Odds On Most Any Matchup: 5dimesSkyBetBetFairBetUS

And So It Goes....

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

click it

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 19th, 2009 Picks

1-0-0 again today and do I feel lucky to have gotten it. After I passed up on FC Nordsjælland and switched my pick to Carolina, meaning I wasn't confident in either pick, I settled on the L.A. Dodgers against the Mets. It looked good at first with the Dodgers picking up a couple of runs in the 1st inning off of Redding. The Mets got a run back in the 2nd, however, with a Wright double and a couple of sacrifice hits to advance the run in. Then, something I did not expect, Redding took on Wolf straight up in the pitchers duel. For the next 5 innings each pitcher did well with Wolf giving up 3 hits and Redding giving up 1. In the top of the 8th Wolf gave up a double to Angel Pagan and was relieved after retiring the next two batters.

Wade gave up an RBI single to Sheffield immediately after and the Mets tied the game 2-2. J.J. Putz was brought in and nearly gave up a run with runners on first and third with two outs, but induced a ground out from pinch hitter Loretta. The Dodgers brought in Broxton for the top of the 9th with the idea of ending the game at the bottom of the inning. Broxton did his job, but the Dodgers brought in a pinch hitter for him to lead off the ninth and Paul ground out. Feliciano was brought in with runners on first and third again with two outs and he caused Ethier to ground out to send the game into extra innings.

Troncoso was brought in for the Dodgers, and he retired his first two batters before giving up a single and walking the next. Fortunately, Tatis grounded out to third to end the Mets' turn in the 10th. Brian Stokes made quick work of the Dodgers to extend the game for another inning. Troncoso remained in the game and repeated his patter, retiring two, and giving up a single. Angel Pagan then hit a deep triple but Ryan Church was called out when the umpires determined he had failed to step on third base as he ran past. Stokes started off the bottom of the 11th by walking a batter, then a throwing error by Beltran allowed runners to reach first and second, and the Mets intentionally walked Pierre to load the baess. Furcal almost walked to end the game but ended up hitting a fly ball to get out. The Dodgers nearly blew another chance when Hudson hit into a routine double play but another error by the Mets allowed Loretta to score and end the game. *whew* And so on to the picks.

1) Southern California vs. Ohio State – Southern California
2) California vs. Duke – Duke
3) Texas Rangers @ Detroit Tigers – Detroit
4) Toronto Blue Jays @ Boston Red Sox – Boston
5) Chicago Blackhawks @ Detroit Red Wings – 5 goals or fewer
6) Milwaukee Brewers @ Houston Astros – Milwaukee
7) Chicago Cubs @ St. Louis Cardinals – St. Louis
8) Which Team Gets No. 1 Pick: Kings or Wizards vs. Any Other Team – Any Other Team
9) Chauncey Billups ast. vs. Los Angeles Lakers win margin – Los Angeles win margin
10) San Francisco Giants @ San Diego Padres – San Diego
11) L. A. Angels hits off Hernandez vs. Felix Hernandez strikeouts – Angels hits off Hernandez

4) The Boston Red Sox return to Fenway Park after a rough 6 game road trip that saw them drop 2 of 3 to both the Angels and the Mariners. In their series with the Mariners they batted a paltry .224, though they did slug .398 off of those hits to average 1.78 total bases per hit. They will be facing Brian Tallet when the Blue Jays visit today. Tallet has been a reliever for most of his career, and was pressed into a starting role after injuries struck Toronto's rotation. Tallet has done very well this season with only one truly awful outing, at Kansas City, where he gave up 10 earned runs on 11 hits in only 4 innings. Even with that on his record he has a 4.68 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, striking out nearly 7 batters per 9. He will face a stiff test against the Red Sox, who will be without Kevin Youkilis but will be returning David Ortiz and Julio Lugo to the lineup. Toronto should consider themselves fortunate if Tallet can get through 6 innings with only 2 or 3 runs conceded. Boston will be starting 42 year old Tim Wakefield on the mound tonight. Wakefield is coming off a poor outing against the Angels in which he lost a 4 run lead, giving up 7 earned runs without getting out of the 5th inning. Wakefield has been very up and down this season, at one point throwing a 7 inning 1 hit gem followed by a 5 inning, 7 hit, 5 run game. Toronto has been batting well in their past three games, but no better than their season average. Against Wakefield they have batted .267 and slugged .409 in 247 at bats, and I think Wakefield will have an average game, meaning just a few runs given up to the Blue Jays. Overall I think Tallet is fortunate to have as low an ERA as he has, due to the number of batters he puts on base. As long as Wakefield has a quality start the Red Sox should be able to take a lead and hold on to it.

