These are strange times for every human being across the globe.
Like the injury status of many athletes, we’re all ‘day-to-day.’ We also have plenty of time to kill at the house.
On that note, one of the few certainties out there are that sports bettors will have plenty of time to prepare for the 2020 football season. Hell, with no games — at least in the major sports — going right now, gamblers won’t have any excuses when the board is stacked again.
Dana White is still insisting he’ll find a way to make UFC 249 happen on April 18. There’s still hope that we’ll get to see the NBA Playoffs at some point this summer.
Let’s jump around to various sports with some news, notes, links and numbers…
–Tom Brady to the Buccaneers became official today on a two-year, $50 million deal. How stacked is the NFC South with elite quarterbacks? There’s The GOAT in Tampa, the NFL’s all-time leader in career passing yards (Drew Brees) in New Orleans, one of the 10 QBs in NFL history to throw for 50,000 career passing yards (Matt Ryan) in Atlanta and the dude who went 5-0 with the Saints last year now in Carolina (Teddy Bridgewater). Sportsbook has the Saints as -120 ‘chalk’ to win the NFC South title. Tampa Bay is +200, followed by Atlanta (+500) and Carolina (+1000 or 10/1).
–Speaking of my Falcons, they inked Todd Gurley to a one-year deal worth $6 million today. The Rams released Gurley on Thursday. Atlanta also signed veteran DE Dante Fowler, who was coached by Dan Quinn when he was serving as defensive coordinator at Florida under Will Muschamp. Fowler had a career-best 11.5 sacks for the Rams last season. He also posted career-high numbers in solo tackles (40), assists (18), forced fumbles (two) and passes defended (six). With Austin Hooper bolting to Cleveland in free agency, Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff made a trade with Baltimore to acquire Hayden Hurst, who I have been a huge fan of dating back to his days at South Carolina. The Falcons gave up their second and fifth-round picks in the 2020 Draft and got back the Ravens’ fourth-round selection. Hurst, a first-round pick in 2018, had 30 receptions for 349 yards and two TDs in 16 regular-season games this past year. He also had four catches for 53 yards and one TD in a 28-12 postseason loss to the Titans.
–Sportsbook has Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes as the +400 favorite to win NFL MVP honors. The next-shortest odds belong to Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson (+550), Seattle QB Russell Wilson (10/1), Houston QB Deshaun Watson (15/1), Tampa Bay QB Tom Brady (17/1), Dallas QB Dak Prescott (20/1), New Orleans QB Drew Brees (20/1) and Arizona QB Kyler Murray (20/1). Even though he doesn’t have a team yet, Jameis Winston alos has 20/1 odds.
–BetOnline has Tampa Bay’s season win total at nine (‘over’ -125, ‘under’ +105). The offshore book has four teams with double-digit season win totals. Kansas is 11.5 (‘over’ -120, ‘under’ +100), Baltimore is 11.5 flat (-110 either way), San Francisco is 10.5 (‘over’ -125, ‘under’ +105) and New Orleans is 10 (‘over’ -130, ‘under’ +110).
–BetOnline has four teams tied for the lowest win total at 5.5 wins: Carolina (‘under’ -130, ‘over’ +110), Jacksonville (‘under’ -125, ‘over’ +105), Cincinnati (Flat, -110 either way) and Washington (Flat).
–BetOnline’s current odds to win the NBA Finals have the Lakers and Bucks as +225 co-favorites. The next-shortest odds belong to the Clippers (+300), Celtics (12/1), Rockets (20/1), Raptors (25/1), Nuggets (33/1), 76ers (33/1), Heat (40/1) and Jazz (40/1). Milwaukee is the -175 ‘chalk’ to win the East.
–BetOnline has Giannis Antetokounmpo as the -400 ‘chalk’ to win NBA MVP honors, with LeBron James at +250. Ja Morant is the -600 favorite to win Rookie of the Year and Zion Williamson is at +350.
–According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ben Roethlisberger is throwing pain-free after a shoulder injury ended his 2019 campaign in Week 2.
–Sportsbook has the Dolphins as the -200 favorites to draft Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa. The Chargers (+350), Redskins (+400), Lions (+650), Panthers (20/1), Jaguars (20/1) and Patriots (20/1) are next in line.
–Barring injury, it was a foregone conclusion that Georgia’s Anthony Edwards was going to be one and done in Athens. It became official today.
–BetOnline has a prop for whether Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson (the UFC 249 main event) will happen on April 18 or 19th. It’s a pick ’em with a 40-cent price (-120 either way).
–BetOnline has Tyson Fury installed as a -240 favorite for a trilogy bout vs. Deontay Wilder (+200).
–FanDuel rolled out a bunch of college football lines for 2020 earlier this week. I’ll have a big article on this soon, but here’s a few to whet the palate: Alabama -12.5 vs. USC, West Virginia -3 vs. FSU and Georgia -17 vs. Virginia in Week 1. Week 2 has Florida -15.5 vs. Kentucky, Auburn -6 at North Carolina, LSU -6 vs. Texas and Ohio State -7 at Oregon.
–HBO’s documentary, ‘The Scheme,’ dives into the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball. The recording of Will Wade’s ‘strong-ass offer’ conversation is going to be played. SURELY he’ll taste a pink slip from LSU afterward, right?! Where’s an ‘over/under’ on that? ‘The Scheme’ airs on March 31.
–From noon to 11:00 p.m. ET. on Saturday, ESPN will be showing nothing but the best fights in UFC history. You can check out the schedule here.