Monthly Archives: December 2009

SEASON OVER

The Golf season ended on a good note last Saturday morning as Soren held off Sterne to ensure the winning week. Unfortunately he lost to Anders, but at +110 I feel like that was still a good deal. Predictably, less crazy crap has happened to me on round plays now that I have scaled back the units. Frustrating, but I think it was the right thing to do, because I’m not quite as tentative to pull the trigger on plays that I should be making.

Final 2009 and 2008-09 rankings (with spreadsheets) will be posted on Golf Stats sometime this week.

SBS Championship:
I always talk about the upside factor when making plays, so each week I’m going to go back and look at the plays I made at the previous year’s tournament to see if they still make sense.

I would expect that most of them don’t until about the start of summer.

Trahan +6600(.15)
I don’t feel real great about this but, I had to throw one outright out there. Not sure this is quite the course for Trahan, but I definitely like his game.

Solid logic there. That Trahan finished 11th is irrelevant. Against a field as strong as this year’s entries Trahan would be about 40-1. Based on last year’s field over two years he is about 36-1. The logic was terrible, but the pick was probably a good one.

For Match-ups, I had
Leonard -105 v. Love III-Loser
Carl Pettersson -135 v. Chopra-Winner
Ogilvy +120 v. Els-Winner

If I went bank and calculated those odds on 2year rankings it would be Leonard -131, Pettersson -135 and Ogilvy -105. I’d say I actually did a decent job on these, which is surprising considering how I started off last season.

More preview type stuff will be coming in the next few weeks.

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HOLIDAY HOOPING

Richmond 58(+4.5), South Carolina 76
Part 1 of Richmond week got off to a good start as the Spiders held an 8 point lead at half time. Of course they lost the second half 52-26. They were probably focused on the Gators at half time.

Richmond 56, UF 53

Richmond improved their SEC record to 2-1 on the season with a nice win over the Florida. If you haven’t noticed, Richmond is 14th in adjusted defense so far this season and they held Florida to .85 points per possession in Saturday’s game.

Old Dominion 61(+9), Georgetown 57
It was a tough day to be a ranked team playing a mid-major opponent. Old Dominon, still ranked higher by kenpom, pulled off the classic jump out to a good start and hold on victory over the Hoyas. The difference in a pretty even game: Old Dominion was able to make enough threes(7-16) to withstand a 22-5 FT deficit. They might have gotten a bit lucky that GTown missed a lot of threes and FTs, but they are still probably less than 9 points worse than GTown on the road.

Games of Interest
Dec 21st
Drexel @ Kentucky
Line guess: Kentucky -15
All the talk has been about John Wall who has been really good in playing a lot of minutes for Kentucky so far this year. Still, the team hasn’t been quite as good in KenPom’s eyesas their undefeated record or top-10 ranking might indicate. This one can be seen on the U for all those interested.

LaSalle @ Oklahoma St.
OSU -10.5
The theme of this night could be “small Philadelphia schools getting blown out by major conference teams.”

Dec 22nd
Texas v. Michigan St
Texas -10.5
This is going to be fantastic when Texas rolls through their second consecutive “ranked” team. Now, Texas may be good, but they are going to be pretty overrated if they could pull off a comfortable win here. Games against Arkansas, Iowa St., and Colorado after New Year’s could be good opportunities to fade the Longhorns.

Kansas v. Cal
Kansas -9
No lean here, but with both teams sitting in KenPom’s early top ten, I’ll be watching the game tape with interest.

Dec 23rd
WVU v. Ole Miss
WVU -5
I doubt this will be a one sided game, but it should be interesting at least for KenPom fans as it currently matches the 17th and 6th best teams.

Delaware @ Villanova
Villanova -26
Delaware is almost as laughably bad as Fordham, whom Villanova just beat by 38. I doubt this ends up being high profile enough for me at this point, but I can look forward to Villanova’s BigEast debut at Marquette on 1/2.

LBSU @ Kentucky
Kentucky -12.5
Obviously, I’m working on the assumption that UK is still undefeated after plowing through CAA powerhouse Drexel. This one is laughably close on KenPom’s projections right now(UK 80-72).

Dec 24th
Christmas Shopping -19.5 over Me.

There doesn’t appear to be too much on the weekend.

Overall: 9-8, +1.58

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BOWL MANIA

It’s not too late(I don’t think), you can still join the “Contrarianville” Bowl Mania challenge if you are so inclined. The group is public so just go to the Bowl Mania section and search “Contrarianville.”

