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Saturday, December 11, 2010


The UFC is back in Montreal, and there will be 23,000+ in attendance tonight at Bell Centre, a record gate and crowd size for Montreal. Native son Georges St. Pierre takes on Josh Koscheck in the main event. You may recall Kos bad mouthing the Montreal Canadiens in his last visit to Montreal, so he can expect a harsher reaction than even LeBron James saw last week in Cleveland. Shame for the Montreal fans it won't last, as GSP is absolutely going to demolish Kos. Rest of the card here.

The best games of the English Premier League schedule this weekend will not be going today, but tomorrow and the day after.  Chelsea faces Tottenham in a London battle, and on Monday, Manchester United host Arsenal in a battle for top spot in the league.  United will be glad to welcome back a trio of starters, while Chelsea captain John Terry questions the desire of his team.

We've been giving the New York Knicks a lot of love here of late, but it would only be right to mention that the winners of 11 of 12 now get 10 of their next 14 games against opponents playing .636 ball or better, with 3 of the 4 others on road.

Barcelona, who only in the last couple years caved to the sponsor on the front of their jersey, and even then had Unicef on for no proceeds to them, just inked a sponsorship deal with - no way! -  the Qatar Foundation that will net them a cool $170 million Euros.  Glad to say I've got one of the non-sponsored Barca jersey's, certainly relative to the new sponsor.

Hank Steinbrenner says it would "behoove" Cliff Lee to join the Yankees.  Never did like that word, but sure comes off forceful here.  Jon Heyman at compares the race for Lee between the Texas Rangers, who Heyman says have proximity to Lee's Arkansas home while the Yankees have, well, everything else.

With the NCAA on hiatus until bowl season gets in full swing, the NFL used to fill our need for a Saturday football fix, but for some reason, no dice this year, at least not until Week 16 and Christmas Day.

FIFA godfather President Sepp Blatter says the World Cup in 2014 may be pushed back into starting July versus the usual June to give players a little extra time to rest and recuperate after their long domestic seasons.  Good idea, methinks.  Of course, with the tournament in Brazil, a cynic might say "great, just what the competition needs…Brazil at full strength".

Word is Jenn Sterger is threatening to unleash a pile of evidence against Brett Favre if the league doesn't suspend him.  For once, I'm in Favre's corner.  The last thing I want to see is somebody take my favorite tackling dummy away in the dying moments of his career.

Seven hot ladies married to mediocre NHLers.

Abbot and Costello are in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Pete Rose is not.

GBVH tells me he did a $2 parlay with Pinnacle, where you can open an account here. He picked five NHL faves on the -1.5 goals line.  Payout?  $540.  The same payout on ProLine?  Payout is $92.  Don't waste your money there folks.

Ana Ivanovic and the top 30 Googled female athletes.

Check out this old-school bench brawl from an English hockey league.  I'll refrain from the too-easy "teeth" jokes.  Love the "he should get beaten' to hell for that" call.

UFC President Dana White took time to talk about The Undertaker's beef with Brock Lesnar on the George S. show...

Earlier in the week, we had a German overrotating while jumping a car.  Here, we've got an Asian MMAer UNDERrotating while trying a backflip.  Very nice.

Friday, December 10, 2010

BoSox going wild

The Indianapolis Colts simplified things some last night to get Peyton Manning in a rhythm, and then mixed in some bombs.  Still, they had to hold on to down the Tennessee Titans 30-28, a cheap cover for the Titans.  Randy Moss update: five games with the Titans, 5 catches, 62 yards, $1.88 million.  They might want a refund.

Richard Griffin writes that the life of the Toronto Blue Jays is a tough one after the Boston Red Sox re-loaded this week with Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. What, did he think that the Sox were suddenly poor when their owner John Henry easily dropped a billion or so on Liverpool in England's Premier League?  He also talked to Jays GM Alex Anthopolous who thinks the Jays can fill the stadium again. Curious what makes AA think so, when he leans on a couple games last year as his evidence. Anthopolous also says the Jays are looking to have at least five #3 quality starting pitchers. Am sure he'll love hearing Buster Olney told the Baseball Today podcast that several baseball execs now project Kyle Drabek, the prize piece in the Jays deal that sent Roy Halladay to Philadelphia as a middle of the rotation guy now.  And a loud chorus of this emanates from Blue Jay hamlet:

The New York Knicks have won 11 of 12. Shocking.

Count Joe Torre, Cito Gaston, Mike Scioscia and Lou Pinella among those in favor of additional wild card teams in baseball playoffs.  They're part of Commissioner Bud Selig's advisory panel for on field matters and met this week among the chaos at the winter meetings.  There's a chance that an additional wild card round - best of three - is in play for 2012, as well as another much needed change: moving to a best of seven in the divisional round.

Very classy to read that Ottawa Senator Matt Carkner by all appearances appeared to flick blood at the New York Rangers bench last night after skating by after a fight with Derek Boogaard.  All "part of the game", right hockey?

Last year's Champions League and Italian league winner Inter Milan have struggled plenty under new manager Rafa Benitez, and there are already calls for his dismissal.  

When does an amateur wrestling match move from competition and into the area of sexual assault?  When you execute the "butt drag", that's when.

LeBron James is getting far, far too sensitive.  He actually goes and hammers Trent Dilfer for saying what everyone can see: that Peyton Manning is struggling, and says that Dilfer could never do what Manning did and does on the field.  I am praying, praying that Dilfer fires back and says that LeBron would do well to not criticize guys who have actually won championships, like Dilfer has.

The Boston Red Sox are not done.  Word is they're about to sign Blue Jays free agent reliever Scott Downs in a move that won't get the Jays a draft pick, as the Sox have already lost theirs in the Carl Crawford signing.  Maybe should've moved him last summer after all, Mr. Anthopolous?  The Sox, along with the Yankees and Jays, also are said to have an offer out to catcher Russell Martin.

As for Cliff Lee, the big name on the board to begin with and that remains, both the Yankees and the Texas Rangers are said to have offered him a buffet of contract options, with the Yankees listed here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Crawford to Boston

The Indianapolis Colts have a ridiculously long injury list on a short week where they'll travel to Tennessee to face the circling-the-toilet-bowl Titans.  Of course, few are suggesting that maybe the Colts lack of depth this year is a product of Peyton Manning taking up a massive chunk of their salary structure.  Nice to see some Titans refer to pulling a "VY"  What a mess that team is.  So, with a spread of Indy  -3, your Prime Time Pick is the Colts.  How can you not play against a team that appears totally uninterested in competing, to the point they've rendered Chris Johnson useless?

Things went wild in the hot stove league for baseball last night.  Carl Crawford has agreed to a 7-year, $142 million deal with Boston, which puts them in the drivers seat in the AL East, if not all of baseball.  Kinda crazy to imagine that guy in that tight left field, like putting a governor on a Porsche. Pretty safe to say after dropping $142 million there, and talk of a similar extension for Adrian Gonzalez to be announced at the start of the season, that the Sox and their fans can cool the talk of the "evil empire", especially with strong suggestions that it was Boston who offered Cliff Lee a seven-year deal.  Speaking of, you figure those moves might have had something to do with the talk of the Cliff Lee offer moving to seven years from the New York Yankees?  The Florida Marlins are chasing Zach Greinke hard too, do the Toronto Blue Jays respond?  A wild week, no doubt, and it is still on with word that JJ Hardy is about to be dealt to BaltimoreKen Rosenthal looks at what the Crawford deal means to the Yankees, Texas Rangers and LA Angels.

The final 16 for the Champions League are set, and when the draw goes down next Friday, the group winners will be seeded and drawn to face someone that was a group runner-up.  Let your imagination run wild with these possibilities.  Group winners include: Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Schalke, Bayern Munich, Shakhtar Donetsk and runners-up are Inter Milan, AC Milan, Roma, Arsenal, Lyon, Marseille, Valencia, FC Copenhagen. Three runners up, Italy?  What happened?  Teams cannot be drawn against teams from the same country, or teams they faced in the group stage.

In case you missed Darren Pang on TSN telling PK Subban he needs to do things the "white" way, be sure to see the special entry yesterday afternoon below this post.

Think Barcelona is any good?  All three players on FIFA's Ballon d'Or shortlist - awarded to the player of the year - are Barcelona players.  One of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi will take the prize.

The Los Angeles Chargers It could happen as soon as 2012, says this bit.

