Betting the NFL Preseason in 2021

The Hall of Fame Game is the first NFL preseason game of the year, which closes the annual Hall of Fame enshrinement festivities. On August 5th, 2021, the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers will kick-off the preseason at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The game marks the seventh appearance by each squad in the annual preseason classic which is tied for the most by any team. Both clubs own 3-3 straight-up record. The game starts at 8:00 PM ET and can be viewed on Fox.

You will hear people say “Don’t bet on NFL Preseason Football”. Big Mistake! It’s actually easier than capping the regular season. In most cases you can read ahead of time the exact game plan for each team. I feel the NFL preseason is a great opportunity to start and build a nice bankroll for the upcoming regular season. Many handicappers have the opinion that the preseason games should be left alone and not bet on. I feel just the opposite. If you do your homework–the preseason offers sharps and squares a tremendous opportunity to make a lot of money. Here are my personal keys, stats, systems, angles, reasons, and teams to consider when betting NFL Preseason football in 2021.

1) Depth

This one is obvious. Jo public gets so worked up about the starters and skill position players on certain teams during the regular season. But they’re the same in the preseason. Teams that can go two-and three-deep (sometimes four-deep) at the skill positions have a decided advantage over a club that has a few stars that will be sitting after the first or second series. A perfect example of a team like that this season, is none other than the Buffalo Bills. Josh Allen, Mitchell Trubisky, and Jake Fromm are a solid top three. They signed Davis Webb who has a big arm. Even if Josh Allen plays very little, the next three should give teams fits in August. Don’t forget, the Bills have been running Sean McDermott’s system for 4 years. The Bills went 4-0 ATS when we last saw the NFL preseason (2019). On the flip side, the Detroit Lions will break in a brand new head coach (see below), new offensive coordinator, and new defensive coordinator. Jared Goff, Tim Boyle, and David Blough will be learning a brand new offense. The Lions’ defense will be learning a new scheme as well. I think this team is heading for a rough preseason!

Quarterbacks and continuity are key. NFL preseason wagers, just like those during the regular Season, often come down to the last eight minutes of a game. So find teams that have solid depth at QB and/or has some experience or success in the league. They’ll have a tremendous advantage in the closing moments of a game against a third and/or fourth-string defense.

2) Experience

I don’t necessarily mean which team has the most grizzled veterans on it. In fact, experience can be a detriment. Most older players hate preseason games. And teams that have established players in certain positions or roles will often see those guys “mail it in” during the preseason because they know the games are “meaningless” and already have their “jobs” locked up.

However, experience is a key factor when it comes to handicapping coaches/systems. Organizations that haven’t experienced much turnaround have a significant advantage over those that are easing in a new brain trust. For example, the Seattle Seahawks have been running Pete Carroll’s system since 2010. The Seahawks are going to be much sharper than a team that is going through drastic changes. Take the Philadelphia Eagles for example. They are breaking in a brand new head coach (Nick Sirianni), new offensive coordinator (Shane Steichen), and new defensive coordinator (Johnathan Gannon). Keying on clubs that have familiarity & continuity, and finding teams that are much less comfortable with their new system is a big key when wagering on preseason games. I can’t stress this enough!



3) First-Year Head Coaches with new team (Full Season)

We have seven for the 2021-22 season in alphabetical order by team. First year head coaches can be tricky, but generally perform very well in their first August home game.They went 6-1 ATS in their first home game five years ago, 5-2 ATS four years ago, 4-1 ATS three seasons ago and 6-2 ATS in 2019. That adds up to a a bankrolling 21-6 ATS mark the last four preseasons combined! A lot of expectations are put on these guys coming in. They all want to show the Owner, General Manager, players, and fans that he is the right man for the job. Setting the tone early means playing to win in the preseason. With just three games this preseason, it’s even more important to win early.

Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons)

Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions)

David Culley (Houston Texans)

Urban Meyer (Jacksonville Jaguars)

Brandon Staley (LA Chargers)

Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles)

Robert Saleh (NY Jets)

4) Competition/Philosophy

If you know how head coaches were raised and what their philosophies are than you will have a big advantage this August. I will give you one HC that treats the preseason as the regular season. That would be John Harabaugh of the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are 17-0 ATS over the past four preseasons. Who needs Bitcoin? His 37-12 ATS overall record in the preseason would have made you a small fortune. On the flip side, Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams clearly hates the preseason. He uses August to scout his younger guys while keeping his starters and key backups healthy. The Rams went 1-3 ATS last year. Sean McVay is 5-8 ATS in his career and it could be much worse. The odds-makers are going to inflate the Rams’ opponent lines this August. Be careful! Keep an eye on the Seattle Seahawks this August. Pete Carroll has always played to win in the preseason, evident by a 36-18 (66.6%) ATS record. Seattle went 3-1 ATS in the 2019 preseason after going 0-4 ATS in 2018. That was the first time Pete Carroll and the Seahawks never cashed at least one preseason game. I would expect Seattle to make bettors money once again this August.

