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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at 9:55 AM




Let the record state that the single most important at-bat in the 87th Baseball All-Star Game in San Diego last night occurred in the eighth inning when Houston Astros' reliever Will Harris struck out St. Louis Cardinals rookie infielder Aledmys Diaz on a 3-2 fastball at the knees and "on the black" with two outs and the bases loaded.

So, that, as much as anything else, is why the American League will sport home-field advantage in this year's World Series for the 11th time since 2002 - c'mon, please don't get us all started on this "game counts" bit because it'll make our head explode!

The reality is that teams with the home field advantage have won six of the last seven Fall Classics - only the 2014 San Francisco Giants were the exception to the norm dating back to 2009 - but better yet is the stat the Fox folks gave us late in the game when Joe Buck and Company informed us that teams with the home-field advantage actually have won 24 of the last 30 World Series. Golly!

It's not the Game 7 that's so darn important, but rather the fact getting Games 1 and 2 in your own backyard that really is super-important and wouldn't it be a tad ironic if the Chicago Cubs did indeed make it to their first World Series but had to play a Game 1, 2 and maybe 7 on the road ... because a member of the rival Cardinals couldn't deliver a clutch hit on a July night in San Diego?

In any event, hats off to the Kansas City Royals' tandem of 1B Eric Hosmer - the All-Star Game MVP thanks to his opposite-field home run in the second inning and his blistering run-scoring opposite-field single in the third - and C Salvador Perez who pumped a two-run dinger out of Petco Park.

Note that the long balls ended early after the starters - the NL's Johnny Cueto (the loser) and the AL's Chris Sale - were removed while the AL bullpen members threw four scoreless innings in all.

If you've been "true" to the NL in this game for the last decade-plus, well, you've taken a proverbial bath but a reminder there's a whole lotta baseball yet to come and a whole lotta winners that are gonna come your way ... we'll explain:

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are banging outs lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do is check in either right here online or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for the weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners. Plus, the Football Season isn't that far off as NFL Preseason action swings into gear on Sunday, August 7th with the annual NFL Hall of Fame Game between the Indianapolis Colts versus the Green Bay Packers - just cannot wait, right?



It is summertime and that means the annual Jim Sez report on all 32 NFL teams with our quick-hitter looks continuing today with the Cincinnati Bengals, the Washington Redskins and the New Orleans Saints ... and check out our quickie pointspread ditties too. Last year's SU (straight-up) records appear next to the team name below and includes all post-season results:

CINCINNATI (12-5) - There's gonna be some major reshuffling of the Bengals' wide receivers, save for superstar A.J. Green, of course. Cincinnati lost both jack-of-all-trades Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones via free agency this past off-season and now rookie/second-round draftee WR Tyler Boyd (Pittsburgh) is making waves after playing well in recent OTAs. Last year Green led the Bengals with 1,297 receiving yards with 10 TDs. The next most-productive wide out was Jones who finished with 816 yards receiving with four TDs. Jones is now on the Detroit Lions; Sanu (394 yards receiving last year) is a member of the Atlanta Falcons.
Pointspread Notes - Say what you will about the Bengals' inability to win a playoff game in recent years, but check out the fact Cincy's a sharp 30-18-3 ATS (against the spread) since the very start of the 2013 season.

WASHINGTON (9-8) - No surprise here: Cornerback Josh Norman is considered the best newcomer to the NFC East in a recently conducted Q&A poll but is he enough to help the 'Skins get over the hump ... the franchise has not won a playoff game since the 2005 season. Norman's bloated five-year, $75-million contract might be the most confident player in the entire NFL but there are doubters out there that claim he'll be "exposed" at times in this division. Hey, let's see it before we believe that one!
Pointspread Notes - Last year's 'Skins tallied a rock-solid 9-5 ATS mark whenever placed in the underdog role and that included some eight outright upset wins. Meanwhile, Washington closed out last year with six spread victories in its final nine tilts en route to a 9-8 ATS mark (after finishing with back-to-back 5-11 ATS records the prior two years).

NEW ORLEANS (7-9) - Want to know one major reason why the Saints have not made it to the post-season the past two years? Divisional home losses. In fact, N'Orleans has lost four of its last five NFC South home games including that painful 41-38 loss-but-cover last December against 6-point fav Carolina. If you check out this year's Saints' sked, you'll note a bye week precedes that Oct. 16th home tilt against Carolina while the Week 3 home game versus Atlanta is a Monday Night Football bash.
Pointspread Notes - Since the start of 2010, the Saints are a collective 22-30 ATS away from the Superdome while going 29-18-1 vig-wise at home. Note that last year's Saints snagged six-of-nine spread wins as underdog sides.

NOTE: More NFL Team Reports in tomorrow's Jim Sez as we check out the Bills, Steelers and Cardinals plus there's MLB Notes too.

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