GAMBLING RECAP

Want to bet? Let's play a game of quarterback guess who

Case Keenum's season ended in Philadelphia. Twincities.com

Imagine this; You walk into a sportsbook before the games last Sunday and are presented a prop sheet. The objective is to match the quarterback with his performance in the Championship round.

26-of-38 for 290 yards / two touchdowns
23-of-36 for 293 yards / one touchdown
26-of-33 for 352 yards / three touchdowns
28-of-48 for 271 yards / one touchdown/ two interceptions / one fumble


Case Keenum
Tom Brady
Blake Bortles
Nick Foles

Although some would think they can figure this out pretty easily pregame,the inscrutability of Sunday's results made this impracticable to solve.

Who am I?
 

Behind door #1
In College, I attended Michigan State for a year and was redshirted when I transferred, forcing me to sit out the 2008 season. For my new alma mater, I would go on to throw for over 10,000 yards and  66 touchdowns in three years. I was the 88th overall pick selected in the fourth round in my draft. I would tell you who drafted me, but I've been on a total of three teams since entering the league. On Nov. 3, 2013, I punished the Raiders for seven passing touchdowns, something only seven other quarterbacks have been able to do. I  guess you can say I'm pretty special, that same year I made the Pro Bowl and was named the Pro Bowl Offensive MVP (thanks for the GMC Truck). Not to brag, but this isn't my first rendezvous in the postseason where I've thrown five times more touchdowns than interceptions, and I hold a 116.4 passer rating. Sunday, my final stat line was 26-of-33 for 352 yards and three touchdowns. Guess Who?

Behind door #2
I redshirted as a true freshman in 2010, but I would only need three years to tally 56 touchdowns. In 2013, I led my team to a BCS bowl, Tostitos to be exact. In my final game, I was named the Offensive MVP and helped my team win its first major bowl in school history. Although this was my first postseason, I've done fairly well throwing three times more touchdowns than interceptions. Also, I’m a pretty decent runner. This postseason I had 121 yards on 17 carries (7.1). Sunday my final stat line read 23-of-36 for 293 yards and one touchdown. Guess who?


Behind door #3
Im also a journeyman, and I've led the huddle on four different NFL teams. In college, I was a monster. I’m the  NCAA's all-time leader in total passing yards, touchdowns, and completions. I was the conference MVP in 2009 and 2011. It would have been three consecutive years but I tore my knee in the third game of the year vs. UCLA. Luckily, I was granted my 6th year of eligibility, and I led my team to a 12-0 season. That year I spanked Penn State in the TicketCity Bowl. My final numbers were 532 yards and three touchdowns passes. In my pro career, it has been a struggle. Starting with my rookie year where I spent all of 2012 on the practice squad. The following year I got my first start in week seven after an injury to the starting quarterback. No big deal but I did go 15 of 25 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown, along with a 110.6 passer rating, the highest by a quarterback on my team that season. Overall, I've thrown for 8,771 yards in 5 years while tossing 46 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. Sunday my final stat line was 28-of-48 for 271 yards with a touchdown, two interceptions, and one fumble. Guess Who?


Behind door #4
I've always loved football, at the age of 4, I attended a  game in CandleStick Park in  which Dwight Clark had "The Catch." In college, I was the backup my first two years to some guy named Brian Griese. I guess he was pretty good; he led our team to an undefeated season and a national title before I took over. In two years I threw for over 4500 yards while holding a 30-17 touchdown to interception ratio. I was the 199th overall pick, and I would only have to wait until my second season to get my first start. One year, in our teams season opener, I managed to tear my ACL and MCL causing me to miss the entire season. The following year I came out with a vengeance, in the first game I pulled off a miraculous comeback while throwing for 378 yards and two touchdowns. That year I  would also set the record with most touchdown passes in a single quarter (5). This postseason I had a 5-0 touchdown to interception ratio. Sunday my final stat line was 26-of-38 for 290 yards and two touchdowns. Guess who?

The Championship round left us with a few surprising box scores. But only two teams could advance. Congratulations to the Patriots and the Eagles.


Play action or Pass went 1-7. Bringing our yearly record to 58-53-3.