5) Motivation

If you watched the NFL for any number of years you should know that not every Head Coach cares about winning in the NFL Preseason. Different HC’s have different agendas when playing in August and they all pretty much stick to their beliefs. I gave you four very good examples above that should hold true once again this upcoming preseason. Each coach handles the preseason differently. Some put a premium on the second game. For some it’s the third or even the fourth back in the day. Some coaches just mess around and tinker with their lineups during the preseason and use it to evaluate their younger guys. But here’s the key – and this is a big difference between the regular season and preseason football – most coaches are forthright about what the game plan will be. All you have to do is a little research from the local beat writers.




6) Scheduling

The NFL preseason schedule generally isn’t too taxing on the teams and players. But there are quirks. The two teams that play the Hall of Fame Game are a good bet to fade in their next game. If some key players are a bit banged up then you can expect those guys to be watching in street clothes. Keep a close eye on how players from the Cowboys and Steelers come out of the Hall of Fame game. Also, NFL teams who play on the West Coast (with little to no humidity), and than travel to play a high humidity East Coast game. It would be wise to fade those West Coast teams, especially if installed as a favorite. This has worked extremely well over the past few years with the new OTA rules in place.

Jeff’s NFL Preseason system to consider in 2021

If you are looking for a very profitable system/angle in the NFL preseason here is one to consider this year. Teams that get crushed by 28+ points in their first preseason game are a great bet in their very next game (week two). Mostly because the public overreacts and the lines get super inflated. NFL teams in this role are cashing 62% over the past decade. Choose wisely!



Jeff’s #1 NFL Preseason Team to “Play On” in 2021

Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings went 7-9 SU in 2020. Mike Zimmer is 18-8 ATS (69%) in the preseason and has always played to win August games, especially following a losing regular season. Kirk Cousins, Kellen Mond, Jake Browning, and Nate Stanley seem capable to execute a veteran system. I especially like the Vikings -3 at home against the Colts in week two (August 21st). The Colts play the Panthers on Saturday, August 15th and will have one less day to recover and prepare. The Vikings Week one game is on August 14th. I like this all the way up to 6 points!

Jeff went 16-6-1 ATS (including postseason) last year documented at The Sports Monitor of OK. Look for more articles in the coming weeks. Jeff was ranked No. 3 in the NFL two seasons ago, No. 3 in the 2017-18 NFL regular season, and No. 1 (tied) in the postseason at The Sports Monitor of OK, cashing just under 70%. Jeff has shown a profit in 8 straight football seasons, fully documented. Jeff is a 7x NFL Top 10 Handicapper. Early Bird Football season packages are now available.

Good Luck this Football Season!

Written by Jeff Hochman.

Follow him on Twitter @jhsportsline

Can the Phoenix Suns advance in the NBA Playoffs

The Phoenix Suns are in the top of the Western Conference, they have shown the swagger and toughness of a true contender for a championship. But yet there is very little regard for them, there just seems to be zero buzz about the Suns. Sports guys on the idiot box talk about who the contenders are – they will say the usual’s, Brooklyn, LA Lakers, the Sixers, and the Clippers. It’s as if Phoenix Suns are just forgotten about – despite having a 50-21 record in the West. The Suns not only are winning – but they are winning big, as proven by their point differential – which is sitting at +5.9.
Better than the Nets, Sixers and even the 41 win Blazers – all of whom are talked about far more than Phoenix.

The Suns have put together a team, and it has been a real success what they have put on the floor. Especially when they traded for Chris Paul, grabbed Jae Crowder, with guys who are very quality pieces for depth, guys that could be relied on to score and fill in for 20 minutes if needed. It is incredible to think just how good the Paul trade was for the Suns. He has gotten them 16ppg, 9 dimes, and 49% shooting from the field for them – with experience and great court leadership. His adjustment to playing alongside Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton has barely seemed like an adjustment at all. They have gelled extremely well, since signing the 15 year vet. If Booker or Ayton get caught in some foul trouble – the grizzled veteran PG has been able to right the ship. He has been a huge and very important asset for the Suns.

Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker have completed the Suns as a very real threat, Booker has been a very serious problem for defenses, with 26 /game, and Ayton has been even better than expected with his timing and career best FG%. Granted Booker has been a stud for awhile – but the 22 year old bigman has played a huge role for the Suns.
Ayton has gotten them the boards and the big body down low to contain other bigs. Ayton has been one of the better defenders for Phoenix, and Head Coach Monty Williams has trusted him to guard the paint with ease. He can also stretch a bit, defending jump shots, he has gotten them solidified on defense, and has a defensive rating of 108
Booker has been just outstanding this season, knocking down 48% of his shots from the field, 34% from behind the arc, along with 4 bounds on around 34 minutes /game. He hasn’t been dependent on the pick and roll – he has been even better.

