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

13) 49ers 31, Browns 3— Monday at the Mirage Casino here in Las Vegas, someone wagered $120K to win $52K on the 49ers’ money line in this game. Good night for that guy. 

— Mayfield completed 8-22 passes for 100 yards; a WR did drop an easy TD that turned into an INT when game was 14-3, but still, he had a miserable night.
— Total yardage was 446-180; luckily for TV networks, only one more primetime game for the overrated Browns. 

12) Patrick Mahomes tweaked his ankle Sunday night when one of his own linemen stepped on the ankle while he was pass blocking. 

Colts’ defense blitzed on 41.9% of Kansas City’s dropbacks, and they were effective. 

11) Redskins fired coach Jay Gruden early Monday morning, which won’t help anything; he was 35-49-1 in Washington, with one playoff appearance. 

Washington’ problem is that their owner is horrendous and he meddles; here are the Redskins’ head coaches since Daniel Snyder bought the ball club in 1999:

1994-2000: Norv Turner 50-60-1
2001: Marty Schottenheimer 8-8
2002-03: Steve Spurrier 12-20
2004-07: Joe Gibbs 31-36
2008-09: Jm Zorn 12-20
2010-13: Mike Shanahan 24-41
2014-19: Jay Gruden 35-49-1

Bill Callahan is the Redskins’ interim coach; he also replaced Jon Gruden as the Raiders’ coach when Gruden jumped to the Buccaneers. 

10) Steelers kicked off to start overtime Sunday, which is very unusual, since a TD on the first possession ends the game. Ravens punted on their first drive, so it didn’t come into play, and Mike Tomlin was celebrating like they won the game when Baltimore punted, but Steelers fumbled and lost the game anyway.

Will be interesting to see how the Pittsburgh media deals with Tomlin if he has his first losing season as a head coach- they’re 1-4 right now, with the 3rd-string QB starting for a while.

9) Oregon State executed a drop kick/onside kick against UCLA Saturday; was pretty cool to see, and it worked like a charm. Beavers led 21-0 before first quarter was half over. 

8) With Devlin Hodges expected to start at QB for the Steelers in LA Sunday, Paxton Lynch, a former 1st round draft pick of the Broncos, is going to be Hodges’ backup.

7) Quote of the Day, part II:
“I (bleep)ing love this!!!!”
Younger guy sitting in front of me the other night in the Aria sportsbook; he was just sitting there taking in all the action, when a couple of his bets won, he started yelling. Good stuff. 

6) Blue Ribbon Basketball’s preseason top 6 teams:
Michigan State, Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, Florida, Louisville

5) Tampa Bay 10, Astros 3— Rays drew 32,251 for a 1:00 playoff game, and the TV guys were raving about what a great crowd it was. These teams play Game 4 at 4;30 tomorrow, will be interesting to see what they draw for that game. 

4) Cardinals 5, Braves 4 (10)— Molina tied game with an 8th inning single, then won it with a sac fly in the 10th. Decisive Game 5 is Wednesday in Atlanta.  

3) Tennessee Titans cut kicker Cairo Santos Monday, after he went 0-4 on field goals in their ugly 14-7 home loss to Buffalo Sunday; they’re expected to sign former Bears’ K Cody Parkey to replace Santos. 

2) Kansas Jayhawks fired their offensive coordinator Sunday after only six games; you wonder what thats all about. The new OC has a small-college background- the NAIA team he coached LY averaged 55 ppg and 540.3 yards/game. 

Jayhawks rank 101st nationally in scoring, 102nd in yards gained, 104th in passing and 116th in first downs per game. 

Remember that college assistant coaches are equal parts tacticians/recruiters; players win games, and Kansas is obviously behind its Big X opponents in talent level. 

1) Michael D. Smith posted this on Twitter Sunday:

2004 draft class ranked by career passing yards: 
56,545 Ben Roethlisberger 
56,537 Eli Manning
56,121 Philip Rivers
24,887 Matt Schaub
6,271 JP Losman
2,370 Luke McCown
929 Jim Sorgi
718 Craig Krenzel
342 John Navarre
195 Cody Pickett
136 Matt Mauck
53 Larry Fitzgerald

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday…….

Ravens 26, Steelers 23 OT:
— Ravens tied game on a FG with 0:10 left, won it on a FG in OT.
— Lamar Jackson’s passing numbers were ordinary, but he also ran for 70 yards.
— Ravens’ first 3 drives: 27 plays, 140 yards, 17 points.
Baltimore’s last 9 drives: 50 plays, 144 yards, 9 points. 

— Pitt QB Rudolph got knocked out; rookie Hodges was 7-9/68 in his NFL debut.
— Steelers started 3 drives in Raven territory: FG-FG-FG.
— Pitt still hasn’t run the ball for more than 81 yards in a game this year; they’ve converted only 15-53 third down plays. 

Raiders 24, Bears 21:
— Oakland led 17-0 at the half, needed a 97-yard TD drive to win, scoring GW TD with 1:57 left. 
— Total yardage was 398-236 Raiders; they lost a fumble on the Bears’ 1-yard line.
— Raiders are now 10-17-2 ATS in last 29 games as a underdog.

— Chicago’s 1st five drives: 19 plays, 29 yards, zero points.
— Chicago’s last five drives: 29 plays, 204 yards, 21 points.
— Bears flew to England Friday, Raiders on Sunday nite; did that matter? 

Cardinals 26, Bengals 23:
— Arizona gained 514 yards: 266 running, 248 throwing.
— Murray threw for 253 yards, ran for 93 more; he is this generation’s Michael Vick.
— Cardinals drove 62 yards in six plays, kicked GW 31-yard FG at the gun. 

— Bengals trailed 23-9 with 5:00 left, tied game with 2:00 left on a 42-yard pass.
— Last four games, Cincy has been outscored 61-19 in first half.
— Bengals are 4-9 ATS in last 13 games as a home favorite.

Panthers 34, Jaguars 27:
— Jaguars gained 507 yards but lost, losing three fumbles (-3 TO’s)
— Minshew threw for 374 yards, averaged 7.8 yards/pass attempt.
— Jaguars’ last five drives: 40 plays, 264 yards, but only 10 points. 

— McCaffrey had 25 touches for 237 yards, three TD’s.
— Carolina is 3-0 with Kyle Allen starting QB; what happens when Newton gets healthy?
— Panthers scored a defensive TD early in 2nd quarter to go ahead, 21-7. 

Vikings 28, Giants 10:
— Minnesota scored two TD’s, four FG’s; they punted once.
— Vikings ran ball for 211 yards, outgained Giants 490-211.
— Minnesota is 11-6 ATS in last 17 games as a road favorite.

— Giants covered once in their last eight games as a home underdog.
— Big Blue was 8-16 on 3rd down, are 22-42 in Jones’ three starts.
— Vikings had 12 penalties for 112 yards; Giants five for 45. 

Patriots 33, Redskins 7:
— New England has allowed two TD’s on 61 drives; four of their five wins are by 16+ points.
— Patriots held Washington to 75 passing yards.
— Over last 20 years. favorites are 6-2 ATS in Week 5 games if an unbeaten team plays a winless team.

— Redskins had a 65-yard TD run, gained 155 yards on their other 52 plays.
— Washington converted once on their 11 third down plays.
— Last three games, Redskins were outscored 57-13 in the first half. 

Eagles 31, Jets 6:
— Jets are 7-13-2 ATS in last 22 games as a road dog, 1-1 this year.
— When NYJ offense was on field, they were outscored 14-6 by Eagle defense.
— Jets lost nine of last 11 post-bye games (3-8 ATS).
— Jets are impossible to evaluate until Darnold gets healthy 

— Eagles had ten sacks, held Jets to 1.7 yards/pass attempt.
— This was only 3rd cover for Philly in last 11 games as a home favorite.
— Eagles are first team this year not to allow a play of 20+ yards in a game. 

