Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday……..

13) Today is June 30 but we’re going to hear a lot of stuff about the NBA starting tonight, with free agency starting. NBA’s offseason is often more interesting than the season itself.

12) New York 17, Boston 13— Game was 6-6 after the first inning with neither pitcher getting three outs; this game looked more like beer league softball than major league baseball. 

11) At 2:13 Saturday afternoon, after the 6-6 first inning, Dave Cokin posted on Twitter that in live betting, the total on the New York-Boston game was 23.5 (+$130). It went way over that. 

10) Lot of college basketball coaches are over in Greece for the FIBA u19 World Cup, where there are six uncommitted American 5-star prospects playing, as well as several prospects from Canada and Puerto Rico- the tournament runs thru July 7th.

9) Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway makes $850,000 to manage the Mets, and in reality, he is just a button-pusher who is ordered around by the team’s GM. Not a lot of cash for a manager, and in a big market at that. 

What I’m suggesting is that being the Indians’ pitching coach might be a better job than managing the Mets, seeing how the Indians’ pitching coach probably makes around $250,000 with a hell of a lot less stress and a lot more job security than Callaway has now, and he actually gets to coach the pitchers. 

8) Orioles 13, Indians 0— Over last two days, Baltimore outscored the Tribe 26-0. 

Orioles are 24-58 this season, but 10-6 when Andrew Cashner starts. Cashner should be the O’s representative on the All-Star team. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Cardinals put OF Marcell Ozuna (broken finger) on the IL.
— Cubs DFA’d OF Carlos Gonzalez.
— Red Sox put P Brian Johnson (non-baseball injury) on the IL.
— Twins activated Byron Buxton, Martin Gonzalez from the IL. 

6) Nikola Mirotic signed a contract with Barcelona of the EuroLeague; most people thought he would get an NBA deal for $45-50M, but sounds like he didn’t like the NBA very much. 

5) Hamilton 41, Montreal 10— CFL games don’t often have scoreless first quarters; according to Ralph Michaels on Twitter, this was just the 27th scoreless first quarter in the last 973 CFL tilts. 24 of those 27 games stayed under the total, including this one. 

4) This week is the first time since 2005 that the 54-hole leader at PGA Tour events led by 6+ shots in back/back weeks. Nate Lashley shot a 63 Saturday, is 23-under thru three rounds. 

3) SLS casino in Las Vegas is changing its name back to the Sahara Las Vegas: I stayed there for ten days in 2015. Nice enough casino, small rooms, very tight video poker, good eating places, but no sports book, just a counter in a restaurant to bet on games.

2) Minimum salary for a rookie in the NBA next season: $898,310. 

1) The Mets have won only two World Series:
Jerry Koosman was on mound for the Mets for the last out of the ’69 World Series.

In ’78, he was traded to the Twins for a package including Jesse Orosco.

Jesse Orosco was on the mound for the last out of the ’86 World Series.

Saturday’s List of 13: Mountain West football knowledge

Air Force- Falcons went 5-7 last two years, unusual for them; last three years, they’re 6-17-1 vs spread in Mountain West games- last four years,AF is 10-3-1 vs spread as a road underdog. Flyboys have covered 11 of last 13 non-conference games. 

Boise State-Broncos won 10+ games eight of last ten years, are +24 in turnovers the last two years. Boise’s bowl game in Dallas LY was stopped late in 1st quarter LY because of bad weather and was never resumed. Broncos are 5-14 vs spread in last 19 games as a home favorite. 

Colorado State- Rams slumped to 3-9 LY after five straight winning years; last two years, State is 1-7 vs spread as a home favorite. Rams lost last four bowl games, allowing average of 41.3 ppg; they lost last four games with rival Colorado (0-3-1 vs spread). 

Fresno State- Redford is 22-6 in two years at Fresno; why did Cal ever fire this guy? They’re 12-5-2 vs spread as favorites under Tedford, 6-0 as an underdog, winning bowls 33-27/31-20- they’re +20 in turnovers last two years. 

Hawai’i- Rainbows played in the Sugar Bowl 12 years ago, losing 41-10 to Georgia; since then, all four of their bowls have been at home, with average total of 74.8. Under Rolovich, Hawai’i is 3-9 vs spread as a home favorite, 0-3 as a road favorite. 

Nevada- New QB, four new starters on OL for Wolf Pack this year, who are 8-4 vs spread at home in two years under Norvell; five of their top six rushers, nine of top 10 receivers are back. Last three years, Nevada is 4-9 vs spread in non-league games. 

UNLV- Five straight losing years for Rebels, who move into the Raiders’ new dome next year; they’ve played in one bowl since 2000. Last three years, UNLV is 4-9 vs spread when laying points at home. Rebels’ last bowl win outside of Las Vegas was 1984 (30-13 vs Toledo). 

New Mexico- Bob Davie is in his 8th year with Lobos; they went 3-9 last two years. Last time UNM played in a bowl other than on their home field was a 34-19 loss to Navy in ’04 Emerald Bowl. New Mexico has only two starters back on defense this year. 

San Diego State- Nine straight winning years for Aztecs, who slumped to 7-6 LY; – they were 0-8 vs spread as a favorite, and were blanked by Ohio U in their bowl (27-0). Aztecs have top six rushers back from LY and three starters back on OL. 

