Monday, September 30, 2013

NFL Quarterly Report: Power Rankings, Excuses, High Interest Loans

We love the NFL. There's no questioning that. But it's a love that's been unrequited in this 2013 betting season. Black is white, up is down, the Texans can't cover and Stock Lemon Blog has been quiet as ever.

Needless to say, we're off to a rocky start in the 2013 NFL season, and we're glad that we decided against posting our plays, thus saving our internet reputation as NFL gambling gurus. Until this post, explaining how we are definitely not NFL gambling gurus. 

And since we're sick of only using the internet to google "high interest loans," "second mortgage rates" and "how much can you charge for back alley handjobs?", we've decided to dust off the blog here before the calendar strikes October and try to sort things out in the world of pro football.

The easiest way we know how to do that? Power rankings. Overplayed, lazy, can-be-found-anywhere power rankings. All those things are true, but it's also true that simply ranking the teams the good ole fashioned way is a good way to get an idea on how various games in the upcoming week will play out. So here goes...

1. Denver Broncos
2. New Orleans Saints

Stop right here. This is our Super Bowl prediction through four games. Peyton Manning doesn't look human, and Sean Payton, fresh off the NFL reminding him that he definitely is, continues to Brees his way to redemption.

3. Seattle Seahawks
4. San Francisco 49ers

Ultimately, we like the 49ers to storm back and take the division, leading the Seahawks vulnerable to a road playoff loss.

5. New England Patriots
6. Kansas City Chiefs

Giving them their due at 4-0. Both have been relying too heavily on defensive production, though. We think Tom Brady gets his offense going (as he did this week). Alex Smith maybe not, but maybe he won't have to.

7. Green Bay Packers
8. Detroit Lions
9. Chicago Bears

This is how the NFC North will turn out, so why patronize these teams after four strange weeks?

10. Houston Texans
11. Indianapolis Colts
12. Tennessee Titans

Same here.

13. Dallas Cowboys
14. San Diego Chargers

Are these two teams the exact same?

15. Atlanta Falcons

1-3 after a tough slate, but not time to panic yet.

16. Miami Dolphins

3-1 after an easy slate, but not time to celebrate yet.  

17. Cincinnati Bengals
18. Baltimore Ravens
19. Cleveland Browns

Your final AFC North standings.

---END LIST OF VIABLE CONTENDERS--

20. Carolina Panthers 
21. Buffalo Bills
22. Arizona Cardinals 

Things get ugly pretty quickly here.  

23. Washington Redskins
24. Philadelphia Eagles

One of these teams can figure it out and salvage a 1-3 season and contend in their crappy division.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers
26. New York Giants

How the mighty have fallen.

27. New York Jets

Might end the year 0-14. 

28. St. Louis Rams

So.

29. Minnesota Vikings

Very.

30. Oakland Raiders

Bad.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

But not as bad as...

32. Jacksonville Jaguars

-----

Here's hoping for a better October.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

About Those CFL Picks...

Boy, we are easily distracted by the NFL.

We tried, in earnest, to cap an entire year of Canadian Football. And you know what, we were actually doing it quite effectively. But despite a 17-11 start (60.7%!) to our CFL betting experiment, NFL preseason football has stolen our hearts, as it often does, and we're in full-on NFL mode at this point getting ready for the 2013 season.

First it was Tim Tebow on the Patriots, then Vince Young on the Packers, but what really but us over the edge was Matt Leinart on the Bills. So many random roster spots! We can't get enough!  

We may jump back in on the CFL later in the year, once we get bored of legal hits on the quarterback being flagged and fined for some reason, but for now, we're tabling these picks and looking forward to watching a version of football that doesn't allow you to score on a punt. Freaking rouges.

Anyway, we enjoyed our foray into football up north, but we thought we'd explain our mysterious absence from what was a weekly affair (unless we forgot and posted our picks hastily on twitter instead).

Fear not, though, for sporadic coverage of the NFL awaits...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Our Week 7 CFL Picks, And Who Needs the NFL?

The moment we've been waiting all summer for--NFL football, even in it's preseason form--and, weirdly, we don't much care.

Perhaps because this year, we've gotten used to this game called football that our neighbors to the north are playing, only with silly rules like three downs and a 55-yardline and the ability to score on a punt.

