Tuesday’s Den: College football info from the MAC

— Last five years, Akron is 9-45 SU/20-34 ATS.
— Zips were 2-10 LY, but covered five of last six games. 
— 8 starters back on offense, 7 on defense
— 64 starts back on offensive line.
— senior QB; started 10 games LY, threw for 2,609 yards.
— Akron was 7-4 ATS as an underdog last year.
— last four years, Zips are 2-10 ATS outside the MAC.
— Zips are 1-2 in bowls in school history; last one was in 2017.

Ball State
— Ball State has one winning season (2020) the last nine years.
— 7 starters back on offense, 7 on defense
— 67 starts back on OL, three starters are back.
— senior QB started 12 games at Texas State, also played 3 years at Arkansas State.
— under Neu, Ball State is 10-18 ATS as a favorite.
— under Neu, Ball State is 4-11 ATS as a home underdog, 18-14 as a road dog.
— last four years, Cardinals are 17-14 ATS in MAC games. 
— Ball State is 1-8 all-time in bowls, 1-4 SU/ATS in last five.

Bowling Green
— Falcons went bowling LY, but have had 7 straight losing seasons.  
— 8 starters back on offense, 5 on defense
— 75 starts back on offensive line, are expected to improve.
— junior QB Bazelak started 29 games at Missouri/Indiana.  
— under Loeffler, BG is 7-12-1 ATS as a road underdog. 
— last three years, Falcons are 0-4 ATS as a favorite.
— since 2016, Falcons are 5-14-1 ATS coming off a win.
— Bowling Green lost four of its last five bowl games (1-4 ATS)

— Bulls were 11-14 last two years; they were 24-10 from 2018-20. 
— 5 starters back on offense, 5 on defense
— 55 starts back on offensive line.
— junior QB started 13 games LY, threw for school record 3,030 yards.
— under Linguist, Buffalo is 2-5 ATS as a home favorite.  
— under Linguist, Buffalo is 3-10 ATS coming off a loss.
— since 2013, Buffalo is 11-19-1 ATS as a road underdog.
— Buffalo won its last three bowls, after losing its first three.

Central Michigan
— Chippewas were minus-18 in turnovers in LY’s 4-8 season.
— 4 starters back on offense, 9 on defense
— 54 starts back on offensive line.
— unclear who QB will be: Bauer is more of a passer, Emanuel a runner. 
— under McElwain, Chippewas are 13-4 ATS as an underdog.
— under McElwain, Chippewas are 13-8 ATS as a favorite.
— Since 2017, Central Michigan is 19-13 ATS coming off a win. 
— Michigan is 1-4 SU/ATS in last five bowls; they were underdog in all five.

Eastern Michigan
— Eagles were 7-6/9-4 last two years, after going 32-61 from 2013-20.
— 4 starters back on offense, 7 on defense
— 58 starts back on offensive line; only two starters are back.
— soph QB Smith was 3-1 as starter LY, before he got hurt. 
— under Creighton, EMU is 7-16 ATS as a home favorite.
— under Creighton, EMU is 29-13-1 ATS as a road underdog.
— last three years, Eagles are 13-9 ATS in MAC games.
— EMU won bowl game 41-27 LY, snapping 4-game bowl losing skid.

Kent State
— Kent went 22-21 last 4 years; their coach bolted to be an assistant at Colorado.
— no starters back on offense, 4 on defense- maybe that is why the coach left.
— only 5 starts back on offensive line
— QB room added transfers from K-State/Purdue.
— new coach was RB’s coach at Minnesota the last six years. 
— last 10 years, Flashes are 7-3 ATS as a road favorite. 
— last nine years, Flashes are 19-26 ATS as a road underdog.
— Kent State is 1-3 in bowl games, with lone win in 2019. 

Miami OH
— Miami had +11 turnover ratio LY, was still only 6-7.
— 7 starters back on offense, 9 on defense
— 48 starts back on offensive line; 2 starters bolted to big $$$ teams.
— senior QB has 25 career starts.
— In nine years under Martin, Miami is 17-22 ATS as a favorite.
— Last six years, Miami is 17-23 ATS outside the MAC.
— Last three years, Red Hawks are 4-9 ATS coming off a win.
— Miami is 2-3 AU/5-0 ATS in its last five bowls.

Northern Illinois
— In four years under Hammock, NIU is 17-27 SU/22-22 ATS
— 8 starters back on offense, 7 on defense
— 117 starts back on offensive line- they’re supposed to be good.
— QB’s all got hurt LY; all three of them are back. Lombardi has 16 starts.   — under Hammock, NIU is 12-4 ATS as a road dog, 10-18 in all other games.
— Huskies are 8-5 ATS in last 13 non-conference games.
— Last three years, NIU is 2-12 ATS in home games.
— NIU lost its last seven bowls, giving up 45.4 ppg in last five. 
— Huskies’ last bowl win? 38-20 over Arkansas State in 2011.

Ohio U
— Ohio was 10-4 last season, after going 3-9 in 2021.
— 9 starters back on offense, 6 on defense
— 86 starts back on offensive line; they’re expected to improve.
— soph QB has started 19 games.
— since 2015, Bobcats are 13-7 ATS as a road underdog.
— since 2019, Ohio U is 7-12 ATS coming off a loss.
— Last four years, Bobcats are 4-10 ATS outside the MAC
— Ohio U won/covered its last four bowl games.

— Last three years, Toledo is 20-13 SU/15-18 ATS.
— 8 starters back on offense, 8 on defense
— 94 starts back on offensive line— 4 starters are back
— junior QB has 19 starts, was 2nd-team all-MAC last year.
— last four years, Toledo is 7-12 ATS as home favorites.
— under Candle, Toledo is 4-10 ATS as road underdogs.
— since 2018, Rockets are 11-20 ATS coming off a win. 
— Toledo is 1-4 SU/0-5 ATS in last five bowls- they beat Liberty 21-19 LY.

Western Michigan
— WMU was 5-7 last year, their first losing season since 2013.
— 8 starters back on offense, 2 on defense
— 81 starts back on offensive line.
— junior QB started 22 games at Old Dominion; LY’s QB’s also return.
— new HC Taylor was OC at Louisville last year.
— since 2017, Broncos are 5-8-2 ATS as a road favorite.
— since 2017, Broncos are 18-26-2 ATS in MAC games.
— WMU is 2-3 SU/3-2 ATS in last five bowls, after losing first six bowls.

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

— Angels 3, Blue Jays 2 (10)
Toronto won 2 of 3 games in this series; Angels were 1-28 with runners in scoring position.
Hunter Renfroe was 3-4 in this game, with a homer and three RBI.

— Orioles 9, New York 3
Baltimore scored six runs before they made an out.
Orioles lead the AL East by 1.5 games.

— Mets 5, Nationals 2
Justin Verlander won his 250th career game.
Mets are 6.5 games out of the last playoff spot.

— Next year, Max Scherzer is going to make a lot of $$$, from all different places:
$15M from Washington
$15M from Texas, who he will pitch for
$28M from the Mets……..$58M in all next season.

Interesting note on Scherzer; by moving from New York to Texas, he will pay roughly $3M less in taxes from now until the end of the 2024 season.

— Pirates 6, Phillies 4 (10)
Josh Palacios hit a walk-off home run on his birthday, the first major leaguer to do that since Andruw Jones, in 2010.

— Rockies 2, A’s 0— They had 31,789 fans in Denver for this game, first time in their last 16 home games the Rockies drew less than 36,000 fans.

Amazing support from their fanbase, considering the Rockies are such a cruddy team- they lost two of three this weekend to the lowly A’s.

Speaking of which……..
— Baseball trades:
Rockies dealt 1B CJ Cron, OF Randall Grichuk to the Angels for two prospects.
Cardinals dealt P’s Jordan Montgomery/Chris Stratton to Texas, for three prospects.
St Louis also dealt P Jordan Hicks to Toronto, for two prospects.

— Newly-acquired Noah Syndergaard will start for the Guardians Monday night in Houston. 

— Movie of the Day: Lost In Translation (2003)— A movie star on the down side of his career and a neglected young woman become unlikely friends after crossing paths in Tokyo.

Bill Murray is the actor, who is getting paid $2M to do whiskey commercials in Tokyo. Scarlett Johansson is the young woman; her husband is a photographer in Tokyo, but he goes all over Japan to do his work and leaves her behind.

After a few chance encounters in the hotel, Murray/Johansson end up spending much of their time hanging out together, each helping the other deal with their feelings of loss in their current lives. The friendship that develops between the two is unusual and complicated.

