Get your winning wagers down! Online Sports Betting

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wildcard Weekend starts today!

Everybody knew the Tampa Bay Rays were going to clean some payroll out this off-season - largely because they said they would - but they're almost down half now that they've dealt Matt Garza.  They started 2010 with a payroll of $71.9 million, and look like they're set for a $38.9 million payroll for this year.  Get out of Tampa.

No EPL action today.  Boo.

What do Neil Carr, Donn Lewin, Paul Morton, Hans Mortier, King Curtis Iaukea, Skip Young, Jack Laskin, El Hijo del Cien Caras, Kantaro Hoshino, Chris Long, Joe Higuchi, Taro Myaki, Mike Masarky, Edouard "Flying Frenchman" Carpentier, Gran Naniwa, Mike Porter, Jorge Gonzalez, Mike Shaw, La Fiera, Randy Morse, Jose Nieves, Herb Larson, Mickey Garagiola, Beverly Lehmer, J.C. Bailey, Kotetsu Yamamoto, Luna Vachon, El Espanto II, Anton Geesink, "Tough" Tony Borne, Skandor Akbar, "Nightmare" Ted Allen, Jeremy Wood, Lance Cade, Arpad Weber, Steve Stanlee, El Scorpio, Toni Adams, Cowboy Bob Bradley, Big Mikey, J.J. Jenkins, Chuck Etchels, Trent Acid, Grizzly Smith, Rocket Monroe, Rusher Kimura, Jet Monroe, El Supremo, Kinji Shibuya, Screamer, Peggy Ann Kawa-Baker, Gorgeous George Grant, Mr. Hito, Steve Stack, Gene Kiniski, Chris Kanyon, Tiny Tim/Little Brutus, Tom "The Butcher" Burton, Kenneth Laymon, Mikel Scicluna, Corsica Joe, Jerry Valiant, Sandy Scott, Angelo Poffo, Moose Mahoney, George "Red" Eakin, Ron Martinez, Gilbert Guerrero, Charles Baillargeon, Bryan Hart, Jack Brisco, Blackjack Hedden, Georgiann Makropoulos, Nick Pacchiano, Ida Mae Martinez, Katsuhisa Shibata, Ed Chuman, Ludvig Borga, and Jim White all have in common?  Yes, they're former pro wrestlers.  But they also all died in 2010.  Crazy.

As a Yankee fan, it may seem a bit obvious to crack on Boston types as being especially sad souls, so I'll leave it to Boston's own Dan Shaughnessy to do the work for me by writing a ridiculous piece saying the NHL's Winter Classic doesn't belong in places like Pittsburgh because it isn't a place associated with hockey.  Remind me again the last time the Bruins won the cup, DS?   Speaking of "DS", the good people at Deadspin take apart Shaughnessy's take with awesome viciousness.

Maybe Tottenham is looking to sell some extra jersey's, but can't imagine how they figure David Beckham is going to add much to arguably the best midfield outside of BarcelonaBeckham could sign with Spurs in the next 24 hours.

Just to keep things rolling, am going to be picking each NFL playoff game as part of the Prime Time Picks for the season.  When you're sitting above 70%, why wouldn't you?  All logic says to take any home underdog at +10.5 but when that home dog is Seattle, and the New Orleans Saints are rolling in, even minus much of a rushing attack, I'm playing the Saints here.  I'm fully expecting a total beatdown here.  In the late one, the New York Jets visit Indianapolis, with the Colts favored by 2 points.  Peyton Manning has willed his team into the playoff dance with a four game win streak, but I'm not buying it.  Not when their rushing attack has been shoddy all year, not minus Dallas Clark, and not when Peyton looks terrified in the face of pressure, which the Jets should bring plenty of.  Yes, I know that Manning owns Rex Ryan teams historically, but he also had a lot more to work with.  If the Jets can get their running game going, they win this one outright.  If they can't, and rely too heavily on banged up Mark Sanchez, then they're in trouble.  A tight one, but am calling the Jets outright.  Yep, two roadies.  Crazy, but I like it.

Speaking of Rex Ryan, not sure why he felt the need to poke Tom Brady and say he doesn't work as hard as Peyton Manning does.  Wasn't it Brady that shredded the Jets for 40+ a few weeks ago?  Ryan would be wise to shut it there, as his Jets will be getting the Patriots should they win today and a pissed off Brady is a deadly one.

Back tomorrow with the other two NFL picks, but be sure to watch this  fine Taiwanese piece on Brett Favre's antics.  Freaking awesome, frankly.

Friday, January 7, 2011

"I hope you all die"

Not all UFC fans are going to threaten Mensa membership, but how can you not laugh at the news that some fans, so amped up to get tickets for UFC 129 in Toronto this April, have bought bogus tickets.  You'd think they'd at least be aware that, you know, tickets aren't even on sale yet.

Very classy of the Miami Dolphins to announce that they will be keeping Tony Sparano as coach.  Not classy?  That they were interviewing other coaches for the job before making said announcement.

After the bronze medal game at the World Junior Hockey Championships, a reporter as asked US player John Ramage if his parents were in attendance. His dad, former NHLer Rob Ramage, is in jail of course after killing a friend while driving drunk.

Kurt Warner, who is by all indications as good a person as there is in the sporting game, took a pretty nice run at Brett Favre, telling the NFL Network his actions on and off the field in recent years have tarnished his legacy, at least in the short term: “I think he did.  Not only this season, but the last few seasons, going back and forth [on retirement] and bouncing around to a few different teams.  I think about it and I have to really think hard to think back when he was a Green Bay Packer and when he played his best football and was in Super Bowls.” Well said, Kurt.  Well, except he only won one.  And then, you've got Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocino - the latter who is hanging in Spain with Cristiano Ronaldo in one of the odder pairings I've heard - cracking on Favre as well.  Owens said Favre strung the league along and was only fined $50,000 for the sexting allegations and earned $4 million extra this year to do it, while 85 chimed in that T.O. wouldn't get that extra money because he's black.  Shame you went there, Ocho.  Not like you haven't raked it in.

Love hearing that Marvin Morgan, a second division player in England has been suspended for two weeks and placed on the transfer list for Aldershot for tweeting out this gem: "Like to thank the fans who booed me off the pitch. Where's that going to get you! I hope you all die.''

Beauty from Mikhael Grabovski last night in the shootout, won 6-5 by the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Love when the commentator says "this place is on its feet" comes exactly when they show half the crowd sitting down.

Oakland A's Craig Breslow has used Rex Ryan's foot fettish vid as inspiration for this bit.  Awesome.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Oh, Canada

As bed shittings go, last night's was absolutely spectacular (craptacular?).  Up 3-0 in the third, Canada managed to lose 5-3 and deserved every bit of it to a hard charging Russian team.  Cannot recall a more amazing flameout.

Some Tuesday night hockey attendance figures.  From the NHL: 12,000 in Denver, 8,000 in Phoenix, and 13,000 in New JerseyWashington and Edmonton were both sell-outs.  Meanwhile, in Winnipeg for the World Under 17 finals, 12,000 showed up.  Take a hint, Gary Bettman.  Go where people care.

Word is that three lottery tickets and Blake Griffin are entering the NBA's usually irrelevant, but suddenly slightly interesting Slam Dunk Contest BG is a beast.

Fans of the home team tend to bet the home team, regardless of sport.  So this NFL season must've been a good one for the people of Detroit.  Their Lions were 13-3 against the spread this year.

Toronto FC will confirm their new management hires today with a 1pm presser in Toronto.  Nice work, especially since the team is due in Turkey in a month for a pair of friendlies against Dinamo Zagreb, Croatian champion, and Partizan Belgrade, Serbian champion.

As speculated yesterday, Robbie Alomar and - finally! - Bert Blyleven were finally chosen to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Denied again was Jack Morris.  Joke.

"Prediction? Pain...."

Canada faces Russia tonight in the World Junior Hockey Championship's gold medal game in Buffalo, Ontario New York.  Puck drop is 7:30pm on TSN.  It is hard to imagine Canada playing as air tight a game as they did in Monday's semi-final win over the U.S., but they also beat Russia in group play with a less than air-tight performance.  Prediction? I'll say Canada, but leave it to Clubber Lang to deliver

Baseball's Hall of Fame voting goes today and you can bet that Roberto Alomar gets in, which I'm sure the Toronto Blue Jays will be whoring for the next decade or two.  Question is, which Jays hat does he wear?  The old school one?  The one with the stylized "T", the one with the Maple Leaf?  So many decisions.  Me, I'm not sure how Jack Morris isn't in yet - he was as reliable as a starter got in his day.  Tom Verducci looks at the ballot and assesses the field, and Jayson Stark says baseball needs to address the steroids era or they'll likely have a year or several where there is an empty podium.

The Miami Dolphins are said to be chasing both Bill Cowher and Jim Harbaugh as their future head coaches.  Can't lose with either guy, but then again, it is the Dolphins we're talking about.

The Guardian UK looks at David Beckham's latest footsie match with a team other than his own LA Galaxy and concludes he hasn't exactly been a great investment for the Galaxy with no championships delivered and constant flirting with European clubs in the off-season, and sliding impact on the MLS as a whole.  He might want to remember who threw him a face-saving life-raft when nobody else was interested in him as his days at Real Madrid drew to a close.  Also, how does Beck's figure he'll get any time at Spurs when they've got Luka Modric, Rafael Van der Vaart, Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon, Niko Kranjcar, Jermaine Jenas, all younger, faster and almost all better, options?

