Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2012 03:21 PM
The Tampa Bay Rays enter tonight's game en fuego, having scored a whopping 42 runs during their current 5-game winning streak. By now everyone is familiar with the heartwarming story of how this resilient team picked themselves up after being humiliated in Seattle last Wednesday and then made their way to Anaheim to spend the weekend kicking the crap out of the crappy Angels. Everyone is also very familiar with the Rays' best pitcher, David Price, who enters tonight's home game with a glittering won loss record of 16-4. He currently leads the majors in wins. The man has pitched at least 7 innings in each of his last 11 starts, and allowed a scant 15 earned runs during that time. Pretty awesome, right? And it is, but everybody knows about it, and of course the oddsmakers do, too. So, for the privilege of betting on this red-hot team and its robot named Price, bettors so inclined must lay -260 and up on the Rays to win tonight's game, or, if they want to "avoid that juice", still must lay a bloated -1.5 -130 and up on the runline. Okay, so the price tag on the Rays is steep, but as we all know, you only pay juice if you lose.
Please raise your hand if you detected any sarcasm at all in that paragraph.
Oh, come on! I need to see more than hands that! Yikes! Oh, well. I'll keep going a... [More]
Posted Sunday, July 03, 2011 06:43 AM
After betting against Cliff Lee twice in the month of June, I finally smartened up last week and sent it on the Phillies -1.5 +175 the night Lee shutout the Red Sox, 5-0. With that latest masterpiece, Cliff Lee completed one of the greatest months any starting pitcher has ever submitted. Check it out:
21 hits allowed in 42 innings pitched
28 strikeouts/7 walks
0.21 ERA (he gave up one lonely run for the whole month!)
5 wins 0 losses
32 consecutive shutout innings
3 straight shutouts
That's not human. Who in their right mind would dare bet against this man right now? Well, maybe me. I had the Jays yesterday +160 and +1.5 -105, and it wasn't exactly a confidence-inspiring performance, but I think the time may be ripe for Lee to go out and have himself a terrible outing.
Prior to his June 22nd start in St. Louis, I noticed something about Lee's pitch counts this season. From April 25th to May 6th, Lee threw a total of 332 pitches in three starts. In his next start, going on 4 days rest, Lee was so-so, lasting just 6 innings and 82 pitches while giving up 7 hits and 3 earned runs to the Marlins. In his next three starts after that, Lee threw a ridiculous total of 356 pitches! That seemed to catch up to him in his next start, which took place on May 31st in Washington. Again going on 4 days rest, Lee got sh... [More]
Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2011 12:41 PM
I just took the sorry Nets +8.5 -110 and ML +365. For those of you who don't know, I frequently get roped into taking big numbers against the mighty Spurs and I never win. No, seriously, never. Check out San Antonio's last 10 games:
January 24th at Golden State - I unloaded on the Warriors +5.5 and ML +200. The Spurs won by 11.
January 26th at Utah - I stupidly took the bitch Jazz +4.5 -108. The Spurs won by 7.
January 29th at home ve. Houston - I unloaded on the Rockets +8.5 and +370. The Spurs won by 13.
February 1st at Portland - I didn't bet anything on this day. The Spurs lost by 13.
February 3rd at the Lakers - I was going to bet the Lakers -3, but didn't. But then at halftime, with the game tied, I took the Lakers -2. The Spurs won by 1.
February 4th at Sacramento - I placed a small bet on the Kings in the first half before realizing I was going to lose again, so I didn't take it any further. The Spurs killed them.
February 8th at Detroit - I fell for the Pistons +7.5. Close game for most of the way, but the Spurs outclassed them in the end by 11.
February 9th at Toronto - Even as I was placing my foolish bets on the Raptors +8 and +305, I knew I was going to lose. And I did. The Spurs entered the 4th quarter down by 3 and won by 11.
