MLB Report and College Championship Longshots

"Hats off" to the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels and Oakland A's for charging right outta the post-All-Star Game break with clean three-game sweeps over their respective opponents.

In fact, you'll note that all three series that were played in the great state of California this past weekend all resulted in clean sweeps (see Braves over the host San Diego Padres, Angels over the Seattle Mariners and A's over the Chicago White Sox) while the Cubbies did their damage at home in Wrigley Field against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Okay, so in 11 of the 12 wins piled up by these sweep-happy Braves /Cubs / Angels / A's, the winning sides were the betting favorites - only in Saturday night's game in San Diego was there an underdog winner as Atlanta (+ 106) topped SD 7-5 in 10 innings.

Still, the long-term message was delivered:

The Braves (a seven-game lead over Washington in the National League East) and the Cubs (now a 2.5-game lead over Milwaukee in the NL Central) started off the unofficial second half of this 2019 season with a real bang as they're proving to be the class of those two divisions while both the A's (53-41 and now sitting in the second American League Wild Card spot) and the Angels (just 5 games back of Oakland) have serious designs on the post-season.

Check out the season-long money stats and you'll see the Braves are $+ 914 based on $100 per-play wagers while the Cubs have trimmed down a season-long deficit to just $- 233. In the junior circuit, the A's are a plus $583 while heading into Tuesday night's home game against sagging Seattle while the Angels now are in the plus money column at $+ 35 after an emotional weekend sweep against those Mariners and that - of course - included last Friday night's combined no-hitter in a 13-0 win that had the spirit of late lefty Tyler Skaggs filling the ball park in Anaheim.

Let's keep our eyes on these four MLB teams that busted out of the gate ...

This week the Braves play three in Milwaukee and then finally come home with a four-game set against Washington;
The Cubs will host back-to-back three-game sets against Cincinnati and San Diego;
The Angels host AL West-leading Houston in a four-game set followed by three games in Seattle;
And the swingin' A's host Seattle for Tuesday / Wednesday games and then jet to Minnesota for a really big four-game series versus the Twins.



Sure, the 2019 NCAA Football Season seems way off in the distance, right?

Yet we're mere weeks away from seeing if anyone save for Alabama and / or Clemson is gonna cop this year's national title.

The 'Bama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers have alternated national championships these past four years - Alabama won it all in 2015 and '17 while Clemson claimed the crown in 2016 and '18 -- and most "in-the-know" folks believe these powerhouses will play for all the marbles again come January 13, 2020 in New Orleans but if you wanted to check out some real dark horses / long shots then consider the following:

LSU (+ 2500) - There are plenty of folks who scoff at Tigers' head coach Ed Orgeron and his folksy style but don't kid yourself: These Bayou Bengals sport a more balanced attack these days with returning QB Joe Burrow (2,894 yards passing with 16 TDs last season) and the fact is both the O-line and the D-line are gonna be better than they were a year ago when LSU went 10-3 and slugged UCF 40-32 in the Fiesta Bowl. Can they win at Alabama on November 9th?

NOTRE DAME (+ 3300) - Have folks forgotten that last year's Fighting Irish gang rang up a 12-1 SU (straight-up) record that featured regular-season wins against Michigan, Stanford and Northwestern? The 30-3 loss to eventual champ Clemson in the Cotton Bowl / national semifinal was a real bummer for Brian Kelly's bunch which could lose this year at Georgia on Sept. 21st and then still make a run for the post-season. Keep an eye on Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool who caught 50 passes for 600+ yards last season.

WASHINGTON (+ 3300) - The Huskies are loaded to the gills on offense where Georgia transfer QB Jacob Eason is expected to be an instant star behind a veteran / bulky blocking wall. True, this Pac-12 team has made just one appearance in the playoffs under sixth-year head coach Chris Petersen (see 24-7 loss in the Peach Bowl /national semifinal back in 2016) but there's plenty of pros on a team that finished with 10 wins last year. Biggest game on the Dawg sked is October 5th at Stanford.