Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a Saturday full of upsets…….

13) Bad day to be in the top 10:
— #1 Gonzaga lost 67-57 at Saint Mary’s.
— #2 Arizona lost 79-63 at Colorado
— #3 Auburn lost 67-62 at Tennessee
— #4 Purdue lost 68-65 at Michigan State
— #5 Kansas lost 80-70 at Baylor
— #6 Kentucky lost 75-73 at Arkansas.
— #9 Texas Tech lost 69-66 at TCU

All seven losses were on road, but still, an unusual day. 

12) SEC:
— Arkansas 75, Kentucky 73— Hogs won 13 of their last 14 games.
— Tennessee 67, Auburn 62— Auburn led by 11 early in second half.
— Auburn leads Kentucky-Tennessee-Arkansas by a game each. 

11) Big X
— Four of five games Saturday were decided by 4 or less points.
— Baylor 80, Kansas 70— Bears shot 56.8% inside arc.
— TCU 69, Texas Tech 66— Tech led by 11 early in second half.
— Texas 82, West Virginia 81— WVU is 1-13 since January 15.
— Kansas leads Baylor by a game, Texas Tech by two games. 

10) Big East
— Providence 72, Creighton 51— Friars will be #1-seed in Big East tourney.
— Seton Hall 82, Xavier 66— Xavier lost six of its last seven games.
— Looks like a six-bid league; Xavier appears to be falling off the bubble. 

9) Pac-12:
— Colorado 79, Arizona 63— Cruddy day to be a top 10 team.
— USC 70, Oregon 69— Trojans won last three games, by 2-1-3 points.
— Arizona leads USC by two games, UCLA by three. 

8) WCC:
— Saint Mary’s 67, Gonzaga 57— Zags’ first loss since December 4th.
— San Francisco 78, San Diego 62— Does Gonzaga’s loss hurt USF’s NCAA hopes?
— Gonzaga still leads Saint Mary’s by two games; is BYU sliding off the bubble? 

7) Upsets of the Day:
— South Florida (+13) 56, Cincinnati 54
— Saint Mary’s (+11) 67, Gonzaga 57
— Colorado (+10.5) 79, Arizona 63
— LaSalle (+9) 62, Dayton 60
— SIU-Edwardsville (+9) 77, Morehead State 70
— Florida State (+7.5) 64, Virginia 63
— Western Michigan (+6.5) 78, Bowling Green 67
— South Dakota (+6) 92, Oral Roberts 87

6) Ohio Valley:
— Murray State 70, SE Missouri State 68— Racers trailed by 12 with 6:14 left.
— SIU-Edwardsville 77, Morehead State 70— Eagles lost four of last six games.
— Murray State finishes 18-0 in OVC regular season; they’re a bubble team if they lose in OVC tournament. No pressure. 

5)  Missouri Valley:
— Northern Iowa 102, Loyola 96, OT— Panthers went 3-2 in OT games since January 11.
— Drake 62, Southern Illinois 60— These teams meet in conference tourney Friday.
— Northern Iowa wins regular season title; Arch Madness should be fun. 

4) Mountain West:
— Boise State 86, UNLV 76— Boise shot 59% from floor, had 13 offensive boards.
— Colorado State 66, Utah State 55— Rams won seven of last eight games.
— Boise leads Wyoming by a game, Colorado State/Aztecs by two games. 

3) Horizon:
— Fort Wayne 81, Detroit 78— Mastodons won nine in row, after an 11-10 start.
— Oakland 65, Cleveland State 57— Vikings went 3-4 in their last seven games.
— Fort Wayne, Cleveland State are tied for first; this tournament will be good. 

2)  Summit:
— South Dakota 92, Oral Roberts 87—Eagles lost last two games, by 5-4 points.
— South Dakota State 86, UMKC 75— Jackrabbits went 18-0 in Summit League.
— Looks like South Dakota State needs to win conference tourney to make NCAAs.

1) ACC:
— Florida State 64, Virginia 63— Only second win in last ten games for FSU.
— Duke 97, Syracuse 72— Duke scored 1.59 points/possession, extremely high.
— Wake Forest 99, Louisville 77— Cardinals lost 12 of their last 14 games.
— Duke leads Notre Dame by a game, North Carolina by two games. 

