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Odd Situations Abound in NFL Opener
By Kevin O’Neill

Incredible as it seems, we’re less than a month away from college football’s opening night, Thursday, September 1st. We’ll be giving you some college conference previews in this space coming up in subsequent weeks. We’ll look at a number of different things in the following few paragraphs, and some information on the Colts/Falcons game in Tokyo is included.
Nothing has you rooting for and against weather than a major league baseball total that has already decided when some thunderstorms are swooping in. I work with a guy who does a great job with baseball totals (and only totals) as we’re firmly on the plus side of a solid, if unspectacular season. But a misstep was made on a game here in Atlanta the other night, and the under was lost by the later innings. I considered it a loser but then my weather radio started to blink. Checked out the radar and the race was on. Unfortunately the game ended before the storms arrived. My bet wasn’t quite big enough to hire a private plane for a cloud seeding operation.
Those of you playing Saratoga and Del Mar (and you must visit each gorgeous locale at some point) know of the frustration of picking a horse that wins only to miss out by failing to nail the exotics. Here’s the Daily Racing Form’s Steven Crist’s humorous take on a recent such occurrence in his own wagering in the tenth race on Saratoga’s opening day:
“How to turn 11-1 into less than 11-10:
1) Write in Wednesday Spa Diary that Blues Highway is the interesting alternative to heavy favorite Kathir;
2) Greedily eschew win bet at 11-1 in favor of $200 trifecta play keying Blues Highway with logical contenders plus interesting longshots including 65-1 Gold Way West;
3) Watch happily as Blues Highway ($25.00) draws off to win by 1 ¾ for Bond/Castellano;
4) Watch unhappily as Kathir barely holds second at 11-10 while 6-1 Lethimthinkhesboss edges Gold Way West for third;
5) Collect $2 trifecta returning $412.50 for $200 investment on 11-1 shot.
See, it's easy!”
I’ve been there, Steve, I’ve been there. Horse racing’s tough. There’s a reason why the only people making a living in that game are getting a 10% rebate.
In the Boston Globe this past weekend Dan Shaughnessy penned a tribute to Peter Gammons, who was honored in Cooperstown this weekend. Before he became a talking head on ESPN, Gammons was a world-class sportswriter, and Shaughnessy picked out one spectacular passage. After the Red Sox lost the ’75 World Series to the Reds Gammons wrote:
''We have postponed autumn long enough now. There are storm windows to put in, wood to chop for the whistling months ahead. The floorboards are getting awfully cold in the morning, the cider sweet. Where Lynn dove and El Tiante stood will be frozen soon, and while it is now 43 years for Thomas A. Yawkey and 57 for New England, the fugue that was the 1975 baseball season will play in our heads until next we meet at the Fens again."
Gammons is a big part of the reason why New Englanders are so insanely nuts over the Red Sox and baseball in general.
We’re coming off a spectacular football season, where my Strategic Sports Publishing football service finished 74-34 (68.5%) to seize the #1 ranking. More information is available at
I don’t bet the NFL exhibition season. It used to be a good opportunity when you would know that one team was trying and one team wasn’t, but that was before the internet era. Now it is a good opportunity for the guy who sees the coach say, live in the press conference, that he isn’t playing his starters in a game. But the opportunity is gone with a rapid line move. We’ll likely see a couple of 6-point line moves in the preseason.
But though I don’t bet the preseason, there may be some value in the “American Bowl” between the Colts and the Falcons due to some curious discussions that have taken place between the coaches. Not wanting either Peyton Manning nor Mike Vick to get hurt, Atlanta coach Jim Mora and Tony Dungee of Indianapolis appear to have agreed not to blitz early in the game so the Japanese crowd can enjoy a glimpse of the two mega-stars. The first quarter over and/or the first half over the total, as long as those numbers aren’t too inflated, might be a decent opportunity.
Don’t expect the NFL to come back here without a change to the playing surface. The Tokyo Dome artificial surface is in dreadful shape, worn and hard as a rock. The staff also had a hard time covering up the baseball infields. Not really sure how this will influence the game other than making sure that established veterans have very little playing time.
We’ll be back next week and be heavier on the football, with a lot of team previews coming up in the next few weeks. Don’t miss an issue of Sports & Gaming News. Opt in at Remember we value your privacy and don’t sell or rent your email address, we’ll just use it to send you our updates, so hit that link right now and register to get this valuable information for free. Have a great weekend. Good luck and be careful.


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