We have what looks like another quality match in the NBA tonight. These Saturday marquee match ups that ESPN has been running out there to us look good and hopefully tonight’s will produce a good game. Will get to see the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Golden State Warriors. It seems like every time the Warriors is in one of these type of games they end up winning by 30 points; can Oklahoma City be that team that stays in the game with the Warriors. Golden State should easily be the favorite since they’re 45-4 overall and a perfect 22-0 at Oracle arena where the game will be played tonight. Oklahoma City is 38-13 on the season and are currently 3rd in the Western Conference. Both teams are 9-1 over the last 10 games. Golden State has won their last 8 games in a row while Oklahoma City is coming into tonight’s match up having won their last 5 games in a row. Oklahoma City maybe the only team in the NBA that can score with Golden State. Golden State is far and away the highest scoring team in the NBA averaging 115.4 points per game, but did you know that Oklahoma City is the 2nd highest scoring team on average in the NBA with 109.7 points per game. Oklahoma City’s scoring defense on average is actually a little better than Golden State’s. The Thunder give up 101.6 points per game on average while the Warriors average giving up 102.7 points per game. What does Oklahoma City have to do tonight to hand Golden State their first home loss of the season. Kevin Durant averages 27.4 points per game this season. Does he need to go for 40 or 50 points tonight for Oklahoma City to win this game? What about Russell Westbrook who averages 24 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game and 10 assists per game this season and has 8 triple-doubles. Westbrook’s 8 triple-doubles put him 2nd in the NBA this season; who is he tailing? That would be Draymond Green of Golden State who has 10 triple-doubles to lead the league. Does Westbrook need his 9th triple-double of the season for Oklahoma City to win this game? Would big games by Durant and Westbrook even be enough for Oklahoma City to get a win or would they need someone else or possible two someone else’s to step up and have a big night. While Serge Ibaka (12.8), Enes Kanter (11.8) and Dion Waiters (10.0) all average in double figures for Oklahoma City can they elevate their game enough to help the Thunder get a big win. On the Friday Sports Time Radio podcast Dan the Man took Golden State to win this game. Now Dan doesn’t play the betting line he just makes picks, but if you’re a betting man Golden State is anywhere from a 8 1/2 to a 9 point favorite in the game. The over/under for the game which is the combined score of both teams is between 230 and 231.5 total points.Where are you pout your money tonight?

The Sacramento Kings have dropped their last two games and 6 out of there last 7 games. On Wednesday they lost a home game 107-102 to the Chicago Bulls. Well the Bulls are going to be a playoff team and even though it’s a home game and the Kings had their chances to win the game; so not a bad loss, but a loss just the same. Then last night the Kings gave up 128 points to the Brooklyn Nets in their 128-119 loss. The win improved the Nets record to 13-38. The Nets are 14 out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference. The only team that Brooklyn has a better record than are the 7-43 Philadelphia 76ers. With these two losses the talk has started again if George Karl is the right coach for Sacramento. It seems as Sacramento might try and stay with Karl until the All-Star break which is just 3 games away. The Kings face the Boston Celtics on Sunday, the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday and then the 76ers on Wednesday heading into the All-Star break. These 3 games are on the road and there’s a chance that Sacramento will go into the All-Star break on a 5 game losing streak. Even if Sacramento goes 2-1 in these 3 games would that be enough to save Karl’s job. Would a loss to Philadelphia doom Karl? If Sacramento makes a change it is unlikely assistant coach Nancy Lieberman would take over. It looks more like they would elevate assistant coach and former Kings forward Corliss Williamson to interim coach. It was roughly this time a year ago that the Kings struck a deal to hire Karl away from ESPN to replace then-interim coach Tyrone Corbin. A five-game winning streak in mid-January improved Sacramento’s record to 20-23 and lifted the Kings into the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference, but the 1-6 nosedive has left them 3 1/2 games behind the Utah Jazz for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has made it known that he expected the team to push for a playoff berth this season and bring an end to a postseason drought dating to 2006. Karl’s job appeared to be in trouble in early November, but he survived those storms. If the 64-year-old is ultimately dismissed now; it would be Sacramento’s third coaching change since December 2014. Mike Malone was fired after an 11-13 start last season, and Karl was brought in on a four-year, $15 million deal after Sacramento went 7-21 under Corbin.

Now on tomorrow’s (Sunday) edition of Sports Time Radio Mr. Fantasy and I will let you know who Dan the Man, Schaumburg Stu and Mr. Fantasy himself are taking to win Super Bowl 50 this Sunday. Not only will you learn who they think will win the game, but what they think the final score will be and who’s going home with the M.V.P. trophy. I am actually going to go ahead and give you my picks right here for Super Bowl Sunday. I’m going with the Denver Broncos to pull off the upset and beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. I do believe that it will be a close game and that a field goal will decide it. I’m going with a final score of Denver 27 Carolina 24. It’s always easy to pick the quarterback of the Super Bowl winning team to take home the M.V.P. but I asked everyone to be creative and find someone else too pick; so I’ll stay away from Peyton Manning as M.V.P. So I am going to go out on a limb and say that for the first time since Super Bowl 35 a defensive player will win the M.V.P. By the way that player was Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens. My choice for M.V.P. of Super Bowl 50 is Von Miller!

Listen to Sports Time Radio on http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com

You can find me on Twitter @Burketme

 

The National Hockey League returned to the ice last night after the All-Star break with 12 games on the schedule. Connor McDavid returned to action for the Edmonton Oilers and scored a goal and picked up 2 assists in the Oilers 6-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Sidney Crosby scored 3 goals and added an assists in the Pittsburgh Penquins 6-5 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Crosby had a natural hat tick meaning his 3 goals came in a row. In a battle of 1st place teams the Atlantic leading Florida Panthers beat the Metropolitan leading Washington Capitals 5-2. Jonathan Huberdeau scored 2 goals and had an assists in the Panthers victory.Brian Elliott of the St. Louis Blies faced just 16 shots stopping them all as St. Louis picked up a 1-0 win over the Nashville Predators. Pekka Rinne stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced, but all St. Louis needed was that 1 goal to get the win. In the other games the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1. The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 4-3. The New Jersey Devils beat the New York Rangers 3-2.The New York Islanders beat the Minnesota Wild 5-3. The Philadelphia beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-2. The Dallas Stars beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-3. The Los Angeles Kings beat the Arizona Coyotes 6-2 and the Anaheim Ducks beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2. There are just 3 games on the ice tonight and the Canadiens are the only team that is playing back to back as they’re hosting the Buffalo Sabres. Also playing tonight the Detroit Red Wings are at the Tampa Bay Lighting and the Carolina Hurricanes are at the Calgary Flames. After tonight’s games the only team that hasn’t played a game after the All-Star break is the Vancouver Canucks.

The NHL has rescheduled the 3 games that where cancelled because of the snow storm that hit the east coast. The Pittsburgh/Washington game will be played March 1st in Washington. The other two games Anaheim at Washington and Philadelphia at New York )Islanders) will be played on April 10th and will end the regular season.

