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 Wednesday February 4:
A Tradition Like No Other
Today is National Signing Day. The top high school football recruits from across the country that have not yet committed to colleges will announce their decisions today. That means that rabid college football fans have another excellent opportunity to get irrationally upset with 17- and 18-year-old kids because they did not pick the school that they were supposed to. Players will be committing throughout the day, so by the time you read this, several players will have already donned the cap of their new institution of higher learning.
The majority of big name recruits had committed before Wednesday, but there were and are some interesting names to keep an eye on. Byron Cowart was the top-ranked recruit out there, a 6’4” defensive end who was down to Auburn and Florida. Cowart announced his decision at 9:10 and his relationship with former Florida head coach and current Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp had a lot to do with him committing to Auburn. Defensive tackle Terry Beckner, Jr. is the next name to watch and he will decide just before the 11 a.m. hour Eastern time. Beckner, Jr. is down to Missouri, Auburn, Florida State, and Ohio State. As a St. Louis native, Missouri is hoping that he stays home. Martez Ivey is the nation’s top offensive tackle and he is looking at Auburn and Florida. He will announce around lunchtime.
This is a big day for the universities and the fan bases, but it is incredible to witness the pressure that these high school kids face. Along with handshake deals, bribes, and interactions with boosters, these kids are facing the proposition of leaving home and the support system that they are accustomed to for the first time. Not all of the top recruits have an impact. But all of them are impacted by the process in some way. It won’t be hard to find the morons out there that chastise and belittle these young men on Twitter or other forms of social media. Don’t be that guy.
More Like Ultimate Failure Championship, amirite?!
Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz each made their long-awaited returns to the Octagon on Saturday night for UFC 183. On Tuesday, both guys made the news for the wrong reasons. Silva tested positive for an anabolic steroid and Diaz popped a positive for marijuana metabolites. Silva’s test was taken before the fight, while Diaz’s positive came in a post-fight test. It’s the third time that Diaz has tested positive for something related to marijuana, though he is a registered medical marijuana user in the state of California for hyperactivity disorder.
The fight was not cancelled due to Silva’s positive test because results were not available until after the bout. It would seem that marijuana would be a less egregious finding than an anabolic steroid, so the outcome of the fight will now be shrouded in doubt. Neither fighter’s representation was willing to comment. Both fighters are expected to be suspended next month.
The question this raises is whether or not the majority of people care. New MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred had some thoughts about trying to increase offense after the league spent the better part of 10 years chasing down performance-enhancing drug users. Offense has gone down drastically in that span, though the absence of PEDs is hardly the only reason. Do you care that athletes dope (or do dope)? Do we really expect sports to be a pantheon of ethics and fair play? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so hit us up @bangthebook or you can find me @SkatingTripods to discuss.
Last Dance With Mary Jane or Johnnie Walker?
Josh Gordon’s one-year ban from the NFL began yesterday, effective immediately. After a past DUI, marijuana offenses, and a college career speckled with transgressions and a suspension from Baylor that resulted in Gordon being taken in the Supplemental Draft, Gordon’s latest positive test for alcohol netted him “at least” a one-year ban from the league. That leaves the door open for the league to suspend Gordon longer or simply not reinstate him.
This story has been in the news for a while, so it’s hardly a surprise, but the timing is interesting, both for the league and the Cleveland Browns. The league took swift action after the Super Bowl, which would be one of the few times this season that they have done that. The Browns knew this was coming, but the ban-hammer came down one day after John Manziel entered rehab.
As mentioned on Monday, perception of the Browns is already low, with no starting quarterback and their top wide receiver out for a year. Look for the Browns to draft a wide receiver in the first round of the NFL Draft (Devante Parker?) if you wind up looking at draft props.
Live Strong, Lie Stronger
Noted liar Lance Armstrong was back in the news on Tuesday for reportedly trying to stay out of the news. The former Tour de France winner* partied it up in Aspen (California…beautiful) where the beer flows like wine and the beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano on December 28. The beer flowed a bit too much and Armstrong hit some parked cars on the way home. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you view Armstrong, he was in an SUV on not on his bicycle.
Armstrong wasn’t drunk enough to lose his desire to deceive the American people. Armstrong’s longtime girlfriend, Anna Hansen, jumped into action to lie for her knight in shining armor by saying that the accidents were her fault and promised to pay for repairs. Once the police got involved, the truth came out and Armstrong will be due in court next month to face charges of failure to report an accident.
Armstrong was recently in the news for saying that he would take PEDs again if it meant winning the Tour de France.
The sunken cost of acquiring Josh Hamilton is just sad at this point for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels signed Hamilton an enormous five-year, $125M free agent contract prior to the 2013 season. Hamilton will have surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder and will miss 3-to-8 weeks. This is where it gets depressing. Hamilton is owed $83M over the next three seasons.
Among 122 qualified batters (3.1 PA per game) from 2013-14, Hamilton’s 3.1 WAR (fWAR), as calculated by Fangraphs, ranks 95th. Based on Fangraphs’s dollar valuations, Hamilton has been worth $16.1M worth of value over his first two seasons with the Angels. He has been paid $30M and his contract included a $10M signing bonus.
Hamilton was a great comeback story a few years ago, especially when he was peppering the upper deck at Yankee Stadium during the Home Run Derby in 2008. It’s hard to see the Angels getting much value out of the 33-year-old going forward. He’s been through a lot in the past and the pressure of living up to this enormous deal has been too much to bear. He probably won’t be ready for Opening Day and who knows what kind of player the Angels will get going forward.
The Angels are 12/1 to win the World Series at Bovada. Only the Red Sox have higher odds at 10/1. I’d recommend against taking both of those teams. Stay tuned to BangTheBook as more MLB coverage will be coming very soon.
Kentucky Wins Again
The Kentucky Wildcats weren’t impressive in moving to 22-0 last night by beating the Georgia Bulldogs, but they don’t have anything to prove. The Wildcats play at Florida on Saturday in what was supposed to be the only stumbling block left between them and a perfect season. Billy Donovan’s Gators aren’t the same team this season and it’d be a shock to see them put up a big fight against the Wildcats.
The reason to add this to the Six Pack, even though it’s not a big story, is that there’s no reason to play Kentucky futures right now. The Wildcats are an overwhelming favorite across the market to win the NCAA Tournament. That being said, what do we actually know about Kentucky right now? Have they improved throughout the season? Can they flip the switch in March when they need to against legitimate competition? At this point in the season, I would argue that Kentucky is extremely vulnerable in March. They will not be battle tested and will not have a lot of experience in close games. There aren’t many elite teams in college basketball this season, but there are a lot of teams talented enough to rise up and give Kentucky a game. I wouldn’t touch Kentucky in the futures market at all.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.