If you are a sports betting enthusiast like all of us at BangTheBook.com are, then you probably start thinking about the betting impact of the day’s top stories. Not every top story has a relevance to betting, but you probably try to connect the dots anyway. In a new feature each weekday, we will take a look at the top six sports stories of the day in an article titled the Daily Six Pack. They say that an apple day keeps the doctor away. Well, we like to think that a six pack a day keeps the bookie away.
With that, let’s take a look at the six top stories for Monday April 13:
The New Kid In Town
While Tiger Woods was popping a wrist ligament back into place, allegedly, Jordan Spieth was taking the torch as the new young face of golf. Spieth went wire-to-wire en route to shooting 18-under for the first of what could be many green jackets in his career. Spieth dominated the course at Augusta National and flirted with records that nobody thought could be touched. A bogey on 18 was the only thing that kept Spieth from setting a new Augusta National record. Instead, he simply tied Tiger Woods.
In a golf that is really hard to dominate, Spieth looks poised to do just that. At 21 years old, Spieth is up over $3M in career earnings and quietly finished second in last year’s Masters. Spieth has a chance to unseat Rory McIlroy as the #1 ranked player in the world over the rest of the tour season and he became the first wire-to-wire Masters winner in 39 years.
Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose finished a distant second at 14-under. Rory McIlroy finished with a 12-under. The course held up well to some rain early in the week and players posted some excellent scores. With Spieth’s domination of the course and five players are better than 10-under, it will be interesting to see what officials do at Augusta National next season. Also, the other majors may take notice and toughen things up. The next major event is the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in Washington June 18-21.
Those hoping for a dramatic finish in the Western Conference race for the eighth and final playoff spot may not get it. Russell Westbrook dropped 54 points in Oklahoma City’s loss to Indiana 116-104, but it was Westbrook’s 16th technical foul that has drawn all of the attention. The league can rescind the technical, which they have already done once for Westbrook this season, and the expectation is that they will do that.
The bigger concern is that Westbrook took 43 shots to score his 54 points and the Thunder still lost by 12. The New Orleans Pelicans hold the tiebreaker, though they failed to pick up ground by losing at Houston to the Rockets. The Brooklyn Nets really missed a golden opportunity of their own, losing by 23 to the Milwaukee Bucks, while the Boston Celtics destroyed the resting Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs sat almost everybody in their 39-point loss to Boston.
It’s a tough time of year to be an NBA handicapper because of all the lineup changes and poor efforts. There were some major blowouts on Sunday and the expectation should be to see more of them on Monday and Wednesday. Check out Cole Ryan on the Betting the Buckets NBA betting podcast every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, including today’s outstanding episode.
Busy Baseball Weekend
A lot of things happened in baseball this weekend. The biggest bit of news is that Yan Gomes will miss the next six-to-eight weeks with a moderate MCL sprain. The Indians catcher was one of the team’s most valuable players last season and it’s impossible to replace a five-win catcher. Gomes’s offensive numbers are what the Indians will miss the most because Roberto Perez is a solid defensive catcher. That injury and more were covered on The Bettor’s Box MLB betting podcast.
Felix Hernandez left with quad cramps in Seattle’s game against the Oakland A’s. Hernandez should be just fine, but it made some news anyway. The bigger news from that game was the blow-up of Fernando Rodney, who picked up the “win” after allowing four runs in the top of the ninth.
Alex Rodriguez had a great week offensively for the Yankees, but he has proven to be a man without a position. Rodriguez was awful defensively at first base and his days of playing third base are clearly behind him.
A lot of teams are off to inconsistent starts. The Rockies swept the Brewers on the road and then lost a series at home to the Chicago Cubs. The San Diego Padres took three of four at home and scored some runs in the process to improve to 4-3. The Tigers and Royals stand alone at 6-0, but regression is coming for both teams.
The NHL playoffs are officially set. Previews on all for series from both the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference are posted to our website. Looking around the league at the non-playoff teams, it’s that time of year for changes. The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to tear it all down and start over. It’s a long overdue move for an organization that needs a full-fledged rebuild.
In terms of fan bases, the Maple Leafs are among the most passionate and most vocal. It’s been a long time since the organization had sustained success. They’ll get a good draft pick this season and some new people in power, so that can only help moving forward. The new playoff format and the current way that points are accumulated in the standings makes it really difficult to get to the top of the peak and stay there. The Leafs have a long way to go to get to that point.
Speaking of awful teams, the Buffalo Sabres cut the cord with Ted Nolan for the second time. The Sabres are in rebuilding mode and will get either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel to speed the process along. They need a lot more than that, but the Sabres made a lot of transactions throughout the season to try and piecemeal a lineup for the future. They definitely need to find a franchise goaltender somewhere. It will be interesting to see who wants to take the leap for the head coaching job, because it’s going to be rough for the first couple of years.
Chevy-Heavy Texas Finish
Jimmie Johnson returned to the winner’s circle for the first time this season with his Sprint Cup Series win at Texas Motor Speedway. It has been a frustrating start for Johnson with a couple of DNFs on the young NASCAR campaign, but Johnson was back atop the mountain and led 128 of the 334 laps.
Chevy cars claimed the top three spots as Kevin Harvick finished second and Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third. Ford drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski finished fourth and fifth. Thirty-five cars managed 330 or more laps, so it was a relatively clean race for most involved.
After the first major Saturday race of the season, the drivers return to their regular Sunday race day at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee on April 19.
As mentioned last week in the Six Pack, some coaching vacancies were filled and those always leave new coaching vacancies. Some of those were filled over the weekend. Chattanooga lost head coach Will Wade to VCU and they have replaced him with former Florida assistant Matt McCall. Buffalo replaced Bobby Hurley, who took the job at Arizona State, with assistant coach Nate Oats.
It’s also transfer season. Trey Lewis is officially transferring from Cleveland State to Louisville. Kethan Savage will sit out a year after moving from George Washington to Butler.
It’s also NBA Draft declaration season. Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker is going to the NBA and so is Virginia’s Justin Anderson. Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell has not formally announced his decision yet, but the expectation is that he will be gone. In somewhat of a surprise, Wayne Selden will stay at Kansas for his junior season.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.