Behind 38 points from Kobe Bryant the Los Angeles Lakers ended their 10 game losing streak last night beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-115 at the Staples Center. Bryant played 33 minutes going 10-21 from the field. 11 of his attempts where 3 pointers and he made 7 of them. Bryant added 5 rebounds, a team leading 5 assists and 2 steals on the night. Louis Williams scored 20 points. D’Angelo Russell came off the Lakers bench to score 18 points. Jordan Clarkson scored 16 points while Julius Randle added 15 points and a team high 12 rebounds. The Timberwolves had 6 players score in double figures led by Andrew Wiggins with 30 in 41 minutes. Gorgui Dieng had 19 points. Zach LaVine and Karl-Anthony Towns had 14 points; Towns also had a team high 9 rebounds. Shabazz Muhammad had 12 points while Rickey Rubio scored 10 points and had a team leading 15 assists.

The win improved the Lakers record to 10-41 this season. Los Angeles will try to extend there winning streak Thursday night as they start a 4 games road trip against the New Orleans Pelicans. After New Orleans the Lakers road trip will see them face the San Antonio Spurs, the Indiana Pacers and then they wrap up the road trip against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In other NBA action the Boston Celtics beat the New York Knicks 97-89. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 20 points while Arron Afflalo had 18 points to lead the Knicks. The Houston Rockets beat the Miami Heat 115-102. James Harden led the Rockets with 26 points while Luol Deng had 17 points to lead the Heat. The Toronto raptors beat the Phoenix Suns 104-97. Kyle Lowry led the Raptors 26 points while Markieff Morris put up a double-double 30 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Suns. The Portland Trailblazers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 107-95. C.J. McCollum led the Trailblazers with 30 points while Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with 21 points.

There are quite a few games on the NBA schedule tonight. There are 11 games on the court tonight and it’s an ESPN television night. The first game on ESPN has the Golden State warriors at the Washington Wizards while the night cap features the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Los Angeles Clippers. Interestingly Minnesota is playing back to back games on the road against different teams in the same arena. Alright; maybe that’s just interesting to me.

I have to tell you I’m still not all that excited about the Super Bowl. I guess there could be some solid story lines. If the Denver Broncos win and Peyton Manning could ride off into the sunset as a Super Bowl champion. On the other hand if the Carolina Panthers get the win will that establish Cam Newton as the top player in the NFL. The original line had Carolina as a 4 point favorite. The betting line has jump and now Carolina is a 6 point favorite. The over/under for the game is at 45 and I believe it started around 44 or 44 1/2; so there wasn’t much movement in that betting line. If your not interested in betting your money on either of those two lines there are 37 other prop bets you can wager on. You can bet on stuff like what will the coin flip be heads or tails. How about putting some money down on what Stephen Curry will be wearing if he’s shown on television. Since the game is in San Francisco or I guess technically it’s Santa Clara, but you can actual bet on if there will be an earthquake during the game. On the Sunday Sports Time Radio podcast I’ll have to pull up some of these prop bets and see where Mr. Fantasy stands on these. The Sunday podcast is from 10:00 a.m. until Noon on http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com As always will make our picks for the game, but will extend those a little as Dan the Man, Schaumburg Stu, Mr. Fantasy and myself will not only pick the winner of the game, but also what we think the final score will be and who we think will win the MVP. Mr. Fantasy and I will also try to put together a winning FanDuel line up for you as well as a breakdown of Super Bowl 50.

Who’s your pick to win?

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

Does the NBA have a problem? There are reports that ratings for TNT and ESPN are down this season. TNT has lost close to 8 points in the ratings while ESPN was said to be down about 5 ratings points. It seems as though fans are only interested in seeing the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers in primetime. No these teams are the Top 3 teams in the NBA and barring an upset in the playoffs you’d have to think Cleveland will play either San Antonio or Golden State in the NBA Finals. So can you blame fans for only really wanted to watch these 3 teams play?

While the Cavaliers lead in the Eastern Conference is just 2 1/2 games over the Toronto Raptors does anyone think that in a 7 game series the Raptors could beat the Cavaliers. The Chicago Bulls are currently 3rd in the Eastern Conference 7 games behind the Cavaliers. Now the Bulls have actually had some success against Cleveland, but have they had enough success to win 4 games in a 7 game series. Then it’s the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics who are ties for 4th place in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics did show some flashes against the Cavaliers in last years playoffs, but not enough to win the series. Atlanta had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season, but it was still the Cavaliers who went to the NBA Finals. Right no the Eastern Conference playoffs would round out with the Miami Heat (6th seed), Detroit Pistons (7th seed) and the Indiana Pacers (8th seed) as the final teams in. There are a few teams that the Cavaliers might drop a game or even two to in a series, but is there a team on that list that’s going to beat the Cavaliers in a 7 game series.

Golden State leads the Western Conference with a record of 42-4. San Antonio is 3 games behind with a record of 39-7. Did you know that neither team has lost a home game this season. The Warriors are 22-0 at home while the Spurs are 25-0 at home. So with the way these two teams are playing on their home courts could a team going into there arena and get a playoff road win? Is that team the Oklahoma City Thunder. With a healthy Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook you’d have t think that Oklahoma City has the best chance to get by either Golden State or San Antonio in a 7 game playoff series. Durant averages 27.2 points per game to go with an average of 8 rebounds a game. Durant also hands out an average of 4.5 assists a game as well. Westbrook is just a triple-double waiting to happen no matter who the opponent is. Westbrook is averaging 24.1 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game and 9.9 assists per game. Oklahoma City also has a big man who can protect the rim in Serge Ibaka who blocks 2.1 shots per game to go along with 12.8 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game.  Enes Kanter (11.8) and Dion Waiters (10.1) also average double digit points per game for Oklahoma City. This could be the toughest match up besides each other for either Golden State or San Antonio come playoff time. The Los Angeles Clippers are 31-16 and in 4th place in the Western Conference, but with the Blake Griffin situation going on it seems as though the team is more of a dumpster fire than a championship contender. The Clippers will have time to put it together when Griffin returns in 4 to 6 weeks from his broken hand, but can the team gel for a playoff run. The rest of the Western Conference looks like this right now. The Memphis Grizzlies are 5th at 27-20. The Dallas Mavericks are 6th at 27-22. The Houston Rockets are 7th at 25-24 and the Portland Trailblazers currently hold the 8th and final playoff spot with a record of 22-26, but are just a 1/2 ahead of the Utah Jazz. Do you think that the Grizzlies, Mavericks, Rockets, Trailblazers or possible Jazz will have what it takes to beat the Warriors or the Spurs in a 7 game playoff series?

I’ve mentioned on the podcast that I don;t enjoy the style of play that is going on in the NBA right now and I also feel that all I ever really need to watch is the 4th quarter of a game. It’s a drive and kick league now, but when someone kicks the basketball out it’s to the 3-point line for a shot. How many jump shots are taken from within 20 feet in an NBA game? Sadly I could never make it through an entire game to count, but one of these days I might have to try. Of course you wouldn’t count lay ups or dunks. I also have a big issue with the way the referees call the game and it’s really just one simple thing; call traveling. I understand that they want the monster dunks on the highlights, but there are so many other traveling violations in a game that are uncalled. Just last week I was checking in on the Cavaliers game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. While I had the game on I watched a player catch the ball at the 3-point line and his defender came out with him and faced him up. The player with the basketball changed his pivot foot 4 different times to get space from his defender to make a pass and no traveling was called on the play. Now I was able to see this on television; so how did the referee who was just a few feet away from these two players not see the multiple changes of the players pivot feet. Now I’m not saying that you can’t give that guy the extra step on his way too the basket for a monster dunk, but call it when it’s out on the floor in pain sight. Or maybe it’s just time to get rid of the traveling call all together.

