For the most part college basketball games played before Christmas are not really meant to offer much in the way of serious competition to the big name school which is playing some small college program that seeks to gain national recognition, and a lump of cash, by taking on a hoops team that they know they have little or no chance of beating.

Today’s coaches and sports commentators call them ‘warm-up games’. ESPN’s Lee Corso calls them ‘cupcake games’.  Whatever, these contests are more like pageants than basketball games, but, that’s the way it is folks.

It’s been that way for years.  Seldom does a contending team face another contending team before the first of the year unless it is in some exotic tournament somewhere.  These are called ‘marquee matchups’ and most hoops coaches despise them, especially those early in the season before they even really know what they have in the way of a basketball team.

So it is not a surprise to find the same powerhouse teams in college basketball holding down the top ten positions in both the AP and the Coaches Polls as last year, and the year before that. As usual we have Duke, Louisville, Michigan State, Kansas, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Gonzaga, Ohio State and Kentucky rounding off the top ten in the national polls this week.

Next week will most likely see the same teams there but perhaps in a somewhat scrambled order as none of these teams will be facing any really serious competition until just before Christmas when Kentucky hosts Ohio State and Louisville in back to back games at Rupp Arena in Lexington.

Duke, currently ranked as the number one team in the land, as usual, has the easiest schedule of all the top ten teams. They will not encounter any serious competition until January 18 when Louisville comes to town. The Blue Devils and the Louisville Cardinals are both currently listed at 10 to 1 to win the NCAA Tourney this year.

The Kentucky Wildcats started the season with a bang by defeating Michigan State 69-63 back on November 5th but then unexpectedly fell to the neighboring Evansville Aces at home on November 12th by a final score of 67-64.  They begin SEC play on January 4th when Missouri comes to town.

Michigan State begins Big 10 play on January 2nd hosting Illinois and then Michigan on January 5th.  They will not encounter any top ten teams until the Spartans host Ohio State on March 8th. Michigan State is the current favorite to win it all in ‘March Madness’ this season at 6 to 1 odds with the Kentucky Wildcats coming in with the second lowest odds at 8 to 1.

The Kansas Jayhawks and the North Carolina Tar Heels are at 12 to 1 going into December and five teams are bunched up at 20 to 1 including the Arizona Wildcats, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, the Maryland Terrapins, the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Oregon Ducks.

While the relative positions of these teams will be changing every week for the remainder of 2019, don’t look for any significant changes before 2020 gets rolling. Then the excitement will start to build with every game all the way up until March when the real ‘Madness’ begins!



Just four days before the ‘Game of the Century’ featuring the Alabama Crimson Tide hosting the LSU Tigers in Tuscaloosa on Saturday afternoon, the College Football Playoff, or CFP committee has come out with the first version of their version of how the national rankings should look in Division I NCAA Football this year.  Remember that this early draft is from a committee and it has been widely speculated that ‘a camel is a horse designed by a committee’.

Keeping that in mind, the committee has decided that the Ohio State Buckeyes should be the number one team in the land, even though neither the AP Poll nor the Coaches Poll has the Buckeyes in the lead.  Note that the voters in these two polls are some of the most up to date, sports savvy writers and coaches in the game of football anywhere.

So, Ohio State comes in at number one in the CFP rankings and LSU holds down the number two position while the Alabama drops to number three; and a surprising Penn State team grabbing the final spot in this final four.  Clemson fans must be distraught with indignation while Penn State guys are counting their blessings.

Of course all of this will change weekly with the results of the games coming up in the next five weeks of NCAA Football action. Oddly enough, the winner of the LSU-Alabama game won’t move up much, and the looser won’t move down very much.  There is still a lot of football after this weekend to decide first the SEC championship, and eventually the national CFP title.

Ohio State will host the University of Maryland as 43.5 point favorites, so, the Buckeyes are likely to remain undefeated after this Saturday’s action.  In the other battle of the undefeated, the #4 ranked Nittany Lions of Penn State will visit the #17 Minnesota Gophers in a contest which will take place in TCF Bank Stadium up in Minneapolis as 7 point favorites.

The #5 ranked Clemson Tigers visit North Carolina State as 32 point favorites and the #6 Georgia Bulldogs will host 5-3 Missouri as 16.5 point favorites.  But the big one will be down in Tuscaloosa where dignitaries, hall of famers, famous alumni and maybe even the President of the United States will be there to watch as the #3 ranked Crimson Tide takes on the #2 ranked Tigers.

Major questions concern the availability of Alabama quarterback, and Heisman Trophy contender, Tua Tagovailoa, who suffered a high ankle sprain during the recent Tennessee game.  Head Coach Nick Saban has declared Tua a game time decision and says that his team will be OK one way or the other.

The Tigers, on the other hand, have just lost the services of star starting linebacker Michael Divinity, ‘for personal reasons’, at least for the Alabama game. LSU Head Coach Ed Oregon is hopeful that his Tigers can defeat the Tide for the first time since 2011. If nothing else, this game will go a long ways towards deciding the SEC West this year.

Before the CFP rankings came out, this game was between the #1 team and the #2 team in the country according to the AP Poll.  Some might think that the Buckeyes being awarded the number one ranking by the CFP committee could take a little of the glamour off the LSU-Alabama game, but don’t try to sell that to anyone in the SEC.

So, Roll Tide & Geaux Tigers!  Oh what a game this shall be.



A local bookies’ business is built on trust.  Nobody ever really trusted a sports book anyway.  After several years of experimenting with sending money out of the country to off shore sports books, most players are eager to find themselves a reliable local guy who can provide dependable quality access to wagering and then be there with their payout and a smile when they win.

