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


LHD_PotW (198) MLB (95) NFL (83) NCAA (73) NBA (43) NFL Playoffs (32) NHL (32)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/22/2015

Busy time in sports, but this week to go off the Big Four for a comeback story.  Kyle Busch was just about given up for dead after a horrific crash at Daytona in February rendered him with broken bones in his leg and foot and shattered dreams.  Fast forward eight months, and the Toyota driver is your Chase Cup Champion.  Busch won a relatively easy sprint from a yellow flag against the field (including Kevin Harvick) that appeared to be stuck in mud to win the Ford EcoBoost 400 in Miami-Homestead, the final 2015 race and to secure the Chase Cup title.  A worthy Sportsman of the Week!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

College Football Picks - 11/21/2015

First the price of oil, now this?
The season has taken a turn for the worse for sure.  The last set of picks on a blog were Halloween and I was haunted by an 0-5 finish.  Since then, I've been busy trying to land some oil deals with the price of crude so low, noting I only got a blog out on 11/7 and didn't make picks on 11/14.  I needed the breather.  The 11/7 picks were (2-3) with Houston and Penn State covering.

Week of 11/21
Winnings 10/31 and 11/7: -680 (2-8)
Winnings to date: -$850 (19-25-1, 17% loss)

I will not be deterred.  Going with some hot hands this week, teams that have been covering week after week.

North Carolina (-4) at Virginia Tech (11:00 am CDT)

The Tar Heels are rolling averaging over 60 points the last two games.  Virginia Tech is limping along beating bad teams.  The higher the scoring, the easier it seems to cover just barely over a FG.  Good bet on Blue here.

LSU (+6.5) at Mississippi (2:30 pm CDT)

Everyone's beating up on the Tigers, but the losses to the red hot Hogs and an inspired Alabama were understandable.  This is another rivalry game (they have like four counting Alabama, Arkansas, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss) and Miles will have his guys ready.  The wounded Tiger defends their pride.

Oregon (-4) vs. Southern California (2:30 pm CDT) - Pick of the Week

I'm taking Oregon against any point spread at this point.  Novice bettors are remembering their early season struggles.  They beat a good Stanford team last week and still have a shot at the Pac 12 Championship if they get help.  They probably win by two TD.

Arkansas (-5) vs. Mississippi State (6:00 pm CDT)

The aforementioned Hogs have found their stride.  The Dawgs limp in after a physical whooping at the hand of Alabama.  The physical Razorbacks continue the pounding and roll by a TD in this one.

Texas A+M (-6) at Vanderbilt (6:30 pm CDT)

This is really an indictment of how bad the Aggies are playing.  This was almost a Top 10 team before Alabama took it to them.  With QB questions, the Aggies might struggle against a good Vandy defense.  But they have too many explosive players to keep it under a TD.

When in doubt, go with the hot hand.  The time is now to cut losses!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/15/2015

After 200 weeks of Sportsmen and Sportswomen of the week, last week's sportsman was vacant.  To make up from lost time, we'll award a Sportsman this week that could have been last week's as well.  Alabama's Derrick Henry went from somewhere near the Top 5 Heisman discussion to the clear cut favorite in two weeks.  First week, Alabama dominated Louisiana State to put a stranglehold on the SEC East.  The second week, Alabama defeated another SEC West ranked contender in Mississippi State to further solidify their position.  For the two weeks, 50 carries, 416 yards, and 5 TDs.  Which is 3 TDs more than both his opponents combined.  With an SEC title game and potential playoff run, 2000 yards is within reach.  Derrick Henry is our Sportsman of the Week!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sportsman of the Week - 200 weeks

The mainstay of my blog the last four years has been the Sportsman (or Sportswoman) of the week.  With just a few exceptions, I've managed to publish a short piece highlighting a strong sports performance over the previous week (always Monday through Sunday).  My criteria was simple.  Think broadly (not just the core four sports), favor the unsung over the famous, avoid repeats to the maximum practicable extent, winning your game is of the utmost importance, choose only one sportsman (only violated once), always include an action photo (which becomes my Twitter avatar for the week), and make it fun.

