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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, July 5, 2018 at 12:00 AM

THE BASEBALL REPORT: HERE'S THE 4TH OF JULY DIAMOND STARS

NFL TEAM NEWS: TODAY WE CHECK OUT THE COLTS, COWBOYS & RAVENS

All hail the "Boys of Summer" for a great day/night of Major-League Baseball action on the 4th of July ... here's to the holiday's biggest heroes:

The first pitch in Washington, D.C. happened at 11:05 a.m. ET but it was the host Nationals who didn't get the wake-up call. Boston Red Sox LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (10-3, 3.84 ERA) powered the American League East to a three-game series sweep in the nation's capital by throwing six shutout innings en route to giving the Bosox a record of 30 games over .500 (see 59-29). Rodriguez threw strikes on 54 of his 84 pitches and surrendered just three hits and a walk ...

Later in the day, the Oakland A's - at a minus 170 price and the best team in baseball that absolutely nobody talks about (folks, the A's are 48-39!) - bested San Diego 4-2 to sweep a mini two-game series as RF Stephen Piscotty stroked three doubles and drove in three runs for a team that entered the '18 season with a projected wins total of 75.5. Piscotty snapped a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning with a two-run double after previous batter Matt Olson was intentionally walked. P.S., Piscotty now has 36 RBI on an Oakland team that ranks fifth in the league in runs scored with 397 ...

Finally, let's go to July 4th night-time action where Colorado (44-43) put the wraps on a three-game home set against San Francisco. The Rockies - who rank dead-last in the National League in team ERA (4.91) rode the left arm of Las Vegas native Tyler Anderson who threw eight innings of two-hit ball while striking out nine batters and walking only two. Don't look now but the Rockies are back in the discussion in the NL West now that they're only five games back of front-running Arizona.



Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are winning big with Major League Baseball action each/every day. So, make sure you cash in big right here online or 1-800-323-4453. Go ahead and pile up the profits as we head towards another great NCAA Football / NFL season straight ahead!

NFL
We continue our NFL team-by-team summer accounts right here - and every day at Jim Sez we'll be posting a few teams as we check out news/notes/reports. Plus, we get you some key pointspread info to boot and note a team's SU (straight-up) record is listed next to the team name. Here's the Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens.

INDIANAPOLIS (4-12) - At last check, Colts' QB Andrew Luck was pain-free while throwing footballs in mid-to-late June and he's been tossing with Indy pass-catchers in California while leading up to the team's July 25th opening of training camp. How dire were things last year for this AFC South crew when it came to the aerial game without Luck? Well, Indianapolis finished 30th in the league in passing (averaged 180.8 yards per game) and emergency starter QB Jacoby Brissett threw just 13 touchdowns while getting sacked 52 times. The truth is Brissett's 2017 play should have earned him plaudits considering the rotten O-line in front of him but an 81.7 QB Rating wasn't great by league standards and Indy felt he held onto the ball too much in the pocket ... hey, they used to say the same thing about Luck!
Pointspread Notes - Last year's Indy Colts finished with a better-than-you-thought 8-8 ATS (against the spread) mark that featured an outright underdog winner against 1-point favorite Cleveland and versus 6-point home fav Houston. Overall, Indianapolis is 6-11-1 versus the vig when playing fellow folks from the AFC South.

DALLAS (9-7) - If there was one thing that buoyed the 2017 Cowboys, it was the team's success inside the NFC East: The 'Boys beat the New York Giants twice by a combined 36 points, bested Washington twice by a combined 38 points and split with the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles (the 6-0 win at Philly in Week 17 was, in truth, a meaningless game). Check out the 2018 sked and you see only one divisional game in the first six weeks - a Week 2 Sunday night home tilt against the Giants - and if Dallas is gonna avoid a slow start mainly against non-NFC East foes then a passing game that ranked 25th in the NFL last year (averaged 196.3 ypg) better get its act together starting with QB Dak Prescott (see 3,324 yards passing but only a 22-13 TD-to-INT ratio).
Pointspread Notes - Did you know that the Cowboys are just 58-62-3 ATS in the head coach Jason Garrett Era (a .483 winning rate)? Note that Dallas - 8-7-1 against the odds last year - sported a 10-game spread winning streak under Garrett back in 2016 and actually went 4-11-1 ATS back in 2015.

BALTIMORE (9-7) - No surprise that last year's Ravens ranked a crummy 29th in the NFL in passing offense (averaged 189.4 yards per game) and so, naturally, everyone wants to know if there's gonna be a role for rookie QB Lamar Jackson (Louisville). The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner was all the rage in the Ravens' recent mini-camp / OTAs but the 6-foot, 215-pounder probably will only see time this regular-season as an occasional rusher / passer behind 33-year-old Joe Flacco. Word is that Jackson will be in a serious competition with Robert Griffin for No. 2 on the team's depth chart but we won't be surprised if the 'Ville rookie gets to play a lot in the preseason and gets whole series in regular-season play.
Pointspread Notes - The Ravens are 10-15-3 ATS as betting favorites the past three years but the good news is Baltimore's covered 12 of its last 15 games played within the confines of the AFC North.

NOTE: More MLB and NFL goodies in the next edition of Jim Sez plus NCAA Football notes comin' your way soon too!

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