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Revisiting 2018’s sporting predictions

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Revisiting 2018’s sporting predictions (AP file photo)

We’ve reached the end of another year, and so the time has come to look back on the wealth of sports-related predictions that I’ve made. There are quite a few of them; I’ve been known to expend a fair amount of effort in my flailing attempts to guess what will happen in various sporting events and seasons.

As per usual, the results are decidedly mixed.

You’re more than welcome to judge my ability (or lack thereof) however you see fit. I’m aware of the dart-throwing-monkey levels of accuracy that I tend to put forth; you won’t be telling me anything I don’t already know.

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Super Bowl LII

Prediction: New England Patriots 27 – Philadelphia Eagles 24

Actual: Eagles 41 – Patriots 33

Look, I don’t want to talk about it, okay?

(grumbles)

Fine, yes, I was wrong. But really, who could have seen this one coming? That’s not to take away from the Eagles, who 100 percent earned their first-ever Super Bowl title. The truth is that I’ve gotten very comfortable with a world in which homer picks are also solid picks. That era will have to end eventually; I’ll be sad when it does.

MLB Season

American League

Prediction: AL East – New York Yankees; AL Central – Cleveland Indians; AL West – Houston Astros; Wild Card – Boston Red Sox; Wild Card – Los Angeles Angels

Actual: AL East – Boston Red Sox; AL Central – Cleveland Indians; AL West – Houston Astros; Wild Card – New York Yankees; Wild Card – Oakland A’s

All things considered, this isn’t bad at all, even when you take into account the fact that I allowed my head to overrule my heart with regards to the AL East and my head was wrong. Still, I did get the other two division champs right and you can flip-flop the Yankees and Red Sox. It’s a pretty good selection, honestly.

The odd men out here are the Angels. I was weirdly bullish on the Angels; I think I was excited for Shohei Ohtani. In my defense, he was pretty great. And the Angels weren’t a bad team - .500ish is OK. However, I also went to deliberate lengths to talk about how mediocre I thought Oakland was going to be and they won 97 games, so … whoops.

National League

Prediction: NL East – Washington Nationals; NL Central – Chicago Cubs; NL West – Los Angeles Dodgers; Wild Card – St. Louis Cardinals; Wild Card – San Francisco Giants

Actual: NL East – Atlanta Braves; NL Central – Milwaukee Brewers; NL West – Los Angeles Dodgers; Wild Card – Chicago Cubs; Wild Card – Colorado Rockies

Well – really blew it on the NL this year, eh? Predicting just one division winner is pretty bad, particularly when it’s the Dodgers who have only won the thing for pretty much the entire 2010s. And to get just one other playoff team right? Granted, the Cubs missed making me right by one game, but still – that’s a bad run.

The rest of my picks were kind of a disaster. The Nationals were barely a .500 team and I had the Braves finishing fourth in the division. And while the Cardinals were pretty good – 88 wins – they still fell short of the Rockies, who were in turn nearly 20 games ahead of the terrible, terrible Giants, who I picked for reasons that were shaky then and escape me now.

World Series 2018

Prediction: Boston Red Sox 4 – Los Angeles Dodgers 3

Actual: Red Sox 4 – Dodgers 1

This Red Sox team was one of the best in the history of this storied franchise. Their march to the title was relentless. As for my prediction, I honestly expected the Dodgers to put up more of a challenge. They were returning, after all. But even the confidence springing from a repeat as NL champions wasn’t enough for Los Angeles to overcome Boston’s overall excellence. Could have been better, but I’ll take the W.

CFL Season

Prediction: Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Toronto Argonauts, Ottawa Redblacks (East Division); Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, Winnipeg Blue Bombers (West Division)

Actual: Ottawa Redblacks, Hamilton Tiger-Cats (East Division); Calgary Stampeders, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, BC Lions (West Division)

This is kind of embarrassing. As someone who prides himself as being one of Northern New England’s preeminent purveyor of CFL content and punditry, I had hoped I’d do better than this. There are six playoff spots for nine teams; you’d think that would make it easier, but it just means your misses really sting.

I did OK in some spots. Picking the Stamps to win the West is the easiest bet in North American pro sports right now. I put the Blue Bombers in the right place. I had both Ottawa and Hamilton, albeit reversed. Those are decent picks. However, I whiffed entirely on the Argonauts – who were literally the worst team in the league at 4-14 – and the Eskimos, who managed a 9-9 record identical to BC, but lost the tiebreak for the crossover playoff spot. Saskatchewan was four games better than I guessed.

106th Grey Cup

Prediction: Calgary Stampeders 31 – Ottawa Redblacks 24

Actual: Calgary 27 – Ottawa 16

Feeling pretty good about this one. It was a slightly lower-scoring affair than I expected, but the general outcome was accurate, and I got reasonably close on the spread. And for what it’s worth, I was perfect in my predictions regarding how the playoffs would shake out. Besides, the Stampeders were definitely due for a win here (even though I was low-key worried about having jinxed them yet again).

NFL Season

(Note: Postseason positions current as of Week 16)

AFC

Prediction: AFC East – New England Patriots; AFC North – Pittsburgh Steelers; AFC South – Jacksonville Jaguars; AFC West – Los Angeles Chargers; Wild Card – Houston Texans; Wild Card – Kansas City Chiefs

Actual: AFC East – New England Patriots; AFC North – Pittsburgh Steelers; AFC South – Houston Texans; AFC West – Kansas City Chiefs; Wild Card – Los Angeles Chargers; Wild Card – Baltimore Ravens

Overall, this isn’t a bad look, though there’s still plenty of time for it to change drastically and make me look like a fool. Picking the Pats and Steelers to win their respective divisions was the easy call, and while I swapped the Chiefs and Chargers and had the Texans as a wild card team instead of a division winner, it all balances out all right. Five out of six playoff teams isn’t bad. Granted, the one I missed was a BIG miss – Jacksonville has been terrible this season, though in my defense, I did make mention of the possibility that this one might be embarrassing even as I picked it.

NFC

Prediction: NFC East – Philadelphia Eagles; NFC North – Minnesota Vikings; NFC South – New Orleans Saints; NFC West – Los Angeles Rams; Wild Card – Green Bay Packers; Wild Card – Atlanta Falcons

Actual: NFC East - Dallas Cowboys; NFC North – Chicago Bears; NFC South – New Orleans Saints; NFC West – Los Angeles Rams; Wild Card – Seattle Seahawks; Wild Card – Minnesota Vikings

You know, considering how I usually do when it comes to the NFC, this isn’t so bad. I mean, I did manage to get two of the four division winners right, while one of my division winners is in a wild card slot. Of course, my two wild card picks are both assured of finishing below .500 on the year. In addition, I picked the current leaders of the East and North – Dallas and Chicago – to both finish 7-9. I also picked the Seahawks to finish behind the 49ers, which isn’t a great look. And yet, even with all that – pretty good look for me as far as the NFC goes.

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And there you have it. Another reckoning of my many sports predictions from the year that was. All in all, I did … OK. Not great, not terrible – about the usual, really. Oh, and I was 21-18 in my college bowl picks last year (I think this year will be better) and for those who follow it, I am about to get destroyed for the fourth year in a row (and fifth out of six) by my dog Stella in our annual Kibbles and Picks weekly NFL pick showdown.

I might keep missing, but I’ll keep trying!

Last modified on Wednesday, 26 December 2018 12:57

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