Not a great week for those in the sporting world to be seen as people of much intelligence.  First, there was Don Cherry spouting off like the idiot he is about "pinkos" in Toronto when he introduced new mayor Rob Ford.  Nice work invoking a communist connotation, Grapes, real clever. And now, Baltimore Oriole Luke Scott showed that he's no threat to MENSA membership with a rambling rant about how he doesn't think U.S. President Barrack Obama is from the U.S., despite the small matter of that being a requirement to be President and his birth certificate saying so.

The English Premier League's top three sides - Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea - will all be facing each other before December is out.  That won't necessarily decide the champion, but two losses for any of the above might decide who isn't winning the title.  Arsenal's Arsene Wenger looks at the important weeks ahead. Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech says his squad will have to improve greatly and find consistency game to game if they're to be a factor.

Yes, I did say that seven years was too many for Cliff Lee and makes me nervous, but that Boston lineup makes me more nervous.  Seven it is!

French soccer legend Zinedine Zidane made $15 million when Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup. He was lobbying on their behalf.  Pretty good deal, especially when lobbying likely means squad with fat envelopes of cash being thrown around.

I'm hearing Jose Caleron put on a hell of a defensive showing last night, and not in the way one wants if they're a Toronto Raptor fan.  This should surprise exactly nobody.

10 t-shirts that you should never leave the house with.  Can't say I agree, generally.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Freudian slip?

I could wait to use this tomorrow, especially with a pretty lengthy dose of content today that you can see below, but it is too good to hold on to.

Check out Darren Pang at TSN's analysis of Montreal Canadien P.K. Subban, who has been a hot topic of late for being a little too arrogant for such a young player.  Taking a page from Phil on the great Modern FamilyPang suggests that Subban should do things the "white" way.

And of course, moments later, Pang apologizes.  Sorry, I mean "Panger"...don't want to wind up those puckheads!

Let It Be...

I'm not piling on the New York Jets, it just seems that way.  New England Patriot Danny Woodhead, released by the New York Jets earlier this year, had this to say to his former team after Monday's massacre in New England: "do you like apples?"  Funny stuff.  But not as funny as the work of some airport employees in Boston who decorated the Jets team plane to remind them how Monday night went, at right.

UFC President Dana White made a trip to Toronto yesterday to announce - finally - that UFC will indeed be coming to Toronto on April 30th, 2011 in what is anticipated to be the organization's largest attended event (a lock) and largest gate (a lock).  No word on the card yet.

LeBron James weighed in on his old team and town and compared it to how Green Bay reacted when Brett Favre left town a few years back.  As poorly as that was handled in Green Bay, nobody went on TV with a "The Decision" moment.  That's about as close as you'll get to me defending everybody's favorite Sunday Afternoon Tackling Dummy Interception Machine.

The Dallas Cowboys are loving the fire and attention to detail that Jason Garrett has brought to the fold and are talking of how they're playing with a sense of urgency.  That's all well and good, but shame they didn't have a sense of urgency when there was something to be urgent about.  At any rate, pretty safe to say Garrett is the man for 2011 (or 2012, whenever the next season comes) and hard to argue against that so far.

At this point, 28 major league teams and 6 independents are said to have made offers to Cliff Lee, including a pair of matching 22-year offers.  Methinks that there's an agent at work building a competition that isn't as deep as it is being made out to be.  I love Lee at 5 or 6 years, I walk at 7.

The Toronto Blue Jays are said to be chasing Carlos Pena big time to fill their hole at first base.  They do know he had all of 95 hits last year right in 582 at-bats?  Granted, 28 left the park, but he's not exactly going to help the Jays fix their lack of runners on the bags anytime soon. EDIT: Pena signed with the Chicago Cubs for one year and $10 million.

Former Michigan running back Kevin Grady is building himself quite the resume when it comes to DUI.  Two years after getting clipped and blowing a .281, he blew a .30 late last month.  Call me crazy, but I'm going to suggest he's got a bit of a problem.  Bad Jocks ranks the best - meaning "worst" - blood alcohol content readings among athletes.  Grady now has two top ten slots.

The Texas Longhorns 2010 season summarized, using MS Paint.

100 vintage foreign objects - or as they're now called in this politically correct world: international objects - in the wrestling world.

Lance Bass is going to be one of New York Yankee Nick Swisher's groomsmen at his wedding this weekend.  I have no idea how this works.

Memo to Seattle Seahawk Leon Washington: if you're going to celebrate a punt return for a touchdown, make sure the punter doesn't take you down.

