This Week in Sports Betting, A-Z
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 11/18/2010
A – Andrew Bynum. The injured Los Angeles Lakers center was recently cited for driving 110 MPH in a 55 MPH zone in his customized 2010 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. Driving more than 100 is usually enough to land a driver in prison, but officers declined to arrest Bynum because traffic was light and he was not weaving in and out of lanes (the fact that he is a Laker probably didn’t hurt, either).
B – Balotelli, Mario. The Italian footballer that currently plays for Manchester City pulled off one of the greatest dumps in sports dating history. Balotelli dumped his girlfriend, Italian television host Melissa Castagnoli, via text message. But wait, it gets better. He sent the text right before Castagnoli was set to go on air. Castagnoli decided to roll with the punches and read the text on the air.
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C – Coco Crisp. While most athletes are taking to Twitter nowadays, Coco Crisp continues to keep it real on Craigslist. The Oakland outfielder took out an ad looking for a “personal assistant.” The job pays $40,000 but you have to be a female, which seems an odd requirement considering Crisp is married. The official posting reveals his Christian name along with the job description. “Hi. My name is Covelli Crisp (Coco Crisp). I am a professional baseball player. Looking for a live-in personal assistant (Female) that can help simplify my life.” For some reason I do not think we’ve heard the last of this bizarre tale.
D – Divorce. Celebrity divorces are nothing new, but the recent rumors swirling around Tony Parker and Eva Longoria’s marriage have caught many by surprise. The on-again off-again divorce appears to be official as of Wednesday, with the 35-year old Longoria filing papers asking for a separation from the 28-year San Antonio Spur. Longoria cited irreconcilable differences, but reports indicate it was the hundreds of text messages she found on Parker’s phone to another woman that sent the Desperate Housewife over the edge. The couple had been married since 2007. The latest rumors also name Parker’s side piece as none other than former teammate Brent Barry’s wife, Erin Barry.
E – Engagements. It’s been a busy week of engagements in pro sports with Chad Ochocinco tying the knot with a 10-carat engagement ring to his girlfriend of four months Evelyn Lozada. Former San Francisco and Yale tight end Eric Johnson was engaged to Jessica Simpson. Now that his “Dancing with the Stars” career is over former Laker Rick Fox says he is discussing marriage with long-time girlfriend Eliza Dushku. And lastly, Golden State Warriors forward David Lee recently announced his engagement to blonde Sabina Gadecki, model and host of World Poker Tour on the Travel Channel.
F – Fake Injuries. The California Golden Bears came within a few plays of a potential earth-shattering upset on Saturday against the No. 1-ranked Oregon Ducks. Their strategy? Fake injuries. Sources within the football organization confirmed that the fake injuries were a part of the game plan to somehow slow down the high-octane Ducks offense. Coach Jeff Tedford denies this, but watch the highlights closely.
G – Giants fans brawling. During an embarrassing blowout loss to the two-touchdown underdog Dallas Cowboys at home, a full-fledged donnybrook broke out in the cheap seats at new Meadowlands Stadium. The entire brawl caught on film by a couple intrepid camera-phone toting amateur videographers showcases a bloody melee involving over a dozen fans including a few shirtless perpetrators. The fight happened while the lights went out at the stadium. Giants fans wish they never turned them back on.
H – Hail Mary. Not only did the Jaguars/Texans game end with a dramatic unexpected accidental Hail Mary, but none other than commentator extraordinaire Gus Johnson was on hand to call it and ESPN columnist extraordinaire Bill Simmons actually predicted it before the game. Here is what Simmons said, “If Gus Johnson is calling an NFL game, the odds quintuple that….someone will complete a long pass in a big moment that will make Gus’ voice hit an octave only dogs can hear.” And here is how it happened from the mouth of Johnson, “Garrard, steps up, fires, Mike Sims-Walker! Knocked down…Ohhhh, he caught it, unbelievable! Mike Thomas! Touchdown Jags! Ballgame! 50 yards! Woooooahhhh!”
