In the wake of last week’s sports gambling massacre, and in hopes for a weekend of redemption, let’s take a dive into the Do’s and Don’ts of betting on March Madness.
St. Patrick’s Day is over, the Masters are within striking distance, Tiger is back, Rory is the first Irishman of all time to hate drinking, and I’m still bad at Golf.
First let’s address the major issue here, everyone is currently battling the tail-end of their three-day hangover, don’t worry, you’re not alone. If you’re all bummed out, sitting at work wondering what’s next to look forward too, time to get the blood pumping.
We are just 15 short days away from the real start of Golf Season. The Masters is a time of the year that all golfers look forward too. While part of the reason is that we get to watch the best golfers in the world play on what could be argued as the most prestigious course in the world. The main reason for our excitement is that it is finally time for all of us below average scratch golfers to dust off the clubs, and get ready for yet another season of blissful misery on the links. Another year of slicing drives, punching out of the woods, skulling 10 foot chips, pulling putts, and blacking out by the 6th hole…. And personally, I can’t wait.
Is it ironic that Curry, Durant, Thompson, and Green are all now “battling” very minor injuries right before the start of the playoffs? With 11 games left in the season and a Warriors team that has battled fatigue in the playoffs before, I’m going to assume not. Now at the end of the day, an injury is nothing to play with, and are often times painful, but let’s take a deeper look into each of these.
Kevin Durant – Incomplete Rib Cartilage Fracture Continue reading “Resting, Fading, or Time to Stress – Golden State’s Uncertain Future”
Despite the 2018 NFL season not technically starting until Wednesday at 4:00, calls were being made, hands were being shook, and tweets were being tweeted all day Tuesday about new landing spots for this upcoming season’s free agents. Mike Glennon is somehow now on the Arizona Cardinals despite still being on the Chicago Bears. Wade Phillips described it best:
Amidst the chaos, the New York Football Jets had a quietly productive day that got more impressive as it went on. The worst kept secret around the NFL was that Kirk Cousins had an agreement with the Minnesota Vikings for weeks leading up to Tuesday. The Jets were vocal in their interest, but when Cousins said that he wasn’t making any visits to East Rutherford to meet with the front office, the writing was on the wall.
Only a few hours after Kirk Cousins’ agreement with the Vikings became “official,” the Jets made their first splash of the day.
QB Josh McCown – 1 year, $10 million
Listen, Josh McCown is far from a consolation prize. I think that even he knows it. However, of all QBs in the league, McCown currently has the best grasp on the Jets’ offense and all of the moving parts within it. Rumors have been swirling around the league for nearly 2 years now about McCown becoming a coach, and I can honestly see him in an unofficial coaching position by the end of the year.
McCown has never played more than 14 games in a season, but was able to string together 13 mostly productive starts last year. The Jets went 5-8 during those games, and McCown set a career high in yards (2926) and TDs (18). The 38-year old also led the team in rushing TDs with 5. He kept them competitive for the most part, but all in all the season was unsuccessful and McCown’s hand injury may have been a blessing in disguise as he may have accidentally led the Jets to another victory or two down the final stretch, messing up their order in the draft.
With durability and overall talent as two huge question marks for Josh McCown, it was definitely strange to see the Jets signing him for $10 million during the early hours of free agency. With such a deep draft class at QB as well, having an almost 40-year old in the way seems counterproductive. Except.
Except. Except when you consider who the Jets are most likely to get if they do draft a QB in this draft. It’s 95% either going to be Baker Mayfield or Josh Rosen, two super-talented QBs who have had their own share of an and off the field issues (Mayfield especially). In almost every single draft scenario, I see the Jets selecting Baker Mayfield. Mayfield has drawn comparisons to Johnny Manziel ever since he was arrested and tackled on video for public intoxication. Both Mayfield and Manziel have distanced the comparisons from one another, both saying that Baker is much more focused on the game than Johnny was at his age.
