Happy Monday, my friend! Party's over and we're back to chip away at the grind together. Happy to have you here this morning.
We've got plenty to discuss after a few days off -- including a major soccer bombshell that dropped yesterday, a recap of the latest Jake Paul boxing circus, that very fun Dodgers-Padres series, and more. Oh, and I also managed to survive my first-ever IKEA trip this weekend. That counts as a sport, right? Because it should.
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Come ... have a seat at my brand new desk that I assembled all by myself (not to brag) and let's get to work on a big week ahead.
📰 What you need to know
1. Everything to know about the European Super League drama ⚽
We got a healthy serving of drama in the soccer world this weekend thanks to the bombshell announcement of a new European Super League that will include top teams from England, Spain and Italy -- including Manchester United, Barcelona, Juventus and several others.
The Super League intends on becoming a "new mid-week competition" that features 20 top European clubs, which may sound like exciting news to you if you're a big soccer fan. However, UEFA (European soccer's governing body) is clearly less than thrilled about the idea.
- The Super League would be separate to UEFA's Champions and Europa Leagues.
- UEFA released a statement slamming the Super League proposal, saying it's a "cynical project" that they intend to shut down. The governing body thanked French and German clubs for their "refusal" to join the breakaway league
- UEFA has threatened to ban clubs from European competition if they join the new Super League. FIFA has also threatened to ban any players involved from future World Cup competition.
- Several member associations -- including the Premier League -- also denounced the Super League
So, why would these clubs sign up for the Super League and cross UEFA, potentially risking bans? Well, it starts with the money, of course (it always starts with the money.) Each of the clubs invited to the Super League would earn at least $425 million, so I'd imagine that might've helped convince a few teams.
It'll be interesting to see where we go from here, though, because this thing has clearly gotten under the skin of the powers that be. Our Mike Goodman and Igor Mello have you covered with a full dive into the story and what might be coming next, but this thing has the potential to get ugly. And you thought we wouldn't have any soccer drama in a Champions League off week ... ha.
2. What does Jake Paul do next? 🥊
And just like that, Jake Paul has another professional boxing victory under his belt. The YouTube star made quick work of former UFC fighter Ben Askren on Saturday night, beating him via TKO just over one minute into their main event clash from inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
- Paul landed a brutal overhand right that sent Askren to the canvas. Despite beating the count, the ref deemed Askren unable to continue and called the fight off at the 1:59 mark of Round 1
- Paul moves to 3-0 in his professional career, though Askren is a the first professional fighter he has beaten
- Our MMA writer Brent Brookhouse: "Paul still needs to prove that he can compete against trained boxers, but has done everything that could reasonably asked in his trio of circus fights to start his boxing career"
As for Askren, he had a pretty tough night. He was introduced as "Ben Askew" by Michael Buffer then promptly got smoked by Paul. He didn't seem too distraught about the loss though, as he was seen smiling walking around backstage after the bout, but I guess making $500,000 for less than two minutes of work will do that for a person (as you might've guessed, some people believed the fight was rigged or that Askren took a dive for the check.)
Unfortunately, another Paul victory means we're probably going to have to hear him continuously chirp Conor McGregor as he campaigns for a bout again. At this point, I just want to see him fight a real boxer in a legitimate boxing match so we can truly figure out whether he's for real or not.
3. MLB weekend recap: Dodgers handle Padres; Yankees' slide continues ⚾
This weekend brought a baseball matchup that I've been looking forward to for a while, and I'm willing to bet it's one you've had on your radar as well: Dodgers vs. Padres. The NL West rivals (and two of the most exciting teams in baseball) met for the first time this weekend and somehow the must-see matchup was worth the hype.
Our Katherine Acquavella put together winners and losers from this past weekend in baseball and it's no surprise Mookie Betts and the Dodgers are winners at the top of that list.
- Winner: Betts and the Dodgers - It wasn't all good news for the Dodgers this weekend, as things got off to a rough start when Friday brought news that Cody Bellinger suffered a hairline fracture of his fibula. But Los Angeles took two out of three from the Padres, including a thrilling game on Saturday night that ended with Mookie making an incredible walk-off diving catch in center field. It was an absolutely electric finish to a game that felt like playoff baseball in April
- Loser: Yankees -- Uh, so we've got to talk about the Yankees. They entered the season as favorites to win the American League pennant but things are not going so well out of the gate. Not only are they at the bottom of the AL East, they're at the bottom of the American League ... period. They were swept by the Rays this weekend, making it five straight losses. The offense is abysmal and things aren't looking good
- Winner: Shane Bieber - Bieber recorded 13 strikeouts in his outing against the Reds, earning him a little bit of history in the process. He became the first pitcher with 10 or more strikeouts in his first four starts of a season since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893
You can find a few more winners and losers right here.
Can't say that I feel too bad for the Yankees, to be honest... Players choosing to retire in the middle of the season rather than play with that team any longer? Tough scene. But, hey, it's a long season and there's still lots of baseball left to be played. I'm not gonna let that stop me from enjoying every second of this disappointment and anguish, though.
The good news for everyone is that we won't have to wait long for another set of Dodgers-Padres. We're getting another series later this week and you better believe I'm already counting down the days.
4. The best NFL win total bets to make right now 🏈
We're still a little over a week out from the NFL Draft, which means that team rosters are still far from finalized at this point. It may seem a little early to attempt to predict how many wins each team will end the upcoming season with, but Vegas disagrees. William Hill Sportsbook released its win totals for each NFL team in 2021 last week and now our Jordan Dajani is here to help highlight some of the best early bets.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Over 11.5 (+100) - The Bucs won 11 games with Tom Brady at the helm last year and that's with some bumps in the road. They were swept by the Saints last season but Drew Brees is now retired and they'll have an extra game on the schedule
- Los Angeles Rams: Over 10.5 (+105) - The NFC West is definitely the toughest division in football but the Rams' defense was good enough to carry them to 10-6 last season. Matt Stafford working in Sean McVay's offense should help them win a few more games this year
- Dallas Cowboys: Under 9.5 (-130) - Dak Prescott will be back, but the Cowboys' biggest problem remains the defense. They can still improve over the coming weeks and months, but they're probably going to have to make major strides in order to justify betting the over here
Dajani breaks down some more team totals here, so feel free to take it all in. But remember, some of these odds and bets are likely to change based on what happens at the draft later this month. Tread carefully.
📝 Odds & Ends
- Celtics coach Brad Stevens reportedly turned down a seven-year, $70 million offer to coach at Indiana
- Joey Votto pulled off a sweet triple play that sparked a Reds comeback win
- Stewart Cink won the 2021 RBC Heritage over the weekend -- his second victory of the season
📺 What to watch today
🏀 Warriors vs. 76ers, 7:30 p.m. | PHI -8 | TV: ESPN
🏀 Jazz vs. Lakers, 10 p.m. | LAL +5.5 | TV: ESPN
🥇 The best thing I saw this weekend
Villanova quarterback Daniel Smith threw one of the most absurd touchdown passes you'll ever see over the weekend.