The NHL season gets underway on Thursday night with four games. Most of you probably don’t care very much, and hockey is far from my favorite sport as well, but it’s still good to watch, and can be very good to bet as well, so it is worth a look. That’s just what we’ll do for the next two days. Today we’ll look for interesting value in the futures odds, and tomorrow we’ll make some bold predictions.
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Injuries are always a big story in football – it’s the nature of the game. This year is no exception. Both the college and the pro games have been hit with an amazing number of key injuries that have to be seriously considered in betting decisions. Here’s a look at some of the more important ones:
1. I still have long term concerns about how good the Favre experiment will look in December, but one thing seems certain now – this team is only undefeated because they signed him. Or at least that seems reasonable. It’s hard to imagine that Rosenfels or Jackson would have been able to lead that comeback in the same way, or could have thrown that pass to win as time expired. I don’t see this team doing any real damage in the playoffs. I don’t even now for sure what the Vikings really have to offer, and likely won’t know until they play Baltimore in week six.
I know that it is Sunday morning and this is clearly NFL time and all, but yesterday’s college football action was so bizarrely interesting that I can’t help but touch on it one more time before we move on. We’ll still have plenty of time to talk NFL – I promise.
Here are the storylines that stand out for me this week in college football action:
North Carolina (+2.5) at Georgia Tech – This is a good test to see if North Carolina is worthy of their 18th rank (I have doubts), and we’ll get to see how Georgia Tech bounces back from Miami.
Fresno State (+17) at Cincinnati – The Bearcats have been impressive this year, but this could be a letdown game for them if they aren’t prepared and focused. Fresno State isn’t great this year, but they will be up for this one.
I’m not going to gloat or say I-told-you-so because I’ll make more than a few bad predictions and observations here, but I feel good about suggesting that Ole Miss had no business being ranked at number four. It’s not just that they lost to South Carolina – these things will happen. It’s that they looked so bad doing it. Jevan Snead was thoroughly ineffective, and Steve Spurrier totally and thoroughly won the coaching battle. That Spurrier point is the most telling one – it has been a long while since Spurrier has outcoached anyone, and Ole Miss should be ashamed that it happened to them. If the Rebels had trouble with the Gamecocks then it could be a really long SEC season for them.
I love how short people’s attention spans are and how fleeting their loyalty is. Coming into this season Tim Tebow was the golden child. He was headed to an almost certain national championship. the Heisman was his to lose, and he was being talked about as the best college player ever. He has a rough game against Tennessee, though, and all of a sudden articles pop up everywhere about his faults and how he has never really looked like a QB who could compete on the next level. One article I read even suggested that his NFL position could be safety. It’s all just funny – he’s the same QB now that he was before the season started, and he is stillbenefiting from the same system offense. What I do find interesting about it, though, is that the defensive coordinator who unleashed this latest wave of articles is Monte Kiffin. He’s a wily NFL veteran who coached defense in the NFL in one capacity or another non-stop from 1983 until this year. If he was able to giveTebow that much trouble with a new and reasonably depleted unit then you have to believe that NFL systems would eat him for lunch. Don’t worry, though -Tebow is just one good game away from being declared a god again.
Very interesting things are going on in Dallas right now. Jerry Jones had to come out and give an suspiciously strong endorsement of Tony Romo this week. He was forced to do so because Tony Dorsett became the latest former Dallas star to throw the quarterback under the bus. Dorsett didn’t mince any words in his criticism of Romo. And here’s the interesting thing – in a lot of ways he was right. Romo has been cast as a QB superstar largely because of where he plays and who he dates, but he doesn’t yet have the numbers or the trophies to justify being called an elite player. Jones had better hope that Romo starts to turn his game around quickly, because this is one of those situations that could turn ugly if he doesn’t. It’s yet another layer of drama for a team that has already had more of that than it can probably stand.
This is a tough time for the polls. They can only change so much from what they look like in the preseason, and it is almost impossible to drop a team that has yet to lose, so the polls in the first few weeks don’t always accurately represent how teams are playing (You could argue that they never do, but that’s an entirely different debate). Given that, I thought I would take a look at the top six teams right now. There are questions with all of those teams, and it’s hard to know what any of them have to offer.
The Colts may have got a win to move to 2-0 tonight, but I’m sure not convinced by them yet. They got very lucky to win that one given that they barely had the ball on offense, and they weren’t always impressive when they did. If Miami had any ability at all to manage the clock down the stretch then both of these teams would have been 1-1. I didn’t think that the Colts were going to be elite this year before the season, and I haven’t seen anything yet to make me change my mind.