How many times will Ray Lewis mention God in his post-game interview? Will Jay Z join Beyonce on stage during the halftime show? What color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach?
Here, courtesy of RJ Bell of Pregame.com, are the over/unders and odds for those and all other proposition bets for Super Bowl 47 next Sunday in New Orleans:
Length of postgame handshake/hug between Harbaugh brothers: over/under 7.5 seconds
Times Jack Harbaugh shown during game: o/u 2.5 times
Times “Harbaugh” will be said during game: o/u 21.5 times
How long will it take Alicia Keys to sing National Anthem: o/u 2 minutes and 15 seconds
Will Alicia Keys be booed? If yes, $100 wins $500
32% chance Alicia Keys will mess up the lyrics ($100 wins $170)
43% chance Jay Z will join Beyonce on stage during halftime show ($100 wins $110)
43% chance Beyonce’s hair will be straight, not curly ($100 wins $110)
64% chance President Obama will pick Ravens to win game.
$100 pays $500 if any player on either team is arrested before the game.
How many times will Ray Lewis mention “God/Lord” in post-game interview: o/u 3 times
Color of Gatorade dumped on winning coach ($100 wins . . . )
73% – 49ers will score a rushing touchdown ($300 wins $100)
69% – there will be a 4th down conversation ($250 wins $100)
61% – Ray Lewis will have 11 or more total tackles ($165 wins $100)
56% – Game’s total points will be an odd number ($140 wins $100)
50% – a team will lead by 2 TDs or more at some stage of game ($100 wins $100)
50% – game will be tied at some point after 0-0 ($100 wins $100)
50% – Opening coin flip will be Heads ($100 wins $100)
42% – Ravens will score a rushing touchdown ($100 wins $130)
38% – Someone will throw for 300 or more yards ($100 wins $150)
38% – Either team will score 3 unanswered times ($100 wins $150)
37% – there will be a lead change in the 2nd half ($100 wins $155)
36% – there will be a defensive or special teams TD ($100 wins $160)
32% – there will be a successful 2-point conversation ($100 wins $200)
28% – At least one quarter will be scoreless ($100 wins $240)
27% – Ravens will score in every quarter ($100 wins $250)
23% – At least 3 players will have a passing attempt ($100 wins $300)
18% – Ed Reed will have an INT ($100 wins $400)
14% – Alex Smith will take a snap from center ($100 wins $500)
11% – Game will go into overtime ($100 wins $700)
10% – Zero Field Goals in game ($100 wins $800)
8% – There will be a safety ($100 wins $900)
7% – There will be a blocked punt ($100 wins $1000)
4% – There will be a score in the first minute of game ($100 wins $1500)
Total yards for both teams combined: o/u 745.5 yards
Total 49ers rushing yards: o/u 155.5
Total Ravens rushing yards: o/u 101.5
49ers favored by 5.5 NET YARDS over Ravens
Longest touchdown: o/u 46 yards
Longest Field Goal: o/u 44.5 yards
Jersey Number of player to score first TD: o/u 27.5
Kobe Bryant points favored by 4 over 49ers points
Super Bowl’s total points favored by 5.5 over LeBron James points + rebounds + assists
Kaepernick’s rushing yards: even money versus Steve Young’s 49 rushing yards (Super Bowl XXIX)
49ers win by 31 or more points: $100 wins $2000
Ravens win by 31 or more points: $100 wins $4000
78 or more total points in game: $100 wins $1800
Either team shutout: $100 wins $5000
MVP Odds ($100 wins . . . )
Ray Lewis: $700
Ray Rice: $1200
Vernon Davis: $1800
Torrey Smith: $2000
Ed Reed: $3300
Alex Smith: $4000
Randy Moss: $5000
Attempts: o/u 28
Completions: o/u 18
Passing yards: o/u 235.5
TD passes: o/u 1.5
Rushing yards: o/u 49
Longest completion: o/u 38 yards
Longest rush: o/u 19 yards
Rushing touchdown: 37% chance ($100 wins $160)
300 passing yards AND 100 rushing yards: 7% chance ($100 wins $1100)
Throw 6 or more touchdowns: 1.7% chance ($100 wins $6000)
Attempts: o/u 34
Completions: o/u 20
Passing yards: o/u 250
TD passes: o/u 1.5
Rushing yards: o/u 2.5
Longest completion: o/u 40
Throw an INT? 59% chance ($155 wins $100)
Throw 5 or more touchdowns: 5% chance ($100 wins $1800)
Throw for 500 or more yards: 1% chance ($100 wins $10,000)
Attempts: o/u 17.5
Rushing Yards: o/u 68
Longest rush: o/u 16.5 yards
Receptions: o/u 2.5
Receiving Yards: o/u 27
Score a TD: 42% chance ($100 wins $130)
Over 200 yards: 3% chance ($100 wins $2,800)
Attempts: o/u 20
Rushing Yards: o/u 83.5
Longest rush: o/u 20.5
Receptions: o/u 1.5
Receiving Yards: o/u 17
Score a TD: 50% chance ($100 wins $100)
Michael Crabtree: o/u 84.5
Anquan Boldin: o/u 70.5
Torrey Smith: o/u 64.5
Vernon Davis: o/u 50.5
Dennis Pitta: o/u 44.5
Randy Moss: o/u 36.5
Jacoby Jones: o/u 21.5
Delainie Walker: o/u 22.5
Ed Dickson: o/u 18.5
For every hour my 13-year-old son wishes he could play video games, I spent two watching re-runs of “The Andy Griffith Show” when I was his age and younger.
