Archive for March, 2009

2009 Final Four Prop Bet Picks & Predictions

March 31st, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on 2009 Final Four Prop Bet Picks & Predictions

The stage for the Final Four is set and we anxiously await one of the most famous spectacles in sports that will take place in Detroit, Michigan this Saturday. The road was definitely long and tough for the remaining teams left competing for a National Championship. Here at Bankrollsports, we nearly predicted all four teams in this year’s Final Four. The Louisville Cardinals were our pick out of the Midwest, but they fell one game short against Michigan State in the Elite Eight. However Connecticut, North Carolina, and our surprise team Villanova pulled through giving us a pretty impressive run. We will now turn the attention to the Final Four outlook and all the betting odds to take advantage of from the major sportsbooks like BetUS, Bodog, Justbet, and more. Take advantage of the final games of the season and close out the college basketball season by adding a few dollars to your wallet with considering some of these exciting prop bets.

Prop Bet #1 – Player to score most points

This prop bet is one that could be taken advantage of from many angles. Breaking down the way the Final Four is expected to unfold is that Michigan State and Connecticut could be in for a low scoring type game. While just on the other side, Villanova and North Carolina are extremely fast pace high scoring offenses that will likely rack up a lot of points. The game between North Carolina and Villanova is definitely best suited for a player to have a big night in scoring. While both teams have many weapons on offense, their guard play on both teams is extremely strong. We will take Tyler Hansbrough to be a big difference on the inside for the Tarheels. After all Hansbrough was the Player of the Year in 2008 and returned for his senior season to win a National Championship meaning now would be the perfect time for a veteran player to have a breakout performance.

Pick – Tyler Hansbrough (+200)
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Prop Bet #2 – Team to score first 10 points first? (North Carolina or Villanova)

Here is a simple analysis of how both teams’ get started in basketball games. North Carolina tends to get off to slow starts despite their explosive potential. Villanova has really gotten off to strong starts the entire tournament outside of their very first game in round 1 against American. The Wildcats really play tenacious defense and fly around the ball. Villanova speed will be difficult for North Carolina to anticipate especially coming out of the gates. Take consideration that everyone is expecting the Tarheels to win the game and they are receiving heavy favoring odds in this prop bet. However, Villanova likely comes out surprising North Carolina with their quickness and gets to the 10 point mark first. North Carolina just may need some time to adjust and we believe they will lose the battle to 10, but may win the war.

Pick – Villanova (+120)
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Prop Bet #3 – 10 three pointers Over/Under? (Connecticut vs. Michigan State)

Looking at the numbers on paper the under bet perhaps may look the most intriguing. Connecticut attempts less 3 point shots than any team left in the tournament while Michigan State is known to drain a few every outing. However, this match-up is expected to be a grudge match especially on the inside. Think about what usually happens in these types of game and that is the 3 point shot becomes the difference maker in the contest. Expect Michigan State to make their share of shots behind the arc, but also expect Connecticut to drain a lot more than normal as well.

Pick – Over 10 (-120)
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Prop Bet #4 – Total Points for Kalin Lucas 13.5 O/U?

Goran Suton has been the most consistent performer for Michigan State throughout the tournament. Suton has posted right at 20 points against Louisville and Kansas in march to the Final Four. However, Suton will be meeting the 7’3 Hasheem Thabeet inside the paint in this particular match-up. While both players are extremely talented and can have big nights, expect them to make it difficult for the other. Without Suton posting big numbers, Michigan State will desperately need someone to step up. Kalin Lucas has led the team all year in scoring and this will be a perfect scenario for him to score some points. The question here is not if he will score over 13.5 points, but will he be able to score enough to get the Spartans the victory.

