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Archive for August, 2011

Looking at NFL Division Futures, MVP Futures, and Season-Long Prop Bets

Originally I was going to have Divison Odds and Player Futures/Props in two separate posts, but the division odds don’t really require a lot of detail, and I’m unsure if I’ll be able to get a separate post up tomorrow (plus, I have a few other article ideas I don’t want to let cool off in the meantime). So we’ll go through a few quick Divisional Futures picks and then move onto MVP Futures and season-long Player Props. I am once again joined by Under-19 Women’s International Soccer gambling afficianado and semi-professional low-life The Greek.
More after the jump!

Looking at NFL Super Bowl & Conference Championship Futures

No fancy introduction, let’s jump right into it – today and next week I’ll be looking at NFL Futures odds (all odds per Bet365) and giving some brief thoughts and tips on them. A big assist was provided by my own personal “Cousin Sal,” The Greek, a man so well versed in the art of sports gambling that his fiancée is unknowingly walking around with an engagement ring purchased with house money.

Let’s start at the top and work our way down, from Superbowl odds to Conference Championship odds. On Monday I’ll have a look at Division Championship odds, and on Tuesday I’ll break down MVP odds and a few random player-related futures bets.
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Raptors Republic Article - So You’re Bored With the Lockout, Late Summer Edition

A look at Eurobasket 2011, the 2011 FIBA Americas, the Las Vegas League, and some other options to bide your NBA-free time.

Check it out!

Holy Hell, Nestor Molina! Prospect Watch

Search “Nestor Molina” on ESPN.com and it returns 0 results. That’s how under the radar Blue Jays pitching prospect Nestor Molina is/was. But this is absolutely a name to make note of and file away for 2013, because Nestor Molina has been an absolute beast in the minors so far this season.

Signed out of Venezuela as a 17-year old in 2006, Molina spent 2007 and 2008 playing for the Jays’ Dominican Winter League squad, where numbers are hardly projectable. In 2009, Molina spent time at the low levels of the minors, accumulating less than 40 innings. Three years after signing, he had pitched just 81.1 innings, only half in the actual minor leagues. Either Molina was looking like a bust, or the Jays were really nursing him along, right?

Not quite. Molina was originally signed as an infielder and didn’t transition to the mound until the end of 2007. 80 innings over two years for a converted position player is reasonable.

Still, in 2010 Molina managed to remain off the radar. Splitting time between low-A and high-A ball, Molina threw 81 innings, primarily out of the bullpen. His ratios were strong, and the Jays began transitioning him to be a starter, where his four-pitch repertoire and excellent control could be put further under the microscope.

Good decision.
More after the jump!

Jays Trade Aaron Hill and John McDonald for Kelly Johnson

The Blue Jays dipped into the post-deadline trade season, shipping Aaron Hill and John McDonald to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Kelly Johnson. On the surface, the deal is more or less a wash, a “challenge” trade, or moving deck chairs, if you may. On a deeper level though, this has the makings of another savvy Alex Anthopoulos move, with a dash of Public Relations magic worked in.

For Arizona, it adds some versatility for a playoff run, but may also cost them at the plate. The initial Toronto reaction seems to be mixed, with some applauding AA for another shrewd asset acquisition, while others have taken the more personal side and don’t want to lose two high-character players. While I understand the second opinion, I think it’s a short-sighted one, especially with some of the comments made by the players in the press conference.

That is, Hill and McDonald both alluded to the possibility of returning to Toronto, as both are free agents at season’s end. While Hill’s role and compensation would be unclear, McDonald’s spot as a de-facto utility-player/coach will be open, and he himself said he’d like to return in that role. Based on comments AA made about McDonald’s interest in the management side of the organization, and his own expressed desire to bring playoff experience back to the club, it seems the club and McDonald have a mutual interest in a working relationship moving forward.
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On Intangibles

The basis of this article, as you’ll probably discern, is a bit selfish in nature. To provide context, some #HumbleBrag is necessary. To wit - I have strong intangibles (I think). In general, I’m not an exceptionally talented person in any measurable way, and what I bring to the table professionally, socially, and athletically, is difficult to quantify. I guess this holds for all people, since personality can’t be quantified…so maybe this will hit home for some…or maybe I should shut up. My performance reviews generally touch on strong leadership  abilities. Socially, I provide value by being the “organized one” or the “planner” more often than not. I’m not above-average for Softball or Basketball (not even close for basketball, actually), but a high sports-IQ complements my mediocre skill set (hockey is a different story…straight Ginos, Nifty Mittens, Wheels, etc, etc). I’m also, in Malcolm Gladwell terms, a Maven, someone who owns and shares a lot of information (for no real reason other than to own and share it).

Okay, so #HumbleBrag was an understatement. #SelfFellating may have been more appropriate. At least I didn’t claim to be an above-average athlete though, right?

The point is….I sometimes run into cognitive dissonance when evaluating sports because of this. If I, in many aspects of my life, derive value from and see value in intangibles, how do I sometimes ignore or write-off their impact in the world of professional sports? How do I embrace Sabermetrics, a field of study that strips the human element out of baseball almost entirely? How do I devour the methodology for new advanced basketball statistics that would do the same? How do I accept players with off-the-field issues as equal to those without? Why did it ring true to me when Jonah Keri recently wrote that “An All-Star who is a dick is still an All-Star?”
More after the jump!

Raptors Republic Article - The Impact of Not Having Summer League

No CBA = no Summer League. And it’s a shame for the Raptors, too.

Check it out!

The Jays Steal Signs?…C’mon Son

Update: At Tao of Stieb, Tao and Chris Jones have a great discussion on the topic worth giving a read.

So, according to this ridiculous “investigative” article from ESPN, the Jays are well-known sign stealers, and use it to an unfair advantage, and everyone knows it.

Well then. 28-27 at home. Ouch.

The article focuses mainly on the 2010 season (the only year that their data supports their theory, completely ignoring that said stats were normal in 2009 [same coaching staff as 2010] and 2011 [if it was working, why stop?]), and blends anecdotes from anonymous sources with manipulatively described statistics to make it seem an obvious conclusion. Because, uhh…they were so good in 2010. Seriously…their home record was better in 2009 with normalized home run rates, and they’ve apparently stopped using the system successfully. Get real.
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Henderson Alvarez Gets the Call, Will Start Wednesday

The Toronto Blue Jays have made another roster move with a look towards the future, sending left-handed reliever Wil Ledezma to Triple-A and giving rising-star prospect Henderson Alvarez the call up to the Majors. Alvarez will make his debut Wednesday night at home against Oakland, although his role the rest of the way remains unclear.

It’s a pretty favorable situation to be called up into. With Carlos Villaneuva on the DL with a forearm strain, the team had an open rotation spot, and rather than give it to converted bullpen arms like Jesse Litsch or Luis Perez, they chose to roll the dice and let Alvarez get his feet wet prior to September. Alvarez gets to face a relatively punch-less Oakland lineup that ranks 25th in the Majors in scoring, and is second to last in the American League.
More after the jump!

Raptors Republic Article - The Post-Lockout Raptors

I took a look at what the Raptors roster and cap situation will look like if the entire 2011-12 NBA season is lost, but the 2012-13 one starts on time. This is depressing.

Check it out!