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 March 9:
Free Agent Frenzy
NFL teams have wasted no time in spending their cap money to better their respective teams. The biggest domino to fall so far is the signing of Ndumakong Suh. Suh heads to the Miami Dolphins for $114M, with $60M guaranteed. Suh is one of the league’s most controversial players for some of his dirty plays, but there’s no doubt that he is a force on the defensive line. Suh is a game-changing type of player for the Miami Dolphins, who have shown flashes of being a really good team over the last couple of seasons. They just haven’t been able to take that next step. They’re not there yet, but Suh is a guy to bank on. The Dolphins over win total should be on your radar.
Alex Smith finally has another weapon in Kansas City with the announcement that Jeremy Maclin will go to Kansas City. The Chiefs got exactly zero touchdown receptions from wide receivers in 2014. Dwayne Bowe could possibly be cut to make salary cap room for Maclin, which would be a rather interesting development. Maclin is reunited with former head coach Andy Reid. The Chiefs franchise tagged Justin Houston and are re-working Tamba Hali’s contract, so they have had a successful offseason so far.
Speaking of the Eagles, they added Frank Gore to the fold to replace LeSean McCoy. Gore has been a workhorse for the 49ers for a long time. This is an interesting signing because Chip Kelly has been the ringleader of a lot of transactions for the Eagles this offseason while he looks for players to fit his scheme. It’s fair to wonder how much mileage is left on Gore after such a high workload in San Francisco, but it’s also fair to wonder what complementary back the Eagles will add alongside Gore.
A few big names stayed right at home. Jerry Hughes re-signed with the Buffalo Bills, who also signed LeSean McCoy to an extension after last week’s trade with the Eagles. The reigning Super Bowl champs kept Devin McCourty as he and the Patriots reached an agreement. Brandon Flowers stayed right in San Diego. Arguably the biggest announcement was that Randall Cobb will stay right with the Green Bay Packers for four years and $40M.
Torrey Smith and DeMarco Murray are likely the top skill players left in free agency with players like Denarius Moore and Michael Crabtree also on the market. Justin Forsett also remains unsigned. Terrance Knighton is likely the biggest impact player on defense still available, though the Atlanta Falcons have expressed a lot of interest.
Once again, as I’ve said all along, stay updated on the latest free agent transactions from around the league so that you don’t have to play catch up as NFL futures and win totals become more prevalent in the betting market.
Colin Kaepernick on the Block?
Rumors are circulating the San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick could be on the trading block. Kaepernick just signed a very pricey contact that locks him in through the 2020 season, so it’s going to be hard for the 49ers to find a trade partner. San Francisco’s front office has come out and denied that the rumors are true, but it wouldn’t be surprising.
Kaepernick really regressed last season and the 49ers may want to go in a different direction with Jim Tomsula as the head coach. Jim Harbaugh moved on to the college ranks, so the 49ers are undergoing a bit of a makeover to begin with.
It’s highly unlikely that Kaepernick moves, but these rumors had to be created from somewhere. Either the 49ers are concerned about Kaepernick as the starting quarterback moving forward or there’s some kind of dissention between Kaepernick and the front office or the new coaching staff. This is a situation to keep an eye on.
March Madness Watch
Four teams have punched their ticket to the Big Dance so far. The North Florida Ospreys won the Atlantic Sun Conference by rolling through as the #1 seed. Coastal Carolina, who hosted the Big South Conference Tournament as the #3 seed, downed Winthrop to head to the NCAA Tournament once again. The Chanticleers are in the field for the fourth time. The Northern Iowa Panthers avoided Wichita State in the finals thanks to an upset from Illinois State and clinched the auto bid to the NCAA Tournament from the Missouri Valley Conference. The Belmont Bruins downed Murray State in a thriller in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament to grab their auto bid.
