Posted Thursday, December 27, 2012 07:09 PM
Several weeks ago, we wrote that we'd be laying off the Lakers and Celtics until injured players returned and these veteran teams began to gel.
("NBA Minus, Plus, and About to Change," December 9, here: http://spaces.covers.com/blog/gfoss59/NBA/12092012-NBA-plus-minus-and-about-to-change.html).
We were also looking for either the coaches, or veteran leaders, or both, to issue a little bit of a kick of a pants into the rear ends of players like Dwight Howard, and even Rajon Rondo (little bit of a matador on defense this year) -- a cri de couer to "play like your hair's on fire."
Well, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol are back; Avery Bradley isn't; and Kobie Bryant, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, and Mike D'Antoni have all placed their feet in the desired location to rally the laggards on their respective teams.
Accordingly, we dipped a toe in the water and took the Lakers against Golden State, though not against the Knicks, last week -- and the Celtics against the Nets.
But is it safe to make a systematic ATS bet on either team in the coming weeks?
In a word, no, though we generally like each team to out-perform expectations heading into January. In other words, we're looking for reasons not to back them in any given game.
The Celtics-Nets game was a no-brainer. Boston was motivated by the Rondo-Humphries mini-brawl in their last meeting, and Brooklyn's general uppity-ness and physicality in recent meetings. Plus they ... [More]
Posted Sunday, December 23, 2012 03:30 AM
There's something laudable about Eric Dickerson's statement
that he'd prefer not to see his single-season rushing record broken by Adrian Peterson.
(And mind you, we're rooting for AP for MVP -- and will make a statistical case for that in a few days.)Granted, it's politically incorrect.
Maybe that's part of the charm.
Or perhaps it's that we've always suspected many athletes who claim they're rooting for the new guy seem to protest a bit too much.
There's none of the insincerity in Dickerson's stand on the matter -- but at the same time, no malice or personal detraction.
“I don’t want him to break it,” Dickerson said last week. “I’ll be honest. I don’t want to see it. (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/12/13/eric-dickerson-doesnt-want-adrian-peterson-to-break-his-record/)
"Adrian is a class guy... but I like having the record."
Can't say we're rooting for him to keep it, but somehow, we like Dickerson's candor a lot more than the usual pieties.
Posted Saturday, December 22, 2012 02:45 AM
One of the more interesting contra-CW calls we've seen in a while is LeagueCapper's post this week arguing for taking the Lions +4 points against the Giant-slayer Atlanta Falcons (in Detroit.)
Here's the link, which -- sorry -- you have to cut and paste:
(You know how to cut and paste, dontcha, Sam?)
I agree with most everything the skeptics are saying in response... it's so
hard to picture the Falcons losing, or winning by a handful, against the
On the other hand, as a Packer fan, I've seen just
how talented this team is -- how the Lions, through bone-headed
penalties and muffed review flag tosses, manage to give away games
(wins and losses, not ATSs) -- usually by thin margins.
And there is, as one poster observed, something "square," in the 1960s sense of the word, in taking the Falcons this week.
Let's look at the Lions at home this season:
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 11:41 PM
Hard to believe, but some great stats from our friend LeagueCapper make the contrarian case, here:
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 05:28 PM
Here's 3 that we like -- add your own...http://spaces.covers.com/Candeemanhttp://spaces.covers.com/KktdocThttp://spaces.covers.com/BookBeater
(if anyone can tell me how to embed the image on the boards here, i'd be gr8ful.)
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 05:15 PM
Still nervous about the Heat
during the regular season -- hard to get motivated for the NBA's long grind once you got that ring. But we're dipping a toe tonight as Miami takes the road against Dallas at -5.5.
After a long home stretch, punctuated only by a one-nighter to the Wizards, the Heat will be on its first road trip since Nov. 9-17. That road trip started with a win, and a cover, at Atlanta -- and a 4-2 mark SU, 3-3 against the spread.
Since then, Miami's started to get in a better groove. The team, and especially LeBron,
realizes there's work to do. (Witness his postgame weight-room workout after the humiliating home loss to the Knicks.)
Often, veteran teams coming off a championship or long playoff run do better ATS on the road -- see the Lakers and Celtics in 2009-2010 -- and a road trip can actually be the place where they get it together. Fewer distractions, more of a siege mentality.
So, in goes the toe. Wish us BOL, and we'll let you know how the water feels away from South Beach.
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 02:41 AM
1. Cincinnati -7 vs. Duke
2, Florida -13 vs. Louisville
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2012 01:53 AM
Like our friend from "First Take," Skip Bayless, one of our main concerns about the Oklahoma City Thunder center around point guard (if you can call him that) Russell Westbrook.
