Top_5_Guy's Blog

Posted Thursday, September 08, 2011 11:10 AM

Is anyone hoping Manning might miss the entire season?

Wednesday, the Colts finally confirmed what we all expected: Peyton Manning will not be under center Sunday when Indianapolis kicks off the 2011 campaign against Houston.

And that might be the least of Indy’s problems. According to an alert my buddy forwarded me from, the Colts QB might actually miss the entire NFL season as he recovers from neck surgery.

Bad news for me, and I wish I’d gotten it a day earlier. I rolled the dice on Manning in one of the later rounds of my fantasy football draft Wednesday, so I sure hope Philip Rivers stays healthy this year.

Good news, perhaps, for fans of the Texans, Titans and Jaguars, all of whom are hoping to unseat Indy as the AFC South champion. Indianapolis has won the division seven of eight years since realignment in 2001.

Fans of the Patriots, Steelers and Jets might also not mind hearing the news of the potential demise of the perennial AFC threat.

It got me wondering if anyone is actually legitimately happy that No. 18 might not be lining up for the Colts this year. Manning’s pre-snap audibling and antics definitely get a little tiring after a while, but this guy is a special talent. In my mind, the NFL wouldn’t be as special without him around.

Anyone hoping that Manning doesn’t play this year?

... [More]

Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2011 09:13 AM

Who are the best NCAAF cappers to follow?

After subscribing to services for a few years, I finally turned to the Covers forums this season for some help. And there are obviously quite a few really sharp people that graciously post their picks in the forums, who have been a big help to me this year. Guys like Bodio, Louis, HappyKane and Target_9 have become daily reading for me in baseball, while 44 Dimes and Crazymilkman have been really strong in WNBA.

Who are the best guys to consult/follow in the Covers forums when it comes to NCAA football? Not really concerned about total units won, since everyone seems to have a different system. I'm a flat bettor and bet the same on all plays, looking for posters that generally hit 54% or higher. Any advice who to follow?

Posted Monday, August 22, 2011 10:38 AM

Can you enjoy a game anymore if you don't have a wager on it?

I just returned from a week in Cuba, and damn am I glad to be back.

And it’s not just because of the food, although anyone who’s been to Castro Country knows how awful the culinary choices are down there. (They’re even worse if you try to brave a 3.5 star hotel to save a few bucks – we lasted a couple days before upgrading hotels.)

I’m especially glad to be back because sports can mean something to me again.

Sure, we got ESPN at our hotel (in both English and Spanish) so I was able to keep up to date on goings-on and watch the occasional baseball game. But as I sat on my bed watching the scores and updates trickle along ESPN’s bottom line, I realized something: betting on sports has robbed me of the pleasure of simply watching a game with nothing on the line.

Watching the Braves rally for three runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Brian Wilson and the Giants last week was interesting, but it would have been a hell of a lot better if I had a bet on Atlanta. Admittedly, even if I’d had money riding on San Francisco, there would still have been that adrenaline rush and subsequent crash.

The following day,  I managed to get some Internet access and lay a few wagers. All of a sudden, I couldn’t wait for the games to be on that night.

I hear a few days off from betting can be a good thing – clear the mind, relieve some stress, focus on something else. But once the game comes on TV, I want to be ... [More]

Posted Friday, May 06, 2011 12:39 PM

What helps make a good man cave?

The framing is up, the electrical has been wired, the drywall’s been hung and the taping is done.

Now the real fun begins.

I’ve been spending most of my free time over the last couple months building a man cave in my new home. The basement was unfinished when my wife and I bought our house, leaving an empty canvas with plenty of possibilities.

It’s not the biggest basement in the world — about 550 square feet. Some of that got eaten up by the laundry room, while we managed to squeeze in a small bathroom and office area along the back wall.

It’s left a main area of 16 feet by 16 feet, which is still large enough to have some fun.

The home theatre portion of the project has been taken care of. We’ve got a projector that gives us a high-definition picture of up to 100 inches on the one wall, and wires for the surround sound have been run inside the ceiling and walls to each corner of the room.

The PlayStation 3 will be our DVD player, since you can connect it to your wireless network and play movies off your computer. It’s also handy for some pretty sick games of Madden.

For lighting, we’ve got pot lights in the ceiling and one large light in the middle of the room, on different switches and with a dimmer for the pot lights.