So here's a brief synopsis on how it's played out:

I only missed five weeks over nearly four years.  2/19/2012, 9/1/2013, 2/2/14, 3/16/14, 3/22/15.  Sometimes it was so late or I was on vacation or there wasn't a strong candidate, I just let it go.

Only once did I double up.  Just couldn't decide and decided I'd make the rule.  It was 1/5/14

That makes 196 awards Sportsmen and Sportswomen of the Week starting January 1, 2012 with Keith Price, QB from Washington.

Baseball has had the most, but remember how long the seasons are and the summer is void of hoops and football.  Even archery and dog racing got in the act:

By Sport:
MLB: 49 (note the long regular season w/o competition from football)
College Football: 20
NBA: 17
Golf: 14
NHL/Hockey:12 (Olympic hockey included)
Tennis: 11
Soccer: 7
Auto Racing: 6
NCAA Basketball: 6
Cycling: 5
Horse Racing: 4
Archery: 1
Swimming: 1
Track and Field: 1
Boxing: 1
Skiing: 1
Cricket: 1
Dog Racing: 1

And was there a regional bias? Judge for yourself (remembering that New York, LA, and Chicago have a lot more professional teams). 

By Pro City:
New York: 12
San Francisco:  9
Los Angeles: 7
Denver: 7
Washington, DC: 5
Houston: 4
Oklahoma City:4
Pittsburgh: 4
New Orleans: 3
St. Louis:3
Philadelphia: 3
Milwaukee/Green Bay: 3
Kansas City: 3
Tampa: 2
Atlanta: 2
Seattle: 2
San Antonio: 2
Cleveland: 2
Oakland: 2
Fulham (ENG): 1
New Jersey: 1
Barcelona: 1
Phoenix: 1
Minneapolis: 1
Montreal: 1
Portland: 1
Ottawa: 1

Not all awardees are on teams, for tennis, golf, Olympics, etc., there are countries represented by individual or Olympic team sport athletes.

By individual's country:
USA: 23
Italy: 3
England: 2
Mexico: 2
Kenya: 2
Germany: 2
S. Korea: 2
Australia: 2
Colombia: 2
Scotland: 1
Belarus: 1
Russia: 1
Jamaica: 1
Serbia: 1
Dominican Republic: 1
Brazil: 1
France: 1
Canada: 1
Northern Ireland: 1
Sri Lanka: 1

And lest we forget colleges, including some of my favorite team's rivals who sneaked in there more often than they should

By College:
Texas A+M: 2
Oklahoma: 2
Alabama: 2
Wisconsin: 2
Ohio State 2
U of Washington: 1
Florida State: 1
Baylor: 1
Michigan State: 1
Army: 1
South Carolina: 1
Miami: 1
Florida Gulf Coast: 1
Fresno State: 1
Navy: 1
Auburn: 1
Pittsburgh: 1
Clemson: 1
Iowa State: 1
UConn: 1
East Carolina: 1

And which conferences? Pretty even spread:
Big 12 4
Big 10 4
Service Academies: 2
Other 2
Big East/AAC: 2
Pac 12 1

And as I stated, I avoid repeat winners when possible.  But sometimes the performance dictates.