Phoenix are high in offensive efficiency, putting up 115 /game, and are also top 7 in defense, giving up 109 /game.
Phoenix is a ton of fun to watch. The Phoenix Suns success this year has been based on a much better defensive effort and hustle. They allow the 5th worst 3pt percentage in the NBA at 35%, as they close quickly when shooters are searching for a deep bomb, and if they do get it up, they are contested.

The Suns are shooting excellently as a team, at 49% and have been getting some great spacing on the floor. Everybody moves without the ball – which is always great, and that is not even their best asset as a unit.
Head Coach Monty Williams has changed the culture of this team, the Suns have been responding to everything he has been bringing, they have been executing on both defense and offense. Phoenix was able to enjoy former stud coaches, Cotton Fitzsimmons from back in the early 90s, and the 7 seconds or less years of D’Antoni. It appears now with Williams – they may have themselves a great coach again. I fully expect the winning to continue with this Phoenix Suns team.

The Suns have to have the mindset they can beat any team in the NBA, and win the championship.

Top 5 MLB players under the age of 24

MLB has a whole bunch of young guys playing today, with a load of talent. Every season baseball brings a new cluster of young players who are more than ready to take over as future stars. The storm is coming, so get ready – these are the 5 who are poised to make huge impacts from the potential that we have seen so far in their short careers.

5. Gleyber Torres  / 23 years old / SS / New York Yankees
335 games / 65 HRs / 190 RBI / .477 slugging pct
Gleyber Torres showed his budding power skills off with great swing and a .480 slugging pct in 2018, and his 24 HRs in his rookie campaign showed he has the power to set off a pitch. His on the ball defense needs some work and he has to get faster making decisions – but his swing has been good. HIs 90 RBI in 2019 was 2nd on the team – which was behind only DJ LeMahieu – he has shown the ability to get runners home. He smashed 38 HRs and went off for a .535 slugging pct in 2019 was 2nd only behind their power-man, Aaron Judge, his potential is truly off the charts

4. Luis Robert, CF, White Sox   / 23 years old / CF / Chicago White Sox
80 games / 12 HRs / 39 RBI / 76 hits
Robert looks like he can become a velvety solid hit machine, in his 1st season he racked up 47 hits in 56 games played – it is unfortunate his 1st season was the 2020 season, there could have been so much more shown. With what he showed, I expect the special hitter to be one of the top players for many future years to come. He can be described as fire – with his eye and swing- he is someone that most opponents don’t like seeing in the box.

3. Juan Soto / 22 years old / LF / Washington Nationals
327 games / 71 HRs / 225 RBI / .553 slugging pct
Soto has some massive power, with 71 HRs in 1160 at bats in his short career, in 2020, during the shortened season, he led the league in batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, not too bad as a 21 year old. He rolled up into 5th in MVP voting – as a 21 year old, I think it is very easy to say, he has a very realistic shot to land himself a couple of those in his career. Soto can be a steady 40 HR player under regular circumstances – the 225lb lefty should have a fantastic career. He is as close to a can’t miss stud as anyone imaginable.

2. Fernando Tatis Jr.  / 21 years old / SS / San Diego Padres
162 games / 46 HRs / 109 RBI / .294 batting avg
Tatis is a big physical player at SS
Tatis has a great eye and has been absolutely magnificent with early pitches – which is tough to handle for anyone on the bump. The 21 year old ran into 4th place in NL MVP voting in 2020, as he led the Padres in HR in 2020. Tatis was formidable posting a solid .277/ .366 / .571 slash line with 17 home runs, 45 RBIs and 50 runs scored in his 2nd major league season. Tatis showed better plate discipline by walking more often and striking out less

1. Ronald Acuna Jr  / 22 years old / OF / Atlanta Braves
338 games / 90 HRs / 213 RBI / 64 stolen bases
Ronald Acuna was Rookie of the Year in 2018 after having a marvelous 1st season, with 26 HR, a .293 avg, 127 hits and 16 stolen bases. He has shown off speed with the sneaky ability to grab bases and can make teams pay when playing deepened defense. He found a way to lead the league in RBI with 127 in 2019 at just 21 years old – he knows how to run the bases and when to send the ball out to get his guys home. His speed has been lethal – tallying 37 stolen bases in 2019 was 7+ ahead of dangerous bases stealers, Christian Yelich and Starling Marte. He is a guy who can do it all with lightning speed, good power and a great clutch bat.

When it comes to young exciting superstars they are all over the MLB – they all have such great promise to show up and entertain for years to come. But, these are the few guys who are on their way to truly taking over the game over the next several years.
Sit back and enjoy the show – there’s a ton to see.

TOP 5 QB’S in the 2021 NFL DRAFT

Teams all want the best QB they can get, it’s common sense, and the race to get them – everyone wants the guy who they feel is going to be able to lead them, and get the wins with. The guy who leads them and gets the teams wins. QBs make the team, let’s be honest – regardless of dual threat RBs and great WRs – the QB makes the teams be all end all, and gives confidence to a team and their entire offense. Football is the greatest team sport there is, but the team’s QB is still the heart and the leader of a team.

