I’m rooting for the ESPN headline writer who was fired for the offensive headline about Jeremy Lin. But I’m just not buying Anthony Federico's story. He's saying it was a complete fluke and by no means did he plan to use "Chink in the Armor" as a racial pun.
I worked three years writing headlines for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s site, ajc.com, and have a decade's worth of headline writing experience. No way does someone with his experience make that kind of mistake; not on a story as big as Jeremy Lin and especially not with the Asian angle being so prevalent.
It is much more likely that it was mocked up in an attempt at poor office humor—‘what’s the most inappropriate thing we could put?'--and was published by mistake.
At best, it was an extremely lazy headline, much too lazy for someone writing for the always respectful World Wide Leader.
As someone who has "replied to all," I wish Federico well and certainly hope he is quickly back to work so he can continue his charitable ways.
In the latest installment of dumb things that bettors do, we take you to the MGM Mirage, where sportsbook director Jay Rood recently received an interesting betting ticket mailed in for payment.
According to Rood, a bettor who put a “couple hundred” on LSU to win the BCS National Championship in November mailed in their futures ticket to the payment center with LSU crossed out and Alabama written in. The bettor's explanation: “I changed my mind.”
Alabama, of course, shut out LSU 21-0 to win the BCS National Championship and rendering the bettor's ticket on LSU useless.
“The guy actually paid the postage to send it in,” Rood told Covers.com with a laugh.
Looking for more dumb betting news, check out the annoying Super Bowl tradition that books are preparing for this week.
The Las Vegas Hilton posted season win totals on select college football teams on July 24. Using those numbers, here are this season’s biggest overachievers and the biggest underachievers.
Oklahoma State and Penn State are the only two teams to have eclipsed their season win total at this point. The 9-0 Cowboys went over their projected 8.5 wins with last week’s win over Kansas State The beleaguered Nittany Lions (8-1) went over their projected total of 7.5 by beating Illinois on Nov. 5.
Arkansas (8.5), Southern Cal (7.5), Michigan State (7.5 -120o), Michigan (7 -130o) and Auburn (6 -155o) can go over their total Saturday.
On the other side, Oregon State (6.5, -130u), Texas A&M (8.5 -120u), Florida State (9.5 -130o), West Virginia (9.5 -140u) and Missouri (7.5 -120o) will not reach their season win totals.
Maybe A&M and Mizzou will have better luck in the SEC.
Overachieving Payneful Picks
Last week: 3-0. Season: a surging 18-11-1.
Army vs. Rutgers
Game will be played at Yankee Stadium, where it’s expected to windy with 25 mph gusts. Rutgers is unstable at quarterback, and so is Army, which will be without starter Trent Steelman for a third straight week. Scarlet Knights lead the nation in red-zone defense.
Pick: Under 49
Auburn at Georgia
I believe Auburn has a coaching advantage that will be magnified by an extra week to prepare for Georgia. This is the largest spread in this series in 20 years.
Pick: Auburn +13
San Diego State at Colorado State
Another weather game that could feature snow, rain and most importantly a 22-mph cross wind. Plus, SDSU is 100th and Colorado State is 112th in red-zone offense.
Pick: Under 54.5
The betting action on LSU-Alabama on the local side of things appears to be mirroring the action in Vegas and offshore.
“The ticket count is higher on LSU but the money is pretty even at this point,” a local bookmaker who works out of Pennsylvania told me Friday.
That’s the story in Las Vegas, too, where the public is in love with LSU to an overwhelming extent, but books are hesitant to drop the spread. Alabama is around a 4.5 to 5-point favorite, with the majority of books on the lower side.
The Pennsylvania bookie was sticking with Tide -4.5 as of Friday as well.
“I anticipate being heavy LSU by kickoff, so I may get down to -4 by tomorrow afternoon, but we’ll see,” he said.
Depending on the number you got, Stanford improved to 8-0 against the spread with its overtime win against USC.
The Cardinal’s ATS run to the start the season is second only to Kansas in 2007. The Jayhawks covered the spread in their first 10 games and finished 11-1 ATS.
I bet against Stanford last week, but was lucky enough to get +8, as posted here.
I only bring that up because it salvaged an 0-2-1 week in my Payneful Picks. I’d like to do better this week. Help me.
Last week: 0-2-1. Season: a fading 15-11-1.
Stanford (-21) @ Oregon State
I know there are so many reasons not to back the Cardinal in this spot. They host Oregon next week and certainly have the full respect of oddsmakers, who have admitted to inflating the lines on Stanford.
But this is the worst line on the board to me.
Pick: Stanford -21
TCU (-19.5, 57.5) at Wyoming
Snow with a 22-mph cross wind is forecast in Laramie. Give me under 57.5, while it’s still out there.
Pick: Under 57.5
Army at Air Force (-17, 59)
Strong winds and rain is also expected in Colorado Springs, where Army visits without its starting quarterback.
Pick: Under 59
How big is Saturday’s showdown between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama?
As of Monday afternoon, BetOnline.com is on pace to have more money bet on Saturday's game in Tuscaloosa than last year’s BCS National Championship Game, according to sportsbook brand manager Dave Mason.
“Since we opened the spread on the game last Sunday and the total on Thursday, the action has been off the charts,” wrote Mason in an email. "We've taken a handful of max bets so far."
BetOnline had Alabama -4 with a total of 43 at the start of the weekend. Despite the majority of bettors taking LSU and the Under, the line has moved in favor of the Crimson Tide and the Over. Alabama is now favored by 4.5 at most books in Nevada and offshore with the total now at 43.5. That's the definition of reverse line movement, which some handicappers value.
The action has been fast and furious in Vegas, too. Late last week, the MGM Mirage had received as many bets on the LSU-Alabama game as it had on any of the weekend’s games.
We’ll be on top of this game throughout the week, providing daily updates on the blog and Twitter, @CoversSports.
You can follow all the line movement on the big game in Vegas and offshore on Covers.com's line archive.
You can keep track of the action at BetOnline.com, too, at @DaveMasonBOL.