Here are the complete list of repeat winners:

Three time winners:
Peyton Manning (2013, 2014, 2014)
Aaron Rodgers (2013, 2013, 2014)
Drew Brees (2012, 2015, 2015)

Two time winners:
Le'veon Bell (2012, 2014)
LeBron James (2013, 2013)
Russell Westbrook (2013, 2015)
Bubba Watson (2012, 2014)
Kevin Durant (2012, 2014)
Carey Price (2014, 2014)
Ezekiel Elliott (2015, 2015)
Nelson Cruz (2014, 2015)
Chris Froome (2013, 2015)
Serena Williams (2012, 2015)
Tom Brady  (2015, 2015)

And there are just some oddities that result from such an exercise.  Here are a list of odd facts throughout the years.
  • The first ever winner was from the Pac 10, never one since.
  • Only cities with more than 5: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver
  • Noteworthy colleges with none: Texas, Stanford, Michigan, and Florida (note that Florida Gulf Coast got one)
  • Wisconsin the only college to have a winner two sports (football and basketball)
  • Le'veon Bell the only athlete to win in college and pros
  • Cities without: San Diego, Buffalo, Charlotte, Nashville.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder the only team with two multiple winners
  • Thirteen Sportsman of the Week have been for no-hitters
  • There's been twelve Sportswomen of the week (eleven individuals plus Serena twice)
  • 28% of the time, the winner is not from baseball, football, basketball, or hockey
  • Besides the Unites States (23), no other country has won more than 2 besides Italy.  The United Kingdom has up to six, Bradley Wiggins and Justin Rose (England), Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Chris Froome twice (Kenyan, but British by ancestry), and Andy Murray (Scotland).
  • Froome (British), Nelson Cruz (Dominican Republic) and Carey Price (Canada) are the only two non-Americans to repeat.
  • Nelson Cruz the only baseball player to repeat.
  • Golf (14) is the top sport outside of the Big four (actually ahead of hockey).
Most of all, I want to thank you, the faithful readers of the Blog.  It's fun to come up with a Sportsman.  I can't promise to have one 98% of the time the next 4 years, but I'll try!

- Longhorndave

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/1/2015

There is a new legend among Sportsmen of the week, and his name is Drew Brees.  The ageless, undersized wonder did it again for the New Orleans Saints.  In what can only be described as an old fashioned New Orleans shootout, Brees bested the New York Giants Eli Manning with a 39-50, 505 yards, 7 TD performance.  The 7 TDs ties a single game record for TD passes, just another notch on the future Hall of Famer's belt.  And every bit of it required for his Saints to prevail over the Giants 52-49 at the final whistle. The game was crucial to the Saints fledgling playoff hopes as the win moved them to 4-4.  This is Brees's third Sportsman of the Week nomination, and second in 2015 tying him for the most ever.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

College Football Picks - 10/31/2015

I am dressed up like an Oil Barron for Halloween
Happy Halloween to all the spooks, ghosts, and goblins out there.  Last week wasn't too shabby as a recovered some of my gambling losses.

Week of 10/24
Winnings last week: +80 (3-2)
Winnings to date: -$170 (17-17-1, 4.4% loss) - Just the houses take.

This week I found a number of games that I liked but didn't quite make this (see at the end).  But here are the J.R. Ewing winners mostly from the SEC and Big 12.

Auburn (+7.5) vs. Mississippi (11:00 am CDT)

I like being given a touchdown plus at home in the SEC West.  Ole Miss has lost (straight up) its last two road games, I see the Tigers circling the wagons and at least keeping it close.

Texas Tech (+2.5) vs Oklahoma State (2:30 pm CDT)  - Pick of the Week

Oklahoma State has skated through the season so far without facing any of the big boys and has an undefeated record to go with it.  Lubbock is a tough place to play, this will be the Cowboys biggest challenge and I see Tech winning in a shootout (what would you expect with Red Raiders vs. Cowboys).  As a side bet, take the over on 77.5

Georgia (+2.5) vs Florida (2:30 pm CDT) - Jacksonville

Another game where I like getting point.  Before the season, experts would have had Georgia a double-digit favorites.  Now on a slide and without their star RB, the Bulldogs are getting points.  Both sides have very green QBs in a large stage.  I see the more experienced coaching staff of Georgia coaxing them to a victory.

