Ocelot Sports

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Muting the Talking Heads, Melo ISO and Sanchez Benched

By Pauly

Los Angeles, CA

9am hoops?

The PHX-Knicks game at MSG tipped off at noon ET. I woke up extra early for work (watching the lines move) but had the Knicks game on in the background during in the dead hour before the first NFL kickoff.

I’m a football junkie who would never miss pre-game show. When I lived in NYC, I raced to my brother’s apartment and arrived no later than noon (with a bag of bagels) so we didn’t miss any of the pre-game shows. Over the last few years, each network added more and more talking heads to the mix, thereby diluting the coverage. Plus, the so-called experts know less and less about the modern game and are only on the panel for shock ratings or to boost ratings. The final hour before kickoff has become a bastion of static and inane chatter. When I was a kid, I loved to watch the pre-game with my old man to see who Jimmy the Greek would bet on. Over the previous decade or so, I tuned into those programs to get injury information for fantasy football purposes. But in the 21st Century dominated by the social media cycle, Twitter quickly filled the information void. Through Twitter, we now know who’s out and who’s playing without having to turn on CBS, FOX, ESPN, or NFL Network. Those shows and their talking heads have become obsolete.

Dinosaurs.

Instead of wasting my time with pre-games, I kept an eye on Twitter for injury updates and watched the Knicks game instead.

We bet the UNDER 200.5 for PHX/NY. I woke up foggy and rather groggy, so I assume that the Los Sols might have to deal with a similar weirdness on the body. Tipoff was at 9am PT, a time their bodies had acclimated.

The Knicks shot well and too good for our tastes in the first half. The Knicks soared past the 60 point mark which was a huge concern. When you bet an under you want to see both teams under 50 points at halftime, preferable one of them with 45 and the other in the low 40s.

The Knicks’ fan favorite, Rasheed Wallace, got tossed after just 85 seconds of actual playing time. He came off the bench and picked up two quick techs and was tossed! Maybe Sheed was tired and wanted to go back to sleep? These noon ET NBA games are rough for late-night potheads.

Without Sheed and a perpetually-hurt Marcus Camby… Chirs Copeland got playing time by default. Who? Chris Copeland, a 28-year old rookie, has become my brother’s favorite player for some random reason. Maybe I should get him a Copeland jersey? Copeland got some playing time, but it didn’t matter because MSG was showcasing the greatest show on Earth that did not involve elephants.

The Melo ISO show. All day and all night. Melo. Melo. Melo.

Actually, it’s more like… Melo. ISO. Melo. ISO. Yes, Melo gets the ball and Melo shoots the ball.

The Melo black hole is something I see every night with the Lakers and their own black hole, Kobe Bryant. I just re-read that sentence and I can expect Dawn Summers to get on my ass for being a racist, so just change “ball hog” for “black hole” and you get what I’m saying.

Kobe and Melo get the ball only to go one-on-one while their four teammates stand around with their thumbs up their asses including one frantic guy waving his hands because he’s wide open in the corner. Sure, the isolation lay (ISO) is a deadly and highly effective play to win a game or to get a clutch basket  while exploiting a mismatch, but when the ISO becomes the bread and butter of your offense, you’re going to live and die by the ISO. Melo ran former coach Mike D’Antoni out of town because he didn’t like D’Antoni’s offensive philosophy (lots of spacing and pick and rolls to create open jumpers).  It’s highly ironic that D’Antoni washed up in Hollyweird as the new Lakers coach considering Kobe is very similar to Melo. When D’Antoni’s offense flows correctly… the Lakers spread the ball around and they win. When Kobe hogs the ball and becomes a black hole on the court, he scores a shit-ton of points, but the team’s overall offensive output suffers and they lose the game.

Knicks are now 7-0 at home and 12-4 overall, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Right? The Melo Black Hole (MBH) system works for now, but coach Mike Woodson better have a few tricks up his sleeve if he wants the Knicks to stay in the top tier of Eastern Conference teams. When Amare returns, it should be an interesting dynamic.

So… Knicks won but scored too many points and let PHX back in the game in the 4Q because they stopped playing defense. We lost the only NBA play of the day. After going 6-2 the previous two days, we went 0-1.

But hey… Sundays are God’s day and the time for NFL.

***

Sunday NFL Sweat: Cincy -1, Denver -6.5, OVER 51 NE/Mia, OVER 42.5 JAX/BUF

We lost the first game on our slate. New England is a monster this year blasting the over totals. Coach Belicheat is prone to running up the score and Tom Brady never sits on the ball. Both factors, along with a shitty Miami team, indicated an over wager. Even HAL420 was in accordance. We figured with a few extra days to prepare (after whooping the LOL-Jets on Turkey Day), the Pats would be in peak form against Miami.