While I’m not a huge fan of tennis I do enjoy watching some of a match if Serena Williams is involved. Earlier this morning Williams was in the finals of the Australian Open. While I didn’t get up to watch the match live i did read that Williams lost in the finals 4-6, 6-3, 4-6 to the #7 ranked player in the world Angelique Kerber. It was a big comeback for Kerber who was just 1 point away from being eliminated from the tournament in the opening round. Kerber went from almost going home to winning her 1st Grand Slam title.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com

You can also find me on Twitter @Burketime

This Old Stub

Posted: January 29, 2016 in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio

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It all started with a Facebook post and an airline deal of $49 to Denver. Late one night, last January, I was studying when my wife interrupts, she hadn’t seen a deal like that and thought we should go. I gave her the two weeks I’d be able to travel and she booked it. The sale was ending that night and we wouldn’t be able get that deal on the weekends. I should have researched it a little because the Blackhawks were in town the Saturday before we arrived and the Cubs helped the Rockies open Coors Field for the season but of course we arrived the day after. I did how ever schedule a tour of Coors Field which was hosted by a really nice old lady that took us on the mile and a half journey above sea level and back down below below home plate. The only other visitors, were two fireman from Atlanta up there to see the Firefighter Muesum they also saw, which of course I was jealous of, the previous day’s contest between the Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs. Now some people may see this as bad indicate but it makes it a much more personal experience. What made things even better was the fact that the other two guys that were there, tuned into little kids for that time period also. I’m sure if she would have let us, the three of us would have been out there running the bases.

The tour begins at the gates on the southwest corner of the stadium…Forgive me I forget the gate, as we walk the tunnel to the field the starting line is presented above with banners of each player. This tunnel leads to the concourse and opens up to a beautiful view of the field. We were lucky to get a day with clear skies and a bright sun. After absorbing the view from behind home plate, the tour guide explains to us the recent upgrade to Coors Field. The top tier seats in right field were removed and leveled; creating the new Roofdeck. Now, I’ll be honest, when it comes to tour guides, I don’t have the longest attention span, so I’m not sure if she said it or not but I’m assuming this new rooftop setting was inspired by the rooftops of Wrigleyville. Which was our next stop on the tour, which also explains why she asked if we were ready for some exercise? As we begin to ascend towards the Roofdeck, we made a pit stop about half way there at the corner of the 22cd and Blake Street, the Blue Moon Brewing Co. She told us the story, just like you see on tv about the orange garnish. I’d love to tell you so much more but I’m not really into beer, so I didn’t really pay much attention but it opens to ticket holders 90 mins before the game but they do open it up to the public during the regular season and is open in the off season also. Being that it was before lunch, it wasn’t open, so my wife and the guys couldn’t have a taste test. We finally make it to the top and the view is just breath taking from the top. I’m sure come game time, the 400 plus feet distance from home plate, still doesn’t generate a bad seat in the house.

The rooftop has two full service bars, the Tavern Ballpark specializes in local craft beers and the Tuaca Terrace Bar features cocktails, spirits, wines and craft beers. But for me, I can’t wait to get back to is CHUBurger, a local “Craft Casual” dining experience which its ingredients that are farm fresh from Longmont, CO. But I’m not telling you anything, you can read it on their website. The view from below would lead you to believe that is all that’s going on, is up front, but it’s behind the bars are lounge areas to well relax. This is where I see the inspiration from the rooftops in Wrigleyville. Now for me, I don’t need all the extra amenities but to have seats up there would be great in case say my wife gets tired of the game or “annoyed” with the people, there is a place she can take off to get away. Now as you look out onto the field and up in the stands, there is a row of blue seats that signifies 1 mile above sea level. With my knees, I don’t think I’d leave my seat. Now I know what you’re thinking, it’s The mile high city wasn’t the lack of oxygen killing you? For my wife and I, we didn’t notice it one bit. The only downside of the tour of course, is that nothing is open inside the park, I know it was an off day but still just four people on the tour and you couldn’t stage the tour a little. I’m being sarcastic of course but I still think they could add a stop at the gift shop despite it being an off day.

On with the tour, our next stop is the Wells Fargo club. Basically, the tour guide told us that since we are customers of Wells Fargo, to call to get the privilege of sitting in this gourmet luxury type bar sitting behind home plate. It had a great view and was full of memorabilia and on one of the tables were old programs and souvenirs for the taking. Out the door and around the corner, to the press box we head. It’s just as it appears when it’s captured on tv, countertops from wall to wall with assigned seats by media source. Nothing more than a workspace and outlets with I’m sure wifi.

The tour ends behind home plate but to get there, we go through the banquet area that can be rented out for corporate events or even weddings. The view is not of the field but of the street which amazingly is only a couple stories from street level (somethings you really have to see yourself to understand). Now we end up going down it seems forever and go through a couple tunnels and into the visiting players locker room. It’s just as seen in any post game interview but a lot nicer in person and larger. Sunflower seeds and Forbes magazines to go around. We spent sometime in the clubhouse going through every square inch, it was off to the dugout but before reaching that point we stopped to take a few swings in the batting cage, we wished, we were lucky she let us go down there. We head up the stairs to see the sunlight flooding the tunnel making it impossible to see until you reach the top of the stairs opening to a glimpse in the eyes of the visiting team. Just standing there in the dugout makes you relive that childhood dream of sitting on the bench spitting sunflower seeds shells everywhere, waiting to step in the batters box. As we ascend the steps to the field, we learn that we are not allowed to go behind the warning track. We’re given enough time to enjoy and capture the moment before its farewell from this short mile and half stroll through Coors Field exiting from behind home plate, climbing back to the concourse and farewell. It’s a great expierence to get to go behind the scenes but I would loved to have seen Coors Field alive.

At the end of the day, I cant wait to get back to Denver and back to Coors Field and see the Rockies in action but with so many seating options, I’m not sure where I’d sit!

@DanZeeeMan

Believe it or not the Golden State Warriors did it to another contender. This time the San Antonio Spurs fell victim to a 30 point Warriors blow out 120-90 on Monday night. Tim Duncan was held out of the game due to a knee issue, but even if Duncan had played it wouldn’t of changed the outcome of the game. The Warriors took a 6-point lead after the 1st quarter 29-23. Golden State added 9 points to the lead going into halftime 62-47. The Warriors out the game away in the 3rd quarter adding 14 points to there lead 95-66. The Golden State lead was big enough after 3 quarters for Stephan Curry to sit out the entire 4th quarter. Even without Curry in the 4th the Warriors outscored the Spurs 25-24 to get another 30 point victory over a team many experts thought might be an NBA title contender.

Curry led the way for Golden State with 37 points in 28 minutes of game action. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson were the other Warriors starters scoring in double figures with 11 points apiece. Brandon Rush and Shaun Livingston came off the Warriors bench to score 13 points; Marreese Speights added 12 points off the Golden State bench as well. Green led Golden State in both rebounds with 9 and assists with 6.

San Antonio was led by Kawhi Leonard in scoring with 16 points. David West was the only other Spurs starter to score in double figures with 12. but Boban Marjanovic did come off the San Antonio bench to score 12 points. Marjanovic also grabbed a team high 6 rebounds while Tony Parker, Danny Green and Manu Ginobili all tied for the team lead in assists with 3.

