Saturday, August 31, 2013

Premier League Picks: Week 3

Premier League Picks 2013-14: +$73
Premier League Picks Week 3: -$75

Fulham @ Newcastle

Newcastle has looked pretty bad this year, and they're yet to score a goal. Fulham hasn't looked impressive either, but they've looked better and are underdogs.

Fulham +0.25 (2.15) (2 units) -$200

Everton @ Cardiff

This is just an overreaction to Cardiff's fluke win over Man City last Sunday. If they have Baines and Fellaini, Everton is still one of the top teams in the league, and should be a bigger favorite.

Everton -0.25 (2.0) (1.5 units) -$75

Swansea @ West Brom

Swansea may have 0 points, but they've played Man United and Spurs. The Spurs game could've easily been a draw if not for a bad penalty decision, they can beat a West Brom side that looked bad against Everton and worse against Southampton.

Swansea -0 (2.0) (2 units) +$200

Friday, August 30, 2013

Biggest College Football Games of Week 1

This is going to be a weekly feature here this season, giving you a preview of the 5 biggest games of the week. The biggest games of the week are decided by the games with the biggest pot in my power ratings. All rankings are my power rating's. Here we go! (The pot for each game is in parentheses)

#1 Alabama vs. #28 Virginia Tech (51.27)
Alabama should win this one easily, although the Beamer Boys could put up a bit of a fight. Safe to say Virginia Tech will make a big jump in the polls if they win this game, and they'll move up in my power ratings too if they keep this game close.

#4 Georgia @ #22 Clemson (48.61)
This is the game most people are watching this week, but my ratings aren't high on Clemson so it's 2nd on the list. Ultimately, Georgia probably pulls through in a tight game.

#19 LSU @ #13 TCU (45.95)
Most people have LSU as the favorite here, but I've got TCU. The Horned Frogs have a lot of returning players and should get 9 or 10 wins this year, while LSU is in for their worst year in a while.

#40 Mississippi State @ #3 Oklahoma State (43.46)
Oklahoma State is one of my big surprise teams this year which is why this game makes the list. This should be an easy home victory for the Cowboys against the SEC West's perennial bottom feeder.

#43 Rice @ #9 Texas A&M (40.28)
Rice is my surprise non-BCS team of the year, and my computer has them at 11-1, losing only this game. This will not be a cakewalk for Texas A&M like everyone assumes, especially without Manziel for a half.

Honorable mentions:
#38 Boise State @ #17 Washington (39.19)
#11 Mississippi @ #45 Vanderbilt (38.13)
#46 North Carolina @ #12 South Carolina (37.75)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Premier League Picks: Week 2

Well, my Premier League picks are back for another week! Hopefully it'll be another week in the green.

Premier League Picks 2013-14: +$148
Premier League Picks Week 2: -$29

Crystal Palace @ Stoke City

I'm picking Stoke, and picking against Palace again. Stoke is significantly better than Palace and the handicap should be at -3/4 or even -1. I'm gonna put two units down here.

Stoke City -0.5 (1.83) (2 units) +$166

Norwich City @ Hull City

You guys already know how I feel about Norwich, and Hull looked pretty bad last week against Chelsea. I understand that many people are down on Norwich, but they should not be underdogs here.

Nowich City +0.25 (1.9) (2.5 units) -$250

Livepool @ Aston Villa

Everyone is jumping aboard the Villa train right now but I don't buy it. Sure, Benteke has looked good but it's highly unlikely that Villa keeps this form up all year. I think that Liverpool should win by a goal.

Liverpool -0.75 (2.1) (1 unit) +$55

Friday, August 16, 2013

Premier League Picks: Preseason and Week 1

Every week, I'll be giving my Premier League picks of the week. I'll play a wide variety of bets, but I'll normally stick with the more standard ones. First, I'll do some preseason bets and then I'll give my picks for the upcoming weekend of games.

Premier League Picks 2013-14: +$177
Premier League Picks Week 1: +$177

Preseason:

Chelsea to win the title (3.25) (2 units)

I've Predicted the blues will win the title will win the title and I'm sticking by it here. They have all the pieces they need to edge out the two Manchester clubs.

