5-at-10: Friday mailbag with in-game betting, SEC best in hoops and Rodgers' fued

Greeson thumbnail for lead photo only

Let's handle our business.

Here is Paschall on some Vols in the portal.

Here are the week's Rushmores.

Rushmore of villages: Village People, The Villages (which someone told me has more STDs per capita than any area in America), It takes a village and, of course, the "Loveliest Village on the Plains."

Can Robert Duvall fill three Rushmores? OK, let's cherry pick the easy ones: "Godfather," "Godfather 2," "Lonesome Dove" and "Great Santini." Now you can quibble with the top four in peck and parcel and the next four of "Network," "Apocalypse Now," "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Tender Mercies." Which still leaves more than enough for a third Rushmore. Side question: What A-list actor does not have a better Rushmore than Duvall's third Rushmore of "The Natural," "M*A*S*H," "True Girt" and even "The Paper."

Rushmore of spaghetti. Spaghetti, Betty Spaghetti from "League of Their Own," Spaghetti Junction in Atlanta and spaghetti straps.

Rushmore of all-time racer drivers: Stroker Ace, Cole Trickle, The Bandit and Lightning McQueen.

From DD

On another note Jay a question to you: Early in Monday's Bama-Ga game what can we look for that could tell what may happen? What does each team need to have happen early in the game?

DD -

Your question interests me in the practical and the theoretical.

In regard to the latter, I am surprised there are not even more pregame segments or even shows with even more gambling focus. And with that focus will come more and more in-game check-points and or trends.

It's fine for Kirk and Desmond on GameDay or Jimmy and Howie on the Fox Pregame to offer the banal and predictable, "They need to have success on first down" or "The team that wins the turnover battle" is in good shape.

You think so doctor? (Side note: "Boogie Nights" is aces. So aces, in fact, that it is in final discussion about being the best work of these Hollywood heavy hitters: Burt Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly, Heather Graham, Julianne Moore and potentially Phillip Seymour Hoffman? Discuss.)

Anywell, if the campy success of those pregame shows remain unchanged and there already is a fantasy alternative on Sundays, that's cool. (Side note: If you are an online gambler and understand player props, the ESPN fantasy show is a great place to get an idea of matchups that will generate individual success. Side note on the side note: If ESPN fantasy guru Mike Clay offers a betting angle, follow it. Dude was something like 14-3 on his player prop best bet this season.)

But the market is there for even more gambling discussion, and moving forward isolating trends and theories on in-game options will certainly have a market.

And to DD's direct question, my money is already on Alabama. I had a taste before the season at 5-to-1, and I took some more after the A&M loss when it dipped to 15-to-1. I will side with the Tide for as long as the Dark Lord rules the Tuscaloosa Realm. Even as an Auburn grad. (Side question: We asked earlier this year if you could bet against your team, and I really can't, but I certainly can bet on my team's rival. Especially when their leader is so accomplished in the dark arts.)

I also hear and appreciate the "Second-time around" narrative, and I will hedge some because I am so overly invested in one side. I'll like lay the points with the Bulldogs to cover my original entertainment investment and then roll with what we have.

As for in-game though, I have a couple of trends circled.

First, can Alabama's depleted receiver core find open space without John Metchie III? Metchie's absence was not an issue in the semifinal because Alabama shoved Brian Robinson so far down Cincinnati's throat they will taste Skyline Robinson until Tax Day. But that won't work against a Georgia defense that will be motivated. If Bryce Young is forced to be pinpoint accurate, I would lean toward the in-game under.

Second, and maybe more importantly, I am looking for how Stetson Bennett handles this moment. There is a monument of pressure, and he's the least accomplished of all the dudes asked to shoulder a heaping load of said pressure. Specifically, look for the first two or three drop back passes - not play-action because those are designed differently - and look for two things:

> First, is Bennett looking at the rush - specifically at Will Anderson - before he's scanning the secondary. If he is, he's toast and it's going to be a long night for Georgia (unless Kirby pulls the trigger quickly this time), and I would look to side with the Tide;

> Secondly, is he getting to a second or third read? Because if he's not, even with a fast start, Alabama's front seven and Saban's shifty secondary will reel him in. If he's a one-read-and-throw, or even a one-read-and-run, that's not going to work through the extended parts of the evening, and I would look for second-half unders or second-half Tide lines.

