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For the first time in over 36 years, the National Football League has suspended a player for gambling on sports. The then Baltimore Colts quarterback Art Schlichter was suspended by the NFL back in the early 1980’s and later became rather infamous as a lifelong compulsive gambler who got caught betting on professional football, but not on the Colts.

That whole affair was a huge black eye for the NFL as Schlichter got involved in FBI investigations as an undercover witness making a total mess of what was an otherwise promising career from the 4th overall pick in the 1982 NFL Draft.  The man lost so much money gambling on sports that he was afraid that his creditors would eventually force him to shave points in an NFL game. Schlichter is currently serving 10 years in US Federal prison for stealing millions of dollars to support his gambling habit.

Now we have a new one, 36 years later.  Given the amount of time that has passed since the NFL was forced to suspend a player for gambling, it would seem that the league in general took note of what happened to Schlichter and curtailed its gambling habits.

At least until Arizona Cardinal defensive back Josh Shaw sauntered into Caesars sportsbook in Las Vegas and filled out an application for a betting account a Caesars, listing ‘professional football player’ as his occupation, before placing a wager on a three team parlay that included his team, the Arizona Cardinals.

Now Mr. Shaw graduated from the University of Southern California and has played in the NFL since 2015 for four different teams.  Does it seem possible that no one ever told the man that he was not allowed to wager on the NFL while playing for the National Football League?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s office responded quickly suspending Josh Shaw for the remainder of this season and for all of the upcoming 2020 season as well. The League did acknowledge that its own investigation had uncovered no evidence that Shaw had used any inside information in making his wagers, and that no games had been compromised.

Goodell issued a statement saying, “The continued success of the NFL depends directly on each of us doing everything necessary to safeguard the integrity of the game and the reputations of all who participate in the league. At the core of this responsibility is the longstanding principle that betting on NFL games, or on any element of the game, puts at risk the integrity of the game, damages public confidence in the NFL, and is forbidden under all circumstances.  If you work in the NFL in any capacity, you may not bet of NFL football”.

The big sportsbooks in Las Vegas and elsewhere have a standing agreement with the NFL to let them know if any NFL personnel are placing wagers on NFL games at any time.  It was the folks at Caesars that informed Goodell’s office that Shaw had placed the parley wager, which, after all, he ended up losing.

Since 2007 the Nevada gaming regulations actually require sportsbooks in the state to ‘take reasonable steps’ to avoid accepting or paying off any wagers made by, or on behalf, of a player, official, owner, coach or other participant with the team involved with the wager.

Before releasing the news of Josh Shaw’s suspension, the League issued a league wide memo emphasizing the NFL’s gambling policy and the penalties for violating it. Shaw is in the process of appealing the suspension.

Of course football players wagering on football games has a long and colorful history.  Most famously, back in 1963 both Paul Hornung of the Green Bay Packers and Alex Karras of the Detroit were banned from professional football for an entire season because of gambling of football games.  However, both were back at it the next season and both ended up in the NFL Hall of Fame.



Some of the best professional golfers in the world are headed out to the Bahamas Islands this weekend to join a rejuvenated Tiger Woods for his Hero World Challenge Tournament which sets up as a sort of prelude to the upcoming President’s Cup action which will be taking place at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club down under in Australia beginning on December the 12th.

After enduring a period of being not quite up to par earlier in the year, Tiger Woods has come back looking fit and as competitive as ever by winning the recent Zozo Championship in Chiba, Japan. It was his 82nd career win!  Woods is listed as one of the odds on favorites to win the Hero World Classic this weekend as well.

Woods actually is one of the principal sponsors of the annual Hero World Challenge event which is held at the Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas Islands.  Although the $3,500,000 purse is not quite on par with some of the other major tournaments, the money is still attractive, plus, everybody gets to go to the beach!

So, the event has attracted a stellar field of some of the best golfers on the planet to the Bahamas to play alongside Tiger Woods and feel good about it because the tournament is a benefit for the Tiger Woods Foundation which was created in 1996 to support community based programs that improve health, education and welfare for all children in America.

Although there are only 18 golfers participating this year, they are the cream of the crop.  This becomes obvious when you look at the odds board and find Chez Reavie, who won the Travelers Championship back in June, at the very bottom at 66 to 1!

The World Challenge format has been around since the turn of the century under different sponsors and played at various locations before moving to the Bahamas in 2015 with the Albany Golf Club as its permanent home.

Ironically, with all the golfing heroes participating in the event, the word Hero in the title actually refers to the event’s sponsor since 2014, the Hero MotoCorp, which makes motorcycles and scooters in India.

As a concession to next week’s President’s Cup play down in Australia, this Hero World Challenge will be played from Wednesday to Saturday to allow the golfers an additional day for travel in order to get ready for the competition which will pit the top golfers from the United States against a team made up of some of the best golfers from outside the USA and coached by Ernie Ells. Team USA was selected and will be coached by none other than Tiger Woods himself.

Spanish ace Jon Rahm, who won the event in 2018, is the hottest golfer in the world right now and oddsmakers agree making him the tournament favorite at 7 to 2, and right behind him is Justin Thomas at 7 to 1 who has two outright wins and two other top ten performances in the last five tournaments.

Tiger Woods is listed at 8 to 1.  Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele at 17 to 2 are two young golfers that everyone is watching in wonder with the anticipation that they will soon be major players on the PGA circuit.

Webb Simpson starts the tourney at 10 to 1 with Rickie Fowler at 12 to 1 and Justin Rose at 14 to 1. Patrick Reed, Gary Woodland, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Matt Kuchar, Henrick Stenson, Kevin Kisner and Bubba Watson round out the all star field for this year’s Hero World Challenge.

