Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports

Fall is in the air—so are a hell of a lot of changes in the NFL.

Le'Veon went from worst to first, Dan Quinn is out of job, and like college athletes, sports journalists apparently aren't allowed to make money from sponsorships. Meanwhile, coronavirus is running in the background, taking out teams before opponents even get the chance.

Here are the oofs and ahhs in this week's edition of Shots Taken.



The NFL Is Done With The Rona, But The Rona Isn't Done With The NFL

Coronavirus has been a headline for the entire year, and it's still making NFL headlines in a season that's chugging along despite an outbreak that may have officially killed the Patriots dynasty.

Meanwhile, the Colts are coping with four false positives, rushing to reopen their facility before their Sunday game against the Bengals. But with false positives and confirmed cases, the Rona is on the brink of a full-on takeover.

In a matter of weeks, the coronavirus has knocked out half of the Titans roster, it's taken out the Patriots' best players on offense and defense, and it's switched around nine bye weeks and seven weeks of scheduling. Sure, infected players are being sidelined as teams move forward, but there's going to be more cases, and there is only so much rescheduling teams can do. What happens, for example, if the Patriots see even more cases, or the Steelers experience an outbreak and need another bye week?


Moving the Chains with Ashmere | COVID in the NFLwww.youtube.com


While discussions of a bubble seem unrealistic for the NFL, perhaps they'll be a two-week hiatus that allows everyone to quarantine. Maybe players will have to shuffle into a controlled hotel environment for the second half of the season. Whatever they decide to do, coronavirus will be running in the background like the virus that took over your Windows computer.


The Bell Now Tolls For Kansas City

If you're not first, you're last.

While there is some truth in Ricky Bobby's wisdom, it's still early in the season, and we don't quite know who's taking home the Lombardi this year. But we do know who isn't taking it home (the Jets) and who did last year (the Chiefs). We also know that in a matter of days, Le'Veon Bell just jumped from last to first by getting cut by the Jets, then signing with the Chiefs.



It almost seems like there should be a rule against the Chiefs accumulating so much talent, but no, the Jets may have ruined everyone's postseason chances by letting them snag the former Steelers star. While Bell's woes began over contract negotiations, he's slated to only make $690,000 with the Chiefs with the opportunity to make up to $1.69 million.

The best part of it all? Bell is being treated to a revenge game opportunity against the Jets in Week 8. Here's to hoping Bell can rebuild his reputation by swerving, stiff arming and straight-up shaming the Jets defense.


After Quinn's Departure, Will The Falcons Finally Take Flight?

The only surprising thing about Dan Quinn's dismissal from the Falcons is that it took this long to execute. Liz Roscher of Yahoo Sports summarized Quinn's tenure as "six years on the job, two winning seasons and one memorably painful Super Bowl appearance", the worst part being that his team hasn't had a winning season since 2017.

The Falcons lost that Patriots Super Bowl, they lost Kyle Shanahan to the 49ers, and they haven't been the same since. After an eerily-similar repeat of their Super Bowl loss in Week 2 against the Cowboys, the calls to fire Quinn were louder than ever, yet Quinn and GM Tom Dimitroff were given three more weeks to redeem themselves. With Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Todd Gurley and Calvin Ridley, there's no reason that the Falcons couldn't have won one game—well, besides coaching.

If players win games and coaches lose them, then perhaps the Falcons still have a chance to salvage their season without Quinn leading the charge.


Ian Rapoport Gets Cut Down For Endorsing Manscaping

In some football-adjacent news, prominent NFL reporter Ian Rapoport has been suspended by NFL Network until October 22nd for something racy he shared on his Instagram… an ad for Manscaped.

Manscaped, which specializes in full-body hair trimming options for men, has employed a highly-effective viral marketing model by getting celebrity endorsements in the spaces men typically frequent—on podcasts, social media and in the sports world. Rapoport was one of these celebrities, but apparently he didn't get clearance from the network to share the endorsement on his social channels, thereby violating network guidelines.


While Rapoport said he respects and understands the network's decision and is "deeply sorry for his mistake", it brings about an interesting discussion about how sports journalists, like athletes, may be limited in the ways they can make money through their celebrity. Already-shrinking newsrooms have been slashed by COVID cuts, and though Rapoport likely isn't affected by this, there shouldn't be anything wrong with trying to earn a side hustle in an impoverished journalistic landscape—even if that means Rapoport breaks the news on the best way to, uh, mow the lawn.

