Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Recent History of Liverpool Football Club



The past week has sparked an almost-shocked tone of discussion about the existence of schadenfreude in sports, particularly football, consumption. I'd imagine it's because only the half-hearted fans rear their heads towards the end of the season to join in the conversation and are shocked by what they see. "You're all so AWFUL to each other!" they'll say. "These people are your friends! Stop being so mean to them!"

Yes, they're our friends. And yes, we do take pleasure in their pain. And they do the same to us too. That's typically the common bond that makes us friends. It's what we talk about. It's how we relate to each other. Not to be too blunt and sexist, but in stereotypical terms men tend to rip into each other about sports and girls tend to build each other up by talking about how their hair looks amazing (yes, I realise that a lot of men/women don't do one and do the other, but I'm illustrating a point using offensive, lazy stereotypes here...and now you understand it better, so fuck off).

The battle of Man Utd vs Liverpool is about as primal in sports' fans existence as it is for cats to forever be the enemies of mice. It makes no sense. Surely the two can co-exist in peace? I'm sure they could, but if cats and mice didn't beef then we wouldn't have Tom & Jerry or Itchy & Scratchy. Similarly United and Liverpool fans probably wouldn't find football nearly as interesting without this pointless, never-ending feud of 'My Dad would bash your Dad' proportions.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Not-Quite-Champions League Special...

by Rick Nash




"Which brings me to a crucial point: In football handicapping, sometimes it just isn't your year. I can't get a feel for the 2013 season. Every time I think I have a team figured out, it double-crosses me. Every time I need a break with a late-game cover, I don't get it. It's been a comedy of errors."
- Bill Simmons

I know how he feels. For the past few weeks, as well as being ridiculously busy, I'll admit to being gun shy. Unlike Simmons, I'm not a television personality and chief editor of one of the biggest sports websites on the planet either. I'm a meagre security guard/DJ by trade (well, trades, my job doesn't involve a hybrid combination of rhythmic theft prevention) and, thus, me losing money for the amusement of others isn't as willy-nilly as it is for the likes of Simmons.

Take this weekend, for example, when I got inspired and did a last-minute Twitter acca:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Three Hail Marys - Week 7




They say you are what you eat. Well I fed you so much Oakland Raiders content last week that that’s exactly what my picks became: rubbish!

Re-read the above sentence.

And again.

This time slower.

Still think it doesn’t make a lot of sense? Try one more time. 

You can see, somewhat, where I’m coming from. But the simple fact is that is doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Now on to our second sentence...

Oakland (+8.5) over KANSAS CITY

Friday, October 11, 2013

3 Hail Marys - Week 6



The NFL announced this week that there will be three NFL games in Wembley next year... well two because one of them is the Raiders at home! (Ed's Note: Hi-yo!) Wow, Raiders joke in the first sentence. Must be because I’m in a good mood.

And why wouldn’t I be? Jay Z last Sunday night, home in time for the Niners to put a beat down on the Texans after the Seahawks lost (okay, it killed my accumulator but what the hell because the Patriots killed that already). Pretty damn good start to the week.

The announcement of the extra game only added to the great week... *insert another Raiders joke yourself*. So what does the NFL have in plan for London in the long term?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

NFL - Magna Carta...3 Hail Marys

by Sean Coffey


Jay Z live then the Niners, the REAL Super Sunday



"Thanks for checking out this link tonightYou could have been on any link in the world. But you’re here with me.I appreciate that"

When the winter comes, Sunday is my favorite day of the week. Football day! However, this Sunday is more special than others. I couldn’t have planned this Sunday any better. Niners are playing the late game on Sunday night. Before that, I’m heading to the O2 to see the one and only Jay Z. Although I’ve been to multiple Jay Z gigs, I still go on a big Jay Z buzz leading up to the gig. So whether I’m on the road, in the gym, cooking dinner or in the shower, my boy Jay Z is playing on some system all this week. 

So I could think of no other way to do this blog than reviewing every NFL at the quarter mark of the season to the lyrics of Hova.

Lets Go Get ‘Em Again

“I’m so far ahead of my time; I’m bout to start another life/ Look behind you, I’m bout to pass you twice.” - Hovi Baby

“Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week” - Diamonds (Remix)

Friday, September 27, 2013

NFL: Three Hail Marys - Week 4

by Seán Coffey



My name is Seán Coffey and I am a drug addict. It just happens to be that my drug of choice is being a die hard 49ers fan.

Aside from ripping off Steve Austin promos, at times I can live or die based on the result of Niners' games. Last weekend in the NFL was one of the worst, for both the Niners and myself, in recent memory.

San Francisco made all the wrong calls except the obvious bread and butter choice in giving the ball to Frank Gore on one drive for our only score of the game.

Seán Coffey (Ed's Note: Oooh, third person wanker) made all the wrong calls except the obvious bread and butter choice of Peyton Manning against the Raiders, my only correct prediction of the weekend. Like Jim Harbaugh being unable to take much satisfaction from the one drive that went well, I can’t say a whole lot for predicting an obvious Raiders loss. 

With nothing clicking against the Colts on Sunday, it’s back to the drawing board and tape for the Niners... and that’s exactly what I’m going to do to to find out where the hell it all went wrong!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Week 6: Win At All Costs

by Rick Nash



Here's a list of things I've been clinging to, tearfully, since Man Utd's humiliating defeat at Man City last Sunday:

  • Jon Jones is still the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, just. 
  • Dublin are All-Ireland Champions.
  • My NFL and Premier League fantasy teams are finally kicking arse (Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Petersen, LeSean McCoy and Dez Bryant all making up the core of the former...yes, my league absolutely sucks at drafts).
  • Speaking of NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles are now revolutionising offence in the league under Chip Kelly and look on course to get back to the playoffs.
  • Actually forget that last one.
  • I have my health.
  • Oh, and United bounced back from their loss with a 1-0 midweek win over Liverpool upon the return of Luis Suarez, continuing Pool's recent, Walter White-like tradition of only meeting devastation when confronted with a possible solution to their ills. Seriously, the people that have brought this once-great club to their knees over the past decade? Rafa Benitez, Fernando Torres, Kenny Dalglish and Luis Suarez...four bonafide 'legends' of the club, like White, talented but ultimately destructive. I guess Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher can serve as Skylar and Marie in this metaphor: well-intentioned but incapable of stopping these monsters, as well as being kind of annoying and - in Marie's case as in Gerrard's - getting on the wrong side of the law on more than one occasion.

