This Week in Betting, A to Z
by Trevor Whenham - 06/12/2007
A - Arenas, Gilbert. This NBA season hasn't even ended yet, and already the Wizards' next season seems doomed. Agent Zero said that he would be opting out of his contract at the end of this coming season. That should be great for team chemistry. This is further proof that the Bullets/Wizards are a franchise that is doomed to fail for eternity.
B - Boxing. It's a shame that fewer and fewer people are watching boxing these days, because fans were treated to a classic on Saturday night. Miguel Cotto moved to 30-0 by stopping Zab Judah in the 11th round in a thrilling, bloody brawl at Madison Square Garden. If there was more of this and less of the disappointing messes that most big fights are, then boxing would be as big as the NFL.
C - Curlin. I know I have no objectivity about this horse, but I really hope no one tries to discredit him on the basis of his loss in the Belmont. This amazing horse has been engaged in two all-time classic stretch duels in consecutive Triple Crown races, and he has done it without a ton of seasoning under his belt. There's an extremely bright future ahead for this horse and, hopefully, several more showdowns with his rivals.
D - Dice-K. I'm trying not to get too involved with the hype over this guy one way or the other, but I am really having a hard time figuring out what to think about him. On Sunday he did about what he has done all year - he pitched six innings that were decent but not quite good enough. At 7-5 he hasn't been a disaster, but he hasn't been worth the money yet, especially since he's on a team that's pretty darned good.
E - Endless. I can only assume that it's David Stern's plan to extend the NBA season into August. This playoff scheduling is ridiculous - it seems like there were six weeks between the end of the last series and the start of this one, and then two weeks between games. It would be slightly less annoying if the series were less anticlimactic - the Cavs clearly aren't good enough.
F - Fausto Carmona. I would like this Cleveland pitcher even if he was lousy because of his great name. Turns out he's a heck of a pitcher, too. He won his seventh straight decision on Thursday to move to 7-1 on the year. Cleveland is looking really good this year, and Carmona, who was 1-10 in 38 appearances in his first season last year, is a big part of the reason.
G - Grant, Anthony. The guy I feel worst for in this bizarre Billy Donovan situation is Grant. The VCU coach and former Florida assistant clearly was holding out on taking other jobs in hopes of landing the Florida gig. Now Donovan has pretty much guaranteed that that job won't open up for a long time. There are a couple of positives in the story, though. First, VCU should be a solid mid-major bet again this year. Grant will do okay, too - he should get very rich next year thanks to the bidding war from all the schools that will try to land him if he has a good year again this year.
H - Hopeless. I feel very bad for David Price. The former Vanderbilt pitcher is extremely talented and impressive, but sadly he is so good that he ended up as the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft this week. Normally, that would be a great thing, complete with a huge signing bonus and a bright future, but not when that pick belonged to the Devil Rays. The best he can hope for now is a trade. Or maybe the Rays will fold and he'll end up with a decent team in the dispersal draft.
I - Improved. It wasn't the biggest race on the day, and probably not the one that his trainer wished he was aimed for on the weekend, but Teuflesberg had a very impressive win on Saturday at Belmont. Some thought that the horse was much better than he showed in a disappointing 17th place effort in the Kentucky Derby. He proved the believers right in the Woody Stephens with a monster move from worst to first down the stretch.
J - Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs paid a lot of money to make sure that the Notre Dame pitcher and receiver chose baseball instead of going into the NFL Draft as a guaranteed first day selection. Right about now they are probably regretting that decision. He's 0-5, opponents are batting .349 against him and he's been moved to the bullpen. He has lots of time to figure it out, but right now he's not providing a lot of value for $10 million.
K - Key race. The Kentucky Oaks has turned out to be a race full of impressive horses. Not only did Rags to Riches win the Belmont, but three others from the Oaks had wins in major races on the weekend. Cotton Blossom was impressive in the Acorn, Sealy Hill dominated the Woodbine Oaks and Tough Tiz's Sis rolled in the Hollywood Oaks. Clearly it will be well the effort to follow the rest of the horses in the Oaks field.
L - Lewis Hamilton. This 22-year-old Brit became the first black driver to ever win a Formula One race this weekend. Hamilton's a rookie on the circuit, but he certainly is making an early impact - he's been in six races, and he's been on the podium in each of them.
M - Mets. What's wrong with New York? A couple of weeks ago I was pretty much ready to give them the National League, but now I'm not so sure. They have won just two of their last nine, and they were absolutely hammered on Sunday by the Tigers and Andrew Miller, a pitcher making just his second career start. The biggest concern coming out of that game has to be that Tom Glavine was smacked around for nine earned runs in less than five innings.
