Dave’s Free Play, Monday 12/22/14

I’ll continue with my 2014 Media Awards with another best today. Play by play choice was yesterday, this time it’s TV analyst.

This is a difficult choice for me, as there are numerous candidates, and it’s tough to select just one. But I am going with Gary Danielson, who has been doing marquee college football games for many years. The former NFL QB never ceases to amaze me with how he’s able to see the entire field, and quickly explain just what’s taking place. It’s really like having a quarterback in the booth.

Danielson also fits that profile that I tend to like the most as a broadcast analyst. He’s not afraid to criticize, and Danielson also doesn’t gush over every player, which is an unfortunate trait for too many ex-players or coaches who are now behind a mic.

I don’t think there’s any chance Danielson would win a most popular contest, mainly because he’s not an over the top personality. That’s fine with me, as I’m more into getting good information and analysis, and from where I sit Danielson fits to a tee.

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I had a really good run going with my NFL stuff, but drew a blank on three plays yesterday, and there were all legit losses. Fortunately, the college basketball went much better, so the day wasn’t awful, but the week was. It;s imperative I rebound strongly this week, simple as that.

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Bad call on the Rams yesterday as the free play, total misread as they played poorly and the Giants were the far sharper entry. I’ll look for a winner tonight in a neighborhood battle on the hardwood.

12/22 3:00 PM   CBB   (573) MANHATTAN  vs. (574) FORDHAM

Take: (573) MANHATTAN -4

A little rivalry music please as Manhattan and Fordham take the court at Barclays Center as the warmup act for the Providence-Miami battle.

Things have not gone well this season for either the Jaspers or the Rams. In the case of Fordham, they took a huge early season hit when talented Jon Severe left the team for personal reasons. Minus Severe, getting the ball into the basket has been a difficult task for Fordham. There appears to be no chance the Rams will have much success in the rock solid Atlantic 10, where they’re going to be overmatched most of the time.

Manhattan is a flat out flop so far. The Jaspers were considered contenders in the MAAC prior to the start of the season, but they simply haven’t played well. The only wins have been against Binghamton, a very shorthanded Marist squad and Manhattan managed to get past Morgan State on Saturday to improve the ledger to a still very ugly 3-7. Like Fordham, the Jaspers have not been able to find the basket with enough regularity, and they’ve been highly prone to turnovers.

So there’s some reluctance to be sure about laying even a short price with Manhattan. Nevertheless, this would seem to be a good matchup for the Jaspers. Fordham has suffered from even worse ball security than Manhattan, and the one area where the Jaspers really excel is when it comes to forcing turnovers.

Revenge is a bit overrated as a whole, but in neighborhood duels like this one, I think it can be a factor. Manhattan blew a decent lead last season and lost straight up as a double digit favorite to Fordham.

Manhattan sure looks like a long shot right now to make a return trip to the NCAA Tournament. But I still show the Jaspers as the better squad here and I’m banking on their ability to get some extra possessions off their press to be a key tonight. I’ll side with Manhattan minus the reasonable spread this evening.

Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 12/21/14

As we head toward the 2014 finish line, it’s time for some Best and Worst in Sports Media Awards. These are just my own opinions, so feel free to tail or fade. Comments certainly welcome on my Twitter feed, which is @davecokin. I want to drag this out for the rest of the year, so I’ll choose just one best or worst each day.

Best TV Play by Play: Brent Musburger. My longtime favorite for two major reasons. First, Musburger never tries to overshadow the event he’s broadcasting. The game is the star and he’s just our friendly guide. Secondly, he respects his audience. Musburger understands a significant percentage of the viewers have action, or at the very least want to know what “Vegas” thinks about the game. Bottom line is that if I know Brent Musburger is doing a game, I’m probably watching and enjoying.

One quick note regarding Musburger’s own betting habits. There’s this myth that he’s got big bucks on all or at least many of the games he’s broadcasting. Not true. Musburger likes to play some sports when he’s in Las Vegas. He’s strictly recreational, $50 neighborhood, and he likes the sports book atmosphere. He’s also very cordial to fans from all accounts. That’s from the guys behind the counter, by the way, and when it comes to judging the players, they’re the best source around.

