Thursday, February 4, 2016

All-Star Festivities

3-POINT SHOOTOUT
James Harden
Chris Bosh
Klay Thompson
Stephen Curry
Kyle Lowry
J.J. Redick
Khris Middleton
Devin Booker

SLAM DUNK CONTEST
Zach LaVine
Andre Drummond
Will Barton
Aaron Gordon

SKILLS CHALLENGE
Isaiah Thomas
Patrick Beverley
Jordan Clarkson
C.J. McCollum
DeMarcus Cousins
Draymond Green
Anthony Davis
Karl-Anthony Towns

Monday, February 1, 2016

Early 2016 TV Schedule

SUNDAY
The Walking Dead, AMC (starts Feb. 14)
Fear The Walking Dead, AMC (April 10)
Game of Thrones, HBO (April 24)
Silicon Valley, HBO (April 24)
Veep, HBO (April 24)
The Last Man on Earth, Fox (TBD)

MONDAY
Monday Night Raw, USA (on-now)
Better Call Saul, AMC (Feb. 15)
Bates Motel, A&E (March 7)

TUESDAY
The Flash, The CW (on-now)
Marvel's Agent Carter, ABC (on-now)
The Muppets, ABC (Feb. 2)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fox (Feb. 2)

WEDNESDAY
Arrow, The CW (on-now)
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, FXX (on-now)
The Challenge: Bloodlines, MTV (on-now)
Scream, MTV (April 20)

THURSDAY
DC's Legends of Tomorrow, The CW (on-now)
Baskets, FX (on-now)
Workaholics, Comedy Central (on-now)

FRIDAY
Grimm, NBC (on-now)
Daredevil, Netflix (March 18)

SATURDAY
Saturday Night Live, NBC (on-now)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

#DORK 34: Hardy

NBA Rising Stars Challenge Rosters

U.S.
Jordan Clarkson, Los Angeles Lakers
Rodney Hood, Utah Jazz
Zach LaVine, Minnesota Timberwolves
Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers
Jahil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers
Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks
Elfrid Payton, Orlando Magic
D'Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics
Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves

World
Bojan Bogdanovic, Brooklyn Nets
Clint Capela, Houston Rockets
Mario Hezonja, Orlando Magic
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Nikola Mirotic, Chicago Bulls
Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver Nuggets
Raul Neto, Utah Jazz
Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks
Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks
Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Avengers: Infinity War Will Have 67 Characters; I Predict Them All

  1. Iron Man
  2. Captain America
  3. Hulk
  4. Thor
  5. Black Widow
  6. Hawkeye
  7. Nick Fury
  8. Bucky Barnes/ Winter Solider
  9. War Machine
  10. Vision
  11. Scarlet Witch
  12. Falcon
  13. Ant-Man
  14. Wasp
  15. Hank Pym
  16. Black Panther
  17. Doctor Strange
  18. Agent 13
  19. Maria Hill
  20. Thanos
  21. Loki
  22. Spider-Man
  23. Aunt May
  24. Daredevil
  25. Foggy Nelson
  26. Karen Page
  27. Punisher
  28. Elektra
  29. Jessica Jones
  30. Hell Cat
  31. Luke Cage
  32. Iron Fist
  33. "Thunderbolt" Ross
  34. Star-Lord
  35. Gamora
  36. Drax
  37. Groot
  38. Rocket
  39. Nova
  40. Nebula
  41. Mantis
  42. Yondu
  43. Rhommen Day
  44. Nova Prime
  45. The Collector
  46. Howard The Duck
  47. Ego
  48. The Watcher
  49. Jane Foster
  50. Pepper Potts
  51. Captain Marvel
  52. Adam Warlock
  53. She-Hulk
  54. Wonder Man
  55. Spider-Woman
  56. Magnus
  57. Kang
  58. Galactus
  59. Moon Knight
  60. Namor
  61. Valkyrie
  62. Gargoyle
  63. Nighthawk
  64. Charlie-27
  65. Moondragon
  66. Northstar
  67. Sleepwalker
Ok, obviously this is an AGGRESSIVE list.  I came up with characters who are established in this MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), and then added others that should/could be involved in the Infinity War.  I kept those under the Fox umbrella (X-Men, Fantastic Four, Deadpool, etc.) out of it and then just kept coming up with heroes and villains until I hit 67.  We shall see how many make it in there.  We can all follow along in 2 years when it comes out.  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Besse's Bets: Conference Championship Breakdown

Last week was, overall, a pretty solid weekend for Besse's Bets. Went 5-3 straight up on the spreads and O/U's, but more importantly, I went 3-1 on my 7-point teasers which have turned out to be a nice little strategy the last few weeks. But there were a couple fun, dramatic moments from last weekend to quickly note:
  • Arizona and Green Bay - after the Pats game I was at a friend's place and a couple guys in the room were hammering the over, particularly teasing it down from 49.5 to 42.5. On the blog I had taken Arizona (-0.5) and the Under 57, but allowed myself to make a last minute change to Over 36. And there we were, just seconds left and the Packers trailing the Cardinals 20-13 which, if you're counting at home, is only 33 points. Then this:



