Sports, Politics, Popculture--From the Minds of Twenty-Somethings

Sports, Politics, Pop Culture--From the Minds of Twenty-Somethings

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Weekly Gambling Debacle-Sept 30 by Kyle McCann

The Weekly Gambling Debacle

NFL: 5-9-0 NCAA: 0-2-0 Last week: 5-11-0 Season total: 5-11-0

$ Wagered: 325 $ Won: 127.5 $ Lost: -200 $Net: -72.5

So last week was not the banner beginning we were hoping for. Lessons learned early in the year: never pick against Nick Saban (especially at home when they have by far the more talented team), never expect an NFC West team to show up on the road even when it’s against another NFC West team and Marc Sanchez only eats hot dogs when his team is winning and his nose isn’t broken1.

Looking forward to this week now but trying to stay optimistic is difficult. When the spreads came out this week I was less than enthused. Many of this week’s matchups were games where I felt it was hard to pick the winner, let alone against the spread. So I have spent a little extra time doing my research and attempting to overcome a weak 5-9 (5-11 w/ NCAA) start to the year. But a couple of stupid decisions cost us games this past week:

1. I changed my mind and chickened out of picking the Bills minutes before I published my picks. I will refer to my own rules (and not second-guess myself) for the remainder of the season.

2. Kenny Britt’s knee injury (besides crippling my fantasy football hopes) severely hampered the Titan’s offensive explosiveness and kept the game close versus Denver and assuring that they wouldn’t cover -7.

3. The Falcons inexplicably deciding to throw the ball 47 times on the road against a team that plays cover 2 almost exclusively (Cover 2 prevents deep throws and begs teams to run the ball) and subsequently losing when favored by one.

But these are reasons and not excuses; reasons explain, excuses excuse. We are not here to make excuses, we’re here to make picks. With all that said, here we go:

NFL (Lines as of Friday, September 30, 2011 per Las Vegas Hilton. Home Team in bold).

Detroit (+2) over Dallas

The line for this game has moved from +3 to +1 which there is a decent amount of juice behind the Lions. It’s not hard to see why. Dallas secondary is banged up and has no one to guard Megatron even when they’re healthy, the defense may get back Nick Fairley on an already stacked defensive line and Dallas is pretty much running plays drawn on Tony Romo’s due to the lack of cohesiveness the offense is suffering through right now. If Tony Romo’s ribs can withstand an Ndamukong Suh hit, their red zone offense (as witnessed by 6 field goals on Monday night) simply cannot put up enough offense until both Romo and Miles Austin are healthy and this street ball unit has had some more time together on the practice field.

New Orleans (-7) over Jacksonville

New Orleans may be a sneaky good pick to be the NFC 1 seed by the end of the season. Look at their next 7 games leading into their bye week. At Jacksonville, at Carolina, at Tampa Bay, vs. Indy, at St. Louis, vs. Tampa Bay and at Atlanta. Combined these teams are 7-14 and no one besides Tampa Bay plays a lick of defense. It’s entirely possible that they win all 7 of those games behind Brees, Payton and a defense (much like their championship team) that forces just enough turnovers to make a difference. Even if they go 5-2 in that stretch, possibly stumbling on the road division games, they will be 7-3 heading into a bye week with extra time to prep for a home game against an already depleted NY Giants secondary. That should take them to 8-3. The last five games are a little trickier with home matchups against the Lions, Atlanta and Carolina and road tests versus the Titans and Minnesota. But they finish with 4 of their final five games under a dome where New Orleans seems to have an advantage over everyone and with the final two of these games coming at home against an Atlanta team that may very well be out of the playoff picture already2 and a Carolina team that has one of the worst defenses in the NFL is hard to see too many stumbling blocks along the way. Bold prediction #23: The New Orleans Saints will have the best record in the NFL.

Philly (-9) over San Fran

No matter who plays QB. Philly cannot continue to play this bad, especially in the secondary. And how do you cure secondary ills: 4 quarter-long doses of Alex Smith.

