Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I Took The Mailtime 'Are You An Asshole?' Test

It's Wednesday morning. I might have had too many $3 margaritas at Taco Tuesday last night. This week is crawling toward the long weekend.

And then, out of nowhere, Barstool's Kevin Clancy swooped in with an icebreaker activity that should kill quite a bit of this terrible morning. Here's the list he tweeted, from his podcast (out today) with Josh Wolf.

Top 5 SNL cast members

I'm going to show my age here. There's no way around it. I've watched the original cast with my mom and I've at least caught pieces of just about every cast that they've had.

But I'm 24. I didn't get to watch Belushi or Aykroyd or Murphy or Farley or (Mike) Myers. The first thing that comes to mind for me when I think of Gilda Radner is Peter Griffin beating up Jimmy Fallon and yelling "You haven't earned what she's earned!"

Goddamn Millennials.

Here it is: Kate McKinnon, Chris Farley (RIP), Will Ferrell,  Adam Sandler, Kristen Wiig (hahaha just kidding)

I'm really struggling with this fifth spot. I think I'd be fine with Fey, Poehler, Chase, Myers, Hader (Stefon). You can argue Sudeikis, (Seth) Meyers, or even maybe Molly Shannon.

But ultimately I'm going to add Kenan Thompson to my list because of what he represents. I grew up with him on All That, and then he graduated to the adult show right around the time I graduated to adulthood.

Tipping at Starbucks?

I always pay with my card at Starbucks just so I don't have to awkwardly not tip. If my drink is going to cost more than $4 and it doesn't have any alcohol in it, you can fuck yourself on the tip.

Would you wear a sports hat that did not represent you favorite team?

I'm a Philly sports guy. Flyers, Phillies, Villanova, Eagles, Sixers. There are some rivals that I wouldn't be able to stomach - Penguins, Rangers, Devils, Mets, Nationals, Georgetown, Syracuse, Cowboys - but for the most part I'd be open to the hat of a different club.

I actually own a Maple Leafs hat, but my primary reasoning is I'm an asshole and I get enjoyment that they spell it as Leafs and not Leaves on the logo.

If you could be part of ONE TV family, which one would it be?

Can I say the Kardashians? Printing money for no reason would probably be an enjoyable lifestyle.

But if I have to pick a fictional family, I'd love to be man enough to pick the Sopranos. But let's be honest, that lifestyle would kill me in a week and a half.

I'm joining the Formans from That 70's Show, and here's why:

  • Eric and I would 100% be able to hang out, boom now I'm never bored
  • Kitty is a Hall Of Fame crazy TV mom
  • Red is kind of an asshole, but you need that in your life sometimes
  • Fez
  • You're saying I have a chance with Jackie Burkhart now? How could anyone say no to that
Pick the 10 years of music you would listen to for the rest of your life

Not to brag, but the first thing I did when I saw this question was look up Lil Wayne's discography by year. I'm going with Summer 2005 (just before Tha Carter II came out) through Summer 2014. 

That decade is going to include:
  • Most of the good Lil Wayne and Drake
  • The whole gauntlet of stuff than Kanye went through from Late Reg to Yeezus
  • The tail end of Jay's and Em's careers
  •  The first four Taylor Swift albums
  • All of the punk rock I listened to in high school
  • All of the EDM music I listened to in college
Regardless of your age, this decade has to just be the time you were in high school and college. That's when you had the most fun, and so that's when music can remind you of how fucking old and lame you are now. 

Biggie, Tupac, or Drake?

I like Old Drake. When he was a rapper on his own mixtapes and sang the hooks for every Young Money rapper, he was awesome. 

New Drake is too famous to be on Biggie's and Pac's level. If he had gotten murdered right before Take Care came out, maybe he could stand a chance here. But he didn't, so he doesn't. 

Personally, even though I spent all of my formative years in (Upstate) New York, I'm slightly more of a Tupac guy. If you want to be a Biggie guy, that's fine. I don't think the hostility between the fan bases should still be prevalent. Both sides were pushed to a new level of rap because of their feud, and that's an amazing thing to look back at. 

The one thing about you that most people think is true but that you question the most

I'm probably going to have to wait until I listen to the actual podcast before I realize what they're actually asking here. 

Your go to Karaoke song OR your Voice audition song

I am most certainly not a potential candidate for The Voice. Cross that off your list of things that I could ever accomplish in my life. Singing is a talent that I wasn't born with and a skill that I never acquired. 

The go-to move for any male Karaoke singer should be the male-female duet. I'm a little bit removed from the dating pool (not to brag), but my number one choice was always My Humps by The Black Eyed Peas. It's easy to sing, everyone knows the words, and it's just sexual enough without being creepy. 

Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado and Timbaland is another good choice, but you really have to make sure you find yourself a down-ass bitch to sing it with you. 

I would respect the fuck out of anyone brave enough to tackle the Sean Paul portion of Baby Boy by Beyonce. 

And the ultimate "damn, that guy's going to get laid" song is Grease. If you get up there and sing You're The One That I Want, Summer Nights, or We Go Together, you are going to get to have sex with that girl singing next to you. And even though it's from a completely different movie, I've Had The Time Of My Life might as well be on the Grease soundtrack. 

Shoes.. comfort or fashion?

I'm going to say fashion here because I primarily go Sperry's in the summer and chukka boots in the winter. But most of my shoes are old and dirty, so I'm not really a Fashion Shoes guy. I mean, my gym shoes are Nike Shox that I've had since high school. Mr. Sperry, if you're reading this, please don't hesitate to hook me up. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Let's Rank The New Contestants On Dancing With The Stars

I don't watch Dancing With The Stars. I usually don't care about the people on the show, I'm not a big fan of dancing in general, and everything is very forced and fake.

That said, Bruno is an absolute star.

Image result for bruno dwts

He makes the whole show worth it for me. I also may or may not have a huge crush on Julianne Hough. 

But, it's Tuesday and work is less fun than learning who's on the new DWTS season, so let's jump right in. I'm not ranking these people based on how good they're going to be at dancing, because that's always kind of a no-brainer (it's the athletes and the people who have skills that directly relate to dancing). 

I'm ranking them based on how much they make me want to watch the show, 

Not Ranked (Or Tied For 9th): I Don't Know Who These People Are

Marilu Henner, Old Actress
Jake T. Austin, Disney Actor
James Hinchcliffe, Indycar Driver
Kenneth Babyface Edmonds, Singer
Terra Jole, Midget

My girlfriend LOVES the midgets that have their own TV show. So let's hope that our new friend Terra gets eliminated really early on so I don't have to deal with that. 

Other than her, I've never heard of anyone else in this category so I don't really care about any of them. 