The next steps are painting and decorating, so I’m looking for ideas.

I’m shooting for a sports bar look with a few photos and an autographed Gretzky ... [More]

Posted Thursday, April 21, 2011 11:33 AM

Could the ziz-zag work for NBA totals?

If you bet playoff basketball at all, you’ve no doubt heard about the zig-zag theory.

The zig-zag theory, of course, suggests that you should bet teams coming off a loss during a series, since they’ll be the more desperate club and their opponent might be complacent.

Although the theory proved to be effective in the 1980s and 90s, it hasn’t done so well over the past decade or so. Covers Expert Ted Sevransky wrote a pretty interesting piece debunking the theory a few days ago.

But what if the zig-zag theory can be applied to more than just sides?

I know we’re not even a week into the playoffs, but I noticed a pretty interesting pattern regarding totals in the first-round matchups: six of the eight series saw a different result for the over/under in Game 2 than they did in Game 1.

The Miami/Philadelphia and Boston/New York series were the only matchups that saw both the first and second games finish with similar results against the total. The Heat and Sixers went under by four in Game 1, then under by 23 in Game 2. The Celts and Knicks went under by 25 in their opener, then under by 3.5 in the second game.

In the rest of the series, if you bet the opposite of the over/under result in Game 1, you came out a big winner in Game 2.

Chicago and Indiana, who went over by 15 points in Game 1, went under by seven in Game 2. Dallas and Portland were under ... [More]

Posted Friday, April 15, 2011 11:22 AM

Not much new about the "New NHL"

Ever since the vows to crack down on obstruction following the NHL lockout in 2005, they’ve called it the “new NHL”.

I fail to see what’s so “new” about it.

Through eight games of this year’s NHL playoffs, four have been shutouts. And no losing team has scored more than two goals in a game.

What’s “new” about this?

Sure, the game might be a bit more free-flowing than it was in the early 2000s. But it still looks a lot like soccer on ice, especially compared to how exciting the NHL used to be.

In the 1992-93 season — could it be just a coincidence that Ottawa, Tampa Bay and San Jose were the only recent expansion teams that year, when the NHL featured 24 clubs — more than half of them scored 300-plus goals, including all six teams in the Patrick Division. Detroit, Pittsburgh, Quebec and Vancouver all averaged close to 4.5 goals a game or more.

The “new NHL” is still a long way from that. Only three teams have scored 300 goals or more in a season since 2005-06, and just one over the past five seasons. Vancouver’s 262 goals (3.15 goals a game) led the league this year.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with a well-played, defensive hockey game. Sometimes a 1-0 game can be a classic.

But not when it happens every night.

Not when this is supposed to be the “new NHL”.

Posted Monday, April 11, 2011 03:55 PM

Which Round 1 NHL playoff series are you most interested in?

Hockey fans have plenty to be excited about as the opening puck drop of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs approaches.

And not just because this is always the best time of year for puckheads, with the monotonous regular season finally concluded, shootouts abolished for the rest of the year and the intensity set to get jacked way up.

To me, this year’s first-round playoff matchups are about as interesting as we’ve seen in quite a while. It’s a lot of familiar faces — all the teams except the Lightning, Rangers and Ducks were in the playoffs last year, while perennial powers like the Red Wings, Penguins, Flyers, Sharks and Capitals are back — but the storylines behind a lot of these series are very compelling.

For one thing, the defending champion Blackhawks are probably the most dangerous No. 8 seed in a long time. I’m sure Vancouver wasn’t too happy to see Dallas lose on the final night of the regular season, allowing Chicago — a team that’s been the Canucks’ nemesis of late — to back into the postseason dance.

And the Sharks/Kings series could get quite interesting if only for the geographical rivalry between the clubs.

In the East, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay is a fresh matchup that should feature some fast-paced action, though it’s a shame that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin won’t be around. For some reason, I think Philadelphia and Buffalo could be a pretty interesting ... [More]

Posted Friday, April 01, 2011 10:10 AM

I've lost my soft spot for the Twins

Suddenly those Minnesota Twins aren’t so loveable anymore.

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for teams like the Twins, “small market teams” that manage to compete with the money-printing, free-spending big boys.

Minnesota overcame the discrepancies in payroll with shrewd management in the front office and solid fundamental play on the field, reaching the playoffs in six of the past nine seasons.

