Sports Picks For Sale - Oskeim Sports

Hot Streaks and Achievements

  • 101-60 (63%) MLB RUN; NET PROFIT OF +2,738 UNITS!
  • 52-31 (62.7%) Overall Run last 60 Days!
  • 34 FOOTBALL (NFL & NCAA) AWARDS SINCE 2007!

Biography

Oskeim Sports is an award-winning sports handicapping service which has consistently outperformed the stock market since 2007.

Active since:  2007

Location:  Boston, MA

Oskeim Sports Consulting, LLC (OSC) is an internationally-recognized sports handicapping service which provides sports bettors with an unparalleled return on investment.  Its lead handicapper and the firm’s CEO, Jeffrey Keim, graduated magna cum laude from Elon College and earned his J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law.  Jeff developed a successful law practice at a private law firm in Connecticut, where he practiced for seven years before founding Oskeim Sports in 2007. 

Jeff’s tireless work ethic and analytical skills, which allowed him to develop a successful law practice, remain key to the success of OSC.  Jeff’s proprietary research utilizes advanced analytics, computer algorithms, math models and one of the most extensive technical databases in the handicapping industry.  Oskeim Sports has been widely recognized as one of the most successful and transparent handicapping services in the industry, and it publishes its selections contemporaneously in a Pick Archive.

Jeff and his team provide unmatched profitability and return on investment on behalf of their clients, and have consistently outperformed the investment industry since 2007.  Since establishing Oskeim Sports Consulting, LLC in 2007, Jeff has received 32 distinguished awards from The Sports Monitor of Oklahoma, including five #1 titles.

Some highlights:

2019 Top 5 College Basketball Regular Season at Handicappers Watchdog (Win Percentage, Units Won & Return on Investment)
2019 #1-ranked NFL service at Handicappers Watchdog (Win Percentage & Return on Investment)
2019 #1-ranked MLB service at Handicappers Watchdog (Win Percentage)
2019 Top 5 College Football Regular Season at Handicappers Watchdog
2017 Top 10 NFL Regular Season at Handicappers Watchdog
2017 Top 5 College Bowl Games at The Sports Monitor of Oklahoma
2017 Top 5 College Bowl Games at Sports Watch Monitor
2017 Top 5 College Bowl Games at Handicappers Watchdog
2017 Top 5 College Football at Handicappers Watchdog (Win %, Units Won & ROI)
2017 Top 5 NFL Preseason at The Sports Monitor of Oklahoma
2016 #1-ranked service at Handicappers Watchdog for Return on Investment (all sports)
2016 #1-ranked service at Handicappers Watchdog for Net Profit (all sports)
2016 #1 All Sports Handicapper for Return on Investment at Handicappers Watchdog (all of 2016)
2016 #1 for Most Units Won All Sports Handicapper at Handicappers Watchdog (all of 2016)
2016 Top 10 NFL Regular Season at The Sports Monitor of Oklahoma
2016 Top 10 NFL Regular Season at Handicappers Watchdog
2016 Top 5 College Bowl Games at Handicappers Watchdog
2016 Top 5 College Football Regular Season at Handicappers Watchdog
2015 Top 5 Major League Baseball at Handicappers Watchdog
2015 Top 15 MLB Handicapper at The Sports Monitor of Oklahoma
2015 Top 5 NFL at Handicappers Watchdog (60-40, 60%)
2015 Top 5 NCAA Football at Handicappers Watchdog (77-51, 60.2%)
2015 Top 10 March Madness

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NCAAF - Point Spread - Sat, Oct 08

OSKEIM'S 100% (11-0) NCAA CONF. GAME OF MONTH

**GAME OF MONTH ALERT** On Saturday, Jeff Keim is featuring a RARE NCAA Football Conference Game of the Month involvi...

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NCAAF - Point Spread - Sat, Oct 08

OSKEIM'S #1 MOUNTAIN WEST CONF. GAME OF WEEK

**BIG PLAY ALERT** Jeff Keim delivered 71.4% winners in college football last week and is on a TORRID 19-11 (63.3%; +...

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NCAAF - Point Spread - Sat, Oct 08

OSKEIM'S NCAA CONFERENCE USA GAME OF THE WEEK

On Saturday, Jeff Keim is featuring his #1 NCAA Football Conference USA Game of the Week! Jeff is on a terrific 63.3...

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NCAAF - Point Spread - Sat, Oct 08

OSKEIM'S #1 SUN BELT CONFERENCE GAME OF WEEK

Jeff Keim is on a RED-HOT 19-11 (63.3%; +$6,850) football run, including going 5-2 (71.4%) on the college gridiron la...

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NCAAF - Point Spread - Sat, Oct 08

OSKEIM'S NCAA FOOTBALL VEGAS INSIDER SHOCKER

Jeff Keim is on a RED-HOT 19-11 (63.3%; +$6,850) football run and, on Saturday, his exclusive BIG MONEY contacts have...

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MLB - Moneyline - Fri, Oct 07

OSKEIM'S MLB PLAYOFFS FORTUNE 500 PAYDAY

Jeff Keim is riding a 63% overall run and, on Friday' he's STEPPING OUT with a HUGE MLB Fortune 500 Play that will EA...

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The Worst 2-0 Football Team in the NFL

Sunday, Sep 25, 2022

It’s the 2022 feel-good story, right? The New York Giants have struggled through three straight head coaches that didn’t last past Year 2. Brian Daboll, former Buffalo offensive coordinator, was hired in the offseason to try and get the Giants headed in the right direction. After two weeks of the 2022 NFL season, Daboll and the Giants are 2-0. The turnaround is happening!Or is it?The Giants WinsNew York has two wins so far this season. They beat Tennessee 21-20 in Week 1 after a gutsy two-point conversion call by Daboll. Last week, the Giants won when K Graham Gano hit a 56-yard field goal with just over three minutes to play against Carolina. Then, Daboll gambled and picked up a key first down late in the game to run the clock out.The combined record of the Titans and the Panthers at this point in the season is 0-4. Carolina hasn’t won more than five games in a few years and the Titans appear to be on a downward slide. It’s not like the Giants beat the Bills or Chiefs. The question then is – Are the Giants one of the worst 2-0 teams in NFL history?The HistorySince the NFL merger in 1970, there have been 11 teams that have started an NFL season 2-0 with a four-point or less point differential. The 2012 Philadelphia Eagles won their first two games that season by one point each. After the 2-0 start, the Eagles won just two more games and finished 4-12.History says that the Giants probably aren’t as good as their 2-0 record suggests. The teams in this category – 2-0 with a point differential of +4 or less – have gone on to finish their respective seasons with a .455 winning percentage. That is the equivalent of 7.7 wins and 9.3 losses in a 17-game season.Three of the 11 teams went on to 11-win season. The Giants happened to be one of them. In 2016, the Giants started 2-0 with a 20-19 win over Dallas and a 16-13 victory over the Saints. New York ended up 11-5 and earned an NFC wild card. The Giants got beat by Green Bay in the playoffs that year.Seattle in 2019 and Carolina in 2003 were the other two teams to start a season 2-0 with a +4 or less point differential and go on to win 11 games. That is not the norm. In looking at 2-0 teams regardless of their point differential, it is interesting to find that those teams finish the rest of the season with a .567 winning percentage.In 2022 so far, there are five other teams in addition to the Giants that are 2-0. Miami (+17), Buffalo (+55), Kansas City (+26), Philadelphia (+20), and Tampa Bay (+26) are all unbeaten after two games. When you don’t account for point differential, all 2-0 teams since the merger go on to win 9.6 games and lost 7.4 games per season.Are the Giants the Worst 2-0 in NFL History?The answer to that question will come when the 2022 season concludes, but precedent is not on the side of the Giants. Only five of the 11 teams on this list finished their season with a winning record.The Giants currently rank 18th in DVOA which, if you don’t know what that is, it’s a measure of the Giants taking into account the quality of their opponents. Even more telling is ESPN’s Power Index. The Giants are currently 27th out of 32 teams. They rank right behind No. 26 Atlanta. The Falcons are 0-2.

