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If you’re looking for something or someone that might tip the scale this week in the playoffs, I’ve got a few ideas.

Matt Leinart: Remember him? He was supposed to start for the Arizona Cardinals at quarterback this season but a funny thing happened on the way to his being named the first-string QB. Leinart played poorly in the pre-season and vet Kurt Warner looked great. Warner has had a fantastic season. But what if Warner goes down when the Cards meet the Atlanta Falcons? It’s possible. Warner is old and prone to injury and the Atlanta “D” is extremely brutal. Leinart certainly knows the scheme but can he pull it off? I say “no.”

Continue reading “NFL playoff difference makers”

So, the question is, “How much football can you watch?” The answer is, “A lot.” But if the gridiron scene is starting get a bit old like this week’s Christmas turkey leftovers, here are a few events that are certainly worth a look if not a watch.

Continue reading “Non-pigskin sports that are hot this month”

As we stand here on the brink of a whole new year, I thought that I would do what we are all supposed to do at this time of year and make some resolutions. Don;t worry – I won’t talk about going to the gym or spending more time with my wife. We’ll just focus on sports betting.

Continue reading “My New Year’s Resolutions”

Time for the second half of the year in review. This time we go from the summer to the end of the year, looking back at five more events that I won’t soon forget:

Cliff Lee’s emergence – If I could be one thing in sports it would be a starting pitcher. That means that I love seeing guys that are in a groove. No one was in a better groove than Lee this year, and the truly improbable nature of his emergence made it all the more impressive. He had every excuse to flounder – he was pitching more than he was used to, the rest of the rotation was gutted around him, and his team was truly lousy. Through it all, Lee just kept winning and winning. The most remarkable part was that he seemed to avoid the ebbs and flows that mostpitchers face throughout a season. Memorable.

Jacksonville’s collapse
– Every year in the NFL there are teams that do much better than I ever thought they would (Atlanta), and others that don’t have anywhere near the form I anticipated (Minnesota, Dallas). It has been a long time since I was as wrong about a team, or as disappointed by their performance, as I was by the Jaguars this year. They had everything they needed to succeed coming into the year, but they failed miserably. They had the injury issues that got in the way, but instead of fighting to find a way to get past them as other teams did, they used them as an excuse to quit. A pitiful waste of a good opportunity.

Matt Cassel in week 11
– My perception of few players have shifted as dramatically and swiftly as it did for Cassel this year. I was unimpressed early, and I didn’t come around as the season progressed. That all changed in week 11, though, and I am now quite convinced that Cassel has a bright future ahead of him. It was week 11, an overtime loss to the Jets, in which Cassel seemed to figure out the whole football thing. He had 400 yards passing and three touchdowns. He was even better the next week, and was one of the best pivots in the league in the second half of the season. Time will tell if I am right or not, but right now it feels like that week 11 game was the birth of a very solid career.

Continue reading “Year in Review – Part II”

As the year draws to a close, I wanted to take a look back at the last year in sports and sports betting. Instead of just doing a general look back at the things you’ll be able to read everywhere, though, I wanted tolook back at the things that mattered to me over the year. Over the next two days, then, I’ll look at ten of the events that I will remember when I look back at 2008 years from now.

Curlin’s win in the Dubai World Cup
– I was a big fan of this horse since before the Kentucky Derby. His 2008 season didn’t work out entirely perfectly, but it certainly had its high points. The World Cup was, in my view, Curlin’s best win. He was totally and completely dominant, and proved that he was the best horse in the world at that time. Given the soap opera involving the horse’s ownership, it was refreshing to see how just-plain-good he was when he was in his element. I’ve watched every Dubai World Cup, and I am not convinced that there has been a champ who would have beat Curlin on that day.

Memphis blowing the final
– I’ve been a big John Calipari fan since his UMass days, so I was very much bought into Memphis from the start. I also really don’t like Kansas. I was absolutely convinced that Memphis was going to win the big game. I was absolutely gutted, then, when everything went to hell in the final seconds of the game. Crushing. At least Derrick Rose has bounced back well from it all. Coach Cal still didn’t learn the big lesson – his team is still lousy from the free throw line.

Big Brown blowing the Belmont
– If the Memphis thing was crushing, then this one deeply wounded my soul. I was not quite three years old when the last Triple Crown was won. Since I became aware of what that meant I have been obsessed with seeing another one. I am always convinced that it is going to happen, but I have never been more sure than I was this year. It seemed like everything was aligning, and it was meant to be. But then the most perplexing, mystifying, incomprehensible thing I have ever witnessed happened. Seven months have passed, yet I still don’t have a theory I believe to explain why he misfired so badly. It was almost enough to turn me off of the Triple Crown entirely. Or at least that’s what I thought until the big two year olds started running later in the summer.

Continue reading “Year In Review – Part I”

Brett Favre should retire tomorrow. Actually, he should have retired a year ago, but it’s too late for that. He was pathetic today. Not at all good.

His coach should retire, too.

The Browns didn’t waste any time. GM Phil Savage is out the door already, and coach Romeo Crennel is rumored to be right behind him. It’s a miracle that it took this long. The way the Browns played today, it looked as if Crennel had already packed it in.

Continue reading “Sunday Night NFL Quick Hits”

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Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin seems to have figured it out—how to win. Run the ball as much as possible while asking quarterback Eli Manning to do enough but not too much to win. If winning in the NFL is about balance, then Coughlin may very well be a high wire walker and a successful one at that.

Continue reading “Keys to New York Giants repeat”

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The Boston Celtics have lost two straight (sort of like the bar if Ivory Soap sinking to the bottom of the tub—that never happens with Ivory. It always floats). And, apparently, the Celtics are not supposed to lose two in a row. But they have and folks are proclaiming that they have “run out of gas.” Maybe they have but there’s little need to panic. Everyone knows that the price of gas has plummeted and the team from Beantown should be refueled and on another winning streak shortly.

Continue reading “If not the Celtics then who”

We are, of course, still in the midst of the holiday season. Nothing says holiday more than mostly naked men beating the hell out of each other, so it is a perfect time to have another UFC event. UFC 92 is no normal event. either. Some of the recent events have been decidedly short of interesting high profile matchups, but this event has three different matches that could each qualify as a main event. Here’s a quick look at each, along with my attempt to find the value:

Continue reading “UFC 92 Preview”

The Lakers convincing win over the Celtics to end Boston’s 19 game winning streak was the highlight of the Christmas basketball action, but there was more to take note of as well. San Antonio’s last second win over the Suns was further proof that San Antonio’s bad start was just a blip on their path to the same predictability dull dependability that they have become known for. Cleveland won yet again, but they had to work way too hard to get past the lousy Wizards. Dallas looked very convincing against the Blazers. The Mavs are another Texas team that has turned things around after a forgettable start. Most surprising, though, was Orlando’s win over New Orleans. Orlando didn’t look like they were working very hard, yet they crushed the Hornets and totally shut down Chris Paul.

Continue reading “Post-Christmas Notes”

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