Monthly Archives: January 2010

THOUGHT PROCESS: FARMERS INSURANCE AND QATAR

I think when you look at out-rights the best way to do it is to view it in terms of everything you play. That’s kind of hard to do, but it’s much easier to look at both of these tournaments side by side. Here is the list I made earlier in the week with both tournaments grouped together.

Probably real value

-Sergio Garcia(Qatar)
-Camilo Villegas(Qatar)

Both of these guys are pretty good looks based on their level of play from the past two years and there is probable upside in taking them. Garcia should soon be entering the prime of his career(expect lots of runners up in majors) and Villegas should definitely be improving from this point forward. Add in that both of these guys had down years last year and I think they were definitely good prices*

*I could be making this up after both shot -2 today, but they were my only picks for the week.

Generous price, not messing around

-Kenny Perry(Qatar)
-Robert Karlsson(Qatar)
-Miguel Angel Jimenez(Qatar)

All of these guys were priced way too high based on their last 2 years of play. However, what is the upside to taking them? It’s doubtful there next 2 years will be as good as their last 2 and that’s the point.

Small value
-Hunter Mahan(FI)
-Matt Goggin(FI)
-Steve Marino(FI)
-Luke Donad(FI)

I like all these guys in their own right, and most of them have upside, but they just aren’t as undervalued as Sergio or Camilo. If I made bigger plays on those two, maybe I could justify a smaller play on one of these guys, but there is no way they are equal.

Out-of-Leftfield
Tom Gillis
Gillis has to be the most obscure ugly pick on the PGA Tour as he was basically the Robert Allenby of the NW tour last season. Still, he is raising some eyebrows as he drifted from 600-1 in his debut to 270-1 this week. If he wins, damn, you heard it here first.

Keep in mind
The North course is much(I think over 3 strokes last year) easier than the South course. That means a 68 could be better than a 66. Keep and eye out for one of the aforementioned golfers if they get off to a hot start on the South course.

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ABU DHABI ROUND 2

It’s hilarious that Keith Horne, who shot a 65 and shares the lead currently does not have a price listed at 5dimes.

I think its time to take a stab on Sergio. He is probably not as high as 5-1 to win, because McIlroy and Kaymer are almost certainly better than their current rankings indicate, but I think 9-1 is a generous price on Sergio.

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ABU DHABI CHAMPIONSHIP

Total brain fart thinking today was Tuesday and missing out on the Bob Hope Classic. Oh well, that’s a pretty garbage tournament compared to the first leg of the European desert series.

The Options:
It seems that people have already assumed that Rory McIlroy is one of the 5 best players in the world based on this line. Kaymer as the defending champion is also probably higher than he should be. I think that leaves some pretty good options elsewhere.

Alex Noren: Sadly, we can cancel out Alex pretty quickly. He is my favorite with a lot of upside, but 45-1 against this field(when someone like Villegas is 40-1) is pretty crazy. I’ll be on the sideline with Alex, but rooting for him hard over the weekend(Masters!) when both of my outrights are on the plane back home.

Lee Westwood: Not sure what the deal with Westwood is. Not counting last week, which shouldn’t affect it too much, I have Westwood as slightly behind Sergio for the best player in the field. He also won won in Dubai by like 15 strokes his last time out. I think there are better options, but if I had to pick a favorite I’d go with Westwood.

Sergio Garcia: I know there are questions surrounding a hand injury, but Garcia should probably be in the 12-1 group. Garcia had a down year by his lofty 2008 standards last year and always seems to struggle to close the deal, which might explain some of the overlay. On the other hand, I’ll wait until I seem some signs of life coming off the injury before I take something that is pretty unlikely to happen. I have a feeling if you like Garcia, you will still be able to get good prices later on in the year, at least until he wins.

Camilo Villegas: Camilo is crazy. Every time I watch him play especially in the past few months he seems to be all over the place. Still, over two years this price is way too generous so I’m getting sucked in again.

Anthony Kim: Anthony seems to have disappeared for awhile and my guess is with the Tiger “scandal” resident party boys AK and PP really feel the need to step up their off the course game this year. Hopefully Kim has been doing more practicing than binge drinking during the break as overall, 34-1 against this field is preposterous.

If you like to see what I arbitrarily came up with: Click here.

Match-ups:
Sergio +100 v. Ian Poulter(1)
Like I said, I hate messing around with this injury stuff, but everyone seems to be on Poulter, and Sergio would not have to be in full form to beat Poulter more than 50% of the time.

Last year:
Finally, for entertainment here’s what I had last year for this.

Alexander Noren-First he is a swede.* Very consistent results on Tour last year, but has yet to produce the all important win. To be honest, I somewhat regret this pick, because he is coming off 2 top-5 finishes in his last three events, but I think Noren is the best bet out there this week.

NOREN +5250(.18)
NOREN Top-5 +845(.51)

Interestingly enough, Noren is not much worse off than last year, though 45-1 seems pretty nuts. I doubt this was really a great price for Noren, though he definitely had(and still has upside).

Hopefully the posting schedule will be back to normal after today.