This is one of those seasons, though, where I have to take stock in the positives. Because the negatives are alarming. Not only is Lady Luck not on my side, Lady Luck left me at the bar with an empty-wallet, filled with booze that I paid for, laughing in my face for daring to think that I ever had a chance with her. 

I need a pick-me-up. I need a win. Not even a big win, just a win of any kind. As Ian Holloway would put it, "To put it in gentleman's terms if you've been out for a night and you're looking for a young lady and you pull one, some weeks they're good looking and some weeks they're not the best." Quite.

This week we're going to go for blunt and easy bets, just to get some money in the kitty and pride restored. This week we're going to win ugly.

Friday, September 20, 2013

NFL: Five Hail Marys - Week 3


Mother Nature in Seattle... Or is it?


As thunder and lightning struck in Seattle Sunday night and the heavens opened, delaying the game for 45 minutes, it became obvious what was happening.

"Apocalypse my ass! This isn't the end of the world! Gods, they're not angry with us, the aliens aren't coming down! It's the government! With a big capital "G"! They're behind EVERYTHING! They know what we buy, they know what we eat, where we go to the bathroom. They know what kind of CHEESE I like... Pepper jack.

"They control it all! And the weather too! I gotta hand it to em though, SHARKS? I never saw THAT coming."


Bare with me.


That was an exceptionally brilliant quote from the epic film Sharknado. Replace sharks with Seahawks and the above is the only logical (okay, logical isn't the right word) conclusion I could come to as the Seahawks thumped the Niners on Sunday night. I somehow forced myself to stay up till 5:40am to watch the conclusion of the game like a “true fan”, only for that to be taken away from me as Channel 4 cut out the last 2 minutes of the game as they had ran way over time with the delays. 

Cue bitter tweets about how this was Seattle’s Superbowl, it’s only week 2 etc; all of which you can find it you follow my ass @Coffey_23... as well as updates on everything 49ers, NFL, Miami Heat and how I like my eggs in the morning (hard, if you must know).

Anyhoo...

Like Ray Lewis claiming that the Niners cut off the power during the Superbowl, somehow this home field advantage swayed further to Seattle’s side as Pete Carroll orchestrated the thunder and lightning just so he could have the Niners wait in a horribly small locker room and have them treated like Costa Rica treated the Team USA soccer team in a recent World Cup qualifier.

As you can tell, I don’t like to lose. If this was a movie, somehow, that’s exactly what happened.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Week 5: Head vs Heart

by Rick Nash




I was really, really happy with this week's picks...until I saw the potential winnings. €5 on these tips can earn you a whopping €324. Given my track record of outsmarting the bookies this season, that doesn't seem likely before you even look at the merits of each tip.

But this website lives for the long odds, so let's give it a whirl nonetheless. At worst, there's some well researched, great value, individual tips to behold here. At best, you feel really confident, put €100 on these bets and win €6,480. But please don't do that. If you're going to waste €100, I'd much rather you installed it directly into my bank account so I can turn a profit on this blog one way or another.

This week, a look at Saturday's UFC main event before we go toe-to-toe with the heavyweight clashes to come on this wonderful sporting Sunday ahead.


Friday, September 13, 2013

NFL: 5 Hail Mary's - Week 2

by Sean Coffey

Number 7 celebrates another Eagles touchdown

It was a huge first week in the NFL. 12 out of the 16 games were decided by 7 points or less. Offences DOMINATED this week! Peyton Manning had 7 TDs! SEVEN!! 12 QBs had over 300 yards passing; that's nearly half the league getting over what used to be the bench mark for a great game by a QB! Philip Rivers, who had 4 touchdowns, is not on that list. More surprisingly, neither are Tom Brady, Michael Vick nor Andrew Luck.

The Philadelphia Eagles were a joy to watch in the first half of MNF. They instantly became one of the most entertaining, if not the most, entertaining offenses in the NFL. The Eagles put up 26 points in the first half, something they only managed that once last year. They also ran 53 plays in the first half, the second most ever in a half in the NFL. Michael Vick was the second highest rushing QB of the week.


You’re probably curious as to who the highest rushing QB of the week was, huh? It wasn't Colin Kaepernick. It wasn’t RG3. Not Russell Wilson either. And it sure as hell was not the Oakland Raiders Quarterback! It was actually...

looking at rushing stats...

highest RB LeSean McCoy...

scrolling...

second highest “Terrelle Pryor, QB”.


Oh, Terrelle Pryor, he’s the quarterback for... wait, WHAT THE FUCK?!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Week 4: Where's Your Money on Trap's Replacement?