This year has some very interesting QB names in the QB position – we have the versatile mobile guys and we have the big well known names that make GMs smile. But who is going to be the best of the best of this year’s QB class?
VTD will tell you.
Let’s take a look at the top QBs in this year’s draft.

5.  JUSTIN FIELDS / 6-2, 230lbs, Ohio State
Justin Fields has shown awesome on field capabilities with his feet and his arm, in his excellent career at Ohio State.
He has a slick ability to keep a play alive with his legs when he is under attack, and his 15 rushing TDs certainly confirms that. He is brave – and is willing to take a big hit to complete a pass, as he has a lot of courage when standing in the pocket, he isn’t afraid to take the shot from an oncoming DE to fire a pass. He can generate bigtime plays, whether he is taking off or throwing from the pocket, and he has been a very good passer in his time at OSU with a 68% passing percentage. One problem, he has, is he tends to stay with his WR1, if he isn’t open, it’s a quick look to WR2, then he is ready to move. He needs to get more patience, especially when he needs to start looking for his WR3 and WR4, as he needs to get a bit better reading what the field is giving him. With that being said, he has a really good chance to be good – it’s going to be tricky with him. He is a very interesting, hit or miss QB this year.

4.  MAC JONES  / 6-3, 220lbs, Alabama  
Mac Jones has shown some great improvement as a QB over the last 2 years from accuracy to moving the ball downfield. Jones has a nice soft touch when hitting across the middle, as he has the skill to hit his guys over the top for short 5-6 yard passes against LBs all game long. He isn’t a huge risk taker, and doesn’t take unnecessary throws, he is cautious and plays it safe on his choices of passing plays. When being chased in the pocket, he could get a bit rattled at times – and could get in trouble if things fall apart. But generally, if he is forced to leave the pocket under pressure – he does have the ability to pick up yards. He isn’t cemented to his spot, like some may think. Jones is very self aware of downs and distance – and is the kind of QB who will chuck the ball before taking the loss or throwing a bad pick. Not unsimilar to Aaron Rodgers style. Overall, his game style should be able to transfer to the next level very well.

3. TREY LANCE / 6-4, 230lbs, North Dakota State
Trey Lance plays strength, and can take off upfield if he sees an inch to make something happen, as he is very mobile and can take off and get yards on the ground at any time. Even at his massive size, he moves with ease. Lance is excellent in the pocket – who can get the ball to his guys with accuracy, throwing from tough angles is also not overly tough for him. He can find a way to fire off passes over and around defenders, as he is a beautiful passer. If you haven’t watched him, check him out, it’s pretty nice to watch. Lance also seems to be a genuine good guy, who appreciates his opportunities, that goes a long way for his likeability factor. I think he can be a legitimate franchise QB for a team, in my opinion.

2. ZACH WILSON  / 6-3, 210lbs, BYU
Zach Wilson has a great arm, we all know that, and he knows how to command an offense, he has a great leadership ability. His senior year was awesome, with 33 TDs and 3692 passing yards, along with a whopping 73.5% passing.
Wilson is a big play waiting to happen with his big arm and tight throwing – and he does not leave his guys waiting to get the ball. He has great timing, they turn, they have the ball. The 6-3 QB is not afraid to spread the ball around – he uses all his guys, in 2020 he had 4 guys with 35 or more catches. He finds a way to give himself some room when things go sideways, but has had his struggles vs top teams, having a bit more problems with pressure. So we will see what he does when playing the best. One other issue – if he has had some injury problems, how dependable is he going to be? If he can stay healthy, he has the ability to be very good.

1. TREVOR LAWRENCE  / 6-6, 220lbs, Clemson
We are all aware of Trevor Lawrence, and the adoration for him, he is a generational QB, that comes along once in a while. At 6-6 and 220, he is the perfect prototype for today’s franchise QB, size-wise, along with awesome arm strength, and an uncanny ability to deliver absolute lasers on the field. He carries a commanding presence on the field, with an air of confidence that things are always under control when he is out there. Teams play better with that. To have a QB who you feel is always a few plays away from getting the win, changes everything. He has top notch pocket passing qualities as well as running threat abilities as well, as he ran for 766 YDs and 17 TDs over the last 2 years. When things fall apart – he can make explosive plays happen when moving outside the pocket. He can make all the throws, from simple hitches to going deep. On the easy throws, he is extremely accurate – which is key for any QB worth his weight to make. He has the highest ceiling, without question. He can become a top 5 QB in the NFL in the next 3-4 years.

This NFL draft looks to be loaded with QB talent – let’s see where they go and who lives up to the hype, and who collapses. Be sure to visit VegasTopDogs.com for your daily sports info and predictions.

