Sprint Cup series at Sonoma Raceway (analysis)

I’m all for having more diversity with regard to racing. Different distances, different cars, different tpes of courses, be it off-road, endurance or your classic road course.  I would love to see a road course, maybe even two, be part of the playoffs that NASCAR calls The Chase.   
This week, one such road course, at Sonoma Raceway, is where the Sprint Cup cars run. Here are the stats for this event:

9 active drivers have wins here. Jeff Gordon (5) and Tony Stewart (2) are the only ones with more than one. Drivers without wins here include the Labonte brothers, Jeff Burton, and Michael Waltrip. 

Top 10s: Gordon dominates, with 16 top-10s in 20 races. Mark Martin 13-21, Tony Stewart 9-14. Joe Nemecheck 0-16, Dale Earnhardt Jr 0-13, Dave Blaney 0-12.

Laps turned without victory: Bobby Labonte 1992, Jeff Burton 1927, Terry Labonte 1868. 
Laps led without victory: Denny Hamlin 48, Terry Labonte & Marcos Ambrose 46.

Best average finishing position: Gordon 8.6, Clint Bowyer 9.7, Stewart 10.9, Martin 11.9, Ambrose 12.8.

Running at finish: Martin 20-21, Waltrip perfect through 19, Gordon 19-20, Burton 18-19. Matt Kenseth perfect through 13.
Lead lap finish: Martin 19-21, Gordon 18-20, Waltrip 17-19. Ryan Newman perfect in 11.

Here’s my top 10:

1 Bowyer
2 Carl Edwards
3 Greg Biffle
4 Jamie McMurray (pole)
5 Kenseth
6 Juan Pablo Montoya
7 Ambrose
8 Kyle Busch
9 Casey Mears
10 Jeff Gordon

Stats: http://www.racing-reference.info

Friday Night Fights feature (6/21/13)

Back I go to cover FNF for you, with a look at the co-main features.

Firstly, tho, some news from one source.  Boxrec.com is not currently publishing results as they do not have results from the state of NJ.  Appparently the state athletic commissioner’s office refuses to send in results to Boxrec.  Not cool, folks.  More details at http://www.boxrec.com

Meanwhile I have details on both fights in Minneapolis’s Convention Center:

Rances “Kid Blast” Barthelemy, 6-25-86 vs Fahsi Sakkreerin, 12 rounds, in this IBF junior lightweight elimination bout.

Rances (18-0, 11 KOs) (6/25/86):

Rances comes out of a short triple low point and yet has a lot to do still. Physically and emotionally he’s quite susceptible, tho his heart and his awareness is fairly strong.  Kinda like Superman just experiencing kryptonite.  Overall athletic ability  and focus is at a nadir. No bueno.

Fahsi (39-3-1, 21 KOs) (11/6/81):

Interesting…a double critical day, with a very strong physical cycle, way opposite from Kid Blast. That alone should be enough to give Fahsi the win.  But the critical cycles give me pause. With these experiences, these critical days, a person doesn’t know his/her own strength…punches and moves would feel effortless in the ring. Its’ the sort of experience where a fighter will get hurt more but might not feel the pain.

Winner gets Argenis Mendez next.  That winner will be Fahsi, mid-fight knockout (rounds 5 to 8)


Donovan George vs. Caleb Truax, 10 rounds, middleweights. Truax fighting in his hometown.

Donovan (24-3-2, 21 KOs) (11/6/84):

Tough day in the ring for Donovan, who goes through his own physical critical day today and he’s going feel the pain here, and miss his share of punches. He’ll have to rely on heart and I’m not sure it will be enough.

Truax:    (9/14/83)

Truax has his own issues, with a mental critical day and is at his nadir physically.  He’ll be on automatic pilot in terms of decision making, and not really gauging his weakness well.
This fight promises to be ugly, and not in a good way.  Decision for Donovan.

MLB futures (6/20/13 update)

The personal magic word for me is ‘future’. Somehow my fortunes in gambling, handicapping to be precise, re horses, have generally been the best when it comes to future wagers. 3 years straight I picked the Kentucky Derby winner and this year I even scored the exacta. Perhaps I can apply my own luck to other sports. So I turn to baseball, as I know this sport more than others.

Inspired by a notable website, www.sportsclubstats.com that regularly lists percentages for playoff/championship wins for all different sports, I turned to a Las Vegas website, www.vegasinsider.com to find out the comparative odds. The results of what I present come from both sites. My goal is to find the underlay, the teams that are of higher value but who have truly the best chance to win the World Series. Overlays are the opposite, those who are taking a lot of money and therefore will not pay off nearly as much.

