Life in the Slow Lane

February 2, 2010

Wacky Super Bowl prop bets

Filed under: Entertainment,Sports,Television — pauljlane @ 10:40 am

Here, from R.J. Bell of pregame.com, are some of the strangest Super Bowl prop bets for Super Bowl XLIV between Indianapolis and New Orleans.

Extreme scoring:
7 points or less, combined both teams: 1000 to 1
81 or more points, combined both teams: 5 to 1 against
Colts shutout: 250 to 1 against
Saints shutout: 80 to 1 against
Saints win by 39 or more points: 60 to 1 against
Colts win by 39 or more points: 20 to 1 against

MVP:
Manning -150 (60% chance!)
Brees +300
Addai +1000
Wayne +1100
Reggie Bush +1200
P. Thomas +1300
Dwight Freeney: +6000

Player to score first TD:
Addai: 5 to 1
Reggie Wayne: 6 to 1
Dallas Clark: 7 to 1
Pierre Thomas: 7 to 1
Marquest Colston: 9 to 1
Reggie Bush: 10 to 1
Payton Manning: 35 to 1

Manning:
Total Pass Yards: Over/Under = 305
Total TD passes: Over/Under = 2.5
Will Manning throw for more yards this Super Bowl than his last?
Yes = minus 270 (equaling a 75% chance)
Will Brees throw for less than 100 yards?
12 to 1 against
Will Manning throw for more than 500 yards?
15 to 1 against

Brees:
Total Passing Yards: Over/Under = 290
Total TD passes: Over/Under = 2
Will Drew Brees throw for more yards than John Elway did in Super Bowl XXI (304 yards)? Yes or No is even money.
Will Brees throw for less than 100 yards?
10 to 1 against
Will Brees throw for more than 500 yards?
25 to 1 against
Passing Yards: Manning is favored by 15 yards over Brees

Reggie Bush: Rushing Yards: Over/Under = 30

Reggie Wayne: Total receiving yards: Over/Under = 78

TEAM PROPS
Combined net yards (both teams): Over/Under = 801 yards
Colts are favored to have 16 more net yards than the Colts
Longest touchdown of the game: over/under = 50 yards
Will the longest touchdown be longer than the longest field goal?
Touchdown = minus 150 (meaning 60% chance TD is longer)

Will there be?
overtime: 15 to 1 against
a safety: 10 to 1 against
a blocked punt: 10 to 1 against
missed extra point: 15 to 1 against
defensive or special teams touchdown: No = -160 (meaning 38% chance)

Will at least one quarter of the game be scoreless?
No = -400 (meaning only 20% chance one quarter will be scoreless)

Will there be a lead change in the Second Half?
No = -165 (meaning 38% chance there WILL be a 2nd half lead change)

Largest lead of game?
Over/Under = 16.5

Who will score more points:
Saints and Colts combined
or
Lebron and Kobe combined (on Sunday)

Crazy Props:
Who will win the coin toss?
Most books have the odds as even, but one has HEADS as a slight favorite!
How long will it take Carrie Underwood to sing the National Anthem?
Over/Under is 1 minute and 42 seconds.
What color will the Gatorade dumped on the winning head coach be?
Yellow: even money
Clear or water: +150
Green: +250
Orange: +500
Red: +1500
Blue: +1200

TV Props
How many times will Archie Manning be shown on TV: over/under = 4.5
How many times will Kim Kardasian be shown on TV: over/under = 2.5
How many times will Hurricane Katrina be mentioned: over/under = 3

Super Crazy
How many current NFL players will be arrested during Super Bowl week?
No = minus 170 (meaning the odds of at least one is 37%)
Will a player give the crowd the “middle finger”?
Yes = 8 to 1 against
If Saints win, will Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian be engaged by July 31, 2010?
No = -150 (meaning the chance is 40%)
Will The Who smash a guitar on stage during the halftime show? No = -180 (meaning the chance is 35%)
How many times will Pete Townshend do his famous windmill move? Over/Under = 6
First endzone Celebration will be:
Ball spike: 2 to 1
Flex bicep: 4 to 1
Slam Dunk football: 5 to 1
Punch Goalpost: 15 to 1
Take out Sharpie and sign ball: 20 to 1
Group celebration: 20 to 1
Heisman Trophy pose: 25 to 1
“Ickey” Shuffle: 100 to 1

