Ranking the Non-Major Sports

7. NASCAR

I assume they’re listening to country when they drive.

I just don’t get it. I could see the EVENT being awesome, just getting hammered all day outside in the sun with 100,000 other people.

But the sport itself never made sense to me. Why are the races so long? It’s not like track where you ‘train’ for sprints vs. distance right? Are the first 200 laps NOT boring to someone gets it?

I don’t begrudge those who enjoy it, I just don’t get it at all.

6. Boxing

Unfortunately the most marketed thing in the sport right now.

I follow loosely, know the big names, and have a decent understanding of the sport, but wouldn’t go out of my way to watch a fight (though I’ll probably watch McGregor / Mayweather like all the other sheep).

Boxing has been outdone in a marketing sense by the UFC, and frankly, who knows how much longer it has in the main stream light.

5. T&F

Being at a track meet is awesome (if you’re competing), but even I understand that it’s not the greatest sport to watch on TV. In fact, if you aren’t competing / don’t follow the sport, track & field is definitely the worst on this list.

When Usain Bolt retires, which is coming soon, track and field will have close to zero mass appeal beyond the hardcore track fans. I’m not worried, because I don’t think the sport needs to be popular among normal people for it to survive, but it is a bit discouraging.

4. MMA / UFC

Dana White, head of the UFC. Who’s the head of boxing?

A sport that’s been on the rise for years. Similar to boxing, I follow loosely, know the big names, and have a decent understanding. However, it’s just more entertaining and has done a better job of marketing itself.

My only (small) issue with MMA is the sort of barbaric nature. If I was a parent, this would be one of the last sports I’d want my kid to get into.

3. Soccer

Stars

The stars are marketable and the rivalries between the teams are intense and very real. It’s the most watched sport in the world for a reason, and its popularity in America has been growing.

There will be a LOT of buzz for the 2018 World Cup in the US.

Also, if you bet the over every time, it makes every game exciting no matter what.

2. Tennis

Marry me

I’ve written about my love for Federer before, and he truly exemplifies a STAR. Him winning Wimbledon two weeks ago was the best thing that could’ve happened to Tennis. Some will say having the “big four” win almost every Major is bad, and to some extent I agree, but STARS drive ratings.

I might even give tennis a try just because of him.

1. Golf

Posting up on a Sunday afternoon watching the final round is a great way to spend a Sunday. Again, a sport that needs stars, but fortunately, it has them. Golf was most recently at its peak when Tiger was dominating.

No one is at Tiger’s level yet, but with Spieth winning his third major, Rory looking good, Dustin Johnson being a wild card stud with a smokin’ hot wife, etc. etc. there are plenty of worthy stars that make golf worth watching.

Additionally, every round of the tournament matters. A stroke on Thursday is worth the same as a stroke on Sunday. All four days of a major are worth watching which is rare for any sport.


For what it’s worth, I’d rank golf, tennis, and soccer as #3, #4, and #5 on the overall sports rankings list.

My Ranking of the Four Major Sports

4. NHL

Hockey is NOT the worst of these four sports. Brookes will cringe at this, but baseball is the worst in my opinion. Hockey is like a combo of soccer and basketball. You have the every-goal-counts asset combined with the up-tempo pace of basketball which is great.

The simple reason that hockey is #4 is exposure. Kids play soccer, basketball, baseball, etc. all the time, but very few play hockey. Its unfamiliarity in the States is why it will always be sort of a niche sport. I never played hockey and therefore don’t identify with the sport and don’t know all of the rules, but I don’t doubt that if I played, I’d be a die hard Flyers fan.

3. MLB

Laura and I went the Phillies game a few Sunday’s ago and it was great. Going down to the ball park for a beer and hot dog is a pretty good way to spend a Sunday afternoon in July.

However, here are four problems with baseball:

  • It’s too slow. It’s why it has the oldest average fan of all the four major sports.
  • It lacks star power. If the Phillies added Bryce Harper before the season started, they’d still have 0% chance at the playoffs. Lebron turns whatever team he’s on into a playoff team. Some may say this is a good thing, but stars drive ratings.
  • There are too many games. Whoop-dee-do, we went 20-0 to start the season. Only 140 more games to go!
  • The unwritten rules are STUPID. You can’t bat flip, you can’t jog too slow when you hit a home run, you have to hit a guy with a 95mph fast ball for something he did 5 years ago. The baseball snobs will say “That’s just how the game is played” and that casual fans don’t get it. Newsflash, dumb shit like this is driving people away from your sport.

