Tuesday’s Den: Trends for NFL preseason games……..

There were no preseason games last year, so these trends are for 2018-19; as always, caution is advised when wagering on preseason/exhibition games.

Remember, only three weeks of preseason games from now on…….

13) Last two years, Baltimore Ravens are 9-0 SU/7-2 ATS in preseason

12) Underdogs covered Colts’ last seven preseason games (0-4 as F, 3-0 as U)

11) Under is 7-1 in Jets’ last eight preseason games.

10) Falcons are 1-8 SU/ATS in last two preseasons, 1-6 ATS as an underdog.

9) Buffalo covered its last four preseason road games; over is 6-2 in their last eight preseason games.

8) Steelers won/covered six of last eight exhibition games (4-0 ATS at home)

7) Tennessee is 2-6 SU in last eight preseason games (0-4 ATS as home favorites)

6) Under is 6-2 in last eight preseason games for both Rams and Cardinals.

5) Raiders are 6-2 SU last two preseasons; 3-0 ATS as home favorites, 3-0 ATS as road dogs.

4) Detroit is 1-7 SU/2-6 ATS last two summers (over 6-2).

3) Eagles are 2-6 in last eight exhibitions, 0-2 ATS when favored.

2) Giants averaged 32.3 ppg in their last preseason, scoring 31+ every game.

1) Underdogs were 6-2 ATS in Bengals’ last eight preseason games. 

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

13) Former Rams’ WR Isaac Bruce got inducted into the Hall of Fame this week; he caught the winning TD pass in Super Bowl XXXIV, my favorite football game ever.

Turns out I saw Isaac Bruce play four years before he played for the Rams, though I didn’t know it at the time.

Fall of 1990, I’m at a junior college game in Los Angeles; Santa Monica College vs West LA Junior College- my sister went to Santa Monica at the time. Really good football, not many fans there watching. The next year, the coach at West LA College went to Memphis State, and took 10 guys from West LA with him, one of whom was Isaac Bruce.

Opening Day of 1995 NFL season, Rams upset the Packers in Green Bay; Isaac Bruce blocked a punt for the Rams that day. I’m sitting in a bar watching on the satellite dish, thumbing thru the Rams’ media guide, reading his biography and it finally dawns on me; Isaac Bruce was playing that day I was at the game in Santa Monica.

1,024 receptions, 91 touchdowns later, he’s a Hall of Famer. Congrats!!!

12) Interesting barroom debate: is Eli Manning a first-ballot Hall of Famer?

He won two Super Bowls, but his regular season W-L record was only .500, the same exact resume as Jim Plunkett, who isn’t in the Hall of Fame at all. Manning played longer than Plunkett (117-117 vs 72-72 regular season record); I’m pretty sure he’ll get in the Hall eventually, but I wouldn’t vote for him the first year he is eligible.

11) Reds 3, Pirates 2:
— Pirates lost their last 12 games in Cincinnati.
— Reds are only 2.5 games behind San Diego in Wild Card race.
— Reds have nine more games with Pittsburgh this season.

10) Tampa Bay swept the Orioles this weekend, outscoring Baltimore 19-2 in innings 7-9. Rays have trailed in 35 of their wins this season, most of any MLB team.

9) Toronto 9, Boston 8:
— Red Sox led 7-2 at one point; they had won 56 games in row when they led by 5+ runs.
— Good news for Boston: Chris Sale is expected to pitch for them Saturday.

8) Rockies 13, Marlins 8— Colorado is 25-9 in its last 34 home games, the best home record in the majors during that time. Rockies scored 34 runs in sweeping this 3-game series.

7) Barry Bonds hit home runs off 449 different pitchers, the most ever; Albert Pujols has homered off of 440 guys, Alex Rodriguez 422.

6) New York 1B Anthony Rizzo declined to get the COVID vaccine, now he’s tested positive for COVID, so he has to sit out while his team is fighting in a pennant race. Maybe its me, but a guy making $16.5M should do everything he can to play as much as he can, and getting vaccinated is the best way to stay healthy, at least that’s what doctors/nurses say.

You know, the smart people.

5) Seattle 2, New York 0— Mariners are 4-9 since they traded closer Kendall Graveman to the Astros; has to be lot of heat on GM Jerry DiPoto.

4) White Sox 9, Cubs 3— Pittsburgh/Arizona are getting only 33% of their runs from home runs, lowest %age in the majors; White Sox are next lowest, at 38%, but they homered three times in the first inning of this game Sunday night.

I have no clue what the Cubs plan is moving forward; for a big market team to go in the tank like this is nonsensical. They’re basically a AAA team right now.

3) Americans wound up winning 39 gold medals at the Olympics, coming in under the 43.5 mark that was the betting line.

2) RIP to Bobby Bowden the great football coach; he passed away at age 91.
— Coach Bowden won 377 games, 2nd-most all-time in D-I.
— He was 377-129-4 as a head coach, 304-97-4 at Florida State
— He was 20-9-1 in bowl games.
— Coach Bowden won two national titles at FSU (1993, 1999)
— He has two sons who coach D-I football.

RIP, coach.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL: Phillies, Brewers, Giants. Wild Card: San Diego @ Los Angeles
AL: Rays, White Sox, Astros. Wild Card: Boston @ Oakland

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a busy sports Saturday

13) This is Hall of Fame weekend for the NFL; Jimmy Johnson got inducted last night; he only coached nine years in the NFL, winning two Super Bowls in Dallas:

1989-93— Dallas 51-37, won two Super Bowls
1996-99— Miami 36-28 in regular season, 2-3 in playoffs
Total— 89-68, in nine years. 

When I think of Jimmy Johnson, I think of college football, but he’s been on the FOX pregame show on Sundays for a long time now, and that helped get him in.

12) But if that resume gets him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, then this coach should get in, too:

1976-82— Team A, 54-47, 3-4 in playoffs (they were 39-81-6 the 9 years before he got there)
1997-99— Team B, 25-26, 3-0 in playoffs (they were 36-76 the 7 years before he got there)
2001-05— Team C, 44-36, 0-1 in playoffs (they were 23-25 the 3 years before he got there)
He won a Super Bowl with Team B, lost a Super Bowl with Team A
Total— 126-114, in 15 years

Bringing two horrendous franchises into the Super Bowl (and winning a title) is just as impressive as winning two titles with the same team.

If you know me, you already know who the second coach is— the great Dick Vermeil.

11) Aside from his friends/family, the person who is happiest about the huge contract Josh Allen signed in Buffalo? Lamar Jackson’s agent, because the price tag in Baltimore just went up.

10) Phillies 5, Mets 3— Phils led 5-0 in last inning, brought in reliever Mauricio Llovero to close it out, but the first three batters he faced all hit home runs. He became just the 2nd player in the last 100 years to face 3+ batters in a game, and have them all homer.

9) Oakland A’s won in extra innings Wednesday/Friday; their pitchers didn’t walk anyone in either game, only the second time that has happened in the last 100 years (Twins, 2008).

