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

13) Bryce Harper signs with the Phillies for 13 years, $330M, which works out to $156,695.16 per game, for every game the Phillies play thru 2031. All guaranteed money. 

Keep in mind the National League will probably have the DH starting in 2022, so as Harper gets older, he can take “days off” but still have his bat in the lineup. 

California’s state income tax, at its highest level is over 12%, Pennsylvania has a flat 3% income tax, which may help explain this decision. Giants made a 12-year, $310 million offer, which was actually a decent amount less than the Phillies’ offer, after taxes. 

12) MLB Network was showing spring training games Thursday afternoon, but the games quickly got the hook once Harper’s signing was announced. Not sure I needed to hear four hours of people discussing Harper signing his contract. I don’t give a rat’s ass about anything Bob Costas says. 

If you play fantasy baseball, not the best day to have Nick Williams on your team, like I do. The 25-year old OF loses his starting job now that Harper is in Philly. 

Funny thing, Phillies played split squad games Thursday, and Williams wasn’t in either game, which at 1pm struck me as odd. At 3:00, it made a lot more sense. 

Please trade Nick Williams!!!!! (Baltimore, Miami, Arizona???)

11) Jason Witten came out of retirement and will play for the Cowboys again next season, which opens up a spot in ESPN’s Monday Night Football booth.

10) Tommy John missed the 1975 season after he had the original “Tommy John surgery” on his elbow. Here are his career stats, before and after the surgery:

Before: 12 years, 124-106. 318 starts, one All-Star Game
After: 14 years, 164-125, 382 starts, three All-Star Games

He pitched in the major leagues until he was 46 years old. 

9) Kyler Murray made a lot of money at the NFL Combine Thursday, when he was measured at just over 5-10, and weighed in at 207 pounds. Pretty much the same size as Russell Wilson. he is going to be a top-10 draft pick in April.

8) Raiders are now expected to play home games in Oakland next season, with the plan being to move into their new dome in Las Vegas in 2020. 

7) Upsets of the night in college basketball:
— California (+13.5) 76, Washington 73
— North Dakota (+9.5) 88, Fort Wayne 82
— Florida Atlantic (+9) 60, North Texas
— Elon (+7.5) 73, James Madison 58
— Marshall (+7) 90, Louisiana Tech 79
— San Diego (+6) 91, San Francisco 90 OT
— Xavier (+5) 84, St John’s 73

6) If you live in the Albany area, the 3rd-oldest coin/jewelry store in America is on Wolf Road in Colonie, kind of near Ted’s Fish Fry. Ferris Coin & Jewelry is a pretty cool place; they’ve been in business since 1930. I have some old $2 bills that I thought might be valuable (they’re not), but the people in there were very nice and they answered all my questions. 

5) Actor Mahershala Ali, who won an Academy Award for the movie Green Book last weekend, played basketball in college at Saint Mary’s; he averaged 7 points a game as a senior, back when he was known as Ali Gilmore.

4) Something to think about two weeks from now: over last four years, Kentucky is 12-0 in the SEC basketball tournament, with nine wins by 10+ points. 

In the four tournament finals, Wildcats started 19 different players. Isaiah Briscoe was only guy to start in two of them. 

3) Johnny Manziel got kicked out of the CFL; they didn’t say why. Manziel had been playing for the Montreal Alouettes, who are coached by former Packers’ coach Mike Sherman. Sherman’s son-in-law is Zac Taylor, the Cincinnati Bengals’ new coach.

2) Kid on Xavier made a foul line jumper against St John’s last night, and it dawned on me; you almost never see that shot taken anymore. Everything is layups and 3’s; mid-range jumpers are frowned upon by the analytics people. 

1) Indiana University (PA) started the last week of the regular season ranked No. 2 in the country in Division II, but when they showed up at Edinboro State for their game Wednesday, they realized they had made the 100+-mile trip without an important thing- their uniforms. 

I put myself thru college as student manager of a D-III basketball team; I shudder to think of the grief their manager(s) took for this mistake. IUP won 87-59, much to the manager’(s) relief, but guaranteed they’ll be obsessive about not forgetting things the rest of the season. 

Indiana, PA by the way, is the Christmas Tree Capital of the World; when I was in college, we played in their Christmas tournament, the Christmas Tree Classic. Next town over from Indiana is Punxatawney, where the ground hog sees (or doesn’t see) his shadow every February 2.

