Cokin’s Corner, Wednesday 4/26/17

This will be the quickie blog for this week. Fast recap of Tuesday's action, and the Wednesday free play, which is actually an NHL series selection. I only played one game on Tuesday, and my team scored nine runs. So, must've been an easy winner, right? Uh, not quite. My side also gave up 19 runs, and lost two players to injuries in the process. Let's just say things are not going very well for the Seattle Mariners right now. The only thing I got right on this game was that Jordan Zimmermann was again ineffective for Detroit, and I remain convinced he's fade material. Obviously, I'd have been better off playing the Over in this particular game. Result duly noted and don't be surprised if I go that route next time Zim pitches for the Motowners. Here's my Wednesday free play, and note this is a SERIES selection. PREDATORS vs. BLUES Take: PREDATORS -125 (series) Jake Allen was absolutely incredible in leading the Blues past the Wild. And believe me, I'm well aware of the ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Tuesday 4/25/17

Okay, so I need to address a topic in the Las Vegas gambling circle that's getting loads of attention. Many of you reading this space are undoubtedly aware that a certain high visibility LV sports bettor has encountered some recent legal issues. I've been asked at least 20 times in the past couple weeks why I haven't brought this up for discussion on the radio show (The Las Vegas Sportsline, 2-3PDT weekday, ESPN 1100/100.9FM, @thelvsportsline). I've also been approached by media types in venues outside Las Vegas for my comments on the situation, and I've declined to offer any opinion at all. I'll outline the reasons I haven't mentioned it on air, or for that matter, on any of the social media platforms I frequent. I don't know the individual involved at all. I've never met him and I don't feel it's my place to comment on whether he's innocent or guilty. It's conceivable that I might be privy to information that some others don't have, but there is zero chance I would ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Monday 4/24/17

Very few complaints about the level of play in the NHL playoffs. Loads of complaints about the format, and with good reason. Sorry, but I cannot comprehend how anyone thought the setup being utilized this season was ever a good idea. As a result, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals are meeting in the second round of the Cup playoffs. Great series, one almost every NHL fan wants to see, but not this early. Please go back to the only format that should ever be in place. Seed the teams according to their overall points standing. I have no problem if it's a bracket breakdown from there, or if it's reseeded after each round. I personally prefer the latter as it makes the regular season more important, but I'm okay either way. But please end the divisional format that now leaves the league with an anti-climactic Eastern Conference final series, which is what we are now going to have. Nothing can be done about it this season, hut hopefully the league makes sure it ... More

Cokn’s Corner, Sunday 4/23/17

CB Bucknor is a veteran big league baseball umpire. He's having a really rough week. Actually, more like a rough decade. Bucknor has been continuously rated in anonymous player polls as the worst MLB umpire. Among the fans, although this is conjecture on my part and totally unscientific, it has been a lengthy coin flip between Angel Hernandez and Bucknor. Those opinions aside, there's no question that the last several days have been a study in ineptitude for Bucknor, as he has been annotated on line for a couple of really awful missed calls. But there's more, and I think i's now up to the powers that be to do something about it. If you watched the Saturday game between the Astros and Rays, the problem is now patently clear and this has to be addressed. Throughout this game, players were openly yelling at Bucknor. It sure looks to me like he's lost the respect of the players. Once that happens, something has to be done as an umpire at the very least has to maintain his status ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Saturday 4/22/17

There are sequences that take place in every sport that never make it to the box score, but are of paramount importance when it comes to the result. This isn't meant as a rip on Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly, but let's just say his decision making in Friday's game against the San Diego Padres didn't exactly pay off. Bottom of the seventh inning, score is 1-1. The Padres get the first two guys on. The Friars then catch a break when Marlins catcher Realmuto loses his footing on a sacrifice but, so now it's bases loaded and nobody out. Decision number one by Mattingly was to play the infield back at double play depth. I get it that Myers was at the plate for the Padres and he's their best hitter. But it's a tie game and it's late. Giving up the run to try and get a double play is a dicey move. As it turns out, Myers did indeed ground into a double play, but the lead run came across the plate. 2-1 Padres. Next up was Yangervis Solarte, and Mattingly decided to issue the ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Friday 4/21/17

History was made on Thursday night in the NBA playoffs. The Cleveland Cavaliers, the reigning champs who've looked like anything but a favorite to repeat lately, pulled off the greatest post-season  comeback in NBA history. And make no mistake, they did it with defense. Obviously, the Cavaliers were going to have to heat up offensively after trailing by 26 points early in the this quarter at Indiana. The Cavs certainly did just that with the incomparable LeBron James leading the way. But the catalyst for the incredible comeback was defense. Cleveland simply started contesting every shot, every pass, every rebound and completely took over the game from the Pacers. If you look at the three scores in the books in this opening round playoff series, it's easy to make a case that the Cavaliers shouldn't be up 3-0. But they keep finding ways to win in the post-season, and last night's heroics might just be a harbinger of things to come. At some point, one would think this powerhouse ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Thursday 4/20/17

Quick blog today, with only the Wednesday recap and the Thursday free play. Wednesday was okay. Winner with the Cardinals, my Indians-Twins play got rained out, and the Ducks series play got closed out the right way. Solid 2-0, and on to Thursday. Here's the daily free play, this time in the NBA. SPURS at GRIZZLIES Take: SPURS -3.5 Memphis has to be thrilled to be back home after getting thumped twice at San Antonio. But I'm not sure it's going to make a great deal of difference, other than a likelihood the Grizzlies will at least be more competitive. The eye test is the whole key for me here. The Spurs sure look like they mean business and are taking nothing for granted. I just didn't see a confident Memphis team in the first two games, and while the home court ought to bolster them to some extent, the Grizzlies just have the look of a team that doesn't truly believe they can beat this opponent four times. If that's the case, winning even once could prove difficul... More

Cokin’s Corner, Wednesday 4/19/17

The top seed in the NBA Eastern Conference is in deep trouble. The Boston Celtics now find themselves in dire straits after dropping both Games One and Two to the #8 seeded Chicago Bulls. It's easy to look at the results of the first two games and simply arrive at the conclusion that the Bulls are playing good ball and Boston isn't. But I really think this all got set in motion late in the regular season. You might recall the showdown in Boston between the Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. That was a very big game for the Celts and they got their doors blown in. My observation is that the Celtics haven't been the same since that obliteration. I believe they lost their swagger and have yet too relocate it. Boston isn't dead yet, but they're close to being on life support as they head to the Windy City for the next two games. Anything is possible, but it sure looks like we're going to get an 8 vs. 1 upset, though I don't know of anyone who actually considered this the typical 8 ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Tuesday 4/18/17

I generally don't have much of an opinion when it comes to Most Valuable Player awards. I will usually simply go with the player who I felt had the best season, regardless of the sport. That's probably a little simplistic, but to be honest, I really don't care much about awards and don't put much thought into them. But I think I'm pretty good at isolating MVP's in a single game situation. And in many cases, it's not the players who accused the best stats. If you watched the opening game of the NBA playoff series between the Thunder and Rockets, I don't think there's even a shred of doubt about which player stood out as the MVP. Patrick Beverly was absolutely sensation in the Houston demolition of the Thunder. Beverly had a terrific offensive game, registering a double-double with 21 points and ten boards. But that was just the dessert, as Beverly's main course was a delicious serving of defense. Beverly owned Russell Westbrook in this game. The potential regular season MVP ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Monday 4/17/17

The 2017 MLB season is only a couple weeks old. So it's way too early for any team to press the panic button. That said, I see one team that might be well served to make a couple of moves sooner than later. The St. Louis Cardinals are playing some really bad baseball. That's obvious just by looking at the early season standings. What also appears apparent to this observer is that the problems on this team might go much deeper than just the poor opening of the campaign. I'll address a couple of ideas I have regarding the Cardinals. One is the chemistry on the team. In team sports, one bad apple can indeed spoil the whole bunch. Kolten Wong might just be that bad apple. Wong voiced his displeasure loudly and clearly when questioned about the plans for a platoon system at second base. His exact words were "I don't give a shit" and that he didn't want to be "wasting my time" if the Cardinals didn't believe he was capable of playing every day. Fact is, Wong appears to have an ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Sunday 4/16/17

This is pretty much a rerun of yesterday's piece regarding hot NHL goalies. The betting public apparently refuses to subscribe to the theory that it's simply not a great idea to try and beat a stone wall. Among the sources I was able to contact, the ticket count on the Saturday game between the Predators and Blackhawks was overwhelmingly Chicago. I'm talking close to 80% of the wagers were on the Hawks to get in the win column after getting blanked in the series opener. The money wagered wasn't anywhere near that percentage, but suffice to say this was a really bad result for the squares. So I'll just say it again. Don't bet against hot goalies in the playoffs. That doesn't mean an automatic wager on the hot netminder. But if you're not of a mind to back the hot goalie, then the best move is probably to avoid the game completely. That's what I did in Game Two of the Nashville-Chicago series. I thought the Blackhawks would likely win, but there was a 0% chance I was going to try ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Saturday 4/15/17

It's business as usual in the NHL playoffs. One of the aspects of the pro hockey post-season is that it's not necessarily the best team that wins. It's the team with the hottest goalie. Through the first three days of playoff action, there isn't much question about the goaltending leader in the clubhouse. It's Jake Allen of the St. Louis Blues. Allen, who was rock solid down the stretch for the Blues, has gotten white hot to start the playoffs. Lots of bettors found that out the hard way on Friday night. The Blues got another masterful performance from Allen and warned a second straight win on the road against the Minnesota Wild. Allen didn't need to be as incredibly awesome as he was in the opening game. But he was still just one shot away from being perfect as the Blues assumed a commanding 2-0 lead wit the series now heading back to St. Louis for the next two games. From my own wagering standpoint, I don't automatically latch onto the hot goalie. But I never, and I mean ... More