I could have listened to him talk all day. Still could.
And for all that boob tube time spent memorizing the lines of Andy, Barney Fife and Otis the Drunk (let’s save the politically correct discussion for another day, please), I don’t remember my mom complaining in the least. My mother, of course, was a dead ringer for Aunt Bee in looks and character. But that’s not why she enabled it.
She knew then what the world should be observing today: The intrinsic value of Andy Griffith.
There’s no way of overestimating his mark on our culture, including the culture of the The Oklahoman sports department.
Berry Tramel sees it as his duty to assign nicknames to as many sports staffers as possible. His nickname for our Thunder beat writer Darnell Mayberry? RFD, as in “The Andy Griffith Show” TV sequel ”Mayberry, R.F.D.” (a postal acronym for Rural Free Delivery).
And Berry hasn’t made an Aunt Bee reference in a column in two days.
Our outdoors writer Ed Godfrey, who could win any Andy trivia competition, has spent a career reciting lines.
“Nip it, nip it, nip it in the bud.” — Barney Fife.
“Call the man.” — Andy to Aunt Bee.
I’ve already spent a hour today thinking about Andy Griffith and looking up old clips on YouTube. I’ll spend even more time tonight, watching “No Time for Sergeants” and calling old friends — including a lot of college friends — telling old stories and imitating Ernest T. Bass “How do you do, Mrs. WI-LEEEE”.
Like I said, I could listen to him talk all day. If you enjoy it too, check out the YouTube clip above. It’s a recording of his 1953 monologue “What it Was, Was Football,” the story of a country preacher’s first football game. Thanks to The Washington Post’s Cindy Boren for her tweet and blog post today reminding me of this routine, and what I love about Andy Griffith.
Thought I’d share an interesting Thunder fact, courtesy of the Twitter account @ThunderStats:
A loss in Game 5 on Thursday would mark the first time the Thunder has lost four straight since April 4-8, 2009 — the team’s first season inOklahoma City.
I went back and looked at that streak, and it was ugly. A 35-point home loss to Portland and an 18-point defeat at home to Indiana. Shaun Livingston played point guard for the Thunder in a home loss to San Antonio, at which Wayman Tisdale was honored at halftime. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha and Nick Collison are the only players remaining from that team, which lost a fourth straight at Denver.
According to @ThunderStats, no NBA team has gone longer without losing four straight than Oklahoma City.
Five thoughts about the conga line of “national apologies” to Russell Westbrook and his Game 4 performance:
1. When you’re wrong, it’s always good to admit it and apologize.
Stephen A. Smith went first on Monday, apologizing for his criticism of Westbrook’s Game 2 performance, and specifically for his use of the word “pathetic.”
Magic Johnson followed Tuesday, before, during and presumably after Westbrook’s 43 points in Game 4 performance. “Maybe it was my fault judging him as a point guard because he’s a scoring point guard,” said Magic, who called Westbrook’s first-half Game 2 play the worst point guard play in NBA Finals history.
2. Obviously, both criticisms were way over the top.
Both got carried away, lost in the NBA Finals competition for a fresh, hard-hitting perspective. They’re bright, talented people who tried too hard and come off looking reckless and irresponsible.
Sound familiar? Do you see the irony? Westbrook gets ridiculed for making these kind of mistakes and misjudgments in the split-second context of championship basketball.
3. The way at least one of the apologies came about reminds us again how young Westbrook and the Thunder are.
Stephen A. apologized after he was approached by Westbrook’s parents, who apparently took issue with that word. Kind of refreshing. I don’t recall hearing about anything like this in a championship setting at a major league sporting event. If LeBron James’ mom is taking Skip Bayless to task, she still waiting for her apology.
