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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday, June 14th, 2008 - "If you are not from Lesbos..."

Had to go a little off the typical sports path for the pic today, because, well, it is too good not to immortalize...Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella has contemplated using Carlos Zambrano (.900 OPS) as his DH in interleague trips to Toronto and Tampa Bay...somehow, FHM managed to get a picture of Ana Ivanovic in which she wasn't pumping her fist...there are more than a few Euro 2008 participants whose WAGs - wives and girflriends - are way, way out of their leagues. Here are your starting 11...Toronto FC host Colorado in what should be an over the top crowd, what with nice weather and a rare Saturday night kickoff. Coverage is on SportsNet at 7pm. Tune in, help push the viewership past 100,000. Brian Edwards is starting in goal for the Reds...Lex Ovech got a key to the city in Washington for his MVP win. In his speech, he declared there was no longer a speed limit in Washington. You've gotta love Ovechkin...Evegeni Malkin, whom Pau Gasol is emulating for disappearing in the final, is about to sign an extension with the Pens that will pay him $9 million per, or more than Sidney Crosby...Peter DeBoer is the new Florida Panthers head coach, making him the third coaching hire this week alongside Ron Wilson (Toronto) and Craig Hartsburg (Ottawa)...Tiger Woods is lurking at the U.S. Open, shooting 30 on the back 9 to get within a shot of the joke: TSN's Darren Dutyschen referred to Portugal as "Pork Chop" before correcting himself...if you're a fan at all of sport, but not of soccer, you cannot possibly watch Holland and not be blown away by what they're doing in attack at the Euros, smoking the World Cup Champion Italy and finalist France back to back. 4-1 over France yesterday. Gonna be an interesting last day in the Group of Death, as Holland could well rest most of their key guys which could see Romania go through if they beat the Dutch after Romania tied Italy yesterday and sitting ahead of the Italians on goal differential. Most would have had Italy and France going through when the tourney started...tough day in the the Euro account - based on a $100 wager per game on the money line at Pinnacle - which now sits at +$111 on a 7-7 record after a 0-2 day yesterday. Back to winning form today with Spain (-153) to down Sweden in what should be a thriller, and Russia (+113) to down the uninspiring Greeks...two games over .500 for the Yankees, Kyle Farnsworthless got the save, and Derek Jeter homered? Strange days, indeed...have a great Saturday.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday, June 13th, 2008 - Croatia Lives

Clearly, it was meant to be for Croatia. Not only did they put in a fantastic performance against Germany, and had far, far more chances, they also had the soccer gods weigh in with a late penalty call - scored by a Croatian from Austria, of course - to help Austria secure a 1-1 draw with Poland, giving Croatia the group. As importantly, Croatia avoids a quarter final date next Friday with Portugal, who have looked the best side over two games in the tourney. If you haven't seen Croatia's first goal or didn't pay attention, it was a thing of beauty that started in their own end, went 15 plays up field and had every player touch the ball at least once in 47 seconds. There were no timeouts, no coaches signaling plays, and no in ear communication devices...going into play list night, the Yankees were .500 for the 23rd time this season...could that NBA championship trophy on the floor be any larger? The NCAA logo during March Madness thinks that thing is garish...I hope Travis Henry, Evander Holyfield and former NBAer Jason Caffey and Shawn Kemp aren't pals that want to get their families together for Fathers Day. Between them, they've got 34 kids with at least 26 women. Caffey leads the parade with 10 kids with 8 ladies...the Celtics are a game away from wrapping up the NBA title after a pretty impressive choke job by the Lakers, who led by 24 at one point. One more win will add another trophy to the city of Boston's impressive haul the last few years. Well, Bruins and Revolution aside. No NBA team has ever led 3-1 in the final and not won the title...tough week for those who like betting chalk, as Tiger Woods is following in the steps of Big Brown and coming up small after the first round of the U.S. Open, where he's 1-over and four off the pace. Who are we kidding, he'll likely close that off and lap the field come Sunday...the Euro account - based on a $100 wager per game on the money line at Pinnacle - sits at +$311 on a 7-5 record after a 0-2 day yesterday. A couple very interesting match-ups today. First up, we're gonna take Italy (-139), who should bounce back strong against Romania, and then we're gonna take France (+200) to turn the Group of Death upside down. They can't well go scoreless again, can they? sooner did the Peter DeBoer to Ottawa talk start than it has turned to Craig Hartsburg, says TSN...Lex Ovech was a no-surprise MVP winner. Couldn't he have at least showered for the occasion? He looked greasier than a Jiffy Lube...Separated at Birth: Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Jericho...Separated at Birth II: Bastian Schweinsteiger and Melissa Etheridge...Jose Calderon is being sought after by the LA Clippers...when I think "For Those About To Rock..." and "Hells Bells" and the band that spawned them, I don't think "available only at Wal-Mart" which the new AC/DC record - which will sound just like the last 10 AC/DC records - will be...have a great Friday.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


