Category: Other Sports

Big Norm – Real Man of Genius

I’m thinking about taking Over 6.5 on Saskatchewan simply because of the man in Regina and video below:

 

Nick’s Over/Unders

I was going to do a “control” pick – kind of like when they have an animal pick games against the expert, or when Bill Simmons picked NFL games against his wife – because my interest in/knowledge of baseball is at an all-time low, and I didn’t know much about it even back when I cared.  So I thought it might be interesting to compare my know-nothing/random picks to two guys who actually follow MLB.  But then I realized that even staring at a list of team over/unders for 10 minutes and pretending to have any opinion would be way more time and attention than I’m willing to commit to baseball.  So in lieu of that, I present my Canadian Football League over/unders!

All lines were made up by me, because no one has posted any CFL over/unders, and I doubt anyone ever will.  But Bodoga does have 2012 Grey Cup odds currently posted, and the win totals I made up do roughly follow those odds posted at Bodoga, so they should be pretty fair.  And even if they’re not, I don’t know anything about how good or bad any team is, so I’m still shooting blind. I’m assuming that CFL teams play an 18-game regular season schedule (Roger Goodell is SO HARD RIGHT NOW) based on the fact that I looked at Montreal’s schedule this year and counted up 18 regular-season games and 2 exhibitions.  As an added handicap, my confidence points only go up to 8, because there are only 8 teams.  If I still manage to beat either Pat or Lou, he should be very ashamed.

Before I begin, I should point out that my extensive research process turned up an interesting fact: Last year was the first time ever that every CFL team was under the salary cap.  Good to know. Anyway, here goes:

8. Saskatchewan UNDER 6.5

Saskatchewan, besides being hard to type, is the biggest longshot to win the Grey Cup at 9/1. They’re also the most remote team, hailing from some God-forsaken place in the middle of nowhere.  They might not even be in a province for all I know.  We know about the dangers of a West Coast team travelling East in the NFL, but this should be worse: A North Pole team travelling South.  And probably East most of the time, too.  Add in the fact that ever since Ottawa folded, Saskatchewan are the only Roughriders left in the league, and I say they go under.  This is my Lock Of The Week!

7. Montreal OVER 9.5

I like their city, I like their team name (Alouettes), and their jersey is so heinous that it has to distract the other team.  Plus they have a unique homefield advantage in that the visiting team is so worn out from the strip clubs and hookers that they can’t give 100%.  Plus their QB was the subject of a good article on Grantland.  This is my Shoe-in Of The Week!

6. Hamilton OVER 11

They are the 4/1 favorite to win the Grey Cup, and their name is the Tiger-Cats.  Not the Tigers, mind you, the Tiger-Cats.  I’m not sure if this is just Canadians being over-specific, or if they’re talking about some bizarre mad science-style housecat/tiger hybrid.  I guess the idea behind that would be something that looks mostly like a tiger, but is smaller and capable of being domesticated, so that it doesn’t maul you during your magic act?  Anyway, I like the over.

5. BC UNDER 10

Even when it doesn’t stand for Boston College, BC still sucks.

4. Toronto UNDER 8

I’m assuming the Argos have the same problem as the Leafs – ownership knows they don’t need to put together a competitive team because the fan base is so rabid no matter what.  Plus I don’t like the fact that they gave away a home game to Buffalo.

3. Calgary OVER 9.5

Calgary is home to Bret “The Hitman” Hart and the biggest rodeo in North America, and that’s good enough for me.

2. Winnipeg OVER 9

Winnipeg’s team is called the Blue Bombers, which was also a nickname for Mega Man back in the 90s.  I played a lot of Mega Man video games back then, so I’m taking the over.