Monday’s List of 13: Conference tournament trends…..

With only two weeks before conference tournaments start, here is some research I did one night while all of you were sleeping…….

13) ACC:
— Six different teams have won the last seven ACC tournaments, with Virginia only team to win twice.
— North Carolina has been in ACC final 6 of last 8 years, but is 1-5 in those finals.
— Last six years, the higher seed is 5-1 in the ACC final. 

12) Atlantic 14:
— Lower-seeded team won last five A-14 tourney finals.
— Last time the #1 seed won the A-14 tournament was six years ago. 

11) Big 14:
— #1 seed won this conference tournament six of last seven years. 

10) Big X:
— Last six years, Kansas was this tournament three times, Iowa State won three times.
— West Virginia lost tournament final the last three years; they won’t get there this year. 

9) Big East:
— Villanova won three of last four tournaments, and lost final in the other one. 

8) Big Sky:
— Last four years, four different teams won tournament; they were all the #1 seed. 

7) Big West:
— Last eight years, eight different teams won this tournament, including one team (Pacific) that isn’t in the league anymore. Riverside/Northridge are only two teams that haven’t won the Big West tournament during that time. 

6) CAA:
— Last eight years, seven different teams won this tournament.
— Last five years, tournament was winner was #1 seed or tied for 1st during season
— #1 seed won only once in last six tournaments
— Since 2003, Hofstra is 11-15 in this event, going 0-2 in tournament finals.   

5) Horizon:
— Last five years, five different teams won this tournament.
— #1 seed won only one of those five tournaments. 

4) MAAC:
— Iona won the last three MAAC tournaments.
— Last time the #1 seed won this tournament: 2010. 

3) MAC:
— Buffalo won this tournament three of last four years. 

2) MVC:
— #1 seed won this tournament four of last five years. 

1) Mountain West:
— Last five years, five different teams won this event, none of them UNLV.
— Last 10 years, Rebels are 10-10 in this tournament; only once in last seven years has UNLV won two games in same tournament.

Thursday’s Den: We’re changing things a little, starting today…….

Starting today, we’re starting something different here, something that hopefully you like and hopefully something that won’t drive me crazy. 

I’ll post a selection EVERY DAY going forward, whether it be a college game, an NBA game, a futures bet or even an NHL or AAF game. Picks will be posted by noon each day. 

Only exceptions will be during the baseball All-Star break, and the short time in October between the end of baseball season and the beginning of the NBA. 

Been debating this for several months, but Wednesday, while shoveling snow (oddly enough) I decided that this was the way to go. So if this doesn’t go well, blame my snowplow guy, who for some reason, is on vacation this week. 

Wrapping up college hoop games the last two nights…….
13) Duke 71, Louisville 69— Cardinals led by 23 with 9:20 left, then collapsed down stretch, turning ball over nine times from that point on as Duke ratcheted up their pressure. 

Chris Mack has some serious psychology work ahead of him the rest of this week. 

12) Nets 148, Cavaliers 139, 3OTs— D’Angelo Russell scored 28 of the Nets’ 39 points in the OT’s; he had only 8 points in regulation. Kenny Atkinson is doing a great job to have the Nets a 29-29 with two of his best players missing large chunks of the season with injuries. 

Jordan Clarkson scored 42 for Cleveland in this game, and he didn’t start. 

11) Miami 65, Clemson 64— Hurricanes tore Clemson’s heart out, hitting an off-balance jumper with 0:00.4 left for the unlikely win. Tigers had fought their way into being “in” projections of the Field of 68, but this bad loss likely drops them back out.

10) Kansas State 71, Texas 64:

Texas coach Shaka Smart to his team during a first half timeout: “This is a basketball game against a team we’re better than!!!” 

Well, maybe not. K-State is 19-5, 9-2 in the league; Texas is 14-11, 6-6 in the league. You tell me which team is better. 

Matthew McConaughey was sitting on the end of the Longhorns’ bench, which I’m assuming is legal, since its not the first time he’s done it, but since when do boosters sit on the bench during the freakin’ game?

9) Western Kentucky basketball coach Rick Stansbury will miss Thursday, Saturday games this week; he is having back surgery Friday. Assistant coach Mark Hsu, who served as interim coach in Stansbury’s place last week, will continue in that role.

8) LSU 73, Kentucky 71— Outstanding game ended on an LSU tip-in at the buzzer, that was really close to being offensive goaltending. Two very good, young teams; this game had a March feel to it.

7) Xavier 64, Creighton 61 OT— Bluejays lose third straight game, two of them in OT. Xavier ends a 6-game losing streak. 

6) UCLA 75, California 67, OT— Bruins were down 7 at half, came back and kept Golden Bears winless in Pac-12 play. Last Pac-12 team to go 0-18 in conference was Oregon State 11 years ago, but league was a hell of a lot better then than it is now. 

5) St Bonaventure 76, St Joe’s 51—Bonnies won for 4th time in last six games, climb over .500 (6-5) in the A-14- they’ve won their last four road games. 

Coach Mark Schmidt has now tied Larry Weise for the most coaching wins in St Bonaventure history, with 202, and he did it on his birthday, which is nice. 

4) Ole Miss 60, Auburn 55— Rebels were 13-33 on arc, only 6-18 inside arc, which is weird. Auburn was 5-20 on arc, which is how upsets happen. 

3) Quinnipiac 98, Rider 88 OT— Rider just played three games in five nights and lost all three, the first two by 1-2 points, then this; they led this game by 9 with 0:49 left, by 7 with 0:24 left. 

2) There was a big NFL trade Wednesday; Ravens traded Joe Flacco to Denver, for what is expected to be a 4th round pick in April’s draft. 

Flacco was a Raven for 11 years, winning Super Bowl XLVII; he was 96-67 as a starter, 10-5 in playoff games, so a very productive Raven.

By way of comparison, Eli Manning is 116-114 as a starter, 8-4 in playoff games; I’ve never heard anyone suggest that Flacco is a Hall of Famer, so why would Manning be one?

Ravens-Broncos do not play next season, which is too bad for the NFL’s schedule makers.

1) Then there is Case Keenum, who could be playing for his 4th team in four years in 2019, as he dashes towards the Ryan Fitzpatrick career path. 

Wednesday’s List of 13: A snowy list of mid-week musings…….

13) We talk now and then about the football handicapping contests in Las Vegas, the best one being at the Westgate SuperBook, and another really good one at the Golden Nugget. 

Signups for the Golden Nugget contest start March 8, $1,000 an entry; you pick seven games a week, college or NFL. Each person can have three entries. Seems like football season just ended; oh wait, it did……. 🙂

More and more of these contests are going to pop up around the country, as legalized gambling spreads. Good way to get people in the door of your casino. 

12) Cleveland Browns signed former Chiefs’ RB Kareem Hunt, who got into trouble with the NFL after he got into a scuffle with his girlfriend in a hotel last fall, a scuffle that was captured on camera.

11) Jacob deGrom informed the Mets that he will not negotiate a new deal during the season; deGrom’s camp has set Opening Day as the deadline to complete any potential long-term deal.

deGrom can become a free-agent after the 2020 season; he wants a contract that would buy out his remaining arbitration year and extend his agreement with the Mets long term.

10) You can wager one of these four teams (Duke, Michigan, Gonzaga and Kansas) to win the national title at -$125 vs the field (+105). Interesting wager. Gonzaga/Kansas have injury issues, but someone is going to have to beat Duke for you, if you play the field. 

9) Surprising fact; according to Wikipedia, El Paso has 683,577 citizens; Boston has 685,094. Wouldn’t have thought that.  

8) In case you were wondering, Las Vegas sportsbooks took $145,939,025 in bets on the Super Bowl, 2nd-most of all time; the bettors lost $10,780,319 on those wagers. 

7) Atlanta Falcons added former Chiefs’ DC Bob Sutton to its stuff, to help coach Dan Quinn with game management. Quinn is expected to run the Falcons’ defense next year. 

6) TCU basketball coach Jamie Dixon grew up in the Los Angeles area; when was a kid, he starred in several TV commercials, including ads for Volvo, Rice Krispies, Mattel and Bud Light. 

5) AAF’s Memphis Express signed QB JaMarcus Russell, who last played in the NFL in 2009; he went 7-18 as a starter in three years with the Oakland Raiders. Memphis got shut out in its AAF opener; they could use some help, but I’m not sure if Russell will help. 

4) A’s signed oft-injured lefty starter Brett Anderson; it’ll be his third stint with Oakland. 

