Jim O'Donnell: Vegas-wise Brent Musburger isn't bullish on the 2021 Bears

  • Brent Musburger isn't figuring the Bears to leave much of a mark in 2021.

    Brent Musburger isn't figuring the Bears to leave much of a mark in 2021. Courtesy of Vegas Stats and Info

Updated 5/14/2021 2:35 PM

A WHOLE LOT OF OVER/UNDERS AGO, a green Northwestern grad was honing his chops as a beat writer covering the 1963 NFL champion Bears for The Chicago American.

Brent Musburger -- Montana-bred ageless -- is still watching and wishing good things for his first professional royal flushers.


But the primary voice and face of Vegas Stats and Info (vsin.com) isn't banking on an instant jump-up by Matt Nagy and his transitioning band of weaving warriors.

"The win total at DraftKings for the Bears is at 7.5," Musburger told The Daily Herald.

"I hate to say it, but I have to go under 7.5. Justin Fields isn't ready to start or the Jets would have taken him at No. 2 in the draft.

"Andy Dalton is just adequate. But of course, the Bears 'D" is excellent."

Musburger retains a front-row seat for pro football proceedings. He will enter his second season as radio play-by-play man for the Las Vegas Raiders this fall and already has one date triple-circled on the schedule.

"The buzz here is already tremendous for the Bears-Raiders game Oct. 10," Musburger said. "The town will be ready for a flood of Bears fans. I am willing to bet that it will be the most expensive ticket of the home season in Vegas."

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Musburger and vsin.com have already had a very impressive 2021.

Four years after its founding -- with nephew Brian Musburger and former Chicago newspaper whiz Bill Adee at its operational helm -- Vegas Stats and Info was purchased by DraftKings in March.

Under the precise guidance of the Musburgers and Adee, vsin.com veers more toward Wall Street-style content provider rather than weed 'em-and-whack 'em tout service.

And about that Bears-Raiders thrilla?

"Raiders 24, Bears 20," Musburger said.

"But Bears fans won't let that result stop them from having a great time in Las Vegas."

STREET-BEATIN': Ryne Sandberg apparently will keep truckin' like the do-dah man. The Cubs Hall of Famer has rather improbably signed on as a celebrity endorser for the Chicago-based cannabis retailer Verlife. (He may be giggling more during appearances on Marquee Sports Network.) ...


On the subject of brand impact, demand for Sox hit machine Yermin Mercedes continues to quietly grow. The white-hot rookie already has a "Yerminator" burger named for him at Freddie's on 31st Street and has influenced a new "hazy IPA" at Goose Island Brewery. ...

Many will say "au contraire," but a Jazz-Knicks Finals would be an engaging godsend for the NBA to end a most uninspiring season. (And Utah's Quin Snyder is Coach of the Year and fly-on Donovan Mitchell will be "Most Impacting Star Who Does Not Win MVP."). ...

The passwords for the 2020-21 Blackhawks were "thud" and "dud." Whatever is happening within the Wirtz family, hockey overseers must ask themselves: Is Stan Bowman really the fellow who is going to regenerate the Stanley Cup magic of the Joel Quenneville Era? ...

Mike Campbell -- president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association -- is telling all who will listen that gross purses at Arlington Park this bizarre season will be just below $20 million. With supplemental state-sanctioned gaming approved in 2019 (and rejected by Churchill Downs Inc.), according to Campbell, that figure would touch $50M. ...

Tom Smith (St. Viator, Class of '71) -- long one of Palatine's top cops -- after being asked to throw out the first pitch at a "Throwback Day" before a Lions-Benet Academy game: "My biggest worry was that I'd need a cutoff man."

AND FINALLY, 37 years ago, a young, dark-haired news copy editor fresh out of Northern Illinois kept making his presence felt around the convivial Daily Herald Sports Department of the prime Bob Frisk-Keith Reinhard Era.

His name was Barry Rozner and a short while later, he was officially a member of the floating fraternity.

From the start, it was clear the Wilmette native had an inordinate zest for the fray.

By the early '90s, he was The DH's Cubs beat writer and proved he could more than hold his own with the downtown diamondeers.

In 1997, Doug Ray, John Lampinen and Tom Quinlan gave him a sports people column to augment the estimable Mike Imrem, a savvy Vietnam vet who cut his first local bylines with The Arlington/Mount Prospect Day under the fabulous Linda Hamilton way back in 1969.

Rozner is announcing his departure from The Daily Herald this weekend "to see what life is like on the other side of daily deadlines."

He has been scrappy, competitive and by any measure, "a tough out."

In his new segment of life, hopefully all putts will roll right and true while he, wife Amy and daughters Maddie and Stefanie find nothing but peace at the center.

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at jimodonnelldh@yahoo.com.

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