It was 30 years ago today that John Lennon left this earth, and in honour of that, we've got a version of Let It Be from a Norwegian TV show, featuring Ray Pruitt, Bud Bundy, John Bender, Ivan Drago and loads more.  Has to be seen to be believed.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jets blown up in New England

If there's one thing that might knock Rex Ryan and the New York Jets down a pile of pegs, it had to be the curb stomping they took at the hands of the New England Patriots last night. The Pats went out early and never looked threatened in a 45-3 blowout that was every bit as one-sided as that score suggests. Rex Ryan admits the Jets got their "butts kicked". LaDanian Thomlinson, who has made a career out of losing and terrible performances at Gillette Stadium, should have known better than to celebrate and early first down like this.

Far better was this first half hilight, the sight of Donald Trump's hair blowing in the wind despite being in a private box at Gillette Stadium. Words don't do this justice.

In the days leading up to last night's game in New England, I heard New York Jets Darrell Revis and Nick Mangold complain on The Michael Kay Show that they don't like night games as there's too much down time during the day. Guess they didn't hear the Super Bowl kicks off at 6:20pm?  Another thing the Jets don't like: a lot of time between games.  Coming off a bye earlier this year, the Jets were shut out at home 9-0 by the Green Bay Packers, and then got smoked 45-3 last night after 10 days off.  Mix in the night game bit and the 2-week break between the conference championship and Super Bowl and you can bet I'll be on whomever would face the Jets if they made the Super Bowl.

The Denver Broncos have cut ties with head coach Josh McDaniels.  What, ditching your franchise QB in Jay Cutler and franchise WR Brandon Marshall and then losing roughly three games for every one you're winning amid videotaping one teams practice and still losing that one is grounds for dismissal?  Tough league.

What's more ridiculous: the Phoenix Coyotes, who made the NHL playoffs last year, (a) averaging 10,400 fans a game, or that (b) they're losing $20 million a month while under ownership of the rest of the league's teams? The answer? "C" - that Commissioner Gary Bettman and the rest of the league think the situation is merely a new owner from being turned around.

Talk among NHL governors is that the Atlanta Thrashers are Quebec City bound. Didn't we mention that here back in FebruaryDamien Cox at The Toronto Star says there are at least seven teams for sale.

Managed to hear New York Yankee great Reggie Jackson on The Michael Kay Show podcast.  Mr. October confirmed the rumor is true that he had purchased the giant "Yankee Stadium" lettering from atop the old stadium and has it in his back yard.  Says Reggie: "I've got a big yard, and this way even when I'm 75, I can still hit homers at Yankee Stadium."  Love it.

The Philadelphia Eagles played four games in 17 days, and went 3-1 in the process.  Pretty not bad.  They've got a date in Dallas this Sunday night.

Another round of Champions League play goes over the next two days, with four spots in the final 16 up for grabs.

Qatar is twice the size of Prince Edward Island and the stadiums will be in a 30km radius. Just seems like a worse idea all the time.

Best thing I've heard about NCAA football bowl season: it is one championship game surrounded by a series of exhibitions.

If you can afford a car, you can afford a snow brush.  Don't be one of those losers driving around with half their windows blocked off.

The SportsPickle dropped this great tweet on the disaster known as the Washington Redskins: "The RedZone channel should be renamed the Redskins channel in honor of Washington's defense."

The Washington Nationals are said to be ready to make an over-the-top offer for Cliff Lee.  Well, no sense stopping at one this week.

Slight over-rotation here on a German game show.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mega Monday RandoMango

It is usually pretty violent when the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens tangle, and last night might have been even moreso despite the NFL's desire to pull the game way back from the edge. Steeler tight-end Heath Miller got absolutely crushed (video at the bottom), and his QB Ben Roethlesberger's beak got re-arranged badly, as you can see at right.  The Steelers emerged as 13-10 winners, and it is the fourth straight game played by these two that ended with a three point margin of victory.  The playoffs need these two to meet again.  In the meantime, I suspect Roger Goodell will be dishing out some more fines this week, particularly when he reviews this hit which was about as dirty as they come. 