8) Red Sox starting pitchers finished the 5th inning in only 4 of their last 17 games.

7) Tony LaRussa is old school: White Sox starting pitchers have thrown 100+ pitches 36 times this year, more than any other team.

6) Bronx Bombers are 39-21 in games decided by 1 or 2 runs, but they’re still on the outside looking in on the playoff race, though the race is very close, with 50+ games left. They’re 22-28 in games decided by 3+ runs. Last 7-8 weeks of the season are going to be very interesting.

5) Mentioned yesterday how the Dodgers are 1-12 in extra innings, one of the worst records ever in extra innings.

— 1969 Montreal Expos went 0-13 in extra innings, their first year in existence (52-110).
— 1982 Minnesota Twins were 1-13 in extra frames- they finished 60-102.

52-110? 60-102? Explain to me how Dodgers are 1-12 in extra innings, but are 66-45 overall.

4) 44% of at-bats in the big leagues this season have lasted 3 or fewer pitches.

3) Congrats to the Australian basketball team, which beat Slovenia 107-93 to win the bronze medal, Australia’s first-ever medal in basketball.

Lot of really good ballplayers have come from Australia to play college ball here- they lost the bronze medal game by a point in 2016, so this had to make lot of people happy down under.

2) Bruce Springsteen’s daughter won a silver medal at the Olympics in an Equestrian event.

1) NBA Summer League starts today; guys who are all GREAT basketball players working their butts off just to get invited to a training camp. I’ve been to the summer league several times; if you’re in Las Vegas, it is a solid day’s entertainment, and it is air conditioned.

Every high school player in America should watch these games, then go outside and work on their skills, because working on your skills is what will get you paid someday. 

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

13) USA 87, France 82:
— Americans win gold medal for 4th Olympics in a row.
— France was 18-29 on foul line, which hurt some.
— USA was +9 in turnovers; Durant scored 29 for the champs. 

12)  Angels 4, Dodgers 3 (10):
— Amazingly, Dodgers are now 1-12 in extra innings.
— Angels have used 7 different starting pitchers the last seven days.

11) Buffalo Bills signed QB Josh Allen to an eye-opening, 6-year, $43M a year contract, the 2nd-biggest contract in the league, behind Patrick Mahomes. 

Bills are 23-9 the last two years, first time in last 20 years they’ve had consecutive winning years, and Allen is a huge reason why, so now he gets paid.

10) Funny that Allen and Aaron Rodgers are two of the best QB’s in the NFL, but neither one had scholarship offer coming out of college— both played JC ball before they played in D-I. 

Go figure.

9) If you wager on preseason NFL games, keep in mind that the Rams’ QB room is in disarray right now. Matthew Stafford banged his thumb on a helmet this week, has been sitting out of practice mostly and then backup John Wolford had an emergency appendectomy Friday, and will be out for a few weeks. 

No way Stafford is going to play much in preseason; Devlin Hodges and Bryce Perkins will be under center in exhibition games. Something to think about. Wolford should be ready for the season opener, if needed, but he won’t be taking any hits between now and then.

8) Oakland A’s got very bad news Friday; RF Ramon Laureano is out for the rest of this year and part of next year, after getting an 80-game PED suspension.

7) San Diego Padres are 1-7 in their last eight games, where they game-winning run scored in the last three innings. Cincinnati is creeping up on them in the Wild Card race.

6) Trevor Bauer’s leave was extended until August 13, but it is leave and not a suspension, so he is still getting paid, and he makes huge money ($28M a year).

5) Giants trailed 4-0 in ninth inning at Arizona Thursday; they tied it in the 9th, won it in the 10th, ending a streak where they had lost 800 games in a row (yes, 800) when they trailed by 4+ runs in 9th inning. Last time they won a game like this one? 1993.

4) So far this season, relievers have pitched 41.8% of innings in the big leagues, up from 32.5% in the 90’s.

Only 14.9% of starting pitchers have thrown 100+ pitches in games this season, as recently as 2010, roughly half the starting pitchers threw 100+ pitchers in their starts.

3) The average NFL team is now worth $3.5B, that’s billion, with a B.

2) Four weeks from today is the first big Saturday for college football; summer is flying by, which means it has been fun, but damn, wish winter went by as fast as summer does.

1) I’ve been an A’s fan since I was 5 years old; remember fondly Oakland winning three World Series in a row, from 1972-74— Ray Fosse was the catcher in ’73-’74 and has been their TV analyst for the last 35 years. His calm demeanor has helped keep me sane during tense games late at night more times than I’d like to remember.

This week, Ray Fosse stepped away from broadcasting so he could deal with the cancer he’s been battling for the last 16 years. I had no idea; he’s a tough guy, man. The outpouring of love and support from A’s fans and Bay Area media has been overwhelming. The man is loved.

All I can say is this: get well soon, Ray Fosse. Kick cancer’s butt; we miss you and are rooting like hell for you. 

Friday’s Den: Trends for AFC teams

Ravens:
— Last six years, they’re 1-3 in playoff games.
— Won/covered last five season openers
— Since 2013, they’re 7-3 ATS as home underdogs.
— Last four years, they’re 9-1-2 ATS as road underdogs.

Bills:
— Last two years, they’re 23-9 SU, their only consecutive winning seasons in last 20 years.
— Last three years, they’re 10-4-2 ATS as road underdogs.
— Last four years , they’re 11-4-2 ATS on natural grass.
— Bills are 10-2-1 ATS in last 13 games where spread was 3 or less points.

Bengals:
— Last 20 years, they’re 0-7 in playoff games.
— Last five years, they’re 25-53-2 SU
— Last five years, they’re 9-13 ATS coming off a win.
— Bengals were favored twice in last 16 home games. 

Browns:
— Last years was their first winning season since 2007.
— Since 2013, they’re 2-9 ATS as road favorites.
— Browns are 15-34-1 ATS in last 50 games coming off a loss.
— Last six years, they’re 9-15 ATS vs NFC teams.

Broncos:
— Won Super Bowl after 2015 season; they’re 32-48 since then.
— Last four years, they’re 3-8-2 ATS as home favorites.
— Since 2016, Denver is 10-18-2 ATS vs AFC West opponents.
— Last four years, Broncos are 9-13 ATS coming off a win. 

Texans:
— Were over .500 in 5 of O’Brien’s 7 years as head coach.
— Last four years, they’re 8-14 ATS as home favorites.
— Last eight years, they’re 9-14-1 ATS in AFC South home games.
— Last ten years, Texans are 4-6 in playoff games.

Colts:
— Wentz figures to be their 4th #1 QB the last four years.
— Last four years, Colts are 13-2-1 ATS as favorites of 3 or less points.
— Last four years, Colts are 2-7-1 as underdogs of 3 or less points.
— Last three years, Indy is 9-2-1 ATS vs. NFC opponents. 

