Monday, November 3, 2014

11/3 Oklahoma City Thunder @ Brooklyn Nets

On a relatively thin NBA night where most of the heavy hitters are not playing, there is still plenty of good basketball on TV. The most interesting of these is the matchup between the Thunder and the Nets in New York.

Last Games
11/1 Pistons 90 - Nets 102
11/1 Thunder 102 - Nuggets 91

The Thunder come into tonight's game at 1-2 and without their two biggest stars as both Kevin Durant (foot) and Russell Westbrook (hand) both sit with injuries.
This is the first of two meetings between these clubs this month, and the venue might hold as much importance as the injuries at play. The Nets were much better at home in the Barclays Center than they were on the road last season, and the home court advantage should play their way again this year. An aging core of players however, could keep the Thunder close if the Nets can't put them away early.

1/31/14 Thunder 120 - Nets 95
1/2/14 Nets 95 - Thunder 93

Brooklyn Nets -7
Over/Under 193

The age of the Nets and the ferocity with which the younger players on the Thunder need to play over the next month to keep them in contention keeps me from backing the Nets for four quarters. Look for their lead to shrink late in a strong defensive effort for both sides.

Thunder +7
Under 193

Friday, October 31, 2014

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Columbus Blue Jackets (10/31/14) Preview

The Columbus Blue Jackets (1-4 in their last 5) take on the Toronto Maple Leafs (2-3 in their last five) tonight in Columbus Ohio. Both teams currently sit in 7th place in their divisions and run the risk of falling even farther behind the early season leaders with a loss.

Last Games:
CBJ 10/28 vs OTT L 5-2.   TOR 10/28 vs BUF W 4-0.

These teams find themselves in very similar situations at this early point in the season. With weak defenses which give up great scoring opportunities and large numbers of goals and offenses which tend to stagnate as they tire, this game will most likely come down to the team which scores last, late in the third.

3/3/14 TOR 1 - CBJ 3
2013  TOR 0 - CBJ 6
2013 CBJ 5 - TOR 2
2011 CBJ 1 - TOR 4
2010 TOR 2 - CBJ 3

Toronto -120
Columbus +100
Over/Under 5.5

With even money on the home team here, my pick is on Columbus to take this one. The lackluster defense of these squads had me leaving to the over as well.
Columbus +100
Over 5.5

Image from

Thursday, October 30, 2014

NFL Week 9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Cleveland Browns Preview

This week features a crucial cross conference matchup for two teams who are sitting in last place in their respective divisions, but who are far from out of the running at this point. The Buccaneers (1-6) find themselves only 2 games back in an NFC South division which features no teams over .500 for the season. The Browns (4-3) happen to sit behind 3 other AFC North teams all above .500. With intra-division games being played between the teams in front of the Bucs and Browns, a win in this spot would go a long ways toward righting the ship for these clubs.

The Past Week:
MIN 19 TB 13      OAK 13 CLE 23

The Breakdown:

The Browns have shown this season that they are able to hang with and even defeat quality NFL teams through a blend of good defense and a well balanced offensive attack featuring players with little name recognition outside of Ohio or fantasy football. 

Tampa Bay is not a quality NFL team. Through the first seven games of the NFL season, the Bucs rank dead last in total offense, averaging only 295 yards each game. The lack of skill along their offensive line coupled with interim Offensive Coordinator Marcus Arroyo's inability to serve in that capacity has stopped Tampa Bay from producing at a professional level this season.

Cleveland should be able to dominate on both sides of the ball, although watch for Tampa QB Mike Glennon to put up gaudy numbers once the game is out of hand and for rookie running back Charles Sims to excel in the role when compared to the running totals the Buccaneers has put up previously.

The History:
2010: Bucs 17 Browns 14

The Odds:
Browns -7
O/U 44

The Picks:
In this one, I like the Browns at home to beat a less developed team by more than a touchdown. Although Tampa Bay has looked decent at times this year, the mix of unproven running backs and a strong Cleveland defense should keep the scoring to a minimum.

Browns -7
Under 44