1. #1
    Point Blank
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    PB (12/6): Enjoy Your Breakfast Ben; Now Time for the Spags Audition


    Enjoy Your Breakfast Ben; Now Time for the Spags Audition…Time for the annual shortest road trip in all of sports (how often does the home team have the longer bus ride)…There really was some Thunder in the 4th quarter at OKC last night…



    Point Blank – December 6, 2017


    I guess most of us knew that it would come to this at some point – after focusing so many times here on the shortcomings of Ben McAdoo’s coaching resume, using the “Denny’s menu” references to put it into the proper perspective, we now face an NFL board that will take place without him. And in truth it is likely that we never see him as a head coach in the league again.

    It would be improper to not do a farewell wrap-up, and it also matters because there is a genuine handicapping factor going forward to address. For those that were not reading along when PB was at a different platform the past couple of years the concept was a simple one – before becoming the NYG offensive coordinator the McAdoo track record was thin, and he got promoted to HC before he had proven that he could even be a quality OC (hello Tampa Bay and Dirk Koetter…).





    What had McAdoo done to qualify for the OC job? He served as the Green Bay tight ends coach for six seasons, and then was Aaron Rodgers QB coach in 2012 and 2013. To be QB coach for Rodgers largely entails making sure the footballs have enough air in them at practice. In his two seasons as OC the Giants offense was #15 and #19 on the Football Outsiders charts, and then in his first season as HC that offense fell off to #22. Yet despite the supposed offensive specialist turning out bad offense, the Giants went 11-5 and made the playoffs with McAdoo as the coach of record, before that offense came up empty in an ugly 38-13 loss at Green Bay.

    How did a bad coach directing a bad offense manage an 11-5 campaign? It goes to heart of what is ahead as we evaluate the NYG for the rest of this season…


    Item: Here comes the Steve Spagnuolo audition

    The Giants had a strong 2016 because a defense that spent a lot of money on trying to bring in the precise pieces for the puzzle DC Spagnuolo wanted to put together was terrific. They finished #2 on the Football Outsiders weighted rankings, #4 against the pass, #2 against the run, and doing it all against the #5 difficulty of offenses faced.

    So let’s set the foundation for the closing stretch of the season. The Giants have made it known that Spagnuolo will be under consideration for the full-time job, despite his earlier stint at HC with the Rams not being inspiring. The transition has the potential to be a positive one, especially in the light of what some players had said off the record about McAdoo over the past few weeks, before there was this from former NYG WR Victor Cruz yesterday:

    “I think it was long overdue. I think it was a couple of weeks too late. Once you see guys in the locker room start to give anonymous reports about how he’s handling them … that’s how you know he’s completely lost the locker room and completely lost the players.”

    No McAdoo might mean a good thing, not a bad one. If the defense wants to go hard for Spagnuolo it could be a good thing. But it does lead to the question – why has this defense fallen off so far? The #2 overall is sitting at #23, the #4 vs. the pass down to #23, and #2 vs. the run to #24. I believe we can attribute some of that to not putting forth an effort for McAdoo, but just how much?

    That is leading to the usual “reading between the lines” in terms of gauging their energy level for not only this week but the entire closing stretch, including the positive of Eli Manning being back at QB, which I believe helps all the way around. But the uniqueness of the closing stretch brings another aspect into play that I also believe matters…


    Item: The final furlong of the NYG season may bring a whole lot more spark than some will expect

    I believe if the Giants just play hard there is betting value to them given the current market rates. It starts this week with the +4.5 that is available vs. the Cowboys, including some +5 in easy to get to places. NYG doesn’t have to play well to cover that, just play hard, and by playing well it could mean an outright win.

    What matters for my thinking is that it is Dallas coming to town. And then next week it is Philadelphia. After a road trip to Arizona, the season closes with a home game against Washington. I am attaching significance to this. If motivation is the biggest issue for the Giants, the fact that they have home games ahead against their three division rivals can bring an added level of energy into the mix.

    I am going to take a mid-week position on #130 NY Giants (Sunday, 1:00 Eastern), because I want to have “4” locked in as a win number. There is nothing lost either tactically or from a leadership standpoint in this coaching transition, and it allows for an opportunity to be in play against what is still a vulnerable Dallas team, even with the return of Sean Lee.

