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  • Your most critical pick: The Champion
    • Avoid teams that shoot a high rate of 3-point shots unless they have 5 future NBA starters LOL
  • Your ‘Champion Pick’ strategy depends on pool size.
    • Small Pool (<10 people): Pick the most likely Champion
      • Medium Pool (<30 people): Pick a Champion whose win probability far exceeds the public pick fraction.
        • Use ESPN to determine public pick fraction.
        • Known as the Contrarian Champion. Don’t pick many early round upsets.
      • Big Pool (>50 people): Don’t bother playing. Too random and sad!
  • Over the last 14 seasons, the higher seed defeated the lower seed 72% of the time. (Don’t go crazy with upsets.)
  • List every team’s margin of victory during the regular season and compare it against the ‘average’ NCAA team.

There’s no denying it–Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are the greatest quarterback-coach duo in NFL History. Brady, armed with precision, timing, and experience, willed the New England Patriots to the most unexpected win in Super Bowl history. Facing a 28-3 deficit in the third quarter, Brady and Co. went to work, methodically engineering scoring drives to get back into the game. Granted, Atlanta’s defense, which predominantly played man coverage in the first half, was completely gassed in the fourth quarter. In total, Atlanta’s defense played 99 total snaps, 35 more than the average game. Key secondary members (i.e., Jalen Collins, Ricardo Allen, Keanu Neal, and Robert Alford) all played at least 95 snaps. Brady did not have any issues picking Atlanta’s tired secondary apart as he engineered the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

Entering the game, one of the little know story lines was Atlanta’s susceptibility to pass catching running backs. During the season, Atlanta yielded 823 receiving yards against enemy running backs, easily the worst mark in the NFL. Many were expecting Dion Lewis, who scored three touchdowns in the Division Round, to be the focal point of New England’s attack. Instead, James White led the way with eleven catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner. White, a former fifth round pick, is used to playing second fiddle to more talented runners, but shines when called upon. In high school, White backed up, and even rotated at fullback, for current Bengals’ running back, Gio Bernard. At Wisconsin, White saw limited playing time behind Montee Ball before sharing the backfield with Melvin Gordon, the Chargers’ current starting running back. In the NFL, White has been the third option behind LeGarrette Blount and Lewis, but has earned the trust and respect of Belichick and Josh McDaniels.

Brady, who turns 40-years-old in August, is in great shape, physically, and wants to keep playing. That’s bad news for any of New England’s AFC East foes, including the New York Jets. Brady showed that he has the heart of a champion, and more importantly, character that can overcome any difficult situation.

Athletes push the limits of their human body in pursuit of their sport, and that often results in injuries. The nature of the injury and where it is will determine how the injury will be treated.

Some of the most common sports-related injuries are, in no particular order:

  • Sprains and strains,
  • Knee injuries,
  • Tennis elbow (epicondylitis),
  • Groin pull
  • Shin splints

Fractures are also common. Regardless of the injury, an athlete has a key advantage in recovery after an injury due to his or her overall physical condition.

Because their muscles are in top condition, they are able to support the body’s injury much better than someone less fit. Their physical condition also increases their ability to participate and benefit from physical therapy when it is recommended for rehabilitation.
Prevention of these injuries is important, and performing regular warm-ups and stretching before a rigorous workout is excellent prevention.

But sometimes in spite of the best prevention efforts, injuries still occur and require treatment. Here are some of the most common treatments for the injuries discussed above.

Sprains and strains

A sprain is the tearing or wrenching of a ligament. A strain is the tearing or wrenching of a muscle or tendon. A ligament is the tough band of material that attaches bones to each other. Ligaments are the bands that attach muscle to bones. And muscles, of course, are the structures that enable us to have movement and strength.

