9/4 Notes and Nuggets – Newman dips out on UGA
Published on Friday, 9/4/20, at 1:59 p.m. Eastern.
Happy Friday, ya’ll! We’ll hit on multiple sports and some stuff from earlier in the week that we haven’t touched on yet. Let’s get it…
–I found former Wake Forest QB Jamie Newman‘s decision to opt out of the 2020 season earlier this week quite puzzling. Newman transferred to Georgia back in January. He has a history of injury problems, so it’s not as if he’s some guaranteed first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Newman was reportedly already banged up during camp. I felt like he needed to show NFL scouts he can perform against tougher competition in the SEC. To opt out after practicing with the team and being its projected starting QB for months is certainly a head scratcher. Sure, UGA has added former USC QB JT Daniels, who had a solid freshman campaign for the Trojans in 2018 before going down with a season-ending injury early in 2019. He somehow got a waiver to play right away for the Bulldogs, even though he transferred months after guys like QB Joey Gatewood (from Auburn to Kentucky) and WR Justin Shorter (from Penn St. to Florida) who still haven’t heard back from the NCAA on their applications for waivers to play in 2020. However, Daniels still hasn’t been cleared for full contact from the ACL tear sustained 12 months ago. If Daniels isn’t ready on Sept. 26 for UGA’s opener against Arkansas, Kirby Smart’s options include junior QB Stetson Bennett, who completed 20-of-27 throws for 260 yards and two TDs with one interception in mop-up duty last year. There’s also redshirt freshman Dwan Mathis and true freshman Carson Beck.
–Literally just about 30 minutes before the Newman news broke earlier this week, I sat down with VegasInsider’s K-Rog and Tony and talked numerous college football topics for 23-plus minutes. You can listen to the convo at this link (by scrolling down just a tad and then hitting play) and also see below that my updated Top 25 Power Rankings (without eight teams from my original rankings that you can see here). Seven of the eight teams dismissed were from the Big Ten and Pac-12, with Boise St. out of the MWC also going away.
–What a chafe push for me last night in my first college football play of the season. I’m sure it was a monster chafe for those who took the ‘over’ at 53.5 or higher (it closed at 55). See my below tweets from last night that sum up how a push or a loss on the ‘over’ was, well, total bullshit. South Alabama won 32-21 at So. Miss as a 13-point underdog, hooking up money-line supporters with a +385 payout (or better for gamblers who got on it earlier in the week when it was in the +450 neighborhood and the Jaguars were +15).
S-Alabama also settled for a 21-yard FG after going 85 yards on 12 plays. Jaguars finished w/ 526 total yards, while the Golden Eagles had 409 yards.
— Brian Edwards Sports (@vegasbedwards) September 4, 2020
Southern Miss has been settling for Field Goals in the Red Zone but they botch the hold here and the FG is missed. South Alabama leads 23-13 in the 4th. pic.twitter.com/OVKEANYTcu
— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) September 4, 2020
—I’ve got a play for Monday’s Navy-BYU game up already. In case you missed it, BYU star TE Matt Bushman was lost for the season with a torn Achilles sustained at Monday’s practice. Bushman had 47 receptions for a team-best 688 receiving yards and four TDs in 2019. Making matters worse for BYU QB Zach Wilson, the Cougars are replacing their top three wideouts from last season.
—Florida RB Malik Davis was enjoying a great freshman season in 2017 (526 rushing yards and a 6.7 yards-per-carry average) when he went down with a season-ending broken foot vs. LSU in mid-October. Just as he was returning to form and playing well in 2018, he tore his ACL. Davis clearly wasn’t himself in 2019, averaging only 2.5 YPC on 34 attempts as he was relegated to a third-string role. However, Dan Mullen has been gushing about what a great camp Davis has had in Gainesville so far. Mullen hasn’t been shy about heaping praise upon senior QB Kyle Trask, either. By the way, I’m bullish on UF to go ‘over’ 7.5 wins at a -115 price (already bet it, albeit at a -140 price, but I saw -115 at BetOnline as recently as yesterday). For now (knock on wood), the Gators have zero opt-outs, zero injuries, no known suspensions and are completely free of COVID-19. Especially considering how well the schedule works (it’s been ranked by some pundits as the SEC’s easiest), I’m sensing a special season in Year 3 of Mullen’s tenure at UF.
—I’ve also played Alabama’s season win total ‘over’ 8.5 at a -125 price, and those same numbers were also available at BetOnline as recently as yesterday.
–Another preseason play I’ve made is the Pittsburgh Steelers to go ‘over’ 9.5 (-110) and to win the AFC North for a +325 return. I’d link you to my article I wrote about these plays at MajorWager, but we’re still having some major IT/TEK issues that currently have the website all out of sorts (hence my posting much more fresh content here at BE Sports over the last few weeks). My reasoning is that Pittsburgh went on an 8-2 run after an 0-3 start without Ben Roethlisberger (after a Week 2 season-ending injury), despite having to go with Mason Rudolph (36.2 QBR Rating) and Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges (an undrafted free agent out of Samford, an FCS school), who had a 5/8 TD-INT ratio and abysmal 30.1 QBR. The Steelers had a nasty defense that was good enough to win a Super Bowl, and there were no significant losses from that unit. Even though Mike Tomlin has won a Super Bowl and gone to the postseason countless times during his tenure, I thought he did the best coaching job of his career last season. However, with his team producing 30 combined points in its final three games, it went 0-3 and failed to make the playoffs. But all reports are that Roethlisberger is feeling great, star RB James Conner (who missed eight games with injuries) is healthy and backup RB Benny Snell is having a great camp. The Steelers also added three offensive weapons in veteran TE Eric Ebron, second-round pick Chase Claypool, a WR out of Notre Dame and RB Anthony McFarland, a fourth-round pick out of Maryland who has blazing speed.