Saints 31, Buccaneers 24:
— Bucs were held to 252 TY, after they gained 499-464 the last two games.
— Fourth time in five games Tampa Bay allowed 31+ points.
— Winston was sacked six times, averaged only 4.8 yards/pass attempt. 

— Saints outgained Bucs 457-252, averaged 9.6 yards/pass attempt.
— NO is 13-21-1 ATS in last 35 games as a home favorite.
— Saints are now 3-0 in Bridgewater’s starts. 

Texans 53, Falcons 32:
— Scores like this get coaches fired; Falcons are 8-13 SU in their last 21 games.
— Atlanta actually led this game 17-16 at halftime.
— Falcons are 1-9 ATS in last ten games as a road underdog, 0-13 ATS in last 13 games vs AFC opponents.

— Fuller caught 14 balls for 217 yards, three TD’s; he was started in only 11% of ESPN fantasy leagues this week.
— Watson threw for 426 yards, averaged 12.9 yards/pass attempt.
— Houston scored 37 2nd half points, converted 10-13 3rd down plays.

Bills 14, Titans 7:
— Buffalo is 4-1, would be the #1 Wild Card if the playoffs started today (they don’t).
— Only second win for Bills in their last six visits to Nashville.
— Under McDermott, Buffalo is 9-6-1 ATS as a road underdog, 7-4-1 in games wth spread of 3 or fewer points.

— Tennessee was 0-4 on field goals, which was a problem.
— Mariota threw one TD pass that was called back; he ran over the line before he threw.
— Under Vrabel, Tennessee is 1-4 ATS as a home favorite.

Broncos 20, Chargers 13:
— Denver’s first two drives: 12 plays, 156 yards, 14 points.
— Denver’s last nine drives: 45 plays, 164 yards, six points.
— Broncos held Chargers to 35 yards on 16 running plays. 

— Chargers didn’t score an offensive TD; their only TD was a punt return.
— LA had ball in red zone four times, scored total of only three points.
— Chargers are 2-8 ATS in last ten games as a home favorite, 0-3 this year.

Packers 34, Cowboys 24:
— Green Bay led this game 31-3 in third quarter, then hung on for dear life.
— Packers won both their road games, quality wins at Chicago/Dallas.
— Green Bay won eight of last nine series games, winning last four visits here, scoring 34+ points in all four games.

— Dallas outgained Packers 563-335, but was -3 (0-3) in turnovers.
— Prescott threw for 463 yards; Cooper caught 11 balls for 226 yards.
— Dallas is still 5-3-1 ATS in its last nine games as a home favorite.

Colts 19, Chiefs 13
— Indy ran ball for 180 yards, ran 74 plays, to 57 for Chiefs.
— Colts covered six of last eight games as a road underdog.
— Colts have now won eight of last ten visits to Arrowhead.

— Chiefs ran the ball for only 36 yards on 14 carries.
— KC’s last seven drives: 35 plays, 150 yards, three points.
— Mahomes tweaked his ankle, was hobbling in the second half. 

 

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

13) Virginia Tech 42, Miami 35— Hokies led 28-0 when Miami scored a 44-yard TD on the last play of the first half; Hurricanes tied game 35-all when they scored a TD with 3:16 left in the game, but missed the go-ahead PAT. 

Tech then drove 63 yards on five plays for a TD and their first ACC win in three tries. 

Miami is 1-3 vs I-A teams, with all four games decided by 7 or fewer points. 

12) Navy 34, Air Force 25— Trends are fun and all, but under is now 33-9-1 in the last 43 games between the service academies. This game went over by a decent amount. 

11) Speaking of the academies, Army (23-1) scored the first TD of the day, so if you bet them to score the day’s first TD, a prop bet at the SouthPoint, your day started out very well. 

10) Texas (-11) 42, West Virginia 31— Mountaineers scored with 0:48 left, pushing the spread; over last 11 years, Texas is now 0-10-1 ATS the week before playing Oklahoma. 

This game was closer than the score indicates; WVU outgained the Longhorns 463-407, but they were only 4-14 on 3rd down, Texas was 10-18— Mountaineers turned ball over four times (-3). 

9) Florida 24, Auburn 13— Rough day for Auburn’s freshman QB Nix, who was 11-27/145 passing with three INT’s. Florida kept the Tigers in the game by losing five fumbles (-2 in TO’s). Gators outgained Auburn 382-241, teams combined to convert only 6-29 on third down. 

8) Iowa State 49, TCU 24— Cyclones have covered their last eight October games. 

7) Upsets:
— Virginia Tech (+14) 42, Miami 35
— Stanford (+13) 23, Washington 13
— Texas Tech (+10) 45, Oklahoma State 35
— Georgia State (+7) 52, Arkansas State 38
— Central Michigan (+6) 42, Eastern Michigan 16
— Oregon State (+6) 48, UCLA 31
— Ball State (+5) 27, Northern Illinois 20

6) SMU 43, Tulsa 37 OT— Mustangs were down 30-9 after the 3rd quarter, but won in OT after tying the game with 1:02 left in regulation. Rough night for Tulsa’s kicker, who missed three FG’s and an extra point.  

5) Louisville 41, Boston College 39— Total yardage was 664-563, Louisville; they kicked a 41-yard FG with 1:13 left for the win. BC QB Grosel completed only 9-24 passes, but threw three TD’s. Eagles lost three of their last four games— they lost last two by total of five points. 

4) Arizona 35, Colorado 30— Total yardage was 496-487 Colorado, but they kicked three FG’s and scored three TD’s, while Arizona scored five TD’s. 

Not sure why Colorado fired Mike MacIntyre as coach LY, but they did; I’m thinking they made a mistake, but thats their business, not mine. 

3) Oregon State 48, UCLA 31— Beavers led this game 21-0 after 6:01 of play; UCLA is now 1-4, and they trailed 49-17 in the one game they won. 

2) Cincinnati 27, UCF 24— Knights turned ball over four times (-3); Gabriel was 25-46/297 passing but threw three INT’s- Davis caught 13 balls for 170 yards for UCF, in a losing cause. 

1) There are a few teams that are so terrible you should never even think about wagering on them; UMass, Rutgers, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, UNLV. 

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

13) Greetings from Las Vegas, America’s favorite city; had a long flight in Friday, complete with 20+ fired-up college students sitting behind me, drinking their way across America. It was a very loud five hours. 

12) College football teams with best record vs spread:
5-0: UL-Lafayette, SMU, Auburn, Oklahoma State

11) College football teams with worst record vs spread:
0-5: Akron
0-4: FIU, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech

10) Weird NFL schedule this Sunday; 10 games at 1PM ET, only two at 4:00 or 4:25, with Packers-Cowboys the feature game. 

There used to be a rule that the Jets/Giants couldn’t play at the same time unless they were playing each other, to maximize ratings in NY/NJ, but that has gone by the boards. 

9) Good program on HBO; 24/7: College Football, which features a different team each week, with Hard Knocks-type access to the head coach and players. 

This week’s show featured an hour on the Florida Gators; next three weeks are Penn State, Arizona State and then Washington State.

8) Speaking of Washington State, they found a scapegoat for consecutive losses when defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys “resigned” (got fired) Friday. 

Two weeks ago, Wazzu was unbeaten and Leach was playing up his quirky Pirate image with the media; then they blew a 49-17 lead at home to UCLA, got whacked at Utah LW and now fingers are being pointed. We live in a fickle society. 

