Showing posts with label Degenerate Gambling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Degenerate Gambling. Show all posts

June 6, 2008

2008 Belmont Picks

These are your free picks in betting the 2008 Belmont Stakes, featuring Big Brown's attempt to win the Triple Crown. Obviously, this guide is not about telling you who will almost certainly win the race. That's Big Brown. It's about helping you find some money in a race where the top two horses seem to be far and away better than the rest of the field.

On to your 2008 Belmont Handicapping Guide...

UPDATE (Friday, 2:25 p.m.) - Casino Drive is injured, and might not run tomorrow. He is not walking properly due to what is thought to be a "stone bruise" on his left-hind hoof. Keep a close eye on this. The worst case scenario is that he would not be scratched, but not be 100% either. Let me bruise your heel with a blunt object today, and we'll see how well you run a couple miles tomorrow. Yeah.


I think this is the year.
East Coast Bias
I've seen a lot of good horses win the Derby and the Preakness only to tire in the last 2 furlongs of the Belmont, but I think Big Brown is different. Tomorrow we may see the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years. Moments like that are part of the reason I'm a sports fan in the first place.

So the question is, how do you make money on this race? We'll start by looking at the entire field:
East Coast Bias
Big Brown - Clearly the class of the field, he's looking unbeatable at this point. Don't be fooled by the low speed figure in the Preakness, we all saw that he had a whole lot left in the tank after that race.

Guadalcanal - A maiden? In the Belmont? Really? On the plus side, he's the only horse to have raced 1.5 miles previously. Too bad it was on turf.

Macho Again - Good closing speed (on everyone but Big Brown) in the Preakness bodes well for the long Belmont.

Denis of Cork - I'm not biting on the surprise third in the Derby

Casino Drive - I guess this is supposed to be the horse to beat Big Brown? I don't think so. He's only run one race in the US. He's only run two races overall. He's switching jockeys. He'sstepping up three furlongs. He's never run in a race nearly this big.

Da' Tara - In his last graded stakes race, he finished 23 lengths behind Big Brown.

Tale of Ekati - Nothing there to make me think he can compete with Big Brown.

Anak Nakal - I didn't even remember that this horse had run in the Derby.

Ready's Echo - This horse is in the race based on a 6 length loss to Casino Drive in a G2 race?

Icabad Crane - I'm still not sure how this horse managed to make it into the money at Pimlico.
Looking at the odds, obviously Big Brown is the favorite at 2-5, and Casino Drive is the second favorite at 7-2. I'm really surprised that Big Brown's odds are that good, and that Casino Drive's odds are that bad. At 20-1, I really like Macho Again. I'm just going to go with $5 on Macho Again across the board. An exacta including Big Brown or Casino Drive isn't going to pay well enough to be worth it.


Well, I cashed $650 in tickets on the Preakness itself in Baltimore three weeks ago. Obviously, I'm going to stick to that strategy, betting a few big exactas with Big Brown in top.

Except I'm not.

The problem with this race is that Big Brown, again, should win relatively easily. His only real trouble could come in the first furlong if Guadalcanal bears in on him at the start, but Guadalcanal (a freaking maiden) has been towards the back at the first call in all five of his starts. There's a risk he could get loose on the lead immediately off the rail pace, and that Desormeaux won't be able to rein him in, or possibly worse will have to be pulling back on him the whole way down the backstretch.

I do have concerns with Big Brown. For one, the only glimmer of early speed in this race is Da' Tara, and we're talking about a 47 and 4 half mile, not something in the 45s. It's Big Brown's pace if he wants it, and I think the field, with the exception of Da' Tara with a little press, will let him have it.

Now Desormeaux has done a great job in the Derby and Preakness keeping Big Brown almost exactly two lengths off the lead coming up to the finish. What if there is no horse in front of Big Brown the whole way around for a mile and a half? We don't know. We're talking about not knowing something on a 2-5 horse that will likely return $5 on a $2 matter who is second.

I'm going to look my gift horse in the mouth, and I'm taking Big Brown off the top of my tickets. The next two best horses, Casino Drive and Denis of Cork, are 7-2 and 12-1 respectively. Denis of Cork was not visually exciting in the Derby, but he ran a 97 despite starting dead last and having to pick through the field. The jockey change doesn't bother me, as Albarado has ridden Denis of Cork before to a graded win.

Plus, I like one of these two headlines on Sunday: Denis the Menace and Never Bet on Brown.

I think I'm going to have to accept that I'm willing to lose money to be wrong but have a Triple Crown Winner. I'm not willing to lose money, be wrong, and not have a Triple Crown winner.

My plays:

OPTION 1 (Casino Drive is 100%)

$25 exacta - Denis of Cork, Casino Drive/Denis of Cork, Casino Drive, Big Brown ($100)

$10 trifecta - Denis of Cork, Casino Drive/Big Brown/Denis of Cork, Casino Drive, Ready's Echo ($40)

$10 win - Denis of Cork ($10)

Total bet: $150

OPTION 2 (Casino Drive can't go, or I embrace the inevitable)

$25 exacta - Big Brown over Macho Again, Denis of Cork, Ready's Echo and Icabad Crane

$25 place - Macho Again, Denis of Cork, Ready's Echo, Icabad Crane


I'm not going to pretend that any of the other 9 horses in the field can be picked to beat Big Brown. So the question becomes how to bet a race with a likely 1-5 favorite and no clear 2nd-best horse.

Option 1: Take Big Brown with the field for a $2 Exacta bet. Only costs $18 and you have a chance to make some money without putting your life savings down. Unfortunately, everyone else will be doing this too. If you bet on Big Brown to win, you might as well keep the ticket as a collector's item, it'll be worth more that way.

Option 2: In spite of the odds, Big Brown's chances to win aren't really 1-5. The cracked front hoof, the #1 slot where he can get boxed, Kent Desormeaux, steroids... any or a combination of all of those could create disaster. So pick the 3 best other horses and bet them to win. Or if you have the cash, take the field with the field $1 Exacta. If Big Brown wins, you're down $70 or more of the $90 you bet. However, if Big Brown doesn't win, you make a good chunk. If he doesn't place, this will be the Belmont you remember for years. The odds of horse racing say that he will lose sometime; two underdogs in the top two slots could pay in the thousands.

If you are looking at other horses, I like Denis of Cork and Casino Drive, as does every other bettor.


Normally we would link to our friends over at Gowanus Rotisserie Baseball Gazette for their always excellent Triple Crown previews. However, we aren't the only ones to notice them, and Deadspin has asked them to do a special preview. Here is that guide.


