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And So It Goes....

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

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

April 12th, 2009 Picks

A very disappointing 1-2-1 day today. It started out with my five game streak screeching to a halt when Hull City came out flat and sloppy in their match away at Middlesbrough. ‘Boro struck first, and early, as Afonso Alves took a shot from just outside the box which was saved by Matt Duke. The shot rebounded and Tuncay Sanli was in position to rocket the ball past Duke. Six minutes later Hull City were awarded a corner kick and Manucho made the best of it by heading a shot into the goal to tie things up 1-1. Twenty minutes later Middlesbrough had a corner kick and were able to set up Matthew Bates for a strike from two yards out. Middlesbrough took a 2-1 lead into the half. Hull City tried to apply pressure in the second half but were mostly unable to earn any real scoring opportunities. Middlesbrough was playing to stay out of relegation and Hull City looked like a team who felt they had nothing to play for. The two played scoreless until Marlon King found the net from 12 yards out giving ’Boro the badly needed three points with a 3-1 victory.

My next pick was Phil Mickelson to card a lower front 9 score. Ogilvy and Mickelson were all square through six holes but Ogilvy hit consecutive bogeys on the 6th and 7th holes. A birdie from Mickelson on the 8th hole give him a nearly insurmountable three stroke lead with only the 9th hole remaining. Mickelson hit par and Ogilvy ended up losing by three strokes.

My third pick was the Florida Marlins. The Marlins were having trouble hitting against Hernandez’s mid-70 mph knuckle balls. When they did advance batters to third they stranded those batters. In one inning Uggla was making a run to home plate but Hernandez made a miracle catch, throw to first, and the throw to home was just in time to tag Uggla out for the double play to end the inning. The Mets were having an easier time getting on base against Nolasco and picked up a run in the 3rd inning and three more in the 5th. Nolasco was relieved for the 6th inning but Miller gave up another run. The Mets tried to come back, scoring two runs in the 7th inning, but Penn gave up three more to the Mets in the 8th. The Marlins were down 8-2 in the bottom of the 9th and scored two runs in the 9th but by then they were hitting through the bottom of their order and Rodriguez completed the save for the Mets. Final score, Mets 8, Florida 4.

My final pick was Chivas USA to win. There was no scoring in the first half but plenty of yellow cards being issued. Just before the end of the half Chivas’ Paulo Nagamuro was given his second yellow card and sent off meaning Chivas USA would play a man down for the 2nd half. The Galaxy applied pressure and made substitutions for offense but Chivas USA were able to deflect their attacks. Donovan had a nifty pass leading to a goal waved off for offsides at one point and it seemed only a matter of time before L.A. scored. Alan Gordon for L.A. was awarded two yellow cards in the space of three minutes and sent off to even things up. 8 minutes later Eskandario beat the last defender and was about to break away towards the goal before Gregg Berhalter of L.A. committed a flagrant foul by grabbing the neck of Eskandario’s jersey and dragging him down to the ground. Since it was outside the penalty box there was no penalty kick awarded. Berhalter was sent off and L.A. survived a still timid Chivas attack for 11 minutes and barely staved off defeat in injury time after Chivas finally got it in their heads they had a tremendous advantage, were in no danger of being scored upon, and should try to score themselves. I was getting into soccer but I’m not interested in supporting a sport where flagrant fouls can reward the team who commits them. In the end it was a 0-0 draw and I received a push. So on to the picks.

1) Everton @ Aston Villa – Aston Villa win
2) Kevin Sutherland vs. Mike Weir – Sutherland cards a lower front 9 score
3) Dallas Mavericks @ New Orleans Hornets – New Orleans
4) New York Mets @ Florida Marlins – Florida
5) Nick Watney vs. Stephen Ames – Watney cards a lower front 9 score
6) Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson – Mickelson cards a lower 4th round score
7) Detroit Red Wings @ Chicago Blackhawks – Detroit
8) Angel Cabrera vs. Kenny Perry – Cabrera cards a lower front 9 score
9) Ray Allen vs. Mo Williams – Williams points
10) San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres – San Diego
11) New York Rangers @ Philadelphia Phillies – Philadelphia
12) Philadelphia 76ers @ Toronto Raptors – Philadelphia
13) A. Soriano and D. Lee vs. R. Braun and P. Fielder – Soriano and Lee more total bases

