Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 8/30/15

Some observations from Week Three of the NFLx slate:

The Dallas Cowboys still look like they will no better than middle of the road on defense, especially with CB Scandrick gone for the year. I think they’re going to have to be a ball control offense to succeed and with no dominant RB on the roster, that’s going to be a challenge.

The Bills went 30/33 through the air against the Steelers. QB was considered the biggest concern for the Bills and that might still be the case. But Rex Ryan has to be pleased with what he’s seen so far. Meanwhile, it’s time for the Steelers to start worrying about their stop unit. Pre-season or not, those are some ridiculous numbers.

Miami is a contender if they stay healthy. Ryan Tannehill is starting to look like a savvy veteran, and this team’s first unit on both sides of the ball appears solid. No excuses for Joe Philbin if he can’t lead the Dolphins to a playoff berth.

The learning curve is going to be steep for Jameis Winston. The rookie Bucs QB was pretty bad as Tampa Bay got slammed by the Browns. The Bucs defense is going to log a whole lot of playing time this season.

AJ McCarron looked good for the Bengals as they beat the Bears. I’m not suggesting he’s about to take Andy Dalton’s job away, but McCarron is starting to look like a viable backup.

The 49ers are horrible on offense. But the defense played well again in keeping Peyton Manning out of the end zone and NaVorro Bowman looks like he’s all the way back to good health. Bowman was the best player on the field for either team on Saturday night as the Broncos picked up a somewhat sloppy win. The Denver offensive line looks lousy and if they can’t protect an aging Manning, it’s going to be decline time for the Broncos.

Melvin Gordon has been very unimpressive for the Chargers. I’m kind of shocked at how tentative Gordon has been and his numbers in the two games he’s played are very mediocre.

The Redskins were almost amazingly lucky in the first half of their game with the Ravens, with a couple of totally fluke plays resulting in big gains. But John Harbaugh has to be getting worried about his team, as Baltimore has simply not played well in the pre-season.

Then there’s the Eagles. Aside from the Tim Tebow experiment looking like a complete waste of time, this team looks downright dangerous. Yeah, the Packers went through the motions on Saturday night, but Sam Bradford looked like he was born to run Chip Kelly’s offense. Philly looks to me like the team to beat in the NFC East.

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Not a particularly good Saturday here, with the big swing being a rough loser on the Cowboys first half play. I was giving -2, and a late Vikings FG made the half land on one. Minnesota also had a 107-yard kickoff return, so this one falls into the bad beat landing zone, but the bottom line is that it made for a red ink day.

I doubt that I’ll be involved in either of the two remaining Week Three NFLx games, so my next football plays will be on Thursday when the colleges kick off. I’m going to have a heavy first week slate and fully expect to do very well. If you want in on the same exact games I’m on myself, released at the same time I play them, make sure to get in touch. All the costs and details explained in concise fashion, just shoot me an email at cokin@cox.net.

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My Ween Three NFLx free plays ended up showing a net loss of 0.1 units. The Broncos came through, but the half unit calls on the Steelers and Under were way off. Sunday’s comp is on the diamond.

ORIOLES (Gonzalez) at RANGERS (Holland)

Take: RANGERS -125

I’m going to lose my pre-season Under wager on the Rangers win total. I’m already resigned to that inevitability. This team has been an absolute stunner to me, as with the status of their pitching staff when I made the play, which was actually before the Yu Darvish injury, I really didn’t see them winning more than perhaps 70 games. But they’ve played some really solid ball thanks to what I think have to be called unexpected contributions from a few players and Texas has a real shot to still be playing in October.

One of the numerous pitchers on the shelf for much of the season has returned to the Texas rotation, and Derek Holland will be throwing for the Rangers today. The opposition will be provided by Miguel Gonzalez, who doesn’t shape up as a stopped for a Baltimore staff that needs a really good start in the worst way.

This is all team stuff as Holland has been so-so in his first two starts back, and therefore really doesn’t own an edge over Gonzalez. But the Orioles are in a miserable funk right now, having lost all but one of their last ten outings. The Birds have not been a good road team this year, and they’re simply not hitting very well right now.

I’m a little surprised to see this betting line where it is when considering present form. I made the price here Rangers -145 so I think we’ve got a bit of a bargain here. Don’t misread that into thinking this is some kind of slam dunk as even if my price is right, that’s still less than 60% when converting to odds rather than money line. But I have to think it’s not a bad value spot and it’s good enough to warrant some action on the Rangers side.

