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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Freak NFL stat: if you are +1 on takeaways/giveaways, you will win 80% of the what would be a huge development, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger may jump ship to take over at Real Madrid. What a difference that would be, going from a large club with significant restraints because of the financing on the Emirates Stadium to one that is a bottomless pit of money...Chris Paul and Lebron James told the great show E:60 that they regularly play XBox head to head. Online. Something about that amuses me...add the Arizona Cardinals to NFL home sides that are struggling or struggled to sell out their game this weekend. As of yesterday morning, they had 3,700 tickets to get rid of. This, for a team that hasn't been in the playoffs in a decade. No word on if they managed to sell out...Stephon Marbury might land with the Boston Celtics. Seriously. Interesting Starbury fact: teams that deal him improve by an average of 27 wins the following season. Look for the New York Knicks to make a huge leap next season if that holds...the Baltimore Ravens five losses this year are to Pittsburgh (twice), Tennessee, Indianapolis and the New York Giants, who combined to go a whopping 49-15...a perfect 2-0 start to the year on Prime Time Picks, and today, gunning to make it 3-0. Here's some background: teams that enter the playoffs .500 are 2-7 since 1972, with one of those wins coming when two 8-8 teams played each other. San Diego enters the playoffs at 8-8. Indy has won 12 straight, but is only a one point fav. Seems strangely, sucker-bet low, no? Regardless, taking Indy to drop the hammer on the Bolts and cover the spread (-1 +101) comfortably. Get down with Pinnacle was only a matter of time before somebody was killed from a hockey fight, and now, Don Henderson of the Whitby Dunlops becomes the test case for what the game does going forward...Buffalo Bills safety Ko Simpson started the "NFLers Arrested" edition for 2009 off with a roaring start, busted for not leaving the area while a friend of his was being arrested. In true athlete fashion, he played the "don't you know who I am?" card and told the police he's "worth millions!" Step your game up, Ko, Eddie Belfour already used that tactic in telling the cops he was worth "billions" years ago...NBA ref Derrick Stafford will not be punished for calling Vince Carter "boy", which Winessa didn't like. That is not right in my opinion. The NBA should come down hard on Stafford for calling a girl a boy...Canada faces Russia in one semi-final of the World Junior Hockey Championships. Of note, the U.S. soiled the bed in their quarter-final yesterday with a 5-3 loss to Slovakia, a huge underdog to one of the pre-tourney favs who will now face Sweden in the other semi-final. If you sweat karma, however, saw one sign at a bar driving through town yesterday that said "Catch Canada go for gold on Monday here"...have a great Saturday.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

New York Jet running back Thomas Jones could be my new favorite player for blowing up Brett Favre as a self-centred, ineffective, team-killing sideshow who should have been benched for his terrible play the way anybody else would've. Good for Jones for giving Favre the treatment he has so richly earned...a nice and easy open to the year for Prime Time Picks as USC smoked Penn State 38-24 in the Rose Bowl. Up today, we're playing Russia at -2 (-103) at the World Junior Hockey Championships as they face the Czech Republic in quarter-final action. Get down with Pinnacle...Barroid Bonds had some work done on a hip to keep the flame of his professional career flickering for 2009. An alleged steroid user with joing issues? Weird...8,000 tickets remain unsold for the Minnesota Vikings home playoff game against Philadelphia this weekend. Clearly, the state of the economy is a big factor. When an NFL team is struggling to move playoff ducats, have to wonder what baseball teams are seeing in terms of season ticket sales for the 2009 year...just testing a little something today, please click here...San Diego Chargers LaDanian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates missed practice ahead of their playoff game this week. Just to confirm, it is 2009 and not 2008, though the stories remains the same. How does it make sense that the Bolts get home field at 8-8 instead of the Indianapolis Colts who were 12-5?...going back to Canada's thrilling 7-4 win over the U.S. in the World Junior Hockey Championships on New Year's Eve for a second, I'm amazed at how many are up in arms over the stick popping out of the American bench as the Canadians skated by celebrating a goal in the first period. Think about it: if the roles were reversed, what would your reaction be? Celebrating in front of the other teams bench like that