Betting markets in as many different critters as you need
Last Wednesday, MyBookie, an online sportsbook, invited gamblers to place wagers on the summer migration patterns of nine great white sharks. The company’s website displayed odds on various aspects of each shark’s travel itinerary, using data mined from Ocearch, a nonprofit that’s been tracking the animals’ movements for years. An interactive map on Ocearch’s website monitors shark migration in near-real time, providing gamblers ample fodder for wagers — akin, perhaps, to a virtual horse race, conducted entirely at sea. With most public sports out of commission because of the coronavirus pandemic, the betting market has been thin in recent months. Wagering on sharks could give gamblers an outlet, and some conservationists wonder if it might result in positive press for oft-maligned great whites. Here is the full NYT story, via the excellent Kevin Lewis. The post Betting markets in as many different critters as you need appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.
On our MTV Challenge Accepted podcast (link in bold) we have a segment where we discuss this question. Whose stock went up? Whose stock went down? Here were our winners and losers this week.
[OC] Which awards are locked in? Which are still up for debate? a glance through the odds and campaigns in each category It feels like it's been 5 years since we've seen actual NBA basketball, which may make awards debates and campaigns more difficult. Wait, who was playing well again...? Dennis Schroder? Seriously? Huh. Okay then. As we soldier back into the bubble, there's a risk that awards voters will forget about that early part of the season (aka the vast majority) and fall victim to recency bias. Given that, we wanted to glance through the major races and determine which -- if any -- awards may still be in debate. For this exercise, I'm using the current odds as listed by an online betting site (bovada). Note: the percentages do NOT add up to 100% because online betting sites like your money. MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo: - 3500 (97%) LeBron James: +600 (14%) is the race over? This betting site heavily favors Giannis Antetokounmpo, although some other metrics have it closer than that. Basketball-reference's MVP tracker lists Giannis at 50.7% and LeBron at 17.3%. I'm more inclined to believe the latter and that LeBron James would be closer to 15-20% odds. No doubt, Giannis is a worthy MVP. He's been a dominant force (again) for the top statistical team in the league (again.) He's racking up 30-14-6 in only 30.9 minutes per game. In most circumstances, he'd win this award in a walk. That said, you can never discount "narrative," and LeBron James has a few of those going for him. The Lakers have vaulted up to the # 1 seed in the West, outperforming preseason expectations. James has played exceptionally well, and even led the league in assists. Partly because of that, James' camp has successfully gotten the media to buy into the storyline that he made a sudden transition to point guard (ya know, because he had always deferred to his point guards like Mo Williams and Mario Chalmers in the past...) More than that, James may benefit from this strange corona-bubble. He's been a leading advocate for continuing on, and as always, players tend to follow his lead. I can see more than a few media members giving James an MVP vote for "saving the season." All in all, I expect this vote to be closer than it should be (and I expect poor James Harden to finish well behind where he should as well.) So James will get some votes, but can he actually win the award? I wouldn't rule it out. The Lakers are currently 3 games behind the Bucks for the # 1 overall seed. It's hard to imagine Milwaukee losing enough to slip, but it's not Wallace Shawn inconceivable either. If the Lakers somehow manage to catch them, then I actually think LeBron will win MVP. Of course, it's more likely the Bucks will hang onto the # 1 seed, and Giannis will hang onto MVP. But again, I don't think it's a stone cold lock -- yet. Rookie of the Year Ja Morant: - 3500 (97%) Zion Williamson: +850 (11%) is the race over? It should be. Zion Williamson is freakin' amazing, but he's played 19 games so far. That's 40 less than Ja Morant, who has played stellar ball for a rookie from a small school, and somehow led the Memphis Grizzlies to the 8th seed. Still, we can't rule out the risk of recency bias and a wild overreaction from the media. Williamson has a chance to lead the Pelicans up to the 9th spot, at which point they'd play Morant's Grizzlies. If Williamson can lead New Orleans to two victories over Memphis in a row -- and thus leapfrog them in the standings -- then it's very feasible the media would throw their vote his way. The media (and the league as a whole) tends to like this Zion fella, if you haven't noticed. Sixth Man Dennis Schroder: - 220 (69%) Montrezl Harrell: +190 (34%) Lou Williams: +450 (18%) Derrick Rose: +3000 (3%) is the race over? Simply put: no. It's still a three-man race in my book. The Clippers' Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell finished 1-2 last season, and are right back in the thick of things this year. Among the two, it's harder to justify Williams' winning for the third season in a row. He hasn't played as well as last year, and hasn't been as big of a focal point for the Clippers' game plan. He hasn't looked as engaged this season, and even debated missing the bubble. With Sweet Lou taking a slight step back, it's opened the door for Dennis Schroder. He's having a career season in terms of efficiency. In fact, it's hard to understate his jump this year. In his six previous season, his career high TS% was only 53.3%. This season? He's vaulted up to 57.3%. The question is: have enough voters noticed? OKC has been a feel-good story this year, but Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tend to get the most credit for that. Overall, I wouldn't be surprised if voters get lazy and just fall back on the highest scorer among the three. And even by those standards, the race is wide open. Schroder is at 19.0 PPG, Williams is at 18.7 PPG, and Harrell is at 18.6 PPG. A strong (or bad) week or two in the bubble may tilt this race in any direction. Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo: -500 (83%) Anthony Davis: +200 (33%) Rudy Gobert: +2800 (3%) is the race over? Even among savvy and analytically-inclined media members, "defense" is still something of a mystery to quantify. We see a lot of herd mentality emerge for DPOY voting, with candidates needing to stake their claim early on and campaign all season long. In terms of storylines and narratives, it felt like Anthony Davis had the early momentum. He's a wrecking ball (1.5 steals, 2.4 blocks) who helped improve the Lakers' defense from # 12 to # 3 this season. Still, Giannis Antetokounmpo has steadily built his case for a double MVP + DPOY, and currently ranks as the betting favorite on this site. Personally, I believe it's a closer race than these numbers suggest. At the same time, I'm not sure what their play in the bubble is going to do about it. More likely, it'll be an influential media piece (like Zach Lowe pushing for Marc Gasol) that may get voters ushering on one side or another. Most Improved Bam Adebayo: -150 (60%) Brandon Ingram: +250 (29%) Luke Doncic: +500 (17%) Jayson Tatum: +900 (10%) Devonte Graham: +1000 (9%) is the race over? Again, this race feels "too close to call" to me. John King and David Chalian may be tallying up the counties all night long. Earlier this season, I looked back at previous Most Improved winners and tried to find some common threads. On average, the winner improved from 11.7 PPG to 19.6 PPG (roughly +8 points.) Historically speaking, Brandon Ingram and Jayson Tatum fit close to those templates. Ingram has swelled from 18.3 PPG to 24.3 PPG in his first season in New Orleans (+6). Tatum has made an even bigger leap, going from 15.7 PPG to 23.6 PPG (essentially our exact +8). Of the two, I may lean more to Ingram myself. Tatum's taking more shots and more threes, but he was already considered a proven star prior to this. Ingram had been more of a question mark before, but has now established himself as a potential max player. The key for him has been an improved FT%. In his first three seasons, he shot 62%, 68%, and 68% from the line. This year, he's up to 86%. That's major progress, and represents a massive difference in his efficiency "floor." Still, you wonder if Ingram's momentum peaked too early. Ever since Zion Williamson came back, it feels like Ingram has been an afterthought in the media. Conversely, Bam Adebayo's reputation within the media is still surging. He's been a major reason for the Miami Heat's success this year, nearly doubling from 8.9 PPG to 16.2 PPG (+7.3 overall.) He's also doubled his assists (from 2.2 to 5.1). If you wanted to nitpick Adebayo's candidacy, you may suggest he was pretty darn good already. A lot of the statistical upswing comes from an increase in minutes, from 23.3 to 34.4 this year. Overall, I'd say Abebayo is the favorite, but I wouldn't lock it in yet. A player like Brandon Ingram could get hot and have a few 40 point games, at which point the momentum may swing back in his favor. When anthropology professors 99 cent store free agents: Point Guards The NBA offseason is always filled with exciting storylines like star free agents and blockbuster trades. But rather than dwell on the obvious, this series intends to do the opposite: focus on the lower-profile free agents who may have some value to teams. No NBA player is actually "99 Cents," of course, but these are all players who may be bargains based on their perceived market. This "99 Cent Store" series has been open for business for the last two offseasons. In the past, we've highlighted names like Fred VanVleet (pre breakout), Christian Wood, and Davis Bertans. Not all of the items turn out to be gems (is Nerlens Noel still not a DPOY candidate yet?), but the returns have been largely positive so far. Let's see if we can keep that momentum going this season.
99 cent store
Langston Galloway, Detroit Pistons, UFA, 28 years old In last year's 99 Cent Store, we hyped up Seth Curry (Steph's brother) as a possible value free agent. Seth didn't have the size and skill set of a traditional point guard, but the NBA isn't always craving traditional point guards these days. A lot of star SGs, SFs, PFs, and even Cs have the ball in their hands, so teams need to fill the court with a supporting cast that can complement them and provide spacing. Effectively an undersized SG, Seth's excellent shooting appeared to be a perfect complement to a ball-dominant superstar. Seth ended up going to Dallas on a moderate contract, and had a strong season for them in that role. For those same reasons, we'd recommend Langston Galloway as a potential bargain add. We're not going to suggest that Galloway is as good as Seth Curry as a player or as a shooter, but his skill set is related. He's not Steph Curry -- he's not Seth Curry -- he's on the opposite side of the family tree. He's like the random third cousin who shows up at the barbecue and hogs all the mac n' cheese. Still, if he got the address, then he must have some relation to the family we know and love. Galloway would share some DNA in the sense that he's also a "point guard" who's more of an undersized shooting guard by nature. He doesn't have the ball skills or playmaking to run an offense. At all. However, he can be effective if operating as a 3+D guard. Players like Patrick Beverly and George Hill are the premium prototypes of that skill set, and Galloway is the 99 Cent store generic brand. He's an above-average as a shooter (36.7% from three for his career), and above-average as a defender, where his 6'8" wingspan helps his cause. And while it feels like Galloway has been around forever, he's still only 28 years old. He probably has 2-3 years left of usefulness in his role. There may be 1 or 2 teams that would start Langston Galloway (in a limited role), but almost every team could use him as part of the rotation. possible fits HOU. Russell Westbrook and James Harden are ball dominant and salary-cap dominant players, making depth a constant struggle for the team. Backup PG Austin Rivers can probably get more money than he's due on his player option ($2.4M) even in a COVID-market, possibly creating another hole. Galloway would make sense as a replacement here, seeing as how he'd be able to play in a lineup with either Westbrook or Harden. LAL. Avery Bradley may be skipping the playoffs, but there's still a chance the Lakers can win the title with some combination of Alex Caruso and Rajon Rondo at PG anyway. But what happens if it doesn't work out? What happens if Bradley and Rondo (both of whom have player options) get shuffled out? In that case, Galloway and Caruso could tag-team and provide a decent and low-cost 3+D guard spot for next year. MIN. The Timberwolves tried the "no PG offense" for a majority of the season, and it didn't work out so hot. Now, they'll be handing the reins over to D'Angelo Russell full time. Galloway could be a nice backup for Russell; the two would have enough size to play some minutes alongside each other as well. You have to figure Gersson Rosas will prioritize shooters like Galloway as well. The team wants to play MoreyBall (top 3 in 3PA), but doesn't have the personnel yet to pull it off (bottom 3 in 3P%). Yogi Ferrell, Sacramento Kings, UFA, 27 years old He may be fairly anonymous now, but there was a time when the name "Yogi Ferrell" was a big deal in college basketball. The bluechip recruit immediately stepped into the starting lineup for Tom Crean's Indiana Hoosiers, helping to lead the team to a # 1 seed that first year on campus. But then a funny thing happened: the college star actually stayed in college. Ferrell would go on to play all 4 years (starting 137 of 137 games) for Indiana. Through it, Ferrell developed the negative narrative that he was a "college player." Only 6'0" with average length and athleticism, he didn't have the look of a future pro. The NBA dismissed him, leading him to get undrafted. He's hung around since then, but his buzz has dwindled and dwindled. He played this past season as Sacramento's 3rd PG, only logging 11 minutes per game. Maybe they were right -- maybe he was never cut out for the NBA. Then again... are we sure about that? Ferrell may not be the prototype, but he still has some virtues. Among those strengths: "basketball." He's a savvy, steady field general who has an above-average shot. He's hit 36.5% from three and 83.8% from the line over the course of his NBA career. He's not going to carry the load (14-4-4 per 36 minutes), but he's not going to rock the boat either. In fact, he only averages 1.5 turnovers per 36. The concern with a player like Ferrell would be his limited size and athleticism, a combo that tends to translate into awful defense. But again, we haven't seen much evidence of that. Effort and basketball IQ can help overcome athletic weaknesses, and that appears to be the case with Ferrell. Limitations and all, Ferrell has registered only a -0.2 defensive box plus/minus. Overall, this profile doesn't suggest any huge upside or any hidden "star" potential. But at the end of the day, this store isn't about star potential -- it's about value. Ferrell is a high-end third PG who can potentially be a true # 2. He'd make sense on a team like Orlando as a potential replacement for their own steady eddie backup D.J. Augustin (also a free agent.)
Gary Payton II, Washington Wizards, UFA, 27 years old On paper, you may wonder why Gary Payton II wasn't a bigger deal entering the NBA Draft. After all, we're talking about the son of an NBA superstar who had been productive in college. In his last season at Oregon State, he averaged 16.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 7.8 assists, and 2.5 steals (!) How the heck did someone with that pedigree go undrafted? Unfortunately for Payton, two factors worked against him. For one, he was a poor shooter. Second, he was "over-aged." After spending some time in community college with Jeff Winger and Dean Pelton, Payton would be a 24-year-old rookie, a major knock against him and his perceived upside. That criticism may have proven apt; Payton has not improved as much as a young pup may have. His three-point shooting has sagged around 25-30%, a major problem in today's NBA. In general, he's a below-average offensive player, averaging just 10-6-4 per 36 minutes. That said, Payton does have some virtues on the other end. He's not quite "The Glove" (basketball-reference even dubs his official nickname "The Mitten"), but he's definitely a good defender. He's 6'3" with a 6'8" wingspan, and has proven to have sticky hands himself. After averaging 2.8 steals over two years at OSU, he's at 2.2 per 36 in the NBA. He makes some sense when paired together with a ball-dominant SG like a James Harden or Devin Booker or Bradley Beal. No, we're not talking about as a starter, or even as a lead backup, but as a 3rd PG who can add a different skill set to a bench. In that context, he's worth a roster spot. Is a 13th man not worth reading about to you? Well then, get the F out of our store, ya snob! This is what the 99 Cent Store is all about.
