Category Archive : Sports

This article will explore the importance of matchups in fantasy basketball. We all know that fantasy football is a game that relies heavily on defensive matchups, so we wanted to see if defensive matchups were a factor in fantasy basketball as well. In particular, we wanted to focus our analysis on the impact of superior interior defense on the low post offense. To do this, we examined the average performance of post players against the best inside defenses in the league.

A quick league survey indicates that only Boston, LA, Denver and San Antonio have the kind of interior defense one might want to steer clear of. Boston has the combination of Garnett, Sheed and Kendrick Perkins, which is probably the best the league has to offer. All three are about 7 feet tall and Garnett is the former defensive player of the year. The Lakers are also an above average size team. Between Gasol, Byum, Odem and Artest, the Lakers have one of the best interior defenses in the Western Conference.

Denver is the only Western Conference team that could challenge for that title with Nene, Birdman and Kenyon Martin combining as Megatron for the Nuggets to block shots in the upper decks. Finally, any discussion about interior defense cannot leave out the San Antionio Spurs, who always bring it defensively. Duncan and McDysess are two old-school defensive OGs who, coupled with excellent help-side defense from their teammates, can really shut down the opposition’s post-game.

Let’s dig into some numbers. Table 1 shows the point average and rebound differential of post players for NBA teams that faced the top four defensive teams used in our data set. All told, post players can expect a drop in scoring (-3.07ppg) and rebounding (-0.71rpg) when facing the best defenses in the league. While these results aren’t huge deviations from the season average of later players, the take-home message is that you shouldn’t expect the monster play that will boost your season average when facing an elite defense.

Some more interesting things emerge from this analysis. First, the impact of superior post defense has a more profound effect on scoring than rebounding. Additionally, the analysis indicates that while we have qualitatively identified 4 superior defensive teams, it appears that Boston and Denver appear to be a level above the defenses of San Antonio and LA. In fact, if you remove SA and LA, then the average point and bounce differentials become -6 ppg and close to -1 rpg.

So the question remains, should you bench players based on defensive math improvements? We will follow the same recommendation that we did for soccer. Never bench your star players, but use defensive matchups as a metric for deciding whether or not to play mid-level players or inconsistent players.

So there you have it, defensive matchups play a role in fantasy basketball, at least from the perspective of post players. While the spreads aren’t drastic, they do support the fact that your mid-tier players are less likely to outperform against a superior defense. Luckily for you, the NBA has largely become a game of guards and there are only a handful of defensemen with enough staff to create matchup problems in the low post.

I recently had the pleasure of being on “The Zone!” Personally, I have to say that it was nice to be there. What is “The Zone”?

Well, you’ve heard of athletes talking about being in “The Zone”, that magical place where everything falls into place. The physical and mental processes are working in coordination, and everything is happening correctly. In any competitive athletic sport, the professional athlete trains and works hard for those special moments. With a golfer, it’s that moment when the body posture, the grip on the golf club, the position of the ball on the tee is just right. The golfer looks down the fairway and visualizes the ball’s flight path, distance, and where the ball is going to land. The golfer looks back at the ball and finds that split second of absolute peace and concentration. The golfer swings the perfect arc and arm position, then lowers the club towards the ball. The clubface hits the ball in the perfect position and the ball follows the same path that the golfer envisioned. This is what it’s like to be in “The Zone!”

The same can be applied to programming and writing. As a programmer, it’s that moment when everything starts to make sense. Here’s how it works: You’re on a tight schedule and under pressure to deliver a complete build of your software. You force yourself to stay focused on the tasks at hand. It has everything in position for productivity. Energy drink and snack next door. Your favorite code-boot music blaring on your headphones. The chair is in the perfect position for productivity and you have the appropriate books and notes on your desk. You launch all the right software tools on your computer, and if you’re lucky enough to have two monitors or computers, you’ve got a browser on one screen for doing Google searches. you dive. It takes a good hour or two to really get going. Then everything starts to click! It has several open source modules at the same time. Global and local variables are all in your head, and you know what their current values ​​are as you go through your code. You come up with a way to reduce 20 lines of code to 3, without affecting performance. And you just discovered a new algorithm to get the desired functionality into your program. The music is still playing in your headphones but you can’t hear it anymore. Instead, variables, data, and formulas dance in your mind and out through your fingers. You write like mad trying to follow the flow of ideas, fearing that the slightest interruption or pause will make the images disappear. And then it happens! You hit the wall! You find yourself looking at the screen for almost half an hour and nothing has been written. Your brain just shuts down. You think you’ve only been working for a few hours, but then you realize you’ve just spent 18 hours directly on the computer.

