Recent Comments by bender

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Eighteen

I'm staring at a shiny new CFL Pick 'Em Costanza to sit on the shelf next to last season's NFL Pick 'Em Costanza if I don't turn it around bigly. I'm pulling out the big guns for this week's picks: a 2000 Virginia (my current home state!) quarter.

Hamilton by 11
Calgary by 9
Saskatchewan by 1
B.C. by 2

posted by bender at 10:07 AM on October 21

NFL Pick 'Em Week 7: Hoodie 1, Surface 0 Edition

LOCK Green Bay by 17
Los Angeles by 5
Baltimore by 4
Miami by 3
Cincinnati by 8
Tennessee by 3
Minnesota by 7
Kansas City by 3
Jacksonville by 2
Detroit by 10
San Diego by 6
Tampa Bay by 4
Pittsburgh by 3
LOCK Arizona by 8 LOCK
LOCK Denver by 10 LOCK

posted by bender at 02:53 PM on October 20

NFL Pick 'Em Week 6: Stand Up for Colin Kaepernick Edition

Denver by 10
New York Giants by 6
New Orleans by 7
New England by 4
Tennessee by 4
Jacksonville by 7
Los Angeles by 3
Philadelphia by 14
Pittsburgh by 10
Buffalo by 3
Oakland by 5
Atlanta by 6
LOCK Green Bay by 10 LOCK
Houston by 4
New York Jets by 4

posted by bender at 08:39 PM on October 14

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Seventeen

Ottawa by 9
B.C. by 12
Saskatchewan by 13
Montreal by 19

posted by bender at 10:54 AM on October 14

NFL Pick 'Em Week 6: Stand Up for Colin Kaepernick Edition

Denver by 10

posted by bender at 04:25 PM on October 13

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Sixteen

Ottawa by 18
B.C. by 5
Montreal by 12
Calgary by 11

posted by bender at 05:36 PM on October 06

NFL Pick 'Em Week 5: Touchdown John Kuhn Edition

Arizona by 7
Indianapolis by 4
Minnesota by 5
New England by 7
LOCK Pittsburgh by 14 LOCK
Philadelphia by 6
Miami by 8 My Titans also suck.
Baltimore by 5
LOCK Denver by 8 LOCK
Los Angeles by 3
Cincinnati by 3
San Diego by 2
Green Bay by 7
Tampa Bay by 3

posted by bender at 09:27 AM on October 06

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

some text

posted by bender at 08:47 AM on October 03

NFL Pick 'Em Week 4: Throw the Ball Jameis Edition

Cincinnati by 10 (Thursday Huddle)
Indianapolis by 14
LOCK New England by 10 LOCK
Atlanta by 4
Cleveland by 5
Detroit by 3
Oakland by 8
New York Jets by 7
Houston by 7
Denver by 7
San Francisco by 3
Arizona by 10
San Diego by 8
Pittsburgh by 5
New York Giants by 2

posted by bender at 03:49 PM on September 30

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Cincinnati by 10

posted by bender at 12:56 PM on September 29

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Fifteen

Winnipeg by 3
Hamilton by 15
Ottawa by 12
Toronto by 8

posted by bender at 09:21 AM on September 29

Packers Returner Ingeniously Exploits Out-of-Bounds Rule

You were correct, though, that it is dead once he touches it, so the margin of error is a bit larger than if he had to actually secure it. -- Now I have the funny image of a player on his stomach with his toes on the chalk frantically swatting at a ball just out of reach.

posted by bender at 03:50 PM on September 27

Packers Returner Ingeniously Exploits Out-of-Bounds Rule

Is this substantially different from quickly snapping the ball to get an offside penalty before an opponent jumps back? You noticed that your opponent has made a mistake and exploited it. Besides, if the intent is to force teams to kick the ball in play to encourage returns (or touchbacks), then plays like this provide a buffer of kickers not trying to kick it near the sidelines. There's still plenty of field to kick to.

Beyond that, in this video of the play, the ball is actually bouncing away from the sideline, and Montgomery only just reached it--two steps ahead of a Lions cover man. If Montgomery misjudges it and/or it bounces a couple inches further from the sideline, at best, the Packers are hit with Illegal Contact from their own 2 yardline as Montgomery comes back into the field to grab the ball. At worst, and probably more likely, it's a Lions TD.

I don't think this is a problem that needs solving.

posted by bender at 03:10 PM on September 27

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Fourteen

Toronto by 8
Edmonton by 19
Calgary by 19
Hamilton by 11

posted by bender at 06:40 PM on September 22

NFL Pick 'Em Week 3: Bud Grant on the Gjallarhorn Edition

New England by 10
Buffalo by 3
Tennessee by 5
Miami by 4
Jacksonville by 7
LOCK Green Bay by 8 LOCK
Cincinnati by 4
LOCK Carolina by 14 LOCK
New York Giants by 4
Tampa Bay by 7
San Francisco by 3
Kansas City by 5
San Diego by 6
Philadelphia by 7
Chicago by 3
New Orleans by 5

posted by bender at 06:35 PM on September 22

NFL Pick 'Em Week 3: Bud Grant on the Gjallarhorn Edition

New England by 10

posted by bender at 09:25 AM on September 22

NFL Pick 'Em Week 3: Bud Grant on the Gjallarhorn Edition

Sorry. Sorting troubles.

No apologies necessary. I'm not Defending Costanza Champion for nothing!

posted by bender at 05:17 PM on September 21

NFL Pick 'Em Week 3: Bud Grant on the Gjallarhorn Edition

I saw my name at the top of the list and got excited! Then I noticed that I am actually behind most other people. :(

posted by bender at 02:58 PM on September 21

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

How many WTFs...

This drives me nuts. Oklahoma's KR did the same thing against Ohio State, though no one noticed until after the next kickoff. Why are guys in such a hurry to drop the ball?!

That said, I do not understand how the refs came to the decision to give Cal the ball at the 1 yard line.

posted by bender at 09:18 AM on September 19

NFL Pick 'Em Week 2: Jeff Fisher Update Your Resume Edition

Buffalo by 8
Baltimore by 4
*LOCK* Pittsburgh by 11 *LOCK*
Dallas by 2
Houston by 4
New England by 7
New Orleans by 4
*LOCK* Carolina by 9 *LOCK*
Detroit by 6
*LOCK* Seattle by 14 *LOCK*
Arizona by 12
Oakland by 10
Denver by 7
San Diego by 3
Green Bay by 9
Chicago by 5

posted by bender at 12:56 PM on September 15

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Thirteen

Hamilton by 15
Winnipeg by 19
Calgary by 14
Edmonton by 15

posted by bender at 12:51 PM on September 15

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Landon Donovan is coming out of retirement and returning to LA Galaxy.

posted by bender at 09:49 AM on September 09

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Yikes! The League definitely needs to take some meaningful action on those hits.

posted by bender at 09:48 AM on September 09

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Twelve

Montreal by 13
Winnipeg by 8
Edmonton by 15
Hamilton by 3

posted by bender at 10:49 AM on September 08

Enter SportsFilter's NFL Pick 'Em Contest

My Costanza defense begins today!

Carolina by 7
Tampa Bay by 3
Tennessee by 3
Philadelphia by 13
Cincinnati by 8
New Orleans by 4
Kansas City by 14
Buffalo by 9
Chicago by 10
Green Bay by 10
*LOCK* Seattle by 13 *LOCK*
New York Giants by 5
Indianapolis by 2
Arizona by 5
Washington by 3
San Francisco by 6

posted by bender at 02:58 PM on September 07

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Eleven

B.C. by 15
Montreal by 3
Winnipeg by 6
Calgary by 19
Hamilton by 1

posted by bender at 05:01 PM on August 31

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Ten

B.C. by 19
Montreal by 10
Edmonton by 18
Calgary by 17

posted by bender at 09:53 PM on August 23

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Nine

Ottawa by 4
B.C. by 6
Edmonton by 15
Saskatchewan by 3

posted by bender at 09:07 AM on August 18

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

As long as it means "taking a break to smile at the cameras while cruising to victory in a 10-second race."

some text

posted by bender at 02:20 PM on August 15

Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky in the Same Relay? It Could Happen.

