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And So It Goes....

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

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Monday, April 20, 2009

April 20th, 2009 Picks

2-1-0 yesterday. My first pick was Rory McIlroy to card a lower front 9 score. Joe Durant played a very solid round, hitting most of his fairways and rarely having to scramble to score par. McIlroy routinely found himself hitting his second shot from the rough but managed to stick his shot fairly close to the hole most of the time. The winner of this prop was decided by who had the best mid-range putting game. Durant hit his 10 foot putt on #2 for birdie while McIlroy missed his and ended up with par. Durant missed a 7 foot putt for par and ended up with a bogey on #3. McIlroy missed a 6-foot putt on #6 and ended up with a bogey on that hole. On the par-4 8th hole Joe Durant sank a 12 foot putt for birdie and went up two strokes on McIlroy. McIlroy was able to hit a 5 foot putt on #9 to gain a stroke back but it was not enough as Durant carded a 34 to McIlroy’s 35.

My second pick of the day was for Brian Gay to win the Verizon Open. Gay started out well with a birdie on the first hole and only got better from there. On the par-5 second hole he hit his second shot on to the green 57 feet from the hole and proceeded to sink that monster for an eagle. He had opened up a six stroke lead at that point and went on to hit two more birdies on the front 9 while hitting par on the rest of the holes. His first bogey came on #12 when he missed a 9 foot putt for par. At that point he had a seven stroke lead and it hardly mattered. He hit three more birdies on the next four holes and had a 10 stroke lead on the rest of the field with two holes remaining. He hit par on #17 and #18 to take the tournament with a record 20 under par. His 10 stroke lead on the rest of the field was also a record at Harbour Town. Gay bogeyed two times in the 72 holes he played in the event, also a record.

My third pick was the Vancouver Canucks. The St. Louis Blues took the lead three minutes into the game on a David Backes goal. The Canucks held on from there and in the second period scored a couple of power play goals two minutes apart. Andy McDonal equalized things at 2-2 with four minutes remaining and the score stood heading into the third period. A roughing penalty assessed at the very end of the period would prove costly for the Blues as Vancouver scored on the resulting power play less than two minutes into the third. Vancouver would hold on to win 3-2 to go up 3 games to none in the series. Vancouver converted 3 of their 5 power plays and killed all 6 Blues power plays. So on to the picks.

1) Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot vs. Ryan Hall – Cheruiyot finishes with a faster time
2) Sheffield United @ Burnley – Burnley win
3) Washington Capitals @ New York Rangers – New York
4) Oakland Athletics @ New York Yankees – 2 home runs or less hit in the game
5) Atlanta Braves @ Washington Nationals – Washington
6) Florida Marlins @ Pittsburgh Pirates – Florida
7) Cincinnati Reds @ Houston Astros – Cincinnati
8) Chicago Blackhawks @ Calgary Flames – Calgary
9) Dirk Nowitzki vs. Tim Duncan – Duncan pts. and reb.
10) Colorado Rockies @ Arizona Diamondbacks – Colorado

1) Robert Cheruiyot is an overwhelming favorite to win this race in the eyes of the bookies and bettors. Cheruiyot has +150 on him while Ryan Hall is anywhere from +350 to +500. Cheruiyot has won the Boston Marathon for the past three years and set the all-time record at the Boston Marathon in 2006 with a time of 2:07:14. Ryan Hall qualified for the Boston Marathon with his 2:06:17 5th place finish at the London Marathon in 2008. This is Hall’s first entry into the Boston Marathon. Here is a story about that London Marathon that makes me think Cheruiyot will win finish ahead of Hall if not win the race: “On that note I came across the results from the London Marathon this past weekend and Ryan Hall kicked ass. He finished in 5th place (behind 4 Kenyans) with a time of 2:06:17, which is the 3rd best American marathon finish ever. I think the coolest thing I read about the race is that sometime in the middle of the race, Hall in the lead pack rolled up to the front of the Kenyans and told them to pick up the pace, they were running too slow. Granted that may not have been the best move as the Kenyans picked up the pace to 4:30/mile (insanity) and dared him to keep up, not much of a chance.” I think Cheruiyot will be able to match and exceed any pace Hall decides to set but a year of training could surprise everyone.
Confidence: W3 streak or less