May 20, 2008

Sir Charles: Don't Half-Ass This Problem

Hey Charles Barkley, an accepted definition of problem gambling or pathological gambling is: An inability to stop or limit gambling, despite repeated adverse consequences. Pathological gambling can become an addiction, no different in mechanism than alcoholism or opiate abuse or sex addiction. All four cause the brain's pleasure center to release chemicals that indicate to the rest of the brain that the activity is something good.

So now, Charles, you have publicly announced that you will take a gambling holiday for at least a year or two. You say you will do this on your own. What has changed? You haven't lost any more money than you previously admitted to (on the magnitude of $10M plus, and that's assuming he's being honest). Your career is definitely not taking a downturn, as your political career might even be taking off. You appears to be able to afford it, given you immediately paid back the $400K in markers you owed in Vegas. No, the only difference is that your failure to promptly pay your markers has become a public embarrassment to Sir Charles Barkley.

In Twelve Step circles, the first step is admitting that you have a problem and are powerful over a substance or activity. For everyone facing a harmful addiction or compulsion this step arrives in different ways. For an alcoholic it might be getting drunk at the holiday party and causing a scene. It might be getting a DUI. It might not even happen until there is loss of life or limb, or the process server shows up at work with the divorce papers. For Sir Charles, apparently, it was public embarrassment. Given what we know about you Chuck, this is understandable.

So here's where we are, Charles. You admit that you have a problem. You admit that you need to do something about this problem, because the unhappiness it causes you is outweighed by whatever pleasure, if any, you now derive from gambling.

Do you really think you should do this on your own? Does a doctor remove his own appendix? Does the lawyer serve as his own counsel? What's the difference? You're saying that you can control your behavior using your own brain, the same brain that treats gambling no differently from eating or having sex at this point. It is literally now a biological urge, and you expect to treat it using the same organ? Which part of the brain do you think is going to win this battle, the animalistic part that is based on a stimulus-reward survival theory or the high-thinking cortical part that helps you with crossword puzzles and advanced mathematics? Yeah, the lizard brain is going to win. It always does.
East Coast Bias
And here's a tip, Chuck: the one- to two-year holiday isn't going to do it. The brain is plastic. It changes in response to stimuli - that's how we learn. Your neuronal structure has changed to respond quickly and heavily to gambling. Those neurons have a lot of extra branches, and those branches aren't going anywhere any time soon, if ever. If you give it another taste in a year or two you're going to light up that same Christmas tree, and those cascades are going to leave you feeling just as empty and in need of more as it does right now. Sorry boss, you used up your gambling allotment for this life.

So get some help Charles. You need more brains than just yours if you expect this to work. You're already somewhat of a poster child for Libertarians anyway. Isn't one of their mantras "Heal thyself, physician"? You're going to need something coming from outside your own head to make this a reality. Otherwise, I see you getting your fix from seedier channels than Vegas casinos. Is that a public embarrassment you are prepared to face? Do bookies file civil suits in the court system?
East Coast Bias
Still think you're different from everyone else who has faced similar demons? It's okay, smart people have a tendency to do that. Watch this very eloquent monologue by alcoholic Craig Ferguson and see if you still feel the same way.

May 19, 2008

Preakness Photos - Batch 1

I'm still waiting on additional (more lewd) photos from another member of our party, but here is the first batch of Preakness photos.


There were 115,000 people there. Here are fewer than 0.1% of them.

It rained the day before, but the infield was quite dry when we arrived at 10:20a. Oddly, it got muddy very quickly. The only liquids present were a) beer and b) beer, as processed by the kidneys, bladders, and syphilitic penises of 115,000 people. This chick might find that, and her sunburn, disturbing on Sunday morning.

We were well-protected by the police and United States Air Force during the festivities. In the first picture, the man in the foreground is a murder police. The Baltimore Police Department hopefully won't notice that his OT slip is signed by a J. McNulty. (Note: Murder police eat sandwiches and drink Capri Sun. He also was very nice and willing to talk to us.) The plane seen in the second photo is usually only seen by people about to die.

Here is our crew.

They also had horse races. The horse in third place can't possibly be Big Brown, because there is no way the other 11 horses would let him be sitting this pretty in third place and in clear air all the way down the backstretch. That would just be retarded.

No, it is Big Brown. J-Red embraced this inevitability, hitting a $25 exacta ($36.60 per $2 wagered) and $25 place bet (at $17 per $2 wagered). He was also rewarded by the DUI gods for being the DD with some hefty win/exacta/trifecta payouts earlier in the day. Hence, he got to hear the lady at the betting window say "Sorry, we're out of $100s and $50s" twice. He went home with this.

Brien and Russell went home with the first picture and to the second.

Oh yeah, here are some boobs.

May 15, 2008

2008 Preakness Picks

This is the right place to get free Preakness Picks 2008.


Whether you're a professional horseplayer or a part-time handicapper, the Triple Crown races offer a unique opportunity to turn a quick buck courtesy of the Sport of Kings. We know that not everyone lives near a track or an OTB, but we've found that Doc's Sports offers excellent advice for sports handicappers. While they'll help you cash more bets for all sports, their Preakness page is probably the best on the internet. Check here for current odds, and here for their picks packages.

Now, in case your mommy never told you that it takes money to make money, we're offering our free betting guides here on the blog. We did give you the winning trifecta last year, and we did STRONGLY advise betting on Curlin to win. She probably also should have told you that you get what you pay for. On to the picks! Good luck to all the bettors.


Going into Saturday's Preakness, there is one decision that every bettor needs to make up front: what do you do about Big Brown? Just about everyone agrees that he's the class of the field, but that consensus has made him 1-2 in the opening line.

I refuse to bet any horse with odds that low. I'd rather stay away from the race than bet a horse that won't even double my money.

Many people will try to make the payout better by betting the exacta with Big Brown over the rest of the field. That's always a terrible idea, because if one of the second favorites comes in second, you probably won't make any money off the bet.

So what does that leave us? We can still bet place and show bets, and we can also bet long shots to win and hope for a miracle. I'm a big fan of win-place-show bets, mainly because they're for wimps. We'll probably end up betting some of those.

So let's start off by going through the field:

1 - Macho Again - Hasn't finished in the money in a graded stakes

2 - Tres Borrachos - Maiden breaking win is his only one. Looks like he could be out front early.

3 - Icabad Crane - This is a HUGE step up in competition, and I don't think he has what it takes.

4 - Yankee Bravo - Looks like a slow starter, good finisher. Call me crazy, but I'm a believer.

5 - Behindatthebar - Another finisher, I like him too. - SCRATCHED

6 - Racecar Rhapsody - Good speed figures, but he's not a winner.

7 - Big Brown - Awesome, undefeated, clearly the best. I think this is the year we finally see a Triple Crown winner.

8 - Kentucky Bear - Very inexperienced, only the maiden win.

9 - Stevil - Can't seem to get the win, but has some impressive runs.

