Category: Tennis

January 27

Digging out from a snow day here in the northeast. Milwaukee was a giant loser yesterday and Nishikori is still to play this evening. Wawrinka may be nursing an injury hence the play on Kei though it would be a coinflip anyway given recent form. Nishikori is up to -140 at some books.

Hockey is back though the betting options look a bit sparse. I took 1/2u on Minnesota last night at the open at -130 and that turned out to be a good idea as the Wild re up to -155 or -160 away to Edmonton tonight. Florida, Colorado and Anaheim make up the rest of the options for this evening, none of which are confirmed. Updates in a few hours per usual.

Lastly, our college hoops play tonight is Northern Illinois +9.5

January 26

Preparing to get snowed in…

UW-Milwaukee +13 -105

Also some tennis for tomorrow:

Nishikori -122 vs Wawrinka

Thursday

Nothing yesterday though Charlotte covered and Nashville lost for anyone who played.  Hockey has Dallas, Columbus and Anaheim on the shortlist for today with Minnesota in NBA showing up as well.  I have OSU to win the East at +1100 for my only NCAA action which is not looking very good at the moment.

Season update on NHL is 27-21 +15.31

UPDATE: Here’s a nominee for the I Don’t Give a Shit Award.

Bernard Tomic’s comeback from hip surgery did not last long.

In fact, it did not even last as long as the previous shortest completed match in ATP history.

Tomic lost to Jarkko Nieminen 6-1, 6-0 in 28 minutes and 20 seconds during first-round action at the Sony Open Tennis tournament in Miami on Thursday afternoon. The 21-year-old Australian won one point in the first five games, three points in the first set, and 13 points in total.

We’ll refrain from pointing out the obvious things like how it’s no longer possible to “fix” a tennis match anymore via withdrawal so we’re left with this sort of “performance” which really could have been turned in by anyone with both a tennis racket and a drinking problem.  If Tomic was injured or re-injured himself, why not just withdraw from the match?  We make lots of jokes about failure here, but it’s really not anywhere near as much fun when the people involved don’t even pretend to try.

UPDATE 2: I am taking Pat’s action on Philly as I would be strongly considering taking Dallas tonight otherwise, despite them playing an out of conference game.  One confirmed play tonight: Anaheim +145 @ Los Angeles.  The other game we are watching as mentioned earlier is Columbus and it’s very, very close and will be a GTD.

UPDATE 3: Columbus +119

Wednesday

2-1 in baseball last night as we saw how (somewhat) meaningless these line moves can be, or in other words that the game is played “on the field.” Mets were a winner after a close game was broken open in the 7th after a lengthy rain delay. I got +115 but the line moved back up to where it started around +126-130 in the hour before game time. Alternately, the other play last night on Oswalt and Colorado only dropped the entire day, which should be a good thing and closed around +125. The +141 didn’t matter as the Dodgers led the whole way and won 9-0. In totals, the under 8.5 just got there with the White Sox winning 5-3. It looked like an easy win until the 7th when Jason Hammel turned back into a pumpkin. He’s not been able to repeat last season at all as has an ERA around 5.00 again, meaning he’s the same pitcher he’s been his entire career. Related, after Roy Oswalt’s poor start with Colorado, it’s possible he’s finished being an effective major league starter. He stunk last year with the Rangers too, and it’s a little more than just pitching in hitters parks.

Lastly, Homer Bailey no-hit the Giants last night and it’s not the most surprising result. The Giants have been swinging the bats horribly of late and their pitching isn’t very good either. The bats will come around as they have 4-5 average to above hitters, but the rest are close to replacement level. This isn’t new to the Giants, but without an A pitching staff they are basically the same team as the Phillies, somewhere around or just below .500. The Phils aren’t making the playoffs this season and I don’t expect the Giants to either.

In baseball today I’m waiting on the Baltimore & White Sox total to go up but otherwise I didn’t see much to work with. On sides it’s probably Josh Johnson & Toronto or nothing.