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I didn’t have a good day Saturday, and in fact this has been a painful week with some really aberrational results in college basketball, at least from my own perspective. The good news is I actually won an overtime game in the NHL, snapping a nasty streak of post-regulation losers. Gotta call it straight, I’m not getting the job done the way I’m supposed to at the present time.

The bowl package price is now $225, as the first five games are gone (1-2 on the three Saturday selections, and the two leans won), so I’m prorating the price and will continue to do so as games get played. Sign up via PayPal and remit to cokin@cox.net.

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Split on the Saturday free plays with Davidson getting it done in basketball and South Alabama failing to do so in football.

The Sunday free play is on an NFL game, and it’s actually one that’s being sold online. I don’t generally do that, but I’d rather put a game up here that I’m definitely on myself, rather than one that might not make the cut on my personal card.

12/21 01:05 PM   NFL   (123) NEW YORK GIANTS  at  (124) ST. LOUIS RAMS

Take: (124) ST. LOUIS RAMS -6.5

The Giants were good to me last week as they got the win and cover against Washington. I’ll be happy to try and beat the hand that just fed me today.

Let’s just say the Giants didn’t exactly dominate the Redskins last Sunday. They managed to win by enough to get backers paid, but they got plenty of help from some Washington blunders.

As for the Rams, they’re off a loss is which they were shut down for virtually the entire game by the Cardinals. But this is still a team that has played well for the most part lately, and I’m not reading much into one off game.

I think there’s a bit more incentive here for the hosts. The Rams would like to finish on a high note and get to .500, which they would do with two wins as the bell tolls on the 2015 NFL campaign. The Giants aren’t mailing it in by any means. But the offense remains prone to turnovers and the Giants have also suffered from what can be termed a domino effect. They’re fine until something goes wrong, and then they have a tendency to fall apart.

I can’t call this a value play as the spread is right whoever the overall power ratings say it’s supposed to be. But I prefer the scheduling spot for the Rams. They’ve had a few extra days to rest and prep thanks to not having played since last Sunday, and this is their home finale. The Giants are off a divisional win and wrap things up at home against the rival Eagles. With nothing on the line, that stands out as the more desirable game for NYG, and it’s possible they’re a bit flat here.

Laying any kind of wood with a so-so entry like the Rams carries some risk. They’re not exactly high-powered and projecting anything resembling a blowout is probably silly. But I like the Rams to win this game, and laying anything less than a TD seems like a decent risk to me.

 

Dave’s Free Play, Saturday 12/20/14

Due to the enormous Saturday college basketball slates, as well as good sized agendas in the NBA and NHL, I’ll be passing on doing any commentary for this one day each week. Time better spent trying to dissect the card in search of some right sides. But there will, of course, always be the daily free play.

My Friday was a split, with one of the worst beats in recent memory on Colorado State. Not easy to not cover -2.5 when leading by nine with half a minute to play. I’ll skip the gory details.

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UTEP managed to sneak home inside the number as the Friday free play. The Saturday comp is again in college basketball, this time on a fairly small road favorite.

12/20 01:00 PM   CBB   (551) DAVIDSON at (552) COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON

Take: (551) DAVIDSON -4

I’m a note taker. I maintain a ledger each season that contains what I consider to be unusual results. The rationale here is simple enough. It’s very easy to forget what took place in any single game. Keeping this information handy can pay off down the road, and a good example of this approach takes place today.

Let’s turn the clock back to January 1st of this year, and look at what took place as College of Charleston celebrated the holiday with a crazy upset at Davidson.

Davidson was a potent offensive team last season, but they’d been struggling heading into the game with the Cougars. This ended up becoming the bottoming out game for the Wildcats. They bricked just about everything in a disastrous second half. For the game, Davidson shot way under their season average, and they even failed miserably at the foul line, knocking down only 9/20.

C of C, meanwhile, went off. The Cougars shot an insane 73% for the game on their twos, and when the dust settled, they had themselves a 76-64 upset win.

Davidson apparently got the wake up call in that loss. They went from a dismal 4-10 start to 20-11 before getting upset in overtime in the SoCon tournament.

It’s a different story this time around. The Wildcats are a hot team right now, standing 8-1 with only a loss vs. North Carolina marring their otherwise perfect slate. Davidson has been spectacular offensively, knocking down whatever they shoot with regularity and also displaying outstanding ball security.

College of Charleston comes in with a mundane 5-5 ledger, and the Cougars are off a very tough loss, as they blew a big second half lead and lost in OT to Charlotte. First-year head coach Earl Grant could have a tough time getting his guys back on track mentally following that defeat.

I like this spot for Davidson from a scheduling standpoint. They’ve had a full week of rest and prep after dismantling Niagara, and the Wildcats are off for ten days following this game. Thus, there is no potential distraction I can see. Davidson is what ought to be a focused favorite with meaningful revenge.

My assumption is that Davidson will be a fairly popular betting option today. But even if the Wildcats are a bit on the square side here, I also think they should be the right side. I’ll be on Davidson minus the points today.

 

 

 

Dave’s Free Play, Friday 12/19/14

There’s no way to really nail down just how many wins or losses a coach is responsible for, regardless of the sport. It’s one statistic that there’s no true metric for, but there’s certainly not a shred of doubt that the guy in charge will play a major role in determining the success or failure of his team.

If you want a great example of what a difference a coach can make, Oregon State basketball is an excellent illustration in progress. The Beavers bid farewell to Craig Robinson after last season, and brought in Wayne Tinkle to try and turn things around in Corvallis. The results to date are close to miraculous.

Oregon State is probably going to struggle once conference play gets underway. But beating the Beavers isn’t going to be as easy as most anticipated prior to the start of the campaign.

The Beavers throttled DePaul last night to raise their record to 8-2. After being the consensus last place pick for this year’s PAC-12 race, it’s now looking like Oregon State will be better than at least a couple of teams, and I’m actually beginning to think this team could find its way to an NIT invite come March Madness. If that happens, Tinkle should be a national Coach of the Year candidate.

The difference is defense. In spite of the fact the Beavers were a fabulous shooting team last season, they couldn’t stop anyone and that cost them several winnable games. Do a comparison on the defensive stat profile from last year to this one, and the transformation is nothing short of incredible.

From a spread standpoint, my thoughts are that laying points to this Oregon State squad could be a very dicey proposition as we head into league play. The Beavers might not have the skills to win lots of league contests, but the grit this team plays with is going to keep them in games.

The conclusion is that coaching changes need to be incorporated into the analysis of any team, and knowing which coaches are most likely to have an impact one way or the other can result in plenty of trips to the winner’s window when it comes to the wagering aspect of the game.

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I did a lousy job of handicapping on Thursday, with two bad calls in hoops. This has not been a good stretch for me, and while I can bitch about a bad beat here and there, I need to sharpen up and make better decisions. I’m determined to do exactly that and it starts tonight with what I believe are two strong basketball sides, with more to come as morning info gets filtered into the mix.

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I’m taking a shot against one of the best teams in college basketball for the Friday free play.

12/19 08:00 PM   CBB   (827) ARIZONA  at  (828) UTEP

Take: (828) UTEP +7.5

There’s no doubt about it. Arizona is a legit contender to be playing on the final weekend of the college basketball season. The Wildcats are the total package, they’re extremely well coached and it sure appears that they come to play in virtually every game, a mark of a potential championship caliber team.

Nevertheless, the Wildcats have a real test on their hands tonight. Arizona will play its first true road game of the season this evening, and getting past UTEP looks to me to be a very tough test for this powerhouse.

Arizona is going to have to avoid getting frustrated with the tempo and height they’re going to see tonight from the Miners. Tim Floyd can coach ‘em up with anyone and he’s going to do everything he can to prevent Sean Miller from turning this into a track meet.

I’m not a big history buff, but every now and then a trend just jumps off the page and cannot be ignored. That’s the case for me tonight as UTEP takes the court as a home underdog. The Miners aren’t in this role often, but when they are, look out. UTEP is 9-0-1 ATS getting points at home. The last time they failed in this role was in March of 2007. Obviously, that doesn’t mean the run can’t end tonight. But that’s not the type of streak I’d be anxious to play against.

I see a bit of value with the home side tonight. Arizona has been superb to date, and the Wildcats are a favorite with the betting public for good reason. But the oddsmakers are well aware of that, and it appears to me that they’ve inflated this line a bit to adjust for what figures to be plenty of action on the Arizona side.

It’s never easy to fire against a team in great form that’s the real deal. But that home dog stat is compelling and I believe the hosts are good enough to keep this very competitive. UTEP plus the points is the choice as the Friday free play.