St. Louis (+2.5) over Washington

St. Louis has the opposite of the New Orleans situation mentioned above. Good gosh, St. Louis couldn’t buy an easy opponent in the first half of the season. Eagles (with a healthy Vick), Giants, Ravens, Redskins (much better than expected), Packers, Cowboys, Saints and at the Cardinals. That is how St. Louis gets to open their 2011 season4. The best team in the league would have a tough time coming out of that 8 game stretch above .500, let alone a developing team that has been bashed by injuries. If the rams don’t win this week, it could be a real, real, real, real ugly start. Gotta happen this week, Washington coming off a short week and having to travel again to the middle of the country 2 weeks in a row.

Cleveland (-1.5) over Tennessee

Cleveland should be able to beat the Britt-less Titans.

Buffalo (-3) over Cincinnati

I know a lot of people might see this as a trap game for the AFC’s only undefeated team. But playing a lack luster, rookie-quarterbacked, down their best player (Cedric Benson suspension) and key wide receiver (Jerome Simpson), Cincinnati Bengals team just doesn’t seem like much of a trap for me. If the Bills don’t get down early they win going away. If they come out in a coma like they have last 2 weeks they rally and in the fourth quarter do just enough to win by 6.

Minnesota (-2) over Kansas City

This is a terrible game to pick. If it wasn’t in KC I would like the Vikings even if they were getting -4. But alas it is not. Bummer. What’s more of a bummer. Adrian Peterson having only 58 rushes through 3 games (less than 20 per game) when he’s averaging 5.1 YPC and the Vikings have been nursing leads in all 3 of their games. I see the Vikings correcting this egregious play calling trend, pounding the rock and getting their first victory. I also have zero faith in any game where I must rely on Matt Cassel5.

Carolina (+6) over Chicago

The Raiders and the Panthers are the only undefeated teams against the spread through 3 weeks. Let me repeat that. The Raiders and Panthers are undefeated against the spread this season. The kid Cam Newton, has been the biggest surprise of the 2011 season so far6. The Panthers’ rush defense may be the worst in the league. They currently sit at 25th but that number could be much worse if not for the rain soaked field slowing down MJD this past weekend (he still went for 122 yards). And those numbers are against Arizona, Green Bay and Jacksonville not three teams known for their amazing rushing prowess. This may be a chance for Chi-town to finally get a decent amount of rushes for Matt Forte. Chicago wins, but Cam keeps it close.

Houston (-3.5) over Pittsburgh

This seems like the kind of game Houston usually loses. They come in playing well for a home matchup against a tough opponent and subsequently lay an egg. But the Steelers and Mike Tomlin, cannot be happy with their performances to date against Indy and Baltimore. With all that said, Pittsburgh’s whole offensive line seems to questionable for the game; what really should be questionable is their play this season. An improving secondary and relentless pash rush make the day difficult for Big Ben. Houston keeps looking like a playoff team.

Atlanta (-4.5) over Seattle

I am pretty sure that somewhere when God was creating the universe he mandated that the Seachickens could not cover two weeks in a row with Pete Carroll as head coach. Isn’t that the 13th commandment or something.

NY Giants (-1) over Arizona

Eli please do not make me regret this. And NY please hit Kevin Kolb.

Miami (+7) over San Diego

Miami is one of those anomalous teams that plays better on the road than home. And the last time I checked the Chargers are still coached by Norv “My teams always massively underachieve and don’t cover early in the season” Turner. Combining these two factors with the emergence of Daniel Thomas, Miami has a very good chance of keeping this close.

Green Bay (-12) over Denver

Denver is just a bad team.

New England (-5) over Oakland

If Oakland (undefeated against the spread this season) can pound the rock (and the clock) they have a chance to keep it close. NE lack of third down defense makes it extremely hard to pick them to get the ball enough to make it a blow out. Tough pick, as this may be a let-down game for the Raiders after a big win over the NY Jets last week. The Patriots don’t lose back to back games and will most likely shred the Raiders’ weak secondary. Although I am very high on “the bully” Raiders; I cannot pick against Brady this week.

