GAMBLING GUIDE

Bookie Busters: Some midweek plays on the NBA and soccer

Ronaldo and Real Madrid should be money makers. Photo by Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Although the Astros had an abysmal performance Friday night, Bookie Busters still found a way to profit for the weekend

5-3-1

MLB 0-2

Astros-1.5 LOSS

Astros Total Runs over 5  lOSS

NBA 3-0

New Orleans Team Total Over 115  WIN

New Orleans 1st half -6  WIN

New Orleans  First quarter -3  WIN

UFC 0-1

Joanna Jedrzejczyk -112  LOSS

Soccer 2-0-1

Manchester Utd vs. Manchester City

Over 2.5 goals  WIN

Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid

Under 3  WIN

Roma vs. Barcelona

Over 3 -118 PUSH

NBA

Denver Nuggets at Minnesota Timberwolves

Wednesday night gives NBA enthusiast everything you want out of a season finale, one game for postseason life, an NBA scheduler 's dream!

Both teams come into this matchup with familiarity as they faced off less than a week ago in a Denver 100-96 victory. On that night, the Timberwolves played a sound first half going into the intermission with a 54-51 lead. In the closing half, they only put up 42 points while ending the night shooting 25% from 3-point range. Denver is finishing strong down the stretch, having reeled off eight wins in the last ten games. On this steak they have ranked top ten in both offensive efficiency (7th) and defensive efficiency (8th). Denver, is a team known for its offensive pace and the way the team runs out in transition. But on this streak, they have slowed down the pace considerably, ranking 20th on the five-game run. Slowing the pace down has allowed the Denver interior players to be in optimal positions to rebound and this had translated to the third best offensive rebound percentage in the NBA in the small time frame.

The Pick

In the matchup on April 4 in Denver, the Nuggets were favored by 4.5 points. Now the line has changed 7.5  points with home court flipping, and I don't know if it's justified with the current form of these two teams. Yes, Minnesota has won its last two games but the competition was subpar vs. teams in offseason mode (Lakers, Grizzlies). Before that, they lost to a couple of potential playoff teams in the Nuggets and Jazz. Dating back to March 11, the Timberwolves have been on an odd streak off winning two games and losing two games consecutively. As mentioned earlier, they just won their last two games, so I guess we know what comes next. Denver, welcome to the postseason.

Denver +3

Thunder vs. Grizzlies

Oklahoma City needs to better its seeding with a win as their playoff spot is already clinched. In their path, a poor Memphis team that is gasping for air to make it to the finish line of the NBA season. Memphis is bottom 5 in the NBA in first-half points (51) while owning a -4.1 point margin in opening halves. The Thunder, average 54.7 points in the first-halves and carry a top 5 margin of +2.8 in the opening 24 minutes of games.  Look for the Thunder to come out fast and make a statement at home, this game gets out of hand, quickly.

The Pick

Thunder First Half -7

Thunder Team Total Over

*Projected line

Soccer

Champions League

Real Madrid vs. Juventus

The deciding leg in a two-way tie that sits at 3-0, the home team has the benefit of playing against a team that will be desperate and will be missing their best player Dybala. With 20 goals in their last seven matches attached to the space they will have in this game will be enough to get them on the score sheet a few times. Real Madrid, with a comfortable win.

The Pick

Real Madrid Money line

Real Madrid -1

Real Madrid Team Total Over 2

Ronaldo to score a goal anytime

For any questions or comments reach me  @JerryBoknowz on twitter

 

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Rootes began writing The Winning Game Plan last March. Photo via: NRG Park/Facebook

Football players, coaches and general managers have come and gone, but only one person has been running the business side of the Texans, well, even before they were the Texans. Jamey Rootes has been President of the Houston Texans since 1999, when an NFL team in Houston was still just a gleam in owner Bob McNair's eyes. That's before the team adopted the name "Texans" in 2000, before there was NRG Stadium, which opened as Reliant Stadium in 2000, and before they became serial champs of the AFC South, six titles between 2011-2019.

The precise date was Oct. 6, 1999 when NFL owners voted 29-0 to award the NFL's 32nd and newest franchise to Houston. Not only that, Houston was awarded the 2004 Super Bowl. Rootes, 34 years old with no NFL experience, had his work cut out for him. Before taking the job in Houston, Rootes was team president, general manager and CEO of selling peanuts and popcorn for the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.

Major League Soccer, with all due respect, is not nearly a national obsession like the National Football League.