The sport is fading in popularity. I don’t know how to save it, but as the target market, I can’t think of much that would make me want to watch.

2. NFL

The NFL literally owns a day of the week for half the year. I see two things that set the NFL apart:

  • Every. Game. Matters. It cannot be understated how important this is. EVERY Sunday matters in Philadelphia. Even when your team is  3-7, there’s a chance you go on a run and sneak into the playoffs.
  • Fantasy Sports. Obviously fantasy isn’t exclusive to football, but it’s way more manageable than the other sports. Casual fans can play since there’s only one set of games a week. NBA / MLB fantasy get overwhelming for the casual fan.

From September – February I, along with millions of others, am basically keeping up to date with every single thing that’s going on in the NFL.

My only real issue with the NFL / football is A) I don’t understand the Xs and Os well enough and B) the concussions / health stuff is a real issue and could have a big impact in the coming decades.

1. NBA

The NBA is #1 for me because I played basketball growing up. I can understand everything much better than football. I’m not an NBA analyst by any means, but I can actually see the game in a way that I can’t with the other sports.

Other reasons include:

The NBA has STARS; These people are larger than life in their cities in a way that football players aren’t. Free agency makes it easier for stars to move around. It has swag, meaning kids idolize these players differently than other athletes. The games are high energy, and the athleticism you see on a night-to-night basis is unreal.

I cannot understate how excited I am for this upcoming Sixers season. Even when the Sixers sucked I still followed the NBA very closely, but basketball is finally back in Philadelphia and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Predicting the Sixers ’17 – ’18 Season

Health

This, more than anything, will determine the success of the Sixers this year. If Embiid can play 60+ games, and Simmons / Saric / Covington / Redick have no major injuries, this team has a lot of potential in the East.

Additions

JJ Redick – A 1 year, $23 million deal is a major overpay, but for a team with a ton of cap space and in desperate need of a shooter, this is a good move.

Markelle Fultz – Looked good in his Summer League Debut and should be a much needed reliable scoring option.

Vegas / the Eastern Conference

With most major free agents going to the West, the Sixers odds of making the playoffs / winning a playoff series increased dramatically.

Vegas ranks the East in the following order:

  • Cleveland (100% ahead of the Sixers IMO)
  • Boston (100% ahead of the Sixers)
  • Washington (80-90% ahead of the Sixers)
  • Milwaukee (60-70% ahead of the Sixers)
  • Toronto (60-70% ahead of the Sixers)
  • Philadelphia

My Prediction

Assuming this team is healthy, I’d put the O/U at 44 wins.

The East is so bad that a genuine ‘bold‘ prediction would be “The Sixers host a playoff series”. You could make that statement and people wouldn’t look at you like you were crazy.

As a slightly biased observer, my predictions are:

  • 46 – 36
  • #5 seed
  • Ben Simmons is voted Rookie of the Year
  • Joel Embiid makes the All Star Team
  • Brett Brown is a Coach of the Year Finalist

Book it. Here’s some Joel Embiid for those who live under a rock.

Deadass thought I took a dribble but it doesn’t matter.. They say “Travels” are not called in the league… #TheProcess

A post shared by Joel “The Process” Embiid (@joelembiid) on

Tonight’s NBA Draft and Dan D’Antoni on Basketball Analytics

With the NBA draft coming tonight, this rant by Dan D’Antoni from late 2016 seems fitting. This is why a player like Jahlil Okafor has close to zero value in today’s NBA.

I’ll dedicate another post to the Sixers upcoming season but here are my quick thoughts on the draft & off season

  • I think LA will and should take Lonzo.
  • If LA gets Paul George I’ll be upset because their pick will probably convey to the Sixers next year as a late lottery pick.
  • De’Aaron Fox will be a disappointment.
  • The Knicks won’t trade Kristaps Porzingis.
  • If the Celtics add Gordon Hayward and whoever they take at #3, they’ll still only be the second best team in the East next year.
  • I’m pumped the Sixers moved up for Fultz (and at such a low price).
  • The Sixers, will MAKE THE PLAYOFFS THIS YEAR

Well Done, Kevin Durant

“Kevin Durant is a wimp for joining the Warriors. He was up 3-1 against them last year and lost, then joined them just to chase a ring. He should’ve been loyal and stayed in OKC! He had to go to another team with better players to win because he just couldn’t get it done being the guy.”