San Jose State- Spartans are 3-22 in two years under Brennan; they were +1 in turnovers LY, after going -26 in 2017. Last five years, State is 9-19 as a road underdog, but were 4-2 LY. SJS won last four bowls, but last one was in 2015. 

Utah State- Aggies went 11-2 LY, after three straight losing seasons; their coach moved on, so the new coach is Gary Andersen, who went 26-24 as Aggies’ coach from 2009-12. USU has only two starters back on offense. Since ’16, Aggies are 10-2-1 as home favorites. 

Wyoming- After going +24 in turnovers in ’17 with a 8-5 record, Cowboys were 6-6 LY with a +4 TO ratio. Last three years, Cowboys are 6-2 as home favorites, 8-4 as home dogs- last four years, they’re 19-13 vs spread as an underdog. 

Wednesday’s Den: Big 14 football knowledge…….

Illinois— Lovie Smith is 9-27 SU at Illinois, 4-10 vs spread as a home underdog; with 17 of 22 starters back this year, if they don’t show improvement this year, then what? Illini is 9-18 vs spread as an underdog under Smith; their last bowl was in 2014, last bowl win in 2011. 

Indiana— Under Allen, Hoosiers are 5-1 vs spread as a home favorite, 2-5 as a home dog; they’ve got seven starters back on both sides of the ball this year. Indiana has two new coordinators this season, with their new OC coming in from Fresno State. 

Iowa— Last four years, Iowa is 37-16 SU, with a +33 turnover margin; they won their last couple bowls. Since 2013, Hawkeyes are 15-2-1 vs spread as a road favorite. Iowa has only four starters back on defense this year. 

Maryland— Mike Locksley went 3-31 as HC of New Mexico from 2009-11, somehow got this job. Terps lost their last three bowls; their last bowl win was in 2010. Last five years, Maryland is 5-19 vs spread coming off a win. 

Michigan— Under Harbaugh, Wolverines are 7-12 vs spread on road, 4-7 vs spread coming off a loss- they lost last three bowls, giving up 33.3 ppg. Michigan has a senior QB (23 starts) and a new OC who ran a no-huddle offense at his last stop. 

Michigan State— Last four years, Spartans are 8-13 vs spread as a home favorite; they’ve got 17 of 22 starters back this year, with a senior QB (25 starts). In their last four bowls, MSU scored 42-0-42-6 points. TO margin from 2013-15: +46. From 2016-18: -1. 

Minnesota— Gophers have 9 starters back on offense this year; both soph QB’s (split time LY) are also back. Minnesota won its last three bowls, allowing 14-12-10 points. Under Fleck, Minnesota is 6-1 vs spread in non-conference games. 

Nebraska— From 2009-14, Nebraska was 57-24, but Cornhuskers had losing seasons three of last four years; since 2013, they’re 13-20-1 vs spread as a home favorite, but last two years, they’re 7-2 as road underdogs. Last seven years, Nebraska’s turnover ratio: minus-41. 

Northwestern— Wildcats are 3-2 in last five bowls; they were underdog in four of those five games- they’ve had a plus TO ratio the last seven years (+45 total). New QB this year, with one candidate a transfer from Clemson. 

Ohio State— Day is the new HC; over last decade, Buckeyes are 10-1 vs spread as an underdog. OSU has only 4 starters back on offense; QB Fields is a transfer from Georgia. Since 2015, Buckeyes are 11-16 vs spread as a home favorite. 

Penn State— Under Franklin, Nittany Lions are 17-11-1 vs spread as a home favorite, 7-8 as road favorite, 5-8 as an underdog, 4-13 coming off a loss. Average total in their last three bowls: 75.0. PSU will have a new starting QB this fall. 

Purdue— Last five years, Boilermakers are 14-4 as road underdogs; they were favored in all their road games LY. Purdue is 8-3 vs spread in last 11 non-league games. Split bowls last two years, with totals of 73-77, their first bowls since 2012. 

Rutgers— Scarlet Knights’ last bowl was 2014; under Ash, they’re 7-29 SU. Rutgers had a -14 turnover ratio LY; their last positive TO ratio was in 2012. Last two years, Knights are 7-4 vs spread as a home underdog. 

Wisconsin— Badgers are 5-0 in bowls the last five years; they were underdog in three of the five games. Over last decade, they’re 11-5 vs spread as an underdog. Under Chryst, Wisconsin is 11-3 vs spread as a road favorite. 

Saturday’s Den: Looking at some Pac-12 football trends…….

Arizona— Wildcats are 22-28 SU last four years; since ’13, they’re 5-16 ATS as road underdogs. Average total in their last five bowls (3-2) is 76.2. Senior QB Tate has 20 career starts; they don’t play Washington State this year- they lost 69-28 to the Coogs LY. 

Arizona State— Sun Devils lost four of last five bowls, giving up 38.8 ppg; they’re 10-4-1 in last 15 games as an underdog. Last two years, ASU is 7-2-1 vs spread coming off a loss; they’ll have a new QB this year, playing behind an experienced OL. 

