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What bettors can expect this season

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What bettors can expect this season

The first games are still almost two weeks away, but it’s not too early for a betting breakdown of the Southeastern Conference.

The favorites

Alabama, Florida

After taking a rare back seat in the conference last year and losing for the third time in four tries at Auburn, Nick Saban was in a bad mood even before the pandemic hit. Part of that was because of the losses and part because his defense didn’t play up to normal standards, ranking outside the top five in the SEC for the first time in over a decade. Injuries were somewhat to blame, however, so expect a quick recovery to normal Alabama levels. The offense should be fine post-Tua Tagovailoa with sophomore QB Mac Jones tossing 14 TD passes with just three picks in a test run late last season, and punishing RB Najee Harris rates as a peripheral Heisman threat.

We suspect Florida will emerge from the East. Dan Mullen was much more comfortable with Kyle Trask than Feleipe Franks at quarterback last year, and Georgia’s late-summer quarterback issues make it more likely that the Gators will get to Atlanta.

Live ’dog

Kentucky

We admire coaches who can think on their feet and change plans midstream. So it was last season with Kentucky. Mark Stoops junked his normal offense by midseason because injuries had left converted WR Lynn Bowden as the best remaining option at QB.

By the end of the campaign, the Wildcats were one of the hottest teams in the SEC and Bowden was almost unstoppable. He rushed for nearly 1,500 yards in not much more than half a season and even passed for the winning TD in the Belk Bowl vs. Virginia Tech. Bowden is now in the NFL, and Stoops might have to think of something different, but he has a real defense and several eager QB candidates, some with experience. Don’t underestimate this guy.

Mark Stoops
Mark StoopsAP

Dead money

Vanderbilt

It might surprise some that Vanderbilt has never had a winless season. But now the Commodores meet “Football 2020,” with SEC games only, and the prospect of the big doughnut looms. It has become increasingly apparent that well-meaning and likable coach Derek Mason is in over his head, and the support base is maintaining a steady beat on the war drums. Mason is still getting protection from the administration, and new AD Candice Lee seems in no hurry to pressure her football coach.

Mason, whose team stayed competitive for a couple of years, has dropped 10 of his last 13 vs. the number, and prospects for improvement on last year’s 3-9 straight-up and spread marks appear dim, especially as Mason’s once-respectable defense was overrun in 2019. Changing coordinators will not likely pull Vandy out of its death spiral.

Big games on the board

Georgia at Alabama, Oct. 17

Georgia is making its first visit to Tuscaloosa since 2007, and it’s a homecoming of sorts for coach Kirby Smart, who was Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator before moving to Athens.

Georgia vs. Florida (at Jacksonville), Nov. 7

The SEC East usually gets decided in what used to be called the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Imagine this game with no tailgating allowed in November.

Alabama at LSU, Nov. 14

How many more key LSU players might opt out before we get to November?

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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“Pretty Frustrating”: John Millman Reacts to First Round Knockout from French Open 2020

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"Pretty Frustrating": John Millman Reacts to First Round Knockout from French Open 2020

Australian John Millman once again suffered a disappointing exit from the French Open. He’s competed in the main draw for the past four years, but has never got past the first round. After making it five straight R1 exits with a loss at the 2020 French Open, the 31-year-old reflected on what’s going wrong from him in clay-courts. 

Millman is now out of the singles draw after facing a loss to Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta. The latter cruised to victory in straight sets as Millman was unable to hold firm with his serve. This is the first clay-court encounter between these two, and Busta now leads their overall meetings 3-1 with this victory. 

Mand REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

Of course, Millman is an excellent hard court player and a major threat. One can’t forget his incredible game against Roger Federer at Melbourne this year. But when it comes to slower surfaces, the Australian does not boast a successful record as he only won 37.9% of his games on clay courts (via UTS).

John Millman reflects on fifth straight R1 exit from Roland Garros

Over the years, we’ve seen Millman enter the main draw at RG and failing to get past the first round. What lies as the main factor behind his string of defeats? One really can’t question his skill set, as we’ve seen it in full flow on other surfaces. 

Millman had a few words to say after his R1 loss against Busta. “I don’t mind the dirt. I find this place pretty frustrating, I think I played it five times now, main draw. Every time I seem to play a pretty good player in the first round,” Millman mentioned. 

