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World Cup Round of 16, Day 2

Mexico has been playing inspired soccer. Miguel "El Pio" Herrera has worked wonders since being named to head the team last October. Today El Tri face the Netherlands, which has been a powerhouse.I like the upset here -- Round of 16 - Fortaleza, Mexico Pick (+165) over Netherlands. Also Over 2½ (+115).

CONCACAF is also represented by Costa Rica today, the surprise winner of Group D, with England and Italy sent home early. They catch a good draw, facing an underwhelming Greece.

Round of 16 - Recife, Costa Rica Pick over Greece. Also Over 2 (+110).

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World Cup Round of 16, Day 1

The group stage of this edition of the World Cup was something special. Great games, exciting finishes, special efforts by special players (Messi, Neymar, etc.) and USA found a way to get through. This is no mean achievement. They really were in a group of death. Jermaine Jones is playing as well as I have ever seen him play.

Now it's on to the Round of 16, which will come 2 by 2 daily (2 games each of the next 4 days,) Here are today's games and picks:

Round of 16 - Belo Horizonte, Brazil -1 over Chile. On form, Chile is playing better than Brazil. But Brazil showed some flashes against Cameroon (weak competition). The reality is this is a gut pick, not a form pick, which really should have Chile a pick here. Minimum investment. Should be a great game though.

Round of 16 - Rio de Janeiro, Colombia -½ over Uruguay. 20 years ago this month, Colombia entered the World Cup (held in the USA) as one of the favorites, having a great team that dominated South American qualifying, even beating Argentina in Buenos Aires by 5-0. At a friendly a few weeks before the tournament, Colombia drew over 77,000 to the Meadowlands. Instead of meeting expectations, Colombia flamed out, even losing to USA on an own goal by Andres Escobar. Of course, Escobar was later killed when he returned to Colombia.

The story of this current Colombia team certainly suffers under that shadow to some extent. But they have played beautiful soccer. Suarez did what he did, and Uruguay s not particularly good without him. I like Colombia a lot in this spot.

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Friday Open Thread

It's a court and then jail day for me. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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World Cup Day 15

USA! USA! Today's the big day. A win or a draw over Germany puts USA through. Even with a loss a Portugal win over Ghana probably puts USA through. A Ghana win and USA loss gets very very dicey. apparently torrential rains in Recife. Will the tams play to win? Honestly, I hope not. In any event, the picks:

Group G - Brasília - Portugal vs. Ghana, Under 3½, Ghana Pick (+165).

Group G - Recife, USA vs. Germany, Under 3

Group H - Curitiba, Algeria vs. Russia, Under 2½, Russia +110.

Group H - São Paulo, South Korea vs. Belgium, Under 2½ (+110), Belgium -1 (+125

Go USA!

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Wednesday Open Thread

Our last open thread is full. Here's another one, all topics welcome.

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World Cup Day 14

My picks:

Group F - Salvador, Bosnia-Herzegovina +105 over Iran. Iran has a chance of going through, needs to win and have Nigeria lose, then it goes to goal differential.

Group F - Porto Alegre, Nigeria +1 (+165) over Argentina. Argentina is through though Nigeria could top the group with a win.

Group E - Manaus, Honduras vs. Switzerland, Under 2½ (+130), Switzerland is level on points but trails on goal differential to Ecuador. A better result today puts them through. Also could go through on GD if they pound Honduras.

Group E - Rio de Janeiro, Ecuador +1 (+140) over France. France has won the group. Ecuador needs to match Switzerland's result to go through.

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World Cup Day 13

A quick hit with just the picks:

Group D - Belo Horizonte, Costa Rica vs. England, Over 2½ Goals. Gun to my head, I pick England, burt I'm not wagering on that.

Group C - Cuiabá, Japan vs. Colombia, Draw +280

Group C - Fortaleza, Greece vs. Ivory Coast, Over 2. I'm trying to talk myself into Greece, but the price is too short. Only +(285), needs to get above 300.

The game to watch of course is Uruguay-Italy. Group D - Natal. I'm taking the Suarezes Pick.

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Monday Night Open Thread

I have been so wrapped up in following ISIS this week, I've forgotten to post open threads Here's one, all topics welcome.

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World Cup Day 12

Groups A and B finish today in relatively unclimactic fashion, as both groups are basically decided, with one exception - Mexico v. Croatia, which is the marquee game of the day. It kicks off at 4 pm. There is some drama in the Chile v. Netherlands tilt, in that one imagines both will want to avoid Brazil in the Round of 16, and winning their group is how to do it. The other games lack drama.

Yesterday I went 2-1, with good payoffs. Today's picks:

Group B - Curitiba, Spain -1½ (+115) over Australia. The end of an era. Spain's scrubs are all stars too.