6) The Milwaukee Brewers are on a roll, winning their last 6 in a row and 8 of their last 10. Somehow they've found a way to win even when their bats are quiet, taking all three against the Cardinals and scoring 17 runs even though they only batted .183 and slugged .326 in the series. For their series against the Houston Astros the Brewers will have to do without second baseman Rickie Weeks, who suffered a season ending wrist injury while striking out in the first inning on Sunday against the Cardinals. Casey McGehee is expected to start against left-hander Mike Hampton today. McGehee is batting only .188 in 16 at bats this season, all singles. The Brewers still have plenty of power in their lineup, with Braun, Fielder, Hart, and Cameron all over .400 in slugging percentage. The Astros have some power in their lineup as well, with Lance Berkman improving, Hunter Pence showing promise, and the ever dangerous Carlos Lee. The Astros will have Mike Hampton on the mound to try and limit the Brewers. Hampton has a 5.31 ERA and 1.54 WHIP so far this season but has done very well in giving up only 4 home runs, and inducing more ground balls than fly balls this season. That doesn't bode well for the Brewers' power hitting, but it's unlikely Hampton could possibly shut down the Brewers any more than the Cardinals' pitchers did. In his last three starts he has pitched 152/3 innings and given up 19 hits for 13 earned runs while walking one more batter than he's struck out. If anything the Brewers will see a resurgence in hitting against Hampton, and with the number of batters he walks even singles could be deadly. The key for the Brewers will be Dave Bush limiting the Astros' improving bats. Bush has a 3.83 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, mainly due to his rarely walking a batter. Bush has had three straight quality starts, including a 5-3 win over Florida where he pitched for 7 innings, giving up 6 hits for 2 runs and striking out 7 batters and walking only 1. Overall, even if Hampton has a terrific start, it would take an abysmal one from Bush to give Houston a large lead. Even a four run lead with 3 innings to go would not be considered safe with Houston's bullpen giving up a home run every 6 innings pitched. If Milwaukee starts hitting well again, and I suspect they will, it should be a fairly easy victory.

7) The St. Louis Cardinals are hoping to get back on track when they return home to Busch Stadium after being swept in a 3 game series against the Milwaukee Brewers. They'll have to do so without the help of Ryan Ludwick or Rick Ankiel both of whom are still recuperating from minor injuries. That could spell trouble for the Cardinals, not only because of their skill with the bat, but also because Joel Piniero will be pitching. Piniero is quite possibly the league leader in putting balls in play, having walked only 7 batters in and struck out only 14 in 451/3 innings pitched. Without two of their starting outfielders it could mean more hits for a Cubs team that is already batting .283 and slugging .462 in their last three games and have a career slugging average of .642 against Piniero. Piniero will have to hope for mostly ground outs, however, and he can get them with a 1.40 ground ball to fly ball ratio. His opponent, Ted Lilly, is hoping the Cardinals remain in a major hitting slump. St. Louis batted .222 and had a .273 slugging average in their series with the Brewers, a serious drop from their season average where they earned 1.67 total bases for each hit. With a 0.39 ground ball to fly ball ratio Lilly depends on striking batters out and getting enough action on the ball so that a hit pops out rather than reaches the fence. Lilly has been rock solid at Wrigley field and has put in three quality starts in a row. Away from home it has been a bit different where he has put in both of his poor starts, including a game at Houston where he gave up 4 home runs. I think there's a good chance St. Louis' offense wakes up and Lilly gets roughed up a bit, but unless Piniero can do better against the Cubs, especially Lee and Soriano, it will be for naught. I think there are more scenarios that could play out that favor the Cubs winning and they would make a good pick, but I favor the Cardinals at home over the Cubs away from Wrigley in this one.