Baltimore (-3.5) over NY Jets

Baltimore is actually the better team this year and their ability to pound the Jets in the mouth help mitigate for the Jets relentless pass rush. Being at home definitely helps, and playing their old coach should give added motivation. This team is scary when focused and motivated. The Jets aren’t as bad as everyone is afraid they might be. But they need to show more results/dedication to the run game. Getting Mangold back helps, but reestablishing your run game in the NFL is hard, let alone against the Ravens.

Indianapolis (-10.5) over Tampa Bay

After a much better showing last week, Indy may finally be doing something right and Kerry Painter (two headed QB monster) will continue to improve mainly because they cannot do much worse. TB beat their biggest division rival last week and may have blown a little too much mental energy in the process. TB still wins but not by more than ten.

NCAA (Lines as of Friday, September 30, 2011 per Las Vegas Hilton. Home Team in bold).

Baylor (-3.5) over Kansas State

With an emotional win last week against Miami Kansas State (3-0, 2-1 ATS) looks to be a better team than most anticipated. I am suspect of the Miami win as they had just come off a long-distance travel win in Columbus and showed obvious let down being down 14-3 at halftime and 21-10 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter. This win has closed the line against a legitimate Baylor team. Robert Griffin III is a next level talent and although the Baylor defense will give up some points, I see a similar scenario to Miami’s last week with a let-down game for Kansas State as they return to Manhattan following their big non-conference win.

Alabama (-4) over Florida

This game came out with the Crimson Tide favored by 6. Betting has brought this line down substantially, to -4. I still think Alabama is the best team in the country. After this victory I see then bumping to number 2. Florida is on the rise there is no doubt but I don’t see them as that much better than Arkansas and Bama just handled and out-classed the Razorbacks. Charlie Weiss’ offense is making a significant difference in Gainesville but scheme simply cannot out do the ridiculous amount of talent Alabama stocks on their defense. I have learned my lesson from last week and refuse to underestimate Nick Saban again. Roll tide roll!

Navy (-3.5) over Air Force

Navy has looked very good this season. They kept it way too close for comfort against a South Carolina team and had a legitimate chance to shock the #10 Gamecocks. They look to build on this excellent two way performance this week as they take on rival Air Force. Air Force leads the nation in rushing, but Navy is familiar with the option look the Academy brings and did a decent job against the best rusher in the nation, Marcus Lattimore. I see Navy moving up and down the field and sends Air Force to another loss against the spread (0-3 so far this season).

Picks to place money on: (All money wagers are $55 to win $50 unless otherwise noted)

*Just to clarify based on some questions that I have been asked:

-Wagering= Games I am telling you to put money onto/am betting myself.

-Near bets= Games that I was close to betting

-Kryptonite= Games I am terrified of and you could not force me to gamble on.

Wagering: Baylor, Alabama and Navy all covering as favorites. Detroit, Buffalo and New Orleans to continue their roll and the Colts to cover the 10 points they’re being given.

Near bets: NY Giants, Atlanta.

Kryptonite7: Baltimore (recurring theme), Cleveland and Minnesota picks scare the hell out of me.

1. I will continually take shots at former USC QBs, because it’s easy and that’s just what I like to do.

2. Atlanta looks like they may have overshot the moon last year with 13 wins. Again, this is why you do not trade your entire draft for one player no matter how close you think you are to a championship.

3. I will continue to make one bold prediction a week, culminating in a review and hopeful celebration of the genius of these picks at the end of the season.

4. If I had a stats department I would have them look into this: What is the worst combined W-L record through 8 games for two teams combined from the same state. There is no way possible that the Chiefs and Rams will not demolish this record no matter what it is. The state of Missouri has some bad mojo working for them. Traveling advisory: stay away from Missouri at all costs.