While sprains and strains are relatively minor injuries, they can be painful. They can most often be treated by using the RICE method. RICE is an acronym which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

  • Rest. Take a break from the workouts and games and give your body a chance to heal.
  • Ice. Helps prevent and reduce any swelling related to the injury. Twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off is a good general guideline for an icing schedule.
  • Compression. Gentle compression can help to control swelling as well. An ACE bandage or elastic sleeve over the injury will keep swelling in check.
  • Elevation. Raise the affected area, preferably above the level of your heart when possible.

Knee injuries

There are a number of knee injuries caused by strenuous physical activity: dislocation, fractures, ligament injuries, tendon tears and meniscus tears. A knee injury will leave an athlete feeling very unsteady on his feet. The first course of treatment would be the RICE Method discussed previously.

If the pain and difficulty with mobility continue, your doctor may recommend immobilizing the affected leg with a brace or cast, and you may even require crutches to assist you with getting around. You may be restricted from bearing any weight on the leg.

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles surrounding the injury to better protect and support that area.  And of course, anti inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen, aspirin or Tylenol may be recommended for pain.

Tennis elbow

While epicondylitis has the more colorful common name, affiliating it with one of the sport of kings, it is a common injury resulting from activity that puts a great deal of strain on the forearm or wrist.

The pain is felt on the back of elbow where the bony prominence can be felt, and also in the forearm. The tendons that attach the muscles to the elbow become inflamed.

The first line of treatment is icing the injured area, rest and the anti-inflammatory medications mentioned previously. If these do not lead to the desired results, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or an elbow splint to relieve the injured tendon.

Groin Pull

This is actually a tear injury of the adductor muscles that support the groin and hips and run down the inside of the thighs.

Initial treatment should include ice to the inside of the thigh in the affected area, compression to minimize swelling and anti-inflammatories to reduce pain and swelling.

Therapy may be recommended by your doctor to gently strengthen the area as it heals and protect it from further injury. In some cases, ultrasound therapy may be used for additional relief from injury.

Shin Splints

One of the most common injuries in high impact sports and exercise, shin splints is pain that runs down the front of the lower leg. It’s also associated with overpronation (the tendency to run with the ankles moving toward the medial line).

Rest is crucial for shin splints. This is not a condition that improves with a no pain, no gain approach. The RICE method again comes to the rescue, and lower-impact activity is recommended while recovering.

These are some of the more common sports injuries that athletes encounter. While the first line of treatment for these is relatively accessible, it’s important to remind all athletes of the importance of consulting with your sports medical specialist to keep your body as healthy and competitive as possible.

About Dr. Mark E. Pruzansky

Dr. Mark E. Pruzansky, Director of HandSport Surgery Institute, is a seasoned specialist in hand surgery, wrist surgery and microsurgery, sports injuries and arthroscopic and reconstructive surgery of the hand, wrist, elbow and brachial plexus.  With more than 20 years of high-level practice and a comprehensive knowledge of the body’s biomechanical linkages, Dr. Pruzansky is able to diagnose patients using a “kinetic-chain approach” that reveals underlying—and often overlooked—issues coming from other parts of the musculo-skeletal system.

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The 2016-17 NCAA Football has been released and fans have begun circling top match-ups on the schedule. Luckily for fans, the first three weeks in September are chock full of top match-ups between Power 5 Conference foes. Most of the match-ups featured in the first three weeks are not your typical intra-conference match-ups; rather fans can enjoy cross-conference match-ups between some of the best teams in America. In addition, some of America’s most famous venues will host the games.

While Clemson and Alabama are considered the favorites heading into this season, there are numerous teams that could make some noise. Ohio State and Oklahoma are hoping to bounce back after endings to their seasons while Georgia and LSU are led by Heisman Trophy hopefuls. The top upcoming games in September are presented below.

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The 2016-17 NCAA Football has been released and fans have begun circling top match-ups on the schedule. Luckily for fans, the first three weeks in September are chock full of top match-ups between Power 5 Conference foes. Most of the match-ups featured in the first three weeks are not your typical intra-conference match-ups; rather fans can enjoy cross-conference match-ups between some of the best teams in America. In addition, some of America’s most famous venues will host the games.

