Saturday, September 13, 2014

2014 NFL Week 2 Picks

If you missed last week's post, I'm tweeting out Thursday night picks and using vegasinsider.com for the lines each week.

Week 2

If I were a betting man, I'd parlay the Buccaneers -5.5 and Titans -3.5 with the Colts -3 on Monday, although you could talk me into the Jaguars +6 in place of Indy.

Baltimore -2.5 versus Pittsburgh

I got my tweet out late on Thursday, so I'm including a screenshot to show I was definitely in on the Ravens this week. It's amazing how often a team bands together and is galvanized in the face of adversity on a short week. Of course, being the home team on TNF definitely helps.

We'll have to keep an eye out to see whether Baltimore will stay dedicated to the run after the Week 1 debacle of allow Joe Flacco to fire up 62 passes after benching Bernard Pierce for his first career fumble. The big back looked better in this one along with old Cal favorite Justin Forsett, but that may have been a result of the Steelers getting gashed by the exact same zone blocking scheme that nearly cost them their opener, as well. The good new for Pittsburgh is that Le'Veon Bell looks great in an offense that was done in by red zone miscues, punctuated by an interception that Ngat-a whole lot of d-lineman can make. *crickets* Let's move on...

Miami +1 at Buffalo

As the line indicates, this is one of the toughest picks of the week with both teams coming off huge upsets. I'm going with the more talented team even though they're on the road and out their entire linebacker core because I still don't trust E.J. Manuel to be consistent. He could get rattled by this Dolphins defensive line that was all over Tom Brady in the second half last week. With how good Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon are at defensive end, I wonder if they'll convert last year's third overall pick, Dion Jordan, back to outside linebacker once he is reinstated with the league's new drug policy.

Alfred Morris needs to be consistently fed to get a W.
Jacksonville +6 at Washington

I actually think Washington wins this game at home, but the line is way too high given the talent levels of these teams. Of course, I thought the Jaguars would cover last week's +10.5, and they blew a 17-0 lead in agonizing fashion: a fumble return for a touchdown when down 10 with 1:24 left. I think whichever team stays patient with the running game and gets their workhorse back more touches takes this one.



Sunday, September 7, 2014

2014 NFL Week 1 Picks

Football is finally back, and I'm so excited that I'm bringing back my weekly picks. I'll try to keep the explanations succinct, especially in my new If I were a betting man feature that will focus on my favorite parlay options for that week. On weeks that I get these posts up after the Thursday night game (which will be most weeks), I will include a link to my tweets that announce the pick. Lastly, for consistency I will be making these picks based on the lines at vegasinsider.com.

Week 1 

If I were a betting man, I would make two separate 3 team parlays this week to cover the five picks I like. The Chargers +3 would be the one that I double up on with both Patriots -4/Vikings +3 and Steelers -7/Niners -4.5 since I think that's best value pick of the week and so that I could make hedge bets on MNF if I make it through the Sunday games.


Well, we're clearly off to a great start! Having arguably the best safety in the league, Earl Thomas, moonlight as a punt returning despite having hardly any experience at even the college level helped make this one close early. However, once Bryan Bulaga (a former first round pick who has had trouble staying healthy) was injured and replaced at right tackle by Derek Sherrod (a former first round pick who has had trouble staying healthy), Aaron Rodgers and the Packers had no chance against the league's best defense with that crowd noise.

I thought it'd at least be a good game with Green Bay having a legitimate chance to win and thus took the points. Not that it matters, but the Seahawks calling a Spider 2 Y Banana play on 4th and 1 with the game already out of hand was...interesting. Do you think Pete Carroll was hoping to be asked"What's your deal?"

New Orleans -3 at Atlanta

Brees' new toy might make a big impact.
The Falcons beefed up their line on both sides of the ball, but they have questions on the edges. I don't think they'll be able to get any pressure on Drew Brees, so the most intriguing aspect of this game to me is how first round pick Brandin Cooks will be utilized. The small speedster was already likely to get a lot of the underneath targets and special teams touches that used to go to Darren Sproles, but now that second year breakout candidate Kenny Stills is out for this game, Cooks could be in line for a more diverse role as the clear cut #3 target next to Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston doing their work in the middle.

The Saints' biggest acquisition, Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd, will be put to the test right away as he tries to help contain Julio Jones and Roddy White now that they're healthy and in line for the majority of the 119 targets that went to the now-retired Tony Gonazlez. Levine Toilolo has some potential with this size but is better suited as a blocker than a receiver for now. This game has some shootout potential, especially if Steven Jackson doesn't show any lingering effects for his hamstring issues. New Orleans is vulnerable against the run, but at the end of the day, they'll get more stops than the home team.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

2014 NBA Lottery Mock Draft

The most exciting draft in recent memory is almost upon us, so it's time to lay out my best guess at how the lottery is going to play out (there will be so many trades that trying to predict the rest is a crap shoot). The picks are how I think the draft actually will play out, but I make sure to specify how the teams should pick. Player details (age on draft night, height in shoes, weight, wingspan) are courtesy of draftexpress.com and ESPN.com.

