Cavs Beat the Odds
The Cavaliers had only a 1.7% chance of returning to the podium with the number one overall pick but the Ghost of LeBron, in his zeal to reconcile with the hometown he spurned, must have been sabotaging those ping pong balls when Cleveland's logo popped up first. For the second consecutive year the Cavs will get the opportunity to choose first and if you review their return to the Dark Ages since LeBron took his talents to Miami, then you would see a team that is progressing each year, albeit slowly.
In the four years sans The King, Cleveland has won 19, 21, 24 and 33 games respectively. June 26th will tell the tale of whether the Cavaliers vault into the postseason picture for the first time since LeBron walked out that door or forever be relegated to cellar dweller status, pining for the days when Cleveland was the temporary Mecca of professional basketball. If it is any consolation to Cavs fans, they have those fanatics from the Dawg Pound (or what counselors might call enablers) consoling them in the misery loves company department.
We won't know how well the Cavaliers brass does in this draft until a few years down the road but if Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid bears fruit then we may have a basketball renaissance in Cleveland. I’m not sure just how much the top gun of their choosing will affect the NBA basketball odds in terms of total wins for the upcoming season but unless the heralded rookie is an abject failure, one would think the Cavs could very likely creep into the top eight of the Eastern Conference and into the playoffs.
California Chrome Breathing Easy
While I may not be hung like a horse, I can now say proudly that I breathe like a champion thoroughbred. For all of you guys who have been castigated, lambasted and chastised by your significant other for sawing wood at night like a Yukon lumberjack, you can now say proudly that your breathing problems are quite common among superior athletes. Just ask the trainers of California Chrome who received a first-of-its-kind waiver from the powers that be at Belmont Park, that their Triple Crown threat will be allowed to wear nasal strips to facilitate his breathing and thus assuring his entry into the Belmont Stakes.
But the Belmont has proven to be the death knell for exactly 21 other horses who won both the Derby and the Preakness. Big Brown failed miserably back in 2008 and I’ll Have Another was the last horse slated for Triple Crown glory, but was scratched due to injury and not counted among the 21. The sheer length of the race, 1 ½ miles and the longest of the three, coupled with the grueling schedule of racing thrice in five weeks against the stiffest competition on the planet, has doomed heavy favorites like California Chrome, currently installed as a 5-6 betting odds favorite.
But rumor has it that the additional 5/16th’s of a mile may not bode well for the chestnut-colored grandson of Pulpit. Perhaps your investment on June 7th might be better suited to another contender like Wicked Strong at betting odds of 8-1. According to Marcus Hersh of the Daily Racing Forum, California Chrome may very likely run second best and tweeted the following: Recall tweeting day after Derby that Cal Chrome would win Preakness & lose Belmont to Wicked Strong. Standing by that. WS by 3/4. @DRFHersh Maybe the nasal strips do the trick and California Chrome delivers as the first Triple Crown winner since 1978 but the betting odds on this California bred sensation appear to be far too steep in light of what should be some very stiff competition.