is bush, and pretending it won't get some kind of reaction is naive...Eli Manning took a not-at-all veiled swipe at Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo. When asked what his plans were with the time off this week before they host their playoff game next week, Eli replied: "my plans to Cabo fell through, so I'm going to stay here. That's a joke, by the way". Have to say, clever, and fav bars: HiFi in New York City, and Refaeli...Charles Barkley ran the stop sign the night he got a DUI because he was racing to get around the corner to get some action from the girl who had given him the "best [blowjob] he had ever had in his life." Check out the police report here. Nice stuff, Chuck, other than the idiotic move of driving after drinking enough to fail a field sobriety test...a fantastic piece on the great day for the NHL at Wrigley Field, though the idea that Canada isn't an option seems odd. You'd think it'd be a natural. That said, a game in the new Yankee Stadium, or better - in Central Park - would be as good as it gets...have a great Friday.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thursday, January 1st, 2008

Today is one of the rare occasions I get excited for an NHL game - the Winter Classic goes in Chicago today as the Black Hawks host the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings shut out the Hawks on Tuesday night 4-0 and have All World defenceman Nik Lidstrom coming back for this one, but have to like the youth of the Hawks to deal with the cold better than those old bones from Detroit. That, and the Hawks are a damn good team these days..the first of 365 Prime Time Picks for 2009 goes today, and they'll be tracked at the right of the page as well for verification purposes. All bets will be to win $100 just to keep it simple. Today, we're playing USC to cover the -8 points (-108) in the Rose Bowl against Joe Paterno and Penn State. Paterno will be coaching from the press box in this one after hip surgery, something you tend to need when you're older than God. If you want to play along, get your account set up with the fine folks at Pinnacle - it's easy, secure, and most importantly, yours truly gets a little kickback from them...a new DVD ought to be in the works - How To Trash Talk A Referree For Two Minutes And Not Get A Technical: by Rasheed Wallace of the Detroit Pistons...Dallas Cowboys Terence Newman ripped into the "coward" who not-so-anonymously went to the media to leak the meetings between wide receivers and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Said coward goes by the name "Jason Witten". It is going to get worse before it gets better in Dallas. My prediction for next move: a key player, or players, issue a "fire Phillips or trade me" edict to Jerry Jones...Bill Cowher didn't want to coach the New York Jets because he wants no part of Brett Favre as his quarterback. Smart man, that Cowher. After all, if there's one thing he wants, it is a QB who protects the ball and plays a system. Favre is said to have had serious issues over now-fired coach Eric Mangini calling out his decision making in film sessions...Scott Boras has gone crawling back to the LA Dodgers trying to revive interest in Manny Ramirez. You'd think after how he was embarrassed by A-Rod and the New York Yankees last season that maybe he learned to reign it in a little with the "smartest man in the room" act, but clearly that isn't the case. I hope the Dodgers offer $39 million over two years, giving ManRam a paycut from the money he'd have made staying in Boston, just to hear Mount ManRam errupt...have a great 2009!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

It is the last day of the year and a time to briefly look back. The latest cover of Sports Illustrated calls it the best sporting year ever and frankly, hard to disagree. From the fantastic Super Bowl finish that saw the New York Giants down the 18-0 New England Patriots, the incredible Wimbledon final that saw Rafael Nadal down Roger Federer, great soccer in the English Premier League and Champions League - both won by Manchester United - and a superb Euro 2008 won by Spain, the year had no shortage of individual and team performances to remember. Usain Bolt owned the Olympics with two awesome performances, and you have to mention Michael Phelps too, though Bolt covering the 100m in four fewer strides than has ever been done before screams "special," and, well, "freak". There were great come-from-nowhere teams in baseball's Tampa Bay Rays and Turkey at the Euro's who kept pulling out last gasp miracles and there were teams that lived up to expectations like the Detroit Red Wings, Stanley Cup winners and the Boston Celtics who transformed from the depths of the NBA to league fav and champion in one season. Not sure about you, but I continually was stunned at the rising popularity of UFC this year, and the conversations you'd hear