Monday’s 6-pack, Quote, Quiz of the Day

Our daily college basketball preview is on the Hoops page
College football championship game previews are posted

The Bunker is a golf simulator with two locations; one on Route 20 near Western Turnpike in Guilderland, the other in Clifton Park, 19 Clifton Country Rd. You can work on your golf game there, or hang out with friends and make fun of them while they work on their games.

Monday’s 6-pack:
Some of the more interesting bowl spreads:
— Alabama (-13.5) vs Cincinnati
— Georgia (-7.5) vs Michigan
— Utah (-6.5) vs Ohio State
— Ole Miss (-1.5) vs Baylor
— Oklahoma (-4) vs Oregon
— Tennessee (-1.5) vs Purdue

Quote of the Day
“Today was a little bit uneven at times, but our guys played extremely hard, We were outstanding against the run, against a really, really good back. I thought we defended in the passing game. I really thought we rushed the quarterback at a high level. It was all hands on deck in the pass rush.”
Chargers coach Brandon Staley

Monday’s quiz
Ben Roethlisberger and Sean McVay went to the same college; which one?

Sunday’s quiz
Chargers drafted QB Justin Herbert with 6th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft; Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa were taken ahead of him.

Saturday’s quiz
Maryland won national title in basketball 20 years ago; Gary Williams was their coach. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday…….

Detroit 29, Minnesota 27:
— Vikings scored TD with 1:53 left to take 27-23 lead.
— Goff hit St Brown with 11-yard TD pass at 0:00 for the win.
— 11 of Vikings’ 12 games were decided by 8 or fewer points.
— Over is 6-1 in Vikings road games this year.
— Minnesota has been outscored 103-28 in last 2:00 of each half.

— Minnesota has led by 6+ points in every game this year.
— Detroit is 1-10-1, but is 8-4 ATS (5-1 last six).
— Detroit converted only 2-11 third down plays.
— Lions’ last four games were decided by total of seven points.
— Detroit won this game despite questionable game management strategy.

Arizona 33, Chicago 22:
— Cardinals had three TD drives shorter than 30 yards.
— Arizona was +4 in turnovers, had 23-yard edge in field position.
— Cardinals are 9-3 ATS this season, 7-0 on road.
— Cardinals are +15 in turnovers in wins, minus-3 in losses.
— Arizona has 51 plays of 20+ yards; their opponents have 29.

— Bears lost six of their last seven games (1-6 ATS).
— Last six games, Chicago was outscored 92-39 in first half. 
— Last seven games, Bears are minus-11 in turnovers.
— Favorites won/covered all six Chicago home games TY.
— Bears are 5-9 ATS last 14 games as home underdogs.

Tampa Bay 30, Atlanta 17:
— Tampa Bay scared 30-38-30 points in winning last three games. 
— Bucs drove 75 yards for TD on three of first four drives.
— Bucs have 46 TD’s on 126 drives this season.
— Tampa Bay outscored last three opponents 47-7 in 2nd half.
— Bucs won last five series games, scoring 37.2 ppg.

— Atlanta is 0-5 SU at home this year, outscored 140-66.
— Falcons in second half: 34 plays, 159 yards, no points.
— Falcons’ second TD was scored by the defense.
— Atlanta has been outscored 186-89 in second half.
— Under is 4-1 in last five Atlanta games.

Indianapolis 31, Houston 0:
— Colts won/covered seven of last ten games, after 0-3 start.
— Colts outgained Houston 389-141.
— Last four weeks, Indy led by 18-11-17-10-14 points at halftime.
— Last ten weeks, Colts outscored opponents 167-75 in first half.
— Colts are 6-0 giving up 24 or fewer points, 1-6 if they allow 25+.

— Texans lost ten of their last eleven games.
— Houston averaged 1.8 yards/pass attempt, was 3-12 on third down.
— Colts outscored Texans 61-3 in two meetings this season.
— Last seven games, Houston was outscored 93-37 in 1st half.
— Under is 8-2 in Texans’ last ten games.

Philadelphia 33, NJ Jets 18:
— Eagles scored TD on first three drives, kicked FG’s on next four.
— Philly ran ball for 211.8 ypg last six games (98.6 ypg previous five games)
— Minshew averaged 8.6 yards/pass attempt.
— Philly converted 6-13 on 3rd down, Jets 3-9.
— Last five weeks, Eagles outscored opponents 98-45 in first half.  

— Jets’ first three drives: 25 plays, 164 yards, three TD’s
— Jets went 0-1 on PAT’s, 0-2 on 2-point conversions.
— Rest of game: 31 plays, 113 yards, no points.
— Jets lost four of their last five games. 
— Seven of last nine Jet games went over the total.  

LA Chargers 41, Cincinnati 22:
— Chargers’ first 3 drives: 18 plays, 132 yards, 17 points.
— Bolts led 24-0; Bengals cut lead to 24-22 early in 4th quarter.
— Campbell ran fumble back 61 yards for Charger TD with 13:43 left.
— Last five years, LA is 12-7-2 ATS as road underdogs.

— Burrow played lot of game with dislocated pinky on his right hand
— Cincy had only one TD drive longer than 32 yards.
— Four of last five Bengal games went over the total.
— Bengals are 7-1 scoring 24+ points, 0-4 otherwise.
— Cincy is 8-11-2 ATS last 21 games with spread of 3 or fewer points.
— Last three years, Cincinnati is 3-9 ATS coming off a win.
— Five of last six Bengal games went over the total.

Miami 20, NY Giants 9:
— Giants have one TD on 20 drives since they fired OC Garrett.
— Giants have been outscored 74-12 in last 2:00 of each half.
— Giants are 5-8-1 ATS last 14 games coming off a win.
— Last six Giant games stayed under the total.
— QB Glennon got concussion; newly acquired Fromm could play next week.

— Dolphins won/covered last five games, giving up 11.0 ppg.
— Dolphins allowed 17 or fewer points in all six of their wins. 
— Miami gave up four TDs on opponents’ last 58 drives.
— Miami is 23-12-3 ATS in last 37 home games. 
— Five of last six Dolphin games stayed under the total.

Washington 17, Las Vegas 15:
— Johnson kicked 48-yard FG with 0:37 left for the win.
— Washington won all four games since its bye.
— Washington converted 29 of last 58 third down plays.
— Washington is 9-4-1 ATS last 14 games with spread of 3 or less.
— Washington is 14-7 ATS last 21 games coming off a win.

— Las Vegas is 6-0 when it scores 26+ points, 0-6 when it does not.
— Washington was 7-13 on third down, Raiders 2-8
— Raiders converted only 18 of last 69 third down plays. 
— Las Vegas is 3-6 ATS last eight games as a home favorite.
— Raiders lost four of last five games, outscored 89-48 in second half.

LA Rams 37, Jacksonville 7:
— Jaguars lost four in row, 25 of their last 27 games.
— Jacksonville has seven losses by 10+ points.
— Jaguars have six TD’s on their last 48 drives.
— Jacksonville is minus-13 in turnovers (5-18)
— Jaguars are 8-16-1 ATS in last 25 games as road underdogs.

— Rams’ first two drives started at Jaguars’ 34/27-yard line.
— Rams’ first three drives in 2nd half: 24 plays, 202 yards, 21 points.
— LA outgained Jacksonville, 418-197
— Last eight games, LA converted only 33-95 on 3rd down
— Last two years, under is 10-4 in Rams’ home games.

Pittsburgh 20, Baltimore 19:
— Ravens scored TD with 0:12 left, went for 2 points but failed.
— Last four weeks, Baltimore scored 10-16-16-19 points.
— Five trips to red zone, Ravens scored only 19 points.
— Last four Baltimore games stayed under the total.
— Underdogs are 11-1-1 ATS in last 13 games vs Steelers.

— Steelers drove 69 yards, took lead for good with 1:48 left.
— Pittsburgh held Ravens to 107 rushing yards.
— Last five games, Pittsburgh converted 33-69 on third down.
— Pittsburgh covered last six games as a home underdog.
— Steelers are 6-2 ATS in last eight AFC North home games.

Seattle 30, San Francisco 23:
— 49ers led 17-7 midway thru second quarter.
— 49ers in first half: 30 plays, 184 yards, 23 points.
— 49ers In second half: 26 plays, 137 yards, no points.
— San Francisco averaged 9.5 yards/pass attempt.
— 49ers are 1-5 SU when they score fewer than 30 points.

— Seattle tied game 23-23 with third quarter safety on a sack.
— Seahawks ran for 146 yards, threw for only 4.4 yards/attempt.
— Seattle won 15 of last 17 games against the 49ers.
— Seahawks had 12-yard edge in field position.
— Both teams turned ball over three times. 

Kansas City 22, Denver 9:
— Denver had 20-play, 88-yard drive but didn’t score on it.
— Broncos scored only nine points on three trips to red zone.
— Denver had 3 turnovers, converted 4-14 on third down.
— Denver has lost 11 in a row SU to Kansas City.
— Broncos are 4-11-1 ATS in last 16 AFC West road games.

— Chiefs won last five games, giving up 11.2 ppg.
— Kansas City is 6-0 if it allows 17 or less points, 2-4 if they allow more.
— Denver outgained the Chiefs, 404-267, ran 18 more plays than KC.
— Chiefs have ten takeaways in last four games (+6)
— Six of Chiefs’ last seven games stayed under the total.

Sunday’s college basketball highlights:
— Xavier 77, Oklahoma State 71
— Northwestern 67, Maryland 61
— Kansas State 65, Wichita State 59
— Minnesota 81, Mississippi State 76
— Siena 60, Saint Peter’s 58

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday

13) Cincinnati 35, Houston 20:
— Bearcats finish 12-0; they damn well better make the college football playoff.
— Cincinnati scored 35 points, despite going 0-8 on third down.
— Bearcats outscored Houston 21-0 in third quarter.

12) Alabama 41, Georgia 24:
— Alabama was an underdog for first time in 93 games.
— Crimson Tide beat Georgia last year, too, also by 41-24 score.
— Alabama averaged 9.6 yards/pass attempt (421 passing yards)
 
11) Alabama 91, Gonzaga 82:
— Big day for the Crimson Tide athletic department.
— Gonzaga lost two of last three games; their schedule eases up now.
— Zags were only 13-25 on foul line.

10) Michigan 42, Iowa 3:
— Jim Harbaugh banks $1.7M in bonuses by winning this game.
— The thing is, Harbaugh has already said he’ll give that money back to the school, to give to university employees who took a pay cut after the pandemic last year.
— This is Michigan’s first league championship since 2004.
— Michigan scored a TD with 1:25 left; I’m guessing that’ll be remembered.

9) Baylor 21, Oklahoma State 16:
— OSU had seven plays inside 2-yard line on two series, scored only 3 points.
— Cowboys’ last play ended just inside the Baylor 1-yard line.
— Baylor QB Shapen completed his first 17 passes.
— Baylor is 11-2 this year; they were 2-7 last year.

8) Texas-San Antonio 49, Western Kentucky 41:
— Roadrunners beat WKU twice this year, 52-46/49-41
— In between, Hilltoppers won seven straight games.
— WKU QB Zappe threw for 577 yards, four TDs in losing cause.

7) Louisiana 24, Appalachian State 16:
— Ragin’ Cajuns beat WKU twice this year, 41-13/24-16
— In between, App State won six straight games.
— App State completed only 12 of 30 passes.

6) Colorado State 74, Saint Mary’s 58:
— Second top 100 win for 9-0 Rams.
— Rams made 9-16 on arc; they never trailed.
— Saint Mary’s is still 8-2, with three top 100 wins.

5) Ole Miss 67, Memphis 63:
— Memphis lost its last three games, after 5-0 start.
— Tigers are turning ball over 25.5% of time (#351)
— Ole Miss was 8-26 on arc, 10-25 inside arc.

4) Loyola 68, DePaul 64:
— These Chicago rivals met for first time since in nine years.
— Loyola is far and away best team in the MVC. 
— DePaul is 6-1, but against schedule #323.

3) USC 63, Washington State 61:
— Trojans shot 59.5% inside arc.
— Wazzu led 52-47 with 7:07 left in game.
— Both these teams will be in the NCAA tournament.

2) Three college basketball teams lost Saturday, after leading by 16+ points:
— UMass 87, Harvard 77
— Marshall 72, Duquesne 71
— VCU 65, Campbell 61

1) If the college football top 4 isn’t:
Alabama, Cincinnati, Georgia, Michigan in some order, then the system is corrupt. 

Two Dens for Saturday: NHL trends and favorite quotes

NHL trends (thru Thursday)
Anaheim 13-8-3
— Won three of last four games.
— Ducks are 9-4-1 at home, 4-4-2 on road. 
— last three games went over.
— over 6-2 last eight on road.  

Arizona 5-16-2
— 4-3 last seven games, after an 1-15 start.
— 2-6-1 at home, 3-10-1 on road.
— under 9-1 last ten road games.
— over 4-1 last five games overall.

Boston 12-8
— 2-3 in last five games.
— 7-4 at home, 5-4 on road.
— under 4-1 last five games. 
— 1-0 in OT/shootouts

Buffalo 8-12-3
— Lost six of last seven games.
— 6-6-1 at home, 2-6-2 on road.
— over 5-2 last seven road games.
— 0-4 if they played the night before.

Calgary 14-4-5
— won six of their last seven games.
— Flames are 4-2-3 at home, 10-2-2 on road.
— Under 6-1 last seven home games
— Flames are 2-5 in OT/shootouts.

Carolina 15-6-1
— lost four of their last five games
— 6-3 at home, 9-3-1 on road.
— under 7-3-1 last 11 games
— 7-3 in one-goal games.

Chicago 8-12-2
— 7-3 in their last ten games. 
— 5-5-1 at home, 3-7-1 on road.
— under 5-0 last five home games
— Chicago is 1-12 if it allows 3+ goals.

Colorado 12-7-1
— Colorado won seven of last nine games
— 7-2-1 at home, 5-5 on road.
— won last four home games.
— over is 5-0 in their last five home games

Columbus 12-9
— lost last three games, outscored 15-5.
— 8-3 at home, 4-6 on road.
— over 11-2 last thirteen games
— 5-0 in OT/shootouts.

Dallas 12-7-2
— Dallas won last six games, allowing 8 goals.
— 8-2-1 at home, 4-5-1 on road.
— won their last seven home games
— last six games stayed under total.

Detroit 12-9-3
— Red Wings won their last three games, two in OT/SO
— 8-2 at home, 4-7-1 on road.
— Detroit lost seven of last nine road games.
— Under is 8-3 in their home games. 

Edmonton 16-5
— Oilers won four of last five games.
— Oilers are 9-1 at home, 7-4 on road.
— Over is 7-1 in last eight home games. 
— 3-0 in OT/shootouts. 

Florida 12-2-3
— Panthers won five of last seven games.
— 13-1 at home, 3-3-3 on road.
— Over is 9-4 in their home games,
— Under is 6-3 in their road games.

