Friday, December 30, 2011

Bowl games, 1st week of the NBA, Tebow the Bears and Vegas picks

I gotta admit these 'filler bowl' games are a nice way to pass time during the days of the holiday season. Thursday night, 2 days before New Years Eve, sure I want to see a team barely escape with victory even though they scored 67 points. RGIII, this year's heisman winner is definitely going to the NFL next year. I really can't see him not excelling immediately. Andrew Luck may be a can't miss #1 draft pick but RGIII will be the better player and you know I'm right about things like this boo!

The NBA is picking up right where it left off and Kevin Durant is headed toward the MVP 30+ points at a time. Kevin Durant is everything Tracy McGrady was supposed to be. Lebron James dominance means absolutely nothing until june and if the Dallas Mavericks don't make the playoffs this year I can go back to telling everyone that Dirk Nowitzki is overrated who just happened to have a magical june '11 that made us forget his previous diappointments. Kobe Bryant can't drop 40 whenever he wants to these days but he is still the most skilled player in the NBA. I told ya'll last week that Portland and it's killer depth will be a dark horse this year and now you can add the 76ers to that list. If you are gambler bet against the Utah Jazz before Vegas figures out that they are 1 of the worst teams EVER!

Nice recovery Boston Red Sox for getting Andrew Bailey at a fraction of the cost of what you would have to had paid to keep Jonathan Papelbon. Nice work Chicago White Sox for re-upping with lefty John Danks, he's a stud who just had an off year. Nothing sounds more right than Alex Rodriguez getting radical procedures done on his body... in Germany...after being recommended by KOBE BRYANT! Their probably are only a few athletes that Germany would do this procedure for, Kobe, A-Rod, Jay Cutler, Barry Bonds... Tim Tebow you say?...(Genius alert)KEINE MOGLICHKEIT (That's no way in Germany)

Speaking of Tim Tebow I think his legacy takes a big hit if he loses at home to a crappy KC Chief team with Kyle Orton, the guy he replaced, at the helm. It's the equivalent of dumping somebody for someone else and then later that dumped someone turns out to be way better than the person you're with. This is just a game that special players win, period.

This Bears season hurts me more than other seasons, cause I believe that this was their best team they had in years, better than last years conference runner-up and yes better than their '06 Super Bowl team. They had special teams, a solid defense and very good QB play which has happened maybe 5 times in the last 40 years for the Bears, but thats the way the cookie crumbles.

BTW Tom Brady will probably finish 3rd in MVP balloting, but he's slowly making a legitimate claim to being the best player in the history of the NFL.

After going 6-9 last week on my football games, it appears that I indeed do not have a grasp on the NFL but I shall not be deterred.

Best Bets:
New Orleans o 54

Good Bets:
Denver under 37
Cleveland +7
San Fran -11

If you have a gambling Problem:
Bears +1
Green Bay +3
Buffalo +11
Miami over 41


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NBA preview, Shout-out to Dan Marino and Vegas Picks, Lots of Vegas Picks

Here's to Drew Brees, on pace to shatter Dan Marino's single season NFL passing yards of 5,084 set in 1984.

Football on Saturday and NBA basketball jumping off on Sunday - this really is Christmas. I'm super stoked for the start of the NBA season, not just to see if LeBron makes an assault up the legacy ladder or falls into a worse version of Karl Malone, not just to see the demise of the LA Lakers, which I thoroughly look forward to, or to see if the addition of Rip Hamilton and a healthy Carlos Boozer is enough to aid D-Rose to a Bulls title. The best thing about the NBA may very well be the addition of one Shaq Diesel, a.k.a. "The Big AARP" to TNT's NBA show. I have always thought that by far, the two most entertaining people in sports were Shaq and Charles Barkley, and now they are together. That, my friend, is must-see TV.

Here's to Tom Brady, on pace to crush Dan Marino's NFL single season record for passing yards set in 1984.

With a 66-game schedule crammed in, this will give teams with young legs and/or great depth a huge advantage over most other teams. In the East, will the Knicks run-and-gun style be a hindrance or help to Carmelo and Amare as they try and crack the upper echelon of the eastern conference? With Baron Davis likely missing the first 2 months of the season and no real pg help, I see them struggling, and the Celtics will have to sacrifice games with an aging group to keep their legs fresh for the postseason. The Magic will not be able to add enough help for Dwight Howard and may end up trading him, so they are also rans. Which leads us to the Bulls and Heat: I think the Bulls are ready, but not Heat-ready, as the Heat take out my beloved Bulls in 7 games. My dark horse is the Pacers because of their youth and depth.

Here's to Eli Manning, with an outside chance of passing Dan Marino's NFL single season record for passing yards set in 1984.