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October 20, 2009

‘Home Run Derby’ is a fun, nostalgic viewing

Filed under: Entertainment,Sports,Television — pauljlane @ 1:54 pm

Imagine my sheer delight one recent evening when I came across “Home Run Derby” on ESPN Classic.

Hank Aaron on an episode of "Home Run Derby."

Hank Aaron on an episode of "Home Run Derby."

The vintage TV show pitted the game’s greatest hitters of the 1950s and 1960s against each other for bragging rights and four-figure cash prizes (which were valuable back in a day when players often worked off-season jobs).

I got to see Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle square off. The campy feel of the show was as great as was the amazement of seeing the game’s two best hitters of that era be willing to do it. It was fantastic to watch two historical great, neither of whom I ever got to see live, hit BP in an empty minor league stadium in pursuit of $5,000. Each player even did commentary when he wasn’t at bat. They weren’t flashy or boastful, but rather they were apparently genuinely interested in winning in a sporting fashion.

The series is available on DVD and airs sporadically on cable from time to time. But be sure to give it a watch if you ever encounter it. Baseball is still a good game now, but the show will allow you to glimpse a time when it was truly great.

August 19, 2009

Favre’s return doesn’t do much to sway Vegas

Filed under: Gambling,Sports — pauljlane @ 10:48 am

Most football fans, sick of Brett Favre’s back-and-forth retirement, are more apathetic upon hearing of his latest return to the NFL, this time with the Minnesota Vikings.

Photo by The Associated Press

Photo by The Associated Press

Apparently, Vegas’ biggest bettors are, too.

According to information from R.J. Bell of pregame.com, the Vikings’ Super Bowl odds barely budged upon news of Tuesday’s signing of Favre. Where they had 20-to-1 odds to win the Super Bowl prior to Tuesday, those odds only crept up to 17-to-1 with Favre, which indicated to Bell that big-time gamblers aren’t interested.

“A vast majority of Super Bowl future action comes from small bettors – the type who take a $20 shot on their gut feelings. Brett Farve is clearly a major factor in this type of bettor’s mind,” he said.

More significant, Bell said, is Minnesota’s projected win total for the coming season. The number started at 9.5, and it didn’t budge upon Tuesday’s news.

“A vast majority of season win total action comes from big bettors who are extremely sharp in their opinions. This sharp group has concluded that the addition of Farve is irrelevant to Minnesota’s chances this season,” he said.

Of note, Favre got more respect last year when he forced a trade from the Green Bay Packers to the New York Jets. The Jets’ win total before their 2008 training camp started was 7, but it leaped to 8.5 once Favre joined the squad.

I, for one, certainly would feel better about betting on a Favre-led team than a Tavaris Jackson-led team or Sage Rosenfels-led team, but the Vikings enter this season with a solid team regardless of the quarterback, so I can see much of the big money not being impressed by the signing. More impressive would have been Favre if he took the focus off of himself for two minutes and actually decided to stay retired for more than three weeks.

August 18, 2009

Boo to you, SU

Filed under: Sports — pauljlane @ 2:35 pm

The Syracuse University football team announced that it will play “home games” in the coming decade at the new stadium being built in New Jersey for the NFL’s Giants.medium_s3p5saxp62vdqzfw

As an alum who might have driven the 2 1/2 hours to see USC and Notre Dame, all I have to say is: What the heck?

I understand at 82,500, the new stadium’s capacity far exceeds that of the 50,000-seat Carrier Dome. And I get that any exposure in the media mecca of New York City is good, especially for an ailing program.

