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Articles by Steve Merril


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  50 articles found
NCAA Basketball Fullcourt Report (Nov 11)
Steve Merril Nov 11, 2012  
Below is a look at two college basketball games on Sunday afternoon. Florida International at Boston College (-14) - 2:00 pm ET #520 Boston College is an experienced team that returns 74% possessions and 71% minutes played from last year's team and head coach Donahue should get this team out of the basement and possibly on the brink of a NCAA tournament bid. They should get a ...  read more
Steve Merril's NBA Southwest Division Preview
Steve Merril Oct 28, 2012  

Dallas Mavericks (2011-12: 36-30 SU, 32-34-0 ATS)

Odds to win division: +525

Season win total: 45.5

Why bet the Mavericks: Dallas won with defense last season as its offense was one of the worst in the NBA. The Mavericks have overhauled their roster this season and if the eight new players gel, Dallas should make the playoffs with relative ...  read more

Steve Merril's NBA Southeast Division Preview
Steve Merril Oct 26, 2012  

Atlanta Hawks (2011-12: 40-26 SU, 36-28-2 ATS)

Odds to win division: +1,400

Season win total: 43.5

Why bet the Hawks: Atlanta has overhauled its roster and we see that as a good thing. The Hawks were getting too complacent with the guys they had and they just got stagnant. Atlanta went as Joe Johnson went, but he is now gone and the Hawks ...  read more

Steve Merril's NBA Pacific Division Preview
Steve Merril Oct 22, 2012  

Golden State Warriors (2011-12: 23-43 SU, 36-29-1 ATS)

Odds to win division: +5,000

Season win total: 34.5

Why bet the Warriors: Golden State now has center Andrew Bogut and, if he’s healthy and remains that way for the entire season, the Warriors have a puncher’s chance. Bogut will make the Warriors defense much better than they’ve been a ...  read more

Steve Merril's NBA Central Division Preview
Steve Merril Oct 18, 2012  

Chicago Bulls (2011-12: 50-16 SU, 38-27-1 ATS)

Odds to win division: -190

Season win total: 47.5

Why bet the Bulls: Chicago will enter the season as a forgotten commodity. With Derrick Rose’s ACL injury sidelining him until at least February, the Bulls have low expectations this season. But head coach Tom Thibodeau is terrific and the Bull ...  read more

Steve Merril's NBA Northwest Division Preview
Steve Merril Oct 13, 2012  
Denver Nuggets (2011-12: 50-32 SU, 44-34-4 ATS) Odds to win division: +1,000 Season win total: 49.5 Why to bet the Nuggets: Denver is loaded with offensive talent, but it added a strong defensive piece in Andre Iguodala. He is a terrific perimeter defender and his addition was a major coup for the Nuggets. Wilson Chandler only played in eight games last year, but ...  read more
Steve Merril's NBA Atlantic Division Preview
Steve Merril Oct 11, 2012  

Boston Celtics (2011-12: 39-27 SU, 34-30-2 ATS)

Odds to win division: +165

Season win total: 51.5

Why to bet the Celtics: Boston has the premier point guard in the NBA with Rajon Rondo. The Celtics go as he goes, and as long as he stays healthy this team is dangerous. Boston still has veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and they added 3-point ...  read more

Steve Merril's Sunday Night MLB Preview (Red Sox/Yankees)
Steve Merril Aug 18, 2012  

The Red Sox and Yankees take center stage once again for Sunday Night Baseball in the Bronx.

THE YANKEES BECKON

Josh Beckett is having a season to forget for Boston, and the Red Sox fans are letting him hear about it. Beckett left a recent start due to a back ailment and he was serenaded with boos from the Fenway faithful. He will be making his second start against ...  read more

Steve Merril's Sunday Night MLB Preview (Braves/Mets)
Steve Merril Aug 12, 2012  

The Mets and Braves take over Sunday Night Baseball in New York where the home team hopes to make one last push for the playoffs.

SHEETS OF SUCCESS

Ben Sheets has been incredible this season after having not started since July of 2010. The righty is 4-1 with a 1.41 ERA in five starts for Atlanta. It came at a great time as Jair Jurrjens was ineffective and Brandon ...  read more

Steve Merril's Sunday Night MLB Preview (Brewers/Cardinals)
Steve Merril Aug 4, 2012  

It's a N.L. Central battle on Sunday night as the Cardinals host the Brewers.

