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 (617) MLB (185) NFL (165) NCAA (129) NFL Playoffs (73) NBA (67) NHL (63)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/28/2014

NFLWeek 17 featured a number of games critical to Division championships and playoff seeding, all among Division rivals (great job by NFL on that).  The star among stars for players in those games was Pittsburgh Steelers WR/PR Antonio Brown.  In a crucial 27-17 Sunday Night victory over the Cincinnati Bengals to secure the NFL North crown, Brown opened the scoring with a 71 yard punt return TD and closed it with a 63 yard TD reception.  In total, 7 catches, 128 yards and a TD.  Another 84 yards in punt returns and the TD.  That's production when it mattered, it a big game in the prime time to get the first round game at home.  Worthy of our Sportsman of the Week! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

College Football 2014 - Bowl Betting Extravaganza

After a less than lucrative 2014 regular season gambling-wise, we turn the page to the Bowl Season.  The bowl season can be a gamblers delight, given the intrigue of matchups.  Some teams are playing close to home, some teams are thousands of miles away.  Some teams are excited just to be there, some times feel that they deserved better.  Some big name programs take the smaller guys for granted, sometimes teams are just physically overmatched.  Combine that with a few games per day for three weeks, and you have a recipe for fun!

I'll spare you the details, but the regular season saw me go down about $1,350 for $10,900 bet (-12%).  And it was pretty awful.  Did well on straight up bets on underdogs, poorly on ATS.

For the bowl season, I give you the best of the best.  Here are my top 8 bets (20 units) for both ATS and S/U.  ATS bets are for $110 per unit, S/U are $100 per unit.

Boca Raton Bowl - December 23, 2014
Northern Illinois (+280) vs. Marshall (1 unit)
The MAC champion Huskies are on a complete roll, having won seven straight, only one by less than a touchdown.  Marshall got all the "group of five" (conferences) publicity for being undefeated, but really hadn't played anyone.  They're 2-1 over their last three without a win by more than a TD.  NIU represents the best team they'll play this year, I love the money line here for the Huskies to win straight up.

Hawaii Bowl - December 24, 2014
Fresno State (+2.5) vs. Rice (5 units)
Rice really hasn't defeated a "good" football team all year (UTEP the best win).  And when they stepped up in competition (Louisiana Tech or Marshall) it was blowout city.  Fresno State meanwhile beat teams like Nevada and San Diego State.  Also played several powerhouses (Nebraska, USC, Utah, Boise State twice) so their seven losses are not as bad as it might seem.  I'd think Fresno should give a FG here, so I'll joyfully accept the FG and take the Bulldogs.

Liberty Bowl - December 29, 2014
Texas A&M (+3.5) vs. West Virginia (2 units)
Here we have two teams with similar records, yet one battled through the SEC West gauntlet while the other was in the strong (but not as) Big 12.  Both teams went 2-3 over their last five games, more or less stumbling across the finish line.  West Virginia hangs their coon-skin cap on a win against Baylor; Texas A&M hangs their cowboy hat on a win at Auburn.  The Aggies played very well away from Kyle Field and will benefit from the long preparation time to foil the Mountaineers pass attack.  Even with assistant coach turmoil, the Aggies probably win, but I also want to collect with a FG loss.

Orange Bowl - December 31, 2014
Georgia Tech (+215) vs. Mississippi State (1 unit)
Mississippi State was nearly bound for the playoffs. Had they beat Ole Miss, it would have been interesting how they stacked up with Ohio State and the two Big 12 teams for the last spot.  But it didn't work out.  Suddenly if you look at Mississippi State's body of work, it's not that impressive.  They drew soft against the SEC East by getting Kentucky and Vanderbilt (6th and 7th place teams).  Out of conference they played no teams from the Power 5 and mixed in Tennessee-Martin.  There's six of their 10 wins.  They've also dropped 2 of their last 3.  Georgia Tech won five of their last six with a narrow lost to Florida State (and all losses by less than a TD).  I like the money line here, getting more than 2:1 for the Jackets to win.

Cotton Bowl - January 1, 2015
Michigan State (+2.5) vs. Baylor (2 units)
Here you have contrasting styles.  Michigan State plays defense and is disciplined.  Baylor is fast and furious on offense (soft on defense) and commits TONS of penalties.  Their only loss to West Virginia they couldn't get out of the way of the yellow hankies.  Same for their loss against Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl last year.  I think the Spartans get them out of their game and Baylor is thinking more about missing the playoff than lining up and playing big boy Big 10 football.  Michigan State has two very quality losses: Oregon and Ohio State.  The Big 12 has an atrocious record in this bowl, as well (1-10 over the last 11 years, the one win for now SEC member Missouri).

Rose Bowl - January 1, 2015
Oregon (-9) vs. Florida State (3 units)
It's going to come crashing down for the Seminoles.  It's bound to.  Geographically, they'll be in enemy territory out west (where Florida State fans haven't even sold out their allotment).  Heisman trophy runaway winner Marcus Mariota will be rested and loaded.  Florida State played middling teams within the last few seconds while Oregon blew out everyone they played (including avenging for an earlier loss in the season by defeating the Arizona Wildcats).  Were this in the southeast, I might like the 'Noles, but they're in for a show.  When the Ducks get up by 2 or 3 TD, it's not going to be as easy to come back as it was against Boston College or North Carolina State.

Sugar Bowl - January 1, 2015
Alabama (-9) vs. Ohio State (5 units)
This is a lot of points to give, but Ohio State is about to experience a significant step up in competition.  And Alabama is extremely battle tested.  The latest Buckeyes QB Cardale Jones had an easy go of it in the Big 10 Championship Game with the team jumping ahead and Wisconsin shell shocked.  It won't be so easy against the athletic Crimson Tide.  My only hesitation in this bet is that Nick Saban frequently manages a game (smartly) at the end to win and not to cover.  Read, foot off the throttle and simply running it out and relying on his defense (prevent at the end) to move along.  But the talent gap here is real.

Cactus Bowl - January 2, 2015
Oklahoma State (+175) vs. Washington (1 unit)
This is an intriguing game.  Oklahoma State was flying high and ranked #15 until they had to play the top half of the Big 12.  And lost five straight before beating rival Oklahoma in the Bedlam Game.  Still, that's the best win of either of these two teams. Washington toiled in the Pac 12 by beating the bad teams and losing to the good ones.  The Huskies do have a good OOC win vs. Illinois.  Where Oklahoma State played Florida State close in their opener.  The Cowboys have been injury-riddled, the break should help them get some reps for the replacements.  I like the Cowboys based upon their win in Norman especially with the money line.

Have a great Christmas, prosperous New Year, and wonderful Bowl Season.  May your team win and you win your bowl pool!

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/21/2014

If there is one team that is red hot at the right time of year, it's the Dallas Cowboys.  And for the second week in a row, one of their superstars is honored as the Sportsman of the Week.  Cowboys QB Tony Romo was the portrait of efficiency on Sunday.  Everything he threw was caught and usually for big yardage.  And the stakes were critical, as the Pokes were looking to secure the NFC East crown against Super Bowl contending Indianapolis Colts.  And secure they did; it wasn't even close.  Romo finished by completing 90% of his passes (18-20) for 218 yards and 4 TD.  This in about 3 quarters of action.  In the process, passing Troy Aikman for most passing yards in the vaunted franchise history.  He suddenly is in the MVP discussion and the rest of the NFL is figuring out if there is a way to beat Dallas.  Romo is our worthy Sportsman of the Week!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/14/2014

The NFL is in crunch time, and teams are scrambling to make the playoffs, and get a good seed.  Nobody had a better Sunday this weekend than the Dallas Cowboys, and they were led by what people might start realizing is the most dominant wide receiver on the planet.  Dez Bryant was completely unstoppable on Sunday Night Football in Philadelphia against the Eagles.  His six catches for 114 yards seem nominal, but it's the 3 TD, all in which he physically outworked the corresponding corner back that was eyebrow raising.  Probably the second game of the year he won on his own ability (see OT win against the Texans).  He is a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Sixteen Picks

Things started out with so much hope last week with a fast 2-0 start.  Then came crashing down in the prime time window.  A microcosm of this season's journey.  There was good times and bad times.  More bad than good.  But here's how it played out:

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)
Coming into week: -$780 (31-38-1, 5-10)
Previous Week: -$230 (2-3, 0-1)
Season total: -$1010 (33-41-1, 5-11).

This week is of course just The Game.  Army vs. Navy.  We'll scratch out five ($110 or money line) bets to keep things interesting, here we go!

Navy (-15) vs. Army (Baltimore)
Army is a hungry team having lost 12 straight in the rivalry.  That's back to 2002.  But Navy is waaaay better.  Their only loss since October 4 was to Notre Dame by 10 points.  Army hasn't really played competitive with any of the bowl teams on their schedule (Stanford, Rice, Air Force, Western Kentucky) with an average loss by 25 points.  Take out the Stanford loss (clearly an overmatched team) and it's only 16.5 point.  But Navy takes this by 3 TD

Navy (+610) vs. Army (Baltimore)
Yes, we'll take the money line, too.  Even if it means putting up $610 to win $100.

Navy (-8) vs. Army (Baltimore) (First Half)
I see Navy jumping on Army early and the second half being closer.  So we'll give the points and take Navy

Navy vs. Army (Baltimore) (Over 55 points)
This is a close one, but Navy's defense does give up points (30+ in 3 of last 4 games, 3-1).  So does Army (20 or more in all games, 30 or more 7 out of 11).  This one will feature some big offensive plays and just give it to the over (like 42-21)

Army (wins coin toss) vs. Navy (Baltimore)
Army has to win something, it'll be the coin toss.

This will be the final installment of this series.  Bowl picks to come out next week (and will include a post-mortem)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/7/2014

In the era of video game quarterback statistics, a running back this week was the superstar of a key battle in the AFC North.  Le'Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers was practically unstoppable in a battle that saw his team prevail 42-21. On the road.  Against the first place team, the Cincinnati Bengals.  Bell's final numbers (a fantasy owner dream) were 26 carries for 185 yards (a smooth 7.1 YPC) and two touchdowns.  That's pretty good in and of itself.  But throw in 6 catches for 50 yards and another TD (second most catches on team, 8.3 YPC).  So 32 touches and one complete domination.  Congrats to the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Friday, December 5, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Fifteen Picks

Another good week, buoyed by a S/U pick at +$400.  Two weeks left (oh yes, I AM picking Army/Navy) to recover losses.  But the last two weeks have been a boon.  Here's where we stand.

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)
Coming into week: -$1260 (28-36-1, 4-10)
Previous Week: +$480 (3-2, 1-0)
Season total: -$780 (31-38-1, 5-10)

To take a step back, we're wagering $650 per week, $550 at $110 each on 5 games on ATS plus a $100 S/U underdog (one week we bet twice, it didn't work out).  We're +$770 these past two weeks (yes, it was bad before that).

But, without further ado, here are the big games in the Power Five conferences for your ingestion!

Pac 12 Championship Game (Santa Clara)
Oregon (-15) vs Arizona
This is VERY tempting to give the two TDs.  But Oregon is peaking right now.  And Arizona just survived a slugfest with rival Arizona State.  The Cats beet the Ducks the first time, it won't happen again.  And it will be ugly.  Oregon will be putting it's stamp on a case for a number one seed and will win by 3 TD or more.

SEC Championship Game (Atlanta)
Alabama (-14.5) vs Missouri
Another one where it is tempting to take a lot of points.  But Missouri has done it with smoke and mirrors and doesn't have a win against a ranked opponent this year.  Amazingly, they only had to play one.  Alabama is battle tested and, like Oregon, is peaking.  Both teams come off emotional wins, but I like the Tide easy.

Kansas State (+7) at Baylor
Baylor looked shaky last week in a showdown at Jerry World against a pretty bad Texas Tech team.  And Bryce Petty was shaken up with concussion like symptoms.  But he's going to play (what is the protocol on that again)?  Kansas State plays physical, ball control.  Baylor wants you to score quickly.  The Cats will keep punching the soft Baylor defense and eventually break it.  Baylor won't get in rhythm.  I like the Cats straight up here (see below).

ACC Championship Game (Charlotte)
Florida State (-4) vs Georgia Tech
Everyone keeps waiting for the Seminoles to crumble and every week they pull it out.  This week, Jameis Winston is distracted by hearings, they're without their top running back, and they looked tired as if the stress is getting to them.  Don't worry, they'll pull out another one.  This style of defense will stop the Yellow Jackets.  They win by a TD and crash the playoff party (as much as an undefeated team can be called crashers).

Big 10 Championship Game (Indianapolis)
Wisconsin (-4.5) vs Ohio State
Ohio State even with J.T. Barrett looked shaky at times.  Struggling with Michigan, struggled with a very mediocre Penn State.  Now they did beat a very good Michigan State team, but Wisconsin is going to deliver the knockout punch.  I think they're probably the better team even with Barrett, but they'll bludgeon the Buckeyes into submission by a TD easily.

Straight up Special
Kansas State (+240) at Baylor
A good bet to win, especially at over 2:1 (see above).  Especially if Petty is questionable to make it the whole game.

Have a great week of Championship games.  If the above follows my form, it's an easy choice for the playoff with the current four teams holding.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/30/2014

Thanksgiving and football and synonymous and this Thanksgiving was no exception.  For college football that means rivalries.  Perhaps the biggest college football rivalry and game this weekend was Alabama vs. Auburn.  The offensive starts shined, but none more than Crimson Tide WR Amari Cooper.  The junior tied season highs with 13 receptions for 224 yards and 3 TD leading the Tide to a 55-44 win propelling to team to yet another SEC Title game.  All this while playing with a bruised knee.  The future NFL star looked like a man among boys and is our Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Fourteen Picks

The Lord taketh away, the then the Lord giveth back (but not quite as much).  After the worst week of the season, I was able to register a nice recovery week, particularly hitting the upset special.  TWo weeks plus the bowl season to go, maybe a chance I break even?

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)
Coming into week: -$1550 (25-34-1, 3-10)
Previous Week: +$290 (3-2, 1-0)
Season total: -$1260 (28-36-1, 4-10)

Rivalry week is here with lots of juicy matchups, both in conference races and non-conference.  The battleground of the ACC and SEC seems the most ripe, I just happened to stick to games exclusively in those leagues.  I like this set of games for 5-0:

Virginia Tech (+1) vs Virginia
The Hokies have owned this rivarly and I'm not sure Virginia is ready to turn the corner yet.  Winner goes to a bowl game and this is seemingly the first meaningful night game played at Lane Stadium.  And it's a rivalry.  I see a win for the Maroon and Orange.

Georgia Tech (+13) at Georgia
This is a really curiously wide spread.  Georgia Tech is playing some good football and forces you out of rhythm on defense.  They're hungry for a win in this rivalry.  And Georgia is without Todd Gurley once and for all this season.  The Rambling Wreck might just ramble through the hedges for a win, let alone the 13 points.

Clemson (-4.5) vs South Carolina
South Carolina has been off this year and Clemson is hungry to take down the wounded animal.  If not this year, when?  Even without starting QB (who is questionable), Clemson should play inspired against a mediocre Gamecocks squad.  Steve Spurrier doesn't seem to have the fire of years past, this is the Tigers year at home.

North Carolina (-6.5) vs North Carolina State
The Wolfpack doesn't look like that good a football team whereas Carolina does.  Two teams in opposite directions, I see a Tarheel victory in the 10-14 point range.  High scoring, which also lends credence to this spread being too small.

Mississippi State (-2) at Ole Miss
The Rebels looked Dazed and Confused last week at Arkansas.  Like a team that has no confidence left.  Meanwhile, the Bulldogs come off a tough loss at Alabama and still look the part of being a playoff contender.  They need a convincing win here to hold off the Big 10 and Big 12 Champion for the final spot, and I think they'll come out guns a blazing.  Ole Miss looks like they're fading. 

Straight up Special

Georgia Tech (+400) at Georgia
For the same reasons above, the Jackets look hungry and might just leave Athens with a "W".  Love the money line on this one.

A sweep of these games would be $900, need it to recover!!!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/23/2014

Another week, another 400 yard rusher.  Wait, what? 400 yards?  Is the NCAA just a video game at this point?  Samaje Perine sure made it look that way.  The Oklahoma Sooners freshman shredded the Kansas Jayhawks defense for 427 yards on 34 carries and 5 TD.  Just another day at the office.  The best day of running offense ever in FBS breaking the record set by Melvin Gordon one week earlier.  This was a week after Perine ran for 213.  That's 640 and 8 TD in two weeks.  While the Kansas defense won't exactly strike fear in runners, the performance is far and way worthy of the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week..

Friday, November 21, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Thirteen Picks

It's near the end, and it's not going well.  Here's a summary of last week's picks:

I don't want to talk about it.

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)
Coming into week: -$1000 (24-30-1, 3-8)
Previous Week: -$650 (1-4, 0-2)
Season total: -$1550 (25-34-1, 3-10)

I'm running out of runway to make profit, but I can still recoup some.  Here are this week's picks, do what you will with them!

Wisconsin (-10) at Iowa
There is a clear mismatch in talent here, and Wisconsin still has a lot to play for in a West title (for those worried about a let down).  There might be some concern that Melvin Gordon is tired but even with that, Wisconsin should win by 2 - 3.5 TDs.  Even at Iowa. 

