This Week in Betting, A to Z
by Trevor Whenham - 04/02/2007
A - Amazing. The Yankees go into the season with a $193.7 million payroll, and yet they don't have anything even remotely resembling a dominant rotation. How is that possible? How does the brain trust let that happen? Didn't they learn from last year? I'm glad I hate this team.
B - Boring. I'm not normally one to complain, but those sure weren't very exciting college basketball games this weekend. They can't all be gems, but the tournament had been so good so far that is was disappointing that both semifinal games were so one-sided down the stretch.
C - Caron Butler. Gilbert Arenas gets all the attention for the Wizards, but Butler is an All-Star, too, and he is tremendously valuable. That means that the broken hand he suffered Sunday night is very bad news for Washington as they head into the playoffs. He's likely out for the rest of the year.
D - Devil. Barry Bonds, Satan himself, hit home runs in his last two at bats in spring training. That gives him 7 in 18 spring games, which is a 63-homer pace on a full season. In other words, it will take divine intervention to stop him from getting his 22 home runs and the record. How will the Giants react to the distraction?
E - Endless. I know Lance Briggs is a good player and all, but this drama has to end. The Bears want him, they don't want him. He's been traded, he's not been traded. He wants out, he wants to stay. Just pick a team and go away Lance. You're only a linebacker, after all.
F - Flames. Here's a plug for my hometown team. After looking pretty dull for most of the season, the Calgary Flames have found their stride down the stretch. They have been absolutely brutal on the road, but they have won their last four away from the Saddledome and look to be in solid shape heading into the playoffs. They'll be worth a look at the right price.
G - Glavine, Tom. The veteran ace started the season off right with an easy win for his 291st victory. He's such an intense and driven player that I think that the chase for 300 will elevate his game and give him a better chance to win each time out. Of course, it could also increase public attention and drain his games of betting value.
H - Harvey "Scooter" McDougle Jr. McDougle is a senior football player from the University of Toledo that no one had ever heard of until this week. He got busted for allegedly recruiting players for point shaving schemes. Here's hoping that this doesn't blow up into a major scandal - sports bettors have been persecuted enough by government and public opinion recently.
I - Invasor. If there was any doubt before this weekend who was the best horse in the world there isn't any more. Invasor was clearly the best horse in the Dubai World Cup, the world's richest race. In the last six months he has won the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic and the $6 million race this weekend. That's David Beckham-type money.
J - Jorge Garbajosa. The Raptors center's ankle injury is one of the more disturbing things I have witnessed this year. He's out for the year and probably longer. He's been playing so well that one could assume that the team would be in trouble without him, yet they are 3-0 ATS since it happened.
K - Kentucky. Watching the Kentucky coaching search is going to be very interesting. Not only will the hiring have a huge impact on the SEC, but it will have a giant ripple effect that could see many schools end up with new coaches. It will take a really brave or a really stupid man to take that job. If Billy Donovan takes the job he is an absolute moron.
L - Lowery, Chris. The coach of Southern Illinois got some national attention with his tournament showing, but despite interest from several programs he's staying with the Salukis. He signed a seven-year extension. That means virtually nothing in sports these days, but at least he's out of the running for the open jobs out there this year.
M - Mess. If an ownership soap opera can affect the way a team performs on the field then the Yankees could be in trouble. Steinbrenner's chosen successor was his son in law, but he didn't play well with his wife, and now he's divorced and out of a job. This chaos will be fun to watch.
N - Non-event. It was disappointing that the showdown of seven-foot giants was a letdown when both Greg Oden and Roy Hibbert got into early foul trouble, which limited their effectiveness. Hibbert was especially disappointing - hey, Roy, you really need to move your feet, big guy.
O - Opening night. The good news is that baseball got started on Sunday night. Let the good times roll. The bad news is that the game wasn't very good.
P - Phoenix Suns. Steve Nash and the boys made things very interesting by beating the Mavs again on Sunday. I have absolutely no idea who will win the series if and when those two teams meet in the playoffs, but I know it is going to be one of the best playoff series ever played. Both teams are almost perfect on offense.
Q - Quite amazing. I know it doesn't really belong here because you can't really bet on it, but Pat Summitt deserves some serious respect. She led her Lady Vols to their 17th Final Four. 17!!! That's almost Wooden-esque. She's only 55, so she has lots of wins in her yet.
R - Renewal. Some college football programs are getting a fresh start with the beginning of spring practices. The Nick Saban era is underway in Alabama, Louisville is learning to live without Bobby Petrino, and the Tim Tebow-era is in full force in Florida.
S - Scat Daddy. The Triple Crown trail has gone to the next level with the first of the major preps, the Florida Derby, now in the books. Todd Pletcher's Scat Daddy was extremely impressive to win the race that Barbaro won last year and vault himself to the top of the class. His jockey, Edgar Prado, won six races on the card on Saturday, so he's in Derby form as well.
T - Third time a charm? Ohio State and Florida met on the basketball court in December. Florida crushed the life out of the Buckeyes. They met a couple weeks later on the football field. The Gators crushed the Buckeyes again. Can Ohio State get their act together this time, or will history keep repeating itself?
U - UCLA. If I was a Bruins' fan I'd be a bit concerned. Two years in a row they have played the Gators, two years in a row they have played virtually the same game, and two years in a row they haven't been nearly good enough. Ben Howland is viewed as a god nationally, but he clearly still has some work to do.
V - V-i-r-g-i-n-i-a, West. I write the name of that state as a public service for whoever printed the NIT championship shirts given to the team. The moron forgot the third i in Virginia. It's a wonder that no one noticed until it was too late. It's also a wonder that Mountaineers' coach John Beilein hasn't been hired away yet. He's worth it even if his new team has to pay the $2.5 million buyout to get him. Come one Michigan, do something right for once.
W - Wade, Dwyane. Miami's mega-star is returning to practice on Monday after missing six weeks with a dislocated shoulder. He says he's well healed, but how well the joint holds up will determine how his team will do in the playoffs and, really, if the Eastern Conference will have any suspense at all. I'm not willing to bet that he returns well.
X - Xavier. This may be the last time that I get to talk about my adopted Musketeers for a while. After all but the championship game has been played, I have to say that Xavier's game against Ohio State was the gem of the tournament. Ridiculous drama and heartbreak.
Y - Yikes. With both Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez starting the season on injured reserve, and Roger Clemens pulling his diva act and sitting out the first few months, the league is suddenly short of surefire Hall of Fame pitchers. Greg Maddux has to represent until the other old guys get healthy.
Z - Zambrano, Carlos. It sounds like Zambrano is going to get the five-year extension he has been begging for. He'd threatened to pout if he didn't get it by opening day, so it remains to be seen how he responds now that he has nothing to complain about. Now he'll be an overrated and overpaid pitcher instead of just overrated.