This Week in Sports Betting, A-Z
by Ricky Dimon - 1/1/2015
A. Ann Arbor
. Jim Harbaugh might as well have been king there for several weeks already, but his ascension to the throne became official on Tuesday. Harbaugh jumped
ship from San Francisco to his alma mater, Michigan, and will make approximately $5 million per season over seven years. The contract also includes
incentives; probably something like a lifetime supply of khakis if he beats Urban Meyer's Ohio State Buckeyes next fall. Ohio State is +800 at Bovada Sportsbook to win the National Championship.
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B. Blow . If we've learned one thing from the last two NBA seasons, it's obviously that Lance Stephenson is more sensual than Kevin Garnett…at least when it comes to, well, blowing. KG blew in David West's ear during a game between Boston and Indiana last Saturday. West called it an "aggressive" blow and said that Stephenson's similar move at the expense of LeBron James in the 2014 playoffs was "more sensual."
C. Clint Trickett . The former Florida State and West Virginia quarterback has retired from football due to excess concussions. You might think that is a smart move if Trickett is in the business of maximizing his lifespan…until you hear that he will pursue a career in coaching.
D. Dirk Nowitzki . Dirk started at center in the Mavericks' win over Oklahoma City this past Sunday. When discussing the aforementioned move made by head coach Rick Carlisle, Dirk commented, "I thought he had a few beers to come up with that idea." The 36-year-old German had reason for a few beers of his own last Friday, when he passed Elvin Hayes for eighth on the all-time scoring list during a 102-98 defeat of the Lakers. Dallas is +1000 at BetOnline Sportsbook to win the NBA title.
E. Engaged . Kudos to Joe Manganiello for identifying what he wants and going out and getting it. Just six months into dating, the guy is engaged to Sofia Vergara. #Winning.
F. Fined . Ndamukong Suh stepped on Aaron Rodgers during Detroit's loss at Green Bay last weekend and was initially suspended for Sunday's playoff game at Dallas before the penalty was reduced to only a $70,000 fine after it was declared that Suh is not a "repeat offender." How a rule makes that possible is hard to fathom, because if "repeat offender" was in the dictionary its definition would be "Ndamukong Suh." The Cowboys are -6.5 favorites, per 5Dimes Sportsbook.
G. Gurley, Todd . To the surprise of no one, Gurley is going pro. What is a surprise is that Georgia probably won't miss him too much. Not only did he miss tons of time due to both injury and autograph signing, but the Bulldogs are also in great hands at running back. Nick Chubb wrapped up his freshman campaign with 219 rushes for 1547 yards and 14 touchdowns. He capped it off with 266 yards and two scores on 33 carries in a Belk Bowl rout of Louisville.
H. Hiroki Kuroda . If this was World War II, nobody would choose Japan over America. But it isn't, so the latter is very much in play-at least for Japanese pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. The former New York Yankee decided last week to leave the major leagues and sign a contract with the Hiroshima Carp of Japan's Central League. Mybookie.ag has the Yankees at +1600 to win the World Series.
I. Iggy Azalea . Azalea bought her boyfriend, NBA player Nick Young, a Chevy Impala for Christmas. Swaggy P must be livin' right. Oh wait, he plays for the Lakers.
J. Josh Gordon . You know things are bad when Johnny Manziel of all people feels the need to deny partying with you. And things are bad for Gordon, who was suspended from the Browns' season finale for a violation of team rules. The disgruntled receiver allegedly attended a party thrown by Manziel last Friday night and both players were late from the team's walk-through on Saturday morning. This certainly qualifies as news, but shouldn't it be even bigger news when either Manziel or Gordon actually does something right?
K. Kool-Aid . Rob Ryan attributed New Orleans' defensive struggles in 2014 to too much sippin' of the proverbial Kool-Aid. The Saints finished fourth in total defense in 2013 but were second to last this season. That's basically last considering the 32nd-rank team (Atlanta) had arguably no more than two legitimate NFL starters on its defense and one of those two (William Moore) was hurt more often than not.
L. Lynch, Marshawn . Lynch may have started a trend as the calendar turns to 2015. After getting ejected from Oklahoma City's win over Phoenix on New Year's Eve, Russell Westbrook went into Beast Mode…you know, that other kind of Beast Mode. He answered just about every question with either "good win for us," "great win for us," or "big win for us." BookMaker has Seattle as a +195 favorite to win the Super Bowl.
M. Mayweather, Floyd . On Dec. 16, Mayweather tweeted to Manny Pacquiao, "Don't be a boxing humbug. Let's give the fans the fight they want. They have waited long enough." Pacquiao finally responded as he rang in the New Year, writing, "The ball will drop at midnight to usher in 2015. @FloydMayweather let's not drop the ball on fighting each other next year! #LetsMakeFistory". That's good hashtag use, Manny.
N. New Jersey Devils . It's not a great time to be the Devils these days. They started 3-0 and were still a mediocre 11-13-4 through 28 games, but things have gone downhill ever since (now 13-19-7). Head coach Pete DeBoer was fired last Friday and the team is now going with a three-pronged coaching panel featuring former Washington Capitals' head coach Adam Oates, Devils' assistant Scott Stevens, and Devils' general manager Lou Lamoriello. New Jersey has also dealt with four cases of the NHL's mumps outbreak.