Well, so far so good. Despite the departure of James Hardin, Westbrook's points are down about 2.0 a game...
But his assists are up at 8.8 a game, which would be a career high, compared to 5.5 last year.
His steals per game are up a tad, too; turnovers, down.
Sometimes, the departure of one talented guy allows another (Westbrook) to emerge unencumbered, and that may be the case with Westbrook.
All of which bears watching as the Thunder continue to exceed the expectations of many -- including us.... [More]
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2012 08:11 PM
NFL Power Rankings -- our top 10 responses
straight wins, all by a TD or more. A defense that's starting to
dominate games. A balanced attack that's scored 30-plus nine times this
year. Yep, Denver is No. 1. Comment: Hard to say given weak division. Might be #1, but hard to know that.
Patriots offense will get even more dangerous if Pro Bowl tight end Rob
Gronkowski can return to the lineup this week following a four-game
absence. Gronk not just a plus, but essential for Pats. Coaching puts them up at #2 or even #1.
Niners looked like the best team in football for more than a half
against New England, then bumbled away a four-TD lead in less than a
quarter. Better against teams like GB, NE that are more in love with the pass. Houston, the Giants -- other physical teams -- more difficult for SF. Seattle will be a great test.
Texans se... [More]
Posted Wednesday, December 12, 2012 02:53 AM
somehow, sesame street never gets old.
classic sports memorabilia is always, well, classic.
yah, remember Bill Goldsworthy, Gump Worsely, and the Minnesota North Stars?
ah, the Tasmanian Devil, animated.
John Wayne... he was the king.
Santa Claus is Cutler's home town.
4. joe shmoe
reminds us of Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp.
3. Book Beater
an anarchic energy here... and those eyes seem so real...
Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Bush.... auq#hw&heeh%gh*gh!!!
there's a quiet dignity to this squirrel we strive to emulate...
Posted Sunday, December 09, 2012 04:44 AM
College football, not our cheeze, but IrishEyez asked, so here are three games we like:
3. Florida State -11 vs. NIU.
2. Georgia -7 vs. Nebraska.
1. Notre Dame vs. Alabama. They're +10, but we kind of like the moneyline.
Posted Sunday, December 09, 2012 04:41 AM
a colleague and i are going head to head on the following:
1. NFC North / 59 - Packers SB - Packers
Comment: Preseason, 59 had the Bears, but with a heavy caveat on their aging defense. So far, it's the Packer d that has spent more time in the whirlpool, but suddenly Chicago's Medicare ward is catching up. Gotta like GB the rest of the way, especially with the Bears on the road 3/4.
2. Heisman / 59 - Johnny Manzell SB - M. Teo
Don't get us wrong; we think Teo is the right choice. But the sportswriters and jocksniff chattering class love a QB.
3. NFC East / 59 - Giants SB - Redskins
The Giants are the anti-Cowboys, coming through when they need to and sluffing off when they can afford it. Somehow, we think they'll pull a 3-1 to match the Redskins, who will lose one somewhere.
4, Texans at Pats / 59 - Pats SB - Texans (s.u.)
No strong conviction on this one, even on the moneyline. When in doubt, go with the home team (Pats), especially if there's cold vs. dome implications working in someone's favor (Pats), not to mention the better QB (Pats), and the smarter coach (yah, Pats.)
5. NBA champ / 59 - Grizzlies SB - Thunder
Both respectable bets, likely to hinge importantly on Zach Randolph's injury-prone knees and ankles, and on Westbrook's development as a point guard. We're skeptical of the latter.
Why not the Heat? The "he... [More]
Posted Sunday, December 09, 2012 01:51 AM
Sticking with our conviction at season's start that the Memphis Grizzlies would not only be the league's best first half team, but its best against the spread. Love that Zach Randolph since his Clipper days, as a "power cover" forward.
Likewise, the Spurs, especially given reasonable health. Just a good, steady, boring... cover!
The Thunder have shocked us performing so well without Hardin, but we've simply stayed off them, and will continue to do so. Still not convinced Westbrook can carry the load.
Our fave team (as fans), the Boston Celtics, are, predictably, weak against the spread this year, as are the Lakers, for similar reasons: Roster turnovers, key elements missing, adds up to a 20-40 game adjustment time.
We've enjoyed systematically going against both, and will continue to do so for another 10-20 games... roughly, at least a week or two after Nash and Bradley, respectively, make their returns. With an occasional foray like our Boston-to-cover position on Rondo's return against Minnesota.
About to change:
We like the Bulls to continue their recent upturn after a dismal 4-12 ATS start. Well coached, defense doesn't slump, &tc.
Ditto the 76ers, another well-coached team, whom we took to cover against Boston at home, then flipped on the next night in Boston. Easy money... didn't anyone watch ... [More]