BOB MATTHEWS SPORTS TALK
Weeknights 6:00PM - 8:00PM
on WHAM 1180
Email Bob here.
For over 25 years, Bob Matthews has held the title of Rochester's most popular sports writer/commentator. For over 20 years, Bob has hosted WHAM's nightly sports talk program...consistently ranked at the top of his time slot!
From 1978 to 2012, Bob Matthews was a sports columnist for the Times-Union and Democrat and Chronicle and a regular "As the Sports World Turns" contributor to the Gannett News Service. He is the only person to be selected Press-Radio Club Sportswriter of the Year (five times) and Sportscaster of the Year, and was a pioneer inductee into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame.
A Rochester native, Bob graduated from Brighton High School where he played varsity baseball, basketball and served as student council V-P. Bob is also a veteran, serving his country in Vietnam.
Always opinionated and outspoken, Bob's proudest accomplishment is advocating for Frontier Field. His all-time favorite athlete...former Red Wing Luke Easter. One of his sports regrets……not being around for the glory year of the Rochester Royals.
BEARS OVER JACKSONVILLE (+4 ½) WEEK 5’S BEST BET
BOB’S 2012 MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ALL-STAR TEAM
BASEBALL PLAYOFFS PRIMER AND WORLD SERIES PICK
The NFL fans in Las Vegas who’ve mopped up so far this season are the precious few who’ve wagered against every favorite.
Through Week 4, underdogs are 38-23-2 against the point spread (ATS).
Warning: Obviously, that doesn’t mean that trend will pay off in Week 5.
This week’s “Best Bet” is a favorite playing on the road: Chicago at Jacksonville.
The Bears were impressive in Monday night’s 34-18 road romp over Dallas. The Jaguars probably are a weaker opponent than the Cowboys proved to be.
Jacksonville is a one-dimensional offensive team. Stop Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jags don’t have any reliable options. Chicago’s defense is tough enough to do that.
The Bears are mere 4 ½-point favorites and should win by many more:
Chicago 27, JACKSONVILLE 10.
Sunday’s other games
(home teams in CAPS)
Atlanta 33, WASHINGTON (-3) 24 – The Redskins have enough firepower to keep this game reasonably close but not enough to win. The Falcons are 8-2 in their last 10 games outside the division.
PITTSBURGH (-3) 28, Philadelphia 17 – The Steelers will be at full strength on defense for the first time this season and are 11-1 in their last 12 home games.
Green Bay 35, INDIANAPOLIS (+6 1/2) 15 – At this stage of their NFL careers, Andrew Luck isn’t likely to win a shootout against Aaron Rodgers. The Colts are 5-10 ATS in their last 15 games.
NEW YORK GIANTS (-8 ½) 27, Cleveland 10 – The punchless Browns aren’t likely to find their stride against the stingy Giants. Warning: Cleveland is 6-1-1 ATS in its last 8 games.
MINNESOTA (-5 ½) 28, Tennessee 20 – I wouldn’t count on a second straight prime effort from Titans RB Chris Johnson .
Miami 23, CINCINNATI (-3) 20 – The Dolphins have to win one of these weeks and they’ve done well against the Bengals in the past: 9-2 straight up in the last 11 meetings.
Baltimore 28, KANSAS CITY (+6) – The Chiefs have the firepower to win almost their share of games this season but aren’t likely to upset the Ravens.
CAROLINA (-3) 30, Seattle 17 – My hunch is that Cam Newton is due for a big game. Seahawks rookie QB Russell Wilson is struggling.
NEW ENGLAND (- 6 ½) 35, Denver 22 – If you watched the Patriots demolish the Bills in the second half last week, how could you not like them at home against any opponent?
SAN FRANCISCO (-10) 30, Buffalo 13 – The 49ers are one of the NFL’s elite teams. I have no idea how close the Bills are to being better than average – do you?
San Diego 38, NEW ORLEANS (-3) 37 – Last team with the balls wins? When in doubt, take the points.