Image result for vanilla ice

8. Vanilla Ice, Musician

Do you think he's going to blow his load and dance to Ice Ice Baby the first week? Or do you think he'll save that for later on? The risk, obviously, is he probably sucks at dancing now and he may never get to do the most obvious dance in Dancing With The Stars history. (Carlton doing the Carlton is a close second.)

I have heard of Vanilla Ice so I can't lump him into the previous section, but I am not excited for the collective eye roll of the entire internet that's coming when Vanilla drops the "Stop, collaborate, and listen."

Image result for rick perry

7. Rick Perry, Former Presidential Candidate

How close did Rick Perry get to being elected President? Not very close, right? Was he like a Bernie Sanders or like a Marco Rubio? Was he like the guy that Alec Baldwin imitated on SNL that one time who kept complaining about not getting any time?

If there was Tackle Football With The Stars, I'd definitely back Big Ole Rick Perry. But I really don't expect him to be able to dance. Speaking of football...

Image result for calvin johnson

6. Calvin Johnson, Former Pro Football Player

The word "former" may or not actually apply here, because his name will be in the spotlight almost all the way through the NFL season and there's always the chance that he could return to playing football. 

He's going to be a great dancer, and he's going to probably win or come in second. But, the real important question with Megatron is will he leave DWTS to join the Eagles in week four after we find out that all of our receivers are trash?

Speaking of football..

Image result for marcia brady

5. Marcia Brady, Television Character

This is going to make everyone feel so goddamn old. 

Image result for jana kramer entourage

4. Jana Kramer, The Girl Who Stole Turtle's Underwear

She is very nice to look at, and she's apparently a country music star so she's got some musical talent (and, you might guess, rhythm). The sad thing is she's probably too famous in the other areas of her life to ever make an Entourage reference on DWTS. 

Image result for ryan lochte

3. Ryan Lochte, American Hero

The best way to rehab your image, as everyone knows, is Dancing With The Stars. Stay right in the spotlight and let people continue to make their stupid jokes, and laugh all the way across the dance floor and hit 'em with a little cha-cha-cha. 

Lochte's probably a great dancer, but they'd keep him around regardless just because he's probably the biggest name in pop culture at this moment. 
2. Amber Rose, Kanye West's Ex-Girlfriend

Your initial thought is probably that this is too high for Amber Rose. But let me defend myself: this is what's going to make People Like Me tune in to watch Dancing With The Stars. There's going to be some outrageous Twitter beef between the Rose-West-Kardashian-Wiz gang, and it's going to be far and away the most fun night in Dancing With The Stars Twitter history. 

I almost had Amber Rose number one just because of The Yeezy Effect. 

Image result for laurie hernandez i got this

1. Laurie Hernandez, Olympic Gymnast

But come on. It's Laurie. I wouldn't necessarily classify myself as a Gymnastics Guy, but this summer we were big Bet On Olympic Gymnastics Guys. If you watched any of Laurie's floor routines, you know that she's going to absolutely steal the show. She moved with an unparalleled level of pageantry, even for a gymnast. She owns the floor, and we're all going to be able to bask in her glory until she wins the whole thing and joins Drew Lachey, Emmit Smith, Apolo Ohno, Shawn Johnson, Hines Ward, and Alfonso Ribiero on the Big Cat Mount Rushmore Of DWTS Winners.

Image result for laurie hernandez i got this gif

Friday, August 26, 2016

Micah McCurdy Released A New Way To Rank NHL Teams

First of all, two things: Micah is v smart and you should follow him on Twitter. Also, I don't have a clue what Cordelia is but for the purposes of this exercise we are going to be accepting Cordelia as a factual representation of what's going to happen this hockey season. 

These Teams Are Bad, And Not Good

Sabres, Avalanche, Canucks, Blue Jackets

I mean they aren't good at anything, and they are pretty much really bad at the important things. 

Image result for la kings cup
Please note: Dustin Brown is no longer the captain of the team, but he is still on the team.
The Los Angeles Kings Are Winning The Stanley Cup


I kind of spoiled this section with the header, but come on they're good at everything except shooting, which somehow does not really negatively impact them all that much. 

These Teams Rely On Goaltending For At Least Half Of Their Cordelia

Canadiens, Flyers, Rangers, Wild, Blackhawks, Devils, Senators

Again, I don't know what Cordelia is and I don't know if "half" accurately translates. Like when it's 40 degrees out it's not really half as hot as when it's 80 degrees out. 

But anyway, there are some teams here you could have predicted and some that you maybe wouldn't have. The Habs, Rangers, and Devils all have top-tier goalies and not a whole lot else. 

The Wild and Senators don't have a whole lot going for them. There, I said it. For the Wild, it's Devan Dubnyk. For the Sens, they have Erik Karlsson and the Craig Anderson/Andrew Hammond tandem. I'm probably going to do a whole Flyers section at some point, but their goalie tandem is obviously very good. 

And then there's that last team that I haven't mentioned yet. Let's actually jump right into the next section...

The Blackhawks


Are they bad? They're smack dab in the middle of the league in this Cordelia projection. 

Corey Crawford is a solid 'tender, fine, no argument with that. Their team defense, led by Jonathon Toews and the defensemen we all know about, is even more solid. 

But I have absolutely NO idea how they could possibly have Weaknesses in the 5v5 Offense and Powerplay sections. It makes no sense to me - their top six features at least three future Hall of Famers, and their powerplay unit is voted to the All-Star team annually. 

Maybe Micah will make an adjustment to his formula and the Hawks will shoot up the list, or maybe this is the year that they start to come back down to earth and people get mad about those absurd Kane/Toews contracts. 

Image result for sad toews

The Flyers

Let's cut out the rest of the teams that we don't really care about and jump right to the good part. I'm going category by category on the good old boys in orange and black:


It's hard to not start with this. The best goaltending in the entire league. Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth. Better than Carey Price. Significantly better than Henrik Lundqvist. This is a wonderful thing to see. 

Image result for mason neuvirth

5v5 Offense

I'm glad to see it on the positive side, and that is almost certainly a product of expecting Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek to return to their $8 million forms. 


This is another area that we all expect to be a major positive for the Flyers, and Cordelia echoes that. The powerplay bars are a little tougher to judge than the goalie bars, but by my estimation the Flyers have a top-six powerplay figure. The Kings, Caps, Ducks, Bruins, and Leafs round it out, and really only the Leafs are a surprise there. 

Minors Drawn and Taken

They even each other out. Boom. Efficiency like you read about. 


At times last season, it felt like the Flyers' team shooting percentage was like half of a percent. That's something that really needs to improve if they're going to make any noise. Unfortunately, Cordelia doesn't expect that to happen. But let's take a trip to the Spin Zone: this chart has to be based on past stats, and maybe the shooting numbers for the Flyers will magically turn around!

