Cokin’s Corner, Friday 4/22/16
The first big event of the 2016 NFL season is almost here. Next Thursday is Draft Day and experts like myself cannot wait to heap praise or criticism on the winners and losers.
Well wait, I need to amend that. When it comes to the draft, I’m not an expert. I have no doubt I’m entirely capable of bullshitting my way to what sounds like a really informed opinion on virtually every player drafted. That’s because I have access to some really in depth guides that provide me with a wealth of data that can easily be transformed into the written word. And presto, I’m Mel Kiper, albeit with way less hair.
The fact is I haven’t the slightest idea on which players will become stars, nor am I able to confidently label anyone as a likely bust. I suppose I can identify the best looking athletes or maybe even the guys who seem to display that on field leadership that’s considered valuable. I know about as much as my cat when it comes to technique or anything beyond what’s obvious to anyone who watches college football.
Here’s what I actually do know. About half the players drafted won’t make it to any real extent. The numbers don’t lie. You can go back 30 years and break down the careers of just the overall #1 picks, and even that is a 50/50 deal.
That’s why I LOVE the deal the Cleveland Browns just made with the Philadelphia Eagles. Props to Paul DePodesta, who has moved from baseball to football and just helped the long downtrodden Browns earn their biggest win in years. Cleveland will now be drafting 10 players next week, with six of the first 100 overall selections. That’s a no-brainer win based on the pure numbers.
As for the Eagles, I don’t have the foggiest idea of why they made this deal. They apparently are absolutely enamored with someone, to the extent they gave away the store to get whoever this mystery sensation is. History suggests this to be a serious miscalculation by their management. That’s not a certainty, but it’s sure a pretty good likelihood.
So there you have it, well in advance of the actual draft. Without really knowing who’s going to be a future All-Pro or who’s going to end up getting cut before even playing one actual NFL game, I’ve got the Browns as this year’s big winner, and the Eagles as the most likely loser.
But I’ll probably still watch just for the hell of it.
It’s going quite well right now, with a solid 3-1 on Thursday. Actually, I came within maybe five feet of going 4-0 as I thought Austin Jackson had the walk off bomb for the White Sox, but the ball died on the warning track. No complaints though, and I’m on a couple of baseball plays for Friday evening.
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The Twins were a cinch winner as the Thursday free play. I’ll go for what I see as a decent value dog for the Friday comp.
969 INDIANS (Tomlin) @ 970 TIGERS (Verlander)
Take: INDIANS +122
The numbers tell the story loudly and clearly. Justin Verlander is still good enough to get by, but he just isn’t anywhere close to a staff ace anymore. Up and down the charts, he’s a league average guy these days. There might be the occasional glimpse of what used to be, but that’s more an inning to inning than game to game deal. That’s not a rip on Verlander. It’s just the cruelty of time passing and diminishing skills.
To illustrate, I now have Josh Tomlin actually rated higher than Verlander. It’s actually a virtual wash on my rankings, but I’ve got Tomlin a tick superior. That’s something I never thought I’d see. But the truth is that while Verlander is declining, Tomlin is managing t exceed earlier projections I had and he’s gone from a back of the rotation afterthought to perhaps mid-rotation level.
So, right off the top, that makes for okay value on Tomlin here. Other aspects offset one another. I give Detroit a slight bullpen edge as their late inning guys should be fresher than the Tribe counterparts. On the other hand, while the Motown offense is obviously quite capable, I don’t think they’re measurably better than what Cleveland will trot out tonight, particularly with the Tigers throwing a righty. If there was a southpaw on the hill for Detroit, it would be a different story as the Indians aren’t much against lefties.
Without going into specifics, there’s also an okay road dog angle that fits here. It’s not a slam dunk huge winner, but it is a consistent profit producer that has a tendency to be at its best in the early portion of the season.
I make this game a tossup. Pretty much a 50/50 proposition. And that’s the beauty of baseball betting, as hitting 50% on underdogs translates into some really nifty profits. The value here looks to be on the Indians getting in excess of 6:5 odds, so I’ll be taking the Cleveland side tonight.