On Wednesday of this week, I had the pleasure of announcing my new hockey and, occasionally NBA, writing job for Cappers Picks, a sports betting advice and news site. The site has a staff of writers dedicated to game previews, tips and picks for sportsbooks, advice, and online sportsbook reviews.
Being pretty knowledgeable on both hockey and sports betting, I was able to parlay my knowledge into a position with this site. My main focus is writing nightly NHL (and some NBA, college ball) previews, discussing trends among teams, statistical analysis, injuries, and anything else that could have an effect on how you as a gambler would bet on that game.
Along with that, I give my personal picks based on Vegas betting lines. Basically, I ask myself how I would bet a particular game and then put my pick and reasoning behind the pick into the written preview.
It’s a pretty big opportunity for me and one that I was able to get because of this blog. The editors saw my work and enjoyed it and hired me based on that. That being said, I love my site and the content I’ve been churning out over the past couple of months. That will definitely continue, although it may focus slightly less on hockey since I’ll be doing so much hockey writing for Cappers Picks.
I hope anyone who reads my stuff here will check out what I’ve got going on over at the other site. You can find all my work under the “NHL Free Picks” or “NBA Free Picks” sections. Whether you’re a gambler or not, I try to make the game previews interesting and informative for everyone.
I don’t say it enough but thanks to everyone who supports me and reads The 51 Yard Line. This site means the world to me and has led me to the next step in my writing career.
P.S. I promise there will be more NFL and NBA content. Check out the Cleveland Browns piece I put up this week!
Two things I love dearly in this crazy messed up world of ours are alcohol and watching sports. A third thing I love is talking — or writing, in this case — about alcohol and sports. So, fresh off a liquor store run on this cold, blustery day in Central Indiana, I thought “Hey, why not write about what I like to drink while watching specific sports.” Because it’s my blog and I’ll project my ever-so-slight alcoholism and my not-so-slight obsession with sports on anyone who will take the seven minutes to read it.
Hockey (NHL, AHL, NCAA)
For me, watching a hockey game is a damn good time. I don’t need to get crazy liquored up to enjoy the fastest game on ice. But, I do enjoy a tasty beverage while I watch people six or seven years my junior do things that I’ll never ever be able to do.
So what’s my beverage of choice? Well, I am watching hockey, so naturally I usually choose the most Canadian drink known to man: Molson’s, the official beer of the NHL. Look, I know you’re thinking that Molson’s is “bad,” or “piss water,” or “what the fuck is Molson’s,” but it’s really not bad as far as those mass-produced lagers go.
At 5.0% ABV, it’s easy to drink two or three during a two-hour NHL game and still be sober enough to follow the puck and remember what icing is.
Premier League Soccer (or World Cup, Euro, etc)
As a huge Premier League and European soccer fan, I’ve oft woken up at the crack of dawn on chilly days to root for an Arsenal win or an Arsenal rival loss. Being that most of those games take place between the hours of 4-10 AM PST, I’m not usually in the mood to get black out drunk. Also, chances are it’s still semi cold out even in LA at 4 AM, so I’m not ready for a liquor-based drink like a Jack and Coke or a lighter beer like Corona.
My go-to drink, actually drink combination, at these early hours of the morning is a shot of chilled Fireball cinnamon whiskey and an ice-cold Newcastle brown ale.
This honestly started as a tradition for me back in 2014 when Arsenal played a 9 AM PST FA Cup Final match. With a Newcastle in hand, I plopped down on the couch in my LA studio apartment and began to watch what should have been a gimme game against a far less superior Hull City side. Well, Hull City quickly went up 2-0. So, that’s when I brought out the Fireball from my freezer.
A shot of that, and then another shot, and another, along with a couple more Newcastles and I was waking up the entire apartment complex with my cheers and shouts. Arsenal came back to win the final 3-2, and I forever gained a new drinking tradition.
Football Sundays have been a staple in my life for the past few years. Thanks to the kind bartenders and servers that I have grown close to over the years, I have developed a good drinking combination for the long 11-hour day that is NFL Sunday.
First, I always start off with a Bloody Mary. Chances are, I went drinking the night before and need a delicious hair-of-the-dog to get my mind and body right. From there, it’s all about the Corona.
For me, Corona Light is the ideal beer to drink consistently over the course of an entire day. It’s lower in calories, less filling, a 4.5% ABV, which all lead to a good time and a decent buzz, while still leaving you without a bloated feeling.
Corona Lights are my thing for football, no question about it.
NBA Basketball (College, too)
For any game outside of a Pacers game, give me a delicious craft beer. Something like a Modern Times brewed beer if I’m in California, or a Sun King if I’m in Indiana. You know, a great-tasting beer that has a higher ABV, one that I can drink two or three of while enjoying watching the Warriors destroy everyone.
For a Pacers game, it all depends on how the game is going. If the Pacers look good, I’ll probably still stick to a nice craft beer. If the ‘Cers are getting their asses kicked, bring out the Jack Daniels. Jack and Coke is my favorite “I need a stiff drink because my team looks like shit” drink.
The White Sox are terrible. So, liquor. Just any liquor I can throw in a cup and drown my sorrows in. Hell, just give me the bottle.
What are your drinks of choice depending on the sport you’re watching? What’s that? You’re not a borderline alcoholic so you don’t think about these things? That’s fair…I’ll just be over here.