Image result for this is fine

5v5 Defense

Just a little tiny sliver of negativity. The same size as Boston and Dallas and the Islanders. 

Brace yourselves. Here it comes. 

The Flyers icing a unit of Del Zotto, Gudas, Gostisbehere, Streit, Schultz, and Manning/MacDonald is actually good. 

Bam! Can someone please check on the heat quality of that take for me?

Image result for this is fine

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Millennials Are Serial Killing All Kinds Of Industries

Oh, you god damn millennials are at it again. You Participation Trophy Havers are ruining the whole planet! With your technology and your lack of respect, you dickheads are going to send the whole world economy spiraling into the toilet!

Just look at all of these autopsy reports from various media sources:
To get serious for a quick second, most of these are complete horseshit. So I'm going to do some deep dives to figure out why the Old People in media are blaming us for these problems that they can't explain (or don't want to admit).

The Golf Industry

You know what pisses me off? I'll tell you: it's when a kid in their mid-twenties can't afford to pay $800 for a decent set of irons, $300 for a decent driver, and $200 for some fairway woods and then also pay $60 for an afternoon round of golf plus $25 for a box of balls that are inevitably going to get sliced into the woods and/or lake.

This is going to be a common theme among these industries that we're "killing," I'm sure, but  there's a reason that golf is generally an older man's game. It's really fucking goddamn expensive.


I would like to solve this one by just pointing out that online retailers are still retailers. It's just cheaper and easier, so that's why we do it. That seems pretty simple, no?

The Movie Business

Movies are all shitty nowadays, and they cost (quite literally) more than ever to see. I honestly can't even tell you the last time I saw a commercial or trailer and thought to myself, "Oh I really want to see that movie!"

And, even if I was easily enticed by trailers, there's just too much content for anyone to reasonably consume. If I lowered my standards for Movies That I Want To See, then I would spend every Friday night and all day Saturday wasting money on overpriced tickets and snacks.

I checked Wikipedia because I wanted to see how many "major" movie studios there are today. There are six: Universal, Disney, Warner Bros, Fox, Sony, and Paramount. They all have at least one animation branch (Disney has five), and they all have at least two other divisions/brands (Universal has five).

I have problems consuming all of the TV shows and Barstool podcasts that I try to listen to every week, and those are all free. The podcasts, in particular, I consume while I'm multitasking or driving to work or something. Now you're telling me you want me to leave everything else in my life alone and consume the content from like thirty different studios?

Oh, and instead of being free like podcasts they cost $14 plus $20 more for popcorn and a soda. I'm so mad about this one that I may never see another movie in theaters again.

Home Depot

Like golf, Home Depot is an old man's industry. We rent instead of owning, you know, because none of us have any money yet, and we have maintenance guys to fix our shit. We also don't have any lawns or yards or any way to really utilize anything that they sell at Home Depot.

And, honestly, it's right there in the fucking name. You don't need Home Depot if you have an apartment instead of a home - you need Apartment Depot, also known as Ikea.

The Running Trend

I'm not totally sure what "the running trend" is but I'm going to assume that it just means running or jogging? Why does anybody care whether or not people run?

Athletic apparel? Yeah I wear that because it's comfortable, who the hell cares if I'm actually sweating in it?

Gatorade? I drink more for hangovers than Michael Phelps drinks while he's working out.

What else do runners even do? Who the fuck cares if this trend dies? Is Big Running one of the titans of industry that I just have never heard about?


First of all, if you include the words "millennial" and "exposé" in your headline you should kill yourself before you type anything into the body of your post.

As far as actual wine, it's like golf or Home Depot, for women. Drinking nice wine is fucking expensive, and you have to drink a lot of wine before you can even appreciate the expensive stuff.

Let's talk cheap wine. I'm going to plug the best winery in the world:
Go to Myrtle Beach, fill up your nalgene with a bottle of Duplin, and you're all set to have the best day ever.  Quick Mount Rushmore of their wines:

  • Magnolia
  • Scuppernong
  • Red Sangria
  • White Sangria
I don't really know how Millennials could possibly be killing wine, because everyone I know loves wine. Maybe we're just "killing" it in the college sense of the word, like how you used to kill a handle of Admiral Nelson with your boys as a pregame? If that's what you mean, then yes, I am killing wine. 


This one, to me at least, is laugh-out-loud funny. I actually took the (click)bait and went to Gothamist to read this whole article. 

Here is a quote from Ronald McDonald (just kidding it's Global Brand Chief Officer Steve Easterbrook): 
"The millennial generation has a wider range of choices than any generation before them. They're promiscuous in their brand loyalty. It makes it harder work for all of us to earn the loyalty of the millennial generation."
I mean I'm not a graduate of an English boys' school or an English university like Mr. Easterbrook, but it sounds like he's blaming his target market because he can't get them to eat more of his shitty food. I tend to be a very brand-loyal consumer, but even I will only eat McDonalds maybe once a week.

"Promiscuous in their brand loyalty" is a Hall Of Fame corporate executive line. Before this Gothamist article, I would have considered myself loyal to the McDonalds brand. But I also like to eat Cheesy Gordita Crunches and Chipotle burrito bowls and Wendy's spicy chicken nuggets. So maybe I'm not "loyal" as much as I am "unhealthy."

If Mr. Easterbrook's goal is to get me to just commit to eating McDonalds and not eating at any other fast food or fast-casual chains, if that's what it takes to be "loyal" to his brand, then he's in for a rough go of it. Because that shit will never happen for anyone under 30 - and if you happen to know someone who eats strictly McDonalds (or Chipotle), you probably think that person is a goddamn lunatic.

Lack Of Manners

The biggest problem that most millennials have with the "participation trophy" stigma is we weren't in charge of buying the goddamn trophies. I think, looking back on it, most of us would have preferred our baseball and soccer and hockey leagues to not give out those trophies.

It's maybe a little mean to say, but whatever we were kids - making fun of losers is the best feeling in the world, and being one of those losers is the worst feeling in the world.

When everyone's trophy is the same size, it diminishes both of those feelings and skews everything toward the blah/boring medium. That medium softened this generation of kids, and that's the stigma about participation trophies. That's not wrong. But you can't blame a second grader for the choices his dad made.

Similarly, who was supposed to teach "manners" and "class" to the millennials? Ourselves? Nope. it was our classless parents (apparently).

The theme of this exercise, it seems, is older generations blaming us for the way we turned out under their watch.

Paper Napkins

Just shut the fuck up right now. Napkins? Really?

The Car Industry

You know what? I actually feel bad for all of these things I've said. Us God Damn Millennials have ruined industries of all types. Sports, home improvement, restaurants, alcohol, exercise, motion pictures. All killed thanks to young people with their noses buried in their cell phones.