What I’ll do on Thursdays is post an update of my top 8 underlays based on the comparative results of both websites.
For purposes of my lists, an underlay would be indicative if Vegas’s odds are of much greater value than the % indicated by SBS. If SBS’s percentages are higher than the odds in Vegas, that’s an overlay and is best to avoid.
I’m not likely to actually wager on these results. Even if I did, I’d probably wait until about mid-August.

For these results I’m using Sports Club Stats’ weighted method and just the WS % chances.

Converting % to odds is very easy. Just divide 100 by the % total, then subtract 1. The result is the odds to $1.

Cardinals: SBS: 2.89-1. Vegas: 7-1 Underlay
Braves: 6.69-1. Vegas: 7-1
Red Sox: 5.84-1. Vegas: 10-1 Underlay
Reds: 14.62-1 Vegas: 10-1 Overlay
Tigers: 5.49-1 Vegas: 6-1
Athletics: 10.36-1 Vegas: 8-1
Every other team per Vegas is at least 36-1 or worse to win the WS. Among those with better odds right now, if you dare select them:
Padres: 40-1 (SBS says 500-1)
Indians, Phillies, Royals, Rockies: 50-1
White Sox, Blue Jays, Mariners, Twins: 100-1
Brewers, Cubs: 200-1
Mets: 300-1
Astros, Marlins: 1000-1

I would invest considerably in both the Cardinals and Red Sox if I had to choose today.

Stats: http://www.sportsclubstats.com   http://www.vegasinsider.com

PGA Tour at The Travelers Championship (analysis)

So the week I don’t report on PGA Tour stats, the week of the US Open itself, one of the golfers I had touted in prior weeks manages to win the darn thing. All hail Justin Rose! I did want Lefty to win but I knew my numbers begged otherwise. I’m glad it turned out the way it did, truly.

No excuse blogging here without reporting on the present tournament, The Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands. Here are my top 4 for the week:

JUSTIN ROSE: 6th in overall GIR%, 2nd in scoring average, 2nd in sand saves, leader in total driving, 2nd all-around. Leads in Par 5 birdie-or-better, 6th in scoring average before cut, 3rd in ball striking, 7th in Par 4 performance, 2nd in ‘average going for it shot distance in yards’. Distance: 3rd in approaches from over 200 yards, 1st in GIR% under 75 yards, over 200, and under 100. Radar: Carry distance and efficiency are in the top 10.
Justin makes his 7th appearance on this course. Best finish was a tie for 9th both in 2007 and 2011. 2011 score of -11 is his best score here.

Excellent cycles for the new US Open champion, with a mini-triple high starting today, feeling very sure of his decision-making process after some minor fuzziness.

GRAHAM DELAET: 6th in driving distance, 1st in GIR%, 2nd in total driving. 10th in scoring average before cut. Leads in ball striking. 3rd in Par 5 performance. 9th in ‘average going for it shot distance’. 2nd in GIR% over 200 yards, 8th 175-200, 5th 125-150. 4th in GIR% from other than fairway. Radar: Top 10s in club head speed, ball speed, distance to apex, apex height, hang time, carry distance.
4th appearance at this course, missing 1 cut. Best finish: tied for 68th, both in 2010 and 2012. Best score: even par, 2010.

Ugly cycles for Graham, as he’s in a triple-low. Don’t expect him to be around on Saturday.

BRENDON DE JONGE: 10th in scoring average, 10th in ball striking, 1st in Par 5 performance.
Makes his 6th appearance at this course. Missed the cut twice. Best finish: 2012, tied for 8th. Best score: -11, 2012 and 2010.

Mixed bag here. Might be difficult for him as he goes through an emotional critical day on Round 2.


CAMERON TRINGALE : 7th in sand saves.
4th appearance, making only cut in 2012, finishing tied for 15th, -9.

Coming out of long triple-low period, Feeling a lot stronger for the 4 days but prone to making mental errors.
Rose looks the best of the 4 here.

Stats: http://www.pgatour.com

NASCAR/Formula 1 racing analysis & prediction for today’s events

Woke up too late, (and in much too much tooth pain) to cover the men’s final at the French Open, but I have enough time (and enough tooth remedies) to give you info on two racing events set for this afternoon.

At the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, it’s the Canadian Grand Prix for Formula 1 drivers.
Wins: 4 active drivers have wins here: Lewis Hamilton with 3, and Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen with 1 each. Mark Webber is 0-10, and Felipe Massa is 0-9. Amazingly, Hamilton has his 3 wins in just 5 races here.

Top 5: Raikkonen dominates this category, with 6 top-5’s in 9 races. Alonso is 4-10, Sebastien Vettel 3-4. Nico Rosberg has no top-5’s in 6 races.

Laps turned without victory: Webber-633, Massa-601, Rosberg-351.

Laps led without victory: Vettel-90, Webber-22.