Jaguars:
— Finished over .500 once in last 13 years.
— Last three years, Jaguars are 7-12-2 ATS as road underdogs.
— Last nine years, they’re 8-28 ATS vs NFC opponents.
— Last four years, they’re 8-13 ATS coming off a win.

Chiefs:
— Last six years, KC is 71-25 in regular season, 7-5 in playoffs.  
— Last eight years, Chiefs are 18-6 ATS in AFC West road games.
— KC is 5-10 ATS last 15 times they were double digit favorites.
— Last five years, Chiefs are 12-7 ATS coming off a loss.

Raiders:
— Last 18 years, Raiders are 0-1 in playoff games (2016)
— Last three years, Raiders are 19-29 SU under Gruden.
— They’re 8-4 ATS in last dozen AFC West home games.
— Last four years, Raiders are combined minus-34 in turnovers.

Chargers:
— Chargers made playoffs twice in last 11 years.  
— Last three years, they’re 3-13-1 ATS as home favorites
— They’re 1-8-2 ATS in last 11 games with spread of 3 or fewer points.
— Last 10 years, Chargers are 7-22-1 ATS in AFC West home games.

Dolphins:
— Last 20 years, Miami is 0-3 in playoff games.
— Last four years, Dolphins are 18-10-3 ATS at home.
— Miami is 14-29 ATS in last 43 games on artificial turf.
— Last two years, they’re 11-5 ATS coming off a loss.

Patriots:
— Under Belichick, they’re 47-23-2 ATS as an underdog.
— NE was +3 in turnovers LY, +31 the previous two years.
— Since 2013, they’re 35-19-3 ATS as a home favorite.
— 2-7 ATS last nine games as favorites of 3 or fewer points.

Jets:
— Last time they made playoffs: 2010 under Rex Ryan.
— Last five years, Jets are 13-25-2 ATS on the road.
— Last three years, Jets are 12-21 ATS coming off a loss.
— Underdogs are 17-7 ATS in their last 24 AFC home tilts.

Steelers:
— Steelers’ last losing season: 2003 (four .500 years since then)
— Last time they won a playoff game: 2017.
— Last three years, they’re 18-10 ATS coming off a win.
— Steelers covered 13 of last 16 games as an underdog.

Titans:
— Tennessee was over .500 last five years, 3-3 in playoffs.
— Last five years, Titans are 20-11-1 ATS coming off a loss.
— Last two years, they’re #2/#3 in rushing yardage, +16 in turnovers.
— Vrabel is 12-14 ATS as a favorite, 11-8 as an underdog.

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

13) USA 97, Australia 78:
— Americans advance to the gold medal game.
— Australia led 41-26 in 2nd quarter.
— Down 45-42 at the half, USA outscored Australia 32-10 in 3rd quarter.
— Other semi-final is France-Slovenia at 7am, when I will be sound asleep

12) Next week is the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, which is great fun to watch, but for the love of God, please do not wager on these games. I’ve told this story before, but…….

Several years ago, I’m in Cox Pavilion at UNLV with my friend Dennis watching summer league games. Guy who looks like a bodybuilder sits in front of us, drink in hand, talking loudly about the team he wagered on. “Team A won by 20 yesterday; they’re GOING TO KILL this team” and so on and so on, until right before the opening tap. 

One small problem; Team A didn’t play the same guys that day  they did in their last game, and they got spanked pretty badly. The guy in front of us was steaming; not even sure if he knew different guys were playing, but we moved our location for the second half, to get away from the inevitable explosion when he lost.

NBA teams need to see all the guys on their summer league roster to see who they want to invite to training camp; they also don’t overwork the guys they know are keepers, so the scrubs get a good look in front of scouts for pro leagues overseas. Lot of the people in the strands at summer league are scouts for pro leagues in other countries.

11) Miami Heat signed G Duncan Robinson to a 5-year, $90M contract, which is amazing, seeing how Robinson once played D-III college ball at Williams College, before he transferred to D-I at Michigan. Nowadays, skilled shooters get paid major money.

In the 2013-14 season, Robinson played D-III ball, which is really good at the highest level, but no one there has any delusions about becoming a millionaire playing hoops. D-III teams don’t give scholarships, kids pay to go to school and play ball. They play because they love it.

Seriously, someone needs to make a movie out of this guy’s career someday.

10) Speaking of career paths, here is PJ Tucker’s:
2006-07— Toronto Raptors, NBA
2007— Colorado in the G-League
2007-08— Hapoel Holon in Israel
2008-10— Donetsk in Ukraine
2010— Bnei Hasharon in Israel
2010-11— Aris Thessaloniki in Greece
2011— Sutor Montegranaro in Italy
2011-12— Brose Baskets in Germany
2012-17— Phoenix Suns, NBA
2017— Toronto Raptors, NBA
2017-21— Houston Rockets, NBA
2021— Milwaukee Bucks, NBA

PJ Tucker just signed a 2-year contract worth $15M with Miami. Hard work pays off.

9) Tucker is 36 years old; he scored 98 points in 23 playoff games for the Bucks this year, but they won the NBA title in large part because Tucker does the little things that help teams win, and smart guys like Pat Riley/Erik Spoelstra value that.

8) Minnesota Twins are 42-20 when they allow 5 or fewer runs, 3-43 when they allow 6+ runs.

7) 37-year old Cole Hamels is going to sign on with the Dodgers; Hamels has started 422 MLB games, has a 163-122 record- he only pitched one game for Atlanta LY before getting hurt. He is 7-6, 3.41 in 16 playoff games. Dodgers can use him if he is healthy.

6) A’s 5, Padres 4 (10)
— A’s scored 2 in ninth to tie game; Yan Gomes had a huge hit.
— Matt Olson won with a 2-run double in the 10th.

5) Angels’ 3B Anthony Rendon (hip) will have surgery, is out for the year.

4) Can the Miami Dolphins equal their 29 takeaways from last year? When a team has a +9 turnover ratio, it can be difficult to replicate that- they were minus-19 the previous three years. Dolphins just missed out of the playoffs LY; they’ll need better QB play this season.

3) Since 2015, Canadian Football League underdogs are 48-26-2 (65%) ATS in Weeks 1-4

2) Jimmy V Classic in New York City December 7; Villanova-Syracuse, an old Big East rivalry and Tennessee-Texas Tech.

One of these years, Jimmy V Classic has to include an Iona-NC State game, the two teams Jim Valvano was head coach of.

1) There is an NFL game on TV tonight, Cowboys-Steelers from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Summer is going by way too fast. 

Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings……..

13) Lot of money being thrown around by NBA teams this week; Stephen Curry signed a 4-year contract extension with Golden State worth $215M, as in $51.25M a year, $625,000 a game, whether he plays or not. Being a great shooter is profitable these days. 

12) Atlanta Braves’ last 17 games:
WLWLWLWLWLWLWLWL.W

Braves are trying to get back to .500 today; they haven’t been over .500 yet this year.