Pick – Over 13.5 -120
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Prop Bet #5 – Odds to win the 2009 NCAA Tournament MVP

The final prop bet left on the board is likely the most exciting as well although difficult to predict. The Tournament MVP usually comes from a member from a team competing in the Championship game if not the National Championship team. Then you have to look at who is best suitable to be in the National Championship, who has played really well so far, and who is likely to play well in the Final Four. One name comes to mind that gives a check mark for all scenarios and this is Ty Lawson. Remember Lawson came into the Tournament hampered with an ankle injury. However, Lawson has really been the X factor for North Carolina in March and nobody has been able to defend the talented junior guard. Lawson is averaging 20 points per game in his 3 outings in the Tournament despite missing the first round. This pick revolves around a few expectations. First we are banking that the Tarheels overcome Villanova and make it to the Championship game. Second up to this point their has not been anyone more impressive than Lawson and who is playing better basketball at this point in the season. With that combination, Lawson should be fit for the MVP.

Pick – Ty Lawson 7/2
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Tiger Primed for Masters; 2009 Masters Odds

March 29th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in Golf / PGA Tour   1 Comment »

Tiger WoodsA few months back, we broke down Tiger Woods’ expected return to golf and perhaps how long it would take the biggest icon in sports to shock the world again after making his return from being out of golf for 8 months due to reconstructive knee surgery. Well those questions were answered this Sunday, when Tiger pulled off yet another jaw dropping spectacle at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. If you were not aware of Tiger’s accomplishments through his career, you might find the 5 stroke comeback on Sunday’s final round a bit impressive. However, like most that have followed the lucrative career from Tiger we have come to expect these type of things that amaze us time and time again. Woods shot a final round 3 under 67 and drained a 15 foot birdie on the 18th hole to capture the Arnold Palmer Invitational late Sunday. The victory tied for the biggest final round comeback in Woods’ career in the tournament that was the final tune-up for the first major of the season that will be The Masters in two weeks from Augusta, Georgia.

There were a few people just starting to question if Tiger may be really ready to compete at the first major on the schedule for 2009. After some sluggish putting and questionable few Tournaments back from knee surgery, Woods still appeared a bit rusty from the time off. However, Sunday’s win will have most people back on the Woods ban wagon just in time for The Masters. If you thought about jumping out quick to throw a bet on Tiger winning his 15th career major tournament, then don’t expect to find jackpot type profiting odds. Before Tiger even made the miraculous comeback on Sunday, the superstar was already a 2/1 favorite to win at Augusta in mid April. The closest other competitor in terms of betting odds is Phil Mickelson who stands at a 6/1 favorite to win The Masters.

Taking a look at this year’s field we will take a brief preview of the odds to win the Masters and who to take in consideration. Tiger will of course be the favorite at 2/1 odds, but it is almost a losing type bet. The odds to only double your money by predicting a winner in a golf tournament are extremely low, but Woods has won 4 green jackets and he is the guy to beat every year. However if you might want to take a more profitable approach to your bet there are a few others to strongly consider. Phil Mickelson has played well through the beginning of 2009 and has won twice at Augusta as well. Mickelson receiving reasonable odds at 6/1 and will definitely be worth the consideration. Zach Johnson has one win on tour this season and finished 3rd at the Arnold Palmer Invitation. Johnson is also a winner of the 2007 Masters and stands at an eye opening 33/1 odds for the win in April. Johnson style of play is definitely one to consider when the tour rolls into Augusta. Retief Goosen has also played well early in 2009. Goosen is a two time major champion who always plays solid at Augusta and is currently a 25/1 favorite to win. Despite the many players that look like they could be promising picks to take down the first championship of the season, likely Tiger will be the guy to beat. Outside of the 4 green jackets, Tiger has finished runner-up the last two years as well. Unfortunately for Woods, anything but a win would be disappointing considering how often he has shocked the sports world through his most recent performances.