February 11th at Philadelphia - I liked the Sixers +3.5 in this game but I was ... [More]
Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2010 06:07 PM
I've got to hand it to the Boston Celtics. For the fourth season in a row, they are a great team led by three future Hall of Famers who are all still going strong. Today they sit at 23-5, a remarkable achievement given that they've not only done without their starting center for all 28 games, but they've also been missing other pieces for at least a few games at a time. They just completed a 14-game winning streak despite the fact that their magician of a point guard had to miss the last 6 games of the streak.
Last Wednesday, I thought Philadelphia had an excellent chance to beat the Celtics in Boston, and they might've done it, too, if they didn't insist on giving the ball to Andre Iguodala in the clutch, a guy who sinks a game-winner for the Sixers about as often as I do. "Iggy" came up super small on two last minute possessions, allowing the Celts to escape with a non-covering 84-80 win. Afterwards, the captain, Paul Pierce, said "We're just finding ways to grind it out cause we don't have the healthy bodies. You don't know who's going to be in there night-in and night-out."
Three days later, on Christmas, I wasn't sure if the Celtics were going to survive the game in Orlando, but for 3.5 quarters, I was impressed as they seemed to be on their way to another gutty, grind-it-out win, which would have been their 15th in a row. But then the collapse happened, the tank finall... [More]
Posted Sunday, December 19, 2010 10:25 AM
Now that my misleading thread title has reeled you in, here's some bad news or good news depending on which way you're leaning for tonight's big game.
Producing back-to-back blowout wins in the NFL is hard to do, but recent history suggests that producing three in a row is almost too much to ask. I went back over the last dozen seasons and looked to see how teams did the week after winning consecutive games in which they scored 30 or more points in each while allowing 10 points or less in each. In other words, back-to-back monster blowouts. I found 18 such situations, and here they are:
The St. Louis Rams in 1999 beat the Falcons 35-7, then beat the Bengals 38-10, and then beat the 49ers 42-20.
The Jacksonville Jaguars in 1999 beat the Bengals 41-10, then beat the Falcons 30-7, and then beat the Ravens 6-3 (but didn't cover as a 13-point favorite).
The Kansas City Chiefs in 1999 beat the Ravens 35-8, then beat the Chargers 34-0, and then lost to the Colts in Indianapolis 25-17.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2000 beat the Bears 41-0, then beat the Lions 31-10, and then lost at home to the Jets 21-17.
The Jacksonville Jaguars in 2000 beat the Browns 48-0, then beat the Cardinals 44-10, and then lost 17-14 to the Bengals in Cincinnati.
The St. Louis Rams in 2001 beat the Dolphins 42-10, the... [More]
Posted Saturday, December 12, 2009 06:29 PM
I know more than a few of you had eyebrows raised high when you took your first look at Saturday's NBA lines and saw the Phoenix Suns getting 8.5 points at Denver. So what compelled the sleazy oddsmakers ("the Pirates of the Caribbean") to make this line "so high"? I think I've found at least one answer. The Suns tonight are playing on the road in the second game of a back-to-back. That's a challenging situation for any team, but for the Suns, when facing a winning team, it's pretty much become the death knell. Take a look at how the Suns have fared between this season and last when playing with no rest on the road against an above .500 team:
November 17, 2008 at Utah getting 2 - the Suns lost, 109-97
December 4, 2008 at Dallas getting 3 - the Suns lost, 112-97
December 10, 2008 at the Lakers getting 13.5 - the Suns lost, 115-110
January 19, 2009 at Boston getting 8 - the Suns lost, 104-87
February 9, 2009 at Philadelphia getting 3.5 - the Suns lost, 108-91
March 4, 2009 at Miami getting 2.5 - the Suns lost, 135-129
March 26, 2009 at Portland getting 6.5 - the Suns lost, 129-109
November 4 at Orlando getting 7.5 - the Suns lost, 122-100
November 12 at the Lakers getting 9.5 - the Suns lost, 121-102
December 2, 2009 at Cleveland getting 7.5 - the Suns lost, 107-90
December 6 at the Lakers getting 9.5 - the Suns lost, 108-88... [More]
Posted Thursday, December 10, 2009 07:27 PM
Tonight Boston plays the first game of a 3-game road trip that will swing through Washington, Chicago, and Memphis. Since Kevin Garnett joined the team and brought with him a maniacal defensive intensity quickly adopted by his teammates, The Celtics have taken a very serious approach to their road trips. No, I mean, REALLY serious. This all began two months into Garnett's first season with Boston. The new look Celtics began the 2007-2008 season on a rampage, ripping off 22 wins in their first 25 games. People were impressed, to say the least, but not everyone was impressed. Despite recording an incredible 19 double digit wins in their first 25 games, the Celtics heard whispers about how the majority of those wins came at home in the Garden. Some people were suggesting that the Celtics hadn't been "tested" yet, and chose to take a "Let's wait and see how they do on their West coast trip" approach. This, evidently pissed the Celtics off.