And if you are looking for a sleeper bet for this tournament, 2014 winner Jordan Spieth could be a good one going in at 28 to 1.

The ultimate winners of the Hero World Challenge will be the kids that the Tiger Woods Foundation helps using the proceeds from the event.



The winningest team in the NFC so far this season has been the San Francisco 49ers.  They are 10 and 1 on the year having only lost to the Seahawks in a thriller of a game by the close score of 27-24 on a game winning 42 yard field goal in overtime by Jason Myers of Seattle.

That impressive 10-1 record is only matched by Tom Brady and his New England Patriots under head coach Bill Belichick over in the AFC. So, why are the 49ers listed as 6 point underdogs going into Sunday’s big showdown with the Baltimore Ravens?

Good question for those who have not had the opportunity to watch young Lamar Jackson at quarterback for the Ravens; those who have seen this year’s version of the Ravens in action already understand why.  They are a force to be reckoned with in any NFL stadium, anywhere.

But San Francisco is coming off of a 37-8 Sunday Night Football beat down of Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers, who went into the game at 8-3 as 3 point underdogs to the ‘Niners at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

The 49ers looked very strong on Sunday, too much so to be listed at 6 point dogs the very next Sunday. But the NFL MVP forerunner Lamar Jackson and his 9-2 Raven squad have won 7 straight games and they totally dismantled the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the 49ers are the first team with 10 wins to only 1 loss in about 12 years to go into Week 13 games as an underdog.  Oddsmakers are listing the Ravens as 6 point favorites but we have not seen a 10 and 1 team listed without an advantage in the point spread since 2007, and even then the favorite team failed to cover the spread.

Still in all, there are many bettors out there who think that six points is not nearly enough considering what Baltimore has been doing lately. In the last five games the Ravens have outscored opponents, including teams like the Houston Texans and the Seattle Seahawks, by a total of 202 to 62, or by about 20 touchdowns. Now that -6 starts to make some sense.

The contest will take place on Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium on the river in Baltimore, which is not a closed in facility and the weather is predicted to be inclement this weekend on the east coast, so, cold, wind and rain could be a factor as well.

As further proof that Las Vegas lines makers believe in the Baltimore Ravens, they are now the odds on favorites to win Super Bowl LIV and take the Lombardi Trophy back to Baltimore. The Ravens are now at 3-1 with the Patriots at 7-2 and the New Orleans Saints at 4-1.  The 49ers follow at 7-1 with the Chiefs at 10-1 and both the Seahawks and the Vikings are listed at 12-1.



Four teams in the NBA Eastern Division stand at .750 or better 17 games into the season with the Milwaukee Bucks alone at the top of the heap at 14 and 3 with a .824 winning percentage scoring an average of almost 120 points per game while allowing only 110.6 point per game from their opponents.

The Boston Celtics, the Miami Heat and the Toronto Raptors are all close behind with 12 wins each to just 4 losses, so, their winning percentage is right on .7500.  Points per game for all three teams are similar at around 111.

The Bucks are currently on an 8 game winning streak, so catching up to them in the near future may be more than most teams can handle. But, the season is still young and there is a lot of NBA Basketball yet to be played.

Correspondingly, Milwaukee is the current favorite in the NBA East at +400 at the big Las Vegas sports books.  The Philadelphia 76ers are at +700 and the Boston Celtics are listed at +900. All other teams in the NBA East are +2500 and up beginning with last years’ NBA Finals winning Toronto Raptors.

Over in the NBA Western Division however, we have a completely different story.  In fact a line picking the East or the West in the NBA this year would show the West as being heavily favored.

When LeBron James saw the opportunity to get New Orleans’ big man Anthony Davis to join the Lakers squad, he jumped at it right away. The perennial All Star was lacking a ‘soul partner’ on the court if he was to lead the Lakers back to their traditional greatness, and he had seen Anthony Davis play before.

The chemistry was almost instantaneous and now the Lakers are at 15-2 having only lost their first game to their neighboring LA Clippers and then dropping one to the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors in early November.  Apart from those two losses, the Lakers have pretty much dominated every team they have come up against this season and look to be able to continue that run.

Behind the Lakers in the West are the Denver Nuggets at 12-3 and the LA Clippers at 12-5 followed by the Dallas Mavericks, the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz, all with 11 wins so far this season.  Utah is currently listed at +900 with the Houston Rockets at +800 while the over achieving Dallas Mavericks are only getting +3000 at this point.

Leading the NBA West once again are the Los Angeles Lakers, bringing cheers and joy back to the Staples Center in downtown LA once again. Who knows, Jack Nicholson might even start showing up again at courtside.

The LA Clippers have even invaded the Lakers home quarters at the Staples Center while their new basketball palace is being built over in nearby Englewood on the site of the fabled Hollywood Park Horse Racing Track. Actually the deal is working out well for both NBA clubs and surely for the Staples Center which changes the floor decorations depending on which team is playing that night and there has been nothing but respect shown by both side so far.

Both the Lakers and the Clippers are leading the NBA at present with just a +150 posted by the oddsmakers.  The Denver Nuggets follow at +800 and the Utah Jazz at +900.

The Lakers also lead in the current ‘Power Rankings’ in the news this week followed by the Bucks and the Clippers with Denver, Dallas, Philadelphia and defending NBA Finals Champions the Toronto Raptors in 7th place.

The early leaders have been established in the NBA season. Now we will see which teams have the staying power and which display the power to come from behind and give the big boys a run for their money.

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