This Week in Sports Betting, A-Z
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 9/14/2010
A – Arian Foster. He was undrafted out of Tennessee and probably undrafted in your fantasy football draft. Foster who has been cut once by Houston and spent most of a season on a practice squad, exploded for 231 yards and three touchdowns for the Texans in a romp over Indianapolis. Even the most fascist fantasy scoring system rewards a day like that.
B – BizNasty2point0. Twitter was created for Phoenix Coyotes winger Paul Bissonnette, I think. His tweets are absolutely priceless and if you are not following him, you should. Here are a few classics: “Hey guys, tip of da day. If u ever have a date over to ur pad, throw the planet earth dvd in. Its panty soup. Bating like .750 with dat move.”
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C – Clinton Portis. The NFL season is only a week old but we may already have our quote of the year. The Washington Redskins running back talking rambling on “The Mike Wise Radio Show” commented on female reporters in the NFL locker room. “And I mean, you put a woman and you give her a choice of 53 athletes, somebody got to be appealing to her. You know, somebody got to spark her interest, or she’s gonna want somebody. I don’t know what kind of woman won’t, if you get to go and look at 53 men’s packages.” (See “I” for more on this).
D – DUI. Two college football rivals were both picked up for matching DUIs this weekend. West Virginia cornerback Brandon Hogan was driving south on three-lane Spruce Street in downtown Morgantown around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. Only problem was all three lanes of Spruce Street are one way heading north. Not to be outdone, Pitt backup running back Jason Douglas landed himself in the police blotter after he struck a car driven by Christopher Paul (not the NBA point guard) and fled the scene. The accident occurred at East Carson Street and 22nd Street and Douglas was apprehended on 17th street. Douglas had been out celebrating a win over Division I-AA New Hampshire earlier in the day. His BAC was .178 and the police report indicates he pleaded with cops saying, “Hey, I play for Pitt football ... please don't arrest me." Both Hogan and Douglas have been suspended indefinitely from their respective teams. Douglas was driving a passenger, standout linebacker Dan Mason who is 19 and claims he was not drinking. Which of course begs the question, why was he not driving? The hits keep coming for Pitt (see G).
E – Eric Bledsoe. News has surfaced that former Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe’s high school grades may have been fudged to make him eligible in college where he stayed one year with coach John Calipari. His eligibility has been called into question and when it comes to Calipari coached teams, where there is smoke there is usually a raging ten-alarm fire. Calipari continues on his quest to reach three Final Fours with three different schools and have them all vacated. His teams at UMass and Memphis had to vacate their Final Four appearances and that looks to be the case again at Kentucky but only problem was the Wildcats were eliminated in the Elite Eight this past March.
F – F Squad. The first week of NFL Broadcasts is in the books and CBS and Fox have rolled out their revamped announcing lineups this season. We all know the A Squads on CBS (Jim Nantz with Phil Simms and Greg Gumble with Dan Dierdorf) and Fox (Joe Buck with Troy Aikman and sideline reporter Pam Oliver) but what is really interesting is the network’s F Squads. If these guys are calling your team’s games, that is bad news. The CBS F Squad is Spero Dedes (who?) and Randy Cross while Fox will dispatch Chris Rose and newly hired Kurt Warner to their least interesting game (to put it nicely) each week.
G – Greg Romeus. The preseason All-American and 2009 Big East co-defensive player of the year will undergo surgery to repair a disc in his lower back. Coach Dave Wannstedt said Romeus should return “for the conclusion of the season,” and of course one could argue without Romeus on defense the conclusion of the Pitt season is now.
H - Heath Cockburn. The two-year starter at right guard for the Furman football team makes the 2010 all-name team. He entered the season as Furman’s most experienced offensive lineman and obviously most recognizable. Thankfully for Cockburn, the Paladins (the what?) do not have last names printed on the back of their jerseys. His full name is Aaron Heath Cockburn. He is the son of Bruce Cockburn and Sherrie Cockburn. He has two siblings, Korde Cockburn and Ethan Cockburn.
I – Ines Sainz. The bombshell sports reporter for Mexico’s TV Azteca says she has felt uncomfortable around the New York Jets team after she was subjected to catcalls and whistles. Sainz was reporting on Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez, a Mexican-American. Along with the catcalls and whistles Sainz noticed errant footballs kept landing around her forcing players to come near her to retrieve them. Of course if anybody watched Sanchez Monday night it is obvious that those passes landing near the television reporters were probably by accident.
