Who am I?

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

Follow me on Twitter: @lhd_on_sports

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LHD_PotW (271) NFL (109) MLB (107) NCAA (96) NBA (49) NFL Playoffs (47) NHL (41)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII Preview

This week, we experience the ultimate single game in American Sports.  The Super Bowl.  There have been 47 to date, and each literally wrote history, from players to teams to coaches to dynasties. The 48th chapter features two evenly matched teams, here yours truly, J.R. Ewing, evaluates who I think will prevail.

But first (unfortunately for my oil assets), we must look at how I did on my Championship Game predictions.  In a word "not too good."  With $6,000 wagered on ATS, S/U, and O/U, I returned $3,326.  Total for the playoffs, about $4,604 in the hole ($30,000 wagered returned $25,396).  We have to up it for the Super Bowl, right?  I'm rich, so we got $5,000 per bet, ATS, S/U, and O/U, let's get it on!

February 2, 2014: 18:30 EST
Seattle Seahawks (+2.5, +115) vs. Denver Broncos (-2.5, -125) O/U 47.5

There are lots of angles here.

You have the Number 1 offense (Denver) against the number 1 defense (Seattle).  Typically good defense beats good offense in my opinion.  But note that Seattle struggled against a "Broncos light" team in the Indianapolis Colts to one of their three losses.

Both teams didn't have to leave their home stadium to make it here.  Both teams enjoy a very strong advantage at home.  The weather might be a little less than ideal, this might tilt it to the defense.

The Seahawks are believed to be getting Percy Harvin back, a big play weapon they've been missing this whole season.

In the end, here's how I see it breaking down.  The Broncos offense will not have faced a defense this tough all season.  Staying base, the Seahawks can shut the Broncos down running, but the question is, can they do it passing?  If Peyton Manning gets hot, then the Seahawks might back off and the Broncos will have success.  But none of this is going to happen.  The Broncos have struggled offensively, at least to put up points, and it will only go down.  They can only put up 20 or so.  The Seahawks are now facing a much lighter defense than they've faced.  And they were able to put up 23 PPG against much better defenses.  They'll get their points, especially behind the grinding rushing attack of Marshawn Lynch.

Final Prediction: Seahawks 28, Broncos 20

This puts us JUST over the 47.5, but I'm willing to bet that.  The Broncos "might" get some big plays and I don't see the Seahawks offense struggling that much.

Betting information courtesy of 5dimes.com at the time of post (this blog has no affiliation with that site).

For full Super Bowl Preview courtesy of the Sports-Kings, check out this YouTube show!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 1/26/2014

No NFL this week, so we check down to a tour sport and we do have the first tour major (i.e. Grand Slam) of the year, the Australian Open.  And this year's winner on the men's side emerged to win his first Grand Slam title.  Stanislas Wawrinka emerged among a hall of fame field including Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and runner up Rafael Nadal (6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.  Some might say the victory was not pure because of Nadal's physical ailments, but when a tournament starts with 128 participants and you win seven straight, you are a Grand Slam winner.  And this week's Longhorndave Sporstman of the Week!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 1/19/2014

It's hard to migrate away from football this week, and our Sportsman truly exhibited the characteristics of greatness in a key individual matchup and contest.  The Denver Broncos Peyton Manning dissected a New England Patriots defense to the tune of 32-43 for 400 yards with 2 TD, methodically keeping the ball away from his rival Tom Brady for over 35 minutes of play.  And his Denver Broncos advanced to the Super Bowl by an easy 26-16 margin.  It could have been worse if they needed more points, but they largely played keep away in the fourth quarter, settling for long, time-consuming drives and field goals.  Peyton Manning becomes the second athlete to be awarded this honor two times (LeBron James is the other).  I cannot think of two more dominant athletes of our era to earn it.  Congratulations Peyton, you are the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2013-14 NFL Week Three Playoff Preview

Betting information courtesy of 5dimes.com at the time of post (this blog has no affiliation with that site).

After a rough Week 1 (-$5,247), I hit big time Oil Money with a 9-3 week and $3,317 in winnings.  12-11-1 overall.  Unfortunately, some of the hits were smaller straight up bets.  But we recovered some losses and without a big money underdog winning, not much to recover.