So Trapattoni is finally gone. And, truth be told, for all the column inches he's inspired over the past seven days, there isn't much left to be said that hasn't been mentioned a thousand times already. But before we move on and look at the best value for his potential replacements today, a few final notes on Trap's tenure as Ireland manager:


  • It drove us insane...literally insane: Seriously, for the past five years, we've become almost as bad as the English press in taking it upon ourselves to backseat manage the national team. Whereas under Staunton we laughed to hide the tears, it was only under our most experienced and successful manager to-date that we decided we could do a better job. Maintaining this attitude of pressuring players into the national setup will do the successor no good. Regardless of what you may think of Trap's selection policy, he's the man appointed with the task and we need to support our team instead of adding to pre-existing turmoils with unhelpful Twitter hashtags in future.
  • Results aren't the only mark of improvement: Following on from what I said on Twitter on Friday, it matters that the players got to work with a manager of the quality of Trapattoni, and will help them for years to come (even if the results didn't necessarily follow all the time). As we saw under Brian Kerr, being a local legend can only take you so far, and even though Trap may have lost some of his Midas touch in his elder years (as Ken Early devastatingly pointed out in comparing his motivational techniques to that of Barcelona), he's still forgotten more about football than most of us will ever know and was no doubt able to contribute priceless nuggets of advice during his time at the helm. Granted, he struggled to put it all together at other times on the field, but under the right tutelage that wisdom could be gleamed into something special in years to come.
  • We simply didn't have the players. No, we didn't. No...we didn't. Can we just give up on the delusional argument that we are anywhere near the crazily high standard set by the golden ages of 1990, 94 and 2002? Right now, we're like Belgium in reverse, on the opposite end of a golden generation and ultimately humbled by the constraints of our tiny nation.
  • Finally...WE HIRED AN ITALIAN!!! Not only an Italian, the Italian. What did we expect when we were nearly lining the streets in celebration in 2008?!? That boring, play-not-to-lose-and-hope-to-nick-a-goal game is exactly the style that Trapattoni has perfected over the years (only with world class players that actually went and nicked that goal more often than not). It's not Trapattoni's fault that half the country declaring him a legend in 2008 were actually ignorant of what he was legendary for, because they'd only previously encountered him in Champions League round-ups being lauded by Giles and Dunphy. That's what Trapattoni does, that's what Trapattoni did, and until Euro 2012, it worked.

I'm not defending Trapattoni to be contrary. It was the right time for him to go, agreed. But a bit of perspective please.

Anyway, without further adieu, let's take a look at some of the prime candidates for the newly-vacated job. Everyone is talking about who they think should be picked, so instead let's look at who you should put your money on, going from least to most likely. All odds, as always, via Paddy Power.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

5 NFL Picks - Week 1





Sean Coffey (formerly Angry Andy, but trying to be taking seriously now...kinda like when Andy Cole wanted to be known as Andrew Cole) is back in the hotseat for another season of NFL pick 'ems, accumulator tips, 49ers-based heartbreaks and Raiders jokes. Here are his 5 picks for Week 1...


“FOOTBALL!!” 

If I was to write a blog on the only thing filling my head this week, you would be left with a full page of me reiterating that one word. The summer is over, football is back. It’s the time of year that brings so much joy to my heart...

And also despair. For something I love so much, it can make me feel like complete crap. If you were to ask me about last season, I can’t help but think about February 3rd, 2013. My Niners' dramatic comeback, only for new star quarterback Colin Kaepernick to overthrow a pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree that would have given us the lead inside 2 minutes. A game that I still can't bring myself to re-watch highlights of.

Actually, screw being diplomatic! As Jesse from Breaking Bad would yell (if he were a 49ers fan for some reason): “Holding, BITCH!”

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Week 3: Showtime




Last week was a painful reminder that the accumulator is a cruel, merciless mistress that should be approached with extreme caution. Every bit of logic, every form guide would've told you that I was onto a winner with my carefully crafted football picks going all over Europe to find good value. Then Everton couldn't make their dominance count even after West Brom had heroic keeper Ben Foster substituted with an injury, Elche refused to lie down against Sociedad, United and Chelsea participated in a 0-0 draw that demonstrates exactly why Americans hate football and City capitulated, randomly, at Cardiff. Even my only successful pick saw Hertha limp over the line against a Hamburg side who've been having their own capitulation issues this year.

It was a bad week. But, as I've explained before, we play the long game here on The Accumulator. My income for 2013/14 may be €0 so far, but that's just one clever win away from changing dramatically. So let's look to the week ahead and, instead of taking unnecessary risks, try and get a bit creative in looking for value. This week I tackle the Premier League, UFC 164 and the GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Semi-Final. A €5 bet on this 4-way acca could win you €168 with Paddy Power.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Week 2: Rooney's Choice

by Rick Nash



Going on outcomes alone, last week I went 4-0. Everton & Norwich drew 2-2, United walked it at Swansea, then Conor McGregor and Daniel Bryan came out on top in their respective clashes (although Bryan was undone moments afterwards by the dreaded Money in the Bank contract, but that's another story for another day). Week one and everything was going to plan.

Except I didn't bet solely on outcomes, did I? I bet for Conor McGregor to win by KO. So, in the fickle world of the accumulator, where you either win and look like a genius or lose (even on a technicality) and look like a bum? I...I don't wanna talk about it.

This week we're going to stick to football alone, and even venture across to Germany and Spain in the hopes of winning some cash. This 5-way accumulator will earn you a cool €119.60 for a €5 stake.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Moneyballin'

by Rick Nash



Some people make New Year's resolutions, but if you're a shameless sports gambler like me you make new season's resolutions. So, after a, quite frankly, ridiculous 5-5 draw between Man Utd and West fucking Brom cost me a winning record for 2012/13, I've decided to go with a more reliable, proven method this time around.

The Euro Club Index would've probably been a better website to follow than this one if you actually cared about winning money, and didn't just have some weird fetish for seeing this useless bum lose his wages. Using a complex system of algorithms based on win-probability and teams' results records, I can safely say that I have no clue how the maths behind the Euro Club Index works. But I know enough to understand that they made an 8% profit on their match predictions over the past three years and correctly called the top 7 positions of last season's Premier League at the start of the season. I like those odds, so this season I'm sticking with the form horse and basing my predictions on the Euro Club Index's probabilities. That's right, even The Accumulator is going the moneyball route.

Where I come in is that I'll correspond the best probabilities with the best value bets and try to put together attractive trebles and accumulator bets for you throughout the season, recording my own win-loss records along with my net earnings for the season to give you full perspective.

To remind you all, here are some of my own personal gambling rules (to be taken with a pinch of salt, since I'm 1-1 in actually earning money on a season-by-season basis):

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Cena 'Nuff?




