How in the world did that ping-pong ball bounce our way?
This is the question many northeast Ohio sports fans must be mumbling to themselves after yet another banner sports weekend. They just "witnessed" the Browns being out-gained by half a thousand in a pummeling by their biggest rival, the OSU Buckeyes drop a conference tilt to lowly Purdue and they find out Bobby Valentine has become a finalist for the vacant Cleveland Indians managerial position. It doesn't get much worse than that - unless of course you still had some time left in the week to take in CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee make post season opponents appear like they just came from an Andy Marte hitting clinic.
And the weather outside, well, it pretty much mirrors the gloom and doom of the Cleveland sports scene, with temperatures dropping like a 7-yard missile out of Chauncey Stuckey's hands, and the beginning of the annual hundred straight days of clouds that we've become accustomed to on the lake front.
So we're left to hang our hats on that miraculous ping pong ball. Seemingly the one ball that has bounced in C-town's favor in the last several years. The ball that prevents the Lead Man from being the single, solitary winner on the north coast. The ball that's fortuitous bounce now prevents King James and the Lead Man from boarding an aircraft at the same time. The ball that gives a city, in a time of economic turbulence and professional sports ineptness, hope.
Somewhat ironic that the one Cleveland winner was afforded the city based on the ultimate game of chance, while the other seemingly removes all chance from the equation. But the end result that follows both of these entities is winning. And these two provide what the city hungers for. The perfect parlay for the City of Cleveland in 2009, the perfect balance between hope and results.
So snap out of it players, and shake those thoughts of DA rifling one off a face mask or Eric Wedge sending out Sowers for the seventh and think positive. Hoop season is right around the corner, Lebron is gunning for the title and Lead Man keeps grinding out the winners.
Leadbron is C-Town's only hope. On to the picks;
If you somehow find away to cancel your NFL package for the 2009 season, Lead Man advises you do so. In case you haven't noticed there have been an inordinate number of just horrible football games this season. Never in LP's life has he seen six really, really bad teams, and in Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Buffalo, you have just that. When you put that many putrid teams on the schedule you're going to have numerous blow-out match-ups or just horrid games. Let's kick it off this week with the former:
Peyton Manning brings his troops to St.Louis to face the Rams, losers of a full season's worth of games.
In a row.
Not much analysis needed here players. You've got a really bad team playing a really good one. The bad team is banged up, and the good team's leader does not allow them to play down to the competition. The Colts do not turn the ball over, and Manning gets to operate against a banged up secondary, as Ron Bartell, the Rams best secondary man, may not even play, and he most certainly won't be 100% if he should. Look for Peyton to make St. Louis his place.
Last week, on his way to sweeping the college board, Lead Man suggested you wager Texas Tech as a dog against the Huskers. Crazy Mike Leach's squad was all over the Huskers wire to wire and won the game outright. This week we're going to take the Red Raiders as big chalk as they take on the Texas A & M Aggies. Hopefully the kids at A & M have got that bonfire deal figured out because they sure as hell don't have the football squad under control. They have lost four in a row, and last week Kansas State was up nearly 60 before the Aggies put a point on the board. Tech meanwhile has won 12 straight at home, and it looks like the Mad Professor may have found his next big QB in junior Steven Sheffield. They are averaging half a hundred in their four wins, and will put up at least that much on Saturday, as A & M does a horrible job of controlling the line of scrimmage. If you can't disrupt the Red Raiders rhythm passing game, you can't get close.
Texas Tech -21.5
Saturday evening the Tulane Green Wave washes into MM Roberts stadium to battle the Golden Eagles of Southern Miss. Each year there seems to be a team the Lead Man picks on, and this year it's Tulane. Again the house is giving a horrible team too much credit. The Southern Miss spread offense should meet little resistance from a Tulane defense that is allowing 36 points a game, and while the Southern Miss D isn't great shakes, they will do enough to slow a Tulane offense that is barely averaging two touchdowns. Also, Tulane has LSU on deck, so they may be looking ahead to that drubbing. The Southern Miss offense excels at home and they love their synthetic surface. If you bet against Tulane last week via Lead Man's recommendation it was Houston and no problem This week let the Golden Eagles fly you to the window.
S. Miss. -21
Once again, one of the leaders ATS in division one football are the Trojans of Troy. They are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games and this week they run into a team in which the coach's son plays quarterback. Yes players, Riley Dodge may suit up at QB for North Texas. That's a good sign for the Troy wagerer. North Texas is actually putting up some points this season, but they are playing their usual brand of awful defense. Look for Troy to hang a number and find a way to pressure whomever is quarterbacking for the Mean Green. North Texas has some injuries on the offensive line, and LP looks for the Trojans to exploit that.
Troy - 17
Good luck players!!!