For Sportsbooks, it was one of the biggest weekends ever. In the first game, many sharp bettors were on Jacksonville, but the Public was huge on Patriots-7.5 and Jaguars money line +300. This was great for the guys taking the bets, and they were able to cash off both crowds.

In the late game, Joe Public was still suffering from the Minneapolis Miracle. People really wanted to see a team host a Super Bowl but that illusion will have to wait. The Vikings booked 64% of the bets leading into kickoff and again the books feasted.

Sunday was one of the best day for books in years. The only game the books lost was on the Las Vegas Golden Knights route of the Hurricanes.

With the Superbowl on the horizon, we will be getting more into the game the following week. Prop bet extravaganza coming soon......

1)Foles

2)Bortles

3)Keenum

4)Brady

For any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoknowz on twitter
 

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Can Hunter Brown replace an Astros legend like Peña did? Composite image by Brandon Strange.

It’s official. Justin Verlander’s time with the Houston Astros has come to an end after he agreed to a two-year, $86.7 million deal to be the newest pitcher for the New York Mets.

Now with the 39-year-old, soon to be 40-year-old, in a different shade of blue and orange, Houston’s starting pitching rotation has completely turned over a new leaf. What exactly is next for the group?

Verlander, who joined the Astros at the last hour in 2017, helped lead Houston to two World Series championships, and he was a key figure in the organization during his tenure. His latest season, coming off Tommy John Surgery, was nothing short of sensational.

He won his third AL Cy Young award by unanimous vote. He led Houston with a 1.75 ERA, a WHIP of 0.83, and an 18-4 record in his starts. In the postseason, Verlander’s run was filled with more ups and downs, but he also accomplished new accolades, including getting his first career win in the World Series in the pivotal Game Five. Replacing his production will be a tough task.

The Astros, overall, are in great position with their starting rotation. Framber Valdez presumably slides in as the new No. 1, although he is in arbitration with the team. The same goes with Cristian Javier, Luis Garcia, and Jose Urquidy, all of whom showed they can start, and who are also in arbitration or close to entering it.

Lance McCullers Jr. is the only starting pitcher with a long-term deal in place as of now, however, his health and ability to stay on the mound for Houston has been a long-time concern. The name that is interesting for the Astros is Hunter Brown.

The 24-year-old appeared in 10 games for the Astros in 2022, including three in the postseason. Coincidentally, Houston won every game in which he made an appearance. In the short sample size, Brown pitched in only 20.1 innings with a 0.89 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and a 2-0 record in the regular season.

Most importantly, Brown showed flashes of brilliance in the postseason. The most noteworthy performance came in Game Three of the American League Divisional Series against the Seattle Mariners.

With no room for error, the young pitcher came into a scoreless game knowing that one swing of the bat could hand Houston a loss. He not only managed to control the nerves in front of a hostile crowd that hadn’t seen a postseason game in over 20 years, and he pitched two scoreless innings, only allowing one hit.

Again, only a short resumé, but impressive nonetheless. Brown should have a rotation spot secured. Ultimately, the Astros need to see if his flashes were previews of a young, bright career. Best-case scenario, Brown could become the 2023 version of Jeremy Peña, which would be incredible for the Astros.

Owner Jim Crane said a week ago during José Abreu’s introduction news conference, Houston can never have enough pitching. The Astros could kick the tires on available free agents.

With the Astros saving $43 million in 2023 had they matched the Mets’ offer for Verlander, and Crane also saying the biggest needs were an outfield player and a catcher, it would not make sense for Houston to spend big on another pitcher, especially one that would be fourth or fifth in the rotation.

However, it would make sense to bring one on a budget, with the promise of competing for another championship.

Some names worth taking a look at could be Nathan Eovaldi, who is from Houston, Noah Syndergaard, who the Astros saw in the World Series, and Corey Kluber. All three pitchers had an ERA of 4.34 or less in the 2022 season, and according to Sportico, are anticipated to have a market value less than $17 million, which also offers the Astros flexibility to improve other positions.

What the Astros do, only Crane, and probably Jeff Bagwell, know. One thing is for sure, regardless if a new face is brought in or not, Brown deserves a spot in Houston’s 2023 starting rotation.

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