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Date Aug. 9th 09:36 AM Icon 51 Date 0

 

A look at what’s happening around the majors Sunday:

CHICAGO’S ACE

Jon Lester has put together some ace-worthy seasons during his 13-year major league career [url=www.authenticsatlantafalcons.com]Ito Smith Color Rush Jersey[/url] , including four All-Star appearances and a runner-up finish in the Cy Young voting two years ago. The Chicago Cubs left-hander is in the middle of what might prove to be his finest season so far, and he’ll look to become the National League’s first 12-game winner when he takes the mound against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. Lester is 11-2 with a 2.25 ERA this season, and he’s won his last seven starts – including going 5-0 with a 1.13 ERA during June.

GRADE-A OAKLAND

The Oakland A’s downed Cleveland 6-3 in 11 innings on Saturday, winning for the ninth time in their last 11 games and for the 15th time in their last 19. Oakland sits at a season-high nine games over .500 and will try and stay unbeaten for a seventh straight series when it closes out its series with the Indians. Brett Anderson (0-2, 7.63) starts for the A’s, and Shane Bieber (4-0, 2.97) goes for Cleveland.

GOING GREINKE

Arizona starter Zack Greinke has turned around his season since posting a 5.04 ERA in April and is 9-5 with a 3.35 ERA overall [url=www.authenticsmiamidolphins.com]Minkah Fitzpatrick Color Rush Jersey[/url] , including 112 strikeouts in 109 2/3 innings. The Diamondbacks right-hander will take the mound against the San Diego Padres, and he comes in having allowed only two runs in his last three starts combined – a span of 19 2/3 innings.

RICK’S REBOUND

Rick Porcello struggled mightily to follow up his 2016 Cy Young award-winning season a year ago, finishing a disappointing 11-17 with a 4.65 ERA. The Boston right-hander has returned to form this year with a 10-3 record and 3.57 ERA, and he’ll be on the mound when the Red Sox close out their season series with the Kansas City Royals.

OZUNA’S OUTAGE

Since winner the NL’s Player of the Week award last month, St. Louis outfielder Marcell Ozuna has been in a prolonged funk – going 15-for-71 (.211) and failing to hit a home run during that stretch. The Cardinals left fielder was the prized offseason acquisition in a trade from Miami, coming off a season in which he hit .312 with 37 home runs and 124 RBIs. This year, Ozuna is hitting .275 with 10 homers and 46 RBIs in 83 games.



The clock had ticked down to zero [url=www.authenticscarolinapanthers.com]Donte Jackson Color Rush Jersey[/url] , and Minnesota fans were already deep into a celebration like no other.

In this city’s legal sports books, though, the outcome was still in doubt.

An extra point that wasn’t needed had to be attempted anyway. New Orleans players had to be brought back from the locker room to make a token effort to defend it.

In the minutes it took for the Vikings to finally line up and take a knee, many bettors who wagered on the point spread didn’t know whether to stand in line to cash their tickets or tear them up and toss them in the garbage.

”Millions and millions of dollars exchanged hands when they kneeled down at goal line,” said Jimmy Vaccaro, oddsmaker at the South Point hotel.

One of the most unimaginable endings in a playoff game made for some dicey moments in sports books around Las Vegas. While bettors on the money line either cursed or celebrated the final touchdown play, those who bet the point spread weren’t sure whether they were winners or losers.

If the Vikings had kicked the extra point [url=www.authenticsdetroitlions.com]Frank Ragnow Color Rush Jersey[/url] , those who took the Saints at plus 5 1-2 points would go from winners to losers. Those who had the Vikings minus the points would swap places with them.

Just another playoff Sunday in a world where it’s not so much who wins, but which team covers the spread.

”When that play took place, the ones that knew they won were headed to the cashing line,” said Jay Kornegay of the Westgate Las Vegas sports book. ”Then the reality of the extra point came into play and everybody started talking about what they were going to do.”

The game capped a weekend that for the most part was spectacular for sports books, which won big on Jacksonville’s, win over Pittsburgh and also cashed in on Philadelphia’s home underdog win over Atlanta.

Though many books lost money on the Vikings game, they would have been even worse off without the final touchdown because so much money was bet on the Saints to win straight up on the money line.

”We did really well overall [url=www.authenticsclevelandbrowns.com]Baker Mayfield Color Rush Jersey[/url] ,” said Nick Bogdanovich of the William Hill chain. ”We just murdered those two games, Jacksonville and Philly.”

Things would have been even better had Tennessee not scored a meaningless touchdown in the final seconds that pushed the game against New England past the over/under and rewarded bettors who tend to favor the over in most games.

”In our world all those games came down to the last second,” Kornegay said. ”Even in the one blowout the total was hinging on the last drive by the Titans.”

Oddsmakers said they had packed houses for both games, thanks to a strong economy and the exploding popularity of sports betting. Wagering on the NFL is up again this year, and most bookies say they expect a record Super Bowl handle, no matter which teams make it to the big game.

At the South Point, Vaccaro said he judged the crowd by the line at the hot dog cart [url=www.seattlemarinersteamshop.com]Mike Marjama Seattle Mariners Jersey[/url] , which was 25 long most of the weekend.
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”All I can tell you is the handle is through the roof,” Vaccaro said. ”We did as much on the two games each day as we do on a full plate of NFL on a regular season Sunday. It’s incredible to see.”



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