Djokovic Favored Heavily Over Nadal in Beijing

No. 1 Novak Djokovic has won five of the last six China Open titles in Beijing (ATP 500 Series, outdoor hard court), and he is expected to take down another championship this week. Djokovic was a heavy –250 favorite on the closing line, so he was way ahead of Rafael Nadal (+700) and Tomas Berdych (+800).

Djokovic already has seven ATP titles under his belt this year, claiming all three majors except the French Open, where he lost to Stan Wawrinka in the final. The Serbian sensation is 63-5 in singles action this year, including 40-4 on the hard court. He’s also won six of his last seven matches against Nadal; again, the lone setback was at the 2014 French Open final.

Berdych is actually the second seed at Beijing, and Nadal is No. 3. Nadal’s body may finally have taken too much punishment at age 29. The former clay-court specialist is 14-7 on the hard court this year, falling to No. 8 in the world rankings. No. 5 Berdych is 32-10 on the hard court after last week’s tournament victory in Shenzhen, but Djokovic has won 19 of their 21 matches overall.

Pirates Host Cubs in NL Wild Card Game

The 2015 regular season is finally over, and the top three teams in the majors are all from the NL Central Division. The Pittsburgh Pirates (98-64, +21.35 betting units) will host the Chicago Cubs (97-65, +17.51 units) in the NL Wild Card Game this Wednesday night; TBS provides the television coverage starting at 8:08 PM ET.

Both teams will be sending their aces out to the mound. For the Pirates, it’ll be Gerrit Cole (2.66 FIP), who finished third on the MLB money list with 10.43 betting units on a team record of 23-9. The Cubs respond with this year’s top earner and possibly the top Cy Young candidate from the NL, Jake Arrieta (2.35 FIP). He’s up 13.73 units after leading Chicago to a 25-8 record.

On the season, the Cubs rank ahead of the Pirates in WAR for both hitting and relief pitching; although Pittsburgh’s bullpen has risen to No. 1 in the majors over the past 30 days. The Pirates had the better overall run differential at +101 to Chicago’s +81. Sadly, breakout third baseman Jung Ho Kang (.816 OPS) is out for Pittsburgh after suffering a torn knee and a broken leg in late September.

More of the Pirates vs Cubs game

Cubs, Pirates Square Off in NL Wild-Card Game

The NL Central has been a monster of a division this season, and two of its best teams meet on Wednesday for a chance to advance in the postseason. The Chicago Cubs (-145 on the moneyline) head to Pittsburgh (+125 on the moneyline), and both teams will send their aces to the mound.

Jake Arrieta gets the ball for the Cubs. His 22 wins led the majors this season, and he finished second in innings and ERA (1.77), and third in strikeouts. Over the last month, Arrieta has a 5-0 record and hasn’t allowed an earned run in three starts. Against the Pirates, Arrieta is 3-1 in five starts with a 0.75 ERA. He’s 2-0 in Pittsburgh with an ERA of 0.82 in three starts.

The Pirates counter with Gerrit Cole, who had 19 wins this season and finished fifth in ERA in the NL. After struggling in August, Cole stepped up in September, going 4-1 in six starts with a 3.29 ERA. Against the Cubs this season, Cole was 2-1 in four starts with a 2.13 ERA. Cole is 9-3 in 15 starts with an ERA of 283. This will be the first time Cole and Arrieta meet this season. The total is set at 5.5.

The Million Dollar Sunday Tourney Moves to 5pm ET

(Press Release) San Jose, Costa Rica – October 6th, 2015 – The clocks might not change until the first Sunday in November, but Americas Cardroom is making its own time change every Sunday in October. The US-facing online poker site today announced that the Million Dollar Sunday is getting pushed back by 2 hours to 5:00pm ET. The Sunday Special, the online poker room’s $115,000 guaranteed poker tournament, is also moving up by an hour, from 4pm to 3:00pm ET.

“If you’ve got an alert for the Million Dollar Sunday set in your iPhone, it’s time to adjust it,” said Americas Cardroom spokesperson Michael Harris. “We’re moving it to 5:00pm ET effective this Sunday, and we’re moving The Sunday Special to 3:00pm ET. Our new start times should help more players find a seat.

The Million Dollar Sunday is Americas Cardroom’s signature tournament that runs every Sunday in October. The online poker tournament features a $1 million guaranteed prize pool, with $200,000 earmarked for first place. The last two Million Dollar Sunday tournaments featured overlays averaging over $211,000, making it one of the best-valued tournaments in the United States.