Getty Images

Even if you weren’t satisfied with a tie against England, USA’s 0-0 draw against one of the strongest teams in the World was impressive. The USMNT plays like a unit of young studs, hungry for victory. Oh and by the way, it’s called “soccer”!

Note (from FanDuel Sportsbook): No team will be playing at home during the World Cup in Qatar. For betting purposes, FanDuel explains that: “Home Team refers to the team listed first, Away Team refers to the second team listed.”

Game: USA vs. Iran, +300

Iran has no chance of winning this game. The United States fought with energy against a strong British team. Veteran center defenseman Tim Ream was excellent on defense for the men’s team, making critical tackles against the English offense. Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane struggled to get open shots in the box against the US’s defensive line. Christian Pulisic has also played phenomenally, and it was Timothy Weah who was able to score America’s only goal of the tournament against Wales. A draw is a strong result for this young squad against England, who finished as runners up in the 2020 Euro.

With that being said, Iran was able to pull off a huge win over Wales in their second game of the competition. Wales did go down a man as a result of a red card in the match. In fact, Wales’ Wayne Hennessey was handed a red card in the 86th minute of the game, allowing Iran to score in the eighth and 11th minutes of added time. Obviously, Iran got lucky with a late red card to Wales, allowing them to play 11 on 10 ferocious offense in added time. Iran had just 38% of possession but finished the game with 21 shots while Wales had 62% possession in the game but just 10 shots. Obviously, the majority of Iran’s offense came very late in the game, allowing them to upset Wales in stoppage time.

To me, it seems evident that the US will quiet Iran, especially as they got lucky to take the win away from Wales, who had 501 total passes in the match to Iran’s 298. The U.S. should cream Iran in a game which they really would like to win.

The Pick: USA, +100

In addition, you can expect the U.S. to score the first goal in this game. They have a stronger, hungrier team than Iran that got very lucky to score two goals against Wales past the 90th minute of regulation time. A red card allowed them to take advantage of more than 10 minutes of stoppage time and score two goals to beat Wales. Against the U.S., Iran won’t have it easy. They certainly will not score the first goal in this game because we will.

The Pick: USA to Score the First Goal, -150

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2022 World Cup Best Bets, Team Props, and Futures
2022 World Cup Best Bets, Team Props, and Futures

Are you psyched about the 2022 World Cup and endless soccer each day for the next few weeks? We certainly are. If you are planning on watching the games and keeping track of all the action in Qatar, here are some picks for the four group stage matches scheduled for tomorrow: Tuesday, November 22.

Are you new to sports betting or fantasy sports? Get all the resources and help you need so you can DOMINATE!

Note (from FanDuel Sportsbook): No team will be playing at home during the World Cup in Qatar. For betting purposes, FanDuel explains that: “Home Team refers to the team listed first, Away Team refers to the second team listed.”

Game: Saudi Arabia at Argentina, -650 (5:00am EST)

Without a question, this should be an easy win for Argentina. They are one of the favorites to win the 2022 World Cup as a result of their outstanding corps of forwards and midfielders. In contrast, Saudi Arabia likely has one of the weakest rosters in this year’s competition. For this reason, it could be interesting to look at some other props. For instance, you could consider taking Argentina to win and for a certain amount of goals to be scored in the game. Taking into consideration the mismatch and the potential for Saudi Arabia to score a consolation goal, you can roll the dice on Argentina to win and for five or more goals to be scored in the contest for +430.

Bet: Argentina to win, and 5 or more total goals in the match (+430)

Game: Tunisia at Denmark, -185 (8:00am EST)

Denmark is certainly the stronger team in this matchup. Tunisia isn’t a joke but ultimately, Denmark has elite players from around the world spread at different positions throughout their roster. Christian Eriksen is the feature player on Denmark's’ 2022 World Cup Squad. Tunisia has virtually no players competing at a tough international level. This should be an easy first win for Denmark’s national team, and a safe bet for you regardless of if you are an avid sports bettor or simply trying to keep along with tomorrow’s action.

The Pick: Denmark, -185

Game: Poland at Mexico, +155 (11:00am EST)

Though both teams have solid rosters, the edge goes to the Polish national team. At forward, they have one of the most prolific goal scorers in the World over the last near-decade in Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona). The rest of Poland’s roster is sprinkled with players competing in the top European divisions. Mexico’s brightest players will be veteran goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa (Club America), Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Edson Alvarez (Ajax), and Hirving Lozano (Napoli). This season, Lozano has produced three goals and three assists in 14 games for Napoli. While Mexico’s roster shows promise, Poland’s roster has much more depth. Neither team is the heavy favorite, but I'd put my money on the team with players who have more experience at a European club and international level. This is where Poland’s roster shines over Mexico’s.

The Pick: Poland, +155

Game: Australia at France, -390 (2:00pm EST)

Heading into their first World Cup game, the French national team has lost some key players. Both Paul Pogba (Juventus) and N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) were ruled out of the tournament more than a month ago as a result of their respective injuries. It was reported earlier this week that 2022 Ballon D’Or winner Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) suffered a hamstring injury practicing in Qatar which will keep him sidelined for the tournament. Heading into their first match of the group stage of the competition, France is missing three of its best players. Fortunately, they still have one of the most talented and deep rosters despite losing these crucial veteran players. In contrast, Australia is one of the weakest teams at the World Cup. Regardless of the hits the French national team has taken to their roster, “Les Bleus” should comfortably win this game by two or more goals.

Bet: France to win and 3 or 4 goals in the match, +160

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PURCHASE A MEMBERSHIP NOW

Calling every sports fan across the globe! The best month for all things sports is here: November. NFL and CFB are getting into the thick of things — I mean, we might finally not see Alabama and Clemson in the CFP, not to mention both the NBA and NHL are underway and college basketball just tipped off!

Despite all of these different sporting events going on, the World’s biggest Sporting event Kicked off, the World Cup (Let’s go USA!).

Although Soccer is the World's most popular sport, it still struggles to gain support in the US. However, every 4 years Soccer takes the country by storm and this year, it is only going to get better.

Let us introduce you to your new go-to app, FanDuel Sportsbook. It’s the place to be for not only the usual sports, but for this year's World Cup!

FanDuel Sportsbook is providing a multitude of features with a few market differentiators.

  • Dedicated USA markets—all things Team USA, easy to find, in one place.
  • Futures:
    • World Cup Winner
    • Who will win the Golden Boot (the award for the top goal scorer of the World Cup)
    • Highest scoring Group
    • And more
  • Popular Markets - outside of the normal Moneyline, Spread & Over/Under lines, FanDuel will also be offering:
    • Anytime Goal Scorer
    • First Goal Scorer
    • Shots on Goal
    • Correct Score
    • Number of Corner Kicks
    • Half-Time Result

Market Differentiators:

  • Tournament Goal Scorer Parlay Builder - build your own tournament-long Goal Scorer parlays with your favorite players from every team.
  • USA Games:
    • Daily Specials:
      • Highest scoring team of the day
      • Total daily goals
      • Player specials
      • And More!
    • Live Parlays

Out of all the betting apps we’ve used, signing up for FanDuel Sportsbook is also the easiest. Simply download the app and create an account by providing an email, credit card, and SS# — that’s to protect your winnings and ensure you're not a sporting professional.

FanDuel is undoubtedly the best site/app to parlay across multiple sports. It’s designed for bettors at any stage. The clear interface is ideal for beginners and you can make a bet in just a few clicks! It’s complete with a number of betting guides that explain the rules and resources to safely bet.

One of the best parts is that once the game ends, you can cash out your winnings right away. No minimum, no wait.

There’s also the incredible New User Offer: sign up with FanDuel Sportsbook and get up to $1000 in Free Bets if you lose your first bet! Each week, you’ll find new promotions.

Their app has everything you need — from tutorials to real-time game scores. Get amped for the World Cup with FanDuel Sportsbook. Enhance your Sportsvember by downloading the FanDuel Sportsbook app today!

Terms & Conditions: 21+ and present in CO, IA, IL, IN, MI, NJ, PA, TN, VA or WV. New users only. Must wager in designated offer market. $10 first deposit required. $150 max bonus. See full terms at sportsbook.fanduel.com. Gambling Problem? Call: 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-270-7117 for confidential help (MI), 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ, PA, IL, VA), TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), or visit www.1800gambler.net (WV).