Wednesday Bullets to Power You Through the Day

Is unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr finally headed for a showdown with Manny Pacquiao?

It’s been a few weeks since I gave you my patented bevy of random bullets from the sports world so without further ado let’s get on with it.

-While it appears that we are a step closer to the long awaited match between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr, I still can’t help but wonder what might have been. Five years ago this could have been a bout that could have saved boxing but instead, arguments over money continue to hamper a once-proud sport. Ya, this will draw money if it happens but it will be a shadow of what it could have been.

-The Dallas Cowboys are 10-4 and have a game advantage on the Philadelphia Eagles. Sunday night though star running back DeMarco Murray suffered a broken hand that led to surgery on Monday. The question is, should they rest Murray or play him with a playoff spot still not yet sealed? If it’s me, I rest him. You have more than enough talent to get a win over Indy or Washington without him.

-For all of the things that the National Basketball Association has going right for it, once thing that needs to be addressed is tanking. There is no way the Philadelphia 76ers haven’t been built for total futility this season. This isn’t to say the current players aren’t trying but this team could have been better and it isn’t.

I just don't think Jim Harbaugh will pass up the huge payday awaiting him in the NFL.

-I have a feeling Michigan fans are in for really bad news. Despite rumors yesterday that with Jim Harbaugh out of the playoffs he’d be coming to Ann Arbor, I’m not buying it. His services will never be more in demand by NFL teams than they are now and that means a pretty price tag. I just don’t see him giving that up to return to college coaching.

-Yankees’ General Manager Brian Cashman says that as of right now Alex Rodriguez will be penciled in as the team’s designated hitter. A-Rod is of course coming off his year-long suspension.

-There were two plays in the NFL on Sunday that epitomized just how pathetic the league has gotten in their protection of quarterbacks. In Seattle, a 49ers players unloaded on Russell Wilson as he let the ball go. The tackler put his helmet right in the chest of Wilson and was flagged. This was nothing however compared to the Steelers’ Jason Worilds who sacked Atlanta’s Matt Ryan with what can only be described as a “perfect form tackle.” Ryan should have been flagged for not seeing Worilds coming to his play-side in my opinion.

-Watching Army-Navy never gets old. It isn’t just the tradition and the rivalry either. If you’ve been around long enough, then you know how exciting option football can be.

-I had a lot of people laughing at me for picking the Bills to beat the Packers last weekend but I could just see it coming. The Packers and Aaron Rodgers had been so hot, especially at home and with Buffalo’s very strong defense I just thought it was a perfect storm. A blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile right?

-Michigan State Junior Quarterback Connor Cook Stated yesterday that he will be returning to East Lansing for his senior season. Cook has been considered one of the top junior QBs in the country since his rise last season in leading the Spartans to the Rose Bowl. In my opinion, I think this is the right move for him.

-I’m old enough to know that everyone has different tastes and likes and dislikes but I don’t know how anyone can watch ESPN’s First Take. Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless are like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Royals, Tigers are Ships Passing in the Night

Billy Butler and the Royals are in the World Series and strangely enough they are similar to the team they lost the division too.

Sports brings out the best in people and while it can often bring out the worst too, it’s moments like Wednesday evening in Kansas City that make sports great. After 29 years the Kansas City Royals are returning to the World Series.

This is a team with no superstars which probably makes them even more enticing to the common fan and what I find most interesting about them is that they almost seem to be the very team they have pursued in the American League Central.

George Brett was a part of those great KC teams in the 70's and 80's and now gets to enjoy this as well.

What I mean is that eight years ago, the Detroit Tigers stumbled into the playoffs for the first time since 1987. They had the division wrapped up until these Royals came to Detroit and swept them forcing Detroit into the wild-card spot. While the Tigers had more “stars” then these current Royals do, the feeling around the Motor City in 2006 was total pandemonium.

The same craziness was on display in Kansas City Wednesday night as the Royals swept the Baltimore Orioles in four games. The Royals, who lost the division to Detroit by just one game, have now won eight straight playoff games. A dramatic, extra-inning win over Oakland in the play-in game, followed by a three-game sweep of the best team in the American League in the Angels.

