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

NBA stuff on hoops page……..We have great baseball info every day!!!!

Friday’s 6-pack
College football lines that moved 4+ points Thursday:
— Texas (+1) to (-3) vs USC
— North Carolina (+11) to (+7) vs Central Florida
— West Virginia (+3) to (-1.5) vs Texas Tech
— Texas (+12) to (+6) vs Oklahoma
— Arkansas State (pick) to (-4) vs Appalachian State
— Oregon (-9) to (-13) vs Arizona State

Quote of the Day
“I walked so many guys, it didn’t feel like I had a no-hitter going. But I did.”
Indians’ pitcher Adam Plutko, who allowed two hits in six IP Wednesday 

Friday’s quiz
Which retired NFL quarterback holds the record for most consecutive regular season games where his team was favored? (Hint: the record is 55 games)

Thursday’s quiz
Pablo Sandoval is the last major leaguer to hit three homers in a World Series game, in 2012. 

Wednesday’s quiz
Delino DeShields Jr is the son of a former major league player and also has a sister playing in the WNBA. 

Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff after a fun vacation…….

13) Rockets 98, Warriors 94— Golden State’s bench was a combined 2-8 from floor in 53:00 in this game; I didn’t think Houston could beat the Warriors unless they outran them, but they held Golden State to 92-94 points in their last two games. 

In their three series wins, Houston has taken 123 3-pointers, 122 2-pointers; in Golden State’s two wins, Rockets have taken 71 treys and 95 2-point shots. Harden was 0-11 behind the arc in this game, but his team leads series, 3-2. 

12) Again, in their three wins, Houston has taken 81.7 shots/game; in their losses, 83, so they’re winning with their defensive performance, which is a big surprise. 

11) Had an excellent conversation in the Westgate SuperBook Wednesday night with a smart bettor who retired from the military and now lives in Las Vegas. He likes to play parlays and explained to me why; he knows a lot about soccer (I know NOTHING). Learned a lot from talking to him.

10) My godson Tom knows a lot about soccer; he likes Belgium in the World Cup. 

9) There have been 23 baseball games this season where a pitcher had a no-hitter going thru six innings. That seems like a lot. 

Thru Wednesday, the MLB batting average was .244; last time a full season ended with a batting average that low was 1972, the year before the DH came into being. 

8) UConn totally dominates women’s college basketball, so I’m wondering, how many UConn players are in the 12-team WNBA? Must be two or three per team, no? 

Turns out there are currently 17 UConn alumni in the 12-team WNBA. 1.4 per team. 

7) SEC-Big X college basketball challenge this winter has some solid matchups: West Virginia-Tennessee, Florida-TCU, Kansas-Kentucky being three of the best. 

6) Baseball’s amateur draft is coming up; apparently it is very wide open this year. Detroit has the first pick and consensus is they’re still torn on who their #1 pick will be. Unusual. 

5) New England Patriots were practicing in OTA’s in number-less jerseys; the NFL told them to grow up and put numbers on, so Belichick had them wear numbers they won’t (can’t) wear in regular season games. Do rival teams spy on OTA’s? 

4) Orioles’ Dylan Bundy is 2-1, 2.86 in three starts since he gave up seven runs on 28 pitches in a hideous start against the Royals earlier this month. 

3) Since 1970, 50 QB’s were taken in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft; of those 50, 42 started at least one NFL regular season game. Christian Hackenberg hasn’t even gotten into a game yet; I’m curious why the Raiders traded for him this week. 

2) Last year, Oakland averaged 4.14 points less per game than their weekly over/under; Atlanta averaged 4.06 less points per game. Falcons were an “over” machine in 2016; last year, not so much.

1) Indians’ Trevor Bauer and Astros’ Gerrit Cole played college baseball together at UCLA- they did not get along well.

Says Bauer: “We had a rocky relationship in college, because he told me that I had no future in baseball and he insulted my work ethic as a freshman.” Alrighty then.

The two hurlers face each other in Cleveland Sunday. 

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud

13) When I was lucky enough to be an assistant high school basketball coach a long time ago, the time during the National Anthem was special to me; it allowed me to collect my thoughts about what was about to happen, and to appreciate the blessings I have. It was a good two or three minutes to get my mind organized.  

12) My take on the National Anthem issue in the NFL and my opinion on this is pretty much my opinion on most things in this country:

Its a free bleepin’ country. Let people do what they want, within reason.

Freedom of speech, freedom of expression is a vital part of our democracy. I would never kneel during the National Anthem, but I respect another person’s right to do so. But thats me. 

11) In his last six starts, Jacob deGrom has allowed one run in 33.1 IP; he’s won two of the six games. Mets’ bullpen did him in again last night, blowing a 9th inning lead in a 2-1 loss.

10) Paul Zimmerman was a really good football writer for Sports Illustrated; his advice to young football writers? 

“Talk to the offensive linemen; there won’t be crowds around them, and they know why everything happens.”

9) The NHL commercial where the all-time stars of the game spell out their last names is a great one; the pride that comes with having your name etched on the Stanley Cup is special. 

8) Albany Great Danes’ basketball team is heading to Northern Ireland for an 8-team tournament in late November. I’d prefer Hawai’i or Las Vegas to Ireland, but no one asked me. 

7) Aaron Judge went into a slump after the All-Star break last year, so he’ll be skipping the Home Run Derby in Washington in July. 