So, now you crash. You take something to eat and then you go to bed. But 4-6 hours later, you wake up. As soon as it is up, the ideas, variables, data and algorithms will appear again. You can’t wait to get back to your computer and start coding again. This rhythm continues, for days, until you finally reach your goal, or RL (real life) gets in the way and forces you to take a break. Or in the most severe cases, your body and mind scream “Enough!” and you crash for 20 hours straight.

I can feel all of you nodding your heads in agreement. It’s almost like a drug. You get so wrapped up in creativity and coding output that you forget about everything else. It’s a great way to forget about RL. It can actually be refreshing! But at a cost: family and friends forget who you are. You walk away from your desk for a nature break and they look at you like you’re from another planet. But then, not shaving, washing, and wearing the same clothes for several days in a row goes a long way toward getting that kind of look. Also, it’s not healthy. Sitting in the same position for so long makes you prone to blood clots and other types of medical problems. Finding the right balance is the challenge.

My recent experience has been while working on a Java application for Blackberry devices. A very tight deadline, made worse by the fact that I was adding functionality to someone else’s code, and it was my first time working for the Blackberry platform. (Non-standard API! Argh!) But once I got into “The Zone”, it was great!

I don’t recommend going there very often. As with any other addictive activity, excess can lead to personal, social, and physical problems. Find the right balance. Learn to walk away regularly. Get up for a few minutes and walk around, at least once every two hours. Have some healthy snack foods on hand: apples, carrots, celery, and nuts. (Yes, I like crunchy things during programming.) If you’re drinking energy drinks (I prefer anything Hansen’s), make sure you have plenty of water to drink as well. But don’t overdo the energy drinks! A bad case of shakes won’t help you write code! And if you’re under a lot of pressure and stress, make sure you spend at least an hour a day doing some form of exercise. You’ll be surprised how increasing blood flow in your body can help prepare your head for more programming, especially when you have a tough code problem to overcome. And for your family and close friends, be sure to let them know that you still love them and will be back shortly, and follow up on your commitments to them. My personal philosophy is faith, family, friends, finances, and then fun. (The financial part = work.) Everyone has their own.

So visiting “The Zone” is great. It’s geeky, nerdy and nowadays, even a bit trendy. Just remember not to stay there and go outside for fresh air from time to time.

Even if you’ve been living in a cave, you would have heard of Michael Jordan. Jordan is one of the most popular basketball players in the NBA. The NBA is a professional basketball competition that is followed by millions of people around the world. To understand why Air Jordan shoes have such a huge impact on fans, you first need to understand a little bit about Michael Jordan.

Jordan plays the shooting guard position. He usually has 3 numbers that he wears on his jersey during competitions: 23, 45, and 9. The most well-known number is, of course, the number 23. So if you see someone walking down the street with a number 23 on their back, that’s a Jordan fan.

As a shooting guard, Jordan was unbeatable. In the 1990-91 season, Jordan helped the Bulls finish first in the division, something that hadn’t happened in the last 16 years. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Detroit Pistons (another great team to watch) were waiting for them. By then, everyone knew what Jordan could do. So they started paying a lot of attention to it. They had to double and triple him to try and stop him from scoring.

Fortunately, Jordan was smart enough to change his strategy and resorted to passing. The Bulls went on to win the game.

Jordan was well known for his scoring ability. He had speed and great jumping ability. He participated in numerous dunk contests when he was younger. At first, he only managed to win as the first runner-up. But even then, the fans were rooting for him. His greatest dunking feat came in the form of taking off from the free throw line. He would start his run from one end of the field. With a few long strides, he covered the entire length of the court and took off at the free throw line. Fans would see it float to the basket and everyone would cheer wildly as the ball went straight into the basket. It was a remarkable display of Jordan’s jumping ability.

That earned him the Air Jordan reputation. Everyone started calling it the Air Jordan because it could literally float in the air when he slammed. During competitive games, his competitors find it difficult to stop him due to his great athletic ability.

Jordan then started his own brand of basketball shoes – Air Jordan shoes. These shoes come in many different colors and designs. It is currently being marketed by Nike, a major brand in the sports industry.

Many fans around the world started wearing Air Jordan shoes in basketball games. As there had been a lot of research on the shoes, the price was high when the shoes came on the market. However, with the widespread adoption of the shoes and improved technologies, the price has come down a lot in recent years. Today, you can buy a pair of retro Air Jordan shoes for less than a hundred dollars.