This is a fun movie to watch; Bill Murray is good as a serious actor, too.

— College Football Trend of the Day: In seven years under Kalani Sitake, BYU is 12-4 ATS as a road dog.

— With QB Joe Burrow banged up, Cincinnati Bengals signed another QB, Reid Sinnett, who most recently played for the San Antonio Brahmas of the XFL. Sinnett will the Bengals’ #3 QB in camp, behind Trevor Siemian and Jake Browning. 

Sinnett played college ball at U of San Diego; the Toreros, not the Aztecs. He was on the Eagles’ active roster for 10 games in 2021, but never got into a game. 

— Colts’ rookie QB Anthony Richardson has gained 11 pounds since the NFL Combine three months ago; early returns on the QB have been mostly positive, except for his struggles with accuracy, which is kind of important for a quarterback.

— Baseball players get hurt a lot:
Giants P Anthony DeSclafani (elbow) is on the IL
Texas P Nathan Eovaldi (forearm) is on the IL
Minnesota 1B Alex Kirilloff (shoulder) is on the IL
Angels’ OF Taylor Ward (facial fractures) is on the IL

Ward was injured when he got hit in the face with a pitch the other night.

— Giants 4, Red Sox 3 (11)
San Francisco is 7-2 in extra innings this season.
Since All-Star break, Giants are 9-7; in eight of the nine wins, SF scored the winning run from the 7th inning on.

— Mariners 4, Arizona 0
Luis Castillo threw six shutout IP, using 102 pitches.
Surging Seattle is 4.5 games out of the last playoff spot.

— Padres 5, Rangers 3
Blake Snell allowed one run in 5 IP, needing 101 pitches.
Snell has a 0.73 ERA in his last 13 starts; he is a free agent this winter. 

— If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL: Braves, Reds, Dodgers. Wild Cards- Giants, Brewers, Marlins
AL: Orioles, Twins, Rangers. Wild Cards- Rays, Blue Jays, Astros

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday……..

— Mets traded P Max Scherzer to Texas Saturday, after the pitcher waived the no-trade clause in his contract. Scherzer makes $43.3M a year; he is 9-4, 4.01 this season— he turned 39 earlier this week, but has already opted in with Texas for next season.

In return the Mets get Luisangel Acuna, a 21-year old SS who is Ronald Acuna’s brother. He is hitting .315 this season in the hitter-friendly AA Texas League.

— Dodgers 3, Reds 2
Max Muncy hit two home runs, knocked in all 3 LA runs.
Rest of the Dodgers were a combined 0-24 at the plate.

— Nationals 11, Mets 6
Joey Meneses scored twice, knocked in two runs.

— Cubs 5, Cardinals 1
Cubs won their last eight games, are 3.5 games out of first in NL Central.

— Braves 11, Brewers 5
Ozuna hit two homers, knocked in four runs.

— White Sox 7, Guardians 2
Clevinger blanked his old team for five innings.

— Royals 10, Twins 7
Minnesota is 54-52, still leads AL Central by 1.5 games.

— New York 8, Orioles 3
Aaron Judge homered, in his 2nd game back from his foot injury.

— Astros 17, Rays 4
Jose Abreu was 3-3, with 3 runs scored, 3 RBI

— Giants 3, Red Sox 2
JD Davis hit a walk-off homer for San Francisco. 

— A’s 11, Rockies 3
Oakland wins its 30th game of the year; unfortunately, they also have 76 losses.

— Padres 4, Rangers 0
Yu Darvish tossed six shutout innings.

— Los Angeles Angels have 16 guys on the injured list, the most of any big league team.

— Movie of the Day: This is Where I Leave You (2014)— After their father passes away, four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of other people who come to pay respects to their father.

Jason Bateman is the main character; his dad dies on the same day he finds his wife screwing around with his boss— a bad day. Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Corey Stoll play the other siblings, Jane Fonda is the mother who is a famous writer. 

Weird thing about this movie; my dad died in 2015— when I came home from the funeral, I put the TV on, and this was the first thing I watched, an odd coincidence. Very good movie.

— College Football Trend of the Day: Last two years, Indiana Hoosiers are 4-14 ATS as an underdog.

NFL notes:
— Denver Broncos have never beaten Patrick Mahomes (0-11)

— When the Lions visit Kansas City in Week 1, it’ll be the first time Detroit has played a game in Arrowhead Stadium since 2003.

— Cleveland Browns won their season opener 26-24 at Carolina last year; it was the first time since 2004 that the Browns won their first game of a season.

— Since 2004, Atlanta Falcons are 15-4 ATS in their home openers. 

— If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL: Braves, Brewers, Dodgers. Wild Cards- Rays, Blue Jays, Astros
AL: Orioles, Twins, Rangers. Wild Cards- Giants, Phillies, Reds

Saturday’s Den: Clearing out a cluttered mind……..

— Taulia Tagovailoa is Maryland’s quarterback; he is also Tua Tagovailoa’s brother. He says an unnamed SEC team offered him $1.5M to bolt the Terrapins this spring, to play for their team.

This is what college sports is becoming, teams poaching players left/right. Sam Hartman plays QB for four freakin’ years at Wake Forest, all of a sudden he bolts to Notre Dame. Why not just go to the NFL?

This isn’t good, college sports is becoming a cesspool. 

— One of my heroes in life is Chase Daniel, who has been a backup QB in the NFL since 2010.

He played college ball at Missouri; in his NFL career, Chase Daniel has:
started 5 games (in 13 years). He was 2-3 in those starts.
has thrown 9 TD’s, 7 INT’s total, in 13 years.
total $$ earned in his NFL career: $41,828,471

Seriously hope he becomes a broadcaster; he must have some great stories.

— Other night on the White Sox TV broadcast, former big league pitcher Steve Arlin’s name came up— Steve Stone was talking about him. Steve Arlin had an interesting career:

He is in the College Baseball Hall of Fame; he pitched at Ohio State.
He pitched a no-hitter in the minor leagues, for the Phillies’ AA team.
San Diego took him from the Phillies in their expansion draft, in 1968.

He pitched six years in the majors, mostly for the Padres in their expansion years.
He went 9-19 in 1971, 10-21 in 1972- the early Padres were terrible.

In 1972, he pitched a one-hitter and three 2-hitters; he had a no-hitter broken up with two outs in the 9th inning (by Denny Doyle).

He was later traded to Cleveland; one of the other players in the trade was Brent Strom, current pitching coach for Arizona, and the second guy to have Tommy John Surgery.

After his playing days, Steve Arlin was a dentist.

Arlin’s grandfather was Harold Arlin, the first broadcaster ever to call a game on radio, in 1921.

— Baseball trades:
Mets dealt P David Robertson to Miami, for two minor leaguers.

Dodgers acquired P’s Lance Lynn/Joe Kelly from the White Sox, for two minor leaguers and journeyman OF Trayce Thompson (Klay Thompson’s brother).

Astros acquired P Kendall Graveman from the White Sox, in exchange for a minor league catcher. 

— If you wager on Canadian Football League games, you already know that the Edmonton Elks have lost 20 consecutive home games, going 3-17 ATS in those games.

— Phillies DH/LF Kyle Schwarber has 11 first pitch home runs this year, most in the majors. 

— Movie of the Day: Draft Day (2014)— General Manager of the Cleveland Browns is told by the team’s owner “to make a splash” to create interest in the team. After trading for the number one pick in the draft, the GM has to choose between drafting a lower-ranked LB with a questionable past, or a celebrated QB with a questionable future.

Kevin Costner plays the Browns’ GM, Denis Leary is their coach, Frank Langella the owner. Jennifer Garner is the team’s salary cap analyst. 

NFL pushed back their draft that year to help promote this movie, but Radio City Music Hall wasn’t available at the later date, which is why they started moving the draft around America, which has turned out to be a brilliant idea.

— College Football Trend of the Day: Underdogs are 5-2 ATS in last seven New Mexico Bowls.

— Like to listen to podcasts about fantasy baseball, try to learn stuff,  but the one I listen to the most has turned me off a little lately.

They’re talking about Mariners’ rookie Cade Marlowe the other night, and the host of the show doesn’t even know what position the guy plays. Here’s a hint: positions are listed in boxscores, every freakin’ day.

Last year, they didn’t know that Cedric Mullins stopped switch-hitting and was batting lefty all the time. Stop going thru the motions; earn your money, if you want people to listen. 

— Super Bowl is in Las Vegas this season; that should be a low-key event. 

— Cubs 3, Cardinals 2— Mike Tauchman robbed a home run to end the game; would’ve been a walk-off homer. Cubs have won seven games in a row.

— Red Sox 3, Giants 2— Boston is only 1.5 games out of the last Wild Card spot.

— Padres 7, Rangers 1— Joe Musgrove tossed six shutout IP.

— A’s 8, Rockies 5— Shea Langeliers doubled and tripled for Oakland.

— Mariners 5, Arizona 2— Seattle scored four runs in top of the first.

— Orioles 1, New York 0— Anthony Santander hit a 9th inning home run.

— Royals 8, Twins 5 (10)— Bobby Witt Jr hit a walk-off grand slam. 

Friday’s Den: Random stuff on a summer day……..

Long time ago, one of the best teachers I ever had in high school was really smart:

He was a licensed pilot.
He was a licensed pharmacist.
He was a basketball referee.
He was a high school Chemistry teacher.

After we took tests, he would walk around the room returning the papers; if you did badly, a sarcastic remark or a sneer would accompany the paper. If you did well, silence.

He was a very good teacher, so much so that I tried harder in that class that in any other class I ever had— I didn’t handle sarcastic remarks very well. LOL

He said two words that year that I had never heard before:

busywork and nonsensical— he said nonsensical a lot.

He didn’t give us much homework: “If I give you homework, it is important. I’m not going to give you busywork.” He gave us homework  once a week, maybe less.

My reason for telling you all this is that it is NONSENSICAL that in baseball, teams that are local rivals are only playing each other four times this season. 

A’s-Giants, Dodgers-Angels, Mets-Bronx, Cubs-White Sox. 

The energy at these games is palpable, the crowds much bigger. Since when do the geniuses that run MLB turn down extra money? It is nonsensical.

Baseball needs geographic re-alignment; maybe it’ll happen when they expand to 32 teams in a few years, but it would help the financial bottom line a lot, and that makes sense.

— Shohei Ohtani is really good at baseball:
Angels 6, Detroit 0— Ohtani threw a complete game, 1-hit shutout.

Angels 11, Detroit 4— Ohtani hit two homers, knocked in three runs.

Last time a guy tossed a shutout and hit two homers on the same day?
Sonny Siebert, way back in 1971— he did it in the same game, back when pitchers hit.

Baseball trades:
— Angels acquired P’s Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez from White Sox for two minor leaguers.

— Milwaukee acquired 1B Carlos Santana from Pittsburgh, for 18-year-old SS Jhonny Severino

— Dodgers traded P Noah Syndergaard to Cleveland for SS Amed Rosario. 

— Amazing baseball stat; San Diego P Blake Snell is having a very good season. He has a 2.61 ERA in 21 starts, with 147 strikeouts in 114 IP. He is a free agent after this season, but there is this caveat for potential suitors: 

In 21 starts this season, Blake Snell has gotten only 3 outs ALL SEASON after the 6th inning. He’s finished the 6th inning in 11 of 21 starts— not great. He’s finished 7 innings once.

Aces are supposed to be really good pitchers, but they’re also supposed to take the strain off the bullpen that night. Pitching 5 or 6 innings doesn’t do that. Snell is going to break the bank this winter; I’m just not sure signing him will be a good value.

— Another weird baseball stat: Chris Bassitt has started 22 games for Toronto this year- they’re 13-9 in those games, but Blue Jays scored 6+ runs in 5 of the 22 games— they’re 0-5 in those games, which makes absolutely no sense. Nonsensical, you might say. 

— Broncos coach Sean Payton went out of his way this week to rip former Denver coach Nathaniel Hackett, calling Hackett’s coaching job last year “one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL” Alrighty then.

Maybe this is Payton’s way of getting in good with his new QB, Russell Wilson. 

Hackett works as offensive coordinator for the Jets now; you may have heard, they have a new QB this season, Aaron Rodgers.

Jets visit Denver in Week 5; that should be interesting. 

— Mets are 10-24 this season vs left-handed starting pitchers; would they be looking to add a right-handed bat at the trade deadline?

— Cincinnati Reds are 3-9 in their last 12 games against Milwaukee; they’re 32-9 in their last 41 games against everyone else.

Since All-Star break, Reds are 0-6 in games where game-winning run scored from the 7th inning on.

— Tampa Bay is 3-9 in its last 12 home games; they were 34-10 in their first 44 home games. 

— Movie of the Day: Heaven Can Wait (1978)— An NFL quarterback, accidentally taken away from his body by an overanxious angel before he was meant to die, returns to life in the body of a recently murdered millionaire. You have to use your imagination a little with this one.

Warren Beatty is the QB, Jack Warden the team’s trainer. James Mason is the supervisor of the angels. Oh yeah, the guy played for the Rams, back when the Rams made the playoffs every year, but had never been in a Super Bowl. A few actual LA Rams are in the movie, as are Dyan Cannon, Charles Grodin, Julie Christie.

To say that I loved this movie is an understatement; I still have the actual movie poster from the theater it played in. For a long time, I thought it was the only time I would ever see the Rams win a Super Bowl. 

— College Football Trend of the Day: since 2018, UCLA is 6-12 ATS as a home favorite. 

— Oregon signed football coach Dan Lanning to a contract extension; he now makes $45M over the next six seasons, all totally guaranteed.

Should Lanning want to leave Eugene for another job, he would owe Oregon a $20M buyout. 

— Turn back the clock to August 12, 1987; back then, the trade deadline was August 31, and Detroit needed a pitcher for the stretch run, so they traded a minor leaguer to the Braves for Doyle Alexander, who went 9-0, 1.53 for the Tigers down the stretch, and they made the playoffs. Great trade for Detroit, right?

Well………the minor league pitcher they traded was John Smoltz. 

Sometimes it takes years to properly evaluate a trade. 

Thursday’s Den: ACC football knowledge for this fall

Boston College
— BC was 3-9 last year, their worst season since 2015.
— 9 starters back on offense, 6 on defense
— 137 starts back on offensive line- expected to be much better.
— soph QB started 4 games LY: other QB transferred to Pitt.
— under Hafley, Eagles are 4-7 ATS as a favorite.
— since 2017, BC is 14-5-1 ATS as a home underdog.
— BC had 2 of last three bowls cancelled (2018/2021)
— Eagles lost last two bowls 27-20/38-6; their last bowl win was 2016. 

— Last 10 years, Clemson is 121-18 SU.
— 7 starters back on offense, 8 on defense
— 99 starts back on OL, with four returning starters.
— soph QB threw 100 passes LY, but started only once.
— since 2020, Tigers are 8-11 ATS as a home favorite.
— last five years, Clemson is 30-12-1 ATS in ACC games.
— last two years, Clemson is 2-8 ATS out of conference
— Clemson lost three of its last four bowls SU.

— Duke was 9-4 LY, after going 10-24 from 2019-21.
— 10 starters back on offense, 8 on defense
— 122 starts back on offensive line, with 4 starters back
— junior QB has started 14 games.
— last two years, Blue Devils are 6-0 ATS as home favorites. 
— last three years, Duke is 4-8 ATS as a road underdog. 
— weird stat; last 10 years, Duke is 33-10 ATS outside the ACC.
— Duke won/covered its last four bowls; last bowl loss was in 2014. 

Florida State
— FSU went 10-3 last year; from 2018-21, Seminoles were 19-27.
— 8 starters back on offense, 9 on defense
— 206 starts back on offensive line; an extremely experienced OL.
— senior QB has 26 career starts.
— since 2014, FSU is 20-28 ATS as a home favorite.  
— in his career, Norvell is 13-6 ATS as aa road favorite.
— Florida State won three of its last four bowls SU.  

Georgia Tech
— Tech has had 4 straight losing seasons (14-32 SU/17-28-1 ATS)
— 5 starters back on offense, 7 on defense
— 66 starts back on offensive line; 4 starters are back
— Tech’s head coach Key was on OL coach at Alabama.
— soph QB started 7 games in 3 years at Texas A&M.
— since 2018, Tech is 3-11-1 ATS as home favorites.
— since 2015, GT is 2-10 ATS as a road favorite.  
— since 2018, Tech is 4-14 ATS outside the ACC. 
— Tech is 3-2 in last five bowls; their last bowl was in 2018. 

— New coach Brohm played QB at Louisville from 1989-93.
— Brohm is 66-44 SU as a HC, at Western Kentucky/Purdue
— 6 starters back on offense, 7 on defense
— 150 starts back on offensive line
— senior QB Plummer threw for 3,095 yards at Cal LY.  
— in his coaching career, Brohm is 25-16-1 ATS as an underdog.
— since 2019, Cardinals are 12-6 ATS as a home favorite.
— since 2019, Louisville is 15-7-1 ATS coming off a loss.
— Louisville is 2-3 in its last five bowls.

