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Welcome to my blog which deals with mixed martial arts betting and preview with a detailed analysis on the world of MMA. This blogs covers anything relating to the UFC, Strikeforce, Dreams or any other MMA organization.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Joke of the Day - Thanksgiving Story

This is a story about a couple who had been happily married for years.

The only friction in their marriage was the husband's habit of farting loudly every morning when he awoke. The noise would wake his wife and the smell would make her eyes water and make her gasp for air.

Every morning she would plead with him to stop ripping them off because it was making her sick. He told her he couldn't stop it and that it was perfectly natural. She told him to see a doctor; she was concerned that one day he would blow his guts out. The years went by and he continued to blast them out!

Then one Thanksgiving morning as she was preparing the turkey for dinner and he was upstairs sound asleep, she looked at the bowl where she had put the turkey innards and neck, gizzard, liver and all the spare parts and a malicious thought came to her. She took the bowl and went upstairs where her husband was sound asleep and, gently pulling back the bed covers, she pulled back the elastic waistband of his underpants and emptied the bowl of turkey guts into his shorts.

Some time later she heard her husband waken with his usual trumpeting which was followed by a blood curdling scream and the sound of frantic footsteps as he ran into the bathroom. The wife could hardly control herself as she rolled on the floor laughing, tears in her eyes! After years of torture she reckoned she had got him back pretty good. About twenty minutes later, her husband came downstairs in his bloodstained underpants with a look of horror on his face. She bit her lip as she asked him what was the matter.

He said, "Honey, you were right. All these years you have warned me and I didn't listen to you." "What do you mean?" asked his wife. "Well, you always told me that one day I would end up farting my guts out, and today it finally happened.

But by the grace of God, some Vaseline, and two fingers, I think I got most of them back in."

Free Pick of the Day - Montreal Canadiens vs New York Rangers

Event: Montreal Canadiens vs New York Rangers on 10/31/2005 at 16:05

Condition: Under

This is the back end of a home-and-home series as the Rangers won up in Montreal 5-2 on Saturday. However, I am expecting a lower scoring affair here at Madison Square Garden where the Rangers are allowing a miniscule 1.50 goals per game so far this season! In fact, their overall goals against average of 2.33 goals per contest is good enough to be 5th best in the NHL. Also, their 5-goal outburst Saturday was a bit of an anomaly, and we do not expect a repeat performance vs. what is also usually a stingy Montreal defense. Even with that explosion, the UNDER is still 8-2 in the last 10 Ranger games overall. Those 5 goals allowed were a season high for the Canadiens, who are allowing just 2.91 goals per game overall.

Furthermore, they have been even tighter defensively on the road this year, where their GAA drops to 2.40, so we expect them to bounce back and buckle down tonight. Offensively, Montreal is averaging a modest 3.00 goals, and they again may have a difficult time getting the puck past Ranger goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, whose sparkling 1.60 GAA is currently second in the NHL!

Free Pick of the Day - Florida Panthers vs Toronto Maple Leafs

Event: Florida Panthers vs Toronto Maple Leafs on 10/31/2005 at 16:35

Pick : Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs come into this contest in a foul mood and primed for a big effort after being obliterated on home ice by the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night by a score of 8-0. The Buds will be out for redemption against a Florida Panthers team that they went 2-1-1 against during the 2004 season. final note: Ed Belfour Leafs man in the crease tonight is 6-2-1 L/9 vs Panthers. Toronto is 11-2-2 SU in its last 15 games vs the moneyline after being shutout. Leafs get the nod against the moneyline

Friday, October 28, 2005

Joke of the Day

A cabbie picks up a Nun. She gets into the cab, and notices that the VERY handsome cab driver won't stop staring at her. She asks him why he is staring.

He replies: "I have a question to ask you, but I don't want to offend you" She answers, "My son, you cannot offend me.

When you're as old as I am and have been a nun as long as I have, you get a chance to see and hear just about everything. I'm sure that there's nothing you could say or ask that I would find offensive."

"Well, I've always had a fantasy to have a nun kiss me." She responds, "Well, let's see what we can do about that: #1, you have to be single and #2, you must be Catholic."The cab driver is very excited and says, "Yes, I'm single and Catholic! "OK" the nun says. "Pull into the next alley."

The nun fulfills his fantasy with a kiss that would make a hooker blush. But when they get back on the road, the cab driver starts crying."My dear child," said the nun, why are you crying?" "Forgive me but I've sinned. I lied and I must confess, I'm married and

I'm Jewish."

The nun says, "That's OK. My name is Kevin and I'm going to a Halloween party."

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Joke of the Day

Don and his wife Alice went to the state fair every year. Every year, Don would say, "Alice , I'd like to ride in that helicopter." Alice always replied, " I know Don , but that helicopter ride is 50 dollars and 50 dollars is 50 dollars."

A few years later, Alice and Don went to the fair. Don said, "Alice , I'm 85 years old. If I don't ride that helicopter now, I might never get another chance."

Alice replied, "Don, that helicopter is 50 dollars and 50 dollars is 50 dollars."

The pilot overheard the couple. He said, "Folks, I'll make you a deal. I'll take the both of you for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and not say a word, I won't charge you! But if you say one word, it's 50 dollars."

Don and Alice agreed -- and up they went. The pilot did all kinds of fancy maneuvers. But not a word was heard.

He did his daredevil tricks over and over again, but still not a word.

When they landed, the pilot turned to Don and said, "By golly, I did everything I could to get you to yell out, but you didn't. I'M impressed!"

Don replied, "Well, I was going to say something when Alice fell out, but 50 dollars is 50 dollars."

Crack in My WindShield

The White Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 1-0 on Opening Day (April 4) and closed the year with a 1-0 win over the Houston Astros last night, clinching the team's first World Series since 1917. With the Red Sox ending their 86-year World Series drought last year, it's clearly the Cubs turn in 2006 (winless since 1908). The White Sox ended the year by winning 16 of their final 17 games, including an 11-1 mark in the postseason. They tie the 1999 NY Yankees, for the best postseason mark since the league expanded its playoff structure in 1995. As for the Astros, the 1-0 shut out was fitting. The team was shut out a MLB-high 17 times during the regular season, including five times by the score of 1-0. The Astros were once again pathetic at the plate in Game 4. They sent 28 consecutive batters to the plate after tying Game 3 at five-all on Tuesday without getting a hit and were nearly as bad Wednesday. Houston had just five hits in Game 4, going 0-11 with RISP. In fact the Astros finished 10-48 (.208) with RISP for the Series. Houston was shut out over its final 15 innings of play (stranding 18 runners) and became the first team to ever get swept in its World Series debut.If it's Thursday, it MUST be the ACC!