For the first time since September 27, 1992, Brett Favre will be on the sideline with a clipboard in hand watching his team play. Tonight, when the Minnesota Vikings play the New York Giants, Favre won’t have an active role on the field.

Favre’s record, excluding playoff games, is a starting quarterback through 297 consecutive games in 19 seasons. That streak ends tonight, leaving a new NFL record to be broken.

Unlike baseball’s iron man Cal Ripken, who opted out of a game, Favre was forced to sit out tonight after taking a brutal hit from Buffalo linebacker Arthur Moats just three plays into the Viking-Bills game.

Regardless of the opinions formed about Favre these past few seasons, it’s time to look at what he’s done, 297 consecutive regular-season games, unbelievable.

What makes Favre’s achievement so rare is that the average NFL career lasts less than 4 years, but Favre lasted 19 seasons.

To put more perspective on this, Peyton Manning is the current player with the most consecutive starts behind #4. Manning has 205 starts and could catch Favre in 2016.

But has anyone played the role with the passion and brilliance that Brett has exhibited throughout his career? How many times have we seen BF rush out to get that first down, take on linebackers head-on instead of sliding down? How many times have we seen him walk off the turf battered and beaten up with torn muscles, concussions and broken bones only to start the next week.

Former Detroit Lions defensive tackle and football great Alex Karras once said that quarterbacks should have a skirt in the backfield. Karras never puts Favre at least on the grid. Karras was a four-time professional bowler who was also part of the 1960s NFL team that played from 1958 to 1970.

Tonight marks the end of an era, Brett Favre’s streak of consecutive starts left a new record to be broken. I don’t know if it’s Manning or someone else, I just hope it’s someone who has the same passion for football and the same passion that the once invincible Brett Favre has.

Schadenfreude is the pleasure we feel at someone else’s misfortune. So says Mr. Webster.

And I must say that I feel an excessive amount of freude because of the recent Buck Showalter schaden.

Showalter was fired this week as manager of the Texas Rangers. I don’t know why, but old Buck has always annoyed me. I’ve never met the man, but I have a feeling he’d be the cranky traitor in your first-grade classroom, rushing to tell the teacher you were eating pasta. Or that he would be the one to start the rumor that you masturbated in the coat closet. Or that he had come second in the Science Prize and then accidentally sabotaged the winner’s baking soda volcano.

In three stops in the major leagues, with the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Rangers, Showalter has made professional athletes (who, despite the occasional anti-establishment player, tend to be pups looking for a guide dog) hate him. The year after Showalter’s last Yankees team got a playoff series against Seattle, Joe Torre came in and won the World Series. The year after Showalter’s last D-Backs team went 85-77, Bob Brenly came along and won the World Series. God, do you think the Texas Rangers expect history to repeat itself? Ditch Buck, win a title?

Showalter has alienated most veterans in every clubhouse he’s managed by going up against them for all the wrong things. His dress codes are legendary, his behavioral policies anachronistic and his willingness to throw his players under the rugged bus. He’s known as the ultimate clubhouse politician, badmouthing one guy to ingratiate himself with another. He complains about the players to the front office. When he decides that he can’t get along with someone, that’s it, there’s no way to win. Guys like Alfonso Soriano and Kevin Mench are prime examples of players who should still be stars in Texas but got the Showalter taunt wrong. Even Alex Rodriguez, who is not a public relations genius, said that when he came to the Yankees, he was like a breath of fresh air. Man. the yankees? A breath of fresh air? That franchise is more restricted than Brooks Brothers. But everything smells good after Buck.

Listen, the Texas GM kid has made a ton of mistakes (hello Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young!). But Showalter’s politicking and micromanaging had to go, and who cares if the door hits his butt on the way out. He mishandled an absolute plethora of offensive talent and left the closet emptier than he did when he arrived. If someone else gives him a major league manager job again, well, they deserve the fate of him. In the meantime, he can be sure Showalter and his “insider” views on the game will be back on ESPN, perhaps as soon as this month. O Joy.

And the best 4-0 team in soccer is…? baltimore? Indianapolis?

Chicago? Because?

