Happy Friday! We begin with a programming note. Please join us today at Saloon Door Brewery in Webster for the show. If you come out today and then watch the game there tomorrow, your first beer will be free.
I always love getting back to the old stomping grounds and this is a great place run by terrific people.
Also down south tomorrow, head to Scout Bar and catch my good friends from 12 Years Driven. They are a terrific band and also very cool people. Buy them a beer after the show. Broken Valor is also on the card and I am a big fan of theirs as well.
We will be giving away two four-packs of tickets on the show today, so tune in…
OK, now it is on with the sports…
Rockets do it again: While most of my focus was on hockey last night, the beauty of a sports bar is you can watch two things at once, and the Rockets managed a close win over Oklahoma City. Russell Westbrook won the individual battle, but James Harden and the Rockets won the game. This is the kind of game the Rockets would have lost last year after blowing a big lead. They are so much more fun to watch this season and so balanced. It was a nice win during a stretch where the Rockets are getting a lot of nice wins.
Hell of a game: Please indulge my hockey addiction for one paragraph. If you missed the World Junior Finals, you missed some great plays, high sports drama and a hell of a close game. The U.S. won it 5-4 in a shootout. Ordinarily I am not a fan of a gold medal being decided by a shootout, but these kids were gassed after a 20-minute overtime. (Memo to the schedule makers: Why not a day off after the grueling semis to get here?) Team USA overcame an early 2-0 deficit and was down 4-2 in the third but came back. Canada might have been the better team, but Team USA got the only goal in the shootout. Neither team played its best game, but it was dramatic, fun, and exciting to watch. And really, neither team deserved to lose. I root like hell for Canada anytime it does not play Team USA. They have had the better of the hockey matchups more often than not, so it was fun to actually see Team USA get one. And the kids America is producing in hockey right now can really play. The Olympics are going to be very interesting six years from now.
And no, I did not get banished to the couch…
Gambling guide: A lot of people have asked for a gambling guide this weekend. I am just going to break down the games here. So technically this will be the guide. By now, you guys know the disclaimer by heart. Here we go:
Houston -3.5 over Oakland: I think this number is right where it should be. Hard to see the Texans winning this by more than 5-6 points. But being at home and against a rookie QB should get them over the top. Will not play this, but how about a few bucks on the under 37? Do we really see these teams scoring more than something like 20-17? I sure don’t. No play on the line, medium play on the under.
Detroit plus-8 at Seattle: The Seahawks are not the dominant force we have come to know. The offensive line is a complete mess and defensively they have not been the same since Earl Thomas was injured. Detroit limped in to the playoffs and has not been good since Matt Stafford hurt his finger. The Seahawks are monsters at home, but outside a TD is too much. Small play on Detroit.
Miami plus-10 at Pittsburgh: The Steelers are about to play their first ever playoff game with Big Ben, Leveon Bell and Antonio Brown all on the field. I believe they are the one team that can throw a scare into New England down the road. Miami is on a backup QB and luck boxed their way into the playoffs, much as the Texans did. Still, the Dolphins can run the football, play solid defense, and Matt Moore is a capable backup. Steelers win, but Miami hangs around. Can’t give up double digits on the Steelers side and not sure I trust the Dolphins to cover, but that’s the only play to make on the line and we will go small. As for the total, love the over 45.5. Small play on Miami plus-10, strong play over 45.5
NY Giants plus 4.5 at Green Bay: Conventional wisdom is Eli Manning will turn into playoff Eli and the Giants offense will transform. But we have not seen playoff Eli in a long time. The Giants receivers should feast on Green Bay’s depleted secondary, but can Eli get them the ball? The Packers have played like one of the best in the league during their “run the table” march to get here. I think the Giants keep it within a TD but the number here is perfect. So I will stay away from that (Giants if you feel you must). This is another one where I like the over 44.5. No play on the line, small play on the over.
If you want another view, Brian O’Donal posted this earlier in the week.
And finally….Nothing like trying to hide your cocaine in your belly fat. No, it did not work.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
In honor of Team USA:
“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”
— Harry S. Truman
HOTTIE(S) OF THE DAY