5. Easy shot at USC Qb, a must take.

6. Cam Newton looked lost in the pre-season. Lost. He barely beat out a confused and beaten Jimmy Clausen. And now, while he still makes rookie mistakes, his poise and decision making are far above what anyone expected. If they get better on defense and start to run the ball a little the Panther are going to continue to be a tough out every week.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Look at Michael Jordan Vs. Kobe Bryant: Part 1

"A Look at Michael Jordan Vs. Kobe Bryant: Part 1"

(A 3 Part Editorial)

By, Sonny Hassan

             I love basketball. The subtle intricacies; an extra pass to a corner three point shooter from the post, an outlook pass to a perimeter guy running down the court, strong defensive rotation, they all bring me palpable joy. These little intricacies, although oblivious to the basketball layman, are what define basketball. They separate casual from competitive and a pick-up game from professional ball. In short, they help define greatness. These subtle intricacies, which separate basketball from any other sport, are what make this sport my absolute passion. 

             As most of you know, the NBA is on hiatus because of greedy players fighting for extra money with wealthy owners who are even greedier. It goes without saying  what is at stake that us as fans will miss next year; Blake Griffin’s actual 2nd year, an older Lakers team fighting for that last championship with Kobe as the lead, a repeat opportunity for an older Mavs team, redemption opportunities missed for a talented Heat team, and various younger teams that have a great chance at success. With all this being missed, there is a very thin silver lining that exists on NBA TV. You see, as I was flipping channels the other night, I noticed that NBA TV often marathons their forgotten show, “NBA Hardwood Classics.” This show airs prior NBA “Classic” games; ones that are always talked about in the pantheon of great games, ones that showcase individual classic talent (Magic’s baby hook in Boston Garden circa 1987), and games that are often forgotten because of the games that preceded or succeeded them. The show is a reminder to older audiences of the greatness from the past and serves as a teaching tool to younger audiences of the true greatness of the past basketball generations.

          Anyways, as I was channel surfing, I came across Game 2 of the 1996 NBA Finals in which Michael Jordan’s Bulls played a youthful Seattle Supersonics team that was lead by a young Gary Payton. Some history about the series: 
Michael Jordan came back from retirement in 1995 wearing the number 45, only to lose to a Shaq lead Orlando Magic team in 6 games during the semi-finals. He switched back to his trademark number 23 the following year, promising to exact vengeance on the league. What people have to remember is that this same Chicago team got to the 1994 semi-finals without Michael Jordan, losing to the New York Knicks in 7 games. This Chicago team was supremely talented, adding Michael Jordan to it made them legendary. The 1995-1996 team is the infamous 72 win team, a league historical best.

             This Game 2 against Seattle was important because the Bulls pumped up a 23 point lead in the 4th quarter, forcing Coach Phil Jackson to sit all of his starters (including MJ) in favor of the bench to close the game. Within minutes the bench squandered the lead and Coach Jackson was forced to replace the starters. Michael Jordan quickly proved to be the legendary closer and scored 15 of his teams final 18 points to close out Game 2. 
This legendary performance is one not mentioned when Michael Jordan performances are thought about. They are not synonymous to Michael Jordan like, “The Flu Game,” or “The Move Game, or “The Shrug,” are, but this game is equally as important to the greatness of MJ and is not mentioned and is over-shadowed because of the vast array of other great moments in his career. 
             This led me to a whole other argument all together. Kobe Vs. MJ. The sports universe, sports media, and sports fandom have short- term memories. “What have you done for me lately.” It is the same universe that proclaimed Pau Gasol to be better than Dirk Nowitzki, or that Dwight Howard is already a top-5 center of all time. I attest this to the modern sports media and technology. Sports fans are constantly bombarded with short clips, stats, and comparisons. They get highlight moments of great players, thus only being able to compare to other highlight moments of past players. They don’t truly get the whole picture; they miss the Game 2’s. This is why I believe the Kobe Vs. MJ argument is heavily skewed. I hear in basketball circles all too often that Kobe is better than MJ; hands down. Being a huge Laker fan, and a huge Kobe fan, I can’t honestly say with a straight face that Kobe is a better player than MJ was, let alone without argument. But who was better? This piece will take a close look at that.
          Which is what lead me to write this piece, “A Look at Kobe Vs. MJ.” We’ll look into these two legends and their careers, their downfalls, and their impact on pop culture. We will not only compare what their stats are, we will look at comparing everything; their stats, their awards, their vices, their shoes, etc. Think of it as an all-encompassing look into the argument as opposed to a definitive one. The editorial is split into 3 parts; this introduction, the case for MJ, and the case for Kobe.
           Without further ado, a look at the greatest two-guards to ever play the game, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. “A Look at MJ Vs. Kobe: Part 2”