Since Garnett brought his competitive ferocity with him from Minnesota, the Celtics have become a team that's looked to feed off of any perceived slight, real or imagined. Doc Rivers once said of his players "It doesn't take them much. I swear they, like, search the newspapers to find something. I don't need to give rah-rah speeches."
So, the Celtics headed to California just after Christmas in 2007 and began their road trip in Sacramento, taking th... [More]
Posted Sunday, June 14, 2009 09:23 AM
One of those classic chokes, of course, happened two days ago, with the Orlando Tragic gagging on 15 free throws in a pressure-packed Game 4 at home. Anytime I see an NBA team blow a game by missing that many free throws, I'm always reminded of what I consider to be the preeminent NBA playoff choke job of this decade. That, of course, was Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals, which coincidentally featured the L.A. Lakers, and which even more coincidentally, featured Mr. Hedo Turkoglu.
In that awful 2002 finale, the Sacramento Kings, who two days earlier had been robbed by cheating referees in the famously rigged Game 6 in L.A., simply fell apart at the free throw line at home in Game 7. Incredibly, the Kings choked on almost half of their free throws that afternoon, their wobbly knees leading to 14 misses in only 30 attempts.
I bring this up because Turkoglu, who missed five free throws two nights ago, including three out of four huge ones in the 4th quarter, was playing for the Kings that day, and wouldn't you know it, a much younger Hedo couldn't knock them down that day, either. He attempted four free throws and went a sad 1-4. All those misses by Hedo and his high-flying teammates were just enough to let the Lakers get the game into overtime, where they overpowered the mentally fragile Kings (or the Queens, as they've been known ever since).
I would do anything for someone at... [More]
Posted Tuesday, June 09, 2009 08:36 AM
A lot of gamblers will mistakenly tell you that regular season results are meaningless when handicapping playoff games, but those guys are usually the ones who have no idea how to go about doing any research, not to mention probably being too lazy to bother. The fact is, regular season results are a valuable body of evidence in revealing the true personality of a team. And over an 82-game NBA regular season, certain tendencies, both good and bad, become so obvious in their repetition that they practically wave to you like an old friend. And if you can find tendencies that continue into the playoffs, or better yet - become even stronger - well, now you've really got something. Luckily for us, this year's NBA Finals pits two teams that have enjoyed stability and success for at least several seasons, and over the last two seasons, few major roster changes (with the exception of the rigged trade for Pau Gasol, who played in 59 games for the Lakers last season).
Both of these teams have developed a distinct character. Everyone is more familiar with that of the Lakers because they get much more media coverage than any other team in the league. Orlando's is more of a secret to the casual fan or bettor, but the Magic have quietly become the most dangerous team in basketball when seeking revenge, and no other team rights the ship faster following a loss than the Orlando Magic.
I hope the "experts" on ESPN don't harp on this ... [More]