Of course, they’ve won only six postseason games in those six October appearances. Most of that is thanks to baseball’s biggest spenders, the Yankees, who won 12 of 14 games against the Twins in winning the past four playoff series between the clubs.

But the odds aren’t stacked against Minnesota anymore. After opening the vault to re-sign Joe Mauer last year, the Twins now own baseball’s ninth-highest payroll at $113 million.

Nothing against the Twins. After years of being the little guy, I’m sure throwing a few extra bucks around this season will make things easier for them.

I just won’t have that soft spot for them. I’ll save that for teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, who reached the World Series in 2008 despite having the lowest payroll in the American League and were back in the playoffs once again last season.

Which small-market, low-payroll team in baseball do you have a soft spot for?

Posted Monday, March 07, 2011 11:32 AM

What if you hate your team's broadcasters?

What’s the worst part of being a fan of the Toronto Raptors?

It isn’t the 17-46 season they’re currently stumbling through. It’s not the fact they’ve only won one playoff round in their 16-year existence. It’s not even that they’re just a developmental ground for young stars like Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh.

The worst part of being a fan of the Toronto Raptors is watching their games on television. Or listening to their games on television, to be precise.

I challenge any NBA fan to name a worse play-by-play man than the one that torments me and other Raptors fans on a nightly basis, Matt Devlin.

Devlin replaced fan-favourite Chuck Swirsky a few years ago after Swirsky left Toronto for Chicago. Swirsky’s passion for and knowledge of the Association showed with every broadcast he did, so Devlin was in a bit of a no-win situation.

But not even knowing who won the game at the final buzzer?

Or randomly yelling out PUNJABI!!! during a broadcast? He tried to shrug it off as a shoutout to Pakistanis and Indians, but Devlin really thought that was Peja Stojakovic’s first name.

At least Devlin’s incompetence isn’t just limited to when he’s broadcasting Raptors games. Check out this school girl giggling and flirting with P.J. Carlesimo wh... [More]

Posted Tuesday, January 11, 2011 03:19 PM

Were you impressed by Auburn Monday night? I wasn't

Most times when I watch a championship team complete its journey, it is obvious to me how it got to the top of its sport.
That wasn't quite the case to me Monday, however, as I watched the Auburn Tigers win the BCS national college football championship.

Auburn hardly looked dominant in any phase of the game, except perhaps how it slowed down the Oregon Ducks' fast-paced attack. Then again, Oregon shot itself in the foot a few times with turnovers and sloppy play.

The Tigers looked much more impressive in SEC play, particularly their come-from-behind win over Alabama during the regular season and their rout of South Carolina in the conference championship game.

It took a flukey play by Tigers running back Michael Dyer - when the Ducks thought his knee was down and let up on the play - to put Auburn in position to win the game in the final minute.

I don't mean to take anything away from Auburn. The Tigers deserve the championship, finishing the season undefeated and having posted victories against a number of quality opponents.

But were you really impressed with what you saw from the Tigers Monday? Where do you think they rank among all-time NCAA football champions?

Posted Monday, January 03, 2011 01:29 PM

Is Saints-Seahawks the biggest NFL playoff mismatch ever?

According to the limited research I’ve done and all accounts I’ve read, the Seahawks will be the biggest home underdog in NFL playoff history when they host the Saints this weekend.

The NFC West champions are catching 10.5 points on Qwest Field, which used to be known as one of the most difficult places in the NFL for visiting teams to win. But when you’re the first sub-.500 team to win a division in NFL history, you don’t get a lot of respect.

This might not just be the biggest home underdog in league playoff history. This might be the biggest mismatch ever in the NFL playoffs.

Think about it. Seattle had lost seven of its last nine games before upsetting the Rams 16-6 Sunday night on NBC. The Seahawks rank near the bottom of the league in both offence (29th with 297.9 yards a game) and defence (27th, allowing 368.6 yards a game). Their running game is basically non-existent, at the bottom of the league, averaging less than 90 yards a contest. And their starting QB, Matt Hasselbeck, is a shell of his former self. I think it was actually a good thing for the Seahawks that the turnover machine was sidelined for Sunday’s game, leaving Charlie Whitehurst to lead the win over the Rams.

If all this isn’t enough, Seattle is facing the defending Super Bowl champions.