6) My plan to re-align the major leagues, by geography:
Division A: both NYC teams, Red Sox, Phillies, Blue Jays
Division B: Rays, Marlins, Braves, Orioles, Nationals
Division C: Pirates, Indians, Tigers, Twins, Brewers

Division D: Cubs, White Sox, Cardinals, Royals, Reds
Division E: Rockies, Mariners, Rangers, Astros, Diamondbacks
Division F: A’s, Giants, Dodgers, Angels, Padres

5) Travel costs would go down a lot; now if MLB expands to 32 teams soon, and it sounds like they might, then it becomes eight 4-team divisions. Portland, OR and Montreal are listed as the frontrunners for expansion teams. 

4) From SI.com: Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells and Hank Aaron both homered off former major league pitcher Al Downing, Parcells in an American Legion game in a high school game in New Jersey, Aaron with his 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s record in 1974.

3) White Sox catcher Welington Castillo is done for 80 games after flunking a PED test; bad news for the Pale Hose and also my fantasy team, which doesn’t need any more bad news. 

2) Washington 4, Tampa Bay 0— Congrats to Alex Ovechkin on making his first Stanley Cup final; he’s led the NHL in goals seven times. Good to see him get a shot on this great stage. 

1) If you enjoy gambling, you should make a trip to Las Vegas and visit the SuperBook here. Great place to watch games. You can wager on just about anything you like. Baseball, NHL, NBA, golf, soccer and of course, football and college hoop. Very fun place to hang out. 

Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings…….

13) Rockets 95, Warriors 92— Houston held Golden State to 12 4th-quarter points as they evened Wester finals 2-2. 

Rockets’ PJ Tucker didn’t score a basket (0-4) but he grabbed 16 rebounds and was +7 in 44:08, which means Houston was outscored by 10 points in the 3:52 he sat out. 

12) A gutty gambler dropped $50,000 on the Rockets to win the NBA title at 10-1 at the SouthPoint Casino Tuesday. Later on Tuesday, someone put $10,000 on the Rockets to win Game 4, at a +$400 money line. 

11) Michigan Wolverines opened as a 7-point underdog at Notre Dame this coming football season; they’re now a 1-point favorite.

10) Tampa Bay Rays brought SS prospect Willie Adames up Tuesday; he got to the ballpark a half hour before the game, but still started and homered off of Chris Sale. 

9) On May 22, 1990, the Reds lost 3-1 in 16 innings to the Cubs; Cincy walked Andre Dawson intentionally five times that day. 

Who was batting behind Dawson? Former big league manager Lloyd McClendon was 0-6, then Dave Clark went 1-2 

Cincinnati wound up winning the World Series that year. 

8) Seattle Mariners put CF Dee Gordon (toe) on the DL. Tigers’ P Matthew Boyd left with an oblique injury after allowing one hit in four IP at Minnesota. 

7) Chargers’ TE Hunter Henry tore his ACL, is done for 2018. 

6) Reds 7, Pirates 2— Matt Harvey wins his home debut for the Reds, allowing one run in six IP. Devin Mesoraco is playing well for the Mets, so a good trade for both teams. 

5) Jets traded QB Christian Hackenberg to Oakland for a 7th-round pick. Hackenberg suited up for five games with the Jets, but never took a snap. 

4) Orioles’ SS Manny Machado is married to the sister of Indians’ 1B Yonder Alonso. 

3) Someone didn’t vote for Jayson Tatum on the NBA’s all-rookie team; whoever that is should lose their right to vote. 

2) Mets signed OF Jose Bautista not long after the Braves cut him; he batted 5th, and scored the Mets’ only run in a 5-1 loss to the Marlins. 

1) Super Bowl champ Eagles released starting LB Michael Kendricks Tuesday; he had been with the club the last six seasons. 

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) Major League Baseball has something they need to clean up, for their own good, if they  want to promote their product. I’m thinking it would be a pretty simple fix. 

There was one 10pm Eastern time game Monday night; Rockies-Dodgers, but the game wasn’t shown in the Westgate SuperBook because Dodger games are blacked out in Las Vegas. Why? 

12) LA and Las Vegas are 265 miles apart, a 4-hour drive; why in God’s name would Dodger games be blacked out here? 

There were over 100 people in the SuperBook when the NBA game ended Monday; lot of them would’ve stuck around and watched the ballgame, and thats good for the sport, but they all either went home or played blackjack or whatever. 

They’re playing ballgames in Japan and England next year, to “grow the game”. How about showing the Dodgers in Las Vegas? That would grow the game, too. 

11) Was playing video poker Monday and was talking to a guy who is a Chicago cop; good guy. He told me the Westgate comps him his room because he plays video poker for ten hours at a time. Ten hours!!!! I wouldn’t be able to see the screen after half that long. 

10) SuperBook had ESPN’s volume on Monday night; the 90 minutes before the Celtics-Cavs game was a seemingly eternal pre-game show. I mean, a 2-hour game doesn’t need a 90-minute pregame show, where very little, if anything new is ever said. 

Best of the on-air personalities is Jalen Rose, who actually says stuff you can learn from, or will at least make you think. He claimed Monday night that Kyrie Irving won’t be happy if Boston wins the NBA title with him sitting out, since it would increase the chances that he would have to move elsewhere when his contract comes up. 

Interesting theory; not sure if it is true, but it something to consider going forward.

9) 19-year old Juan Soto hit his first major league homer for the Nationals Monday night; he started this season in A ball, got only 35 plate appearances in AA before getting the call to the major leagues. 