Iowa State (-1.5) vs Texas Tech
A lot of people will jump on Tech here.  Not so fast.  Now 1-7 in their last eight, the Red Raiders have packed it in.  The Cyclones are coming off a bye and will likely play well for coach Paul Rhoads who is on the hot seat.  I see the Cyclones winning their home finale easily.

Louisville (+3) at Notre Dame
The gold shimmer is off the Domers.  Notre Dame has lost three of their last four, while Louisville comes in confident.  Notre Dame has given up 31 points or more in their last 5 games.  This looks more like a pick'em game for me, so I'll take the Cardinals with the Field Goal of points.

Stanford (-5.5) at California
Another one where I see a TD win easily.  Both teams have been dreadful in their last set of games (Cardinal 2-4, Bears 1-4) but the Cardinal losses were mostly road to highly ranked teams.  Three of Cal's losses were at home.  Stanford should have no problem winning by a TD.

Arkansas (+3.5) vs Ole Miss
Arkansas finally busted through with a win last week, their first in the SEC in 18 tries.  I think they enjoyed the taste and want more.  Ole Miss hasn't won a conference game in over a month and look vulnerable to a hungry Hogs team.  Arkansas can lose and cover, but I see a win here.

Straight up Special

Illinois (+210) vs Penn State
I'm not sure how inspired Penn State will be, but I think Illinois will be guns a'blazing with a bowl bid on the line (first of two more wins they need).  It seems as if Penn State is worn down, perhaps the Illini get it done at home.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/16/2014

When you set a single game offensive college football record, you've done something.  With 50 games a weekend times 100 years of football times 15 weeks per season, that's a lot of games.  Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin devoured the single game rushing yard record with 408 yards.  That's almost half way to 1000!  And this wasn't against Midwestern South Trinity college.  This was against Nebraska.  The proud Top 20 Cornhuskers who came into the game with only one loss.  Gordon finished with the 208 yards on only 25 carries for a 16.5 average.  And 4 TD.  His longest was only 68, so without that he still had 340 yards.  The Heisman trophy should probably come calling for Mr. Gordon, our Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Twelve Picks

Second week in a row of 3-2 ATS while missing the upset pick.  Somewhat bitter having LSU ATS getting 6.5 to have that crushed in OT.  But that's the breaks.  Here's the stats

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)
Coming into week: -$980 (21-28-1, 3-7)
Previous Week: -$20 (3-2, 0-1)
Season total: -$1000 (24-30-1, 3-8)

Tons of juicy lines this week.  A team with a 25 game winning streak that's barely favored over an unranked.  Number 1 is a TD+ dog.  A team that hasn't won an SEC game in years is favored...against a team that almost just beat a Top 10 team.  Guaranteed 5-0 ATS this week, just place these bets now!

Nebraska (+6.5) at Wisconsin
Neither of these teams has too many impressive wins (both play in the B1G where good teams are few and far between).  Nebraska looks like an improving team and is actually in the palyoff hunt.  Wisconsin isn't even ranked.  Yet Nebraska is getting a TD or so.  I see this as a close pick'em so take the Huskers.

Alabama (-8.5) vs Mississippi State
The number one team in the country is getting a lot of points.  But they are not that good.  Suddenly wins over Auburn and LSU aren't so impressive.  Alabama plays two or three of these big games every year.  They'll win by a couple TDs at least.

Florida State (-3) at Miami
Florida State has 25 straight wins.  Straight.  Miami isn't even ranked.  The line would imply this is even.  Miami's home field advantage ain't what it used to be at all.  This just seems like fans overreacting to FSU struggles.  I like the Noles to win and not by less than three. 

Louisiana State (PK) at Arkansas
Arkansas was favored earlier in the week, but pick'em is probably a more accurate representation.  Although Arkansas is on a 17-game losing streak, LSU doesn't seem that dominant and maybe this is a game they think they can win.  They're still behind the talent gap.  The only questions is that if LSU has a let down after last week's let down.  But a team that takes Alabama to overtime should be able to beat Arkansas.

Arizona State (-9.5) at Oregon State
Arizona State is the latest upstart into the national playoff picture.  Oregon State has lost 5 of 6 and beat nobody.  This just seems very easy to win by more than 10 points.  More like 20 points.  Pac 12 teams have had no issues winning on the road.  Easy money.

Straight up Specials

Since we're down on the season in cash, we're going to start the Hail Mary routine.  I see two tempting underdog S/U wins, here we go.

Maryland (+355) vs Michigan State
Maryland losses are pretty good this year.  Michigan State is coming off a devastating loss.  And Maryland is coming off a bye week.  For this money line, it's worth a dice roll.

Rice (+825) at Marshall
Rice is on a six game winning streak, and two of their three losses are to Texas A&M and Notre Dame.  Marshall is undefeated, but for this money line, very tempting.  Rice never lures gamblers, so for 8/1 this is a great play.

Great week for gamblers, sit back and enjoy.  And win with these picks!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/9/2014

There were several huge performers on NFL Sunday, but this week's Sportsman shined above the rest.  QB Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers humiliated their arch-rival Chicago Bears defense, literally making it look like he was throwing against air.  Even with receivers wide open, Rodgers put the ball where it had to be for a total of six TDs before halftime, tying an NFL record that hadn't been done in 45 years.   Afforded most of the second half on the bench, his final stat line was 18-27 for 315 yards and six TDs.  Worth of our Sportsman of the Week!  This is Rodgers second nod, joining Peyton Manning (3), LeBron James (2), and Kevin Durant (2) as the only multiple time winners (through 150 weeks).

Friday, November 7, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Eleven Picks

It's November, crunch time for college football teams and gamblers alike.  A near wash last week, but we're starting to hit on the ATS now 7-3 the past two weeks.

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)
Coming into week: -$960 (18-26-1, 3-6)
Previous Week: -$20 (3-2, 0-1)
Season total: -$980 (21-28-1, 3-7)

Lots of BIG games this week with TD or less spreads.  All the games we pick this week will involve ranked teams and conference deciding games.  Here you go!

#24 Georgia Tech (-3.5) at North Carolina State
Georgia Tech has Rambling Wrecked their way through opponents so far this season to a respectable 7-2 record.  North Carolina State has been very uneven, losing their first four ACC games before finally beating Syracuse last week.  A lot of people remember the Wolf Pack's effort against Florida State, that was an anomaly.  I just see this as a good team against a bad one and only have 3.5 points to give.

#12 Baylor (+5.5) at #15 Oklahoma
Oklahoma seems like a team that can beat inferior opponents but has yet to demonstrate they can step up their game against elite ones.  Baylor is the most explosive team in the Big 12, with just one loss in a very sloppy (penalty-filled) game at West Virginia.  Baylor is a better team and I'm getting 5.5 points.

#16 LSU (+6.5) vs #5 Alabama
Riding LSU at home at night is a winning combination.  It paid off for us for Ole Miss.  Alabama has just one win against a ranked team (West Virginia) so they haven't proved they can play at the elite level.  I wouldn't be surprised if they had a solid game here, but 6.5 points given to me is too much to pass up.

#7 Kansas State (+6.5) at #6 TCU
TCU is starting to feel the effects of having a big game every week instead of just two per year in previous conferences.  After a thrilling win at West Virginia, they will have to get their act together quickly against the Wildcats, who are still undefeated in conference play.  Bill Snyder always has his team ready on the road, I think they are able to keep TCU down (and again, I'm getting 6.5 points)

#9 Arizona State (-2) vs #10 Notre Dame
Arizona State fans and players have had this game circled on the calendar for years.  The fabled Irish come west for a showdown in the desert.  The Sun Devils will be ready.  We aren't sure if Notre Dame can play against this style of offense, I'm going to give the two points and see Arizona State by about a TD.

Straight up Special
#7 Kansas State (+200) at #6 TCU
For same reasons above, I see a methodical attack on the Frogs by the Wildcats.  This will come down to the end either way, and I'll take the 2:1 straight up odds that KSU pulls it out!

Just look at the rankings above, we're going to see some poll shift after Saturday (I think rising for the teams in the left column).

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/2/2014

With the World Series complete, it's back to football.  There's been some strong performances in the NFL for quarterbacks, but this week's Sportsman has been head and shoulders above the rest (and not just because he is tall).  Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has had the two week span of his life.  For this week, he threw a record six TD passes (vs. no INTs) while netting 340 yards against an aggressive Baltimore Ravens defense.  And he led his team to the key Division victory. He was coming off a 522 yard performance in which he might have set an all-time record if he'd have kept throwing.  The Steelers are looking vintage, and Big Ben is the reason why, and our Sportsman of the Week!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Ten Picks

What's this?  A second straight week in the black?  You betcha.  Starting to get a little momentum and I don't plan on stopping this week! Still time to pull this out!

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)
Coming into week: -$1150 (14-25-1, 3-5)
Previous Week: +190 (4-1, 0-1)
Season total: -$960 (18-26-1, 3-6)

Another full slate of conference games and great options, here are the five best bets plus a S/U special!

Duke (+3.5) at Pittsburgh We've been riding Duke on a number of occasions.  They keep getting points and they keep winning.  Here more than a FG seems like too much against a Pittsburgh team that's lost 4 of their last 5 and are 1-3 in conference play.  We roll with the Blue Devils.

Auburn (+2) at Mississippi
This might be the beginning of the end for Mississippi.  Great effort last week for the Rebels, but the schedule isn't going to let up.  And they're getting banged up as they run the gauntlet.  I like the Tigers if you're going to give me a couple of points.

Georgia (-11.5) vs Florida (at Jacksonville)
Florida has had two weeks to stew on their humiliating home loss to Missouri.  Coach Muschamp is in "bunker mentality", I think this is a coach without answers and a team that knows the end is near.  Georgia is rolling, they'll win by two TDs.

Iowa State(+16.5) vs. Oklahoma
Oklahoma has one win since September 20 and that was a game in which they were outplayed by the stumbling Texas Longhorns.  Iowa State has played good teams tough (Iowa, Kansas State, Texas) and should be able to keep it within a couple of TDs.

West Virginia (+4.5) vs. TCU
West Virginia is a beast at home.  When the rest of the teams travel east, there's an adjustment to make.  A rowdy crowd is guaranteed.  TCU piled up points against a Texas Tech team, but it will be tougher sledding against the Mountaineers.  I like home teams getting points.

Straight up Special
Arizona (+230) at UCLA
UCLA hasn't been sharp this year but keeps finding ways to win (Texas, Colorado).  Arizona has been extremely strong and looks poised to raid the Rose Bowl and leave with a win.  It's not the juiciest underdog, but this looks on paper more like a pick'em game for me.  You could take the 6.5 points as well, just like the above better.

Good luck to your team and have fun!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Why the first college football playoff poll isn't worth the paper it's voted on

On Tuesday October 28, 2014, the first College Football Playoff poll will be released.  Experts and pundits are convinced that it will reveal all when it comes to which four teams will face off in the Rose and Sugar Bowls, then in Dallas North Texas for the BCS College Football Championship.  I don't mean to temper your enthusiasm, but this poll is pretty much meaningless. Here's why.

1) There is so much season left to play

It's amazing how spun up people get when talking about whether Notre Dame should be number 6 or 7, why Auburn or Alabama is still ranked high, and why no Big 12 team is in the Top 5 when they have just as many losses as SEC teams ranked there.  You know what? IT DOESN'T MATTER.  It will all play out.  We're convinced that the top teams will win out and somehow a worthy team will be left out.  Now with four slots, I'm more worried about an overrated team getting in.  A team like Baylor.  Or Georgia.  Or Ohio State.  Or maybe Florida State or Notre Dame.  Show me the quality wins for those?  Just let it play out and the cream will rise.  The only argument I want to hear is in December for teams number 5 or 6.  Not number 11 right now against a Top 3 team that will lose 3 of their next five.

2) The poll isn't going to differ from the AP/Coaches poll

It turns out, the people that vote in the AP and Coaches poll aren't dumb.  In fact, their paid to know college football.  Are they perfect?  No.  Are they awful? No.  The fallacy of "those polls come out too soon and are biased" have always baffled me.  Each pollster starts with a blank piece of paper every week, bound by no rules of moving up or down teams.  So the fact that Mississippi State was unranked coming into the year is why they're not number one is nonsensical.  Just look at today's polls.

3) Win the conference, make the playoffs.

The only races people should be talking about are the conference races.  If you are in one of the so-called "Power Five", you probably have an 80% chance to make the playoff.  With all the hubbub of the SEC getting two, maybe three teams, when it comes down to it, all but one of those teams have lost once, and many (many) more still have to play.  They're not going to take two-loss SEC teams over one-loss teams from other conferences.  The one extra spot as I see it is if the Pac 12 and Big 12 have nothing but two-loss teams.  Then maybe a two-loss Alabama might sneak in.  But other than that.  Win the conference, make the playoffs.  Finally, conference titles are back in vogue.

4) Really, this is just an expansion from a 2-team playoff to a 4-team playoff with a different criteria

This isn't that different than the BCS.  That was a 2-team playoff, this is a 4-team playoff.  That had a objective, mathematical criteria, this has a committee, subjective criteria.  At the end, I bet the old BCS poll was right more than wrong.  Or at least no worse.  The main thing now is that one loss really leaves you still in play.  And I think two losses does.  Not for any other reason that the big conferences have a bit more parity.  We don't have Oregon, OU, Ohio State, and Alabama ripping everyone.  The Utah's, TCU's, Michigan State's, and Ole Miss's are right there.  So we'll get the top four teams. From about ten deserved (instead of two out of three or four).

Here's my college football poll if you based it solely on performance on the field.  I'm subtracting significant points for losing to unranked teams and blowout losses.  Minus a few points for a close win against inferior opponent.  And you're not going to see teams that haven't beaten anybody ranked (East Carolina or Marshall).

My College Football Playoff poll:
1) Mississippi State (7-0)
2) Florida State (7-0)
3) Notre Dame (6-1) loss to Florida State
4) Oregon (7-1) loss to Arizona
5) Michigan State (7-1) blowout loss to Oregon
6) Auburn (6-1) blowout loss to Mississippi State
7) Kansas State (6-1) lost to Auburn

8) LSU (7-2) lost to Auburn and Mississippi State
9) Ole Miss (7-1) lost to LSU
10) Alabama (7-1) lost to Ole Miss AND struggled with Arkansas
11) Arizona (6-1) loss to unranked USC
12) TCU (6-1) lost to Baylor
13) Baylor (6-1) blowout loss to West Virginia
14) Oklahoma (5-2) lost to Kansas State and TCU and struggled with Texas

15) Georgia (6-1) loss to unranked South Carolina

16) Clemson (6-2) lost to Georgia (blowout) and Florida State
17) West Virginia (6-2) lost to Oklahoma and Alabama
18) Nebraska (7-1) loss to Michigan State AND struggled with McNeese State
19) Arizona State (6-1) blowout loss to UCLA

20) Ohio State (6-1) blowout loss to unranked Virginia Tech
21) Duke (6-1) lost to unranked Miami
22) Utah (6-1) lost to unranked Washington State

23) UCLA (6-2) lost to Oregon and Utah
24) Texas A&M (5-3) lost to Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama (blowout)
25) Louisville (6-2) lost to Clemson and unranked Virginia

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/26/2014

With all due respect to football, the last week was all about the World Series.  And there was one clear performer who was head and shoulders above the rest.  The San Francisco Giants Madison Bumgarner completely dominated Games 1 and 5 of the Series to thrust his team to a 3-2 lead.  By completely dominated, we mean 2-0, 16 IP, 7H, 1ER, 1BB, 13K.  The run was on a solo home run by Kansas City Royals C Salvador Perez.  Bumgarner now moves his career World Series record to 4-0, with a 19th century-esq ERA of 0.29.  While he's not scheduled to start another game, he will certainly be available in Game 7 for a few innings.  Should it be required!

Friday, October 24, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Nine Picks

First of all...Week Nine?  It's already more than half over?  Is it too early to get sad about College Football ending?  Yes, but still.

So we hit the S/U upset pick, which boosted the totals for last week.  Still can't hit more than 2/5 of the ATS.  Missed Clemson by half a point, too.  It happens.  Big hill to climb, but here we are:

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)
Coming into week: -$1285 (12-22-1, 2-5)
Previous Week: +135 (2-3, 1-0)
Season total: -$1150 (14-25-1, 3-5)

If anything, my S/U pick hasn't been bad, since I usually take a team a TD or more dog for +200 or more.

Here's this week's guaranteed* winners!

* By guaranteed, I mean proceed at your own risk.

North Carolina (+7) at Virginia
North Carolina has been improving since the debacle against East Carolina (it wasn't that they lost, it was the 70 points).  Virginia just hasn't sold me yet.  The seven points seems like too much, I think this goes either way at the end.

South Carolina (+18) at Auburn
South Carolina is down, but these are still two good teams and that's too many points in the SEC.  Auburn is looking for a rebound after the disappointing outing at Mississippi State, they'll win but not by this much.

Louisiana State (+3.5) vs Mississippi
By far the most intriguing game on the schedule, Ole Miss doesn't win in Baton Rouge much and LSU knows night games.  LSU isn't that good, but give me points and them at home, and I'll take my chances.

Oklahoma State (-1) vs West Virginia
West Virginia has a bigger challenge than any other team in the Big 12 when they travel.  The distance, and the unfamiliarity with the stadium/city/team.  In Morgantown, I'd love the Mountaineers.  But in Stillwater, that's a tough place to win.  I'm not sold on Oklahoma State as being that good, but they can win at home.

Penn State (+14) vs Ohio State
Another intriguing game.  Oh how Virginia Tech has fallen and Ohio State has risen since the Horseshoe debacle.  This is a circle the calendar game for James Franklin and his Nittany Lions.  Fourteen points is a lot in Happy Valley, I could see much closer.

Straight up Special
Texas (+315) at Kansas State
This is one where given who I think will cover, it would be the Wildcats.  BUT I see a decent chance that the young Longhorns put together a complete game and get some turnovers.  And take advantage of Kansas State's basking in the Oklahoma win.  At 3:1, I'll take the Horns.

Good luck to your team on Saturday!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/19/2014

For the third time in Blog history, Peyton Manning is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week.  And no better athlete of this generation could be so honored.  Manning's Denver Broncos won a key Sunday Night game 42-17 against the 2013 NFC runner up (and 2012 NFC Champion) San Francisco 49ers.  Easily.  Manning flung the ball for 318 yards and 4 TDs. And most importantly, broke Brett Favre's all-time TD record with his 509th (and 510th) career TD pass.  Early prediction, the Broncos win the Super Bowl and this is Peyton Manning's last year.  I think one more is all he's waiting for!

Sportsman of the Week Ending 1/19/2014 (400 yards to propel Broncos to Super Bowl)
Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/8/2013 (7 TD passes)

Friday, October 17, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Eight Picks

I don't want to talk about it.

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)

Coming into week: -$1055 (10-19-1, 2-4)
Previous Week: -230 (2-3, 0-1)
Season total: -$1285 (12-22-1, 2-5)

This is a new week, I'll do better this time.  I promise!

Arkansas (+3) vs Georgia
Georgia is using the rally cry of "Free Gurley" but you wonder how long that can carry them.  This is an East vs. West matchup, is it possible that the West number 6 is better than the East number 1?  At West, I think so.  But really, Arkansas has a style that should stymie the Bulldogs.  Arkansas only loss at home has been to Alabama (note this game is in Little Rock).

West Virginia (+8.5) vs Baylor
This has all the makings of a shootout.  And how much did last week's national profile game take out of Baylor.  Now on the road, West Virginia's crowd will be raucous.  The Mountaineers might keep it within a TD, they also might win.

Alabama (-13.5) vs Texas A&M
Alabama survived a tough road contest at Arkansas, Texas A&M has been regressing.  This being in Tuscaloosa, I think the Tide is likely to try to make a statement.  I don't see the young Aggie QB doing well, this one will be ugly.

Oklahoma (-7) vs Kansas State
Oklahoma has had a couple of tough weeks, with a loss at (respected) TCU and another road game of sorts against Texas (win, but out played).  Bob Stoops has his teams' attention, they'll circle the wagons at home against an overrated Kansas State team.  At least by more than a TD.

Clemson (-4.5) at Boston College
BC upset USC and betting lines have been favoring them ever since.  Clemson is a gritty team that lost to two Top 10 teams on the road.  They're good enough to handle the Eagles quite easily, no problem with the TD.

Straight up Special
West Virginia (+265) vs Baylor
See above, this is going to be a shootout, the winner is up in the air and you're getting pay out at better than 2:1 if you get lucky.

I'll wait to do my talking on Sunday, but these are can't miss.  CAN'T MISS!!!!  With the price of oil going down, I may have to consider diversifying my portfolio and doing more mob-type activities!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/12/2014

Another week of amazing baseball postseason action has yielded a new superstar for an unlikely team.  The Kansas City Royals CF Lorenzo Cain has been a complete terror in the playoffs so far.  For the week (officially Game 3 of the ALDS through Game 2 of the ALCS, 3-0 for the Royals), Cain went 7-11 with 5 runs scored, 2 doubles, 2 walks, and an RBI.  With his speed and hot hitters behind him, he made it a virtual impossibility to get past his spot in the lineup without a run.  In the postseason, that's how you sweep series.  Three sweeps in a row.  With all that, he was putting together amazing diving catches in the field inning after inning.  The Royals are headed to the World Series, and Lorenzo Cain is a big reason why.

Friday, October 10, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Seven Picks

You can make a LOT of money listening to my college picks every week.  Just hear what I say AND DO THE OPPOSITE!!!!  Ugggh, brutal last week.  1-4 and I missed the upset special.  Here's what's left of my bank account:

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)

Coming into week: -$615 (9-15-1, 2-3)
Week Three: -440 (1-4, 0-1)
Season total: -$1055 (10-19-1, 2-4)

It takes talent to only hit 33% of ATS picks.  Unfortunately that talent is bankrupting me!  This week's picks (do what you want with them)

Texas Tech (+6) vs West Virginia
Texas Tech's defense is bad, but West Virginia hasn't played tough competition well.  Factoring in meaningless intangibles like how far the Mountaineers have to travel, how Tech fans get up for home games, how Tech is a wounded deer and I'll just roll the dice with the Raiders at home if you're going to give me points.

Baylor (-8) vs TCU
The premier showdown in Texas on Saturday (sorry Texas/Oklahoma) will go a long way to decide who wins the conference.  This is where we find out if TCU can put together good games week after week in a major conference.  Baylor struggled offensively in Austin, but that Longhorns defense is more salty than you think.  They hit their stride here and blow out the Frogs.

Arkansas (+9) vs. Alabama
Arkansas lost a heartbreaking game to their rival Texas A&M Aggies and has had a week to think about it.  Alabama lost a heartbreaking game to the Ole Miss Rebels.  They don't seem to have the anger that they should.  A raucous home crowd push the Hogs to a victory behind their strong running game.  The end of the Tide's dynasty is nigh.

Texas A&M (-2.5) vs Ole Miss
Anybody who has watched Ole Miss football ever knows that they are a team that will blow prosperity at first opportunity.  After an impressive win at Alabama, they hit Kyle Field in College Station against a team licking its wounds from a blowout loss last week.  The Aggies make a statement and rebuff the Rebels advance.

Penn State (+1.5) at Michigan
Things are bad in Michigan.  Really bad.  The Lions lost a horrible home game to Northwestern in which everything went wrong.  James Franklin knows how to coach his team after losses (he had many at Vanderbilt).  It won't take long for the boo birds to fly out at Michigan Stadium and the Lions roar.

Straight up Special
Kansas (+900) vs Oklahoma State
Another case in which I wouldn't take the points for Kansas, but a perfect storm "could" push them to victory.  And the payoff is juicy.  Oklahoma State hasn't played a true road game yet (?).  Kansas has a new coach and might just put something together.  There is talent there, Weis brought it in.  They might just thump the overrated Cowboys.

You may, just may want to go opposite of me.  Or is this the week I hit?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/5/2014

The baseball playoffs have started off with a bang, and lots of bangs have come from the Baltimore Orioles bats.  And it starts with their OF/DH, Nelson Cruz.  In a 3-0 sweep of the favored Detroit Tigers, Nelly went a cool 6-12, with 4 runs, 5 RBI, and two HR.  No HR was bigger than the decisive blow in Detroit in Game 3.  It broke open a scoreless game and quieted an already mellow crowd.  And put the O's in their first ALCS since Bill Clinton stalked the halls of the White House.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Six Picks

Another setback last week, just didn't buy a break last Saturday (Baylor no cover by 1 for instance)

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)

Coming into week: -$385 (7-12-1, 2-2)
Week Three: -230 (2-3, 0-1)
Season total: -$615 (9-15-1, 2-3)

All bets $110 to win $100 ATS and $100 for the moneyline.

Plenty of time left now that conference play is starting.  Here are five best bet winners, you'll miss out if you don't act!  

Texas A&M (+2) at Mississippi State
Texas A&M might have needed overtime to win on Saturday, but I'm buying that they know how to win.  No matter who the quarterback.  Mississippi State I haven't seen that, the LSU win wasn't as impressive as people give them credit for.  Look for an Aggies win in Stark-Vegas.

Oklahoma (-5) at Texas Christian
TCU has looked good so far, but hasn't faced the athleticism they're going to see in Oklahoma.  The Frogs haven't really beat anybody, this step up in competition will shock them.  Just a TD covers, that's easy money.

Alabama (-4.5) at Ole Miss
Ole Miss will definitely win.  They tailgate party.  But not the game.  Business as usual for the Tide as they'll roll into Oxford without incident.  Another TD to cover shouldn't be an issue for the more experienced and tested team early.

Arizona State (+11.5) at USC
Arizona State lost by a lot of points against UCLA, but they also showed a lot of offense.  They just couldn't get out of their own way.  I see a bounceback against a USC team I'm not fully sold on yet.

Michigan State (-6.5) vs. Nebraska
The Spartans have been incredibly impressive but for the one bad half in Oregon.  Sparty should control this game on both sides of the ball and have no issue beating Nebraska by a TD or more.  Probably two TD.

Straight up Special
Texas (+475) vs Baylor
This is a rare one in which I'm not liking Texas ATS, but like them for a potential upset.  Given the money line.  I could see Baylor punishing the Horns in Austin and running away.  But there's a chance, small chance, the Horns could stay in this.  Baylor hasn't played this level of competition yet.  Texas two losses are to ranked teams (and they were close in all but one quarter).  Texas a team getting better every week in a new system.  Worth a flyer!

Conference play starts to really put together some good matchups, this week is no exception.  Looking forward to it!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/28/2014

Football is rounding into midseason form, but baseball is moving toward an epic postseason.  The final game of the MLB season was filled with six games having playoff implications, but the one we want to talk about wasn't one of them.  A no-hitter on the final game of the season.  Jordan Zimmermann of the Washington Nationals calmly put down 27 Miami Marlins with nary a hit.  The final out, a catch by Steven Souza going deep into the gap was amazing in and of itself.  Zimmermann was your 2013 NL leader in wins and had a 2.66 ERA this season.  A worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Friday, September 26, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Five Picks

Cleaned up on the Rutgers d. Navy last week, giving me a ATS and the S/U upset special.  As a result, I lost $130 on the ATS, but gained $220 on the S/U.  Finally limiting losses and learning lessons.

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)

Coming into week: -$480 (5-9-1, 1-2)
Week Three: +$95 (2-3, 1-0)
Season total: -$385 (7-12-1, 2-2)

Picking for Michigan or against Arkansas has been killing me.  So lesson learned, we move on. 

Baylor (-22) at Iowa State
Iowa State matches up well with like teams that like to run and play defense (Kansas State, Iowa).  Baylor and their high pace, high scoring style is not like Iowa State.  And once Baylor gets rolling, they are hard to stop.  If Baylor overlooks the Cyclones, this could be close, but I don't see it that way.  Baylor puts up 40 or more easy and covers.

South Carolina (-5) vs. Missouri
Missouri seemed to be a little exposed last week against Indiana.  Traveling to South Carolina will be tough, with the Gamecocks coming off an impressive victory over Georgia.  There could be a USC letdown, the Cocks know this is a big game to decide the SEC East.  They'll win by a TD  Which is a cover.

Notre Dame (-9.5) at Syracuse (East Rutherford)
Notre Dame looks the part of a very balanced, and talented team.  The team looks comfortable against an up-and-down Syracuse (mostly down).  Look for the Irish to play well for their New York City area fans and win by 10 or more.

Texas (-12) at Kansas
It's been easy to pile on Texas this year, after the disappointing showing against BYU.  That was really one bad quarter.  Impressive in the other 11 quarters so far, including a game within grasp against Top 10 UCLA.  Texas pedestrian style should overmatch the Jayhawks.  By two TD.

Duke (+7) at Miami (FL)
Bettors still don't like Duke mainly for the "D" on their helmet.  Against admittedly weak opponents, they've put up 40 or more in 3 of 4 games (31 in the other).  While allowing 17 or fewer.  Miami is not that strong, this looks more like a pick'em to me.  Duke is the defending ACC Coastal Champs, they win this S/U.

Straight up Special
Duke (+220) at Miami
See above!

Can't believe we're already five weeks in, this week I clean up!

-JR Ewing

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/21/2014

Football Sportsman of the Week continue, but we check down to the college ranks.  This blog likes big wins.  How about two big wins in a row!  Let's look at East Carolina QB Shane Carden.  The senior quarterback has led the upstart Pirates to two straight wins, both against ACC ranked teams.  On Saturday, Carden picked apart the North Carolina defense for 438 yards and 4 TDs in a 70-41 route of the Heels.  He was also over 400 last week at Virginia Tech and rushed for the winning TD.  Mr. Carden has the Pirates in good shape for a solid bowl, and is our Sportsman of the Week!

Friday, September 19, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Four Picks

I guess things are looking up, I at least came near to break even this week.  Hit half ATS but missed the upset pick.  So just losing on the house take.  Upward trend though!  So here's the latest metrics:

Stats read (ATS, S/U upset pick)

Coming into week: -$360 (3-7, 1-1)
Week Three: -$120 (2-2-1, 0-1)
Season total: -$480 (5-9-1, 1-2)

Get on the bandwagon now, won't be room after this week!  Here are your five ATS picks plus the upset special!

Rutgers (+6.5) at Navy 
Rutgers lost a heartbreaker to a good Penn State team last week.  This is a solid team that should be able to go into Navy (not the most hostile environments) and outphysical the Midshipmen.  Especially if you'll give me a touchdown.

Central Michigan (+3.5) at Kansas 
Kansas is bad.  Really bad.  Central Michigan looked good against (Big 10) Purdue, then lousy against (ACC) Syracuse.  I still don't see Kansas winning this game.  If anything, CMU comes out with a chip on their shoulder in this one.  And you're giving me over a field goal

Michigan (-3.5) vs. Utah 
Just barely over a field goal? Really? In the Big House?  Utah may play close (or may not) but if I had to pick a side this falls, it's going to go to the Wolverines by over a TD.

Clemson (+14.5) at Florida State
Jameis Winston now out for the FULL game, I'm not sure this line is valid (but it is at the time of this post).  I liked Clemson to be in this game when Mr. Heisman was only out a half.  Clemson has a chip on their shoulder.  FSU seems complacent.  Ripe for upset.

Northern Illinois (+13.5) at Arkansas 
Too many points to pass up, but Northern Illinois usually hangs tough.  Maybe Arkansas dominates, but I'll take the points and see what happens.

Straight up Special
Rutgers (+225) at Navy 
Same reasons as above, this is a pick'em game at best and I'm getting some good money line.

Looking forward to an exciting weekend!

-JR Ewing

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/14/2014

We just can't resist the NFL this time of year, and new (old) stars are emerging.  Darren Sproles of the Philadelphia Eagles looked like a man in a time machine.  The 5'6" (that's one inch taller than Jose Altuve) human jackknife had eleven touches for 178 yards (26 rushing, 152 passing) as the Eagles secured a 2-0 start in hostile Indianapolis territory.  More impressively, 148 of his receiving yards were after the catch.  Basically, he was flipped the ball and turned the Colts defense into a video game.  Sproles has been doing this for 9 seasons...the 0-2 Saints are answering some tough questions as to how they let him go.

Friday, September 12, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Three Picks

Another weekly loss for Ewing Oil.  But plenty of time to make it up.  Or maybe you're thinking "just bet opposite of this guy and I'll win."  Bad plan because I've learned the error in my ways!

Stats read (ATS, S/U upset pick)

Coming into week: -$250 (2-3, 0-1)
Week Two: -$110 (1-4, 1-0
Season total: -$360 (3-7, 1-1)

Just one good week from popping this thing in the green.

So who do I like for Week Three?  Here are the J.R. Ewing picks!

South Florida (+1.5) vs. North Carolina State
North Carolina State has been lackluster to start against overmatched schools.  South Florida hasn't been that great either, but played Maryland close.  I'll take the home team instead of the bigger conference.

West Virginia (+3) at Maryland
Not just the good showing against Alabama, West Virginia is a high flying, no fear team.  They've got athletes and the game in College Park isn't too far a drive for the Mountaineer faithful.  Given a few points, I'll take 'em.

Duke (-14) vs. Kansas
Bill Self will have his guys ready, even if Andrew Wiggins is gone.  Wait, what? Oh football? Kansas is probably the worst team from a so called "Big 5" conferences.  Duke can put up points and will want to make a conference statement.  Two TDs is a breeze.

Texas Tech (PK) vs. Arkansas
Tech is a middling Big 12 team vs. a bottom SEC team.  The conferences aren't that disparate.  Plus Tech at home on the West Texas plains can be tough.  Coach Kingsbury will have his team ready for a win.

Penn State (-3) at Rutgers
Rutgers has been average vs. teams that they should have beat by more.  Penn State is riding some bowl-eligibility momentum, as well as Christian Hackenberg at QB.  Penn State fans will travel well in this Big 10 matchup.  And cover the 3.

Straight up special
Texas-San Antonio (+420) at Oklahoma State
UTSA has played two solid games, blowing out Houston and staying right with Arizona.  Oklahoma State lost their QB for the first two-thirds of the season and are starting someone green.  The money line is juicy here, worth a play.

Good luck to all bettors this weekend!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/7/2014

The sports world celebrated the return of NFL football on Sunday.  The Atlanta Falcons pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the week, knocking off what many consider a Super Bowl favorite New Orleans Saints.  But it took veteran QB Matt Ryan's 448 yards on a 31/44 through overtime to beat their division rival 37-34, out-dueling Drew Brees.  Throw in three TDs and no INTs and we have a player of the week.  From 13-3 in 2012 and NFC runners up to 4-12 in 2013, not many experts had the Falcons as a contender in the NFC South.  Those experts better look at game film.

Friday, September 5, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Two Picks

It wasn't the best week for J.R. Ewing last week.  Luckily my oil interests can cover me.  I finished 2-3 ATS and 0-1 on my longshot dog straight up.  So that's -$230 ($110 on ATS games, $100 on the dog).  But undeterred I learned last week and this week's picks are can't miss.

Season total: -$230 (-38%)

Kansas State (-12) at Iowa State
Iowa State is not good.  And they lost their best lineman this week.  Bill Snyder is a great coach, always gets his team up on the road.  They are ranked against one of the worst teams in FBS.  This should be 22 and I'd still take the Cats.

Northern Illinois (+6.5) at Northwestern
Northwestern laid a dud at Cal last week.  Cal is rebuilding.  Northern Illinois has been the class of the MAC for a few years, even BCS crash potential (with previous QB).  But NIU can cover the 6.5 points.

Vanderbilt (+19.5) vs. Ole Miss
Is Ole Miss really a near 3 TD favorite in an SEC road game?  Is Vandy that bad (horrible loss to Temple).  I'm betting that Vandy bounces back now that they realize they have to buck up, and Ole Miss isn't really that good (struggled to put away Boise, never looked good). Give me the points!

Michigan State (+13.5) at Oregon
Sparty won the Rose Bowl last year.  That means they were the best team in the Big 10 or Pac 10.  Oregon looks so good, but hasn't played the same since Chip Kelly left (Alamo Bowl last year.  Alamo).  I'm not saying State is going to win, but they'll keep it close.  Easy cover.

Ohio State (-12) vs. Virginia Tech
Fans are down on Ohio State after an unimpressive win vs. Navy (BTW, they were close to a cover).  Virginia Tech has never been the same since the mid-2000s.  Just lackluster.  The horseshoe and Urban Meyer has them covering two TDs easy.

Straight up special
Northern Illinois (+230) at Northwestern
See above, I see a win here for the Huskies in Evanston.  Northwestern just hasn't showed me much.  NIU is always good.  Worth the gamble!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 8/31/2014

It's football season, at least college started and there were a number of new, instant superstars abound.  None set the nation on fire more than Texas A&M's QB Kenny Hill.  Playing in literally the first game of the year (Thursday at 6 EDT), the freshman Hill torched a Top 10 South Carolina Gamecocks defense for 511 yards (!) and 3 TD, breaking the single game yardage school record by his predecessor, Heisman Trophy winner John Manziel.  He found 12 different receivers, going 44-60 (might as well have been throwing against air).  The Aggies racked up 31 points in the first half, and another 21 in the second easing to victory.  On the road.  In the SEC.  He is a new star in college football, and our Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Friday, August 29, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week One Picks

It's been a year hiatus from college gambling, but our guru J.R. Ewing is back and ready to recover losses from the disastrous 2012 season.  This time with a new format.  We'll give you five games ATS PLUS one game at a TD spread or more for the underdog straight up.  110 units on each game (100 on the S/U).  Let's get started with Week 1!

All Gambling information courtesy of 5Dimes via Yahoo

Houston (-10) vs. Texas-San Antonio
Houston is a high scoring offense and trending upward the past few years under coach Tony Levine.  I see them running all the way to the bell with a two TD or more win.

Central Florida (-2) vs. Penn State (Ireland)
UCF is coming off a BCS victory in the Fiesta Bowl, but lost QB Blake Bortles to the NFL draft.  They weren't just a one man show.  And Penn State is decimated with loss of scholarships and has a new coach.  UCF should roll.

West Virginia (+25.5) at Alabama
Alabama will have a new quarterback but is expected to reload quickly.  West Virginia has been in a nose dive since Geno Smith departed.  But strange things happen in season openers, we see this hanging a little more closely than oddsmakers state.

Fresno State (+20.5) at Southern Cal
USC has been through a strange week with "nephew-gate" as well as another departed player discussing potential racism of the coaching staff.  Fresno won ten games last year, but will be without departed Derek Carr.  Fresno may keep it close, they've never been intimidated by the bigger schools

Wisconsin (+5) vs. Louisiana State (in Houston)
Wisconsin is a machine and will be ready to pound the ball.  LSU lost their starting QB and both receivers, but are extremely athletic.  I think Wisconsin's style will frustrate LSU and an upset is in the works.

Straight up special
Western Michigan (+305) at Purdue
Purdue has been in rebuilding mode seemingly since Drew Brees left.  The MAC always seems to have a surprise for the Big 10 and I think this is the one.

Throughout the season we'll track the sure to be profit!  Stay tuned!

Sportsman of the Week Ending 8/24/2014

Baseball is a statistical sport, for which "streaks" are widely monitored and acclaimed.  From Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak, to Cal Ripken's 2632 games played to Orel Hershiser's 59 consecutive scoreless innings to Johnny Vander Meer's consecutive no-hitters.  San Francisco Giants pitcher Yusmeiro Petit can etch his name among those baseball legends now by retiring 46 consecutive batters.  No hits, no walks, no errors, no hit batsmen.  The record had been held by Mark Buehrle with 45 consecutive outs set in 2009 (27 of which were his perfect game). For the week in question, Petit went 6 1/3 innings with no baserunners and 10 strikeouts.  The record was actually broken Thursday, but Petit is a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 8/17/2014

The August "month of baseball" continues, this time with one of the best young talents and sluggers in Major League baseball.  The Miami Marlins Giancarlo Stanton has been touted as the "next great power hitter" for a couple of years now, and now is here.  He leads the National League with 32 home runs and 88 RBI, padded this week by an all-around good performance going 9-23 (.391) with 7 walks, for a .533 on-base percentage.  Add 3 HR, 9 RBI, and a Marlins record at 5-2, including taking a series vs. the playoff-contending St. Louis Cardinals.  Giancarlo Stanton is our Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 8/10/2014

This week's Sportsman of the Week may surprise you in that you may not have heard of him.  But Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians has quietly been putting together a second half worthy of Cy Young consideration.  For this week, he went a cool 2-0, 0.67 ERA, and 17 K in 13 innings.  Wins were over the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds, both teams in contention.  If you look at his season numbers, he's up to 13-6 (6 straight wins since his last loss on June 30) with a 2.46 ERA and 187 strikeouts.  Those are Felix Hernandez type numbers.  He was passed over for an All-Star berth, but will surely finish high in the Cy Young and may just push his Indians to the playoffs.  A worthy Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 8/3/2014

August is all about Major League Baseball, and who is performing to push their team to the playoffs.  This week's sportsman might be the least likely on his team to provide a lift, but amazingly deserving.  New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner emerged as the team hitting leader, going 11-23, with five HR, seven RBI, and even four walks.  He had 23 career home runs in six seasons coming into this campaign.  While the Yankees 3-3 record over the week didn't necessarily make a dent in their playoff deficit, at least Gardner (who leads the team in average, OBP, and hits) has emerged as one healthy guy they can count on.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 7/27/2014

In what was supposed to be a wide-open Tour de France General Classification competition, this week's Sportsman made it look easy.  Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) was the first to make his mark on the Alps mountain stages, then punctuated an easy (7+ minute) victory by dominating the remaining competition in the Pyrenees.  One by one, main competitors either crashed out (Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Andrew Talansky) or couldn't keep up (Tejay Van Garderen, Alejandro Valverde, Richie Porte).  Not only that, he also finished fourth in the Time Trial, not his normal discipline.  Never looking stressed, he managed to win four stages throughout the tour (2, 10, 13, and 18), coasting ahead of French riders Jean-Christophe PĂ©raud  and Thibaut Pinot who finished second and third respectively.  Taming 2,200 miles over two mountain ranges and nearly lapping the competition, Vincenzo Nibali is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 7/20/2014

There may be an heir apparent to the likes of Palmer, Nicklaus, and Woods and he demonstrated his prowess this week at The Open Championship in England.  Briton Rory McIlroy once again showed all the tools that have many golf analysts thinking "how does this guy not win more?"  McIlroy displayed a consistent 66-66-68-71 (all under par) to register his third major (in three different events) before the age of 26.  McIlroy never seemed flustered, his higher score on Sunday was more a product of simply needing to register pars and the occasional birdie rather than attack.  And he won by two strokes. The Masters remains the one major he hasn't won (finished Top 10 this year).  He will be a top 3 favorite (if not the favorite) next year in Augusta.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Why "The Decision" was so wrong and so right for LeBron James

Looking back four summers, one of the most controversial free agent moves in any sport was executed by then Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James.  Stringing along several teams, he decided to make his Decision one of public record.  Being aired on ESPN for 30 minutes.  Despite promises to the contrary, the episode (literal and figurative) drug out for 25 minutes before he shamelessly surrounded himself with youngsters, then declared he was leaving his home state and the team that invested their number one pick in him, for a quick title fix in Miami, joining an already winning team and two superstar players.  It was a cop out.  I was fed up with the process, swore off the NBA, and realized that it can be a sham when players just decide who joins who to win, vs. loyalty to a hometown team.  Mind you, I'm neither from Cleveland or Miami or really a big NBA fan.