Texas (-4) at Iowa State (6:00 pm CDT)

Everyone knows I have a bias here, but the Cyclones have only won three Big 12 games the past 2+ seasons and most of those were against Kansas.  The Longhorns are improving every week with Heard at QB and an improving running game.  I could see it being about a TD, but I could also see it being about 3 TDs.  Heck, the Longhorns could win in overtime and cover this.

Notre Dame (-10.5) at Temple (7:30 pm CDT)

With all due respect to Temple, this is a big step up in competition.  Also of note, the crowd will probably be split pretty evenly given the Irish's popularity in major east coast metropolitan areas (like Philadelphia.  Notre Dame is so well coached, they'll roll up their sleeves and take care of the Owls by 2 TD or more.

Other teams I like: Houston (-10.5), California (+4), South Carolina (+15.5), Washington State (+10.5).  Just didn't have enough room!

No tricks above, only treats!  Enjoy your Saturday!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/25/2015

The Kansas City Royals are rolling this postseason, and their leadoff hitter is a big reason why.  Alcides Escobar could not be kept off base in the American League Championship Series.  For the last week, he was 8/16 plus a HBP edging his on-base percentage north of .500.  Throw in 4 RBI and 4 runs scored and he was essentially involved in two runs per game for his team.  Throw in some gold glove caliber defense, and the ALCS MVP is a big reason that the Kansas City Royals are poised to win their first World Series in 30 years, and maybe one of several in the next decade.

Friday, October 23, 2015

College Football Picks - 10/24/2015

Recap of last week's picks
Another rough week for picks.  For the four losses, none were even close.  Alabama carried the day to save from complete disaster.  I drank way too much of the Bill Snyder and Jim Harbaugh cool-aid.  But we do not dwell in the past, we look to the second half of the season. 

First a recap of where we are:

Week of 10/17
Winnings last week: -$340 (1-4)
Winnings to date: -$250 (14-15-1, 7.6% loss)

And here are this week's picks.  All road warriors, including three ranked teams touted as underdogs.

Note that it's $110 to win $100 on each, odds from vegasinsider.com

Clemson (-7) at Miami (11:00 am CDT)

Miami used to be a stadium to be feared.  But that was when all the games seemed to be at night and fans actually showed up.  Early kickoff should keep the home field advantage at bay.  Meanwhile Clemson is putting together a playoff resume.  Conference wins on the road over second tier teams is a must.  By more than a TD.  They'll do it.

Houston (-22) at Central Florida (11:00 am CDT)

The Houston Cougars have been a major story under the radar this year, streaking out to an undefeated record with a win over Louisville on the road.  No matter what point spread you throw at them, they cover.  They average 46 points per game.  Central Florida has been awful at 0-7 giving up 30+ points per game.  This will be high scoring and 3 TD plus is no problem.  UConn beat this team by 27.

Duke (+3) at Virginia Tech (2:30 pm CDT)

Duke is always a favorite of this blog.  Bettors still don't take them seriously because of basketball.  Once again they're ranked in all polls.  Facing a middling Virginia Tech team that doesn't seem to be improving.  Give me points on the road?  I like it.  Also worth noting the game isn't at night where the Hokies play with more of an edge.

Texas A&M (+5.5) at Mississippi (6:00 pm CDT) - Pick of the Week

Despite a final score nowhere near the line, Texas A&M looked like they could hang with Alabama if they just didn't make so many mistakes.  The defense is vastly better than last year and if their QB tandem can avoid disastrous mistakes they are the better team here.  The Aggies have always played well on the road in the SEC as well, including 2-0 in Oxford.  Ole Miss is 1-2 in their last 3 games with the only win over a rollover OOC.  Aggies probably win straight up.

Utah (+3.5) at  Southern California (6:30 pm CDT)

Last week I thought Southern California might surprise Notre Dame.  They hanged around but didn't deliver any sort of knock out punch.  Utah probably has the most complete resume of a Top 5 team, with wins over California and Michigan (ranked) as well as Arizona State and Oregon (formerly ranked).  The Pac 12 tends to have strong records on the road, I don't see why Utah shouldn't win straight up against a Trojans team adjusting to a new Head Coach.