Monday’s Den: Ramdom thoughts on an excellent night…….

I had a really interesting den ready to post today, but it’ll have to wait for another day, because Sunday night, the Rams won the Super Bowl!!!! Second Super Bowl title for the Rams, their first in LA, and very dramatic.

Rams went 0-3 in November, were 7-4; the naysayers were having a field day. We live in a fickle society, so you have to win to keep the rats from jumping off the ship, and boy, from December 1st on, the Rams did nothing but win, often by the skin of their teeth.

Last time the Rams won it all, this blog didn’t exist, so hopefully I won’t be too obnoxious here.

First of all, the game and its trappings:
The game
— 15 plays, 72 yards, 4:48, the game-winning drive. Tremendous. Cooper Kupp (of course) scored the game-winning TD with 1:25 left.

Rams didn’t have Robert Woods, Odell Beckham Jr missed the second half, and LA’s top three tight ends were out; Brycen Hopkins (#88) came out of nowhere to catch four passes for 47 yards— he caught one pass in the regular season, as the Rams 4th-string tight end.

GM Les Snead deserves a huge heap of credit— more on him later.

— Sean McVay is now 55-26 in regular season, 7-3 in playoff games. Five years, two Super Bowls, coaching a franchise that before he got there, hadn’t had a winning season in 13 years. Whatever they pay him, it ain’t enough. 

— First 4:41 of the third quarter was an unmitigated disaster; Cincinnati threw a 75-yard TD pass on first play of third quarter, then picked off a pass and kicked a field goal- they led 20-13 with 10:19 left in the third quarter. Things didn’t look good.

— There was a weird stretch in the second half, before the game-winning drive where both teams punted three times in a row; Rams ran nine plays for nine yards, Cincinnati 11 plays for no yards.

— Matthew Stafford was 26-40 for 283 yards and three TD’s; now people can start thinking about his chances to eventually be a Hall of Famer. He was awesome this season.

There was a sporting goods store in Detroit selling “Detroit Rams” t-shirts, that’s how popular Stafford is after playing 12 years for the Lions.
Imagine what he must be thinking right now?
Imagine what Lion fans  must be thinking right now?

— Cooper Kupp caught eight passes for 92 yards and two TD’s; the guy went to college at freakin’ Eastern Washington, a I-AA football program. He is a great receiver.

— 3rd down conversions: Rams 6-15, Cincinnati 3-14

— Aaron Donald, Von Miller, Leonard Floyd, they put lot of pressure on Joe Burrow, sacked him seven times.

I’m standing in my living room watching the last series, and I’m as confident as I’ve ever been that the defense ain’t getting scored upon, and sure enough, they shut the Bengals down.

— Total of only six penalties were accepted in this game; football should always be officiated this way, though the facemark penalty on the long Cincinnati TD should’ve been called.

— The wife of Rams’ WR Van Jefferson was taken to the hospital during the game; she had a baby, so really big day for the Jeffersons.

— Rams’ safety Taylor Rapp proposed to his girlfriend on the field after the game; she said yes. She gets an engagement ring; he gets a Super Bowl ring.

— Potentially expensive day for Odell Beckham Jr, who caught two passes for 52 yards and a TD; he hurt his knee in second quarter. A doctor on Twitter thought it was a torn ACL, which won’t help his chance to cash in as a free agent this spring.

— Rams’ GM Les Snead deserves a huge pat on the back for all this: quality depth wins in the NFL; Snead has done an exceptional job of fortifying the Rams’ roster, while dealing first round draft picks for proven stars.

Skeptics were everywhere; like I said, our society is fickle. After the game, people on NFL Network were debating whether Les Snead’s approach will spread around the league. Back in November, they were thrashing the guy for trading draft picks.

— This is I know; on Thursday September 8, the Rams will host the NFL season opener.

Trappings:
— Too damn many commercials and too much hoopla before the game; the first two or three series of the games were smothered by commercials. I know the NFL exists to make $$$, but good grief, has to be tough for the players to get a rhythm for the game.

