Agonizing losses seem to come in bunches.With 20 seconds to go in the game, the Badgers were in need of a score after giving up an early lead. Wisconsin couldn’t create any offense to secure the win and faced a heartbreaking loss. Luckily for the men’s hockey team (4-4-0, 3-3-0 WCHA), they had another game to even things up with the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (4-4-0, 3-1-0 WCHA).On both Friday and Saturday night, Wisconsin took an early 3-1 lead over Nebraska-Omaha. While they were unable to protect such an advantage Friday night, losing 5-4, the Badgers held on Saturday night, winning 6-3.A total of 18 goals were scored in the entire series – of which only one goal was scored in the second period per game by the winning team – the amount of goals was minimal when compared to the multitude of penalties.In the two game series both teams combined for a total of 33 penalties. On Friday night alone there were 19 penalties, 15 of which came in the first period. For a comparison, Wisconsin only managed 22 shots on goal in that game.Friday night, six of the games nine goals were power play goals, four of which were in the favor of the Mavericks.Head coach Mike Eaves attributes the loss to UW’s poor penalty kill.“When you give up four power play goals yeah,” Eaves said. “We blocked some shots, we did some decent things, but the details in the end allowed them to score some goals that’s what we have to shore up.”“In college hockey, there’s a lot of special teams that comes into play. … [Friday night] we didn’t kill off enough penalties, and that resulted in a loss,” sophomore defensemen Frankie Simonelli said.Saturday night the special teams play swung in favor of the Badgers, as sophomore forward Mark Zengerle started the night off with a shorthanded goal 7:52 into the first.Simonelli netted the Badgers lone power play goal of the night with 15 seconds left in the first, putting UW on top of UNO 4-1 with two periods of play left to go.“We play with, ‘You go if you got the ice,’ and we got the ice,” Zengerle said. “It was going to be a one-on-one, and [Tyler Barnes] kind of jumped it. He did a great job selling the D-man and the goalie too there, and he put it right on my stick and I put it in the 6-foot frame or whatever it is.”Much like Eaves wanted, those little details were executed in a more consistent and stronger way Saturday night with Zengerle and Barnes leading by example.“We started doing rehearsals on who can do penalty kills for us,” Eaves said. “Mr. Zenegerle and Mr. Barnes – above and beyond scoring the short handed goal – they did a very nice job of showing that they understood what the scheme was when we’re killing penalties. They were willing to block shots, and I thought they really stepped up. They got some serious minutes added to their game because of that fact. That was a real pleasant surprise.”Youth is no excuseAt the beginning of the season, with all his Badger cubs in tow, Eaves would have been more than happy to end the first month at .500.Now that he’s seen what his team is capable of doing on the ice and the amount of goals they’ve scored – 28 goals in eight games – and multiple moments of tough play beyond their years, Eaves believes his team was capable of more than just an average month.“I think if somebody would have said that before the first month started, I think we would have taken it, especially considering the youth that we have, the untested goaltenders and all of that,” Eaves said. ” … We’re learning quickly. It’s nice to get some wins in all the things that we’ve been going through because it gives us good motivation to stay on course.”As for the players, they’re trying to shed the youthful image. Rather than using it as an excuse – which was one thing even Eaves cited during Friday’s postgame press conference – the players want to move beyond it.“We’re trying to get rid of that right away,” Zengerle said. “We don’t want the term ‘young’ to be an excuse for us. We want to grow and get as good as possible. We’re trying to swipe that label off us as we speak.”
Marco Gonzales, SP, Mariners. Gonzales did not shut down the Athletics offense in the opener, but he did pick up a quality start and a win by holding Oakland to three runs over six innings pitched. He only needed 69 pitches to get through the six innings and pick up four strikeouts. He is a solid pitcher, and this felt like the type of game we can expect more of from him, so his stock shouldn’t change much.Hunter Strickland, RP, Mariners. Strickland shut down the A’s offense in order in both games, picking up three Ks and two saves in the process. Strickland isn’t going to be a top closer this year by any means, but after these two outings I would be shocked if he continues to go at the 279 ADP mark that he had over the last week. Fantasy owners will always chase saves, and Strickland’s stock is going to rise with this strong showing.