MLB AMERICAN LEAGUE CONTENDERS

Title: MLB American League contenders
Author: David Marotta
Date: April 6, 2022

Apr 2, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) is congratulated by New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) as he scores a run s2i against the Atlanta Braves during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the leading contenders for the American League Pennant, along with the odds according to BetMGM.

Toronto Blue Jays +450
Last season Toronto won 91 games but ended up being the team with the best record to not qualify for the postseason. Even though the Blue Jays lost some key players from last year’s squad, including Marcus Semien, Randal Grichuk, and Robbie Ray, the roster still has plenty of offensive firepower, led by triple crown threat Vladimir Guerrero. They also upgraded their bullpen, which was a weakness last season. Only time will tell if Toronto is worthy of being the AL favorite.

Houston Astros +475
The Astros are favored to win the American League West and will be in contention again for the AL crown. Houston lost Carlos Correa and Zack Greinke in free agency, but this team is still loaded. Houston led all of MLB in runs scored last season and returns seven of their top eight position players. Houston also re-signed Justin Verlander, who was impressive in Spring Training after missing the entire 2021 season.

New York Yankees +550
Every season is World Series or bust for the Yankees, and with the current roster built to win now, the trend of five straight playoff appearances should continue. The lineup is loaded, and the Bronx Bombers will head into the opening day with 16 pitchers, led by their ace Gerrit Cole.

Chicago White Sox +550
After losing their opening playoff series in consective years, the White Sox are favored to repeat as AL Central Division Champions, but with the current roster, the expectations are to win contend for the World Series crown. The White Sox are probably the most balanced amongst all the contenders. Chicago finished second in the AL in ERA last season.

Although they lost Carlos Rodon in free agency, with a rotation led by Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, and Lucas Giolito, the White Sox will be a tough matchup for any team in the AL playoffs. Chicago’s offensive depth also rivals any team in the league,

Tampa Bay Rays +650
Regardless of what the roster looks like on paper, the Rays always find a way to contend. The Rays won 100 games during the regular season in 2021, and, with their young core still intact, Tampa Bay is a great value bet in what should be a competitive AL race.

Correa to Twins, doesn’t feel right

After making five straight appearances in the ALCS, which includes winning a World Series in 2017, Carlos Correa decided to leave the franchise that drafted him back in 2012 for the Minnesota Twins this off-season. After reports stating that Correa had turned down a five-year $160 million deal with the Houston Astros, I was surprised to hear that the two-time All-Star decided to sign with the Twins for (only) three years and 105.3 million. With Scott Boras representing him, I believe this has alot to do with the option to opt out after only one season and then test the free-agent market again next season.

Mar 27, 2022; Fort Myers, Florida, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa (4) returns
to the dugout after the first inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox during spring training at CenturyLink Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros have been great at rebuilding and likely wanted to plan for the future. I’m sure the Astros would have loved to have had Correa back on the five-year deal, but going through this again with Correa next season as a free agent is not something the Astros had an interest in. Nevertheless, as a fan of the game, seeing Correa sign with the Twins was disappointing to me, but due to the terms of his contract, a reunion between Correa and the Stros in 2023 is not impossible.

Follow David Delano Marotta at https://twitter.com/GetSportsStrong

Thursday August 30 NCAA Football Picks

All My College Football Picks are free for the week.

Here is my free pick for Thursday August 30

Picks locked in earlier this week given out in previous video for Sept. 1, 2018

HOUSTON -23.5 at Rice (4 Units

Kent State at ILLINOIS -15 (4 Units)

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August 4- Sergey Kovalev vs Eleider Álvarez Boxing Prediction and MLB FREE PICK

August 3 MLB Results:
✅ Atlanta Braves ML +132 
LA Dodgers ML LOSS
✅ Seattle Mariners ML LOSS
✅ San Fransico Giants ML LOSS
✅ UNDER 7.5 Giants at Diamondbacks LOSS
Here is my free pick for Saturday August 4.

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Monday July 30 Free Pick

July 27 Results:

✅ Pittsburgh Pirates ML -155  WIN
✅ Chicago Cubs ML +103  LOSS
✅ Washington Nationals -1.5   WIN
✅ Over  7.0 Washington Nationals  at Miami Marlins  WIN
✅ Houston Astros -1.5  (-135)  TWO UNITS  LOSS
✅ Arizona Diamondbacks -1.5  (-120)  WIN
✅ Arizona Diamondbacks ML  WIN
✅ Seattle Mariners ML  +128 LOSS
Los Angeles Dodgers ML  -145 WIN

July 28 Results:

Yankees GAME 1/Astros -1.5 ML PARLAY LOSS
✅ Astros -1.5 LOSS
****Boxing Bonus Light Weight Title
ROBERT EASTER JR +700  LOSS
OVER 9.5 Rounds -170  WIN