Speaking of Bale and Real, they are said to be ready to make a big offer to Tottenham to snag out-of-this-world midfielder Gareth Bale this month.  Don't do it, SpursInter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus are said to be lurking for an off-season bid.  Again, don't do it, Spurs.

Check out the best animated sports GIF's of 2010.  Some awesome stuff here.  Love the Lakers entry at #40, and of course #5.  Here's my personal fav.

LeBron James has dubbed his Miami Heat "The Heatles", because they sell so many tickets on the road.  Very, very lame.

If you've got 10 minutes or so to spare, I can guarantee you love this Fail 2010 compilation.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Well lookie here, a goalie!

A funny thing happened last night at the World Junior Hockey Championships.  Facing the home side USA - and we use that term loosely - who were unbeaten and untied in the tourney, and with far better performances albeit against softer competition, the goalie challenged and up and down Canadian team showed up.  Big.  Riding a superb performance in net from Mark Visentin and were dominant in beating the hosts 4-1.  Up Wednesday night is a gold medal game against Russia, who took out the whiny Swedes in a shootout.  Hey, don't hear Hockey Fan cracking on that as the way to end a game the way you do soccer!  Speaking of, nice work rocking the soccer scarves with Canada on them and lifting Toronto FC's well known "this is our house" chant.  Good to see people evolving from the ridiculously lame "Go [insert team name here] go!"

What hurts more, going 6-0 in your division and not making the playoffs like the Oakland Raiders did, or going 10-6 overall and not making it, like the New York Giants did? Oh, and nice year Eli Manning. Only 24 interceptions? 

Also on those two teams, the Oakland Raiders look like they'll be kicking Tom Cable to curb.  The New York Giants have a worse record in the last 8 games in all 7 of Tom Coughlin's seasons. Not once did they match wins from first 8 games.  They've also got four playoff wins over that run, all in their Super Bowl winning year.  Interesting thought on why keeping some continuity in the coaching area isn't a bad thing: if the league does go to a lockout and comes back, you might see a coach with just a couple weeks to work with before the season starts. 

Jason Garrett looks like he'll be named the full-time Dallas Cowboys coach, once the charade of respecting the Rooney Rule is complete. Dallas last minute comeback at Philly Sunday saw them drop from a #5 overall draft pick to #9. Ouch. Carolina, Denver and Buffalo have the top three picks, in that order.

The NFL Most Improved Team award goes to the Detroit Lions for finishing 6-10 after a 2-14 year last year, and of course going winless the year prior.  That's also their best record since 1995.

Great read from Kristian Jack at The Score as he takes his annual stab at the 100 top players in the English Premier LeagueBe sure to check out the ridiculous graphic alongside Luka Modric's entry at #7 that covers his passes during one game and where they were from and to.  The man covers more ground than a lawn mower.

7 of 12 NFL playoff teams also made it last year. Did you know MLB hasn't had season w/ more than 1/2 of playoff teams repeating since '05?  Once again, another blow to the simplistic view that "salary cap = parity".

Winter Classic ratings were up 22 per cent from last year south of the border to 4.65 million overall. Not bad, considering game was moved from afternoon to the black hole of Saturday night prime time.  If you don't think the NHL keeps with it, you're begging.  Best comment I heard on the subject: the whinging over the weather and such is largely coming from Canadians sour that Canadian teams are not hosting or participating in these games.

Because I can never get enough of people dumping on Brett Favre, here's former Vikings QB Fran Tarkenton with his latest round of verbal assassination that leaves me saying "That's Incredible!"

Looks like Toronto FC are about to announce a huge change in the way they do things - and good on them! - with the hiring of former Dutch international Aron Winter to lead the coaching staff with Paul Mariner, formerly with New England in the MLS, riding shotgun.  Great stuff.

Those that dislike Cristiano Ronaldo will love reading that pretty much his entire Real Madrid team hates him after a blow-up with goalie/captain Iker Cassilas over comments made by his girlfriend, media hottie Sara Carbonero. Shame they can't win a thing without him.  Should've stayed at United, CR7!  Oh, and now comes word that the club has banned Sara Carbonero from even mentioning Ronaldo.  Nice team, gents.

Love seeing that the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL - below - have taken to practicing goal scoring celebrations in the style of EA Sports NHL '94.  I had it in mind to use this to take a dig at KD, who promised delivery of a video game, and he did indeed deliver.  Thanks bro!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Guessing the director that worked the Wichita State and Missouri State game this past weekend got called on the carpet for calling for this shot as they went to commercial?

