Earl Thomas Injury Nixes Trade to Chiefs

earl-thomas-seattleSeattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas broke his leg during Sunday’s matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. The All-Pro safety will now be out for the rest of 2018 and heads into the off-season with an uncertain future.

Thomas isn’t the only one who will be missing out, though, due to his injury. The Seahawks were apparently on the brink of completing a deal to send him to the Kansas City Chiefs.

NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport said that Seattle came down on their asking price, which made this almost a done deal.

“Here is how it went going into Sunday: From what I am told, the Seahawks wanted two second-round picks, actually lowered their price to one second-round pick,” Rapoport said.

“The Kansas City Chiefs were then in the process of freeing up money, creating salary cap space to make room for Thomas’ $8.5 million salary.

“This is something that likely would have happened, and Earl Thomas would have been a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. He just needed more time.”

What would Thomas Have Brought to the Chiefs?

Rapoport noted that the Chiefs weren’t looking to give Thomas a long-term contract. But they were hoping to get one of the top safeties in football as a one-year rental.

He would’ve immediately bolstered a defense that’s strong enough as it is. Furthermore, he’d have formed one outstanding safety duo with Eric Berry, whenever Berry can play again.

earl-thomas-seahawksThe only issue here was that the Chiefs needed to make $6.6 million in cap space available. They would’ve had to make some additional moves to free up this money. Nevertheless, they were willing to do so in order to bring in Thomas.

Seattle, meanwhile, would’ve gotten a second-round pick. The Seahawks are no longer a serious Super Bowl contender, meaning they need all the young talent they can get moving forward.

Rapoport notes that the Seahawks never considered sitting Thomas until the deal was completed. After all, both sides still needed time to work through the details.

“I don’t want to make it seem like it was something that was going to happen in a matter of hours,” the insider explained.

“It would have taken some time, but when two sides get close to a trade and you sort of know it’s going to happen, the Chiefs could have cleared cap space relatively quickly.

“I have not heard any consideration of sitting Thomas, but it’s probably something that could have happened in a matter of days or weeks.”

Thomas Extremely Unhappy about the Situation

Earl Thomas held out briefly to start the season, because he wanted an extension. However, he returned to the team and paid the price after breaking his leg, which will leave him without a deal entering the 2019 offseason.

Thomas flipped off the Seattle sidelines as he was carted off the field. This was likely meant for the team’s front office, which never gave him an extension.

He’s no doubt played his last game in Seattle. That said, it’ll be interesting to see where Thomas goes in the 2019 campaign. As for Seattle, they get nothing in return for their All-Pro.

This is a tough pill to swallow when considering that they could’ve instead received a second-round pick. Perhaps Thomas got his revenge on the franchise in a roundabout way, although it’s not currently benefiting him either.

Steelers Seeking Player & Second Round Pick for Le’Veon Bell

leveon-bell-vs-new-englandThe Pittsburgh Steelers are apparently giving up on star running back Le’Veon Bell returning to the team. That said, it’s no surprise that recent reports indicate they’re shopping Bell.

Backup James Conner has shown that he’s a starting caliber running back. Therefore, this makes it easier for the Steelers to offer Bell in a potential.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports that the team’s asking price is fairly high.

Will Any Team Pay This Price for Bell?

The Steelers don’t just want any player for Bell – they want a good player along with the second-round pick. This might be reasonable if Pittsburgh were only mildly interested in trade offers.

But the problem right now is that they don’t have much leverage. It’s clear that Bell doesn’t want to report to the team unless he gets a lucrative, long-term contract. And even if a team is still interested, they’ll have to negotiate a new deal with Le’Veon so that he doesn’t simply leave in the offseason.

Of course, Pittsburgh has drawn plenty of interest ever since it became apparent that they wanted to part ways with Bell. He’s a game-changing running back who can impact the game through both his running and pass-catching abilities.

Jets Interested in LeVeon Bell Trade

leveon-bellNot much has been reported on the exact teams that are inquiring about Le’Veon. But the New York Jets have surfaced in several reports.

