Dave’s Free Play, Saturday 7/26/14

  • July 26, 2014

I don’t stray off the beaten path too often in this blog. It’s mostly straight sports, with an emphasis on the gambling aspect, and that’s not going to change. But today is an exception to that rule, as I have to weigh in on the Ray Rice suspension fiasco.

Clearly, a two-game suspension for Rice is not even a slap on the wrist. It’s more like a tender caress. But before we all come down on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the legal system itself has to draw criticism.

Rice never even had to go to trial for this assault. He instead was accepted into a diversionary program that will allow him to clear his record of any charges, thanks to his status as a first-time offender. Personally, I think that’s ridiculous, as it’s basically a free pass. I have no problem with second chances, but feel they should be earned rather than simply handed out.

As for the punishment meted out to Rice by the NFL, consider the following. Robert Mathis is going to miss four games. His crime was apparently using an unapproved fertility drug as he and he wife tried to make a baby. Terrelle Pryor got a five-game suspension over some comped tattoos, and those were received before he even arrived in the NFL. Get caught smoking pot? That’s four games. 

Sorry, but I can’t see any logical argument in defense of this ridiculous sentence being handed down by Goodell. The lack of common sense here is more than a little troubling, and for many fans (and not just the female portion of the fan base) this is an insult to our intelligence and sense of what’s right and wrong.

On the flip side, I don’t know why we should expect anything different from this outfit. The NFL is as hypocritical as it can possibly be as far as gambling is concerned. That’s another topic, so I won’t go any further with that right now. But the stance is the same here. The league talks about how concerned they are over the domestic violence and/or sexual assault incidents. But when it comes down to putting their money where their mouth is, they act as if it’s no big deal.

I guess I’m guilty of some hypocrisy as well on this whole incident. I find the NFL’s handling of it to be abhorrent. But I’m still going to watch the games, still going to bet the games, and in reality, earn the largest percentage of my business income along the way thanks to the NFL.

But I’ll at least learn one lesson from all this. Don’t believe anything the NFL says when it comes to their stance on social issues as they pertain to the league. Actions always speak much louder than words, and the Rice mini-suspension is as much proof as anyone should ever need that they really don’t give a rat’s behind.

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A 2-2 split for me on Friday, which might be 2-1-1 for some subscribers depending on their O/U in the Padres/Braves game. I decided to get greedy and go for the better price on the lower number and got burned. The Nats and Rockies won, and the Indians lost thanks to a meatball served up by John Axford that got absolutely obliterated by Billy Butler.

There are just a few more days remaining to take advantage of the two months for the price of one special. Everything is included, so there will never be any requests for additional funds to get supposedly better plays or any of that nonsense. Sign up by using the “buy now” feature or shoot an email my way at cokin@cox.net if you’ve got questions or need more info.

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Good result with the Friday free play as Brett Anderson was again very sharp with his command as the Rockies ended up trampling the Pirates. I’ll try and grab another winner with one of the Saturday late games.

07/26 07:05 PM   MLB   (925) DETROIT TIGERS  at   (926) LOS ANGELES ANGELS

Take: (926) LOS ANGELES ANGELS -113

What a difference a few months can make. If someone had told me in April that I could get underdog on Justin Verlander opposing Matt Shoemaker, I’d have been racing to my screen to start blasting away with every out available. Perennial ace against fringe big leaguer at plus money? Sign me up!

Now here it is late July and I’m looking at Shoemaker being a small favorite and thinking that the line is actually a little bit short of where it rightfully should be.

Verlander is clearly not the same pitcher we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the past several years. I can’t determine whether this is still part of an ongoing recovery from his off-season surgery or simply a diminishment of skills. But that really doesn’t matter. The fact is that Verlander has been nothing more than ordinary this season, and there’s nothing I can see to suggest a surge is imminent.

As for Shoemaker, he continues to be a revelation of sorts. There was simply nothing in his minor league resume to suggest he could thrive in the show, much less while owning a spectacular 1.9/9.3 BB/K ratio. But those are the numbers, and if you’ve watched this guy throw, you already know why he’s getting all those swings and misses. Shoemaker evidently discovered the splitter at some point, and that pitch has taken him from organizational filler to, if not a mainstay, a valuable piece in the Angels starting rotation.

I think the oddsmakers have finally adjusted to where Verlander is at this juncture, and there are no more bargains available for those fading him on a regular basis. But I still believe this price is a tad short. That’s more on the team data, however. The Halos are dominating their guests when playing in Anaheim and while the Tigers are a tough adversary with the best road record in baseball, the Angels are currently owners of the second best home record in the game and they’re getting better.

There’s a good chance we won’t see Josh Hamilton in the Angels lineup tonight, as he had to leave Friday’s game with an injury (a real shocker there, huh?) but I don’t consider his absence especially critical, as he hasn’t been productive lately anyway. I like the Soria pickup for the beleaguered Detroit pen, but still give the late inning advantage to the home team if this is tight. The lean here is definitely to the Angels to make it two straight over the Tigers.