Andrew’s Play of the Day: 1/17/20

RECORD: 11-5

Thursday was a very bad day for lots of people in baseball. The Astros saga somehow got weirder, as the team was accused of having buzzers on their shoulders (I’m no conspiracist, but I’ll admit that the Jose Altuve video where he protects his jersey looks very bad). Even Mike Trout wasn’t immune, as he was briefly the target of allegations issued by Scott Brosius’s son that he used HGH while hiding behind a medical exemption.

For once, it’s a sport other than horse racing doing everything possible to shoot itself in the foot. Note to higher-ups: This is how racing looks when changes are needed and people in power refuse to act. Our primary goal as a sport should be to avoid this at all times.

THURSDAY’S RESULT: The first losing streak of this exercise is upon us. I took Quinnipiac getting a few points at Manhattan, only for the Bobcats to force a mere six turnovers in a 69-57 defeat.

FRIDAY’S PLAY: We’ll head to the always-entertaining Southern Conference, where the Friday slate features a battle between perennial league powers Furman and Wofford. The Paladins come in 15-4 on the year, and I like them giving three points despite being on the road. Furman’s a solid 6-3 against the spread in road games, and while this won’t be an easy game, I think they’ll cover.

Andrew’s Play of the Day: 1/16/20

RECORD: 11-4

Like a lot of people, I dove into the new Netflix documentary series focusing on Aaron Hernandez as soon as I saw it was online. It’s heavy, it pulls few punches, and it’s not an easy watch. Having said that, it’s exceptionally well-done and covers the story from a variety of different angles.

If you’re into true crime stuff, take the time to watch and digest it. Chances are you’ll only see it once given how tragic the entire story is, but for all of us storytellers out there, it’s a tremendous example of directors, editors, producers, interviewers, and interview subjects coming together to create something moving.

WEDNESDAY’S RESULT: Well, if I’m going to be wrong, I’d prefer to be very wrong. I took Miami getting eight points at NC State, but the Wolfpack never looked like losers and won 80-63.

THURSDAY’S PLAY: More MAAC-tion? More MAAC-tion! Quinnipiac heads to Manhattan (which, by the way, isn’t actually in Manhattan), and the point spread puzzles me a bit. The Bobcats are 7-1 in their last eight games, including a 4-0 stretch in conference play, but it’s the homestanding Jaspers who are 2.5-point favorites. I think Quinnipiac wins outright, so I’ll take them getting the points.

Andrew’s Play of the Day: 1/15/20

RECORD: 11-3

It’s always fun to see baseball purists come out whenever there’s a scandal in the sport. I’m a baseball fan, and like anyone else, I want to see the game played cleanly. However, acting as though there’s a high and mighty moral code in the sport is naïve at best and flat wrong at worst.

The notion of a “character clause” in the game has been laughable since its inception. Between a color barrier, Hall of Famers doctoring the ball, and top players using banned substances in a league stewarded by a commissioner who turned a blind eye as long as it made him money and wound up in the Hall of Fame anyway, being outraged at sign-stealing seems outrageous in and of itself.

That isn’t saying what the Astros and Red Sox did was right. It isn’t. It was stupid, and hopefully it curtails obnoxious attempts at sign-stealing. However, saying sign-stealing robbed teams of titles is a step too far. Every team steals signs in some form or fashion, and that’s never going to change. If the actions taken by Major League Baseball end the more absurd processes, though, I suppose that’s a plus.

TUESDAY’S RESULT: Iowa visited Northwestern and powered away late to win 75-62. That meant the Hawkeyes easily covered the 5.5-point spread, which kept a good run in this section going.

WEDNESDAY’S PLAY: I’ll head to the ACC, and among that conference’s Wednesday slate is a tilt between NC State and Miami. Looking at these two teams, they appear quite similar in quality, which makes the eight-point spread a bit curious. NC State is home, so the Wolfpack being favored isn’t shocking, but this seems about double the spread it should be. Because of that, I’ll take the points with the Hurricanes.

Andrew’s Play of the Day: 1/14/20

RECORD: 10-3

Friday night is a special night in horse racing. It’s the annual Beemie Awards, a smorgasbord of smartassery for racing fans on social media, and it’s always a blast. It’s organized by Jason Beem and a trio of his friends (who take pride in going unidentified), and whether the Beemies are your thing or not, there are a few concepts they hit on that I think we can all agree with.

Sports, and the discussions they foster, are diversions. At their best, they provide an escape from all of the struggles real life brings to the table, ones that seem to grow more and more daunting every year (seriously, just turn on the news). Every once in a while, someone hits on something that works and is able to provide people moments of laughter and joy. Those moments come around far too infrequently, and I think they should be celebrated when they do.

Jason Beem (and, for that matter, at least one of his unidentified friends) probably didn’t like me a whole lot for a while, but I’ve always liked him. I’ve always appreciated his passion for horse racing and the drive he has to play a positive role in its future. He’s a darned good announcer, but an even better person. I’m grateful for the role the Beemies play in bringing everyone together for a few hours every year, and it’s why I’ll get suited up, hit the Beemie Awards red carpet, sit in my seat, get shut out of all of the awards, and entertain folks at the after-party.

(PS: As much as I like Jason, and as much as I’ll appreciate everything the Beemies do, I’ve never forgotten getting passed over for the 2017 Mike Joyce Award for Handicapping Bravery and Excellence. “Bet With Kevin” winning that award was a crime akin to “Crash” winning Best Picture.)

MONDAY’S RESULT: LSU didn’t get off to the best of starts against Clemson, but when the SEC champs turned it on, the ACC champs didn’t have answers. As an aside, not being able to use team mascots because both teams are the Tigers is a real problem.

TUESDAY’S PLAY: This section is going to be dominated by college basketball over the next few months. I’m headed to Big 10 country and focusing on Iowa’s trip to Northwestern. The Hawkeyes can be streaky, for sure, but the homestanding Wildcats are one of the lesser teams in the conference, and they’re only getting 5.5 points. I think Iowa’s got way too many weapons, and that they should win comfortably.

Andrew’s Play of the Day: 1/13/20


Racing’s nightmare is now next door to your fearless scribe. I’m joking, but only partially.

Golden Gate Fields, located a half-hour away from the Champagne compound, has started taking Runhappy money, and it’s starting to sound similar to what’s happening at Santa Anita, where the video feed is, at times, completely unwatchable due to the over-the-top graphics and things those on air have to read.

This makes me wonder what the endgame is. Those in the breeding business know Runhappy is out there as a sire and standing at Claiborne. What money is there to be made from slapping his name on every track and major stakes race that exists in this country? It’s getting to where I’m convinced someone at Team Runhappy is exercising some sort of tax break by pumping tons of money in every possible direction.

Additionally, at some point the notoriously grumpy horse racing fanbase is going to revolt. When do we start hearing talks of big players betting tracks simply because their video feeds don’t feature non-stop sponsorship reads and provide a more pleasant viewing experience? Boycotts have been organized on far less in the past. Don’t rule this out.

SUNDAY’S RESULT: Like everyone else who had the Chiefs giving points, I was shellshocked when Houston jumped out to a big lead early. However, the Chiefs turned the tide and wound up covering the 9.5-point spread with room to spare.

MONDAY’S PLAY: Tonight’s my last chance to give out a college football play until August, so I’m taking full advantage of it. LSU locks up with Clemson for the national championship, and the representatives of the bayou look awfully tough to beat. They’re 5.5-point favorites, and I think they’re a better team than that, so I’ll take LSU to cover the spread.