Odds On Most Any Matchup: 5dimesSkyBetBetFairBetUS

And So It Goes....

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

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Friday, July 24, 2009

July 24th, 2009 Picks

(skip to picks)Thanks to Club Benny, a.k.a. Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv, my streak has been pushed to 6. Yes, it is difficult to retrospect on picks that would have pushed my streak well past 10 over the past few days, but tortoise, hare, and the asshole bear as they say. So on to the picks.

Bnei Yehuda Battle To 1-0 Win In Daugavpils, Book 3rd Round Match With Paços de Ferreira
Bnei Yehuda 1 - 0 Dinaburg
Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv join fellow Israelis Maccabi Netanyu FC in the third qualifying round of the Europa League.
``Earlier yesterday, Bnei Yehuda put away Dinaburg FC 1-0 their second-round qualifier in the Latvian city, after beating the club 4-0 in last week's first leg. Pedro Galvan set up Eliran Atar for the game's lone goal in the 32nd. "We came here at the peak of concentration and I'm happy we advanced to the next stage," said captain Assi Baldout. The orange-clad squad from south Tel Aviv will now face the winner between Pacos of Portugal and Moldova's Zimbru Chisinau."
Read More....MinutesBnei Yehuda Recap (in Hebrew)Dinaburg Recap (in Russian)

1) What Nation Will The Stage 19 Winner Hail From: Spain or France vs. Any Other Nation - Any other nation
2) Celtic FC vs. Al Ahly - 2 goals or fewer
3) Tottenham Hotspur vs. FC Barçelona - FC Barçelona win
4) Leeds Rhinos @ Wigan Warriors - Wigan wins or loses by less than 8 points
5) St. Louis Cardinals @ Philadelphia Phillies - St. Louis
6) Tampa Bay Rays @ Toronto Blue Jays - Toronto
7) Toronto Argonauts @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers - Winnipeg
8) Chelsea vs. AC Milan - Chelsea win
9) Atlanta Braves @ Milwaukee Brewers - Atlanta
10) New York Mets @ Houston Astros - New York
11) San Francisco Giants @ Colorado Rockies - Colorado
12) Pittsburgh Pirates @ Arizona Diamondbacks - Pittsburgh
13) Antonio Escalante vs. Cornelius Lock - 8 rounds or fewer
14) Cleveland Indians @ Seattle Mariners - Seattle
15) Josh Johnson vs. Clayton Kershaw - Kershaw records more strikeouts
16) Calgary Stampeders @ BC Lions - Calgary


Riders will roll into Aubenas, a first time stage town, after 178km.
1) This Tour de France is a bit anti-climactic as Alberto Contador pretty much had the yellow jersey wrapped up before yesterday's time trials and merely cemented his position by winning that stage as well. The main focus for Team Astana should be avoiding crashes and simply keeping up with everybody else. Stage 19 has been touted as a stage for aggressive cyclists meaning whoever decides to make a break early on has a good chance of winning the stage. Looking at the stage profile it's a mostly flat stage but without many sprint for points sections. There's a category 2 climb near the end up Col de l'Escrinet before a flat and fast final five kilometers.
Tour de France - Stage 19 Odds
3 of 8 cyclists with worse than 20/1 odds
and better than 30/1 odds from Spain or France.

So the stage itself favors no particular style of racing and the winner will be one of a group of say 6 to 20 cyclists who decide to break away early. It's really a bit of a tossup, so let's look at some odds. The odds in the table to the left are from SkyBet and they are different from odds one might find at BetFair or at WilliamHill. The table to the left shows four of the top six cyclists are from Spain or France but that outside of that top group it's all non-French/non-Spanish cyclists competing. BetFair has three of the top five being Spanish or French cyclists and WilliamHill has Kirchen and Hushovd favored over Freire and Sanchez. I'm going to say `any other nation' since cyclists who aren't overwhelming favorites have a good shot of winning anyways. With the stage wide open and with 99 of 158 of the riders being from any other nation I think they have a decent chance of winning, but it's just a guess.

2) The first thing I looked at for this match were the odds given by some European sports books. SkyBet has under 2.5 goals favored at 8/11 to even odds for the over while BetFair has the under favored at 9/10 to 27/25. WilliamHill has the odds broken down into over/under 2 goals with a bet for 2 goals exactly but even with the odds for 2 exactly combined with under 2 goals WilliamHill favor 3 goals or more. Taking into account the sportsbooks profits SkyBet have the under favored at -116, BetFair has the under favored at -109, and WilliamHill favors the over at -106. So it looks like people can see this going either way and the under tends to be favored since soccer is usually a low scoring sport.

Celtic F.C. look to hone their skills ahead of their Champions League match against Dinamo Moscow while Al-Ahly try to forget a 2-0 loss in the Egyptian Super Cup to Haras El Hodood.

Both teams are coming off matches where they failed to score. Al-Ahly lost in the Egyptian Super Cup to Haras El Hodood 2-0. The match report notes Al-Ahly are under a new coach who is implementing a 4-4-2 formation the team is unfamiliar with and that there was too much space in their central defense. There are video highlights of that loss in the link and to me it looked like Hodood made some very difficult shots. Of course, Celtic F.C. have the talent to make those same shots. Unfortunately for Celtic they were unable to finish their own chances in their 0-0 draw against Cardiff City. It was just a tune-up match for Celtic, but they were still disappointed with the result. They know they'll need to be in top form to take a lead from their first leg match with Dinamo Moscow in Champions League play (note: Al-Ahly is participating in the ACF Champions League, Africa's UEFA counterpart). Celtic's matches with Al-Ahly and on Sunday against Tottenham Hotspur will be tune-ups as well so one can expect some reserves to get some playing time at the half as Celtic try to find the best combination of players on the pitch. Al-Ahly will be without striker Mohammed Barakat but will return midfielder Ahmed Hassan who missed the 2-0 Super Cup loss.

With Al-Ahly still learning the 4-4-2 (incredible, I know) their defense will be suspect and Celtic should be able to take advantage. Celtic scored 2 or more goals in 23 of their 33 league matches last season but only managed to score 3 goals or more in 11 of those matches. With a tough defense that held a clean sheet in 15 matches and solid keepers in Artur Boruc and Lukasz Zaluska it will be difficult for Al-Ahly to score. I think Celtic can win 2-0, but 3-0 against a very good Al-Ahly team might be too much. The odds on this match are close enough that either pick has a good chance of winning.

FC Barçelona kick off their preseason against an injury depleted Tottenham Hotspur and may take the opportunity to give their youth some time on the pitch.
3) FC Barçelona are currently the champions of Europe after beating Manchester United 2-0 in Rome last May. Like Tottenham their domestic league season does not begin until August, and they will probably want to avoid some of the injury woes that have beset their opponents, Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs look to be in some serious trouble with three of their central defenders, Jonathan Woodgate, Michael Dawson and Ledley King, currently out with injury and potentially doubts for the beginning of the season. Additionally, strikers Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko are out along with midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng. Spurs still have good attacking players in Darren Bent and Jermain Defoe but their defense will surely be tested by the likes of Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi. While Barçelona will be leaving a few players back home (Carlos Puyol, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Dani Alves to name a few) they will still have some of their best in the lineup and will display high quality even with their reserves. I would expect most of their first line players to be substituted rather early in the match, unless they are losing.

I would expect that even with Messi and Henry playing only half the match that FC Barçelona's reserves would be strong enough to merit being heavy favorites against Tottenham, but perhaps we're underestimating the North London club. Sportsbooks seem to have Tottenham as only slight underdogs. SkyBet, for example, has FC Barçelona at +110 to win, a draw at +200, and Tottenham to win at +225 which comes out to Tottenham win or draw at -135 and FC Barçelona at +135 without the sportsbooks profits. To me Barçelona should still come out on top in this match. They will want to show well their first time out after winning the treble and give an entertaining match to their fans in London.

