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And So It Goes....

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

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June 17th, 2009 Picks

(skip recaps)1-0-0 today with a fine win by South Africa. They only set the target at 131 runs with their innings, but some superior spin bowling after the Powerplay overs (the first 6 overs) limited India to 118. I added a podcast player down near the bottom of the page. Still experimenting with it, but ideally I'll have some podcast updating with an RSS type of feed at some point. Maybe some music to go along with the TV, and eventually a cool 3D gamecast application for MLB kind of like what they have already for cricket. And on to the picks.


South Africa Remains Unbeaten With 12 Run Victory Over Reeling India
South Africa 130/5 - India 118/8
The pitch at Trent Bridge contributed to the low scores here. Fortunately, the South African attack was just a bit more spot on, especially de Villers.
``On a spin-friendly Trent Bridge surface, South Africa's slow bowlers rubbed salt and some spices into India's gaping World Twenty20 wounds, defending a modest total of 130 with consummate ease. The real difference between the sides though was AB de Villiers, who batted quite magnificently for a 51-ball 63 on a pitch where no other batsman excelled. With the ball, Johan Botha took 3 for 16, and was superbly supported by Roelof van der Merwe (1 for 13) as India stumbled from 47 for 0 at the end of the Powerplay overs to 69 for 5. The two Punjabis, Yuvraj and Harbhajan Singh, briefly floated some hope, but Botha and Dale Steyn snuffed out the challenge to send South Africa through to the semi-final undefeated."
Read more....Box ScoreGraeme SmithCheers And Jeers

1) Iraq vs. Spain (How Many Goals Will Fernando Torres Score?): 0 or 1 vs. 2 or more - 0 or 1
2) Uzbekistan @ Bahrain - Bahrain win
3) North Korea @ Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia win
4) New Zealand vs. South Africa - 3 goals or more
5) How Many Strikeouts Will Tim Lincecum Have Against The Angels: 7 or fewer vs. 8 or more - 8 or more
6) Arkansas vs. Virginia - Virginia
7) Milwaukee Brewers @ Cleveland Indians - Milwaukee
8) Toronto Blue Jays @ Philadelphia Phillies - Toronto
9) Lance Berkman vs. Ian Kinsler - Kinsler records more total bases
10) Detroit Tigers @ St. Louis Cardinals - Detroit
11) Seattle Mariners @ San Diego Padres - San Diego
12) DC United @ Seattle Sounders FC - Seattle win

1) Fernando Torres set an all-time record for the Spanish national team for fastest hat trick when he scored three goals in an 11 minute span, all before 17', in La Furia Roja's 5 to nil defeat of New Zealand on Sunday. With a victory over Iraq Spain can ensure they advance past the Group stage of the Confederation Cup. Spain know they will not be able to romp over every opponent as they did the

“We have studied our rivals and we know that they will not make it easy for us. We expect to suffer against Iraq, as we will against South Africa. It won’t be easy for Spain.”
---Spain Center Back Carlos Machena
All Whites with Carlos Puyol and Carlos Machena each making comments to that effect at the pre-match press conference. One cannot help but think these comments are merely the required diplomatic responses expected from professionals as Spain continue to play a dominating style of football which even the very best in the world have had trouble contending with.

Certainly, the Lions of Mesopotamia will not go down without as much of a fight as they can muster. Although they are currently ranked only 7th in the Asian Confederation the Iraqi squad continues to surprise and achieve positive results with Bora Multinovic at the helm. Multinovic is leading his eighth national team with Iraq and has achieved more success with the talent he has had to work with than possibly any other manager in modern football. He knows they have a monumental task ahead of them but has admitted he will play ``negative football" in order to achieve the result. With Kassid in goal and a 9 or 10 men back strategy Spain could find things crowded and difficult when they move forward for the score. Even then, it would seem Spain would only be limited to a convincing win rather than an overwhelming and thorough thrashing.

With the top notch quality in this competition there is a good deal of media coverage which you may sample by clicking here. Looking at the table below one can see Spain's most recent nine results. Spain have outscored their opponents 29 to 2 in those nine qualifying, Cup, and friendly matches and Fernando Torres has scored 5 of those goals. I would expect players like David Villa and Xabi Alonso to enter into the scoring fray after the recent outburst by Torres. After all, some of them have money riding on Villa.

Fernando Torres Int'l Results
New Zealand (5:0)3
Azerbaijan (6:0)1
Turkey (2:1)0
Turkey (1:0)0
England (2:0)0
Chile (3:0)1
Belgium (2:1)0
Estonia (3:0)0
Armenia (4:0)0
Bosnia-Herzegovina (1:0)0
Overall (29:2)5
All scores reported as (Spain:Opponent)

Fernando Torres now holds the Spanish record for fastest hat trick at 11 minutes.
``We've got a sweepstake going on who will end the tournament as top scorer. I went for Fernando Torres so I'm winning right now." ---Cesc Fabregas, Spain midfielder

“I will be happy if we play much more negative against Spain (than against South Africa) and we get a point."
---Iraq coach Bora Milutinovic

Incidentally, SkyBet is offering odds on Torres' goal scoring. One may quadruple a bet on him scoring 2 goals (+300) and triskadecatuple a bet on his scoring 3 (+1200).

