Welcome to ABR’s Pigskins and Ponies column, where winners play!
Horse racing is my means to an end, and I love the sport like no other, but I admit it, like most of you, on a Sunday afternoon in the fall, it’s hard to pull me away from my couch … and NFL RedZone.
I have a wanted sign in Las Vegas and am feared by fantasy football mavens nationwide, but when it comes to the college game, I choose to punt.
That’s where Derek Cooley comes in. The dude is a loaded gun of university knowledge, and since the college football season has ended, this week he moves on to college hoops.
Let’s kick off the football, spring the horses from the gate and pad our bankrolls!
Pro Pigskins – by Joe Kristufek
Peyton Manning didn’t turn the ball over, the offense did just enough, and the Denver Broncos defense carried them past New England Patriots into the Super Bowl. We didn’t get that one right, but at least the game stayed under the total.
In Carolina, the Panthers hit the Arizona Cardinals in the mouth from the opening tip and knocked them to the canvas. The cover was never in doubt.
Last week: 2-1
Playoffs: 5-8-1 (.385)
Season team win total over/under: 5-6
Season Total: 52-51-4 (.505)
Super Bowl 50
Sunday, Feb. 7
Denver Broncos +5.5 (middling our previous play) and double bet on UNDER 44.5
With the line currently Carolina -5.5, we’re obviously thrilled to have taken the NFC -2.5 when the playoffs began. It saves us from having to play Carolina and actually gives us an opportunity to “middle” by playing Denver. Should Carolina win by 3, 4 or 5 points, I’d actually cash both tickets.
The Broncos aren’t supposed to win and they know it. Their defense is good and they’ll play loose and inspired football. Even if his arm and body aren’t what they used to be, Peyton Manning will be mentally prepared.
Denver’s strength is their pass rush. Carolina’s offensive line is MUCH better than New England’s and Cam Newton is much more elusive and dynamic than Tom Brady.
By Pantherfan11 - I took this photo at a Carolina Panthers football game., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20915431
Carolina should win, but what should happen doesn't always, and we're talking about a quarterbacking legend with an extraordinary amount of karma on his side.
I think Peyton goes out with a loss, but one he won’t be ashamed of.
When playing props, I like to seek out talented players who were seen more than they were heard during the regular season and studs who may not get the credit they deserve.
- Cody Latimer (Den) OVER 7.5 receiving yards and OVER ½ reception
- Emmanuel Sanders (Den) OVER 67.5 receiving yards and OVER 5 ½ receptions
- Ted Ginn Jr. (Car) OVER 5.5 rushing yards
- Devin Funchess (Car) OVER 20.5 receiving yards
- Greg Olsen (Car) OVER 67.5 receiving yards and OVER 5.5 receptions
Derek Cooley returns next week for Hoops and Horses!
Ponies – by Joe Kristufek
Of our four selections two weeks ago, only R Girls a Charmer was able the seal the deal with a win. Unfortunately, the other three failed to light the toteboard.
Last week: 4-1-0-0 ($2 WPS * $24 wagered * $24.80 returned)
Season Total: 82-19-12-10 ($2 WPS * $492 wagered * $352.20 returned = $4.52)
Saturday, Feb. 6
Gulfstream Park – Hallandale, Fla.
10th race – Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint Stakes
#4 Pure Sensation (morning-line odds, 3-1)
Pinned down on the rail for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, this classy gray broke a step slow and then never had a chance. Note that he defeated that race winner Mongolian Saturday in their previous encounter. He’s trained sharply in the interim, is well drawn midpack, and with his “A” game, the rest of these may be forced to run for minor awards.
13th race – Donn Handicap
#7 Itsaknockout (morning-line odds, 4-1)
His run up to the Triple Crown races had its peaks and valleys and following an even run in the Kentucky Derby, this guy went on vacation. He returned with a vengeance a few weeks ago and he enters today’s tough assignment as tight as a drum. He should be in line for a dream trip.
ITSAKNOCKOUT AFTER THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
Oaklawn Park – Hot Springs Ark.
Race 8 – Martha Washington Stakes
#1 Nickname (morning-line odds, 8-5)
It’s scary how many good 3-year-old fillies Steve Asmussen has in his barn this spring. Nickname may be the most accomplished of those, but whether or not she’s the most talented remains to be seen. She has a serious class edge over the rest of her Arkansas opponents and surely will be sitting on go.
Santa Anita Park – Arcadia, Calif.
Race 4 – Robert B. Lewis Stakes
#7 Uncle Lino (morning-line odds, TBD)
Mor Spirit is supposed to win, but I’m willing to take a swing against him. By the red-hot Uncle Mo, this guy’s dam is a half-sister to several talented distance horses, including Preakness winner Shackleford. He closed on his wrong lead sprinting last out and I’m thinking the added distance could very well work in his favor.