Monday, August 23, 2021

2021 Topps Allen Ginter Baseball Review and Box Break

Topps' Allen and Ginter Baseball set traditionally appeals to a broad spectrum of collectors with it's vintage design and celebrity infused checklist. This year's 2021 Topps Allen and Ginter Baseball set stays true to form featuring the likes of Marc Anthony and Jason Biggs, alongside current stars and retired MLB legends. Old school collectors will be happy to see names such as Dick Allen, Vida Blue, Mo Vaughn, and Kent Hrbek in the set, as well as Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry getting his first Allen and Ginter card.

We took a look at the entire set, as well as spoke with Topps' communications manager Emily Kless about the set for our Forbes Sports Money column. Click here to read the review.

2021 Topps Allen and Ginter Box Break

Sunday, August 22, 2021

NL West Race: Will the Giants Hold Off the Dodgers?

San Francisco Giants / Pixabay

The NL West race has been fascinating all year. Tension is increasing as the playoffs approach, with the Dodgers and Giants practically shadowing each other’s results since the trade deadline. The Dodgers have been atop the MLB World Series odds all season long. It’s a different tale for the San Francisco Giants, who were widely tabbed as a .500 team at the start of the year. San Francisco has the advantage in mid-August and they keep finding a way to win even when games appear to have escaped them. Tussling in the standings, the teams also dueled at the trade deadline. Los Angeles was victorious on that occasion, landing Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. San Francisco was not left empty-handed, however, as they added Kris Bryant and Tony Watson to their roster of resurgent veterans and surprise breakouts. 

Schedule Challenges 

Holding a lead in the division, the Giants have margin for error. They can lose their three remaining games against the Dodgers and still be ahead. The schedule is not kind to Gabe Kapler’s team, though. The Giants have the fifth-toughest remaining schedule. There are 10 games against the Padres, six with the Braves and four with the Brewers. San Francisco has seen off the best MLB has to offer, beating the Dodgers, Brewers and Astros in recent weeks, but there are plenty of stern tests to come. Sitting middle-of-the-pack in schedule difficulty, the Dodgers also see a lot of the Padres. Crucially, they have 12 games against the Rockies and Diamondbacks. Dave Roberts’ club are the runaway leaders in run differential, contributing to a 50% chance of winning the division at FiveThirtyEight. Although doubted for months, there’s no question the Giants are the real deal. Holding off the Dodgers is going to take a special effort, however. They are on course to win over 100 games, which is a pace they need to maintain. The rotation must be strong, and the health of their veterans is crucial. 

Going Deep Into September 

Even pushing for a wildcard would have been a good season for the Giants. Looking to defend their World Series crown, the prospect of a one-game shootout just to make the Division Series will scare the Dodgers. The 2021 season has already been a great one for San Francisco. The entirety of the NL West race has been enthralling. It’s not over yet, and there are bound to be more twists and turns before the regular season wraps up on October 3rd. This division race is going to the final days of the regular season. After months of hype about the Dodgers and Padres’ fledgling rivalry, it is the old foes in The Bay who pose the real threat to the Dodgers’ NL West supremacy. This battle has history, it has massive fan bases, and it has star power. Projections might still give the Dodgers the upper hand, but it would be brave to bet against the Giants given what they have already achieved in 2021.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

2020 Topps Team USA Olympic & Paralympic Team & Hopefuls Set Review And Box Break

April Ross 2020 Topps Team USA Cards

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were nothing short of a miracle. Delayed a year by a global pandemic and devoid of fans at the live events, the Olympics gave many hope in a year filled with darkness. The athletes survived the uncertainty and pushed through an extra year of training to pursue Olympic glory. 

The United States emerged victorious at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, with 41 gold medals en route to a leading 113 overall medals. With attention in the athletic realm most often going to the ESPN mainstays, Topps has provided a stage in the trading card market for many of the amazing United States athletes with its 2020 Topps Team USA U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team  & Hopefuls trading card set

Base Set and Checklist

Tokyo gold medalist April Ross headlines the 76-card set, and is backed up by other familiar names including USA softball's Cat Osterman, as well as USWNT members Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle. In a somewhat ironic twist, men's beach volleyball star Taylor Crabb, who had to withdraw from the Olympics due to a positive COVID-19 test gets his rookie card in this set, as well as Tri Bourne, who was selected as his replacement. Collectors will also find cards from debut sports such as 3-on-3 basketball, skateboarding and surfing are also included. Click here for the entire checklist

Parallels and Inserts

Topps sticks with its Olympic theme by creating parallels in bronze, silver and gold colors, as well as serial numbered cards wrapped in the United States flag. Notable inserts include the For Pride and Country set, which detail the hometowns of the Olympic stars, as well as the New to the Games set, which gives collectors a primer on the new sports in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Cat Osterman 2020 Topps Team USA Flag Parallel

Autographs and Relics

Each box advertises three major hits including at least one autograph. The box provided for this review yielded two relics and an autograph of karateka Sakura Kokumai. The Olympic Champions autograph subset gives collectors a chance to get signatures from heralded Olympians such as Amanda Beard, Kerri Strug and Kurt Angle. 

Sakura Kokumai Autograph

Box Break And Final Thoughts

After watching the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, collectors now have another reason to familiarize themselves with the many athletes who worked to propel the United States to Olympic victory. While the set lacks the household names from Team USA Basketball (most likely due to Panini's NBA contract), it allows kids who compete in the lesser televised sports across the country to dream of having their own Topps card in the future.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Athletes Unlimited To Release NFTs For Its Softball And Lacrosse Seasons

Cat Osterman / Jade Hewitt 

Athletes Unlimited announced they will be partnering with GigLabs to produce exclusive NFTs for both its women's lacrosse and softball leagues this season. The NFTs will only be available for those who attend the matches and games in-person. 

The NFTs debuted during the first week of Athletes Unlimited's lacrosse season, with a different one being released during the subsequent weeks of the season. The set will expand during softball season which begins August 28th, 2021 in Chicago. 

Multiple 2020 Tokyo Olympians will be playing in Athletes Unlimited's softball league, including Team USA silver medalists Cat Osterman, Amanda Chidister, Kelsey Stewart and Janie Reed, as well as Team Canada bronze medalists Victoria Hayward and Sara Groenwegen. 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Understanding The Odds Of a Baseball Game

Betting can get you an impressive return on investment - though there’s one caveat. Sure, you can bet on any sport at random and have a chance of winning some sweet cash, but you’re more likely to get a profit if you know the odds for that particular game.

Today, we’re doing a deep dive into baseball odds. What do you need to know, and how can you use betting odds to help you to make the best possible betting decisions? That’s what we’re here to explain today. Keep on reading for more information.

Why Is It Important to Understand the Odds of a Baseball Game?

It’s pretty simple. When you know how something works, you are more likely to be successful with it. The same goes for betting. It’s entirely possible to make a bet on a random baseball game, and have a slim chance of winning. When your hard earned cash is on the line though, do you really want to take a chance on just guessing? No! That’s where betting odds come in.

Betting odds are determined based on a few different variables, and they essentially give you some indiciation about how risky your bet is. It helps you to make a decision that will give you the best return on investment. It helps you to figure out whether you want to take a gamble or play it safe. Ultimately though, until we learn how to see into the future with accuracy, there’s no concrete way of determining whether a team can definitely win. We can just make some sort of prediction based on the information at hand.

Betting Odds Explained

So, how do baseball betting odds work? It’s a little complicated, but let’s break it down.


The most common way that betting is done for the MLB is with money line odds. In other parts of the world, these are known as American odds.

Theoretically, it’s sort of similar to percentages. Let’s say that someone tells you that there’s a 75% chance that it may rain tomorrow. That could also be written as -300 that it may rain. It’s the same thing with baseball, to some degree.

We have a baseball game coming up. The New York Yankees - 160 vs the Houston Astros +140. Wait, what do those numbers mean? 

Well, as you can see, the Astros are +140. That little plus symbol essentially tells you that they aren’t favored to win. They’re basically the underdogs. The Yankees, on the other hand, are favored to win. If you bet on Houston, then you’re going to get $140 in profit for each $100 that you bet. Pretty neat, huh? Of course, you don’t have to bet 100 - this is just a little easier to understand since the $100 is used as an easy reference point.

If you bet on the Yankees, on the other hand, then you have to bet $160 for each $100 that you are looking to win. So if you want to make a slightly smaller bet, then you’d need to bet $16 for every $10 profit that you want to make. Because they are more likely to win, you’re not going to get as much money. Boo!

Other Kinds of Bets

You can vote on which team you want to win, but you can also bet on other parts of the game. They will usually all be expressed in moneyline odds.

For instance, you can bet on totals. These are the run amounts that are expected for the game. You can also bet on run lines. For instance, with this kind of bet an underdog team may have +1.5 odds, meaning that if they lose the game by just one run you could still potentially have a winning bet. If the odds for a team are -1.5 then the team in question would need to win by two runs if you wanted to have a successful bet. 

You can also bet on alternate run lines which are just a level up from this. Finally you have prop bets, and these are bets that you can make on something specific happening on a game. You may wish to bet on how many strikeouts a certain player may have, for instance. It’s worth looking into all of these bets, but if you’re just getting started it can help to stick to the basic moneyline bets for which team you think will win.

Baseball betting odds are complicated, but they don’t need to be rocket science! Now that you know all about baseball betting odds, you can make an informed decision about where you want your money to go!