Hello again winners, placers, and showers! Miles O’Malley here, praising God that baseball is back in full swing. With all this action, plus the NBA and NHL playoffs starting up, I’ll get my Men’s Warehouse rental tux back from the good people at White House Pawn before the day is out! Let’s get to it!
Major League Baseball
Which baseball topic will ESPN talk into the ground most relentlessly?
Yankees/Red Sox rivalry: 1/4
Shohei Ohtani/Babe Ruth comparisons: 1/2
Justin Turner/Gimli comparisons: 5/1
A home run race between Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge: 6/1
Cleveland’s last chance to win a World Series before losing their bullpen to free agency: 7/1
This past offseason’s “Cold Stove”: 9/1
Clayton Kershaw still not having a ring: 12/1
The Chicago Cubs being an “underdog team” despite 3 deep playoff runs and a World Series title in the past 3 years: 20/1
Small market team news: 35/1
Balanced coverage across all teams, even those not on a coast: 50/1
MO: Gotta jump on that home run contest bid. MVP vs. Rookie of the Year, both of whom are on the Yankees? Take that bet all day every day. It’s probably a good idea to put a few nickels on the Ohtani bet too, but save your money for bigger (if less assured) payoffs.
Which team will be surprisingly competitive this year?
Colorado Rockies: 2/1
Arizona Diamondbacks: 3/1
New York Mets: 4/1
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 5/1
Atlanta Braves: 6/1
Minnesota Twins: 7/1
Baltimore Orioles: 20/1
Chicago White Sox: 35/1
MO: Don’t be fooled by that Angels line; they may have the biggest talking point of the season, but they have to play their cards carefully after that documentary about their methods of cheating came out. The Rockies and Diamondbacks will be competitive, but the point of this bet is to look for surprises. My money’s on the Braves. True, they’re overcoming a scandal of their own, but that just might give this team of no-names the drive they need to surprise everyone.
What rule changes will be added after this season?
Time limit between pitches: 2/1
Starting extra innings with a man on second: 4/1
4th inning becomes the beer inning: 6/1
Expanding DH role to the National League: 8/1
PED tests during 7th inning stretch: 10/1
Efficient replays: 90/1
Stripping Cubs fans of their identity by making Wrigley Field alcohol-free: 100/1
A rule change that doesn’t ruin the game of baseball: 900/1
MO: The Beer Inning is immensely popular in softball, so it could make some inroads into The Show. Time limits between pitches and starting extra innings with a man on base have both been discussed at length, and make the “rule that doesn’t ruin baseball” bet nigh unwinnable. Call me a dreamer, but I’m gonna put a buck on efficient replays. Sure, they’re a disruption of the pace of the game, but it’d be nice if they took 2 minutes instead of 20.
Hot series: Arizona at Los Angeles (April 13, 14, 15)
Diamondbacks win series 2-1: 3/1
Dodgers win series 2-1: 6/1
Diamondbacks Sweep: 10/1
Dodgers Sweep: 12/1
MO: The Diamondbacks are off to a much better start so far than the Dodgers, the team that swatted them out of the playoffs last year. Arizona has something to prove, but I think 2 wins over lA is the best they can do right now. As long as we get a Greinke-Kershaw matchup I’ll be happy.
National Hockey League
Which team is definitely advancing to the next round?
Tampa Bay Lightning: 2/1
Nashville Predators: 2/1
Winnipeg Jets: 4/1
Boston Bruins: 5/1
Pittsburgh Penguins: 5/1
Toronto Maple Leafs: 6/1
Las Vegas Golden Knights: 6/1
San Jose Sharks: 7/1
Anaheim Ducks: 7/1
Minnesota Wild: 8/1
Los Angeles Kings: 9/1
Washington Capitals: 10/1
Columbus Blue Jackets: 12/1
New Jersey Devils: 15/1
Colorado Avalanche: 20/1
Philidelphia Flyers: 20/1
MO: There a few match-ups that could go either way, like Sharks vs. Ducks or Bruins vs. Maple Leafs, that you should stay away from. Washington is bound to choke eventually, but I’m not too convinced it will be against New Jersey. Take the Lightning for now; they’ll have Stamkos back and even without him they’re to handle a wild card team.
Which of these events will happen first?
Pekka Riene shutout: 2/1
Las Vegas gets franchise first playoffs win: 3/1
Alex Ovechkin multi-goal game: 5/1
Sidney Crosby scores by batting airborne puck into the net: 10/1
A fight: 15/1
Washington chokes: 20/1
Pittsburgh chokes: 25/1
Nashville chokes: 30/1
A Stanley Cup Final between two cities that don’t have naturally forming ice: 35/1
MO: That last line is a tricky one. Yes, God save us, a Stanley Cup Final between Tampa Bay and Las Vegas is possible. However, for it to happen, several other lines must first occur. Put your money on Pekka. His stats are just absurd and he’ll be able to blank Colorado pretty quickly. A multi-goal game from The Red Menace is also a pretty safe bet.
National Basketball Association
Which Western Conference Team will not make the Playoffs?
Los Angeles Clippers: 2/1
Minnesota Timberwolves: 3/1
Denver Nuggets: 3/1
Oklahoma City Thunder: 5/1
New Orleans Pelicans: 6/1
Utah Jazz: 7/1
San Antonio Spurs: 10/1
Westchester Knicks: 20/1
MO: It doesn’t look like the Clippers will be able to pull it off. There’s a soft spot in my heart for the Minnesota Bulls… er, Timberwolves, so I can’t bet against them (you might want to though, since several teams have a game in hand on them). I don’t think Russell Westbrook’s back in danger of giving out so the Thunder should make it. With the addition of Joakim Noah the Westchester Knicks are going places for sure, so betting against them here would be a real blunder.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Who Will Conor McGregor’s next Octogon opponent be?
His parole officer: 1/6
His wife: 2/1
Logic (the concept): 5/1
Logic (the rapper): 10/1
UFC President Dana White: 12/1
Khabib Nurmagomedov: 50/1
Nate Diaz: 50/1
José Aldo: 75/1
Max Halloway: 75/1
Adonis Creed: 100/1
Floyd Mayweather: 500,000,001/1
MO: Having recently lost a bout against conceptual logic, McGregor’s next octagon opponent is a heated debate. I think it’ll be against Dana White. The company has perfectly, if subtly built up the rivalry between these two. McGregor skipping press conferences and ducking fights has caused no end of headaches for White, and White’s inclusion in the latest UFC video game is obviously a prelude to a real life event. Take note, WWE: this is how you build drama.
Studs & Duds
Villanova, under the guidance of God and Jay Wright, proved me right and won the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Matt Davidson tied a record on opening day with three home runs, and the Philadelphia 76ers have as of now won 13 games in a row. I’m not sure how excited I am about those last two items, as they feel like flukes to me.
The Sharks got destroyed 7-1 in the March 29th game against Nashville, Golden State seems to be too busy battling itself to worry about other teams, and the Cleveland Indians can’t hit right now. Tiger Woods performed up to my expectations at the Masters but below everyone else’s. Hey, at least he did better than Sergio Garcia, who saw his chances at another green jacket literally drown.
Harness Racing Hot Tips
Here’s the latest on the Harnessed Ones! Cozette McAvoy is putting quality over quantity with her small stable, having racked up 53 wins since 2014 — expect her winning ways to continue. Rubber Duck and Theresademoninme [sic] are sitting 4th and 2nd in the Trotter’s standings respectively but I think both can improve by the end of the month. As for the Pacers, I love Shartin N (if just for the name) so he’ll keep getting my bets over Sell a Bit N (of whom I remain respectfully dubious). Finally, don’t be suckered by Won for Gigi’s win at Mossbarger — only so many rallies can happen before luck runs out.