Friday’s Den: MAC football knowledge

Akron
— 8 starters back on offense, 8 on defense
— 96 starts back on offensive line; junior QB has 3 starts
— Last four years, they’re 7-35 SU
— Since 2019, they’re 5-21 ATS as an underdog.
— Last 10 years, they’re 3-9-1 ATS as a road favorite.
— 1-2 in bowls; lost last bowl 50-3, in 2017

Ball State
— 6 starters back on offense, 5 on defense
— 57 starts back on offensive line; junior QB has no starts, has thrown 34 passes
— Under coach Neu, Cardinals are 10-21 ATS at home.
— Since 2014, they’re 8-18 ATS as a home favorite.
— Last three years, they’re 18-15 SU, with +23 turnover ratio.
— 1-4 SU/ATS last five bowls, giving up 34 ppg.

Bowling Green
— 9 starters back on offense, 9 on defense
— 79 starts back on offensive line; senior QB has 17 starts
— have had six straight losing seasons (16-49 SU)
— since 2014, they’re 6-11 ATS as home favorites.
— since 2017, they’re 6-13 ATS as home underdogs.
— since 2016, they’re 17-28 ATS coming off a loss.
— lost four of last five bowls; their last bowl was in 2015. 

Buffalo
— 3 starters back on offense, 6 on defense
— 51 starts back on offensive line; soph QB had 6 starts at Rutgers
— 1-6-1 ATS in MAC LY (22-8-1 from 2017-20)
— Last three years, Buffalo is 0-5 ATS as a road underdog.
— favorites covered four of their last five bowls
— won last two bowls, 31-9/17-10

Central Michigan
— 7 starters back on offense, 4 on defense
— 69 starts back on offensive line; soph QB has 13 starts
— 20-13 SU last three years, after going 1-11 in ’18.
— McElwain is 35-19 ATS as a favorite
— Under McElwain, Chippewas are 10-3 ATS as an underdog.
— 1-4 SU/ATS in last five bowls (underdog in all five)

Eastern Michigan
— 8 starters back on offense, 6 on defense
— 123 starts back on offensive line.
— senior QB has 6 starts; one at Missouri, 5 at Troy
— last 10 years, EMU is 7-14 ATS as a home favorite.
— since 2016, they’re 20-5 ATS as a road underdog.
— lost last 4 bowls (3 of 4 by four or less points)
— EMU’s last bowl win: 1987.

Kent State
— 4 starters back on offense, 6 on defense
— 24 starts back on offensive line.
— junior QB has no starts; he threw 24 passes LY
— Last three years, they’re 17-14 SU; were 16-55 from ’13-‘18
— since 2012, they’re 9-2 ATS as a road favorite.
— last two years, they’re 0-6 ATS as a road underdog.
— lost three of last four bowls SU
— last two bowls: won 51-41, lost 52-38

Miami OH
— 9 starters back on offense, 5 on defense
— 72 starts back on offensive line; junior QB 25 starts
— under coach Martin, they’re 8-4-1 ATS as a home dog.
— Last five years, they’re 4-14 ATS in non-conference games
— once 2014, they’re 29-12-1 ATS coming off a loss
— split last four bowls SU, but covered all four ATS

Northern Illinois
— 9 starters back on offense, 9 on defense
— 90 starts back on offensive line
— senior QB has 22 starts, 13 of them at Michigan State
— 2-5 ATS last seven games as a home underdog.
— 9-4 ATS last 13 games as a road underdog.
— 10-6 ATS last 16 games coming off a loss.
— Lost last five bowls (1-4 ATS) giving up 45.4 ppg. 

Ohio U
— 5 starters back on offense, 9 on defense
— have 69 starts back on offensive line; soph QB has 11 starts.
— last three years, they’re 1-7 ATS as a home favorite.
— Since 2015, they’re 12-5 ATS as a road underdog.
— 5-10 ATS last 15 games coming off a loss.
— won last three bowls, by combined score of 98-27
— favorites covered their last four bowls.

Toledo
— 7 starters back on offense, 8 on defense
— 79 starts back on offensive line; soph QB has 7 starts
— 12-6 ATS last 18 games as a road favorite.
— last three years, they’re 4-9 ATS as a home favorite.
— 4-9 ATS last 13 games as a road underdog.
— lost last four bowls SU (were favored in last three)
— gave up 32.8 ppg in those four bowl games.

Western Michigan
— 4 starters back on offense, 7 on defense
— 75 starts back on offensive line; new QB this year
— one of their QB’s was a walk-on at Alabama LY
— since 2017, they’re 4-9 ATS as an underdog.
— since 2017, they’re 4-8-2 ATS as a road favorite
— since 2018, they’re 8-16-1 ATS coming off a win
— 1-3 SU last four bowls (3-2 ATS last five)

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

Our daily baseball is posted

Thursday’s 6-pack
Odds to win the Fed Ex St Jude golf tournament
11-1— Rory McIlroy
16-1— Cantlay, Scheffler, Cam Smith, Thomas
18-1— Xander Schauffele
20-1— Jon Rahm
22-1— Tony Finau, Matthew Fitzpatrick
26-1— Jordan Spieth, Cameron Young, Will Zalatoris

Quote of the Day
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
Steve Jobs

Thursday’s quiz
Brett Favre was a 2nd-round draft pick who played 20 years in the NFL; which NFL team drafted Favre?

Wednesday’s quiz
On the old Batman TV series, Burgess Meredith played the Penguin; he later played Mick, the boxing trainer in Rocky.

Tuesday’s quiz
When Kevin Durant was an NBA rookie, he played for the Seattle SuperSonics, the year before the franchise moved to Oklahoma City.

Thursday’s Den: Random facts on a summer day…….

13) St Louis Cardinals are on their 8th road trip this season (road TRIPS, not road SERIES)
— They’re 0-8 in first game of a road trip.
— They’re 8-0 in second game of a road trip.
— They’re 18-21 in all their other road games.

12) HBO’s Hard Knocks is most always fun to watch; lot of it depends on the team they’re covering, if they give good access to their more interesting personalities.

This year’s Lions’ coaching staff has over 80 years of NFL playing experience, which is kind of unusual. Playing/coaching take different skill sets; am looking forward to the rest of the shows, to see how much they focus on the current players, as opposed to coaches/front office.

11) Los Angeles Chargers haven’t won the AFC West since 2009; they’ve had five winning seasons the last nine years, but haven’t made the playoffs since 2018.

10) Odds to win the NFC East this year:
+140— Dallas
+150— Philadelphia
+525— Washington
+900— NJ Giants

9) Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera holds a major league record; he has 48 games with 4+ hits. 

8) There are 299 major league ballplayers with 1,000+ RBI’s. 

7) Miami Marlins scored 3 or fewer runs their last 10 games in a row. 

6) breakdown on Minnesota Twins’ pitcher Joe Ryan:
— last 5 road starts, allowed 24 runs in 23.1 IP
— last 5 home starts, he has a 2.83 ERA. 

5) Random fact: Andre Dawson was a Hall of Fame ballplayer; he hit 438 home runs playing for four teams, mostly Expos/Cubs. Despite batting righty and throwing righty, Dawson writes left-handed. These days, he owns a funeral home in Richmond Heights, FL. 

4) Washington Commanders haven’t won a playoff game since 2005, when Joe Gibbs was their coach; they’ve lost their last five playoff games.

3) In two years with Tom Brady at QB, Buccaneers are +18 in turnovers; the two years before he got to Tampa Bay, the Bucs were minus-31 in turnovers. 

2) San Francisco 49ers have four winning season the last 10 years; they made the playoffs in all four winning years- they went WWL in the playoffs all four of those years. 

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not):
NL: Mets, Cardinals, Dodgers. Wild Cards: Atlanta-Philly-San Diego
AL: New York, Guardians, Astros. Wild Cards: Toronto-Seattle-Balt/TB

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings……..