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Five Things to Watch in the 2022 NFL Season

Friday, Aug 19, 2022

In less than a month, the 2022 NFL season will have kicked off and fans and bettors alike will be back in business. The Buffalo Bills are favored to win Super Bowl LVII. The Bills quarterback, Josh Allen, is the favorite to win the league’s MVP. How will it all play out? That’s the beauty of a new NFL season. We can attempt to predict outcomes, but the ball has a funny way of bouncing sometimes. Here are X things to watch this season. Each will have an effect on the 2022 NFL season as a whole. 3-Peat? Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has won the last two straight NFL MVP awards. Winning a third in a row would tie him with the guy he replaced in Green Bay – Brett Favre – as the only players in NFL history to win three straight MVPs. This wasn’t the plan. The Packers drafted Jordan Love with the expectation he would eventually replace Rodgers. That isn’t happening anytime soon. Rodgers just signed a $150 million contract extension for the next three seasons. The problem Rodgers will have this season is at receiver. Davante Adams is gone and so is Marquez Valdez-Scantling. The type of season Rodgers has will not only determine his MVP hopes but also if the Packers are a Super Bowl team. The Cowboys Hot Seat Mike McCarthy won a Super Bowl and a number of division titles in Green Bay. A couple of mediocre seasons led to his demise there. Now in Dallas, McCarthy went 12-5 and won an NFC East title in Dallas. For doing that, he is now on the proverbial coach’s hot seat. The Cowboys were knocked out of the playoffs in the wild card round by the 49ers last season. Owner Jerry Jones is getting impatient. Dallas hasn’t even been to a conference championship since the Super Bowl-winning season of 1995. McCarthy is going to have to go deeper in the postseason in 2022. He’ll have to do so without the likes of Amari Cooper, Randy Gregory, Cedrick Wilson Jr., and a few others. Dallas is still talented enough to get back to where they were a year ago. Will that be enough? Tua or Not Tua? The Miami Dolphins could have had Justin Herbert but instead chose Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft. Herbert and the Chargers are among this year’s Super Bowl favorites. Tua’s Dolphins are not. Tua has had his moments. He just hasn’t had enough of them. In his third season, the Dolphins quarterback will have everything he needs. He has a solid offensive line and a number of receiving threats – Tyreek Hill, Cedrick Wilson Jr., and Jaylen Waddle. Miami upgraded at running back too with Sony Michel, Chase Edmonds, and Raheem Mostert. In new head coach Mike McDaniel’s first season, it’s time for Tua to step up or step out of Miami. The Browns Cleveland looked like it might be turning the corner on one of professional sports’ longest periods of ineptitude. The Browns made the playoffs in 2020 but blew it last year. Then came the fiasco. The Browns traded for beleaguered Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson. Great move, right? It was until his whole massage-gone-bad ordeal turned into what is now an 11-game suspension. Watson could return in Week 13. Can Jacoby Brissett keep the Browns within striking distance of a playoff berth? Who knows, but how it all plays out will determine the Browns' immediate future.Balance of Power The NFC has won each of the past two Super Bowls, but the balance of power is shifting to the AFC. Two of the top three Super Bowl favorites at most sportsbooks – Buffalo and Kansas City – are from the AFC. Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, and Khalil Mack, among a number of others, are all now playing for AFC teams. The AFC West, which now features Wilson (Broncos) and Mack (Chargers), is regarded as the toughest division in the NFL. Could this be the year an AFC team wins another Super Bowl? 

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Why Bettors Should Take Advantage of Betting First-Half NFL Lines

Saturday, Aug 13, 2022

NFL bettors looking for new ways to slay the betting dragon should look at the advantages offered by betting first-half NFL lines. Instead of betting the entire game, the second half is eliminated. There are advantages to betting just the first half and a few strategies bettors can use to exploit these advantages.It starts with a clear understanding of exactly what you are doing.The First Half NFL MarketFirst-half NFL bets are offered prior to a game starting and include the more common bet types – moneyline, point spread, and totals. When you wager on a first-half line, only the first half of the game matters. All bets are scored based on the halftime score.These bets are popular among bettors who are able to recognize certain first-half trends. These trends offer bettors an edge. Bettors can find first-half lines at most sportsbooks.What is the “Dead Heat Rule?”There is the possibility that an NFL game can be tied at halftime. That creates a great question for bettors. What happens when you bet the first half and the score is tied? Most sportsbooks use something called the Dead Heat rule.With the tie not offered as a betting choice, sportsbooks offer half of the original odds to the bettor. It works like this.The bettor places a $100 bet on a moneyline underdog of +220 to win the first half. If the underdog was to win the first half, the bettor would receive a payout of $220. If the score is tied at the half, according to the Dead Heat rule the bettor would receive $110 instead.Some sportsbooks will create a three-way market for the first half. Bettors can choose the tie as an option and the Dead Heat rule would not apply.First Half Bet TypesAs mentioned, bettors can find similar bets in the first half that are similar to those for a full game. The first half point spread bet is effectively the same as betting the full game point spread. The difference is that just the first half counts.It’s the same for first-half totals. The NFL's first-half totals market mirrors the full-game totals market, but only the first-half scoring counts. Bettors are faced with determining which half will have more scoring.First Half Betting StrategiesWhen betting the NFL first half, one strategy is to look for heavy favorites that are playoff-caliber teams. Teams that lay a bunch of points do so for a reason. The favorite often jumps out to a big lead so they can rest their starters in the second half.The heavy favorite covering the first half spread is more likely than covering the game spread. The junk time at the end of the game is too unpredictable.Bettors can also look for favorites that tend to start games slowly. There are a number of reasons why a team may do that. One of the biggest reasons is the NFL schedule. The league’s schedule is a tough one. Games are physical and players need time to recover.Oftentimes in an NFL season, a team will play a game with limited rest. Teams can play a late afternoon game on a Sunday and then play on a Thursday night. Add in that the team may have had to travel and you may have a situation where you would consider betting the Under.

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Betting Odds of First NFL Head Coach to be Fired in 2022

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2022

NFL teams are just starting to report to training, but it’s never too early to speculate on which head coach will be let go first. It’s not every year that an NFL head coach fails to make it through a season, but Urban Meyer did just that last year when he got the axe after a disastrous start in Jacksonville. The Jags and seven other franchises – Bears, Dolphins, Giants, Raiders, Texans, Saints, and Vikings – will have new coaches this season.One would think that the first-year guys are safe, but in today’s ‘win now or else’ era anything is possible. If you are looking for job stability, don’t become an NFL head coach. It’s pretty much a given that at least one of 32 will be fired in 2022. Which one will be first?MATT RHULE – CAROLINA (+300)Rhule’s first two teams in Carolina have yet to win more than five games – 5-11 in 2020 and 5-12 last season. If star RB Christian McCaffrey could stay healthy, Rhule might not even be in this discussion. The Panthers went out and acquired QB Baker Mayfield to compete with Sam Darnold for the starting job. That should help the offense.McCaffrey needs to stay healthy though. His absence killed the Panthers’ offense. Last year, Carolina averaged 17.9 points a game which was 29th in the NFL. Carolina’s defense is one of the better units in the NFL. If Rhule is going to stick around, the offense has to improve.MIKE MCCARTHY – DALLAS (+500)Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones hasn’t enjoyed the taste of a Super Bowl in quite a while. He was hopeful that former Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy could get Dallas back to the big game. After struggling through a 6-10 first season, McCarthy’s team went 12-5 and won the NFC East.The problem is the Cowboys lost to San Francisco in the NFC wild-card game. McCarthy, who went 125-77-2 with the Packers and won Super Bowl XLV, might need to go deeper in the postseason this year. Dallas lost some key contributors like WR Amari Cooper. If McCarthy can’t get it done in 2022, Jones is likely to make a change.PETE CARROLL – SEATTLE (+600)It’s hard to believe, but Carroll makes the list as the Seahawks appear to be fading. There is no doubt Carroll has been one of the all-time great NFL head coaches. His records of 119-73-1 in Seattle and 152-104-1 overall speak for themselves.But, what has Carroll done lately? The Seahawks went 7-10 last season and failed to make the postseason for just the second time in a decade. Then, Seattle traded away its best player, QB Russell Wilson. Seattle was a mediocre offense with Wilson averaging 23.2 points a game last season. It’s doubtful Drew Lock or Geno Smith can do much better.In his NFL career thus far, Carroll has never had consecutive seasons in which his teams missed the playoffs. How Seattle has success without Wilson at quarterback is hard to fathom. A second straight losing season might be the writing on the wall for Carroll and his career.FRANK REICH – INDIANAPOLIS (+700)Reich has gone 37-28 as the Colts head man, but his teams have only made the playoffs twice and they have never won a division title. Last year, Reich brought in his former Philadelphia quarterback, Carson Wentz. It was a disaster.The Colts ended up 9-8 and out of the playoffs again. Wentz was shipped to Washington and now Reich will work with former Atlanta star Matt Ryan. Reich did sign a contract extension that runs through the 2026 season, but he is going to need to produce in 2022 or he could be out the door.

