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National Championship Game: Texas Tech vs Virginia Odds and Predictions

After Auburn gifted Virginia's Kyle Guy three free throws with less than 2 seconds left with a beyond stupid foul we get to tonight's Natty between two teams who have never won a championship in basketball.  Currently the #1 seed Virginia Cavaliers are a slight 1.5 point favorite vs #3 seed Texas Tech.  The game will be played tonight in Minneapolis in front of 70,000 attendees who will most likely squint to see the ants playing hoops from the upper deck nosebleeds.  Playing basketball in football stadiums are stupid.  I've attended NCAA  tourney and ACC Tourney games at the old Georgia Dome.  Not the best views.  Enough of my rant.  Let's take a look at the best bets and predictions for Texas Tech vs. Virginia.

FIRST HALF BET

Both Virginia and Texas Tech are known for their defenses.  It can be boring at times because their offenses do a lot of run the clock, play half court snooze fests especially Virginia.  This will be a low scoring affair so I gotta take the UNDER in the first half which is 53.5 points (-110).  There will be a lot of blocked shots, missed threes and turnovers while both teams play out the butterflies in the first 20 minutes.

PREDICTION: UNDER 53.5 first-half points (-110)

FULL GAME BET

Like I said earlier Virginia got a gift from Auburn to even be playing in this game.  When you are up 4 points with less than 10 seconds to go the odds are overwhelming you should win the game.  But Auburn choked despite going on an epic run with less than 10 minutes left in the game to take the lead.  Virginia got lucky. 

Texas Tech on the other hand comes in hot.  They dominated Michigan State.  The game was never in question even with Jarrett Culver struggling with only 10 points.  They beat Izzo by 10 points.  Four of their five tournament games have come by double digits.  In fact I'm a little shocked the Red Raiders are the underdog even if they are the lower seeded team.  You can take them on the money line if you want too.

PREDICTION: Texas Tech +1.5 (+110)

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Baseball Porn: Mike Trout's Home Run Swing

I'm not a gay man but after watching this full torque Mike Trout swing that sent the baseball 422 feet deep I would go full torque deep in Trout.  Only if he asked of course.

Here's another view in case you haven't gotten enough baseball porn today...

 

 

 

Man it's hot in here in the old cubicle today.  That swing...

And in case you were wondering why Mike Trout got the richest contract in sports history I present another highlight in the same game showing off his arm.

 

 

 

 Nothing to see here. I'm just gonna need some alone time thanks to Trout.  I salute you...

 

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The new Joker (2019) trailer was released today

I'll just leave this here. Watch the whole thing.

 

Oh...my...God! Sign me the fuck up!  Joaquin Phoenix is gonna make us all forget about Heath Ledger.

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Watch Dansby Swanson hit his first ever opposite field home run followed by Ozzie Albies going oppo too

My god it's beautiful. This right here is baseball porn. Lord Dansby Swanson of Marietta going with the pitch and crushing it into the right centerfield bleachers is amazing in itself but this is in fact Dansby's first ever oppo of his career. Hard to believe.

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Two batters later Ozzie Albies joined the oppo party...

 

If these two young bucks continue to go opposite field the Braves lineup should be lethal all season. I would like to add Ozzie looks fucking awesome in the leadoff spot. Just saying.

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Checking in with Paige Spiranac aka Instagram Golf Girl

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Phil Mickelson shuts up country music star Jake Owen by telling him to "go f*ck yourself"

I've got a new respect for old pancake tits Phil Mickelson after hearing this story from Jake Owen. When you are as rich ($375 million) as flapjacks Phil is you basically have an endless amount of "fuck you money." And the best part of having fuck you money is the ability to use it to your advantage. I had never heard of Jake Owen before this story and I doubt Phil even remembered his name at Jordan Spieth's wedding after reportedly pocketing nearly $10 million for 3 hours of boring golf vs Tiger Woods the day before. To simply give Owen a c-note and telling him to "go fuck yourself" is all-time non apology.  Respect.

