October 2009


Basketball picksOctober 20, 2009

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

1. Boston
2. Philadelphia
3. Toronto
4. NY Knicks
5. New Jersey

BOSTON CELTICS
COACH: DOC RIVERS
LAST SEASON: 62-20
BEST ADDITION: F/C RASHEED WALLACE
WORST LOSS: F LEON POWE

OUTLOOK:
The biggest issue surrounding the Celtics will be KG’s knee. There seems to be a lot of silence, but the truth will be known soon. Will we get the same-old KG, or a lesser version? The Celts have a nice insurance policy in Rasheed Wallace, who can no longer go 40 minutes a night, but can certainly offer a solid 25-30. Rajon Rondo is an emerging star at PG, and all the pieces are in place to make another run at a Championship – even if KG takes 40 games to become entirely healthy.

PHILADELPHIA 76ers
COACH: EDDIE JORDAN
LAST YEAR: 41-41
BEST ADDITION: G JASON KAPONO
BIGGEST LOSS: G ANDRE MILLER
OUTLOOK:
The Sixers made it to .500 last year, a step in the right direction. The good news is that Elton Brand, who was limited to 29 games a year ago with a shoulder injury, should be healthy and he is a very productive player.  They will miss Andre Miller unless Jrue Holiday or Lou Williams can keep the PG spot stabilized. It looks like another breakeven season for the Sixers, which in the end, could be enough to make the playoffs, but not much more.

TORONTO RAPTORS
COACH: JAY TRIANO
LAST YEAR: 33-49
BEST ADDITION: F/G HEDO TURKOGLU
BIGGEST LOSS: F SHAWN MARION
OUTLOOK:
The Raptors have been a huge disappointment the last couple seasons as their young talent just never emerged. The roster will have seven new faces this season and it will be an important year because it is Chris Bosh’s walk year. If he doesn’t see progress in Toronto, he will probably be elsewhere next year. I don’t see this team making a whole lot of progress, but if the new talent finds some chemistry there is enough to make the playoffs.

NEW YORK KNICKS
COACH: MIKE D’ANTONI
LAST YEAR: 32-50
BEST ADDITION: C DARKO MILLICIC
BIGGEST LOSS: G/F QUENTIN RICHARDSON
 

OUTLOOK:
Mike D’Antoni added some excitement to the Knicks with his fast-paced, wide-open offense, but he didn’t do much for the win column. The Knicks didn’t lose much from a year ago in terms of personnel, but they didn’t add much either, meaning this team should once again be mired in another losing season, falling short of the playoffs.

NEW JERSEY NETS
COACH: LAWRENCE FRANK
LAST YEAR: 34-48
BIGGEST ADDITION: F TERRNECE WILLIAMS
BIGGEST LOSS: G/F VINCE CARTER
 

OUTLOOK:
The Nets were never gonna win with Carter and have started the retooling process. Terrence Williams should get a shot right away at the No. 3 position. Courtney Lee is an emerging two-guard and should pay immediate dividends. The Nets have a lot of questions elsewhere, and the chances of this team improving on their 34 wins a year ago are 50-50 as they probably fall short of the playoffs again.

 

Football picksOctober 16, 2009

As you know if you’ve followed my NFL picks over the years, I am an underdog bettor in the NFL regular-season. I believe it’s where the value lies long-term in the NFL. If you want to read more on why I feel that way, check out my NFL betting philosophy.

But underdogs aren’t doing so hot so far this season. And big underdogs are really laying big eggs. While historically they have hit over 52%, underdogs this season are hitting just 46% through five weeks. Dogs of a touchdown or more are just 37% and underdogs of more than 9 points are just 5-17 (29%)! The ugliest of the dogs (those getting more than 10 points) are just 2-10 on the season. As an underdog bettor, I feel fortunate to have won four out of the first five weeks of the regular season.

So what to make of all this? This is certainly an anomaly, but will it continue? One place to look for clues is 2005. That was the year of the favorite in the NFL. Underdogs hit just 42% that season overall – the lowest rate in over 30 years. I was able to hit 58% overall (86-62), winning 16 of 24 weeks that season despite the favorites covering so much. I was able to sift through and find some good dogs, while also adjusting and releasing slightly more favorites than normal. So I have confidence moving forward in 2009 either way.

At this point, it’s unclear whether 2009 will continue to shape up as 2005 did. It very well may be another year-of-the-favorite. Or, it may revert to become more of a “normal” year with underdogs winning 50% or more. If the former happens, the general public will continue to rack up huge winnings and the sportsbooks will get crushed. If the latter happens, the public will give back their early winnings and more.

My advice? In the last 30 years, there has only been one year in which big favorites crushed it all season long. So history would say that we are in for a correction at some point this season so be wary about the urge to back the big favorites. You also need to remember that the sportsbooks win much more than they lose. They will continue to shade the lines in order to try to recoup the losses they have suffered on the big favorites. On the other hand, that one “favorites” season wasn’t too long ago, so there may be a more meaningful shift going on. Only time will tell…

 

« Previous Page