Here are the current 2009 Masters odds from BetUS Sportsbook (Get a 100% signup bonus up to $500 by clicking here):

Aaron Baddeley      125/1
Adam Scott     70/1
Alvaro Quiros     150/1
Andres Romero     90/1
Angel Cabrera     125/1
Anthony Kim     35/1
Ben Crenshaw     1500/1
Ben Curtis     175/1
Bernhard Langer     250/1
Billy Mayfair     450/1
Boo Weekley     125/1
Brandt Snedeker     125/1
Briny Baird     250/1
Bubba Watson     200/1
Camilo Villegas     45/1
Carl Pettersson     200/1
Chad Campbell     100/1
Chez Reavie     450/1
Craig Stadler     2000/1
D.J. Trahan     150/1
Danny Lee     200/1
Drew Kittleson     750/1
Dudley Hart     350/1
Dustin Johnson     150/1
Ernie Els     35/1
Fred Couples     55/1
Fuzzy Zoeller     2000/1
Gary Player     10000/1
Geoff Ogilvy     16/1
Graeme Mcdowell     125/1
Greg Norman     200/1
Henrik Stenson     35/1
Hunter Mahan     75/1
Ian Poulter     90/1
Ian Woosnam     1000/1
Jack Newman     750/1
Jeev Milkha Singh     125/1
Jim Furyk     60/1
John Merrick     250/1
Jose Maria Olazabal     250/1
Justin Leonard     80/1
Justin Rose     60/1
K J Choi     80/1
Ken Duke     400/1
Kenny Perry     70/1
Kevin Sutherland     200/1
Larry Mize     1500/1
Lee Westwood     50/1
Lin-Weng Tang     750/1
Louis Oosthuizen     175/1
Luke Donald     65/1
Mark O’Meara     500/1
Martin Kaymer     125/1
Matthew Goggin     150/1
Michael Campbell     400/1
Miguel Angel Jimenez     125/1
Mike Weir     45/1
Nick Watney     35/1
Oliver Wilson     125/1
Padraig Harrington     16/1
Pat Perez     125/1
Paul Casey     25/1
Phil Mickelson     13/2
Prayad Marksaeng     400/1
Raymond Floyd     5000/1
Reinier Saxton     1000/1
Retief Goosen     20/1
Richard Sterne     200/1
Robert Allenby     100/1
Robert Karlsson     45/1
Rocco Mediate     200/1
Rory McIlroy     25/1
Rory Sabbatini     100/1
Ross Fisher     125/1
Ryo Ishikawa     400/1
Ryuji Imada     125/1
Sandy Lyle     2500/1
Sean O’Hair     50/1
Sergio Garcia     30/1
Shingo Katayama     500/1
Soren Hansen     200/1
Soren Kjeldsen     200/1
Stephen Ames     150/1
Steve Flesch     200/1
Steve Stricker     75/1
Steve Wilson     1000/1
Stewart Cink     65/1
Stuart Appleby     80/1
Tiger Woods     19/10
Tim Clark     90/1
Todd Hamilton     500/1
Tom Watson     800/1
Trevor Immelman     65/1
Vijay Singh     55/1
Yong Eun Yang     250/1
Zach Johnson     30/1

Sweet Sixteen Betting Odds; Elite 8 Odds

March 26th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Sweet Sixteen Betting Odds; Elite 8 Odds

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The first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament flashed by so quick it was hard to evaluate how all the teams looked in their games. One of the most interesting aspects of the 2009 NCAA Tournament perhaps could be the lack of upsets compared to recent years. Outside of 12th seeded Arizona and 5th seeded Purdue, all of the remaining teams left in the March Madness venue have at least a 4th seeded ranking or higher. However, this means that all of these heavily favored teams will be squaring off in the next round meaning anything can happen. We take a look at the updated odds to win the 2009 NCAA Basketball Championship with our remaining sixteen teams and who you may what to consider placing a wager on to win it all.

The leading favorites to win the NCAA Tournament are the North Carolina Tarheels. The Tarheels are 3/1 favorites to win it all coming out of the South bracket. North Carolina was predicted by our initial NCAA Tournament predictions to at least make it to the Final Four. The reason is fairly simple and it is the South bracket is perhaps the weakest bracket in the Tournament if there ever were a weak bracket. The Tarheels get Gonzaga in the Sweet Sixteen and they should be able to take care of business. North Carolina’s lineup is so deep which makes them a favorable team to place a bet on. Ty Lawson is playing extremely well back from his injury and so is the rest of the star studded roster. All year people have regarded North Carolina as being the most talented team in the country and now they only have a few games left to back that claim.

