The DiRT & Other News of the #NFL + #NBA + #MLB

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South Notes: Colts, Martin, Saints, Texans

Having fired offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and replacing him with Rob Chudzinskiearlier this week, Colts head coach ChuckPagano explained on Wednesday that he felt he had no choice but to make a move to try to shake up a stagnant offense, as Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star writes.

“I think when you keep seeing the same thing over and over again, through the course of time, we needed a change,” Pagano said. “We’ve got the talent, the grit and the character (to win), and this was something I just felt like we needed to do.”

While we look forward to seeing if the move pays dividends in the short term, let’s round up some other items from out of the NFL’s South divisions….

  • The Colts are paying linebacker Josh Martin more than $34K weekly, making him the highest-paid practice squad player in the NFL, tweets Field Yates of As Yates observes, the salary is the same as Martin would earn if he were on the team’s 53-man roster.
  • Mike Triplett of examines four of the Saints‘ most noteworthy trades from 2015, evaluating how acquisitions of Kenny Stills, Max Unger, and others are working out so far for New Orleans. Triplett views two of those deals as wins for the Saints, and says the other two are also looking good so far.
  • Weighing in reports of discord between his general manager and head coach when it came to releasing Ryan Mallett, Texans owner Bob McNair denied that Rick Smith and Bill O’Brien disagreed on how to handle the team’s former backup quarterback. “If they disagree on something they come to me,” McNair said, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “They’ve never come to me.”

SOURCE: Pro Football Rumors

But know this for certain in early November, with the still-figuring-it-out Rockets stuck at 1-3 and 78 regular-season games remaining before they can even reach another playoff test: Durant to Houston is already at the top of the dream board. The Rockets want him, but of course they can’t say it. But you know they will do everything they reasonably can to land the six-time All-Star, 2013-14 MVP and former Longhorns great. And as with the shocking Harden trade and the Howard signing, they shouldn’t be counted out until Durant decides whether he’s staying in Oklahoma City or leaving for a bigger, grander stage. Houston Chronicle

The Rockets won’t simply have an open spot. They’ll have cash and flexibility. They’ll have a short-term vision (NBA championship) and long-term sights (more championships). And if it all works and multiple moves click at once – just like they did when Ty Lawson, Harden and Howard suddenly showed up Monday night in downtown Houston – the Rockets could re-sign D12 and ink OKC’s current No. 35 in a single crazy summer. Houston Chronicle

Morey’s endless maneuvering has put the Rockets directly in line for Durant during a period when his contract value will temporarily hit 0 at the same time Howard holds a $23.2 million player option for 2016-17, Lawson’s final year in red is non-guaranteed, and Harden will be one season away from a $17.7 million team option. Houston Chronicle

Add in Bird rights for Howard, the recent decision not to extend fourth-year players Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas, and the Rockets’ $21.5 million projected payroll in 2017-18 – when the league cap level could reach $108 million – and landing Durant or anyone else of his caliber becomes more logical the longer the vision is stretched out. Houston Chronicle

nba rumorsESPN NBA Insider Brian Windhorst joined ESPN Radio’s “Russillo & Kanell” program Wednesday and insinuated that the Chicago Bulls could be growing tired of former MVP Derrick Rose. “Here’s how I feel about Derrick Rose: The breakup with the Bulls has begun,” Windhorst began. “I don’t know how long it’s going to last, I don’t know when it’s going to be complete, but you can sort of see it. The team and the franchise have moved on, to a little bit of a certain extent. “… It’s not Derrick Rose’s fault that his knee got hurt, OK? But his attitude has been not terrific. The comments that he made about his contract in 2017, you want to talk about being tone deaf …” NESN

Last season Spencer Hawes wasn’t upset with the Los Angeles Clippers. He was upset with himself, he said. For the first time in a nine-season NBA career, he truly got to pick where to play via unrestricted free agency. And he picked wrong. For all the attraction of the Clippers – a team with championship talent, with a great coach in Doc Rivers and beautiful Southern California weather – this was the wrong choice for him. Charlotte Observer

nba rumorsAn 18-year-old Kobe Bryant scored his first NBA point on Nov. 5, 1996 — exactly 19 years ago — against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. It was the first of 32,545 points (and counting) for Bryant, who in his 20th season with the Los Angeles Lakers trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone on the league’s career scoring list.