— Pirates-Arizona last night in the desert, a guy on Pittsburgh slides head-first into third base, and his cellphone pops out of his back pocket. Seriously, it did. In a major league game, a guy slid into third base and his cellphone popped out of his pocket.

Rodolfo Castro is the player; he is hitting .189 in a utility role. Would be some quality reality TV to listen to him explaining that to his manager.

— If you have HBOMax, there is a show on there, The Super Bob Einstein Movie, it is about the late actor Bob Einstein, who is best known for playing Super Dave Osborne on an old TV show, Super Dave. He also played Marty Funkhouser on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

The show is 75 minutes long; it is basically a short history class on TV comedy.

David Letterman. Rob Reiner. Steve Martin. Jimmy Kimmel. Jerry Seinfeld, they’re all on this show, talking about talented/funny Bob Einstein was as an actor/writer.

I’ve always been a big Steve Martin fan; he and Einstein were writers on the Sonny & Cher Show, back in the 60’s. Got to go to see the David Letterman Show twice in person in Manhattan.

If you like comedy, this show is well worth your time.

— So I’m in the studio audience for the Letterman show; while you’re waiting in line, they have you fill out a questionnaire, nothing too amazing. One of the questions was: Which celebrity do you look like? 

This was 35-40 years ago, before my hair fell out; friend of mine’s mother always told me that I looked like David Letterman, so I write that down on the questionnaire.

Before the show actually started, the announcer, Bill Wendell, did a warm-up so the show wouldn’t start with the audience half-asleep. I hear him say this:

“Two people in our audience claim they look like David Letterman; would Person A please stand up?”

I was horrified; wasn’t anxious to get booed by 300 people if they disagreed with my friend’s mother. Luckily, the first guy looked NOTHING like Letterman- he got booed.

“Would Biff Fischer please stand up?” I reluctantly stand up, to almost total silence, which was great. No one booed. I waved and quickly sat down.

Those two shows were great fun, to see how these did the tapings in person.

— Last year, six NFL teams played at 100% of their home capacity; Washington Commanders had only 64.3% of their seats bought for their eight home tilts.

Next lowest team was Detroit; they played at 79.9% of their home capacity.

— Speaking of the Lions the first episode of Hard Knocks was on HBO last night; this year they’re focusing on the Lions, which should be interesting. 

— HBO may have struck TV gold with Lions coach Dan Campbell; no idea how good a coach he is, but he is certainly an interesting guy, which makes for good TV.

At one point last season, after watching several Lions’ games, I was convinced that Campbell is insane; they tried an onside kick and a fake punt in the first 5:00 of a game in Los Angeles. No way anyone else ever did that before- they both worked, but it was still bizarre.

Brad Holmes is the Lions’ GM; he didn’t appear in the first episode last night. Before coming to Detroit, Holmes was Director of College Scouting for the Rams. Holmes is African-American; because of that, the Rams got a 3rd round draft pick when Detroit hired him as GM.

That 3rd round pick was one of the picks the Rams sent to Detroit when they acquired Matthew Stafford from the Lions.

— This is Jared Goff’s 7th year in the NFL; it is the third time his team is on Hard Knocks. He wasn’t on the show much last night; am curious to see how much he will be on in the remaining shows. Goff also came from the Rams; will that subject be brought up? 

— I was a big fan of the Showtime series Ray Donovan; until a year or two ago, I had no idea the narrator on Hard Knocks is Liev Schreiber, who starred in that excellent show. Got used to his voice having a Boston accent (Ray Donovan was from Boston).

— Was sad to hear that Olivia Newton-John passed away this week; she was a great singer, had several big hits. She was a big part of the soundtrack of my high school/college years.

Turns out her father was a British spy during World War II; her grandfather won a Nobel Prize for physics.

— This week in 1974, Richard Nixon quit as President, replaced by Gerald Ford. I remember this because my parents were getting the inside of our house done over; all the furniture from the kitchen was in our living room that day, a total mess.

While Nixon was on TV, resigning, 14-year old me was sitting on top of some cabinets that were usually in the kitchen. I had no idea of the significance of all that back then, but I was watching history unfold in front of me.

— This week in 1988, Edmonton Oilers traded superstar Wayne Gretzky to the LA Kings, which stunned the hockey world. Oilers had won the Stanley Cup four of the previous five seasons; they won it again in 1990, but haven’t won it since, making the Finals only once more (2006).

Gretzky was/is the greatest hockey player ever; no Canadian franchise has won the Stanley Cup since 1993. When he got traded, it was a very big news day.

— Also this week in 1988, the first night game at Wrigley Field happened. August 8, 1988, otherwise known as 8-8-88.

— Since 1900, most strikeouts in first 100 career starts:
812- Yu Darvish
766- Chris Sale
756- Shane Bieber

— Baltimore Ravens signed K Justin Tucker to a 4-year, $24M contract extension; you can make a strong argument that Tucker is the best NFL kicker ever.

— Few years ago, I’m sitting in the sportsbook in the Aria Casino in Las Vegas; two guys come in, one sits next to me, the other sits in front of him. 

We’re watching a college bowl game, making small talk. Early in the second quarter, the guy leans over and shows me his betting ticket; he had $3,200 on Team A to win the first half. 

Pretty sure the eyes popped out of my head when I saw the ticket “Wow, good luck man” was all I said to him. He won his bet; I think the team wound up losing in the second half, which did not matter to him, obviously, unless he also bet on the team for the whole game. 

When you’re in Las Vegas, every once in a while you’re reminded that this is the big-time.

— Bengals’ QB Joe Burrow hasn’t started practicing yet after his appendicitis, and his father says he might be out a bit longer. Burrow had the surgery July 27; the season starts in a month. Will Burrow he ready for the Steelers on September 11?

There are murmurs that this appendix surgery was a bit more serious than usual; no one is saying if his appendix burst or not. When he gets the OK to work out again, he will have to ramp up his conditioning. There is a thing where you’re not allowed to be hit for a certain anoint of time after an appendix operation. 

Cincinnati’s backup QB’s: Brandon Allen, Jake Browning, Drew Plitt.

— Good news for me and other Rams’ fans; Sean McVay has signed a contract extension, but the team isn’t going to officially announce it until GM Les Snead’s contract is also extended. Unsure what they’ll be making, but 100% sure that whatever it is, they’ve earned it.

— Seattle 1, New York 0 (13)
Cole-Castillo staged a classic pitching duel for seven innings.
Teams combined to go 2-22 with runners in scoring position
Luis Torrens got the walk-off hit in the 13th inning.

— Why would any politician vote against a $35 price cap for insulin for non-Medicare people? Why is this a good idea? Some people need insulin to stay healthy; this shouldn’t be a political issue, but as it stands now, it is one.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has a website, costplusdrugs.com which apparently has the lowest prices on meds anywhere. Check it out. 

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

— Peter Seidler owns the San Diego Padres; he is the grandson of Walter O’Malley, the guy who moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles back in the 50’s.

One thing I learned very emphatically as a kid; never, EVER say the name “O’Malley” in front of my dad, who grew up in Brooklyn and was a huge Dodgers fan.

I was 9 or 10 years old and I casually mentioned how moving the Dodgers to Los Angeles must have been a great move financially. I got a scowl and an earful on what a hideous, greedy person O’Malley was. My dad a pleasant, even-tempered guy, unless you mentioned Walter O’Malley. 

— There is M*A*S*H episode where Charles Winchester bets on the Dodgers to win the 1951 World Series; they had a 12 or 13-game lead in the National League, but wound up blowing the lead and losing a playoff to the Giants, when Bobby Thomson hit a walk-off homer.

