Friday, November 10, 2006

Boredom betting

Why do we bet on games? Gambling experts state most gamblers are ex-athletes unable to turn the page from their high school varsity football place holder duties looking for that same adrenaline rush? I don’t buy it. Most bets are done out of boredom or convenience.

If you have kids and they go down for a nap, your next move will be to turn on the TV. If Illinois is playing Minnesota, we will bet on it. I can’t name one person on Illinois, other than Jeff George, but I still think I know who will win the game. Not the smartest move, but the reality. We all love being right, so why not get paid for it?

Avoiding boredom bets will increase your chance of winning. You are still going to lose more bets than you make, but being smart about it will allow you play a few weeks longer before your money runs out.

…The Rutgers victory over Louisville really opened up the National title contender possibilities. Which team did the Louisville loss help the most? I believe Texas is the winner. A case can be made for Florida because if they win the rest of their games, they should be in, but that is a lot to ask Florida to do. The SEC is so tough. Their schedule is not too tough, but every game in that league is a dog fight. This week Florida is at home against South Carolina and Steve Spurrier, next week they play Western Carolina and then they finish off the regular season at Florida state in a rivalry game. They will likely square off against either Arkansas or Auburn in the SEC title game. If they win all these games, they will play the winner of the Ohio state/Michigan game. I think they will fall, so I give the nod to Texas.

Texas plays at Kansas state this week and then Texas A&M at home the following week. The championship game will likely be played against Nebraska. All three games Texas will be favored by 7-17 points. USC has the toughest schedule of all contenders and for that reason, they stand a chance to get to the title game if they win all four games; Oregon, Cal, Notre Dame, @UCLA. Not likely though. They lose to Oregon this weekend.

Cal has a shot, but they need to blowout Arizona this weekend and obviously beat USC and Stanford. They need help though. Florida, Auburn and Texas would all have to lose. If they win out, they will at least assure themselves of a Rose Bowl bid against the Michigan/Ohio state loser. That would be a fantastic game.

I’m bored. On to the picks.

College picks

WEST VIRGINIA -18 vs. Cincinnati
This will be one pissed off Mountaineer team.

INDIANA +19 vs. Michigan
Michigan is just waiting around to play Ohio State.

ARIZONA +14 vs. Cal
This will be a tough game for Cal, who will no doubt be thinking about their big showdown versus USC next week. Big mistake by Cal, but we have to remember, these are just kids.

OREGON +8.5 @ usc
The ducks are a turnover machine but they catch USC dreaming about their game next weekend against Cal.

MARYLAND -3 vs. Miami
The hurricanes are banged up and emotionally spent. Football is the last thing on their mind.

GEORGIA +12.5 @ Auburn
Too many points to give up in a rivalry game. Auburn is not blowing anybody out.

NFL picks

49ERS +6 @ Detroit
The Lions are not good enough to give anyone 6 points.

BRONCOS -9 @ Raiders
Shanahan hates the Raiders and will run up the score.

RAMS +3.5 @ Seattle
I can’t back the Seahawks without Hasselbeck and Alexander.

BEARS +1.5 @ NY Giants
The Giants are really, really hurting at all positions. This game means a lot more to the Bears.

EAGLES -7 vs. Redskins
The eagles will punish the redskins who are coming off a lucky victory.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It's Awesome baby! College basketball review

Wow. Can you believe it? College Basketball (yes, I capitalized it) has started. Below you will find my rankings. These rankings reflect how I think the final rankings will be.

All you hear about is who is the 4th best team, after Florida, North Carolina and Kansas. Yes, all three of those teams are loaded, but that does not guarantee success. Take Uconn's team last year as an example. They had 4 first round draft choices yet they lost to George Mason in the Great 8. I can't tell you how they will fail, but all three teams will find a way to come up short.

My pick are the Arizona Wildcats. This is the year that Mustafa Shakur finally puts it together. Marcus Williams really stepped it up last year and developed into an elite player, and they bring in sharp shooting Chase Budinger. Lute Olsen's hair will get messed up once again.

(AP preseason ranks in parenthesis)

Money’s top 25

Final Four
1) Arizona (10) – This team is loaded with talent and has stars at every level, including incoming freshman Chase Budinger
2) North Carolina (2) – They had a great team last year, and they did not lose anybody of substance.
3) Wisconsin (9) – Senior Alondo Tucker will lead this team to the Final Four
4) Georgetown (8) – Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert is one of the best inside-outside combos in the nation.

5) LSU (5) – The Big Baby is a year older. One of my favorite teams last year will reload and compete again this year.
6) Texas A&M (13) – This is my dark horse team for the year. Great defense and guard play is the key to their success.
7) Kansas (3) – They have the best starting five in the country. Teams like this never pull it off.
8) Ohio State (7) – Everybody knows about Greg Oden. I think we are all waiting to see what he can do. I am tempering expectations.
9) Florida (1) – Similar to my Jayhawks pick, Florida, while extremely talented will figure out a way to underachieve this year.
10) UCLA (6) – Farmar was the glue for this team. Collison is a capable point guard, but he won’t lead this team to the Final Four.
11) Duke (12) – The Dukies slip a bit in the standings due to a new fire code that restricts the Cameron Crazies from sitting right behind the bench.
12) Alabama (11) - They lack the big time shooter, but they have all the other pieces in place.
13) Pitt (4) – I never liked this team last year and was tempted to leave them off this year, but I can’t. Aaron Gray is just too big to ignore.
14) UConn (18) – They lost so much talent. They will still be good, but it may take some time to gel.
15) Marquette (16) – They will miss Steve Novak and don’t have a lot of height, but they have great guards, especially Dominic James.
16) Creighton (19) – Nate Funk. Pretty cool name.
17) Oregon (NR) – This pick may explode in my face if the team turns on Ernie Kent. They do have great talent and this could be the year they put it all together.
18) Memphis (14) – Good team in a terrible conference.
19) So. Illinois (NR) – Another team to return all five starters. More offense would help, but they play great defense, so they get a pass.
20) Georgia Tech (23) – Remember them? They are back with great young talent.
21) Hofstra (NR) – They will play with a chip on their shoulder with the hopes of making the tournament this year by winning their league outright.
22) Texas (21) – This is probably too high given the amount of talent they lost, but they will start off the season with a good ranking so they will have to tank to drop out of the top 25.
23) Wichita State (NR) – My third team from the Missouri Valley Conference. I might be developing a man-crush on this conference.
24) Gonzaga (NR) – They always seem to reload, although this will be tough with Morrison gone.
25) Kansas State (NR) – Banking on Huggins being dirty again and bringing in some real talent.