Kap's Corner

Kap's Corner Archives

Handicapping the Wild Card Playoffs

It was a thrilling Saturday in the NFL Playoffs that saw the largest home field underdog in NFL playoff history win outright and then saw the New York Jets upset the Indianapolis Colts on the road finally giving Rex Ryan a victory over Peyton Manning. Now, there are two more games today that are very interesting to watch and to handicap.

Baltimore at Kansas City

The Chiefs are a 3 point home underdog and they are coming off of a horrible performance in a home loss to the Oakland Raiders last Sunday. Can Matt Cassell and Co. rally the troops and play well against one of the league's best defensive units? Can the Chiefs defense handle Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and a very solid offensive line?

How about Baltimore and their awesome defense? Can Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and their mates control Cassell and the solid Kansas City running game? Who wins the special teams battle? This game should be close and despite what some believe I see it a more high scoring affair that comes down to the turnover battle.

**As always, these selections are for entertainment purposes only**


Game One

Baltimore -3 over Kansas City
Baltimore/Kansas City OVER 41

Game Two

Green Bay +3 over Philadelphia
Green Bay/Philadelphia UNDER 47

I can see the Eagles winning but not covering the spread. I also see the game being a much more low scoring contest than many expect simply because both teams have excellent offenses and both teams have struggled as of late with Green Bay scoring only 10 points at home in a win over the Bears and Philadelphia losing their last two games both of which were at home.

I will be back with a look at the BCS Championship game tomorrow. Have a great day!



Sunday's NFL Picks Against the Spread - January 2, 2011

Happy New Year to everyone!

Here we go:

**As always these picks are for information purposes only**

Top Plays

Pittsburgh -6 over Cleveland
Indianapolis - over Tennessee
Atlanta -14 over Carolina
Green Bay -10 over Bears

Best Bet

Kansas City -4 1/2 over Oakland


Sunday's NFL Picks Against the Spread - December 26, 2010

I hope that you had a great Christmas and are enjoying the holiday season! With this time of year comes some great sports on TV like the Heat at the Lakers which was a star studded match-up on Christmas Day. Also, Saturday night's NFL match-up between Dallas and Arizona may not have had playoff implications but it was a tremendously entertaining game that went down to the wire.

Today's slate of games have some very important battles that can decide playoff fates and home field advantage. The game at Soldier Field in Chicago between the Bears and the Jets is important to both teams so we should see a very intense battle.

I  see several games that I find intriguing so let's get right to it with our picks for today.

**As always these selections are for entertainment purposes only**

Top Plays
Houston -3 over Denver
Tennessee/Kansas City OVER 42
San Diego/Cincinnati UNDER 44
Tampa Bay -6 over Seattle
Indianapolis -3 over Oakland

Best Bet

2 Team Teaser on New England (-8 1/2) and San Diego (-8)

Gallery sneak peek (2 images):

View the gallery...

Sunday's NFL Picks Against the Spread - December 19, 2010

Okay, the Christmas season is here and today many of you will be celebrating with family and friends while you also watch NFL football. The Bears will play on Monday Night Football against the Vikings at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium. There has been much consternation this week about playing the game outdoors but the Bears need to forget all of that distraction and take care of business against a Vikings team that is up the track in the NFC North. When New England beats Green Bay the Bears will have their chance to clinch the division with a win over Minnesota.

Here we go with today's picks....

**As always these selections are for entertainment purposes only**

Top Plays

Dallas -7 over Washington
New Orleans +1.5 over Baltimore
Miami -5.5 over Buffalo

Best Bet

Oakland -7.5 over Denver
Denver at Oakland OVER 42

Cubs Moving Towards to Signing Kerry Wood

The Cubs, who have a major need for a veteran right handed reliever are moving towards finalizing a deal with free agent Kerry Wood. Wood, who spent the first 10 years of his major league career with the Cubs spent 2010 with the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees and compiled impressive numbers down the stretch for New York as the Yankees qualified for the post season.

Acquired by the Yankees at the trading deadline, Wood went 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in 24 games. If he finalizes his deal with the Cubs, Wood should provide tremendous support to Cubs closer Carlos Marmol and along with left hander Sean Marshall will form a very formidable back end of the bullpen.

Wood has made Chicago his permanent home and told me just last week that whatever decision he made about where he would pitch in 2011 had to be a good fit for his family. Being able to stay home and his longtime relationship with Cubs general manager Jim Hendry are huge factors in the Cubs favor.

More to come....

Sunday's NFL Picks Against the Spread - December 5th

Okay, after some time off which included a little vacation I am back with my NFL picks against the spread. There are a handful of games that I find intriguing including the Monday night battle that has the NY Jets on the road at New England. The Bears are at Detroit and the line on that game keeps rising. It opened at 3 and now it is at 5 1/2 and headed north. I just don't see how the Bears don't pound the Lions today with Detroit starting career backup Drew Stanton under center.