Dave’s Free Play, Thursday 12/18/14

If you’re one of those dinosaurs who still believes college football is a “sport”, you might as well just skip down to the day’s free play. You don’t get it, plain and simple, and reading this commentary will be a waste of your time.

College football at the FBS level is a business and the game itself is secondary to the bottom line. I’m not taking sides on whether that’s a good or bad thing. All I’m saying is that it simply is what it is, and that’s not changing anytime soon.

That brings me to the massive offer that the University of Michigan has apparently put on Jin Harbaugh’s table. The contract is reportedly in the neighborhood of $48 million for six years. Predictably, the tsk tsk gang is out in force over what they feel is an outlandish offer. After all, this is college football and figures like that are just too absurd for words. And so on and so on.

Actually, it’s a really smart move by Michigan. The program has lost its swagger and that translates into millions upon millions of lost dollars in lost revenue. If Harbaugh takes the job, the Wolverines instantly regain their credibility and identity and the cash register immediately starts ringing. Even if Harbaugh declines to sign on the dotted line, the signal has been sent by the athletic department that they’re going all in to restore Michigan football to its rightful place in the national college football food chain.

We just witnessed the same thing take place here in Las Vegas, albeit at a smaller level. UNLV eagerly accepted the resignation of Bobby hack as its head football coach and quickly filled the position with a high school coach. The Tony Sanchez hire was mostly met with raised eyebrows from analysts and fans who apparently still think it’s the 20th century. That outmoded train of thought can’t grasp the concept that hiring Sanchez means big dollars for a program that really needs big dollars.

We also just saw a football program close its doors because of money. UAB is done with football and that’s just tough luck for the kids who decided to play their football at that school. More proof that it’s all about the bottom line and the “sport” aspect of college football only exists on the scoreboard.

The bottom line for me is that this is further proof that college football players have to start getting paid. If you cannot connect the dots based on what has taken place with all the switching of conferences, plus virtually everything else that has anything to do with the way the game is run, you’re simply out to lunch. It’s a business, and it’s time to stop pretending that it’s anything else.

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Short card here on Wednesday, with Mississippi State laying a very rotten egg while the Utah Jazz delivered an easy NBA winner.  There was definitely a missed the boat observation as far as not playing James Madison is concerned, but I can live with the 1-1 result.

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Free plays have been doing well, but Mississippi State was a huge miss last night. Today’s play is on one of the bowl games taking place this weekend.

12/20 6:15 PM   CAMELIA BOWL   (209) SOUTH ALABAMA  vs.  (210) BOWLING GREEN

Take: (209) SOUTH ALABAMA -2.5

Breaking down the college bowls is a different process from the regular season for me. The numbers and the matchups still matter to be sure, but this is the time of the season when the intangibles have to given added weight. That includes coaching, incentive and the overall atmosphere.

That’s why I’ve learned to be more patient now than in the past when it comes to making my actual plays. I might form an opinion as soon as the opening lines go up. But even if it ends up costing me a little value, I won’t play until there’s a good feel for what might take place based on information that becomes available.

Coaching changes, injuries, suspensions and getting a feel for how much excitement there is for the upcoming bowl can be of paramount importance in determining the outcome of the game. So my best advice is to compile as many notes as you can find before jumping in.

As for this game, I’ve got two very closely matched teams in terms of overall talent dueling as Bowling Green takes on South Alabama. Bluntly stated, neither team is very good and I see little advantage either way on paper.

But there certainly appears to be significantly more anticipation of this event on the South Alabama side. It sure seems as though everyone associated with the Jaguars is really revved up for this game, which is the first ever bowl appearance for South Alabama. It’s going to be a virtual home game for the Jaguars and I’d be shocked if we get anything other than a very fired up South Alabama team on Saturday.

Bowling Green struggled down the stretch and the Falcons QB play in those games was very spotty.  James Knapke ended up getting yanked in each of the last two Bowling Green games and given the style of offense the Falcons utilize, they aren’t going to get many wins if the guy under center is off. Remember, Knapke was the Falcons #2 QB to begin with, who became QB1 when Matt Johnson injured his hip in the season opener. Knapke appears to have regressed down the stretch and I don’t look at him as necessarily being an on field asset at this point.