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Weekly Gambling Debacle-Sept 23 by Kyle McCann

The Weekly Gambling Debacle

NFL: 0-0-0 NCAA: 0-0-0 Last week: 0-0-0 Season total: 0-0-0

$ Wagered: 0 $ Won: $ Lost: $Net:

So here we go. Week three of the NFL and the 4th game of most college football team’s season is upon us. From here on out I will be keeping track of my picks. For now, I see myself picking every NFL game and select college games I feel strongly about. Will I put money on every game?… no. The last section of this article will lay out where I am placing my bets and we will keep a running tally of these bets as well.

For those of you not familiar with gambling consider this your baptism by fire. For those degenerates, addicts or just “social” gamblers1, consider this some assistance with your problem and please do not email me when you can’t pay the mortgage next month. Be a grown up and please read my previous article.

NFL (Lines as of Wednesday, September 21, 2011 per Las Vegas Hilton. Home Team in bold).

Cincinnati (-2.5) over San Francisco

San Francisco hasn’t looked as bad as many thought, but then again neither have the Bengals. Andy Dalton, has thrown no INTs (and has been surprisingly efficient) and Cedric Benson will pound the rock. Winning by a field goal at home doesn’t seem very far-fetched. We must always consider the Alex Smith factor; how again is he a starting QB in the NFL? Do you think Harbaugh is mad they won the opening week and lowered their chances of winning the Andrew Luck sweepstakes? I do.

Patriots (-8.5) over Buffalo

What does New England struggle with? Getting to the QB and getting teams off the field on 3rd down. Buffalo is great on 3rd down. What has Buffalo struggled against? The Raiders’ (2nd half not withstanding) relentless pass rush. New England has none of that. With all this said, I am terrified of this pick. Its either gonna be a back and forth shoot out or a NE blow out. Definitely the hardest game to pick this week (kryptonite pick, see below) but I don’t think Buffalo is as good as everyone else does.

New Orleans (-4) over Texans

One of the toughest picks of the week. The Texans should be the cream of the crop in the AFC south but that doesn’t say much considering the division. Houston installed a new defensive system in the offseason2 and has looked impressive against mediocre pass offenses (Indy minus Peyton and Miami = #1 ranked defense in the NFL) so far. But Sean Payton and Drew Brees should find the holes in this newly installed defense. Turf favors the speedier Saints. New Orleans’ horrendous back four could blow this pick if they don’t pressure Matt Schaub.

Eagles (-7) over NY Giants.

This bet has been taken off the board in most places due to Vick uncertainty. Gonna skip this one.

Cleveland (-2.5) over Miami

I’m a buyer of Cleveland stock. Miami telling the world Reggie Bush would be a full time RB to start the season makes me think Tony Sporano really doesn’t want his job anymore. The slow switch to Daniel Thomas improves my belief in his decision-making abilities but not much. Colt McCoy and his young group of receiver keep gelling and the Browns still rebounding from that week 1 Cincinnati loss beat a Miami team that actually plays better on the road than at home. Cleveland please keep riding the Peyton Hillis train.

Tennessee (-7) over Denver

Tennessee a sneaky sleeper to win the AFC South (verteran QB, superstar WR and RB, solid O-line and defense) beat up on the injury prone Broncos, who may be missing Champ Bailey and Elvis Dumervil.

Detroit (-3.5) over Minnesota

Minnesota might be one of the worst 3 teams in the NFL. The only thing keeping them close to Detroit is home field advantage. But Detroit is built for a dome anyways and Donovan3 McNabb has nothing left in the tank. Detroit big.