The Warriors improved to 21-0 at home and 41-4 overall. The loss was the Spurs 7th of the season; all on the road and there record dropped to 38-7. Golden State is back in action tonight as they play host to the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks are 26-21 on the season, but just 13-13 on the road. Can they be the team to hand the Warriors their 1st home loss of the season? If Golden State gets a win tonight over Dallas they’ll take their winning streak on a 3 game road trip starting Saturday in Philadelphia against the 76ers. The game against the 76ers is the first of a back to back as Sunday night the Warriors face off against the New York Knicks. After the back to back the Warriors get a couple of days off before going up against the Washington Wizards to end the road trip. Philadelphia is 7-39 on the season and it would be the biggest upset in I don’t know how long if they beat the Warriors. Back to backs are always tough for teams; so maybe the Knicks have an outside shot at getting a win against Golden State. The Knicks are 22-25, but do have a winning record (13-10) at home. The Wizards have been a bit of a disappointment this season. They’re 20-23 this season and have actually played better on the road than they have at home. Don’t forget that the Warriors did stumble on their last road trip and lost a game to the Detroit Pistons. Could we see something like that happen on this road trip? It’s doubtful with the match ups they have; Detroit is 24-21 and looking to grab an Eastern Conference playoff spot this season.

There are 4 games left on the NHL schedule tonight before the teams head into the All-Star break. The Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Tampa Bay Lighting. The Philadelphia Flyers take on the Washington Capitals. The Nashville Predators take on the Calgary Flames and the night wraps up with the Colorado Avalanche against the Los Angeles Kings. Win or lose tonight the Capitals will head into the All-Star break with the most points. Washington has 73 points heading into tonight’s game against Philadelphia. Washington is followed by the Chicago Blackhawks with 70 points. The Dallas Stars are next with 67 points. Then the St. Louis Blues have 64 points while the Kings and the Florida Panthers are tied at 63 points. Three of the those teams (Blackhawks, Stars and Blues) all come from the Western Conference Central division.

The Blackhawks Patrick Kane leads the NHL in scoring with 73 points. Kane also leads in goals with 30 and assists with 43. Jamie Benn of the Stars is 2nd in scoring with 58 points and his teammate Tyler Seguin is 3rd with 53 points. Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson is 4th in scoring with 52 points and Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks rounds out the Top 5 scorers with 49 points. Benn and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin trail Kane by 2 goals with 28 each then comes Sequin, Pavelski and the Blues Vladimir Tarasenko with 26 goals each. Karlsson trails Kane by 2 assists with 41 on the season. Blake Wheeler of the Winnipeg Jets is 3rd with 35 assists. John Klingberg from the Stars is 4th with 34 assists and then P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens and Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Capitals are tied for 5th with 33 assists.

Washington’s Braden Holtby leads all goaltenders in wins with 30. Chicago’s Corey Crawford is next with 28 wins then Jonathan Quick of the Kings comes in with 26 wins.  Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Martin Jones of the Sharks are tied with 23 wins. John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks has the best Goals Against Average at 1.91. Holtby is next at 2.01 with Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lighting eight behind him at 2.02. Peter Mrazek of the Detroit Red Wings and Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils are tied at 2.03. Chicago’s Crawford leads all goaltenders with 7 shutouts on the season. Jake Allen of the Blues is next with 5 shutouts while there are 7 goalies tied with 4 shutouts.

I’m sure you noticed going through the stats, but the teams with the better records seem to have the most players on top of the stat sheet. If your favorite is doing well they’ll need their top players to continue to produce to stay in playoff contention.

We’ve got our Super Bowl match up. It will be the #1 seeds from each conference as the Denver Broncos will represent the AFC as they take on the Carolina Panthers of the NFC. The Broncos had a little tougher time getting to the Super Bowl as they held on for a 20-18 victory over the New England Patriots. The Panthers had a much easier time advancing to the Super Bowl as they cruised to a 49-15 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. There’s plenty of time to break this game down; so I’m not going to start on it today. What I will tell you is Carolina opened as a 4 point favorite for the game with the over/under being set at 44 1/2 points.

Listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

 

Thursday night the Chicago Blackhawks took their 12 game winning streak into Amalie Arena to face the Tampa Bay Lighting in a rematch of last seasons Stanley Cup finals. The Lighting where coming in on a 6 game winning streak of their own. It was a close game 2-1, but it was the Blackhawks that saw there team record winning streak end. It looked good for the Blackhawks early as Artem Anisimov put them up 1-0 on his 17 goal of the season early in the 1st period. Patrick Kane picked up an assists on the goal. Just about 7 minutes later Anton Stralman tied it up with his 6th goal of the season to make it a 1-1 game. Victor Hedman and Valteri Flippula assisted on Hedman’s goal. The teams entered the 2nd period tied 1-1. Late in the 2nd period on the power play Nikita Kucherov scored his 20th goal of the season; which turned out to be the game winner. Hedman and Alex Killorn assisted on the goal. Each team had scoring chances in the 3rd period, but both Corey Crawford (Blackhawks) and Ben Bishop (Tampa Bay) kept the puck out of the net. Crawford stopped all 10 shots he saw in the 3rd period. For the game Crawford stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced. Bishop stopped 9 shots in the 3rd period, but overall had a lighter night in goal than Crawford as the Blackhawks only registered 18 total shots on goal. Bishop stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced. Tampa bay will take it’s 7-game winning streak on the road tonight (Saturday) as they face the Florida Panthers. With their record breaking streak snapped you had to wonder how the Blackhawks would bounce back and they didn’t have to wait long to take the ice again as they where scheduled for back to back games as they took the ice last night to play the Panthers. The Panthers had there own 12 game winning streak just a couple of weeks ago, but came into last nights game on a 4 game losing streak. Crawford got the night off in goal for the Blackhawks as Scott Darling got the start. The Panthers didn’t waste any time getting to Darling as Reilly Smith (14), former Blackhawk Brian Campbell (3) and Quinton Howden (5) all tallied 1st period goals to give the Panthers a 3-0 after one. Aaron Eckblad picked up his 10th goal of the season in the 2nd period and as it turned out the Panthers didn’t need anymore than 1 goal as Roberto Luongo turned away all 27 of the Blackhawks shots he faced for his 4th shutout of the season in Florida’s 4-0 victory. So it’s went from winning 12 in a row to losing 2 in a row for the Blackhawks and it doesn’t get any easier as they face the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, but it is a home game for the Blackhawks. St. Louis is in 3rd place in the Central division of the Western Conference behind the Blackhawks and the Dallas Stars. The Blues will also be coming into Sunday’s game off a loss as they suffered a 2-1 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche Friday night.

With a little over half of the season gone it looks as though the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL. Washington is 35-8-3 for 73 points on the season. The Blackhawks at 68 points and the Stars at 65 points are the two closet teams to the Capitals. While I’m sure you’re not surprised that Alexander Ovechkin leads the Capitals on goals with 28. It might be a bit of a surprise to you that he;s just 3rd on the team in overall scoring. With 15 goals and 33 assists  Evgeny Kuznetsov leads Washington with 48 points. Nicklas Backstrom has 15 goals and 29 assists and is 2nd on the team in scoring with 44 points. Ovechkin is actually 3rd on the team in scoring with 42 points. While Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Backstrom have led the Capitals offense t the best record in hockey it’s Braden Holtby who holds things down in goal. Holtby has started 38 out of Washington’s 46 games this season. Holtby is 30-5-2 and his 30 wins leads the league. He has the 3rd best Goals Against Average at 2.01 and his Save Percentage of .930 ranks 5th among regular starting goalies. Holtby doesn’t garner much attention, but he’s a big reason the Capitals are playing like the best team in the NHL.