LOHSE ON POINT

Kyle Lohse is 11-2 with a 2.91 ERA for the Cardinals this season. He ended July with his worst start since May although it was in Coors Field which can be forgiven. Lohse is ranked third in the National League with 16 quality starts this year. The Cardinals’ starter faced ...  read more

Steve Merril's Sunday Night MLB Preview (Red Sox/Yankees)
Steve Merril Jul 28, 2012  

The Yankees host the Red Sox for the finale of a 3-game series on Sunday Night Baseball.

FELIX THE CAT

Felix Doubront gets the call for Boston. This will be his third look at the Yankees this season. Way back on April 21st, the southpaw allowed just 1 run and four hits over six innings; Boston lost that game 15-9. His most recent attempt at beating the Yankees wa ...  read more

Steve Merril's Sunday Night MLB Preview (Rangers/Angels)
Steve Merril Jul 21, 2012  

The A.L. West race continues to be one of the best, and it will be featured on Sunday Night as the Angels host the Rangers.

HAREN'S HOPE

Dan Haren should be activated in time to make Sunday's start against the Texas Rangers. Haren threw a bullpen session on Friday and if he comes out of it healthy, he will make the start. The righty struggled before going on the dis ...  read more

Steve Merril's Sunday Night MLB Preview (Cardinals/Reds)
Steve Merril Jul 15, 2012  

The Reds and Cardinals have the spotlight on Sunday Night as they continue to battle for supremacy in a crowded NL Central division.

GO WEST YOUNG MAN

Jake Westbrook gets the start for the Cardinals. He has pitched consistently for St. Louis over the past month after a rough patch in May. The righty has allowed two runs or less in three of his last four starts. We ...  read more

Steve Merril's Sunday Night MLB Preview (Yankees/Red Sox)
Steve Merril Jul 7, 2012  

SUPER NOVA

Ivan Nova has begun to find his form after a rough start to the season. The Yankees' starter has allowed three earned runs or less in six straight starts with the team winning four of those outings. Nova's been able to keep the walks down and the strikeouts up. He gave up two runs and seven hits in six innings his last start in Boston which came all the way back o ...  read more

Steve Merril's Sunday Night MLB Preview (Mets/Dodgers)
Steve Merril Jul 1, 2012  

East Coast versus West Coast on Sunday night baseball as the Mets conclude their four-game series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

The Weakest Link

The Mets have been successful this season by using a four-man pitching rotation of R.A. Dickey, Johan Santana, Jonathon Niese, and Dillon Gee. However, of those four starters, Gee has been by far the weakest link. The other ...  read more

Steve Merril' Sunday Night MLB Report (June 24)
Steve Merril Jun 24, 2012  

The final game of interleague play this season takes place on Sunday night and features two heated rivals and two excellent pitchers.

THE THING

The Mets' starter, R.A. Dickey, has been reborn thanks to the knuckleball. Dickey was a first-round draft pick by the Texas Rangers in 1996, but took five years to reach the Major Leagues in 2001. He was a mediocre starter at best ...  read more

Steve Merril's MLB Report (Tuesday, June 19)
Steve Merril Jun 19, 2012  

Below are 2 free MLB plays, with analysis, for Tuesday night:

TWINS (-105) at PIRATES – 7:05 pm ET #961

Not an official play, but I would rate the Twins as a light lean tonight.

Pittsburgh returns home after a 2-4 road trip through Cleveland and Baltimore. Minnesota comes to town after a 4-5 homestand. Home has not been a comfortable place for Kevin ...  read more

Steve Merril's MLB Report (June 17)
Steve Merril Jun 17, 2012  

Below are 2 free MLB plays, with analysis, for Sunday afternoon:

YANKEES at NATIONALS (Over 8, +105) – 1:35 pm ET #961-962

Not an official play, but I would rate the Over as a light lean today.

The Nationals have only been swept once in a 3-game series this season. They try to prevent it from happening again on Sunday afternoon when they wrap up thei ...  read more

Steve Merril's Sunday Night MLB Report (June 17)
Steve Merril Jun 17, 2012  

Two of the oldest franchises in baseball meet in Wrigley Field on Sunday night as the Cubs host the Red Sox.

BOSTON BANGS AND BRUISES

It's been a rough season for the Red Sox with regards to injuries. Josh Beckett will miss his scheduled start on Sunday due to shoulder inflammation. Fellow starters John Lackey and Aaron Cook are out. Joining them on the disabled list are ...  read more

Steve Merril's Sunday Night MLB Report (June 10)
Steve Merril Jun 10, 2012  

Interleague play continues on Sunday Night as the Reds host the Tigers. Below is a preview:

Tale of two seasons

Drew Smyly has been up and down this season. He was fantastic during his first five starts, giving up just six runs. He defeated the Yankees at New York back on April 28th in his fourth career start and things were going great. It began to turn on Smyly on May ...  read more

Steve Merril's Sunday Night MLB Report (June 3)
Steve Merril Jun 2, 2012  

A pair of National League teams that are hanging around second place in their divisions meet for Sunday Night Baseball as the Mets and Jon Niese host the Cardinals and Jake Westbrook.

