NFL Week 1 Betting Guide: Spread, moneyline, over/under picks

first_imgAlthough defensive effectiveness is variable on a year-to-year basis in the NFL, it’s worth mentioning that the 49ers had an NFL-low two interceptions as a team last season. Yes, two. No other team had fewer than seven. That creates a positive outlook for the turnover-prone Jameis Winston, who has had a knack of throwing picks throughout his career. However, Winston’s mystifyingly-awful decision-making has led to a lot of scoring at times in recent years since he’s willing to take shots down the field. Armed with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard, among others, expect Winston to air it out a lot in this game, especially due to the question marks surrounding Tampa Bay’s running game. Meanwhile, Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco offense should have no problem going up the field against a Tampa Bay pass defense that was among the worst in the NFL last year. Get full access to all of BetQL’s NFL data and watch your bankroll grow! Week 1 DFS Lineups:FD Cash | DK Cash | FD GPP | DK GPP | Y! GPP | Y! CashNFL Week 1 Betting Picks: Spread pick of the weekAll data presented is as of Thursday evening.Ravens (-6.5) @ Dolphins The Ravens opened as 3.5-point road favorites, but after the Dolphins traded away their best players in a shocking and overt display of tanking, Baltimore’s line moved to -6.5. In case you were wondering, their consensus moneyline opened at -210 and moved all the way to -310 in that same span, as 82 percent of the money has been wagered on the Ravens (spread and moneyline). Baltimore ranked third in Football Outsiders’ Defensive DVOA last season and will immediately get an advantageous matchup against Ryan Fitzpatrick, a depleted Miami offensive line, unproven backfield, and underwhelming slew of receivers. Lamar Jackson’s dynamic dual-threat nature of quarterbacking could result in a bunch of easy points for the Ravens offense, as well. If there’s a blowout that will happen in Week 1, there’s a strong chance it will be this game.WEEK 1 DFS: Values | Stacks | RotoQL Lineup BuilderNFL Week 1 Betting Picks: Moneyline pick of the weekChiefs (-180) @ Jaguars Although 63 percent of tickets have been written on Kansas City’s moneyline, a whopping 89 percent of the money has been bet on Patrick Mahomes and company. We refer to that 26-percent positive difference as the Pro Edge, meaning the Chiefs are a sharp moneyline bet . Leonard Fournette is seemingly back to full health, Jacksonville’s defense should be formidable yet again, and the team acquired Nick Foles as an upgrade over Blake Bortles, but bettors are focusing more on a Chiefs offense that was the league’s top unit a wide margin last year according to Football Outsiders’ Offensive DVOA (and most counting statistics). Even though Fournette is a threat to run all over Kansas City’s defense, reigning MVP Mahomes should be able to move the ball with ease. Since a moneyline bet is simply picking an outright winner, think about who you have more confidence in: Mahomes in the second full year under Andy Reid with a slew of weapons around him or Foles in his first year with the Jaguars throwing to a questionable group of receivers. I’d take the former, even though the Chiefs are on the road.Week 1 Non-PPR Fantasy Rankings:Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | KickerNFL Week 1 Betting Picks: Over/under pick of the weekOVER 51.0 Total Points (49ers vs. Buccaneers)This game has seen the second-largest point total increase. After opening at 48.5, the total was bet up to 51.0, one of just three games on the entire slate to surpass the 50-point threshold. So far, 69 percent of the tickets have been written on the OVER, while 71 percent of the money has also gone there.  While DFS and season-long fantasy football leagues create a giddy feeling among football enthusiasts at this time of the year, tens of millions of American adults will wager on Week 1 NFL games this weekend — be it against the spread, on the money line, or over/under the total. BetQL helps bettors make informed decisions by giving them full access to their proprietary NFL Model. Premium members have full access to weekly Best Bets, public betting data, updated odds, line movement data, and all of their other tools to help ensure you make the most profitable betting picks possible. As always, I used BetQL’s features to inform my bets. Here are my favorite picks of the week. last_img read more

