Sunday, September 15, 2013

2013 NFL Week 2: You Can Bet On It

Week 1 Record: 9-7
Season Record: 9-7

Solid start in week 1 going 9-7, but not great.  Ideally, you want to be at 10-6, 11-5 to maximize profits (if you bet every game).  I'm going to pick both against the spread (ats) and over/unders (o/u).  We'll see how this experiment works.

Already bet: Jets (+14) @ Patriots (o/u: 43.5) Took Jets & Under (will almost always take under on Thursday games). #Winning.  Off to a great start.

San Diego Chargers @ Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5):

ATS: Eagles  O/U: Over (54)

If the games were only three quarters long, the Chargers would be a force to be reckoned with.  Unfortunately, both of those statements are not true.  Short week for the Chargers, traveling to eastern time zone, 1pm ET start (feels like 10am for SD), playing against Chip Kelly offense with Vick, McCoy, Brown, and Jackson all healthy.  Recipe for extreme disaster.  Look for the Chargers to be thunderstruck by the Eagles.

Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens (-6):

ATS: Browns  O/U: Under (44)

Both teams poorly represented themselves in week one.  Both teams are not nearly as bad as they looked.  I still believe in Cleveland's 'best coordinator staff' in the NFL, but not enough to win straight up against one of the best head coaches in the NFL.  Ravens/Browns has gone under 5 of the last 5 times they've played.

Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans (-8):

ATS: Texans  O/U: Over (44)

Houston almost embarrassed themselves Monday night against the Chargers, but mounted a late rally to preserve their first win of the season.  Didn't cover, though.  I expect the Texans to get off to a much better start against a familiar Titans opponent, which will force the game on Locker's arm -- not a good place for the Titans to be.  I'll also predict, +Dave Gottlieb style, that Ed Reed will have an INT (if he plays).  These two teams have hit the over 4 of the last 5 times they've played each other, so I'm going to go with the trend.

Miami Dolphins @ Indianapolis Colts (-2.5):

ATS: Colts  O/U: Under (43)

I do not understand the excitement surrounding the Dolphins and equally do not understand the skepticism of the Colts.  This line started at pick 'em and moved nearly 3 points.  That's a huge betting trend.  Take the Colts.  The total was under in the past 5 Colts games and 6 of the last 7 Dolphins road games, soooo trend says under. 

Carolina Panthers (-3) @ Buffalo Bills:

ATS: Panthers  O/U: Under (43.5)

The Panthers defense was very impressive last week against the Seahawks in a losing effort.  EJ Manuel is a poor man's Russell Wilson: advantage Panthers defense (if they play the same way).  Luke Kuechly has been a godsend to that defense and he has that unit playing very well.  Unfortunately for the Panthers, the offense didn't fire last week.  I think they do enough to win by more than three, although it will be ugly.  Just like how the Seahawks did to the Panthers last week.

St. Louis Rams @ Atlanta Falcons (-5.5):

ATS: Falcons  O/U: Over (47)

The Falcons came one Kenny Vaccaro pass deflected away from going into New Orleans and geting a win.  Instead, they come back home licking their chops.  Unfortunately for the Rams, they are the team that will be on the receiving end of The Falcons' best efforts. Falcons are 21-3 ATS following a straight up loss, as well.

Washington Redskins @ Green Bay Packers (-7):

ATS: Packers  O/U: Over (50)

RG3 looked better as last week's game went along, but he is going to be playing against a defense that was just embarrassed by Colin Kaepernick.  Normally, this is good news for a similarly-skilled QB.  However, Griffin is not similarly-skilled enough to Kap to make the same throws.  The lack of quality options in the pass game doesn't help, either.  They'll score some points, but not nearly as many as Rodgers & co.

Dallas Cowboys @ Kansas City Chiefs (-3):

ATS: Kansas City  O/U: Under (45.5)

Cowboys forced six turnovers and BARELY won.  They will not do either this week. 