So, to make it up to Big Industry, I'm going to buy a car right now. To pay tribute to the generation that came before me, I'm going to take out a loan for something extravagant that I can't really afford, but my loan is ultimately going to get packaged into a mortgage-backed security (somehow, just let that one slide) and then it's going to ruin the whole country's economy. Behold, my new car, which I have named Generation X:

Monday, August 22, 2016

My Flyers Top 25 Under 25 Ballot

As we move closer toward the end of the summer and the start of the next NHL season, it's time for one of the most informative segments on SB Nation's Broad Street Hockey, the Top 25 Under 25. BSH does a phenomenal job of this young gun/prospect ranking, and honestly it would be very helpful if the 29 other NHL teams did it as thoroughly as the Flyers site. (Trivial annoyance: I try to include other team's prospects in fictional trades and I never know how good any of their young guys are because we're spoiled in Philly and nobody else does it like BSH.)

Something new that they're rolling out this summer is the ability for readers of the site to contribute to the overall ranking.

And, without any more of me complaining about the rest of the SB Nation hockey blogs not being as good as Philly, here's my ballot.

Not Included

Brayden Schenn turned 25 today - happy birthday - and thus is no longer under 25.

Currently In The NHL

1. Sean Couturier

Some people may have the urge to have a certain phantom grizzly in the first spot, but it's Coots. I love Shayne as much as just about anyone, but Couturier is already SO important to the current roster that nobody could reasonably take this top spot from him.

His importance, largely, comes in the form of being able to take defensive pressure away from Claude Giroux. But (sorry for saying this again this year) he has a lot more to bring to the table offensively, and my hope is the signings of Dale Weise and Boyd Gordon also take some of the burden off of Couturier.

2. Shayne Gostisbehere

I can't really write anything that hasn't already been written, so just know that Shayne is the best and everyone loves him.

3. Scott Laughton
4. Nick Cousins

I waffled back and forth for my third and fourth picks, and it's an especially interesting decision because one of these guys will likely be exposed in the expansion draft next summer.

For me, Laughton's potential as a top-six winger outweighs Cousins' current role as a bottom-six center. That rings true especially when you factor in that GM Ron Hextall has his top two centers locked down for the rest of the decade. There are simply a lot more ways Laughton can contribute in a more meaningful way than Cousins.

Next Up

5. Ivan Provorov

I will not fault anyone who moves Provorov ahead of Laughton and/or Cousins, but for me the guys who have proven that they can hang at the NHL level are ranked higher.

That said, in looking at the guys not currently at the NHL level, it's impossible to have anyone ranked higher than Provy. He's going to - at some point - put on an orange and black jersey and immediately be the most talented defenseman on the team. Whether that is this year or next, I do not know.

If Hextall decides to send Provy back to juniors for another year, there will likely be a lot of people who are mad on line. I will probably be one of them. But, as nice as it would be to see him in the big leagues this year, think about how much nicer it will be to have a 22-year-old top-tier defenseman w
with a cap hit of $894k.

6. Taylor Leier

He has played a bit with the big club, but he's been primarily an AHL player up to this point. And Hextall has certainly not made it easy for him to return to the NHL; the Flyers have about a dozen guys capable of making up their bottom six next season. Leier seems to be the name that comes up most often when talking about Phantoms That Could Be Flyers.

7. Travis Sanheim
8. Samuel Morin

To a certain extent, having these two below Leier is the same logic as having Provorov below Laughton/Cousins. Sanheim and Morin, at some point, will likely contribute significant minutes on the blueline. Sanheim should eventually be a well-rounded NHL defenseman and Morin will hopefully break someone's entire torso against the side boards. But, for now, they are AHL players waiting for a broken penis to call them up to the NHL.

9. Travis Konecny

There will, without a doubt, be people in the final BSH rankings who rate Konecny significantly higher than 9th. But (unpopular opinion alert) I'm not sure his offensive skill is elite enough to overcome his size the way a lot of people seem to think it will. If you scroll down the end of the list quickly, you will find another smaller guy with a high skill level who can't seem to put it all together against NHL competition.

I'm usually really high on Tarvo, but for whatever reason I just got in a really negative mood before writing that paragraph. I'm sure he'll be great. Konecny-Giroux-Voracek, Stanley Cup 2018 here we come. (?)

10. Anthony Stolarz

I don't know what the fuck to do with these goalie prospects, but Stoli was an AHL All-Star last year. That has to count for something, right?

11. Robert Hagg

What do we make of Hagg? He's a gosh darn enigma. He's always been in the Ghost-Provy-Sanheim-Morin group, but he really fell off last year.

The good thing for him is there will be little to no pressure this season. There's not a spot to be had at the NHL level (and that becomes even more jammed if Provorov stays up for the season). He's not really competing for anything like Provorov and Sanheim and Konecny. He's going to be a solid AHL guy this year, and my hope would be the lack of pressure allows him to work on the skills he needs to be in the fight for an NHL spot in 2017-18.

I've Been Told These Kids Are Good But I Don't Really Know

12. Nicolas Aube-Kubel

He's been a point-per-game player in the QMJHL over the past three years, including the past two where he has been property of the Flyers. He'll make the jump to the AHL this year, and his name will maybe even be thrown in the mix of that dozen or so guys that could theoretically make up the bottom six of the Flyers.

13. Felix Sandstrom

He's the Flyers' best young goaltender not named Stolarz, and he's been tearing it up in the Swedish league and in the various national competitions he's competed it.

14. Cole Bardreau

I don't think anyone in the Flyers organization has made as much progress as Bardreau since the middle of last season. These days, his name finds itself Leier's in the "Phantoms That Could Be Flyers" discussion. He gets a lot of Danny Woodhead adjectives thrown around at him - gritty, hard worker, heart to make up for his size. He's going to have to battle to make it to the NHL, but Guys Like Him don't have a problem battling to overcome obstacles.

15. Philippe Myers

Myers could end up taking Hagg's place in the Young Defenseman pool. He's young, he's big, and he's not-so-quietly improving the offensive aspects of his game. And when you consider #47 and #55 currently on the Flyers roster, "the ability to have the puck on his stick and not have everyone on his team get nervous" might just be enough offense for him to be alright.

16. Oskar Lindblom

I'll defer to the recently-promoted Assistant General Manager of the Flyers, Chris Pryor, who will be able to better capture the essence of Lindblom with a bunch of vague cliches (source):
"We're really happy with where he's progressed. He's a lot bigger and stronger, and his skating has gotten better. The thing about Oskar is he always knew how to play the game. The kid has a great work ethic, head on his shoulders and you're starting to see the fruit of his labors paying off."
17. Petr Straka

He led the Phantoms in scoring for a chunk of last season until he got hurt, and lord knows this Flyers team could use an influx of scoring wingers. He's 24 and this is a contract year for him, so it's really Put Up Or Shut Up Time if he's ever going to make it to the NHL. His entry-level deal had an annual salary of $925k and this year's deal is only worth $650k. Prove us wrong, Pete.