Sunderland to be relegated (6) (1.5 units)

I'm predicting Sunderland is going to be one of the three teams to go down, so this is a logical choice. They just don't have much Premier League experience.

Fulham to be relegated (7.5) (1 unit)

I also think Fulham is going to have a worse year than many expect and they could take the drop as well as the Black Cats.

Robin van Persie to be the top scorer (4.5) (0.5 units)

I'm willing to dump half a unit on one of the most consistent Premier League strikers to bag the most goals.

Michu to be the top scorer (51) (0.2 units)

Oh, come on, Michu should have better odds than this considering how prolific a scorer he was last year, even with Bony in Swansea now. I'm only dumping $20 on this one because while there is value here, the odds are still very low.

Sunderland AND Fulham to be relegated (67) (0.1 units)

I think it's worth $10 for something that probably has about a 3% chance of happening at these odds.

Crystal Palace AND Sunderland to be relegated (12) (0.5 units)

This is a nice booster to add to the Sunderland relegation bet, as Palace is an odds on favorite to go down.

Everton to finish in the top 8 (1.4) (2 units)

I mentioned in my season preview how Everton is far ahead of the bottom 13 teams, I don't see them slipping out of the top 8.

Norwich to finish in the top half (5.5) (1 unit)

I'm higher on Norwich than many this year, and I think that they have a realistic chance of pulling in the #9 or #10 spot.

Week 1 Bets:

I went a little crazy on the preseason bets so I'm limiting these to only two.

Stoke @ Liverpool

I'm high on both these teams this year, but especially the Potters. They're going to be about the same as last year, and it seems many people are picking them to be relegated. They can stay within 1 goal of Liverpool.

Stoke +1.25 (2.0) (1.5 units) +$75

Tottenham @ Crystal Palace

I know that Crystal Palace will be hungry in their first Premier League game, but Tottenham is still much better than them. I have no idea why Spurs aren't larger favorites.

Tottenham -0.75 (2.02) (2 units) +$102

That's all for now!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

2013-14 Premier League season preview

Well, the next season of the Premier League is just around the corner! In this article I'll be giving my table prediction for the upcoming season, along with assorted commentary. For the table predictions, I'll give detailed commentary for the top half of the table and more sparse commentary for the bottom half.

The Table:

1. Chelsea

Chelsea is the favorite to win this year in my opinion. Although all of the three predicted front runners have new managers, I feel as if Chelsea has the best one as Mourinho has experience at Stamford Bridge. I believe that one of the keys to Chelsea winning the title will be a great season from Romelu Lukaku. He showed what he is capable of last season while on loan to West Brom, and I think that if he plays better than that for a whole season, which is very possible, Chelsea has a great attacking threat. Combine that with Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, and I think Chelsea will win the league.

2. Manchester City

Pelligrini was a great hire, and I believe that he can lead City to multiple titles over the next few years. However, I'm not sure how I feel about their signings. I like Jesus Navas, but I'm not so sure about Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo. City also needs to pick up a center back before the transfer window closes on the 2nd to play in front of Joe Hart. Manchester City is coming off a turbulent season in which they were never really in title contention, but I think this year they'll finish much closer, just a few points behind Chelsea.

3. Manchester United

I think that Manchester United is in the worst shape out of the so-called "Top Three". In the short term, David Moyes' teams were not the best in important games over at Everton, and the Rooney saga hangs over the team. In the long term, backs Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are not getting any younger, and van Persie is the only truly cream of the crop striker the Red Devils have. A tough run of opening fixtures could set the pace for the season, and trouble early could mean trouble for Moyes and the team as a whole.

4. Arsenal

Everyone and their mother is picking the Gunners 4th, and I feel the same. This team does not have the talent to match up with the three teams ahead of them, even if they do sign Luis Suarez. I'm not sure how valid the concerns that Spurs will pass them for fourth are though, considering how great Arsenal looked last season from March onwards. I think that the key player to watch for the Gunners this year is Santi Cazorla. The winger is in the prime of his career, and without Suarez, he'll have to lead Arsenal to a Champions League spot or Arsene Wenger's head could be on the chopping block.

