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 Friday February 13:
Just Melo Out, Everybody
Carmelo Anthony will reportedly be shut down after the All-Star Break as the New York Knicks tank for better chances in the draft lottery. The Knicks top scorer has been hampered by knee soreness throughout the season and he is looking ahead towards the future and getting healthy for next season. But not before playing in the All-Star Game in front of the hometown crowd.
Anthony is a tremendous talent, but he has always been a selfish player and this is just another glaring example. If he was hurt that badly, he would ignore this weekend’s exhibition game and take the time to get additional treatment on his knee so that he can keep helping his team. Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher have not had much to say about Carmelo’s decision, but they’d probably support it in private because the Knicks will have around $30M to spend in free agency and they will be adding a top-five pick to the mix next season.
The Knicks are 0-13 without Anthony this season and have scored seven fewer points per game without Anthony in the lineup. Melo takes nearly 25 percent of the Knicks’ shots from the floor and one-third of their free throw attempts. Melo averages twice the amount of points per game as the next highest player, Amar’e Stoudamire.
He’s probably hurt and it is what it is, but this clearly looks like tanking for an organization that really needs a change. He has averaged 44 games per season with the Knicks and will be done with 40 games played this season if he does sit out the rest of the year.
The Knicks are already terrible with or without Melo, but the oddsmakers are going to force NBA bettors to lay even bigger numbers to go against the Knicks. Unlike a team like the Lakers, where losing Kobe Bryant was probably a blessing in disguise, there’s really not a lot to be excited about a Knicks team that has no semblance of an offense. Rather than play against the sides, it’s probably best to look at the under in most Knicks games. The Knicks are shooting below 41 percent as a team in the 13 games without Anthony and that won’t change.
Peyton Manning is still uncertain whether or not he will play the 2015 season, but he has already started his offseason workout program and that’s a good sign for the Broncos. Manning still has to go through a rigorous examination of the back and neck that plagued him during the 2013 season, so the results of that medical check-up will go a long way in determining his future. I’d bet that he plays.
Manning has to be excited about the idea of playing for Gary Kubiak, a very bright offensive mind, and the Broncos still have a very good core group of players. With so much turnover already this offseason with new coaches and coordinators, the AFC looks like it will be wide open and that should influence Manning’s decision as much as anything. The Broncos will be the second favorite in the AFC behind New England for most of the lead-up to the season, so Manning has a good chance at another deep playoff run.
Sir Charles the Potty Mouth
Charles Barkley made some waves again yesterday for getting the word “bullshit” past the Inside the NBA censors on TNT. Ironically, this came just a day after Barkley spouted a bunch of actual bullshit about analytics. One of the things that people seem to like about Inside the NBA is that the guys on the show don’t really sugarcoat things. It is refreshing to hear some actual opinions instead of watered-down observations that are politically correct and innocent.
Barkley is probably untouchable, short of soliciting a prostitute (hi Greg Anthony), beating a woman, or murdering somebody. He’s one of the most popular NBA personalities on TV and he’s also good for a sound byte that people can dissect and create narratives about.
It’s kind of surprising the type of society that we live in. Miranda Lambert’s Grammy performance of her song “Little Red Wagon” includes an expletive version of the word ‘poop’ and it was censored several words beforehand as CBS scrambled to make sure that a word that eight-year-olds use did not go over the airwaves. (I would know. I ref 14 & under hockey and the youngest kids are the worst) Yet major network television shows, like Scandal, feature sex scenes that Cinemax could only wish to create during their “Skinimax” portion of the night. There never seems to be outrage about that.
The point is that Barkley’s faux pas shouldn’t even be news. But it was. And any time somebody says something, it will be. Remember when David Ortiz dropped an f-bomb on the mic when addressing the crowd following the Boston Marathon Bombing? You know somebody got up in arms about that.
Grow up, society. We all use those words from the time we can say them at recess and know their meaning as children. Let it go.
Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots, Everybody!
Is that song still relevant? Anyway, ESPN polled 500 college basketball coaches, including 460 Division I coaches, and nearly 60 percent of them would be in favor of a 30-second shot clock in college basketball. College, of course, uses a 35-second shot clock, while the NBA uses a 24-second shot clock.
This would be an interesting turn of events for college basketball. Pace battles are a subject of conversation on our Handicapping the Hardwood College Basketball Betting Podcast with Adam Burke and Kyle Hunter and shaving five seconds off the shot clock would have a major effect on teams that play at a slow pace. By Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted tempo rankings (possessions per 40 minutes adjusted for opponent, only 18 teams are averaging more than 70 possessions per game. Virginia, one of the league’s top teams, has the second-fewest possessions per 40 minutes at 58. American University reeeeeeally slows the game down with an average of 56.6 possessions.
The NBA plays eight more minutes of regulation time and has a shot clock that is 11 seconds shorter than college and every team but the Miami Heat is averaging 90 possessions per 48 minutes.
Does college basketball need more scoring or is this an attempt to level the playing field of the jump to the NBA? What are your thoughts? Let us know by hitting up @bangthebook on Twitter or @SkatingTripods to banter with the author of the Daily Six Pack.
Quoth the ex-Raven
Ray Rice sent out an apology letter to Ravens fans for his behavior in knocking his fiancée unconscious in a hotel elevator prior to last season. The elevator camera caught Rice’s awful deed on camera and Roger Goodell suspended Rice for the season. Rice’s apology letter is an olive branch to executives around the league in hopes that he can be picked up by a team for the 2015-16 season. The PR backlash from signing a player like Rice will probably be too much to make it worth picking up a running back that averaged a robust 3.1 yards per carry in 2013.
Rice is 28, so there may be some mileage left on those tires, but this is not an Adrian Peterson situation that we’re talking about. Peterson still has elite ability. Rice was declining as a player before sitting out for a year.
Somebody will sign Rice because winning trumps all for some organizations, but don’t expect him to return to the player he once was.
Zoning In on the Problem
Major League Baseball is expected to form a committee to shrink the strike zone in order to create more offense. The measure, which would, in turn, lengthen games while MLB is saying that they are committed to shortening the length of games, would elevate the bottom of the strike zone. A tremendous study by Jon Roegele at The Hardball Times suggested that 31 percent of the offensive decline in baseball could be attributed to the growing strike zone, specifically on low pitches.
Personally, I don’t think the game needs more offense. Hitters need to adjust to the way that the zone is called and react accordingly. Casual fans aren’t going to start showing up because the average runs scored per game jumps from 4.07 to 4.75. The game is specialized and pitchers throw harder than ever before and work in shorter bursts than ever before. A starter used to have to fight his way through six or seven innings with mediocre stuff. Now, teams are pulling starters early and handing over to the game to their collection of specialized relievers.
This is definitely something to keep an eye on going forward, even this season as umpires may be instructed to start calling the zone a little bit differently for the sake of the study. Totals would have the biggest impact. Oddsmakers may start shading totals expecting more offense in light of these changes, but it may still take some time and unders could hold a lot of value. On the other hand, if zone changes start occurring, the books may be slow to react, thus providing over value.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.