11) USA 95, Spain 81— Game was tied at the half, but the Americans pulled away in the second half and even covered the 12-point spread.

Next up for Team USA is a date with Australia, which whacked Argentina 97-59 Tuesday.

10) Pirates 8, Brewers 5 (10):
— Pirates RF Gregory Polanco made a game-saving catch in 9th inning, robbing Eduardo Escobar of a walk-off home run.
— Polanco also drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning.
— Adrian Houser no-hit Pirates for 6.1 innings, but was taken out after throwing 104 pitches.

9) Las Vegas sportsbooks adjusted the total on the Week 1 Seattle-Indy game, moving the total down from 52 to 45.5, upon hearing about Carson Wentz’s injury. Lot of places took the spread on the game off the board.

8) Retired QB Philip Rivers is making noise about un-retiring; right now, Rivers is the new football coach at St. Michael Catholic HS in Fairhope, AL,

“I’m not quite there,. I’m getting back there. I wouldn’t have made weight if I had to report last week, that’s for sure. But I am getting back into the lifting and running, and shoot, I occasionally throw a ball around out here in this heat. It’s not too hard to get a good lather going.”

“I want to make sure I’m very clear: I’m not predicting I will play in December or January, for that matter. One, you’ve got to have somebody who wants you, and two, it’s got to be right. But I have not completely ruled that out.”

Rivers played for the Colts last year; Carson Wentz has an injured foot, will miss the start of the season. St Michael’s may need an interim football coach pretty soon.

7) I’m told that quarterback is an important position in the NFL; in the three years that Baker Mayfield has played for Cleveland, he is 23-22 as the starting QB. Cleveland has +4 turnover ratio in those three years. Big improvement.

Year before Mayfield joined the Browns, Cleveland had a minus-28 turnover ratio.

6) I’m very, very curious how Urban Meyer will handle Jacksonville’s preseason games:

— Will he try to win, to “establish a winning culture”?
— How much will rookie QB Trevor Lawrence play?
— Winning/losing the three preseason games DOES NOT MATTER, but Meyer has to get used to the differences between college and NFL games. Those three games will help.

5) 42 years ago this week, Tony LaRussa began his managerial career, leading the White Sox in a game against Toronto. Blue Jays’ 2nd baseman that day was Danny Ainge, better known for his basketball exploits.

Ainge ht .220 in 221 MLB games, then played 14 years in the NBA, before becoming a coach and front office executive in the NBA.

4) Over weekend, Texas Rangers’ C Jonah Heim hit walk-off homers in consecutive games; he is the first rookie EVER to do that.

3) Willie Adames was hitting .197 when Tampa Bay traded him to the Brewers, but he’s been a big help for Milwaukee, hitting .295, with 43 RBI in 64 games with the Brewers.

2) Marlins’ P Jesus Luzardo is the first major leaguer who was born in Peru.

1) If the baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL: Mets, Brewers, Giants. Wild Card: San Diego @ Los Angeles
AL: Rays, White Sox, Astros. Wild Card: Oakland @ Boston

Tuesday’s Den: Trends for NFC trends…..

Arizona Cardinals:
— Last made playoffs in 2015
— 1-3-1 SU in last five season openers.
— Since 2015, they’re 9-18 ATS as home favorites.
— Since 2018, they’re 10-6-2 ATS as road underdogs.

Atlanta Falcons:
— Last 3 years, they’re 18-30 SU
— Lost last 3 openers by 6-16-13 points.
— Since 2015, they’re 20-27 ATS coming off a loss.
— Since 2017, they’re 2-7 ATS as road favorites.

Carolina Panthers:
— They went 17-2 in 2015, lost Super Bowl, are 34-47 since then.
— Since 2012, they’re 7-16-1 ATS as road favorites, 34-16 as road dogs.
— Last two years, Carolina is 4-11-1 ATS at home.
— Last four years, over is 20-12 in Panther home games.

Chicago Bears:
— Bears haven’t won a playoff game (0-2) since 2010.
— Chicago lost six of last seven season openers.
— Last two years, they’re 4-10-1 ATS off a loss.
— Last four years, under is 21-11 in their home games.

Dallas Cowboys:
— Over last 20 years, Dallas is 4-7 in playoff games.
— Last three years, Cowboys are 6-0 ATS as home underdogs.
— Last three years, over is 16-8 in their home games.
— Last 3 years, they’re 2-8 ATS as favorite of 3 or fewer points.

Detroit Lions:
— Last three years, they’re 14-33-1 SU, minus-20 in turnovers.
— Which is why they have a new GM, coach, QB.
— Last three years, they’re 7-15-1 ATS at home.
— Last two years, Lions are 6-13-2 ATS coming off a loss.
— Since 2014, they’re 9-19-1 ATS as a dog of 3 or fewer points.

Green Bay Packers
— Last two years, they’re 26-6 SU, with +24 turnover ratio.
— Packers are 30-18-2 ATS in last 50 games as a home favorite.
— Since 2015, under is their home games.
— Last nine years, they’re 14-21-1 ATS on artificial turf.

Los Angeles Rams
— McVay is 43-21 SU in four years with the Rams.
— 10 years before that, Rams were 46-113 SU.
— Last two years, under is 13-3 in their home games.
— Rams won/covered last four season openers.
— McVay’s first 2 years, Rams were +19 in turnovers; last two years, minus-3.

Minnesota Vikings:
— Did not having fans matter? Over was 7-1 in their home games LY; from 2016-19, under was 20-10-2 in Viking home games.
— Zimmer is 26-16-1 ATS as home favorite, despite going 1-6 LY.
— Last three years, they’re 8-15-1 ATS coming off a win.
— Since 2014, they’re 17-9 ATS as favorites of 3 or fewer points. 

New Orleans Saints
— Last time Drew Brees wasn’t the Saints’ QB? 2005 (Aaron Brooks)
— Last 4 years, Saints were 49-15 SU (+39 in turnovers, 3-4 in playoffs)
— Since 2014, over is 36-20 in the Superdome.
— Since 2015, they’re 20-9-1 ATS coming off a loss.

New Jersey Giants
— Last four years, Giants are 18-46 SU.
— Giants won Super Bowl in 2011; since then, they’re 0-1 in playoffs.
— Last 3 years, they’re 4-14 ATS as home underdogs, 16-4 as road dogs.
— Since 2016, under is 24-16 in their home games.

Philadelphia Eagles:
— Eagles won eight of last ten season openers.
— Last three years, they’re 5-13 ATS as home favorites.
— Since 2016, under is 28-12 in Philly home games.
— Last three years, they’re 8-16 ATS coming off a loss.

San Francisco 49ers
— 49ers made playoffs once in last seven years.
— Last three years, they’re 4-12-1 ATS as home favorites.
— Last two years, they’re 9-3 ATS as an underdog.
— Last four years, they’re 11-5 ATS vs AFC teams.