The prior Million Dollar Sundays kicked off at 3:00pm ET. The new 5:00pm ET start time means that more players based in the United States will have the opportunity to sleep in or focus their attention on watching the early NFL games.

Last Sunday’s Million Dollar Sunday featured an overlay of nearly $200,000, fueled by a lack of entries. With the site hit by DDoS attacks in a September Million Dollar Sunday tournament, many players chose to stay away from the $1 million guaranteed tournament.

However, Americas Cardroom’s DDoS Mitigation team did a fantastic job of limiting downtime in the most recent tournament. When the tournament was forced to pause, it was only for 30 or 40 seconds. The reduced entries meant that players had a smaller field to contend with, making it easier to chase that $200,000 first place prize.

However, the later start time could mean a smaller overlay as more players will have an opportunity to play, particularly those on the West Coast who felt the 3pm ET start time (12pm PT) was too early.

Huge Mobile Wins of over 300,000 euro at SkillOnNet Casinos

(Press Release) Two very lucky players have had huge wins at two different SkillOnNet casinos in two days of each other. The two wins totaling over 300,000 euro came on two different games but both were played on mobile software powered by SkillOnNet

The first big win was on NYX provided slot game Medusa II and paid out in excess of 160,000 euro for just one spin breaking the all-time record for just one spin at a SkillOnNet powered casino. The same player then won another 10,000 euro on the same game on her second spin!

The second big winner was playing Monopoly Big Event from WMS slots triggering 17 free spins in the game and struck lucky with a win of 127.000 euro. Mr. A commented “I have never won much playing slots before and this is just fantastic. It will change me and my family’s lives forever”

Congratulations Mr. A you will always be welcome back at SkillOnNet casinos!

Final Four Deal Struck in Million Dollar Sunday

(Press Release) San Jose, Costa Rica – October 5th, 2015 – It’s not every day that an online poker site reaches deep into its pocket and pulls out $200,000 to cover a $1 million guaranteed prize pool. But it is almost every Sunday. For the second straight Million Dollar Sunday event, Americas Cardroom players got to contend with a smaller-than-expected field. The tournament featured an overlay of $197,500, only slightly less than the $225,500 overlay seen in the first tournament of Americas Cardroom’s $5 Million Guaranteed promotion.

“First off, congratulations to our four final table participants who negotiated a deal with fairly equal chips in play,” said Americas Cardroom spokesperson Michael Harris. “And a special congrats to Runzgood, who finally dominated the tournament and won the $20,000 icing on the cake. As promised, we delivered on our $1 million guarantee, even in the face of a $200,000 overlay. And we’ll deliver on our promise next week too.”

The Million Dollar Sunday is Americas Cardroom’s signature tournament that runs throughout the year. Every week in October, Americas Cardroom is hosting a Million Dollar Sunday event with $1 million in guaranteed prize money and at least $200,000 earmarked for first place. If the overlay repeats itself week after week, there’s a potential for a total of $1 million, taking into account the September 13th overlay experienced just a few weeks ago.

Harris notes that the overlay is the result of DDoS attacks. On September 13th, Americas Cardroom experienced an onslaught of attacks, forcing the tournament to pause frequently for a few minutes. This time around, while DDoS attacks did hit the site, downtime was limited to about 30 seconds thanks to a DDoS Mitigation platform called Zenedge put in place by Americas Cardroom’s security team.

“Overall, players didn’t really notice any downtime, but the attacks experienced in September forced some players to rethink playing in the tournament,” noted Harris. “With a smaller field and fewer re-entries, it was a nice opportunity for players to conquer a $1 million guaranteed tournament. And there are three more opportunities this month, so we recommend players secure a seat through a satellite ASAP.”

Last night’s tournament played down to four players shortly after 4am ET. At that time, the chip counts were fairly evenly split, with most raises and all-ins being shunned by echoes of folds across the table. Pre-deal, the final chip counts were Curzdog with 4,898,288, Runzgood with 4,040,130, RepaidByScorn with 3,915,753, and payMefool with 3,195,829.

A final table deal was agreed to that saw Curzdog walk away with $113,339, Runzgood $105,902, RepaidByScorn $105,244, and payMefool $99,116. After the deal was agreed to by all parties, Runzgood won the tournament and pocketed the $20,000 set aside for the winner.