While Clemson and Alabama are considered the favorites heading into this season, there are numerous teams that could make some noise. Ohio State and Oklahoma are hoping to bounce back after endings to their seasons while Georgia and LSU are led by Heisman Trophy hopefuls. The betting lines for each of these games is fairly close, so fans should check out http://www.ogpaper.com/sports-betting.html to educate themselves on how to bet on games. Game previews for each top game in September is presented below.

9/3/16 LSU Tigers @ Wisconsin Badgers (Lambeau Field)

An SEC-Big 10 match-up between the LSU Tigers and Wisconsin Badgers currently commands the highest get-in ticket price. While both teams are made up of All-Americans, all eyes will be on running back, Leonard Fournette. Fournette, who was the NCAA rushing champion last season, has scored 32 rushing touchdowns in his first two seasons while averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Since this game will be played at the historic Lambeau Field, fans should act soon in order to secure their tickets.

9/17/16 Ohio State Buckeyes @ Oklahoma Sooners (Memorial Stadium) 

The Ohio State Buckeyes will make a rare trip to Norman, Oklahoma for a match-up against the Sooners on Saturday, September 17th. Based on early Vegas lines, the Sooners are 9-point favorites over the Buckeyes. Granted, a total of 12 Buckeyes were selected in the NFL Draft, so this team will miss some of its playmakers in this match-ups. Ohio State will still have quarterback, JT Barrett in fold, but Oklahoma will feature a dynamic offense that features quarterback, Baker Mayfield and running back, Samaje Perine.

9/17/16 Michigan State Spartans @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Notre Dame Stadium)

The rivalry between Michigan State and Notre Dame will be renewed on Saturday, September 17th at Notre Dame Stadium. The rivalry between Michigan State and Notre Dame dates back to 1897–and Notre Dame leads the rivalry 48-28-1. These two teams haven’t played since 2013 when Notre Dame came away with a 17-13 victory. Notre Dame has won three straight games against Michigan State, so the Spartans will look to snap their winning streak.

9/4/16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Texas Longhorns (Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium) 

The Notre Dame-Texas college football rivalry dates back to 1913, but this rivalry has been dominated by the Irish. Notre Dame has nine of 11 match-up against the Longhorns, including a 38-3 victory last season. Given the magnitude of these two programs, this game will be played in primetime on Sunday, September 4th. This will be Notre Dame’s first trip to Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium since 1996 when Notre Dame won a close 27-24 decision.

9/3/16 North Carolina Tarheels @ Georgia Bulldogs (Georgia Dome) 

North Carolina and Georgia will square off in the Chik-Fil-A kick-off game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and will renew an old ACC-SEC rivalry. These two schools have played 30 times with Georgia holding a 16-12-2 advantage. Georgia fans are hoping that their star running back, Nick Chubb, will return for the season opener. Chubb tore his ACL last season after getting off to a blistering fast; Chubb averaged 149 rushing yards per game over his first five games and averaged an absurd 8.1 yards per carry. In 2014, Chubb rushed for 1,547 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns.

When it comes to sports, New York has bred a number of world-class competitors over the last few decades. From classic swingers, such as Babe Ruth, to modern day heroes, such as Michael Jordan and Mike Tyson, New York has a long history of sporting greats.

However, away from the baseball fields, football fields and other arenas of competition, in recent years New York has also become something of a breeding ground for another type of champion – poker players.

Thanks to a steady stream of poker icons making a name for themselves on the international circuit, New York has become synonymous with poker success and was even used as the setting for the cult classic Rounders. Starring Matt Damon, Ed Norton and John Malkovich, the 1998 film focuses on Mike McDermott (played by Damon) who is a poker player tasked with using his skills to rebuild his bankroll and take part in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.