E'Twaun Moore, New Orleans Pelicans, UFA, 31 years old Collectively, NBA fans scratched their heads in confusion when the New Orleans Pelicans doled out $8.5M a year for anonymous E'Twaun Moore. After all, this was an unheralded a player, a R2 draft pick, a player who hadn't cracked 10 PPG in any of his first six seasons in the league. For all we knew, he was an NBA2k generated player. Three years later, the contract doesn't look much better. Moore got buried this past season in a crowded Pelicans lineup, averaging only 18.8 minutes per game. He doesn't appear to be a part of the franchise's future plans at all. Moore will be tossed out into the darkness, left with no home, and perhaps no chance of matching that $8M salary ever again. However, we have to be mindful as NBA fans not to lump in an "overpaid" player as a synonym for a "bad" player. Someone like Tobias Harris may not be worth his salary, but he's still a good starter. On a lower level, E'Twaun Moore may be the same way. Perhaps he's not worth $8-10M a year, but he's actually a solid addition to a rotation (even if the Pelicans squeezed him out.) Moore's primary virtue is as a 3+D wing. At first glance he's not big enough for that role at 6'4", but he's aided by a pelican-like wingspan that stretches to near 6'10". He's not a great defender (now at age 31), but he's passable at both the SG and SF spots. Offensively, he'll help you as a spacer. He's hit on 39.0% of his threes for his career, and had actually gotten up to 42% and 43% the prior two seasons before he lost some rhythm this season. That combination of skills makes Moore a good rotation player, and perhaps even a low-end starter on the right team. I wouldn't expect him to get "overpaid" again, but that's precisely what earns him a place in our store. He's a potential bargain buy right now. possible fits BKN. SG Joe Harris is an excellent shooter, but he's also a free agent. Will the Nets pony up to keep him around? Or will he be jettisoned like others from the pre KD-Kyrie era? If he is, then E'Twaun Moore makes sense as a cheap replacement. MIL. The shooting guard spot is the biggest question mark for the Bucks, and this offseason may add to the murkiness if Wes Matthews (player option) or Pat Connaughton (UFA) leave town. E'Twaun Moore would be a sensible filler, and platoon with Donte DiVincenzo. SA. Do Gregg Popovich and the Spurs want to contend for the playoffs in 2020-21? Do they want to blow it up? TBD. But if their intention is to go for that 8th seed again, Moore may be an upgrade on smaller Bryn Forbes, who struggles on the defensive end.
99 cent store
Shaquille Harrison, Chicago Bulls, UFA, 26 years old Coaches and front offices love to tout that "defense is half the game!" That is, until it's time to actually pay a defensive player. Or draft a defensive player. Or even invite a defensive player onto the roster for a fully guaranteed contract. Shaq Harrison has been dealing with that struggle for his entire professional career. Coming out of Tulsa, Harrison always had the chops defensively. He's long and agile enough to guard 1s and 2s and even some 3s. The trouble is: shooting was never his strong suit. Even as a senior, he only hit 19.5% from deep in the NCAA. Yikes. That's a surefire recipe to go "undrafted," which is exactly what Harrison did. Since then, Harrison has been trying to improve his shot, the key for him to stick on an NBA roster. This past season, we've started to see some glimmers of progress there. He shot a career-high 38.1% from three, and a career-high 78.0% from the line. Now to be fair, those were both extremely small sample sizes (16-42 from three, 39-50 from the line), but it's still encouraging nonetheless. Because if Harrison can become a passable shooter, then his defensive abilities give him inherent value. He's legitimately one of the better perimeter defenders in the league. ESPN's real plus/minus listed his impact as a +2.5 on defense, which ranked as the 9th best player in the entire NBA (out of 503 qualifiers.) If a coaching staff feels confident in their player development and their shooting coaches, then Harrison would be an intriguing investment to make.
John Konchar, Memphis Grizzlies, 24 years old Last year, I included Philadelphia PG-SG Shake Milton in this column, causing Sixers fans to riot and demand that I mention the team had the right to extend his two-way contract if they wanted. The team did, and Milton will prove to be a bargain for them over the next few years. Similarly, the Memphis Grizzlies will have that opportunity to keep two-way player John Konchar on the team should they want. But if they don't, I'd be eyeing Konchar as a possible roster addition. No doubt, there are reasons to doubt John Konchar's NBA prospects. He comes from a school that's so small that they didn't even know what to name it (shifting a few times before settling on "Purdue Fort Wayne"). And at the risk of being politically incorrect, we should also mention that he's white. NBA GMs don't exactly sit up and salivate when they see an undersized (6'5") white wing player walk into the gym. All that said, Konchar has been productive time and time again. As you'd expect, he can hit the three pointer. But what's most intriguing about Konchar is his playing strength. He may be only 6'5" (6'7" wingspan) but he plays much bigger than that. As a college senior, he grabbed 8.5 rebounds a game and blocked 0.9 shots to boot. He also converted 62.9% of his field goals in two-point range. It may have been low level competition, but he flat-out bullied his opponents. Naturally you'd presume: there's no way he can do that in the pros! But so far, so good. Konchar put up similar numbers in the G-League this season, hitting 56.5% from the field and grabbing 8.3 rebounds per game (in 30 minutes a night.) From there, you'd presume: there's no way he can do that in the actual NBA! Well, in his 160 minutes of NBA action, Konchar shot 65.7% from the field and averaged 9.9 rebounds per 36 minutes. Clearly, it's too early to take this as gospel. But eventually, we're going to have to presume something else: maybe this dude is actually good. If I ran an NBA team, I'd want to run that experiment with Konchar in our uniform and not someone else's.
99 cent store
Josh Jackson, Memphis Grizzlies, UFA, 23 years old Like most of us on this sub, I have moments when I watch the NBA, watch the roster moves, watch the draft, and think: I could do that. Not play, of course, but perhaps build a team and winning roster. I've had a long and successful career in fantasy sports, so naturally a GM job would be the logical next step. The 2017 NBA Draft was one of those moments for me. Prior to the draft, I wrote a few posts on here, explaining why consensus top prospect Markelle Fultz wouldn't have been my personal # 1 pick. Clearly, I am a genius operating on a higher plane than the Bryan Colangelos of the world. Unfortunately, the alternative prospect that I advocated for wasn't Jayson Tatum. Or De'Aaron Fox. Or even Lonzo Ball. Instead, I thought the # 1 prospect in the class was... Josh Jackson. Whoops. Turns out, Jackson became an even bigger bust than Fultz (for his original team), causing the Phoenix Suns to dump him and wash their hands clean. Turns out: I have no clue what I'm talking about after all. But while I may have given up on my hidden genius, I'm still not ready to give up on Josh Jackson as a player. After all, no one expected Jackson to be a finished product. Back at Kansas, his shot looked funky and in need of an overhaul. Still, he had athleticism, defensive tenacity, and flashed some ball skills and passing ability. All in all, I thought he may develop into a player in the mold of a Jimmy Butler in time. Unfortunately, his NBA career stumbled out of the gates. If you're going to be the next Jimmy Butler, you need to work at it. Jimmy Butler may be a polarizing media presence, but he's undoubtedly a hard worker. In contrast, Josh Jackson had some issues off the court that made you doubt his dedication. His shooting hadn't improved much either. Even now, he hit on only 31.9% of his threes (29.8% career.) Still, if you're a stubborn Jackson optimist like I am, then you can see some flashes of progress here. After being humbled by a trip to the G-League and a trade to Memphis, Jackson has started to be effective again. This past season for the Grizzlies, he averaged 19.0 PPG, 5.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.9 blocks per 36 minutes. He's never going to be Kawhi Leonard as a shooter, but there are ways he can be effective offensively. He converted 77.5% of his field goals inside (0-3 feet), which was up from 55% in the past, showing how improved strength and bulk may aid his game. He also shot 34.8% on corner threes -- still below-average, but better than before. So where do we go from here? What can Josh Jackson become? If he continues to work on his craft without any problems behind the scenes, he looks like a good prospect again. After all, this is a kid who's still 23 (younger than rookie teammate Brandon Clarke.) Maybe it's too optimistic to think he can be the next Jimmy Butler, but maybe he can be a solid starter in the mold of a young Wilson Chandler. There's still some risk involved here, but it's worth an investment and gamble in the right circumstance (and for the right price.) possible fits MEM. Jackson staying in Memphis is the most likely scenario. While the Grizzlies are in the 8th seed right now, they're still a young team. Ja Morant is 20. Jaren Jackson in 20. Jackson can fit into their timeline. The only question here is whether they already have a similar (and better) player in house in Justise Winslow. CLE. The Memphis Grizzlies are a good young team. The Cavs are a bad young team. They need to add some more talent, especially at the wing. In theory, Jackson would be a nice complement to their undersized bomber guards like Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. CHA. The Hornets need to find a star, somehow, some way. It's unlikely Josh Jackson becomes that star, but it's worth a shot. He's comparable to current forward Miles Bridges in terms of his worth/upside. Daulton Hommes, San Antonio Spurs, 23 years old Marial Shayok, Philadelphia 76ers, 24 years old NBA general managers have a lot in common with Chris D'Elia: they like 'em young! They tend to dismiss college veterans as "over-aged" and salivate over teenagers instead. And to be fair, there's some logic there. A 22 or 23-year-old rookie likely doesn't have as much upside as a 19 or 20 year old. At the same time, not every NBA players needs to ooze with Giannis Antetokounmpo upside. Sometimes, you set the bar lower; you're just looking for a serviceable role player. To my eye, Philadelphia's Marial Shayok is trending in that direction. He spent 5 years at college (gross!) -- the first 3 at Virginia, before transferring and playing for Iowa State in 2018-19. That last season, Shayok looked solid -- averaging 18.7 PPG with great shooting splits (50-39-88). The 6'6" wing also sported a 7'0" wingspan, which naturally makes you consider him as a potential 3+D prospect. Still, the "age" issue prevented Shayok from going high -- landing at pick # 54 last season and earning only a two-way deal. That leverage puts the Sixers in the catbird seat here; they can bring Shayok back on a team-friendly deal, and likely will do just that after he played very well in the G-League. In fact, he averaged 27-7-5 per 36 minutes, hitting 36% from three and 89% from the line. Teams don't just let players like that go, especially when their depth is an issue already. However, if the Sixers decide to cast him aside, then Shayok should wash ashore on another team in a hurry. Marvin Williams, Milwaukee Bucks, UFA, 34 years old Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors, RFA, 27 years old Frank Kaminsky, Phoenix Suns, 27 years old Bonzie Colson, 24 years old Back in college at Notre Dame, Bonzie Colson felt like an anomaly. Here was a stocky 6'5" player who largely played as a smallball 5. He utilized his strength and wingspan (7'0") to bully opponents, averaging 19.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks as a senior. Still... a 6'5" PF/C? You didn't play like that in the NBA. Or do you...? The Houston Rockets are changing the paradigm with heavy minutes for P.J. Tucker (also 6'5") at center. Zion Williamson (6'6") will likely play a good amount of center as well for New Orleans. It may not ever be the norm, but it's not a ridiculous concept anymore. If you're an NBA team, it makes sense to at least have a lineup like that in your back pocket to break out in case of emergency. Colson can capably fill that role (on the back-end of a roster) due to his natural savvy and his passable shooting (34% from 3 in the G-League.) Better still, he'd be dirt-cheap after some G-League and overseas stints. In fact, he may not cost much guaranteed money at all. If he shows up at camp in good shape, then there's a chance he sticks around. And let's be honest, the NBA -- and all of our lives -- are better off when there's at least one Bonzi/e around. Nerlens Noel, Oklahoma City Thunder, 26 years old Jakob Poelte, Mason Plumlee Ekpe Udoh, 33 years old Ivan Rabb, 23 years old Langston Galloway, Detroit Pistons, UFA, 28 years old
The first (preseason) DFS content is available tomorrow on Draftkings! It's time to get back into the swing of things. Introduction Many people commented or PMed me last season saying that my posts helped them win more money, more frequently. I know I personally missed out on some big paydays by ignoring my own advice. (Sigh.) I’ve been playing DFS hockey since 2014 and have become gradually more invested in it over the past few seasons. I started playing $1 single entry tournaments and I’ve been hooked since my first entry placed 47/3448. You’ll generally find me in single entry tournaments on Draftkings and whichever site has the better tournament payout on the larger Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday slates. I have the same username on Draftkings, Fanduel and Rotogrinders if you’re looking for me elsewhere. Disclaimer I would recommend that you only play DFS as a form of entertainment. Hockey is a volatile sport where anything can happen any given night: the underdog could win, your starting goaltender could be injured, etc. While under no circumstances should you hold me liable should you lose, please take me into consideration if you do happen to come upon a big payday as a result of my advice ;) I’d advise restraint during the preseason and month of October while lines and systems are settling and the sample size is small. The whole point of using data to build your lineups is to reduce randomness, so your bankroll should be saved for when the league is more predictable. However, if you’re a degenerate like me, you likely have enough data about your personal habits to know that is unlikely. Slates The NHL schedule dictates larger slates on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with fewer games on days between. Larger slates tend to come with higher prize pools funded by more entries. Since a larger slate means more players are on the ice, that generally decreases specific player ownership. Though that increases your chance of your players having lower ownership if they go off, it also makes it more difficult to pick players that score more than the rest of the field, since there’s a higher probability more goals are scored. (And that’s what makes it fun!) While there are also all day, afternoon, evening and late night slates, as well as Showdown and whatever else have been introduced lately, the payout for these contests tends to be less overall for the same entry fees, while the difficulty of winning them is comparable, so I tend to avoid them with few exceptions. Contest Type Whether you’re playing cash games (50/50, multipliers, head-to-head), satellites, or GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool) tournaments will greatly affect your strategy. In GPP’s you’re looking for highest upside to get the most overall points possible to win the tournament. In cash, you’re looking for the highest floor to ensure you’re above the fold. In general, play cash games for security and GPP’s for the thrill. I’m sure there are a lot of pros that play cash games regularly because you can easily double your wager any given night, which at minimum helps pad your bankroll to cover any GPP losses. I personally don’t like the upside when weighing risk/reward and therefore prefer to play GPP’s almost exclusively. However, cash strategies can also translate to smaller tournaments because you don’t need as much variance to set yourself apart from other lineups. Single-Entry vs Multi-Entry Daily fantasy hockey is always pitching itself as a game of skill while trying to distance itself from gambling for legal reasons. I contend that single entry tournaments are the truest test of skill here because each entry holds the same weight. These are my preferred contests by far, though there are rarely more than two any given night with a payout worth the ticket price. While you technically have a better chance of placing first by maxing your entries in GPP’s every night, it’s impractical for most players, especially the novice. You can