Carolina (-3.5) over Jacksonville

This line opened up at -2.5. It takes quite a bit to move a line a whole point for a team starting a rookie, unless your opponent has announced it’s starting a rookie with less game experience than your 2 game starter has. I’m taking the team with rookie QB who has thrown more than 6 passes in a regular season game4.

San Diego (-14.5) over KC

The Chiefs have collapsed and should lose out to guarantee that they have a better QB prospect next year than Matt Cassel and Thigpen. And I will make no reference to the USC quarterbacks as underachievers in this section now (Pan to me grinning stupidly)… And the Chefs were shut out last year in San Diego 31-0, with Jamaal Charles, Eric Barry and Tony Moeaki all actually healthy and playing. Things are not looking good in KC.

Oakland (+3.5) over NY Jets

Unless the Jets start running the ball well (and with their pro bowl center Nick Mangold out don’t count on it), I think Oakland can pound the rock and duck and chuck their way to a tight outright win. If the Jets let Marc Sanchez throw it around a little bit and remove the baby gloves they continually treat him with for the first 3 quarters of every game, they may win this game going away. The likelihood of this happening is 20 to 1. Needless to say Oakland has a good chance of the home-opener upset here. (Side note: Don't forget Marc Sanchez eating a hot during a game two years ago. Apparently the Raiders are using this for motivation this week.)

Baltimore (-4) over St. Louis

Baltimore always seems to play better when they’re motivated properly. Losing to Tennessee after pounding the Steelers seems to be a proper mix of motivation against an underachieving Rams team. *Bold prediction here: Rams go 2-6 to start the year and still win the division.

Atlanta (+1) over Tampa Bay

Both these teams were overrated coming into the season. Tampa rode a cupcake schedule to 10 wins last year and Atlanta showed its deep defensive flaws when getting crushed by Aaron Rodgers during the divisional playoffs round last year. Tampa’s run defense looks iffy and Matty Ice is the better QB in this matchup (with Josh freeman losing the gap by the minute).

Arizona (+1.5) over Seattle

Seattle is horrible. I would take almost any team getting points against Seattle. The only thing keeping this close is Seattle’s best home field advantage in the league status and the whole division rivalry thing. Let me repeat Seattle is horrible and Robert Gallery isn’t starting on an already weak O-line. Arizona wins by 2 scores.

Green Bay (-3.5) over Chicago

I don’t care what the Bears did against the Falcons. They are much closer to the team that was dominated by New Orleans than the team that dominated Atlanta. Jay Cutler and his O-line versus the pass rush of GB. I’m taking the over on three turnovers for Cutler. Oh wait that line is +/- 5.

Pittsburgh (-10) over Indianpolis

The Colts have now been underdogs by 9, 1.5 and 10 with two of those games at home. The sad thing is in weeks 1 and 2 their opponents have easily covered each time winning by 27 and 8, respectively. I actually think this line should be about 4 points higher. Looks like the ghost of Peyton’s past has gifted us 4 additional points. Take it.

Dallas (-6.5) over Washington

With the Romo5 situation in flux, most bets are off the board. If Romo plays with anything less than an amputated arm I’m taking Dallas to cover the 6.5 they were getting.

NCAA (Lines as of Wednesday, September 21, 2011 per Las Vegas Hilton. Home Team in bold).

San Diego State (+10.5) over Michigan

Michigan might be looking ahead to Big Ten play. There defense is still horrendous, after multiple transfers out of their defensive backfield in the offseason. San Diego State will have something to play for; beating the coach that just left their program last year. A good combination to keep the game close, at least close enough to cover as Michigan still wins a tight one at home.

Arkansas (+11) over Alabama

The Hogs are a top-ten caliber team not yet tested. They’re loaded with talent and have played well in big games under Bobby Petrino. Bama’d D is sickening, with probably 10 players set for the NFL but Arkansas is not at a lack for athletes on either end of the ball. Much like last year, if they don’t cough up the ball a ton, this game stays close.

