2014-2015 NBA Season Predictions

2014-2015 NBA SeasonThe 2014-2015 NBA season is underway and we got a nice trio of matchups on opening night the other night as the we saw Anthony Davis and the rising New Orleans Pelicans take care of the Orlando Magic. We also saw the defending champion San Antonio Spurs narrowly beat the retooled Dallas Mavericks in a fantastic game, 101-100. And last but not least, we saw the Houston Rockets defeat the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center 108-90. Unfortunately, we saw One of the most young promising players in the league get injured in that Rockets-Lakers game as Lakers PF Julius Randle fractured his right tibia in a collision with two Houston players. Randle was the Lakers’ seventh overall pick in this years draft out of Kentucky. Randle is expected to turn into a Lakers franchise cornerstone player and is only 19 years old. Sadly, Randle will miss the rest of this season.

The rest of the NBA action tipped off last night as we got some great games to open the season. We saw the Bulls take care of the Knicks at Madison Square Garden as Derrick Rose made his much-anticipated second return with the Bulls. We got to see the LeBron-less Miami Heat in South Beach narrowly beat the young, rising Washington Wizards in a great Southeast Division clash. And the late night, nationally televised game we saw the rising Portland Trailblazers knock off the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were without Kevin Durant who is expected to miss at least the first month of the season with a broken foot.

So what’s the start of the NBA season without my yearly predictions? Last year I had the Miami Heat over Golden State Warriors as my Finals pick and I ended up being dead wrong. Instead, we got the San Antonio Spurs laying the smack down on the Miami Heat in five games. I was also wrong on my pick of LeBron James winning the MVP award again as that award went to the Thunder’s Kevin Durant. So let’s see how I do this year with my picks.
* Indicates a playoff team who did not win their division. Division winners are noted in bold.

Atlantic Division:
1. Toronto Raptors (49-33)
2. New York Knicks (43-39)*
3. Brooklyn Nets (42-40)*
4. Boston Celtics (33-49)
5. Philadelphia 76ers (15-67)

Central Division:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers (57-25)
2. Chicago Bulls (55-27)*
3. Detroit Pistons (41-41)
4. Indiana Pacers (39-43)
5. Milwaukee Bucks (19-63)

Southeast Division:
1. Washington Wizards (53-29)
2. Miami Heat (48-34)*
3. Charlotte Hornets (45-37)*
4. Atlanta Hawks (37-45)
5. Orlando Magic (22-60)

Southwest Division:
1. San Antonio Spurs (59-23)
2. Dallas Mavericks (51-31)*
3. Houston Rockets (50-32)*
4. Memphis Grizzlies (44-38)*
5. New Orleans Pelicans (30-52)

Northwest division:
1. Oklahoma City Thunder (52-30)
2. Portland Trailblazers (49-33)*
3. Denver Nuggets (36-46)
4. Minnesota Timberwolves (28-54)
5. Utah Jazz (17-65)

Pacific Division:
1. Los Angeles Clippers (55-27)
2. Golden State Warriors (54-28)*
3. Phoenix Suns (44-38)
4. Sacramento Kings (26-56)
5. Los Angeles Lakers (23-59)

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals:
1 Cleveland Cavaliers over 8 Brooklyn Nets 4-1
2 Chicago Bulls over 7 New York Knicks 4-2
3 Washington Wizards over 6 Charlotte Hornets 4-2
4 Toronto Raptors over 5 Miami Heat 4-3

Eastern Conference Semifinals:
1 Cleveland Cavaliers over 4 Toronto Raptors 4-2
2 Chicago Bulls over 3 Washington Wizards 4-3

Eastern Conference Finals:
1 Cleveland Cavaliers over 2 Chicago Bulls 4-3

Western Conference Quarterfinals:
1 San Antonio Spurs over 8 Memphis Grizzlies 4-3
2 Los Angeles Clippers over 7 Portland Trailblazers 4-2
3 Golden State Warriors over 6 Houston Rockets 4-3
4 Oklahoma City Thunder over 5 Dallas Mavericks 4-3

Western Conference Semifinals:
4 Oklahoma City Thunder over 1 San Antonio Spurs 4-3
3 Golden State Warriors over 2 Los Angeles Clippers 4-3

Western Conference Finals:
4 Oklahoma City Thunder over 3 Golden State Warriors 4-3

NBA Finals Pick:
1 Cleveland Cavaliers over 4 Oklahoma City Thunder 4-3
Finals MVP: LeBron James, Cleveland.