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NBA Finals Betting Trends & Angles: Boston vs. Golden State

Thursday, Jun 02, 2022

The NBA Finals are here and each year it presents bettors with numerous opportunities for betting success. With a potential seven games on tap, bettors can make or break an NBA betting season. When thinking about betting the NBA Finals, there are a number of things to consider. Here are a few. Fade the Game 7 Winner So, Boston had to go seven games with Miami to get to the NBA Finals. Teams that win a Game 7 do not do so well in Game 1 of their following series. The last 81 times this has happened in the NBA playoffs, the Game 7 winners have lost 49 times (61 percent). Those teams also only win their next series 41 percent of the time. With Steve Kerr as their coach, Golden State is 21-2 SU in playoff Game 1s. The Warriors are also 9-2 ATS when playing as a single-digit home favorite in Game 1 of a playoff series. Golden State hasn’t played since May 26 and that rest advantage may work in their favor. Game 1 Winners Speaking of Game 1, there is an NBA playoff trend worth noting. In NBA playoff history, teams that win Game 1 of a series go on to win that series 73.3 percent of the time. The trend holds up in the NBA Finals too. The winner of Game 1 in the NBA Finals goes on to win the title 70.7 percent of the time. Last year, the Phoenix Suns won Game 1 and 2 before losing four straight to Milwaukee. From 2017 to 2020, the team that won Game 1 went on to win the NBA championship.NBA Finals Totals It’s no secret that the Under is a trend during the NBA playoffs. The pace of games slows down tremendously as teams understand that they face elimination. Usually, teams average about 2.5 fewer possessions per game during the postseason. That means fewer opportunities to score which translates into fewer points. Prior to this postseason, the previous seven NBA playoffs combined saw the Under cash nearly 55 percent of the time. Should the NBA Finals go to a final Game 7, the Under is even more profitable. In Game 7s, the Under hits over 61 percent of the time. There have only been two NBA Finals in the last decade that have gone a full seven games. Series Prices Since 1990, only four NBA Finals have been priced anywhere close to this year’s series – Warriors -160, Celtics +140. Ironically, the Game 1 winner – 1995 Magic and 2014 Spurs – went on to win just two of the four series. Based on the results of Games 1 and 2, series prices will adjust. With a Boston loss in Game 1, their new series odds may move closer to +200. With another loss in Game 3, those odds could approach +300. Bettors considering backing a team that is down in a series should only do so because that team is playing far below expectations. The bottom line is that bettors can often find better series pricing after a few games have been played.The Zig Zag Zig Zag theory in betting is essentially just betting the opposite of what happened in the previous game. The thought is that teams will bounce back quicker in the playoffs knowing if they don’t they may be eliminated. Blindly following this strategy in the NBA Finals doesn’t really work, but there is one situation where there is a trend. NBA playoff teams seeded in the top-3 – which both Boston and Golden State are – do very well against the spread when coming off a Game 1 loss. Since 2005, the Game 1 loser has come back to cover the spread in Game 2 64 percent of the time (30-17 ATS). 

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A Look at the 2022 MLB National League Pennant Odds

Thursday, Mar 31, 2022

 Once again, it’s the Los Angeles Dodgers who stand out in the National League. It’s really no secret since the Boys in Blue have been favored to win not only the National League but also the World Series for the last several seasons.   Last year, the Dodgers were the favorite all the way up until Atlanta beat them 4-2 in the National League Championship series. The roster has changed slightly, but Los Angeles will still field a lineup full of All-Stars and a pitching staff full of Cy Young-caliber pitchers.  There are a number of teams that made some offseason moves to put themselves in position to challenge L.A. Can any of them overtake the Dodgers? Here’s a look at the 2022 MLB National League pennant race.  Favored Again  It’s like déjà vu all over again as Yogi Berra used to say. The Dodgers are the overall betting favorite to win the NL pennant at +240. L.A. is an overwhelming favorite despite losing a former NL Rookie of the Year and former World Series MVP. SS Corey Seager is now a Texas Ranger, but the Dodgers still have a lineup full of All-Star talent.   Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Gavin Lux, Will Smith, and Trae Turner are all All-Star worthy. Then, the Dodgers went out and inked another former NL MVP and World Series champion Freddie Freeman. From top to bottom in the batting order, the Dodgers don’t have a weakness.  Then, there is the pitching. Even if Trevor Bauer and Clayton Kershaw (two Cy Young winners) do not return, the Dodgers still have Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, and Dustin May. It’s easy to see why the Dodgers are favored to win the NL pennant again.  Mets on the Move  The way oddsmakers see it, the New York Mets' offseason was enough to propel them into the role of top challenger to the Dodgers' NL supremacy. The Mets are given +500 odds to win the NL pennant after they acquired such players as P Max Scherzer and OF Starling Marte.   Scherzer wound up 15-4 last season with a WHIP of 0.86. Opposing hitters hit just .186 against Scherzer last season. He will pair with a healthy Jacob deGrom to form the best No. 1-No. 2 pitching combination in the majors. The Mets also have Taijuan Walker, Chris Bassitt, and Carlos Carrasco in their rotation.   The offense still has former NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso who hit 37 homers last season as well as Marte, SS Francisco Lindor, and DH Robinson Cano.  Contenders  You can’t count the defending champion Braves (+500) out of the mix. Despite losing Freeman, the Braves did sign slugger Matt Olson to replace him. Their lineup is pretty deep with Marcell Ozuna, Dansby Swanson, and Austin Riley. Plus, the Braves get a healthy Ronald Acuna Jr. back and the pitching rotation features Max Fried and Charlie Morton and Atlanta added closer Kenley Jansen.  The Padres were a contender last season until injuries ruined their chances. A healthy Fernando Tatis along with Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado gives the Padres plenty of power. The pitching rotation includes former Cy Young winner Blake Snell plus Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove. If San Diego (+850) can stay healthy, they should contend for the NL pennant.  Watch Out  At +700, it’s hard to call Milwaukee a sleeper, but the Brewers get left out of the discussion when it comes time to talk NL pennant. The Brewers have exactly what it takes to win championships – pitching. Both Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes finished in the top five in the NL Cy Young race. Burnes won the award after finishing with an NL-best 2.43 ERA. Woodruff’s was 2.56. With a former NL MVP in Christian Yelich as well as Kolten Wong and Hunter Renfroe, the Brewers are another strong candidate to battle for the NL pennant. 

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A Look at the 2022 MLB American League Pennant Odds 

Monday, Mar 28, 2022

 The MLB’s offseason featured a lockout over a new collective bargaining agreement giving fans a scare. The players and the league did finally agree to a new CBA meaning the 2022 MLB season is a go. Opening Day is set for April 7 and all 162 games will be played this season. The regular season will end on October 5.  The new CBA did include some changes, one of which involves the postseason. Each league will add one more wild card to the postseason mix for a total of 12 teams in the MLB playoffs. Which of those teams has the best shot at capturing the American League pennant? Here’s a look at how the AL pennant race may play out.   Houston, We Have No Problem The Astros have played for the last five straight AL pennants. With relatively few roster changes, Houston is the overall favorite to repeat as AL champion and represent the league in the World Series again. Remember, a year ago the Astros beat Boston in six games to win the American League but fell to Atlanta 4-2 in the World Series.  Houston has both the pitching and the hitting of a championship team. That is why they are the AL favorite at +450 to win it again. Last year, the Astros led the majors in runs per game and they could easily do that again in 2022. They have a former AL MVP in Jose Altuve who hit .277 with 31 homers and 83 RBIs last season. They have a favorite in this year’s MVP race in Yordan Alvarez. All Alvarez did last season with hit .277 with 33 home runs and 104 RBIs. Alex Bregman is back and healthy and Kyle Tucker is back after hitting .294 with 30 homers. Even after losing Carlos Correa to the Twins in free agency, there is not a weak spot in the Astros batting order.  Houston has three excellent young pitchers in Framber Valdez (11-6), Jose Urquidy (8-3), and Christian Javier who went 4-1 in nine starts last year. The Astros will also get two-time Cy Young winner Justin Verlander back after he missed all of last season with an injury.   The Contender There is a reason why Toronto is given the exact same odds - +450 – as the Astros to win the AL pennant. The Blue Jays went 91-71 last season but didn’t make the postseason. They wound up fourth in a very competitive AL East. With one of the best young lineups in baseball, the Blue Jays have what it takes to win the AL this year.  Vladimir Guerrero Jr. led the majors with 48 home runs last season. He also hit .311 and had 111 RBIs. Bo Bichette hit .298 with 29 dingers and 102 RBIs. Four more Blue Jays – Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., George Springer, and Randal Grichuk – each hit at least 22 home runs. Grichuk was recently traded, but the other three return. Hernandez hit .296 and had 116 RBIs.  The Blue Jays upgraded the pitching staff too. They signed Kevin Gausman away from San Diego in the offseason and recently acquired Yusei Kikuchi. They will join Jose Berrios, Alek Manoah, and Hyun Jin Ryu to form a competent starting lineup.   Others in the Mix The White Sox won the AL Central and are given +500 odds to win the AL pennant this year. The Yankees still have Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton along with P Gerrit Cole. They are listed at +475. The more interesting candidates are Tampa Bay and the Los Angeles Angels. Remember, it was the Rays that won 100 games and the AL East last year. They return AL Rookie of the Year Randy Arozarena and SS prospect Wander Franco. The Rays are given +750 odds to win the AL pennant.  The Angels are an interesting longshot pick. They return AL MVP Shohei Ohtani and a healthy Mike Trout, who owns three AL MVPs of his own. The Angels did upgrade the pitching staff with the addition of Noah Syndergaard. L.A. is currently listed at +1600 to win the AL. 

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NFL Draft Futures: Who Will Be The First Pick in the 2022 Draft?