In tennis, Del Potro was excellent this morning winning in straight sets. I’d like to get into tennis betting some more but will probably keep the volume and size very small going forward.

MLS, as previously mentioned, sucks for playing through all these international games. Most teams are missing 3-4 players out of their usual 18 and it’s harder than usual to sort out what’s what. I have a few leans but will probably pass on everything.

Updates later per usual.

UPDATE: I really want to take San Jose – Chicago draw but cannot bring myself to do it. Chicago will probably win 1-0. Nothing in baseball and I will post more about the Reds tomorrow. Happy 4th.

Tuesday

Nothing to report again yesterday, but there’s definitely some action today. Two confirmed plays so far:

Arizona (Corbin) @ Mets (Hefner) +115
LA Dodgers (Kershaw) @ Colorado (Oswalt) +141

Game-time decision on the White Sox-Baltimore under 8.5. It’s close but may end up being worth a play. In the other game of note today, Miami heads to Atlanta for a series with the Bravos. The Marlins won again last night at home to the Padres 4-0. They are playing like a legitimate baseball team and the +215 tonight is probably too high based on current form alone. This is a case of no one paying attention that a bad team is playing well, just like how the Giants lines haven’t moved much in the other direction despite their pitching being awful and the offense not doing much either. They are below .500 for the first time in a while.

The Natinals just got Bryce Harper back off the DL and won last night and are 6 or so games back of Atlanta in the NL East. While I don’t think they quite get there, I’ll be taking them in a future to win the East if I can find one.

In non-baseball, one bet I’m taking in Wimbledon for small, small dollars is Del Potro against Ferrer tomorrow, +135. MLS has an almost full slate Wednesday and Thursday so look for that tomorrow as well.

UPDATE: Baltimore/White Sox Under 8.5 -110

Monday

As mentioned, no plays yesterday and probably nothing again today. Slight lean on the Padres hosting Cliff Lee and the Phillies tonight. Only four games today in MLB and nothing doing in soccer besides the under-20 World Cup. I’ve got the live-betting open for the US-France game currently underway, but nothing so far there either. Turkey is hosting the tournament and it’s quite hot so the pace of the game has been pretty slow. The Qatar World Cup is going to be one ugly, unwatchable affair.

I made an effort to get a post and play up on Wimbledon yesterday, but because Bookmaker blows there was no chance to get any action down. In short, David Ferrer, who is mediocre on grass, ended up in a quarter of the bracket without any of Federer, Nadal, Murray or Djokovic. The plan was to bet on some of the other good players in Ferrer’s quarter to win the tournament, with the intention of hedging and betting large on Djokovic in the semis later. Instead of listing all of the top 30 or so players like Pinnacle, Bookmaker just listed the top eight and then lumped the rest into ‘Field’ +675. :-(

Some updates on totals: MLB June is 9-7-1 +3.10. +7.04 for the season. Soccer is 16-16 +4.71

Coming Up Out of Retirement

Okay, ok.  I get it.  The media is all over me.  Anyone for tennis?  I BELIEVE that Ferrer is going to beat Tsonga.  I KNOW that the odds do not justify the bet.  I WILL gamble on the event because i am drunk with a hunch.

TOTAL GAMES: OVER 41.5 -113 67 Units

 

Kickass Reading Material

Word to your mothers, the three articles below are looooooooooong. Awesome stuff though and as good as anything I could ever hope to write. Print and read.

36 hours with the Atlanta Hawks by Lang Whitaker.

“This team has a chance to do something special if you believe in each other,” Woodson said. “If you feel like what we’re trying to do on the court isn’t going to work, speak up! I have zero ego as a coach, none. If you think you see something that’s going to work better than what we’re trying to do, speak up! Say something to me! But what I’m telling you guys is that if you guys will just consistently do what we’re asking you to do on defense, we’ll win games. I don’t give a shit about the offense; you guys can score more than enough points to win games. The offense isn’t the problem. But you have to get stops on defense, and if you’ll listen to what we’re telling you, I promise you’ll get stops. The shit works, okay? The shit works, but you guys just have to have the pride and the heart to buy into it and do what we’re asking you to do every time down the court.”