While those 2006 Tigers didn’t sweep their first two opponents, they did defeat the New York Yankees three games to one and then beat the Oakland A’s four games to win the AL Pennant. Despite the two losses, the momentum never the left the Tigers much in the same way it hasn’t left the Royals.

Both organizations were very competitive throughout the 1980’s. The Tigers won the 1984 World Series while Kansas City won the ’85 Fall Classic over favored St. Louis. The Royals had actually advanced to the World Series in 1980 before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies. Ironically in ’84, the Tigers defeated the Royals to advance to the World Series.

The Tigers would also win the American League East in 1987 but lost to the Minnesota Twins in the ALCS. While the Royals playoff run ended in 1985 with the title. They did have great success in the 1970’s with division titles in ’76, ’77 and ’78. All three of those years the Royals lost the ALCS to the Yankees.

With both the Tigers and Royals having good success from the 1970’s through the ’80’s, the decade plus that followed was anything but successful. The Royals struggled to stay below 90 losses at times while the Tigers would actually reach total futility in losing more games than any American League team in history in 2003.

Today these two teams may in fact be two ships passing in the night. The Tigers are likely to lose Cy Young winning pitcher Max Scherer as well as Victor Martinez in free agency. Miguel Caberera looked mortal in 2014 as he dealt with injuries and while some of the youth was good, the Tigers overall took a step back.

The Royals may be peaking at the right time with a great blend of seasoned veterans and young players who are a great fit together. Kansas City also has tremendous bullpen strength which is a great foundation for the future. Look no further than the Yankees during late 1990’s and 2000’s.

For all I know, the Royals will do just as the 2006 Tigers did in the World Series which was completely tank but this team just seems different. Win or lose, I think we are starting to see the changing of the guard in the American League Central.

Jeter Plays Final Game in Pinstripes Today

Today is Jeter's final game in Yankee Stadium

“Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you…”

When I hear that lyric from Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” I think of a time when our sports’ heroes were as genuine as you could possibly find. Baseball has always been the most pure sport in the history of sports in my opinion which is why it was so difficult to see the steroid era come.

The point in time wrecked baseball forever for a lot of people and some have never returned to it the way we hoped they would. I can’t blame them one bit either.

Later today, another New York Yankee will play his final game in Yankee Stadium 63 years after the Yankee Clipper played his last game in pinstripes. Derek Jeter will end his home career as Yankee after 20 years with the Bronx Bombers.

When DiMaggio left, there was Mickey Mantle. Who replaces Derek Jeter for the Yanks?

That 1951 season in New York ended with the Yanks defeating the New York Baseball Giants in six games for the World Series title. While it was also DiMaggio’s final season, it was also the first season for young kid from Oklahoma named Mickey Mantle.

As I write this today I cannot tell you that there is another player on the Yankees current roster who will fill Jeter’s shoes the way Mantle did with DiMaggio but who knows? Perhaps that player is in the minors right now awaiting the call.

I’ve mentioned before that Jeter would not likely be what he is had he played for any other team. The Yankees are majesty after-all and as much as I despise them I cannot deny what they mean to baseball. Consider that when the Yankees retire Jeter’s number two jersey, the Yankees will have retired every single-digit number worn in their history.

The relevance and importance of Jeter goes beyond being a Yankee though that certainly does help. There is no player who has conducted himself more professionally from day one of his career through today the way Jeter has.

Jeter never referred to late Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner by anything other than “Mr. Steinbrenner.” It didn’t matter how many titles Jeter had brought to his owner either, that level of respect never changed.

In an era where players hit routine ground balls and rarely get to first base before heading back to the dugout, Jeter ran out every ground ball and every pop-fly. Through 20 years, his two significant injuries, a shoulder and an ankle, both occurred while attempting to make a play.

We will never know what kind of career Derek Jeter would have had had he played in Detroit or Cincinnati or San Diego but common sense tells us it wouldn’t have been as sparkling.

Was he as talented as Ken Griffey, Jr or Barry Bonds? No, I don’t believe he was. Those guys would have instantly made their teams contenders whomever they played. Jeter was the perfect player at the perfect time for the Yankees who were really not built with superstars.

Their five titles during his career were built on good players who played great when it mattered and Jeter was the star who shone most brightly. He is the end of an era in New York and while there are certain to be more, the question is when.