I watched M*A*S*H reruns constantly in late 70’s/80’s; my dad walks in the room, listens to what this episode was about and says firmly “Turn that off” which I quickly did. It was actually a pretty good episode, unless you like the Dodgers. Charles Winchester always wound up losing. 

Like I said, my dad loved the Brooklyn Dodgers; he became an avid Mets fan, but by the time I was 12, I knew more about Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Ralph Branca than any young person in the 70’s needed to. 

— My reason for writing all this is two-fold; I’m wondering how my dad would react to the grandson of Walter O’Malley owning another big league team. Padres have a payroll of $211M this year; two years ago, before Mr Seidler owned the ballclub, it was $67M, so he isn’t afraid to spend money to help his team.

Too bad he didn’t buy the A’s. 

— My main reason for writing about this is that it reminded me of one of my favorite days, back in 1990 or so, when I took my dad to meet Ralph Branca at an autograph signing at Mohawk Mall, about eight miles from Armadillo World HQ.

It was a weekday afternoon and luckily, no one else was there, so I walked up to Mr Branca, said hello and introduced him to my dad, then stepped back and for 15-20 minutes, listened to them talk about the good old days— Ebbets Field, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Ernie Lombardi.

It was tremendous, like a reunion between two old friends who had never met. Like I said, it was one of the best things I ever did. I’m pretty sure both of them enjoyed it.

— Jacob deGrom beat the Braves 5-2 Sunday, striking out 12 in 5.2 IP, giving up two runs in his second start this season. He got 25 whiffs on 42 swings, which is a dominant performance. 

— Philadelphia Phillies honored their 1980 World Series title team Sunday; one of the biggest cheers was for Pete Rose, who hit 42 doubles for the Phillies that year, then hit .317 in playoff games/World Series.

I’d be in favor of Rose being inducted into Cooperstown, but no one asked me. 

— They did a cool thing Sunday on the Phillies’ TV broadcast, setting up a patio-type thing in the broadcast booth and bringing players from that team to the booth to reminisce. The parts that I heard were great; Greg Luzinski, Larry Bowa, Larry Christensen, Greg Gross; old friends getting back together to remember the good times and have a few laughs.

— Yadier Molina got his 1,000th hit at Busch Stadium this weekend; he and Yogi Berra are the only two catchers ever who had 1,000+ hits in one ballpark.

— Happy birthday to ESPN’s Lee Corso, who turned 87 this week; Corso has been a fixture on ESPN’s College Football Game Day since 1987. He is smart and funny and he is better on TV than he was a coach, but he was a pretty good coach.

Corso went 28-11-3 at Louisville in the early 70’s, parlayed that into the Indiana job, where things didn’t go so well (41-68-2). Indiana is a basketball school and from 1973-82, when Corso was there, it was REALLY a basketball school, the pinnacle of the Bob Knight era.

Corso bounced to Northern Illinois for a year, then to the USFL with the Orlando Renegades fr a year, but he found his true calling when he signed up with ESPN, where he’s been brilliant for 35 years.

Happy birthday!!!!

— Tampa Bay 7, Detroit 0— Game was scoreless after eight innings, Rays scored seven runs in the ninth inning. Somewhere, someplace, a person bet the under in this game, and probably came close to a nervous breakdown before the game finally ended under 8.5.

— Golfer Jerry Kelly won three tournaments in his PGA Tour career; these days he is cleaning up on the Seniors Tour, or whatever they call it now. Kelly won his third Seniors’ event of the year this weekend; he has won 11 Senior tournaments. 

He earned $352,500 this weekend in Calgary, has won $1,774,128 this season. 

How loaded are the Dodgers? Cody Bellinger bats 9th; he was the freakin’ MVP of the whole league in 2018, but his numbers hit the skids since then.

Hitting is a mental thing; Sunday he went 3-3 with two homers. If Bellinger regains his old form, the Dodgers will be monster when October rolls around.

Sunday night, ESPN showed clips of Bellinger playing in the Little League World Series 15 years ago. Time flies, man.

— RIP to Roger Mosley, the fine actor who played TC the helicopter pilot on Magnum PI; he was 83 years old. Mosley died after a car accident last week, surrounded by family; he was paralyzed from the shoulders down in the accident.

Mosley had 70 acting credits, including Semi-Tough, Rockford Files, Kojak, Baretta, McCloud and of course Magnum PI. Mosley and Larry Manetti appeared in an episode of Las Vegas a few years ago, when Tom Selleck’s character bought the fictional Montecito Casino.

He will be missed. RIP, sir. 

Monday’s Den: Our first look at Week 1 of the NFL regular season……..

Thursday game
Bills @ Rams
— Last three years, Buffalo is 16-7-1 ATS on the road.
— Bills are 12-2-2 ATS last 16 games where spread was 3 or less. 
— Buffalo is 10-3 ATS in last 13 games vs NFC teams.
— Buffalo won last three road openers.
— Bills are 5-3 ATS in last eight road openers.
— Bills are 7-5 ATS last 12 games as an underdog in road openers.
— Last two years, over is 10-4-2 in Buffalo’s road games.
— First game for Dorsey as Buffalo’s new OC.

— Rams won/covered last seven home openers.
— Under McVay, Rams are 5-0 SU/ATS in Week 1.
— Last three years, LA is 14-10 ATS at home. 
— Last two years, Rams are 2-7-1 ATS vs AFC teams.
— Under is 4-2 in last six home openers.
— Last three years, under is 17-7 in their home games.

— Buffalo leads series, 8-5
— Bills won last meeting 35-32, two years ago.
— Bills lost two of three series games played in LA (2-0 in St Louis)
— Matthew Stafford’s brother-in-law is WR coach for Buffalo.

Sunday’s games
49ers @ Bears
— Last two years, San Francisco is 6-4 ATS as a road favorite.
— Last three years, 49ers are 16-9 ATS on the road.
— Won last three road openers, scoring 31-31-41 points.
— Since 1994, they’re 2-8 ATS as a favorite in road opener.
— Under is 7-5-1 in last 13 road openers.
— Shanahan is 14-7 ATS vs AFC teams.

— Last four years, Bears are 6-9 ATS as a home underdog.
— Chicago started out 0-1 seven of last eight years.
— Bears won three of last four home openers.
— Under is 5-0 in their last five home openers.
— Last two years, over is 10-7 in Chicago home games.
— Since 2013, NFL coaches in their first year with a new team are 13-7-1 ATS as Week 1 underdogs.

— Teams split last six meetings.
— 49ers won 33-22 here LY, throwing for 322 yards.
— 49ers won three of last four visits to Chicago.

Patriots @ Dolphins
— 17-16 SU since Brady left; 4-5 ATS as a road underdog.
— Won/covered five of last seven road openers.
— Since 1998, they’re 6-1 ATS as an underdog in road opener.
— 6-6 ATS in AFC East road games since Brady left.
— Last two years, they’re 5-7 ATS in games with spread of 3 or less.
— New England is Week 1 underdog for 2nd time since 2003 (won 23-21 in ’16)
— Last six years, under is 31-16-1 in their road games.
— Who is calling plays now, with McDaniels off to the Raiders?

— Last two years, Dolphins were 12-5 ATS at home.
— Last four years, Miami is 10-7 ATS in games where spread was 3 or less.
— Last four years, Miami is 7-4-1 ATS in AFC East home games.
— Over is 11-2 in Miami’s last 13 home openers.
— Dolphins are 6-4 ATS in last ten home openers.
— Since 2003, Miami is 2-5 ATS as a favorite in home opener.
— First game for the new coaching staff in Miami.

— Third straight year these teams are meeting in Week 1.
— Dolphins won three in row, six of last nine series games.
— Miami won last year’s meetings, 17-16/33-24.
— New England lost four of last five visits to Miami. 