5. Tottenham

I very seriously considered putting Liverpool in this spot, but decided against it. I think that the summer-long Gareth Bale saga is going to weigh Spurs down, as we can't be sure whether or not Bale is still going to give a full effort in his disgruntled state.  However, what stopped me from putting the Reds in this spot is the signing of Paulinho. I think that he (along with Wilfried Bony and Ricky van Wolfswinkel) are the top candidates for signing of the summer. Roberto Soldado, from Valencia, is a quality striker who should pair up nicely with Jermain Defoe up front.

6. Liverpool

I think that the Reds' biggest mistake during the summer was not pursuing Henrikh Mkhitaryan (I'll admit I had to look up how to spell that) harder. I think that he is a great player who has a long, successful career with Borussia Dortmund ahead of him. However, as currently assembled, I think Liverpool can still contend for a Champions League place. Luis Suarez is, in my opinion, overrated, and should be sold. Even if he stays for the next few seasons, I still think Liverpool is in good shape with him and Daniel Sturridge leading them to many Champions League berths over the next few seasons.

7. Everton

It surprises me how many prognosticators have dropped Everton out of the top 7. I feel as if the top 7 are much better than the remaining 13 teams, and Everton is still in the top 7 despite losing David Moyes. I think Everton did a great job in keeping Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini at Goodison Park, as I really like both of them. However, I do have my concerns about Everton. It seems pretty strange to hire the manager of a relegated team, despite Roberto Martinez's reputation as an escape artist. Regardless, I think Everton finishes comfortably in 7th.

8.  Swansea City

Here is where the free-for-all in the table begins. Like last year, I expect there to be only about 15 points between the 8th placed team and the relegation zone. However, I'm placing the Swans at the top of that free-for-all because they appear to be the most well-assembled side among the bottom 13. Michael Laudrup is a great manager, and has assembled numerous underrated players such as Wilfried Bony, Nathan Dyer, and of course, Michu. I expect the Spaniard who came in on a bargain deal from Rayo Vallecano last summer to net 15 goals again, and possibly 20.

9. Southampton

Southampton? Really? Yes, really. And I can sum up why I have the Saints in the top half of the table in two words: Rickie Lambert. He appears to be peaking late in his career, and I think he is due for the best year of his career. Overall, Southampton are a solid side without him, and I think that they will stay up by a comfortable margin. However, I think that they need to make the most out of an easy first 3 months of fixtures before a much tougher stretch in December.

10. Newcastle United
I think that a bounce back season is in order at St. James' Park. I think that Loic Remy was a very good player to get on loan, as with a more talented supporting cast than he had at QPR I think he can net a number of goals. Newcastle has had their share of off the field turmoil this offseason, but I think that Papiss Cisse, in the center of said turmoil, is due for another good season as well.

11. Aston Villa

Christian Benteke is a piece to build around, and signing him through 2017 was a great move by Paul Lambert. Gabriel Agbonlahor, still on the front end of his career, could also be a force for the Villains and it wouldn't shock me to see them in the top half of the standings as they were a few years ago.

12. Norwich City

I already mentioned that I love the signing of Ricky van Wolfswinkel, and I think he and Robert Snodgrass make for a great attacking pair. Garrido is also a very solid back, and I think that if they get more cash, Norwich can have a side that does not have to worry about relegation for the next five years or so.

13. West Ham

West Ham seems like the most "blah" team in the Premier League to me. Andy Carroll is a nice piece to add full-time, instead of having on loan, and they have a very underrated keeper in Jussi Jaaskelainen.

14. West Brom

I think that the loss of Lukaku back to Chelsea is really going to be a big one for West Brom, as he was a big part in their success last year. However, Shane Long is still around, and I think that Claudio Yacob could have a breakout season in midfield.