These Are Some Other Names That I Know

18. Mark Alt

Mark Alt is the Perry Ellis of Flyers prospects. This man has been around for what feels like forever but he's only going into his fourth season in the system. Like Straka, Alt's on a one-year "Prove It" deal that pays him less than his entry-level contract.

19. Alex Lyon

Look, nobody knows a goddamn thing about goalies. Lyon could suck and be out of the organization next summer, or he could kill it in the AHL and give Stolarz some legitimate competition for the keys to the kingdom. He's highly regarded coming out of Yale, and the Lyon-Stolarz battle in Lehigh Valley might even make it worth the drive up North.

20. German Rubstov
21. Roman Lyubimov

What? You thought I was going to miss the opportunity to include the Rubs Off/Lube 'Em Off duo? Come on. #PleaseLikeMy tweets:
22. Radel Fazleev

He's a big beefy Russian with good hockey sense and more offensive skill than you'd imagine for someone who is best described as Big and Beefy.

23. Carter Hart

He was the first goalie taken in this Summer's NHL Draft, and for regional dialect purposes it's a shame he didn't get drafted by the Bruins. But he'll now officially be on the radar, and he's competing with Stolarz, Lyon, Sandstrom, and Harvard's Merrick Madsen for the title of Goalie Of The Future.

24. David Kase

He's Czech, so he gets to play in bigger tournaments than he would if he was Canadian or American. That's about where we are at the end of this Top 25 exercise.

I Really Like Tyrell Goulbourne

25. Tyrell Goulbourne

He's small but he plays with the heart of someone who is 6'6"/270. Ten years ago he probably would have been a fourth line guy to balance out the enormous salaries of the Flyers' top six and top four.

Jordan Weal

26. Jordan Weal

Sometimes I forget he's even on the team.

Potential Challenge Participants From Are You The One? Season 4

A little more than two months ago, I laid out a four-step plan for fixing MTV's The Challenge. The season was in a bit of a slump, but eventually turned itself around. This season, Rivals III, actually ended up having one of the most memorable finishes of any reality television show ever.

So maybe the people who professionally make reality TV for a living are better at making reality TV than I am. I can admit that.

However, the third step in my plan was putting together an Are You The One team to compete. I had already watched the first three seasons at that point, so I threw about a dozen names into the potential pool. But season four hadn't aired at all yet, so I had to make some educated guesses (based just strictly on pictures and one-sentence bios).

Let's see how I did:


I think he's a cologne model because the dude is (1) shredded (2) from Israel and (3) wearing a bathing suit that is smaller than any underwear that I own.

The short bathing suit (and his entire fashion sense in general) was very exotic because Asaf is from Israel. He's also from California. I don't really know. 

But what I do know is he'd be great on The Challenge because he's in great shape, he loves to fuck everything that moves, and he barely speaks English. Those three things, especially when combined into one person, are always a recipe for entertainment on The Challenge. 


They describe him as a 6'8" cowboy, but I'm not sold on him having the edge we're looking for to Make The Challenge Great Again.

I think I nailed this one. Cam is huge, but he's really a soft individual and I can't see him having the sort of aggressiveness that guys need to really compete in The Challenge. But you can't teach size, and a huge tatted farm boy has a leg up on a lot of the "men" that come through AYTO. 


The first seven words of his bio are "A true alpha male to the core" and they describe him and "tough and intense." That should work.

Johnny is the PERFECT Challenge competitor. He's huge, he drinks too much, and he could conceivable be Rivals or Exes with like half the people from this season of AYTO. 

My Mount Rushmore of favorite John moments: 
  • The night he had to get restrained and then stormed out of the house saying "I'm sick of people telling me how I'm supposed to feel!"
  • The two days he spent leading Emma on even though "his heart" told him he wanted the smoking hot chick with fake boobs. 
  • The night he told Victoria (his Perfect Match) that she turned into a fat whale sometime around week four. 
  • Fifteen minutes after that last conversation, when he and Victoria violently made out on the kitchen counter. 


Flowing blonde hair on a former college football player is a welcome addition to any team of any kind. Sam is also #TeamPonytail which is pretty cool in my opinion.

This was the closest I cam to whiffing in my initial predictions. The physical traits are all there for Sam, but I think he's too goddamn nice to be in a competitive situation like The Challenge. Then again, he's a college football player so he's obviously got some sort of competitive side. 

I feel like the Challenge house would use his sensitive side against him. It almost reminds me of Dustin The Gay Porn Star - although this is obviously on a MUCH smaller scale. You know what? Forget I even mentioned Dustin. 

And The Other Guys
  • Cameron (the other one, who was in the honeymoon suite for the whole show) is big question mark for me. I don't remember anything he ever did. He probably won't make an appearance because he didn't have a lot of time to really do anything noteworthy.
  • Gio will probably weasel his way onto at least one season of The Challenge, and the night that Johnny Bananas puts him in a casket will be a real celebratory occasion for me. Fuck Gio.
  • Morgan, as it turns out, is AYTO alum Mike Crescenzo's roommate. Mike is now currently dating Tori, who was Morgan's perfect match. Shit is weird sometimes with these people, man. Morgan is muscular, but I'm not convinced that it's not just popcorn muscles. I'd love to see him and Tori both find their way onto a season of The Challenge, and if Mike joins them then even better. 
  • Prosper - was it racist of me to leave him off the preview post? He's an enormous dude, he has a sensitive/romantic side, and he just about threw Gio through the glass window one night. I'd expect him to do whatever it takes to get out of Albany for another couple of months. Maybe he can be Gio's Rival?
  • Stephen From Delco brought some Philly trash flair to this season (I say that lovingly, obviously). He comes off as kind of an asshole initially because of his tattoos and his Delco attitude, but as the season went on he became more of an emotional boyfriend type. He's not super muscular and he didn't seem to be super cunning, but anytime we can get some Philadelphia blood in The Challenge I'm all for it. 
  • Ty was possibly the worst cast member to ever appear on Are You The One, ever. 
The Challenge: Real World vs. Are You The One

We have 7 guys and 7 girls on each team. Here's who I'm lining up on the AYTO side:
  • Adam. Challenge veteran, probably still not employed full-time so most likely available. 
  • Dario. Another vet, with more experience than any other AYTO member. 
  • Layton. How he hasn't been on yet is a mystery to me. He's huge and he's angry. 
  • Mike. As mentioned above. 
  • Morgan. As mentioned above. 
  • Asaf. He's the best, he really is. 
  • John. This man was tailor made for Challenges. 
Let's do this, MTV. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Simone Biles Is Incredible

Yesterday was not great. I spent the afternoon thinking we nailed our Simone Biles +626 parlay, only to find out that they do a separate contest for each individual activity and she's only a quarter of the way through that parlay.