Saints @ Falcons
— Last five years, New Orleans is 18-8 ATS as a road favorite.
— Last four years, Saints are 10-2 ATS in NFC South road games.
— Saints lost four of last five road openers.
— Since 2010, New Orleans is 2-10 ATS in road openers, 0-6 if favored.
— Under is 4-2 in their last six road openers.
— First game for new HC Allen; first game since 2012 without Sean Payton.
— Last four years, NFL coaches in their first year with a new team are 0-10 ATS as Week 1 favorites.

— Last two years, Atlanta is 3-12 ATS at home.
— Last three years, they’re 4-8 ATS as a home underdog.
— Falcons lost last two home openers, after a 14-2 SU/ATS run.
— Since 1999, Atlanta is 7-2 ATS as an underdog in home openers.
— Falcons started out 0-1 five of the last six seasons.
— Last three years, under is 15-9 in Atlanta home games.

— New Orleans won seven of last nine series games.
— Saints won their last four visits to Atlanta.
— Road team won five of last six series games.

Ravens @ Jets
— Last year, Baltimore was 0-5 ATS as a road favorite.
— Ravens are 9-5 ATS in last 14 road openers.
— Last six years, Baltimore is 5-1 ATS in Week 1 games.
— Last 15 years, over is 10-4-1 in their road openers.
— Under is 10-6 in their last 16 road games.

— Last two years, Jets are 11-20 ATS as an underdog.
— Last four years, Jets are 11-13-1 ATS as a home underdog.
— Jets lost last four home openers (0-4 ATS), scoring 11.8 ppg.
— Jets started out 0-1 five of last six seasons.
— Under is 4-1 in their last five home openers.

— Ravens won nine of last 11 series games.
— Baltimore won three of last four series games played here.

Steelers @ Bengals
— Since 2017, Steelers are 14-7 ATS as a road underdog.
— Pittsburgh is 9-2 ATS last 11 games as an AFC North underdog.
— Pittsburgh is 4-1-1 SU in last six road openers.
— This is 8th straight year Steelers are opening on road.
— Their last five road openers stayed under the total.
— Last eight years, under is 42-18-3 in Pittsburgh road games.

— Last 19 years, team that lost Super Bowl is 4-15 ATS in Week 1 the next season.
— Last five years, Bengals are 7-11 ATS as a home favorite.
— Last three years, Cincinnati is 6-3 ATS in AFC North home games.
— Bengals lost four of last six home openers.
— Cincinnati started out 1-0 five of last eight seasons.
— Over is 4-2 in their last six home openers.
— Last three years, over is 19-11-3 in Bengal home games.

— Bengals won last three series games, all by 10+ points.
— Last time Bengals won three straight series games; 1989-90.
— Steelers lost last two visits here, 27-17/41-10

Browns @ Panthers
— Last 10 years, Browns are 17-64 SU on road.
— Last four years, Browns are 11-6 ATS vs NFC teams.
— Last three years, Cleveland is 7-12-1 ATS in games where spread was 3 or less.
— Cleveland is 3-0 ATS as a favorite in road openers.
— Since 2005, Browns are 0-16-1 SU in Week 1
— Under is 5-1 in their last six road openers.

— Last three years, Carolina is 15-34 SU
— Last three years, Carolina is 6-17-1 ATS at home.
— Last seven years, Panthers are 17-12 ATS vs AFC teams.
— Since 2011, Panthers are 7-4 ATS in home openers.
— Last eight years, Carolina is 5-3 ATS in Week 1.
— Under is 6-3 in their last nine home openers.

— Obviously, Baker Mayfield played for the Browns (2018-21; 30-31 W-L)
— Does he have any special insight into their schemes?
— Panthers lead series, 4-2
— Browns lost both visits to Charlotte, 20-12/17-13

Eagles @ Lions
— Last year, Philly was 6-3 SU on road, 3-5 at home.
— Last two years, Eagles are 2-5 ATS as road favorites.
— Eagles lost three of their last four road openers.
— Since 2005, Philly is 4-8 ATS as a favorite in road openers.
— Eagles started out 1-0 in nine of last 11 seasons.

— Lions were underdog in every game LY (3-13-1 SU, 11-6 ATS)
— Lions were 6-2 ATS LY as a home dog; (10-21-1 from 2012-20)
— Detroit lost its last four Week 1 games (favored in 3 of 4)
— Detroit’s last eleven season openers went over the total.
— Since 1999, Lions are 7-4 ATS as an underdog in home openers.
— Over is 9-3 in their last dozen home openers.

— Eagles ran for 236 yards, hammered Detroit 44-6 here LY.
— Lions won three of last four series games.
— Teams split last four meetings in the Motor City.

Colts @ Texans
— Colts went 20-13 SU last two years, with +24 turnover margin.
— Under Reich, Indy is 7-4 ATS as a road favorite.
— Last four years, Colts are 7-5 ATS in AFC South road games.
— Colts lost 10 of their last 12 road openers.
— Indy started 0-1 seven of last eight years.
— Over is 5-1 in their last six Week 1 games.
— Ryan is Colts’ 6th different starting QB the last six years.

— Last 10 years, Texans are 11-16-1 ATS as a home underdog.
— Last two years, Houston is 4-2 ATS in AFC South home games.
— Texans are 8-4 in last dozen home openers.
— Houston covered its last three Week 1 games.
— Over is 3-1 in their last four Week 1 games.
— Since 2013, NFL coaches in their first year with a new team are 13-7-1 ATS as Week 1 underdogs.

— Colts won five in row, nine of last 11 series games.
— Colts won last year’s games, 31-3/31-0.
— Indy won won five of last six visits to Houston.

Jaguars @ Commanders
— Last four years, Jaguars are 9-17-2 ATS as a road underdog.
— While HC in Philly, Pederson was 9-13 ATS as a road underdog.
— Last nine years, Jaguars are 6-31 ATS vs NFC teams.
— Jaguars covered four of their last five road openers.
— Jacksonville is 10-8 ATS as an underdog on road openers.
— Their last three Week 1 games went over the total.
— Since 2013, NFL coaches in their first year with a new team are 13-7-1 ATS as Week 1 underdogs.

— Last four years, Washington is 3-7 ATS as a home favorite.
— Last three years, Washington is 4-9 ATS vs AFC teams.
— Washington lost eight of last ten home openers.
— Since 2009, Commanders are 1-5 ATS as a favorite in home openers.
— Over is 7-4 in their last eleven home openers.
— Last two years, under is 12-4 in Washington home games.

— Washington won last four meetings, two of them in OT.
— Jaguars lost all three visits here, by 12-6-31 points.
— Jacksonville’s only series win: 2002.

Chiefs @ Cardinals
— Last three years, Chiefs are 20-4 SU on the road.
— Chiefs are 17-6-1 ATS last 24 games with a spread of 3 or less.
— Last seven years, Kansas City is 13-16-1 ATS vs AFC teams.
— Last two years, Chiefs are 6-8-1 ATS as a road favorite.
— Kansas City started 1-0 the last seven years, scoring 35.1 ppg.
— Chiefs won five of last seven road openers.
— Over is 7-3 in their last ten road openers.
— Last five years, over is 25-15 in Kansas City road games.

— Since 2016, Cardinals are 14-22 ATS in games with spread of 3 or less.
— Last 10 years, Cardinals are 18-13-1 ATS as a home underdog.
— Last three years, Arizona is 8-5 ATS vs AFC teams.
— Arizona won its last two home openers, scoring 30-34 points.
— Average total in their last three Week 1 games: 49.7
— Under is 7-3 in their last ten home openers.
— Last three years, over is 14-10 in Cardinal home games.

— Chiefs lead series, 9-3-1
— Home side won six of last seven series games.
— Teams split four meetings in the desert.