Most players have family in the stands, but the Thunder extended family is more moms and dads than wives and children. This is one more way — and a good way — the atmosphere around the Thunder resembles that of a college team.
4. Westbrook, perhaps in part because of past over-the-top criticism, is getting the benefit of the doubt today.
Westbrook wasn’t aware of the situation when he fouled Mario Chalmers off a jump ball. The shot clock, which ticked down to 0.8 seconds before James Harden tied up Udonis Haslem, was by NBA rule reset to 5.0 seconds. Today the conga line is criticizing that rule. And it’s a bad rule. It’s a do-over for an offense that couldn’t get a shot off in 23.2 seconds. It penalizes the defense for playing good defense.
But that’s the rule, and Westbrook didn’t know it. I didn’t either, until our columnist Berry Tramel pointed out the shot clock that was on 0.8 now showed 5.0. Neither of us knew why. It’s the Thunder coaching staff’s job to know the rules and alert its players. Why that didn’t filter out to Westbrook requires more explanation.
But in the past Russ wouldn’t have gotten the benefit of the doubt. He would have been automatically assigned blame. Hasn’t happened this time.
5. Westbrook’s response to it all couldn’t have been better.
Minutes after one of the best NBA Finals performances in a losing effort, Westbrook was asked if he felt vindicated.
“Let me get this straight. What you guys say doesn’t make me happy, make me sad, doesn’t do anything. It’s all about my team and us winning a game.
“I don’t have a personal challenge against you guys, and it’s not me against the world. It’s not the world against me. It’s me and my teammates trying to win.”
Without a trace of petulance, Westbrook let us know he doesn’t care what we say. And he turned it back everything back to the team. For a player who always seems on edge in interview settings, Tuesday night was his finest moment — on and off the court.
Driving back from San Antonio after Game 4 in San Antonio two weeks, we heard a local sports-talk segment in which one of the regulars asserted two things had to happen if the Thunder didn’t emerge from a 2-0 series hole:
1) Oklahoma City would need to seriously consider a coaching change.
2) The Thunder would need to make James Harden its point guard.
Five straight victories later, the Thunder leads the Heat 1-0 in the NBA Finals, so let’s presume Scott Brooks’ job is safe. But there’s still unrest in some corners with Russell Westbrook’s playmaking and ball security. The guy is two rebounds shy of a triple-double in Game 1, and somehow it’s still not good enough.
Question: If Westbrook is so ill-suited for the position, why is Miami game-planning for him? Heat coach Erik Spoelstra basically admitted to doing so in his pregame press conference Thursday, calling Westbrook “a relentless assault that just keeps on coming.”
Spoelstra attributed Westbrook’s post-season reduction in turnovers to the “evolution of great players. And in the the moment of great competition, they evolve.
“He’s such an aggressive, attacking player. I think even when he makes mistakes at times that they live with it because he creates so much on those assaults to the rim. So our job tonight will be to try to get him out of his comfort level as much as possible while we respect that speed.”
Spoelstra said Westbrook’s speed compares with what the Heat faced in the Eastern Conference Finals from Boston’s Rajon Rondo.
“Both of them are equally challenging in a different way,” Spoelstra said. “Rondo is such a brilliant basketball maestro, reads a game, and as soon as you turn your head and make one mistake, he makes you pay for it.”
With Westbrook, “if you’re not back ahead of the play, body in front of it, and that has to be multiple bodies in front of it, he’ll make you pay,” Spoelstra said. “And that relentlessness is probably part of his greatness.”
My favorite questions from my Power Lunch live chat today. Good questions and discussion.
Q: Who wins tonight and why?
A: The Thunder has more good players, and the best player, and it’s playing at home. Hard to pick against.
Q: What do you think the biggest adjustment will be for the Thunder in Game 2?
A: Dealing with LeBron guarding KD more; 2) Re-activating Serge Ibaka; 3) Re-activating James Harden. The Heat’s defensive intensity just has to increase, and Harden will be essential. The Heat has no answer for Westbrook. None.
Q: I know you guys rub elbows with national media types all the time, but are there ever guys in town where you catch yourself being a little awestruck?
A: Not by the national media. More with our city. Truth-telling time: I grew up just outside a major-league city (Baltimore) and spent my early career in OKC longing to get back to a big-league town. There’s just a buzz and excitement that you can’t quite describe, you have to experience. And now we’re in it.
What’s really rewarding is that we’ve been telling the story of this town’s rise for a long time. We’ve been telling the story of its love-at-first-sight with the NBA, and now it’s right here, on Reno. That’s the awestruck moment.