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears (-6):

ATS: Vikings  O/U: Under (41.5)

100% chance of rain in Chicago means that it will be sloppier than normal for Jay Cutler and Christian Ponder throwing the ball.  Unless the Bears score 14 points from its defense, the under is a lock.  The rain makes the game closer than 6 points, but the Bears won't really break a sweat straight up.

New Orleans Saints (-3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

ATS: Saints  O/U: Over (48)

The Saints beat the Falcons last week with its defense.  Rob Ryan's defense will only get better as the season progresses.  The Bucs really needed to get off to a good start last week, but literally pushed the Jets to victory and out of the jaws of defeat.  

Detroit Lions (-2) @ Arizona Cardinals:

ATS: Lions  O/U: Over (48)

Lions offense is no joke.  Bush and Bell in the backfield are dangerous in PPR fantasy leagues and in real life.  Refs still hate Calvin Johnson TD catches, but still..the Lions have more than enough to take care of the Cardinals.  May hit the over themselves.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Oakland Raiders (-5.5):

ATS: Jaguars O/U: Under (40)

It's not that I particularly like the Jags, but the Raiders shouldn't be giving 5.5 to anyone.  This will be a war of attrition, and the total of 40 is a tad high.  This has 18-17 written all over it.

Denver Broncos @ New York Giants (-4):

ATS: Broncos  O/U: Under (55)

Peyton will not throw 7 TDs again.  I know, bold prediction.  But still, the Giants secondary is shaky, at best, and its pass rush was effective in spots against Dallas.  If they don't consistently get pressure on Peyton, he'll throw for 4 TDs.  The Broncos will cover the four, but it won't be as much of a shootout as it was against the Ravens.

San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks (-3): 

ATS: 49ers  O/U: Over (44)

Marquis matchup of the week.  And the best part is that it happens at least twice this year.  Both teams have great defenses, but they're very familiar to the offenses, which will cut through them for the over.  Back the niners because Kaepernick has shown he can win games throwing AND/OR running the football.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5):

ATS: Bengals  O/U: Under (41)

This will be a homage to old school football.  This will be a slobberknocker with big hits coming from both sides of the James Harrison bowl.  A.J. Green puts the Bengals over the top, but this seems like a 17-10 scoreline.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

NFL Week 1: You Can Bet On It

It's finally here.  The NFL season starts and it is finally time for me to make some real money.  Last year, I finished 13 games over .500, and I'm back for more.  This time with some more stats that I use for each matchup.

BUF (+10) vs. NE seems like a sucker bet -- as if Vegas is daring you to have faith in the Bills.  Here’s the thing, I’m ignoring the spread.  Both teams were .500 performers against the spread last year Instead, I’m taking the over (51.5).  This game has hit the over 5 of the last 6 times they’ve played.

TEN (+6.5) @ PIT is going to be closer than most people think.  Both teams were bad against the spreads last year (6-10 and 6-9-1 respectively).  The Steelers do not possess an offense that can run away from anyone. Give me TEN and the points

ATL (+3) @ NO I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There is no more motivated NFL team than the Saints.  If I only have to go give 3 points with the Saints at home, I’m taking the Saints and trusting Brees & Co.

KC (-3) @ JAX the picture says it least if you believe the media hype.  New coach Andy Reid has made stars out of lesser players, and now he has Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles.  Look out.  I’d take KC if the spread was six.  Great value bet here.
CIN (+3.5) @ CHI is a very important game for both teams.  Should be very, very close.  Watch for the hook with this one (the extra .5 point) because CHI was 7-8-1 ATS last season.  That extra half point sways me to back the Bengals

TB (-2.5) @ NYJ will not be a close game.  Revis island, the best part of the Jets last year, is in Tampa.  And even though the Bucs were 7-9 last year, they were 9-6-1 ATS, and they got better talent-wise this year.  Take the Bucs and lay down the points.