Granted, New Orleans doesn’t look near as good as it did last year. The Saints are also a bit banged up, with Jeremy Shockey, Pierre Thomas and corne... [More]

Posted Monday, December 20, 2010 03:27 PM

Whose return was more incredible, Jackson's or Connolly's?

If Dan Connolly wanted to be in the spotlight, he picked the wrong day.

I haven’t heard that much talk about the incredible kickoff return last night by the Patriots’ right guard, who rumbled for 71 yards near the end of the first half before falling a few yards short of the goal line.

The focus instead has been on the sensational game-winning punt return by Philly’s DeSean Jackson, capping the Eagles’ amazing comeback against the Giants. That’s no surprise, considering Jackson’s play — and a brain fart by Giants punter Matt Dodge to not kick the ball out of bounds — pretty much locked up the NFC East title for the Eagles.

No question Jackson’s return had a much bigger impact. But whose return was better?

I’m going with Connolly. This dude is 313 pounds but showed stunning agility and pretty impressive acceleration for a big man. He even stiff-armed a Packers player around the 35-yard line before running out of steam just short of the end zone.

Jackson’s play was incredible and will be remembered for years. I'm not trying to take anything away from the guy (although did you see that huge block that sprung him free at the end?)

But I think the big man deserves some love here too, especially because he did most of that return by himself.

Whose return was more incredible in your mind?

... [More]

Posted Thursday, December 16, 2010 04:48 PM

The Top 5 plays that had the most impact on the NFL season

In the NFL, there’s a fine line between winning and losing.

You hear that cliché all the time, but there’s a reason: it’s true.

Consider that the Packers appear on their way to missing the playoffs despite not having lost a game by more than four points this year. Or that the Jaguars, who have been outscored by 36 points this season, are sitting atop the AFC South.

Looking back over the season so far, there are a few plays that significantly changed the year for some teams.

Here are my Top 5 biggest plays of the season.

5. Cowboys beat themselves (Week 1)

There were high hopes in Dallas to start the year, but the Cowboys self-destructed in an opening-game loss to the Redskins. Everyone remembers the holding penalty that wiped out what appeared to be a game-winning Dallas TD on the final play of regulation. But I think the bigger play in that game – and a play that might have set the tone for an underachieving season – was Tashard Choice’s fumble on the last play of the first half, which Washington returned for a TD. Wade Phillips is regretting his decision not to kneel on the play while he stands in the unemployment line.

4. Troy Polamalu’s forced fumble (Week 13)

Say what you want about his stupid Head And Shoulders commercials, but Polamalu made the play that will likely decide the AFC North this year. The Pro Bowl safety forced Joe Flacco to fumble deep in Ravens territory late in the game, leading to the winning ... [More]

Posted Sunday, December 12, 2010 11:22 PM

The 2010 Packers and the best teams that missed the playoffs

Defense wins championships? This year, defense might not even be good enough to make the NFL playoffs.

Despite allowing just over 14 points a game, the lowest average points against in the league, the Green Bay Packers are in a fight for their postseason lives. At 8-5, the Pack has three tough games left on its schedule (Patriots, Giants, Bears) and will likely need some help to make the playoffs.

Even if they beat the Bears in the final week, Chicago owns the tiebreaker because of its superior divisional record. With the Saints two games ahead for one of the wild card spots, it looks like Green Bay’s best hope is to overtake the Giants, making that Week 16 game a huge one.

And who knows if Aaron Rodgers, concussed in Sunday’s loss to the Lions, will even be available or at full capacity?

It’s amazing to think how Green Bay, with that defence, a Pro Bowl QB and receiving weapons Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, could miss the playoffs. Not to mention that the Packers haven’t lost by more than four points all year.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time that a talent-laden and dangerous squad was denied a chance to compete for the Lombardi Trophy.

The 1991 49ers were third in the league in offence and fourth in defence, but their 10-6 record wasn’t enough to earn them admission into the postseason.

The 2005 Chargers outscored their opponents by 106 points, but losses in three of their la... [More]

Posted Monday, December 06, 2010 12:07 PM

Why can teams benefit from intentionally fouling?

In most sports, you are penalized for breaking the rules. In basketball, it can actually work to your advantage.

And it drives me nuts.

Why is it that basketball teams can foul in the last minute of a game in order to prolong the game and hopefully overcome a late deficit?