at the office and about town before and after an event were unlike anything else, it is HUGE. At the same time, some stories just refused to go away - Roger Clemens and the performance enhancing drugs stories, Brett Favre's retirement and comeback, Mats Sundin's future and of course, the Brian Burke as Leafs General Manager soap opera - these stories got old and old fast. More locally, Toronto teams were a collective disaster, but at least Toronto FC has its newness to fall back on, for now. The Maple Leafs, Raptors and Argos? Not so much. What are your fav memories? Feel free to add them to the discussion the Year of the Rat, it is only fitting that the last coach axed in the NFL this calendar year could well be a total rat lookalike in Mike Shanahan in Denver. Long time coming, to be sure, but that team's kept him through worse so it is certainly surprising he gets the axe now...the International Ice Hockey Federation is contemplating expanding the World Junior Hockey Championships to 12 teams at a time when the field of 10 looks bloated. Yeah, just what the game needs - Canada and other top nations pounding weak sisters by double digits...this is the first time in NFL history that all four road teams have been favored on Wild Card weekend...the Orlando Magic are 11-1 in their last 12 against the Western Conference...since becoming the starter in San Diego, Phillip Rivers is 14-0 in the month of December...Curtis Joseph picked up his 450th win last night in the Maple Leafs overtime win over Atlanta. Now, go and retire Cujo...word is that when he passed out in the shower on Sunday post-game, Tony Romo fumbled the soap and it was returned for a touchdown...have a great New Year's Eve everyone, catch you on the other side.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

This marks the 250th RandoMango. My how time flies!...the Detroit Lions have lost 22 of 23 overall going back to last year, when Jon Kitna famously said they'd win 10 games. Wonder if the 1976 Tampa Bay Bucs are popping champagne corks like those miserable curmudgeons from the 1972 Miami Dolphins used to?...add Romeo Crennel (Cleveland), Eric Mangini (NY Jets) and Rod Marinelli (Detroit) to the list of axed NFL coaches. Still to be determined: Dick Jauron (Buffalo), Wade Phillips (Dallas), John Gruden (Tampa Bay) and no doubt a few others. Incredibly, I think Norv Turner may have just saved his job in San Diego with their furious charge in theory on the Dallas December Debacle's of recent years: they're not fit. Former Cowboy Marcellus Wiley says they're simply out of shape come December and have nothing left in the tank, and the blame has to rest on strength and conditioning coach Joe Juraszek who joined the team in 1997, when this string of December failures started. He replaced Mike Woicik who ended up with a team that has done okay down the stretch in the last decade: New England. Another: Tony Romo thinks he has to make a play on every play, much like Brett Favre does and John Elway did early in his career. If he learns less is more, he'll be fine. If he doesn't, he's out of the league in three years...the Washington Capitals are a searing 15-1-1 at home this year...Tom Brady is said to be behind on rehab, so badly that he may in fact miss next season as well. Matt Cassel can stop shopping for luggage immediately, he's going nowhere...Scott Boras has to be starting to sweat the lack of contract offers for Manny Ramirez. The LA Dodgers have now moved on to Adam Dunn for their "great bat, no glove" guy. Considering Boras engineered ManRam's move out of Boston so he could get his cut as his new agent, Manny may yet end up taking a pay cut...sadly, the NHL Winter Classic might not be a go at Wrigley Field, as warm weather is forecast...another narrow 1-0 win for Manchester United has them well in line for second place with a favorable schedule for the second half of the English Premier League season. Bet them to take the title again...have a great Wednesday.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday, December 29th, 2008

One thing I know about Bill Parcells: his agent is a genius. He's got a clause in his contract that gives him a $12 million payout if the Dolphins are sold and he elects to opt out of his contract. Wise move, when the Dolphins look like they'll be approved for sale in the coming weeks. Now, if only Parcells could at least hire a personal trainer. Or maybe earn an appearance on "What Not To Wear"...trying to take a "glass is half full" view of the Dallas Cowboys beating yesterday and what I can surmise is this: no matter what Jerry Jones said pre-game, Wade Phillips in particular will not return. And yes, I know Jones reiterated that he'll be back post-game. Presumably, this means a more disciplined, less sloppy team in the future as the new person would be bound to be more assertive and prepared than the ever-stunned looking Phillips. Tony