CLE (+1) vs. MIA will be the home-dog of the week pick.  If you pick games every week, you must pick at least one home team who is getting points.  CLE has one of the best sets of coordinators in the league.  MIA...doesn’t. Give me CLE to win outright.

CAR (+3) vs. SEA will be fun to watch, but easy to predict.  CAR is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games at home.  SEA was 11-5 ATS last season.  It smells like a BIG Seahawks win.  Back the Hawks on the road and lay down the 3.

MIN (+3.5) @ DET will be the beginning to the tale of two teams going in opposite directions this season.  The numbers don’t reflect it with Detroit going 5-10-1 ATS last year, but I think they buck that trend and will give the 3.5 and take the Lions at home.

OAK (-11) @ IND is a huge mismatch, but 11 points?  Seems to be a little too much.  This is not to say that the Raiders will keep this game close, but a garbage time TD to bring a 31-17 game to 31-24 is a cover for the Raiders.  11 is too many, take the Raiders and hold your breath.

ARZ (+3.5) @ STL will be a very telling game for both teams.  Both need to grab wins where they can because their schedules are very difficult.  I’m taking STL and giving the points because they were 11-5 ATS last season.

SF (-4.5) vs. GB is, along with ATL/NO, the marquis matchup of the day.  I can see this game go either way, so I am avoiding the spread and going with the over (50.5).  Last 5 SF games = 5 overs.

NYG (+3) @ DAL is completely unpredictable. The Giants, however, are 5-1 in their last 6 @DAL, which is enough for me to take the Giants and the three points -- with no confidence.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

2013 NFL Over/Unders: You Can Bet On It

After a long hiatus, I'm back.  And I brought some friends with me.  Today, we tackle NFL team over/unders (wins) in 2013.  Last season, I finished 21-7-4.  That likely will not happen again.  This year, I polled myself, @davegot, @adamweeg, @T00LE, and @timmyk13 about every team's over under.  Here are the full results and some quotes.  Very few teams were unanimous overs or unders.  Vegas did well prognosticating most teams this season, but there are ways to make bank.  And these are those ways:

Unanimous Overs

Cincinnati Bengals (8.5)

"Weak division, Chargers, Minnesota? Who could ask for more. They will be the small stack in the Division Champion set" -@timmyk13

Detroit Lions (7.5)

"Above average QBs, WRs and DLs. Below average RBs, LBs and CBs. Smells like 8-8" -@davegot

Green Bay Packers (8.5)

"Defense can only get better. Plus, they have a RB now!" -@sportsbygotti

New England Patriots (11)

"Looking for Belicheck to go a little more pass heavy since the majority think they will be running this year. Their formula has worked in their favor for the last decade, and I see no reason as to why it should stop now considering the competition in that division." -T00LE

New Orleans Saints (9.5)

"Cant wait to see this team back in action. Sean Payton is back, Bounty Gate is all but forgotten, everyone is healthy. NE is the tough game. Either could win that one, and I see SEA picking up a win. Splitting with ATL (conservative option) that leaves them with 13. Home field through the NFC Championship against SEA." -@timmyk13

San Francisco 49ers (11)

"The division is TOUGH -- unlike most of the rest of their schedule." -@SportsByGotti

Unanimous Unders

Arizona Cardinals (5.5)

"Bruce Arians isn't the answer either. Vertical shots from Palmer to Fitz sound great, but not when you have a gaping hole in the left side of your line and you couldn't do that last year anyway. Be lucky to win 4" -@adamweeg

Buffalo Bills (6)

"I don't see a .500 college coach and a rookie QB tearing up the league. Although, I do love seeing a guy named Tuel in the leaugue." -T00LE (it's a homonym...get it?!)