Picks to place money on: (All money wagers are $55 to win $50 unless otherwise noted)

Wagering: Arkansas and SDSU to cover. Arizona, Carolina and Pittsburgh covering as favorites6.

Moneyline, Oakland over NY Jets ($50 to win $82.50). Total wagered: $325.

Near bets: Notre Dame (-6) over Pittsburgh, Detroit over Minneapolis, Cleveland over Miami.

Kryptonite7: Baltimore vs. St. Louis, Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay, San Francisco vs. Cincinnati, NE vs. Buffalo.

1. Eric McLean falls into this “category”.

2. Now in a 3-4, which has Mario Williams standing up. By far the biggest man to play a stand up linebacker in modern NFL history. If he can pull this off he, is hands down, one of the freakiest athletes in the history of the world.

3. AKA Done-ol-man McNabb.

4. I actually think Blaine Gabbert will be a legit QB. But his supporting cast leaves too much to be desired.

5. I don’t understand the fascination with hating Romo. His numbers in the fourth quarter are legit. He a top ten QB. Just because he has dated famous women and QBs “America’s team” are a pretty stupid reason to think he’s a bad QB.

6. *Bonus: now you will actually care about these three games.

7. Bet at your own peril.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner; With 5 Rules to Live By (Or at Least Gamble By)

"Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner; With 5 Rules to Live By (Or at Least Gamble By)"
By, Kyle McCann

This Friday I will begin a new weekly column that will be dedicated solely to gambling and my reasons behind it1. If you’re not into gambling, I don’t know why. Everything is more fun when you gamble. Don’t care about the Nevada vs. UNLV game, put a 100 on the over and see if you’re not yelling at your television. Not interested in playing trivial pursuit at your in-laws house or Yahtzee with your coworkers, throw some money down and the tempers rise up. It’s inevitable, it’s natural, and it’s awesome; gambling. It’s kinda like drinking, socially frowned upon in the wrong situations but always making things more interesting for those willing to participate.
So this Friday I will begin a path following the college and professional football season and all the bets that are valuable enough to bet. I will pick every NFL games, select college games and let you know which ones are worthy of real money plays. So please follow along, feel free to comment and hope that Notre Dame covers for the rest of the season (see rule number 3 before making this play).  To follow is a brief overview of how I believe everyone should gamble.
My main premise when choosing picks is “Be anticipatory not reactionary2.” This applies to many facets of life (relationships, the stock market, fantasy football, and politics) but when it comes to sports betting (and gambling in general) it is one of the founding principles you should make all your bets on. Reacting is what the masses do, anticipating is what winners do.  With the first of a season’s worth of weekly betting articles to come out at the end of the week, I wanted to review the concise list of betting principles I try to make all my wagers/picks with:
  1. Be anticipatory not reactionary. I bet mainly on basketball and football, sports where people tend to overreact…to everything. Big wins, big losses, huge scoring outputs and bad offensive games. DON’T OVERREACT.  For example, if you look at the over/under lines this week they will be the most overly inflated lines ever seen. And why not? Offenses have been blowing up scoreboards through the first two weeks.  Calm down and relax. The masses well scream, want big scores and bet the over. Think, don’t react and you’ll be just fine.
  2. Seek value. People are more likely to bet big games, high profile battles and games they will find on major networks. If you do your homework, take pride in your research and your craft then value can be found across the board and not just on Monday Night Football.
  3. Don’t bet your team. It is hard enough to watch your team play. If you’re like me your mood (or as my wife just said, “I think this is much more subdued an explanation than you actually are”)3, is up and down with the ebb and flow of your team’s play. Don’t make those 4 quarters harder on yourself. Pull back the cash (this gives you more weight for value bets), pick up a beer and enjoy your life determining 3 hours without both ruining your day and lightening your wallet.
  4. Budget. By budgeting I don’t mean set aside $300 and don’t lose any more than that. That’s exactly what bookies and casinos want you to do4. That’s how they always take your hard earned cash money. They expect to keep betting until all your money is gone. With sports betting, things are a little bit easier to keep control of. Place you bets early before your lines shift too much and don’t too much after that.  Budgeting is in fact one of the best things you can do for your betting experience. It allows you to make smart choices, to not overreach and to thoroughly enjoy the money you make in the process.
  5. DO NOT REGRET YOUR BETTING. The worse thing that I hear, whether at a friend’s house, whining online or in a Vegas casino, is someone complaining about the big bet they just lost. Grow up. If your life is going to depend on the  $40 you dropped on the USC game then perhaps it is time that you reevaluate your life; in its entirety. The old gambling adage says, “If you can’t afford to lose it don’t bet it.” And it’s hard to argue with this. Set aside a little money, do your research and make a bet(s) you feel solid about.