Packers @ Vikings
— Last three years, Packers are 17-8 SU on road.
— Last six years, Green Bay is 10-13-1 ATS as a road favorite.
— Last six years, Packers are 8-10 ATS in NFC North road games.
— Packers are 10-6-2 ATS last 18 games with spread of 3 or less.
— Green Bay is 4-7 ATS in last eleven road openers.
— Packers allowed 31+ points in four of last five road openers.
— Over is 7-2 in their last nine road openers.

— Over last decade, Vikings are 17-6 ATS as a home underdog.
— Last seven years, Minnesota is 12-8-1 ATS in NFC North home games.
— Last two years, over is 11-5 in Minnesota home games.
— Vikings won/covered six of last seven home openers.
— Last eight years, Minnesota is 5-3 ATS in Week 1.
— Under is 7-1 in their last eight home openers.
— Since 2013, NFL coaches in their first year with a new team are 13-7-1 ATS as Week 1 underdogs.

— Green Bay won four of last six series games.
— Teams split last four meetings played here.
— Average total in last four series games: 59.8.

Raiders @ Chargers
— Last three years, Raiders are 11-6 ATS as a road underdog.
— Last six years, Raiders are 7-11 ATS in AFC West road tilts.
— Raiders are 7-1-1 ATS in last nine road openers.
— Las Vegas won its Week 1 games five of last six years.
— Last 23 years, over is 14-8-1 in Raiders’ road openers.
— Since 2013, NFL coaches in their first year with a new team are 13-7-1 ATS as Week 1 underdogs.
— Last two years, Raiders are 18-15 SU, despite a minus-20 turnover ratio.

— Last 8 years, Chargers are 16-29-1 ATS as home favorites (4-3 under Staley)
— Last ten years, Bolts are 9-20-1 ATS in AFC West home games.
— Over was 8-3 in their games LY when Chargers were favored.
— Chargers covered once in last five home openers.
— Bolts started out 1-0 the last three years, giving up 17.7 ppg.
— Over is 14-5 in their last nineteen home openers.

— Raiders won four of last six series games.
— Raiders beat Chargers in OT in Week 18 LY, knocking them out of playoffs.
— Raiders split last six road series games.

Giants @ Titans
— Last four years, Giants are 19-10 ATS as a road underdog.
— Last three years, Giants are 3-10 ATS vs AFC teams.
— Giants lost 10 of their last 12 road openers.
— Giants lost last five Week 1 games, scoring 12.4 ppg.
— Since 2004, Giants are 6-9 ATS as an underdog in road openers.
— Since 2013, NFL coaches in their first year with a new team are 13-7-1 ATS as Week 1 underdogs.

— Titans have had six winning seasons in a row.
— Last four years, they’re 10-11 ATS as a home favorite.
— Last seven years, Tennessee is 17-11-1 ATS vs NFC teams.
— Tennessee lost six of last eight home openers.
— Since 2013, Titans are 0-5-1 ATS as a favorite in home openers.
— Under is 7-3 in their last ten home openers.

— Titans won five of last six series games.
— Giants lost three of four visits to Tennessee.
— Daboll was OC in Buffalo LY; they lost 34-31 in OT here LY

Buccaneers @ Cowboys
— Last two years, Tampa Bay is 7-8 ATS as a road favorite.
— Last two years, Tampa Bay is 3-6 ATS on artificial turf.
— With Brady at QB, Bucs are 2-0 ATS in games with spread of 3 or less points.
— Bucs lost last two road openers, 34-23/34-24.
— Over is 10-4 in their last fourteen road openers.
— Since 2013, NFL coaches in their first year with a new team are 13-7-1 ATS as Week 1 underdogs.

— Last four years, Dallas is 6-0 ATS as a home underdog.
— Last three years, Dallas is 6-10 ATS in games with spread of 3 or less.
— Last three years, over is 16-8 in Cowboy home games.
— Dallas won its last five home openers (4-1 ATS)
— Last three years, Cowboys scored 35-40-41 points in home openers.
— Dallas lost five of its last eight Week 1 games.

— Cowboys won seven of last nine series games.
— Tampa Bay (-9) beat Dallas 31-29 in LY’s season opener.
— Bucs lost last five visits here; their last win here was in 2001.

Broncos @ Seahawks
— Broncos started 1-0 in eight of last ten seasons.
— Last ten years, Denver is 24-15-2 ATS vs NFC teams.
— Last five years, Broncos are 5-6 ATS as a road favorite.
— Denver lost four of last five road openers.
— Under is 3-1 in their last four road openers.
— Last four years, NFL coaches in their first year with a new team are 0-10 ATS as Week 1 favorites.
— New coach, new QB, who is playing against his old team here. 

— Last ten years, Seahawks are 8-2 ATS as a home underdog.
— Last four years, Seattle is 11-5-1 ATS vs AFC teams.
— Since 2003, Seattle is 14-5 ATS in home openers.
— Under is 8-3 in their last eleven home openers.
— Seahawk trends reflect Russell Wilson at QB; he plays for Denver now.

— Russell Wilson (113-60-1) played the last 10 years for Seattle.
— Teams split last eight series games.
— Teams split last six meetings played here. 
— Teams were division rivals from 1978-2001

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday

13) I’m following my fantasy baseball team on the league’s CBS website; results of plays pop up on the screen, a good 3-4 seconds before I see the play “live” on TV (I have the baseball package on DirecTV). 

Not a complaint, just an observation. 

12) Phillies’ 1B Rhys Hoskins hit a home run in the first inning in their last three games; he is the first Phillies’ player to do that. Ever. 

11) Washington’s Patrick Corbin got knocked out in the first inning Saturday, second time that happened in his last three starts. Corbin has given up 21 runs in his last 10.2 IP. 

10) On July 8th, Bronx Bombers were 61-0 when leading in the 8th inning or later; since then, they’ve lost four times (9-4) when leading in the 8th inning or later.

9) White Sox ace Dylan Cease has gone 13 consecutive starts giving up 0 or 1 earned runs, the longest such streak in the last 100 years.

8) Baltimore’s Jorge Mateo is leading the American League in stolen bases (26), despite having a .215 batting average, an on-base %age of .266, which are terrible numbers.

Miami’s Jon Berti leads the majors in stolen bases, with 28. 

7) Mets 8-6, Braves 5-2— Mets sweep a twinbill at home, increase their lead in NL East to 5.5 games. Atlanta has a fairly solid hold on one of the NL’s three Wild Card slots. 

6) Dodgers 8, Padres 3— LA has won seven games in row, leads NL West by 14.5 games. As for San Diego, they lost their last three games by a combined score of 23-7. Padres would make the playoffs if they started today, but it is a very tight race. 

5) Last five years in the NFL, best records in division games:
25-5— Kansas City
23-7— Dallas, New Orleans
21-8-1— Pittsburgh
21-9— New England, Tennessee

4) Last five years in the NFL, worst records in division games:
9-21— Carolina, Denver, Jaguars, Giants, Washington
10-20— Cincinnati, Detroit
12-18— Arizona, San Francisco
12-17-1— Cleveland

3) Reds’ SS José Barrero didn’t have a home run in his first 47 MLB games; he had two homers Saturday night, his first two major league dingers.

Barrero is the second Reds player to hit his first two career HR in the same game; the first was Harry Steinfeldt on July 31, 1900.

2) Since 2008, most games where a pitcher induced 20+ swings/misses:
84— Max Scherzer
46— Chris Sale
40—Clayton Kershaw
39— Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not):
NL: Mets, St Louis, Dodgers Wild Cards: San Diego, Atlanta, San Diego, Philly
AL: New York, Twins, Astros Wild Cards: Toronto, Tampa Bay, Seattle

Saturday’s Den: Random stuff with the weekend here…….

13) Juan Soto got traded to San Diego this week; he wore #22 in Washington, but P Nick Martinez already had that number. Martinez said he would give Soto number 22, if Soto bought him a fishing boat.

