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And So It Goes....

Overall: 7-1-0 (0.875)
Basis Function: Daubechies4

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March 31st, 2009 Picks

A nice turnaround for myself today as I went 3-0-0. My first pick was Cambridge United to win. This was a matchup of the 2nd place team in the Blue Square Premiere against the 22nd place team. Both offenses were lacking with few shots being taken. Jai Reason finally booted in a shot from the edge of the box in the 82nd minute and Cambridge United held on to defeat Woking 1-0.

My next pick was the Rangers over the Devils. The first period was scoreless, but in the 2nd the Rangers broke loose with three goals. The Devils turned up the pressure and started taking more shots but Henrik Lundqvist made saves on all 38. The Devils grew frustrated in the 3rd and were unable to make a run with at least one player in the box after the 10 minute mark. The Rangers continued their recent dominance over Brodeur and the Devils with a 3-0 victory.

My final pick of the day was Oregon State. They came out with their zone defense and jumped out to a 7-0 lead. They were up by as much as 11 in the first half but UTEP made a small run to make it 35-29 at the half. Oregon State started the second half strong as well and were up by as much as 21 before UTEP made a run again. The Miners got the deficit down to 3 with under 5 minutes to go behind the play of Randy Culpepper, Stefon Jackson, and Arnett Moultrie. Oregon State was 50% from the free throw line, but turned it around at the end to extend their lead. A couple of missed jumpers from Jackson and some more free throws from the Beavers and Oregon State pulled out the victory at home, 75-69. Now it’s on to the picks.

1) Portugal vs. South Africa – 2 goals or fewer
2) Atlanta Hawks @ Philadelphia 76ers – Philadelphia
3) Baylor vs. San Diego State – San Diego State
4) Chicago Blackhaws @ Montreal Canadiens – Montreal

1) Portugal has been in a bit of a slump lately. They were beaten 6-2 by Brazil in an international friendly. Aside from that they have scored 1 goal in 4 matches in international competition. South Africa has done much better against African competition, going 3-0-0 in defeating Equatorial Guinea 1-0, Ghana 2-1, and Cameroon 3-2. They lost to Chile 2-0 but then defeated Norway 2-1. So 80% of Portugal’s games going back to October have gone under and they’ve scored 0.6 goals per match and allowed 1.4 goals per match including the 6 goals Brazil tagged on them, while 80% of South Africa’s games have gone over while scoring 1.2 goals and allowing 1.2 goals.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

3) This game is being played in Madison Square Garden. Baylor shoots the ball better, from three point range, from the free throw line, and in general. They make more three pointers than San Diego State, get more blocks and have a higher adjusted points rating. The Aztecs have a greater rebounding margin, their opponents shoot lower percentages from the field than Baylor’s do, they have a higher assist to turnover ratio, have a greater turnover margin, get more steals, commit fewer fouls, and come up with fewer empty possessions. Both teams play 7 to 8 men, with Baylor starting two seniors, two juniors, and a sophomore with two seniors in the rotation off the bench. San Diego State starts four seniors and a sophomore, with a junior, a sophomore, and a freshman in the rotation off the bench. Lomars, at 7 feet, could give the Aztecs hassles as their tallest player is 6’8". San Diego State will need to play good man-to-man defense to stop Baylor’s three point shooting and will want to force turnovers. Baylor will want to use their athleticism to get easy baskets around the rim and play inside-out to get open jump shots. If Lomars gets into foul trouble it will enable the Aztec forwards to score around the rim much easier, but they should be looking to attack in any case.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

4) Cristobal Huet has a lower goals against average (GAA) and a higher save percentage than Carey Price of Montreal. Montreal is 4-3-3 in their last 10 games and Chicago is 4-4-2. Montreal is 2-1-2 at home recently, while Chicago is 1-3-1 on the road. Both teams lost their previous game. Montreal lost their previous home game and Chicago has lost their last 4 road games. Montreal is a -115 favorite in Vegas.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

Monday, March 30, 2009

March 30th, 2009 Picks

Ouch, my first winless day of the month as I went 0-3-0. I need to pick it up to finish over .500 on 600+ picks this round. My first pick was the over on Louisville versus Michigan State. Things started off slow immediately as the two teams combined to score 10 points in the first five minutes of the game. Michigan State played great defense and Terrence Williams disappeared from the game as he went 1 for 7 from the field. Altogether the two teams combined for 99 shots, whereas on the season they averaged 115 shots per game. Michigan State pulled away in the middle of the second half and downed the Cardinals 64-52 to make it to the Final Four in Detroit!

My second pick was the over on the North Carolina versus Oklahoma game. The teams started out flat again scoring 10 points in the first five minutes. The pace was slow again as 105 shots were taken by two teams who had averaged a combined 123 shots per game during the season. Tyler Hansbrough was ineffective for most of the game, but the rest of the Heels did more than enough against the Sooners. Blake Griffin had a slow and steady 23 points and 18 rebounds, but aside from him, Willie Warren, and Juan Pattillo the rest of the Sooners had 10 points total. Final score, North Carolina 72, Oklahoma 60.

My final pick was the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs had a four point lead going into the half, but the Hornets used a 9-0 run at the end of the third to go up by five in the final quarter. Chris Paul made a couple of amazing plays near the end leading to turnovers by San Antonio and even 6 straight points in 8 seconds near the end of the game could not unseat the Hornets. The clincher involved Chris Paul driving down the court, getting fouled, and flinging up a prayer from 40 feet out. The refs determined he intended to shoot the ball and granted the continuation and Chris Paul nailed three free throws to seal it. New Orleans won the game 90-86 and kept up in the race for home court. So on to the fracking picks.

1) Cambridge United @ Woking – Cambridge United win
2) New Jersey Devils @ New York Rangers – New York
3) Orlando Magic @ Miami Heat – Miami
4) David Lee reb. vs. Utah Jazz win margin – Utah win margin
5) UTEP @ Oregon State – Oregon State

Time to have fun tomorrow! Good luck!

1) Cambridge United have 7 wins on the road all season. They won two away matches in the first 6 months of the season and have won 5 in the last two months, going 5-1-0 (W-D-L) in their last 6 away matches. Woking have gone 2-2-2 in their last 6 home matches, losing to Kettering Town and Eastbourne Borough, yet drawing against Burton Albion who are tops in the tables. Given that Cambridge United are playing their best on the road right now and they are 52 percent favorites in the European sports books I like their chances here.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

2) New York is 5-4-1 in their last 10 and New Jersey is also 5-4-1. New York is 4-1-0 in their last five home games. New Jersey is 1-3-1 in their last five away games. New Jersey is 3-2-0 against the Rangers head-to-head this season, with Clemmensen being in net for all three victories and Brodeur and Weekes each picking up a loss. Henrik Lundqvist was in net for New York in all five games. The Rangers are on a two game losing streak and the Devils are on a four game slide. The line for this game has opened with both teams at -110. I like the Rangers but much less so if Clemmensen is in net.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

4) David Lee averages 11.9 rebounds on the season and the Utah Jazz are 11 point favorites in Vegas. David Lee has been averaging 11.9 rebounds per game in his last 10 and 10.8 rebounds in his last 5 away games. Utah is 31-6 at home with their average margin of victory being 13.4 points, while New York has lost 25 games on the road by an average of 10.6 points.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

5) UTEP is a 1 point favorite in Vegas even though they’re on the road. UTEP has a greater rebounding margin on the season, and averaged more blocks and assists than Oregon State did. They have a much higher adjusted points rating, but they do come out with more empty possessions than Oregon State. Oregon State shoots better from the field and makes more three pointers. UTEP is a good free throw shooting team and shoots over three times as many free throws as Oregon State per game. Oregon State plays a zone defense which UTEP has seen in only a few games this season. UTEP won each game against the zone. Oregon State must win this game with the next two games in the CBI championship series being played in El Paso. Stefon Jackson will need to be able to get to the line often to help crack Oregon State’s zone as the Miners are not a great outside shooting team.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 29th, 2009 Picks

Mired in the depths of the 1-3-0 day I knew I was lucky just to win one. My first pick was Bart Bryant to have the lower front 9 score, going against my coin which had failed me the two days previous. Bryant started out with two bogeys and was down two strokes going into the third hole. Amazingly Bryant holed out from 140 yards for an eagle while Lehman two putted from three feet for a double bogey putting Bryant up two strokes. Bryant bombed from there hitting into the water on the 6th and double bogeying that double dog leg. The round was tied after that but Lehman birdied the 8th hole and Bryant parred out to lose 38 strokes to 37.

My next pick was the home favorite, Wales. They were dominant in midfield in the first half spending most of their time in the danger zone of the Finns. Their attack was stalled, however, as they failed to take aggressive shots. Most of their attacks ended with pass after pass eventually being stolen by the Finnish defenders. In the 45th minute Hennessey made a huge blunder and left the net to try and reach a ball before Johansson could reach it. He was unable to and Johansson booted a shot which was partially deflected but still had enough juice to reach the net. Finland went into the half up 1-0. In the second half Finland rode that momentum and fairly outplayed the Welshmen. Finland tacked on a second goal in the 90th minute to wrap the game up, winning 2 to nil.

My third pick was the over in the Missouri/UCONN game. The first half went well with UCONN shooting 70% from the field and the teams combining for 82 points. They came out dull in the second half as the defenses began to wear on each other. Both teams shot under 30% for a good portion of the second half and it was just under seven and half minutes remaining before the first three pointer of the half was made. Missouri kept the game close and Matt Lawrence made a three with 45 seconds remaining to encourage the Tigers to keep fouling. Kemba Walker played amazing and made some incredible shots down the stretch for the Huskies. UCONN made their free throws and the two teams ended up scoring 157. Final score: UCONN 82, Missouri 75.

My final pick of the day was Ottawa over Atlanta. I had changed my pick away from Atlanta based on the information that Kari Lehtonen had been injured in their previous game against the New York Rangers on Thursday night. His replacement, Johan Hedberg, had some poor stats in 28 games this season. He gave up three goals and saved only 85% of Ottawa’s shots, but it was more than enough as Atlanta won 6-3. The key for Atlanta was a 2:58 period in the 2nd in which they scored three goals. Down 5-2 Ottawa was unable to mount a comeback and only hurt their chances in the third as they allowed frustration to mount resulting in penalties and power plays for the Thrashers. So on to the slim pickin’s!

1) Tiger Woods’ 4th Round Score: 68 or lower vs. 69 or higher – 69 or higher
2) Michigan State vs. Louisville – 140 points or more
3) Chivas USA vs. FC Dallas – Chivas USA win or draw
4) Oklahoma vs. North Carolina – 164 points or more
5) San Antonio Spurs vs. New Orleans Hornets – San Antonio

I’m really not sure about the OK/UNC o/u but the MSU/L’ville over seems pretty solid, though as we all know a poor shooting night can ruin an over. Good luck tomorrow everybody!!