The Lakers with Lamar Odom were done for, and now without him, you can still a fork in them. I have to believe that they will try hard for the services of Dwight Howard, and that may change things, but if not, it will be fun watching weekly Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant melt downs. I still can't believe the Mavs won last year, and with the subtraction of Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea (yes, that's huge), it will not be enough to overcome one of the most overrated players in the history of sports...Vince Carter. The fade away 3-pointer is not what championships are built on.

The Clippers are for real, but I'm not buying them; they have 3 point guards and no shooting guard, so as they are constituted now they will be a solid tough out in the playoffs, and that's it. Plus, can anyone see head coach Vinny del Negro cutting down championship nets? The Blazers will have one of the best records in hoops this year with the great depth that they have, but I don't accept LaMarcus Aldridge as the go-to player that can take his team to the next level. I do believe in Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. This guy reminds me of Magic Johnson, not with his style of play, but because he comes across as a guy who just loves to play. If there's a game, lace 'em up. I bet that him and Russell Westbrook will take their game to new heights this year and, most importantly, take them to the finals.

Here's to Aaron Rodgers, with a slim chance to pass Dan Marino's NFL single season record for passing yards set in 1984.

Heat vs. Thunder: I wanna pick the Heat, but I'm gun shy. A few blogs, ago I blasted the Chosen One as the worst kind of superstar to have - you know, the one that says, "Come on guys, put your eggs in my basket. I'll carry them" - but when you really need him to carry them, he's like, "Who the f**k keeps putting these eggs in my basket? I can't carry my eggs, but I'm going to make it seem like your eggs are the the reason why I can't carry my eggs." Yeah, that dude. Here's the deal: there is a blueprint to guarding Lebron. You gotta have the right personnel for it, and the Thunder have it. The problem is that the Thunder don't have enough scorers (3 total on the entire team: Durant, Westbrook and Harden. Maybe 4 if you count Nate Robinson. I don't.) That is just not enough to win against a solid defensive team like the Heat, so I reluctantly will climb on the bandwagon yet again and pick the Heat in 7.

Yeah, yeah, so everyone is on pace to break Dan Marino's record, and that's great for the game of football, but let's keep it real. Dan Marino's season is way more impressive than what anyone does this season. Rule changes have affected the way the game is being played. The NFL has made it tougher for defenses to defend the pass, and as a result record numbers are being put up. Think Kobe 35 a game, A.I. 33 a game and Arenas 30 points a game when the league changed their rules dramatically in '06 to increase scoring. Defenses will make adjustments as the season goes on, and the numbers will come down a bit.

After a spectacular 3-0 week against the spread and the NFL heading into week 16, I feel that I should have a good read on all 32 teams, so here you go.

Locks of the week:
Phi/Dallas over 50.5: has anyone seen these teams play all year? This game will have 60 pts. scored easily.
San Diego/Lions over 52.5: Philip Rivers has hit his stride, and they will put up big points. So will Detroit.
Pittsburgh/St.Louis under 43: Both offenses have been woeful of late, and that will stay the course.

I feel reasonably good about these picks:
Redskins -6.5 over Vikings: The Skins have been playing solid lately, and the Vikes have not.
Panthers-7.5 over Tampa: Tampa Bay has all but mailed in the season.
Atlanta +7 over the Saints: These teams know each other too well for there to be more than a td difference.

These games I pick with scientific knowledge:
Broncos-3 over the Bills: When referring to the Bills, please reference my thoughts on Tampa Bay.
Titans-7 over Jags: When the Jags are down they have to turn to Blaine Gabbert, and he's awful.
Ravens -13 over Cleveland: The Ravens always bounce back after a horrible loss.

Um, a tad bit of guess work:
Chiefs-2.5 over the Raiders: Yes, I believe in Kyle Orton.
Bears/Packers under 44: No way the bears score more than 14, which means the Pack can't score more than 30. They won't.
Houston-6 over the Colts: Arian Foster was on my FF team, and now my team is out so naturally Foster will run wild.
Seattle-2 over 49ers: Seattle is playing lights-out, and 49ers will have a MNF hangover.
Bengals-4 over Arizona: Cincy will win. The question is will it be by 3 or 6? I say 6.
Miami/NE over 48: The Pats will score, and the Fins will keep it close so the Pats will score some more.
Giants +3 over Jets: this is where the Giants do well, underdogs and on the road, even if they are playing at home...wait, what?
Merry Christmas to all and to all happy wagering!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Enigma that is Tim Tebow

Dead Men Walking! That's the proverbial term that best describes the Chicago Bears last week. They lost to Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos before they even suited up. It was just a matter of playing the game and letting it unfold, typical late-game Tebow magic. I know everyone says that if Marion Barber would have just stayed in bounds, the Bears would've never lost that game, but that's my point. In all of my years of watching football, I can only think of maybe one other time when someone's sole purpose is to run out the clock, and instead they run out of bounds, stopping the clock to give the team the ball back with time to efficiently drive down the field to score points.

