I’m the Browns, Here’s What I Do

If you ask 100 people what they should do if they were the Cleveland Browns, you might get 73 different answers. Only the Browns have control here. Cleveland fans are hoping that history does not repeat itself. They have an atrocious history regarding the draft, these diehard fans deserve better. The rumor is Baker Mayfield is going #1. So I’m going to play GM.

I’m not taking a QB with the first overall pick. I’m taking Saquon Barkley. He’s essentially Earl Campbell with Eric Dickerson speed and agility. He also has great pass catching skills out of the backfield. He’s a can’t-miss type of player. His special teams play at Penn State was phenomenal as well, although I’m not sure he would take on that role in the NFL.

The Browns have another pick at #4. I’d grab a QB then. No need to spend the 1st overall pick on one when there are about 8 QBs in this draft that are, for the most part, interchangeable. For my money, I think Josh Rosen is the best prospect. But I’ve been wrong before. Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Mason Rudolph are solid too. Throw in Baker Mayfield, Luke Falk, Lamar Jackson, and Mike White to round out this class. There are rumblings about Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta. I haven’t seen him play, but he has good size and from the clips I watched, a strong arm. As far as Jackson goes, with his style, he needs to end up on the right team to be successful. Astounding athleticism will always be a meal ticket at any level.

So why draft a QB first with a plethora of talent out there? Only Cleveland can answer that. And they may still surprise us all. But 8 top notch QBs and 1 Saquon……well, you know my answer.

The draft is Thursday, I’ll have it on one of the TVs while watching some NHL playoff action. And maybe some NBA. And MLB. I love this time of year.

The Sports Week Ahead

There’s a lot going on this week. It’s going to be hard to choose which game/event you’ll watch each night unless you have a multi-screen sports bunker at home. Not that any of us are complaining.

The NHL Playoffs are wrapping up their 1st round. If the Bruins and Caps win tonight, the 1st round is complete. If either loses, we go to Wednesday. The teams out west are set and ready to go for round 2. Keeping the rust from setting in is the issue for them at this point.

The NBA 1st round is heating up. A few good matchups are making this some must-see basketball. Indiana is giving the Cavs all they can handle. The Bucks have caught fire at home against the Celtics. The Jazz have surprised the Thunder while the Rockets are just looking to put away the Timberwolves. Meanwhile, the Warriors and 76ers are sitting on a 3-1 advantage. And the Wizards are giving the Raptors headaches. The Pelicans are just waiting for round 2.

We’re starting to see spring-like weather across the country now. The interest in baseball should be picking up. The Red Sox came back to earth this weekend losing 2 in a row against Oakland, including a Saturday night no-hitter. The Reds, Royals, White Sox, and Marlins continue to struggle. Good luck filling those seats. The teams in between all of this should provide us with some good baseball.

The NFL Draft is Thursday. Speculations, mock drafts (which I abhor), and opinions are flying from every media outlet imaginable. I’m interested to see who goes where, but I’ve been watching this for years. There are always surprises…….ask Aaron Rodgers. I’m going to kick back and watch it with no expectations and just enjoy it. I love college football, I want to see where some of these guys end up.

So pick your game(s) wisely. It’ll be a fun week, a busy week, but we love every minute of it.

#PlayBall #DropThePuck

Red Sox, Reds, and the Chasm Between

I’m going to incorporate some fandom in this blog. I was born, raised, and still live in the Cincinnati area. To be exact, Northern Kentucky, about 5 miles from Great American Ballpark. So yeah, I’m a Reds fan. Since I was 6 years old, I’ve also been a Red Sox fan. Carl Yastrzemski was one of my sports idols as a child. This season has me looking, quite literally, at both ends of the standings.

Let’s start with the Red Sox. They’re off to a 17-2 start, they’re on an 8-game winning streak, and they are 9-1 in their last 10 games. That’s good. When you have the trio of Sale, Price, and Porcello anchoring your staff, you won’t lose a lot of games. But 17-2 is insane. Throw in Craig Kimbrel to shut it down in the 9th and you have a stellar core of pitchers. Mookie Betts is off to an amazing start, batting .382 with 6 HR. JD Martinez looks to be a fantastic acquisition in the off-season. And Hanley Ramirez seems to have found his youth again. With Benintendi and Bradley Jr coming around, this team could conceivably win 120 games. Oh yeah, don’t forget that Bogaerts is hurt right now and Pedroia hasn’t even played yet. That’s scary.