If Soto does real well in Washington, it’ll put pressure on Toronto’s brass to promote their #1 prospect, 19-year old Vladimir Guerrero Jr, who is batting .421 in the AA Eastern League. Thats .421 in 39 games, roughly 25% of a season.

8) Orioles 3, White Sox 2— Chicago had guys on 1st and 3rd, two out and Jose Abreu up in the 9th inning; he was quickly walked intentionally, which isn’t a surprise. Abreu is the White Sox’ best hitter, and Buck Showalter doesn’t let the other team’s best hitter beat him, if he can help it. 

When he was managing Arizona, Showalter once walked Barry Bonds intentionally in the ninth inning, with the bases loaded and the Diamondbacks nursing a 2-run lead. He walked a guy with bases loaded!!! Next guy lined out to right to end the game, by the way. 

7) Nationals 10, Padres 2— Padres’ 22-year old prospect Franmil Reyes hit his first big league homer Monday night in Washington; he is 3 for 20 in his first seven MLB games. He had 14 HR’s in 130 AB’s in AAA ball this season, before he was called up. 

Reyes is listed at 6-5, 275; he looks bigger than that; his future may be as a DH. He didn’t look so good playing right field Monday. 

6) Washington 3, Tampa Bay 0— Golden Knight fans were delighted when Washington won and forced a Game 7, while the Las Vegas team rests its tired legs. 

5) Cavaliers 111, Celtics 102— This was by far the best game of this round of the playoffs, and it wasn’t that good. Home teams are 6-1 SU/ATS in the conference finals so far. 

4) Phillies 3, Braves 0— Atlanta got shut out only once in its first 42 games; they’ve been blanked twice in their last four games. 

3) 53% of NBA players have played in the G-League, which surprised me. 

2) New Jersey Giants’ coach Pat Shurmur threw out the first pitch at a Mets’ game this weekend, after they were turned down by #1 draft pick Saquon Barkley, who was born in the Bronx and has different baseball allegiances. 

1) Something I’m curious about but will probably never know: when good players leave the Patriots and go play somewhere else, are they happier away from Foxboro?

I’m not inferring they are or aren’t, other than I’ve read some stuff lately that suggests that maybe some guys are. Brady/Gronkowski aren’t at OTA’s this week; thats not a good sign. 

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend…….

13) In 2003, 44 starting pitchers threw 200+ innings in the major leagues. Last year, 15 pitchers threw 200+ innings. Pitchers are getting like race horses; way less durable. 

12) Tampa Bay Rays are doing something different this year; with Archer-Snell-Faria their only three regular starting pitchers, they’re patching together the other games using their bullpen, even starting the same pitcher (Sergio Romo) in games Saturday/Sunday over the weekend. 

So far, the Rays are 6-9 in the bullpen games. 

11) Golden Knights’ Jonathan Marchessault is the first NHL player ever to score a goal in the first minute of a playoff game, and also in the last minute of the same game. 

10) A golfer named Michael Arnaud on the web.com tour shot a 27 for nine holes this weekend; his first seven holes went: birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie- he shot 60 on the day.

9) Braves 10, Marlins 9— Atlanta scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. 

8) Cubs split a twinbill in Cincinnati Saturday; they went 3-27 with runners in scoring position in the two games. No bueno. 

7) HBO’s Hard Knocks should do training camp with Hamilton TigerCats of the CFL; Johnny Manziel is one the QB’s and 75-year old Jerry Glanville is the defensive coordinator, which means he’ll be leaving tickets for Elvis Presley at TiCat games all over Canada. 

6) PJ Tucker is a key player for the Houston Rockets now, but from 2007-12, he played pro ball in six different countries, improving his game, preparing himself for his big chance, and when it came, boy was he ready. 

5) A 93-year old guy in Ohio got his first hole-in-one last week, after playing golf for 65 years.

4) Golden Knights 3, Jets 2— Las Vegas is mad about hockey; everywhere you go, there are tons of people here watching Knights’ games. An expansion team playing for a title is a great story. 

3) Mariners 3, Tigers 2 (11)— Francisco Liriano had a no-hitter going in 8th inning, but then Mitch Haniger tied the game with a homer off a reliever in the 8th inning. 

2) A’s 9, Blue Jays 2— Oakland wraps up a stretch of 13 games against Houston-NY-Boston and Toronto, with last 10 of those games on the road and they went 7-6, 7-3 on the road trip. 

1) One thing about Las Vegas sportsbooks; every time I wear a golf shirt from a college, and I mean every time, at least a couple people will comment on whichever team’s shirt I’m wearing, which leads to interesting conversations.

Saturday night it was an LSU shirt, Sunday a USC shirt. Doesn’t matter which team. 

May 17, 1979: Phillies 23, Cubs 22….a recap

On May 17, 1979, Phillies beat the Cubs 23-22 in 10 innings, in one of the strangest games ever:

13) Phillies were 24-10 at the time; Chicago was 16-16. Cubs had 26 hits in the game, Phils had 24. 

12) The game was 7-6 Phillies, after the first inning. Somewhere, someone bet the under in this game. 

11) Phillies starting pitcher Randy Lerch homered in the top of the first inning, never finished the bottom of the first. Both starting pitchers got only one out before being removed. 

10) Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt hit 3rd/4th in Phillies’ order; they combined to score seven runs and knock in eight. Light-hitting Larry Bowa was 5 for 8 in the game. 

9) Bob Boone was 3-4 with five RBI’s; his son Aaron is now the manager in the Bronx. Boone and Schmidt were both walked intentionally twice. 