Seattle Seahawks
— Finished over .500 last nine years (9-7 in playoff games)
— Since 2012, underdogs are 17-6-3 ATS in their NFC West road games.
— Since 2011, they’re 31-16-4 ATS coming off a loss.
— Last 3 years, they’re 11-5-3 ATS in games with spread of 3 or less points.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
— Bucs were +8 in turnovers LY; previous two years, they were minus-31.
— Last four years, over is 23-9 in their road games.
— Since 2017, Bucs are 10-2-1 ATS as home dogs, 6-11-4 as road dogs.
— Bucs won Super Bowl in 2002 and last year; the 17 years in between, they were 0-2 in playoff games.

Washington
— Last 20 years, they’re 1-5 in playoffs; the win was in 2005.
— Last three years, they’re 12-8-1 ATS as road underdogs.
— Last three years, they’re 11-5 ATS coming off a win.
— Since 2015, they’re 26-15-1 ATS in games with spread of 3 or fewer points. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports weekend

13) Been wondering about this for a couple years, and stumbled upon the answer Sunday; an Olympic gold medal is worth $800, if you melted it down. A silver medal would be worth $500 or so, a bronze medal $5. Don’t melt down your bronze medals. 

12) Was watching the Spain-Slovenia basketball game at 5am couple nights ago, they finally showed a basketball game on regular TV. Slovenia won; Spain will play the American team in the Round of 8 coming up next.

Recent US-Spain games in Olympic/World Cup games:
2016— USA won 82-76 in Olympic semifinals
2012— USA won 107-100 in gold medal game.
2008— USA won 118-107 in gold medal game.

Closer than you might think, right?

11) There will be even more basketball on TV next week, when the NBA Summer League kicks off from Las Vegas, from August 8-17. I’ve been to the summer league few times; it is excellent entertainment, guys play their butts off, trying to get invited to NBA camps, or to get lucrative contracts overseas. Not too many guys take days off for load management in summer league.

10) Imagine being Dave Martinez or David Ross, managers of Nationals/Cubs; you’re trying like hell to lead your team to a winning season, then in the middle of the pennant race, your boss dumps eight of your best players in trades for prospects. Not good.

Translations: Cubs/Nationals will suck next year and who gets blamed when the team sucks? The manager, not the GM who traded away all the good players. Time to update your resumes, guys.

It is especially tough for Dave Martinez, who won the freakin’ World Series two years ago.

9) Not to rub it in any, but Kris Bryant homered in his debut for the Giants Sunday, after Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo did the same thing for their new teams.

8) Young guy who is a cashier at the grocery store I go to often wears a Javier Baez Cubs jersey while he works; wonder if he’ll get a new Baez jersey or switch to another Cubs player.

7) Last month, Mets drafted Vanderbilt P Kumar Rocker with the 10th pick in the baseball draft, but they opted not to sign him this week, because of issues/non-issues with his elbow. They forfeit his rights and instead get the 11th pick in next year’s draft.

Kumar Rocker can go back and play at Vanderbilt next year, but scumweasel agent Scott Boras indicated that Rocker won’t be doing that. If there really is something wrong with his elbow, another year of pitching for free isn’t going to help his elbow or his bank account any.

On the bright side of the Mets bungling this deal is that Houston did the same thing a few years ago, and with their comp pick, they drafted Alex Bregman, so this many still work out for them.

6) Mets went 14-13 in July, which doesn’t sound like much, but they doubled their division lead during the month, from 2 to 4 games. NL East ain’t that strong this year.

5) Bronx Bombers haven’t scored a first inning run in their last 19 games; with the top-heavy lineup they’ve assembled the last few days, that should change soon.

4) Minnessota Vikings fired their offensive line coach because he refused to take the COVID vaccine, but now their backup QB Kellen Mond tested positive for COVID and starting QB Kirk Cousins is a close contact, so training camp will be messed up for a few days, at least on the offensive side of the ball.

3) Orioles’ P Matt Harvey has had a rocky road the last few years, but something he’s doing is working; in his last three starts, Harvey threw 18.1 scoreless innings, winning all three starts for a pretty bad team.

2) A’s 8, Angels 3— Oakland is 4-1 since the Starling Marte trade was announced. Yan Gomes hit a long home run Sunday, and P Daulton Jefferies got his first big league win.

Some A’s fans were bitching on social media because Oakland traded Jesus Luzardo to Miami, so Jefferies’ win Sunday shuts them up for now, since he is filling Luzardo’s shoes. 

Newly-acquired Josh Harrison is wearing #1 for the A’s; couldn’t remember many A’s who wore #1 since 2B Dick Green did during the 70’s glory days, so I looked it up. 

From 1976-2009, no A’s player wore number 1; long time. Ka’ai Tom wore it for nine games earlier this year, Franklin Barreto wore it few years ago, but since Billy Martin wore #1 while he managed the A’s 40 years ago, its mostly been in mothballs.

1) Wonder what it is like to turn down an offer for $44M to play 82 basketball games? Chris Paul turned down his player option of $44M from Phoenix for next season- that would’ve worked out to $536,585.37 per game, and HE TURNED IT DOWN!?!?!?!?

Will be very curious how much he winds up signing for, or does he just bolt to the Knicks, where his endorsement potential would be through the roof. 

Kawhi Leonard turned down a $36M option for next year and he’s recovering from a torn ACL. Go figure. 

Sunday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports Saturday

13) Pretty cool moment at Detroit Lions’ training camp Friday; David Blough is one of their backup QB’s. After practice, the Lions held a watch party to witness Melissa Gonzalez, Blough’s wife, qualify for the Olympic semifinal round of the 400-meter hurdles in Tokyo.

Stuff like that is awesome; they made a video for Ms Gonzalez, supporting her. Excellent stuff to see. Good team bonding stuff.

Ms Gonzalez’ dad played basketball at UTEP for the legendary coach Dan Haskins. 

12) Remember the movie Little Big League, when Jason Robards owns the Minnesota Twins, but he dies and he leaves the team to his 12-year old grandson?

The actress who played the kid’s mom was Ashley Crow; in real life, her son was a first-round draft pick of the Mets last year. Pete Crow-Armstrong was one of the players traded by the Mets Friday to Chicago when they acquired Javier Baez from the Cubs.

11) Indians 12, White Sox 11— Chicago C Seby Zavala is the first player ever to hit his first three major league home runs in the same game. His batting average went from .143 to .250 in one glorious night, but the White Sox couldn’t hold a 6-1 lead.

10) Go on the Interweb and google “Monte Harrison’s catch” and you might see the best catch an outfielder has ever made, and I mean, ever. I’m not exaggerating.

Last night in Charlotte, the Jacksonville CF (who is righty) ran to his right, scaled the fence and caught a baseball backhanded against the wall that was 9-10 feet off the ground. Don’t take my word for it, look it up or just watch SportsCenter— a tremendous play.

9) Dodgers are 63-43 this season, despite being 1-11 in extra inning games.

8) Rays’ pitching ace Tyler Glasnow is going to have Tommy John surgery; he is out for the rest of this year and most of next year.