“Your time is up, my time is now,” bellows the theme song of John Cena. Yet, as his ever-increasing list of injuries pile up, one has to wonder is the WWE Champion’s time atop of pro-wrestling’s mountain coming to an end?

His WrestleMania main event win over The Rock was, in theory, supposed to be a passing of the torch moment. Yet watching the match, history didn’t echo throughout the arena as perhaps WWE bosses had hoped. It was kinda sad actually.  We later learned that The Rock had suffered a hernia injury during the bout. Cena, on the other hand, just seemed tired.

The following night on WWE Raw, he joked with a raucous crowd about the possibility of a ‘heel turn’ (responding to older fans’ wishes to see him embrace his dark side), twisting his heel for full effect. Little did any of us realise that, within a matter of weeks, that same heel would prove to be his undoing.

Whilst on a European Tour, hyping a new WWE Championship feud with emerging prospect Ryback, Cena injured his Achilles tendon throwing said feud – and his 11th Heavyweight Title reign – into jeopardy ahead of their scheduled bout at WWE Extreme Rules (this Sunday, Sky Box Office).

They say that the body knows when an athlete is done before the mind. A quick look at Cena’s injury history may unearth a disturbing trend.

Friday, May 17, 2013

This Is The End

by Rick Nash


Look...I know I've spent an entire season bemoaning the 'gambling gods' and lamenting their hatred for me. I also understand that this is completely and utterly irrational, fixating on mythical figments of my imagination instead of blaming a combination of poor predictions and shitty luck.

But hear me out this one last time.

Desperately needing a win, last weekend I put a '#JustWin' treble on, not to get good value or win any decent amount of money (as is usually the goal), just to win. That would do.

My picks? Man Utd (won), Everton (won) and...Man City.

For fuck sa..

I then switched attention to the NBA Playoffs. My strategy with playoffs in the NBA/NFL has worked quite well for me in the past. It's simple: imagine you were a new fan to the sport, knowing nothing beforehand, what team would you say seems most likely to win? The reason for this logic is because playoffs in US sport are a different beast to anything we experience this side of the water. Teams that have had otherwise-terrible seasons can go on a run and win it all (shout out to the Baltimore Ravens, who beat my colleague Angry Andy's beloved 49ers in the Superbowl) in spite of form, strength of team or any other reasonable statistic.

With that in mind and, following a fantastic run in the Western Conference that turned them from nobodies into a side inspired by an emerging basketball superstar (Steph Curry), I placed the following bet:

The result? They lost their next two games pretty convincingly to the San Antonio Spurs and got knocked out. Noticing a pattern yet?

Then on Wednesday, I had what I saw as a controversial pick inserted into my online Paddy Power betslip, only to bottle it on account of another gambling rule of mine.

The rule: Never bet against Phil Taylor. (Hey, it worked when I called the World Darts Final to the exact score)

The pick: Michael van Gerwen to win the Premier League Darts playoffs.

Of course, this then ended up happening...


...and Michael van Gerwen is your new Premier League Darts Champion. DO YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN?! WHAT HAVE I EVER DONE TO YOU GAMBLING GODS!

...ahem.

Friday, April 19, 2013

What NBA Play-Off Team Should You Support?

by Angry Andy
LeBron James is looking to dominate the NBA in a way we haven't seen since Michael Jordan's heyday.


April has arrived. The days are getting longer and, finally, the sun is coming out. This means a lot of things for a lot of people. But for me, it means that it’s NBA Playoff time and an end to a normal sleeping pattern for the next two months. 

Unlike the NFL playoffs, in the NBA the cream usually rises to the top. Sure there are a few upsets but with every round having a best of seven series, it’s a lot easier to split the contenders from the pretenders (I had the Baltimore Ravens 9th out of 12 playoff teams for this years Superbowl).

In a best of seven series, team strategies change from game to game and the chances of luck to advance are greatly reduced. For example, in seven games, would you really see Baltimore beating Denver, New England or my 49ers? And yes, by the way, the Superbowl is still a sore point!

With Sky getting a deal to broadcast NBA games this season, basketball is starting to get big once again over this side of the Atlantic for arguably the first time since the Jordan era. But who are the stars of today’s era that may rival the likes of Michael Jordan and a Dennis Rodman? (ok...there is nobody, in any sport today like a Dennis Rodman!)

If you are new to the sport and are looking for a team to follow, you’ve come to the right place to get the low down on what team may suit you to root for.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

WWE WrestleMania 29 Special Podcast

by Rick Nash & Angry Andy

So, to celebrate WWE WrestleMania 29 and as a special for the (now SOLD OUT) WWE WrestleMania 29 Party to be held in Captain America's, Dublin; WWE Parties Ireland founders, former Irish tag-team, radio hosts and writers here at 'The Accumulator', Rick Nash and Angry Andy, put together a special podcast detailing their picks for the grand-daddy of 'em all. They also put together special bets for the night itself which are all listed below.



The podcast is available for free download, so you can listen at your leisure before Sunday.

Picks:


WWE Champion, THE ROCK vs. JOHN CENA

RICK: John Cena
ANDY: John Cena

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

It's Not Trap, It's Me


"Lads I've got a very bad feeling," I said, seconds before Austria strode up the field and David Alaba broke Irish hearts with his equaliser confining Ireland to a 2-2 draw.

It wasn't a particularly bad performance. Sure, the quality isn't there. Inexperienced at leading from the front and incapable of kicking the ball towards the corner flag or, seemingly, just kicking the ball to each other, as the clock hit 90 minutes Ireland appeared to have won the Irish way: with heart and a bit of inspiration. That inspiration came from the magnificent Shane Long and the tireless efforts of John Walters, the heart came from a young side determined to prove the doubters wrong.