It could just be a lucky little run, and surely our optimism will lead to a couple of rough ones this week, but we've seemingly become decent at capping the CFL's brand of football. After a 2-0 week last week and an 11-3 run since a shaky 5-7 start, we're hoping for similar results from our two-game card in Week 7.

Toronto -2 over Montreal

If Toronto has been slightly underwhelming (until a Week 5 shellacking of BC), Montreal has been downright disappointing, not that anyone should have expected much from the Als this year anyway. Toronto's last two games have been wins of 16 and 26, and we're not discounting the possibility of a pattern developing with a 36-point win Thursday night. Montreal's wins this season have been far less impressive, both coming against division bottom-feeders, the 1-5 Eskimos and 1-5 Blue Bombers. We were in danger of overthinking this one--it seems like the visitors should be favored by a touchdown--but we're going to keep it simple, stupid.

Saskatchewan +3 over Calgary

Kevin Glenn is more than capable as a starting quarterback--a position he's in for Calgary on Friday--and the Stamps have an incredibly solid team. But we're getting three points on Kory Sheets and the Riders? The 5-0 Riders who've looked nothing short of unstoppable thus far? At this point, we're riding the Green Machine in Regina until they give us reason not to. This might be the game of the year thus far in the CFL this year, and it really could go either way, but Saskatchewan has more than earned the benefit of the doubt--especially as a dog.

Last Week: 2-0
Overall: 16-10

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Our Week 6 CFL Picks, Even Though Half the League Isn't Playing

That's how things are in the CFL--when you have only eight teams, giving four of them the week off accounts to half of your league, and there's scant little action for the degenerates betting football north of the border until the real games begin: preseason NFL.

But you could make the argument that only half the league has been playing to this point anyway. Things appear very top heavy thus far, and in many cases there isn't value in the underdogs of a touchdown or more. It hurts us to bet on heavy favorites--especially on the road, but--with the exception of the BC stomping Tuesday--that's been the correct route thus far. Trust us: after going 5-7 to start the season, we're 6-2 in the last two weeks, and clearly have this CFL betting thing down pat.

Although, this could be a week in which we're grateful to have half the normal betting slip. Case in point:

Hamilton +3 over Edmonton

Things have not gone well for either of these teams, both at 1-4, but our faith lies more in the Ti-Cats to get things turned around than the Esks. And this is taking into account the fact that Edmonton's sole win of the year came IN Hamilton! Still, we're getting points on the Cats looking to avenge in earlier loss to a fellow shitty team, so we're taking the visitors in this rematch.

Winnipeg +11 over BC

Remember all the stuff we said about how touchdown dogs still don't represent value when we're talking about the top-heavy nature of this year's field? Well forget it. This is 11 freaking points! Sure, BC will be out to wipe the slate clean after last week's pitiful effort in Toronto. And sure, Winnipeg is generally a pretty bad football team this year. And sure Peg has lost its last two games by 13 and 16 points, respectively. And... wait a minute, why are we betting on the Bombers? For us, it's just a matter of value. Obviously BC is the better team. But they aren't 11 points better, and in fact haven't played consistently well this season themselves. Like, you know, last week, when they were blown out by 26 points. But public perception has inflated this line, because so many bettors did exactly what we originally wanted to: saw BC vs. Winnipeg and pounded the Lions without giving a second thought. But we're banking on a big day from Chad Simpson here amidst the terrible quarterbacking in Winnipeg. And we're taking the value here, knowing we could take our lumps this week.

Last Week: 3-1
Overall: 14-10

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Injury Problems Mounting in NFL

 All sides have to deal with injuries; they are an unpleasant fact in the hard-hitting and sometimes brutal NFL. However, that is usually during the season. This year, the injuries have been coming thick and fast in the pre-season and, already, there have been three (at least) major and season ending injuries.

The Baltimore Ravens lost starting tight-end, Dennis Pitta, to a dislocated hip, while the Philadelphia Eagles suffered an offensive blow when their top wide receiver from last season blew out his right knee with a torn ACL. Then, the Denver Broncos lost their starting center, Dan Koppen, with a similar torn ACL this time in his left knee. All of those three injuries would have been a blow at any time. It’s interesting to evaluate how each blow will affect the teams involved.

