Archive for July, 2013

By W.G. Ramirez

Reminiscent of Captain Renault in Casablanca, who was “shocked, SHOCKED!” to find there was gambling at Rick’s Café Américain in Casablanca, NBA Summer League founder Warren LeGarie about fell over when I asked him if he knew there were betting lines on the games being played this week at the Cox Pavilion and Thomas and Mack Center.

I don’t know if looks are facetious, but I’m sure LeGarie’s was when he said: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Nonetheless, lo and behold, the LVH Superbook is taking action on the summer league games taking place here in Las Vegas, while a scant few offshore joints are also in action.

And here’s the rundown: the underdogs have been the winning choice, as they’re 24-19 since the start of the league, with three games being a pick and a fourth not having a line. As for the totals, the Under has been an overwhelming moneymaker, with a 29-17 mark.

Actually, with the totals, since the Under broke out on a 16-2 run after the first three days, things have leveled off with the Over on a 15-13 streak since Monday.

There’s no telling how much action is coming in on the games, which are played by teams comprised of mostly no-names hoping to make the NBA. There are a few big names in the pack, and as LeGarie pointed out, the league is simply trying to put a good product on the court and a provide a good show for exuberant basketball fans still salivating from the exhilarating seven-game NBA Finals.

“All we do is want to make this more competitive, we want people to play for something meaningful, we think it adds another element, we think the fans get involved especially with our seating,” LeGarie said. “This is good.”

I’m sure there are some people having fun with the point spreads, and they’re showing up at the arenas with betting slips in their pocket. Why not, with an opportunity to wager on games and then watch the games in person?

With the championship bracket in the quarterfinals, I would imagine the LVH Superbook lines will be tighter and the totals could be a little truer to form. I would also have to assume the action will increase for the final weekend.

“I’m not a gambler, I’m not a bettor,” said ESPN NBA analyst Kurt Rambis. “From everything I’ve heard about betting and gambling they’ll bet and gamble on anything, so why not the summer league games?”

Exactly, and even Capt. Renault wouldn’t be shocked!

HBO and NFL Films announced Thursday, what is an apparent “long-term renewal” to continue to produce the behind-the-scenes training camp documentary “Hard Knocks.”

The reality sports documentary television series produced by the two entities was first shown in 2001. There have been eight seasons (seven teams) – the show was idle between 2003 and 2006 – with the most recent airing last year, featuring the Miami Dolphins. In 2011, due to the work stoppage, there was no team featured. Each season, a team from the NFL is followed with cameras rolling virtually 24/7, through its training camp while providing an in-depth perspective of the team’s preparation for the upcoming football season.

This year’s victim: the Cincinnati Bengals.

It’ll mark only the second time a team has been twice-featured, as the Dallas Cowboys were on display in 2002 and 2008.

Of the seven teams featured, only three teams have made it to the playoffs: the Baltimore Ravens (2001), Bengals (2009) and New York Jets (2010). No team has ever won the Super Bowl after appearing on the show.

Ironically, since the show’s debut, teams featured on “Hard Knocks” are a combined 56-56 straight-up. The Jets (11-5) produced the best record in the 2010-11 season, while the Chiefs (4-11) have produced the worst, in 2007-08.

At the betting window, mediocrity is contagious, as the seven teams are a combined 53-56-3 against the spread, with the 2010-11 Jets producing the best betting mark, at 9-7.

The following are the year-by-year records of “Hard Knocks” teams:

  • 2001 – Baltimore Ravens 10-6 SU … 8-7-1 ATS
  • 2002 – Dallas Cowboys 5-11 SU … 7-8-1 ATS
  • 2007 – Kansas City Chiefs 4-12 SU … 7-8-1 ATS
  • 2008 – Dallas Cowboys 9-7 SU … 7-9 ATS
  • 2009 – Cincinnati Bengals 10-6 SU … 7-9 ATS
  • 2010 – New York Jets 11-5 SU … 9-7 ATS
  • 2012 – Miami Dolphins 7-9 SU … 8-8 ATS
  • 2013 – Cincinnati Bengals ?-? SU … ?-? ATS

Cincinnati Reds starter Homer Bailey joined several lists of exclusive clubs with last night’s no-hitter, including those active with multiple no-no’s and those who have thrown MLB’s back-to-back silencers.

But the one that stood out for me was that of no-hitting a defending World Series champion.

Dating back to April 24, 1917 – the first time it happened, when Yankees southpaw George Mogridge no-hit the Boston Red Sox – the feat has happened only 10 times.

Oddly enough, as hard as it’s been to accomplish, Bailey made it two straight years the defending champ was no-hit, as Johan Santana did it to the St. Louis Cardinals on June 12 last season.

Prior to Santana, the previous World Series champ to go down via no-hitter was in 1990, when Texas’ Nolan Ryan shut down the Oakland Athletics.

The A’s, coincidentally, have been no-hit three times when they’ve been defending champs, on July 30, 1973, by Texas’ Jim Bibby, the following season by Cleveland’s Dick Bosman, on July 19, 1974.

The most notorious no-hitter of a defending World Series champ has to be the one Don Larsen threw for the New York Yankees on Oct. 8, 1956, against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. The right-hander pitched the sixth perfect game in MLB history. It is currently the only perfect game in World Series history and is one of only two no hitters in MLB postseason history.

The following is the list of no-hitters over defending World Series champs:

  • April 24, 1917 … George Mogridge (Yankees) vs. Red Sox
  • August 30, 1941 … Lon Warneke (Cardinals) vs. Reds
  • August 25, 1952 … Virgil Trucks (Tigers) vs. Yankees
  • October 8, 1956 … Don Larsen (Yankees) vs. Dodgers
  • September 17, 1968 … Gaylord Perry (Giants) vs. Cardinals
  • July 30, 1973 … Jim Bibby (Rangers) vs. Athletics
  • July 19, 1974 … Dick Bosman (Indians) vs. Athletics
  • June 11, 1990 … Nolan Ryan (Rangers) vs. Athletics
  • June 1, 2012 … Johan Santana (Mets) vs. Cardinals
  • July 3, 2013 … Homer Bailey (Reds) vs. Giants