That means the team that has honestly built a lead throughout the first 47 minutes has to go to the free throw line and hit some pressure freebies in order to maintain that advantage. And the team that has lost the first 47 minutes can get back into the game by intentionally breaking the rules.

It’s like intentionally jumping offside in football to stop the clock and force the opposing team to run another play right away. Imagine if it’s 4th and 10 with 40 seconds left and you were allowed to go offside, make it 4th and 5, stop the clock and force the other team to punt to you?

I’ve tried it in PlayStation and it didn’t work. It doesn’t work in the NFL or college football, either.

But basketball allows such a tactic. It’s a commonly accepted and even intelligent strategy. In fact, some coaches have even tried fouling in the middle of the game to gain an advantage (remember the Hack-A-Shaq ploys a few years ago?)

As bettors, we’ve both won and lost games because of last-minute fouling. I understand it works both ways for us, although it burnt me last night when the Clippers fouled with EIGHT seconds left down SEVEN point... [More]

Posted Monday, November 29, 2010 01:19 PM

When kicks go bad: The most memorable misses in football

Perhaps because the game ended around 2 a.m. eastern time, I haven’t heard as much talk about Friday’s Boise State/Nevada college football game as I expected to the last couple days.

In case you missed it, Boise State’s Kyle Brotzman missed two very makeable field goals to cost the Broncos a shot at the national championship. First, he was wide right on a 26-yarder on the final play of regulation after Kellen Moore had completed a long bomb on the previous play. Then, in OT, Brotzman wasn’t even close on a 29-yarder. Nevada came back to kick a field goal on its first possession and win 34-31.

The most stunning thing about it all was that Brotzman has been an excellent kicker in his college career. In fact, he leads all active players in career scoring.

It brought to mind a few other times where football kickers have been in the spotlight for the absolutely wrong reasons.
Here are the most memorable and significant misses that I could think of, all from the NFL in recent years. Let me know if you can think of any others.

Scott Norwood, Super Bowl XXV

I think Norwood gets an unfair rap for this one, actually. Everyone remembers him for missing the 47-yarder that would have won the Super Bowl for the Buffalo Bills in 1990. Of course, 47-yarders are no gimme at the best of times, never mind having to make the kick while the entire world holds its collective breath.

Mike Vanderjagt, 2005 playoffs

Vanderjagt’s shank with 1... [More]

Posted Friday, November 26, 2010 11:00 AM

What are you most thankful for as a sports fan this year?

Though I live in Canada, I share the Thanksgiving spirit with our American friends every November.

Why not? Americans do it right – take the Thursday off, make it a nice long weekend and fill those days with a smorgasbord of sports.

Keeping with the Thanksgiving theme, I thought I’d come up with the Top 5 things I’m thankful for as a sports fan these days.

5. The ability to bet on these games

This will always be on my list. Being able to bet on sports with offshore sportsbooks is something I enjoy every day. I know it’s a bit harder in the U.S. after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed a few months ago, but Americans still seem to be finding ways to get their bets down as well.

4. NHL goals are up

Don’t look now, but NHL games are getting more exciting. My biggest peeve with the league for years has been the low-scoring games, but I’ve noticed quite a few games lately that featured eight or more goals. The craziest was the Lightning’s 8-7 victory over the Flyers last week ago. It’s nice when a two-goal lead isn’t invincible anymore.

3. Baseball darkhorses

It’s still nice to see that teams like the Giants can win the World Series, beating out free spenders like the Yankees. I don’t think San Fran’s success proves that the system is fair, but at least you can’t always buy a championship in MLB.

2. Michael Vick

This guy has been a godsend for my fantasy team this season. Just a couple wee... [More]

Posted Sunday, November 21, 2010 10:43 PM

Is there a more painful team to cheer for than the Texans?

I’m glad I’m not a Houston Texans fan.

Once again this week, the Texans snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Leading by six points in the final minute, they somehow allowed the Jets to drive the field in 45 seconds (without any timeouts) for the winning TD.

Crushing losses are nothing new for Houston.

Just last week, the Texans lost on the final play against Jacksonville on that improbable Hail Mary pass. The previous week, Houston blew a nine-point lead against the Chargers, then seemed on its way to winning in the final minute before Matt Schaub was intercepted in the red zone.

