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 Thursday February 12:
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Golfer
The Pebble Beach Pro-Am starts on Thursday as PGA Tour players are paired up with celebrities and rich people, but the bigger story from the golf world is that Tiger Woods is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the game. Woods missed the cut in his worst performance ever at TPC Scottsdale in the Phoenix Open a few weeks ago and withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines last week after 11 holes. Woods said in a statement that he would not return to golf until his play and scores are “acceptable” for tournament golf.
Who knows how long that will take? Woods was terrible in his two events this season and showed signs of the physical wear and tear that have plagued his body over the last couple of years. Even though Woods’s agent insists that it’s not a leave of absence, and Woods is simply working on his game, it might be a shock to see Woods return to the course for any prolonged amount of time. If he returns and his play is still short of what it needs to be, he may ride off into the sunset.
The last five years have been incredible to watch, but not in a good way. Woods’s martial indiscretions were publicized for the world to see and his divorce from model wife Elin Nordegren was very public. After dealing with those issues, Woods has never been the same golfer and the physical problems are just the cherry on top. To see a rapid decline to rock bottom like this for a pro golfer is unprecedented.
It may be quite a while before we see Tiger Woods because he needs to strip his game to the bare bones and rebuild it all over again. Playing major events on the world’s toughest courses is probably not the best course of action, though ego often supersedes reality. Regardless of your thoughts on Woods as a person, everybody can unanimously respect his talent and the game of golf is better when he is on his game.
The Loss of a Legend, Part Two
Sad news once again appears in the Six Pack as longtime college basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian died on Wednesday after a brief stay in the hospital. Tark the Shark was praised on Twitter by scores of people and leaves behind an impressive legacy as a coach and innovator. Tarkanian’s UNLV Runnin’ Rebels went to four Final Fours and won the 1990 National Championship.
Tarkanian took plenty of chances in his life, recruiting high-risk talents and fighting with the NCAA. It’s not surprising to see that Tark fought through many different health issues before his body finally gave way.
Jerry Tarkanian was 84.
The NBA Almost-Star Game?
Anthony Davis is the latest NBA star to back out of the All-Star Game, citing the shoulder injury he suffered in a scary fall earlier this week. With Davis bowing out of the game, he joins Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, and Blake Griffin among the game’s top players sitting out the event. Jeff Teague has been bothered by an ankle injury and could have his minutes severely cut.
LeBron James and James Harden, the league’s two leading scorers, are both slated to start, though the Cavs and Bulls still need to get through Thursday night’s game before their players can look ahead to the weekend in New York City. Kevin Love left Wednesday’s Cavs/Heat game with a corneal abrasion and could miss Thursday’s game at Chicago.
It should still be a fun event with the skills competition, three-point shooting contest, dunk contest, and pick-up basketball game, but the game is certainly lacking some star power this season. The NHL All-Star Game was also a bit watered down with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin out of the event. It’s not a surprise that players put personal health and their respective teams ahead of the All-Star Game, and they should, but the leagues should probably incentivize players for their participation in one of their hallmark events.
Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Moncada
Yoan Moncada, the latest prized prospect to come out of Cuba, has four or five more private workouts set for bidders and he hopes to announce his decision by February 23 of where he will begin his Major League career. Moncada is expected to audition for as many as 12 teams that are bidding for the infielder’s services. Moncada is expected to get a signing bonus in the $30-50M range, plus a yearly contract.
Major League Baseball recently changed their international signing policies to a format where every team has a “pool” of money and can overspend if they are willing to pay a quasi-luxury tax. The system completely limits bidding on players like Moncada to the large markets that have no problem digging deep into the pockets of ownership to take a chance on a player that is expected to have a major impact. This policy was not in play for Jose Abreu because of his age and experience, but Moncada is fair game to anybody willing to shell out ridiculous sums of money.
Moncada is a shortstop, but is projected to be a third baseman at the Major League level. The 19-year-old is extremely raw, but his talent excites evaluators all around the league and he could be the next big thing to come out of Cuba. Better relations between the U.S. Government and Cuba created a much smoother path for Moncada to come to the States and he could be in Spring Training with a club very soon.
NASCAR Season Begins Saturday
It’s hard to believe, but the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series begins racing on Saturday. FOX will televise the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona Motor Speedway to kick off eight days of race-related events before the Daytona 500 on February 22. All of the big names will climb into their cars for the Sprint Unlimited and Westgate Superbook has released some odds for the event.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch are co-favorites at 10/1. Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, and Tony Stewart are in the next group at 12/1. The Sprint Unlimited is a 75-lap exhibition race, so drivers will be trying out some new equipment and the winner of this event is clearly anybody’s guess.
There will be two duals on Thursday in anticipation of the Daytona 500 and then the NASCAR Sprint Cup series will head out to Atlanta for a March 1 race.
St-Pierre Sounds Off
Georges St-Pierre is hoping to return to the Octagon in the near future now that his torn ACL has healed, but he wants to see some changes in UFC first. After Anderson Silva tested positive for steroids in a test before his UFC 183 fight against Nick Diaz, St-Pierre is asking the UFC governing body, and specifically Dana White, to institute a third-party drug testing system to keep fighters in line.
Silva denied use of steroids, but the results of his test were not available until after the fight against Diaz, so a big, fat asterisk goes next to the outcome of that fight. Diaz also popped a positive test, but it was for marijuana, which he takes medicinally for hyperactivity.
St-Pierre tried to get his last opponent, Johny Hendricks, to agree to a third-party test from an outfit accustomed to Olympic-style drug testing, but Hendricks’s side would not agree and St-Pierre made a point by passing the test himself. To this point, UFC has given lip service to St-Pierre’s wishes, but perhaps the highly-publicized, and somewhat embarrassing, outcome of Silva’s test will increase the chance that the UFC will change.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.