Monday, Feb 28, 2022

 The 2022 NFL draft gets underway on Thursday, April 28, in Paradise, Nevada. The Las Vegas suburb was supposed to host the 2020 selection show, but the coronavirus pandemic forced that year’s draft to be held virtually.   This year, it all begins with the first pick held by the Jacksonville Jaguars who finished a league-worst 3-14. The Jags have a new head coach, former Super Bowl champion Doug Pederson, and will pick ahead of Detroit which finished 3-13-1. Houston, the New York Jets, and the New York Giants round out the top five overall picks.   In the past two seasons, quarterbacks were the focus of the draft. Last year, the top three picks were all signal-callers. This year, only one quarterback is among the top five favorites to go No. 1. The Jags actually got their quarterback last year drafting Trevor Lawrence with the top pick.  The Jags have plenty of needs, including one very vital position. Barring a trade then, who will the Jaguars select with the first pick?  Edge Rusher  It’s arguably the most important position in football after the quarterback. Teams with outstanding edge rushers are teams that make postseasons. Look at Super Bowl LVI for proof. The Rams sacked Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow nine times.  In this year’s draft, there are two outstanding edge rushers – Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson and Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux. Either could go first and both fit an immediate need for Jacksonville. Both players are at or near the top of almost everyone’s draft board and they are among the top five betting favorites to go No. 1.  Hutchinson is a 6-foot-6-inch, 270-pound ball of relentless energy. His father played defensive line at Michigan and the younger Hutchinson is even better than his old man. He has a great burst and can line up anywhere on the defensive line. He also has experience as a standup linebacker. That is why he is the overall favorite at +160 to be drafted first this year.  Thibodeaux is just as big at 6-5 and 280 pounds. He is a fluid athlete that can wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks. He had to fight through some injury issues last season, but Thibodeaux is an amazing talent. Several NFL teams, including Jacksonville, are interested which is why he could be the first overall pick. Thibodeaux is listed at +250 to go first.  Protectors  After quarterback and stud pass rusher, the next position franchises look for is either cornerback or offensive tackle. There are two of the latter worthy of the first pick this year. Eric Fisher was the last OT to go first overall to Kansas City and now Alabama’s Evan Neal has the chance to do the same.  Neal is huge at 6-7 and 350 pounds. As a run blocker, there is no question he is outstanding. He will need to hone his pass blocking skills at the next level, but several teams are sold on Neal’s ability. The Jags could use a solid left tackle to protect Lawrence’s back side. Neal is given +185 odds to be selected first.  The other offensive tackle high on everyone’s board is NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu. He is 6-4, which is a bit on the short side for an offensive tackle, but he is an amazing athlete. He comes from a family full of college athletes and it shows in his play on the field. He has great feet and excels in zone blocking schemes. At +550, he’s a bit of a longshot to go first overall.  The Lone QB  There is one quarterback among the top favorites, but he is listed at +3300. That would be Pitt’s Kenny Pickett. He led the Panthers to an ACC title while throwing for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns. He is extremely confident and possesses the skills to be an NFL starter at some point.   The bigger question is who would draft him first. Jacksonville already has their franchise quarterback. It would take a major trade and a team sold on Pickett for him to go first overall. 

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NFL Super Bowl LVI Futures Update 

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2022

   With the Rams' victory over the Cardinals on Monday night, the NFL’s Divisional Round of the playoffs is all set. Six teams have been eliminated and eight remain to battle for the Super Bowl LVI title. One team remains the overall favorite on the betting board. Is there a team in the field that could sneak in and pull off the upset? Here’s an update of the Super Bowl LVI futures market.   Packers Remain Favorite Green Bay opened the season at +900 to win this season’s Super Bowl. They were the favorite entering the playoffs at +350 and remain atop the list heading into the divisional round. QB Aaron Rodgers is having another MVP-worthy season guiding Green Bay to six wins in their final eight games.  The Packers will have the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage all the way to the NFC championship game. Home field advantage matters as at least one top seed has made it all the way to the Super Bowl in seven of the past eight seasons.    Top Contenders The Buffalo Bills are on the board at +500 and for good reason. Buffalo completely manhandled the New England Patriots in their wild-card game last week. The Bills scored touchdowns on their first seven drives of the game. That was a first in NFL playoff history.  The Bills' defense contained the Patriots and rookie QB Mac Jones and didn’t allow a touchdown until the second half with Buffalo in command. The Bills defense is the best in the NFL and QB Josh Allen threw five touchdowns in the 47-17 win over the Patriots.  Buffalo will have its hands full with Kansas City in this week’s divisional playoff game. The two teams met last year in the AFC championship. They also played earlier this season at Arrowhead Stadium, site of this week’s game. Buffalo won 38-20 back when the Chiefs were struggling.  Kansas City turned its season around and won 10 of its last 11 games. Since Week 8, the Chiefs' defense has been one of the best in the league. Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdown passes in roughly 12 minutes in the Chiefs win over Pittsburgh in last week’s wild-card game. That’s why the Chiefs are listed at +400 ahead of Buffalo.    The Surprise With Green Bay, Kansas City, Buffalo, and defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay (+500) all at the top of the board, one team is getting overlooked. The Tennessee Titans are the No. 1 seed in the AFC. They are generating absolutely zero buzz, but they should be.  The Titans are listed at +900 behind even San Francisco (+850) which upset Dallas last week to advance. Tennessee gets All-Pro RB Derrick Henry back in the lineup after he missed a good portion of the regular season with a foot injury. Henry was leading the NFL in rushing – which he did in the previous two seasons – at the time of his injury.  Tennessee was still able to finish fifth in the NFL in rushing averaging 141.1 yards per game. The Titans also had the second-best run defense allowing just 84.6 yards per game on the ground. They finished sixth in scoring defense holding teams to 20.8 points per game.   The Titans went 7-2 at home this year and will have home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Tennessee opened the season given +2500 odds to win this year’s Super Bowl. 

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Can Anyone Overtake Aaron Rodgers for the NFL MVP?

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2022

 He won his third NFL MVP last season and is on his way to a fourth this season. Aaron Rodgers is the clear favorite to win a second consecutive MVP. He is listed -400 odds to win and appears to have a pretty safe lead in the race for the award.  There are a few contenders in the race. The question is with one week left in the regular season and the playoffs ahead, is there anyone that could surpass Rodgers and take the award away from him? The answer to that is a big “maybe.”   MVP No. 4 There are plenty of reasons why Aaron Rodgers wins his fourth NFL MVP this year. First off, he led the Packers to another 13-win season (with potential for 14), another NFC North Division title, and clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.   The Green Bay offense is among the best in the league. Rodgers has the highest touchdown-to-interception ratio of all NFL quarterbacks with at least 750 passing yards. He has 3,977 yards passing and 35 touchdowns and don’t forget, he missed a game due to COVID.  Rodgers has said he is planning on playing in the season finale against Detroit. Whether he does or not, he will lead Green Bay in the postseason and still has time to cement his hold on the award.    Challenger No. 1 If there is anyone that could pull off the upset, it has to be Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady. At 44 years of age, Brady has 4,990 yards passing and 40 touchdowns. He is the reason why the Bucs are 12-4 and NFC South champions.   Brady is given +500 odds to win the MVP, which makes it appear as though Rodgers has a firm grip on his fourth award. The Bucs play Carolina this Sunday. They just played the Panthers two weeks ago. Tampa Bay won 32-6 and Brady really didn’t need to do much. He finished 18-of-30 for 232 yards and a touchdown.   He probably won’t need to do much on Sunday either, but if he were to go off and have a career day he might pull himself closer to Rodgers. Then, of course, there is the playoffs make a final run at the MVP.   Challenger No. 2 The only other realistic challenger to Rodgers in the MVP race is Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, who just happens to be peaking at the right time. Prior to last week’s game against Kansas City, Burrow was seventh on the betting board at +3500.   After leading the Bengals to a dramatic 34-31 win over the Chiefs, Burrow now sits at No. 3 given +1000 odds to win. In his past two games, Burrow has put up video game-like numbers. Against the Chiefs, he completed 30-of-39 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns. And that’s against the Chiefs who had won eight in a row prior to Sunday.  The previous week, Burrow lit it up against division rival Baltimore. Burrow set a franchise record with 525 yards passing. He also had another four touchdown passes. If he keeps this up, he could threaten Rodgers, especially if Cincy wins in the postseason. 

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Will Baylor Repeat as College Basketball National Champions?

