Archive for January, 2012


26 Jan

Although it has been less than a month since the NBA season has kicked off, giving the steroid infused schedule (and unprecedented back-to-back-to-backs), it might surprise you to learn that a quarter of the season has already passed. As such this is a great opportunity to take a look at the MVP race since a significant portion of the season is already in the can.

#6- Derrick Rose

While Chicago currently sits atop the Eastern Conference and Derrick Rose is the reigning MVP, he cannot be placed higher on this list for two reasons; he has been hurt and his supporting cast has played extremely well. Ordinarily when your best player misses a significant amount of time, a drop-off in terms on-court performance is expected. Luckily for the Bulls however, with some solid play from Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and a rotating group of guards, they have been able to keep their top spot. In sum, Rose has been terrific when he has been on the court, but more MVP consideration will only come when he is back on it.

#5- Tony Parker

Not only are the Spurs considered over-the-hill given their age and miles, but the loss of Manu Ginobilli should have been the nail in the coffin for the Tim Duncan era in San Antonio. Fortunately for the Spurs, Tony Parker has single handedly decided to keep the dream alive and stepped up in the Argentinian’s absence. Furthermore, it is not just in terms of scoring where Parker is doing his damage, but he has also helped out his teammates by posting the highest assist average of his career. If the Spurs are able to do what they normally do and finish near the top of the Western Conference, this year Parker it will be because of Parker.

#4- George Karl

I know, I know, how can a coach win the MVP award right? But I have placed him on this list largely because of what has been going on in Denver since Carmelo Anthony forced the team’s hand and made them deal him. Denver not only showed tremendous resolve last season, but they currently sit in second place in the Western conference, are doing so without a single “super-star.” How this is not the biggest story of the NBA season I have no idea, especially given the fact that when a team loses its franchise player, and when of Melo’s capability, they usually end of amongst the dregs of the league (ex. Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Hornets etc.). I know in reality George Karl can never win the MVP, but turning a bunch of role-players into arguably the best team-basketball squad since the Larry Brown Pistons means deserves some merit. If the league does not mail him the coach of the year trophy by next week I will be shocked.

#3- Lebron James

I know most of the mainstream media wants Lebron to win the MVP every year, but I argue that since he decided to play in Dwayne Wade’s backyard and effectively become his subordinate I do not think he should ever be granted MVP consideration (no way Michael Jordan lets Scottie Pippen yell at him the way Wade did in last year’s Finals). The MVP trophy should have be given to the player who makes the biggest impact on a team during the regular season, which basically means that without this guy his team does not even have a shot of cracking the playoffs. Therefore the problem for Lebron despite his numbers is that even without him the Heat can still win 60 percent of their games with Wade and Bosh. So while Lebron seems to be playing with a chip on his shoulder and posting close to a triple double for the season, the MVP goes to the league’s best player, not the team’s second option. If Lebron ever wants league wide redemption let alone a shot at another MVP, he needs to pack his bags, get back to Cleveland and finish what he started.

#2- Kobe Bryant

I know the Lakers do not have a great record and they have been in a bit of a funk lately, but have you watched Kobe Bryant play this season? He is playing like a man possessed. Not only is he killing it on the offensive end, but he is playing with a defensive intensity I have not seen in years. Furthermore, he is doing this a wrist injury that would derail a season for most people, and in a David Stern induced toxic environment after Stern railroaded the Lakers by vetoing the Chris Paul deal (which also resulted in the Lakers losing sixth man phenom Lamar Odom). Kobe is leaving it all on the floor in pursuit of a sixth championship, and as long as his body does not collapse he continues to put his team in the best position to do so.

#1- Kevin Durant

Durant is killing it, plain and simple. Not only is he doing his usual damage in every measurable statistical category, but his selfishness and commitment to his team both on and off the court is the main reason he has his team in the top spot in the Western Conference. When Kevin Durant decided to quietly sign a long-term extension to his team, it said something about him and it said something to his teammates. It said that the best player on the planet was pledging loyalty to the team that made him a star and it said he was out for more than just himself. In an era of me-first basketball divas, here is a guy that decided to set the standard for leadership and loyalty prove why his teammates could rely on him through his actions and not simply his words. In if you question that this type of behavior works and makes a team better, all you would have to do is look at the standings. But if you really want to see what an MVP is all about look at how, in a small market, the Thunder are relevant, they play solid team basketball and how Durant’s teammates line-up to go the distance with Durant. Rusell Westbrook’s extension was no accident, leadership works and if nothing else it is the reason the NBA’s most underrated player might win the MVP.

