Boys of Summer Warming Up

The Winter Olympics may be a hot topic in most of the world, but in America, the Boys of Summer already are grabbing headlines as they frolic on base paths at warm-weather spring training locales in Florida and Arizona.

The big prize, of course, is the Fall Classic, captured last year by the Chicago White Sox, who won 100 regular-season games en route to their first World Series title in 88 years.

The Chisox also copped 11 of 12 post-season games while disposing of Boston, the Los Angeles Angels and, finally, Houston.

Clubs will report to training sites throughout the week, with the first spring games slated for March 1.

The regular season will begin April 2 with the White Sox hosting Cleveland, which almost caught them at the wire in last year’s American League Central Division race.

One sure sign that baseball is just around the corner is that 2006 season win totals began popping up on Las Vegas sports book boards over the weekend.

Futures have been posted since before the 2005 World Series became history.

“It’s like a blur,” said Hilton SuperBook oddsmaker Jeff Sherman. “One season just runs into the next.”

According to Hilton oddsmakers, no team will achieve the century mark in victories this year.

The New York Yankees, pegged for 97 1/2 wins, top the Majors.

“Actually, that’s a lower total than we’ve had on the Yankees in several years,” Sherman said.

“They may have weak spots pitching-wise, but their lineup always commands attention.”

St. Louis checks in at 93 1/2 wins, Boston at 92 1/2 and the White Sox at 92.

At the other end of the spectrum, Kansas City comes in at 63 1/2, Florida at 66 1/2, Tampa Bay at 69 and Colorado at 69 1/2.

Sherman says an “elasticity effect” comes into play when oddsmakers calculate season win totals from one year to the next.

“Teams that show great improvement one season are likely to win less the next,” he said.

“Teams that have a dramatic drop win more.”

Initially, Sherman notes, the SuperBook doesn’t expect the season over/unders to draw a lot of action.

“The bulk of it will come the week before the (regular) season starts,” he said.

Play at the Hilton is minus $1.15 both ways; other books, such as the Stratosphere, are dealing with a minus $1.10 line.

“We trying to stir up interest among the players,” Race and Sports Director Robert Jaynes said.

Most Popular Pairs For Pick 3 Lotto

Before I begin, let me say that the true answer to that questions varies from state to state in short-term trends. But I want explore a method for selecting pick 3 pairs using simple math. You might just be surprised at the results. Let’s see how we can put our pairs together.

We know that the pick 3 lotto has 3 pools of 10 balls numbered 0 through 9. This means that using each number only once in a pair, the lowest possible sum of any 2 digits is 1 (0+1), and the highest possible sum of any 2 digits is 17 (8+9). Using the illustration below, you can see the number of possible pairs for each sum is given.

1 – 1 (0-1)

2 – 1 (0-2)

3 – (1-2, 0-3)

4 – (0-4, 1-3)

5 – (0-5, 1-4, 2-3)

6 – (0-6, 1-5, 2-4)

7 – (0-7, 1-6, 2-5, 3-4)

8 – (0-8, 1-7, 2-6, 3-5)

9 – (0-9, 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, 4-5)

10 – (1-9, 2-8,3-7,4-6)

11 – (2-9, 3-8, 4-7, 5-6)

12 – (3-9, 4-8, 5-7)

13 – (4-9, 5-8, 6-7)

14 – (5-9, 6-8)

15 – (6-9, 7-8)

16 – (7-9)

17 – (8-9)

Notice the sum of 9 has five pairs, while all other sums have only four or fewer pairs? This means that any two digits in the pick 3 drawing should equal 9 more than any other sum.

Using the 9 sum pairs (0-9, 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, 4-5) gives you a great starting point to create your winning combinations. While you still must select a third number, there are certain trends such as the neighbors trend to help you out.

The neighbors trend is that most draws contain at least one adjoining (neighboring) number. For example, a draw of 1-4-2 where the 1 and the 2 are neighbors. Now let’s see what our five 9 sum pairs look like with adjoining numbers.

The 0-9 pair would be played as box combinations like this: 0-9-1 and 0-9-8. Whereas the 1 neighbors the 0 and the 8 neighbors the 9.

The 1-8 pair would be played as box combinations like this: 1-8-2, 1-8-9, 1-8-0, 1-8-7. Whereas the 2 neighbors the 1, the 9 neighbors the 8, the 0 neighbors the 1 and the 7 neighbors the 8.

Just do the same for each 9 sum pair and you will end up with a list of combinations to play as boxed wagers. Good luck and always remember, never play more than you can afford to lose.