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Story via The Fore Play Pod

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The AAF Has Already Died, All Football Operations Stopped

Can't stop us eh? Yeah...

Damn son it couldn't even last one full season! Now where am I going to watch D League football players I don't give a shit about these days? Think about the children with their Johnny Football Memphis jerseys now as worthless as their dreams of not attending a game.

I'm not gonna say I told you so but who actually thought the AAF would work besides Tom Dundon?  There is no way you can compete with the NFL and sports fans in general when you got players on your roster that nobody cares about.  I was flipping the tube on Sunday and just happened to come upon an AAF game on the NFL Network and I shit you not I've seen high school games with four times the attendance of what was shown. 

But don't worry because the XFL is about to get rebooted in 2020.  I'm sure Vince McMahon learned his lesson in 2001 when after one season the original XFL League got shut down because you guessed it...nobody gave a shit.  This time should be different though considering WWE ratings are plummeting right?

 

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Breaking News: Atlanta Braves agree to extend Ronald Acuna Jr's contract to 8 years $100 million

This is obviously a great deal for both sides in baseball's current economic situation. The Atlanta Braves get their superstar outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr for an extra four years of control.  $124 million for basically the next decade is a bargain for the Braves franchise.  Just doing the quick math that's $12.4 million per season for Acuna who is going to put up MVP numbers for the next decade through his prime years.  You can't beat that when superstars like Trout, Machado and Harper are all making over $30 million per season.

It's also a great deal for Acuna as it gives him security and all the money is guaranteed.  Currently he was making $550K per season so a bump of salary to over $12 million is nothing to sneeze at. 

Most importantly it keeps Acuna in Atlanta for the next decade.  The reigning NL Rookie of the Year is a legit 5-tool player who has the makings of a young Griffey Jr and dare I say Trout at 21 years young.

I've been vocal about Braves ownership Liberty Media being cheap this past offseason and I still stick with my opinion but it is good to see them extend their young stars early.  They did it with Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran, Andrelton Simmons, and Craig Kimbrel in the past and hopefully they build the team around Acuna now like they were suppose to with Freeman 5 years ago.

Acuna should be batting at the top of the Braves order for at least the next decade and that alone should bring a smile to all Braves fans.  Acuna's contract also gives the Braves plenty of "financial flexibility" to go get another starter (Dallas Keuchel) or relief arm (Craig Kimbrel) without breaking the Liberty Media bank.

Chop on and Acuna Matata Bitches!

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Notre Dame Football: 5 Spring Breakout Candidates for 2019

The Fighting Irish will be looking to get back to the playoffs in 2019, but will have to replace several key players off of last year's 12-1 team. With spring practice half way through I take a look at 5 players who are primed to breakout into their own.

Here are five breakout candidates for Notre Dame football as the Fighting Irish continue to work through spring practice in preparation for the 2019 season.

5. WR Braden Lenzy

The old adage is speed kills and that's exactly what Lenzy could help bring the Fighting Irish WR core this spring.  Lenzy is a rising sophomore who came to Notre Dame to also run track but his focus this spring has been all football.

Lenzy came into Notre Dame last season as a 4-star WR and the No. 10 athlete in the nation.  He did not get any playing time his freshman season as he arrived at Notre Dame weighing 160 lbs soaking wet.  With Miles Boykin, Chase Claypool and Chris Finke all entrenched as starters with experience at wide out last season it looked like it was going to be more of the same going into the playoffs and into 2019 with all of them having a year of eligibility left. 

But then the Cotton Bowl 30-3 massacre vs Clemson happened and it became painfully obvious that Notre Dame was missing elite play making skill players who can stretch the field that teams like Clemson have in abundance.  Shortly after the season Boykin decided to declare for the NFL Draft and thus we have an open WR spot for Lenzy to grab this spring.