7) Mets fired manager Mickey Callaway, who went 163-161 in his two years in Flushing. There are now seven managerial openings in the major leagues.

6) NFL stuff:
— Colt McCoy will start at QB for the Redskins Sunday.
— Saquon Barkley, Sam Darnold are both out this week.
— Rams’ LB Clay Matthews broke his jaw Thursday, is out for a month. 

5) Braves’ OF Ronald Acuna had 33 singles this year that went 300+ feet, a testament to both his power and his tendency not to hustle out of the batters’ box. 

4) Sports Illustrated laid off half of its writing staff this week; TheMaven, which is now running SI, is expected to hire contract workers to fill out the writing staff after the layoffs.

3) College football stuff:
— Oklahoma suspended K Calum Sutherland, after an alleged incident with his girlfriend.
— Tennessee will start true freshman QB Brian Maurer against Georgia today. 

2) Apparently when the Washington Redskins drafted QB Dwayne Haskins last April, coach Jay Gruden didn’t want the kid, which must make things awkward now, since by the time Haskins is deemed ready to start for Washington, Gruden is likely to have a different job. 

1) Golden State Warriors’ star Draymond Green made only 29% of his jump shots LY, the worst %age in the NBA.

Friday’s Den: Writeup on 13 other college football games……

Boston College beat Louisville the last two years, 38-20/45-42; favorites are 3-3 SU in last six series games. Eagles lost two of last three visits to Louisville; last two were both decided by 3 points. Under Addazio, BC is 12-4-1 ATS as a road underdog; they lost two of last three games overall. Over last decade, Louisville is 19-32 ATS when laying points at home; they they split first two games, with losses by 18-11 points. 

Trap game for North Carolina after an emotional 21-20 loss at Clemson; UNC lost its last three games, last two by total of 4 points. Tar Heels are 6-3 ATS in last nine games as a road favorite. Georgia Tech is 16-5 in its last 21 games with UNC, winning 38-28/33-7 the last two years; Tar Heels lost nine of last ten visits to Atlanta (4-5-1 ATS). Tech lost 24-2 to Temple LW; they’re off to a 1-3 start, with a loss to a I-AA team. 

Tulane/Army split their last eight meetings; Green Wave won last two meetings, 21-17/34-31. Underdogs covered five of last seven series games; dogs are 6-2 ATS in Tulane’s last eight trips to West Point. Tulane came from behind to beat Houston last game; they’re 3-2 ATS in last five games as a road favorite. Under Monken, Army is 3-4 ATS when getting points at home; they beat three stiffs and lost 24-21 (+22.5) at Michigan. 

Underdogs covered last four Central Michigan-Eastern Michigan games; Eagles lost last three visits to CMU, by 12-7-32 points, with an average total of 62.3. Eastern is 3-2 ATS in last five games as a road favorite; they blocked punt for TD with 0:10 left to nip a I-AA team in their last game. CMU is 5-13 ATS in last 18 games as a home dog; they threw for 330+ yards in two of their last three games. 

Miami won four of last five games with Virginia Tech, winning last two 28-10/38-14; Hokies lost last two trips to Miami, 30-20/28-10. Favorites covered four of last five series games. Tech is 8-4 ATS in last dozen games as a road underdog; they’re 3-3 in last six games asa double digit underdog. Miami lost its first two games  by total of 7 points, then snuck by CMU 17-12 in last game; Hurricanes are 5-8 ATS in last 13 games as a home favorite. 

UCLA won four of last five games with Oregon State, winning last two 41-0/38-24; teams split last four meetings played here. Beavers are 0-3 vs I-A teams, with last two losses by 3 points each; they’re 10-16-1 ATS in last 27 games asa a road underdog. UCLA lost four of first five games and trailed 49-17 in its one win; they gave up 1,782 TY in last three games. Bruins are 8-15 ATS in last 23 games as a home favorite. 

Favorites covered last seven California-Oregon games; Golden Bears lost their last five visits to Eugene (0-5 ATS). Ducks ran ball for 588 yards in last two meetings. Cal was 4-0 but lost at home to ASU LW; Golden Bears have wins at Washington, Ole Miss, are 8-3 as road underdogs under Wilcox. Oregon won its last two I-A games, allowing 6-6 points; Ducks are 7-4 ATS in last 11 games as a  home favorite. 

Home side won seven of last eight Washington-Stanford games; Huskies lost their last five trips to The Farm (1-4 ATS). Washington won its last three games, beating USC LW; under Petersen, Huskies are 10-9 ATS as a road fave- they won 45-19 at BYU in their only road game. Stanford lost three of last four games; over last decade, they’re 5-1 as a home underdog (1-0 this year). Cardinal allowed 330+ PY in three of its last four games. 

Underdogs covered 10 of last 13 Toledo-Western Michigan games; Broncos lost four of last five visits to Toledo (4-2 ATS in last six). WMU gave up 103 points in losing its two road games, at Michigan St/Syracuse; under Lester, Broncos are 2-5 as road underdogs. Under Candle, Toledo is 10-7 ATS when a home favorite; they won last two games over Colorado St/BYU, despite giving up a total of 1,149 yards. 

Home side won last nine Buffalo-Ohio games; Bobcats lost their last four visits to western NY (0-4 ATS). Ohio Is 0-3 vs I-A teams, giving up 481 TY in all three games; Bobcats are 5-4 ATS in last nine games as a road favorite.- they gave up 33-45 points in last two games. Buffalo lost three of last four games, with all three losses by 14+ points; under Leipold, Bulls are 9-3 ATS when getting points at home.  

Home side won last four Ole Miss-Vanderbilt games; Commodores lost 27-16/57-35 in last two visits to Oxford. Favorites covered four of last six series games. Vandy lost three of first four games; they’re 18-14 ATS in its last 32 games as a road underdog- ‘dores lost 42-24 at Purdue in their only road game this year. Ole Miss gave up 1,006 yards in losing its last two games; they gave up 309 PY to a I-AA team. Rebels are 12-10 ATS in last 22 games as a home favorite. 

Western Kentucky (-4) lost 37-34 to Old Dominion LY, their first loss in five games with ODU (3-2 ATS). Hilltoppers won 35-31/55-30 in their two visits to ODU. WKU split its first four games, losing to a I-AA team, running ball for only 58 ypg vs I-A teams- over last 2+ years, they’re 0-5 ATS when laying points on road. ODU is 0-3 vs I-A teams; since moving to I-A, they’re 5-8 ATS when getting points at home. 

Tennessee is 0-3 vs I-A teams, losing SEC opener 34-3 at Florida; Vols covered once in their last seven games as a home underdog. Georgia had LW off after beating Notre Dame; they’re 8-4 ATS in last dozen games as a road favorite. Underdogs covered five of last seven Georgia-Tennessee games; Dawgs won last two meetings, 38-12/41-0- they’ve won three of last four visits to Knoxville. 

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud……

13) This is the 8th year of the one-game Wild Card playoff in baseball; the teams that won those games are 6-8 in their next series, 3-4 in both leagues. 

2014 Giants are only Wild Card winner to win the World Series; they beat the Royals that year, the only other Wild Card team to make the World Series. 

12) Wild Card wrap:
NL game: Washington 4, Milwaukee 3— Nationals rallied for three runs in 8th inning off of Josh Hader, with Juan Soto getting the key hit. Washington plays the Dodgers next. 

AL game: Rays 5, A’s 1— Tampa Bay hit four home runs and advances to play the Astros in the ALDS, starting Friday afternoon in Houston. 

11) I mention this every season, but couple of years ago, when the Houston Texans were on HBO’s Hard Knocks, Texans coach Bill O’Brien started a talk to his players by saying, “Welcome to the most competitive business in the world.” 