Soto volunteered to buy Martinez a Rolex watch, which Martinez agreed was a fair price. If you are a marginal player, you really don’t want to tick off the newly-acquired star. 

12) Why did the Astros trade for Christian Vazquez? He started once in their first five games after Monday’s trade with Boston. Is he going to split time with Martin Maldonado? Is he going to be a backup? 

11) Astros 9, Guardians 3— Trey Mancini hit two homers in the first three innings; one of them was a grand slam. His first three hits for Houston were all home runs. 

10) This week is the 40th anniversary of when Joel Youngblood got two hits for two different teams on the same day, in two different cities.

Playing for the Mets, Youngblood got a hit against Ferguson Jenkins in Chicago in a day game; he was traded during the game.

He hopped on an airplane to Philadelphia, got a hit against Steve Carlton while playing for the Montreal Expos.

Jenkins/Carlton are both Hall of Famers, adding to the impressive feat.

9) Bad news/good for the Angels Thursday:
Good news: They hit seven home runs in a game vs Oakland
Bad news: They lost the game, 8-7. All seven home runs were with the bases empty.

Seven solo home runs is tied most all-time for a team in one game. 
Seven home runs in a loss also ties a record.

Teams are 113-6 all-time, when they hit 7+ homers in a game.

8) Since 2018, when Jacob deGrom starts, the underdog is 37-41 on the money line, good for a profit of $2,070 on a $100 bet.

7) Cubs-Cardinals will play two games in London next June.

6) Before he got traded to New York, Andrew Benintendi was 13 for his last 36.

Since his trade to New York, he is 2-24 (with 8 walks). 

5) Happy 82nd birthday to Roman Gabriel, who was the Rams’ QB way back when I became a fan in 1966. Rams made the playoffs in 1967, 1969; back then, it was way harder to make the playoffs than it is now. 

Gabriel was 74-41-6 as the Rams’ QB; he went on to play five more years with the Eagles. 

4) Miami Hurricanes had a team one year where the top three QB’s were:
Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde.

These days, two of those guys would’ve transferred. If I ain’t starting, then I’ll be departing.

3) Last two teams to win the Super Bowl were the #5 seed in the NFC, the #4 seed in the NFC. Last four years, only two of the eight Super Bowl teams were #1 seeds. 

2) Jacoby Brissett will be able to write a very interesting book someday. In his six-year NFL career, he has backed up these QB’s:
Tom Brady. Andrew Luck. Jimmy Garoppolo. Deshaun Watson. Tua Tagovailoa.

Brissett has a 14-23 record as a starter. 

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not):
NL: Mets, Mil/StL, Dodgers Wild Cards: San Diego, Atlanta, Mil/StL/Phil
AL: New York, Twins, Astros Wild Cards: Toronto, Seattle, Tampa Bay

Friday’s Den: Big X football knowledge

Baylor
— 6 starters back on offense, 6 on defense
— 119 starts back on offensive line; soph QB has 2 starts
— Aranda is is 5-2 ATS as a home favorite, 1-3 as a road favorite.
— Since 2017, they’re 28-19 ATS in conference games.
— Last four years, they’re 21-9 ATS coming off a win
— 4-1 SU in last five bowls (underdog in all five games)

Iowa State
— 5 starters back on offense, 3 on defense
— 66 starts back on offensive line; will be QB (have no I-A experience at QB)
— Under Campbell, they’re 18-9-2 ATS as an underdog, 9-3-1 at home
— Since 2018, they’re 9-13 ATS as a home favorite.
— 20-8-1 ATS last 29 games coming off a loss.
— lost three of last four bowl games.

Kansas
— 9 starters back on offense, 8 on defense
— 89 starts back on offensive line; both returning QB’s have 9 starts
— last 10 years, Kansas is 18-99 SU
— last three years, they’re 0-4 ATS as a favorite.
— Leipold is 12-6 ATS as a home underdog, 8-14-1 as a road dog.
— won 4 of last 5 bowl games, but their last bowl was 2008. 

Kansas State
— 7 starters back on offense, 7 on defense
— 50 starts back on offensive line; senior QB had 38 starts at Nebraska
— Last three years, K-State is 23-13 ATS
— Last three years, they’re 6-2 ATS as a home underdog.
— 13-6 ATS in last 19 games coming off a loss.
— won three of last four bowls; favorites are 4-1 ATS in their last five bowls.

Oklahoma
— 5 starters back on offense, 5 on defense
— 125 starts back on offensive line; soph QB had 25 starts at UCF
— New coach was the DC at Clemson.
— Last 10 years, they’re 107-24 SU
— Since 2015, they’re 26-16 ATS as a home favorite.
— covered five of last seven games as an underdog.
— average total in their last five bowls; 85.2.

Oklahoma State
— 7 starters back on offense, 4 on defense
— 55 starts back on offensive line; junior QB has 32 starts
— since 2015, they’re 0-3 ATS as a road underdog.
— since 2016, they’re 14-5-1 ATS coming off a loss.
— Coach Gundy is 77-51-5 ATS as a favorite.
— 4-1 SU last five bowls (5-0 ATS), scoring 32.6 ppg.

Texas
— 7 starters back on offense, 7 on defense
— 72 starts back on offensive line; QB’s have very little experience
— went 32-18 SU with Herman as HC; went 5-7 with Sarkisian LY.
— since 2014, they’re 5-10 ATS as a road underdog.
— In his career, Sarkisian is 9-18 ATS as a road underdog
— won last four bowls, were underdog in three of them

TCU
— 10 starters back on offense, 8 on defense
— 113 starts back on offensive line; junior QB has 29 starts
— Dykes is 71-63 SU, coaching three different schools.
— Last four years, TCU is 15-21 SU in conference games.
— since 2016, they’re 6-20-2 ATS as a home favorite.
— 2-8 ATS last 10 games as a road underdog.
— won 3 of last 4 bowls SU

Texas Tech
— 6 starters back on offense, 6 on defense
— 124 starts back on offensive line; junior QB had 11 starts at Oregon
— Last year was their first winning season since 2015.
— Since 2015, they’re 13-7-1 ATS as a home favorite.
— Last three years, they’re 4-7 ATS as a road underdog.
— Last five years, Tech was 4-5 ATS in Big X games every year.
— Last year was their first bowl since 2017.

West Virginia
— 7 starters back on offense, 4 on defense
— have 107 starts back on offensive line; all five starters are back
— QB is JT Daniels, who previously played at USC/Georgia.
— Last three years, WVU is 17-18 SU.
— Last two years, they’re 6-2 ATS as a home favorite, 0-3 as road favorite.
— Last four seasons, they’re 5-10 ATS coming off a win.
— 1-4 SU/0-5 ATS in last five bowls.

Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud……..

13) NFL preseason starts tonight; Raiders-Jaguars in Canton, OH at the Hall of Fame.

If you care about such things, under is 7-2 in last nine Hall of Fame games.

Also, Raiders coach Josh McDaniels grew up in Canton; he played his high school games on this field. 

12) Miami Dolphins got stripped of a 1st-round and 3rd-round draft pick, because they were tampering with Tom Brady, as far back as 2019. Pretty severe penalty.

NFL determined that the Dolphins tampered by making contact with Brady on two separate occasions while he was under contract with another team, once each (Patriots/Bucs). Miami also tampered with Sean Payton, before he resigned in New Orleans. 

11) NFL appealed Deshaun Watson’s 6-game suspension; apparently they want the suspension to be for a full season.

For what it is worth, Browns are favored in four of their first six games, even with Watson out. 

10) Tuesday afternoon, while the clock was ticking towards baseball’s trade deadline, ESPN was talking about the Dolphins’ situation, ESPN2 was talking about the NBA. ESPN doesn’t care much for baseball these days, that is for sure.

9) Kentucky-Gonzaga are going to play home/home series the next two years, which is good for  college basketball; only question is if the game at Gonzaga will be in the on-campus gym, or in the arena in Spokane. 