2) Sheffield United stands 3rd in the tables with 76 points, 4 points off of automatic promotion to the Premier League. Burnley stands 6th place with 69 points, one point clear of dropping out of the promotion playoffs. Burnley defeated Sheffield United away 3-2 on December 6th, 2008. Sheffield United last lost an away match October 19th, 2008, to Sheffield Wednesday 0-1. Since then they are undefeated in 15 away matches. Burnley lost at home to Sheffield Wednesday 2-4 on February 28th, 2009 and since then have won three straight home matches. Striker Steven Thompson is likely to be missing from Burnley today with injury and fellow striker Martin Paterson is probable to be a substitute rather than a starter. Sheffield United will be without defender Matthew Kilgallon who suffered a knock in during a 1-0 away win at Reading. They will also miss attacking midfielder Brian Howard. With Burnley being at home and desperately needing at least one point to stay in the race for promotion I think they will be more motivated to avoid a loss, while Sheffield United would be satisfied with a draw.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

4) This game has been postponed.

5) The Washington Nationals are 1-11 this season. They simply have to start winning some games at some point because teams just do not finish the season with 14 wins. They will be starting Jordan Zimmerman who is a highly touted prospect. The Braves will counter with Derek Lowe who has a strong track-record against the Nationals. Lowe has an ERA of 2.81 in three starts this season, having given up 5 runs in 16 innings. Last season he fairly dominated the Nationals with a 0.56 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning) in 13 innings and an ERA of 1.13. The Braves look like a lock here, but with Washington due for a win and the potential of Zimmerman they could easily lose a low scoring game.
UPDATE: The 5-year $45 milion deal was for 3B Ryan Zimmerman, unrelated to Jordan Zimmerman.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

9) Dirk Nowtizki averaged 34.3 points and rebounds during the season while Tim Duncan averaged 30.0 points and rebounds. In the last 5 games of the season where Duncan played meaningful minutes he averaged 32.8. Nowitzki also stepped up his game, averaging 40.2 rebounds and points in his last 5 games of the regular season. In three meetings during the regular season Nowtizki won this prop once in San Antonio, 37-34 and once in Dallas, 36-31. Duncan won once in Dallas 46-45 and did not play in the third game of the season series. In Game 1 of this series Nowtizki had 19 points and 8 rebounds. Tim Duncan had 27 points and 9 rebounds. Last year against the Hornets Nowitzki averaged 34.8 points and rebounds while going down in 5 games. In the Spurs’ series against the Hornets that same year Duncan averaged 27.1 points and rebounds while winning a 7 game series. After losing Game 1 of this series I think Duncan, out of the two, will be the one to step up his game which was already more than enough to out pace Nowitzki in points and rebounds. Nowitzki has the greater potential to win this prop but I’m inclined to go with the player who won in the previous game.
Confidence: W1 streak or less

10) The starting pitchers in this game are Jon Garland for the Diamondbacks and Jason Marquis for the Rockies. Garland has a year-to-date ERA of 8.44 and is 1-1 in decisions. He’s also struck out 2 batters while walking 8 which is poor for him when he struck out 1.5 times as many batters as he walked last year. Marquis has a 1.93 ERA so far this year and has a 2-0 record in decisions. Both he and Garland have been around 4.50 in ERA for most of their careers. I like Colorado in this game because of how cold the Diamondbacks have been when it comes to hitting the ball recently. They have a .126 batting average in their last 3 games, including a .167 slugging average against Sanchez on Friday night, a pitcher against whom their batting order has a career slugging average of .680 against. Colorado has been only slightly better with a .214 batting average in their past 3 games. At least Colorado has scored 10 runs in those games, whereas Arizona has been limited to 4 runs. Marquis has been pitching well compared to Garland so far this season as well.
Confidence: W2 streak or less

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