This Week in Sports Betting, A-Z
by Ricky Dimon - 3/5/2015
A. Anthony Mason
. Mason died at age 48 of congestive heart failure last Saturday. The beloved former Knick played 14 seasons in the NBA-including five with New York. He
twice averaged a double-double with the Charlotte Hornets. RIP.
B. Browns . Cleveland signed Josh McCown to a three-year, $14 million contract last week that guarantees him at least $6.25 million. McCown said that he expects to start right away. Ya think? If you can't start for a team whose quarterbacks last season were Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel, you have problems. And you also wouldn't be making $6.25 million guaranteed. The Browns are +3300 at Bodog Sportsbook to win the AFC Championship.
. Some fisherman named Dino Ferrari is credited with catching a 280-pound catfish in Italy's Po River last month. Ferrari took pictures and video, but for
some reason did not take footage of the catfish moving or swimming away when he released it in order to prove authenticity. If real, it is the biggest
catfish since Manti Te'o's imaginary girlfriend.
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D. DiCaprio, Leonardo . DiCaprio has still never won an Oscar, but who cares when you are hooking up with Rihanna? The 40-year-old's reps say he is officially single, but he has reportedly been to several Hollywood parties with Rihanna of late, and a first picture of them together surfaced on Monday. #Winning.
E. End of an era . The Andre Johnson era is over for the Houston Texans. They told their star receiver that they will either grant his release or he can seek a trade (Johnson is opting for the former). He spent 12 seasons in Houston-starting with his rookie campaign in 2003-and is a seven-time Pro Bowler.
F. Federer, Roger . Rumors of Federer's demise have been greatly exaggerated ever since he won his last Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2012? The 33-year-old continues to prove doubters wrong, most recently by toppling world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-3, 7-5 in last week's Dubai title match. Yeah, maybe he can't be Rafael Nadal…but with the way Nadal is going, Federer might not have to in order to lift one more major trophy. Bovada Sportsbook has Federer at +1800 to win the French Open and +550 to win Wimbledon.
G. Gayle, Chris . Gayle recorded a double-century during Cricket World Cup action last week as his West Indies side overwhelmed Zimbabwe. It is the only time a batsman has ever recorded a double-century in the World Cup. Gayle scored a 215 off of 146 balls. Is that good? Well, it must be since it had never previously been done! Australia is a +175 favorite at SuperBook to win it all.
H. Harrington, Padraig . Harrington is so clutch you would almost think he is not a distant relative of NFL bust Joey Harrington. But he is. The three-time major champion won for the first time on any tour since the 2008 British Open when he triumphed at the Honda Classic on Monday. Harrington drained a 16-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Daniel Berger. The Irishman eventually stuck a tee shot on the second extra hole while Berger went in the drink.
I. Iggy Azalea . SportsCenter anchor Robert Flores said on a recent show that Azalea is "trying to kill hip hop." Her boyfriend, Lakers' guard Nick Young, then went off on Twitter. He concluded by telling Flores, "I'm pretty sure we going to run into each other soon." That definitely would not end well for Flores, and the repercussions would not end well for Young. But it would be fun to see!
J. Jimmie Johnson . Johnson captured the checkered flag in Atlanta last weekend. Based on the current Chase for the Sprint Cup format, he can now tune out for the rest of the regular season and show up on Sept. 20 in Chicago for the first "playoff" race. Of course, that's probably not how he's going to play it. Johnson is a +500 second choice at Mybookie.ag to win this week's Kobalt 400.
K. Kristina, Bobbi . Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late Whitney Houston, turned 22 on Wednesday. She remains in a medically-induced coma more than a month after being found face down and unresponsive in her bathtub. Everyone, of course, is rooting for her.
L. Liverpool . Don't be fooled by Chelsea's five-point lead on the English Premier League table. It's really not that close, because second-place Manchester City has played one extra match (28 to the Blues' 27). Chelsea got an assist from Liverpool last weekend when the Reds beat City 2-1. Liverpool has now won four EPL matches in a row and is on a 12-match point streak dating back to Dec. 21. Chelsea is a -110 favorite over Paris Saint-Germain in next week's Champions League match, per BookMaker.
M. McIlroy, Rory . At times, McIlory has been touted as the next Tiger Woods. It makes sense, because the world No. 1 went from winning a whole lot to missing cuts in the blink of an eye. Well, so far he has missed just one this season-at last week's Honda Classic.
N. Nowitzki, Dirk . As the 1992 movie says, "White Men Can't Jump." Dirk is no exception. Despite being seven-feet tall, the guy makes headlines whenever he dunks the orange spheroid. It rarely happens, but his All-Star Game alley-oop from Stephen Curry has apparently inspired him. Dirk dunked again (woohoo!) in Dallas' loss to Brooklyn last Saturday. The Mavericks are +3 underdogs at Portland on Thursday, per Sportsbook.
O. Out . Death, taxes, and Derrick Rose getting injured. The Bulls' star guard had surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks. Of course, it could be much longer considering Rose's history of cautious comebacks. Speaking of injuries in Chicago, Jimmy Butler's problematic elbow may sideline him for the rest of the regular season. It sounds like it's panic time in the Windy City. 5Dimes Sportsbook has the Bulls as +2.5 home underdogs against Oklahoma City on Thursday.
P. Polar plunge . There was, however, one positive development last weekend in Chicago. The annual Polar Plunge raised a record $1.2 million for the Special Olympics Chicago. Vince Vaughn Vaughn was the celebrity guest of honor, and by all accounts he followed rule No. 76: play like a champion. Lady Gaga made a surprise appearance with her "Chicago Fire" fiancée.
Q. Quenneville, Joel . Sports has had the Big Ticket, the Big Aristotle, and the Big Hurt, just to name a few. Now it has the Big Fire Hydrant. The Blackhawks acquired veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen from the Flyers last Friday. After the 39-year-old played in Chicago's win over Carolina on Monday, Quenneville-the team's head coach-said that "he looks like a big fire hydrant out there." Philadelphia is a -105 home underdog against St. Louis on Thursday, according to Bovada Sportsbook.
R. Ronda Rousey . Rousey beats UFC opponents in 14 seconds (at least that was the case against Cat Zingano last Saturday), has been on the cover of Maxim, and is in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. You could say she is the total package.
S. Shaw, Brian . "3…2…1…zero days!" That's how long until Shaw's offseason, because he was fired as coach of the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. Unfortunately for Denver's players, they still have six weeks.
T. Texas-Baylor . Never have the consequences of a fight made it seem more intense than it really was than in Monday's incident between Texas and Baylor. Seven players were ejected, which is hard to believe when you see the video. Defining it as an insult to all past and future bench-clearing brawls would not be inaccurate.
U. Unsportsmanlike . James Harden delivered a kick to LeBron James' man region in Houston's 105-103 overtime victory over Cleveland on Sunday and was suspended one game for his efforts. The Rockets, without Harden and an injured Dwight Howard, suffered a blow to their own proverbial groin area in Atlanta on Tuesday. They squandered an 18-point lead-including 15 in the fourth quarter-and lost to the Hawks 104-96. Houston is +1400 at GT Bets to win the Western Conference.
V. Virginia . Had Kentucky lost at Georgia on Tuesday, it would have been fair to argue that Virginia-at present-deserved the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers are 29-1 overall and 17-1 in the ACC, with only a tough loss to Duke. Would a Kentucky vs. Virginia championship game be the best showcase of defense in the history of college basketball? UVA is +175 at BetOnline Sportsbook to win the ACC Tournament.
W. White Sox . Chris Sale, who went 12-4 with a 2.17 ERA last season, sustained a fractured foot when he hopped off the back of his truck while unloading items at his spring training residence in Arizona. You can't make this stuff up, folks. The 25-year-old southpaw is likely out of all action for three weeks and he is not expected to be ready to make what would have been an Opening Day start. The White Sox are +946 to win the AL Pennant, as indicated by BetCRIS.
X. Xtreme . Dude, where's my car? Travis Kvapil was unable to race in last week's Sprint Cup event in Atlanta because…wait for it…his No. 2 car was stolen. It was heisted from a hotel parking lot along with its pickup truck and trailer before being found on the side of a road in Loganville, Ga. one day later. By then Kvapil had already missed qualifying. Of course, there are worse reasons to be sidelined from a NASCAR race; you know, like being suspended for assaulting an ex-girlfriend who is alleged to be a trained assassin (see Busch, Kurt).
Y. Yandle, Keith . When Yandle (four goals and 37 assists in 63 games with the Arizona Coyotes this season) woke up on Sunday morning, he was on a team with a 20-36-7 record and in third to last place in the NHL. He is now lacing up his skates for the New York Rangers, who are 39-17-7 and two points out of first in the Eastern Conference. That is what you call an upgrade. The Rangers are +1000 at Sportsbook to win the Stanley Cup.
Z. Zags . To say Gonzaga's regular season ended in surprising and disappointing fashion would be an understatement. The Bulldogs had won 22 games in a row and entered last Saturday's contest against BYU with a 29-1 record and a 41-game home winning streak. But Gonzaga never led a single time and lost to the Cougars 73-70. Consider the Zags' No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed in serious jeopardy.
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