Ask the Chief Archives

Oct
2009
10

Question from Bobby in Levittown

Where does the term ” walk off ” in baseball come from?
Bobby, Levittown, NY, USA

That’s a great question. A “walk off” win is when a home team wins by scoring a run in the bottom of the ninth inning or the bottom of any extra inning. If a team were to hit a home run to win the game, it is called a “walk off home run”. It comes from the fact that the losing team has to “walk off” the field, usually with their heads down in shame. Though it doesn’t really make sense because the winning team doesn’t “walk off”, they “run on” the field and usually jump around, mob each other and act like children. It is a new term popularized only in the last 20 years and used heavily on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Sep
2009
30

Question from Matt in NYC

Hey Chief,
Not so much a question but just something that really jumped out at me on the USC-Washington State team total. WSU over/under was 6 points and went out at 6.5. I’ve never seen anything that low, ever. And sure enough, shut out with 22 seconds to go in the game, WSU scores a touchdown…..only to miss the extra point. Hmmm…….
Matt, NYC, NY, USA

Yes, that was low as I have ever seen and I suggested a pick of Washington State +45.5 and the over 55.5.

www.thechiefsports.com/2009/09/picks-for-sept-26th/

I know WSU was shutout last year against USC 69-0, but this isn’t nearly the same USC team with a young defense and a freshman quarterback. I was surprised that WSU didn’t get any points until 22 seconds to go in the game. USC had a very motivated defense after the loss the previous week. I don’t think there was any funny business with the missed PAT just ineptitude by a very poor team.

Sep
2009
26

Question from Kevin in NYC

Chief, What are your feelings on this week’s feature ACC match up (Virginia Tech vs Miami (FL)? VA Tech getting 3 points at home is hard to pass up!!!?
Kevin NYC, NY, USA

Thanks for the question. I totally agree, I am going to take those points, but I am expecting not to need them as I think the Hokies will win on what will be a very wet track in Blacksburg. I think Virginia Tech will benefit from that home field advantage. They were fortunate to defeat Nebraska last week, but the manner in which they won should give them momentum going into this game and much needed confidence for QB Tyrod Taylor. The Miami Hurricanes are the toast of college football going from unranked pre-season (35th most AP votes) to 9th after just 2 wins. The game Miami won against Florida State should have been a defeat if if it weren’t for a dropped pass in the end zone on the final play. I am a little concerned with how badly Virginia Tech has been outgained in yardage in their two games against ranked opponents this year. They were outgained 498-155 in a 34-24 loss to Alabama and 343-278 in that 16-15 win against Nebraska (that includes an 81-yard pass play with a minute to go). Also Miami has a little extra rest having played last Thursday with Va Tech having played a week ago.

I also like to fade teams when they go from being under the radar to the center of attention. It feels like this weeks college football coverage has been dedicated to Miami and how “The U is back”. ESPN Gameday will be doing a feature on quarterback Jacory Harris. I can see all this extra attention causing a little distraction from their preparation, which is dangerous against a Frank Beamer coached team. Teams also tend to lose their edge, that underdog mentality, look at the Sports Illustrated cover jinx. I don’t think it is a coincidence that teams falter after getting a lot of publicity. This year SI placed Mississippi, Oregon, Oklahoma State and Penn State on four different regional covers. Only Penn State remains undefeated, but may not be after a tough matchup tomorrow against Iowa.

Sep
2009
26

Question from Cossy the Aussie

Chief,
I want to direct your astute attention towards boxing.
Cristobal Arreola vs. Vitali Klitschko Saturday night
The undefeated Mexican heavyweight, thats right Mexican HEAVY weight is 6/1 to win and more importantly is massive odds of near 50/1 to win by knock out in the early rounds say 3 to 6, the kid won’t go the distance but these odds for an undefeated boxer to win via knock out whom can also knock out his opponents with either hand against the overrated Klitschko must be a price to dabble with. Anyway I for one have been waiting a year for this bout, what does your boxing analyst say on this match up Chief?
giddy up
Cossy Khancoban, New South Wales, Australia

Well you never have to convince me to take a shot on an underdog especially in a heavyweight fight. I do see some very juicy odds for a Arreola KO in those early rounds. I don’t usually like to be involved in round betting, but would prefer to bet a fighter just to win by KO in any round. If you were to bet KO in rounds 3-6 and get 50-1 on each round then you have him 12.5-1 to win by KO in those rounds. It would really hurt if he were to KO Vitali late in the 2nd round or early in the 7th. I do see odds greater than 50-1 for some of those rounds and you may be able to create a “portfolio” that pays more than that 6-1 for rounds 1 thru 8. In 27 career fights, Arreola has had only one fight go to a decision (in a 6th round fight) and has never fought past the 8th round. So you can take a chance that he gets to Klitschko before round 9. Chris Arreola has a lot going for him in this fight. He is 10 years younger (however Vitali had 4 years of inactivity during a “retirement”) and he will be fighting in front of huge home crowd at Staples Center in Los Angeles, where he was born and raised. He certainly has a punchers chance, but it will be very tough and the odds seem appropriate.