NBA MVP: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers.
Top Five With LeBron: Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder – Chris Paul, PG, Clippers- Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans – Steph Curry, PG, Warriors.

Defensive Player Of The Year: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans.
Top Five With Davis: LeBron James, SF, Cavaliers – Chris Paul, PG, Clippers – Dwight Howard, C, Rockets – Joakim Noah, C, Bulls.

Rookie Of The Year: Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves.
Top Five With Wiggins: Jabari Parker, F, Bucks – Marcus Smart, G, Celtics – Nerlens Noel, PF, 76ers – Elfrid Payton, PG, Magic.

Most Improved Player: Harrison Barnes, Warriors.
Top Five With Barnes: Reggie Jackson, PG, Thunder – Andre Drummond, C, Pistons – Steven Adams, C, Thunder – Eric Gordon, SG, Pelicans.

Sixth Man Of The Year: Jamal Crawford, Clippers.
Top Five With Crawford: Reggie Jackson, PG, Thunder – Draymond Green, F, Warriors – Amar’e Stoudemire, PF, Knicks – Isaiah Thomas, G, Suns.

Coach Of The Year: David Blatt, Cavaliers.

Executive Of The Year: Donnie Nelson, Mavericks.


2014 Week 5 NFL Picks

Andrew Luck Joe FlaccoWeek 5 of the 2014 NFL season is upon us and that means it’s time for my weekly picks. Last week I didn’t post my picks because I had a busy prior week and attended the final Mets game of the season on last Sunday. Last week I went 5-7 with my picks though, which is a horrible week. I went 1-3 against the spread, with my only win being the Colts -7, as they blew out the Titans. I went 12-3 in week 3, so my overall record is 32-25 and I’m 6-9-1 against the spread. Hopefully week 5 will be a better week, so lets see…

Detroit Lions over Buffalo Bills
Indianapolis Colts over Baltimore Ravens
Tennessee Titans over Cleveland Browns
Carolina Panthers over Chicago Bears
Dallas Cowboys over Houston Texans
Pittsburgh Steelers over Jacksonville Jaguars
New Orleans Saints over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New York Giants over Atlanta Falcons
Philadelphia Eagles over St.Louis Rams
Denver Broncos over Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers over Kansas City Chiefs
San Diego Chargers over New York Jets
Cincinnati Bengals over New England Patriots
Seattle Seahawks over Washington Redskins

Four Team Parlay:
Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) against St.Louis Rams
Cincinnati Bengals (-1) against New England Patriots
Tennessee Titans (-1.5) against Cleveland Browns
Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) against Baltimore Ravens

Week 3 NFL Picks

Peyton Manning Richard ShermanWeek three of the 2014 NFL season is ready to begin and that brings forth another edition of my weekly picks. In week one I went 8-7 and 1-3 against the spread. In week two I went 7-8 and 2-2 against the spread. That brings my overall record to 15-15 and 3-5 against the spread. Week three must be a big improvement. The big marquee games this week are the Packers @ Lions, 49ers @ Cardinals, Broncos @ Seahawks, and Bears @ Jets on Monday Night Football. The Super Bowl 48 rematch between Denver and Seattle at CenturyLink Field will be the most watched of course.

Lets get to the picks…

San Diego Chargers over Buffalo Bills
Dallas Cowboys over St.Louis Rams
Philadelphia Eagles over Washington Redskins
Houston Texans over New York Giants
New Orleans Saints over Minnesota Vikings
Cincinnati Bengals over Tennessee Titans
Baltimore Ravens over Cleveland Browns
Green Bay Packers over Detroit Lions
Indianapolis Colts over Jacksonville Jaguars
New England Patriots over Oakland Raiders
Arizona Cardinals over San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks over Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs over Miami Dolphins
Carolina Panthers over Pittsburgh Steelers
Chicago Bears over New York Jets

Four Team Parlay:
San Diego Chargers (+1) against Buffalo Bills
Dallas Cowboys (-3) against St.Louis Rams
Cincinnati Bengals (-7) against Tennessee Titans
Green Bay Packers (+3) against Detroit Lions

Week 2 NFL Picks

IMG_0279.JPGWeek two of the 2014 NFL season is upon us so that means it’s time for my weekly picks. Last week I posted an abysmal 8-7 record, while going 1-3 against the spread. My only win playing the spread was taking the 49ers -4.5 against the Cowboys. I hope to improve greatly this week, in both departments. There’s a few very interesting games this week that should surely have fans’ eyes glued to the tv. The highlights of this week are the Lions @ Panthers, Falcons @ Bengals, Seahawks @ Chargers, Chiefs @ Broncos, Jets @ Packers, Bears @ 49ers (SNF), and Eagles @ Colts (MNF). That Bears @ 49ers game marks the first regular season game at Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the ‘Niners, in Santa Clara, California.