Jacksonville Jaguars (5)

"Under: Strong competition with OAK and maybe NYJ for #1 pick [in the 2014 NFL Draft]" -@davegot

Minnesota Vikings (7)

"Tough schedule in a tough division. I count 4 wins." -@adamweeg

"Another cringe worthy schedule especially when you consider they have a week 5 BYE. AP stays healthy? Maybe. Does it matter? only in fantasy leagues, not the NFL." -@timmyk13

New York Jets (6)

 "Under: Any explanation needed?" -@adamweeg

"Probably couldn't win 6 CFL games" -@SportsByGotti

Oakland Raiders (5)

"Their fans will kill more people than they win games." -@timmyk13

San Diego Chargers (7.5)

"I think 5 would be lucky. No playmakers except Gates (always gets injured). Still can't rush passer and can't really cover either. Harder than average schedule too" -@davegot

St. Louis Rams (7.5)

"Could be a playoff-contending team if they played in any other division" -@SportsByGotti

Tennessee Titans (6.5)

"Just barely under with 6 wins. Still not sold on Jake Locker being a starting QB in the NFL." -@T00LE

Friday, May 31, 2013

Fantasy Football 2-QB Mock Draft

Not even June 1st and I'm already moving into Fantasy Football season.  It's never too early to get a leg up on your opponents in what is the best fantasy sport around.  Sure, there's baseball, but that's for marathon runners.  I'm more of a sprinter.  I'll take football and its 16 weeks of agonizing ecstasy.  It also helps that the games themselves are actually watchable, unlike in baseball.  

Thursday night I participated in Rotowire's #MockDraftArmy draft hosted by Mock Draft Central.  It was a 10-team, 2-QB draft that had some interesting results.  Here is my team.  How did I do?

Monday, April 29, 2013

2013 Stanley Cup Finals Prediction: SPOILER ALERT

The Best Trophy in Sports: The Stanley Cup

It's the best trophy in sports.  It's the only trophy with a 24-hour escort staff.  It is a spectacle even when the sport it represents often is not.  Anyway, below is my prediction for the Stanley Cup Final.  Here are my predictions for the Prince of Wales (eastern) and Clarence Campbell (western) Conferences.


Stanley Cup Prediction

#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #3 Vancouver Canucks

Penguins def. Canucks in 5

Party on Sid...Party on.  BTW, that's a month of Beard Growth.
Other Predictions:

Conn Smythe: Sidney Crosby
Leading Goal Scorer: Jarome Iginla
Best Series to Watch: Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens
Worst Series to Watch: Vancouver Canucks vs. San Jose Sharks

2013 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions: Clarence Campbell Conference

Stanley Cup Playoffs Time: Here's Who's In It
It's that time of year for Canada: The Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Maybe they'll get some A-block time on Sportscenter (the American one).  Probably not, but here's hoping, right?  Anyway, My predictions here can't be worse than my March Madness fiasco where one of my cats did better than me.  I'm not joking.  Anyway, enjoy!  For those who can't figure it out, Clarence Campbell = Western Conference.  My Prince of Wales (Eastern) Conference Predictions are here.

Clarence Campbell Conference Quarterfinal Predictions:

#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #8 Minnesota Wild
#1 Blackhawks def. #8 Wild in 4 games: No team looked more impressive than the Blackhawks in the lockout-shortened season.  No team was more impressive in the offseason than the Wild.  I'll take what works on the ice than what works on paper every day of the week.  Won't be close.

#2 Anaheim (mighty) Ducks vs. #7 Detroit Red Wings
#7 Red Wings def. #2 Ducks in 6 games: Call it reverse psychology as this passionate Avalanche fan is trying to put the bad juju on the Red Wings, but I also am just not a believer in the Ducks.  Hope I'm wrong!

#3 Vancouver Canucks vs. #6 San Jose Sharks
#3 Canucks def. #6 Sharks in 6 games: The battle of the Northwest.  Which means no one will watch it.  If a tree fell on this series, no one would hear it.  When in doubt, I go Canadian teams.

#4 St. Louis Blues vs. #5 L.A. Kings
#5 Kings def. #4 Blues in 7 games: For no other reason than they are the defending Stanley Cup Champions.  Love what the Blues have done, but may have a 'happy to be here' attitude.  Can go either way.

Clarence Campbell Conference Semi-Final Predictions:

#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #7 Detroit Red Wings
#1 Blackhawks def. #7 Red Wings in 5 games: The NHL wins when these two Original Six teams play against each other, but this will not be a competitive series.  The Blackhawks will not underestimate their rivals.

#3 Vancouver Canucks vs. #5 L.A. Kings
#3 Canucks def. #5 Kings in 7 games: This west coast battle will go the distance in a series of lopsided games.  Will be one of the odder series in recent memory, but the Canucks will find a way to win.

Clarence Campbell Trophy Prediction:

#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #3 Vancouver Canucks
#3 Canucks def. #1 Blackhawks in 7 games: This pick is not based on any kind of empirical evidence other than if I truly believe one team is going to win, they probably aren't.  I've been so wrong so often recently that I'm just going with the opposite of my original thought here.

Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions: Prince of Wales Conference

NHL Playoffs Time.  Here's who's in it.
It's that time of year for Canada: The Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Maybe they'll get some A-block time on Sportscenter (the American one).  Probably not, but here's hoping, right?  Anyway, My predictions here can't be worse than my March Madness fiasco where one of my cats did better than me.  I'm not joking.  Anyway, enjoy!  For those who can't figure it out, Prince of Wales = Eastern Conference.  My predictions for the Clarence Campbell (western) conference are here

Prince of Wales Conference Quarterfinal Predictions
#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #8 New York Islanders
#1 Pittsburgh def. #8 Islanders in 4 games: Congrats to the Islanders for making the playoffs, now get out.  Penguins too big, fast, strong, better, etc.  Won't even be close.

#2 Montreal Canadiens vs. #7 Ottawa Senators
#2 Canadiens def. #7 Senators in 5 games: This will be one of the more competitive five-game series in a long time due to the passion that will be exuded in both arenas.  This all-Canada battle will be fierce, but Montreal simply has more talent.

#3 Washington Capitals vs. #6 New York Rangers
#6 Rangers def. #3 Capitals in 6 games: An upset in seeding only.  The Rangers had only one fewer point while having nearly identical goal differentials.  Plus, the Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist.  He's pretty good come playoff time (.917 sv%, 2.31 GAA, 6 SO).

#4 Boston Bruins vs. #5 Toronto Maple Leafs
#4 Bruins def. #5 Maple Leafs in 7 games: This series pitting two Original Six teams will be extremely hard fought.  In the end, though, home ice and being #BostonStrong will propel the Bruins.

Prince of Wales Conference Semi-Final Predictions

#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #6 New York Rangers
#1 Penguins def. #6 Rangers in 5 games: Pittsburgh's new offensive weapons in Brendan Morrow and Jarome Iginla will be too much for what will be a stout Rangers defense.

#2 Montreal Canadiens vs. #4 Boston Bruins
#4 Bruins def. #2 Canadiens in 7 games: These two teams hate each other.  It will be great theater for all seven games.  This would be the feature matchup of the entire playoffs.  Lots of goals, hitting, fighting, and everything else that is great about the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Prince Of Wales ConferenceTrophy Prediction

#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #4 Boston Bruins
#1 Penguins def. #4 Bruins in 6 games: Pittsburgh will finally receive its first challenge of the playoffs in Boston, but the Penguins are simply too good.

Friday, April 26, 2013

2013 NFL First Round Reactions

Round one has come and gone and to say it was an unusual first round would be an understatement.  Zero running backs taken (first time since '63), 18 of the 32 picks were either offensive or defensive lineman (including first seven picks), 3 offensive guards drafted in the first round.  Lots of guys who wore T-shirts in the pool became studs with fancy duds.

1st Round Reaction

It wouldn't be an NFL Draft without booing Jets fans
Calm Down, Jets Fans: I was among the many who ridiculed the Jets second selection of the first round in Sheldon Richardson.  But then I took a minute and composed myself and then realized that they did what I wanted my Chargers to do: select the best player on their board regardless of position.  The Jets need good players.  And if that means they have a dominant defensive line, so be it.