Jeter was the guy who guided purists through the dark ages of the steroid era and that is why there is so much respect and admiration for him.

As he puts on the pinstripes for the final time, I join millions in tipping my hat to him while asking “Where have you gone Derek Jeter?”

Here’s the Latest on the Races in Major League Baseball



Buck Showalter has his Orioles just days away from an East Division title.

With about 14-15 games to go in the regular season of Major League Baseball, there are races that are just about to end and some that are about as close as they can get. Here’s a look at where we stand and who I like for the MVPs as well.


The surprising Baltimore Orioles have their magic number down to just three games as I write this and will clinch their first division championship since 1997 and have not won a pennant since 1983.

Toronto and New York are four and five games respectively out of a wild-card berth and unless something drastic happens neither will make the postseason. An unfortunate end to a great career for the Yankees’ Derek Jeter.


The Tigers swept the Cleveland Indians over the weekend to essentially knock them out of it. Detroit now has a 1.5 games lead over Kansas City who currently has a wild-card struggle with the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners.

The Royals and Tigers will meet for three more games later this week in Kansas City and each still have series’ left with Cleveland and the White Sox.


The LA Angels had their ten-game winning streak snapped Sunday but they lead the division by an amazing 10 games over Oakland. The A’s and Mariners are both still well alive for wild-card berths with only the Detroit/KC loser perhaps being a factor. Whether the Mariners make the postseason or not, Manager Lloyd McClendon should garner serious consideration for Manager of the Year honors. 

AL Picks: Orioles, Tigers, Angels. WCs Royals and A’s.

AL Pennant: Angels


I'm not at all surprised that Williams has the Nationals on the verge of a division title.


The Washington Nationals ran away and hid with this division in the second half of the season and currently lead the Atlanta Braves by 10.5 games. The Braves are currently four games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates for the final wild-card spot.

NL Central

Milwaukee has had a rough second half of the season and has dropped to third in the division. St. Louis currently leads the Pirates by 3.5 games for the division lead. Pittsburgh and St. Louis will not see each other anymore down the stretch.

The Brewers can control their own destiny with series against both St. Louis and Pittsburgh in the final 15 games.


The San Francisco Giants have hung tougher than I thought they would with their rivals to the south. The LA Dodgers have a three game lead over the Giants and will entertain them for three more games next week.

At this time, San Francisco would need a major collapse to miss out on the playoffs altogether.

NL Picks: Nationals, Cardinals, Dodgers. WCs Pirates and Giants.

NL Pennant: Nationals


I’ll start in the National League where there shouldn’t even be a vote. Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw will run away with the Cy Young Award and should also take the MVP prize as well.

On Sunday, he picked up his 19th win and gave up just two runs. Amazingly, his ERA actually went up to 1.70 for the season. Others in the discussion would include Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, Giancarlo Stanton of Miami and Jonathan Lucroy of the Brewers.

This is Kershaw’s year though.

In the junior circuit, the competition might be just as poor with Mike Trout on the cusp of finally getting the MVP Award after finishing twice behind Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera.

There are cases to be made for Oakland’s Josh Donaldson or Kansas City’s Alex Gordon but I don’t know how anyone catches Trout who deserves the award as much as anyone in recent memory.

Richard Sherman Speaks the Truth and the MLB Races Have About a Month to Go

Even if you don't like Richard Sherman you have to appreciate his honesty.

Seattle Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman is a lightning rod plain and simple. If you took  a survey of 100 football fans you’d probably get half that love him and half that hate him but I like Sherman for one reason; he speaks his mind.

Sherman did just that when he basically became the first active player to say what I’ve been saying for years now about the direction of the National Football League. In a Sunday Night Football interview with NBC’s Josh Elliott Sherman was asked about all the penalties on defensive backs this preseason. His response:

all the illegal contact calls this preseason were due to the NFL feeling the pressure from advertisers and sponsors. “When the fantasy football numbers need to be what they need to be, then the league needs to do what it needs to do to get it done,” Sherman said. “This is a money-driven league, so whatever sells the tickets is gonna sell the tickets.”

There it is. Finally a player has said what all of us have pretty much known for years. The whole ‘player safety’ issue was actually just an attempt to limit the defense so offenses could score more points. The NFL masked it with the whole concussion lawsuit. I’m all for making the game safer but let’s be real too.