8) Reliever Tug McGraw faced 10 batters; seven of them scored. McGraw is the father of the great singer Tim McGraw. 

7) 22 of the first 53 Cubs who came to bat scored, but Rawly Eastwick slammed the door shut in the last two innings, retiring all six Cubs he faced. 

6) Donnie Moore faced 14 batters and seven of them scored, but he did hit a triple, one of his two career three-baggers. 

5) Phillies led this game 21-9 in the 5th inning but Cubs tied the game off of Ron Reed in the 8th inning; Reed pitched 19 years in the major leagues and also played 119 games for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons from 1965-67. 

4) Dave Kingman hit three homers for the Cubs; Bill Buckner knocked in seven runs, seven years before his infamous error in the ’86 World Series. 

3) Phillies went home the next day and got swept in a 3-game series by the Expos. Chicago lost its next four games after this one. 

2) 1979 turned out to be the only year in a six-year stretch where the Phillies missed the playoffs; they finished 84-78, the Cubs 80-82. 

Phillies fired manager Danny Ozark late in 1979, hired Dallas Green and won the ’80 World Series. 

1) Naysayers like to criticize baseball now but attendance that day was 14,952; when was last time the Cubs drew less than 15,000 for a home game? 

Saturday’s List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here…….

13) Solid food recommendation here in Las Vegas: Villa Pizzeria on Durango Drive. Really good pizza, and not expensive at all. Nice people work there and they had four TV’s in there showing the Golden Knights’ game. One of best pizzas I’ve ever had. 

12) National League hasn’t won the season series from the AL since 2003; they’re off to a 37-16 lead so far this season. 

11) Talk about how fragile life is: Texas governor Green Abbott uses a wheelchair. Why? 

Back in the 80’s, when Abbott was a law student, he went out jogging one day and a tree fell on him, severely injuring his spine, which is why he has used a wheelchair ever since. What are the odds that someone goes out jogging and gets hit by a damn falling tree? 

10) Major league record for most one-hitter thrown by one team in same season? 

The 2015 Cleveland Indians threw six one-hitters. 

9) Former Louisville AD Tom Jurich gets $4.5M from the school to take a hike. I mean, the guy got fired and still gets $4.5M. 

8) Texas center Mo Bamba has a wingspan of 7-feet, 10 inches, the longest wingspan ever recorded at the NBA Combine. 

7) Orioles won 7-4 in Boston Friday, snapping a 13-game road losing streak. Boston is 13-13 since starting the season 17-2. 

6) QB Blake Barnett will be eligible to play ball at South Florida this year, after going to Alabama and Arizona State; he started the first game of Alabama’s 2016 season but was benched before halftime of their opener with USC and never got his job back.  

5) In their history, NHL’s Washington Capitals are 3-5 in series when they grabbed a 2-0 series lead. By way of comparison, Montreal is 51-5 in series that they led 2-0. 

4) Ohio State graduate transfer quarterback Joe Burrow has committed to finishing out his collegiate career at LSU; he’ll have two years to play in Baton Rouge. LSU beat out Cincinnati for the young man’s services. 

3) NFL star JJ Watt is going to pay for all ten funerals of the people who were murdered in Texas Friday. Watt is a great football player but a way better person. 

2) I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something else about the shooting in Texas Friday; as Americans, it is our duty to speak our minds, while we still have the right to do so.

It makes me want to puke to hear a politician invoke religion, or God, or “Sorry for your loss” after the 22nd school shooting this year. It is May 19, so in 138 days, we’ve had 22 shootings in a school. If you’re bad at Math, thats one every 6.27 days.

Hanging flags at half-staff means jack; tightening the gun laws would mean a whole lot more. Other countries have virtually eliminated these types of murders. Why can’t we?

1) Our politicians are so damn corrupt that even though ONE OF THEIR OWN SENATORS GOT SHOT last year, they are still in the NRA’s pocket. They should all be ashamed of themselves. 

Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here…….

13) I’d like to thank Ken Thomsen of SportsXRadio and Andy Iskoe for having me on as a guest last night on their excellent radio program. 

You know what? If you go to SportsXradio.com, you can listen to an archived recording of the show. Even better? I’ll be on the show again tonight; sports talk radio at its finest!!! 🙂

12) Vegas Golden Knights are a great story, an expansion team that is six wins away from winning the Stanley Cup, but what about these Winnipeg Jets? 

Before this season, the Atlanta Thrashers/Jets franchise had a combined record of 0-8 in Stanley Cup playoff games over their first 17 years. They’re a pretty good story, too.

11) We’re going to learn a lot more about Baker Mayfield this summer; HBO’s Hard Knocks will be covering the Cleveland Browns this summer. 

10) NBA prospect Luka Doncic told reporters he’s still undecided about whether he’ll stay in the EuroLeague or join the NBA team that drafts him in June. He still has two games left in his season, so maybe he is just putting an announcement off until this season is finished. 

9) First five picks in the 2008 NBA Draft:
1— Bulls-Derrick Rose
2— Heat-Michael Beasley
3— Wolves-OJ Mayo (traded to Memphis)
4— Sonics (Thunder)-Russell Westbrook
5— Grizzlies-Kevin Love (traded to Minnesota)
35— Clippers-Deandre Jordan

8) From 2007-17, Robinson Cano played 1,744 games at second base, the most-ever games by a second baseman over an 11-year span. Nellie Fox held the old record, playing 1,701 games from 1952-62. 