This particular idea may strike me a bit as trying to wish into existence another way for the US to win an Olympic medal, but I like the idea of an overall effort to add more mixed-gender events.

posted by bender at 01:00 PM on August 15

WGN Anchor Goes on Epic Rant About Rules for Covering Olympics

Good stuff right there.

posted by bender at 02:03 PM on August 11

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Eight

Montreal by 6
Toronto by 6
Saskatchewan by 3
B.C. by 4

posted by bender at 08:43 AM on August 09

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Seven

Winnipeg by 13
Montreal by 6
Saskatchewan by 2
Ottawa by 16

posted by bender at 08:46 AM on August 03

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Six

Winnipeg by 8
Montreal by 6
B.C. by 17
Ottawa by 14

posted by bender at 01:26 PM on July 28

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I'm going to vote for Ron Wright, but that is a solid effort by Mike Mayers (all the more impressive for only recording 2 outs in the 1st). Can someone build a baseball field in a cornfield in Iowa so "Moonlight" Heitman can get one more shot at glory?

posted by bender at 03:33 PM on July 26

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Gators LB Cristian Garcia helps stop sexual assault behind bar

posted by bender at 10:37 AM on July 23

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Five

Calgary by 5
Saskatchewan by 9
Edmonton by 9
Toronto by 10

posted by bender at 08:23 AM on July 20

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Four

Toronto by 5
Edmonton by 16
Montreal by 13
Saskatchewan by 14

posted by bender at 08:10 AM on July 13

Euro 2016 Pick 'Em Champion: Bender

Bender Like Pick' Em

Only if it can be the lead-in to the Jamie Vardy biopic, Leicester? I hardly knew her!

Also, I just noticed that I was in last place after group play, and yerfatma was in the lead, and well.. Presumably that means that increasing those scores as I noted would not result in me winning.

posted by bender at 11:05 PM on July 12

Euro 2016 Pick 'Em Champion: Bender

Thanks! And thanks, rcade, for more complicated calculations than the average pick 'em! Yes, I was sure that Portugal was done when Ronaldo went out, but apparently the whole theme of the tournament was that Portugal managed to do just enough to advance every single time. I even found myself feeling bad for Ronaldo when he came off, which is a far cry from when I laughed at him when he missed the penalty kick against Austria. Mostly, I'm thrilled that someone scored so we didn't have another penalty shootout!

I like grum's 75/20/5 breakdown for winners/scores/props, which is pretty close to where we were. I think that he's in the right area of weight for each of those categories, and I think he's also on to something with increasing the group play points, as there are so many more picks there. I liked, though, the milder escalation of points from round to next round that we had in this game, versus, for instance the one he laid out where points/game doubles each round until it quadruples to the final. A quick calculation on the scores per round from our game (excluding props):


Of course the final is the most important game, and I understand that the following statement is a bit over-simplified (because I'm not going back to calculate everyone's different scores), but if our scoring system had the final round being worth double the semifinal round, it would have been worth 320 instead of 120. If all of the other scores were the same, that is enough points to potentially move any person on the scoreboard (except the last two, who only picked the group stage) to the top. That is a lot riding on one pick, which is a 50/50 proposition.

All of that is to say that I like the way the points broke down (and not just because I won!), except like grum suggests, I would increase the group play points, since those represent so many more games. If we doubled the group play points, for instance, to 40 (for 1st or 2nd place), 30 (for 3rd place advancers), and 20 (add for group winners), you end up with 40% for the group stage and 20%/17%/13%/10% per round combined between picks and scores, with 80% for picks and 20% for scores. I think that prop bets were probably at a good level.

posted by bender at 09:58 PM on July 12

Euro 2016 Pick 'Em: Final

France 1-2 Portugal
Pepe, Nani, Gignac
10 shots on goal

posted by bender at 05:03 PM on July 09

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I'm with yerfatma and grum. You don't go leaping toward an airborne ball (in the box!) with your arms raised. Schweinsteiger went in recklessly and got burned.

posted by bender at 10:39 PM on July 07

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Three

Hamilton by 3
B.C. by 12
Ottawa by 4
Edmonton by 9

posted by bender at 05:08 PM on July 06

Euro 2016 Pick 'Em: Semifinals

Wales 1-0 Portugal, Bale
France 2-0 Germany, Payet

posted by bender at 09:57 AM on July 06

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Iceland's soccer team returns home.

posted by bender at 11:46 PM on July 05

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Apparently, the Giants are planning to have Madison Bumgarner in the lineup tonight at Oakland. That's fun!

