2017 Superbowl Odds

helmets

Top 10 according to Linemakers.com

PATRIOTS 8/1

SEAHAWKS 8/1

STEELERS 8/1

PACKERS 10/1

CARDINALS 10/1

PANTHERS 12/1

BRONCOS 12/1

BENGALS 14/1

COWBOYS 14/1

VIKINGS 18/1

These lines were released just after Superbowl 50.  A number of sportsbooks have updated into February with some small changes.  With the draft complete and with camps getting underway we can expect updated lists to be released in the near future.

It looks like Vegas trusts the Patriots and Seahawks to continue to make a push for a title.  The Steelers’ offense is getting a lot of hype with a veteran QB, good young receivers and an emerging back in Le’Veon Bell.  Vegas always likes the Packers chances with Aaron Rodgers at the helm and with a more fit Eddy Lacy and healthy receivers Green Bay is getting pretty good odds.  The Panthers might be getting overlooked by Vegas but you’ve got to assume they think the dominant season they had last year was a tad inflated for one reason or another.  The Broncos still have a stout defense that will keep them in games regardless of who is behind center.  The Cardinals and the Bengals might be solid bets to get a large return on if their quarterbacks can stay healthy.  On that topic, it looks like Vegas is predicting a healthy Tony Romo behind an offensive line that is still considered one of the best in the NFL.  Minnesota is getting some love and is in the top ten after they were a shanked chip-shot field goal away from advancing in the playoffs last year.

 

My 5 Current Favorite Portland Breweries

Living in Beervana can turn anyone into a beer snob.  There once was a time when I could be happy grabbing a cold Bud or Coors light (I think they call it college).  But after a few years here, if it’s not Ex Novo’s Most Interesting Lager in the World, it’s not Taco Tuesday. There are so many breweries here (and new ones pop up all the time) that it’s easy to stumble on to something “new” or “different.”  So here are the 5 that I’m enjoying the most as the weather is getting nicer.

1.  Ex Novo Brewery (http://www.exnovobrew.com/#drink-beer-do-good) – This North Portland brewery has a laid back feel because it’s tucked into a residential neighborhood.  It is the nations first not for profit brewery, with a motto of “Drink beer.  Do Good.” There are 3 essentials for every trip I make here: a pint of the Dynamic Duo IPA, a pint of the Most Interesting Lager in the World, and an order of table bacon.  The best part is being able to give back to your community while you drink!
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2.  10 Barrel Brewing (http://www.10barrel.com/) – To be honest, they aren’t on this list for the beer.  While they have some interesting stuff, it’s just not my favorite.  But as the weather gets nicer, their rooftop bar is a great place to grab a seat, have a beer, enjoy the sun, and people watch. Being an IPA guy (you’ll see a trend with all my picks) I’ve been known to throw back a few Joe’s here.
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3.  Grixsen Brewing Company (http://www.grixsen.com/) – This one definitely has a personal bias to it.  This brewery was started by a friend of a friend so I was able to get some sneak peaks at their tasting room as it was being built, got the personal tour of their brewery, and tasted all of their beers.  Their tasting room is intimate, giving you a chance to really talk to the bartenders and make friends with others at the bar.
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4. Deschutes Brewery (https://www.deschutesbrewery.com/) – It’s a classic.  You’ll see locals and tourists visit and it’s always busy.  But things become a classic for a reason….they are consistently producing great beer.  These days I can’t get enough of the Fresh Squeezed IPA (I constantly find myself ordering it even when I travel).  They also have really good food here so it’s the perfect place if you are with family or for a work event.
deschutes-brewery
5.  pFriem Family Brewing (http://www.pfriembeer.com/) – Since this is my post I can cheat and add a brewery that’s not in Portland.  I spend a good amount of time travelling from Portland to Eastern WA.  Whenever I’m driving around lunch time I make sure to stop in Hood River just to grab a beer and burger from here.  They have some of the most friendly people on staff, the beer is one of my favorites (their IPA of course), and the burgers hit the spot.  They have a great location in Hood River, OR right on the Columbia River.  There is even a park across the street if you are travelling with kids.
pfriem_101-photo-by-kim

Where Should I Watch The Game?

