5 Sports That Are ‘In’ This Year

ID-100212903 By duron123
Free Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/By duron123

Like hairstyles and clothing, some sports experience periods of trendiness, fuelled by our changing curiosities and interests. Gone are the days of stock-standard, gender-specific sporting pursuits; instead, each year brings a new range of undiscovered and unheard of sports to the table. Here are 5 of the sports that will take 2014 by storm.

1. Skateboarding

Skateboarding is a timeless sport – whether the goal is grinding in some of the world’s biggest parks, or simply cruising from A to B. The boards themselves have evolved from wood planks atop clay wheels to state-of-the-art designs, fuelled by innovative companies like Z-Flex Online who design boards for the smoothest ride. Skateboarding is no longer seen as simply a mode of transport used by youths – celebrities like Tony Hawk and snowboarder Shaun White have actively pushed for skateboarding to be included in the next Olympic Games. With strong support for the cause, don’t be surprised if you see skateboarding on the bill for the next summer Olympics.

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Get your spring basketball gear at Foot Locker

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The weather is finally starting to warm up, which means that it’s time to get out of the house and head to the park for a game (or two, or three) of pick-up basketball, where boys become men and men discover that they’re not as athletic as they used to be.

What’s that you say? The tread on your old shoes is worn down to the sole and you’re in need of some new gear? Foot Locker has you covered, man. The specialty retailer carries all the latest apparel guaranteed to make any guy stand out from the crowd, including shoes from NBA stars like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant.

Foot Locker sent us a pair of the new Nike Kobe Zoom Venomenons, and they’re some of the coolest and most comfortable basketball shoes we’ve ever worn. The latest collaboration between Nike and Kobe is comprised of a synthetic upper and a black carbon fiber heel counter with Hyperfuse and Flywire technology for lightweight strength and durability. Additionally, the Phylon midsole features a forefoot Zoom Air unit that provides super-responsive cushioning that will help you explode off the court to grab those big rebounds, and for those playing outdoors, the outsole has an abrasion-resistant material with a Blade Traction pattern designed for excellent traction. They also look great, with six electric colorways to choose from, and priced at $119.99.

Of course, if you’re planning on heading to the courts after school or work, you’re going to need a way to carry all that gear without having to make an extra stop home. That’s where the Nike Hoops Elite Team Backpack comes in real handy, because it offers plenty of storage space, including one main compartment, two zippered pockets, a place for a water bottle and even a 15″ laptop sleeve. It’s also made of water-resistant Tarpaulin, which keeps your stuff safe and dry from the elements, and features a padded back panel that provides additional protection.

That’s just scratching the surface of Foot Locker’s basketball range, however, so be sure to head to your local store or shop online to pick up the Nike Kobe Venomenons and Hoops Elite Team Backpack, as well as their many other new spring products.

  

2014 US Masters preview

The US Masters, golf’s quirky showpiece event begins on April 10th at the Augusta National Golf Club, its home since 1934.

It is the 80th year the course has been the home of The Masters, but this is the 78th edition as World War II caused a halt on play from 1943-45.

But this year something will be different, as Tiger Woods will miss the first Masters tournament in his career, dealing another blow in his quest to catch Jack Nicklaus for the most majors in a career.

But even without Tiger Woods, this 78th edition could be a vintage affair with the field that still includes a who’s who of past champions, current top players and impressive amateurs.

The amateurs receive their places as top two of the US Amateur Championship and winners of the British Amateur, US Mid-Amateur, Asia Pacific Amateur and US Amateur Public links.

The big gun

No doubt those qualifying in this way for the Masters will be happy just to get around the famed course without any huge embarrassments, but for the top golfers that will never be enough.

Without Tiger in the mix, the current US Masters 2014 favourites, according to Coral, are Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy.

Both players are priced at 8/1 and for a simple reason; they are two of the finest golfers in the world and they will have high expectations for themselves at Augusta.

Woods is currently agonisingly stuck on 14 major golf tournament wins, four behind the legendary Jack Nicklaus who holds the record of 18 major wins.

The 38-year-old last won a major in 2008 and since his personal issues arose in 2009 he has not looked quite like the player he was.

If he was healthy, the Californian couldn’t be discounted and he was an 8-1 pick to win the tournament before the injury. He is one of the finest golfers of all-time, and undoubtedly the best of his generation.

McIlroy is a little more complex than Woods, as the Northern Irishman has gone through a rough patch of form in the past few months.

