This Week in Betting, A to Z
by Trevor Whenham
Each week Doc's Sports will take a look at the sports betting world in an A-Z format.
A - Apology. I have no idea how it happened, and I don't believe that it can happen two games in a row, but I should apologize to the Colts. I never thought for a second that they had the ability to play defense. 107 yards passing, two interceptions, and 32 yards rushing from Larry Johnson? Wow. Where has that been all year? Or all decade, for that matter?
B - Barber, Tiki. 137 yards rushing for an average of 5.3 yards per carry. The most consistent and important part of the Giants offense. Yet again. Remind me why this guy is retiring?
C - Clemson. Are they really the last undefeated college basketball team? This, above all else, is proof that you don't have to be a great team to take advantage of a ridiculous schedule. Let's see how they look at the end of the month after they play North Carolina, Duke and Maryland.
D - Dallas Mavericks. It is obviously the year for incredible winning streaks. First Phoenix, now Dallas. Thirteen wins a row, and a solid 7-4-2 mark ATS, before the streak ended against the Lakers on Sunday. The only downside to the streak was it obviously made Mark Cuban happy, and he's not nearly entertaining when he's smiling.
E - Eagles. Is it just me, or does it seem that this year's team has as good a chance as any to come out of Philadelphia recently to make the Super Bowl? That wouldn't make Donovan's mom very happy. Brian Westbrook was incredibly good, Jeff Garcia was certainly good enough, and they won despite some defensive lapses. In a weak NFC they are definitely a live option.
F - Fletcher, Damion. I'll admit that I hadn't seen Southern Miss play until I confirmed that I am truly a degenerate by watching the GMAC Bowl on Sunday night. That means that I had missed this freshman running back. He had almost 1,400 yards this year, and he's got some serious moves. Impressive.
G - Gilbert Arenas. Not only is this lunatic the most interesting character in the NBA, but he's also been pretty much the best player the last few weeks. He averaging 34.3 points over his last nine, and he's only scored less than 30 once in that time. Now if only his team was better than 4-5 ATS over that stretch.
H - Home teams. It was not a good weekend to be on the road in the NFL. All four home teams won. That means we get the best match-ups we can next week. Last year home squads were just 1-3 in the first week, and 4-7 overall. The home favorites both won in the AFC, while the road dogs both covered in the NFC. I don't know what that means, other than that the NFC still sucks.
I - Irrelevant. Samuel Peter beat James Toney this weekend to get a shot at the WBC heavyweight title. If you can name the WBC heavyweight champion then you are better than 99 percent of people out there. Remember when boxing used to actually matter?
J - Just enough. Is there anything that Matt Hasselbeck did on Saturday that looked like a playoff QB? He did just barely enough to win. 50 percent passing. Two interceptions. Some seriously questionable decisions. He only has Tony Romo's spastic hands to thank for his survival.
K - Kevin Durant. There's no way that this Texas guard is really a freshman, is he? This guy is ridiculously good. He's the leading scorer in the major conferences with 22.6 a game. His last time out, against Colorado he scored 37 and snagged 16 rebounds. Texas is lousy ATS, but they'd be way worse without this freak. Longhorn's fans will want to see him this year, because next year will be way too late.
L - Lorenzen, Jared. I knew New York's backup QB was a big guy, but when he came in for the short third down conversion my TV shook. That guy is a freaking elephant. His head is bigger than my car.
M - Mountaineers. Kevin Pittsnogle and his great name may be gone, but West Virginia is surprisingly good this year. They lost all of their starters, and they replaced them with players the experts didn't love, but they are 13-1. Oddsmakers are underestimating them, too - they're 9-1 ATS.
N - North Carolina Tar Heels. Don't look now, but Coach Roy Williams has Tyler Hansborough and his teammates playing some incredible basketball. Since suffering their only loss to Gonzaga they have won 11 straight, and they have covered nine in a row. It's still early, but I smell a deep tournament run.
O - Oregon. Handicapping the Ducks just got a little tougher. After starting undefeated, they lose one they should have won to USC, and then bounce back and win one that they should have lost to UCLA. The Pac-10 is going to be challenging this year - for the teams and for bettors.
P - Petrino, Bobby. Louisville's coach is the latest one to say he's never leaving a job, sign a huge contract extension and then leave less than a year later. His punishment? He's going to the Atlanta Falcons, so his will be the latest career to be ruined by Michael Vick. It must be the money that lures them, but the next college coach not named Jimmy Johnson who succeeds in the pros will be the first.
Q - Quinn, Brady. Notre Dame's QB sure didn't use the BCS stage to improve his draft status. He was pretty terrible against LSU, as he was in every big game this year. He was so unimpressive that he seems like the perfect fit for Oakland.
R - Russell, JaMarcus. As much as Quinn hurt his cause, Russell improved his. Everything about this guy screams NFL. He's massive, he has the strongest arm that isn't attached to Jay Cutler, and he's reasonably athletic for his size. Some say he's a bit lazy, but the $10 million or so he makes next year should motivate him.
S - Sad. The week started with the untimely death of a football player in Denver, and ended with the untimely death of one in Los Angeles. I know that football players are mortal, but that doesn't mean that I need to be reminded of it so frequently.
T - Tennis. After a decidedly short offseason, tennis is getting underway again. The Australian Open is on the horizon. Here's a hot betting tip for this season - there's this guy named Roger Federer who has some real potential. He might be worth a bet or two.
U - Underdogs. Of the 79 college basketball games played on Saturday, the underdogs covered in 49 of them. That's a much higher than expected 62 percent rate. What is this, the NFL or something?
V - Vijay Singh. The Fijian won the first PGA tournament of the year. Does this mean that we could finally have a serious contender to challenge Tiger this year? Of course not, but at least Woods isn't at the top of the money list for at least one week.
W - Wichita State. What's happened to the Shockers? After starting 9-0, they have lost five of their last six, and the have only covered once in that span. It looks like it's time to go shopping for a new Cinderella.
X - Xavier. It was a big week for our mascot, the Musketeers. They played two games and they won them both to move to 11-4 overall. They didn't beat Temple by enough, though, so they were only 1-1 ATS. At 7-5 ATS they are a profitable bet. Look out Atlantic 10, here comes Xavier.
Y - Yikes. Caltech won a basketball game on Saturday to end a 207 game Division III losing streak that dated back to 1996. How is that even possible? Imagine the money you could have made if you could have found someone to book some moneyline wagers on their last decade of games.
Z - Zip. After back surgery this offseason, will Randy Johnson, my favorite 90-year-old hillbilly giant, be able to get enough zip on the ball to justify the surprisingly large new two year contract he landed from Arizona?