Sports & Gaming News By Kevin O.Neill
Iowa has gone finished the Big Ten season undefeated and Texas` loss last week means that the Hawkeyes will be in the Rose Bowl. So with one BCS team from the Big Ten set, conference schools stand to make $12 million if Ohio State beats Michigan on Sunday to play their way into the Fiesta Bowl. With that kind of cash on the line and the colorful season that the conference`s game officials have enjoyed it`ll be interesting to see which way the flags fly on Saturday. Conference schools divvy up all bowl money, so each school in the league stands to make a cool million or so with a Buckeye win on Saturday. Shouldn`t these educational bastions be uncomfortable with an all-or-nothing million-dollar wager on a bunch of 18-22 year-old college kids? Wouldn`t it be wise for the schools to hedge their position with a money line bet on Michigan at +160 or +170 to win the game? It sure would. A $375,000 money line bet made by a conference school on the Wolverines would lock in a guaranteed profit of about $650,000 for the individual conference member no matter who wins the game. With all the Big Ten schools except Northwestern being public institutions it strikes us as the fiscally responsible thing for these stewards of taxpayer money to do. While that kind of money is usually tough to get down, don`t think for a second that some enterprising sports book in Vegas, the Caribbean, Europe, or Australia wouldn`t see the value of the publicity in this instance and happily accept such a wager. Last season a Sports & Gaming News reader in the sports apparel business advised t-shirt sales reps in Pittsburgh and St. Louis to utilize similar "Sports Betting as a Business Hedge" strategies just in case losses by their city`s teams interfered with their five-figure paydays. He advised the Pittsburgh rep to bet the Patriots on the moneyline in the AFC Championship game and the St. Louis salesman to bet the Pats to win in the Super Bowl. The reps looked at him as though he had three heads, didn`t consider the idea, and watched Bill Belichick scheme their big cash infusion away after they neglected to make money line hedge bets on the Patriots in the AFC Championship game and Super Bowl. If you call our hotline at 1-770-649-1078 you get detailed gameday previews on a recorded message. It doesn`t cost you a thing, so make the call to 1-770-649-1078 a part of your football routine. Unobjectionable criticisms of decisions made by the Atlanta Falcons over the years may number in the thousands, but the "can you believe these guys traded Brett Favre?" statement of disbelief is one seldom made in Atlanta. Favre spent considerably more time in the bars of Buckhead than he did on the practice field or in film study and his commitment to making himself a player was legitimately questioned. He was not serious about his professional development at that time and it was no surprise to anyone in Atlanta when he ended up in rehab a few years later. Favre`s trade is not seen as anywhere close to the "Red Sox trading Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson" level and Falcons fans are far more likely to wring their hands over the Falcons drafting Aundray Bruce as the number one overall pick and Bruce Pickens (remember him?) as the fourth pick of the first round a few years later. Favre needed a new environment to get serious about career and with Green Bay.s lack of nightlife, it was the perfect place for him. Did you see the big shot Fox News anchor`s Jennifer Lopez snafu involving an inadvertent comment on Lewinsky-like activity. You can watch it at http://www.videoclipstream.com/akamai/h-l/jaylo/oops_email.html . Our ugly added game of the week had a long winning streak broken last week, so let`s see if we can pick an ugly winner. Teams that score 18 points per game and run for only 2.0 yards per rush with an average rushing yardage deficit of 67-183 simply shouldn`t be road favorites, no matter how poor the opposition. That premise has us going against Louisiana-Lafayette by taking the points with home dog Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday, and it don`t get much uglier than Louisiana-Monroe. The New York Times editorialized this week that Tiger Woods should boycott The Masters until Augusta National begins admitting women members. Woods has rebuffed the advice. Of course, if more Times` editorial positions over the years had actually been adopted, Augusta National membership would by now have to be vetted by the Politburo. Christopher Harn, the Autotote employee who helped his buddies waltz off with over $3 million in the Breeders` Cup pick six has plead guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to launder money. Harn could spend up to 25 years in prison, but will likely serve far less time, as his testimony makes a case against his fraternity brothers Derrick Davis and Glen DaSilva, when the case was previously based on circumstantial evidence. The thoroughbred industry has hired Giulani Associates, a joint venture between Rudolph Giulani and Ernst & Young, to explore the past year`s worth of pick six and pick four tickets in an effort to uncover further fraud. Do you know the most important factor in selecting an offshore sports book? You would if you read the article by the same title at www.consumerbet.com or check out the many other valuable articles there as well. In the NFL this week we`re going to take a flyer on the Bengals. The horrible injury suffered by Pittsburgh QB Tommy Maddox has Kordell Stewart back in the lineup, and under Stewart`s leadership the Steelers struggled to a pair of two touchdown losses to New England and Oakland in which they gained only 273 and 283 yards. They also turned the ball over five times in each of those games. We didn`t sense any confidence out of Kordell at all and don`t know why that will have changed. Take the double digits with a Bengals team that has scored a surprising 24, 38, 27, and 20 points in their last four games.