St. Louis tries to deal Philadelphia's J.A. Happ his first loss of the season with Joel Pineiro on the mound. The Phillies are 6-5 in games where Happ starts.
5) This is probably one of my more bold (awful) predictions of the day. The Phillies are white hot offensively and are starting J.A. Happ who is 7-0 to start the season, never mind that Philadelphia is 6-5 when he starts. Philadelphia is batting .261 in their past three games despite getting caught in a 13 inning low-scoring win against the Cubs. Where the Phillies have been lacking is their slugging with a .361 average in those games. They have too many power hitters to keep that up for long but it's not going to help that they're facing Joel Pineiro today. Pineiro is sporting a 1.66 ground ball to fly ball ratio through 18 starts this season and has yielded only 3 home runs so far. He's also demonstrated excellent command by walking only 12 batters through 1221/3 innings. He also has yet to walk a batter in his last four starts spanning 292/3 innings.

Philadelphia has one of the elite offenses in the Majors, however, scoring 41.4% of baserunners. That Pineiro is unlikely to put many men on base through balls could be a big factor in St. Louis winning this game. I think the pitching matchup overall favors the Cardinals. Even though Happ has the lower ERA he's done so through fewer innings and has been fortunate to give up only 11 home runs with a mediocre ground ball to fly ball ratio of 0.64. Pineiro also has a better grasp of a wider variety of pitches and he likes to switch around which pitch he favors. It's difficult to pick against the Phillies but I think Happ is overdue to be knocked around for 4 to 5 runs which may be all the Cardinals need to win here. Recently acquired Julio Lugo may provide the needed kick against the left-handed Happ so keep an eye on the pre-game lineups to see if he'll be in.

Josh Johnson (left, 5.74 SO/gm, 7.7 K/9) faces off against Clayton Kershaw (right, 5.47 SO/gm, 8.7 K/9) tonight.
15) The Florida Marlins continue their West coast road trip with a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers after sweeping the San Diego Padres. Los Angeles owns the best record in baseball at 61-34 and have been a half-game better at home than the Yankees at 33-15. The starting pitchers are the focus of tonight's matchup, however, as we look to whether Josh Johnson or Clayton Kershaw will record more strikeouts. The table on the right gives some relevant statistics on the two pitchers. Josh Johnson averages more strikeouts per game than Kershaw, but by less than one. He does have a higher median meaning he has fewer low strikeout games. In fact, he has thrown 5 or fewer strikeouts in only 8 of 19 starts whereas Kershaw has failed to break 5 strikeouts in 13 of his 19 starts. Kershaw has been plagued by inefficiency and has failed to make it through 6 innings in 9 of his starts so while his overall strikeout numbers are low his K/9 is greater than Josh Johnson's. So far this season Johnson has pitched one more inning per game than Kershaw.
Strikeout Stats
J. JohnsonC. Kershaw
Median SO65
5 K or less813
Both pitchers have started 19 games.

Lately Kershaw has been more dependable going for 6 or more innings in five of his past six starts. Johnson can generally be counted on to complete seven innings. So, one thing to keep in mind here is that Johnson is likely to have an extra inning or two to work with in getting strikeouts. The one factor I think tips the scales in favor of Kershaw is that he's pitching against the Marlins. Florida ranks 29th in the Majors in terms of plate appearances per strikeout while the Dodgers rank 11th. True to form the Marlins were struck out 9 times by Kershaw earlier this season. I like Kershaw to strike out the Fish again tonight, but it's definitely no gimme with Josh Johnson capable of going a full nine.


  1. hey man, i'm just curious, you post a lot of links to sites in other languages. how much of that do you actually know?

  2. Not much. The only language I know is German and the rest can usually be translated.

  3. guten tag Frau zombidwee

  4. And a good day to you too Miss Anon.

  5. On the Phils/Cards game....his name is Julio Lugo and he plays SS. As an enormous Red Sox fan (the team he was traded from), I can assure you that if he plays, he will have nothing but a negative impact on the game. The Red Sox were well below average in games where he started, and not out of coincidence either, as he accumulated many costly errors. Last year he was solely responsible for roughly 1/3 of the entire Red Sox errors, while leading the league in that unfortunate category. I like the Phils at home, but great blog :-)