Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 12:00 AM
THE MID-WEEK BASEBALL REPORT - TIME TO TALK "OVER" WINS TOTALS ...
NFL TEAM-BY-TEAM GOODIES: IT'S THE JAGS, BUCS & SEAHAWKS
Okay, so we're actually beyond the halfway point of this here-and-now 2018 Major-League Baseball season and so we'll take some time to digest a few of the "over" wins totals with a look at three different teams here ...
CHICAGO CUBS (93.5) - The Las Vegas big-wigs attached this "over" wins price to the Cubbies at the start of this season (some of you may had to lay - 130 in the process) and early on it appeared the number was too high but now the Cubs are 51-37 ... that's a .580 winning percentage and it's the exact winning percentage that this National League Central club would have if it won 94 games on the button. Wow! The Cubs will get to 94-or-more wins providing LHP Jon Lester keeps up his on-target-for 20-win season and if 2B Javy Baez (65 RBI and 56 runs scored - both team highs) keeps powering up a lineup that ranks first in runs scored. Hey, the Chitowners could use some bullpen help in the seventh/eighth innings.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS (84.5) - The Halos entered Tuesday night's home game against Seattle at 46-45 and thus a tad below the "over" wins total projection for this '18 season but stop for a minute and consider that Mike Scioscia's crew is just 22-22 at home and that's disappointing stuff whether Shohei Ohtani (.275 batting average and 7 HR) was on the disabled list for a long time or not. No doubt Ohtani's 4-1, 3.10 ERA stat line as a starting pitcher could have been a whole lot better had he stayed healthy but the $64,000 question is whether or not the Angels "stay interested" while sitting way back in the American League West pack. Hmm, we have our doubts.
WASHINGTON (94.5) - The knee jerk reaction is to say the Nationals (46-45 following Tuesday's 5-1 victory in Pittsburgh) won't sniff the 95 wins needed for their backers to "cash" that spring training ticket but you could see some pre-Trade Deadline moves ahead and that might energize this enigmatic club that ranks 11th in the NL in team batting average (.243), eighth in runs scored (400) and only eighth in team ERA (3.90). Just wondering if the Nats don't heat up following the All-Star Game break, will it cost rookie manager Davey Martinez his job?
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We continue our NFL team-by-team summer accounts right here - and every day at Jim Sez we'll be posting a couple/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 Jacksonville Jaguars, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks.
JACKSONVILLE (12-7) - No doubt that everyone thinks of last year's playoff run when it comes to the Jaguars: Wins against Buffalo and at Pittsburgh followed by the heart-breaking 24-20 loss-but-cover at 7.5-point favorite New England in the AFC Championship Game but did you realize that Jacksonville was + 149 in regular-season points differential ... and that was second-best in the AFC to New England. Now, the Jags will look to build off that fantastic season with a slimmed-down version of RB Leonard Fournette who is heading into camp some 11 or 12 pounds lighter than he was a year ago. Fournette - who plans on playing at 223 pounds - rushed for 1,040 yards as one of the league's best "downhill" rushers last year.
Pointspread Notes - The 2017 Jaguars covered five of their seven games when placed in the underdog role and so that makes this AFC South squad a solid 11-6-1 ATS (against the spread) overall as pups while dating back to early in the '16 season. Overall, J'ville is just 5-10-1 spreadwise as hosts since late 2015.
TAMPA BAY (5-11) - Let's not bore anyone with more talk about troubled Bucs' QB Jameis Winston ... instead, look at the current prospects under center for this NFC South crew where it's expected veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will face a challenge for the numero uno job by Ryan Griffin. Who? Well, Griffin was an undrafted rookie in 2014 and has yet to play in a single NFL regular-season game but insiders claim Tampa Bay he'll get a shot to impress third-year head coach Dirk Koetter. Don't be surprised if the Bucs look to import a quarterback late in summer camp should some high-salaried type make it to the waiver wire.
Pointspread Notes - Last year's Buccaneers wound up with a 6-9-1 ATS mark overall and that included a three-game spread winning streak to end the '17 season (versus Atlanta, at Carolina and home to New Orleans). Keep in mind that Tampa Bay had been 0-6-1 spreadwise as underdogs / in pick 'em games up to that point when the Bucs covered as dogs in those last three games.
SEATTLE (9-7) - The Seahawks saw the end of their five-year playoff streak last year and most cynics believe the window has slammed shut on Pete Carroll's crew that's minus the once-feared Legion of Doom but among the new names on this roster that'll be trying to make a dent is WR Brandon Marshall who has never played a single playoff game in his NFL career ... really. Marshall - now 34 years old and fresh off an injury-shortened season with the New York Giants - is trying to bounce back from ankle and hamstring woes but he's one of a handful hopefuls looking to saddle up to #1 WR Doug Baldwin on this 'Hawks crew.
Pointspread Notes - Truth is the Seahawks have suffered three consecutive losing spread seasons en route to going 22-27-3 ATS since the very start of the 2015 campaign. Seattle's also lost its season-opening game versus the vig in each of the past three seasons.
NOTE: Catch our final July edition of NFL team-by-teams accounts - it's the Cincinnati Bengals and the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles - in the next edition of Jim Sez.