As Ferris Bueller might say: The world of sports moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around at least once a week, you could miss it.
Here we'll review what you might have missed in the past week all in one place. Why spend hours scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the news you want? We've already done that for you, so remember to check back every Monday to get your dose of weekly sports review.
The 84th Masters Tournament saw history made this past weekend, as Dustin Johnson turned in a record setting performance at Augusta finishing at 20 under par in 72 holes. The World No. 1 continued his hot run of play in this major and added his first green jacket and second major victory of his career.
Dustin Johnson wins the 84th Masters Tournament. #themasters https://t.co/aI2zjbuE7h— The Masters (@The Masters)1605469912.0
Tiger Woods looked primed to defend his title after the first two rounds, limiting mistakes and playing with the careful consideration for every shot he's been known for throughout his career. He stumbled on day three, though, and only managed to shoot par which allowed Johnson to put pressure on Woods and the rest of the field heading into day four.
Woods took a 10 on the 12th hole on Sunday which knocked him out of contention, but then followed up with five birdies over the next six holes, which saved his round allowing him to finish with a four over 76. Tiger finished tied for 38th place at -1.
That's how you respond. 💪 Tiger Woods never stopped fighting. https://t.co/CGAH1vxWre— PGA TOUR (@PGA TOUR)1605464386.0
Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im finished tied for second at -15. Justin Thomas took fourth place at -12. Rory McIlroy and Dylan Frittelli were tied at -11 to round out the top five.
The 2020 Major League Baseball awards have been handed out to spotlight this year's winners:
The American League’s best in 2020. José Abreu is the AL MVP. 👏 https://t.co/eWMVJpr74T— MLB (@MLB)1605223338.0
Abreu led the AL in RBI (60), finished second in HRs (19), and fourth in BA (.317). He helped a young White Sox team to the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. Providing a steady bat in the middle of an explosive lineup, Abreu benefitted from having protection around him for the first time in his career. A former Rookie of the Year, Abreu now sits atop the American League as its most valuable player.
Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves
#MVFree indeed. @FreddieFreeman5 is your 2020 NL MVP. 👏 https://t.co/FUBGRHnvy3— MLB (@MLB)1605225131.0
Freeman put together an impressive campaign in the truncated season, finishing second in the MLB in OPS (1.102) and led the MLB in runs (51). Freeman also finished second in the NL in batting average (.341), on base percentage (.462), and slugging percentage (.640).
Although the Braves fell short of the World Series, Freeman's achievement, like Abreu's, represents a veteran leader helping the development of a talented young team around him. Expect a step forward for the Braves next year behind the reigning NL MVP.
AL Cy Young
Shane Bieber Cleveland Indians
UNANIMOUS! Congrats to 2020 Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber! 🏆 https://t.co/vOLku4Os3F— FOX Sports Cleveland (@FOX Sports Cleveland)1605137196.0
For the first time since 2011, the AL Cy Young was awarded unanimously. Bieber had a historic season setting a league record for strikeout rate (41.1%) and recorded the lowest qualifying ERA (1.63) since 1969. Opposing batters averaged a paltry .167 against Bieber in 2020, which is also the best opposing BA since 1969. Considering the Indians are not in the business of keeping its talent once their payday comes due, enjoy him while you can Cleveland. Yankees, you're on the clock.
NL Cy Young
Trevor Bauer Cincinnati Reds
Name a better way to celebrate. You can’t. @budweiserusa https://t.co/9WxTXPC7C5— Trevor Bauer (@Trevor Bauer)1605295731.0
Speaking of the Indians not retaining talent, the NL Cy Young winner is former Cleveland Indian, Trevor Bauer. Imagine if Cleveland was able to send out Bieber and Bauer on back to back nights this season with Bauer bringing his 1.73 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings. We can only speculate what the results would've been, but Bauer led a good pitching group in Cincinnati and brought them to the playoffs. Often outspoken, rarely outdueled.
AL Rookie of the Year
Kyle Lewis Seattle Mariners
Lewis burst onto the national scene with his five tool skills. He can hit home runs as well as rob them and is reminiscent of another transcendent talent that used to roam the outfields of Seattle.
Kyle Lewis x Ken Griffey Jr. (first 72 games) Lewis Griffey Jr. 17 HR 11 41… https://t.co/bPhJXlbweu— Danny Vietti (@Danny Vietti)1600910043.0
NL Rookie of the Year
Devin Williams Milwaukee Brewers
Williams became the first reliever to win the ROY award since Craig Kimbrel in 2011. Williams posted a 0.33 ERA and struck out 53% of the batters he faced this season.
AL Manager of the Year
Kevin Cash Tampa Bay Rays
It was a foregone conclusion that the Yankees would win the AL East this year, but the Rays came out of nowhere with a bunch of unknown players to take the division convincingly. Cash's trademark is player usage and tinkering with lineups. The mind of Kevin Cash is a big reason the Rays got to the World Series, but his decision to replace Blake Snell in Game 6 might have cost them a shot at a Game 7 against the Dodgers. Still, the Rays have a bevy of young talent under cost controlled contracts and they should continue to compete for the AL pennant for the foreseeable future.
NL Manager of the Year
Don Mattingly Miami Marlins
Mattingly became the fifth person to win both an MVP award and Manager of the Year award after leading the Marlins to the postseason in 2020. It was their first appearance in 17 years in what was supposed to be a transition year as they look to rebuild. Mattingly certainly got the most from his players and may be the kind of presence to make Miami a free agent destination if ownership is willing to spend.
Don Mattingly has been named the 2020 National League Manager of the Year. He is the 5th former MVP to win the awa… https://t.co/iGeZvpfyaA— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPN Stats & Info)1605050970.0
Now that the league has set December 22 as the start date for the 2020-2021 season the offseason, which historically provides plenty of rumors and player movement, has been dramatically shortened. That will likely mean less transactions preseason, but may set us up for an exciting trade deadline.
That doesn't mean there aren't some interesting rumors floating around, however. A deal appears to be in place to send Dennis Schroder to the Lakers in exchange for Danny Green and the Lakers' 28th overall pick in the upcoming draft. This would provide the newly minted NBA Champions a versatile scoring guard that can play both on and off the ball. Schroder will be coming from Oklahoma City, where he played with Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who are both ball handlers.
Lakers and Thunder have agreement in principle on deal to send Dennis Schroder to Los Angeles, and No. 28 pick in W… https://t.co/tyH2iPPZZJ— Shams Charania (@Shams Charania)1605459149.0
Having to share ball handling duties with LeBron shouldn't affect Schroder's effectiveness, and the playmaking LA will be losing in Rajon Rondo will likely be made up for by a veteran free agent signing later in the offseason.
The biggest trade rumor going around NBA Twitter right now involves the future of James Harden. Now that Mike D'Antoni and Daryl Morey have parted ways with the Rockets, Houston has a problem. It was just a year ago that the Rockets were thought to have the team and the plan to win an NBA title. Now they're looking for a new identity.
ESPN Sources with @RamonaShelburne and @ZachLowe_NBA: As Houston’s James Harden considers his future with franchise… https://t.co/Uf9k102itA— Adrian Wojnarowski (@Adrian Wojnarowski)1605477080.0
Harden's preferred landing spot has emerged, and it's in Brooklyn. That would reunite him with former teammate Kevin Durant and form a backcourt of Harden and Kyrie Irving. Brooklyn would likely have to send DeAndre Jordan and some players to match contracts up along with a slew of draft picks, but just the thought of this super team is making December 22 feel too far away.
NFL Quick Bites
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens fall on Sunday night to the Patriots. Baltimore falls to 6-3 and gives up some ground to Cleveland in the AFC North.
On Thursday night, the Colts dominated the Titans in an important division matchup. With the win the Colts draw even with the Tennessee at 6-3. The Titans have lost three of their last four games.
The Buccaneers get back on track with a 46-23 win over Carolina. Tom Brady made good use of his receivers in this one. Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Antonio Brown all had at least six receptions in this game.
Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins keep rolling with their fifth win in a row. They beat the Chargers 29-21 and are now 6-3.
Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins connected on a last second Hail Mary to beat the Bills 32-30. A contender for play of the year, and a competitive game that may have been a Super Bowl preview.
Drew Brees left the game against the 49ers with a rib injury. His status for Week 11 is uncertain. If he's unable to go Jameis Winston will be under center for the Saints.
It's another eventful week in the NFL.
Four teams -- the Jets, Falcons, Saints, and 49ers -- are the first teams to get a bye week. After Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers narrowly escaped Thursday Night Football with a 28-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning Super Bowl champs are the first team with five wins in the league. Who will join them on Sunday? We know that we'll get at least a second five-win team since the 4-1 Ravens are hosting the 4-1 Chargers. That is going to be an epic battle, so let's start with that clash of AFC contenders. Welcome to our Week 6 NFL Best Bets.
Playing on the road is a difficult task for any team, but if any team can escape with a victory, it's Justin Herbert and the Chargers. This isn't the Chargers of the last decade. This team is winning the close battles. Herbert is playing at an MVP level this season and already has led this team to big-time wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns -- two of the top teams in the AFC. This L.A. team is deep at the skill positions, can rush the passer, has an improved offensive line and a great young coach. What's not to like?
All that said, Lamar Jackson seems to be playing as he did during his 2019 MVP campaign. Not to mention, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is actually catching passes. He eclipsed 100 yards last week and scored two touchdowns (including the game-winning catch in overtime). Simply put, this is a tough team to bet against. It did take last-second heroics for the Ravens to beat the winless Lions and a pretty pedestrian Colts team. Overall, Baltimore hasn't faced a test like this yet this season. Take the points and the better overall squad. Chargers may win this game, but if they don't, they are not going to lose by more than a field goal.
PICK: Chargers +3.5
It's been a tough start to the season for the Chiefs. They had great odds to return to the Super Bowl and are now last in the AFC West heading into Week 16 with a 2-3 record. They desperately need this game. This is a great opportunity for the Chiefs to prove they are still elite by defeating a team that made the postseason last year on the road. The Chiefs are going to turn it around against a Washington defense that is allowing the sixth-most passing yards and second-most passing touchdowns this season. Patrick Mahomes is going to blow up. Tyreek Hill is going to dominate. Travis Kelce is going to continue to provide a steady source of receptions down the middle of the field. As long as the Chiefs' offensive line holds against Chase Young, it's going to be a long day for Washington's defense. Betting on Mahomes to right the ship isn't a really difficult choice.
PICK: Chiefs -6.5
Yes, the Texans are one of the worst teams in the league. Betting on them on the road against a divisional rival might seem crazy at first. However, the Texans are 7-3 against the spread as underdogs in their last 10 games. Plus, the Colts are emotional after completely giving away the game against the Ravens in which they blew a 22-3 lead late in the game. This is going to cause a bit of a hangover in that locker room. When New England suffered a terrible loss against Tom Brady and the Bucs, the Texans managed to cover the spread the following week. Look for history to repeat itself. Texans coach David Culley has Houston playing hard in spite of its lack of talent and quarterback Davis Mills appeared to take a step forward last week against the Pats. Houston has played pretty good pass defense, too. The Texans have allowed only seven passing TDs this season.
PICK: Texans +9
Sunday night will be an interesting matchup to watch as Geno Smith will make his first start in four years as the Seahawks travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. I hate betting on Ben Roethlisberger, but it's hard to envision the Seahawks covering the spread without the services of Russell Wilson. And as much as I think Big Ben should hang up his cleats, you have to give him credit for the way he dominated a solid Broncos defense last week. Roethlisberger looked better than he did earlier in the season and was able to get the ball to his playmakers -- Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and running back Najee Harris. Seattle's defense is one of the worst in the league and their secondary is even worse than their front seven. Look for the Steelers to light up Seattle in the passing game.
PICK: Steelers -5
Both of these offenses can put up a lot of points, though they go about it very differently. The Browns are a run-heavy team, and even though they will be without the services of Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt is more than capable of getting the job done. Meanwhile, Arizona's offense runs through electric quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray is able to move the chains with his legs but he isn't afraid to toss the ball either. He loves getting his guys involved and his weapons are elite in DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, and Christian Kirk.
The Browns are coming off an 89-point slugest with the Chargers and hit the OVER in their other game against a high-end offense in a 33-29 loss to the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have scored 30-plus points in four of five games this year. Smash the OVER.
PICK: OVER 49.5
Week 2 of the NFL was full of breakout performances, thrilling finishes and potentially the start of the Justin Fields era in the NFC North as the Bears' win over the Bengals finds them in first place in the division.
We cap off the week with a Monday Night Football showdown between the Packers and the Lions with the winner finding themselves tied for first in the North. The Packers put up an absolute dud of a performance last week against the Saints in Week 1 while the Lions looked surprisingly effective while playing catch-up against the West-leading 49ers. The expectations for these two teams couldn't have been further apart coming into the season but with matching 0-1 starts on the books, I think there are a couple of interesting props and roster construction angles to exploit.
NFL DFS Showdown Picks
*Prices are from DraftKings
Captain: TE T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions ($9,600) ($14,400)
I'm normally not a fan of playing a tight end in the captain spot, but T.J. Hockenson is not your average tight end. He finished 2020 with an elite 18% target share in the Lions' offense and picked up right where he left off in Week 1, finishing with an 18.2% share on 50 routes run last week. Hockenson has always carried premium TD upside as a red-zone target but what was most encouraging about last week was that he ran nearly 55% of his routes out of the slot, leaving him a matchup against Chandon Sullivan, who's allowing a 67% catch rate in his coverage. In a game where the Lions are projected to be down early, expect Hockenson to get fed once again. His red-zone utilization gives him enough juice to take the captain's chair in my builds.
Core Consideration: QB Jared Goff, Detroit Lions ($10,000)
Two principles I take into Showdown slates apply to this play. Generally speaking, if I have a pass-catcher as my captain, I'm finding a way to get their QB into a flex spot. The second is that your build needs to tell a story. Mine is that the Packers come out with something to prove after getting embarrassed in Week 1 and that we'll likely see upwards of 50 pass attempts from Jared Goff as he attempts to mount a comeback. Goff is a surprisingly effective passer when getting good protection and this unit gave him a clean pocket on 86.7% of snaps last week. Expect that to continue tonight as Goff will continue to feast in garbage time.
Contrarian Play: WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers ($2,000)
I still chuckle at the thought of the return of Randall Cobb being on the short-list of demands from Aaron Rodgers in the midst of his holdout. I do, however, think there is something to be said about the importance of chemistry between a quarterback and his receiver and I expect that in a typical game (which Week 1 was not), Aaron Rodgers is going to find his spots to get Cobb involved. In a game script that figures to have the Packers up by a healthy margin, not many are going to look at the tertiary passing options for Green Bay and I think a $2,000 Randall Cobb could sneak in a handful of receptions at single-digit ownership..
Salary Relief: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions ($2,400)
This one fits perfectly into my narrative for the game as well. In a game where the Lions are likely to flirt with 50+ pass attempts and coming off a week where St. Brown ran routes on 75% of the team's passing plays, I will be overweight on Amon-Ra tonight. Lining up in the slot on 74.5% of plays means St. Brown will primarily see coverage from Chandon Sullivan, the most favorable of the options GB lines up in their defensive secondary. Expect St. Brown to see his target volume increase tonight. If Detroit can be more effective in getting to the red zone, he carries decent scoring upside with the way he's utilized in this offense. Plus, who doesn't love the extra motivation of playing against their big bro?
Monday Night Football Best Bets
Taking a look at the wagering side of this game; before we determine anything else we must ask ourselves what we think of these Green Bay Packers. I tend to look at last week's performance as the exception and not the rule. With that being the case, I am laying the 11.5 points and taking GB tonight. Over the past six seasons, oddsmakers have been fairly sharp when it comes to these larger spreads and NFL teams cover double-digit spreads more than 55% of the time. The total for tonight is sitting at 48.5 and given the somewhat surprising ability of the Lions to make up ground last week, I am confidently on the "over" side of that line.
Picks: Packers -11.5, OVER 48.5 points
Taking a look at the prop market, I am again mainly investing in the "GB Blowout" narrative:
D'Andre Swift: OVER 28.5 Receiving Yard
Coming off a 65-yard performance in a very similar game script, this one feels like a no-brainer. Swift averages nearly 8 yards per reception so this really boils down to whether you think he catches more than 3 passes. I certainly do and I'm confidently on the OVER for this prop. FanDuel is currently carrying the best odds at -110.
T.J. Hockenson: Anytime TD
I'm not the biggest fan of these "to score" props, but I'll break from the norm with this one. I am projecting the Lions to at least have a go at it in this game and there simply isn't a scenario where that doesn't involve a score for Hockenson. +220 odds at FanDuel sort of feels like stealing given that I see this game going over the 48.5 total.
AJ Dillon | UNDER 8.5 Rushing Attempts
I know that the betting public is forecasting a fairly comfortable win for the Packers, but let's not get carried away. AJ Dillon would have to nearly double his career average for carries to get to this number. Plus, it's a bit unlikely that this game gets so far out of reach that Green Bay brings in their backups. Even last week when they did bring in the second-stringers, Dillon only saw 4 carries. I'm expecting Aaron Jones to have a monster day on the ground, as evidenced by my Saturday article.
Week 1 is in the books and it's time to move on to the best bets in Week 2.
If you listened to my article earlier this week, you would have started 1-0 for taking the Giants with the points against Washington in that thriller of a matchup Thursday night. Now, let's dive into Week 2's best NFL bets.
Tennessee Titans/Seattle Seahawks Over 54
The Seahawks' offense was high-flying in the first half last week. Because the Colts never really threatened the outcome of the game, the Seahawks were able to take the air out of the ball and finish the game with an easy win while only scoring seven in the second half. While both the Titans' defense and offense looked atrocious, expect Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry to have big bounce-back weeks and make this an epic high-scoring game. This has all the makings for a shootout in which both teams put up 30-plus points.
Cincinnati Bengals +2.5 @ Chicago Bears
Until that Monday night game, the Bengals had the honor of winning the craziest Week 1 game over the Vikings in overtime. The Bears' defense, which is supposed to be their strength, looked awful against the Rams, including one of the most blown coverages you'll ever see on Cooper Kupp's long touchdown. It was simply an awful week for the Bears. I don't think it gets any better until they remove Dalton and promote Justin Fields. If they don't do that prior to game time, the Bengals will run away with this one.
Los Angeles Rams -3.5 @ Indianapolis Colts
Coming out of Week 1 the Rams looked great on both sides of the ball. Matthew Stafford had a great first game, going 20 for 26 with three touchdowns. The Colts... They didn't look that great on either side of the ball. While Carson Wentz's overall numbers didn't look bad, most of the yardage and one of his two TDs came in the fourth quarter as they were chasing from two or more scores back, never actually threatening to win the game. I'm leaning towards the Rams winning this in a blowout and would consider alternate spreads.
Arizona Cardinals -3.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings
Kyler Murray appears to be a man on a mission to avenge last season's bitter ending after absolutely torching the Tennesee Titans in Nashville. The Vikings' defense, who hasn't been as formidable as years past, is going to have their hands full with Kyler. Last week they allowed Joe Burrow to complete nearly 80% of his passes, and Burrow isn't a threat to run nor has a receiver as talented as DeAndre Hopkins. If the Vikings offense doesn't step up and make this a shootout, things could get ugly in Phoenix.
Dallas Cowboys + 3.5 @ Los Angeles Chargers
Dak Prescott looked great in Week 1 and if there were any issues with his shoulder after throwing 58 times, he had 10 days to get healed up again and ready for the Chargers. I can almost guarantee, whenever the Cowboys go to play either Los Angeles team in their stadium, that there will be more Cowboys fans than LA fans. So while they aren't playing in Jerry World, they'll have more fan support. My concern for Justin Herbert and the Chargers is their efficiency in the red zone. His most potent weapons in Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler become less effective as they get closer to the goal line. That leaves Jared Cook and Mike Williams as your bigger bodies in the red zone, which isn't ideal. The Cowboys have a decent chance to win this one outright, but you can take the points for some cushion.
- Cowboys ML (+160)
- Titans +6.5 (-105)
- Steelers ML (-225)
- Rams -3.5 (-110)
Five Props To Consider
- Calvin Ridley OVER 6.5 receptions (+115)
- Tyrod Taylor OVER 34.5 Pass Attempts (-105)
- Aaron Jones OVER 88.5 combined yards (-115)
- Nick Chubb OVER 17.5 carries (-120)
- James Robinson OVER 9.5 carries (-125)
All five of these props have an excellent chance at hitting. I like the idea of wagering a three-leg prop parlay with the last three props listed (Jones, Chubb and J-Rob). Thanks me on Monday.