With T-Minus how many hours until the X Games begin in Los Angeles one would assume you could gamble on this event. I mean you can wager on anything right? Wrong. I couldn’t believe in the seven or eight online sports books I checked out nobody was covering the X Games. Now, I’m not going to sign up and cash into a handful of sports books to figure out why. No, I’ll just do my own handicapping of a few events and run down the odds. I figure bookies know everything about baseball and everything about football. Horses you can track their progress and run the odds. After all, odds making is about inside knowledge and applying the correct formula to predict outcome, right? You see, I knew stas class would fianlly pay off! So lets start dropping some odds on skating. Since guys like Sheckler, Rogers, Burnquist, White etc throw the curve. We’re going to belt out the top picks and back their odds to take the whole show.
It’s not an actual street skating comp but we’ll take a park comp in a velodrome because…well that’s all we have. This years line up has all the heavy hitters and while the comp may not be as tech as Red Bull’s Manny Mania or as fun as a banks jam it’s still going to be fun to watch. I mean it is skateboarding and we take the good with the bad. I am a bit excited about the bank – chain obstacle this year. After watching the skaters listed below get busy since the 2006 X Games they are my odds on favorites but again I don’t have a crystal ball, anything can happen.
5. Tommy Sandoval — Hopefully he just starts going for it. (Odds 50/1)
4. Corey Duffel — If he cares about it, and that’s up to him…he’ll slay it. (Odds 65/1)
3. Nyjah — He’s just that damn good. (Odds 10/1)
2. Chris Cole — Rising with the fallen is his day job but I think Cole is going to give less of a crap about this years X Games (Odds 5/1)
1. Sheckler/Rogers — Yeah these guys are contest machines. Not the shtick of most and we’re not saying the Plan B Wonder twins aren’t dialed in but these guys will duke it out. (No odds this is a f’d up lock)
Skate Best Trick
This one is voted on by the people out there in info web land. EXPN threw up a pretty cool way for people to vote on the skaters they want in the comp. If they get voted in my top five goes…
5. Andrew Reynolds – don’t f*ck with the boss. (Odds 30/1)
4. Tommy Sandoval — If there’s a gnar rail Tommy is up for it. (Odds 20/1)
3. Corey Duffel — Depends on the day and if he feels like killing it. (Odds 10/1)
2. Chris Haslam — The biggest fresh to hesh makeover ever can slay it if he wants to (Odds 3/1) 1. Jerry Hsu — Enjoi’s boy is hot after the TWS awards and a killer year ( Ok, I pulled this one out of my ass)
Thankfully we see the demise of vert best trick contest and have the straight up vert contest this year. However, we have big air to deal with. Barring nobody pulls a Pat Duffy and destroys themselves it should be a pretty interesting comp. The ramp is an “out of the ordinary” set up and as always the judges like to see people use the whole set up. I think this type of design favors somebody like Bob Burnquist who steps out of the norm on a regular basis. Shaun White may be killing it at the dew tour but after see him be shaky on few simple set up tricks I think he’s going to take the back seat to the guys who skate full time.
5. Andy Macdonald — a circus trick or two might entertain enough for tv keeping him in it. (Odds 100/1)
4. Shaun White — This ramp is going to work against White. Not enough space for him to flow his big goofy snowboard style. ( Odds 50/1)
3. Bucky Lasek — Assuming Bucky’s knee hold up he’s got top three on lock maybe higher if he pulls out something new (Odds 15/1)
2. Rune Glifberg — Rune is hot right now. Hopefully he keeps killin’ it. (Odds 4/1)
1. Bob Burnquist — This ramp has gotta be Bob dream. Transfers. Angles. Weird shit that defies the norm to let Bob…be Bob. (Odds I think this is a lock as long as he doesn’t die on the mega ramp)
Skate Vert Legends
I just noticed ESPN added this in and I wonder if the took a clue from the good folks at Vans. The Vans Pro tec Pool Party has had an amazing veterans/legends division comp for three years running. I venture to say it’s as good as the pro competition, if not better. Chris Miller the ringmaster of Adio and Planet Earth continues to slay every pool and halfpipe he steps into to this day. This is no “man crush” I’m simply speaking the truth. Catch this on the ESPN webcast or TV if you can.
1. Chris Miller — Bottom line he still skates so damn good he should be in the pro division. pray and I mean PRAY they show his runs. it is just some fun sh*t to watch.
Skate Big Air
The new marquee show of the circus. No longer do the FMX riders have it on lock. This year the X Games is kicking off with the all or nothing Big Air event first. Didn’t we stop having these events in snowboarding for a reason? Oh well. It will be entertaining for a year or two. On the inside line Danny Way is out with Knee injury and there aren’t enough mega ramps for people to really dial in tech tricks. Burnquest has a mega ramp in his backyard…gee who do you think will win. Oddly enough in an interview with Andy Macdonald five years ago he predicted this was the future of skateboaridng after doing the long jump on the first huckjam set up. I wish he had told me to buy Google at $114.
5. Omar Hassan — All terrain slayer, enough said. (Odds 20/1)
4. Bucky Lasek — Again…if that knee stay healthy (Odds 18/3)
3. Jake Brown — Australians never do anything crazy (Odds 18/1)
2. Andy Macdonald — Andy has this weird consistency on mega ramp and is strangely comfortable up there. (odds 5/1)
1. Bob Burnquist — He has a f*cking mega ramp in his backyard and Danny Way is out. Done deal
There are several others here worth mentioning. I don’t know any of the women skaters all that well besides knowing worst day of skating they rip harder than I do on my best. I see Mimi Knoop or Cara Beth taking vert. I see Laura Perkins or Vanessa Torres taking street. On the vert am side … there are am’s skating vert? Yeah, I guess you can scrape enough kids out of the Encinitas Y to have a comp. So bottom line is expect to see the same faces win the same competitions. The X Games is a weird entity in the world of skateboarding and if this year is any indicator … it will only continue to get weirder.