Welcome to Wednesday Weekly, where I go over your need-to-know water cooler talk, provide some of my favorite upcoming wagers, and have a bit of fun with things I like and dislike. If you’re not a fan of sports, gambling, politics, pop culture, or fun, then still read it anyway because I do it for the pageviews.
So another week of missing Wednesday, but hey it’s here Thursday morning. I’ll do better. Maybe. I’ll try
my best a little harder.
Top 5 of the Week
So we all know that Anthony Davis is likely to be traded to the Lakers at some point, either before the trade deadline (February 7th at 3:00PM ET) or after the conclusion of the season. Even if there is no team willing to give up as much as Los Angeles to acquire Davis (partially due to him only wanting to re-sign with the Lakers) there is almost certainly better basketball situations for him to join. This week I’ll be going through the top 5 teams that Davis fits best with and should consider outside of the Lakers.
Quick Note: Although some of these teams either don’t have the cap space to sign Davis (after the 2019-20 season) or assets to make a viable trade work, I’m just suggesting teams that would currently be the best fit with the addition of Davis.
Honorable Mention: Indiana Pacers. They probably would have made this list if Oladipo was healthy.
5. Boston Celtics
So it has been rumored for at least 2 years that Danny Ainge would be targeting Anthony Davis if he ever became available. If Hayward ever returns to his 2016-17 form (unfortunately looking less and less likely by the game), this would be a team that could compete with Golden State. Davis isn’t an ideal fit next to Al Horford, but both have shown they’re flexible enough to fit next to almost anyone, and I trust Brad Stevens to be able to put them in the positions they need to be to work together. The only hesitation for Davis would be the potential departure of Kyrie Irving at the end of the season. If he stays in Boston, Davis should be open to playing in Boston.
4. San Antonio Spurs
Part of this pick is the fact that Popovich with a star big man led the Spurs to 5 championships over a 20 year period, but the fit is actually nearly perfect, too. LaMarcus Aldridge is the perfect pairing to Anthony Davis. He’s an in-and-out Power Forward who should be able to fit on offense whether Davis runs the offense or posts up. On defense he’s able to play near the rim or step out the perimeter to allow Davis to defend wherever he likes. Pau Gasol doesn’t fit well with Davis, but he’s been out more than half the season, and only plays 14 minutes per game when he’s been healthy. The Spurs take the most midrange shots in the NBA (by a LOT), and Davis would help their inside and perimeter scoring, as well as give better spacing for the rest of the guys to continue to get easy looks. He would also take their defense from decent to dominant. They have solid, long perimeter defenders, but no anchor or rim protector. Paired with the eventual return of Dejuante Murray next season, and this is legitimate contender once again.
3. Denver Nuggets
Davis might be the best passing big man in the league if it weren’t for Nikola Jokic. Pairing the two would be a better version of the Davis and DeMarcus Cousins tandem. Paul Millsap is also a perfect fit next to Davis, even if he’s lost a step or two since his Atlanta days. Add in the fact that the Nuggets would actually have shooters around them, and it’s a recipe for an incredible show. Denver is 2nd in the West, even after a string of injuries to 3 of their 5 best players in Millsap, Will Barton, and Gary Harris. This would be a seriously dangerous combination.
2. Milwaukee Bucks
Pairing 2 of the 10 best players in the NBA will almost always end in success. It’s even more promising when those players are 24 and 25 years old. Milwaukee also has a deep, solid supporting cast, and a new-age coach who has created an exciting, modern offense. Milwaukee has a stretch Center in Brook Lopez who plays more like a Power Forward, and would be a great fit with AD. They already have a great defense, and replacing the minutes Thon Maker, John Henson, and Ersan Ilyasova play at Center will only improve them. They’d be a force in the league for years to come.
Minnesota Timberwolves Toronto Raptors
A wise man once said “pairing 2 of the 10 best players in the NBA will almost always end in success” and I couldn’t agree more. Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis are probably the best two-way players in the league, and having those two alone will almost guarantee you an above average offense and an above average defense. Add in the deepest quality rotation in the NBA, and you have a new NBA championship favorite (or at least damn close). I don’t think you can add a single player not named LeBron James to another team and immediately make them a favorite over the Warriors (who are currently 2 to 1 favorites against the field). Anthony Davis to Toronto might not either, but it’s the closest I can find.
Weekly Wagers – SUPER BOWL EDITION
Overall 2018-19 Record: 16-19-1
2018-19 NFL Record: 7-10-0
2018-19 NBA Record: 9-9-1
Yikes to last week’s NBA picks, but they were actually better than the 0-3-1 record they produced. Pacers were up 8 until Oladipo went down with his injury. Lost by 6. Cavs were covering the spread by 5 points going into the 4th. Of course they blew it (to be fair, nobody should ever bet on the Cavs – my bad). Anthony Davis was out with his sprained finger, despite early reports he could play through it, and the Pelicans lost. (Him sitting out may have something to do with his trade demands, but I’m sure we won’t know the full story for a while). Even the Warriors were covering going into the 4th and they gave up 4 points on their lead over Washington to stick me with my first push of the season. But that was then, and this is now. The Super Bowl is one of the most fun betting events of the year, and it’s finally here. Let’s get into all the crazy action!
Standard Game Line Bets
New England -3 at Los Angeles
I just can’t bet against the experience. The Patriots are here for the 3rd straight season, and the 8th time since the last time the Rams have made a Super Bowl. Brady has been here. Goff has not. Belichick has been here. McVay has not. I think the Rams are the better team, but I can’t help thinking that the Patriots just have the edge. Belichick will come up with something that the Rams aren’t ready for and it will make the difference. To me it comes down to this: If I lose betting on the Patriots, I’ll feel a whole lot less dumb that if I lose betting against them. Patriots by 7.
Over/Under 57: Under
“Life is too short to bet the under” is a good rule if you’re trying to have fun (and I use this rule a lot!), but not a great rule if you’re trying to win money. This season has been a lot of high scoring affairs and exciting offensive shootouts, but I don’t think that will continue into the Super Bowl. The Rams will try to control the clock with their running game, and the Patriots have shown a renewed focus on the run throughout the playoffs as well. I think this will be more of a defensive battle than people are expecting.
Alternate Spread: New England -8.5 (+220) at Los Angeles
I know I said “Patriots by 7” above, but I think this is a pretty good value play. In many ways, the Chargers play a style similar to the Rams, so I could see the Patriots dominating unexpectedly again. To get more than 2 to 1 odds for a 10 point Patriots win is something I’ll jump on any day of the week.
Normal Player Prop Bets
Super Bowl MVP:
Tom Brady (+125)
Todd Gurley (+1000)
I’m going to put a large bet on Brady and a smaller amount on Gurley. Brady will get the MVP if the Patriots win, regardless of how well he plays or who else does the heavy lifting. There’s no way he doesn’t get it if he wins another Super Bowl. Even if you think the Patriots have just a 50/50 chance of winning, you get the +125 odds to make it worth your money. The Gurley pick is a bit different. I’d say he has only a 30-35% chance to win the MVP if the Rams win the game. More likely would be Goff. But Goff is a +250 and Gurley gets you 10 to 1 on your money. I’d say that’s a solid return for I guy I think will be the focal point for the Rams all game.
First Touchdown Scorer: Todd Gurley (+600)
I really don’t love this pick, but there’s way too many Patriots options for me to choose any of them, and even with C.J. Anderson vulturing some touchdowns in this playoff run, I think the Rams stick with Gurley more often in this one.
More Fun Player Prop Bets
How Many Players Will Have A Passing Attempt: Over 2.5 (-125)
This one is a really fun bet to have. Everyone likes to see trick or special plays, and the Super Bowl usually delivers. Always nice to win some money rooting for excitement.
Will Greg Zuerleins First kickoff result in a touchback: Yes (-295)
More than 70% of his kickoffs this season have been touchbacks. I’ll take him booming one out of the endzone to start the game.
Tom Brady Total Rushing Yards: Under 0.5 (+125)
He’s going to kneel at least once during the game so that cancels out a QB sneak yard he might get. I’d say he doesn’t scramble a single time during the game. This is always a fun bet. I’d probably go the over 8.5 with Goff, but the pure comedy of Tom Brady running makes this one more fun.
Random Non-Football Prop Bets
Coin Toss: Tails
Tails. Never. Fails.
How Long Will It Take Gladys Knight To Sing The US National Anthem: Over 1:47 (-170)
This is one of the easiest bets every year. Smash the over. This is their chance to show off their voices, and Gladys Knight will happily oblige. I’d still take the over at 2:00. This is a guaranteed winner.
Total Donald Trump Tweets on February 3rd: Over 6 (-140)
This one could be over well before the game even starts. Whatever you think of the guy, Trump is not one to let the spotlight shine elsewhere. He will be tweeting.
What color will the liquid be that is poured on the game winning Coach? Lime/Green/Yellow (+225)
I have no good reasoning for this, except it’s the first color that came to mind when thinking about the Gatorade shower. Belichick has avoided getting poured on in 3 of his 5 Super Bowl wins, so if you find a betting site offering a “neither coach gets poured on” option, I’d consider that too.
Things I Like and Things I Don’t Like
Sports Gambling. Nothing makes watching sports more exciting that putting down some money on a game you’d otherwise not care about. There’s a reason Super Bowl Sunday, March Madness, Bowl Season, and the Kentucky Derby are some of the most fun sporting events of the year. Get your bets in before Sunday!
I don’t like
The Day After. Checking my bet slip the day after the Super Bowl is one of the scariest times of the year. This year is different though, since I’m going to win all of my bets.
Jahlil Okafor lately. Over the past 5 games, Big Jah is averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds per game. More importantly, he’s doing things like this again. His confidence is up and he’s finally found a meaningful place in the rotation. (Just in time for the Pelicans to start tanking again – some guys are just unlucky). It just goes to show how quickly some NBA teams give up on players.
I don’t like
The falloff of Jaylen Brown. After last season, I expected Brown to blossom into a 3-and-D efficient playmaker with potential to be even more than that. Instead, he’s scoring less on worse shooting, has less rebounds and his role has diminished. He’s still extremely athletic with big potential, but when you go from shooting 39.5% from deep in your second season to 32.7% in your third season, expectations rightfully need to change.
The All-Star game draft format. Most people lauded the change to have captains drafting from the pool of All-Stars. This year the NBA made it even better by deciding to televise the draft. I can’t wait to see the pettiness of it all. Whoever gets drafted last is going to try so fucking hard in the game. Can you imagine if it’s Russell Westbrook? Can’t wait.
I don’t like
The East and West All-Stars. Can we just get the best 24 players already? There is no reason that John Collins, Myles Turner, Pascal Siakam, and Khris Middleton all have a good chance at grabbing an All-Star spot when at least 10 of Mike Conley, Jrue Holiday, Steven Adams, LaMarcus Aldridge, Russell Westbrook, D’Aaron Fox, Donovan Mitchell, Buddy Hield, DeMar DeRozan, Klay Thompson, Jamal Murray, and Luka Doncic won’t be in it (I’d guess Luka and Russ get in, though they haven’t been the 2 best of that group). The NBA already scrapped the East vs. West format, so why do we still need 12 from each conference? (Also, it’s ridiculous that Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade will likely take All-Star spots this season. I get it, they’re fan favorites, but neither is deserving of a spot over the group I just listed). Just give us the best players already!