BoDog Bookmakers, Making this type of decision is incredibly difficult, as everyone

ask will have a different opinion, and it’s very easy to make a case for

each of the three teams is “the best 4-0 team”. Both Baltimore and

Chicago has very similar defensive styles, although, as was evident in

Chicago’s last game, Rex Grossman turned the Bears offense into a

Force to take into account. Indianapolis, of course, has Peyton Manning

and a very strong offense, but there is no comparison between the

defense of the Colts and the Bears. Chicago and Indianapolis are both

best teams on this list for one main reason: Steve McNair just doesn’t

they have the ability to control the pace of a game like Peyton Manning and

the Bears defense does.

Do you think Kurt Warner deserves to be benched by the Cardinals? Willpower

Would the team be better off with Matt Leinart? What other NFL quarterbacks are in the

hot seat, and could or should it be replaced?

BDB, Kurt Warner absolutely deserves to be benched by the Cardinals. Like us

You know, Leinart resisted signing a contract at the start of training.

camp until he got exactly what he wanted, and now it’s time for him to

win him over and take his bundles along the way. The incorporation of Leinart does not

will likely have an immediate effect on the Cardinals, as the learning curve

for rookie QBs, coming into the NFL is definitely a steep decision. Is

quite evident that Warner is on the negative side of his career and the

The Cardinals would be better off putting Leinart behind the wheel to leave

learn and improve your game, instead of trying to resurrect

Warner’s declining career. If Leinart can sustain the pressure on the

defensive line and calling the right plays, his confidence and game

will improve quickly, and the fact that he has Edgerrin James in the

The backfield is sure to take some of the pressure off of Leinart. The other two top candidates I see as struggling quarterbacks are Mark Brunell and Vince Young/Kerry Collins. Picking up an overtime win against the Jacksonville Jags on Sunday certainly earned Brunell at least another

week at the helm, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Washington retires the old

Switcheroo about him on the line. Keep an eye on Brunell, he definitely is

a candidate to be moved. Meanwhile, after the Titans were destroyed by the

Cowboys, questions like “Did they bring Vince in too early?” they are obliged to

emerge. It wouldn’t be a surprise if there was a bit of flip-flopping

for a few weeks in Nashville, but usually once a rookie like Young is

Given a chance, it is likely to last at least a few weeks, unless of course

they feel that he is completely overtaken. The Titans could choose to go

However, with the more experienced Collins this weekend, as they face

with the Indianapolis Colts. Keep an eye on these two, the results could

be interesting.

Which visiting team has the best chance of defeating which home team in the

First round of the MLB playoffs? Detroit over the Yankees? oakland over

Minnesota? Dodgers over Mets? St. Louis over San Diego? As


BDB, Realistically, every road team has the potential to do something

special in October, and the matches are very interesting. Can the

Do the Mets without Pedro handle the deep Dodgers pitching staff? Can the

Injury-plagued Yankees pitching staff survives to see second

round? Will St. Louis come out of his funk and start playing like the real thing?

contenders? Can the Twins’ rookies (Bonser, Garza and Baker) shine behind?

Johan Santana or the Oakland Athletics will win the series after meeting

Santana? The team with the best potential to pull off the upset is the

Oakland Athletics. Santana is an exceptional pitcher, but the result of

the series will depend on whether or not the Twins rookies can step on it

get up and go to the end. The bullpens and beats are pretty even.

evenly matched across the board, with the Twins having a slight edge in the

bullpen and with the bats, but the experience

it’s what wins the ballgames in October. Either way, it should turn out to be

an exciting season finale.

What is your reaction to the latest news that the names of Roger Clemens,

Andy Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons were

mentioned by confirmed steroid user Jason Grimsley as also using illegal

Performance-enhancing drugs?

BDB, The only surprise on this list is Andy Pettitte. grimsley played

along with Clemens and Pettitte in New York (99-00), but it is difficult

I think something like this would beat Joe Torre. Tejada, Roberts

and Gibbons were all in Baltimore with Grimsley in 2004-2005, when Brian

Roberts truly came into his prime as an All-Star second baseman. This

is great news for everyone in the MLB community and should be

interesting to see how it all unfolds. Could just be Grimsley

turn heads as his playing days are over; he never

he earned the big paycheck and wants additional exposure. Most of the interviews

you do, the more money you get. You never know.

1. Dealing with the wind: First of all, make sure you are sailing with the wind, not against it. This will prevent a lot of bad things from happening, and you’ll end up with a lot less.

2. Getting on the board: When you first try to get on the board, “run to it, don’t jump on it.” Running towards the board greatly reduces your chances of falling. You don’t want to put weight on the board, which creates drag and slows you down. Also, running towards the board instead of jumping over it maintains speed, which is important.