John Millman at the 2020 Italian Open
Mandatory Credit: REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

“If you go back and look at the draws, I think its been Isner, Bautista Agut, Shapovalo, Zverev, and now Carreno Busta. They can all play the right tennis,” he said. 

However, one can’t resent too much on a loss, as there’s lots ahead in the future. Likewise, Millman wants to shrug off the French Open defeat and stay hopeful for what’s ahead in the calendar. “Yeah, look, I’m probably looking forward to getting off it, hopefully reset and go again,” Millman stated

Millman cited strict quarantine measures that he has to undergo if he wants to return home to his country. “You haven’t really got any other choices but to keep playing,” he added. 

Though his singles campaign came crashing, Millman still has to stay inside the French Open bubble. He’s also competing in the men’s doubles, with fellow Australian James Duckworth. 

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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“Let’s Box Tony!” – Dustin Poirier Responds to Tony Ferguson’s Training Video

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"Let's Box Tony!" - Dustin Poirier Responds to Tony Ferguson's Training Video

Former UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier hasn’t been in an action since his win against Dan Hooker on June 27 in the main event of the UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs Hooker.

While he was about to bag a fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 254, the lightweight thriller is far from materializing.

Following some tussles with the administrators over pay issues, Dustin Poirier opted to move out from the matchup. However, he was highly interested in facing Tony Ferguson. That said, Poirier is still interested in the fight as he recently called out ‘El Cucuy’ for a boxing contest on social media.

Dustin Poirier has some interesting ideas

After teasing a charitable MMA event against Conor McGregor, ‘The Diamond’ has again shifted his focus to Ferguson. Retweeting a clip of Ferguson’s latest training session, Poirier wrote in the caption, “Let’s box Tony.”

While Ferguson was showcasing his striking abilities in the clip, Poirier wants to square off against him. No wonder it will be an alluring matchup to see.

Poirer vs Ferguson is still in the air, as the administrators are yet to come to terms. Meanwhile, Poirier’s open offer to Ferguson can settle the tussle. However, it is still too early to say so.

Poirier (26-6) and Ferguson (26-4) are two of the most looming lightweights on the UFC roster. They are also the top-gunners in the current lightweight tale. Thus, a matchup between them makes sense at this point. An immediate victory will enable them to fight for the title against the champion.

Poirer and Ferguson are also A-listed strikers. It is no surprise that a fight between them will be stylistically alluring to watch. However, they need to settle the paperwork. If the fight materializes, fight fans will get to witness one of the best matches in the UFC.

What are your thoughts on Dustin Poirier vs Tony Ferguson?

Continue the conversation on the app, join other MMA fans on MMA Fans App

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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“AJ Went to Another Level” – Eddie Hearn on Anthony Joshua’s Sparring Session With Joe Joyce

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"AJ Went to Another Level" - Eddie Hearn on Anthony Joshua's Sparring Session With Joe Joyce

It looks like the unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and heavyweight contender Joe Joyce are set to clash with each other before their respective fights this year.

No, the clash won’t be a professional bout, but in the gym in the form of sparring. The two former Olympic medalists have sparred multiple times in the past while being a part of Team GB’s amateur program.

Joshua won the Gold in the 2012 Olympics in Beijing while Joe Joyce won a Silver in the next Olympics in Rio.

“There’ve been many bruising sessions over the years,” Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said.

“Joe has been around for many years on the amateur scene. When AJ was coming through, Joe was one of the experienced guys and some of their spars have been fantastic.

“Obviously AJ went to another level, but Joe is still an outstanding heavyweight,” Hearn added.

Who are Anthony Joshua and Joe Joyce’s next opponents?

Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) is set to face the IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev on December 12 this year. His last fight was a rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr., where he avenged his only loss and won his titles back.

Joe Joyce (11-0, 10 KOs) is scheduled to face fellow undefeated contender, Daniel Dubois. After the bout got canceled twice this year because of the COVID-19 lockdown, the date was finally decided to be October 24.

However, as the restrictions on gatherings did not ease up, the bout has been postponed again to November. As of now, the final date remains unclear.

With both heavyweights ready to slug it out in sparring, it will be interesting to see how “The Juggernaut” performs against an elite level boxer like Joshua. Although he has sparred with current WBC champ Tyson Fury in the past, the two champions have different styles.

As for Joshua, it will prime him for a big strong heavyweight like Pulev. Sparring different styles will also keep his timing right, as he will fight after an entire year. How will these sparring sessions help their overall game? Only time will tell.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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