7) If/when the Orioles trade Manny Machado, that will be the most pivotal transaction of the summer; Baltimore is 13-29, going nowhere, can they upgrade their future by getting some prospects for Machado, who is a free agent after this season?

6) Seattle Seahawks spent only $6.2M on their offensive line LY, least in the NFL.  

5) Steven Souza Jr was miked during Sunday night’s game; we could listen to him as he played in right field. Think this is a wave of the future, trying to make the game more viewer-friendly. 

4) How weird is it that part of this Michael Cohen/FBI investigation includes Ice Cube’s Big 3 half-court basketball league, and foreign investors in that league? 

3) Who would’ve thought that on the morning of May 17, more than 25% of the way thru the baseball season, that the Dodgers/Marlins would have the same record? 16-26 ain’t good, but at least Miami was expected to be bad. 

Dodgers beat Miami Thursday, are now 17-26, but they’re struggling badly. 

2) I’m walking thru the Westgate Casino Wednesday night, going to get dinner and I walk right by Mark Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders, who will be the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020 or 2021. This does not seem like the kind of hotel an NFL owner would be staying in. 

Saw him again Thursday afternoon; there are people who live in the Westgate, maybe he is one of those people. 

1) Best $8 I spent so far this week was for the WiFi on my flight west, which made the flight seem a lot shorter. 

Thursday’s List of 13: NFC trends for 2018……

Arizona— Cardinals won four of their last five post-bye games. 

Atlanta— Falcons are 12-2 vs spread in last 14 home openers; under is 10-3 in their last 13 road openers. 

Carolina— Panthers open at home for only 2nd time in last seven years; they’re 0-5 last five times they started season at home. Carolina’s last Week 1 home win was in 2003. 

Chicago— Bears open on road for only 2nd time in last nine years; they’re 2-5 in last seven road openers. Under is 12-2 in their last 14 road openers. 

Dallas— Cowboys played Giants in Week 1 five of last six years; they host Big Blue in Week 2 this year. Dallas covered nine of last 11 road openers. Under is 5-2 in their last seven home openers. 

Detroit— Lions won five of their last seven home openers; over is 6-2 in their last eight. Detroit started season 1-0 six of last seven years. 

Green Bay— Packers won 10 of their last 11 home openers. Over is 10-2 in their last 12 road openers. Green Bay is 0-5 vs spread in last five pre-bye games. 

LA Rams— Rams won five of their last six home openers; they’re 2-14 in last 16 road openers, 3-15 vs spread in last 18. LA is 8-2-1 vs spread in last 11 post-bye games. 

Minnesota— Vikings won eight of their last nine pre-bye games (9-0 vs spread); they’re 2-7 vs spread in last nine post-bye road games. Minnesota won/covered its last three home openers. Under is 10-4 in their last 14 road openers. 

NJ Giants— Giants lost five of their last six home openers (0-6 vs spread); five of those six games stayed under. This will be first time in six years Big Blue opens the season at home; they open against Tom Coughlin’s Jaguars. 

New Orleans— Saints lost their last three home openers, six of last seven road openers- they started last four seasons 0-1. Saints are 7-1-1 vs spread in last nine post-bye games. 

Philadelphia— Eagles won eight of their last nine road openers, three of last four home openers. Under is 7-3-1 in their last 11 home openers. Philly is 7-3 vs spread in its last 10 pre-bye games. 

San Francisco— 49ers won six of last nine home openers (7-2 vs spread), last four of which stayed under. Niners are 0-5-1 SU, 0-6 vs spread in last six post-bye games; they won/covered six of last eight pre-bye games. 

Seattle— Seahawks open on road for 6th time in last eight years; they lost their first road game 10 of last 11 years; they’re 1-12 vs spread in last 13 road openers. Seahawks won last nine home openers (7-2 vs spread). Seattle won its last seven pre-bye games (6-1 vs spread). 

Tampa Bay— Bucs lost four of last five home openers; they didn’t play in Week 1 LY because of a hurricane. Over is 7-3 in their last ten home openers. Tampa Bay is 8-4 vs spread in last dozen post-bye games. 

Washington— Redskins lost five of their last six home openers; they’re 2-6 vs spread last eight times they were favored in a home opener. Redskins are 3-6-1 vs spread in last 10 pre-bye games, 2-7 vs spread in last nine post-bye games. 

Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings…….

13) I usually have a great time sitting in the sportsbook here at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas; usually find lot of interesting people to talk to. Comfortable chairs, big screens to watch the games on. Had great fun watching games Monday, but last night……..

I’m sitting there last night, and this guy sits in the chair next to me, on my right; within 90 seconds, he starts in by criticizing every team he has bet on. For the next two hours, I heard in loud and obscene terms:

— Washington Caps pass too much in the offensive zone.
— Mike Matheny doesn’t know how to make a lineup.
— Matt Carpenter shouldn’t bat 2nd.
— The Flaherty kid pitching for St Louis should be in AAA.
— Matt Chapman sucks as a third baseman.
— Matt Carpenter shouldn’t be playing.
— Daniel Mengden can’t field his position. And on and on………..

12) Now two of those guys play for the Oakland A’s, and if you know me, you know I’ve been an A’s fan since 1965, when Phil Roof was the A’s catcher and Jose Tartabull played the outfield. I love the freakin’ A’s. I’m biting my tongue so hard with this guy it hurts. 

