Brek Shea – Turning It Around
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Posted by Paul on March 14, 2015 | Short Link

Though it seems like it was a different lifetime, it actually wasn’t long ago that Brek Shea was a finalist for MLS MVP. After a couple of disappointing years abroad, is Orlando City the place where he turns things around?

Shea was a beast in my 2010 MLS mini-season with APBA Soccer. Can’t wait to see the numbers he puts up in 2015 and the resultant card!

Strat-O-Matic Baseball Video Review
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Posted by Paul on March 13, 2015 | Short Link

In the most recent installment of his “Hands-On” series, Al Wilson explores the classic baseball simulation game, Strat-O-Matic Baseball. In his review, Al focuses on the ease of play and the nostalgic feel of Strat. Al obviously has a deep affection for this game, which he says was his “first real advanced board game that I think I ever played.” Though he hadn’t played the game in nearly 30 years, he says, the game came right back to him “like riding a bike.”

The good stuff starts at 13:51.

Washington Nationals Open Spring Training as World Series Betting Favorites
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Posted by Paul on March 12, 2015 | Short Link

When the 2014 season started a year ago, the Kansas City Royals’ playoff chances looked nearly impossible. At 100/1 longshots, handicappers were saying that you’d have to simulate a season at least one hundred times for the Royals to have an even shot. Tabletop-sports gamers might have been even less bullish on the Royals chances. If you’d plugged in PECOTA projections and made a bunch of APBA cards prior to 2014, for instance, do you think the Royals would have seen the World Series in even 100 simulations?

But real life isn’t a simulation – it’s real life. And a preseason bet on the 2014 Royals would have paid off greatly. Who will be the sim-busting Cinderella team this year? Or will the favorites meet expectations?

Matt Williams, manager of the Washington Nationals

After capping a strong 96-win regular season with a disappointing playoff run, in which they were ousted from the National League Division Series by the underdog San Francisco Giants, the Washington Nationals open their 2015 campaign as strong 13/2 favorites to claim their first ever World Series title in MLB betting at the online sportsbooks.

The Nats also open as heavy favorites to claim their third NL East pennant in the last four years. With the NL East once again expected to be the weakest division in baseball in 2015, the Nationals are perched well ahead of their divisional rivals with odds of 1/3 in MLB futures betting at sportsbooks available through bettingsports.com.

Washington is closely trailed in World Series 2015 betting by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who kicked off their Cactus League schedule with 17/2 odds. The Dodgers are also heavy 1/2 favorites to successfully three-peat in what is expected to be a highly competitive NL West division.

The Boston Red Sox lead all American League clubs on the World Series betting odds menu, pegged at 10/1 to once again go from worst to first. The Sox accomplished the feat in 2013, defying oddsmakers to finish atop the AL East after finishing in the division basement in 2012, before moving on to their third World series championship in 10 years.

The Sox were a major disappointment in 2014 however, winning just 71 games to finish 25 games back of the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles. But, following a busy off-season, during which the club added free agents 3B Pablo Sandoval and SS Hanley Ramirez, and dealt for P Rick Porcello, who tallied 15 wins for the Detroit Tigers in 2014, the betting line on the Red Sox total regular season wins is set at 86.5 in MLB team props betting at sportsbooks available through bettingsports.com.

The perennial contending St. Louis Cardinals round out the top tier of World Series betting favorites at the online sportsbooks, with 12/1 odds.

The Cards will be aiming for their fifth straight MLB Postseason berth in 2015, but have fallen short of a World Series title in each of the last three seasons.

The youthful Chicago Cubs return to the World Series betting mix, with odds of 14/1 to end the curse and claim their first championship since 1908.

Can Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost guide last year’s Cinderella squad back to the big dance?

The Cubbies have nowhere to go but up after five straight last place finishes in the NL Central, averaging less than 69 wins per season during the club’s most dismal stretch in well over a half-century.

The Cubs are joined at 14/1 in World Series betting by the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners.

The Angels led the majors in 2014 with 98 regular-season wins, and were pegged as World Series favorites for much of the year before being embarrassed by the Cinderella Kansas City Royals in a three-game ALDS sweep.

Seattle surprised many observers by being one of baseball’s best performing road clubs last year, claiming 46 wins away from the friendly confines of Safeco Field, finishing their campaign with a respectable 87 wins.

The defending World Series champion Giants follow, deadlocked with the Tigers, Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres at 16/1. The Cleveland Indians are next up at 20/1, with the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland A’s both sporting 25/1 odds.

Action! PC Golf Demo Video
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Posted by Paul on March 11, 2015 | Short Link

action pc golf screenshotIn the following video, Dave Koch walks us through a complete 18-hole round as 1986 Tom Watson on the “Magnolia Golf Club” Course. Regarding this course, Koch says, “you’ll recognize [it] as a famous course.” Can anyone tell me what course it is?

The Action! PC brand of sports sims is a highly respected and trusted line of games. The company’s most recent release is the 2015 edition of Action! PC Baseball. Action! PC Baseball can compete with any of the more widely publicized games in terms of realism, accuracy, depth of gameplay, options for customization and, most importantly, fun factor. CLICK HERE for more info on this and all of Dave Koch’s products.

CLICK HERE to go to the very active and informative Action! PC games’ forum.

2015 MLS Predictions
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Posted by Paul on March 6, 2015 | Short Link

Here are my picks for the 2015 MLS season that kicks off tonight in Los Angeles:

Eastern Conference Regular Season Champion: New England Revolution
Western Conference Regular Season Champion: LA Galaxy

Supporter’s Shield: New England Revolution

MLS Cup Final: New England Revolution vs. Seattle Sounders

MLS Cup Champions: Seattle Sounders

Brazilian Kaka’ (now with Orlando City) is my pick for 2015 MVP

MVP: Kaka’

Newcomer of the Year: Kaka’

Breakout star: Kekuta Manneh

KAKUTA MANNEH of the Vancouver Whitecaps is my choice for breakout star in 2015

Biggest Surprises of the Season: Montreal Impact makes the playoffs; Columbus challenges for Supporter’s Shield; NYFC finishes higher than NYRB

Most of these picks are likely to look pretty silly at the end of the season (they always do!), but it’s still fun to make them. Today, on Day One, all things are possible.

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