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And So It Goes....

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

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 15th, 2009 Picks

0-1-1 today. Yes, 0-1-1. I avoided picking Safin, the White Sox game was postponed due to rain and I avoided picking Bayern Munich. My next pick was for the Islanders/Avalanche/Thrashers to win the #1 draft pick in the NHL draft lottery. I switched my pick just before 6pm to the 76ers. Oh man, what a mistake. On the up side the very fact that I avoided picking the morning games meant I only lost a 3 game streak with that pick rather than a 5 game streak. The down side is that I could easily have built my streak up to 7 today.

The Sixers played like a team that did not belong in the playoffs. Boston’s offense was fluid with players moving from side-to-side on the court, setting screens to one another, and moving the ball around through crisp passing rather than dribbling. That is the kind of offense that leads to easy baskets for wide open men. The Sixers’ tended to stand around on the offensive end and wait for the ball to be passed to them before they began to move around. Most of their offense was created in one-on-one situations, with players creating their own shot.

At the end of the half the Celtics appeared to lose interest in the game and began to give up a wide variety of wide open slam dunks and fast break points off of turnovers. The Sixers took a 58-50 lead into the half and maintained a 5 point lead through the third quarter. Paul Pierce did a terrific job keeping Boston in the game as he went 7 for 9 from the three point line. Boston erased their deficit and took a lead early in the 4th quarter as Philadelphia went over the foul limit with 9 minutes remaining. The game was close down the stretch and with 19 seconds to go Philadelphia got possession of the ball and down a point. Miller inbounded the ball to Iguodala who dribbled the clock down to 5 seconds before attempting a drive to the hoop which Pierce and Marbury headed off. Iguodala ended up lobbing up a one handed fall away shot while moving to his left which missed and the Celtics held on to win 100-98. So away from this and on to the next. Day of picks.

1) Marat Safin vs. Nicolas Lapentti – 20 games or more
2) Cleveland Indians @ Kansas City Royals – Cleveland
3) Manchester United @ FC Porto – FC Porto win or draw
4) Villarreal @ Arsenal – 2 goals or fewer
5) St. Louis Cardinals @ Arizona Diamondbacks – Arizona
6) New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays – New York
7) Washington Capitals win margin vs. Pittsburgh Penguins win margin – Pittsburgh
8) Houston Rockets @ Dallas Mavericks – Houston
9) Baltimore Orioles @ Texas Rangers – Baltimore
10) St. Louis Blues vs. Vancouver Canucks – 5 goals or fewer
11) Los Angeles Angels @ Seattle Mariners – Los Angeles
12) Denver Nuggets @ Portland Trailblazers – Portland

20+ for the morning, with an L1 streak what have I got to lose?

1) Marat Safin is ranked #21 in the world right now on the ATP Tour. He has not won a single match in 2009 in under 20 games as of yet. He always could pick up his first such match tomorrow against Lapentti. Nicolas Lapentti is currently ranked #98 in the world. He has lost in straight sets and in 19 games or fewer to players lower ranked than himself in 2009 (#142 Mikhail Kukushkin for one). He has also won matches against players ranked higher than Safin in 20 games or more; his round of 64 match against #15 Radek Stepanik which he won on Monday is a good example. In the end if one of these players is having a bad day on the court and the other is in the zone it could easily go over, but I like that Lapentti is playing well in this tournament.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

2) Currently Kansas City is favored at -115 with the odds on Cleveland being +105, which is pretty close. Sidney Ponson is starting for the Royals in this game. Last year he averaged fewer than one strikeout every 2 innings pitched and had a strikeout to walk ratio of 1.2. The Indians’ rotation has taken 49 turns at the bat against Ponson and hit 3 home runs, 3 doubles, and 15 singles while batting in 16 runs. In his first start of the season Ponson gave up 4 runs in 6 innings pitched. Aaron Laffey will be pitching for the Indians and he turns 24 today. Against the Royals’ batters he has given up 2 doubles, 12 singles and 3 RBIs in 64 at bats while striking out 11 batters and walking only 6. His strikeout to walk ratio was only 1.4 last year while having a 4.23 ERA. Not a terrific pitcher but if Cleveland can break out of their hitting slump and score runs against a pitcher they have had success against previously they should have the advantage.
Confidence: W2 streak

