This Week in Betting, A to Z
by Trevor Whenham - 01/22/2007
A - All-Star. It's the NHL All-Star Game in Dallas this week. No one watches hockey when it is full of hits, fights and all the fun body contact, so why in the world would people watch it when the players aren't touching each other?
B - Bush, Reggie. The 88-yard run was as impressive as you expect from this super freak. He sure made it clear that he isn't yet a mature man, though, didn't he? Do you think that that front flip into the end zone pissed the Chicago defense off, or was it just a coincidence that those were the last points New Orleans scored?
C - Crosby, Sidney. I know I dwell on this guy, but the Pittsburgh forward will get more attention than anyone else at the NHL All-Star Game. Remember, he's only 19 years old, so he's only going to get better than he is, and he's amazing already. If you haven't seen him play, do yourself a favor and catch a Penguins game.
D - Drew Brees. This guy can put up huge numbers even when he's looking pretty average. Seeing he ended up with 354 yards passing was surprising to me. If I was a Saints fan I would be concerned about this game and the four others that the team lost this year when Brees passed for more than 340 yards.
E - Eastern Washington. The Eagles are just 10-10 and are very unlikely to make the tournament. It's too bad because their star guard, Rodney Stuckey, is as exciting to watch as any player in the country. He leads his conference in points and steals, and is second in assists. If he made the tournament then more people would be able to see how good he is.
F - Floyd Mayweather Sr. Oscar De La Hoya's trainer wants an unprecedented $2 million payoff or he won't train the Golden Boy for his next fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. I hope Oscar doesn't pay him, because I am already sick to death of hearing about how father and son don't get along.
G - Grossman, Rex. I can't believe I am defending Grossman, but his performance Sunday was better than the numbers say it was. He protected the ball, he didn't make a lot of mistakes, he threw it away when he had to, he made big plays like the pass to Berrian, and his team won by 25. The Super Bowl will not be about Rex Grossman - he'll be fine.
H - Huh? We all know the story - Indy is an offensive team with iffy defense, while Chicago is all about defense with a lousy offense. Points scored per game in the playoffs for the Colts - 25.3. Bears - 33. Points allowed by the Colts - 16. Bears - 19. Everything is upside down.
I - Insurance policy. Colt Brennan had better call his State Farm agent and buy a massive policy on his arm. The Hawaii QB is coming back for his senior season despite being virtually guaranteed of being a first round pick in the draft. That's great news for bettors - Hawaii will be an attractive bet and an over play again.
J - Jeff Samardzija. The Notre Dame receiver was a likely first round NFL pick, but he decided to give up football and sign with the Chicago Cubs as a pitcher instead. Maybe he can pull a Bo Jackson or a Deion Sanders and play both sports. Or, since he's now a Cubs' pitcher, maybe he'll get recurring arm injuries and fail to live up to his potential.
K - Kurt Thomas. The Phoenix big man's absence last year was a big reason the Suns didn't go further in the playoffs. Now Thomas has gone down with an elbow injury and will miss six weeks. So far the team has kept winning, but could this have a serious impact on the unbeatable Suns?
L - Losses. There were some bad losses in college basketball this week. Pitt did not look like a Final Four squad in losing to Marquette. Kansas frustrated their fans, like they are so good at doing, by losing a game that shouldn't have been close to Texas Tech. LSU was completely and utterly humiliated by Arkansas.
M - Melo. Denver's superstar comes back from his 15-game suspension on Monday. The difference is that when he left he was the Nuggets' only superstar, but now he has to share the spotlight with Allen Iverson. His first few games will take some serious handicapping.
N - New York Knicks. It seems very hard to believe, but the Knicks are actually playing some fairly decent basketball. They are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games. Maybe Isiah Thomas isn't such a terrible coach after all. No, he really is, but this proves that any team can win a few in the pathetic East.
O - Outdoors. Thanks to the Saints, dome teams have now lost the last 10 conference championship games that they have played outdoors. If the weather is that much of a factor to these teams then you really have to wonder why Saints coach Sean Payton had his team practice indoors all week.
P - Peyton Manning. I still can't stand the guy, but I'm man enough to give a guy respect when he deserves it. Good job. Excellent clutch second half performance. Congratulations. It must be a relief to finally win your first big game in your 30-plus years of life.
Q - Quite useless. I've always been curious - what happens to all of the 'Saints NFC Champion' and 'New England AFC Champion' shirts that obviously didn't get worn? I think they get shredded up and made into Field Turf.
R - Reche Caldwell. Ugly game for the Patriots receiver who was playing so well in recent weeks. He might want to stay out of Boston for a while because he won't be too popular there. He made several mistakes, none as costly as dropping the pass that was right on his hands when the nearest defender was about 100 miles away.
S - Serena Williams. It's been a long time since you have been able to get value betting on a Williams sister, but Serena's surprisingly solid performance in Australia this week is turning some heads and fattening some wallets.
T - Two halves. I put this here in case Bill Belichick reads this. Bill - football games have two halves. You win more if you make your game show up for both of them. I thought you were a genius coach. What happened?
U - Utley, Chase. The Philadelphia Phillies' second baseman signed a 7 year, $85 million contract, meaning that the infield, except for third base, should look the same (Howard, Rollins, Utley) for a long time. Now if only the Phillies could find a way to quit sucking. They were a terrible team to bet on, especially at home.
V - Vick, Michael. It sounds like Vick is going to be exonerated over water-bottle-gate, but it's still stunning that a guy like him gets into as much trouble as he does. If I was new Falcons coach Bobby Petrino, I don't think I'd be too sad if Vick found a new home. The Raiders would be a good fit - he could relate intellectually with the morons in the ridiculous costumes.
W - Wild run. It might be a bit early for you to get excited about the Kentucky Derby, but you might want to remember the name Tiago. The horse is the brother of Giacomo, the 2005 Derby winner, and he won a wild and crazy but impressive race Sunday at Santa Anita. He is incredibly raw, but he sure looks talented.
X - Xavier. Two games for the Musketeers this week. A push in a six-point win against UMass, and an ugly loss as favorites at St. Joseph's. Rough week. The saving grace is that they are in the midst of a nice streak of five overs in six games.
Y - Youth movement. Hiring 35-year-old coach Eric Mangini worked out well for the Jets this year, so now young coaches are cool in the NFL. Mike Tomlin, the new Steelers' boss is 34. The Raiders offered their job to a 32-year-old (he wisely declined). Soon, the head coaches will be younger than the rookies.
Z - Zero. The number of touchdowns I would have guessed that linemen would score in the AFC championship. I would have missed it by three. Bizarre.
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