It didn't matter that Barber didn't stay in bounds. This just happens to be one of the more improbable ways the Bears would have lost. If Barber stayed in bounds, the Bears would have punted, and you know what? The punt would have been blocked. If the Bears pinned the Broncos deep in their own territory with less than 20 seconds left, Tebow would have completed a 30-yard pass, and then there would have been a roughing the passer penalty for 15 extra yards, and the kicker would have made a 65-yard fg to tie the game.

"If only Barber didn't fumble in overtime!" Irrelevant, I say! Incredibly accurate kicker Robbie Gould (who had earlier made a 57-yard fg) would have missed a 37-yard chip shot. Mike Martz would have called a pass play for no apparent reason, and it would have resulted in an interception. I have figured this out: it's just meant to be. The Bears were doomed right from the get-go. The only problem is that they were gonna lose in the most heartbreaking fashion, and it is the worst loss I have ever experienced as a diehard Bears fan, surpassing the 38-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins back in 1985, which prevented them from going undefeated that year.

The frustrating thing is that everything I know about the way to win football games gets thrown out the window when it comes to Tebow. He's as unconventional as they come. Awful for 58 minutes, and the best there ever was for the last 2 minutes. It doesn't matter that his 7 wins have come against 4 scrubs at the opposing QB position (Moore, Palko, Ponder and Hanie), a QB who just came out of retirement (Palmer), another QB who leads the league in interceptions (Rivers), and another QB who is mediocre until the month of December and then plays really well (Sanchez). This guy still gets it done, even when you say, "No f**kin way they win this week." Does he gets too much credit? I think so...but I can't be so sure anymore. Does Marion Barber run out of bounds for any QB not named Tebow? I doubt it. The Broncos defense was horrid when Kyle Orton was QB. Enter Tebow, and now they limit every team to under 20 points, and when they don't, they make sure to score a defensive TD so that the Holy One has a chance to create his magic.

I don't believe this will continue. Is this a magical year? Unquestionably, but this can't be what Tim Tebow's whole career will be like. Why teams play a preventative defense against Tebow when he can't hit the side of a barn is a question I can't answer.

This week, the Broncos play the New England Patriots. They will have to score points this week. Tom Brady is the QB he's going against, an all time great. He will not be held to under 17 points. As a matter of fact, he will score at least 24 points, which means Tebow will have to score points the other 3 quarters. Of course, The Pats have one of the worst defenses in football, so perhaps the stars will continue to align for Tebow. In the end, I only know that every week something improbable has to happen for the Broncos to win, and something improbable does happen. This has made me consider the option of going to church, at the very least to have God Tebow-tize my picks for the week.

Detroit/Oakland over 47.5: This game has shootout written all over, as two undisciplined defenses will give up a ton of points.

Eagles/Jets over 44: The Jets are playing with incredible desperation, and Vick and the boys are playing for pride...shootout!

Bears/Seahawks over 36: There will be points scored in this game, even if it means 4 defensive touchdowns and 3 field goals. For those of you who don't know basic math, that's 37 points.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Baseball free agency, Stern oversteps his boundaries and Vegas Picks - I'm covering it all, Boo!

Congratulations to the Anaheim Angels for the best free agent pickup of the year. No, not Albert Pujols - C.J. Wilson. Getting C.J. means that they take the best pitcher from their top division rival, the Texas Rangers, and add a solid pitcher to an already solid pitching staff. To me, the Anaheim Angels are the front runner for the World Series title, but let's not put too much stock in this because I had the Red Sox last year at this time.

Kudos to the St. Louis Cardinals for not breaking the bank on the best player of this generation. Yes, Albert is a stud among studs, but paying someone 22 mil when he is 41 years old is just bad business. The Cardinals are a well-run, medium market organization that will survive this.

Mark Buerhle will continue to do what he did for the White Sox over the past 11 years - eat innings and be a model of consistency - but now that he's in the National League, he will do it a little bit better. A year ago, Hanley Ramirez was considered the best shortstop in the game, and now the Florida Marlins just traded for Jose Reyes to play shortstop. New manager Ozzie Guillen will have to earn his keep early and often.

Message to NBA commissioner David Stern: blockbuster trades are good for all sports! The NBA trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets, and Lamar Odom along with a gang of Rocket players to New Orleans was rescinded, and my initial reaction was, "Ooooh, I can't wait to see that episode on Keeping up with the Kardashians." My second reaction was, "The Lakers are better off for it." I think Chris Paul is great, but the Lakers were giving up waayyy too much for him. He's had durability issues, and the Lakers would've become incredibly thin in the front court, having not nearly enough talent left to trade for Dwight Howard. Another thing is that the Hornets would have been a better team with the trade. To me, this a clear attempt to protect small market teams from losing star players to big market teams, but isn't that one of the main reasons there was a lockout to begin with? I smell a clusterf**k!