Los Angeles 9-9-4
— LA lost five of its last six games.
— Kings are at 6-6-2 home, 3-3-2 on road.
— Under is 5-2 in their road games.
— 3-4 in OT/shootouts.

Minnesota 16-6-1
— Wild won last four games, outscoring foes 21-7.
— 9-2 at home, 7-4-1 on road.
— over is 10-1 in their home games
— 5-1 in OT/SO

Montreal 6-17-2
— Montreal lost seven of last nine games
— Canadiens are 4-8-1 at home, 2-9-1 on road.
— Three of their last four games stayed under total.
— Montreal scored two or fewer goals in 19 of 25 games.

Nashville 12-10-1
— Predators won six of last ten games overall.
— Nashville is 7-5 at home, 5-5-1 on road.
— Under is 8-3 in their home games 
— Nashville is 3-1 in OT/shootouts

New Jersey 9-8-4
— Devils lost six of their last eight games.
— Devils are 6-4 at home, 3-4-2 on road.
— over is 7-1 in their last eight games.
— New Jersey is 3-4 in OT/shootouts.

NY Islanders 5-10-3
— Islanders lost their last eight games. 
— Islanders are 0-4-1 at home, 5-6-2 on road.
— under is 6-2 in their last eight games.
— Islanders have been outscored 15-4 at home

NY Rangers 14-4-3
— Rangers won eight of last nine games.
— New York is 6-1-1 at home, 8-3-2 on road.
— under is 8-4-1 in their road games.
— Rangers are 2-3 in OT/shootouts.

Ottawa 5-15-1
— Senators lost 11 of last 13 games overall.
— Ottawa is 3-8 at home, 2-7-1 on road.
— over is 5-2 in their last seven home games.
— Ottawa is 2-3 if it played night before.

Philadelphia 8-9-4
— lost their last six games.
— Flyers are 4-4-2 at home, 4-5-2 on road.
— under is 7-2 in their last nine road games. 
— Philly is 1-4 in OT/shootouts..

Pittsburgh 10-8-5
— Pittsburgh lost last three games, outscored 13-6.
— Penguins are 5-5-2 at home, 5-3-3 on road.
— Under is 4-1 in last five Penguin road games.
— Pittsburgh is 2-5 in OT/shootouts.

St Louis 12-8-3
— Home side won last seven St Louis games.
— Blues are 7-3-1 at home, 5-5-2 on road.
— four of their last five games went over.
— St Louis is 2-3 in OT/shootouts.

San Jose 13-9-1
— Sharks won four of their last five games.
— Sharks are 5-4-1 at home, 8-5 on road.
— under is 7-1 in San Jose’s last eight games.
— under is 7-2 in their last nine road tilts.

Seattle 8-13-2
— Seattle is 3-2 in its last five games.
— Kraken are 5-6 at home, 3-7-2 on road. 
— Over is 11-2 in their last 13 games. 
— Over is 8-3-1 in their road games.

Tampa Bay 13-5-4
— Lightning won seven of last ten games.
— Lightning is 8-3-2 at home, 5-2-2 on road.
— under 6-2 last eight home games.
— Tampa Bay is 5-3 in OT/SO games.

Toronto 17-6-1
— Toronto won last five games, outscoring foes 26-7.
— Maple Leafs are 10-3-1 at home, 7-3 on road. 
— Under is 4-1 in their last five home games.
— Toronto is 3-1 in OT/shootouts.

Vancouver 8-14-2
— Vancouver is 3-8 in last 11 games, but won last two.
— Canucks are 3-6-1 at home, 5-8-1 on road.
— five of last seven road games went over
— Canucks are 2-2 in OT/shootouts

Vegas 12-10
— Knights lost three of their last four games.
— Knights are 7-5 at home, 5-5 on road.
— over 9-3-1 last 13 games overall.
— Vegas is 2-0 in OT/shootouts.

Washington 14-4-6
— Caps split their last six games.
— Washington is 7-1-4 at home, 7-3-2 on road..
— Washington is 0-6 in OT/shootouts.
— last six games went over the total.

Winnipeg 10-8-4
— Jets lost six of their last seven games.
— Jets are 7-3-1 at home, 3-5-3 on road.
— under is 9-3 in last 12 Winnipeg games.
— Jets are 2-4 in OT/shootouts.

Saturday’s Den: Some of my favorite TV/movie quotes

13) “There’s no such thing as a sure thing, thats why they call it gambling.”
Oscar Madison, The Odd Couple

12) “I’ve got a trig midterm tomorrow and I’m being chased by Guido, the killer pimp.”
Miles, Risky Business

11) “You’re a goddamn quarterback! You know what that means? It’s the top spot, kid. It’s the guy who takes the fall. It’s the guy everybody’s looking at first – the leader of a team – who will support you when they understand you. Who will break their ribs and their noses and their necks for you, because they believe. ‘Cause you make them believe. That’s a quarterback.”
Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday

10) “He’s a great player, but I don’t think we can get him in academically.”
Jerry Tarkanian, Blue Chips

9) “A little song, a little dance……a little seltzer down your pants”
Chuckles the Clown, from The Mary Tyler Moore Show

8) “I’ll get to the bottom of this……if I have to go all the way to the top.”
Colonel Flagg, M*A*S*H*

7) “Listen, Lupus, you didn’t come into this life just to sit around on a dugout bench, did ya? Now get your ass out there and do the best you can.”
Walter Matthau in The Bad News Bears

6) “God likes me!!! He really, really likes me!!! What a day!!! What a fabulous day!!!”
Richard Dreyfuss in Let It Ride

5) “Being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It’s not about winning. It’s about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down because you told them the truth…….”
Billy Bob Thornton, Friday Night Lights

4) “……here’s the thing. If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.”
Mike McDermott, Rounders

3) “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”
Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own

2) “Why would you want to dance with someone who doesn’t want to dance with you?”
Adam Sandler, The Wedding Singer

1) “Do whats in your heart, son. You’ll be fine.”
Robin Williams, from Good Will Hunting

Friday’s Den: Random stuff with weekend here…….

13) Dallas 27, New Orleans 17:
— Pollard had a 58-yard TD run late in third quarter.
— Watkins salted game away on a pick-6 with 2:52 left.
— Dallas won despite converting only 2-13 on third down.
— Cowboys have outscored foes 69-9 in last 2:00 of each half.
— Five of last six Dallas games stayed under the total.

— Saints lost last five games, giving up 29.6 ppg.
— Hill threw three INTs in 11-pass span in 4th quarter.
— New Orleans has 39 plays of 20+ yards, their opponents have 55.
— Last four weeks, New Orleans was outscored 73-20 in first half.

12) This week, a published report accused major league baseball of secretly using two different baseballs during the 2021 season.

In a statement, MLB acknowledged that it had used two different baseballs, blamed differences on production difficulties caused by the pandemic.

Between gambling and fantasy baseball, there is a boatload of money involved in major league games, aside from the actual business of MLB; that kind of information would be helpful in handicapping/fantasy, no?
 
11) Now that baseball is in a lockout, what does MLB Network show every day? Winter meetings were always lot of fun and educational, but there won’t be any this year. Too bad, unless they get their butts back to negotiating.

10) Saint Mary’s 60, Utah State 58:
— Gaels were down 7 with 10:13 left.
— Utah State outscored Gaels 15-5 on foul line.
— Gaels shot 57% inside arc; this is a quality road win.

9) Liberty 66, Missouri 45— No offense to Liberty, but SEC teams aren’t supposed to lose to Atlantic Sun teams by 20 points- this game was 35-14 at halftime. Liberty is 4-3; this is their first win over a team in the top 300.

8) Memphis 152, Oklahoma City 79— This is the biggest margin of victory in NBA history, a record that had stood since 1991. Nine of 12 Memphis players scored in double figures but Ja Morant, their best player, didn’t even play.

7) Last time a Big 14 team won the national title in college basketball?

Try 2000, when Michigan State won out in Indianapolis. 22 years is a long time for a league not to win a national title.

6) ESPN was supposed to air the Laker-Clipper game Friday night, but they dumped it in favor of the Phoenix-Golden State game, the two best basketball teams on earth.

5) Other night, I stumbled across highlights of Kurt Warner playing in an Arena Bowl, for the Iowa Barnstormers against Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay’s QB that night; former Washington coach Jay Gruden.

4) More college football coaching stuff:
— Colorado State fired Steve Addazio after only two years.
— Bronco Mendenhall resigned at Virginia, after 11 years.

3) Tampa Bay WR Antonio Brown gets suspended for three games for lying about his COVID vaccine status, and getting a fake vaccination card- the suspension will cost him $547,059.

Would’ve been a lot easier/cheaper to just get the shot, no?

2) Temple’s best basketball player, Khalif Battle, hurt his foot, is out for the year; terrible news for the 4-3 Owls, who won their last three games.

1) I want to puke when a baseball player signs for huge money and then says “It isn’t about the money, I just want to win.”

Max Scherzer said that; he just signed for $43M a year with the freakin’ Mets., not exactly the gold standard of major league franchises. Scherzer left the Dodgers, who make the playoffs every year, but they weren’t offering $43M a year.

Go figure. 

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud

13) NC State 104, Nebraska 100, 4OT:
— Four players were ejected in a fracas.
— Nebraska led by 14 with 9:31 left in regulation
— Only the fifth 4-OT game in the history of ACC basketball.

— Free throws: NC State 32-42, Nebraska 11-15
— NC State’s Seabron played 57:00— he scored 37 points, 12 rebounds, was 17-20 on foul line. He took more foul shots than the whole Nebraska team.

12) Been watching a ton of college basketball; I’m wondering if home court advantage is going to be bigger than usual this season, since there were no fans last season— playing in front of hostile crowds isn’t that easy, and fans might actually might little more zealous this season, after having to stay home last winter.

Something to watch as we move thru pre-conference play.

11) Cincinnati 59, Miami OH 58:
— Bearcats had the onions to play a pre-conference road game, and barely survive it.
— Miami led by 8 with 12:37 left.
— Cincinnati was 2-10 from foul line.

10) Next time someone says Mike Krzyzewski is the best college basketball coach ever, remind them that Duke hasn’t won an ACC regular season title since 2006. He is a great coach for sure, but when John Wooden was coaching UCLA, there was no conference tournament- he had to win the Pac-12 regular season title, just to get into the NCAA tournament, and he won seven national championships in a row, ten in all.

9) Duke alum Marcus Stroman announced on Twitter that he’ll be pitching for the Cubs next year; Stroman is 61-60, 3.73 in 173 career starts. He threw 179 innings LY (10-13, 4.35), after opting out of the 2020 season. He got $71M from the Cubs on a 3-year deal.
 
8) Taysom Hill will start at QB for New Orleans Thursday night against the Cowboys. Hill is this generation’s Tim Tebow; more of a runner than a passer. He went 3-1 starting at QB for the Saints last year, his only NFL starts at quarterback.

7) Notre Dame hired defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman as their new coach; he was the defensive coordinator at Cincinnati from 2017-20, has never been a head coach.

Interesting that Kelly will have to hire two coordinators at LSU, since Freeman/Tommy Rees both elected to stay at Notre Dame.

6) Georgia 82, Memphis 79:
— Memphis led by 5 with 4:19 left.
— This is a bad loss for Memphis; Georgia had lost four games in a row.
— Tom Crean wins his 400th game as a head coach.

5) North Carolina 72, Michigan 51— Wolverines looked terrible; UNC outscored them 43-24 in second half.

4) Washington State 51, Arizona State 29— This is a final score; ASU is now 2-6- they’ve lost five games in a row. Sun Devils shot 21.1% from floor in this game.

3) About 10 or so years ago, I was sitting at an AAU basketball tournament at Siena College; guy sitting next to me was a great coach at the Division II level, and I knew him to say hello to, so I picked his brain a little bit, asked him what he looked for while evaluating talent.

“What is his college skill?” was his reply. He told me that he considered getting loose balls a skill, just like passing or shooting or defense. Learned a lot that day, and I appreciate it.

2) I’m watching The Bodyguard on TV late Tuesday night; excellent movie, but it was on a commercial station, and there were A LOT of commericials during the movie, so I had to look it up. Movie is 2:09, the time slot it was in was four freakin’ hours!!!!

— Movie is 2 hours, 9 minutes
— With 1 hour, 51 minutes of commercials.

Yikes.

1) I’m concerned that the geniuses who run baseball are killing the golden goose; Texas is going to pay their 2B/SS a combined $57M a year for the next seven years, so you can’t tell me they’re not making money, but now a lockout is underway, and who knows when it will end.

Players are making a fortune, owners wouldn’t be in it if it wasn’t profitable, but some of the owners don’t try to win- they throw scrub teams out on the field and expect fans to still some to the ballpark and pay lot of money to watch cruddy teams play.

Get in a room and find a middle ground, before it is too late. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings…….

13) Average salary for an NFL head coach is $6.7M; there are now eight college coaches who make more than that, as schools jockey to lure big-name coaches to their school, while players bolt from one place to another, trying to find their way to the NFL. Strange times we live in.

12) Fresno State football coach Kalen DeBoer bolted to Washington to become the Huskies’ new coach; few hours later, Fresno’s quarterback Jake Haener entered the transfer portal- wonder where he is going.
 
11) Unclear who will coach Notre Dame in their bowl game, now that Brian Kelly has bolted to Baton Rouge.

10) Alabama is a 6.5-point underdog to Georgia in the SEC title game Saturday; it ends a streak of 92 straight games where the Crimson Tide was favored to win, dating back to 2015.

9) Ohio State 71, Duke 66:
— Second time in five nights the #1 team in country got beat.
— Duke didn’t score for the last 4:29 of the game.
— Buckeyes survived 11-22 shooting on foul line.
— This result helps to explain why Duke avoids pre-conference road games, at all costs.

8) Over their last four games, New England outscored opponents 63-0 in second half.

7) IF Javier Baez signed a 4-year, $140M contract with the Detroit Tigers; lot of money flying around this week, between baseball and college football coaches.

6) Nevada sportsbooks took in $1.1B in bets during October, breaking the previous single-month record of $786.5M wagered during September.

5) Former Michigan/Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez will be named football coach at Jacksonville State, a I-AA team that beat Florida State earlier this fall. Gamecocks are moving up to I-A and the Sun Belt Conference for the 2023-24 season.

Rodriguez’s coaching resume:
2001-07— 60-26 at West Virginia
2008-10— 15-22 at Michigan
2012-17— 43-35 at Arizona

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Jacksonville State is the alma mater of Dieter Brock, a quarterback who led the Rams to the NFC West title in 1985, his only season in the NFL, after he had a great CFL career.

4) In three seasons as a pro, Zion Williamson has played in 85 NBA games; he’s missed 81 games with injury. As the old saying goes, the best ability is…….availability.