 

Century Link

THE STADIUM

-PROS-

Live and In-Person

There is a certain energy that can only be achieved by packing tens of thousands of amped people into one place to watch some sort of spectacle go down.  This goes for any sport.  It isn’t possible to replicate through a television screen what being at an event like a Chicago Blackhawks game at The United Center or a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park or a Seattle Seahawks game at The Link is like.

National Anthem

This is always cool.  Whether you’re a patriot or an anarchist, there is nothing like a live version of The Star Spangled Banner in a stadium with thousands of other Americans to get the juices flowing before a major sporting event.

Tailgaiting

Where else can you party in a parking lot in open view of the authorities prior to entering a large, organized social event?

Athleticism

You can’t quite tell the same story about a fight you saw on Youtube versus one you saw in person.  Even slow-motion instant replays at home don’t do justice to the athleticism you can see live at an NFL game.

-CONS-

Restrooms

A trip to the restroom at a typical NFL stadium can mean missing the entirety of an 80-yard-drive.  The lines at the restroom during halftime (this includes the ten minutes or so on either end of the break) forces you to choose between missing the drive and standing in the soul-crushing line.

Any of these guys:

Tall fan in front of you.

Beer-spiller just behind and above you.

Guy in the middle of the row who needs to get up constantly, often during key points in the game.

Guy or Gal sitting next to you talking on their phone throughout the entire game.

Seats

They aren’t recliners unless you are filthy rich or know a guy who knows a guy and you work your way into an Elitist box-type-situation.

Poor Weather

Check the weather report before you go.  While some fans seem to in some unexplainable perverse sort of way (see Green Bay Packers fans) actually enjoy horrific weather conditions, for most of us a storm approaching the stadium makes you second-guess the decision to attend the game live.

sports bar 2

THE SPORTS BAR

-PROS-

No Tickets Required

It won’t cost you a penny to up and wander into your favorite sports bar.

Atmosphere

It’s not live and in-person but there is a kind of moderated, healthy energy at a good sports bar.  It’s small enough for a kind of comradery to emerge.  There’s a punch to these places during the game that most of the time makes for a fun Sunday outing.

Drinks, Drinks, Drinks

This is about options and outside of the most fully-stocked man-caves you have far more options here than you would at home or at the stadium, with the price-tag somewhere in the middle.  Plus, chances of the bar running out of your favorite drink is minimal so a buzzed halftime-drive to the corner store isn’t something you have to chance.  An added extra is that there is a bartender who isn’t halfway across a stadium right there to serve you your drinks.

Acceptable Place to Shout Obscenities

Sure, this happens at the stadium and also in some homes during football Sundays.  Only at the sports bar you can bank on a complete lack of children’s-ears in the bar and there is a freedom in that that doesn’t exist elsewhere.

Easy Exit Post-Game

When the game ends you can leave the bar without being caught up in the slow-motion mass exodus that makes you question the existence of God that occurs at stadiums.

-CONS-

No Assigned Seats

This can be frustrating if you are running late because you went hard on Saturday night.  While a good sports bar will mount TVs for viewing at just about any point you can potentially land at in the establishment, there are scenarios where you end up in a less than ideal seating situation and this takes away from the experience.

Acceptable Place to Shout Obscenities

This is your classic double-bind here.  It can be a pro but it can also be a con when the foul language is a constant or comes from someone with little knowledge around the tact of a well-placed obscenity.

