The National Football League opened its 2012 season this past Wednesday with Dallas upsetting New York Giants and Sunday there’s the usual heavy slate of Sunday games.
If you been following the pre-season, you must have been surprised with happenings in Seattle where coach Pete Carroll has given the starting quarterback job to rookie Russell Williams over ex-Green Bay backup Matt Flynn. The big shocker here is the fact that Williams is making base salary $390,000 while Flynn, the highly touted off-season acquisition is guaranteed $10 million per season. Seattle visits Arizona and if Williams is as good Sunday as he was in the pre-season, the Seahawks should win.
Another rookie that’s making waves is RG3 (Robert Griffin III), the new Washington Redskins quarterback who leads the Skins into New Orleans to meet Drew Brees and the Saints.
The most hyped rookie quarterback, however, is Andrew Luck who is so talented that Indianapolis Colts traded superstar and Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning to Denver Broncos to draft Luck. His first start may not be so lucky, as the Colts meet the rough, tough Chicago Bears in the Windy City.
I usually don’t like betting any sport in week one, I like to see some form first of all. It’s like betting a Maiden Race at the track, an easy way to lose your money. That being the case and because I get many requests to start from week one, here’s three more games where your money should be safe. Always remember, pay the mortgage first, the picks are for fun.
Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns: The veteran Eagles club got off to a horrible start last season and although they finished strong , they ended 8-8 and missed the playoffs. What a better place to start on a winning note than a young, rebuilding Browns club. Bet the Eagles and Mike Vick to win easily;
Miami Dolphins at Houston: The Texans are another hungry club with visions of going a long way under QB Matt Schaub while the Dolphins are starting a rookie quarterback. The Fish were good against the run last season but had problems scoring and that’s any issue with the Fish again this year. Besides, they’re on the road and they’re against an established playoff team. Take the Oilers, even against the 11-point spread.
Detroit Lions are another team that could make the playoffs this season. They have a soft schedule, meeting only five teams that made the playoffs last season, and they have a solid quarterback in Matthew Stafford. They are at home to the St. Louis Rams, should be a sure thing.
If you don’t cash on these games from “The Sports Prophet’’, you should stop betting and take up lawn bowling!
On the diamond
Let’s take a look at the major league baseball picture.
The Yankees vs. Baltimore series is a dandy and the Birds have momentum on their side as they battle for the American League East pennant. If you’ve been watching the Blue Jays and the Red Sox, you must be reaching the same conclusions I have. Are there worse major league managers than Toronto’s John Farrell and Boston’s Bob Valentine?
Last week against Baltimore, Jays’ Rajai Davis and Colby Rasmus attempted a double steal with their best hitter at the plate and trailing 5-1. Rasmus was thrown out and the rally ended with Edwin Encarnacion looking bewildered at the plate. How many times have I said, “do not take chances when behind, accumulate base runners for your big hitters”. I’ve been watching these kinds of absolutely stupid base running mistakes since April and firmly believe that present Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell hasn’t got a clue about running a major league offence. The Blue Jays are the poorest base running club in the American League and the youngsters coming up from the minors exhibit the same type of bone-headed, base running insanity like: stealing third base with a left-handed hitter at the plate, stealing second with a right-handed hitter at the plate where the catcher has a big advantage, making the third out at third base, etc., etc. When your team is 15 games under .500 and continually make base running blunders, nobody, not Rajai Davis, not even Usain Bolt, should be given a green light to run as he pleases. Somehow, a few major league managers and a number of local coaches just don’t seem to get the message.
As for Farrell, after watching early season ace Ricky Romero go from 8-0 at the first half to 0-11 the last half with no improvement in sight, I’m not so sure Farrell, previously a Boston Red Sox pitching coach, knows much about pitching either. Heck J.A. Happ had to beg for a start and after watching the newly acquired lefty in action, there’s no doubt he should remain in the Blue Jays starting rotation this year and next. If Farrell does know pitching, he must be the poorest teacher on record or needs a big time teacher’s assistant.
And Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine isn’t faring much better these days. Valentine knows the game and is a better manager than Farrell, but his problem is that he has no communication skills and the majority of the players can’t stand him. One team has a manager that can’t manage and the other has a manager that can’t communicate. Is it any wonder these two once proud teams are travelling with the bottom feeders of major league baseball.
On the track
Live harness racing continues tonight at Red Shores Charlottetown with an exciting 12-dash card, post time 6 p.m.
The Race 11 $2,200 feature is a wide open affair with horses like C L Eighty, Wellthereyougo, Oakrock Almighty, Every Day, Shock the Rock, Leading Candidate and I D K. There’s also three divisions of the International Billings Amateur Driving Series in Races 4, 6 and 8 with Thane Arsenault and Bo Sowers in the competition.
The simulcast card from Mohawk tonight is a dandy with many of the top two-year-olds in the country in action. John Campbell’s Odds on Equuleus who chased Captaintreacherous to the wire last week in the Metro Stakes has post position two in the $261,900 Champlain Stakes. Others in here include Vegas Vacation, Apprentice Hanover, and Rockin Amadeus. Many of the best three-year-olds are in action in the $261,000 Simcoe Stakes with horses like Dapper Dude, Michaels Power, Mel Mara, Panther Hanover and A Rocknroll Dance among the 12-horse field.
Mark MacDonald drove Blackjack Princess to an upset victory in the $100,000 Shady Daisy stake last Monday at Tioga Downs. At the Red Mile Sunday, MacDonald sends Bolt the Duer from post two in the $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes final.
The P.E.I. harness racing community lost one of its greatest supporters and owners with the passing of Rose Marie MacDonald, the former MLA from Souris. To her husband, Ronnie, son, David, who is a major harness racing supporter as well, and to all those connected to this wonderful woman, our condolences.
Fred MacDonald’s column appears in The Guardian every Saturday.