As fans who bet on NFL will no doubt be aware, Pitta was a vital part of the Ravens offence last year especially on third down. With Pitta on the field, the Ravens averaged more than twice as many yards per play as they did with him off the field, and all seven of their third-down passing touchdowns came from Pitta.

Pitta was also very much Joe Flacco’s “go-to” guy in the red zone, being very dependable and having dropped just three balls that have come his way in the past two seasons. Given those statistics, he is going to be very hard for the Ravens to replace and leaves a considerable hole in their offence.

We do not yet know who is going to be starting at quarterback for the Eagles but, whoever it is, they are not going to have the team’s premier receiver available to them – Maclin led the Eagles in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns last season, and has done so in those categories for the past four years. 

If Michael Vick does convince Chip Kelly that he should be the starting QB then he, more than most, will miss Maclin, as he has completed more TD’s (17) and more passes (138) to him than any other Eagles receiver. Pitta was and is a huge loss for the Ravens; Maclin’s loss is on a similar scale for the Eagles.

It’s not only receivers that can be important though, and protecting the quarterback is one of the major goals for the offensive line; that’s why the Broncos “O” line has taken a major hit with the injury to Koppen.

Look at what happened last year – in the first three games, Koppen didn’t manage a single snap and Peyton Manning was sacked eight times. In the remaining 13 regular season games, the Denver center played 95 per cent of the team’s snaps and Manning was only sacked 13 times. That gives you an idea of how important Koppen was to the Broncos and how his absence may affect the effectiveness of Manning.

None of these players are irreplaceable but they all leave big gaps in the rosters of their sides; the NFL betting  odds for next term have already noted their absence.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Looking to Complete a Perfect Week 5 in the CFL

We realize not enough people follow @stocklemonblog for us to solely post our picks on twitter, so we're going to embed another tweet on our little corner of the blogosphere (since soooo many more people come here and actually read this thing).

And so, here's the big reveal on our fourth and final CFL Pick of Week 5 (a Tuesday game, how about that?):
Toronto is lucky to be 2-2 at this point, and the champs are looking more like they did in the regular season last year than they did in the playoffs. After a slowish start for the Lions (in which they've still won three of four games), we're confident that they are the far superior team, and at a number that ain't too tough to swallow (though they are on the road).

We're going with Travis Lulay and the Lions to close out a hopefully undefeated week of CFL action (either way, our second straight winning week), banking on BC in what should have been last year's Grey Cup matchup.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

College Football 2013: 3 Keys To Success For Penn State

The best bookie software facilitates more betting action during football season. At payperhead.com and other sites, betting becomes the central point of discussion, and no sport in America generates betting interest more than football.

This season, the Penn State football team will try to build off its immensely successful 2012 campaign. What made last season so remarkably good for the Nittany Lions is that they lost several players due to immediate transfers less than two months before the season began. The transfers that plagued Penn State were triggered by the July 2012 announcement of NCAA penalties against the football program, flowing from the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal that engulfed the university. When a substantial degree of depth was abruptly snatched from this team at a particularly inconvenient time (just when summer training camp was about to begin), it seemed that head coach Bill O’Brien was going to be in for a particularly difficult first season. Instead, O’Brien led the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record, 5-3 in the Big Ten. Matthew McGloin, a quarterback who showed promise at times under former coach Joe Paterno but never really blossomed as a signal caller, finally found a groove under O’Brien, the former offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for the New England Patriots during their most recent Super Bowl season in 2011. O’Brien showed how well he can coach an offense and provide meaningful instruction to a collegiate quarterback. Now, O’Brien will get a chance to start from scratch in 2013.

Tyler Ferguson leads Christian Hackenberg in the race for the quarterback job, with McGloin having graduated. O’Brien’s ability to mold one (if not both) of these players into a credible passing threat will be the foremost key for the Nittany Lions this season. The Big Ten has historically been a pound-on-the-ground smashmouth conference, but it is now a conference in which creative speed-based offenses have emerged. You need to score to keep pace with the rest of the Big Ten, so Penn State has to make sure before anything else that its offense is up to the challenge.