Garnett and Bryant are the only players still active from that 1996-97 season. Byron Scott was Bryant’s teammate that year and now is his head coach.

nba rumorsThe Philadelphia 76ers have signed point guard Phil Pressey after being granted an additional roster spot in accordance with NBA hardship relief. Pressey has appeared in 125 NBA games with the Boston Celtics, averaging three points, three assists and one steal in 14 minutes per game. InsideHoops

According to Croatian newspaper Vecernji list, Dario Saric will be a Sixer next season. “In the summer, I will still go because I have a way out in the contract,” the Croatia native told the newspaper on Saturday. Philadelphia Inquirer

SOURCE: Inside Hoops


AL East Notes: Bradley, Sox, Gardner, Park, O’Day

Here’s more from the division…

  • Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes that while there’s been speculation that the Red Sox could trade Clay Buchholz now that they’ve exercised his $13MM option, the team might be wise to hold off on that front. Lauber notes that many in the industry believe Dombrowski will make a run at David Price, and while dealing Buchholz would free up some 2016 money for Price or another ace, the uncertainty throughout the rest of the rotation should give Boston pause when listening to offers on Buchholz. While Buchholz can’t be relied upon for 30+ starts and 200+ innings, it’s reasonable enough pencil him in for 100+ innings as a high-quality No. 2 starter based on his 2013 and 2015 performances.
  • Brett Gardner‘s woeful second half of the season was caused in part by a wrist injury suffered early in the year, Yankees hitting coach Alan Cockrell believes (via the Journal News’ Chad Jennings). Cockrell said that Gardner was hit on the wrist early in the season, and the pain bothered him on and off throughout the season. While it might seem odd to blame an April HBP for Gardner’s struggles in August and September, Cockrell explained that players are only allowed to receive three cortisone injections over the course of a given season. Gardner received his three cortisone shots, which alleviated the pain considerably, at unspecified intervals prior to Aug. 1. When he could no longer receive that treatment, Jennings notes that his production plummeted to .203/.288/.290 over the season’s final two months.
  • The Orioles have scouted Korean first baseman Byung-ho Park and are believed to hold interest in signing him, reports’s Roch Kubatko. Park was posted by Korea’s Nexen Heroes on Monday, and teams have until Friday to submit blind bids on the 29-year-old, who has bashed 105 home runs over the past two seasons in the Korea Baseball Organization. Unlike the posting agreement with Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball where multiple teams can negotiate with a player, though (assuming there are multiple winning bids of the maximum $20MM), only the winning team can negotiate with Park. That might make it difficult for Baltimore to bid heavily on Park at this time, as the team may still have hopes of being able to work out a deal with Chris Davis. Of course, Park could still be slotted at DH if the Orioles were to somehow win the bidding and still re-sign Davis, though that level of spending seems highly unlikely. I’d imagine that if the O’s win the bidding on Park, it’s a clear signal that Davis will sign elsewhere (though that’s the wide expectation regardless of the Park outcome).
  • Kubatko also reports that there’s been little in the way of traction between theOrioles and Darren O’Day in talks of a new contract. Baltimore has exclusive negotiation rights with O’Day through Friday, after which he, like all other free agents, will be free to sign with any club. Kubatko was told that “all is quiet” right now after talks have failed to progress much, and he speculates that O’Day could possibly receive four-year offers in free agency.

SOURCE: MLB Trade Rumors

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Teaching You How to #Win – Matchups to Exploit/Top Over-Under/Heavy Favorites #NFL Week 9

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Heaviest Favorites

As of today, the heaviest favorites for the week are as follows:

  • New England -15 over Washington
  • Cincinnati -12.5 over the Browns
  • New Orleans -9.5 over the Titans

It should come as no surprise that the Patriots yet again lead the heavy favorites segment for this weeks’ Thursday post! Paul Brown Stadium_headshots_originalThey come in red hot, after blowing out what appeared to be a hot Dolphins team and now they get Washington and Kirk Cousins. Washington is coming in off of a bye and one of the best comebacks in their long history. I would take the points in this one as Brady is just red hot and I have zero faith in the Washington offense, even if DeSean Jackson actually plays in this contest. Moving on, we have the Bengals over the Browns by 12.5 points tonight. I am taking the Bengals, giving the points and actually taking the over as well in this one. This shouldn’t even be close but I do expect Barnidge to continue his TD streak and I do believe that you will have a Travis Benjamin siting for one long bomb. I have Bengals crushing however, 37 – 17 with the Bengals having 6 sacks and a touchdown on defense. Last we have the Saints as a 9.5 favorite at home over the lowly Titans. The Titans have just fired their coach and we still aren’t certain if Mariota is going to play in this one. If Mettenberger plays, one thing is for certain, he will throw at least one INT. The reason for that is because he has done it in every game in which he has started and the top defense for the week has played against him in 3 of 8 starts. Does this mean you should take the Saints D….maybe, come back on Sunday to get my final selections.

