This Week in Betting, A to Z
by Trevor Whenham - 04/30/2007
A - Amazing. What does Steve Nash do to make up for a disappointing loss? Goes out next time and dishes out a career-high 23 assists. That's two more than all of the Lakers combined had. Note to future Suns' playoff opponents - don't piss off Steve Nash.
B - Bargain. I didn't think I would ever say this, but the Washington Nationals are undervalued. Despite being a respectable 7-9 over their last 16, they are still being installed as massive underdogs every time out. You would be well ahead over that stretch by betting on them every time they play. They are playing fairly well, too. They beat the Mets once this weekend, lost the second in extra innings, came up short in a 1-0 pitchers duel which featured a stellar performance, again, by Jason Bergmann, and never looked out of place.
C - Chelokee. This horse, trained and owned by the same connections as Barbaro, will not be appearing in the Derby, and I'm very thankful for that. It's not that I didn't love Barbaro, or follow the story closely, but the media has already beat his story into submission, and Chelokee's presence in Louisville would have just been more fuel for the fire. It will be almost as bad if, as indicated, he heads to the Preakness.
D - Darius Walker. Unquestionably the winner of the biggest moron in college football award. The Notre Dame junior running back left early when everyone in the world was telling him not to, and then he went undrafted. Very solid decision making. Turns out it helps if you are actually a good player if you decide to go pro before you graduate. Enjoy the real world, Darius. And yes, I would like fries with that.
E - Expensive. I was glad to see several trades during the draft, but I was shocked by how expensive they were. Cleveland gave up a ton to move to number 22 to pick Brady Quinn, and San Francisco is betting heavily that Joe Staley is the answer at tackle that they are looking for. In the Niners' case the move could be a sign that they are pretty serious about wining, and that they figure they are ready now.
F - Furious. They were a lot of unhappy NASCAR fans on Sunday. With his 77th win, California pretty boy Jeff Gordon passed Dale Earnhardt, the hero to all, on the all-time victories list. Fans celebrated with Gordon by throwing trash, and whatever else they could get their hands on, at him.
G - Ginn Jr., Ted. The first thing the Ohio State speedster should do once he signs his contract is write Devin Hester a huge check. The impact Hester's kick returns had on the Bears is the only reason there is that can explain why Ginn went ninth. It certainly wasn't for his pass catching - there were several better receivers than him in the draft.
H - Heroic, hopeless efforts. A couple of basketball players put up efforts on the weekend unmatched by their teammates. Antawn Jamison scored 38 and added 11 boards as the Wizards lost to the Cavs. The rest of the starters combined for 45. Dwight Howard couldn't help the Magic avoid a sweep in the hands of the Pistons despite putting up 29 and 17. His fellow starters combined for 34 and 11. Turns out one-player teams don't win in the playoffs. Unless the team is Cleveland and the player is LeBron.
I - Inadequate. The Nuggets are so close to being able to beat the Spurs, but they just aren't quite there. If they are at their best then they are all the Spurs can handle. The problem, though, is that they can't always be at their best, and they just aren't good enough if they aren't firing on all cylinders. Iverson's heart may not be enough to get past San Antonio.
J - Jake Peavy. Man, do I feel bad for this guy. He struck out 16 in seven innings on Wednesday, including nine in a row. All of that was worthless, though, when he handed it to the usually dependable bullpen and Trevor Hoffman blew the save. Of concern to Padres followers: Hoffman went out and blew another one two days later.
K - King of clay. Rafael Nadal has a 72-game winning streak on clay going. It's not even close, either - he hasn't dropped a single set since Roger Federer won the first set at the French Open last year. Nadal would be totally owning the tennis world if it weren't for Federer. That guy is pretty good, too. Neither of them make it very hard to handicap their matches.
L - Lacking. Turns out that you can't take the only two all-stars off of a team and expect them to be competitive in the playoffs. It must be disappointing for the Wizards to have such a solid season go completely to waste at the end. At least it made picking the series winner easy.
M - Moss, Randy. I absolutely love this trade. The Pats have already been serious in the free agent market, and this makes them significantly better. The knock on Moss is that he's a trouble maker, but he's still in shape (he ran a 4.29 40 for the Pats), and he wasn't a problem when the Vikings were winning. He'll be so glad to escape Oakland that he'll do whatever he's asked. Look out Indy, here comes the Pats. Again.
