Okay, so PPH World Cup bettors aren't complaining anymore about Landon Donovan being left off the U.S. team. Except for Donovan himself, that is. he is sore enough about his snub from the 23-man roster that he actually took to rooting against the team afterward. he was quoted as saying that when the U.S. conducted a tune-up match against Azerbaijan, "I thought, if we get a 1-0 win and the team doesn't perform well, that would feel good."
Presumably that is because somebody with the program, preferably coach Jurgen Klinsmann, would admit that a mistake was made. But as long the United States remains in the running for a World Cup title, Klinsmann is going to be looked upon in a favored light. Next up is Belgium (Tuesday, 4 PM ET), which is listed at -215 to advance in the soccer betting odds at WagerHome.com, with the U.S. priced at +175.
Once expressing that he was somewhat less than confident about his team's chances (before the tournament began, that is), Klinsmann now says that "I told all the guys, all your flights are to be booked after July 13th (the day of the championship game)."
The team kind of backed into its spot in the Round of 16 after losing to Germany, having thrown away a chance to get there with no trouble at all when allowing that late goal against Portugal. That is all behind them now, but there is some criticism that remains.
One of the players who has gotten mixed reviews at best, from fans and World Cup bettors at WagerHome.com, is Michael Bradley, whose father Bob had been displaced as coach of the World Cup team in favor of Klinsmann. It's not that Klinsmann has set him up to fail, but former U.S. World Cup team member Alexi Lalas has said that Bradley is out of position, and shouldn't be in an attacking midfield spot. But if Bradley isn't producing offensively, it's not for lack of trying. He ran 23.6 miles around the field during group play, more than any other player in the tournament (we weren't aware such statistics were kept).
Belgium is not the kind of team that is going to leave a lot of openings for the U.S. to move through. They have allowed just one goal through the process of winning all three games in Group H, and went 8-0-2 throughout the qualifying games. This is an unusual case, as Belgium (a -129 favorite in three-way betting at WagerHome.com) does not have any World Cup "veterans," per se, because this was the first time they qualified for the Cup since 2002. So it's a young, green squad, though one that is very aggressive defensively.
Oh, enough about soccer - you say you want to talk about the NBA? Well, whether there will be change or not in Miami is anybody's guess. All members of the "big Three" (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh) have opted out of their contracts with the Heat. This could be because they all want to re-sign, and have to make adjustments on their salary (that would be the case with Bosh and Wade in particular, so they can accommodate a raise for LeBron). Of course, they would all be opting out if they wanted to leave anyway, so there is no way for PPH sports bettors to tell for sure at the moment. We know that LeBron instructed them to make a deal for Shabazz Napier during the first round of the draft, and management obeyed that order. And since Cleveland took Andrew Wiggins with the first pick, we would tend to doubt that this is going to be James' destination. He may have told them that already.
Breaking news for WagerHome.com customers:
Jason Kidd, who has killed at least a couple of coaches in his NBA career, may be intent of killing himself now (figuratively speaking). After his first year as a coach, which itself came immediately after a playing career, Kidd tried to submarine Brooklyn Nets' general manager Billy King and take over the entire basketball operation. Ownership told him to get lost. Here's what Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post wrote:
"(Mikhail) Prokhorov? You don’t become an oligarch by being a sweetheart of a guy, easily manipulated by an employee celebrating his first anniversary on the job. You know what an oligarch tells such a worker?....Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. (If he’s lucky.)."
To make a long story short, Kidd is now property of the Milwaukee Bucks, where one of the new owners there is a buddy of his. Presumably they will let the team be Kidd's toy until they get tired of him. By the way, they failed to tell the existing coach or general manager that they were out until they were hearing about it on the news. That's the way to get off to a rousing start.
The Nets may be owned by a Russian, but the Milwaukee Bucks are the closest thing to Siberia the NBA has to offer.
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