Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, July 2, 2019 at 12:00 AM
THE BASEBALL REPORT:
WHY THIS WEEK-BEFORE-THE-ALL-STAR GAME
IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT TO THE RED SOX …
NFL TEAM-BY-TEAM ACCOUNTS:
WE TRACK THE DOLPHINS, TITANS & GIANTS …
Let’s set the record straight:
The defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox (44-40) didn’t exactly enjoy their time last weekend in jolly old England as the Bosox were trashed by the archrival New York Yankees 17-13 and then 12-8.
The setbacks dropped the Red Sox a whopping 11 games back of the front-running Yankees in the American League East and – for all of you thinking about those AL wild cards – note that Boston is running behind Tampa Bay, Texas, Cleveland and Oakland for the top wild card slot and right now the Beantowners are 1.5 games back of the A’s for that second / final wild card berth.
Sure, there’s still some seventy-something games left on the Boston schedule but – mark it down – this week-before-the-All-Star-Game is critical to a team that enters tonight’s game in Toronto with a losing divisional mark (see 17-18 versus fellow AL East squads) and a team ERA (4.53) that ranks a middling 14th among the 30- big-league sides. It’s three games North of the Border in Toronto followed by three games in Detroit before we arrive at the All-Star Game break.
Perfect world? The Red Sox win both series and head into the break 48-42 and right there for the wild card race. Might even make their backers some loose change.
In terms of dollars and cents, the Bosox are $-1107 this year – that’s #-1102 at home and $-5 away – and note only losers Baltimore and Detroit have cost their financial backers more moolah than this from an AL point of view.
Okay, so this here-and-now season may not be won or lost with this six-pack of games but a fast fade – like losing five-of-six, let’s say – could puncture the year once and for all. P.S., expect all / most of the betting lines this week to make you pay in order to take Boston, so we’ll let you know if there’s any pro- or anti-Red Sox plays before the break.
And now hear this …
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NFL TEAM-BY-TEAM / SUMMERTIME LOOKS
We continue our annual NFL team-by-team summer accounts right here – and every day at Jim Sez we’ll be posting two or three teams as we check out news/notes/reports while getting ready for camp. 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. Today, we focus on the Miami Dolphins, the Tennessee Titans and the New York Giants.
MIAMI (7-9) – Here’s the fact: Last year’s Dolphins ranked next-to-last in the NFL in total offense (averaged just 289.9 yards per game) and so exit head coach Adam Gase (now the all-around boss-man of the New York Jets) and bye-bye to always underachieving QB Ryan Tannehill.
Now, whether new head coach Brian Flores – a defensive guru from New England – and his offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea can steer this ship in the right direction greatly depends on whether or not second-year QB Josh Rosen can “resurrect” his young career and whether or not do-it-all RB Kenyan Drake – projected to produce somewhere between 900 and 1,000 yards from scrimmage this year – can be more like a 1,500-to-1,800 yards from scrimmage player.
Pointspread Notes – Last year’s 8-8 ATS (against the spread) Dolphins team started off the year with back-to-back-to-back spread wins and then ended ’18 with back-to-back-to-back spread setbacks. Overall, the Fish are a collective 4-14 ATS away dating back to that 2016 playoff loss in Pittsburgh.
TENNESSEE (9-7) – There were 10 different games last year in which the Titans scored 20 points or less and Mike Vrabel’s squad won just three of those games, so it’s now-or-never time to step up this offense’s production and there’s a rumbling that RB Derrick Henry will be rushing the ball more than his 21.75 carries average he sported the last four games of the ’18 season. Henry actually averaged just 14 touches per game a year ago and – in order to propel their way past the .500 mark – the Titans may well ask Henry to handle the ball 25 times a game minimum.
Pointspread Notes – Nobody’s getting rich betting on the Titans the past several years … though plenty of folks have been getting rich betting against ‘em. Tennessee’s a collective 50-74-6 against the odds since the start of the 2011 season and the AFC South crew will head into this 2019 season having covered 10 of its last 15 games when placed in the underdog role.
NEW YORK GIANTS (5-11) – Can you believe that the last time the NY Giants won a post-season game was way back in 2011 (see Giants 21, New England Patriots 17 in Super Bowl 46) and so forgive the die-hard “Big Blue” fans who have a hard time believing this newfound confidence that this NFC East crew brings into the 2019 season. After all, the Giants last year ranked 24th in the NFL in rushing (103.1 ypg), 20th in rush defense (118.6 ypg allowed) and 22nd in passing defense (264.3 ypg) and you do have that underlying theme here of rookie QB Daniel Jones (Duke) eventually taking over for veteran Eli Manning.
Pointspread Notes – The G-men are a dead-even but vig-losing 9-9 ATS in divisional games these past three years but note the breakdown: The Giants are 2-3 spreadwise against Dallas; they are 4-2 ATS versus Philadelphia; and 3-3 vs. Washington. But did you realize that NYG has failed to cover six of its last eight season-opening games?
NOTE: There’s more MLB News / Notes, NBA Free Agency plus NFL Team-by-Team accounts in coming editions of next Jim Sez.