Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I WAS Looking Forward to This Season at MSG (sport, food)

Tonight is the start of the new NBA season. Last April I went to a late-season Knicks game and had an enjoyable time. The tickets weren't too bad (around $170 for 100 level behind the backboard) and the new food options sounded very interesting. So interesting, in fact, that I tried a whole lot of food in order to write this review. I really was looking forward to going again this season, until I checked out the online presale and the outrageous prices. Oh well.

Knicks dancers were available before the game for pictures and autographs. They seemed very nice.

The view of the game from my seat.


I did not feel like paying $15 for a chicken sandwich or getting sushi at a sporting event, so those didn't make the list of things I tried.

Andrew Carmellini's Sausage Boss:
I did try both the cheese bratwurst and the Italian sausage with onions and peppers. I thought the bratwurst was interesting and had more flavor, while the Italian sausage was a bit generic and a bit too sweet.

AquaGrill: Lobster shrimp roll was the only thing they served. The good thing was that they buttered and toasted the buns to order, but it also meant a longer wait than one might expect for the pre-made filling. At $21, it's fine for what it is but nothing spectacular. If you really have a craving for lobster while you're watching the Knicks or the Rangers, then by all means.

Drew Nieporent's Daily Burger: By far the best thing I had all night was the cheeseburger with bacon-onion jam. It was juicy, meaty, flavorful, and perfectly cooked.

I don't know if it comes through in this picture, but the interior is a perfect pink of loosely packed meat. Not only was this burger tasty in its own right, but I was wowed at the level of cooking for a stadium burger.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Red Zone Efficiency and the Over/Under (sport, gambling)

As the NFL continues to move toward more and more high-powered passing offenses, it's hard not to get caught up in betting the over. I think that's especially the case for the average public bettor, because big plays and lots of scoring is exciting and a great thing to root for. That being said, whichever side the public tends to favor, the opposite side is probably where most of the value is. So here are two under bets I like this weekend, joined by a common stat.

Big plays are going to happen in the NFL. I'd always wondered over the years why every Andre Johnson highlight seemed to feature him waiting for the ball 5+ yards behind the defense. Once you're beat as a defender, you're beat, and every team is going to have those moments. But the ability to stop the opponents in a confined field of play is something that can noticeably vary from team to team.

SEA@DET Under 42.5

Seattle is the perfect example of a bend-but-don't-break defense that has gone under the total in all but one game this season. Opponents have only been able to score a TD 25% of the time they're in the Red Zone. But you know who else has been great defending in the Red Zone? The Lions. Their opponents' Red Zone % has only been 30% this season. Think about it this way. Even if there were 10 scoring drives between these two teams, it would still only add up to about 3(TDs)x 7(points) + 7(FGs)x 3(points) = 42 total points by those percentages.

ATL@PHI Under 43.5

I liked this under when the line opened at 46, and I still like it here. This is another example of the fantasy football heuristic dominating people's perception. They look at a team like Atlanta, see great fantasy football numbers from Ryan, Jones, White, Gonzalez, and even Turner, and they conclude that this is a high scoring team, especially with so much mention of their no huddle offense. But fantasy points are skewed toward TDs, and I doubt the Falcons will have as much success as they've had, this time against an Eagles defense that has given up only a 35% Red Zone %. Add in the fact that Atlanta is a dome team playing outdoors in rainy weather, and there are too many factors that look to slow down this Falcons offense.

We can look at another interesting trend as well. Except for two games against very bad teams in Kansas City and Carolina, Atlanta has played under the total in all its other games. The Eagles have also played under the total in all but two games, with one going over because of OT, and another going over by half a point.

I'm Back!

Sorry it's been almost three months since an update!

A lot has been going on, but I think things will be a bit more settled going forward. So that means more posts going forward as well as catching up on what I've been doing! This will include food and restaurant posts, sports and betting views for the rest of the NFL season and the upcoming NBA season, as well as resuming random observations on TV/Entertainment and Economics/Politics. Well, maybe not politics, that's not really my thing.

Some of these posts I might write ahead of time and then space them out in the publishing, so check back often for updates!