Wrong Game

This is the worst possible scenario at a sports bar.  Some of these places get packed on Sunday and it is possible to go to the sports bar and not be able to watch the actual game you came to enjoy.

man cave

HOME

-PROS-

Controlled Environment

Short of inviting the wrong people there are no issues when it comes to rowdy obnoxious types or know-it-alls or cell-phone junkies interrupting the experience.  Choose your crew wisely and if that somehow fails you get to make executive decisions as to who stays and who gets the boot.  Be a man.

Restroom Access

No lines and no disgusting anonymous human waste to wade through.  At home, the trip to the restroom is easily accomplished during your standard NFL commercial break.

Food

While there are stadiums with great options and while you may think your neighborhood bar serves the best wings in the city, you can plan and prep and create anything you want from home.  You may even be living the dream and have a wife who knows her way around the kitchen and supports this sort of thing – lucky bastard.

Seating

Recliner.

Transportation

This is a non-issue when you stay home for the game.

-CONS-

Lack of Social Energy

This can be a very real problem when watching the game at home.  If your friend Dave has to cancel last second and you end up with just Ron from Accounting who is socially inept and your wife’s friend’s husband Karl who turns out to  be appallingly racist or something, the social math just doesn’t come together and you can end up with an uncomfortable feel in your suddenly claustrophobic man-cave.

Interruptions

Wives, kids, bursting water pipes, floods, Jehovah’s Witnesses, wives, kids…. We’ve all either experienced firsthand or at least heard the, “I-actually-didn’t-catch-the-onside-kick-and-the-subsequent hook-and-ladder-prayer-on-fourth-down-and-beyond-infinity-best-sports-moment-of-all-time because Junior-took-a-header-into-the-curio-cabinet-thirty-seconds-before-it-all-happened-and-it-required-37-stitches sort of thing that inevitably occurs when watching the game at home.

SUMMARY

Regardless of where you choose to watch the game, NFL Sundays are amazing and we should appreciate and enjoy them.  We at Lane Violation will take an NFL Sunday – whether at the stadium, the sports bar or at home – over just about any other cultural event the world over.  Have fun with it and try all three options.  You really can’t go wrong.

Updated Mock Lottery Picks

nba draft

Now that the lottery has taken place, we know who is picking where.  We’ve also had a chance to pour over the stats and rumors from the NBA Combine.  Here’s our latest mock. 

1.      Philadelphia – Brandon Ingram SF Duke

2.      LA Lakers – Ben Simmons SF/PF LSU

3.      Boston (via Brooklyn) – Jamal Murray PG/SG Kentucky

4.      Phoenix – Dragan Bender PF Croatia

5.      Minnesota – Kriss Dunn PG Providence

6.      New Orleans – Buddy Hield SG Oklahoma

7.      Denver (via New York) – Marquese Chriss PF Washington

8.      Sacramento – Jaylen Brown SG/SF California

9.      Toronto (via Denver) – Skal Labissiere PF/C Kentucky

10.   Milwaukee – Henry Ellenson PF Marquette

11.   Orlando – Deyonta Davis PF/C Michigan State

12.   Utah – Jakob Poeltl C Utah

13.   Phoenix – Domantas Sabonis PF Gonzaga

14.   Chicago – Denzel Valentine SG Michigan State

Top 5 Commencement Speeches

graduation

It’s that time of year….fresh faced college graduates are entering the real world and gunning for your jobs not realizing what they are really signing up for.  At the same time the weather is getting nicer so if you’re like me, you spend more time staring out the window than working on your laptop.  So whether you’re a shiny faced young gun or a grizzly veteran trying to eke out another summer at the office here is some motivation to chase your dreams in the form of commencement speeches.  We’ve ranked our top 5:

5B. Shonda Rhimes
5A. Conan O’Brien
3.  Stephen Colbert
2.  Steve Jobs
1.  David Foster Wallace

NBA Mock Lottery Draft

nba draft

Here’s the initial mock draft, pre-lottery and to be updated once the ping pong balls fall into place…