The Monday Night game tonight will see the New York Jets visit the New England Patriots. Both teams have had 10 days since their last game and should be amped up for a pivotal game in how the AFC East, and AFC in general, shapes up come playoff time. Tom Brady has led his Patriots to 25 straight home wins.  Tough to argue against that. As we all know, streaks only end once and you bet with them, so playing the Pats tonight at -3.5.

Phillip Rivers was 18-0 for his career in December, until yesterday's potentially season killing 28-13 loss to the Oakland Raiders.  Speaking of season killing, nice interception deep in Atlanta's zone with the game on the line, Josh Freeman, which let the Falcons hold on to a 28-24 victory. Oh, and you too, Peyton Manning, nice Brett Favre impression.  4 interceptions - 2 that went back for touchdowns - and a 38-35 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, who if this were an 18 game schedule, would be dangerous.

The Washington Nationals dropped a seven-year, $126 million deal on Jayson Werth, and Buster Olney says baseball execs haven't been this livid about a deal since the San Diego Padres blew up the salary scale on the Kevin Brown deal, including one who said now they'll lose games 9-4 instead of 9-1 (ouch).  Werth is a solid player, but he has 684 career hits and has never hit .300 or driven in 100 runs. That, and $126 million contracts are historically failures. See "Wells, Vernon" and "Zito, Barry". Interesting to note that in 2002, the Nationals were bought for $120 million.

Carl Crawford has to be pretty happy with that news given he's two years younger and a better, more proven player than Werth.  He could be eyeing 8-years and $150 million, which shrinks the field considerably.

Derek Jeter's new deal with the New York Yankees is 3 years and $51 million with player option for $8 million in the fourth year with an additional $9 mil in incentives in 4th year. At least one year too long there I suspect.

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Tyler Bozak on the Phil Kessel trade from last season with Boston: "we'd take that deal every day of the week."  Really?  I mean, Kessel can score like few do, but a #2 overall pick last year in Tyler Seguin with another top fiver potentially on the way and Bozak is that certain?  Says something about he and his teammates.

When the Montreal Canadiens dealt goalie Jaroslav Halak, the thinking was the small Halak couldn't handle a big workload. Halak the last three weeks: 2-5, with a 3.42 goals against average and a plummeting .874 save percentage. Mix in the fantastic year Carey Price is having and it appears the Habs thinking was spot on.

It don't seem right, but the St. Louis Rams are slated to host a Wild Card game as things stand right now, while teams with more wins would be out of the playoffs altogether, most notably Green Bay who are actually good.

I wonder if soccer players were to watch interviews with any pro athlete - especially hockey players - on this side of the pond what they'd think. The former offer actual insight and opinion. The latter mostly offer clich├ęs and scrubbed down politically correct pap.

That's seven straight road wins for the New York Knicks, in a league where few teams even make .500 on the road. The Knicks pounded the Toronto Raptors yesterday.

The Toronto Blue Jays could have a busy week. They dealt Shaun Marcum to the Milwaukee Brewers last night, much to the dismay of Toronto area buffet's. Canadian boy Brett Lawrie, a highly rated second base prospect drafted 16th overall a couple years back, comes to Toronto. The Jays are also hot on the trail of Kansas City Royal Zach Greinke, with a deal centering on Kyle Drabek and Travis Snider, for starters, going the other way. Problem is Toronto are on Greinke's no-trade list, but he's believed to be open to a move anywhere

Francesco Aquilini, owner of the Vancouver Canucks, is said to be interested in bringing a team back to Vancouver. And now comes word that the New Orleans Hornets are going under league ownership and hemorrhaging money badly. Make the connection as you will. 

Chelsea continues to struggle in the English Premier League, drawing 1-1 with Everton on Saturday. That, along with an idle Manchester United and a win by Arsenal, sees the Gunners go top of the table for the time being, with United holding a game in hand.

Auburn will face Oregon for the NCAA title of champion.  Strangely, the game opened with Oregon a 3.5 point favorite on Saturday afternoon, but by that night, flipped to Auburn by a point.

And under the premise of finishing up strong, a great day in the sporting world was capped off with a moment that really started the day. Mere minutes into a 38-14 win over the Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre was buried into the Metrodome turf and has a sprained shoulder. Favre left the game in obvious pain and even better, the man he shoved aside, Tarvaris Jackson, had a solid day coming off the bench. Now to see if I can get me an Arthur Moats Bills jersey.

Here's a way to celebrate a goal: cuff a teammate in the head.