The NFL will decide this Sunday who gets to play in the Super Bowl as the Conference championships take place. It starts with the New England Patriots at the Denver Broncos which is scheduled to kickoff at 2:05. The night game features the Arizona Cardinals at the Carolina Panthers. These 4 teams where the top seeds in their conferences; so I guess you could say they’re suppose to be here. I have to tell you I’ve been very disappointed in the playoff games so far. I think there’s only been 1 or maybe 2 games that have been good or even interesting to watch. I’m hoping that these 2 games will come through and give me something to look forward to as we head into the week off before the Super Bowl. Like we always do on the Sunday edition of Sports Time Radio Mr. Fantasy and I will do our best to break these games down and let you know who we think will win and why. Of course will let you in on who Dan the Man and Schaumburg are picking to win the games as well. In our playoff picks Dan the Man and I are tied at 6-2 while Schaumburg Stu and Mr. Fantasy are just a game behind at 5-3. Not to give too much away, but I did have Arizona winning the Super Bowl when we made our pre-season predictions; so you might be able to guess who I’ll be raking to win the Arizona/Carolina game. For the rest of the picks you’ll have to tune in between 10:00 a.m. and Noon on BlogTalkRadio.com to hear who everyone is going with to win.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the Cleveland Cavaliers made a change at head coach yesterday. Even with a career record of 83-40 in a season and a half and a trip to the NBA Finals David Blatt was fired by the Cavaliers. It may seem like an odd firing, but remember that he wasn’t LeBron James’ guy and it’s no real surprise that after they where embarrassed by the Golden State Warriors on Monday that they used this to fire Blatt. Tyronn Lue was immediately hired as head coach and given a 3 year deal. Lue gets to coach his first game as head coach tonight as the Cavaliers face the Chicago Bulls. Now I heard it reported over and over yesterday that James wasn’t consulted in the decision to fire Blatt. There is no possible way that you’ll every get me to believe that. There is no way the team didn’t go to James before they made this decision and asked his opinion. If Blatt was a guy James liked playing for there’s no chance that this move would’ve been made. In general teams don’t like to anger their best player. Of course this is the Cavaliers we’re talking about; so you never know. Lue inherits the best team in the Eastern Conference and should have no trouble at all taking the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals where he’ll probably suffer the same fate as Blatt. A loss to a better Western Conference team.

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

What would you be thinking if you’re a Cleveland Cavaliers fan. You’re easily the best team in the Eastern Conference at 28-11. Even if you don’t finish with the best record in your conference are you concerned that the Toronto Raptors would beat you in a 7 game series if they had home court? What you have to start trying to figure out is the fact that you lost to the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day 89-83. Okay a close game on the road and Oracle Arena can be a tough place to play; so you can deal with that loss. January 14th a 99-95 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Alright another close game on the road that ended up being a loss. You look and think that the Cavaliers where in those two games and when the Warriors and Spurs come to Cleveland the Cavaliers should be able to get a couple of wins at home. Well Golden State came to Cleveland for a visit on Monday. The Warriors where coming off of a surprising loss to the Detroit Pistons on Saturday. Maybe they were looking ahead to this game against the Cavaliers. If they where they showed it by easily beating Cleveland 132-98. The Warriors built a 30-point lead in the first half, pushed their advantage to 43 after halftime. Only a late flurry of points helped the Cavaliers avoid their worst home loss in franchise history.  Stephen Curry scored 35 points to lead all scorers and he didn’t play in the 4th quarter. Andre Iguodala came off of the Warriors bench to score 20 points while starters Draymond Green )16 points), Klay Thompson (15 points) and Harrison Barnes (12 points) all scored in double figures for Golden State. Green also grabbed a tam high 10 rebounds and also handed out a team high 7 assists. LeBron James did lead Cleveland in scoring, but with just 16 points. James went 7-16 from the field including 0-3 from behind the 3-point line. J.R. Smith was the only other Cavaliers starter to score in double figures with 14 points, but Matthew Dellavedova (11 points) and Iman Shumpert (10 points) each scored double digits off the bench. Kevin Love who only managed to score 3 points in the game did grab 6 rebounds to lead the Cavaliers while Dellavedova led the team in assists with 6. The Cavaliers return to the court tonight in Brooklyn against the 11-31 Brooklyn Nets before beginning a 4-game homestand that will see the Cavaliers host the Los Angeles Clippers, the Chicago Bulls, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Phoenix Suns. If the Cavaliers are going to contend for the NBA title they’re going to have to find a way to beat the best teams in the Western Conference. The Clippers have the 3rd best record (27-14) in the Western Conference; so it will be interesting to see how the Cavaliers perform against them. Then on January 30th San Antonio will visit Quicken Loans Arena for their match up with Cleveland. This game will really be a test for the Cavaliers and will see if they can put up a fight against the Spurs unlike they did against the Warriors. Maybe Cleveland will catch a break and Spurs coach Greg Popovich will decide to rest some of his top players like he likes to do in these games.

It’s conference championship weekend in the NFL; so that means there are only 4 teams left with a chance to win the Super Bowl. The AFC plays first on Sunday with a scheduled 2:05 p.m. kickoff time as the Denver Broncos host the New England Patriots. The NFC championship game is scheduled to kickoff at 5:40 p.m. with the Carolina Panthers hosting the Arizona Cardinals. Mr. Fantasy and I will do the Sports Time Radio podcast on BlogTalkRadio.com  from 10:00 a.m. until Noon on Sunday like we always do. We’ll let you know who we think will win these games as well as let you know who Dan the Man and Scxhaumburg Stu are picking to win as well. Then will do our best to put together the best FanDuel line ups for your money. Now after two weeks of playoffs Dan the man and I are leading the way in the playoff picks 6-2. Schaumburg Stu and Mr. Fantasy are just a game behind at 5-3. In a bit of an odd twist when anyone of us is the only person picking a team that team has lost every time.

If you’ve been listening to the Sports Time Radio podcast you know that I’ve been having Dan the Man pick winners in the NBA or NHL depending on how the schedule is set up. Dan is 24-12 after last night; so he’s doing quite well. I decided last Sunday to try and have Mr. Fantasy make some predictions on top of just picking the games.  I gave him 4 categories; the player with the most passing yards, the players with the most passing touchdowns, the player with the most rushing yards and the player with the most receiving yards. These where Sunday only predictions. Mr. Fantasy liked Peyton Manning to throw for the most yards and most touchdowns. Manning went for 222 yards and 0 touchdowns as it was Russell Wilson 366 yards and 3 touchdowns who ended up being the leader in those categories. Mr, Fantasy was right on with which player would have the most rushing yards as Jonathan Stewart ran for 106 yards. Since Mr. Fantasy liked Manning to throw for a lot of yards he tried to pair up Demaryius Thomas with him as the player who would get the most receiving yards. While he did have the right game it was Martavis Bryant with 154 yards who ended up with the most receiving yards. So in the end Mr. Fantasy went 1-3 on his predictions. We’ll have to see if he can bounce back this Sunday.