It’s pretty clear that the Jets could benefit from having a bonafide running back. Right now, they’re going with a committee backfield of Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell.

But adding Bell to their roster would help take some of the pressure off rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who’s struggled in his early starts. Donald should get better, though, which would help him form a powerful offensive duo with Bell as the tailback.

Indianapolis Colts also Interested

The Indianapolis Colts are another team that’s interested in acquiring Bell. Like the Jets, Indianapolis could also benefit greatly from adding a star running back to their roster.

Their backfield is a mess right now, as they try to sort out who should carry the ball between Jordan Wilkins, Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, and the soon to return Robert Turbin.

leveon-bellOne advantage that the Colts have is salary cap space. As it stands right now, they’ll have $73 million in cap space when the offseason starts.

Considering that the key issue between Bell and the Steelers is money, the Colts are one of the few teams that can give him a serious upgrade on his $14.54 million contract.

Colts owner Jim Irsay would also like to put some pieces around star quarterback Andrew Luck, who’s had to do most of the work himself over the past several years. Bell would give the team another legitimate offensive star, thus providing Luck with more room to work.

Steelers can Simply Let Bell Walk

The other scenario here is that Pittsburgh could continue their standoff with Le’Veon until the end of the year. At this point, Bell would go into free agency and Pittsburgh would receive compensation.

While the compensation isn’t set in stone, it’s been reported that Pittsburgh would likely receive a third round draft pick. Obviously this is a low return for such a great player. However, ownership may take the third round pick over having to deal with this fractured relationship.

Odds are that Bell won’t be playing in a Steelers jersey ever again. The only question, though, is whether he’ll be traded from the only franchise he’s known in his NFL career, or be forced to continue this waiting game until the off-season.

Pittsburgh Steelers Odds of Winning AFC North

The Steelers are obviously taking a hit without Bell on the field. Conner may be playing well, but he’s still not Le’Veon. The offense hasn’t seemed the same through four games this year.

Pittsburgh currently sits at 1-1-2, which ties them for last in the AFC North with the Cleveland Browns. This is a far cry from how many experts expected them to win the division and challenge for the North title.

Here’s a look at the current Steelers futures odds:

Odds of Winning AFC North

  • Baltimore +150
  • Cincinnati +210
  • Pittsburgh +250
  • Cleveland +1000

Alabama Bettor Risks $1,600, Wins $1.60 Profit

alabama-louisiana-lafayette-bettorThey say there’s no such thing as a guaranteed win in sports betting. But one bettor put this saying to the test by making a very risky wager on the Alabama Crimson Tide beating the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.

Alabama was a giant favorite to beat Louisiana-Lafayette. Many bookmakers had them at -99,000 odds of defeating the Ragin’ Cajuns.

It’s little wonder why sportsbooks gave the Tide such great odds of winning, considering that they’re coming off their fifth national championship in nine years. Meanwhile, Louisiana-Lafayette finished 5-7 last season and has started this year 1-3.

The most puzzling thing, though, is why anybody would want to bet on Alabama. After all, one stood to earn a very, very small profit by winning this bet. On the other hand, they needed to risk a large amount for such a small payout.

One Sports Gambler was Willing to Take the Risk

As reported by ESPN’s Dave Purdum, one sports bettor put $1,600 on Alabama winning this game. And their wager came through when the Crimson Tide won by a score of 56-14.

The crazy thing is that the gambler only collected a $1.60 profit for their $1,600 bet. That said, their profit was worth 1,000x less than their wager.

This was a moneyline bet, meaning that the person only needed Alabama to win the game. Those who wagered on the Tide the covering the spread were beaten, though.

Alabama was favored by 49 points at most sportsbooks, and they “only” won the game by 42 points. This being said, there was little incentive for anybody to bet on Alabama all around. They were facing a much weaker opponent and had to win by a massive amount to cover the spread. Furthermore, moneyline bets weren’t offering many profits, as you can see in this story.

