Cokin’s Corner, Tuesday 10/25/16

I'm always reluctant to make longterm assessments off a relative small sample. But sometimes the evidence is pretty overwhelming. That's the case with Texans QB Brock Osweiler. It's still early, and I'm not ruling out the possibility of substantial improvement down the road. But let's say the early returns are more than a little bit discouraging. Osweiler has not been good for Houston after signing a massive new contract as a free agent this past winter. Offering that the Texans have not gotten much bang for their big bucks would have to qualify as a massive understatement. Aside from very sporadic bursts where he's looked good, Osweiler has been most terrible. It got worse last night as the Texans were drilled by the Broncos. Houston grabbed an early 6-0 lead, but it was virtually all Denver from that point on, and Osweiler was absolutely brutal. The lowest light was a fumble early in the fourth quarter. Osweiler was not under any pressure, but the ball inexplicably simply ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Monday 10/24/16

That was downright weird. I'm referring to the bizarre 6-6 Sunday night overtime tie between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. Obviously, that can be said to some extent about any NFL game that ends in a stalemate following 75 minutes. But this game went well beyond that. Without going into all the gory details, at least from one team's perspective, I'll focus on two decisions by the Cardinals that I thought were really bad. There's no way I can absolutely say that these moves cost them the football game, but it's my ardent belief that's the case. The first situation was on a fourth and short for Arizona deep in Denver territory. I had no problem with the Cardinals going for it, as they only needed one foot, and a team is supposed to be able to gain one foot. But I had all kinds of problems with the play call. I know Carson Palmer is hardly the most nimble NFL quarterback, but he's a big guy and I'm calling QB sneak all the way in that situation. Instead, Palmer handed ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Sunday 10/23/16

Darrell Hazell lost his head coaching job at Purdue earlier this week. Yes, it's getting to be that time of the season when certain seats get very warm. Here's a rundown of the ten coaches I feel are in the most trouble as we round the bend and head toward the regular season homestretch. Note these are in no particular order of preference. Ron Caragher, San Jose State Mark Helfrich, Oregon Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech Mike Jinks, Bowling Green Charlie Strong, Texas Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State Steve Addazio, Boston College Charlie Partridge, Florida Atlantic Brian Kelly, Notre Dame Not all these coaches are going to lose their jobs, nor do I necessarily feel they ought to. But I think all ten have some job security concerns, and a few are on ultra-thin ice at this point. In any event, save this piece and we'll see how accurate the list is come season's end. Solid Saturday, with a 6-2 college slate and a 1-1 split on the ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Saturday 10/22/16

The usual abbreviated late Friday/early Saturday blog. I'll be zeroed in on college football from morning till night. Probably pretty late night, actually. So no editorializing in this edition, just the quick Friday recap and the daily free play. I won a little on Friday, as Temple got there as a half unit play and I ended up pushing Oregon in double overtime. By the way, while that Oregon-Cal game was ridiculous. It took what, nearly five hours to play? No defense, nine zillion flags, and enough is enough. It's really time to do away with this silly rule that mandates a stoppage of the clock anytime a team makes a first down. The game is long enough already. Here's the free play, and this is on one of the Sunday NFL matchups. CHARGERS at FALCONS Take: CHARGERS +6.5 This is one of those not so in depth pieces. Sometimes I like to go into fairly minute detail when breaking down a game. But this is simply a case of obtaining what I perceive to be value with the underdog... More

Cokin’s Corner, Friday 10/21/16

Really, New York Giants and the NFL? I was a little troubled at the start of the season when it was learned that Giants placekicker Josh Brown was being suspended for a whopping one game following revelation of a domestic disturbance incident. Oh wait, that's not right. According to police reports obtained by the New York Post there had been more than 20 alleged incidents involving Brown and his wife (they are now divorced). This was based on statements to the police by Brown himself. Despite the fact the NFL has a baseline of a six-game suspension for the first offense, commissioner Roger Goodell somehow saw fit to issue just a one-game punishment. Brown was back in action for the Giants second game. It gets worse. The Giants were already aware of the domestic abuse incidents when they opted to extend Brown's contract for two years, and $4 million this past April. This after Brown reportedly admitted to owner John Mara he had beaten his wife on multiple occasions. Mara ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Thursday 10/20/16

Here's the Weekly Wise Guy Report for Week #8 of the college football season. Info is garnered from a variety of sources, including Nevada books, offshore stores as well as stateside underground shops. Any observations included are courtesy of my contacts. This week's rundown is a bit shorter than usual, but some significant games are involved. 304 Virginia Tech has gotten some sharp play, and this is one of those somewhat infrequent  occurrences where the square money is instead on the underdog. 326 West Virginia garnered some serious pro action on Wednesday. One of my offshore contacts thinks the public is going to jump on the Mountaineers as well and expects the number to continue to tick upward. 327 Indiana has been popular with the smarts on a few occasions this season, and the Hoosiers are making another appearance on this rundown. Note the action is not as heavy on them this week as in some other weeks. 336 Virginia is again catching sharp money as they host North ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Wednesday 10/19/16

