We’ll make sure you’ve got the most up-to-date map before you embark on your sports-betting voyage.
1. NBA Summer League: you weren’t betting based on draft picks, were you?
The NBA Summer League is in full swing, and instead of watching top draft picks dominate loose, uncoached games against less-talented opponents, we got to watch the two top prospects have their first tough days as professional basketball players. The 76ers’ no. 1-overall draft pick Markelle Fultz looked fine, until he looked great, until he hurt his ankle and was withdrawn for the remainder of the summer. If there was a market for “76ers first pick gets hurt,” it would be the safest money in sports betting. The 76ers say he’ll be fine and that the high-ankle sprain is nothing serious, but they’re understandably quite sensitive about this kind of thing and would rather err on the side of caution.
Lonzo Ball also had a disappointing professional debut. The controversial no. 2 pick shot 2-15 from the floor and generally floundered in a performance that made Magic Johnson sad and produced a great low-light tape. Don’t get too down on the Lakers, though, point guards always take a while to develop and nobody was drafting Lonzo for his flawless shooting mechanics and range. His funky, maybe-transformative-maybe-gimmicky game is going to take a little while to adjust to his new teammates, and he’ll probably be a very good point guard quite soon. He already looked much better in his second Summer League game, posting a triple-double.
2. Oh no, Mike Trout is coming back
Console your local AL West fan, Mike Trout has reportedly recovered from the torn ligament in his thumb that sidelined him for part of this season and put him (mostly) out of the WAR and MVP race. Trout played in a high-A game with Angels affiliate Inland Empire 66ers and posted three walks and a triple. His return should change the prospects of the Angels significantly, who have treaded water admirably in his absence.
Look for the Angels’ lines to move significantly since this announcement, and don’t bet against them thinking that Mike Trout is somehow not going to be Mike Trout. He’s been the most consistently productive player in baseball since he entered the league five years ago. He’s never finished worse than second in MVP voting in his first four years and was having one of his best statistical seasons before the injury.
3. Nadal’s out of Wimbledon; Murray’s path eases
In a slightly uncharacteristic performance for the Spaniard, Rafael Nadal fell to Gilles Muller in five sets, the last of which stretched to 15-13. The whole thing took 4 hours and 47 minutes. This upset leaves Andy Murray’s side of the draw with Sam Querrey, the winner of Muller/Cilic, and then the final. I’m not going to call that an “easy” draw, but it’s certainly less intimidating than playing Rafael Nadal, and it’s far easier than the other half. Roger Federer’s side of the draw features more highly-ranked players, including no. 2 Novak Djokovic, and his quarter-final match against Canadian star Milos Raonic will certainly be a tough one, as will any meeting with Nole. Nadal losing thus reshapes the draw in a significant way, tipping the balance in favor of Murray, who hasn’t faced any truly big names so far, and may not until the finals.