"I wasn't intimidated," Rootes said. "There's a quote that I love, 'Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.' I've always been a purpose-driven person. As for the step up to the NFL, I went from knowing nothing at the start of my time in Columbus to five years later thinking, OK, I've got this sports thing down. Actually, I had a very significant reduction in my responsibilities in Houston. When I was in Columbus, I ran the stadium, I ran the team's business, I was the general manager so I did the talent side of it, too. When I came to Houston, all I had to do was the business, so that was great."

Rootes has captured his remarkable journey from the soccer team at Clemson to grad school at Indiana University to the business world at IBM and Proctor & Gamble to the Clemson Crew, to ultimately being named President of the Houston Texans in his new book, The Winning Game Plan: A Proven Leadership Playbook for Continuous Business Success, available next week.

I've known Rootes from his day one with the Texans, but I still had to ask: everybody knows what the general manager does, and what the head coach does. What exactly does the President of an NFL team worth $3.3 billion do?

"I like to use the parallel of a pharmaceutical company to describe my job. There are two sides to that company. First you put scientists in one building and you leave them alone. They create products, which is what our football team is. The football side has a coach and general manager and all the people who prepare the team to play on Sunday. But getting that product to market is done by the business side, traditional business disciplines. Those are the things that fall to me. Basically, everything between the white lines is run by the football side. Everything outside of those lines, I do," Rootes said.

Between 1999 and 2002, when the Texans played their first game (let the record show the Texans defeated the Dallas Cowboy, 19-10), the team was essentially a massive start-up project. First orders of business for Rootes involved building a new stadium, developing relationships with suppliers, contractors and government officials, preparing for a Super Bowl and, most important, developing a relationship with fans.

Rootes began writing The Winning Game Plan last March, but it's really an accumulation of lessons learned and behind-the-scenes stories about building the Texans from scratch into one of the most admired and valuable franchises in all of sports.

"I've always been a meticulous note-taker. I've kept every presentation I've ever done. I took all of my notes and concepts and put those down on paper," Rootes said. "To be a good leader, you need a wild imagination. You can show me a blank piece of paper, but I don't see it as blank. To me, it's a finished product that hasn't been created yet," Rootes said.

Rootes lays out his leadership strategy in seven chapters: Are You a Manager or a Leader, Get the Right People on Your Team, Build a Winning Culture, Create Raving Fans, a Winning Playbook for Adversity and Success, Your Leadership Playbook and Play to Win.

He learned lesson No. 1 the hard way. A friend once counseled Rootes, "your staff doesn't like the way you're all up in their business, you need to back off." Rootes took that advice to heart.

"It was an epiphany. I wasn't a leader. That's when I truly began thinking about leadership. I say this all the time, I don't do anything. All I do is create an environment where exceptional people can be their very best self. I know what's going on. I'm fully informed. I leave every game day exhausted. I get there early. I do the things I need to do. I kiss babies. I shake hands. I present checks. I entertain clients. I'm dialed in. It absolutely wears me out because I love this organization so much. I am so proud of what we've been able to do for this great city of Houston."

I asked Rootes, as someone who lives for Game Day and a packed NRG Stadium, are you devastated by 2020, the year of COVID-19 and small crowds limited by Centers for Disease Control guidelines?

"I don't look at it that way. I think there's a song by 10,000 Maniacs that said, these are the days that you'll remember. I told my staff, I know you're all going through hell right now, but later on in life, you'll talk about this year. Things that are important are memorable, for the positive and those things that leave a scar. You learn from adversity and you're a better person for enduring it. Victor Frankl said 'We can discover meaning in life in three different ways, by creating a work or doing a deed, experiencing something or encountering someone, and by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.' Suffering is part of life. He should know, he survived a Nazi concentration camp," Rootes said.

H-E-B President Scott McClelland wrote the forward to The Winning Game Plan. Rootes dedicates the book to late Texans owner Bob McNair. Rootes' book is a fun read. All I kept thinking was, where was this book when I needed it? And before you buy too much into Rootes as a leader, consider that Rootes admits that he had to ask for wife Melissa's permission before he could accept the Texans job.

Personal note: I believe that a big part of leadership is the ability to keep a promise. Several years ago, I was riding my bicycle with my dog Lilly on a leash. It was the only way I could keep up with her. Well, one time Lilly saw a squirrel and pulled me off my bicycle. I tumbled a few times and rolled next to the curb. When I looked up, there was Jamey Rootes. I told him, "There's no need for you to tell anybody about this." He never said a word.

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