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Friday Four-Pack 4.14.23
Celtics need a PBP guy. Red Sox stink. NFL Draft betting!
I guess that’s one way of promoting your games?
Brian Scalabrine went on XM Radio Thursday and told the world NBC Sports Boston didn’t have a play-by-play guy for Games 3 and 4 for Celtics/Hawks in Atlanta.
Mike Gorman’s voice is synonymous with the Celtics - he’s out for the first two road games of the playoffs with a medical issue. He can call games in Boston but he’s not cleared to fly right now. Sean Grande is on the radio side with Cedric Maxwell - he’s not available for those two games either.
Scal said he’s pushing for Eric Collins - the PBP guy for the Charlotte Hornets - as part of the team that tries to fill in for Gorman for a few games.
Eric Collins… is a bit of a yeller.
Hornets fans love the guy for his energy. He has that for sure.
It’s a gamble for NBC Sports Boston if they do this, right? Rather than a local announcer with Boston connections (Jon Meterparel? Scott Sudikoff? Brendan Glasheen? Glenn Ordway?) they’re going with the “big” name.
And it matters because both Games 3 and 4 are also on national TV (ESPN/TNT respectively) and I’m sure they’d like you to watch the games locally and not on the national feed. Especially since the Celtics own a portion of the local network.
When NBC Sports Boston tried the Scal, Perk and Gorman three-man booth earlier this season - I went to the ESPN broadcast after the first quarter. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.
Don’t you want a local voice given you are the “local” broadcast of the game? That’s better for the fans at least. NBC Sports Boston would probably argue the bigger, flashier name is good to draw in fans and create buzz on social media. Eh.
Weird spot for them- but I’d go local.
You make the call below. You want the local guy or the big name? I want the local guy to get a shot. Fly in Ordway.
Either way the Celtics playoff run starts Saturday. Celtics in five.
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On betting the NFL Draft…
Not only has the NFL Draft become a content machine - it’s now something a lot of people bet on. A lot of sharp people.
How much? In advance of last year’s draft, ESPN David Purdum wrote an interesting column on NFL Draft betting. In it one bookmaker said the amount of action on the NFL Draft is similar to the betting on an average MLB game.
Purdum also mentions multiple times how the books get beat by the bettors on the Draft.
Even though they expect to lose, bookmakers know there's still some demand for betting on the draft and feel obligated to post odds for marketing, if nothing else.
Even thought they expect to lose. You have my attention!
"There is so much client demand for a depth of markets, where we are pricing them off a 'calculated best guess' instead of actual data," said Jay Croucher, head of trading for online sportsbook PointsBet. "We have data and models and huge liquidity in a global market to arrive at extreme confidence that the Rams should be 4.5-point favorites over the Bengals in the Super Bowl. As to who the first cornerback drafted is -- we don't have data or models or huge liquidity -- we have guesswork based on Twitter and mock draft articles."
These are the markets we’re looking for, right? The markets the books don’t really want to put up but have to? The markets they’re admitting are tough to make a line for?
So how to bet the NFL Draft and make a few bucks?
I’m glad you asked! Talked about that this week with the Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan. You can listen here - starts at the 12-minute mark - with some celebrating UConn’s National Championship.
My two big points if you can’t listen.
Shop around on price. Because these markets are hard to price, you’ll see different prices everywhere. For example - as of Thursday morning in the “First Tight End Selected” market - Dalton Kincaid was -155 on DraftKings and -200 on FanDuel. “First Offensive Lineman” selected was Paris Johnson Jr. +115 on FanDuel and -115 on DraftKings. This goes for every bet you’re making seriously but in this case I can’t stress it enough - SHOP AROUND ON PRICE!
