–A PointsBet gambler made a sharp play Monday by backing the Baltimore Orioles as +245 underdogs against the Yankees. He or she risked $70,000 and banked $171,500 of profit. Hat Tip!
–Somebody thinks the Detroit Lions are going to win the Super Bowl (Really?) and hooked BetMGM up with $1,500 of free greenbacks yesterday:
–The Westgate SuperBook has taken a big wager on the Lakers to win the 2021-22 NBA title:
–We’re 25 days away from a six-pack of college football games in Week Zero (8/28). We’re about to hit on quite a few NBA items so if you aren’t much of an NBA fan and would rather read some college football content, just scroll down as we eventually hit on pigskin (and some UFC) below.
–The NBA’s free-agent frenzy started last night. Let’s take a look at some of the bigger developments…
–Shortly after midnight Eastern early this morning, my Atlanta Hawks inked Trae Young to a five-year contract extension worth $207 million. They did not extend a qualifying offer to backup guard Brandon Goodwin, making him an unrestricted free agent. Goodwin will be a nice under-the-radar acquisition for some fortunate team, although a return to the Hawks hasn’t been ruled completely out. Atlanta also re-signed Solomon Hill to a one-year deal last night. Hill, who started 16 of 71 games this past year, is one of this young squad’s leaders as one of its few older veterans. GM Travis Schlenk also added some interior depth by picking up center Gorgui Dieng on a one-year, $4 million deal. With Onyeka Okongwu underdoing shoulder surgery in July that’ll keep him out for six months, the Hawks were in dire need of a backup center behind Clint Capela. Atlanta got great value in last week’s draft by taking Duke’s Jalen Johnson (No. 20) and Auburn’s Sharife Cooper (No. 48). Johnson was considered a likely lottery pick by many before he opted out on the Blue Devils late in the regular season. Cooper was a five-star recruit who can get to the rim off the dribble against the best of defenders, but his lack of a consistent 3-point jumper caused him to dip to the second round. Atlanta acquired Delon Wright last week in a three-team trade that sent Kris Dunn and Bruno Fernando to Boston. Finally, Stadium’s Shams Charania reported Monday that the Hawks aren’t close on a deal to secure John Collins, but they can still match any offer from another team since Collins is a restricted free agent.
–Oklahoma City also signed Shae Gilgeous-Alexander to a max extension of his rookie deal with the same numbers as Young’s contract.
–In a sign-and-trade deal with New Orleans, Chicago acquired Lonzo Ball and inked him to a four-year, $85 million contract. In return, the Pelicans received Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple and a future second-round pick. In another sign-and-trade move, New Orleans sent a 2022 lottery-protected first-round selection to Charlotte for Devonte’ Graham, who averaged 14.8 points, 5.4 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game for the Hornets this past year.
–The Bulls also signed Alex Caruso away from the Lakers for $36 million on a four-year contract.
–The Miami Heat have locked up veteran point guard Kyle Lowry for the next three seasons ($90 million), sending Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa to Toronto for Lowry’s services. Pat Riley and Co. also signed restricted free agent Duncan Robinson, who inked the biggest deal in NBA history for an undrafted player (five years, $90 million). Furthermore, Miami signed defensive stalwart P.J. Tucker away from Milwaukee on a two-year contact worth $15 million.
–Although the Bucks lost Tucker, they kept Bobby Portis on a two-year deal. Portis and Tucker were the two veteran pieces that brought toughness and experience that went a long way toward their title run.
–Chris Paul signed a four-year deal worth up to $120 million to return to Phoenix.
–Utah brought veteran Mike Conley back on a three-year deal reportedly worth $72.5 million.
–ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Washington is close to signing Brooklyn veteran swingman Spencer Dinwiddie.
–Portland kept Norman Powell around on a five-year deal worth $90 million. Powell came to the Trail Blazers in a trade with Toronto last year that also involved Gary Trent Jr., who has inked an extension with the Raptors (three years, $54M).
–Cleveland signed Jarrett Allen to a five-year contact for $100M.
–Dallas kept Tim Hardaway Jr. on a four-year deal for $72M. His outstanding 3-point shooting will keep Luka Doncic’s assist numbers up.
–The Knicks added Evan Fournier on a four-year contact for $78M, and I’m not sure if that amount of money toward their cap for the long run was best spent on Fournier. They kept their nucleus together by re-upping with Derrick Rose, Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel.
–Detroit signed Kelly Olynk to a three-year deal for $37M. With Houston losing Olynk, it replaced him with Daniel Theis via sign-and-trade move with Chicago. Theis joins the Rockets on a four-year deal for $36 million.
–Denver added a solid veteran with size who can stroke it from 3-point land by inking Jeff Green to a two-year contact for $10M.
–My guy Chris ‘Cheese’ Chiozza wasn’t extended a qualifying offer by Brooklyn, so the Gator Great becomes an unrestricted free agent. After a report surfaced last month that Chiozza was looking to go overseas for more money, he took to Twitter to shoot down that notion and stated that he plans on staying in the NBA.
–San Antonio has signed Zach Collins away from Portland on a three-year deal for $22M. Collins simply couldn’t stay healthy for the Trail Blazers, but he’s a quality ‘big’ when he’s able to get on the court. Again, if not for those bullshit foul calls that took him out of the national-title game he was dominating against North Carolina, Mark Few would’ve already won a national title at Gonzaga. The Spurs have also inked Doug McDermott to a three-year contact for $42M.