3) Group that owns the Boston Red Sox bought the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins this week; things could get awkward in Beantown if Bruins/Penguins ever cross paths in the playoffs.

2) Colorado 80, Stanford 76:
— First conference game of this year’s college basketball season.
— Stanford led 21-10 early, but was minus-9 (15-6) in turnovers.

1) When the clock strikes midnight Wednesday, baseball is expected to slip into a lockout, which is exactly what the sport doesn’t need. This week has been fun, with free agent signings and some trades; that’s what the sport needs, not lawyers quibbling over how to divide their millions that they make year after year.

Here’s my solution:
— Expand the playoffs
— Add Sunday doubleheaders to condense the regular season
— Universal DH
— Ban shifts.

Shake hands, and play ball, it isn’t that difficult. 

Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but……..

13) Washington 17, Seattle 15:
— Seahawks scored TD with 0:15 left, but 2-point play failed.
— DK Metcalf caught only one pass for 13 yards.
— Seattle is 3-1 if it scores 28+ points, 0-7 if it doesn’t.
— Six of Seahawks’ last seven games stayed under the total.

— Washington is 3-0 since its bye, scoring 24.3 ppg. 
— Washington is 8-4-1 in last 13 games with spread of 3 or less.
— Washington is 13-7 ATS last 20 games coming off a win.
— Five of last six Washington games stayed under the total.

12) Max Scherzer signed a 3-year, $130M deal with the Mets Monday, as billionaire owner Steve Cohen opens his wallet to improve his ballclub. Mets have spent $258M or so on free agents in the last four days.
 
11) Texas Rangers are also spending a lot of money; they gave 2B Marcus Semien $175M Sunday, then gave SS Corey Seager a 10-year, $325M deal Monday.

Part of reason playing in Texas appeals to free agents is the tax status there; Rangers play 81 home games, nine in Houston, nine in Seattle and three in Tampa, all states with zero tax status for athletes. That’s 102 games, nearly two-thirds with zero tax status. It matters.

10) If I’m a free agent pitcher, I’d want to know if the universal DH is going to be a thing, before I picked my next employer. Hopefully the universal DH will become official this winter.

Seattle Mariners signed P Robbie Ray to a 5-year, $115M deal Monday.

9) Oklahoma Sooners had a rough few days:
— Football coach Lincoln Riley jumped to USC
— Backup QB Spencer Rattler entered the transfer portal
— A hotshot high school QB who committed to Oklahoma de-commited. Wonder where he is going to wind up (USC?)

8) Minnesota 100, Indiana 98– Domantas Sabonis had 16 points, 25 rebounds, 10 assists for the Pacers; he is the first NBA player with 25 rebounds and 10 assists in a game since Maurice Lucas in 1980.

7) When Michigan plays Iowa this weekend in the Big 14 title game, it’ll be the first time the Wolverines have played in the championship game. Was surprised when I heard that. Hell, Northwestern’s even played in two of them.

Big 14 started playing a league championship game in 2011.

6) Random stat: over the last three football seasons, Big 14 teams are 17-4 ATS when playing teams from the MAC. There were no meetings in 2020 because of COVID, so that is 17-4 over two seasons.

5) Drew Brees is keeping busy since he retired from the NFL; he works for NBC, has an endorsement deal with Lowe’s, has stock in an online betting company, and now has a deal where he reads Bible verses on pray.com

Interesting contrast; not lot of people get paid for reading the Bible while also endorsing sports betting.

4) One of the funnier parts of NFL games is when an official throws a flag for pass interference, then one or two other refs throw a flag too, selling the call to make it look like an obvious foul.

3) Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy tested positive for COVID, will miss Thursday night’s game in New Orleans.

2) Florida Gators hired U of Louisiana coach Billy Napier to be its next football coach; Napier is 39-12 coaching the Ragin’ Cajuns- he will coach them in the Sun Belt title game this week, then is off to Gainesville.

1) LSU hired football coach Brian Kelly away from Notre Dame; Kelly was 113-40 in South Bend— he won more games there than Knute Rockne. Notre Dame made the national playoff two of last three years- they’re 11-1 this year, ranked 6th in country. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday

New England 36, Tennessee 13:
— Tennessee ran ball for 270 yards, but was minus-4 in turnovers.
— Titans averaged only 3.7 yards/pass attempt.
— Patriots had 10 drives; three TD’s, tried six field goals
— New England had TD drives of 37-56-21 yards.
— Patriots had 17-yard edge in field position. 

— New England won seven of last eight games, scoring 33.1 ppg.
— Patriots scored 135 points in winning last three home games.
— Since 2015, New England is 30-14-3 ATS as home favorites.
— Patriots are +16 in turnovers in their wins, minus-6 in losses.
— New England has 22 takeaways in last eight games (+15)

NJ Jets 21, Houston 14:
— Jets outscored Houston 10-0 in second half.
— Jets ran ball for 157 yards, outgained Texans 266-202.
— Six of last eight Jet games went over the total. 
— Jets have been outscored 68-24 in first quarter, 189-65 in first half.

— Texans in second half: 21 plays, 45 yards, 3 first downs.
— Houston is 2-8 ATS last ten games as home favorites.
— Under is 7-2 in Texans’ last nine games.
— Underdogs are 4-0-1 ATS in last five series games.

NY Giants 13, Philadelphia 7:
— Eagles turned ball over four times on 10 drives (minus-4)
— Philly averaged only 3.9 yards/pass attempt.
— Philly ran ball for 215.2 ypg last five games (98.6 ypg previous five)
— Eagles are 9-14 ATS last 23 games as a road favorite.

— Giants won their last three home games.
— Eagles outgained Giants 332-264.
— Giants are 11-6 ATS last 17 games coming off a loss.
— Last five Giant games stayed under the total.

Tampa Bay 38, Indianapolis 31:
— Fournette had 131 total yards, four TD’s.
— Tampa Bay ran ball for 142 yards (5.3 yards/carry).
— Bucs have 42 TD’s on 117 drives this season.
— Last ten games, Tampa Bay is +11 in turnovers.

— Indianapolis led 24-14 at halftime.
— Bucs in 2nd half: 30 plays, 222 yards, 24 points.
— Colts turned ball over three times in five 2nd half drives.
— Six of their last eight games went over the total.

Atlanta 21, Jacksonville 14:
— Atlanta was perfect in red zone (21 points/3 drives)
— Atlanta is 4-2 ATS TY in games with spread of 3 or less points.
— Falcons led seven of last nine games at halftime.
— Atlanta has been outscored 176-89 in second half.  

— Jacksonville converted 9-16 on 3rd down, outgained Atlanta 357-332.
— Jaguars are 7-14 ATS in last 21 home games.
— Last five games, Jacksonville was outscored 77-21 in first half.
— Jaguars lost 24 of their last 26 games.

Miami 33, Carolina 10:
— Newton was 5-21 passing, with two INT’s; not good.
— Carolina lost seven of last nine games after a 3-0 start.
— Carolina is 0-6 if it allows more than 14 points.
— Last nine games, Panthers were outscored 128-63 in second half.

— Dolphins won last four games, giving up 11.5 ppg.
— Miami gave up four TD’s on opponents’ last 47 drives.
— Dolphins allowed 17 or less points in their wins.
— Dolphins are 0-7 when they give up more than 17 points.
— Miami is 22-12-3 ATS in last 36 home games.  

Cincinnati 41, Pittsburgh 10:
— Steelers are 0-2-1 in last three games, giving up 41-41 points in last two.
— Bengals took opening kickoff, drove 75 yards for quick 7-0 lead.
— Bengals led 31-3 at halftime after a pick-6 with 0:23 left in half.
— Pittsburgh is 4-8 ATS in last 12 games on artificial turf.

