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 Tuesday February 10:
Gregg Popovich became the ninth coach in NBA history to rack up 1,000 wins. The longest-tenured coach in the major pro sports, Popovich also has five NBA championships to his name. The Spurs rallied from an 14-point fourth quarter deficit at Indiana to send Popovich to the team plane with the milestone victory. Popovich is the third-fastest coach to 1,000 wins and is widely regarded as the top NBA coach in the league today.
In true Popovich fashion, he set aside the shot at the milestone win to limit the playing time of his three stars after playing on Sunday in Toronto. The team responded by winning anyway and this could be the jumping off point that the Spurs need to really go on a run. They’ve got one more game before the All-Star Break begins for everybody but Chicago and Cleveland on Thursday and it will be Wednesday night in Detroit. The reigning NBA champs have paced themselves throughout the season. Tony Parker has missed some games here and there and Kawhi Leonard was instructed to take his time returning from injury earlier this season.
It’s perfectly fair to ask if the Spurs can sustain another deep run in the playoffs with so many key players getting up there in age, but it’s also hard to count out a team that has won a lot and a coach like Popovich that always seems to be thinking two games ahead. Despite being the #7 seed in the Western Conference if the season ended today, the Spurs are the fourth-favorite to win the NBA Title at Bovada.lv with 8/1 odds. Only Golden State (4/1) has better odds in the Western Conference.
That may not be a good wager because the Spurs could spend a lot of time on the road in the playoffs, but look for them to start covering more numbers after the All-Star Break when they start to get really serious about the season.
Padres Not Done Yet
New Padres GM AJ Preller wasted no time improving the ballclub earlier this offseason by adding Justin Upton, Wil Myers, and Matt Kemp, among others. On Monday, Preller addressed the team’s starting pitching needs by reportedly coming to an agreement with free agent starting pitcher James Shields. Shields, a California native, wanted to stay close to home, so this is the best of both words for the 33-year-old.
In Shields, the Padres get a workhorse that has thrown over 200 innings on several occasions. Pitchers like Shields are critically important because finding a pitcher that can throw 200 good innings is a rarity in today’s game. The Padres also lost Andrew Cashner for long stretches of the season last year and Tyson Ross has a spotty health history. The same can be said about Brandon Morrow and Josh Johnson, who the Padres are hoping to use to fill out the back of the rotation.
Sportsbooks wasted no time updating the futures odds for the Padres, who dropped from 25/1 to 18/1 at the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas. The Padres opened 60/1 before their avalanche of transactions. The Padres also went from 12/1 to 9/1 to win the NL pennant.
MLB win totals come out at Atlantis Sportsbook in Reno on Friday and the Westgate Superbook will follow suit on Sunday. Our MLB win totals series will kick off on Sunday with an overview of the numbers and what readers can expect from the series. Starting next Monday, the individual team articles will be posted by division, beginning with the AL East. Five will be released per day and they will analyze the team’s strengths and weaknesses for the upcoming season. We don’t want to spoil anything, but we’re not nearly as high on the Padres as the oddsmakers and the betting market will be.
The Mavericks lost more than a basketball game on Monday night. Tyson Chandler sprained his left ankle and leading scorer Monta Ellis left the game with an injured hip. We’ve made a lot of noise about the difficult schedule for the Mavericks since the start of 2015 and it all came to a head last night in a blowout loss to the slumping Los Angeles Clippers.
Injuries are never a good thing and Chandler and Ellis are both expected to miss Wednesday’s game, but those two players will have the All-Star Break to sort out what is wrong. Ellis was named to the Western Conference All-Star team, but he will probably skip the event now in order to get healthy for the stretch run. Rajon Rondo was already out with a fractured face, so the Mavericks will be down three starts for Wednesday’s game against the Utah Jazz. We felt that it was a good spot to go against Dallas in our weekly look at NBA Situational Betting Spots and we will not change our tune now.
The Helfrich Get Richer
Mark Helfrich was handsomely rewarded for his College Football Playoff National Championship appearance with a new five-year contract extension that will pay him $17.5M through the 2019-20 season, with the opportunity to earn incentives and extra contract years based on the team’s performance.
Even though the Ducks made the National Championship Game, I’m still a guy with some reservations about Helfrich. The upcoming season is big for him because Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Marcus Mariota will be in the NFL, along with other Chip Kelly recruits. Oregon is a school that recruits itself because of its connection to Nike, it’s rampant success, and the fun offensive scheme, but it’s fair to still wonder what kind of coach Mark Helfrich actually is after two years on the job.
Oregon picked up a JUCO transfer in Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams, who will be thrown into the mix to replace Mariota. Adams didn’t get a whole lot of Division I attention, but his stellar career at EWU put him on the radar of some big programs, including UCLA and Texas. UCLA, of course, has to replace Brett Hundley and Texas just straight up needs a quarterback.
Ironically, Oregon plays Eastern Washington in their opening game. But, be careful with Oregon this season. Adams is a talented player, but at 6’ and 190 pounds, there’s a reason he wasn’t recruited to Division I schools. The Pac-12 has been an improving conference with some good coaching hires like Sonny Dykes and Rich Rodriguez over the last three seasons and Oregon has some competition.
A Scary Situation
Just days after the college basketball world lost the great Dean Smith, College Basketball Hall of Fame head coach Jerry Tarkanian was rushed to a Las Vegas hospital. Tarkanian is said to be resting comfortably in the intensive care unit, but it was no doubt a scary situation for the 84-year-old’s family and friends. Tarkanian was hospitalized for pneumonia in November and also suffered a heart attack last April.
According to family, Tarkanian’s status was “very, very bad” and it was a touch-and-go situation. Tarkanian coached into his 70s and won 729 games, including 509 with UNLV.
UConn Rolls to Victory
In probably the last women’s college basketball update you’re going to find in the Six Pack, the UConn Huskies crushed the South Carolina Gamecocks 87-62. The Huskies shot 56 percent from the floor and 73 percent from beyond the arc. South Carolina entered as the #1 team and clearly left as the #2 team following the beatdown.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.