NFL Week 1 Monday Night Betting Preview: Odds, trends, pick for Broncos-Raiders

first_imgIt’s very hard to feel confident in the Raiders offense right away. Brown’s antics really threw off everything. The Raiders are left with minimal weapons after cutting Brown and should rely more heavily on Jalen Richard in the pass game. Josh Jacobs looks very promising, but there’s a lot that we need to see out of him and Gruden’s scheme before going all in on him. The rusher was the first tailback off the board in the 2019 NFL Draft, and he possesses all the skills that should make you excited. But, Denver should stack the box and force Carr to beat them, especially given the lack of receiving threats.Denver’s upside is all there and this is a game that you’ll want to be on their side in. A 2.5-point spread shouldn’t scare you off from betting heavily on Denver. As of Monday morning, 62 percent of tickets were written on the Broncos, while 77 percent of the money was bet on them.Both teams should employ a run-first offense in this matchup. That could keep the clock moving, resulting in the potential for fewer points. It wouldn’t be a shock if Oakland didn’t crack double-digits. What that being said, it makes sense to bet UNDER the 42.5-point total. Monday nights are exciting once again, and football fans should enjoy a competitive divisional battle between the Broncos and Raiders in the late game to cap off Week 1. Football is the No. 1 sport in America that’s wagered on, and there will be plenty of bets placed on this one given that it’s the last game of the week. BetQL is here to break it all down with odds and expert betting advice for your picks.The Raiders have been in the news constantly this offseason, from the cameras following them on Hard Knocks to the sideshow that Antonio Brown brought. After putting up with countless prima donna moves, the Raiders finally cut ties with the controversial wideout. The subtraction of Brown changes the potential outcome of this game drastically. Here is your guide to success for this matchup. Check out more betting numbers and information about the matchup on BetQL!When the Raiders have the ballComing into Jon Gruden’s second season at the helm of the Raiders, there’s something to be proven. This squad looks very different from what we saw in 2018, given that coach Gruden has had time to implement his own influence on this franchise. Older players have been sent packing for youth and some interesting playmakers have been added.The Raiders elected to shore up their offensive line, spending big on Trent Brown this offseason after he won a Super Bowl with the Patriots. Brown will guard Derek Carr’s right side and could help drastically improve his protection. Carr tied for 38th in average time to throw last season (minimum 128 pass attempts), so he’ll gladly take the upgrade.Unfortunately, not all went well (Antonio Brown). There is no silver lining for the silver and black in this scenario, as they gave a third- and fifth-round pick to acquire a player that caused a lot of issues and left after contributing in no way.The Raiders will have to use new receiver Tyrell Williams, and J.J. Nelson is questionable for the game, as he is coming off of a minor ankle injury. Fifth-round pick Hunter Renfrow, veteran Ryan Grant, and veteran backup Dwayne Harris round out the rest of the wide receiving corps, making them one of the worst groups in the league on paper.Points should be hard to come by for Oakland in this match, especially with the last-minute nature of Brown’s release. The Raiders will have to do something to address this incredibly weak unit, but in Week 1, they’ll have to roll with what they have. The experience that this group has is limited and they won’t be doing Derek Carr many favors. Carr had a hard enough time last season, and he’s due for more woes with the lack of playmakers around him.When the Broncos have the ballDivisional battles are always tight, and this shouldn’t be an exception. The Broncos acquired Joe Flacco in a trade and look forward to his leadership on the field. This is a major boost to the Denver offense, as Flacco is just 34 and is coming off his highest quarterback rating in a season since 2014. Flacco ranked 14th in Football Outsiders’ DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) last season, while 2018 Broncos quarterback, Case Keenum, ranked 29th.Flacco has two great receiving weapons in Emmanuel Sanders and the athletic Courtland Sutton. Sanders is said to look terrific after undergoing surgery on a torn Achilles’ just seven months ago, and Sutton could be primed for a huge sophomore season. Flacco’s presence should help open more lanes for second-year running backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman.The Broncos spent pretty big on offensive tackle Ju’Wuan James and then used a second-round pick on Dalton Risner, boosting their offensive line. This offense isn’t garnering enough credit around the league, and Flacco’s negative perception has made them an afterthought. Bottom lineUltimately, the Broncos should come out ahead at the end of this game. The team has improved tremendously on both sides of the ball and they should impose their run game on the Raiders. Oakland allowed the third-most rushing yards in the league last season, and you can be sure that Denver will pound the rock hard with their two young backs.last_img read more