Average finishing position, 3-race minimum: Vettel-4.5, Raikkonen-6.0, Webber-9.0

Running at finish: Webber is 9-10, Raikkonen 8-9. Vettel is perfect in 4 races.

Lead lap finishes: Raikkonen 7-9, Webber 6-10, Rosberg 5-6. Again, Vettel is perfect in 4.

Top 5 prediction:
1 Sergio Perez
2 Vettel
3 Jean-Eric Vergne
4 Webber
5 Nico Hulkenberg
NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series heads to Long Pond, PA and the ‘tricky triangle’, a crew chief’s nightmare in car setup with it’s 3 distinct corners.

Wins:Jeff Gordon leads with 6, Denny Hamlin has 4, Bobby Labonte 3, and Bobby’s bro Terry is one of five drivers with 2 wins. Still waiting for their first: Mark Martin 0-52, Michael Waltrip 0-47, Ken Schrader 0-44.
Top 10: Martin 34-52, Gordon 28-40, Tony Stewart 20-28, Jimmie Johnson 15-22. No top 10’s yet: David Reutimann and David Gilliland are 0-12.

Laps turned without victory: Martin-9490, Waltrip 8145, Schrader 8019, Jeff Burton 7117.

Laps led without victory: Martin 448, Schrader 212, Brian Vickers 159, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 151.

Average finishing position: Jimmie-9, Gordon-10.2, Hamlin-10.7, Martin 11.1, Stewart 11.3.

Running at finish: Terry Labonte 47-54, Martin 45-52, Schrader 39-44, Waltrip 37-47. Matt Kenseth is perfect through 26.

Lead lap finishes: Martin 43-52, Jeff Gordon 33-40, Jeff Burton 28-38, Kenseth 23-26. Joey Logano is perfect in 8 races.

Top 8 prediction:
1 Carl Edwards
2 Clint Bowyer
3 Harvick
4 Jimmie
5 Kenseth
6 Keselowski
7 Dale Jr.
8 Gordon

Stats: http://www.racing-reference.info 

French Open women’s tennis final analysis

Serena, Maria. Maria, Serena. Another meeting, another Grand Slam final.  Roland Garros’ clay courts are the setting in about an hour from now.  Here’s how they matchup once again:

Serena Williams: 

Serena’s going to have one of those days…not one of those good days.  She’s quite prone to flying off the handle today, emoting more than usual. She’ll hit her winners, but also an equal amount of unforced errors.  She just won’t seem like herself tho will continue to be strongly motivated to persevere. 

Maria Sharapova: 

Maria’s mental game, let alone that infamous shriek will be intact all throughout.  Her athletic ability tho, reached a low in the semifinals 2 days ago, and only now beginning to turn the tide.  Her drive to push through, unlike Serena’s, is at a low. 

From this pair of cycles, I’m predicting a straight-set win for Serena. 

Looking at numbers, here’s how they align: 

Serena leads in head-to-head 13 to 2, including the last 11. Maria’s last victory over her was the 2005 Australian Open.  It’s their 3rd meeting on clay, 2nd clay final, and first time locking horns in the French. 
From available match stats, the only stat Maria seems to have any edge in from their matches in the 1st serve %.  Otherwise, Serena dominates.   Should be over in 70-80 minutes. 

Stats from http://www.wtatennis.com 

Top boxing matches for this weekend in biorhythms

Headline bout for ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights is a pair of lightweights going 10 rounds in Shelton WA: 
Andrey Klimov (15-0-0, 8 KOs)  vs John Molina (25-2-0, 20 KOs)

Here are Klimov’s cycles: 

For a boxer, these cycles are actually pretty good. Nothing but fierce power coming from Andrey’s gloves here.  He’ll connect but he’s quite prone to missing a lot of punches.  It’s all about having a one-track mind here. 

Molina’s cycles: 

Tougher cycles for Molina, coming out of a triple low and tough physical/emotional critical period, the after-effects of which may still be in effect this evening. Combined with a low point in his mental cycle, I can’t see him lasting for long. 
Late KO (rounds 7-10) from Klimov.

Saturday’s best fight (per the folks at BoxRec) is in Carson CA: 
Marcos Rene Maidana(33-3-0, 30 KOs), vs Josesito Lopez (30-5-0, 18 KOs), 12 rounds, for Marcos’s WBC InterContinental welterweight belt. 

Here are Josesito’s cycles: 

Couldn’t sign a worse date to go boxing on.  Triple-low cycles tell the story. 

As for the champion: 

Cycles are not much better; he’s starting to come around again and get his bearings, but an uphill battle all the way. 

As much as the ranking appears to be for this fight, I’m predicting a snoozefest.  Maidana to retain the title by split decision. 

Stats from BoxRec