The next Million Dollar Sunday gets underway at 5:00pm ET on October 11th. This start time is 2 hours later than previous Million Dollar Sundays.

No. 13 Alabama at No. 8 Georgia

What has happened to the Alabama Crimson Tide? They’ve already suffered their first loss of the 2015 season, courtesy of the Ole Miss Rebels, and now they find themselves as 1.5-point road dogs for Saturday’s game (3:30 PM ET, CBS) against Georgia. The Tide were favored in their last 72 games stretching back to 2009.

Although Alabama has fallen to No. 13 in the polls at 3-1 SU and 1-3 ATS, the advanced stats still think Nick Saban’s program is the best in the FBS. The Tide committed five turnovers – three picks and two lost fumbles – against Ole Miss in Week 3 to lose 43-37 as 8-point home faves. That’s not likely to happen again in Athens.

No. 8 Georgia comes into this matchup at 4-0 SU and 2-2 ATS, but could easily be 4-0 ATS after barely missing the mark in otherwise impressive victories over the Vanderbilt Commodores (+19 at home) and the Southern Jaguars (+49 away). The Bulldogs are expected to have WR/KR Isaiah McKenzie in action Saturday after a woman who had accused McKenzie of threatening to kill her decided not to pursue charges.

Berdych in Fine Form at Shenzhen Open

The Shenzhen Open made its ATP World Tour 250 debut last year, with Andy Murray taking down the title in a tight three-set victory over Tommy Robredo. This year’s favorite at press time is top seed and World’s No. 5 Tomas Berdych (+175), followed by No. 14 Marin Cilic (+250). Robredo is the third seed and third favorite at +900.

All three players were given byes to the second round, where they were relatively big favorites going into Wednesday’s action. Berdych has enjoyed a pretty good 2015 campaign, using his big serve and his ground strokes to reach the semifinals at the Australian Open. The Czech native is 25-8 on the hard court this year.
Cilic, who won the US Open in 2014, started off slowly this year with a shoulder injury and is just 23-14 overall in singles action, including 9-5 on the hard court. However, Cilic did make it to the semifinals at Flushing Meadows last month before losing to Novak Djokovic. Berdych has a 7-5 lifetime record against Cilic, but he’s only 3-4 since 2013, and lost their quarterfinal matchup at last year’s US Open. Robredo is 4-7 lifetime versus Berdych and 3-4 versus Cilic.

First of Four Straight Million Dollar Sunday Tournaments

(Press Release) San Jose, Costa Rica – September 30th, 2015 – Halloween is on October 31st, but online poker players don’t have to wait until then to be treated to something amazing. This Sunday, Americas Cardroom will host the 2nd Million Dollar Sunday tournament of its $5 Million Guaranteed promotion. This is the first of four Million Dollar Sunday tournaments in October and the second in the 5-tournament series.

“Another Sunday, another million,” said Americas Cardroom spokesperson Michael Harris. “With 250 guaranteed seats leading into the tournament this weekend, we think this could be the biggest one yet. We’re looking forward to seeing new faces in the tournament and welcoming back familiar ones, including WSOP November Nine member Joshua Beckley, who live-streamed the last tournament on Twitch and who will be playing again this weekend.”

The Million Dollar Sunday is Americas Cardroom’s $1 million guaranteed tournament that has completely changed the landscape for poker players in the United States. On September 13th, Americas Cardroom’s $1 million guaranteed poker tournament featured an overlay of over $225,000. While many online poker sites would have cancelled a tournament with an overlay that big, Americas Cardroom reaffirmed its commitment to keeping things moving regardless of how many entries are on the table.

The September 13th overlay should help attract players in droves to Americas Cardroom, especially those who are expecting to contend with a smaller field. However, Americas Cardroom is pushing more players than ever to the October 4th tournament through a series of Mega Satellites this weekend, so the potential for the guarantee to be eclipsed is bigger than ever.

On October 2nd, Americas Cardroom is hosting a Mega Satellite at 7:30pm ET, which feeds 50 players into the Million Dollar Sunday, guaranteed. On Saturday at 7:30pm ET, another 100-seat guarantee is on the schedule. Those who miss the boat can still make their way in through a 100-seat Monster Satellite on Sunday at 11:30am ET, the day of the tournament.

