BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall probably doesn’t have a lot of fans in and around Provo, Utah, this morning—but he’s got a huge fan in Las Vegas. In case you missed it—or, more likely, fell asleep—Boise State beat BYU 7-6 in the early frontrunner for College Football Snoozefest of the Year, all because Mendenhall rolled the dice and crapped out. After BYU finally got on the scoreboard with 4½ minutes to play, Mendenhall elected to go for a 2-point conversion (and the probable win) instead of a game-tying extra-point (and playing for overtime). The 2-point attempt failed, Boise ran out the clock and I cashed a BYU +6½ ticket, never having to sweat through overtime.
Back to the diamond Friday with an underdog play on the Orioles, who continue to receive little respect from the oddsmakers. Baltimore, which is far and away baseball’s most profitable team this year, is coming off a three-game sweep of the Mariners, capped by two extra-inning victories (that’s now won 15 consecutive extra-inning wins). Overall, the Orioles have won four in a row (all on the road) and 18 of 25. What about the Red Sox, you ask? Hmm, let’s see, after losing 13-3 at Tampa Bay on Wednesday, they came back last night, took a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning … and lost 7-4. While the Orioles (85-64) are chasing their first playoff berth since 1997, the Red Sox (68-83, including 33-43 at home) have clinched a losing season.
So why is Boston favored tonight? I guess because lefty John Lester has owned the Orioles in his career, going 14-0 with a 2.49 ERA in 20 career starts. (Wait for it … wait for it …) However, in his last three starts against the O’s—one in the final week of last season, two this year—Lester has allowed nine runs (seven earned), 17 hits and eight walks (vs. 12 strikeouts) in 18 innings. Baltimore won all three games, including two this year at Fenway Park. Speaking of Fenway Park, Lester is 3-8 with a 6.51 ERA in 16 home starts this year—with Boston posting a 5-11 record. Conversely, Baltimore is 7-3 in starter Miguel Gonzalez’s last 10 starts, and for the season Gonzalez has a 3.57 ERA overall, including 3.06 on the road.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Wednesday’s Result: BYU +6½ at Boise State (Win)