The goal should've been one of the shared heart-wrenching moments that galvanise a fanbase. Yet when it went in, I wasn't even sad. When Ciarán Clark gave the ball away to concede the first, I laughed. I want to care, but I can't anymore.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Friend Zone

by Rick Nash

Ever get the feeling that the gambling gods don't like you?

Unfortunately, for my bank balance, I'm a needy bastard. The kind of guy who, in spite of the gods' persistent rejection, keeps coming back for more punishment. Recently, said gods have been treating me like a girl deliberately leading a guy on before putting him in the friend zone: luring me into a constant false sense of hope before crushing and humiliating me mercilessly. Then smiling at me the next time I see her like nothing happened, so instead of making the sensible decision and moving onto better life decisions, the chase begins again.

That girl looks nothing like this.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

7-for-7

by Rick Nash

It's been a rough few weeks.

First off, there was the painfully close bet that I wrote about in my last blog, which went EXACTLY to script (handicaps and all) aside from the first handicap of Italy (+14) costing me everything by a total of THREE POINTS! Even the outcome would've been fine if they'd either stopped one try from crossing the line or gotten across it themselves. United covered the (-1.0) handicap against QPR, Ronda Rousey finished in the 1st round with 11 seconds to go. Even my throwaway 'West Brom over Sunderland' bet, that I only added in to pad out the accumulator and make it interesting financially, came in with relative ease.

Fuck off Wales.

Following that? A darts accy that started exactly to script, with Robert Thornton easing to victory over Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen overcoming a slow start to pip Andy Hamilton, before going to absolute shit on the Phil Taylor match that you'd assume would be a banker (Taylor even led 6-5 and had darts for the match before being pegged back to a 6-6 draw with James Wade).

With last Saturday came further taunting: QPR opened the scoring against Southampton before the Saints, the home side, equalised and pushed forward in the second half. Man Utd and Everton had their games sewn up, while Swansea and Newcastle were still goalless, meaning one goal from Southampton would have me in the money. This was my time!

Then QPR scored. Then Swansea scored. And, in a matter of minutes, I go from genius to money-losing dickhead.

But let's not give up just yet. As I explained in the last blog, I am but one €10 victory away from winning the accumulator for the season (based on 38 weeks of €5 bets during the football calendar, giving me a total stake of €190 for the season. I won €180 on a treble in October. The darts bets are separate, with me getting over the line at €70 there).

Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over-and-over and expecting different results. We're going to try something slightly different this time around, so, going 7-for-7 on the week's accumulator. Seven reasonable bets over seven days, spanning a total of four different sports.

Friday, February 22, 2013

YONTWO: You Only Need To Win Once

Some people say that accumulators are easy money for bookies. And 9 times out of 10, that's the case. But the beautiful thing about the accumulator is that you only need to win once.

So it is written, so it shall be done. This is why we must persist in the face of adversity! This is why I write to you now with little interest left in watching the rest of the night's darts after my Premier League picks, predictably, fell at the first hurdle.

Do I give up? No! Instead of counting my losses, I learn from my mistakes and take the remaining shards of optimism forward onto the weekend for a bigger and better accumulator effort!

I sound stupid, don't I? But then you think back to October 27th, 2012, when one of the most dramatic games of the season saw four goals in the last 15 minutes and ended in a 3-3 draw between Reading and Fulham. This, coupled with Aston Villa being held 1-1 at home against Norwich and a stalemate between Stoke and Sunderland, won me €180. And meant that I was just a mere €10 from breaking even for football bets for 2012-13. Yep, despite loss after loss, if I win over €10 for the rest of this season, I've won the accumulator.



Remember, with the accumulator, you only need to win once.

Or, in this case, twice.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

RBS Six Nations - Weekend 3 Picks



Will Simon Zebo's injury prove destructive to Ireland's Six Nations hopes?

Each weekend, FM104 Sport's Dan 'Pitchside' Pitcher gives his previews and picks ahead of the Six Nations rugby...




Italy vs Wales
Saturday 23rd February; Stadio Olimpico; KO 14:30.

When writing my preview for Italy vs France in the opening round of games, I predicted Italy to win by 3. On the match day, though, I was unsure that it would actually happen. So to win by 4 was sensational.

Two weeks ago however, Scotland avoided a hat-trick of defeats against the Azzuri, demolishing them in all areas of Murrayfield (someone joked to me at full time “Those chipper owners were deffo on the piss after beating France, for the whole week too!”)

Premier League Darts Quick Picks

by Rick Nash

Ignore the MVG hype, put your money on the unbeatable Barney


I've loved the first two weeks of the new-look Darts Premier League. The shorter format (without a break in play) has given games a new leash of life, as matches are now blink-and-you'll-miss-it and players are punished for poor starts with little chance of recovery. This leaves favourites like Phil Taylor vulnerable and 'The Power' is fortunate to still be second after having to come from behind in Week One to draw with a sickened Michael Van Gerwen.

That said, the league is taking shape and now is the time to start feeling somewhat confident in your accumulators. The short format still leaves upsets likely, but at least we now have a feel as to how the players are finding form (or not) in front of the big crowds.

As for tonight, I didn't have the bottle to pick between Andy Hamilton and Gary Anderson, simply because in this kind of inconsistent form they're essentially the same player: either a mess or unstoppable depending on whether a crucial double goes their way or not. We've no idea what to expect from either from week-to-week, so given that both are paired together tonight I'll take it as a hint to avoid, avoid, avoid. Let's get to brief quick picks before I'm back later with a full column and the weekend's accumulator tips.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Premier League Darts Preview




This week, we switch attention briefly to darts, to mark the start of a new-look Premier League format that kicks off this Thursday in Belfast (and journeys to The O2, Dublin on April 18th with six matches scheduled to take place).

Hardcore darts fans have grown tired of the Premier League in recent years and, it has to be said, it's not an opinion without merit.