1) When I posted 68 or lower last night the weather report for Bay Hill had the sun coming out and the winds calming down to 10-15mph by the time of Tiger Woods’ round. Now the weather report says “WINDY”. Difficult pin placements on the green for the final round are normal. Tiger has hit a 66 and a 76 the last two years at Bay Hill since it went to a par 70 for the Tour.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

2) Louisville have Williams, Clark, Sosa, Smith, McGee. Five players who can shoot the three ball competently. I’m a little concerned about how much production Michigan State can expect from Kalin Lucas with Louisville’s defense seeming to specialize in shutting down guards. Raymay Morgan suffered a broken nose in the game against Kansas and will be wearing a non-fitted mask for protection against Kansas. Goran Suton, however, should be able to score 20 again on Samardo Samuels. Michigan State will need players like Draymond Green and Travis Walton to step up here. Based on their combined adjusted points rating I would give this a 70% chance of going over.
Confidence: W5 streak or less

4) Based on the two teams’ adjusted points ratings this one has just under a 55 percent chance of going over. Gonzaga and North Carolina went over 163 easily and I did not see much in Oklahoma’s defense to make me think they would do any better than Gonzaga against North Carolina. Oklahoma’s offense, on the other hand, is terrific with Willie Warren, Austin Johnson, Taylor Griffin, and obviously Blake Griffin.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

5) San Antonio is 22-13 on the road and New Orleans is 26-11 at home. The Hornets are on a two game losing streak and are 3-2 at home recently. The Spurs are on a three game winning streak an dare 3-2 on the road recently. Ginobili is playing again for the Spurs, while Peja Stojakovic is still out for New Orleans. Tyson Chandler (ankle) is also out for the Hornets tonight. James Posey (elbow) will certainly miss the game tonight now as he’s been suspended by the NBA for throwing a ball at a referee on Friday. Hilton Armstrong will start for Chandler even though he also has an ankle injury. The line for this game has moved from “pick ’em” to the Spurs being a 1.5 point favorite.
Confidence: W4 streak or less

Saturday, March 28, 2009

March 28th, 2009 Picks

And my slow decline continues from the 5-0-0 day with a 1-3-0 day. I took Mike Weir to start the day off. Weir started out alright until he reached hole #5. He hit out of bounds on his tee shot and then hit far into the rough in the same direction with his drop tee shot. He ended up with a double bogey on the hole and two over on the front nine. Zach Johnson also nearly hit par on the front nine except for a bogey on #8, finishing 1 over par. My next pick was Adam Scott. Things went much the same way with Scott hitting par on the first 12 holes and Cink hitting a double bogey and a birdie to go one over through 12. Adam Scott proceeded to melt down completely hitting seven over par on the last six holes with a triple bogey, a double bogey and two more bogeys. Cink, as might be expected, did better than that and finished the round six strokes ahead of Scott who failed to make the cut.

My third pick was the over in the Arizona/Louisville game. Both teams got off to a fast start and ended up with 77 points by halftime. Their pace only quickened in the second half and they reached 140 points with five minutes remaining. Louisville blew out Arizona by 39 points, winning 103-64.

My last pick of the day was Kansas. It looked good in the first half with Kansas taking a 13 point lead at one point and keeping a 7 point lead at the half. Michigan State came out strong in the second and were down 2 with 17 minutes to go. I’m amazed Kansas actually outrebounded Michigan State, held Kalin Lucas to under 20 points, and still lost. Kansas seemed to be complacent with the lead instead of staying aggressive to extend it. Cole Aldrich wore down in the second half as he tallied 6 rebounds, 5 points and 0 blocks compared to 8 rebounds, 12 points, and 4 blocks in the first half. Kansas could not execute against the Spartan defense in the final three minutes and Michigan State won a terrific game 67-62. So on to the picks, ja?

1) Tom Lehman vs. Bart Bryant – Bryant cards a lower front 9 score
2) Finland vs. Wales – Wales
3) Tiger Woods’ 3rd Round Score: 68 or lower vs. 69 or higher – 69 or higher
4) Scotland @ Netherlands – 2 goals or fewer
5) Missouri vs. UCONN – 150 points or more
6) Ottawa Senators vs. Atlanta Thrashers – Ottawa
7) Villanova vs. Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh
8) Columbus Blue Jackets @ St. Louis Blues – St. Louis

Remember, they’re in twosomes after the cut so the first golf matchup will be over quickly, and good luck!

1) Tom Lehman won the first round front 9 by one stroke and Bart Bryant won the second round front 9 by one stroke. Tom Lehman has missed the cut in four of seven tournaments this year while Bryant has made the cut in all seven tournaments he’s played in. Bryant’s putting average is 1.778 in this tournament and Lehman’s is 1.789. Lehman has hit 52.8% greens in regulation and Bryant has hit 50.0%. Bryant has hit 2 birdies and 5 bogeys on the front 9 in the first two rounds. Lehman has hit 1 birdie and 5 bogeys. Bryant has hit 71.4% of his fairways and Lehman has hit 67.9%. I’ll go with Bryant here even though my coin selected Lehman.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

2) Wales is undefeated at home in World Cup Qualifying competition, while Finland has not won on the road. The caveat is that Wales has defeated the bottom side of their group at home while Finland has lost, once, to the upper side. Craig Bellamy injured his knee against West Ham United on March 1st but played for Manchester City as a substitute as recently as March 22nd. He may still be nursing the injury but he is fit to play against Finland as the Welsh coach named him to the squad on March 16th. Wales is favored to win in this match, with a Finnish win getting a 27.9% chance in the European sports books and a Welsh win getting a 43.3% chance.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

4) The current odds are 50.7% for over 2.5 goals and 49.3% for under 2.5. Combined The Netherlands and Scotland have scored 7 goals in six matches and allowed 3 goals. That’s an average score of 1.67 goals. The Netherlands are known for being an up-tempo offensive team but have only scored two goals at most in matches against Iceland, Norway, and Macedonia. This could easily be 2-1 in favor of The Netherlands, but Scotland is a good defensive squad having allowed 1 goal in three matches against the same three squads.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

5) Missouri and Connecticut are both high powered offenses. Missouri played against a strong defensive squad in Memphis and posted 102 points in regulation. Connecticut will prove to be a tougher challenge, but Missouri leads the nation in assists and have a 1.53 assist to turnover ratio so they should be finding easy baskets even against the Huskies. Both teams play at a fast pace and combine for 120 shots, 50 free throw attempts, and 12 three pointers scored. If both teams shoot over 40 percent from the field and hit 65 percent of their free throws it should go over. Based on their adjusted points ratings and the difference between that and actual scores in 47 tournament games this year I would give the over an 80% chance of happening.
Confidence: W7 streak or less

6) Both teams are hot, Ottawa is 8-2-0 in their last 10 and Atlanta is 7-3-0. Atlanta is 4-1-0 in their last 5 home games and Ottawa is 2-3-0 in their last 5 away games. Lehtonen was injured on Thursday night against the Rangers. Dan Hedburg, who has a 3.65 GAA and an 88.1 SV%, will be in net for the Thrashers tonight which gives Ottawa the advantage here.
UPDATE: It’s Johan Hedburg, not Dan.
Confidence: W4 streak or less

8) Both Columbus and St. Louis are doing well recently with Columbus going 7-2-1 in their last 10 and St. Louis going 6-3-1. Both teams have victories against strong competition in that stretch. St. Louis is 4-1-0 at home recently and Columbus is 3-1-1 on the road. Columbus won their last game at home against Calgary 5-0. St. Louis is on a three game winning streak including a 3-2 win at Calgary and a 4-2 win at home against Vancouver. Head to head this season St. Louis is 2-1-0. St. Louis is currently the favorite at -120.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

Friday, March 27, 2009

March 27th, 2009 Picks

Ach, another 2-2-0 day. It started out rough as I woke up to Charles Howell III being down two strokes to Pat Perez. He had chances to make up ground but missed a number of three foot putts. Fittingly he had a chance to win the back 9 but missed a 3 foot putt by over 9 feet. It was a downhill putt, presumably. My next pick was Tiger Woods scoring 68 or under in the first round. It started out nicely with him chipping in from 33 yards out for birdie. He then hit par until #6 where he hit into the water and ended up with a double bogey. He finished the front nine 1 over. On the back nine he found his stroke as he birdied four consecutive holes to go 3 under overall. He bogeyed the 17th but safely hit par on the final hole to finish with a score of 68 exactly.

I then moved on to Connecticut winning margin. UCONN looked to be the superior team through most of the game, despite the Purdue defense limiting them to 30 first half points. The Huskies showed they have great defense as well with Purdue scoring 25. Purdue made small runs, keyed by Robbie Hummel and JaJuan Johnson, but Connecticut always had an answer. In the end UCONN won by 12, 72-60. Pittsburgh was down by 8 at the half to Xavier and only managed to take the lead for good in the final minute. Final score Pittsburgh 60, Xavier 55. My final pick was Edmonton over Phoenix. It looked bad from the start as Phoenix scored on their first shot of the game and had 3 goals on 15 shots through two periods. Edmonton made a run with two goals within a minute during the third but could not find the net to send the game into overtime. Phoenix denied the Oilers two points, winning 3-2. So on to the dang picks.

1) Mike Weir vs. Zach Johnson – Weir cards a lower front 9 score
2) Stewart Cink vs. Adam Scott – Scott cards a lower 2nd round score
3) Arizona vs. Louisville – 140 points or more
4) Syracuse vs. Oklahoma – Syracuse
5) New Jersey Devils @ Chicago Blackhawks – Chicago
6) Kansas vs. Michigan State – Kansas
7) Gonzaga vs. North Carolina – 163 points or more
8) Memphis Grizzlies @ Sacramento Kings – Sacramento

At this point adjusted points rating and rebounding margin are the only two statistical categories predicting over 60% of the winners in games. Overall, in close games, adjusted points rating is a better predictor than rebounding margin. Adjusted points predicts 29 of 43 winners, and rebounding margin 26 of 43.