 

Dave’s Free Play, Saturday 8/29/15

I’m not going to be playing the Week Three NFLx neighborhood battle between the Redskins and Ravens. But it’s a game that I definitely want to watch for a variety of reasons. At the top of that list is checking out the performance of Washington QB Kirk Cousins.

In case you missed it, news broke on Friday that Robert Griffin III has not been cleared to play due to concussion symptoms. This is a late reversal on that count, as Griffin had practiced all week and had initially been cleared to play in this game. But upon further scrutiny of the neuropsychology data, RG III is now out and he won’t be retested for at least one week, perhaps two.

So Griffin’s status for the regular season opener is now very much in doubt, and the buzz is that Cousins has a real chance to seize the QB1 spot. Cousins has had a very good camp, flashing better movement in the pocket, and not making mistakes we’ve gotten accustomed to seeing from him. I want to see what Cousins does against a good first unit defense, and the Ravens should provide a good test as far as that goes.

I have to think there’s a real chance Cousins could now simply take away the job from RGIII. Let’s face it, Griffin has had an increasingly tough time staying on the field, and he also hasn’t been winning much. The Redskins have won just five games started by Griffin over the last two seasons combined. He has not learned to avoid absorbing big hits and unfortunately for Griffin, he looks like a guy who needs to be on the move to be at his best.

It’s kind of a shame, as Griffin was an incredibly fun and exciting QB to watch in his rookie year. But due to the injuries, Griffin’s growth as a signal caller his been seriously stymied, and I kind of get the feeling we’ve seen the best of RGIII already.

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A modest five-night run of plus days got halted on Friday, mostly thanks to Chad Henne. The Jaguars come from ahead loss to the Lions was frustrating to put it mildly. I split my two MLB plays, winning with the Indians and then seeing the woeful A’s blunder their way to another loss. So 1-2 on Friday and the intent will be to start a new positive stretch today.

Get all my personal plays this football season and the remainder of the baseball as well by subscribing to my gridiron package. There are no higher priced add ons at any time, and everyone gets all the selections exactly as I’m playing them myself. Full details available by emailing me directly at cokin@cox.net.

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The Athletics let another lead get away, this time to the Diamondbacks with a pair of passed balls in the same inning figuring into the disappointment as the free play went south. A little something different today as I’m splitting a one unit play on an NFLx game, going half unit on both the side and total.

STEELERS @ BILLS

Take: STEELERS +2.5 and UNDER 42.5

This is generally “dress rehearsal” week in the NFL pre-season, with starters playing most of the first half and occasionally into the third quarter. That will be the case for the majority of teams in action today, but the Buffalo Bills will evidently be an exception to that rule.

The Bills have cluster injuries at the skill positions on offense. Buffalo will reportedly be sitting all of the following: RB’s LeSean McCoy, Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown, as well as WR’s Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Percy Harvin and Chris Hogan. Head coach Rex Ryan is also starting EJ Manuel at QB. One never knows what Ryan has up his sleeve and he’s not saying, but all indications have been that Manuel is not a contender for the QB1 spot in Buffalo.

Perhaps that changes with a stellar showing by Manuel tonight. But the consensus seems to be that the Bills are going to go with what amounts to a vanilla game plan on offense tonight. In other words, it’s at least a possibility Ryan has decided that, in light of so many of the team’s top skill position guys not even dressing, he’s better off going with a backup under center as well.

Based on that information, I think an edge has to be accorded to the Steelers tonight as far as the game is concerned. I also think this leads to a worthwhile shot on the Total as well. If the Bills are going to run a simplified offense, that’s one thing. But Ryan figures to have the starters on defense logging plenty of plays here and that Buffalo stop unit will be facing a Pittsburgh offense that now has to live life without Maurkice Pouncey, who is expected to miss at least the first ten games of the season thanks to a broken fibula. The Buffalo defense looked very strong last week and they should be up for a good test against Big Ben and company tonight.

I’ll split one unit here, tabbing the Steelers minus the points against the patchwork Buffalo offense and I’ll also fire a half unit on this game to stay Under the number.

 

Dave’s Free Play, Friday 8/28/15

SuperContest weekend at the Westgate Las Vegas gets rolling this evening. This has become an annual event that, along with the contest itself, has grown each year, and it sounds like an overflow audience will be on hand tonight. I’ll be one of the panelists for the college football portion of the seminar, and I’m looking forward to talking about the upcoming season. The college seminar will be the kickoff for the event, which starts at 6PM Pacific. Hope to see you there!

No commentary today, but I’ll have the daily free play as always. Thursday worked  out well with a late add winner on the Rays and the comp play on the Cardinals also delivered. I’ve got three games already played for this weekend’s NFLx action, and as noted previously, I’m on seven Week One college games plus four NFL season O/U win props. Subscribers get all my plays across the board, and I’m including the rest of the baseball season for those buying the football. Get the rates and all the info that matters by emailing me at cokin@cox.net.

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The Cardinals completed a four-game sweep at Chase and provided a nice free play winner on Thursday night. I’ll head right back to the same site tonight in hopes of notching another victory.

ATHLETICS (Gray) @ DIAMONDBACKS (Anderson)

Take: ATHLETICS -117

This has been a bit of a nightmarish week for the Diamondbacks. Arizona had pushed its way above .500 and the Snakes were suddenly garnering a little attention as a possible contender in the NL West. Maybe it was just a dream after all. The D-Backs had a chance to make a big statement with the Cardinals in town for a four-game set. The Redbirds are now on their way to San Francisco with a 4-0 sweep in their pockets. As for the Diamondbacks, they’re now 8.5 out of first place in their division, and the Padres have caught them in the standings.

I think it’s going to be tough for the Diamondbacks to regroup, although I suppose the fact the A’s are in town might help some. But the wind has gone out of the Arizona sails at this point, and while there’s not likely to be any quit in this team, I don’t think this would be a great time to consider investing in the Snakes.

Making things even more difficult for the hosts tonight is the specter of Sonny Gray on the hill for Oakland. The A’s are a bad baseball team. But as is frequently the case, even lousy entries have a tendency to focus a little more when their ace is on the mound. Gray is clearly the #1 on this staff, and he figures to be tough on a team whose lineup hasn’t seen him and also is not exactly crushing the ball the last few nights.

Chase Anderson has been off an on for Arizona, and I won’t be surprised if he pitches a decent game tonight. None of the A’s have ever faced him and that is often an advantage for the pitcher. But Anderson doesn’t match up especially well head to head vs. Gray in the key categories and I give the Oakland ace a definite edge tonight.

There aren’t may spots where Oakland looks especially playable and the fact they’re road chalk here isn’t something that makes my mouth water with anticipation. But facing a pitcher of Gray’s caliber following what amounts to a disastrous outcome against the Cardinals is a bad deal for the Diamondbacks. I’ll be looking to cash a ticket with the Athletics tonight.

 

Dave’s Free Play, Thursday 8/27/15

Michael Vick is now a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and a handful of protesters aren’t happy about it. They showed up outside the team’s practice facility yesterday with signs and did interviews with the assembled media.

I understand that this was news of a sort, particularly on National Dog Day. As an animal lover, what Michael Vick did was reprehensible and thoroughly disgusting to me. But he definitely paid the price, having had to serve time in a federal penitentiary and losing a fortune in the process.

The protesters don’t think Vick should be allowed to play football. They don’t believe he deserves a second chance. One of the picketers, speaking with a television reporter, commented that in light of what he had done, Vick was incapable of being rehabilitated and she carried a sign that asked “would you let Michael Vick near your dogs?”

Apparently the Humane Society, which actually acts in the best interests of animals rather than carrying around signs and being a general nuisance, feels differently. Much to Vick’s credit, he has gotten involved with this outstanding organization and is now voluntary working to save canine lives.

What’s troubling to me about these protesters is their unwillingness to believe that rehabilitation is absolutely a reality when the individual with the problem wants to do something about it. Michael Vick did his time and there has never been any requirement for him to do anything but get on with his life as he sees fit. Yet, with no fanfare nor monetary benefit, Vick has gotten involved in doing something positive for his community and society in general.

The irony here is that we know troubled dogs can be rehabilitated. In fact, that’s precisely what happened with the majority of the Vicktory Dogs, many of whom ended up being adopted and enjoying life with a family. Yet these protesters apparently believe that what is possible for a dog evidently isn’t for a human being.

My advice for the protesters is to get rid of the stupid signs and actually do something that matters. Rather than show up at a football team’s practice facility in hopes of getting five minutes of air time, go volunteer at your nearest animal shelter. Then you’ll actually be doing something productive for the dogs. If Michael Vick can do that, so can you.

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2-1 again on Wednesday. I had late adds on the Nationals and Indians when the other sides got steamed, and split those two games. I was also on the Cardinals, which ended up being opposite a rush of sharp Diamondbacks dollars, but the Redbirds got the win.

I’m looking at perhaps three or four NFLx games this weekend, and have already played several Week One college clashes. My subscribers get all the plays, as there are no varying levels depending on how much money is spent. One size fits all as far as that goes. For complete details on my flat rates for football or my net winners program, simply email me directly at cokin@cox.net.

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I was on the Cardinals as a personal play last night and I’ll make a case to come right back with the Redbirds today.

CARDINALS (Martinez) @ DIAMONDBACKS (De La Rosa)

Take: CARDINALS -120

If you look at the last several starts for Carlos Martinez, it might appear on the surface that he is possibly wearing down a bit as his innings pile up. Over his last five outings covering 29.1 innings, Martinez has allowed 39 hits and 19 runs, all but three of which were earned.

But look beyond those base numbers and you might see a different story. Martinez is still keeping the baseball in the park. He has surrendered only two long balls in that quintet of starts. In fact, over his last 17 appearances, Martinez has only been homered on four times, which is pretty awesome. The BB/K ratio remains stellar with a 4/29 ledger in those five games. His ground ball rate remains steady and very impressive for the most part.

So what’s wrong? It’s very possible that the big problem recently for Martinez has been somewhat a result of lousy luck. His BABIP numbers in these last five starts, in defending order, are .350, .389, .364, .333 and .529. BABIP is not the pure gospel to be sure, but I believe it’s one of the better indicators as to why a pitcher might be winning or not.

Rubby De La Rosa is quietly doing some nice work for the Diamondbacks. I think my complaints directed toward now former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington regarding his deal De La Rosa away might turn out to be accurate. Rubby is still hittable, and needs to continue to improve his command, but he certainly looks like a pitcher who will fit nicely into the Diamondbacks rotation for next year and beyond.

As for the team elements, the Cardinals just keep winning baseball games, and to me they’re just a really tough outfit to try and beat. I wonder if the Diamondbacks might be feeling just a pinch of pressure. The Snakes have been way under the radar all season. But just over this last handful of days, it seems as though everyone just figured out this entry is still very much alive in the NL West. I think the D-Backs got their first taste of the marquee the last few nights and they promptly dropped three games to a team far more used to the spotlight.

There’s no great value here and there seldom is when the Cardinals are involved. But with Martinez due for what I believe is a bit pf positive progression and the St. Louis side already having three wins in the books, I’ll opt for the team with the good flow and I’ll side with the Cardinals for tonight’s free play.

Dave’s Free Play, Wednesday 8/26/15

No commentary today, but as always there’s a free play, and this one will be on an upcoming NFLx game.

Tuesday was okay here, winning two of three on the diamond. The Braves squandered numerous opportunities on offense, and compounded those missed chances with critical defensive miscues. The first four Rockies runs were all unearned and the fifth Colorado run was keyed by back to back wild pitches. The Angels held on to beat Detroit and I was on the right side of a big rally as the Mariners won, so a good day overall.

Get the goods on what’s in store for the new football campaign. So far, so good with an encouraging 7-3 NFLx opening. I’ll supply the rates and details on how everything works with my flat rate or net winners programs, just email me directly at cokin@cox.net.

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Here’s a look at one of this weekend’s exhibition battles where I see some reasons to give the points.

49ERS @ BRONCOS

Take: BRONCOS -5

The 49ers and Broncos should be quote familiar with one another by the time this game kicks of on Saturday evening. The two teams will be practicing together for a couple days, and this brings up an interesting point that coupled come into play this weekend.

I have to think there’s a built in advantage for the Broncos as lengthier than normal stays in that Mile High altitude are not generally the best thing for visiting teams. I’m not sure exactly wheat that’s worth, but I don’t think it can hurt my case for the Broncos.