One team receiving the least favorable odds to win the Championship is a team that many thought did not even deserve to be in the big dance. The Arizona Wildcats received severe criticism for being selected into the NCAA Tournament after losing 5 of their last 6 games this season with a mediocre at best record of 19-13. However, Arizona has silenced the critics early on in March Madness upsetting 5th seeded Utah and then beating no. 13 Cleveland State to earn their trip to the sweet sixteen. The Wildcats are receiving 50/1 odds to win the Championship meaning they would be a long shot, but jackpot style winning pick if they could pull of the Title run as heavy underdogs. Arizona may be worth just the slightest interest considering these guys still have a lot to prove. Possibly just placing like the smallest of bets in hopes of the big payoff. On the other hand, history tells us that the big underdogs are not ones to consider for a wager. There has only been one number 12 seed to ever make it to the Elite Eight and never has a number one seed won the National Championship. Then again college basketball seems to always re-write history in the NCAA Tournament.

One of our upset prediction teams to really make some noise in the NCAA Tournament is receiving very good odds to win it all. The Villanova Wildcats looked very solid blowing out UCLA by 20 points to earn a sweet sixteen bid. Villanova seems to be a big underdog to come out of the East bracket, but they just may be the team to pull of the feat. Villanova is receiving 22/1 odds to win the National Championship while also receiving 2.5/1 odds to win the East. Villanova as mentioned before could present a lot of problems for the Duke Blue Devils in their sweet sixteen battle set for this Thursday. If the Wildcats could pull of the victory, they could get a mid-season re-match with Pittsburgh. Villanova looked strong over the Panthers in that victory 67-57 and would be one of the only teams Pittsburgh may really hope they do not face. Anything is possible if Villanova can get the next two big wins considering they would be riding a huge wave of momentum entering the final four which makes 22/1 odds look profitable if everything was to play out.

One final aspect left to consider when determining who to place some money on to win the National Championship is the number 1 seeds and how they will play out. Number 1 seeded teams have backed up their pre-tournament rankings when looking at the history of the NCAA Tournament. 14 times in the last 30 years which is nearly 50% of the team does a number one seed win the National Championship. Last season for the first time ever the Final Four was composed of all number one seeds and that could happen again this year if everything were to play out. Taking a look at the number one seeds you have Pittsburgh at 6/1, Louisville Cardinals at 4/1, Connecticut Huskies at 6/1, and North Carolina Tar Heels at 3/1 odds to win it all. Basically giving fairly descent odds to any of the number 1 seeds you have a feeling will be able to win it all. Legitimate arguments can be made for all of these teams to have good chances to be crowned Champions of College Basketball. The hard thing to do is figuring out which team it will be now and making the most profit off your bet.

Here are the current odds to win the 2009 NCAA baskeball Championship for all the elite 8 teams from BetUS Sportsbook:

  • Connecticut      +450
  • Louisville      +300  
  • Michigan State      +1500  
  • Missouri      +1400  
  • North Carolina      +250  
  • Oklahoma      +1200  
  • Pittsburgh      +550  
  • Villanova      +900

Wednesday, 3/25/09: Recommended Readings

March 25th, 2009 by Rodney James (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in College Football, MLB Baseball, NBA Basketball, NCAA Basketball, NFL Football   Comments Off on Wednesday, 3/25/09: Recommended Readings

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2009 World Series Odds (& Picks)

March 21st, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in MLB Baseball   8 Comments »

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Current Odds To Win The World Series From (as of 10/27/09):
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  • Philadelphia Phillies: (
  • New York Yankees:   (

The Major League Baseball season is vastly approaching and some of the major sports books have already released betting odds for winning the 2009 World Series. Bodog Sportsbook (10% Signup Bonus) released all of the odds that you will see throughout this article as we break down some of the team’s chances to win the 2009 World Series and who is worth the chance to take a gamble on. Do not wait until the end of the year when the odds are much lower to bet, if you got some extra cash lying around place a wager on a team that you believe has the best shot because you will get the best odds before the season starts. If you are having trouble narrowing your choices down, hopefully we will give you some useful advice.