1. Edmonton UNDER 7

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that the win totals I made up add up to 70.5, which is 1.5 less than the total wins available.  (You’ll also notice that some of your life choices have been highly questionable.)  Given that, it seems like I should’ve picked more overs than unders, but let’s face it, I don’t really care.  Nor do I care to find out anything real about Edmonton or its team, so here’s something I just made up:  The Eskimos’ stadium is large enough to fit the entire population of Edmonton.  Sadly, this makes it the smallest stadium in the league, with a capacity of just 3,500.  With very little crowd noise, look for Edmonton to suffer at home.  Take the under, then sit back and pop the bubbly.

This and Dap

Want to throw some dap Louis’ way.  Back about a month and a half ago Louis proclaimed “Stanford cannot tackle.”  He went on to say he would take Oregon whenever the two played.  His analysis was spot on.  Stanford’s inability to tackle (and Andrew Luck being exposed) was probably the difference in last night’s game.  The only reason Louis did not end up putting bills on the bills (duck humor) was because his gf Deepa is a Stanford alum.  Great pick.

Follow up dap on that game.  A while back I gave a shout out to the web site Pre Snap Read.  In Week 1 Oregon loses to LSU.  To most football people, that spells the end of the season right there.  Paul Myerberg saw differently, starting Sept 16th.  I quote…

“Oregon has begun the process of regaining the confidence lost in that prime time defeat. It’s a process: it begins against Nevada, continues against Missouri State and culminates, Oregon hopes, by the time the Ducks travel to Stanford in November…Oregon’s not going anywhere, despite a early stumble, and still clearly controls its own destiny in the quest for a third straight B.C.S. bowl berth.”  Brilliant.

Boxing.  I did not see a split second of the Pacquiao fight, but does it not seem that boxing, unlike any sport I can think of, bends over backwards to reward the favorite?  So many times it seems that officials, refs, umpires, of insert random sport here are attempting to help the underdog.  Every time I hear about a decision in boxing, it relates to the favorite squeaking by.  This has to have gambling implications.

I took San Diego this week against the Raiders at -7, so a forewarning there.  But I am pretty hot this year in my pick against the spread league.  I am 18-10 (counting the San Diego game) so from here in I am going to post the picks I make in that league.  3 picks a week.  With one burned I will take Seattle +7 and Indy +3.  How ugly are those picks?

Quiet No More

April is traditionally a slow gambling month. Despite the NHL and NBA playoffs kicking off, there’s not usually much action to be found. Thankfully, a couple of items have popped up for this weekend:

Les Habitants

From Puck Prospectus:

December 19th is the line of demarcation for me. That’s when Montreal’s prime mover, defenseman Andrei Markov, returned from a freak injury suffered on opening night. At that point in the season––through 37 games––the Canadiens had gone a poor but rather fortunate 16-18-3 (.473 winning percentage) given the fact that they were 8-3 in extra time. Montreal detractors––which includes essentially everyone writing or talking hockey right now, from the conventional pundits to my sabermetrically savvy colleagues at Puck Prospectus––point to the uninspiring results of those early season Price-led, Markov-less Canadiens when explaining away how fortunate the Habs were to upset the Capitals and why they have no shot against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. But you’re talking about two completely different teams. Whether conflating those two teams indiscriminately, or conflating them in the name of collecting a larger sample size, you’re bound to get fooled by these Habs, and surprised by the results.

After Markov’s return, the Canadiens finished the final 45 games of the regular season with a fine 23-15-9 (.589 winning percentage) run – as hot as any Eastern Conference team over that stretch of games, other than––of course––Washington. Even more impressively, with Markov in the lineup and Halak in goal, Montreal transformed from a team scoring 2.47 GF/game (30th in NHL) and allowing 2.88 GA/game (18th in NHL) with -0.41 GD/game (25th in NHL) to a team scoring 2.91 GF/game (8th in NHL) and allowing 2.48 GA/game (4th in NHL) with a 0.42 GD/game (5th in NHL). Sure, the team that beat the Capitals may have been the “16th overall seed”––lucky to get in the playoffs over the Rangers with a mere 88 points––but don’t get fooled: it was the 5th best team in the league upsetting the best team in the league with the help of an outstanding performance in goal.