Miami kept Brady and the Pats offense in check… and didn’t let it get too out of control. However, Miami blew too many opportunities on offense and couldn’t get the ball in the endzone. Ah, oh well. The Pats have more than helped us pad the bankroll, so you can flush that ugly turd down the toilet, because we’ll get plenty more chances to print money with the Pats.

We started out 0-1 in the NFL (and 0-2 overall with the blown Knicks under) but swept the other three NFL games to finish up 3-1.

The other OVER hit midway through the 3Q. Jags/Buffalo was a shootout. I didn’t even watch a single play. I can’t even recall seeing the Red Zone show any of their scores. I guess the OVER was never in jeopardy so we didn’t have to fret over the game. We’re just glad it came through because we finished the early games 1-1 with 2 open positions on the second batch.

Wisdom of the Ocelot

The best value in the NFL is a shitty team with horrible public perception that covers the spread.  Find a team with a lot of young players but who lost several close games (especially on the road).

Last year, Seattle was the “bad” team that got overlooked week after week. Now, everyone and their grandma knows to bet the mighty Seahawks at home and fade the Seachickens on the road (except that didn’t work in Chicago this week). I liked St. Louis this year as a hidden gem in a pile of cow dung. St. Louis proved their worth twice already against San Francisco.

Over the last few weeks, Cleveland and Tampa were the bad teams we were looking to back. I got scared with Cleveland this week because Weeden had got his bell rung, but now I’m bumming we passed on their game against Oakland. Cleveland has covered the spread in their last 3 games since the bye week. Before the bye they were 2-2 ATS losing one game by a single point.

TB has my new favorite player — rookie RB Doug Martin. D-Mart scored 50+ for me in fantasy one week, so I love the guy so much I almost went out and bought a D-Mart #22 jersey. My former neighbors were the only TB fans living in Los Angeles. They both moved and were replaced by a hipster couple — a violin player/singer and her closeted-gay husband. They are not the “sports” type and most likely hate me for screaming and shouting at the most random times. I dunno how many times they must’ve heard “HIT YOUR FUCKING FREE THROWS!”

Anyway… after backing TB in November, it was time to fade them in December. Denver is a team that gets better and stronger every week. Peyton is Peyton. Josh Freeman is… not Peyton. We jumped on Denver -6.5 when the lines came out. We’ve been looking to cherry pick soft lines on Sunday night at Midnight or first thing on Monday mornings. When most of the public is looking to bet on the Monday night game, we’re already shopping for the next week’s games. The Denver line moved as high as -9 in some places but settled on -7.5 or -8.

Denver struggled early on and trailed Tampa, but Peyton settled in and Denver won and covered.

We picked Cincy playing in SD, but we weren’t backing the ginja QB as much as fading Norv Turner. I didn’t watch the game because Norv Turner tilts me so bad that I couldn’t stomach it. Cincy held on to win and cover. We went 2-0 in the afternoon games and finished off 3-1 in the day in the NFL.

Okay… I have to say something about my hometown Jets. This GIF says it all…

Yes. Mark Sanchez threw a pick on his first possession. The Jets D stepped up and only gave up a FG in that spot. In fact the D played so well (albeit against a terrible team with the worst rushing game in the NFL) that they limited Arizona’s offense to just a pair of FGs and 6 points. The Jets only needed to score one TD to win the game. Their D giftwrapped a win for them… yet Mark Sanchize struggled for 2.5 quarters before Rex Ryan benched him.

Jets fans erupted as soon as McElroy took warm up passes on the sideline. Sanchez put on a baseball hat and was given a clipboard. Twitter flooded with  jokes about Sanchez playing Angry Birds or filling out job applications or updating his fantasy football roster.

McElroy trotted onto the field amidst a tidal wave of cheers. The fans were calling for Tebow as early as the first game, but he had a bunch of sore ribs and Rex made him inactive. There’s the smoking gun for all you conspiracy freaks. Rex waited for Tebow to be inactive before he benched Sanchez, that way he didn’t have to skip over Tebow and could go right to McElroy.

The offense looked rejuvenated as McElroy led the Jets down field to their only scoring drive of the game. McElroy threw a TD and Jets Nation went berserk… except Fireman Ed who skipped the game.

Thus begins more QB controversy. The Jets play in Jacksonville next weekend. That’s Tim Tebow country. Will Tebow get to play in front of his friends and family? Or will Rex continue to give McElroy a shot as Sanchize becomes the highest paid backup QB in the NFL.

LOL Jets.

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