*ADPs are based on NFBC drafts. The MLB regular season is here! Well, sort of. However, fantasy baseball drafts are still taking place and perceived values will continue to change right up until opening day in the State. It’s important to pay attention to ADP trends and why rankings are fluctuating, be it because of injuries (Luis Severino) or particularly good/bad play.If your league already drafted, this piece can be used for trading and/or waiver wire purposes. Keeping up with the trends is crucial to fantasy success. So, whose values are changing and why? GET IT NOW: Fantasy Alarm Draft GuideFantasy Baseball Stock Watch: ADP risersMichael Conforto, OF, Mets. Conforto bashed his fourth spring training home run on Monday and the fantasy world is taking notice. Over the past week his ADP is inside the top 100 at 98, which is up five spots from his 103 mark in the previous week. To go along with the four home runs, Conforto has 10 RBIs, a stolen base, and is hitting at a .265 clip across 49 spring at-bats. He is coming off career-high totals in home runs (28), RBIs (82), runs scored (78), and stolen bases (3). All of which came despite a very sluggish April in which he hit .222 with just one home run as he was working his way back from his shoulder injury. If we just look at his post-break numbers, his stat line becomes very impressive, as he was able to hit .273 with 17 home runs and 52 RBIs across 256 at-bats. Conforto was my choice for “must-own” player in the Fantasy Alarm Bold Predictions, and even at his current increased price he is someone you will want to draft.Jack Flaherty, SP, Cardinals. Flaherty’s ADP has been on a pretty steady rise throughout the draft season, and it continued this week as it moved up another six spots to 53. Flaherty had a stellar rookie season last year, finishing with a 3.34 ERA and 182 strikeouts across 151 innings pitched. He was only 22 last year, but he already had the look of an ace in the making. His strong spring – 2.77 ERA and 19 strikeouts across 13 innings pitched – has done nothing but vault him further up draft boards as the season draws near. The Cardinals recently announced that he will pitch the second game of the season, and that also means that he will likely take the ball for their home opener on April 4. The Cardinals made improvements to their offense and to their bullpen this offseason, which should help the starters win more games and Flaherty could cross the 200-K mark, all of which make him a high upside grab in fantasy.Jorge Soler, OF, Royals. Soler had a massive jump in ADP this week up to 312, 47 spots higher that his 359 mark in the week prior. When looking at players this late in the draft it doesn’t take much for big ADP swings and Soler’s torrid spring – .310 batting average, four home runs, 14 RBIs, 10 runs – has seemingly done just that. Soler has long been thought of as a guy with big-time power potential, but he has never been able to put it together. Through five big league seasons his career-high home run total is only 12, but he has also failed to ever surpass 366 at-bats. The potential is still there, though, and if he can stay healthy he could finally be in for a bit of a breakout campaign. He is going to hit fourth or fifth in the Royals lineup and a 20-plus HR season is a possibility.2019 Fantasy Baseball Rankings:Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Reliever | Top 300Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch: ADP fallersWilmer Flores, 1B/2B/3B, Diamondbacks. Flores (potential) owners are not fans of the Diamondbacks recent signing of Adam Jones, and it shows in his ADP dropping to 443, down 57 picks from his 386 mark in the week prior. Flores was a popular late-round pick, as he was slated to be the D-backs everyday second baseman and flashed some pop with the Mets in a limited role, but the recent addition of Jones puts a big damper on those aspirations. With Jones coming in, Ketel Marte will be spending less time in CF and more time at second base. Flores should still see a healthy amount of at-bats, but he is no longer a trendy fantasy pick.Luis Severino, SP, Yankees. Recent news came out that Sevy is out until at least May, and it has sent his draft stock into an even further downward spiral. This week he was being draft on average at pick 91, down 25 spots from his 66 mark in the week prior. Shoulder issues can be tricky, and there is good reason to worry about his injury in regards to your fantasy roster. Of course, leagues with DL spots make it a lot easier to sit on him and get strong production once he comes back, but in leagues without DL slots he is a tough sell right now. He is electric and the Yankees will win a lot of games, but that doesn’t do you a whole lot of good if he isn’t taking the mound. His ADP will likely continue to slide as the season approaches.Sean Newcomb, SP, Braves. Newcomb was a popular late-round pick in last year’s drafts after he posted a solid 9.7 K/9 across 100 innings as a rookie in 2017. He made good on that pick in the first half of last season as he was 8-5 with a 3.51 ERA and 97 strikeouts at the break. However, a weak second half in which he posted a 4.58 ERA and 1.42 