1) In tournaments this year Mike Weir has tended to hit the same score on the front 9 in the first and second rounds. Johnson has either hit the same score or hit a few strokes better in the second round. They have nearly identical scoring averages, but Johnson tends to hit more greens in regulation. Weir makes up for that with a greater scrambling percentage and a lower number of putts per round than Johnson. That happens when one golfer hits onto the green with a 30’ birdie putt and the other scrambles to get a short chip shot, leaving themselves with a 10’ putt for par. Weir does have a better overall putting average, however, indicating he makes long putts more often than Johnson does. Johnson and Weir have alternated with each other in terms of monetary winnings, and this year it’s Johnson’s turn to win big. So flip a coin, Johnson is a good pick, I’m going with Weir, and have fun!
Confidence: W1 streak or less

2) Cink is a good golfer and hit two strokes better than Adam Scott in the first round, despite hitting a double bogey on that wicked double dog-leg on #6. Statistically the two are very similar in nearly every category. Adam Scott does have a better putting average. Over the past four years Adam Scott has won 3 tournaments and placed in the top 3 eleven times, whereas Cink has done this eight times. This year Cink has scored better than Scott in the second round in all three tournaments they’ve both participated in. I like Scott’s lower putting average and think he’ll do better on the back 9 this time around.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

3) Arizona has had 14 of 34 games go over 139 points in regulation. Louisville has had 12 of 35 games go over 139 points. In the vast majority of the games that went under it was their opponents who failed to score. Both teams have played UAB this season and both of those games went over. Louisville’s defense is formidable but the quickness of Nic Wise, Jordan Hill, and Chase Budinger should allow Arizona to get easy points around the basket. If the referees allow defenders to make contact beneath the rim, however, it will force the teams to score from the perimeter. Fortunately they each shoot over 45% from the field and over 36% from three point range. Of course, if one or both teams have poor shooting nights the game could go under. Each team has scored over 70 points in their tournament games so far and I think they’ll each score over 70 again tonight.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

6) Michigan State defeated Kansas by 12 points in the regular season. It was a home game for Michigan State. Sherron Collins had 8 turnovers. The Spartans lead the nation in rebounding margin and I expect them to have a sizable advantage on the boards this time around as well. Kansas has a higher adjusted points rating and plays at a faster pace than Michigan state in general. Kansas is a better three point shooting team though Michigan State limits it’s opponents to 31.6% shooting. Kansas averages more blocks and steals than Michigan State. Kansas shoots a higher percentage from the field and from the free throw line. Michigan State averages one more empty possession per game than Kansas. I like Cole Aldrich in the middle and think Sherron Collins will do a better job not turning the ball over. I also think Kansas will limit Kalin Lucas to under 20 points this time around.
Confidence: W5 streak or less

8) Sacramento is 10-24 at home while Memphis is 5-29 on the road. Sacramento has 10 home wins this season mainly due to playing teams like Memphis. Sacramento is 1-4 at home recently with a victory over Denver, but that was with Andres Nocioni in the lineup. Memphis is 1-4 on the road recently with a victory over Detroit, but that was with Rasheed Wallace out of the lineup. Andres Nocioni will be out for tonight’s game. Sacramento is a 2 to 3 point favorite.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

Thursday, March 26, 2009

March 26th, 2009 Picks

Back to a 1-2-0 day. It started out with CASHPOINT SC Rheindorf Altach managing their first draw of the season on the road against Kapfenberg SV. Kapfenberg scored early in the second half to go up 1-0 but then gave up a goal 16 minutes later. Kapfenberg created more and better scoring opportunities but could not capitalize. SC Rheindorf Altach made a wicked goal from the left side of the box, the guy had his back to the goal but still managed to whip it into the upper right corner. End result, 1-1 draw.

I then took Notre Dame and they did a good job shooting their three pointers. Notre Dame advanced to the NIT semi-finals with a 77-67 victory over Kentucky. Kentucky only had 10 turnovers in the game but Notre Dame improved on their #1 ranking for fewest turnovers per game by having only 6. Jodie Meeks had a nice outing with 21 points on 6 for 10 shooting but Luke Harangody was the difference as he went for 30 points and 11 rebounds. Kentucky never really threatened in the second half with Notre Dame leading by at least 5 after the break.

My last pick was St. Mary’s over SDSU. It was a blowout right from the start as the Aztecs took a 15-0 lead. Patty Mills shot 7 for 24 from the field and made a few huge mistakes at the end that prevented the Gaels from tying SDSU or taking the lead. Billy White had a great game for SDSU scoring 17 points on 8 for 12 shooting. The Aztecs played strong defense, keeping St. Mary’s below 40 percent shooting for the night. St. Mary’s never fully recovered from the first five minutes of the game and San Diego State advances with a 70-66 win. So on to the picks.

1) Charles Howell III vs. Pat Perez – Howell III cards a lower front 9 score
2) Tiger Woods’ First Round Score: 68 or under vs. 69 or over – 68 or under
3) Calgary Flames @ Columbus Blue Jackets – Columbus
4) Connecticut win margin vs. Pittsburgh win margin – Connecticut win margin
5) Miami Heat @ Chicago Bulls – Chicago
6) Vancouver Canucks @ St. Louis Blues – St. Louis
7) Villanova vs. Duke – Duke
8) Edmonton Oilers @ Phoenix Coyotes – Edmonton

1) Analysis. I’m a bit lax on the use of that word here. I flipped a coin and it ended up heads so I picked Howell III. It’s a mere coincidence that of the five tournaments he and Perez have both played Perez has never shot a lower score on the front 9. Howell has gone lower 3 times and they tied twice.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

2) It’s a par 70, 2 under isn’t much. Woods shot 1 under, 2 under, 4 under, and 4 under at the Transitions Open last week. He’s slowly getting better and I think there’s a good chance he can continue to progress in this tournament.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

4) Connecticut handed Texas A&M a 26 point loss, while Pittsburgh only pulled away from Oklahoma State near the end to win by 8. The Aggies and Cowboys were each 9-7 in Big 12 play and split their two games over the regular season. Now Pittsburgh is playing another team who can shoot the three point shot with Xavier going at a 39.9% clip. To top it off Xavier is bigger and more physical than Oklahoma State, with a +8.4 rebounding margin compared to Oklahoma State’s -1.1 margin. Connecticut will have size on Purdue, with advantages in rebounding margin, adjusted points, and three more blocks per game. Purdue shoots and makes more three pointers, but I expect them to be outmatched by Connecticut while Xavier will give Pittsburgh a good game.
Confidence: W5 streak or less

7) Duke and Villanova match up very closely statistically. Villanova’s biggest advantage is in field goal percentage defense where they limit opponents to 40.6% from the field compared to Duke’s opponents who have shot 43.4%. Villanova also has an advantage in rebounding margin. Duke forces more turnovers than Villanova and have a higher adjusted points rating, mainly due to Villanova having nearly two extra empty possessions. Duke will need to force those turnovers to win in a close game and have great shooting nights from Singler, Scheyer, and Henderson. Villanova has a mob of great athletes that gives them the advantage in my opinion, but Duke is a two point favorite in Vegas. That, along with the advantage in blocks, steals, and adjusted points leads me to believe Duke should win a very, very close game.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

8) Edmonton is a -130 favorite on the road and Phoenix is a +110 underdog. Edmonton is 3-0-0 against Phoenix this season. Dwayne Roloson has a 2.75 goals against average with 91.6 SV% for the Oilers. Ilya Bryzgalov has a 2.92 GAA with a 90.9 SV%. The Oilers are 3-1-1 in their last 5 road games and Phoenix is 2-2-1 in their last 5 home games. Phoenix’s two home wins recently were against San Jose and Vancouver so they are dangerous, but the trends and the odds say to go with Edmonton here.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March 25th, 2009 Picks

2-1-0 day today. It started off shaky with Hereford scoring an early goal on Carlisle before 10 minutes had even gone by. The quickly upped their lead to two twenty minutes later. Carlisle got a goal in first half injury time to give hope to those who had picked them to win but the Hereford United defense remained strong and both sides went scoreless in the second half. Hereford United picked up their third away win in 20 matches. Then I went with Auburn on the three point prop. It was close most of the way through the game with 7 threes apiece down into the final three minutes. Auburn hit a couple of threes to cut into Baylor’s threes and Baylor made sure to take shots from the paint with the dwindling lead. Jerrell, Carter, and Dunn combined for 6 of Baylor’s 7 threes. Reed and Waller hit four threes and Rasheem Barrett stepped up big with 3 of 5 shooting from behind the arc. Baylor held on to win 74-72.

I’d like to apologize for the misinformation about Jonas Hiller playing for Anaheim against Nashville. Giguere played great and the game went to a shootout. The Predators missed their first two attempts before they forced Giguere to make some saves. Eventually Rinne let one through and Anaheim prevailed. My last pick was Williams and Boozer to score more points. The two duos were within three points of one another all the way. Deron hit a jumper with two minutes to go to put the Jazz duo up by 1. 30 seconds later Adelman conceded the game and took Artest and Yao off the court. Williams and Boozer outscored Ming and Artest 32 to 27 and the Jazz won 99-86. So for now we will go onward unto the picks.

1) SC Rheindorf Altach @ Kapfenberg SV – Kapfenberg SV win
2) Kentucky @ Notre Dame – Notre Dame
3) Calgary Flames @ Pittsburgh Penguins – Pittsburgh
4) Boston Celtics @ Orlando Magic – Boston
5) San Jose Sharks @ Chicago Blackhawks – San Jose
6) Anaheim Ducks @ Colorado Avalanche – Anaheim
7) St. Mary’s @ San Diego State – St. Mary’s
8) Utah Jazz @ Phoenix Suns – Utah

1) SC Rheindorf Altach is 1-11-0 (W-L-D) in away matches this season. Their single victory was against LASK Linz who have a minus 10 goal differential at home this season. Kapfenberg SV have a plus 2 goal differential. They’re not a very good team either, but are 6-5-2 at home. SC Rheindorf Altach have given up 42 goals in 12 away matches, 3.5 per match! They’ve only scored 13 goals in those 12 matches as well. Of course SC Rheindorf Altach could win or draw in this game, but since they never have drawn a match on the road and since they’ve won less than 10% of their matches on the road I’ll go with Kapfenberg SV.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

2) Notre Dame is at home against Kentucky tonight. The Wildcats should have an advantage on the boards though Zeller and Harangody should do well against a generally undersized Kentucky team. Against Creighton Kentucky had the biggest men on the court, but in this game Notre Dame will have that advantage so look for Meeks to have a bigger role over Patterson tonight. Kentucky is a good defensive team with their opponents shooting only 38.8% from the field compared to Notre Dame’s opponents who shoot 42.7%. Kentucky should also have the advantage in blocks and steals. Notre Dame will have to make their three pointers when Harangody is double teamed to maintain and extend a lead against Kentucky and they should with 39.6% shooting from beyond the arc this season. Kentucky averages an astounding 17.2 turnovers per game. Notre Dame averages 9.7 turnovers per game. So if Kentucky can play good defense, disrupting Notre Dame, and avoid turning the ball over constantly they have a good chance to win this game. If Notre Dame can manage to shoot 40% from the field, prevent Kentucky from scoring too many dunks and layups, and force even 12 turnovers they will almost assuredly win.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

7) Even as a Mountain West fan I, like most of America, have rarely seen San Diego State play. San Diego State is favored by 3.5 at home. St. Mary’s has a pretty sizable advantage in adjusted points and rebounding margin so I expect Samhan and Simpson to do well on the boards for the Gaels. San Diego State has more empty possessions than St. Mary’s and fewer total possessions on average. St. Mary’s gets more blocks, but San Diego State grabs more steals. San Diego State’s opponents shoot a lower percentage from the field and from three point range than St. Mary’s opponents. The Aztecs shoot the three ball at 34.7% compared to 33.6 percent for St. Mary’s. When San Diego State lost by 3 to St. Mary’s on a neutral court they shot 33.3% from the free throw line, yet are a 70% shooting team on the season, ergo St. Mary’s was lucky to have won that game. I have to give St. Mary’s the advantage based on offensive efficiency in the end, but if Kyle Spain is lighting things up San Diego State should win.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