I don’t think Vitali Klitschko is overrated. He has the highest percentage of knock outs of any heavyweight champion (36 KOs in 39 fights). He has never been KNOCKED DOWN in a professional fight. There are reports of Vitali getting knocked down a couple of times sparring, once in amatuers (knocked out) and a couple of times when he was a kickboxer. So if you are right it will be quite a feat for Chris Arreola. Vitali has lost only 2 fights. Both fights he lost were due to injury, a shoulder injury against Chris Byrd after the ninth round in which Klitschko dominated the scorecards. The other was after an awful cut near his eye against Lennox Lewis that was stopped after 6 rounds with Vitali ahead on all 3 scorecards. He doesn’t have a lot of impressive names on his list of victories, but no heavyweight does as the division has been void of big name fighters for years. Certainly Cristobal Arreola doesn’t have much of a resume either as he has amassed his undefeated record.

If you believe in any conspiracy or collusion in sports, you could make a case for the powers that be (the sanctioning organizations, HBO, the promoters) making a push for Arreola. A Chris Arreola win would be great for the heavyweight division and the sport of boxing. He is American and seems to have a lot of personality, which is the exact opposite of most of the fighters at the top of the division.
Another reason to bet Arreola, Vitali Klitschko appeared in studio on ESPN SportsCenter (the LA studio). He and his brother Wladimir introduced the Top 10 plays (after some lame fake arguement between the two), which included a cricket highlight and a rugby highlight. It’s not too big of a distraction or “jinx”, but I never like to see this from fighters.

Sep
2009
24

Question from Sal in NYC

Who is a better fantasy start this weekend, New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez vs. the Tennessee Titans or Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel vs the Eagles in Philly?
Sal NYC, NY, USA

I would start the rookie Matt Sanchez against what has been a vulnerable Titan secondary. Against Tennessee so far this season, Big Ben threw for 363 yards and a TD opening night and Matt Schaub had 357 yards and 4 TDs for the Houston Texans. Matt Cassel was limited in practice both Wednesday and Thursday, but is expected to start against what will be an angry Eagle defense. Mark Sanchez has what is being described as “a touch of tendinitis”, but he was a full participant in practice and will be ready to go Sunday.

Sep
2009
19

Question from Jessica in NYC

If you were to create an all pro team, but could only use 1 player from each current team (ie, if you chose Roy Williams, you could not choose Tony Romo), who would you pick?
Jessica NYC, NY, USA

Thanks for the question. If I were building a team and could only take one Cowboy, I wouldn’t take Tony Romo or Roy Williams. I would take DeMarcus Ware. He is the premier pass rushing outside linebacker in the NFL, just an incredible weapon. This is a position of great scarcity in the NFL and he would be the Cowboys selection. My second choice would be tight end Jason Witten (ex-Vol). He has proven to be one of the top pass receiving tight ends in football and is a very tough blocker. I would never consider Tony Romo at quarterback unless it was a September/October All-Pro team. He has never won a playoff game and has faded late in seasons. There are at least 7-10 quarterbacks ahead of him in the league. As for Roy Williams he has the talent to be a top wide receiver, but has yet to show the work ethic and attitude. He is not even the best wide receiver in the state of Texas as Houston Texans Andre Johnson is a much better player. That being said the Cowboys have some good choices for this hypothetical team and should have a winning season and a chance at their first playoff win since 1996.

Sep
2009
19

Question from Davio in NYC

All the media hype seems to point to the New York Giants being one of (if not) the best team in the NFC this year. Furthermore, it’s well known that Vegas always has a New York bias when they set their lines to account for the heavy home town gambling that New York teams engender. In light of all this, how surprised are you that America’s team is favored this week instead of the New York football Giants. Does Vegas know something all the pundits don’t?
Davio, NYC, NY, USA

Thanks for the question. I’m not so sure that Vegas favors the Giants and I wouldn’t discount the popularity of “America’s Team”, the Cowboys. In fact if Vegas was the only place you could bet, I would think there would be more Cowboys action. This brings up the question on where and how lines are made. Even though Las Vegas is the home of legal sports gambling in the country, it is believed that offshore sports books are the leaders in setting the point spreads. These are mostly based in the Caribbean and have do have an East Coast bias. I do think this bias is being diminished since government crackdown on the offshore sites. Also the recession is keeping fans of the Northeast teams away from Las Vegas. When talking about public action in Vegas, I have feel the San Diego Chargers seem to have the strongest bias.

