The time slot on CBS that was once reserved for Mary Tyler Moore will be filled by mixed martial arts. Some people are viewing the prime time debut of EliteXC as the first sign of the apocalypse. I just look at it as another potential betting opportunity. Here’s a quick look at what is on tap for tonight (I know I am on three favorites in three matches, but there’s no avoiding it):
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I’m not a devoted poker player but I dabble. I also keep my eye on what is going on on the pro circuit. It only makes sense, then, that I would be drawn to the World Series of Poker in search of betting opportunities. The series starts today at the Rio in Las Vegas and continues on for the next six weeks. Over that time there will be 53 events played. Bodog, because of their connection to poker, has a large number of props available at the event. Here’s a quick look at some of the more interesting ones:
A couple of things have me scratching my head this morning.
First, the Bulls are reportedly about to hire Doug Collins as their next coach. Huh? With the first pick in the draft and a pretty decent existing lineup the best you could do is pull a guy off the scrap heap? Surely the lure of coaching Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose would have been enough to hire someone who is, well, good. Collins has already been a coach for the Bulls, and not a particularly good one. He’s also been at the helm for the Pistons and he wasn’t very good there, either. Finally, he was reunited with Michael Jordan with the Wizards. How can we possibly forget what a rousing and inspiring success that whole era was? Overall, he has a decent but not overwhelming regular season record of 332-287, but it’s in the playoffs that he has shown hs true incompetence – 15-23. He didn’t manage to get anything done with the Bulls in the playoffs, but soon after he left the team won three in a row. This move is totally without logic for the Bulls management team. Or maybe not. This must be what they are thinking – Collins hired Phil Jackson as an assistant, and when Collins was fired for being inept Jackson took the helm and won six titles in nine years. Maybe management sees this as the easiest way to identify the next Phil Jackson. That’s the only thing that makes sense, because as a coach Collins make a decent broadcaster. I wrote earlier that I was very optimistic about the Bulls next year because of the first pick and their other tools. A lot of that optimistic will drain away if they go through with this ridiculous hire. It’s not just his record that makes it ridiculous, though. They fired Scott Skiles because he was loud and fiery and it wasn’t working for the players anymore. The mogical thing, then, is to bring in a guy who is loud and fiery and shouts at his players. That’s the ticket. If I was a Bulls season ticket holder I’d be on the phone to cancel them as soon as they hired this goof. I suspect that I would have to wait on hold for a while.
Big Brown returned to the track sooner than expected yesterday after suffering a quarter crack injury. He was back again today with a solid gallop. As far as I’m concerned the injury isn’t going to factor into my handicapping of the Belmont at all unless something comes up between now and then to make me think otherwise.
The Dodgers called up 20 year old phenom Clayton Kershaw from Double-A to start on Sunday because they found themselves in a bind since Esteban Loaiza forgot how to pitch. The gamble paid off. He didn’t get the decision, but he pitched well and the team won.
I watched the hockey game tonight, and I was left stunned by what I saw. The Red Wings are freakishly good, and Pittsburgh is in serious trouble. The Penguins haven’t scored a goal yet in 120 minutes. Ouch. What is most amazing, and most contributes to the outcome, is that Detroit is just sticking to their game plan. Pittsburgh keeps doing stupid things to try to get Detroit mad, the Red Wings don’t respond, and Pittsburgh commits a penalty out of frustration. That would be great at the best of times, but it is especially effective because neither Sidney Crosby nor Evgeni Malkin kill penalties. The best possible way to neutralize those two is to keep them off the ice. I feel fairly sure that Pittsburgh will win game three at home, but this series so far is just testament to how good Detroit is. It also makes me think that the week off before the series was the worst possible thing that could have happened to the Pens – their young guys had too much time to sit around and freak themselves out by the immensity of what was in front of them. It’s clear that the team lacks a player in a central role who has been here before. Detroit – start planning your parade route.
The Dodgers look to have a live arm to help with the problems at the bottom of their rotation. They rushed their next phenom, Clayton Kershaw, into the lineup straight from Double-A on Sunday. They needed his arm because they have no others – they cut Esteban Loaiza on Saturday because he couldn’t get it done anymore, and they hadn’t found anyone better. They are pretty desperate right now, too – they play 17 straight without a rest, so they will need five arms to keep the Diamondbacks within sight. Kershaw was the first high schooler chosen in the 2006 draft when he went to the Dodgers seventh overall. He was the national player of the year as a high school senior. The 20 year old was 0-3 in Double-A, but he wasn’t getting much run support. His ERA was only 2.28, and the most eye-opening number was his 47 Ks in 43 innings. He has a solid fastball, a nasty curve that drops more than 20 mph from that fastball, and a circle change. His first appearance in the pros was a decent one. He lasted six innings, striking out seven with just one walk. He allowed five hits and two earned runs. He didn’t get a decision, but his new team did beat the Cards. On Tuesday I’m going to take a look at how to deal with these phenoms as they come along.
Here are two things that I’m thinking about concerning the conference finals.
Almost nobody cares about American open wheel racing outside of one weekend each year. That weekend is here, though, so it is time to pay attention. Even if you aren’t a fan of Indy racing you’ll probably catch a minute or two of the Indy 500 on TV on Sunday. If you’re going to watch then you might as well bet on it, so here’s a look at the big names in the race and their betting prospects.
There are a couple big events happening this weekend. We’ll take a look at the Indy 500 tomorrow, and look at the French Open today:
I don’t see this half of the tournament being particularly competitive. There is always the chance that someone could break through – Nikolay Davydenko, for example. It seems by far more likely, though, that one of these three men will win it. If I were forced to pick, I would predict that for the third straight year Nadal would beat Federer in the final. Not original, but fairly safe: