NCAAF Picks ATS- Nov 28

Kent State Golden Flashes at Buffalo Bulls 

I am one of the very few that enjoys betting MAC games.  They are usually very unpredictable but in reality all gambling is unpredictable. We are going to be greeted with a great MAC matchup this weekend when Kent State goes to Buffalo.  The Bulls have been good to me this season putting up 49,42,42 in their first three games this season covering the spread and hitting the over in 2 of 3.  

Buffalo is led by a balanced offensive attack thanks to the emergence of Kyle Vantrease at QB.  They will obviously lean on the run game led by Jaret Patterson who came off of a record setting 301 yards rushing against Bowling Green.  Despite being a team that leans on the run the Bulls still move the ball at a fast rate.  They score quickly and that matches up nicely against a poor opposing defense that also moves quickly. 

Kent State will be able to match the pace of the Bulls to start the game.  They have an offense that is just as intimidating.  Putting up 62 and 69 in back to back games against bottom dwellers Bowling Green and Akron.  The Golden Flashes have an MAC elite QB in Dustin Crum coming off of 342 yards against Akron.  Crum is a solid talent but the offense is not what worries me about Kent State.  They will be able to put up points but it will be the fact that they have no answer for the explosiveness that Buffalo will bring.  Remember this Kent State defense just gave up 28 points to Akron.  This will be a fun game that likely hits the over in the 3rd quarter.  In the end Jarret Patterson puts it away late.  Rolling with the Bulls and the over. 

Pick: Over 67.5, Buffalo Bulls -7

Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan Wolverines

The matchup up of Penn State and Michigan would normally be a potential elimination game for the college football playoff.  This year it’s more like something that is an alternative on ESPNU.  While the records are not where these two programs would want them to be this is still a game that the fan bases can use for bragging rights in the Big Ten. 

The Wolverines made the switch last week at QB, removing Joe Milton for Cade McNamara.  The red shirt freshman McNamara immediately made an impact on the Wolverine offense, throwing for 4 TD’s and 260 yards.  He led them back against Rutgers, a loss that would be unacceptable to big blue.  Michigan will get to face a defense that has given up 180 points over their last five games.  Penn State’s issues on defense could open up some fun for the Wolverine’s new QB.  

Penn State will have to make up for their defensive issues by putting up points.  The main two themes for the Nittany Lions is turnovers and injuries.  Penn State loves to turn the ball over, they have a whopping 13 turnovers this season.  They will likely play this game without star tight end Pat Freiermuth which will limit the offensive pieces that QB Sean Clifford will trust.  

Both of these teams have a lot of questions without many answers.  Michigan seemed to find the spark they needed last week, Harbaugh may have found something in McNamara.  Penn State will be missing some key pieces on the offensive side and that will be the difference.

Pick: Michigan Wolverines -2

LSU Tigers at Texas A&M Aggies 

I hate unders about as much as I like gambling. This game with Myles Brennan would scream over to me, but he is still not there and I am perplexed at this being as high as it is.  The LSU offense has not been moving the ball at the same rate. Freshman QB TJ Finley is coming off of a nice game against Arkansas, throwing for 271 yards while not throwing a single interception.  The key to their victory though was the establishment of the run game.  LSU does not have the quick hitting powerful offense that they had last season and at the beginning of this season.  The way they win is by controlling the tempo on the ground.  

Texas A&M will enter this game looking to make a powerful statement by dominating the defending national champs.  In a similar fashion to LSU they want to control the tempo, they do that by playing slowly.  They rank 119th in team tempo this season, but lead the conference in time of possession.  They are also the top third down team in the conference. 

These teams are both going to play a slower style that should be won by the team with the more efficient offense.  That is Texas A&M.  They win, and it stays under.