I – Illinois vs. Northwestern. There are a lot of college football fans you could not pay to watch the Big Ten clash between Illinois and Northwestern. Luckily, some genius decided to play the game at legendary Wrigley Field. This makes the game instantly watchable for a number of reasons. You have the historic ballpark, you have sweeping city views of Chicago, you have a fieldgoal post that will be built into the ivy-covered outfield walls, and you have the potential for YouTube worthy collisions between players and said outfield walls as there are literally just inches separating the back of the endzone and potential destruction. And if you needed further reason to watch the game, Illinois is favored by eight against the No. 25-ranked Wildcats and the total is 49.
J – Jeopardy. We know “Jeopardy” is not a sports trivia contest, but come on. In a recent college edition of the show host Alex Trebek gave this answer… “Though he didn’t play organized hoops until the ninth grade, this Spurs center is a three-time NBA Finals MVP.” The correct response is obviously Tim Duncan, but the first contestant chimed in simply saying Parker. We are left to believe she meant Tony Parker, but we cannot be entirely sure she did not mean Peter Parker. The next contestant, the only male on the panel, chimed in for the easy gimme, but he somehow came to the conclusion that it was Carmelo Anthony. And finally the final contestant thought better of it to answer and just kept her mouth shout to prevent loss of money, dignity and further embarrassment for the panel.
K – Kyle Kendrick. Along with all the engagements in the sporting world recently we also had a wedding with Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick marrying former Survivor contestant Stephenie LaGrossa. It is the second marriage for LaGrossa, who appeared on the CBS reality show Survivor in three different seasons.
L – Los Angeles Basketball. The Lakers and Clippers share the same arena and division, but the similarities stop there. The Lakers (9-2) and Clippers (1-10) are worlds apart in terms of results and talent. The Lakers at 2/1 are the favorite to win the NBA Finals while the Clippers at 250/1 are the third-biggest longshot.
M – Manny and Margarito. The much-hyped boxing showdown between Manny Pacquiao (-400) and Antonio Margarito (+200) ended up being a bloodbath that lasted all 10 rounds. Margarito was handled from the opening bell, and despite a broken eye socket, he refused to let his corner throw in the towel and he says he stands by that decision.
N – NCAA Basketball. The season started with a 24-hour basketball marathon watched by insomniacs, gamblers and gambling insomniacs. Now we head to tip-off tournaments this week ranging from Madison Square Garden to Maui and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The 2K Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Madison Square Garden featured No. 4-ranked Pitt, who is favored to win at +110. Final Four participants from the last two seasons, North Carolina and West Virginia, enter the Puerto Rico Tip-Off as favorites at 2/1 and Michigan State is a heavy favorite at 6/5 in a Maui Invitational Field that also features Kentucky (5/2), Washington (5/2) and UConn (10/1).
O – Oscars. The Academy Awards are still months away, but Bodog has recently posted odds for the main categories including Best Picture. “The King’s Speech” at 2/1 is the odds-on favorite to win the Oscar for Best Picture. The movie is a historical drama featuring Colin Firth playing King George VI. Other contenders include the “Social Network” (7/2), “Inception” (6/1), “Black Swan” (8/1) and “True Grit” (8/1).
P – Phelps, Michael. Last time tabloids reported on the Olympic hero, pot was in the air. Now it is love that is in the air. Phelps is reportedly dating Kim Kardashian-doppelganger Brittny Gastineau. If that last name sounds familiar then you probably watch sports too much. Brittny is the daughter of former Jets defensive end Mark Gastineau.
Q – Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. The former champ is scheduled to headline UFC 123 this Saturday at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Jackson will take on another former champ, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida who enters the headlining bout as a -280 favorite. Jackson is priced at +220 on Bodog. The two former light heavyweight champs headline the 11-fight card.
