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It’ll only end in tears.
Sure, ESPN has wasted millions in on-air time pontificating (as only they can) about the benefits of acquiring troubled players. You’ve seen the highlights: Dennis Rodman kicking people, Terrell Owens doing driveway ab crunches, Darryl Strawberry wiping white powder from under his nose, Steve Howe returning to the Yankees after his thousandth drug suspension. You know what? For once, I agree with the Boys from Bristol. The Sacramento Kings dealing for Ron Artest is fool’s gold. The idea that Artest will suddenly be a good citizen in the league’s most boring city (all right, Salt Lake City and Orlando, I see you waving your hands) is silly. Oh, sure, he’ll make nice for a couple of months, and maybe even get all the way through the playoffs without being filmed shirtless and in flipflops, storming and screaming at an opposing team’s bus. But eventually, and soon, the Kings are going to wish they’d never heard his name.
I grant you, they didn’t give up a lot: Peja Stojakovic seems disinterested these days (though Indiana gets to test-drive him for a couple months, and if they don’t like him, they get a big slobbering heap of cap relief for letting him walk away). But my argument is that a sane NBA franchise shouldn’t have taken on Artest even for free. He’s simply a coddled, immature ass with personal problems that make Robert Downey Jr. look like the Dalai Lama. You’ll wake up with your tea and crumpets one morning, turn on the tube, and learn that Artest has barricaded himself in a Denny’s and refuses to come out unless Michael Jackson frees Blanket. Or you’ll be driving home from work, tune into sports radio, and hear a report that Artest’s in hot water because his latest rap song calls for the overthrow of the Brazilian government. Really, that’s just about the only fun left with guys like Artest and T.O.: the impossible spectacle of their inevitable detonation.
Of course, before they detonate themselves, they will most certainly detonate their teams. Best of luck, Sacramento.
What was your impression of the AFC and NFC title games? How did the betting public do on those games?
Greg Jorssen, BoDog: The two Jakes sure didn’t come to play last Sunday, now did they? Plummer lived up to the belief that he cannot get it done, and the Seahawks did an incredible job shutting down the Delhomme/Smith passing attack. The betting public did pretty well on the Steeler victory, as they rode the Pittsburgh bandwagon, however they didn’t fare very well on the Seahawks’ win. Bettors were high on Carolina, basing that on Seahawks strength in schedule vs. Carolina’s, and the Panther road record. I suppose they forgot about Seattle’s secret weapon: The Twelfth Man. Boy was that stadium rocking on Sunday afternoon! The one saving grace for the books this past weekend was that the final scores knocked out most teasers. Since both wins were blowouts, this helped turn what should have been a losing day for the house into a money-making day.
We’ll have another week to really dip into Super Bowl analysis, but what’s your first impression of the Pittsburgh/Seattle line? Not asking for a pick, more just your thoughts as an expert on how the line got where it is, whether you expect it to move, etc….
GJ, BoDog: The line opened up as expected and should finally settle down around Pittsburgh -4 ½. Two things jump to mind as to why a #6 AFC team would be the favorite over the #1 NFC team. First is strength of schedule. Seattle ranked dead-last in schedule difficulty, which is expected, considering the poor season the NFC West displayed. The Steelers on the other hand ranked 9th, and a fair number of their losses were due to key injuries. The second factor is of course an emotional one. People love the underdog and will ride their bandwagon to the bitter end. I expect some sharp money late on Seattle; however it’s clear already that the house will be cheering on the Seahawks!
How many prop bets do you expect to see on the various boards out there? Do you have a favorite from the past that you remember? Something particularly fun or outrageous?
GJ, BoDog: I can’t speak for the other books, but bodog will have well over 150 props on the Super Bowl. The favorite every year is, of course, the flip of the coin, which generates tremendous handle for us. In terms of outrageous ones, the one that comes to mind is our prop on the duration of the National Anthem! We don’t offer that one anymore, because it was just too difficult to handicap (some singers just love being in the spotlight). We have also had props during the 2001 Super Bowl on whether Shaq would score more points than the St. Louis Rams, and have had similar props each year since. Hmmm, after Kobe’s performance on Sunday, maybe a line on whether Kobe will outscore both teams in Super Bowl…let me work on that!
Completely changing gears: I guess if you had Kobe Bryant scoring 82 points the other night, you missed a pretty big bet, huh? What is the deal with Kobe pulling 81 out of his tuckus?
GJ, BoDog: The Lakers are now “The Kobe Show,” and he’s someone that’s now put an early stamp on the MVP award. The bigger question is: why didn’t the Raptors double him up? Did they think he’d eventually cool down, that he was eventually going to miss? No wonder they lost to the Israeli National Team! At halftime, Kobe decided to take matters into his own hands, because the Lakers were down so much to such a bad team. He had no choice but to do it himself, and I really don’t think there are many others in this league who could do what he did. Many will say that this is bad for basketball, that it is a team game, etc. I don’t buy that. Kobe stole the headlines away from the two NFL Conference Championships. One man shifted the sports focus from the NFL to NBA. That in itself is simply amazing. No longer are people saying that he is the “next Jordan.” After his Sunday performance, he’ll be known as “the First Kobe!”
write by Fiona