The second key for the Nittany Lions is to devote that much more attention to their offensive line. With a young and entirely unproven quarterback in place, the need to give that quarterback time to make reads and progressions will become that much more important. It’s true that a quarterback must use pocket presence to help his line, but for the first half of this season at the very least, Penn State’s offensive front must give its quarterback an extra helping hand.

The third and final key for the Nittany Lions this season is a psychological one. Last season witnessed an emotional autumn unlike any other in the program’s history… and in the history of the sport of college football, for that matter. Penn State was torn apart by the Jerry Sandusky scandal, and the players on the team responded to a difficult situation with a high level of motivation and determination. One year later, NCAA penalties remain in effect, but the situational cocktail of 2012 is no more. Can this team, ineligible for the postseason, still manage to display the passion and resilience needed to produce a successful football season?

Author Bio:

Blogger and bookie Jack Doveless has been around the sports betting world for years now, but only since discovering payperhead.com has he been able to offer his clients a full range of betting options. Jack believes that PayPerHead.com offers the best bookie software, and highly recommends the software to anyone else who is interested in offering bookie services.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

If You're Betting on the NFL Preseason...

This sentence can be finished in a number of ways.

-you're crazy
-you're a genius
-you need to get a life
-you must be a huge fan 
-you need help

We're going with the less judgmental 'here are a few tips.' Our first tip is that if preseason football is something you're getting into this year, check out the sportsbooks at www.topbettingaction.com and find a good line.

Betting preseason NFL is not something we usually do (instead focusing our attention on Canadian Football during this time, which is either better or worse). We have done it, both successfully and not, in the past, but it is a very volatile thing to cap, since the end result--a win or a loss--is not always important to the people in charge of such matters.

Sometimes, and to some coaches, it is very important. Some believe it can set the tone for an entire training camp, or a team's practice habits, or even, perhaps ridiculously, the team's eventual outcome in the upcoming season.

And then some coaches simply see it as a way to evaluate the talent (or lack there of) of the players on his football team, mix-matching lineups with no concern over how a given set of personnel will perform relative to the game's final score.

The key, then, is knowing which coaches feel which way. Keep your eyes open for any headlines about coaches thinking a particular game is of some perceived importance, and obviously make sure to know as much as you can about who is going to receive a bulk of the playing time, especially at quarterback. Week 3 is the 'dry run' for most teams, in which starters will often go into the third quarter, but occasionally starters will get a longer look in Weeks 2 or 4 as well. Know if and when that's the case.

So which coaches do value the preseason winning percentage as a key piece of their Canton resume? Quite a few, in fact.

We couldn't be less surprised to know that Jim Schwartz, a man of great ego and little perspective, is 12-4 in the preseason, his Lions winning the Week 4 contests in all four seasons he's coached them, which has helped prepare them for exactly one winning season in that time.

Another ego, Mike Shanahan, boasts a 49-23 record, while Mike Tomlin is 19-6 (also, 6-0 in Week 4). These are important nuggets to know before you place your bets, and they can be very specific by week.

As we said, Week 3 is the dry run, so a coach like Sean Payton takes it seriously, holding a 6-1 record in Week 3 and a get-this-over-with record of 1-6 in Week 4. It hasn't worked out so well for Jeff Fisher (4-11) and Marvin Lewis (2-8) in Week 3, but they've recovered in Week 4, Fisher with an 11-4 record and Lewis a 7-3 mark.

Bill Belichick perhaps just wants to start things off right, going 10-4 in Week 1 and 6-7 in all other weeks.

By purely looking at the historical data, you can tell a lot about how some of the veteran coaches feel these tune-up games.

If you keep your ear to the ground, it's not hard to turn a profit simply by consuming as much public knowledge as possible. Plenty of bettors still treat these exhibition contests as if the teams in them were going at full strength. Enough people will bet on the Packers over the Cardinals, for example, purely because of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers reputation. This will allow you to get a good price if you feel that the odds favor the underwhelming opponent, or if you just want to fade the hell out of Graham Harrell.

If you are taking the preseason plunge, best of luck to you. And if not, believe us when we say there's plenty of room on the CFL betting bandwagon.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Draft/Free Agency Review: Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers have been an administrative enigma for the last couple of years. Ever since Bobby Clarke stepped down as general manager in 2006, the Flyers have made some very bizarre and bad player personnel choices. The most notable issue for Philadelphia is in net, where the team has been unable to find a reliable starter. The team had drafted Sergei Bobrovsky and tried to give the young goalie a chance, but they wound up trading Bobrovsky away. After the 2012-13 season, Bobrovsky won the Vezina Trophy.

