Runs should be plentiful as the Yankees (40-37) open a three-game set at home against the Red Sox (36-43). Boston starter, Bob Workman (1-0, 2.88 ERA) has not pitched since June 15th. Workman was suspended for six games for throwing near the head of Rays’ third baseman, Evan Longoria on May 30th. Workman’s last start was respectable when he allowed only two runs over six innings against the Cleveland Indians. Workman will be opposed by struggling LHP Vidal Nuno (1-4, 5.88 ERA). Nuno is 0-3 over eight appearance with an unsightly 7.09 ERA. He has surrendered five home runs and 13 runs over 9 1/3 innings in consecutive losses. Nuno has allowed a major league worst 13 home runs at home.

Boston is just 2-5 on their current ten game road trip. Neither of these starters have started in the storied Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. Carlos Beltran has welcomed the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry by homering three times thus far. Birthday boy Derek Jeter is 7-for-21 against the Red Sox this season. David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia are hitting just .227 and .188 against the Yankees this season.

Workman hasn’t pitched in nearly two weeks while Nuno has been terrible at home. I’m expecting a high scoring game. Current MLB odds have the game total set at nine.  I like seeing high totals and I’m expecting a lot of runs. Take the over for your MLB Picks!

MLB Pick: Red Sox/Yankees Over 9

There’s no rationale reason for the U.S. and Germany to play for anything other than a draw during Thursday’s highly anticipated World Cup showdown. There is not a hotly contested rivalry between the two clubs and the U.S. head coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, coached the German team ten years ago. His assistant coach, Joachim Low, is now the head coach of the German team. Still, egos and reputations are at stake, so expect a tightly played contest. Both clubs want to win and lock up the Group G crown before advancing to the Round of 16. 

The U.S. Club is coming off a heart-breaking 2-2 tie against Portugal. Portuguese forward, Cristiano Ronaldo, sent a deadly cross into the U.S. box during stoppage time. The ball was perfectly headed into the goal to keep Portugal alive. The U.S. was a mere 15 seconds away from a 2-0 group record which would have put them into the next round. Instead, the U.S. will need to play a third great game against one of the world’s best club. 

Going into this match, both the U.S. and Germany are 1-0-1 with four total points. The Germans have a four goal differential, which the U.S. only has a one goal differential. Both Ghana and Portugal are 0-1-1 with one point each. Ghana has a -1 goal differential while Portugal has been seemingly eliminated with a -4 goal differential. Ghana and Portugal will face off this morning as well, so expect an aggressive effort from both sides. A win will give either team a slight chance of advancing should Germany blow out the U.S. 

You can check out all of the World Cup odds and sports odds at AllPro. NFL and World Cup odds are available. Enjoy today’s World Cup games and may the best team win! 

Eli Manning, Shaun O'Hara Interview

Eli Manning tells former teammate that surgery has made him faster because “I can’t get any slower.”

Ex-Giant Shaun O’Hara took the stage to introduce former teammate Eli Manning.

The pair were promoting a recent “FinDD Eli” contest where a lucky fan would get to join Eli in an upcoming Dunkin Donuts commercial.

With Eli’s track record for commercials being arguably as great as his two-time Super Bowl MVP career, that’s quite a prize for DD to be giving away. (“Football Cops”, “Football On Your Phone”)

When O’Hara brought Eli up to the stage for a brief Q&A, Eli’s first question to him was, “How many munchkins did you eat today?” in which O’Hara, without hesitation, answered “27, does that sound familiar?”

A quick dig at Eli’s 27 interceptions in 2013.

Eli took it in stride and got his payback when asked about his ankle surgery. Asked if there were any truth to the rumors that the procedure would actually make Eli faster, he responded, “Yes, definitely, because I can’t get any slower.” He also explained that because he’s a traditional pocket passer, it’s more about elusiveness in the pocket and his ability to slide around tacklers like “after O’Hara would miss his blocking assignments.”