N - Nadal, Rafael. What's going on in men's tennis now is, to me, endlessly fascinating. Roger Federer is so good it is incomprehensible. Until he plays Nadal on clay. Federer had a few bright spots, but for the most part the French Open final wasn't as close as the score would indicate - and the score wasn't that close. It's conceivable that Federer could win three Slams a year and Nadal the fourth for the foreseeable future.
O - Ouch. It sucks to be an Oklahoma State baseball player or fan right now. The Cowboys knew that they were in deep against Louisville in their super regional this weekend, but they probably didn't expect to get crushed by a 20-2 score in the deciding game. A team really has to work at it to lose that badly.
P - Problem? I don't want to panic, but something isn't quite right with Johan Santana. The nastiest pitcher in the majors for the last few seasons is just 6-6, and he lost to the lowly Senators on Saturday. He always starts slow, but he hasn't snapped out of his April Slump yet, and we're halfway through June. The Twins need him badly, and bettors could use the sure thing that he usually is.
Q - Quintessential. Woody Austin played golf on Sunday about as well as the game can be played. His final round 62 was flawless, and it was good enough for a win in the St. Jude. Here's hoping that the guy uses the prize money for some dental work - did you see his post game interview? He came in four strokes back and won by five, in part thanks to a monumentally ugly collapse by Adam Scott.
R - Rags to Riches. Wow. What an absolutely incredible win in the Belmont by this impressive filly. She beat an incredible horse in Curlin, and a lesser horse would have found a dozen excuses to quit. I can't wait to see what she has in store for the rest of the year. It's way too early to think about this, but I really hope we see her in the Breeder's Cup Classic.
S - Stanley Cup. Canada's most sacred object gets to live in California for a year, and there are precisely seven Americans that care. I'm not surprised that Anaheim won the series, but I was more than a little shocked that they managed to make Ottawa their bitches at the same time. The Ducks might have questionable geography and a regrettable history, but they sure are a good team. Really good.
T - Ted Lilly. Normally Ted Lilly's biggest problem is that he's Ted Lilly. He hit a new low on Sunday night, though, and he should have to refund the money to any bettors that were unfortunate enough to back the Cubs. He knew the bullpen was desperately short, yet he got himself tossed for no good reason in the first inning. Predictably, the team ran out of arms and lost late.
U - Unfair. The National League should do everything they can to get Bud Selig to ditch interleague play. It's not just that it's a concept that is long past being interesting, but the NL just isn't good enough. How bad was it? The American League won 15 of 21 road games in NL parks this weekend. That's not exactly how it's supposed to turn out.
V - Veteran. Call me cynical, but I really don't see how Trent Green is the answer in Miami. He's not exactly young, he didn't tear the league up when he came back from injury last year and he doesn't have a full box of tools to work with on the Dolphins. I wasn't excited about them anyway, but I'll be thinking hard about betting against the Fins early in the season for sure after this move.
W - Wie, Michelle. This thing is going to get ugly. Annika Sorenstam ripped a piece out of the dimming prodigy, then she self destructed on Saturday at the LPGA Championship after barely making the cut. Jen Capriati ended up doing drugs in a hotel room when she bottomed out. If Wie doesn't get her act together soon then her story could be at least as sadly entertaining.
X - eXtremely lucky. Jeff Gordon is having a truly blessed year. He won at Pocono this weekend in a race that was shortened by rain. If the rain had held off for another couple of minutes he would have been far back in the field. Gordon's pit strategy, and an early brake problem, meant that he needed to pit soon while the rest of the field was fine for a while longer. Amazingly, it was the 10th win in 12 races for Hendricks Motorsports.
Y - Yankees. The evil empire is hot, and I don't like it one bit. Six wins in a row. Roger Clemens made his debut and won on Saturday. Now, I'm a big Clemens guy, but people need to get perspective - he only beat Pittsburgh and Paul Maholm, who came in with a 2-8 record. That's no harder than his Class-A assignment last month. I won't pass judgment on the Rocket, or his team, until they face some real opponents - six wins against Pittsburgh and the White Sox is only like four wins against real teams.
Z - Zoom. Last week I mentioned in this spot that Chad Johnson was racing a horse at River Downs. Well, "Ocho Cinco" won. Johnson ran a sixteenth of a mile, the horse ran an eighth, and it wasn't particularly close at the finish line. We learned two things from the race - Johnson is very fast and Cris Collinsworth is a pansy. Collinsworth was the last Bengal to race a horse and he got beaten badly.