The ACC takes center stage for the FOURTH consecutive Thursday night, as Virginia Tech hosts Boston College. Tech ranks first in the nation is scoring defense (9.0 PPG) and second in total defense (235.5 YPG). However, Boston College's defense is no slouch, ranking 6th in scoring at 14.0 PPG and eighth in total defense at 272.7 YPG. Va Tech is 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS on the year and ranked third in all the polls plus the BCS, while Boston College is ranked 11th and 13th in the polls (12th in the BCS) at 6-1 SU and 4-3 ATS. No team has been any closer than 17 points to Va Tech since its 20-16 season-opening win over NC State but Boston College has been a dangerous 'dog' in recent years, going 7-3 SU and ATS in the role of an underdog since 2003. Va Tech is a 13 1/2-point favorite and the total is 45.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Daily Free Picks

Houston Manager Phil Garner sat 'frozen' as the "unbeatable" Roy Oswalt struggled through an 11-batter, 46-pitch, six-hit and five-run fifth inning last night. Obviously, removing a struggling Oswalt would have opened him up to second-guessers if a Springer or a Wheeler had come in and given up the tying or go-ahead runs. However, isn't it amazing he never moved a muscle and didn't have a SINGLE reliever warming up? It was later reported that Oswalt's 46-pitch inning was the highest of his career!As for the Astros so-called offense, what can one say? After Jason Lane's "phantom" HR in the 4th, the team's ONLY hit over the next 10 innings, was Lane's two-out double in the eighth (that tied the game). During that span, the Astros left an almost unbelievable total of 13 men on base. Read the following S-L-O-W-L-Y!

After Lane's double tied the game in the eighth, Ausmus struck out to end the inning. The Astros then sent six men to the plate in the 9th, five in the 10th, five in the 11th, three in the 12th, four in the 13th and four in the 14th with not a SINGLE one of them getting a hit. Doing the math, that's 28 batters sent to the plate and ZERO hits!. Chicago's Geoff "Babe Ruth" Blum's go-ahead HR in the 14th came with two outs and just for good measure, Houston allowed back-to-back singles and back-to-back walks after Blum's HR, giving the White Sox an 'insurance' run.Game 4 is tonight, as Freddy Garcia meets Brandon Backe. The White Sox are 14-5 in Garcia's road starts this year, but the Astros are 10-2 in Backe's home starts this year and a quite impressive 16-2 in his 18 career starts in Minute Maid Park. Chicago is now one win away from its first World Series championship in 88 years.

The White Sox are now 10-1 in this year's postseason, including a perfect 5-0 on the road. Can Houston avoid the sweep? The Cards couldn't last year against the Red Sox and tonight's game has opened with Chicago as a minus-$1.30 favorite. The total is either 8 or 8 1/2. For those of you "listing" pitchers, here's a heads-up. There is a rumor that Garner intends on starting Oswalt again and if the Astros win, will start him in ALL remaining games!

Daily Free Picks

Houston Manager Phil Garner sat 'frozen' as the "unbeatable" Roy Oswalt struggled through an 11-batter, 46-pitch, six-hit and five-run fifth inning last night. Obviously, removing a struggling Oswalt would have opened him up to second-guessers if a Springer or a Wheeler had come in and given up the tying or go-ahead runs. However, isn't it amazing he never moved a muscle and didn't have a SINGLE reliever warming up? It was later reported that Oswalt's 46-pitch inning was the highest of his career!As for the Astros so-called offense, what can one say? After Jason Lane's "phantom" HR in the 4th, the team's ONLY hit over the next 10 innings, was Lane's two-out double in the eighth (that tied the game). During that span, the Astros left an almost unbelievable total of 13 men on base. Read the following S-L-O-W-L-Y!

After Lane's double tied the game in the eighth, Ausmus struck out to end the inning. The Astros then sent six men to the plate in the 9th, five in the 10th, five in the 11th, three in the 12th, four in the 13th and four in the 14th with not a SINGLE one of them getting a hit. Doing the math, that's 28 batters sent to the plate and ZERO hits!. Chicago's Geoff "Babe Ruth" Blum's go-ahead HR in the 14th came with two outs and just for good measure, Houston allowed back-to-back singles and back-to-back walks after Blum's HR, giving the White Sox an 'insurance' run.Game 4 is tonight, as Freddy Garcia meets Brandon Backe. The White Sox are 14-5 in Garcia's road starts this year, but the Astros are 10-2 in Backe's home starts this year and a quite impressive 16-2 in his 18 career starts in Minute Maid Park. Chicago is now one win away from its first World Series championship in 88 years.

The White Sox are now 10-1 in this year's postseason, including a perfect 5-0 on the road. Can Houston avoid the sweep? The Cards couldn't last year against the Red Sox and tonight's game has opened with Chicago as a minus-$1.30 favorite. The total is either 8 or 8 1/2. For those of you "listing" pitchers, here's a heads-up. There is a rumor that Garner intends on starting Oswalt again and if the Astros win, will start him in ALL remaining games!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Free Pick of the Day

The White Sox are now more than four-to-one favorites to win their first World Series since 1917. I guess that makes sense, as they lead 2-0 and only ONE (the '96 Yankees) of the last 12 teams to fall behind 0-2 in a Series have come back to win. Game 3 sets up as strength versus strength as the White Sox are 56-29 on the road and the Astros are 57-29 at home (including the postseason). While the White Sox may be HUGE favorites to win it all, the early 'action' is all on the Astros in Game 3, as after opening at minus-$1.65, the Astros are up to minus-$1.80 and climbing. You think the fact that Roy Oswalt is on the mound for Houston has anything to do with that? The Game 3 total is seven.

The Falcons beat the Jets 27-14 last night, in a game that was not suitable for viewing by anyone under the age of 18 (forget women and children!). Vinny personally turned the ball over three times in the game's first 17 1/2-minutes, leading directly to 17 points for the Falcons. In three starts for the Jets, Vinny has yet to throw a TD pass, while throwing four interceptions, losing four fumbles and getting sacked nine times. You think maybe Namath is available next week? By the way, Atlanta QB Michael Vick was 11-of-26 for 116 yards with no TDs and three interceptions. His QB rating for the game was 16.3, a career-low. Now Vinny's almost ready for Social Security, but what's Vick's excuse?