Pick: Under 63

Overall Season Picks Record: 9-9

Ranking the top 5 NBA Draft Teams 2020

5. Miami Heat-

Precious Achiuwa, Memphis 

The Heat made the most of their single pick in the draft by grabbing Memphis big man Precious Achiuwa.  This is a classic Pat Riley making the most of what he has pick at #20.  A player that is comparable to Bam Adebayo in size and energy level, will fit right into the scheme that the Miami Heat want to play.  Achiuwa is still young, if he continues to grow and fill out he can develop into a nice transition center for a team that doesn’t want to sit in the paing.  

Achiuwa’s size could be a problem at times in the middle but in today’s NBA and his inconsistencies from mid-range and behind the arc.  He can still develop a shot over time but his energy will make up for his shooting trouble.  This was a great pickup from late in the first round, he will enter the rotation immediately. 

4. Boston Celtics-

Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt

Payton Prichard, Oregon

Yam Madar, Israel

The Celtics have long had a lot of draft night assets that they can never move.  They have had to find a way to make the most of each draft pick.  This year they found a way to address a serious need by grabbing Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith with the #14 pick.  Many consider Nesmith the best shooter in the entire draft.  If he had not gotten injured while at Vandy he could have found himself breaking into the top ten.  He will give Boston an immediate threat off the bench for a team that needed the long range help. 

Boston was looking for a backup point guard and landed four year Oregon Duck Payton Prichard.  Prichard will fit right into the Celtics system.  He will compete with fellow youngster Carsen Ewards, giving the Celtics some stability behind Kemba Walker.  He isn’t flashy but should be a solid ball handler and can play well in a great existing team defensive strategy.  

3. Dallas Mavericks-

Josh Green, Arizona

Tyrell Terry, Stanford

Tyler Bey, Colorado

Dallas made a lot of headlines by adding Josh Richardson from Philadelphia.  They had to give up the shooting of Seth Curry to obtain the talented guard.  They added two players that will likely compete for that role.  Arizona guard Josh Green and Stanford Guard Tyrell Terry.  Terry is a great off the dribble 3-point shooter that many saw as a potential first round sleeper.  Green is a great potential 3 and D player that will fit in nicely on the outside while Luka Doncic drives the middle. Finally they grabbed Colorado forward Tyler Bey who is a serious defensive worker that can handle some of the mistakes that others make on the court.  Three solid additions to a playoff ready team.  

Charlotte Hornets- 

LaMelo Ball, USA

Vernon Carey Jr, Duke

Nick Richards, Kentucky

Grant Riller, Charleston

Micheal Jordan may never get over his past draft blunders.  His career will always be linked to the Trailblazers selected Sam Bowie ahead of him.  Much like Bowie bad draft decisions have followed him.  Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison standout as just a few swings and misses from the former professional baseball player.  Grabbing LaMelo Ball with the #3 overall pick was taking the best player available no matter what their need was.  The Hornets got arguably the best player in the draft without being forced to move up.  Ball has great size at 6ft 7inches, instead of going to college he took his talents to Australia where he averaged 17 points, 7 boards and 6 assists per game in his first twelve professional games before the season got cut short by Covid-19.  Ball will have a chance to run the offense in Charlotte and they will build around him. 

Charlotte continued to grab great value by adding Duke’s Vernon Carey.  A preseason top ten pick in most mock drafts has shown the ability to do a little bit of everything on the offensive end.  After Vernon came interesting prospects Nick Richards, a big with some versatility and four year Charleston guard Grant Riller that projects to be a valuable piece in a rotation next season. 

Detroit Pistons-

Killian Hayes, France

Isaiah Stewart, Washington

Saddiq Bey, Villanova

Saben Lee, Vanderbilt

NCAAF Picks ATS Nov. 21

Cincinnati Bearcats -6 at Central Florida Knights

The Bearcats are on the warpath after the destruction of East Carolina on Friday night.  The offense has been the story for Cincy, scoring at least 38 points in their last four games. QB Desmond Ridder has been  His development throwing the ball has finally caught up with his athleticism on the ground.  His balance is seen as he has passed for 886 yards while rushing for 398.  Ridder along with Bearcats RB Gerrid Doaks have been a two headed monster on the ground.  The Central Florida defense has a problem defending the run, giving up 189 yards per game. As a team Central Florida is giving up 447 yards per game. 