More offense means more fantasy points which means more fantasy players which means more people watching the NFL. Fantasy football owners don’t want to see 10-7 games. The horror!!!!

I appreciate Sherman being himself and supporting what we all know to be true. Unfortunately it won’t do anything to slow down this machine that Roger Goodell has created. Get ready to see more scoring and more offensive numbers skyrocketing out of sight.

Manager Buck Showalter has the Orioles firmly in first place in the AL East.

Baseball Has About a Month to Go

Most  Major League Baseball teams have about 30 games to go and some of the races are fulfilling the promise I have had all season long.

Starting in the American League, the East Division has seen Baltimore quietly take a six-game lead over the New York Yankees. Toronto is eight back and Tampa Bay is 10 games back.

In the Central, the incredibly hot Kansas City Royals lead the injury-riddled Detroit Tigers by two games. Hovering in the distance are the Cleveland Indians who are six games back. The Royals have won seven of ten and continue to be among the best teams in baseball since the All-Star Break.

In the AL West, the LA Angels have a one game lead over the Oakland A’s after beating the A’s last night. Seattle is lurking at six games back but their eyes on the wild-card. Currently, the wild-cards are Oakland and the Mariners with the Tigers just a game back. New York is three and a half back.

In the senior circuit, the NL East has seen a once close race fall apart. The Washington Nationals have won nine of ten and have a commanding eight game lead over the Atlanta Braves.

The NL Central has seen some separation with the Milwaukee Brewers hanging on to a 1.5 game lead over St. Louis. Pittsburgh has fallen off the pace however and is now five full games behind the Brewers following a streak where the Pirates have won just three of ten.

The NL West is a two-team race. The LA Dodgers have a 4.5 game lead of rival San Francisco. San Diego has dropped to 12.5 games back. The Giants and Dodgers have six games remaining against each other with three each at home.

The National League Wild-Card is much more exciting. The Cards and Giants hold the two spots right now but Atlanta (1GB), Pittsburgh (1.5GB) and the Marlins (4GB) are within shouting distance.

The World Cup is Almost Over; MLB Races are Fantastic

I really hope the World Cup Final doesn't come down to a shootout. That's no way to settle the 'World's Greatest Championship."

The day I’ve been waiting for over the last month is finally here. The World Cup Final is today! I’m not celebrating the game itself, I’m celebrating the fact that this nonsense will be over. I’ve violated my own mantra on a couple of occasions by even writing about it but now I get to bask in the glory of it being over for another four years.

If you wonder why I despise ‘futbol’ so much a lot of it has to do with the over-saturation of it. ABC/ESPN will have a two-hour pregame today which seems a bit much. Heck, I even hate the six-hour Super Bowl pregame so two hours of soccer is about the equivalent of that in my mind.

I really don’t have anything against soccer players. They are tremendously talented and extremely conditioned athletes but that leads me to part of the problem I have with soccer. If the World Cup Final ends in a shootout today then I believe it to be a travesty. If these guys are so well-conditioned  then why are they not playing until someone scores?

Can you imagine the Stanley Cup Final being decided by a shootout? Ugh…

Oh… Is it too much to ask soccer players that when they score a goal they actually run to their teammates and celebrate rather than do everything they can to celebrate individually? Athletes in other sports are guilty of this as well but it’s abundantly obvious what soccer players are doing when they score and that’s to celebrate “me” rather than with “we.”

Of course as little scoring as there is in soccer I guess I can’t beat them up too much.

Andrew McCutchen hit homers in the ninth and eleventh innings to carry the surging Pirates to a win last night.

MLB Races Are Heating Up

While you’ve been inundated with World Cup and LeBron James coverage, Major League Baseball has been cruising along. When you open up the standings tomorrow morning you’ll notice that in five of the six divisions are about as hotly contested as you can get.

Take the National League Central for instance where four of the five teams are within 2.5 games of each other. St. Louis and Milwaukee are tied, the Reds are a game and a half back while the surging Pittsburgh Pirates have closed to within that 2.5 I mentioned.

In the National League West, the San Francisco Giants and LA Dodgers are separated by a single game and in the NL East, Atlanta and Washington are tied at the top.