Thursday, Dec 30, 2021

Scott Drew and his Baylor Bears won their first NCAA men’s college basketball national championship a year ago with a win over favorite and previously unbeaten Gonzaga. Can the Bears do it again?  Early on, the prevailing thought was no. The Bears had simply lost too much from last year’s championship team. However, as the new season heads into conference play after Jan. 1, the No. 1-ranked team in the country is…you guessed it…Baylor. There’s still a lot of basketball to be played, but can Baylor repeat as national champions? YES If you truly believe the Bears are capable of winning back-to-back national championships, now is the time to get in on the action. Despite being 11-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country, the Bears are not among the betting favorites to win this year’s March Madness. Bettors can get Baylor at +1200 to win it all right now. And, it very well could happen. Drew lost four of his top five scorers from a year ago. That’s okay. He simply reloaded. Sophomore guard LJ Cryer has stepped up and is the Bears leading scorer averaging 13.6 points per game. Kendall Brown scores 13.0 per game and Arizona transfer James Akinjo averages 12.8 points and leads the team with 6.3 assists. Adam Flagler (10.7 ppg) gives Baylor four players that average in double figures.  Two more Bears average 9.0 or more points. Matthew Mayer scores 9.2 and 6-8 F Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua averages 9.0 and a team-high 8.4 rebounds. Eight players play at least 17 minutes per game and Drew gets the most out of each and every one. The defense is once again outstanding. Baylor ranks eighth in the nation in points allowed per game giving up just 56.8. In one of their more dominant wins of the 2021-22 season, the Bears held No. 9 Villanova to 36 points in a 57-36 victory. That kind of defense can win a championship. NO One of the biggest things working against the Bears and their efforts to repeat as national champions is simply history. There has been no back-to-back champion in college basketball since Florida in 2006 and 2007. Prior to the Gators, you have to go back to 1991 and 1992 when Duke won consecutive national championships. Back-to-back championships are just something that doesn’t happen often in college basketball. An issue the Bears might have is matching up with bigger teams. Drew prefers to play small-ball with four and five guards on the floor. Matthew Mayer, listed as a guard is 6-foot-9. Tchamwa Tchatchoua is the Bears' biggest inside presence both on the offensive and defensive ends. Jeremy Sochan (6-9) plays 22 minutes a game, but collectively the Bears are not a big team. That could give them trouble at times this season.  Baylor will once again play through a tough Big 12 schedule. Five teams, including the Bears, are ranked this season. Kansas is No. 6. Iowa State is currently eighth. No. 17 Texas is the best defensive team in the country holding opponents under 52 points per game. The Big 12 schedule could take its toll on Baylor. Let’s not forget UNLV. In 1990, Jerry Tarkanian led the Runnin’ Rebels to a national title with a 30-point win over Duke. The following year, Tarkanian’s squad started the season 11-0. Baylor has done the same this season winning their first 11 games all by at least eight points. In 1991, UNLV did make it back to the Final Four but lost to eventual champion Duke, which ironically went on to win the next two national titles. 

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A Look at the Current NBA Playoff Picture

Wednesday, Dec 29, 2021

It’s almost the midpoint of the 2021-22 NBA season and already some things are beginning to become clear. Golden State and Phoenix are the two best teams in the league. Brooklyn appears to be the best in the East and there’s little doubt that the Detroit Pistons are headed for another lottery spot.There have been a few surprises – Cleveland is a big one – and there is still a lot of basketball left to be played. The average NBA team has roughly 47 to 48 games remaining this season. Still, it’s never too early to start looking at the postseason. Here’s a look at the current NBA playoff picture. The Top Contenders As mentioned, the two best teams in the NBA right now are both in the Western Conference – Phoenix and Golden State. With the Suns suffering consecutive home losses recently, the Warriors now own the league’s best record at 27-7. Stephen Curry is the NBA’s second-leading scorer and recently broke the career three-pointer record. Golden State has the best defense in the league and is among the top 5 on offense as well. The Warriors are listed at +375 to win this year’s championship. Phoenix, which played for the NBA title last year, is 26-7 so far this season. The Suns are deep and talented which is why they are listed at +800 to win it all in 2022. The big question for Phoenix will be health. Leading scorer Devin Booker just returned to the lineup after missing seven games with a hamstring injury. Then, there is the whole COVID-19 fiasco that has forced the postponement of games around the league.  While Golden State and Phoenix dominate the West, Brooklyn sits atop the Eastern Conference at 23-9 with a 1.5-game lead over Chicago (21-10). The Nets are dealing with their own health issues, but they have won seven of their last ten games. Kevin Durant is the NBA’s leading scorer averaging 29.7 points per game. When healthy, the Nets have one of the best lineups in basketball which is why they are actually the overall favorite to win this year’s NBA title at +325. The Next Tier Reigning NBA champion Milwaukee is also among the betting favorites at +800. The Bucks are 23-13 and third in the East behind Chicago. The Bulls, who have won eight of their last ten games, are a longshot to win a title at +2200. Miami has also won eight of ten and is given +1200 odds to win it all. In the West, two teams to watch are the Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies. Utah is 8-2 in its last ten games and 24-9 overall. They are listed at +1200. The Grizzlies just got leading scorer Ja Morant back in the lineup and have won seven of their last ten to move into fourth in the West at 21-14. Memphis is a longshot worth a look at +5000.The Surprises With three 7-foot starters, the Cleveland Cavaliers are the fifth-place team in the East at 20-14. The Cavs have the best ATS record in the league at 25-7-2 and they are a longshot to win an NBA title at +6600. Cleveland hasn’t been to the playoffs since making the NBA Finals in 2017-18. The Los Angeles Lakers are given +1200 odds to win this year’s title, but L.A. is just 16-17 so far this season. The Lakers have had numerous injury issues and they will be missing Anthony Davis for quite a while with an injury. L.A. may have to take part in the play-in tournament once again. 

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What If? College Football Playoff Scenarios Ahead of Championship Weekend

Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021

On Sunday, the College Football Playoff Committee will announce its final Top 25 poll which will include the top four and the programs that will play for this season’s national championship. The current top four – Georgia, Michigan, Cincinnati, and Alabama – looks solid, but nothing is set in stone as all of the FBS conferences will tee up their championship games this weekend. And anything can happen. Best Case Scenario There are a few best-case scenarios for the CFP committee. If Georgia, Michigan, and Cincinnati all win their respective conference championship, all three will make the playoff. The only issue would be the fourth spot. If current No. 5 Oklahoma State wins the Big 12 championship game, the Cowboys would likely move up into the spot vacated by Alabama. Remember, the Crimson Tide plays Georgia in the SEC title game. If the Cowboys lost to Baylor, then No. 6 Notre Dame (11-1) could move into that fourth spot. Regardless, the committee’s job would be much easier if the top three win this weekend. The Chaos Factor If the top three winning is the best-case scenario for the committee, all three of those teams losing is probably the worst-case scenario. Add in an Oklahoma State loss and you have essentially created complete chaos.Imagine, Alabama beats Georgia in the SEC. Michigan loses to Iowa to become a two-loss team. Cincinnati loses to Houston in the AAC championship and Oklahoma State falls to Baylor preventing the Cowboys from moving up. Now what?That whole scenario is probably the committee’s worst nightmare. What if Oregon stomps Utah in the Pac-12 title game? What if Baylor puts on a show against Oklahoma State to become the Big 12 champ? What if the SEC championship game comes down to the final minutes? Could both Alabama and Georgia make the top four? Somewhere in Between This college football season, we have seen plenty of chaos. There have been some monumental upsets and it would be safe to assume that we see at least one this weekend. That means the likely outcome for the CFP committee probably lies somewhere in between the best-case and worst-case scenarios. Oklahoma State will make the top four if it wins the Big 12 and one of Alabama, Michigan, or Cincinnati loses their conference championship. If Georgia loses to Alabama, there is still the possibility of a two-loss Alabama in the playoff. Remember, the committee leans SEC.  Notre Dame only makes the playoff if Alabama, Michigan, Cincinnati, and Oklahoma State lose. The Fighting Irish do have nine wins over Power 5 programs but wins over teams like Duke and Georgia Tech just don’t carry the same weight as Oklahoma State’s four wins over Top 25 programs, for example.  The interesting thing heading into this weekend is that Cincinnati already has a win over their AAC title game opponent – Houston. The same is true in the Big 12 where Oklahoma State beat Baylor 24-14 earlier this season. It’s hard to beat a team twice in one season.  Imagine a scenario where the Bearcats and Cowboys both lose. The SEC championship game ends up close. That would probably result in both Georgia and Alabama making the cut. If Michigan won the Big Ten, it would be in and the committee would have to once again decide on the fourth spot.  

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The Worst College Football Teams in the Country

Friday, Oct 29, 2021

Each week, college football fans, players, coaches, and more sift through an endless supply of information about the sport with most of it geared toward the best. The best coach. The best quarterback. The best player. The best team.  What about the worst team? Not that you want to be in that category, but if there is a best there has to be a worst, right? So, which team or teams would fit into the category of worst?   The U’s If your college team is identified with a “U” at the beginning of its name, you might have one of the worst college football teams in the country. UNLV, emphasis on the “L,” is 0-7. The Rebels looked like they might grab their first win last week but allowed San Jose State to block a field goal and then drive the length of the field for the game-winning touchdown in the game’s final minutes.  UConn (1-8) and UMass (1-6) actually played each other in this year. UMass picked up its only win of the 2021 season, a 27-13 defeat of the Huskies whose only win came against FCS Yale and even that wasn’t easy. UConn held off a late Yale rally after leading 21-0 to win 21-15.   19 Straight It’s hard to lose 19 straight games as an FBS program. Arizona has done it pretty easily though the Wildcats did put up a fight against a two-win Washington last week. Arizona, which is 0-6 thus far this season, led 16-7 in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats allowed two fourth-quarter Washington touchdowns and lost 21-16. The Wildcats will go after their first win in 20 games this weekend when they play at USC.   This Is Kansas, Dorothy Ahh…Kansas. Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk. When is it basketball season? The Jayhawks are currently 1-6 with new head coach Lance Leipold attempting to build something. After a season-opening win over that juggernaut known as FCS South Dakota, the Jayhawks have lost games by scores like 49-22, 45-7, and 59-7.   The Jayhawks can’t score – 17.7 points per game ranks 117th in the nation – and they can’t stop anybody. Kansas gives up 46.8 points a game. That ranks 129th. Only Arkansas State (47.8 ppg) is worse.   Florida International There’s an FBS program named Florida International? Wow! Who knew. Apparently, no one really cares since Florida International University, aka FIU, is 1-6 this season. They are one of the worst defensive teams in the country giving up 40.8 points per game. That ranks 125th out of 130 FBS programs. Not good.  The Panthers' only win this season came against FCS LIU, aka Long Island University, a program that is in its second year of play at the FCS level. Yikes!   Green Wave Tulane is one of the few FBS programs whose nickname does not end with the letter “s.” The Green Wave are also one of the worst college football programs in the country. Tulane is currently 1-7 and soon to be 1-8 as the Green Wave face No. 2 Cincinnati this weekend.   In their last three games, the Green Wave defense has waved bye-bye to numerous touchdown scorers. Tulane has given up 147 points in those three games. The Wave is right in there with UMass and Kansas ranking 128th in scoring defense allowing opponents 46 points per game. That won’t win many games.    Blue Mexico State Coaches and players are sad at New Mexico State since they are just 1-6 this season. That’s nothing new. The only win this season came against FCS South Carolina State. The Aggies lost to Hawaii 48-34 last week and that was their second loss of the season to the Rainbow Warriors this season. New Mexico State is so bad they have to fill their schedule with teams they have already lost to.  

