MNF debacle had 300M impact on gamblers

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MNF debacle had 300M impact on gamblers

From Comcast SportsNetLAS VEGAS (AP) -- Las Vegas oddsmakers say 300 million or more changed hands worldwide on a controversial referee call that decided the Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks.Sports book chief Jay Kornegay said Tuesday that bettors at The LVH casino registered shock, some celebration, then anger when the outcome swung the game in favor of Seahawks bettors."We've seen regular refs blow calls. That's always been part of the sport," Kornegay said. "But this one was just a blatant bad call at the end of the game that decided the outcome of the game."The Seahawks won 14-12 after referees ruled that Seattle receiver Golden Tate came down with the ball in a pile of bodies in the end zone after a Hail Mary pass on the play's last game.The Glantz-Culver line for the game opened favoring the Packers by 4. Had the final play been ruled an interception -- as many players, analysts and fans believed was the right call -- Green Bay would have won by 5 points.The officials ruled on the field that Tate had simultaneous possession with Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings, which counts as a reception. The NFL upheld the call on Tuesday."I'm not complaining, but it did feel a little dirty," said Wesley Wong, 25, of Toronto, who said he had a combined 1,000 on the game on wagers on Seattle and a low scoring total.Gambling expert RJ Bell of Las Vegas-based Pregame.com said an estimated two-thirds of bets worldwide were on the Packers, with about 150 million more bet on Green Bay than Seattle."Due to one call by the replacement refs, the bettors lost 150 million, and the bookie won 150 million for a total swing of 300 million on one debatably bad call," Bell said.Mike Colbert, head oddsmaker for Cantor Gaming, which runs seven sports books in Las Vegas and provides betting lines to 90 percent of Nevada's casinos, said Cantor's books took in about 20 percent more money in bets than usual for a Monday night game after a wild weekend.Wong said he made a last-minute parlay bet on Seattle and the under to try to make up for losses on Sunday.Colbert said that as an NFL fan, he felt for bettors who lost because of the play even though his sports books won money."When everything went down, I gotta tell you, I was absolutely sick to my stomach," Colbert said.Casinos had already begun to react to replacement officials before Week 3 began, predicting the most scoring ever across the league.Now, adjustments for replacement referees that were only talked about previously are being factored into betting lines, Colbert said."We've seen it now," Colbert said. "If we do see trends and we see bets, we'll move more aggressively than we did in the past."Teams normally get a 3-point edge factored into the line when they play at home. That home edge could be worth a half-point more with games refereed by replacement officials, depending on the game, Colbert said. Colbert said he believed the Monday night referees got caught up in the excitement of Seattle's home crowd."I'd be willing to make a big bet that if that game is in Green Bay, that play is overturned and they win it," he said.Bettors are also reacting. Wong said he's wagering 20 percent less on NFL games than usual because of the unpredictability of the referees and other factors. He said his friends are cutting their bets in half or talking about avoiding NFL wagers for a few weeks if the replacement officials stay in."I'm willing to put less at risk at this point," Wong said. "I'm not motivated to put that much on the table."Johnny Avello, race and sports director at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel-casino, said plays -- and mistakes -- happen each week throughout the year that decide the outcomes of bets. But this moment was magnified, he said, because it happened at the end of the game and the call single-handedly decided the outcome."If you're a bettor, it's going to be hard to get over," he said. "Some may back off, and that's yet to be seen."

Trump says NFL should fire players who kneel during anthem

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Trump says NFL should fire players who kneel during anthem

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — President Donald Trump says National Football League owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. And he’s encouraging spectators to walk out in protest.

In an extended riff during a freewheeling rally speech in Alabama Friday night, Trump also bemoaned that football games have become less violent.

“They’re ruining the game,” he complained.

Several athletes, including NFL players, have refused to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest of the treatment of blacks by police.

Trump says those players are disrespecting the flag and deserve to lose their jobs.

“That’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,” he said, encouraging owners to act.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ’Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,” Trump said to loud applause.

Trump also predicted that any owner who went through with his encouragement would become “the most popular person in this country” — at least for a week.

Trump, who was in Alabama campaigning for Sen. Luther Strange, also blamed a decline in NFL ratings on the nation’s interest in “yours truly” as well as what he described as a decline in violence in the game.

He said players are being thrown out for aggressive tackles, and it’s “not the same game.”

The NFL has made several efforts to reduce violence in the sport, particularly hits that may cause damage to the head. A July report on 202 former football players found evidence of a debilitating brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them. The league has agreed to pay $1 billion to retired players who claimed it misled them about the concussion dangers of playing football.

During his campaign, Trump often expressed nostalgia for the “old days” — claiming, for example, that protesters at his rallies would have been carried out on stretchers back then. He recently suggested police officers should be rougher with criminals and shouldn’t protect their heads when pushing them into quad cars.

It’s also not the first time he’s raised the kneeling issue. Earlier this year he took credit for the fact that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the trend of kneeling during the anthem, hadn’t been signed by an NFL team.

Trump said the protest was the top reason NFL viewership had waned this season.

“You know what’s hurting the game more than that? When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem,” he said.

Trump encouraged his supporters to pick up and leave the stadium next time they spot a player failing to stand.

“I guarantee things will stop,” he said.

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Marchand stepping up his twitter game to hilarious effect

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Marchand stepping up his twitter game to hilarious effect

BOSTON – It was probably only a matter of time before it happened, but it looks like Boston’s favorite Little Ball of Hate is stepping up his game on social media.

Brad Marchand is known as much for his rabble-rousing and trash-talking on the ice as he is for massive offensive production while serving as Boston’s top scorer in each of the last few seasons. So Marchand has the perfect mixture of good humor and clout as a star NHL player, and that usually combines for a pretty powerful voice on Twitter.

Marchand has been noticeably more active on Twitter in recent days with a wide-ranging group of tweets, and the big winner is the hockey fan that gets a little more exposure to some classic Nose Face Killah wit. Some of the tweets have been as a Bruins team leader where he’s praising the talented young crop of B’s prospects that he’s watching during training camp:

Some have been about chirping the NHL for their decision to skip the Olympics this winter where Marchand most certainly would have been primed for a chance at a Gold Medal:

Some have been engaging with “fans” and dropping classic pop culture references from children’s books while showing the nasty edge that routinely drives opponents up a wall:

The Charlotte’s Web reference is a devastating classic from Marchand, a noted longtime fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sometimes it’s just telling a quick story in a tweet that gives you an inside look at the kind of chirping that goes on when Marchand is on the ice:

A social media platform like Twitter was made for a personality like Marchand, and a stepped-up presence is good for him and good for hockey fans. So why all of a sudden is No. 63 tweeting with greater frequency over the last few days?

It sounds like it’s a combination of training camp boredom and a genuine interest in amplifying his voice on all manner of subjects.

“I’ve just been kind of lying around with nothing to do and I jumped on [twitter]…thought it was kind of funny,” said Marchand. “I thought I’d get a little more involved. I don’t know if I’m going to have enough time to do it every day, but it’s fun.”

As fun as it’s been for Marchand, it’s no doubt even more fun for the fans that might get a chance to interact with him even if it’s as the unwitting foil for one of his well-placed chirps. 

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