• Cavs vs Celtics: How Valuable is LeBron James?

    Written by Rohit Ghosh
    Follow @rohitghosh on Twitter

    How Valuable is LeBron James For The Cavs?

    It's almost the postseason, and AccuScore took some time to look at LeBron James and how valuable one player can be in a game that could decide the winner of the Eastern Conference. Wednesday's top of the Eastern Conference battles could decide home court advantage for the Conference Finals and preview that heavyweight battle if all goes to chalk.

    The Cavs are coming off a back-to-back, and AccuScore ran its simulations prior to the conclusion of Tuesday night’s win, where James ultimately recorded a triple double, so the numbers may not match identically with Wednesday’s simulation results on the site, but the computer’s assessment of LeBron James is clear.

    The Cavs’ go from a 32.4% chance of winning Wednesday's game in Boston without, arguably, the best basketball player on the planet to a 40.1% chance of winning in Beantown with James in the lineup, which is a whopping increase of 26.4%!

    Safe to say, the Cavs are not about to win the Eastern Conference in the regular or postseason without James on the court.

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    Whether or not James gets voted as a top candidate in the MVP race, the fact of the matter is that his impact on the Cavaliers -- in the long run – is immense. In the short run, it’s equally notable.

    The Cavs’ roster has enough talent to sustain wins in the regular season and beat bottom dwellers, but increasing the Cavs’ odds of winning from 32.4% to 40.1% is something no single other player provides against competition of this caliber.

    The Cavs haven't had a whole lot of success with James off the floor - going winless when no. 23 has rested.

    Heading into March, Cleveland is about nine-to-ten points better offensively, per 100 possessions, with James on the floor, and are about three points worse defensively per 100 possessions. He has an impact on both ends. Against Boston in simulations, Cleveland held the Celtics 1.2 points lower on average, which makes a big difference in a close game. Add in that the Cavs score about 2.5 more points with James in simulations, and the game gets a whole heck of a lot more interesting and entertaining with the three-time NBA Finals MVP on the floor.

    This isn't anything new, though. Two years ago, Cleveland went 3-10 without him on the floor. Last year, 1-5

     

    Given that James plays between 37-to-38 minutes per game when on the floor - is this really that surprising? While his usage ratings might not be to the levels of a James Harden or Russell Westbrook, his presence on the floor for that amount of time makes the overall impact just as much, if not more.

    With “the King” on the floor, the Cavs remain the favorite to reach the NBA finals; without him, their winning percentage suggests they could be a lottery team. Ultimately, the computer still likes the Celtics because they come in rested and have the home court, but James gives the Cavs a far better chance to win according to AccuScore’s 10,000 simulations.

    See AccuScore’s Celtics vs Cavs expert picks against the spread and totals + all of Wednesday’s action: NBA Picks

  • Election 2016: Clinton To Edge Trump

    Written by AccuScore Staff

  • GUIDE: AccuScore's NFL and College Football Picks

    Understanding AccuScore’s New Football Simulations

    OK, AccuScore looks different this year. Take a deep breath. The simulations haven’t changed, but the look has. So, we’re going to walk you through how to find your football picks and also how to read the new simulations.

    There are two views: The Graph View and the Grid View.

    The Graph View

    Side Value and Moneyline

    As this was a pretty big change, it took us a moment to get everything into the graph view, but now we have it. Let’s take a look at an example from NCAA Football below.

    Football Graph View

    In the example above, there is a 4-star moneyline pick and 2-star side value pick. The Moneyline pick is clearly Arkansas, represented by the outside circle. Also, the 88.8% of simulations resulted in Arkansas winning, which written below the team’s symbol. This is the moneyline pick. AccuScore’s simulations are represented by the outside circle.

    Football Graph View-2

    The side value, however, is represented by the inside circle, and as you can see in the image above, the odds only give Louisiana Tech a 5.69% chance of winning versus AccuScore giving Louisiana Tech an 11% chance of winning, so there is side value on picking the underdog here.

    Over/Under and Point Spread Picks

    In the illustration below, you’ll find a green arrow and a red arrow. The green arrow is AccuScore’s Totals pick. In the example below, AccuScore is picking the Over in this game, which is a two-star pick. Below the stars, the “52” represents the line, so AccuScore is saying this game will go OVER 52. The 58.4% shows you what percentage of simulations went OVER 52. If you click on the “free picks” or “more info” box, you can play around with slider tools to adjust the lines if you’re getting a different line.

    Football Graph View-2

    The red arrow shows AccuScore’s pick against the spread. In this game, the pick is LA Tech +25, which is a two-star pick. Again, the 56% represents the percentage of simulations that saw LA Tech losing by 25 or fewer points or winning outright.

    Grid View

    To get to the grid view, take a look at the red arrow above and click on the three lines. The graph symbol allows you to switch back to the graph view. Due to the number of games in College Football, the grid view is now the default view. Also, you can type in team abbreviations in the search box (green arrow) and find any game you’re looking for faster. The graph view is the default view for most other sports, but switching to the grid view is the same process for every sport.

    Understanding the Grid View

    Football Grid View

    Let’s use the same example we’ve been using and the same game that’s listed in the above illustration of the grid view: LATech vs Arkansas

    Let’s go column by column to understand what everything means in the grid view. Acc Sim% simply lists AccuScore’s simulation calculations, which list Arkansas as an 88% favorite. Conversely, Louisiana Tech only won 11% of simulations. That’s easy enough.

