Larry Ness – Sports Handicapper
Larry Ness Sports Handicapper, a member of the original cast of Proline, the nation’s longest running pre-game handicapping show on the USA-TV network (also hosted Sports Desk on the same network). Although well-known on TV for his expert game analysis and no-nonsense handicapping style, Larry may be best known for his radio work. He hosted his own syndicated call-in radio show, Sports Central. It aired live from Bally’s Casino in Las Vegas in the early to mid-90s and at one time was heard in more than 100 markets.
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0-4 Tues in MLB followed by 3-0 Weds sweep. 20-day MLB run now sits 33-22-1 (+$6,262). Game of the Week plays (MLB, NBA & NHL) are 13-6 (68%) the last six-plus weeks. 5-1 record in NBA Conference Finals - you in?!
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My 8* Late-Breaker is on the Mil Brewers at 8:10 ET.
The 29-22 Milwaukee Brewers are trailing the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs (29-19) by 1 1/2 games. The Brewers open a three-game home series vs the visiting Phillies, who they took three of four against in Philadelphia last week. Milwaukee split a two-game home series with the Reds Tuesday and Thursday, while the Phillies split a four-game series with the Cubs at Wrigley, to open the week.
Jerad Eickhoff (2-2, 3.23 ERA) gets the ball tonight for Philly and Chase Anderson (2-0, 2.66 ERA) for the Brewers. Eickhoff produced three straight outstanding efforts from April 26 through May 8, allowing just one ER on eight hits (0.45 ERA), as the Phils won all three of those starts. However, he's followed that trio of outstanding starts with two disastrous ones. H'se allowed nine ERs on 12 hits over nine innings (that's 9.00 ERA) in back-to-back starts against Milwaukee and Colorado. Chase Anderson's first five appearances in 2019 came out of the bullpen. He then got starts on April 20 and 26, allowing just two ERs over 9.2 innings, as the Brewers won 5-0 and 10-2. He was then placed on the DL with a lacerated right middle finger but got a start last Saturday, allowing one run on two hits in four innings of a no-decision against the Braves (Brewers lost 4-3).
Neither of these pitchers have had success against tonight's opponent, as Eickhoff is 1-3 with a 6.55 ERA against the Brewers and Anderson is 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in five starts (team is 1-4) against the Philles. However, I'll note that that recent series between the two teams (in Philly from May 13-16), after losing the first game, the Brewers took the last three, outscoring the Phils 22-6. Milwaukee is 17-9 at home this season (averaging 5,27 ERA), including going 12-6 in home night games vs righties, averaging 5.23 RPG. I'm backing the Brewers.
My 7* Las Vegas Insider is on the StL Cardinals at 8:15 ET.
The St Louis Cardinals opened the month with a 5-1 win at Washington on May 1 (sat 20-10) but have since lost 14 of 19 games to fall to 25-24, 4 1/2 games back of the first-place Cubs in the NL Central. The Cardinals salvaged a doubleheader split with Wednesday’s 10-3 victory over Kansas City in the nightcap but have surrendered four runs or more FIVE times while going 3-6 in their past nine contests. Meanwhile, the 28-23 Atlanta Braves opened a seven-game road trip by taking three of four games at San Francisco following a 5-4, 13-inning victory Thursday. Thursday victory was the Braves' 10th win in their last 13 games. rookie Austin Riley went 3-for-6 on Thursday, hitting a two-run HR in the eighth to tie the game, before singling home the game-winning run in the 13th. He hitting .389 with a 1.254 OPS and became the ninth player in major-league history to hit five HRs in his first nine career games.
The starting pitchers for Friday contest, the first of a three-game set, are Mike Foltynewicz (0-3, 6.91 ERA) for Atlanta and Miles Mikolas (4-4, 4.88 ERA) for St Louis. Foltynewicz was 13-10 with a 2.85 ERA in 2018, finishing eighth in the NL Cy Young award voting while placing sixth in strikeouts (202) and ERA. However, he pitched just two innings in spring training due to right elbow soreness. After posting a 6.11 ERA while going 1-1 in four minor-league rehab starts for Triple-A Gwinnett, he made his season debut on April 27. He had allowed eight HRs over 21.1 innings in four starts in 2019, after surrendering a career-worst eight runs on seven hits (including three HRs) and three walks in 4.2 innings of a 14-3 loss to St Louis on May 14. He did show major improvement in his last outing, holding the Brewers to two runs on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts in six innings. However, the Braves lost, 3-2 (Atlanta is 0-5 in his 2019 starts).