10 - Riley Tucker - Probably the most graded stakes experience in the field. Seems to have a knack for making it into the money.

11 - Giant Moon - I'm willing to throw out the foggy Gotham debacle. His other experience looks pretty good.

12 - Gayego - I'm embarassed to say I liked him in the Derby

13 - Hey Byrn - Throw out the Florida Derby where he had a bumped start, and this looks like a horse that could make some noise in this field.

OK, so after passing through the field, I like Yankee Bravo, Behindatthebar, Riley Tucker, Giant Moon, and Hey Byrn. Uh oh. When you're not betting exotics, it's tough to make money when you like half the field (but you really expect the favorite to win).

Let's take a closer look at those 5. Giant Moon doesn't have a paying finish in a good race, so he's out. Hey Byrn has one awesome speed figure, but that looks like a fluke. Cross him out. Yankee Bravo hasn't cracked a 90 speed figure. That's bad news. Behindatthebar seems to be taking on increasingly good competition and posting increasingly impressive results. I like him. Riley Tucker seems to know how to get to the front and I think he's ready for a breakthrough.

Now we're down to two horses (and Big Brown). Let's take a look at the odds. Big Brown opened at 1-2, Behindatthebar at 10-1, and Riley Tucker at 30-1

Here are the bets:

$2 WPS on Behindatthebar ($6 total)

$2 WPS on Riley Tucker ($6 total)

$2 Trifecta Box on Big Brown, Behindatthebar, and Riley Tucker ($12 total)

With Behindatthebar out, I'm changing the Trifecta bet to this:
$2 Exacta Box on Riley Tucker, Yankee Bravo, Giant Moon, and Hey Byrn


Obviously the Preakness is a simple race to handicap, in that Big Brown will win if he doesn't stumble or hurt himself. That being said, it's going to be a very difficult race with which to make any money. In fact, handicappers will be easily teased into betting exactas. This is not a good approach though. An exacta with Big Brown on top will pay about as well as betting directly on the bottom horse to place. The downside is that you don't cash an exacta ticket if Big Brown falls apart, but you DO cash a place ticket. In fact, if Big Brown doesn't crack the top two due to divine or demonic intervention, a place ticket becomes more valuable.

[There is a major caveat though. See the comments for a discussion of how Big Brown could potentially foul up the place and show pools. If that's the case, you're going to have to go big ($5 to $10) on a couple exactas you like and hedge it with some $2 exactas that don't have Big Brown on top.]

For the same reason, trifectas are poor plays. With a horse as dominant as Big Brown, you really can't afford to play many combinations at only $1. A $1 trifecta featuring Big Brown on top is only going to pay slightly more than a $1 place-show exacta would, if such a thing existed.

The bottom line is that this race MUST be bet using place and show bets only. That means you have to accept that you won't get rich. If you want to toss some dollars away, box a trifecta that doesn't include Big Brown and hope he takes a nap on the backstretch. You can shoot for superfectas, but as I'll discuss below you'd be better off playing the Maryland Lotto's Pick 4 game. If you really feel you have to play exotics, you're not going to be able to bet $2. You're going to have to really handicap who you think will finish second and bet at least $5. The same goes for trifectas.

On to the horses:

Big Brown (7) will win. Pimlico favors early speed, and I expect Dutrow to send him out front and go for a wire-to-wire win. If any horses are foolish enough to chase him, they may fall back so far that Big Brown can cruise the last furlong. It's the best strategy for Dutrow and Desormeaux to conserve their horse and still not risk having Big Brown fail to fire down the stretch.

Someone has to finish second. These are the candidates I like:


Behindthebar (5) - The Beyers are consistent, and only one race is particularly worrisome. Here is the dilemma: it's also the horses only race on dirt. Distance isn't a concern. We're only left to hope that the bad race has more to do with a trainer switch than and dislike for the surface. I'm buoyed a little bit by a 1:00 5f breezer on dirt on May 11. Value is crimped a bit by third favorite status, but a real gambler might play some 7-5-X trifectas. --SCRATCHED

Racecar Rhapsody (6) - The horse has run good Beyers on dirt and synthetic, and a decent 1:01 5f breezer on May 10 is pleasant. Many will be concerned by back-to-back 4ths in graded stakes race. I am including him as a value pick among the potential place horses because he is a closer and I foresee the Big Brown pace situation predicted above. Might be a nice 10-1 or better place ticket if Frank Carucci's morning line odds hold up.

Riley Tucker (10) - One of the most experienced horses in the race, Riley Tucker has a nice mix of distances and surfaces, and has been consistent with six money showings in seven starts. He's getting Prado back, who has rode him to a win, place and show, but I'm very concerned by his habit of rating off the pace, especially under Prado. That could be a devastating mistake at the Preakness, especially coming off the 10th spot given Pimlico's tight turns.

Giant Moon (11) - I debated putting this horse in the next group down. The first four races were exciting, with four straight victories in the maiden effort and then three ungraded stakes races. Then there was the Gotham disaster, which featured nearly no visibility in the fog. I totally throw that out. He bounced back decently in the Wood Memorial-G1 but faded a bit and finished 4th. Now he gets Dominguez back, who has a lot of Pimlico experience. The wins were wire-to-wire, or close to it, which is a major concern, but the May 13 4f in 47 and 3 is good to see. spacer
Gayego (12) - Sigh. Pass me the Alka-Seltzer. Gayego is a handicapping nightmare. He ran some triple-digit Beyers leading up to the Derby, had never finished worse that second, took well to dirt, and was one of a few horses to retain the same jockey throughout. Then he totally spazzed in the Derby, barely getting out of the gate and basically just phoning in the entire race. Oh, and that was from the second to outside post in a noisy environment, the exact same situation we have here. Oh, and this is another horse that likes to rate just off the pace, which would be a disaster for any horse in this race, as discussed above. So why is my stomach gurgling? They're adding blinkers. Fuck you Paulo Lobo.


This is where it gets really difficult. Of the seven remaining horses, it's tough to really rule any of them out to show given the pace shape I expect for this race. Rather than call these the show horses, I'd rather consider them contenders to be on the board, possibly even second.

Macho Again (1) - So much to hate, including the fact that the horse has never gone over a mile, and one of those was a poor sixth in New Orleans. The good news is that the horse has shown closing ability. They've flown in the Fair Grounds (New Orleans) jockey, so that's a sign that Stewart Dallas isn't totally treating this as a vanity entry. Distance blood number is above average (339), but not inspiring. The workouts are painful too.

Tres Borrachos (2) - This horse caught my interest for the Derby. After switching from synthetic to dirt the horse's Beyers shot up from the 70's to the 90's. They tried to get him into the Derby, but fell short on stakes winnings. The distance isn't likely to be an issue, but I am concerned that many races show Tres Barrachos going from the front to the middle, and here the front might be something no one wants a piece of.