8) Phoenix is on a five game winning streak following a six game losing streak, with two of those wins being against teams with a better than .500 record and all but one game being at home. The Utah Jazz are at full strength and have been playing well since the All-Star break with an NBA best 14-3 record. All three losses came on the road to Atlanta, Miami, and Orlando. Phoenix is without Leandro Barbosa for this game and Stoudemire is out for the season. Phoenix won at home against the Jazz by 2 earlier in the season. Carlos Boozer was out with injury for that game and Phoenix still had Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, Leandro Barbosa, and Amare Stoudemire. Phoenix has added Matt Barnes and Jason Richardson since then, but I don’t see them making up for the loss of Bell, Diaw, Barbosa, and Stoudemire. The Jazz are 14-20 on the road with 13 of those wins coming against sub-.500 teams. Phoenix is a 3 point favorite. I’ll be going with the better team here and give them a shot on the road now that they’re at full-strength.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 24th, 2009 Picks

An ugly 2-2-0 day though not bad considering my picks went below .500 for the day. The day started out nicely with FK Tom’ Tomsk scoring a goal in the first minute of their match against CSKA Moscow. They went into lockdown mode after that and managed to keep CSKA from finding the net for the rest of the game. Needless to say CSKA returned the favor and the match ended as a 1-0 win for FK Tom’ Tomsk. I then went with Kidderminster Harriers. The game was a 0-0 draw until the last moments of the game when Kidderminster scored a goal in injury time to seal the win.

I then took Nate Robinson. 6 for 22 shooting for the night. 1 for 7 on threes, including a miss that could have tied the game and sent it into overtime. Nate Robinson was very nearly the worst Knick on offense this night. Dwight Howard had a nice game scoring 13 in the first quarter, 7 in the second, 6 in the third, and 3 in the fourth. Robinson was down 20 to 5 at the half and never seriously threatened. My final pick was St. Mary’s over Davidson. It was a close game for the first half with Davidson making just enough threes and forcing just enough turnovers to keep it close. St. Mary’s then began to gradually draw away in the second half. Patty Mills, Omar Samhan, and Diamon Simpson were terrific. Curry had a good game for Davidson as well but he did not have enough from his supporting cast to lift Davidson to victory. St. Mary’s won the game 80-68. So then, on with the picks.

1) Hereford United @ Carlisle United – Carlisle United win
2) Baylor @ Auburn – Auburn scores more three pointers
3) Washington Capitals @ Toronto Maple Leafs – 7 goals or more
4) Anaheim Ducks @ Nashville Predators – Nashville
5) Detroit Pistons @ Chicago Bulls – Chicago
6) Vancouver Canucks @ Dallas Stars – Dallas
7) Penn State @ Florida – 141 points or fewer
8) Ron Artest and Yao Ming vs. Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams – Ming and Artest pts.

1) Hereford United is 2-2-15 (W-D-L) on the road this season. Their wins and draws have come against Colchester United, Brighton, Cheltenham Town, and Walsall. So they have defeated or drawn against teams higher in the tables than Carlisle United but half of their wins and draws have come against other relegation squads. Carlisle United are 7-4-7 at home. They lost to Tranmere Rovers at home who are 7th in the tables and have a losing record on the road, 5-4-10. They also lost to Hartlepool United who are 4-3-12 on the road. Their 9 other losses and draws at home have come against squads with more wins/draws than losses. Carlisle United are dealing with a few injuries with Livesey, Bridge-Wilkinson, Horwood, and Murphy out. Thirlwell is likely to play. All of these players missed the match against Hereford United earlier this season which Hereford won 1-0. Injury information for Hereford United is more difficult to come by so for now I’ll assume they are at full strength. The current odds have a Carlisle win favored at 54%.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

2) Baylor makes 8.1 three pointers per game and Auburn makes 7.1 three pointers per game. Neither team is very big so one might expect them to shoot fewer threes and score inside, yet both teams tend to shoot at least nearly 20 threes even if the largest defender on the court is 6’9". Baylor shoots 36.2% on threes, while Auburn shoots 33.4%. Baylor has three deadly shooters in Tweety Carter, Lacedarius Dunn, and Curtis Jerrells. Auburn’s main threats are DeWayne Reed and Tay Waller. Both schools have at least three other players who can and do shoot threes, however. Auburn’s opponents shoot 32.9% on threes and Baylor’s opponents shoot 33.9%. Auburn’s opponents also shoot a lower percentage from the field and Auburn forces more turnovers than Baylor. I like Auburn here to defend the perimeter and frustrate Baylor’s offense. Of course this will come down to which team has the hot hands, but I think Auburn has a better chance of that with their defense.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

4) Nashville is a pretty big favorite at home (-140) and Pekka Rinne is a terrific goalie. Anaheim will be trying out Jonas Hiller in net against the Predators as GIguere has not done so well against them this year. Nashville is 2-0-1 against the Ducks with an overtime loss in Anaheim just 6 days ago. Nashville is coming off a shootout loss to San Jose and should be looking to return to the form that gave them an 8-0 win over Detroit, the Red Wings’ only scoreless game this season. Anaheim is 4-1-0 in their last 5 games with overtime wins at home over Nashville and Vancouver. This is probably one of the safer picks on the board tonight.
Confidence: W5 streak or less

7) This looks to be another close over/under that comes down to the last few possessions. A number of measures are pointing to 136 to 138 points being scored here. One made three and an extra free throw could put it over, however. Cornley, Penn State’s second leading scorer, is questionable for the game tonight and Talor Battle is probable to play with a minor hip injury that has not affected his scoring too much. Either way Penn State can be expected to score around 60 points, so Florida will need to have an 80 point game to put this one over. They can do it, having scored 80 or more in 19 of their 35 games. If you take this pick, good luck.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

8) Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer outscored Yao Ming and Ron Artest 46 to 44 in the one matchup this season where all four played. Over the past 10 games Ming and Artest have been averaging 38.1 points and Williams and Boozer have been averaging 31.5 points. That total is skewed for the Jazz players by Boozer returning from an injury which kept him out for over 40 games. Williams also had a couple of low scoring games in there. Okur, Collins, Millsap, or Boozer won’t be able to stop Yao from scoring, but he may have a poor shooting night on his own. The best hope for the Jazz men is for Kirilenko and Harpring to slow down Artest. Then they will need Boozer to play up to form and score 20 or more points. In the 11 games since he’s returned Boozer has scored 20 or more three times, with a high of 23 points. On the other hand, Yao Ming has only scored 20 or more four times in the past 11 games. Boozer and Williams could definitely win this but it seems a bit more likely for Artest and Ming to end up on top. Of course, I’ll be picking Williams and Boozer.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

Monday, March 23, 2009

March 23rd, 2009 Picks

Alright, finally got a perfect 5-0-0 day! Started off with Ajax Amsterdam who were able to take advantage of NAC Breda’s injuries in winning 3-0 on the road. Then I went with Syracuse. Arizona State played a pretty good game, but they just couldn’t stop Syracuse. Onuaku and Jackson in particular were able to score at will down low. Jonny Flynn had 11 points and 7 assists. Kuksiks and Abbott tried to keep ASU in the mix hitting 12 threes between them, but Devendorf and Rautins had an answer for nearly every one. Syracuse led by 9 or more for much of the game and ended up winning 78-67.

Then I took Xavier over Wisconsin. I have to admit Wisconsin looked pretty solid in the first half and for most of the second. Eventually, however, Wisconsin’s offense stalled and Xavier was able to run away down the stretch in a 60-49 win. I then took Michigan State, my ‘lock’ of the day. It was touch-and-go for a while. USC did a terrific job defending inside. Michigan State got plenty of offensive rebounds but they could not convert them into second chance points. Eventually they were just a play or two too good for USC in this game, winning 74-69. My final pick was Japan, who gave up a solo home run on the first at bat of the game. They came back however, and were able to outscore U.S.A. 9-4. So on to the picks.

1) FK Tom’ Tomsk @ CSKA Moscow – 3 goals or more
2) Kidderminster Harriers @ Wrexham – Kidderminster Harriers win or draw
3) Kentucky @ Creighton – Creighton
4) New Jersey Devils @ Philadelphia Flyers – Philadelphia
5) Carolina Hurricanes @ Florida Panthers – Florida
6) Dwight Howard pts. vs. Nate Robinson pts. – Robinson pts.
7) Stanford @ Wichita State – Stanford
8) Detroit Red Wings @ Calgary Flames – Calgary
9) Denver Nuggets @ Phoenix Suns – Denver
10) Vermont @ Oregon State – Vermont
11) Korea vs. Japan – Korea
12) Davidson @ St. Mary’s – St. Mary’s

Well, after 30 NIT and NCAA games 23 winning teams have had a higher adjusted points rating, that’s over 75%. 20 have had the advantage in rebounding margin, 67%. 19 have had an advantage in steals and 17 have had an advantage in assist to turnover ratio, three point percentage, and empty possessions. 15 have had an advantage in blocks per game and three pointers made. Best of luck to everyone!