7) Golfer Justin Thomas made 18 pars in the opening round of the Olympics; there have been over 17,000 rounds of golf on the PGA Tour this season, only FIVE TIMES has a guy parred all 18 holes.

6) I’m not a huge fan of wagering on over/under season win totals in college football, seeing how bizarre last season was. That said, people bet on these things. Here are line movements:

— Most bet overs: UNLV over 1.5 wins, Michigan State over 5, Ole Miss over 7.5
— Most bet unders: Michigan 7.5, Tennessee 6, Miami 9.5
— Line movement:
Michigan State 4.5 wins to 5
North Carolina 10 to 9.5
Penn State 9 to 8.5

5) Colleges with a 1st round draft pick in both NFL/NBA Drafts this year:
Alabama, Florida, Houston, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan, Oregon, USC

4) Indianapolis Colts’ QB Carson Wentz is out indefinitely after undergoing testing for a foot injury; they expect him back this season, but it doesn’t sound like they expect him back soon.

Indianapolis signed QB Brett Hundley this weekend; he started nine games (3-6) for Green Bay in 2017, last played for Arizona in 2019. None of the Colts’ other backups have ever played in an NFL game- they need Wentz to be healthy.

3) If the playoffs started today (they do not):
NL: Mets-Brewers-Giants. Wild Card: San Diego @ Los Angeles
AL: Red Sox-White Sox-Astros. Wild Card: Oakland @ Tampa Bay

2) NL Wild Card race:
— Dodgers lead San Diego by 3.5 games
— San Diego has 2nd Wild Card slot right now
— Cincinnati, 4 games behind San Diego
— St Louis, 6.5 games behind
— Atlanta, 7 games behind
— Philadelphia, 7.5 games behind

1) AL Wild Card race:
— Boston leads Oakland by 4 games
— A’s have 2nd Wild Card slot right now
— Seattle/Bronx are 2.5 games behind Oakland.
— Toronto is 3.5 games behind.
— Cleveland is 5.5 games behind. 

Saturday’s Den: Wrapping up a busy Friday

13) Baseball’s trade deadline was very busy; they’ve changed the rules— no more waivers trades the rest of the season, so the current rosters are what teams have to work with the rest of the way. 

Ironic that Cubs-Nationals are playing this weekend, since they’re both in the tank, trading away most of their best players this week. It is unclear what their strategy is going forward; they both won a World Series in the last five years, but now appear to be starting from scratch. 

12) Cubs traded closer Craig Kimbrel alright, but they surprised people by trading him to the crosstown rival White Sox, instead of the Dodgers, Astros or some other contender.

White Sox already have a good closer (Liam Hendriks); not sure how they’ll deal with having two of them.

11) Oakland A’s were more aggressive than expected; after acquiring Starling Marte, Andrew Chafin earlier this week, they unexpectedly added Yan Gomes/Josh Harrison Friday, giving their lineup a big boost.

10) Just before the deadline, like five minutes before, Giants acquired versatile Kris Bryant from the Cubs. No idea what position he’ll play for the Giants, who are 7-7 since the All-Star break and lead the NL West by three games.

9) Fernando Tatis hurt his shoulder again Friday night; San Diego is 5-6 in its last 11 games, has a 4-game lead for the second Wild Card slot. Ha-Seong Kim is the logical replacement at short for the Padres.

8) Reds 6, Mets 2— Joey Votto is the 8th player EVER to homer in seven consecutive games.

7) Colorado surprised lot of people by not trading SS Trevor Story; sounds like they think the draft pick they’ll get when Story bolts in free agency this winter will be worth more than the prospect(s) they would’ve gotten for Story this week.

6) Atlanta Braves went all-in on improving their outfield, acquiring Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler. Soler figures to be Atlanta’s DH next season.

5) Toronto got started Jose Berrios from Minnesota, which also traded JA Happ to St Louis. Cardinals acquired Happ and Jon Lester, two lefties on the down side of the hill.

4) Cubs pitcher Alec Mills threw six innings against Cincinnati Thursday; he faced 27 batters, threw 96 pitches, but didn’t walk anyone or strike anyone out- that almost never happens.

3) A’s 2, Angels 0:
— Strong outing for Chris Bassitt, who tossed 7 shutout innings.
— A’s are 3-0 since they announced the Starling Marte trade.
— Angels were shut out in their last three games with Oakland.

2) Indianapolis Colts’ QB Carson Wentz is out indefinitely after undergoing further testing for a foot injury; they expect him back this season, but it doesn’t sound like they expect him back soon.

Colts traded sent Philadelphia a 3rd-round pick in this year’s draft and a 2nd-round pick in the 2022 draft to get Wentz; their backup QB’s have a combined zero NFL starts.

1) If the playoffs started today (they do not):
NL: Mets-Brewers-Giants. Wild Card: San Diego @ Los Angeles
AL: Red Sox-White Sox-Astros. Wild Card: Oakland @ Tampa Bay

Friday’s Den: Random thoughts on a busy night

Lot of stuff going on for a Thursday night; was going to do a running diary of the night, with the NBA Draft and baseball trades going on, but a nasty thunderstorm KO’d my DirecTV for 20-25 minutes, so I scrapped that idea.

— First of all, best wishes to Indians’ manager Terry Francona, who is taking the rest of the year off to improve his health— he’s had problems last few years. From all accounts, Francona is a terrific guy and he also been an excellent manager. Get well soon, sir.

Francona is also the answer to a great trivia question; he was the manager of the Birmingham Barons the year Michael Jordan played minor league baseball.

— Blockbuster trade of the day was Dodgers acquiring Max Scherzer/Trea Turner from Washington for four prospects, including their top two, C Keibert Ruiz, P Josiah Gray.

San Diego had been rumored as the frontrunners to land Scherzer, but they got outsmarted by their division rivals.

— Turner came up as a CF, so he is likely to play OF with Corey Seager due back from his hand injury. This also makes it more likely that Seager moves on in free agency this winter.

— Nationals dealt injured slugger Kyle Schwarber to Boston; he has a hamstring issue now, but was pounding the ball before he got hurt. It is unclear if Washington plans to field a team next season, but if they do, it won’t be a very good one.

— Washington 3-8. Phillies 1-11:
Nationals won first game, led 7-0 in nightcap, but blew the lead.
Brad Miller walked it off with a grand slam, after P Aaron Nola pinch-hit and drew a walk.

— Rough day to be a Washington fan. In 2019, they won the World Series, then didn’t get much of a chance to celebrate last year because of the pandemic, now they’re running a fire sale.

— Dodgers also acquired LHP Danny Duffy, so the Trevor Bauer era may be over in LA.

— Bronx Bombers acquired 1B Anthony Rizzo from the Cubs, OF Joey Gallo from Texas; Cubs are even paying Rizzo’s contract the rest of this year.

Rizzo/Gallo don’t pitch, so New York will be trying to outscore teams with an enhanced lineup.