But December 19th is not just for the Canadiens; it provides an illuminating starting point for looking at the Penguins as well. Through 36 games, Pittsburgh was a scalding 25-10-1 (.708 winning percentage), fourth in the NHL at +25 GVT, a hair’s breadth behind Washington’s league-leading +30 GVT. Yet over the next 46 games, the Pens went a tepid 22-18-6 (.543 winning percentage), their lackluster performance camouflaged by the wins and points accumulated in October and November. Keeping in mind that a .561 winning percentage is average––given the additional points given for overtime losses––you’re talking about a below average team over the course of more than half the regular season, regardless of their pedigree as defending Stanley Cup champions, regardless of their marquee exposure, regardless of their big name superstars. Perception is about as far from reality as you can get – With both teams.

The series is currently tied at 2-2 and you can get the same price on Montreal to win the series, roughly +300, as was available four games ago. I’ve also got small action on Montreal wo win the East and the Stanley Cup at +900 and +2200 respectively.

La Liga

It’s the second to last week of the season and once again time to involve the favorite team of Miracle Covers: Athletico Madrid.
Opponents Sporting Gijon are -150 at home tomorrow.

Since mid-March, two teams have been playing their La Liga matches as though the tournament were a sporting version of Asterix’s Roman Legion: an entertaining way to know new cities, make some friends and get food for free. Atletico are one of them.

Atletico’s week passed by placidly, talking about their upcoming Europa League final, with happy statements from players and coach (Quique Sanchez even said: “We work to bring happiness to the people”, and I can’t even think of a politically correct pun here). They even managed to beat Valladolid on Wednesday, in an almost unintended way, taking advantage of Clemente’s team wasteful first half and subsequent hara-kiri after Atletico scored first.

Sporting aren’t totally free of trouble yet, but they will be after playing Atletico’s B side on Saturday.

Lastly, the Round Rock Express have a new pitcher.

Marathon Monday – A Bettor’s Guide to the Action

Marathon Monday is less than two weeks away.  Essentially everyone who reads this site knows that I have a substantial amount of money riding on my performance this year.  I have given Bones and DaGow 13:1 odds that I will break the four hour mark this year, at 50 and 20 bucks respectively.  Intense stuff.  In addition to that I have a couple of 50 dollar straight up bets out there based on beating four hours and a pub crawl bet with a girl whose also running.  With all that in mind, here is the odds breakdown.

WILL PAT D BREAK FOUR HOURS:

Yes : -200

No : +200

For anyone not fluent in gamblese, -200 means that the odds are 1:2 that something will happen, you bet two dollars to win one.  +200 means the odds are 2:1, you bet one dollar to win two.  The reason I am making myself a favorite is because I just have so much damn money bet on myself.  If I was running this for fun it would probably be just as likely that I would be drinking booze halfway through the race.  With that in mind…

Will Pat D Run the Entire Marathon

Yes : -500

No : +500

I have entered the Boston Marathon twice, finishing it once (4 hrs, 30 mins) and dropping out after 17 miles the second time.  Again, this line would be a lot different if I didn’t have a boatload on the line.

Over/Under Water or Sports Drinks During Race : 11.5

I honestly have never kept track of this in the past but I am guessing this sounds about right.  As a guide, the absolute minimum I could see on drinks would be like 8 or 9.

Will Pat D Beat the Random Girl Mentioned Above Who You Have Never Met (Updated)

Yes : Even Money (Updated Line)

No : Even Money (Updated Line)

You know you want to bet on this, you know you are tempted to throw five dollars on or against a girl you have never met.  As a guide, she is in her mid-20s in good condition.  I am almost 100% positive she has never run a marathon before, and I currently have an email out to her asking what time she expects to run the race in.  I may update the line accordingly when a response gets back, but this is the line at this moment.

UPDATE

Originally, this line was me -250, and the girl +250.  However, I received this email response back from her when I asked about time…

I’m shooting for 3:40, but will probably be more like 3:45ish.  What about u?????

