ALL SPORTS Breaking News Top news US sports

NBA, NHL athletes step up to pledge assistance for idled arena workers

NBA players Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson are among a growing list of athletes and teams pledging to provide financial assistance to stadium workers who will suffer wage losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Reigning NBA MVP Antetokounmpo announced he would give $100,000 to workers at the Milwaukee Bucks Fiserv Forum and Williamson has promised to cover the salaries of all employees at the Smoothie King Center for the next month.

“My mother has always set an example for me about being respectful for others and being grateful for what we have, and so today I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days,” Williamson said.

The hourly wage workers will take a big hit from the shut-down of the NBA and NHL, along with cancellations of concerts as public health officials caution that large gatherings can hasten the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s bigger than basketball!” Antetokounmpo tweeted. “And during this tough time I want to help the people that make my life, my family’s lives and my teammates lives easier.

“Me and my family pledge to donate $100,000 to the Fiserv Forum staff. We can get through this together!”

The 19-year-old Williamson’s salary pledge coincides with the NBA’s planned regular season hiatus in response to the outbreak.

“Many of them are still recovering from long-term challenges created by (Hurricane) Katrina, and now face the economic impact of the postponement of games because of the virus,” Williamson said.

Friday’s moves come a day after Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love committed $100,000 to the team’s arena workers and support staff. Love is expected to get some help from the team.

“I hope that during this time of crisis, others will join me in supporting our communities,” Love said, adding that moral support was just as important as financial in such a time of tension.

The Golden State Warriors announced that their owners and players are donating $1 million to a disaster-relief fund that will aid the more than 1,000 part-time Chase Center workers.

“As players, we wanted to do something, along with our ownership and coaches, to help ease the pain during this time,” said Warriors star Stephen Curry.

– Wage loss fund –

On the hockey side, the Pittsburgh Penguins players have started a fund to pay “full and part-time arena/service employees who would otherwise lose income on regular season games due to the pause in the NHL season.”

The Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs have also pledged assistance.

Detroit-based Ilitch Companies, which owns the baseball Detroit Tigers, hockey’s Detroit Red Wings and Little Caesars Arena announced the establishment of a $1 million fund to cover workers salaries for a month. NBA player Blake Griffin, who plays for the Detroit Pistons, is chipping in $100,000 for the arena workers.

Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller has vowed to help out financially.

Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks said the team is making arrangements with American Airlines Arena and other corporate partners “to ensure that scheduled event staff will receive payment for the six home games that were to take place during the 30-day NBA hiatus.”

Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler and the Philadelphia 76ers also said they were looking into ways to assist their arena associates idled by the shut down.

Breaking News Slider Top news US sports

Completed Wild-card round

Completed

Wild-card round

Saturday, Jan. 4

FINAL ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Buffalo 35% 19
Houston -4.5 65% 22
FINAL ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Tennessee 31% 20
New England -5.5 69% 13

Sunday, Jan. 5

FINAL ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Minnesota 23% 26
New Orleans -8.5 77% 20
FINAL ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Seattle 31% 17
Philadelphia -5.5 69% 9
Breaking News Slider Top news US sports

NFL- Divisional round

Divisional round

Saturday, Jan. 11

4:35 p.m. Eastern ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Minnesota 33%
San Francisco -5 67%
8:15 p.m. ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Tennessee 13%
Baltimore -13 87%

Sunday, Jan. 12

3:05 p.m. Eastern ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Houston 17%
Kansas City -11 83%
6:40 p.m. ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Seattle 26%
Green Bay -7.5 74%
ALL SPORTS Breaking News NFL Slider Top news US sports

2019 NFL PREDICTIONS-WEEK 13

Week 13

Thursday, Nov. 28

12:30 p.m. Eastern ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Chicago -4 63%
Detroit 37%
4:30 p.m. ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Buffalo 34%
Dallas -4.5 66%
8:20 p.m. ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
New Orleans -3.5 62%
Atlanta 38%