I like Stephen A. Smith. Nice guy. I got to meet Bill Plaschke of the LA Times a couple weeks ago and I can’t say enough about what a quality guy he and the other Laker writers seem to be. It’s always neat to meet new, good people who share your passion for something. But the pinch-me moments for us are really seeing what’s happening to our community.
Q: Do you think if LeBron is unhappy, it’s due to the prospect of losing this series, or is it the prospect of KD passing him as the country’s top NBA superstar, eclipsing both him and Kobe?
A: Put yourself in LeBron’s shoes: You left your hometown for the stated purpose of giving yourself a better chance to win a championship, and he probably is a step closer. I think he expected to be better than closer. I think he expected the Heat to be the Showtime Lakers and it’s not happening, mostly because they’ve got no money to surround him with supporting players who aren’t old or limited.
Take a look at their bench. It’s a wreck. That — and the weight of the expectations of his own making — is what’s he’s wearing around like a milestone. But I think the KD stuff is probably a minor part. He’s gotta be thinking: That used to be me. Carefree, beloved, having fun and on the fast-track to basketball immortality.
Q: Is Harden’s lackluster performance reason for Thunder fans to have confidence? The Sixth-Man of the Year didn’t play well, but the team still won.
A: Absolutely. It seems like there’s something like that every game. The Thunder’s free throw shooting is bad and it still wins. In the San Antonio series, Westbrook was off offensively and the Thunder wins in 6. This team is layered. And it doesn’t have this in-game drama crap that Miami has: Who will take over.
The Thunder’s approach: Play ball. Let the game, matchups and feel dictate that.
I grew up in Maryland — 13 miles up Route 1 from the University of Maryland and about 25 miles around the Beltway from Kevin Durant’s hometown of Seat Pleasant — arguing about the stuff the Washington Post’s Mike Wise wrote about today: Who’s the best basketball player in Washington, D.C. history?
This was back is in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when Len Bias was close on Michael Jordan’s heels and when those I was debating — teachers, parents, coaches — actually saw Elgin Baylor play in high school.
It was a generational debate. Baylor (1950s), Dave Bing (1960s), Adrian Dantley (1970s), Bias (1980s). I left Maryland to go to college in Oklahoma, and moved on to other arguments.
But Wise — a true wise guy who in a press conference yesterday asked Durant if he was better than Greivis Vasquez — stirred an oldie and a goodie today, asking wise heads like ex-Georgetown coach John Thompson and legendary DeMatha High School coach Morgan Wooten where KD ranks in D.C. hoops history.
Think about that for a second. Baylor, Bing and Dantley already are in the Basketball Hall of Fame. And yet there’s a legitimate argument that Durant could soon become the greatest player to come from the nation’s best high school basketball hotbed. (That’s right, I said it).
I grew up going to University of Maryland basketball games and attending Lefty Driesell’s basketball camp. At age 8 I went to another camp that started with a clinic at Baylor and Dave Bing’s home gym — Springarn High School in D.C. The first speaker was an old bald-headed guy with a rough way of talking. I went over and asked my mom, “Who is this guy.” Her reply: “Red Auerbach.”
So I once knew, and still love, what I referred to as Beltway basketball. Here’s my take on how Durant compares on my list of Beltway greats.
Durant > Grant Hill (Oak Hill Academy, Va.): Injuries robbed Hill of a Hall of Fame career. Sad.
Durant > Dantley (DeMatha, Hyattsville, Md.): KD’s already a better scorer and is the leader of a NBA Finals team. Dantley’s teams were good not great, and a little too Dantley-focused if you ask me.
Durant > Bing: A regal guard now the major of Detroit, Bing was as perennial NBA All-Star on bad Pistons teams.
Baylor < Durant, for now: Imagine KD leading the NBA in scoring playing on weekend passes while serving Air Force reserve duty at Lackland AFB in San Antonio. That, essentially, is what Baylor did in 1961-62 when he averaged 35 points for the Lakers in 48 games.
Elgin Baylor is the best ever from D.C., at least for another week or so.
I get these kinds of press releases frequently these days: Some public relations firm promoting a sports psychologist/trainer/etc. for their view on a news topic. But this one caught my eye.
Steve Seibold, a so-called “mental toughness expert,” thinks Tiger Woods is back — all the back — and on his way back to the top of the world golf ratings. As I type these words, ESPN’s Mike & Mike are debating this very topic, and Mike Golic just said “any serious talk about Tiger being back starts when he wins a major.”
I tend to agree. But here’s what Seibold, who when the season started predicted Tiger would win three tournaments (he’s won two so far), had to say after Tiger’s win Sunday at The Memorial.
– “Less than a year ago, Tiger Woods was ranked # 58 in the world and it seemed as if most people had counted him out for good. Is it any coincidence that first he wins at Arnie’s tournament at Bay Hill earlier this year, and then wins Nicklaus’ tournament at The Memorial this past weekend? Absolutely not!”
– “Most people scrutinize every shot, every tournament and everything else that Tiger Woods does. You need to look at the bigger picture. Everyone, including Woods, is going to have bad days. He’s still trying to put the pieces of his life back together and there are going to be bad days, but the bigger picture is starting to look better and will continue to improve.”
– “With two wins already this year and now ranked # 4 in the world, he will very shortly be unstoppable again. Most people don’t understand that Woods is hard-wired through years of world-class programming to focus on a vision and persevere at any cost. He doesn’t understand what giving up is.”
– “In mental toughness training we say that champions are decisive. The little flop shot on the 16th hole on Sunday shows decisiveness. With water over the green and a downhill lie out of the rough, and being two shots behind with three holes to play, Woods walks right up and makes the shot. That’s mental toughness!”
– “On the physical plain Woods has perseverance, on the mental plane he has toughness and on the spiritual plane he has artistry like no one else. If the same Tiger that finished strong today shows up in one week at The Olympic Club for The U.S. Open, Woods may very well regain the title that has eluded him since his 2008 victory where he won with a severe left knee injury.”
You can find out more about Seibold here.
Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird is the NBA Executive of the Year, and who can argue after Tuesday night. He’s put together a feisty squad that has the Miami Heat on the ropes. With Chris Bosh out indefinitely, are you ready to say the Pacers WON’T win that series? I’m not.
Bird got 12 of 28 first-place votes cast by a panel of NBA executives.
Sam Presti received none and finished eighth, behind Utah’s Kevin O’Connor, New York’s Glen Grunwald and Miami’s Pat Riley.
All of which leaves me thinking two things:
1) You’ve got to be kidding. Kevin O’Connor? Utah leaked into the playoffs as the eight seed. Yawn. Glen Grunwald? For what, not releasing Jeremy Lin? Pat Riley? Pat Riley?
2) Presti will never win this award. His window of opportunity has closed.
The NBA executives who vote on this award traditionally treat it as a most-improved honor. Only once in the last 10 seasons has the award gone to an executive whose team went on to win the NBA title (Boston’s Danny Ainge in 2008). Clearly it’s based on regular-season improvement.
Since the NBA lockout made this a 66-game instead of an 82-game season, we’ll need to using winning percentages instead of win totals. But let’s look at the Thunder franchise’s annual winning percentage during Presti’s five seasons as GM
– .244 in 2008
– .280 in 2009
– .610 in 2010
– .671 in 2011
– .712 in 2012
Now let’s compare the last four NBA Executive of the Year winners’ improvement in winning percentage to the Presti/Thunder improvement.
Mark Warkentien, Denver (49 percentage-point improvement)
Presti (36 percentage-point improvement)
John Hammond, Milwaukee (146 percentage-point improvement)
Presti (330 percentage-point improvement)
Gar Forman, Chicago (256 percentage-point improvement) Pat Riley, Miami: (124 percentage-point improvement)
Presti (61 percentage-point improvement)
Larry Bird, Indiana (185 percentage-point improvement)
Presti (41 percentage-point improvement)
Clearly, Presti should have won the award instead of John Hammond in 2010. The Thunder went from a 23-win team that had been in the lottery three straight years to a 50-win team that gave the defending NBA champion Lakers all they wanted in a first-round series. Maybe the panel of voting executives included too many execs from the Suns and Jazz — teams Presti fleeced to get Serge Ibaka and Eric Maynor. Maybe they think he got lucky in getting the No. 2 pick the year of Oden/Durant. (He did).
There should have been an investigation after that vote. But it’s hard to make a case Presti got jobbed any other year.
Under Presti the Thunder has improved by 468 percentage points in five seasons to become one of the NBA’s model franchises. He hired the 2010 NBA Coach of the Year (Scott Brooks), used the No. 4 overall pick to take an off guard who is on the verge of becoming a two-time All-NBA point guard (Westbrook) and used a No. 3 overall pick to select an NBA Sixth Man of the Year (James Harden).
He turned deals involving Kurt Thomas into first-round picks coming and going — using one to select NBA blocked shot leader Ibaka. He stole Kendrick Perkins from the Celtics. He horded second-round picks and then dealt them to acquire Daequan Cook, and gain the roster and cap flexibility he used to strike shrewd long-term deals with Perkins, Nick Collison and Westbrook.
All of which has moved the Thunder into serious NBA title contention, and pushed Presti past consideration for the league’s top executive honor.