    I didn’t see anything resembling a “buy signal” from the Cowboys in their rout of the Redskins – the offense only managed 4.2 yards per play, including just 93 net passing yards on 23 drop-backs. It was simply a night of “football being football”, a punt return for a TD and a +4 TO advantage breaking it open on the scoreboard. The Giants have held the Cowboys to 45 points over three meetings the past two seasons, all of them with Ezekiel Elliott on the field, and with that defense bringing a little more passion this week I believe they will be in the hunt right to the final possession.


    Item: The shortest true road trip in all of sports (the home team actually has a longer bus ride)

    In the on-going search for edges over time the diligent handicapper will leave almost no stone unturned, and that includes taking college basketball to the level at which the home court advantage is recalibrated for every game, based on the crowd anticipation, scheduling dynamics, and degree of travel difficulty for the opposition.

    As such it is proper to take a moment to focus today on what is annually the shortest true road trip in the nation, the annual trek for Brown to take on Providence at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. I call it a “true” road game, because unlike such notions as Clippers/Lakers and Giants/Jets, where one team could be listed as the visitor in their own stadium, this one is a team playing at an opponent’s home court.

    How far must Mike Martin and his team travel? One mile. That is all, and it is actually the home team that has the longer trip, the Friars having 2.3 miles from campus to get to the arena. There were times in recent years in which the Bears have been used to advantage in the portfolio, the markets sending out a generic home court to the Friars for the setting. But then the 2014 game happened, Brown not just pulling the outright upset as +15.5, but winning the game by 10.

    That did not sit well with Ed Cooley and his players because there is a problem with getting upset by a school just a bit across town – you get reminded of it for the next 12 months. Because of that it has been the Friars taking the game quite seriously the last two years, a 94-73 win as -15 in 2015 and then a 95-57 beat-down as -13 last December. That now becomes a serious part of the handicap going forward – while a case can be made that there may be a basket or more built into the home court advantage than there should be, there is also the reality that when one team is favored by 20 points over their opponent they are the “control element” in the proceedings. Should the chalk bring the mindset to get a rout, it is mostly within their grasp to do so.

    It will be interesting to see how it plays out tonight – have those last two routs put the rivalry back on a more even keel, Providence perhaps not taking the game as seriously this time, or does that last Brown breakthrough still linger into the consciousness of Cooley and his team?


    Item: About Last Night, and might there have been an OKC buy signal?

    The dramatic chase-down the Thunder made against the Jazz on Tuesday, rallying from being down by 10 at the 10:00 mark to get the win, is worth a deeper dive. Is this finally the developing realization of what the team has to do to be successful in the new era they have embarked on with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony?

    There are a couple keys to note. First is that in a 3-0 run the Thunder have had great production from Steven Adams, who has averaged 22.0 points and 8.3 rebounds in the wins. File this away from Billy Donovan: ''The reason why Steven is doing what he's going is because of Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. When we're patient on offense, Steven's going to get those opportunities.”

    Second is something that has been an emerging issue that reached a showcase point in the fourth quarter last night, a defense that has the ability to clamp down doing it when they had to. File this away from Quin Snyder: “Roberson’s one of the best defenders in the league. Paul George is one of the best defenders in the league. Russell Westbrook turned it up defensively, and that’s tough.”





    Here is what would be easy to miss given the fact that the Thunder are still just 11-12, and in last place in the NBA Northwest Division, their dramatic improvement defensively with the new roster (as always using PP100 as the measure):

    2017 105.1 (#10)
    2018 100.1 (#3)

    The offense remains a work in progress, and much like the McAdoo’s and Koetter’s of the NFL, there are legitimate questions about whether Donovan can figure this out. But the Thunder just got a badly-needed win because they geared up the defense at crunch time, and if that becomes their takeaway in the aftermath, the notion that it is their past path towards winning right now, they can become an interesting bunch over the next cycle.


    If you want to know when PB is ready to go each day, as well as following along for some of the most important Sports Betting news as in unfolds, make @Vegaspointblank a part of your routine.
    Last edited by Point Blank; 12-06-17 at 05:03 PM.

  2. #2
    Jspidey
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    Also I took note that as the deficit was being cut into it was the bench, Adams and Westbrook. In watching the chemistry issues on the offensive end as a long time fan, Ive noticed when George, Anthony and Westbrook are all on the court with a large deficit to overcome, Westbrook does a lot of passing and unnecessary dishing instead of taking control of a game to get them back in it. It was obvious with that combination of the bench, he and Adams he didn't hesitate to dominate on the offensive end and pull them within reach so the end game could finish the way it did.