Let’s get to the picks…

Miami Dolphins over Buffalo Bills
Detroit Lions over Carolina Panthers
Cincinnati Bengals over Atlanta Falcons
New Orleans Saints over Cleveland Browns
New England Patriots over Minnesota Vikings
Arizona Cardinals over New York Giants
Dallas Cowboys over Tennessee Titans
Washington Redskins over Jacksonville Jaguars
Seattle Seahawks over San Diego Chargers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers over St.Louis Rams
Denver Broncos over Kansas City Chiefs
Oakland Raiders over Houston Texans
Green Bay Packers over New York Jets
San Francisco 49ers over Chicago Bears
Indianapolis Colts over Philadelphia Eagles

Four Team Parlay:
New York Jets (+10) against Green Bay Packers
Atlanta Falcons (+7) against Cincinnati Bengals
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) against St.Louis Rams
New England Patriots (-3) against Minnesota Vikings

2014 Week 1 NFL Picks

NFL week 1The 2014 NFL season is less than 10 hours away from starting and that means the return of my weekly NFL picks. I’ll pick every single game for the week that is about to begin and include a four team parlay against the spread as well, for the crazy people who’d actually bet with my picks. Last year I hit two four team parlays through the season. The spreads this first week are very tricky as a lot of them a low and the only high ones aren’t worth it because you can’t bet on possible blow outs on opening week.

A few days ago I released my “2014 NFL Season Predictions” and I picked the Seattle Seahawks to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, except this time they’ll beat Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in the biggest game of the year. I also predict that Andrew Luck will step up to the next level this season and thrust himself into the category of elite NFL quarterbacks and finish at the top of the MVP voting, although I have Packers QB Aaron Rodgers winning the MVP this season. I also predict the Carolina Panthers to take the biggest step back this season after making the playoffs last season as they will finish out of the playoffs and in dead last in the NFC South. Enough of those kind of picks, here are my week one picks…

New York Jets over Oakland Raiders
New Orleans Saints over Atlanta Falcons
St.Louis Rams over Minnesota Vikings
Pittsburgh Steelers over Cleveland Browns
Philadelphia Eagles over Jacksonville Jaguars
Baltimore Ravens over Cincinnati Bengals
Chicago Bears over Buffalo Bills
Houston Texans over Washington Redskins
Kansas City Chiefs over Tennessee Titans
New England Patriots over Miami Dolphins
Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Carolina Panthers
San Francisco 49ers over Dallas Cowboys
Denver Broncos over Indianapolis Colts
Detroit Lions over New York Giants
Arizona Cardinals over San Diego Chargers

Four Team Parlay:
Saints (-3) over Falcons
Bears (-7) over Bills
Chiefs (-3) over Titans
49ers (-4.5) over Cowboys

Until next week, that’s all she wrote folks…

Who Should Win The NL MVP Award? Clayton Kershaw or Giancarlo Stanton?

Kershaw-StantonWith less than one month to go in the 2014 MLB season we have a great race and debate on who should win the NL MVP award. The top two candidates appear to be Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw and Miami Marlins superstar slugging right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. Those two easily blow everyone else away in the race for MVP and are the main two candidates for the award.

Stanton has led the race for NL MVP all season but over the last month or so Kershaw has gained a load of momentum by pitching absolutely brilliantly and masterful to put his name into the race. Many people, including myself wholeheartedly up until a couple of years ago when Justin Verlander won the 2011 AL MVP award, I was against the idea of pitchers winning the MVP award. As big of a fan as I am of Verlander and how much of an incredible season he had in 2011, I was 100% against him winning the MVP that year. Ever since that year though, I’ve cooled on my stance on pitchers being eligible for the MVP award, although I’m still not 100% sure I’m now okay with the thought of it. Just thinking of and seeing what Kershaw is doing this year though, how could you not consider him a serious candidate for the MVP award? He’s having the best season I’ve seen from a pitcher in my brief life, even better than Verlander in 2011 and Max Scherzer last year with Detroit when he won the AL Cy Young. Kershaw is having this type of season even after missing the first three weeks of the season due to a back injury suffered in Australia during the first series of the year in March vs Arizona. I’ll go on to make a case for each player, Kershaw and Stanton, on why each of them should win the NL MVP award and who my pick would be if the season ended today.

Giancarlo Stanton, RF, Miami Marlins (.291 AVG, 37 HR’s, 105 RBI’s, 88 R’s, .396 OBP, .560 SLUG, .957 OPS, 11 SB’s, 161 OPS+): The offensive season that Stanton is having in an offensively and power lacking era is amazing, especially in such a spacious park as Marlins Park is. Stanton has single-handedly kept the Marlins in the NL Wild Card race (they currently sit 4.5 games back of the second wild card spot held by Pittsburgh). Stanton is on pace to hit over 40 home runs and could be on his way to 45 home runs. The fact that Stanton has kept his team in contention this late in the season, had such a great offensive season in a huge ballpark, and doesn’t have much other competition makes him as legit of an MVP candidate as anyone. The days are long gone where we have numerous 40+ homer hitters in the same season in the NL. The fact that Stanton has this type of power at age 24, on a not so good offensive team, with no protection is eyebrow-raising. Stanton is undeniably the best offensive player in the National League and will contend for many MVP’s before his career is over. Another key factor in this magnificent season by Stanton is the fact that he has stayed healthy all year, a problem he’s had in prior seasons, which just goes to show you that he may have just contended for a couple more MVP’s before this year, because he’s had a few high-powered seasons before this season. If pitchers were barred from winning their leagues MVP award, Stanton would be the clear-cut choice to win the NL MVP this season, but that brings us to the one man who may just knock him off at the very end, and that man is…

Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers (18-3, 1.67 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 210 K’s, 27 BB, 177.1 IP, 213 ERA+, 10.7 K/9, 6 CG, 2 SHO): Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the entire sport and has clearly shown it all year this year. Kershaw missed the first month of this season after injuring his back in Australia in March when the Dodgers and Diamondbacks had an opening series there to kick off this season. Upon returning though, Kershaw has been nearly untouchable, even untouchable as seen in his June 18th no-hitter against the Colorado Rockies in which he struck out 15 batters and walked none. The only thing that kept Kerhaw from achieving a perfect game was the fact that shortstop Hanley Ramirez committed an error to just give Kershaw the no-hitter. Kershaw has eight games in which he hasn’t allowed any earned runs and seven games in which he hasn’t given up any runs at all. That’s remarkable. Kershaw hasn’t allowed any more than three runs in-game outside of his May 17th start at Arizona in which he allowed seven runs in 1.2 innings. If you take that horrible start out of his game log, Kershaw would have a 1.32 ERA. That’s astonishing, but alas Kershaw had that one horrific start. A 1.67 ERA is nothing to sneeze at though, as Kershaw can possibly end this season with the best left-handed ERA since 1933 if he can keep it below 1.70 through the end of the season. Kershaw leads all NL pitchers in wins, ERA, WHIP, ERA+, WAR, CG’s, is second in shutouts, and is third in strikeouts. Imagine that, all with missing a whole month of the season. Kershaw is having a better season thus far than Justin Verlander in 2011 when he won AL Cy Young AND MVP. He’s also having a better season as of now than Max Scherzer last year when he breezed to the 2013 AL Cy Young award. The Dodgers sit atop the NL West by 3.5 games over the San Francisco Giants, so just imagine how far back they’d be without Kershaw in their rotation? Kershaw is having arguably the best season I’ve been able to see in my young life by a pitcher and I have a feeling no one will top this season for a very long time. Like I said earlier, I’m not totally on board with pitchers winning the MVP award, but it’s hard to go against Kershaw this year.

My pick if the season ended today? I’d go with Kershaw, he’s just been too dominant. 