O’Hara 1, Eli 1

Manning made it clear he has no reservations about the ankle at all effecting him in the upcoming season. One he believes will see them back in the playoffs and hopefully winning another championship.

“Last year we got off to such a rough start, but the way the team finished and stuck with each other, we grew up as a team last year. We gotta remember that and bring it into this season to get back to the playoffs and win another championship.”

After just 12 practices at OTA’s, Manning says the team should come into training camp ready to go.

The New Giants Offensive System

“If anyone mastered a new offense in 12 practices, it would be a pretty simple offense.”

This year will be the first that Eli is playing without offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride (retired), who has been replaced with Ben McAdoo.

Ten years in one offensive system certainly allowed Eli to get more and more advanced throughout his career and become a leader for the offense. The biggest change for Manning is the verbiage of the new system. He noted that when making quick decisions, knowing what to yell out to his teammates is key. With Cruz, now the veteran of the receiving corps, it’s easy for the two to communicate with the language they’ve both become accustomed to. Look for this to increase Cruz’s targets in games where adjustments need to be made on the fly.

With so many new guys, they’re all learning this new system and studying together. Old and new players alike have been putting in the work during OTAs to get the team chemistry going and learning each other’s personalities and on-field communication routines.

Manning feels good about where the team is now and knows the preseason games this year will be highly beneficial in solidifying that chemistry.

Potential For The Giants Receivers

The Giants have a lot of new receivers, and offensive players across the board. Along with the new system, that gives potential to see some different faces rise (and fall) to the spotlight.

Manning spoke about his receiving corps:

Rueben Randle

Rueben Randle’s gotta step up and have a great year, and has the potential to do so in his third NFL season. According to Manning, it’s time for Randle to be consistent week in and week out.

Victor Cruz

Manning will continue to look to get to Victor Cruz quickly and let him make plays with the ball.

Odell Beckham Jr.

Rookie Odell Beckham Jr has got a lot of speed and talent. Beckham’s only been out there a few times (sore hamstring), but for a rookie he’s very polished with his route running and his sticks. Manning can see that he was obviously well coached at LSU and in high school.  His knack and feel for getting open, and seeing his bursts and his route running have Eli excited.

Jerrel Jernigan & Mario Manningham

With Jernigan showing some talent last season, and bringing back Super Bowl teammate Manningham after his brief stint with the 49’ers, Eli Manning says the offense has plenty of weapons.

The 2014 season should show the New York Football Giants, when fine-tuned, playing very fast. Manning will be getting the ball out quickly letting the receivers be athletic and make plays.

Going into their eleventh season together, Coach Coughlin still always talks about being a professional and taking care of your business. Everyone knows Coughlin stresses being prepared, and Eli is no different. Sticking to the Coughlin school of work hard, be passionate and dedicated, Eli has clearly left last season in the past and ready to take on 2014 with the clarity and focus that you hear promised in commercials for energy drinks.

Manning is focused on making the players around him the best that they can be, and says he’ll have the offensive team prepared to play every week.

Dunkin Donuts “FinDD Eli” Contest

FinDD Eli event in Ramsey,N.J., Thursday, June 19, 2014. (Photo/Stuart Ramson)

FinDD Eli winner with Shaun O’Hara and Eli Manning (Photo/Stuart Ramson)

In May, Dunkin’ Donuts launched the “FinDD Eli” on-the-cup promotion, where specially marked medium or large beverage offered guests the chance to “find” the New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning via an exciting on-the-cup peel and reveal game and online scavenger hunt.

Thirty-one winners were invited to meet Eli Manning on Thursday, June 19th at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Ramsey, NJ, where the ultimate grand prize was announced – the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appear alongside New York Giants Superstar QB Eli Manning in an upcoming Dunkin’ Donuts commercial.