15. Stoke City

It seems as if Stoke is a pretty common pick to go down along with one or two recently promoted sides, but I don't see why that's the case. Peter Crouch is a pretty good striker and Stoke was never in that much relegation danger last year.

16. Cardiff City

I think that Cardiff is going to escape relegation and spend a few years in the Premier League. Steven Caulker seems like a poor signing, but Gary Medel is an interesting one who I think could pay off big time for the Bluebirds. Cardiff, unlike Hull and Crystal Palace, has the money to build a Premier League side.

17. Fulham

I was very close to sending Fulham down, as I just don't see what they have going for them. Bryan Ruiz is OK at best, and the team as a whole looked lost at times last year, finishing relatively close to the relegation zone.

18. Sunderland

I think the Black Cats are headed down to the Championship. There seems to be a lot of uncertainty around this team, they have many players with little or no Premier League experience, and I'm not sure how motivated Fletcher and Sessegnon are going to be this year.

19. Hull City

Steve Bruce is not the best of managers, and Hull City really does not seem to have the talent, or the budget, to stay up. The signing of Tom Huddlestone, however, makes me slightly hesitant to put them here.

20. Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace is quite an easy choice to send down. It feels as if they got kind of lucky getting into the Championship playoffs, and then needed a fluky penalty on the edge of the area to beat Watford in the playoff final. Zaha is gone as well.

That's all for now! Premier League picks for week 1 will be up soon.

2013 College Football Preseason Bowl Projections

Well, as I promised in my last post, here are my bowl projections for the upcoming season. One thing to keep in mind if you don't like the walls of text my recent posts have been is that while the posts I make over the summer is mainly data, there's gonna be more text in my fall posts.

For numerous bowl games, I had to choose a team that does not have a tie-in to the bowl, as many conferences (such as the SEC and the Big 10) couldn't fill their tie-in requirements. Strangely enough, I had just the exact right number of bowl-eligible teams to fill up all the bowl slots.

National Championship                     #1 Alabama vs. #2 Texas
Rose                                                #3 Ohio State vs. #10 Oregon State
Fiesta                                               #6 Oklahoma State vs. #12 Northern Illinois
Sugar                                               #7 Georgia vs. #4 Cincinnati
Orange                                            #5 Miami (FL) vs. #9 Nebraska
Chick-Fil-A                                     #14 Florida State vs. LSU
Capital One                                     #11 Wisconsin vs. #8 South Carolina
Outback                                          #19 Michigan State vs. #23 Texas A&M
Gator                                              Michigan vs. Florida
Cotton                                             #13 Mississippi vs. #25 Kansas State
New Mexico                                   San Diego State vs. Arizona State
Famous Idaho                                 Potato Aarkansas State vs. Ball State
New Orleans                                   Louisiana-Monroe vs. Marshall
Las Vegas                                       Boise State vs. Arizona
Beef O' Brady's                               Houston vs. Middle Tennessee
Hawai'i                                            Tulsa vs. San Jose State
Poinsettia                                         Fresno State vs. Wake Forest
Little Caesars Pizza                          Ohio vs. Western Kentucky
Military                                            Maryland vs. North Texas
Kraft Fight Hunger                           BYU vs. Washington
Texas                                               Indiana vs. Duke
Russell Athletic                                 #24 Clemson vs. #16 Louisville
Pinstripe                                           Rutgers vs. Toledo
Belk                                                 Central Florida vs. Virginia Tech
Buffalo Wild Wings                           TCU vs. #20 Northwestern
Music City                                        Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee
Armed Forces                                  North Carolina State vs. UCLA
Alamo                                              #17 Oregon vs. Oklahoma
Holiday                                             Baylor vs. #18 Stanford
Independence                                   North Carolina vs. Western Michigan
Sun                                                   #15 Notre Dame vs. #22 USC
Liberty                                              #21 Rice vs. Missouri
Heart of Dallas                                  Buffalo vs. East Carolina
Compass                                          Connecticut vs. Vanderbilt
GoDaddy.com                                  Louisiana vs. Bowling Green

That's all for now! The next post will be my Premier League season preview.