Who is more valuable to their team – Dodgers Justin Turner or the Reds Nick Castellanos

The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds are both playing well this season. The Dodgers are sitting in the 1st spot in the NL West  – and Cincinnati is sitting proudly in the top slot in the NL Central. Cincinnati has been a struggling team over the last handful of seasons – and the Dodgers have been a steady threat since 2015 – but this year has been different so far. Baseball is a numbers game – and every guy on the field is responsible for their own production as well as the team’s production as a unit.  Justin Turner and Nick Castellanos are both sitting as top hitters in the MLB this season so far.

In the 2021 baseball season – which of these players has been the bigger key for their teams early success?
Let’s take a look.

Justin Turner / 3B / .412 avg / 2 HR / 9 RBI / 1.183 OPS /  .447 OBP / .735 SLG
Los Angeles Dodgers

Justin Turner has been rock solid for Los Angeles since he put on cleats for them in 2014. His bat has been awesome and his power is underrated. He takes charge on the field and has been great getting well timed hits when needed. He hits when guys are in scoring position as well as anybody at .333 and can bring his guys in as shown with his 8 RBI. Turner has always been very patient on the plate – taking an average of 3.94 pitches per plate appearance – he has been on point as well with 3.91 this season.

Turner has hit over .300 in 5 seasons, and an average of 21 home runs since hitting age 30 and getting 365 or more at bats.
So he has had a career of being a good player, and has always been more than willing to send the ball deep to drive home guys – he is unselfish

The 36 year old vet has been key with getting hits – with a .293 career batting avg. He has been lights out this season with a hefty batting average – on pace for 120+ hits and 30 HRs – helping the Los Angeles Dodgers to a top notch record. He gets his job done on the field.

Nick Castellanos / RF / .364 avg / 4 HR / 7 RBI / 1.248 OPS / .400 OBP / .848 SLG
Cincinnati Reds

Castellanos has been red hot this season – he has been a solid player since entering the majors – but his 2021 start is looking more in tune as a HOf’er. His career best season was back in 2019 – when he hit .289 and had 27 dingers – this season so far, he is on his pace for 30+ HRs and 120+ runs and Cincinnati are in 1st place in the NL Central.

Castellanos didn’t come to Cincinnati with much spark when he arrived in 2020 – but so far in his second season – he has shown more than the expected magic that Cincinnati was hoping for when he was picked up with his 27 HRs and hitting .289 in 2019.

Nick has shown the uncanny ability to connect with the ball – he has hung 7 games with a hit or more as of 4.10.2021 – that is something that is definitely a positive. Castellanos also doesn’t hit into double plays very frequently – he makes teams earn their outs, as he has only hit into an average of 8 double plays over the last 5 seasons, so he doesnt help defenses out.

The Reds were only 31-29 last year – this year they are playing high octane offense and have been wrecking teams. If Cincinnati can get into the playoffs again this year playing like they have been – it could be fun. Castellanos played down last year – and the Reds were not a good team – this year, he is playing top notch baseball and sharp – and the Reds are looking very good and competitive so far.

It’s a long season, but Castellanos has been excellent for Cincinnati so far. It is obviously too early to say who will be the biggest key for their team – but as of now, at the very early stage of the year – it’s hard to not say Nick Castellanos. The season will determine which team is better in the end but anyone who doesn’t see Castellanos as a highly competitive and excellent reason for the Reds success is just blind.

Nick Castellanos has a career .275 batting average – so his white hot start is more unlikely. Justin Turner has a career .293 batting average – so him ending with a .300 or higher batting avg is far more likely – as his teams have been top threats in his career – one has to think that the current game of Nick Castellanos this season so far, has to be the key. Castellanos has been clutch and highly surprising, Justin Turner has not been able to make the difference quite as much as Castellanos has. With that being said – I find it very hard to say Turner is more valuable to Los Angeles than Castellanos is to the Reds. If I had to choose between Justin Turner and Nick Castellanos right now – give me Nick Castellanos – he will get on base more and be able to make plays for my entire team.

The Miami Heat added a great weapon in Victor Oladipo

Victor Oladipo went off for 20pts and 5+ assists in 38% of his games played for Houston this season. Oladipo picked up a lot of scoring on his own, as he has the body to get through tight openings  – and he has also been able to get over people if they are “in his way.” He is a tough player, ringing up plays on offense –  and has carved teams up for 18ppg and almost 5apg in his 8 years in the NBA.

The Houston Rockets were a better team with him, he had brought them almost 21ppg in a handful of games. But, they are getting rid of him – Christian Wood seems to be their contingency plan – the 25 year old forward brings many signs of great promise, but he lacks experience. Houston didn’t use Oladipo enough when he played there – his production was good, the times that they did. They have to question – why did they let him go? I feel they should have kept him – they have Wood, but having that ball handling scorer as well, is so much more potent. Especially if a team can get to the playoffs. I know the Rockets are not heading to the postseason, but Oladipo would be a great knockout punch late in the season, but I think Houston wanted Wood to be the main man there. They seemed to not know how to utilize Oladipo to his best ability. Christian Wood will need more than 21ppg at some point, the Rockets are only hurting themselves in the long run, in my opinion.

