Posted Saturday, July 14, 2012 11:50 AM
Posted Monday, July 09, 2012 12:34 PM
Like a tree falling in the forest, the WNBA will shut off the lights and lock the doors for five weeks during its Olympic break – but is anyone around to care?
The women’s pro basketball league is officially on hiatus until August 17 with the top talent in the WNBA headed to play for their respective countries at the 2012 Summer Games in London.
The break makes sense from a marketing standpoint. The fans that are going to WNBA games aren’t going to reach deep into their pockets (or purses) if the stars, who are best – if not only – reason to watch, are away at the Olympics.
For sports bettors, the WNBA serves its purpose. It’s a break from the day-to-day grind of the baseball season, which can quickly make a Sunday afternoon women’s hoops matchup seem like March Madness. And for those cappers who dive into the “Dub” head first each summer, it’s a major wrench in their wagering plans.
While this stoppage may seem like a pain in the ass right now (hey, you can always wager on the Olympics), it may be a blessing in disguise when the WNBA restarts in mid August.
Unlike the other sports which take breaks during the Olympics, the WNBA will not be limited to how much teams can practice. In fact, there is a league mandate that states teams can’t go more than seven days without a practice.
That means toilet teams like the Washington Mystics or Tulsa Shock can work out the kinks while top squads like the Minnesota Lynx, who send stars Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore to London, won’t have their full squad to practice with. The extra work in the gym could pay off in pointspread payouts for these underdogs in August.
The five-week break is also a huge boost to teams that have been bitten by the injury bug. The Phoenix Mercury may have Candice Dupree and Charde Houston ready to roll for the home stretch of the season, along with Diana Taurasi (who says she’s healthy enough for the Olympics), thanks in big part to the extended time off.
So, while we may take the WNBA for granted, there is plenty to look forward to in women’s hoops from a betting value perspective.
At least pay attention to the WNBA for the first couple weeks once they restart. Then you can go back to forgetting it even exists.
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 04:06 PM
Some call it the worst day in sports. Others call it time off.
The Monday heading into the MLB All-Star break is the deadest day in sports betting, with no baseball action or even WNBA to get down on. The PGA Tour doesn’t start rolling until Thursday and NASCAR events are still a few days away.
For the die-hards - or the compulsives as they’re better known - there are some options. You can go nuts on the MLB Home Run Derby and the numerous props involved with that. Or, there is tennis action, random soccer games around the globe and even some international friendlies on the basketball court with the Olympics around the bend.
But for most of us recreational bettors, the “Mundane Monday” is a chance to step back, catch our breath and take a break from sports betting. Or maybe play some online poker…What are you doing this Monday: Betting or breaking?
Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 01:16 PM
No NBA team has drafted more poorly than the Toronto Raptors.
Sure, the Los Angeles Clippers have a longer history of piss-poor picks, but they selected Blake Griffin and he’s erasing a lot of those draft mistakes from the Clips’ history books.
But the Raptors – or the Craptors – as many Canadian hoops fans have come to know them, have bobbled the draft more times than not.
They’ve been sub-par for so long. But unlike other bad teams, like the Sonics - now the Thunder - the aforementioned Clippers and Timberwolves, Toronto doesn’t improve despite having some of the best young talent in the world at its finger tips.
The Raptors have wasted top picks on guys like Aleksandar Radojevic, Michael Bradley, and Rafael Araújo but have been able to acquire guys like Vince Carter (draft day trade), Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh through the draft. However, those stars ran for the border the first chance they got.
The jury is still out on former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani and most recently Jonas Valanciunas, who was sold to Raps fans as the Lithuanian Dirk. The 7-footer, who was drafted fifth overall last year, is expected to join the team after the Olympics.
As for this year’s draft, it seems like the deep talent pool has made this nearly a foolproof draft for Bryan Colangelo and Co., who own the No. 8 overall pick.
The college ranks have produced one of the best crops of born-and-bred talent in some years, with French SG Evan Fournier projected as the highest-ranked foreign player (at No. 28 to Oklahoma City). So Toronto faithful can breathe easy knowing another Euro project is probably not in the cards.
But that’s not to say the Raptors can’t fudge this up. Toronto needs energy and scoring. And most mock drafts have them selecting Syracuse sparkplug Dion Waiters, who in my eyes is a perfect fit for the Raptors’ sluggish offense.
However, the Toronto Star has the team selecting Duke’s Austin Rivers, who is possibly the most overhyped player in the draft. The son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers, Austin has plenty of basketball smarts, but rubbed a lot of people the wrong way in Durham and doesn’t have the frame or the skill to really blossom at the NBA level.
The Raptors could also make the mistake to go big again, and select a project big man like John Henson, Tyler Zeller, or even worse Illinois’ Myers Leonard. I watched nearly every Illini game this season, and while he may look like a stud he’s mentally soft.
If Toronto had of landed a Top-5 selection, I wouldn’t be sweating this upcoming pick. But, the Raptors, in true fashion, weren’t quite bad enough to grab one of those can’t-miss picks.
And now, Canadian basketball fans have to dwell on how the organization will throw up another draft-day air ball when the rim is 10 feet wide.
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 10:22 AM
Starting your fantasy football season in June seems like putting up the Christmas decorations in August or telling an ill-timed celebrity death joke. Too soon, bro.
I was shocked to see a notice from Yahoo!Sports in my inbox this morning, announcing the official start to their 2012 fantasy football campaign. Starting at 6:30 p.m. ET tonight, I could log in, create my team and start drafting players even though NFL training camps don’t open for about another month.
While the excitement of the upcoming NFL season is tough to contain, I know better than to start drafting up my fantasy strategy and making doe eyes at guys like Arian Foster and LeSean McCoy.
Training camps and preseason tilts always dish out some unhappy injury news for fantasy owners and players that we thought would be high on the depth chart become buried.
I know a few of you will jump all over the chance to start playing something other than the daily grind of MLB fantasy, but remember that Week 1 doesn’t start until Sept. 5.
That’s a long time to think and overthink possible trades, read and re-read every NFL preview mag, and watch and re-watch all the DVR’d camp coverage on the NFL network.
Chances are if you played fantasy last year, you know who you want to select No. 1 overall this season. The toughest choice in many drafts is who do you select second?
Most years, this decision can make or break your entire season, whether you draft your team in June or an hour before the Giants and Cowboys kickoff.
Here are my top No. 2 selections for your upcoming (but hopefully not coming too soon) NFL fantasy draft:
Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Depending on if you have some New England fans in your league, Tommy Boy may still be around for your second pick.
Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
His numbers went down in 2011 due to injuries and QB issues. However, if Matt Schaub can stay vertical so should AJ’s week-to-week numbers.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
If you can’t grab Brady, grab the guy catching all those TD passes. Gronk could be the best fantasy TE since Gates and Gonzalez were in their primes.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Were you one of the millions scrambling to pick up Cam after his Week 1 performance last September? Newton is worth the risk of a sophomore slump after passing for 21 TDs and rushing for another 14 scores.
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Some mocks have the Saints breakout TE going in the first round, which seems a little careless. Graham reeled in 11 TD passes last season, but did so under the radar. It will be interesting to see what defensive coordinators throw at him this year.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Thanks to those big numbers being put up by QB’s last season, running backs have been bumped in terms of importance. Peterson’s health could have him sliding to the second round in many fantasy drafts. He’s a make-or-break pick at No. 2.
Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns
Cleveland thinks Richardson is an elite-level back that can have an immediate impact, which is contrary to what team great and former adviser, Jim Brown, had to say about the Alabama standout. The one thing fantasy owners can be sure of is that Richardson will see his share of the football with Peyton Hillis gone and the QB situation a mess.
The July issue of Men’s Journal looked beyond the diamond and polled 100 major leaguers, asking them to be open and honest on a number of questions about players, teams, managers and cities.
Some of the answers were shocking while others weren’t – 34 percent voted A.J. Pierzynski as the league’s most hated player. No shit.
The polls ranged from which teams would you like or least like to play for (Yankees 15%/A’s 19 %), smartest manager (Joe Maddon 25 %), most underrated player (Michael Young 15%), and are there gay players in the majors (Yes 72%).
The most intriguing poll – at least from a betting standpoint – was which city has the best groupies? Out of the 100 players, Chicago was voted the best by a whopping 27 percent.
“If you’re asking me for the best city for chicks, that would be Chicago,” one National League reliever told Men’s Journal. “Everyone likes to enjoy themselves there.”
Looking at the home record for the Cubs and White Sox, you’d think those Chitown beauties would keep opposing players out all night, leaving them gassed for day games at Wrigley or stiff (hehehe) for those cold nights at U.S Cellular Field.
However, it seems the Windy City groupies are taking their toll on the home teams. The Cubs and ChiSox have a combined 29-35 record as hosts this season, burning Chicago backers for 9.83 units heading into Friday’s action.
The numbers were even more telling in 2011, where the White Sox finished with a 36-45 home mark and cost South Siders -20.68 units – the most costly home bet in all of baseball. That makes the Cubbies’ 39-42 2011 home record and -5.77 units look like a drop in the bucket.
As the summer heat starts to push the mercury higher, those Chicago sundresses are going to get shorter and shorter. Perhaps now is the best time to start fading the Cubs and White Sox, just before the MLB’s best groupies hit their stride.
Coming in second for best groupies was Scottsdale, Arizona (13 percent) where many clubs hold their spring training.
Toronto came in third (9 percent), where the Blue Jays boast a 16-15 home mark for -3.22 units this season. However, there is something to be said for the lure of Canadian girls. Over the past five seasons (2011-2007), the Jays have finished above .500 at home each year with a combined 228-174 for a total of 17.26 units earned.
Seattle ranked fourth in the poll (7 percent), with one former Mariner saying, “The way the bullpen fences are set up, women are just right there harassing players.” Seattle is 10-18 at Safeco Field this year, losing -9.88 units. Over the past five years, the M’s are 204-201 at home and down -19.24 units with the floozies patrolling the bullpen fence.
Baseball bettors can draw their own conclusions or maybe do an in-depth scouting report the next time they head to the ballpark. Send us your results (w/pics) and perhaps Covers will add a groupie rating next to our ballpark breakdowns.