If you have been considering the possibility of becoming a local bookmaker, on whatever level, there are a few things that you should consider going in.

The very first thing that you have to do is to be very careful as to how you go about getting started. To be a successful Bookmaker requires that you walk that fine line between being a social animal, so that you attract enough players and gain their trust……and being a somewhat secretive animal that keeps a low profile and stays out of trouble.

FYI. Making money in the bookie business is not based on luck…..well, not to any great extent anyway. To be sure, luck enters into the equation on a fairly regular basis, but you can’t base a business on luck alone. Bookies make their living on the interest traditionally charged on each wager called the “juice” or sometimes the “vig”.  Usually that amounts to 10%.

Today’s savvy Bookie will affiliate himself with a service provider known as a pay per head company which will give him, and all his players, access to worldwide wagering options either on his mobile device, phone or the Internet 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

You as an agent working with Host PPH will be able to access, right on your personal mobile device, all of the required reporting to keep on top of your business at all times without carrying around all that troublesome and incriminating paperwork ever again. With 29 individual reports breaking down every aspect of your business, today’s local bookie working with Host PPH can keep track things to a far greater degree than ever before using the old ‘little black book’.

It is very important that the Bookmaker new to the game take the time to look around and find the right pay per head service for him. Don’t make the mistake of jumping for the cheapest price available. Cheap is not what your players are looking for. Cheap will keep you up at night and constantly on the phone. Is that really what you are looking for?

Check to see how long the PPH company has been in business.  For example, Host PPH has been working exclusively with professional bookmakers like you for almost 20 years now and today works with hundreds of bookies and services tens of thousands of daily players.

Beware that there exist so called pay per head companies that are offering full pph service for a cheap price but who simply do not have the infrastructure necessary to provide what they promise. Find a company that has been around for awhile. Better still, find a company that someone you know and trust is already using and is happy with, like Host PPH.

Be very sure that you do not contract pay per head services with a company that also runs a sports book as well.  Your customers will be calling into the same call center and be offered free plays and bonuses that you are probably not in a position to offer, and then they end up stealing away some of your best players.  It happens all the time, so, take care.

Remember, the product and service that your pay per head service provides is what your clients will see as representing you as a Bookmaker and a business person. Quality software and quality service attract quality long term clients who appreciate a hassle free, friendly, high quality wagering service from his local bookie and that’s just what he will get when you contract with Host

Make the call today, have your questions ready, and find out what a difference Host PPH can make in your business, and in your lifestyle.  866 601 4678


opening-day-2019TIP OFF TIME FOR THE NBA

The new NBA season gets underway on Tuesday evening with a bang when the Los Angeles Clippers host the Los Angeles Lakers at 7:30 pm PST at the Staples Center, which is currently the home of both LA franchises for the time being.

Both teams have undergone some significant changes during the off season and the ‘City of Angles’ is ripe with anticipation for the games to begin.  Most famously the Lakers traded away some valuable future pieces to get big man Anthony Davis away from the New Orleans Pelicans to team up with LeBron James in hopes that the Lakers will at last achieve the necessary quality of chemistry to return the team and the franchise back to its glory days of old.

The Clippers, on the other hand, went out and recruited NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard from the Toronto Raptors as well as All Star journeyman forward Paul George to make up another dynamic duo to take on the mighty Lakers with James and Davis waiting at center court.

But the intercity big boy basketball battle began with the preseason during which the Clippers played only 3 games; and they lost all three of those games scoring only an average of 91.3 points per game, which is surely not what Head Coach Doc Rivers or owner Steve Ballmer had in mind to kick off the season.

The Lakers managed to get in 6 games during the preseason and split then 3-3 averaging 107.3 points per game, which is not bad, but which falls a bit short of the 125.6 points per game put up by the NBA leading New Orleans Pelicans, who played 5 preseason games and went undefeated, 5-0.

Tragically for the Pelicans and for basketball fans everywhere, Zion Williamson, the first round draft pick that has given the New Orleans NBA franchise such hope for the future, sat out the final game of the preseason with what he thought was just a sore knee, but ultimately the injury was a torn right lateral meniscus which has already been surgically repaired.

The very popular young Zion is expected to miss 6 to 8 weeks of the regular season but hopes to be back on the court for the Christmas NBA games.  Las Vegas oddsmakers will have fun figuring out how to adjust the lines this season.

While Paul George will be out of action for the Clippers until November with a shoulder injury, Doc Roberts still sports a formidable roster with guards Patrick Beverly and Lou Williams as well as Landry Shamet and the big center Montrezl Harrell returning.  They also have 7’7” ‘Mostar Man’ Ivica Zubac from Mostar, Bosnia to contend with who is a handful for any defender on any team anywhere.

The addition of six time NBA All Star forward/center Anthony Davis is expected to infuse new life into the sagging Lakers franchise and give the uber-talented LaBron James somebody to play with on somewhat the same level.  It should be fun for Lakers fans to watch this duo develop and surely a blast for James, who was clearly frustrated out on the court last season.

LeBron told reporters, “Opening night is great.  For me, it’s like the first day of school.”  All around the NBA there are similar sentiments going around locker rooms everywhere as professional basketball players, young and not so young, get ready to tip off yet another exciting season of blistering NBA action.

Tip Off is Tuesday evening at 5pm PST when the Raptors host the Pelicans, listed at -7, in Toronto and then at 7:30 PST with the Clippers hosting the Lakers as 3 point underdogs at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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