This will be the first home game for Gary Kubiak as the head coach of the Broncos. So far this pre-season, the new coaches are a perfect 5-0 both straight up and against the line in those home debuts.

Peyton Manning quarterbacked four series last game for the Broncos and Denver ended up punting the ball away each time. This game might not count for anything that matters, but I don’t mind the idea of backing Manning off an outing that wasn’t very good, particularly;y by his lofty standards.

The 49ers scored a relatively easy 23-6 win over Dallas, but the result was really more a case of the Cowboys not caring at all about the game and flooding the field with third and fourth team personnel while still in the first quarter. This was not unexpected, as head honcho Jerry Jones had expressed concern about the turf condition, and Dallas played the game with zero intensity and from what I could tell, very little in the way of a game plan.

It’s also worth mentioning that even with what appeared to be little real prep work by the Cowboys, San Francisco was still unable to get into the end zone with their popgun offense. The 49ers have looked pretty good on the defensive side of the ball, but the offense has been very ragged and it’s not mere speculation to suggest this unit is going to be less than stellar once the games start to count.

I generally don’t like to give up more than a field goal with any pre-season favorites. But the check marks here keep showing up on the Denver side and at this point, I’ll be surprised if this is a close game. I’m looking to lay the points on Saturday night with the Broncos.

Dave’s Free Play, Tuesday 8/25/15

I have an idea for a brand new 24-hour network that could make for popular viewing on cable or satellite TV. Welcome to the Apology Network!

Hey, why not? There’s a network for just about everything already, but this one would have an endless supply of new content, thanks to the astonishing inability of people to comprehend that whatever they happen to say is probably being recorded by someone.

Cris Carter is the star of today’s Apology Network main event. Carter’s advice to first-year NFL players at the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium got discovered thanks to a recent ESPN The Magazine interview with former 49er Chris Borland. The gist of the speech was a suggestion by Carter to make sure there’s a “fall guy in your crew” in case legal trouble arises.

The irony is that it probably wasn’t bad advice for those players who feel the need to have a “crew”, but that’s not the point. It almost seemed as though Carter was endorsing the concept of players going this route, and that’s kind of stupid to begin with.

Carter’s apology was more ridiculous than the actual “advice”, as among his comments was this tidbit.

“It’s not the kind of advice I would offer young people.” Okay, except that’s exactly what you did, Cris.

Here’s what’s even more hilarious, however. The NFL quickly issued a statement condemning the Carter remarks. Typical vanilla stuff, you know the basic words without even reading them. But the laugh riot here is that this video was found at NFL.com, where it had been archived for some time, as this wasn’t a recent entry. It’s important to note that this was from the 2014 symposium, not one that had just taken place.

Perhaps the NFL needs to also issue a mea culpa for archiving videos they clearly never bothered to even look at.

The bad news for me is that I just realized there’s no real need for implementation of my otherwise brilliant idea for the Apology Network. It already exists, it just goes by another name. That would be the NFL Network.

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Short card for me on Monday, but it worked out nicely thanks to Kris Bryant launching a game winning homer for the Cubs. A little more depth on the Tuesday slate, with two games already played and a couple others likely to make the cut.

The NFL pre-season has been nice so far with a 7-3 slate. You’ll get all my plays in college and pro football right through the Super Bowl by subscribing to my service, and I’m including the rest of the baseball season as a bonus. Get all the details as weekly as the costs by emailing me directly at cokin@cox.net.

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The Royals came through as the Monday free play. Tuesday’s comp is one of the meaningless games on the MLB slate, but it sure won’t be that for those wagering on the outcome.

ROCKIES (Bettis) @ BRAVES (Foltynewicz)

Take: BRAVES -106

Mike Foltynewicz is still getting starts for the Braves, in spite of being mostly terrible. Foltynewicz certainly has the look of a pitcher who’s ultimate destination is late inning relief. But with the Braves not in contention for anything other than a high pick in the 2016 draft, I guess they might as well see if he can harness his command and prove to have worth as a starting pitcher.

I’m mentioning this because I’m taking the Braves here in spite of Foltynewicz. There’s really no way to make a good case for him, and admittedly he’s the big concern I have with this selection. But other aspects I see favor the Braves enough to warrant looking at their side as the right side tonight.