California— Golden Bears made only 2nd bowl since 2011 LY; they’ve got only 4 starters back on offense this year. Cal lost to arch-rival Stanford last five years, by average score of 32-19 (1-4 vs spread). Under Wilcox, Cal is 11-5 ATS as an underdog, 2-5-1 as a favorite. 

Colorado— Last year’s 5-0 start turned into an injury-riddled 5-7 debacle that cost MacIntyre his job. Buffs have been to one bowl since 2007; their last bowl win was 33-28 over UTEP in the 2004 Houston Bowl. Mel Tucker is a long-time DC; this is his first head coaching job. 

Oregon— This is first time since 2016 that Ducks have same HC two years in row; they lost three of last four bowls, winning LY’s bowl 7-6 over Michigan State. Last three years, under three HCs, Oregon is 1-7-1 ATS as a road underdog. 

Oregon State— Last four years, Beavers are 9-39 SU, 6-11 ATS as a home underdog, 9-13-1 as a road dog- their last bowl was in 2013, when Mike Riley was HC. In their last 25 games, OSU is -24 in turnovers; they’re very experienced this year, should show improvement. 

USC— Trojans were 5-7 LY; they’re 3-9 vs spread in last 12 games as a home favorite. USC is 3-2 in its last five bowls, scoring 45-45-52 in the wins, 21-7 in losses. Since 2012, Trojans are 3-12 as a road underdog. 

Stanford— Won 8+ games every year for last decade; their last three bowls (2-1) were decided by total of five points. Cardinal is 8-3 in last 11 games as a road favorite; over last decade, they’re 5-0 ATS as a home underdog. 

UCLA— Bruins are 13-24 SU the last three years; since 2014, they’re 8-15 as a home favorite. Over last decade, they’re 39-53 ATS (42.4%) in Pac-12 games. In their last three bowls, UCLA allayed 35-37-35 points, losing two of three. 

Utah— Last two years, Utes are 8-2 vs spread as home favorites; since 2014, they’re 11-2 as a road underdog. Whittingham is 11-2 SU in his career in bowl games. Senior QB Huntley has 19 career starts. 

Washington— Huskies are 32-9 SU last three years, but went 0-3 in bowls; they’ll have a new QB this year (Georgia transfer Eason- 13 starts for Dawgs). Washington has + turnover ratio the last seven years, going +51 the last five years. 

Washington State— From 2009-14, Coogs were 19-54; from 2015-18, they’re 37-15; Mike Leach is a damn good coach. Since 2013, WSU is 16-5 ATS as a road underdog. This year’s QB is Gage Gubrud, a grad transfer from I-AA Eastern Washington. 

Tuesday’s Den: Some early notes for SEC college football……

14) Vanderbilt— Vandy has new QB this year but grad transfer Neal started 23 games at Ball State. Commodores have won three straight over Tennessee for first time since 1926. 

13) Texas A&M— Jimbo Fisher is 6-2 in bowl games; Aggies scored 52-52 points in their last two bowls, are 8-1-1 vs spread in last 10 non-league games. A&M has only 4 starters back on defense. 

12) Tennessee— Volunteers haven’t gone bowling since 2016; they won last three bowls, scoring 42.7 ppg. Last two years, Vols are 3-11 vs spread at Neyland Stadium. Their offensive line is expected to be much better this year. 

11) South Carolina— Senior QB Bentley has already started 32 games; last two years. Gamecocks are 6-0 vs spread as a road dog. Carolina last four games with Georgia, by 32-14-14-24 points. 

10) Missouri— Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant takes over at QB for Drew Lock; under Odom, Mizzou is 10-7 vs spread as a HF. Former Tennessee coach Derek Dooley is the Tigers’ OC. 

9) Mississippi State— Last seven times Bulldogs were an underdog, the home team covered the spread; last two years, State is 8-3 vs spread as a home favorite. New QB for MSU this season. 

8) Ole Miss— Under Luke, Rebels are 3-9 vs spread as an underdog, 0-5 at home; they were 0-8 vs spread in SEC games last year. Ole Miss won four of its last five bowl games (last one in ’15). 

7) LSU— Under Orgeron, Tigers covered six of seven games as an underdog, but he is 0-3 vs Alabama, outscored 63-10 in those games. Tigers are 7-9 as a favorite under Coach O. 

6) Kentucky— Wildcats won 10 games LY for first time since 1977; they have only 10 returning starters this year. Last two years, Wildcats are 0-9 vs spread as a home favorite. 

5) Georgia— Dawgs won 10+ games five of last seven years; they’re 13-6 vs spread in last 19 SEC games. This is first time since 1995 that Georgia opens season with an SEC game (Vanderbilt). 

4) Florida— Gators have only one returning starter back on OL (24 career starts). Mullen is 6-2 in bowl games, winning last four. Florida plays Miami this year for first time since 2013. 

3) Auburn— Last five years, Tigers are 9-20-1 vs spread as home favorites; LY they were 0-7 vs spread in game following a win, 4-1 after a loss. New quarterback this season for Auburn. 

2) Arkansas— Razorbacks are 6-18 SU the last two years, 1-15 in SEC games (beat Ole Miss 38-37 in ’17). Arkansas brought in pair of grad transfer QB’s this year, figure to improve there. 

1) Alabama— Crimson Tide is +40 in turnovers the last four years; they’re 41-1 SU at home the last six years, and covered 10 of last 15 games as a road favorite. 