Romo did nothing for his rep as a big moment bust and his time to shed that reputation is ticking faster than it even did for Peyton Manning a couple years back. That's just scratching the surface of problems on an all-world talented team, but with an all-garbage work ethic. Say one more thing: aside from Terrell Owens yesterday, hard to really praise anyone on that offence...the Sports Illustrated Jinx is alive and well: they did after all call for a Cowboys and New England Patriots Super Bowl. Both are now out, though the Pats out at 11-5 seems particularly harsh, but that's the setup...assuming he's done - and he sure looks the part - Brett Favre will finish his career with a year in which he led the league in interceptions, his yards per game were at a six year low, and he will have had fewer 20+ yard plays than in every year since the 1992 season, his first in Green Bay. Hope it was worth it, Brett...and how about them Detroit Lions? They were looking like they might spoil their perfect record at 14-14, but fade they did and an 0-16 season it isn't a punchline, but it sure sounds like one: a 13 point fav in Tampa Bay lost at home. To. The. Oakland. Raiders...what were the Pittsburgh Steelers thinking playing Ben Roethlesberger yesterday when he's been taking a pounding all year? Of course, he got his bell rung and suffered a concussion...tough times in the household of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney - my fav player. He and the wife dropped a mere $535,000 (Canadian) on Christmas gifts for each other...what year is this? The Chicago Black Hawks have won nine straight, the Boston Bruins eight...Canada beat Kazakhstan 15-0 in the World Junior Hockey Championships. Insert lame Borat reference as you will "here"...Toronto FC may unload all three of their first round picks - #2, #4, #13 - in the coming MLS draft to obtain veteran talent. I like it...fights in the NHL are up 15% over last year, and an astounding 75% over three years ago. This is what you do when you've got little else to sell in most markets...have a great Monday.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

A good night to take the underdogs in the big three UFC fights, as Rampage Jackson (+330), Frank Mir (+140) and Rashad Evans (+120) all came through with impressive wins. Mir's win sets up a rematch with heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar for that title, and if Mir fights the way he did tonight, he'll make quicker work of Lesnar than he did the first time, though that was a fight Lesnar should have finished. Evans is now the new light heavyweight champion after finishing Forrest Griffin in the second round, and Rampage is very much back in that title picture after a devastating knockout of the legendary Wanderlei Silva. Great card...less than 48 hours after playing on Boxing Day, the majority of the English Premier League's squads will take the field again today, continuing their busy the World Junior Hockey Championship, Canada will pound Kazakhstan today at 3:30. Whether they cover the 7 goal spread at Pinnacle remains the question...the Portland Tribune says that the NBA will be reducing the salary cap in 2009-2010 by at least a million dollars...Joe Posnanski at writes a great piece on the parity in baseball, noting there have been eight different winners of the World Series in the last ten years, 15 teams have made the World Series in the same ten years, and over the last thirty years, twenty different teams have won the World Series and all but four - the Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals - have at least made the World Series. Over the same 30 years, 10 teams have never made the Super Bowl - yet many would have you believe parity is a thing of the NFL moreso than any other sport...the final Prime Time Pick of the regular season goes tonight, and shooting to finish a solid, solid 22-14 (61.1%) which, if you know anything about gambling and picking national games in particular, is damn impressive. The Denver Broncos visit the San Diego Chargers and the Bolts are looking for a heap of revenge after the Ed Hochuli blown call in September. Given how Phillip Rivers is rolling of late, hard not to like the Bolts to cover the -8, as big a spread as that may be for the occasion. Also a big fan of Arizona at -6, and Miami at +3, and am loving Dallas at +1...for 2009, am going to expand the Prime Time Picks to include one wager per day. As always, get down with Pinnacle...Tom Brady is said to be engaged to Gisele Bundchen. What a guy. He goes and blows his knee out - a big deal to most - but gets to rehab with Gisele nursing him. Tough times...Brett Favre is hinting at retirement. This time, I can't imagine anybody will care or much notice...the Toronto Raptors were outscored 53-32 in the second half last night en route to a 102-89 loss to Portland. Nice work, Craptors...have a great Sunday.