A New Wagering Opportunity …

The Westgate sportsbook in Las Vegas is offering futures betting for the College Football Playoff next December/January.  For the first time, they will take action on which individual teams will be selected as the four semi-finalists.  Here are the odds for some of the top teams:

  • Alabama   minus-210
  • Clemson   Even money
  • Ohio St.   +125
  • Georgia   +175
  • Oklahoma  +350

According to reports from the Westgate, there is lively action on these futures bets and the Westgate announced that in about 2-3 weeks they will post odds for more than 200 college basketball teams to reach the Final Four next April.

Back when MLB free agents were having a tough time signing monster contracts, I mentioned that some of the previous contracts handed out to aging hitters may have taught GMs to be wary of the dangers of such deals.  I mentioned then the contracts for Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera.  Let me add one more name to my previous list.

In 2016, the Orioles signed then 30-year old Chris Davis to a 7-year contract worth $161M.  That contract runs all the way through the 2022 season.  There is money in the contract that is deferred totaling $42M meaning that Davis gets an average of $17M each year through 2022 and then collects the $42M deferred money in 10 annual installments starting in 2023.  And how has this worked out for the Orioles…?

  • In 2016, Davis hit .221; had an OPS of .792 and led the AL in strikeouts.
  • In 2017, Davis hit .215; had an OPS of .732 but only struck out 195 times

Now, in 2018 at age 32, Davis finds himself on the bench for lack of production.  In 61 games this year, he is hitting .149 and his OPS is .469.  He has 33 hits for the season and has struck out 93 times.  The Orioles are in the midst of a horrendous season even though they did not leave Spring Training with the idea of tanking to rebuild the team.  While Davis’ performance has contributed to the Orioles’ woes, it would be a stretch to blame him for miserable record.  Other than Manny Machado who is having a great year, just about everyone else on the team is under-achieving.

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times had this take on the Orioles’ malaise this year:

“Phil Mickelson incurred a two-stroke penalty for hitting a moving ball at the U.S. Open.

“’You can hit a moving ball?’ asked a Baltimore Oriole.”

Scott Boras is the agent who got Davis that deal.  Scott Boras also represents Nats’ wunderkind Bryce Harper who will be a free agent this winter and who has indicated that he would love to see offers north of $400M in total value.  Harper is only 25 years old, so Boras will very properly point out that he is about to enter the prime years of his career.  The negotiating hurdles here could be twofold:

  1. Scott Boras has had more than a few of his former clients who have not performed up to the levels of their deals.  The Yankees’ deal with A-Rod is a prime example here.  The Chris Davis deal is also not looking like a gem.
  2. Bryce Harper is making $21.6M this year and is not playing up to that value so far.  As of this morning, he is hitting .217 with an OPS of .832.  He does lead the league with 19 HRs, but he has only driven in 46 runs in 75 games.  That is not what one might call an “ideal walk-year performance”.

Notwithstanding the above, Harper will get a mega-deal because of his numbers in years prior to this one.  Personally, if I were a GM and I were inclined to throw out a $400M offer this winter, I would probably direct it to Manny Machado first.  But I am not a GM and I never will be…

Over in the National League, the Miami Marlins surely appear to have chosen tanking as a team strategy for at least 2018.  The new ownership – fronted by Derek Jeter – took the opportunity last winter to trade away their entire starting outfield:

  • Marcel Ozuna is in St. Louis
  • Giancarlo Stanton is a Yankee
  • Christian Yelich is in Milwaukee.

All three of them are having solid seasons with their new teams.  Without resorting to Google, how many outfielders for the Marlins in 2018 can you name?  For the record, I could only recall one name – Derek Dietrich – without glancing at baseball-reference.com.  Then, when I went to that site, I noticed that Marlins’ centerfielder, Lewis Brinson, has been in 76 games so far this year and is hitting all of .177 with an OPS of .554.  Moreover, Brinson leads the team in strikeouts.

Finally, here is another observation from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“The Phillies’ pitching staff is nothing but right-wingers after lone lefty Zac Curtis got demoted to the minors last week.

“The Republican Party approves of this message.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



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