Saturday’s List of 13: Happy Armadillo Day!!!!

13) Happy Armadillo Day!!! 18 years ago today, I started this website, not knowing where it would lead, but it has led here. Hope you enjoy reading it. 

12) Have a book recommendation here; “Then One Day” written by Chris Andrews, the sports book director at SouthPoint in Las Vegas, which is an excellent sports book, and is also next to the hot dog cart and the VSIN radio studio. 

Lot of excellent stories that cover Andrews’ long career, starting from when he was a kid growing up in Pittsburgh. If you like sports and betting, you’ll enjoy this book. 

11) Westgate SuperBook released their odds to win the 2020 NBA title:
4-1— Los Angeles Lakers
6-1— Milwaukee Bucks, LA Clippers
8-1— Houston Rockets
10-1— Toronto Raptors
12-1— Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers
14-1— Golden State Warriors- Sounds like the Warriors won’t get bored next season.

Free agency will change these numbers, maybe drastically. Wagering on the Lakers right now at 4-1 would be an extraordinary leap of faith in their shaky front office. 

10) Someone posted a pic on Twitter Friday of a 1989 basketball game with Wisc-Green Bay-Northern Iowa. Who cares?, you say, but the guy with the ball was Toronto Raptors’ coach Nick Nurse, and the guy guarding him was U of Virginia coach Tony Bennett. 

30 years later, one guy is a national champ, the other guy a world champ. Go figure. 

9) Raptors are first team ever to win an NBA title with zero players on their team who were picked in the top 14 of an NBA Draft. Kawhi Leonard was the 15th pick of the 2011 draft. 

8) Shin-Soo Choo reached base five times for Texas Thursday night, but he didn’t get a hit; he was hit by pitches twice and walked three times. Scored couple of runs, too. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Marlins moved P Jose Ureña (herniated disc) to the 60-day IL.
— A’s put OF Stephen Piscotty (ear) on the IL 

6) Tigers’ RF Nicholas Castellanos is a really good hitter, and is a free agent after the season; Detroit wants him to move to 1B, but Castellanos won’t do that unless the Tigers give him a contract extension- that hasn’t happened yet, so Castellanos remains in right field. 

5) Louisville’s football team had a cruddy year last year; their power rating at the end of the season was 22 points lower than it was in August; Florida State’s power rating dropped 18 points during the season last year. 

4) Turns out the Houston Texans didn’t fully understand what was in Nick Caserio’s contract, so they tried to trade with New England to acquire Caserio to be their next GM, but that fell thru too, so Caserio is back in Foxboro, working in the Patriots’ front office. Shouldn’t be awkward at all; Caserio becomes a free agent after next April’s draft. 

3) Idaho fired basketball coach Don Verlin; assistant coach Zac Claus will coach the team this coming season. June 14 is an odd time to fire a college basketball coach. Vandals were 5-27 LY, after being 22-9 the year before, but apparently Verlin has run afoul of the NCAA. 

2) Blue Jays are in Houston this weekend, so Toronto rookie Cavan Biggio gets to spend his first Father’s Day in the major leagues playing in front of his dad, Hall of Famer Craig Biggio. 

1) RIP Pat Bowlen 75, owner of the Denver Broncos, who passed away after a long bout with Alzheimer’s. While Bowlen owned the Broncos, they played in seven Super Bowls, and had only seven losing seasons; he was revered in the Denver community. RIP, sir. 

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

13) Big question for NBA commish Adam Silver this summer: Could Kawhi Leonard’s success this postseason lead to more regular season resting for NBA stars?

People pay a lot of money to go to games and obviously, they want to see the stars play; Leonard sat out 22 games this season. Same goes for TV ratings; people like to watch great players play. 

12) Michigan G Charles Matthews tore his ACL as he prepared for the NBA Draft, is now out until at least January, and thats the risk of bolting school early. He still intends to leave Michigan; his agent still thinks he’ll be taken in the second round of the draft. We’ll see about that; the agent doesn’t get paid if Matthews goes back to Michigan.

11) Nationals 5, Padres 1— Game was tied in 8th inning, then Kendrick, Turner, Eaton, Rendon hit four consecutive bombs off of reliever Craig Stammen to settle things. 

10) El Paso Chihuahuas’ pitcher Kyle McGrath threw seven perfect innings Sunday before giving up a hit in the 8th inning; it was only his 4th professional start, in his 184th minor league game. El Paso is the AAA farm club of the San Diego Padres.

9) Brewers 5, Pirates 2— Closer Josh Hader pitched on back/back days for only third time this year; by way of comparison, San Diego’s Kirby Yates has pitched on back/back days seven times this season. 

8) Twins 13, Tigers 2— Jake Odorizzi (9-2) is the first Twins’ pitcher to win nine straight decisions since Johan Santana during his 2006 Cy Young season. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Mets put 2B Robinson Cano back on the IL. 
— White Sox put P Dylan Covey (shoulder) on the IL.
— Bronx put P Domingo German (hip flexor) on 10-Day IL.

6) Rockies-Mets pitching matchup Sunday was Hoffman-Syndergaard, both of whom were 1st round draft picks of the Toronto Blue Jays, Hoffman in ’14, Syndergaard in ’10. 