Predictions and World Series Futures (as of 2/24/09):

Leading the odds to win the 2009 World Series is no surprise to be the New York Yankees. The Yankees made some big moves in the off season to add to their all-star lineup. The biggest deal was signing superstar C.C Sabathia to a 7 year 160 plus million dollar contract. The wealthiest team in baseball also went out acquired A.J Burnett and Mark Teixeira. Teixeira has the ability to be an even better addition than Sabathia in the long run as the 29 year old is reaching his prime with the bat in hand fresh off 33 HR, 121 RBI, and .308avg in the 2008 season. However, Sabathia will likely make an immediate impact and could be seen on the mound as early as opening day against Baltimore. The Yankees will be a tough team to defeat in 2009 as they have filled some of their only weaknesses and should be primed for a big year if they can get past all the off the field issues mainly concerning Alex Rodriguez.

The Boston Red Sox were a mere game away from the World Series last season losing to the Devil Rays in Game 7 of the ALCS. The Red Sox made a lot of moves in the off-season with their biggest acquire coming by the name of Kevin Youkilis. The Red Sox also signed Brad Wilkerson who I believe has more potential than many believe. Other names that were also added to the Red Sox dynamic roster include veteran John Smoltz, Brad Penny, and Takashi Saito. The Red Sox will be a great team to place a bet with for an AL Championship and World Series title with their biggest competition coming by the way of arch-rival the New York Yankees.

The Philadelphia Phillies will try to defend their 2008 World Series Championship by repeating. The Phillies are 10/1 favorites to make the accomplishment and will by led by a solid bullpen that could be among the best in the National League in 2009. Philadelphia signed Raul Ilbanez back in December to a 3 year deal. Ilbanez is a solid left handed hitter who will likely fall behind superstar Ryan Howard in the number 5 spot in the batting order. Philadelphia will likely battle the New York Mets for the top spot in the National League East Division in their attempt to repeat. However, outside of the New York Yankees only one team (Toronto) has repeated World Series Championships in the last 30 years.

New York Mets 2008 season ended in a disappointing way missing the playoffs by a single game to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Mets will return many of the same starters in the field this season. While many experts believe the Mets will make at run at an NLCS Title this season, they must shake off the lackluster finishes of the past few seasons. Francisco Rodriguez was brought in to add some fire as a closer and he will be a valuable asset especially later in the season. However, there are still some questions revolving around the starting rotation and especially the rather weak outfield. Despite having the best odds out of any NL team at 7/1, they will still need to worry about winning their own division first.

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Team to watch out for…

The Atlanta Braves are the best team to place a gamble on if you are trying to take a chance to really bring in some money. The Braves slacked off over the last few seasons compared to their 14 straight NL East titles a few years back. Atlanta added two solid pitchers to the rotation in Derrick Lowe and Javy Vazquez. Atlanta ranked 3rd in the NL last season in batting average and their success with the stick will be a big component to their outcome this season. Young players Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar make up a strong middle infield on the defensive front that could be a force for years to come. If the youth has a breakout year, Atlanta could be a hot pick in 2009.

2009 American League West Preview

March 21st, 2009 by Rodney James (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in MLB Baseball   1 Comment »

