It was not a good week — and a very short one — for Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. Their upset losses on Thursday mean they have almost an entire week break before suiting back up for the Honda Classic in Florida.
Speaking of breaks, the All-Star Game did not come at an opportune time for the hottest teams in the NBA. One, however, has maintained its momentum. Another appears to be doing quite the opposite. But the Clippers, Tiger, and Rory were not alone in their rough weeks (all odds provided by Sportsbook.ag unless otherwise indicated).
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Los Angeles Clippers. It looks like the all-star break could not have come at a worse time in Lob City. The Clippers had won four in a row, all by double-digits, to pull within 1.5 games of Oklahoma City for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference (which could be critical come time for the conference semifinals). Four days after Chris Paul earned All-Star Game MVP honors, however, L.A. stumbled out of the second-half gate and got clobbered at home by San Antonio, 116-90. The Clippers are +280 to win the West and +750 to win the NBA Championship.
Anyone betting against the Heat. The Heat also had no interest whatsoever in an all-star break. They had won seven straight and six of those seven by double-digits. Unlike the Clippers, however, Miami’s momentum certainly wasn’t halted by a five-day layoff. LeBron James and company came back out and won consecutive road games at Atlanta and Chicago by 13 points and 19 points, respectively. They are 6-0 against the spread in their last six overall and 4-0 ATS in their last four on the road, of which they have one more against Philadelphia on Saturday. The Heat are -240 to win the Eastern Conference and +140 to win it all. An on-fire LeBron is an overwhelming -800 to in NBA MVP.
Michigan State. The Spartans had won 17 in a row against Indiana at their own Breslin Center dating all the way back to 1991. That makes Tuesday’s 72-68 loss to Indiana a lot worse than it really is. In actuality, of course, it’s not bad at all. Michigan State was favored by just a single point, and the Hoosiers are ranked No. 1 in the nation. But the way it happened has to sting. Tom Izzo’s team had a 67-63 lead with fewer than two minutes remaining only to see Indiana go on a game-ending 9-2 run. Adding insult to injury is the fact that first place in the Big Ten was at stake; now the Hoosiers — not the Spartans — are up by one game in the conference. Indiana is a +400 favorite to win the National Championship while Michigan State is +800.
NFL bad boys. Alfonzo Dennard, coming off his rookie season in New England, was convicted this week of assaulting a police officer last year in Lincoln, Neb. According to sources, Dennard faces up to five years in prison for assault and up to a year for resisting arrest. Meanwhile, in New York, Bucs’ defensive end Da'Quan Bowers was arrested for having a gun in his luggage at LaGuardia Airport. I mean, NFL players have never been the sharpest tools in the shed…but how can you be that stupid? This is nowhere near as epic as other NFL airport incidents like Onterrio Smith with the Whizzinator and Michael Vick with the marijuana in a water bottle, but it may be even dumber. New England is a +500 favorite to win the Super Bowl and Tampa Bay is +6000.
Columbus Blue Jackets. Anyone who has to go up against the Chicago Blackhawks right now must be signing the blues. None is signing louder than the Blue Jackets. They have to face Chicago (13-0-3) not once, but twice in the next eight days. And that may not even be the worst of it. Columbus is 5-10-2 and in second to last in the entire NHL standings. The Jackets are +25000 to win the Western Conference, while the Blackhawks are +250 favorites to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Arizona weather. Are you kidding me? The golf world was supposed to descend this week on a balmy Arizona desert. It proved to be just that (in the 70s, temperature not score) for practice rounds on Tuesday at the World Match Play Championship. Less than 24 hours later, however, the entire course was covered in snow. First-round action was postponed a day, and it did not even finish on Thursday due to ice delays and ensuing darkness. Officials say the tournament is still on schedule for a Sunday finish. Luke Donald is a +900 favorite to win the title, and Ian Poulter is second at +1200 (odds provided by Bovada Sportsbook).
No. 1 seeds. Donald? Poulter? What the hell? Well, that’s what we are left with because No. 1 seeds and top two golfers in the world McIlroy and Tiger were unceremoniously bounced from the tournament in Round 1. McIlroy hit his golf ball all over the course while playing against someone named Shane Lowry, while Tiger delivered a solid round but ran into a red-hot Charles Howell III. Donald and Louis Oosthuizen are the last two No. 1 seeds remaining. Oosthuizen is +1600 to be the last man standing; CH3 is +3300 and Lowry is a +5000 longshot (Bovada).
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