Chad Bettis has pitched very well in a pair of minor league rehabs as he prepares to come off the disabled list. In another season of disappointment for the Rockies, Bettis has actually provided something positive. But this is is his first start off the DL and I wouldn’t think that Bettis will be extended here as there’s simply no point in the Rockies taking any risk with a pitcher who profiles as a rotation member for 2016.

That means a good likelihood of at least three innings for the hapless Rockies bullpen, and perhaps more than that. The Braves aren’t exactly lights out when it comes to their bullpen, but they’re aces compared to the arms populating the Rockies relief corps.

It should also be noted that I’d be surprised if Carlos Gonzalez plays tonight for the visitors. CarGo tweaked his knee last night and had to leave the game. Given his very lengthy injury history, it seems unlikely we’ll see him in action tonight. That’s a major hit for the Rockies attack as Gonzalez has been on a tremendous tear and even if it’s just one game, that’s a big potential hope in the Colorado lineup.

The Braves have not been good at all lately, but they did snap their losing streak last night. The idea of playing against Colorado on the road in the even money neighborhood is appealing. Foltynewicz is a huge risk to be sure, but at this price and factoring in the aforementioned material, I’ll make a case for the Braves as tonight’s free play.

Dave’s Free Play, Monday 8/24/15

The college and NFL regular seasons are now just around the bend. That means it’s contest entry time here in Nevada. There is a wide ranging variety of action for every type of fan. You name it. you can find it, whether it’s a low priced deal where no spreads are involved, or the high roller tournaments with four figure entry fees and huge cash prizes for the winners.

The Supercontest at the Westgate has exploded nationally. Estimates are that there could be upwards of 2000 participants this season, which means a prize pool approaching or perhaps even topping $3 million. The Supercontest is NFL sides only, with each participant choosing five plays each week, and the spreads are the same for everyone.

The Golden Nugget has turned its Friday Football Showdown from what had been a 16-entry field to a wide open event where anyone can enter for $2000. This contest is seven selections each week, with all boarded college and NFL sides and totals available. One point is awarded for each correct play, with a designated weekly best bet worth two points. Everyone plays the first eight weeks. Once those eight weeks are in the books, the eight leaders will move on to a head to head format, leading to a championship round between the two final survivors.

We’re thrilled to be featuring the Westgate each Tuesday on The Las Vegas Sportsline (weekdays 2-3 PM Pacific, ESPN 1100/100.9 FM), as well as having the Golden Nugget with us on Fridays each week. Matt Youmans and myself are the show hosts, and we hope you’ll join us every day for what will hopefully be some entertaining and informative sports gambling conversation.  Those Friday shows will feature contestants in the Golden Nugget event, and we will be the exclusive home for all the head to head action once that gets underway.

These are truly international events, as anyone can enter. But there’s one catch, which is that the plays have to be posted in person. Obviously, that’s not possible for most people not living in Las Vegas, and that’s where proxies come into play. There are numerous folks who provide this service for a fee and it’s perfect for those who want to enter but can’t get to the casinos to enter their plays each week.

That leads to the topic today, which has to do with whether or not it’s okay for proxies to also be contestants. There’s some divided opinion on this subject. For some, it’s not a big deal. For others, there are concerns about whether it’s ethical. I’ll weigh in with my views.

Personally, if I were to utilize a proxy, I would prefer that it be someone who is not a contest participant. I think there’s an advantage to be both a proxy and an entrant. My rationale here is simple enough. If I’m a proxy who’s also playing, and I’m entering plays for, just to take a random number, 50 clients, I like the idea of knowing what the hot hands are on, as well as what those who might be stone cold are playing.

Don’t get me wrong, that info is hardly a sure thing in terms of having an edge. Player A who’s on fire, can turn into a cooler and Player B can suddenly go from fade city to red hot. But if you’re asking me whether I’d like to have access to that information, the answer is yes. Moreover, and here’s where there’s a bit of an ethical slippery slope, let’s bring into the conversation a late season scenario.

I’m a proxy who’s also playing and I’ve got a shot at getting paid based on my record to date. Ditto for a handful of the players I’m proxying for. My having their plays is now a huge advantage. I’m not speaking from an analytical standpoint here, that really doesn’t matter. But if I’m competing for a big prize and I know what my prospective competition is playing before I put in my own plays, that’s big advantage me and thank you very much.