see in the Draftkings Results Database that even seasoned veterans rarely employ this strategy as well. For what it’s worth, some of my biggest paydays have also been ones where I made the fewest amount of entries. Your mileage may vary. Rake Rake is simply the house cut taken by whichever site you’re gambling on. Along with entry fees it has increased in recent years and stabilized around 9-13% depending on the contest. If all things are considered equal, target contests with a lower rake, as more prizes are being paid out to the contestants. That also means GPP’s and satellites that are not filling up before the deadline can offer you a slight advantage. Bankroll Management You should care about how much money you’re gambling because no one else is going to. Bankroll management doesn’t factor much into my decision making simply due to the scale I operate at, so I’ll only offer this advice: winnings are not winnings until you withdraw them, and only if you haven’t deposited more than that originally. It boggles my mind when people praise themselves for winning a grand after dumping two the month before. Set an amount you’re comfortable losing and don’t deposit more than that when it’s gone. There are free bankroll trackers available online if you want an overview of how you’re doing, such as Daily Fantasy Nerd, as well as restrictions on each site if needed. Point Systems This whole post was based around the 2018-19 point system for both Fanduel and Draftkings. However, it was Recently Announced that adjustments would be made to the Draftkings point system this coming season. Here’s what you need to know: Prior to this year, there used to be relative parity between the Fanduel and Draftkings scoring systems. Aside a few discrepancies, like Fanduel awarding minor powerplay point bonuses, Draftkings accounting for goaltender points and hat trick bonuses, and a slight variation between block and shot values, Fanduel scores were basically 4x Draftking ones and the only significant differences were salary discrepancies and lineup construction. No longer. Not only have the Draftkings points been bumped up overall but their relative values have changed. A goaltender win is now worth less relative to a goal. While it used to take 15 saves to make up a goal, it will now take about 12. There will also be two points awarded for overtime losses. There are other minor changes to the basic scoring system, like assists and shots on goal are worth slightly less relative to a goal, but the real change will be in the new bonus system. Here you will see an additional three points awarded for hat tricks, 35+ saves, 5+ shots, 3+ blocks and 3+ point games. That 3 point modifier also stacks with the hat trick bonus, which is, frankly, ridiculous. This will significantly change the worth of playmakers, with two assists (10 points) now being worth less than a player with five shots on goal (10.5 points) without hitting twine. Draftkings claims this makes the game “more exciting” but right now it just seems like it’ll be more random. I fail to see how anyone that regularly plays DFS with any volume benefits from this change, outside of possibly drawing in more inexperienced entries and increasing the overall player and prize pool. The NHL players gaining these bonuses are, for the most part, already the top performers in those categories. Additional incentives are hardly necessary to have Burns or Ovechkin any given night. For others, certain punt plays could see a significant boost, though it makes little sense to me why two blocked shots would be worth 2.6 points but a third bumps that up to 6.9. Regardless, I still see linestacking being advantageous with these changes. Linestacking Outside of choosing a winning goaltender, using players on the same line is the most basic DFS advice you can give a beginner. Since there are so few goals scored in a hockey game and most of those goals correlate with an assist, you typically want to pick players with good linemates. The odds of stacking two corresponding lines and getting multi-point games that win you money is far greater than selecting six players who have standout individual performances on any given night. Depending on whether you play on Fanduel or Draftkings will determine what kind of strategies are available to you, as there are tighter salary constraints on Draftkings but looser restrictions. For example, on Fanduel you’re capped at 4 players from each team. On Draftkings, you only need 3 different teams represented, so you can technically play the entire top six from one team instead. Despite that, you cannot do the 4-4-1 stack available on Fanduel, where you pick two lines with their corresponding defensemen and a goaltender. Instead, you have to opt for a 4-3-1 stack, either using the utility position for a punt play (typically not ideal) or alternating one of the defensemen from a different team (preferable). I don’t like to break up line stacks because I’ve been playing long enough to see it come back to haunt me, but there’s always an argument for dropping an underperforming third wheel or due to salary constraints. Powerplay Correlation Roughly 20% of NHL goals are scored with the man advantage. Though not strictly necessary, players who have top powerplay minutes are more likely to score goals. If an entire line has full powerplay correlation, even better. There are few teams worth targeting for a powerplay stack where the players are not also linemates. However, last season the Lightning, Panthers, Sharks, Pens, Flames, Leafs and Caps all had great powerplay success with players combined from two or more lines. This can make a decent contrarian play against a weak penalty kill team or simply to deviate from the standard chalk on a smaller slate. Percentage of Ownership Generally speaking, whichever team(s) has the highest Vegas odds to win, and especially a high oveunder, will also be the favored teams, or chalk, for DFS. Since only 20% of GPP entries will profit and the chalk lines are likely to garner 20%+ ownership, if that line goes off it could break the slate (you’ll need that line to win). Just because a team is a favorite to win does not mean they’re your safest option. Primarily because there are no safe options, it’s also crucial to maximize your success by differentiating your lineups from others. Use Vegas odds and “expert” predictions as a guideline for what you think other people will be targeting, and keep this in mind when building your own lineups. Looking for the lines that could produce but be underlooked (and therefore under-owned) is necessary for a big payday. The larger the slate, the more likely you can profit from chalk. Likewise, the smaller the slate, the higher upside for contrarian options. On a 12 game slate there are likely to be several favorites, decreasing the overall ownership percentage of any given line. On a three or four game slate, more people are likely to gravitate to one or two lines. Whether you can actually afford to stack these lines together is another matter entirely. Sometimes the chalk lines are so prohibitively expensive that you have to make great sacrifices elsewhere in your lineup. Salary Constraints I don’t fully understand how either Fanduel and Draftkings come up with their player salaries because they often feel arbitrary. Kase was priced at floor on Fanduel for weeks, despite putting up solid production on the first line for the Ducks. There were thousands of dollars difference in Chabot’s salary when he was on a tear as well. Some players, like Shattenkirk, appeared to have inflated salaries solely due to name recognition. Occasionally there are straight up errors, like Keith Yandle was priced at floor by mistake for almost a week on Draftkings last January. Suffice to say that it’s worth analyzing the value of each player on a line when stacking, as well as exploring individual salary trends, as players are often propped up by things that don’t translate to DFS production. It’s rare that you’ll pick two lines that fit so comfortably you can afford top defensemen and a goaltender as well. If you have the salary left over to flesh out your lineup with Burns, Letang and Vasilevskiy, it’s hard to make an argument not to. More likely you’re going to be looking for pivots, a line that has a value player that brings down the total cost, or ultimately sacrificing somewhere in your lineup. A solid pivot for me was likely an outlier getting top powerplay time (ex. Pirri), an individual performer on a depth line (Ex. Donato; Perreault), an unrecognized rookie (ex. Svechnikov, Chabot), someone stepping in for an injury in a lineup, or a cheap defenseman with offensive upside (ex. Ekholm). It’s also not uncommon for a star to have less talented linemates. Sometimes that artificially inflates the cost of those linemates, but sometimes it makes the line a decent budget option. You’ll likely find these players alongside McDavid, Matthews, Crosby or Stamkos, for example, when their lines are not loaded with their corresponding Kucherovs or Draisaitls. Some lines are so prohibitively expensive they’re virtually unstackable at all, though these lines are also typically matchup proof. Because of the sacrifice required, these lines are often worth targeting on a larger slate or against tougher opposition where they’ll fetch lower ownership but still have the potential for a hat trick or more. Refer to COL1, BOS1, TBL2, etc. Contrarian Play Contrarian here simply means rejecting the consensus favorite, but it’s often confused with simply picking a line from a bad team to go against the grain. Note there’s rarely a good argument to pick a contrarian goaltender, outside of high upside for their salary. Keep in mind that Vegas odds, really even the best teams in the NHL, are roughly 60-65% likely to accurate project as a winner, and that winning alone is not always enough to make a goaltender valuable because they might not see a lot of shots. So when should you play contrarian? One of my favorite contrarian options on Fanduel specifically is when a line’s players have the “wrong” position. This happens when a player was previously playing out of position, and Fanduel is notorious for being slow to respond to these changes. Since it’s more difficult to stack a CCW or WWW line, these picks are naturally contrarian because they’re harder to fit into a lineup. Another option might be targeting secondary scoring on depth lines. Not only is this an option for affordability that’s easier to stack, but it’s a decent pivot off the chalk for a team that’s a favorite to win. It’s worth noting that a team playing on home ice has the advantage of last change and therefore can choose their deployment. If you’re targeting against a team with a solid shutdown line on home ice, a secondary scoring line might end up getting better deployment and production. Likewise, if you know a line will be forced to play a shutdown role, you might want to consider alternatives. This is called line matching and may differ on a nightly basis. One option that’s often overlooked is a game stack. That is, picking one line from either teams in one game. When two teams are porous defensively or have a historic rivalry, chances are if a goal is scored early in the first period the ice could rapidly open up and the game will become a shooting gallery. Finally, though this option is restricted only to Draftkings, you can stack two lines from the same team with each other. This could be the entire top six or a full five man powerplay stack. I would reserve this option only for high powered offenses against the weakest of opposition though. Defensemen I often consider defensemen an extension of linestacking, but in reality that’s not always feasible. Though there are technically points awarded for blocked shots, even the top shot blockers aren’t very DFS relevant on shot blocking alone, unless they are positioned against a high shot volume team and come at a reasonable price tag. It is worth considering a high floor from reliable shooters and/or blockers when looking for value if you’re stacking two expensive lines, especially in cash games. While it’s not uncommon to see rosters where people have two depth defenders squeezed into their lineup due to salary constraints, know that you’ll typically need at least another goal from your forwards to compensate for the backend unless they happen to get a lucky bounce. There are only around forty defensemen capable of regularly generating at a half point per game every season. With so few of these players available any given night, their salaries are typically higher than a forward with a similar point pace. The most prolific point producers are often unattainable for this reason. If an inexpensive defenseman finds his way onto the first powerplay unit, you can guarantee he will see high ownership. It’s almost always recommended to upgrade your defensemen if your salary allows. Goaltenders More important than any other statistic is whether or not your goalie is starting, so make sure to confirm that before puck drop. Daily Faceoff is the defacto place to verify the starting goaltender for each team. It’s not infallible, but it’s the best resource available without refreshing Twitter constantly for updates. While it’s rare this will haunt you, it’s important to note that the win is only attributed to the goalie that’s on the ice when the deciding goal is scored, and that’s not necessarily who’s in the net at the end of the game. This is especially pertinent if you’re considering playing preseason games, where there’s often split duty between two prospects. Even the worst goaltender is going to take up a sizeable chunk of your salary cap. However, unless they’re pulled from the game, even a losing goalie at least generally has some positive impact on your overall score. On the flipside, a winning goaltender can easily be your MVP every night. That’s a lot of pressure on picking the right player in this position, and therefore it’s often the hardest. Without consideration for quality of opponent, even the best goaltender on the first seeded team has generally won less than 70% of their games that season. Picking a winning team is already a gamble, let alone the challenge of picking a winner that also faces a lot of shots without giving up goals. Because of this, I don’t really have a strong inclination to any particular strategy here. Some nights I’ll single out a small handful of goalies I think will perform well and either correlate them with my stacks or disperse them based on their salaries. If I’m only targeting a few lines that night, maybe I’ll run the same stacks with several goaltenders and hope to see them all dispersed in the top fifty. Other times I’ll ride the same goaltender for every lineup in a boom or bust scenario. In any case, I would seriously caution against being contrarian here without knowing there’s high upside (the goaltender is cheapest on the slate and at least has a chance of winning, say). Recent/Historical Performance I’m not going to lie, I use DailyFantasyNerd to compare shooting and scoring trends amongst players, and I’m always dialled in to the hot hands as much as anyone. However, I feel like people might put too much weight on recent performance and too little on historical data and sustainability. There’s no question that sometimes players just go on hot or cold streaks, and betting on a player who’s in a slump to miraculously break it that night is equal parts realistic and gambler’s fallacy, as much as banking on the hot hand continuing his run would be. If you’re willing to do further digging, it’s worth taking into account whether a player is seeing a change in deployment or ice time. Consider whether they’re shooting more or less and what percentage of those shots are converting. Also note the quality of competition in the previous games. If you’re not doing any additional research whatsoever, just know these stats are usually shown as an average over the last five games and can be heavily skewed by one good or bad game, or even an injury. If I only have time for minimal research any given night, without fail I am checking ShrpSports and CBC Sports for the team matchup history. Providing other factors align, I will often trust historical data and narrative games over a lot of other metrics. Now, I’m often criticised for putting weight on either of these things whatsoever, but I’ll still argue that it’s foolish to ignore it. Obviously rosters change from season to season, and sometimes very dramatically. You should definitely take offseason changes into account. However, there are some teams or specific players that consistently (and often unexpectedly) have another team’s number, and rivalries are sure to bring out the best of both teams despite what fancy stats and standings indicate. Because of this, I tend to look at the outcome of the previous two season’s play and include any games played this season, with a greater weight put on teams that matchup more frequently. Especially if there is a team that shouldn’t be victorious that’s been on a relatively consistent win streak versus their opponent, I’m making a note of the upside from their upset potential, both to avoid picking the opposing goaltender and to consider linestacks that might otherwise be overlooked. I generally ignore playoff performances though because the stakes are higher and roles tend to be different. It also might seem silly to place any weight on things like personal milestones, birthdays or playing against your former team, but hockey players are human, and more often than not people step up to prove something to themselves or others, or help their teammates achieve personal goals. Advanced Stats I’ll consider advanced stats for our purposes as anything that isn’t already tracked for DFS points that might actually affect them. So, standard stats would be shots, goals, assists and blocks, and advanced stats would be metrics that affect that. Not all good hockey players are fantasy relevant, and therefore many advanced stats aren’t a good predictor of DFS production. I will say that advanced stats strongly suggested that Tampa Bay were not nearly as good as their record suggested headed into the playoffs. Either way, it’s worth understanding these terms as they’re becoming part of the narrative, and while player and puck tracking will soon be the norm, you can garner a slight edge over the competition with a bit of manual work if you’re so inclined. In any case, none of these stats should be considered in a vacuum, and hockey isn’t a science in that you’ll accurately predict an outcome via advanced stats alone, so don’t go crazy looking for a pattern that probably isn’t there. You can find all these stats (and much more) listed below at Corsica Hockey and Natural Stat Trick. Shooting Percentage Shooting percentage is predictive of whether on a player’s ice performance is sustainable. It’s most useful as a comparison to league and individual averages weighed against current performance to determine whether it’s an outlier. Simply, whether a player is slumping or over-performing. Scoring Chances These are shots taken where goals are likely to be scored, weighed based on where on the ice they’re taken from. It’s fallible, but it’s one of the strongest predictors currently available. If a player has a high shooting percentage but is also taking high danger shots, it stands to reason why they’re converting into goals. It’s worth noting when a line is generating high danger scoring opportunities without producing, as they’ll likely fly under the radar in the meantime. Expected Goals FoAgainst (xGF/xGA) Expected goals is a measurement of unblocked shots that register on net in the offensive zone. xGF/xGA doesn’t have a strong correlation with actual goals scored, which seems easily explained because it doesn’t take into account individual talent or scoring probability. While there’s a chance any puck thrown toward the net could lead to a goal, without taking into account the shot quality or where it’s generated from, I don’t place much weight on this personally. Expected Save Percentage (xSv%) This stat takes into account shot quality (though not shooter quality) and quantity and ranks the goaltender against the league average performance. Again, this isn’t necessarily a fair indicator of how well the goaltender performed. It is worth considering for how well the team’s defense has played in front of him though, so it can be used in conjunction with other stats when picking a goalie for the win and save upside. Corsi and Fenwick Corsi is likely the most recognizable name in advanced stats. This was devised to account for goaltender workload and adjusts for every time they have to be in position to make a save, so it takes into account shot attempts that are blocked or go wide of the net. It’s sister stat, Fenwick, is identical, aside excluding blocked shots. >50% Corsi/Fenwick indicates more shots on net than against. Neither take into account shot quality. Therefore, rather than using positive metrics to determine whether a team will score, I consider this a determining factor for diminishing the opposition from scoring, as they’ll possess the puck less often. This is especially worth considering for linematching. Note that Corsi/Fenwick will be influenced by zone starts. A player that gets more faceoffs in the offensive zone is more likely to put pucks on net than they are to have shots against theirs, and vice versa. A player that has negative percentage and >50% offensive zone starts represents poor ice performance. PDO/SPSV% This statistic is nothing more than shooting percentage added to the save percentage. Since this will always total 100% league-wide, variance higher than 100 supposedly indicates luck, or that a team is not as good as they seem, and anything lower indicates they may be better than they appear. Though this stat supposedly measures luck it can also indicate a significant skill gap (Kucherov and Matthews are dominant in this category). A line generating many high danger scoring chances without conversion should have a low PDO that regresses to the mean. There are more advanced stats available than these, as well as derivatives of each, though I think this is enough of an overview for daily fantasy purposes. If there’s something you’ve found to be useful though, feel free to drop it in the comments. Lineup Construction Now that you have narrowed down your chosen lines based on which teams you want to target and have a handful of goaltenders and defensemen/utility players selected, you’re ready to construct your lineups. This will likely be a very individual process based on system comfortability and how many entries you’re submitting. The default will be simply to load the corresponding app or website and do everything entirely on your device or browser, if not supplementing with pen and paper. Perfectly acceptable. However, this would be both cumbersome and time consuming for MME, so there’s also a bulk upload option available with .csv spreadsheets. This might be the approach you take if you’re using an optimizer too. Optimizers Free optimizers are basically designed to squeeze out every dollar per average point production or projection, which is very much not what I prefer to build my lineups on. Though there are better options if you’re willing to shell out some money, I don’t play enough volume to warrant a subscription and prefer a more hands-on approach anyway. I would highly recommend checking out Linestar though. I am not affiliated with them in any way, but they seem under-recognized in the market and are easily the best optimizer available for hockey in my opinion, utilizing a lot of the criteria I’ve mentioned here, including historical data, stacking and advanced stats, etc. which many other optimizers omit. There’s also an option for a brief trial based on ad views. Line Stacker I personally use a custom line stacker that I hobbled together with spreadsheets and the downloadable .csv files from Draftkings and Fanduel. You can access it here along with the basic instructions for how it works. Someone always comes along and messes it up somehow, so I would recommend downloading it to your desktop and using Excel to play around with it. Late Night Swaps Rosters lock when the first game of the night is slated to begin. If there are games on your slate starting later than that, keep in mind that changes can and do happen. Check for last minute line changes or which goaltender takes the ice even if things seemed certain at the morning skate. The worst thing that can happen is watching your first place entry plummet because it was a late reveal that someone has the flu and isn’t on the bench. Additional Resources Breadispain’s FREE Fanduel and Draftkings Line Stacker v1.1: My own hobbled together line-stacking tool for up to 24 lines. I don't know of a similar tool available right now and I find it handier than an optimizer. There’s also a rudimentary salary comparison tool between Draftkings and Fanduel implemented if that interests you. ShrpSports: See how well teams have performed against each other historically. CBC Sports: maybe it’s because I’m Canadian, but I think the CBC does the best overview of the slate with easy access to the latest game data. Daily Faceoff: Your best source for lineups, injury news and starting goaltender information. Daily Fantasy Nerd: I use this daily for an overview of who’s hot/cold in the last five games for shots on goal, ice time and points, though it’s worth making a deeper dive to see whether those points came from a single outlier game. Corsica Hockey and Natural Stat Trick: I use both of these sites for advanced stats, and occasionally the latter for line-matching data and post-game analysis. Linestar: Linestar comes closest to developing a DFS tool that actually correlates with how I build my lineups. They offer everything from analysis on value plays, recent performance in varying metrics, historical data vs opponent, change in salary, salary disparity between platforms, and much more. Results DB: see the best and optimal lineups from previous nights and who came out ahead. Awesemo, Rotogrinders and DFS Army: Since these are the more popular sites, I tend to review their postings and livestreams when time permits on the big slates for anything I might’ve overlooked and to get a better idea of where other people might be targeting. I personally place more weight on boggslite and Homercles, for whatever that’s worth to you. Summary It’s my opinion that Vegas odds and expert predictions should be used as a guide for chalk more than what you should target. It won’t take research to determine that good players with ideal linemates against weak opponents are more likely to score. Don’t ignore narrative games and historical performances. Advanced stats can be both helpful and distracting. Ideally you’ll always stack two or more players who are correlated on the powerplay with one or both of your defensemen, on teams with high GF/G and/or PP%, against teams with low CF% and/or a goaltender with high GAA, ideally with a low PK%. Consider whether these players have been under or overperforming and have any chemistry together. Players who shoot more often increase their point floor and probability to score. It’s advantageous to be on home ice for linematching but it’s rarely a dealbreaker. Round this out with a goaltender with a high expected SA/G and low GAA that fits within your salary constraints. Alternatively, build from the goaltender out or just hamfist whomever works. And that’s always easier said than done. Best of luck.
Despite Overwhelming Evidence that Mobile Sports Betting is the Future, States Continue to Pass Legislation Without Option
19 states have passed sports betting legislation (14 are live). By the end of 2020, Jake Williams, VP of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Sportradar U.S. (the leading data supplier in the domestic betting market), expects that figure to climb into “the mid-twenties.” Surprisingly, at least to those who are aware that +/- 80% of all sports betting takes place on mobile devices, only +/- 68% of the states that have passed legislation to date included online or mobile wagering in the bill. Those who failed to do so are leaving revenues on the table. Howie Long-Short: One reason that such a large percentage of states are passing legislation without an online or mobile component is in the U.S. “gaming [licenses] are tied to physical locations." The overwhelming desire to “bring people into those facilities” has resulted in several states deciding they would only permit sportsbooks within brick and mortar properties. “The industry has quickly learned [a casino] isn’t going to bring that many more people to the facility [with the presence of a sportsbook].” Instead, Williams says local gaming operators should consider lobbying “to introduce new online and mobile products, [which would allow them to] generate revenues and then try to drive those new customers to a physical location. The audience who bets online or through a mobile app isn’t necessarily interested in going to a casino or retail sportsbook. [Operators] can capture far more of the market [if they have an online and mobile options available].” ADVERTISEMENTSCROLL TO CONTINUE READING It’s important to note that even in states with online and mobile sports betting “there is a spectrum of how successful the roll-out can or will be.” States that fail to support an open and competitive marketplace, limit the locations where mobile bets can be placed (see: geo-fencing) or require in-person registration are going to generate less revenue. New Jersey - which has 20+ skins and is generating +/- 88% of its sports betting revenues through mobile applications - is considered the model to follow. The one mistake New Jersey made was preventing bettors from wagering on collegiate teams located in the state. Williams says “it’s not better from an integrity perspective, it just forces those who want to bet on Seton Hall or Rutgers to drive to PA, bet with their local bookie or bet off-shore.” The rigidness of the legislation prevents state regulators from correcting the wrong. As the U.S. sports betting industry matures, in-play betting will become more prominent. With that transition will come an increase in “transaction volume” and in the amounts wagered. Williams expects - based on international trends and the direction the world is heading - that “80% of all-bets will [eventually] be in-play.” How soon remains to be seen (though, a decade seems reasonable), with most companies currently focused on offering core products that their customers are familiar with. That's because “some of the platforms that the online or mobile products were built on were developed many years ago. They weren’t designed to handle the dynamic and time sensitive requirements of the U.S. market in 2020, which for a large operator means launching multiple sportsbooks in multiple states, keeping the product on the cutting edge of innovation (because there is stiff competition) and doing it without knowing [what is coming down the pike].” Software and bandwidth concerns aside, Williams believes that the industry needs to invest in educating the public that in-play betting is a possibility for it to become more prominent. To that end, Sportradar is meeting with lawmakers and regulators across the country to ensure that they understand the entire anatomy of sports betting, including the potential of in-play (along with how data is used and integrity monitoring). “Even though there has been sports betting in Nevada for a while, most people don’t fully understand that they can bet during the game. Once that becomes part of the culture, in-game betting will take off and that is when teams and leagues will begin to achieve their goals related to driving engagement.” SBJ recently noted that online sports betting has yet to impact the NFL's television ratings. Fan Marino: If sports betting is operational in 25+ states come early 2021, Williams indicated that last Sunday's Super Bowl would be the last without national commercials for gaming operators. “You are going to be hard pressed to find a CMO [of a multi-state operator] who wouldn’t be very interested in [a Super Bowl commercial]. Certainly there are companies with big budgets, that want to make some form of a splash. I don’t think it is crazy to think it could occur [next year].” Editor Note: Please note that joining our community (si.com/johnwallstreet) will entitle you to receive our free daily email newsletter.
Lobby Day 2020 MEGATHREAD: Richmond VA, January 20th, 2020 @8AM
Hey team, Can you believe that it is almost time for the BIGGEST AND BEST Lobby Day ever? Let's start by using the compiled info that our mod team has put together from years prior: Let's use this as a coordination place! This is going to be huge and lets make sure that everyone is on the same sheet of music. Here is info on carpools and allows folks to sign up. This is going to be a great event and everyone should come dressed warm (unless it is Virginia being Virginia and its 68 degrees that day...). We will be there rain or shine no matter what. We are expecting anywhere from 10k-100K+ people showing up. Please know that we want everyone to be apart of this! I am also speaking to the crowd that day wanting people to get involved! I won't bore you with a long speech, but will get everyone engaged as needed! GET ACTIVE AND GET INVOLVED NOW!!! ----- Below is from the FAQ that is updated as needed HERE VCDL Lobby Day (1/20/20) Frequently Asked Questions http://tiny.cc/lobbydayfaq Isn’t Martin Luther King Day a Holiday? Yes, it is a Federal Holiday, however, the Virginia General Assembly is in session and working. Isn’t the 20th of January too late? No, not at all. It's perfect. Bills are filed and are getting assigned to committee and go thru changes or killed, etc. Crossover day is February 11. That's when they make it to the Senate. Bills that advance and get signed into law "usually" become law on July 1st. VCDL is there every day during session. We need people like you to come to committee meetings every day too and speak to support VCDL initiatives! I can't come to VCDL Lobby Day, how else can I help?
Subscribe to the free VA-ALERT email and take action expeditiously any time we ask.
Donate and encourage others to donate and join us.
Take off work NOW for MLK day in 2021 so you don't have any excuse not to attend
Make sure you vote on local and national election
Buy a "Virginia-15" stripped lower from Palmetto State Armory as they give VCDL $10 per each one sold.