All Mega Satellites cost just $60+6 to get into and there are Super Satellites feeding into them all weekend long. Poker players can also enter daily Freebuy Satellites to claim their seat to the supers.

The Million Dollar Sunday takes place this Sunday, October 4th at 3pm ET and guarantees a first place prize of $200,000.

Twins Chasing Wild-Card Berth in Cleveland

With one week remaining in the 2015 regular season, most of the playoff spots have already been decided, but the American League Wild Cards are still up for grabs. The Minnesota Twins (81-75, +21.88 betting units) are one of three teams vying for the second and last playoff berth on the junior circuit. They’ll be in Cleveland Wednesday night (7:10 PM ET) for the third of a four-game series at The Jake.

The Tribe (77-78, –14.50 units) are still in Wild Card contention at press time, but their chances are very slim after losing 4-2 to Minnesota (+152) on Monday. Rookie right-hander Cody Anderson (4.29 FIP) is expected to start for Cleveland against Kyle Gibson (4.05 FIP), who’s been very inconsistent this year. Of the two, Anderson has been the more profitable at 4.57 units on a team record of 9-5. The Twins are 16-16 behind Gibson for just 1.18 units in earnings, with the under at 17-11-4.

Minnesota is also said to be fighting a flu bug that caused Phil Hughes to miss his scheduled start on Monday. Tommy Milone made an emergency start for the Twins, so Gibson will be taking his usual turn on Wednesday.

Wawrinka Leads Pack at Moselle Open

You can always count on the Moselle Open (Metz, France; indoor hard court) to bring in several of the top seeds on the ATP Tour, including the best singles players in France today, Gilles Simon and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Led by the No. 4-ranked player in the world, Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka, these were easily the top three favorites going into Wednesday’s action.

Notable by his absence is last year’s champion David Goffin, who’s been busy leading his native Belgium to their first Davis Cup final since 1904. Simon (2010, 2013) and Tsonga (2011, 2012) had split the last four Moselle Opens between them, meeting in the finals in 2013, but neither made it that far last year. Wawrinka hasn’t appeared at Metz since 2007, when he lost to Tsonga in the first round.

Trailing the top three favorites is Philipp Kohlschreiber, the best player in Germany today and No. 33 overall on the ATP rankings. Kohlschreiber reached the quarterfinals at Metz in 2014, where he lost to fellow German Jan-Lennard Struff after retiring down 5-0 in the first set. Struff is not participating this year.

What You Need to Know about the UCLA – Arizona Game

The No. 9 UCLA Bruins have been a success ever since Jim Mora took over as head coach in 2012. This could be their best season yet, and their road to the Pac-12 title starts this Saturday (8:00 PM ET, ABC) in Tucson, where the No. 16 Arizona Wildcats are laying in wait. UCLA is a 3.5-point favorite (even) at press time.

The Bruins won all three of their non-conference games at 1-1-1 ATS, but their defense has already lost three key players for the rest of the season: linebacker Myles Jack (knee), defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes (knee) and cornerback Fabian Moreau (foot). All three are NFL prospects, but Jack will be the most difficult to replace – he also plays running back and returns kicks.

Arizona (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) is in its fourth year under head coach Rich Rodriguez, finishing the 2014 campaign at 10-4 (5-9 ATS) after making it all the way to the Fiesta Bowl. The Wildcats are coming off a 77-13 victory over the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (+34.5 away) of the FCS, in a game where Arizona led 7-6 after the first quarter. The last time the ‘Cats scored 11 touchdowns was against UTEP in 1921.

Weekend Super Satellites for Punta Cana Poker Classic

(Press Release) San Jose, Costa Rica – September 23, 2015 – Drug stores around the United States might want to stock up on more sunscreen. The Punta Cana Poker Classic winners list has hit 36 and more players than ever are choosing Winning Poker Network to win an all-inclusive poker vacation for this November’s big Caribbean poker tournament. This coming weekend offers a total of four more guaranteed prize packages through two separate tournament satellites on Sunday.

“Congrats to Mao9520, Randallh21, Meandkids, AssassinAttack and Texastommy on winning Punta Cana Poker Classic packages this past weekend,” said Winning Poker Network spokesperson Michael Harris. “They’ll be joining 31 other players who have already secured a seat in paradise this November. We’ve got another 16 guaranteed packages to give away between now and October 18th, so if you’ve missed out, there’s still lots of chances to lock in your trip.”

