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While it seems like this year’s NBA season has just gotten underway, in reality they have just passed the quarter pole already. Some teams are right about where they were predicted to be while others have exceeded expectations so far this NBA season, while others have fans scratching their heads in wonder.

Take for example the Golden State Warriors. They have been a dominate force in professional basketball for the past several years now under the leadership of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but Curry has been out with a broken hand since December the 6th and won’t be back on the court until the first week in March, if everything goes well with his rehab.

Concurrently Golden State is also without the services of their other star shooting guard Klay Thompson, who went down back in late October with a knee injury and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Without their star point guard and their star shooting guard, the Warriors have fallen all the way down into the cellar of the NBA West with a miserable record of 20 losses and only 5 victories in the entire first quarter of the season.

Over in the NBA West, the competition is turning out to be the battle for Los Angeles as both the Lakers and the Clippers, who are both playing out of the Staples Center in downtown LA, just keep on winning.  The Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis are dominating the floor early in the season and look like the team to beat for anyone having postseason aspirations.

When the New Orleans Pelicans won the NBA lottery for the draft last year and ended up with Duke All American big man Zion Williamson, oddsmakers were giving them a pretty good chance to be in competition in the NBA West this season.  Then Zion went down with a torn right lateral meniscus during preseason practices and has missed all of the Pelicans games to date.  Despite the outstanding efforts of Jrue Holiday and young Brandon Ingram, New Orleans is only slightly better than Golden State so far with only 6 wins to 18 losses.

The Milwakee Bucks on the other hand are blowing everyone away on a 15 game win streak that shows no sign of slowing up at all.  The Bucks now sit at 21 and 3 and are currently projected to win 61 games this season.  Not surprisingly, the Boston Celtics follow close behind with 17 wins and 5 losses but are projected to win only 53 times this year.

The team that no one saw coming is the Miami Heat who are cruising right alongside the Celtics with 17 wins to 6 losses.  The 76ers of Philadelphia also have 17 wins as opposed to 7 losses, but everyone expected them to be near the top of the heap with Ben Simmons and company.  The defending NBA Champion Toronto Raptors are still struggling a bit with 16 wins and 7 losses.

Another surprise this season finds the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the basement over in the NBA East.  Both teams just cannot seem to get it going this season in spite of their strong rosters.

Leading the NBA’s front running Milwaukee Bucks is MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo who is averaging 31 points a game and has his team in great shape at the start of the second quarter of play.  Other contenders for the Most Valuable Player on the NBA courts so far this season are the amazing Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks who is averaging nearly a 30 point triple—double and perennial all stars James Harden of the Houston Rockets and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The NBA rookie of the year was expected to be a close race between Zion Williamson of the Pelicans and Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies, however, with Williamson out of the action so far, Morant has little, if any, competition for the annual honor.

Obviously it is still very early in the NBA season and way too soon to make any predictions as to which team will be on top when April the 15th rolls around and it’s time once again for the annual NBA playoffs, known simply as ‘The Finals’, to begin in the spring time.



Going into their Big Ten Championship game against the University of Wisconsin, the Ohio State Buckeyes were the odds on favorites to win the NCAA Football Championship, or CFP, this year.  By half time all that had changed as the Badgers held a 21-7 lead over the Buckeyes who went into the game as 16.5 point favorites.

Even though Ohio State was able to come back after half time and put up 27 unanswered points to take home the victory, and the Big Ten Championship, by a final score of 34-21, the damage had been done. The weakness was exposed and shades of doubt began to creep into the minds of the committee members charged with making the decision of who shall be the number one college football team in the land.

Then the #2 ranked LSU Tigers simply dominated the Georgia Bulldogs, who came into the SEC Championship ranked #4 in the CFP standings as 7 point underdogs, but ended up losing by 27 points 37-10.  LSU put up grand total of 467 yards as Heisman Trophy favorite Joe Burrow at quarterback threw for 349 yards completing 28 of 38 passes with zero picks.

The choice left to the committee was clear.  LSU had the strongest resume overall and topped it off with a convincing defeat of the powerful Georgia Bulldogs while Ohio State struggled early on before asserting themselves in the second half of their game against Wisconsin.

So much so that the Tigers of LSU will now face the newly arrived #4 Oklahoma Sooners as 13 point favorites in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Saturday December the 28th while the Buckeyes will travel out to Glendale, Arizona to participate in the Fiesta Bowl as 2 point underdogs against Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers.

Now the Clemson Tigers, led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence, are feeling a lack of respect from the CFP committee, but the Las Vegas oddsmakers are certainly giving them their due by crowning them as the favorites over the formally number one ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.

Assuming that LSU takes care of business in Atlanta and defeats the Sooners, the winners of the Ohio State-Clemson game are going to have to travel down to New Orleans and the Super Dome on January the 13th, 2020 to take on the Bayou Bengals in what amounts to being a home game for LSU in one of the loudest venues in all of football.

Before the drama of the CFP Semifinal Games get started at 4 EST, there is early action on Saturday December the 28th from Dallas as #17 Memphis takes on #10 Penn State as 7 point underdogs in the Cotton Bowl Classic on ESPN. Airing at the same time on ABC from Orlando will be a contest between the #15 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Cyclones of Iowa State University with the Irish listed as 3.5 point favorites for the Camping World Bowl.

The Orange Bowl from Miami this year will be played on Monday evening December the 30th between the #9 ranked Florida Gators and the #24 ranked Virginia Cavaliers with the Gators going in as 13.5 point favorites.

Top rated CFP games continue on New Year’s Day when #18 Minnesota plays that same #12 ranked Auburn team that defeated mighty Alabama just a few weeks ago. The Gophers will be 8 point underdogs against the Tigers of Auburn in the Outback Bowl from Tampa, Florida.

Then it’s ‘Oh how the mighty have fallen’, Alabama playing in the Citrus Bowl down in Orlando as the #13th ranked team in the land up against #14 Michigan Wolverines as 7 point favorites.  This game will pit two of the best known head coaches against one another in college football as Jim Harbaugh and Nick Saban try to salvage what they can from less than stellar seasons.

Out in Pasadena, California, the Rose Bowl will feature the #6 ranked Oregon Ducks against the Badgers of Wisconsin, listed at (-2.5),  who finished as the #8 ranked team in the country and represent the Big Ten since Ohio State is going on to the CFP Finals.

The final contest on New Year’s Day will be coming from New Orleans when the #5 Georgia Bulldogs take on the #7 Baylor Bears as 7.5 point favorites in the Sugar Bowl from the Super Dome down in the ‘Big Easy’.


DON’T BET ON ITfb money

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.

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