Congratulations, everybody! We’ve made it to the weekend. We’ll celebrate this Friday morning with another edition of the Daily Six Pack, looking at the top stories from around the sports world heading into another weekend jam-packed with football, MLB postseason action, the NHL, a couple of big NASCAR races, and we’re also inching closer to the start of the NBA and college basketball seasons. Let’s see what’s creating buzz here on Friday morning.
M-E-T-S, Mets, Mets, Mets!
The New York Mets downed the Los Angeles Dodgers in their winner-take-all Game 5 in the National League Division Series. The Mets weathered an early storm as Jacob deGrom fought through six of the grittiest innings in recent memory and the Dodgers just did enough against potential Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke. The Dodgers were 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position and the Mets used Noah Syndergaard to bridge the gap to Jeurys Familia.
It was an outstanding win for the Mets, more on that in a bit, but this is the latest in a string of postseason disappointments for the Dodgers. With the largest payroll in baseball, the Dodgers made the playoffs and failed to get past the NLCS yet again. They didn’t even get to the NLCS this season. With Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke pitching twice in a short five-game series, that’s inexcusable. It will be interesting to see if the team retains Don Mattingly. The Dodgers scored seven of their 18 runs in one game. The Mets didn’t do much offensively either, but this Dodgers offense is getting paid significantly more money to flop year after year in the postseason.
But, the focus is on the Mets because they have advanced to take on the Chicago Cubs. It’s incredible to see that one of the Mets or Cubs will be playing in the World Series this year with a chance to avenge past demons. Be on the lookout for an NLCS preview from Adam Burke later today at BangTheBook and be sure to tune in to The Bettor’s Box for more MLB postseason analysis.
Thursday Night Lights
The New Orleans Saints pulled up a home upset as a rare underdog in the Superdome to grab their second win of the season. A blocked punt and some excellent third down defense allowed the upset to happen, as New Orleans was outgained 413-385 in the matchup. They also won the turnover battle 3-0, which is going to make it a lot easier to win the game. This will knock the perception of the Falcons back down to earth. It’s the first loss of the season for Atlanta and it came against a team that was really struggling. We’ll see if oddsmakers adjust for Week 7.
On the collegiate side, Kentucky gave Auburn all it could handle, but the Tigers escaped with a 30-27 win. Kentucky struggled in the field position game and that was the deciding factor, as they racked up nearly 500 yards of offense against the Tigers. Kentucky is not that far away from being a very legitimate SEC East contender. Mark Stoops has done an incredible recruiting job to bring talent to Lexington and they play tough, hard-nosed football. Expect Auburn’s perception to remain low when they go back into SEC West play.
Stanford is back to playing Stanford football. They dominated in the trenches against the UCLA Bruins, as Christian McCaffrey ran for 243 yards on just 25 carries and found the end zone four times. Eight of Kevin Hogan’s three completions wound up in the end zone. This was a 56-20 game after three quarters, which means that UCLA put some cosmetic touches on the scoreboard late. Perception of Stanford is rising as fast as perception of UCLA is dropping. Be on the lookout for chances to buy on UCLA and fade Stanford in the coming weeks.
Western Kentucky backers that laid the points fell victim to a bad beat on Thursday night. The Hilltoppers were covering the number after three quarters and extended their lead to 41 points before allowing two late fourth quarter touchdowns. Brandon Doughty only threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns as he was pulled in the third quarter. North Texas went 93 yards in 2:44 to crawl in the backdoor in this Conference USA matchup.
DFS News, Yet Again
The Nevada Gaming Board has blocked daily fantasy sites from accepting business from the state most known for legalized gambling. The reason? Because DFS is considered gambling and, therefore, needs a gaming license. Felony fines and up to 10 years in prison can be the punishments if the daily fantasy sites continue to operate. DFS sites DraftKings and Fanduel were extremely unhappy with the decision and attributed it to the state’s desire to keep all gaming action within the state.
Nevada joins Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, and Washington as states that do not allow its residents to participate in daily fantasy contests. Lawsuits have been filed against DraftKings and Fanduel under the premise of insider trading and cheating.
As mentioned in yesterday’s Six Pack, this is a very fluid situation. With several government agencies looking into the legality and the business practices of these DFS sites, the storm is just beginning. David Purdum, an excellent sports betting writer for ESPN’s Chalk section, said via sources on Thursday that the NFL is trying to block a congressional hearing on the league’s relationship with fantasy sports.
There seems to be no end in sight for this debate. With all the money spent on advertising and legal fees, it will be interesting to see how DraftKings and Fanduel weather this storm.
NBA News and Notes
Lamar Odom continues to fight for his life in a Las Vegas hospital. The former sixth man of the year is still on life support and is in a coma as doctors try to do what they can to keep him alive. Authorities are still trying to piece together the events that led up to Odom’s severe medical episode and all parties seem to be cooperating. Odom’s wife, the famous-for-some-reason Khloe Kardashian, is still making all medical decisions since the divorce between the two has not been finalized. Even if Odom makes it through, doctors are worried about brain damage, both due to the effects of the drugs he was taking and also due to the fact that doctors believe he may have suffered a stroke or some other drug-induced medical episode.
LeBron James played in two of Cleveland’s first three preseason games, but he has not played in the last two and head coach David Blatt doesn’t see much of a reason for King James to play in any remaining games. The Cavs only have two more preseason games before opening the season on October 27 against Chicago. The Cavs dropped to 0-5 with Thursday night’s loss to Indiana. Nobody seems all that concerned, and they probably shouldn’t be since James makes a huge impact in the game, but with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love out at the start of the season, most of the guys playing these games are going to see significant minutes when things do matter.
Speaking of the Bulls, Derrick Rose practiced for the Bulls on Thursday, the first big step in his recovery from a broken orbital bone. Rose is questionable, if not doubtful, for opening night against the Cavs. He’s practicing with a mask, but several setbacks, including pain and swelling, as well as double vision, have stunted the recovery process.
In other face news, Andrew Bogut broke his nose in Golden State’s win over Houston on Thursday night. Bogut will have surgery this weekend and his prognosis likely won’t be known until after the procedure is finished.
The American League Championship Series begins on Friday night with the Toronto Blue Jays taking on the Kansas City Royals. Marco Estrada will oppose Edinson Volquez in this matchup.
I Coulda Been A Contender
The NASCAR Xfinity Series is winding down. This week’s Kansas Lottery 300 has a lot of implications for the drivers eligible for points. There are four races left in the season. We have a preview here.
As for the big boys, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 is the second race in the Contender Round. Joey Logano is safe after last week’s win, but 11 other drivers have some work to do in order to finish in the top eight. Our race preview is a good one and can be found here.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.