Rams vs. Browns odds & line: Expert picks, analysis and a ‘Sunday Night Football’ parlay

first_imgBrowns ready for prime time (for real this time)?Beating the Jets with a backup quarterback on Monday night is one thing, and beating the Rams on Sunday night is something different entirely. This past week, the Browns defense dominated a Sam Darnold-less Jets squad from start to finish, rebounding for their Week 1 dud against the Titans.It was worse than the 23-3 score indicated. Baker Mayfield had thrown for 325 yards and a touchdown, Odell Beckham Jr. caught six passes for 161 yards and a dominant Browns defense recorded four sacks. It was a complete effort, but that is in the rearview mirror. Now the Browns have an entirely different test. Through the first two weeks of the 2019 season, the Rams have looked rock solid and are a strong bet on anyone’s NFL picks card. Sean McVay sat a bunch of starters this preseason so it was expected that in Week 1 there might be some rust. That rust would last all of one half.MORE: Get the latest NFL odds at Sportsbook ReviewCooper Kupp a difference for Rams once againMuch of the betting public was on the Saints for last week’s NFC championship game rematch, but I was not. The Rams were better on every side of the ball in Week 2 en route to a 27-9 win and a 2-0 start to the young season. So what was the difference last week, and why was the scoring margin so much bigger that the NFC championship game? That can be summed up in four words: Cooper Kupp is healthy.We already know how good the Rams are; they played in the Super Bowl last season. We know they have the best defensive player on the planet in Aaron Donald, the perfect quarterback for McVay’s system in Jared Goff and, when healthy, a top-three running back in Todd Gurley. What they lacked in the second half of last season was Kupp. When he went down with a season ending leg injury last year, so did Goff’s security blanket.Kupp was the receiver who Goff would look to any time a play would breakdown. He was his first look on third-and-short and when that went away last season, the offense became incredibly stale. Look no further than last week. We saw a very different Rams team against the Saints than we saw when the two teams played in last season’s playoffs. Kupp kept the chains moving for this offense. If he stays healthy this season, they have a great chance to be back in the Super Bowl.WEEK 3 NFL PICKS:Against the spread | Straight-up picksRams vs. Browns odds, picksThe Browns are not ready for this test. They are still showing the rust of the offseason. Despite the blowout win last week over a team that played their third-string quarterback, they looked very sloppy at times. They can’t afford that many mistakes against a Super Bowl-caliber football team like Los Angeles. In the most current NFL odds, the Rams sit as -3 favorites, with the total line set in most sportsbooks at 47.5. The Browns are at least one more year away from being able to hang with the big boys. At least, that’s what the analytics say. Currently the Browns are ranked 27th in Offensive DVOA and that’s not good enough against the machine that is the Rams offense. On the flip side, the Rams walk into the Week 3 matchup with the fifth-best defense in football, according to the number crunchers, which spells a long day for the Browns offense. The only saving grace the Browns have is the homefield advantage, and I don’t think it’s enough. There are levels to this game and the Rams are at least two above the Browns. Book It!Opening line: Rams -1 Total SNF parlay odds (+180)Parlay Leg 1: Rams moneyline (-164)Parlay Leg 2: Under 49.5 (-135)last_img read more