The 215lb swingman is a good player and I don’t feel he was properly used by Houston – he has always produced when given a chance. He had 4 seasons averaging 17pts or more  – yet, somehow, Houston couldn’t figure out how to make him work in their offense? I love old school style players myself – I want a guy who can distribute the seed and can also do enough to get points on the board. Victor Oladipo brings that.

To be fair about everything – Wood is a good young player, but losing Oladipo is going to hurt them. They have obviously given up on this year, and are looking to next season. Oladipo will step into a great spot up for the Miami Heat – I am glad to see he’s going to have a shot at the playoffs and play with some really good players again – getting an opportunity on the court again.
He is a great complimentary weapon for the Miami Heat. Having Victor Oladipo, Bam Adebayo, and Jimmy Butler on the court is going to be an interesting end to the season and into the NBA Playoffs.

Will Jayson Tatum be a Hall of Famer

At just 23 years old, it can be hard to say what someone’s professional basketball career will unfold like. There are a lot of really good young players in the NBA. Some who can score the ball, some that make plays. Some that have been something special since they arrived. Jayson Tatum has been both for Boston.

It looks that Tatum has all of the necessary tools to be a Hall of Fame inductee when he is done playing the game. With 25ppg, 7rpg, 4apg, and a deadly accurate shot – he is easily becoming one of the best young players in the game currently. Looking at Hall of Fame players like Adrian Dantley, James Worthy, and Clyde Drexler – his kind of numbers are very comparable to them all. Dirk Nowitzki had peaked at 23.4ppg in his first 4 years, which puts the 6-8 SF ahead of him, with his 25.2 / game average. Kobe Bryant tallied only one season hitting better than 37% from behind the arc in his 4 early years – Tatum already has 2 seasons hitting 40% or higher in his 4 seasons playing. I am also willing to assume he will likely eclipse many other numbers within the first 8-10 years in. He has been nothing but excellent for Boston.

Tatum doesn’t benefit from having some imposing massive figure, which means he never gets an easy matchup. But that hasn’t hurt his awesome game production. Some guys become overnight sensations after just a handful of decent games.
How is that possible? Tatum has been more than rock solid every night. We need more people really understanding what makes players really great. Tatum has been more than decent over his years, and his wonderful production has been steadily climbing since 2018. Tatum has the masterful scoring ability and the supreme confidence that so many others want to have. As long as the 210lb natural scorer keeps his head straight, and keeps putting up the numbers like he has, the HOF will be proudly displaying his bust someday. Tatum has been responsible for the C’s winning 61% of their games since he arrived. If the 23 year old keeps up his current pace for 10+ years, he can end up looking at being in the top forwards in the annals of NBA history.

Barring some crazy downfall, or injury – I don’t think there are too many who can’t see Tatum as a great player with the Boston Celtics is an absolute Hall of Famer.