Top Players To Consider based on these matchups:

  • Tom Brady
  • Rob Gronkowski
  • Drew Brees
  • Jeremy Hill
  • Cincinnati Defense

Top Overall Game Over/Under

I might have to change up this section if the Patriots continue to have this locked down and week 9 is no different. This week the over/under for the Patriots and Washington is 52 points. I think this is even low considering that Washington should put up 20 points but I believe the Patriots will produce over 40 points in this game at home. Washington will have no answer for Gronk this weekend and Brady will figure out another WR to hit for big chunks of yardage all game long. Want a sleeper and do I mean sleeper, try out LaFell this weekend. He will get over 9 targets in this game so its just a matter of, can he catch it? I don’t know the answer to that but I wouldn’t be surprised to see LaFell go over 100 yards and a touchdown. Considering the fact that his salary on DraftKings is only $3,200 so think about it but this is very high risk.

Matchups to Exploit

Here we breakdown the pass defense, rush defense and overall defense to exploit for the week. If a team shows up in this area, it’s because our system shows them as giving up the most yardage totals for the upcoming week.

Let’s make this simple: the stats come directly from our Odds page, so come and take a peak here.

  • Passing Yards is Oakland  projected to give up 317.49
  • Rushing Yards is Chicago projected to give up 133.77
  • Overall Yards is Tampa Bay projected to give up 420.69

Last week as a late start on Sunday morning, I gave you Drew Brees and all he did was get you 47 fantasy points on FanDuel and over 50 on DraftKings. DiRTCanon A.I.This was based on this matchup information so you should be considering this data set each week as there are some golden gems in there. In terms of players to consider, based on week 9 projections, we have Antonio Brown against the Raiders. With Ben Roethlisberger back in the lineup, we know one thing and that is that Antonio Brown is going to get at least 10 targets. The Steelers are in need of a win and Oakland is pretty hot coming in this week. Look for a fairly high scoring contest. As for the Bears run defense, I’m not on a San Diego back all that much but if you wanted to take one it would be Woodhead. He has been the only consistent player, outside of Rivers this season and with the Chargers banged up all over the place, look for a 20+ point performance from Woodhead. Last we have the Tampa Bay Buccs projected to give up the most yards this weekend. Do I really think that Eli could outperform what he accomplished last week, NO! Does that mean I wouldn’t take him this week, that answer is also NO. I like the matchup and the Buccs have given up 397 passing yards or more in each of their last 3 games with one of those being against Kirk Cousins.  Check back on Sunday morning as I will reveal our expert picks for this weekends games!

Here is Thursday stack to consider for DraftKings if you are going to include tonight’s game:ThursdayNightStack

  • This lineup averages 154.6
  • This lineup is projected to score 133.1
  • The needed score to cash in the $5 Thur Kickoff has averaged 132.6
  • The confidence rating for this lineup is 54.7%
  • I predict this lineup will have over 150 points after tonight’s game

We want to hear from you, take our poll below and if you want different information or just want to speak to one of our experts about certain players or lineup considerations, just contact us here or DM us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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Getting Smart With #NBA + #NHL NEWS o’Day (11-5-15)

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1. NBA Bounce House

You wondered how long it was going to take before some #NBA player became fed-up with those sleeved-uniforms and for LeBron, he wasn’t having it anymore.  It’s like when Costanza made the Yankees wear all-cotton uniforms – #WorstIdeaEver.  Hopefully soon, Mr. Silver will realize these too were a turr-able idea and give the shooters their free-range back in their shoulders.

Curry continues to roll in the early going

Stephen Curry scored 31 points and made seven three-pointers in the Warriors’ 112-108 win over the Clippers on Wednesday. Curry has scored 179 points in his five games played this season. Over the last 40 seasons, the only other players to score as many points as Curry through their first five games of a season are Adrian Dantley (1980-81) and Michael Jordan, who did it three times (1986-87, 1989-90 and 1991-92).

Curry’s 28 three-pointers made are by far the most any player has made through five games of a season since the NBA instituted the three-point shot in 1979-80. The previous high was 21 by Ryan Anderson (2011-12), O.J. Mayo (2012-13) and Trevor Ariza (2014-15).

Howard is perfect from the field

Dwight Howard went 10-for-10 from the field and hauled down 14 rebounds in the Rockets’ overtime win over the Magic on Wednesday night. It marked the second time that Howard has shot 10-for-10 or better from the field in a game, having also done that on February 24, 2010 (11-for-11), ironically while he was with the Magic against the Rockets. The only other players to attempt 10 or more shots from the field and make all of them multiple times in the shot-clock era are Wilt Chamberlain (8 times), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice), Bernard King (twice) and Karl Malone (twice).

