Who am I?

I'm from Houston, a graduate of the University of Texas, a fan of the Houston Astros and Houston Texans. But this blog will be about the "greater sports", whatever that means.

Follow me on Twitter: @lhd_on_sports

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LHD_PotW (244) MLB (102) NFL (95) NCAA (85) NBA (49) NFL Playoffs (40) NHL (37)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/25/2016

The Sportsman of the Week has been ignoring the NFL so far, but frankly there hasn't been a significant standout to date.  But Week 3, a quarterback with a lot of scrutiny (defending Super Bowl Champion scrutiny) stepped into a hostile environment and shined.  Trevor Siemian of the Denver Broncos looked unfazed in "The Jungle" in Cincinnati in dissecting the Bengals defense for a key AFC win.  He ended his flawless performance a spectacular 23-35, but for four touchdowns and nary an interception.  Now having defeated the Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals, it's getting hard to fathom that Denver won't be back in the AFC playoff hunt, let alone the Super Bowl chase.  For now, Siemian is our Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/18/2016

Week 3 of College Football proved to sort out those teams at the top of the playoff hunt.  Look no further than Louisville demolishing Top 3 Florida State.  Led by Quarterback Lamar Jackson's arm and legs.  The sophomore quarterback shredded the highly touted Seminole defense for 146 yards and 4 TDs on the ground.  When he decided not to run, he 13/20 for over 200 yards for over 10 yards per attempt, nearly 20 yards per completion (so these weren't the short variety).  He probably would have thrown more if the Noles had put up any resistance to the run.  Through three games, Jackson has run for over 100 yards and passed for over 200 yards in all three games.  He's moved to the front of the Heisman line, and is our Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

J.R. Ewing College Football Picks: 9/17/2016

Big games call for big picks from a guy with a big hat
Well well well, I picked a few pigs in a poke last week going 3-2.  Now with more data, I'm sure to improve.

Summary:
Previous Week: 3-2 (+80)
Season: 5-5 (-$50, always remember the house take, folks)

With two data points, it seems easier to pigeon hole teams.  But a bettor still can't overreact.  Some strange point spreads (i.e. 0-2 Northwestern with losses to Group of 5/FCS favored against Power 5).  So look at fundamentally which teams look best.  So stay away from that one.  Instead, let's pick the big games this week.

Here are your five winners of the week:

Florida State (-1) at Louisville (Noon EDT)

Big early ACC game worthy of the hype.  Louisville has been very impressive against inferior competition, but Florida State had the big win against Ole Miss.  If this were a night game, I might lean to the Cardinals.  But an early kick off to me takes the crowd a bit out of it.  Not sure Louisville is ready for the step up, in a pick 'em game, I take the Noles.

Nebraska (-3) vs. Oregon (3:30 p.m. EDT)
An intriguing interleague match up.  Oregon just doesn't look good on defense against bad teams, and Nebraska is good.  The rabid Huskers crowd should disrupt Oregon's offense and carry the Big Red to victory.  By more than a FG.

Texas A+M (+3.5) at Auburn (7:00 p.m. EDT)
The Aggies have won two in a row at Auburn and play well (1) on the SEC road and (2) early in the season.  They already beat a ranked team, Auburn lost a close one to Clemson but the Aggies have weapons on both sides of the ball and they're being given points.  I like Texas A+M.

Oklahoma (+1.5) vs Ohio State  (7:30 p.m. EDT)
Bob Stoops at home is just too juicy.  Especially against an inexperienced (but good) team.  It will be a lively home crowd hungry to show the Nation that the Houston loss was not their best effort.  OU QB Baker Mayfield won't drop another one (and again, I'm being given points at home?). 


California (+7) vs Texas  (10:30 p.m. EDT)
Intriguing rematch of a contest Cal won last year in Austin by 1 on a missed PAT.  They had Goff.  They no longer have Goff, but are at home.  Texas looked good against Notre Dame (still took to OT, could have lost) and mediocre against Texas El Paso (with injuries).  Injuries are playing, but how healthy are these guys?  How will a freshman QB fare in his first road game?  With a night crowd?  This seems like a FG type game so I'll take the 7 points.

I feel bad for betting against Texas and for Oklahoma, but I did take the home state Aggies.  Go Texas teams!

