Cokin’s Corner, Wednesday 4/27/16

  • April 27, 2016

I certainly never thought it would reach this point this soon.

But tomorrow promises to be one of the most fascinating days in the sports history of Las Vegas. Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis will be in town to meet with the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee. The purpose of the meeting will be to determine the possibility of a domed stadium being constructed at an initial estimated cost of $1.3 billion.

One thing that is now known is that the stance of the NFL regarding Las Vegas has changed. That’s not opinion, it’s fact, as the league sent a memo stating that there is no prohibition under league rules against a team moving to any particular city.

That simple little transmission is huge. There is absolutely no way things would have gotten even this far, perhaps even as recently as one year ago. But it’s becoming very clear that the NFL no longer has a major hangup with Nevada.

The way I see it, the reason is clear as day, and is a reinforcement of an argument I’ve made for literally close to two decades. That is, the NFL’s public stance against gambling has always been about dollars and nothing else. When the day arrived that the league felt it was in their best financial interests to soften its stance, they would do exactly that.

We all know the NFL loves the fact that millions of fans wager on the games. The league’s protests have been hollow for years. The NFL would never have gone the route they did with detailed injury reports if not for the gambling element that they want to make sure is tuned in for every game. The NFL ties with the daily fantasy gambling sites….and make no mistake, they are 100% gambling sites…knocked down another of the invisible barriers. The league now travels to London every season, and betting on NFL games is perfectly legal there.

And now it’s crystal clear that if a stadium gets built and some franchise, be it the Raiders or someone else, decides it wants to call Las Vegas home, the league will not stand in its way.

As to whether it’s Oakland, I sure don’t know. What I do know is that Sheldon Adelson is now very much involved. Regardless of what your feelings about Adelson might be, this much is an absolute. He’s  not one to go at anything halfway and if he believes there’s an opportunity to lure an NFL team to this city, then there’s definitely a possibility it could happen.

I’ve been asked what the odds are that the Oakland Raiders become the Las Vegas Raiders. One year ago today, I’d have said there was no chance. Now I’m not so sure. One thing that is sure is that I’ll be all ears to find out what takes place at tomorrow’s meeting!

A solid Tuesday result, with another NBA winner on the Hawks, and a 2-1 MLB card. April has been a blast to date, and I’ll try to keep it rolling with at least two plays I like on today’s baseball slate.

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My one Tuesday loser was the free play on the Orioles. Kind of a strange game early on, as both Baltimore and the Rays squandered big inning opportunities, with Jake Odorizzi in particular leading a bit of a charmed life. The key play was a Kevin Kiermaier homer on what figured to be the last batter Ubaldo Jimenez faced before calling it a night. Here’s the Wednesday comp.

PIRATES (Niese) @ ROCKIES (Gray)

Take: ROCKIES +107

The Pirates are starting to rake, and Pittsburgh fans have to be thrilled at the breakout night enjoyed on Tuesday by Andrew McCutchen. There’s no question about which team is superior here, as the Bucs are likely playoff contenders yet again, while the Rockies will probably be lucky to win 70 games.

Nevertheless, I’ll be on the Rockies tonight. I liked what I saw from emerging righty Jonathan Gray in his first start of the season, even though he gave up a bunch of runs in his five innings of work. But Gray flashed some dominant stuff along the way, and I like his chances of getting me some good innings tonight, even against the potent Pirates.

Jon Niese is throwing more fastballs than in the past, and that is likely due to now working with pitching guru Ray Searage, who’s one of the best in the business. Searage builds on strengths and based on the mix of two and four-seamers Niese is featuring, it looks like the coach feels that’s the best way for Niese to attack the opposition. But the lefty has put up rather pedestrian numbers thus far, he’s in a ballpark that hasn’t exactly been a haven for him previously, and I would expect Colorado to have some success with the sticks tonight.

The Pittsburgh bullpen did well on Tuesday night, but that unit has been surprisingly porous so far this season, so what should look like a commanding edge over what Colorado has to offer isn’t that lopsided right now.

I made the Rockies -112 for this game, and they’re catching close to that as a home underdog. That’s not spectacular value. But when I can catch what I think is an edge and it also happens to be in direct opposition to what will be the public betting side, I don’t have a problem making the play. Put me down for a call on the Rockies to get this one.