What a freaking win for Croatia, the giant killers of Europe. Glorious, glorious day. Germany, don't mess with Croatia in any year ending in 8...we own you!

Oh, and have never seen a player mark a ref before but Michael Ballack was right tight with the ref all day. Good thing you've got a taste for second place, Ballack!

Thursday, June 12th, 2008 - Go Cro!

Has Portugal's Simao been living under a rock? Stand aside little man, let Cristiano Ronaldo take the free kicks in and around the box. Portugal looked good for the second straight game in punching their ticket to the quarter finals, Ronaldo was particularly impressive in setting up two and scoring one...Turkey downed the Swiss in the other game, played in a serious downpour…so if the Jays make the playoffs, what three pitchers are you sending out first round? My money says Roy Halladay, Shawn Marcum and Dustin McGowan...Barry Bonds can't even get a sniff despite offering to play for a minimum salary. Take that, Barroid!...I'm not a huge Mike Mussina guy, but have to love these quotes from him on Carl Pavano coming from John Feinstein's latest book...the Euro account - based on a $100 wager per game on the money line at Pinnacle - sits at +$511 on a 7-3 record after a 2-0 day yesterday. While my heart says Croatia to win (+551!) or tie (+238), afraid that Germany is the pick at -137. Praying I lose that one! I'm also tabbing Poland (+130) to knock off Austria in the late game...the toughest part of winning a championship is keeping guys in the mindset that they should and want to sacrifice personal goals for the team. The New York Giants are finding that out first hand with Plaxico Burress now holding out, and repeated rumblings of Jeremy Shockey being sour...Portuguese coach Phil Scolari is the new main man at Chelsea...8 NHL owners have contacted Jim Balsillie about purchasing some or all of their teams. Gary Bettman, do you have a clue? Drive This! Gabe Morency said "Bettman's as a bad a President of the NHL as Bush is of the U.S." Hey, at least he's historic then...looking like Peter DeBoer is in line for the Ottawa Senators job. Now, if he coached in my hometown that last few years and I had lunch with him earlier this year, is that enough to get me out of the hell that is Leafs fandom? DeBoer had an astounding .721 win percentage in the OHL over 13 years...that loose cannon Milton Bradley went after a KC Royals TV guy for comments made about him. Relax, Milty, if it is a Royals broadcast, odds are it was as widely seen as the NHL in the U.S....that "glue guy" Jorge Garbajosa looks like he's off to the glue factory (kudos to B.K. for that line!). The Raps are looking to buy him out. And what says "team first" more than firing your North American agent because you realize you're almost certainly going back to the Raps, so why pay the 6%? The more I hear of Jose Calderon, the more I laugh how much he has snowed people...I love that Terrell Owens is talking about how he knows what he puts into his body. Explains the overdose on painkillers a couple years back...have a great Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008 - Greece deliver an "eff you" to soccer, soccer delivers same in return

I have regained faith that there is karma in soccer. After seeing Greece show zero interest in playing in the first half - they spent minutes passing the ball around the back with no attempt to go forward - Sweden punked them with a pair of goals, one a screamer from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Here's hoping that Russia and Spain pound them into oblivion...speaking of pounded, Spain got off to a roaring start with a 4-1 win over Russia. Spain is looking like a legitimate threat, but we've all thought that before early in a tourney. Is there anyone better going shoulder to shoulder with a defender than Fernando Torres? Not bad when you can pull off Torres in the 53rd minute and put on Cesc Fabregas as a sub. Oh, and #11 had far more impact than #8...the LA Lakers finally played themselves a solid game, building on the strong close in Game 2, and took Game 3 to make the NBA final a series. 2-1 Celtics, seemingly a long way to go. The Celts big three shot 16 of 48. That's not good...the Spurs Robert Horry has never missed the playoffs in all 16 years he's been in the NBA...I've played soccer for close to 30 years and had no idea that the offside rule says that Ruud Van Nistelrooy of Holland was 100% onside for the first Dutch goal against Italy. I'm shocked the refs knew how to correctly apply this obscure, almost-never-happens element..stop me if you've heard this before: Donovan McNabb is hurting...Tim Donaghy is turning into the Jose Canseco of the NBA, piping up about playoff game fixing in the middle of the NBA final. If I'm Mark Cuban, I'm looking for a refund..the Euro account - based on a $100 wager per game on the money line at Pinnacle - sits at +$175 on a 5-3 record after a 1-1 day. Clearly, the 0-2 picking draws is not panning out, but value is value. Today's picks come from the second Group A games. I've got Portugal (-120) to down the Czech's, and Turkey (+253) to down Switzerland, that's great value there...Mike Milbury called Tiger Woods "Tiger Wuss" for his sideswipe of the NHL when he said nobody watches hockey anymore. Solid quote, really, though he might have mentioned that golf is what hockey players do for a more leisurely pursuit. Milbury might also have done some homework and realized that when it comes to the U.S., despite their ratings spike that still put them about a mile behind darts and bowling, Tiger is right. Of course, Tiger changed his stance now that he's taken some stick...Toronto FC coach John Carver says "no mas" to international duty for his players unless it is for required FIFA release dates. Amen to that!...have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008 - Oranje Crush!

Italy got the old Dutch Oven treatment yesterday in a 3-0 stunner, and Italy's worst ever defeat at the Euros. For my money, the three most impressive sides thus far are Holland, Germany and Portugal, in that order for now...The Boston Red Sox have 16 of their next 22 on the road, where they're playing .411 ball. Mix in David Ortiz and Dice-K being out, Josh Beckett not right, and not exactly a unified squad with Manny Ramirez smacking around Kevin Youkilis and that knock at the door is opportunity knocking for the rest of the AL East...Dominik Hasek and Michael Strahan retired yesterday. For some reason, which I have yet to fully determine, this seems fitting...a whole lot of dull so far at Euro 2008 as too many squads seem to be playing to not lose rather than playing to win...the Euro account - based on a $100 wager per game on the money line at Pinnacle - sits at +$202 on a 4-2 record after an 0-2 day. Today's picks come from Group D action, and going with Spain (-137) over Russia, and going to take the Swedes and Greece to draw (+210)...Cedric Benson is a drunk piloting of a plane from his own DUI trifecta. See his mugshot? Yeah, he definitely had some booze before this pic was taken. Benson was waived by the Bears...what's with those ugly numbers on the Puma unis that Switzerland, Austria and Italy are rocking? Horrible looking...McMahon's Million Dollar Mania looks about as well run as WCW in its last days but loved the one winner of $200,000 who commented "holy shiiiit" on live air, and is it me, or does Shawn Michaels always look high?...Ken Griffey Jr. took nearly four years to go from 500 homers to 600, but he made it last night. Methinks he'd own the all-time record had he been healthy...Bob McCown is off this week so Mike Toth is hosting for Prime Time Sports on Fan590. That's one hour a day of my life I just got back. Cannot stand Toth...speaking of horrible broadcasters, Maxim has a Top 10 of the worst out there. Some curious names on there (Joe Morgan? Love him!) and some very appropriate ones (John Madden, Dick Vitale, Bryant Gumbel) and clearly they've ignored some who spent a lot of time in Canada up until recently (Suck Chwirsky) or an entire category called "Any Blue Jay Play By Play Guy Since Dan Shulman Left"...have a great Tuesday.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday, June 9th, 2008 - Germany Rolls Through Poland