But there’s something to be said for fan service. My wife and I went to the Carrier Dome to see the Orange beat Notre Dame 38-12 in 2003 (we were rooting for different sides). Neither team went to a bowl that season, but the Dome was as raucous as I’d ever seen it – and I attended the school during the McNabb Years. The fans got into that game like none I’d ever seen at ANY football game, and the Dome proved the perfect host for the Fighting Irish.

Sure, there are a fair number of alumni in the NYC area, and Syracuse locals can easily make the four-hour drive to Jersey. But playing there will take away what semblance of a home-field advantage SU has left (and likely bring in more Golden Domer supporters; NYC is bing enough to have plenty of ND alums, after all). Fans who have supported the team through the bleak stretch of the past five years deserve to see the marquee names in central New York.

And they don’t get much more marquee than USC, which has never played in the Carrier Dome. So once SU finally signs a home-and-home series with the Trojans, they up and move the game. Great.

OK, I could just drive the 6/12 hours to Jersey if I really wanted to. But that’s not the point. As drab as the Carrier Dome may be, it’s home for the Orange program. A plethora of fans like myself have plenty of good memories in that building, and it would only be fair to have the big draws come to Syracuse.

But, as has been the case for years now in big-time sports, the dollar trumps the fan every time.

July 30, 2009

Sports commentary lacks value, sense

Filed under: Entertainment,News,Sports,Television — pauljlane @ 10:36 am

Here is a blog post written by U.S. News & World Report scribe Bonnie Erbe on the Erin Andrews scandal. She states that women should stop watching sports, that all men are bad because they watch sports and all sports are bad.

Here is the response I posted on the shrew’s blog page:

I have a daughter. I will encourage her to watch sports as much as possible as she matures (not pay attention to millionaire holdouts and steroid scandals, but watch games). She’ll learn how to win, how to lose, how to behave in a sporting manner, how to compete and how to constructively channel her daily frustration into a nightly release of taking in a game.
If you think there were absolutely zero women involved in spreading the Erin Andrews situation, you’re as naive as the sports-loving women you criticize.
Of course, there’s nothing right about what happened to Andrews, but really, what does that have to do with the games themselves? The only tie-in I can see is that Andrews does a sub-par job of sideline reporting for some games. So does that mean that all female sportscasters and reporters, who only in the last 15 years or so have made real strides in trying to level the gender gap in their chosen profession, should walk out on their career dreams?
And as for your argument about women boycotting games, get real. I enjoy watching sports with my wife, and I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to watch games with us, but a lot of men would quite frankly probably prefer to watch sports only with their guy friends. That would hardly do anything to stop men from “behaving badly,” as if my watching a Bills game means that I’m going to go loot the corner liquor store or something.
And ask Yankees fans who remember the team’s run in the 2001 playoffs – right after Sept. 11 destroyed their city and their hope – if sports culture is nothing but bad. Ask sports fans of last-place Olympic participants, who still wave their flags and cheer on their athletes as the competitors meander to the finish line because it’s the fact that you finish that really matters, if sports culture is nothing but bad. Ask father-and-son golfers whose sole connections are the rounds they shoot and watch together if sports culture is nothing but bad.
The Andrews situation was reprehensible, but the leap of logic you make to vilify the sports that are played – and the women who like them – is illogical, irrational and makes you sound incomprehensibly unintelligent. The only waste of time here is you.

July 9, 2009

Hockey world loses a legend in Joe Sakic

Filed under: Sports — pauljlane @ 3:00 pm

For the first time in my memory as a hockey fan, Joe Sakic will not be an active player next season.sakicnords01
The 20-year veteran announced today that he’s retiring from the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche franchise that he helped dig out of the gutter. The team announced that it will retire the No. 19 jersey of the league’s eighth-highest-scoring player of all time next season.
I can vividly recall watching Sakic and the Nordiques play against the Sabres in Memorial Auditorium. The Nordiques were the league’s laughing stocks, but within a few years they posted the league’s best record, only to get upset in the first round of the playoffs.