–LSU QB Myles Brennan will have surgery today on a broken humerus bone in his left arm. His status for the 2021 season is now in doubt. I broke down this entire situation earlier this morning at this link.
–There are quite a few notable names that are competing for starting QB jobs in the Sun Belt this season. Jake Bentley’s new home is at South Alabama after starting his career at South Carolina and spending last year at Utah. Charlie Brewer’s arrival in Salt Lake City prompted Bentley move to Mobile. Others include James Blackman (Arkansas St. via FSU), Chase Brice (Appalachian St. via Clemson and Duke), Taylor Powell (Troy from Missouri) and Rhett Rodriguez (ULM via Arizona). Bentley, Brice and Rodriguez seem likely to win their respective jobs, but it’s highly unlikely that Blackman unseats the Red Wolves’ Layne Hatcher, who has a 46/12 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 20 career starts over the last two years. Powell will have to outduel Troy’s Gunnar Watson, who had a 16/7 TD-INT ratio in seven starts last season.
–If you missed it last month, Ohio head football coach Frank Solich retired before what would’ve been his 17th season with the Bobcats. He was the longest-tenured HC among Group of Five programs. The longest-tenured Power Five coach? Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, who is about to enter his 23rd season with the Hawkeyes, who finished last year on a six-game winning streak.
–USC wide receiver Bru McCoy has been suspended from team activities after his arrest last month on suspicion of a felony. Police reportedly said McCoy’s arrest stemmed from “suspicion of a violation described as any person who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a current or former spouse, cohabitant or dating partner.” According to “sources” from Keely Eure of 247Sports, those familiar with McCoy’s situation suggest it’s unlikely he’ll play for the Trojans in 2021. McCoy had 21 receptions for 236 yards and two TDs in 2020. The former five-star recruit missed the 2019 season with a unknown illness after initially arriving at USC during the spring of ’19 as an early enrollee, only to transfer to Texas and go through spring practice and then transfer back to USC.
–The No. 1 prospect in the 2022 recruiting class decided to re-classify and report to college later this week. Southlake Carroll (TX.) High School QB Quinn Ewers announced Monday that he’ll join the Ohio St. program right away. Ewers was motivated to do so because the Buckeyes’ QB job is an open competition after the loss of Justin Fields, who went in the first round to the Chicago Bears. He’ll also have the ability to make money thanks to the recent NIL rules. Ewers, a former Texas commit before changing his mind before Tom Herman was fired, will compete with CJ Stroud, Jack Miller and Kyle McCord.
–UCF’s leading returning rusher Bentavious Thompson is no longer on the roster. Thompson ran for 382 yards and five TDs last year, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
–Scheduling Tidbit: Notre Dame has to face six opponents who have had two weeks to prepare for the Fighting Irish. One of those games — vs. USC — is a wash with both teams enjoying an open date the previous week. However, these games feature foes who have an open date when Brian Kelly’s team is on the field playing the week before: vs. Wisconsin (in Chicago), vs. Cincinnati, at Virginia Tech, vs. North Carolina and at Virginia.
–I’m glad I’m on the Tennessee Titans to win the AFC South, especially with Indianapolis losing Carson Wentz for the next 5-12 weeks due to foot surgery. The Colts moved from 2.5-point home favorites to 2.5-point underdogs vs. Seattle in Week 1. Reminder: Jacoby Brissett is no longer in Indy. He’s with the Dolphins now, so the Colts’ QB depth is concerning.
–Minnesota HC Mike Zimmer isn’t a happy camper after rookie QB Kellen Mond tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. Starting QB Kirk Cousins and backup Nate Stanley have chosen not to get vaccinated, and they are considered at high risk due to close contact with Mond. Therefore, all three players must quarantine and the Vikings’ practices are going to be interesting over the next few days.
–ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported last night that a middleweight contest between Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori is being finalized to headline a UFC Fight Night on Oct. 23. Costa hasn’t fought since losing to 185-pound kingpin Israel Adesanya via second-round knockout at UFC 253 last September. Since then, he’s pulled out of two fights vs. Robert Whittaker (illness) and Jared Cannonier (unknown). Vettori had his five-fight winning streak snapped by Adesanya via unanimous decision at UFC 263 in June.
–Islam Makhachev has been booked to face former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 267. FanDuel opened Makhachev as a -330 favorite earlier this morning, leaving RDA as a +265 underdog. The Russian 155-pounder will put his eight-fight winning streak on the line against Dos Anjos, who dropped back down to lightweight for the first time since 2016 to defeat Paul Felder in a five-round main event last November. However, we should point out that Felder took the bout on just five days’ notice and had a brutal weight cut.
–Another fight that’s been added to the UFC 267 card is a heavyweight scrap between Walt ‘The Big Ticket’ Harris and Tai Tuivasa, who is off a first-round KO win over Greg Hardy. Harris has lost three fights in a row since ripping off a five-fight winning streak. We should note that in all three losses, Harris had his opponent hurt with strikes early in the opening round. He just couldn’t finish the deal. FanDuel opened Tuivasa as a -200 ‘chalk’ on Monday, with Harris at +168 on the comeback.
–Our Nuggette for Tuesday is…Lauren Dascalo!