Sunday, Dec. 1

1 p.m. Eastern ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Cleveland 43%
Pittsburgh -2 57%
1 p.m. ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Green Bay -9 78%
N.Y. Giants 22%
1 p.m. ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
N.Y. Jets -6 70%
Cincinnati 30%
1 p.m.
Philadelphia -6.5 72%
Miami 28%
1 p.m.
San Francisco 33%
Baltimore -5 67%
1 p.m.
Tampa Bay 31%
Jacksonville -5.5 69%
1 p.m.
Tennessee 37%
Indianapolis -3.5 63%
1 p.m.
Washington 20%
Carolina -9.5 80%
4:05 p.m.
L.A. Rams -4.5 66%
Arizona 34%
4:25 p.m.
L.A. Chargers -3 60%
Denver 40%
4:25 p.m.
Oakland 20%
Kansas City -9.5 80%
8:20 p.m.
New England -2.5 60%
Houston 40%

Monday, Dec. 2

8:15 p.m. Eastern ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Minnesota -0.5 53%
Seattle 47%
Breaking News NFL Slider Top news US sports

2019 NFL PREDICTIONS-WEEK 11

Week 11

Thursday, Nov. 14

8:20 p.m. Eastern ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Pittsburgh 49%
Cleveland -0.5 51%

Sunday, Nov. 17

1 p.m. Eastern ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Atlanta 30%
Carolina -6 70%
1 p.m. ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Buffalo -4.5 65%
Miami 35%
1 p.m. ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Dallas -2 58%
Detroit 42%
1 p.m.
Denver 17%
Minnesota -11 83%
1 p.m.
Houston 40%
Baltimore -3 60%
1 p.m.
Jacksonville 43%
Indianapolis -2 57%
1 p.m.
New Orleans -8.5 78%
Tampa Bay 22%
1 p.m.
N.Y. Jets 48%
Washington -0.5 52%
4:05 p.m.
Arizona 13%
San Francisco -13 87%
4:25 p.m.
Cincinnati 15%
Oakland -12 85%
4:25 p.m.
New England -2 57%
Philadelphia 43%
8:20 p.m.
Chicago 30%
L.A. Rams -6 70%

Monday, Nov. 18

8:15 p.m. Eastern ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Kansas City -5.5 69%
L.A. Chargers 31%
ALL SPORTS Breaking News NFL Slider Top news US sports

2019 NFL Predictions-Week 1

Week 1

Thursday, Sept. 5

FINAL ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Green Bay 36% 10
Chicago -4 64% 3

Sunday, Sept. 8

1 p.m. Eastern ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Atlanta 41%
Minnesota -2.5 59%
1 p.m. ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Baltimore -3 61%
Miami 39%
1 p.m. ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Buffalo 45%
N.Y. Jets -1.5 55%
1 p.m.
Kansas City -2.5 58%
Jacksonville 42%
1 p.m.
L.A. Rams -0.5 52%
Carolina 48%
1 p.m.
Tennessee 40%
Cleveland -3 60%
1 p.m.
Washington 23%
Philadelphia -8.5 77%
4:05 p.m.
Cincinnati 25%
Seattle -8 75%
4:05 p.m.
Indianapolis 28%
L.A. Chargers -6.5 72%
4:25 p.m.
Detroit -0.5 51%
Arizona 49%
4:25 p.m.
N.Y. Giants 26%
Dallas -7.5 74%
4:25 p.m.
San Francisco 45%
Tampa Bay -1.5 55%
8:20 p.m.
Pittsburgh 32%
New England -5 68%

Monday, Sept. 9

7:10 p.m. Eastern ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Houston 32%
New Orleans -5 68%
10:20 p.m. ELO POINT SPREAD WIN PROB. SCORE
Denver 49%
Oakland -0.5 51%
ALL SPORTS Breaking News NFL Top news US sports

If Vegas Predicts Your NFL Team For Six Wins, You May Be In Luck

We’ve already published our Elo projections, and we think they’re the best we’ve ever produced for the NFL, but there will still be lots of misses to grouse about come January. Forecasting a sport as luck-driven as the NFL is rough that way.

