This Week In Betting, A to Z
by Trevor Whenham - 06/18/2007
A - Angel Cabrera. It wasn't always pretty, but the Argentinian gets credit for holding off the field to win the very tough U.S. Open at Oakmont. There were only eight rounds under par the whole week, and Cabrera had two of them, so you can't argue that the most deserving player didn't come out on top. That being said, chance are that pretty much no one saw this result coming.
B - Bryant, Kobe. It changes seemingly every day for the world's biggest baby, but Kobe appears to want to be traded again. I know it's way to much to hope, but I really do wish that this moron would just shut up and go away. He's the best player in the league but that doesn't justify his ridiculous act.
C - College World Series. Louisville may be in Omaha for the first time but their offense sure isn't playing like they are nervous about the new surroundings. They have 22 runs and seven homers in their first two games. Unfortunately, their defense totally failed them against Rice and they are on the brink of elimination despite batting .370 as a team.
D - David Beckham. After what has happened since Beckham has signed with the Galaxy, more superstars may look to join the MLS. Beckham was struggling before he signed, and his reputation was tarnished. Since inking the contract he has returned in full glory to the English national team and his Real Madrid team won the Spanish title on the weekend. It seems fitting that the future L.A. star is in the midst of a Hollywood story.
E - Earnhardt. After a courtship that surely ended up with millions of dollars in his pocket, Dale, Jr. decided that his home for the next five years will be Hendrick Motorsports. It seems like a perfect fit. Hendrick gets the most marketable commodity in the sport and Earnhardt joins a team that is already totally dominant. If he can't win there then he isn't worthy of his hallowed name.
F - Flashy Bull. This four-year-old thoroughbred ran a truly terrible Kentucky Derby last year, but he redeemed himself on the same Churchill Downs track on Saturday. Not only did he win the Stephen Foster, the marquee race of the weekend, but he won it in dominating fashion despite being sent off at 6/1. His connections only decided to enter the race on Wednesday. That was a very lucrative decision.
G - Good riddance. I generally like Phil Mickelson, but he was being such a prima donna this week that I was glad that he missed the cut at the last second. He was begging for sympathy over his wrist injury and he was throwing around excuses by the ton and complaining and whining and generally making me feel like I didn't need to put up with his act all weekend.
H - Hitting streak. Have you ever heard of Casey Blake? The journeyman third baseman for the Indians certainly isn't a household name but he could be if he keeps his current hot streak going. Blake has hit safely in 26 consecutive games, which is the longest streak of the season. Look out Joe DiMaggio, here comes Casey.
I - It's about time. Carl Edwards won four times in his rookie season, but the NASCAR driver had been in a dry spell for more than a year and a half. That ended in Michigan on Sunday, when Edwards gave Roush their second win of the year. It was fun to see Edwards' backflip again, and it was refreshing to see someone who doesn't drive for Hendricks win for once.
J - Jimmy Clausen. It's a good thing Notre Dame is a Catholic school because their fans will have to do a lot of praying for the sake of their season. Phenom quarterback Jimmy Clausen is the likely salvation in place of Brady Quinn but he underwent elbow surgery this week. It's supposed to be minor, but surgery on a joint like that is never good news for a QB and Notre Dame already has enough questions to answer going into the season.
K - Kansas City. What the heck is going on with the Royals? In their last seven games their lowly lineup has exploded for 64 runs. That's more than nine per game. Their defense is still as terrible as we have grown to expect, but even they can manage to win five of seven with that kind of run support.
L - Louisville. It won't matter on the court until 2008, but Rick Pitino pulled off a serious coup this week. He grabbed high school junior Samardo Samuels, a power forward that is ranked sixth in his class. It's not just that Pitino landed such a good player but he stole him right out from under North Carolina. Roy Williams isn't used to getting scooped like this. This certainly shows that Pitino hasn't lost his edge.
M - Mets. Wow, is New York ever terrible all of a sudden. They have won just twice in their last 13 tries, and they are completely uncompetitive as often as they keep it close. Their pitching is lousy, their bats aren't working, and it could quite conceivably take them quite a while to right this ship. Their only saving grace is that hey built such a huge lead that they are still hanging on to the top spot in their division. Not for long if they don't get it together, though.
