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 February 16:

Every Day I’m Russellin’

Russell Westbrook took home the MVP honors in Sunday’s glorified pick-up game featuring the best players in the NBA. The Western Conference All-Stars beat the Eastern Conference All-Stars by a 163-158 score in a game that flew over the total and saw 263 field goals attempted, including 133 three-point shots. Westbrook had 41 points, which was one point shy of tying the All-Star Game record held by Wilt Chamberlain.

The game set new records in points and made three-pointers, beating the records that were set last season. The game also featured a “who’s who” crowd of celebrities including former President Bill Clinton, Jay-Z, Floyd Mayweather, and musical performances from Christina Aguilera, Nicki Minaj, and Ariana Grande.

In terms of accolades for the Eastern Conference, LeBron James’s next All-Star Game performance will make him the all-time leading scorer in the Midwinter Classic. He trails Kobe Bryant by two points. Bryant missed the game following shoulder surgery. Kyle Korver was 7-of-12 from beyond the arc after a disappointing performance in Saturday’s three-point contest.

The NBA is on break until Thursday.

NASCAR Season Begins With a Bang

The NASCAR season began on Saturday night with the Daytona Sprint Unlimited that Matt Kenseth won. It was a 75-lap race designed to get the season underway and get the drivers out on the road. It was Sunday’s event, however, that caused quite a stir.

NASCAR decided to eliminate single car qualifying for the starting grid at Daytona. Jeff Gordon navigated his way through a huge crash and won the odd knockout format, which means that he will be the pole sitter for his final Daytona 500. Tony Stewart called the event a complete embarrassment and other drivers voiced their displeasure immediately after the results were in. Admittedly, just reading about the format makes no sense. Drivers are pooled into groups where pitting strategies are relevant and some drivers just sat idling on pit road because of the troubled format.

Hopefully next Sunday’s race can erase the bad memories of this failed attempt at changing up the qualifying. The idea was to add some excitement to the pre-race runs that normally feature one car on the track trying to set the top speed and pace. But, driver safety became an issue in this one and changes will have to be made.

We will have some NASCAR picks and a look at the betting odds for the Daytona 500 later this week.

Upset Saturday

Saturday was a rough day on the court for several top 25 teams. The Virginia Cavaliers narrowly avoided disaster against the unranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons with a 61-60 loss but other ACC teams weren’t so lucky. Louisville lost at home to North Carolina State 74-65. NC State is on the outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament, but they now have wins over Duke and Louisville, which is more than most teams can say. North Carolina gave up 89 points to the Pitt Panthers in a blowout loss in the Steel City.

In the Big Ten, Ohio State was knocked off by unranked Michigan State and the Buckeyes will likely drop from the top 25 this week. In the Big 12, unranked TCU, with one Big 12 win prior to Saturday, upended Oklahoma State 70-55. Oklahoma also fell to an unranked opponent as Kansas State played the game at their pace and won 59-56. Gonzaga, Villanova, Arkansas, and even Wichita State all survived scares over the weekend.

With just a couple weeks left until conference tournaments start, make sure to keep it tuned to BangTheBook.com. We have you covered with our Handicapping the Hardwood College Basketball Betting Podcast and game previews every day.

A Long Overdue Victory

Brandt Snedeker won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am this past weekend and positioned himself back into the field for the WGC event at Doral in three weeks. Snedeker had only been eligible for one Major tournament and none of the WGC events, but his win at Pebble Beach put him just outside the top 30 in the rankings and he can participate in those events now. Snedeker’s 22-under score broke his own record at Pebble Beach and gave him some momentum for the rest of the season.

The next event on the docket for the golfers is the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, CA. Bubba Watson is the defending champion of this event with a $6.7M purse. American-born players dominated this event last season, placing in 10 of the top 11 spots. The only non-American in the mix was Charl Schwartzel, who finished four shots back of Watson. Watson shot 64 on both Saturday and Sunday to secure the tournament win.

Former NHLer Steve Montador Dead at 35

Steve Montador, who played for the Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins, and Anaheim Ducks, was found unresponsive in his home on Saturday night and was pronounced dead shortly after. Montador suffered a concussion in 2012 and played just one game after that and had dealt with depression-related issues in the past. Foul play and suicide were not suspected as the cause of death, but an autopsy is being done.

The family has asked for privacy, but they will undoubtedly be contacted about allowing doctors to examine Montador’s brain for signs of CTE – chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Dozens of former players have committed suicide, likely tied to CTE, and others are living with CTE in their post-playing days. Hundreds of players have sued the NFL for concussion-related injuries that have affected their post-playing lives and diagnoses of CTE are all too common nowadays.

Pettitte’s #46 to be Retired

The New York Yankees have garnered some headlines of late regarding their back-and-forth with known steroid user Alex Rodriguez. With that saga ongoing, the team announced plans to retire Andy Pettitte’s #46, even though Pettitte was named in the Mitchell Report. Pettitte issued an immediate apology to the fans and the organization for his wrongdoing and was once again a beloved figure in Yankee lore. A-Rod took the complete opposite approach and has been vilified ever since.

Pettitte won 219 games in his 15 years with the Yankees and added 37 more during a brief three-year stint with the Houston Astros from 2004-06. Pettitte was still an effective hurler in his final season in the Major Leagues, posting an 11-11 record with a 3.74 ERA in 2013 with the Yankees. Pettitte pondered retirement for a while before finally calling it quits and the way he went about his business is a big reason why this honor is bestowed upon him. Also, his postseason success. Pettitte has 19 wins, the most in MLB postseason history, and he won five World Series titles with the Bronx Bombers.


Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.