That being said I think this is the proper line (Cowboys by 3-even, meaning no vig if you take the Cowboys, double vig if you take the Giants). This is pretty much where I thought the line would be. The Giants are considered the better team going into the year, but Dallas has played well early in seasons only to fade late. Dallas looked great last week and I am sure there are lot of bettors who are taking Dallas because of them opening the new stadium. I think that is a huge factor in the line and the game. I think Dallas will win with the Giants having some injuries on defense (Chris Canty and Aaron Ross out, Kenny Phillips and Kevin Dockery questionable) and the Cowboys fired up opening the new stadium.

Sep
2009
13

Question from Cossy the Aussie

Chief, given Serena Williams outburst last night in the semis and thus being thrown out on match point, could she have used one of her challenges on the foot fault call prior to the outburst?

Also with all challenges we have Hawk-Eye, so why is TV showing replays of the foot fault from an impossible camera angle which is behind the line, why not use Hawk-Eye which is on the line to show replays?

Giddy Up
Cossy Khancoban, New South Wales, Australia

Great question, but you cannot challenge a foot fault. You are only able to challenge line calls. I don’t know why you couldn’t use the Hawk-Eye or another form of replay for foot faults. I don’t think it would have made much of a difference, but you never know. Flavia Pennetta saved 6 match points in the second set of match earlier in the tournament. It also would have saved Serena some embarrassment of being eliminated on a penalty point. I will say tennis has the best replay system (it also is the easiest sport to officiate with virtually no judgement calls), but a system to challenge foot faults would be an improvement.

Sep
2009
13

Question from Striker in NYC

Should I take Big Blue (New York Giants) over the (Washington) Redskins giving 6.5? It’s a tough one and historically the G-Men have been best left alone when wagering but smack talking Skins fans have got me fired up!
Chief I need a gut check here!?
Striker, NYC, NY, USA

It’s very hard to bet with your heart and to get emotion involved in your wagering. It sounds like you have had some bad experiences in the past backing the Giants. It is especially tough to do so as a favorite because not only does your team have to win, but cover the point spread. Some people (and I have been known to do this) will bet against their team, but still will be rooting 100% for them, they have a “happiness hedge”.

As for the game analysis, I do like the Giants to win toady, but I’m not sure about covering. I expect a very low scoring game with the defenses dominating. The Redskins added defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to an already strong defense and the Giants offense has had some key losses (Plaxico Burress and Derrick Ward) and it may take a few games for them to get going. The Giants offensive line which has been such a strength has battled injuries throughout training camp and still may not be at 100%. The Giants defense is stronger with defensive end Osi Umenyiora back from injury. I am still not sold on Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell and running back Clinton Portis is already starting the season a little banged up (ribs). If I were going to make a play here it would be under and I would stay away from picking a side. I think a good idea would be to find one of these big talking Redskins fans and make a friendly wager.

Sep
2009
11

Question from Kevin in NYC

Can USC freshman QB Matt Barkley handle the pressure of a big time road game? Can Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor beat USC with his feet? (He is not capable of beating them through the air in my opinion)

I understand that Terrelle Pryor is a year older and most of USC’s defense that held Ohio State to 3 points last season is now playing on Sundays but I don’t see Ohio State winning this game or even covering for that matter. Ohio State could not stop the run against Navy last week and USC has a fleet of talented tail backs.
Kevin NYC, NY, USA

It is difficult to predict how a freshman will handle the pressures of a road game of this magnitude. The “Horseshoe” at Ohio State with 100k+ fans (who may have a had a beer or two by the 8pm kickoff) is as imposing as it gets. With the revenge factor from last year’s throttling you know the Buckeye players and fans are going to be highly motivated. I agree with you though as I think the talent level still favors the Trojans heavily. When I answered the question about Notre Dame, I talked about how Big Ten country (I lumped ND in there due to geography) doesn’t nearly have the talent Southern California, Texas or Florida does. These Big 10 teams (and ND) haven’t been able to recruit talent from these regions as they have in the past. That has created this imbalance that has put the Big 10 and their best team (OSU has been the class of the Big 10) at a huge disadvantage.

It does all seem to be on Terrelle Pryor, who has to have a big game with both his feet and his arm. They cannot win with out making a couple of plays in the passing game. I think the Ohio State run defense will be better this week. It was surprising how close the game against Navy was, but they are a good team and I’m sure OSU was looking ahead to USC. I think it should be a low scoring game. This is a tough one as I hate to go against the revenge factor, the crazed crowd for a night game and with a freshman QB. However, until Ohio State can prove they can beat a top team in a big game I wouldn’t back them.