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Regular season win totals have been released for each NFL team. Over the next month, we’ll preview each division and provide a ‘best bet’. Today, we’ll focus on the NFC North division.

It took all 17 weeks to decide, but the Green Bay Packers (12-4) once again reigned supreme atop the NFC North division. Green Bay’s NFC North foes Detroit (11-5),  Minnesota (7-9), and Chicago (5-11) will look to improve in 2015 in hopes of catching Green Bay. As we enter the 2015 season, things have remained ‘status quo’ for Green Bay. Green Bay has retained the majority of its roster from last season that lost a heart-breaker in the NFC Championship. With some extra motivation, Green Bay is one of the Super Bowl favorites this season. Minnesota has Adrian Peterson back in the fold, which should take pressure off Teddy Bridgewater as he enters his second season. Detroit lost some of its key defensive players, but Calvin Johnson is healthy and ready to go after a disappointing 2014 campaign. Chicago is in a state of transition and fans never know what to expect with Jay Cutler in fold. 

According to 5Dimes, season win totals for each of the NFC East teams is presented below:

  • Green Bay: 11 wins (o -140, u +110);
  • Detroit: 8.5 wins (o +120, u -140);
  • Minnesota: 7 wins (o +125, u -145); and
  • Chicago: 7 wins (o +130, u -150).

To me, one bet stand out in this division when you consider making live football bets at www.sportsbook.ag. Minnesota won seven games last without Adrian Peterson and with a rookie quarterback at the helm. Having a motivated Peterson in the fold will help this offense improve. In addition, Minnesota continued to use draft capital on the defensive side of the ball, which should help Mike Zimmer build this defense into one of the best in the NFL. Overall, Minnesota’s non-divisional schedule is not too difficult with its toughest games occurring at Denver and at Arizona. I feel really good about Minnesota this season, so I’ll take the over. 

Best Bet: Minnesota OVER 7 wins

Regular season win totals have been released for each NFL team. Over the next month, we’ll preview each division and provide a ‘best bet’. Today, we’ll focus on the NFC East division.

Last season, the Dallas Cowboys went 12-4 en-route to their first division championship since 2009. Dallas’ NFC East foes Philadelphia (10-6), New York Giants (6-10), and Washington (4-12) all missed the playoffs. As we enter the 2015 season, several key players have switched teams and changed the landscape of the division. Last year’s rushing champion, DeMarco Murray, left Dallas and signed with Philadelphia. Murray will replace LeSean McCoy, a player that Philadelphia jettisoned to the Buffalo Bills. Philadelphia is hoping that rookie wide receiver, Nelson Agholor can replace the production of Jeremy Maclin, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. Philadelphia traded last year’s starting quarterback, Nick Foles to St. Louis for the oft-injured, Sam Bradford. New York and Washington have not made moves during the off-season, but Washington head coach, Jay Gruden is clearly on the hot season after last season’s disappointing showing. 

According to 5Dimes, season win totals for each of the NFC East teams is presented below:

  • Dallas: 9.5 wins (o -140, u +120);
  • New York: 8.5 wins (o +120, u -140);
  • Philadelphia: 9.5 wins (o +125, u -145); and
  • Washington: 6.5 wins (o +130, u -150).

Philadelphia has the sixth highest win total on the board, but one thing separates Philadelphia from the other top contenders; quarterback play. While other top contenders have Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning, etc. leading their team, fans aren’t sure who will play quarterback for Philadelphia. Bradford is penciled in as the starting quarterback, but due to numerous injuries, hasn’t played 16 games since 2012 and can’t be trusted. Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow are also on the roster, but neither player could pilot this team to a 10-win season. I don’t think any of these players are what Chip Kelly wants as a quarterback.  Murray was the NFL’s top running back last year, but there are numerous red flags after his 400+ carry campaign. Philadelphia has not replaced DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin yet, either. The personnel turnover plus Kelly’s lackluster 3-10 records against top teams makes Philadelphia an easy fade candidate. There are too many question marks surrounding this team, which makes this an easy decision. 