JAKE AND THE FAT ERA

Jake Westbrook is a consistent pitcher. For his career he is 89-88 with a 4.32 ERA and 4-4 record this season, although he has registered two straight losing decisions. ...  read more

Sunday Night MLB Report (May 27)
Steve Merril May 27, 2012  

Sunday Night Baseball features the Nationals and the Braves in Atlanta as these two teams continue to battle for National League East supremacy.

ESPN LOVE

In the past, the Nationals were never a team considered for ESPN's programming, but this up and coming team is now making their second Sunday Night appearance on the network this month. They lost the earlier showing on M ...  read more

Steve Merril's MLB Report (Wednesday, May 23)
Steve Merril May 23, 2012  

Below are two free plays for Wednesday afternoon:

GIANTS at BREWERS (Over 8, Even) – 1:10 pm ET #903-904

Not an official play, but I would rate the Over as a light lean today.

The Brewers close out the homestand on Wednesday afternoon with the Giants. Marco Estrada makes his sixth start of the season for the Brew Crew. He's 0-3 with a 4.97 ERA in th ...  read more

Steve Merril's MLB Report (Sunday, May 20)
Steve Merril May 20, 2012  

Below are two free plays for Sunday afternoon:

ARIZONA (-) (Miley/Adcock) - 2:10 pm ET #971

A series victory is at stake Sunday when the Royals host the Diamondbacks. Wade Miley has pitched well for Arizona this season. He's 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA in five starts. The southpaw has shown good control walking only eight in 30.2 innings. Miley won in Los Angeles against ...  read more

MLB Report (Saturday, April 28)
Steve Merril Apr 28, 2012  

ROYALS at TWINS (Over 8 ½, -105) – 1:10 pm ET #969-970

Not an official play, but I would rate the Over as a light lean today.

The Royals and Twins continued their tradition of slugfests on Friday night. Now they'll try to do the same on Saturday afternoon. Bruce Chen is looking for his first win this season; he is 0-2 with a 2.52 ERA in four games. He has lo ...  read more

Steve Merril's NBA Fullcourt Report (April 23)
Steve Merril Apr 23, 2012  

Houston Rockets

The Rockets have had their ups and downs over the past two weeks. Houston jumped into the #6 seed last week after winning four consecutive games, all on the road. But after their triumphant trip, the Rockets lost six straight games and have since gone just 1-7 SU over the past eight games, including blowing a 13-point lead at Miami on Sunday against a Hea ...  read more

Steve Merril's NBA Fullcourt Report (April 17)
Steve Merril Apr 17, 2012  

Dallas Mavericks

The defending NBA champs have had a tumultuous season. The Mavericks are just 6 games over .500 (34-28 SU) with a losing record on the road at 13-18 after back-to-back overtime losses against the Lakers and Jazz. Dallas had been playing without point guard Jason Kidd recently; he missed four games with a strained right groin muscle. The Mavericks lost t ...  read more

Steve Merril's NBA Fullcourt Report (April 10)
Steve Merril Apr 9, 2012  

Boston Celtics

Ray Allen missed six straight games with a right ankle injury until his return last week. But his absence was actually been a blessing in disguise for the Celtics as they won five of those six games, while going 5-1 ATS. Avery Bradley started in place of Allen in five games, and he emerged as a significant contributor for Boston on both ends of the court. ...  read more

Steve Merril's NCAA Final Four Report (March 31)
Steve Merril Mar 29, 2012  

Louisville

Aside from Kentucky, the Cardinals have played the best basketball of any team remaining in the tournament. The Cardinals have been on a major role since the Big East conference tournament when they won four games in four nights to take home the title. Louisville has won and covered the pointspread in 8 consecutive games. The Cardinals’ defense has been outst ...  read more

Steve Merril's MLB Report
Steve Merril Mar 28, 2012  

The MLB regular season starts this week with two brief games in Japan between Oakland and Seattle. The Athletics agreed to give up two home games, so they will technically be the home team in both games, even though Seattle will probably have the crowd support because of super star Ichiro Suzuki.

