This Week in Betting, A to Z
by Trevor Whenham - 07/02/2007
A - America's Cup. The world's biggest yacht race sure doesn't get as much attention around these parts when there isn't an American yacht in the final. Alinghi, the defending champions, have been dominating their match-up with Emirates Team New Zealand. They are up 4-2 in the best of nine, and should cruise to a victory as soon as the wind cooperates and allows them to race. If you want to bet on the races you had better hurry.
B - Baltimore. Aubrey Huff hit for the cycle on Friday, and Erik Bedard was an absolute stud on Wednesday. That's two good things that happened to the Orioles in the same week. I didn't know that was possible.
C - Cordero, Francisco. Milwaukee's closer has been nasty all year and he already has the Brewers save record, but there are signs that his touch might be fading a bit. He had a disastrous outing on Friday, and that was the third time in his last 10 outings stretching over the last three weeks in which he has been hit hard. The Brewers seem fragile these days, and a struggling Cordero would be disastrous.
D - Denny Hamlin. Hamlin strengthened his position in the Chase standings with a win at New Hampshire on Sunday, but it wasn't pretty. Jeff Gordon fought desperately to get past him over the last couple of laps, and Hamlin looked like he was wildly out of control as he tried to hold Gordon off. In the end the margin of victory was less than a car length.
E - Evander Holyfield. The star of Dancing with the Stars and former great boxer notched another victory on his ridiculous comeback. He scored a unanimous win over Lou Savarese. I certainly didn't watch the mockery of the sport, but apparently Holyfield was dominant. I have only one question - who freaking cares? Please go away, Evander.
F - Federer, Roger. The one guy that doesn't need a break at Wimbledon got one this weekend when Tommy Haas withdrew due to injury. That means that Federer gets a bye into the next round, and gets a bit more rest before his inevitable run to the finals. He hasn't looked as sharp as he can so far, but then he hasn't had to. There's no such thing as a sure thing, but a Federer win is the next best thing.
G - Greg Oden. I love the pick by Portland, and I love that the Jail Blazers had the good sense to get rid of Zach Randolph to give Oden room to grow, but I really have to wonder what they were thinking by picking up Steve Francis. I hope the rumors of buying out his contract are true, because Francis is a total disaster, and he's the last thing the promising Blazers need.
H - Huh? I was all set to write about how great my Mariners were playing, and then Mike Hargrove dropped his bomb Sunday morning. I guess I respect that he did what he felt he had to do, but I don't think I have heard anything as bizarre as leaving his job when he's on a roll because of lost passion. The big question is what impact something this odd will have on a team that is as hot as the Mariners.
I - Insanity. The NHL free agency period started Friday, and it was the Rangers that lost their minds and threw open their wallets more than anyone. They committed more than $14 million a year to Scott Gomez and Chris Drury. If that's what those guys are worth then I can't wait until next year when there will be free agents that are actually good on the market. These guys are sure to disappoint their new team.
J - Jaw injury. Hot dog eating legend Kobayashi has been struck by a debilitating jaw injury that likely will keep him from the big July 4 hot dog eating contest and the epic showdown with American superstar Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut. The fact that these guys are household names, and that you can bet on them, is a sign that our society is in serious trouble.
K - Kevin Durant. I fit firmly into the camp that doesn't care how bad Durant is at the bench press. He's an absolute freak, and I can't wait to watch Seattle or Oklahoma City or wherever he ends up to see what the kid can do. I'd feel a little better about his near future, though, if Ray Allen were on the court beside him. With all due respect to Wally Szczerbiak, I think Boston got the better part of that deal.
L - Lava Man. This horse is truly an anomaly. When he runs in California he is as good as any horse in the world. When he leaves the state, though - most recently for the Breeders' Cup and the Dubai World Cup - he looks more like a milk cow than a prized thoroughbred. He showed he still has it at home by winning his third straight Hollywood Gold Cup on Saturday. If you like impressive stretch duels then find yourself a replay of this gem.
M - Missing. Brian Bateman joined an impressive list of recent winners at the Buick Open, but the virgin win for this champion comes with a bit of an asterisk. Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh had combined to win four of the last five Buick Opens, but both golfers skipped the event this year, leaving a less than stellar field. Justin Leonard took advantage of the absences to correct his recent horrible form by finishing second.
