12 Thoughts: The Skinny on Bengals, NBA Combine, Ky. Derby and more
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Here are this week's 12 thoughts ranging from the local sports landscape to the national headlines:
12. Explaining how Texas woman won $1.2 million on a Kentucky Derby wager.
The Skinny: As Kentucky Derby favorite Justify turned into the homestretch of Saturday's race on the lead there were probably a lot of people pretty happy about that (I wasn't one of them), because as the favorite he had the most money wagered on him. Yet no one was happier to see the 3-year-old colt cross the finish first than a lady sitting at a Texas race track.
Margaret Reid got back $1.2 million for an $18 wager that included Justify winning the Derby.
Reid put together a Pick 5 ticket in which she correctly picked the winners of races 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 (the Kentucky Derby).
The Pick 5 is a 50 cent base wager, but Reid apparently used a $1 base wager, because the payout for 50 cents was officially $620,827.55 (meaning she hit that twice, hence the $1.2 million).
Based on her wager it meant she picked only one horse in two of her races, picked three horses in two other races and two horses in another race (1 x 1 x 3 X 3 x 2 x $1 wagered = $18 wagered).
That's extraordinarily thin coverage per race, but extremely impressive on her part considering that the winner of the first leg (race 8) paid $10.80 to win, the winner of the second leg (race 9) paid $18.80, the winner of the third leg (race 10) was a 40-1 longshot that paid $81.40, the winner of the fourth leg paid $21.80 and then Justify went off at odds of 5-2.
There were actually two other winners as well, who each wagered at the 50-cent base and earned the $620,827.65. It's not known how much each paid for their ticket, but whatever it was it was probably well worth it.
By the way, there are several national reports that say Reid won by picking the first five finishers in the Kentucky Derby in order, but that is not accurate.
Those who did do that, however, earned $183,580.20.
11. NBA Scouting Combine snubs Bluiett
The Skinny: Xavier swingman Trevon Bluiett was one of a handful of very good college players who either entered the NBA Draft early or are draft eligible and didn't receive an official invite to the NBA Scouting Combine, which will be held May 16-19 in Chicago (click here for the list of those invited).
Perhaps teams already know what he can do well, which is shoot, and they have enough evidence on tape and in person to support that.
I do think he has a chance to play in the NBA in the right circumstance.
University of Cincinnati junior Jacob Evans received an invite and I am sure will be dissected closely, because his draft stock is anywhere from top 20 in the first round to somewhere late in the second round.
Five of the six early entries for the University of Kentucky got an invite (Wenyen Gabriel was the only who didn't), and no surprise that Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop got an invite as well.
10. NBA2K League apparently has betting lines
The Skinny: I did a story that was published on Friday about a 25-year-old Ross High School and Miami University grad named Brian Traynor who is playing for the Orlando Magic's entry in the video NBA2K League that the NBA itself is supporting. Then I ran across this over the weekend: there are actually wagering lines set for those games and other E-Sports events.
9. Kaiser Gates ... what are you thinking?
The Skinny: Xavier forward Kaiser Gates announced on Friday he is entering the NBA Draft and has hired an agent, so there is no chance of him returning to the program.
I have to admit I never saw that one coming, and about the best Gates can hope is to land somewhere overseas. Even then I can't imagine it would be in a league good enough to pay him much.
8. Those criticizing sports specializaton don't get it.
The Skinny: There was a report following the NFL Draft that 29 of the 32 first-round picks played multiple sports in high school after 30 of the 32 first-round picks in 2017 did the same, which then led to the chorus of pundits decrying athletes who have chose to specialize in only one sport.
Look, there are a lot of high school athletes who I am sure would love to play multiple sports that simply aren't good enough in more than one sport and/or have decided to focus on one sport simply to get better at playing it in high school.
There are a lot of critics who say too many kids are specializing in an attempt to earn a college scholarship or even play professionally, and that's just too blanket of a statement.
Those who use first-round NFL Draft picks as ammunition to point and say, "see, those guys played more than one sport in high school," don't get a big reason why they did: they are elite athletes.
I think kids should try to play more than one sport in high school and as a high school basketball coach at a small school we work hard to allow our athletes as a much leeway as possible to play multiple sports if they want. However, for some it's simply a choice to play just one.
There is nothing wrong with that either, and please don't try to use the first-round NFL Draft picks as ammunition, because, well, those are simply superior athletes to most of mankind.
7. Bengals Super Bowl odds/offseason grade puzzling.
The Skinny: According to an online sportsbook and at least one website it hasn't been a very good offseason for the Bengals-- and I would completely disagree.
The online Sportsbook Bovada.lv updated its odds just after the NFLDraft for each team to win Super Bowl LIII and dropped the Bengals from 90-1 to 100-1, which is tied with five other teams for the longest on the board. Meanwhile the website YardBarker via MSN.com graded each NFL team's offseason moves through the draft and gave the Bengals a D+.
It's not like the Bengals were 3-13 last season. They were 7-9, and they potentially upgraded two huge spots on the offensive line at left tackle (trading for veteran Cordy Glenn) and center (drafting Billy Price in the first round and letting mediocre-at-best Russell Bodine leave as a free agent).