— I mute TV during all the Ram games, so didn’t hear Dwayne Johnson’s act before kickoff; was getting antsy waiting for the freakin’ game to start, can only imagine what the players are thinking while they’re waiting for the biggest game of their lives while hijinks are going on all around them.

— John Calipari just showed up on an episode of Billions; brilliant casting, and he’s good, giving the hedge fund traders a pep talk.

— Don’t watch the Super Bowl commercials, don’t care about them, I know some people do, I do wonder how effective they are; when other teams play in the Super Bowl, hardly watch the commercials. Use timeouts to get food or hit the men’s room or play word games on my phone.

— Halftime was long, over a half hour; do players hate this? Cincinnati’s kicker stayed out on the field and watched halftime. Does it help coaches make adjustments?

— Now we look forward to the 2022 football season, but we’ll get into that down the road- the draft, the schedule release, free agency and trades. Will be an interesting offseason, for sure.

“The most competitive business in the world”

NFL has 32 teams, some are run better than others- things have to break just right and to win a championship. This year, things broke just right for the good guys.

Tonight, Armadillo World HQ is a freakin’ happy place.  

Saturday’s Den: Unusual prop bets for the Super Bowl

This weekend, you can bet on most anything; here are some unusual prop bets you can make at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. The document with all their prop bets is 40+ pages long.

13) Total field goals made in Super Bowl:
none— 18-1
1— 15-2
2— 3-1
3— 3-1
4— 4-1
5— 7-1
6— 14-1
7— 30-1
8+— 40-1

12) Will a TD be scored by defense/special teams:
— no -275
— yes +235

11) Devin Booker’s points Saturday (-3.5)
vs points scored in first half of Super Bowl

10) Klay Thompson’s points Saturday
vs largest lead by either team in Super Bowl (-0.5)

9) Stephen Curry 3-points baskets Saturday
vs Odell Beckham receptions Sunday (-0.5)

8) Jayson Tatum points + rebounds Sunday
vs Matthew Stafford pass attempts Sunday (-0.5)

7) Anthony Davis points Saturday (-0.5)
vs LA Rams’ points Sunday

6) Total numbers of players to throw a pass in Super Bowl
(doesn’t include 2-point conversions)
— under 2.5 (-150)
— over 2.5 (+130)

5) Joel Embiid points + rebounds + assists Saturday (-0.5)
vs total points scored in Super Bowl 

4) Joel Embiid points Saturday
vs length of first field goal made in Super Bowl (-5.5)

3) Highest scoring quarter by both teams combined: over/under 19.5 points

2) Total yardage in game: over/under 759.5 yards

1) Total points by Rams’ K Matt Gay:
— over 7.5 (-130)
— under 7.5 (+110)

Like I said, you can bet on most anything this weekend

Tuesday’s Den: Sampling of Super Bowl prop bets

Keep in mind, the menu of prop bets put out by the Westgate SuperBook is 40-45 pages. Ton of stuff, traditional bets and weird stuff. Lot of action.

13) Rams are -4.5, with total of 48.5

Money line is Rams -200, Bengals +175

12) Over/under for Rams’ points: 26.5, Bengals 21.5. 

11) Will either team score three straight times?
Yes -190. No +170

10) What will happen first, a touchdown (-125) or a sack (-105)?

9) Will either team score in first 6:30 of the game?
Yes even, No -120

8) Will either team score in last 2:00 of first half?
Yes -310, No +260

7) Will either team score in last 3:30 of game?
Yes -165, No +145

6) Longest touchdown of the game: 42.5 yards (-110 both ways)

5) Will there be a lead change in 4th quarter?
Yes +250, No -300

4) Longest made field goal of game: 46.5 yards (-110 both ways)

3) Distance of the first touchdown of the game: 7.5 yards (-110 both ways)

2) Largest lead of game, by either team: 14.5 points (-110 both ways

1) Passing yards for Matthew Stafford: 285.5 yards

Again, you can bet on just about anything Sunday; over/under on the length of the national anthem, to start with. Just about anything.

Be careful with your money, please.