So that’s it. Check out the lines for this coming week and look for my first ever weekly gambling extravaganza beginning this Friday and every Friday to follow throughout the football season.   
  1. Outside of my degenerative need for it.
  2. I know I know this could be catchier, but it still sounds good right.
  3. Yes my wife edits all my articles. Yes, she does not know much about sports, but damn she is smart and makes me look a lot smarter.
  4. And that’s why those bastards are way richer than you and me ever will be. By the way, if you want to see an example of all time greed by rich, casino owning assholes please Google news. Quick summary here: has been seized by the FBI and the DOJ due to the siphoning out of player’s credits into executive accounts. As of March the company only had $60 million in its company bank accounts to cover $340 million in player credits. The company had taken over $400 million in player’s money over the past 4 years in order to pay executives and even some famous poker players who were on the company’s “board”. Basically this was a huge Ponzi scheme and should worry anyone who places bet or plays poker online. However, will this ever stop me from gambling online… in short HELL NO!    

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sports Movies, We Miss You

"Sports Movies, We Miss You" 

By,  Michael Fortier

    The great sports movie has truly become a lost art. What was once a great genre that was capable of entertaining the masses has now been reduced to the latest corny version of some inspired by a true story disaster.  What happened to the classics such as Rocky and Bull Durham. These films brought us into some of the intricate fascinations of the sports they were about while encompassing dynamic and interesting characters. They have been replaced with clich├ęd filled movies such as We Are Marshall, Invincible and The Express.
    Of course there is the occasional exception to the recent rule. The Fighter was an entertaining movie about boxer Micky Ward and the relationship with his drug addict brother. The film was nominated for several Oscars in 2010 and lead to actor Christian Bale winning one for Best Supporting Actor. The film was character driven though which has been missing from most recent sports movies.
    Its characters like Kevin Costner as Crash Davis in Bull Durham or Charlie Sheen as “Wild Thing” Ricky Vaughn in Major League delivering great lines of dialogue that fans remember. Most of us can recite many of those lines to each other now and still get a laugh.
    A great original script in which characters are developed and themes are expressed is what made the classic sports films so great. Instead now movie producers seem to be searching for some true story sports event to make a movie about. The problem of course is that this limits your creative ability. Take for instance the latest example which is Moneyball starring Brad Pitt as Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane.
    In case you are not familiar with this story, Beane uses statistical analysis done by computers to assemble a baseball team on a small budget during the early 2000s. You would think this would be an inspiring true sports story in which we can all learn a valuable lesson but that’s not the case. What really happens is that the Oakland A’s reach the playoffs for a few years in a row. That’s it, nothing special. No World Series and no huge upset. Why is this movie even being made?
    Sports and movies serve nearly them same purpose in our lives. They are dramatic escapes from our mundane realities. It is only natural that we combine the two. The real life drama that sports provides is why we all love it so much. Waiting to see that touchdown throw in the final seconds or the home run hit in the bottom of the ninth is what makes it so great. Who should be able to capture that drama and base a story around it better than Hollywood?
    But they have become obsessed with sequels and remakes. There is very little originality and creativity in most films being made now, not just in terms of sport movies. Hopefully there is a sports movie renaissance in the near future because the genre that is capable of entertaining the young and the old, men and women, is needed now more than ever.