Why does this matter? Manziel has been working out and talking to reporters about his rocky past couple of years and what things both helped and hindered him. One of the few positives that he always mentions is his relationship with Josh McCown when they were both on the Browns. Manziel said that he would have been absolutely lost if it weren’t for him up there. McCown was about 14 years Manziel’s elder up there, had his own kids and family to care for, but still set out to try to make a difference for Johnny. That type of leadership is invaluable and could easily become the Jets’ most important asset if there’s a rookie QB walking through their facility in just a few weeks.
But then, the Jets made another splash in the QB market.
QB Teddy Bridgewater – 1 year, $5 million
Signing a 25-year old former 1st round QB for only $5 million seems like a no-brainer in my book. Before the gruesome knee injury, Bridgewater was immediately thrust into the starting role in Minnesota and had a 65% completion percentage with a 28:21 TD:INT ratio over two seasons. Teddy fought back to potentially play last season, but the Vikings caught fire with Case Keenum and he found himself buried in the depth chart with Keenum and Sam Bradford ahead of him. This is a low risk, high reward signing for the Jets. Who better to mentor a young QB with a shaky injury history than the old man QB who is on his 7th NFL team despite his own shaky injury history?
I do know that the Jets currently have 5 QBs on their roster with a 6th more than likely on the way. Best case scenario here is that Teddy has a healthy and productive preseason and first few weeks of the season and eventually takes over the reigns. If there is a rookie QB in the mix, he’ll learn under Bridgewater and McCown and then be ready to compete for the starting job in 2019. No need to throw a 21-year old into the fire prematurely like so many teams have done in the recent past. After the season is done, Josh McCown hangs up his cleats and rejoins the team as a QB coach and begins a long and successful career there. Worst case scenario is that the Jets finally have some legitimate depth at the QB position instead of guys like Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg who always have and will be considered “projects”. Just ask the Philadelphia Eagles how beneficial is was to have a more than suitable backup QB on their team.
RB Isaiah Crowell – 3 years, terms TBD
This was another somewhat puzzling signing by the Jets, given the depth of this year’s rookie RB class from top to bottom. However, Crowell is still just 25 years old, and has never had more than 206 carries in a season. So there absolutely should still be plenty of tread on his tires. He is tough to tackle and excels at yards after contact, something that they’ve been missing ever since Chris Ivory left. He’s faster than Ivory, which is good, and he is even a decent threat in the passing game. He has a comparable skillset to Bilal Powell, and with Powell coming up on 30 years of age, this signing could be a clue that the Boom Boom Powell days are coming to an end in New York.
What I’m most concerned about with Crowell is his attitude. He ran into some trouble in college with a gun charge and also posted a graphic instagram that depicted violence on police in 2016. He donated a paycheck to the Dallas Police Department and that was the last we heard of that. There were also always reports of Crowell and his coach, Hue Jackson, getting into arguments about playing time. Luckily, Crowell is another player with ties to Josh McCown, as they were teammates for 2 years in Cleveland. Perhaps Uncle Josh will keep Isaiah Crowell in check, too.
CB Trumaine Johnson – Multiyear, $15 million
The Jets paid big money for the best CB available in free agency. At 6’2″ 208 lbs, Johnson is a tall and strong corner that can battle with the new age big bodied receivers. He immediately becomes the best CB that the Jets have had since Revis’ first go-around. With Johnson joining Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye in the secondary, the Jets are now a force to be reckoned with. This signing should pique Morris Claiborne’s interest into re-signing and if not, EJ Gaines should be on speed dial. Think of Trumaine Johnson as Antonio Cromartie with more consistent tackling and better press coverage. He should thrive in Todd Bowles’ defense. I’m still all about the Jets drafting another DB in the early to mid rounds this year. Get some depth, draft some athletic guys and let them fly. Also, goodbye Buster Skrine? He’s had his fair share of injuries and the Jets could save something around $8 million if they let him walk.