R – Rhino. Not just any Rhino, but rather The Albino Rhino. That is the nickname of Cleveland Browns runaway beer truck fullback Peyton Hillis. The former Arkansas Razorback and Denver Bronco has simply been truck sticking the entire NFL this season. The Albino Rhino is averaging 4.8 yards per carry this season. Hillis has 726 yards through nine games and eight touchdowns.
S – Steve Nash. There are plenty of divorces to hit upon in the world of sports, but arguably none are more bizarre than that of Nash and his wife Alejandra Amarilla. On Friday Amarilla gave birth to the couple’s third child, Matteo, but on Saturday they released a statement that they were getting a divorce after five years of marriage.
T – Todd Haley. After a thorough 49-29 beatdown as one-point favorites at the hands of the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley decided to take out some frustration on Broncos coach Josh McDaniels. Rather than shaking McDaniels’ hand after the game, Haley stood as far away as possible, and with all the cameras looking on he pointed his finger at McDaniels and sent out this cryptic message, “There’s a lot of shit been talked about you.” Nicely done, Todd.
U – Uggla, Dan. In one of those trades that would not fly in fantasy baseball, but is okay in Major League Baseball, the Florida Marlins sent all-time franchise home run leader Dan Uggla to the Braves for infielder Omar Infante and reliever Mike Dunn. The Marlins would not budge on their four-year contract offer to Uggla, who wanted a five-year deal. So they part ways with their best position player for a couple players we will likely never hear of again. Somehow Florida is still listed as 35/1 for the Marlins odds to win the World Series.
V – Vick. Before the Eagles/Redskins Monday Night Football clash, it was revealed that 33-year Donavan McNabb was awarded a five-year, $78 million contract extension. That made as much sense as not starting Eagles quarterback Michael Vick on your fantasy team. Vick, not the $78 million man McNabb, lit up the FedEx Field scoreboard to the tune of 333 passing yards, 80 rushing yards and six, yes six, total touchdowns.
W – WAC Streaker. Just when you thought WAC football games were unwatchable, along comes a shirtless streaker in the Fresno State-Nevada game to steal the show and remind us all why we love live TV and YouTube. The shirtless masquerader was not that entertaining with his dance moves on the 50-yard line, but when security pursued things got interesting. The streaker raced 40 yards, zigzagging all over the field until running smack dab into a flying clothesline from a security officer that knocked the streaker out and brought the sparse crowd to its feet.
X – Xtina. Christina Aguilera, aka Xtina, will the stage during the ‘Dancing with the Stars’ finale when the champion will be crowned. Aguilera will perform Tuesday Nov. 23, the same night one of three contestants will win DWTS Season 11. The final three include a pair of long shots in Bristol Palin (opening odds of 35/1) and Kyle Massey (opening odds of 30/1). Palin and Massey will be joined by heavy favorite Jennifer Grey (opening odds of 5/1). Another sports-related note on Xtina, her alma mater, North Allegheny High School in Wexford, Pa. will compete for a trip to Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, on Friday night in a District 7 high school football semifinal in Class AAAA, the largest classification in Pennsylvania.
Y – Yucky Badger. Bucky Badger became Yucky Badger after a torrential downpour of points and rain at Camp Randall Stadium during a recent Wisconsin blowout win. The combination of the 535 pushups required for co-mascots Sam Rhyan and Sam Albiero to perform left the Bucky Badger costume smelling funky. The pouring rain left the mascot suit waterlogged and smelling pretty much like death. While the Badgers are still ranked after their 83-20 win over Indiana, the mascot uniform smells rank.
Z – Zach Randolph. In the ‘what the heck was he thinking’ department, Memphis Grizzlies’ power forward Zach Randolph was quoted in a recent post-game press conference saying, “We just finished the whole game. We played the whole 42 minutes.” Not sure where the nine-year veteran came up with those numbers considering high school plays 32 minutes, college plays 40 minutes and the NBA plays 48 minutes.