  3. #3
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jspidey View Post
    Also I took note that as the deficit was being cut into it was the bench, Adams and Westbrook. In watching the chemistry issues on the offensive end as a long time fan, Ive noticed when George, Anthony and Westbrook are all on the court with a large deficit to overcome, Westbrook does a lot of passing and unnecessary dishing instead of taking control of a game to get them back in it. It was obvious with that combination of the bench, he and Adams he didn't hesitate to dominate on the offensive end and pull them within reach so the end game could finish the way it did.
    For folks that want to do that kind of digging each day, and something that I wish there was more time for, the Official Scorer's Reports are available each day at NBA.com. For an example of what you can sort through from Jazz/Thunder you can go here.

  4. #4
    golfnutt67
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    to be honest I am really going to miss the Denny's menu reference's, oh well we had a good run a quite a few laughs over the past couple of years...I am also very interested in seeing how the G-man respond. Cant help but think that if they can do some damage to their fellow NFC East rivals they would relish it and maybe provide a little optimism heading into the 2018-19 season.

    Excellent read today Dave thanks.....

  5. #5
    viktor14
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    I am sorry, I have weaknesses in my english. Your play is ML or spread?
    thanks for your work and sharing it free. GL

  6. #6
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by viktor14 View Post
    I am sorry, I have weaknesses in my english. Your play is ML or spread?
    thanks for your work and sharing it free. GL
    The spread is the preference, part of the notion being that the Cowboys aren't going to establish much separation with their current offense, so the key for me is securing a "win" if the game falls Dallas by 4. Hence getting out into the marketplace now.

  7. #7
    Eric Nisbet
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    David- great article! Thanks again as always. Huge Fan. I make sure & read first chance that I get. Thanks for all that you do! Take care & God Bless!

  8. #8
    Bad Leroy
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    Professor - Class is in Session

    Professor - Well I finally signed up for SBR. After reading you elsewhere, I've followed the bouncing pen to find you continuing your excellent work. Hopefully the daily comments in the thread remain constructive and full of juicy tidbits from interested readers who all share one goal in common - Cashing tickets! Thanks as always for your terrific insight.

  9. #9
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Leroy View Post
    Professor - Well I finally signed up for SBR. After reading you elsewhere, I've followed the bouncing pen to find you continuing your excellent work. Hopefully the daily comments in the thread remain constructive and full of juicy tidbits from interested readers who all share one goal in common - Cashing tickets! Thanks as always for your terrific insight.
    Welcome back aboard, and great to see a PB Contest winner back in the fold...

  10. #10
    hawkeye 16
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    I love reading your stuff. Thanks!
    175 pts

    3-QUESTION
    SBR TRIVIA WINNER 12/07/2017

    BTP
    Week 11
    4-1-0 509 pts


  11. #11
    jakedittler
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    Quote Originally Posted by Point Blank View Post
    Welcome back aboard, and great to see a PB Contest winner back in the fold...
    Speaking of contests, any ideas in the works Dave? Maybe something for the NFL playoffs?

  12. #12
    bdsbr
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    Good morning Dave. Hope all is well. Nos +1 now. Do you feel this flips back and forth throughout the day or the Atl push continues and we can hopefully see a Nos +3? Appreciate all of your help.

  13. #13
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakedittler View Post
    Speaking of contests, any ideas in the works Dave? Maybe something for the NFL playoffs?
    Probably not until MLB comes back around again - that one allows a lot of fun options, and the chance to get some creativity into play makes it so much better.

  14. #14
    Point Blank
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdsbr View Post
    Good morning Dave. Hope all is well. Nos +1 now. Do you feel this flips back and forth throughout the day or the Atl push continues and we can hopefully see a Nos +3? Appreciate all of your help.
    The first word this morning was that both Ingram and Lattimore are expected to play for the Saints, which may see the markets start to swing back their way. I believe part of the Atlanta money stemmed from Ingram sitting out two straight days of practice, but the Thursday morning reports say that a couple of days off has helped his toe to heal enough to play. I will be bringing several handicapping issues for that game front-and-center in the Thursday edition, which will be up in a couple of hours.

  15. #15
    Eric Nisbet
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    Awesome! Can't wait to read it. Take care Dave & have a good one!

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