Posted Monday, February 15, 2010 10:26 AM
The defending Olympic gold medalists are, somehow, a relative sleeper to win gold this time around in Vancouver. Everyone is talking about Russia and Canada (for good reason), but the betting value is definitely an educated pick on one or more of the other teams involved in the greatest hockey tournament of all time.
At Sports Interaction, Canada is listed as the favorites at a staggering -143 and the Russians are next in line at +200. Next, is where we see a massive value jump. Sweden is the third favorite at +650...that's right 13/2 on the defending champions who are bringing, arguably, a better roster to this year's event.
Olympic hockey always comes down to goaltending. The Swedes will have an experienced Lundquist who has been there before and is back to playing at the top of his game right now...he had an awesome final start with the Rangers on Sunday and looks to be peaking at the right time.
Team Sweden will be led offensively by Henrik and Daniel Sedin who are 1000x better players than they were four years ago. The twins will be playing in their home arena and will ensure that Team Sweden will have the crowd support advantage in all games other than a matchup against Canada. The Swedes will also lean on other stars like Forsberg, Alfredsson, and Backstrom to add some support scoring. Sweden caught a tough break when Red Wings' star Tomas Holmstrom was ruled out of the Olympics...but the pipelin... [More]
Posted Saturday, June 20, 2009 11:31 AM
On Saturday night at Angel Stadium, for the first time since the epic Benes brothers matchup in 2002, a pair of brothers will matchup against each other in a major league baseball game. Jered and Jeff Weaver will be the eighth set of brothers to battle on opposite sides of the rubber with Phil and Joe Niekro leading the way with 20 career matchups.
This brotherly matchup is made more intriguing by the fact that the game features a cross-city interleague rivalry involving two of the strongest teams in baseball.
Jered and Jeff are, obviously, at different points in their career. The younger Jered (26) has continued to emerge as a craftsman on the mound, and appears well on his way to an all-star appearance in 2009. Jeff (32) is trying to find a consistant spot in the Dodgers' starting rotation and tonight will be only his fourth start of the season to go along with seven appearances out of the pen.
Jered's number thus far are terrific with a 7-2 record, an ERA of 2.08, and an Opponents Batting Average of only .258. Jeff, on the other hand, has a deceptive 4-1 record with and ERA of 3.72...it gets sketchy when you notice that his Opponents Batting Average is a brutal .357.
Everything about this matchup favors the Angels and younger brother Jered:
- The Angels have won four of the last five meetings.
- The Angels have won seven in a row overall, and five in a row at home.
- The Angels have won Jered's last five starts, ... [More]
Posted Saturday, June 13, 2009 11:35 AM
According to all published indications, John Smoltz is done with his AAA Pawtucket starts and will be activated by the Red Sox at some point in the middle of this week. This will leave the Red Sox with seven above-average major league arms to compete for the five available spots in their starting rotation. Having good rotation depth is one thing...but having too many solid arms is another matter entirely. BTW...I've included Clay Buchholz in the list of seven arms, although in all senarios he will remain in AAA as depth and trade bait (must be nice).
I'm going to list out some of their options and give my opinion on what they will do. Please pass along your opinions or ideas. When I list guys as "trade" I do realize that trades are difficult to pull off, but we at least have to put these guys in some sort of category.
Option 1 - Rotation: Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, Penny. Smoltz is recalled and assigned to the bullpen as a middle/long releiver. Buchholz remains in AAA.
Option 2 - Rotation: Beckett, Lester, Wakefield, Penny, Smoltz. Dice-K is placed on the 15-day DL with some sort of strain in his back to buy time to pull off a trade of either Penny or Smoltz. Buchholz remains in AAA.
Option 3 - Rotation: Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka, Penny, Smoltz. Wakefield is shipped to the bullpen as a long-relief arm and Buchholz remains in AAA.
Option 4 - Rotation: Beckett, Lester, Ma... [More]
Posted Saturday, June 06, 2009 11:40 AM
Following his 100th career victory on Friday night, Cubs' starter Carlos Zambrano dropped a bombshell during the post-game news conference. He announced that once his current contract expires (following the 2012 season) he is going to retire from baseball.
It's difficult to predict what will happen four years from now, but you gotta figure that this is just "Carlos being Carlos" again. Zambrano will only be 32 when his contract expires, and at a time when many baseball experts are debating if there will ever be another 300 game winner he would be a guy who would have a legitimate shot if he played into his early 40's and stayed healthy. I know Carlos is not the type of guy to care about stats milestones and baseball history, but the money alone will have to be a huge factor. I'm sure in the off-season of 2012 an ace starting pitcher will be worth $25-$30 million per season...tough to walk away from $1 million per start.
