More Penn State, Dwight Howard update, Mojo No Show, MLB, US Woman’s Soccer + Free Plays for Thursday, July 26, 2012

MLB Diamond Dust

Thursday MLB betting nuggets … note that today is a travel day with a heavy matinee card

The Pirates are 13-1 in Burnett’s L14 starts. The Tiger’s Verlander is 6-1 with a 2.27 ERA over his L7 starts. Seattle’s Jason Vargas is 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA over his L4 starts. Houston’ Dallas Keuchel is 0-2 with an 11.00 ERA in his last two starts. The Ray’s James ‘Big Game” Shields is 1-2 with a 6.18 ERA over his L6 starts.

Washington is 9-4 over their L13 road games. The A’s are a July best 16-2. Detroit is 14-3 over their l17 games. Milwaukee has lost six straight giving up 32 runs. Houston is 2-22 over their L24 games. Baltimore has lost three straight games while getting outscored 16-3.

The Under is 9-2 in the St Louis Cardinals L11 games. The Over is 14-5 in the Met’s L19 outings. The Under is 7-2 in Tampa Bay’s L9, the Under is 9-2 in the Tribe’s L11.

Penn State faced a four-year death penalty

Many wondered why Penn State just flatly accepted the harsh penalties dished out by the NCAA on Monday and now we know why. The Nittany Lions were under threat of a four-year “death penalty” sentence. The penalty hasn’t been used since the NCAA suspended Southern Methodist University for the 1987 season. SMU then sat out the `88 season on its own and has never fully recovered its status in college football.

Dwight Howard says, “Trade Me”

Wednesday, Orlando Magic officials flew out to Los Angeles to meet with Dwight Howard. They were rebuffed by Howard who asked to be traded as quickly as possible and made it clear that he’s signed his last contract of any kind with the Magic. The meeting reportedly got heated when Howard “pointedly asked” Orlando officials why he hasn’t been traded.
Despite assurances from the ownership level that he would be traded soon, but the Magic have shown no urgency to deal Howard. Deals with the Nets and Lakers have fallen through and a possible deal with the Rockets is looking less and less likely.

Jags say NO to Maurice Jones Drew

With new Jacksonville owner Shad Khan refusing to negotiate a new deal for Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jags stud tailback will begin what will likely be a long holdout today as Jacksonville opens camp. Jones-Drew signed a front-loaded five-year deal worth $30.95 million in 2009, and has out-performed his contract (he’s due $9.4 million in the final two years of that deal, though none of it is guaranteed). He’s averaged 1,440 yards per season in the past three years to go with 33 combined total touchdowns. The leverage would seem to be with MoJo as the chronically attendance strapped Jaguars don’t want to start a new year under new ownership with their best player on the sidelines.

US Women beat France 4-2 in Olympic soccer opener

The opening ceremonies for the Olympics is tomorrow but several events are already underway. Wednesday the US women’s soccer team opened play with a 4-2 win over France. The French, who were 0-13-1 all-time against the Americans, took a 2-0 lead after just 14 minutes on goals by Gaetane Thiney and Marie-Laure Delie but the US stomed back with four unanswered by Abby Wambach, Carli Lloyd, and two by Alex Morgan. The two-time defending gold medalists play Colombia on Saturday continuing group play.

Allmendinger agrees to a recovery program

Suspended driver A.J. Allmendinger said Wednesday that he will participate in NASCAR’s substance-abuse recovery program, a sign that he wants to get back to racing as soon as possible and avoid a fight over the accuracy of his failed drug test. Several media sources cited an amphetamine as the reason for the positive test. Allmendinger was waiting for additional data from the laboratory that might help identify the source of the amphetamine.

NASCAR applauded Allmendinger’s decision.

“We’re very pleased that A.J. Allmendinger has chosen to participate,” NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said. “As we have with other competitors, we look forward to the day when the program administrator recommends him for reinstatement.”

Free Plays

(MLB) Tampa Bay (Shields) -115 over Baltimore (Tillman) 12:35 PM EST

(MLB) Oakland (Milone) pick over Toronto (Laffey) 12:35 PM EST

(MLB) Dodgers (Capuano)/St Louis (Westbrook) Under 9 -120 1:45 PM EST

(MLB) Washington (Jackson) +119 over Milwaukee (Gallardo) 8:10 PM EST