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This Week in Sports Betting, A-Z
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 11/23/2011

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Anna Kournikova

You can bid on a one-hour tennis lesson for three people with Anna Kournikova in Miami, Florida. Kournikova obviously is not exactly best known for her tennis ability, so I doubt the guy who wins this auction is going to South Beach to work on his backhand. But before you get too excited about the prospects of serving to Anna, the auction was at $5,500 with a week left. The auction, for charity, is anticipated to top $10,000.

B – Backyard Brawl. In perhaps the final Backyard Brawl ever, Pitt (5-5) travels to Morgantown, West Virginia on Friday night to face West Virginia (7-3) and a liquored up crowd that will collectively probably begin drinking sometime Thursday afternoon. The Mountaineers are 6.5-point favorites, according to college football odds at most books. The game is a complete sellout, and both Pitt fans are expected to attend. The game was moved from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. to give Mountaineer fans more time for tailgating and give both Pitt fans enough time to finish shopping for door busters on Black Friday.

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C – Crosby, Sidney. Sports media descended on Pittsburgh on Monday for the return of Sidney Crosby to the ice after being out of commission for the last 10 months. It was a pretty big deal for ESPN and other outlets to cover the return considering Crosby doesn’t play football. Sidney scored two goals on Monday and everyone made a big deal about it.  It took him until the 21st game of the season to get his first goal, I don’t see what the big deal is.

D – Drug Testing. With MLB rolling out HGH drug tests, Bodog rolled out corresponding prop bets . You can wager on the first position to test positive for HGH, pitcher (‘even’), outfielder (+175) and infielder (+325). The ‘over/under’ for first positive test is June 1.

E – ESPN Announcer. Joe “The BCS Buster” Tessitore is calling the Virginia Tech/Virginia tilt this week and the Hokies should be on upset alert. Tessitore called the Friday night stunner when Iowa State, a 26.5-point underdog, shocked No. 2 Oklahoma State, 37-31. On Saturday he turned around, went to Waco, Texas and called 17-point underdog Baylor’s 45-38 upset of No. 5 Oklahoma. On Saturday Tessitore will be in the booth when No. 4 Virginia Tech travels to No. 25 Virginia. The Cavaliers are five-point underdogs. Tessitore could be the college football equivalent of Gus Johnson, just minus the yelling.

F – Fat. The fallout from the Humpdashian divorce continues. US Weekly now reports that Kris Humphries would put Kim Kardashian down in public a number of times. Humphries would call her fat in public and say she had no talent and her fame wouldn’t last. Basically, that’s what everyone else says about Kim K.

G – Giants. For the second consecutive season the Philadelphia Eagles all but dashed the New York Giants Super Bowl hopes. After a demoralizing 17-10 defeat to the Eagles at home on Sunday Night Football the G-men fell from 20/1 odds to win the Super Bowl to 40/1.

H – Hulk Hogan. Hulk Hogan is wishing he had a prenup right about now. Hulk Hogan, aka Terry Bollea, was taken to the woodshed by ex-wife Linda Bollea, who divorced Hogan in 2009. Linda received a little more than 70 percent of the couple’s liquid assets. Linda received $7.44 million of the couple’s $10.41 million with Hogan getting to keep the balance. No wonder Hogan is back in the ring fighting.

I – Indianapolis Colts. As unlikely as it seems that the Indianapolis Colts will ever win another game, the NFL odds say otherwise. The Colts are -240 to win at least one game this season and +200 to go a perfect 0-16. This week at home the Colts are 3.5-point underdogs against the Panthers. After that it gets dicey with road trips to New England and Baltimore where the Colts may get beat by 100 points each game. Then there are home dates against Tennessee and Houston and a season-ending road trip to Jacksonville. There are no one-win teams, so the Colts have a two-game cushion in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. They can win one game and still breathe easy.

J – Jim, John and Joani. There is plenty of buildup for the Thanksgiving night showdown between Jim and John Harbaugh. But there is another Harbaugh out there, a lesser known one obviously. Youngest sister Joani is married to Indiana men’s basketball coach Tom Crean.

K – Kyle Orton. Kyle “The Neck Beard” Orton has been cut loose by the Denver Broncos. This may seem like the Broncos are doing the Bears, Chiefs or Texans a favor until you look at Orton play. Orton went 3-10 last season and has a career 79.6 passer rating.

L – Los Angeles Clippers. Nov. 23, 2011 marked the latest point in the season that the Los Angeles Clippers were tied for first place.

M – Miguel vs. Margarito. Miguel Angel “Junito” Cotto (-225) will face Antonio Margarito (+175) Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden with the WBA Super World Light Middleweight Championship hanging in the balance. If you are looking for one reason to watch this fight, the total for rounds is 10.5, which is rare considering how many totals are 11.5. So we may actually get to see a knockout instead of a decision.