5) Bronx OF Brett Gardner threw a batting helmet in the dugout the other night; it bounced back, hit him in the lip and cut him— he needed six stitches. 

4) Kevin Durant practiced with the Warriors Sunday, who haven’t announced yet if he will play Monday night in Toronto- they officially listed him as questionable. 

3) Rory McIlroy shot a 61 Sunday and won the Canadian Open by seven shots.

McIlroy is the last golfer to win a major the week after he won another tournament; he won the Bridgestone and then the PGA in 2014. 

2) Graeme McDowell drained a 30-foot putt on the last hole Sunday to qualify for the British Open, which is being played in McDowell’s hometown this summer. 

1) University of Alabama is returning a $21.5M gift from its largest donor and taking his name off the law school after he called for Alabama to be boycotted over the state’s new abortion law. 

Sunday’s List of 13; Wrapping up a summer Saturday

13) I’m probably a little late with this, but if you like music, A Star Is Born is an outstanding movie and I highly recommend it. Saw it this weekend; I’ve never seen the Kris Kristofferson version from 1976 or the much older version, but Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga had great chemistry. Not that pleasant a movie, but really well done and great acting. 

12) Indiana-Kentucky high school All-Stars have a game every year; Indiana won this year’s game 120-74- a kid named Jake LaRavia of Lawrence Central apparently dominated the game. 

Writer Gregg Doyle did nothing but rave about the 6-8 LaRavia, who will attend Indiana State in the fall. He made 42% of his 3’s last year in high school, but Doyle says his game is well-rounded and that the Sycamores should be very excited to have him on their side next year. 

11) Texas Rangers retired Adrian Beltre’s number 29 Saturday night; little unusual for a team to retire a guy’s number so soon after he retires. Quite an honor.  

10) Angels 12, Mariners 3—Seattle’s Yusei Kikuchi had a 3.43 ERA through his first 11 starts; in his last 9.2 IP, he’s allowed 29 hits and 17 runs. No bueno. 

9) Raptors’ G Fred VanVleet needed seven stitches and lost part of a tooth in Friday night’s win in Oakland; he collided with Golden State’s Shaun Livingston.

8) Baseball can be weird; Minnesota’s Max Kepler was in an 0-21 slump, but then Thursday, he went 4-4 wth three homers against Trevor Bauer. Go figure. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Red Sox put 1B Mitch Moreland (quad) on IL.
— Pirates activated OF Corey Dickerson from the 60-day IL. 
— Cardinals placed 3B Jedd Gyorko on the 10-day (back)
— Padres placed RHP Adam Warren on the 10-day IL (forearm)
— Angels put Trevor Cahill (elbow) on the IL. 

6) Not only is the Giants’ Brandon Crawford the oldest starting shortstop in the majors, he is the one of only two starting SS’s (Elvis Andrus) who is 30+ years of age. 

5) NBA will have two regular season games in Mexico next season; Mavericks-Pistons will play on December 12, with Suns-Spurs meeting two days later. 

4) Brothers CJ and Kevin Cron both hit their first major league homer in Toronto; their father Chris Cron his two major league hits, both in Toronto. 

3) Vanderbilt 3, Duke 0— Kid named Kumar Rocker threw a no-hitter, struck out 19 for Vandy; it is funny how Vanderbilt is lousy at football, mediocre at basketball but great at baseball. Young Mr Rocker is a freshman, has quite a future ahead of him. 

2) Oregon State C Adley Rutschman is said to be the best draft prospect since Bryce Harper in 2010 and he is the best catching prospect since Buster Posey in 2008. He’s a switch-hitter with power, and he’s a very advanced receiver, but here’s the thing: 

When you’re a really good hitter and a team invests a ton of money in you, they might want you to change positions, to maximize your career— catchers tend to fade out earlier, but to wear and tear. Rutschman may be learning other positions as he climbs the Orioles’ minor league ladder. 

1) Quote of the Day, part 2:
“He’s not the biggest guy, but he definitely walks with a presence, walks with a purpose. He’s taken on a good role in knowing all the plays and being able to call some plays for us. He’s quicker than snot. He’s been flying around and making a lot of good plays.”

Steelers’LB TJ Watt, talking about first round pick, LB Devin Bush

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

13) Raptors 105, Warriors 92— Golden State led this game 46-42 at the half, lowest scoring first half in a finals game in four years, but Toronto outscored them 63-46 in second half, and is now one win away from its first NBA title. 

From sound of things, Kevin Durant won’t be playing in this series. Game 5 is Monday night in Toronto, where there could be a very big celebration. 

12) McDonald’s locations in Eastern Canada give away free medium orders of french fries whenever the Toronto Raptors hit at least 12 3-pointers in a game. 

According to The Financial Post, McDonald’s estimated 700,000 orders, but with the team playing so well, that number has ballooned to nearly three times the original estimate, resulting in approximately $5.4M (just over $4M US$) worth of fries. 

11) Must admit, I don’t get the whole “opener” trend in baseball, unless you have one guy who could be a closer who you prefer to start a game with (Ryan Stanek in Tampa Bay). 

