It will only end in tears.
Sure, ESPN has wasted millions of airtime pontificating (as only they can) about the benefits of acquiring troubled players. You’ve seen the highlights: Dennis Rodman kicking people, Terrell Owens doing crunches in the driveway, Darryl Strawberry wiping white powder under his nose, Steve Howe returning to the Yankees after his thousandth drug suspension. Did you know? For once, I agree with the Boys from Bristol. The Sacramento Kings deal for Ron Artest is fool’s gold. The idea that Artest will suddenly be a good citizen in the most boring city in the league (alright, Salt Lake City and Orlando, I see you waving your hands) is silly. Oh sure, he’ll behave himself for a couple of months, and maybe even make it to the playoffs without being filmed shirtless and in flip-flops, storming and yelling on the opposing team’s bus. But eventually, and soon, the Kings will wish they’d never heard his name.
I guarantee you, they didn’t give up much: Peja Stojakovic seems disinterested these days (although Indiana can try him out for a couple of months, and if they don’t like him, they get a lot of slimy cap). relief to let him go). But my point is that a healthy NBA franchise shouldn’t have faced Artest even for free. He’s just a spoiled, immature jerk with personal issues that make Robert Downey Jr. look like the Dalai Lama. You’ll wake up to your tea and scones 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 he’ll be driving home from work, tune in to sports radio and hear a report that Artest is in trouble because his latest rap song calls for the overthrow of the Brazilian government. Really, that’s the only fun left for the likes of Artest and TO: the impossible spectacle of their inevitable detonation.
Of course, before they detonate themselves, they will most likely detonate their equipment. Best of luck, Sacramento.
What was your impression of the AFC and NFC title games? How did the public fare betting on those games?
Greg Jorssen, BoDog: I’m sure the two Jakes didn’t come to play last Sunday, right? Plummer lived up to the belief that he can’t do it, and the Seahawks did an incredible job shutting down the Delhomme/Smith passing attack. The betting public did pretty well with the Steeler win as they jumped on the Pittsburgh bandwagon, however they didn’t do very well with the Seahawks win. Bettors bet heavily on Carolina, based on the Seahawks’ strength on the schedule vs. Carolina’s, and the Panther road record. I guess they forgot about Seattle’s secret weapon: The Twelfth Man. Boy was the stadium rocking on Sunday afternoon! The only thing that saved the books last weekend was that the final scores removed most of the teasers. Since both wins were landslides, this helped turn what should have been a losing day for the house into a winning day.
We’ll have another week to really dive into Super Bowl analysis, but what’s your first impression of the Pittsburgh/Seattle lineup? I’m not asking for a pick, more just your thoughts as an expert on how the line got to where it is, if you expect it to move, etc…
GJ, BoDog: The line opened up as expected and should eventually settle around Pittsburgh -4 ½. Two things spring to mind as to why a #6 AFC team would be the favorite over the #1 NFC team. First is the force of the schedule. Seattle ranked last in schedule difficulty, which was expected considering the poor season the NFC West had. The Steelers, on the other hand, were ranked ninth, with a fair amount of their losses due to key injuries. The second factor is, of course, emotional. People love the underdog and will ride their bandwagon to the bitter end. I expect some big money late in Seattle; However, it is already clear that the house will cheer on the Seahawks!
How many prop bets do you expect to see on the various boards? Do you have a favorite from the past that you remember? Anything particularly funny or scandalous?
GJ, BoDog: I can’t speak for the other books, but bodog will have 150+ Super Bowl endorsements. The favorite of all years is, of course, the coin toss, which generates us a tremendous mango. As for the outrageous, the one that comes to mind is our support for the duration of the National Anthem! We don’t offer that one anymore, because it was too hard to modify (some singers love to be in the spotlight). We also had endorsements during the 2001 Super Bowl on whether Shaq would score more points than the St. Louis Rams, and we’ve had similar endorsements every year since. Hmmm, after Kobe’s performance on Sunday, maybe a line on whether Kobe will beat both teams in the Super Bowl… let me work on that!
Switching gears completely: I guess if Kobe Bryant scored 82 points the other night, you missed out on a big bet, huh? What’s the deal with Kobe pulling 81 out of his tuckus?
GJ, BoDog: The Lakers are now “The Kobe Show,” and he’s someone who now put an early stamp on the MVP award. The big question is: why didn’t the Raptors double it? Did they think it would eventually calm down, that it would eventually fail? No wonder they lost to the Israeli National Team! At halftime, Kobe decided to take matters into his own hands, because the Lakers were way short of 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 can 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 for both NFL Conference Championships. One man changed the focus of sports from the NFL to the NBA. That in itself is just amazing. People don’t say he’s the “next Jordan” anymore. After his performance on Sunday, he will be known as “the first Kobe!”