If we go back to previous years, how about the Texans’ late-game collapses against the Colts? Houston took fourth-quarter leads into its last two home games against Indy before being outscored 21-7 in the final quarter both times.

And I still remember a 2005 game where the Texans led the Rams by 10 points in the final minute. Houston allowed a 43-yard TD pass and a game-tying field goal in the last minute as the Rams forced overtime. Worse yet, the Texans then allowed St. Louis to score a touchdown in OT and didn’t even cover as 3.5 point underdogs.

That’s not even to mention how many times Houston has come close to making the playoffs, only to miss out every time.
For years, the Texans have been the sexy pick as a darkhorse team ready to surprise. And each year, they show glimmers of promise, only to fall flat on the... [More]

Posted Monday, November 15, 2010 11:05 AM

Which teams keep screwing you this year?

I’m done betting on games involving the Indianapolis Colts.

When I bet against the Colts, they eke out a cover. They lost the game but covered the number against Philly two weeks ago. They also covered vs. KC earlier this year despite scoring only one touchdown that day.

When I bet on the Colts, meanwhile, they build a two-score lead and then give up a backdoor cover.

That happened again Sunday. I had Indy –6.5 against the Bengals and felt pretty good about laying less than a full touchdown, especially when Indy led by 17 in the second quarter.

By the fourth quarter, the Colts were up 10 and were in the red zone. But as soon as Peyton Manning’s third-down pass went incomplete, I knew what was coming. Indy kicked a field goal to go up 13, then went into a soft zone and let Cincy march down the field for a late touchdown, going on to win by just 6.

The Colts did a similar thing a few weeks ago against the Redskins. Indy dominated the game to build a 10-point lead. Then the Colts went into a prevent defence, allowing a late Washington major and winning by 3. At least that one was a push.

I understand why the Colts do what they do. By playing soft, they keep their opponents from making the quick-strike touchdown, forcing them to chew up the clock.

It’s smart, but it’s also infuriating.

The Utah Jazz is another team that has driven me nuts this year. Bet on them, like I did early on in the season, and they get killed. Bet aga... [More]

Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010 12:12 PM

Doesn't 7 points seem a little high for Boston/Miami?

I was surprised to see the Miami Heat as a 7-point favorite for tonight’s matchup with the Celtics.
The Celtics beat the Heat opening night (when Miami was a one-point fave), so maybe the revenge angle bumps that line up a bit.
But Boston’s the defending Eastern Conference champion, while the Heat — with all its fanfare — is only 5-3 this season.
Miami’s coming off a disappointing loss to the Jazz, when it blew a huge halftime lead, so we can expect the Heat to bring its ‘A’ game tonight.
These are the kind of games Boston gets up for as well, however.
The Celtics might be without both Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal tonight, leaving them thin in the middle.
Still, seven points looks like an awful lot.
What do you guys think? Are oddsmakers begging us to take the Celtics, or is a 7-point spread appropriate for tonight’s clash?

Posted Sunday, November 07, 2010 11:51 PM

Could the Raiders really win the AFC West?

Their quarterbacks are castoffs, their top wide receiver is Louis Murphy, they have an awful run defense and they remain one of the most penalized teams in football.
But somehow the Oakland Raiders are 5-4.
After its overtime win against the Chiefs Sunday, Oakland has won three in a row and four of its past five. The Raiders, who have been dogs in all but two of their games this year, are all of a sudden half a game out of top spot in the AFC West.
Better yet for Raider Nation, Oakland is 3-0 in its division, having beat the Chargers, Chiefs and Broncos already this year.
But Pittsburgh, Miami, Indianapolis and rematches with KC, San Diego and Denver still linger on Oakland's schedule..
Personally, I'm not sold on the Raiders yet, but I'm not in a hurry to bet against them right now either.
What do you think? Will the Raiders surprise everyone by winning the AFC West, or will this hot run fizzle out in the upcoming weeks?

Posted Tuesday, November 02, 2010 04:51 PM

2010 Giants: Worst offense to win a World Series?

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, 2010 World Series champions.

Now to figure out how the hell they did it.

Sure, pitching and defense is a winning formula in baseball. But to win games, I always thought you also have to score a few runs now and then.

God love Cody Ross, the biggest individual surprise story of the playoffs. But when a midseason castoff is hitting cleanup, like Ross was in the clinching Game 5, that’s the first hint that you might not have the most explosive lineup in baseball history.
I think this has to be the worst offensive team to win a World Series title in the last 30 years, if not longer.