Mikolas opened May with only three runs allowed across 20 innings in three starts (1.35 ERA) but was hammered for seven runs on nine hits in just 1.1 innings of a 7-3 loss at Texas last Friday. Mikolas made the All-Star team while going 18-4 with a 2.83 ERA a season ago, after not pitching in the majors since 2014. He hasn't had the same success this season but note that he has limited opponents to three ERs or less in SEVEN of his 10 starts this season. seven times in his first 10 starts.
As noted above, Foltynewicz hs done little right, save his last outing, but it's hardly good news for Atlanta that he has historically had trouble against the Cardinals. He is 2-4 with a 9.33 ERA in six career starts vs the Cards. As for Mikolas, the "sample size" is small but he owns a 1.98 ERA in three career starts vs the Braves. Not sure "Folty" is back just yet and let's NOT forget that the Cards were 24-8 in all of Mikolas' starts in 2018, going plus-$1,418 vs the moneyline (4th-best among all starters).
My 10* Game of the Week is on the Arz D'backs at 10:15 ET.
The Arizona Diamondbacks were battling the LA Dodgers for first place in the NL West in the first few days of May. The D'backs won their fourth in a row back on May 4 and at 20-13, were right on the Dodgers' heels, as LA was 22-13. However, as all teams enter Memorial Day weekend, the D'backs are on a five-game losing streak and the team's 5-12 run since May 5 has seen them fall back to .500 at 25-25 (Dodgers are in first at 32-18, SEVEN games up on Arizona). The Diamondbacks arrive for a three-game road series in San Francisco on Friday night, facing a Giants team that just lost three of four against Atlanta at home. The Giants are now just 10-15 at Oracle Park and 21-28 on the season (San Francisco sits in last place in the NL West, 10 1/2 games back of the Dodgers).
Friday's pitching matchup features a 'battle' of lefties, as Robbie Ray (3-1, 3.25 ERA) goes up against Drew Pomeranz (1-4, 5.66 ERA). Ray may not be the dominant pitcher he was in 2017 (15-5 with a 2.89 ERA) but he is unbeaten in his last eight trips to the mound. He's posted a modest three wins in that span but note that the D'bcks have won FOUR of his last five starts, with Ray posting a very good ERA of 2.49. Pomeranz allowed two runs on two hits and five walks over 4.2 innings of a no-decision at Arizona last Sunday, a game the Giants won, 3-2. It was his first start since returning from a lat strain. The short outing means that Pomeranz has completed more than five innings in just ONE of his eight starts in 2019 (owns a 1.60 WHIP and .275 BAA to go along with his 5.66 ERA).
Let me note first that Ray opposed Pomeranz in last Sunday's game and I always like these quick "re-hooks.' Let me add that Pomeranz is 0-3 with a 7.76 ERA in nine career games (six starts / teams are 2-4 and his ERA in those starts is 8.31) vs the Diamondbacks, while Ray owns a 2.98 ERA in 12 career starts vs the Giants. In the lefty vs lefty department, the D'backs are 5-2 and averaging 7.0 RPG vs left-hander in road night games in 2019, while the Giants went just 30-35 vs lefties in 2018 (3.5 RPG) and are 6-10 at home vs lefties in 2019 (averaging 3.6 RPG). Arizona is the BIG play!
Age: 63 (turns 64 in November).
Years in handicapping: Larry entered his 34th year in the industry in August of 2017.
Achievements in handicapping: 1985 Castaway’s Pro Football Challenge Champion, then the most prestigious handicapping contest in Las Vegas; 1999 Stardust Invitational semi-finalist.
A member of the original cast of Proline, the nation’s longest running pre-game handicapping show on the USA-TV network (also hosted Sports Desk on the same network). Although well-known on TV for his expert game analysis and no-nonsense handicapping style, Larry may be best known for his radio work. He hosted his own syndicated call-in radio show, Sports Central. It aired live from Bally's Casino in Las Vegas in the early to mid-90s and at one time was heard in more than 100 markets.
