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 Monday January 26:
Josh Gordon Fought the Law and the Law Won
Josh Gordon was fortunate to play any games this season for the Cleveland Browns and he responded to that bit of good fortune by failing another drug test. Gordon now faces a one-year ban from the league and his future in the NFL is seriously in doubt. The saddest part about all of this is that Gordon needs help and refuses to get it. The argument during his 2014 suspension was that the worst thing for him was to be away from the team and all team activities because his lone support system would be the people that are getting him in trouble. That will definitely be the case with this suspension because it’s highly unlikely that an appeals process will help Gordon and a promising NFL career may be over.
From a betting standpoint, this doesn’t mean anything right now, but it certainly will when the Browns win total comes out and some of the other pre-training camp wagering options. One side effect from Gordon’s suspension will be an even more negative perception of the Browns. Owner Jimmy Haslam III already came out and said that the team needs a quarterback and ESPN’s scathing, well-sourced report about Manziel’s behavior this past season already has bettors concerned.
The quarterback situation is a big concern, but don’t overvalue what Gordon means to the Browns. The Browns were 6-5 before Gordon returned on November 23 against the Falcons and the Browns would have lost that game if Falcons coach Mike Smith understood basic clock management. The impact he had on the Browns was a negative one this past season and the team is very likely to cut ties this week.
Mike Krzyzewski, who will be referred to as Coach K going forward because it seems like cheating to constantly paste Krzyzewski without making an attempt to spell it out, won his 1,000th game as the head coach of the Duke Blue Devils during Sunday’s non-conference win at St. John’s. There was quite a postgame celebration for the well-respected coach and it was something special for the players to be a part of.
A letdown or a hangover from the landmark win should not be a problem for a Duke team that is young and may not understand the magnitude of what the win meant. To look at it from a different angle, a weight may have been lifted off of Coach K’s shoulders. Sometimes it takes a while to reach an impending milestone and a player or coach may press a little bit with history casting a big shadow over his or her performance. That was not the case for Duke.
The university won’t be able to do a pregame ceremony to honor Coach K until February 4 because the Blue Devils are at Notre Dame on Wednesday and at Virginia on Saturday. That may actually benefit them, even though those are two very tough games. The focus will solely be on basketball. Saturday’s game at Virginia includes a revenge angle from last season’s ACC Tournament Championship Game, so be wary of a look-ahead on Wednesday.
Manfred Mann’s Scorched Earth Band
New MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred set the MLB Twitter world on fire yesterday by announcing that he would consider eliminating defensive shifts in an attempt to increase offense in Major League Baseball. Several comparisons were made to other sports. John Buccigross of ESPN backed the idea, citing that there’s a limit to how many defensive linemen can be on the line of scrimmage for a play and that defensive three seconds in the key is a technical in the NBA. Jason Collette of RotoJunkie.net and formerly Baseball Prospectus said that eliminating the automatic 3-0 strike call would do far more for offense than reducing or eliminating shifts.
Personally, calling the strike zone correctly and enforcing the proper strike zone in lefty/lefty matchups would do the most for offense, but I digress. In any event, this won’t be something that would be implemented for the 2015 season, but it could be going forward. Its impact would be substantial. The Pittsburgh Pirates found a market inefficiency for shifting during their evaluations of the 2011 season and started to implement more shifts beginning in 2012. It completely changed the team’s performance.
From a betting standpoint, although it won’t matter now, it would probably be overvalued in terms of how much it would affect scoring. Jonathan Judge of The Hardball Times dispelled the myth that shifts are hurting offense. Hitters are simply striking out more than ever before. There would likely be value on betting unders if this change were to take place. Also, for those that play daily fantasy sports, highlighting pull hitters with low BABIPs (batting average on balls in play) would probably be profitable.