— Miami was 5-7 LY, their first losing season since 2014.
— 9 starters back on offense, 10 on defense
— 120 starts back on offensive line; should be much better TY.
— junior QB has 18 career starts.
— since 2017, Miami is 13-21 ATS as a home favorite.
— In his career, Cristobal is 14-26-2 ATS as a home favorite.
— last four years, Miami is 7-3 ATS as a road underdog.
— Miami lost its last six bowls; their last bowl win was in 2016.

North Carolina
— UNC is 30-22 last 4 years under Mack Brown (5-18 the 2 years before that)
— 9 starters back on offense, 8 on defense
— 137 starts back on offensive line.
— soph QB Maye started 14 games LY, is a Heisman contender.
— last three years, Tar Heels are 1-7-1 ATS as a road favorite.
— since 2018, UNC is 5-2 ATS as a home underdog.
— last two years, Carolina is 7-10 ATS in ACC games.
— UNC lost its last three bowls, giving up 35.7 ppg.

NC State
— Last three years, Wolfpack was 25-12 SU/19-18 ATS
— 7 starters back on offense, 5 on defense
— 63 starts back on offensive line.
— New QB Armstrong started 30 games at Virginia; he’s good.
— under Doeren, State is 9-17-2 ATS as a road underdog.
— last three years, Wolfpack is 7-3 ATS coming off a loss.
— last five years, NC State is 18-23-1 ATS in ACC games.
— NC State lost its last three bowls; their last bowl win was 2017.

— Last two years, Panthers were 20-7 SU/16-11 ATS.
— 7 starters back on offense, 5 on defense
— 84 starts back on offensive line; 3 starters are back.
— senior QB Jurkovec started 24 games at Boston College
— Pitt hosts Boston College on November 16.
— Last four years, Panthers are 8-12-1 ATS as a home favorite.
— Under Narduzzi, Pitt is 14-3 ATS as a road favorite.
— Pitt split its last four bowls; 3 of the 4 were decided by 4 or less points.
— Underdogs covered four of their last five bowls. 

— Syracuse was 7-6 LY, their 2nd winning season since 2014.
— 7 starters back on offense, 7 on defense
— 47 starts back on offensive line.
— senior QB has started 21 games.
— since 2018, Syracuse is 9-5 ATS as home favorites.
— last 10 years, Syracuse is 7-2 ATS as a road favorite.
— last two years, Orange are 9-3 ATS coming off a win.
— Syracuse won four of its last five bowls (were favored in 1 of 5 games).

— Virginia was 3-7 LY, after being 28-21 the previous four years.
— 5 starters back on offense, 8 on defense
— only 17 starts back on offensive line.
— new QB is a I-AA transfer; 3-year starter Armstrong bolted to NC State.
— NC State visits Charlottesville September 22.
— last 3 years, Cavaliers are 10-4 ATS coming off a win.
— since 2020, Virginia is 15-9 ATS in ACC games.
— Virginia lost three of last four bowls; last bowl win was in 2018.

Virginia Tech
— Tech has had 3 straight losing years; 14-21 SU/13-22 ATS.
— 7 starters back on offense, 7 on defense
— 53 starters back on offensive line.
— junior QB Wells started 11 games LY; Baylor transfer Drones is more of a runner.  
— since 2019, Hokies are 7-10 ATS as a home favorite.
— since 2016, Tech is 5-14 ATS as a road favorite.
— last 3 years, Tech is 1-11 ATS coming off a win.
— Hokies lost their last four bowls, giving up 39 ppg.
— Tech’s last bowl win was in 2016. 

Wake Forest
— 4-year starting QB Hartman bolted to Notre Dame (45 starts).
— Wake Forest was 19-8 SU the last 2 years; why would he leave?
— 5 starters back on offense, 6 on defense
— 62 starts back on offensive line.
— whoever the new QB is has big shoes to fill.
— since 2017, Deacons are 17-9 ATS as a home favorite.
— last four years, Wake is 7-4 ATS as an underdog
— In his career, Clawson is 31-21 ATS as a road underdog.
— Wake won bowl games the last two years, 38-10/27-17.

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings……..

— LA Chargers signed QB Justin Herbert to a 5-year, $262.5M contract extension; the extension includes a no-trade clause, $133.7M in full guarantees, $193.7M in injury guarantees. He is now signed thru the 2029 season. 

— Houston Texans and first round pick C.J. Stroud reached agreement on a fully guaranteed four-year, $36.3M rookie contract. Texans are hoping that QB Stroud and new coach DeMeco Ryans will give the franchise some much-needed stability.

— Dodgers 8, Blue Jays 7 (10)
Toronto led 7-3 in ninth inning
Mookie Betts threw a runner out at plate from RF in 10th inning
James Outman walked it off with a 10th inning double.
Horrific loss for the Blue Jays.

— Dodgers acquired SS/OF Kike Hernandez from Boston, in exchange for two minor leagues pitchers. Red Sox will pay $2.5M of the $3.5M Hernandez has left on his contract this year.

— Phillies 4, Orioles 3
Phillies scored twice in 9th inning for the comeback win.
Stott’s double tied the game; Bohm’s single was the game-winner.

— Mariners 9, Twins 7
Minnesota led this game 6-2 after seven innings.
Eugenio Suarez had the game-winning double in the 9th inning.
Julio Rodriguez homered twice for the Mariners.

— Astros 4, Rangers 3
JP France allowed one (unearned) run in 7 IP.
Houston is only a game behind Texas in the AL West.

— Angels 7, Tigers 6 (10)
Detroit tied this game with four runs in ninth inning
Mickey Moniak had the game-winning double for the Halos.

— Guardians 5, Royals 1
Bo Naylor homered twice for Cleveland.
Aaron Civale tossed eight IP on only 93 pitches.

— Movie of the Day— The Rookie (2002)— Real-life story of Jim Morris, a high school baseball coach in Texas who tried out for the Tampa Bay Rays at age 35, and amazingly made it to the major leagues for a little while, as a lefty reliever.

Dennis Quaid plays Morris; Brian Cox is his father— they didn’t get along too well when Morris was growing up- the father was in the military, so the family moved a lot. 

The scene where the Rays’ AAA manager tells Morris he is going up to the majors for the first time is excellent.

— College Football Trend of the Day: Under Jeff Tedford, Fresno State is 10-3-1 ATS as a road underdog. Tedford was Aaron Rodgers’ coach with the Cal Bears.

— This season is the first time since 2009 that the Texas Longhorns are picked to win the Big X in football, their last season there before they bolt to the SEC with Oklahoma.

  Tennessee Titans will wear Houston Oiler throwback uniforms in two games this season; hopefully not when they play the Texans (weeks 15/17). That would be confusing. Oilers moved to Tennessee in 1997; the Houston Texans started playing in 2002.

— Kansas/North Carolina signed up for a home/home college basketball series starting this fall, with both games in the campus arenas, which is unusual.

— Sometimes late at night I watch old game shows on TV; was watching Password Plus from 1979 the other day. They give five clues and the contestant has to guess the answer based on those five clues. If he/she gets it, they earned $5,000. Remember, this was in 1979, 

This is how much the world has changed since 1979; on this particular answer, the person got it after the third hint. There is no way these hints would be given in 2023:

1st hint— skinny
2nd hint— Jewish
3rd hint— black

The contestant quickly laughed and said “Sammy Davis Jr” which was the right answer, but could you imagine those clues being given on TV in politically correct 2023?

— if the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):

NL: Braves, Brewers, Dodgers. Wild Cards— Reds, Arizona, Giants
AL: Orioles, Twins, Rangers. Wild Cards— Rays, Astros, Jays

— Get well soon to Bronny James, Lebron James’ 18-year old son; he suffered cardiac arrest during a basketball workout Monday. Bronny James will be a freshman at USC this fall; he’s been released from the intensive care unit in stable condition. 

Tuesday’s Den: NFL trends on a summer day

— Arizona
Last 10 years, Cardinals are 9-20-1 ATS in NFC West home games.
Last 10 years, Cardinals are 19-10-1 ATS in NFC West road games.

— Atlanta
Under Smith, Falcons are 5-10-2 ATS at home.
Under Smith, Falcons are 11-7 ATS on road. 

— Baltimore
John Harbaugh’s first five years: 54-26 in regular season, 9-4 in playoffs
John Harbaugh’s last ten years: 92-70 in regular season, 2-5 in playoffs

— Buffalo
Last four years, Bills are 8-2-1 ATS as a road underdog.
Under McDermott, under is 28-19-2 Buffalo road games.