3) Manchester United is a terrific side and they will be returning Rio Ferdinand in the back field to pair with Nemanja Vidic on defense. They have not played many games with both players starting in the past month or so and in that time their form has dipped considerably. A 17’ sending off of Paul Scholes led to a 0-2 defeat at Fulham and they have had to rely on late game winners from 17 year old Federico Macheda to win their last two Premier League matches. Adding Ferdinand to the mix will help but it will be difficult for them to transform themselves into the side they will need to be to win this match overnight. FC Porto head the Portuguese Liga and have not lost at home in that league except for once to Leixoes when they had a reserve keeper in the net. FC Porto have never lost to an English team at home in their history as a football club. Manchester United will be looking to equalize the away goal count with at least 2 and will be playing to win but FC Porto knows they only have to outscore Manchester United by one goal to advance to the semi-finals.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

6) Evan Longoria will be missing the game tonight for the Rays to attend to some personal matters. The lines opened very close on this game with some books having the matchup at even odds while others had Tampa Bay at -110 and New York at +100. The starting pitchers will be two Andys, Pettite for the Yankees and Sonnanstine for the Rays. They have each started one game so far this season. Sonnanstine recorded a 12.60 ERA in a loss and Pettite had a 1.96 ERA in a win. Historically Pettite has done better against the Rays’ batters than Sonnanstine. Pettite has given up 3 home runs and 16 RBIs in 174 at bats for the Rays while Sonnanstine has been homered 4 times along with 10 runs being batted in in 86 at bats for the Yankees. Pettite gives up more hits on average than Sonnanstine does. Sonnanstine gives up 0.465 total bases per at bat compared to 0.379 total bases per at bat for Pettite. Last year Sonnanstine had a 10.61 ERA against the Yankees with a record of 1-0 and Pettite had a 4.13 ERA against the Rays with a record of 2-2.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

8) Houston is playing to win the Southwest Division title over the San Antonio Spurs, something they have not done in a long time. Dallas will want to end the season on a winning note and possibly move into the 6 seed which would give them home court in the second round of the playoffs should the Hornets win their series in the first round. Houston and Dallas have played once this season since McGrady was injured and Alston was traded. The game was played in Houston and the Rockets won 93-86. Dallas is playing great basketball right now with the return of Josh Howard revitalizing them. I don’t see either team resting players a great deal, though Jason Kidd may see some of his minutes given to J.J. Barea. Barea is not much of a drop off except in the rebounding department as he is a remarkably good defender for someone his size. If Yao Ming can have a dominating performance and Battier, Brooks, and Artest are making a decent number of their attempts the Rockets have a terrific chance to take this game on the road against their possible first round opponent.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

9) Mark Hendrickson has had a good start to his season pitching a 1.69 ERA in a win in his first start this season. Last April he was pretty good to, going 4-0 with an overall ERA of 2.56. Benson had a 12.60 ERA in his first start of the season this year in a loss. The Orioles have had 49 at bats against Benson had gotten 17 hits and 5 RBI’s against him. In 42 at bats against Hendrickson the Rangers have had only 11 hits, but 6 of those were doubles and they batted in 5 runs. So the Rangers’ Hendrickson gives up more hits to the Orioles on average, but Benson is giving up just as many runs. Neither pitcher had any experience against their opposition last season. I like the Orioles to win this based on Benson having a poor first start and Hendrickson playing well and doing well in April overall. The lines on this game opened up with Texas as the slightest of favorites, but more or less even odds.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

12) Bettors really love Portland at home in this game. A typical money line in Vegas has Portland as the favorite at -320 and Denver as the underdog at +250. The spread is 7.0 points in favor of Portland. Both teams may or may not rest players, but it hardly matters as each team have deep benches with players who have been major contributors in their wins this season. Denver is playing well right now but Portland is playing their best basketball of the season lately. Home court, bench play, and recent form favor Portland in my opinion.
Confidence: W8 streak or less

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