How Awkward Was This? Leave it to Bill Belichek to rain on a media-friendly parade.  The NFL had a plan for a tribute to Boston.  Had a special jersey made for the draft pick to receive, and everything.  Then, Belichek trades the pick.  A Boston tribute with no Boston team present.  Classic Belichek

So True, Bills fans
Condolences to Bills Fans: They're saying they like the pick and I'm glad that they can rationalize things so easily, but let's be serious.  This pick was a disaster.  "Worst non-Oakland pick in years" -Todd McShay.  That says it better than I ever could.  Simply terrible.

Chance Warmack Belly
The Titans Landed a Marketing Goldmine: If I was in the Tennessee Titans marketing department, I would be organizing a "Who can wear it better" contest with their first round Pick Chance Warmack.  His belly shirts were legendary at Alabama, and both male and female fans alike should partake in a contest to imitate/dominate the belly shirt contest.  Would be a heated contest of hotness and hilarity.  But alliteration aside, he might be the safest draft pick in years.  Will dominate day 1.

Contest Participant..I'm onto something, right?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Draft Day Mock Draft: The Craziest Thing You'll Ever See

Today is like Christmas for NFL teams.  Some teams will have their stockings stuffed with gifts, and some with coal.  Until today, I have undertook the impossible practice of predicting the picks without trades.  Today, I make an even more ridiculous prediction by trying to predict the trades that will happen in tonight's first round of the NFL Draft.  Enjoy the craziness that follows.  It'll make tonight seem rather tame.  The Green means a team traded up to that spot, the pale red means the team traded down.  All in all there were five trades predicted.

Monday, April 22, 2013

2013 NFL Mock Draft: If QBs Went Early

It's the Monday before the NFL Draft, which starts on Thursday.  Every team has hope that they will "win" the draft.  Even Oakland has a first round pick.  Anyway, today's "what if" scenario I will be representing is if no one trades, and that teams in the top-10 panic and take QBs.  This is not my official prediction for the first round.  That will come later.  This is just a depiction of how much the draft can change if one or two teams take someone out of the ordinary, shifting the draft boards of the other teams close to them.  In this version, the Jets will go from gangrenous to tickled pink.  This is why the draft is great.  It's all drama.  It's all ad-hoc.  It's great.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Top-10 Sports Bucket List

After seeing the horrific bombings at the Boston Marathon and in West, Texas, I've started to reflect on how short life can be.  After that, I came up with a top-10 list of sporting events that I would like to see before I die.  Will I ever be able to accomplish this?  Only time will tell.  But I'm setting my goals very high.  Caveats: I've already seen Yankees vs. Red Sox at both parks, Dodgers vs. Giants in L.A., USA vs. Canada hockey, Bruins vs. Canadiens in Boston, Celtics vs. Lakers in Boston, Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs, and a slew of other American rivalries.  From what I'm told, the crowds in North America pale in comparison to the rest of the world.  Only one way to find out.

#10: Geelong Cats vs. Hawthorn Hawks @ Kardinia Park
One of the most competitive recent rivalries in any sport.  The fans are electric, and the sport is a perfect mixture of barbarism and athleticism.  If I had more time, "Footy" would be the sport I pick up.  Plus, these cats are much better than Peter Criss.

#9: India vs. Pakistan Cricket @ Eden Park
First, I'll need the sport explained to me, but from what I've heard, this is an absolute must see even if you don't know the sport.  Numerous accounts report that the two countries shut down for the match.  And, unlike other sports, these matches can last an entire work week!  That's a lot of sports passion in one place.  Don't know if it can be beat, honestly.

#8: Celtic vs. Rangers or Celtic Champions League @ Celtic Park
A recent addition to my sports life is soccer, and I am head over heels with The Beautiful Game.  Watching past "Old Firm" games pitting Celtic vs. Rangers in Scotland and watching Celtic play anyone in the Champions League at Celtic Park was, in a word: Mesmerizing.  The "Green Brigade" is always out in full force, but it was a true sight to behold when Celtic took on Barcelona and Juventus.  Must witness first hand.  The noise in the stadium means that there can't be a bad seat in the house.