Then, we bet on three swimmers that finished fifth, second, and fifth.

Not ideal.

So I'm going to try to inject some positive energy into this morning. Simone has DOMINATED the individual all-around file twice now, and she should continue dominating as the competition progresses. What's left of our parlay is three legs: beam, vault, and floor.


Simone in the Team event: 15.933 (1st)
Simone in the Individual event: 16.000 (1st)
Girls to watch out for:

  • Aly Raisman (USA) finished second in both Team and Individual with a 15.833 and a 15.766
  • Maria Paseka (RUS) finished third in Team with 15.700 but didn't compete in Individual
  • Giulia Steingruber (SUI) didn't compete in Team but finished third in Individual with 15.600
  • Rebecca Andrade (BRA) finished fourth in Team and Individual with a 15.400 and a 15.566
  • Aliya Mustafinia (RUS) tied for fifth in Team with 15.133 and finished fifth in Individual with 15.166
  • Ellie Downie (GBR) tied for fifth in Team with 15.133 and finished ninth in Individual with 14.833

Confidence level: Very high. Simone could screw up and drop down to the mid-15's, and someone like Raisman or Paseka or Steingruber could overtake her, but that's not happening. This is Simone's strongest event. As the gay NBC announcer always says, she runs higher and jumps faster than any gymnast in history.


Simone in the Team event: 15.300 (1st)
Simone in the Individual event: 15.633 (1st)
Girls to watch out for:

  • Sanne Wevers (NED) finished second in Team with 15.250 but didn't compete in Individual
  • Laurie Hernandez (USA) finished third in Team with 15.233 but didn't compete in Individual
  • Two Chinese Girls (CHN) finished fourth in Team with 15.066 but only one competed in Individual and she finished eighth with 14.366
  • Aly Raisman (USA) finished fifth in Team with 15.000 and third in Individual with 14.833
  • Aliya Mustafina (RUS) finished sixth in Team with 14.958 but tanked in Individual and scored just 13.033, placing her 21st out of 24
  • Flavor Flavia Saraiva (BRA) finished seventh in Team with 14.833 and second in Individual with 15.133

Confidence level: High. Simone and Flavia were the only two competitors with a chance to win who improved from the Team event to the Individual event. Everyone else either was hungover or cracked under the pressure. And Simone, as is the case in every event except the uneven bars, is just better than everyone else. She doesn't have quite as big a cushion on the beam as she does on the vault, but there's still a sizable cushion there by gymnastics standards. 


Simone in the Team event: 15.800 (1st)
Simone in the Individual event: 15.733 (1st)
Girls to watch out for:

  • Aly Raisman (USA) finished second in Team and Individual with a 15.366 and a 15.275
  • Vanessa Ferrari (ITA) didn't compete in Team but finished third in Individual with 14.866
  • Laurie Hernandez (USA) finished third in Team with 14.833 but didn't compete in Individual
  • Wang Yan (CHN) finished fourth in Team and Individual with a 14.733 and a 14.666  
  • Everyone else's best score was at least a full point behind Simone's worst score
Confidence level: I mean, come on. No worries on the floor at all. I was mad when I realized we didn't win the money yesterday, but she's dominated every event twice now. There's no reason to start doubting her at this stage. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Let's Bet On Some Pool Activities Again Tonight

First off, I just looked at the Blogger dashboard and my last blog about Yulia Efimova was this site's 420th entry. Nice, especially for a blog that was primarily about drugs. My Girl Yulia will be making another appearance in this post, though I haven't figured out if she's going to be My Girl again tonight.

It's a big night for everyone's favorite Olympic sports. The individual gymnastics competition is happening at 3:00 today, but we're all going to try to avoid spoilers so we can pretend to watch it live tonight.

One quick note on spoilers: there is a girl from high school that I still followed (past tense) on Twitter even though she hadn't tweeted in like three years. She decided to hop back on Twitter right in the middle of the NBC gymnastics broadcast on Sunday and retweet a congratulatory tweet that spoiled the whole goddamn contest for me. Then, I'm assuming, she logged off and won't log on again until she finds a copy of the script to the last episode of Game Of Thrones and ruins that for all of us too. </rant>

Swimming! Swimming is happening tonight in addition to gymnastics. There are four finals tonight, and I think we should try to bet on all of them. Let's dive right in. </puns>

9:17pm, Women's 200m Breaststroke

World Record: Rebecca Soni (USA) - 2:14.57 (2009)
Fastest in Heats: Rike Moller Pedersen (DEN) - 2:22.72
Fastest in Semis: Taylor McKeown (AUS) - 2:21.69
Available Odds: McKeown +175, Rie Kaneto +200, Efimova +400

Pedersen seems to not really have a chance, as she only moderately improved from Heats to Semis and she was passed by McKeown, Japan's Kaneto, Britain's Molly Renshaw, and China's Shi Jinglin (Hall Of Fame-caliber name).

Basically, it's a two-horse race and I'm inserting my own third horse because I love her. But Yulia finished almost a full second behind McKeown in the Semis. Efimova is kinda sorta the world record holder at 2:14.39, but she was on meldonium for that race so it's been discounted.

As far as someone else unseating McKeown, second-place Kaneto was half a second back. The distance between first and second was the same as between second and fifth. So it's McKeown at +175 - she's not going to break the record, but she'll win by half a second or more.

9:26pm, Men's 200m Backstroke

World Record: Mitch Larkin (AUS) - 1:45.63 (2015)
Fastest in Heats: Evgeny Rylov (RUS) - 1:55.02
Fastest in Semis: Rylov - 1:54.45
Available Odds: Larkin -125, Ryan Murphy +140, Rylov +200

At first glance, the easy bet is the guy who was fastest in the previous two rounds who also pays 2/1. But there's a reason Rylov's payout is that high, and it's because another guy in the field finished almost TEN SECONDS faster last Fall.

But if you're looking for a "Hmmm" on Larkin, he's about ten seconds over his peak time now, and he finished off the podium in fourth place in the 100m backstroke (Murphy won, for what it's worth). Maybe that competition was draining Larkin just enough and he'll carve two seconds off the 1:54.73 he swam in the Semis.

But we have a legit three horse race in this one, folks. Take your pick:

  • The world record holder, swimming in his final event of this Olympics
  • The guy who won gold in the shorter version of this event, also in his final event of this Olympics
  • The guy who won the first two legs of this contest, you guessed it, also swimming in his final event of this Olympics
Take your pick. I'm going to let Alex decide. 

