Weekend Betting Preview: Rockies home opener and Avalanche qualifying

Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) hits a sacrifice fly ball to Oakland Athletics left fielder Robbie Grossman (not pictured) during the third inning at Oakland Coliseum. Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Take a good look, you won’t see it for long!

This could be the call on a Trevor Story home run or just the baseball season in general. If you thought getting the games underway was precarious, wait till you ride the roller coaster that is the “regular” season.

We got a good look at the Rockies this past week and they are starting to roll. But for how long? The outbreak of COVID-19 in the Marlins clubhouse should have you at least a bit concerned for the future of this wonky season. But like in our own precarious predicament, there are many examples of people in the sports world doing the right things and unfortunately the wrong things.

If you told me at the beginning of this that we’d end up looking to Edmonton and Orlando for our guidance, forget COVID-19, I would have had you tested for rabies.

But there have been zero cases reported in the NBA, NHL and MLS bubbles. And what that tells you is social distancing measures and very active testing has kept these players virus free. The bubbled sports teams and MLB are an antipodal allegory for what has worked and what hasn’t in our country. One group has stuck to a plan and has actually beaten the virus and the other has allegedly had players sneak off to a strip club to possibly infect not only their clubhouse but other teams as well.

The success in the bubbles is the sacrifice and selflessness we haven’t seen from our everyday citizens. And if everyone had stuck to a stringent plan, we probably would be going to see the Rockies play the Padres at Coors this weekend. But instead, everyone had to be a bunch of Marlins and kind of vaguely attempt to follow the rules while not really following the rules. MLB in general is like the prevailing populace because they just said “well, we’ll wash our hands and maybe wear a mask but we’re still going to hang out by the river with 200 other people.”

It just doesn’t work for sports and it certainly doesn’t work for us in real life.

Wouldn’t it have been a more prudent plan for MLB to have its teams go to a few different grouped facilities and hold the season? I’m sure there are places with multiple fields all in the same area that could be used. Of course these are probably located in the south where COVID-19 hasn’t slowed down, but if you look at Orlando, aside from Lou Williams who couldn’t resist strip club hot wings, they’ve kept the players safe, healthy and on the same page. MLB could have easily bubbled but they didn’t. And how they get through this first challenge will dictate if they can continue on for the rest of the abbreviated season.The chickens (or Marlins) are coming home to roost and MLB can only take so much Marlins-ing before the season is abandoned.

And for people who have complained about COVID-19 restrictions being too draconian, first of all, look up the word draconian and let me know if that matches your mask wearing experience at Target. You literally have a living, breathing example spread over three different sports of this working. Isolation and testing: rinse and repeat. Granted, we were all kind of fumbling through this for the first few months or so, but if the path forward wasn’t clear to some people after these sports leagues pulled it off, it never will be.

I watched the Avs play its first exhibition game the other day and when the players were standing with each other on the ice during the anthems, my first reaction was “don’t stand so close to each other!” But then I remembered that the NHL, like the NBA and MLS, did it right and there was no virus to catch in the Edmonton bubble. But for the rest of us living in the real world, where we seemingly have spotty access to tests and wild Karens appearing to defy mask orders, we have to keep our guards up.

I hope baseball can muddle through this and I really hope the NFL is watching closely for how not to do it. It would be a shame to have come all this way and fail now just because some people don’t want to put in the work and don’t care enough. I could be talking about sports and I could be talking about society, but either one won’t ever be the same if we don’t follow the example being set right now, from the most unlikely locations of Edmonton and Orlando.

Hey, here are some weekend picks to make your life better or worse. Depends on you I guess.

 

7/31 Major League Baseball

Rockies home opener v the Padres

The Padres are favored (-1.5) and the over/under is at 11.5 as of this writing. Something about that first game back makes you think the Rockies will keep up their winning ways, but I think Gray falters and the Padres continue the facade that they are good for another game. Bet the Rockies AFTER this game.

 

8/1 NHL play-in games

Montreal v Pittsburgh

Just take the Pens.

 

Chicago v Edmonton 

It has an O/U of 6 and I’m pretty sure these two offensive teams with spotty goaltending will surpass that.

 

8/2 Avs v Blues

The Blues are favored in this and the O/U is 5.5 goals. I like the under on this because both teams would have gotten their first sloppy game over with and will play this pretty tightly. Skip this one and take the Avs when they get their first round match up finalized.

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