Lenzy has the speed to stretch the field and the Matt Balis training table is already paying off as reports are Lenzy has bulked up to 180 lbs without losing any of his fast twitch, explosive playmaking skills.  Early reports out of spring camp indicate Lenzy will be competing with rising junior Michael Young for a starting X WR position opposite Claypool and Finke. 

If Lenzy can grasp the playbook I think he can make a huge jump going into his sophomore season much like Will Fuller did in 2014 and Golden Tate in 2008 who both broke out with huge seasons.  I know his QB Ian Book would love to use a weapon of Lenzy's skills and speed to make things easier on him as would all Fighting Irish fans.

4. TE Cole Kmet

Tight End U hasn't exactly been tight end u these last few seasons with production dipping pretty much every season since Tyler Eifert was a first round pick in 2013.  Kmet is going to get a huge opportunity here to turn the tide and make the TE a feared weapon again for the Fighting Irish.

Alize Mack left for the NFL draft this spring opening up the starting tight end spot.  While Alize was extremely talented he wasn't exactly reliable both on and off the field.  Kmet who stands at 6'6 with great reach is also a star lefty relief pitcher for the baseball team up until two weeks ago when he decided to shut it down and focus solely on football.  Like Lenzy deciding to skip track I think this could be huge for Kmet's development this spring and getting more repetitions with Book is never a bad thing.

Kmet, a rising junior, entered Notre Dame as a 4-star prospect and the #3 tight end in the nation.  He came into ND with fellow TE classmate Brock Wright who actually was the higher rated prospect at the time.  In his first two seasons at ND Kmet has only 17 catches for 176 yards and the next time he catches a TD will be the first of his collegiate career. 

Now is the time for Kmet to shine (whom offensive coordinator Chip Long calls one of those DUDES meaning he's a beast) and take that next step up as he is currently running on the first team ahead of Wright and restore the luster of Tight End U to it's rightful place in Notre Dame. 

 

3. RB Jafar Armstrong

Ok technically Armstrong did start last season in the opener vs Michigan and had a breakout game with two TD but hear me out here.  Armstrong was splitting carries with Tony Jones Jr before Dexter Williams returned from a 4-game suspension to take hold of the majority of the carries.

This season Armstrong, the converted 4-star WR out of high school, is expected to be the bellcow for the Fighting Irish backfield.  Armstrong possesses home run speed and since he played wide out he can also catch the ball out of the backfield.  If you remember Dexter for as good as he was running the ball had some of the worst stone hands thus preventing him from reaching his full potential. 

Armstrong can and should be the starting RB all season.  His game reminds me a lot of CJ Prosise who if you remember also converted from another position after his freshman season and then had a HUGE junior season for the 2015 squad.  I think Armstrong can be that exact back for Notre Dame this season and it all starts this spring. 

Armstrong is going to have every opportunity to start and he needs to take advantage of it by developing his game this spring and I think new RB coach Lance Taylor will help him do just that.

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2. DT Jayson Ademilola

Notre Dame has to replace senior DTs Jerry Tillery and Jonathan Bonner who basically started every game for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.  While rising juniors Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa and Kurt Hinish are at this time expected to replace Tillery and Bonner in the starting lineup I actually think Jayson Ademilola will have the breakout spring.
The 4-star DT and #12 DT in the nation arrived last season as a true freshman along with his twin brother Justin.  Jayson played in 11 of the 12 games his freshman season providing meaningful reserve minutes while stepping in for the injured Tagovailoa-Amosa who was lost early in the season.  Jayson more than held his own and racked up 4-tackle performances vs Wake Forest and Syracuse.
Ademilola has a better initial snap burst into the line and quicker hands than Bonner and MTA creating separation which hopefully should cause plenty of opportunities for disruption which helps with tackles for loss and turnovers.  Jayson isn't just a space eater to help linebackers and safeties make all the tackles. 

If he can continue to develop and stay healthy it wouldn't shock me to see him start over one of either MTA or Hinish in the season opener vs Louisville.  He's that good.

1. LB Jordan Genmark Heath

Genmark Heath aka the Swedish Black Guy is another guy that needs to have a huge spring to get a jump on the stacked linebacker competition which needs to replace starters Drue Tranquill and Te'von Coney.  

In other words no easy task replacing two guys who combined for over 200 tackles for the LEA-Gion of Doom Defense.

Genmark Heath, a rising junior, is a converted safety prospect who played linebacker for the first time last season.  He actually started for the injured Tranquill in the Northwestern game and more than held his own. He's accounted for 16 tackles each of his freshman and sophomore seasons so he has experience playing.  

Right now he's basically running on the 2nd team behind senior Asmar Bilal at the BUCK linebacker position.  Bilal is the only returning starting linebacker but I think Genmark Heath has the size, length, athleticism, and speed that DC Clark Lea loves to have at the BUCK position.  It wouldn't shock me with a great spring to see Genmark Heath take over the starting position.

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SportsCrack.com 2019 MLB Predictions

Although baseball technically kicked off last week in Tokyo (Mariners vs A's) of all fucking places tomorrow is officially Opening Day here in the good old States.  Lets get the season started with some predictions.  

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AL EAST: New York Yankees

While the Red Sox  (expect a World Series hangover) are the defending champs after a historic season for the ages the Yankees I feel have the better overall ball club.  Luis Severino going down could be a big blow for the Pinstripes but they still have plenty of arms to fill in including new addition James Paxton.  Yankees easily have the best bullpen in the majors.  Factor in their lineup getting bounce back seasons from Gary Sanchez who was awful last year and the addition of DJ LeMahieu will solidify them.  It should be a close division race between the Yankees and Red Sox all season.  The Rays will hover around .500 all season in the empty Trop.  The Blue Jays got some exciting young players coming up this year including Vlad Guerrero Jr. but they are still years away from contention.  The Orioles almost completely gutted their front office and MLB and minor league system after an embarrassing 47 win season.

AL CENTRAL: Cleveland Indians

The Wahoos should coast in the league's worst division.  The question remains do they have enough firepower to compete with the other division winners come playoff time?  Not so sure but I love any team with a top of the rotation consisting of Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger who are all in their prime years.  Perennial MVP candidates Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez are battling some injury issues but should be ready to go.  The only other team I could see contending in this division are the Minnesota Twins who signed Jonathan Schoop and Marwin Gonzalez to relatively bargain deals.  The rest of the division stinks with Detroit, Kansas City and the White Sox all in rebuild mode for this season at least.

AL WEST: Houston Astros

The World Series hangover was real for the Astros last season but I think they bounce back and win the division again this year.  Getting a healthy Altuve and Correa will be the key for the Astros all season.  Alec Bregman is a legit MVP candidate.  When Justin Verlander isn't throwing ropes on Kate Upton he's still a horse on the mound entering his late 30's.  While the Angels have the best player and now the highest player in the game in Mike Trout they still got too many holes to contend for the division but could make a Wild Card run.  I'm expecting the A's to fall back after a great 2018 season in which they played well beyond expectations and went to the playoffs.  The Rangers and Mariners are looking at long seasons.

AL WILDCARDS: Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins

You know whomever finishes 2nd in the AL East will get a Wild Card so I'll roll with the Red Sox here after losing a close race with the Yankees.  In a bit of a surprise I'll go with the Twins who are led by a rookie manager in Rocco Baldelli as my upset pick for the 2nd Wild Card.

 

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AL MVP: Mike Trout

Yes I know Mookie Betts won it last year but if you look at Trout's numbers you could make an argument that Trout should have won the MVP every year since his rookie season.  I'll go with the safe bet and the most paid player in MLB history in Trout.

AL CY YOUNG: Chris Sale

Sale got his long term contract extension and is fully comfortable in Boston.  He should be a monster once again.

AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Vlad Guerrero Jr

It wouldn't shock me to see Vlad Jr. have a Ronald Acuna-like effect for the Blue Jays this season.

AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Rocco Baldelli

If the Twins can snag the last Wild Card their rookie manager will win the award.

 

NL EAST: Atlanta Braves

This is gonna be the funniest and most competitive (minus Marlins) division to watch in baseball.  While the defending NL East champs Braves added Josh Donaldson the Phillies went out and got Bryce Harper, Jean Segura, JT Realmuto and Andrew McCutchen.  Sick moves by the Phillies to bolster a lineup that on paper could be the best in baseball.  Problem is the Phillies have the worst defense in baseball and their manager is too fucking analytical for my liking.  The Mets acquired Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz and have a great top of the rotation with Cy Young Winner Jacob deGrom leading the way.  The Nats might have lost Harper to the Phillies (could actually be addition by subtraction for DC) but they are looking to bounce back after a distraction filled season.  Signing Patrick Corbin to team up with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg rivals the Mets top 3 for best rotation in the division.  Honestly you can throw all 4 of these teams in a hat and you can't go wrong with picking any of them to win the division.  I'll go with the Braves because they are getting a full season of Ronald Acuna and Josh Donaldson in the lineup and both are legitimate MVP candidates along with the steady Freddie Freeman.  While the Braves rotation doesn't look as good on paper as the other 3 they got more depth IMO and plenty of young arms to fill needs all season.  Plus the Braves have arguably the best defense in the game.

NL CENTRAL: Chicago Cubs

The Cubs, Brewers and Cardinals will all be battling to the end to win the most competitive division from top to bottom.  If the Cubs stay healthy I think they win a close race over the Brewers and Cardinals.  I think what separates the Cubs from them is their pitching and defense.  But to be honest anyone of these teams could win the division and the pennant this season.  I'll just throw shit on the wall and say the Cubs get a MVP performance from Kris Bryant to help decide the final outcome in the division.  The Pirates also aren't anything to sneeze at and should be much improved.  The Reds made a ton of off season moves (Puig and Kemp among others) but I don't think they got the pitching to contend this season.  They should be a lot better though and at least fun to watch.

NL WEST: Los Angeles Dodgers

I think this will be the last season the Dodgers hang on to win the NL West for the 7th straight season.  The Dbacks and Giants are years away from contending.  The Padres signed Manny Machado and have a lot of young players ready to emerge but are still too young.  The Rockies could make a run but they don't have enough to catch the Dodgers.

NL WILDCARDS: Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals

It's almost impossible to pick any of the Wild Card winners.  The Phillies, Mets, Brewers, and Rockies are also serious contenders for a spot but I'll roll with the Nats and Cardinals at this point.  When in doubt I go with pitching and defense as the difference and both the Nats and Cards are better top to bottom at least on paper than the other contenders.

NL MVP: Ronald Acuna Jr.

This will be the first of many MVPs for the young King phenom.  I'm not saying he's Trout but Acuna is just a step below him and should put up monster stats hitting behind Donaldson and Freeman all season.

NL CY YOUNG: Max Scherzer

Mad Max just continues to get better while he punches his first ballot ticket to Cooperstown with his 4th Cy Young Award this season.

NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Victor Robles

While the Nats lost out on Juan Soto getting ROY honors last season because of King Acuna's monster 2nd half this year they can celebrate with Robles winning the award.

NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Brian Snitker

Which ever manages finds a way to win the National League pennant is my pick as manager of the year so I'm going with old Snitker and the Braves.

AL CHAMPIONS: Houston Astros

Astros go back to the World Series after a one year layoff thanks to spectacular seasons from Altuve and Bregman. 

NL CHAMPIONS: Atlanta Braves

The Braves ride their young players to their first playoff winning performance in 18 years to get to the World Series.

 

WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS: Atlanta Braves

Complete homer pick here but I'm rolling with my Bravos.  The best overall defense in the game helps a young rotation mature and rides the bats of Acuna, Freeman and Donaldson to a World Series parade for the ATL.

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