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Should the College Football Playoff Expand?

Friday, Aug 27, 2021

As the 2021 college football season is set to get underway on the final weekend in August, one question continues to be on the mind of fans, players, coaches, and anyone with a connection to the sport. Should the College Football Playoff expand?  A better question may be how many teams should a newly expanded playoff include? Or even better, how exactly should the CFP expand? These are all great questions, but it appears the one thing that appears to be a certainty is that the CFP committee is going to expand. So, should they? For Expansion The biggest reason for expanding the current CFP model comes down to one thing – money. There are millions of dollars to be made by increasing the number of teams, and therefore the number of games, in the playoff. The revenue generated eventually feeds back to the conferences and, ultimately, every FBS program. That’s a good thing. With the money issue out of the way, there are other reasons for CFP expansion. One is more conference representation. The CFP is only seven years old. That equates to 28 bids to play for a national title. Only 11 teams have been involved thus far and of those 11 Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Oklahoma own 20 of those 28 bids. An expansion of the playoff to say eight teams would likely mean that each Power 5 conference champion would earn a spot. Two more teams, not conference champions, but worthy of a shot would be selected by the CFP committee and the final team would be the best of the Group of 5. Using 2020 as an example, Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Oregon would have represented the Power 5 conferences. The highest-ranked Group of 5 team was Cincinnati, which was definitely deserving of an opportunity to play for a national title after going 9-0. The committee would then have had to choose from among a handful of teams – Notre Dame, Iowa State, Texas A&M, and a few others – for the other two spots. Any expansion of the CFP would also mean home playoff games. The current four-team format puts the national semifinals as part of the six major bowl games. That means they are played at neutral sites. Any expansion would change the current schedule and likely mean that first-round games would be played at the home of the higher-seeded team.  In a sports culture that loves playoffs, home playoff games would feed the college football frenzy. If the NFL, NBA, and other college sports have playoffs, why not college football? It’s what sports fans are used to and it allows for more competition. Fans could eventually tire of watching Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Oklahoma playing each other every year for a national title. Against Expansion One of the biggest arguments against any expansion of college football’s playoff system is the number of games played and the length of the season. Teams that play for championships typically play 14 and 15 games in a season. They play in conference championship games before playing in the CFP. A season begins with training camp in early August. Some teams will play into January. That’s a long time for amateur athletes.  Expanding the playoff may also make mediocrity acceptable. Expanding to just eight teams will put teams with at least two losses into the CFP. Expanding to 16 teams could mean a four-loss entrant into a playoff to win a national championship. Is a two-, three-, or four-loss team deserving of a bid to play for the national championship?  In reality, in any given season there are only two or three teams that are capable of winning a national championship. Right now, it just so happens that those two to three teams are usually Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State or Oklahoma. And guess what? Oklahoma’s record in the CFP is 0-4. In fact, No. 4 seeds are just 2-5 overall and the five losses have been by a margin of 20 points.  Expanding the playoff field would only decrease the importance of the regular season too. With three or four losses being acceptable to make the playoff, games like Alabama-Miami or Georgia-Clemson in the regular season don’t really mean as much. One of the things that make college football so great is the importance of each individual game. Playoff expansion kills that. A four-team playoff may not be perfect. A six-, eight-, or even sixteen-team version will not be perfect either.  

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Five NFL Sleepers That Could Win Super Bowl LVI

Friday, Jul 23, 2021

If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers repeat as Super Bowl champions, it wouldn’t surprise many NFL fans. Should Kansas City find its way back to the big game and win a second Super Bowl in three seasons, that would not surprise many fans either. If Indianapolis won this coming season’s Lombardi Trophy, you can bet that would shock the NFL world.  The Colts are among five teams that could surprise everyone by winning this year’s Super Bowl. Here’s a look at the candidates.   INDIANAPOLIS COLTS  They have the best offensive line in the NFL. The Colts have a running game that punishes opponents and that will make it much easier for new quarterback Carson Wentz to have success in the passing game. Remember, Colts head coach Frank Reich was the Eagles offensive coordinator when Wentz enjoyed his best seasons in Philadelphia.  Indy also has one of the better defenses in the league. The Colts were second against the run (90.5 yards per game) last season and allowed 22.6 points per game (10th overall). With a strong defense, an outstanding running game, and an improved Wentz at quarterback; the Colts have all the makings of a Super Bowl contender.   ARIZONA CARDINALS  It’s make-or-break time for Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona. The former Texas Tech head coach who made an unprecedented leap to the NFL needs to make it happen in Year 3. Last season, Kingsbury and the Cardinals were 6-3 after nine games and right in the thick of the NFC playoff race. Then, they finished 2-5.  The talent is there. QB Kyler Murray is outstanding and now he’ll have even more weapons on offense. The Cardinals signed A.J. Green in the offseason and added former Purdue star Rondale Moore in the draft. J.J. Watt comes in to add to a defense that drafted Zaven Collins out of Tulsa. The biggest problem for Arizona is simply their division. The Rams, Seahawks, and 49ers are all potential playoff teams. So are the Cardinals.   LOS ANGELES CHARGERS  The Chiefs continue to dominate the AFC West, but this is the year the Chargers begin to fight back. The biggest reasons for the Chargers' ability to get to a Super Bowl are the play of QB Justin Herbert and the hiring of new head coach Brandon Staley.  Herbert was the Chargers' first pick in last year’s draft. He won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after throwing for 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2020. The young Chargers QB has all the makings of a bona fide NFL stud at the position. Without an elite quarterback, teams do not have a chance at winning it all. The Chargers have one, but it’s not just about the quarterback.  Staley brings with him the defense that led the NFL last season in almost every category. Staley was the Rams' former defensive coordinator who has some serious talent in L.A. if he can keep them all healthy. DE Joey Bosa is an All-Pro as is safety Derwin James. The Chargers need to improve on the 27 sacks they recorded in 2020, but Staley will take care of that. If he does, don’t be surprised if the Chargers find their way to the Super Bowl.   DALLAS COWBOYS  Yes, the Cowboys went a disappointing 6-10 in 2020, but remember, they lost starting QB Dak Prescott in Week 5. With Prescott back in the lineup – and with his new four-year, $160 million contract – the Cowboys' offense should once again be among the best in the NFL. Before going down with his injury last season, Prescott had thrown for 450 yards-plus in three consecutive games. In 2019, he finished second in the NFL in passing with 4,902 yards.  Dallas will have to improve on defense, but that is highly likely in 2021. The Cowboys hired new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and brought in players like No. 1 draft pick Micah Parsons, Keanu Neal, Kelvin Joseph, and more. The defense shouldn’t finish 31st against the run in 2021 or 23rd overall and that difference is what can propel the Cowboys to Super Bowl LVI.   CLEVELAND BROWNS  The Browns and the Super Bowl are two things that just don’t go together. Cleveland is one of just four franchises – Detroit, Jacksonville, and Houston are the others – that has never even played in a Super Bowl. This year could be different.  Cleveland went 11-5 last season and won a playoff game in 2020. The Browns have an outstanding running game led by RB Nick Chubb and a roster that is built for the postseason. The club added Jadeveon Clowney in the offseason and will return WR Odell Beckham Jr. who tore an ACL in Week 7 last season. Head coach Kevin Stefanski has all the tools needed to take the Browns a couple of steps further in 2021.  

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Who is the NBA Coach of the Year for 2020-21?