Systems used for handicapping a game: Fundamental and statistical analysis. "I'm not typically a trend and system kind of guy," Ness says. "I look at team strengths and weaknesses and compare them. It’s an all-encompassing thing and over 30-plus years, you get good at it."
34-Club Play: It represents Larry's 34 years in the business and gets his highest star rating (10*s). Expect no more than one of these plays per month, per sport during the regular season.
LEGEND Play: Larry's often been referred to as a Las Vegas legend and he's 'borrowed' the title for his other "signature play.". Larry's LEGEND Plays were previously available to only a select group of private clients but they are now available to all, through the internet. Like his 34-Club plays, expect no more than one play per month, per sport (rated 10*s).
PERFECT STORM: Larry just added these plays the last few years and his accompanying expert analysis makes these popular plays self-explanatory (rated 9 or 10*s).
Situational Stunners: Larry's a fundamental handicapper at heart but he does pay attention to team and situational trends (especially in MLB). When his fundamental handicapping and a strong trend or situation match up, he releases a Situational Stunner. He just started releasing these plays in MLB '09 and he's expanded them since, to all sports (rated 8, 9 or 10*s).
Las Vegas Insider: Throughout his 34 years, Larry has become known as "the ultimate Las Vegas insider." The contacts he's developed over more than two decades (on both sides of the 'counter'), are arguably "unmatched!" He confers daily with 'his friends' and when "all the stars align on the same game," Larry releases an exclusive Las Vegas Insider (rated between 8 and 10*s).
Oddsmaker's Error Plays: Larry uses this term with "great respect" (and not very often), as he counts among his very closest friends many of Las Vegas' most famous and respected Sport Book directors (past and present). However, when Larry feels "the line is significantly off," he'll release one of these "not to be missed" plays (rated between 8 and 10*s).
Weekly and Weekend Wipeout Winners: Larry added this self-explanatory moniker just a few years ago. They've become immensely popular and why not? Who wouldn't want a game that has "blowout written all over it," supported by Larry's expert analysis (rated between 8 and 10*s).
Late-Breaking Plays: Larry will always go back and take a "second look" at each day's card, after posting all his games. When he finds something he missed the first time around, he'll release a Late-Breaking Play. These plays are more prevalent in sports like baseball and basketball than football (typically rated at 8 or 9*s).
Superstar Triple Play: Over the years, many of Larry's regular clients have clamored for more three-game reports. You asked for it and Larry's responded. Back in the late 1980s and into the mid 1990s, 900-numbers became "the rage." While a panel member of Proline (see above), Larry created the Superstar Triple Play. One call got you three Superstar Triple Plays (in a particular sport). For almost a decade, anywhere from 1,500 to 3,500 callers responded each weekend, when Larry offered his famous "Superstar Triple Play" pitch on Proline. Starting in 2009, Larry began going "Back to the Future!" Almost every Saturday (college) and Sunday (NFL) this football season, get three plays on a single report from Larry (many will be TV games), the originator of the "Superstar Triple Play!"
Release Times: Larry likes to release his picks early so that clients have as much time as possible to shop around. NFL and College Football plays are posted very early in the week (sometimes almost up to a week in advance.) NBA, College hoops and NHL are all posted the day before the game goes off. And the same goes for MLB, with selections posted the night before the game. Sometimes life gets in the way and Ness won't release until the morning of the game, but for the majority of the year Larry likes to say: "The earlier the better!"
Sports and conferences he excels at handicapping: MLB is Larry's favorite sports to handicap, saying the money is in the statistics. He 'loves' the daily action and the long season. "If I had to pick one sport, I would chose baseball because you’re playing pitchers, streaks, teams that are hot and cold," Ness says. "I also love the NBA and NFL playoffs, the college bowl games plus the college basketball tourneys, which are seasons unto themselves."
Quote: "No one works any harder and my work-product speaks for itself," Ness says. "I have a no-nonsense style and my logic is easy to follow. Anyone buying my plays will know exactly what I was thinking when I made the selection. After 34 years, the Larry Ness brand is instantly recognizable and my analysis ranks with the best in the industry."