Kevin Durant is the second best player on the planet, and he wants to win an NBA championship. He has the following options:

Option A) Stay with the team you’ve been on for NINE years, which has only made the finals once and they lost convincingly, that shows no sign that anything major will change to get over the hump.
Option B) Go to a better team with better players and win a championship.

Why do people fault Durant so much for leaving?

It’s an emotional response, not a logical response.

“He’s not the star anymore.” He shot 54% from the field this year, the best of his career, and averaged 25 points. He’s getting better shots and playing with a better team.

Why would any sane person stay in OKC? He gave that city almost a decade of amazing basketball. He did everything he could to bring them a Championship, but sometimes you need to recognize when enough is enough.

He was an absolutely stud in game 1 last night, one of the most exciting players to watch in the league.

For Kevin Durant, basketball is about winning. At 28, he’s probably got 5 great years left. He went 0/9 in OKC. I blame him 0% for going to the Warriors, and I’ll be happy to see him finally win one.

NBA Finals 2017 – Cavs vs. Warriors

The Vegas line for the series is Warriors -260.

You mean to tell me a team with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, a host of good 3 point shooters, and LEBRON JAMES is going into any series as a ~2.5/1 underdog?

I don’t like Lebron, and I won’t root for him in this series, but I’m not blind to how great he is (second greatest ever for now!).

But with a line like that, I am a HAMMERING the Warriors. -150 to -200 I’d think is reasonable, but -260? That’s way too good of odds for the Cavs. Vegas knows something is up.

Warriors in 4. Maybe 5 in case they want to win on their home court.

Pre NBA Draft Lottery 2017

It’s the best time of year!

Cavs & Warriors fans have enjoyed this time of year as of late as they each cruise to their third straight finals.

But recently, Sixers’ fans know this time of year for a different reason – the payoff of the process.

We suffer through 82 games a year (except the 15 in January) just to have a chance at the ping pong balls falling our way.

Tuesday, May 16th, is the NBA Draft Lottery, and there’s no shortness of drama for the Sixers thanks to none other than SAM HINKIE.

The Picks

I won’t get into huge detail, but due to Hinkie’s magic we have:

  • Our pick
  • The Lakers pick if it falls outside of the top 3
  • The right to swap with the Kings if their pick is better than ours

With all of that factored in, we have a:

  • 15% chance at the #1 pick
  • 45% chance at a top 3 pick
  • 40% chance at TWO top 5 picks.

Best Case

There are two “best case” scenarios in my opinion.

  1. The first is that we get picks #1 and #4. Fultz goes #1 and then whoever you like at #4 (I’m happy with Monk, Jackson, Fox, or Smith).
  2. The second scenario is that we get #1, the Lakers get either #2 or #3, the Lakers still suck next year, and we get their unprotected pick like the Celtics have with the Nets this year (more Hinkie magic).

Worst Case

We get pick #6 and the Lakers are good next year so we’d get their shitty pick.

This would be the worst thing to ever happen to me in my life aside from if Ben Simmons and Embiid getting into a car accident together.

Watch the Draft Lottery

Joel Embiid will be representing the Sixers at the lottery so it’s sure to be entertaining. My expectations are so high that if we end up with just one pick outside the top 3 I’m going to be so bummed.

Use this draft simulator and see how many times we get two top 5 picks out of 10. It’s incredible. I get a little more excited each time it happens.

NFL 2017 – 2018 Season Team Win Total Over / Unders – My Picks

Instead of going team by team, I’m going to give you my EXPERT picks on which of these you can make some money on. Full list from ESPN Below.

Patriots – 11 – Over

7 straight seasons of 12 or more wins. Not sure why anyone doubts Bill and Tom at this point.

Cowboys – 9.5 – Over

They won’t win 13 again, but Dallas controls football games with their O-line and run game, which is why they’re so good in close games, and why they’ll win at least 10 this year.