I hear that it is inevitable that College Football is headed for a Final Four format, and that would be the smartest move in all of sports since the NFL expanded to 12 playoff teams. I already put my wager on Oklahoma at -15 over Iowa in the I-don't-know-what-Bowl, but I'm gonna make money. They will win by 40.

As I'm typing this blog, I'm watching a TV commercial promoting a movie that comes out on Christmas Day, The Darkest Hour, which is about the annihilation of the human race. Ironically, Christmas Day is the celebration of a dude who stopped the annihilation of the human race. That truly is a random thought!

I had big money on the Packers/Giants game last week, but I still kept turning back to see how Tiger Woods was doing. He's still the most captivating athlete on the planet.

Last week was a really tough week for me. I had several games in the bag, and they somehow fell apart for me in the 4th quarter. I look to bounce back this week. In my defense, I am just now recovering from my Thanksgiving weekend eating/drinking debacle. Thanksgiving Eve is the new New Year's Eve, but waaayyyy cheaper and without false promises of ridiculous resolutions like no more coke binges and only sleeping with 8's or better. (BTW, those clearly are not my resolutions.)

Jets/Chiefs under 37 - The Chiefs, excluding a BS hail Mary, haven't scored an offensive TD in ages. I expect that to stay the same against a stingy Jets defense, unless KC runs a whole lot of hail Mary plays.

Titans +4 over New Orleans - The titans are playing solid football, and the Saints are not the same football team on the road.

Dallas/Giants under 49 - This game is huge for both teams, and these offenses will sputter under the Sunday night spotlight.

49ers-4 over Arizona - The 49ers will wear down an underwhelming Cardinal team.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Kobe Bryant's Golden Opportunity, LSU-Bama and Picks of the Week

My shorties will get the best-ever Christmas presents. Why, you ask? If my kids get great gifts, they will be occupied for the day. If they're occupied for the day, then daddy gets to watch the return of the NBA season, which starts on this glorious day (better known for the birth of Christ), all the while drinking vast amounts of spiced eggnog and eating x-mas cookies.

Hooray, hooray. I was in serious doubt that this was going to happen this season, but the players put their pride aside and took a lesser deal, which in the long term will benefit them - now they are getting paid money they were never going to make back. I wasn't sure if this was just a rumor, so I did a little research, and all of the major malls where NBA teams play have acknowledged that giant hoop earrings, tight dresses and condoms with holes in them are flying off the shelves, which means those gold digging groupies are preparing for something.

This benefits me because not only do I get the satisfaction of not having to settle for the watered-down product which is college basketball, but I also do some of my best odds-making on NBA games, having once hit a 7-team parlay and several 5-teamers for sure.

The only person that benefits from the return of the NBA more than me is Kobe Bryant. A 66-game season is perfect for the Black Mamba. This is exactly what a 14-year veteran with playoff grind after playoff grind needs...a break. A non-season would not have nearly affected any other stars in the NBA. Lebron hasn't even reached his prime yet. Kobe is now playing for his legacy and that's it. If Kobe can sneak in another championship, it will put him in top 5 consideration - he's already firmly top 10. (I got him at #9 for those who want to know). Plus, he gets to do something that MJ never did - win a title without Phil Jackson.

Kobe should have fresher legs than he's had in some time, and you know he wants to win without Phil almost as much as he wanted to win without Shaq, He is keenly aware that he needs one more victory to tie MJ in titles, and this is his best year to do it. The downside is that Kobe Bryant is crazy, and without Buddhism to tame him and Ron Artest, it will be a tall order to bring back the hardware.

I don't think there is anyone better than Alabama other than LSU, but if they didn't play in the BCS championship, I would accept it without much complaint because often the two best teams in the country don't play each other for the title. Look at the Super Bowl, when sometimes the two best teams are in the same conference, and they don't get the chance to play each, well that's because they have a playoff system, and the losing team lost the right to play in the Super Bowl, while the college system doesn't have a playoff. It IS designed for the two best teams to play in the title game, not the two hottest teams, which is why they have a highly complex voting system to ensure that. I just talked myself out of that one. LSU and Bama SHOULD play each other for the title.

Last week I went 4-3. Still hovering over the .500 mark, so I'm not exactly losing anybody money unless you only play parlay cards. If so... stop it!

Bears-7 over KC - This is the kind of game where the Bears win by 21, trust me!

Green Bay-6.5 over - The Giants can't get out of the way of themselves and don't expect the Packers to stumble here.

Jets-3 over the 'Skins - Rex Grossman's Kryptonite is really good cornerbacks, and guess who has those?

Patriots-20 over Indy - This spread can't be high enough for me to not take this one.

Cincy-9.5 over UConn
LSU-13.5 over Georgia