For the Knights to have a chance they have to be great on offense behind QB Dillon Gabriel.  He leads a team that is #1 in the nation in total yardage per game at 619.  Gabriel will likely have nightmares of his last matchup against Cincinnati where the Bearcats picked him off three times leading to Central Florida’s first loss in 19 games.  This will be the toughest defense the Knights have played all season. Cincinnati ranks top 10 in most defensive categories and have already shut down three prevalent American Conference offenses, Houston, SMU and Memphis.  This should be a good game but the Bearcats defense will force turnovers and allow them to cover in the end.  

Pick: Cincinnati Bearcats -6

Liberty Flames at NC State Wolfpack

The Liberty Flames will travel to Raleigh North Carolina to take on the NC State Wolfpack in a game that will see two high powered offenses create fireworks.  The Flames have been one of the biggest surprises in college football with an 8-0 record and a win over Virginia Tech.  The Flames have won on the back of QB Malik Willis, who is coming off of a huge game against Western Carolina, throwing for 309 yards, 3TDS and adding two rushing TDs.  The Flames have had no issue putting up points this season averaging 39 per game (17th in the nation). 

North Carolina State has had an up and down season.  They sit at 5-3 after a 38-22 destruction of Florida State.  NC State has put up points as well this season averaging 33 per game versus much stiffer consistent talent then Liberty.  The Wolfpack are lead by QB Bailey Hockmann coming off of 265 yards and 3TD’s against the Seminoles.  He will be the best passer that Liberty has seen this year and will be trouble for a defense that has surprised many this year.  

Both of the teams will move fast and put up points in a hurry.  This game will be fun and profitable for over bettors. 

Pick: Over 67

Michigan State Spartans vs. Maryland Terrapins -6

Michigan State has been on an early roller coaster ride this season.  Reaching a high point in a victory over rival Michigan two weeks ago, they immediately plunged against Indiana getting shut out 24-0.  The Spartans have a real problem at QB.  Rocky Lombardi may be color blind as he continues to throw the ball to the wrong jersey.  With an amazing seven interceptions in just four games got him pulled late against Indiana.  He will not have to face a Maryland defense that forced three turnovers two weeks ago against Penn State.  

The Spartans will have to run the ball on Saturday to control the clock and keep Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa off the field.  Tua’s brother has begun to make a name for himself dissecting Big Ten defenses after his disastrous debut.  Tulia is hitting 72% of passes for a total of 676 yards and six touchdowns since the loss to Northwestern.  The Spartans will be able to plug on the run game but slowing down Tulia will not be likely.  

Michigan State will not be able to keep up with the Maryland offense which will ultimately be their downfall.  Spartans are rebuilding and they get a rested and fresh Maryland team that has found a great flow offensively.  

Pick: Maryland -6

Overall Season Picks Record: 9-7

Send Westbrook to the Knicks

Despite my clear hatred of Russell Westbrool, I find myself writing about him a lot.  That is because he is constantly doing things that continue my feeling that he is the most overrated player currently in the NBA.  I don’t say that because he is not talented or he doesn’t work hard.  Former teammates Steven Adams and Enes Kanter have come out publicly stating that he is their favorite teammate they have ever had.  Former high school, college and NBA teammates have raved about his work ethic.  I’m sure he has his moments, but honestly the fact of the matter is, he doesn’t make his team around him better and he doesn’t have an attitude to be a champion.  For those reasons he is perfect for the New York Knicks.  He is a big name that is a loser.  Sound familiar…Carmelo Anthony.   Here are three reasons why Russell Westbrook and New York needs to happen.  

He doesn’t have to actually win anything.

The Knicks have the third longest playoff drought in the NBA (7 years).  Even with adding Westbrook the Knicks won’t have an expectation of a championship.  The goal will be just making the playoffs.  Westbrook is really good at making the playoffs.  He just isn’t good at actually winning anything.  The East is still very weak at the bottom so Westbrook and some role players should be enough to get them to the 7th or 8th seed. If New York is able to get to the playoffs after this long drought it will seem a lot bigger than it really is.  Even if they get swept, no one will blame Westbrook.  

New York needs a star.

The Knicks continually have missed out on the key free agents.  They organizationa and the fan base have a ridiculous idea that they are really a great destination despite having one of the worst owners in the league, one of the worst reputations over the last decade and literally no pieces that will help a star get to the next level (No offense RJ Barrett).  

Grabbing Westbrook would still be a big deal around the league. He is a star, but he is a star that doesn’t seem to play well with others.  Paul George, Kevin Durant and now James Harden are three running mates that were just fine with moving on from playing with him.  The Knicks will legit have a player to build around but they will have to find the perfect player to put alongside him.  But who that idea.  The Knicks will have to most likely draft the running mate so that Westbrook can teach him the way he wants him to play. 

Getting Westbrook will get RJ Barrett out of New York (Hopefully)

RJ Barrett was second on the team with a usage percentage of 24%.  He did not have a great year in 2019-2020.  Barrett’s PER (player efficiency rating) was 10.7, the league average was 15.  He also had trouble with his shot, shooting just 32% from three (still better than Westbrook). Despite the fact that he did not have a great year, Barrett is still just 19 years old.  He has great size and has shown flashes of what he can be.  While the Knicks may want to keep Barrett to play along with Westbrook, the partnership really wouldn’t make a lot of sense.  Westbrook needs players that will stand on the outside and be ready to shoot. Barrett wants to drive the ball adn utilize his length and mid-range jumper.  If the Knicks truly wanted to develop Barrett they would not add Russell Westbrook.

Including Barrett in a trade with Houston would be good for both teams.  If the Rockets have no interest in Barrett, the Knicks could use him as a trade chip to pick up a solid #2 to work with Westbrook.   These two would never work well together.  

November 14 NCAAF Picks ATS

Illinois Fighting Illini at Rutgers Scarlet Knights -6.5

I rolled with Minnesota last week against Illinois with a similar line.  The Illinis have serious problems stopping the run and they will have to deal with some similar problems on Saturday versus the improving Rutgers Scarlet Knights. 

Illinois will once again be without their starting QB Brandon Peters.  Backup Coran Taylor looked overmatched against a very subpar Minnesota defense.  He will have to face a Rutgers defense that will bring a lot of pressure on the QB.  Rutgers has had two straight games where they have given up a lot of offense but those two teams were Ohio State and Indiana.  The top two offensive teams in the Big Ten this year. 

Rutgers looked great in week one versus Michigan State.  They followed it up with two losses but were able to put up points in both of those games.  The Rutgers ability to score will be the difference in the matchup.  With Brandon Peters still unable to play the Illini offense will not be able to keep up again.  

Pick: Rutgers Scarlet Knights -6.5

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers -10.5 at Troy Trojans

The undefeated Chanticleers enter this game looking to continue their dominance over the conference.  Their run game behind Torrance Marable has been the key factor in controlling the game and dominating opposing defenses.  Coastal Carolina has been efficient with the ball on offense, turning it over just 1.3 per game.  The run game has been heavy and effective allowing QB Grayson McCall to control the pocket.  He has thrown just 1 interception in 6 games and been sacked just three times total.  

Troy is coming off of a loss to Georgia Southern where they gave up 326 yards on the ground.  Troy’s defensive strength comes from their secondary which is bad news for them as the Coastal Carolina offense is very run oriented.  Marable and McCall both have the ability to move the ball on the ground which will open up plays downfield.  The run game will control the ball and the clock.  