CRIPES!  This girl means business.  First of all, she has her expected time nailed down to a five minute window, and on top of that she pops out with FIVE IN YOUR FACE QUESTION MARKS right back in my grill asking me what time I expected.  I was even tempted to make her a slight favorite at this point but I do hold one slight advantage over her and that’s that I have run the race before.  But goodness.

SECOND UPDATE

Follow up e-mail from Corinne

I ran in 2007 in 4:16

Oh Billy!

Will the Sox Game Still be Going On as I pass Fenway

Yes : Even Money

No : Even Money

Opening pitch at the game is scheduled for 11:05 AM.  I will hit the starting line somewhere around 10:35 AM.  You do your own math.  Note : If I drop out, “No” wins.

Will I Ejaculate From Now Until the Marathon

Yes : +500

No : -500

You will notice that for all these lines I have excluded juice from the action.

That’s about all I got for plays at the moment.  If any other good ones pop into people’s minds feel free to make additions.

Boat Race 2010 – Will a Boat Sink?

The 156th Oxford-Cambridge boat race takes place tomorrow in London. Oxford are favored at roughly -250, but picking the winner isn’t the most interesting play.

Pinnacle has a line (below) for “Will a Boat Sink?” currently at -1650. I know most of you don’t enjoy betting large favorites, but a boat has only sunk 5 times in 156 races and none in the past 30 years. The flip side is that the odds opened at 33-1 and have been cut almost in half thanks to poor weather being forecast and mildly heavy betting on the sinking side.

Boat Race 2010 Odds

I think I’ve written about this before, but rowing was THE sport, similar to NFL in the United States now, in the 19th century, but it’s popularity waned as gambling scandals and fixing became more and more common. There is much to read here (rowinghistory.net) but these two stories stood out:

Another tactic used by the unscrupulous backers was to try to influence the betting odds. Faking an illness just prior to a race is one way to boost the odds and make for a bigger pay-out after the unexpected victory, but there were other ways as well. Cleaver wrote in The History Of Rowing about a race between the Australians, Harry Searle and Julius Woolf, on the Parramatta River in 1866.

Woolf had been defeated by Stansbury a fortnight earlier, so he was not much in favor with the betting public, and it looked as if Searle’s backers would have to be content with the bare prize-money. John Spencer [Searle’s manager] refrained from betting at all before the start of the race, and instructed Searle to hang back and “feel” Woolf in the early stages, and, as soon as he was sure of his man, to shake his head from side to side, but not to go to the front until he got a signal from Spencer, who was in a boat following the race.

The race had barely started when Searle’s head was seen to wobble violently. This caused loud laughter among those who had never seen Searle race before. Meanwhile, his commissioners were snapping up every bet offered, with Woolf still leading and going great guns. Suddenly Spencer waved a red handkerchief and in a hundred yards Searle was a length ahead, and the issue beyond doubt.

The Town of Barrie [Canada] was holding its second annual regatta on Kempenfeldt Bay and had invited an American, James H. Riley, to row against Hanlan. The champion [Hanlan] had agreed, against his better judgement. He was not in good condition after his recent trip across the Atlantic, and halfway through the course Hanlan had to stop. Riley was stunned and refused to cross the finish line. He had obviously placed bets on Hanlan and would lose his money if he won the race. The judges were flabbergasted by the whole affair, ruled the race a draw and ordered a re-row. Hanlan declined, preferring to forfeit the prize money.

2009 Aussie Rules Grand Final Live Blog

Just back from a night of drinking and gambling, just in time for our first ever live blog. Saints! Cats! Feel the excitement. Live on ESPN Classic from The Castle. Lou & Sean here to guide you through this historic event.

AFL Rules wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_rules_football

http://www.superfooty.com.au

00:21 “Who decides who does the opening bounce from the umpires?” I have no idea what this means. The St. Kilda Saints are 9.5 point underdogs versus the Geelong Cats (pronounced Guh-LONG). I have 5 dollars on Guhlong.

