5-at-10: Fab 4 picks, Baseball's unreal MVP discussion, NBA headlines of note

Atlanta Braves second baseman Orlando Arcia is unable to hang on to a throw as Miami Marlins' Bryan De La Cruz (14) steals second base during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, in Miami. De La Cruz was safe at third on throwing error by catcher William Contreras. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Fab 4 picks

Morning. And considering the sample size, we’re going to have to seriously consider changing the Fab 4 picks to the Flat 4 picks.

We went 3-2 last week, and as Pop Greeson always said, “That’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.” 

(Side note: Ol’ Pop Greeson had a few great sayings. There’s the stick one. There’s “Well, you don’t have to be a Phi Kappa Beta to figure that one out.” And his grand, “I’d rather be rich and healthy than poor and sick.” Confucious with a Southern drawl I say.)

But we’re hovering at .500 more than helicopter parents of their oldest at his first tackle football game.

Dating back to the start of last college football season, we are now 61-59-2. Don’t go spending it all in one place will ya?

So let’s find a roll. Or a role. 

NC State minus-3 over FSU. We have discussed — and will expand on it more tomorrow — which team is the SEC’s third best. I think the pecking order in the ACC is clear. It’s Clemson, then NC State and Wake and then everyone else. At home 3 is too few for the FSU crew who is better but better does not mean good yet.

Mississippi State-Arkansas over 59. Always be mindful of the weather, but if the Hogs can put four scores on Bama they can do seven years worth of damage on State. (Side question: How about that history wordplay, huh, Spy? Leave it to ol’ Honest Jay.) Plus, it gives us another chance to pull for MSU QB Will Rogers to throw four more TD passes. Remember, each of his TD throws generates $1,000 for Mississippi Make-A-Wish in one of the cooler NIL deals out there.

Georgia minus whatever over Auburn. Stunned that CBS picked this game. In fact, it clearly means that the programming poohbahs at CBS looked up at the schedule and realized they were not going to use their full six chances to show the nation’s No. 1/2 team. Same with the blowout in the CBS nightcap, which leads us to. (FYI, and the more you know the more you know. This number has jumped from sub-28 — where I got it Monday — to 29.5 this week, and likely will get to 30 before kickoff.)

Alabama minus-14 over A&M in the first half. The Aggies are not ready for this smoke friends. Not with that offense and all those young dudes. This will be a bona fide frenzied crowd in Tuscaloosa if I had to guess, and here’s betting that Lord Saban will have his foot firmly planted on the accelerator. I can almost see him pulling a Coach Yoast from “Remember the Titans” and offering up a,”Run it up Herman. I don’t want them to ever forget the night they played the Tide.” (Side note: Will Patton may be the MJ of ‘that guy’ actors who are consistently awesome in complementary roles, even if the movie stinks. Will Patton was aces in “Armageddon.” He was excellent in “Gone in 60 Seconds.” Neither of which are going to get confused with “Schindler’s List” on the sliding scale of cinematography, but dude did work under the most unforgiving of circumstances.)

Tennessee minus-2.5 over LSU. Yes, I’ve been bullish on the Heupels from the start. And this line is a reminder of shopping around. It’s as high as UT minus-3.5 in a couple of shops but as low as UT minus-2.5 at FanDuel. Which also brings us to the very real position of empowered bettors in the modern era. In year’s past, you call your local entertainment broker — and in this nape of the neck, he’d shade the number against UT more times than not — and that was the line you had. I’m tempted by the total too — UT’s offense is that good, and its defense is that bad — but I think UT is destined to head to the Third Saturday in October unblemished.

Side note: Speaking of point shopping, there are a couple of lines out this morning that are begging to be flipped on each side. The variance on Notre Dame-BYU ranges from Irish minus-7 to BYU plus-3. That’s a fat sweet spot. So too is the UK-South Carolina game, as FanDuel as South Carolina plus-10.5 while the others have UK minus-6 as we impatiently wait the details of Will Levis’ injury and whether it will keep him out of Saturday’s game.

Last week: 3-2 (60% against the spread)

This season: 13-12-1 (52% against the spread)

Baseball wraps

Anyone else wet their beak a bit on the Braves phoning in the finale last night with all the hay in the barn and hangovers as common as Copenhagen in that dugout?

Yeah, me neither.

So it’s a wrap. We know the playoff teams. We know a chunk of the award winners.

The lines have Aaron Judge at minus-10000 (bet $10,000 to win $100) to win the AL MVP. And he was great with an AL record 62 homers as well as league-leading totals in RBIs and runs. He narrowly missed the Triple Crown.

And if I had to guess on it, hard-line baseball people would put his value as roughly ⅔ of Shohei Ohtani’s.

Gang, because he plays for the Angels and not the Yankees, we are collectively missing one of the greatest baseball runs since WWII.

Ohtani’s numbers are Little League-esque.

He pitched 166 innings and had a 2.33 ERA with 219 Ks. Opponents hit .203 against him this season and he was credited with 15 of the Angels’ 78 wins. Simply put he’s going to finish top-three in the Cy Young voting.

At the plate he hit .273 with 34 homers and 95 RBIs and finished in the top five in homers, slugging and OPS and in the top 10 in RBIs and runs scored.

So yes, I know that Judge will get the AL MVP nod. So it goes.

But it’s only been a dozen years since Miggy Cabrera won the AL Triple Crown.

Care to guess the last time someone finished top five in homers and ERA in the same season?

NBA items of interest

Yes, I realize that header is a bit oxymoronic because I’m not sure much about the NBA interests me right at the moment.

But two stories worth noting.

First, Draymond Green is likely facing discipline for punching a teammate. Well, duh.

Would any or all of us face disciplinary action for punching a coworker?

Second, LeBron has announced that he would like to own a Las Vegas expansion team.

That venture would have to be better than the remake of Space Jam, no?

(Side question: Anyone else tired of LeBron these days, and I’m asking as someone who has been an unabashed LeBron fanboy through the years?)

This and that

— So the fan that ran on the field during the Rams game and got trucked by linebacker Bobby Wagner last week is filing charges against Wagner. Dude, get the bleep outta here with that weakness. 

— The fan that caught Aaron Judge’s record-setting 62nd homer has received a $2 million offer from an auctioneer. Yes, if a business person is offering that, then the expectation from said business person is for the ball to fetch more. That said, if someone offered me $2 million, I think that would be very hard to pass up. Or as someone said last week on Pujols’ 700th ball. Now call Judge (and or the Yankees) and say here’s the offer, do you care to top it? 

— You know the rules. Here’s Paschall’s picks for this weekend’s action.

Today’s questions

Fire away on an Anything Goes Thursday.

And remember the mailbag.

As for today, Oct. 6, let’s review.

Couple of monster movies premiered on this day, as “The Jazz Singer” was released in 1927 and “Spartacus” was released in 1960.

Want to feel old? Elisabeth Shue is 59 today. Everything went South for Daniel LaRussa when he could not keep Ms. Shue on his arm.

On this day in 1920, the first time brothers play against each other in World Series history as Wheeler Johnston pinch-hit for Cleveland against brother Jimmy, who played third for Brooklyn.

Rushmore of baseball brothers. Go and remember the mailbag.