Foreign players that come to the NBA don’t always make it big in the league. In fact, there are more players from foreign countries that fail rather than succeed. To an extent, teams draft foreign players based on potential, but they haven’t really seen how their game matches the level of NBA competition.
Porzingis has all of the attributes that you want as a player. He is tall and can grab rebounds, but he can also be a threat on the perimeter shooting the ball. What has Knicks fans concerned is that he hasn’t really proven himself and all they have to go by is a little game film and practice sessions during the draft process.
There were reports that even Carmelo Anthony was displeased with the selection of Porzingis. He reportedly said that he didn’t sign up for this and thought he deserved to have a better supporting cast around him. Anthony squashed those reports and then it came out that he actually reached out to Porzingis in support to let him know that he was behind him.
Porzingis likely won’t be the hero that resurrects the Knicks this season. But let’s face it, there aren’t many players in the world that will be able to do that for this Knicks team. We expect Porzingis to get better as the season goes on, but there will be plenty of criticism from the New York fans and media along the way.
NBA weekly picks insiders report that how Porzingis handles the criticism could determine how much he improves over the course of the season. He is regarded as somewhat of a hero in his country, but he has a lot to prove when he is in New York. What he has to understand is that he can’t be the go-to guy all the time. If he puts too much pressure on himself to be the savior, then we could see him struggle mightily with the Knicks and potentially become a bust. Our NBA predictions has Porzingis being a solid player this season, but we really won’t know how he develops as a player until he goes through a full NBA season.
One of the big free agents this year is LaMarcus Aldridge. All indications are that Aldridge is going to leave the Blazers this offseason, despite the fact that they are able to offer him more money and a longer contract. The talks are that he may not be as interested in the money right now as he is finding the right fit for his career.
There are more than a half-dozen suitors for Aldridge, but the biggest contenders appear to be all the Texas teams and the Lakers. Aldridge is from Texas, so San Antonio, Dallas and Houston all have a shot at landing him. Our prediction is that Aldridge will land with the Spurs with a two-year deal that gives him an option for next season to go seek more money if he wants.
DeAndre Jordan is also another big name to watch for. It sounds like Jordan is high on the Clippers and Mavericks list as potential landing spots. Mark Cuban has excelled in bringing in big time stars like Jordan in the past, even though some of them haven’t worked out. We expect the Mavericks to make Jordan an offer he can’t refuse.
NBA expert picks insiders report that free agents could make some risky moves this offseason. We expect a lot of them to take the LeBron James approach and sign short-term deals with the option to opt out at the end of the season. This is risky, because freak injuries can happen that could derail a career. If you don’t have a long-term contract signed, then you could cost yourself millions of dollars.
Since we don’t expect to see many long-term deals locked up in NBA free agency this offseason, we also don’t expect the talks between players and teams to go on very long. Many players have a pretty good idea of where they want to play. And unless they are specifically looking for a long-term deal, those teams can only offer so much money. In the case of Aldridge, where the money really doesn’t matter right now, it just comes down to where he feels most comfortable. If that team signs him to a one-year deal this season, they will be able to offer him more next season. It’s definitely an advantage for players, but there’s also plenty of risk involved.
The quarterback position is the most popular to try to identify a breakout player. Last year, fantasy football owners likely got Andrew Luck at a pretty good value. He was the breakout player for 2014, so who will be that guy in 2015? Our prediction is for Ryan Tannehill to finally break through and make fantasy owners proud that they took a chance on him.
Tannehill is a guy that you could probably select with your second quarterback option in your fantasy football draft, but don’t let him slide too far this year. Like Luck, Tannehill may see time on your bench at the early part of the season, but don’t be surprised if he forces you to put him in regularly because of his productivity.
DeAndre Hopkins is another player to keep a close eye on in your fantasy draft. He had a productive season last year, and it should be even better this season with Andre Johnson out in Houston. The Texans were much improved under first-year coach Bill O’Brien, and we could see them get even better with Hopkins exceeding expectations.
Jordan Matthews, wide receiver for the Eagles, had some opportunities to make plays last season and he made the most of them. Now that DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are both gone, Matthews could be the go-to guy in Philadelphia. With Chip Kelly’s high flying offense, Matthews should be in a good position to excel.