— Carolina
Last five years, Panthers have had five different #1 QB’s; this year will be #6.
Last seven years, Carolina is 46-68 SU, 0-1 in playoff games.

— Chicago
Last four years, Bears are 13-18-1 ATS at home.
Last two years, Bears are 5-11-1 ATS on the road.

— Cincinnati
Last three years, Bengals are 16-7 ATS as a favorite.
Last four years, Bengals are 8-4 ATS in NFC North home games.

— Movie of the Day: Before We Go (1988)— Two strangers stuck in Manhattan for the night become each other’s most trusted confidants when an evening of unexpected adventure forces them to confront their fears and take control of their lives.

Never heard of anyone in this movie; the guy who stars in it (Chris Evans) was also the director.

Pretty good movie that I stumbled upon on Amazon Prime late one night.

— College Football Trend of the Day: In two years under Josh Heupel, Tennessee is 11-4 ATS as a favorite.

— Cleveland
Under Stefanski, Browns are 10-16-4 ATS as a favorite.
Last 10 years, Cleveland is 4-10 ATS as a road favorite.

— Dallas
Last three years, Cowboys are 18-10 ATS at home.
Last six years, Dallas is 14-4 ATS in NFC East home games.

— Denver
Last six years, Broncos are 7-18-3 ATS as a home favorite.
Last five years, under is 26-15 in Denver home games.

— Detroit
Lions were 9-8 last year; from 2018-21, they were 17-46-2.
From 2014-17, Lions went 36-28 under Jim Caldwell, but they fired him; why?

— Green Bay
Last four years, Packers are 13-4 ATS coming off a loss.
Last five years, Green Bay is 12-8-1 ATS if spread was 3 or fewer points.

— Houston
This year, Texans will have 7th #1 QB in 11 years; they’ve had four head coaches the last four year.
Last two years, Houston was 7-26-1 SU, despite a +2 turnover ratio. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Sunday

I like to stay up late and sleep late; makes writing this blog a lot easier, but it creates a problem when people go door-to-door selling stuff, whether it be products, politics or in this case, their religious beliefs.

10:45 Saturday morning, my doorbell rings; I am sound asleep. For some misguided reason, I go to the door with no glasses on, 75% asleep and I answer the door. Two women and a little girl are standing there— one woman starts saying something about the pamphlet she is trying to hand me. I am leaning against the wall, trying to be polite.

To say that I looked hideous would be an understatement; t-shirt, gym shorts, disheveled hair, but at least I was polite, and I took the brochure and said goodbye, and went back to sleep.

These people are Jehovah’s Witnesses and I still don’t know exactly what they wanted— there were several groups of them going up our street. Looking at their brochure, guess they were recruiting people to join their parish, or whatever they call it.

Could have been worse; they could’ve been freakin’ politicians.

— Orioles 5, Rays 3
Baltimore goes to St Pete and wins three of four from the Rays.
Orioles lead AL East by two games, four in loss column.
Tampa Bay is 4-14 in July, tied for worst mark in MLB.

— Twins 5, White Sox 4 (12)
Chicago led this game 3-0 in ninth inning.
Twins had lost 313 games in a row when they trailed by 3+ runs in 9th inning. 313.
Minnesota leads AL Central by 2 games over Cleveland.

— Phillies 8, Guardians 5 (10)
Bryce Harper had the game-winning hit.
Harper scored two runs, knocked in two more.
Phillies stole five bases.

— Red Sox 6, Mets 1
Boston’s starting pitcher has finished the 5th inning in only 5 of their last 16 games.
Red Sox are 11-5 in those 16 games.
Mets and their $360M payroll are 46-53, 7.5 games out of a playoff spot.

— Nationals 6, Giants 1
Giants get swept in Washington, have lost five games in a row.
MacKenzie Gore threw 5 shutout IP, on 90 pitches.
San Francisco still has a half-game lead for the last playoff spot.

— Reds 7, Arizona 3
Cincinnati won its last five games, giving up 14 runs.
Reds’ bullpen threw five shutout IP.
Arizona is 4-12 in its last 16 games.

— Marlins 3, Rockies 2 (10)
Miami snaps its 8-game losing skid.
Luzardo struck out 13 guys, threw 115 pitches.
Randal Grichuk tied the game with a 9th inning homer.
Luis Arraez won the game with a 10th inning single.

— Tigers 3, Padres 1
Alex Faedo threw six shutout IP, giving up one hit, the best start of his young career.
San Diego and its $251,199,992 payroll is 48-52, six games out of a playoff spot.

— Movie of the Day: Beaches (1988)— A child singer from New York City meets a rich kid from San Francisco on a beach in Atlantic City; the two become lifelong friends- they keep in touch over the years, writing letters to each other.

The singer becomes a big star; the rich kid becomes a successful lawyer. The movie turns when the lawyer becomes deathly ill.

Will never forget watching this movie in the theater; when it was over, you could hear dozens of people openly sobbing— it was a very sad ending.

Bette Midler played the singer; Barbara Hershey the lawyer. Very good movie, but a tearjerker of epic proportions.

— College Football Trend of the Day: Last five years, Syracuse is 13-6 ATS in non-conference games.

— Michael Jordan’s sale of the Charlotte Hornets has been approved by the NBA’s board of governors; he sold the team for $3B, after owning the Hornets for 13 years.

— Mariners’ C Cal Raleigh has played 13 games against Toronto, hit 8 home runs.

— Saturday night in Oakland, Houston’s Cristian Javier threw 5.2 IP, allowed only one hit, but walked five guys— he left with a 1-0 lead, but the Astro bullpen let his two inherited runners score, and Oakland beat the Astros. 4-1.

Javier threw 97 pitches; 49 balls, 48 strikes— not good.

In his last five starts, Javier is now 0-1, 9.70, but Astros scored 9+ runs in four of those five games. He is struggling, but the Astros’ rotation has injury issues, so he stays in there, for now.

If Houston makes the playoffs, they’ll need two good months out of Javier.

— If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL: Braves, Brewers, Dodgers. Wild Cards— Reds, Arizona, Giants
AL: Orioles, Twins, Rangers. Wild Cards— Rays, Astros, Blue Jays

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a summer Saturday

— Twins 3, White Sox 2— Chicago P Lucas Giolito did an in-game interview; he talked about how he prepares for his starts by playing a video game, with him pitching in the game against the lineup he expects to see the next day, in the real game.

Interesting stuff; Giolito has a future on TV, if he wants one. His grandfather was Warren Frost, an actor who appeared in Twin Peaks and in five episodes of Seinfeld.

— Pirates 3, Angels 0
Trout, Ohtani and Rendon are getting paid a total of $105,688,096 this season.
Pittsburgh’s entire payroll is $75,814,651.

— Brewers 4, Braves 3
Austin Riley has homered in five straight games.

— Rockies 4, Marlins 3
Marlins led 3-0 after six innings.
Miami is 0-8 since the All-Star break.
Kris Bryant got hit by a pitch for third game in row; he left the game.

— Orioles 6, Rays 5
Orioles led 5-0 in 6th inning, blew the lead, then won game in 9th.
O’Hearn’s pinch-hit single was the game-winner.
Baltimore leads Tampa Bay by three games in the loss column.
Rays have already used 31 pitchers this year; they’ve had lot of injuries to their pitching staff, with starters Springs/Rasmussen out for the year.

— Guardians 1, Phillies 0
Tanner Bibee allowed two hits in seven shutout IP.
Jose Ramirez knocked in the only run.

— Padres 14, Tigers 3
Campusano went 4-5 with four RBI.
Soto/Machado knocked in three runs each.
Padres improve to 48-51; they’re 6-16 in one-run games.
This was the 4,000th win in San Diego’s franchise history. 

— Red Sox 8, Mets 6
Max Scherzer is getting paid $43,333,333 this year; if he made the standard 32 starts, that works out to $1,354,167 per start.
For his $1,354,167 Saturday, Scherzer gave up 5 runs in six IP.

— Dodgers 16, Rangers 3— Corey Seager was hitting  .350 this year when he sprained his thumb on a head-first slide into second base. Now he’s on the Injured List.

— A’s 4, Astros 1— A’s beat Houston for first time in nine tries this season. Rookie Zach Gelof hit his first major league homer.

— Movie of the Day: Hard Eight (1996)— A professional gambler teaches a young aspiring gambler the tricks of the trade; the young guy does well, until he falls for a cocktail waitress.