That's my two cents, DD.

From Pat

I think we have an answer to the musical question, what's a Hub Arkush? Enjoy the rest of your 15 minutes of fame, Arkush.

This begs the question - who is he and why does he get a vote for NFL MVP? May as well give one to Johnny Bongwater in his mom's basement as he goes through analytics and his fantasy team trades.

And Mina Kimes was always gold on Highly Questionable.

Pat -

Extremely fair question, and Hub Arkush is a Chicago-area radio guy who also is a mucky-muck with Pro Football Focus, which does fine work.

But he must not practice the same kind of journalism I do, because rule one in my book is never be part of the story. And now he's cereal to this story.

So much so that his stance - and the backlash to it - likely will flip the MVP voting back to Rodgers' favor, if I had to guess. Which is crazy at its core.

(Side note: I mentioned this to the Mrs. 5-at-10 the other day that two of my all-time favorites - Rodgers and LeBron James - have really disappointed me in the last year-plus. I know neither will lose a wink's sleep over it, and maybe I should stop being a fan, but they will never be the same in my eyes. Side note on the side: You know what? I will never stop being a fan. Disappointment is part of the ride. We'll just move along and find new favorites, you know? Any nominees for the new star children of the 5-at-10?)

But the bigger issue here is, should it - Rodgers' off-the-field stuff and Arkush's views on it -matter? Yes and no.

No, in that there are no guidelines for MVP. At all. And that includes off-the-field incidents. Heck, the runner-up could very well be Tom Brady, and well, his off-the-field resumé with honest dealings with the media and the league is not exactly spotless either.

Also, since when is the media overly worried about being lied to? Is this just because we were misled about something as politicized and controversial as the vaccine? Because, gang, Bill Belichick and Nick Saban have a closet full of year-end trophies voted on by the media, and if I had a dollar for every time those two dudes misled or outright lied to the media, well, I'd have as much money as Bill Belichick and Nick Saban.

That said, I truly believe that a player's greatest value to his team is being on the field every Sunday, and Rodgers' knowingly compromised that. In the end, it did not hurt the Packers, who have clinched the 1 seed in the NFC heading into the final week.

It also raises the bigger picture of who votes on these things, and for that I'm not sure I have a good answer.

Be it the MVP or even something like the Hall of Fame, far too often personal feelings and grudges - Breaking news: Media folks are human, and they can be bitter - carry too much weight. Case in point: Check out these resumés: Player A, five-time All-Star, MVP, .290/.356/.500 slash line with 377 career homers and 1,518 RBIs and 1,320 runs scored. Player B, at the same position, 10-time all-star, MVP, .285/.344/.452 slash line with 282 homers and 1,061 RBIs and 1,318 runs scored. The difference in all-star selections was because of fan voting, so Player B was clearly more popular - with fans and the media.

Player A is Jeff Kent; Player B is Ryne Sandberg. Guess which one is in the Hall and which one was despised by the media?

Not sure if that answers your question Pat, but the irony here is I think Rodgers now wins it because of this hubbub.

From Chas

Kenpom has the usual suspects at the top and has Auburn #8, Kentucky #9, LSU #12, and UT #14. Do those sound about right to you?

Chas -

Yes and no.

I think Auburn and UK are about right. Unless the Sharpe kid gets cleared, and then UK will be top-four good in my view.

LSU is an enigma. They have fantastic pieces, but will they mesh. And this is a team that could have used some non-conference challenges.

I think that is too high for a Tennessee team that too frequently finds it too hard to make a bucket and too often forgets what a two-pointer looks like.

Defensively, UT is aces. And that travels. But when the chips fall and the gullets get dry, I think the first three teams you listed have an idea of what they want to do.

When UT has to have a basket, what is its go-to? A swing pass to Vescovi so he can ball-fake and take a step-back 3? That's a poor option all things considered, even if you rightly described Vescovi as a gamer earlier this week.

photo Jay Greeson