A weekend of fantastic football and bad bets by the coaches.
Two great teams faltered and were eliminated. Baltimore had the best team in the NFL this year. Lamar Jackson will be the league MVP, yet his coach, John Harbaugh, did not let him play his game. He has become a solid passer, but his greatness is still as a runner who can pass. But his coach called a game filled with passes, and Kansas City rushed him ferociously. The Ravens’ best receiver was coming off injuries and was limited in playing time. The Ravens committed too many key penalties, and a sure touchdown was fumbled just before the runner reached the end zone and recovered by the Chiefs.
The best team was out-coached and the amazing Patrick Mahones made no critical errors. KC knew how to win, and they are going to their fourth Super Bowl in six years.
In the second game, Detroit, finally in the playoffs, overwhelmed San Francisco in the first half, only to fold in the second half. The biggest mistake–which Detroit’s coach Dan Campbell will live with for the rest of his life–was choosing to go for the touchdown late in the game, down 10 points, rather than taking the sure field goal which would have enabled the Lions to have enough time to go for a TD to tie if they could stop the 49ers on their next set of downs. They failed to make the TD, and San Francisco ran out the clock. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful season for the Lions.
I don’t know about you, but I hate the prevalence of organized sports gambling. I can tolerate fantasy football–barely–but the omnipresent huckstering of sports gambling on radio and TV ruins the broadcasts. People who cannot afford it are invariably the losers. And to me, the NFL’s embrace of big-time gambling undermines the game’s integrity. I am surprised point-shaving seemingly has not yet happened.
A quarterback overthrows an open receiver. A kicker misses a field goal he can make in his sleep. An offensive tackle allows a rusher to smear the quarterback in a key situation. It will happen. Just a matter of when.
It is baseball season soon, and teams are taking huge gambles with trades and free agent signings. Fans wait with bated breath to see if big-name players will come to their team.
The Dodgers, with their seemingly endless funds, signed the Babe Ruth of our day, Shohei Ohtani, for $700 million, and most of it is deferred. Ohtani cannot pitch this year, but he should hit 40 homers to go with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman at the top of the lineup.
LA wins 100 games year after year yet rarely goes to the World Series. The beauty of sports is that the best team often does not win the championship. Last season, Atlanta and LA were the best teams, yet Arizona got hot late in the season and went to the World Series. Even signing the fabulous Ohtani and Shinobu Yamamoto, the best Japanese pitcher in years coming to America, the Dodgers are no cinch to win it all. Odds by ESPN BET currently have them as a favorite at +450.
It’s a long, long season.
And I can’t wait.
Go Cubbies! (Odds makers have them at +2500)
They say they have great young players on the verge of the Majors. I live in hope. It’s Baseball.
Questions: If you bet on sports, why?
What was the greatest bet you ever made? (doesn’t have to be about sports)