The Hawks weren’t shooting the ball particularly well, but they were making Dallas shoot jump shots and sealing off the drives that killed them a night earlier against New York. After one, the Hawks were up 27-19.

At the beginning of the second quarter, ref Bennie Adams whistled an illegal screen on Drew Gooden, and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, who was pacing the sideline just in front of where I was sitting, exploded.

“Bennie, how was that an illegal screen? He was standing still!”

“His base was too wide,” Adams said, before turning and running downcourt.

A disbelieving smile on his face, Carlisle bellowed, “His base was too wide? What does that mean?” I don’t know, either, coach.

Jason Fagone from GQ has an amazingly deep story about Marvin Harrison and his sketchy shooting arrest in Philadelphia last year.

Think about the discipline it would take to make a living as an elite star of a multi-billion-dollar entertainment juggernaut without ever once being truly seen. In this sense, Harrison’s football career is not only historic; it’s also a sort of miracle. The dude skipped like a flat stone across a rancid pool and emerged, twelve years later, dry as a bone.

And when he stood up and looked around, he went right back to the place his heart had always been, the place he had never really left: Philadelphia, the city of his birth. His family was large and close, and although some members had been violent criminals, his inner circle struggled to protect him from those influences. His uncle Vincent Cowell was a respected anesthesiologist at Temple University Hospital. His mother, Linda, and his stepfather, Anthony Gilliard, were modest businesspeople who worked hard and fed needy families when they could. (Just like Marvin did: In 2006 at Thanksgiving, he donated eighty-eight turkey dinners to the poor of North Philly.)

From up high, Marvin appeared to be a millionaire athlete like any other; at street level, he was a businessman cobbling together a mini-empire in the hood. It was an iconoclastic way to reconcile his money with his roots—a tricky thing for any athlete flung from poverty into wealth. Many simply flee to suburban McMansions. Some, like Allen Iverson, go the other way, keeping questionable company and giving shout-outs to “my niggas back home.” But Marvin didn’t run and he didn’t flaunt. He just sort of hid. His life was exquisitely controlled—an extraordinary man’s attempt to become a ghost in his own story. For a long time, it worked. And then, for reasons that go well beyond Marvin Harrison—reasons having to do with race, class, jealousy, politics, and the problems of American cities—it didn’t.

Lastly, with the Australian Open underway, an old but relevant story by the late David Foster Wallace on Roger Federer.

Interestingly, what is less obscured in TV coverage is Federer’s intelligence, since this intelligence often manifests as angle. Federer is able to see, or create, gaps and angles for winners that no one else can envision, and television’s perspective is perfect for viewing and reviewing these Federer Moments. What’s harder to appreciate on TV is that these spectacular-looking angles and winners are not coming from nowhere — they’re often set up several shots ahead, and depend as much on Federer’s manipulation of opponents’ positions as they do on the pace or placement of the coup de grâce. And understanding how and why Federer is able to move other world-class athletes around this way requires, in turn, a better technical understanding of the modern power-baseline game than TV — again — is set up to provide.

Thursday Links

Back from the homeland & blogging again…

Good clock management story today on ESPN from Greg Garber. The column mentions Dick Curl & Herm Edwards at one point, which gives me reason to re-quote my favorite story from the 2009 season.