    Odds% is AccuScore converting the public odds into a percentage. Before you freak out and think something is wrong, the percentage is over 100% because bookies add a bit of juice to their end. While we removed that juice in the past and converted odds to be out of 100%, leaving the juice in actually allows for a clearer look at true side value because it doesn’t arbitrarily push down Vegas’ odds as a percentage.

    In this case, Vegas oddsmakers are saying there is a 97.22% chance of Arkansas winning and only a 5.69% chance of LATech winning. Looking at it side-by-side with AccuScore’s Sim%, the side value is clearly on LATech.

    The next column is “PS” and “ACC PS.” The top number is the point spread set by bookmakers, which is Arkansas -25. Below it, AccuScore lists the point spread line we believe it should be: Arkansas -21. Since Vegas is overinflating Arkansas, the point spread pick is Louisiana Tech.

    Next, we have the “OU” and “Acc OU” column. Similar to the last column, the first number (52) is the Over/Under line set by Vegas oddsmakers. The number below it is the Over/Under line AccuScore calculated. Since AccuScore’s line is higher than the public odds, the pick is the OVER.

    The final three columns are ML, SV, and Total, and all of them simply list the star-rated picks. As the season continues, we will have more trends and 3 and 4-star picks. Using the arrows, members can sort games by star-ratings and instantly find all games offering 4-star totals picks.

    Note: AccuScore still offers the ability to change lines and change spreads by clicking on the team names in the grid view. Also, you can see written previews for every game, top trends and player projections.

  • MLS Friday: Orlando City vs Real Salt Lake

    Written by Rohit Ghosh
    Follow @rohitghosh on Twitter

    MLS Analyst Preview: Orlando City vs Real Salt Lake

    Friday night features some MLS action on ESPN as an out-of-form Orlando City SC heads west against a struggling Real Salt Lake (RSL) squad.

    Losers of four of their last five matches, RSL will look to get back on track in the West standings - currently in the No. 10 slot with 17 points. The recent struggles were all on the road, though, and the home crowd should help turn things around.

    Right?

    Vegas Odds vs AccuScore Simulation Data

    Vegas odds have RSL as slight home favorites to get the win, listed at -125 on the money line at the time of publication. That indicates about a 54.4 percent chance of winning.

    AccuScore data has that probability much lower, just under 43 percent. AccuScore sim data would have listed RSL at about +130 on the money line.

    Taking a look at the standings, there's some value in the UNDER and the draw in this matchup. With Orlando City having scored just two goals in their last five road matches, recent play indicates a pick on the UNDER.

    AccuScore sim data, however, doesn't provide much value on either side of the total.

    Make sure to check out the full simulation to get insight on side value picks and potential in a draw in this matchup.

    See All of AccuScore'sMLS Picks

    Analyst's Last Word

    Despite the difference in the money line winning probabilities between odds and sim data, a pick on the home side is attractive. RSL isn't having a great season, but they have been solid at home - winning three in a row there. They're a shade over EVEN odds and it's fairly attractive.

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  • Wizards at Celtics: Game 5 Preview

    Written by Rohit Ghosh
    Follow @rohitghosh on Twitter

    Washington Wizards vs Boston Celtics: Game 5

    With the best-of-seven series now tied at two games apiece, the Celtics and Wizards head back to Boston for a crucial Game 5. Home court advantage has been a major factor in this series, with role players struggling on the road only to get back on track at home – Bradley Beal being a great example following his 29-point performance in Game 4.

    At the time of publication, the Celtics are a 4-point favorite with the total set at 215.5. There’s only been about a half-point of movement since the lines opened at 4.5 points and 216, respectively.

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    AccuScore Simulations

    There’s a four-star AccuScore hot trend on this game’s spread, suggesting a slightly closer game than Vegas lines indicate. The Wizards – coached by Scott Brooks – have proven multiple times this season they’re capable of making defensive adjustments.

    Similar to Tuesday’s Rockets-Spurs matchup, simulation data seems to be going against recent betting trends. While the hot trend from simulations indicates an against the spread (ATS) pick on the Wizards, betting trend suggest otherwise.

    • Boston is 5-0 straight up (SU) and ATS in their last five games following back-to-back losses.
    • Washington is 1-5 SU in their last six games on the road.

    Sim data also indicates a different pick on the total, compared to recent trends. AccuScore simulations have the total set 2.5 points lower than that in Vegas, suggesting the UNDER. The total, though, has gone OVER in five of Boston’s last six playoff home games as a favorite.

    Wizards vs Celtics - Game 5
    Click Here for all NBA Playoffs picks

    What to Watch For

    The Wizards have been incredibly successful on the defensive end with Markieff Morris on the floor, outscoring the Celtics by a shade of 28 points per 100 possessions. According to Basketball Insiders, Morris has only played 92 minutes in the series, compared to 138 minutes for Marcin Gortat and 150+ for other starters. His ankle injury earlier in the series has affected his overall time on the floor, but keep an eye on his presence on the floor because it has had direct positive impact on Washington’s defense.

    After scoring just 14 points in Game 2 and 11 points in Game 3, Bradley Beal broke out in Game 4 with 29 points. He shot 69 percent from the field in Game 4, after shooting just 37 percent in Games 1-3. It's unfair to expect another 60-plus percent shooting performance from Beal, but his aggressiveness on defense clearly had a positive impact on his offensive production. By having to guard Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Marcus Smart, Beal got himself more engaged in the action early on. Watch for him to be aggressive Wednesday night, especially in the first half as he looks to build from his Game 4 success.

    Why’s the Boston money line potentially the safest pick? Washington somehow kept Isaiah Thomas off the free throw line. That’s not going to happen in back-to-back games, especially with Game 5 in Boston.

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