Alabama Odds Against Arkansas

alabama-linebackers-injuriesThe Crimson Tide are number one in the polls, which is no surprise when considering that they’re the defending champions and have started the season 5-0.

They’re also heavily favored to win the College Football Playoff (CFP) for a second straight year. Of course, there are some other good schools that could challenge them at the end of the season.

This week, Alabama will play Arkansas in an SEC contest. The Razorbacks don’t stand to fare much better against a superior Tide squad. Here’s a look at our GTBets odds on this game:

  • Alabama: -34.5 (-110); -23000; O 61 (-110)
  • Arkansas: 34.5 (-110); +8500; O 61 (-110)

Ohio State Eyeing CFP Berth After Win Over Penn State

ohio-state-beats-penn-stateThe Big Ten had a huge showdown this weekend, with the Ohio State Buckeyes and Penn State Nittany Lions facing off. Both teams were battling for first place in the Big Ten West, and the Buckeyes prevailed 27-26.

This game was a thriller, with Ohio State needing a fourth quarter defensive stand to stop Penn State from scoring with 1:16 left in the game.

PSU quarterback Trace McSorely had been lighting up the Buckeyes throughout the game, racking up 286 passing yards and 175 rushing yards. But Penn State made the strange call to hand the ball off to senior Miles Sanders on fourth down, which resulted in a 2-yard loss and turnover on downs.

Many questioned why Penn State didn’t simply put the game in McSorely’s hands, given how he was having such a great night against the vaunted Buckeyes’ defense.

Whatever the case may be, Ohio State is now 5-0 (2-0 conference) and in firm control of the Big Ten West. Meanwhile, Penn State falls to 4-1 (1-1 conference) and will need some help to win their division.

Does Ohio State Have a Clear Path to the CFP?

ohio-state-2018-cfpThe Buckeyes appear to be in the driver’s seat to win the West after beating their next-closest challenger. Ohio State doesn’t have a real test until mid-November, when they face Michigan State (#20 in polls). They also play Michigan (#15) on the road to end the season.

The Big Ten East doesn’t seem to present any big-time challengers. Wisconsin is a perennial favorite in the East, but Ohio State had no problem beating them last year in the conference championship game. The way things look right now, it doesn’t feel like the result will be much different in 2018.

Much will depend upon OSU quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who’s remained a Heisman candidate for the first half of the season. The sophomore sometimes still looks like a newcomer. He threw for 197 yards against Penn State, but was outclassed by McSorely most of the night.

However, Haskins did come through in the clutch by leading his team down for the go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter. 73 of Haskins’ passing yards came on this drive, which ended with a 24-yard touchdown pass to K.J. Hill. The 2-point conversion failed, but it didn’t matter in the end.

Ohio State was far from perfect and looked bad at times on both sides the ball. But even without standout defensive lineman Nick Bosa, they still managed to win a very tough road game.

The Buckeyes aren’t automatically going to win the conference now. After all, the Big Ten schedule can get rather tricky as Ohio State has found out in years past. For example, they lost 55-24 to the Iowa Hawkeyes in 2017, which ultimately caused them to miss out on the CFP.

However, the Buckeyes are still favorites to win the conference and earn a playoff bid in doing so.

Where Does Penn State Stand?

trace-mcsorley-penn-stateThis is a very tough loss for the Nittany Lions to take. They essentially won the battle all night long, racking up more passing and rushing yards than Ohio State.

Penn State was poised to go into the half with a shutout. But they fumbled the ball, which led to the Buckeyes scoring a touchdown that gave them new life.

Now, PSU will need Ohio State to lose, and win tiebreakers in other areas for shot at the CFP. It’s not impossible for this to happen, especially with how early we are in the season. But Penn State has to be hurting after missing out on yet another opportunity.

Penn State coach James Franklin said that his team has shown that it can play with the game’s best. And they certainly proved it last night, despite losing on the big stage yet again.