Some other candidates:

Atlanta Braves, 1995

Atlanta’s .250 team batting average was the third-worst in baseball, and the 645 runs the Braves scored ranked 21st overall. Regulars in that lineup included Jeff Blauser, Mark Lemke and Ryan Klesko.

Florida Marlins, 1997

The Marlins hit .259 as a team and ranked 20th in baseball with 740 runs. Bobby Bonilla, Moises Alou and Edgar Renteria were the team’s only regulars that hit higher than .250.

Los Angeles Dodgers, 1988

L.A. hit a meager .248 and was 19th in runs scored with 628. The immortal Mike Marshall led the club with 82 RBIs.

How do you think the Giants compare to past World Series champions?... [More]

Posted Monday, October 25, 2010 12:52 PM

Who will get the rock in crunch time Tuesday, LeBron or D-Wade?

Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh... and just one basketball to go around.

Ever since the NBA’s newest Big Three joined forces in Miami, that’s been the main criticism as to why things might not go as smoothly as planned in South Beach this season.

Tuesday, we’ll get our first look at how Heat coach Erik Spoelstra plans to spread the ball around his star-studded lineup. Miami is a one-point favorite at Boston to open the NBA season.

That line obviously suggests that the game should be a tight one in the final minute or two. It will be interesting to see who’s getting the rock in Miami’s last few possessions.

Both Wade and James are used to being the man in crunch time. Bosh was quite happy to defer while in Toronto, something I didn’t like about him as a Raptors fan.

My guess is that LeBron will be happy to let Wade take the big shots Tuesday, trying to show everyone that this is still D-Wade’s team. Obviously, part of that will also be dictated by who Boston’s defense focuses on in that situation.

As the season progresses, though, I can see the King wanting to take control down the stretch of games.

Who do you think will be getting the ball Tuesday in the final couple minutes, James or Wade?

Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2010 03:47 PM

Cody Ross and sports' biggest playoff surprise stories

Some familiar names have dominated the MLB playoffs so far this fall.

Cliff Lee is turning into a legend, Andy Pettitte already is one, and Roy Halladay threw a no-hitter in his first-ever postseason start.

But what is up with Cody Ross?

The Marlins castoff has been the spark the anemic San Francisco offense has needed, slugging four homers in the Giants’ first six playoff games - including two off Halladay in Game 1 of the NLCS. Ross hit three bombs in 33 regular-season games for San Fran after the Giants picked him up off waivers, mainly to keep the Padres from claiming him.

Can Ross continue to surprise? If so, he’ll become one of the biggest playoff surprise stories in recent history.
Here are five other examples of players who went from mediocrity to superstardom when the postseason came around:

John Druce

The fourth-line defensive specialist turned into a scoring machine in the 1990 NHL playoffs. Druce scored an incredible 14 goals in 15 games during that postseason, nearly doubling his regular-season output. Nine of those came in a five-game series win over the Rangers, including a hat trick in Game 2 - Druce’s first three-goal effort since he played midget hockey.

Pat Borders

The long-time Blue Jays catcher was better known for his mullet than his bat, posting a .253 lifetime average. But he exploded offensively in the 1992 World Series, hitting .450 with a home run to earn MVP ... [More]

Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 11:36 PM

What surprised you most on Saturday?

This was an awesome weekend for my wife to go away.

Plenty of NCAA football to watch all afternoon, two baseball playoff games and an evening slate of pucks made for 12 straight hours on the couch.

I wish it had been a little easier on my wallet, but it was one of those days when a lot of crazy things happened.

The top-ranked Buckeyes fell behind Wisconsin 21-0 in the first half and lost by 13. Kentucky rallied from 28-10 down at halftime to beat No. 10 South Carolina, the very team that knocked off Alabama last week. Texas led Nebraska wire to wire, upsetting the fifth-ranked Cornhuskers in Lincoln. The Gators lost their third straight game, this time at home to Mississippi State. And, as I’m writing this, Washington is taking the boots to No. 24 Oregon State.

Then there was baseball. The Rangers shook off Friday night’s late-game collapse to pound the Yankees, and Cody Ross took Roy Halladay deep two times as the Giants edged the Phillies.

Which of these games, or anything else that happened Saturday, was the biggest surprise to you?

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