While I am in full Bengals mode at the present time, I haven’t given a Reds update for a few weeks. While Cincinnati has practically made zero offseason moves, there are some rumors of Johnny Cueto rejoining his old team in the Queen City.
Cueto is now 36 years old, but still seems to have plenty of gas left in the tank. I think the young trio of Ashcraft, Greene and Lodolo could use an established veteran in the clubhouse and a reunion with Cueto would be more than welcomed by the majority of fans. I don’t expect a lot of success from this team next season, but watching the young talent we have will be fun and is needed for this team to gain experience and time in the Big Leagues.
While we are still quite some time away from Opening Day, looking at the current roster of Votto, India, Stephenson, Fraley, De La Cruz, Marte, Steer, Friedl,and many others still gives me hope that we can compete at a high level if we remain healthy. No matter what moves the front office makes, my advice to all Reds fans is to appreciate No. 19 again this season, as we don’t know how much time Joseph Daniel Votto has left on the diamond.
I have been watching him since I was in awventh grade and when he hangs up the cleats, I feel all Cincinnati fans around my age group will feel a piece of their childhood missing when tuning into a Reds game.
The Bengals and Buccaneers game was certainly a roller coaster of emotions. After being down 17-0 on the road against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, Lou Anarumo and his stellar defense quickly turned things around. The final score ended up being 34-23, as Cincinnati forced four turnovers in a single quarter and rallied off 31 points in the second half.
Former Bengal Giovanni Bernard even decided to help out his former team while missing the call for a fake punt, which truly changed the momentum of the game. While Higgins, Boyd and Chase all had touchdowns in the second half, it was the defense and special teams that led this team to a win.
Cincinnati is now sitting with a record of 10-4 with three remaining games against the Patriots, Bills and Ravens. After the Browns handed the Ravens a loss, it solely put Cincinnati in first place in the AFC North with a one-game advantage over Baltimore. While winning the AFC North is a major accomplishment, Cincinnati still has its eyes on a possible No. 1 seed in the AFC. Only two teams are above them in the AFC currently, which are the Bills and Chiefs with records of 11-3. We already beat the Chiefs and if we can beat the Bills, we will have the tiebreaker over them should we end up with the same record after regular season play.
We still would need someone to hand a loss to the Chiefs and after watching them this past week, they might have a harder time winning out than many believe. Enough with talking about the Chiefs and Bills thoug. How about that comeback win?
· Lou Anarumo does it again! No matter how bad things look in the first half, Lou manages to turn things around every time. He is the best defensive coordinator in the league and I hope he decides to stay here in Cincinnati, as I am sure he could fill a head coaching job if he wanted. I don’t know what he tells everyone at halftime, but they always adjust and come out ready to play in the second half.
· DJ Reader, Tre Flowers, Germaine Pratt and Logan Wilson were all a part of the four turnovers in the second half. While I talk about Reader, Pratt and Wilson each week, I was so happy to see Flowers take advantage of his time on the field.
· Tyler Boyd had surgery one week ago and somehow was already on the field and appeared to be the same “TB” that we all know.
· Mitchell Wilcox, welcome home! Mitch scored his first touchdown in the NFL and managed to do so back in his hometown. He has taken advantage of his playing time with Hurst being sidelined.
· Special teams played a huge factor in this game. Drue Chrisman placed a perfect punt at the 2-yard line and McPherson was magnificent on his field goal attempts and each kickoff. Our coverage on each kickoff was phenomenal as well, as we never allowed Tampa Bay to make it back to the 25-yard line.
· No lead is ever too big to come back from with this team. Even going back to late last season, this team never folds when they have to battle back in a game. When you look at past Super Bowl winning teams, this is always in the winning formula.
· There were certainly many negatives from this game and I could probably settle with just putting “the first half” as a bullet point, but there are some serious issues that need addressed if we want to make it back to the Super Bowl. The first thing that comes to mind is our slow starts. Yes, we managed to come back again, but we have to find a way to stop doing this to ourselves.
· Tipped passes at the line are beginning to become a problem for Burrow and the offensive line. Whether it is pumping more or the offensive line working on its technique, something has to be done, as these are costly plays that could be avoided.
· The injury plague is happening at the worst possible time. While I understand that we are still winning and have the “next man up” mentality, we need everyone to get healthy fast. Hilton, Hendrickson, Boyd, Higgins, Hubbard, Taylor-Britt, Hurst and multiple others need to be on this team and healthy for us to make another run this season.
Sports betting is coming
While I typically bring in a current or past player or broadcaster each week from the Bengals or Reds, this week I wanted to talk about sports betting, as this is major news in Ohio. Anyone who has been driving downtown, I am sure you have seen the “BetFred” signs all over the city along with “The US Gambler” and many other well-known sportsbooks and websites. Advertisements are all over social media and television and that is due to Jan. 1 being the first day of legal sports betting in the state.
I look forward to sitting around with friends and laying down a few dollars on the Bengals games each week, along with some parlays as entertainment. While I have stayed up to date with sports betting, I wanted to bring in someone who knows far more than I do in the sports betting world to discuss what is coming and to give some pointers for those who are interested in getting involved. Jason Dietz, founder of “The US Gambler,” kindly joined Matt’s Take this week for a Q&A to provide this knowledge and give details about his company.
Q: What is The US Gambler and why should someone choose to use your website?
A: “TheUSGambler.com is a website where we publish written and video sports and betting content. We provide daily articles, betting picks, and gambling industry news with an emphasis on being the go-to spot for the casual bettor. In my mind, for the casual bettor, there are two important factors: First, they want to read an article that is detailed but gets them to the point without too much betting jargon. Second, they may be looking to learn more about the betting they are doing, which is where tying in betting education to everything we do becomes of the utmost importance. We strive to provide the best sportsbook offers and betting picks as well (our NHL guy is currently hitting at a 66% clip).”
Q: Outside of providing access to many different sports books, does your website offer betting industry news and professional picks across the nation?
A: “Yes, we offer access to, and bonus offers from, the best sportsbooks in the country, but we also cover industry news. We’ve done stories this year on new betting states like Massachusetts and Ohio, as well as covering the Mattress Mack story throughout the World Series run.”
Q: For many in Ohio, this will be the first time that we have had access to sports gambling. What piece of advice would you give to new individuals looking to dive into the gambling world?
A: “This is a great question, and as I said, betting education is near and dear to me. As Ohio launches in the next few weeks, there are a few pieces of advice that I feel is important for first time bettors.
1. Bankroll management – Your bankroll is the amount of money you’re willing to lose on a weekly/monthly basis. Make sure that you decide how much money you want to bet and you don’t add any above and beyond that.
2. Bet in units – professional bettors will talk about units and it’s important to bet in terms of a set unit that you’re comfortable with. For example, if your bankroll is $1,000 for the month then you may want to bet in units (per game) of $50 or $100 max.
3. Don’t use credit cards – and this isn’t for the reason you think. It’s because when you deposit with a credit card into your betting cashier, you won’t be able to do a withdrawal to the card. I recommend attaching your bank account, using Paypal, or a debit card.
4. Go with your edge – bet on whatever teams or conferences you know best. If you know the team in and out then you have an edge!”
Matthew McAdow is a Peebles resident. He works in human resources in the nuclear industry and has been an avid Cincinnati fan his entire life. He is an Ohio Christian University graduate and has always enjoyed giving an honest opinion on multiple topics regarding Cincinnati sports.