The Chanticleers rank 11th in the nation in time of possession.  They will control the ball and the game.  Coastal Carolina is getting great value, they are 6-0 ATS in their last six games on the road.  Still not enough respect being given for Coastal Carolina,  they wll win by 17. 

Pick: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers -10.5

Texas State Bobcats at Georgia Southern Eagles -10

Texas State is 1-8 with a bad defense.  By bad I mean, very bad.  The Bobcats have given up 35 ppg and 475 ypg.  They will have to face off with a Georgia Southern team that is coming in with two straight wins. The Eagles are 3-1 ATS at home this season with covers over South Alabama and Troy.  

Georgia Southern QB Shai Werts doesn’t throw much but he dominates the ground game as the second leading rusher on the Eagles with 474 yards and 3 TD’s.  Georgia Southern have rode the run effectively all season and will have their way with Texas State who is giving up 190 per game on the ground. 

The Georgia Southern defense will be able to get tons of pressure on Texas State QB Tyler Vitt. The Texas State line has given up a staggering 22 sacks on the season.  The pressure will be to much for Vitt and company to overcome and they have to score to keep up with the powerful Eagles offense.  

Pick: Georgia Southern Eagles -10

Overall Season Picks Record: 9-5

Main Slate Draftkings Lineup

QB: Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans ($7,100)

Watson gets a week of rest ahead of a game with the Jacksonville Jaguars with their horrendous defense.  The Jags give up the 4th most fantasy points to QBs this season and Watson has already roasted them once with 29.86 fantasy points in week five.  Watson is moderately priced at just $7.1K.  What makes him a better choice than Justin Herbert or any other top fives is that his receivers are affordable.  He is easy to match up with Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks and Darren Fells.  

Other QB’s I Love:

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

RB: Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings ($8,200)

RB: James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars ($7,000)

Dalvin Cook is coming off of a monster performance against the Packers.  He will likely be very popular but the matchup is too good to ignore.  The Lions give 32 fantasy points per game this season versus RBs.  The Minnesota offense has very little interest in putting the ball in the hands of Kirk Cousins.  They will continue to feature Cook and he will dominate this matchup. 

James Robinson will have a rookie QB at the helm on Sunday when he faces one of the worst run defenses in the league.  The Jaguars, Texans game has one of the top totals in the league and Robinson will be a big part of that.  Robinson is hot, ride the hot hand. 

Other RB’s I Love:

Deejay Dallas, Seattle Seahawks (If Carson is ruled out)

David Johnson, Houston Texans

WR: Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans ($5,500)

WR: Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions ($5,100)

WR: Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs ($4,800)

Cooks is my choice to pair with Watson.  His cost at $5.5K is a main reason why.  He has three straight games with at least nine targets.  He dominated the Jaguars in his last outing against them going for 33 DK points. 

Jones Jr. may be without Mathew Stafford on Sunday.  Even without Stafford Jones Jr. should still be a great option against the subpar Vikings secondary. The Vikings have given up 15 touchdowns to wide receivers this year.  The Lions won’t have Kenny Golladay on Sunday and may have Chase Daniel under center but they are a team that consistently will lean on the pass.  

You can start nearly any Chief and have a great chance to get points.  Mecole Hardman is coming off a nine target game, his explosiveness is always a touchdown waiting to happen.  His price tag of $4.8K is too intriguing to ignore.  Hardeman has been the clear replacement for Sammy Watkins seeing 68% of the snaps, second on the team to Tyreke Hill.  Find a receiver on an offense this good at a similar price,  go ahead and play him. 

Other WR’s I Love: 

Any Seattle or Buffalo Receivers you can fit.

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears

Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers

TE: Noah Fant, Denver Broncos ($4,600)

Tightend has its top options.  Kelce, Waller and Andrews are always great but Noah Fant is beginning to find himself in that category. He is a target monster for a Denver team that doesn’t have a clear #1 receiver. Atlanta has given up the most fantasy points to the position in the league.  

Flex: Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers ($4,900)

Seems like Justin Jackson is now the #1 RB for the Chargers.  Coming off of a game where he got 20 touches and 5 total targets he has established himself in the Chargers backfield.  Jackson gets a great matchup with the Raiders.  He is a starting RB, in a great matchup with a close spread and a high potential total. 

Defense: New York Giants ($2,700)

They are a defense playing a bottom five offense.  Why not. 

Other Defense I Love:

Steelers (Duh)

Washington Football Team

NCAAF Picks ATS Nov 7

Boston College Golden Eagles -14 at Syracuse Orange

I was a big advocate of fading Kansas early this season.  My fade attention has now turned to the Syracuse Orange.  I loved Wake Forest last week and that paid off in a major way, I am looking at a similar story in this matchup.  This is the second week in a row that people are overvaluing the Orange’s showing against Clemson.  

Syracuse has given up a lot of points this year (33.29 per game).  The biggest problem has been a complete inability to stop the run.  The Orange give up 222 yards per game on the ground.   While Boston College no longer has AJ Dillon in the backfield they still have the ability to gain yards on the ground against the Cuse defense.  Boston College QB Paul Jurkovec has passed for 1,875 yards with 14 touchdowns.  He will have a chance to throw down field after BC establishes the run.  

Boston College is coming off of a tough loss to Clemson but they will have the chance to re-establish themselves against a putrid defense on Saturday.  This game should be closer to a 17 point spread.  The Golden Eagles are too strong on offense for Syracuse to keep this one close.  Give me BC.  #fadeCuse

Pick: Boston College -14

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Northwestern Wildcats -3.5

We are currently in a world wher Northwestern football is favored in a Big Ten football game.  The Wildcats are the most improved team in the conference, beginning the season 2-0 with wins against Maryland and at Iowa.  The Maryland victory looks even better after the Terps ran all over Minnesota last week.  The key to the Northwestern success was through the running game. They feature two very talented runners in Isaiah Browser and Drake Anderson. Browser is coming off of running for 82 yards against Iowa while Anderson was held in check in week two, he showed his explosive ability in week one going for 100 yards on just ten carries.

Nebraska started strong against powerhouse Ohio State in their first game, eventually the talent of the Buckeyes was too much as they fell 52-17.  Nebraska will need more from QB Adrian Martinez through the air.  He threw for just 105 yards versus Ohio State, he did lead the team in rushing with 85 yards and a touchdown.  Martinez will have trouble relying on his legs as the Wildcats have some of the top linebackers in the conference that will sure to have their eyes on him as he trys to leave the pocket. 

Northwestern will be able to control the ball with the run game and contain Adrian Martinez.  This game will be close but eventually the Wildcats will take control and run away with the victory, literally. 

Pick: Northwestern -3.5

North Carolina Tarheels -10.5 at Duke Blue Devils

North Carolina is coming off of a loss to Virginia.  Their second loss in the ACC since finding themselves in uncharted waters,  top ten in college football.  Mac Brown’s squad has squandered any chance of an ACC title or being legit competition for the big boys of the conference.  They have a chance on Saturday to take out some of their frustration on rival Duke.  

Duke’s problem will be stopping UNC QB Sam Howell.  One of the best in the country, Howell is coming off of a game where he threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns.  Duke has been middle of the pack against the pass most of the season but they have given up points to good offenses.  Behind Howell UNC should be able to get an early lead due to the fact that Duke gives up yards in chunks.  They are giving up 7.4 yards per attempt this season.  

With Carolina jumping out to an early lead they will force the Blue Devils to throw the ball to make up the advantage.  Duke QB Chase Brice is capable but has had a serious issue with turnovers.  Brice has thrown 11 interceptions while being sacked 22 times.  Duke’s only chance will be to hold down the talented Tarheel offense,  a task that seems unlikely.  

