Olympic Bet of the Day – We got back to the winning ways thanks to the dominance of Lindsey Vonn. She paid off at even money (less by post time), so she netted me $100. That means I’m down just $125 and climbing. Happy days are ahead. To try to keep up the winning spirit I’m going to go right back to the well. Lindsey Vonn skis again today – this time in the Super Combined. That event involves one run of the downhill and one run of slalom. Vonn is far from the best slalom skier out there, but she is competent, and I think that her downhill competence and current form gives her a good chance of opening up as much of a lead as she’ll need. She pays +240 to win, so she’s worth a shot.
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Olympic Bet of the Day – We came darned close yesterday – our Japanese skater finished second by a very small margin. That means that we are down $125 after three days of betting. We’re going to get it back today by betting on women’s curling. I may get my passport taken away here because Canada loves their curling, but I am going to bet against them. Canada is the favorite in the tournament, and I like their chances of hitting the podium, but they have no international experience and little experience dealing with the pressure of large-crowd tournaments. Their first game is against he Swiss. Mirjam Ott has the distinction of being the only curler to own two curling medals – both silver. She’s a wily veteran and will be more settled early than Bernard and Canada. The Swiss are at +175, and I see a lot of value there.
Olympic Bet of the Day – Yesterday didn’t go particularly well – the biathlon favorite limped to a pathetic 17th place finish. Unimpressed. That means that I am down $25 after two days based on betting $100 per day. Today we are going to go with the most powerful sprint of the games – the men’s 500m long track speedskating. These guys are beasts. This is a wide open field with eight or more guys that are potential winners. I’m going to split my $100 evenly between two racers this team. Canada’s Jeremy Wotherspoon is the home field hero, and he presents decent value as the favorite at 7/2. Two Koreans named Lee are the second choice at 4/1, but I’m going to look past them and take a Japanese skater as my second choice – Keiichiro Nagashima is at 11/2. A win from either would pay off nicely.
Olympic Bet of the Day – Because everything is a competition, I’m going to put a mythical $100 per day on these Olympic bets and keep score. Feel free to make your own bets in the comments along the way. Things started out well on this front when Simon Ammann took down the ski jumping in dominating fashion. Splitting the $100 evenly between my two picks I wound up making a profit of $75. For today’s pick we’re going to go with biathlon. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen is like the Tiger Woods of biathlon. He has a record 91 World Cup victories, and he won four golds at the last World Championships, including the 10 km sprint that is being contested today. He can be had at +210, and that seems like a solid price given all he has accomplished. I’ll put my money on him.
Olympic Bet of the Day – The first medal presented is scheduled to be in ski jumping, so it’s only fitting that it’s also our first pick. Pinnacle is the only place I have seen odds for the event so far. They list two jumpers – Austrian Gregor Schlierenzauer at +243 and Simon Ammann of Switzerland at +250. You can take either of them, or take the field at -111. Amman has two firsts and two seconds in five starts this year, while Schlierenzauer has six wins in 2010 alone. My pick for today is to take both Ammann and Schlierenzauer. They’ll pay well over even money if one guy wins, and that sounds better than the field.
Programming note – Each day of the Olympics I’ll be posting an Olympic bet of the day. There will be some hockey, of course, but we’ll also throw in everything from biathlon to bobsled. It should be good fun, and hopefully it’s not too terribly unprofitable. The first medals will be awarded tomorrow, so keep your eyes open.
I thought it was the Pro Bowl that was cursed with a ridiculous number of injuries, but now it seems as if it is just all-star games in general this year. The Pro Bowl had more than 30 players who were chosen but didn’t show up, and most were due to real or fake injuries. Now the NBA All-Star game seems to have almost as many. Today, both Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant informed the league that they would be unable to play (incidentally, the loss of Bryant caused the line to move half a point – the West is now favored by 1.5). They join an impressive list of players on the sidelines, including two other Western guards besides Bryant – Brandon Roy and Chris Paul. Monta Ellis was originally going to replace Bryant, but he’s out with a leg injury as well. On the Eastern side Derrick Rose is questionable. It’s a curse, I tell you.
I know that not everyone is a hockey fan – we can’t all be Canadian. More people would be, though, if they watched games like the Montreal – Washington game tonight. I only caught the third period and the overtime, but it was amazing. Washington was going for their 15th consecutive win. They fell behind 5-2 after two periods and apparently didn’t look very good. In a crazy third period, though, the ridiculously explosive Caps scored twice in the first nine minutes, and then tied it up with just 19 seconds left after an intense, sustained flurry. Washington is ridiculously good – so good that I think that the Cup is theirs to lose. The overtime period was back and forth and just as intense. Washington controlled more of the action in the overtime period, but Montreal drove their fans into a frenzy by winning it with a goal with just eight seconds remaining. It was as exciting as a game between non-rivals in early February can possibly be.
I’m fairly confident that there is going to be a Big Ten team in the Final Four. There isn’t a lot of depth there this year, but they have three very good teams at the top. I’m not sure which one of the teams is going to be the finalists, but we got a pretty good hint of what could happen today when Purdue headed to Michigan State and emerged with a very convincing win. They won the game by 12 thanks to a monster performance from E’Twaun Moore. Kalin Lucas didn’t start for the Spartans, but he did play 29 minutes, so they can’t use that as an excuse. Purdue unquestionably staked a claim atop the conference with the win. They’ve faltered down the stretch the last couple of years as they have had key bodies wear down. They seem reasonably healthy this year, so they will be fun to watch. They have the advantage of playing the Final Four very close to home in Indianapolis if they make it, so that stands as an added incentive. It will also be a huge incentive that the team knows that if they don’t get there this year then they won’t for a while because next year will certainly be a rebuilding year.