Only in the world of college football can you win yet still LOSE! All the Trojans have done is win 29 straight games but they fell to No.2, behind Texas, in the latest BCS standings released Monday. However, unlike in most cases when nobody remembers No. 2, in the BCS, No. 2 is just as good as No. 1. When the final standings are released on December 4, the loneliest number is not one, as Three Dog Night once proclaimed, but No.3. Just ask Auburn in 2004, or USC in 2003.

Don't forget, Don Best is celebrating another $20 Tuesday today, featuring ALL selections from its Experts, for just $20!?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sid the Kid versus Alexander the Great

NHL rookie report

The Calder Trophy, named after former NHL President Frank Calder, is awarded to the hockey player judged to be the most proficient in his first season.
One would think that the top overall draft pick would have an excellent shot at winning this award each season. However, that isn't generally the case. In fact, we have to look all the way back to 1985 when a young Mario Lemieux was named rookie of the year to find the last time that the first overall pick was also the best first-year player.

Due to the lockout, there is a unique situation this season in which there are two rookies who were both taken as the top pick in their respective drafts. The Washington Capitals drafted Alexander Ovechkin with the top pick in the 2004 draft, while the Pittsburgh Penguins took Sidney Crosby with the first selection in 2005.

There is a strong possibility that one of these young stars will win the Calder Trophy this season. This week, I thought it would be interesting to see how Ovechkin and Crosby have been holding up through the first few weeks of the season.

Sidney Crosby
Basketball fans have long been looking for the 'heir' to Michael Jordan's throne. Since Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux began re-writing NHL records two decades ago, hockey fans have also been looking for 'The Next One'. If 'Sid the Kid' lives up to expectations, he may fit the bill. Indeed, no player has entered the league with as much hype since Eric Lindros was a rookie 14 years ago.

Crosby, listed at 5-foot-11 and 193 pounds, hails from Nova Scotia and was born in 1987. He played for Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season. Additionally, Crosby played for the Canadian National Junior team. He tallied an impressive 92 goals and 127 assists in 86 combined games.

Crosby is surrounded by a numerous offensive stars, including Lemieux, John LeClair, Ziggy Palffy, Sergei Gonchar and Mark Recchi. Through eight games, Crosby has two goals and nine assists. Despite all the obvious offensive fire-power and Crosby's strong stats, the Penguins remain winless.

Alexander Ovechkin
Unlike Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin plays for a rebuilding team and doesn't have much of a supporting cast. Ovechkin is already expected to be the Capitals' best player. While Crosby could be compared to Gretzky, at 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds, Ovechkin is more of a power-forward along the lines of Lemieux or Lindros.

Ovechkin, born in Russia, played for his country in the World Cup at 18 and played for the Moscow Dynamo starting at age 16. Ovechkin could have earned more money by playing with Avangard Omsak, a Russian "Super League" team. Instead, he elected to follow his boyhood dream and play in the NHL.

Through nine games, Ovechkin has six goals and four assists. The Capitals have three wins and six losses.

World Series - Ratings and Gambling Dud

Can it really be? Will the White Sox really win the World Series the very year after the Red Sox did it? If so, make your future bets now on the Cubs in 2006! While there doesn't seem to be much interest among viewers or even bettors, the first two games of the Series have provided great entertainment. With the White Sox up 2-0, the Series resumes in Houston on Tuesday. The pitching matchups are Garland versus Oswalt and the Astros are an early $1.70-favorite with a total of 7. The White Sox, who opened as a minus-$1.25 favorite to win the series, are now about four-to-one favorites. REMEMBER, you can get any of the Don Best Experts' Game 3 selections for just $20,as it falls on our $20 Tuesday!

The only top-10 team to lose this past weekend in CFB was No. 10 Texas Tech and that came to No. 2 Texas. That means there was little change at the top of the polls and little change is expected when the BCS standings are released later today. Friday we pointed out that there were three huge games scheduled in the SEC and all three were decided by just three points. Alabama beat Tennessee 6-3 with the game-winning FG coming with 13 seconds remaining. LSU beat Auburn 20-17 in OT, in a game in which the Auburn kicker went 1-of-6 in FG attempts. Georgia edged Arkansas 23-20 but lost QB DJ Shockley for its game this Saturday with No. 16 Florida. No. 3 Va Tech hosts No. 13 BC this Thursday while No. 9 Notre Dame hosts No. 23 Tennessee and No. 14 Oregon hosts No. 24 Cal on Saturday in other top-25 matchups. However, maybe we should all just fast-forward and let USC and Texas play NOW and get it over with?

In Week 7 of the NFL, the 7-0 Colts remained the NFL's only unbeaten team by beating the league's only winless team, the 0-6 Texans, 38-20. I'm not sure anybody really believes the Colts can get through the year unscathed but a few just may believe the Texans can go WINLESS! Sunday provided its share of "fantastic finishes." The Vikings overcame a 17-0 halftime deficit to beat the Packers 23-20, with the winning margin coming on a 56-yard FG on the game's final play. The Seahawks (13-10) also won a the game's final play, a 50-yard FG by Josh Brown. Seattle trailed Dallas 10-3 with under a minute to go but tied with 40 seconds left and won it on Brown's FG, following an interception in the game's final 10 seconds. The Giants trailed the Broncos 23-10 with under 10 minutes left but rallied to win 24-23, when Manning connected on a TD pass to Toomer with just five seconds left. Finally, the Eagles held San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson to SEVEN yards rushing on 17 carries and held him without a TD for the first time in 19 games but need a 65-yard TD following a blocked FG attempt (2:25 left) to edge the Chargers, 20-17. The week concludes tonight with the Falcons hosting the NY Jets. The Flacons are an NFL-worst 7-18 on Monday nights but the Jets are down to their fourth QB of the year, 100-year-old Vinny Testaverde. Atlanta is a 7 1/2-point favorite and the total is 40 1/2.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Weekend Sports Reviews and Picks

While it may not be the matchup TV had hoped for, an Astros-White Sox World Series has quite a storyline. The Astros are trying to win their first-ever championship (began as the Colt 45s in 1962), while the White Sox are trying to win for the first time since 1917. The Series opens Saturday night in Chicago with Clemens facing Contreras. The White Sox are minus-$1.30 in Game 1 (total is 7 1/2) and about the same price to win it all.

