Thursday’s Thoughts – Jan. 30, 2020

Welcome to Thursday’s Thoughts, where I go over your need-to-know water cooler talk, discuss my Top 5 of the Week, 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 fans.

Top 5 of the Week

The NBA trade deadline is just a week away, and it’s been pretty dull across the league. That can change in an instance as one falling domino can create a cascading effect. Despite the limited actual movement, over the past week, the trade rumors around the league have begun to pick up. One of the most common names has been Robert Covington. While the Timberwolves’ struggles make it more likely to see a move, I’d suggest that Covington isn’t too likely to be moved, unless the team who wants him is willing to part with a lot of future assets. I wrote a bit about the value of his contract here.

Whether fans just don’t watch other teams play or just overestimate their own players values, it seems like fans are vastly underestimating his value. Seemingly ever day we get a new, even more ludicrous trade involving RoCo. Executives around the league know better (and I’m sure Timberwolves GM Gerssan Rosas does at least), but it’s been crazy (and mildly infuriating) to see the potential trades sent out that treat Covington as if he has no value. So my top 5 of the week is Top 5 Worst Trade suggestions involving Covington. (As an aside: I understand that this is a very niche category to write about, but it’s something I’ve been needing to vent about. Also, I feel like my readers are largely in the niche that would appreciate this. If you’re not, feel free to skip past here).

5. Timberwolves get: Ersan İlyasova, 2020 1st round pick, 2021 first round pick
Bucks get: Robert Covington

This comes from a Bucks podcast, and actually isn’t a terrible trade on the surface, but when you realize both of those draft picks will be in the late 20s and it doesn’t free any cap space for the Wolves (either this year or in the future), it’s a brutal trade. Classic case of forgetting to look at the trade from the opposite team’s point of view.

4. Timberwolves get: Justice Winslow, KZ Okpala
Heat get: Robert Covington

This makes the list due to the fanbase response. The main responses were “why would Miami do this?” and “no way we would give up KZ!” the latter of which was accompanied by comparisons to Giannis Antetokounmpo. It was just about as dumb of a response as I’ve ever seen. Covington would make the Heat a legitimate contender and fits perfectly with their roster. He’s better at literally every basketball skill than Winslow, and despite the potential of Okpala (Giannis 2.0 apparently), he was the last pick of the draft and has played a total of 3 NBA minutes. It’s insane how reluctant teams are to part with their garbage in exchange for a real boost toward title contention.

3. Lakers get: Robert Covington (MIN)
Timberwolves get: Avery Bradley (LAL), Brandon Knight (CLE)
Cavaliers get: Gorgui Dieng (MIN), Quinn Cook (LAL), 2023 first-round pick (MIN)

Barf. Lakers give up Quinn Cook and Avery Bradley for Covington? You know a trade is bad when you could add multiple 1st round picks to a team and they still say no. The only reason this isn’t even higher on the list is that it was part of this article, which includes 2 other trades that are not altogether awful. The others are still bad trades, but a bit less absurd.

2. Timberwolves get: Top-4 protected 2020 1st round pick
Trail Blazers get: Robert Covington

Kevin Pelton suggesting ” The Portland Trail Blazers sending this year’s first-round pick (with protection in case they miss the playoffs and win a top-four spot in the lottery) to Minnesota for Covington.” is all-time bad. You are a national NBA writer and you think that Covington is only worth a top 4-protected lottery pick… embarrassing.

1. Timberwolves get: Maxi Kleber, Delon Wright
Mavs get: Robert Covington

This trade isn’t necessarily the worst compared to some of the others we’ve seen, but the tweet has 62 replies, and only 1 of those was a yes.. For an absolute robbery! Another case of delusional fanbases. The replies range from “Maxi straight up” to “only if they include KAT” levels of insanity. In no world would Minnesota consider this, and Dallas would jump at the opportunity. It’s one of the rare times that it’s a good thing the executives don’t listen to their fans.

Weekly Wagers

2019-20 NBA Record: 13-6-0
2019 NFL Record: 2-2-0

Follow @blogintherough on Twitter to get my daily betting tips.

I’ve been crushing NBA gambling over the past few weeks, so if you’re a gambler you should be hopping on board. This week, however, we have one of the best sporting (and gambling!) events of the year; this week’s write-up will be devoted solely to the Super Bowl, and all of the craziness associated with it.

Standard Game Line Bets

Kansas City -1.5 vs San Francisco
In betting lines, I tend to pick pretty heavily based on quarterbacks. If there are two minutes left and you’re down by 6, who do you trust more to lead a game-winning drive? For me, it’s a no brainer – Patrick Mahomes. Of course the 49ers have beaten plenty of teams who had the quarterback advantage, so take it with a grain of salt. But to me, it basically comes down to this: If I lose betting on Mahomes, I’ll feel a whole lot less dumb that if I lose betting against him. Chiefs by 10.

Mahomes Jimmy

Alternate Spread: Kansas City -19.5 (+900) vs San Francisco
So (as I suggested above), I don’t think the Chiefs will win by 20+, but +900 is crazy odds. Considering the speed at which Kansas City can score (remember the game against the Texans?), and the 49ers not playing from behind often, I could see this happening. It’s worth the wager at 9 to 1 odds.