Recap of how this works. Each week of the NFL Playoffs I'll preview the games, predict final scores, and oh, by the way, keep track of my overall oil money for straight up, ATS, and O/U on each game.  For ATS and O/U, $1100 is the Wager.  For S/U (a.k.a. Money Line), it's $1000 on either side (reduced income for heavy favorites).

Most pundits agree that the four best teams are playing, especially with no major upsets last week.  And the two best teams are hosting.  There are definitely no clear favorites and the matchups (Brady vs. Manning, Kaepernick vs. Wilson) are intriguing to say the least. 

January 19, 2014: 15:00 EST
New England Patriots (+6, +220) vs. Denver Broncos (-6, -240) O/U 55.5
Will this be the final chapter of Manning vs. Brady?  If so, it couldn't be on a bigger stage.  The Patriots seem a little soft on defense and the Broncos seem like their defense is getting better.  I feel like the Broncos got past a bigger hurdle than normal last week in their home win (demons from last year exorcised).  Brady usually wins this matchup, but hasn't had to go to Manning's house so much.  The Patriots are beatable on the road, and the Broncos will beat them.  It will be very high scoring.  Final Prediction: Broncos 38, Patriots 31.

January 19, 2014: 18:30 EST
San Francisco 49ers (+3.5, +170) vs. Seattle Seahawks (-3.5, -185) O/U 39
I have to think what I saw last week out of these teams is what to expect this week.  The Seahawks, while at home, struggled to move the ball against the New Orleans Saints after they got a marginal lead.  And had to protect a frantic situation in the closing moments.  The 49ers sustained early momentum and emotion by the host Carolina Panthers, methodically dismantled both their offense and defense and won with ease.  Both defenses will rule the day, but I don't see the Seahawks moving the ball that well.  Colin Kaepernick is the difference and gets enough points to win.  Watch out for a defensive score, could change everything.  Final Prediction: 49ers 20 Seahawks 10.


The three "best bets" it would be:
1) 49ers: ATS
2) 49ers/Seahawks: Under
3) Patriots/Broncos :Over

Best Bets were 3-0 last week, 5-1 on season (no S/U taken for a favorite).

For full playoff analysis including my own predictions, check out the Sports-Kings YouTube Channel:

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 1/12/2014

There were a lot of outstanding players this weekend of the NFL Division Playoffs, but this week's Sportsman of the Week put his team on his back and lifted them to a third straight AFC Championship Game.  LeGarrette Blount of the New England Patriots busted out for 166 yards and 4 TD as his team advanced to face the Denver Broncos.  After a moribund first 15 games never breaking 70 yards in a single game with only 5 TDs, he's surged for 355 yards and 6 TD in Week 17 (a key win to get the Bye) and Divisional Playoff.  His most defining run, a 73 yard dagger that put the Patriots up by 14, was the difference-making play to win the game.  LeGarrette Blount is this week's Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2013-14 NFL Week Two Playoff Preview

Betting information courtesy of 5dimes.com at the time of post (this blog has no affiliation with that site).

Well things didn't exactly go my way last week.  With $12,000 on the line, I recovered $6,753 (mostly on O/U) with a record of 3-8-1.  Alas, I can take the $5K+ hit, especially when I know I got sure winners this week!

Recap of how this works. Each week of the NFL Playoffs I'll preview the games, predict final scores, and oh, by the way, keep track of my overall oil money for straight up, ATS, and O/U on each game.  For ATS and O/U, $1100 is the Wager.  For S/U (a.k.a. Money Line), it's $1000 on either side (reduced income for heavy favorites)

Week 2 features teams who had to battle in the Wild Card weekend against teams that were the best four in the regular season AND had a Bye week.  The Bye Week can be a double edged sword, but for the most part, teams will take it.  So without further ado, let's preview!

January 11, 2014: 16:35 EST
New Orleans Saints (+8.5, +340) vs. Seattle Seahawks (-8.5, -380) O/U 44.5
The Saints proved me wrong last week with a somewhat surprising road win in Philadelphia.  The Saints have a balanced team, but usually doesn't do such things on the road.  Now they go to arguably the toughest stadium to visit in Seattle against who many think are the best balanced team.  Nothing here looks like it will be different than the first time the faced off here earlier this season, so I predict the same final score.  Final Prediction: Seahawks 34 Saints 7.