#7: Borussia Dortmund vs. Schalke 04 @ Westfalenstadion 
The Revierderby of Dortmund vs. Schalke is a true rivalry in the sense that both clubs have had times of glory and of despair.  Often at the others' expense.  The tension is thick and has bubbled over on a few occasions, but I will find a seat that is not near where the two sets of supporters meet.  Safety be damned!  Unfortunately, that is a theme for many of the events on my bucket list.  The "Die Gelbe Wand"(Yellow Wall) is worth it.

#6: Boca Juniors vs. River Plate @ La Bombonera
Spain has "El Clasico" (see below), but Argentina has "Superclasico."  You would never know that La Bombonera, the Boca Juniors home, only houses a shade under 50,000 people by the noise that comes through the television.  One of South America's fiercest rivalries.

#5: New Zealand All Blacks vs. South Africa Springboks @ Ellis Park
This is a Hollywood pick, but "Invictus" made me want to see this.  If it was on the same site as the 1995 Rugby World Cup final, that would be all the better, but just to see two of the best Rugby nations go head-to-head would be good enough for me.  This is also one that WifeOfGotti would certainly enjoy.

#4: Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals @ Wrigley Field
I've never been to Chicago, let alone a Cubs game.  WifeOfGotti is also a Cardinals fan who has been booed and ridiculed at the likes of Shea Stadium.  I would love to see the environment if she wore her David Eckstein Cardinals jersey into Wrigley.  So much history has not been made here (bazinga).  It's like going on one of those ghost tours.

#3: Mexico vs. USA @ Estadio Azteca
The altitude.  The fans.  The rivalry.  The lack of American success.  So much to be excited for in the Mexico City landmark.  Watching the Yanks take on El Tri would be a dream come true anywhere, but in the would be out of this world.

#2: FC Barcelona Vs. Real Madrid @ Camp Nou
El Clasico.  Need I say more?  These two teams hate each other.  These fans hate each other.  The ownership of both clubs hate each other.  Yet, they all must tolerate each other when representing Spain in international competitions.  It's a fascinating dichotomy and I'd love to try to get my finger on the pulse of it.

#1: Follow US Soccer in World Cup 2014 @ Brazil
There is no more popular sporting event in the world.  There is no more popular soccer team than Brazil.  SO when the most popular competition comes to the most popular team's country, how can it not be on the top of anyone's list.  Even if the US fails to get past the group stage, it would be the time of my life being in the heart of the best competition on the planet.  Plus, it's a trip to Brazil.  All I have to say is...WHO'S COMIN WITH ME?

Friday, April 12, 2013

2013 NFL Mock Draft: Only Two Weeks to Go!

Only Two weeks until the real NFL Draft takes place, and I look like an absolute fool for even trying to predict what actually happens.  I am operating under the assumption that there will not be any trades.  With that being said, I fully expect there to be a significant amount of movement, starting with the Cleveland Browns at pick #6.  This draft isn't loaded with elite talent, but it is a very deep draft and there is a ton of quality that can be found in later rounds.  This is another draft where a QB did not make it into the first round because I am basing a lot of this off of team need/talent available.  I'm sure that there will be QBs taken in the first round in the real draft, but I think it will be at the end of the first round with teams that have an early second round pick trading back into the first round to ensure they get their guy.  With all that being said, here's my latest mock draft.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

2013 NFL Mock Draft: Significant Version #1

It's one of my favorite times of the year: The lead up to the NFL draft.  Fans of every team all feel a sense hope (unless you're a Raiders fan, then you're just hopeless).  But, as in all sports, it is often hope that ultimately kills you.  As an unapologetic Chargers fan, I have absolutely no hope that they will make the correct pick if given the opportunity to draft Chance Warmack from Alabama, but I'd love to hope that they will (see below).  As I looked back at this draft, I could not believe my eyes when I saw that there are more Syracuse University players (2) drafted than the total number of QBs and TEs combined (0).  As I move forward and as more players start to get signed in free agency closer to the draft date, I'm sure both numbers will change.  But until then, enjoy a quarterback-free mock draft!