In the Junior Circuit, we find the only divisional race that is not close and that’s the Central where the Detroit Tigers have stretched their lead over Kansas City to 7.5 games by winning five straight games and seven of their last ten.

The AL East has seen the surging Baltimore Orioles take a three-game lead over Toronto. The Yankees are four games out but received some bad news this week. Their ace Masahiro Tanaka is out for some time with an elbow injury. The team is hoping rehab will do the trick rather than surgery.

Two of baseball’s biggest disappointments also reside in the AL East where Tampa Bay and the defending champion Red Sox are both 9.5 games out of first.

The AL West has turned into a very nice race after it looked like Oakland might run away with it early. Even though the A’s have won seven of ten, the LA Angels have won nine of ten and trail Oakland by just a game and a half.

At this point, the races in MLB deserve your attention. Once your done doing your ‘Ole’ cheers that is.

Sleeping Fan Lawsuit Has Little Merit

sleeping fan
sleeping fan
This gentleman is suing ESPN and MLB for commenting negatively on his 4th inning nap.

You don’t know Andrew Rector but there’s a good chance you’ve seen Andrew Rector in the last few days if you’re a sports’ fan. Rector is the man who is now suing ESPN and Major League Baseball for $10 million for defamation. What did these two monstrous entities do to the 26-year old Rector?

Rector was in attendance at the April 13th Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game in Yankee Stadium when he was spotted by ESPN cameramen sleeping during the top of the fourth inning of a 2-1 game. ESPN announcers Dan Shulman and John Kruk both made comments about Rector which he claims were part of an “unending verbal crusade.”

OK, OK… Let’s break this phrase down for a second here. First of all, the term ‘unending’ means that something will never end. This came to an end in a matter of seconds and immediately went back to the game. Secondly, the term ‘verbal’ is appropriate so Rector has both ESPN and MLB there doesn’t he? Lastly, the term ‘crusade’ refers to military operations during the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries in an effort to spread Christianity.

While I realize ‘crusade’ is often used in different ways today in the 21st, gimme a freaking break.

John Kruk isn't exactly a picture of health himself, but his comments were not unlike those of others in his situation.

Has Mr. Rector considered who it was that was poking fun at him? John Kruk isn’t exactly a picture of health people. Kruk is a long-time ESPN Baseball Analyst who often looks as though he just left a van down by the river, stopped for a couple beers and a donut, then headed off to work.

This isn’t too far from how he looked during his playing career mostly with the Philadelphia Phillies. In essence, this was the pot calling the kettle black. This is far from the first time that TV announcers have commented on fans in the stands at sporting events.

Perhaps you remember Brent Musberger basically falling in love during the 2013 National Championship Game between Alabama and Notre Dame. The camera caught Bama quarterback A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend Katherine Webb and Musberger couldn’t stop talking about her. While Miss Webb is a great deal more attractive than Mr. Rector (just my opinion), she at least took advantage of her 15 minutes of fame and was seen just about everywhere there was to be seen.

I’m of the opinion that maybe Mr.Rector should have taken advantage of his situation. For all the attention he received, he should have run with it but he has chosen the ‘American way out’ by suing. It’s his right but going after $10 million based on ‘defamation’ just isn’t going to happen. The announcers in this case were just expressing what they saw and that’s hardly defamation.

My question for Mr. Rector is this; why are you falling asleep during the fourth inning of a game you are attending? I get falling asleep at home in your easy chair or on your couch but at the game? I would be curious to know how much Mr. Rector paid for his seats. Granted, this year’s version of the Bronx Bombers isn’t exactly the 1927 Yankees but tickets to a Red Sox game are still pretty pricey.

In other words, that was one expensive nap for Mr. Rector.

In all seriousness, if Mr. Rector was truly embarrassed and felt shamed then I feel bad for him but only for a moment. When we as fans enter a stadium in any major professional sport their overall expectation of privacy goes out the window. A fan should realize this immediately when they are patted down or forced through a metal detector.

My belief is that Mr. Rector’s lawsuit will be tossed out rather quickly as it should be.

The Latest Odds on American League Division Winners

Edwin Encarncion leads the league with 24 homers but can he lead the Blue Jays to an East Division Title?