8) I’m either a moron or a jinx, not sure which:

In our fantasy baseball league, we have 29-man rosters; you play 13 guys each week, nine hitters, four pitchers. No relief pitchers in our leagues; saves isn’t a category.

Here are Brady Singer’s stats, broken down by when he’s been in/out of my lineup;
Singer in my lineup: 5 starts- 0-4, 6.00 ERA, 1.43 WHIP
Singer out of my lineup: 9 starts- 4-0, 2.82 ERA, 1.10 WHIP

Singer pitches better against better teams; it makes no sense. He threw seven shutout innings in the Bronx, and lost twice to the A’s. Go figure. 

7) San Diego Padres’ new lineup:
2— Soto
3— Machado
4— Josh Bell
6— Drury

Drury hit a grand slam in the first inning Wednesday. It is unclear where Fernando Tatis will bay when he comes off the IL, but San Diego has formidable lineup.

6) Last week, San Diego was 25-1 to win the World Series; now they’re 10-1.

5) All-Star Game was 16 days ago; since then, five All-Stars were traded.

4) Reliever Jesse Chavez has been traded 10 times in his 15-year career, an all-time record. His family must be very good at packing.

3) In case you were wondering, Detroit’s Mickey Lolich/Bill Freehan were the pitcher/catcher in 324 games, the most any one battery worked together in the big leagues. Lolich won 217 games in his career, threw 195 complete games. 

2) They showed a replay of Hank Aaron’s 715th home run on TV; it came against the Dodgers, and Vin Scully was announcing, as he was for so many big baseball moments.

Dodgers’ left fielder that night was Bill Buckner, 12 years before he became famous during Game 6 of the World Series. Buckner wound up with 2,715 hits in his 22-year career, a .289 hitter. He was a really good player who should well known for that reason. 

1) Washington Nationals have a 1B Joey Meneses who made his big league debut this week, at age 30. Before making it to The Show, Meneses played in 894 minor league games, batting over 3,500 times. He homered in his first MLB game; can you imagine how freakin’ awesome that must have been for him?

Wednesday’s Den: notes on NFC teams

Arizona Cardinals
— Since 2015, they’re 11-24 ATS as a home favorite.
— Last three years, they’re 12-3-1 ATS as a road underdog.
— Since 2016, they’re 14-22 ATS in games with spread of 3 or less.
— started 7-0 last year; went 4-7 from that point on.
— played one playoff game the last six years (lost 34-11)

Atlanta Falcons
— last made the playoffs in 2017; 25-40 SU since then
— Last four years, they’re 6-13 ATS as a home favorite.
— Last two years, they’re 2-8 ATS coming off a win.
— Last two years, they’re 7-2 ATS vs AFC teams
— Last three years, under 15-8 in Falcon home games.

Carolina Panthers
— last made the playoffs in 2017; last playoff win was in 2015.
— 10-34 SU the last three years (minus-27 turnovers)
— Last three years, they’re 1-8 ATS in NFC South home games.
— Since 2012, they’re 8-18-1 ATS as a road favorite.
— Mayfield will be their 5th different starting QB the last five years. 

Chicago Bears
— Last 11 years, Chicago is 0-2 in playoff games.
— Have one winning season the last nine years.
— Last two years, Bears are 3-9 ATS vs NFC North rivals.
— Since 2018, Chicago is 13-8-1 ATS in games with spread of 3 or less.
— Last three years, they’re 9-15-1 ATS coming off a loss.

Dallas Cowboys
— Last time they made playoffs in consecutive years: 2006/2007.
— since 2010, they’re 2-4 in playoff games
— covered last six games as a home underdog.
— since 2014, they’re 24-11-1 ATS on natural grass.
— were +14 in turnovers LY (minus-5 previous three years)

Detroit Lions
— 2016-17, Lions went 9-7/9-7, fired the coach- they’re 17-46-2 since then
— 0-9 SU in last nine playoff games; last playoff win was in 1991.
— Over is 17-6-1 in their last 24 home games.
— Were underdog in all 17 games last year (11-6 ATS).
— Last three years, are 4-7-1 ATS in NFC North road games. 

Green Bay Packers
— Last three years, are 39-10 SU (+37 in turnovers), but 2-3 in playoffs
— since 2012, they’re 1-5 SU in second playoff game of a season
— Last three years, Packers are 16-7 ATS as a home favorite.
— Last three years, Packers are 8-2 ATS as a road underdog.
— 10-6-1 ATS last 17 games with spread of 3 or less. 

Los Angeles Rams
— 55-26 SU under McVay (no winning seasons in previous 13 years)
— 15-8-1 ATS in last 24 games coming off a loss.
— Rams are 7-3-1 ATS last 11 games as a road underdog.
— They’re 23-17-1 ATS in last 41 road games.
— Last three years, under is 16-7 in their home games. 

Minnesota Vikings:
— Last 17 years, Vikings are 3-6 in playoff games.
— Since 2012, Minnesota is 17-6 ATS as a home underdog.
— Since 2017, they’re 12-7 ATS as a road favorite.
— Last 10 years, Vikings are 18-11-1 in NFC North home games.
— Last 10 years, favorites are 19-11 ATS in their NFC North road tilts. 

New Orleans Saints
— 47-18 SU last four years, with +23 turnover ratio.
— 14-6-1 ATS in last 21 games with spread of 3 or less.
— Since 2014, they’re 20-29-1 ATS as a home favorite
— Last four years, they’re 10-2 ATS in AFC South road games
— Allen was 8-28 coaching the Raiders from 2012-14. 

New Jersey Giants
— Last 10 years, they’re 0-1 in playoff games.
— Last five years, Giants are 22-59 SU.
— Since 2017, they’re 23-13 ATS as a road underdog.
— Since 2013, they’re 15-26 ATS as a home underdog.
— Last two years, under is 13-2-1 in their home games. 

Philadelphia Eagles
— Last four years, Eagles are 1-3 in playoff games.
— they’re 13-20 ATS last 33 games as a road favorite
— since 2012, they’re 9-14 ATS as a home underdog.
— 8-13 ATS last 21 games with spread of 3 or less.
— Last six years, they’re 14-22 ATS in NFC East games. 

San Francisco 49ers
— 33-32 SU last four years, despite minus-36 turnover ratio.
— last five years, they’re 5-9-1 ATS in NFC West home games
— Last three years, they’re 11-4 ATS as an underdog.
— under Shanahan, they’re 8-16-1 ATS as a home favorite.
— under Shanahan, they’re 15-10-1 ATS as a road underdog. 

Seattle Seahawks
— 7-10 LY, after making playoffs eight of previous nine years.
— Seahawks are 8-2 ATS last ten games as a home underdog.
— 11-5-1 ATS last 17 games vs AFC teams.
— Since 2012, they’re 33-18-3 ATS coming off a loss.
— In the NFL, Pete Carroll is 39-24-6 ATS as an underdog. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
— 24-9 SU in regular season with Brady at QB (+18 in turnovers).
— previous three years, they were 17-31, with minus-31 turnover ratio
— 3-7 ATS in last ten games on artificial turf
— From 2003-19, they were 0-2 in playoff games; last two years, 5-1.
— 8-2 ATS last ten games coming off a loss. 

Washington Commanders
— last 16 years, they’re 0-3 in playoff games.
— Last five years, they’re 31-50 SU
— Last three years, Commanders are 8-15-1 ATS at home.
— 8-4-1 ATS last 13 games with spread of 3 or less.
— Wentz will be their 5th starting QB the last six years. 

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

— Cleveland Browns’ QB Deshaun Watson got hit with a 6-game suspension Monday, so Jacoby Brissett will be the Browns’ QB when the season starts.