Now let's fast forward four years and analyze what has happened.  In the four seasons LeBron played for the Miami Heat, the team averaged 59 wins per season (if you assume 82 games and their winning percentage), won four Eastern Conference titles, and two NBA Championships.  They rendered the other 14 teams in the East as the Harlem Globetrotters do to the Washington Generals.  Mind you, those teams and the NBA collected all their revenue for playing in a fixed scenario.  Only strong teams from the Western Conference could split four NBA Finals, with all opponents coming from the Texas/Oklahoma corridor.

And now, in case you hadn't heard (because you're an alien), LeBron goes back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.  The announcement of "The Decision #2" was relagated to an essay.  Followed by a surprise deal for only two seasons.  With a verbal commitment that he is a Cavalier for life.  Should we believe him? Yes.  He played the system.  He and the Cavaliers benefited.  And here's why.

The Decision was an unequivocal failure (Credit: Getty)

1) The Cleveland Cavaliers were better off.
How can I say that!?!?  They went from averaging 64 wins in LeBron's last two seasons there, to 64 wins total the next three years!  One answer.  Draft picks.  LeBron quickly realized that finishing way out of the lottery he would never get a high draft pick sidekick to play beside.  So he had three choices.  Recruit a top free agent to Cleveland, join other stars somewhere else, or keep not winning titles.  He opted for #2.  Don't knock the recruit thing, Kobe recruited Shaq, Jordan recruited Rodman, Pierce recruited Allen and Garnett.  He just felt like he needed to go somewhere else.  Had he stayed on the Cavs, they would have been just good enough to NOT get any impact draftees.  But probably not that much better without a big free agent (or probably 2 or 3).  Meanwhile, after The Decision, the Cavaliers, mainly due to their ineptitude with LeBron, have added an unprecedented five picks within the Top 4 of the last four drafts.  That's five very young and talented players.  To go with James, who is still just 29.

With Kyrie Irving (L) and Tristan Thompson (R), the Cavaliers have reloaded

2) LeBron had to win a title sooner than later
Today's media and fandom put way too much emphasis on a title.  Is Dan Marino not a good QB b/c he didn't win one?  Is Jim Kelly no good because Scott Norwood couldn't make a field goal?  Is Tony Gwynn lousy because he never had any star players around him?  No, no, and no.  LeBron is the best player of this generation (debate ever) but somehow the media and fans still say he hasn't won enough titles.  They put up memes with MJ, Kobe, Magic, Bird and all their rings.  Those guys played with superstars.  LeBron's sidekick in Cleveland was Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao.  Seriously.  So if those are the rules, LeBron will play by them.  Add Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade (two All-Stars, but not mega superstars) and he dominates.  Two titles out of four is nothing to sneeze at.  That threesome was no more stacked than Bird/McHale/Parish, or Magic/Worthy/Kareem, or Jordan/Pippen/Rodman (or even Grant).  He realized "I have to win a title, and this is the way I can do it.  Now."  Well played.

The media says he has to win a title to be important. Okay. Now what?

So now LeBron finds himself on the team that drafted him, his hometown team, and positioned to win those titles "on his own" that he gets so much criticism for not doing.  Both sides needed a break and they're both better off for it.

The downside was the fans.  Cleveland fans felt stung by his departure.  Fans have loyalties to teams for their entire life, players until their next contract is up.  It didn't feel right.  LeBron had no ties to Miami.  It was cheap and they felt used.  Now it's Miami fans that are hurt.  He used the franchise like toilet paper.  Got his titles (and legacy) and ran.  Now they're stuck with a Chris Bosh (and maybe Dwyane Wade) led team that won't come close.  In today's NBA, you can't get by with only two superstars.  Because somewhere else, three guys are joining forces.

Fans may forgive, but may never forget (Reuters/Landov; AP)

The NBA also loses in all this.  Fans like to see great players play together, but the league needs thirty healthy franchises.  And they have about 4 that could win a title any given year, another 4 or 5 that might make a run.  And 21 who are just a joke.  Because they don't have any player like those aligning at the top.  Why even bother in Phoenix or Minnesota or Charlotte or New Orleans or Utah.  Unless superstars happen to converge on your city.  Just pay your dues and let the other big markets (LA, Miami, New York, Chicago) dominate.  At some point it won't be fun anymore.

LeBron James will go down as one of the Top 3 to 5 players in history.  Amongst the Jordans, Magics, Birds, maybe Kobes, and lots of big men.  He played his hand well.  He went down in chips after The Decision, but it was all worth it in the long run.  I went from cheering him to win in Cleveland, to hoping he'd lose in Miami.  But he has made good in coming back.  And doing it with a team full of guys who haven't won before.  He can now lead HIS team.  And we'll see if it results in more titles than in Miami

Sportsman of the Week Ending 7/13/2014

Third week in a row we go to the World Cup, but why not, it only comes every 4 years.  And there was one game that really mattered, the World Cup Final on Sunday.  After 110 minutes of (a relatively exciting) 0-0 stalemate (no really, there were lots of opportunities), Germany's Mario Gotze broke through with a beautiful goal. On the center pass, he settled with the chest, then pounded with the left foot.  Argentina goalkeep Sergio Romero had no chance.  And Super Mario was the hero of a nation who hadn't won a Cup in 24 years.  And our Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 7/6/2014

By my count, this is only the second time in blog history we've awarded the Sportsman of the Week in a losing effort.  But sometimes, when a player puts his team on his back and still comes up short, it's worthy.  The United States Men's National Team (#USMNT) put forth a valiant effort in the 2014 World Cup, but couldn't quite crack the Final 8.  But not for the effort of goalkeep Tim Howard.  Howard put forth 16 brilliant saves in a 2-1 loss to a persistent Belgian team.  The game was scoreless after the first 90 minutes, then the peppering was too much in extra time.  But the effort is definitely worthy of a nod from our Blog as Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 6/29/2014

World Cup fever has spread throughout, well, the World.  With so many teams and infrequent games, it's difficult to put one player in the spotlight, but I think we've found a deserving one.  The name on the back of his jersey resembles and American sports icon.  "James".  But that's just his first name, Rodriguez is his last name.  And the 22-year old Colombian has quickly become the superstar of the tournament.  Last week, he scored 3 goals in two games (with two assists) as Colombia has surged into the quarterfinals.  His two-goal performance against Uruguay (a 2-0 win mind you) included a "golazo", a spectacular control of a pass to his left foot and a rocket.  He's scored in every Colombian game so far.  James Rodriguez, you are the next great thing in soccer, and you are the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 6/22/2014

Some are calling it the greatest pitched game of all time.  Clayton Kershaw just calls it a day at the office.  The Los Angeles Dodgers ace completely shut down the usually-good hitting Colorado Rockies in picking up his first career no-hitter.  On a franchise known for no-no's from legends like Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela, and Hideo Nomo (or even Josh Beckett earlier this year), Kershaw's outing is hard to top.  The only baserunner was due to an error.  He struck out 15 and got through the game with 107 pitches (79 strikes, 28 balls, that's one ball per batter faced).  He literally said "here it is...hit it." And they couldn't.  Clayton Kershaw is our Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 6/15/2014

Unbelievable week for the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs, and they were carried by a very unlikely star.  Kawhi Leonard come from nowhere to suddenly be the scoring leader for the Spurs.  Over Games 3 through 5 (all Spurs wins), he poured in 23.7 PPG, shooting 69%, including 54% from behind the arc.  He also tallied over 9 rebounds per game and was frequently matched with one LeBron James on the defensive end.  The 22-year-old outshined better known teammates like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker to win the Final MVP.  Good enough for us to win the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!