Betting Odds for the Eagles in the NFL Draft

Betting Odds for the Eagles in the NFL Draft

Earlier we examined why the
Eagles are likely to wind up with either an offensive or defensive lineman if
they keep the fourth-overall pick when round one of the NFL Draft gets underway
on Thursday. What does Vegas have to say about who the home team will select, or whether
or not they will stay put for that matter?

According to these odds from
online sportsbook Bovada, the Birds are likely to choose one of four players –
three of whom are linemen.

2013 NFL Draft - Who will be the 4th Pick
Overall?          

Lane Johnson               3/2      

Star
Lotulelei                 7/4      

Dion Jordan                  2/1     

Chance
Warmack          9/1      

Interesting that Oklahoma
tackle Lane Johnson appears on the list as the favorite, but neither Luke
Joeckel nor Eric Fisher is here at all. One of the two will almost certainly go to the Chiefs
first overall, and the odds makers must feel confident the other will be scooped up as well
before the Eagles are ever on the clock.

Lotulelei and Jordan are players that have been routinely mocked to the Eagles. Along with Johnson (assuming Joeckel and Fisher are gone), it's probably not a reach at all to narrow down the list to these three players in this spot.

And ‘Bama’s Warmack at 9/1?
Can’t rule him out here simply because he’s one of the best guard prospects in years,
but he certainly seems like a longshot at number four.

Of course, the wording is very
important: “Who will be the 4th Pick Overall?” There is definitely some
thinking the Eagles will not sit on the fourth pick, so much so that Vegas is
taking bets on this as well.

2013 NFL Draft - Will the Eagles trade the
4th pick overall?         

Yes                  +170     (17/10)

No                    -250      (2/5)

Who knows what to make of that
other than there is plenty of suspicion as to whether the Eagles will stay put.
One thing is for certain, and that’s with Andy Reid moved on to Kansas City and a few new faces
in the front office, the Birds are going to be less predictable than ever on
draft day.

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Phillies sign OF Daniel Nava, LHP Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts

Phillies sign OF Daniel Nava, LHP Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts

The Phillies made a couple quiet additions as the winter meetings ended, signing veteran outfielder Daniel Nava and lefty reliever Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts.

Nava, 34 in February, is a left-handed hitter who can play the outfield corners and first base. He came up with the Red Sox and became a fan favorite in Boston in 2010 as a 27-year-old rookie. Some Phillies fans will remember him for hitting a grand slam off Joe Blanton in his first major-league plate appearance.

Nava had a few decent years in Boston, the best of which was 2013, when he had 536 plate appearances and hit .303/.385/.445 with 29 doubles, 12 homers and 66 RBIs. 

Nava's numbers and opportunities have dropped every year since. He was designated for assignment by Boston in 2015, latched on with the Rays, signed the next year with the Angels and was traded late in the season to the Royals.

Over the last two seasons, Nava has hit just .208, albeit with an on-base percentage 99 points higher because of his 30 walks and 10 hit by pitches.

Burnett, 34, has spent five of the last seven seasons in the Nationals' bullpen. He had a 2.85 ERA in 283 appearances from 2009-12 and parlayed that success into a two-year, $7.25 million contract with the Angels. However, he barely pitched in 2013 and 2014 for the Halos because of an elbow tear. He returned to the Nats last season and allowed two runs in 5⅔ innings.

Burnett, perhaps more so than Nava, has a chance to fill a role with the Phillies if he can stay healthy. He's shown he can get outs at the highest level, posting a 2.38 ERA in 2012 with 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2.14 ERA with 8.9 K/9 in 2010. That was a long time ago now, and Burnett's fastball has dipped from averaging 90-91 mph to 88.

According to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith, Burnett will receive a $1.25 million salary if he makes the team and can earn another $1.75 million in incentives based on his number of appearances.

Burnett has an opt-out date of March 26, meaning he can become a free agent a week before the regular season begins if it looks to him like he isn't in the Phils' plans.

Nava's chances at cracking the opening-day roster seem longer because the Phillies are expected to make more depth signings between now and the start of camp. They've prioritized finding some offense in the corner outfield and that could come in the form of more minor-league deals, a guaranteed contract or trade. One potential fit I examined last week was Mariners outfielder Seth Smith, a hitter more proven than Nava (see story).

These minor-league deals were commonplace for Phillies general manager Matt Klentak last offseason, when the only free agent he signed to a major-league deal was reliever David Hernandez. 

Last season, three players who were signed to minor-league deals with invites to spring training made the team on opening day: outfielder Cedric Hunter, utilityman Emmanuel Burriss and reliever James Russell.

Others, such as former closers Edward Mujica, Ernesto Frieri and Andrew Bailey, failed to make the team out of camp. Bailey eventually earned a call-up; the other two didn't.

Former Sixer Lou Williams lighting it up with Lakers off the bench

Former Sixer Lou Williams lighting it up with Lakers off the bench

Former Sixers point guard and Meek Mill collaborator Lou Williams is enjoying quite the run off the bench for the Lakers recently.

Over Los Angeles' last four games, Williams has posted totals of 40, 38, 24, and 35 points. 

The six-man is averaging 34.5 points per game over the stretch, and his 137 points are the most off the bench in a four-game span by any player since 1970-71, when stats were first recorded, per Elias Sports Bureau, via ESPN. Williams is now averaging 19.3 points this season, which is 4.4 more than his highest average with the Sixers.

Williams isn’t the only player who used to play for the Sixers that is playing well for the Lakers this year. Nick “Swaggy P” Young, who also comes off the bench, is averaging 13.3 points per game. Just a few weeks ago, Swaggy P stole a pass intended for Lou Williams, and then proceeded to hit a game winner against the Thunder. Swaggy P, however, is currently sidelined with a right calf strain, but is getting closer to a return.

"Lou Will" was also talked about last April during Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game, when he was beefing on Twitter with another former Philadelphia athlete, LeSean McCoy.