Philip Baker Hall plays the older gambler, who used to be a hit man; John C. Reilly is the young gambler, Gwyneth Paltrow is the cocktail waitress, Samuel L. Jackson is also in this movie.

When good luck is a long shot, you have to hedge your bets.

— College Football Trend of the Day: Under Kyle Whittingham, Utah is 25-15 ATS as a road underdog.

— New Jersey Giants added RB James Robinson, WR Cole Beasley; Robinson is insurance in case Saquon Barkley holds out. Beasley is familiar with Brian Daboll’s system from their time together in Buffalo. 

— Denver Broncos signed K Brett Maher; he kicked for Sean Payton in New Orleans, kicked for the Cowboys last year— he only made 1 out of 6 extra points during the playoffs last year, and that is why he was unemployed.

Denver also has Elliott Fry in camp as a kicker.

— If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL: Braves, Brewers, Dodgers. Wild Cards— Arizona, Giants, Reds
AL: Orioles, Twins, Rangers. Wild Cards— Rays, Astros, Blue Jays

Saturday’s Den: Wrapping up a busy summer night…….

— Had a laser procedure on my right eye Friday morning and now I can see a lot better than I did two days ago. Many thanks to Dr Lemanski, who is an excellent eye surgeon.

Must be something to be so good at such an important job, helping people see better.

— Mariners’ OF Jarred Kelenic broke his left foot the other night when he kicked a water cooler after striking out; not good.

I mean, seriously, grow the bleep up. Mariners are within reach of a playoff spot after making it last year, but now they’re without one of their best hitters for a month, for no good reason.

Long time ago, the Angels put a punching bag up in the tunnel behind their dugout, so players could relieve their frustrations in a safer way. Maybe Seattle needs to do this.

— Every NFL team got $375M from the league for last year; the salary cap was $208.2M, so before any team sells a souvenir or a ticket, they were $166.8M to the good.

— Oakland A’s are having a truly dismal season, but they’ve found a keeper in 1B Ryan Noda, who has a .375 on-base %age in 90 games.

Tuesday night, Noda took a grounder off his mouth before the game, but he played in the game and homered/doubled in Oakland’s 3-0 win. Turns out that he got two hits while playing with a broken jaw. Now he is on the Injured List, but he is a solid piece of the A’s future.

— How often do high draft picks make it to the major leagues?
1st round picks make it to the majors 66% of the time.
2nd round picks make it only 49% of the time.

— DJ Uiagalelei played QB at Clemson for three years, then transferred to Oregon State last spring. LA Dodgers think Uiagalelei could play some baseball— they drafted him in the 20th round of the amateur draft.

— Rays 3, Orioles 0— Zach Eflin was a stopper here; seven shutout IP in a game that the Rays needed to stop the bleeding.

— Padres 5, Tigers 4— Juan Soto homered twice for San Diego.

— Guardians 6, Phillies 5— Bryce Harper played first base for first time this season, Schwarber DH’d.

— Angels 8, Pirates 5— Ohtani was winning pitcher, but in his last three starts on the mound, he allowed 15 runs in 16.1 IP.

— Rockies 6, Marlins 1— Marlins shut down 20-year old pitcher Eury Perez because of innings issues; he is 5-3, 2.36 in 11 starts, really good, but there is a belief that if you blow past last year’s innings total by more than 20%, it greatly enhances his chances of getting hurt. 

So they shut Perez down for a while; they’re 2-8 since his last start, 0-7 since All-Star break.

— Mariners 3, Blue Jays 2
Lot of Blue Jay fans cross border for Toronto-Seattle games; they had 42,000+ tonite.
Teoscar Hernandez lined a walk-off single off the right field wall to end the game.

— Astros 6, A’s 4
Kyle Tucker hit three home runs.
Oakland was 1-11 with runners in scoring position, Houston 1-1.

— Movie of the Day: Good Will Hunting (1997)— A custodian at M.I.T., has a gift for complex math, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life.

Matt Damon plays the custodian; Ben Affleck is his best friend, Robin Willians is the counselor who helps Will Hunting (Damon) find his way. Minnie Driver is very good in this movie.

This is an excellent movie.

— College Football Trend of the Day: Last five years, Iowa Hawkeyes are 24-14-1 ATS coming off a win.

— QB Alex McGough signed on with the Green Bay Packers, trying to win a backup job; McGough led the Birmingham Stallions to two USFL titles. He played college ball at Florida International.

— Daniel Weinman won the Main Event at the World Series of Poker this week, earning himself a hefty $12.1M.

— From 2024-30, over the next seven NBA Drafts, the Orlando Magic currently have 8 first round picks and 12 2nd round picks. Will be interesting to see how they turn that bounty of picks into an improved roster. 

— The paths announcers take; Watching American Underdog the other night, they showed clips from games in the late 90’s.

When Kurt Warner played in the Arena Bowl for the Iowa Barnstormers in 1996, the TV announcers were Todd Christensen and Kirk Herbstreit. 27 years later, Herbstreit is one of the best analysts in college football.

Warner’s first start for the Rams was in 1999; the play-by-play guy that day was Gus Johnson, who is still a prominent voice on network TV, 24 years later.

— RIP to the great singer Tony Bennett, who passed away this week at age 96.

Mr Bennett released more than 70 albums, bringing him 20 Grammys — all but two after he reached his 60’s. He callee himself “A tenor who sings like a baritone”

RIP sir. 

Friday’s Den: Trends for AFC teams, and a movie review

— Baltimore
Last eight years, they’re 1-5 in playoff games.
Last five years, they’re 13-21-1 ATS as a home favorite.
Last ten years, Ravens are 11-3 ATS as a home underdog.
Since 2015, Baltimore is 18-9-2 ATS as a road dog.

— Buffalo
Last four years, they’re 4-4 in playoff games (from 2003-19, they were 0-2)
Under McDermott, they’re 29-18-2 ATS on the road.
Last four years, they’re 14-3-1 ATS in games with spread of 3 or less points.
Last four years, Bills are 12-6 ATS vs NFC opponents.

— Cincinnati
Last two years, Bengals are 22-11 in regular season, 5-2 in playoff games.
From 2016-20, Bengals were 25-53-2 in regular season.
Under Taylor, Cincinnati is 16-9 ATS as a favorite.
Last three years, Bengals are 14-6 ATS coming off a loss.

— Cleveland
Over last 20 years, Browns are 1-1 in playoff games (2020)
Their only two winning seasons: 2007, 2020.
Last three years, Cleveland is 7-12-1 ATS as a home favorite.
Last four years, Browns are 10-16-2 ATS in games with spread of 3 or less points.

— Denver
Broncos haven’t made the playoffs since winning Super Bowl in 2015.
Sean Payton is their 5th head coach in last eight years.
Since 2015, Denver is 11-21-4 ATS as a home favorite.
Since 2017, Broncos are 6-18-3 ATS as a favorite of 3 or less points.

— Houston Texans
DeMeco Ryans is their fourth head coach the last four years (11-38-1 last 3 years)
Last five years, Texans are 10-6-2 ATS in games with spread 3 or less points.
Last ten years, Houston is 14-21-3 ATS against NFC opponents
Last two years, under is 11-6 in Houston’s road games.

— Indianapolis Colts
Colts made the playoffs twice in last eight seasons.
Indy was minus-13 in turnovers last year (+14/+10 previous two years)
Last eight years, Colts are 20-9-1 ATS vs NFC opponents.
Last three years, Colts are 2-6-1 ATS in AFC South home games.

— Jacksonville Jaguars
Jaguars were 9-8 last year; they were 15-50 from 2018-21.
Underdogs covered all eight Jacksonville home games last year.
Since 2014, Jaguars are 21-31-3 ATS as a road underdog.
Under is 13-3 in Jaguars’ last sixteen home games.

— Movie of the Day— American Underdog (2021)— The remarkable story of NFL MVP and Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner, who in five years went from stocking shelves at a supermarket in Iowa to becoming one of the best quarterbacks ever.

Zachary Levi plays Warner, Anna Paquin plays Brenda Warner, Dennis Quaid is coach Dick Vermeil. Bruce McGill plays Iowa Barnstormers’ coach Jim Foster. 

If you didn’t know this was a true story, you’d dismiss this movie as being too corny, but real life is generally better than fiction.

— Kansas City Chiefs
Last four years, Chiefs are 10-2 in playoffs, winning two Super Bowls.
Last eight years, Kansas City is 17-7 ATS in AFC West road games.
Last three years, under is 15-9-1 in games at Arrowhead.
Last 10 years, Chiefs are 24-12-1 ATS in games with spread 3 or less points.