Best Bet: Philadelphia UNDER 9.5 wins

 

Sportsbooks have begun offering prop bets for numerous NFL categories. Today, we will focus on pass catchers. Last season, Antonio Brown (1,698 yards) led the league in receiving yards. As the catalyst of Pittsburgh’s offense, Brown set career highs in yards, catches (129), and touchdowns (13). Top receivers need strong quarterback play to buoy their totals, so it’s no surprise that Ben Roethlisberger led the league in passing yards last season. We profiled passing yardage leader odds on Sunday and the odds makers think Ben will be among the league leaders again. This bodes well for Brown’s chances of once again leading the league in receiving yards. The list below highlights the current odds among the receivers with the best odds.

  • Brown (+500);
  • Jones (+600);
  • Thomas (+700);
  • Beckham Jr (+750);
  • Johnson (+800);
  • Nelson (+800);
  • Bryant (+800);
  • Green (+1200);
  • Hilton (+1600);
  • Hopkins (+1800).

There’s not a ton of value here, but if I had to pick one, I’d take Calvin Johnson. It may seem surprising to some, but Calvin Johnson has become overlooked. Marred by injuries last season, Johnson saw 128 targets over 13 games and still managed to amass 1,077 yards. His 2014 campaign was arguably his most disappointing since his rookie season in 2008. Johnson’s 2012 and 2013 campaigns were ridiculous and Johnson averaged 180 targets, 104 catches, 1,700 yards, and eight touchdowns. At +800, Johnson offers some value to lead the league in receiving yards. As a second pick, I like Julio Jones due the change in offensive coordinator. New offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan tends to favor his top wide receiver and that tendency should make Jones a strong bet to be among the league leaders in targets. Jones does have some injury concerns, but outside of Roddy White, there isn’t much competition for targets. 

The Picks:

  • Johnson (+800); and
  • Jones (+650).

Sportsbooks have begun offering prop bets for numerous NFL categories. Picking the league leader in rushing yardage is normally a difficult task due to numerous variables associated with the running back position. Last season, DeMarco Murray (1,845 yards) shook off the injury bug to easily led the league in rushing yardage. Murray left Dallas during free agency to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles. The current betting market believes that there will be a lot of competition among the game’s top rushers. Of note, five running backs currently has odds of 6-to-1. The list below highlights the running backs with the best odds to lead the league in rushing. 

  • Murray (+600);
  • Peterson (+600);
  • Foster (+600);
  • Charles (+600);
  • Lynch (+600);
  • Hill (+750);
  • Lacy (+850);
  • McCoy (+1000);
  • Anderson (+1500); and
  • Morris (+1600).

It’s very interesting to see that oddsmakers believe Adrian Peterson, who basically missed last season and is approaching 30-years-old, has the same odds as Murray. It would be wise to grab the odds on Peterson if you believe he’ll return with a vengeance despite his age. While any of the five favorites could lead the league in rushing, I’m going to focus on two players with lessor odds, but equal chances and are younger in age. My bold prediction for the 2015 NFL season is that Jeremy Hill will lead the league in rushing yardage. As a rookie, Hill averaged 5.1 yards per carry on just 221 carries. The Bengals have made it known that they want to run the ball behind their offensive line. Last season, Cincinnati’s offensive line ranked among the Top-1o units and added offensive linemen in the first and second rounds of the NFL Draft. The public loves to pile on Andy Dalton, but armed with skilled players at every position, Dalton has the ability to quietly lead one of the best offenses in football. The other player that warrants consideration is Eddie Lacy. Lacy rushed for 1,139 yards last season and benefits from playing with the best quarterback in football. Alike Hill, Lacy is another young running back (25) and does not have much trend on his tires. When in doubt, favor the younger running backs in good offenses.

The Picks:

  • Hill (+750); and
  • Lacy (+850).