J – Jake, not Jerome and Joshua. If Cleveland wanted to get out of its funk and start the season on the right foot, most expected it to be done with the help of Jerome Harrison and Joshua Cribbs. Instead Harrison only got nine carries and one reception and Cribbs had three rushes and two receptions. On the road with a second-half lead at Tampa Bay as 2.5-point underdogs, the Brownies had Jake Delhomme throw 37 passes. He was 20-for-37 with two interceptions and Cleveland watched a 14-10 lead turn into a 17-14 loss on the road. Cleveland fans know how this movie ends.
K – Kristen Cavallari. The former “Hills” star and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler are officially an item. It became abundantly clear when Cavallari tweeted, “I’m gonna pee in my pants,” during the Bears/Lions nail-biter on Sunday. The two were spotted on Monday canoodling around New York for a lunch date. Cutler and the Bears now head to Dallas to take on Tony Romo and the Cowboys. Maybe Romo can pass on some advice to the distractions for an NFL quarterback dating a high-profiled girlfriend during the season.
L – LeBron James. James did not follow the Hurricanes from South Beach back to Ohio for the huge Saturday clash between the Hurricanes and Buckeyes in Columbus. The reason James refused was because of fear for his security. James felt he needed a full police escort but the university who only offered one security guard rebuked him. James decided not to take a chance, and one word comes to mind…standard.
M – Mariotti, Jay. Mariotti, an ESPN personality and outspoken sports critic, has officially been charged with seven misdemeanors in connection with an incident in August when he allegedly grabbed and shoved his girlfriend, which led to a domestic disturbance call. The charges include some phrases you never want to see in your police blotter, grand theft and false imprisonment. Mariotti and his lawyer contend that the alleged victim was highly intoxicated.
N – NL West. The best race in baseball keeps getting tighter. Through Monday the Padres cling to a half-game lead over San Francisco with the Rockies only 2.5 games back. The Padres are favored to win the division (+130 on BetUS). The Giants at +160 and the Rockies are +230 are far from long shots.
O – Ochocinco and Owens. Even the biggest critics of combining the outspoken wide receiver duo of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens did not see a demise of the divas happening this quick. After just one week the Bengals are 0-1 after a 38-24 thrashing at New England. In the final play of the first half when Carson Palmer heaved a Hail Mary, his two highest-paid receivers were nowhere to be found. After the game Owens simply said, “Coach will address that.” Marvin Lewis addressed it by saying, “He was just getting looked at, and that’s our business.” He then followed that with the creepiest smile in NFL Press Conference history. (For more on Ochocinco see W)
P –Point-Spread Pain. For everything bettors miss the NFL for they were reminded of just how painful the point spread could be. One of the most painful point spread defeats on Sunday had to be for Philadelphia Eagle backers. Trailing Green Bay 27-17 as four-point underdogs, Vick had a wide-open lane to run into the end zone from the Green Bay 7-yard line but instead he lofted a pass out of the back of the end zone. The Eagles had to settle for a field goal and a 7-point loss instead of a 3-point loss.
Q – Quarterback Controversy. The peak of all NFL drama comes with quarterback controversy and after Week One there are already a few brewing. Michael Vick was sensational for the Eagles but Andy Reid still says Kevin Kolb will play if healthy. Alex Smith was horrific for San Francisco but the 49ers next option is journeyman David Carr. To the surprise of no one Matt Moore was atrocious for Carolina throwing three picks and getting sacked four times and rookie Jimmy Clausen is waiting in the wings. Not exactly the sexiest quarterback controversies but controversies nonetheless.
R – Rainey, Chris. Apparently the junior Florida speedster is not just stalking opposing defenses. The 22-year old receiver/returner sent threatening text messages to a woman he had been dating on and off again for three years. He showed up at the woman’s house Monday at 11 p.m. and began calling and texting, “I’m here and I will bust out the window.” After talking to the victim, Rainey then texted, “Time to Die” at 12:22 a.m. That is when the police got involved. Rainey then told the victim, “Wait and see what happens when they leave.” Rainey was arrested at his residence, charged with aggravated stalking and spent a night in the Alachua County Jail. He was integral in the Gators win over South Florida but Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said on Tuesday, “Chris Rainey is not a part of our team right now.”
S – Sugar Ray. The No. 1 way to tell you are watching the UFL and not the NFL is that Sugar Ray is playing the halftime show of the season-opener. Sugar Ray, the 90s pop sensation, had their last single debut on the billboard charts in 2003. But this move makes perfect sense because isn’t the UFL all about bringing people back from the dead as they did by signing Maurice Clarett, Josh McCown and Jeff Garcia amongst others? Mark McGrath and the crew will play the highly unanticipated halftime show of the season opener between the Las Vegas Locomotives and the Florida Tuskers Saturday at UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium. Last season a reported 5,000 people showed up for the season opener. If the Locos can draw even half of that it will represent the biggest crowd Sugar Ray has played in front of since the 1998 VMAs.
T – Talent. According to the hit NBA reality show “America’s Got Talent,” this country is full of undiscovered talent and on Wednesday we will have a crowned winner with four semifinalists fighting for the top prize. Jackie Evancho, the 10-year old soprano from Pittsburgh is the odds-on favorite at 4/7, dance troop Fighting Gravity is listed at 7/4, outlandish tenor Prince Poppycock is 6/1 and American singer Michael Grimm is the underdog at 15/1. Odds are courtesy of Bodog.com.
U – U.S. Open. Rafael Nadal and Kim Clijsters emerged as winners of the 2010 U.S. Open this season but perhaps it was a foregone conclusion all along. Even an imprisoned rapper and a spider monkey from Staten Island knew who was going to win. Lil Wayne penned his predictions to Sports Illustrated before the tournament and he correctly predicted Nadal and Clijsters. Grandpa, a spider monkey at Staten Island Zoo, picked Nadal. The monkey picked Nadal by selecting his pitcher out of a lineup of four potential contenders.
V – Virginia Tech. Boise State cost Virginia Tech a shot at the national title in week one by beating them, and the Hokies returned the favor in week two by losing to Division I-AA James Madison. That may have crushed Boise State’s hopes of crashing the BCS National Championship party. The Hokies stunning loss at home basically nullified what will likely be Boise State’s only win of significance this season. Boise State’s odds to win the national championship peaked as high as 5/2 but have since fallen to 6/1 and worse.
W – WWE. Ochocinco was not on the field for the final Bengals play of the first half on Sunday against New England but he was in the squared circle Monday night in Cincinnati as a guest host of Monday Night RAW. Ochocinco feuded with former Real World personality, The Miz. Insults about the city of Cincinnati, the Bungles and 85 standing for 85 dropped passes were flung Ochocinco’s way. All in all it was an entertaining performance.
X – eXpired registration. Last week Ron Artest was found cruising around downtown Los Angeles in an oversized Eagle Roadster go-cart. The custom built car looks a lot like an Indy Car. It has the capability to reach 152 MPH. Artest was eventually pulled over but it had nothing to do with the car not being street legal or speeding but rather because the go-cart had an expired registration. If this was anybody else there would be a million more questions to ask but when Artest is involved nothing is surprising anymore.
Y – Yard. That is exactly where Sidney Crosby went in a recent trip to PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was an odd sight watching the NHL superstar wielding a bat at PNC Park in Pittsburgh this past weekend and crushing baseballs. Not because Crosby is known for his exploits on his ice, but because here was a Pittsburgh athlete excelling at PNC Park, the home of the abysmal Pittsburgh Pirates. Crosby, taking batting practice on a Wednesday afternoon, connected on a belt-high inside pitch and delivered a mammoth 370-foot home run to right field. Crosby became the latest visitor to go yard at PNC Park. A Pirate reliever reportedly threw the pitch. Crosby is now tied with Lastings Milledge for home runs hit at the park this year with one.
Z – Zebras. Decisions by the men in zebras were pivotal in Week 1 of the NFL, including two game-deciding calls. The Cowboys’ buzzer-beater touchdown at Washington was nullified by a holding call and the game ended instantly. The Bears were on the right side of a controversial call when officials ruled that Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson catch in the end zone was not really a catch. When the dust settled the Bears were 1-0 and the Cowboys were 0-1. Ironically enough the two teams meet this week in Dallas with the Cowboys being pegged as 9-point favorites.