1) Last season 3 or more goals were scored in 33% of CSKA Moscow’s home matches, and in 40% of FK Tom’ Tomsk’s away matches. Three of six of those overs for FK Tom’ Tomsk came in their first 4 away matches. Four of them came against teams in the top 6 table positions. Three of five of those overs for CSKA Moscow came against the bottom four teams in the tables. Currently the average odds are 55.5% favoring under 2.5 goals and 44.5% favoring over 2.5 goals. This is a real tossup with a lot favoring both sides and I just have a feeling CSKA Moscow has it in them to score 3 on their own.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

2) Wrexham have not been playing terrifically at home lately. In their past five games they have 1 win, 3 draws, and 1 loss. Their win was against Gray’s Athletic and the draws have been against such relegation squads as Northwich Victoria. Kidderminster Harriers haven’t been fantastic on the road lately either, with a loss to Barrow who lie below Wrexham. They do have an impressive victory against Torquay United, however. Wrexham are 5-2 at home with a halftime lead, 3-3 when it has been tied, and 1-3 when behind at the half. On the road Kidderminster are 3-0 with a half time lead, 4-3 when it has been tied, and 1-4 when behind at the half. As near as I can tell both squads are at or near full strength. I’ll go with Kidderminster to at least draw against Wrexham who have not had a win against a team above them in the tables since December.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

3) Creighton is a slight favorite at home here. The Bluejays average fewer empty possessions, have a slightly higher adjusted points rating, shoot better on three pointers, score more three pointers per game, have a better assist to turnover ratio, and get more steals per game. Kentucky has a much better rebounding margin and averages more blocks. So Creighton should win this game easily. Kentucky has a couple of 6’9" forwards, Patterson and Stevenson, that could mean big trouble for Creighton. Creighton have only a few bigs and will need big games out of them. The size of Kentucky will probably give Creighton’s small guards some problems. If Kentucky can score easily inside, get second chance points, and avoid too many turnovers they have a very good chance of winning this game. If Creighton is hitting threes and scoring off of turnovers, however, they should win in a close game.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

6) Nate Robinson has been averaging 23.7 points in his last 10 games compared to 20.9 points for Dwight Howard. Dwight Howard dominates in the paint most games, yet he doesn’t score tons of points. Many teams revert to fouling him and rely on his poor free throw shooting to keep him from scoring. Nate Robinson outscored Howard 32 to 24 the last time they played in New York, and 27 to 15 when they played in Orlando. Dwight Howard has scored 30+ points 7 times this season. Nate Robinson has scored 30+ points 7 times since February 1st. I like the player who has won the previous matchups and is more likely to blow up for big numbers.
Confidence: W6 streak or less

9) Denver is 1-1 against Phoenix this season, losing 101-108 at Phoenix and winning in overtime 119-113 at home. Amare Stoudemire and Leandro Barbosa played in both of those games and both will be out with injury for tonight. Shaq may have a good game, but Nene is as capable of a defender as anyone else in the league. In the game in Phoenix Shaq had 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 block. Nene had 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Phoenix is a 3.5 point favorite at home. Denver is 18-17 on the road this season, which ties them for the 7th best road record in the NBA. Denver will keep Phoenix below their average points scored, but Denver will probably score more than average against a weak Suns defense.
Confidence: W5 streak or less

10) Oregon State defeated visiting Houston, a fairly good Conference USA team, 49-45. Their defense dominated as Houston was held to under 30% shooting for the game. Vermont will present more of a problem I think. Oregon State has a slight advantage in three pointers scored by a small margin. Vermont own advantages in all the other important statistical categories. They are a better shooting team than Houston so I think Oregon State will not be holding them under 50 points in this game. Vermont is a much better three point shooting team than Houston so I think they will make Oregon State pay for clogging the middle.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

11) I really know very little about baseball. Here, all I know is Japan is 2-2 against Korea in the WBC this year. Korea is 2-0 when Jung Bong starts on the mound, and he will be starting tonight.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

12) Davidson has quite a few advantages that would suggest they should win this game. First they have a small advantage in adjusted points. They also have an advantage in steals, assist to turnover ratio, three pointers made, and three point percentage. St. Mary’s has the advantage in having fewer empty possessions, more blocks, and in rebounding margin. Normally I would choose Davidson as the vast majority, 83.3 percent, of winners in the 30 games I’ve looked at have been at least tied in number of predictive categories they have an advantage in. Here I think St. Mary’s puts a dent in that 83 percent. Davidson has nobody to stop Omar Samhan and it will be a contest to see who gets in foul trouble first, Samhan or Lovedale. St. Mary’s can at least put more bigs in, Davidson cannot. Patty Mills should help neutralize Davidson’s advantage of having Stephen Curry. As long as St. Mary’s can avoid turning the ball over excessively, they should win.
Confidence: W8 streak or less

Sunday, March 22, 2009

March 22nd, 2009 Picks

Man, another sub-.500 day after going over .500 on my picks in here. 1-3-0. I forgot they play in twosomes after the cut on the PGA Tour so I avoided picking de Jonge needlessly. He was fortunate to win by a stroke as Mediate bogeyed #8 and #9 to give up two strokes. Baylor started the day off right as they just out executed Virginia Tech. The Hokies couldn’t make a shot in the first half and Baylor just rolled. Baylor ended up winning 84-66. Then things started to go wrong. I definitely underestimated Villanova as a Big East school and they decimated UCLA, 89-69. UCLA could not get their offense flowing and were mercilessly outhustled for rebounds. Villanova shot the ball great, finishing with 46% field goal shooting.

Then it was on to Purdue vs. Washington. Washington started off cold and got themselves into a 12 point deficit, 20-8, with 10 minutes to go. Other than that first 10 minutes the Huskies played well and made a strong run. In the end, however, Brockman couldn’t tip in every miss Washington had. Isaiah Thomas led the team with 24 points, but he had to take 20 shots to do it. Washington shot 50% on their last six free throw attempts. Purdue also played a great game and only let Washington back into it after cooling off a few minutes into the second half.

The last game I picked was Gonzaga margin of victory. Texas stuck with Duke for nearly the entire game, but failed to successfully make a single clutch play in the final 90 seconds. They lost by 5. Gonzaga had a 7 point lead with 2 minutes to go but Orlando Mendez-Valdez helped make sure Western Kentucky would stay close. Gonzaga ended up winning by only two on a last second shot. Western Kentucky was more efficient on the offensive end than was Texas and that made all the difference. I hope you excuse this extra long intro, because it’s on to the picks.

1) Ajax Amsterdam @ NAC Breda – Ajax Amsterdam win
2) Siena @ Fiorentina – 2 goals or fewer
3) Arizona State vs. Syracuse – Syracuse
4) Philadelphia Flyers @ Pittsburgh Penguins – Pittsburgh
5) Miami Heat @ Detroit Pistons – Miami
6) South Africa vs. U.S.A., Australia, South Korea – U.S.A., Australia, South Korea
7) Carl Edwards vs. Jeff Gordon – Edwards has a better finsihing position
8) Wisconsin vs. Xavier – Xavier
9) Cleveland State vs. Arizona – Cleveland State
10) Marquette vs. Missouri – Missouri
11) USC vs. Michigan State – Michigan State
12) United States vs. Japan – Japan
13) Colorado Avalanche @ San Jose Sharks – 6 goals or more

22 NCAA/NIT games I’ve looked at and adjusted points has been on the side of 15 winners, 14 have had an advantage in steals, 13 have had the rebounding margin on their side, and 12 have had a better assist/turnover ratio, 3P, turnover margin, and/or fewer empty possessions. Also, I may have just sealed the Spartans’ fate vs. the Trojans. Whenever I’ve put a wickedly high confidence rating on a game that pick has been wrong. Fair warning, and great luck for advancement for streak!

1) Ajax Amsterdam and NAC Breda are both dealing with a large number of injuries. Vertonghen is a big part of Ajax Amsterdam along with Gabri in midfield. They have been dealing well without one or the other or both lately. NAC Breda are missing a few more core players with Penders, Elshot, Mtiliga, Tamerus, van der Leegte, de Graaf, and Reuser out. All of these players have started for NAC Breda in midfield or on defense. They played without any of them and picked up a 3-0 victory on the road over Vitesse Arnhem, but lost to Feyenoord Rotterdam at home in the match before that. They’ve been playing well at home, but have yet to win at home with all these injury concerns.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

2) Fiorentina have gone over 6 out of 13 home matches and Siena have gone over 5 of 14 away matches. That means 59.3% of their matches have gone under. The under is favored on most any betting line, though not by much on some. Siena have gone under in 80% of their matches with teams who concede as few goals as Fiorentina. Fiorentina have gone under in 25% of their matches with teams who give up as many goals as Siena. Siena concede 1.36 goals on average in away matches. Fiorentina concede 0.77 goals on average in home matches. That’s 2.13 goals against combined. Their combined goals scored on average is 2.25. Either way it looks like two or less goals, but one never knows if that third will bounce off the post or not.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

3) This is another potentially close game, along with Cleveland State/Arizona. Arizona State has an advantage in turnover margin and assist to turnover ratio. They’ll need to take care of the ball and force more turnovers than they give up to have a shot at winning. They also have an advantage in three point shooting. Syracuse’s advantages are in fewer empty possessions, adjusted points, steals, and rebounding margin. I think Syracuse will capitalize on rebounding and do well with their big men scoring inside. Their physical presence will have to disrupt Arizona State’s offensive flow to take away their advantages in A/T and turnover margin. I think Syracuse can do these things and the Sun Devils will find themselves making too many mistakes to win.
Confidence: W5 streak or less

5) Wade is ailing a bit for Miami, but he will play. Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson will be out for Detroit and there’s a good chance Rip Hamilton will miss the game to rest his groin for a game. Add in that Jermaine O’Neal seems to have rediscovered his offensive game and I think Miami wins here.
Confidence: W6 streak or less

6) This prop is asking what the nationality of the Transitions Open will be. Tom Lehman (U.S.A.) leads Retief Goosen (S.Africa) by one stroke. The next closest competitors are three strokes back and include two Americans, an Australian, and a South African. The next closest South African is Brendan De Jonge, 10 strokes back. So basically it’s Goosen and Immelman vs. Rest of Field. Considering how difficult the course has been it’s really just Lehman vs. Goosen unless they both hit over par. So this is a real tossup and I’ll go with the guy with the one stroke handicap.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

9) At first I was thinking Cleveland State had outdone themselves in beating Wake Forest and Arizona should take this matchup. Cleveland State has fewer empty possessions, more steals, and a better turnover margin. Arizona has a better adjusted points rating, greater rebounding margin, and three point shooting. I like Cleveland State’s defense, however, and after Washington’s performance I’m not impressed by a PAC-10 team out rebounding their opposition. That means overall I have to give the advantage to the Vikings here.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

11) Michigan State has the number one rebounding margin in the nation, and they did it playing in the Big 10. USC is probably going to get murdered on second chance points in this game. Michigan State also holds advantages in adjusted points, turnover margin, three point shooting, and assist to turnover ratio. USC has been more efficient with fewer empty possessions on average this season.
Confidence: W20 streak or less

12) It’s Japan, the defending World Baseball Classic champions. For some reason the sports books have this game as even or U.S.A. as a slight favorite. I really think Japan controls this game, but I have not the baseball insight to say why.
Confidence: W9 streak or less

Saturday, March 21, 2009

March 21st, 2009 Picks

Man, 1-4-0 today, the beatings continue. Started out with Immelman hitting zero birdies and one bogey, while Watney shot a cooool 2 under for the front nine. Then I went against my initial instinct and switched my pick to Tennessee. I didn’t get to see any of the game but looks like Oklahoma State was in the lead for most of the game. Then I got my single win of the day on the Dayton/West Virginia over/under. Looks like Dayton missed a couple of free throws at the end that could have put it over the top! Thank goodness for 64.6% free throw shooting.

My next pick was Boston College over USC. They took a 4 point lead into the half but USC came out firing strong. The Eagles stuck around for a while but when they went cold USC did not. End result USC 72, Boston College 55. My final game of the night I picked against my blog and went with Florida State. They looked good at the half, up 31-19. Finally, a win I wouldn’t have to sweat out. Well, Wisconsin came out and outscored FSU big time in the second half. In overtime things were close all the way but again the Seminoles couldn’t help themselves from turning the ball over. Toney Douglas had a shot with 12 seconds to go and a one point lead. Instead of getting the ball inside for an easy deuce he settles for a three, misses, and gives Wisconsin the ball. Trevon Hughes drove to the hoop and drew a foul while making an incredible shot on the Badgers’ final possession. Wisconsin won, and my bracket won, 61-59. So on to the picks.