Monday night’s game
Houston 35, New YORK JETS (-8) 13 – If you don’t like Rex Ryan and his Jets, you should enjoy this prime-time game.
BOB’S 2012 MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ALL-STAR TEAM
First base – Edwin Encarnacion (Toronto) .282, 42 HRs, 110 RBI
Second Base – Robinson Cano (Yankees) .313, 33 HRs, 94 RBI
Shortstop – Derek Jeter (Yankees) -- .616, MLB-most 216 hits, 15 HRs, 58 RBI
Third baseman – Miguel Cabrera (Detroit) .330, 44 HRs, 139 RBI…won AL Triple Crown
Catcher – Buster Posey (San Francisco) .336, 24 HRs, 103 RBI,,,NL batting champion (thanks to Melky Cabrera)
Outfielders (3) – Mike Trout (Angeles) .326, 129 runs, 30 HRs, 49 stolen bases, probable Gold Glove…Ryan Braun (Milwaukee) .319, 41 HRs, 112 RBI…Andrew McCuthen (Pittsburgh) .327, 31 HRs, 96 RBI…tough to pass on Josh Hamilton (Texas) .285, 43 HRs, 128 RBI
Right-handed starting pitchers – R.A. Dickey (20-6, 2.73 ERA for the 74-88 Mets)
Left-handed starting pitcher – David Price (Tampa Bay) 20-5, 2.56 ERA…apologies to Gio Gonzalez (Washington) 21-8, 2.89
Relief pitcher – Criag Kimbrel (Atlanta) 63 games; 42 saves; 1.01 ERA…apologies to Fernando Rodney (Tampa Bay) 76 games; 48 saves; 0.60 ERA
AL Most Valuable Player – Miguel Cabera over Mike Trout
NL Most Valuable Player – Buster Posey (San Francisco) over Ryan Braun and Yadier Moli9na (St. Louis)
ALO Manager of the Year – Bob Melvin (Oakland) over Buck Showalter (Baltimore)
NL Manager of the Year --Davey Johnson (Washiington) over Dusty Baker (Cincinnati)
AL Rookie of the Year (maybe the best ever) – Mike Trout (Angels)
NL Rookie of the Year – Bryce Harper (Washington) .270, 22 HRs, 59 RBI, 18 stolen bases
Executives of the Year – Oakland Billy “Moneyball” Beane in the AL…Washington’s Mike Rizzo.
NFL NOTES ENTERING WEEK 5
One of the biggest surprises through Week 4 is the NFC West being the best division: 11-5 and outscoring oppo9nents by 69 points. The NFC west was 30-34 last season. The other divisions this season: NFC East 9-7 (+48 point differential); NFC East 9-7 (-13); AFC North 7-8 (+15); AFC South 7-8 (-57); AFC East 7-9 (-46); AFC West 7-9 (-46); NFC South 6-10 (-11)…Atlanta leads in turnover differential (+10; 12 takeaways, 2 giveaways). Kansas is last in turnover differential (-13; 2 takeaways, 15 giveaways). Buffalo is -3 (8 takeaways, 11 giveaways)…Only two teams rank in the top 10 in both total offense and total defense: Philadelphia 5th and 6th; Detroit 6th and 10th…Kickers update: extra-point kick conversions 307x308 (more evidence to support dumping the kicks in favor of making teams fun or pass for the extra point; from the 2 ½-yard line for 1 point; from the 5-yard line for 2 points); field goals 232x259…Cleveland has 10 straight losses and is 18-50 since 2008…Tampa Bay is 14-37 in its last 51 games. No wonder the Glazer family bought soccer’s Manchester United.,,Detroit started 5-0 in 2011 and is 6-10 since (including the playoffs).