John Scott, as it turns out, is still headed to the NHL All-Star Game in Nashville. The NHL announced Tuesday it decided to allow Scott to captain the Pacific Division team even though he got traded out of the conference. On Friday it seemed as Scott’s All-Star appearance was in jeopardy after being traded from the Arizona Coyotes to the Montreal Canadiens and subsequently being demoted to AHL team St. John’s. That came after some in NHL front offices questioned whether Scott and his five career goals deserved an All-Star berth at all. Scott had been voted in by fans as the Pacific Division captain in large part due to the Twitter movement #VoteJohnScott. So even though he’s in the minors right now and it doesn’t look as though the Canadiens will be calling him up any time soon Scott will be allowed to go to the All-Star game and fulfill his captaincy.

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

 

 

 

The NBA season is just about to it’s halfway point and I heard an interesting comment about the league the other day. I wish I could remember who I could attribute this to, but sadly I can’t. Anyway this NBA analyst went on to say that there are only 3 teams that are serious NBA championship contenders. So if you’re not a fan of the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs or the Cleveland Cavaliers your season is over. Is that tough for you to hear? Golden State has the best record in the NBA at 37-3 while San Antonio is 35-6. Neither team has lost a home game so far this season as the Warriors are 19-0 at home and the Spurs are 23-0 at home. Cleveland is 28-10, but is far and away the best team in the Eastern Conference. While the Cavaliers may have the easiest road to the finals they have lost both of their games against the top to teams in the west. On Christmas Day Golden State beat the Cavaliers 89-83 and then just this Thursday Cleveland was beaten by San Antonio 99-95. To be fair both of these match ups where on the road and now the Cavaliers will get to host Golden State this coming Monday, but they don’t host San Antonio until January 30th. Cleveland’s only loss at home was on December 1st; a 97-85 defeat by the Washington Wizards. The Toronto Raptors are 25-15 and look like the 2nd best team in the Eastern Conference, but are they a threat to beat the Cavaliers for a trip to the NBA Finals. In the Western Conference the Oklahoma City Thunder are 19-12 and the Los Angeles Clippers are 26-13 and look like the 3rd and 4th best teams in the Western Conference. Are the Thunder and the Clippers a threat to go to the NBA Finals? If someone besides the Warriors or the Spurs is going to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals they’ll have to beat both of those teams in a 7 game series. Say a team like the Thunder or the Clippers did manage to get past both the Warriors and the Spurs during the playoffs. How much would they have left for an NBA Finals match up against a team like Cleveland?

Remember when there was nothing but complaining about the Eastern Conference and the fact that they had teams with under .500 records getting into the playoffs. I don;t think I’ve heard as much complaining now that all 8 of what would be the Eastern Conference playoff teams would be over .500 and the Western Conference would have a team just 1 game over .500 sneak in and another team that is under .500 make the playoffs. Where did all these guys go who where saying the playoffs needed to be re-seeded and these terrible under.500 teams would ruin the playoffs by making it. Did those teams ruin Golden State’s run to a championship last season by making the playoffs. Yeah; I didn’t think so. Maybe it would affect the NBA if one of these under .500 teams actually made a playoff run and won a championship. It could also attract more casual fans to the NBA as a team that shouldn’t be there is there and that can draw a crowd. The playoff system the NBA uses seems to get good result as I don’t remember a team with an under .500 record win a championship over even go to a conference finals and while it might be tough to see a team with a better record than another team out of the playoffs that’s the way the conferences are set up. What will they say this season if there’s a team with a record above .500 that doesn’t make the playoffs, but it’s in the Eastern Conference this season.

There was a little bit of controversy when the NHL held an online vote to name captains for the All-Star game and John Scott of the Arizona Coyotes won one of those spots. Scott has played in 11 games this season for the Coyotes. Scott has 1 assists in those 11 games, but does have 25 penalty minutes. Now yesterday the Coyotes made a couple of trades. The first trade had Arizona sending defenseman Stefan Elliott to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Victor Bartley. Arizona then turned around and sent Bartley along with Scott to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Jarred Tinordi and minor league winger Stefan Fournier. It looks like just an even swap of players; no big deal. Well the Canadiens assigned Scott to their minor league affiliate  St. John’s of the AHL. Now accord to NHL rules Scott has to be on an NHL team to play in the All-Star game. I’m sure the players association will go back and forth with the NHL on this, but Scott himself said he’d follow the league rules. What this is all leading me too and this is normally Dan the Man’s thing on Sports Time Radio, but was this a conspiracy? I’m sure the NHL saw Scot being voted an All-Star captain as embarrassing and while both teams are saying the right things; you have to look at this and wonder.

After the rumors yesterday that the Baltimore Orioles had offered free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes a 5-year $90 million dollar contract I was surprised to see that there are reports that say the Orioles and free agent Chris Davis have agreed on a 7-year $161 million dollar deal. Maybe the contract offer to Cespedes was to try and get Davis’ camp moving as they seemed to be dragging their feet in negotiations with Baltimore. Davis hit a league high 47 home runs last season to go with 117 RBI’s and hit .262. Could the Orioles bring Davis back and still sign Cespedes?

The World Series champion Kansas City Royals also added a free agent overnight as it’s being reported that the Royals and Ian Kennedy have agreed on a 5-year $70 million dollar contract. Kennedy spent the last 3 seasons with the San Diego Padres where last season he was 9-15 with a 4.28 ERA in 30 starts.

In our picks for the wild card round Schaumburg Stu, Dan the Man and I went 3-1 while Mr. Fantasy was 2-2. The divisional round kicks off this afternoon with the Kansas City Chiefs at the New England Patriots and then tonight it’s the Green Bay Packers at the Arizona Cardinals. While I didn’t receive Mr. Fantasy’s picks in time to add them to this I can tell you that Dan the Man, Schaumburg Stu and I are all picking New England to win today’s first game, but Dan the Man and Schaumburg Stu have Green Bay winning tonight;s game while I have Arizona getting the win. Sunday’s games are the Seattle Seahawks at the Carolina Panthers to start the day and then the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Denver Broncos in the afternoon to wrap up the divisional round. Tomorrow on the Sports Time radio podcast I’ll give you are picks for the Sunday games as well as a review of how today’s games went. Mr. Fantasy should be their and he’ll be able to adjust his picks to go 2-0 on Saturday. You can find the podcast on http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com live from 10:00 a.m. until Noon.

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

Have you ever seen a worst weekend of playoff football? The last game of the set of four featuring the Green bay Packers beating the Washington Redskins was a decent game, but the other 3 stunk. The Kansas City Chiefs/Houston Texans game was over after the opening kickoff; we just didn’t know that yet. Even though the Chiefs went in leading at halftime 13-0; it seemed like Houston had no chance to get back into the game. There are obvious reasons the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Cincinnati Bengals game was terrible. Besides the 2 penalties decided the game there was the fact that these 2 teams combined to score just 34 points. I thought for sure that one of these teams would score 34 points; in no way did I think it would take both of them to get to that number. The Seattle Seahawks vs. the Minnesota Vikings game was 3-0 at halftime with Minnesota in the lead. They saved all the excitement for the last field goal attempt by the Vikings when Blair Walsh missed a 26-yarder to allow Seattle to hang on to a 10-9 victory. It was just bad football from start to finish on wild card weekend; so here’s hoping that the divisional round this weekend has some better games. Kansas City gets to start the weekend off again, but this time they are on the road to play the New England Patriots. It’s schedule to be a 3:35 p.m. kickoff on Saturday. Game 2 has the Green Bay Packers against the Arizona Cardinals with a kickoff time scheduled at 7:15 p.m. It’s the first meeting this season for the Chiefs and the Patriots, but the Packers and the Cardinals met in Week 16 when Arizona dominated the game and handed Green Bay a 38-8 loss. The Sunday games are both rematches. The first game has the Seattle Seahawks at the Caroline Panthers. In Week 6 the Panthers went into Seattle and won the game 27-23. This game is scheduled to be the Noon kickoff on Sunday. The second game is a scheduled 3:40 p.m. kickoff has the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Denver Broncos. These two teams played in Week 15 in Pittsburgh and the Steelers came away with a 34-27 victory. After last week I’m just not sure if any of these will be good match ups or if they’ll turn ingot good games. Of course like everyone else I’ll be sitting in front of the television watching even if it’s bad football; again!

