Next week’s NFL Draft is being held at the home of the Dallas Cowboys. But some day the draft is coming to Las Vegas. Bet on it.
An insider tells me the league is already considering locations here for a future draft. The Raiders’ new stadium is the obvious choice, and T-Mobile would be more intimate. But there is one location that screams Las Vegas – an upgraded Fremont Street.
Derek Stevens, owner of the D Las Vegas and mayor of the Long Bar there, thinks Fremont would be spectacular. He asked me, “Can you picture a huge stage for the commissioner with bands marching and cheerleaders zip-lining down the street? Vegas, baby. Vegas!”
Meanwhile, construction of the Raiders’ new stadium is blossoming. I chatted with team president Marc Badain at the team’s ticket office at Town Square Las Vegas, and he said the foundation is in place for construction to begin going vertical probably next week.
As for next week’s draft, the Raiders possess the 10th pick. Look for the Gruden Gang to target one of these three defensive studs: Georgia LB Roquan Smith, Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick or Florida State safety Derwin James.
Around town at the books there is a variety of props to bet on for next week’s draft. The big change for Nevada this year is that the Gaming Commission is allowing bets on individual prospects. We found out last year what a fun show it was, and it’s only going to get better.
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Three weeks into the baseball season, the cream has risen to the top. Playing better than .800 baseball, the Boston Red Sox are clearly off to the best start.
Just this week the Sox limited the Angels to only one extra-base hit and outscored them 27-3 in their southern California sweep. They also took down early MVP candidate Ohtani, knocking him around when he was on the mound and striking him out three times in four at-bats Thursday. He looked very ordinary as both a pitcher and a hitter, so it’s time to hit the brakes on Sho Time.
While the Red Sox move up the coast to play Oakland, the focus this weekend is on Dodger Stadium, where the Washington Nationals have come to play L.A. Despite their slow starts this is the best series of the weekend.
These are two of the Magnificent Seven – teams that had their season-win totals set at 90 or more here in Las Vegas. Among them, the Dodgers may face the biggest questions.
Even though they got better this week against San Diego, they still have to get through the next month or so without injured third baseman Justin Turner.
But the Dodgers’ biggest concern has to be their closer Kenley Jansen. He blew only one save last season. Coming into this weekend he has already blown two, including a three-run lead against San Diego before the Dodgers bailed him out in extra innings.
The Los Angeles Times published stats comparing Jansen’s 2010-17 run with what he is doing this year.
2.08 ERA 8.10
0.7 HRs/9 4.1
14.0 Ks/9 9.5
89.8 Save % 50.0
The Dodgers lost as many games in 2½ weeks as they did during a 2½-month stretch late last season on their way to the National League pennant. But they still have a left-handed pitcher by the name of Clayton Kershaw, and baseball couldn’t have asked for a better curtain raiser on the marquee than his Friday showdown with fellow three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer.
This series is as good as it gets for baseball fans – and for baseball bettors. After he hit a home run with a shard of lumber in New York, Bryce Harper has brought a fresh supply of bats west for these games. And the cameras will be zeroed in on him Sunday night on ESPN in what is also a rare Dodger appearance on Vegas TV.
If you are watching the Magnificent Seven closely, enjoy your only chance this weekend to see two of them on the same stage.
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The Madhouse on the Strip vs. the Shark Tank. It’s not just the Golden Knights vs. the Sharks. Their playoff showdown starting next week is a battle of noisy arenas.
By comparison this past week, the Staples Center sounded like a morgue. You could even hear fans in the background chanting “Beat L.A. Beat L.A.” It’s amazing how many Golden Knights fans there were in attendance at Staples. But that won’t be the case in San José. That’s a loyal hockey following in there.
For betting purposes, your best friends might be goaltenders Marc-André Fleury and Martin Jones. Fleury clearly has the statistical edge here with a 2.24 goals-against average and a save percentage of .927 during the regular season. Jones had numbers of 2.55 and .915. Since they led series sweeps in the first round, you won’t be surprised to know that they have the best goalie stats so far in the playoffs.
Globally, Nashville at plus-330 and Tampa Bay at plus-380 remain the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. But tied for the third choice are the Golden Knights and Boston at plus-400. San José is plus-580.
These two teams have come a long way from the beginning of the season, when the Sharks were plus-2000, and Vegas was plus-20000. If only I could remember what I did with those tickets.