Don’t count on PSU giving up, though, because anything can happen over the next six games. Again, they’ll need some help and have to win out the rest of their schedule. But with half a season left to go, there could be more upsets in the works, clearing the way for a Penn State conference title shot.

Belichick on Josh Gordon Playing Against Miami: “We’ll See”

josh-gordon-patriotsNew England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has never been one to offer much information to the media. And he’s staying true to form regarding new addition Josh Gordon.

Many are wondering if the talented wide receiver will see the field against the Miami Dolphins this Sunday. But Belichick isn’t giving any details on the matter.

“We’ll see,” he told reporters.

The long-time Patriots coach did offer some tidbits on how Gordon is fitting into the organization.

“Josh is working hard on and off the field,” said Belichick. “He’s done everything he can do.”

Gordon Is Dealing with a Hamstring Injury

josh-gordon-patriotsGordon tweaked his hamstring in Week 2 while he was still with the Cleveland Browns. We’re now two weeks past that incident, but he still hasn’t seen the field. This has caused people to wonder about his health.

It’s very likely that Gordon has a minor injury and will see the field sooner than later. The larger issue may be how quickly he picks up New England’s complicated offensive scheme.

The Browns moved Gordon to the Patriots after he was reportedly “not himself” at the team facilities. The 27-year-old has struggled with alcoholism and drug use during his six-year career.

New England was willing to take a risk on Gordon for the low price of a fifth-round draft pick. Now, they just need him to get healthy and pick up the playbook.

Gordon would Provide a Huge Boost Against Miami

josh-gordon-suspensionIt’s hard to say that the Patriots are facing a must-win game against Miami. However, they would definitely welcome a victory after starting the season 1-2. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have had a surprising 3-0 start and lead the AFC East.

A victory would pull the Patriots within one game of their division rivals. A loss would drop them to 1-3 and put them three games behind Miami.

The entire reason why they traded for Gordon is because their offense needs more explosion. They traded receiver Brandin Cooks to the Rams in the offseason and let running back Dion Lewis go in free agency. These two players were their main home-run threats last year.

Gordon, who’s 6’3″ and runs a 4.4 forty, is an excellent deep threat who can stretch the field. He would give Miami’s secondary fits if he’s able to go at full speed. And with Tom Brady’s accuracy, Gordon could definitely have some opportunities to score.

Of course, the big question is if Gordon’s hamstring has recovered enough. Furthermore, he might not play as many snaps if he doesn’t fully grasp the playbook yet.

Miami vs. New England Odds

The Dolphins may be undefeated, but the Patriots are getting all the love at GTBets. New England is currently a -6.5 favorite, which is huge considering that they’re two games behind Miami right now.

Here’s a look at the full GTBets odds:

  • Miami Dolphins +6.5 (-108); +235 moneyline; Over 48 (-109)
  • New England Patriots -6.5 (-109); -286 moneyline; Under 48 (-109)

The Patriots know that they need a victory to keep pace in the AFC East. Plus, this game will be in Foxborough, which only adds credence to the thought that New England will win.

Of course, -6.5 is a large spread to cover for a team that’s struggled the past couple of weeks. Gordon playing with certainly improve New England’s chance of winning by a touchdown or more.

Could Jimmy Butler Be the Missing Piece for the Houston Rockets?

jimmy-butler-timberwolves-rocketsThe Houston Rockets had a rough start to free agency, losing forwards Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. They’ve since added James Ennis, Marquese Chriss, Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Knight, and Michael Carter-Williams. But these players don’t exactly seem like they’ll keep Houston’s defensive prowess up (sixth in defensive efficiency last season).

That said, Houston has been looking for a two-way impact player who can help them realize what they just barely missed out on last season – an NBA championship appearance. Rockets GM Daryl Morey hasn’t let off the gas in looking for this player.

“We need our best team on April 15,” he said, likely suggesting that Houston must beat Golden State in order to take the Western Conference.

Considering Morey’s words, it’s no surprise that the Rockets are one of the teams that have expressed interest in Jimmy Butler. The Minnesota Timberwolves Guard/forward has requested a trade out of Minnesota.