It's seems highly unlikely that this weekend's college football slate can match last weekend's games, when 10 top-25 teams in the Coaches' poll either won or lost in the final 1:18 of their games. FIVE teams won or lost on the game's FINAL play! There are SEVEN schools still unbeaten (Va Tech won easily last night), and all are ranked in the top-10 of the human polls as well as in the top-10 of the first BCS standings. The game with the most at stake this weekend is No. 2 Texas hosting No. 7 Texas Tech (BCS rankings). That means there can be no more than six unbeatens left after this weekend. It's a HUGE weekend for the SEC as undefeated Alabama hosts Tennessee, unbeaten Georgia hosts Arkansas and Auburn and LSU play an "elimination game" in the SEC West at Baton Rogue (both have one loss).

The NFL gets an early start to its Week 7, as the KC/Mia game has been moved up to tonight at 7:00 ET. The league's only unbeaten, the 6-0 Indianapolis Colts, are more than a two-TD favorite for the second time in just three weeks, as they visit the league's lone winless team, the 0-5 Houston Texans. It's still early but with a win, the Colts will open a 2 1/2-game lead over the Jaguars, who are idle. The Broncos could go to 6-1 with a win at the NY Giants, meaning KC (3-2) and SD (3-3) could really use wins this weekend. The Chargers have been the league's best pointspread team since the beginning of last year but have a very tough assignment on Sunday, playing at Philadelphia. How about those Bengals? They can move to 6-1 if they beat the 3-2 Steelers in Cincinnati on Sunday. A Buffalo win at Oakland would put the Bills alone atop the AFC East for the first time in 10 years! Seattle is two games up on the Rams in the NFC West and could run away with that division. If the Bears and Lions lose on Sunday, the NFC North would have a three-way tie at the top of its division with Chicago, Detroit and the winner of the GB/Minn game all at 2-4! The NFC East is a log-jam with Dallas at 4-2 and the three other teams at 3-2. Atlanta (4-2), which hosts the NY Jets on Monday night, has a chance to move ahead of 4-2 Carolina and just behind Tampa Bay (5-1) in the NFC South, as both of those teams have a bye.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sports Picks of the Day

"Ding-Dong the witch is dead." Which old witch you ask? How about the one that kept the Houston Astros from a World Series berth for 43 consecutive seasons, since its birth in 1962 as the Houston Colt 45s. Roy Oswalt stared down the "ghosts of playoff failures-past" and pitched the Astros to the franchise's first World Series appearance in 44 seasons. Ironically, they will open the World Series this Saturday in Chicago against the White Sox, who are making their first Series appearance since 1959. The 46-year span between World Series appearances by the White Sox is the longest drought between appearances of any team in the history of MLB. Of course everyone knows the White Sox haven't won a title since 1917.

Individually, it's vindication for Houston's longtime All Stars, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, who both make their first-ever World Series appearance. In Biggio's case, he's waited longer than any player in MLB history to play in his first Worlds Series, having played in 2,564 regular season games. On the other end of that spectrum, Biggio's teammate Roger Clemens will be making a World Series appearance in his THIRD different decade! As for the losing Cardinals, it marks the second straight year in which they have won more regular season games than any team in baseball, yet failed to claim the title. St Louis manager Tony La Russa has 2,214 career wins, ranking him third all-time among managers in wins but La Russa's won just ONE title. While La Russa is considered one of baseball's best managers by almost everyone, it's hard to ignore the fact that his teams have done very poorly in the postseason. While he ranks 3rd on the all-time wins list, 19 managers in MLB history have won two or more World Series titles (Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel lead the way with seven!), while La Russa's only championship came in the "Earthquake World Series" of 1989 with the A's.

The ACC takes center stage in CFB for the third straight Thursday night on ESPN (7:45 ET), as No. 3 Virginia Tech visits College Park to play the Maryland Terrapins. Tech has won seven straight road games (6-1 ATS) entering tonight's contest plus has quite a Thursday night streak going as well. The Hokies have gone 9-0 SU and 8-1 ATS (all as favorites) on Thursday nights since 1998! Tech was a 10-point choice early this morning with a posted of 48. Don't forget the Sun Belt Conference, as Florida International is at Troy State, where the Trojans (not THOSE Trojans!) are 9 1/2-point favorites with a total of 45.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Tonight's games

"Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it!" If you believe that famous quote, then you'd better not take the Houston Astros tonight in Game 6 of the NLCS. The Astros entered the 9th inning of Game 5 leading the Cardinals 4-2 with the knowledge that they were 84-1 this year when leading after the 8th inning. You all know what happened, as with two outs, two strikes and no one on for the Cardinals, it all fell apart for Houston. This was the fifth game in Astros history in which a victory would have sent them off to the World Series. They have led in every one of those games -- three times by two runs or more in the eighth inning or beyond -- and lost ALL FIVE! It marked just the THIRD time in MLB postseason history in which a team was one strike away from clinching a series and LOST.

Interestingly enough, the other two times both occurred in 1986. The infamous "Donnie Moore game" in Game 5 of the ALCS, when the Red Sox beat the Angels and the even more infamous "Bill Buckner game", when the Mets came back to beat the Red Sox in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. The Angels lost that Game 5 at home and then went to Boston and lost Games 6 and 7 by the combined score of 18-5. As for the Red Sox, they went on to lose Game 7 of the 1986 World Series to the Mets, 8-5! Will Houston suffer the same fate? Tonight's NLCS Game 6 features a pitching rematch of Game 2, as Roy Oswalt meets Mark Mulder.

Both pitched well in that game, as the Astros won 4-1. The Cardinals opened a $1.55-favorite with the total set at 7 1/2. One last thought. For those who think that the Astros can't lose three straight games with Pettitte, Oswalt and Clemens on the mound, think again. It's happened TWICE since the All Star break, including in St. Louis from July 15-17! Your move!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Paul Coffey Day - Phoenix Coyotes vs Edmonton Oilers - Free Pick of the Day

Free Pick of the Day

Phoenix Coyotes vs Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers and Coyotes used to play high-scoring games in the 'old NHL' and I expect that to carry 'over' to tonight's game. In fact, the Over was a Perfect 5-0 the last five games in this series. Each of those games produced a minimum of six goals, averaging 7.4 goals per game. Looking back further and we find the Over at a profitable 11-1-1 the last 13 meetings. With Gretzky making his return to Edmonton, expect to see some more fireworks tonight. Play on the OVER


Oilers Ready To Raise Paul Coffey’s Jersey

"That's why they call it gambling!"