To date, 36 players have won a Punta Cana Poker Classic prize package through Winning Poker Network’s weekend satellites at Americas Cardroom, Black Chip Poker and Ya Poker.

On the list of winners are the following players: 1DeadPhish; 29beasted; AceAutoxer; AllADreAAm; AssassinAttack; Bigmule26; BiiiiggggD—; BlackFlamingo; boobySMILES; Broke Joke; CodyWestwind; DennisRodman; Donj; Douggyfr3sh; Fishfryer; Galianza; GiantGenius; ImNotAmerican:0; kissedaGIRLONCE; LaCosaNostra1; Mao9520; Mario14; Meandkids; MOFS; Moms Basement; Musthungsolo; Myke0323; Nopatience; Randallh21; Romancio; Sandymar; Slmdan; Texastommy; Tilt-A-Whirl; TonyAllenFTAD; and unclebarry.

Each winner has earned a Punta Cana Poker Classic package that includes: the $1,500+150 buy-in to the Main Event with $500,000 Guaranteed; 6 nights accommodations, double occupancy, at the 5-star Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana from November 3rd through 9th; round trip airfare up to $800; ground transportation in Punta Cana (airport-hotel-airport); all-Inclusive premium food and beverage (24 hrs. room service included); a welcome gift bag; 24-hour premium room service; $1,500 Resort Credit to spend on spa, golf, and tours at the hotel; and access to a 24/7 VIP support line.

Players are flocking to Winning Poker Network to play in the Super Satellites for good reason. The Punta Cana Poker Classic has become one of the most popular Caribbean tournaments of the year.

There’s good reason for that. Entering its sixth year, the Punta Cana Poker Classic tournament takes place at the luxurious Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in the Dominican Republic from November 3rd through 8th. The venue combines the best of Las Vegas high-roller treatment with everything you could ask for in a Caribbean vacation. Package winners receive a bracelet upon check-in that gives them access to unlimited food and beverage 24/7. Hotel rooms are well stocked with beer and liquor, room service is available whenever poker players crave it, and over a dozen restaurants and delis are ready to cater to package winners.

Poker players who want to join the list of winners can win a package through a variety of channels. Satellites for the Punta Cana Poker Classic take place every Sunday at Winning Poker Network at 6pm ET and 8pm ET, and cost just $50+$5 to enter.

Blue Jays, Yankees Meet for Final Time on Wednesday

Toronto swung for the fences this season to try and make it to the playoffs, and now they have a chance to take complete control of the American League East. However, the New York Yankees are in the race and they won’t go down without a fight. The two meet for the final time in 2015 in Toronto on Wednesday.

Ivan Nova gets the call for the Yankees in this matchup, but he hasn’t fared well against the Blue Jays this season. He’s gone 1-2 in three starts with an ERA of 8.36. He failed to make it out of the second inning in his last outing, which was a 10-7 loss to Toronto when he allowed six earned runs in that spot.

The Blue Jays counter with Marcus Stroman, who made his return to the rotation against the Yankees on September 12 and allowed three runs in five innings, taking a no-hitter into the fifth in that 10-7 win. He was even better against Boston, giving up just one run over seven innings of work. The 24-year-old has looked strong after missing most of the season recovering from an injury.

More Major League games this wednesday.

Rangers on the Rampage in Oakland

The Texas Rangers have been defying the baseball odds all season long. At press time, they’re the most profitable team in the majors at 80-69 and 26.95 betting units in the black. The Rangers are also on top of the AL West, and they can help their playoff cause with a win Wednesday night (10:05 PM ET) against the last-place Oakland Athletics.

Colby Lewis (4.18 FIP) is scheduled to start for Texas. Lewis hasn’t been the same pitcher since undergoing elbow surgery in 2012, but he’s up 6.06 units this year on a team record of 16-14. The last time Lewis faced the A’s was September 11, when he twirled a complete-game two-hitter in a 4-0 Texas victory, cashing in as a –133 home chalk on the closing line.

The A’s will be going with Felix Doubront (4.09 FIP), who’s enjoyed a surprisingly good run in Oakland after the Toronto Blue Jays designated him for assignment in late July. Doubront has made six starts, and Oakland is 5-1 for a profit of 7.04 units. However, only two of those appearances were quality starts. Current Rangers have a combined 1.012 OPS versus Dubront; Adrian Beltre is 7-for-11 with two home runs.