Uzbekistan will have to do without Dynamo Kiev striker Maksim Shatskikh in their last gasp effort in Bahrain.

Bahrain only need avoid losing by more than one to enter into the World Cup qualification playoff.
2) Uzbekistan currently lie 3 points behind 3rd place Bahrain in Group B of the Asian Zone. The 3rd place team will enter into a two-leg home and away semi-final with the 3rd place team from Group A and the winner of that will advance to a final playoff round with the corresponding CONCACAF side to determine who will enter into the 2010 World Cup. Bahrain are 1 goal ahead of Uzbekistan in differential meaning they would need to lose by 2 goals or more to fail to qualify for the playoff round. Uzbekistan coach Mirdjalal Kasimov had strengthened his squad ahead of their home tie against Bahrain in February, adding strikers Maksim Shatskikh (Dynamo Kiev, Ukraine), Shahboz Erkinov (Pas), midfielders Vagiz Galiullin (Rubin, Russia), Aziz Ibragimov (Bohemians, Czech Republic) and defender Vitaliy Denisov (Dnepr, Ukraine). They lost the match 1-0.

Now they must travel to the small island nation to face Bahrain in Manama on the brink of elimination. Unfortunately for the Uzbeks their star striker, Maksim Shatskikh, has been ruled out due to injury. Worse still, Bahrain will be at full strength and have proven to be a nuisance to the best Asian teams even with major injury concerns. Most importantly for the Bahraini side will be the return of striker A'ala Hubail who missed out on their 0-2 defeat away at Australia. Also returning for Bahrain will be defenders Abdulla Al Marzooqi, Mohammed Hubail (younger brother of A’Ala), striker Ismail Abdullatif and midfielder Mahmood Abdulrahman. This information and more can be found in goal.com's preview, which predicts a 1-1 draw between these sides.

Looking at the table below it would appear Bahrain have been in stronger form more recently, but Uzbekistan has played the tougher schedule. Still, Bahrain has achieved their results while riddled with injuries and I think Bahrain is the stronger side. The main concern for Bahrain will be a let down in play with their main concern being to avoid defeat by 2 goals or more. If they see the match as preparation for the qualification playoff and play up to their potential they should win fairly easily.

Recent Form/Results
#72 Uzbekistan (0:1)#74 Bahrain (0:1)
#35 Japan (1:0)#87 Qatar (4:0)
#96 Qatar (1:0)#32 Australia (2:0)
#126 Jordan (4:0)#33 Bosnia (0:0)
#29 Australia (2:0)#31 Japan (0:1)
All scores reported in (home:away) format

With new found success under Jose Peseiro Saudi Arabia remain hopeful they can win against North Korea.

With a two goal lead on differential North Korea need only secure a draw in Riyadh to clinch a place in the World Cup.
3) North Korea will visit Riyadh today (current temperature: 113º) to take on the Green Falcons of Saudi Arabia. The two sides are tied on points in their World Cup qualifying group with North Korea holding a two goal edge in differential. After Iran and South Korea played to a 1-1 draw earlier today the winner of this match will take the 2nd automatic berth to the World Cup available from their group. Because Iran failed to earn the full three points from their final match North Korea can also clinch a place in the World Cup with a draw in today's match.

Saudi Arabia's campaign started out with the Green Falcons earning only 4 points from their first four matches which included a loss at home to South Korea and a loss away at North Korea. Since then they have installed 49-year old Portuguese international Jose Peseiro in the manager's role. Under his guidance they have earned another 7 points from their last three matches and now find themselves with the opportunity to book their place to South Africa at home in Riyadh. They will have to do it without Abdoh (knee) and Ahmed (suspension) Ateef who have appeared in 13 and 10 of their qualifying matches, respectively. Their loss will be tempered by the return of striker Yasser Al Qahtani who is capable of single-handedly turning the tide of this match.

``If we win against North Korea in Riyadh, we will get a ticket to South Africa. North Korea may just have to draw, but only a win will do for us."
---Saudi Arabian coach Jose Peseiro
North Korea will be at full strength and will provide a difficult challenge for the Saudis and with the knowledge that a draw will send them through to the World Cup will be able to play without near the pressure facing the Green Falcons.

SkyBet has odds on this match at -160 for Saudi Arabia to win, the draw at +250, and a North Korean win at +400. With Qahtani healthy and playing in top form and with Peseiro at the helm the Saudis have a good chance to win this game. North Korea will be playing staunchly knowing they can take the draw. I think the 110º temperatures will favor the Saudi Arabians, though not nearly as much as most people would believe. As long as Saudi Arabia can remain calm and avoid giving up a goal through counter attack I think they can pull off the desired result with a 1-0 win.