Can't imagine that Croatia could've played much worse than yesterday's second half against Austria, and they were fortunate to escape with the points in a 1-0 win. Looking like the pre-tourney pick to take it all I figured they were, Germany looked fantastic in downing Poland 2-0 on the strength of a pair from Lukas Poldolski...the Euro account - based on a $100 wager per game on the money line at Pinnacle - sits at +$402 after a 4-0 open. For Monday action, I've got France at -117 and a Dutch/Italian draw at +210. As Red Heat says, "may the winners be mine"...tough to imagine a more thorough dismantling of a legend than the one Rafael Nadal put on Roger Federer. The way those Gillette pitchmen have gone of late, Tiger Woods might want to disassociate himself and fast...well, at least Toronto FC hadn't played a stinker in two months until they got chewed up by Houston. That's 14 goals against in 5 road games. Here's hoping they're far better come Saturday night when they host Colorado...Tony Romo shot an 84 at Torrey Pines. Guessing that whole U.S. Open thing isn't going to pan out after all. At least he's good at football, and tapping blondes...if the story of Floyd Mayweather jumping to UFC is true, you can expect Mayweather to suffer his first defeat almost immediately. Boxers can stand and trade, but he'd be utterly lost the second a fight went to ground. That, and for a guy who loves money, there isn't quite so much in UFC unless you're at the top, and even then, nothing like he's received in boxing or even WWE...not looking good for the LA Lakers after a total beatdown at the hands of the Boston Celtics in Game 2. The Celts are taking this one with ease so far. I'd hate to be a female working in a hotel with Kobe a guest right now...have a great Monday.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunday, June 8th, 2008 - AJ Burnett = Loser

The Czech's were likely the most exciting team in Euro 2004, and should've won it all. Yesterday they put in a totally dull effort, albeit a winning one and a controversial one thanks to a couple non-calls that might've put the Swiss on the penalty spot...Portugal looked fantastic in the second half particularly yesterday, and I'm not just referring to their propensity to find the grass over every stiff breeze...the Euro account - based on a $100 wager per game on the money line - sits at +$261 after a 2-0 open. For today, Pinnacle's odds are up and I'm favoring Croatia at -108 (a lock, folks) and Germany at -210. Loving both those picks, though Germany having that mental midget Jens Lehmann in goal is cause for the Jays are in the thick of the AL East race, pitching their tails off, you've got a hot night, the lid open, no other pro team playing in town and only 23,649 show up? Is baseball dead in Toronto, or just waiting for the bandwagon set? Either way, a shame. Speaking of few fans, did you catch A.J. Bust-ett's act Saturday? After getting booed coming off the mound, Burnett mockingly tipped his hat and when asked about the fans reaction, he said "we have fans?"...Toronto FC travel to Houston to face the defending MLS Champions, who are struggling mightily this year. Will be a tough test regardless. Coverage is on The Score at 8:30...a visit to Chris Chelios' Detroit restaurant was enough to leave a dent in it. At least no staff were killed...Big Brown went dropped a big brown in the bed and finished 9th of 9 at Belmont. Good night...Johnny Damon had a 6 for 6 day yesterday, including a walk off hit to lead the Yanks to a win. 6 for 6 is damn impressive. Is there a Yankee position player earning his money more than J.D.?...Roger Federer takes on Rafael Nadal in the French Open final this morning. Considering his resume, Federer is a shockingly large underdog. Then again, Nadal has been invincible in Paris thus far...memo to Matt Hughes: find another line of work...have a great Sunday.