I was going to outline my strategy for picking Bowl Mania, but honestly I never got around to it. The Bowl games today are boring, though I am seriously missing college football right now.

Basically, I think there are three factors to consider:
-Likelyhood of Team winning
-Popularity of Team by %
-Average confidence

Obviously the likelyhood of a team winning is pretty easy to calculate. Just go to any sportsbook and pull down their numbers and you’ll get a pretty good estimate of a team’s chances of winning.

The popularity of that team and confidence are easy to figure out, as well as ESPN publishes them when you go to make your picks.

Taking that into account, teams like Nevada and Fresno State aren’t very high on my confidence lists, because they are A) uber-popular and B) people are quite confident in them. I chose to go with bigger favorites, who were less popular and people had allotted less confidence to. For that reason, the OU’s and TCU’s of this bowl season are better bowl mania picks because they are almost as likely to win and you will gain more points on the ESPN field.

Keeping these factors in mind, I banged out a quick Bowl Mania spreadsheet found here:

2010 Bowl Mania

On the first sheet there is a breakdown of all the bowls. The second one tells you the net points in relation to the espn field of all the teams at every confidence level. Obviously, there is some balance of maxing out your points and gaining the most on the field, that I did not care to find. If someone out there would like to, go for it.

Hoops:
Richmond +6 -103(1)
Old Dominion +9 -105(1)

European Tour Rd. 4:
Soren +110 v. Anders(.5)
Bourdy +110 v. E Molinari(.5)

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BECOMING A PATS FAN

I listened to Bill Simmons podcast with Mike Lombardi last night, which is usually a good gauge of square logic and man, they were both hammering the Patriots. The consensus seemed to be:

-Bill Belichick is nuts
-Tom Brady needs to be able to run
-Tom Brady hasn’t recovered from ACL surgery
-The Patriots have no runningbacks
-NFL teams are figuring out the Patriots spread offense
-Randy Moss isn’t trying
-We’re pulling stuff out of thin air

I guess you could make small cases for all that stuff, but, wow, I’m not sure what the complaints on the Patriots are. You can say all you want about the offense but they are still number 2 in the league in total offense.

They are still out-gaining their opponents at a pace near the top of the league. They still have the best coach in football.

So why the hate on a team that is just 2 years separated from the best season in NFL history?

I’d say luck, for one. Belichick is pretty much single handily on a mission to prove the punter and kicker are irrelevant in football. I believe he has made the right calls, but they haven’t worked out for them. Switch a few plays around in the Colts and Dolphins games and this is a 10-3 team.

The other factor of course is that their two biggest games, which happened to be embarrassing losses both came on national television in prime time games. The fact that everyone saw those games is definitely weighing in on the public’s opinion of this team.

I think people are also punishing this Patriots team because they aren’t the 2007 Patriots. That seems a little unfair considering there are plenty of other teams that aren’t the best NFL team of the salary cap area. I’ll give you a hint, the Colts and Saints and Vikings aren’t close to the 2007 Patriots, either.

I’m not saying the Patriots are the best team in the league, I’m not saying they are a good bet to win the Super Bowl(They will probably have to play three games in the playoffs, two on the road), but I am saying they deserve to be right up there, if not ahead of some of the “top tier teams.”

STATS:

As Always, take them for what it’s worth. Just look at the Giants-Eagle game where the Giants out-gained the Eagles by over 100 yards if you think this is a be all end all. If you break it down by yards per play, the teams were pretty much even, with the Eagles picking up a few more game-changing breaks.

This week:

Haven’t really looked past Jacksonville against Indy yet, but there could be some decent options. Not sure what the Rams are doing at QB, but it could be fun to get back on their bandwagon. I hate backing a high profile team like Dallas, but I think the last two weeks have made that acceptable against New Orleans. Let’s hope Carolina can get Percy Harvin to slack off as much as Randy Moss, because that is my other favorite game of the week. Just looking at W-line, the Redskins, Lions and Bills are one sided but I doubt I end up on any of those.

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THOUGHTS ON TIGER AND THE RSA OPEN

I think its time to finally talk about this Tiger issue now that it has gambling implications. ML has a great post breaking down when Tiger will return to golf. I threw my thoughts on in the comment section, but here is main theme:

-In my opinion this break will be shorter, rather than longer.
-He’s not skipping Majors for this.
-This break is every bit the publicity stunt that much of Tiger’s public life has been up to this point.
-I would not bet on him coming back at Torrey Pines. He no longer has sponsor connections and if he skips and event he historically dominates it looks like he is making changes.
-For Darkhorses, I like Dubai(huge appearance fee, Golf course design business, out of the limelight, relatively) and ATT(US Open at Pebble, ATT is a sponsor.