HOW THE FOUR AFC EAST TEAMS MEASURE UP
New England – 1st in the NFL in total offense (438.3 yards per game)…1st in scoring offense (33.5 points per game…20th in total defense (366.8)…18th in scoring defense (23.0)…+8 turnover differential (11 takeaways, 3 giveaways)
Buffalo – 11th in total offense (387.8)…6th in scoring offense (28.8)…27th in total defense (4067.5)…30th in scoring defense (32.8)…-3 turnover differential (8 takeaways, 11 giveaways)
New York Jets – 26th in total offense (284.0)…t23rd in scoring offense (20.3)…21st in total defense (370.3)…t22nd in scoring defense (27.3)…-2 turnover differential (6 takeaways, 8 giveaways)
Miami – 9th in total offense (397.0)…19th in scoring offense (21.5)…16th in total defense (354.5)…15th in scoring defense (22.5)…-5 turnover differential 95 takeaways, 10 giveaways).
BASEBALL PLAYOFFS PRIMER
Player payrolls and rank among baseball’s 30 teams t the start of this season for the 10 playoff teams (rounded to nearest million):
1st--Yankees $198 million…5th—Tigers $132M…6th—Rangers $121M…8th—Giants $118M…9th Cardinals $110M…16th—Braves $83M…17th—Reds $82M…19th Orioles $81.4M…20th Nationals $81.3M…29th—Athletics $55M.
Odds to win the World Series (courtesy of Bovada) – Reds 5x1…Yankees 5x1…Nationals 5x1…Tigers 6x1…Rangers 7x1…A’s 15x2…Giants 15x2…A’s 15x2…Braves 12x1…Cardinals 15x1…Orioles 15x1
Bob’s odds to win the World Series: Reds 4x1…Yankees 5x1…Nationals 6x1…Rangers 7x1…Tigers 15x2…Giants 8x1…Athletics 8x1…Braves 10x1…Cardinals 18x1…Orioles 50x1 (O’s fans can have the last laugh if Baltimore goes all the way).
ORIOLES BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK…RED SOX THE WORST
One way to measure the most surprising and disappointing teams in Major League Baseball is how they fared in the projected over/under victory numbers posted before the season began (LVH Sportsbook):
Baltimore – projected over/under wins was 69.5…won 93…+23.5 above projection
Oakland—projected over/under wins was 71…won 94…+23
Washington – projected over/under wins was 82.5…won 98…+15.5
Cincinnati – projected over/under wins was 86.5…won 97…+11.5
Chicago White Sox – projected over/under wins was 74…won 85…+11
Atlanta – projected over/under wins was 87.5…won 87 ½…+6.5
San Francisco – projected over/under wins was 87.5…won 94…+6.5
Pittsburgh – projected over/under wins was 73…won 79…+6
St. Louis – projected over/under wins was 82.5…won 88…+5.5
Los Angeles Dodgers – projected over/under 81…won 86…+5
New York Mets – projected over/under was 70.5…won 74…+3.5
Seattle – projected over/under wins was 72…won 75…+3
Tampa Bay – projected over/under wins was 87…won 90…+3
San Diego – projected over/under wins was 73.5…won 75…+2.5
New York Yankees – projected over/under wins was 93.5…won 95…+1.5
Texas – projected over/under wins 91.5…won 93…+1.5
Boston—projected over/under wins was 89.5…won 69…-20.5
Cleveland – projected over/under wins was 86.5…won 68…-18.5
Colorado – projected over/under wins was 82…won 64…-18
Miami – projected over/under wins was 84.5…won 69…-15.5
Chicago Cubs—projected over’/under was 74.5…won 61…-13.5
Philadelphia – projected over/under was 92.5…won 81…-11.5
Houston – projected over/under was 64…won 55…-9
Minnesota – projected /over was 75…won 66…-9
Kansas City – projected over/under wins was 80.5…won 72…-8.5
Toronto—projected over/under wins was 80…won 73…-7
Arizona – projected over/under wins was 86…won 81…-5
Milwaukee – projected over/under win was 83.5…won 83…-.5.
Detroit – projected over/under wins was 92.5…won 88…-4 ½
Los Angeles Angels – projected over/under wins was 92.5…won 89…-3 ½.