ILB Avery Williamson – Terms TBD
PFF ranked the 26 year old linebacker as the 10th best overall from the 2017 season. Demario Davis, who had a career year last year for the Jets in his age 29 season, was ranked 8th. So the Jets made a lateral move in production but got 3 years younger in doing so. I’m not trying to undersell Williamson’s value. Last year was the first time in his career that the Titans didn’t utilize him as an every-down LB. Most 3rd downs, he was off the field. It appears to have been more of a scheme thing than a skills thing, as evidenced by PFF. The Jets employ a different defense, and Demario Davis didn’t miss a single defensive snap last season. Williamson has only missed one game over his 4 year career, so his track record made the Jets comfortable in pulling the trigger on a guy that they believe was underutilized last year. NFL experts much smarter than me have pegged this as a fantastic signing for a defense that needs a lot of help straight up the middle.
Also, it’s going to be nice to see these two former foes dressed up in green together soon:
The bottom line here for the Jets is that they’re making moves and grabbing some impact players on both sides of the ball early in free agency. While these moves may be creating more questions than answers, they’re at least not being stagnant. They signed a 25, 25, 26, 28….and 38 year old on the fake first day of free agency and I don’t think they’re going to slow down. EJ Gaines is still out there. Ryan Jensen is still out there. Tyler Eifert is still out there. Morris Claiborne may be open to coming back. Kony Ealy may be open to coming back. ASJ may even be open to coming back. There are still a lot of dominos yet to fall, and the Jets have one of the deepest purses in the league. It’s been a crazy fake first day of free agency and you have to at least be a little optimistic if you’re a Jets fan. They’re getting better, they’re getting younger, and they aren’t finished yet.
As another half day of fake free agency is upon us, Wade Phillips has one more thing to say:
What’s up Darters. It’s been awhile. My victory lap(s) finally ended this summer and I have joined what the adults call the “real world.” One time I had an interview for the show, The Real World; but that’s a different story for a different day. The craziest/worst part of pretending to be an adult is having to hide your degeneracies around people that are probably trying their hardest to hide their own vices as well. I made a dark joke about being lucky that I didn’t drive over any bridges on the way to work on a shitty day wayyyyy too early into my employment and I am now 100% pegged as the guy to watch out for by at least a couple people.
I’ve been off my gambling game but have kept my ear to the ground and am ready to come back in, fuck shit up, and leave a winner. I prefer playoff time because you really get to dive into specific matchups and you aren’t overwhelmed by a 14+ game slate. Last year during the Championship Round I hit my infamous 5 team parlay which helped fund half of this year’s shenanigans. But you guys aren’t here to listen about what I’m up to (or are you?), you’re here to make some money. Let’s get it.
Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs (-8)
The Titans are much worse than their 9-7 record suggests. I was praying that either the Chargers or Ravens would claim the 5 seed instead of Tennessee. Alas, neither did. The Titans do have one thing going for them:
FINALLY Derrick Henry will be freed from his DeMarco Murray shackles and will be able to ball out for a full game. I drafted Henry in fantasy in like the 11th round and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited….to no avail. Even Sirius Black was like damn dude you waited forever.
After a couple impressive wins at the beginning of the season, the Titans had a ridiculously easy schedule, and still managed to lose to the 49ers and Cardinals down the stretch. Their receivers have been plagued by injuries and their 1st round WR Corey Davis hasn’t really done anything. Delanie Walker is still a mainstay in the offense, despite Marcus Mariota taking a step back this season. Their secondary is on the rise, but they are still vulnerable downfield. Alex Smith doesn’t take deep shots very often, but he does have the best deep threat in the league on his side in Tyreek Hill. There probably isn’t a single human in the NFL that can match Hill step for step, so it’s a matter of time before he breaks one off.
When/if Hill is covered, Travis Kelce has a great matchup this week. If Gronk didn’t exist, Kelce would be one of the biggest names in the NFL. He’s still pretty much a household name. With Hill, Kelce, and rookie RB Kareem Hunt teamed up with a veteran game manager in Alex Smith, there is simply too much offensive firepower for the Titans to be able to contend. Also pencil in Kelce to catch a shovel pass TD.