00:23 Prior to signing on here, there was a man with the trophy being dropped into the stadium on wire cables, several incomprehensible songs by little kids and a flyover by a Quantas jumbo jet that seemed to have problems turning.

00:25 We’re also getting the best of bad commercials here on post-midnight ESPN Classic. We just had all three Mannings pimping Lifelock with Archie Manning creepily hovering over Peyton & Eli.

00:28 The St. Kilda Saints team song is predictably, “When the Saints go Marching In.” They also apparently beat Geelong in their previous meeting this season, whatever that’s worth. We’re fairly confused here as to whether 9.5 points is a big spread or not. Also these guys play 60 minute halves which makes our sports seems pussy & leisurely by comparison.

00:32 They are predicting hailstorms as well for this game. Again the theme: America = pussy

00:34 We’re underway. The announcers are using the word footy liberally. Apparently they start with something that resembles dropping the puck except they bounce the ball as high as possible and both teams immediately fight over it.

00:35 We’ve seen about 5 personal fouls already in the first 3 minutes. 6-0 Cats.

00:37 When the ball (shaped like a football) goes out of bounds on the sides of the oval, the referee throws it backwards over his head back into play. To move the ball forward, the players can either punch or punt or bounce it and can run around somewhat, but we’re not exactly sure how far. The referees apparently blow whistles a lot for no apparent reason. They do have loose ball fouls as Sean just noted.

00:40 Last year when the Cats won some player had 30 disposals. I wonder if that includes the clothesline someone just dished out.

00:41 Punting the ball through the field goal posts = six points. Geelong up 12-0 now.

00:43 Saints miss a sitter for a behind. That’s missing wide for 1 point instead of 6.

00:44 Lenny Hayes 4 disposals so far.

00:47 Saints are basically punting the ball around to themselves now, but they’ve got a chance to score 6 now…It’s good 12-7

00:49 I have to say the field looks like a circle and not an oval.

00:51 St. Kilda not giving Geelong an easy disposal. That doesn’t stop a Geelong player from running over two opponents and kicking through for an 18-7 lead. It’s started raining and we’re looking forward to this game getting dirtier and sloppier. Can hail be used as a weapon?

00:53 Punching an opponent in the face is not allowed. 18-13. These teams have coordinators in the booth just like our football teams do.

00:59 Saints miss another chance 18-14.

1:01 Saints hit a 6 pointer at the buzzer to make it 20-18.

1:02 Sean steps in for the 2nd quarter of this epic matchup of the whitest athletes this side of curling.

1:03 I guess there’s embellishment in Australian Rules Football as well. On a player trying to get a free kick feigning a blow to the back, “His acting is not as good as his play”.

1:03 Every time the announcer says the word, “footy”, I giggle.

1:04 “He’s sniffing around the packs.” Sounds like Vlade Divac trying to bum cigarettes in between flights.

1:05 How in the fuck do these guys play 120 hours of this shit? Oh wait, that’s right, alcohol. http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/189_09_031108/die11464_fm.html

1:08 People are setting up tents outside the stadium. They are probably the only people drunker than the players on the field.

1:10 Yep, just saw a guy double fisting.

1:12 They call turnovers in this sport, “disposals”. I guess that makes Jake Delhomme a disposal machine?

1:13 Saints captain, “We don’t want to be second-best, we want to be first-best.” I guess he’s read the Herm Edwards terms of success encyclopedia.

1:13 A quick Saints 6 pointer and a single make it 27-18.

1:14 Nice deflection by the Saints to make it 1 points instead of 6 on a Geelong try. 27-19.

1:15 Is there any better thing than hearing an Australian person saying the word, “lumber”?

1:16 Missed opportunity on a “scrubber” try by the Saints.

1:18 I think Rhys Darby, the manager from from “Flight of the Conchords” is the play-by-play guy for this game.