There is such a fine line between winning and losing in the NFL; one week you look unbeatable, the next week, the fans want the QB benched and the coach fired. Injuries, officials, the bounce of an oddly shaped ball. Lot of intangibles for a multi-billion dollar business.

10) Good grief, if I never see another commercial promoting pro wrestling, it’ll be too soon. 

9) When college football coordinators visit NFL teams in the offseason, they generally visit with coaches on their side of the ball for new ideas, but when Washington Huskies’ DC Jimmy Lake visits NFL teams, he likes to visit with offensive coordinators, to pick their brain about where the game is headed. Nothing like knowing what the competition is thinking about. 

8) On Wednesday, the Steelers signed QB Taryn Christion to the practice squad, to try and mimic Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson in practice. Christion played college ball at South Dakota State; he rushed for 1,515 yards, threw for 11,535 yards and had 130 total touchdowns. 

7) Isabel Albright of San Lorenzo, CA was among the oldest living people in America; she passed away last December at the age of 102, but her family got an “early termination fee” of $160 from DirecTV, because her family had added a DirecTV box in a back room for caregivers, which then started a new 2-year agreement with DirecTV. 

Common sense finally prevailed; DirecTV agreed to waive the early termination fee after all, saying simply, “We have apologized to the family and resolved this.” 

Oy. 

6) Football stuff:
— Broncos lost LB Bradley Chubb wth a partially torn ACL. a big loss.
— Bengals lost WR John Rosa (shoulder) for a few weeks.
— Patriots’ K Stephen Gostkowski (hip) is out for the year. 

5) Washington Nationals offered 3B Anthony Rendon $210M for seven years and he turned it down? Figures that his agent is scumweasel $cott Bora$, who always drags things out to try and suck every last penny out for his client (and himself). 

I mean, if you’re Rendon and you’re happy playing for the Nationals, how the bleep do you turn down $30M a year? If you’re not happy, then you test the waters. 

4) Speaking of Boras, he represents three Nationals: Rendon, Scherzer and Strasburg, who this year made a combined total of $94,538,895, which makes Boras’ 3% of the take $2,836,166. 

It says on the Interweb (so it has to be true) that in 2017, Boras earned $108.3M in commission from his clients. He makes more money than most of the ballclubs do. 

3) Sacramento Kings are playing Indiana this weekend in two preseason games in India (not Indiana, INDIA), the country where Kings’ owner Vivek Ranadivé lived until he was 16. 

There are 1.3 billion people in India; some think India will surpass China as the world’s most populous country as soon as 2027. If the NBA is popular there. thats a lot of t-shirts and jerseys that can be sold. 

2) Get well soon to Senator Bernie Sanders, who had a couple of stents placed in his heart Tuesday night; the 78-year old Sanders will suspend campaigning “until further notice” after doctors treated the blockage in an artery. 

1) The commissioner of the Pac 12 has a salary of $5.3M a year, but he can’t get the Pac-12 Network on DirecTV. I’m thinking he is overpaid.

Wednesday’s Den: NFL stats after four weeks……

13) Best red zone offenses:
Seattle 6.25 ppp, Cowboys 6.08, Ravens 6.07

Worst red zone offenses:
Dolphins 2.67, Bengals 3.00, Raiders 3.62

12) Best offenses on drives that start 75+ yards from goal line:
Ravens 3.76 ppp, Chiefs 3.19, Chargers 2.88

Worst offenses on drives that start 75+ yards from goal line:
Jets 0.37, Dolphins 0.52, Bucs 0.88

11) Best red zone defenses:
Patriots 2.50, 49ers 2.88, Steelers 3.57, Chiefs 3.76

Worst red zone defenses:
Browns 6.60, Dolphins 6.16, Colts 5.67, Saints 5.57

10) Best defenses on drives that start 75+ yards from goal line:
49ers 0.38, Patriots 0.39, Bills 0.77, Bears 0.84

Worst defenses on drives that start 75+ yards from goal line:
Dolphins 3.05, Cardinals 3.03, Chiefs 2.67, Falcons 2.56

9) QB’s with most passing yards:
Mahomes KC 1,510, Ryan Atl 1,325, Goff LAR/Rivers LAC 1,254

8) QB’s with most touchdown passes:
10— Brissett-Jackson-Mahomes
9— Prescott-Stafford-Wentz-Winston
8— Ryan-Wilson

7) RB’s with most rushing yards:
McCaffrey 411, Cook 410, Fournette 404, Chubb 398

6) Players with most receiving yards:
KAllen 452, Kupp 388, Godwin 386, Adams 378

Teams that scored the most points:
135— Chiefs/Ravens
123— Buccaneers
122— Patriots
117— Rams 

5) Offenses with most plays of 20+ yards:
Chiefs 27, Chargers/Ravens 23, Lions 22, Falcons 21

4) Offenses that have gained most yards/game:
Ravens 482.5, Chiefs 474.8, Cowboys 425.2, 49ers 421.0

3) Defenses that allowed fewest yards/game:
Patriots 243.0, Bills 280.8, 49ers 283.3, Panthers 287.5

2) Best net punting average:
Redskins 48.5, Giants 46.8, Cardinals/Saints/Eagles 44.8. 

1) Best turnover ratios:
+6— Bears/Patriots
+5— Titans
+4— Packers/Jets/Steelers

Worst turnover ratios:
-7— Dolphins
-5— Falcons/Giants/Broncos/Bengals
-3— Panthers/Rams/Redskins

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

13) Three years ago, the Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years; Sunday, they fired manager Joe Maddon, who led them to that title. 

When he was in Boston, Cubs GM Theo Epstein fired manager Terry Francona after the 2011 season; Francona won two World Series in eight years with the Red Sox, Boston’s first World Series titles in 86 years. 

Not a lot of loyalty there, in either case. 

Maddon is 65 years old and made $6M this year; his successor will be younger and a lot cheaper.

12) The analytics crowd in baseball doesn’t value the field manager as much as they should; teams live/travel together for 7+ months. Having the right manager makes all the difference. 

If you read this site, you know I love numbers, but those guys aren’t playing fantasy baseball, managers have to deal with fragile egos and huge egos and convince guys to accept what is best for the team- they have to have real life people skills. You think major league players like to be platooned constantly? 

My point is this; maybe it isn’t Joe Maddon’s fault the Cubs faded down the stretch; maybe the roster Theo Epstein gave him just wasn’t good enough. 

11) Angels fired manager Brad Ausmus after only one season, a year where one of their starting pitchers was found dead in his hotel room on a road trip; not exactly an ideal scenario. 

Popular wisdom is that the Angels will go after former Angel coach Maddon to be their next manager. 

10) Pirates fired manager Clint Hurdle, who was 735-720 in nine years managing the Pirates, with three playoff appearances. From 2013-15, Pirates were 280-206, and made the playoffs all three years. He also led the Rockies to a World Series; pretty strong resume. 

9) Cleveland Indians won 93 games this year, the most by any non-playoff team since 2000, when the Mets went 94-68 but missed the playoffs by a game. 

8) Pete Alonso hit 53 homers for the Mets this year; 31 of them came with the bases empty. 

7) Friday night against the Dodgers, San Francisco became the first team since the 1950 Cardinals to score 2 or less runs in a game, while stranding 17+ runners on base. 

6) Monthly sports betting handle:
May: Nevada $317.3M, New Jersey $318.9M
June: Nevada $322.5M, New Jersey $317.3M
July: Nevada $235M, New Jersey $251M
August: Nevada $287.7M, New Jersey $293.5M (Pennsylvania $109M)

5) Early in his career, Dodger SS Corey Seager irritated LA officials with the number of swings he took before, during and after games; they thought he overdid it. Seager was obsessed with perfecting his swing; when he had to miss 2018 with elbow/hip injuries, he became more coachable this year and had a solid 2019, hitting .272 with 84 RBI. 