Group B - São Paulo, Chile Pick over Netherlands. Get the feeling Chile more excited to be here. Plus great fan contingent will keep Chile energized.

Group A - Brasília, Brazil -2½ over Cameroon. Brazil has qualified but can realistically lose top group spot to Mexico, either outright or on goal differential. what's not realistic is Brazil losing this game, though rumors of match fixing have been swirling.

Group A - Recife, Croatia vs. Mexico, Draw +250. Two very good teams, Arguably Croatia has more talent, but Mexico on better form. Through sheer effort, I think El Tri gets through (draw qualifies them for Round of 16.).

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World Cup Day 11

This is the most important day in USA soccer history since the last most important day in USA soccer history But seriously, it is a huge day, USA needs to not leave qualifying for Round of 16 to a game with Germany where Germany is not already through. Klinsmann needs to design an approach that is intended to play for the win, not be content with a draw. Ghana WILL beat Portugal. The USA needs to do that today.

In the early game, Group H - Rio De Janeiro, I like Belgium EVEN over Russia. Belgium is one of the top teams in the tournament and finally found itself in the second half of its opening game. Russia seems lackluster.

In the second game, two weak teams meet, Group H - Porto Alegre, South Korea vs. Algeria, I pick Draw +230.

The marquee game, USA v Portugal, is in the Amazon rain forest. Group G - Manaus. I believe the USA needs to win this game. I believe they will not. DRAW (+300).

Go USA!

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World Cup Day 10

0-2-1 yesterday, 7-14-3 overall ATS in the World Cup. The choices today:

Group F - Belo Horizonte - Argentina -2 over Iran. My reasoning: Messi, Aguero, di Maria, Higuain . . .

Group G - Fortaleza - Ghana +1 (+180) over Germany. My reasoning: Ghana was much better than USA in that first game. Think they can scare Germany.

Group F - Cuiabá, Bosnia-Herzegovina -1 (+165) over Nigeria. My reasoning: Bosnia is the better team. Did you see the Iran-Nigeria game?

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World Cup -Day 9

3-0 yesterday (and with nice odds), 7-12-2 ATS overall for World Cup. The hot streak continues today! the picks:

Group D - Recife, Italy vs. Costa Rica, Draw +350. My reasoning, this is the most gut wrenching result for England.

Group E - Salvador - Switzerland Pick (+250) over France. My reasoning? One of the favs is due to throw in a stinker.

Group E - Curitiba, Ecuador -1 (+115 over Honduras. My reasoning - South american teams on a roll.

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Rolling Stones: Timely Lyrics

The Rolling Stones are tweeting lyric lines from songs played at their Dusseldorf concert last night. Is there a message?

And the winner of the Dusseldorf contest for favorite song request: Street Fighting Man.

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World Cup Day 8

It's been a pretty exciting World Cup so far. There has been only 1 scoreless game and it may have been the most exciting one of the tournament, Mexico-Brazil. Now my account is not so excited as I went 0-2-1 yesterday dropping me to a dismal 4-12-2 so far. But hope springs eternal, though I don't really care for today's games as great betting propositions. In any event, today's picks:

Group C - Brasília, Colombia over Ivory Coast. The 2 favorites in this rather weak group. A slight lean to Colombia though I expect a tightly played game where both teams know a point suffices for them.

Game of the Day - Group D - São Paulo, Uruguay +265 over England. Suarez comes back today, claims to be 100% Not a chance in hell of that. If he is, he would have played in the first game, a devastating loss to Costa Rica. This is a mini-Group of Death with Italy as well, and with a loss to the Ticos, Uruguay has to win today, with Italy up next. For England, a draw might suffice as they face Costa Rica in their final game and a win there probably puts them through. But a loss pretty much ends it I think. Given all of the variables, I expect both teams to gun for the win and play with great abandon. England looks the better team but they always seem to blow these type of games. Should be a fine spectacle.

Group C - Natal, Japan vs. Greece, Draw +240. Both teams lost their openers, look relatively weak and not likely to challenge for advancement. But they don't think so, so they may put on a good show.

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Thursday Morning Open Thread

What's on your mind this today? I'll try to put up a Daily ISIS this afternoon.

I'm glad I'll have some free time later today and over the weekend. Our webmaster Colin says he's spent the past few months building a conversion program so that the TalkLeft posts and comments can be "translated" to wordpress language and moved over to the new server. He thinks everyone will be able to use the same user name and password. He needs a few more weeks to test it and get the bugs out, but it seems like we finally may get to move and get off "Scoop." If you have forgotten what the new site looks like, here it is. There won't be any ads and it will be free. As always, I'll ask for donations 3 times a year or so. Readers here have been quite generous, and I really appreciate it.

Enjoy the weekend.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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