Sunday, Apr 25, 2021

With the NBA regular season beginning to reach its final sprint, teams are looking to solidify positions. Those who are guaranteed a top-four spot in their conference might start to experiment a little. Others might look to push forward with one final run at the season to see if they can land a higher seeding.  However, the NBA Coach of the Year awards will be coming out soon – who are the current favorites with the betting markets to come out the other side with a victorious experience?  Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz (-133) The Jazz have been the major surprise of the season and look pretty set to land the top spot in the West. Given the talent in Los Angeles and Denver, pre-season odds had the Jazz wrestling for a position at the top four to five seeds. At the moment, though, some see them as a lock to go all the way to the NBA Finals. A huge part of that stems from the work of Snyder and co. – he would be a widely deserved winner.  Monty Williams, Phoenix Suns (-105) The Suns came into the season hoping rather than expecting progress. With the current team never having played playoff basketball, the hope was the arrival of legendary veteran Chris Paul might push Devin Booker and co. to the playoffs.  Now, they are more or less guaranteed a play-off spot and should actually have some hope of hitting the top spot or at least solidifying on second. Williams is finally seeing the rewards for a career of hard work and progression.  Tom Thibodeau, New York Knicks (+1100) For some, Tom is the definite COTY. When you look at the work he has done at New York, turning a joke franchise into a genuine play-off contender – even home advantage spots are still possible. This has been an incredible body of work, turning the team into a defensive juggernaut whilst ensuring he gets the best out of stars like Julius Randle.  An interesting candidate for COTY for sure.  Doc Rivers, Philadelphia 76ers (+1100)  While turning a team with talent like Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid around might not sound like a major achievement, others would beg to differ. The body of work carried out by Doc Rivers in Philly has been incredible. His pair-up with Daryl Morey could be a long-term thing and has Philly looking as likely as the Brooklyn Nets to finish top of the Eastern Conference.  Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets (+1400)  As a rookie coach, Nash has had to use his diplomatic streak to help mold a dressing room full of star talent. With five or six of the best players in the entire East, including the best ‘big three’ in modern NBA history, Nash deserves credit for building consistency from a team of high-ego stars. Given Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kevin Durant have barely shared the court together, too, Nash has had to navigate an injury-hit campaign without his clutch trio; that alone deserves some respect. 

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Top 5 Betting Odds for NBA MVP

Sunday, Mar 28, 2021

The NBA season is reaching its final leg and the race for the playoffs is heating up with several teams in the mix to snag playoff spots. While the playoffs are on everyone’s eyes and minds, the NBA Most Valuable Player race is the other battle that everyone seems to be keeping their eyes on.  Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo won the league MVP award last season, beating out the Lakers’ LeBron James and Houston’s James Harden. Looking at the 2020-2021 season, there are a lot of players that could possibly beat out Antetokounmpo for the award. Starting the year, LeBron and Antetokounmpo were considered to be the betting favorites to win the award.  Here are the top five players with the best odds to win the MVP award for the 2021 season.  5. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers +1200  One of the most clutch players in the league, Portland’s Damian Lillard is finally getting recognition in the form of the MVP conversation. Last year, in the Orlando Bubble, Lillard won the Bubble MVP Award for his performances. While the Blazers were unable to get far in the playoffs, Lillard’s efforts were noticeable.  This season, Lillard has kept up his high level of play.  Currently, Lillard is averaging 30 points per game and shooting 37.6% from beyond the three-point line.  4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks +900  The reigning MVP currently has the fourth-best odds to win the MVP award in 2021. If Giannis were to win the award again in 2021, he would be the first player to win it back to back since Steph Curry did in 2015-16.  This season, Antetokounmpo is maintaining his MVP-level performance from last season. He is currently averaging just over 28 points per game, as well as 11.5 rebounds per game and 6.4 assists per game.  His team currently sits in the third-place spot in the Eastern Conference and is looking to make a deeper run in the playoffs than they did in Orlando last year.  3. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers +600  If there’s any player in the NBA that has MVP-caliber talents but has rarely been in the conversation, it’s Philadelphia’s center, Joel Embiid.  This season, Embiid is averaging a career-high 29.9 points per game and has helped the Sixers maintain the top spot in the Eastern Conference.  Thanks to his career-high 52.5% field goal percentage, and career-high 42.2% from beyond the arc, Embiid is finally playing like the dominant big man that he was touted to be out of Kansas and then some. He could be a sleeper selection for the MVP award at the end of the season.  2. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers +450  While a high-ankle sprain has somewhat derailed a true MVP season, don’t count LeBron James out of the MVP race for the 2021 season.  He still currently sits with the second-best odds to win the award, and for good reason.  The 36-year old James was averaging just over 25 points per game before his ankle injury and had the Lakers rolling towards a powerful finish of the regular season.  If James comes back from his injury and continues to play at the high level that he was, there’s no doubt he’ll be a top finalist for the MVP award at the end of the season.  He should still be considered a heavy betting favorite, as it is likely unwise to bet against the superstar.  1.  Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets +110  If you asked Denver Nuggets fans who the league MVP would be at the beginning of the NBA season, they would have vehemently told you that center Nikola Jokic would be the MVP.  At this point, Jokic is the current betting favorite to win the MVP award after LeBron’s ankle injury. Even without James’ injury, though, Jokic is playing like the league MVP. Jokic currently leads the Nuggets in every metric including minutes played, points per game, and field goal percentage.  The 25-year old Serbian is currently averaging a career-high 27 points per game and is nearly averaging a triple-double with 11 rebounds per game and over eight assists a game.  If you’re looking for a sure bet for MVP, Jokic is almost a lock to win the award. 

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2021 NFL Draft Intel: Date, Time, Location & Mock Draft

Sunday, Feb 28, 2021

 The 2021 NFL Draft is set to take place whether the COVID-19 pandemic is still a factor or not. This year’s class is shaping up to be a controversial one. Yes, the 2020 NFL Draft in Roger Goodell’s basement was a little taboo. I’m referring more to the talent themselves. Most college athletes either got a shortened season with several postponements or their season was canceled altogether. The top-tier players such as Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields played in shortened seasons, but it barely affected their draft stock. The same can’t be said about most of the eligible players. Some needed that extra year to improve their skill set for a higher stock or avoid going undrafted. Others need this year to rehab from an injury and get to full strength and peak form.  The draft is always going to have “busts” and “steals” but the 2021 draft will likely see an uptick in both categories. With the NFL postseason officially over and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the reigning champs, it is time to turn your full attention to the NFL Draft.  When is the 2021 NFL Draft?  The 2021 NFL Draft will be conducted over a three-day period, starting Thursday and concluding Saturday. This year, it will be held on April 29th, 30th, and May 1st. The league spends three days on the draft due to the massive amount of coverage. It would be hard for most people to sit and view over 12 straight hours of feed. Spreading over multiple days maximizes viewership and ratings while adding some suspense to the event.  As for the start times of the draft each day, nothing is confirmed yet. The pandemic is still a lingering issue that needs to be accounted for and times won’t be solidified until closer to April. We can look at the times in recent years though to get a good estimate of when we should tune in.  Round 1 will be held on Thursday, April 29th. It should begin around 8 pm eastern standard time. Friday, April 30th, will be Rounds 2 and 3 starting around 7 pm eastern standard time. Round 4-7 are held through most of the day on Saturday, May 1st. The usual start time is noon eastern standard time since 4 rounds are selected on the final day.  The runtime each day is based on the maximum amount of time each team must select their player in each round. Teams are given 10 minutes in the first round. There are 7 minutes allowed in Rounds 2 and 3. Round 4 through 6 have 5-minute limits and there are just 4 minutes per pick on the final round.  Where is the 2021 NFL Draft being held?  This is quite the conundrum for the NFL at this moment. Last year, the draft was virtual, and the main feed was at Commissioner Roger Goodell’s own home. There was no attendance by players nor fans. Las Vegas was the initial home for the 2020 NFL Draft, but they will be compensated with hosting in 2022. For now, Cleveland, Ohio is set to host this year’s event, their first time doing so. After an impressive season in 2020, Cleveland could have a very successful stint as host. It still depends on the pandemic though. We may not know until closer to early April where exactly the draft will occur and what the attendance situation will be.  As the season progressed last year, some teams and stadiums were slowly allowing fans in the stands. It was still at a rather small capacity limit but still a start. During Super Bowl 55, there were 25,000 people in the stands with an additional 30,000 cutouts. If the draft remains in Cleveland, there will most likely be a restriction on how many can attend. A good bet would be just players and families allowed inside. Expect restrictions on fans outside the draft venue as well for safety measures. If by chance the pandemic spikes again, the draft could be aired at Goodell’s home once more or in a secondary location that players could still attend.  The NFL Draft was held in New York, in some capacity, from 1965 to 2014. It moved to Chicago for two years, but the league now takes bids for it like the Super Bowl.  Where can you watch the 2021 NFL Draft?  No matter where the draft will be held, there will be several ways to watch or stream it. ESPN, ABC, NFL Network, and ESPN Deportes will all be airing coverage live on television. You can listen to the live feed on ESPN Radio. There is also a streaming option on the NFL App, NFL.com, ESPN.com, and the NFL Network website.  2021 NFL Draft QB Preview  We all know who Trevor Lawrence is and where he is going in the draft: Jacksonville barring a ground-breaking trade. We don’t truly know exactly where any of the remaining QB prospects will land in the draft, but this scout has a decent take on the first 10 to be selected.  Zach Wilson- BYU- NY Jets- 1st Round  Sam Darnold is bound to be traded, it is just a matter of when and who. Zach Wilson has climbed the rankings over the last few months and has a similar skillset to Darnold. The real difference is that he’s a better pocket-passer with a better arm.  Justin Fields- Ohio State- Atlanta Falcons- 1st Round  This is a similar situation to where Matt Ryan could be gone, or at least he should be if I was in charge. Fields is borderline the second-best prospect in the class and helps Atlanta as they go younger and faster on offense.  Trey Lance- North Dakota State- Detroit Lions- 1st Round  Lance could easily fall down the board due to only having one game last season. Due to team need, the Lions are going to take a chance on him and help groom him into a quality starting QB. The Lions are able to be in a rebuild mode while Lance fits the mold of the NFL.  Mac Jones- Alabama- Washington Football Team- 1st Round  I can see the Patriots and Washington trading here as WFT may think New England could snag Jones. Alex Smith says he doesn’t want to retire but he’s on the last leg of his career. While Smith won Comeback Player of the Year, Jones would be an upgrade. He’s got a strong arm and athleticism.  Kyle Trask- Florida- Pittsburgh Steelers- 2nd Round  Pittsburgh will trade up, likely anywhere before Carolina or New England picks. Trask is like Roethlisberger as a true pocket passer who can run when needed. With the speed on the surrounding offense, Trask could be successful in this system.  Jamie Newman- Wake Forest- New England- 2nd Round  After a disappointing Senior Bowl, Newman will slide to New England without a fight. He looks and plays like a pro and can be a productive dual-threat. Returning for his senior year as a transfer to Georgia would have helped him but he opted out. At the very least, Newman can help push Jarrett Stidham to the next level or take the job for himself.  Kellen Mond- Texas A&M- Indianapolis Colts- 3rd Round  Mond possesses a nice arm on a solid frame. His accuracy is a sizable issue but a team in need of a QB could take a chance on him. Carolina can’t rely on Jacoby Brissett as they hoped.  Peyton Ramsey- Northwestern- Carolina Panthers- 5th Round  Ramsey can be a flashy passer at times but is more of a field general. He was limited in college with the offense around him. Carolina has a nice young offense that gives Ramsey a decent shot at the starting job against a struggling Teddy Bridgewater. It’s a long shot though.  Ian Book- Notre Dame- Denver Broncos- 6th Round  Drew Lock just doesn’t look feel like a starting QB in Denver. The team still seems high on him though but are going to need better backups for him when he does fail. Ian is a bit under the radar as well. He can be an efficient passer and a solid overall QB. Book isn’t the best NFL prospect but he’s an interesting one who could have a Ryan Fitzpatrick-like career. Now that’s a hot take.  Sam Ehlinger- Texas- New Orleans Saints- 6th Round  The Saints are all-in on Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston has their QBs. There is a chance one or both don’t pan out and the Saints don’t have a decent QB3. Ehlinger is talented but limited to be a career backup likely. He can still provide depth and maybe fight for the number two spot. 

