Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 4:50 PM
There are no dog days of summer for sports bettors. It is business as usual as one handicaps baseball each day while preparing for what my figures say is the most unpredictable National Football League season in years. In college football Alabama remains the solid 5-2 favorite to win its third straight national championship and its fourth in the past five years.
Challenges abound in both football and baseball, with many more questions than answers.
With NFL training camps opening this weekend, and with the Hall of Fame Game-this year matching the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys-less than three weeks away, the Denver Broncos are the 9-2 favorites to win the Super Bowl, followed by New England, San Francisco and Seattle at 7-1.
Quarterback problems abound in the NFL, with two American Football Conference teams-the Oakland Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars-not knowing who their starters at this position will be, and with the New York Jets still saddled with the voodoo curse at the signal-calling spot.
Jacksonville's new coach, Gus Bradley, former defensive coordinator at Seattle, is faced with the challenge of having two quarterbacks, veteran Chad Henne and inexperienced Blaine Gabbert who thus far in their careers have been less than average. Last season Henne threw for 2,084 yards and 11 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. Gabbert, a 1st-round pick in the 2011 draft, passed for 1,662 yards and nine touchdowns with six interceptions.
They led the Jaguars to a 2-14 season in 2012 and do not seem up to the task of heading the major rebuilding job Jacksonville faces.
The mysteries of Oakland are a never-ending soap opera, and this pre-season will begin with the team sans a starting quarterback. The Raiders went 4-12 last year with Carson Palmer calling the shots at QB while passing for 4,018, yards and 22 touchdowns with 14 interceptions. At the end of the season, he was traded to Arizona, where he will start, leaving the team with Matt Flynn who was beaten out last season for the starting spot in Seattle, losing out to rookie Russell Wilson, unproven Terrelle Pryor and rookie Tyler Wilson (Arkansas).
As long as the folks in Oakland make their decisions with a Ouija board...Well, you know the answer to that one.
Jets Rookie Geno Smith Has Trouble Written All Over Him
The New York Jets apparently lack leadership at the coaching level and it must be blamed for the annual distractions that take the attention off winning championships. It's always something. Last year it was the acquisition of Tim Tebow, rightfully or wrongfully. The year before that it was Coach Rex Ryan predicting a Super Bowl championship.
The beat goes on this year with rookie quarterback Geno Smith (West Virginia) showing after being drafted in the second round that he is going to do things his way. The list of offenses is too long to chronicle here but this guy has "trouble" written all over him. He must think he is Joe Namath, who he is not.
My money says he is so polarizing the Jets will at some point look to unload him. This raises the question of just how much work and effort goes into vetting players. For certain this guy didn't become and asshole overnight.
Rays, Dodgers About To Tell The Truth
The Tampa Bay Rays are in second place, just 2.5 games, in back of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East and now have the opportunity they are legitimate contenders for the divisional championship. The Rays stand 14-2 in their last 16 games and 9-1 in their last 10.
They begin the second half of the season Friday night in Toronto and are a -140 favorite over the Blue Jays. As they begin a 10-game road trip in which they will play three games in Toronto (45-49), four in Boston (58-39) and three at the New York Yankees (51-44).
The 14-2 and 9-1 marks are a bit suspect since they came in 14 games against three of the worst teams in the majors-the last place Houston Astros (33-61), the last place Chicago White Sox (37-55) and the next-to-last-place Minnesota Twins (39-53).
The next 10 games against much better teams is going to tell bettors just how far this team is going to go and most of all whether it is legitimate.
It has not been too many weeks since the Los Angeles Dodgers were 9.5 games out of first place in the National League West and that makes it a bit surprising that as the second half of the season begins they are now in second place, just 2.5 games in back of Arizona.
The fact Los Angeles is 17-5 in its last 22 games tells me that $230 million payroll is beginning to play up to expectations and that it will not be long the Dodgers will be in first place in their division and opening up on the rest of the field.
100-Unit Play Tops Friday Night Betting Menu
9-2 With Last Eleven 100-Unit Plays, Another One Wins Friday Night
I am heading into the second half of the Major League Baseball season on a role with my 100-unit plays and intend to win another one tonight. I closed out the first half of the season this past Sunday with a 100-unit win on the St. Louis Cardinals (-150) over the Chicago Cubs, 10-6, to push my record to 9-2 with my last 11. The team I am releasing to my Personal Best Baseball Investment Club tonight has better than a 95% chance to win, as do all 100-unit plays, and you can get the cash for just $50, charged to your major credit card.
It's Right Back With Another 50-Unit 2-Team Parlay Friday
I closed out the first half of the season with a winning 50-unit 2-team parlay for my Chairman's Baseball Investment Club, taking down the cash with a 20-unit play on the Philadelphia Phillies, a 20-unit bet on the Seattle Mariners and a 10-unit parlay on both winners. I am opening the second half of the season with exactly the same bet-a winning 50-unit 2-team parlay that I am quite confident I will again win. This is a break-the-bank wager and you can win it for just $25, charged to your major credit card.
25-Unit American League Game Of Week Wins Friday Night
I won my Best Bets Baseball Investment Club's 25-unit American League Game of the Week with the Oakland Athletics (-125) knocked off the Boston Red Sox, 3-0, and intend to do an encore tonight. I have found the perfect spot for another winning 25-unit AL Game of the Week and I am going for it. Get all the cash with this knockout play for just $15, charged to your major credit card.