Pick: North Carolina -10.5

Overall Season Picks Record: 7-4

Cardinals trades that won’t happen but should.

Clint Frazier, New York Yankees

The Yankees are stacked with outfielders.  They could use some pitching depth.  The Cardinals are stacked with you pitchers and could really use some power in the outfield. Frazier is coming off of his best season in the bigs.  Filling in for Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge for a bulk of his shortened season, Frazier was able to finally show off the skills that had once rated him as one of the top offensive prospects in all of baseball. 

Frazier, 26, is still very young and can immediately be an impact bat in the middle of the Cardinals offense. Playing in 39 games in 2020, Frazier hit 8 homers with an ISO of .244.  Frazier’s power is the real deal, he hit 12 homers in just 69 games in 2019. He has shown an ability to continue to develop as he was able to have a career high .387 OBP this season while getting a nomination for the gold glove.  

The Cardinals could have a chance to grab a talented young hitter that is ready to get full time at bats.  The Yankees may not have the interest they once did in Carlos Martinez but a package of Martinez and another young hurler could be enough to grab Frazier.  This would be a win for both clubs.  

There is no reason not to go after Frazier.  The only argument anyone could make is that he is unproven long term.  Well all players are at some point and he has had a lot more success at the major league level than O’Neil, Bader, Thomas or Justin Williams.  

Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies

Why does everyone always talk about the Cardinals getting Nolan Arenado or Francisco Lindor?  What about Trevor Story. Like Lindor, Story is a free agent to be in after the 2021 season.  The Rockies likely will look to move Story for some assets if they think they will not be able to resign him. His abilities have been overshadowed by his fellow left side of the infield partner Arenado but his numbers match up very well.  Story has added speed to the arsenal over the last three seasons.  He actually led the league in steals in 2020 with 15.  

The power is what will attract potential suitors.  His numbers away from Coors have not been great but his six homers in opposing parks last season show that the power will travel.  It’s time for the Cardinals to move on from the Paul DeJong experiment.  While Lindor seems to be the popular choice Story could come at a cheaper price.  

Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals

Whit Merrifield is insanely underpaid. He signed a 4-year extension in 2020 worth just $16.25 million.  Kansas City is still a few years away from being truly competitive in the American League.  They have an asset in Merrifield that they can move for some serious pieces to complete their full rebuild.  Merrifield is a perfect fit for the Cardinals at the top of the order.  Putting him in front of Golschmidt will immediately be a step up from Kolten Wong and Tommy Edman.  

Merrifield has been on the market for most of his career in Kansas City.  They are running out of time to move him for top value and could be pressed to do so soon.  The Cardinals could get a guy that led the league in hits in 2019, two straight years of an OPS of .800 while stealing 111 bases since his debut in 2017.  Merrifield is a hit machine that is the answer for a leadoff spot that has lacked consistency. 

Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks

The Cardinals were able to raid the Arizona selling spree two years ago by adding Paul Goldschmidt.  There is a new star that Arizona may have lost faith in last year, Ketel Marte.  Marte was not the same player in 2020.  Coming off of a career year in 2019 a lot was expected of Marte.  The Diamondbacks dealt with inconsistencies in the lineup and rotation.  Marte and the rest of the team were never able to overcome their slow start.  

Marte fits into a similar mold as the aforementioned Merrifield but his youth and potential make him a potential steal.  Marte has not been given a chance to excel on a winning team where he is protected in the lineup.  Putting him in front of Goldschimdt will force opposing pitchers to throw to challenge him and when he makes contact the results have spoken for themselves.    

Marte is locked in to a serviceable contract that will at its max pay him just $12million in the final year. The contract is affordable and will finish in his age 30 season in 2024.  He is cheap and has a ceiling that is vastly higher than any option the Cardinals currently have.