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NBA Betting Tips: Everything You Need to Know

Sunday, Dec 06, 2020

Believe it or not, the 2020-21 NBA season is already right around the corner. It's scheduled to start on December 22 with a handful of great games.If you're planning to bet on any of those games or any of the other games that will take place during the upcoming season, you should make sure you know how to do it first. It's important for NBA bettors to develop a winning NBA betting strategy if they want to make money over the long haul.It's also important for NBA bettors to keep certain NBA betting tips in the back of their minds while wagering on basketball. Check out some of the top NBA betting tips that you should commit to memory below.Begin by Getting a Better Understanding of NBA OddsBefore you start putting down bets on NBA games, you need to have NBA odds explained to you. Otherwise, you're going to struggle to put your NBA bets in, much less win them.When you're betting on NBA games, you're very rarely going to just be betting on one team to win a game against another team. Instead, you're usually going to be betting the point spread on NBA games.The point spread is a number that is used to illustrate how much better one NBA team is than another NBA team. You'll have to either bet on the team that is "giving" points (the favorite) to the other team or the team that is "getting" points (the underdog).If you bet on the favorite, you'll need that team to win by more than whatever the point spread is. So if they're a 3-point favorite, you'll need them to win by over 3 points to hit your bet.If you bet on the underdog, you'll need that team to either win outright or lose by less than whatever the point spread is. So if they're a 3-point underdog, you'll need them to lose by under 3 points to hit your bet.You can also bet the totals on NBA games. This calls for you to bet that a game will either go over or under a total number of points. These are some of the most popular NBA odds to bet.Learn How to Do NBA Betting Research ProperlyWhether you're going to bet on the point spread in an NBA game, the over/under, or something else, you should always do the necessary NBA betting research. You should know everything about a game prior to placing a bet on it.If a player or multiple players are injured, it could impact an NBA bet that you make. If a superstar player is sitting out a game for "load management" purposes, it could also impact an NBA bet that you put in.Many casual NBA bettors make the mistake of placing bets on games without doing the right amount of research on them. And it often comes back to bite them in the end.Turn to the Experts for Help Finding Guaranteed NBA PicksIf you don't have the time to sit around researching NBA games, why not rely on an expert to do it for you and provide you with guaranteed NBA picks? Of all the NBA betting tips listed here, this one might just be the most useful one to you.Look for an expert that you trust to set you up with the best NBA predictions in the business. It'll increase your chances of placing winning bets and make NBA betting more fun for you.Put These NBA Betting Tips to the Test During the Upcoming NBA SeasonNow that you know a lot more about betting on NBA games than you did a few minutes ago, you should start thinking about which bets you're going to make at the start of the season. Use the NBA betting tips found here to improve your odds as you place bets.If you need help making smart bets, take a look at the professional sports handicappers at BigAl.com.  

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NBA Restart: Western Conference #8 Seed Prediction

Friday, Jun 26, 2020

When the NBA resumes its 2019-20 season in late July, there will be five Western Conference teams with a realistic shot at earning the eighth and final playoff spot. Memphis currently holds the No. 8 position and four others are within four games of the Grizzlies. In my opinion, one team has a greater chance of securing the No. 8 seed than all the rest.  Before deciding whether my conclusion is sound, one must understand the format for the remainder of the season.Return to Play PlanWhen NBA commissioner Adam Silver, team owners, and the NBA players association met to determine how to complete the 2019-20 season, there was no shortage of ideas. Ultimately, the powers-at-be decided to finish the regular season, include a play-in tournament, and incorporate a postseason.When the season restarts at the end of July, the 22 teams that were invited to Orlando will each play eight regular season games. Once those games are finished, the top eight seeds in each conference can be determined.The idea of a play-in tournament received an overwhelming amount of support If the No. 9 seed finishes within four games of the No. 8 seed at the conclusion of the regular-season, the two teams will meet in a two-game play-in tournament.The No. 8 seed has to win just one game while the No. 9 seed must win two in order to claim the eighth and final playoff spot. Once the top eight teams are set, the postseason will continue as normal with seven-game series in each round to determine the NBA champion.Understanding the Return to Play Plan, bettors can find the best value bets while also finding a longshot in the mix.Playing It SafeMathematically, the remainder of the season favors the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis (32-33) checks as a modest favorite to make the postseason. The Grizzlies will earn the No. 8 seed (-190 at BetOnline) as they are seven games behind seventh-place Dallas Mavericks.  It’s difficult to imagine a scenario under which Memphis makes up seven games on the Mavericks.The Grizzlies can go 0-8 (+550 for any team to go 0-8 after restart at BetOnline) and still finish with the eighth seed if the other teams involved – New Orleans, Portland, Sacramento, and San Antonio – go 3-5 or worse. The likelihood of four teams going 3-5 or worse does not seem all that probable until you consider the opponents. The final eight games for the 22 remaining teams will be against very good teams. There will be games against the Lakers, Clippers, and Rockets, for example. When you think of it that way, four teams at the bottom of the conference going 3-5 is possible. With rookie Ja Morant at the point, it’s hard to imagine the Grizzlies losing eight straight. Morant is shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor and averaging 17.6 points and 6.9 assists for the season. Morant and New Orleans star Zion Williamson are the top two candidates for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.Memphis is worth a consideration for grabbing the No. 8 seed in the West.The LongshotOf the five teams realistically in the mix – Phoenix trails Memphis by six games and should not be a factor – one stands out as the best of the underdog bets. Portland is given +450 odds at BetOnline to make the playoffs and if you’re willing to take the risk, is worth a wager. The big reason why is the return of two Trail Blazers that will make a difference up front – Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins. The Trail Blazers backcourt is outstanding with perennial All-Star Damian Lillard (28.9 ppg, 7.8 apg) and C.J. McCollum (22.5 ppg) running the offense. Portland’s issue is on defense where both Nurkic (7-feet) and Collins (6-11) can shine. All Portland has to do is maintain its hold on ninth place. Currently, Portland, New Orleans, and Sacramento are tied for ninth place. They are all 3.5 games behind No. 8 Memphis. Remember, the format … if the eighth-place team is within four games, there is a play-in tournament.But, what if all three teams remain tied? Who advances? That would be Portland. Yes, the Pelicans beat the Trail Blazers in all four matchups this season, but the Trail Blazers would still get the nod to advance. The tiebreaker, in this case, is winning percentage. Heading into the remainder of the season, Portland has a .439 winning percentage. New Orleans and Sacramento are tied at .438. With Portland in ninth place at the end of the regular season, they would then have to beat Memphis twice to advance to the playoffs. In the two teams’ only meeting this season, Memphis won 111-104. However, that game was played with Nurkic and Collins. That pair makes Portland a solid bet to advance to the postseason.

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