With the sixth pick in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft, the San Diego Chargers select … Manti Te’o, linebacker, Notre Dame.
And that’s when I blacked out. Then, just as I was coming to, someone told me the Chargers actually traded up to select the middle linebacker who, in the biggest game of his life, was as invisible as his girlfriend—the middle linebacker whose 40-yard-dash time was only a second faster than mine (OK, more like 3 seconds, but no matter). Head, meet floor. Again.
Anyway, now you understand my absence from this space last week—I needed some time to clear the cobwebs … and read through all the snarky emails and texts from Raiders fans (you know it’s bad when Raiders fans are mocking your team’s draft pick). But the doctors have cleared me to return to action, so let’s take a trip around the sports-betting landscape and see … what’s that you say? While I was down and out, the Jets released Tim Tebow? And nobody’s picked him up? And his first NFL offensive coordinator is now San Diego’s head coach? Quick, somebody get me a chair. And a stiff drink …
Derby Doings: Speaking of stiff drinks, Jeremy Pond could probably use one. Last week’s guest columnist predicted Normandy Invasion would win the 139th Kentucky Derby, and sure enough his pony had the lead down the stretch until being overtaken by Orb, which went off as the 5-to-1 favorite and won by 2½ lengths. In Pond’s defense, three of his top four horses—Normandy Invasion (finished 4th), Revolutionary (3rd) and Orb (1st)— got paid. But he also said this about 35-to-1 long shot Golden Soul, which finished second: “Got in the Derby after Code West and Governor Charlie opted out of the race. Should’ve stayed home.” So nice not to be the only one to make outlandish predictions in this space!
In Nevada, more than $5.8 million was wagered on the Derby, an increase of more than 8 percent from 2012. The Triple Crown quest continues May 18 at the Preakness Stakes, with Orb opening as an overwhelming 3-to-2 favorite.
“Money” Mayweather: By all accounts, Floyd Mayweather easily picked apart Robert Guerrero on May 4, winning by unanimous decision to run his professional record to 44-0. I say “by all accounts” because I didn’t purchase the pay-per-view. (Sorry, but if I’m gonna spend $60 to watch someone dance around for 45 minutes, it’s gonna be at Olympic Garden.) Over at the LVH, Mayweather opened as a minus-1000 favorite—meaning you had to bet $1,000 on Pretty Boy Floyd to win $100—but, as usual, public bettors jumped on the big-money underdog, and Mayweather closed at minus-600.
LVH sportsbook director Jay Kornegay said the betting handle at his shop was about normal for a Mayweather fight, adding on his Twitter account that 90 percent of the tickets written were on Guerrero, while 85 percent of the money was on Mayweather. Translation: The sharps cleaned up, and the squares went home empty-handed. In other news, the sky is blue, the Earth is round and Mayweather is a punk. (But hey, congrats, Floyd, you made it through a one-sided fight without ending up in handcuffs.)
Golden Warriors: Betting the NBA during the 82-game regular season can be more challenging than trying to convince Carmelo Anthony to pass the rock. That changes come playoff time, especially if you lock onto a team that the oddsmakers consistently undervalue. Last spring, that team was the Miami Heat, who went 15-8 against the spread on their way to the NBA title. This year, the Golden State Warriors are the team that’s printing money.
Despite blowing an 18-point, fourth-quarter lead in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals against San Antonio—losing 129-127 in double overtime—the Warriors covered as a 9-point underdog to improve to 7-0 ATS in the postseason. Right behind Golden State is Memphis, which got blown out in its playoff opener then cashed six straight times heading into Game 2 of its series against Oklahoma City.
Then again, if your pre-playoff research told you to lock onto the Lakers, Clippers and Nuggets—the three teams went a combined 1-15 ATS en route to first-round elimination—well, you probably feel like you just finished an all-you-can-eat feast at Firefly.