When I started reading Puck Daddy, Yahoo Sports’ hockey-centric blog, I knew nothing about its founder Greg Wyshynski. As big of a hockey fan as I am, I admittedly turned to ESPN.com for most of my hockey news and analysis. I know, I know. ESPN really just does not care about hockey and it shows. That’s why I went out searching for a new hockey site to dive into, and Puck Daddy was what I found.
Not weeks later, Wyshynski announced the start of his brand new hockey podcast, Puck Soup, co-hosted by his buddy and avid Internet hockey presence Dave Lozo. Their immediate rapport and hilarious banter, their obsessive use of movie and pop culture reference, the fact that they often talk little-to-no serious hockey, all of this hooked me in right away.
NOTE: I’m mostly joking about the little-to-no hockey thing. They get to it eventually. Usually 40 minutes into the 90 minute episode.
What separates their podcast from most other hockey shows out there is Lozo and Wyshynski’s unabashed criticisms. They aren’t afraid to call out nonsensical rules and regulations, irrational hockey fans, players, and even the Commissioner. More members of the hockey media need to be calling out Commissioner Bettman on a regular basis like these two do.
They have no fear. Or if they do, they just ignore it for an hour and a half every week. It makes for an authentic, fun, and unpredictable show. But that’s only part of why I listen to every episode.
Most weeks, Puck Soup has a guest. It’s usually a celebrity, musician, or personality who is an avid hockey fan and it usually makes for some very interesting conversation. Lozo and Wysh joke that they’ve never had a major celebrity guest — you’ll get Margot Robbie one day, boys — but I think that’s part of what makes their guest segments work so well. You’re not going to hear your obvious celeb hockey fans like Vince Vaughn, but you’ll hear from much more interesting fans like John C. McGinley, complete with his stories about palling around with John Cusack and Chris Chelios in the 90s.
Or you’ll get Kelen Capener, the bassist from one of my favorite bands The Story So Far. An avid San Jose Sharks fan, Capener had a great segment talking about his hockey upbringing and fandom, even cracking jokes at Lozo and Wysh’s expense. Every guest just seems very relaxed when talking to two of the more influential hockey bloggers and podcasters out there. It all seems so natural and its a credit to the hosts being loose, funny, and engaging throughout it all.
I won’t name names but I’m used to hockey podcasts with the old guys, the same guys who have been doing hockey analysis for decades. And they’re great for analysis, for writing, but they’re just not that fun to listen to in a podcast format. Greg and Dave have taken the concept of a hockey podcast and flipped it upside down, focusing on the comedy in hockey and in life.
If you’re a hockey fan, do yourself a favor and check out Puck Soup. And also check out Greg’s other hockey podcast Marek vs. Wyshynski, which has a similarly loose style and an awesome cohost in Jeff Marek of Sportsnet.
First off, yes this isn’t typically what you’d see on my sports blog. It’s a review of a show about cars. But, hey, have you have heard the term “motorsport?” Also, you don’t run my life. This is my blog and I’ll write what I want to write. Don’t hold me down. Gattaca! Gattaca!
Um…where was I?
Oh right. So the first episode of The Grand Tour, the new car-adventure-nonsense-review show from former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond, premiered on Amazon Prime this week. As a huge fan of these three middle-aged gear heads (petrol heads, if you’re from the other side of the pond), I couldn’t wait to dive right in and absorb every second that Grand Tour had to offer.
Right off the bat, the first sequence is actually pretty heartwarming, as it shows a lonely Jeremy Clarkson getting off a plane alone in the States and hopping in a Mustang. Eventually, while driving down a lonely road, Clarkson is met by two other Mustangs, one with May behind the wheel and the other featuring Hammond. It’s a feel good sequence that makes you understand that, through all Clarkson’s issues that led to the end of their Top Gear era, it was clear to the three of them that they would stick together and continue doing what they love to do.
From then on, the episode plays a lot like Top Gear, complete with some less-than-subtle jokes about how similar the formats are. As their new track is introduced midway through the episode, so is their new racing driver. No, it’s not the Stig. He’s called The American, and he’s not as anonymous as the Stig. Although, unless you’re a big NASCAR fan, you probably don’t know much about Mike Skinner. He provides some added humor, including a in-car review of the BMW M2. “This car wouldn’t pull a greasy string out of a dog’s ass,” he quips.
The back-and-forth banter that made Top Gear so popular is still in full force. A revelation that Captain Slow himself wound up getting a speeding ticket, followed by the punchline that he was clocked at 37 MPH, was a high point for that segment.
And of course, I can’t forget about the cars. The focus of this first episode was on a trio of stunning hybrid “hypercars.” The McClaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari, and Porsche 918 Spyder were put through multiple tests by the hosts, culminating in the ever-important timed lap test. After an ill-conceived bet by Clarkson and his McClaren P1, the P1 was revealed to be the slowest of the three hypercars, and now his house is going to be demolished by May and Hammond. Classic.
The only major difference with The Grand Tour’s format is the lack of a “celebrity in a reasonably priced car” segment, another staple of Top Gear. While it’s clear, and refreshing, that the trio didn’t want to copy every single thing from their old stomping grounds, it was great to see them poke fun at the situation. Without giving the entire joke away, Clarkson introduces a new celebrity-based segment and it results in three celebrity deaths.
As Clarkson, May, and Hammond fans, I think I speak for us all when I say that we were sad to see the end of their Top Gear Era. However, if episode 1 of Grand Tour is any indication, we’re going to get an even wackier, more over-the-top version of Top Gear, complete with larger budgets and better production values. Count me in.
The Grand Tour has a 36-episode order. Based on the premiere episode, you can bet I’ll be along for the entire ride.