N - NFL Europa. After 16 years, a few name changes, and several failed franchises, the NFL has pulled the plug on NFL Europa. On one hand, it's kind of sad that the NFL is turning their back on a developmental league that has turned out a few decent players, but the problem is and always was that no one really cares.
O - Old guys. I love that the Yankees are struggling, but the brass must be panicking. They are relying heavily on two older arms and the geezers just aren't getting it done. Roger Clemens wouldn't be good value so far at a million dollars per year, never mind per game, and Andy Pettitte looked thoroughly useless on Sunday when he got chased in the second inning after allowing eight runs. Those two guys need to be better than 5-9 if the team hopes to salvage this disaster.
P - Padres. I've often thought that San Diego is an anonymous team that could use an identity outside of Jake Peavy and Trevor Hoffman, but I'm not sure if 'destination for the insane' is quite what I had in mind. In the space of 10 days the team added both Michael Barrett, the man who fights his own pitchers, and the truly moronic Milton Bradley to the roster. If nothing else, at least the team is more interesting now.
Q - Quick fix. Yankees reliever Scott Proctor has struggled as badly as his team has this year. In an effort to remedy his problems, Proctor took all of his equipment out on the field after the game on Saturday night and burned it. It worked - he was perfect against four batters on Sunday. Instead of this, though, Proctor should have repaid some of the money that he and his bullpen mates have burned up for bettors late in games.
R - Richardson, Jason. I'm inclined to think that Michael Jordan is not cut out to be a team executive, but I kind of think that he pulled off a decent trade. Richardson is an impressive offensive power that can't do much else. He could provide a spark for the Bobcats or he could fall flat, but I like the risk. It will come down to how well Brandan Wright turns out for Golden State, and I'm not overly optimistic. I love that Jordan got Jermareo Davidson thrown in on the deal.
S - Seriously?!? Reports are that Mark Cuban, the borderline insane owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is suing Don Nelson, the current Golden State coach and former Mavs head man. Cuban claims that Nelson used inside information to knock the Mavs out of the playoffs. That takes poor sportsmanship to a new level. What I want to know is if sportsbooks will refund money lost on the Mavs if Cuban wins his case.
T - Turfed. Jerry Narron got the boot in Cincinnati after leading the team to the worst record in the league. Though things were not going well, I feel bad for Narron for having to play the role of scapegoat for a disastrous squad. I guess you have to fire the manager because you can't fire all of the players. If hitting home runs turned into wins then this team would be great, but sadly that's about all that they can do.
U - Ugh. Barry Bonds hit home run number 750 and I threw up in my mouth a little. I am really dreading the big home run. Is it bad form to pray for a debilitating, career ending injury?
V - Vince Carter. Vinsanity opted out of his contract and got rewarded with four more overly inflated years with the Nets. The guy wastes so much talent with his lackadaisical approach and endless floating that it makes me sick that he got rewarded for it. On the other hand, I hate the Nets, so they deserve this bum.
W - Wow. Frank Thomas became the 21st guy with 500 home runs on the same day that Craig Biggio got his 3,000th hit like just 26 guys had done before him. With both feats being so rare and so impressive, what kinds of odds could you have got against seeing both things happen on the same day?
X - eXtension. The biggest story in the NHL this weekend wasn't the free agents that signed. It was the guys that signed extensions with their current teams before becoming free agents next year. Both Joe Thornton and Jarome Iginla, two huge prizes that would have been very popular on the open market, they re-upped with their current teams for several more years. They both gave their teams a real home town discount too, which will hopefully control salary inflation.
Y - Yikes. I'm not optimistic that Joakim Noah will turn into a valuable contributor for the Bulls, but that's not the biggest issue. The real question is what the hell he was thinking when he got dressed for draft night? The guy looked like a clown on crack.
Z - Zeke. Isiah Thomas has made a total mockery of both coaching and managing a team in his career, but the latest rumors may be his best move yet. A former employee claims that Thomas asked a cheerleader to flirt with a ref to gain an advantage for the Knicks. That story's so ridiculous that it just has to be true.