4) 10 years ago, the under-18 U.S. national baseball team had Tony Wolters, Nick Castellanos, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado on it, as well as pitchers Kevin Gausman, Robbie Ray and Jameson Taillon. Pretty good team; half of the 20 players made the major leagues. 

3) Rutgers fired football coach Chris Ash before baseball season ended, which is unusual. Not a lot of college football coaches get the boot before Columbus Day. 

2) Steelers 27, Bengals 3:
— This was a bad football game; the Bengals’ offensive line was terrible.
— Andy Dalton was sacked eight times; he averaged 2.3 yards/pass attempt.
— Two of Pittsburgh’s three TD’s were on drives of less than 50 yards. 

1) I know he is just an actor and he isn’t the characters he portrays, but I would still be queasy if Robert DeNiro was mad at me.

Monday’s Den; Wrapping up an NFL Sunday……

Patriots 16, Bills 10:
— Patriots scored only one offensive TD; they also blocked a punt for a TD.
— NE on eight drives that started 75+ yards from end zone: 0 points, 7 first downs.
— NE is 5-11 ATS in last 16 games as a divisional road favorite.

— Buffalo outgained New England 375-224, but was -3 in turnovers.
— Bills scored the first offensive TD vs NE this year, on Patriots’ 42nd defensive drive.
— Buffalo lost for 29th time in last 31 games against New England. 

Carolina 16, Texans 10:
— Carolina won both of backup QB Kyle Allen’s starts, after an 0-2 start with Cam Newton.
— Panthers are now 24-11 ATS in last 35 games as a road underdog.
— There were only four plays of 20+ yards in this game, 2nd least in any game this year. 

— Houston’s only TD came on an 18-yard drive after they recovered a fumble.
— Texans averaged only 3.2 yards/pass attempt.
— AFC South teams are 7-3 vs spread this year outside the division. 

Browns 40, Ravens 25
— Heard a saying the other day: “Each week is a new season.” Fits the Browns in Week 4.
— Nick Chubb ran the ball 20 times for 165 yards and three TD’s.
— Browns in 2nd half: 25 plays, 292 yards, 30 points.

— Cleveland gained 530 yards, averaged 8.7 yards per play.
— Game was 10-7 at halftime; Ravens turned ball over three times in 2nd half.
— Last three games, Baltimore allowed 7.7/7.9/10.5 yards/pass attempt. 

Giants 24, Redskins 3:
— Washington became 8th team to change QB’s this year when they benched Keenum after he missed a wide open WR for what would’ve been a long TD pass.
— Rookie QB Haskins was 9-17/107 passing, ran for 23 yards.
— Redskins have allowed 118 points in their 0-4 start.

— Daniel Jones is now 2-0 as an NFL starter.
— Janoris Jenkins caught two of Haskins’ three INT’s.
— Both teams turned ball over four times; yardage was 389-176, Giants. 

Chargers 30, Dolphins 10:
— Total yardage in 2nd half was 156-36, Chargers.
— Chargers converted 8-13 on third down, averaged 9.7 yards/pass attempt.
— Win breaks Bolts’ 38-year, 8-game losing streak on South Beach. 

— Dolphins in 2nd half: 18 plays, 45 yards, 3 first downs.
— Miami has been outscored 81-0 in second half of games.
— 2020 NFL Draft begins April 23rd in Las Vegas.

Raiders 31, Colts 24:
— Oakland’s first two drives: 11 plays, 135 yards, two touchdowns.
— Raiders are 4-13-1 ATS in last 18 games as a road underdog
— Oakland scored clinching pick-6 with 2:09 left. 

— Colts were outrushed 188-81
— Indy was outgained 193-15 in first quarter, outgained Oakland 129-24 in second.
— Colts threw 46 passes, ran ball only 23 times, a bad ratio for them. 

Chiefs 34, Lions 30:
— Game was 13-13 with 9:30 left in 3rd quarter; Lions had ball on 1-yard line, but fumbled and KC ran it back 99  yards for a TD.
— Chiefs scored winning TD with 0:20 left after a 79-yard drive.
— KC has now scored 15 touchdowns on 38 drives. 

— There were five lost fumbles in this game, all in the third quarter.
— Detroit lost despite an 11-yard edge in field position.
— NFC North teams are 7-2-1 ATS outside the division. 

Titans 24, Falcons 10:
— Tennessee had a 17-yard edge in field position, which is huge.
— Titans averaged 7.7/8.4 yds/pass attempt in their wins, 3.7/5.1 in their losses.
— Home team lost seven of the eight 1:00 games this week; only the Giants won.

— Falcons ran ball 17 times for 58 yards; in four games, they’ve got 281 rushing yards.
— Ryan was 35-53/397 passing in a losing cause.
— Atlanta is now 0-12 ATS in last dozen games vs AFC opponents

Buccaneers 55, Rams 40:
— Winston was very efficient: 28-41/385 yards, four TD’s.
— Bucs scored 55 points, had only three plays of 20+ yards.
— Tampa dedicated game to their GM Licht, whose father died Saturday. 

— You cannot win NFL games when you turn the ball over four times.
— Goff threw for 517 yards; 164 yards to Woods, 121 to Kupp.
— Under McVay, LA is 7-9 ATS as a home favorite. 

Seahawks 27, Cardinals 10:
— Seattle wins its sixth straight visit to the desert.
— This was first game this season Seahawks led at halftime.
— Seattle scored two TD’s in 0:44 span in 1st quarter, second one a defensive TD. 

— Cardinals have been outscored 68-22 in first half of games.
— Murray has been sacked 20 times in his first four NFL games.
— Arizona is 0-3-1, and they’ve only played one road game. 

Bears 16, Vikings 6:
— Vikings are 2-0 at home, scoring 28-34 points, 0-2 on road, scoring 16-6 points.
— Minnesota ran ball for 40 yards here, after running for 591 yards in Weeks 1-3.
— Vikings are 4-9 ATS in last 13 games as a road dog, 7-11 in last 18 games on natural grass.

— Trubisky hurt his left shoulder; Chase Daniel was 22-30/195 passing.
— Daniel has been in NFL for 10 years, started four games, made $34.3M in salary.
— Under Nagy, Chicago is 7-1 ATS as a home favorite.

Jaguars 26, Broncos 24:
— Fournette ran 29 times for 225 yards.
— Jaguars ran 76 plays, Denver only 54.
— In second half, Jax ran 47 plays for 315 yards, scored 20 points. 

— Denver lost its two home games, both on last-second field goals.
— Broncos led 17-6 at halftime, took 24-23 lead with 1:32 left after a 75-yard drive.
— Denver still has zero takeaways, but they did get their first five sacks this year. 

Saints 12, Cowboys 10:
— Dallas ran for only 45 yards, after running for 213-235 yards in Weeks 2-3.
— Teams who were minus-2 or worse in turnovers this week are 0-6.
— Cowboys scored 35-31-31 points in their first three games. 


— New Orleans failed to score an offensive TD for second time in three weeks.
— Last time Saints won without scoring a TD was back in 1998.
— Four trips to the red zone, Saints kicked four field goals. 

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday

13) Clemson 21, North Carolina 20— Tar Heels scored a TD with 1:17 left, then went for 2 points and the lead- they didn’t get it. Here is why I think that was a terrible idea:

— Recruiting is the lifeblood of all college football programs; for an underdog team like UNC, this was free advertising on national TV. You want the game to last as long as possible.
— Even if they lost in overtime, it would be a great headline: “Tar Heels take Clemson to OT”
— All the pressure, 100% of it, is on Clemson. Play as long as you can; maybe they’ll screw it up. 

— The game was televised on ESPN; Mack Brown spent the last five years working for ESPN, so all the announcers did was talk him up. The more of this, the better.
— The more recruits see of your stadium and enthusiastic fans, the better for you.
— Even if they get the 2-point conversion, Clemson had 1:17 left to try and beat them. 

12) Oklahoma 55, Texas Tech 16— Jalen Hurts was 16-23/413 passing; how long can Oklahoma keep coach Lincoln Riley from jumping to the NFL? 

Hurts is now 30-2 as a starting QB in college; in a perfect world, Alabama-Oklahoma would hook up in a January bowl game, Hurts against his old team. Good theater.

11) Alabama 59, Ole Miss 31— Tua Tagovailoa was 26-36/418 and six TD’s; Devonta Smith caught 11 balls for 274 yards and five TD”s. Thats a full day. 

10) Baylor 23, Iowa State 21— Bears blew a 20-0 4th quarter lead on a hot day in Waco, then drove 49 yards on 14 plays and kicked the winning FG with 0:34 left. ISU had taken the lead on an 88-yard TD pass with 3:52 left. 

9) Michigan 52, Rutgers 0— Why is Rutgers in the Big 14? What do they bring to the league? 

Scarlet Knights are now 3-26 SU in conference play since joining the league; they’ve been outscored 82-0 in two league games this season. 

In three years of Big 14 basketball, Rutgers is 13-43 in conference games; they haven’t been to the NCAA tournament since 1991. i won’t even bring up that the Big 14 is a midwestern league and Rutgers is in freakin’ New Jersey. 

It makes no sense; UConn would’ve been a better add, if they were so insistent on having an eastern team in the league. At least the Huskies are strong in basketball. 

8) Arizona 20, UCLA 17— Arizona’s senior QB Tate sat this one out with an injury, but UCLA missed a short FG in last minute and falls to 1-4, and they trailed 49-17 in the game they won. Freshman QB Gunnell was 29-44/352 passing for Arizona. 

7) Upsets:
— Houston (+7.5) 46, North Texas 25
— UMass (+7) 37, Akron 29
— Arkansas State (+7) 50, Troy 43
— Arizona State (+4) 24, California 17

6) SMU 48, South Florida 21— Mustangs are 5-0, averaging 44.4 ppg and they’ve beaten TCU. 

5) Duke 45, Virginia Tech 10— This was the Hokies’ worst home loss since 1974; they haven’t had back/back losing seasons since 1991-92, but appear headed that way this year. 

4) Utah 38, Washington State 13— Last week the Coogs led UCLA 49-17 late in the 3rd quarter; in their last 79:00 of play, Wazzu has been outscored 105-27. Not good. Tough coaching job for Mike Leach now, restoring his players’ confidence. 

3) Houston 46, North Texas 25— Cougars’ new QB Tune was 16-20/124 passing, and ran for 100 yards; line moved 10 points towards North Texas after Houston QB King red-shirted, so this was a good result for the bookmakers. 

AAC teams were 4-0 out of conference this week, 3-0 vs C-USA teams. 

2) Wisconsin 24, Northwestern 15— Two of Badgers’ three TD’s were scored by their defense. Northwestern has now covered 15 of last 19 games as a road underdog. 

1) Wyoming 53, UNLV 17— Wyoming ran the ball for 374 yards, and also averaged 10.2 yards per pass attempt. Ugly numbers. The new dome in Las Vegas opens next year; it is becoming less clear if Tony Sanchez will still be UNLV’s coach when next year gets here. 

Saturday’s List of 13: Notes on 13 other college games for today……

Underdogs covered four of last five Northwestern-Wisconsin games; Wildcats are 3-4-1 ATS in last eight visits to Madison, 14-4 ATS in last 18 games as a road underdog. Wisconsin won its first three games this year by a combined 145-14; they were up 35-0 on Michigan LW, outgaining Wolverines 487-299. Badgers are 12-15-1 in last 28 games as a home favorite. 2-0 this year. 

South Florida won its last three games with SMU by 1-24-8 points; teams last met in 2016. SMU is off to a 4-0 start behind Texas transfer QB Buechele, scoring 37+ points in all four games- they covered twice in last seven games as a road favorite. South Florida was outscored 63-10 in losing its two I-A game; they killed a I-AA stiff LW. Bulls covered once in their last five games as a home underdog. 

Favorites covered nine of last 11 Buffalo-Miami games; Bulls are 3-5 ATS in their last eight visits to Miami. Buffalo covered four of last five games as a road favorite- they’re 0-2 on road this year, losing last one 35-17 (-6) at Liberty. Red Hawks are 0-3 vs I-A teams this year, with all three losses by 22+ points; they lost 76-5 at Ohio State LW, are 5-7 ATS in last dozen games as a home favorite. 

Minnesota won five of last six games with Purdue; Gophers ran for 200+ yards in all six games. Favorites covered last five series games played here. Minnesota is 3-0 this year, allowing 88 points, with no wins by more than 7 points.  Purdue allowed 92 points in its 1-2 start; under Brohm, Boilers are 8-7 ATS at home. Purdue threw for 932 yards in its first two games, but only 181 in their 34-13 home loss to TCU in their last game. 

Road team won both Louisiana-Georgia Southern games; Ragin’ Cajuns (+7.5) won 33-26 here two years ago. ULL won its first road game 45-25 (+3) at Ohio LW; Cajuns are 5-1-2 ATS in their last eight games as a road favorite. GSU lost its last game 35-32 at Minnesota (outgained 382-198), week after they struggled to beat I-AA Maine 26-18; Eagles are 5-4-1 as home underdogs. 

Middle Tennessee lost its two I-A games 40-21/41-18, to Michigan/Duke; they beat a I-AA stiff 45-26 in between, but allowed 200+ rushing yards in all three games. MTSU is 9-13-1 ATS in its last 23 games as a road underdog. Iowa plays Michigan/Penn State the next two weeks, is likely looking past this game; Hawkeyes covered six of their last eight games as a home favorite- they are 7-2 in last nine games as a double digit favorite. 

Wyoming is 8-3 in last 11 games vs UNLV, losing 69-66 (-7.5) on the Strip LY. UNLV allowed 490 RY, 73 points in losing its two I-A games; they lost first road game 30-14 at Northwestern. Rebels completed only 27-52 passes in those games. Under Sanchez, UNLV is 15-7 ATS as a road underdog. Last 3+ years, Wyoming is 6-2 ATS when laying points at home; Cowboys are 2-1 vs I-A teams, despite allowing 354+ PY in all three games. 

Michigan State won nine of last ten games with Indiana, which hasn’t even covered a spread in its last seven visits to East Lansing. Hoosiers are 3-1 with a 51-10 loss at Ohio State; they’re 13-20 ATS in their last 33 games as a road underdog. MSU covered once in its last six games as a home favorite; they got upset 10-7 by Arizona St in their last home tilt. Spartans are 32-1 this year, with all three wins by 21+ points. 

Northern Illinois was outscored 79-25 in losing its two road games; Huskies are 18-8 ATS in last 26 games as a road underdog, but they’ve got new coach this year. Vanderbilt lost its first three games, allowing 138 points; they allowed 927 PY in last two games. Under Mason, Commodores are 8-9 as a home favorite, 5-7 outside the SEC. Last three years, MAC squads are 9-7 ATS when playing an SEC opponent.

Kansas (+13.5) upset TCU 27-26 at home LY, there first win over the Horned Frogs in 21 years; Jayhawks covered two of last three visits to Fort Worth. Kansas is 1-2 vs I-A, with both losses by five points; they won SU as 19-point underdogs at Boston College. TCU (-7.5) got upset here by local rival SMU LW; Horned Frogs are 3-13-1 ATS in last 17 games as a home favorite. TCU has completed only 24-60 passes in its two I-A games. 

UAB won its two games with Western Kentucky by total of 7 points; teams last met in 2014. Blazers won their first two I-A games this year by 11-32 points, scoring 31-35 points; under Clark, UAB is 4-4 ATS when laying points on the road. Over last decade, WKU is 13-6 as a home underdog, but they’re 10-18 SU in last 28 games; Hilltoppers were outrushed 361-141 in splitting their two I-A games. 

Ohio State won its first four games, last three by combined score of 169-15; over last 10+ years, Buckeyes 16-19-1 ATS as a road favorite- they’re 13-11 ATS in last 24 games when laying double digits. OSU won last four games vs Nebraska, but struggled in 36-31 (-18) home win LY. Huskers outgained Illinois 690-299 LW but won only 42-38; since 2010, Nebraska is 2-6 ATS as a home underdog. 

Houston QB King is red-shirting after Cougars’ 1-3 start; unsure how much chaos that throws the Cougars’ program into. Houston allowed 118 points in losing all three of its I-A games; they are 8-1-1 ATS in last ten games as a road underdog. Since 2011, North Texas is 17-11 ATS when laying points at home. Last four years, AAC teams are 12-8 ATS when playing a C-USA foe. These teams last met in 2012. 

 

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

13) Eagles 34, Packers 27:
— Green Bay had ball inside Philly’s 20-yard line on 7 of their 10 drives, but scored zero points on their last two drives in the red zone.
— Aaron Rodgers threw for 422 yards but was also Green Bay’s leader rusher (46 yards); no one else had more than 21.
— Davante Adams caught 10 balls for 180 yards but hurt his foot, didn’t play late in the game.

— Fun game to watch; was 21-20 at the half.
— Packers outgained Philly 491-336, but were minus-2 in turnovers.
— Eagles ran 60 plays; only nine were on 3rd down- they didn’t turn ball over. 

12) A’s 3, Mariners 1:
Oakland clinches at least a tie for one Wild Card spot; they can clinch for real tonight. 

This was also Felix Hernandez’s last start in Seattle, after 14 years with the Mariners; they had a huge crowd for this game to honor one of the most popular Mariners ever. 

Felix is a Seattle icon who played his whole career for the Mariners, instead of skipping town for more money elsewhere, and that is rare these days. 

11) Veteran utility guy Asdrubel Cabrera has 37 RBI in 36 games with Washington; he’s been a big help in their run to the playoffs.

10) I was a big Addams Family fan as a kid; Cousin Itt and Thing were my two favorite characters. Now in the new Addams Family movie, I see that Snoop Dawg is voicing the Cousin Itt character, but in their promos on Twitter, they were calling him Cousin It (one t). Not really sure why, but Cousin Itt was an oddly funny character and I hope this movie is good. 

9) Twins 10, Tigers 4— Detroit finishes its home season with a 22-59 record, beating out the ’62 New York Mets for the most home losses in a season. When you’re more inept than the ’62 Mets, you have serious problems. 

Then again, the ’69 Mets won the World Series only seven years after that disaster; the ’62 Mets were an expansion team, so they had a valid excuse. 

8) Sometimes life makes no sense:
Red Sox won the World Series LY but fired GM Dave Dombrowski this year. 

Detroit is 46-112 this year, but gave GM Al Avila a contract extension. Go figure. 

7) 2019 Phillies have lost seven of their last nine games, missing the playoffs. 

2018 Phillies lost nine of their last 11 games, missing out on the playoffs. 

How do the Phillies justify bringing manager Gabe Kapler back in 2020? 

6) Tony Romo shot 2-under par Thursday and is T28 at the Safeway Open in Napa, CA; thats really impressive. If Romo makes the cut Friday, Boomer Esiason takes his place on the Bears-Vikings telecast Sunday in Minneapolis. 

5) Memo to TV announcers: Week 4 games aren’t “must-win” unless a team is 0-3; even then, the Chargers made the Super Bowl once after starting a season 0-4. Must-win means the season is over if you lose. Seasons can’t end in September, though they can be badly damaged. 

4) Sunday is the last day of baseball’s regular season; all the games that day start at 3:00ET, to maximize drama in case a playoff spot comes down to the last day. Good idea.

3) One thing for damn sure: I won’t be wagering on any home run over/under totals next year, because there is no way of knowing what next year’s baseballs will be like. 

After the barrage of home runs this year, it sounds like MLB is going to look at how the baseballs are made. This year’s baseballs are like freakin’ Superballs, but with lot of negative press about the lack of balls in play, changes could be made, and it is doubtful they’ll be publicized. 

2) Congrats to the great announcer Marty Brennaman, who called his last Cincinnati Reds game on the radio Thursday afternoon. Brennaman’s first game with the Reds was in 1974, when Hank Aaron hit his 714th home run in Cincinnati, for the Braves. What a great run he’s had.

1) I didn’t know that before being hired by the Cincinnati Reds in 1974, Brennaman was the voice of the ABA’s Virginia Squires, an interesting team that had Julius Erving and George Gervin on the roster at the same time. 

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud……

13) Cardinals-Diamondbacks played until 4:30am Wednesday morning; fascinating game, and then the teams played a day game that started 11 hours later. 

If MLB wants to have tie games to avoid having marathon games that last into the middle of the night, I’d be OK with that, but no way in hell would I want them to institute a gimmick like starting extra innings with a runner on 2nd base. Not good. 

Myself, I love long ballgames, but I can see how they can screw up a pitching staff for a few days. Over in Japan they have tie games; wonder what they think about ties there?

12) Baseball is going to look a lot different next September; rosters will be capped at 28 guys, if I remember right (instead of 40), so none of the constant pitching changes next year, Plus, once they put in the rule about relievers having to face three batters, the constant R-L-R pitching changes will also be greatly reduced, which will shorten games. 

They used 25 pitchers in the Rockies-Giants game Tuesday; that was the first and could be the last time that ever happens. 

11) Alex Bregman’s team beat Mike Trout’s team in a fantasy football league last week; sounds like a fun league to be a part of. Wonder what the entry fee is. 

10) Someone at SouthPoint Casino in Las Vegas wagered $200,000 on the Houston Astros to win the World Series at 5-2 odds.

9) We could’ve gotten good odds back in March that Washington would wind up with a better record than the Phillies this year. Dave Martinez looked like a lock to get fired back in mid-May but his team caught fire and will be playing in the postseason. 

How ironic is it that the Phillies were eliminated and the Nationals clinched a playoff spot while the Phillies were in Washington this week? 

8) Red Sox-Tampa played an important game (for the Rays) Monday night, and only 8,779 fans showed up at the Trop. When the Rays call Montreal home in a couple years, don’t want to hear anyone in Florida complaining about it. 

7) Noah Syndergaard has allowed 41 stolen bases this year; no one else has allowed more than 24, which may help explain why Syndergaard doesn’t like Wilson Ramos catching his games, though the Marlins stole four bases with Tomas Nido catching Tuesday night.  

6) The NFL is directly linking with a sports bookmaker, Australia’s Tabcorp, allowing the company to stream NFL RedZone and NFL Network on its platforms and to use league and team logos, which fuels speculation that the league will do the same thing here, at some point.

5) University of New Haven hired former Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger, and will look into making the jump from D-II to Division I, which is an expensive but potentially lucrative jump. Not sure how much room is left in the conferences that are lucrative, though.