Recent Form/Results
Saudi ArabiaNorth Korea
#46 South Korea (0:0)#52 Iran (0:0)
#122 U.A.E. (3:2)#45 South Korea (1:0)
#42 Iran (1:2)#116 U.A.E. (2:0)
#119 North Korea (1:0)#55 Saudi Arabia (1:0)
#94 Oman (6:5)#48 Iran (2:1)
Scores reported as (home:away)/only non-friendlies included

(top) Lincecum's strikeouts by game.
(bottom) Lincecum's strikeouts/batter faced vs. Opponent's strikeouts/plate appearance over season.
5) No member of the Los Angeles Angels has faced the Freak in their careers. Tim Lincecum will aim to show them what he's got. Lincecum has been described by some as a strikeout artist. He's averaging just under 8 strikeouts per game this season and has 8 or more strikeouts in 9 of his 14 starts this season. The chart above shows his strikeouts in each of his 14 starts this season. The graph just below it shows Lincecum's strikeouts per batter faced compared to that team's average number of strikeouts per plate appearance over the season as a whole. Except for a rain delayed game against Florida recently Lincecum has struck out batters far more often than they are used to. He struck out New York Mets batters at twice their season rate in picking up 8 strikeouts against them, and indeed averages striking out opponents at 1.8&mult; their normal rate*.

Tim Lincecum is a blur even to the cameras.

The Los Angeles Angels average 6.2 strikeouts per game, but that includes their strikeouts against relief pitchers. In 6 innings then they may only strikeout an average of 4.1 times per game which would translate to 7.4 strikeouts for Lincecum. 7 innings would come out to 8.7 strikeouts. There are a number of ways to look at the stats, but they all agree on Lincecum getting anywhere from 7 to 10 or more strikeouts in an average 6 or 7 inning day. Throw in that Matt Palmer will be batting for the Angels and I feel 8 strikeouts is a fairly safe number. One might ask: ``What if Palmer can bat?", but a look at his minor league numbers should allay this fears. In 2008 and 2009 Palmer had 67 at bats, striking out 28 times and getting 6 hits and has been a sub-.200 batter for most of his career. Of course, all this is moot once the game begins as what will be, will be, but I'm thinking he will be very good today.
*To compute Lincecum's strikeout rate from a team's baseline rate simply take their plate appearances per strikeout and divide by Lincecum's batters faced per strikeout for that game.

8) Today will continue the tale of two pitchers whose seasons have charted opposing courses since the first day of April. Scott Richmond started out with a 2.67 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 4-0 record on hiw way to winning the NL Rookie of the Month award for April. Since that time he has 5.06 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and an 0-3 record. Philadelphia's 46 year old left hander Jamie Moyer has seen a change a bit more drastic. In his last five starts he has a 3.77 ERA and 1.10, which has only been good enough to bring his ERA to 6.11 with a 1.49 WHIP on the season.

Will Richmond and Moyer exchange fortunes or remain on their current course?

That Scott Richmond's record went from 4-0 to 0-3 with increases of only 0.09 in WHIP and 1.29 in ERA speaks more to a problem in Toronto's batting over the past month than with Richmond's pitching. Fortunately for Richmond the Blue Jays may have found power in their bats in the nick of time. Aside from scoring 5 runs in the 10th inning against Philadelphia yesterday the Blue Jays are batting .241 with a .398 slugging average in their past three games. Those numbers don't sound impressive, and they aren't, but it's still 1.68 total bases per hit, an improvement over their season average. If Toronto can continue to bat those dingers against Moyer it will give Richmond a great opportunity to pick up a win.

A seemingly strong factor in favor of Philadelphia in this game is Moyer's record against Toronto. In his extensive career Moyer is 14-8 with a 5.27 ERA against the Blue Jays over his career, but this is no flock of Common Loon's he's facing. Against the most recent iteration of the Blue Jays Moyer has a .364 bat against average with Toronto's lineup slugging .596 in 151 at bats. At 29 years old Richmond is at or possibly a year past his prime, while Moyer passed his over a decade ago. That Moyer has been pitching so well for nearly a month leads me to believe he's just waiting for the `right' team to bat around with. I think Toronto could be that team. The best chance for Philadelphia will be their offense, which has been batting just over .300 and slugging just under .500 in their past three games. They have been laying off the extra base hits in that time and while they are unlikely to bat .300 in this game they are more than likely to go long. Whether they will be able to get men on base ahead of those shots will play a big factor in determining if they can keep up with Toronto. With a 3.2 BB/9 ratio I favor Richmond to avoid recklessly populating the bases and without those multi-run homers I favor Toronto to keep the lead after 6.

9) Check out the graph below. Kinsler has a slew of games with more total bases than Berkman's had all season. Ortiz's DICE (defense independent component pitching) is worse than his actual ERA this season which is generally a good indicator that the pitcher will have a poor start at some point. Kinsler won't have a monster game, but a home run and a single are not out of the question.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I've been real busy, haven't been on in awhile. Looks like you've got some good picks going. Im so pissed, I had a W5 and Arizona destroyed it, so now I keep flip flopping between W1 and L1. It's so hard, selective picking is just as hard as monthly picking.