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HANDICAPPING THE DIVISIONAL ROUND

This weekend is probably my least favorite weekend of NFL Football. It is almost impossible to come up with an angle for these games. Year in and year out, you have the “hot” teams(last weeks winners) taking on the teams that everyone thinks are better than they are. The Jets, Ravens and Cowboys all scored big wins last week, but have fun fading them with the 10-wins-in-a-row-Norv-coached Chargers, Undefeated-when-they-tried Colts and Jesus-led Vikings, respectively.

The closest thing I have to a lean this weekend, is the under in the Saints-Cards game. Don’t see how that one is not a 42-21 game. I think there is a difference between games that look “ugly” and games that legitimately have no shot. File this one closer to the latter.

With that, why not break down the games with some random thoughts and opinions. (Lines from Pinny)

Cardinals @ Saints, Sat 4:30
Saints -7 -102

-My favorite part of last weeks game, aside from Rackers nearly driving me nuts missing that gimme, was how I listened to almost two hours of “Dom Capers is a genius talk” in the pregame shows across all networks, then his defense went out and played awful.

The Packers showed a lot of “creative” 3-4 looks with no down lineman, yet it seemed they always blitzed the same four people they would out of the regular 3 down lineman, 4 linebackers formation. The Cardinals offensive line had NO problems picking up the blitz(they might have just looked really good compared to the sieve that was Green Bay’s O line). Give Warner time and man-to-man coverage and its not surprising he was like 150/138 with 2,342 yds passing and 11 touchdowns.

-Arizona still can’t play defense, though, the Saints had two weeks to come up with a game plan and I’m not sure the Saints will fare much better stopping the Cards. Lean to the under, and opinion on the Saints -7.

Baltimore @ Indy, 8:15 Sat

Colts -6.5 +103

-Baltimore dominated the Pats last week, though I doubt it was really as bad as the 33-14 score might indicate. Flacco looked like Kurt Warner, except the complete opposite.

-This is the most interesting game this weekend with the Ravens D taking on the Colts O. I honestly have no idea or interest in trying to guess who wins that match-up.

-In my mind this game is the ultimate toss-up, but I’d go with the Ravens and the points if I had to take a side.

I’ll get around to the Sunday games later.

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GATOR BAIT

Florida 77(+3.5), #2 Kentucky 89
Predictably this line made us all look like fools, but I also spent less time fretting over that point because ESPN was convinced to get as many Lane Kiffin mentions as possible into the broadcast and Dick Vitale has gotten to the point that he no longer talks about anything remotely related to basketball. In what I did watch, Florida’s offense reminded me of a poor man’s UConn, good in transition, but slow it down and there is an insanely proportion of stupid decisions and 28 foot shots.

Today:
I’m sure Iowa State will follow in the elite footsteps of Florida tonight against Texas. Minnesota and Clemson look good on Wagerline and fit with my opinion of their opponents(MSU, UNC), but I want some further research first.

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NOT SO TRIUMPHANT RETURN

Sorry, I’ve been out of town and busy for the last week and half so blog posts kind of slipped.

For the record, if I had put any time into the SBS Championship, I’m pretty sure Pat Perez would have been my pick. Pat looked to have a few decent rounds to close, but I doubt he would have won me anything.

Early season form

I heard yesterday, that foreign born players have won the SBS/Mercedes Championship for the last eight years. That’s not all together surprising to me as the international schedule is much more challenging after November than the US Schedule.

It also raises the question, how do you evaluate players coming into a new season who haven’t played in three months. First, there is probably no way to do this scientifically, but here are a few guidelines I use.

I should also mention, I look at a golfers skill as part natural ability part time spent practicing. So, there is obviously a huge gap between some players when given two months with no tournaments. I think its pretty safe to say that a guy who spent 10 hours a day practicing should expect to improve, while a guy who took the time off(or in marriage counseling) probably didn’t get too much better.

International players or players who made the rounds in Europe, China, Australia and Australia are probably in better form on average. It’s not that hard to imagine guys that stay out on tour, stay at the top of their games better in the “off-season.”

Look for guys that legitimately put in a lot of hard work in the offseason as opposed to took the time off. This is hard to do.

Don’t use any of that garbage I just mentioned to actually evaluate a player. While I definitely think that has an effect, it is nearly impossible to quantify in a way that has any meaning or value. I think the best thing to do is just stay patient for the first month or two, see who has made the most improvements and wait to be more aggressive until the middle to end of the season when players skill seems to change little from week to week.

Last Year
Took Mark Wilson, and I can see why given the reputation of the course this week. Unfortunately, I gave no explanation, so I’m not sure. Wilson was 80-1 llast year(I think he should probably still be lower, but I haven’t updated the rankings yet), and won a few months later in Mexico, so I probably was on the right track with this one.

This Week
Like I said, Haven’t updated the rankings so that has to happen before I make any decision, but, wow, let’s just say there are A LOT of options that stick out right away. Donald, Allenby, Trahan, Clark, Na and Curtis all look like really good options, though that could be because I haven’t seen those names on the PGA Tour in two full months.

P.S.
Florida looks pretty good tonight.

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