Both Oakland and Seattle are long shots to win the American League West division and each ...  read more

Steve Merril's Sweet Sixteen Fullcourt Report (March 22-23)
Steve Merril Mar 22, 2012  

East Region

The East held form in the top half of the bracket with #1 Syracuse and #4 Wisconsin advancing to the Sweet Sixteen. From the bottom half, #2 Ohio State is still alive with #6 Cincinnati rounding out the group. There were no upsets in the East in the first eight games played as the higher seed won every game. And we only saw one upset in the Round of 32 when ...  read more

Steve Merril's NCAAB Fullcourt Report (March 10)
Steve Merril Mar 10, 2012  

ACC:

North Carolina headed into the ACC tournament as the #1 seed in Atlanta. North Carolina was mightily impressive in their final regular season game as they went into Cameron Indoor and waxed Duke 88-70. The Tar Heels closed as a 2-point road favorite in that game as heavy money came in on UNC. In the first meeting, North Carolina thoroughly out-played Duke, but the Blue De ...  read more

Steve Merril's NCAAB Fullcourt Report (March 4)
Steve Merril Mar 3, 2012  

ACC

Miami (Fla) received some more bad news from the NCAA last Sunday. The Hurricanes’ best player, center Reggie Johnson, was suspended for “impermissible travel benefits” allegedly given to Johnson’s family by a member of its former basketball coaching staff. Current Missouri head coach Frank Haith was the coach at Miami during the time that this allegedly happened. Haith is ...  read more

Steve Merril's NCAAB Fullcourt Report (Feb 18)
Steve Merril Feb 18, 2012  

ACC

Virginia’s roster is becoming extremely thin. The Cavaliers had been playing with just 8 scholarship players when another injury hit them at North Carolina last Saturday. Second leading scorer Joe Harris (12.5 points per game) broke his non-shooting hand; he somehow played through the pain before learning of the fracture after the game was over. Harris is an integral part ...  read more

Steve Merril's NCAAB Fullcourt Report (Feb 12)
Steve Merril Feb 12, 2012  

ACC:

Florida State sits tied atop the ACC standings with a 7-1 conference record. The Seminoles are in first place along with North Carolina; the Seminoles handed the Tar Heels their only conference loss by a whopping 33 points (90-57). Florida State has been a strong defensive team in recent years and they are once again this season. But their biggest improvement has come on ...  read more

Steve Merril's NCAAB Fullcourt Report (Feb 3)
Steve Merril Feb 3, 2012  

ACC:

Virginia starting center Assane Sene will miss as many as six weeks of action because of a broken ankle that required surgery. Sene is a 7'0" senior averaging 4.9 points and 3.7 rebounds in 21 minutes per game. He started every game for the Cavaliers and they went 15-2 SU over their first 17 games. Since Sene’s injury, Virginia has gone 2-1 SU but just 1-2 ATS with their ...  read more

Steve Merril's NCAAB Fullcourt Report (Jan 28)
Steve Merril Jan 28, 2012  

ACC:

North Carolina has lost starting guard Dexter Strickland for the season after he tore his ACL in his right knee in the Tar Heels last game at Virginia Tech. Strickland was only averaging 8 points per game, but he was the catalyst for North Carolina’s transition game and he actually led the team while shooting 57% from the floor. Strickland’s biggest impact came on the defe ...  read more

Steve Merril's NCAAB Fullcourt Report
Steve Merril Jan 21, 2012  

ACC

Virginia Tech got some good news this week as their leading scorer, point guard Erick Green, is expected to return to the lineup. Green is averaging 16.1 points, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game this season. But he has missed game time because of a sprained left knee he suffered in practice. The Hokies have really missed Green’s presence on the court as they turned the ...  read more

Steve Merril's NCAAB Fullcourt Report
Steve Merril Jan 13, 2012  

ACC

Miami (Fla) is finally starting to resemble the team that had high expectations coming into this season. The Hurricanes had to play their first nine games of this season without their best player, Reggie Johnson, who was recovering from knee surgery. Miami was also without DeQuan Jones for their first eleven games as he was suspended indefinitely on accusations of receiving i ...  read more

Steve Merril's NCAA Fullcourt Report
Steve Merril Jan 6, 2012  

ACC

Wake Forest is missing their best player as guard C.J. Harris is out with a groin injury. Harris ranks second in the ACC in scoring at 18.7 points per game. “We are sideways offensively,” said Demon Deacons head coach Jeff Bzdelik. Even opposing head coaches are sympathizing over the absence of Harris. After Wake Forest lost at home 56-52 to Wofford, their head coach Mike ...  read more

Steve Merril's NFL Weekend Report
Steve Merril Jan 1, 2012  

NFL Oddities

Drew Brees broke Dan Marino’s 27-year-old NFL passing record of 5,084 yards. Brees has thrown for 5,087 yards in 15 games. Tom Brady can also do it this week; he has 4,897 yards and needs just 187 yards to eclipse Marino’s mark. The Steelers have lost 8 regular season games since 2010. In their next game, their defense has allowed an average of just 8.9 points pe ...  read more

Steve Merril's NCAA Fullcourt Report
Steve Merril Dec 28, 2011  

ACC

Virginia has lost two players to transfer. KT Harrell and James Johnson have decided to leave the Cavaliers after they were both relegated to the bench. Head coach Tony Bennett plays a very slow, half-court game and that style didn’t fit the player’s strengths. “I think we’re getting a better handle on what will work here and what we’re trying to get and filling holes,” Be ...  read more

Steve Merril's NFL + NCAA Weekend Report
Steve Merril Dec 24, 2011  

College Oddities

Norm Chow has been an assistant coach for 39 years. Currently the offensive coordinator at Utah, Chow has been named the head coach of Hawaii. Perfect place for Chow to get his first head coaching job as he was born in Honolulu and started his career at Waialua High School on the North Shore of Oahu way back in 1970. Former Patriots and Steelers linebacker Mik ...  read more

Steve Merril's NCAA Fullcourt Report
Steve Merril Dec 22, 2011  

ACC

Miami (Fla) finally got one of their best players back on the court as center Reggie Johnson returned to game action after having knee surgery over the summer. Johnson is a key cog in the paint for the Hurricanes, and his return will be a major boost. “You don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to choke my doctor to get him to let me play,” said Johnson. “My knee didn’t bot ...  read more

Steve Merril's NFL & NCAA Football Report
Steve Merril Dec 10, 2011  

NFL Oddities

The Colts are the sixth team to start 0-12 since 1978. Only one of the previous five teams went winless. The Packers have won 18 consecutive games. The Dolphins have out-scored their last five opponents 139-54. Kansas City ran just 2 plays on the Chicago side of the field in the first half, yet they led 7-3 at the half thanks to a Hail Mary touchdown pass caught ...  read more

Steve Merril's NFL Report (Dec 4)
Steve Merril Dec 4, 2011  

NFL Oddities

Tim Tebow has won 83% (5-1) of his starts this season; the second highest of any QB with multiple starts this year – Aaron Rodgers 100% (11-0). Arizona rookie Patrick Peterson has 4 punt returns for touchdowns. Raiders’ kicker Sebastian Janikowski accounted for 19 of Oakland’s 25 points (6 FG’s and 1 extra point) versus Chicago. Arizona’s RB Beanie Wells ran for 2 ...  read more

Steve Merril's NFL & NCAA Football Report
Steve Merril Nov 26, 2011  
NFL Oddities Cowboys QB Tony Romo is 18-2 in November. The Raiders had 12 penalties in their 27-21 win over the Vikings. They have 103 penalties on the season. The Lions rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Panthers 49-35 last week. It was their third such comeback this season. Chargers' QB Philip Rivers has thrown 17 interceptions and he has turned the ball over 21 times thi ...  read more
Steve Merril's NFL + NCAA Football Report
Steve Merril Nov 19, 2011  
Bad Passing Offenses Something caught our eye when looking at the worst passing offenses in college football this season. There are 120 college football teams in the FBS division. Four of the five teams ranked #116-120 are option style offenses – Air Force, Georgia Tech, Navy, and Army. The team ranked #117 in passing offense? The Ohio State Buckeyes. They throw for just 117 yards p ...  read more
MLB Report (Friday, October 7)
Steve Merril Oct 7, 2011  

Below is a free MLB play with analysis for Friday night:

DIAMONDBACKS at BREWERS (Under 7 ½, -120) – 5:00 pm ET #987-988

Not an official play, but I would rate the Under as a light lean tonight.

We head back to Milwaukee for Game 5 of the NLDS series between the Diamondbacks and Brewers. It's a rematch of Game 1 when the Brewers won 4-1. Yovani Gall ...  read more

MLB Report (Wednesday, September 21)
Steve Merril Sep 21, 2011  

Below is a free MLB play with analysis for Wednesday night:

Tigers/Royals OVER 9 +111 (Scherzer/Paulino) – 8:10 pm ET #977-978

Not an official play, but I would rate the Over as a light lean tonight.

Two of the hotter teams in baseball take the field in Kansas City when the Royals host the Tigers. Kansas City has won eight of their last nine games, d ...  read more

 

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