The latest odds from our friends at Bovada are out on Major League Baseball’s division winners. Today I’ll be looking at the American League. I’ll give you a breakdown on whether the current leaders are safe bets and whether or not there are teams to consider that could be serious contenders down the stretch.

AL East

Toronto +140

NY Yankees +200

Baltimore +250

Boston +800

Tampa Bay +6600

The Blue Jays have played well in stretches but they’ve also benefited from disappointing seasons from the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays. What will be interesting is whether the Red Sox will feel they are close enough to a playoff a spot a month from now to warrant making some moves.

The Rays have already started discussions about moving pitching ace David Price according to ESPN’s Buster Olney but the Rays haven’t gone that far yet. There’s very little chance Tampa Bay is going to make the playoffs so getting rid of Price sooner rather than later makes sense. St. Louis is rumored to be a leading contender to gain his services.

While Baltimore has been fairly impressive this season the real team to watch is New York. The biggest reason is that they will go out and get talent regardless of price to make a return to the playoffs. At this point, I like New York to catch the Jays for the division.

Anibal Sanchez has been great for Detroit since his arrival.

AL Central

Detroit -400

Kansas City +350

Cleveland +800

Chicago +5000

Minnesota +5000

Just when I start to think the Tigers are going to let everyone back in the AL Central Division race then rip off more wins. This is exactly what the Tigers have done as they’ve won seven straight heading into last night’s action. It wasn’t that long ago they lost three of four to the Royals and found themselves in second place.

Detroit now has a 4.5 game lead and Kansas City has stumbled going just 4-6 in their last ten games. Cleveland is 6.5 back but I’m just not sure how serious to take the Indians. They lack consistent starting pitching and while the team is fourth in the AL in hitting, it just hasn’t been enough.

Minnesota is 8.5 back and has lost three straight. This isn’t surprising because the youth movement is on in the Twin Cities and everyone knows it. The White Sox are a little different. They might even be disappointing to put it mildly and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Manager Robin Ventura in some hot water as the season progresses.

I think the Tigers will have some issues especially in the bullpen in the second half of the season, but I like them as a lock for the division title.

AL West

Oakland -250

LA Angels +225

Seattle +750

Texas +5000

Houston +20,000

I’m going to tell you right now that I’m not taking the Astros to catch the Oakland A’s but I like the improvement that is happening in Houston.

Speaking of Oakland, they have a 3.5 game lead over the Angels right now in the West. Both teams have gone 7-3 over their last ten games but the Angels have won six straight games. The A’s lead the American League in both hitting and pitching so it’s no surprise they are leading the West. The Angels aren’t far behind in either category so I like this race to continue into the early fall.

Seattle has managed to stay close and is just 6.5 games back but will they have the horses to contend down the stretch? Texas has been hit too hard by injuries and has had really poor pitching. I don’t see them being a factor.

I believe Oakland will hang onto this division but I also like the Angels to get a Wild-Card.


Keys to Betting Baseball as the Summer Heats Up

Billy Butler and the Royals have been red-hot and now find themselves in first place in the AL Central.

As I mentioned last weekend, we have arrived at the moment in in the sports’ world where the calendar is void of three of the four major professional sports in America. The NBA Finals and NHL Stanley Cup Finals are history and the NFL now heads into a relative dormant period before training camps get going.

That means all eyes turn to baseball and if you are going to do some wagering on what some still believe is America’s Pastime then you need to be aware of several things before you do.

Right now, any game that Verlander starts, I'm suggesting the over.

Pitching Match-Ups – These are vital for more than just the obvious win-loss records. If you’re going to take you’re baseball betting seriously then you need to look at recent trends as well. Typically most sites offer you the pitcher’s most recent three starts and I advise you pay special attention to those.

Last week, Justin Verlander was starting the opening game of an important four-game series at home against the Kansas City Royals. His record was a very un-Verlander like 6-6 but his recent starts revealed an even worse stretch where he’d given up six plus runs in his last three starts. With the Royals coming in on a seven-game winning streak, it was almost too easy to go with the Royals.

Verlander was again hit hard and was sent packing with another loss.

Over/Under – If you’re going to play the over/under on Major League Baseball games then obviously you need to see the pitching match-up section above. You will however need to go a step further and analyze the batting stats for each team as well. What made choosing against Verlander easy was his recent record, but also was the hot hitting of the Royals.

