Thursday, January 26, 2017

My All-Star 2017 reserves

Disclaimer: I am well aware that the reserves have already been announced by the League. This post should have been up a few days ago but isn't due to laziness and general disorganization on my part. However, what is written below is exactly what I wrote between last week and this Monday. 

The Starters for next month's All-Star Game have been announced, and you can bet every single blogger/expert/journalist/fan around is going to have something to say about it. And, after that's done, all will try and choose and/or guess who the reserves will be for each Conference. Since we're here, I might as well do just that too.
BC = Backcourt player (Guards)
FC = Frontcourt player (Forwards and Centers)
WC = Wild Card (last 2 reserve spots for each Conference)

Eastern Conference

BC. Kyrie Irving – Cleveland
BC. DeMar DeRozan – Toronto
FC. Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee
FC. LeBron James – Cleveland
FC. Jimmy Bulter – Chicago

Some things to note:
  • First, let me just say I'm happy Dwyane Wade did not get the nod over any of the two guards up there. I have nothing against Wade per se, but the fans were about to vote him over 4 or 5 guards who deserve this spot way more than he does. I don't know if he'll make the reserve team (spoiler: he doesn't on mine), but for now it feels right.
  • For my money, Kyle Lowry should be starting over Kyrie (and DeMar, in a way), but having Kyrie there isn't really a problem either.
  • Of course, the 76ers fan in me is a bit miffed that Embiid isn't starting, because I don't believe coaches will reward a 14-26 team with a reserve spot. But who knows, maybe they'll be impressed with his admittedly amazing stats and contributions (seriously, check the numbers with him on and off the court, it's staggering.)
  • In other words, nobody on there wouldn't have made my All-Star Team, starter or reserve, so we're good.
For reserves now, here are my picks.

BC. Isaiah Thomas – Boston
BC. Kyle Lowry – Toronto
FC. Kevin Love – Cleveland
FC. Paul Millsap – Atlanta
FC. Joel Embiid – Philadelphia
WC. John Wall – Washington
WC. Kemba Walker – Charlotte

Yes, I did pick Embiid. Look, the Eastern Conference frontcourt choices are quite limited once you get past the starting 5. The one I can (and probably will) see taking his spot is Paul George. And even a 76ers fan like me would be OK with that, you can bet Embiid is going to make tons of ASGs in his career anyway, and rookies making it is a very rare occurrence.

Western Conference

BC. James Harden – Houston
BC. Stephen Curry – Golden State
FC. Kevin Durant – Golden State
FC. Anthony Davis – New Orleands
FC. Kawhi Leonard – San Antonio

Some things to note:
  • The frontcourt is as anyone would have expected, really. Nothing remotely surprising or upsetting here.
  • However, the backcourt choices created quite a controversy by omitting the guy who is averaging 30-10-10, Russell Westbrook. It's a silly thing for sure (blame the fans for that one), but he'll make the game anyway. And Steph would have made it as well, so in the end all will be good.
For reserves now, here are my picks:

BC. Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City
BC. Chris Paul – L.A. Clippers
FC. Draymond Green – Golden State
FC. DeMarcus Cousins – Sacramento
FC. Marc Gasol – Memphis
WC. Rudy Gobert – Utah
WC. Gordon Hayward – Utah

I'm well aware that Chris Paul will miss this game, and that's why I left Mike Conley off this list. The Memphis guard should make this All-Star Game, no doubt about it. However, I think it's likely that that spot will go to Klay, therefore giving the Warriors a foursome on the team. That wouldn't surprise me at all, given that I actually wrote Klay Thompson in a wild card spot before changing my mind and picking two Jazz players. The odd one out here for coaches is Cousins, who plays for a well-below-.500 team, usually a bad omen for All-Star reserves. But his insane numbers should trump that, one would think.

I'm quite sure that I will have missed some of these "predictions" (they're more my choices than predictions, but you get the point) come Jan. 26th, but I feel good about these choices.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

NBA Over/Under 2016-2017

So before the season started, I wrote down, in my daily planner, the Over/Under lines for the total number of wins for every NBA team and made some predictions. I've done this a few times now during the past few seasons, usually while listening to Bill Simmons' podcast on that very subject. I haven't looked at them since, but I will while copying them on this blog. I know I'll feel smart about some, and quite dumb about others. That's quite normal. Here goes:

Eastern Conference:

  • Atlanta Hawks - 43.5 - OVER
  • Boston Celtics - 52.5 - OVER
  • Brooklyn Nets - 21.5 - UNDER
  • Charlotte Hornets - 40.5 - UNDER
  • Chicago Bulls - 40.5 - UNDER
  • Cleveland Cavaliers - 57 - EVEN
  • Detroit Pistons - 44.5 - UNDER
  • Indiana Pacers - 44.5 - OVER
  • Miami Heat - 35 - UNDER
  • Milwaukee Bucks - 36 - OVER
  • New York Knicks - 40.5 - OVER
  • Orlando Magic - 37 - UNDER
  • Philadelphia 76ers - 25 - OVER
  • Toronto Raptors - 50 - OVER
  • Washington Wizards - 42.5 - OVER

Western Conference:
  • Dallas Mavericks - 40 - UNDER
  • Denver Nuggets - 37 - UNDER
  • Golden State Warriors - 66.5 - OVER
  • Houston Rockets - 44.5 - OVER
  • Los Angeles Clippers - 54 - EVEN
  • Los Angeles Lakers - 25.5 - OVER
  • Memphis Grizzlies - 44 - OVER
  • Minnesota Timberwolves - 42.5 - OVER 
  • New Orleans Pelicans - 36.5 - UNDEr
  • Oklahoma City Thunder - 45 - EVEN
  • Phoenix Suns - 29 - UNDER
  • Portland Trail Blazers - 45.5 - OVER
  • Sacramento Kings - 32.5 - UNDER
  • San Antonio Spurs - 57 - OVER
  • Utah Jazz - 47 - OVER
That's about it, I'll write back when the season ends to see how I did. So far I think I'm over 50% right, if not 60%. But some predictions do look quite terrible (like the Wolves and the Cavaliers).

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 NFL Playoffs predictions - Wild Card Round

Here's the first of, hopefully, many predictions I'll post here. I'm not pretending to have a expert's grasp on the NFL (far from it, actually). I'm just a fan who reads about the NFL, watches it, listens to podcasts and would like to test his fan's knowledge and "gut-feelings" by predicting.

Lines were taken on the Sports Interaction website. Why this one exactly? Because I know basically nothing about gambling. And that website is the one my sports-loving gambling friends use. I don't, but I heard the name often enough that it stuck with me.

Oakland @ Houston
PICK : Oakland (+3.5)

The reason for this "upset" is quite simple. Oakland has the better team, even with Carr out with injury. The sad thing is that it significantly lowers the Raiders' ceiling (understatement of the year) during these playoffs. Still, I don't trust Houston whatsoever and they usually flame out quite spectacularly in the playoffs. Not only do I think the Raiders will cover the 3.5 points spread, I think they'll win outright.

Lions @ Seahawks
PICK : Seahawks (-8)

We heard from everyone and their mother how the Lions "lucked" into a 9-7 record. I don't really believe in luck, especially not in sports, but there's no question they outperformed their own numbers (They are 29th in weighted DVOA, ahead of only the Jets, the Rams and the Browns. Their expected win total was a tad under 5). The Seahawks should have been in the conversation with the Pats and Cowboys as the front-runners to win Super Bowl LI, but their most important player in their defense is out with that very depressing injury. I love Earl Thomas and wish he were here during those playoffs, the Seahawks are so much more fun when he's there. Still, the Seahawks have playoffs experience behind them and that crazy home field advantage. They will win handily.

Dolphins @ Steelers
PICK : Dolphins (+10.5)

This is simply a matter of me thinking the line is a bit too high. I do believe the Steelers will win this game, but they have been prone to weirdly close games lately, even against inferior competition (won the last 4 games by a total of 18 points). Also, the Dolphins did beat Pittsburgh earlier this season by 15 points. I'm expecting a close game.

Giants @ Packers
PICK : Giants (+5)

Spending a few minutes in sports forums will have you see 3LI all over the place. It does seem pre-destined that the Giants will encounter the Pats for the third time with, again, a lesser (but not bad) team and upset the NFL world. Part of me want to see that narrative play out, if only for the hilarity (Most NFL fans here are Pats fans) and the internet-breaking potential. Also, I don't trust the Packers to come up big when it matters against a world-class defense, as well as they have played the past 6 games.

Going 4-0 wouldn't surprise me, but neither would going 0-4. It's gonna be fun!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A fresh start

I thought for a while about how I should phrase this article. Why, exactly, have I decided to stop writing exclusively about basketball? The complete answer would be long, tedious and frankly uninteresting for basically anyone except myself. And that's a stretch, because even me thinking about it has me bored. Let's just say, for the sake of brevity that life happens and people change.

For those extremely precise and detailed reasons, I have decided to change the focus of this blog to every sport I'm watching and following. Sure, it won't be as specialized, but it will certainly be way more active. I'm going to try a few things. I don't know what will work and what won't. Knowing myself, there will be a lot of predictions for the NFL and the NBA. I like predicting stuff (I did about half the NBA season's worth of predictions 2 seasons ago and I wasn't bad at all! I was somewhere are 53-54% against the spread for every single NBA game. Not terrible!). Heck, I'd actually gamble if I had money to spare. I find the temptation quite intense, since it's fun to see if your impressions are accurate or not, but I've never done it and don't plan on doing it.

Predicting every NBA games would be too time-consuming, but doing so for the NFL seems reasonable. I'm going to try to start this weekend. However, I did write down my predictions for the Over/Under of wins for every NBA team at the start of the season, I'll copy it here and see how I stack up come April.

I'll also touch on, if possible and pertinent, the EPL, the Champions League, tennis, Formula One and other sports I like.

I might seem all over the place, but it's actually quite liberating for me. Being NBA-only was a bit like chaining myself to a league I don't watch as much as I used to. This is a blog I do for fun, I'm not pretending to be some sort of sports savant. But I like to have proofs lying around so I can evaluate my "skills".

Next up, I'm going to copy my NBA O/U wins predictions over here. And then I'm going to predict all 4 wild card games this coming weekend.

Here's hoping to a successful fresh start!