On the Steelers/Patriots:
A story on ESPN.com has a no-name defensive back for the Pittsburgh Steelers "guaranteeing a win". What's the big deal about an athlete guaranteeing a win or sounding confident about a game? The media likes to play it up, but what are we to expect? For the Steelers to say they don't think they have a chance at all and they might as well stay in Pittsburgh this weekend? Athletes should be confident they can win, otherwise, why bother playing?
Actually, reading the story, the guarantee is qualified:
"We're going to win," Smith said. "Yeah, I can guarantee a win. As long as we come out and do what we got to do. Both sides of the ball are rolling, and if our special teams come through for us, we've got a good chance to win."
He uses "as long as....." and "if our......we've got a good chance to win".
That doesn't sound like bravado to me.
As for motivating the Patriots, I say: "c,mon". Does a NFL team really need that type of motivation to play their game? I don't think so. If the Patriots needed that type of motivation, then they would not have won their first 12 games this year. To me, the impact of the guarantee especially by a no-name player is absolutely zero.
The line on this game is interesting. After the Eagles/Patriots game, where the Patriots only won by 3 when the point spread was 24, they still opened as a 21-point favorite on the road in Baltimore. That number was actually a tough higher than the Las Vegas Hilton had the BAL/NE game before the PHI/NE game was played (the Hilton has Game-of-the-Year lines, lines on future games in the NFL regular season that are bettable throughout the year). The Hilton line was listed at 21 and then was bet down to 20. Unfortunately, I missed the 21 and it was 20 by the time I noticed it. I didn't get a wager in. I did get a wager in at 21 when the line first opened, albeit at -115. Still, I was surprised the line didn't budge and actually went up from the 20 that the Hilton had. The line did move down to 18.5/19 by game time.
Previous to NE-BAL game, I think the line on the PIT-NE game at the Hilton was 14 or 14.5. The current line is 10/10.5, so clearly there has been an adustment as it crosses a few important numbers (half or all of 14, 13 and half of 10).
On Andruw Jones signing with the Dodgers
Wow, Andruw Jones signed for a lot of money. It was only a 2-year deal, but at $18 million per year, he is overpaid relative to his performance. Jayson Stark had it right when he listed Andruw Jones as one of the most overrated players in his book that came out over the summer. He got a lot of flak for that, but Andruw lived up to the billing with his poor performance this year. Here are his important OBP/SLG stats and where it ranks in the NL in the past three years (not the same tired, not-as-useful trio of AVG-HR-RBI ... sure those stats are important for Rotisserie leagues, but there are much more useful stats for analyzing baseball paleyrs):
OBP: .347 42nd in the NL
SLG: .575 5th in the NL
OBP: .363 27th
SLG: .531 15th
OBP: .311 67th
SLG: .413 65th
Even if the Dodgers expected Andruw Jones to get back to 2006 levels, that's still only about the 20th best player in the NL. Given the AL has many more star hitters, that may place Andruw Jones about 50th best in all of MLB. (I am purposely taking out the fielding equation since by many accounts, he's no longer a true Gold Glover, but only winning it on reputation alone).
$18 million for the 50th best hitter in baseball? The Dodgers overpaid.