Atlanta Falcons (+6) @ Los Angeles Rams
With Carson Wentz’s injury, the NFC race is kind of wide open. The Vikings may be the favorites, but I’d put my money on the Saints. That being said, a team like the Falcons can make a serious run themselves. They proved to be a Super Bowl worthy team last year for 3 1/2 quarters, and have nearly the same roster top to bottom this year. Matt Ryan has been off all year, but at any moment he and Julio Jones can click and rack up 200+ yards. The Falcons have an endless supply of skilled pass catchers, and have the best RB duo not named Ingram and Kamara.
The Falcons racked up 39 sacks this season. They’re going to do everything they can to get pressure in Jared Goff’s face and try to force turnovers due to his inexperience. Additional pressure on Goff would force the Rams’ hand into keeping Todd Gurley in the backfield to pick up blitzes and protect Goff. That would be huge for Atlanta. If they can eliminate Gurley for even 10 more plays than usual, that’d force the Rams to move the chains with lesser playmakers in Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins, Cooper Kupp, etc. Keanu Neal and Deion Jones will be sitting back ready to pounce.
Despite having Aaron Donald clogging up the middle, the Rams nearly gave up 2,000 yards on the ground this season. Keep Freeman and Coleman away from Donald, and they can get to the second level with relative ease. I like the Falcons straight up; +6 seems crazy.
Buffalo Bills (+8.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
I like the Jaguars, but 8.5 points is a lot. I think that we’ll get a bit of a defensive slugfest, despite each team having a top RB in the league. Good running games mean that the clock will tick. A game like this could end 17-14 before you know it. As long as Nathan Peterman isn’t on the field, the Bills don’t turn the ball over a lot. Sacksonville has prided themselves on getting to the QB, and Jalen Ramsey solidified himself as one of the best corners in the game. The Bills don’t have a real standout pass catching threat that can give Ramsey any trouble. So basically the Jaguars can pick any receiver on the Bills and eliminate him by having Ramsey cover him. That’ll open the door for LeSean McCoy and Charles Clay. If McCoy can reach 150 total yards from scrimmage, then that’ll be good news for the Bills.
The Jaguars have been plagued by injuries to their wideouts and they’ll now face a Bills secondary that has been surprisingly good. Micah Hyde turned out to be one of the best signings in the league, and Tre’Davious White had a fantastic rookie season. Allen Hurns should be 100%, and he’ll draw the top coverage guys. That means that one of my favorite college players from last year, Dede Westbrook, will have many opportunities to make a difference in this game. I was shocked that he dropped into the 4th round last year. Watching him with Baker Mayfield was fascinating, and I hope he can make some plays for Blake Bortles this weekend.
The Bills have been susceptible to the run this year and the Jaguars have one of the biggest and baddest RBs in the league in Leonard Fournette. He’s going to get his, so it’s a matter of whether or not the Bills O comes in to Jacksonville ready to play.
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints (-7)
I mentioned before that the Saints are probably my favorite to come out of the NFC. They finally have something that resembles a defense and they have the steal of the draft in Alvin Kamara. Also, the Saints are a different animal at home in the dome. They score and score, then score some more. Unfortunately for the Panthers, their secondary has been their biggest issue this year, and recent results prove that:
Michael Thomas has been practicing in full and I’m willing to bet that he finds his way into the end zone this week. Ted Ginn Jr is also going to find his way in for 6. The former Panther was Tyreek Hill before he entered the league and he would certainly like a little shot at revenge.
The Panthers do have some studs up front in Luke Keuchly and Charles Johnson, but the lethal combo of Kamara and Mark Ingram has been way too much to handle since the Saints cut ties with Adrian Peterson.
The Saints are gonna go marching on in what I think is going to be a shootout in the Superdome.
It’s good to be back. Playoff football is the best. If this parlay hits I’ll be one step closer to getting out of this “real world” and back to public degeneracy. Pray for me.
Also, keep your eyes and ears peeled for some news about potential podcasts coming your way. I don’t know who, what, when, where, why, or how, all I do know is that some equipment should be in my possession come Monday. Can’t wait s/o Bart Scott.
By the way here’s an absolute banger that you need to listen to: