The Week in Betting A to Z
T.O. Whenham of Doc's Sports Predictions
A - Art Shell. The Oakland coach claims that forces inside his own team are trying to undermine him. You have to love a conspiracy theory. Doesn't he realize that the problem isn't a spy, it's that he doesn't have an offense? Somehow, the Raiders are 6-5 ATS despite their coach's total incompetence.
B - Buffalo Bills. Don't look now, but the Bills might actually be good. They have won three of four, and the loss was by a single point to Indianapolis. They have covered four in a row. The boys from Orchard Park were pretty awful the first two months of the season, but they're a new team these days.
C- Cutler, Jay. The most popular man in Denver will get his shot to prove he is worth all the hype. He's in a tough spot in his first career start, favored by 3.5 over the defending NFC Champs. He'll struggle at times this year, but he can't be any worse than Plummer, can he?
D - Detroit Pistons. The men from Motor City are 9-5 ATS so far this year. Is there a more consistently reliable team out there over the last few years? The difference is that they are doing it with offense this year.
E - Edwards, Braylon. The Browns have been a feisty team that have often been worth a look this year. Could a humiliating loss last year, and the recent behaviour of Edwards, who is working hard to prove that he can be the next Terrell Owens, spell doom for this team down the stretch?
F - Florida. Let the whining begin. Even if Florida destroys Arkansas and UCLA somehow beats USC, Florida probably still won't get a shot at the national title. The BCS won't be loved in Gainesville. Is it loved anywhere?
G - Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets come into the ACC championships with an offense that is broken. QB Reggie Ball was 6-for-22 for 42 passing yards with 2 interceptions. Not a great way to use the new ACC Player of the Year, WR Calvin Johnson.
H - Hoyas. Georgetown came into the basketball season with a ton of hype. They aren't playing great, with losses to Old Dominion and Oregon so far. They have been a betting disaster as well, having covered just once in five tries. H
I - Idiot kicker. Maybe Peyton Manning is right and Mike Vanderjagt is an idiot. Dallas seems to agree. He's been cut, one of the Flying Gramatica brothers is in town in his place, and Parcells needs to find someone else to blame. I bet I know who that will be.
J - Jacksonville. If you have the Jaguars figured out then you're a better man than me. The lose when they should win, play like world beaters when they should lose, and cost people money every time they play. They are 6-5 ATS and have yet to find an ounce of consistency.
K - Kill me now. That's what I would beg anyone I know to do if I was a Lions fan. They are 2-9, 3-8 ATS, and they are just looking terrible. Now they have New England this weekend. Do we even need to play this game, or can we just give the Pats the W right now?
L - LeBron. Bettors love King James. Probably too much. Despite having a solid winning record, the Cavs are a pitiful 6-9 ATS this year. Bookmakers must look at Cleveland bettors as suckers.
M - Minnesota Golden Gophers. This is one bad basketball team. They have lost five in a row, haven't covered yet this year, and now their coach has resigned. This team could legitimately go 0-18 in the Big Ten this year if something doesn't change.
N - Number one. Nobody wants the top spot in the college basketball rankings. Both Florida and Ohio State have lost and failed to cover as No. 1 in the last two weeks. You might want to wait to see who becomes No. 1 on Monday and then bet their opponents.
O - Orlando Magic. The Magic are one of the hottest teams in the NBA at 12-4. They're doing it with good defense and the rare luxury of a healthy Grant Hill. Bookmakers are onto their success, though, and there are no bargains to be had - they are just 9-7 ATS.
P - Proehl, Ricky. You may have thought you would never hear that name again, but Proehl is back. The 38-year-old has joined Indianapolis this week, coming out of retirement. His signing, and the return of Brandon Stokely, signals that the Colts will use three wideout formations more than they have this year. Maybe that will help them finally cover more of the big spreads they face.
Q - Quit. You should never quit. That being said, basketball teams should definitely quit hiring Isiah Thomas. He's a disaster in management, and he's a disaster on the sidelines for the Knicks this year, with a 6-11 record and terrible defense.
R - Rice Owls. The team may only be 7-5, but they are the champions of the totals this year. They are the only college football team to go over 10 times this season. The Owls have accepted a bid to the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22. Look for a pile of points on that day, no matter who they play.
S - Second half. When the Chargers shine. They are averaging 19.45 points per game in the second half, a full field goal better than anyone else. Amazing what you can do with an offense packed with weapons.
T - Toronto Raptors. The team has a ways to go, but they are turning into a good bet. After the starting the season 1-6 ATS they have turned it around and covered six of their last eight.
U - UCLA. The Bruins are two touchdown underdogs, but they are the favorites of every Michigan fan in the world as they play USC this weekend.
V - Virginia, West. The Mountaineers are 10-point favorites against Rutgers this weekend. After West Virginia's second loss and Rutgers first, though, nobody cares about this match-up anymore.
W- Wake Forest?!? The Demon Deacons were supposed to battle with Duke for the basement of the ACC this year (like every year), but they have surprised everyone. They go into the ACC Championship on Saturday as 2.5-point underdogs, and they have a real shot to win it all. They are 7-2 ATS in their last nine.
X - Xavier. The Musketeers are playing solid basketball at 5-1, though that's not unexpected. Their 2-2 ATS record needs improving, but their Dec. 16 game against Arizona stands out on the schedule as an interesting one.
Y - Yikes. That's my reaction to Atlanta at Washington, by far the worst game on the NFL card this week in my mind. Two bad teams give me no reason to watch, and I won't bet on a game that both teams deserve to lose. The Redskins are favored by one if you care.
Z - Zebras. This recent trend of officials announcing well after games have ended that they made a mistake is incredibly annoying. Think Oklahoma fans feel better hearing that what everyone in the world knows - the refs blew it - is true?