The bracket is set for the knockout games with a very good field. (http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/)

The knockout bracket is set and underway. Brazil continues their quest to win as host country. USA looks to beat a European opponent (after a tie and loss in the group stage) to move on. And of course, there are plenty of great games in between.

Our picks provide an interesting view, with group winners favored in general, though with blowouts kept to a minimum. For each pick, choosing the winner of each game is worth two points, while picking the goals scored by each team is worth one point.

Check below for the complete pick set, and come back once the round is complete for the updated results. Continue reading 2014 FIFA World Cup Expert Picks: Round of 16 »

Tags: ,

Adam Silver, Marcus Smart (Boston.com)

Prior to Thursday night’s NBA Draft, there was a lot of talk about whether the Celtics should take highly-touted, but injured, Kansas center Joel Embiid, once a candidate for the top pick, if he were available at number six. Soon, the 76ers threw all that discussion right out the window by selecting Embiid with the third overall pick. Three selections later, Boston was on the board with plenty of talent to choose from in one of the deepest drafts in years, including, unexpectedly, Indiana power forward (and Haverhill native) Noah Vonleh, whose stock fell sharply in the last days before the draft.

General manager Danny Ainge, however, took Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart, and later added another perimeter player, shooting guard James Young out of Kentucky, with the 17th pick. While it’s no surprise that Ainge addressed the backcourt considering that the Celtics’ two SGs, Jerryd Bayless and Avery Bradley, are set to become free agents, the selection of Smart ensured that the conversation immediately turned to the future of Rajon Rondo. Let’s take a look at the two newest Celtics, and at what their selections could mean for Boston’s roster over the remainder of the offseason: Continue reading Celtics Address Backcourt in Draft: Analysis and Roster Implications »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Evander Kane (Jets.NHL.com)

After an exciting sports week following a team USA advancement to the semifinals in the World Cup and the opening of the NBA draft that saw the Celtics take two young studs, what better way to wrap up the month than with the NHL Draft? This is one of the most exciting nights of the year for NHL die-hards and tonight promises to be one of the best drafts in years.

As I’ve said in previous articles, there is plenty of reason to believe that the draft and subsequent free agent signing period will be an exciting one. There are several premier players that have demanded a trade, there is a wealth of free agent talent available, the salary cap is going up for the first time in a while, and many teams find themselves pressed against the cap and will need to make a trade.

Without further ado, here is a list of some of the things to watch for regarding the Bruins and around the league. Continue reading Quick Hits: 2014 NHL Draft Preview »

Tags: , , , ,

Defending champs Spain met with an inglorious end, but there are plenty of worthy new champions. (http://marbellamarbella.es/)

After the Group Stage, the field has gotten more open with defending World Cup champion Spain not even making it past two games while in contention. The U.S. held off Portugal to advance despite giving up a game-tying goal against Portugal itself. Costa Rica won a group with three former World Cup winners.

With some big surprises, some of our experts were thrown for a loop. There were plenty of games that led to leads being opened up, but plenty more to come to make up the deficit. But for now, check below for the updated results, and check back Saturday for the Round of 16 picks. Continue reading 2014 FIFA World Cup Expert Picks: Group Stage Results »

Tags: ,

Hopefully Clay Buchholz doesn't have to look too far into the future to see his return to form, as he returns to the rotation tonight against the Seattle Mariners. (WEEI)

After making two rehab starts in Pawtucket, Clay Buchholz has been activated from the 15-day disabled list to make his first start in almost a month against the Seattle Mariners Wednesday night. He’ll be looking to salvage the finale after the Red Sox dropped the first two games of the series by scores of 12-3 and 8-2.

To make room for Buchholz on the 25-man roster, the Red Sox designated left-handed deliver Chris Capuano for assignment. Capuano had struggled of late in limited appearances, giving up 10 runs and 14 hits in only 4 innings of relief for the month of June.

Continue reading Buchholz Activated from DL, Capuano Designated for Assignment »

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Patriots officially signed first round pick Dominique Easley on Monday. (Boston Globe)

Are you ready for some football?

Apparently first round pick Dominique Easley is, as the New England Patriots officially announced his signing on Monday. He was the final unsigned rookie draft pick of the Patriots.

Easley, who was the 29th overall pick out of Florida, reportedly signed a four-year contract worth $7.3 million, including a $3.63 million signing bonus and $5.89 million guaranteed.

Continue reading First Round Pick Dominique Easley Officially Signs with Patriots »

Tags: , , , ,

David Ortiz Infield Shift

There has been a spike in the use of defensive shifts across Major League Baseball this season, as explored in this article from ESPN the Magazine.

Teams recognize the tendencies of opposing hitters, and utilize the shift to expose those tendencies, such as left-handed hitters pulling pitches to the right side of the infield. Shifts are complicated, and we often see their use dictated by the situation in the game, such as the number of runners on base or even the score. Continue reading Why Aren’t MLB Pitchers Using the Shift? »

Tags: ,