I absolutely loved that team, and I still have a pennant in my basement that was signed by most of the players on that 94-95 squad – front and center, of course is Sakic.

The team moved to Denver the next season, robbing Quebec City of seeing Sakic skate the 1995-96 Stanley Cup around Canadian ice. The team won it all again in 2001 and was always near the top until the latter part of this decade, when a reliance upon older players crippled the Avalanche.

I am so glad that, thanks to my wife, I got to see Sakic play one last time in 2006-07. The Avalanche went on a torrid winning streak to end the season (including a victory over the Presidents Trophy-winning Sabres), only to fall one point short of the playoffs.

But Sakic is what every professional athlete should strive to be. He never complained when things were bad, never crowed when things were good and led strictly by example. It will be great to see him in the Hockey Hall of Fame in a few years.

•••

Here, from The Associated Press, is the full story.

Longtime Colorado Avalanche captain Joe Sakic is officially retiring after 20 seasons and two Stanley Cup titles.
The 40-year-old Sakic has been the face of the franchise since the team moved to Denver in 1995. He will formally announce his retirement plans at a 3 p.m. EDT news conference on Thursday.
Known for his lethal wrist shot and precision passing, Sakic leaves the game among the NHL’s career scoring leaders. He’s eighth in points (1,641), 11th in assists (1,016) and 14th in goals (625).
Sakic’s No. 19 sweater will also be retired, getting raised to the Pepsi Center rafters during a ceremony at the season opener, which is not yet scheduled. It will be just the third sweater retired in the 14-year history of the Avalanche, joining Patrick Roy (33) and Ray Bourque (77). The organization also retired four sweaters when they were the Quebec Nordiques.
“It is appropriate and deserving that we launch the season by honoring Joe’s accomplishments,” Avalanche president Pierre Lacroix said in a statement. “We can’t put into words what he meant to this franchise and to our hockey fans.”
Sakic was regarded as a quiet superstar, known for his clutch scoring — tallying an NHL-record eight overtime goals in the playoffs — and his class.
He captured the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship in 2001, showing his true character by handing the Stanley Cup over to Bourque after winning the title and letting the longtime defenseman skate it around the ice.
Over the last two years Sakic has been riddled with injuries. He missed most of the 2008-09 season with an aching back that required surgery to repair a herniated disk. He also damaged three fingers on his left hand in a snow-blower accident.
Sakic tried to make his way back onto the ice before the end of the season, but his body didn’t cooperate.
He departs with an impressive resume.
Sakic wore the captain’s “C” for 16 straight seasons, making him the second-longest serving captain in league history. He guided the team to Stanley Cup titles in 1996 and 2001, won league MVP honors in 2001, was a 13-time All-Star and led Team Canada to an Olympic gold medal in 2002.
He skates away with no regrets.
“After having the privilege of playing for 20 years, I’m leaving the game of hockey with nothing but great memories and a sense of accomplishment,” Sakic said. “The game has given me more than I ever dreamed of, and for that I am truly grateful.”
Never an intimidating presence — he’s only 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds — he made up for it with speed, determination and intelligence. There are only four players in league history that have scored more points with one franchise than Sakic: Gordie Howe (1,809) and Steve Yzerman (1,755) with Detroit, Mario Lemieux with Pittsburgh (1,723) and Wayne Gretzky with Edmonton (1,669).
Sakic also was remarkably consistent, scoring 30 or more goals in a franchise-record nine different seasons.
He leaves as the team’s leader in virtually every offensive category.
“His leadership, sportsmanship and respect for the game of hockey are legendary,” Avalanche owner E. Stanley Kroenke said.
Sakic was originally taken by Quebec with the 15th pick in the 1987 draft. He made his NHL debut on Oct. 6, 1988, picking up his first assist against the then Hartford Whalers. Two nights later against New Jersey, he scored his first goal.
That would be a familiar occurrence.
“Joe’s contributions have been invaluable and his achievements speak for themselves,” Lacroix said. “I find myself very much like a hockey fan, filled with a tremendous sense of satisfaction which comes from having had the opportunity to know him as a person, to have watched him play and simply appreciate him as a complete professional.”