South Alabama is also in lousy form. The offense really bogged down and the Jaguars dumped their offensive coordinator at the conclusion of the regular season. Bryant Vincent is the new OC and he’s already generating excitement among the players with his speed things up approach.

I think this a big key to the game. In essence, Bowling Green now must face an offense they have no film on. The flip side is that there could be some mistakes by South Alabama playing more up tempo. But if we’re talking push vs. shove, I’ll side with the team putting in something new that appears to have the players geared up.

There’s no question the crowd in this small stadium in Montgomery will be mostly pulling hard for South Alabama. I believe the Jaguars might want it more than a Bowling Green entry that kind of tossed in the towel in the MAC title game. The number is very reasonable based on power ratings, and the intangibles here have me on South Alabama minus the points.

 

Dave’s Free Play, Wednesday 12/17/14

Bad beats. Anytime I hear anyone say there’s no such thing, that all that matters is the win or the loss, I just shake my head. That’s an absurd observation. Tracking right side losers and wrong side winners is a window into whether one is getting the job done in terms of pre-game analysis.

I’m not sure where to file the loss on Tuesday night by the Washington Capitals. It’s not really a bad beat, as the game was a coin flip from start to finish. So I can’t say that I had the right side, although I certainly didn’t have the wrong side. But there’s no question that from a pure aggravation standpoint, this might well be one of the all-time toppers.

In case you missed it, the Caps and Florida Panthers were tied at 1-1 after regulation as well as following the five minute overtime. That’s when history proceeded to unfold in the most amazing shootout the league has even seen.

The Caps and Panthers went through an unfathomable 20 rounds of shootout attempts. That’s a record. Washington was batting first throughout, and the Capitals took the lead on five occasions during this epic, only to surrender the tying goal each and every time. That’s just insane.

From an excitement standpoint, this was sensational, even for those of us who treat the entire shootout deal with disdain. But losing it the way it unfolded was absolute torture. So maybe it’s not a true bad beat. But it sure felt like one, and one for the ages at that.

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That horrible result on the Caps forced me to accept an overall split on the night. For the record, I’ve now lost seven straight NHL OT games and stand a ridiculous 7-18 for the season. That ain’t fun, folks.

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Nice job by the Rangers in what turned out to be an easy free play winner against slumping Calgary. I’ll break down a college hoop game for the Wednesday comp.

12/17 04:00 PM   CBB   (725) ARKANSAS STATE  at  (726) MISSISSIPPI STATE

Take: (726) MISSISSIPPI STATE -11.5

Is there such a thing as a good value spot on a double digit favorite? Not very often, but I think one can make a case that Mississippi State might be a bit of a bargain tonight as they host Arkansas State.

The visiting Red Wolves are struggling thus far. Aside from some decent offensive rebounding numbers, this team has been pretty mediocre at almost everything. That’s not a surprise, as Arkansas State returned zero starters from last year’s entry and head coach John  Brady is still trying to put together the right combinations in advance of Sun Belt play.

Mississippi State is also having problems, and the Bulldogs are probably going to have a rough go of it in SEC play. But this looks to me to be a spot where there are some fairly compelling reasons to chance laying some lumber with the home team.

It’s the first home game for Mississippi State since November 24 and head coach Rick Ray made no bones about the fact his players are looking forward to finally playing in Starkville. We’re getting the Bulldogs off three straight losses, so I would think there’s very little chance they won’t be focused tonight.

Craig Sword is back in action for the Bulldogs following back surgery that had kept him sidelined for the first seven games. Sword admits that he’s still got a ways to go with his conditioning. But his mere presence on the floor makes Mississippi State a better team. He’s the best player on this roster and Sword’s ability to penetrate should definitely help the Bulldogs increase their offensive efficiency.

This amounts to a right opponent at the right time scenario for a Mississippi State team that really could use a win. It would appear to be a good physical matchup for the Bulldogs and when I think I’m going to get a concerted effort out of a home favorite, I don’t mind giving up some points. That’s the case here and I’m laying it tonight with Mississippi State.

 

 

Dave’s Free Play, Tuesday 12/16/14

One thing I’ve always liked about the NHL is that when it’s time to make changes, teams don’t procrastinate very often. There have already been two firings this season, and you can bank on more to come as the season churns along.