posted by bender at 09:13 PM on June 30

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

New Nike women's tennis dress: "It's basically a glorified shirt." I can't believe any women would agree to wear that while playing at Wimbledon.

posted by bender at 07:38 PM on June 30

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Make that all five.

posted by bender at 05:44 PM on June 30

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

They have been talking about not allowing stopping and starting on penalty kick run-ups at Euro, yet I have just watched each of the first four Portuguese kick takers stop one step into their run up. What gives??

posted by bender at 05:43 PM on June 30

Euro 2016 Pick 'Em: Quarterfinals

rcade, you may want to rethink your German goal scorer.

posted by bender at 12:38 PM on June 30

Euro 2016 Pick 'Em: Quarterfinals

Poland 3-2 Portugal (a.e.t.), Blaszczykowski
Wales 0-2 Belgium, Hazard
Germany 1-1 Italy (Italy wins in shootout), Muller
France 2-1 Iceland, Payet

Man, I really want to pick Iceland, but I think France has the muster to finally knock them out, even if it's only on a last minute goal.

posted by bender at 08:38 AM on June 30

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I will be posting a Euro 2016 update tomorrow morning ahead of Thursday's first quarterfinal.

Points for winning picks were 30 in the round of 16. My original plan was to make them 60 in the quarterfinal, 120 in the semifinal and 240 in the final (60 in the third-place game). This would put 480 points available for picking winning teams in each round until the last, when 300 is available.

Is this OK, or would players prefer a lower multiple of 1.5 or 1.75? I wanted to design the game in a way that people weren't out of it in the last two rounds because so many fewer points were available.

I agree that we want it to still be interesting in the final rounds, and that the more important games should be worth more, but it should also not be such that exceptional early picking is completely undone by missing the final pick. How about this, which adds 20, then 30, then 40:

Rd. of 16: 30 Quarters: 50 Semis: 80 Final: 120 3rd Place: 60

posted by bender at 10:00 AM on June 29

CFL Pick 'Em, Week Two

Ottawa by 16
Toronto by 9
B.C. by 9
Winnipeg by 11

This new season of coin-flip CFL picks has started off with a statistically-improbable 8 straight away picks. The odds were in my favor last week, but I'm guessing that picking against the hosts is probably not a long-term success strategy.

posted by bender at 09:48 AM on June 29

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Does Iceland win Britain's place in the EU now?

posted by bender at 06:24 PM on June 27

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Watch out for snipers, Saint-Denis. Spanish and Italian players have been hitting the turf left and right. Stay safe out there!

posted by bender at 01:54 PM on June 27

Copa America Pick 'Em Champion: Rcade

I definitely agree that picking winners should be worth a good bit more than props, though doubling each round might be excessive **unless** we want to pick the entire knockout round right after group play ends, NCAA tournament style. That style adequately rewards you for correctly looking into the future through the rounds, but when we get to pick each round knowing who will be playing, doubling the scores each round favors the current round over the previous ones. I'm not saying that the points can't increase at all, but if we get to pick each round, one correct pick in the final should not get more points than 4 correct picks in the quarterfinals.

posted by bender at 01:01 PM on June 27

Lionel Messi retires from Argentina after Copa America final loss to Chile

I, for one, will be very surprised if he is not on the field for Argentina in Russia in 2018.

posted by bender at 10:09 AM on June 27

Copa America Pick 'Em: Finals

This has been a very entertaining match--particularly after halftime! It's too bad it's going to be decided on penalties.

posted by bender at 10:44 PM on June 26

Copa America Pick 'Em: Finals

Argentina 3-2 Chile, Messi
Vidal, Beausjour, Medel

USA 2-0 Colombia, Pulisic

posted by bender at 12:07 AM on June 25

Euro 2016 Pick 'Em: Round of 16

Switzerland 0-1 Poland, Lewandowski
Wales 2-0 Northern Ireland, Bale
Croatia 1-2 Portugal (A.E.T.), Ronaldo
France 2-1 Republic of Ireland, Payet
Germany 3-0 Slovakia, Muller
Hungary 0-2 Belgium, Hazard
Italy 1-1 Spain (Italy wins shootout), Giovinco
England 2-1 Iceland (A.E.T.), Vardy

posted by bender at 11:56 PM on June 24