Have no fear: Underdog is here

Guest column

The words ‘Draft’ and ‘Kings’ conjure up thoughts of cold, brisk winds and Old World royalty.

Combined, one could draw a conclusion that the phrase may have rotisserie league connotations.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Similar to other popular online wagering initiatives like FanDuel, FoxBet and BetMGM, Draft Kings actively and aggressively seeks to acquire market share in the white-hot online sports gambling arena.

The competition among these apps is fierce as they jockey daily to make themselves your primary online choice and as commonplace on your phone as the pre-loaded calculator and flashlight.

Draft Kings current marketing campaign, includes a television commercial that seemingly airs every 15 minutes and features an overly enthusiastic young woman named Jesse Coffield, who does not appear to blink once during a 30-second wager-mercial as she excitedly proclaims DraftKings’ latest offer as a “sure thing.”

Her co-star is former NFL place kicker Martin Gramatica.

Except for the name, he is a rather questionable choice.

Was former Miami Dolphin Doug BETters unavailable?

Did Jerome BETtis command too high a premium?

To me these guys. are the more logical choices here.

If name association is this site’s chief marketing strategy then will they pair Ms. Coffield with Mookie BETts during baseball season once he retires?

Unfortunately, there is nothing “automatica” about the picks from the so-called expert NFL pigskin prognosticators so far in 2021.

In the season’s first week a mere six of 16 teams favored actually covered the spread with three 2020 playoff teams — Buffalo, Tennessee and Indianapolis — losing outright while being favored at home and another five clubs hosting home openers failing to dent the win column.

Oddsmaker malaise continued in week two where just seven of 15 teams covered the spread and three favorites (the Steelers, Seahawks and Chargers) all dropped their home openers with four other clubs hosting games winning but failing to cover.

And exactly who is holding these pro pigskin crystal ballers accountable?

Has the ongoing pandemic affected their ability to accurately forecast the outcomes of NFL games? Are they just throwing darts?

The guys who make their living predicting NFL games aren’t just wiping egg off their faces; they have a wagon wheel-sized quiche dripping down the front of their Armani suits.

Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder has to be rolling over in his grave.

Those who regularly wager on pro football usually subscribe to this home field advantage theory. They also believe teams on or near the west coast struggle on the road in contests scheduled for 1 p.m. kickoffs in the Eastern Time zone.

Thus far in 2021 most of those teams have apparently figured things out as Las Vegas toppled the Steelers, the 49ers dispatched both Detroit and Philadelphia while the Chargers prevailed over Washington at RFK Stadium.

Particularly impressive were Jon Gruden’s Raiders, who gutted out a win over Pittsburgh without their top rusher. Vegas finished off its opening week in the wee hours of a Tuesday morning, besting the Ravens in OT then traveled cross country to post a convincing win at Heinz Field, where the Steelers have dropped four of their past five games.

Contz was a starting offensive tackle on Penn State’s first national championship team in 1982 and played six NFL seasons. He published a book in 2017, “When the Lions Roared: Joe Paterno and One of College Football’s Greatest Teams.” He resides in Pittsburgh.


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