January 11, 2014: 20:15 EST
Indianapolis Colts (+7, +270) vs. New England Patriots (-7, -300) O/U 53.5
Indianapolis played one of the most entertaining games in Wild Card Weekend, with a furious comeback against the Kansas City Chiefs to win by one.  The Colts relied on Luck's (sometimes errant) arm and a monster day from (Co-sportsman of the Week) T.Y. Hilton.  The Patriots always seem to win at home in the playoffs and will scheme their defense to stop the Colts passing attack and win a very technical game. Final Prediction: Patriots 31 Colts 17.

January 12, 2014: 13:05 EST
San Francisco 49ers  (+1, -110) vs. Carolina Panthers (+1, +110) O/U 41
Most fans have this game circled as being the most entertaining.  The Panthers won the two seed in the NFC, but fans have seen San Francisco perform in the postseason and know they'll battle.  The game is in Carolina, again, most fans don't fear that crowd.  With Kaepernick's experience, I think the Niners TCB and move on.  Relatively easily. Final Prediction: 49ers 28, Panthers 17.

January 12, 2014: 16:40 EST
San Diego Chargers (+9, +335) vs. Denver Broncos (-9, -375) O/U 54.5
The Chargers are starting to look like a team of destiny, having won four in a row to make the playoffs, then embarrassing the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday.  But they still don't look too good doing it.  However, one of those four wins was against these same Broncos in this same stadium.  The environment won't bother the Bolts, but the Broncos offense will.  I do think it will be close, but Peyton and the Broncos prevail.  Final Prediction: Broncos 38, Chargers 35.

The three "best bets" it would be:
1) Saints vs. Seahawks: Under
2) 49ers: Money Line
3) Patriots: ATS

Best Bets were 2-1 last week.

For full playoff analysis, check out the Sports-Kings YouTube Channel:

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sportsmen of the Week Ending 1/5/2014

For the first time in Blog history, we are going to have TWO Sportsmen of the Week.  Since I write this and get to make the rules, there is literally no discernible difference between these two.  So just bear with me.

The first Sportsman of the Week led the second best comeback in NFL Playoff history.  T.Y. Hilton for the Indianapolis Colts was an uncoverable beast in the Indianapolis Colts shocking comeback victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.  The end line was 13 catches, 224 yards, and 2 TDs.  The Colts pulled out an incredible 45-44 win after trailing 38-10 early in the third quarter.  With quarterback Andrew Luck shaky early, he turned to Hilton time and time again and was never let down.  Congrats on being one of the Longhorndave Sportsmen of the Week.

The second Sportsman of the Week led his team to a high stakes win against a team that had been considered a favorite to make the BCS Championship Game.  Clemson has suffered frustrating defeat time and time again as they try enter the NCAA Football elite.  After an embarrassing Orange Bowl loss two seasons ago, they thirsted for a win against Ohio State and got it 40-35.  While Tajh Boyd could have been the honoree, it was really WR Sammy Watkins who seemed to be the unstoppable force.  His line, 16 catches, 227 yards, 2 TDs (pretty much the above).  While college lends itself to bigger numbers, the stakes of the game were just as high as playoff.  Watkins has declared for the NFL, maybe the Colts can snag him opposite Hilton!  Congrats to Watkins for a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Great Sports Debate: Attend a game live or watch on TV?

An interesting phenomenon seems to be taking place in sports fandom.  More and more sports fans, even the most ardent ones, would rather stay at home and watch TV then attend in person.  While the call of "you gotta be at the big game" used to be the norm, now it's "come over and watch, I'll have three TVs set up and we're making nachos."  This format was probably born at Super Bowl parties, where you really couldn't get a ticket so it was normal to host friends, family, and that one guy who'd show up in football gear as if he was going to play.  Now even for the hometown team or your alma mater, it's making more sense for fans to relax at home and avoid the hassle.