Some of this could be attributed to a change in clubs while his high-profile relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki seems to have had an adverse reaction on his profession.

The 24-year old has already won two majors at the US Open and the PGA Championship, but McIlroy will be itching to get many more majors given his superb skillset.

Defending champion Adam Scott seems to be in the mix in every major tournament, and with Woods out he has a real opportunity here to win back-to-back green jackets.

The dark horse contenders

Behind McIlroy in the betting are Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day.

At bigger prices these players will still need to be taken seriously. James Day played his part last year with Adam Scott in an epic last day battle for the green jacket just 12 months ago.

Even though Tiger Woods isn’t the same player, losing him opens things up considerably for other golfers. Some of the star power is gone from this year’s Masters, but we still may have a tournament to remember.

  

Ice Hockey Final – Olympics 2014

In the end it was a case of Goliath crushes David in the men’s ice hockey final at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, as Canada swept aside a plucky Sweden outfit in a convincing 3-0 victory. The win helped the Canadians on to secure third place in the overall medal table for the games, with only host nation Russia and cross-country skiing specialists Norway ahead of them.

Canada have dominated the hockey rinks over the past four Winter Olympics, with three Gold medals to their name. They might not have made it all the way to the top this time, but they did show enforce their credentials as the leading superpower in international ice hockey, with victories over Sweden and – perhaps most crucially of all – their neighbours and great rivals the United States. The Canadians have beaten the rest by being the best, validating the many thousands of fans who cheered the side along or bet on them to win at sites like www.bettingsports.com in the lead-up to the final.

Story of the final

For neutral ice hockey fans it was something of a disappointing end to a fascinating tournament at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, with Canada rolling over the Swedes with apparent ease. Chris Kunitz, Jonathan Toews and captain Sidney Crosby all got their names on the scoreboard, whilst after a reasonably promising start which saw Carl Hagelin hit the post with one particularly menacing effort, Sweden seldom looked likely to threaten the Canadian goal.

Drugs test controversy that mars result

The Sochi Winter Olympics was tainted by a string of doping scandals, and none could be so contentious as that which apparently harmed Sweden’s chances (slim as they may have been) in their ice hockey final clash with Canada. Vice-captain Nicklas Backstrom had proven to be a key figure in the Swedish team on their way to the final, but the star forward was ruled out of the clash by the IOC after testing positive for a banned substance. This may sound like a clear cut case, but the player’s own argument suggests that this isn’t so… Backstrom and his team insisted that the substance found in his test was simply an ingredient of an allergy pill which he had been using for many years. He told members of the press, “I’ve got absolutely nothing to hide. It was shocking to me and at the same time I’m here right now and I have to deal it.”

Sweden’s team doctor Bjoern Waldeback added, “It’s a permitted drug. We told them he had one pill per day as he has for the past seven years.”

  

What has been your best bet?

With March Madness in full swing, many people have been geared up to fill out their brackets, while others are putting bets on multiple games. Events like this and the Super Bowl certainly raise the excitement level, and it gets many of us thinking about our best bets over the years.

One of my all-time best bets involved the Super Bowl matchup pitting the undefeated New England Patriots vs the New York Giants following the 2007 NFL Season. The Patriots looked unbeatable, yet there was something about the New York Giants that made them the perfect matchup for the high-flying Pats – their pass rush! Going into the game, some experts were pointing out that if the Giants front four could pressure Tom Brady without resorting to blitzes, then the Giants had a real chance to win the game, let alone cover the point spread. With that in mind, instead of taking the points and the Giants, I decided to go with the money line on the Giants to win outright, which gave me a much better payout given that the Pats were big favorites. The Giants won of course 17-14, as their defense got a pass rush and slowed down that many thought was an unstoppable offense. The win was even sweeter several months later when I ran into one of the most notorious gamblers – Pete Rose – who was complainign that there was no way the Patriots should have lost that game. He called the money line bet stupid, but he didn’t have much of an answer when I simply pointed out that it was a winning bet.

As for March Madness, my favorite bet involved taking Kentucky over Duke in 1992 even though I wanted Duke to win. Christian Laettner famously won that game on the incredible shot in overtime, but I already had my bet won as I was getting plenty of points with Kentucky. So I got to celebrate that incredible shot watching the game at Caesar’s Palace, while also celebrating a winning bet.

You can check out these top 5 best bets for other great examples and follow #bgoBestBets on Twitter as well.

  

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