Dave’s Free Play, Saturday 3/29/14

  • March 29, 2014

It’s no secret that baseball is my favorite sport. I can guarantee I’ve watched more exhibition baseball this spring than 99% of the public and that figure might actually be a little short. But like most fans, casual or hard core, I was disturbed at the direction the game was taking for too many years in terms of its utter ignorance regarding PED’s.

That’s why I’m thrilled to see the sport as a whole now doing its best to rid the game as much as possible of those violating the rules on the use of chemicals. The new penalties, along with the enhanced testing, announced yesterday is great news. What makes it even better is that the MLBPA is now taking the lead. They’re doing their best to protect the rights of the clean players. That’s a huge reversal of the thought process that prevailed for far too many years, where the cheaters were being protected and those playing by the rules were taking it in the shorts. Tony Clark and the union membership rate loads of praise for pushing hard to make baseball what it’s supposed to be.

Your move, NFLPA. The NFL keeps putting rules in place that they feel are needed to protect the safety of the players. That looms as nothing more than token p.r. nonsense if the league doesn’t get much tougher on PED violators and testing. For whatever reason, NFL fans don’t seems as sensitive on this topic as baseball fans. Nevertheless, there’s a significant issue here in the NFL. Like it or not, the league and the union are now going to to find themselves under some real pressure to get something done. And it’s about time.

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My perfect MLB season is done as I lost a play on the Brewers last night. But I can’t say I’ve ever felt better about the start of a new season, and it’s here with the one Sunday game and a big slate of Opening Day action on Monday.

The guaranteed April special is up until Tuesday. $600 gets all my plays right through the end of the month, and there’s a minimum net unit profit that comes with the offer. You can email me at cokin@cox.net for complete info, or simply use the “buy now” feature on this page to purchase via Paypal.

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Michigan State intentionally missed a late free throw in the win over Virginia, which was the right move by Tom Izzo, but it also means a push on the comp play.  I’ll stay with the Big Dance for today’s free play with a call on the clash between Wisconsin and Arizona.

03/29 05:45 PM  CB   (515) WISCONSIN (516) ARIZONA

Take: (515) WISCONSIN +3

It’s hard to believe how many close games there have been in this year’s NCAA Tournament. If anyone wanted proof that there’s a good deal of parity in the game right now, the results this year are speaking loudly and clearly. Friday night’s quartet of games were nothing short of phenomenal, and I can see more of the same taking place today.

I think we’re in for another thriller as Wisconsin tangles with Arizona in an Elite 8 duel at Anaheim. If you’re going clearly off the season stats, there’s a definite edge for the Wildcats. But we’ve already seen time and again that those numbers aren’t proving reliable this time around when it comes to picking winners. I suspect more of the same takes place here.

There are a couple of factors I’m keying on here. One is the grit that we’re seeing out of Wisconsin. The Badgers are playing some awesome defense. Aside from the first half of the Oregon game, Wisconsin is shutting down the opposition. Obviously, the Badgers will have to be at their defensive best today if they hope to advance.

The other variable that comes into play here is the Arizona foul shooting. If the ‘Cats are as proficient here as they were against San Diego State and Gonzaga, that’s good news for them. But this is not a good FT team, and if they revert to what is their norm, it could be a potentially major issue late in the game.

Wisconsin does not qualify as a defensive dog today, as Arizona is actually better on that count. But the Badgers are in lockdown mode right now, and I really can’t see Arizona getting many easy baskets today.

I think the number on this game is precisely where it ought to be, so this isn’t a value spot. Also, just off the numbers that I use, I come up with Arizona -4.5, so I’m basically going against that data here.

My bottom line is that this is one of those events where everything seems to be in doubt right till the finish. Specifically, this game has that feel to it as well. I’m not going to be stunned if Arizona proves to be a little too good for the Badgers, but I feel the Badgers in their current form can play with anyone. I’m siding with Wisconsin plus the points.