This Week in Sports Betting A-Z
A. Arizona State
. The Sun Devils are 9-0 and up to No. 5 in the AP poll (five first-place
votes) with wins over Kansas, Xavier, and Kansas State. No team on the
college hardwood has a more impressive resume at this early stage of the
season. Arizona State is +2000 at
to win the National Championship.
B. Browns . From protests to injuries to suspensions and the like, it has not been a good season for the NFL. So it is only fitting that the franchise making the most news right now is the worst team in football. The good: Josh Gordon is back and he scored his first touchdown since the Jurassic Era in last week's overtime loss to Green Bay. The bad: Cleveland (0-13) is three losses away from becoming the second team in league history to go 0-16, and it fired executive VP of football operations Sashi Brown last week. The ugly: a fundraising goal has been reached-with help from Excedrin-to sponsor a Jan. 6 parade if the Browns complete their perfectly winless season.
C. Cristiano Ronaldo . Ronaldo has won the Ballon d'Or as the world's best soccer player for the fifth time in his career. He promptly proclaimed himself as the greatest of all time. Maybe, but he still has that embarrassing statue at Portugal's airport.
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D. Derby, Manchester . Although 22 matches remain for each English Premier League club, it may not be long before title odds are completely taken off the market. After all, Manchester City already boasts a whopping 11-point lead over second-place Manchester United following City's 2-1 road win over its arch rival last weekend.
E. Edwards, Herm . It is not a bad time to be at Arizona State right now. The basketball team has been playing to win the game so far this season, and now Edwards will be doing the same with the football program. Edwards was hired last week to replace Todd Graham, who got the boot after six seasons at the helm.
F. Free . That's what Jahlil Okafor is-from the 76ers. Of course, being on the 76ers is awesome…unless you're Okafor. The former Duke standout did not trust The Process and The Process did not trust him as he played in only two games for Philadelphia this season despite being healthy. Okafor had long since requested a trade, and the wish was granted when he got dealt to Brooklyn last week for Trevor Booker. The 76ers are +5.5 underdogs at Minnesota on Tuesday, per BetOnline Sportsbook.
G. Goodell, Roger . Goodell finalized a five-year contract extension as NFL commissioner last week. Amazingly, the Cowboys' inevitable miss of the playoffs won't be the worst thing that happens to Jerry Jones in 2017.
H. Heisman Trophy . There were some stumbles and falls along the way, but Baker Mayfield has gone from walk-on to Heisman Trophy winner. Oklahoma's senior quarterback won the award in a landslide last Saturday night. The Sooners are +280 at MyBookie.ag to win the College Football Playoff.
I. Injury update . Progress reports are few and far between, but Steelers' linebacker Ryan Shazier has reportedly been showing some improvement after undergoing spinal stabilization surgery last Wednesday. Shazier was injured and immobilized while making a hit during Pittsburgh's Week 13 win over Cincinnati. The Steelers are +2.5 home underdogs against New England on Sunday, according to GT Bets.
J. Jets . Winnipeg won on Monday (5-1 over Vancouver) and actually played some defense in the process. The Jets had allowed 15 goals during a three-game losing streak (all on the road) prior to their performance against the Canucks. Winnipeg has won seven in a row at home and has taken points in 11 straight games at Bell MTS Place.
K. Kamara, Alvin . In a hometown appearance in Atlanta, the Saints' breakout rookie running back did not even get through one series. Kamara was concussed on the first drive of the game as New Orleans eventually fell 20-17 last Thursday night. 5Dimes Sportsbook has New Orleans as a -17 home favorite over the Jets on Sunday.
L. LiAngelo Ball . UCLA…Lithuania…it's all the same, right? UCLA was supposed to be Ball University for three or four years, but now LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball are taking their talents to a Lithuanian professional team. The only thing that's certain is it's a better choice than China!
M. Marcus Mariota . Good news: Mariota isn't out for the year like Carson Wentz. Bad news: his team isn't 11-2 like the Eagles. Mariota sustained a knee injury but managed to stay in the game-albeit hobbled-throughout Tennessee's 12-7 loss at Arizona this past Sunday. The 8-5 Titans are now one game behind Jacksonville in the AFC South.