For a start, due to the fact that it is an invitation-based tournament (only the top four in the world qualify by rank), it also means that it's essentially meaningless when it comes to ranking points on the PDC Order of Merit. Not to mention the fact that it's looooonnngg: the tournament spans 15 weeks, with 14 devoted to the league itself (formerly of 8 players meeting each other twice; with the top 4 then qualifying for a one-night 'Playoffs' tournament to decide the champion) and, due to the nature of darts, form tends to ebb and flow over the course of those weeks, unlike the exciting nature of Open tournament whereby an off-night could see you out of the running altogether.

This has led to the dominance of one Phil 'The Power' Taylor over the years, the reigning champion who has won all but two tournaments since the format was introduced in 2005. Taylor, in fact, went undefeated in his first 44 games in the tournament before eventually being stopped in 2008 by James Wade. However the long format generally allows players who suffer a dip in form to regress to the mean, allowing the best players to consistently come out on top and making an already-long process seem predictable to boot.

Realising this, the PDC has freshened up the format, introducing an additional two players to the fray, reducing the length of games from 'Best of 14' to 'Best of 12' and introducing 'relegation' where the bottom players don't actually get relegated to any lower league, but instead just drop out of the league altogether after week 9. The shorter format could be a bonus, making it more likely that longer-form players like Taylor will lose more regularly, or a negative in that a lot of matches will end up as draws with players not having time to establish any kind of rhythm or dominance. It remains to be seen.

The case for the Premier League, and I remain a fan myself because of this, is as follows:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Angry Andy's Superbowl Pick


by Angry Andy



The biggest sports night of the year is almost upon us. 

On February 3rd, the San Francisco 49ers takes on the Baltimore Ravens in the Superbowl. 

Aside from the obvious statement that both teams are lead by brothers Jim and John Harbaugh, these teams resemble each other a lot more than you may think.

Rick's Quick Picks for Superbowl/6 Nations Weekend!

by Rick Nash

Going to keep this brief for once. It's been a crazy week. If you read my Royal Rumble preview column last week, you may already know why. Next week, I'll have a special preview of the Premier League Darts and, if I get around to it, a special article on gambling that I've been wanting to get around to for a while.

5-way accumulator; €5 returns €72.59; All odds via Paddy Power.

The man just loves windows of any kind...

QPR vs. NORWICH

Harry Redknapp is finding his groove, it seems, and has now had a transfer window to power him up like Popeye with spinnach. QPR have yet to lose in 2013 and, at home to Norwich, they'll walk in confident of a win.
Pick: QPR (evens)

Friday, February 1, 2013

RBS Six Nations 2013 Weekend 1 Picks




FM104 Sport's, Dan 'Pitchside' Pitcher gives his picks ahead of the opening weekend of Six Nations action...

Wales Vs Ireland
Saturday 2nd February; Millenium Stadium; K.O 13:30

I don’t think a Six Nations campaign has been more highly anticipated from an Irish perspective in recent memory. Since the miracle Grand Slam win in the Welsh capital in 2009, Irish international rugby has failed miserably (while the provinces have continued to do really well).

For the second year in a row, Ireland kickstart the campaign against Wales, looking to hit the ground running. For the players, this campaign is not simply just about the Grand Slam (though of course that would be great). For them it's about impressing the British and Irish Lions selectors, headed up by Welsh coach Warren Gatland, for the summer trip to Australia.

Last year the drive for the Slam, or Triple Crown, ended early following a close loss in the Aviva Stadium against Wales. This time, it's personal. And for Declan Kidney, this could very well be his last shot at achieving greatness at international level. He has thrown everything at this campaign.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

WWE Royal Rumble Picks Special

by Rick Nash



There was once a time when we were the baddest team in Ireland. And, by baddest, I mean we lost a lot.

Angry Andy and I (in my old Ragin' Rick moniker) started out as the tag-team known as Anger Management in Irish Whip Wrestling (for non-Irish fans: the place where WWE stars, Sheamus, Drew McIntyre and Wade Barrett cut their teeth). There were wrestlers there who aren't currently earning millions and living the dreams: that's were we come in.

Nope, it's been one long, downward spiral: from being in the ring with Sheamus, to community radio, to podcasts, to blogs now. We're still a team, we still job out like nobody's business, we just use a pen instead of our bodies now.

That's not to say we don't still dabble in the world of professional wrestling, though. You see, earlier this year, we founded WWE Parties Ireland, in doing so answering a simple problem wrestling fans have had for years: why can't WWE fans watch their events down the pub the way football, rugby, GAA and even NFL fans over here can?



Fortunately, Irish wrestling fans agreed that this was a travesty and the idea has taken off: WWE themselves now sponsor the events, stars such as Zack Ryder and Jim Ross have plugged our parties, and our regulars have ensured that every night has an amazing atmosphere. This Sunday, we run the first-ever Royal Rumble Party in Captain America's Grafton Street.

So, with the Royal Rumble also coinciding on a weekend were the Premier League is giving way to the FA Cup 4th Round (and I was spectacular dumped out in the 3rd round, going 0-5 in my Cup-set Specials) and Andy's regular muse - the NFL - taking its traditional pre-Superbowl holiday for the Pro Bowl, I've given him the week off and am instead devoting this week's picks to the WWE spectacular! Feel free to join in: we'll be running a prediction contest on the WWE Parties Ireland Facebook this weekend.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

NFL: Angry Andy's Championship Picks

by Angry Andy


As a kid playing soccer, there was one game situation that I dreaded most: semi-finals. Losing the semi-final when you are one game away from the big one is more heartbreaking in my book than never getting to the final at all. Sure no one wants to come second, but to miss out on that opportunity to compete is a much bigger burden; to sit at home when the final is on and know that you were so close to the big game!

And that is the moment we are arriving at this Championship Sunday. 

Colin Kaepernick, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and Tom Brady. Two of these Quarterbacks will be sitting at their homes in two weeks while the Superbowl takes place in New Orleans. 

The bookies favorites to reach the Superbowl are the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers, setting up a rematch on what was arguably the best regular season game this year. And what a match up that would be. Tom Brady looking to cement his legacy as the greatest of all time against his childhood team that was once led by a four-time Superbowl winner (and Brady’s childhood idol), Joe Montana. What better way for the 49ers to get back to the promised land, in their Quest For Six, than to beat the best franchise in the last decade?


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Shades of 1998/99 for United...

by Rick Nash


We thought it would never feel so good again. Maybe it won't. But maybe it might...

Disclaimer: This is a Man Utd-centric column so, if you'd prefer to avoid my gushing, feel free to skip ahead to the picks at the end of the piece.

Sometimes I'll say something while watching sports (or write, in this instance) and think to myself, "Hmm...I wonder if that's true or if the combination of booze and goal-induced enthusiasm has me talking utter shite (again)?"

Last week was one such instance, when I put on paper what I've been saying all season: that this year, as a Man Utd fan, felt to me very much like 1998/99.

Being just 11 at the time, I had gone through brief flings trying to support other teams after the crushing disappointment of Man Utd's league loss to Blackburn in 1994/95 (which ended with the one player who had made me a United fan, Eric Cantona, suspended for attacking a mouthy Wimbledon fan).

Without an active favourite player, I turned to (of all places) Middlesbrough in my quest to find a team that worked for me. This was because, in the summer of 1995, they'd signed a Brazilian wonderkid Juninho. I'd read about the pint-sized sensation in World Soccer magazine, and seen brief clips of him playing for Flamengo on Channel 4's old, all-sports show, 'Trans World Sport', so gave them a shot. That was until Cantona made his glorious return from suspension to see off Liverpool and re-establish himself as 'Le King'. You can't ignore stories like that. Fortunately, we won the double that season so all of the self-inflicted heartbreak of 1995 was forgotten about.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

NFL: Angry Andy's Divisional Picks

by Angry Andy

swtg-ray-lewis-fou.jpg 

It’s been a long time since the NFL had a stinker of a weekend but that is exactly what last week provided. Four one sided games with RG3, one of the most exciting players in the league, going down with a severe knee injury. The Bengals were the typical Bengals in the playoffs...which is very worrying if you're a Houston Texans fan because they couldn’t put 20 points up against them. The Vikings started the first guy they found on the street to play Quarterback (sorry Joe Webb) and failed miserably. Like the Vikings, The Colts seemed to happy just to get to the playoffs because they were danced all over by Ray Lewis (the only highlight of the weekend for yours truly). And even when Seattle were losing 14-13, you just knew the Seahawks were winning as the Redskins' only gameplan was that RG3 could pull off a miracle play with one leg.

But with all that being said, the pretenders for the Superbowl have been eliminated and a legitimate case can be made for all eight team remaining to win the Vince Lombardi trophy in New Orleans.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Managing Expectations

by Rick Nash


That was the week that was...

  • In Spain, about two-thirds of Real Madrid's members believe that Jose Mourinho is damaging the club. Rivals Barcelona continue to dominate La Liga, this weekend winning the Basque derby in impressive style (4-0 over Espanyol).
  • Closer to home, Paul Lambert's time at Villa sunk to a new low with a humiliating semi-final, 1st leg defeat to Bradford in the Capital One Cup.
  • Swansea continued to bring Rafa Benitez back down to earth by humbling Chelsea 2-0 - at Stamford Bridge - in the other semi. 
  • Meanwhile, in the FA Cup, Newcastle were the highest profile Premier League side upset (by Brighton) in the weekend's opening tie.
Perhaps the one stellar point raised in last week's column (which was otherwise disastrous, picks-wise, with 5-upset bets yielding a grand total of €0) is that this is the year when the 'super manager' actually wouldn't be able to swoop in and save a struggling club. The expected turnaround that Harry Redknapp would bring at QPR appears to have fallen short. Martin O'Neill, previously hailed as THE 'super manager' for a struggling club, isn't having things all his own way at Sunderland. The managers mentioned in the above bullet points all continue to unceremoniously blunder, despite their considerable reputations.

We think that bringing in a big name boss who has done wonders at another club will turn around fortunes when a club is struggling, but in 2012/13, is that still the case?

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Time For Talking Is Over...It's The Wildcard Round!

by Angry Andy

After 17 weeks, the playoffs are finally upon us. 32 teams have been narrowed down to 12. Come Sunday, the pretenders will have been eliminated and we’ll be down to 8 teams battling it out for the Vince Lombardi trophy.

Of the 20 teams that did not make the playoffs, 11 made changes at the head coaching position, front office or, in some cases, both on Black Monday. Black Monday certainly lived up to it’s name but talk of replacements and how they’ll fit in certain teams can wait for another month. The spotlight is on 8 of the 12 remaining teams this weekend, starting in Houston on Saturday night.
 
It's time for the Wildcard Round.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The FA Cup-set Specials

by Rick Nash

NEVER ask Balotelli to do burpees...

Contrary to popular belief...I don't enjoy losing money.

So for me to sit here and even attempt an accumulator on FA Cup 3rd Round day would only serve to waste your time. I quit. I've tried it the past few years and found that trying to bet on a selection of games together, on the very DAY were upset results thrive, is like trying to order pizza on Christmas Day. You're there to eat Turkey, the day is pretty much designed for you to eat Turkey, so don't fight a losing battle and eat your Domino's some other time.

That doesn't mean you can't enjoy the Turkey, though.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Dreams Can Come True...Unless You're Playing Phil Taylor...

by Rick Nash


If you've been following me on Twitter, you'll know that this has been a rough few weeks for me, gambling-wise.

I knew from the offset that it'd either be glorious or disastrous, with four Premier League gameweeks in quick succession and four lucrative accumulators potentially wiping my Christmas debt away from me. Unfortunately, what ended up transpiring was that my Internet will probably get cut off due to non-payment. Turns out that the only apocalypse that happened in 2012 took place within my bank account.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

NFL: Win And You're In...

by Angry Andy

We approach the final week of the season and a lot of the newer fans will be hearing the term “Black Monday” through out the course of the day.