3) Virginia 69, North Carolina 61— Solid road win for the Cavaliers Monday night, 48 hours after they lost at home to Duke. 

2) Nine of 32 NFL teams will have new offensive coordinators next season. 

Rich Scangarello is he new OC in San Francisco; he’s made coaching stops at Carleton (2001), Milsaps (’10-’11), Northern Arizona (’12-’14), Wagner (’16). Not exactly football hotbeds. 

1) Understood that Kyler Murray is free to choose his own career path, but when a team pays you $210,000 like the A’s did for basically doing nothing, you owe them a phone call or a text to clue them in on your decision before you go in the other direction.

It is common courtesy; Murray’s advisors made him look bad Monday. 

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sullen Sunday

13) Patriots 13, Rams 3— New England wins its 6th Super Bowl title in a defensive struggle that was reminiscent of Super Bowls from the 70’s. Not a lot of offense. 

12) 18 months ago, if you had told me that the Rams would lose this Super Bowl Sunday night, I would’ve suggested drug testing for you, after I thanked you for trying to cheer me up. 

Sean McVay and GM Les Snead have a done a GREAT job making the Rams a prominent team; this was a disappointing end to a great season. Life goes on. 

11) We live in a country full of frontrunners and know-it-alls; only way to silence the haters is to win all the time. But only one team carries that trophy home; everyone else is a “loser” 

The Super Bowl is so hyped up that it magnifies the stuff that happens. Jared Goff’s job from this point on will be to play well, like he has for the last two years, but then when the Rams get back to the playoffs, he has to win a title, preferably in style. 

The naysayers will be after him from this point on, until he shuts them up.  

10) Sports are interesting because they’re unscripted; you can be a nerd like me and study trends and stats, but you never KNOW whats going to happen until it happens. Total for this game was 56, but it turned out to be the first Super Bowl with no TD’s in the first three quarters. 

Go figure. 

9) There was a 54-51 game this season and people complained about that. No defense. 

Lot of people are complaining a lot about this 13-3 game. No offense. 

There are lot of people who just like to complain. 

8) Turns out I’m way behind on my pop culture knowledge; this guy Adam Levine sings at halftime of the game; he is in one of my favorite movies, Begin Again, where he played a singer, but I had no idea he actually IS a singer. Who knew? (everybody but me, apparently) 

Halftimes are very long at the Super Bowl; wonder how that effects the players. It is almost like playing two separate games. 

7) Do people actually watch commercials? I almost never do, but did a little bit during the Super Bowl because it is useless to turn the channel during the game. Not much else on. 

6) This is what was on the ESPN family of networks at halftime of the game:

ESPN— Boxing
ESPN News— X Games
ESPNU— Women’s gymnastics
ESPN2— World Series of Poker

5) Alex Rodriguez was in a commercial with Mr Peanut? 

4) Someday, people who broadcast football games on TV will realize that plays run is a more important stat than time of possession. Someday.

3) How much do you think it costs to open/close a retractable dome? They opened it during the National Anthem so people could see the flyover, then closed it again; that can’t be cheap. 

2) Was looking thru Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology on; there are still six weeks until Selection Sunday in college basketball, but on Sunday morning, last four teams in field were: Arizona State, Florida, Indiana, Seton Hall.

1) On the bright side, it was over freezing in Albany Sunday and temps will be above freezing most of the week, creeping into the 50’s on Tuesday.

Spring training starts in two weeks. 

Saturday’s List of 13: Some more Super Bowl prop bets

13) Combined TD passes by Goff/Brady:
over/under 4.5

12) Will either team be trailing by 10+ points in the 4th quarter?
Yes -$110, No -$110

11) Passing yards for Jared Goff:
over/under 289.5

10) Passing yards for Tom Brady:
over/under 300.5

9) Passes thrown by Jared Goff:
over/under 37

8) Passes thrown by Tom Brady:
over/under 37.5

7) Total passing yards combined in game:
over/under 589.5

6) Brandin Cooks’ receiving yards:
over/under 70.5

5) Robert Woods’ receiving yards:
over/under 74.5

4) Julian Edelman’s receiving yards:
over/under 84.5

3) Rob Gronkowski’s receiving yards:
over/under 54.5

2) Total rushing yards combined in game:
over/under 253.5 yards

1) Rushing yards for Todd Gurley:
over/under 70.5