I used to be a Dallas Cowboys fan.
I really did: I was born in New England and came to NFL consciousness in the mid-1970s. The six-year-old version of me latched onto America’s Team. Maybe it was the shiny star. Maybe it was the pretty cheerleaders. I was a Roger Staubach fanatic. I freaked out when Jackie Smith dropped the TD pass in the Super Bowl. I cried about Danny White’s futility. I loathe The Catch. I reveled in the Jimmy Johnson resurgence, and actually lived in Texas for the three-Super-Bowls-in-four-years. I suffered through the late ’90s.
But I don’t root for Dallas much anymore. Part of it is being a columnist; it gets harder and harder to choose sides. But part of it is the team’s 2006 edition. It is officially insufferable.
I like Bill Parcells. Obviously, I didn’t like him much when he was coach of the Giants, but I respected him. When he coached the Patriots, my favorite AFC team, I loved the guy. And when Dallas announced they’d hired him, I thought: finally. But Parcells is teetering. In every press conference, and on the sidelines during every game, you can see his career passing before his eyes. He’s had enough of this batch of misfits, and who can blame him?
I’ve devoted enough pixel-dust in this space to Terrell Owens. He’s the poster child for what’s wrong with American pro sports. But there’s also the idiot kicker, Mike “Earring” Vanderjagt. There’s Drew Bledsoe, who seems like a class guy, but is horribly painful to watch play quarterback. There’s an owner whose liposuctioned face looks like the crypt-keeper, and who insists on playing general manager, despite an unquestioned record of absolute failure in the position. Heck, on this team, terminal grouser Terry Glenn looks like a good guy. They strut around on defense as though they’re good (they’re not), and they argue on the sidelines like a COPS re-run.
This is an insufferable group of people to root for. They dominate the headlines with knuckleheaded non-issues (most of which, I’ll agree, circle around Owens, a.k.a., the Worst Guy In The World). They act like idiots when they win, and they act like idiots when they lose. The milk has curdled. The pudding has spoiled.
And here’s something I never thought I’d say: I don’t much like the Cowboys anymore.
What has the wagering been like on the World Series? Was it mostly pro-Tigers before the Series started? Has that changed as we’ve progressed, and the Cardinals have made it clear that they’re not to be taken lightly?
BoDog Bookmakers, BoDog.ws: The Tigers haven’t been as heavily favored as people would think thus far in the postseason. With a first-round match-up against the Yankees, Detroit wasn’t getting much respect, and the more they won, the more the public thought the Yankees were a sure bet. Then they faced a very solid-looking Oakland side, where the action came in mixed on both sides, based on who was taking the mound. After a sweep there, bettors started to take notice of the talented Detroit lineup. In Game 1 of the World Series, we saw the majority of the money coming in on Detroit, who at that point had logged seven straight postseason wins. But the Cardinals made a statement with a 7-2 win. The last two match-ups have seen two aces step to the mound: Rogers in Game 2 and Carpenter in Game 3. The action in these cases came in slightly heavier based on the star pitchers. The Cards look very comfortable in the postseason, and they have had a lot of practice over the past few years. It’s quite clear with a 2-1 lead they’re making a run to finish this thing off on their own turf.
What a crazy, underdog-laden Week 7 in the NFL: by my count, eight ‘dogs posted straight-up wins. Obviously, this isn’t unprecedented, but I’m assuming this was a pretty good week for the books? Care to tell us which games were the worst beats for the wagering public?
BDB, BoDog.ws: It was a good week for books with a handful of big upsets taking place. The Tampa Bay miracle win over Philadelphia, Oakland running over an Arizona team that challenged the Bears, and Kansas City not folding at home to San Diego were three of the biggest beats for the wagering public.
The NBA opens on the 31st of October (how ghoulish!). Right here, right now: give us your NBA Finalists, and tell us why.
BDB, BoDog.ws: Cleveland and Phoenix. Cleveland because the NBA needs it; LeBron showed last year the team has playoff potential. If he can now take the team to the Finals, the NBA can use the story to try and get the league back to the Jordan glory days. Phoenix because San Antonio is too boring, and if Detroit makes it through in the East, at least we won’t have to nap through the NBA Finals again.
What do you think of the NFL’s decision to hold two regular-season games per year on international soil? Do you think it will negatively affect the participating teams? Do you think it will do anything in particular to wagering?
BDB, BoDog.ws: It seems odd that the NFL would go international for two regular-season games. Preseason is understandable, but this could definitely put some extra fatigue on the participating teams. Making a flight to, say, Japan mid-week and returning Monday morning to the U.S. to prep for the following week will definitely not be as easy as a two-to-three-hour cross-state flight. This shouldn’t have too much impact on wagering, provided the games have the same TV coverage. Hey, who are we to question one of the most successfully run leagues in the world?