Friday, January 01, 2010

Racing Post - Not totally awesome when it comes to picking US sports results

Right, well, you know the way you can walk into a shop in the USA and buy a gun but you can't walk into a shop and place a bet, right? Well, in Ireland it’s the other way round. You can not walk into a shop and buy a weapon; however, you can walk into a shop and place a bet, not a problem.

In the town I work in, there are four such shops (to put that in perspective, that’s about 40% of the shops on the main street). Betting/gambling is kind of a big deal in Ireland, and indeed England.

To feed the hunger of those who partake in this, well, hobby, there is a broadsheet newspaper called the ‘Racing Post’ printed daily on these shores. It’s the Irish/English equivalent of ‘Guns and Ammo’, at least in the realms of the slant of this piece anyway.

The Post is an always entertaining read for the sporting enthusiast. Those who follow horse racing absolutely swear by it, in fact one would imagine it was essential to all horse-gamblers on these shores, with its in depth reporting and statistics.

The area that it might be a little bit hit-and-or-miss would be in general sports gambling, as opposed to the horsies. The Post often seems unable to make up its mind. Take for example a Carling Cup clash between Sunderland and Blackburn. In the Tuesday’s Post the pundits had Sunderland as a good price to see off recently-poor Blackburn. Wednesday? Naturally the headline reads; ‘Blackburn can return victorious’. Okay so, not much in the line of ‘direction’ there. The post is generally good though for pure statistics, and as a basic form guide, particularly for soccer betting.

However (surely you knew deep down inside there was a whopper of a ‘however’ coming?!) when it comes to US sports in particular, the Post is a little ‘off’ in general. Actually, in lay mans terms, the Racing Post completely sucks when it comes to predicting US sporting results. It blows. It is wildly erroneous. Yes, wildly.

A particularly productive day in the office @ the Racing Post, US Sports department

Someone should start keep statistics on their American Football predictions, for example. Their weekly tips are absolutely horrible. One week, one of their finest suggestions was that the Giants @ Philadelphia would be a 'low scoring dog fight' - of course this finished up at almost 70 total points. Their weekly NFl write up is actually pretty amusing it is that bad. Sometimes you end up wondering if the people that write them are actually watching the games.

It doesn't stop at Football. For two years running they have picked the Chicago White Sox as the World Series champion. Clearly this is some Monkey who saw the 2005 World Series and has been enamoured with Chicago's ageing, big-bopper lineup ever since. Racing Post, it's time to let go of the Chicago White Sox!

Basketball? Oh they can screw that up too! During the NBA finals against the Celtics they suggested punters lump-in on the Lakers, hop on Kobe and watch the cash roll in. That worked out pretty well for them. Twice this season already they have suggested punters take on the Celtics.

Let's just say neither pick worked out very well.

Possible Racing Post future US Sports picks:

  • Superbowl 2010: Tampa Bay - Big winning streak, plus they beat New Orleans, who are pretty good, no?
  • NBA 2010: The Seattle Supersonics!
  • NHL 2010: The LA Thundersticks (Saw it on a t-shirt somewhere)
  • NCAA Football 2009/2010: Harvard, really good school
  • World Series 2010: The New York Yankees - Babe Ruth too good to ignore
How is it so hard, in this day and age, to get someone on board who actually knows something about US Sports, as opposed to churning out endless, stat happy, thought-light, losing picks?


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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

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