8) It's time for the NBA Draft Lottery and to see who will be selecting the first player on June 25th. The Lottery works by selecting the teams who will select the first three picks with the remaining 11 places determined by each team's final record during the regular season. The teams to pick first are chosen during the lottery process by selecting 4 balls out of 14 from a lotto machine. There are a total of 1001 combinations. Each team is assigned a certain number of combinations, in this case Sacramento receives 250 and Washington receives 178 while 1 of the combinations is a designated 'null' combination, i.e. they redraw the 4 balls if this 1 is chosen. The remaining 12 teams in the lottery receive some proportion of the other 572 combinations. Clearly there are more combinations representing the other 12 teams which could be drawn. Indeed, in the past 17 years the two teams with the most combinations have received the number 1 pick only 4 times: Orlando in 1992 who selected Shaquille O'Neal with the pick, Philadelphia in 1996 who picked Allen Iverson, Cleveland in 2003 who got LeBron James, and Orlando again in 2004 who selected Dwight Howard. It's a toss-up no matter what, but the odds favor any other team.9) Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, featuring the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets, is finally upon us. Denver has been incredibly hot lately, winning both of their series in 6 games or less. In the first round they lost an early 16 point first quarter lead before falling just short against New Orleans and followed up that game with a 58 point thrashing on the road. Against Dallas they lost Chris "Birdman" Andersen for a game and had Andersen in foul trouble for a second to earn their two losses in that series. In Denver's road games Chauncey Billups has averaged 6 assists during the playoffs which is exactly what he averaged on the road all season. Looking at the graph above one can see Billups had 7 or more assists in only 17 of 41 road games this year, with 83% of his games seeing him net 3 to 8 assists. Los Angeles has also played well, though they've been hot and cold, playing terribly in their losses to Houston and loss to Utah, and being dominant in their 8 victories. At the Staples Center the Lakers are 6-1 in these playoffs, losing Game 1 to the Houston Rockets and winning all 6 other games by double digits. Throughout the season the Lakers have an average margin of victory of 13.1 points on their home court. They will face tough competition against the Denver Nuggets, though they beat Denver by double digits in both games at the Staples Center during the regular season. Obviously, it will be very important for Denver to get strong performances from their bench, especially from Andersen and J.R. Smith. If they get those performances, and the starters can avoid too many turnovers, say 12 or fewer, Denver actually has a good chance of winning this game. I think the Lakers' defense will cause those turnovers, however, as Denver averages just over 15 turnovers per game. If Bynum continues to play as he did in Game 7 against the Rockets I think the Lakers will win by at least 8 points and that will be equal to or more than Billups' assists in this game.
Click on the image for a closer look.
11) The Los Angeles Angels will visit Safeco Field for the fifth time this season to take on the Mariners and Felix Hernandez. The red line in the graph above shows how many hits the Angels have gotten off of the starting pitcher of the opposition on a game-by-game basis. The navy blue line shows the number of times the Angels struck out against those starting pitchers. It's immediately apparent the Angels usually get a hit more often than they strike out, and on average they get nearly twice as many hits as strikeouts with 6.9 hits per game compared to 3.7 strikeouts per game. Looking at the graph one can see the Angels have only had fewer hits than strikeouts in 3 of 37 games this season. It's no surprise considering the Angels are averaging 1 strikeout for every 6 at bats and 1 hit every 4 at bats. The dotted lines represent, above, Hernandez's game high number of strikeouts last season and this season, and below, his average number of strikeouts this season. Hernandez has done well this season with 5 of 8 starts seeing him record more strikeouts than hits given up. Against the Angles, however, he has not seen that kind of success. In 4 starts against L.A. last season he gave up more hits in 3 games and had the same number of strikeouts as hits given up in 1. The current Angels' lineup, without Vlad Guerrero, is batting .267 against Hernandez over their careers, with a .222 strikeout average. That will make things very close, with the Angels averaging one more hit than strikeouts if they manage 24 at bats against Hernandez. As long as the Angels are able to get a bat on the ball rather than strike out they should win this prop by a small margin.


  1. Ohio is going to take the championship! I think...

  2. Heheh... I really just guessed... was kind of thinking 36-1 record means either a) They are the most dominant team in the history of college tennis (ranked #3 and went 4-3 with UCLA so that's probably not it); or b) they played a weak schedule compared to other schools. That's just how it goes in other college sports like basketball and football, no idea if it applies to tennis.