From the Land Down Under
A couple of quarterfinal matchups stand in the way of a Williams Sisters semifinal at the Australian Open. Venus, 34, and Serena, 33, have not advanced this far into a major since Serena was the Wimbledon champion in 2010. Unfortunately, the two biggest names in women’s tennis have been hampered by a series of physical setbacks over the last few years. Years of pressure and professional careers that started when they were teenagers have taken quite a toll on their bodies.
On the men’s side of things, Roger Federer was bounced from the tournament last week. The quarterfinals include a couple of interesting matchups. Andy Murray, who was knocked out in the quarters by Federer last season, will take on native Australian Nick Kyrgios. The 19-year-old spent a lot of energy in his win over Andreas Seppi in the fourth round, but he will have the crowd on his side. The world’s #1 player Novak Djokovic will take on Miles Raonic, who struggled through five sets and a lengthy fourth set tiebreaker to beat Feliciano Lopez.
For those that like to bet on tennis, finding line value is one of the most important things. Shop around for the best odds. Also, it can be one of the best sports to live bet with multiple scalping opportunities based on the results of each point of the set and match. It may be a bit advanced for some, but there are some good chances to profit from betting on tennis for those that are informed or are willing to learn.
A Star-Studded Display
Even though several big names, including Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, missed the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus on Sunday night, the 17-12 final certainly thrilled fans spending a lot of money to watch a pick-up hockey game featuring the world’s top talent. The All-Star Break runs through Monday and there are a handful of teams that play four games in six days coming out of the break. This is a critical time of the NHL season as teams are looking to secure playoff positioning in order to be buyers at the trade deadline.
The addition of the “loser point” for getting to overtime and losing the game has really muddled the trade deadline picture. There has been a shortage of teams looking to sell at the trade deadline. This season, however, it would take a major surprise for one of the current top four teams in each of the Eastern Conference divisions to fall out of a playoff spot. The Western Conference remains wide open for the most part.
From a betting standpoint, this will be an interesting week in the NHL. Teams that are in the playoff hunt that had fewer All-Stars than others could be worth backing. The All-Star festivities mostly feature the players getting together over some adult beverages and spending time entertaining their families. Players that weren’t selected to the All-Star Game went on vacation or got away from the game for a few days to re-charge. Sort through the All-Star Game rosters and try to find some teams that will play with some extra energy this week with the regular season back underway.
Super Bowl Catch-All
There wasn’t a lot of Super Bowl news of consequence this past weekend, but since the biggest game of the year is on Sunday, it’s important to catch up on what did happen. Bill Belichick had a press conference to educate the media on how footballs lose and gain weight. Bill Nye, The Science Guy, who continues to ride that gravy train of being relevant 15 years ago, played Mythbusters with Belichick’s comments. More on the “Ballghazi” scandal in today’s edition of The Money Down.
Marshawn Lynch will receive a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty if he grabs his junk at any point during Super Bowl XLIX, as instructed by Commandant Goodell. I’ve seen a prop at some sportsbooks this week as to whether or not Lynch will be fined by the NFL for not talking to the media prior to the Super Bowl. The exact wording may be a little bit different, but if the language of the prop is simply a fine, there’s a pretty decent chance of that happening since Lynch can’t be happy with how the whole situation is being handled. And for teams that are upset about Lynch’s grab, here’s a simple solution. Tackle him before he crosses the goal line.
Tom Brady’s feelings were hurt because of the NFL’s investigation into his deflated balls. He was able to get over it by crying into piles of hundred dollar bills and by bedding his supermodel wife. It’s easy to understand why the NFL has a week off between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, but the last seven days have been painful.
Richard Sherman feels better. That’s a good sign for those that want to bet the Seahawks. Sherman also insinuated that there’s bias (GASP!) in the NFL and that there’s no way that Goodell will punish owner Robert Kraft or the Patriots. Can we just kick off Super Bowl XLIX already?
Not Super Bowl related, but apparently the Pro Bowl was this past weekend? The huge steam on the under won as the teams scored 60 points despite racking up over 1,063 total yards. Someone should launch an investigation.
Join us every weekday for the Daily Six-Pack, covering six of the top stories from the sports world.