Refuses to Give Into DDOS Attacks, Confirms Four Million Dollar Sundays in October

(Press Release) San Jose, Costa Rica – September 16th, 2015 – In the world of poker, putting your money where your mouth is means everything. Americas Cardroom has certainly taken that to heart as evidenced this past weekend during its Million Dollar Sunday. When faced with an overlay of more than $200,000 and an onslaught of DDOS attacks, Americas Cardroom navigated players through the connection issues and to the final table where the 1st place prize of $200,000 was waiting.

“DDOS has recently impacted online businesses everywhere including Sony, Microsoft and even governments,” noted Phil Nagy, CEO of the Winning Poker Network. “DDOS does not seem to be going away anytime soon. In the current landscape it’s all about how well you mitigate and manage the attack.”

DDOS stands for Distribution Denial of Service. In a nutshell, it’s a digital attack where multiple people attempt to hinder traffic to a particular web server. DDOS attacks have plagued numerous poker sites, however most of Americas Cardroom’s competitors classify them under “connection issues”.

The decision to continue with the Million Dollar Sunday in the face of Sunday’s DDOS attacks demonstrates that Americas Cardroom is committed to pleasing players and sticking to their promises. Not only did Americas Cardroom keep the tournament going, but they’ve also committed to hosting a $1 million guarantee every Sunday in October. Experts note that many online poker rooms would opt to cancel big guarantees when faced with these types of attacks.

Americas Cardroom first experienced a DDOS attack when it hosted its first Million Dollar Sunday last December. While they made the decision to cancel that tournament, the online poker site has since hosted several $1 million guaranteed tournaments without issue.

Since the last DDOS attack, Americas Cardroom has put together a team dedicated to dealing with it head on. The backend system now includes a feature that allows the tournament director to pause the tournament and resume it as soon as players are reconnected, usually taking just a few minutes.

Sunday’s tournament featured an overlay of $225,500, in large part due to the connection issues. As players were faced with a slower-than-normal tournament, many who would normally rebuy or re-enter chose not to, providing those players who chose to stay in with a better shot of finishing in the money thanks to a smaller field.

The next Million Dollar Sunday gets underway on Sunday, October 4th and features the same $1 million guarantee. Americas Cardroom is hosting a Million Dollar Sunday every weekend in October, putting an additional $4 million in guaranteed prize money on the line.

“Obviously a huge overlay is not something we want to be faced with on the Monday morning after a Million Dollar Sunday,” noted Nagy. “But if I had to choose between disappointing our accounting team or angering our players, I’d choose facing the wrath of the guys in the office every single time. Our players expect us to stick to our word and we’re doing that. The show must, and will, go on.”

No. 18 Auburn at No. 13 LSU

There are still some non-conference games to take care of in Week 3, but the SEC will be in the spotlight this Saturday (3:30 PM ET, CBS) when the No. 13 LSU Tigers welcome the No. 18 Auburn Tigers to Baton Rouge. LSU opened as a 7-point favorite at –105, moving to –115 at press time after some early action on the home side.

Neither of these Tigers has covered the spread this season. Auburn has played and won twice straight up, but it took overtime to beat the Jacksonville State Gamecocks (+40) 27-20 last week. That’s Jacksonville State from the Ohio Valley Conference in the FCS. Louisiana State has played just once, edging the Mississippi State Bulldogs 21-19 as a 4-point road chalk.

This figures to be a tough matchup for Auburn. First-year starter Jeremy Johnson has already thrown five interceptions this year, and he’ll be facing a very tough LSU pass rush. Auburn is also missing a number of injured players on offense. LSU will be looking for revenge after dropping a 41-7 decision to Auburn (–7 at home) last year. Auburn is 2-3 SU and 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.

Cubs-Pirates in NL Wild Card Preview

It isn’t written in stone, but it looks like the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates will meet in the National League Wild Card playoff. The Cubs (82-60, +9.08 betting units) are four games behind the Pirates (86-56, +18.43 units) for the first Wild Card and the home-field advantage that goes with it. They’ll definitely be meeting this week in a four-game set at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park; Game 3 takes place Wednesday night at 7:00 PM ET.

Jake Arrieta (2.52 FIP) is going into this matchup on an absolute tear. The Cubs ace has won each of his last eight starts, giving up a grand total of three earned runs along the way. Chicago is now +9.73 units behind Arrieta on a team record of 21-8. Only three other pitchers in the big leagues have generated more profit this year.

