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Good morning, pal! It's Thursday and we're in the home stretch now.

We've got some big stuff to go over this morning, but first I've gotta alert you to a breaking news bulletin. It turns out we don't need a vaccine for COVID-19 after all... we just need to defeat it with mutual respect. This incredible news comes to us via heralded medical expert Odell Beckham Jr., who made the following profound statement yesterday:

"I don't think COVID can get to me. I don't think it's going to enter this body. I don't want no parts of it. It don't want no parts of me. It's a mutual respect."  

And just like that, the pandemic has been squashed.


📰 What you need to know

1. Snell shines as Rays even up World Series ⚾

I hope you didn't jump to any conclusions or assume the Dodgers would run away with the World Series after Game 1. The Rays weren't going to curl up in a ball and concede defeat that easily, you know.

A day after dropping the series opener, Tampa Bay bounced back with a strong 6-4 win in Game 2 on Wednesday night. With Blake Snell on the mound, the Rays evened up the Fall Classic to make it a best-of-five the rest of the way. 

You want some takeaways from our baseball crew? You got it:

  • Snell dominated early: Tampa needed to find a way to slow down the Dodgers' explosive offense, and former Cy Young winner was up to the task. Snell didn't give up a hit until the fifth inning -- a two-run home run to Chris Taylor -- and things unraveled a bit from there, but his early dominance provided the Rays with stability out of the gate and they jumped out to a 5-0 lead
  • Lowe had his breakout game: Brandon Lowe was an abysmal 6 for 56 (.107) this postseason heading into Game 2 but he finally busted that slump with a big night on Wednesday. Lowe went 2-for-4 with two home runs in the victory. With a little momentum behind him, Tampa may have another impact hitter in the lineup... and they're gonna need all the bats working against LA
  • The Dodgers' youngsters are struggling: LA continue to use Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May as openers/relievers during this postseason and the young arms continue to struggle. Both had rough nights -- Gonsolin gave up a run in 1 1/3 innings of work while May gave up three runs in 1 1/3 innings. They now have a combined ERA of 7/02 in just under 17 innings this postseason

For a few more takeaways and some highlights from last night's game. feel free to head right here.

The Dodgers and their fans shouldn't feel too bad this morning. Game 2 didn't go their way but they still put up a valiant fight in the back half of that game and it felt like they still had a chance even after falling down by a handful of runs early. If you were hoping this series would be a back-and-forth battle, we're off to a pretty good start!


2. Penn State's Pat Chambers quits after investigation 🏀

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Michigan
  USATSI

Allegations of misconduct against Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall has been one of the bigger headlines of the college basketball offseason so far, and we now have another big name coach in a similar situation. Yesterday, Penn State men's basketball coach Pat Chambers resigned from his position after an internal investigation regarding allegations of inappropriate conduct. 

Here's a rundown of the situation:

  • Earlier this summer, former Penn State standout Rasir Bolton accused Chambers of making a racist remark toward him in 2019. Recently, separate allegations of misconduct have been made against Chambers and an internal investigation was launched. PSU AD Sandy Barbour didn't provide any details related to the new allegation but said no NCAA rules violations were involved
  • Chambers has been the head basketball coach at Penn State since 2011, amassing a 148-150 record without a single NCAA Tournament berth
  • Chambers: "Anyone who has ever coached -- especially at this level -- knows the exceptional amount of energy and focus it takes to deliver each and every day. This has been an incredibly difficult year for me and my family, and we are in need of a break to re-set and chart our path forward. So, I'm taking a step back to prepare myself for the next 20 years. I remain deeply committed to helping student-athletes reach their full potential on and off the court, and I look forward to giving my all for them in my next role"
  • PSU assistant coach Jim Ferry will serve as the team's interim head coach for the 2020-21 season

Obviously, this isn't great and the story has potential to get uglier based on the details of the allegation in question, but Chambers quitting (or being forced to quit) suggests that it could be pretty serious. Something tells me we'll probably be hearing more about this story in the coming days so it's worth keeping an eye on.