Who had Gerardo Parra coming off the free agent market before Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes? Yesterday Parra got a 3-year $27.5 million dollar deal with from the Colorado Rockies. It was a bit of a surprise that the Rockies made this signing since their outfield looked set. Colorado has Carlos Gonzalez in right field, Charlie Blackmon in center field and Corey Dickerson in left field. Now quite a few teams use a 4 man outfield, but right after this signing the rumors started that one of the Colorado outfielders would be traded. There have been some rumors about the St. Louis Cardinals and Gonzalez, but nothing solid. It seemed that yesterday Blackmon’s name came up more and more with the Detroit Tigers seeming to be the team interested. Of course these are all just rumors right now. I thinking ti also could lead to Gonzalez playing some 1st base to help him stay in the line up. Gonzalez stayed healthy last season playing in 153 games and hit 40 homers. If Blackmon or Gonzalez is dealt you’d have to think that the Rockies would like to get some quality young pitching in return. So with Parra off the board how much longer will it be before Upton and Cespedes sign deals?

In what I think you could say is another surprise signing it was the Miami Marlins who stepped up and signing left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to a 5-year $80 million dollar deal. Chen’s deal does have an opt out after the second season. Last season Chen went 11-8 with a 3.34 ERA over 31 starts. Chen did go 16-6 in 2014. One of Chen’s most impressive stats is the fact that over 117 career starts he has walked just 172 hitters; 4 of which where intentional. The Marlins needed someone to fill the #2 spot in the rotation behind Jose Fernandez and you have to wonder with the Chen signing if will hear anymore about a possible Fernandez trade. There was a report out yesterday that the Marlins are no longer interested in trading center fielder Marcell Ozuna. The Marlins also added veteran infielder Chris Johnson yesterday. Johnson was let go by the Cleveland Indians after the 2015 season. Johnson should add some left handed as a back up at 3rd and 1st base. Terms of Johnson’s deal were not disclosed as the Indians are on the hook for $7.5 million this season and $9 million next season. Who knows if these moves will be enough for Miami to contend on the N.L. East next season, but remember no one had the New York Met winning that division last season.

The NBA is coming up on it’s halfway point and the Chicago Bulls find themselves at 22-15 in 4th place overall in the Eastern Conference. This is pretty much right where the Bulls found themselves last season under coach Tom Thibodeau. Now the Bulls front office team of john Paxton and Gar Foreman couldn’t wait to get rid of Thibodeau after last season. They even managed to set things up so Thibodeau was pretty much closed out of any other head coaching position for the 2015-16 season. With Thibodeau gone Paxton and Foreman went out and got their guy Fred Hoiberg. Now is Hoiberg the guy to lead this team t an NBA championship? He’s suppose to be an offensive coach, but the Bulls are only 11th in scoring averaging 102.1 points per game. The Bulls used to be a top defensive team under Thibodeau, but now they give up 100.8 points per game. That ranks right in the middle or 15th overall for the average of points given up. So under Hoiberg the Bulls aren’t a top offensive team and they’re no linger a top defensive team. After a 6 game winning streak the Bulls have now looked bad in 3 straight losses. Chicago lost 120-105 to the Atlanta Hawks; a team that is ahead of them in the standings. Then they turned around and played very poorly in a 114-100 loss to the Washington Wizards. To add to it last night the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Bulls 106-101. Now the Wizards are 17-19 and the Bucks are 16-24 with neither team being in the Top 8 of the Eastern Conference. The Bulls take the court tomorrow (Thursday) against the 4-36 Philadelphia 76ers. With the way te Bulls have played these last 3 games and with the game being in Philadelphia; could the Bulls become the 76ers 5th victory of the season?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com

You can also follow me on Twitter @Burketime

 

The playoffs kickoff this afternoon in the NFL as it’s Wild Card weekend. We have continued your picking of the games and I’ll let you know who we’re going with today at the end of the blog. What I thought I’d try to do is look at both of today’s games from a fantasy perspective. I’ll use the FanDuel system since that’s what Mr. Fantasy and I use on the Sunday podcast of Sports Time Radio when we put line ups in. Mr. Fantasy and I will be here tomorrow (Sunday) from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. to review today’s games, preview tomorrows games, let you know who we think will win and like I mentioned find the best FanDuel plays for your money.

The first game today has the Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) at the Houston Texans (9-7). Houston is the home team because they won the AFC South while Kansas City got into the playoffs as the top wild card team.

Let’s start with the quarterbacks. This may not be the game you want to play a quarterback from as the Texans average giving up just 210.4 yards a game through and the Chiefs give up an average of 231.1 passing yards a game. Of course you only have $60,000 to spend and Alex Smith (Kansas City) at $7100 or Brian Hoyer (Houston) at $6900 might be what you can afford. Smith hasn’t broken the 20 point mark on FanDuel in 5 weeks, but he got close last week at 18.34 points. Hoyer returned to the Texans line up since leaving their Week 14 game with a concussion. Hoyer out up 12.96 points last week on FanDuel. Smith averages a few more fantasy points a week 17.4 to Hoyer’s 15.8. If you’re at the point where you have to go with one of these two quarterbacks; I’d lean towards Smith. With Smith’s running ability he should rack up some rushing yards for you and might end up with a rushing touchdown.

Maybe you’ll find a better play at running back, but both defenses are solid against the run as well. Kansas City averaged giving up 98.2 yards rushing while Houston was just a little behind them giving up 99.8 rushing yards per game. Charcandrick West is the Chiefs main running back, but in the last two weeks he has failed to score more than 7 points on FanDuel. West has actually managed to score over 15 points in the last 6 weeks. West may look like a good value at $6400, but with his performance as of late and this match up you might want to look elsewhere. Alfred Blue is #1 on the Texans depth chart at running back. Blue has been dealing with a calf injury and is listed as probably for the game. Blue scored 10.9 FanDuel points last week; it was his first time over 10 points in 5 weeks. Blue will cost you $5700 while his back up Chris Polk is at $4700, but remember Polk only got 3 carries in last weeks game because of a knee injury. None of these backs are featured in the passing game; so you won’t find any extra point there. It would be a tough choice here, but West is the only running back coming into the game without a nagging injury; so maybe he’d be the choice, but it’s a toss up.