3. Going out in the waves: Going out in the waves can sometimes be a problem, so what you want to do is what is called “Side-Slipping”. This can be a little tricky to master, but it’s definitely worth it. What you do is, while you’re speeding through the water towards the wave, turn the board on its side so that your toes are pointing out into the ocean. If you “clip” it at the right time, you will lose speed much more slowly. Then, when you get closer to the wave, return the skimboard to the normal position and get on the board as normal.

4. How to make your board faster? Waxing your board with car wax or products like rain-x makes your board faster and prevents sand from sticking to your board.

5. Using the right wax on the board: Some people don’t know this, but don’t put wax on the bottom of the board, put wax on the top of the board. There are many different types of wax. There is cold wax and warm wax. Cold water wax is much softer and stickier and warm wax is harder and less sticky. Also, cold water wax does not last as long as warm water wax.

6. Skimboarding Tip: Make sure you keep your foot on the back of the board. Many people tend to stand at the front of the board; some surfers do this maybe that’s where the problem comes from.

7. What to do when you get a new board: Some new boards come all nice and polished and this can be a problem when it comes to waxing or putting traction pads on them. So if you have this problem clean it really well and take some rubbing alcohol and rub the polish on the places you want to wax and put traction pads on it. Your traction pads will stick much better.

8. Reattach Traction Pads – Like all things, traction pads sometimes come off. To help prevent this from happening, be sure to first clean the surface and remove any polish before applying the traction pads. If they start to peel off around the edges, grab some super glue to keep any more of them from coming off. It will also be of great benefit to you to use a hot hair dryer to remove the pads.

9. Glue and Wax Removal: If you want to remove wax, just place it in the sun and watch it melt. Then take some sand and paper towels and rub them together. Glue can be a challenge so I suggest buying some “Goof Off” and using a razor blade to scrape it off.

10. Traveling With a Skimboard: Of course, you need to buy a skimboard bag first. Make sure the bag is bigger than your board because you will want to put extra padding in your bag, like beach towels, foam pads, or anything that will help protect your board. One thing you don’t want is for the rails to get damaged on your board. Also be sure to check with your airline about the rules and prices of bringing a skimboard. Every airline is different and the rules are constantly changing.

If you’ve been involved with sports betting for a number of years or just getting started, I’m sure you’ve seen companies advertise their betting services in your local newspaper, online, or even on TV. Many of these ads offer guaranteed games or claim win rates of 80% or higher. If you see these kinds of services, you should run in my personal opinion. I don’t care what anyone says, nobody wins 80% – 90% of their games.

Does that mean you can’t make money betting on sports? In short, the answer is No, it is definitely possible to make substantial profits from sports betting, but you have to be realistic. If you have the proper discipline, manage your bankroll and follow a winning sports betting system, creating substantial passive income from sports betting can be a reality. Knowing the magic # is the key.

So what’s the magic #? The answer is 52.4%. Using the most popular sports to bet on, such as the NFL and NBA, a normal bet would be to bet against the spread at odds of 11/10, meaning you would have to bet $110 to get back $100. What this means is that you would only need to win 52.4% of your bets to break even. While achieving 80% more winners is virtually impossible in the long run, the good news is that anything above 52 .4% will be profitable. While earning 55% doesn’t sound all that exciting, you can experience some really substantial benefits every month.

Let’s use a 55% win rate and bet on 2 games each day for this example. This is what the results would look like after a month:

Win rate 55%

# of bets 60 games (2 per day X 30 days)

#Win 33

# losses 27

Less 10% Vig* 2.7

Total earnings: 3.3

*Vig is the % that online bookmakers keep for accepting your bets. usually 10%

So what does this mean? Well, with these numbers, a $100 bettor would make $330 after the month and a $1,000 bettor would make $3,300. Not bad for a few minutes of work each day, but let’s see what this means in ROI (Return on Investment) percentage.

What I personally use and recommend is that if you are going to bet flat or bet the same size every game then you should not use more than 5% of your total bankroll. So if you have a total of $1,000, then you have to bet $50 per game. Sticking with the same numbers as the previous example of +3.3 games, that would actually be a profit of $165 and a return of 16.5% on your money in just 1 month. Combining that over a full 12 months translates to a return on your money of over 600 percent. I don’t know about you, but these are some amazing returns. Compare this to other investments like stocks or banks and you can clearly see that sports betting is a viable option even using a conservative example. Now imagine a win rate of 56% or even 60%.

Awarded the title of ‘the most successful football club of the 20th century’ by FIFA, Real Madrid, nine years into the 21st century, seems to have a lot of work to do to retain their crown!

It seems incredible, but the club that has won two Champions Leagues (2000 and 2002) and four La Giga titles since the beginning of the millennium seems to be tottering – comically in the eyes of many – from one crisis to another.

How many clubs can you think of that would fire their coach hours after winning the Champions League for a record time? Real Madrid did it in 2002 with Vicente del Bosque.

How many clubs would bring back a manager who won the league title for them in his one season with the club and then sack him immediately after he repeated the feat? Real Madrid did that to Fabio Capello in 2007.

How many clubs would replace their president, Florentino Pérez, because his so-called galactic politics of bringing the best players in the world to the club had spectacularly imploded, replace him with a president who is later alleged to have rigged the vote, and then elect Mr. Pérez without opposition because he promised, once again, to bring the best players in the world to Madrid?

Well, you could go on for a long time pointing out such eccentricities. But everything would be useless in the eyes of Madrid fans who, rightly, will remind you that it is the richest club in the world, the one with the most commercial success -largely thanks to the aforementioned Florentino Pérez- and, at the time of writing , they were being linked on the transfer market with just about any player capable of tying their bootlaces. Or, in the case of Christiano Ronaldo, probably having one of his ‘less talented’ teammates tie them up so he can save energy to score big goals, trying to send off opposing players and sulking when the referee isn’t on his side. I agree with him. There are those who think that Ronaldo and Real Madrid are a perfect match for each other: talented and handsome but arrogant, unreliable and not very good in a fight.

And yet, despite all this sharpshooting criticism, I’ve loved watching Real Madrid at times in recent years. When Roberto Carlos and Zidane combined on the left wing; when Beckham made a curve in the crosses for Raúl to head home; when Sergio Ramos stormed across the field trying to encourage his lethargic team to get up; and when ‘San Iker’ Casillas demonstrated, over and over again, why he is, without a doubt, the best goalkeeper in the world.

Because the Bernabéu is a great place to watch football (for a neutral it can be just as entertaining to watch the crowd when Madrid play poorly) and Real Madrid can be an exciting force when playing at their best.

Spain and the Champions League need a strong, dynamic and attractive Real Madrid: it is part of the fabric of life. Barcelona were a wonderful team this year but they had it too easy; They need to justify their ‘Dream Team’ tag a lot more next season. Getting knocked out in the Champions League quarter-finals year after year isn’t good enough either, and football is made worse for it.

Those of us who were weaned on the team that won the European Cup at Hampden Park all those years ago need to see a great Real Madrid team again, so come on Florentino, get out that checkbook and let’s watch the end of Real. Madrid as a laughing stock and instead give us something to scare those impostors in Manchester, London, Milan and Barcelona, ​​especially Barcelona!

Kaká could be Zidane’s natural successor; let us now have the successors of Figo, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Fernando Hierro.

Summer is over. That only means one thing: the Champions League is back. The big favorites this year, Barcelona and Chelsea, have quickly become bitter rivals in this competition. That rivalry is sure to intensify as they were drawn in the same group at this early stage of the tournament. The format is as follows: 32 teams contest the group stage, divided into eight groups of four. The group winners and runners-up advance to the knockout stages, the eight third-place teams advance to the third round of the UEFA Cup, and the eight fourth-place teams are eliminated. Here’s an overview of all the groups with predictions on who we expect each group to win.

Group A: Barcelona (-118), Chelsea (+125), Werder Bremen (15/1), Levski Sofia (250/1)

Perhaps the Chelsea-Barcelona rivalry is not so intense at this early stage. Both teams will advance from this group and there is a good chance they will meet again at a later stage of this competition. Chelsea looks remarkably choppy this year. His previously impenetrable defense seems a bit more lax. That will bode ill for the Blues. But unlike in recent years, with two Premier titles to his credit, this season José Mourinho’s explicit goal is to win the Champions League. Still, we have to side with Barcelona here. They are goal-scoring machines and should demolish Bremen and Levski, and they are more than capable of scoring against Chelsea. About on par for the money, they are worth backing to win this pool.

Group B: Bayern Munich (+125), Inter Milan (+163), Sporting Lisbon (6/1), Spartak Moscow (40/1)

Inter are a great price here and well worth backing. They have added strength, quality and depth to their squad and, after the Calciopoli scandal, they were belatedly awarded last year’s Scudetto in Serie A. Sporting Lisbon are not easy to convince, but Inter can and must overcome them. However, there is one small concern. Bayern Munich is the type of team that can go up against weak opponents like Spartak Moscow. If Bayern and Inter are level on points, Bayern could well win this group on goal difference.