1:20 Saints are moving the ball, but no 6 pointers, they are settling for single point kicks. Sounds like watching Oakland Raiders football. Up 29-19.

1:22 Geelong sets up a nice try for a 6 point goal, cutting the Saints lead to 29-25.

1:23 I love how there is a HD ad in the middle of the field. Soon enough, you will see this in football. Right below Tony Gonzalez you’ll see the graphic, “it’s 3rd and 10 from the Bud Light 50 yard line.”

1:24 I wish NBA referees would throw jump balls like the Aussie Rules refs do. Just throw it behind your back and let it rip.

1:27 30-25, Saints. Should be 40-25. I bet the over/under in this game was set at 10,557.

1:28 Number 33 for Geelong is a beast. And he can kick. I think the Vikings finally found themselves a punter.

1:29 After a the 50th penalty of the game that sets up a Cats’ try, Cats retake the lead, 31-30.

1:30 Tied at 31. I am officially bored and both Louis and Allen are asleep.

1:31 It is pouring there. Maybe the O/U is now at 10,556.

1:32 Saints commit a turnover in their own end, resulting in a Cats’ 6 point try, and throw an equivalent of a pick-6. In America, we call that, “pulling a Kevin Kolb.” Darts, “That willlllllll happen.” 37-31.

1:34 Long range Cats’ kick makes it 43-31. BTW, if a kick hits the post, it’s just one point, not 6.

1:35 Pat Darts’ drunken Aussie accent sounds like South Park’s Mr.Garrison combined with Mr.Bean.

1:37 On the ticker, Roy Jones Jr. is going to fight Bernard Hopkins in 2010 for the WBA Heavyweight Over-The-Hill, Over-hyped, and Overpaid Boxing Championship of the World.

1:38 Saints get a 6 pointer, 43-37.

1:40 I love how Ford is sponsoring the Cats on their jersey. Nice to see my tax dollars hard at work.

1:42 49-43 at the half, Saints.

Louis is going to bed.

NEXT DAY EDIT: This post should be an everlasting reminder American = Pussy. At least we made it to half. Geelong won and covered 80-68.

Thursday Links

“We only get one chance at this, with no do-overs. Life is, in effect, a non-repeatable experiment with no control.” – Tim Kreider

The NFL and Nature

The NFL has become so fast and efficient that last season, teams each scored 22.03 points per game, the highest since 1967, while all the league’s 32 teams combined for 11,279 points—the most in NFL history.

The game has become less cluttered. Offenses averaged just 3.09 turnovers (interceptions and fumbles) per game, the lowest of all time by more than 10%, and offensive lines allowed just 4.04 sacks per game—also the lowest ever. Even place kickers set a new mark: They made a record-high 84.5% of their field-goal attempts.

Some football thinkers believe these numbers speak to a temporary period of offensive dominance in the NFL—just one more high point in an endlessly fluctuating historical curve. But if you venture a bit beyond the particulars of football, to the principles of science, there’s another argument to be made: that the NFL’s high-speed, high-scoring offenses are a reflection of one of the laws of nature—the tendency of all things to evolve toward efficiency.

From this week’s TMQ: “Stats of the Week No. 7: Cleveland has one offensive touchdown in its past eight games.” I wonder if the Cleveland announcers will be like Oakland’s last year? Touchdown Raiders Offense!

Gus Johnson again had the best game of the day in week two. Last year I changed my fantasy team name to “Going with Gus” for a week, but it was because I was starting this guy. I could be convinced to put the stopwatch away. Gus & Steve Tasker have Cleveland (+13) at Baltimore this week. Just saying…

49ers fans are wondering about Mike’s stopwatch too.

Nice to see Tom Brady back on the Patriots injury report.

If this is a sport, how can we set lines and bet on it?

Note to all coaches: If your team is underperforming, paying off disgruntled fans is always an option.

Lastly, this is the coolest bookstore ever.