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is pushing for Butler to be traded, hopefully before the season starts.

General manager Scott Layden and head coach/president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau want the franchise to take its time with this matter. They want potential suitors to come to them and offer a serious trade proposal.

Houston Has Some Competition in the Jimmy Butler Sweepstakes

Miami, Brooklyn, and the LA Clippers have also expressed interest in bringing Butler to their teams. Here’s what ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports on the matter:

It’s likely that one or more of these teams have more assets on the surface to offer Minnesota. But Morey is quite good at figuring out ways to get players for less.

He put a nice trade package together to get James Harden away from the Oklahoma City Thunder. He created the “poison pill” contracts that brought in Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin in 2012. He waived or traded players like Royce White, James Anderson, Thomas Robinson, and Furkan Aldemir to create enough cap space to sign Dwight Howard in 2013.

Other inventive moves by Morey include the three-team, six-player deal that brought Ariza to Houston in 2014, and accumulating non-guaranteed contracts to build a large enough trade package to land Chris Paul in 2017.

The last move was quite incredible when considering that Morey sent a bunch of bench players and lower draft picks to the Clippers in return for a game-changing point guard.

“There’s always fine-tuning, you can always get better,” said Morey. “We have all our draft picks going forward.

“So if something presents itself that allows us to make a trade to improve the team, we won’t hesitate to do that.”

What can the Rockets Offer for Jimmy Butler?

daryl-morey-rocketsIt’s great what Houston’s front office has been able to do over the last few years. But what can they currently offer to bring in Butler?

One speculated move involves sending Sixth Man of the Year Erik Gordon, forward P.J. Tucker, and an unprotected first-round pick to Minnesota. Gordon and Tucker would help the Twolves immediately, while the first-round pick would enable them to add more talent in the future.

Minnesota could also get rid of a bad contract in the process, including reserve big man Gorgui Dieng, who’s still due $48.7 million over the next three years.

Of course, the problem with this is that Houston must involve a third team (and potentially fourth), because they don’t have a lot of salary cap space either. Morey shouldn’t have a problem getting this done, though, when looking at the deals he’s worked in the past.

Another problem is that they’ll have to give away another one or two rotational pieces in order to land Butler. That said, they’d be working with a team of three stars in Paul, Harden, and Butler, along with several backups who must be integrated.

Is Butler Worth the Cost?

jimmy-butler-2018-injury-returnEverything that Houston is currently doing is under the goal of beating the Golden State Warriors next season. And Butler would certainly give them a better chance to topple the Warriors.

The question, though, is whether what they’d be giving up is worth it. Odds are that, yes, the Rockets would improve if they got Butler for the cost of Tucker and Gordon.

But you also have to factor in the loss of Ariza and Mbah a Moute, who were instrumental in helping this team improve from 18th to 6th in defensive efficiency last season.

Depth is obviously important, as the Warriors have shown. But so is having star players, which the Rockets showed by unloading several veterans in exchange for Paul. Assuming Morey can put together a deal that brings Butler in, it should help the Rockets get better on offense and defense. The major question would be if they can integrate all their new pieces in time for the playoffs.

Houston Rockets Odds in 2018-19

Houston currently trails Golden State by a sizable margin in our GTBets odds. But the Rockets still have the second-best odds of winning the conference at the time of this post.

Here’s a look at our current 2018-19 NBA Western Conference odds:

  • Dallas +10000
  • Denver +5000
  • Golden State -245
  • Houston +500
  • LA Clippers +10000
  • LA Lakers +800
  • Memphis +15000
  • Minnesota +4000
  • New Orleans +4500
  • Oklahoma City +2200
  • Phoenix +10000
  • Portland +5000
  • Sacramento +25000
  • San Antonio +4000
  • Utah +2500

Assuming the Rockets can make a trade for Butler, it would likely inch them forward in the odds category. Maybe not enough to match the Warriors, but definitely closer.

It’ll be interesting to see if Morey can work his magic again and get Butler on this team.