Group C: Liverpool (-161), PSV Eindhoven (+450), Bordeaux (5/1), Galatasaray (10/1)

Although they have odds, it’s hard to look past Liverpool in this group. They are a well organized team and they lifted the CL trophy two years ago. Manager Rafa Benítez has experience in European competition and should guide his team through this group with ease. PSV is a shadow of the team it was last season. There’s a good chance they won’t finish in the top two of the Dutch league, let alone replicate their above-average form in the Champions League of recent years. Bordeaux and Galatasaray are second-rate clubs in this competition.

Group D: Valencia (-125), Roma (+150), Shakhtar Donetsk (20/1), Olympiacos (29/1)

It is difficult to understand why the Roma are the least advantaged in this group. They are the favorites to win this year’s diluted Italian league. Their team is much stronger this season both on paper and judging by the Serie A results so far. But the Romans face stiff Spanish competition in this group. Valencia has a disciplined and experienced Champions League team. They are deadly on the counter attack and stifle their opponents’ offense. This looks like a coin toss between Rome and Valencia, so we’ll take the Italians against it. Keep and eye on Olympiacos. They won’t win this group but, like many Greek teams, they can be dangerous in their home games.

Group E: Lyon (-125), Real Madrid (+163), Steaua Bucharest (10/1), Dynamo Kyiv (50/1)

The collapse of Juventus has not benefited any team more than Real Madrid. The Spanish giants chose a handful more Galacticos and one of the best coaches in the world, Fabio Capello. They are serious contenders for the La Liga and Champions League titles this year. But they will have to overcome their nemesis in this tournament: Lyon. Bookmakers underestimate the French team despite excelling in European competition. We will happily back them again to win this group and possibly everything.

Group F: Manchester United (-275), Benfica (+650), Celtic (13/1), FC Copenhagen (50/1)

Man Utd couldn’t have asked for a more favorable draw. But luck is what they will need to get beyond this stage. At this short price, it is not worth betting on the Red Devils to win the group. Copenhagen is a dangerous team, having knocked Ajax out of this competition. They are a huge price to win the group and are worth a small clearance. Benfica are solid as always in Portugal and have experience in the Champions League. They should claim second place.

Group G: Arsenal (-161), Hamburg (9/1), Porto (9/1), CSKA Moscow (10/1)

Arsenal were the surprise team in the Champions League last year, going all the way to the final and defying expectations in every game. This year, they seem to be overrated. The Gunners have yet to settle into their new Emirates Stadium. The squad looks noticeably awkward and will take longer to gel. In light of the above, it is worth looking at the others. CSKA are hugely priced at 1/10 and the 2005 UEFA Cup winners need to be backed to win this group. Russia is an intimidating place for visiting teams and the Muscovites are more than capable of claiming results from their travels.

Group H: AC Milan (-333), Lille (6/1), AEK Athens (25/1), Anderlecht (33/1)

Milan should navigate through this group with relative ease. They are capable of dismantling practically any team in the world and rivals like Lille, AEK and Anderlecht are not dangerous opponents. Lille are solid in France and could hold Milan to a draw in their first leg. As usual, the Greek team AEK will also be tough at home, but they are hopeless on their travels. Anderlecht does not deserve to be in this competition. Even at this low price, get Milan.

TS Eliot is considered an extremely important modernist writer. He inaugurated a range of narrative and stylistic techniques that exerted a considerable influence on modernism in literature. This article explores the poem ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’, from Eliot’s poem. Prufrock and other observationsconcentrating mainly on the concept of time and how it appears in the poem.

Time is undoubtedly associated with the notions of present and past, and plays an important role in ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’, hereinafter referred to as ‘Rhapsody’ in this article. It could be argued that modernist interest in time is partly determined by earlier scientific discoveries. The very concept of time had been on the threshold of change since the sixteenth century. However, the plethora of scientific explorations and discoveries in the 19th century seemed to herald a new era in science. While Eliot was writing Prufrock’s poems, advances in theoretical physics, such as the formulation of Einstein’s special theory of relativity, were transforming the understanding of time as a physical measure. However, as far as Eliot’s own interests were concerned at the time, it was the French philosopher Henri Bergson who exerted the most immediate influence.