Do you have to be a VCDL member to come to VCDL Lobby Day? No! We invite everyone to join us that believes in the fight for our Second Amendment rights! Family and friends are welcome too! Can we carry?We don’t tell you to carry or not, If you do, please do so legally and responsibly. You can't have a magazine in a centerfire rifle or pistol that holds more than 20 rounds unless you have a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP). You must also have a CHP if the centerfire rifle or pistol has a threaded barrel or a folding stock. Click here to see the code section, which also covers similar restrictions on shotguns: 18.2-287.4 Open carry without a CHP is legal in Virginia, but watch the restrictions in the previous paragraph. You need a CHP to carry in the General Assembly or Capitol Building. Once through security, you can carry openly or concealed in the buildings. You cannot carry in the gallery over the Senator Floor. Keep an eye on these alerts. Should any of this change, we will notify you in the VA-ALERT. Long Guns If you are asking how you can help with VCDL's mission, carrying long guns at Lobby Day is not helpful - it is a distraction. VCDL's important messages inevitably get lost as the press rushes to get pictures of anyone carrying an AR or AK. The stories then become about the rifle, not VCDL's agenda. You can set your watch by it. Long guns are not easy to carry in a crowd, either. VCDL needs its voice heard loud and clear in order to be able to stop the onslaught of gun-control bills. Is there a special entrance to those carrying with a CHP? No. There used to be at the main GAB building, but in the temporary building there was not last year. If they add it this year. No backpacks or other bags allowed at this entrance as they don’t use walk-through magnetometers, just wands. Show your ID, permit and point out (don’t touch) where on your body you are carrying. What should I wear? Some wear suits and dress for a business meeting (that’s what it is) some wear business casual. Check the weather. The lobbying is INSIDE. The rally is outside. With large crowds expected, there is a chance that you might not even be able to get into the building to lobby your lawmakers, so you should be prepared to spend the duration of your visit outside in the elements. Please check the weather before coming and plan accordingly. Are there carpools? Yes! Check outhttp://tiny.cc/vcdlride How do I know which lawmakers represent me? Check this website:https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/ Where is the General Assembly Building? The Pocahontas Building at 900 East Main Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, is the temporary home for legislative members and staff while the former General Assembly Building is being remodeled. Constituents meet with their Delegate or Senator in the Pocahontas Building at these members' offices. I have never been to lobby day. What do I do? Show up at 8 AM (bring family & friends) and gather outside of the building where lobbying teams will be formed and enter the building with a team leader to guide you. It will be helpful for you to know who your lawmakers are. Watch for the sea of orange Guns Save Lives stickers. Here is a video from a lobby day years ago -https://vimeo.com/34618841 I have been to lobby day and would like to be a team leader this year. Who do I contact? Contact Ken at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) What legislation are we looking at? Take a look at the VCDL legislation Tracker to see what we support, what we are neutral on and what we oppose. THIS tracker is the 2019 tracker and will be updated soon:http://www2.vcdl.org/webapps/vcdl/2019leg.html When do any new laws take effect? Generally, the new laws take effect on July 1, 2020. Is there food? There are a number of delis and restaurants within walking distance and sometimes food trucks show up Parking - Meters are not enforced on lobby day. There are garages and some private lots around. Google or a parking app is your best bet to shop location and price. This link should help too:http://www.richmondgov.com/Parking/documents/map_RF_RIC_Parking.pdf I’m from the press, who can I speak to that represents VCDL and their position? Only the VCDL President, Philip Van Cleave speaks for the organization [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) (Mr. Van Cleave can designate speakers at his discretion). Who will be speaking at lobby day in front of the steps during the 11AM rally? We will present the list as the day approaches. So far we have: Stephen Willeford stopped a massacre at a church in Texas Antonia Oakafor trains women college students to be able to protect themselves with a firearm Dick Heller from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of DC v. Heller Dr. Veronica Slootzsky, a psychiatrist in Northern Virginia Cam Edwards, Bearing Arms and host of the Cam & Co Youtube channel Jeff Katz, talkshow host on Richmond's powerhouse radio station WRVA Erich Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America Sheriff Scott Jenkins of Culpeper County, willing to deputize thousands if necessary to save their gun rights Sheriff Danny Diggs of York County, pledging to stand strong against infringements on the right to keep and bear arms Anthony Myers, gun-rights activist from Suffolk Senator Amanda Chase Delegate Nick Freitas Delegate John McGuire Where can I Buy some VCDL gear? https://vcdl-gear.myshopify.com/ How do I get on the free VCDL VA-ALERT email list? https://vcdl.org/VA-ALERT I have extra money and would like to donate to the VCDL and the VCDL-PAC (Political Action Committee) Can I? Sure!https://vcdl.org/donate Am I a VCDL member? If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter or even the VA-ALERT email, that is great! You need to actually JOIN (and pay your $25 membership fee) to be a member. You can also give the gift of membership -https://vcdl.org/join-VCDL After Lobby Day, Then what? Stay engaged. Go to the committee meetings and speak to the committees and tell them no more gun control in your own words. Follow along on our free email list, the VA-ALERT. As soon as you see an action item come out, immediately respond do whatever is asked. Register to vote and commit to voting in local and national elections. Are there going to be buses? Yes. Direct questions to [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) VCDL is chartering buses to Lobby Day on January 20. All seats are $35. All depart Richmond at 2 PM. Sign up through Eventbrite; all signups go live on Thursday morning at 6AM. A donation of $35/person will *just* cover costs for the buses. If you want to donate more, please do. If you want to buy seats for others, please do. If you prefer to make a donation via PayPal (see vcdl.org/donate/pp) you may do so, but you will still need your Eventbrite ticket to ride the bus. To donate a seat for another rider, use this link:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/donate-a-seat-on-a-bus-for-lobby-day-jan-20-2020-tickets-85874911171 If you want to pay by check, mail it to VCDL Treasurer, 19390 Beaver Dam Rd, Beaverdam, VA 23015-1350 - but you'll still need your Eventbrite ticket to ride the bus. Buses will run from -FAIRFAX (3 buses) - From Fairfax County Government Center Park & Ride 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax Departs 5:30 AM Leaves Richmond at 2 PM Signup:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/85363417279 -FREDERICKSBURG SECOND BUS added; tickets being released to waitlist; add your name to waitlist to get next available seats. Leaves Route 17 Commuter Lot Departs 6:30 AM Leaves Richmond at 2 PM Signup: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/85418917281 -HAMPTON(2 buses) - From Hampton Coliseum, 1000 Coliseum Drive Departs 5:30 AM Leaves Richmond at 2 PM Signup:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/85392538381 - MANASSAS --from Cushing Road Commuter Lot Sign up:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lobby-day-bus-manassas-tickets-87158951771 - NORFOLK Leaves from WalMart 7530 Tidewater Drive Departs 5:15 AM Leaves Richmond at 2 PM Signup:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/85425462859 -ROANOKE -Attempting to secure a second bus - Roanoke Park and Ride -- Route 1150 (Edgebrook Road) & Route 1128 (Mountain Heights Drive) Departs 4:30 AM Leaves Richmond at 2 PM Signup:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/85445575015 -ROCKY MOUNT Leaves from Park and Ride at 395 Old Franklin Turnpike, Rocky Mount Departs 4 AM Leaves Richmond at 2 PM Signup:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lobby-day-bus-rocky-mount-tickets-86752333565 -SHENANDOAH VALLEY with pickups in New Market, Woodstock, and Harrisonburg (2 buses) Departs Woodstock WalMart Supercenter 461 W. Reservoir Rd at 3:30 AM Departs New Market Library 57 E Lee Hwy (subject to change if we find a better spot) at 4:00 AM Departs Harrisonburg WalMart 171 Burgess Rd at 4:30 AM Leaves Richmond at 2 PM Signup:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/85421476937 -SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA -We have a bus leaving from the Walmart in Claypool Hill (street address13320 Gov G C Peery Hwy, Pounding Mill, VA 24637) at 2AM. Signup:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lobby-day-bus-southwestern-virginia-tickets-87511117107 -WILLIAMSBURG Leaves from Croaker Road Park and Ride, 4370 Rochambeau Dr Departs 6:00 AM Leaves Richmond at 2 PM Signup:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/86563958129 -VIRGINIA BEACH (2 buses) - Attempting to secure a third bus Leaves Indian River Road Park & Ride 977 Reon Dr, Virginia Beach Departs 5 AM Leaves Richmond at 2 PM Signup:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/85429234139 2. OTHER BUSES WE KNOW OF ABINGDON: Meeting time and location: 466 S Cummings St, Abingdon, VA 24210 it will be the Kroger parking lot. There is available parking nearby at the Abingdon Farmers Market and on the lot itself. We will be leaving at 1:00 am Sunday evening (Monday morning) because it will take around 5 hours to get to Richmond and we have included times for stops as well as traffic. We will be leaving Richmond at 1 PM. Tickets available at:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/swva-goes-to-richmond-monday-january-20th-lobby-day-2020-tickets-87459779555 CHARLOTTESVILLE: The Rivanna Rifle & Pistol Club has organized 2 buses to leave Charlottesville @ 6am to arrive in Richmond by 8am and will leave Richmond @ 2pm to return to Charlottesville. There are still seats available. Seat are being sold at a price of $30 per seat to cover expense of buses. If you know of anyone needing transportation to Richmond from the Charlottesville area, please have them contact Timothy Rogers at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) to reserve a seat. CULPEPEWARRENTON: Hosted by Rivenoak Armoury LLC. Details athttps://www.facebook.com/events/444206749612034/orhttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/vcdl-lobby-day-bus-ride-culpeperwarrenton-area-tickets-85780897975 DRAPER (Pulaski County):New River Sports is chartering a bus that leaves from their location, 3376 Kirby Rd (Frontage Rd) Draper, VA at 3:30 AM. Cost is $50/rider. Contact [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) or 540-980-1133. CULPEPEWARRENTON: Hosted by Rivenoak Armoury LLC. Details athttps://www.facebook.com/events/444206749612034/orhttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/vcdl-lobby-day-bus-ride-culpeperwarrenton-area-tickets-85780897975 DRAPER (Pulaski County):New River Sports is chartering a bus that leaves from their location, 3376 Kirby Rd (Frontage Rd) Draper, VA at 3:30 AM. Cost is $50/rider. Contact [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) or 540-980-1133. ELKTON: Scott Painter with Blue Ridge Outdoors in Elkton, VA has offered to help sponsor a trip arranged by Travis Knight. There is a signup sheet at his store location, and payments can be made there as well. $30/person. LYNCHBURG: SafeSide Tactical has a bus that starts in Roanoke. All riders get a free “shall not be infringed” T-shirt (graphics coming soon) and over $150 in coupons from area retailers. Lynchburg Bus - $35 leaves SafeSide Lynchburg @ 5amhttps://www.safesidetactical.com/rangemanagement/classdetail.cfm?class_id=2297 Seat sponsor - $35 and we’ll find someone to go who is available.https://www.safesidetactical.com/rangemanagement/classdetail.cfm?class_id=2296 MANASSAS: Fairfax County Rod and Gun Club is planning two buses from Manassas. Bus will be members only; if you're a member, contact them. VCDL is working on a bus from Manassas; details later the week of 12/23. PATRICK COUNTY: The Patrick County Republican Committee has a bus going to Richmond to support VCDL’s Lobby Day from Stuart, Virginia, to Richmond, Virginia, leaving at 3:30 AM and returning around 9:30 PM. Tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased from Eventbrite at the following link:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/patrick-co-gop-bus-to-richmond-for-lobby-day-2a-tickets-86869353575?ref=eios Our Facebook event is located here:https://facebook.com/events/s/stuart-to-richmond-for-vcdl-2a/811208129302717/?ti=icl ROANOKE: SafeSide Tactical has a bus. All riders get a free “shall not be infringed” T-shirt (graphics coming soon) and over $150 in coupons from area retailers. - Roanoke bus - $35 leaves SafeSide Roanoke @ 4:30am https://www.safesidetactical.com/rangemanagement/classdetail.cfm?class_id=2295 Seat sponsor - $35 and we’ll find someone to go who is available.https://www.safesidetactical.com/rangemanagement/classdetail.cfm?class_id=2296 RUCKERSVILLE: The bus will leave Walmart in Ruckersville at 6AM sharp! You must pay in advance in order to have a seat. The bus will leave Richmond at 2PM. Please remember NO LONG ARMS on this bus. Please dress responsibly. There are a few ways to sign up! - You can visitwww.Protect2AinVA.eventbrite.comand purchase your ticket by selecting the PAID VIA Eventbrite ticket- this will add a $3.16 fee, (total of $28.16) BUT it secures your reservation and seat- AND you will have your ticket emailed to you. - Another option is to go to the site and select the PAID VIA Venmo, PayPal, or Cash option. This will put your name on the list- we will get in touch with you to get your payment. Your seat will be secured once we receive payment: $25.00 - You can also sign up atBootVilor atBig Iron Outdoors, LLC! They will have a list there and I will add your name to the list so that you are emailed your ticket! We have a few folks that have asked about donations- there is an option on the Eventbrite site to donate. We would appreciate any donations! All donations will go to the booking of the bus and tipping the driver! SHENANDOAH COUNTY: Shenandoah County GOP has two buses coming. They leave from Woodstock at 6:30 AM and will not arrive in time for an 0800 start. Seetheir event hereThey plan to be in Richmond by 0900 and their people will be meeting with Delegate Todd Gilbert. POC is Dianne Wyss, email [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]). SOUTHAMPTON:Bus from Southampton County leaves from Hardee's on Highway 58, Courtland. Seats are $21/person. Leaves 6AM sharp; returns to Courtland about 4PM. Seats are limited and must be paid in full as soon as possible. If interested in going or have questions, contact Mike Evans at 757-615-8077. The bus will drop off and pick up directly at the Capitol Steps. SMITHFIELD:“The Constitutional County of Isle of Wight” has secured a 55 seat Nbus leaving the Smithfield Commuter Parking Lot, RT 258 & RT 10 at 6 AM sharp going to Lobby Day and returning to the lot at 4 PM on 1/20/20. Cost is $20 NO REFUNDS Sign up at:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bus-charter-from-commuter-parking-lot-smithfield-va-to-lobby-day-event-tickets-86377835431?aff=utm_source%3Deb_email%26utm_medium%3Demail%26utm_campaign%3Dnew_event_email&utm_term=eventurl_text STAUNTON: The plan is to leave Staunton (location TBD) at 6:00 a.m., and be back home about 5:00 p.m. Cost will be $25/seat, and payment to me will be due by January, 10. Anyone wishing to be on board, can contact me at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) for more information. Please put LOBBY DAY BUS in the subject line. Depending on the response I get, it may take me a couple days to get back to everyone, so be patient. SW VIRGINIA: Stephanie Miller Moir has charted four buses from Bedford - Tractor Supply 5:00 am; Lynchburg - Sam's Club 5:30 am; Appomattox - Farmers Bank 6:00 am; Farmville - Walmart 6:30. Sign up for that bus athttps://tinyurl.com/s8nc2b2. Fare is $35 plus an online booking fee per seat. WARREN COUNTY:James Scholtz, President, Virginia Natives, is working out the final details on the buses from Warren County. People can send emails to [scholtz_[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) - and include : Name Address Phone number How many passengers WARSAW -If you are interested in a bus from Warsaw, to accomodate folks from Northumberland, Lancaster, and Richmond County, please contact Grayson at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]). If he has interest, has a quote already. Cost would be about $28 a head. WEYERS CAVE - We've heard of a potential bus from Weyers Cave; we'll update as we know more. WINCHESTER: CK3 Guns in Stephens City will be sponsoring a bus. Departing Winchester and making a stop in Front Royal. Tickets are $35/seat. Current itinerary: Depart 20-Jan-2020 4:30 AM Solenbergers & Co. Inc 832 Berryville Ave Winchester , VA Depart 20-Jan-2020 5:00 AM Front Royal Park and Ride Winchester Road Front Royal, VA 22630 Drop Off 20-Jan-2020 7:30 AM Richmond State Capitol 1000 Bank St Richmond, VA Depart 20-Jan-2020 2:00 PM Richmond State Capitol 1000 Bank St Richmond, VA Drop Off 20-Jan-2020 4:45 PM Front Royal Park and Ride Winchester Road Front Royal, VA 22630 Drop Off 20-Jan-2020 5:15 PM Solenbergers & Co. Inc 832 Berryville Ave Winchester , VA SIGN UP:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vcdl-lobby-day-bus-trip-winchesterfront-royal-to-richmond-tickets-86380310835 Questions? Email Chuck Klingenberg [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) Updated 12-29-19 @ 0500 by Ed [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])Bus data updated 12-28-19 at 1800 by Tess ([[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]))