4) CC Sabathia’s 560 regular season starts before his first relief appearance are the 2nd-most to begin a career without a relief appearance, behind only Tom Glavine, who started 682 games without ever coming out of the bullpen.

3) Does the seemingly annual increase in strikeouts make defensive ability less important in baseball? Fewer balls in play, less need for guys who can catch the ball well. I’m just asking, not sure what the right answer would be. 

2) Houston Cougars opened the week Sunday at -3 over North Texas, but when news of QB Houston QB D’Eriq King and WR Keith Corbin taking the rest of the year off hit the wires, the line swung dramatically and now the Mean Green is -7. Not a lot of faith in Houston’s backup QB there, and there are also rumors that there is unrest in the Houston program, which wouldn’t be good. 

1) From Ralph Michaels:

 Since 1998, Thursday night non-divisional home favorites are 41-17-4 ATS (70.7%) 

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

13) If Tony Romo makes the cut at the Safeway Open PGA event this week, then Boomer Esiason will move from the NFL Today studio to the broadcast booth to call the Bears-Vikings game Sunday afternoon with Jim Nantz.

12) Steelers’ QB Mason Rudolph completed 14 of 27 passes Sunday in San Francisco, wth TD passes of 76-39 yards; those two TD passes were the only Rudolph completions that traveled more than one yard downfield in the air.

Will be interesting to see how opponents react to playing these new QB’s once they have more film to study on them. 

11) Cam Newton is dealing with a Lisfranc (foot) injury and is out indefinitely; Kyle Allen is now Carolina’s starting QB for the foreseeable future.

10) Golden Nugget posted a pic last week of someone winning $20,000 at video poker; he had four deuces and an ace- the problem is, the person was playing $125 a hand— I can’t even imagine playing that much money on video poker. 

$1.25 a hand is my limit on video poker; then again, I’m a nickel/dimer, but still……video poker goes pretty fast. $125 a hand can get expensive pretty quickly. 

9) Cleveland Browns opened at +5 vs Baltimore Sunday but were quickly bet up to +7; four of their next five games are on the road. Lot of pressure on a rookie head coach to live up to expectations that may not have been realistic. 

8) Orioles drew 1.31M fans in 80 home games this year, the lowest in Camden Yards history, and lowest for Baltimore in a non-strike season since 1978 at old Memorial Stadium.

7) Good news: San Francisco Giants finished 42-39 on the road this year, after going 57-105 on foreign soil the last two years combined.

Bad news: This will be the first season since 1940 where the Giants posted a winning road record but had a losing overall record.

6) In Buster Olney’s baseball column on ESPN.com this week, he describes the Mets as “……..the team generally regarded by rival executives as baseball’s model for dysfunction.” Not good. 

5) Calvin Johnson was a great WR for the Detroit Lions; when he was in high school, he finished 2nd in the voting for 2003 Georgia 4A High School Offensive Player of the Year. 

Who won the award that year? Rams’ head coach Sean McVay.

4) Modern baseball announcers on local TV:
— Home team hits a homer: Player A has great power!!! Look how far he hit that ball the other way. He worked out all winter to get stronger. 

— Visiting team hits a homer: Did you know homers went up 57% in AAA this year? Why is baseball using a juiced ball this season? Player B lunged at the ball and still hit it out!!! 

3) So far this month, college football teams who were voted into the AP top 25 for the first time this season are 1-6 vs spread in their next game. Kansas State fits into that category this week. 

2) RIP Texas/Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead, who died Saturday at age 32; he was found dead overnight on Saturday in Austin. Police are investigating the death but do not suspect foul play.

Snead competed with Colt McCoy for the Longhorns’ starting job in 2006 after Vince Young’s departure; he played in eight games in 2006, completing 26-of-49 passes for 371 yards, but then transferred to Ole Miss, where he started for two years (2008-09). 

Snead skipped his senior season at Ole Miss to enter the 2010 NFL draft; he went undrafted and was later cut after signing with Tampa Bay.

1) Are podcasts replacing reading as a way of getting information? If so, that is kind of sad, because writing is such a cool thing to do. Seems like podcasts are a much lazier way of getting information out. You really have to spend your time wisely, and pick podcasts that are well thought out and informative, not just people running their mouths and getting paid for it.

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

13) Bears 31, Redskins 15:
— Trubisky was 20-23/173 passing in first half.
— Chicago led 28-3 at half, but it was 28-13 and Redskins had ball on Chicago’s 15-yard line before Keenum lost a fumble. 


— If Keenum isn’t going to protect the ball, might as well start rookie QB Haskins now; Redskins’ bye isn’t until Week 10. Haskins needs to learn; you learn by doing.
— Last 18 times Redskins hosted Monday Night Football, they lost 17 times.

12) San Diego Padres fired manager Andy Green Saturday, but they probably fired the wrong guy. GM AJ Preller has been GM of the Padres since August 2014; since ’15, San Diego is 338-454, their last playoff appearance was in 2006. 

Preller was once suspended by MLB for a month in the late 2000’s when he worked for the Texas Rangers in their international operations department; MLB later suspended Preller for another 30 days without pay in 2016 following an investigation into his trade of P Drew Pomeranz from San Diego to the Red Sox.

The guy is a cheater who got caught by MLB twice; he hasn’t improved the Padres very much, despite San Diego’s ownership shelling out major money on free agents Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado. How does he keep his job? 

11) Royals’ manager Ned Yost, who won a World Series title four years ago, will retire after this week’s games wind up. Yost managed the Royals since 2010. 

10) When Buffalo Bills scored a TD early in their game Sunday, Cincinnati jumped offsides on the PAT, so Buffalo took the penalty, went for two points and grabbed an early 8-0 lead. Not a lot of coaches do that. 

9) SouthPoint posts a fun prop on football days; which team will score the first TD in the early games? Green Bay (8-1) was Sunday’s winner this past week.

8) Milwaukee Brewers are averaging 35,870 fans per home game; Minnesota Twins are averaging 28,191, even though they’re having a great breakthrough season. Milwaukee has a dome at Miller Park, so fans never have to worry about the weather; Minnesota doesn’t. 

Why didn’t the Twins build a retractable domed stadium? They cost themselves a lot of money both in April and September, when the weather is often dicey. 

7) Last week, NBA changed a rule, making teams set their starting lineup 30 minutes before tip-off, as opposed to 10 minutes before tip-off, which helps coaches and gamblers. 

6) On April 10, the Indians lost 4-1 in Detroit; it was the only time in 19 meetings this season that the hapless Tigers beat Cleveland. Indians are in a dogfight for the AL Wild Card; they’re 18-1 vs Detroit, 74-63 vs everyone else. 

5) Baltimore Orioles have lost 100+ games for the second year in a row for the first time ever; hard to believe that they were in the playoffs three short years ago, losing the Wild Card game 5-2 to Toronto in 11 innings. 

4) Handicapping is difficult: we mentioned the other day how seven QB’s started in NFL’s Week 3 who didn’t start in Week 1; you figure those teams might be at a disadvantage, but the seven teams went 6-1 against the spread in Week 3.

3) World Series starts the same night as the NBA regular season, which is a little bit odd on the NBA’s part. Maybe they figure the same people aren’t watching both sports. 

2) Miami Dolphins are 17-point home underdogs agains the Chargers Sunday; this is only the fifth time since 1980 that an NFL team was a road favorite of 17+ points. 

Biggest NFL pointspread ever? The winless ’76 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were +27 at Pittsburgh and lost 42-0, but they were an expansion team, and a very bad one. 

1) Tip of the cap to the people at the Apple Store in Crossgates Mall here in Albany; picked up a new iPhone Friday, and as usual, their service was excellent. Scott was very patient and answered all my questions; he roots for the Dolphins, so he has to be patient.