             The question at the start of Spring Training within the American League West is, can anyone compete with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim? Despite being the overwhelming favorite, the Angels appear to have their share of question marks within their Tempe Arizona spring training facility. With additions to the Mariners and Athletics rosters, the American League West could turn from a blowout from start to finish in 2008 to a very competitive race in 2009.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim finished 100-62 in 2008 running away with the division, but losing in the American League Division Series. Anaheim was not able to re-sign high powered offensive machine Mark Teixeria, but they did improve their squad by signing Bobby Abreu to a year one $5 million contract. The Angels also added a veteran presence in Juan Riveria to a three-year $12.75 contract. Brian Fuentes will replace the lights out Francisco Rodriguez at the closer position. Fuentes is a three time All Star, but struggled in his final season in Colorado, losing his role at one point in the season. Who will fill Teixeria position at first base? From the start of training in Tempe, the Angels appear to be leaning the direction of Kendry Morales, a 25 year old with just 127 games of major league experience. The rest of the offensive will be surrounded by Vladmir Guerrero, who is coming off a .303 season with 27 home runs and 91 RBIs. The rest of the outfield is jammed packed with a ton of experience. Torri Hunter, Bobby Abreu, Gary Matthews Jr., Reggie Willits and Juan Riveria are all vying for positions for Mike Scioscia’s squad. Hopefully with the experience and talent flowing in Anaheim, this will give Scioscia more opportunities to allow Guerrero to pinch hit, which should aid in his ability to stay healthy. On the pitching end, Anaheim will once again be very solid with John Lackey running the show. Lackey went 12-5, starting 24 games in 2008. Ervin Santana came onto his own last season finishing with a 16-7 record, starting 32 games, with 2 of them complete games. Jered Weaver, who turns 27 years old this season, finished the 2008 season with an 11-10 record, hovering below .500 for a portion of the season. Nick Adenhart, Dustin Moseley and Anthony Ortega will be waiting in the wings if any of the rotation run into hiccups during the season.

The Oakland Athletics finished 11 games under .500 in 2008, and definitely are looking for improvement in 2009. The finish for the Athletics was their worst in ten seasons. General Manager Billy Beane made a splash this off-season by trading for former Colorado All Star Matt Holliday. Holliday, 29 years old, hit .321 and belted 25 home runs in 2008 for the Rockies. The question on Holliday is, will he be able to duplicate those numbers away from Coors Field in Denver? The Athletics also signed Jason Giambi to play in his second stint in an Oakland uniform. Giambi hit .286 in 2008, but if his power numbers can climb back to his glory day’s form, Oakland could be in business offensively. Eric Chavez only played in 23 games in 2008 hitting a measly .247 with just 2 home runs. His career numbers of .269 and 229 home runs, poise a great deal of hope for the Athletics.  Joining Holliday in the outfield will be a combination of guys such as Jack Cust, Travis Buck and Chris Denorfia. Look for youngster Aaron Cunningham to get a sniff at some point in the season. Cunningham who is just 22 years old hit .300 or above in every stop he made in 2008. Bobby Crosby looked to have the shortstop role wrapped up for Oakland, until the Athletics signed Orlando Cabrera to a contract at the beginning of the spring training. Billy Beane also recently signed Nomar Garciaparra who turns 36 years old this season Garciaparra played in just 55 games in 2008. The starting rotation will be very young. A projected rotation within their training facility in Phoenix is Justin Duchscherer, Dana Eveland, Sean Gallagher, Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden has just 109 starts between them. Eveland leads the group with 35 career starts, but it appears Duchscherer will be the staff ace, compiling a 31-24-career record. Out of the bullpen, Oakland picked up crafty veteran Russ Springer to go along with a young, unproven staff.

In Peoria, Arizona the Seattle Mariners new general manager Jack Zduriencik has revamped a team that finished 61-101 for fourth place in the division in 2008. The Mariners added Franklin Gutierrez and Endy Chavez in a 12-player deal. All in all, Seattle has 22 new faces on their 2009 roster. First year manager Don Wakamatsu will have a future hall of famer in the lineup in Ken Griffey Junior. The Mariners have elected to give Griffey Jr. a shot after seeing his best days in the major leagues in a Seattle uniform. Griffey spent 11 seasons in Seattle, and has played in 13 total All Star Games. Seattle hopes to use Griffey Jr. as a designated hitter, but playing in the outfield is not out of the realm of possibilities. The loss of Raul Ibanez will hurt the Seattle outfield, but Ichiro Suzuki continues to hit at the top of the lineup. The rest of the outfield will be sketchy at best with guys like Gutierrez, Endy Chavez and Mike Morse looking for roles. Behind the plate Kenji Johjima and Rob Johnson will see competition from youngster Jeff Clement. Clement was the Mariners first round draft pick in 2005. The Mariners have also added big man Russell Branyan to play first base. Ronnie Cedeno may get a chance to play full time in Chicago, after playing sparingly in Chicago in recent years. Adrian Beltre played in 143 games in 2008, hitting .266 and hitting 25 homeruns. Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, Brandon Morrow, Carlos Silva and Jarrod Washburn are certainly a formidable starting rotation, but health concerns continue to play a huge roll for the Mariners. Bedard has been fighting injuries, and was recently treated with an injury to his right buttocks. This injury does not give the Mariners executives much to worry about, but with his recent history, it is noteworthy.  Seattle recently signed Chad Cordero to assist in the late innings out of the bullpen. Cordero will likely miss a portion of the first half of the season as he continues rehabilitation from right shoulder surgery. The Mariners hope he is ready to help the big league club in 2009, but that could be a lofty goal.

The name of the town the Texas Rangers train in is called Surprise Arizona. The Rangers hope they can do exactly that during the 2009 season. Despite finishing in second place in the American League West, the Rangers still finished below .500 with a 79-83 record. The Rangers did not do a great deal in the off-season, but the addition of Andruw Jones could pay dividends. That of course is, if Jones can regain his former power stroke that led him to 371 career homeruns in 1750 games in an Atlanta uniform. Texas signed Jones to a $500,000 contract minor league deal. Jones has played in five All Star games. Texas also signed former Milwaukee ace Ben Sheets to a two-year deal. Sheets health continues to be questioned, but he won 86 games in 8 seasons as a Brewer. Mike Maddux was hired as the new pitching coach in Texas and will work with Sheets along with Jason Jennings, Brandon McCarthy, Kevin Milwood and Vicente Padilla. Milwood has the best career numbers winning 142 games in 352 games. Milwood’s last season above .500 was in 2006 when he finished 16-12. Padilla had a nice 2008 season finishing 14-8 with a 4.74 era in 29 starts. Jennings was signed to a minor league contract at the end of January, while McCarthy has made just 28 starts in two seasons, battling injuries. Out of the bullpen guys such as Frank Francisco, Derrick Turnbow and C.J. Wilson will all be battling for the closer role. Josh Hamilton will anchor the offense after a .302, 32 home runs and 130 runs batted in 2008 season. Assisting Hamilton in the offense will be Michael Young, who will move to third base this season. Youngster Elvis Andrus looks to get the nod at shortstop. Andrus is just 20 years old and has not seen a pitch above the AA level. If Andrus is not ready come April, Texas signed Omar Vizquel to a minor league contract. Vizquel has won 11 gold gloves in his career. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden are battling for the catching position during the spring. Saltalamacchia is 23 years old, but hit just .253 in 61 games last season. Teegarden does not have the major league experience that Saltalamacchia has, but scouts claim he has a much better ability to call the game.

Who will win the American League West in 2009?

  • Los Angeles Angels (32%, 29 Votes)
  • Texas Rangers (29%, 26 Votes)
  • Seattle Mariners (22%, 20 Votes)
  • Oakland Athletics (17%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 90

NCAA Tournament: 2nd Round Preview & 1st Round Recap

March 20th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in NBA Basketball, NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on NCAA Tournament: 2nd Round Preview & 1st Round Recap

March Madness has struck hard in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. There were plenty of exciting games and a few big upsets that surely have busted many people’s brackets. The unexpected is inescapable as we head into the second round of the tournament. Taking a look at how some of the team’s have played there are many things to evaluate after round one to give everyone an idea of what to expect in the days to come. We will take a look at the teams that looked good and those that really struggled in their opening performances. The biggest shocker of the opening round came from last nights upset where 13 seed Cleveland State took down a former number 1 from earlier this season no. 4 seed Wake Forest in a big win 84-69. Cleveland State dominated the game becoming the lowest seed to win in the first round.