Expert Fantasy picks insiders aren’t saying that you should use your top draft pick on any of these players. But we are saying that you shouldn’t let them slide too far. Monitor where they are on the draft board when you start approaching the third and fourth round and determine whether it’s a smart decision to take them then or wait another round. You are drafting these guys based on potential, so it’s up to your gut feeling whether you think they are worth risking a higher pick to take them. Sometimes it pays off, and sometimes it doesn’t. That’s why it’s called a risk.
This pitching matchup will feature an up-and-coming star against a proven veteran that has struggled over the last year or so. Gerrit Cole will get the start for the Pirates, with his stellar 11-3 record and 2.16 ERA. He is the clear frontrunner for the National League Cy Young award if he continues at this pace. He had a rough time in his last outing against Cincinnati, which resulted in a loss, but he won his previous six decisions before that. He will be tested again when he faces a Detroit lineup that has a lot of pop.
The Tigers will counter with Justin Verlander, who has been less than impressive in his two starts after returning from the disabled list. The team had high hopes that Verlander would get back to his usual form after he looked solid during the spring before he got injured. He is 0-1 with a 6.17 ERA in his two starts. What may be more concerning is that he only has totaled four strikeouts in 11.2 innings pitched. Verlander’s strikeout numbers are what make him the dominant pitcher. If he doesn’t have that part of his game, then he could struggle even more this season.
The Pirates lineup is capable of putting up a lot of runs in a hurry. If they are able to get to Verlander early and put up a couple of runs, then they have to like their chances with Cole settling down on the mound. However, if Pittsburgh allows Detroit to get a couple of runs on the board early, then we could see Verlander settle down just as easily.
Both teams have been playing around .500 baseball over the last dozen or so games. We would normally say that this game will come down to pitching, but we still aren’t sure what to think of Verlander. We believe that he will come around at some point this season, but it’s hard to predict when since we haven’t seen any signs of him coming back to his dominant self. For this matchup, we have to go with the hot hand, which is Cole. It will be a fairly low scoring game, but we like the Pirates to win for our MLB predictions for today.
The Los Angeles Lakers are our biggest winner. They make Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell the number two pick in the draft, making it clear that they see him as the replacement to Kobe Bryant after he retires at the end of this season. The safe pick would have been to take Jahlil Okafor, who many NBA experts thought was the most talented player in the draft. Instead, the Lakers took the player with the most upside and could learn from one of the best in the game for a year. Okafor may be the better player overall, but Russell seems like he will be a better fit for the Lakers for years to come.
The Minnesota Timberwolves took Karl Anthony-Towns with the first pick in the draft, and they are one of our winners because of it. They now have the last three first overall draft picks on their roster for the upcoming season, so they should be one of the league’s most improved team this season. The only downside is that they don’t have a veteran superstar that logs a bunch of minutes that they can learn from. But if they all stick together, then this team could be dangerous in a few years.
The Denver Nuggets got a gift when Emmanuel Mudiay fell to them with the seventh pick. Mudiay was a top four or five talent on most NBA scouts’ draft board, but he just didn’t fit the needs of the top six teams. With Mudiay, the Nuggets will likely trade away Ty Lawson, which was probably inevitable regardless of how the draft fell together. The Nuggets still may be a year or two away from being relevant again in the Western Conference, but they should be headed on the right track with Mudiay as their new leader.
The New York Knicks fall into the loser category for us because they took a big risk with their first pick. Kristaps Porzingis has a lot of upside and potential, but many NBA scouts don’t believe he is ready to make an immediate impact in the NBA. As a seven-footer, coach Derek Fisher will be able to find a place for him on the floor, but we just don’t know how productive he will be right now. With the Knicks struggling to get anything going last season, players like Carmelo Anthony were hoping that the Knicks would draft a guy who is ready to make an immediate impact. With Porzingis seemingly being a project that will take some time to develop, we could see another year of frustration for Knicks fans.
We will consider the Philadelphia 76ers losers in this draft, but we are mainly directing that at last year’s lottery pick Joel Embiid. Philadelphia almost had no choice but to select Jahlil Okafor with the third overall pick because he was the best talent on the board. However, things could get a little crowded with him playing the same position as Embiid. It could be a sign that Philadelphia no longer has a lot of faith in Embiid, or they may have a master plan to have them both be forces in the lineup. For now, things aren’t looking very good for the Sixers.
NBA expert picks insiders report there’s a chance that we could be completely wrong in our predictions, but there’s a long season that with prove it either way. There is always a player that surprises and disappoints in the draft. Our prediction is the Porzingis will disappoint right away, while Okafor will be the player that makes the immediate impact for his team. A lot of time will pass between now and the start of the NBA season, though.