Too bad some teams in the NFL are unwilling to utilize that same philosophy. Take for instance, the Chicago Bears. I realize it’s folly to put blame solely on any head coach in any sport. Marc Trestman is hardly the only one not getting the job done with this sorry outfit. But off what I’ve been seeing from this team all season, I think it’s safe to say that an overhaul is desperately needed, and that certainly would seem to include the head coach.

There were questions about the Chicago defense before the campaign ever started, and those fears have been realized. But the offense was supposed to be dynamic, and it has been anything but that.

What’s worse is the lack of focus this team has shown on a weekly basis. Jay Cutler is making more money than any other QB in the NFL this season. He’s terrible. Bad throws on a regular basis, absolutely no fire, and I’m really tired of hearing how “talented” Cutler is. Maybe the physical skills are there, but they’re hard to spot based on all the errors that take place virtually every game.

If I’m the coach, I’m sitting Cutler for the rest of the season. Simply stated, Trestman has nothing to lose at this point. Put in the backup and see if he at least generates some intensity. Fact is, if Trestman had true leadership skills as a head coach, he’d have absolutely made the move at halftime of last night’s lopsided loss to the Saints. But Trestman just kept sending Cutler out for the entire game, and that to me is enough to bluntly declare that Trestman isn’t the right man for this job. Great assistant, perhaps. Good head coach, sorry I can’t see it.

As for Cutler’s future with the Bears, I have no idea what they can do to salvage the situation. They’re going to have to pay him all those dollars. But at some point management has to simply admit they blew it with that monster contract, and the Bears have to move in another direction. This is a big swing and a miss, and that’s about all there is to it.

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My overtime and shootout woes in the NHL are getting a little ridiculous, as Ottawa coughed up the lead late in regulation and not surprisingly, got dumped in the shootout at Buffalo. Just for the record, I’m not 7-17 in games that go past regulation. Sixty minutes, no problem. Beyond 60, big problem.

I’ve been on a seesaw for much of this month, winning one night and losing the next. Frustrating as hell, but the next hot streak is just around the corner.

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The Portland line got out of hand with the Spurs sitting some players last night, but the Blazers covered regardless of the line they were played at. Tonight’s comp is in the NHL and I’ll be hoping it’s a 60 minute decision as I sure don’t need any more overtimes.

12/16 06:05 PM   NHL   (71) NEW YORK RANGERS  at  (72) CALGARY FLAMES

Take: (71) NEW YORK RANGERS  -110

Metrics are big part of the equation for many baseball handicappers. That’s not so much the case in other sports, although the metric community is growing across the board. That’s clearly the case in the NHL, as there are now a wealth of stats available to get a truer read on teams that the old school base statistics can offer.

The Calgary Flames spent the first portion of the season causing metrics believers to just shake their heads on a regular basis. All the data said the Flames were getting lucky, but they just kept on winning. However, the regression to the norm is now taking place, and in a pretty big way.

The Flames have hit the skids of late, and they will enter tonight’s home game against the Rangers on a five game losing streak. The good breaks have ground to a halt, the goaltending has slumped and a team that was supposed to be pretty mediocre is now playing that way.

The Rangers are currently just barely in the Eastern Conference playoffs as far as the current standings are concerned, but they’re coming into tonight’s battle in decent form. The Broadway Blues will be looking to win for the fourth straight game, so they’re trending in the opposite direction of the Flames.

In breaking down some of the key categories, this is pretty much a sweep for the road team. The Rangers have the better overall data, they win the home/road showdown on the stat sheet, and they’re also owners of the better special teams, both 5×4 and 4×5. With the Flames now mired in their first slump of the season, I will look for the Rangers to cash a winning ticket at what is a very reasonable price tonight.

 

Dave’s Free Play, Monday 12/15/14

Sometimes I can get a little wordy in this space. Not this time. This is short and sweet. Plus, I don’t feel like writing tonight, and since it’s my blog, I won’t.

I am astonished at how many people are buzzing about the bad day Aaron Rodgers had as the Packers lost to the Bills.

Aaron Rodgers is dating Olivia Munn. He has no bad days.

That is all.

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I had a good day on Sunday. 4-2 overall, and the NFL in particular has been very strong for the last month.