1) Rocco Mediate vs. Brendan de Jonge – de Jonge cards a lower front 9 score
2) Chelsea @ Tottenham Hotspur – Tottenham Hotspur win or draw
3) Baylor @ Virginia Tech – Baylor
4) UCLA vs. Villanova – UCLA
5) Reading @ Crystal Palace – 2 goals or fewer
6) Ireland @ Wales – Wales win
7) Steve Stricker vs. Nick Watney – Nick Watney cards a lower 3rd round score
8) Clint Bowyer vs. Kevin Harvick – Harvick has a better finishing position
9) Memphis win margin vs. Connecticut win margin – Connecticut win margin
10) Purdue vs. Washington – Washington
11) Columbus Blue Jackets @ Florida Panthers – Florida
12) Duke win margin vs. Gonzaga win margin – Gonzaga win margin
13) Korea vs. Venezuela – Korea
14) Antawn Jamison pts. and reb. vs. Steve Nash pts., ast. and stl. – Jamison pts. and rebs.

With college basketball I’ve been looking at what statistical categories the winning team did better in over the course of the regular season. So far 9 out of 14 winners have had advantages in rebounding margin and adjusted points. 8 of 14 winners were better in steals and assist to turnover ratio. Half of those 14 were better in terms of fewer empty possessions. Most of my college basketball picks today (and yesterday) are (were) based on these assumptions.

2) Both soccer clubs are performing well lately. Tottenham Hotspur are 2-4-0 (W-D-L) in their last 6 home matches. Chelsea are 2-2-2 in their last 6 away matches. Fulham and Everton are the only teams to tie a visiting Chelsea and Manchester United and Liverpool the only ones to defeat them this season. Tottenham Hotspur have tied Manchester United and Arsenal in those past six matches. The Spurs have only allowed 0.643 goals per home match this season and only 0.417 goals in their last 12 matches. Chelsea only allow 0.571 goals in away matches this season. Chelsea have only allowed a goal in 4 away matches, with 10 shutouts aside. I like the striking power of Robbie Keane and Darren Bent along with Aaron Lennon. A 0-0 draw seems possible here.
Confidence: W1

3) Baylor has the advantage in steals, adjusted points, empty possessions, and three point shooting. Virginia Tech’s main advantage is in rebounding margin. Baylor is 3-7 on the road this season and Virginia Tech is 10-5 at home. Virginia Tech is a four point home favorite. I still like Bayor’s chances to win here with their three point shooting.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

4) Villanova is the higher seed and are a 2 to 3 point favorite in Vegas. Villanova also has a slight edge in rebounding margin, +4.1 to +3.8. UCLA has the edge in assist to turnover ratio, adjusted points, empty possessions, and steals. If Washington is the most solid straight up pick then UCLA is the next most solid, but I still have to give Villanova some credit for being a great team.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

9) Memphis and Connecticut should both walk all over their opponents even being as highly regarded as they are. Memphis is a 9 point favorite and Connecticut is a 10 point favorite in Vegas. Connecticut has an advantage in all four of the most predictive categories, rebounding margin, assist to turnover ratio, steals, and adjusted points. Memphis has an advantage in three of these categories, with Maryland having the better overall assist to turnover ratio. Maryland is a stronger defensive team than Texas A&M, at least in terms of turnover margin, FG% defense, 3P% defense, steals, and blocks. Memphis does have a pretty huge advantage in rebounding margin, +6.2 to -1.6, so I may have to switch back to Memphis.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

10) Washington has a +8.3 rebounding margin in their previous 34 games. Purdue has a -0.3 rebounding margin. Washington also averages a possibly insignificant 0.4 more steals per game. Washington has the advantage in adjusted points as well. Teams with advantages in rebounding margin and adjusted points have been 5-1. Dayton is the only team to win without having an advantage in either category, so I won’t say Purdue won’t win, but Washington is the best bet of any of the straight up matchups today.
Confidence: W6 streak or less

12) Western Kentucky actually matched up with Illinois pretty well and had more than a few statistical advantages. Here Gonzaga has the edge in adjusted points, assist to turnover ratio, steals, and empty possessions. Western Kentucky has a +1.6 edge in rebounding margin. Gonzaga is an 11 point favorite. Texas has a +1.7 edge in rebounding margin over Duke, and an edge in empty possessions. Duke has the edge in steals, three pointers scored, and adjusted points. Duke is an 8 point favorite to win.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

14) Antawn Jamison averages 31.0 points and rebounds on the season compared to 25.0 points and assists for Steve Nash. In their last 10 games Jamison has averaged 33.0 points and rebounds per game while Nash has averaged 31.5 points and assists. In their previous meeting at Washington Jamison had 40 points and rebounds while Nash had 29 points and assists.
Confidence: W4 streak or less

Friday, March 20, 2009

March 20th, 2009 Picks

2-3-0…. The front nine for Ryuji Imada and Sean O’Hair, 1st and 2nd place in last years tournament, battled to even par until the 9th hole where Imada got his first birdie of the day to win 35 strokes to 36. LSU got out to an early lead over Butler and were able to hold on for the win. I took BYU, however, and they got stomped. Texas A&M made their first 10 field goals and were 11 for 12 at one point where BYU was shooting 21.4%. BYU got the lead down to 9 and had two opportunities to make threes but couldn’t capitalize on the way to their seventh straight first round exit in the NCAA tournament. Then I took a gamble on California to ‘upset’ the ‘underdogs’, Maryland. It was a hard fought game but California failed to score for a couple of minutes in the second half and that was all it took for Maryland to go ahead by a dozen. Maryland ended up winning 84-71.

Notre Dame took on the visiting Lobos of New Mexico. They took a big lead early on going up 10 at the half. New Mexico played a terrific second half and had a five point lead with two minutes remaining. Notre Dame was able to score just enough points to end up 70-68. UCLA was much to same, going up 10 over VCU at the half and then giving the entire lead back. It all came down to the final possession as Maynor took the ball for VCU, down 1, with 12 seconds to go. He ended up getting a 12 foot jump shot with Darren Collison in his face. He tried to pump fake but Collison didn’t bite, and Maynor’s fall away jumper clanked off the front of the rim. Illinois was down 17 with four minutes remaining and fell just short of Western Kentucky 76-72. So on to the picks.

1) Trevor Immelman vs. Nick Watney – Immelman cards a lower front 9 score
2) Tennessee vs Oklahoma State – Tennessee
3) Syracuse win margin vs. Kansas win margin – Kansas win margin
4) Dayton vs. West Virginia – 129 points or fewer
5) VfL Bochum @ Borussia Monchengladbach – VfL Bochum win or draw
6) Charlotte Bobcats @ Toronto Raptors – Toronto
7) Arizona vs. Utah – Arizona
8) USC vs. Boston College – Boston College
9) Philadelphia Flyers @ Buffalo Sabres – Philadelphia
10) Siena vs. Ohio State – Siena
11) Wisconsin vs. Florida State – Wisconsin
12) Philadelphia 76ers vs. Golden State Warriors – Philadelphia

I’ll probably end up making a couple of changes here and there. Yesterday the guy with the better stats and better performance from last year lost on the front 9 so I literally flipped a coin on this one. Go Immelman! And good luck!

2) Tennessee looks to have a major advantage on the boards in their game against Oklahoma State. Tennessee averages 4.6 boards more than their opposition while the Cowboys are out rebounded by 1.1 per game. Oklahoma State shoots a lot of three pointers, about 24 per game, and makes about 9 of them. Both teams force more turnovers than they give up, Oklahoma State has a +2.8 turnover margin and Tennessee is at +1.8. It looks like this will be a close game so with Oklahoma State shooting 74.3 from the line compared to 67.4% for the Volunteers I think the Cowboys have the advantage. Tennessee is a two to three point favorite in the sportsbooks.
UPDATE: On further analysis Oklahoma State has too many empty possessions in comparison to Tennessee. That, plus rebounding margin makes Tennessee the pick for me.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

3) Syracuse is a 12 point favorite over Stephen F. Austin and Kansas is a 10 point favorite over North Dakota State. North Dakota State has one player taller than 6’8", and that’s Lucas Moormann at 6’10" and 240 pounds. He’s the one player the Bison have who can possibly stop Cole Aldrich down low and he’s been known to get into foul trouble early. I expect him to play for more than his usual 21 minutes in this game. Stephen F. Austin’s biggest man is 6’9" 240lbs. Benson Akpan. Ongenaut, Jackson, Harris, and Onuaku should be able to have a field day on Stephen F. Ausin, but I have a feeling the Lumberjacks will surprise Syracuse with their offensive capabilities. In the end I think Kansas’ superior defense will keep North Dakota State from scoring while Syracuse will be forced to keep putting points up to extend their lead.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

5) Borussia Monchengladbach has been playing some terrific soccer lately with a 4-2 road win over FC Cologne and a 4-1 home win over SV Hamburg. VfL Bochum has been dealing with injury issues in their defensive front but have done well enough on the road pulling 1-1 draws at Arminia Bielefeld and Bayer Leverkusen. VfL Bochum will be missing an additional player from those squads, Marc Pfertzel. Borussia Monchengladbach have obviously been playing good football and they are favored to win with a Bochum win or a draw being just slightly favored when taken together. When Monchengladbach have been behind at the half at home they have never won. Bochum have lost four times and taken two draws when trailing at the half in away games. Monchengladbach have won once and lost twice at home when the match has been tied at the half. Bochum have drawn twice and lost once on the road when it has been tied at the half. VfL Bochum have allowed 18 goals in away matches and scored 8. Borussia Monchengladbach have allowed 22 goals at home and scored 19.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

8) Boston College is averaging 21 empty possessions per game compared to 19 empty possessions for Southern California. USC only makes 3.8 three pointers per game on average, and Boston College makes 6.4. USC has an assist to turnover ratio of 0.88. Boston College gets 1.11 assist to every turnover. Boston College plays at a faster pace, finally, so the empty possessions will end up hurting USC more.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

11) Florida State seems like they should be the lock of the day, even to me. Toney Douglas is a terrific ball player and the size of Florida State can give problems to anybody on the inside. Wisconsin out rebounds their opponents by 3.7 on average and Florida State only by 0.7. In the Big 10 where there are a lot of rebounds to grab and big players to grab them that says something. Wisconsin also has a much better assist/turnover ratio at 1.20 compared to 0.78 for Florida. Florida State turns the ball over quite a bit it seems. Wisconsin makes more three point shots per game and shoots a higher percentage than Florida State. The Seminoles should have an advantage when it comes to defense, however. I like Wisconsin having an advantage on rebounding and assist/turnover ratio, however, as five of six victors from yesterday had one or both of these statistical advantages. Florida State is a 2.5 to 3.5 point favorite.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

12) I just like the 76ers with Andre Miller, Samuel Dalembert, Thaddeus Young, Lou Williams, and Andre Iguodala. The Golden State Warriors can be very good at home, but have been only 3-3 at home lately with losses to Utah, Charlotte and Phoenix. Their victories have come against the L.A. Clippers, Dallas, and New Jersey. Philadelphia is 4-2 on the road recently with victories over the N.Y. Knicks, the L.A. Lakers, Memphis, and Washington. Their losses have been to Oklahoma City and Phoenix.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 19th, 2009 Picks

1-2-0 today, started out well when FC Kärnten went up 2-1 at the half and finished the game up 4-2 after hitting a fourth goal in the 89th minute. It was solid soccer, the Austrians played some of the best defense and offense I’ve seen in any league. Then I went with Providence over Miami. I guess Weyinmi Efejuku got smacked in the face early on and had to sit most of the first half. Miami took an 11 point lead and was able to stave off any Providence runs after that behind 7 of 14 three point shooting by Jack McClinton. Then I avoided taking Artest behind reports of Rip Hamilton missing the game along with Rasheed Wallace. I took Drake instead and they were just barely unable to come back and ended up losing 69-67 while Artest outscored Prince 26 to 12. So on to the picks.