AJ Burnett (3.22 FIP) is not one of them. He’s pitched very well for the Pirates, making his first All-Star Game after 15 long years in the majors. But Pittsburgh is just 12-10 in Burnett’s 22 starts for a small loss of 0.43 units. He’ll be making his second start after missing all of August with an inflamed right elbow.

Arrieta, Burnett Face Off in Pittsburgh

The Chicago Cubs have surprised us all this season. They’ve managed to secure wild card positions alongside their NL Central rivals, the Pittsburgh Pirates. The two teams meet for the third match of a four-game set on Wednesday.

The Cubs have won the last nine games pitched by Jake Arrieta, so it’s no surprise that he’s being sent to the mound. He’s allowed five earned runs over that time and also pitched the sixth no-hitter of the season on August 30. Arrieta has also been incredible on the road in 2015, going 12-1 in 16 starts with a 1.72 ERA. In two starts in Pittsburgh, the Cy Young contender has won both outings while posting a 0.64 ERA.

The Pirates counter with AJ Burnett, who returned from the disabled list last Thursday. Burnett allowed three runs in five innings in a no-decision as the Pirates lost 6-4 in Milwaukee. Despite the fact that the Pirates have lost the last three games pitched by Burnett, he has fared well against the Cubs this season. Burnett has gone 1-0 in two starts (both against Arrieta, coincidentally) with a 0.69 ERA. At home, Burnett is 2-3 in 11 starts, but he has a very solid 2.33 ERA.

JohnLegend Wins Million Dollar Sunday

(Press Release) San Jose, Costa Rica – September 14th, 2015 – It’s not just the tournament winner’s name that made last night’s Million Dollar Sunday so legendary. As JohnLegend conquered the $1 million guaranteed online poker tournament with a pair of Aces, the poker world also witnessed the largest-ever poker payout broadcast on Twitch.

“Congratulations to JohnLegend on his huge win and to all the players who participated in Sundays big $1 million guaranteed,” said Americas Cardroom spokesperson Michael Harris. “This one was definitely for the history books and we look forward to setting new records in October, four times over.”

The Million Dollar Sunday is Americas Cardroom’s signature tournament that runs throughout the year. The US-facing online poker site first introduced the $1 million online poker tournament earlier this year, bringing back a Sunday million-dollar tournament to US shores for the first time in four years. Thanks to Americas Cardroom’s growing popularity in the United States, the online poker site was able to increase the frequency of the Million Dollar Sunday.

While $200,000 was guaranteed for first place, late-night tournament play into early Monday morning encouraged a final table deal among the remaining players. JohnLegend finished first with $104,883, plus an additional $20,000 for winning the first-place deal hand with bullets. HollAtYaBoi followed in second with $81,848. Whitelime, RGarrido8 and EpicStation rounded out the top five with $109,605, $96,035, and $88,629 respectively.

The online poker tournament attracted some big-name players, including Joshua Beckley, a member of the 2015 WSOP November Nine. All eyes were on the would-be champion throughout the course of the evening. While he didn’t quite make the final table, he did manage to cash, securing $1,200 for finishing in 150th place.

It’s worth noting that while the Million Dollar Sunday offers players the opportunity to get back into the tournament, JohnLegend managed to secure the tournament title with one single entry. EpicStation also steamrolled his single entry into an $88k prize.

The next Million Dollar Sunday gets underway on Sunday, October 4th and features the same $1 million guarantee. Americas Cardroom is hosting a Million Dollar Sunday every weekend in October, putting an additional $4 million in guaranteed prize money on the line. If this week’s significant overlay of over $200,000 repeats itself in October, players will have the opportunity to contend with a smaller-than-expected field as they vie for a $200,000 first place prize.

While some online poker rooms would cancel big guarantees due to 6-figure overlays, Americas Cardroom believes in honoring all guarantees, even while contending with DDOS attacks. On Sunday, players at Americas Cardroom experienced short disconnects during play due to distributed denial of service attacks, something that has occasionally plagued popular websites. DDOS has affected not just the poker industry, but also government agencies and big technology players like Sony and Microsoft.

Commented Harris, “On Sunday night, we did a great job of managing those attacks and making sure our tournament was successful. We got to the end of the tournament and crowned another big winner, so overall our players are thrilled.”

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