1. Cleveland: Andrew Wiggins, Kansas SG/SF. 19, 6' 8.75", 197, 7'0"
Wiggins caught scouts' attention in 2012
What the pick should be: Wiggins. Longtime followers know that I've been a fan since he dominated the 2012 Nike Hoop Summit as the youngest player there, and he topped my draft board even before Embiid broke his foot. He has the second highest ceiling while also maintaining a high floor; at the very least I expect a 3-and-D wing similar to Trevor Ariza, which isn't bad at all considering Ariza is about to get another large free agent contract. I can see the comparisons to Tracy McGrady due to his size and fluid athleticism, but for now, he reminds me most of a young Paul George (it's no coincidence that I compared PG to T-Mac before the 2010 draft). He'll provide lock-down perimeter defense right away while his ability to create remains a work in progress. His jumper was streaky, but his form looks improved in his workouts in Santa Barbara (catch UCSB's Thunderdome make an appearance near the end).
Why this is the pick: The Cavs were ready to take Embiid after he impressed them in workouts, but that is when the stress fracture in his foot was discovered. They could trade down to a team that is in love with Wiggins like Philly and pick up Thaddeus Young and one or two of the Sixers' five 2nd round picks while still getting the other Jayhawk at #3. A young veteran like Young would fulfill ownership's mandate to add an impact player to compete now. If they keep the pick, Parker may be the choice because he is the most NBA-ready prospect on offense while bringing the least risk, but I believe Wiggins will help this team the most since he'll fit in at both the 2 and the 3, he'll provide defense for a team that badly needs it, and he won't need to fight for shots with Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, or Anthony Bennett. He should benefit from the spacing of the NBA game, and I'm intrigued by the system new coach David Blatt will bring from Europe.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Warriors nab Kerr; now what?

After a year off due to focusing on work, I finally found some personal time to dust off this blog. The timing of Steve Kerr's official press conference and the NBA Lottery results didn't hurt, either.




The meme on the left comes (courtesy of Steve McPherson) hilariously depicts just how much Warriors owner Joe Lacob wanted Steve Kerr to coach his team, while the picture of Kevin Love on the right (from two years back) happens to resemble Joaquin Phoenix in the Spike Jonze film that the meme orginiates.

Kerr said at his introductory press conference yesterday that this team could use a stretch 4.

Love shot 37.6% on 6.6 three point attempts per game this season, is threatening to leave Minnesota next summer, and is apparently intrigued with the Warriors.

See where I'm going with this?

Now that the Warriors have gotten the coach they set their eyes on, the next logical question is "where does he want them to go from here?" My answer is an all out trade for Kevin Love.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

2013 NFL Mock Draft V2

I wrote a bit too much about team needs and fit in my first mock draft, so here's a more succinct version that now includes trades. These trades are purely based on gut calls. Happy Draft Day everyone!

1. Chiefs: Eric Fisher, Central Michigan OT: The media buzz is that Fisher is now the pick.

2. Jaguars: Dion Jordan, Oregon DE/OLB: I think the talk of taking one of tackles is a smokescreen, or a trade is still a possibility.
Jordan's versatility makes him appealing to a lot of teams.

Friday, April 19, 2013

NFL Mock Draft 2013


It's been a while since my last post since I started working with Krossover Sports as a game analyst, where we help teams such as Amherst, the D3 national champs. With the NFL Draft fast approaching, it's time to dust off the keyboard. This mock draft is based on how the prospects fit with each team in a way that reflects my personal rankings.
Joeckel may not have as much upside at #1, but he's the safest pick.
1. Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M OT: The new regime in Kansas City has inherited a talented, albeit underachieving, roster that has been supplemented by strong free agent signings and the Alex Smith trade. One of those free agents is left tackle Branden Albert, who was given a one year deal via the Franchise Tag. That gives the Chiefs the option to let Joeckel, the safest prospect in the draft, develop on the right side for a year, or they can trade Albert to a tackle needy team in order to regain an asset.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Big Game: Harbowl, 2013

After what has seemed like the longest two weeks since the Conference Championship games, Super Bowl Sunday is finally upon us. I avoided writing posts for the previous rounds out of fear of a jynx for my favorite team and my pre-season Super Bowl pick. You see, the last time the 49ers beat the Packers in the playoffs at home, they also went on the road to Atlanta the following week, in the 1998 playoffs. The win over the Packers needed a miracle catch by Terrell Owens on a day in which he struggled with drops (and on a play in which it seemed like virtually anyone else was open instead), and then on the first play from scrimmage against the Falcons, runningback Garrison Hearst's ankle exploded. So you can understand my superstition.