1) Ryuji Imada vs. Sean O’Hair – O’Hair cards a lower front nine score
2) Butler vs. LSU – LSU
3) Texas A&M vs. BYU – BYU
4) Maryland vs. California – California
5) New Mexico @ Notre Dame – Notre Dame
6) Villanova win margin vs. Gonzaga win margin – Gonzaga win margin
7) Montreal Canadiens @ Ottawa Senators – Montreal
8) New York Red Bulls @ Seattle FC Sounders – New York
9) Japan @ Korea – Japan
10) UCLA win margin vs. Illinois win margin – UCLA win margin
11) Anaheim Ducks vs. Phoenix Coyotes – Anaheim
12) Stephen Jackson pts. and ast. vs. Kobe Bryant pts. – Jackson pts. and ast.

I’m mostly just going by statistics for the college basketball games with a bit of performance to finish the season. Good luck everybody!

1) Sean O’Hair appears to be the better golfer statistically and in terms of money won on the Tour this year. On nine holes, however, either player has a good chance to shoot a lower score. Here’s an article that suggests O’Hair is as good a choice as any to be leading the field after the first round. I’ll go with the player more likely to win this prop.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

3) Texas A&M has a better rebounding margin at +5.3 to +4.2 for BYU. BYU does better at taking care of the ball with a +2.5 turnover margin to -0.3 for the Aggies. The Cougars also shoot better from three, from the line, and from the field in general. ESPN analysts are giving the Texas A&M defense a lot of credit, but overall their opponents shoot fairly high percentages, 43.1% on FG’s and 36.2% on threes. BYU has an assist to turnover ratio of 1.43 on the season compared to 0.95 for the Aggies. If BYU’s shot is falling they should grab a victory from buzzer to buzzer.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

4) California has a lot of advantages offensively. They’re the number one team in the nation in three point shooting percentage. They don’t shoot too many of them, but I doubt Maryland will have an advantage here even with their solid perimeter defense. Maryland may also be better at blocking shots and stealing the ball but I think California will force their share of turnovers as well.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

6) Gonzaga is a #4 seed and Villanova is a #3 seed. Having seen Gonzaga and Villanova play I’d say Gonzaga has a stronger killer instinct and when Pargo, Bouldin, and Heytvelt are in a groove Gonzaga is an offensive juggernaut. Gonzaga has an average non-conference margin of victory of 11.5 with games against Utah, Tennessee (2x), Arizona, Washington State, Maryland, Oklahoma State, UCONN, Memphis and Penn State. Probably the toughest non-conference schedule in the nation. Villanova has an average non-conference margin of victory of 15.0 with games against Texas, Temple, and Niagara. Villanova’s most lopsided win was a 39 point victory over Fordham. For Gonzaga it is a 42 point win over Texas Southern.
Confidence: W5 streak or less

9) Korea has a 2-1 record against Japan in this year’s World Baseball Championship with Jungkeun Bong starting on the mound for Korea in both victories. Japan won 15-2 in their first game where Bong was not pitching. Bong pitched in their win over Japan on March 17th so he will not be pitching in today’s game. Korea is the defending Olympic champions but Japan is the favorite in Vegas.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

11) Jonas Hiller is undefeated against the Phoenix Coyotes this season. Anaheim is on the second night of a back to back while Phoenix is rested. Anaheim is 16-15-3 on the road this season including a win at Phoenix. Phoenix is 18-14-2 at home. Ilya Bryzgalov is in net tonight for Phoenix.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March 18th, 2009 Picks

Man, what a bad 1-3-0 day. Institute lost 2-1 with Newry City’s top scorers each tagging one in the net, that’s fine. Then I switched my pick from 3 goals or fewer to 4 goals or more and lost that one with Arsenal barely scoring two to win 2-1 over Hull CIty. Then I had Morehead State locked in and switched it to South Carolina for absolutely no reason. The Gamecocks lost and Morehead State stomped Alabama State with a 47 to 26 rebounding edge. I finally got back on track with UNLV three pointers. They were shooting terribly in the first half and were down 3 to 5 to Kentucky even though they had shot more than twice as many. They eventually found their stroke and put in 7 in the second half to 1 for Kentucky and took the prop 10 to 6. UNLV shot 34 threes for the game! So on to today’s picks and more than a few wins.

1) SK Sturm Graz @ FC Kärnten – FC Kärnten win
2) Chicago Blackhawks @ Columbus Blue Jackets – Columbus
3) Miami @ Providence – Providence
4) Dwyane Wade pts. vs. Paul Pierce pts., reb., and ast. – Wade pts.
5) United States vs. Venezuela – Venezuela
6) Chicago @ Oklahoma City – Oklahoma City
7) Georgetown @ Baylor – Baylor
8) Tayshaun Prince pts. vs. Ron Artest pts. – Artest pts.
9) Nahsville Predators @ Anaheim Ducks – Nashville
10) Drake @ Idaho – Drake

Arrrrr, avast, and taco ye laterrrr!

1) SK Sturm Graz defeated FC Kärnten 3-0 at Graz and 2-0 at Kärnten in August and October. The only major change to Graz since then is the replacement of Josef Schiklgruber (0.455 GAA in 11 matches) with Martin Kobras (0.667 GAA in 3 matches). FC Kärnten have lost their top goal scorer, Adi Roche Filho, to Energie Cottbus during the winter break, otherwise they are much the same team as well. Since the winter break FC Kärnten have defeated SV Salzburg, who are first in the tables, 2-0 at home. SK Sturm Graz have yet to win a match and lost at home to Kapfenberg SV who are 8th in the tables. FC Kärnten have allowed 9 goals to opponents in home matches, while Sturm Graz have allowed 22 goals in away matches. FC Kärnten have not lost at home this season when leading at the half, and Sturm Graz have not lost on the road this season when leading. Neither side has won matches in which they’ve been down at the half either. SK Sturm Graz have not ended an away match in a draw this season. I think FC Kärnten will be up 1-0 or tied 0-0 at half time and will end the game winning 2-0 or 1-0.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

3) Providence is a 2.5 to 3 point favorite here and are at home where they were 13-4 on the season. Miami has a 5-6 road record. Providence has four players averaging 10 points or more and seven players averaging at least 8 points per game. Miami has two players averaging over 10 points per game and four players at over 8 points per game. Providence doesn’t have the greatest defense so I expect Jack McClinton will have a good game for Miami, but Miami’s defense isn’t good enough to stop all the scoring options for Providence. Miami will probably have a rebounding advantage, but it won’t be anywhere close to the +19 Morehead State had over Alabama State yesterday. Should be a close game, but I like Providence to prevail in the end.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

5) Venezuela lost to USA 15-6 before and then defeated them 5-3. Both teams are in the semi-finals already so this game will primarily determine seeding. The United States are low on relief pitchers tonight and so the advantage would appear to go to Venezuela.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

8) The last time these two teams played it was in Detroit and Artest outscored Prince 24 to 6. Now they’re playing in Houston, Detroit is coming off a loss at Dallas, and Houston’s defense is as good as it’s been all year. Artest is averaging 17.7 points in his last 10 games and Prince is averaging 17.9 points in his last 10. In their recent home/away games Artest is averaging 15.8 points and Prince is averaging 16.0 points. When the stats are this close I’ll go with the home player who won easily in their previous matchup.
Confidence: W4 streak or less

10) Idaho is at home and is a 1 point favorite. Idaho is 12-3 at home this season and Drake is 4-6 on the road this season. Idaho’s losses at home came against Washington State, Utah State, and Nevada. Drake has some fine non-conference wins, defeating Iowa (Big 10), Morehead State (playing Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament), and New Mexico (Mountain West). Idaho has a win at home against Cal State-Northridge who is also in the NCAA Tournament. Statistically the two teams are well matched. So really Idaho at home would seem to be the best choice here but I will go with Drake on the road anyways.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March 17th, 2009 Picks

A pretty good day at 2-1-0. Things started off well as Mainz defeated SV Wehen 2-0. Wehen had a penalty kick early on but Dimo Wache blocked it in an exciting moment. Wehen outshot Mainz 18 to 8 but most of theirs went over the goal. Mainz scored in the 1st half as well as in the final seconds of injury time in the 2nd half. Then the New Orleans Hornets put forth a sub-par effort, shooting under 40% as a team for the game. Dikembe Mutumbo filled in well for Yao Ming who was ill with the flu. Artest scored 18 points in the second half, while Tyson Chandler was sat with foul trouble for large portions of the game. James Posey was ineffective in his 30 or so minutes and Chris Pauls 29 point, 11 assist, 6 steal effort was not enough. Then I picked Cuba over Mexico as they were extremely heavy favorites to win the game. They ended up winning the game 7-4. So on to today’s exciting lineup of picks.

1) Institute @ Newry – Institute win
2) Hull City @ Arsenal – 4 goals or more
3) Davidson @ South Carolina – South Carolina
4) Buffalo Sabres @ Ottawa Senators – Ottawa
5) Morehead State vs. Alabama State – Morehead State
6) Washington Capitals @ Florida Panthers – Washington
7) Boston win margin vs. Dallas win margin – Boston win margin
8) UAB @ Notre Dame – 150 points or more
9) UNLV @ Kentucky – UNLV scores more three pointers
10) Philadelphia 76ers @ Los Angeles Lakers – 205 points or more
11) Washington State @ Saint Mary’s College – Washington State

Good luck finding those tacos tomorrow and enjoy your green beer and Irish car bombs =9!