    Everyone in the room came out of their seat, not because of the improbability of the Hail Mary, the throw by Rodgers rolling left with a guy in his face, or the catch by a streaking Janis...with the O/U teased down to 42.5, we were a virtual lock to now hit the Over which seconds ago was all but forgotten. Then Fitzgerald went 80 yards in two plays to score the game-winning TD and it was done. One of the greatest comebacks in betting history that I've been a part of.
  • The other gem was the Broncos and Steelers, who entered the 4th quarter with Denver (-7.5) trailing 13-12. And just when it looked like the Steelers might be able to put this thing away, Toussaint fumbles, Denver gets new life, and after a CJ Anderson TD run and successful 2-point conversion to Demaryius Thomas, it's suddenly 20-13. I felt pretty comfortable with my teaser at this point (DEN -0.5, U47), but any Denver (-7.5) backers were still sweating it out. Then football happened. Big Ben takes a 13-yard sack on 4th and 5 and Denver gets it back at the PIT 30. Three plays to kill clock, and Brandon Mcmanus hits a FG to make it 23-13 and all the money shifts to Denver backers after an entire game in which it never appeared there was a chance. Then football happened again. A 22-yard PI call, two quick strikes to Martavis Bryant, and Mike Tomlin, who clearly had PIT +7.5, opts to kick a FG to make it 23-16 with :19 and go for the onside and Hail Mary. Denver recovers, it's over, and Denver backers were officially dead after coming back to life briefly, if only for a moment.
What a weekend, which sets us up for what should be a couple fun games tomorrow. A quick reminder that all lines are from Sportsbook.ag, the official unofficial sportsbook of Besse's Bets. Here we go...

New England (-3.5) at Denver (O/U 44.5)
No one is giving Denver a chance in this game and for the most part, neither am I. The Pats are the healthiest they've been in weeks, and we saw the difference having Jules back last week made. Gives Brady a reliable receiver who is quick off the line, can get separation and be there as a safety blanket especially when there's pressure. And that opens the field for Gronk to work. The O-line played really well last week, too, which was a pleasant surprise. Keeping Brady upright is key, as we saw in losses to the Jets and Dolphins when he was pressured and beaten pretty badly.

The Broncos are going to bring pressure and try to rough him up - we've heard it through the media and some back and forth tweets between Broncos players and Gronk have added some fodder.



I think we'll see a lot of quick passes to Edelman and James White, which will open things up for Gronk, as well. On the other side of the ball, I think Denver will score. They found success running the ball earlier in the season against NE with Osweiler at QB, and while Manning's arm is nothing more than a water gun right now, they can rely on quick slants to DT and Sanders who can make plays after the catch. But it won't be enough - New England's health makes them the best team in the AFC again, and perhaps the NFL excluding Arizona, and I think they'll avenge the November loss and head to their 8th Super Bowl.

The score: New England 30, Denver 23
New England -3.5, Over 44.5
7-point teaser: New England +4.5, Over 37.5


Arizona (+3) at Carolina (O/U 48)
This is going to be a fun game to watch. Everyone talks about the Carolina defense and how talented it is, but I think they're more opportunistic than anything else. They make plays and capitalize, as we saw last week with Luke Kuechly's pick-6 of Russell Wilson that made it 14-0 en route to a 31-0 halftime lead. But this D has bent and nearly broken multiple times this season: OT win against Indy (29-26, Rodgers nearly bringing GB back late the following week (37-29), the Saints win (41-38), and then last week nearly blowing a 31-point lead against Seattle, getting outscored 24-0 in the second half.

While these two teams rank 5th (AZ) and 6th (CAR) respectively in team defense, I feel the Cardinals have been more consistent on that side of the ball than Carolina. And on offense, they've got significantly more weapons with the likes of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and John Brown. Carolina is limited with Jonathan Steward and Greg Olsen, though Newton's legs and playmaking ability often neutralize whatever advantage other teams often have.

I think this is going to be a terrific game, the better of the two this weekend. A back-and-forth, close battle throughout. And while I think Arizona is the better team and has a great shot to win, I continue to believe there's a destiny in play for Carolina: to lose to Brady and the Pats in Super Bowl 50. It's a game-winning FG type of game, one that comes on the heels of a final drive by Newton and the Panthers in the final seconds.

The score: Carolina 23, Arizona 20
Arizona +3.5, Under 48
7-point teaser: Carolina +4.5, Over 41*

*Note: While my final prediction score barely hits the teased over, I'm taking that bet b/c I believe the game could in fact be a shootout, so my confidence in teasing down the over vs. teasing up the under is significantly higher, thus the play.

I've already officially booked my 7-point teasers for the weekend, but follow me on Twitter (@tbesse29) for updates on my betting, the games, and other bullshit I tweet and RT.

Good luck this weekend and enjoy the games!

-Besse