O – Oddsmakers. Through 160 games and 11 weeks of the season the NFL MVP appears to be the oddsmakers. They have been on point, unlike so many NFL teams. NFL favorites are 77-76-7 ATS, home teams are 76-77-7 ATS and there have been 80 ‘overs’ compared to 78 ‘unders’.

P – Pittsburgh Penguins. The return of Sidney Crosby to the ice corresponded with the Pittsburgh Penguins shooting to the top of Stanley Cup odds at 13/2 on Bodog ahead of the Washington Capitals (7/1), Chicago Blackhawks (9/1), Philadelphia Flyers (9/1) and San Jose Sharks (9/1).

Q - Questioning Quarterback. The annual football tradition of questioning Jay Cutler’s toughness is upon us. With the Chicago Bears starting to look like a legit playoff contender, Cutler promptly announced that his thumb hurt and his regular-season was likely over. Enter Caleb Hanie, who is trying to be the first guy named Caleb to do anything right. The Bears Super Bowl odds quickly dropped from +2500 to +3500 and they went from a one-point favorite at Oakland in Week 12 to a 3.5-point underdog.

R – Rice, Jerry. Jerry Rice made an appearance on Mike and Mike in the morning on ESPN Radio on Wednesday and he took a few shots at his former team, the 49ers, and at Tim Tebow. When talking about Aaron Rodgers, Rice says he can’t believe he got away from the 49ers and that they should have drafted him. Instead they drafted Alex Smith, who has led them to a 9-1 record this season. And then when asked if he could envision being a receiver with Tim Tebow at quarterback he said “no” because Tebow’s down-field passing is “torrible” which I believe is a cross between horrible and terrible.

S - Scalpers. Ticket scalpers will be working overtime this Thanksgiving, and thanks to the some quality NFL matchups they will likely be getting paid overtime wages. According to NFL ticket exchange the average resale prices of the Thanksgiving Day games are all over $200, Packers/Lions ($213), Dolphins/Cowboys ($222) and 49ers/Ravens ($213).

T – Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving slate of football games is arguably the best of all time. After years of having to put up with the Detroit Lions, fans will now a legit reason to abandon family and devour leftovers and football all day Thursday. For the first time since 1998 all teams playing on Thursday won in Week 11. The slate of games is so good we can even ignore the fact that Matt Moore is the quarterback in one of the games. Green Bay (-6) visits Detroit, Dallas (-7) hosts Miami and the Harbaugh Bowl caps the night when Baltimore (-3.5) hosts San Francisco.

U – Unconventional robbery. The 51-year old man who broke into the home of Kenny Williams decided to drink beer, eat a frozen pizza, surf the Internet, lay in bed, jack some of Kenny’s clothes and his 2005 World Series ring, and, best of all, defrost a lobster. You can’t make this stuff up.

V – Vegas Killers. The Honolulu Police Department is looking into alleged point-shaving by Hawaii football players, although they announced there is not enough information. Not enough information? Look at the second half of the Utah State game. Hawaii (5-3) was leading 28-7 at halftime against the Aggies (2-5) and lost 35-31! When Hawaii played at UNLV the moneyline on the Running Rebels was +1600, but that dropped to +700 around kickoff. The Rebels, of course, played their best game of the season in a 40-20 home rout.

W – West. The SEC West boasts the top three teams in the entire country, No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Arkansas. In other words, the SEC West is better than the NFC West in 2010 and the AFC West this season.

X – xxxBibiJones. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been on the tear the last four games. He is now the second-leading receiver in the AFC. BusinessInsider.com is now reporting that Gronkowski’s surge over the last four weeks (five TDs, 101 receiver yards per game, 6.75 catches per game) is directly related to Bibi Jones (Twitter: xxxBibiJones). Gronkowski and Jones began hanging out after Week 7. Rob Gronkowski got better at football because he hung out with a porn star.”

Y – Yale. On Tuesday sharp action came down hard on Yale, who was visiting Seton Hall in a strange college basketball nonconference tilt. The Yale line dropped from +11 late Monday night to 8.5-points by tipoff. Yale led the game for most of the first half, but Seton Hall rallied and won by, you guessed it, 11. Many bettors on Tuesday remembered why they never wager on Ivy League teams now.

Z – Zero. This is the number of houses in Cincinnati that will be able to watch the Bengals host the Browns this Sunday. The Bengals announced that the game this week is blacked out because not enough people want to watch the two teams play football. Nobody within a 75-mile radius of Cincinnati, that includes Dayton and Lexington, Kentucky, will be able to watch the game, which is likely a public service. This will be the eighth of their last nine games to be blacked out. Only the Pittsburgh Steelers game was not blacked out because Steeler fans bought all the tickets.

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