Over/Under 54.5: Over (-110)
Life is too short to bet the under. Especially for two high-powered offenses. Give me the over.

Will Game go to Overtime? No (-1100)
This is usually a fun bet to play the yes, especially at +800, but I just don’t see it. The ‘no’ is almost always the smart bet anyway, but if I’m predicting Chiefs by 10, it can’t go to OT as well.

Normal Prop Bets

Super Bowl MVP:
Raheem Mostert (+700)
I see almost no scenario in which the Chiefs win and Mahomes doesn’t get the MVP, but he’s at -130 and the Chiefs winning are at -120 (and the parlay is not available). Why should I get worse odds for the MVP than for the team? It’s not like Mahomes will win MVP if they lose… Garopollo is +250, but he threw 6 passes last week, and hasn’t been a part of the gameplan in the playoffs yet. This might change up for the Super Bowl, but it’s hard for me to envision the 49ers suddenly becoming pass-heavy. I’d give Mostert better than a 50/50 chance at the MVP if San Francisco wins, and +700 value is too good to pass up.

Mostert

Jimmy Garoppolo Passing Yards – Under 239.5 (-110)
As mentioned above, Garoppolo hasn’t had to do much in the playoffs. This is below his season average and would be a big change on the current trend to see Jimmy G.

Will Either Team Score in Final 3 1/2 Minutes of Fourth Quarter? Yes (-190)
This one isn’t great odds, but I think it’s a near lock to occur. 3 and half minutes is a huge amount of time given the 2 minute warning and the chances that multiple timeouts will be used. I’d take this bet in nearly any NFL game, but especially in the Super Bowl.

Last Score of Game: Field Goal/Safety (+160)
I’m not sure why they’re giving such high value for what amounts to basically a toss up. I’ll take +160 any day against -180 for Touchdown.

Fun Super Bowl Prop Bets

How Many Players Will Have A Passing Attempt: Over 2.5 (+115)

I bet this every single year. It’s one of the most fun bets to have because you’re basically just hoping for something cool to happen. Fake punt, Emmanual Sanders trick play, etc. The Super Bowl usually delivers. Always nice to win some money rooting for excitement.

Total kickoff returns in game: Under 5.5 (+120)
It’s wild that this is giving a positive return. The first kickoff is almost always returned. Adrenaline is pumping, and it’s hard to get a return man not to give it a go. So for the rest of the game, over/under is 4.5. Most kickoffs are a touchback, and I doubt we’ll have many returns. I’d probably stick with the under at 4.5, too, but 5.5 is an easy choice.

Coin Toss: Tails
Tails. Never. Fails.

More Rushing Yards: Kansas City +36.5 (-110)
I could see this bet looking really stupid, really early on in the game. Recently, the Chiefs haven’t rushed nearly as often or successfully as the 49ers. If you didn’t hear, Raheem Mostert is pretty good. Still, I think the game could dictate the Chiefs running more often, and with Mahomes ability to scramble, I wouldn’t put it past him to have a big night with his legs. 37 yards is a lot of a cushion, especially if the Chiefs go up early. I’ll take the extra yards.

How Long Will It Take Demi Lovato To Sing The US National Anthem: Over 2:00 (-220)
This is one of the easiest bets every year. For Glady Knight last year, the over/under was at 1:47 and she hit 2:01. Lovato’s national anthem in 2017 for the McGregor vs Mayweather fight was 2:11. No chance she goes under here either. Alicia Keys has the longest national anthem on record at the Super Bowl at 2:17, and I’d still take the over for her breaking the record.

Demi Lovato

Things I Like and Things I Don’t Like

I like
Both teams in the Super Bowl.
Patrick Mahomes is as exciting a player as we’ve ever had the chance to see in the NFL. The 49ers have re-established the idea that a run-first identity can be a successful strategy. They both have defenses that can turn the ball over. Whoever wins, I’m sure this will be an exciting game.

I don’t like
Not having a rooting interest in the Super Bowl.
Obviously, my preference would be that I can root for the Vikings, but that’s not what I’m talking about. More than individual fandom, there’s usually one team that is vastly more likable in the Super Bowl. (This is helped by the fact that the Patriots have made it so often). This year, there’s two teams who both have a lot of reason to like them. No Goliath for David to topple, no villains to vanquish. I guess the money I’m laying on the Chiefs will have to suffice for me to root for them.

I like
Kobe Tributes. I wrote a bit about what Kobe meant to me personally earlier this week, and it’s been uplifting to see almost everyone move into celebrating his life and staying positive. For something as cynical as social media in the year 2020, it’s been nice for everyone to be on the same page for a while. Even if the reason was tragic.

I don’t like
Buddy Hield’s Kobe Tribute. Hield wears 24 like Kobe, and decided he was going to recreate a Kobe pastime: ripping the heart out of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He dropped a career-high 42 points that sparked a comeback from a 27-point deficit (including being down 17 with less than 3 minutes remaining) to lead the Kings to a win in overtime. Okay, so if I’m honest, I loved how good Hield played, and the Wolves blew this entirely on their own, but it was pretty disheartening in real time. Then I realized, the Timberwolves were just doing a Kobe tribute of their own. Go Wolves.

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