As the NFL celebrates its 100 anniversary, the league welcomes the Kansas City Chiefs back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years. The Chiefs, 1.5-point favorites in Super Bowl 54, won Super Bowl 4 23-7 over the Minnesota Vikings as 12-point underdogs. Their opponents, the San Francisco 49ers have won five of six Super Bowl appearances but none since a 1995 victory in Super Bowl 29.
148th Travers Stakes Picks
Travers Stakes Picks and Preview
In total, eight of the 12 runners that have drawn into the Travers raced in all or part of the Triple Crown series, including Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming, Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing, and Belmont Stakes winner Tapwrit. The interesting thing from a betting angle is that none of the three are listed as race favorites in the Bovada.lv future wager menu, and the early odds offer a good opportunity in where to find value when betting future wagers as opposed to the starting point odds offered in the Saratoga morning line.
Listed at 7-2 in the ML, Tapwrit is being offered at slightly higher 11-2 in the Bovada futures. After coming up short in the Kentucky Derby, he reverted to his winning form from earlier in the spring with an excellent tactical race in the 1 1/2 mile Belmont, where he ran with the second flight behind the leaders early, and then took advantage of the long Belmont straight to run down pacesetter Irish War Cry and win by two lengths. If he can run back to that effort, he's a legitimate contender here and should be included on any exotic wagers.
Speaking of the Derby, Always Dreaming won that race going away over the sloppy Churchill Downs track as the favorite at odds of 5-1. Two poor performances since then have greatly reduced his stock, and the oddsmaker at Saratoga has him as fourth choice in the Travers at 6-1, while Bovada offers the more generous 9-1. In any other year, those would be unheard of odds for a Kentucky Derby winner in the race often referred to as "The Mid-Summer Derby", but he's coming off back-to-to back losses, and needs to prove that his win in Kentucky was based on talent and not simply the result of catching the best trip on what was a terrible track.
The other Triple Crown race winner is Preakness champ Cloud Computing (8-1 ML, 12-1 Bovada) who also struggled in his last outing, finishing fifth in the (G2) Jim Dandy Stakes over the Saratoga dirt. He wentÂ into the Preakness flying a bit under the radar (going off at odds of 13-1 when the gates opened) and then got a well-timed ride from jockey Javier Castellano, just getting up to catch the very good Classic Empire at the wire, after that one had gone stride-for-stride through much of the race with Always Dreaming. His performance in the Jim Dandy was a step back, and like Always Dreaming, he'll have to prove the Preakness win wasn't just the result of getting a perfect trip.
Top Runner West Coast is Stepping Up
Of the others in the field, West Coast is favored at Bovada at odds of 7-4, and is the second choice in the morning line at 4-1. Trained by Bob Baffert, he has a string of victories to his name and has never been worse than second in six lifetime starts since making his racing debut this year. Two of those efforts came in Grade 3 events, where he has one win and one second-place finish. He's impressive on paper, but he's taking a big step up in class here, and the result Saturday will go a long way to showing if he actual belongs with the best of the three-year-old group.
We always like a horse that has a win over the track, and both the ML and Bovada have Good Samaritan listed at 5-1, after taking the Jim Dandy by a clear 4 3/4 lengths back at the end of July. While not taking anything away from that effort, given that he did beat both Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing that day, he was facing only four other rivals, and he benefitted from a pace meltdown, as the three horses that were first, second and third at the 3/4 mile mark finished third, fourth and fifth in the end. He'll need to improve once again off that effort in order to make it two-in-a-row at Saratoga.
There wasn't much to seperate Girvin and McCraken when they last met in in the (G1) Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park a month ago, with Girvin taking the win by a nose, and there's not much to sperate them here, either. Bovada gives the slight edge to McCraken at 6-1 over Girvin at 7-1, while the ML odds have Girvin at 10-1 and McCraken at 12-1. We'd give the nod to McCraken (and hope to get the ML odds) based on the fact he had a troubled early seasonÂ in terms of missing training with some injuries, and still has room for improvement, while the Haskell effort may have been Girvin's very best and will be tough to repeat.Â
The Travers Stakes goes Saturday, August 26 from Saratoga Springs, race number 11 on an excellent card that includes four other Grade 1 races. Post time is 5:44 PM Eastern.
148th Travers Stakes Entries w/ Bovada Future Bet Odds
- Cloud Computing (12-1)
- Guiseppe The Great (25-1)
- West Coast (7-4)
- Tapwrit (11-2)
- Good Samaritan (5-1)Â
- Girvin (7-1)
- Always Dreaming (9-1)Â
- Lookin' At Lee (33-1)Â
- McCraken (6-1)Â
- Irap (10-1)
- Gunnevera (12-1)Â
- Fayeq (22-1)Â
148th Travers Stakes Picks
- #4 - Tapwrit
- #9 - McCraken
- #3 - West Coast
- #6 - Girvin
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