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26 Jan


Of course, I am not talking about Manny Ramierez, I am talking the about the other big Manny in sports, Manny Pacquiao. And contrary to the former, this Manny has had nothing but love and adoration from the sporting world up until this week when he came up for a long list of excuses for not wanting to fight Mayweather on May 5th. You see up until now boxing’s number one guy Floyd Mayweather has been cast as the villain and being the one accused of ducking and stalling the much anticipated mega-fight between the two. As such, Manny has received the hero’s treatment with the media portraying him as the humble, hard-working protagonist who has been patiently waiting for his opportunity to step in the ring with the brash, money-tossing villain who they believe has been ducking him for over two years.

Unfortunately for those in the Manny camp, once you take off the rose-colored glasses reality gives produces a much clearer picture of who Manny Pacquiao is and what is standing is in the sport.

Myth#1- Manny is the best pound for pound fighter in the sport

Truth- He is not

I believe the inception of this myth was around the time Floyd Mayweather the consensus number one decided to walk-away from the sport undefeated and boxing’s number two man Manny Pacquiao was elevated to the top spot. The problem for Manny however, is that Floyd came back after a short retirement, and common sense would dictate that if the king is back, until he is formally dethroned, he is still the king (for example, Michael Jordan was still the best basketball player on the planet even though he left and came back). And while Pacquiao fanatics will cling to the fact that he has dominated the boxing world since Floyd’s retirement by beating-up on guys Floyd had already beaten (i.e. Oscar Dela Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez), this argument holds little water given the fact that it is a lot easier to cut down a tree that already been sawed in half.

Myth#2- Manny has always been the one to delay the mega-fight

Truth- One of the biggest reasons for delay has been the fact that Floyd Mayweather has insisted on random drug testing up to and including the day before the fight. Mayweather has stated that his desire to clean up the sport of boxing is the main reason for his insistence. Whether or not this is really the case, Mayweather has been accused of using the demand as a way to delay fighting Pacquio with the general consensus being who turns down potentially the largest pay-day in boxing history because of a commitment to random drug testing? And while Mayweather has been called every name in the book from a liar to a coward over his decision, there is also a flip side to this coin, who turns down potentially the largest pay-day in boxing history over taking a needle? Pacquiao’s camp has insisted that his refusal is due to a fear of needles so close to a fight, but doctors across the board have stated that drawing a small amount of blood close to a fight has no effect on performance. Therefore, the real focus should not be on why someone insists on a method of testing which is the standard of testing for many world class athletes (i.e. via the U.S. anti-doping agency), the focus should be on why someone is so desperately trying to avoid it. However, if you believe the reports had by boxing guru Teddy Atlas, maybe Manny has a lot to hide (around the 9 minute mark).

Myth#3- Manny would destroy Floyd if they ever they ever stepped in the ring

Truth- Unknown

Until the two boxers actually get in the ring there is no way to conclusively prove who would beat who in the ring. There are indicators like the fact that Manny struggled to beat Juan Manuel Marquez (not just once but three times), whereas Floyd was able to defeat him with ease which can make one tilt the odds in Floyd favor, but again nothing is for certain.

In sum, Mayweather v. Pacquiao remains as potentially the most lucrative fight in history, nothing, nothing new has changed that. However, what has changed given recently is the fact that Pacquiao fans must accept the reality that it is Pacquiao not Mayweather who has been ducking Floyd, not the other way around. To cite reasons like “cuts need more than 6 months to hea”, “we want a bigger venue”, “Who knows if Mayweather will be licensed” as reasons to not make a fight are some of the lamest reasons to walk away from upwards of 50 million dollars. Pacquiao’s may continue to sell B.S. while calling it apple sauce, the only difference is that after this week, no one will be buying it. They’ll be saving their money and buy Floyd’s next fight on May 5th.

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14 Jan

Ok not a lot of time, I have to be at a pseudo-bachelor party in a couple hours (don’t ask) and I still have a ton of other smack to get done.

As such I can’t give a total re-hash of last week’s game. I will say the following however;

1. Thank you N.Y. Giants, your big win and me betting on you the last couple weeks (plus the money-line) has made me a very rich (i.e. tens of dollars more in my pocket)

2. Tim Tebow’s performance was still only ok. I had more to do with Clark being out because of the Denver climate (go figure) and every woman in the civilized World hoping for Rothlesberger to collapse (call it karma or girl power or whatever, but he’s losing some big games since…well..)

3. The Saints looked great, despite their suspect defense

4. Don’t bet against the Giants, they look like the best team in foot ball right now.


Gold- Giants +9 cover against Green Bay

I have no idea why this spread is so high against the Giants. The Giants have been putting up mad points of late, and have shown that they can go into people’s backyards and kick ass. Furthermore, the Green Bay cold climate isn’t that different from NY (ok it is but they are both cold) and on Defense the Giants are the best team in football right now, while Green Bay is the worst. Take the points and take the Giants.