Cleveland plays division rival Baltimore in Week 7, Cincinnati in Week 8, the first two games Watson will be able to play.

Two sportsbooks posted Cleveland’s over/under win total at 9.5; another one posted 8.5. 

— Baseball trading deadline is Tuesday at 6pm; there was activity Monday.

Milwaukee dealt closer Josh Hader to San Diego; in return they got closer Taylor Rogers, two minor league prospects and injury-plagued P Dinelson Lamet.

Brewers also got P Matt Bush from Texas, for two prospects. 

Boston traded C Christian Vazquez to the Astros, for two minor leaguers.
Red Sox then traded P Jake Diekman to the White Sox, for C Reese McGuire.
Boston also acquired OF Tommy Pham from Cincinnati for a player to be named later.

Braves signed 3B Austin Riley to a 10-year, $212M deal; they also got P Jake Odorizzi from Houston (for P Will Smith) and acquired OF Robbie Grossman from Detroit. 

There was a 3-way trade; don’t see lot of those:
Orioles got two minor leaguers
Astros got 1B Trey Mancini
Rays got OF Jose Siri

Orioles were 52-110 last year, are in contention this year, but traded Mancini anyway; that had to be a difficult decision. 

Oakland purged two more players, trading P’s Frankie Montas, Lou Trivino to the Bronx, for four minor league prospects. Actually, JP Sears has a 2.05 ERA in 22 IP in the major leagues this season, starting twice in seven appearances. 

— If you have a kid who is athletic, have him learn how to kick a football:
New England signed punter Jake Bailey to a 4-year, $13.5M deal. 
Pittsburgh signed kicker Chris Boswell to a 4-year, $20M deal. 

— It is 83 degrees as I type this; it’ll be colder in November when the Maui Classic is played, though it still might be 83 in Hawai’i. Here are the Maui Classic first round matchups:
Texas Tech-Creighton
Louisville-Arkansas
Ohio State-San Diego State
Cincinnati-Arizona

This is a good tournament. 

— Hall of Fame ballplayer Stan Musial had 3,630 hits in his great career:
1,815 hits at home
1,815 hits on the road. 

— When the Red Sox beat Milwaukee 7-2 Sunday, rookie P Josh Winckowski got the win; it was the only win for a Boston starting pitcher the whole month of July- they had been 0-15 in their previous 29 games. 

Before Sunday, last time a Boston starter got the win was June 26 in Cleveland (Rich Hill).

— Pirates traded P’s Jose Quintana, Chris Stratton to St Louis, for two minor leaguers. 

— Bronx acquired reliever Scott Effross from the Cubs; their bullpen needs help, even they win just about all their games.

— Monday was the 36th anniversary of my first-ever visit to Las Vegas; August 1, 1986.

Drove in from Los Angeles; there was a sign on the highway in the desert; “Turn your air conditioner off or your engine will overheat.”

It was 112 degrees when we got to our hotel, a Motel 6-type place across the street from Circus Circus. A dry heat, but 112 degrees is 112 degrees.

Walking into a casino for the first time at age 26, my head was spinning; went up to the window to bet on the Mets against the Montreal Expos— for some reason I remember Floyd Youmans was pitching for Montreal. Told the guy my bet, try to hand him my money and he smiles:

“Nice bet buddy, but the game started an hour ago”

I never set my watch back three hours when I flew to California. Whoops.

There was a store in Caeser’s Palace that had a hat of every major league and NFL team hanging on the wall; that is when/where my hat collection started. 

We walked around a lot that day, despite the heat; Imperial Palace had a sportsbook where you could watch ballgames/horse races. I’m sitting there, 2.500 miles from home, watching races at Saratoga, which is 25 miles from my home. Brilliant. 

Anyway, it was a lot to take in; we wound leaving at 4am, when it had cooled down to 99 degrees but I was hooked. What an awesome place. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports weekend……..

13) Basketball great Bill Russell passed away this weekend, at age 88.

— He played 13 years in the NBA, won 11 championships; he had more championship rings than fingers to put them on.
— In his 13-year career, he missed the NBA Finals once.
— He also won two national titles playing in college, at San Francisco.
— He won an Olympic gold medal, in 1956 in Australia.
— Russell played in 10 Game 7’s in the NBA playoffs; he played 488 of a possible 495 minutes in those games, and grabbed 29.3 rebounds/game.

When I posted my top 15 basketball players of all time, I had Russell on my first team, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Magic Johnson. I still believe that. 

Russell did a lot of good work off the court too; it wasn’t easy to be in his position in the 50’s/60’s. I remember him working NBA games on TV after he retired; he had a great laugh.

RIP, sir.  

12) Since 2016, Washington Redskins/Commanders have started 11 different QB’s, the most of any team in the NFL. 

11) Today is August 1; Cleveland Browns have no idea who their quarterback will be in 41 days, when they open their season in Charlotte.

The decision of Deshaun Watson is expected to come down Monday, which should be a very interesting thing. If Watson gets a full year, do they trade for Jimmy Garoppolo? 

10) Jacksonville Jaguars signed a kicker named Elliott Fry, who has already spent time with eight other NFL teams. He is 3-4 on field goals, 5-6 on PATs in his NFL career. He also went 14-14 kicking FG’s for the Orlando Apollos in the AAF couple years ago.

9) Things I learned this week; if you own a golf course and you bury a dead relative near the first hole, it technically becomes a cemetery. Cemeteries aren’t taxed. Golf courses are taxed.

You can also charge people to view the gravesite.

Now, only a complete scumbag would do something like this, but it happens…….

8) August 1st and Mariners-Astros don’t play any more this season? Seems unusual for division rivals not to play in the last two months of the season.

7) Seattle ace Robbie Ray against the Astros this season: 

3 starts, 14 runs allowed in 10.2 IP. No bueno.

6) Pittsburgh Pirates have only 12 wins from their starting pitchers this season, the fewest by any team in their first 100 games since at least 1906. 

5) Rangers 5, Angels 2— Halos’ rookie Reid Detmers struck out 12 guys in 7 IP, also had an immaculate inning— striking out the side on nine pitches in the 2nd inning.

Detmers is the first pitcher since Mike Fiers in 2015 to throw a no-hitter and an immaculate inning in the same season. Weird thing is, Fiers was traded in between his immaculate inning and his no-hitter. He did those things for different teams. 

Another oddity; Detmers was sent down to AAA in between his accomplishments.

Last pitcher to throw a no-hitter and an immaculate inning for the same team in the same year was Sandy Koufax, in 1964.

4) Trey Mancini was credited with an inside-the-park home run last week, in a day game vs Tampa Bay. He hit a normal fly ball to right field, the RF missed the ball— it hit him in the face and bounced 30-40 feet away to his left. 

Here’s the thing: the RF had his sunglasses on top of his hat, instead of wearing them. This was an error all the way, a bad decision by the official scorer.

3) Pretty good field for the Myrtle Beach Invitational in November:

Colorado-UMass
Murray State-Texas A&M
Boise State-Charlotte
Loyola (Chi)-Tulsa

2) An “unnamed NFL assistant coach” was critical of Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes last week; it takes lot of balls to anonymously criticize one of the game’s best quarterbacks, without attaching your name to it.

Let us go to the numbers:

— five years in the NFL, Mahomes is 50-13 in regular season, 8-3 in playoff games.
— he won consecutive AFC title games, splitting two Super Bowls.
— 151 TD passes, 37 INT’s; pretty good numbers. Damn good. 

Lot of really good QB’s don’t have eight playoff wins; Mahomes is only 26 years old. 

Like I said, takes a lot of onions to criticize the guy, but if you do, you damn sure need to attach your name to it.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not):
NL: Mets-Brewers-Dodgers. Wild Cards: Atlanta, San Diego, Philadelphia
AL: New York-Minnesota-Houston Wild Cards: Toronto, Seattle, Tampa Bay