked Utah Utes in Salt Lake City. The home team is a 3.5-point choice in the game. While dynamic running back Dion Lewis (1,799 yards in 2009) is back for the Panthers, the club will have to break in a raw quarterback to replace Bill Stull. Utah would like to make a statement against a Big East squad before moving over to the Pac-10 in 2011.

The football betting will really get cranked up two days later in the first Saturday of the year. There will be 29 booked games on Saturday, September 4th. A couple of top 25 contests will top the slate. In Atlanta, the 16th-ranked LSU Tigers will line up against the 18th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in an SEC-ACC battle. Both teams are expected to have two of the better defenses in the country. Each squad has some question marks on offense heading into the opener. The Tigers are a narrow 1.5-point favorite in a game that should draw plenty of football betting interest.

At Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, 7th-ranked TCU will make the short trip from Fort Worth to take on the 22nd-ranked Oregon State Beavers. The Horned Frogs had a perfect regular season in 2009 before falling to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. The Beavers are a 13.5-point underdog in the opener. The club will have to go with an untested quarterback after the graduation of quarterback Sean Canfield. The top 4 teams in the initial top 25 poll of the season are overwhelming favorites in the first week of the season.

Top-ranked Alabama will begin its national title defense at home against the San Jose State Spartans. As a 39.5-point favorite, Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram who’s line at has him listed as the early favorite to repeat as Heisman winner at +350, and his teammates will likely have this game wrapped up by halftime. On the opening Thursday, the 2nd-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will host the Marshall Thundering Herd. Behind star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State is a 29-point favorite in the contest.

With the Buckeyes possibly looking ahead to a matchup on September 11th against 13th-ranked Miami-Florida, Marshall could pull out a cover in the second half. On Saturday, the 3rd-ranked Florida Gators will move on from the Tim Tebow era in Gainesville against the Miami-Ohio Redhawks. Against a team that won just a single game in 2009, Florida has the right opponent to break in new starting quarterback John Brantley. The Gators are a 34.5-point favorite in the mismatch.

After coming up short in last year's BCS title game, the Texas Longhorns will open the 2010 campaign at Reliant Stadium in Houston against the Rice Owls. The former Southwest Conference rivals are clearly on different ends of the college football landscape. in 40 meetings since 1966, Rice has been able to post just a single win against Texas. Sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert will try to continue the recent signal-caller success (Vince Young and Colt McCoy) for the Longhorns. Texas is a 28.5-point favorite against the overmatched Owls.

There are a couple of other top 10 mismatches on the opening Saturday involving a pair of Big 12 schools. 8th-ranked Oklahoma is a 32-point choice over Utah State in Norman while the 9th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers are expected to cruise in Lincoln as a 35.5-point favorite over a Western Kentucky squad that has lost 20 consecutive games.