Blazers’ backcourt has a big night in UtahAltX.Logo.white

Damian Lillard scored 35 points and starting backcourt mate C.J. McCollum chipped in with 27 in the Blazers’ win in Utah on Wednesday night. It’s the first time in nearly 20 years that Portland’s starting backcourt each produced at last 25 points in a road game, since Rod Strickland (32) and Clyde Drexler (30) did it against the SuperSonics in a losing effort in Seattle on January 15, 1995.

Suns win with a team effort

Eric Bledsoe led the Suns with 19 points and was the team’s leader in assists with eight in a 118-97 win over Sacramento on Wednesday night. It marked the most points the Suns have scored in a game in which they did not have a single player score 20 points or hand out 10 assists since December 8, 1994, when they defeated the Nets by a final of 133-106 with Wayman Tisdale and Dan Majerle producing a team high 19 points and Elliot Perry leading the way with nine assists.

Beal’s three-pointer beats Spurs

Bradley Beal‘s three-pointer with less than a second remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Wizards a 102-99 victory over the Spurs on Wednesday night. Beal is the first player to win a game with a three-pointer with less than a second remaining in the fourth quarter or overtime against San Antonio since the Mavericks’ Steve Nash made a shot from beyond the arc with 0.6 seconds left in overtime in a 126-123 Dallas win on December 26, 2001.

Pacers frontcourt controls the boards in win over Celtics

The Pacers starting frontcourt, Lavoy Allen (11 rebounds), Paul George (10) and Jordan Hill (10) each recorded double-digits in rebounds in the Pacers’ 100-98 win over the Celtics on Wednesday. Indiana received 10 or more rebounds from each of their frontcourt starters in only one game in the previous six seasons combined (2009-10 to 2014-15), on January 8, 2013 (George, David West and Roy Hibbert).AltX.Logo.white

Nets fall to 0-5

The Nets lost their fifth consecutive game to open the 2015-16 season, dropping a 101-87 decision to the Hawks. Brooklyn has lost by margins of 15, 17, 10, 7 and 14 points in their five defeats. The only other teams in NBA history to lose each of their first five games of a season, all by more than six points, after appearing in the playoffs the previous season, are the 1966-67 Baltimore Bullets (first five games) and 1957-58 Minneapolis Lakers (first six games).

Cavs win by 10 after trailing by 15

The Cavaliers overcame a 15-point deficit and defeated the Knicks by a score of 96-86 on Wednesday night. It marked the first time Cleveland won a game by a double-digit margin after trailing by at least 15 points since November 3, 2009, when the Cavs overcame a 18-point deficit and beat Washington by a score of 102-90.

Raptors produce road wins over Western foes on consecutive nights

One night after beating the Mavericks in Dallas, the Raptors (5-0) beat the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night to improve upon the best start in franchise history. It’s the third time since the start of the 2014-15 season that Toronto has won road games against Western Conference opponents on consecutive days, having won games in Sacramento and Utah last December 2nd and 3rd; and against the Clippers in Los Angeles and Nuggets in Denver on December 27th and 28th. No other Eastern Conference team has more than two sets of back to back road wins on consecutive days against teams from the West over that span, and the only other East teams that have done that more than once are Atlanta and Detroit.

2. Ice-Ice Baby

Burmistrov’s late goal wins it for the Jets

Winnipeg’s Alexander Burmistrov scored a tiebreaking goal with 2:05 left to play in the third period and his goal was the game-winner for the Jets in their 4-2 victory over the Maple Leafs in Toronto. It was the second time this season that a Jets player scored a go-ahead goal in the final three minutes of the third period; Dustin Byfuglien snapped a tie with 88 seconds remaining in regulation time in Winnipeg’s home game against the Flames on October 16. The Jets are the only NHL team to have scored more than one such goal this season. Before this season, the Jets had tallied only three tiebreaking goals in the last three minutes of the third period since the team relocated to Winnipeg from Atlanta in 2011.

Blues win after allowing five goals in the first

Vladimir Tarasenko’s goal with 1:06 remaining in overtime earned the Blues a 6-5 win over the Blackhawks in Chicago, a game in which St. Louis trailed, 5-2, at the end of the first period. It was the 11th time in NHL history that a team won a game in which it allowed five first-period goals, and it was the first such win in Blues history. Before Wednesday’s victory by St. Louis, the last time an NHL team won a game in that manner was when the Lightning beat the Flyers, 8-7, in Philadelphia on November 18, 2010, after Tampa Bay trailed, 5-4, at the first intermission.

Fehr nets another short-handed goal

Eric Fehr’s short-handed goal midway through the third period gave the Penguins a 3-0 lead in a game they would go on to win 3-2 in Vancouver. Fehr also tallied a short-handed goal in his Penguins debut on October 31 against the Maple Leafs. He is the first player in NHL history to score a short-handed goal in each of his first two games with a team.

SOURCE: Elias Sports Bureau