— In 2000, the major league batting average was .270; this year, it is .241; will be interesting to see how much it goes back up next year when they ban the shift.

— Seattle acquired P Diego Castillo to replace departed Kendall Graveman as closer.

— This season, Atlanta Braves are 1-10 in games when they’ve been one game under .500; they’re 51-52 and haven’t been over .500 yet this season.

— Mets acquiring Rich Hill makes it 11 teams in 17 years for the veteran lefty.

— Tuesday afternoon, Detroit scored 17 runs in game without hitting a home run; it was the first time they scored 17+ runs without homering since July, 1961.

— Since 2017, Mike Trout has missed 26% of the Angels’ games due to injury.

— Not sure how this will play out, but Oklahoma City Thunder had 37 draft picks for the next seven NBA Drafts, counting last night- they traded one to Philly, so now they’ve got 36.

NBA rosters have 15 guys on them; what will they do with all those draft picks?

— Russell Westbrook got traded to the Lakers, SO LA’s Big 3 in Lebron James, Anthony Davis and Westbrook. Lakers aren’t much for the rebuilding side of the business.

Russell Westbrook’s career path:
2008-19— Oklahoma City
2019-20— Houston
2020-21— Washington
2021-??— Lakers

Four teams in four years; Lakers became a more interesting team last night.

— Detroit took Cade Cunningham with the first pick of the draft; last time they had the first pick was 1970—they took Bob Lanier, who scored 22 ppg for 10 years— excellent pick.

— The NBA Draft would be better if they didn’t show Spike Lee hovering around the arena. 

— Was listening to an NBA scout/analyst describe one prospect and he says:

“The big question about (Player A) is how much does he like basketball?”

Wow, big wow. If I thought that about a prospect, we’d cross his name off and never even think about drafting him. Excelling in the NBA is really difficult; you better love it enough to work your butt off at it, if you want to succeed.

— A’s 4, Angels 0— First time up, A’s leadoff hitter Mark Canha leaned into an inside pitch, it nicked him and he went to first base. Angels’ P Dylan Bundy was’t happy about it. Next time up, first pitch was a fastball behind Canha’s head.

Frankie Montas was awesome in this game, throwing 7 shutout innings. Starling Marte got on base a couple of times in his A’s debut.

— It takes onions to propose to your girlfriend in public, in a big league ballpark; last week, a guy proposed to his girlfriend in the middle of the 5th inning at Wrigley Field- she said yes, and there were hugs/kisses and everyone was happy.

Few years ago, a guy proposed to his girlfriend at Fenway Park; they put it up on the scoreboard, there wasn’t much of a commotion, until some fans in that area starting chanting…….

“She said no!!! She said no!!!!”

Not good. How do you get out of the ballpark gracefully when that happens? 

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

13) Baseball needs to market itself better; they need an NFL Films-type group to go behind the scenes of front offices and locker rooms to show us what happens during spring training, at the trade deadline, before/during the amateur draft.

MLB’s leaders are arrogant/entitled; they need to sell the game to younger people, and the way to do it is to show us how interesting a business it is, both on and off the field, you know, the way the NFL does.

Tuesday night around 6:30, they announced the Phillies were acquiring P Tyler Anderson from Pittsburgh, for two minor leaguers. 90 minutes later, the trade was off; one of minor leaguers failed his physical. Around 10pm, Anderson was traded to Seattle for two other prospects.

Would be great TV to hear how those phone calls went down, to see how the GM’s reacted when their trade fell apart, and when the new trade was put together. 

Baseball needs to do this; they need to promote their sport better. 

12) Houston-Seattle made a trade late Monday/early Tuesday; the thing is, Astros were in Seattle at the time- they blew a 6-0 first inning lead and lost 11-8 to the Mariners Monday night. 

Seattle traded its closer to Houston, which is weird, seeing how the Mariners are very hot and are playoff contenders. Mariners’ GM Jerry DiPoto says there will be other trades that will make the first trade understandable. 

Once again, this would’ve been great TV, to see everyone’s reactions. 

Tuesday night, Abraham Toro, traded by the Astros to Seattle that morning, hit a home run against Houston in the last inning; quite a moment. Would’ve been good TV to see how his new teammates greeted him and how he reacted after the game.

Toro homered again Wednesday, by the way.

11) Oakland A’s pulled the trigger on a big trade; they acquired Starling Marte for Jesus Luzardo; Marte is a free agent in two months, Luzardo is a young pitcher who broke his hand punching something during a clubhouse video game back in May.

I had been wondering if the A’s brass was ticked off with Luzardo; his rehab starts haven’t gone that smoothly, but they were in the PCL, mostly at high altitude. His injury put the A’s in a bad spot; good starting pitchers are obviously hard to find.

A’s started this season 1-6, then went on a 44-24 run, before slumping to 11-16 in their last 27 games- they beat San Diego 10-4 Wednesday, after the deal was announced. Sometimes making a deal loosens everyone up, shows that the front office is behind the team. Hopefully this is one of those times.

10) Detroit 17, Minnesota 14:
— Twins homered 7 times, Detroit didn’t homer, but they won.
— All nine Tiger starters got a hit, scored a run, knocked in a run.

Tuesday’s Detroit-Minnesota game was first time in MLB history both catchers hit a grand slam in the same game.

9) San Diego starting pitchers have lasted 5+ innings in only 57 of 104 games. Blake Snell has lasted five innings in only 8 of 18 starts.

8) Odd Stat of the Day: Tampa Bay leads MLB in this category; 49.2% of their home runs have come with at least one man on base, highest %age in MLB.

7) Pittsburgh 2B Rodolfo Castro is 5-21 this year, with five home runs; he is the first major leaguer in over 100 years whose first five hits were all home runs.

Speaking from personal experience, this is a sad week to be a Pirate fan; you trade two of your best players for prospects. If those prospects become really good players, you realize those guys will eventually get sold down the river, too.

Being a fan is fun when your team wins, disappointing when they lose, but when they don’t even TRY to win, it is depressing/annoying. Thats what’s going on in Pittsburgh now.

6) Four Washington National players, eight staffers tested positive for COVID Wednesday; they postponed Wednesday’s game to today, as part of a doubleheader.

5) This is how much baseball has changed since I was a kid: 

In 1973 and 1974, Nolan Ryan threw 26 complete games, that’s 52 complete games in two years.

Today, there is no active big league pitcher with more than 26 career complete games, Justin Verlander and Adam Wainwright.

4) Can any NFL team trade for Deshaun Watson? What would the public relations fallout be? What would they have to give up, for a young man who may/may not have a lot of legal issues in front of him?  Watson is a good young QB; the Texans have a hard decision to make.

Watson is at training camp; it would cost him $50,000 a day if he wasn’t there, but he isn’t practicing with the first team.

3) College football trend; under Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M is 15-6 ATS as a favorite.

2) Not many movies were made during the pandemic, so actors are getting creative to rake in some cash; is odd seeing Liev Schreiber doing a mattress commercial these days.