Kansas City’s Jeremy Maclin ($7200) has had 3 solid weeks to close out the season, but hasn’t scored over 20 FanDuel points in 5 weeks. Albert Wilson ($4900) has played his way into the #2 wide receiver spot for the Chiefs. Even though Wilson has found his way into the starting line up has hasn’t scored more than 7 FanDuel points in 4 weeks and has managed to score over 15 points just once this season. Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins has established himself as not only one of the top wide receivers in football, but a top weekly fantasy pick. Hopkins is one of those fantasy players who seems to get his catches every week no matter what the match up. Hopkins got his catches last week (7), but didn’t find his way into the end zone; so his FanDuel scoring was 12.4 points. Of course there’s a price with this production. Hopkins is the 2nd most expensive wide receiver on FanDuel for today at $8800, but he might be worth it to you. It’s difficult to pick a 2nd Houston wide receiver between Nate Washington, Cecil Shorts who’s returning from injury and rookie Jalen Strong. Shorts could be a under the radar pick if the Texans use him in the wildcat formation, but they’ve never used that formation when Hoyer has been at quarterback. Shorts will cost you $5200 and that gamble might not pay off with Hoyer under center. Maclin and Hopkins are players you can use today, but after them it’s tough to find a reason to get any other wide out from this game in your line up.

Tight end Travis Kelce normally is a major weapon in the passing game for Kansas City, but as of late has been up and down FanDuel wise. Last week Kelce scored just 1.5 points and at $6200 that could end your fantasy day. Of course the 2 weeks before that Kelce scored 13.3 and 10.3 points; so which tight end are you going to get? Kelce has had some groin issues, but practiced all week and should be full strength. I think the best advice I can give you about playing a Texans tight end is DON’T. Ryan Griffin ($4800) averages the most points for Houston’s tight ends at 5.2 points per game while C.J. Fiedorowicz ($4500)averages just 2.2 points per game. Kelce might turn out to be a good play today even against a tough Houston defense as he’ll be a good red zone weapon for the Chiefs if they can get there.  

At kicker Kansas City’s Cairo Santos ($4800) averages 9.7 points per game this season while Houston’s kicker Nick Novak ($4600) averages 7 FanDuel points per game on the season. If you think this might turn into a field goal game since it does feature 2 good defenses one of these guys might be a solid choice. The question you’d have t ask yourself is how many field goal attempts do you think they’ll get?

You would probably be alright using either team defense in this game. Kansas City is the most expensive defense on FanDuel today at $5100 while Houston is the 2nd most expensive defense at $4600. You wouldn’t think this will be a high scoring game; so go with the defense of the team you think will win the game.

Let’s move along to tonight’s game. It’s an AFC South match up as the Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) take on the Cincinnati Bengals (12-4) in Cincinnati. The Bengals won the AFC South while Pittburgh picked up the last AFC wild card spot.

This looks like the game where you’ll find your quarterback. The Steelers Ben Rothlisberger appears to be the top quarterback on FanDuel for Saturday and at $8400 he’s the highest priced. The Bengals do give up an average of 248.5 passing yards per game. So while it appears that Rothlisberger is the best quarterback start could A.J. McCarron be the sleeper FanDuel quarterback of the day. At $6400 McCarron is the lowest priced of the 4 starting Saturday quarterbacks, but does he have the best match up. Pittsburgh was the worst team in the AFC giving up an average of 271.9 passing yards per game. I always jump in on thee type of match ups and they haven’t really worked out for me, but if you go with McCarron as your FanDuel quarterback you should have some extra money to spend at the other positions.

Like I said with Houston’s tight ends’ I’d stay away from any Steelers running back. DeAngelo Williams has been ruled out for the game. That means that Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman will be the Steelers rushing attack. As you’d expect they both are very good values with both Toussaint and Todman costing $5700. Pittsburgh hasn’t really said this, but you’d think Toussaint would get the majority of the carries since Todman hasn’t played in a game since pre-season (9/3) when he was a member of the Carolina Panthers. Oddly that game was against the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s defense is only giving up an average of 91,2 yards per game, but you have to wonder if that number is low because teams are having so much success throwing the football against them. The Bengals feature that 2-back attack. Jeremy Hill ($6700) normally gets most of the rushing attempts, but is effective in the passing game as well. Hill is paired up with Giovani Bernard ($5600) in the backfield. The tough part is picking between the Bengals running backs as Hill averages 10.2 points per game on FanDuel while Bernard’s average is 9.8 point per game on the season. Hopefully you’ll make the right choice if you go with a Bengals running back.

Since this is expected to be a high scoring game wide receiver might be the place to spend your FanDuel money. It’s no surprise that Antonio Brown is the most expensive player listed for Saturday at $9500. Even though teams know Brown is the Steelers top receiving target he still gets his catches and puts up numbers. While it’s a lot of money for one player Brown has proven he’s worth it. Martavis Bryant has had some issues with his neck and has caught 1 pass in each of the last 2 games. I’m sure you heard that Pirrsburgh”s quarterback “Big” Ben challenged Bryant, but will it have an affect on his play. Will you go wit Bryant at $6900 or save the money and take a shot with Markus Wheaton at $5900? Wheaton is the Steelers wide receiver who benefits the most if Bryant struggles. Wheaton has also found his way into the end zone in 4 of the last 6 weeks. It’s an interesting choice, but saving that extra $1000 on Wheaton could mean an upgrade somewhere else. At $8300 is A.J. Green the best wide receiver play on the FanDuel board today?  Remember Green is going up against the worst pass defense in the AFC. Green has scored touchdowns in his last 2 games and remember the last time he went up against the Steelers pass defense he scored 22.2 FanDuel points. Marvin Jones is the Bengals #2 wide receiver and at $5500 could turn out to be a great value against the Pittsburgh defense, but there are a lot of good receiver choices and you might not get down to Jones. If this game goes as it’s expected to this may be the position that helps you win.

Tight end is another position that should really pay off today. Heath Miller is a solid tight end for the Steelers that every now and then can have a big game. Miller has averaged 6.5 points per game this season, but against Cincinnati he should go over his scoring average and at $5600 he could turn out to be a good deal. Tyler Eifert is the highest price tight end playing Saturday at $6400. This is the type of season people have been waiting for Eifert to have, but he has missed 3 games this season because of concussions. Eifert has a reasonable price on him and should be a very good play for whoever pays for him.

Again; if this game goes as expected either kicker would be a good choice for your FanDuel line up. Pittburgh’s Chris Boswell will cost you $4900 while Cincinnati’s Mike Nugent is at $4800. On the season Boswell averages 10.5 points per game while Nugent scores 8.2 points per game on the season. It comes down to which team do you think will give the kicker more field goal attempts or you might need the extra $100 to upgrade another position. It looks like both kickers from this game should be good choices.

Defense in this game is a whole other story. The Steelers defense will cost you $4500 while the Bengals defense comes in at $4400. I’d have to lie t you to give you a good reason to play either one of these defenses. Would you use the Steelers defense hoping since it’s McCarron’s first playoff start he’ll have issues or could you possible give Cincinnati’s defense a play hoping that that with a depleted running game Rothlisberger will have to throw the football so many times that he’s bound to have some turnovers.

As we go into the playoffs with a clean slate here are our picks for today’s game. All of us Dan the Man, Schaumburg Stu, Mr. Fantasy and I all like Kansas City to win the first game. Now we’re split on the second game as Dan the Man and Schaumburg Stu like Pittsburgh to won and Mr, Fantasy and I have Cincinnati winning.

Don’t forget tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Mr. Fantasy and I host the 2-hour Sunday edition of Sports Time Radio a BlogTalkRadio.com

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime