Dave’s Free Play, Friday 11/22/13

  • November 22, 2013

I haven’t weighed in on the blockbuster baseball deal between the Tigers and Rangers yet, so I’ll offer my two cents today. Win/win. The Prince Fielder/Ian Kinsler swap looks strong for both teams, and I believe the Tigers and Rangers are better right now than they were prior to the deal.

From Detroit’s standpoint, they almost had to move Fielder. Not that there’s anything wrong with Prince, but the Tigers simply have to get Miguel Cabrera off third base for health reasons if nothing else. His defense at the hot corner was obviously below par, but more importantly, they need this guy’s bat in the lineup every day. Now he can play first base and also DH in a split with Victor Martinez. As for the arrival of Kinsler, I don’t really see him as an upgrade over Omar Infante, but with the latter leaving via free agency, a potential hole at the keystone has been avoided. The top prospect in the Detroit organization is Nick Castellanos, and he will now head back to third base rather than having to be moved to the outfield, and that’s a plus as well.

As for Texas, they needed an everyday first baseman, and Fielder should flourish in Arlington, a much better power hitting park than Comerica. Moving Kinsler also means that Jurickson Profar can settle into an everyday spot at second base. Profar needs to be a middle infield starter, it’s as simple as that. He could end up at shortstop if Texas decides to deal Elvis Andrus for pitching, but at the very least Profar is going to be a major asset at second base. Fielder should mesh well in the batting order with Adrian Beltre and that’s good news for a Texas team that has to blast to be successful.

Jon Daniels and Dave Dombrowski are regarded as two of the sharpest GM’s in the business, and it looks to me like each guy enhanced his reputation with this very smart two-way deal.

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Worst NHL loser of the season last night. I had Phoenix in what I thought was a good spot against Colorado, and the Coyotes got ripped off, plain and simple. They dominated the game for basically the entire 60 minutes of regulation, and outscored the Avalanche 5-3. Unfortunately, two goals were taken off the scoreboard, and in each case it was officiating error. The ‘Yotes still appeared to be on their way to a win after having rallied to go up 3-2, but Mike Smith let in a shaky goal to send it to overtime. There, the second power play in the short session proved to be too much to overcome and Colorado notched the 4-3 win.

Gotta call it straight, my NBA and NHL are not going well. I simply cannot catch a good break on the ice, as I’m dominating games but absorbing some very tough losses. Fortunately, the football has been okay and I’m looking really good so far in college basketball, so that’s where the focus is going to be, at least for the time being.

The weekend in both the hoops and football looks pretty good to me, and if you want to go along for what should be a smooth ride, I’ve still got that two-week intro offer at a reduced rate on the table. Get in touch via email at cokin@cox.net for all the information.

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Thursday’s free play on Rice didn’t work out, as the Owls managed to screw up their second half pretty badly against a UAB team that had not been stopping anything and had also been getting beat up after halftime. Rice will be heading to some minor bowl game, and I can almost guarantee I’ll be fading them if they match up against a team with a decent pass rush. That’s down the road, however. Meanwhile, here’s a college basketball side that I like tonight.

11/22 05:00 PM  CB   (575) SO MISSISSIPPI (576) SOUTH ALABAMA

Take: (575) SO MISSISSIPPI -3.5

One of the keys to winning in November college basketball is isolating teams that are either underrated or overrated that are also able to retain under the radar status. I’ll try and capitalize on that variable tonight in a tournament matchup between Southern Mississippi and South Alabama.

The Golden Eagles are out of the gate 3-0, and they’re off a couple of decent road wins at DePaul and North Dakota State. Those opponents might not be anything resembling elite, but they’re also not horrible by any means, and the Golden Eagles did some good work in obtaining each victory.

It’s also what appears to be a favorable comparative clash tonight for Southern Miss. South Alabama is not as good as the two adversaries the Golden Eagles just defeated, and while the sample is still small, I’m seeing a clear edge in some peripheral categories I key on that favor Southern Mississippi.

I’m also giving a coaching edge to the road team here, and that could be vital in a game that projects as being at least reasonably close. Donnie Tyndall is a proven winner for the Golden Eagles, and he’s generally done very well in his type of game going back to his Morehead State games. Tyndall is a guy who I believe could be in line for a marquee job very shortly. What he accomplished at Morehead was pretty sensational, and he’s already a sizzling 30-10 at Southern Miss. Matthew Graves is the rookie head coach for the Jaguars, and he was a tremendous assistant at Butler under Brad Stevens. But he’s go no experience in this role, and we already saw one massive South Alabama meltdown at Texas about ten days ago. I expect Graves to do very well with this gig, but right now he could be on the wrong side of the chess board against a star like Tyndall.

This is likely a tight game, but I’ve got Southern Miss as an underrated squad. The oddsmakers don’t, however, which is why we’re seeing this number about a bucket higher than it power rates. That’s one of those indicators I like to jump on, and I’m in agreement with the guys who make the numbers here. Look for Southern Miss to keep the early season roll going with the win and cover tonight.