The current special is for one full month of all my plays and that’s including a strong guarantee. Minimum +10 net units for the full term, with almost all the plays being one unit each, so that’s a legit ten units. Anything less and the subscription continues until that minimum profit is obtained. Sign up via the “buy now” feature on this page or send an email to me at cokin@cox.net for more detailed information.

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The free plays worked out okay, with Illinois State a win and the Seahawks a push that I would imagine won for most players. It’s recorded as a push here though, as that was the consensus line when I published the play on Friday. Tonight, an NBA opinion.

12/15 7:05 PM   NBA   (713) SAN ANTONIO SPURS  at  (714) PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS

Take: (714) PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS

There’s no line on this game as of now, with the injury status of Spurs point guard Tony Parker currently up in the air. Parker did not play on Sunday as the Spurs got the win at Denver and he’s listed as questionable for tonight’s game with the Blazers.

Regardless of whether or not Parker plays, I will be looking to play Portland here. Two games in two nights is no big deal for San Antonio. But they are coming out of that thin air in Denver, and having a next night game that’s also on the road isn’t easy, not even for the Spurs.

Portland is playing very well at home, and they are at least off a win in their final road game after dropping a pair to Minnesota and Chicago. Actually, it was a solid trip for the Blazers as they managed to go 4-2, so no problem at all with the current form for this team.

I’ll go ahead and assume this is one the Blazers will want about as much as any game they’ve played this season. It was certainly not a surprise, but this is still playoff revenge for Portland as the Spurs eliminated them in five games last spring.

There is no such thing as a cinch spot to fade San Antonio. Even when Greg Popovich decides to rest regulars, there’s always apprehension involved when trying to beat this outfit. Let’s face it, the Spurs have the most fundamentally sound roster in the NBA and what that means is that they’re dangerous even if most of the minutes are going to the backups.

But even the Spurs can be played against in certain spots and this looks like a pretty good one. It’s got to be a big circle game for the Blazers, their fans should, be thoroughly fired up and the potential absence of Parker is of some importance. I will be looking to take my chances with Blazers tonight once the number for this game goes up in the morning.

 

Dave’s Free Play, Monday 12/15/14

Sometimes I can get a little wordy in this space. Not this time. This is short and sweet. Plus, I don’t feel like writing tonight, and since it’s my blog, I won’t.

I am astonished at how many people are buzzing about the bad day Aaron Rodgers had as the Packers lost to the Bills.

Aaron Rodgers is dating Olivia Munn. He has no bad days.

That is all.

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I had a good day on Sunday. 4-2 overall, and the NFL in particular has been very strong for the last month.

The current special is for one full month of all my plays and that’s including a strong guarantee. Minimum +10 net units for the full term, with almost all the plays being one unit each, so that’s a legit ten units. Anything less and the subscription continues until that minimum profit is obtained. Sign up via the “buy now” feature on this page or send an email to me at cokin@cox.net for more detailed information.

————-

The free plays worked out okay, with Illinois State a win and the Seahawks a push that I would imagine won for most players. It’s recorded as a push here though, as that was the consensus line when I published the play on Friday. Tonight, an NBA opinion.

12/15 7:05 PM   NBA   (713) SAN ANTONIO SPURS  at  (714) PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS

Take: (714) PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS

There’s no line on this game as of now, with the injury status of Spurs point guard Tony Parker currently up in the air. Parker did not play on Sunday as the Spurs got the win at Denver and he’s listed as questionable for tonight’s game with the Blazers.

Regardless of whether or not Parker plays, I will be looking to play Portland here. Two games in two nights is no big deal for San Antonio. But they are coming out of that thin air in Denver, and having a next night game that’s also on the road isn’t easy, not even for the Spurs.

Portland is playing very well at home, and they are at least off a win in their final road game after dropping a pair to Minnesota and Chicago. Actually, it was a solid trip for the Blazers as they managed to go 4-2, so no problem at all with the current form for this team.

I’ll go ahead and assume this is one the Blazers will want about as much as any game they’ve played this season. It was certainly not a surprise, but this is still playoff revenge for Portland as the Spurs eliminated them in five games last spring.

There is no such thing as a cinch spot to fade San Antonio. Even when Greg Popovich decides to rest regulars, there’s always apprehension involved when trying to beat this outfit. Let’s face it, the Spurs have the most fundamentally sound roster in the NBA and what that means is that they’re dangerous even if most of the minutes are going to the backups.