O. Oklahoma . The ACC got off to a slow start in the bowl season, but Oklahoma seemed to cure whatever ailed the conference. Clemson humiliated the Sooners 40-6 in the Russell Athletic Bowl, rolling to a 40-0 lead before OU scored a meaningless touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. Georgia Tech continued the ACC turnaround by running circles around Mississippi State for a 49-34 Orange Bowl romp. Florida State is a +8 underdog against Oregon in the Rose Bowl, according to Sportsbook.
P. Premier League . Steadily chipping away at Chelsea's English Premier League lead, Manchester City did not have a chance to get all the way to the top last weekend. But it could have pulled within one point with a simple defeat of a Burnley club that may be headed for relegation. Chelsea left the door open in the form of a draw against Southampton and Man City appeared to be walking through it with a 2-0 lead. Instead, the Sky Blues gave up goals in the 47th and 81st minutes to suffer a disastrous 2-2 tie. Thus they remain three points back on the table. City is a +250 favorite at Bovada Sportsbook to win the league.
Q. Quinn, Dan . The benefit of getting a first-round bye for an assistant coach is that he can interview before his team's playoff campaign begins. Quinn, Seattle's defensive coordinator, met with the 49ers on Tuesday. Based on the past, present, and likely future dominance of the Legion of Boom, he will probably be a candidate everywhere. And if Quinn needs a pitch man, Richard Sherman will surely step up to the plate. Seahawks-Patriots is +225 to be the Super Bowl matchup, as indicated by Bovada Sportsbook.
R. Rex Ryan . Five NFL head coaching positions are currently vacant. Black Monday delivered three casualties: Ryan of the Jets, Mike Smith of the Falcons, and Marc Trestman of the Bears. Harbaugh did not even make it to Monday, as he and the 49ers mutually parted ways immediately following their season-ending win over Arizona. Doug Marrone of the Bills opted out of his contract on Wednesday.
S. Screech . The "Saved by the Bell" character may be lovable and innocent, but the guy who played him isn't; at least not these days. Dustin Diamond spent last weekend in a Wisconsin jail after being accused of stabbing a man at a bar on Christmas day. According to his attorney, Diamond was ""not happy he missed the Packers game." Hey, there are only three things in life that matter and three things only: family, religion and the Green Bay Packers. Just ask Vince Lombardi and Jim Valvano.
T. Tank . If it looks like a tank and smells like a tank, it's probably a tank. Needing a loss to secure the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Bucs were leading their game 20-7 going into the fourth quarter. Blowing such an advantage would not be unthinkable for a team as pathetic as Tampa Bay…until you remember that the opponent was New Orleans. The Saints dominated the fourth quarter 16-0 en route to a 23-20 victory, after which the Bucs insisted they did not throw it. The Titans, among many others, respectfully disagree.
U. Unbroken . Just like the story's subject, "Unbroken" has overcome the odds. Estimates had the film bringing in about $20 million at the box office for its opening weekend, but it instead powered to $47 million over the four days.
V. 'Ville . At least Louisville did not lose to Kentucky 72-40 like Kansas or 83-44 like UCLA, but Rick Pitino's squad was historically bad in one department against the Wildcats last weekend. The Cardinals managed a grand total of one assist in their 58-50 setback, the lowest single-game total for a ranked team since the most recent wooly mammoth sighting (actually, 19 years to be exact). GT Bets has UK at -140 to win the National Championship.
W. Waived . That's what Josh Smith was last week. Smoove lasted one full season and 28 games of another in Detroit, where he his shooting range-or at least what he thought was his shooting range-was a lot longer than his tenure. Hawks' general manager Danny Ferry did not look good in 2014 (see: Luol Deng race controversy), but he is looking better and better by the day for not offering Smith a max contract. Smith's new team, Houston, is +900 at Sportsbook to win the Western Conference.
X. Xmas suit . Spencer Hawes was sidelined due to injury last week and everyone's Christmas was worse than it otherwise would have been as a result. Hawes rocked a hideous, Christmas-themed suit at the Clippers' game against Golden State and it really had to be seen to be believed. Whether it was a tribute to Craig Sager or not, it was a wardrobe malfunction of epic proportions.
Y. Year . Another year over, a new one just begun…. For Madison Bumgarner, there's almost no way it can get any better. The southpaw led San Francisco to the World Series championship, earned MVP honors in the process, and was recently named AP Male Athlete of the Year. Of course, all Mad-Bum really cares about is hunting…. So unless you know his 2014 stag count, you can't be sure of just how good his year really was.
Z. Zemgus Girgensons . Latvia may be a small country, but it still packs a punch-at least when it comes to NHL all-star voting. The ballots close on New Year's Day and Z-Girgs, an otherwise little-known 20-year-old on the lowly Buffalo Sabres, is still leading the way. If Girgensons wins, the league should make a rule that every player in the All-Star Game must spell their name as if they hail from Latvia; for example: Sidneys Crosbys, Patricks Kanes, and Tylers Seguins.
Read more articles by Ricky Dimon
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