The UFC is churning out events at a ridiculous rate these days. The only saving grace is that the quality is at least matching the quantity.UFC 94 could arguably be a deeper card, but the main event is as good as it gets. Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn are two of the four best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, so seeing them in a rematch is going to be brilliant. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the guys have wildly contrasting styles and personalities, they have a controversial history, and they really don’t seem to like each other much. It should be great. Here’s a quick look at the t match and the rest on the card.
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We have finally come to the end of the line – this is the last time I will write about the Super Bowl before it happens. I’m going to go with a UFC 94 preview tomorrow instead. I’m looking forward to the game as much as anyone, but I just wish it would get here. I have dissected this game a million different ways and I am frankly a little sick of it. I have my opinions, you have your opinion, and everyone else has their opinion, and there is probably not much that any of us can say to change that. Instead of trying to change your thinking, I thought I would look at five things that I am looking forward to about the game:
I want to take a look at some of the Super Bowl props that I find interesting. Before I do, though, I want to make it clear that I think props are good for a bit of fun, but absolutely nothing else. They are worth playing for entertain, but if you are looking at them as a serious bet then, in my eyes, you are fooling yourself. They are a gamble, and the Super Bowl is all about gambling, so have at it. Just be sure to shop around for the best odds. Here are five props that I like:
Player to win MVP – Santonio Holmes (+1500) – Looking at all the possible players, this is the one I like best. Holmes is Pittsburgh’s best chance at making the type of acrobatic play that MVP voters love. I don’t necessarily think he will win, but his price best reflects value. For less value I don’t mind the idea of playing both QBs, either. It would return a profit either way.
Player to score first TD – Tim Hightower (10/1) – There are a lot of ways that this game could play out, but one is that Arizona’s offense could find a way to move early on and then punch it in when they get close. If that happens then Hightower would likely get the score. The chances of that happening seem better than 10/1 to me.
For the third time in three weeks the number one team has fallen. There is no shame for Duke in losing at Wake Forest, especially when it was so close, but I didn’t think it would happen. Wake Forest showed me more than I expected from them. The ACC is going to be very interesting to watch down the stretch. It now looks like UConn should get their shot at number one, barring any setbacks before Monday. I don’t like their chances of staying there long.
This year has certainly brought its share of surprises. I don’t know if they did the same to you, but here are ten things that caught me off-guard.
Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins: Okay, am I dreaming or what? Neither of these teams could do anything right over the last decade or so and now the Blackhawks are in the playoff hunt and the Bruins are at the top of their division! Got to love long time AHL goalie Tim Thomas who made it to the bigs just a few seasons ago with the Bruins. He’s one guy who has gotten better with age.
I’m what I would call an enthusiastic amateur horseplayer. I absolutely love going to the races, and I love the puzzle that races present, but I don’t put in the time or effort that it takes to be good at picking winners over the long term. Regular winners at the tracks are magicians. Because I’m not a hardcore ‘capper I have to rely on tricks to spot winners from time to time. My favorite such trick is to look in the past performances for a horse that loses ground compared to the leader at some point in the race, and then gains it back later on. That shows a couple of things – the horse is in good enough shape to be ready for a late charge, and he has the heart and determination to pick himself back up when he is down. If a horse has done that at least twice in his last five races then he’s certainly worth a real look.
Yes, hype week is here and that means that the biggest of a big football games is less than a week away. The Pittsburgh Steelers are seven-point favorites and you’ve got to wonder if that fact will simply fuel the Arizona Cardinals in their quest for respect. The Cards have gotten no respect due to the fact that they won a weak division with a 9- 7 record and, in doing so, lost four of their last six games. Three of those loses were to the playoff bound Giants, Vikings and Eagles and the other was to the Patriots. Many felt going into the post-season that the Cardinals were, at the best, lucky and not good enough to be there. But now, it seems to me, that no one has bothered to see what they’ve done in the post-season. I mean don’t they play the game for a reason?
The teams have arrived in Tampa Bay and we are, mercifully, getting closer and closer to the game. Every year I forget just how painful these two weeks are – too much time and not enough news to fill it. We’ll get into the nitty gritty of some specific analysis over the next couple of days, but let’s start the week with some more general thoughts and observations:
I did something this weekend that recommend to every sports bettor from time to time – I completely unplugged from the sports world for a couple of days. I picked my wife up after she was done work on Friday and we headed to the mountains of Banff. We ate well, tried to stay warm in the incredible cold, caught a concert (Ian Tyson – a true Canadian legend), saw a movie (Benjamin Button – I loved it), and generally wandered around doing not very much. What I didn’t do was watch any sports, think about any sports, or do anything even remotely related to sports. No TV, no computers, no radio, nothing. It was brilliant.
The best MMA card in a long time comes next weekend with the much anticipated tilt between Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn at UFC 94. Before we get to that one though, we have the second offering from Affliction this evening. Like the first time, this is a heavyweight friendly card, and it features perhaps the biggest name and most feared fighter in MMA – Fedor Emelianenko. Here’s a quick look at the two biggest fights on the card: