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Time is right to bet on Chiefs’ AFC West dominance ending

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Time is right to bet on Chiefs’ AFC West dominance ending

I was not surprised to see the Rams trade quarterback Jared Goff. It was a bad contract, and the Rams needed to move on if only for Sean McVay to no longer have his job attached to Goff’s performance.

I’m also not shocked the deal for Matthew Stafford came together so quickly, but I was hoping the Rams would hold off until right after the Super Bowl because the value is already gone. BetMGM has the Rams 6/1 to win the NFC behind only the Packers (+375) and Buccaneers (4/1). The Rams’ Super Bowl odds are a similarly dejuiced at 12/1. There’s no value there, unfortunately.

I was hoping to get a decent number on Stafford to win MVP — maybe 25/1 or 30/1. But at DraftKings, Stafford is 15/1, the fifth choice behind Patrick Mahomes (5/1), Rodgers (8/1), Josh Allen (13/1) and Russell Wilson (15/1), so there’s no value here.

The Chargers are a team I have my eye on for a number of reasons:

  • They hired a competent head coach, Brandon Staley, who comes over after one year as the Rams’ defensive coordinator.
  • They have a talented core: a franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert plus elite defensive talent in Joey Bosa and Derwin James. They also have Melvin Ingram, Kenneth Murray, Mike Williams and Keenan Allen plus other top-tier players. And they have the 13th pick in the draft.
  • The Chiefs were exposed in the Super Bowl, and I’m not even 100 percent sure Andy Reid will coach them in Week 1 of the 2021 season. I think the AFC West is up for grabs in 2021.

I’m already looking to bet the field against the Chiefs to win the division and the Chiefs’ win total Under. At DraftKings, the Chiefs are the -455 favorite to win the AFC West, followed by the Chargers at +525, Raiders at 14/1 and Broncos at 15/1.

I’m in no hurry to pull the trigger, but I will likely reinvest some of the money I made on Justin Herbert winning the 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year award in the Chargers in hopes that Herbert makes the leap to MVP candidate. Keep an eye on Herbert’s MVP odds, too, as 18/1 is a bit short this early, but he could be a candidate in 2021.

It’s Already Baseball

Betting Season

It might be that weird time between the end of the NFL and the start of spring training. Some people call it basketball season. But I’ve already put money back to work on 2021 MLB futures.

So far I’ve bet:

  • Cardinals to win the NL Central +210 (after the Nolan Arenado trade).
  •  Dodgers to win the NL West -167 (before Trevor Bauer signed).
  • Angels to win the AL West +500.
  • Blue Jays to win the AL East +350.
  • Mets to win the NL East +200.
  • Dodgers to win the NL +220 and World Series +450 (after the Bauer news).
  • Mets to win the World Series +850 (after the Francisco Lindor trade).

The Cardinals are currently +155 at BetMGM to win the NL Central. The Mets are +170 behind the Braves (+130) in the NL East. The Dodgers are -300 to win the NL West at BetMGM, and as I said I bet -167 because it was the best price we were going to see all season.

The Angels are still available at +350 and +400 to win the AL West. I still like that.

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Donald Douglas, longtime PSAL executive director, dead at 58

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Donald Douglas, longtime PSAL executive director, dead at 58

Donald Douglas, the longtime executive director of the Public School Athletic League, died late Friday night, according to friend and PSAL colleague Dwayne Burnett.

Douglas was 58, according to his Facebook page.

Douglas died of a heart attack, while vacationing on the island of Jamaica, after a bad fall eventually caused a blood clot to form, according to Burnett. The Brooklyn native and Bushwick High School alum had retired this week from his post. He was PSAL director since 2004, when he was promoted from deputy director, and spent more than 35 years working for the New York City Department of Education.

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Don’t make this catcher mistake

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Don’t make this catcher mistake

The 2021 fantasy baseball draft season is upon us, and with its arrival comes a variety of strategies to test out and employ.

Drafting with position scarcity in mind is something we see every year, and though the catcher position is routinely linked to the strategy, the belief that you need to draft one of the top backstops early is a mistake. If you have been leaning in that direction, it’s time to change gears before you fall over.

In fantasy football, position scarcity has people drafting No. 1-ranked tight end Travis Kelce early because, in securing him, you are obtaining a significant advantage over your opposition. His production dwarfs that of anyone else at his position and on a 10-man roster in a weekly matchup, the impact is huge. The same cannot be said regarding the No. 1 catcher, J.T. Realmuto.

There is plenty to love about Realmuto from a fantasy perspective. His three-year average has him as a .273 hitter with 25 home runs and 81 RBIs. The numbers are strong, but does drafting him in the fourth or fifth round over a 40-homer Pete Alonso or a 200-strikeout Lance Lynn still give you an advantage? Not when you understand it’s just one-fourteenth of your overall team production or when you see what you can get at the position several rounds later.

Casting aside 2020 data, we can look at a number of backstops who not only hit 20 or more home runs, but also hit .270 or better in 2019 and can be obtained at a much lower cost. Willson Contreras, Mitch Garver, Christian Vazquez and Omar Narvaez immediately stand out.

JT Realmuto
JT Realmuto
Getty Images

You also have players such as Yasmani Grandal and Roberto Perez, who matched the power, but fell short on the batting average, or James McCann and Travis d’Arnaud, who posted strong averages, but hit for slightly less power. That’s already eight players who can provide similar numbers at a fraction of the cost, and we’re just scratching the surface.

If Realmuto was a .300-30-100 player, the conversation would certainly be different. He’s a great player but he isn’t performing at a level that leaves your opposition in the dust. If his production can be matched 10 rounds later, you’re better off using that early pick on an elite arm or a bigger bat at another position. Leave your catchers for later.

Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy football advice.

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Mets star Pete Alonso opens up on why he quit social media

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Mets star Pete Alonso opens up on why he quit social media

PORT ST. LUCIE — Pete Alonso wasn’t the only big voice in the Mets organization to deactivate his social media accounts over the offseason.

But the first baseman going dark on Twitter and Instagram had nothing to do with the aftermath of a stock market saga, which was the reason owner Steve Cohen ditched Twitter, and everything to do with a new outlook on life away from a screen.

“I think that real life is just absolutely fantastic and for me, I think life is a blessing, it’s something that I feel like a lot of people, sometimes including myself, take for granted,” Alonso said Friday after a workout. “And I want to spend every second soaking in every single day because every single new day is a blessing, and I feel like especially in wake of what happened last year, there’s a lot of things that I feel like were taken for granted.

“In 2019, if you see everybody wearing this mask, you kind of scratch your head and just be like, ‘Whoa, what’s going on?’ But there’s a lot of new social norms that are in place now that we took for granted. I think for me, I just want to be appreciative of every single day. I want to live in real life.”

Alonso had been one of the more active Mets interacting with fans through social media, especially during his Rookie of the Year season in 2019, when he adopted “#LFGM” as the team’s new rallying cry.

Though he will no longer be in touch with fans online, Alonso is very much looking forward to welcoming them back in person at Citi Field this season. After playing at an empty stadium in 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Mets are expected to have at least a portion of Citi Field open to fans when the 2021 season begins.

“Playing on TV is absolutely fantastic, but being there in person where one swing of the bat or making a diving play or striking somebody out, you can make that many people in person smile, stand, clap, cheer, yell even just by doing something,” Alonso said, with a big smile breaking out. “Once I heard 40,000 people at Citi Field go absolutely bonkers, that’s an adrenaline rush that I’m addicted to.

“I can’t wait until it’s packed out again like that. If it’s 25 percent, 30 percent, I can’t wait to hear people cheer again in person. For me, it’s addicting, and I love it.”

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