July 1, 2009

Bisons offer fans a chance to throw out first pitch

Filed under: Sports — pauljlane @ 4:30 pm

Check out this story to see how you could throw out the first pitcfh at a Bisons game.

June 25, 2009

Mets’ injuries force many of changes for Bisons

Filed under: Sports — pauljlane @ 1:22 pm

Follow this link to read about the Mets’ injury problems and how the farm system has been affected.

June 24, 2009

‘Superstars’ offers supermodel meltdown, little else

Filed under: Entertainment,Sports,Television — pauljlane @ 1:53 pm

I happened to catch most of “Superstars” on Tuesday night. The ABC series is a revival of a 1970s-80s competition pairing athletes with celebrities in a series of athletic events for no particular reason.

The show was average – no, make that poor – overall, but seeing Bills receiver Terrell Owens become the recipient of a tongue lashing was sort of entertaining. His partner, model Joanna Krupa, lost it after Owens made a mistake on the obstacle course. She began swearing at him and questioning his athletic ability, then wouldn’t let up even after she screwed up later on and led to the team being eliminated.

“What do you get a million for?” she asked T.O. in complete disgust. “Why so cocky?”

The best part was the reaction from Owens, who remained silent until the duo walked off the set at the very end: “I really feel sorry for your boyfriend.”

As for the rest of the show, it’s complete garbage. The action is drawn out, the “drama” is not compelling and there’s just something about seeing millionaires compete alongside a posh resort in the Bahamas that’s off-putting. I would rather stare at a blank TV screen than watch again. Announcer John Saunders provides unintentional comedy, though, in trying to make the proceedings dramatic (as if a race pitting bicyclers against runners could be any more dramatic).

Owens, for his part, was fairly silent on the matter via Twitter: “How about my Superstars performance?”

•••

Word is today that Owens and Krupa will return to the show due to another contestant’s injury as the series progresses. No word on when the bombastic duo will return to the series.

•••

Below is some unedited footage of Krupa’s tirade. Note that the contents are R-rated.

June 16, 2009

Donald Trump brought in to revive pro wrestling show

Filed under: Entertainment,Sports,Television — pauljlane @ 4:07 pm

Monday was a rare instance in which I tuned in to pro wrestling, and I was greeted with the “news” that Donald Trump was buying the WWE’s “Raw” show that airs Monday nights on USA Network.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

The storyline came complete with Trump making a grand announcement via satellite that next week’s show (June 22) wold air commercial-free in an attempt to win fans back.

I am thankfully beyond the point of believing that the stories that appear on WWE are real, but NBC released a statement that indicates they’re playing the angle up for all it’s worth (NBC and USA Network are owned by the same company).

“The Monday Night RAW franchise has been one of the top cable franchises since its launch 17 years ago,” said  Trump in the release. “I’m going to do things on the show that have never been done or seen before.”

The move seems to be a bit desperate, but give WWE chairman Vince McMahon – always a shrewd businessman – credit for at least trying to pump life back into his product.

WWE will never regain its glory days of a decade ago, when eight-figure viewership was common. “Raw” still draws decent ratings hovering around 5 million viewers each week, but it seems that the ability to draw in new fans – like what was done in the 1990s with The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin – is gone.

This move might just revive interest in fans like me, who grew up during those glory days and have since (basically) moved on. It might also get WWE some press, although the story has largely been ignored to date by most major media outlets.

Whether Trump can breathe fresh air into pro wrestling remains to be seen. But at least McMahon has thought of a stunt that doesn’t involve the fake violating and/or death of anyone. As for Trump, well, I can’t really question someone who has the money that he has, and his name can’t get more soiled than it does with “Celebrity Apprentice,” so good luck.

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