Las Vegas Raiders
Last 20 years, Raiders are 0-2 in playoff games (2016, 2021)
Last three years, Raiders are minus-7/minus-9/minus-11 in turnovers.
Last seven years, Las Vegas is 5-11-1 ATS as a road favorite.
Last four years, Raiders are 14-8 ATS as a road underdog.

Los Angeles Chargers
Chargers made playoffs three times in the last 13 years.
Since 2014, Chargers are 18-32-2 ATS as a home favorite.
Last ten years, Bolts are 30-17-4 ATS as a road underdog.
Last 4 years, Chargers are 6-15-7 ATS in games with spread of 3 or less points.

Miami Dolphins
Last year, Miami made playoffs for first time since 2008.
Last time Dolphins won a playoff game? 2000 (0-2 in playoffs last 20 years).
Last six years, Dolphins are 13-5-2 ATS as a home favorite.
Last three years, Miami is 7-2 ATS in AFC East home games. 

New England Patriots
Since Tom Brady left, Patriots are 25-25 in regular season, 0-1 in playoff games.
25-26 in three years, despite being +17 in turnovers in those games.
Last 10 years, New England is 28-19-1 ATS coming off a loss.
Last five years, Patriots are 10-17-1 ATS in games with spread of 3 or less points.

New Jersey Jets
Jets haven’t made playoffs since 2010, so they got Aaron Rodgers to play QB.
Last three years, Gang Green was 13-37 SU/20-30 ATS
Last 10 years, Jets are 11-17 ATS as a home favorite, 29-22-2 as a home underdog.
Last 10 years, underdogs are 20-10 ATS in Jets’ AFC East home games.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Last five years, Pittsburgh is 0-2 in playoff games.
Last six years, Steelers are 16-21 ATS as a home favorite.
In his career, Tomlin is 25-41-1 ATS as road favorite, 36-23-1 as a road dog.
Last nine years, under is 46-22-3 in Steeler road games.

Tennessee Titans
Last year was Tennessee’s first losing season since 2015.
Last three years, underdogs are 15-6-1 ATS in Titan road games.
Last three years, Titans are 10-15 ATS as a favorite.
Last two years, under is 12-4-1 in Tennessee home games. 

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

Before we start today, there is a new golf simulator opening in Schenectady Friday at 4:00. The Bunker, which also has locations in Guilderland, North Greenbush, Latham and Saratoga, is a good place for kids’ birthday parties or just going out to practice your golf.

The Schenectady Bunker is near the Rivers Casino; they have a bar area and good food- check it out.

— Hitting is more difficult than it used to be a long time ago; hitters don’t see the same pitchers nearly as often as they used to.

In 1941, Joe DiMaggio got a hit in 56 consecutive games, still the record, but back then, there were only eight teams in each league, and starting pitches went deeper into games than they do now, so in those 56 games, New York faced a total of only 59 different pitchers.

Last year, the hitters who qualified for the batting title, they faced an average of 232 different pitchers. The last hitting streak of 30+ games was Whit Merrifield’s in 2019— he faced 86 different pitchers during that streak.

— Minnesota P Sonny Gray hit the 10-year service time milestone this week, something ballplayers take very seriously. Not many big leaguers last ten years, so it is a big deal. 

Gray is having a weird season this year; in his last 13 starts, he is 0-4 with nine no-decisions. His last win was April 30 against Kansas City. Twins are 3-10 in the 13 games; they scored 3 or fewer runs in nine of the 13 games. He hasn’t pitched terribly, just not well enough.

— Baltimore Orioles acquired reliever Shintaro Fujinami from the A’s Wednesday, for a lefty reliever who is in the minors. Oakland tried to make Fujinami a starter this year and it was an unmitigated disaster. He’s pitched better recently, when they used him in relief one inning at a time.

I’m big on the theory that it helps a team when their front office makes a move at this time of year, even a small move like this one. Front office is telling players/coaches that they’re trying to help them make the playoffs— has to be good for morale.

— Way back in 1974, when Hank Aaron homered to set the all-time HR record, a Braves’ pitcher caught the ball in the bullpen, a guy named Tom House.

49 years later, House is still a big deal in sports; he believes that the mechanics for throwing footballs and baseballs are identical- he now instructs quarterbacks on throwing mechanics.

Some of the QB’s he’s worked with include Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Andrew Luck. House is a big deal in coaching, 49 years after catching one of the most famous home runs ever.

— This year in the NBA, 41 guys are scheduled to earn $30M+; 17 guys are scheduled to earn $40M+.

— On December 14, 2017, Cardinals acquired OF Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins, for four prospects. Ozuna had just hit 37 homers with 124 RBI and a .924 OPS.

The four prospects Miami got:
Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen, Daniel Castano, Magneuris Sierra.

Alcantara/Gallen have been really good pitchers, though Miami traded Gallen to Arizona for Jazz Chisholm. Ozuna trade was an interesting deal that Miami would’ve won bigtime had they kept Gallen. 

— Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson is an advisor of sorts for the Houston Astros now; Astros were in Denver this week, so Jackson crossed paths with Colorado manager Bud Black.

Long time ago, Jackson hit his 500th home run off of Bud Black, who was a good pitcher.

— Financial advantage of the new balanced schedule: Colorado drew over 43,000 people on Tuesday night, for their game with the World Champion Astros.

— Pirates 7, Guardians 5— Aaron Civale’s last two starts:
Civale allowed four runs in 10.1 IP, left both games with a lead.
In those two games, Cleveland’s bullpen allowed 15 runs in 5.1 IP. Not good.

— Cubs 8, Nationals 3– Same thing for Washington’s bullpen; last two days, they gave up 20 runs in 5.1 IP, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

— Rangers 5, Rays 1— Orioles now lead AL East by percentage points; they visit Tampa Bay this weekend, in a very interesting series.

— Movie of the Day: One More Time (2015)— A famous crooner whose career is fading tries to get back into the limelight again, against the advice of his daughters.

Christopher Walken is the singer; Amber Heard plays one of the daughters— she is also a talented singer. Oliver Platt plays his agent.

— College football Trend of the Day: since 2015, SMU Mustangs are 19-11 ATS as a home favorite.

— College basketball player Chris Ledlum played three years at Harvard, then transferred to Tennessee last spring, but now he has transferred again, this time to play for Rick Pitino at St John’s. Pitino is going to do big things at St John’s, you can just feel it.

— If the baseball playoffs started today (they do not):
NL: Braves, Brewers, Dodgers. Wild Cards- Arizona, San Francisco, Philadelphia
AL: Orioles, Twins, Rangers. Wild Cards- Tampa Bay, Toronto, Houston

— Some website posted a ranking of local announce teams for MLB squads this week; not sure how they came up with the rankings, whether people voted or whatever, but some of them were hideously wrong. Have to give this some thought, but I’ll be doing my own version of this fairly soon, at least a top 10 list. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings……..

— Dodgers 10, Orioles 3
Baltimore P Tyler Wells had a rough night, giving up 5 runs in 2nd inning— he threw 40 pitches that inning and was taken out after it was over.

Wells had allowed exactly 2 earned runs in each of his previous seven starts, the first MLB pitcher to do that since Joey Jay, in 1959.

Joey Jay, by the way, was the first major leaguer who had also played Little League baseball.

— Modern baseball: Jason Heyward hit a 3-run homer off Wells in that 2nd inning, but when his turn at bat came around in the 3rd inning, LA pinch-hit for him with Jake Marisnick.

Pretty cold, pinch-hitting in 3rd inning for a guy who homered in 2nd inning. Hayward is 0-12 vs lefties this season with two walks, but still………

— There were four games Tuesday where the losing team scored 10+ runs.

— Arizona 16, Braves 13
Austin Riley hit two homers, knocked in 7 runs…..and Atlanta still lost.
Arizona led 7-5 in 2nd inning; they scored three in 9th for the win.
Diamondbacks won for just third time in their last 11 games. 

— Rockies 4, Astros 3— Kris Bryant/Ryan McMahon hit back/back homers in first inning, first time Colorado has gone back/back since April 11, which is a long time ago.

— Cincinnati Reds have used 12 players this year who were making their major league debut, most of any team in the majors this season. 

Reds have a weird roster; too many position players, not enough good pitchers. They’re 1-7 in their last eight games, but are only 2.5 games out of first place. They need to package couple of hitters for some pitching at the trade deadline.

— Cubs 17, Nationals 3
Washington led 3-1 after five innings; game was 3-3 in 7th.

— Rangers 5, Rays 3— Tampa Bay is 3-7 in last ten games, leads AL East by one game.

