Is the MLB behind? Or just in its infancy…

MLB Opening Day is just over a month away and Spring Training is just two days away. Although 2021 MLB Spring Training will have limited fans, the path to normalcy is headed in the right direction. Within the past couple of seasons, a lot of new “stars” have emerged onto the scene; some have even taken the league by storm. To name a few, Juan Soto, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., and Cody Bellinger. Not only are these star studded athletes “up-and-coming” but they too are becoming the face of MLB. Soto is set to make $8.5 million in just this season alone, Tatis Jr. is now a $340 million man over the span of 14 years. That’s a sweet $24.3 million per year, and Bellinger is set to earn $16.1 million this year. NOT TOO SHABBY! Considering that they are 25 (Bellinger) and 22 years old (Soto/Tatis Jr.)

Although Spring Training games technically don’t count towards a team’s regular season W-L record, there still lies some significant value that unfolds during these 33 games. Obviously these athletes too understand that these games are irrelevant in terms of their own personal stats/accolades. However, this is not to say that they are not invested or putting forth full effort. With that being said, if a player and/or team seems to be struggling during their Spring Training games then there is a good chance that this trend could persist and role over into the regular season. Whether that struggle comes from three or four batters in a line-up barely batting their weight or a couple of starting pitchers and a couple of relief pitcher’s ERA’s skyrocketing; it is probably in your best interests to stay away from those athletes and their teams come early season MLB plays. Seems pretty straight-forward, right? In addition, early in the MLB season (Spring Training and regular) look to take the dogs when the total is 9 or higher and the favorite when the total is 7 or lower. Typically when a lot of runs are projected to be scored, the odds makers expect the underdog to score a good amount of runs as well. Hence, you can find good value if we assume that an underdog can outscore the favorite once both starting pitchers nights are done and becomes a game of the bullpens. On the flip side, I would advise leaning towards the favorites when the total is on the lower side because this scenario typically means that either one or both starting pitchers are elite. When this situation arises, whose batting line-up can fail fewer times than the opposing line-up against dominant and/or momentous pitchers. More times than not, the favorite possesses a superior line-up than that of the underdog; meaning that their may be some value in the favorite, despite being the “favorite.” Thus far, it has been a wild off-season for both the MLB and

NFL. Recent MLB transaction have consisted of Elvis Andrus to the A’s for Khris Davis to the Rangers, Trevor Bauer to the Dodgers (highest paid player in 2021), Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals, George Springer to the Blue Jays, Jon Lester to the Nationals, and Blake Snell & Yu Darvish to the Padres (just to name a few). Here is the complete list of all recent MLB transactions/trades. WARNING: There’s a lot! On the flip side, the NLF has also encountered numerous trades that involve a bit of a QB carousel phenomena. In the young NFL off season, we have already seen Goff and Stafford swapping wives placing Jared in Detroit and Matthew in LA. Both Deshaun Watson and Russel Wilson are unhappy with their current franchises and want out! Deshaun wanted the Texans to hire a different head coach whereas Russell wants to run more of a West Coast style offense. To top it all off, the Colts acquire not only Carson Wentz, but his $25.4 million 2021 contract. The real winner and loser in that acquisition is a different story for a different day.

During this continuous global pandemic, what is Major League Baseball doing to “keep up with the Jones’s”? During the odd 2020 MLB season, the organization experimented with a few adjusted rules like a batter beginning on second base at the start of games needing extra innings. It did cut down on the longevity of games, but is it real baseball? Several other minuit rules were tested, including the universal DH rule. From what I have gathered, opinions are split about whether baseball should change their rules or not. Speaking of rule changes, the NFL (football in general) has been in the vast market of experimenting with new and unique leagues with new and unique rules. The NFL has birthed, if you will, the United States Football League, Arena Football League, Xtreme Football League, and Canadian Football League, etc. If there weren’t enough leagues that have tried and failed over the years, I now present to you the FCF (Fan Called Football.) Yes, you the fan get to call the plays for these squads. By the way, one of these squads is