Is Dalvin Cook really worth the risk

It was recently reported across sports news that Vikings RB, Dalvin Cook, will not participate in the Vikings’ off-season activities, and will not take part in training camp until his contract is extended. Basically, he is saying, he will not be showing up for camp or anytime afterwards.
This is a huge obvious problem for me, and others.
Cook was surely a huge part of the Vikings’ success in 2019, with 1135 rushing yards, 519 receiving yards, and 13 TDs, and was a colossal reason why they were as good as they have been. He is an amazing RB, and Minnesota Vikings could struggle without him, the dual threat RB is very special, his breakaway speed is awesome, he can bust off a huge run in the open field, like very few.
But, I am getting fed up with these players who complain about the millions they make – it seems as if they just don’t care about playing the game nearly as much anymore. It has gotten to be 100% all about the money these days, I am not saying players shouldn’t be paid relative to their worth on the field to their teams.
But overall, for what they do, they are simply overpaid, there, I said it.
Let’s be honest, they are playing a game.
For money.
I think many more players need to remember, they could very easily be mopping floors or flipping burgers instead of being blessed with the amazing opportunity to enjoy their work and making tons of cash, they are not engineers, soldiers, or doctors.
They run with a ball in their hands and score TDs.
I love sports, and I love competition and the eye popping skills – I rarely get involved with the financial part of it – because it annoys me, quite honestly. But, I also feel players should be appreciative – teams should pay them well – but when anyone is making millions /year to play a game they grew up loving, they should cherish the opportunity. Don’t kick it in the face, and ask for more, because the other guy is making 2 million more per year. When a guy is making 5 million and another guy is making 7 million /year, is there really that much of a difference, or is it egotism and bragging rights coming into play?
Anyway, I digress.
Dalvin Cook has a year left on his rookie contract – I have always felt if a player produces like they have been able to show they can – and they stay healthy – the money and contract will take care of itself.
Don’t get me wrong, I love watching me some Dalvin Cook – but he’s been hurt every year he’s played.
He has missed 19 games in 3 seasons – which is almost 40% of the games available.
That’s tough.
For Minnesota to lock him down at a high end cap hit is gonna hurt the team, and the Vikings can’t rely on him to stay healthy. Dropping too much cash into a RB doesn’t always seem to pay off most of the time, from what I have seen.
I’d hate to see him go, but if we are being 100% honest, Minnesota could also benefit from trading him, and fill some of the voids that need to be addressed.
Maybe the Vikes should just unload him for picks or some Oline help, and lets be truthful about the Minnesota issues, they don’t really have the money to pay him a whole bunch more. Look what happened with AP, Minnesota kept him too long, after he had run his course, and became a shell of the back he once was – and they didn’t get very much for him, maybe the Vikings make a move and move him?
The Vikings are lucky to have really strong young backs that can fill the void if this goes sideways – with Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone, both who have shown to be able to handle carries. Mattison had a 4.6 avg when running the rock, and he also showed some trustworthy hands out of the backfield, Boone and Mattison played pretty good when they were given the opportunity to log some carries. Boone had some solid stuff – and Mattison showed some bona fide skills last season.
I understand he wants to get paid and he deserves more than what he is currently getting, but he is still in his initial contract, and hasn’t shown the durability to stay on the field for 16 games in a season yet. I also feel a RB should be able to handle 200+ carries without injury – otherwise maybe he doesn’t deserve the big massive payday contract. Derrick Henry had 303 carries in 2019, Christian McCaffrey is as durable as they come in this game, Ezekiel Elliott handles the ball 290+ times /season since 2016.
That is a lot of work.
I think maybe Dalvin’s contract should have language in – it protects the team, if he gets hurt, I think there needs to be an injury clause.
His injury history hasn’t been great.
I love Dalvin, he was my favorite RB coming out of FSU – but holding out for a RB, who has had 1 season of big production and more history of injuries, isn’t a great thing, in my opinion.
The Vikings have 2 very capable backs behind him, in Mattison and Boone – the Vikings may end up letting him go, and go with Matteson as their RB1, and then use Boone as their RB2, we would see if they can handle the load. I would rather Dalvin, but he isn’t worth 13 million /season, he needs to show he can stay on the field with no injuries.
I think he is good for around 7m /year, which is a huge increase, and a ton of money, it is still pretty team friendly, he would be revered by fans, and he would also be looked at as a good person and a team guy. Minnesota has to be careful with this – and not pay too much, as he has been injury prone and RBs tend to have a short shelf life to begin with.
I’m of the old school mindset that when you sign a document saying you commit to something you follow through, that’s another problem I have.
These guys are under contract. Him holding out might not work out, Cook complaining about making more money might cost him his job with the Vikings – and we know risk assessment is important.
Dalvin is very good, but he is also a risk.

Will Lamar Jackson have another MVP year

Russell Wilson was awesome this season with 4110 passing YDs, 31 TDs, and just 5 picks – Christian McCaffrey had a monstrous season with 2392 total yards from scrimmage and 15 TDs, and Derrick Henry can’t go unrecognized with his 1540 rushing YDs and leading the NFL with 16 rushing TDs for the NFL this season.
But then there’s Lamar Jackson – what Lamar did was beyond any semblance of normal – 36 passing TDs and 7 rushing TDs are pretty hard to overlook. With 6 games of 300+ of total offensive yards including 4 games of 100+ rushing yards or better, he dominated the AFC. Teams knew he was coming and he still racked up 4333 YDs of offense for Baltimore this season.
Lamar made the Baltimore Ravens Oline look better than they are – the Ravens have the same front that couldn’t block for Joe Flacco. As Baltimore’s Oline was banged up quite a bit – guys that were hurt for numerous games – so they barely had the same front all season long. If Jackson couldn’t get outside the pocket, when things went sideways – there would have been a lot more sacks. The 23 year old QB also did more with less with his receiving corps – as he only had Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown as his primary guys to throw to, and neither are really looked at as elite players, that are ripping up teams on the field. Lamar had very few weapons around him, but was lucky to be on a team that has a defense one that gave up just 17.6 ppg – which I think is based solely on the fact of their offense being so potent. The defense was able to tee off – because they found themselves ahead and putting up so many points – it forced teams to start throwing. Their receivers wouldn’t be starters for most offenses in the NFL. Andrews is a solid weapon – but otherwise they don’t have a ton of guys to throw the ball to, without Lamar – the Baltimore Ravens probably win 6-8 games. Tops.
Jackson put together an amazing season while leading his team to 14 wins – including wins over he Niners and the Pats and they hung 33 pts per game because of him. The MVP is the player who was most valuable to his team, the guy who, if without him, the team would’ve been a middling team at best.
That is what the NFL MVP should be – it has been slowly turning into the player who is the most flashy over the last few years. We have to really remember the MVP is for the most valuable player – not necessarily the player that did the coolest things. At the beginning of the season, the Ravens were projected to finish around 3rd place in the North – but suddenly people are going to say he has a great amazing team – I don’t think so. Lamar Jackson was fun to watch. He led the league in TD passes with 36 – and he lit up the ground with 1206 YDs on the ground rushing, giving him a total of 4333 yards of offense he was responsible for.
Pretty top notch.
Conventional, no.
Everybody’s cup of tea, no.
But a weapon on the field, absolutely. How long his career lasts, who knows – but for now, his timing and rushing ability was pretty phenomenal to watch.
Lamar Jackson was the #1 reason Baltimore won the games they did this season. And without the 23 year old – the Ravens would never have accomplished much of anything nearly as to what they did during the 2019 campaign.

