Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 12/21/14
As we head toward the 2014 finish line, it’s time for some Best and Worst in Sports Media Awards. These are just my own opinions, so feel free to tail or fade. Comments certainly welcome on my Twitter feed, which is @davecokin. I want to drag this out for the rest of the year, so I’ll choose just one best or worst each day.
Best TV Play by Play: Brent Musburger. My longtime favorite for two major reasons. First, Musburger never tries to overshadow the event he’s broadcasting. The game is the star and he’s just our friendly guide. Secondly, he respects his audience. Musburger understands a significant percentage of the viewers have action, or at the very least want to know what “Vegas” thinks about the game. Bottom line is that if I know Brent Musburger is doing a game, I’m probably watching and enjoying.
One quick note regarding Musburger’s own betting habits. There’s this myth that he’s got big bucks on all or at least many of the games he’s broadcasting. Not true. Musburger likes to play some sports when he’s in Las Vegas. He’s strictly recreational, $50 neighborhood, and he likes the sports book atmosphere. He’s also very cordial to fans from all accounts. That’s from the guys behind the counter, by the way, and when it comes to judging the players, they’re the best source around.
I didn’t have a good day Saturday, and in fact this has been a painful week with some really aberrational results in college basketball, at least from my own perspective. The good news is I actually won an overtime game in the NHL, snapping a nasty streak of post-regulation losers. Gotta call it straight, I’m not getting the job done the way I’m supposed to at the present time.
The bowl package price is now $225, as the first five games are gone (1-2 on the three Saturday selections, and the two leans won), so I’m prorating the price and will continue to do so as games get played. Sign up via PayPal and remit to email@example.com.
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Split on the Saturday free plays with Davidson getting it done in basketball and South Alabama failing to do so in football.
The Sunday free play is on an NFL game, and it’s actually one that’s being sold online. I don’t generally do that, but I’d rather put a game up here that I’m definitely on myself, rather than one that might not make the cut on my personal card.
12/21 01:05 PM NFL (123) NEW YORK GIANTS at (124) ST. LOUIS RAMS
Take: (124) ST. LOUIS RAMS -6.5
The Giants were good to me last week as they got the win and cover against Washington. I’ll be happy to try and beat the hand that just fed me today.
Let’s just say the Giants didn’t exactly dominate the Redskins last Sunday. They managed to win by enough to get backers paid, but they got plenty of help from some Washington blunders.
As for the Rams, they’re off a loss is which they were shut down for virtually the entire game by the Cardinals. But this is still a team that has played well for the most part lately, and I’m not reading much into one off game.
I think there’s a bit more incentive here for the hosts. The Rams would like to finish on a high note and get to .500, which they would do with two wins as the bell tolls on the 2015 NFL campaign. The Giants aren’t mailing it in by any means. But the offense remains prone to turnovers and the Giants have also suffered from what can be termed a domino effect. They’re fine until something goes wrong, and then they have a tendency to fall apart.
I can’t call this a value play as the spread is right whoever the overall power ratings say it’s supposed to be. But I prefer the scheduling spot for the Rams. They’ve had a few extra days to rest and prep thanks to not having played since last Sunday, and this is their home finale. The Giants are off a divisional win and wrap things up at home against the rival Eagles. With nothing on the line, that stands out as the more desirable game for NYG, and it’s possible they’re a bit flat here.
Laying any kind of wood with a so-so entry like the Rams carries some risk. They’re not exactly high-powered and projecting anything resembling a blowout is probably silly. But I like the Rams to win this game, and laying anything less than a TD seems like a decent risk to me.