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 Wednesday March 25:
Yesterday in the Six Pack, I looked at how well road teams did in the NBA on Monday night. Home teams flipped the script on Tuesday. The only road team to win was the Golden State Warriors, who clinched their first division title in 39 years in their victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. One of the most impressive qualities about the Warriors is their ability to simply flip the switch in the middle of a game. The Warriors trailed by five at halftime and had allowed 62 points. They doubled up the Blazers 36-18 in the third quarter and held Portland to just 48 points in the second half.
Golden State’s level of efficiency at both ends of the floor is scary. The Warriors are heavy chalk in the Western Conference, but there are a few compelling reasons to lay the price anyway. For one thing, the Warriors are up by 4.5 games on the Atlanta Hawks and eight games on the Memphis Grizzlies. They’re going to be able to put it in cruise control very soon. Secondly, the way that the playoff matchups look right now, the Warriors should be able to knock off Oklahoma City in four or five games and would play the winner of the Portland vs. LA Clippers series. If the Clippers win, which they would likely be favored to do, the Warriors won’t have a lot of travel before the Western Conference Finals. It’s a bit early to be making that determination, but it’s something to watch.
The Toronto Raptors are free falling still. A loss at Detroit makes the Raptors 5-12 over their last 17 games since they reached 20 games over .500 at 37-17. It may be time to start to strike while the iron is hot. The Raptors play a very weak schedule in April with several games against teams fighting for the eighth spot in the East. Those teams have a lot to play for, but they also aren’t very good. It’s hard to bet on the Raptors to get it going, but you may have to as their value increases from bad play.
Was Tuesday night’s win a season-saving victory for the Bucks? If there’s one thing about the Eastern Conference, it’s that everybody outside of Atlanta and Cleveland is extremely vulnerable. The Bucks could snap out of a major rut after their 89-88 win over Miami. The Bucks trailed by 14 points entering the fourth quarter and held the Heat to nine points. For a young team to step up like that with the game on the line after an atrocious third quarter, it’s very impressive. The Bucks are a dangerous out for whoever finishes third in the East.
NFL Changes Approved
Prior to Tuesday, the biggest story to come out of the owners’ meetings was that a lot of owners seem to agree that Los Angeles will have football teams in 2016. On Tuesday, the owners approved some new rules that will have an impact on the game. Games will now have designated “spotters” to alert teams to players that are “showing obvious signs of disorientation or are unstable”. Teams will not be charged a timeout as the emphasis on concussions continues. This was a huge point of contention during the Super Bowl when Julian Edelman made waves by getting up as if he was experiencing an earthquake.
Four other rules focused on safety were approved as well. A “peel-back block” now includes all offensive players as opposed to those inside the tackle box and it is now a penalty across the board. Along the same lines, peel-back blocks on interception returns against defenseless receivers are now penalized. Other rules regarding chop blocks and the pushing of teammates will now be penalties.
There are also additional replay policies for the end of halves, games, and overtime periods as a result of these changes. Several rule proposals were shot down, including the review of personal fouls, reviews of first downs as a result of penalties, and using stadium replays for a replay review.
Never A Dull Moment
The heated rivalry between the New York Jets and New England Patriots was rekindled on Tuesday as the Jets filed tampering charges against the Patriots regarding owner Robert Kraft’s unfiltered comments about Darrelle Revis. This was in response to a tampering charge that the Patriots filed against the Jets after owner Woody Johnson offered to reporters that he would love to have Revis back with the Jets.
Revis signed with the Jets and it could lead to some fireworks during the two regular season meetings between the teams. It was a rather petty move by the Jets and the latest in a series of blunders from the front office, most of which have been on the field. Teams found guilty of tampering are subject to fines or the loss of a draft pick.
Considering how many trades and signings were announced before the official start of free agency, it’s hard to believe that any front office would pull a stunt like this. Don’t hate the player, hate the game, as the kids say these days.
A Chip Off the Old Brock
Brock Lesnar returned to WWE to enjoy the reputation of fake fighting as opposed to real fighting in the UFC. Lesnar’s announcement comes days before Wrestlemania 31, which apparently ruined part of the surprise of the event. Nevertheless, Lesnar, who was 5-3 during his MMA career, is 37 years old and continuing in MMA would have probably shortened his career in either business.
What was most surprising to me was how much attention this got. The World Wide Leader in #sources seems particularly interested in Wrestlemania this year for whatever reason. Perhaps the ratings and clicks from the Lesnar story are a big reason why and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson seems to be dabbling more in his wrestling career of late.
Maybe it’s just me, but the WWE seems to be gaining some more steam again. Admittedly, I haven’t watched an event, pay-per-view or otherwise, in over a decade, so I have no idea what’s going on, but it seems to be growing in popularity once again. The WWE Network failed miserably, so maybe that’s a misguided assumption on my part. Everybody needs an escape from the daily grind of life and if wrestling is yours, this was definitely an announcement that you were interested in.
Anyway, because we are a sports betting site, I’ll remind you that you can wager on the scripted action of Wrestlemania 31 at most sportsbooks.
NHL News and Notes
It’s important to clarify something that I have been talking about throughout these articles and that’s the NHL playoff format. The way it works is that the top three teams in each division make the playoffs. Therefore, five teams could make it from one division. Right now, that’s the case in the Central Division because Winnipeg leads Los Angeles by two points in the wild card standings. I feel like I’ve left a lot of room for interpretation in that area and within the NHL game previews, so that is fixed and cleared up now.
The bad news got worse for the Boston Bruins, who will be without Dougie Hamilton indefinitely with an upper-body injury. The Bruins trail the Ottawa Senators by two points for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Henrik Lundqvist has returned to practice for the New York Rangers. As much as I’ve been on the Rangers bandwagon, it’s certainly fair to fade the Rangers in the first couple of games with Lundqvist back. He’s their security blanket and safety net. Cam Talbot did not have that reputation, though he seems to be earning it. The Rangers may rely too heavily on Lundqvist, who is sure to show signs of rust when he returns.
College Coaching Carousel
While we await the excitement of the Sweet 16, there are some college basketball coaching changes to discuss. The first one is a little bit dated, but the Mississippi State Bulldogs have hired Ben Howland. Next up, the Arizona State Sun Devils fired Herb Sendek on Tuesday. Buffalo head coach Bobby Hurley, whose name was rumored for some bigger jobs like Fordham and DePaul, has not officially signed an extension with Buffalo, but one is on the table.
Following college basketball coaching changes is certainly tougher than following those in college football. It’s also a lot tougher to know what sort of impact a new coach will have. College coaches obviously have systems, but it’s far more difficult to ascertain the impact of those changes. In football, it’s a little bit easier because teams run the option or throw a lot or switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4. That’s less publicized in college hoops, so do your research on these new guys and maybe you can pick out a hot team for the following season.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.