5-0 SWEEP LAST THURSDAY ~ DEJA VU? Burns was a PERFECT 5-0 last Thursday and he’s looking to break out the broom again. You in?
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|Blackhawks vs Golden Knights||Golden Knights -219||Premium||5-3||Loss||-219||Show|
|Raptors vs Blazers||UNDER 221 -109||Top Premium||114-106||Win||100||Show|
|Grizzlies vs Hornets||Hornets -115||Top Premium||119-117||Loss||-115||Show|
|Purdue vs Marquette||UNDER 142 -110||Premium||55-65||Win||100||Show|
|Bowling Green vs Miami-OH||OVER 48½ -120||Top Premium||3-44||Loss||-120||Show|
PICKS IN PROGRESS
Hurricanes vs Sabres
I’m playing BUFFALO on the puck-line (+1.5 goals) Both teams are going to be hungry for this one. The Sabres will be desperate to snap their losing skid. The Canes, meanwhile, will be motivated to avoid another loss, since they just snapped their losing streak. I see that leading to a close game, making that extra +1.5 goals very attractive. Keep in mind that Carolina’s last two games were against Ottawa, one of the weakest teams in the league. By comparison, the Sabres’ last two games have both come against Tampa, one of the top teams in the league. In fact, the Sabres’ last five games have all come against teams well above .500. Three of those were decided by a single goal. The Canes’ last two visits here were also decided by a single goal. Expect AT LEAST a “puck-line cover” from the desperate home team tonight.
Coyotes vs Wild
I’m playing on MINNESOTA. Great start for the Coyotes. Not so much for the Wild. Those results have helped give us the Wild for a much better price than we’d normally have. Consider that the Wild were -210 the last time the teams met here. In fact, they were even -140 for the last meeting at Phoenix. Granted, these Coyotes are indeed improved. Off b2b road wins over the past two defending champs, however, I feel that they’re going to be in letdown mode tonight. Part of the reason for Minnesota’s slow start is that they’ve played a lot more games on the road. They’re 3-10 in away games but 3-2 (3-1-1) here at Minnesota. Back home and hungry for a victory, I say the Wild get it done.
Mavs vs Knicks
I’m playing on Dallas/NY OVER the total. I won with the Knicks ‘over’ in their last game. That was played at a fast tempo and I’m expecting another relatively high-scoring affair here. The Mavs have hit triple-digits in every game this season. They’ll be looking for payback as the Knicks recently upset them at Dallas. While that game did stay below the total, the Mavs’ five road games have averaged a whopping 235.6 points, much higher than their home games. Not surprisingly, four of them finished above the number. The Knicks are working Dennis Smith back in the lineup. He struggled on both ends of the floor in the loss to the Bulls. The former Maverick should get his offense going against his old team tonight though and he’ll be looking to push the pace. However, he’s still likely going to be a step slow defensively. Look for the OVER to improve to 5-1 when the Mavs face a team with a losing record.
Stars vs Canucks
I’m playing on VANCOUVER. The Canucks got back on track with a much needed win in their last game, defeating a very good Nashville team. Tonight, they’ll take on a hot Dallas team. With the schedule in their favor, I expect the Canucks to cool off the Stars. While Vancouver had yesterday off, Dallas checks in off a 3-1 win at Calgary. Note that even with last night’s win, the Stars are still just 4-6 away from Dallas. The Canucks, meanwhile, are 5-3 here at Vancouver. The Canucks have taken four of the last five meetings. They’ve outscored teams by a 35-20 margin here. Expect them to take care of business once again.
Alabama A&M vs Cincinnati
I’m playing on Cincinnati/Alabama A&M OVER the total. I actually won with the Bearcats ‘under’ in their last game. However, that was more a case of a line being generously high and even at the time, I noted that they were going to push the pace a lot more this year. Tonight, as a huge favorite, they’ll have a chance to do exactly that. I expect them to put up a huge number. Through two games, Alabama A&M is allowing an average of 90 points. While the Bulldogs won’t be able to keep up, coach Dylan Howard expects his new lineup to be much more efficent offensively this season. As per “Blue Ribbon,” Howard commented: “We had to get better guys that can just score at multiple levels. We had to get guys that can finish at the rim, knock down the 3 with more consistency…” Bearcats put up a big number and Bulldogs provide enough help to get this one over the low total.
Steelers vs Browns
I’m playing on CLEVELAND. Both teams earned impressive close wins last week. The Steelers upset the Rams while the Browns, in Hunts’ first game, eked out a win against the Bills. Playing at home with no travel on a short week, more desperate than their guests, I expect the Browns to be the team which follows it up. Needless to say, its been a very disappointing season for Browns’ fans. This is still a highly talented team though, one picked by many to go deep into the playoffs. Even if it doesn’t ultimately amount to them getting anywhere, a win against the Steelers on National Television will go a long way to ease the suffering of the faithful. Last year, they earned a tie in the game here. This year, Rothlisberger on the bench, the Browns take the next step and knock off the pesky Steelers, covering the small number along the way.
Buffalo vs Kent State
I’m playing on KENT STATE. The Bulls hammered the Golden Flashes, at Buffalo, last season. Playing at home, I expect a much better effort from the Golden Flashes this year. While they’ve dropped three in a row, the Golden Flashes continue to play hard; they’ve covered three of four and four of six. Admittedly, the Bulls have looked impressive in beating up some bad teams lately. While they did have last week off but this still marks their second straight on the road, the first time they’ve played in that situation. Also, note that the Bulls are just 1-4 SU/ATS the past five times that they were off a win of 28 or more. Conversely, the Golden Flashes are 6-3 ATS the past couple of seasons, when off b2b conf. losses, 3-1 ATS when off three straight conf. losses. While I like the Flashes’ chances of an outright win, I’m grabbing the points.
In “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell asks the question: “What makes high achievers different?” Gladwell suggests that those at the top of their field have a number of similarities – that their upbringing (culture, family, what generation they came from, experiences) had much to do with their success.
As a professional sports handicapper, Ben Burns is widely recognized as being “at the top of his field.” A look at Ben’s upbringing shows that he fits Gladwell’s model to a tee.
Exposed to the world of point spreads early and often as a child, Burns reached adulthood as the Internet was first beginning to explode, just as the first offshore sportsbooks were springing up. By that time he’d already spent thousands of hours learning and studying stats.
From an early age it became apparent to family and friends that Ben wasn’t a “typical” fan. At age 11, he was mentioned in a major newspaper (Toronto Star) for correctly predicting a high profile trade before the Major League Baseball trading deadline. (Winner of the contest got tickets to the All Star game.)
Ben’s father and uncles were always involved in a weekly NFL (ATS) pool. Some of Ben’s earliest memories included that pool and his fascination with it. As soon as he was allowed to play, Ben demonstrated an uncanny ability to surprise the adults. Around this time, one of his uncles moved his casino business to the Caribbean. This was the environment which he came from.
The caption underneath Ben’s high-school graduation photo references Ben’s love for betting on football. That’s because he was famous throughout his school for annually winning the local football contest, along with the $1700 per year which was awarded to the champ.
Coming of age right as the first sports books were coming online, Ben was fortunate to enjoy some success with his some of his early online sports betting endeavors. He did so well that the first shop he ever played at ended up refusing to take his hockey bets.
Also, in the very early days of the Internet, Ben won an NBA playoff contest, put on by a company which was called NSS.net. The contest victory awarded him a trip for two to Las Vegas, $1000 cash, a limo at his disposal, free shows, hotel and live sports odds for a year. Not a bad prize for a kid in his early 20s. However, the bigger prize was that Ben was exposed to the world of “professional sports handicapping.” Inspired by his personal success and encouraged by his peers, Ben first made his picks available to the public in 1998.
Achievements in Handicapping/Sports
Top Ranked NFL Handicapper
From the years of 1998-2007, Ben’s selections were independently documented at one of the Internet’s earliest and most respected sports monitors, Big Guy Sports. During that time, Ben earned literally dozens of documented Top 3 finishes in football, basketball, baseball AND hockey, including numerous #1 titles. Competing against a field of 150 of the biggest names in the industry, he ranked as the #1 NFL handicapper in the existence of that sports monitor, in their All-Time rankings. No competing handicapping service ever came close to matching his NFL record. In fact, Ben also ranked as the #1 combined NFL/NCAA football handicapper.
10 Straight Super Bowl Winners
A big part of the reason for Ben’s #1 NFL titles was his annual success in the playoffs. He fared particularly well with his Super Bowl selections. In fact, from 1999-2007, he released 10 Super Bowl picks (3 Sides, 7 totals) and went a perfect 10-0. (All selections independently documented.) In the middle of that 10-0 streak, in the 2002-2003 season, Ben won with both the Bucs and the “over” the year that they beat the Raiders. That win was particularly sweet as he predicted that Tampa would win the Super Bowl in a number of national magazines, prior to the season even starting.
Ben got pretty seriously into the DFS world in 2014 and 2015. Recently, he was featured as “The High Roller” in the 2015 documentary, “Living the Fantasy.” A regular fixture at Fan Duel and Draft Kings live championship events, Burns has taken down 6-figure scores in football, basketball AND baseball. While many of the other prominent DFS players come from a poker background, two decades as a sports handicapper provide a unique perspective.
Biggest Win of 2016
The year has just begun but Ben has already enjoyed some notable wins. His “Bowl Game of the Year,” which happened to be a total (WVU/ASU “over”) saw the teams combine for 85 points and 1196 total yards, all of them in regulation. Closing out the campaign with wins on Clemson AND the “over” in the championship game was also rewarding.
Systems Used For Handicapping
Bruce Lee noted: “Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style of system.” Lee was known to talk about being shapeless, formless (like water) and ready to adapt to any situation. Likewise, Burns doesn’t rely on any one particular methodology. Rather, he combines fundamental, technical and situational techniques, making use of any and all data, which he deems relevant to the situation.
Ben does tend to pay particular attention to the ‘situational’ side of things. Among numerous other factors, this includes trying to determine when (and why) a team will be extra motivated (“pumped up”) to play its best and also when a team may be ripe for a “letdown.” Burns has a contrarian nature and this trait is often revealed in his selections.
Ever adapting, Burns is just as likely to take points as he is to lay them. Over the years, he’s played more “unders” than “overs” but that doesn’t mean that he won’t pull the trigger on an “over” when the time is right to do so. While many handicappers shy away from playing MLB/NHL favorites on the money-line, Ben has proven that one can be highly successful by doing so. For him, it’s all about value. If he can get a team at -130 that he likes and that believes should be -160, than that’s a play.
Rating and Titles of Plays
Ben uses a scale of 5-10 to show his level of confidence with each play. Plays may include “titles” in order to give users a better idea of what to expect. Some of those titles include:
Personal Favorite – Strongest favorite (or pick’em game) in that sport for the day.
Best Bet – Strongest underdog (or pick’em game) in that sport for the day, occasionally can be a total.
Blue Chip Total – Strongest rated total in that sport/category for the day.
Main Event – Big play which is featured on national television.
Game Of The Week/Month/Year – Top rated side or total for that particular week/month/year.