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It’s the kickoff to the NFL’s 100th season and what better way to start than with the Packers and the Bears.  Real head-to-head football, right off the bat. That’s the way to do it!  Both Green Bay and Chicago have fans everywhere.

This NFL season has a feel of anticipation about it like we have all felt in the past, but haven’t really felt for awhile.  There is an excitement in the air.

Young bloods like Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Baker Mayfield of the resurgent Cleveland Browns are setting new standards in both levels of performance and on field excitement. Like ‘em or not, they do bring a certain pizzazz to the game missing since Jim McMahon retired from the Bears.

Both of these young quarterbacks have their sights set on nothing less than being the Super Bowl LIV MVP. Of course there are a few other guys with those same aspirations.  What’s different this season is that there seems to be quite a few teams out there with the potential to actually get into the playoffs and win it all in a burst of unified team spirit.

The preseason games were ‘interesting’ but did not show what the real team would look like during the regular season.  What the preseason did provide were a few glimpses of the future when rookies, along with some complete unknowns got their chance to shine with a real NFL team.

Some of those players impressed their way right on to the regular season roster, others were sent away to try again some other day.

Former Duke quarterback, and the number six overall pick in last years’ NFL Draft, Daniel Jones, got a job with the New York Giants, Eli’s team, with the idea of backing up Eli Manning until he decides to retire, a great position to be in, learning from a two time Super Bowl Champion quarterback.

In the preseason games, Jones completed 83% of his passes, scored 2 touchdowns, threw no interceptions and ended with a passer rating of 140.1. It could be time to rethink the Giant’s quarterback situation unless Eli suddenly gets a whole lot better than he has been for the past couple of years.

Bengals rookie quarterback Ryan Finley out of North Carolina State had some outstanding moments during the preseason as well and earned himself a spot on the roster at Cincinnati.

Other NFL preseason rookie standouts were wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, edge rusher Chase Winovich and quarterback Jarrett Stidham, all of the Patriots. Linebacker Devin Bush of the Steelers and edge rusher Josh Allen of the Jaguars both put in solid performances while the Browns Mack Wilson was all over the field defensively eventually resulting in a pick six against Washington’s Dwayne Haskins.

Somewhat surprisingly, the only teams to come out of the preseason without a loss were the Baltimore Ravens, the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants.  Hardly what we expected, but then some NFL coaches don’t even necessarily play for the win in preseason games.  Better to see what you have, see what will work and see who will be the movers and shakers on the team this year.

So now we have the NFL beginning its 100th season for real and bettors all across the land can finally place their wagers with some kind of an idea of what is going on.  At least be wagering on a team, or a player that they feel they know something about. Oddsmakers can now make much more accurate decisions about how the lines should move now that most of the unknown factors are out of the picture.

Before the first kickoff of the new NFL season, Las Vegas sports books have posted odds to win Super Bowl LIV.  The New England Patriots start the season at 4.5-1, the Kansas City Chiefs at 5-1, the Philadelphia Eagles at 7.5- and the New Orleans Saints at 8-1.  All other teams are in double digits.

It will be interesting to see how these sit after the first 3 or 4 weeks of the new season. Somehow the preseason odds never quite pan out.

So finally, the NFL’s 100th season begins, and it’s for real this time!



We’re going into the home stretch in major league baseball for 2019.  The 162 game schedule has gone by all to quickly for avid baseball fans. But here we are. The divisional races are coming down to the wire on some fronts, while others have been decided for weeks now. This is where it starts to get good.

The conference titles are, of course, still up for grabs. The New York Yankees, the Minnesota Twins and the Houston Astros are all comfortably in the lead in their respective divisions in the American League. The Los Angeles Dodgers, with an 18 game lead in the National League West, still have to get by the Atlanta Braves, who seem to be their toughest competition, and whoever comes out on top in the National League Central, plus the wild card selection. Even that huge 18 game lead does not guarantee the Dodgers the National League Pennant.

As it often does, this year’s run for the pennant is going to involve some heroes.  Some will be players who have performed at a consistently high level all season long, and then there are the guys who suddenly get inspired to go out and perform at levels exceeding previous expectations.  Those are the most fun. “I didn’t even know that he could hit a ball that far, or make that spectacular catch”.  Every year one or two of these late blooming heroes emerges to thrill their fans and spur their teams on to another victory.

The guys making the biggest splashes in the headlines today are the motivators for their teammates going into post-season play. Here are some standouts, just to name a few.

Justin Verlander is on top of his game, obviously.  He just threw the third no-hitter of his career against the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend allowing only one walk in the first inning and then shutting them down completely. Verlander is among the forerunners for this year’s American League Cy Young Award.

What else can be said about young Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers?  A better example of a complete five-tool baseball player seldom comes along.  He hits for average, he plays all over the defensive field….and of course, he hits lots of home runs.  Bellenger is currently tied with Mike Trout of the Angles and Pete Alonzo of the Mets with an MLB leading 43 home runs; and he never seems to be in the same defensive position two games in a row.