Chelsea host Manchester United today in a huge game for both clubs hopes for this season.  For Chelsea, they're looking to solidify a Champions League spot for next year, while Manchester United would love a positive result here to move a step closer to the EPL title for this season.  Kickoff is 2:45pm on Setanta.

Fear not, Buffalo Bills fans, "Chan [Gailey] has a plan" says new Bills assistant head coach Dave Wannstedt.  Well that takes care of that.  Love that he says "everywhere he's been he's been successsful" of a career 22-26 coach.

The NBA, in a bid to speed up games, is cracking down on teams that treat the horn to signal the end of a timeout as merely a suggestion to wrap up their conversation, and the early results suggest it is shaving some time off.  Also likely to shave off time: eliminating all the bloody timeouts.  Just a thought.

Weekend wrap

Great picture at right, though I'm sure the NFL will clamp down on "Sterger #69" jersey's before this update makes it to the interweb.

And speaking of Brett Favre, All you need to know about his priorities: he wore a hat with #4 on it yesterday, not a Vikings hat, and didn't stick around for handshakes. What did the Vikes expect for a guy making $20 million this season? Here's hoping we never have to see him again or hear a word about him that doesn't conclude with how old he was when he died.

Seldom have I ever seen a guy take a beating for five minutes the way Frankie Edgar did in defending his lightweight title Saturday night against Gray Maynard - who yours truly met in Vegas in November - and stick around for a second round.  Maynard hit Edgar with 97 shots in the opening round, most staggering bombs, and Edgar survived to work his way into a draw, though I haven't a clue how one judge scored him a 48-46 winner.  UFC President Dana White says that Anthony Pettis - the guy that executed that ridiculous Matrix-style kick last month - will step aside while these two stage a rematch.  Makes sense.  And in other great UFC news, Brittney Palmer made her ring girl debut for UFC after a run in the WEC.  Me likey.

The Canadian World Junior entry were hardly awe inspiring in a 4-1 win over Switzerland that wasn't salted away til well into the third.  They've got a date with the host American team - though you won't know they're host with the crowd likely to be 2/3rds Canadian in Buffalo - and will have to be far, far better if they're to advance to the final.

Canadian World Junior coach Dave Cameron says "there are three or four" legitimate teams in the tourney. So worst case, you've got a 75% shot at medalling if form holds.  And TSN pumps it up like it is the be all, end all. 

The New England Patriots are 82-3 when winning turnover battle since 2001 and 13-0 this year.  Nobody was even close to them this year for protecting the ball. They turned it over 9 times. Second? Kansas City with 12.

The puckhead's screaming about the poor quality of ice leading to a decrease in competitive integrity (because all 82 games are equally fought by every team), or the glare of the stadium light's in Pittsburgh are missing the point. This event is about promoting the league first and foremost, and with the ratings it draws, it isn't going away. The elements are part of the story, and a game played in cold, snow, fog or whatever other element is always going to beat an arena game for the casual fan anyways.  Besides, we wouldn't get GIF's like this Alex Ovechkin spill.  Oh, the Caps won 3-1.

Tampa Bay Bolt Steven Stamkos scored 61 goals during 2010, the calendar year.  Nobody scored more.

The New Orleans Saints loss yesterday ensured they'd play Seattle instead of Philadelphia. I wouldn't go so far as to suggest they were looking to lose yesterday, but you might.   Looks like the NFL is going with a "last in, first out" approach for the NFC West winner.  Despite a 7-9 record, the Seahawks make the playoffs.  All nine losses were by 15+ points, for those interested in that kind of thing.

A mere 75 days until Toronto FC has its curtain raiser on the 2011 season.  So far, they're without a GM, a coach, possibly have lost their captain, and have about a half dozen holes to fill (at least).  Other than that, all is well.

UFC 129 in Toronto will see Georges St. Pierre defend his Welterweight title against Jake Shields, and Randy Couture take on Lyoto Machida. There's supposed to be at least one more major fight, likely Brock Lesnar

It has been over a week now since Christmas, and The Sports Pickle tells us that Rex Ryan is very disappointed that he received socks for Christmas.  The question remains, however, is did his wife?

Not a fan of any soccer game that has to go to penalty kicks as it isn't a great way to decide a game.  But it did provide this moment.  Yep, that's a player springing a leak at midfield as he awaits the shootout.

An awesome collection of great sports quotes from 2010 in the National Post.

Paul Daugherty at Sports Illustrated says "why not?" to whether athletes should be allowed to use performance enhancing drugs.  Interesting take.

The New York Yankees had their hearts set on a former Cleveland Indian, former Cy Young Award winner, and they just may deliver him after all in the form of...Bartolo Colon

In 2011, I need this in my life more, or at least some.  No clue how it works, but every sports team should have this in their buildings.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Final prime timer of the year, playing Seattle +3.