The thing about Zambrano is he doesn't think before he opens his mouth (some will argue that he doesn't think period...ever) and he usually has to back-track from his comments a couple of days later. I'm sure his agent and the Cubs' publicist are in his ear right now trying to get him to have another presser this weekend to "clarify" his comments.
I love watching Carlos pitch. He's highly entertaining and he can simply mash at the plate, but shit like this just keeps happening with this guy.... [More]
Posted Saturday, May 30, 2009 11:27 AM
Clint Hurdle was fired by the Colorado Rockies on Friday and replaced by bench coach Jim Tracy. This was one of the most obvious example of "what have you done for me lately" and the manager being used as the scapegoat in recent memory.
Two seasons ago the Rockies were the talk of the baseball world following a fantastic run to the World Series. A year-and-a-half later the Rox sit 13.5 games behind the Dodgers in the division, with absolutely zero hope of making it back to the playoffs in 2009.
The issue that I have is that the Dodgers are obviously going the win the NL West, so what difference does it make who is managing the team through to long summer of losing. It's not like Hurdle is unpopular with the players or the management. In fact, GM Dan O'Dowd likes Hurdle so much that he is fully prepared to offer him a front office position with the club.
Blame who you want for the dismal performance of the Rockies. Blame the players, blame the coaches, blame the fans, damn...blame the broadcasters if you want. The simple fact is the general manager Jim O'Dowd is to blame for the fall from grace. The Rox have lost most of their key performers from their 2007 run to The Series and they simple have not filled in the gaps...or I should say that O'Dowd hasn't filled in the gaps.
Matt Holliday is gone, Troy Tulowitzki sucks, Kaz Matsui is gone, Willy Taveras is gone, Torrealba is on the bench, Helton... [More]
Posted Saturday, May 23, 2009 10:50 AM
"Jake Peavy traded to Chicago". This is a headline that Cubs fans have been waiting to read for a year and a half. Unfortunately, the trade involved the evil Southsiders and not the loveable gang from the Northside. Of course, we all know that Peavy has exercised his no-trade clause and vetoed the deal to the White Sox (who can blame him). Sox' GM Kenny Williams has come out and said that he is leaving the deal on the table in case Jake changes his mind and decides that he wants to become a dirty scum-bag...just give it up already!
One of only two things are going to occur with the Jake Peavy situation...he is either going to stay with the Padres (bad move) or the Padres and Cubs will finally work out a deal and he will become a Cubbie. This whole trade to the White Sox is simply a powerplay by Padres' GM Kevin Towers...target: Jim Hendry. Towers knew that Peavy would veto the Sox deal, this was a warning shot over the head of Hendry...sweeten the deal or else.
Adding Jake Peavy to the Cubs' rotation will give them one of the best five-man starting rotations in the history of baseball. Peavy, Zambrano, Harden, Dempster, and Lilly. As I reviewed in my previous blog, the Cubs have lots of other issues to address...but you almost have to make this move to put this rotation together. Sick!
The Padres signed Peavy to a heafty contract entension a couple of seasons ago that will begin after the current seaso... [More]
Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 09:27 AM
The 2009 Chicago Cubs could be one of the most overrated baseball clubs in recent memory.
Let me start by admitting that I am a Cubs fan, and I was certainly blinded by the pre-season media attention and predictions from the so-called 'experts'. The Cubs were grouped with the Dodgers and the Angels as the three can't miss division winners, but 30 games into the season thus far the Cubbies have shown absolutely no symptoms of a team that could be a division winner. They look more like a team that has bought into the pre-season hype and won't have to break a sweat to win the division. Think again.
The Cubs are still definitive favorites to win the NL Central at -152 according to Sports Interaction. And they are still second favorites (behind the Dodgers) to win the National League at +325.
- Soriano...Soto...Starting rotation...CF job-share (R.Johnson and Fukudome)...Theriot...Lou.
- Bradley (he's certainly better than he's played thus far)...bullpen is an absolute mess...A.Ramirez is hurt...D.Lee has not bee the same hitter since breaking his wrist a couple of years ago...2nd base (Fontenot and Miles are terrible)...depth (it's pretty bad when you have to trade for Ryan Freel to fill in for an injury).
Injuries are certainly playing a part in the Cubbies' slow start, but excuses can only go so far. This is a team that was touted as an offensive juggernaut and ... [More]
Posted Monday, April 20, 2009 03:11 PM
Last week we examined the American League division-by-division and attemped to evaluate the pretenders and contenders and come up with some futures value after the first 10 games of the season. Today we will move on to our evaluation of the National League.