The unfortunate thing about this time of year for teams in these smaller conferences is that the best teams in the conference can slip up one time and fall short of the NCAA Tournament. Murray State’s Justin Seymour wrote an impassioned plea on Twitter for the Selection Committee to consider Murray State for an at-large bid. Unfortunately for the Racers, their 16-0 record in conference play and 70th-ranked RPI won’t get them into March. The Racers played the 233rd-ranked non-conference schedule and had one top-100 RPI win.
Tune in to Monday and Wednesday’s recordings of Handicapping the Hardwood for thoughts on 18 more conference tournaments that begin this week.
Steph Curry is a Cheat Code
This feels fake, almost movie like https://t.co/5gXdUmMya1 #StephCurry
— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) March 8, 2015
Alright NBA, who's going to top this Stephen Curry play from Friday? http://t.co/yL6JZeUqiF https://t.co/fECrQA886l
— SB Nation (@SBNation) March 8, 2015
Golden State knocked off the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday for their 49th win of the season. The Warriors now have a 5.5-game lead in the Western Conference and they are 29-7 against conference foes. With 21 games left to play, Golden State won’t be resting anybody anytime soon, but it will definitely be a consideration as the days tick down towards the NBA playoffs.
Rough Weekend for MLB Pitchers
Spring Training is a time for optimism and celebration that the cold weather is drawing to an end and the summer is on the horizon. Unfortunately, it’s also a time where the injury bug rears its ugly head. There are two substantial injuries from this past weekend.
Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers is looking at the probability of having to undergo Tommy John surgery. Darvish spent time on the disabled list at the end of last season and then left his first Spring Training start with what was termed to be triceps soreness. Further examination revealed a small tear in Darvish’s ulnar collateral ligament. The Rangers are visiting Dr. David Altchek on Tuesday, but the consensus is that Darvish will be facing a lost season and will miss the first couple months of the 2016 season as well.
While injury news is never good, the sadder Tommy John announcement could belong to Cliff Lee. The Philadelphia Phillie was shut down last season for elbow pain and he is now awaiting a diagnosis on additional elbow pain. If Lee needs Tommy John, there’s a good chance that his career could be over because it’s rare to see a hurler in his upper 30s come back from the procedure. The Phillies have sent Lee to famous (or infamous) Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion.
It’s impossible to overlook how much these two guys mean to their respective teams’ seasons. Without Darvish, the Rangers have arguably the worst starting rotation in the American League. Their win total already came out a little bit higher than expected because the oddsmakers believe in the players returning from injury, but the Rangers aren’t going to come close to their win total without Darvish. The Rangers do have the prospects it would take to acquire Cole Hamels from Philadelphia, which could be a very real possibility if Lee is out because the Phillies have no postseason chance. Darvish has averaged around five wins above replacement player, so it’s nearly impossible to replace that.
As for Lee, the Phillies weren’t going anywhere anyway, but this certainly makes things look worse. If Lee is indeed out, the Phillies could be headed towards 100 losses. There was a chance that they could do that anyway, but it’s especially possible now.
In other MLB injury news, Josh Reddick suffered a strained oblique for the Oakland A’s and that certainly hurts their lineup. Lance Lynn is dealing with a hip flexor strain for the St. Louis Cardinals. Denard Span had a surgical procedure that will cost him the next 4-to-6 weeks for the Washington Nationals.
Chevy-Heavy Finish in Vegas
It was a big day for Chevrolet at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. Kevin Harvick took his first checkered flag of the season to add to two second place finishes already. Chevy took the top four spots in the field with Martin Truex Jr. in second, Ryan Newman in third, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in fourth. AJ Allmendinger finished sixth in his Chevy ride.
Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano had another solid run with a 10th place finish and he led the second-most laps with 47. All in all, it was a dominating performance from Harvick, who led more than half of the race en route to his first Cup win of the season.
The drivers will enjoy some more desert air and likely a day or two in Las Vegas before the focus shifts to Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. Kevin Harvick won that race last season and led 224 of the 312 laps.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.