— Angels 5, New York 1— New York is 2-8 in its last ten games, is in last place in AL East, despite their 50-46 record- -they scored total of four runs their last two games.

— Fantasy baseball is fun…….well it is fun when you win, it is always interesting, win or lose.

Your decisions determine whether you win or lose, which makes it interesting, but baseball is weird. Guys have a great year, then tail off for a couple years. Not many guys are great all the time.

Jorge Soler: Hit 48 homers in 2019, but since then, has hit 8-27-13-24 homers. Inconsistent.

Christian Yelich hit .326/,329 in 2018/2019; the next three years, he hit .252 or worse all three years. He has bounced back this season.

Kris Bryant his 138 homers his first five years in the majors, but has tailed off badly the last couple years, even though he plays his home games at Coors Field.
(He hit a home run 10 seconds after I typed that sentence)

Every once in a while you strike gold; in 2021, I picked up Jesse Winker off the scrap heap, and he hit .305 in Cincinnati with a .949 OPS— he was awesome, helped make my season decent, but then he got traded to Seattle. No bueno.

Winker hit .219 last year, is hitting .201 this year. Like I said, success comes and goes.

As an A’s fan, I have to focus on my fantasy team, since the cheap bastard who owns the A’s will not try to compete, which is bad for my blood pressure. My fantasy team may not win all the time, but we are always trying to win.

— It bothers me that big market teams like the Cubs/Red Sox are content to field mediocre teams. It is one thing for the Rays/A’s/Pirates to be cheap (thrifty), but for the big market teams to do it, that is mystifying.

— I am told that Hard Rock casinos offer a baseball prop bet, a Grand Salami over/under on first inning runs in all 15 games combined. Interesting way to get action early in the night.

As of 8:30 pm Tuesday:
Cleveland scored 5 runs in first
Mets scored 5 runs in first
San Diego scored twice in first
Braves led Arizona 5-2 after first inning
Detroit scored twice in first inning.

Simply put, a good night for the over in the 1st inning Grand Salami.

— Movie of the Day: The Natural (1984)— An unknown ballplayer with a mysterious past comes out of nowhere to become a star player, a great hitter.

Robert Redford plays Roy Hobbs; Wilford Brimley is his manager, Robert Duvall the reporter trying to uncover Hobbs’ past. Darren McGavin, Kim Basinger, Glenn Close, a great cast.

The baseball scenes in the movie were filmed in Buffalo, in the ballpark the Bills played in before they built Rich Stadium in Orchard Park.

— College football Trend of the Day: In five years under Bloomgren, Rice Owls are 2-7 ATS as a favorite.

— Solid piece of life advice: Never play the same position as the coach’s son. Trust me on this.

— I was sitting in my folding chair at Saratoga Saturday, watching the horse races on the big screen; it was a nice day, I had a baseball cap, sunglasses on and two younger guys (in their 30’s) are off to my right, maybe ten feet away. 

One guys speaks up: “Hello sir. Who do you like in this race?”

They were polite and all, but they’re talking to me like I’m 90 years old. The horse I gave them in that race is still running; that was the last time they talked to me. 🙂

— Nine NFL training camps opened Tuesday; the summer is flying by. 

Tuesday’s Den: Facts, trends for NFC teams……

Arizona Cardinals
Were 50-32-1 in five years under Bruce Arians; why did they fire him?
They’re 31-50-1 in five years since they fired him, 0-1 in playoff games.
Last four years, Cardinals are 5-12 ATS as a home favorite.
Since 2013, Arizona is 9-20-1 ATS in NFC West home games.

Atlanta Falcons
Have had five straight losing seasons (32-50 SU/35-45-2 ATS)
Under Arthur Smith, Falcons are 4-10-2 ATS at home.
Since 2013, Atlanta is 18-34-1 ATS as a home favorite.
Under Smith, Falcons are 7-4-2 ATS in games where spread was 3 or less points.

Carolina Panthers
Haven’t made playoffs since 2017; haven’t won playoff game since 2015.
Frank Reich is the new coach; he was 41-35-1 SU in five years with the Colts.
Last three years, Carolina was 0-9 ATS as a favorite of 3 or less points.
Last three years, Carolina was 10-3 ATS as an underdog 3 or less points.

Chicago Bears
Made playoffs in 2018/2020; last playoff win was in 2010.
Last 10 years, they had one winning season, were 8-8 three times.
Last four years, Bears are 9-16-1 ATS as a road underdog.
Last 10 years, Chicago is 14-27-2 ATS as an underdog in divisional games.

Dallas Cowboys
Went 24-10 SU last two years, scoring 29.3 ppg; why fire the offensive coordinator?
Last two years, Cowboys are +24 in turnovers, 10-5 ATS as a home favorite.
Last 10 years, Dallas is 16-8 ATS as a home favorite in NFC East games.
Since 2010, Dallas is 116-94 SU in regular season, 3-4 in playoff games.

Detroit Lions
Last time Detroit won a playoff game? 1991.
Last time Lions made the playoffs? 2016.
Last 10 games last year, Detroit was 8-2 SU/9-1 ATS.
In his career, Jared Goff is 56-48-1 SU as a starting QB.

Green Bay Packers
Jordan Love is the new QB, Packers’ first new starting QB since 2008.
Last four years, Green Bay is +39 in turnovers.
Last 10 years, Green Bay is 39-24-2 ATS as a divisional favorite.
Last two years, Packers were 1-6-1 ATS on artificial turf.

Los Angeles Rams
Last year was Rams’ first losing season since 2016.
In six seasons, Sean McVay is 7-3 SU in playoff games.
Last two years, Rams are 4-7 ATS as a home favorite.
Under McVay, Rams are 8-4 ATS as a divisional road favorite.

Movie of the Day: Double Jeopardy (1999)— A woman framed for her husband’s murder suspects he is still alive; she has already been tried for the crime, so she can’t be re-prosecuted if she finds and kills him.

Ashley Judd is the woman; Tommy Lee Jones is her parole officer who tries to find her— they’re both in New Orleans when she finds the man she had supposedly killed.

Minnesota Vikings
Vikings were 13-4 last year, their best regular season since 2009.
Vikings were 11-0 last year in games decided by 8 or less points.
Kirk Cousins is 47-35-1 SU as Minnesota’s quarterback.
Last 10 years, Minnesota is 43-29-1 ATS in games with spread of 3 or less.

New Jersey Giants
Went 9-7-1 LY, won playoff game, their first winning season since 2016.
Were 8-4-1 last year in games decided by 8 or less points.
In Daboll’s first season as coach, Giants were 8-2 ATS as an underdog.
Giants were +1 in turnovers last year; were minus-25 from 2020-22. 

New Orleans Saints
Saints were 7-10 LY, their first year since 2005 without Sean Payton as coach.
New Orleans was minus-11 in turnovers LY (+31 from 2020-22).
New QB is Derek Carr; he was 63-80 as Raiders’ QB, 0-1 in playoff games.
Since 2014, Saints are 24-11-1 ATS as a road underdog.

Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles made playoffs 5 of last 6 years; they won NFC title last year.
Under Sirianni, Philly is 9-3 ATS as a home favorite, 8-14 ATS in other games.
Last five years, Eagles are 7-11 ATS as a road underdog.
Under Sirianni, over is 12-5 in Eagle home games.

San Francisco 49ers
Last two years, 49ers went 23-11 in regular season, lost twice in NFC title game.
Last four years, Niners are 14-6 ATS on artificial turf.
SF was 7-1 ATS as a home favorite LY; they were 7-16-1 from 2018-22.
Who is QB going to be? Purdy? Lance? Darnold?

Seattle Seahawks
Finished over .500 10 of last 11 years; last six seasons, they’re 1-4 in playoff games.
In his NFL career, Pete Carroll is 18-8 ATS as a home underdog.
Since 2016, Seahawks are 2-7-1 ATS as a divisional road favorite.
Seattle is 6-11 in its last 17 games that were decided by 8 or less points.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In 3 years with Brady at QB, Bucs went 32-18 in regular season, 5-2 in playoffs.
In his 5-year career, Baker Mayfield is 32-39 as an NFL starter, 1-1 in playoff games.
Last four years, Tampa Bay is 5-9-1 ATS as an underdog.
Last two years, under was 11-5 in Buccaneers’ road games.

Washington Commanders
Since 2006, Washington is 0-4 in playoff games.
Last time Washington finished over .500? 2016.
Since 2018, Commanders are 5-9 ATS as a home favorite.
Last 10 years, Washington is 11-19 ATS in NFC East home games.