“Black Monday” refers to the amount of head coaches that will get the sack after they have failed to get their team into the postseason. According to reports, Cleveland have already started this process, according to reports, and will fire Pat Shurmur on Monday. You have to hand it to the NFL, they’re so organized with everything and have yearly events (and catchy titles) for hiring and firing people. It wouldn't bode well for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to own an NFL team!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

NFL: Angry Andy's Post-Apocalypse Picks

by Angry Andy

Well, we’re past December 21 and the world, obviously, has not ended. However a lot of things have ended, or are about to this weekend, in the NFL which will prove that the Mayans calendar was more accurate than Mark Sanchez.
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

NFL: Angry Andy's 5 Picks

by Angry Andy

@AMTRick turned to me the other week and stated that he loves how my arguments blow up in my face, when comparing the blog to the games that night. That I jinx my argument by putting it down in a blog. He’s probably thinking right now that I have some sort of come back to this. He’d be wrong. I embrace it. And there has never been another week which I have embraced it more than this week.
This past Monday night, when the Patriots routed the Texans to solidify their status as the top dog in the AFC, ESPN analyst, and ex-Superbowl-winning coach, Jon Gruden claimed that Brady was the greatest Quarterback of all time!

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

NFL: Angry Andy's 5 Picks

by Angry Andy

As Andrew Luck lead an astonishing comeback last week, the conversation between my mates and myself turned, once again, to who is better between Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. I argued for Luck with one of my points being how he has taken the worst team in the league last season which now looks playoff bound (this was before Monday night’s Redskins game when RG3 and co beat the Giants.) The counter point that was thrown right back at me? RG3 leads the league in fantasy points!

HUH?!

I was genuinely taken back as to how in the hell do I respond to that. My mind set on fantasy football has always been that players have break out games each week that changes results (e.g. Doug Martin) but that there are players who may not have the best fantasy points every week that just do what is required of them by their team to win (Alex Smith ranked no 24 overall last year yet got to the NFC Championship game, something I don’t see the Redskins doing  . . . this year at least).  And also, fantasy points can easily be racked up in garbage time of games and don’t show how player A performed when it counted or when their team still had a chance of winning the game.

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

NFL: Angry Andy's 5 Picks

The following blog was written before the tragedy in Kansas City took place.

The most interesting story in the NFL right now is the quarterback controversy in San Francisco. It’s a defining battle of experience versus potential. Alex Smith has been phenomenal statistically over the past two years, ranked number 3 statistically this year before going down with a concussion against the Rams. In stepped back-up QB Colin Kaepernick, who was already starting to make headlines with Niners fans as Harbaugh was fearless in introducing him for snaps at almost any period of the game. With Kaepernick undefeated after two starts and looking to offer a different dimension to the 49ers, is this the right option for the coach to go with?

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

NFL: Angry Andy's 5 Picks

by Angry Andy
 
A few weeks ago, I talked about how the NFL was only starting to take off this side of the pond and that people I could talk to about the game were few and far between. @AMTRick was definitely not one of those people. But, as you could guess from running a sports page and pod cast, he is definitely a sports fan. Over the last two seasons, especially this season, he has embraced the sport and is an avid reader of this blog (as I assume all editors should be, right?)

So when he sent me a list of questions this week for the blog, I was genuinely intrigued. Easily a much better forum than in person because he will clutch onto his argument in defiance and can make you feel stupid for disagreeing even if you know you’re right. So without further adieu, this weeks blog:

@AMTRick: How happy are you right now that you can do a Bill Simmons-style 'squint and it'll look like a mailbag' blog? You are welcome, sir. 

Thank you. I really like how this question is phrased. “Right now” is key here as I’m sure some of the following questions are going to be sly jabs in some form or another. I’ll probably end up hating you by the time this is over.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

NFL: Angry Andy's Thanksgiving Picks

I’m usually not a fan of Thursday night football. But this is thanksgiving baby! With one eye on the turkey cooking, we going straight into tonight’s picks:

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

NFL: Angry Andy's 5 Picks

What a difference a week makes! Four quarterbacks went down last week. Two of them were my Superbowl picks, go figure. One of those picks was the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yes, really! Out of all the things I have wrote in this blog over the past few weeks, this was the one thing that drew the most reaction. The Steelers are not a stand out pick for the Superbowl . . . . Right now.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

NFL: Angry Andy's 5 Picks

by Angry Andy

Sleepless In Seattle


Being a fan of San Francisco, Miami Heat and Aston Villa, I’ve had my share of heartache over the past few years. In the case of the 49ers, you can look no further back than last year's championship game. The failure to convert 3rd downs combined with Kyle Williams was easily one of my worst sports losses ever. A few months before that the Miami Heat were unceremoniously dumped out of the championship by Dallas.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

NFL: Angry Andy's 5 Picks

“That Tony Romo lad is useless” quipped my Dad after I told him the Giant were up 23-0 early in the 2nd quarter. Unfortunately for my Dad and I, we were working behind the bar rather than watching the game. Which meant I was getting updates on the game through my battered Blackberry (a battle scar from when the Giants kicked the OT field goal against the Niners in January’s Championship Game).

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

NFL: Angry Andy's 5 Picks

by Angry Andy
 
"With correctly calling exactly how a few games would go (Jets & Patriots down to the wire and Sanchez blowing it) but then getting a few games completely wrong every week (Ravens getting demolished by Texans and I do believe Oakland where backed against the Broncos which is totally inexcusable) what has gone wrong in the accumulator and is there still time to fix this awful record?”

I'm going to leave this room and I'm going to bring in a suggestion box and I want your suggestions to be in that suggestion box because I sure don't know. I really don't. I wish I could tell you. But the only thing I control, sweetheart, is myself. Statistically, I am the leader of this column and I haven't been getting the job done.