3. Shakhtar hands Real Madrid stunning Champions League loss ⚽

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Champions League Matchday 1 is officially in the books. We had eight more matches to take in yesterday and that slate brought some pretty surprising results. Let's jump straight into a few of the day's bigger takeaways below, and you can check out highlights from all of the action here.

  • Shakhtar shocks Real Madrid: In the most stunning scoreline of the day, Shakhtar pulled off a 3-2 win over Real Madrid in their UCL opener despite the roster being hit hard by coronavirus. The Ukranian club jumped out to a 3-0 advantage before very nearly blowing that lead, but they held on to beat one of the best teams in the tournament and put the rest of the field on notice. With speedy counters and solid defense, this success could be sustainable
  • Bayern poised to repeat: It was a really strong debut for Bayern Munich and... is anyone really surprised? They've been the most dominant team in the world this year and they look poised to repeat as Champions League title-winners. They crushed Atletico Madrid 4-0 on Wednesday and didn't even get any goals from their biggest names

Liverpool and Manchester City also picked up wins and three points in their respective group stage openers, so it was a pretty decent day for some of the bigger clubs on the circuit. That is, of course, with the exception of Real Madrid... or should we say Fraud Madrid? Nailed it. Owned. They'll never recover from that burn.

In all seriousness, Madrid could be in real trouble. They've lost four of their last seven UCL home matches and now their backs are up against the wall already. They've dropped 19 spots all the way down to No. 25 on Roger Gonzalez's updated UCL Power Rankings.

4. Prisco's picks for Week 7 🏈

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Washington Football Team
  USATSI

No World Series or Champions League action today but guess what we do have? Football, baby. The NFL kicks off Week 7 tonight and, yes, this Thursday Night Football matchup -- Giants vs. Eagles -- is about as appealing as a shriveled, day-old gas station hot dog... but when you're hungry, you gotta eat and beggars can't be choosers. Just shut up and gobble up the football without worrying too much about how it'll affect your health. 

Now, it's time to check in with Pete Prisco and his weekly predictions. A week ago I praised Prisco for his stellar picks record on the season while also praying for him to have one bad week so that I could make fun of him. And wouldn't you know it, my prayers were answered last weekend! Pete had his first losing record against the spread and HA WHAT A DUMMY. Eat it, Pete!

That felt great. Anyway, this week offers a shot at redemption and an opportunity to get back on track, so let's get a couple of his picks:

  • Steelers (-2) hand Titans first loss: In a battle of two unbeatens, Prisco has faith in Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers' offense taking advantage of a bad Tennessee defense. Pick: Steelers 31, Titans 23
  • Cowboys continue struggles against Washington (+1): Washington is limited on talent but they've got a good front seven, and that might cause trouble for Andy Dalton and the Cowboys' O-line. Also, Dallas can't stop a nosebleed on defense. Pick: Washington 24, Cowboys 21
  • Patriots spoil Jimmy G's return to New England: The Pats looked miserable against the Broncos last week but they hadn't practiced much due to the COVID-19 outbreak and it's hard to imagine them losing two straight on their home field. Pick: Patriots 27, 49ers 21

The rest of Pete's picks can be found here, and it should be noted that we're back to rooting for Prisco's success this week. All I needed was that one opening to dunk on him. That should hold me over until at least the trade deadline.


📝 Odds & Ends

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USATSI

📺 What to watch tonight

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🏈 Giants vs. Eagles, 8:30 p.m. | PHI -4.5 | TV: NFLN


📝 Top scores from last night

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Getty Images

Shakhtar Donetsk 3, Real Madrid 2

Shakhtar pulled off the stunning upset despite missing as many as 10 players due to coronavirus.
💵 Winning Wagers: Shakhtar +1300, Over (3.5) 

Rays 6, Dodgers 4

Brandon Lowe homered twice and drove in three runs in the victory.
💵 Winning Wagers: TB +125, Over (8)