New Year's Resolutions
T.O. Whenham of Doc's Sports Predictions
2006 is taking its last few breaths, and 2007 is waiting in the wings for its grand entry. This time of year, once you've managed to finish off all the leftover turkey from Christmas, and while you are watching football games that you would never watch during the regular season, it's important to sit back and reflect on what you did this year and what you want to do next year. You could make the standard resolutions - get in shape, quit smoking, watch less TV - or you could make the really important resolutions that will truly change your life - resolutions about your sports betting. If you know your betting needs a few tweaks -- and you really need a few wins -- but you're not sure what vows you want to make to yourself, then here are four resolutions that you can feel free to borrow:
I resolve that I will never bet on a Manning in December - I don't know what it is about the Manning family and the last month of the year. Maybe Christmas was especially painful in their household when they were growing up. Maybe they are allergic to snow. Regardless, this so-called football dynasty is a disaster in Santa's month. Big brother Peyton is 1-3 ATS so far this year, was 1-3-1 ATS in the last five weeks of last year, and was 1-3 in his last four the year before that. You have to go all the way back to 2000 to find a December in which Manning amassed a winning record against the spread.
If the family business is sucking in December, then Eli has finally figured it out. He actually had winning records ATS his first two seasons, but he has finally solved that problem and is almost as pitiful as his brother this year - 1-2-1. Instead of falling for the hype and backing them down the stretch next year, do yourself a favor and fade them instead. It seems to be a sure-fire way to pay for all of your Christmas shopping.
I resolve that I will not over-think Utah bowl games - The easiest bowl game of the year every single year to handicap should be the one that Utah is playing in. Just take them to cover and move on.
The team has won six bowl games in a row, and they have covered in each case. It doesn't matter if they were heavy underdogs -- as they were when they beat Georgia Tech -- if they face huge pressure, like they did when they destroyed Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl to become the first mid-major to make the BCS. Nor does it matter if they are playing a much superior and more storied program, like when they beat USC in 2001. It doesn't matter that super-coach Urban Meyer has moved on, or that they don't have the talent they did two years ago. All you have to look at is whether they are bowl eligible. If they are then they will find a way to cover.
I resolve not to fall in love with the Jayhawks - Every year it's the same story. Kansas has so much talent and so much potential that they seem to be the closest thing to a lock as there can be in sports betting. They're well coached, they play a good schedule and they have depth at every position. If you've fallen for that line over the last few years, though, then you know how painful, and how expensive, that faith can be.
The team entered this year being touted as the biggest and the best thing the country had to offer. It's bad enough that they punished us for believing in them by losing to powerhouses Oral Roberts and DePaul, but they also have been as pathetic against the spread as a good team can be - just 5-6 so far. We know how this whole thing will play out, too. They'll roll through conference play and get hopes up before finding some way to be pathetic in the tournament. Whether they go the way of losing to an outmatched opponent in the first round again (like Bucknell and Bradley the last two years), or they give away a game they had no business losing, like they did to Georgia Tech to end their deep run in 2004. No matter how they do it, you can be assured that they will continue to make the name Kansas a synonym for underachievement and bettor frustration.
I resolve to bet on Johan Santana every time he even thinks about touching the ball - It goes without saying that Santana is good. Really, really good. Better than pretty much everyone else. What is less obvious is that, despite the public attention he gets, he also about the best bet there is. Last year, Santana was the most profitable moneyline pitcher in the majors. His team was 27-7 when he started, and $100 flat bets on every start he made were more than $200 more profitable then the next best pitcher, Tom Glavine. Last year wasn't a fluke, either. In 2005 you'd have made about eight units betting on him. The year before he was the fifth best in the league. He's been profitable every year that he has been a starter. There are a lot of very good pitchers who can't make that same claim. Next time you need a win, just look towards the nastiest pitcher in cleats, and feel pretty good about it.