Putting a minor leaguer in to pitch the first inning of a game just seems bleeping stupid, like you want to start off at a disadvantage. First inning is the only inning where you’re guaranteed to face the top of the other team’s order- you need a good pitcher there, not some stiff. 

10) Batting the pitcher 8th is kind of the same thing, though at least I can see some logic there, but fewer teams are doing that now. Pretty soon this will be a moot point, because everyone will have the DH in the next couple years. 

9) Houston Texans fired GM Brian Gaine, only 18 months after hiring him, meaning that coach Bill O’Brien is 42-38 in regular season games, 1-3 in playoffs, but has already seen two Texans GM’s fired. 

From Ian Rappaport:
“My understanding is there was no one incident that created the opening. Houston did an evaluation of its football operations and believes — right or wrong — GM Brian Gaine was not good enough. Good, but not good enough.”

In other NFL GM news, the Jets hired Joe Douglas as their GM; he interviewed for the GM job in Houston when they hired Gaine. 

8) ESPN’s Doug Kezirian pointed out that there is a gambler in Las Vegas who is having a very bad week; he lost $49,500 on Golden State’s money line in Game 3, then lost $75,000 on the Boston Bruins Thursday. 

This person is chasing losses……..Friday he bet $182,000 on the Warriors $-190 to win $95,789 in Game 4.

Another tough night for that gambler. Minus $306,000 in three nights; hope he got free drink tickets, at least.

7) Baseball stuff:
— Mariners put OF Mitch Haniger (ruptured testicle) on the IL. Ouch
— In 2012 there were 2,020 pitchouts in major leagues; last year, there were 350.
— Relief pitchers have thrown 40.5% of innings this year, with a 4.42 ERA; five years ago, relief pitchers threw 33.5% of IP. with a 3.57 ERA.

Next analytics wave in baseball will find starting pitchers being stretched out longer in starts. 

6) Boston Celtics are in favor of having free agency happen before the draft, which would be interesting. Right now, there are only roughly 10-14 days between the end of the Finals and the draft, so the draft would get pushed back, which would push back the summer league. 

5) Kentucky and UCLA have assistant coaches in Brazil at the FIBA u16 Americas tourney. The quarter-finals of the event started Friday. 

4) Alex, I’d like bad baseball for $400 please:
— Top of 6th inning, Cardinals down 3-0 at Wrigley, man on first with one out, and Dexter Fowler gets picked off. Why? How? He wasn’t going to steal. Terrible. 

3) Jurors in the Kellen Winslow Jr rape trial sent this message to the judge:

“The jurors could benefit from an explanation as to what being under oath means. 

Additionally, how we should follow the law and not what we think the law should mean.”

Sounds like those 12 people aren’t getting along too well.

2) RB Frank Gore Jr signed with Florida Atlantic and Lane Kiffin. 

RB Frank Gore Sr is still playing in the NFL, with Buffalo.

1) Phillies 4, Reds 2— Jay Bruce is the first player ever to homer in each of his first three starts with the Phillies. 

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

13) The person who shoved Toronto Raptors’ G Kyle Lowry, then cursed at him at Wednesday’s NBA Finals game in Oakland wasn’t just any fan; it was Mark Stevens, who is a minority owner of the Warriors. Stevens was tossed from the game Wednesday, and won’t be at any of the games the rest of the series.

Not only that, but Stevens got fined $500K and was banned from the NBA for a year. 

12) Atlanta Braves signed P Dallas Keuchel to a one-year deal worth $13M, which probably leaves Bronx and the Phillies as main trade partners with the Giants for Madison Bumgarner. 

11) Eagles signed QB Carson Wentz to a 4-year, $128M contract that could escalate to $144M; $107M of it is guaranteed. Funny thing is that Eagles won Super Bowl two years ago, without Wentz, but Nick Foles is in Jacksonville now, so Wentz has to stay healthy now. 

10) 1,200 kids just got taken in the baseball draft; 172 from California, 129 from Florida, 113 from Texas, so 34.5% of players taken were from those three states. 

9) Kenyon Martin Jr., son of the former NBA player, is skipping playing basketball at Vanderbilt to try professional ball overseas. Martin is a 6-6 forward; he is the second prospect in two weeks to pass up college ball to play overseas for money. 

8) College basketball is moving the 3-point line distance from 20 feet, 9 inches to the international basketball distance of 22-1 3/4; they did this in the NIT the last two years- under went 64-60 in those games.

Last year, 38.7% of shots taken were 3’s; will this result in less 3’s being tried? 

This season, they will also reset the shot clock to 20 seconds (instead of a full 30) after an offensive rebound, which will result in more possessions, which helps the over.

7) Blues 2, Bruins 1— Back in January, a guy named Scott Berry bet $400 on the Blues to win the Stanley Cup, when they were 250-1 to win the championship. Now St Louis is one win away from winning its first Stanley Cup title. Berry would bank $100,000 if that happens. 

6) Former Steelers’ backup QB Landry Jones may surface next in XFL tryouts; one thing the AAF didn’t have was high-quality QB’s. 

5) For what it is worth, ESPN’s new gambling show Daily Wager is not allowed to use NFL team names or logos, but they use names/logos for all the other sports.

4) Brooklyn Nets traded Allen Crabbe, the #17 pick and a protected first in 2020 to the Atlanta Hawks for Taurean Prince and a 2021 second-round pick. 