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Most Unbiased MLB Predictions Ever

It's Opening Day!  If you don't count last night...
Does anyone else think it's weird that MLB's opening day is today, but the season officially started last night?  Maybe it's just me, I'm just weird like that.  Anyway, I'm taking a break from my EPL/UCL/FA Cup/NFL Draft analysis to provide some unbiased, uninformed MLB predictions.  I rattled some cages with my AL East preview, but now it's time to rattle everyone else's cage.

Let me know how you feel on or on Twitter @SportsByGotti! 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Did You Know that MLB Opening Day is Coming Up? Me neither. SO Let's Make Uninformed Predictions!

It's Almost Opening Day...And Even The Grounds Crew Aren't Excited
Although once known as "America's Pastime," baseball has morphed into something that only pays tribute to a time in America's Past.  Whether it's the length of the games, the steroids, the lack of prominent American players, or personal preference, MLB has lost its panache. The only saving grace to a large portion of its remaining fans is the long, and sometimes arduous, Fantasy Baseball season.  As the boys of summer get set to take the field this season, I sat back for about 15 minutes and came up with the following predictions.  Hey, it worked out for me in last year's world series.  Why not now?  We'll start with the AL East.

AL East:

1.  Tampa Bay Rays: Even though their franchise and fan base is one of the biggest travesties in professional sports, you cannot argue with their brand of winning.  If Evan Longoria can stay healthy, the Rays may run away with the division by August.  I know, the Blue Jays made all those moves, but NL players moving to the AL struggle at first (even Pujols struggled).  Specifically, pitchers struggle, and I was never a big fan of R.A. Dickey in the first place.  Record: 94-68

2.  Toronto Blue Jays: Is there a sexier pick this year than the Blue Jays?  Canada's team finally has something to cheer about again.  I do expect them to struggle out of the gate due to the flux of NL players playing in the AL for the first time (Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey to name a few), but they'll right the ship and finish behind the Rays.  It's surprisingly fun to say that the Rays and Jays will finish atop the AL East.  Let's just hope that they will have more success than this Ray J.
Record: 90-72

3.  New York Yankees: Conversely, is there a less sexy pick than the Yankees this year?  This is a team that is showing its age with all of the injuries (Jeter, ARod, Texeira, and Granderson to begin the season on the DL).  Despite all of this, manager Joe Girardi has his roots in playing small ball, and was successful at it in his time with the Marlins.  This Yankees team will win a bunch of games, just not the way fans are used to seeing them win.  They have a boatload of speed with Brett Gardner and Ichiro, and they still have an AL-MVP candidate in Robinson Cano in the heart of the lineup.  Plus, Mariano Rivera is back and makes almost every game 8 innings long.
Record: 87-75

4.  Baltimore Orioles: Seriously, how did the Orioles make the playoffs last year?  By winning 29 one-run games.  That won't happen twice.  And I think the pendulum will swing towards more losses rather than more wins.  And it's not because the Orioles got worse, it's just that the division got significantly better top-to-bottom.
Record: 75-87

5.  Boston Red Sox: It's sad to see, but this franchise is running itself into the ground.  There isn't much to be excited about in Boston, and when you look at how many things have to go right in order for this team to compete, the list is too long and too much of a longshot.  Felix Doubront has the fanbase excited, but unless he's the second coming of Roger Clemens, this rotation will still be lackluster at best. The lineup has not been intimidating since the days of Manny Ramirez and his PEDs (coincidence?  I think not).  This team simply isn't good enough.  And that makes for some great Facebook/Twitter status' from fans.  Can't wait!
Record: 70-92