As the saying goes, "That's why they call it gambling!" Monday night's football and baseball games are perfect examples. For those who had the Rams at plus-13 1/2, things were looking pretty good with a 17-0 lead in the early second quarter. However, things fell apart very quickly, as the Colts won 45-28 and 'covered'.

In the NLCS, Houston and 'under' bettors were a 'lock' with Houston leading 4-2 with two outs and no one on in the 9th. A few minutes later, those tickets' were pretty much useless. It just goes to show that in sports betting, there are no right or wrong sides but rather winning and losing sides.Tuesday features no MLB or football games and the NHL has just a four-game schedule. However, don't forget to visit the Don Best purchase picks page for another $20 Tuesday and pick up our Experts' NHL selections for today. Also, some of the guys already have plays available for the upcoming weekend.

The first BCS standings were released yesterday and there were no surprises at the top, as the top-five teams in the two "human" polls (Harris and Coaches') were also the top-five in the BCS. Notre Dame, 11th and 12th in the Harris and Coaches' poll respectively, was just 16th in the BCS standings due to a 25th-place finish in the six combined computer rankings. Will it be a USC-Texas showdown in the Rose Bowl in the BCS title game? Maybe but as mentioned here yesterday, in the seven-year history of the BCS, the top two teams in the first standings have NEVER met in the title game!

Monday, October 17, 2005

This Week in Review

The USC - Notre Dame game lived up to the hype, as the Trojans escaped 34-31. However, after two weeks of calm in the top-10, two top-10 teams lost to unranked opponents, No. 5 Florida State at Virginia (26-21) and No. 8 Penn State at Michigan (27-25). No.6 Alabama barely escaped joining FSU and PSU, winning on the game's final play, 13-10 at Ole Miss. All-in-all, NINE top-25 teams fell this past weekend, the most for any weekend in 2005. The season's first BCS standings will be released later today and there is talk that while USC will be No. 1, Va Tech may be No. 2 over Texas, which has been No. 2 all year in the AP, Coaches' and Harris polls. Something to keep in mind though. The two teams ranked first and second in the initial BCS standings of the season have NEVER gone on to meet in that year's BCS title game.The White Sox eliminated the Angels by winning that series' final four games, all on complete-game efforts. That hasn't been done in the postseason since 1956.

Chicago heads to its first World Series since 1959 (46-year span between appearances is a record) and will attempt to win for the first time since 1917. The Astros will try to join them tonight, as they lead the Cardinals in the NLCS, three games-to-one. Of course the Astros have NEVER been to a World Series (first season was 1962) and with chances to advance to the Series in 1980 and 2004, went 0-4 in series-clinching games. Can they really lose three straight games this year with Pettitte, Oswalt and Clemens on the mound?

Tonight's Game 5 (Carpenter vs Pettitte) sees St. Louis as a $1.30-favorite with a total of 7 or 7 1/2.The NFL's lone unbeaten team, the Indianapolis Colts (5-0), hosts the St. Louis Rams tonight. The Colts are a 13 1/2-point favorite and the total is 51 1/2. Denver, which was embarrassed in Week 1 at Miami (lost 34-10), made it FIVE straight wins with a 28-20 win over the Patriots, who stand at just 3-3 heading into their bye week. Joining the Broncos at 5-1 are the Bengals (31-23 winners over the Titans) and the Bucs (27-13 winners over the Dolphins). Five teams have just one win (Arizona, Green Bay, Minnesota, Oakland and San Francisco), while the Texans (42-10 losers to the Seahawks last night) remain the NFL's only winless team at 0-5. All four teams in the NFC East have winning records while all four in the NFC North have losing records.

Joke of the Day


The Boss was in quandary. He had to fire somebody. He had it narrowed down to one of two people, Debra or Jack. It was an impossible decision, they were both super workers. Rather than flip a coin, he decided he would fire the first one who used the water cooler the next morning.

Debra came in the next morning with a horrible hang-over after partying all night. She went to the cooler to take an aspirin. The Boss approached her and said: " Debra, I've never done this before, but I have to lay you or Jack off." "Could you jack off?" she says. "I feel like shit."

Friday, October 14, 2005

This Weekend's Games - Who to Bet on

Both the ALCS and NLCS are tied at one-all, after Houston's 4-1 win last night. The White Sox and Angels play tonight, Saturday and Sunday in Anaheim while the NL teams travel on Friday and resume in Houston for Games 3-5 on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The White Sox were MLB's best road team this year at 52-29 but haven't made the World Series since 1917. The Astros owned the NL's best home mark this year (53-28) and try to nail down the franchise's first-ever World Series appearance with three home games.

College football's marquee game this weekend in undoubtedly, No. 1 USC visiting South Bend to play No. 9 Notre Dame. USC has won 27 straight games and is attempting to win three straight national titles, for the first time in college football history. Speaking of history, no school has more history than Notre Dame, However, the Irish have lost three straight times to USC, each time by exactly 31 points! Has Charlie Weis closed the gap enough in one season to give Notre Dame a real chance at the upset? No.2 Texas hosts No. 24 Colorado, which may be a preview of the Big-12 title game in early December. In the SEC, No. 10 LSU hosts No. 11 Florida and the loser is likely out of the SEC title game picture. It's also "Elimination Saturday" in the Big-10, as No. 15 Ohio State hosts No. 16 Michigan State and No. 22 Minnesota hosts No. 23 Wisconsin.

The first BCS standings are revealed on Monday.The NFL's lone unbeaten team, the Indianapolis Colts, host the St. Louis Rams on Monday night. The league's lone winless team, the Houston Texans, are at Seattle in the Sunday night game. The two-time defending champs find themselves a three-point underdog in Denver and the Pats could fall to just 3-3 with a loss. The 3-2 Philadelphia Eagles, last year's NFC champs, are off this week and probably are rooting for the Cowboys to beat the Giants plus the Chiefs to beat the Redskins, tightening up the NFC East. Handicappers may want to take note that SU winners of NFL games are 61-11-2 ATS or 84.7% through the season's first five weeks. Teams with the most rushing yards in a game are 50-21-2 ATS while teams with the most rushing attempts in a game are 55-15-2 ATS. Teams with 100-yard rushers have gone 29-5 SU and 24-9-1 ATS, while teams with 300-yard passers are just 13-9 SU and 12-10 ATS.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

USC versus Notre Dame -Free Pick of the Day

USC versus Notre Dame -Free Pick of the Day

Southern California comes into this contest against host Notre Dame with what many pundits consider, including myself,to be the most prolific scoring machine in NCAA history with QB Matt Leinhart slinging passes to a bevy of weapons that is making NFL agents and scouts drool. Leinhart loves to play against Notre Dame as is evidenced by his efforts over the last two seasons that has seen him smash the Irish sec-ondary completing 50 of 68 passes (74%) for 751 yards and nine touchdowns. Not a good omen for the Irish this week, considering the defensive secondary is still struggling and allowing an ugly 306 YPG.

I know that many prognosticators will say, that the Irish are no slouches offensively either, and have plenty of fire power behind the arm of Heisman candidate QB Brady Quinn who has completed 65% of his passes for 1621 yards and 13 TDs. But despite of his lofty numbers and the emotional factors and home field advantage that will back the Popes favorite team , I still feel they are outclassed here as is every other team the Trojans face.

Bottom line: USC after some close calls knows that they are only human, and can be beat. Look for the coaching staff and players to be focused this week as they treat this like a National Championship game. Final note: USC has outscored Irish 130 to 37 L/3 meetings. Play on USC minus the points

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Texas versus Colorado - Free Pick of the Day

Texas Longhorns Versus Colorado Buffalos

Texas (5-0) comes off a convincing 45-12 victory vs. arch-rival Oklahoma. No win could have been sweeter, as the Sooners had dominated the Longhorns for five consecutive seasons. Coming off a win of that magnitude and looking ahead to next week's clash vs. undefeated instate rival Texas Tech, lets fade the Longhorns on Saturday. While Texas is the #2 ranked team in the nation, Colorado is no slouch either. The Buffaloes are 4-1 for the season and 2-0 in Big 12 play. Their lone loss came at Miami and there is no shame in that. Two weeks ago, the Buffaloes traveled to Oklahoma State and destroyed the Cowboys 34-0. Last week they thumped Texas A&M by a score of 41-20. Look for them to give us an inspired effort once again and to cover the inflated number. Play on COLORADO

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Free Pick of the Day

Eric Lindros plays against the Philadelphia Flyers for the first time as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs when the teams meet on Tuesday.

The 1995 Hart Trophy winner with the Flyers, Lindros scored 290 goals in eight seasons for Philadelphia before sitting out 2000-2001 with a head injury.

Unable to bring the Stanley Cup to Philadelphia, Lindros was plagued by concussions and had an unpleasant parting of the ways with the Flyers before spending three seasons with the New YorkRangers.

Lindros was one of three Toronto players who were unable to score in the shootout of Monday's 6-5 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Brian McCabe had a goal and two assists for the Maple Leafs, who have had third-period leads in all three gameswithout a win.

After opening the season with a loss at home to the Rangers, Philadelphia bounced back by scoring five unanswered goals in Friday's 5-2 triumph over the New Jersey Devils.
Simon Gagne scored twice for the Flyers and goaltender Antero Niitymaki stopped 26 shots to raise his NHL record to 4-0.

The teams will be meeting for the first time since Philadelphia ousted Toronto in six games in the second round of the 2003-2004 playoffs.


Philadelphia is 8-11-6 OU in its last 25 games against Toronto
Philadelphia is 2-4-0 SU in their last 6 games after scoring 5 to 6 goals
Philadelphia is 6-1-0 OU in their last 7 games
Toronto is 4-1-0 OU in their last 5 games
Toronto is 4-2-0 OU in their last 6 at home
Toronto is 8-11-6 OU in their last 25 games against the Philadelphia


Philadelphia Flyers vs Toronto Maple Leafs on 10/11/2005 at 16:35




The National hockey Leagues new rules are having the effect that many pundits and prognosticators expected. A total of 255 goals have been scored, an average of 6.4 GPG to this point in the season (40 games). That is a 41% increase over the average of 4.5 goals combined average GPG in the first 40 games of the 2003-04 season. With that said I look for Flyers who are lead by Forsberg and wide array of offensive talent and averaging 4 GPG, to take part in what will be another high scoring affair with a offensively capable Toronto Maple Leafs squad, that continues to struggle in the defensive zone having allowed an average of 4.7 GPG . Play on the OVER

New rules influence scoring - Now Hockey's better than Curling but for how long?

New rules influence scoring - Now Hockey's better than Curling but for how long?
October 11, 2005

I've been a huge hockey fan for more a long time now. Therefore, I would have been happy to have hockey back in any way, shape or form. However, my early feeling is that I like the new product on the ice. In recent seasons, I had found myself choosing to watching more curling for God sakes. I mean thats how bad the game got.

Entering Tuesday's NHL action, there have been 48 games played in the new-look NHL. I've been paying particularly close attention as to how the rule changes, and the new standard of enforcing them, have influenced scoring.

It appears that the new rules are working. Through the first week, there has been a significant increase in the number of goals scored. Let's take a closer look.

Scoring is up

Teams are taking more shots and scoring more goals. Through 48 games there have been 307 goals scored. That's an average of 6.4 goals per game. To put that in perspective, through the first week of the 2003 season, teams were averaging only 4 1/2 goals per game. The goal scoring increase has been reflected in both 'power-play' and 'even-strength' situations. Naturally, more goals have led to more comebacks. In the 'Old NHL' a lead of two goals was pretty 'safe'. Not anymore! Through 48 games we have already seen six teams overcome two-goal deficits. By comparison, only one team managed that feat during the opening week of the previous season.

Over/Under betting

During the first two nights of the season oddsmakers were reluctant to post any 'totals' of greater than six. All 18 games had totals of six or less. The teams averaged 6.33 goals per game during those two nights and the 'Over' went a tidy 10-6-1. Oddsmakers wasted little time in making an adjustment! By Friday, the third night of play, we saw our first 'total' of 6 1/2 and our last 'total' of 5 ½. . The following day we saw our first 'total' of seven. The higher 'Over/Under' lines brought immediate value to the 'Under'. From Friday through Monday, 19 of 30 games fell 'Under' the number. The ‘under’ is a slightly profitable 25-21-1 heading into Tuesday's action. The Florida Panthers have helped that mark, as they have seen all four of their games finish below the posted number. In fact, the Panthers allowed only two goals during those four games! Needless to say, Goalie Roberto Luongo, with two of the league's only three shutouts, has been extremely sharp.

The regular season games often simply weren't that exciting for me. As I mentioned above, teams rarely recovered from two-goal deficits, prior to the lockout. What was the point of watching a team like the Devils after they were already up by a pair of goals? Now, it appears that no lead is safe.

Just ask the Los Angeles Kings, who blew a 4-0 lead on opening night. I've also always despised ties. As a result, although I know most "purists" will disagree with me, I actually don't mind the shootouts either!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Wayne Gretzky has been expected to be a savior his entire life.

Wayne Gretzky has been expected to be a savior his entire life.

At the age of 14, Gretzky was expected to revolutionize the game of hockey, saving it from the brutes and thugs that were overrunning it. He did.

In 1988 he was traded from Edmonton to Los Angeles for the purpose of saving the sport in the second largest market in the United States and making hockey hip in Corporate America. He did.

After he retired, Gretzky was expected to save Canadian national hockey by bringing home the country's first gold medal in half a century. He did.

Now, Gretzky is charged with helping to revitalize interest in a the National Hockey League, which in 2005 became the first major North American professional sport to have a season cancelled due to labor strife. Gretzky is the new head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, and he will be serving the dual role of goodwill ambassador and bench jockey as hockey tries to reestablish itself in the U.S.

The Great One lost his managerial debut on Wednesday night, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Vancouver Canucks. The Coyotes are at 22/1 odds to win the Stanley Cup this season and haven't made the playoffs since 2002.They finished 13th in the Western Conference in 2003-04.

Gretzky, a nine-time league MVP who turned the NHL record book into his own personal memoirs, said that his primary motivation for returning to the ice was simple. He missed the rush.

"When you're playing, there's nothing like it," Gretzky said to the The Associated Press. "You know you can go out there and affect the outcome of the game each and every night. Now the effect I can have on the game is very different, but the passion I have to help this team win is still the same I had as a player."

While this is the 44-year-old Gretzky's first coaching gig, he's gained plenty of administrative and managerial experience since he left the ice. He served as the Executive Director of Canadian Men's Hockey, and was the architect of the 2002 gold medal-winning national team in Salt Lake City. In 2000 he became Phoenix's Alternate Governor and Managing Partner after purchasing a 17 percent stake in the team, and in 2001 he was named Managing Director.

But now he's as close to the ice as he's been since he hung up his skates in 1999. He's hoping that his place on the bench will help him impart the knowledge that he acquired through years of competing and dominating the sport he helped define.

"There's no one more competitive," said Brett Hull, the league's third all-time leading scorer and new Phoenix forward. ''He's the ultimate champion and competitor. He's going to have to really fight that when things don't go as great as he wants them to. I think it's going to help us players to have that."

Gretzky brings instant credibility and interest to the Phoenix organization. He's essentially the Canadian Michael Jordan (minus the gambling, womanizing and corporate whoring) and his presence will generate a buzz and excitement in every hockey venue with our neighbors to the North. Both his knowledge of the game and communication skills are unquestioned, and they will make up for any lack of experience that he has as a tactician. Also, he'll be coming back to teach a game that more closely resembles the free-wheeling, high-scoring sport that he dominated in the 80's.

However, detractors feel as if The Great One's return is simply a well-timed marketing ploy by Phoenix management. As the owner of nearly one-fifth of the franchise, there's no doubt that Gretzky wants to protect his investment. There is a general apathy towards hockey in this country and a sense of disillusionment towards it in Canada. Even the return of hockey's all-time greatest player can't change that overnight.

Regardless, it's good to have Wayne back in the game. He's as good a guy as there is in any sport, and his presence can be nothing but positive for the next generation of players and fans. If the NHL is going to bridge the gap between the pre- and post-lockout eras it's going to take the effort, sacrifice and teamwork of everyone involved. For the guy who tallied more assists than any other player in history, that shouldn't be a problem.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Caught square in the Cup – October 5th, 2005

If a puck were to drop in an empty arena, would it make a sound?

It’s been a while since one dropped in anger in the NHL, so for the first time in almost 100 years, the biggest question at season’s start isn’t, “Who will be next to raise the Stanley Cup?”
It will be, “Will there be anybody there to see it?”

After living with a skate in its mouth for the last year, the little league that couldn’t is back.

Got shivers?

Well, you should, because haven’t you heard? It’s your NHL.

The new marketing approach the league has come up with to beg (sucker?) fans back after shutting itself down for a season is:"My" NHL

Hey, not mine. Don’t peg that league on me. The league's new TV ad apparently spells it out for us. A ripped, shirtless actor (not a real player – clearly that would make too much sense) is sitting in a Buddhist monastery. Then a nearly topless girl asks him if he's “ready.”

What does he do? He leaves.

Well, at least one tradition hasn’t changed. He dumps the hot naked chick to go play hockey? What a cementhead!

It’s not just guys who are riled up over the ad. Martha Burk, the head of the National Council of Women's Organizations and the leader of the boycott to force the Augusta National Golf Club to allow female members, told the Canadian Press that, "The woman is dressed provocatively and when she asks the player if he's ready, it's a double-entendre in my view. She's in the ad as a groomer, a sex object."

Umm, clearly not in “My NHL,” she’s not.

Besides the hot TV spot, the league is trying to sex the game up on the ice as well.
They’ve added a shoot-out. If a game is still tied after a five-minute overtime, three players from each team will get to go mano a mano against the feller in the Michelin man suit in net.
They have tried to cut down on the goalie equipment. The pads, blocker, catcher, pants and jersey have all been reduced in size, but the goalies still essentially fill the nets.

A bunch of other lesser rule changes are theoretically going to add the scoring – and let’s hope so. These players in “My NHL” clearly need to learn how.
The big questions is, since it is not our NHL, what’s in it for us?

Well, for one thing, where there’s scoring, there is profit. Sportsbooks like betED.com are going to have a huge headache on their hands figuring out what’s going to happen. How much are goals going to increase? The only sure thing is, nobody knows.

If that’s not enough for you, go down to a game opening night and you can score some swag. Fans at home openers will receive a mini Stanley Cup replica courtesy of the NHL.
"It's our way of saying thanks to fans for sticking with us," said deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
I wonder how many fans are not going show to up, to stick it to the NHL.

Free Pick of the Day

Tonight's CFB action features NC State at Ga Tech. After an ugly game Tuesday night in the SBC, the MAC gave us a better game last night, as Northern Illinois beat Miami-Ohio, 38-27. 'Over/under' players were sure interested, as the total opened 62 and closed late at 66, meaning we had winners, losers and some who just "kissed their sisters" (a good gig if your last name is Aniston or Locklear!). If one were to use comparative scores to handicap this game, NC State's 20-16 loss to Va Tech makes them the 'play' over Ga Tech, which lost to the Hokies 51-7! If ONLY it was that easy? Ga Tech is a four-point choice and the total is 44 1/2.