N. Navy . Watership down! For the first time since a five-game losing streak from 1992 through 1996 in their rivalry game against Army, the Midshipmen have lost two in a row. Following last year's 21-17 defeat, Navy went down 14-13 last Saturday at snow-infested Lincoln Financial Field. The Cadets scored a go-ahead touchdown with 5:10 remaining before Navy missed a field goal wide left on the final play of the game. Bowl season begins on Saturday, when Oregon is a -7.5 favorite over Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl (Bovada Sportsbook)
O. Olympics . The IOC has banned Russia from the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, for "systematic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system." Big gulps, huh? Alright. Welp, see ya later!
P. Portland Trail Blazers . When you've lost four consecutive contests, a road date with Golden State is not what the doctor ordered. The Warriors threw Portland a bone by playing without Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Zaza Pachulia, but they still took care of business 111-104. Due to their five-game skid, the Trail Blazers are now .500 at 13-13 and down to seventh place it the Western Conference.
Q. QBE Shootout
. Steve Stricker is older than Tiger Woods (by a lot), and he is still out
here winning golf tournaments. In last week's team event in Naples, Fla.,
the 50-year-old teamed up with Sean O'Hair (not a 50-year-old) to
prevail at 26-under par.
R. Ruth, Babe
. The Japanese Babe Ruth-or something-has signed with the Angels. Two-way
slugger and pitcher Shohei Ohtani, 23, will join Mike Trout and Albert
Pujols in Los Angeles this coming season. We already know that Trout can
walk on water, turn water into wine, and do just about everything else, but
can he speak Japanese?
S. Stephen Curry . Death, taxes, and Curry's bum ankles…. Those used to be the three certainties of life. That trend seemed to end a while ago, but now the injury issues are back. Golden State's star guard has missed three games (all wins) and will be sidelined for at least another week. The Warriors are -187 at BookMaker to win the NBA title.
T. Toronto FC . Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley helped Toronto in the MLS Cup this past Saturday, when they beat visiting Seattle 2-0. So those two Americans can get the job done for Canada but not for the United States? Thanks a lot!
U. University of Tennessee . No matter that he was the Volunteers' 71st choice; Jeremy Pruitt has a head coaching job in the SEC. A tumultuous search finally came to an end last week when it landed on Alabama's defensive coordinator.
V. Vending machine worker . Some dude who works for a vending machine company was the Blues' backup goalie at the start of last Thursday's game against Dallas. You can't make this stuff up, folks. Tyler Stewart, who played club hockey at St. Louis University a few years ago, was called to dress after Carter Hutton was injured during a morning skate and AHL goalie Ville Husso could not get to the arena in time. Of course Stewart won't be going back to the Blues' bench for a while, so he might as well grab a Snickers. St. Louis is a +105 home underdog against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, per MyBookie.ag.
W. Williams, Serena . Williams is on the Australian Open entry list that was released earlier this month. She also posted an Instagram photo of herself wearing new gold and white tennis shoes with the caption, "Be excited. Be very excited..." The 36-year-old American won last season's Aussie Open while pregnant, so it can't get much better than that!
X. Xavien Howard . In the last two games, the Dolphins' cornerback has been targeted 15 times, allowed only two receptions for 30 yards (no touchdowns), broken up four passes, made a ridiculous four interceptions, and limited quarterbacks to a 0.0 passer rating. And he has done it despite having been forced to go up against Tom Brady on Monday night. Thanks in large part to Howard, Miami pulled off a 27-20 upset of New England.
Y. Yankees . Just when you thought Derek Jeter was done winning World Series titles for the Yankees, the captain has struck again. Now the CEO and part-owner of the Marlins, Jeter and the rest of the front office shipped Giancarlo Stanton to New York in exchange for Starlin Castro and some assorted garbage materials. Stanton is -160 at BetOnline Sportsbook to hit more home runs than Aaron Judge in 2018.
Z. Denotes clinched division . Philadelphia became the first team to clinch a division in the 2017 NFL season. But wrapping up the NFC East came at a heavy price when the Eagles beat the Rams 43-35. MVP candidate Carson Wentz suffered a torn ACL and is obviously out for the year. Nick Foles, the floor is yours. GT Bets has Philadelphia at +800 to win the Super Bowl.
Read more articles by Ricky Dimon
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