(**As always these picks are for entertainment purposes only**)

Top Plays

Pittsburgh +3.5 over Baltimore
Miami -4 over Cleveland
Kansas City -8.5 over Denver
Tennessee -3.5 over Jacksonville

Best Bet

Bears -5 over Detroit

Ron Santo Dies at 70

I just finished hosting a 3 1/2 hour tribute show to Ron Santo who died this morning from complications of bladder cancer at the age of 70. I was privileged to call Ron a close friend and a broadcasting colleague at WGN Radio for the past 16 seasons. Ron wore his emotions on his sleeve and he was as real as a person could get.

The toughness that he displayed while dealing with a myriad of health problems over the past decade never dampened his love for life and the sunny disposition with which he chose to live every single day. Ron was a tremendous role model for millions of diabetics and for countless others who looked to him for inspiration as they battled their own serious health problems.

Below are some photos of Ron from both his playing days and from his life at WGN Radio as the analyst on the Chicago Cubs radio network. He will be sorely missed but never forgotten. Ron, we love you.


Gallery sneak peek (21 images):

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Sunday's NFL Picks Against the Spread - November 7th

A very good week picking games last Sunday as I went 4-1 only losing on the Dallas Cowboys who were awful in a loss to Jacksonville. This week is an interesting one as the Bears come off of their bye week and play the 0-7 Buffalo Bills who were beaten in overtime each of the last two weeks on the road by Baltimore and Kansas City.

Here we go for Week 9 in the NFL....

(**As always these picks are for entertainment purposes only**)

New York Giants -7
San Diego Chargers -3
New Orleans Saints -6 1/2
Dallas +8
Baltimore -5

Best Bet
Chicago Bears on the money line (I am not comfortable laying the 3 points)

Sunday - October 31st in the NFL

After a day off yesterday it's time to get back at it and handicap today's card in the NFL. The Bears are enjoying a bye week and getting ready to play the Buffalo Bills in Toronto next Sunday. Will Brett Favre start today against the New England Patriots? I fully expect him to start and play well. That is just what Brett Favre does. However, with both the Vikings and the Packers (who play at the New York Jets) facing tough games the Bears have a chance to pick up a full game on each of their division rivals.

So away we go....

(*As always these picks are for entertainment purposes only**)

Top Plays

Tampa Bay +3
Dallas -6.5
San Diego -4
Detroit -2

Best Bet

Oakland -2

Saturday's College Football Picks Against the Spread - October 23rd

I am off to call the Central Michigan at Northern Illinois football game on Comcast SportsNet so before I head to DeKalb let's get right to my picks for today's college football action.

**As always these picks are for entertainment purposes only**

Top Plays

Hawaii -3.5
Northwestern +6
Indiana +14
Indiana/Illinois OVER 54
Navy +6.5
TCU -18

Play of the Day

SMU -8




Hendry Says Sandberg is Welcome Back In Iowa....

I just spoke with Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry and he assured me that Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg is welcome to return to the organization as the manager at Class AAA Iowa. Sandberg, who was bypassed by Hendry for the managerial vacancy in favor of Mike Quade is reportedly "highly disappointed" that he was not given the Cubs job and yesterday indicated that he had been offered nothing by the Cubs going forward.

"He is certainly welcome to return to Iowa. We think he did a great job there. This was a very tough decision and one that I tossed and turned over. However, I love Ryne Sandberg and have tremendous respect for him," Hendry told me this morning.

In an interview with Dave Van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune, he said, "I haven't been offered anything," not long after the phone call came informing him of the decision. Not a coaching job on Quade's staff, not his old post at Triple-A Iowa, where he had just been voted Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year.

Asked if he would return to Iowa, Sandberg said on Tuesday, "I don't know. I'm hoping there's something else out there. I'm hoping to manage or coach at the big-league level.I'm just kind of digesting it right now and I have my agent getting feelers out.

This morning when I reached Sandberg at his home in Phoenix he told me "there was nothing offered to me yesterday. I was unaware that they wanted me back until I heard it from you. I guess it is an option. I'm going to take my time and see what is out there."

The Cubs Managerial Search

The Cubs managerial search is rolling along as GM Jim Hendry continues to his homework on several candidates both in-house and outside the organization. He has interviewed Eric Wedge (just named the manager of the Seattle Mariners), Don Wakamatsu, Bob Melvin, Ryne Sandberg, Mike Quade, and others and he has talked to several baseball types he knows around the game to hear their thoughts and opinions.

Before he makes a hire he had better look himself in the mirror and realize that the last two full time managers of this team were unwilling to hold players accountable despite coming in with reputations as locker room leaders. From the ridiculousness that derailed the 2004 Cubs to the antics of Carlos Zambrano this season no one has ever had the courage to lay down the law and be the tough guy that the Cubs have needed for far too long. That is squarely on the field manager and upper management who did absolutely nothing to control the players who let the broadcasters and the extraneous noise distract them in 2004 to Lou Piniella completely losing his team in 2010 as the season spiraled out of control. Set down a way to play and let no one operate outside the rules. Period, end of story. If a player misses a team flight because of his birthday then he doesn't pitch no matter who he is (think Big Z in 2009). If a player doesn't run hard out of the box then he is removed from the game and he sits. Whether he signed a 136 million dollar contract or is a minimum salaried rookie. Operate that way and you have a chance. Anything less and you will lose the respect of your team very quickly.
Continue reading...

Sunday's NFL Picks Against the Spread - Oct. 17th

I took yesterday off from making picks but I am back at it again today with a handful of selections on the card. The Bears have a very winnable game at home against the Seattle Seahawks and have a real chance to take solid control of the division while the rest of the NFC North teams have very tough games on their schedule. Green Bay has a tough battle in Lambeau Field against the Miami Dolphins. The Minnesota Vikings host the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions play at New York against the Giants which are all very tough contests to win.

Here are my picks for the day games. I will have a pick on tonight's game later today.

**As always these picks are for entertainment purposes only**

Top Plays

Minnesota -1.5 over Dallas
Dallas at Minnesota OVER 44
Seattle at Bears OVER 37
Denver Broncos +3.5 over NY Jets

Play of the Day

Baltimore +3 over New England

Reliving A Classic

If you've never seen this, now you can say you have.  But most of you have probably seen this before.  I now present you with an old classic, YouTube sensation Brian Collins, the Ball State alum, with this train wreck of a sportscast for his college TV station.

Enjoy.

 

Girardi To The Cubs? Harold Reynolds Says Yes

MLB Network Analyst Harold Reynolds told Dan Patrick on his radio show Monday he believes Yankees Manager Joe Girardi will be the next skipper of the Chicago Cubs. In the interview, Reynolds said Girardi has too many ties to the Windy City, and feels that will be enough to lure him back to the Friendly Confines.

I have been saying for a long time now that Girardi would be the best choice for the Cubs should he be available for Jim Hendry to bring into the fold.  Have a listen to the interview below.  We'll be discussing all week on Chicago Tribune Live on Comcast SportsNet and on The Cubs 10th Inning Postgame Show on WGN Radio 720.

 

Greatest Touchdown Ever

If you've never seen this video, you've got to check this out.  One of the most wild plays I've ever seen in football, without a doubt.  Enjoy and forward on to your friends.  I've seen this many times, and can't get enough.




**Breaking News** Cubs Close to Trading Derrek Lee

**Breaking News** The Cubs are close to trading first baseman Derrek Lee to the Atlanta Braves, I have learned exclusively. The trade was first discussed on Sunday evening when the Braves called Cubs GM Jim Hendry and expressed interest after learning that one of their best offensive players, Chipper Jones was lost for the season with a knee injury.

As a 10-5 man (10 years in the major leagues and the last five with the same team) Lee has the right to reject a trade as he did when the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim tried to acquire him in late July. However, sources close to Lee tell us that he will approve a deal to Atlanta because the Braves are leading their division thus giving him a shot at winning another World Series ring. Lee was a member of the 2003 World Champion Florida Marlins who beat the New York Yankees in the Fall Classic.

The deal that would send Lee to the Braves has not yet been finalized but MLB sources characterize the trade as nearly done. One holdup has been Lee's balky back which has kept him sidelined the past couple of days. The trade is not expected to land the Cubs much in the way of talent because of Lee's subpar 2010 season but it will provide some salary relief as Lee makes 13 million dollars and the Braves are expected to assume most if not all of his remaining money.

Stay tuned and I will update as soon as I confirm that the trade has been completed. For all of the breaking news that I cover please follow me on Twitter @thekapman. Kap

Kerry Wood Says Riggleman Did Not Misuse Him

Last week, Nationals manager and former Cubs skipper Jim Riggleman made news when he questioned his own handling of then Cubs rookie Kerry Wood in 1998. Speaking to the Washington Post, Riggleman said, "I think if anything that I learned from it, having to do it over I probably would have pitched Kerry less.  At the time that we had Kerry, my recollection of any criticism I had was 'Why did you take him out of the game?' After the fact it's "Well, you pitched him too much."

I reached Wood (now the closer for the Cleveland Indians) this morning and asked him for his opinion on Riggleman's comments. He was very open and honest telling me that he did not feel that Riggleman overused him.

"Wow, I hadn't heard his comments and I really don't agree with that. Look, I had bad mechanics back then and it was very hard for me to try to correct them when what I was doing was working. I remember many times thinking that I wish Jim would leave me in the game because I still felt strong."

Wood also talked about his mindset as a rookie.

"Back then I was a young pitcher with great stuff and when you are young and talented it is very hard to understand why you should be making changes to what you are doing when you are successful doing it the way you are. So, no I don't blame Jim at all. I definitely do not think I was overused or mishandled."

Gallery sneak peek (7 images):

View the gallery...

How About a Few Laughs on a Sunday Morning

It's 6:30 as I sit down to read the papers and I thought that everyone might enjoy a few laughs to start the day off right. If you are a fan of Jay Leno then you probably love his "Jaywalking" segments that he ran when he hosted the Tonight Show. Well, at Comcast SportsNet we decided to use that concept in the Windy City and we call it Kap's Corner. Just click here and enjoy!  The next Kap's Corner will run the week of June 15th.

I'll have an update tomorrow on the outlook for both the Cubs and White Sox as we are less than a month from the All Star Break and 7 weeks from the non-waiver trade deadline. Have a great day! Kap

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