While still residing in the United States, a young Eliot made extensive visits to Europe, where he attended lectures given by Bergson. The philosopher’s theories about time and his attempts to define the nature of the past, present and future are manifest in several of Prufrock’s poems, especially in ‘Rhapsody’, which is generally seen as a reworking of some of the ideas from Bergson; therefore an understanding of them is useful in assessing Eliot’s own attitudes towards the present. Most of Bergson’s is extremely difficult to understand, so it is beneficial to attempt a summary of his ideas before looking at how they are represented in Eliot’s poetry. In its creative evolution (1907) and Matter and Memory (1896), two works with which Eliot was familiar while composing Prufrock’s poems, Bergson set out to define the nature of time and consciousness as experienced by human beings. He came up with an idea that he called ‘le durée’, which means ‘duration’, a metaphysical construct that sees evolution and consciousness as underpinned by a constant stream of moments that cannot be measured by clock time. In creative evolutionBergson proposed the notion that the natural state of an individual is change, stating that all feelings and ideas are in constant flux.

Bergson thought that an individual’s memory forms a large part of this process, with memories of the past constantly resurfacing into a person’s consciousness. It is this perpetual revival of the past that plays a central role in ‘Rhapsody’, where, while wandering through a desolate environment, the protagonist experiences a variety of seemingly fragmented memories. In Matter and Memory Bergson strove to assess the nature of consciousness and its inextricable association with time. This was achieved by trying to define the relationship between past, present and future. Bergson considered that the true essence of time is its transitory nature. This presents a problem in identifying the exact point that could be considered ‘the present’. Bergson admits that what we identify as the present is made up of sensations derived from the past and actions directed towards the future, and it is this inherent duality that informs much of the content of ‘Rhapsody’.

The poem is set in an urban setting, a characteristic setting for much of modernist poetry. As with Prufrock’s other poems, a defining characteristic of ‘Rhapsody’ is Eliot’s perfection of a highly original and distinctly modern poetic voice. It is important to recognize that this poet character is not intended to represent TS Eliot himself, but rather is a fictitious construction that brings together the formal and thematic qualities of the poem. This particular poetic consciousness belongs to an alienated individual who recounts his experiences while wandering through a desolate city after midnight. The use of the word ‘rhapsody’ in the title of the poem is somewhat ironic, as we normally associate this word with ‘enthusiasm’ or ‘extravagance’; the observations and memories experienced by the poet’s person seem more demeaning and futile, and the prevailing tone is generally gloomy and depressing.

The poet’s personality in ‘Rhapsody’ is characterized by a lack of control, efficiently illustrated by the seemingly random appearance of memories. This pervasive sense of involuntariness acts in part as a poetic expression of Bergson’s theories. Bergson’s notion that the body acts as a conduit for a range of sensations derived from a person’s past experience is dislodged in the lines ‘Memory throws up high and dry / A multitude of twisted things’. By choosing to say ‘the memory’ instead of ‘my memory’, he adds to the divided quality of the protagonist, as if he were made up of separate parts rather than a whole.

The reader realizes that the protagonist of ‘Rhapsody’ has little or no control over this incessant stream of resurfacing memories. Eliot illustrates this unpredictability of memory in several lines, but perhaps most notably in the bizarre image of “a madman shaking a dead geranium.” Geraniums become a symbol of the involuntary memory of the poet’s character in the last lines ‘Reminiscence comes / From sunless dry geraniums’.

The street lamps that the poet’s character encounters play a key role in the poem. They are personified – a device that contributes to the fragmented and dissociated nature of the protagonist – in the second stanza, with the lines ‘The lamppost sizzled / The lamppost murmured / The lamppost said’. Eliot achieves this disjointed effect by having the poet’s character’s perceptions acted out as observations of streetlights. For example, in the second stanza, the street lamp tells the protagonist to look at a woman, while in the fourth and fifth stanzas he is told to look at a cat and then at the moon, respectively. These urban sightings are deliberately seedy and depressing: the woman is clearly a prostitute; she describes the cat sticking out its tongue to devour “a mouthful of rancid butter”, an act that the reader assumes as a subtle reflection of the protagonist’s futile existence; while the moon is outlined in the most unflattering and unromantic hue: ‘A washed smallpox cracks her face.’ These images and those from the protagonist’s memory are juxtaposed with the inexorable march of time on the clock, illustrated by the stark fact that most of the stanzas begin by informing the reader of the actual time.

The concept of time plays an important role in ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’. As this article has illustrated, the notion of present is multifaceted, when one takes into account Eliot’s interpretation of Henri Bergson’s theories.