WHIP had his stock a bit lower heading into this year. Fast forward to spring training and Newcomb has been absolutely horrendous, sinking his ADP. This week his ADP was down to 264, a 32-pick drop from his 232 mark in the week prior. Newcomb has a history of control issues, so his 10 walks across 12 innings pitched in spring training are very uninspiring. He also only has seven strikeouts and has given up seven earned runs. Newcomb still has upside, but his stock is fairly taking a big hit.GET IT NOW: Fantasy Alarm Draft GuideFantasy Baseball Stock Watch: Players to watchWith our first two regular season games in the books, we have some action to discuss! No, two gamse should not change anyone’s stock/value, but if you have played fantasy long enough, you know it is going to anyways!Ramón Laureano, OF, A’s. Laureano had an abysmal first game of the season, finishing 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Strikeouts are a problem here, as he struck out 50 times across 156 at-bats as a rookie last season and already had 11 across 33 spring training at-bats before the opener. He was dropped to eighth in the order in Game 2, but he went 2-for-5 despite two more Ks.Tim Beckham, SS/3B, Mariners. Beckham had a really nice 2017, but he was a complete disappointment lastl year. However, it’s 2019 and Beckham is arguably the best player on the planet (kidding, of course). He had a monster first game as he finished 3-for-3 with a home run, three runs, two RBIs, and a walk. He turned in another two hits and a run in the second. I can bet you that you start seeing people pick this guy at the end of their drafts.Domingo Santana, OF, Mariners. Santana had a spot in this piece last week as a stock riser and went out and hit an opposite-field grand slam in his first game of the season. He then went 1-for-5 with an RBI and stolen base in the second game. You can expect his stock to continue to rise and it may get out of hand. I would not be surprised to see him start getting picked around 150 in drafts this week — and that might just be what it takes to get him if you want him.
The 2020 NFL season will kick off in one month with its Thursday night opener featuring the Chiefs and Texans. That means there’s no better time than the present to make picks and predictions for all the games of Week 1.As teams prepare for the action in training camp without any preseason games, the point spreads for the initial matchups that count are surprising in many cases. There is some uncertainty about teams that underwent a lot of offseason changes, making some established powers stronger favorites. Let’s dive right in to navigate those odds and hopefully lean toward the better bets as Sporting News launches its professional pigskin prognostications for another fun year. For now, the spreads come from Vegas Insider’s consensus sportsbook odds:MORE: Get the latest NFL Week 1 odds & betting advice from Sports InsiderNFL picks against the spread for Week 1Game of the Week: Buccaneers at Saints (-4, 49.5 o/u)Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, FoxDrew Brees and Tom Brady meet right away as new NFC South rivals after interesting offseasons for both venerable future Hall of Fame all-time greats. Brees might be starting his last season and wants to prove he still has it as a leader and passer after an injury-marred 2019. Brady will have a chip on his shoulder in trying to show New England made a mistake in letting him get to Tampa Bay. That should lead to a high-scoring duel as expected in the Superdome with both QBs deploying their myriad weapons for big plays. The Saints have the comfort of home, a tough place for visitors even without fans. They also are a little more established as a division power with the more reliable all-around defense.Pick: Saints win 34-27 and cover the spread.Game of Midweek: Texans at Chiefs (-10, 55 o/u)Thursday 8:20 p.m. ET, NBCThe first game of the season is the AFC game of the week. With Houston losing DeAndre Hopkins offensively and having a few more defensive issues, it is expected to slide from true AFC title contention this season, especially after two other teams in the division, Indianapolis and Tennessee, went further in the playoffs the past two years. Kansas City avoided a free-agent exodus and took care of both Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones. There will be extra energy in Arrowhead (even without the typical crowd noise) with the Chiefs feted as Super Bowl champions and eager to repeat as considerable favorites to do so. There will be no big comeback necessary this time as Mahomes picks up where he left off and puts Deshaun Watson in futile catchup mode.Pick: Chiefs win 42-24 and cover the spread.Lock of the Week: Eagles (-6, 45 0o/u) over WashingtonSunday 1 p.m. ET, FoxThis was an easy standout. Philadelphia isn’t getting enough love after further upgrading its defense with Javon Hargrave and Darius Slay and looking to be more explosive shape offensively around Carson Wentz. Meanwhile, Ron Rivera is trying to clean up a mess