One of the most interesting aspects of the opening round was how the Big East teams that really disappointed. The heralded conference put 9 teams in the top 25 at once this season and many thought they would really shine in the NCAA Tournament including some of our predictions. However, the majority of these schools underperformed to say the least. No. 6 seed West Virginia lost to the Dayton Flyers in a shocking defeat. Dayton controlled the entire part of the game and West Virginia never really got any type of rhythm knocking off one of the teams from the Big East that many figured would make a solid run in the tournament.

While the Mountaineers were the only Big East School to actually get beat, there were a few others that barely escaped upsets. One of our teams to watch for the NCAA Tournament which is the Marquette Golden Eagles held on in an exciting clutch win over 11 seed Utah State 58-57. Utah State held the Golden Eagles to their second lowest scoring total of the season narrowly missing what would have been a huge upset for the Aggies. Another Big East school that did not overly impress was the Villanova Wildcats at least for one half of play. Villanova trailed 14 seed American by 10 points at the half. However the Wildcats did come out and play well in the 2nd half coming back to win by 13 points. Still the performance was anything but convincing. These two schools were really expected to shine well in the Tournament, but have left many wondering if they will be able to make it past the next round.

The no. 6 seed UCLA Bruins barely escaped an embarrassing upset from Virginia Commonwealth. The Bruins only got 5 points from their entire bench in the disappointing performance and they will take on Villanova in round 2. After two disappointing performances from both teams, it will be interesting to see who steps up and plays like they were expected entering the tournament.

Nearly all the number 1 and 2 seeds took care of business like expected in the opening rounds. Pittsburgh beat East Tennessee State by only 10 points which was the closest margin of victory for any top seeded team. Number 2 rated teams Duke, Memphis, Oklahoma, and Michigan State all won without many problems. There was also not a single loss from the number 3 and 4 seeded teams outside of Wake Forest in the opening round.

Breaking down some of the most impressive teams in the first round were mainly some of the teams from out west residing in the Pac-10. No. 12 seed Arizona was one of the lowest rated seeds to pull off a first round upset over no. 5 seed Utah. The Wildcats strong showings from Nic Wise and Chase Budinger as they controlled the game from start to finish. There were many people who felt like Arizona was one of the least deserving teams to make the Tournament after losing 5 of their last 6 games of the season. However, the Wildcats silenced those critics from selection Sunday with a very impressive 84-71 victory as they move on to play Cleveland State.

The USC Trojans were another member from the Pac-10 that really looked good on Friday. USC hammered Boston College on Friday by a score of 72-55. Taj Gibson, DeMar DeRozan, and Dwight Lewis combined for more points than the entire Boston College team with 62 points. The Trojans momentum from the Pac-10 Tournament has definitely carried over into the NCAA Tournament and they could give Michigan State all they can handle in round 2. Do not be surprise if the momentum continues and they pull off another big win.

Another team to keep on the radar this week is Texas A&M. The Aggies looked strong in their 79-66 win over BYU on Thursday. Junior forward Bryan Davis led the scoring effort knocking down 21 points in the win over BYU. Unfortunately, Texas A&M gets no. 1 seed Connecticut next diminishing any big hopes for the run to continue. However, if Texas A&M can come out playing well they are the type team that could present problems for Connecticut. While an upset over top rated Connecticut seems near impossible, don’t be surprised if the Aggies hang around for a while. The question is how long will they be able to hang with the Huskies?

In final notes there were few more teams that came away from the opening two days on high praises. Late last night Wisconsin pulled off an overtime thriller against a solid Florida State team 61-59. Western Kentucky pulled off an upset of their own 76-72 over the Fighting Illini of Illinois These two teams were part of another group that many expected to a one and out, but will never have chances to continue their season. Be sure to check back in after the round two games as we will have a full break down of the sweet sixteen with a more in depth preview of what to expect as the tournament progresses.