Enjoy your college football Saturday!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/18/2015

The Major League Baseball playoffs continue and a new hero emerged.  The New York Mets continued an amazing season with an improbable postseason run.  Previously unsung infielder Daniel Murphy has put his team and an entire city on his back in etching his name into New York Postseason lore.  In NLDS Game 5 in Los Angeles, the game and series turned when he surprised the Dodgers by stealing an unoccupied third base after a walk against the shift.  He scored on a sacrifice fly to tie it.  He followed his next at bat with a solo home run in a 3-2 win.  Against the favored Chicago Cubs in the NLCS Games 1 and 2, he hit home runs in each game and led his team to a pair of wins.  For the week, he was 8-20, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R.  In the last four games, he knocked in 6 of his teams 12 runs and scored the 7th run.  His 5 HR burst in the postseason is much more than his 14 HR in 2015 would expect.  If the Mets get past the Cubs, you can put a cape on Murphy and call him Superman.  Or the Sportsman of the Week!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

College Football Picks - 10/17/2015

Hook'em Horns!
A mediocre week in which two favorites picked to cover (Oklahoma and Georgia) couldn't win straight up.  Combined with TCU barely holding on for a win and it was a downer overall.  But I was glad to see my Longhorns beat those Sooners so it was all worth it.

So far for the season, treading water eeking out a meager profit.

Week of 10/10
Winnings last week: -$130 (2-3)
Winnings to date: +$90 (13-11-1, 3% profit)

There are tons of great games this week, so I'm leaning toward selecting the biggest one from each of the major conferences except the ACC which doesn't have the marquee matchup.  So we go wildcard with Notre Dame vs. USC

Kansas State (+4) vs. Oklahoma (2:30 pm CDT)

Unlike last week, I like the Wildcats at home to cover.  They're always sneaky good at matching up well with teams perceived to have more talent.  And Oklahoma looked bad.  Very bad.  This might inspire them (Stoops rebounds well from losses historically).  But I don't think the Cats lose two in a row at home.

Michigan (-7.5) vs. Michigan State (2:30 pm CDT) - Pick of the Week

The line grew over the week but for good reason.  They haven't allowed points since September 19 and haven't allowed more than 7 since their opener on Labor Day weekend against #4 Utah (a mere 7 point loss).  Sparty has been underwhelming enough to fall to number 7, this is only their second trip away from home (the first a blah win at Rutgers).  Only a TD seems short, Michigan is back.

Alabama (-4.5) vs. Texas A&M (2:30 pm CDT)

Having won two straight against teams that many picked to win their divisions, Alabama rolls into College Station with a bit of an edge.  This game was a blowout last year.  Texas A&M isn't the world beaters at home you might think, didn't win a game last year at Kyle Field.  Alabama has the Aggies number without Manziel.  A TD win would be expected.

Southern California (+6.5) vs. Notre Dame (6:30 pm CDT)

Southern Cal comes in after a crazy week in which they lost their head coach due to behavioral issues.  Notre Dame has lost a lot of their opening day starters and hasn't played that many good teams if you look back (Georgia Tech, Texas, and Navy aren't necessarily blockbuster wins).  Why not the Trojans, sometimes incidents like what happened to Sarkesian pull teams together.  I think they surprise in a hostile environment.

Washington (-3) vs. Oregon (9:30 pm CDT)

Oregon is eroding from within.  With Chip Kelly a few years gone and Marcus Mariota now in the NFL, things aren't what they were.  One year away from playing for the National Championship, the Ducks are ailing.  Washington is improving, close losses to Boise State and Cal, both of whom are poised for 10 win seasons.  Just seems like the Huskies will roll in this one.

Big games, big teams, big conferences.  October.  Enjoy your Saturday!