Icabad Crane (3) - Nothing to like here except a hot jockey and a good post position for Pimlico.

Yankee Bravo (4) - Not a total joke, but no Beyer over 90 and very little experience. Does show some closing ability, so consider if you are betting supers. Wins on turf and synthetic, a place in the Louisiana Derby-G2 and a 4th on synthetic in the Santa Anita-G1. Retaining Solis.

Kentucky Bear (8) - Only three races to look at, with a maiden win, a show (Bluegrass Stakes-G1) and a distant 7th (Fountain of Youth-G2). If you just love the number 8, or hate a lot of the other horses, I guess it's possible.

Stevil (9) - The only think I like is that the horse closes and carries Velazquez. That's enough for a show look in this race.

Hey Byrn (13) - Some allowance wins and the Grade 3 Holy Bull fill out a consistent resume here. He won at 1 3/16, posting only an 88 Beyer in a weak field (the odds on Hey Byrn were 1-1). There's one 14-length allowance win under Prado back in February that should tease some bets out.

So how will I bet it? I'm not going to put dollar amounts, because that will depend in part on how the first 11 races go, but my plays are:

Racecar Rhapsody - PS
Behindthebar - P

Giant Moon - P
Trifecta - Big Brown, Behindthebar, Giant Moon, My Three Other Place Horses + Tres Borrachos (elevated due to Behindthebar scratch)


Obviously, Big Brown is the favorite and clearly the best horse. However, it's tough to bet a horse at those odds, and there are only two other horses that have even a marginally legitimate shot to win.

#5 Behindatthebar - Winner of his last two, he closed from 15 lengths back in his last race, showing that the field and a 1:09 6f pace did not bother him. Big Brown will be out there on the lead, and this horse might have the patience and the closing speed to catch him. --SCRATCHED

#12 Gayego - I liked him in the Derby, and I still like his speed. By far the most capable horse after Big Brown, a good trip could yield dramatically different results.

If you have the money and you're willing to take the (large) risk, $1 Exactas with the 5,12 over the field would cost $24 and pay like gangbusters if Big Brown fails to win or place. Big Brown is the likely winner, but he will be overbet in a big way over such a weak field. Successful gambling is about finding the bets where the payoff exceeds the odds. If you don't want such a risky proposition, you're stuck with place and show bets.

Get the Preakness Past Performances here, courtesy of the Daily Racing Form.

If you'll be in the infield with Russell, Brien and me, you had better read this first.

A Tale of the Tape comparison of the Preakness and the Derby.

And in case you think we're total hacks, a look at last year's picks will show that we luck into it sometimes.

The Gowanus Rotisserie Baseball Gazette has an excellent Preakness preview of their own, as does SportsCracklePop.

May 1, 2008

Kentucky Derby Picks

Brien's Picks
I was pretty successful with last year's picks in both the Derby and the Preakness, so let's hope that I have as much success this year.

A brief note about my methodology: I go through the field once at first, giving each horse a yes, no, or maybe score. After that, I evaluate all the yes and maybe horses to determine what to bet. Exactas are the bet of choice.

As always, there is one key rule to keep in mind when betting the Derby: look for distance. This is by far the longest race any of these horses has run, so we need to find a horse that performed well at 8 or 9 furlongs and still has a little bit more in the tank.

  1. Cool Coal Man - "flattened out" in his last race, no thanks
  2. Tale of Ekati - good performance in the Wood, maybe
  3. Anak Nakal - Hasn't finished in the money all year, that would be a no
  4. Court Vision - Not enough here to warrant much attention, cool name though
  5. Eight Belles - Performed well against weak competition, maybe
  6. Z Fortune - Nothing there
  7. Big Truck - Tired in the Bluegrass, doesn't belong in the Derby
  8. Visionaire - "lacked late kick" won't win the Derby
  9. Pyro - We can look past the bad Bluegrass, he warrants a maybe
  10. Colonel John - Looks good, he'll be in our exacta bets
  11. Z Humor - Apparently Ahmed Zayat likes names that start with Z. Too bad his horses suck
  12. Smooth Air - Not a great finisher
  13. Bob Black Jack - Likes to be on the inside, and that's not going to happen in this race
  14. Monba - Appears to have some distance in him, maybe
  15. Adriano - Weak speed figures, no G1 races. No
  16. Denis of Cork - In the field based on one good race, everything else looks pretty weak.
  17. Cowboy Cal - Looks good, a couple of close calls, has some distance. Yes
  18. Recapturetheglory - Came out of nowhere to win the Illinois Derby. I'd be scared to leave him off my ticket.
  19. Gayego - Strong speed figures, in the top 2 every race, put him on the ticket
  20. Big Brown - 3 wins in 3 lifetime starts, looks good but I hate to be the favorite. Maybe.
After one pass through the field, here's where we stand:
  • Yes: Colonel John, Cowboy Cal, Recapturetheglory, Gayego
  • Maybe: Tale of Ekati, Eight Belles, Pyro, Monba, Big Brown
What next? There's a lot of value in the Derby if anyone but Big Brown or Colonel John wins, so we'll leave them off the top of the ticket. My bet is:
$2 Exacta
Win: Cowboy Cal, Recapturetheglory, Gayego
Place: Cowboy Cal, Recapturetheglory, Gayego, Colonel John, Big Brown

That's a $24 bet that should pay off very nicely if it wins, especially if it hits with anyone but Colonel John or Big Brown in 2nd. For those that are taking this to the track, the numbers are
17,18,19 10, 17, 18, 19, 20 (ouch, that's a lot of money on the outside pole).

Russell's Picks
Only three horses come in under 10-1 on the morning line, so here are my thoughts on those 3 and the others worth watching.

Big Brown is the morning line favorite at 3-1, but there are reasons to be wary. The horse has only run twice this year and likes a fast pace with or near the lead. Considering the relatively bad odds, there are lots of things that could go wrong. Starting from the far outside, getting to the early lead takes some extra energy. How will Big Brown react to having the mud of 19 other horses in his face? What if it rains (chance of T-Storms in the forecast) and keeping a sub-46 pace early isn't possible? Not worth the money, in my opinion.

Colonel John is next best based on the line, and is my favorite. His victory in the Santa Anita Derby was very impressive, and he had plenty to spare for the extra 1/8 of a mile. The Beyer speed number isn't great, but the time is the same as Big Brown's victory. People are making a lot of fuss about the new surface, but I think the workout of 57-4 at CD should put that to rest. This is a legit contender.

Pyro's third at 6-1, but I'm just not impressed. Even ignoring the debacle in his last outing, the speed just doesn't appear to be enough based on finishing times of the two wins this year and the last workout. In a field with 20 horses, this is not a good value.

