Diamond's Gems by Sid Diamond | Without a shadow of a doubt, September is my favorite month of the year. Not only do we have Major League Baseball winding down to meaningful games for postseason positioning, but we have both college and pro football almost every night of the week Ė and every game is meaningful to them.
To sweeten the pot we donít have any distractions, such as hockey, NBA, WNBA, arena football, Olympics, minor league baseball, and only one more grueling political convention, and the true voting doesnít begin until November.
Did I mention the kids are back in school as well? For a sports commentary guy, I can knock out a column in about two hours in September, as opposed to two days in December. What a pleasure this month is.
Iíd like to start with college football totals, as weíve had pretty good success with them the last two years, but the statistical part doesnít kick in until the third week, so Iíll start with the pros for instead.
Wait, Peyton and Brady may not be ready, as neither has taken a snap during the exhibition season. Okay, Iíll go to old reliable, Brett Favre, but heís only been with his new team for two weeks. On top of that, heís got to play the hapless Dolphins, so it shouldnít make any difference,
But wait, they have a new quarterback in Chad Pennington, whose old job Favre took so he must learn the Dolphinsí terminology, which is Greek to him; heíll fortunately know the Jetsí system that probably Favre hasnít learned yet. I canít believe it but I havenít the slightest idea what to write about this week, and my two hours are almost up!
My two long shot picks for this year in the NFL are New Orleans at around 20-1, and the Jaguars, at about 15-1. I never win it all, but Iíve made the playoffs many times, so take a shot. Strange things happen.
About the only significant match up in baseball this week is the Phillies and Mets. Itís tough to separate these two teams as they both have excellent personnel. Additionally, the Mets have better starters, but the Phillies have a better bullpen. Speed and power are about even, so itís a coin flip.
Here are a few "totals" plays for the NFL openers.
Redskins at Giants: Two defensive teams that play conservatively. Under 41.
Jets at Dolphins: Regardless of how many plays each quarterback knows, theyíll both score enough to exceed 36. Over.
Chiefs at Patriots: Hard to imagine Bellichek running up a score in Bradyís first game back. Under 47Ĺ.
Jaguars at Titans: Both defenses look to be more ready than either offense. Under 37.
Arizona at San Francisco: The 49ers will be better and will run Gore as much as 30 plays, which will take a long time, and Cardinals may also run some. Under 41Ĺ.
Broncos at Oakland: Raiders couldnít score last year, and donít look ready to score this year. Defense may rule. Under 41Ĺ.
Guidelines you have to follow:
The dogs win the money in the pros, and the favorites win the money in college.
Overs are designed for betters, and unders are designed for winners.
The above doesnít always hold true, but by being selective youíll have less fun but win more chips.
Have a great week.