–LSU now has only five total returning starters (two on offense and three on ‘D’) after Ja’Marr Chase opted out and then DT Tyler Shelvin joined him a day later.
–Kentucky LB Chris Oats has opted out of the 2020 season. Oats had 46 tackles last season.
–Ten UCF players have opted out, but only two of those players were starters: junior DT Kalia Davis and senior CB Tay Gowan. Davis had 27 tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks, two QB hurries and one pass broken up in 2019. Gowan recorded 31 tackles, eight PBU, two interceptions and one TFL. Most of the other opt-outs were backups on the offensive and defensive lines, which will impact depth. Another huge opt-out among AAC contenders is Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell, who has had four family members pass away due to COVID-19 complications, including an Uncle that his family buried last weekend. Gainwell was a second-team All-American last season when he produced 1,459 rushing yards, 13 TDs and a 6.3 YPC average. Gainwell also had 51 catches for 610 yards and three TDs. The Tigers host Arkansas St. on ESPN as a 19-point favorite Saturday night.
–I cashed with the Clippers in an easy pimpslap last night. It improved my NBA record to 5-2 (+385 since it included a Heat +205 money-line winner in Game 1 vs. Milwaukee) since Tuesday. My overall record is now 110-84-2 (56.7%, +18.19 Units or $1,819 of profit on $100 plays).
–Brooklyn hired legendary former NBA point guard and two-time MVP Steve Nash as its new head coach yesterday.
–What say you on this ticket for the Miami Heat to win it all (embedded tweet below)? I think I’d hold it for now with Miami up 2-0 on Milwaukee going into tonight’s Game 3. If he sells now, he’d make a $4,000 profit. However, I think he’ll have higher offers if the Heat advance past the Bucks and into the East finals, and the chances of that happening are looking really strong at the moment.
Would you sell this ticket for $5,000? pic.twitter.com/6s0B6XRcQv
— PropSwap (@PropSwap) September 4, 2020
–RIP to the great ‘Big John.’ That would be former Georgetown head coach John Thompson, who took the Hoyas to 20 NCAA Tournaments and four NITs in a 24-year span. He was a man way ahead of his time who demanded respect from everybody he ever encountered. To give you an idea of how much Thompson was respected from the DEA to the one of the most ruthless gangsters in Washington D.C., check out Dan Wetzel’s piece on Thompson from Yahoo earlier this week. As Wetzel notes, who has ever (in any profession or walk of life) had so much “juice” (if you will) to broker meetings with both members of the DEA conducting a major federal investigation into drug-selling kingpin Rayful Edmond, and have the audacity to successfully beckon both Edmond AND the DEA members to come talk to him and to do so at his office?! That, folks, is R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Respect is what everybody had for Thompson, who was three points away from winning three national titles in a four-year stretch from 1982-85. It took a clutch jumper from a dude named Michael Jordan, a bad pass from Fred Brown and Villanova shooting 78.6 percent from the field in the ’85 finals at Rupp Arena to prevent two of those titles. Thompson won his only natty by beating Guy Lewis’s Phi Slamma Jamma squad with Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon (and Reid Gettys, Michael Young, Alvin Franklin and Dave Rose) in the 84 finals at the old Kingdome in Seattle.
–Another RIP to another legendary college basketball coach in ex-Arizona HC Lute Olson, who passed away in the past week at the age of 85. Many forget that Olson also coached Iowa to five straight NCAA Tournaments and one Final Four appearance before leaving for Arizona. He took the Wildcats to 23 straight NCAA Tournaments, 11 Sweet 16’s in an 18-year span and won the 1997 national title by defeating three different No. 1 seeds. His ’97 backcourt led by Mike Bibby was so nasty that Jason Terry didn’t even start. The Wildcats brought back most of that roster in 1998, and I got a first-hand look at them playing at FSU several days before Christmas. The ‘Noles actually pulled an upset on that night. My other live look at one of Olson’s teams was at the first Final Four that I (and of course, my Gators who were led by Craig Brown) ever went to in 1994 in Charlotte. In the first game of Saturday’s semifinals, Damon Stoudamire went 5-of-24 from the field and my Dad and I cashed tickets on Arkansas as a short favorite in a 91-82 win. Florida took an 11-point lead on Duke midway through the second half when the bank was open on Saturday for Andrew DeClerq on a 15-foot jumper a bit inside the top of the key. However, Grant Hill took over at crunch time and a dogshit charging call on Dan Cross drawn by Chris Collins in the final seconds of a one-possession game allowed the Blue Devils to advance. Of course, Scottie Thurman’s game-winning 3-ball from the right wing at crunch time lifted the Razorbacks past Duke to win the 1994 national title.
–Washington released RB Adrian Peterson earlier today. ‘All Day’s place in Canton as a Hall of Famer has been secure for some time now.
–Our Nuggette of the Day? Let’s go with Anna Katharina, who has been looking so sensational on Instagram recently that we’re going to have post several photos. Have a great weekend and best of luck with your wagers!
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