So which other horses are worth some money?
Gayego appears to be a mirror image of Big Brown, but at a much better price. All of the concerns about front-running and the outside post still apply, and the last workout was slow in the mud, but he seems to be ramping up at the right time.

Recapturetheglory has a legitimate shot as a frontrunner that could slow the pace early and pull away late, as the closers get slowed down by all the other horses in the field. I'm thinking War Emblem here. At 20-1, it's worth a couple bucks.

Eight Belles, the filly, certainly has the speed to compete and has been one of the most consistent horses so far, other than the favorites. Plus she likes to win, four straight coming in. The big question is whether she can hang with the boys and G1 competition.

Z Fortune could pull it off with a good trip on the rail, but that will be tough to find in such a big field. If the odds climb from 15-1, he should be considered as a long shot.

How I would bet:
$2 Exacta: Colonel John 1st, all others mentioned here 2nd (6 bets, $12 total)
$5 Win: Gayego, Recapturetheglory, Eight Belles, Z Fortune (4 bets, $20 total)
$8 Win: Colonel John (unless odds fall to 3-1 or lower)
Total $40

Final Thought: Horses that like to win and are used to winning are more likely to win. 11 of the last 12 Derby winners finished 1st or 2nd in their previous race.

J-Red's Picks

Ok, amateur hour is over. I'll start by splitting the 20 into three categories - vanity entries, outside chances and strong entries.

Vanity Entries

(1) Cool Coal Man - If you're tempted to throw out the Bluegrass you have to explain to yourself why Desormeaux was willing to bail on him too.

(2) Tale of Ekati, (3) Anak Nakal, (4) Court Vision - These are the three Wood Memorial Horses. At the second turn, Anak Nakal and Court Vision were in the same pack that made a five-wide move. Tale of Ekati stayed near the pace setters for the entire trip, winning. That means Tale of Ekati had a pretty clean trip around and posted a 93. The other two had a wider trip, posting 87 and 90. I don't see any of the three suddenly jumping into the high 90's or low 100's for this race. In fact, only Tale of Ekati has cracked 90 before of these three.

(7) Big Truck - There's nothing to be excited about here. The most impressive showing, an off-the-pace 93 in the Grade 3 Tampa Derby included no other serious Derby contenders. He was entered in the Bluegrass, only to embarass himself with a distant 11th. Now Barclay Tagg thinks he can win in this field? Huh? Workouts were impressive, but not since Bluegrass.

(8) Visionaire - Only impressive run is a 98 in a Grade 3 Gotham Stakes so foggy that the PP only includes the first call and the order of finish. Workouts are middling. Jockey is average. Trainer is below average.

(15) Adriano - Prado has been on a few of these horses, all in this category. He'll mount up on Adriano which has the unfortunate distinction of running two decent races (90 in an allowance, 92 in a Grade 2) among a handful of uninspiring 70s, including a 70 in the only race he's run on dirt.

(16) Denis of Cork - Of this tier, this is the only horse that could shock people, only because his first race was in November 2007, he has only run on dirt, and his first three races were showing a possible impressive trend. If you're going very deep in trifectas or fooling around with supers, this might warrant a look.

Outside Chances

(5) Eight Belles - This is the filly. The owner/trainer were unsure whether they would run her in this race, waiting to see where she drew. Since she got a decent post, they decided to green light her. It's not impossible for her to win, but she has been racing against vastly inferior competition (look at her odds in the past three races) and the extra five pounds just doesn't make up for that.

(10) Colonel John - Are we seriously making this horse the second favorite based on the presumption that his workouts will translate to actual race performance on a dirt track? Ok, so he's won 4 of 6 and placed in the other two, but, as Mike Watchmaker said, "the only chink in his armor is he hasn't run fast yet. Um, yeah. That's a requirement here. I just can't imagine taking this little value with this little to get me excited.

(11) Z Humor - One of my favorite things to see, especially in younger horses, is a Beyer climb approaching a big race. Z Humor has a good starting spot, and the races in 2008 show a 79-84-94 climb with a graded 97 and 96 in his past. Might he pop a 100+ Saturday? Can't put him in the top tier with comments like "mild bid", "empty" and "flattened".

(12) Smooth Air - One of the more consistent horses in the field, Smooth Air compares well with Colonel John. Has never been out of the money, but has recently been fighting an illness. Distance might be an issue too.

(13) Bob Black Jack - A lot of questions here, including a lifetime of synthetic racing. Also, he has just recently been tried at distance, with okay results. The dirt workouts aren't impressive, and if we're using that to prop up Colonel John I guess we had better be using it to knock down this fellow.

(14) Monba - This one almost made my top tier. If you throw out the Fountain of Youth, where Monba was injured, he has been building a decent resume. The only real concern again is that he hasn't really run fast yet. This could be the race, or he could just post another 92-95 and be in the middle somewhere.

(17) Cowboy Cal - Interesting Pletcher entry here. After four turf routes, he was taken to Keeneland's synthetic Bluegrass G1. He seems to have a nose for the front, with his biggest defeat since breaking his maiden coming by 1.5 lengths. I just don't see enough to pop him into the top tier.

(18) Recapturetheglory - This is the only true speed horse in the mix, save Gayego, and he's coming from way outside in the auxiliary gate. I just can't see him getting cleanly to the front here, but if he does he might hold on to a share of the podium.

(19) Gayego - Came to the dirt for the Arkansas Derby and ran the best race of his life, albeit from the front the whole way. I think if you compare Gayego's run in the Ark. Derby to Z Fortune's, you'd get the impression that Z Fortune is the better horse. Still, include in exotics. If he can get clear by the half-mile mark, might have a shot.

The Big Boys

Ok, now we've got three left. I think the winner will come from this trio.

(6) Z Fortune - This horse is not getting any love. Z Fortune got a bad trip at the Arkansas Derby, four wide on both turns. Despite that, he got within 3/4 of a length to Gayego running a fast-for-this-Derby 102. Add in a good post position and this might be the hidden gem at 15-1.

(9) Pyro - The oddsmakers have him as the third favorite. His total disaster in the Bluegrass was also his only trip in synthetic. My major concern here is that there seems to be some regression since turning three and leaving the NJ-NY circuit. Workouts are also not inspiring. Still, in this field you have to include him.

(20) Big Brown - This horse is the class of the race, but unfortunately he's hanging out in the 20th spot. Lightly raced, Big Brown could be this year's Curlin, just a race or two from being a superstud. That being said, if Big Brown can get over cleanly and quickly, Desormeaux has the horse to beat. Of major concern, Louisville is the home of UPS. UPS is beloved there. I suspect Big Brown will go off at worse than easy money (from the 20th spot in a 20 horse field in his fourth race, etc. etc. etc.) It's too bad we won't be able to bet Big Brown to win.

