Week 6 of the NFL begins tonight and those that don’t like the Sun Belt are excited to see the start of Week 7 for college football season. There’s a lot to recap from a very interesting day and night of sports in this Thursday edition of the Daily Six Pack. Because of that, there’s no need to waste time with an intro. Let’s just get into the news.
The Bat Flip Heard ‘Round The World
Jose Bautista picked the right time to hit a dinger. He capped it off with one of the best reactions we’ve ever seen on a home run. The Texas Rangers turned into the Bad News Bears in the seventh inning. They botched routine plays and then Sam Dyson made a mistake to Bautista. He didn’t miss. At all. Like not even by 1/32nd of an inch.
With the win, the Blue Jays won their first playoff series since 1993. They won the World Series that year. Benches cleared a couple of times as emotions ran high and some Blue Jays soured the moment by launching garbage onto the field. Fans were ejected. It watered down one of the greatest moments in baseball history, but nobody will remember that. They will remember Bautista’s bomb and flip.
The Blue Jays now hit the road to take on the Kansas City Royals. They are a -150 favorite in the series. For more, tune in to Adam Burke’s most recent edition of The Bettor’s Box, our MLB betting podcast.
Royals Orbit to the Second Round
Johnny Cueto needed to step up. He did. The Royals are back in the ALCS for the second straight season after not making the playoffs for 28 seasons. The Astros were demoralized by their Game 4 loss and the fact that Cueto looked like the pitcher he was with the Cincinnati Reds was more than enough to send the Royals to the second round.
The Royals needed a four-run comeback in Game 4 to simply tie the game and then went ahead and won it. The Astros are a year or two ahead of schedule, as Adam mentioned on that podcast that you absolutely have to listen to, so, things aren’t that bad today. It was a tough loss, but they accomplished a lot with an extremely young team.
Look for a written ALCS preview later today and take a listen to that podcast for some additional thoughts.
When Fantasy Becomes Reality
The US Department of Justice and the FBI are investigating daily fantasy sports. It will be interesting to see what happens with platforms like Yahoo that have other revenue streams, but it’s DraftKings and Fanduel that are the primary subjects of this investigation. The FBI is interested in whether or not these sites are operating under fraudulent or misleading conditions. The DOJ is interested in whether or not daily fantasy is a form of gambling.
All of us with an interest in this industry are fully aware that it is, in fact, gambling. There’s probably a lot more luck involved in filling out a winning lineup than there is in winning a ticket on Stanford -6.5. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 has loopholes for games of skill, which the operators of these fantasy sites have managed to exploit. Poker is more of a game of skill than DFS. Betting on games is more of a skill than DFS.
To be fair, it’s a step in the right direction that any form of online gambling is currently legal. The hope was that daily fantasy sports would open up a discussion to allow other forms of internet gambling to be legalized and regulated. Unfortunately, recent developments, like accusations of insider trading and employees playing on other sites, have forced action from the government. The Federal Trade Commission has also been asked to investigate these sites.
DFS is hardly perfect. The vig is entirely too high and it’s way too easy for operators to exploit the system because there is a minimal amount of oversight. The popularity of the daily fantasy sports industry should make sports bettors and oddsmakers hopeful for the future, but the wrong set of findings during this probe could potentially shut the door on future legislation. New Jersey has been in an ongoing fight to get sports betting legalized in the state.
The sickest thing about all of it is that the major leagues, outside of the NBA, have been against legalized sports betting. They, however, have no problems with slapping DraftKings and Fanduel logos on everything or by allowing every third commercial to be an advertisement for these DFS platforms. The double standard that dominates the gambling landscape is extremely frustrating.
This will probably get a lot worse before it gets better. These government entities are hopeful of finding something wrong. It’s impossible to live in a society where people are allowed to use their money however they want. Tax it, regulate it, and legalize it. Not just DFS, but sports betting. And poker. Somebody will always find a loophole or find a way to screw over the system, but that’s business. That’s how it’s done in damn near every other industry. The government should just take its cut and then live and let live.
NFL Front Page
There are all kinds of NFL stories to keep an eye on today. Let’s start with the saddest and then build up to the happiest. The victim that was shot outside of Cowboys Stadium has died. Alcohol and firearms don’t mix, a concept that we have yet to figure out as a society. The 43-year-old man, identified as Richard Sells, was shot in the neck while trying to break up a fight. Marvin Rodriguez, 28, has been charged with what is now murder and also aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Since this happened in Texas, the death penalty awaits.
Daniel Fells, the New York Giants tight end who will never play again, had another surgery to battle the MRSA infection in his foot. Fells has had six surgeries to date and was at risk of losing his life. Then he was at risk of losing his foot. Now it seems that doctors have the infection under control and he is starting to get on the road to recovery. Fells has been laid up for two weeks.
Cam Heyward, whose father, former NFL running back Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, died of cancer, was fined $5,787 for wearing “Iron” and “Head” on his eye black for Monday night’s game against the Chargers. It would be great if common sense could prevail just once in the NFL, but I’m not holding my breath. This comes after DeAngelo Williams was not allowed to wear pink cleats to honor family members, including his mother, that died of breast cancer. Pathetic.
Andrew Luck was a full participant in practice for the Indianapolis Colts and should be ready to go when they take on the New England Patriots this week in the much anticipated Deflategate rematch.
With so much going on in baseball and football, you probably haven’t paid much attention to the NHL. Rookie Anthony Duclair scored a hat trick for the Arizona Coyotes as they have lived up to my preseason prediction of looking better, but still not being very good. Arizona is 3-0 on the season and they have outscored opponents 10-2, but don’t expect that to be a trend going forward.
Alex Ovechkin overslept and missed the morning skate earlier this week and was scratched from Washington’s 5-0 loss to San Jose, another one of the surprise teams this season.
The Columbus Blue Jackets, a preseason darling among NHL fans and bettors, dropped to 0-4 with a lopsided 7-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night. The Blue Jackets have given up 20 goals in four games and former Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky told reporters that he “has no confidence right now”. That’s just what a team wants to hear.
Speaking of struggling teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins are 0-3 and they have scored three goals in three games. After acquiring Phil Kessel in the offseason, the Penguins were expected to be a contender for the Metropolitan Division title. It’s still extremely early, so it’s premature to write anybody off, but this is not the start that they envisioned.
For the second time this week, a women’s professional league gets a mention. The Minnesota Lynx won their third WNBA championship in five seasons on Wednesday night. The NBA season begins in 12 days, so it was about time for the WNBA to wrap up. The Indiana Fever scored 12 points over the second and third quarters to turn the game into a rout.
For those laughing about the WNBA, remember for next season that it’s one of the least efficient betting markets in the industry because of the extremely low betting handles. There’s money to be made if you can get over your biases about the league. Just something to remember for next year.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.