He bet the Cardinals and A’s in the first five innings; both bets win, but he doesn’t say one positive word about either team. He loses his NHL wager. I am considering whether he has Tourette’s syndrome or is just a degenerative gambler without any filter at all. 

11) He blurts out “Winner, winner, chicken dinner” as the 5th inning ends in the A’s game, and goes to cash his ticket. I say to him “Mengden won the game for you” and he protests with a profanity (“He can’t field his (bleep)ing position”) as he storms off, never to be seen again. 

Should’ve said something about an hour earlier…….

10) Robinson Cano gets an 80-game suspension for failing a drug test; weird timing, since he broke his hand Sunday, and the suspension/injury will be served at same time. Cano will be eligible again in late August, but if Seattle makes the playoffs, he is ineligible to play in them. 

Cano loses roughly $11.85M with the suspension; Mariners can use that money to try and replace him, or fortify their team somewhere else. Seattle is 24-17 with roughly 25% off the season gone; they’re half-game out of the 2nd Wild Card spot. 

9) David Tepper, a billionaire hedge-fund manager who owned a small part of the Steelers, will buy the Carolina Panthers for $2.2B or so and keep the team in Charlotte. Mr Tepper is said to be paying cash to buy the team. 2.2 billion dollars. In cash. 

I can barely afford a team in my fantasy league. Good for him. 

8) Supreme Court has opened the door for states other than Nevada to start taking bets on sports; New Jersey is already rumored to be starting on Memorial Day. 

7) New York-Washington baseball game was suspended in the middle of the 6th inning last night, with game 3-3; it’ll be resumed at 5:05 ET today, and then the regularly-scheduled game will be played. 

Orioles-Phillies got rained out last night; that game will be made up July 12. 

6) Guy named Tom Haberstroh is a better man than I am; he counted how many times each team dribbled in the Rockets-Warriors game Monday. Houston 1,105, Warriors 812. 

Point being that part of Golden State’s greatness is that they get great spacing and they find open men quickly with passes, the way basketball should be played. Plus the open men they find can all shoot, otherwise it would be pointless to get them the ball. 

5) Phoenix Suns won the NBA Lottery, so they get the first pick in the draft; seeing as they already hired a foreign-born coach who was once coached international prospect Luka Doncic on a national team, you’d think he’ll be the choice, yes? 

But Deandre Ayton played one season for the Arizona Wildcats; most people seem to think he is the best player in the draft. We’ll see what the Suns do. 

Sacramento/Atlanta pulled upsets and moved up to the 2nd and 3rd spots in the draft. 

4) Arizona Diamondbacks lost star CF AJ Pollock (broken wrist) for 4-6 weeks. 

3) You can wager on what color hat the Queen of England will be wearing at the royal wedding this weekend. Green is the current favorite, bet down to even money. 

2) So you bet the Astros-Angels game last night; maybe you bet the game because Fielden Culbreth was the home plate ump, but Culbreth got drilled in the mask by a foul ball in the 3rd inning and was replaced by CB Bucknor, who is more of a pitcher’s umpire. 

Sometimes stuff happens during a game and it either helps you or hurts you from a gambling perspective; when you’re hot, things fall your way. When you’re cold, you lose replay challenges and guys drop fly balls on you. Part of what makes gambling so challenging. 

1) I made a wager on the Dodgers-Marlins game last night, forgetting that they can’t show Dodger games here in Las Vegas unless they’re on national TV. Las Vegas for some stupid reason, is considered part of the LA market, so their games get blacked out.

Think I realized all this about 30 seconds before the talkative gambler sat next to me and brightened up my world. Today will be a better day!!!! 

Tuesday’s Den: AFC teams’ early season trends…..

Baltimore— Ravens won 11 of last 13 home openers; under is 4-1 in last five of those. Baltimore is 13-3 vs spread in last 16 post-bye games. 

Buffalo— Last 18 years, Bills are 2-16 in their pre-bye game. Buffalo is 8-3 vs spread in its last 11 home openers. 

Cincinnati— Bengals open on road for 8th time in last nine years; over is 8-1 in their last nine road openers. Cincy is 4-0-1 in last five pre-bye games. 

Cleveland— Since re-joining the NFL in 1999, Browns started season 0-1 18 out of 19 years; they’re 3-12 vs spread in Week 1 home games. 

Denver— Broncos open at home for 8th year in row; they’re 26-3 SU in last 29 home openers,6-3 vs spread in last nine. Broncos won six of last seven post-bye games. 

Houston— Texans open on road for only 2nd time in last 10 years; they won seven of last nine road openers. Under is 5-2 in their last seven season openers. 

Indianapolis— Colts lost their last four home openers, three by 4 or fewer points. Indy started season 0-1 seven of last eight years- they’re 1-9 vs spread in Week 1 the last ten years. 

Jacksonville— Jaguars lost last six home openers, four of last five road openers. Last time they were favored in a home opener was 2010; their HO this year is against New England, so they probably won’t be favored this year, either. 

Kansas City— Since 2006, Chiefs are 1-8-1 vs spread as favorites in home openers. KC is on road three of first four weeks this season, with a QB who has started one NFL game. 

LA Chargers— Bolts covered five of their last six home openers; over is 12-3 in their last 15. Chargers lost their last four road openers, but covered five of last six. Chargers lost five of their last six pre-bye games (1-5 vs spread). 

Miami— Dolphins won five of last six home openers; eight of their last nine home openers went over the total. Miami also covered four of last five road openers; under is 19-5 in last 24 road openers. 