How I'll Bet It

$20 win - (6) Z Fortune
$20 place - (6) Z Fortune
$20 show - (6) Z Fortune

$2 ex - 6, 9, 20 OVER 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 14, 18, 19, 20 (=$48)

$1 tri box - 5, 6, 20
- 6, 20, 9 (=$12)

Total wagered = $120 (you can of course cut that in half and only use one tri box and get it down to a more manageable $60)

What I Actually Bet

Of course I had some second thoughts before I actually went to the window. I cut out the WPS bets and trifecta and went with a more conservative exacta approach, focusing on Z Fortune, Pyro and Colonel John on top. Basically I honed in on the probably exactas that would pay $100 to $400.

$2 ex 6, 9, 10/2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 20 ($66)

and to round it up to an even $70

$2 ex box 6-10

Obviously, 6-10 is probably ideal for me.

January 14, 2008

Conference Championship Point Spreads

Watching the Giants finish off the Cowboys last night, I started looking ahead to next weekend's games and, of course, the spreads.

Next weekend we have two young and relatively unreliable quarterbacks going into very hostile environments against proven veterans. In the Chargers' case, we also have a coach with a reputation for running the two minute drill with both hands wrapped around his neck. How big would the spread have to be to get you to put money on either the Giants or the Chargers?

Last night I guessed that New England would be favored by 15 and Green Bay would be favored by 8. The only spreads I could find today (Sheridan and don't have them up yet) are NE -14.5 and GB -7 at

Vegas is predicting blowouts again this weekend. When is the last time there were two straight playoff weekends with no spreads under a touchdown? If New England wins, the Super Bowl will probably be the third weekend in a row (I can't imagine them giving less than a touchdown, even to Green Bay).

January 4, 2008

Wild Card Weekend: By the Numbers

As J-Red noted in his wild card picks, wild card teams have not fared well in the first round of the playoffs since the latest realignment (4 division winners, 2 wild cards). He only had the W/L data, so I pulled the records ATS using the indispensable Sunday Strategy Search Engine. I was surprised to see that, while home teams (division winners) are 12-8 in the first round, they are 7-13 ATS.

20 games isn't enough to draw a whole lot of conclusions, but we'll work with that to see what we can learn from history. Seeing that the home teams tend to win outright (.600), but not cover (.350), we see that wild card games tend to be closer than Vegas expects. I guess this shouldn't be surprising, as both teams are theoretically putting everything they have into the game.

This year we have the relatively uncommon situation of a home dog in the playoffs, with the Jaguars laying 2 at the Steelers. Unfortunately for the Steelers, home dogs in the first 3 rounds of the playoffs (the Super Bowl doesn't really count) are winless, both straight up and against the spread (0-3).

Removing the two home dog games from our dataset leaves 18 games where the home team went 7-11 ATS. I expected that the larger spreads would represent the bulk of the underdog covers, and that the home favorites would fare best in games with tight spreads. That turned out to not be the case at all. The home teams were 3-8 ATS (5-6 straight up) in games where they were favored by less than a touchdown and 4-3 ATS (and 7-0 straight up) in games where they were favored by a touchdown or more.

Think about what that means for a second: home teams in the playoffs favored by less than a touchdown have a losing record over the past 5 years. This means that if Vegas sets a low line for the division winner, the wild card team has a good chance of winning. Using Smart Capper's point spread to money line converter, if you put $100 on every wild card underdog team getting less than 7 points, you'd be up $518 over the past 5 years. That's not a bad payoff for betting on 11 games. For this year, that would mean betting on the Redskins and Giants to win outright. Bodog doesn't have money lines posted yet, but according to, you can expect to get about +165 on the Redskins and +125 on the Giants. History suggests you should win at least one of those bets, earning a healthy profit.

In summary, take the Jaguars and Chargers against the spread, and bet the Redskins and Giants on the money line. Shockingly enough, those are the same picks I made yesterday in the ECB pick-off before I did any of the historical research.

December 19, 2007

Bowl Predictions Against the Spread

After an exciting, unpredictable season, the bowls will likely produce more of the same. Here are my picks, sure to go wrong.

Navy (+8.5) over Utah - Navy can score with anyone.

FAU (-2.5) over Memphis - Howard Schnellenberger.

Cincinnati (-10.5) over Southern Miss - Head coach? What head coach?

Nevada (+2.5) over New Mexico - The pistol wins again.

BYU (-5) over UCLA - UCLA collapsed this year.

Boise St. (-11) over ECU - Boise beat Oklahoma last year.

Directional Mich (+8) over Purdue - Just because.

Texas (-2.5) over Arizona St. - Too much Texas beef.

BC (-3.5) over Michigan St. - BC has one of the best rushing defenses in the country. Blowout city.

TCU (-4) over Houston - Head coach?

Maryland (+5) over Oregon St. - Fridge is good in bowls.

Wake (-3) over UConn - Wake's finally healthy.

UCF (-3) over Miss St. - Kevin Smith.

Texas A&M (+5.5) over Penn St. - This is almost a home game for the Aggies.

Colorado (+3.5) over Alabama - Because I predicted 6-7 for Alabama after the ULM loss.

Cal (-3.5) over Air Force - Too much speed.

USF (-6.5) over Oregon - No Dennis Dixon, no team.

Georgia Tech (-5.5) over Fresno St. - Too physical.

Kentucky (-2.5) over FSU - The Seminoles are only bringing half their team.

Okla St. (-4) over Indiana - Just a feeling.

Auburn (+2.5) over Clemson - No question.

Tennessee (-3) over Wisconsin - SEC over Big 10.

Arkansas (+3) over Missouri - Darren McFadden for a whole lot of yards.

Michigan (+10.5) over Florida - Heisman curse and people are overlooking a healthy Henne and Hart.

Texas Tech (-5.5) over Virginia - Al Groh.

USC (-14) over Illinois - Too much time to prepare.

Georgia (-7) over Hawaii - Hawaii's defensive line will be crushed.

West Virginia (+7) over Oklahoma - Chase Daniel is not Pat White. Look back at the bowl between UGa and WVa.

VT (-3.5) over Kansas - Reality check.

Rutgers (-10) over Ball St. - Ray Rice.

Tulsa (-5) over Bowling Green - Lots of points.

LSU (-4) over Ohio State - Speed.

Happy Bowl Season!

November 14, 2007

Week 12 CFB Picks

I'm saving all my good picks for next week. Since I've had so few, I need to stock up.

Ohio State (-3.5) over MICHIGAN - OSU has consistently beaten teams that play like Michigan all season. If Henne and Hart were healthy, I would probably take Michigan, but Mallett and Minor, or even Henne and Hart at 70%, won't be enough. Even if this is Lloyd Carr's last game and Michigan gets really fired up, I just don't think they can do it this year. However, I will be rooting for a Biakabutuka-like performance from some Michigan player.