Is there a less encouraging sight than Dick Curl excitedly imparting information to an overwhelmed head coach trying to make a crucial strategic decision? He’s like a two-minute drill saboteur. Lost in the Jim Zorn bashing this week after the Rams-Redskins game was a vintage piece of Dick Curl gamesmanship at the 9:25 mark in the fourth quarter with the Rams down 9-7 and facing 4th-and-2 on the Washington 41. Now, what would someone who is not Dick Curl recommend in this situation? Send the offense back out and go for it? Attempt the long field goal? Solid choices, but lacking in the Curl touch. Wouldn’t it be better to call a timeout after an incompletion, line up in a fake punt formation with an eye toward drawing Washington offside, only to have one of your guys commit a false start at the last second, killing any chance for a field goal or manageable fourth-down conversion? Brilliant. I’m interested in who else Steve Spagnuolo considered for the clock wrangler job before settling on Curl. There were people in the McKinley administration with a better sense of when to take a timeout.

Norv Turner, Good Coach?

This point admittedly seemed more controversial two weeks ago, back when the Colts were 14-0 and the Saints were 13-1. Back-to-back losses have left both teams vulnerable entering the playoffs. Turner’s the last man standing all right, but his case would be complete with or without the late-season swoon from Jim Caldwell and Sean Payton. All it did was remind us that a good coach—fundamentally—is someone who keeps preventable damage to a minimum. That’s Norv Turner. Norv Turner is a good coach. How the hell did this happen?

For readers under the age of three, it’s worth noting that Turner was considered an apocalyptically bad head coach for nearly a decade. He went 49-59-1 in seven seasons in Washington and 9-23 in two years in Oakland. Since taking the Chargers job in 2007 he is 32-16, with a 3-2 mark in the playoffs Whether Turner improved in San Diego or merely had his incompetence outpaced by a new generation of coaches is debatable. Not debatable is Turner’s performance over the past one-and-a-half seasons holding together a Chargers team that had every excuse to go to pieces.

Top NFL Business Stories of 2009. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, especially during Lions games, and I’ll certainly have more on it this offseason.

Despite several recent meetings between the NFL and its labor counterpart, the NFL Players Association, regarding the extension of the labor agreement ratified in March of 2006, it appears we’re headed for a different system come March.

The amazing thing about this negotiation, unlike any other in modern professional sports, is that ownership is ready and willing to embrace a system without a Cap and the players are arguing in earnest for continued operation with a Cap.

In looking more closely, one can see two reasons: (1) Among the poison pills built into a system without a cap are two more years required for free agency, meaning 212 players – including top players such as Logan Mankins, Elvis Dumervil and Vincent Jackson – who would be free to negotiate with any team in the league now cannot; and (2) the lack of a spending floor that will permit (encourage) teams to roll back player costs and gear up for the next system, with or without a cap.

The gap between good and bad appears to be widening. The successful teams of recent years – Patriots, Colts, Chargers, Eagles, Packers, etc. – continue to have success. The unsuccessful teams of recent years – Lions, Raiders, Browns, Rams, Bills, etc. – continue to have challenges (the Rams and Lions will draft in the first two slots in consecutive years). The games appeared less competitive, especially early in the season.

Get all of your decade best-of lists here.

Boris Becker is playing poker.

NBA Jam is coming for the Wii!!!!

The evolution of soccer tactics and a video of the making of the World Cup ball.

Lastly…

This week in Jersey Shore:

This may be shocking, but it turns out, “The situation is that the “The Situation” is no stranger to getting paid to walk around shirtless.”

Best quotes from last week’s episode here. From the recap:

It wasn’t entirely clear how the gang scored themselves an invite to Sleazeside’s version of Lake Havasu, but we’re fairly certain the lake that they were romping in contains more crabs than your local Red Lobster. The highlight of the afternoon was clearly when Pauly D hopped in the water and not a single hair on his head moved.

Tennis Gambling

Story about how a surge of gambling went on during a WTA event when microphones picked up a father telling his 6th ranked daughter to retire due to injury.  There was commotion as gamblers used the info to bet live and heavily on the other girl, with many calling this unethical.  Random commenter on espn.com and possible future blogger on miraclecovers.com summed things up nicely

“I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t place bets online for overseas women’s tennis.”

Truer words rarely spoken.  The girl retired when leading 7-5, 5-0, miracle cover, with the aid of technology.