The Mercedes Championship

Tiger gave Stuart Appleby the gift that keeps giving. For the second year in a row, the world’s top player opted out of competing in this week’s season-opening Mercedes Championship.

I’m not questioning his reason in either case—spending time with his ailing father last year and citing lack of prep time this year because he’s been taking some R and R on the slopes. And you can be sure Appleby is happy about all that snow in Colorado: Tiger’s absence this week makes it a whole lot easier for Appleby to win his fourth straight Mercedes, which might give the Aussie something of a toe hold for the Hall of Fame if he continues to win a tournament here and there for the next ten years as he’s done these last ten (he’s got 8 for his career).

Four in a row at Kapalua doesn’t amount to one major, mind you, but it’s not insignificant considering the caliber of players in the small field year in and year out, especially the caliber of players who’ve won it in the last decade or so: Tiger (twice), Mickelson (twice), Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, and Jim Furyk among them. And considering only three players have ever won four in a row.

(Appleby’s first two wins at Kapalua, by the way, came with Tiger in the field.)

This was a tough call before Tiger bounced. I was thinking you’d have to take them both in the outright. One line of thinking now that Tiger’s out is that other players can give Appleby a run for his history. Jim Furyk would be the most likely candidate. In fact, he’s the favorite at 4-1. Then Vijay at 8-1, followed by Adam Scott and Appleby at 10-1. Coming off a great year and playing on his (second) home course, it’s hard not to take Furyk. You have to figure he’s going to be close—in addition to the win in 2001, Furyk’s only finished out of the top-10 twice in nine tries, and he’s finished in the top-5 in four of the nine. So then … a right candidate for the head-to-head. Problem there, though, because he’s matched up with Appleby. A tough call that it’s probably best to stay away from.

All odds from willhill.com.

At this week’s Mercedes Championship, take Appleby (10-1), 1/6 unit, and Furyk at 4-1, 1/6 unit.

The other guy I can’t ignore is Geoff Ogilvy. Last year he was T13 in his first Mercedes. First-time winners are on the rare side in this tournament. Ogilvy looked too good for most of last year, he’s playing with so much confidence, I have to take him at 12-1, 1/6 unit.

Explore Old West Colorado

Before the volcanic blast that formed these famous mountains, the area was tropical. Dinosaurs roamed the area. Palms and ferns were the flora of the time.

Early cavemen ventured into the U.S. from the land bridge across the Bering Strait connecting present day Russia to Alaska. These people populated the western region of the U.S. and evolved into our Native American founders.

Fast forward thousands of years. Spanish explorers visited the territory in search of gold and other riches.

Next came the French. They were expanding their hold in undiscovered U.S. west of the Mississippi. Then American explorers traveled west to map out their new acquisition from the French, the Louisiana Purchase.

Other Americans moved west from colonial U.S. to find their adventures. Mountain men who ventured into the Colorado territory decided to live in this rugged land. French fur trappers came to the territory for the beaver pelts that were so sought after for hats, coats and furs for rich folks.

A man named Zebulon Pike explored central Colorado and discovered the famous mountain that bears his name. Mr. Pike opened up the Colorado Territory to further exploration. Many were searching for riches just like the Spanish a few hundred years before.

And they found it. The gold rush was on in Colorado. Thousands raced from the east to make their fortune with the slogan “Pikes Peak or Bust” on their lips or painted on their wagons. Towns that you now know today, such as Denver, Aspen, Leadville, were once tent cities set up around gold strikes.

With the fledgling towns established, lawlessness, gambling, houses of ill repute and outlaws invaded the gold rush scene. Many old west legends made Colorado a stopping point on their travels to other parts of the established west.

When the gold finally was mined out, gold miners either left the area to head back east or stayed on the plains of Colorado to farm the land. Some hearty souls joined wagon trains heading west, because our new country was suddenly getting larger and more people were expanding into the territory.

With the influx of these new residents, the original owners of the land, the Native Americans, were being pushed off of their property.

The Indians retaliated against this encroachment and bloody battles between them and the U.S. government occurred.

By the turn of the century, 1899, Colorado was fairly well settled and established as a state. So you can see, in such as short span of time, Colorado was a part of the wild west legend in a very big way.

When you come to visit, think about where you are walking, or the mountains you are taking pictures of.

Hundreds of years ago, the first explorers were looking at exactly the same thing, walking in the same area. Definitely gives you a sense of perspective.