The Florida Marlins are off to a scorching start to the season and they already hold a five game lead on the rest of the pack in the east. This is a bit of a strange situation, but the Marlins will only have to play decent baseball for the rest of the season in order to be in the mix during the September chase...they have already put themselves in a terrific position. Taking a look at the futures odds...the Mets have no value at +750 to win the World Series and +325 to win the National League so my eyes will be looking at the Phillies and Marlins at +1300 to win the World Series and +650 and +750 repectively to win the National League.
East value pick: Florida Marlins +750 to win the National League
The Cubs will have no problems winning the division when all is said and done in October. Unfortunately for Cubs backers, the represent absolutely no betting value at +275 to win the National League and +700 to win the World Series. Only getting +700 for a team that hasn't won the World Series in 100 years, and has been swept out of the playoffs in consecutive seasons, is not the smartest pick on the board. The wisest m... [More]
Posted Thursday, April 16, 2009 04:12 PM
The baseball season is now a couple of weeks old...it's time to start betting (I always lay off the wagers for the first two weeks of any season to get a feel for all of the teams). After 10 games there several teams overachieving, several teams underachieving, and several teams doing exactly what we expected. Let's examine the three American League divisions for futures betting value:
Toronto and Baltimore are playing way over their heads right now. This division will right itself over the next month or so and the big three will be in the top three slots. Both Toronto and Baltimore have some good young offensive talent, but they both lack the pitching depth to compete long term. The Yanks, Sox, and Rays are listed as +400, +500, and +1200 respectively to win the World Series; and +225, +275, and +600 respectively to win the American League. As usual, there is no value in betting the Red Sox or Yankees...but I think the Rays offer some value at both +1200 to win the series and +600 to win the AL.
East value pick: Tampa Bay Rays +1200 to win the World Series.
The cenral is a bit jumbled right now as well, but I think this division will be a dog-fight all season long. Detroit and Minnesota are my picks to click in the central this season and they both offer great value at +2500 and +2800 respectively to win the World Series and +1200 and +1800 respectively to win the Am... [More]
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 06:12 PM
Martin Brodeur returned Thursday night for New Jersey, but will it make a difference down the stretch for the Atlantic Division leading Devils? I don't see the return of Brodeur having a positive impact at all on the Devils' over the last month and a half of the season, in fact, you could argue that having Marty between the pipes will be a drastic step in the opposite direction.
I'm not going to be the guy who argues that Scott Clemmenson is the second coming of Patrick Roy and would lead the Devils to the cup in his first season as a 'starter', but I really do believe that they are a better team with him over Brodeur. They play a more complete game, and a much more responsible defensive game, when Clemmensen is in goal. Brodeur gets left out on an island by himself sometimes, and he simply isn't as young and capable as he used to be to handle the barage.
I'm a realistic guy. I know Bodeur will get the majority of the starts for the rest of the season, and all of the starts in the playoffs...but it begs the question what will the Devils do at the trade deadline and during the off-season?
The Devils have sent Clemmensen to the AHL until after the deadline and they are actively shopping current back-up Kevin Weekes. If they manage to ship Weekes off to somewhere like Buffalo, Ottawa, or Edmonton they will immediately re-call Clemmensen to be the permanent back-up for Brodeur. Why not trade Clemmensen? He would cle... [More]
Posted Sunday, February 08, 2009 02:06 PM
I am so damn sick of the steroid news in Major League Baseball. I understand that the networks and papers have to do their job and provide the public with the latest news and information, but do we really need three or four days worth of boring useless interviews with everyone from A-Rod's former fitness trainer with the Rangers to Jose Canseco's personal pimple-popper in Oakland.
I'm so sick of it all, that I had to go radio and television free all weekend long to avoid being smacked in the face at every turn by the talk of A-Rod and the other 103 players on the MLB positive test list.
We get it...90% of the players in professional baseball were shooting needles, popping pills, or rubbing creams in the late 90's and early 2000's. I JUST DON'T CARE ANYMORE! As a matter of fact, I never did care.
This situation is kind of funny because when Bonds was chasing the HR record, most of the writers and TV media were saying things like, "It's OK. He'll only hold the record for a few years until a clean
athlete like Alex Rodriguez becomes the new all-time HR king". Boy, talk about cream in the face.
So, who's next? Pujols? Griffey? Andruw Jones? Cal Ripkin? I'm sure we'll probably hear a little bit about it when the next names are released.
Thanks for letting me rant a little bit.
Posted Monday, January 26, 2009 01:52 PM
I was just taking a peek at MLB futures at Sports Interaction and one team really jumped out at me...the Detroit Tigers.
I know, the Tigers were terrible last season, but you must admit that they really do have a great lineup. Guillen, Granderson, Ordonez, Inge, Adam Everett, Polanco, Cabrera, and Laird and pretty good depth with names like Thames, Raburn, Thomas, Larish, and Treanor to come off the bench and spot-start.
They just added Brandon Lyon to their bullpen which will still have the oft-injured duo of Fernando Rodney and Zumaya.
The Tigers' rotation is where the most question marks reside. Verlander and Galarraga are a pretty good 1-2 and the addition of Edwin Jackson from Tampa Bay should remove some of the risk involved with Bonderman and Dontrell Willis...with Zach Miner and Nate Robertson waiting in the wings as rotation depth.
I'm a Cubs fan, but even I have to admit that the Cubbies have no value at +900. They should be good again, but only getting +900 for a team who hasn't won in over 100 years is crazy.
IMO, the Tigers are a great value and can be had at +2000 at Sports Interaction.
Other possible WS futures plays are Philly for the repeat at +1400 possibly Arizona at +2200.
Posted Sunday, January 25, 2009 01:46 PM
The NHL Skills Challenge is just plain boring. I've watched this thing every year since they started it, just hoping that it will somehow improve...nope, it hasn't.
The main observation is that the players participating just don't seem to give a shit about the entire event.
I think the Breakaway Challenge will be OK once the players figure out that you actually have to practice some of these moves in advance. Remember the NBA dunk contest for the first few years...weak. Ovie was on the right track this year with the props, but then he just skated in and popped in a rebound switch-style. Good start...bad finish.
I enjoyed the idea of the Elimination Shootout, but the TV telecast could have aided the viewer more by have some graphics depicting all of the shooters and who was still alive in the competition. Guys were getting eliminated pretty quickly, but it was still difficult to keep track of who was still alive.
The most important factor, IMO, is that the NHL has to open the skills competition up to non-All-Stars. Each team in the league runs their own version of these events, and these team competitions should be qualifiers for All-Star weekend. It would be great for the fans to see who actually has the hardest shot in the NHL or who the fastest skater really is.
Just my thoughts...bash away or offer your own suggestions.
Posted Thursday, January 15, 2009 04:35 PM
It's the half-way point of the NHL season, so it's time to look at the list of conference champion futures.
The east is wide open...as usual. Boston is the current favorite to win the east at +175. The Bruins have definitely been the strongest and most consistant team in the conference during the first half, but there simply is not enough value to drop anything on the B's. If you really must bet on the Bruins, hold off for a month or so until they go on a bit of a mid-season slide.
The Caps are the second favorite in the east (+450)...not a chance.
Now the value begins. I will be laying down on Montreal at +600, Philly at +600, Rangers at +800, and New Jersey at +1000.
In the west there are two clear-cut favorites with absolutely no betting value in San Jose (+160) and Detroit (+150). You'd be much better off betting these two teams to win the cup at +300 and +275 respectively.
My cash will be spent on Anaheim (+1400), Vancouver (+1400), and Chicago (+900).
The Canucks odds will come down considerably in the second half with the return of Luongo and also with Sundin getting more comfortable in their system. I expect Vancouver to go on a nice run down the stretch, so jump on them now for maximum value.
Posted Thursday, January 15, 2009 12:52 PM
With Ricky Henderson and Jim Rice getting elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame this week it’s time to take a look ahead to next year’s voting, most notably will Andre Dawson finally get the votes required for induction?
Dawson received 67.0 % of the required 75.0 % for induction in 2009 and should, once again, be the top vote-getting among the carryovers. The only obstacle that I can see in his way are the first-timers on the ballot who could take away some of his crucial votes.
The list of first-timers in 2010 include Roberto Alomar, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Kevin Appier, Robin Ventura, Eric Karros, and Todd Zeile.
I can see Alomar being a first-ballot hall of famer, but other than him I see no one on the list who deserves that honor. Larkin will definitely get into the hall eventually, but I can’t see him getting in on the first try. Others who may get in eventually, but not on the first try, are Edgar Martinez, Andres Galarraga, and Fred McGriff.
I don’t see much in the way of vote stealers that will take away from Dawson’s numbers next January. Although a 9% increase is a very strong move, getting Jim Rice out of his hair will definitely help The Hawk’s cause considerably.
I could drop a whole lot of stats in this space (HRs, RBIs, MVP) but the only stat that should be needed for any voter to check the box next to Andre Dawson’s name is that he is one of only three players in ma... [More]