England Out

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I used to watch football (soccer if you’re American). It used to be the only sport I would watch. Over the years my love for the “beautiful game” has waned so much now that I’ll only watch it when there’s a big game or a big tournament. And last night I watched England lose to Iceland.


Yep, the nation that has “the best league in the world” (© Sky Sports) lost to a nation of 330,000 people. A bigger difference would be to compare the expected transfers the 2 squads would command. In my naivety/ignorance on footballing matter I thought that 1.5X looked big on England to win. I didn’t bet as I’m not going to bother with something that I’ll have zero edge on.

It wasn’t an enjoyable game of football. Which was pretty much typical of England over the years, check out their performance over the years I’ve been watching them:


Another major tournament ending in disappointment isn’t surprising. Since 1990 they’ve only won 2 knockout games in 90 mins! There’s been a couple of times where England played well and were unlucky to lose (1996, 1998), but mainly it’s been a case of being terrible and deserving to go out.

End of a Season

Thought I’d write an update after the end of the basketball season. Which for me ended on Wednesday with Real Madrid winning the Spanish league Over Barcelona.

So there’s no more basketball on for a whole week! There’s the Olympic qualifying tournaments on 4th  – 10th July. And then there’s basketball at the Olympic games from 6th– 21st August. International tournaments have been very profitable in past summers, if you put the work in. Obviously Team USA will turn up and win, but one place you might be able to find value is the team to finish runners up…

NBA Season

That may well end up being the greatest NBA season I’ll ever watch. The Warriors won 73 games, came back from 3-1 down against OKC to then lose against Lebron after being 3-1 up. The greatest game I’ve seen so far was during this regular season when GSW won at OKC with that amazing Curry 3.

Betting wise it’s been a really good year, my best year. Unfortunately it finished on a bad note with GSW not winning the title. I said they’d win if Curry was healthy, that debate will rage on, but he was nowhere near his regular season performance. Despite backing GSW to win it, I’m actually glad Lebron won it.

So what did we learn from the Finals?:

  • GSW missed Andrew Bogut more than people give credit for. They couldn’t play Draymond 48 mins at center (they didn’t play him enough minutes at center) and their backups were horrendous. With more rim protection they may well be the champs right now.
  • Lebron totally coasts the regular season, and I’ll upgrade “his jumper has gone” to “he’s got a streaky jump shot”. But he’s still the most dominant player in the world.
  • Cleveland should trade Kevin Love for some wing players that allow them to play Lebron at the 4 and Thompson at the 5.

Looking ahead to next season. I’ve already pencilled in a few teams who I think may be over/underrated coming into the coming season. Obviously a lot will depend on free agency, drafts and trades.

NBA 2015/16 Finals

So after 1230 regular season games, and 79 playoff games…we’re right back where we were a year ago with the Cavs facing the Warriors in the NBA finals.

Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers

Some talking heads seem to think that this is going to be a close series. I do not. If you haven’t backed GSW yet for the title, they’re available around 1.45 and I think that is too big. GSW were shorter odds in the series and in their home games v OKC, and OKC was/is a much tougher matchup than the Cavs.

OKC shortened their rotation and ramped up their defensive activity v GSW and there were long periods when GSW struggled to get a decent look due to OKC’s physicality/athleticism. Cavs on the other hand, only have Lebron as a good defender, and he hasn’t given 100% on D all season. Cavs also have the notorious bad defenders in Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, when those 2 are on the floor they’re just gonna get smoked by the Warriors. Irving may have to guard Curry who looks back to his best, good luck with that, there no way he’s going to stay in front of him or not give him the slight bit of space he needs to get his 3 off. Irving didn’t play in this series last year but the Warriors probably wished he did. Cavs should play Delly more on Curry.


For the Cavs are eyes are on Lebron. Unfortunately for them he’s clearly regressed this year as his jump shot has gone downhill. His shooting behind the line is his worst since his rookie season. His points in these playoffs have relied on him getting to the rim. Unlike the teams he’s played in the East, he’s not gonna get to the hoop at will; the Warriors have premier perimeter defenders and rim protectors. Cavs may be overrated by some in this matchup because they’ve had an absolute cakewalk to the Finals, and by shooting the lights out in part, while the Warriors needed some of their own amazing shooting to get by the Thunder in 7 games.

Some people have been saying that the Cavs may have success with Love at Center. They may do well on offense with a line-up like this, but overall I’m not so sure. Love at Center would provide shooting at all positions and would be able to drag GSW’s big man out of the paint leaving it open for Lebron to attack, but that won’t matter if GSW plays their “death line-up” and they can switch everything. Love at the 5 would get abused in the PNR (he’ll get abused in the PNR at the 4 if he’s guarding Green too). Plus with Love at the 5 they would forgo having Thompson out there contesting the glass.

Curry and the Warriors are better this year, and are just clearly better than the Cavs on both sides of the ball. Cavs won’t be able to stop GSW scoring and will have problems scoring themselves. For the Cavs to succeed in this series they have to go for the standard high variance strategies:
• Slow pace. Like last year the Cavs have to slow the pace right down where they were even taking 5 seconds (or more) to even inbound the ball.
• Crash the boards. Tristan Thompson is one of the elite offensive rebounders in the league.
• 3pt shooting. Like the earlier rounds in the playoffs, the Cavs are gonna need to be hitting a crazy amount of 3s.

Prediction: Golden State Warriors in 5

Recommended bets:
This is what you want, enough of the words, here’s the bets:
Back GSW outright at 1.44.
Back GSW -1.5 games on the series handicap at 2.10 – this is the top bet of the Finals IMO.

As for Finals MVP there’s obviously no value in backing Curry. I really don’t think the Cavs will win, so don’t bother with any of them. There may be only 5 games so if Klay Thompson has an amazing shooting performance in a couple of games he may be worth a look. Players guarding Lebron have won the last 2 Finals MVP (Kawhi & Iggy) so for Iggy to repeat he would need Curry & Thompson not to play to their level. Draymond Green could win it if he gets a few triple doubles and guards Lebron successfully…basically I’m not recommending anything here yet. Like last year I ‘ll prefer to wait a few games to see if anyone’s worth backing.

Top points scorer: I can’t see anyone other than Curry or Thompson winning this award. As mentioned before: Lebron’s jumper isn’t the same, and will have either Iggy or Green guarding him and won’t be the dunk the ball 10 times every game. Curry’s best priced at 1.72 which is decent, but as I’m worried about Thompson, I’ve decided to back Curry to score more points than Lebron in the series at 1.66.