They get former Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert back after missing all but the first two games of the 2017 season along with 2017 first-round pick John Ross. Whatever he gives them this season will be a bonus after he played only 17 snaps last season.
Defensively they added depth on the defensive line, signed a young middle linebacker in free agency, and added athleticism and depth in the draft at both cornerback and safety.
It may not have been an offseason that earned an "A" grade, but it's also far closer to that than D+.
And while the Bengals need to snap an almost three-decade streak of not winning a playoff game before they can think about winning the Super Bowl, it's hard to fathom they should be among the longest shots to do it heading into this season.
6. Early 2019 NFL Mock Draft (not mine) has the Bengals taking ...
The Skinny: According to CBSSports.com in an early 2019 NFL Mock Draft it has the Bengals picking fifth overall (meaning they expect them to have one of the league's worst records in 2018) and selecting Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver.
It should be noted that standout defensive takle Geno Atkins will be a free agent after the 2018.
It should also be noted that while I got up to Mock Draft 20.0 this year (not all were full seven-round Mock Drafts either) I didn't start until late in the 2017 season when the Bengals were clearly out of playoff contention.
5. Ogbuehi and Fisher battling it out in contract years might be a good thing.
The Skinny: The Bengals last week opted not to use exercise the fifth-year contract option on 2015 first-round Cedric Ogebuhi, which didn't come as a surprise and means he will be a free agent afte the 2018 season.
Ogbuehi has been given ample opportunity at both tackle positions to prove he can play and to this point he has not proven he can consistently enough.
He will likely battle 2015 second-round pick Jake Fisher for the starting right tackle spot this season, and it's not a bad thing that both are in the final year of their initial rookie contracts and battling for their future NFL livelihoods.
4. Bengals rookie mini-camp this weekend.
The Skinny: The Bengals will conduct their three-day rookie mini-camp this Friday-Sunday for the 11 players they drafted (minus first-round pick Billy Price who is still recovering from surgey to repair a torn pectoral muscle) and undrafted free agents they signed.
I was asked by Jed DeMuesy on the Sunday night Sports Authority which rookie will be the most interesting longshot to make the team, and I said I am really looking to seeing if seventh-round quarterback Logan Woodside can begin to impress enough to make a push at the backup role.
The Bengals very likely won't keep three quarterbacks, but if Woodside impresses enough over the summer then they might not want to expose him on the practice squad.
I am also looking forward to seeing how athletic both fifth-round cornerbacks - Davontae Harris and Darius Phillips - really are.
The team's final overall pick - wide receiver Auden Tate - is also an intriguing player to watch due to his size (6-5, 228 pounds).
3. Sports Authority poll question
The Skinny: The Sunday night Local 12 Sports Authority poll question was:
For which of these sporting events would you most likely buy a ticket?
- Kentucky Derby
- Indianapolis 500
- The Masters
I've covered six Kentucky Derbys and attended a few more as a fan and love the event, but I haven't been to any of the other three, and I answered, "The Masters."
Auto racing doesn't appeal to me much, although the spectacle of how fast the cars go at the Indy 500 would be something to see, and I loved tennis growing up in the 1970s and into the 1980s. Still, Wimbledon would be a distant fourth now.
How about you?
2. Did Frazier provide best GABP moment ever?
The Skinny: With Todd Frazier returning to Cincinnati on Monday as a member of the New York Mets for his first game in Great American Ball Park since the Reds traded him to the Chicago White Sox after the 2015 season it brought up the question of whether or not his performance in the 2015 Home Run Derby is the most iconic moment in GABP history.
For me it was certainly the most electric.
I wasn't in the stadium for Jay Bruce's playoff-clinching home run in 2010 so I'm sure for those that were it would quality ahead of Frazier's performance, and maybe, too, might Homer Bailey's no-hitter in 2013.
I just remember the roar when Frazier hit the homer that turned out to win the title for him.
Nothing I have seen in person there topped that.
1. What to do with Bailey, Brandon Finnegan and Adam Duvall?
The Skinny: All three are on Struggle Street, and the question is what to do with them?
Bailey is 0-4 with a 4.81 ERA on the season overall, but in his last three starts he allowed 12 earned runs in 15 2/3 innings. He also gave up two home runs in each of this last three starts.
Is it a mechanical issue? Is it a physical issue (it's not like he doesn't have a recent history of arm problems)?
Finnegan has just been a mess with an 8.27 ERA in five starts. The defense didn't help him much on Sunday, but he also didn't help himself with three walks (one that was intentional to get to the pitcher).
Duvall looks completely lost at the plate. His slash line is .161/.240/.366.
So what should the Reds do?
Keep running them out there that's what.
As long as Bailey and Finnegan are healthy let's see if they can work their way out of their funk, and if not then re-evaluate at the end of the year.
Same thing for Duvall. He has proven to be a very streaky player, but he did hit 64 homers and 68 doubles and drive in 202 runs in 2016 and 2017 combined.