Brief about me & this write up Hey everyone, HSnewb here. Typically end rank ~ 2 in standard and wild each season but decided to focus mostly on wild this season and hit #170 legend with odd rogue, while hanging out in R4-5 meme'ing in standard. I have actually been wanting to do a write up to try to help beginner and intermediate players (and maybe discuss with players more skilled than I) for a while, but wanted to wait and do it on a month I hit legend. The point of this guide is to give you guys 10 tips to help with your climb. This is more about the R10 or R5 to legend climb as the play is more competitive. It will apply to both standard and wild and I will try to use some examples from both formats. Each tip will be brief and below it will be more detail which you can read at your liking. I really hope you guys enjoy this guide and find it useful! ~~~10 Tips to Improve Your Legend Climb~~~  Find preferably one (or two if you must) decks that are good for climbing and learn them well One mistake people make is switching decks when they hit a losing streak. While this is fair to do, if you really want to climb, you need to learn your deck (or 2 if you get too bored playing just 1) like the back of your hand. This means learning how it plays against different opponents as well as the synergies, strengths and weaknesses of the deck itself. It is really important to learn your deck well. When you start a season off with a new deck, don't even worry about your rank. Set a goal of "I am going to learn this deck." More on learning your deck well below! So what makes a deck good for climbing? Here are my basic criteria: - It is tier 1 or tier 2. The difference between a tier 1 vs tier 2 deck is often 1-2% points in win rate over THOUSANDS of games. So you are actually BETTER OFF playing a tier 2 deck that you like than a tier 1 deck you find boring or difficult to pilot well. I recommend vicious syndicate for standard tier lists and them, teamrankstar or tempostorm for wild tier lists. Unless you pay for the subscription on HSReplay, I do not recommend using them as their stats are severely skewed by the R10-20 meta. - You enjoy it and are able to pilot it well. Let me emphasize that you enjoy it. I once tried to do a legend climb with odd pally. The deck has its moments but did not feel enjoyable to me playing game after game. I hit rank 2 and got so sick of playing this deck I just decided to meme. So play a deck you actually like. You will play it better and face less "ladder fatigue." I believe you can do better with a deck you enjoy that is tier 2-3 compared to a deck you don't enjoy that is tier 1. - The deck's games are on the shorter end. Just based on how many games you have to play, to grind from R5 to legend can take a long time if you are closer to a 51% win rate. So all things being equal, a deck that averages 7 minute games will get you there twice as fast as deck that averages 14 minute games. That said, you are better off playing a control deck you like that does well than an aggro deck you dislike that does poorly. But if you can help it, go for a fast deck (this is why the R5-L meta is typically aggro decks and less so decks that hard counter aggro decks).  Learn your opponents decks Just like you have to learn your deck, you also need to learn the netdecks you face. This starts by looking them up. When you face a deck you don't personally play or know very well, hop on-line and pull up the deck list on your phone (since you are playing on your other device; if you play on your phone this is ofc hard to do). Keep the list beside you as you play. Look at their mana - they are coming up on turn 5, what 4-5 mana card do they run that they might play? Of course your opponent may not run the exact deck list you find online, but you should typically find the same "25 card (or so) core" in most net decks. Sometimes you cannot tell what a deck is right away (all standard shamans right now besides control or big shaman often run the same 4 murloc package no matter what) but what you can do if you are unsure is get on HSReplay and search decks by cards. Add the cards as you see them played then find the most popular deck (and narrow it down until you find a specific net deck archetype, ideally).  Play around, and don't play around, your opponents' cards When many people start they just like to play in a style that executes their decks' plan. You have an aggro deck so you dump minions til you run out of mana and go face, right? Well as you get better you need to learn to play around your opponents' cards. You may have enough mana to play 2 minions as aggro shaman but know your opponent will likely have mass hysteria next turn, so you may be better off toteming, hoping to hit a 0 mana totem to soak up some damage, and playing 1 minion. Or, if you are not shaman, maybe you just play 1 minion anyway, so after they clear your board (if they do), you have another one to play. It is counter intuitive to not use all your mana at first but this is a vital skill that very much seperates beginner and intermediate players. The same goes for control players. Let's say you are control warrior and have a brawl and the opponents board is fairly scary. But maybe that is your only answer and you really need to live long enough to draw Dr Boom so you can actually win. So ask yourself - do I brawl here to spare the opponent attacking with his minions twice? Or can I absorb 8 damage to the face and hope they play 2 more minions and I get more value from my brawl? If you find you often lose because you get "too greedy waiting for the perfect time to get max value from brawl," try several games playing it what you consider "too early." On the other hand if you find that you tend to run out of answers late in the game even though you clear the board often enough early, start holding back more with your clears, and learn to become more comfortable with a lower life total. The next step is knowing when NOT to play around cards. On one hand, if you are only going to win vs this token druid by rushing them down because you have no way to deal with wide boards, then just play hoping they do not draw savage roar. If you can tell they have a good hand and you are not able to clear their board, and you are almost out of resources but maybe have their life down to 15, you may be more likely to win just going "all in" on face damage. If they draw savage roar you lose. If you play around it and they don't draw it, you still lose. Trying to play around savage roar may keep you alive another 2-3 turns only for you to forfeit any actual chance of winning. So if you are going to lose no matter what if they draw it, play as if they don't have it and if they don't, you can actually win. The other thing is playing around cards too much even when you are doing okay in the game. In general you want to play around cards more when you are in the lead, and play around cards less when you're losing. But sometimes you play around cards so much, you actually are not able to execute your win condition well. It takes practice to find the right balance, and sometimes your opponent gets the best cards every time, but in general think about "am I playing around TOO much?" as well as asking if you are not doing it enough.  Identify your role in the match up The aggro player in the match up is trying to kill the opponent before the late game, when the opponent out values him. They may value trade to keep a board but their priority is going face. The control player is just trying to survive to make it that far when they can get control of the board and out value their opponent. They may lose value on trades just to stay alive, and don't really care about their opponents' life because they know if they stabilize into the late game, they will eventually have enough value to kill them. Often your role is obvious - murloc shaman vs control priest. But others times it truly is not. Odd rogue plays as the control vs aggro most of the time (unless they are losing the board for sure and their only hope is to rush face), but many players mistakenly play this like a face deck in all matchups (a huge mistake). In some instances, the control player facing a midrange or another control deck may continue playing as control when they actually are going to be outvalued. They need to start playing as aggro. I am not going to go into more detail here but if you haven't read the article featured on both "icy veins" and "hearthstone-decks.net" called "the making of a legend" (and also featured on this sub under best reads), it goes into excellent detail on this topic! I will refer you guys there because it is such a great read (or refresher) on this topic in more detail.  Check your psychological state when it comes to grinding This is really not mentioned enough. We can all grind the ladder down to a nub but few of us check our mental game before hitting the play button. And that is how tilting and loss streaks often happen. We do often talk about "do you find yourself losing 3 games and getting mad and making bad plays?" in which case we know (well, some of us...) to take a break. But what if you are exhausted from work, hungry and also juggling friends/family while playing? Maybe skip ladder that day and play solo or casual mode to get your fix. Just like in school, you can study forever and still make a C. Or you can study enough, eat well, sleep well and try to have a positive attitude and make an A. If you are playing a good deck you know well but losing, ask yourself, is today good for me to play or should I do something else to relax / unwind and come back to HS another day? The biggest mistake players make is losing sleep to get more HS, hoping to grind more. If you actually make sleep the priority, you actually will play better, and even though you play less, you will wind up a better rank! Also, you have to believe in yourself to make legend (or, at least it helps). For a while I ended each season rank 2, got frustrated as I never hit rank 1 for a while, and decided "I am a rank 2 player." In reality, if you can hit rank 3, if you have enough play time and don't give up, you CAN hit legend. It helps for you to ackowledge this to prevent tilt and help combat ladder fatigue.  Learn from more experienced players The best way is to watch twitch videos of players who use a deck you also use. You can also find pre-recorded ones if you are busy, and also you can use this sub to ask for players that are good to watch. I also really like watching tournaments on youtube as you see both players perspective. It helps you know what cards to play around as well as how your opponent may be trying to play around your cards. When you watch others play, do so 'actively' not 'passively.' What I mean is pause or think fast about what you would play, see what the better player does, and ask yourself if your play was better or worse. Sometimes it actually is better and even pros make stupid mistakes sometimes. But engaging in this process is FAR more helpful than just watching a game like TV. If you want some "extra credit," there are some good books out there about sports psychology in general. "The Art of Learning" is excellent and I have read excerpts of "Thinking in Bets" (about professional poker) which is also good. This sub has a sticky thread of good reads and I recommend when you have time going through and finding some to check out. Learn to mulligan better Just improving your mulligan game can make a huge impact. Some decks are easy to mulligan and some are harder. Think about what role you play (aggro vs control) in the anticipated match up and think "what is my win condition and what kind of early game do I need to achieve that?" Can you afford to keep that super good card even though you can't play it til later because it's a) so good (like hooktusk) or b) you have good enough cards to go with it even if you maybe don't always keep that kind of card (like fungal with sn1p sn4p in odd rogue)? People ask on this sub "how do I play deck xyz better?" and get good advice but not enough people ask "when I am playing mech hunter and face a mage what should I be mulliganing for?" which will give others the chance to give you really good and specific advice.  Get realistic - this is in large part a numbers game There is a really cool website where you put in your rank and expected win rate and it tells you how many games you can expect to play to hit legend. https://www.primedope.com/number-of-games-to-reach-legend-in-hearthstone/ Sometimes you just don't have enough time in a month to push for legend unless you hit a win streak. So if you see that unfolding, why stress yourself out grinding when you can instead focus on learning a deck or just play for fun? Or maybe spend that time playing decks you won't ultimately grind with to learn them (so you can later play against them better). Skill is great but luck is a large part of HS when it comes to ladder no matter what anyone tells you. Not only is there the luck of getting the right cards and your opponent not drawing better than you, but also the luck of getting favorable or winnable match ups often enough to actually climb. Don't be hard on yourself or think you are not a good enough player when in reality you just got 5 unfavorable match ups in a row. Plan out your play time and be realistic when you set a goal. For the grind to rank 5, it has a lot to do with hitting win streaks. A great deck can linger getting to rank 5 with a lot of bad matchups, and a tier 4 deck can hit several favorable match ups in a row and hit rank 5 off a big win streak despite being actually a crappy or only meme worthy deck. Past rank 5 there are no win streaks of course.  Learn from your mistakes If you can re watch your own games that is ideal. I don't use any kind of tracker but a pro player who did an AMA told me to take screenshots when I didn't know the play, and after the game ended, check the screen shot and think through the play. Pro chess players will record their every move and analyze them after a game, move by move. I'm not that extreme and have to admit I only used the screenshot thing a couple of times, but after my games I do like to sit and think, whether I won or lost, what I would've done differently. Think through your singular plays (micro play) and your over all game play (macro play). Did I play as aggro when I should've played control? Did I trade when I should've gone face? Was I not greedy enough with a value card? Sometimes you make the right play and lose anyway. But other times you can say "you know, if I had held back on playing minions, knowing the mage probably had a clear, I could've won," or "if I had fought for board instead of going face, I could've got to the late game and drawn hooktusk for the win, instead I got too excited going face and my opponent value traded me and won."  At the end of the day, it's just a game I had a season I "made up my mind" I was going to hit legend. I got rank 2 very early in the season, then spent almost the rest of the season between R1 and R2. Towards the end of the month I was not even having fun so just took a break from the game. Then this season I was not even trying for legend per se but wanted to focus on just playing odd rogue in wild, and I was able to do it even when I wasn't expecting it. This is not because I somehow played way better this season than that past one. In reality it has a lot more to do with me hitting good match ups than playing better. Sure I did improve some and changed my deck by 2 cards, but in reality, I never should've let myself get so frustrated over my "failure" to hit legend that other season. At the end of the day, it's a game. No one but you cares if you hit legend. Your friends and family won't like you better. Your life won't be better (in fact your social life and health will suffer if you play too much and/or put too much value on hitting legend, especially if you lose sleep over it). And you may just enjoy the game a lot better without any specific rank goal. When the game is no longer fun, take a break (or switch modes) and when you come back, forget about rank. Set a goal a season or two later to hit legend, because it's truly not worth becoming frustrated over HS. If there is one piece of advice you take to heart it's that the legend "achievement" is really pretty meaningless at the end of the day. A crappy player who gets lucky and grinds 24/7 can hit legend and a great player with bad luck and/or limited rank time may not. It's just a game and at the end my hope is that you have fun with it more than anything else. Hope you all enjoyed!