My conclusion is that proxying and also entering is not unethical, but it’s incumbent upon the proxy to inform prospective clients that they are indeed entering the contest themselves. That way, it’s up to the contestant. If it doesn’t matter, then no problem. If it does, as it would to me to be perfectly candid, then find a proxy who is providing the service but not participating in either event.

Just for the record, I’m not in either contest. Station policy prohibits my participation as the contest hosts are also sponsors of our show. Nor am I a proxy as there’s zero chance I’d want that responsibility.

Got thoughts on this topic? Feel free to offer your views on Twitter where I can be found @davecokin.

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Okay Sunday as the 49ers were an easy choice (thanks, Jerry Jones) and the ridiculous Blue Jays obliterated the Angels after falling behind 5-1. The free play on the Rays got beat as the wrong bullpen collapsed, at least from my perspective.

I added another college football opening week play yesterday, so that count is now at seven, all sides. I’ve also played four NFL season O/U win totals. My service has no varying levels, so everyone gets all the plays. If you’d like info on what I provide and the costs involved (both flat rates and net winners available), shoot an email my way at cokin@cox.net and I’ll get right back with all the pertinent info.

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No bueno on the Rays as the Sunday free play. I’ll go the home chalk route for the Monday comp.

ORIOLES (Jimenez) @ ROYALS (Medlen)

Take: ROYALS -129

I’ll have to admit to a rooting interest here. I really hope Kris Medlen is able to return to the outstanding level he was pitching at prior to having his second Tommy John surgery. Yeah, the recovery rate these days is outstanding. But it’s still a bitch of a rehab according to everyone who’s had to go through it. Having to clear both the physical and mental hurdles involved with multiple procedures has to be a little bit brutal. So I think it’s great that Medlen has returned to action and I hope he gets all the way back.

So far, so good for Medlen. His first relief outing was gnarly as he surrendered four runs. But since that ugly debut as a Royal, Medlen has put together a nifty 11 inning scoreless streak where he’s given up just six hits. Moreover, his velocity is back to pre-injury levels. There might be a decline tonight as he transitions from the pen back to the rotation and pacing himself enters the picture. But it really does appear as though it could be all systems go for Medlen.

Good luck trying to figure out which Ubaldo Jimenez shows up. Good Ubaldo can shut down anyone when the command is there. U-Bad-O is always a possibility as well, and of late we’re seeing a bit more of that Jimenez version.

The Orioles head to Kansas City off a disastrous weekend as they were swept at home by the supposedly dead in the water Twins. Going 0-4 against Minnesota and now having to hit the road to play the Royals? Not exactly ideal.

I’m not about to throw dirt on the Orioles and suggest their playoff chances are toast. But they took a big hit this weekend and Jimenez is just not a stopper. Medlen should be completely geared up for his first start and I like his chances of giving me five good innings before yielding to the Royals bullpen. Kansas City is in great shape to land home field advantage for the AL playoffs, but this not a team that that looks as though they’re about to go into coast mode. I think the price is reasonable enough to make the Royals an acceptable choice this evening.

 

 

 

Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 8/23/15

The Eagles blew out the Ravens by a 40-17 count on Saturday night. But the buzz following this game had nothing to do with the final score.

Sam Bradford was making his debut at QB for the Eagles and on just the sixth Philadelphia offensive play of the game, something took place that is now generating plenty of conversation.

The Eagles ran a read-option play and Ravens pass rusher Terrell Suggs went low on Bradford after he passed the ball. With this being the first game action for Bradford since tearing his ACL last season, the question being asked is whether Suggs was targeting the knee or just trying to make a play.

Suggs drew a penalty for roughing the passer courtesy of referee Jerome Boger. I don’t think there’s any question the flag being thrown bolsters the argument of many, although not all of the Eagles that this was an orchestrated cheap shot on the part of Suggs.

I really can’t offer a sound opinion as to whether Suggs was trying to injure Bradford. He says he wasn’t, and in fact Suggs argued with Boger about the penalty, claiming he made a legal play. Bradford took the high road and simply said it was part of the game.

Here’s my question. We have a commissioner who has been more than willing to mete out punishment as he sees fit on a wide variety of infractions committed, both on and off the field. Since there was a penalty flag thrown on what some definitely seem to think was a dirty play, isn’t this something that Roger Goodell has to take a look at?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way endorsing any punishment for Suggs beyond the penalty he was assessed. But since Goodell is the one who started the ball rolling on what has become an increasingly slippery slope, then it kind of follows that he has to take a look at this and get statements from those involved, particularly the referee, as to whether there was anything intentional here or whether it was just, as Bradford suggests, part of the game.