After enjoying a Q&A between Eli Manning and his former teammate Shaun O’Hara, the thirty-one attendees each received a sealed envelope. After counting down from the number ten in honor of Manning’s jersey number, the guests all ripped open their envelopes and the grand prize winner was revealed. David Driscoll of Springfield, NJ was the lucky recipient of the “FinDD Eli” cutout, and will be preparing for his television debut in a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial with Eli Manning. All attendees received a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card, tickets to 2014 New York Giants training camp, and a photograph with Eli Manning.

Eli Manning And I Are Actually Twins

In a non-football related discovery, this was my first time meeting Eli Manning in person.

Most people will say that Eli and Peyton look very similar, which they do. Eli even told a (questionably true) story where he was in a local Dunkin Donuts one morning and some guys in the store were debating with him (not realizing who he was) whether he looked more like Eli Manning or Michael Phelps.

I was as shocked as anyone to find out that Eli Manning and I are actually twins, created from a combination of the greatest men on earth as an experiment a la Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito . Like they say, you learn something new every day.

Eli Manning Twins

 

The Miami Marlins (36-35) suffered a big blow when their ace RHP Jose Fernandez went down with a season ending arm injury. Now, Miami will turn to another young phenom to fill the void. 23-year-old LHP Andrew Heaney will make his major league debut at home against a punchless New York lineup. Heaney was the ninth overall pick of the 2012 MLB draft. Heaney attended Oklahoma State. Earlier this season, Heaney went 3-0 with a 2.74 ERA in four starts for Triple-A New Orleans.

The New York Mets (32-40) have dropped 11 of their 15 games which included losses in two of their last three games to the St. Louis Cardinals. Eric Young had two RBIs to help the Mets end an eight-game road losing streak. Zack Wheeler (2-7, 4.38 ERA) will take the ball for the Mets. Wheeler has lost his last two starts, giving up four runs in 3 2/3 innings of work at San Francisco. Wheeler had the same line in a 5-0 defeat to the San Diego Padres. Wheeler has had some success against the Marlins, striking out 17 hitters in 13 innings of work. Wheeler has issued eight walks in these two starts, so if he can control his pitches, he’ll have a chance of winning.

Keep an eye on the status of Miami’s RF, Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton banged his wrist into the outfield wall yesterday and had to leave the game. Stanton expects to be in the lineup for Thursday’s tilt.

Current MLB Odds slate the Miami Marlins as a slim -120 money line favorite. I’ll take the young pitcher at home in his major league debut against a New York team that is struggling on the road. Take the Fish as your MLB Pick.

Official MLB Pick: Miami Marlins -120

It’s Deja Vu all over again. The San Antonio Spurs lead the Miami Heat two games to one heading into a pivotal Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The Spurs put on an offensive clinic in Game 3, making 19 of its first 21 shots and shot an NBA Finals record, 76 percent from the field in the first half. The Heat went on a small third quarter run, but the Spurs cruised to a comfortable 111-92 victory. This outcome may feel familiar since the Spurs won Game 3 in blowout fashion last year, toasting the Heat 113-77. Miami ultimately came back to win the series in seven games, so both teams will look to impose their will in Game 4.

Several Heat players, including Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Mario Chalmers, must step up after woeful Game 3 performances. After scoring 18 points in Games 1 and 2, Bosh only had four shot attempts in Game 3. James was responsible for seven of Miami’s 20 turnovers while Chalmers missed all of his shots in Game 3. All three players must bounce back in Game 4.

In typical Spurs’ fashion, Spurs’ coach Greg Poppovich made a strategic move by starting power forward, Boris Diaw. Diaw, who boasted an impressive +30 during Game 1 and -5 during Game 2, was +20 during Game 3. Diaw has a total plus-minus of +45, which is the second highest in NBA history through three NBA Finals games. Diaw’s game isn’t flashy or exciting, but it is effective. 

The Spurs will look to put a vice grip type lock on the series by winning Game 4. If the Spurs do win Game 4, they’ll have a chance to win the championship on their home floor and avenge last year’s tough loss. 

Current NBA Odds have the Heat installed as 5.5 point home favorites. The Heat haven’t lost back-to-back games this season, but I think that may change in Game 4. The Heat have no answer on the defensive side of the ball and the Spurs are on a mission to win a championship. I’ll take the Spurs and the points while laying a little on the money line. It’s a contrarian play, but sometimes you need to go with your gut.

Pick: Spurs +5.5 and -ML

The Los Angeles Kings took Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals by virtue of an overtime goal from Justin Williams. The Rangers took an early 2-0 first period lead, silencing Los Angeles’ home crowd. However, the Kings quickly rallied back with a goal from Kyle Clifford and knotted the score 2-2 with a second period goal from Drew Doughty. The Kings outshot the Rangers, 43-27. The Kings dominated the third period, out shooting the Rangers 20-3. 

Facing a 1-0 deficit, the Rangers must win Game 2 to even this series. Thus far, the Rangers have scored more goals on the road (3.1 goals per game) compared to just 2.3 GPP at home. The Rangers also had a losing record at home during the regular season. Winning Game 2 will alleviate some of the pressure before they head home to New York.

Expect the Kings to play with a lot of confidence heading into Game 2. They were able to erase a two goal deficit against Henrik Lundqvist, which will only boost their confidence. The Kings went scoreless on the power play, which has been their biggest weapon so far this postseason. If the Kings can fire another 40+ shots at Lundqvist, expect a few to go in on the power play.

The Kings came out a little nervous in Game 1, but slowly settled those nerves over the course of Game 1. Current NHL odds have the Kings installed as a -148 money line favorite. Expect a more relaxed effort in Game 2 as they take a 2-0 series lead.

The Pick: LA Kings -148

The San Antonio Spurs easily won the first two games of the Western Conference Finals, but a strong Game 3 showing from the Oklahoma City Thunder put them right back into the series. That strong showing was helped by the return of their defensive superstar. Power forward and rim protector, Serge Ibaka, returned for Game 3 after missing the first two games. Ibaka contributed 15 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks en-route to season saving, 106-97 victory on Sunday night. Ibaka, who injured his calf in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals against the Los Angeles Clippers, was believed to miss the rest of the playoffs. However, Ibaka gutted through 30 minutes and slowed the Spurs from driving into the lane at will. Ibaka’s presence slowed down San Antonio’s dynastic point guard, Tony Parker. Parker only managed to score nine points on 4-of-13 shooting. He committed four turnovers.

While Ibaka’s presence alone gave the Thunder life, OKC made several adjustments that helped erase bad memories from Games 1 and 2. OKC’s coach, Scott Brooks, opted to start back-up point guard, Reggie Jackson, alongside Russell Westbrook and relegate Thabo Sefelosha, who did not score in Games 1 or 2, to the bench. Jackson chipped in with 15 points and took some of the scoring onus off Kevin Durant and Westbrook. Unlike Games 1 and 2, Durant and Westbrook were aggressive and got to the basketball at will. Both players made all eight of their free throw attempts. Rookie center, Steven Adams was injected into the starting lineup and helped OKC out-rebound the Spurs, 52-36. 

After running like a well-oiled machine in Games 1 and 2, San Antonio’s offense sputtered in Game 3. After making over 50 percent of their shots in the first two games, the Spurs made just 40 percent of their shots in Game 3. Manu Ginobili, who left with a foot injury and Tim Duncan were the only two Spurs in double figures.

OKC, according to NBA odds, is pegged as a 2.5 point home favorite in Game 4. I have a hard time believing the Spurs will drop two straight games, but I think OKC is hitting its stride at the right time. Ibaka’s mere presence is critical and I fully expected another emotional effort. Lay the points with the home team and get ready for a must-watch Game 5 Thursday night in San Antonio. 

Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder -2.5

New York Mets’ catcher Travis d’Arnaud has missed nearly two weeks of action after taking the worst of Alfonso Soriano’s back swing. Luckily for the Mets, d’Arnaud will return within the next week. For the first time since his injury, d’Arnaud was cleared for baseball activities on Thursday afternoon. Prior to Thursday, the young catcher was suffering from many headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, and had a lot of trouble sleeping. Wednesday marked his first ‘symptom-free’ day and his conditions stabilized into Thursday. Pagan celebrates his game-tying double in the sixth inning. This isn’t the first time d’Arnaud has dealt with concussions and head injuries. This is d’Arnaud’s first concussion as a member of the Mets, but the talented catcher suffered two prior concussions as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies’ Single A affiliate and Toronto Blue Jays’ Double A affiliate. d’Arnaud’s first concussion occurred during 2008 when he took a foot to the face on a play at the plate after he threw away his mask. Early in 2011, d’Arnaud was struck with consecutive foul tipped balls and had to leave the game. Without d’Arnaud in the lineup, the Mets have lacked offensive punch and the odds makers have reflected that in their spreads. In recent MLB betting, the Mets have been sizable home underdogs to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets clearly misses d’Arnaud’s presence behind the plate and in the lineup.

The Mets expect to have d’Arnaud back in the lineup following a brief rehab stint in the minor leagues. The Mets need to ensure their young catcher is in prime shape before injecting him back into the fold. d’Arnaud is one of the Mets’ best young players and was the centerpiece in the team’s trade that sent RA Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays. d’Arnaud has three home runs so far in 31 games. Expect a power surge and a renewed sense of leadership once he returns to the lineup. Go Mets!

The New York Rangers are only two wins away from reaching their first Stanley Cup Finals since 1994. Luckily for the Rangers, the next two games are at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers have won five straight games, including four road wins. The Rangers rallied to overcome a 3-1 deficit to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the last round. As we’ve seen throughout the playoffs, nothing is guaranteed and no series lead is safe. However, when the goalie advantage is as lopsided as it is, the Rangers can’t help, but feel good about their chances. The Canadians lost their top goalie, Carey Price, to injury in Game 1. They will attempt to rally around third-stringer, Dustin Tokarski. Tokarski has only played in 11 career NHL games and suffered his first post-season loss in Game 2.

Ranger goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been outstanding, allowing only three road goals in the first two games. Lundqvist made 40 saves in Game 2, including 19 important saves in the third period to preserve the 3-1 victory. 

Current NHL betting odds list the Rangers as huge (-172 home favorites) for the Game 3 tilt. Hockey is all about momentum and the Rangers have that heading into Game 3. Expect a hostile home crowd and look for the Rangers to put the pressure on with an early goal against an inexperienced goalie.

The Pick: New York Rangers -172

The Miami Heat are on the verge of their fourth straight Eastern Conference Finals appearance. The Heat put a strangle hold on this series with a 102-96 win in Game 4. LeBron James tied a career high by notching 49 points. James made 16 of his 24 shots and once again made Paul Pierce look foolish defensively. James is averaging 30.3 points per game during this series.

Still, the Nets are a proud, veteran bunch that will not give up their season without a fight. Brooklyn must defeat Miami three times in five days in order to advance. Talk about a difficult journey. To make matters worse for Brooklyn, the LeBron-led Heat are 8-0 at home in potential close-out games. Two of these eight victories came against Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett when they were members of the Boston Celtics. Pierce and team mate Joe Johnson have stepped up offensive. The two wing players are averaging 30 points per game, which matches James. 

A win on Wednesday would slot Miami back into the NBA’s version of the Final 4. James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh know what’s at stake and how they cannot give the Nets an inch of breathing room. Expect a spirited, high pace effort from Miami.

The books are backing the Heat as Miami is slotted as a seven-point home favorite. That number may seem steep given the closely fought Game 4, but I’m expect James and Co. to come out with a huge effort. Expect a Miami win in excess of ten points.

The Pick: Heat -7