Are the Jacksonville Jaguars ready to take the Big Step and join the heavy hitters in the AFC?
We should find out this coming Sunday when the 1-0 Jags host the defending Super Bowl-champion Chiefs in northern Florida.
J-Ville was hardly dominant and actually had to rally late to defeat the Colts in the opener, but here we are just one game into the season and the Jaguars are the only undefeated team in the weak AFC South.
Now come the Chiefs, who have to be spitting bullets after looking ordinary in losing to the Lions. There is talk that Travis Kelce could return against the Jaguars, but that’s far from a sure thing. If it’s a shootout, advantage Jacksonville with an offense that includes emerging star Trevor Lawrence, plus Travis Etienne and Calvin Ridley.
Bookmakers aren’t yet convinced. Jacksonville is a 3.5-point dog, with the O/U number at a healthy 51 (the highest number in Week 2).
FIBA WORLD CUP
The United States was a prohibitive 3/5 favorite to win the FIBA World Cup before eventual champion Germany rained on the Americans’ parade, proving that while Warriors-style small ball can win you an NBA title, on the international stage it doesn’t hurt to have a few bigs in the lineup. Setting lines on international competition in any sport can’t be easy, given teams’ limited prep time and lack of cohesion. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of team the US assembles for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, but after the FIBA performance, there will likely be tremendous pressure on coach Steve Kerr to make major changes.
ON THE POLITICAL FRONT
Democrats who are considered tossing themselves off the Empire State Building after reading polls that show President Biden neck and neck with former President Trump can take heart with some historical data. In the last two elections, Trump has failed to garner even 47 percent of the popular vote (46 percent and change each time). If Trump is the nominee again in 2024 and history repeats, it will likely result in another loss. Only once in the last eight presidential elections (George W. Bush got 50.7 in his 2004 victory over John Kerry) has the Republican candidate got as much as 47 percent of the popular vote. A recent Real Clear Politics aggregate total (Betfair, Bovada, BWin, Neds, PointsBet, PredictIt, and Sporting Bet) shows Biden with a 6-point composite edge over Trump, with the widest margin (11 points) coming from PredictIt.
PRIME TIME IN THE ROCKIES
Sanders Mania is in full swing in Boulder now that his Colorado Buffaloes have followed up their stunning victory over TCU with a dominant take-down of Nebraska. Assuming CU takes care of business at home against Colorado State this coming Saturday (Buffaloes are 21-point favorites), they can turn the college football season completely on its head the next two Saturdays when they face ranked teams – No. 13 Oregon and (at) No. 6 USC. Colorado’s odds of winning the national championship have surged from +10000 (after Week 1) to +8000. QB Shedeur Sanders is now in the thick of the Heisman Trophy race at +2000.
FINALLY . . . CHEW ON THIS
There is no more sure bet than Joey Chestnut winning the July 4 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Chestnut went off at -4000 this year, and had little difficulty in grabbing yet another Mustard Belt – downing 62 dogs in 10 minutes. But before you blindingly bet on Chestnut, be aware that his digestive prowess does not appear to include other food on the competitive eating scene. Earlier this month Chestnut finished a distant second to an Australian competitor in the US Chicken Wing Eating Championship in (where else?) Buffalo. The Aussie downed 276 wings in 12 minutes to Chestnut’s 240. It marked the fifth straight year that Chestnut has not won the event. Chestnut did, however, retain his No. 1 Major League Eating world ranking heading into the Pork Roll Eating Championships in Trenton, N.J. later this month.