2014 NFL Season Predictions

Colts Seahawks

The 2014 NFL season begins tomorrow night at 8:30 PM EST in Seattle, Washington, as the defending champions, the Seattle Seahawks take on the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field. This marks the official start to the 2014 season and finally gets all of us fans back into football mode. We have a great slate of NFL games in week one and the Seahawks-Packers match-up is at the top of the list. Another fantastic match-up pits the Denver Broncos, the reigning AFC Champions, against the Indianapolis Colts, with Peyton Manning facing his old team for the second straight season after an incredible game last year in Indy. Other solid games in week one is the Bengals vs Ravens, Redskins vs Texans, Saints vs Rams, Panthers vs Buccaneers, 49ers vs Cowboys, Giants vs Lions, and Cardinals vs Chargers.

The Thanksgiving schedule this year is amazing and should appease everyone’s appetites as we get the Bears @ Lions at 12:30pm, Eagles @ Cowboys at 4:30pm, and the Seahawks @ 49ers in the nightcap. Does it get much better than that? I don’t think so.

Last year I had the Denver Broncos over Seattle Seahawks as my Super Bowl pick. I was right on the matchup, but way wrong on the outcome as the Seahawks obliterated the Broncos 43-8 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Broncos offense, which broke numerous records in 2013, looked completely over-matched against that incredible Seahawks defense which gobbled up every good Denver receiver throughout the game. Hopefully this year I can repeat myself by getting the Super Bowl match-up correct again, but this time I can get the outcome correct. The NFL seems a bit more wide open this year compared to last year in my opinion, thus making it a little tougher to determine who makes the playoffs and ultimately wins the Super Bowl. Here goes nothing though..

* Indicates a Wild Card team

AFC East:
1.New England Patriots (11-5)
2.New York Jets (9-7)
3.Miami Dolphins (6-10)
4.Buffalo Bills (3-13)

AFC North:
1.Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
2.Baltimore Ravens (10-6)*
3.Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
4.Cleveland Browns (4-12)

AFC South:
1.Indianapolis Colts (12-4)
2.Houston Texans (7-9)
3.Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12)
4.Tennessee Titans (2-14)

AFC West:
1.Denver Broncos (12-4)
2.Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)*
3.San Diego Chargers (9-7)
4.Oakland Raiders (3-13)

AFC Wild Card Round:
3 New England Patriots over 6 Baltimore Ravens
4 Cincinnati Bengals over 5 Kansas City Chiefs

AFC Divisional Round:
1 Denver Broncos over 4 Cincinnati Bengals
2 Indianapolis Colts over 3 New England Patriots

AFC Championship Game:
2 Indianapolis Colts over 1 Denver Broncos34-30

NFC East:
1.Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
2.New York Giants (8-8)
3.Washington Redskins (8-8)
4.Dallas Cowboys (6-10)

NFC North:
1.Green Bay Packers (12-4)
2.Chicago Bears (10-6)*
3.Detroit Lions (9-7)
4.Minnesota Vikings (4-12)

NFC South:
1.New Orleans Saints (13-3)
2.Atlanta Falcons (8-8)
3.Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8)
4.Carolina Panthers (5-11)

NFC West:
1.Seattle Seahawks (14-2)
2.San Francisco 49ers (10-6)*
3.Arizona Cardinals (9-7)
4.St.Louis Rams (5-11)

NFC Wild Card Round:
3 Green Bay Packers over 6 San Francisco 49ers
5 Chicago Bears over 4 Philadelphia Eagles

NFC Divisional Round:
1 Seattle Seahawks over 5 Chicago Bears
2 New Orleans Saints over 3 Green Bay Packers

NFC Championship Game:
1 Seattle Seahawks over 2 New Orleans Saints, 27-17

Super Bowl:
1 Seattle Seahawks over 2 Indianapolis Colts, 28-24

NFL MVP: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers.
Offensive Player Of The Year: Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts.
Defensive Player Of The Year: Darrell Revis, CB, New England Patriots.
Offensive Rookie Of The Year: Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Defensive Rookie Of The Year: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, Houston Texans.
Comeback Player Of The Year: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons.
Coach Of The Year: Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts.
Executive Of The Year: Mickey Loomis, New Orleans Saints.
Most Improved Team: Houston Texans
Most Disappointing Team: Carolina Panthers

Tennessee Titans select Oregon QB Marcus Mariota with the #1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo Bills) select Texas A&M OT Cedric Ogbuehi with the #2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Oakland Raiders select Alabama WR Amari Cooper with the #3 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.