2) PaddyPower and other betting sites have a 1-0 Arsenal win as the most likely result at 5/1, followed by 3-0 Arsenal at 13/2, followed by 2-1 Arsenal at 15/2, then 2-0 Arsenal at 9/1, and 3-1 Arsenal at 10/1. I’ll be going with the many 3 or under results favored over 4 goals or more results.
UPDATE: It appears Fabianski, Arsenal’s backup goalie, is starting, as well as Arshavin, Walcott, and van Persie. Hull City is starting Boaz Myhill but he has conceded more goals per game than their backup Matt Duke. So I am going with the over here.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

4) Buffalo is 1-3-1 against Ottawa this season with the one victory coming in Buffalo. Both Lalime and Miller have losing records against Ottawa. The two teams last played on March 7th at Ottawa and the Senators won 6-3. Buffalo is 2-6-2 in their last 10 away games with two shootout losses, and Ottawa is 6-3-1 in their last 10 home games.
Confidence: W4 streak or less

5) Morehead State plays in the Ohio Valley Conference and Alabama State plays in the Southwest Athletic Conference. Morehead State is a team that likes to take the ball to the hoop over shooting jump shots. I have seen teams attempt to use a zone against them before and they were able to cut through it easily. Alabama State has a +1.2 rebounding margin and Morehead State has a +8.0 rebounding margin. I expect Morehead State will be scoring high percentage shots and getting offensive rebounds. Alabama State is a good shooting team at 47.1% on the season, but with fewer second chance points I would give the advantage to Morehead State.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

6) Florida is 2-2-0 against Washington this year, losing the sole home game and going 2-1-0 in Washington. Craig Anderson was in net for the two victories and Tomas Vokoun was in for the two losses. Washington is playing the second night of a back to back and Jose Theodore looks to be the goalie again after giving up four goals to the Thrashers last night. Since Vokoun appears to be in line to start for the Panthers I’ll go with Ovechkin and his crew even on a back-to-backer.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

8) UAB is a fast paced team who average over 56 shots per game. Notre Dame slowed down in Big East play a bit but they have averaged 64 shots per game over the season. Robert Vaden went 0 for 17 the last time UAB was featured on the Streak in a game against Memphis and I doubt that will happen again. On the other side Notre Dame has Luke Harangody and some large centers in Zeller and Hillesland. UAB has only one player weighing over 210 pounds and Harangody still has 15 pounds on him. They’ll have to pick their poison with whether to put a big body on Harangody or Zeller and either way Notre Dame should be able to score inside. Coupled with McAlarney and Ayers able to hit the three shot effectively and I can easily see either team trying to outscore the other. 170 points here wouldn’t surprise me, but if either team has a bad shooting night under 150 could easily occur.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

9) UNLV shoots just over 20 three point shots per game while Kentucky shoots just over 16. Both teams shoot threes at about 34.5%. Kentucky has Jodie Meeks taking over half of their three point shots and he is the only player averaging more than 1.0 three pointer made per game, with 3.3 makes. UNLV has four players averaging over 1.0 make per game in Darger, Adams, Willis, and Wallace. UNLV averages about 7.5 three pointers made per game and Kentucky averages 5.6. Of course, you never know if Meeks will make 10 and score 50 again.
Confidence: W5 streak or less

11) I’ve seen Saint Mary’s and Washington State play and I have to give the advantage to Washington State. Saint Mary’s likes to play at a faster pace while Washington State likes to play defense and slow the game down. Washington State nearly always imposes their game on their opponents with only California, Gonzaga, and UCLA able to score 70 points or more. Most of their opponents score under 60 points. I think Washington State will force Saint Mary’s to play their game and that will favor the Cougars’ chances of winning.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

Monday, March 16, 2009

March 16th, 2009 Picks

Terrible day picking for me at 1-3-0 today. The NBA props killed me with Dirk Nowitzki scoring 3 points and grabbing 1 rebound in the second half. No wonder they are barely making the playoffs if that’s what they get out of their star player. Kobe was terrific, his shots were smooth as buttah no matter where he shot it from. Kobe wins with 28 points and 5 assists to Dirk’s 20 points and 5 rebounds. Stephen Jackson was off something fierce today, taking only four shots by the half. He picked up his second technical midway through the third and Shaq outscored him 26 to 10.

Torino was a big disappointment as well, as they took 10 shots with only two being on target and one rebounding off the post. I underestimated the impact Sergio Floccari would have on the game as he scored both goals for Atalanta. Atalanta returned to winning form and Torino fell into relegation as they lost at home 2-0. The only bright spot came when Duke played terrific, especially Scheyer, Henderson, and Singler who scored 70 of Duke’s 79 points. Duke led by more than 10 for the majority of the game while Tennessee lost to Mississippi State. And so we move on to another day and on to the picks.

1) Mainz @ SV Wehen – Mainz wins
2) James Blake vs. Fernando Gonzalez – Gonzalez
3) Washington Capitals @ Atlanta Thrashers – 5 goals or fewer
4) Houston Rockets @ New Orleans Hornets – New Orleans
5) Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico – Venezuela
6) Nashville Predators @ L.A. Kings – L.A. Kings
7) Cuba vs. Mexico – Cuba

Good luck all y’all!

1) SV Wehen will be without defender Kristjan Glibo, and possibly without Dajan Stimic as well. Mainz will be at full strength. The last time these two clubs played Mainz was without starting midfielder Zsolt Löw and Wehen had Glibo missing. The match was at Mainz and the 05ers won 5-0. Of course I have been wrong on every soccer pick for a week now….
Confidence: W1 streak or less

3) I’ll have to check and make sure but I think Lehtonen will be in net for Atlanta and Theodore will be in net for Washington. They have yet to face one another this season, with either one yielding no more than three goals to their opponent. I have a hunch one will yield no more than 2 and the other no more than 3.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

4) New Orleans suffered an 18 point loss at Chicago on Saturday on the second night of a back-to-back. Houston also lost Saturday, by 3 points to San Antonio. Both teams will be looking to rebound, but I think home court will be kind to the Hornets, and it will be easier for them to come back from a blowout loss than a close one like Houston did.
UPDATE: Wow, looks like Yao Ming is out for tonight with the flu.
Confidence: W4 streak or less

6) Looks like Ersberg will be the goalie tonight for the L.A. Kings. He has been the goalie for both of their losses to Nashville this year. Pekka Rinne has been stopping pucks like crazy for Nashville so I think they’ll win 2-1 or so, even though they’re on the road.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March 15th, 2009 Picks

I woke up this morning and saw Liverpool was up 2-1 at the half with two of the goals being scored on penalty kicks. That right there told me this was going to be a chippy one. Liverpool ended up being the more reserved bunch and used that to execute their attacks to near perfection as they won 4-1 at Old Trafford. I had gone with Georgia Tech the other day and lost a close one so today I went with the crowd and took LSU, and we all know how that turned out. I got back into a groove with Chism scoring 27 to 14 for Reed, and Devendorf outscoring Williams 20 to 11.

I also lucked out with switching my pick to USC as they came back and triumphed in the last seconds of regulation. My day was not to end brightly, however, as the sun went down on Pacific in overtime. Pacific was down by 18 early on but fought back to tie the game on multiple occasions. Every time they got the Northridge lead down to 1 or tied it, however, they failed to score or would turn the ball over. All through the second half and overtime this happened and Pacific never led the entire game. So on to the picks.

1) Torino @ Atalanta – Torino win or draw
2) France @ England – France
3) Tottenham Hotspur @ Aston Villa – Aston Villa win
4) Philadelphia Flyers @ New York Rangers – New York Rangers
5) Duke win margin vs. Tennessee win margin – Duke win margin
6) Phil Mickelson vs. Rest of Field – Mickelson wins
7) Boston Bruins @ Pittsburgh Penguins – Pittsburgh
8) Dirk Nowitzki pts. + reb. vs. Kobe Bryant pts. + ast. – Nowitzki pts. + reb.
9) Cuba vs. Japan – Japan
10) Detroit Red Wings @ Columbus Blue Jackets – Columbus
11) Netherlands vs. United States – 9 runs or fewer
12) Shaquille O’Neal pts. vs. Stephen Jackson pts. – Jackson pts.
13) Mexico vs. Korea – Korea

1) Atalanta have Pinto, Vieri, and Doni out with various injuries. Cristiano Doni has been called up by the coach to be on the team for today. He may be a substitute for this game and only be brought in if Atalanta are already down and are desperate to score a goal. They are also returning Flocari for this match, their leading goal scorer. Atalanta have been on a losing streak lately, even losing to a visiting Chievo Verona 2-0. The last time they won a game they had Pinto and Doni in the forefield along with Flocari, and without those two should be less effective on the attack. Torino are missing Corini and Rosina, but they played Inter Milan to a 1-1 draw at San Siro without Corini and while Rosina played he did not score their goal. Torino are also playing to avoid relegation, while Atalanta have removed themselves from any chance of a Champions League berth yet are still far enough from relegation to not have to worry about it.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

5) I think Duke is a good defensive team, and clutch as well. Should they take a five point lead into the final two minutes they will win the game by five or more. Both Mississippi State and Tennessee are playing for a spot in the NCAA tournament as LSU will probably take the at-large bid for the SEC. The play of Mississippi State, and Jarvis Vanardo in particular, has me thinking the Bulldogs are not finished winning games.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

6) Mickelson shot his worst round of the tournament yesterday and Watney shot his best round, leaving the two tied going into today and four strokes ahead of the rest of the field. I think the pin and tee placements will give Watney more trouble than Mickelson.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

7) Pittsburgh is 18-12-3 at home and Boston is 21-10-5 on the road. Manny Fernandez is in net for Pittsburgh, and he is a capable enough goalie, but we’ve seen him drop a game to the Islanders before. Fernandez has won in a game at home against the Penguins before, but Mathieu Garon should be in goal for Pittsburgh. Garon has only played a couple of games for the Penguins and does not have very impressive statistics except against the Bruins.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

8) Kobe Bryant averages 32.9 assists and points per game this season and 34.9 in his last 10 games. Dirk Nowitzki averages 34.0 points and rebounds per game and 37.2 in his last 10. Both players have been picking up their game down the stretch, Bryant to help his team to home court for the playoffs while Bynum is out and Nowitzki just to keep his team in the playoffs. Nowitzki should collect at least 6 rebounds, but if the Lakers are not missing many shots he’ll have a hard time grabbing more than 10. If the Lakers are making shots then Bryant will end up with more assists than usual. Nowitzki has better shooting percentages in field goals, free throws, and three pointers and I think he’ll bring his A-game for this one.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

12) Jackson has been scoring more and has been playing over 40 minutes per game since Nelson promised him more. He’s been taking over 9 shots per game more than Shaq as well.
Confidence: W9 streak or less

13) Mexico have been playing terrific aside from a defeat from near-champion Cuba. Korea has been even better, however, splitting a pair of games with defending champion Japan.
Confidence: W5 streak or less