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I've got a busy workday. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.
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2 big matches today. First up France v Germany which has extensive history both in soccer(their 1982 World Cup semifinal clash made me a soccer fan for life)and of course, in war.
In this tournament, they have been among the top teams. France has been brilliant at times. But I think this is a bad matchup for them, as Germany is more disciplined and equally skilled. The pick is: Quarter Final - Rio de Janeiro, Germany Pick over France.
The home team Brazil faces a flying James Rodriguez and Colombia in the second game. On form, Colombia is the favorite. But this is Brazil playing at home we are talking about. (This consideration includes the effects on officiating, which will certainly favor Brazil.) I have 2 lays here - Quarter Final - Fortaleza - 1st Half Line Colombia Pick (+185) and Full time Colombia +½ (+105). IF the game goes extra time, that is a different wager. I suspect Brazil will be put through in extra time or penalties.
A final word on USA' performance against Belgium. Other than Howard's heroics, it was a terrible performance, taking the USA back to its pre-1994 form. Just an awful performance. Klinsmann is a good coach imo, but he really missed the boat with Bradley at attacking midfielder where he failed miserably. Beating Belgium was a tall order, but that performance was a head shaker, Really bad.
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Tomorrow is a day to celebrate our freedom and independence, and to be thankful we live in a nation, that with all its flaws, is still among the best at respecting individual liberty.
But tonight I'm also thinking about the freedoms we need to protect and defend, not just for our law-abiding citizens, but for all who are living within our country's borders, including those who continue to be detained at Guantanamo, who are languishing in our prisons, and who live in fear of being separated from their families and deported.
If you're looking for something to evoke a feeling of what this holiday is about, the graphic above is one of my favorites. Timothy McVeigh gave it to me one day during a jail visit.
This is an open thread, all topics welcome.
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Rough day at the dentist. Since our last open thread is full, here's another one, all topics welcome.
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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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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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It's a court and then jail day for me. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.
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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
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Our last open thread is full. Here's another one, all topics welcome.
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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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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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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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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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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).
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