Daily fantasy sites raising eyebrows

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Your fantasy league caught a break back in 2006, when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act said it was OK to pick the pro players with your pals -- and get paid if you were the best and brightest. Or the luckiest. Nowadays, the government is rethinking that good-guy stance with the popularity of short-term fantasy leagues. Daily fantasy is a long way from season-long fantasy, in which skill and knowledge usually trump guesswork. In fact, daily fantasy smells a lot like ... Internet gambling. We're shocked! shocked! to learn that, "Many sites are run by people with backgrounds in online poker or sports betting, activities that have run afoul of government regulators," as the New York Times reports. The distinction between fantasy sports and gambling is being challenged in federal court in Illinois and in New Jersey, the Times said in its report on "Fantasy Sports and … [Read more...]

‘Lin-sanity’s’ making the Knicks, NBA crazy good

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With apologies to Tim Tebow, there has been no better sports story in recent months—maybe years—than the emergence of Jeremy Lin. The undrafted and twice-waived point guard's overnight transformation from bench warmer to folk hero has given a previously moribund New York Knicks franchise a transfusion of energy and excitement not even Spike Lee could have envisioned when injuries and lackluster play forced head coach Mike D'Antoni to put the Harvard grad into the starting lineup earlier this month. The phenomenon dubbed "Lin-sanity" has the Knicks realistically thinking about the playoffs while D'Antoni seemingly has secured a measure of job security that was unthinkable as recently as when the ball dropped in Times Square. The lack of a penetrating point guard who could both dish and swish like Steve Nash did for D'Antoni in Phoenix was the most noticeable flaw in the … [Read more...]

Manning, pass rush to propel Giants past Pats

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Random thoughts on Super Bowl XLVI: Tom Brady was the first to concede he "sucked" in the AFC Championship Game. He flat-out whiffed against the Ravens, missing on a couple of glorious scoring opportunities and tossing two interceptions, yet the Patriots remain in pursuit of the Vince Lombardi Trophy. That Brady struggled against a stout Baltimore defense is nothing to be ashamed of. However, a glance at the stats shows the future Hall of Famer's play in the postseason has generally been lackluster since 2008. Yes, Brady was spot on when he tied a record with six TD passes in this year's Divisional Playoff against the Broncos and his record prior to '08 is best exemplified by three Super Bowl rings. But take away the Denver game and Brady has 4 TDs and 6 picks in his last four playoff games. The Giants defense he will face Sunday in Indianapolis is playing at its highest … [Read more...]

Better not tread on the New England patriot

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There's something hollow about Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas' rationale for not joining his teammates in an official visit to the White House this week to commemorate their Stanley Cup championship. Thomas dissed the photo op with President Obama because, he said, he was exercising his "right as a Free Citizen." A staunch Tea Party libertarian who has the words "Don't Tread on Me" on his game mask, the all-star railed against all government in a statement he posted Monday night on his Facebook page. "I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People," he wrote. "This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government. "Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free … [Read more...]

Giants, Pats to meet again in Super Bowl

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Random thoughts about this weekend's games: They say defense wins championships so according to that adage, the 49ers and Ravens should advance to the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis. The rematch of the Harbaugh brothers. Two of the stoutest defensive units in the game. Sounds enticing, but not so fast. When we look at the current versions of the Giants and Patriots, we recall the amazing climax to the 2007 season and see parallels to the two squads that battled it out in the Super Bowl, won by the underdog Giants 17-14. That year, the Giants had to make the playoffs as a wild-card team and then win all its playoff games on the road, including a trip through Green Bay. The Patriots and their precisioned offense engineered by Tom Brady entered the Super Bowl undefeated after fending off New York 38-35 in the final week of the regular season and then disposing of the … [Read more...]

Breaking down the NFL’s division round

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Random thoughts on this weekend's playoff games: Saints at 49ers: At home the New Orleans Saints are virtually untouchable. On the road they're still very good, but mortal. Based on momentum alone, the Saints should be the pick in this game. Their offense is playing at an elite level and while they tend not to score on the road with the same frequency as at home, they still put plenty of points on the board. What the 49ers also bring to the table is an efficient offense, one that likes to run to set up the pass; one that likes to methodically march down the field. If Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter are effective against the sometimes porous Saints defense and Alex Smith plays mistake-free football, the 49ers can theoretically keep the ball out of Drew Brees' hands and keep the game close. Brees and his various receiver options continue to pile up the yards and touchdowns, and … [Read more...]

Upon further review: NFL wild-card playoffs

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Random thoughts from this week's games: There's little joy in Spudville as we were 2-2 on our wild-card picks with the biggest surprise emanating from Denver, where the Broncos thoroughly outplayed the Steelers on both sides of the ball. Tim Tebow had all day to throw the ball and was able to make several big plays against the normally stingy Pittsburgh defense. Tebow averaged almost 32 yards per completion, including the mammoth 80-yard strike to Demaryius Thomas in overtime to send the Steelers home 29-23. Coming into Sunday's game, Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was already being mentioned as a candidate for one of the NFL head-coaching vacancies; his masterful game plan against the confused Steelers will boost his stock. A major part of Ben Roethlisberger's game is his ability to avoid sacks and throw on the run. That was virtually negated by the obvious … [Read more...]

Dealin’ the dope on the NFL wild cards

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Random thoughts on this weekend's playoff games: Bengals (9-7) at Texans (10-6): We've been saying for weeks the Texans could go deep in the playoffs because of their punishing running game. We've also been riding the Bengals bandwagon, thanks in large part to the play of rookies Andy Dalton and A.J. Green and their improved defense. So what's a fence-straddler to do? Though they are on the road, we like the Bengals to squeak by in this one. Dalton, the red-headed gunslinger from TCU, has made The Queen City forget Carson Palmer and with Green has given Cincinnati a solid foundation to build around. Dalton, a Houston-area native, has been so impressive (he was 300-516 for 3,398 yards in the regular season) that he could lose his offensive coordinator. It's been reported Jay Gruden, brother of ESPN's Jon, is a leading candidate for the head-coaching vacancy in Jacksonville … [Read more...]

Jim Huber, 1944-2012

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Longtime CNN/TNT sports anchor/essayist Jim Huber died suddenly Monday. He was 67. An eloquent storyteller whose signature human-interest pieces were a staple of CNN sportscasts and TNT's coverage of the professional golf tour, Huber spent 27 years with Turner Broadcasting after a successful stint on local television in Atlanta. A cause of death was not immediately disclosed but Scott Michaux, a columnist for The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, reported Huber passed away after being diagnosed with acute leukemia. Michaux wrote a tribute to his friend that appears in Tuesday's edition of the paper and is also available online. We thought it worth sharing. … [Read more...]

Looking ahead to critical NFL Week 17

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A slight change in format as we offer random thoughts on this weekend's games: Will it be the Giants or the Cowboys from the NFC East? Neither has looked like a playoff team on a consistent basis and this week's winner-take-all game at the Meadowlands features two squads just lucky to be in the postseason conversation. Tony Romo will play for Dallas with his swollen passing hand while Felix Jones will carry the bulk of the rushing load. Meanwhile, Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora looks like he may return this week from the injured ankle that's kept him on the sidelines. His return alongside Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul in the defensive front would be a significant lift for the Giants. Receivers Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham did not practice on Wednesday, giving the Giants something to worry about on offense. Congratulations to the Saints' Drew Brees for breaking … [Read more...]

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