But even the Spurs can be played against in certain spots and this looks like a pretty good one. It’s got to be a big circle game for the Blazers, their fans should, be thoroughly fired up and the potential absence of Parker is of some importance. I will be looking to take my chances with Blazers tonight once the number for this game goes up in the morning.

 

 

Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 12/14/14

I’m by no means what anyone would ever call a tough interviewer. There have been a few spots where I’ve stepped out and asked my subject difficult questions, but for the most part I tend to keep things pretty light.

But compared to what I saw on Showtime last night, I’m hard core. The interview with Floyd Mayweather was about the worst I’ve ever seen. I understand there’s a serious financial arrangement between the two. Fine, then just don’t do the interview. Better that than the pathetic softball-fest that took place.

Sorry, but there cannot be a Mayweather interview this week that simply avoids the topic that has to at least be mentioned. Mayweather was on FaceTime with Earl Hayes when the rap artist reportedly murdered his girlfriend, Stephanie Moseley and then shot himself to death. Granted, this had to be an extraordinarily difficult incident for Mayweather to apparently witness. But there’s no way to do an interview a few days later and not bring it up.

Mayweather was also allowed to put all the blame for the fight that never was with Manny Pacquiao on everyone but himself. That’s ridiculous. Both parties are responsible for what would have been an epic matchup not taking place. It doesn’t matter who’s more at fault. Allowing Floyd to assign all the problems with the fight not happening on Pacquiao was absurd.

As for the fights themselves, there’s all kinds of outcry over the scoring that took place in two of the fights. Big deal. Boxing ran out of eyes to blacken before I was born, and that event took place way too many years ago. I didn’t score either one as, to be honest, I was only half watching. That’s about as much attention as I can summon up for boxing these days.

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Won a little in college hoops on Saturday, but lost on the ice. I’m reasonably satisfied with the basketball, both college and lately the NBA, the football has actually been very good lately, but I’ve gone a little cold in the NHL. Up overall for December, although not spectacularly so by any means. I’ll look to get it heated up again today, and NFL Sundays have been in full stride for the last few weeks.

The ongoing December special, which is available anytime till 12/31, is one full month of all my plays, and that’s with a strong guarantee. Subscribers must earn a net profit of at least ten units or the service continues at no cost until that minimum profit plate is achieved. Sign up via the “buy now” feature you should be able to locate on this page, or shoot an email my way way at cokin@cox.net.

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No sweat with Gonzaga as the Saturday free play. The Bulldogs pretty well dominated UCLA for the entire game. I’ll look at another college game for the Sunday comp.

12/14 1:00 PM   CBB   (825) ILLINOIS STATE  at  (826) DEPAUL

Take: (825) ILLINOIS STATE +2.5

I’ve enjoyed some success in games involving DePaul already this season, and I’ll be looking to try and beat the Blue Demons today.

Illinois State is a rather unimposing 4-3 thus far. But the Redbirds have played pretty well for the most part. They let a big early lead vanish in a loss to Utah State, but the other two defeats were narrow ones to quality opponents in Seton Hall and VCU. They’re not what I’d call outstanding at anything, but Illinois State has not real liabilities, either.

DePaul is good hit, no field. The Blue Demons can put the ball in the basket. But as usual DePaul plays defense like it’s a foreign concept, and that makes winning difficult anytime the shots aren’t falling with as much regularity as usual.

This game therefore fits one of my preferred tendencies, which is to take points with better defensive underdogs. I also favor Illinois State from a situational standpoint. The Redbirds have enjoyed a full week of prep for this in-state duel. The Blue Demons are limping back to Chicago after getting drilled a few nights back at George Washington.

DePaul probably qualified as a bit of an early season surprise, most notably off the impressive win over Stanford. But that was a terrific spot for the Blue Demons and I didn’t suddenly upgrade them off that nice victory.

This is still the same DePaul team I’m used to seeing. On their good nights they can be a handful but focus and fundamentals have been an ongoing problem for the Blue Demons throughout the Oliver Purnell regime.

Illinois State is not a worldbeater, but they’re the better team here and it’s a decent enough spot. I’ll opt to take the available points and will side with the Redbirds.