The first game of the series will feature veteran Joe Blanton on the mound for Kansas City against Houston’s rookie Lance McCullers. Blanton has won two starts in a row after coming out of the bullpen recently. He is 2-0 with a 1.73 ERA on the season. McCullers has been just another bright spot on the Houston roster this year. He has a 3-2 record with a 2.33 ERA and is really beginning to settle down and become a consistent pitcher for the Astros.
Houston should have a pretty big advantage in the second game when they send Dallas Keuchel to the mound against Danny Duffy. Keuchel is in the mix to be the starter for the AL all-star team in a couple of weeks with his 9-3 record and 2.17 ERA. He is coming off of a complete game shutout against the Yankees in which he struck out twelve batters. Duffy has struggled in his recent starts and has lost three of his last four decisions. He is 2-3 on the season with a 5.44 ERA for the Royals.
MLB betting picks epxerts report that the Astros will send another rookie to the mound in the series finale with Vincent Velasquez taking the hill. Velasquez has yet to record a decision in the big leagues, but he has started off well with a 3.72 ERA through his first four starts. He is coming off of his longest outing at 6.1 innings against the Yankees. Kansas City will counter with veteran Edinson Volquez, who has been one of their most solid starters this season. They have leaned on him pretty heavily this season, and he has responded. He has won his last four decisions and is 8-4 overall with a 3.18 ERA this season.
These teams appear to be pretty evenly matched on paper, but the Royals to look like the more complete team. The Astros can put up runs in bunches, but they also have struggled collectively on offense at times. Houston reminds us of Kansas City from last year, but that doesn’t mean that they will live up to that hype. We expect a pretty competitive series between these teams, but we have to go with the Royals to take two out of three in Houston for our MLB picks for the series.
Despite losing Jameis Winston, Florida State still leads the way in Vegas with an over/under win total of 9.5. Depending on the quarterback situation, we could see that happening, but the most likely scenario would be the Seminoles winning 9 games. We will take the under on Florida State this year.
Clemson is the team that we are going to watch this year and make a prediction that they will take the division crown from Florida State. Vegas has them at an over/under of 9 wins right now. They haven’t been able to get past Florida State in years past, but with an experienced and talented quarterback returning, we like how things are looking in Clemson. Take the over on Clemson, since we are predicting that they win 10 or 11 games this season.
North Carolina and Virginia Tech are getting some respect from Vegas, who has them each at an over/under total of 8 wins. We have to disagree with each of them, because they both seem like six or seven-win teams to us. We will take the under on each of them without question.
The one team that isn’t getting as much respect as they should is Georgia Tech. They won the division from Duke last season and gave Florida State all they could handle in the ACC Championship game. Vegas has them at 7.5 wins, but they seem like a team that could win nine or ten games this season. We like Georgia Tech to exceed expectations and could be fairly easy money at this win total.
Louisville is another interesting team to watch in their second year under Bobby Petrino. They showed some pretty good signs last year and should only get better. They have a 7.5 over/under win total, which actually seems about right for them. If we had to bet, we would take the over, just because it’s more likely that they will win eight games in our opinion.
NCCAF betting picks experts report that Duke could be a team that surprises people with their over/under total set at 7 wins. In what could be a fairly weak division that they play in from top to bottom, they could get to eight wins this season. However, if they start off slow, then it wouldn’t surprise us if they finished the season with only six wins. The Blue Devils are one of those wild card teams that are hard to bet on because of their uncertainty.
One of the most common conspiracy theories is when you have the best hand all the way to the river, and then someone with a weaker hand hits their draw on the last card. The theory behind it is that the computer takes into consideration the chip count of both players, and will more than likely put the winning card down for a player with a smaller chip stack.
People think this happens because they want the weaker player to keep playing, because there is a greater chance that they will lose money in the long run. It’s frustrating every time you lose a hand on the final card, so thinking that it’s a conspiracy doesn’t do you any good. It’s more of the luck component than anything, because that same situation can happen in a live game.
You may also see people complain about how they were winning a lot, but then decided to cash out and start losing after that. The theory is that the online casino is punishing the player for cashing out, and is rigging the game so that they recover some of that money back. While this may seem like a valid point, it’s hard to imagine how that’s possible with the technology that they use.
How many times have you played poker and had a good winning streak going? And then how many times have you had a losing streak? That same thing can happen in an online game. The biggest difference is that you usually won’t cash out in a live game and then go right back to playing. Therefore, the argument isn’t really valid because it can’t be proven otherwise.
Understanding that poker is a game of skill and luck is hard for some people. Good poker players know that there has to be some luck involved in your game. But it’s usually the weaker players that come up with all the theories and excuses as to why they are losing all the time. Luck works both ways, so just remember that when you think the game is rigged. Try telling your dealer the next time you play a live game that poker is rigged and you will likely get an unpleasant response.
If you are a newbie to online poker and have started reading forums and message boards, just remember that you can’t believe everything that you read. There are a lot of negative people out there, and most of them post on forums. You will rarely see someone who has had success in online poker post in the forums. It’s similar to people who post reviews on anything online. If something works well for you, then you are less likely to post about it than if it didn’t work well.
Human nature is to complain when things don’t go right. When you read a conspiracy theory about online poker, you have no idea what kind of player they are. They may just be using the excuses to hide the flaws in their own game and aren’t willing to take the time to fix them. In our opinion, the conspiracy theories are just an easy way of saying that they just aren’t any good at playing poker. A good poker player won’t blame their losses on anything other than luck or bad moves on their part. When you start hearing about conspiracy theories about betting online poker, that should raise a red flag about the player himself, not the poker website.
Vegas has the over/under for Ohio State set at a pretty aggressive 11.5 wins. When you look at their schedule, it’s hard to really see them losing more than one game, unless a team catches them by surprise. We are going to take the under with the Buckeyes winning 11 games this season.
Wisconsin and Michigan State both have a projected 9.5 wins. The Spartans ended their season on a high note, so they should be carrying quite a bit of momentum. We like them to win 10 games for our NCAAF predictions, so take the over. Wisconsin is a little different, however. They have a lot of talent, but we are expecting some transition issues with a new coach. We project the Badgers to win seven or eight games this season.
Penn State and Nebraska are both projected at eight wins in Vegas. We think that’s a pretty accurate number, but if we had to bet, we would take the under for both of them. We have Nebraska winning seven games and Penn State winning eight games, but it’s hard to see either one of them getting to nine wins this season.
One of the teams that could be most surprising this season is Michigan. With Jim Harbaugh leading the way, fans and expert NCAAF picks insiders are thinking that Michigan could be a breakout team. We are on board, but Vegas apparently isn’t. They have them set at 7.5 wins right now. We think Michigan is capable of winning at least eight or nine games this season, so we are taking the over on them.
We won’t spend a lot of time on the rest of the conference, but we do think that Maryland will win more than 4.5 games. Minnesota is the other notable team that we think will over perform. Vegas has them set at six wins, but we believe they should win at least seven or eight games this season. It should be a pretty entertaining year for the Big Ten Conference with all the story lines to follow. It could make it difficult when making your sports bets on the conference, but there is still plenty of room for you to cash in based on what we know right now.
Vegas has Oregon’s over/under win total set at 9.5 wins right now. Considering that Oregon seemingly wins 10 or more games every year, that seems like a pretty conservative number. However, with Marcus Mariota gone, the coaching staff will have their most difficult challenge so far. We don’t think that the Ducks will be able to get to ten wins this season, so we would have to take the under.
One of the biggest surprises in our opinion is that the UCLA Bruins start off win an over/under of 9 wins. Considering they were barely able to get that done with Brett Hundley as their quarterback, we have a hard time believing that they can do it without him. Nine wins seems like their ceiling this season, so we are going to take the under as well with them.
USC and Arizona State are teams that we are high on entering the season. They come in with over/under win totals of 9 and 8, respectively. They have a chance to be pretty good this season, and with Oregon projected to take a little step back, they may have an opening at the top of the conference. Whether they take advantage of it remains to be seen, but the opportunity is definitely there for them.
Stanford’s over/under seems to be a little high at 8.5 wins. They should benefit from a potential down season from Oregon as well, but they just don’t have as high of a ceiling as USC or Arizona State. We aren’t too optimistic about Stanford, and believe that they should be happy with winning seven or eight games this season.
NCAAF expert picks insiders report that Washington may be the most disrespected program in the PAC-12 with an over/under of 4.5 wins. They did struggle quite a bit last season, but a lot of people believe that they are headed in the right direction. Arizona sits at an over/under total of 7.5 wins and will be a team to watch in the conference as well. We may see several teams underperform this season because the conference is so even. It’s good for the conference to be competitive, but it could hurt their national perspective if they don’t have a dominant team this season.