July 29 Results:

✅ Kansas City Royals “FIRST 5 INNINGS”  +0.5  +155  LOSS
Chicago Cubs ML  -113  WIN  
✅ Minnesota Twins ML +139  LOSS
✅ Pittsburgh Pirates ML  -113  LOSS
✅ Seattle Mariners ML  +110  WIN
✅ Arizona Diamondbacks ML -108  WIN
✅ Los Angeles Dodgers ML  -127  LOSS

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Dear Cleveland Browns, please not Josh Allen

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From the heart of David Delano…

I am a sports handicapper and sports fanatic. I’m also a die hard Cleveland Browns fan. The last couple years, I have learned to cope with my pain by often betting against the team that I have loved for just as long as I have loved the game of football. As the apathy and disgust continued to build, I decided to capitalize on possibly the biggest cheat code in sports handicapping; betting against the Browns. I still hate to see the team lose, but the losing was going to happen regardless of what I did, so why not enjoy some easy money and comic relief at the expense of the franchise that I love.

I’m sorry but if the Browns are going to go 1-31, I need something back for being a fan.  Still my soft spot for Cleveland has prevented me from cashing in on them as much as I easily should have.

I’m not on the radio in Cleveland. I’m not on Fox or ESPN. I’m not a NFL scout and I have not spent hours on hours dissecting tape with Mel Kiper and Todd McShay.  So I guess you can say, I’m just “another guy on twitter.”  So what is my opinion even worth when it comes to the 2018 NFL draft anyway?

Well, who I am is a die hard Cleveland Browns fan whose happiest moment as a NFL fan was the Browns 1994 season led by “Browns legend” Vinny Testaverde, which resulted in one playoff win over the New England Patriots.

I don’t need to go into detail as to what has happen since 1995, if you are reading this you either already know or can easily find out.

Although I’m not a scout, I follow college football very closely, and although I don’t like to brag, when it comes to handicapping college football, I’m pretty damn good. I love watching college football, not just attending Ohio State, Notre Dame, USC, and Alabama. I enjoy watching Grambling State, Wyoming, Hawaii, Bowling Green, Memphis, San Diego State, Navy, Toledo, Trine University, and a long list of other random teams.

For what it’s worth, I have seen my share of superstars at small and mid-major schools long before they were on the national radar, and I have learned that special talents will often jump out at you.

I remember going to see Eastern Illinois play Toledo in 2000. I had no idea who any of the players on Eastern Illinois where, but I knew when I left the game with my dad, I was convinced that the quarterback for Eastern Illinois was the best quarterback I had ever seen in person, in my life up to that point.  I decided to research that kid from Eastern Illinois, and follow his career as much as I could. The kid was Tony Romo.

I remember watching Ben Roetsliberger in high school and college, he was unbelievable. For those who don’t remember Roetsliberger led Miami to a 13-1 record and top ten AP poll  ranking in 2003. He was the type of player who elevated the program to another level and put Miami Ohio on the national scene.

Josh Allen is no Big Ben.

I remember watching highlights of Steve McNair in college and all the national attention he brought to Alcorn State in the early 90s. The hype was not all based on his size and charisma, but because of his production, and what he was doing to take Alcorn State to a level the program had never seen prior to his arrival.

So how does any of this relate to this years upcoming draft?  Well, when I watch Josh Allen play, I just don’t see it and I just don’t feel it.  I do not want Josh Allen on the Cleveland Browns.

In fact if the Browns draft Josh Allen number one, I will want to break something…. but I won’t because I’m a Browns fan and drafting Josh Allen would be the “Browns thing to do.

I believe that if Josh Allen is to be anointed savior of the Browns, then you should be able to tell he’s good from watching the games, without trying to force yourself to love him because Mel Kiper keeps telling you he’s great. I believe that the next man who is presented with one of the biggest challenges in all of professional sports (the man who we are expecting to turn the Cleveland Browns around), should at least be able to turn the Wyoming Cowboys around.

I hope that every quarterback that is selected this year turns out to be a future Hall of Famer. I am not rooting against anyone.  It’s not personal; but being a Cleveland Browns fan is tough. Being a Cleveland Browns starting quarterback is even tougher, at least while it last.

Since I am a Browns fan, I did my best to follow the top college quarterbacks this season, even though I hope we would not be in this situation again (yes I said “we”) after drafting Deshone Kizer last season.

APTOPIX-Jaguars-Browns-Football
“in Cleveland there’s rarely any time to learn; only pressure to save a failing franchise regardless of the odds stacked up against you.”