N - Nowitzki, Dirk. Is it more surprising that the likely MVP and his team is getting trounced in the first round, or that Dirk doesn't appear able to do anything about it? To the shock of everyone who isn't a Golden State season ticket holder, the Warriors are outplaying the Mavs and they clearly want to win. Haven't the Mavs been aiming at this moment since they were knocked out last year? Maybe Dallas shouldn't have let Don Nelson go after all.
O - One day. That's all the break We get before the first mock drafts of next year start emerging and draft talk starts all over again. This whole draft thing is incredibly addictive - like reality TV with a prize worth way more than a million dollars. And fewer bikinis.
P - Painful. Obviously, not having Dwyane Wade at his best hurt, but it sure was painful watching the defending champs go down with barely a whimper against the Bulls. Chicago is good, but they aren't good enough to make Miami look that bad. I don't know if the Heat can be competitive without starting from scratch.
Q - Quinn, Brady. Ouch. What else is there to say? That was at least a $25 million freefall, and in the end he still has to play in Cleveland. The only guy who doesn't feel bad for him is Alan Branch. He fell from the top 10 to right out of the first round.
R - Retirement. The rumors are flying that Grant Hill is ready to pack it in. What will the Magic do without his 25 minutes for 40 games a year? At least they don't have to worry that they'll be terrible in the playoffs without him - they've already got that under control.
S - Steroids. I suppose that it was way too much to hope that the whole issue would just go away. A former Mets employee is going to make all our lives miserable because all we will hear about is who did what and when, and what we should do about it. All I hope is that Barry Bonds was one of his clients. That way, at least something good would come of this mess.
T - Troy Smith. I don't pretend to be a scout, but isn't there something wrong when a guy is voted the best player in college football by a wide margin according to a huge group of voters, yet he's only deemed good enough to get drafted after 173 other college players? I think Baltimore got a steal. I know the pro game is different from college and all, but this guy has serious skills and now he's got a reason to prove himself. It could be worse, though - you could win a national championship and go undrafted like Chris Leak.
U - Unassisted triple play. Colorado's shortstop Troy Tulowitzki turned one in the seventh inning on Sunday. What a way to get out of trouble and keep the game close. For such an impressive play, though, it's so plain looking you hardly realize what you just saw. Incredibly, this was only the 13th unassisted triple play ever. Chipper Jones hit into it, and he hit into the last triple play against the Braves in 1996, too. The guy's clearly cursed.
V - Vick, Michael. What a moron. Dog fighting? Seriously? This guy may have been born with freakish athletic talent, but it was apparently at the expense of brains. The jokes are both plentiful here, but there's a bigger betting issue. There are people out there that don't take kindly to abusing animals, and they will be out for his blood. Roger Goodell could be forced into issuing a suspension (starving dogs and having them fight to death must be almost as bad as making it rain in a strip club), and now that the Falcons traded away Matt Schaub that could be a huge problem for the team.
W - Weaver, Jeff. I know I keep talking about him, but I can't help it - he gives us so much to talk about. I'm not sure a pitcher has ever been as consistently terrible as Weaver is right now. I didn't think it would have been possible, but he found a new low on Saturday - six earned runs in a third of an inning. If Seattle keeps throwing him to the wolves every five days then we'll all be able to retire by September. The worst part for Seattle is that they are at .500 in a reasonably weak AL West with this slug, so they could be competitive if they had someone to replace his dead weight. Heck, I'm free every fifth day, and I couldn't be any worse. I'm cheaper, too.
X - Xchanger. This horse, a likely Derby starter, is such a longshot that it barely deserves a mention. Except that it starts with X. Frankly, I hope that he wins the roses just for that reason. That would be enough to give me something to write about right up until Xavier basketball starts practicing again.
Y - Yankees. Is it wrong that a team's struggles make me so happy? As a fan, I love nothing more than seeing the evil empire play so badly. As a bettor I am loving that the prices are still higher than they probably should be, so the payoffs have been fat. The best part, though, is that their pitching gives us no reason to believe that this will be dramatically turned around any time soon. I'd say that George Steinbrenner should explode any minute now, but I'm not at all convinced that he's still alive.
Z - Zzzz. Did the Rockets really score 67 points in a playoff game? The Suns can put up that many in a quarter. The only good thing about that absolute dog of a game against the Jazz on Thursday was that bettors who had the under never had to get nervous or sweat the result. It's not too often that you see a game go under by 40 points.