10:01pm, Men's 200m Individual Medley

World Record: Ryan Lochte (USA) - 1:49.63 (2012)
Fastest in Heats: Lochte - 1:57.38
Fastest in Semis: Michael Phelps (USA) - 1:55.78
Available Odds: Phelps -400, Kosuke Hagino +325, Lochte +650

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why Lochte's line is so high. He's the world record holder. If you want to say his age is the issue, well he's only a year older than Phelps. If you want to point to Hagino as the reason, well that dude finished behind Lochte in the Heats (Hagino came in 6th, Lochte 1st) and Semis (Hagino 4th, Lochte 2nd).

And then, Phelps. If this was all eight swimmers on full rest, he's surely the favorite. I don't know if he'd be a -400 favorite, but obviously he'd be the one everyone expects to win. But they're not all on the same rest, and Phelps is swimming the Heats for the 100m butterfly this afternoon and the Semis for that same contest at 10:34pm. Granted, I'd worry much more about the later race, but swimming three Olympic races in one day is rougher than swimming one, as Hagino and Lochte will be doing.

I like Lochte at +650. I like that line a lot.

10:18pm, Women's 100m Freestyle

World Record: Cate Campbell (AUS) - 50.91 (2015)
Fastest in Heats: Campbell - 52.78
Fastest in Semis: Campbell - 52.71
Available Odds: Campbell -1000, You Are An Idiot If You Bet On Anyone Else

The 100m freestyle is the sexiest event in Olympic swimming. It's the shortest distance of the fastest stroke and it's essentially determine the Usain Bolt of swimming.

Well, this year there is no fucking doubt that Cate Campbell is the Usain Bolt of swimming. She set the Olympic record in the Heats, then broke it in the Semis, and will probably break it in the Finals. I'd really love Bovada to set an over/under on her time instead of just setting an extremely prohibitive moneyline. I don't think there's any doubt she beats 52.71, but can she get under 52.5? Or 52.0?

I'd take all of the money that you own, plus all of you winnings from McKeown, the 200 Back, and Lochte, and bet it on Campbell. If you can get a small $1 million loan from your father like Donald Trump did, this race'll win you a cool $100 grand.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

In Defense Of Yulia Efimova

This whole thing started, for me at least, at dinner last night when I was looking at betting lines for Day 3 of the Olympics. Gambling makes everything more fun, and that is especially true for sports that you don't really understand or care about.

Last night, the coverage was very heavy on the swimming. The NBC broadcast featured four medal races between 9:00 and 10:00, and swimming seemed to be the talk of the internet. Okay great, we're going to be watching it and talking about it anyway, we might as well throw a little juice on some swimmers.

Three out of the four races were no-go, though. Sun Yang was always going to win the 200m freestyle, and both 100m backstroke contests could have gone four separate ways. Neither of those situations are good for business.

But, in the final medal race of the night, there was a two-horse race with a little bit of additional drama. American Lilly King took exception to Russian Yulia Efimova's postgame celebration in the semifinals, and had this to say:
The narrative for EVERYONE on the internet was "Yeah Go Lilly! USA! Fuck That Russian Girl! Steroids are bad!" The crowd in the goddamn Olympic arena booed this 24-year-old girl and brought her to tears. Great, America wins and the Russians lose and everyone is happy.

Except there's some additional information that was maybe just a little bit buried by the NBC broadcast and your dumb friends on Twitter.

Part One: The Drugs

From The Guardian:
Efimova tested positive for a banned steroid in 2013, and then again this winter for meldonium. She claimed she had stopped taking meldonium before it was outlawed but the drug was still in her system, and she was allowed to compete after the Internationl Swimming Federation lifted the ban after advice from the World Anti-Doping Agency, which is further researching the drug. (source)
It's been established that basically everyone in Russia - from the top of the government down to the trainers and athletes - was involved in an enormous blood doping scheme. This was not necessarily Yulia's choice, but that's how the Olympic sports teams handled themselves in Russia.

And then they all got busted after the rest of the world discovered meldonium's performance-enhancing nature and banned it in January. Like, only six months ago, January. Then Yulia stopped taking it. In January.

"But Jay, she didn't stop! She still failed a test this winter and was suspended again!" WINTER. Like, maybe, at most, one month after the shit was banned.

And then the World Anti-Doping Agency did a bit more research and figured out that, oh yeah, maybe your body doesn't immediately recycle everything inside of it in less than five weeks (stoners know what I'm talking about).

And, thus, right before the biggest competition of this Russian girl's life, the International Swimming Federation cleared her to compete with the other 174 countries that sent swimmers to Rio. Because she was not on drugs.

Part Two: The Finger

You saw it in that video above - when Efimova won her semifinal heat to secure her spot in the medal race, she held up one finger. One finger, as in she just fucking came in first place! What the fuck is wrong with that?

"Oh, that's so cocky, she didn't even win anything yet!"

You know who else hadn't won anything yet? The girl standing in a coat in front of the a worldwide audience wagging her finger at one of her competitors when she herself hadn't even GOTTEN IN THE GODDAMN POOL YET.

Okay, I'm getting hot. Let's just carry this thought right through to the next section.

Part Three: Lilly King

Lilly King is the worst kind of athlete.

She wants to play both sides of the aisle - Nice Sweet Innocent Girl From Indiana and Big Tough Bully - and NBC seems totally content just letting her be completely two-faced. You can't be America's sweetheart and also be calling out innocent competitors and bullying them in front of the whole world.

Let's use another member of the American team who was featured prominently last night as a frame of reference. That guy also happens to be the most decorated Olympian of recorded history.

You saw it in Michael Phelps' eyes before and after his semifinal race against Chad Guy Bertand Le Clos OIS (that's his real full name, plus his distinction for excellent achievement in athletics).

Before the race, Le Clos did a whole shadowboxing routine right in front of a brooding Phelps. Four years ago in London, Le Clos barely beat Phelps for the gold medal in the 200m butterfly, and he seemed to want to taunt the big guy about it in Rio.

And taunt he did. He did the shadowboxing, and then he stared him down before and DURING THE RACE. And, after Le Clos taunted Phelps more significantly more than Efimova had taunted anybody about anything  - Phelps spoke to NBC's Michelle Tafoya.

Tafoya was BEGGING him to react to the antics and not simply the swimming. You could see the sparkle in his eye when he realized what was happening, and I almost expected him to go Bad Boy Phelps and take the bait.