1) Aston Villa and Everton have each had some tough results lately with Everton losing away at Portsmouth and Villa having lost on a late injury time goal by Macheda in his Manchester United debut. I think Aston Villa will be riled up by that and want to prove they really are in the same class as the Big Four by dominating Everton. Tim Howard is playing with a sore hamstring so he may aggravate it during the match and if not he may have trouble jumping off of that leg to make saves, making one side of the goal more vulnerable to attack. The home and road records would definitely support taking the ‘and draw’ option here but the little things that imply which side will be playing a sharper, cleaner game favor Aston Villa
Confidence: W2 streak or less

2) Kevin Sutherland has not played in the Masters since 2003 where he finished tied for 33rd with a 7 over 72-hole score. In that round he improved his front 9 score by four strokes from the 3rd to the 4th round so he can handle the increased difficulty. Mike Weir has played in every Masters from 2001 forward. Last year he hit 2 over par on the front nine in the final round. He has tended to worsen his performance on the front 9 in the final round. In 33 rounds of golf at Augusta since 2001 Weir has carded many rounds under par, but he has only hit better than 2 under once. I can see Sutherland hitting anywhere from 3 under to 4 over and Weir hitting anywhere from 2 under to 4 over. I think that is generous for Weir considering he has hit even par, 3 over, and 4 over so far this year at Augusta. With those ranges of scores and assuming each score is equally probable Sutherland is the favorite at 50% with Weir having a 37.5% chance of winning and a push at 12.5%.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

3) Dallas defeated New Orleans in Dallas two days ago making this a home-and-away series. Both teams are fighting for playoff seeding to increase their odds of advancing through the first round. Dallas is playing terrific since Josh Howard came back from injury while New Orleans has been playing poorly lately. It’s very difficult to win back-to-back games against an opponent and especially when the second game is on their home court. New Orleans is favored by 3 points and I think Dallas is just not quite superior enough to take both games.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

5) Stephen Ames has golfed in every Masters from 2005-present. He has never scored better than 2 over par in the 4th round on the front 9 even after hitting under par in the 3rd round. He has never improved his score from the 3rd round either. This is only Watney’s second Masters tournament but in that time he has carded even par or better on the front 9 in 7 of 9 rounds. His worst front 9 score has been 2 over par. I very much like the chances of Watney, whose worst performance on the front 9 is equal to or better than the best performance Ames has had in the 4th round, to win in this prop. Generously considering Ames has a good chance of hitting one under par and conservatively considering Watney has a good chance of hitting five over par I calculated Watney winning at 55.6%, Ames winning at 33.3% and a push at 11.1%.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

8) Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry are tied at 11 under par going into the final round at Augusta so whoever wins this prop may very well be wearing the green jacket at the end. This is Perry’s first Masters since 2005 and the first time he has carded two rounds under 70. His best fourth round score was a 69 back in 1995. This is Cabrera’s 10th consecutive Masters and his first time carding three rounds under 70. His previous best fourth round score was a 68 in 2006. I give Perry the advantage here because he has been steadier with all three rounds being 68 or 69. In 31 rounds of play at Augusta since 2001 his average score is 72 and his median score is 72.5. In the 15 rounds Perry has played in that time his average and median scores are 74.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

9) Mo Williams and the Cavaliers are at home against the Celtics today. Williams has outscored Ray Allen in all three previous meetings between the two teams. Ray Allen’s season high is 36 points and he has scored 30 or more three times this season. Mo Williams’ season high is 44 and he has scored 30 or more points four times.

12) The odds in Vegas for this game are currently even. Toronto is eliminated from the playoffs a long time ago but Philadelphia can’t afford to lose games down the stretch if they want to avoid Cleveland and Boston in the first round of the playoffs. Philadelphia is on a 4 game slide including losing their last 4 on the road but they have won in Toronto before this season, back in November, and have beaten the Lakers and Portland on the road in the past month.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

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