Do the Dallas Mavs have high expectations

Many people believe the Dallas Mavericks are one of the “new hopes” of the NBA. But, they still have to prove they can play atop the Western Conference with the big boys – and they have to prove they can go and take it – by not letting LA run roughshod. I think we can all agree the Mavericks are getting better and, perhaps, can win the NBA championship – of course it is possible for Luka and company.

They are currently tied up at 2 games apiece in the playoffs.
What should we expect, and what could we expect?
They have a solid combination of scorers who can pound teams quickly, before opposing defenses are completely set up, Dallas is sitting at 3rd in the NBA at 116 ppg. They have a very efficient style that is a lot of fun to watch.

It’s scary to think about how nasty the Mavs can be, if all on the same page. Especially as Luka Doncic is still just 21 years old – and I don’t think he has come close to moving into his prime yet, he is only getting better. His numbers have been remarkably dynamic over the last 2 seasons, so it’s hard to imagine he is just going to fade away anytime soon. The rock will be in his hands, a lot – and good things always happen, when that happens. I fully expect Luka to be the impressive offensive player he always has been.

Doncic led the Dallas Mavericks in scoring in last seasons journey with 21ppg, as well as assists per game at 6.0 – but they finished at just 33-49. Which was rough, they had been a steady 50-55 win team since 2000 – with 12 seasons winning 50 or more games since then, but recently had started to slip. Luka is and always will be a very tough cover, his shooting and skills on the court are without question, the soul of this team.
Kristaps Porzingis – the deadly PF – still needs to improve his post up game down low, in my opinion. This will put him even that much tougher to defend, with his size and shooting skills – but it would also put Porzingis in a better position to use his 7-3 length and get more rebounds.
His 9.5 rpg is solid, but could be a 12-13/game player.
Another area that he can improve in, is his passing – he plays it safe, always looking to just making the safe play – he doesnt punch when in the corner. I don’t want risky – but someone who fights back with a couple haymakers when shoved in the corner. Porzingis rarely takes any risks with his passing, he seems to be preoccupied with making the “right” decision. The 7-3 Latvian rarely drives and kicks out – I would expect that to keep improving with Luka and Hardaway lurking around the arc, knocking it down from downtown.
But, overall, Porzingis has been stellar over his 4 year career. He has really shown what he can do in Dallas – and he is showing it off, and has had 3+ turnovers in a game only 9 times this season – but has also had 3+ assists in just 15 games this season as well.
One of the biggest questions for the Mavs will be – is Tim Hardaway getting around the 15 shots/game that he was getting over the last 2 seasons timeframe. Something is going to have to give being that he is surrounded by so many other scoring options in Dallas, and there are more important things to do for the team. His scoring ability is underrated – but they have some big time players just like VegasTopDogs has big time handicapping experts.
This season, he has been getting up an average of 12.6 shots /game, and when he is putting up 16 or more shots /game – the Mavs have not been winning – his ball movement is more important to their winning ways. When Tim gets 16 shots up, the Mavs are just 5-9, when he gets 4+ assists the Mavs are 9-4.
The most interesting member of Dallas will likely be the veteran Hardaway – with Luka and Porzingis as far bigger scoring options. The 27 year old SG was dropped into the scoring option 3 spot for this team – as his numbers had been trending upward over the 2016-2018 seasons, going from 14 to 18ppg since 2016. But with Doncic scoring at a 29ppg clip, and Porzingis getting his 19 /game – Tim getting his scoring chances can be inconsistent.
The Dallas Mavericks have made the end of the season, and the upcoming NBA playoffs very exciting. Regardless of whether the Mavericks win it all during this weird NBA season, they have a fun talented team to watch – and there are even better days ahead in Dallas – without question. If they dont prevail in the playoffs vs the Clippers or Lakers – it’s perfectly understandable. As fun and exciting as Dallas look on paper, it takes a lot to win it all – many forget that many great teams have been beaten in the NBA playoffs with even better teams. If the Mavs lose, you can’t pin it on Luka or Porzingis – but if the Mavericks win it all – it would be pretty amazing.