It's a travel day in the AL on Thursday, as the defending champs find themselves down 0-2 as they return to Fenway on Friday. The Red Sox were down last year to the Yankees in the ALCS 0-3 before winning four straight and now will have to win three straight this year against the White Sox. The Angels tied their series with the Yankees at one-all, as the teams resume play at Yankee Stadium on Friday. In the NL, the Cards are minus-$2.50 over the Padres in Game 2, as Mulder squares off versus Astacio (total is 8 1/2). In Atlanta, the Braves lost 10-5 yesterday and are in the proverbial must-win situation tonight in Game 2. Clemens versus Smoltz is about as good as it gets. Atlanta is a minus-$1.25 favorite and the total is 7.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The new-look NHL

The new-look NHL

October 3, 2005

With snow drifting higher than rooftops, and with lakes and ponds frozen over for months on end, owning several hockey sticks by the age of five was not uncommon in many Canadian small towns.

Believe it or not, this love and understanding of hockey really blossomed with my collection of hockey cards. As I got older I would view several games per week in my local sports bar, but I could also make money wagering against oddsmakers who, at the time, didn’t spend too much of their day worrying about the latest NHL happenings.

My love of hockey and my absolute joy of beating the lines are deeper than ever, even with last year’s nightmare. Now, it’s time to bone-up on the new “Americanized” rules, get that jump on the oddsmakers. While the attention- grabbing rule change has been the elimination of the two-line pass in the neutral zone, (the redline will still appear), there have been several that must be noted, and one that will either make or break all of the rule changes.

Their will be an additional four-feet in each offensive zone. The neutral zone will now be 50-feet wide instead of 54. And, goal lines will be two-feet closer to the end boards. The reason for the adjustments is to create offense, especially on power plays. Are you listening American TV audience?

The “tag-up rule” is making a return to the ice. This allows offensive players who preceded the puck to the blue line, return to it and tag it, so to speak. The league is hoping this rule will cut down on the number of offside calls, allowing a better offensive flow to the game.
Goaltenders’ equipment will be reduced. That includes smaller leg pads, blocker (blocking glove), and upper-body pads. And, goalies will also be wearing tighter sweaters and a reduced pant-size. There will be new instigator rules and penalties that will continue to reduce the “goon-factor”. Again, it’s a new rule made for American TV, and to keep the flow intact.
There will be a shootout at the end of any scoreless, five-minute overtime. So, there will be no more NHL ties. But none of this will be a major factor in speeding up the game and creating an offensive flow to quench the American palate, unless the officials clamp down on interference, hooking, and holding and obstruction. There is supposed to be a “zero-tolerance” approach to these offensive killers.

The Avs, Senators, Canucks, Flyers, and Lightning, should benefit the most from the new rules geared to offensive flow. While nothing less than another lockout-season could help the Capitals and Sabres!

I hope that helps clear the ice as far as the new rules are concerned. The NHL wants to head in a new direction to help bring new faces to the arenas. I expect a lukewarm response by my American sports brethren. However, two things are for sure. Once you’ve seen your first NHL game in person, you’ll be won over for life. And, after we get about six games under each team’s belt, nothing will be easier to beat than the NHL lines.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Chelsea and Liverpool

The marquee match between Chelsea and Liverpool LIVERPOOL, England (AP) --

Liverpool and Chelsea drew 0-0 in a spirited Champions League Group G match filled with fierce tackling at Anfield on Wednesday.It was a rematch of last season's semifinalists, where Liverpool upset Chelsea 1-0 to advance to the final and win its fifth European title.

"I'm not 100 per cent (satisfied) but it's a point, so I'm not crazy with happiness but I'm not very sad," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. "A point in the Champions League away from home is a positive result."Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was angry at two penalty claims being denied."The positive thing is that we have a point," Benitez said.

"But we lost today two points because for me we played better than them."Both sides were strong in defence and midfield with the ball going from end to end throughout."It was a good game because it was competitive," Mourinho said. "It was very close, very tough. In midfield there was not a lot of space. There was a lot of power in both teams."Chelsea's best chance in the first half came when winger Arjen Robben dribbled down the right and Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Manuel Reina had to palm his shot over the crossbar.Midfielder Frank Lampard's free kick in the eighth minute was also turned around the post by Reina. Xabi Alonso earned a yellow card for holding back midfielder Michael Essien to give away the free kick.

Liverpool fans jeered when referee Massimo De Santis ignored claims for a penalty when Sami Hyypia was brought down by Didier Drogba on the edge of the six-yard box in what was the Reds' best chance of the half.In the second half, Luis Garcia went close when his headed through ball for himself was cleared by Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. De Santis then ignored Liverpool's claims for handball in their box by Chelsea defender William Gallas after a powerful header from defender Jamie Carragher."It was clear no? Watching the TV? Unbelievable," Benitez said. "The question is when you play against a big team, the small details are the details and this is a big detail."Added Carragher: "It was a definite penalty. If we had got a penalty there is a 70 percent chance we would have scored and won the game -- but we'll try not to cry about it too much."Chelsea added another striker in the 75th minute when Herman Crespo -- who scored two of AC Milan's goals against Liverpool in the Champions League final -- came on for Damien Duff.

The Blues also introduced giant defender Robert Huth as a forward in the closing moments as they played more directly.Chelsea beat Liverpool to win England's Carling Cup and both league matches on its way to the Premier League title last season, finishing 37 points ahead of the Reds. Liverpool had to get special dispensation from UEFA to defend its title.Owner Roman Abramovich, whose investment turned Chelsea from underachievers into English champions, watched from the stands.The noisy Liverpool fans -- described as the club's 12th man by Liverpool's Benitez -- taunted Chelsea supporters with cries of "We are the champions, champions of Europe" before the teams were on the field -- and later chanted "Where were you in Istanbul?"Chelsea travels to Anfield again on Sunday in the Premier League.Liverpool and Chelsea lead Group G with four points, one ahead of Real Betis, which beat Anderlecht 1-0 also Wednesday. The Belgians have no points.Chelsea edged Anderlecht 1-0 at Stamford Bridge and Liverpool won 2-1 at Real Betis two weeks ago.