1) NBA Draft is tonight; Oklahoma City/Houston both have three first round picks. 

Wednesday’s Den: MAC football trends

Last year, several MAC teams had their season decimated by COVID, playing only 3,4 games.

Akron:
— Last three years, they’re 5-25 SU (-23 turnovers)
— Since 2012, Zips are 4-22 ATS as home underdogs.
— Covered twice in last 16 games as an underdog.
— 1-2 all-time in bowl games; they won a bowl in Boise in 2015

Ball State:
— Last year was their first bowl game since 2013.
— Lost opener 38-31 LY, then won last seven games.
— 8-17 ATS last 25 home games, 14-12 last 26 on road.
— Since 2015, Cardinals are 3-9 ATS as a home underdog.

Bowling Green:
— Falcons were 0-5 LY, giving up 46.3 ppg.
— Lost 4 of last 5 bowls; their last bowl win was in 2014.
— Since 2016, Bowling Green is 2-7 ATS as a home favorite.
— Last two years, Falcons are 2-13 ATS as an underdog.

Buffalo
— Went 24-10 SU last 3 years; their coach bolted to Kansas.
— None of the previous assistants were retained by new coach.
— Won bowls 31-9/17-10 last two years.
— Since 2017, Bulls are 22-8-1 ATS in MAC games.

Central Michigan:
— As HC, McElwain is 31-16 ATS when favored, 16-16-1 as an underdog.
— Lost last five bowl games, giving up 42.5 ppg.
— Since 2014, Chippewas are 18-8 ATS as road underdogs.
— Were +6 in turnovers LY; previous four years, they were minus-22.

Eastern Michigan
— Since 2016, Eagles are 19-3 ATS as road underdogs.
— Since 2015, EMU is 18-5 ATS tin non-conference games.
— Last three years, they’re +14 in turnovers; from ’14-’17, they were minus-34.
— 1-3 all-time in bowls; only win was in 1987.

Kent State
— Last ten years, Kent is 8-2 ATS as a road favorite.
— Went 3-1 LY, scoring 49.8 ppg.
— Last three years, Golden Flashes are 10-5 ATS coming off a loss.
— 1-2 all-time in bowls; they beat Utah State 51-41 in a 2018 bowl.

Miami
— HC Martin is 26-19-1 ATS as an underdog, 14-13 when favored.
— Since 2014, Miami is 25-17-1 ATS coming off a loss.
— Miami has only 32 returning starts on offensive line TY.
— Red Hawks are 1-3 in last four bowls; their last bowl win was 2010.

Northern Illinois
— Huskies were 0-6 LY, giving up 40+ points four times, 30+ in other two.
— NIU is 5-13 last two years; from 2011-18, they were 65-34 SU.
— Huskies are 19-7 ATS in last 26 games as road underdogs
— NIU lost its last five bowls, scoring only 14.2 ppg.

Ohio U
— Coach Solich retired July 13; the old OC is the new head coach.
— Bobcats are 12-3 ATS in last 15 games as an underdog.
— Since 2015, Ohio U is 25-14 ATS coming off a win.
— Won last three bowls, by combined score of 98-27.

Toledo
— HC Candle is 21-17 ATS as favorite, 4-11 as an underdog.
— Rockets have 101 starts back on OL (whole 2-deep is back)
— Since 2018, Toledo is 4-12 ATS coming off a win.
— Rockets lost last three bowls, giving up 32.3 ppg.

Western Michigan:
— Broncos went 4-2 LY, scoring 41.7 ppg.
— Since 2013, WMU is 3-7 ATS as a home underdog.
— Last four years, Broncos are 18-25-1 ATS.
— WMU lost last three bowls, scoring 18 ppg. 

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

13) Mariners 11, Astros 8:
— Houston scored six runs in top of the first; it wasn’t enough.
— Dylan Moore hit a grand slam in the 8th inning for the win. 

— Seattle is on a roll- they’re 24-10 in last 34 games, are only a game out of the 2nd Wild Card slot. Since June 12, they’re 11-0 in games where winning run scored in last three innings.

AL contenders need to upgrade their rosters in next four days; it is going to be quite a race to the wire.

12) This Texas/Oklahoma story is going to shake up college sports for a while; teams will be scrambling to find leagues to play so their athletic programs remain profitable, because at the end of the day, as the old saying goes, it is always about the money.

Kansas, for instance, is an elite basketball school but they’re cruddy in football. What league would want them (Big 14?)? Baylor just won a national title in hoops, but where will they wind up? Will UNLV/BYU team up and join the Pac-12 or Big X?

11) Braves 2-0, Mets 0-1— Two games, 14 innings, total of 3 runs were scored.

Mets have used 55 players this season, most of any team.

Atlanta is 49-51; they haven’t been over .500 at any time this season.

10) Slovenia 118, Argentina 100:
— Olympic basketball games are 40:00, not 48:00; not a lot of defense here.
— Luka Doncic scored 48 points for the winners.

9) Record for most points scored in an Olympic hoop game is 55 points, by Oscar Schmidt of Brazil in 1988. An incredible gunner, Schmidt played pro ball for 29 years; he was named one FIBA’s 50 best players in 1991. He couldn’t/wouldn’t guard the chair you’re sitting on, but boy could he shoot.

8) Cubs 6, Reds 5:
— Cincinnati is 27-18 vs NL Central foes, 24-31 vs everyone else.
— Reds led this game 5-3 in 7th inning, let it slip away.

7) Phillies 6, Nationals 5— Philly scored three runs in 9th; Andrew McCutchen walked it off with a home run. Phillies creep over .500 at 50-49.

6) Oakland A’s are going to acquire reliever Andrew Chafin from the Cubs, for two minor leaguers; A’s needed this, to fortify their bullpen some— they could also use another bat or two.

5) Kid named Jason Carter played two years of college hoop at Ohio U, then transferred to Xavier and played two years there- he will play the extra year he got last year (everyone got an extra year last year) back at Ohio U.

Jason Carter is 6-foot-8; looks like he played 26:00 a game at Xavier last year, but shot 8-44 on the arc (18%), 22-40 on foul line (55%). Hope he is in a gym somewhere this summer, so he can improve on those numbers.

4) The great movie Caddyshack came out 41 years ago this week; I felt old typing that.

3) When Pirates traded 2B Adam Frazier to San Diego, it made Frazier the third player to be traded at midseason while leading the league in hits. Willie McGee (1990), Red Schoendienst (1957) were the other two.

2) November 23 in Las Vegas, Gonzaga will play UCLA in basketball at T-Mobile Arena; Bellarmine-Central Michigan is the JV game on the card. 

Night before that, UCLA plays Bellarmine, Gonzaga plays the Chippewas.

1) If the playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL— Red Sox, White Sox, Astros. Wild Card- Oakland @ Tampa Bay
AL— Mets, Reds, Giants. Wild Card- San Diego @ Los Angeles