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 (626) MLB (185) NFL (165) NCAA (129) NFL Playoffs (73) NBA (70) NHL (64)

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!