— Cincy’s first four drives: 34 plays, 226 yards, 24 points.
— Mixon ran ball for 165 yards, two TD’s.
— Cincinnati scored 31+ points in five of last six games.
— Bengals are 7-1 scoring 24+ points, 0-3 otherwise.
— Cincinnati won three of last four series games. 

Denver 28, LA Chargers 13:
— Chargers lost four of last six games, after a 4-1 start.  
— LA’s first four drives: 21 plays, 64 yards, 3 first downs, no points.
— Bolts are 6-10-1 ATS in last 17 games coming off a win.
— Last five games, Chargers lost field position by 8+ yards four times.

— Denver is 25-7 ATS in their last 32 post-bye games
— Surtain broke game open with third quarter pick-6.
— Nine of 11 Denver games stayed under the total.
— Denver gave up 16 or less points in its wins, 26.6 ppg in losses.

San Francisco 34, Minnesota 26:
— Over is 5-0 in Vikings road games this year.
— Nwangwu ran a kickoff back 99 yards for a Viking TD.
— Minnesota has been outscored 91-22 in last 2:00 of each half.
— Minnesota has led by 7+ points in every game this year.

— 49ers won four of their last five games.
— San Francisco outgained Vikings 423-323.
— Last three games, 49ers ran ball for 156-171-208 yards.
— Niners had 10-yard advantage in field position. 

Green Bay 36, LA Rams 28
— Rams were 0-3 in November, giving up 28-31-36 points.
— Stafford threw a pick-6 all three of those games.
— Last three games, Rams are minus-5 in turnovers.
— Last seven games, LA converted only 28-83 on 3rd down. 

— Packers won/covered all five home games TY.
— Green Bay started three drives inside Rams’ 30-yard line.
— Pack is 11-5-2 ATS last 18 games with spread of 3 or less points.
— Last three years, Green Bay is 9-0 ATS coming off a loss.

Baltimore 16, Cleveland 10:
— Browns scored 17 or fewer points in six of last seven games. 
— Cleveland ran ball 17 times for only 40 yards.
— Last four games, Cleveland converted 16-56 third down plays.
— Browns are 2-6 ATS in last eight AFC North road games.

— Jackson threw INT’s on 3 straight drives in 2nd quarter.
— NFL teams had lost 52 games in row when throwing 4+ INTs.
— Baltimore’s last three wins were by 3-3-6 points.
— Ravens won 23 of last 27 series games.

— USC hired 38-year old Lincoln Riley as its new football coach; Riley went 55-10 in his time coaching the Sooners. Unclear if Oklahoma’s bolting to the tougher SEC was a factor in Riley’s decision to jump ship.

Baseball signings:
— Toronto signed P Kevin Gausman to a 5-year, $110M deal.
— Texas signed SS Marcus Semien to a 7-year, $175M deal.
— Rangers also signed P Jon Gray for four years, $56M
— Marlins gave P Sandy Alcantara a 5-year, $65M extension.
— Minnesota gave OF Byron Buxton a 7-year, $100M deal. 

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a busy Saturday…….

13) Michigan 42, Ohio State 27:
— Haskins ran ball 28 times for 169 yards and five TD’s.
— Michigan snaps 8-game series losing skid.
— Only 8 of Michigan’s 61 plays were on third down.

12) Alabama 24, Auburn 22, OT:
— Auburn led this game 10-0 in 4th quarter.
— Alabama tied game with 0:24 left in regulation.
— Crimson Tide outgained Auburn, 388-159.
 
11) Oklahoma State 37, Oklahoma 33:
— Oklahoma’s offense didn’t score in second half; game was 24-24 at halftime.
— Both teams fumbled a punt inside their own 5-yard line.
— OSU’s stadium is weird; very little room between the sidelines and stands.
— Cowboys snap a 6-game series losing skid; with Oklahoma jumping to the SEC, this rivalry might not go on much longer. Too bad.

10) There are rumors on the Interweb that Lincoln Riley is going to bolt Oklahoma for LSU; Oklahoma is jumping to the SEC, so Riley must think the Sooners won’t be faring too well in a deeper league, where even LSU struggled this year, two years after they won the national title. Not a lot of loyalty in the world these days.

9) San Diego Padres traded 2B Adam Frazier to Seattle for two minor leaguers, one of whom is a promising reliever. Frazier hit .305 LY, made All-Star Game for first time.

8) College football upsets:
— Hawai’i (+13) 38, Wyoming 14
— Minnesota (+7) 23, Wisconsin 13
— Virginia Tech (+7) 29, Virginia 24
— Michigan (+6.5) 42, Ohio State 27
— Tulsa (+6.5) 34, SMU 31
— Bowling Green (+6) 21, Ohio U 10

7) Air Force 48, UNLV 14:
— Air Force ran ball 69 times for 511 yards.
— They didn’t throw a pass the whole game; not one.

6) North Texas 45, Tex-San Antonio 23:
— First loss in 12 games this season for the Roadrunners.

5) Minnesota 23, Wisconsin 13— Gophers’ upset win creates an Iowa-Michigan matchup in the Big 14 title game next week.

4) College basketball upsets:
— Eastern Washington (+19) 76, Washington State 71
— Monmouth (+11) 61, Cincinnati 59
— Northern Iowa (+9.5) 90, St Bonaventure 80
— UMBC (+5.5) 87, Pittsburgh 77

3) Monmouth 61, Cincinnati 59:
— Walker Miller scored 13 points for Monmouth; his brother Wes is Cincinnati’s coach.
— Cincinnati led by 12 early in second half.
— Bearcats were 4-28 on arc; Monmouth was 8-16.

2) Northern Iowa 90, St Bonaventure 80— Handicapping is tough; Bonnies looked so good winning the tournament in Charleston last week, then come home and lose this game, to a very mediocre Northern Iowa squad. UNI made 15-31 3-pointers, but Bonnies made 12-31.

1) USC 58, San Diego State 43:
— Teams combined to go 10-29 on foul line. Seriously.
— Teams also combined to go 7-31 on arc; lot of rebounds in this game.
— USC outrebounded the Aztecs, 49-33.

Saturday’s Den: Wrapping up a busy Friday…….

13) Duke 84, Gonzaga 81:
— Excellent game; seemed like March, or April.
— Duke outscored Gonzaga 15-7 on foul line.
— Banchero scored 20 points in first half, one in second half.
— Zags were only 6-21 on the arc. 

12) Dayton 74, Kansas 73:
— 16-point underdogs pull biggest upset of season so far.
— Dayton is least experienced team in country.
— Amzil hit game-winning hoop, his only basket of the game.
— Dayton-Belmont is the final of this tournament, on Sunday.

11) Baylor 75, Michigan State 58:
— Bears win the Battle of Atlantis.
— Baylor outscored Spartans 37-22 in second half.
— Bears shot 65.7% inside the arc.

10) NC State 34, North Carolina 30:
— Tar Heels kicked 50-yard FG to lead 30-21 with 2:12 left.
— NC State then scored two touchdowns in 26 seconds for the win; they recovered an onside kick after the first TD.

9) Weird Stats of the Day:
— Last three years, NFL road teams are 9-0 on Thanksgiving Day
— Nebraska finished 1-8 in conference games this season, but Cornhuskers scored 239 points, gave up 239 points in those games- their one Big 14 win was 49-7 over Northwestern, the eight losses were by total of 42 points.