It raises the question: How good are betting markets at predicting team wins? To find out, I got my hands on a tranche of win prediction data stretching back to 1989, courtesy of Sports Odds History, and checked how well Vegas preseason win totals predict actual team wins. While Vegas overall does a good job identifying good and bad teams, it turns out that at the lower end of the range of projected wins, Vegas predictions don’t seem particularly well calibrated — though the confidence intervals at the lower end are large because of the small sample size, so the results aren’t statistically significant.

Projected win totals of six and fewer undersell teams’ prospects by about a win on average, with the exception of teams forecast for five wins.

Win totals don’t change as frequently as the moneyline odds, so we probably shouldn’t take win totals at face value — at least for teams with low projected wins. What does this mean for non-bettors? It should be decent news for the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins — teams that both Elo and Vegas have pegged for six wins in 2019 — since we should be more bullish on their chances than we currently are.

Optimism for these probable cellar dwellers might feel forced. But we should fight the urge toward overconfidence, especially in the face of history. A few of these teams will end up surprising us — in a good way — at the end of the year for reasons inscrutable to us now.

Which NFL teams might beat expectations?

Average actual wins (1989-2018) by Vegas preseason expected wins, and the 2019 teams at each number of expected wins

WINS  
EXPECTED ACTUAL 2019 TEAMS
11.0 10.2 New England
10.5 9.9 Kansas City, L.A. Rams, New Orleans
10.0 8.8 Philadelphia
9.5 9.0 Chicago, Green Bay, L.A. Chargers
9.0 8.5 Cleveland, Dallas, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Pittsburgh
8.5 8.9 Atlanta, Baltimore, Houston, Seattle
8.0 7.4 Jacksonville, San Francisco, Tennessee
7.5 7.6 Carolina
7.0 6.9 Buffalo, Denver, N.Y. Jets
6.5 6.4 Detroit, Tampa Bay
6.0 6.7 Cincinnati, N.Y. Giants, Oakland, Washington
5.0 4.6 Arizona, Miami

SOURCES: SPORTSODDSHISTORY.COM, GREG GUGLIELMO, PINNACLE, BETFAIR, WILLIAM HILL, BET365, BETONLINE

Well … maybe not the Bengals. Not only is Cincinnati saddled with an injured A.J. Green, who appears to be out until around Week 8, the Bengals have an offense that is bereft of top talent at nearly every position. Cincinnati replaced head coach Marvin Lewis after 16 seasons of on-again, off-again contention and turned instead to Zac Taylor, a coach best known for being friends with L.A. Rams wunderkind Sean McVay. The hope must be that Taylor can revitalize the career of quarterback Andy Dalton, who sports a middling career yards per attempt of 7.2 and is one of the few starting quarterbacks who Vegas believes wouldn’t move a line if he were to be replaced in the lineup. The defense doesn’t offer a compelling reason for optimism: The Bengals ranked 28th in defensive Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) last season. Perhaps we should view that as a reason to be bullish on their prospects in 2019 simply due to regression, since defensive performance year to year isn’t terribly stable. If that seems like a bridge too far, magic might be the answer: Taylor may give lip service to the notion that he isn’t trying to be like his mentor McVay, but McVay’s brand of QB sorcery seems like the best hope for the Bengals to crest seven wins this year.

The Giants are more interesting. After a promising preseason performance by first-round pick Daniel Jones, New York fans are clamoring for a change of the guard at quarterback. As big of a reach as many believed Jones to be, I still see him as a better use of first-round draft capital than “generational talent” Saquon Barkley. Hailed as a potential savior and the missing piece for Eli Manning’s final championship push, Barkley helped the Giants improve from a terrible three-win team in 2017 to a merely bad five-win unit in 2018.

The Giants were second-worst in the league on Expected Points Added per play on first-down play-action passes after adding Saquon to the backfield,1 and prospects for a bounceback in play-action efficiency seem bleak. After trading all-world wideout Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns, the Giants lost free agent acquisition Golden Tate to a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs and their expected No. 3 wideout Corey Coleman to a season-ending ACL injury. Their best hope for a productive season may rest in ownership’s willingness to bench Manning for good this time.