Nets clear $18M in additional salary cap space for July, which gives Brooklyn $46M in salary cap space to sign a max free agent. 

Hawks now have three picks (#’s 8, 10 and 17) in this month’s draft.  

3) Rockies, Dodgers, Pirates are tied for major league lead, with 13 home-grown players each on their 25-man rosters. Houston leads MLB with 22 players on their 40-man roster. 

2) News item: Two female acquaintances vanished with more than half a million dollars in jewelry from Jets’ RB Le’Veon Bell’s Florida home.

Lot of ways to go with this one; not every day someone has two “girlfriends” over to the house. Fact that Bell left to go to the gym and left the ladies in the house seem to indicate that they aren’t escorts; if they are escorts, then Bell is a nominee for immediate induction into the Imbecile Hall of Fame.

1) When MLB puts in the 3-batter minimum rule for relief pitchers in the near future, I’ll be glad that I’ll never have to watch some of these cruddy lefty relievers who are in the majors for one reason only— supposedly they can get lefties out.   

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

13) Starting today with something a little different; an unsolicited endorsement of a couple guys who own a financial advisement firm in this area; they’re very good at what they do. 

I’ve known Chris/Dennis Fagan for a long time; they’re very smart people. In 2010, i gave them some money to invest for me, not a lot, but a decent amount for me.

Every month, I get a statement on how that money is doing, and right now, my account has more than double the amount that I gave them in 2010, so I’m going to post a link to their website here and if you need investment advice, they’re the guys to ask:

12) Raptors 123, Warriors 109— Key for Toronto is how the other four starters (minus Leonard) score; they were 28-53 from floor in this game, which is great production for them. Toronto has a 2-1 series lead. 

11) Miami Marlins got an RBI from all nine hitters in the fifth inning Tuesday night, the first time that all nine lineup positions got an RBI in one inning since the Brooklyn Dodgers’ 15-run first inning on May 21, 1952. 

10) Marlins are only major league team that has used only five starting pitchers so far this season.

9) Watching some college baseball Sunday night, and it dawned on me that the Creighton Bluejays have nicer jerseys than the Toronto Blue Jays, which shouldn’t be.

8) Colorado Rockies have couple of promising starting pitchers coming up thru their farm system, but here’s the thing: If you’re talking fantasy baseball, do you really want a pitcher on your team from the Rockies? History tells us that you do not. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Cubs are signing closer Craig Kimbrel, pending a physical.
— Mets DFA’d OF Aaron Altherr, third team to dump him this year.
— Indians put P Carlos Carrasco on IL (non-baseball illness). 

6) Interesting how different teams draft ballplayers; only three of the 40 players the Oakland A’s picked were high school players- they also picked a guy from both Harvard and Yale. 

Red Sox drafted seven HS kids, Marlins took eight, Astros took only four. 

5) Bruce Bochy won his 1,000th game as Giants’ manager Tuesday night; he also won 951 games managing San Diego, and is a lock for the Hall of Fame. 

4) Comedian Tracy Morgan got very upset Tuesday when a woman hit his $2M Bugatti with her Honda in Manhattan, which raises a question for me.

There is a car that costs $2M? Seriously? I love my Nissan Rogue; it cost $23,000. Oy.

3) Carolina Panthers’ owner David Tepper has promised to build a “world class” NFL practice facility for the Panthers in Rock Hill, SC; the Panthers play home games in Charlotte, NC, but when a $115M tax break was thrown Tepper’s way, he chose the Palmetto State for the team’s new practice facility. Go figure. 

2) Starting this coming season, the 3-point line in college basketball will be 22’1¾” away from the basket, a change from the 20’9″ that has been in place since 2008.

In Divisions 2-3, the change will take place in 2020-21, to account for the costs associated with moving the line on the courts.

1) A large echo showing up on radar in Southern California last night was actually a cloud of ladybugs about 80 miles by 80 miles in size flying at between 5,000-9,000 feet.  

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

13) There are 256 regular season games in the NFL every year; last year, 73 of them (28.5%) were decided by 3 or fewer points. 

12) Las Vegas Bowl is one of the first beneficiaries of the new domed stadium in Las Vegas; the LV Bowl will now feature a matchup of a Pac-12 team vs either an SEC team or Big 14 team every year, starting in 2020. The bowl also moves into a post-Christmas slot; the #2 Pac-12 team will be heading to Las Vegas for this game.

11) Since 2011, there have been 12 Pac-12-SEC football games:
LSU +3 W40-27 vs Oregon
LSU -23 W41-3 Washington
Missouri -3 W24-20 Arizona State
Tennessee +28 L14-59 @ Oregon
Auburn -14 W31-24 Auburn
Tex A&M -3 W38-17 vs Arizona St.
Tex A&M -3 W31-24 OT UCLA
Alabama -11.5 W52-6 vs USC
Alabama -13.5 W24-7 vs Washington
Tex A&M +5.5 L44-45 @ UCLA
Ole Miss -7 L16-27 @ California
Auburn -2 W21-16 vs Washington

SEC teams are 9-3 SU in those games, 9-3 vs spread, 7-2 when favored. 