I have watched Josh Allen a few times in his career. I watched him lose to Eastern Michigan and Brigham Young in 2016. Then when I heard he was the number one prospect going into 2017, I told one of my friends, “I just watched him, he was okay, but I didn’t see anything special.” So I told myself going into 2017, let’s watch Josh Allen as much as possible, let’s really watch him, with more than just concern for the point spread. So this past season I watched Josh Allen against Oregon, Hawaii, Boise State and Central Michigan. Forgive me for missing Allen’s stellar games against Gardner-Webb, Texas State and New Mexico.

Maybe I can’t evaluate talent.

Maybe I’m not intelligent enough about the game of football to understand that just because I watched a quarterback play over and over again, and he looked like he’s not ready for the NFL doesn’t mean he actually is not ready for the NFL.

Maybe I need to understand that just because I watched Josh Allen go 8 for 18 for 67 yards in regulation against defensive juggernaut Hawaii this season. doesn’t mean he’s not the next Tom Brady.  Maybe I just I need to be more open minded and learn to just hop on his nuts like the broadcasters did, when he threw that beautiful 25 yard pass in overtime to give Wyoming a 28-21 overtime win against Hawaii finishing with 92 yards passing and the win.

It  feels like I’ve seen 50 college quarterbacks better than Josh Allen in my life, and honestly I want to say even more than that. The kid just isn’t good right now. Some people will say Allen needs time to develop, but so did Deshone Kizer, and we see how that worked out. Despite the 0-16 season, I was all for keeping Kizer around because when he was drafted it seemed to be clear that he would need time to learn. But in Cleveland there’s rarely any time to learn; only pressure to save a failing franchise regardless of the odds stacked up against you.

When I see Josh Allen, I see why the scouts love him. He’s a tall, athletic, strong, good looking white kid. He looks the way the NFL wants their quarterbacks to look. The scouts seem to love what they see in Allen,no matter how many receivers he over throws.  The physical skills are definitely there, but when I look at Josh Allen, I see more Ryan Mallet than Big Ben. I see more Charlie Frye than Carson Wentz and I see more Christian Ponder than Phillip Rivers.

With the proper coaching, support and patience maybe Josh Allen will be a great pro. I do believe that the odds however are stacked against Allen going to Cleveland right now,  I’m skeptical about every quarterback in this years draft, but for what it’s worth here’s how I rank the quarterback class based on NFL potential.

  1. Josh Rosen
  2. Baker Mayfield
  3. Sam Darnold
  4. Mason Rudolph
  5. Josh Allen
  6. Lamar Jackson
  7. Luke Falk

It really hurts for me to list Josh Allen over Lamar Jackson. I placed Allen fifth because I have bought into his strong arm and physical potential a little bit as well. However, if we are talking about how the those seven quarterbacks rank based off college performance alone,  then Josh Allen is easily seventh.

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Like always the situation that any quarterback gets drafted into will have a lot to do with his future success. I am sure that at least six of the top incoming rookie quarterbacks would be fine in Pittsburgh or New England; where five of those same six may fail in Cleveland. The same can be said about Deshone Kizer last season, and basically every other Cleveland quarterback since 1999. There was no patience or support system for Kizer last season. With Kizer being traded to Green Bay, I honestly believe today, that the odds of Deshone Kizer becoming an elite NFL quarterback are better than the odds that Josh Allen ever will.

On a positive note, I believe that regardless of who the Browns pick, if Tyrod Taylor can start all 16 games next season, with a healthy Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon, it will be in the best long term interest of any rookie quarterback that “we” select.  Despite

Despite all the questions surrounding the quarterbacks in the upcoming draft, in today’s NFL the Browns basically have to take a quarterback at number one or number four. I would love to see Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield be selected at #1 or #4, with Mason Rudolph, Lamar Jackson or Luke Falk also being selected after the first round.

Still when it comes to Josh Allen I say, “don’t do it Cleveland!”

But at the end of the day I’m a Browns fan. So to the Cleveland Browns, even if you ignore my words and you do draft Josh Allen, I will be pulling for him and your entire organization to make me eat my words.”

But in case you don’t get this right…Shea Patterson or Drew Lock?

How do you feel?

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MARCH 30 MLB FREE PICK

Washington Nationals at Cincinnati Reds
Projected Starters: Nationals: Max Scherzer vs Reds: Homer Bailey 4:10pm EST

As we approach day two of the MLB season, Washington is the first big favorite that I really feel the need to jump on.

Projected Cincinnati Reds starter Homer Bailey was 0-2 with a 25.41 ERA against the Nationals last season. The Reds lost those games 18-3 and 14-4. Nationals hitters have a career .467 earned run average against Homer Bailey. In his career Bailey is 1-5 when starting against Washington with an ERA of 8.44

The Nationals send Max Schrezer to the mound who pitched six shut out innings against the Reds last season.

My Pick: Washington Nationals (-1.5) Two Units

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