Two of the biggest names and most well-respected leaders in sports are gone for 2012 (and maybe beyond).
But that’s just about where the similarities end between Ray Lewis’ Ravens and Derek Jeter’s Yankees. The Ravens are still 5-1, tied with Houston for the best record in the AFC, and leading their division by two games. The Yankees, on the other hand, are 0-2 in the ALCS and facing three straight games in Detroit.
A look at how recent developments have impacted future wagers (all odds at Sportsbook.ag):
World Series Odds
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Detroit Tigers (-110) – The Tigers are still two wins away from even reaching the Fall Classic, yet they are already less than even money to win it. That’s how dominant they look right now. Detroit has the best hitter in the game (Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown), arguably the best pitcher in the game (Justin Verlander) and a Hall of Fame manager who has been to the World Series twice and has won it once (Jim Leyland).
St. Louis Cardinals (+250) – Last year’s World Series saw the Cardinals come back from being a strike down to beat the Rangers in seven games. In this year’s NLDS they were one strike away from elimination on five different pitches. But the Cards delivered another miracle and overcame Washington. No wonder the oddsmakers aren’t counting these guys out.
San Francisco Giants (+350) – Karma was a bitch to St. Louis in Game 2 on Sunday. After Matt Holliday slide-tackled Marco Scutaro, San Fran’s injured shortstop answered with a rally-starting, two-run single before leaving the game. “We played with a little more edge after that,” said Aubrey Huff. “It fires a team up,” assured Hunter Pence. “I’ll die for my teammate,” added Angel Pagan. Yep, it’s safe to say the rest of the NLCS may be worth watching.
New York Yankees (+1200) – They’re old. They’re hurt. They can’t hit. They can’t get any calls. They aren’t selling out playoff games. They’re getting mocked by the fans who actually bother to show up. As if that isn’t enough on their plate, the Yankees have to beat Verlander, of all people, to prevent falling behind 3-0 (NYY is a +160 underdog in Game 3 tonight).
NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship
Denny Hamlin (+150) – Hamlin is in third place right now, 15 points back of Brad Keselowski. But he’s favored to win it because he’s been on fire of late. Hamlin has three wins in his last eight starts and three Top 10s in his last four.
Jimmie Johnson (+180) – Johnson has won this thing five times (in succession from 2006 to 2010). It’s probably not a great idea to bet against a championship racer like Johnson when he’s within seven points of the lead with five races to go.
Brad Keselowski (+225) – Keselowski is at the top for the time being, but oddsmakers don’t think he can hold on in his second time in the Chase…. As for the rest of the field, nobody else is in the same stratosphere. Clint Bowyer, who won in Charlotte last Sunday, is fourth at +1800 to take the title.
Geno Smith (-250) – Rarely can the leader of a team stay anywhere near the Heisman race after coming out on the losing end of a 49-14 blowout. But Geno is still leading the race, because—in the words of one of ESPN’s many daily shows—“numbers never lie.” Geno, who was interception-free in the loss to Texas Tech, has completed 195-of-259 passes for 2,271 yards with 25 touchdowns and no picks.
Braxton Miller (+600) – Miller will never be on par with Smith in the stat department, but he will be in the thick of things as long as Ohio State stays undefeated. The sophomore QB continued to get the job done with both his arm and his feat as the Buckeyes improved to 7-0 with a shootout win over Indiana. They are 18-point home faves over Purdue on Saturday.
Collin Klein (+600) – Speaking of duel threats, Klein has passed and ran his way into the Heisman discussion. Kansas State’s senior signal-caller has seven TDs through the air (with just two interceptions) and 10 more on the ground. Saturday’s showdown between WVU and K-State is big in the SEC race, but that much bigger in the Heisman race (Klein’s Wildcats are a +3 underdog).
Super Bowl odds (all odds here provided by Sportsbook.ag)
Texans (+450) – Houston is still the favorite, but not on its own accord. Just about everyone else lost last Sunday, too. One more performance like they gave on national television vs. Green Bay, however, will have the Texans tumbling.
49ers (+500) – The oddsmakers must be assuming that San Francisco won’t have to face the Giants in its path to the Super Bowl. After losing to New York in last season’s NFC Championship, they lost to them in much, much worse fashion at home in Week 6.
Patriots (+500) – Russell Wilson already had one dramatic game-winning, fourth-quarter touchdown pass this season. He had another one last Sunday. The sad thing for New England is that the latest Wilson miracle was actually legit.
Falcons (+700) – Of the top four Super Bowl favorites heading into Week 6, only the Falcons won. But they were similarly unimpressive, needing a 55-yard Matt Bryant field goal to beat Oakland in the final seconds at home.
Ravens (+900) – Never has a team with a 5-1 record felt so miserable.
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