One last look at summer
June 30, 2005
Tennis’ third major of the year, the Wimbledon Championships are winding down at the historic All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club just outside of London. Tennis’ popularity here in America just hasn’t been the same since the days of John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, but like soccer, tennis continues to be a dominant sport worldwide. Considering the tremendous amount of pressure tennis players are under to succeed, and the tip-top shape they must be in to compete at a high level, tennis will always be a sport that deserves more of our respect than it gets.
Predictions: On the men’s side, barring an upset, Roger Federer should win the tournament. Federer is the two-time defending champ and owns a one-sided record over his most likely Finals opponent, American Andy Roddick. In last year’s Final, Roddick was beating Federer before rains halted play and turned the tide in the Swiss star’s favor, so a rematch would be excellent.
On the women’s side, not knowing who won yesterday’s matches makes predicting tomorrow’s Final difficult. But Thursday in a battle that probably confirmed all suspicions that women grunt louder than men, Russian phenom and pre-tourney pick Maria Sharapova hopefully beat Venus Williams, and she will now be meeting Lindsay Davenport. The pick is to go with the winner of the Sharapova-Williams match over the winner of Davenport-Amelie Mauresmo.
• With this being my last article until football season, it is time to look at the bettable sports that will be entertaining handicappers during the summer.
One sport that’s fun to bet on is NASCAR. Odds are available every week as to who will win each race and the series championship for stock car racing.
As for the title, it is too early to tell who will win this year. As for Saturday’s Pepsi 400, the pick is Jeff Gordon, who badly needs a victory at 4 to 1.
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Another sport that always seems to have odds available is boxing. Boxing’s popularity and taste have stooped so low that the most demanded bout of the first half of the year involved Mike Tyson.
“Scrap Iron” Mike is a broken man with no spirit to fight who says his career has been over since 1990. Tyson states that he has retired, but he still owes a ton of money. The bet here is that sadly we haven’t seen the last of poor Mike in the ring yet.
Next month golf’s third major, the British Open, tees off at St. Andrews in Scotland. Supposedly this will be the great Jack Nicklaus’ last appearance at a major, but certainly he should give the Masters at least one more try.
With longshot winners such as Todd Hamilton and Ben Curtis, in recent years the British Open has proven to be the most wide open of the major tournaments. The bet this and every year is on the Field.
Golf can be wagered on a weekly basis, but it is extremely difficult to win at.
Seasons have begun in the bettable Women’s NBA and Canadian Football League. But most everyone has seen enough basketball for a while, and the CFL is difficult to get on television. Major League Baseball and horse racing, of course, can be bet on and watched every day.
Futures can already be found for college hoops and football, and even next year’s NBA.
But all the real excitement will start again in September with the National Football League. The Week 1 lines have been out and over and under wins for each team are available, as well as futures for the Super Bowl, conferences and divisions. Pre-season is a little over a month away and, incidentally, the AFC is favored in the Super Bowl by 4 points with an over/under of 49.
In the meantime, I’ll be following the not-bettable Tour de France and Lance Armstrong’s quest for an unbelievable seventh consecutive and final victory, Australian Rules Football Friday afternoons on Fox Sports and maybe a little rugby.
See you in September!
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