Taking it a step further, pay attention to the ball park the teams are playing in as well. Is it a stadium that gives up lots of home runs? Does it have a lot of foul territory? What is the ERA of visiting pitchers?

If you find yourself looking at a game where two very good pitchers at opposing one another then you are probably best suited to take the under. Conversely, if two guys who have struggled are taking the hill then the over is probably your best play.

Regardless of the pitchers, you still need to check out the pertinent stats from both the hitting and ball park perspectives.

Win/Loss Trends – I’m a big believer in looking at teams’ records over their last ten games. The problem is that too often we just want to take the win/loss record over that stretch and run with with but it isn’t that easy. You have to also consider the opposition that the team faced over that ten-game stretch.

If the Yankees for instance go 9-1 that’s great. But who did they play over that span? If they knocked off Oakland, Toronto and Detroit over that time then you have yourself a legitimate ten game stretch. If the Yankees are knocking off the sisters of the poor then you should probably reconsider a bit before wagering on them. This of course depends upon who the opponent is too.

The most important thing you can do if you’re going to wager a single MLB game or series is put in the time. Sports betting success does not come easy and requires time. Checking into the three things I mentioned above will help you considerably, but there is no end to the stats and trends you could and should consider.

MLB Predictions for 2014

Max Scherzer has put his contract talks on the back burner as he looks to defend is Cy Young title.

I guess the 2014 Major League Baseball season actually started last week wen the Dodgers took two from the Diamondbacks down in Australia but I certainly don’t recognize that and I’m guessing you don’t either. If Major League Baseball wants to really get the fans involved then they’d do more to make Opening Day a bigger deal.

Last night was technically opening day in the US and the game again featured the Dodgers. Today, is the real Opening Day as it always should have been. Here is my take on the upcoming season.

American League

The Boston Red Sox are your defending World Series Champions and their defense will be anything but easy. Within their own division, the rival Yankees have restocked by pilfering Jacoby Ellsbury from them. The Tampa Bay Rays will be just as much of a threat in the East and I believe this is your division winner with one exception.

If the injury bug hits Evan Longoria and others again then the Rays will suffer. Otherwise, I like them to win the division. Both Boston and New York will vie for the wild-card spots and very likely could grab both but New York has health issues too that could cost them.

In the Central, the Detroit Tigers should again win the division yet I expect it to be another struggle to put away both Cleveland and rising Kansas City. Although the Tigers said goodbye to Prince Fielder, the line-up should remain strong and so too should the pitching staff. Kansas City will again be better and I believe will be a threat to both the Tigers and the AL wild-card race.

Cleveland has been able to hang around a bit in recent years and should do so again but I still anticipate a two, if not one, team race in the American League Central Division.

The West should be better overall with the additions that have happened in Seattle, but I still expect the Oakland A’s to take the division behind really good hitting and perhaps even better pitching. Texas will be a threat as they welcome Fielder to the line-up but how far can the pitching take them?

The Angels will have to be better in the pitching department in order to be a factor in the West. The offense will ride with Mike Trout but will Albert Puljos and Josh Hamilton be able to stay healthy for a full season?

AL Predictions: East – Rays, Central – Tigers, West – A’s, Wild-Cards Red Sox, Royals, AL Champs – A’s

National League

The NL East still runs through Atlanta until the Washington Nationals can prove that they can knock the Braves from their perch. I expect that this division will be a dogfight all season long and I expect that it goes down to the wire between these two. Philadelphia is a potential threat but a lot as to go right.

The Central Division gave us a wonderful race last year with the Cardinals edging out the Pirates for the division title. The two teams then gave us a great five-game series before the Cards eventually advanced. I expect St. Louis to do well again and because the Prates did little in the offseason, I see a step back for them. Cincinnati could be a threat here too.

The West is going to be the Dodgers and everyone else. This doesn’t mean the Giants and D-Backs can’t be threats but I just don’t see how anyone will be able to hang with LA for 162 games with the pitching and hitting they currently have.

NL Predictions: East – Washington, Central – St. Louis, West – LA Dodgers, Wild-Cards – Atlanta, San Francsico