A few pieces of recent evidence that the tide is shifting (these are just recent, but have been going on for the past decade or so).
1) Three of the four NFL Wildcard games needed an extra day to have a blackout lifted on the local TV market.  And these were very dedicated fan bases like Green Bay, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati.  Green Bay, which boasts of a century long wait list for season tickets, can't sell out a home playoff game against a good opponent?
2) College football attendance, which boasts some of the most dedicated fans who name their babies after mascots and coaches, is down and continues to go down.  And I'm not talking about Akron and Colorado State.  I'm talking about Alabama, Texas, Michigan, and Miami, huge programs with national titles in tow.
Miami fans show up by the dozen near kickoff

Students, like these at Michigan, show up late and
leave early (and their tickets are generally free)

3) Related to #2, BCS game participants can't GIVE away their tickets to bowl games.  Or at least compete with rock bottom prices on the secondary market.  Pre-BCS, it seemed that fans thirsted to travel to New Orleans, Miami, or Pasadena to see their team battle a non-conference heavyweight.  The Rose Bowl is still more than healthy, but fans of schools like Clemson, Ohio State, or Central Florida seem to think "ehh, that's a long way for a game that doesn't really matter for national or conference stakes."  And colleges eat the cost of guaranteed ticket sales, putting a serious dent in the alleged financial reward for going to BCS games.

So what is causing it?
1) Television coverage has gotten so good, it's a better fan experience.
The BCS Championship game will have no fewer than NINE channels from the ESPN family of networks covering aspects of the game.  NFL has so many controversial referee calls and crucial replay reviews (and TV time outs), that the fan at the game is sitting there almost bored.  Plus with DVR capabilities, the game can be paused, replays are at your fingertips, and you can zip through timeouts if you get behind.  TV's have gotten larger, higher quality picture, cheaper, and have better sound systems these days, as well.
Another TV timeout? Pardon me while I nap

2) Ticket prices are darn high.
The average BCS Bowl game ticket price (face) is well over $100.  The average NFL game ticket price is around $200.  The average baseball, hockey, and basketball vary between $25 and $60 per ticket (varies widely by market, and sometimes opponent).  A family of four can sit at home, watch the game (with the aforementioned outstanding TV coverage) for whatever the cable bill costs probably under $5 per day for all the games you can consume.  And let's not even talk about $20 parking...

3) ...and concessions...
With beer upwards of $8 per pour or bottle at pro sports venues, plus pretty average food (excepting baseball  parks, which I think stand above) at $10 per hot dog plus soft drink and chips, a meal for the family and a couple of beers for dad (or mom) gets to $100 pretty quickly.  Not to mention the lines (missing the game), and the natural consequence of drinking beer (another line to wait in).  Order two pizzas and get a six pack of beer and/or soda for the family, and you'll probably be under $20 and have plenty of leftovers.  And a clean restroom that smells nice.
Missing a quarter of the game in line and spending $50
is growing less appealing by the game

4) People are busy, attending games takes time.
For a 3-hour game, most fans will be pulling into a parking spot about 30 mins before kickoff, face off, tip off, or first pitch.  They probably left their home 30 minutes or more before that assuming manageable traffic.  They'll probably take 30 minutes to get back to the car and another 30 minutes home assuming reasonable traffic.  That's now 5 hours for a 3-hour game.  Let alone if it runs into extra innings, overtime, or a shootout.  Not to mention if you want to tailgate, head for drinks after, etc.  Families have a lot going on (kids events, work, sleep, meals) and dedicated 5 hours to one activity can be burdensome.  Think about a weekday game, it's the whole night and the kids will be on short sleep the next day.  Meanwhile at home, you can tune in right at the start, and even turn it off when it's no longer fun to watch.  For college football fans who tend to have to travel across cities, a game becomes a whole weekend.
Not the way people like spending their day

5) Attention spans are short.
In today's hyper-fast internet age, fans rarely focus on one game or activity.  The tendency is to surf the TV to find the best game, text or tweet friends about the game, or update Facebook status as things unfold (or just post a photo of your seats to make your friends jealous).  If you go the game, you are pretty much locked in to that one event.  Then it seems foolish to pay all that money to then sit in your seat and stare at your phone updating Facebook or Tweeting.  The broader fan experience is to watch games with friends via social media, not via your eyes and whatever drunk is sitting next to you.  Done much easier at home.
Even courtside seats and Laker Girls can't pry this
celebrities eyes off his Twitter feed

From a personal standpoint, I do attend many college football and professional baseball games.  I love to focus the subtle things you can see at the game (fielder positioning, appreciation for the speed of the athletes, the roar for a good play).  But other sports (like NFL, NBA, or college hoops), I'd just as soon watch at home.  So there's my line for attending sports events, what's yours?

- David Whitlock

Friday, January 3, 2014

2013-14 NFL Week One Playoff Preview

Betting information courtesy of 5dimes.com at the time of post (this blog has no affiliation with that site).

JR Ewing loves the NFL post season to bring out his Christmas money and put it all on the line.  Each week of the NFL Playoffs (hopefully earlier than Saturday) I'll preview the games, predict final scores, and oh, by the way, keep track of my overall oil money for straight up, ATS, and O/U on each game.  For ATS and O/U, $1100 is the Wager.  For S/U (a.k.a. Money Line), it's $1000 on either side.

In week one, there is a lot of talk about how teams with better records like the 49ers, and Saints are stuck visiting teams that won their division with worse records.  Whether or not the NFL should reseed is a story for another blog (they shouldn't), but it provides some more even matchups than sometimes you get if the power team were at home.  Here's how Week 1 will shake out!

January 4, 2014: 16:35 EST
Kansas City Chiefs (+1, -103) vs. Indianapolis Colts (-1, -107) O/U 46
Both teams come in at 11-5, so at the surface, you wonder why the Colts aren't bigger favorites?  A weaker division for sure, but they also matched the NFC West and defeated both Seattle and San Francisco.  They also beat Denver.  And Kansas City just 2 weeks ago.  Meanwhile Kansas City is 2-5 in their last 7 games, with wins over the hapless Redskins and Raiders.  I don't see this one being so close at Lucas Oil stadium, Andrew Luck will have nice elements to throw and they'll win this one going away.  Final Prediction: Colts 27 Chiefs 10.


January 4, 2014: 20:10 EST
New Orleans Saints (+2.5, +125) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5, -135) O/U 53.5
Most people know by now the Saints are a team of two stadiums.  Unbeatable at home (8-0), and punchless on the road (3-5).  Might have to do with a dome, might have to do with rowdy fans, either way, it's tough picking the 11-5 Saints over the 10-6 Eagles in bad weather in Philly.  The Eagles have quietly gone 7-1 over the second half of the season, and with Foles firmly entrenched and the NFL's leading rusher LeSean McCoy, they're equipped to whip the Saints. Final Prediction: Eagles 31 Saints 17.

January 5, 2014: 13:05 EST
San Diego Chargers (+6.5, +245) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5, -265) O/U 46.5
I think this game qualifies as the one most likely to produce a playoff Week 2 loser.  The Chargers barely made the playoffs after a referee mistake against the Chiefs back ups.  The Bengals, at 11-5, have played well down the stretch (5-1 over their last 6) but have been one and done the past two years and Dalton hasn't looked the part of playoff winning quarterback.  That being said, someone has to win and it won't be the Bolts. Final Prediction: Bengals 27, Chargers 10.

January 5, 2014: 16:40 EST
San Francisco 49ers (-2.5, -132) vs. Green Bay Packers (+2.5, +122) O/U 46.5
A very intriguing matchup indeed, with the 49ers possessing 4 more wins than the host Packers.  And the weather, which will be colder than a wit--, err windy day at the North Pole.  I think this all might get in the 49ers head.  While the Niners have won six straight, they haven't played a cold weather game against a good team, and the Packers, while looking pretty bad down the stretch, now have Rodgers back (and Cobb) and are sky high after their big road win last week.  Packers also looking for revenge after last year.  Final Prediction: Packers 28, 49ers 21.

If I had to pick the three "best bets" it would be:
Bengals: ATS
Saints vs. Eagles: Under
Colts: Money Line


And one bonus pick, off the books, here's how the BCS Championship Game breaks down
January 6, 2014: 20:30 EST
Auburn Tigers (+8.5, +265) vs. the Florida State Seminoles (-8.5, -295) O/U 67.5
Florida State has simply rolled everybody, all wins by more than 2 TDs.  They've played respectable opponents in the ACC, but not the schedule Auburn had to play.  BUT, Auburn lost a game by 2 TDs and had to pull several more out in the last seconds.  The major factor here is, what happens when Florida State gets popped in the mouth, because we don't know how they might react.  Auburn will not be phased if they go down by more than 2 TD, FSU might get phased.  But, I think Florida State looks more like the SEC teams that have won in the past (can run or throw and play defense) vs. the Auburn spread running attack and lack of defense.  This one goes to the 'Noles.  Final Prediction: Seminoles 41, Tigers 31.