Experts dispute testosterone test for top female athletes

first_imgBarring South African runner Caster Semenya from competition due to naturally high testosterone levels would be like excluding basketball players because they are too tall, experts commented today, days before the top sports court is set to hand down a ruling.Having unusually elevated levels of the hormone — known to boost muscle strength and bone mass — is not enough to make a world-class athlete like double Olympic champion Semenya, who has dominated the women’s 800 metres over the last decade, they argued.The record for that distance was set in 1983 by a Czech runner Jarmila Kratochvilova, who has long been dogged by accusations of doping.“To become a great athlete requires at least 10,000 hours of training, focus, discipline, timing, coaching, equipment, and strategy,” lead author Cara Tannenbaum, scientific director of the Institute of Gender and Health at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, told AFP.“If we exclude women who have high testosterone levels from track events, will we then decide to exclude men who are extraordinarily tall from playing basketball?” she asked rhetorically.“It would be unscientific to make decisions on exclusion for men or women based on a single genetic factor alone.”The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is seeking to force so-called “hyperandrogenic” athletes or those with “differences of sexual development” (DSD) to seek treatment to lower their testosterone levels below a prescribed amount if they wish to continue competing as women.The Court of Arbitration for Sport will rule by March 26 on capping testosterone levels in women athletes at five nanomoles per litre (nmol/L) of blood.In non-athletes, testosterone concentrations typically ranges between 9 and 31 nmol/L for boys and men, and from 0.4 to 2 nmol/L in girls and women, Tannenbaum noted.But at least one study of elite track and field athletes tested after competition showed a far smaller gap — and even some overlap — between women and men, she pointed out.For this and other reasons, setting a limit of 5 nmol/L was “arbitrary” and discriminatory, she wrote in the BMJ, a medical journal.Semenya’s testosterone levels are not publically known.But from 2011 to 2015, she took hormone suppressants to bring her below a 10 nmol/L limit imposed during those years, and would clearly need to do the same if the lower threshold were validated.During that five-year period, her best times in the 800m were a second or two slower than before and after.The athletics world championships in Doha start on September 28.Responding to Tannenbaum’s editorial, the IAAF insisted that the 5 nmol/L limit “is not ‘arbitrary’”.“Rather, it is based on a comprehensive survey of all reliable reported data,” athletics’ governing body told AFP.In 2017, the British Journal of Sports Medicine study — commissioned by the IAAF — showed that women with higher testosterone levels turned in marginally better performances in the hammer throw, the pole vault, the 400m hurdles, as well as the 400m and 800m events.Other experts support the IAAF ruling, saying it is justified on biological grounds.“A profound increase in testosterone levels [at puberty] mediates not only male genital development but also greater muscle strength and skeletal growth compared with the female which is long lasting into young adulthood,” said Ieuan Hughes, a paediatric endocrinologist and emeritus professor at the University of Cambridge.These are impacts “which sports physiologists recognise to be advantageous in highly competitive events,” he said in written comment.Hughes challenged the accuracy of the study cited by Tannenbaum showing a male-female overlap in testosterone levels among top-level athletes, chalking up the results to “outliers”.“Even the lowest testosterone value in men is four to five times greater than the highest value in the female range,” he said.Chris Cooper, an emeritus professor of biochemistry in the School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences at the University of Essex, suggested “the current evidence is as good as we are going to get that both natural and doped testosterone levels enhance female sports performance”.Cooper pointed out that a “special protected space for female sport” exists because there would otherwise be “no female winners” in most events.Whether the IAAF rule is fair or “ethically right”, however, is a separate question, he suggested.No matter how the CAS decide, a subset of women athletes will no doubt decry the decision as unjust.For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.last_img read more

Surprise packet Pretorius lives up to all-rounder expectations

first_imgHaving lost what seemed an important toss and being forced to bowl first on a pitch that definitely looked like a favourable one for batting, South Africa’s bowlers once again combined very well to limit England to 262 for nine at the end of the first day of the second Test.While the proven attributes of Kagiso Rabada (18-3-63-2) and Vernon Philander (16-3-46-2) are well-known, and Anrich Nortje (17-2-54-2) is displaying his talent for fast bowling in thrilling fashion, the surprise packet of the pace bowling attack has been medium-pacer Dwaine Pretorius.The all-rounder has been chosen more for his batting, but the Proteas management have been clear that they expect the 30-year-old to contribute maybe a dozen overs per innings with the ball, keeping things tight and allowing the strike bowlers to rotate.It is a job Pretorius has done very well, with match figures of 24-8-49-2 on debut in the first Test at Centurion, and then 11-5-26-2 at Newlands on Friday.“Faf [Du Plessis, captain] and Mark Boucher [coach] have been very specific about my role – I just have to make sure I go for as few runs as possible, dry up an end and build pressure for the strike bowlers. I think I’m doing that,” Pretorius said after the first day’s play with some understatement.“I think the bowlers complemented each other quite well, we have two guys bowling at 150 and two who are very accurate, plus Keshav Maharaj played a very important role, bowling 27 overs for 68 runs and also getting a wicket. Vernon is world-class, always asking questions, and forms a very good combo up front with KG, and then I have the privilege of bowling with Anrich, who had some serious gas today.”While Pretorius was magnificent in terms of economy in his first two spells – he bowled seven overs, five of which were maidens, and conceded just six runs – he showed in 20 minutes before the second new ball was due how skilful he is.An impatient, but extremely dangerous, Jos Buttler had got to 29 and was moving all over the crease when Pretorius found a thin edge with a superb delivery that seamed away to have him caught behind. He then bowled Sam Curran, who has a Test batting average of 29.04, by nipping a delivery back into the left-hander, who was shouldering arms.“Any wicket before the new ball is important and I was just glad to contribute. In fact I’m just glad to be playing Test cricket, it’s a dream come true, a massive thing for a kid from Rustenburg. I don’t like being hit for a boundary and it was a big wicket to get Buttler because he was looking dangerous.“I hoped I would get a bowl from the Wynberg side all day because there was a bit of nibble from that end. Things went my way today and it was quite cool because it’s the first time I’ve really experienced the Barmy Army, although a lot of them got burnt today. It’s just a great environment with the Proteas now, with Kallis, Boucher, Harris and Langeveldt, there’s such experience we can feed off,” Pretorius said.For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.last_img read more

Chinese swimmer Sun Yang banned for eight years for doping offence

first_imgChina’s triple Olympic swimming gold medallist Sun Yang has been found guilty of refusing to give a doping sample and banned for eight years in an eagerly-awaited judgement from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday.The Swiss-based CAS upheld the appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the international swimming federation (FINA) and Sun, one of China’s most recognisable athletes who had already served a doping ban in 2014.Sun, who was accused of refusing to provide blood and urine samples when drug testers visited his home in China in September 2018, has the right to appeal the ruling at the Swiss federal court.For more sport your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.last_img

Solskjaer counting on Pogba, Rashford for restart

first_imgPogba has missed the majority of the campaign with an ongoing ankle injury, while Rashford seemed set to miss the rest of the season when he suffered a double stress fracture in his back in January.United returned to training in small groups last week and preparations are expected to be ramped up further for a return to action when Premier League clubs vote on resuming contact training on Wednesday.“Hopefully now we’ve proved we can do this safely and we can move to the next step. It’s been really enjoyable being on the training ground again,” said Solskjaer.“They (Pogba and Rashford) are looking good, they’ve joined training now and they’ve done everything the other boys have been doing. No reaction so far, touch wood.“When we get started, it looks like we can have a full squad to choose from.”The return of both players could be a major boost to United’s hopes of ending the season on a high in three competitions.Solskjaer’s men were three points off the top four in the Premier League when play was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.The Red Devils are also still in the hunt for silverware in the FA Cup and Europa League, which UEFA hopes to complete in August.However, Solskjaer may have to do without on-loan striker Odion Ighalo.The Nigerian was signed from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in January, but his short-term deal expires at the end of May.Despite United’s interest in extending Ighalo’s stay, Shanghai are reportedly keen for him to return to China for the start of their season.Ighalo scored four goals in three starts and made eight appearances in total for United.last_img read more

Leicester boss Rodgers left with ‘no strength’ by virus

first_imgThe Northern Irish boss is the second Premier League manager to confirm he had suffered with COVID-19 after Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta also tested positive in March.“I could hardly walk and it reminded me of walking up Mount Kilimanjaro,” Rodgers told BBC Radio Leicester.“We had a week off when we were supposed to play Watford (on March 14) and then the week after that, I started to struggle.”The 47-year-old former Liverpool and Celtic manager added his wife had contracted the virus as well.“For three weeks I had no smell or taste. I had no strength, and a week after, my wife was the same.“We were tested and both of us were detected with the virus.”England’s top-flight clubs have agreed a provisional restart date of June 17 after the season was postponed in March due to the outbreak, with Leicester currently third behind runaway leaders Liverpool and reigning champions Manchester City.last_img read more