Just in case you’re missing my point here, this ties in to my entire longstanding problem with Goodell acting as judge and jury for way too long, and completely screwing things up in the process. He never should have been doing this on his own from the outset. All of the major allegations going back to the Big Ben bar problem and Bountygate should have been sent to a committee that the commissioner might have appointed but not been actively involved in.

If something like that existed, this Suggs/Bradford episode could easily be reviewed. Instead, it’s a he said/he said deal with no resolution.

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1-2 here on Saturday. My NFLx record is now 6-3 with a miss on the Colts. The baseball continues to be a big disappointment since the All-Star break, and splitting two games for a virtual wash on Saturday didn’t help, although at least it didn’t hurt.

Get info on how to receive all my college and NFL plays for the new campaign by emailing me at cokin@cox.net. I’ve already played six college Week One games and also plunked down wagers on four NFL season O/U win totals that I like quite a bit, actually. Everyone gets the same plays, so to find out how everything works and the costs involved, just ask!

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The Mets blew up Chris Rusin for a relatively easy winner with the Saturday comp. Here’s Sunday’s free play.

RAYS (Odorizzi) @ ATHLETICS (Graveman)

Take: RAYS -120

Contending Tampa Bay tries to finish off a weekend sweep at Oakland. The Rays might be just one game above .500, but they’re only 1.5 games out of the playoffs as of right now, so this team is definitely in the hunt.

Jake Odorizzi should own an edge over Kendall Graveman here. If this gets decided late, Tampa Bay clearly owns an edge over the unreliable Oakland bullpen, which blew yet another save on Saturday night. Considering that Graveman has not been getting past six innings in nearly all of his recent starts, one has to think there’s a good chance that A’s relief corps gets a multiple innings assignment here, and that’s certainly not a good thing.

The Rays aren’t going to scare anyone with that offense. But this is a team that has managed to hang tough all season and Odorizzi has been a solid asset. He has allowed three or fewer runs in all but four of his starts this year. That’s a key here as odds are Odorizzi should deliver a quality start yet again. If that’s the case again this afternoon, I’m going to like Tampa Bay’s chances of getting the brooms out and dusting off the A’s yet again. The price is not prohibitive, so I’ll side with the Rays today.

Dave’s Free Play, Saturday 8/22/15

The Del Mar excursion is in the books, with the usual result. I’m as casual as it gets as far as the ponies are concerned, and really have few expectations of winning at the track. It’s a getaway for me as I love the ambience of not only the racetrack but the entire area. It’s as laid back as it gets, lots of good restaurants, and it’s always great to catch up with friends and family I don’t see on a regular basis. There’s also nearby La Jolla, which is always a treat, and moseying down to the rocks at the beach to hang out with seals is about as good as it gets for me.

As for the races, two days, two winners and a bunch of near misses, but that’s horse racing. Fortunately, one of the winners paid north of $25, so it wasn’t a substantial loss this time.

That’s it for my mini-journal as far as this vacation goes. Back to the regular daily grind. The baseball has not been good at all for me lately, so definitely need to pick up that pace. No beefs with the NFL pre-season, so the game plan there is to simply maintain. For those interested in obtaining all my plays in either or both sports, simply email me at cokin@cox.net and I’ll outline how everything works.

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I’ll side with an angle that I like for today’s free play, which is on the diamond.

METS (Niese) @ ROCKIES (Rusin)

Nice long term angle in play here. Rockies southpaw Rusin is off his first career complete game shutout and I like to go against pitcher in that situation.

There’s also no problem at all in trying to beat the Rockies when the opposition is throwing a southpaw. Jon Niese doesn’t have ideal stuff for Coors Field, so I would not be surprised if there are plenty of runs scored tonight. But considering how awful Colorado has been against lefties this season, the view from here is that the Mets should get the majority of the scores this evening.

This is going to be a very popular public side, but I can’t let that dissuade me from playing the visitors here. The Mets are playing with tremendous confidence right now as they continue to expand their lead in the NL East over the reeling Nationals. I’ll side with the Mets and Niese to maintain their winning ways with another victory tonight.