blocking the default trackers that collect information
blocking software that threatens our computers
automatic use of HTTPS connection
convenient security and privacy settings panel
This simple and easy-to-manage browser will surprise you with the speed of loading sites. After all, it will automatically block all those "products" that you do not need, but which make you lose a lot of time. What is the point of advertising and browser problems here, ask you. The fact is that even traditional advertising you will not see. After all, so tired of these videos with bets on sports or banners for discounts in online stores. That advertising, which you will still provide a browser, will be useful to you, and the creators of the platform promise to make the algorithm even more optimal for users. Download Brave browser. Get BAT token Imagine that you can get exactly the information we need. And it's even in advertising! Without fear that your personal data or any information about you will not be disclosed to third parties. Brave's browser algorithm is designed to analyze the resources you visit, taking into account the time we take to view the page. This is why we offer us the appropriate advertising product. It would seem that the ideal solution has simply been found to protect you from intrusive advertising. But the creators of BAT went even further! Now they pay their Basic Attention Token tokens to Brave browser users. And it is not surprising that the number of browser users increased from one million to more than five in 2018. How Brave Browser Works BAT, benefit to advertisers It's already clear why you should start using Brave's browser for regular users. But what are the benefits for advertisers? After all, they lose the ability to place their product on many resources. But the benefits are there: Advertising is aimed at the interests of the user, according to his requests in the browser. Advertiser gets exactly the client, which is designed for his advertising. Information about the interests of the user is going to be completely anonymous. The analysis of requests is carried out, and the comparison with the advertising product is automatically made. Thus, the confidentiality of the Internet user is not violated. And the advertiser is able to spend money more effectively on advertising their products. Brave's browser algorithm is designed in such a way that various monitoring resources, analytical companies and so on, are automatically disabled. Advertisers do not have to spend money on the services of these not always necessary services. In the same way, other intermediaries are blocked. Those who earn money by cheating customers with various fraudulent schemes and attracting bots to work. Advertisers can be confident that they will stop losing money from their budgets. Bryzer Brave, Advantage for advertisers In short, the creators of the content also benefit. They continue to do their job with peace of mind, confident that there will be no middlemen on the Brave browser between them, users and advertisers. All that remains is to connect the monetization. Brave Browser What's the Use for Content Creators What is BAT cryptocurrency Unlike many other cryptocurrencies, BAT does not have its own blockchain. It is based on the Ethereum platform. Basic Attention Token is a coin embedded in Brave's browser. The unique browser created by the BAT team allows everyone to earn money without any effort. The user, viewing the advertisement, already pays for the advertiser and content creator. In this case, he receives a reward in the form of Basic Attention Token. In addition, with the help of BAT you can pay for various additional services. BAT token, how to earn cryptocurrency How does the WAT turnaround work? The funds that the advertiser invests in his advertisement are automatically blocked. At the time when users are viewing commercials or banners, the blocking is removed. Part of the money is sent to the BAT wallet, part is transferred to the content creator or Brave browser developers, everything depends on the algorithm. Get a BAT token in your Brave browser How to get BAT tokens using Brave browser To date, the developers are testing two ways to earn money in the browser Brave: You can get 70% of the blocked amount of the advertiser only for the fact that after notifying the browser, you are viewing the ad in full. For this, you are credited with BAT, and the remaining 30% are received by the creators of the browser. Users receive 15% for viewing ads included in the content of the site, and Brave receives the same amount. 70% BAT of the advertiser is paid to content creators. Get a BAT token Obviously, such a solution to the annoying advertising issue is quite reasonable. Advertisers will strive to create a quality product, users will look through the advertising, individually selected for everyone and get money for this. That will not only allow viewers to lose time and traffic to view unnecessary advertising, but also bring additional income. And the creators of the content do not remain in the overlap, leading BAT forecast and plans for 2019 Beginning in April, the creators planned to provide an opportunity for ordinary users to earn BAT when viewing advertisements. It is also planned to make some technical amendments, which will facilitate the work with the browser. And the work on normal translation continues. What can I say in conclusion? The new browser with the ability to automatically earn tokens is, of course, a breakthrough. So far, it is impossible to use all its functions, many ideas are still in development and testing, but, in general, the idea proposed by the authors of the project is quite interesting. First of all, the developers strive to improve the browser functionality, and for setting up the interface and other "jewelry", the time will come later. But, despite all the existing drawbacks and shortcomings, the popularity of Brave is growing at an incredible rate. Already there is a forum dedicated to the browser, its Twitter already has more than sixty thousand subscribers. Constantly updated a separate Twitter Basic Attention Token, the number of subscribers in which is already ninety thousand users.
FansUnite CEO, Darius Eghdami breaks down how the Blockchain is the key to data integrity in sports betting.
There’s a lot to be excited about if you’re involved in the sports betting world. In May of 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court gave individual states the right to legalize and regulate sports betting as their lawmakers saw fit. As today, eight states have legalized sports betting, with another 19 having either introduced or passed a bill to legalize. Additionally, according to a report from Zion Market Research, the global regulated sports betting market is expected to surpass $155 Billion by 2024, while some estimates suggest up to $3 Trillion are wagered annually. That’s a lot of betting! And a lot of betting data. How sure are we that all of that data will be safe, and no one will tamper with it to their benefit? It is critical that this data stays secure and transparent. The solution: blockchain technology. The FansUniteProtocol showcases several benefits:
Oracle networksignificantly lowers the cost of data acquisition, breeding healthy competition amongst sportsbooks and lessening the oligopolistic nature of the industry;
Cryptocurrencies lowerpayment processingcosts, as well as assure near-instant deposits and withdrawals
Hosting data on the blockchain improves auditability and makes it impossible to tamper with the data, thereby greatly improvingdata integrityfor both customers and regulators.
https://preview.redd.it/rr8adi9rs5b21.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=6ac8f37bc5f2907e3e27aa60c3f7071617fa6d47 So why is using blockchain to improve data integrity so important? Sports data integrity is currently monitored by a handful of major providers that aggregate global market data from hundreds of operators. The current system for policing the integrity of these data markets requires a huge effort of coordination between a variety of parties including, but not limited to: sport-governing bodies, regulators, betting operators, integrity bodies, law enforcement, betting content and service providers. Given the number of potential corruptible parties involved, complexities arise with regards to policing. This is compounded by the fact that with betting increasingly moving online, corruptors now operate across different sports betting platforms around the globe. The benefit of welcoming blockchain to sports data integrity. A public sports data blockchain uses a singular liquidity pool that instantaneously and transparently shares market information. This drastically simplifies what was previously a highly complex system that required enormous coordination. Betting data written to a public blockchain cannot be altered, it can’t be voided, it can’t be hacked, and it is available to any network participant for nearly no cost. The bottom line is that the inherent security of the blockchain alleviates many of the pain points with regards to sports data integrity. It is not a question of IF the technology will be implemented in the sports data market, but WHEN. And being ahead of the curve at FansUnite gives us, and you, a great deal to be excited about. -Darius Eghdami, FansUnite CEO. The article was originally published onhttps://victorysquare.com/.
Thoughts and Anecdotes on Nintendo Switch Online + Reviews for *EVERY* NES Game on NSO
This took me a very long time to work on and has gone through many changes. At first I planned on just writing the reviews and giving some thoughts after but as more time passed I realized that it was important to discuss the failings and merits of NSO as I see them as they sit at the center of the argument. Let me clarify my stance: I don't believe that players should have to pay for online service on any system, period. HOWEVER- Microsoft and Sony have made their services worthwhile by offering great free games and discounts. It's a lot like being offered a tasty ice cream and a threat of being smacked with a stick if you don't take the ice cream. It's an easy choice. You might remember Sony once had their online service and their free-game service service seperated. Back then I was upset that they forced you to buy PS Now in order to keep playing online but I wasn't that upset because I already had PS Now as it was a great deal. When Nintendo decided to start charging for their online service, they very easily could have replicated this "ice cream and stick" model that the other companies use. But instead they chose to do it a bit differently. Nintendo has a back-catalog of some of the best games throughout history. Every single one of their systems has a multitude of games that I think everyone should play. However, instead of releasing a virtual console with games from the SNES, N64, Gamecube, Wii, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, DS, and 3DS, they've decided to limit themselves to just their first console; the original Nintendo Entertainment System, a system whose heyday was roughly 30 years ago. I personally love the NES, but for most modern gamers these titles are too archaic to even bother with. What's even worse is that, in my opinion, the inventory of games offered is subpar. That's why I decided to review all the games. Because there are really good games on the NES but for some reason Nintendo failed to include most of them. Where's Metroid? Where's Kirby's Adventure? Where's Kid Icarus, Pacman, Ms Pacman, Mario and Zelda 2, Castlevania 1-3, Ninja Gaiden 1-3, Galaga, Contra, Super Contra, Final Fantasy 1-3, Dragon Quest 1-4, Bubble Bobble, Bomberman, StarTropics, Duck Hunt (it could have used the joycon motion controls), Metal Gear 1 and 2, Bionic Commando, Ducktales, Mega Man 1-6 (don't bring up the Capcom collection; Nintendo could rotate a single Megaman title in and out every month), Mother, Gauntlet, Fire Emblem 1-3, Double Dragon 2, Donkey Kong Jr, Tecmo Super Bowl, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Paperboy, Battletoads, Rampage, Blaster Master, or Tetris? Where is Punch-Out?? Many of those games aren't even all that amazing but Nintendo could have given all of them at once and promise Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Super Nintendo games in the future. Instead they gave us a list of 20 games, many of which are mediocre, only a few are truly good, and promised 3 more mediocre games in a month, and finally Metroid a month after that. I'm a little disappointed to be honest. Before the reviews; some more quick thoughts about NSO: Smartphone voice chat is a joke and Cloud Saves should be available to everyone without the service. Obviously. The NES app itself is pretty featureless. There are savestates, a CRT filter, and you can play with your friends online but not strangers. None of the games have been improved but Tecmo Bowl has been modified to remove player's names with no substitute. There's no implemented leaderboards or speedrun trackers or cool stuff like that. The interface is clean, the games load super quick and they all run nicely. For these reviews; I played (and replayed) all of these games pretty thoroughly. I put effort into long score-chasing sessions, and played all the way through the games that I hadn't beaten before (except Ghosts n' Goblins for for obvious reasons for those familiar). I tried very hard to consider how well they hold up for a modern audience but I am an old-school gamer and may still be a bit biased. If you don't think you can enjoy old games just mentally subtract a point or two from my number scores. Without further ado: Balloon Fight: This game was a pleasant surprise. The game contains three modes. Normal single player has you fight off a number of opponents in a series of balloon battles trying to knock them out of the air before they do the same to you. It's a arcade-style, score-chasing experience where the idea is to challenge yourself for higher and higher scores. There is also an option for 2-player which is the same game as the 1-player but with a friend. You can work together or you can troll each-other which can be fun in itself. The third mode is Balloon Trip which is an auto scrolling challenge where you must navigate a maze of obstacles while grabbing balloons for points. While the music is excellent, I find this mode to be less fun the actual balloon fights. The game controls well, but the game is extremely difficult. Modern hardcore score-chasers might be turned off as there is no leaderboard and thus no way to show off your scores to the community. That sounds silly, but remember even arcades had a high score list and Nintendo could have added one to the NES app itself. 2-player is fun but I don't imagine that it will be returned to time and again. This game is fair. (3/5) Baseball: This game tries its hardest to emulate as many aspects of real baseball that it can into a small game with only two buttons. That is its fundamental flaw. Almost anything can be done provided you can figure out the controls which can't be found in the game, only by looking up the manual online. Even if you know how to play, you might not really consider it that fun. Choosing pitches feels arbitrary as the AI batter has no logic to its responses. Batting is difficult and feels very random as well. Stealing and feinting seem impossible and the AI never tries either. Unfortunately there isn’t any real options for customizing your team in this game. You can choose an initial (so long as it isn’t the one the cpu randomly chose first) and that determines your color. Playing the AI is tedious but playing a friend can be more fun. Overall, I think this game is kinda terrible. (1/5) Donkey Kong: The "arcade classic." Donkey Kong is infamous as being the first Mario game and basically the first platformer ever. In this game you must dodge a variety of obstacles as you climb the levels to reach the top trying to achieve the high score. While considered to be the jewel of the arcade for a time after its release, today it's just a slow and chunky platformer. The NES version lacks one of the four levels that were in the original arcade game and repeating the same three levels again and again gets pretty tedious. There’s two modes A and B where B is the harder version but this game is very difficult either way and requires a lot of patience. There’s a 2nd player option but it’s just taking turns. Score-chasing is fun for some people but unless you plan on becoming the next King of Kong you probably won’t have fun with this title. I think it’s important to recognize the classics but this game has aged especially poorly. I hate to say it but this game is mediocre. (2/5) Double Dragon: Another classic arcade game that time has not been kind to. This one is a sidescroller beat-em-up. Like other titles in this collection, it is extremely difficult to the point of feeling unfair. The major problem is that to be in range to hit enemies you have to put yourself in range to be hit yourself and while it may feel like you have your foes stun-locked in a combo you can randomly receive counter hits without even seeing an animation. Supposedly you get more combat options as your score increases, for instance your jump will automatically transform into a jump-kick, but that was the only new move I noticed. Unlike the previous games I talked about, this game has a distinct series of levels to go through with a final boss and everything. While using savestates to help you reach the end might seem enticing; unfair hazards and inappropriate platforming sections made the experience incredibly frustrating. While the arcade version had true multiplayer this version is just turn-taking. You can still fight a friend in the alternate battle mode sort of like a primitive fighting game.The different characters to choose have different attacks animations so it isn’t totally bland. My favorite character is Abobo. This game is mediocre. (2/5) Modern beat-em-ups improve on the concept greatly. I'd much rather play the new Capcom collection instead of returning to this archaic experience. Dr. Mario: A tetris-like puzzle game involving repositioning random blocks as they fall. Unlike tetris, you match colors with the ultimate goal of removing preset viruses and advancing to the next stage. The gameplay holds up and out of all the games I've talked about so far it is the one I'd most likely play more than a few times. Again there is no leaderboard which makes it less enticing for some but personally I like playing this one endlessly with the help of save states. There is a two-player mode which is always nice, it's a best of three with the goal of eliminating the viruses faster than your opponent. At the start you can choose the number of viruses, the speed the pills fall, and between two different music tracks (both of which are excellent). This game is good. (4/5) Tetris is a better game but it's not part of this collection. Excitebike: I had never played this one before and ended up pleasantly surprised. It’s a racing game with a surprising amount of depth given its simplicity. The point is to maximize speed by avoiding obstacles, clearing jumps, and keeping your engine from overheating by using your turbo speed effectively. There are a number of different tracks to choose from or advance through by placing at least 3rd on each race. Races can be done solo or against opposing racers but placement is always based on time so other