- JR Ewing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/11/2016

College football slowed down a little bit in Week 2, with fewer key national matchups, but one emerging star accelerated.  Arizona State's Kalen Ballage put on a barrage of touchdowns against a paper weak Texas Tech defense.  To the tune of eight touchdowns.  That ties an NCAA record.  What's more amazing was on offense, he only touched the ball 15 times.  That's a .533 TD percentage!  Unheard of for anyone getting more than 3 or 4 touches.  Overall the Sun Devils scored 68 points in a 13 point win against a bowl team from a respected conference.  Ballage had eight touchdowns coming into the game in two full seasons plus a game.  He has put the nation on notice, and is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Friday, September 9, 2016

J.R. Ewing College Football Picks: 9/24/2016

I'm tired of being pushed around, time to win
Well a so-so week of proverbially kissing my sister, with a 2-2-1 effort.  Shocking losses for the Sooners and Seminoles submarined my genius picks involving my home state teams of Texas A+M and Texas. 

Summary:
Previous Week: 2-2-1 (-20)
Season: 7-7-1 (-$70, always remember the house take, folks)

Conference season starts for the most part this week, with a lot of good SEC matchups (as always).  I like to pick games a TD or less b/c luck of how much a team wins by is reduced.  My stay away from game of the week is wrecked Florida State traveling to South Florida.  Just a six point favorite, the 'Noles are headed to a red hot 3-0 team that's had this game circled.  But let's move to the games you SHOULD actually pick.

Here are your five winners of the week:

Michigan (-18) vs Penn State (Noon EDT)

Michigan has been a winning and covering machine.  Penn State just isn't up to speed yet, giving up 69 points their last two games (and they weren't playing ranked teams).  Michigan was rough to start last week vs. Colorado but won going away.  Seems like even the large point spread will be no match.

Tennessee (-6.5) vs Florida (3:30 p.m. EDT)

A series dominated by Florida makes for a very hungry Tennessee squad.  This is the first of their revenge games (Alabama the next).  Florida is banged up at quarterback and is talent deficient in this matchup.  The caveat is how bad Tennessee has looked so far.  But I think they put their best game together and win by a TD (or more).
Auburn (+3.5) vs Louisiana State (7:00 p.m. EDT)

This is mostly an anti-LSU pick.  They haven't gotten anything going (0-3 ATS) and now travel to hostile Auburn who is a wounded lion after a decisive loss to a sharp Texas A+M team.  They will play with desperation and I just don't think LSU is that good.

Stanford (-3) at UCLA (8:00 p.m. EDT)

Two teams expected to contend for the Pac 12 title and both have shown strength.  Stanford with Christian McCaffrey just looks like a more complete team.  Pac 12 road teams usually aren't phased by the relatively laid back crowds.  Stanford hasn't won by fewer than 10 points and that will likely continue.  And you get a push for a last second winning FG.

Texas A+M (-6) vs. Arkansas (9:00 p.m. EDT)

Since joining the SEC, Texas A+M is 4-0 against the Hogs winning all games by 7 points or more.  And those weren't bad Arkansas teams, this years' squad may not stack up.  Meanwhile the Aggies are rolling and have covered every spread so far this season.  This could be close and the Aggies could still cover.

Have a great football weekend!

J.R. Ewing College Football Picks: 9/10/2016

I should have never picked against Texas
Not a great start to the season for the Blog picks, but not a disaster at 2-3.  Week 2 is always the hardest to handicap because you have just one data point (which one is likely to overreact) and teams improve the most between Weeks 1 and 2.  In other words, nobody knows what to expect (gamblers nightmare).  So stick to fundamentals and see how it works out.

Summary:
Previous Week: 2-3 (-$130)
Season: 2-3 (-$130)

Each week I give you five picks at -110 against the spread.  You figure you spread your genius over 5 picks, you can feast (and you get a net win or loss every week).  Point spreads by VegasInsider.com.



Penn State (+5) at Pittsburgh (Noon EDT)
Can't pass up picking a rivalry game, as the Nittany Lions and Panthers face off for 9th time, but first time since 2000.  Expect steady improvement from Penn State who is getting their feet under them after the Joe Paterno fallout and a new coach.  To me, Penn State looked stronger in Week 1 so given a few points, I'll take Nittany.

Ohio (+2.5) at Kansas (2:30 pm EDT)

Let's not get too ahead of ourselves with Kansas.  They still only have 4 wins against FBS teams over the last three years.  Ohio is a solid MAC team that plays consistently and gives every team a challenge.  in a near pick'em game, I like the team that's used to winning.


Tennessee (-11) vs. Virginia Tech (Bristol Motor Speedway, 8:00 pm EDT)

Tennessee is hungry to bounce back and got caught by a very good Appalachian State team known for early season upsets.  They come out for blood and catch Virginia Tech in phase one of rebuilding mode.  Two touchdowns is easy.

Texas Tech (+2.5) at Arizona State (10:00 pm EDT)


Texas Tech's offense is nearly impossible to prepare for.  In what is a tossup pairing of teams likely bowl bound, but not likely to contend for a conference title, I take the slight underdog.