QB’d by Johnny Manziel. A few of the rules that the FCF have implemented include: 7 vs. 7, 50 yard fields, and NO special teams. You can view the next FCF match-up tomorrow night where the Zappers face-off against the Wild Aces, only on Twitch. Although the NFL and their partners have had many failed attempts to construct “one-off” NFL leagues, they have still been profitable, entertaining (somewhat), and competitive (also somewhat). So why hasn’t the MLB tried to incorporate these “one-off” leagues? Is it because they already have the Minor Leagues and that is plenty in their minds? Baseball could easily create a league that has completed different rules that go against typical baseball rules that might encapsulate a whole new fandom market. Not to mention, it could also be a league that is utilized as a portal for experimenting with newly proposed rules that could eventually be implemented into the MLB game.

Football’s out, basketball’s in…

Post Super Bowl is a nice little segway for us sports fans right into the heart of the NBA season and the latter half of the NCAAB season. Super Bowl LV wasn’t much for drama in terms of competitiveness of the game. Tom Brady, yet again, acquired another Lombardi trophy to add to his overwhelming collection. After the Bucs defeated the Chiefs, I got to thinking – “Didn’t Tampa Bay lose their first game of the season?” In Week 1, the Bucs fell short to the Saints in New Orleans. I was curious as to how many champions in the 55 years of the Super Bowl era have lost in Week 1 of their respective seasons. Throughout these 55 years, ten Super Bowl winners have lost their first game of the season. Probably more than you would expect, or at least right around that number, right? Tom Brady’s Patriots, and now Bucs, are victims of four out of those ten loses. This tells us two things,

Image result for tombrady bucs trophy

first: Tom Brady has been in the league for a a very long time. Second: With this being Brady’s seventh time hoisting the trophy, his teams have lost more times than not in Week 1 when they go on to win the Super Bowl… odd right? If there is one thing we all have learned throughout Tom Brady’s lustrous 21 year career, it is to never count him and his squads out of the race.

Now putting football in the rear-view, we as sports fans can solely focus our time and effort on basketball of all levels. Thus far the NBA has seen a new “Big3” emerge in Brooklyn with James Harden joining the dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The Brooklyn Nets preseason chances to win the NBA Finals posted at +800, they currently sit at +440 trailing the leading favorite Lakers at +250. The presumed NBA Finals would consist of the Lakers vs. Nets according to the current odds. However, some dark-horses from each conference to consider are the much improved 76ers that you can get at +1400 and the hungry Clippers that you can get at +500. At the very least, these teams might be a solid play just to make the Finals which would still give you a quality rate of return. Look for the Lakers to lack motivation and the Nets to be over-hyped come the NBA Playoffs. As far as the regular season is concerned; away teams are a winning bet thus far hitting at a 53.7% clip ATS. Underdogs are very similar sitting at a 53.1% cover ATS rate. Hence, look to take those DOGS-AWAY (per usual) when making your NBA plays going forward.

As far as the college season is concerned, Gonzaga sits at the top of the mountain without ever winning a college basketball title in program history; could this finally be the year for Mark Few and his squad? Possessing the best offense in the land, Gonzaga averages a whopping 93 PPG. Sounds more like an NBA team than a college team. But who is the best scoring defensive team in college basketball – just as important right? Also a mid-major program, Loyola-Chicago possesses the fewest points against per game at 56 PPG. Gonzaga is obviously projected as a #1 seed, but Loyola is a projected #8 seed. Might I add that both teams are mid-majors with one having more recent success over the other… *cough-cough, Loyola-Chicago earned a Final 4 birth just three years ago. Let’s see if the ole adage of “defense wins championships” holds true with the Ramblers come March. I like to think so, this team may have sneaking good odds when picking them to reach a Sweet 16, Elite 8, or even another Final 4! You can currently get the Ramblers basketball team at +4000. Not too shabby considering #8 seeds have won the tournament only once but have been three times. If there is ever a year to gamble on the lower seeds, it is now. Considering we missed out on the 2020 March Madness Tournament, this years tournament cannot get here soon enough. As always, best of luck and happy basketball betting!