Maryland (+7.5) over FLORIDA STATE - Maryland has played really well against FSU the last few years, and FSU has all sorts of QB issues.

Last Week: 2-5
Season: 34-46-3

November 7, 2007

Week 11 CFB Picks

Time for my weekly embarrassment. But first, I have to say how much I enjoyed watching Navy beat Notre Dame. How great was that? The option is alive and well, and the Irish will have a loss for me to harp on for years. Also exciting was Arkansas running rough-shod over the Old Ball Coach. Nothing quite like a little power football. Every time an SEC West team beats an SEC East team, I smile. And conveniently, that's a good segue into a couple crazy lines this week. Both Arkansas and Auburn are essentially pick 'em on the road against the best of the East.

Arkansas (pk) over TENNESSEE - I have to. The Razorbacks are back! Monk is healthy, so the vague threat of a pass is there, and who can stop McFadden and Jones? Pig suey!

Auburn (+1.5) over GEORGIA - Auburn won at Florida and came closer to winning at LSU at night than Florida. This will be a physical football game.

In other games, I'll take

Connecticut (+6.5) over CINCI - I'm tired of hearing about how great UConn is, and I can't think of a better way to make them lose than to pick them. And it's really not that bad a pick. All UConn has to do is not turn the ball over.

Air Force (-2.5) over NOTRE DAME - That's right! Air Force is favored at South Bend. Ty should file a lawsuit for discrimination if Charlie doesn't get a pink slip after this year. ND could easily lose to Air Force and at Stanford, leaving them 2-10... Too bad...

Illinois (+14.5) over OHIO STATE - The Illini have shown up for all the big games this year, even if they haven't won them all. I think they compete more than this line indicates.

Boston College (-6) over MARYLAND - I've seen Matt Ryan play and I've seen Maryland's secondary. Need I say more?

And just to throw in a home team,
CAL (+3.5) over Usc - I think this is finally the year. It's not the undefeated matchup I projected, but it'll still be a good game.

Also, I'll take Montreal (+6.5) over WINNIPEG in some hot CFL action... Just kidding, but I do enjoy the CFL and would watch it if it wasn't at the same time as CFB and NFL. Their US invasion was great and I watched the Grey Cup that Baltimore won with the Pinball.

Last Week: 3-5-1
Season: 32-41-3

October 16, 2007

Week 8 CFB Picks

I won't pull any punches, I was embarassed last week. From the record setting 69-67 basketball score in the WAC to LSU's loss to Cal's brain cramp, I just don't have a good explanation. Some broadcasters have said no one will go undefeated this year. I'm starting to think 2 losses might be good enough for the national championship. But it looks like the BCS isn't broken yet, and the SEC is well-positioned. This is a big "Put up or Shut up" week, with some more marquis games to establish who might be legit.

RUTGERS (+2.5) over South Florida - Rutgers is better than people think, and this spread is fishy after USF opened up a can on UCF. This game will expose USF, or establish their spot in the top 5 as legit.

MISSISSIPPI (+5) over Arkansas - Passing? What's that? Arkansas can't throw the ball, and Ole Miss has enough run D to make them pay. Ole Miss wins.

Kansas (-4) over COLORADO - Best undefeated team no one knows anything about is Kansas. The OU loss will keep them alert and focused on the road.

Tennessee (pk) over ALABAMA - Bama gets caught looking ahead by a surging Vols team.

MISSOURI (-3.5) over Texas Tech - Battle of the spread offenses in the Big 12 goes to Daniel and the Big 12 North champions to be.

Miami (+6) over FSU - Wide right! Take Miami to win.

Florida (-6.5) over KENTUCKY - The Wildcats can't take that kind of beating two weeks in a row. Florida has a much better passing offense than LSU and will take advantage of a feeble UK secondary (see UK-SC game).

Michigan (-2.5) over ILLINOIS - The experience of Henne and Hart wins a close slugfest.

Auburn (+11) over LSU - Everyone still says LSU is the best team in the nation. If they don't throw the ball well on Saturday, Auburn will stuff them like they stuffed Florida and Arkansas. Neither LSU QB has impressed in the air recently.

And of course,
MARYLAND (-5) over Virginia - The home team seems to consistently win by a blowout in this series, except for our ridiculous comeback last year. UVA = Paper Tiger.

Last week: 0-7-1
Season: 19-26-1

September 20, 2007

Week 3 NFL Against the Spread Picks

As if to prove that Week 2 only paid the most amateur of NFL handicappers, Jeremy and the Magic 8 Ball narrowly squeaked out winning weeks while Brien, Russell and I all ended up 2-3. That means Jeremy gets to go first, for hopefully the last time this season.

As always, Sheridan's Odds are used, current as of 3:15p ET Friday.

Jeremy and Magic 8 Ball
So my contributions to the blog have been minimal at best this week. Nothing like starting work the week that we have [a new client named Orenthal]. It's like trying to jump onto a car moving at 120mph. But anyway, I've got a few moments so here are my and the Magic 8 Ball's picks of the week:

WASHINGTON (-3.5) over Giants. I think the 'Skins win this game in much the same way they beat the Eagles as sans Brandon Jacobs, the Giants have no running threat and the 'Skins pass D has been fantastic. So long as Campbell doesn't beat himself, it's just a matter of putting up enough points to beat this spread. Magic 8 Ball Pick: WASHINGTON (-3.5) over Giants. "Signs point to yes [Redskins will beat the spread]."

Minnesota (+3) over KANSAS CITY. I still have seen no signs of life from this Kansas City team and only got beat picking against them last week because Chicago has no offense. Tavares Jackson isn't that impressive either, but even on the road he'll lead the team to cover this spread. Amazing that the line has these two teams dead even given that home field is generally worth two points. Magic 8 Ball Pick: Minnesota (+3) over KANSAS CITY. "No [Kansas City will not beat the spread]."

Indianapolis (-6) over HOUSTON. I have been very impressed with Matt Schaub's leadership and his play, but they haven't exactly had stiff competition, not to mention the fact that Schaub is going to be without the guy who he threw to over 50% of the time. Colts win by a TD on the road in front of boisterous and fired up Texans fans. Magic 8 Ball Pick: HOUSTON (+6) over Indianapolis. "Signs point to yes [Texans will beat the spread]."

Buffalo (+16.5) over NEW ENGLAND. Listen, I think the Pats will win without a doubt. But anytime the line gets this inflated, especially for an NFL game, and especially for a rivalry game, I gotta take the 'dog. Magic 8 Ball Pick: NEW ENGLAND (-16.5) over Buffalo. "Yes [New England will beat the spread]."

Carolina (-4) over ATLANTA. Falcons have scored ten points in two games. Carolina's D showed weakness against the Texans, but they're not that weak. Further, Carolina's run defense is very strong putting more pressure on Joey Harrington to pass... not a good combo. Magic 8 Ball Pick: Carolina (-4) over ATLANTA. "My answer is no [Falcons will not beat the spread]."

So I'm going with four road teams this week, and may have run into the bear trap of picking the one home team that I did with my heart instead of my head. There are definitely some tough games on the board this week to pick straight up, let alone against the spread.

After a hurting first two weeks, I'm just hoping for the best...

Indianapolis (-6) over HOUSTON: The loss of Andre Johnson is huge for the Texans.

Detroit (+6.5) over PHILLY: What Philly secondary? Lito's still out and Donovan has struggled.

DENVER (-3) over Jacksonville: Denver finally converts yards into points.

OAKLAND (-3) over Cleveland: Last week wasn't the first time the Browns have lit up the Bengals. Doesn't mean they're good.

WASHINGTON (-3.5) over NY Giants: Giants have given up 80 points in the first two weeks, and the entire offense is hurt.

Now that everyone has played two games, there are three groups of teams when you look at the league in terms of against-the-spread (ATS) performance: teams that are 2-0 ATS, 1-1 ATS, and 0-2 ATS. Since we still don't know too much about the teams, we need to use what we know about other gamblers to make our picks. The key question to answer here is whether you think Vegas will cling to pre-season projections or will overreact to week 1 & 2 performances in setting the lines. Starting next week, I think you'll see a lot more weight placed on 2007 performance, but for now 2006 is still fresh in people's minds. We'll use that to our advantage by ignoring pre-season expectations and concentrating on what happened on the field the past two weeks.

Dallas (+3) over CHICAGO - Dallas (2-0 ATS) is putting a lot of points on the board. Chicago (0-2 ATS) doesn't look like the same team as last year. (BONUS PICK: The number for this game is 42.5, take the under and pocket the money)

Tennessee (+4.5) over NEW ORLEANS - Tennessee is 2-0 ATS and New Orleans is 0-2 ATS. This line is a perfect example of pre-season expectations carrying over to week 3. You should be able to get a +150 moneyline (per on this game. I'd recommend taking the Titans straight up.

OAKLAND (-3) over Cleveland - Both teams are 1-1 ATS, but this is a situation where Cleveland's big win last week will be overvalued by odds-makers.

TAMPA BAY (-3.5) over St. Louis - The Rams (0-2 ATS) haven't looked good at all this year, and last week showed us that the Bucs might not be the doormat people thought they would be.

GREEN BAY (+4.5) over San Diego - You probably think I'm crazy with this one, but hear me out. The Packers are 2-0 ATS (and 2-0 straight up) this year. The Chargers were completely overmatched by the Pats and struggled to beat a Chicago team that isn't very good. They're also coming off a huge Sunday night game last week against the Patriots, and play division games the next three weeks (KC, @DEN, OAK) leading up to their bye week. So if San Diego is going to overlook one game in the first half of the season, this is it. I don't trust Norv to keep the team focused enough to be prepared to play a surprisingly good Packers team. On the other hand, what the hell do I know, I'm 4-6.

Brien's right. Week 3 is when you have to stop quoting Dennis Green. Some teams are not what we thought they were.

Detroit (+6.5) over PHILLY - What is there to like about Philly? No Westbrook. McNabb looks hurt. Lito Sheppard out.

San Francisco (+8.5) over PITTSBURGH - San Francisco is overrated, but Mike Nolan has AFC North experience. There's just enough defense and Frank Gore to keep them within a TD...I hope.

Indy (-6) over HOUSTON - Andre Johnson is just too big a loss to overcome. Plus, when was the last time Peyton looked bad two straight weeks?

Buffalo (+16.5) over NEW ENGLAND - If you want to crown their ass, crown them. I would REALLY like that extra half point though.

God, that's only four? I'll pick a home team.

OAKLAND (-3) over Cleveland - I'm just blindly hoping last week was a total aberration, and Cincy is really not very good.

Jeremy: 6-3-1
J-Red: 6-4-0
Magic 8 Ball: 5-4-1
Brien: 4-6
Russell: 3-7

(consensus picks in bold)
Magic 8 Ball: CAR, HOU, MIN, NE, WAS
Russell: DEN, DET, IND, OAK, WAS
Brien: DAL, GB, OAK, TB, TEN

September 18, 2007

Week 2 - Picks Against the Spread

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! In a crazy Week 2, only Jeremy squeaked some cash out of Vegas.

I'm beginning to wonder if I pimped Brien too early.

Last Thursday, I said that Week 2 is the worst week of the year for against the spread betting. You think you know something, but it's all based on what you think you know about the Week 1 opponent. Sure Houston looked good, but I've formed better turds than KC. Turns out Houston and their brother turd in Washington might not be so bad.

And the records reflect the same. Here are the painful results (italics indicate unpredictable bad luck which in no way reflects on the prognosticator's skill.)

Brien: (2-3 this week, 4-6 overall)
Cincy, New Orleans, Denver, Atlanta, Houston

Jeremy: (3-2 this week, 6-3-1 overall)
Chicago, New Orleans, Arizona, Dallas, Washington

J-Red: (2-3 this week, 6-4 overall)
Cincy, Detroit, New Orleans, Green Bay, Tennessee

Magic 8-Ball: (3-2 this week, 5-4-1 overall)
Philly, Seattle, Dallas, KC, Tampa Bay

Russell: (2-3 this week, 3-7 overall)
Cincy, Detroit, New Orleans, Dallas, Green Bay

Jeremy: 6-3-1
J-Red: 6-4-0
Magic 8-Ball: 5-4-1
Brien: 4-6
Russell: 3-7

Survivor Standings
Brien forgot to submit a team, [CORRECTION: Someone else forgot, Brien already lost] which means he was the only person who wasn't wrong (and the only one eliminated). The other participants all selected Cincy or New Orleans, and since all were wrong everyone (who submitted a team) is alive.

It's like the spelling bee in that way, except all the participants lost their virginity prior to turning 30. Even Jeremy.

August 9, 2007

Suspicious, to say the least

Nikolay Davydenko, the 4th ranked tennis player in the world, retired from a match last week in the Prokom Open in Poland. That in itself is not newsworthy. Interestingly, though, on at least one betting site, Davydenko was not favored to win the match due to late bets on his opponent (a no-name).

I've always heard the old NFL betting advice that you bet with any late moves in the line, because that means that someone knows something. I never really put too much stock in that advice, thinking that no one could really know anything that would make a difference in the outcome of the game. But when a Russian tennis player retires from a match in which someone bet lots of money against him, it makes yo