But Phelps, being the experienced athlete that he is, elected to focus exclusively on the race. That's why today you will see a lot of pictures of Phelps' angry face like this:

And you might even see some attempted memes like this:

But you won't see any electric quotes attacking a competitor in front of millions of people and effectively ruining their career. Because, at the end of the day, the Olympics is a sports competition and it's supposed to bring people together. Quick sidestep: these gymnasts are from North and South Korea, whose countries hate each other even more than we hate Russia. No slander or hatred here:

Let's get back to Phelps electing not to call our Le Clos in his postgame press conference. To be fair, I'm sure Le Clos will be 100% fine if Phelps obliterates him in the pool and ethers him in the postgame interview tonight. He seems like the stereotypical rich South African cocky guy. He'll survive. 

But, as the saying goes, It's Different For Girls. 

Yulia Efimova will be the only non-American swimmer that anybody remembers from this Olympics, and the only reason her name garnered any attention was Lilly King's needless call-out. She's not going to be a three-time Olympian, or the girl who was once named the Breakthrough Swimmer Of The Year, or the one-time world record holder in the 50m and 200m, or the girl who has lived and trained on American soil for the last five years. 

Nope. She's just going to be that girl who was shooting up with a crazy third world drug to turn her into a musclehead she-hulk. 

Oh wait, what? Maria Sharapova was taking the same drug when she got suspended from tennis? And she had been taking it for TEN YEARS?

This is the "drug cheating" that Lilly King plastered on Yulia Efimova's face. Meldonium improves blood flow, and the Russian coaches started giving it to everyone they possibly could. It's approved by the FDA for use in the United States. It would, however, provide an advantage for swimmers. And then, when it was deemed illegal by the IOC, many of those swimmers who had been using it stopped. 

But don't tell that to Lilly King though, because she seems to think that Efimova blasted herself full of HGH right before the race:
Afterwards, King was unrepentant on her earlier comments about Efimova. “I basically said what everybody’s thinking,” she said after the final. “They were glad I spoke out and I had the guts to say that and I appreciate their support."
Donald Trump parallels aside,  I would think that anyone who supports any kind of athletics would be against one competitor bullying another - and using media and the crowd to antagonize that person.

At the end of the day, when they got in the pool together in August, all of the competitors were CLEARED BY THE WORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY to compete fairly. And "queen bee" (I don't think I could possibly make those air quotes big enough) Lilly King decided to bully this girl around and effectively ruin her Olympic experience and her career from this point forward.

No magazine is going to feature her. No major worldwide apparel company is going to sponsor her. NBC made sure that she was shown strictly in a negative light, and there's probably no chance she ever comes back from it. I won't pretend to know enough about Russia to know how she's going to be treated there, but I have to think all of this negative press will be the end of her in the mainstream American and European media.

So goodbye forever Yulia, enjoy your silver medal. Maybe we'll see you sometime in the future.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Let's Bet On Big Zlatan

We've never placed a season-long soccer bet. Normally, that's something we reserve for college football (see my last post).

But this season might be different, because the most popular team in England signed the most eccentric player in the world. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will don a Manchester United kit for the first time later this month, and it will be a glorious debut.

The line on his goals for the Premier League season, however, is set at just 14.5 on Bovada. That seems really low to me, and I'm thinking we might be able to (1) make some money and (2) get even more Saturday morning enjoyment while watching one of the best teams in the world.

The line being 14.5 poses two questions:

  • How many goals do ManU's strikers normally score?
  • How many goals does Zlatan normally score?
Let's start with the big guy first, and then look at his new team and league.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

I'm going to include all major competitions in the last three years because I want to be able to use as large a sample size as possible. 

2016 Euro Cup (and Qualifiers): 11 goals in 13 games
2015-16 with PSG (Ligue 1): 38 goals in 31 games
2015-16 with PSG (Champions League): 5 goals in 10 games

2014-15 with PSG (Ligue 1): 18 goals in 24 games
2014-15 with PSG (Champions League): 2 goals in 6 games

2013-14 with PSG (Ligue 1): 26 goals in 33 games
2013-14 with PSG (Champions League): 10 goals in 8 games

Overall, that's 110 goals in 125 games, or 0.88 goals per game. The EPL season is 38 matches long, meaning he'd blow past the 14.5 total before Christmas if he kept his usual pace. That's an easy bet, right?

Manchester United's Goal Scorers

It's not quite so simple when you look at Man United's stat sheet from last season:

Zlatan is probably better than all of these players, especially when it comes to pure goal scoring, but is the team capable of generating enough offense to allow him to score 15+ goals? Overall, the team scored just 46 goals in EPL play. And what's even more concerning is there wasn't a single Forward who played more than 30 games (Martial led the way with an even 30). 

So if our boy Zlatan is only playing 30 games or so, and they're only scoring 30-35 goals in those games, is he good enough to score half of them with Rooney, Martial, Mata, Rashford, and Memphis breathing down his neck? 

It's really tough to envision him matching his goal totals from France on this United squad. Perhaps, though, this disparity is rooted less in the Red Devils and more in the English league as a whole. 

Premier League Goal Scoring

Last season, in their 38 matches, PSG led Ligue 1 with 102 goals (2.68 goals per game). They were, however, a large outlier, as the next-highest-scoring team was Olympique Lyonnais with 67 (1.76 per game). In Ligue 1 as a whole, 960 goals were scored. 

Manchester City led the was in the EPL last year with 71 goals (1.87 goals per game). But between all 20 league teams, they combined for 1026.

So, excluding the dominance of PSG, England is actually more scoring-friendly. I went through the league tables for France's Ligue 1 and the English Premier League last season - here's the comparison:

Essentially, the bottom half of both leagues was the same in terms of goal-scoring. Troyes brought up the rear in France with just 28 goals for the season (0.74 per game), and Aston Villa did the same in England with 27 goals (0.71 goals per game). Those two teams are now in shittier leagues. 

The whole Over/Under 14.5 goals bet really boils down to one question - how much of PSG's offensive dominance was caused by Zlatan? He scored 38 of the 102 goals and assisted on 13 more. He shared the field with Edinson Cavani (19 goals) and Angel Di Maria (10 goals), and even young Lucas Mora (9 goals) would have ranked highly on ManU's stat sheet. 

The difference between PSG's 102 goals and United's paltry 49 was Zlatan-Cavani-ADM combining for 67 and Martial-Rooney-Mata combining for just 25. That is a HUGE difference - and my bet would be Zlatan is a big part of it. 

Questions To Ask Ourselves

  • Do we want to bet on soccer and commit to watching it on weekend mornings and weekday afternoons?
  • Do we like Zlatan as an athlete/character?
  • Do we think that at least a third of PSG's offensive trio's output was generated or caused by Zlatan?
  • Do we think Zlatan is better than Anthony Martial and/or Wayne Rooney?
The obvious answer to all of these questions in a resounding YES, so please go ahead and sign me up for Zlatan Over 14.5 EPL goals (-105).