The other thing that keeps pissing me off is certain members of the media insisting Tiger needs to do the sit down interview schedule on 60 minutes, Oprah, etc. and issue his heart felt apologies to everyone. From a PR stand point, this strikes me as just wrong. Tiger’s brand appeals to well off middle aged white guys and lets be fair, there opinion of Tiger after this incident probably didn’t change too much.

To be honest, I think Tiger would be better off going full Don Draper and just start crushing cocktail waitresses, strippers and club hostesess across the country as well as dominating the Pete Campbell’s(Phil Mickelson and Co.) of the PGA Tour. Sure, every now and then a Conrad Hilton(Steve Marino? Alex Noren?) might come along and beat him, but it would be a hell of a lot more entertaining if Tiger embraced his inner Don Draper.

South African Open

Top 20
Weekly Rankings

This event may be the worst fielded major tour event all year. I’m surprised they couldn’t at least get Els or Goosen or Clark or one of the other big name South African’s to play, but there isn’t much out there in this event.

I won’t be playing anyone to win right away, but I’d say Soren Hansen is my pick to win. He’s basically equal(actually slightly ahead of A Hansen) and those guys are the top two players in the field. Other than that, Oliver Fisher is probably the most tempting other player in the field as there is something strangely attractive about an 80-80 showing the previous week. Maybe at 250-1 I might try that.

Match-ups
Soren Hansen +100 v. Richard Sterne(2)
Soren Hansen +110 v. Anders Hansen (1)

Sterne won this last year, but is nowhere close to as good as Soren Hansen overall. I’d set Soren as about -105 to +100 against Anders, so coming off Anders high finish last week, I think it’s a good price for basically a toss-up against a golfer you don’t really fade too much.

This crapfest will do it for Golf for 2009.

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JUST BREAKING EVEN

I’ve actually done very well since that one infamous Sunday, but the NFL season seems to be dragging on at this point.

Chicago 14(+3.5), Green Bay 21

My general rule of thumb with the Bears at this point is sell off as many points as possible, because there is no chance that they cover at any number. Mercifully, I followed this on gametracker and was able to avoid what I’m sure was lots of sloppy play from Jay Cutler.

Minnesota 30, Cincinnati 10(Under 42)

This one had all the makings of a classic under screw job. Cincinnati fumbled at the end of the half to give Minnesota basically a free 3 points. Minnesota was able to run out the clock, though, at the end of the game without scoring and it stayed under.

MNF: Arizona is still probably overrated from their Super Bowl appearance and beat the Vikings in prime time last weekend. San Francisco lost to Seattle last weekend. You do the math.

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HOOPS: GAMES OF NOTE

I was just scrolling through a list of some teams yesterday over on KenPom and I compiled this list of the following games to watch through next Saturday. I also added line guesses, which at this point should only provide some hilarity when Vegas releases their’s.

Dec 15th:
Portland St. v. St. Mary’s
Geuss: Portland St. +19.5
St. Mary’s has been rolling teams so far this year, including wins against Oregon and a blowout on ESPN against San Diego St. I can’t see Portland St. being too popular, but I doubt this game gets much attention, either.

Dec 16th:
Richmond @ South Carolina
Richmond +8
It’s early to take too much meaningful information from KenPom’s numbers but Richmond has beaten Mississippi St.(12), Missouri(13) and Old Dominion(22) so far this season. Don’t go crazy over that but it means Richmond has beat some teams that got off to a hot start this season.

Dec 19th:
Richmond v. Florida
Richmond +4.5
See above.

Old Dominion @ Georgetown
ODU +7.5
G-town has a shiny undefeated record and two good wins in a row(Butler, Washington) plus a win over Temple earlier in the season. ODU has played some decent competition tough, but is coming off a loss to public darling Dayton.

Fordham v. Villanova
Fordham +26
We all know the Villanova story at this point, but Fordham is 2-7 and their leading minute guy and best player has transfered. Good times.

Texas v. UNC
Texas -8.5
I think both these teams are going to be pretty overrated, but one only one of them has a chance of being legitimately good. In related news, Texas has a great chance of plowing through UNC and Michigan St.(Dec 22) in consecutive games before Christmas and being hilariously overrated going forward.

Love the Richmond and ODU games on Saturday, Fordham seems like a guaranteed loser, the Texas line will raise some eyebrows and the rest of the games I mentioned seem pretty marginal for a slow week.

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