8) Raiders-Cowboys game Thursday got the NFL’s best TV ratings since 1990; they also the most penalties in a game since 2016. Those two facts are not connected.

7) Cincinnati 35, East Carolina 13— Bearcats finish regular season a perfect 12-0, now have to win the AAC title game, then hope the voting system isn’t corrupt, so they can play for a national title.

6) San Diego State has won its last six basketball games against Big East opponents.

5) Detroit Lions are 0-10-1, but they’ve led four games in 4th quarter, are 7-4 vs spread. Their four blown leads in 4th quarter are most in league this season.

4) College football coaching stuff:
— Louisiana Tech told football coach Skip Holtz to take a hike; is this a landing spot for former LSU coach Ed Orgeron?
— Wake Forest wisely signed coach Dave Clawson to a contract extension.
— TCU signed coach Sonny Dykes away from SMU.

3) There are six bowl games on December 18, not really sure why, but that’ll be a busy TV day.

2) New York Mets were busy Friday:
— They are signing OF Starling Marte to a 4-year, $78M contract
— They signed OF Mark Canha to a 2-year, $26.5M deal
— They signed IF Eduardo Escobar to a 2-year, $20M deal.

1) Blind resume for college football coaches. Here is one, for a guy in his third year as a college head coach.
2019— School A- Goes 5-7, then jumps to a new school.
2020— School B— Goes 2-5 in a year where the pandemic screwed things up.
2021— Is 9-2 in his second year at School B, a school in a major league.

Three years as a head coach, 16-14 record. Any guesses who he is?

Michigan State just gave Mel Tucker a 10-year, $95M contract; he is 16-14 as a head coach. Lot of faith for a coach with one winning season. 

Friday’s Den: Hope you had a good Thanksgiving Day

13) Here’s something to store away for March; 11 of the last 12 years, team that won the national title in college basketball won one of these tournaments played before conference play, mostly in November. So teams that are winning tournaments this weekend are improving their chances to go home with a much bigger trophy in April.

Later on this month, I’ll post a list of the teams that win these events.

12) Las Vegas 36, Dallas 33 OT:
— Raiders blew 24-13 third quarter lead, kicked FG in OT for the win.
— Total yards: Las Vegas 509, Dallas 437
— Raiders are 10-5 ATS last 15 games as a road underdog.
— Las Vegas allowed 20+ points in 10 of 11 games this year.
— Raiders are 6-1 in OT with Carr at QB.

— Prescott threw for 200+ yards, just in 4th quarter.
— Pollard ran kickoff back 100 yards for a TD.
— Both teams converted only 3-13 third down plays.
— Cowboys are 2-3 in last five games SU, after a 6-0 run.
— Dallas is 3-5 SU in last eight Thanksgiving games.

11) Chicago 16, Detroit 14:
— Santos kicked 28-yard FG for win, ending 18-play drive.
— Chicago kicked FG at 0:00 of both halves.
— Dalton threw for 317 yards in his first start since Week 2.
— Under is 7-2-1 in last ten Chicago games.
— Bears won seven of last eight series games.

— Chicago ran 69 plays for 378 yards, Lions 45 for 239 yards.
— Detroit is winless, but is 7-4 ATS (4-1 last five).
— Last eight games, Lions were outscored 117-39 in first half.
— Lions lost last five Thanksgiving games (1-4 ATS)

10) Buffalo 31, New Orleans 6:
— Buffalo outgained the Saints, 361-190.
— Bills scored TD’s on 3 of first 4 drives in second half.
— Buffalo is 8-5 ATS last thirteen games as road favorites.
— Bills are 0-3 in games decided by less than 15 points.

— Bills were 8-13 on third down, New Orleans 5-14
— Last four weeks, New Orleans was outscored 60-13 in first half.
— Saints lost last four games, giving up 30.3 ppg.
— Last three years, home side is 0-9 SU on Thanksgiving.

9) I’ve read for years how the NFL wants more scoring in its games, because more scoring leads to better TV ratings which leads to more money, which is what they really want.

Here’s a hint; CALL FEWER HOLDING PENALTIES!!!!!

No one pays to watch officials throw flags; holding is very subjective- you could call it on most every play, if you wanted to. Penalties grind the game to a halt; the fewer the better.

8) Blind resume for college football coaches. Here is one, for a guy in his third year as a college head coach.
2019— School A- Goes 5-7, then jumps to a new school.
2020— School B— Goes 2-5 in a year where the pandemic screwed things up.
2021— Is 9-2 in his second year at School B, a school in a major league.

Three years as a head coach, 16-14 record. Any guesses who he is?
Will let you know tomorrow.

7) Iona 72, Alabama 68:
— Rick Pitino as a 12-point underdog? Big win for the Gaels.
— Alabama led by 9 with 12:27 left.
— Crimson Tide was only 13-25 on the foul line.

6) UConn 115, Auburn 109, 2OT (Wednesday game)
— Auburn led 21-10 early.
— UConn led by 15 in second half.
— Teams combined to make 27-56 on arc, 65-79 on foul line.

High-level game; looked like a March game.

5) Maryland 86, Richmond 80:
— Richmond led by 12 late in first half.
— Maryland scored 54 points in second half.
— Terps were 10-23 on arc, 20-25 on foul line.

4) There used to be a tournament called the Alaskan Shootout which was played this week; it was fun, the last first round game would start around 2:30am on Thursday night. At one time, big-time schools went up there to play, but then ESPN started sponsoring events in Bahamas and South Carolina, warm weather places with great beaches, and that killed the Alaskan Shootout. Too bad.

3) Pitcher Steven Matz signed on with St Louis for four years, $44M. Matz was 14-7, 3.82 in 29 starts for Toronto LY. He is from Long Island, but spurned the hometown Mets (his old team) to pitch for the Cardinals.

2) Ohio State-Michigan is noon Saturday; can’t remember a time when this game wasn’t the noon game on Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend— they probably moved it to Friday once or twice, but I can’t remember when.

Problem is, when one team wins 16 of 17 meetings, like Ohio State has against the Wolverines, it makes the rivalry a little less appealing. Michigan is 10-1 this year; we’ll see if they can hang with the Buckeyes this time around.

1) Boise State is at San Diego State is also at noon ET Saturday; the thing is, noon ET is 9am in San Diego. Isn’t 9am a little early to play a football game?

Understood that teams are desperate to get TV attention, but having teams eat their pregame meal at 5am seems ridiculous.

Thursday’s Den: NBA trends to be thankful for…….

Hawks (10-9):
— Won their last six games.
— 7-2 ATS at home, 1-9 on road.
— favorites 8-1 ATS at home
— 1-3 ATS if they played night before.

Celtics (10-9):
— won three of last four games.
— 0ver 4-1 last five home games.
— 3-5 ATS as home favorite, 4-0 ATS as road favorite.
— 4-0 ATS on front end of a back/back.

Nets (14-5):
— won seven of last eight games.
— 4-5 ATS as home favorite, 4-3 ATS as road favorite.
— over 7-1 last eight games
— All five losses were by 13+ points.

Hornets (12-8):
— won six of last seven games
— 1-7 ATS last eight road games.
— under 6-1 last seven games
— 5-1 ATS as home underdog.
— 0-4 ATS if they played night before. 

Bulls (12-7):
— Lost three of last five games.
— 6-3 ATS at home, 6-4 ATS on road.
— under 6-2 last eight home games.
— 3-0 ATS on front end of a back/back.

Cavaliers (9-10):
— Lost their last five games SU.
— 13-4 vs spread in last 17 games
— over 3-1 last four games
— 7-3 ATS at home, 6-3 on road.