  1. Philadelphia – Ben Simmons SF/PF LSU
  2. LA Lakers – Brandon Ingram SF Duke
  3. Boston (via Brooklyn) – Jamal Murray PG/SG Kentucky
  4. Phoenix – Dragan Bender PF Croatia
  5. Minnesota – Buddy Hield SG Oklahoma
  6. New Orleans – Kriss Dunn PG Providence
  7. Denver (via New York) – Marquese Chriss PF Washington
  8. Sacramento – Jakob Poeltl C Utah
  9. Toronto (via Denver) – Skal Labissiere PF/C Kentucky
  10. Milwaukee – Jaylen Brown SG/SF California
  11. Orlando – Deyonta Davis PF/C Michigan State
  12. Utah – Domantas Sabonis PF Gonzaga
  13. Washington – Malachi Richardson SG Syracuse
  14. Chicago – Henry Ellenson PF Marquette

Let us know what you think!

The Batanga

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When you live in a city where you can’t waste sunny days you tend to leave work early to grab happy hour at your favorite patio bar.  Mine happens to be a sports bar where it really does seem that everybody knows your name.  This comes in handy when you ask the bartender to make a drink they’ve never heard of.

Last week as everyone celebrated Cinco de Mayo a friend and I did what most friends do on this day and recounted our adventures in Mexico.  He told me about a tequila-tasting tour he’d taken there and mentioned that he’d gone to a bar where they mixed Tequila with Coke.  Having never considered the combination my interest was peaked and we went ahead and Googled the recipe, which it turns out involves a bit more than simply pouring Coke on your favorite brand of Tequila.

 

The Batanga: Tequila Drink Recipe

  1. Use a highball, or tall glass
  2. Use a lime wedge to coat the rim of the glass
  3. Dip the rim in a dish of salt to coat
  4. Squeeze the juice of ½ lime into the glass
  5. Add ice to fill the glass to the top (preferably with large-sized cubes)
  6. Add a really generous shot of blanco tequila to the glass, filling it about halfway
  7. Top off the remainder of the glass with Coca-Cola
  8. To honor Don Javier (invented the drink in the 1950s in Tequila, Mexico), stir with a big knife, the secret to its flavor

 

Giving it no more thought that day we filed it away as a drink for another time.

Back to the patio bar today where the waitresses were in cheerful moods and the drinks were coming quick.  After having a few beers, they started to push us to get shots.  We kicked it around a bit and then the synapses fired and I got the idea to try the Batanga.

We each hesitantly took a few sips to test the waters.  As drinks go it may not be the go-to beverage to indulge in on a regular basis, but I must say it’s really a pretty good drink.  Not a bad idea to have up your sleeve on a hot summer day when you want to shake things up and bring an interesting story into the mix.

And remember, all the flavor comes from the knife!

Top 10 – Worst People To Sit Next To At A Sports Bar

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  1. Non Sports Fan – Worse than the casual sports fan. Think Ted Cruz calling the hoop a basketball ring.
  2. Casual Sports Fan – Knows only stats from “his,” team from the one year they won a few games.
  3. Hometown Hero – Roots only for the home team and is deluded enough to think they can compete.
  4. Gambler – Only cares about the spread.
  5. The Couple – Guy wants to watch the game so is ignoring girl. She in turn wants to talk to you for attention to get back at him.
  6. Non Sports Fan Bartender – Wants to pretend to know sports but is really just a Cowboy, Yankee and Lakers fan because those are the only teams they’ve ever heard of.
  7. Sports Elitist – Only watches MLS because it’s the anti-sport until he/she realizes it’s growing faster than any of the other leagues.
  8. The Bandwagon Fan – Self-explanatory; if not understood, see Drake.
  9. The Significant Other Fan – Roots for significant other’s team because they are so in love.
  10. NBA Groupie’s Sister – Terrance [Jones] took my sister and me to Channing’s (Frye) house on the river. AKA I’m not hot enough to be the groupie but I want credit for coming in second.