racers act more like extra obstacles. Finally the game has a mode that allows you to make a customized track! This actually blew my mind. You can place all the different obstacles however you like and design ridiculous tracks. You’ll want to keep the manual handy as each obstacle is designated by a letter and is difficult to remember what’s what. You can save the track and load it to race on anytime but you can only have one. Modern games would have the option to save more tracks and share them with friends but Nintendo didn’t add any feature like that. This game doesn’t have any multiplayer option which is a bummer because I bet it would be fun as hell. This game is fair. (3/5). Ghosts ‘N Goblins: This game is so difficult it is practically unplayable. Imagine Castlevania except the enemies spawn rapidly and are relentlessly fast, you can only get hit twice, there is an extremely harsh time limit, and your subweapons are your only attack option and they all feel terrible to use. I’ve never reached the end of the game but it’s famous for the fact that it actually has to be beaten twice which is cruel and unusual. In theory it might be possible to cheese your way through with save states but wouldn’t call it worth it. It has a two-player mode but it’s just taking turns. This game is terrible. (1/5). Capcom has remade this game a few times and those games are actually really good, but I don’t think the NES version is very fun at all. Gradius: Gradius is a side-scrolling, bullet-hell shooter where you control a single ship shooting down a horde of enemies. Just like before the game controls well but but is extremely hard. Even entering Konami’s famous code and unlocking all the upgrades immediately still isn’t enough to guarantee success. Without the code the upgrade system is sort of confusing. Each upgrade pickup scrolls your available option along a list making it possible to miss desired upgrades if you’re not paying attention. Another issue I have is a lack of a turbo feature. Repeatedly smashing the shoot button becomes incredibly uncomfortable. It has a 2-player mode where the players take turns. As a score chaser this is another title that could be improved by a leaderboard implemented through the NES but even still it’s a solid game. Overall, this game is fair. (3/5). This genre has evolved a lot and fans would probably prefer the more polished modern titles available. Ice Climber: This one turned out to be extremely disappointing. Ice Climber is a very simple platformer where the goal is to get to the top of a tall mountain. You can jump very high vertically but not very far horizontally. In fact your horizontal coverage is so poor that even a tiny gap becomes a frightening hazard. Making progress is very tedious. In order to access most higher floors you must first leap up and break holes in them from below. Often you have to do this from scrolling platforms which is terrible as it guarantees that’ll you fall from the platform and have wait for the next one to repeat the cycle. This repetitive and slow process is further complicated by falling icicle hazards, flying opponents, moving floors, and enemies who repair the holes you create. Also a polar bear will show up after a while and force the screen to scroll upward creating a raising lava style pressure. While all of this might seem bad on its own I think it would be surmountable if not for the truly terrible controls. As I said before the horizontal coverage is terrible. A standing jump clears basically nothing whatsoever and a running jump is only a little farther and can’t be controlled. The absolute worst thing though is that the way the game calculates landing is wonky and it’s extremely common to see your character’s sprite fall right through the edge of a platform that you thought for a second you had successfully reached. While the game’s manual makes the claim that multiplayer can be cooperative I don’t really see how. One player going too far will kill the other so the already slow climb is now made exponentially worse as both players struggle to progress. A far more fun option is to race while trolling each other’s progress. It’s still not very fun for long. I hate to say it but this game was terrible. (1/5). Maybe Smash should have used the Balloon Fighter instead. Ice Hockey: Much better than the rest of the Nintendo sports games in my opinion. The controls are way more simple and easy to understand. You can move, you can pass or shoot on offense, and you can switch players or body check on defense. The rest is just simplified hockey rules. This game lets you choose your team’s country to determine your colors and you can choose the ai’s as well. Even cooler is that you can customize your team with different sized players that actually have different stats! Playing the AI is alright but multiplayer is much more fun. The only glaring weakness is that it is very difficult to see which player you’re currently controlling. They flash a different color but the screen can be a bit chaotic. I think this game is fair. (3/5) Still, modern hockey games will probably be more appealing. Mario Bros: Another arcade classic that has aged somewhat poorly. In my opinion it fairs better than Donkey Kong. A score chasing game where the goal is to defeat enemies and grab coins while avoiding obstacles. Punch the floor to flip an opponent then kick them to finish them off. There’s three different types of which are used in combination along with fireballs and floor freezing icicles. All of these elements make for a dynamic and fun experience. What’s the problem you might wonder? Frankly, controlling Mario’s movement is pretty awful. He slides around everywhere even before the floors get frozen and he has no mid-air control whatsoever. What’s sad is that Nintendo has remade this classic with updated controls that make playing Mario feel like playing Mario. That change makes the game fantastic. Going back to the original feels pretty bad. Still, it’s playable and it has multiplayer which is always a nice thing. Altogether I’d still rate this one as mediocre. (2/5) Pro Wrestling: I don’t even know where to begin with this game. I’ve spent a lot of time reading guides and experimenting with it and I'm still not entirely sure I know how to play it. The idea is to wear down your opponent with various attacks, grapples, and signature moves so that they'll stay down long enough to pin them. It's possible to do ridiculous piledrives, clotheslines, and aerial attacks launched from the top rope. You can even toss your opponent out of the ring follow up with a flying splash, and continue to beat on your opponent while the out-of-bounds timer ticks down. It sounds great but winning in a grapple and pulling off these moves feels totally random. Most of time you go in for a grab only to get knocked down by a kick in the face and then repeatedly fail to get up as you get kicked over and over again. What bothers me the most is that there is no way to tell if you’re even winning. There are no health bars and instead the game seems to use an invisible fatigue system that build as the wrestlers hurt one another. Knowing if your opponent has been weakened enough for a pin is a matter of guessing but fortunately there is a warning sound for when your own character starts to weaken. The characters to choose from are hilarious, my personal favorite is the Amazon. Multiplayer is fun but also feels like randomly mashing buttons. This game is hilariously bad but still kinda fun, overall it settles at mediocre. (2/5) “A winner is you!” River City Ransom: A far better choice over Double Dragon. With rpg elements and a contiguous city to explore; this amazing beat-em-up was ahead of its time. While you explore the city you'll fight a number of enemy gangs with ridiculous names like “The Generic Dudes” or “The Squids.” Levels are punctuated by malls featuring cafes, bakeries, and sushi shops that sell food that recovers your stamina and gives you various stat upgrades. There's also bookstores where you can learn advanced fighting techniques. The game's graphics are beyond charming. The little animations of your guy eating sushi or jumpkicking baddies are absolutely adorable. I love the detail that is put into what would be a simple combat system. Weapons are all over the place and can be used to bash enemies or be thrown at them at a distance. Heavy weapons like crates or garbage cans can be kicked at enemies or jumped on top of. You can smack away projectiles using a bat or pipe. Knocked over enemies can even be picked up and used like weapons! The game really shines with multiplayer. You can do ridiculous stunts like create a human totem pole or use your partner’s body to bash enemies like a club. It’s an absolute blast. Unfortunately this game isn’t perfect. There really isn’t any variety to the enemies and bosses, and there are only a handful of weapons to mix-up combat. Much of the game is just grinding for money to upgrade your stats and techniques. While it isn’t the best game on the list it really is up there and shouldn’t be ignored. This game is good. (4/5) Soccer: There isn’t much to say here. It’s like Ice Hockey but not good. It’s very slow and controls awkwardly. It doesn’t support diagonal movement so all the players move along invisible gridlines. It’s easier to see which player you’re currently controlling thanks to the slow speed and a hovering indicator but swapping players seems very unresponsive at times. You can pick your team’s country but you can’t customize your team members like in hockey. You also can’t choose the opposing AI team in single player mode. It’s certainly playable and supports multiplayer but I’m sure most people would prefer a more modern soccer game. I really didn’t have much fun playing this one and I’m going to rate it as terrible. (1/5) Super Mario Bros: Now here’s a classic that has aged much better. While his former arcade titles faired poorly thanks to clunky controls, Super Mario Bros. has stood the test of time for a reason. Mario is incredibly quick and responsive, his jumps are huge and they have high-degree of midair control. I can’t express to you how much of a breath of fresh air this game is after playing all the titles that came before it on this list. While this game has a score system the real challenge is reaching the end. The sprites are very clean and easy to read. The music is fantastic. The levels are well designed and can be sped through expertly or explored for tons of hidden secrets. Unfortunately, most levels are somewhat short feeling and while there is some variety to the different styles of levels it’s not enough to keep from feeling a bit repetitive. Also, unlike all future Mario titles, you are unable to backtrack and can only advance forward. The game’s real weakness is a lack of content compared to its myriad of sequels. There’s only 32 levels, only about 10 enemy types, only 3 power-ups, and only 1 boss that is reused 8 times. The multiplayer mode is just taking turns, which is not nearly as fun as what used in the modern New Super Mario titles. Still, looking back it’s really clear as to why Mario has become gaming’s most recognized franchise spanning over 30 years. This game is extremely good. (4/5) Super Mario Bros 3: I cannot begin to explain just how great this game is. While I wrote at length about the quality of the original Super Mario Bros. this game improves on it in every single way. While the original felt like the prototype that would evolve into the Mario we know today, this game can stand shoulder to shoulder with even the newest Mario titles. Mario handles even better than before. The sprite work is beautiful. The soundtrack is fantastic. The levels are hugely varied, expertly designed, and full of surprises. The eight different worlds have eight different themes; each unique and extremely memorable. Remember those numbers I listed off in the last review? This game has over 80 different levels, nearly 50 different types of enemies, 8 power-ups which can be collected in an inventory for later use, and each of its 7 normal bosses have a unique appearance and their own special attacks; while the final fight against Bowser is very different and challenging. This game’s only weakness is that despite its massive size it has no way of saving progress. Oh wait, this version has save states. Problem solved. Before I forget, while this game has turn-taking multiplayer it also contains a battle-mode easter egg that is a recreation of the Mario Bros. arcade game but using Super Mario Bros. 3’s smooth controls. Super Mario Bros. 3 may very well be the best game to ever be released for the NES. It definitely holds up and is still enjoyable today. This game is fantastic. (5/5) Tecmo Bowl: American Football is an interesting sport. In a certain sense it’s almost as much of a game of strategy as it is one of athletics. It’s probably for this reason that Tecmo Bowl is such an interesting video game. Like the sports titles on this list, Tecmo lets you pick your team by selecting one of the cities they come from. Unlike the other games though, each team in Tecmo has individual stats based on the 1988 NFL roster of players. The teams’ names and logos were omitted and unfortunately this port has the player’s names removed as well (weird that they can edit this detail but not update anything else in these old games). I’ve tested it and No. 34 on Los Angeles still retains his beastly speed. Each play in Tecmo Bowl starts with both players picking from 4 different formations with each city’s team having their own unique options to choose. Choosing the correct play has a huge impact but personally I know so little about football that my choice is often random. Still I imagine that a couple of old school fans could have a blast here. The game features the usual single player and multiplayer options but also features a special “coach” mode where each player only chooses the plays and lets the computer control the players with the goal of outwitting their opponent. It’s a neat concept but I don’t it’s worth more than trying out once. Overall, I think Tecmo Bowl may be the best of the sports games on this list but the limitations of the genre means that it won’t appeal to everyone. This game is fair. (3/5) Go ahead and add a point if you absolutely love American Football. Tennis: I’m pretty sure this is the worst of the sports games on this list. Where other sports games are held back by the inherent complexity of controlling a team of several players, this one fails simply because it’s not fun. Judging the ball’s distance is extremely difficult and your player’s slow and clumsy swings are awkward and difficult to time correctly. You have almost no options at your disposal and each rally consists of lazily hitting the ball back and forth until you miss the timing or the AI fails arbitrary. The total lack of music makes this game particularly pathetic to watch. The multiplayer mode only allows for a cooperative doubles match so you can’t play against a human opponent. Whenever I play this I can’t help but miss Wii Sports and wish Nintendo had given us that instead. Nintendo really dropped the ball here. This game is terrible. (1/5) I’d rather play pong. The Legend of Zelda: Whether or not the original Legend of Zelda still holds up today is a question I posed to myself long before Nintendo Online was announced. I truly believe the answer is yes. The Legend of Zelda is a very special game. As the progenitor of all action-adventure games today, Zelda is a game about combat, problem-solving, and exploration. Starting with only a shield, you embark on a quest to save the titular princess by exploring the world of Hyrule and unearthing the 8 labyrinths that hold the pieces of the Triforce. Along the way; there are monsters to fight, weapons and items to find, and a myriad of secrets to discover. Combat is simple and challenging; consisting of maneuvering around foes and either stabbing them with your sword or utilizing your special items like the bombs or the magic wand. The labyrinths are maze-like; with locked doors and hidden keys, and filled to the brim with dangerous monsters. The later ones may require you to exercise your problem-solving skills, as making progress isn’t always obvious. What this game excels at is exploration. Right from the start of the game you’re free to travel the breadth of Hyrule. No one will explicitly tell you where you should go, or what you should do. It’s up to you to discover the labyrinth’s locations on your own. Just about every screen of the world map has something on it to find, though often they’re hidden and require some experimentation to uncover them. Since discovery is such an important part of this game; I’d recommend that for anyone who plans on trying this game out for the first time to resist the urge to just look up the answers on the internet. Don’t use a walkthrough, instead make your own map and explore this game for yourself. Some people might feel that trying to beat this game without any outside resources is too much to ask for. I’d like to propose a simple compromise: Whenever you find yourself struggling to advance, rather than looking up a video or a wiki page, instead limit yourself to what a kid in the 80s would have. I can attest that the game’s original manual, the map and strategies poster, and back issues of Nintendo Power featuring hints; can all be found very easily with a google search. These will point you in the right direction without revealing everything. I could continue writing about this game for ages but I’ll spare you all of that and instead just say that this game is fantastic. (5/5) Yoshi: This somewhat confusingly named game is another falling block puzzler as it turns out, much like Dr. Mario. Apparently it released simultaneously on the Gameboy and on the NES a year after the character Yoshi was introduced in Super Mario World for the SNES. Weird. Anyway, the gimmick behind this one is that you can’t actually control the blocks as they fall. Instead you swap the stacks they make on the floor to manipulate what they land on. For instance a single goomba-block and a 3-block stack with a boo-block on top might sit next to one another, and you can swap their places so that a falling goomba and boo block will land on the correct stacks. If I’m failing to explain it, don’t worry it’s obvious once you see it. The real complication are the Yoshi eggs that come in two halves. Dropping the top half onto a tall stack that has a bottom half of a Yoshi egg underneath it will instantly eliminate all the blocks sandwiched between them and earn you an appropriately high score bonus. From the start; you can choose between focusing on a highscore or advancing through stages, choose the level you start at, and choose the speed of the falling blocks. You can also choose between three different music tracks, all of which are mediocre, which is a shame because good music goes a long way in making puzzler’s like these enjoyable. Unlike in Dr. Mario; the two-player resembles modern puzzle-battle games in that clearing a huge stack at once will cause more blocks to fall on your opponent’s side making it harder for them and encouraging risky play. Overall, while the concept is neat I don’t think it’s enough to elevate this one. This game is fair. (3/5) Not as good as Dr. Mario and certainly no match for Tetris. I can continue reviewing new NES games as they come out if anyone found this interesting.
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