Mavericks (10-7):
— Lost three of last four games SU.
— Over 5-2 last seven games overall.
— Under 4-2-1 at home.
— 4-1 ATS last five road games.

Nuggets (9-9):
— Lost their last five games
— 2-6 ATS on the road.
— over 5-1 last six games. 
— 3-5 ATS as a favorite.

Pistons (4-14):
— Lost five of last six games
— 4-5 ATS as home underdog, 3-5 as road underdog. 
— under 5-3 last eight home games.
— 6-4 ATS in last ten games overall.

Warriors (16-2):
— won 12 of last 13 games SU
— covered last five games.
— 9-1-1 ATS as home favorite
— 5-2 ATS on the road.

Rockets (2-16):
— Lost 15 of their last 16 games.
— Under 6-1 last seven games.
— 1-4 ATS as a home underdog.
— 2-7 ATS last nine games overall. 

Pacers (8-12):
— Lost four of last six games.
— 0-5 ATS as a road favorite, 5-2 as a road dog.
— under 8-1 last nine road games.
— 4-1 ATS last five home tilts.

Clippers (10-8):
— Lost four of last six games 
— under 4-2 on road.
— over 5-2 last seven home games.
— 0-2 ATS if they played night before. 

Lakers (10-10):
— 3-5 SU in last eight games
— 3-7 ATS as a home favorite.
— over 4-1 last five home games
— 4-0 SU in overtime games.

Grizzlies (9-9):
— won three of last five games SU.
— last five games went over total.
— 2-4 ATS last six road games.
— 6-4 ATS at home

Heat (9-5):
— won four of last six games SU
— under 3-0-1 last four road games.
— 6-1 ATS at home
— 5-0 ATS as an underdog.

Bucks (11-8):
— won last five games SU, all at home.
— 3-7 ATS at home, 5-4 on road
— under 5-1 last six games overall
— 0-3 ATS on front end of a back/back.

Timberwolves (9-9):
— won last five games, covered last six.
— All five of those wins were by 10+ points.
— under 4-1-1 last six games
— 2-0 ATS on front end of a back/back.

Pelicans (4-16):
— split last four games SU
— 4-4 ATS last eight games
— 6-3 ATS home underdog, 2-8 ATS road underdog
— under 8-1 last nine road games

Knicks (10-8):
— lost four of last six games SU.
— under last five games overall
— 1-5 ATS last six home games
— 3-9 ATS last dozen games overall. 

Thunder (6-12):
— covered their last six road games
— 5-4 ATS at home
— last three games overall went over total.
— under 7-2 in their road games.

Magic (4-15):
— lost seven of last eight games SU
— covered four of last five games
— under 8-4 last dozen games
— 2-6 ATS as a home underdog. 

76ers (10-9):
— lost seven of last nine games SU
— under 4-1 last five games
— 3-5 ATS at home, 7-4 ATS on road
— 5-2 ATS when favored, 5-7 as underdog.

Suns (15-3):
— won last 14 games SU
— Despite that, they’re 1-5 ATS last six games
— 5-2 ATS last seven home games
— over 4-0 last four games overall

Trailblazers (10-9):
— won four of last five games SU
— 1-8 ATS on the road
— 7-3 ATS at home 
— over 4-1 last five road games

Kings (7-12):
— lost eight of last ten games
— under 7-3 at home
— 3-7 ATS at home
— 1-4 ATS as home underdog, 3-2 as road dog. 

Spurs (4-13):
— lost last six games SU
— over 7-0-1 at home, 2-7 on road.
— 2-6 ATS last eight games
— 5-7 ATS as an underdog

Raptors (9-10):
— lost seven of last ten games (3-7 ATS)
— 1-7 ATS at home, 7-4 on road.
— over 6-1 last seven games
— 1-4 ATS as a favorite

Jazz (12-6):
— won four of last five games
— over 5-1 last six games
— 5-4 ATS as home favorite, 5-3 as road favorite
— Scored 110+ points in last five games.

Wizards (10-3):
— lost four of last five games (1-4 ATS)
— under 6-0 last six home games
— 1-5 ATS last six home games
— 4-0 ATS as home dogs, 2-4 as road dogs

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings…….

13) New Jersey Giants fired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett Tuesday because there have to be scapegoats when things go off the rails. Giants are 21-53 the last five years, but Garrett was only in his second year as the Giants’ OC.

Dave Gettleman became the Giants’ GM after the 2017 season:
— He drafted oft-injured RB Saquon Barkley, instead of QB’s Josh Allen/Lamar Jackson.
— The next year, he drafted QB Daniel Jones; Jones is 11-25 as an NFL starter.
— Allen is 34-19 as an NFL starter; Jackson 36-10.
— He hired Joe Judge as head coach; that’s not going well.

Maybe Gettleman is the guy who needs to be fired. 

12) Gonzaga 83, UCLA 63:
— This was no contest, Gonzaga waxed them from wire-to-wire.
— Zags led 29-8 after the first 10:00.
— Gonzaga shot 70.4% inside arc.

11) By the way, speaking of UCLA, we’ll be deluged the rest of this college basketball season with stories/tributes about Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is retiring after this season, He has a few former players working on TV these days; one of them called him “the greatest coach in college basketball history” 

John Wooden won seven national titles in a row, and back in those days, you had to win your league’s regular season title just to make it into the national tournament— ACC was the only major league that had a conference tournament.

Make no mistake about it, John Wooden is the best coach in college basketball history.

10) Handicapping is difficult; you look at the NBA standings and see that Oklahoma City is 6-11, a bad team, so you would never bet on them, right?

Here’s the thing; Thunder covered their last six road games; they’re a team you should back when they’re away from home. Research is essential when you’re risking your money.

9) Arkansas 73, Cincinnati 67:
— Arkansas outscored Bearcats 16-7 over final 5:57
— Razorbacks outscored Cincy 24-11 on foul line.

8) Maui Classic:
— Wisconsin 65, Houston 63— Badgers led by 20 at halftime.
— Saint Mary’s 62, Oregon 50— Ducks were only 2-8 on the arc.

7) Florida Gulf Coast 67, Rhode Island 66:
— URI led by 14 late in first half.
— Rams beat Boston College twice, then lose this game?

6) Golden State star Klay Thompson participated in a full team practice Tuesday for the first time since tearing his Achilles tendon last year. Warriors haven’t set a date for Thompson’s return to game action.

5) Penn State gave football coach James Franklin a 10-year contract extension; Franklin is 67-32 at Penn State, after going 24-15 in three years at Vanderbilt. 

Liberty also gave coach Hugh Freeze a contract extension; when other coaches get fired, the coaches who win make even more money.

4) Ole Miss QB Matt Corral sounds like he is going pro after this season; he’s played three years for the Rebels- this isn’t a great year for QB’s in the draft. Mel Kiper has him listed #1 for QB’s to be taken next spring.

3) Tampa Bay Rays signed 20-year old SS Wander Franco to a 12-year, $223M contract; he hit .288 (.810 OPS) in 70 games as a rookie this past summer.

2) More baseball stuff:
— Chicago White Sox signed reliever Kendall Graveman to a 3-year, $24M deal.
— San Francisco Giants re-signed P Anthony DeSclafani to a 3-year deal, are expected to re-sign P Alex Wood to a 2-year deal.

1) Late at night I watch movies/old TV shows; the first-ever episode of Columbo was on the other night, Peter Falk as a quirky LA detective. Jack Cassidy was the bad guy; seemed like he always played a bad guy.

The director of that show? Steven Spielberg, wonder whatever happened to him.