New England— Patriots won six of last seven road openers (5-2 vs spread); they’re 14-2 SU in last 16 home openers, but just 1-5 vs spread in last six. New England won its last nine pre-bye games (8-1 vs spread). 

NJ Jets— Jets won six of last seven home openers; they’re 15-6 vs spread in last 21 road openers. Gang Green is 3-6 vs spread in last nine post-bye games. 

Oakland— Raiders won their last three road openers, are 4-0-1 vs spread in last five; they lost four of last six home openers, last four of which went over the total. Oakland covered five of its last six post-bye games. 

Pittsburgh— Steelers won 14 of last 15 home openers, are 10-3 vs spread in last 13. Under is 7-2 in their last nine home openers. Pitt lost five of last seven road openers; they’re 2-8-1 vs spread in last 11. Steelers covered only one of last seven post-bye games. 

Tennessee— Titans lost five of last six home openers; they’re 9-2 vs spread in last 11 road openers. Under is 16-5 in their last 21 road openers. Titans are 2-6 vs spread in last eight post-bye games. 

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend…..

We start today with two examples of why baseball is a fascinating game:
13) Baseball strategy, Exhibit A: Twins-Angels are tied in late innings; Angels have game-winning run on 3rd with two out. Minnesota walks Pujols/Simmons intentionally, to bring up Marte, putting lot of pressure on their pitcher to throw strikes. I’ve never seen a team walk two hitters intentionally to load the bases with two outs, especially with the batter coming up not being a pitcher. 

Twins escape the jam, win the game 5-3 in 12 innings. 

12) Baseball strategy, Exhibit B: San Diego was tied with the Cardinals in late innings; Padres had men on first and second, no one out, and pinch-hit Spangenberg for Villanueva so he could bunt the runners over. 

Spangenberg fouls off two bunts, count is 2-2, and then he fouls off another bunt and strikes out. What are you telling a position player when you have him bunt with two strikes? Especially on the day you brought him back from AAA. 

Padres wound up with a walk-off win in the 13th inning, despite all that. 

Two teams use unusual strategy, and both win their game. 

11) Charlotte Knights, AAA farm team of the White Sox, drew 10,512 fans Saturday, their 8th sellout this season. Would Charlotte be a good city for a major league team? 

10) Nick Markakis is hitting .346 this year, having a terrific year; he is 34 years old, has 2,105 career hits, but has never played in an All-Star Game. Hopefully that’ll change this year, and if it does, it’ll be the best moment at the All-Star Game, when he is introduced before the game. 

9) Bad news for the Seattle Mariners; Robinson Cano was hit by a pitch Sunday, broke a bone in his right hand. 

8) Odubel Herrera has reached base in 41 straight games; the all-time record is 84, held by Ted Williams. 

7) Phillies 4, Mets 2— Jacob deGrom threw 45 pitches in the first inning; Phillies fouled off 20 of the 45 pitches- they didn’t get a hit or score a run. A very unusual inning, and then deGrom was lifted from the game. 

Mets said that deGrom wasn’t hurt; they just were cautious because of the rain delay before the game and the 45 pitches he threw in the first inning. Plus, it was his first start in 11 days. 

6) By way of reference, Angels’ Jaime Barria threw 49 pitches in a scoreless first inning against the Giants April 22; that was the night of the 21-pitch AB to Brandon Belt. Those two starts are the most pitches this season thrown in a scoreless inning. 

5) Atlanta Braves’ 3B prospect Austin Riley was 4-for-5 Sunday with three HR’s, 8 RBIs for AAA Gwinnett; he’ll be in Atlanta pretty soon.

4) Richmond-Albany college lacrosse game drew 4,800 fans Saturday here in the capital city of New York State. Albany doesn’t draw crowds like that for football, but they’re ranked #2 in the country in lacrosse, so the bandwagon is pretty crowded these days. Good for the Great Danes. 

3) Texas Rangers brought up lefty reliever Brandon Mann from AAA Sunday; the 34-year old Mann was originally drafted in 2002, and has played both in Japan and in independent leagues. What a journey he must’ve had; congrats on making the big leagues.

2) Major Leagues need to identify who the replay umpires are for each game; they make calls that change games, but they’re hunkered down in Manhattan and are fairly anonymous. It’d be interesting to know who is making a particular call, for better or worse.

1) RIP Coach Chuck Knox, the man who won five straight division title for the Rams in the 70’s, and went to coach the Seahawks/Bills. Coach Knox was 186-147-1 in his NFL career; he won Coach of the Year for all three teams that he coached. RIP, sir. 

Sunday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) Just who was Wally Pipp? You hear his name invoked even today, anytime a guy takes a day off due to injury and his replacement has a big day. 

Back in 1925, 32-year old Pipp was the regular 1B in New York; he missed a game one day and a guy named Lou Gehrig took his place and never gave the job back. That winter, Cincinnati paid $7,500 for Pipp’s contract; he played three years for the Reds, then retired. 

12) In a 15-year career, Pipp hit .281 with a .341 OB%; he never made an All-Star team, but led the AL in home runs twice, in 1916-17, with 12 and 9 homers. Seriously. 

11) There was a kerfuffle on Twitter this week when FOX cancelled a TV show called Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which I’ve never seen. Show had been on FOX for five years. So much fuss was made that Brooklyn Nine-Nine was later picked up by NBC, which made the people who complained very happy. 

Happy is good. We need more happy. 

10) Then there is Lions’ coach Matt Patricia and his 1996 arrest that never went to trial. 