Follow the information and money. More than your usual NFL Sunday. Because these markets are more fragile, they’re going to move quickly. If you see reports or information that makes sense, or a market that moves quickly, pay attention. I’m not going to be afraid to bet some longer shots if say one book moves a line and one is slow to update based on information
Andrew mentioned he thinks the most likely Patriots first pick will be an offensive lineman (+250). Makes sense. He also didn’t hate running back (+1000) as a longshot play. Andrew also has some other good info on who to listen to when it comes to tipping the Patriots pick. You should go listen.
On the start to the Red Sox season…
You could not have drawn up a worse start for the Local 9.
Last place two weeks into the season. Swept by the juggernaut Rays this week. And no help in sight.
If there was any hope for the Red Sox it was a fast start to the season to generate some interest before the Bruins/Celtics playoff runs commenced.
That didn’t happen.
Instead, the roster and offense is so fragile that an injury to Adam Duvall is a big deal.
Chris Sale looks bad. Bobby Dalbec is playing shortstop…something Chaim Bloom tried to defend Thursday on WEEI. It’s bleak.
I guess the spring training “vibes” didn’t come north with the team.
All this while baseball has a some buzz right now. MLB.TV viewership is up. Game times are way down - small sample size but games are clocking in at about two hours and 40 minutes over the first few weeks of the season. Monday’s Red Sox/Rays game got home in a nice and tidy two hours and six minutes. Beautiful.
Thanks to slow start and a severe lack of star-power the Red Sox have none of that buzz.
Why is this important? It’s more likely than ever the Chaim Bloom hiring was a mistake and the Sox are going to have to start all over again in whatever this rebuild is. And in this current rebuild process they’ve alienated the fanbase in trying to replicate the Rays - while the Rays are 13-0 and can’t lose a game.
The big market team is failing at emulating the small market team!
So Bloom is not the guy…if they decide to start all over…another rebuild? Feels closer to that than another championship. I get it I’m rambling here.
But if you’re a baseball fan in Boston you’re probably mumbling to yourself too. Because while the sport gets a bump thanks to much needed rules changes - your team is circling the drain in mid-April.
A reminder - Apple TV has the Sox game Friday. My one-time radio partner Lou Merloni makes his 2023 NESN debut Saturday afternoon.
On WEEI/Audacy closing offices in Rhode Island…
When the news came out Thursday that Audacy was closing their offices in Warwick, RI - I immediately figured that meant the end of the simulcast on 103.7 FM.
Not the case.
It sounds like for now it’s just the closure of the physical office that the Providence team worked out of. The sales staff will work remotely and or report to the Boston offices for Audacy. Same for any local programming from what I was told.
In the last few weeks Audacy has made cuts on the local Boston digital team. Alex Reimer and Khari Thompson have exited from WEEI.com. Just Friday Audacy announced that Mike Dee would be “redefining” his position as President of Sports for the company. And Tim Murphy - Executive Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Business Development - was also exiting. These were/are big names at the top of the executive food chain. Mike Dee, especially.
Audacy, like a lot of radio companies, is struggling. It will not be surprising when there are more cuts and changes.
But for now the 103.7FM WEEI simulcast is not one of them.
On the best Kentucky Derby Party in New England…
Yes, I am being picky in what I do next in my professional career.
But I know going forward I want to work with people I like.
And at the top of that list is Brad, Zak and the entire team at Mohegan Sun.
Been lucky to host the best Kentucky Derby Party in New England over the last decade. And that continues in May.
Love these guys. They have an amazing sportsbook and even better customer service.
All the details for this year’s Derby Day at Mohegan Sun can be found here. You can reach out to Mohegan for seating options. If you’re planning on going and would like seating you’ll want to contact them soon.
Come by and say hello. Give me shit for bad picks. Probably some Celtics/Bruins action that day too. Maybe both.
I’ll be there to get the winners from “The Big A,’” NYRA’s Anthony Stabile. The Big A is a legend.
With that in mind, we’ll have some thoughts on the Derby and the Lexington Stakes tomorrow here.
Thanks for reading. Comments open below. Good weekend.