WHY TYROD TAYLOR IS THE M.I.P. OF THE BUFFALO BILLS

The MVPs (most valuable players) for the Buffalo Bills are the most-gifted athletes on the roster -- running back LeSean McCoy on offense and tackle Marcell Dareus on defense – plus veteran Kyle Williams for his leadership.

But Buffalo’s MIP (most indispensable player) is Tyrod Taylor, because he is the starting quarterback and retread T.J. Yates and rookie fifth-round draft pick Nathan Peterman are the only guys behind him.

What if Taylor gets hurt -- not an improbability considering how often he runs the football – or is experiencing a brutal game throwing the football -- could the Bills win a game or two with Yates and/or Peterman?

Don’t the Bills desperately need another veteran for insurance at QB?

What if the Bills lost Taylor for the season -- the way Miami might have lost Ryan Tannehill?

My thumbs up for giving a look Colin Kaepernick didn’t go over very well with listeners and readers.

NO SURPRISE...BILLS ARE A LONG SHOT TO END PLAYOFF DROUGHT

If you have a strong feeling that the 2017 Buffalo Bills will end their 17-year playoff drought, visiting Las Vegas before this NFL season starts might be a profitable trip.

The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has posted lines for every NFL team to make the 2017 playoffs.

Buffalo is +550 to make the playoffs (bet $100 to win $550) and -800 to miss the playoffs (bet $800 to win $100).

For the record, the rest of the AFC East –

New England Patriots: -2500 to make the playoffs (bet $2,500 to win $100) and +1100 to miss the playoffs (bet $100 to win $1,100.

Miami Dolphins: +350 make the playoffs (bet $100 to win $350) and -450 to miss the playoffs (bet 450 to win $100).

New York Jets -- +2000 to make the playoffs (bet $100 to win $2,000) and -10,000 to miss the playoffs (bet $10,000 to win $100).

TWINS AND YANKEES ARE 1-2 IN FARM SYSTEM RECORDS

Most insiders believe the New York Yankees have baseball’s best farm system (the White Sox and Braves also get mentions). The cumulative record of New York’s nine affiliates entering Friday is 371-263 record (.585). That’s the second-best overall winning percentage.

Minnesota’s farm system has slipped a few spots in the  overall talent ratings but enters Friday with the best overall winning percentage: .587 (332-233).

Yankees – Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 69-41...Trenton 73-36...Tampa 64-45...Charleston 59-50...Staten Island 26-17...Pulaski 28-12...Dominican Summer League Yankees 21-31...Gulf Coast League Yankees (two teams) 16-14 and 15-17.

Twins – Rochester 63-47...Chattanooga 72-38...Fort Myers 57-51...Cedar Rapids 57-53...Elizabethton 26-15...Dominican Summer League Twins 37-15...Gulf Coast League Yankees (one team) 20-14.

FIVETHIRTYEIGHT COMPUTER LIKES DODGERS AND ASTROS

Here are the updated projections for the 2017 Major League Baseball season by the trusty FiveThirtyEight computer:

Final records – Dodgers 110-52...Astros 102-60...Indians 90-72...Nationals 95-67...Cubs 89-73...Red Sox 89-73...Yankees 86-76.

Run differential – Dodgers +257...Astros +211...Nationals +143...Indians +135...Yankees +129...Red Sox +90...Cubs +86.

Win World Series probability – Dodgers 28 percent...Astros 19 percent...Indians 9 percent...Cubs 9 percent...Nationals 9 percent...Red Sox 6 percent...Yankees 5 percent...Diamondbacks 3 percent...Rays 2 percent...Rockies 2 percent...Royals 2 percent.

BELLINGER WILL BE THE 18TH (AND ONE OF THE BEST) DODGERS’ NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Cody Bellinger has locked up National League Rookie of the Year honors. He’ll be the MLB-record 18th member of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers to be selected the league’s top rookie.

Bellinger’s final 2017 numbers (.268, 30 HRs, 71 RBI, .954 OPS entering Friday) in all probability will rank with the best of all the Dodgers’ Rookies of the Year.

Some of the others:

1947 Jackie Robinson -- .2097, 125 runs

1949 Don Newcombe – 17-8, 3.17 ERA

1952 Joe Black – 15-4, 15 saves, 2.15 ERA

1960 Frank Howard -- .268, 23 HRs, 77 RBI

1981 Fernando Valenzuela – 13-7, 2.48 ERA, 8 shutouts

1992 Eric Karros -- .257, 20 HRs, 88 RBI

1993 Mike Piazza -- .318, 35 HRs, 112 RBI

1994 Raul Mondesi -- .306, 16 HRs, 56 RBI

2016 Corey Seager -- .308, 26 HRs, 72 RBI.

I’d put Black, Piazza and Bellinger in the top echelon.

SHORT SHOTS

Opening odds (Feb. 16) on the August 26 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor “superfight” were Mayweather -2500 (bet $2,500 to win $100) and McGregor +1100 (bet $100 to win $1,100).The current odds (courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) have dropped to Mayweather -700 (Bet $700 to win $100) and McGregor (bet $100 to win $500). It will be interesting to see how much Mayweather bets on himself and more interesting if he has his bet runners wager on McGregor.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Friday, August 4

Nicholas Baptiste 922)...Kelly O’Hara (29)...Mareesse Speights (30)...Kurt Busch (39)...Jeff Gordan (46)...B.J. Surhoff (53)...Roger Clemens (55)...Mary Decker Tabb Slaney (59)...Bob Baumhower (62)... Caldwell Jones (67)...John Riggins (68)...Ken Dryden (70). Luke Easter was born on this date 102 years ago (1915) and died in 1979 at age 63. Rochester’s Bob Keegan was born on this date 97 years ago (1920) and died in 2001 at age 80. Barack Obama (56) and Billy Bob Thornton (62) are invited to the birthday party.

Saturday, August 5

Ben Heller (26)...C.J. Spiller (30)...Paula Creamer (31)...Lolo Jones (35)...Carl Crawford (36)...Will Allen (39)...Vasleri Karpov (46)...John Olerud (49)...Patrick Ewing (55)...Otis Thorpe (55)...Anton Stastny (58)..Bernie Carbo (70)....Roman Gabriel (77).

Sunday, August 6

Wilmer Flores (26)...Charlie Whitehurst (35)...Max Kellerman (44)...David Robinson (52)...Dale Ellis (57)...Bob Horner (60)...Andy Messersmith (72).

Apologies to Marv Levy for missing his 92nd birthday Thursday.