Let's try some of these on for size:
FIRST NY NJ TEAM TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP
If no championship is won by the end of the 2013 seasons, all wagers will be graded no Action.
As of Tuesday, the YANKEES (+250) were two and a half games ahead of the Boston Red Sox in the AL's East division. I just hate to say it's going to be the Yankees; I am not a Yankee-hater, by any means, but I just see this as the kind of franchise that is fully capable of blowing it when the rubber meets the road. That also goes for the METS (+500), who have choked coming down the stretch the last two years, and have been beset with injuries this season. How many Stanley Cups have the RANGERS (+400) won since 1940? The GIANTS (+300) are a solid choice, and I wouldn't argue hard with anyone who wanted to go that way. My pick, though, is the NEW JERSEY DEVILS (+400), who are going to be near the top of the conference standings and got oh-so close to eliminating Carolina last year before succumbing in seven. I think they are the closest to a championship.
TEAM TO FINISH WITH THE BEST WINNING PERCENTAGE
The best win % MLB/NFL 2009, NBA/NHL 2009/10
No, it's not the YANKEES (+25-0). Why, you think they are going to win 110 games or something? You are dreaming. At least we knwo the GIANTS (+200 at BetUS) are fully capable of finishing with an 11-5 record. Will the ISLANDERS (+2000) win eleven games at all? I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Don't make the mistake of picking the JETS here (+900). They don't have Brett Favre anymore, remember? I don;t think the KNICKS (+1000) or the NETS (+1500) are reasonably capable of finishing with a winning record. We're sticking with the GIANTS.
THE FIRST NY-NJ COACH TO BE FIRED
Lawrence Frank +250
Scott Gordon +300
John Tortorella +300
Dick Jauron +400
Joe Girardi +350
Jerry Manuel +500
Lindy Ruff +500
Tom Coughlin +900
Rex Ryan +700
Mike D'Antoni +1000
The ones in the NYC area will all be on the verge of it at one time or another, if you believe what you read in the newspapers. SCOTT GORDON (+300) is coach of the Islanders, right? DICK JAURON (+400) is in an organization (the Buffalo Bills) which values stability a little more than others, and he's got a chance to do pretty well this season. REX RYAN of the Jets (+700) and MIKE D'ANTONI of the Knicks (+1000) ought to get another season or two, even if things go awry. JOE GIRARDI (+350) has probably weathered the storm with the Yankees. JERRY MANUEL (+500) is a legitimate candidate here, because his Mets have been in a bit of a free fall, and I don't think he's had any answers to meet it with.
LAWRENCE FRANK (+250) is the longest-tenured coach in the NBA's Eastern Conference, or close to it, I believe. I don't think he really fits the profile. The Nets are undergoing something of a makeover, using younger players and maybe gearing up for a move to Brooklyn with expensive free agents in tow. It would probably fit in with this new construction of the franchise for a coaching change to be made.
THE FIRST NY-NJ COACH TO WIN COACH OF THE YEAR
Mike D'Antoni +300
Tom Coughlin +350
Lindy Ruff +400
Joe Girardi +450
Rex Ryan +500
John Tortorella +500
Lawrence Frank +600
Jerry Manuel +700
Dick Jauron +800
Scott Gordon +1500
Ooh - this is interesting. I don't see D'ANTONI (+300) as a real contender, because his Knicks won;t show enough improvement. I don't know that COUGHLIN (+350) fits the criteria, unless his Giants finish 14-2 or something like that. REX RYAN (+500) will struggle with a rookie quarterback, which we'll talk about in a minute. GIRARDI (+450) won the award in the National League with Florida a couple of seasons ago, and there are too many really good candidates in the AL (like Don Wakamatsu of Seattle). I wouild maybe take a chance with DICK JAURON of the Buffalo Bills (+800 at BetUS), a good guy and a good football man who might just get there if his team can garner a wild card berth.
WILL DEREK JETER GET HIS 3000TH HIT AS A YANKEE?
Derek Jeter has 2651 hits as we speak, and he's 35 years old. I'm figuring it could be sometime in the 2012 season when he gets his 3000th. YES (-300), he will be a member of the Yankees, because (a) the Steinbrenner family wants to keep these "iconic" Yankees around for a full career if they can, and (b) I'm not sure who would want him, at an inflated price, as his range at the shortstop position has become more and more limited.
WHO WILL START GAME #1 FOR THE JETS?
Mark Sanchez -200
Kellen Clemens +150
I don't believe any of the illusion that the Jets are trying create that there is actually going to be a competition for the starting quarterback job, and if their intention was that Sanchez be "eased" into the job, they would have gone out and acquired some veteran whether it was Jon Kitna or Jeff Garcia or even a guy who has still not been signed by an NFL team, like J.P. Losman or Rex Grossman. They didn't, and they also have to know that Kellen Clemens is not a guy who can be a #1 quarterback in this league. Using him would constitute down time. Yes, SANCHEZ (-300) is not only going to be the starter in the regular season, I think he's been the starter since Day One of the mini-camp.
WILL TERRELL OWENS RE-SIGN WITH THE BILLS IN 2010?
NO (-160). It's WAY too cold up there.
(Charles Jay, a native of New Jersey, is a contributor to the BetUS Locker Room)