The other team to somehow accumulate negative value on first-down play action was Oakland. In what seems to be a pattern for teams at the bottom of the win total forecast, Vegas sees Derek Carr as a quarterback worth just 1 point to the spread. The stats back up that view. Carr’s career yards per attempt is, at 6.7, below league average, and his best season as judged by QBR is an anemic 54.6. His weapons are improved from a year ago, but they are volatile. New Raiders wideout Antonio Brown sat out of practice because he wasn’t allowed to wear a helmet the NFL deems dangerous and is now likely to be suspended for some period of time, and Tyrell Williams is a boom or bust weapon who likes to be targeted deep — something Carr may be reluctant to do given his career average depth of target of just 7.7 yards. Meanwhile “Hard Knocks” captured head coach Jon Gruden disparaging “all the football stats and all the fantasy bullshit” in favor of running backs that will “BOOF” the opposing team in pass protection. Of all the six-win teams, Oakland may be the most unpredictable — and that unpredictability could manifest itself in good ways, as well as bad. Brown’s antics could end with a fashionable and safe new helmet, Carr might be coaxed into throwing the deep ball to a talented field stretcher, and Gruden might use rookie running back Josh Jacobs optimally, leading to wins we simply can’t foresee at this point.

The final team projected for six wins in 2019 is Washington, a team that somehow came to the determination that Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson were better choices than Colin Kaepernick to take over for quarterback Alex Smith when his 2018 season — and perhaps his career — ended with a gruesome leg injury.

In the draft, Washington team president Bruce Allen added Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins in the first round but then failed to surround him with receiving weapons. Jamison Crowder left via free agency, former first-round bust Josh Doctson was released at the end of the preseason and tight end Jordan Reed suffered another concussion heading into Week 1. Their current starting wide receivers are third-round pick Terry McLaurin — also from Ohio State — and Paul Richardson.

The outlook at running back is brighter with the return of Derrius Guice from an ACL tear that derailed his rookie season, but there is little evidence to suggest they will put him in advantageous spots to run the ball. With the ageless, tackle-breaking cyborg Adrian Peterson in 2018, Washington lined up against neutral or stacked boxes on first-and-10 or second and long 174 times, decided they liked the look and ran right into the scrum 72 percent of the time. But if Washington can flip the script on downs tailor-made for passing and eke out some yards where they should come easy, the duo of Guice and Peterson could be enough to protect current starter Case Keenum or rookie Haskins while he learns on the job — and possibly beat the team’s six-win projection.

Check out our latest NFL predictions.

Uncategorized

NHL awards 2019: Brent Burns, Mark Giordano,

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, the reigning Norris Trophy winner, has been named as a finalist for the third straight year, the NHL announced Sunday.

Joining Hedman as finalists are Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks and Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames.

The James Norris Memorial Trophy, first awarded in 1954, is given annually to the defenseman voted to have demonstrated the greatest all-around ability at the position throughout the season.

Hedman once again lived up to those qualifications. The 28-year-old veteran led Tampa Bay defensemen in several categories, including goals (12), assists (42), points (54) and game-winning goals (four). He scored at least 10 goals for a sixth straight season and had an NHL career-high seven-game point streak (two goals, eight assists) in March. The Lightning defense led the NHL with a plus-98 goal differential.

Burns, 34, led all NHL defenseman in assists (67), points (83), game-winning goals (six) and shots on goal (300). He became the first defenseman in Sharks history to have at least 60 assists in a season and the second player at any position to hit the mark, joining forward Joe Thornton, who has done it seven times.

The 35-year-old Giordano finished second among defensemen in scoring with 74 points (17 goals, 57 assists), his NHL career high, and led all players with a plus-39 rating. The Flames captain helped the team finish first in the Western Conference (50-25-7) and second in the NHL with a plus-66 goal differential. He is seeking to become only the fourth player 35 or older to win the Norris Trophy.