NFL news and notes: Sam Darnold cleared to return; Saquon Barkley unlikely to play Thursday

first_imgThree things that matterSam Darnold set to return after month out with mononucleosisThe Jets quarterback has been out since Week 2 after he was diagnosed with the illness, but was cleared for non-contact drills last week and has made progress in recent days after being ruled out for Sunday’s loss to the Eagles.He’s back. pic.twitter.com/tftCZc8Lmx— New York Jets (@nyjets) October 8, 2019Darnold went 28-for-41 passing for 175 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in his lone start during the team’s season-opening loss to the Bills.De’Vante Bausby was temporarily paralyzed SundayThe Broncos cornerback was taken off the field on a backboard during the team’s win over Chargers and claimed he “couldn’t move” for half an hour after the hit.”I was never unconscious, I just couldn’t move, but I was still talking and everything,” Bausby told ESPN. “The doc, the neurologist said I was going to be fine and I just trusted that, and after about 30 minutes I was able to wiggle my toes and after a couple hours I was able to regain full mobility so I was straight, I was fine … They said I was paralyzed for 30 minutes, after 30 minutes I could wiggle my toes and after two hours I could move everything else.”It could be a while until Bausby is healthy enough to return.Jaylen Samuels out one month after surgeryThe Steelers’ second-year running back got hurt Sunday against the Ravens and underwent an arthroscopic knee procedure Monday. He has 18 carries for 50 yards and a touchdown, 13 catches for 83 yards and has completed 4 of 5 passes for 35 yards and an interception this season.”We had him evaluated and saw that that was necessary, so we made the decision to fix it ASAP and it was fixed yesterday,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told reporters.It’s a tough loss for an already-struggling offense that is already without quarterback Mason Rudolph, who remains in the concussion protocol. The team is also dealing with injuries to Steve Nelson (groin), James Washington (shoulder) and Mark Barron (hamstring).Two things that don’t matterSaquon Barkley unlikely to play Thursday vs. PatriotsThe running back suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 3 and was given an initial recovery timetable of four to eight week, but reportedly expressed confidence that he could beat it. Still, the Giants have taken a cautious approach with his injury and don’t appear willing to rush him back too soon, even if he did return to practice last week.New York is also likely to be without receiver Sterling Shepard, who entered the concussion protocol for the second time this season, and tight end Evan Engram, who is dealing with a sprained MCL.Rob Gronkowski joins Fox as NFL analystThe retired tight end is set to make his first appearance during Thursday’s pregame show when the Patriots host the Giants, which should make for some colorful commentary as he discusses his former team. Help appears to be on the way in New York.We dive into the latest news regarding Sam Darnold and other injury updates in the wake of more injuries in this edition of NFL news and notes. “I’m extremely excited to be joining Fox Sports,” Gronkowski said in a release. “For the past 25 years, they’ve offered viewers top-notch NFL programming from the field to the booth to the studio. Their deep talent roster is unmatched, which was important for me as I embark on this new chapter in my life because I’ll be able to learn from the best in the business.”One video you have to seeRichard Sherman claimed Baker Mayfield’s behavior at the coin toss gave the 49ers extra motivation in their win over the Browns Monday night. It sparked controversy — but did Mayfield really snub the 49ers?More Zapruder film from Handshakegate courtesy of ESPN. Baker Mayfield and Richard Sherman do a quick handshake before the coin toss, then Baker runs off after the coin toss and you can see Sherman wave bye to him. 🤝 pic.twitter.com/UQPPdGYYBT— Clayton Holloway (@HollowClay) October 8, 2019Tuesday’s tweet of the dayTexans quarterback Deshaun Watson launched his own foundation Tuesday that is dedicated toward education, health, housing and other causes to benefit families and youth.#Texans QB @DeshaunWatson has launched a foundation: A nonprofit dedicated to the support of education, health, housing and other charitable causes to support families and youth in underserved communities. Good stuff: https://t.co/9ERQ6COehC pic.twitter.com/6xrlF2nGYk— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 8, 2019last_img read more

Michelle Waterson driven to be UFC’s first ‘#MomChamp’

first_imgImagine pounding the mat in training camp, putting in 10 grueling rounds of work per day, only to receive potentially bad news … before even stepping foot into the Octagon.That’s Michelle Waterson’s current reality after ESPN reported Wednesday that Joanna Jedrzejczyk notified the UFC over a week ago that she would not be able to make the strawweight limit of 116 pounds for her fight against “The Karate Hottie” on Saturday night. “I can’t think about that right now,” Waterson added upon further thought. “Ask me again after Friday.”Hopefully, reporters won’t need to and Waterson gets to fight in her first five-round main event Saturday night, with the chance to inch closer to strawweight champ Zhang Weili and possibly become the UFC’s first “#MomChamp” as she so covets.”I would love to be UFC’s first champion who’s a mother, who has birthed a child and came all the way to the top,” she offered. “I’d love to share that journey with millions of people around the world.” Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearJedrzejczyk failing to make weight could put the proposed UFC Tampa main event in jeopardy and leave Waterson out in the cold to no fault of her own.“It seems like I’m in a bit of a pickle,” Waterson told Sporting News on Wednesday hours after the news broke.“It’s a bit disheartening,” she continued. “This is a huge fight — main event, title contention, five rounds — something that I’ve been preparing for my entire UFC career and I honestly feel the most ready I’ve ever been.”Waterson and her team at the renowned Jackson Wink MMA Academy specifically logged heavy rounds at camp to cater to Jedrzejczyk’s style, incorporating the Polish fighter’s penchant for volume striking and taking bouts the distance. So, to face the prospect that the fight might not take place at all is disappointing to say the least.“It does feel like I can’t catch a break,” Waterson admitted. “I’m like right, right there just in arm’s reach of fighting for the title and I have to fight opponent after opponent and then they tell me I have to fight Johanna if I want a shot. So, I say ‘Let’s do it. Let’s rock and roll.’ And then this happens.”Well, it hasn’t happened yet, as Waterson is still holding onto the hope that Jedrzejczyk makes weight Friday.“I know that Johanna is professional, and I hopes that she pulls through, digs deep within herself and shows up on weigh-in Friday,” Waterson offered. “If the winner of this fight gets to fight for the belt, she should make weight — not for flyweight, not for featherweight, for strawweight.”Waterson said her fighting spirit would want to face Jedrzejczyk even if she doesn’t make weight, although that decision would be up for discussion with her team.But Waterson can’t control what happens — or doesn’t happen — at the scale Friday. The 33-year-old did her part, entering fight week in the best shape of her recent memory and is raring to go Saturday night.Waterson has been on a tear lately, stringing together three straight victories in fights that she entered as the underdog. There was the split decision over Cortney Casey last April, followed by the unanimous decision over Felice Herrig that October and another unanimous nod over Karolina Kowalkiewicz this past March.When asked about the current streak, Waterson doesn’t point to what’s been working for her during the run, but what sparked it, instead. It took back-to-back losses against Rose Namajunas and Tecia Torres to wipe out her 2017 and ignite this surge.“A loss can tell a lot about a fighter,” she said. “I decided those losses were learning curves for me and a stepping stone to get one step closer to the belt.“I think if we all look in our lives at one point or another, there are things that we really, really, really want,” she adds. “But it’s only when you decide to take them that it actually happens and becomes a reality because if you only want it, it’s just is a dream. So, I just decided, ‘You know what? This is what I want. I know I could get it and I’m going after it.’”She certainly has done that and sincerely hopes that Jedrzejczyk, the self-proclaimed strawweight queen, upholds her end of the bargain. If the main event gets dashed due to Jedrzejczyk failing to make weight, perhaps the UFC can move Waterson into its UFC 244 pay-per-view, headlined by Jorge Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 2.Although she has blinders on for this weekend, Waterson admits that competing on the stacked card is appealing.“Yeah, because I’m a bad motherf …,” she said, stopping short of cursing, but clearly referring to the main event billing deciding the “Baddest Motherf—r” in MMA.last_img read more