According to the Detroit Free Press, the prosecution had a witness list that included a nurse, a doctor, a police detective, a police officer and a college friend of the alleged victim- there apparently was medical evidence, but the case never went to trial. 

The Lions are standing by Patricia for now, but the NFL is still investigating.  

9) 262 players made their major league debuts last season.

8) Coming into Saturday’s game, Aaron Judge had a .312 career batting average at home, compared to .239 on the road. 

This season, he has 10 HR’s, 30 RBI at home, one homer, four RBI on the road. 

7) Pretty good weekend to go to the ballpark if you’re a fan of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in the California League; Logan Forsythe batted 2nd, Justin Turner 3rd for the Quakes as they rehab from injuries. Not often you see major leaguers in the California League. 

6) A man in Texas turned 112 years old Saturday; Richard Overton, America’s oldest living WWII combat veteran, celebrated his birthday. Congrats to him. 

5) Shohei Ohtani has DH’d in 17 games this season, but when he pitches, he doesn’t bat. 

4) Baseball stuff:
— San Diego Padres DFA’d 3B Chase Headley, brought Cory Spangenberg up from AAA.
— Brewers’ ace Chase Anderson (illness) was scratched from his start in Denver.
— Nationals put 1B Ryan Zimmerman on the DL. 

By the way, the genius who runs the Padres took on $13M of Chase Headley’s salary to also acquire P Bryan Mitchell, who is 0-3, 6.21 in eight games (7 starts) this year. Brilliant. 

3) Webb Simpson leads by seven shots. No player in the history of the PGA Tour has ever lost with a 54-hole lead of seven shots or more.

2) Former NBA player Kwame Brown is suing Merrill Lynch, saying the brokerage stole $17.4 million of his investments. 

Brown, who made $63,992,852 in salary as a player in the NBA, claims that his signature was forged on various authorization forms and agreements, allowing his financial adviser to make investments and stock trades without his consent. 

1) Dick Vitale’s annual event to fight cancer raised $3.7M Friday night; this event has now raised a total of $25.7M over the years to fight cancer, mostly pediatric cancer. Good for him.

Saturday’s List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind……..

13) Toronto Raptors fired coach Dwane Casey Friday. Really, they did. 

Last three years, Raptors went 166-80 in regular season; they were the #1-seed in the East this season, but Casey was 21-30 in playoff game, and that cost him his job.

The problem for the Raptors’ owners is this: Who do you replace that will maintain Toronto’s regular season success, but also do better in the playoffs? Won’t be easy.

I guess my point is this; all change isn’t positive. Winning 55 games a year in the regular season has to sell a lot of season tickets. 

12) Then there are the San Diego Padres, who have a terrible team every year; how does GM AJ Preller (he is also the executive VP) keep his job? Dwane Casey gets fired, Preller keeps his job. Go figure. 

This is Preller’s 4th full year running the Padres; their record during that time is 227-299. San Diego hasn’t finished within 16 games of first place in NL West since 2010.  

11) Not only are the Padres terrible, but Preller has been nailed twice by MLB for cheating; when Preller ran international scouting operations for the Rangers, Major League Baseball suspended him for a month, for improper contact with a prospect. 

In 2016, Preller was suspended 30 days without pay over improprieties related to the Padres’ trade of pitcher Drew Pomeranz to the Red Sox- he withheld medical information that he was required to give to the other teams.

So a two-time cheater who runs a terrible team (but hey, their farm teams are great!!!) has a contract that runs thru 2022. He went to Cornell, he must be smarter than everyone else. 

No wonder some teams always suck. 

10) Mets played their 36th game of the year Friday; Devin Mesoraco is already the fifth catcher they’ve used this season.

9) Before Friday night’s game, Astros were hitting .227 at home, .289 on the road. 

8) Rangers 1, Astros 0— Houston has now been shut out in three of its last four home games. Texas (+$220) winning was 10th-biggest upset in the major leagues so far this season.

7) Remember Alan Alda, the great actor who played Hawkeye Pierce on MASH? Turns out he was a high school classmate of wrestling star Captain Lou Albano at Archbishop Stepinac HS in White Plains, NY. 

6) How much do college commencement speakers get paid? Oprah Winfrey was the speaker at USC’s commencement this week; that had to be a pretty hefty tab. 

Winfrey’s website says her speaking fee is $200,000; she must speak really well. 

5) Chargers’ head coach Anthony Lynn is 49 years old; he’s getting his college degree Saturday, 30 years after he started college. Good for him. 

4) Tilman Fertitta owns the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas and bought the Houston Rockets for $2.2 billion in September- he is really rich.

Because casinos aren’t allowed to take bets on teams owned by their owner, if you bet on Golden State to win the NBA’s Western Conference at the Golden Nugget, you’ve already won, since you couldn’t bet on the Rockets in that casino.  

3) Mariners’ manager Scott Servais is off this weekend; his daughter is graduating from Ole Miss this weekend. Bench coach Manny Acta will manage Seattle, with Ichiro Suzuki serving as bench coach for the two games Servais is missing. 

2) Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 3 (12)— Luke Maile homered to tie the game in the 7th inning, then won it with a walk-off homer in the 12th. Those are his only two home runs this season. 

1) Reds 6, Dodgers 2— Matt Harvey got the start for Cincinnati; he blanked the Dodgers for four innings, allowing one hit. He got only two misses on 23 LA swings, but Reds have to be pretty darned happy with his performance.

As for the Dodgers, they’re in a deep funk.