Of course there’s Mike Trout himself.  Perennial All-Star, always leading just about every category there is in Major League Baseball.  Trout truly qualifies as a genuine ‘superstar’ garnering praise from baseball writers, his fellow players and his many fans each time he takes the field.  He is another one of that rare breed known in the baseball world as a ‘five-tool player’, which means basically that he can do it all.

Now Mike Trout stands on the brink of becoming the first 300/200 player in modern major league baseball history.  The 300 stands for home runs, and Trout us currently lacking only 17 to get there. The 200 stands for stolen bases and he may well have broken that one by the time you read this.

DJ LeMahieu of the New York Yankees and Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals are running neck and neck in the RBI race with .335 & .337 respectively.  Houston’s Michael Brantley is barking at their heels with a 3.23 in the AL while Bryan Reynolds of Pittsburg and Christian Yelich of the Brewers are still very much in the race with .335 & .328.

Down in Houston, former LSU standout third baseman Alex Bregman is also having an exceptional season this year and stands ready to excel in the postseason with a Astros team that looks more and more dangerous with each series they play.  Bregman’s on base percentage is up to .412 and ranks fifth in the majors.

But the real heroes to emerge in the 2019 post season are probably not even listed here.  Somewhere out there is some player on some team that starts feeling just right, just at the right time, and then just watch out MLB!



How things have changed for the local bookie these days.  Thanks to the advent of modern wagering software utilizing cutting edge technology, today’s ‘local guy’ is now able to offer to his clients any of the varied wagering options being offered by the major sports books, including worldwide sports action as well as attractive and profitable casino games and race book …available on their mobile devices any where there is WiFi, around the clock.

Some of the best and brightest minds in the software industry today are working on wagering software.  The tools that a modern bookmaker has available these days bear little resemblance to the guy hanging on the pay phone on the back wall of a sports bar with a roll of quarters in one hand and his little black book in the other.

Today’s successful bookmaker wants to offer maximum sports book betting opportunities for this clients to wager on presented on an attractive, easy to use format.  Now, with the simple touch of a few buttons, a bettor can place his wagers on his mobile device from anywhere he happens to be.

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The comparison of Dodgers ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw and the legendary Sandy Koufax is easy to do.  The pieces fall right into place. Both are tall and lanky; both quiet spoken, but fierce competitors on the pitcher’s mound. Both men respected and admired by their avid fans and in the dugouts and locker rooms where so much of a professional ball team’s karma is evolved.

Sandy Koufax dominated major league baseball during the early part of the 1960’s winning every major award and honor that could be bestowed on an athlete in those days.  No hundred million dollar contracts back then, those would be years to come yet.

He only won 3 Cy Young Awards, was 2 times World Series MVP, 3 times MLB Triple Crown winner, 4 times World Series Champion and 7 times was named to the MLB All-Star Team.  Sandy Koufax also pitched 4 No Hitters and one Perfect Game on September 9, 1965.  In 1972 he was inducted to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Koufax had a relatively short major league career due mostly to his having been over used as was the standard of the day.  Pitchers went 140 pitches in a game and were expected to come back and do it again on just a couple of days rest. Had he been using the norms of pitching today, Koufax’s illustrious career could well have gone on for years longer.

However, Sandy did stay close with the Dodgers as a pitching coach in the minors from 1979-1990 and then again returning to the organization in 2004 when Frank McCourt acquired the Dodgers franchise.  So the famous lefty was always around when Clayton Kershaw was coming up.

Now Kershaw, in his 11th year in the majors, has just eclipsed Sandy Koufax’s long standing record for career victories when he recently won game number 166.  Clayton, in typical fashion, downplayed the occasion after the game.  “It’s just hard for me to take big-picture perspective on things” he told the press. “Someday, I hope to do that”.

Kershaw now trails only Don Sutton and Don Drysdale in the modern era for most wins as a Dodgers pitcher.  Clayton has made 22 starts this year and has gone at least 6 innings 22 times, a remarkable feat for any starting pitcher in the league.  His velocity might not be up there where it once was, but his grit and determination on the mound has not changed in the least bit.  Kershaw still has that uncanny ability to get out of jams that would overwhelm most other pitchers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, “That’s something that all great ones have—the ability to limit damage. It’s that short-term memory, where when something does happen or you’re in a big spot to still have that ability to focus on executing your pitch”.

Sandy Koufax had it, and so does Clayton Kershaw.

Sportscasters for year called Kershaw ‘the best pitcher on the planet’, especially the guys who called the Dodgers games!  Vin Scully eloquently described Kershaw on the mound thorough out his early career.  Mr. Scully also called almost all of Sandy Koufax’s games, including the four no hitters and the perfect game in 1965.

So now Clayton Kershaw has passed one of the milestones set by his mentor and hero.  After the game he seemed unfazed by the occasion, “Maybe someday I’ll look back on it and think it’s pretty awesome”…..”It’s an honor for me just be mentioned in the same sentence as Sandy”.

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