10) Michigan landed former Alabama assistant Josh Gattis as its new offensive coordinator at least in part because Nick Saban doesn’t want a play caller who has never called plays before, so he wouldn’t name Gattis as the Crimson Tide’s OC. 

As a player, Gattis starred at safety for Wake Forest and was the leader of the only Demon Deacons team that won the ACC title and went to the Orange Bowl. 

9) North Carolina football coach Mack Brown has had his right knee replaced by a surgeon who once played for him, Dr. Michael Bolognesi, who played DB for Brown at UNC from 1989-93. 

8) There were only three high school pitchers taken in the first round of the baseball draft, the lowest amount since 2008. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Phillies lost OF Andrew McCutchen (torn ACL) for the season.
— Tigers put 3B Jeimer Candelario (shoulder) on IL.
— Indians put P Jefry Rodriguez (shoulder) on IL.
— Royals put 3B Hunter Dozier (right side) on IL. 

6) Northern Arizona basketball coach Jack Murphy is leaving the Lumberjacks to become the associate head coach at Arizona, his alma mater. Murphy went 78-149 in seven years at NAU and was going into the final year of his contract, which means he was probably getting fired next spring unless the Lumberjacks won the Big Sky, so he jumped ship before he got pushed. 

5) Odds to win college basketball national title next April:
8-1— Michigan State
10-1— Kentucky, Duke
12-1— Kansas, Memphis
16-1— North Carolina, Villanova
20-1— Gonzaga, Louisville, Oregon, Virginia

4) Kawhi Leonard filed a lawsuit against Nike on Monday in California in an attempt to reclaim control over a logo Leonard says he created, when he was a Nike client. Leonard signed a deal with New Balance earlier this season. 

3) UConn added grad transfer QB Micah Lemon from NC State, which prompted Huskies’ QB Marvin Washington to announce he was leaving UConn. Huskies’ WR Keyion Dixon also said he would be leaving the UConn program. 

2) RJ Hampton was a highly sought after basketball recruit who instead chose to play pro ball in New Zealand this season, which is his business, but supposedly he signed the pro contract a full month before he told the college teams that he wouldn’t be playing for them. 

Why would someone do this? Once he signed the contract, there was no going back. Lot of people, both coaches/other recruits, were waiting for his decision so the next domino in the process could fall. 

Without knowing all the fact, it does seem very selfish.

1) St. Louis Blues have never won a Stanley Cup, but four of their former coaches have won 17 of them; their series with Boston now stands at 2-2. Blues have an interim coach (Craig Berube). 

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

13) Angels played in Seattle Sunday afternoon, played a makeup game in Wrigley Field on Monday, and host the A’s in Anaheim tonight; that is 3,462 miles in three days, the 3rd-most miles any MLB team has travelled in a 3-day period. 

12) As of Monday afternoon, there were 806 players in the college basketball transfer portal; with 353 D-I hoop teams, that works out to 2.28 players per team.. Thats a lot. 

178 of the transfers are grad transfers, who are immediately eligible. 

11) Michigan coach Juwan Howard did a very smart thing Monday and hired former longtime St Joe’s head coach Phil Martelli as an assistant. Guys who are new head coaches need an experienced voice to help them avoid some of the pitfalls of their job. 

10) When you watch and read about the baseball draft, keep in mind that Mike Trout was the 25th pick in the 2009 MLB Draft. Scouting/drafting is an inexact science. 

9) On May 1st, Minnesota Twins were 20-1 to win the World Series; 33 days later, they’re down to 13-2 to win the Series. 

8) Sports betting legislation passed in Illinois this week; meanwhile here in New York, we have crickets……nothing happening. NFL training camps start next month. 

7) Orioles took Oregon State C Adley Rutschman with the first pick of the MLB Draft, the first catcher taken first since Buster Posey in 2001. 

Royals took SS Bobby Witt Jr with the #2 pick; his dad Bobby Witt pitched in the major leagues for 16 seasons. 

6) Breakdown of DT Gerald McCoy’s deal with the Carolina Panthers:
— 1 year, $4M to sign.
— $3M base salary
— $500K camp roster bonus.
— $500K in 45-man per game bonus
— 6.5 sacks for  $500k.
— 8 sacks gets him $1.5M.
— $250K for Pro Bowl.
— $250K for playoffs.
— $4M guaranteed.

Worth noting that Carolina/Tampa Bay (McCoy’s old team) are division rivals. 

5) Friday, a bettor in Sparks, NV played a $5, 10-team parlay and hit it for $3,605; four of the ten wagers were underdogs. Pretty impressive.

4) Cubs 6, Angels 1— In his first game as a Cub, Carlos Gonzalez made a great diving catch in top of 7th inning to rob Jonathan Lucroy of a bases loaded double. 

3) Milwaukee Brewers activated Travis Shaw from the IL and demoted rookie 2B Keston Huira, despite Huira hitting five home runs and having an .865 OPS in only 17 games. Milwaukee also DFA’d 1B Jesus Aguilar. 

2) This was the first baseball draft ever where none of the first six picks were pitchers. 

1) Excellent news: Mets broadcaster Ron Darling will be back in the booth tonight for the Mets-Giants game; Darling has been battling thyroid cancer the last few months but has been cleared to return to work. He is a friendly voice in the booth; great to have him back.