Silver- Denver +13.5 cover against New England

Yes Brady is playing home and the Patriots are usually dominant at home, but this is the playoffs and the Patriots have been underperforming in the playoffs the last few years, and the Patriots have at last count 13 guys questionable for the game. In addition, while Brady has the capacity to put up points and has on the Broncos (even on the road), Denver still has an amazing defense( and the Patriots don’t), plus a ton of momentum off their upset win last week. I am not saying they will win this game, but Denver should cover the spread as long as they don’t get down too early in this game and the they play lights out defense like they have all season. I think the Patriots should still win this game, but not by 14 or more. Furthermore, if you wanna take a flyer on the Broncos winning, money line pays 6-1, that means if you put down 5 bucks ), you get 30 bucks if they win. Not bad for the price of a sub or drink at the bar.

Bronze- Saints -4 cover over San Fran

I feel a huge upset coming here, except it really isn’t an upset. Yes the 49ers are playing at home and have a great defense, but they haven’t been in the playoffs in a while, and if you take away their stats from the free games (andwins) in which they played their terrible division, they are actually only an ok team. They lost against the Saints earlier this season, and of course they have Alex Smith at the helm. For all these reasons I weakly suggest taking the Saints.

Bonus- no bonus

This Ravens v. Texans game is too tough to call. Yes the Ravens seem to have it all and are playing at home (not to mention the pull of every girl who has ever seen the Blindside), but they live to disappoint in winnable games, and have all season. It is therefore hard to fathom that they will cover on a Texans team who dismantled their first round opponents last week. The case against the Texans is equally tough, they are QB’d by T.J. Yates, they only beat the Bengals and they are playing at home. Be safe, stay away from this one.

Good Luck.




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Peyton’s Place? : Forecasting the Future of the NFL’s #1 Guy

12 Jan


With all due respect to Benjamin Franklin, the only two certainties in this lifetime are that the Kardashians are overpaid and that Peyton Manning will not be back with the Colts next season (Sorry Ben, but a lot of people don’t pay taxes and if Larry King can go the distance maybe there is hope for all of us). With Peyton Manning’s advanced age, the money-due to him, the Colts terrible season, the firing of the Polians, not to mention his highly suspect neck injury and future health, the “why”’s are pretty easy answer. The NFL is a dollar and cents game, not one based on loyalty and class and no one knows this better than Colts owner Jim Isray. Isray fired Bill and his son Chris Pollian after only the first disappointing season in over a decade. So to think that Isray is going to pay a question-mark like Peyton Manning anything more than a “thanks, the door is that way”, let alone the 28 million he is due in March, is absurd. And of course Isray would have done this in any other year, but in a year when the greatest college QB prospect since Manning himself came out, you can be sure that the future of the Colts now rests in the unproven hands of Andrew Luck.

But back to Manning, and now that the why’s have been answered, the question now is where? Where will arguably the greatest quarterback of his generation (with all due respect to Tom Brady), end up next season? He could retire, but I think with the way things have gone down of late in Indianapolis he has something to prove. The great ones always do, especially when they feel they have been slighted. So the question again is where? Well in my estimation there are five distinct possibilities, and here they are in no particular order:

  1. The Dallas Cowboys- The Dallas Cowboys have tremendous talent on both sides of the ball, but year-after-year cannot get it done as they falter down the stretch. And while most of the blame could and should be placed on the offensive-line and the defensive-backs, the blame almost always gets placed on Tony Romo. Tony Romo is a great quarterback and has put up some eye popping numbers, but after a certain point maybe its best to try it another way. The once young and talented stars of Dallas like Jason Whitten, DeMarcus Ware, Felix Jones and Miles Austin are not so young anymore, and before the stench of losing totally embeds itself in Dallas (if it hasn’t already), maybe you make a change at QB. Not only do you take the bull’s eye of your back, but you put a proven winner into a win now situation.
  2. The San Frannsisco 49ers- The 49ers have it all, a great coach, solid defense, a young roster and playmakers at all the skill positions-well except for QB. While Alex Smith has exceeded his low expectations this year, he is still far from someone who can put up numbers or that is dependable. And while the 49ers are a great fit for Manning in terms of personnel, the placement in San Fran is also great because the weather is fantastic and the terrible division assures you 5-6 wins every season. If the 49ers are upset by the Saints this week, do not be surprised if former Colts QB Jim Harbaugh reaches out to Manning.
  3. NY Jets- While the Jets do not have as many “pieces” going for them as perhaps other destinations, they do have something really good thing going for them, they are in New York. New York is without question the biggest sports market in North America which means that dollars would be flying at Manning faster than they have been before and since all the greats love the attention, the temptation to end his career there might be just enough to get him there. The other big thing New York has going for it, is that it is where his little brother plays, which means it would be Manning v. Manning. And while the public love a good story and it does not get big or better than this, from a big brother perspective its right where Peyton needs and wants to be. Eli Manning has not only won a Superbowl more recently than Peyton, his star continues to rise (especially of late), while his brother’s has been on the decline. If Eli should win a title this year, you can believe that unless Peyton Manning’s neck disintegrates, that he will be back next year to even the score, and what better place to put your little brother in his place than his own backyard.
  4. The Jacksonville Jaguars- just kidding no franchise quarterback, let alone franchise player ever wants to play for the Jags (with the possible lone exception of MJD). Why would they? The team is perennially in shambles and seems to waiting for someone to put it out of its misery…or move it to L.A. In fact, the only attractive thing about the Jags is that they play in the AFC South, which leads me to….
  5. The Houston Texans- Currently the Texans are down to their third string rookie QB, with fourth stringer Jake Delhomme waiting in the wings. However, despite this dismal picture, the Texans are still in the playoffs and have even locked up a playoff win. How are they doing this? Well a combination of great coaching (shockingly enough from Wade Phillips on the defensive side of the ball), amazing playmakers on offense (i.e. Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, Arian Foster etc.), solid special teams and a revamped, playmaking defense (that was facilitated this season with the genius move of passing on overpriced Nmandi Asomugha and making value pick-ups in Jonathan Joseph and Danniel Manning). The team outside of its quarterback situation is poised to win for a while, and would thus be a fantastic fit for Peyton Manning. However, what is arguably Houston’s biggest selling point is not that it can win right away or that its in an easy division, it’s the fact that it is in the same division as the Indianapolis Colts. All the greats be it Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Muhmammed Ali or whoever, live to stick it to the people who didn’t have faith in them, and in that context there is no better destination for Peyton Manning because he would get to play the Colts at least twice a year. Peyton Manning put the Colts on the map by never missing a game and giving it all he had and got the Colts into the playoffs for 10 straight seasons and even won a Superbowl for them. That is of course, until this year when he was forced to miss the season because of injury. And how did the Colts repay all his hard work and achievements? By basically abandoning him, flouting their new toy (Andrew Luck) in his face and telling him to get lost.

I am not in professional sports or destined to be an all-time great like Peyton Manning, but if I was, I could tell you where I would sell my soul to play. See you in Houston next year Peyton…the neck oinment’s on its way.


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07 Jan

My apologies for not posting last weekend, I was swamped with both work and school. I do hope that like me you bet the house on the Money Line on the Giants in the big Giants v. Cowboys game and won big, I know I did. And although it pains me to bet against my beloved Cowboys, until they change the very things that I had highlight at the beginning of the year, i.e. the Offensive Line and Defensive-Backs, this team will sadly continue to disappoint year after year. I remember 7 years ago when I was in under-grad, I wrote an impassioned letter to Jerry Jones and the Cowboys brass begging them to get rid of Terrance Newman because even back then it seemed like every big play was put up on his ass. Lets hope that after 9 seasons this is finally the year he gets his walking papers.

Anyway I have so more work to do (yes I know even on Saturday, so lets get right to the picks)

Gold Pick-Giants -3 over the Falcons

Other then their beating of the Cowboys, this is the easiest Giants game to call all season. Yes they have beaten teams with worse records than the Flacons, but the Giants are finally at full strength, have momentum and of course, the Falcons as I have said for years are a “fake” team in that they never beat good teams and always lose when ti matters in a big game.  If the spread scares you, bet the moneyline and prepare to count your millions….as long as you bet several millions more.


Silver Pick-Bengals +4 over Texans

The Texans have zero momentum right now and other then the fact they are playing at home they do not have a ton going for them other than their run game (although that has been suspect of late). Cincy looks good, except for Dalton’s rookie factor, but the Texans QB situation is no prize either with Yates (or worse Delhomme) at the healm. Bet on Cincy, and take the points.


Bronze Pick-Denver +8 over Pittsburgh

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Steelers win this game no question. But the spread is hectic given that this is the playoffs, the Broncos manage to stay close and the fact that Rothelesberger (sp?) is gimpy. Denver is also a great home team with a wicked natural advantage (just ask that Steelers player who had to get his spleen and gallbladder removed because of the altitude. Seriously how as this story not been everywhere). my adivce? bet on the Broncos, but you can hedge your bet if you want with the Steelers money line.

BONUS PLAYOFF PICK-Lions +10.5 over NO

I don’t like anything about this pick because Drew Brees is on fire. But the Saints lost badly in the first round of the playoffs last year, and I could see Detroit who has a better defense, keeping it to within ten. Therefore while I don’t like the pick, as long as Stafford plays the game and doesn’t get hrut, I can see the Lions handling their business and winning this game.

Good luck!!

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