as the new coach of the Washington Football Team. The Ohio State first-round combination of Dwayne Haskins and Chase Young should show promise as the season progresses, but for now, this is a rebuilding team getting used to new offensive and defensive schemes. The short division road trip hasn’t been a problem for the Eagles in the past and they are Super Bowl contenders in contrast to Washington being in play for the league’s worst record.Pick: Eagles win 31-14 and cover the spread.Upset of the Week: Bengals over Chargers (-3.5, 44 o/u)Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET, CBSJoe Burrow isn’t used to losing or playing poorly. He also will be ready to go in Week 1 as Cincinnati’s unquestioned starter and can immediately bring his new offense to life with a better line, healthier receiving corps and deep backfield. This is a long road trip for AFC’s L.A. team post-Hard Knocks and its first game in a long time without Philip Rivers will have mixed results with Tyrod Taylor and the defense. Burrow provides a hint of what’s to come by helping the Bengals steal this one late.Pick: Bengals win 23-20. (Getty Images) (Getty Images) Cardinals at 49ers (-7.5, 46 o/u)Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, FoxThe Cardinals have some great vibes with Kyler Murray getting help from Hopkins and Chander Jones getting help from Isaiah Simmons. Kliff Kingsbury is a young offensive-minded coach to watch the way Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan once were in the division. They gave the 49ers two close, high-scoring games last season. But San Francisco remains strong and won’t let down in its first game at home after losing the Super Bowl. The 49ers might not have a healthy Deebo Samuel to start and the defense will need to adjust without Buckner, but they can still get it done here with their running game and greater depth of playmakers on both sides.Pick: 49ers win 27-24 but fail to cover the spread.Cowboys (-2.5, 50 o/u) at RamsSunday 8:20 p.m. ET, NBCThe Cowboys won’t be traveling to Southern California to train in Oxnard ahead of this season so they will want to make amends for missing out on their L.A.-area fans. Dak Prescott doesn’t have his long-term contract, but he will still be focused and motivated to have another big year with an extra elite weapon in rookie wideout CeeDee Lamb. Mike McCarthy will leave a strong first impression with his offense and defense pumped for the new coach. McVay saw his team further gutted talent-wise and Prescott will easily outduel Jared Goff as Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey can do only so much against Dallas.Pick: Cowboys win 31-24 and cover the spread.Steelers (-3.5, 47.5 o/u) at GiantsMonday 7:15 p.m. ET, ESPNThis is a rough season for the Giants schedule-wise. They face an elite defense at home right away in the Monday night opener and an offense that will go back to work with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger. Daniel Jones will take lumps against Pittsburgh’s pass rush after Saquon Barkley is contained, as T.J. Watt leads the charge against rookie tackle Andrew Thomas without Nate Solder to help. The Steelers also should wake up plenty in the passing game with Juju Smith-Schuster and Dionate Johnson.Pick: Steelers win 24-14 and cover the spread. Bill Belichick https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/32/2c/bill-belichick-010509-getty-ftr_m66b04x273go1ozonoyf2441o.jpg?t=1982002607&w=500&quality=80 Titans at Broncos (-2, 42 o/u)Monday 10:10 p.m. ET, ESPNThe Titans had their chance at the Chiefs and getting to the Super Bowl instead of the eventual champions. They remain in their run-heavy identity to set up the downfield passing game, now with Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill both getting their lucrative long-term contracts. The Broncos, however, are a buzzworthy team because of Vic Fangio getting more out of Von Miller and the defense in Year 2 and Pat Shurmur ready to help Drew Lock make a big jump with Melvin Gordon, Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler all adding to the weaponry. Denver matches that early vibe while Tennessee starts experiencing the expected letdown.Pick: Broncos win 23-20 and cover the spread. Raiders (-1, 47 o/u) at PanthersSunday 1 p.m. ET, CBSViva the Las Vegas Raiders. They are excited about their new identity and finished the final season in Oakland on the brink of the playoffs. Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock have upgraded wide receiver and tight end for Derek Carr, and the defense has two major additions at linebacker in Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski. The new-look Panthers are a very team with Rivera, Newton, Luke Kuechly, Greg Olsen and others gone, now led by Matt Rhule and Teddy Bridgewater. This is a tricky opening trip for the Raiders, but they are the better overall team with more known quantities.Pick: Raiders win 27-20 and cover the spread.Jets at Bills (-6, 43.5 o/u)Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBSThe Jets keep doing weird things with Adam Gase in control. Their defense seems more depleted and their offense seems to have the same old questions, with Breshad Perriman replacing Robby Anderson and Frank Gore backing Le’Veon Bell. There has been little buzz about Sam Darnold. The Bills have heard plenty around Josh Allen, who now can also throw to Diggs. Their defense remains solid for Sean McDermott minus Star Lotulelei and Jordan Phillips. They are the returning playoff team. The Jets are the returning mess of a team.Pick: Bills win 24-13 and cover the spread.Browns at Ravens (-8.5, 48.5 o/u)Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBSThe Ravens got stronger offensively around Lamar Jackson with rookie back J.K. Dobbins and younger, speedier wide receivers. They will recover well from the loss of Marshal Yanda to keep putting up prolific run-heavy numbers. The Browns figure to be far more efficient, balanced and explosive for Baker Mayfield and have real rebound playoff promise under new coach Kevin Stefanski. Baltimore is bound to start faster out of the gate while Cleveland works on finding its more grounded footing.Pick: Ravens win 34-24 and cover the spread.Seahawks (-1, 49 o/u) at FalconsSunday 1 p.m. ET, FoxThe Seahawks, with their power running game loaded to set up Russell Wilson’s big-play passing game and a revamped secondary, have rediscovered their old Super Bowl identity under Pete Carroll on top of their consistent winning ways. They have no issues under Carroll on these kind of cross-country trips, especially in Week 1 with no games before it. Wilson should pick apart former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s unit, leaving Matt Ryan under duress in a pass-happy scheme against a secondary ready to make big plays on the ball.Pick: Seahawks win 27-20 and cover the spread. Dolphins at Patriots (-6.5, 43.5 o/u)Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBSThe Dolphins should be sticking with Ryan Fitzpatrick with Tua Tagovailoa on track to start for them soon. The Patriots should see Cam Newton in their lineup, but there’s also a fair chance it could be Jarrett Stidham. With some QB unknowns, the running games, defenses and coaching will need to be the deciding factors. Bill Belichick has lost a lot, both in free agency to Miami and to opt outs. His protege, Brian Flores, has more optimism for Year 2. New England is in better position to grind this out while the visitors are breaking in a lot of new players and also have a new offensive scheme. Slow and steady does it for the Patriots in their first game in a long time without BradyPick: Patriots win 23-17 but fail to cover the spread.Packers at Vikings (-3.5, 46.5 o/u)Sunday 1 p.m. ET, FoxThe Packers won the division with a strong first season with Matt LaFleur. The Vikings weren’t far behind, as they also embraced a more quarterback-supportive approach with their running game and defense. Both ended up losing to the NFC champion 49ers in the playoffs. The Packers didn’t upgrade at wide receiver and the Vikings traded Stefon Diggs. Minnesota should remember being swept by Green Bay last season, including a home loss in September. Even with considerable change, the Vikings are a bit tighter defensively than the Packers and will dig deep with ball control to take the early division lead.Pick: Vikings win 20-17 but fail to cover the spread.Colts (-7, 46 o/u) at JaguarsSunday 1 p.m. ET, CBSThe Colts got Rivers to replace Jacoby Brissett in an attempt to better replace Andrew Luck passing-wise. But they are still a strong run-heavy team now with special rookie back Jonathan Taylor in the mix behind a mighty line. Another rookie, Michael Pittman Jr., is a key boost to the receiving corps. Indianapolis also is stronger in the defensive front seven with DeForest Buckner as the anchor. Jacksonville is rolling with more of Gardner Minshew, but the offense is in flux around him and the defense continues to lose more luster.Pick: Colts win 27-17 and cover the spread.Bears at Lions (-1, 44 o/u)Sunday 1 p.m. ET, FoxThe Bears have a heated but uninspiring quarterback competition between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles in training camp to be the Week 1 starter. The Lions should be getting Matthew Stafford back fully healthy from the back injury that removed the second half of his career-best season. They will have an improved running game with line upgrades and rookie D’Andre Swift to ease Stafford’s burden. Chicago has its defense but there’s not much else to trust as Detroit also should be a little better on that side than it was last season.Pick: Lions win 20-17 and cover the spread. Jon Gruden and Derek Carr https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/73/47/jon-gruden-derek-carr-121919-getty-ftr_l4m7ohtwbzhy1fp4bkqohvdcx.jpg?t=-1647552887&w=500&quality=80 (Getty Images) Kyler Murray, Kliff Kingsbury https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/6e/d1/kyler-murray-122020-ftr_a9kjbbvknodi1td5dil3k2e1x.png?t=1735395655&w=500&quality=80