This Week in Betting, A to Z
by Trevor Whenham - 12/04/2006
Each week Doc's Sports will take a look at the sports betting world in an A-Z format.
A - Anderson, Derek. Be honest - could you have named Cleveland's backup QB before last Sunday? Anderson may have been an anonymous player on an anonymous team, but he announced himself when he entered the game in relief of the injured Charlie Frye. His team was down by 14, so he led two touchdown drives in the last nine minutes, and then set up the winning field goal in overtime with an impressive scramble. Quarterback controversy?
B - BCS. As a diehard Michigan fan, this is not my favorite topic these days. We got screwed, and nothing you can say will change my mind. On the plus side, the national title game just became very easy to handicap. Ohio State is a bargain at anything less than two touchdowns.
C - Cowboys. Tony Romo looked mortal for the first time, the offense struggled at times, and the Giants looked better on offense than they have in a while, yet Dallas still managed to win, and to cover if you shopped hard enough for the right line. The way they are playing right now, there are few teams in the NFC, if any, that will present much of a challenge in the playoffs.
D - Dallas Mavericks. They started 0-4, and it looked like they had troubles. But then they won 12 games in a row, and covered in 10 of the 12. Every team wishes that they had those kinds of troubles. No team in sports is hotter.
E - Eastern Washington Eagles. Remember the name Rodney Stuckey. The guard is averaging almost 28 points a game for the Eagles, helping his team go over (way, way over) in every game they have played so far.
F - Fresno State. The Bulldogs failed to cover this weekend. What else is new? During the team's dismal 4-8 season, they managed to cover the spread just once. They failed to cover as favorites six times, including four outright losses. The low point was a loss to Utah State as 25-point favorites.
G - Grossman, Rex. Just when you thought a guy couldn't get any worse. 6-of-19 for 34 yards and three interceptions is so bad it's almost unbelievable. That's a quarterback rating of 1.3. I think I could get a rating of at least 2, and I've never been mistaken for an athlete.
H - Hype. It was only one game, but Greg Oden lived up to it. The freshman superstar played his first game for Ohio State on Saturday. His hand was still in a brace, and he was obviously rusty, but he was an absolute beast. He scored, rebounded, and blocked shots at will. When he gets healthy and in playing shape then Ohio State should cruise to a Big Ten title.
I - Insignificant. That's what home field advantage was this Sunday in the NFL. Eight of 14 home teams lost outright, including three favorites. Overall, it was another week for the underdogs, with eight covering in the first 15 games (one of which was a push).
J - Jokes. Some things this week were so bad they were funny - Georgia Tech's offense, Chris Leak as an option quarterback, Mathias Kiwanuka's ball handling skills, the new NFL referee cold weather uniforms, Fox's BCS show.
K - Kansas Jayhawks. How is it possible that the same team can beat Florida and then lose to both Oral Roberts and DePaul over a two-week period? It seems like they are just setting themselves up for their standard first round tournament loss.
L - Lackadaisical. The effort put forth by the St. Louis Rams. They looked quite good at the beginning of the year, but they have totally disappeared in recent weeks. It's hard to imagine that they'll be worth a bet for the rest of the season.
M - Manning. It was a bad weekend to be a member of football's royal family. Both of their teams lost, and neither QB looked particularly swell. The two players have only covered once in eight tries over the last four weeks.
N - Nevada. The Wolf Pack have been a trendy pick on tournament brackets for a few years, and they look like they will be again this year. They are led by forward Nick Fazekas, averaging 22.6 points and 12.7 rebounds, and they are 4-1 ATS.
O - Oakland. How bad are the Raiders? Houston managed only 161 yards of total offense, including just 32 in the air, and they beat Oakland by nine points.
P - Prime time. What Jay Cutler isn't quite ready for. His first game wasn't a disaster, but he looked much more like a raw rookie than the savior he was supposed to be. He passed for 143 yards, but half of that came on one pass, and receiver Brandon Marshall did most the work, breaking three tackles on the way to the end zone. Cutler will get there, but he won't be worth betting my money on for a while.
Q - Quarles, Shelton. The only active NFL player with a last name starting with Q. He missed Tampa's game this week with a knee injury. There's nothing noteworthy to say. It's just really hard to come up with things that start with Q.
R - Red Zone. The Dolphins should spend their entire practice time this week working on punching the ball into the end zone. They had first downs inside the ten twice and came away with nothing either time. Nick Saban will be doing a lot of screaming.
S - Suicide. That's what Trojans' players must be contemplating after laying a gigantic egg in what should have been a simple, and absolutely crucial, game against UCLA. If they do kill themselves, Florida will send the biggest bouquet to the funeral.
T - Turkey Hangover. Of the six NFL teams that played their last game on Thanksgiving day, only one, Detroit, covered this week, and only Dallas won straight up. Maybe the extra few days of rest isn't a good thing. Will Cincinnati and Baltimore have the same problem next week?
U - Upsets. They're the norm in college basketball this season. Florida lost to Florida State. Kansas loses to everyone not in the top 25. Marquette lost to North Dakota State. There is some serious money to be made betting the underdog morning lines if you pick the right ones.
V - Vick, Michael. He had a 'good' day, and his team won by 10. I still can't make myself believe in a quarterback whose good days are 50 percent passing, 122 yards, and two touchdowns. It's not a wonder that trade rumors are popping up. If he gave Raiders' fans the finger he wouldn't make it out of the stadium alive.
W - Withdrawal. What I am likely to suffer from with no college football for the next two weekends. I only have to make it until Dec. 19 and the Poinsettia Bowl. I'm counting the seconds.
X - eXplosion. Reggie Bush had one of the offensive variety this week. He had two touchdowns in his career until now, and he got four on Sunday. Most impressive was his receiving impact, with well over 100 yards and a touchdown. When Marques Colston returns to the lineup, the Saints could be even more dangerous offensively than they already are.
Y - Young, Vince. Two weeks ago I thought this guy should have stayed in college for another year. Oops. Twice in a row he has led his team back from big deficits, and he has looked like a seasoned veteran doing it. Tennessee is already a good bet, and they are going to be a good team next year.
Z - Zero. The number of things that Tampa Bay fans have to feel good about after their team's game against Pittsburgh. Bruce Gradkowski was terrible, they couldn't run, they couldn't contain the pass rush. The Bucs had the look of a team ready to mail in the rest of the season.