The NHL will continue rolling out all of its award finalists every day over the next week, culminating with the Hart Trophy nominees on April 28. The winners will be announced June 19.

Here is the schedule for all of the announcements, along with previously announced nominees.

NHL awards finalists announcement dates and nominees

  • April 17: Selke Trophy (Patrice Bergeron, Ryan O’Reilly, Mark Stone)
  • April 18: Lady Byng Trophy (Ryan O’Reilly, Aleksander Barkov, Sean Monahan)
  • April 19: Masterson Trophy (Nick Foligno, Robin Lehner, Joe Thornton)
  • April 20: Vezina Trophy (Ben Bishop, Andrei Vailevskiy, Robin Lehner)
  • April 21: Norris Trophy (Brent Burns, Mark Giordano, Victor Hedman)
  • April 22: Mark Messier Leadership Award
  • April 23: King Clancy Memorial Trophy (Humanitarian Award)
  • April 24: Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award
  • April 25: Ted Lindsay Award (Most Outstanding Player as voted by the players)
  • April 26: Jack Adams Award (Top head coach)
  • April 27: Calder Trophy (Top rookie)
  • April 28: Hart Trophy (Most Valuable player to his team)
ALL SPORTS Breaking News Top news US sports

Murray: Telling Athletics about NFL commitment was tou

NFL draft prospect Kyler Murray said notifying the Oakland Athletics about his decision to turn down the MLB for a career in American football “was tough”.

Murray was the Athletics’ first-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, however, he has opted to commit himself to the NFL.

The 21-year-old quarterback was due to report to spring training with the Athletics earlier this month before switching his focus.

Murray said it was “obviously hard” telling the Athletics he would be committing to football.

“For me, it was something I’ve known for a while,” Murray said on Saturday. “That organisation, being with the A’s, was the best possible situation for me just because they were so great throughout the football season, kind of leaving me alone and letting me do my own thing, and at the same time letting me know how much I meant to them and that type of stuff. Telling them was tough.”

Despite Murray’s decision, the Athletics have retained the Heisman Trophy winner’s baseball rights.

“I mean, they can hold out all the hope if they want to,” Murray added. “I’m going to play football.”

The Arizona Cardinals have the first pick in the draft and have their eyes on Murray. If he is selected in the first round, he will be the first athlete to be drafted in the first round of both sports.​

“The night I got drafted to the A’s – obviously it was a great day of my life – but I’ve been a football player my whole life,” Murray said. “I didn’t know how the NFL felt about me before this season because I hadn’t played.

“Going into this [football] season, [the goal] was to put myself in the best position possible. Obviously, when you win, good things happen. A lot of good stuff happened this year.”​

In his first season as the Oklahoma Sooners’ starting QB, Murray led the team to the College Football playoff.

He passed for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. He also rushed for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns.

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Slider Top news U.S. Open

2018 NFL Predictions-Divisional round

Divisional round

Saturday, Jan. 12

4:35 p.m. Eastern  spread Win prob. Score
Indianapolis 34%
Kansas City -4.5 66%
8:15 p.m. spread Win prob. Score
Dallas 34%
L.A. Rams -4.5 66%

Sunday, Jan. 13

1:05 p.m. Eastern  spread Win prob. Score
L.A. Chargers 42%
New England -2.5 58%
4:40 p.m. spread Win prob. Score
Philadelphia 36%
New Orleans -4 64%

Completed

Wild-card round

Saturday, Jan. 5

FINAL Elo point spread Win prob. Score
Indianapolis 44% 21
Houston -1.5 56% 7
FINAL Elo point spread Win prob. Score
Seattle 46% 22
Dallas -1 54% 24

Sunday, Jan. 6

FINAL Elo point spread Win prob. Score
L.A. Chargers 40% 23
Baltimore -2.5 60% 17
FINAL Elo point spread Win prob. Score
Philadelphia 39% 16
Chicago -3 61% 15