ABC’s “The Bachelor” has fans and critics alike. And trust me when I understand where both sides of the aisle are coming from. However, this is the first year I’ve stuck with the show throughout the entirety of the season, and I actually feel good about it. I’m glad I had something to bridge the gap from the end of the football season to the start of the new league year. Well … close enough to the new league year. Truth be told, I’m looking forward to not watching the show for a while after this season. We’re good.
- Of course I placed sports bets on the first day it was legally OK to do so in the state of Illinois:
— Luis M., President of the Bryan Mullins Fan Club (@lcm1986) March 9, 2020
- The Rivers Casino Sports Book in Des Plaines is a fine addition to a decent casino experience. At a minimum, it is a significant upgrade to the nightclub that previously took up the space. Cheers to upgrades!
- At its core, the book is a sports bar that happens to allow you to place wagers. It’s not like a traditional sports book, but has many of the features you’re likely familiar with — such as big screen televisions (highlighted by a 47-footer that’s front and center), monitors surrounding the place with various action, comfortable recliners, and table tops. And, of course, places to make your bets. As you can see in the images embedded above, the kiosks – of which there are 30 – are plentiful. And I reckon there is room to add more for special events. More than that, they are user-friendly with bright screens that are easy to read. And at first glance, the odds are fair and tempting to take on your favorite games and futures.
- It isn’t perfect. I don’t like that it isn’t legal to bet on Illinois’ collegiate teams. And I’m not totally fond with $10 minimums (Horseshoe Casino in Hammond has $5 minimums), but it was never going to be perfect — especially when the idea was to be the first to roll out. Get in the door now, tweak later. It’s not the worst idea. The mobile betting option isn’t going to be at our fingertips for another few months. And the book could be larger to accommodate more people. But for now, having something (a good something) is better than having to drive to Indiana to scratch that itch. Progress in Chicagoland!
- And no, I didn’t bet on Mitch Trubisky at 125/1 to win the NFL’s MVP award. Tempting as it was, I went elsewhere with my wagers. Among my favorite bets I made yesterday was taking North Carolina at 40/1 to win the ACC Tournament. The team is as healthy as it has been all year and has a projected lottery pick. How could I stay away from that one?
- Also, don’t expect this to replace your Vegas trip. There are things that Las Vegas offers up to the betting community (as well as vacationers) that can’t be duplicated in a Chicagoland sports book. But what it brings to the table is an alternative option for people who want to get their friends together to watch sports in a centralized location and wager a few hard-earned dollars along the way. But remember, please remember to do so responsibly. I can’t stress that enough.
- An interesting nugget from SI.com’s Albert Breer suggesting the Bears could be more (realistically) active on the trade market than free agency provided us a vehicle to discuss players who are nearing the end of their rookie deals who could be on their way out the door and leaving their current situation. After digging into Pro Football Reference’s player pages and recent drafts, I realized I totally overlooked two obvious options — Bengals WR John Ross and Bucs TE O.J. Howard.
- Ross ran the fastest 40-yard dash in Combine history when he was a draft-eligible prospect in 2017. Howard was the top tight end prospect in the same draft class. Ross’ speed is something the Bears could definitely use in their lineup after cutting ties with Taylor Gabriel. Howard’s two-way ability at tight end and upside could see new life with a change of scenery. How likely those two players are to be shopped is undetermined, but they fit what Breer was hinting at in his original piece.
- An ex-Bear could be given an important gig:
OLB Sam Acho, who joined the Bucs at midseason last year, is one of three finalists for NFLPA president. While at Texas in 2010, won the Campbell Trophy, given to college football's top scholar-athlete. Was Bears' NFLPA rep in 2018, vocal in recent weeks about player CBA voting.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) March 10, 2020
- If your team is looking for help along the interior line, they’re about to get some more company:
Ravens guard Marshal Yanda will officially announce his retirement at an 11 a.m. press conference Wednesday.
Executive vice president and general manager Eric DeCosta, executive vice president Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh will be in attendance with Yanda.
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) March 10, 2020
Marshal Yanda’s career résumé:
▪️13 seasons, 166 games started
▪️8x Pro Bowl
▪️2x first-team All Pro, 5x second-team All Pro
▪️Played snaps at LG, RG, LT, RT
▪️He had just 4 holding penalties in his last 94 games(!)
Respected, tough, physical. A Hall of Fame player.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 10, 2020
- Maybe Josh Norman’s former DC has the secret to unlocking the player he once was:
Sources: #Bills have agreed to terms with CB Josh Norman to a one-year deal worth $6 million base value with incentives that can get him to $8 million. Norman reunites with Sean McDermott, his defensive coordinator all four seasons with the #Panthers.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 9, 2020
- The first game of the new league year will feature one of its oldest rivalries:
Tickets will go on sale this Friday (3/13) at 10am ET. pic.twitter.com/uMSFIPWf3X
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) March 10, 2020
- Keeping tabs on a serious matter:
NFL’s plans for its Annual meeting this month in Florida and its draft next month in Las Vegas “remain in place” at this point, per @NFLprguy. “We will continue to monitor and share guidance as the situation warrants and as our experts recommend.” https://t.co/wrAkQv1yNN
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2020
- NFL 2K5 was one of the most underrated football games in the history of football games. I’m glad this is happening:
EA's video game NFL exclusivity for Madden is over! Well, sort of…
— IGN (@IGN) March 10, 2020
- “Hello darkness, my old friend, the Chicago Bulls are picking seventh again …”
Latest 2020 NBA Mock Drafts: Another Project Guard? Forward of the Future, Picking Seventh (Again), Morehttps://t.co/uHUevk7rSd
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) March 9, 2020
- But at least Coby White is set to start tonight against the Cavs:
IT’S HAPPENING: Coby White Will Start Tomorrow Against the Cavs!https://t.co/D0xHyEx61d
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) March 9, 2020