Draft:

When you look into sport betting at Sportsbetting.ag, you will see that the Flyers’ Stanley Cup futures odds are firmly stacked against the team. The team had six chances to draft impact players in the 2013 NHL draft, but the team did not seem to make the choices that it should have made to improve.

The best choice that the Flyers did make was when they picked Samuel Morin with the 11th overall pick. Morin looks and plays like former Flyers’ captain Chris Pronger. Even though Pronger is still on the Philadelphia roster, he will unlikely play for the team ever again as his health issues seem insurmountable. Morin is expected to make an immediate impact, but it will be years before he can even come close to playing like his idol, Chris Pronger.

The Flyers picked four defensemen in the draft, which seemed like a waste of draft picks on a team that needs defensive help right now. There were too many good defensemen available in free agency that the Flyers passed up and that could be a problem for the team in the coming season.

Grade: D

Free agency:

The two most interesting free agent signings that the Flyers made in 2013 were goaltenders Ray Emery and Yann Danis. The Flyers lost forward Danny Brier to Montreal, but replaced him with former Tampa Bay Lightning star Vincent Lecavalier. The Flyers did not re-sign eccentric goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, which leads most fans to think that Emery will be the starter when the season opens.

One notable free agency signing that kept an important player in Philadelphia was the re-signing of defenseman Mark Streit. Other than that, the Flyers were pretty quiet in free agency.

Grade: D

The Bottom Line

The best live sports betting action will probably see the Flyers’ Stanley Cup futures odds drop even further as the season approaches. Once again, the Flyers have settled for a career backup goaltender instead of pursuing a proven starter. Ray Emery’s days as an effective, full-time starter are behind him. The rest of the moves that Philadelphia made did very little to improve a team that needs help in so many different areas. The Flyers may be effective during the regular season, but they have done nothing to strengthen their chances of playing well in the playoffs.

Author Bio:

Jay Moreny is a sports and gambling blogger with a passion for earning money from the comfort of his couch. Over the years he has searched for the best live sports betting site, and Jay will tell you that sport betting at Sportsbetting.ag is the only choice for those who are serious about their sports bets.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Our Week 5 CFL Picks, And Trust Us, We Had the Alouttes

The one bad thing about being an American and capping the CFL is that you might sometimes forget about the CFL. Even after your best week of the year (3-1, finally a winner), you might just forget to get your picks posted before the first game of the next week.

Kind of like we did tonight. 

So you'll have to trust us this week. And since we're the only ones reading this, we trust ourselves. We had Montreal -4 at home over Edmonton tonight, mostly because we think the Eskimos are pure garbage and we're fading until further notice. The Als pulled it out, winning by five, and we're counting this as a win on our year-to-date record. Got a problem with that? Hey, Bill Simmons does it for his Thursday nighters all the time, and people actually read him. Had we lost this pick, we would have shared that information just the same. Or maybe we wouldn't have. Whatever, fuck you.

So congrats to us!

The rest of this week's picks, which we'll actually share with the general public:
 
Calgary -5 over Winnipeg

Home dogs will bark, but we hope that's not the case this week. We don't have enough reasons to bet against the favorites this week, against completely inferior opponents. Calgary is a close second behind Saskatchewan in our eyes as the best team in the league at this point in the season. 

Saskatchewan -4 over Hamilton 

As for the best team... Saskatchewan is not going undefeated this season, but the CFL's last unbeaten team has given more reasons to ride the hot streak than to try and predict an end to their exciting season-opening run. They still haven't even won by less than double figures and are just tearing up the competition so far. That competition hardly includes Hamilton, who last week lost in Regina by a count of 37-0. We see no reason why they'll avenge the loss this week, and will happily take four points on the far better road team.

Stay tuned for our pick on Tuesday's game (BC at Toronto), which has yet to have a line available, but be warned that we're leaning with the likely road favorite again. And we may just forget about it altogether.

Last Week: 3-1
This Week, Honor System: 1-0
Total: 9-8