Raiders – 9.5 – Over

Derek Carr will be top 3 in MVP voting. Amari Cooper will be a top 5 fantasy receiver. Marshawn will win comeback player of the year. I may have to predict them for the AFC Championship game again this year.

Panthers – 9 – Under

I just don’t think Cam Newton cares about football.

Colts – 9 – Under

This division is better than you think and other than Luck, there’s not much scaring me here.

Buccaneers – 8 – Over

Jameis is a year older, O.J. Howard is a stud, and that offense is going to put up some serious points. The Bucs might take over the Falcons to win that division. They went 9-7 last season, how do they get worse?

Chargers – 7.5 – Under

Rivers is a year older. They won 5 games last year. That L.A. Stadium is a joke (home field will suck). That division is good.

Jets – 5.5 Under

No quarterback, no problem! Except it is a problem. A huge problem. The Jets will be the worst team in the league.


Patriots – 11
Steelers – 10.5
Seahawks – 10.5
Falcons – 10
Packers – 10
Cowboys – 9.5
Raiders – 9.5
Titans – 9.5
Ravens – 9.5
Chiefs – 9
Panthers – 9
Giants – 9
Colts – 9
Bengals – 8.5
Broncos – 8.5
Texas – 8.5
Eagles – 8.5
Vikings – 8.5
Saints – 8.5
Buccaneers – 8
Lions – 8
Redskins – 7.5
Cardinals – 7.5
Chargers – 7.5
Dolphins – 7.5
Bills – 6
Jaguars – 5.5
Jets – 5.5
Rams – 5.5
Bears – 5
49ers – 4.5
Browns – 4

Russ Westbrook and the Stats – Playoff Edition

“Russell Westbrook had the single greatest season ever!”

“Russell is unguardable!”

“He’s the MVP!”


The Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs last night after a game 5 loss to the Houston Rockets. The series was a tale of one player and two narratives.

Here are the game by game shooting stats for Russ:

Game 1 – 6/23 (26%) for 22 points (L)

Game 2 – 17/43 (40%) for 51 points (L)

Game 3 – 11/24 (46%) for 32 points (W)

Game 4 – 10/28 (36%) for 35 points (L)

Game 5 – 15/34 (44%) for 47 points (L)

Total – 59/152 (39%)

Narrative One (I disagree)

Russ has no help. He’s the only player on his team who can score and his teammates constantly defer to him, so he has to shoot. He’s also a freak athlete who can get to the rim at will so it works.

Additionally, you don’t average 10+ assists a game by being a gunner. He tries to get his teammates involved and get them easy buckets. But clearly the team falls apart when he’s on the bench because his supporting cast just isn’t good.

Narrative Two (I agree)

Russ does everything because Russ wants to do everything. His teammates defer to him because that’s the culture that’s HE’S created. And I don’t buy the 10+ assist metric because he has the ball on literally every play when he’s in the game, of course he’s going to get 10 assists, that doesn’t mean he’s not selfish.

Russ is a career 31% 3 point shooter. He took 49 threes in this series and made 13 of them (27%).

Could his team be better? Of course. But I think Russ is partially the CAUSE of his team being so bad. They’re not playing basketball, they’re playing give-it-to-Russ-and-see-what-happens. That works in the regular season, but you’re not making it far in the playoffs like that unless you have another star like KD to carry the team while Russ sits.

There’s a reason Kevin Durant left OKC. You can’t win a championship with a player like Russ dominating the ball like that, and he shows no signs of changing.

Keep shooting Russ! You may go down as the best player ever to not win a championship.

TTP Capital – Dale’s Blog

Dale started a blog dedicated to tracking his effort in Daily Fantasy Baseball.

He’s starting with $1,000 and hoping to hit it big.

He already has a number of posts laying out his methodology and how he’ll execute his lineups. He values home runs and strikeouts, and has a very elaborate Excel sheet designed to tell him who are the best matchups / values are each night.

Stats!

I find baseball boring, but I’ve read every post so far and am actually very interested in following Dale’s success or failure this season.

If DFS interests you, or even just using data to make decisions, I suggest catching up and reading along.

Plus it will piss Gourlay off if his blog gets popular or if it actually works.

Good luck Dale!