Dodgers 2-1. That's how it now stacks up in the series between LA and the Chicago Cubs. Doom and gloom now abounds on Facebook and Twitter. This series is, of course, far from over. But I completely understand the angst among Cubs fans. This is rough for those folks right now. I know what it feels like, because I'm a Red Sox fan and prior to 2004, I really did feel as though I'd never be alive to see the team finally win it all. That's why the fan in me is pulling for the Indians and Cubs to win their way to the World Series. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948, which is before even I was born. As for the Cubs, it's 108 years, which would be impossible to believe if we all didn't know it to be true. And speaking of the Indians, they're certainly the favorite to win the AL pennant with the 3-1 lead over the Blue Jays. But the Jays got on the board on Tuesday, they're going to be heavy favorites today, and if Toronto wins again, let the teeth gnashing begin for Cleveland ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Tuesday 10/18/16

I just don't get it. The Big 12, after teasing everyone for three months, announced on Monday there are now no plans to expand. Over these past months, speculation as to which schools would get the prized bids was heated. Make no mistake, there were at least a few schools that were literally begging the Big 12 to extend an invite. I don't feel the need to explain the decision in great deal. If you want all that info, it's easy enough to find. Instead, I'll focus on what I feel are the inescapable conclusions. First off, the league will continue to lag well behind the other major conferences in terms of overall visibility. I know I'll catch grief on this from Oklahoma and Texas fans, but that's just the way it is. The league is not well placed overall in terms of capturing major media markets. I just cannot grasp the mentality of turning down at least a couple of schools that would have been instant plusses for the conference on that count. I also can see where this could ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Monday 10/17/16

I've decided to reward myself for a very nice Sunday result by taking a day off. Well, sort of. I'll definitely be crunching numbers for the upcoming week's college slate, and might well play something at some point during the day. But as for today in MLB, NFL and NHL, it looks like a blank and there certainly isn't any need nor desire to force a play. Since I'm also not locked into anything yet for this week's college football, I'm also going to pass on giving out the daily free play. I do this about two or three times during the entire calendar year other during the baseball All-Star break, so don't worry, it's not the start of a new trend. For those interested, my numbers on the two main events tonight are Blue Jays -155 and Arizona Cardinals -8.5. But there wasn't enough for me to get involved with either one, so I'll be strictly in spectator mode tonight. Enjoy the day and I'll be back with a free play on Tuesday.     More

Cokin’s Corner, Sunday 10/16/16

Dave Roberts might well be the favorite to capture the NL Manager of the Year award. Personally, I'd go with Joe Maddon. Sure, he had the best roster. He also led the Cubs to 103 wins and I'm not penalizing him because he had a loaded lineup. But that's no slap in the face of Roberts, who had a tremendous rookie managerial campaign with the Dodgers. He had to overcome a load of injuries, including the one that put Clayton Kershaw on the shelf for a lengthy period. So I have no problem with those who will be tabbing Roberts for the top honor. Roberts also did a great job of thinking outside the box in the climactic fifth game of the NLDS series against the Nationals. His decision to insert closer Kenley Jansen into the game in the seventh inning was probably the biggest reason the Dodgers advanced to the battle for the pennant against the Cubs. But Roberts went into micromanager overdrive on Saturday evening at Wrigley Field, and I was first guessing him all the way. Since ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Saturday 10/15/16

The usual abbreviated late Friday night blog, with pretty much just the free play. But I will mention that I'm thrilled that it appears to be now be all systems go for a new state of the art stadium here in Las Vegas, plus the arrival of an actual NFL franchise. As one who has lived here for what is now more than half my life, I'm incredibly excited about this news. I know some are not happy about the way the whole thing came down, but I'm not going to apologize for thinking this is a great thing for a city that is almost totally dependent on tourism, which means landing big events. The days of Las Vegas being able to thrive as simply a gambling mecca are gone. Casinos are everywhere these days, and regardless of its legal status, there are obviously lots of ways to gamble online for virtually anyone desiring to do so. That's what, to me, made this a no-brainer. For those on the opposite side, feel free to disagree, but I'm ecstatic about this stadium project coming to fruition. ... More

Cokin’s Corner, Friday 10/14/16

Rookie 1, Old Pro 0. The Los Angeles Dodgers are on their way to the NLCS, the Washington Nationals are now officially on vacation, and I'm one who believes the two managers are the reason why. First-year Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts tossed "the book" into the round file last night, and it sure paid off. He did the unthinkable by bringing in his closer to protect a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning. I can't prove it, but I absolutely believe that had Roberts not made that daring move, the Dodgers might well be flying back to Los Angeles rather than Chicago. Roberts was rolling the dice to be sure, and that includes the decision to get Clayton Kershaw heated up to pitch in the ninth inning if (when) Kenley Jansen ran out of gas. We found out after the game that this was not the original plan, as Kershaw was the one who put the wheels in motion by volunteering while still in the dugout during the eighth inning. And I disagreed with the decision by Roberts to leave Jansen in for ... More