CLIPPERS SCORE NEW DYNAMIC DUO

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CLIPPERS SCORE NEW DYNAMIC DUO

Oddsmakers all across the country had to rush back to their calculators and crystal balls when this years’ NBA Playoffs MVP announced that he had just made a deal to play for Doc Richards and the Los Angeles Clippers for the foreseeable future. Ex-Raptor Kawhi Leonard is moving to Los Angeles after signing at 4 year, $142,000,000 contract with the ecstatic Clips.

Just factoring that move into the calculations for the odds to win the NBA Championship next year caused the predictions to go haywire, then it was announced that veteran All-Star Paul George would also be joining Kawhi Leonard in LA and the numbers went into a scramble once again, finally leaving the Clippers as odds on favorites to win the NBA title in 2020 at some venues.

Los Angeles is once again looking like the center of the basketball world after the Clippers latest moves and the acquisition by the LA Lakers of Anthony Davis from New Orleans to partner up with LeBron James, and yes, that is an awesome duo of highly skilled opponents on any basketball court. However, looking at the rest of the Lakers depth chart, the LA Clippers seem to have a significant edge in both front line and bench players. The NBA season is long and endurance will become a key factor before it’s all over.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are both seasoned professional players in their prime.  Both are in their late 20’s and free from significant injuries, although George is nursing a sore shoulder at this time.  Both have displayed greatness on the court individually, together they should be a formidable force to reckon with.  Doc Richards must be laughing.

So the Clippers have moved from 10-1 all the way up to 11-4 overnight! The Lakers, who were listed at 7-5 after signing Anthony Davis, dropped to 4-1 after they failed to also sign up Kawhi Leonard.  However, bettors are still coming down heavily on the Lakers to win the NBA Championship for 2020. Las Vegas sports books took wagers up to $10,000 on the Lakers in June.  In fact, wagers on the Lakers to win the title have totaled almost 5 times the amount wagered on all other teams combined.

Now those numbers have already started moving with the announcement that the Clippers were obtaining the services of both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Thus far however, more money has been wagered on the New Orleans Pelicans to win the title than on the Los Angeles Clippers.

Funny how the balance of power seems to be working out in the NBA.  For a long time the Celtics and the Lakers were the dominant teams, then came the era of the Golden State Warriors.  Now, just as some of the air goes out of the Warriors franchise, here come the LA Clippers to pick up the slack and have their run at being NBA royalty for a while.  They have the coach, and now they have the players to make a real run at the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy for 2020.

Did the Lakers big moves inspire the Clippers to respond with Leonard and George?  Probably so, but it doesn’t matter who went first anymore because now the race is on, and it’s going to be a good one!

ROYAL PORTRUSH HOSTS THE 2019 BRITISH OPEN

brti open 19ROYAL PORTRUSH HOSTS THE 2019 BRITISH OPEN

For the first time since 1951 the British Open, aka The Open, will be played on the historic links known as the Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland on the windy shores of the North Atlantic Ocean beginning on July 18th.

Local golfing hero Rory McElroy will be there amongst the favorites at 10-1 to win the event along with #1 ranked Brooks Koepka at 6-1 and Masters winner Tiger Woods, who has eschewed all other professional events since his roller-coaster rounds at the US Open where he turned in a strong finish giving his fans, and bettors, hope for the future.

Woods has won the British Open three times in the past and he racked up PGA Major win number 15 this year at Augusta National.  Tiger is listed at 12-1 for The Open this year along with the ever dangerous Dustin Johnson who is predicted to make a strong run for the cup as well.

Oddsmakers don’t seem to think that surprise US Open Champion Gary Woodland is likely to win back to back majors as they have him listed at 50-1 for The British Open this year. US Open runner up Rory McElroy is on a roll this spring and is expected to finish in the top 10 at Royal Portrush.

The Royal Portrush itself is amongst the oldest and most venerated golf courses in the world dating its origins all the way back to 1888 when the links were established around a triangle of giant sand hills overlooked by the ruins of the 13th century Dunluce Castle, which gives its name to one of the two 18 hole courses located at the Royal Portrush.

The Open will be played on the Dunluce links, which are considered to be one of the top 10 golf courses on the tour.  The British Open was first played in 1860 in Scotland at the Prestwick Golf Club and is the only ‘major’ on the PGA tour that is played outside of the USA.

On July 18, 2019, 156 of the top golfers on the planet will be there to tee off on the Dunluce Links to begin another round of The British Open.  Projection models are looking for a strong showing from young Patrick Cantlay, currently listed at 25-1, who has racked up 8 top ten finishes in 15 starts!

Also in the hunt for a share of the $10,750,000 in prize money for 2019 at the Royal Portrush will be perennial favorites Jordan Spieth (20-1), who won the event in 2017, along with popular European golfers Justin Rose (16-1), Jon Rahm (20-1) and last year’s champion Francesco Molinari, also listed at 20-1 for the 2019 Open.