And now the Reds. To the delight of almost every Reds fan, Bryan Price was fired this week. Will this immediately fix all the problems? No way. But the Reds have a solid group of young players. This goes beyond the Major League level as they have one of the best farm systems in baseball right now. Their starting pitching has been sporadic, but they’re young, for the most part. I like what I see with them. Homer Bailey seems to have gotten past his injury woes, but has had no offense to back him up. The bullpen, statistically looks atrocious. But consider this; 3 relievers combined for 5.1 innings and 17 earned runs. None of them are on the roster now. With that aside, the bullpen has been pretty good. Those 3 inflate the numbers in an adverse way. Votto will come around, as he always does. A notoriously slow starter, he’ll finish over .300.

Assuming summer actually makes an appearance this year, it’ll be a fun one. Baseball is baseball, we love the game. I’ll continue to root for the Reds. I’ve been to games in 3 stadiums. (Yes, I’m old enough to have been to Crosley Field) I’ve seen 3 championships. I’ve seen HOF careers and have had the pleasure of meeting the likes of Sparky Anderson, Pete Rose, Lee May, Hal McRae, Tommy Helms, etc. Let’s hope Jim Riggleman, albeit on an interim basis, can guide these young guys and instill a winning attitude. As for the Red Sox…….I think they’ll be fine.

So fire up the grill, ice down the beer, and turn the game on.

 

#PlayBall

Picks for 4/15/18

Quite a bit going on in the sports world today. Three of the major sports plus some NASCAR gives all of us something to watch. I have a few games that I’m keeping an eye on and leaning towards betting.

NBA: I love the Bucks +4. Kyrie is out, I feel Milwaukee takes advantage and wins the game, much less cover. OKC -3.5 seems like a fairly safe bet as well. I think the Rockets (-11.5) absolutely roll today.

NHL: The Caps won’t sink into an 0-2 hole. I love them today at -155. The Wild are down 0-2, Winnipeg had a flight delay due to weather in Minnesota. I love the Wild at -105. I have a slight lean towards the Kings, but I’ve learned to never doubt the Golden Knights.

NASCAR: A few drivers to keep an eye on today. Betting the favorites is boring, let’s face it. Erik Jones (12/1) and Ryan Blaney (15/1) have both been driving very well this year. Good value bets at those odds. Clint Bowyer (20/1) loves small tracks. He won at Martinsville a few weeks ago, Bristol is right up his alley.

MLB: How can you not love the Cardinals at -155? This game is what many in the Cincinnati area are thinking/hoping will be Bryan Price’s last game at the helm, barring a win. Most of the games today feature heavy favorites, not much strategy to be honest. I do like the Giants as a +108 slight underdog.

Enjoy your Sunday, may all your bets be winners. #VegasVibe

MLB: A 2 Week Review

We’re two weeks into the MLB season, and boy does it feel good. Ok, most of the country is still dealing with freezing temperatures, but at least we have the game we love. While the weather has affected attendance somewhat, the love of the game itself is evident in every market. A few surprises, both good and bad, have most of us scratching our heads out of the gate.

The New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, and Pittsburgh Pirates have all started off well above the expectations we had. The Mets have had a solid core of players for a few years, but injuries have devastated this lineup. If they stay healthy, they’ll be a force all season. In Atlanta, it looks as though the youth movement has started to mature. They’re off to a very good start. The Pirates lost their best player and a top pitcher. Yet here they are at the top of the Central. Can they sustain it?

The Yankees slow start has fans worrying. A little. Giancarlo Stanton has swung and missed at everything, but he’ll come around. The Nationals have struggled to score at times. Who saw that coming? Such a potentially potent offense. The Cubs haven’t been the Cubs. Things need to get straightened out in Chicago before long. The same can be said about the Giants. I think both of these teams figure it out and slowly rise to the top of their respective divisions.

The AL East was supposed to be a battle between the Red Sox and Yankees, and I still think it will come down to that. Toronto might make some noise, but I think they’ll fade. The AL Central is a 2-team race. The Twins and Indians will eventually put the other 3 teams in their dust. It should be a good race between them though, so buckle up down the stretch. In the AL West, reigning champs Houston Astros are looking to run the table again. But the Angels have other plans. This should be a fun summer out west. The Rangers have started slow, but they’ll rise through the standings. I doubt they’ll be a threat to the Astros or Angels though.

The NL East was supposed to be dominated by the Nationals. Struggles in the first 2 weeks coupled with a surprising start by the Mets and Braves are making this an interesting April. Washington should rebound quickly. The NL Central sees a similar beginning. This is the Cubs’ dominion. They aren’t off to a great start while the Pirates are playing very well. The Cardinals and Brewers will be merely pretenders. And then there’s the Reds. The NL West is, for the most part, wide open. The Dodgers are predicted to win this division, but what a horrid start they’re off to. The Diamondbacks and Rockies have very solid teams. LA better shape up soon or they’ll be left wondering what the hell happened.

Baseball isn’t an easy sport to bet. Anyone can win on any given day. A few years back I lost a parlay because the pre-Maddon Cubs beat Kershaw when the Dodgers were -350. So yes, very unpredictable. If you guys are looking for underdog bets, my pal Tommy Lorenzo (@sportsbooktom) puts his picks on his website, http://www.thevegasparlay.com. He’s a great follow on Twitter and has some fantastic Vegas insight on his site.

So here’s to a summer full of good baseball and great weather. Play Ball!

NHL Playoffs: 1st Round

Washington Capitals vs Columbus Blue Jackets: This series will feature two previous Vezina winners. Holtby vs Bobrovsky should be a great matchup. Both teams can also put the puck in the net. Ovechkin, Backstrom, Oshie, Panarin, Atkinson, Werenski; goals will happen. Something has to give. Series line currently: Washington (-130), Columbus (+110).

Tampa Bay Lightning vs New Jersey Devils: Andrei Vasilevskiy and his .920 save % will do everything in his power to keep the Devils’ offense in check. Nikita Kucherov (100 pts) is an offensive force to be reckoned with. Taylor Hall (93 pts) provides the offense for the Devils. Tampa Bay has what it takes to dominate this series, but I can see the Devils keeping it close. Series line currently: Tampa Bay (-350), New Jersey (+275).

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Philadelphia Flyers: A heated rivalry in the first round? I’ll take it! These teams hate each other. They have provided us so many great matchups over the years. You’ll see finesse on the ice……..and probably some blood. Two-time defending champs Pittsburgh will look to three-peat. The Flyers want nothing more than to knock them out early. Literally and figuratively. Series line currently: Pittsburgh (-225), Philly (+185).

Boston Bruins vs Toronto Maple Leafs: The Bruins can score across 4 lines with regularity. They have 4 players with 59 points or more. And they have Tuukka Rask. A .917 save % and 2.32 GAA gives them a guy between the pipes that won’t budge much. Toronto spreads the scoring love as well. But a healthy Auston Matthews makes them dangerous. They have Frederik Andersen (2.81, .918) in the net. This should be a good series, as the lines would suggest. Series line currently: Boston (-145), Toronto (+125).

Nashville Predators vs Colorado Avalanche: Nashville is the Vegas favorite to win it all. They got a taste last year, but fell short. They’ll be hungry. They are solid both on offense and defense. And Pekka Rinne is one of the best in the game in the net. Nathan MacKinnon is the centerpiece for Colorado. This guy can score. Semyon Varlamov is no slouch between the pipes either. Most people, including Vegas, aren’t giving these guys much of a chance though. Series line currently: Nashville (-560), Colorado (+380).

Vegas Golden Knights vs Los Angeles Kings: Vegas has taken the hockey world by storm this season. They’ve broken countless records. But can they sustain under the bright lights? They feature 4 players with at least 60 points. They play with a lot of energy too. And Marc-Andre Fleury (2.24, .927) is legendary between the pipes. But don’t count out the Kings. Anze Kopitar (92 pts) has had a stellar season. Jonathan Quick (2.40, .921) has shown what he can do in the postseason. Series line currently: Vegas (-140), LA (+120).

Winnipeg Jets vs Minnesota Wild: Raise your hand if you predicted the Jets to be here. Exactly. Blake Wheeler (91 pts) has been their guy this season. Connor Hellebuyck (2.36, .924) has been a pleasant surprise as one of the top goalies. No household names here, just solid hockey. This Wild team is what their fans envisioned a few years ago when Ryan Suter and Zach Parise signed as free agents. Minnesota looks as though they’ve put it all together this season. Devan Dubnyk has been very good, Wild fans hope he can hold down the fort in the playoffs. Series line currently: Winnipeg (-220), Minnesota (+180).

Anaheim Ducks vs San Jose Sharks: Anaheim got here despite injuries to key players this season. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, the guy other teams love to hate, will be crucial to Anaheim’s success in the postseason. The Sharks have experience. Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Joe Thornton; these guys have been there, they’ve done that. This may be the highest scoring series of the first round. Series line currently: Anaheim (-130), San Jose (+110).

Guys, I’m ready for this to start. But alas, we have about 24 hours until it’s a go. Kick back, pop a cold one, enjoy some hockey.

#DropThePuck

 

Humboldt Broncos: Those We Lost

Players:

Adam Herold

Connor Lukan

Evan Thomas

Jacob Leicht

Jaxon Joseph

Logan Boulet

Logan Hunter

Logan Schatz

Stephen Wack

Xavier Labelle

Team Personnel:

Brody Hinz

Darcy Haugan

Glen Doerksen

Mark Cross

Tyler Bieber

Do yourself a favor, say each one of these names out loud. These are the ones we lost in that tragic accident. Pray that the healing begins for the families.