Oregon (-24) vs. Virginia (10:30 pm EDT)

Virginia was really bad at home in a humiliating loss to Richmond.  Oregon's defense is suspect, but the offense should roll.  In a very high scoring game I would like the Ducks to win something like 50-21, easily covering the 24 pts.

Have a great Saturday!

-JR

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/4/2016

Football is back, and some called the opening weekend of College Football the best opening weekend ever.  They may be right.  Three Top 10 teams go down, there were overtime games, comebacks, and outstanding individual efforts.  We give a nod to an upset effort, and that of a so called Group of Five against Power Five 2015 College football playoff participant.  Greg Ward Jr. of the Houston Cougars made believers out of many college football fans in shredding the defending Big 12 Champion Oklahoma Sooners defense.  The 23/40 may not jump off the screen, but tossing for 321 yards, 2 TD, and no interceptions was the key.  And keeping his team on the field for 35 minutes, despite a special teams score that immediately short circuited his ability to control clock.  Greg Ward Jr. has defeated Florida State and Oklahoma in consecutive starts.  Will the Cougars make the playoffs?  I wouldn't doubt Ward.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

J.R. Ewing College Football Picks: 9/3/2016

I'm back for 2016!
College Football season is back!  As a resident of Texas, I cannot wait to put my hard earned oil money up against the house and bring you winners.  Goodness knows, oil ain't bringing me no money.

Each week I give you five picks at -110 against the spread.  You figure you spread your genius over 5 picks, you can feast (and you get a net win or loss every week).  Point spreads by VegasInsider.com.

Opening week features a number of big out of conference matchups.  The unpredictability of an opener might encourage one to lean toward underdogs.  I look more for heavyweight matchups pegged close that I like the favorite.

Missouri (+10) at West Virginia
Saturday 9/3 Noon EDT

This is an SEC vs. Big 12 play.  Both are middling teams in their conference and have key players being replaced.  Seems like Missouri can keep it within a TD.

Southern Methodist (-12) at North Texas
Saturday 9/3 7:00 EDT

Battle of bad 2015 teams, but SMU was 2-10 in a much better conference than North Texas.  North Texas was awful.  SMU won by 17 last year and North Texas is in transition and Ponies coach Chad Morris has a one season head start.  I can't possibly see this within two TD.  Can't possibly.

Clemson (-7.5) at Auburn
Saturday 9/3 9:00 EDT

Clemson is one of the elite teams in 2016 (and 2015) and no reason to think they won't continue that.  Auburn is not quite there yet.  Seems like a double digit win is in the cards.

Notre Dame (-3.5) at Texas
Sunday 9/4 7:30 EDT

Notre Dame owns Texas (9-2, last loss 1970 Cotton bowl when Texas won the National Championship).  You have a veteran team against the young Longhorns who will likely start a freshman QB and has no proven offensive weapons.  Under a TD doesn't seem fair.

Florida State (-4.5) vs. Ole Miss (Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL)
Monday 9/5, 8:00 EDT

Neutral site game, but this should be a coming out party for the Seminoles.  Favored by many to make the playoffs, the Seminoles should be poised for a TD win or more.

We'll keep our season total and report back the major haul we take!

-JR


Monday, August 29, 2016

Sportsman of the Week Ending 8/28/2016

Babe Ruth's career slightly predated this Blog (and all Blogs, and the internet, and even televised baseball games.  But the latest New York Yankees hitting prospect is drawing comparisons, and it's completely justified given his numbers.  Catcher Gary Sanchez was the start of the Yankees youth movement, in many ways hastening the retirement of Alex Rodriguez.  Since his call up on August 3, Sanchez has been torrid.  Eleven home runs in 21 games.  Team is 12-9 over that span, thrusting them back into the American League Wild Card discussion.  For this week, Sanchez was 5 HR in 6 games (he's not slowing down), 12-23 (8 of the 12 hits for extra bases), slugging 1.304.  As Mark Teixeira said, teams would walk Sanchez to get to Babe Ruth at this point.  And he's right.  Gary Sanchez is our Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Campus Tailgate: Season Preview show (8/27/2016)

College football fans will want to check out a new YouTube show.  Modeled after ESPN's The Sports Reporters, we hope to discuss the biggest college football stories each week.  My friends Kelvin Lapierre and Michael Prosser and I walk through some of the keys of the first week, including the Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech showdown at Bristol, big matchups in Texas, including Oklahoma at Houston, Notre Dame at Texas, and UCLA vs. Texas A+M.  We talk the Florida State QB situation (projected playoff team) and whether or not Oregon is in a full blown slide.  And to round it out, a lot of Big 12 expansion discussion.  Check out the show here and subscribe to the Campus Tailgate channel!