LONDON HOSTS MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL IN STYLE

Lny boston londonONDON HOSTS MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL IN STYLE

The long awaited premiere showing of MLB in Europe finally happened last weekend in the city of London during an unseasonal heat wave in England as temperatures soared into the 90’s at London Stadium in the Stratford district of downtown London.

London Stadium was built for the 2012 Olympics and features a circular roof which opens and closes according to the weather. The roof was open for the highly anticipated contest between the American League leading New York Yankees and the defending World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox.

Whether it was the open roof, the high temperatures or simply an excess of adrenalin, the baseball was flying high in London on Saturday as the score after the first inning was 6-6 and a sum total of 37 hits resulting in 30 runs being scored before it was all over.  The Over & Under had been set at 11.5!

The Red Sox got the party started by smashing 3 home runs in the first inning by Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Christian Vazquez.  It was the first time that the Boston club had hit 3 homers in the first inning in 40 years.

The Yankees went on to score 2 more runs in the 3rd inning and put up another 6 in the 4th and 3 in the 5th but were shut out by the Red Sox bullpen for the remainder of the game.  Boston came back with a big six run inning in the 7th, but it was too little and too late.  The Yankees took the opener 17-13.

Baseball caps, jerseys and T-Shirts representing both clubs were flying off the shelves as well around the ball park.  A large percentage of the 60,000 some odd fans in attendance were decked out in MLB finery.  One gentleman even sported a two billed baseball cap with Yankees on one side and Red Sox on the other.

The crowd in general was most enthusiastic and really seemed to enjoy the event leading MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to speculate that more games may be coming to more cities in Europe in the near future.  They even looked pretty convincing singing ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game’ during the 7th inning stretch.

London Stadium was designed as a Soccer venue and is now the home of West Ham United of the Premier League. As such presented a few unusual quirks to the baseball players, like an outfield that covers over an acre of ground and greatly enhanced foul ball areas before running into the stands. Both first basemen were especially taxed by the extra space.

After the slug fest on Saturday, it seemed that Boston and New York were going to start it all over again when the Red Sox put up four runs in the first inning and the Yankees answered with 2 in the 2nd, but then the game settled down to some semblance of normalcy and no more scoring took place until the Yankees rallied with 9 runs in the 7 inning and took the Sunday contest by a final score of 12-8 to sweep the 2 game, first ever, London MLB Series.

It looks like we will be seeing more Major League Baseball games from Europe in the future.

A SPORTS BOOK AT WRIGLEY FIELD?

spoert wageringA SPORTS BOOK AT WRIGLEY FIELD?

It wasn’t so long ago that hearing someone talk about a sports book at Wrigley Field would lead one to think that it was part of a joke.  That could never be. Could it?

Although nothing like that has happened as yet, the powers that be among major league teams, in most major sports, are now seriously considering installing betting windows, automated wagering machines, known as kiosks, or even setting up a full on sportsbook, right there within the confines of the park.

Why would they do this?  We might hear tales about popular demand and making the game more fun for the fans, but the real answer is crude and simple, its money.  Lots and lots of money.  Potential revenues from legalized wagering are staggering, both for the professional sports organizations involved as well as for the local and state governments wherein they operate.

As per the recent Supreme Court decision leaving the question of sports wagering in the hands of the individual states, several states, led by New Jersey, have already moved to allow betting on sports at certain venues, namely at established Casinos and Horse Racing Tracks.

As for now, Major League Baseball does not allow any form of wagering facilities, of any kind, within a stadium or ball park.  Ditto with the NBA. Currently there is a major review underway in the state of Illinois considering changing those established rules, with the backing of both MLB and the NBA!

MLB issued a statement saying “We will work with our clubs to explore the opportunities presented by the rapidly evolving sports betting landscape in a socially responsible manner”.

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker, who has already expressed support for the project, is expected to sign a bill, which has already passed the state legislature, that will pave the way for wagering to be legalized via casinos and potentially even allowing sports wagering inside Wrigley Field and similar facilities in the state.

Soldier Field, home of the NFL Chicago Bears, the United Center, where the Bulls and the Blackhawks perform and even Guaranteed Rate Park, the home of the Chicago White Sox would all be included should the bill become law as will any facility accommodating over 17,000 fans for sporting events.

Current plans are for these venues to apply for a license to offer sports betting inside, or within a five block radius, of the facility.  That could get complicated, and expensive. Each venue must apply for a ‘Masters Sports Wagering License’ which will cost them a cool ten million bucks each!  We are talking about the money to be made here once again.

Similar moves are already underway, with the cooperation of MLB and the NBA, in Washington D.C. and New York.  The NFL, as usual, is dragging behind the rest of the world by refusing to comment at all on wagering issues.

New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Delaware and even Mississippi now host legal, full on sports books where bettors can place their wagers legally for the first time.  The movement is just getting started.

Tom Ricketts, the owner of the Chicago Cubs, who play at Wrigley Field, has recently invested in ‘The Action Network’, which is an established sports betting media outlet, and is even considering starting another radio broadcast featuring sports wagering talk and analysis. The wheels are already in motion.

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