N - Nolan, Mike. After a long fight with the league the San Francisco head coach has been given permission to wear a suit for all home games. Though I could really care less what any coach wears, this is a clear sign of how ridiculous the league is - the NFL execs are certainly committed to controlling every single aspect of their game. It's not a wonder that the game lacks fun sometimes.
O - OU. The bad news is that the Sooners' football team got busted for using illegal substances this week. The good news is that they turned themselves in to the NCAA before anyone else could turn them in. Though this probably isn't a big deal by itself, it is yet another problem for Bob Stoops to move past. It will be interesting to see if all of these little problems that are adding up for the team could become a serious distraction.
P - Phillies. Philadelphia still isn't playing up to its pre-season expectations, but at least they are playing better. They have won 10 of their last 15, though they have benefited a bit from scheduling lately with series against the struggling Mets and the White Sox, who are just plain bad. They dropped four of six to Detroit and Kansas City though, so they still have some work to do.
Q - Quite thrilling. I really should write more than one point about the Spurs win in the NBA finals, but it was such a truly terrible, practically unwatchable series, and it was such a shockingly ridiculous mismatch, that I think I'm wasting my time by even writing this much. If that's the best the NBA can do then it's no surprise that about 19 people tuned in for each game.
R - Rejects. The Canadian Football League preseason is underway and, as always, my country has been invaded by a bunch of NFL rejects. Among the familiar players trying to find a spot up here this year are Akili Smith in Calgary, Stefan LeFors in Edmonton, Timmy Chang in Hamilton, Kliff Kingsbury in Montreal, Eric Crouch and Mike McMahon in Toronto, and Brad Banks in Winnipeg. The football isn't great, and the rules are bizarre, but the league is worth a betting look.
S - Scott, Adam. You had to wonder how the Aussie would fare at the U.S. Open after a monumental collapse in the final round of the St. Jude the previous week. Not well at all, as it turns out. He was 18 over par after two rounds and missed the cut by more than a touchdown. Scott is really good, so you have to wonder if something is wrong with him or if the gremlins just got into his head.
T - Tiger. Is there anyone out there who isn't completely shocked that Woods isn't polishing his 13th major trophy right now? The guy practically had it given to him on a silver platter - he started one stroke off the lead, he stayed close despite hitting the ball poorly all day, and he just needed a birdie down the stretch to force a playoff. I'm not going to read too much into the fact that he didn't pull it off, but a lot of people sure will.
U - Undervalued. The Yankees have won eight of nine games since June 8, and you would be ahead by $630 if you had bet to win $100 on each game. The Nationals have won six of nine over the same stretch, and bettors would have been rewarded with a profit of $909. One of those two teams is being hugely undervalued by bettors, and it isn't the Yankees
V - Verlander, Justin. This guy is so good it's scary. Not only did he throw a no hitter this week, but he threw 102 mph in the ninth inning. There are only a small handful of guys that can throw that hard when they are completely fresh. If Verlander can avoid the problems of young pitchers like Prior and Wood (and it helps that he doesn't play for the Cubs) then he could be bound for Cooperstown before it's all over.
W - Weaver, Jeff. He was on pace to be quite possibly the worst pitcher in the history of pitching, but he took a break and it has done him well. In his two starts after a month off he has allowed only four earned runs in 10 innings. He still doesn't look good, but he looks much, much better than he was at the start of the year. Seattle could use some consistent outings from him if they want to contend.
X - There is no X this week. You'll have to learn to live with the disappointment
Y - Yikes. The bad news is that yet another NFL player got arrested this weekend. The good news is that, for once, it wasn't a Bengal. Packers linebacker Nick Barnett learned the hard way that it's a bad idea for someone famous to beat the hell out of another guy in a night club. Barnett is pretty good, and he just signed a fat new contract in April, so it would be a big blow for the team if the legal system, or Commissioner Goodell, were to force him to miss any action.
Z - Zany. Mike Keenan got another job. For those who have lost count, the Calgary Flames are the 8th team the madman has worked for. This story has a personal side for me since the Flames are my hometown team. It is amazing to me that this hiring came as a complete surprise in a city that is totally obsessed with hockey. We were told our coach would be coming back and, foolishly, we believed it. If the past is proof then the Keenan experiment will end badly sooner or later. But it sure will be fun to watch.