New Orleans, LA (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - The NFL Players Association, seeking a new arbitrator in the bounty case, says in a lawsuit that the league conducted a "biased" investigation and a "sham" arbitration process for three players suspended in connection with the New Orleans Saints' pay-for-play program. The suit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court and came two days after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the discipline he imposed on four current or former Saints players.
Hargrove, now with Green Bay, was suspended eight games while Smith received a four-game ban and Fujita, now with Cleveland, was hit with a three-game ban.
In a motion filed in the same New Orleans court on Thursday, Vilma asked for a temporary restraining order keeping the NFL from instituting its suspension against him while he works to have it overturned.
"Unfortunately," the suit says, "the investigation and arbitration process that the commissioner's public relations machinery touted as 'thorough and fair' has, in reality, been a sham."
The suit asks the court to invalidate Goodell's decision to uphold the bans and to select a neutral arbitrator in the case.
As an example, the suit says the NFL rejected the union's request to have Joe Vitt available at the arbitration, but used a league lawyer's summary of the assistant coach's interview against the players.
Vilma walked away from his appeal hearing with Goodell last month and didn't return for an afternoon session, saying he was discouraged by the process. A lawyer for the player called the hearings a "sham" and said the commissioner withheld evidence from the "supposed investigation."
The NFL revealed that much of its evidence in the investigation came from Vitt and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was hired by the Rams but suspended indefinitely for running the bounty program.
The 24-year-old was drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 draft by the Carolina Panthers, but was released from the practice squad after getting arrested for a misdemeanor marijuana possession and speeding in November.
In terms of sports wagering, the NFL is "the most popular game in town." The explanation behind that is easy.
It is called the "pointspread."
Many years ago, NFL games, as well as the more popular college games, used straight odds as a vehicle for betting. For example, if the Bears were playing the Giants, and it shaped up as a competitive contest, the Bears might be, say, a 7/5 favorite. If they were playing an also-ran, it might be 10/1. Well, there is a point where a line becomes prohibitive, as far as betting the favorite. And who would waste money betting an underdog that has virtually no chance? Such a setup did not contribute to promoting betting action.
But in modern sports betting, a "pointspread" is used.
A NFL pointspreads are exactly that, a pre-established point difference between the two sides that will, for all intents and purposes, create a handicap that evens things out, and in doing so, produces comparable wagering activity on both sides of that proposition. So in lieu of a odds figure in which to bet the team to win outright, the Bears might be a three-point favorite over the New York Giants, and a 17-point favorite over the also-ran. Now that the team that is the underdog can "get" points, there can be equal action on both sides.
In sportsbooks, this is usually done with efficiency by charging the losing bettors 10% extra - in effect, bettors are laying 11/10 on those games. So they are actually betting $110 to win $100. If they lose, they pay the "vig." If they win, they simply collect.
The establishment of the pointspread as the corner stone around which team sports like football can be wagered upon was truly what brought gridiron betting into the stratosphere for online football betting .
Don't believe it? Just take a look at what happens around the Super Bowl.
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NEW YORK (AP) -By staying away from the cupcakes, Southern California earned itself a slim new ranking.
No. 1 always seems to fit USC.
Southern California jumped two spots to No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 on Tuesday, rewarded by voters for opening the season with a dominant performance on the road against a BCS conference opponent.
Georgia and Ohio State, the preseason Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, started their seasons with glorified scrimmages at home against FCS (formerly I-AA) teams. USC, however, traveled across country to face Virginia and could not have been more impressive in a 52-7 victory.
Georgia fell to No. 2 and Ohio State to No 3.
"We realize that rankings so early in a season are certainly fluid. But rankings do help establish a pecking order for things later in the season," USC coach Pete Carroll said in a statement. "As for moving into the No. 1 spot, it's nice to know that people think highly of our team."
Since reaching No. 1 on Dec. 7, 2003, the final-regular season AP poll of that season, USC has been No. 1 in 39 polls, by far the most of any team during that time.
"Some have said the voters are taking our schedule into consideration," Carroll said. "Our philosophy has always been to schedule outstanding opponents. We need to play challenging games like we just did, traveling across the country to open the season at Virginia. Games like that bring out our best and make us stronger as a team."
The latest voting was close. USC received 21 first-place votes and 1,539 points from the 65-member media panel. Georgia had 20 first-place votes and 1,506 points. Ohio State got 15 first-place votes and 1,497 points.
"I'd say we've evolved as pollsters," said Stewart Mandel of SI.com, who moved USC up to No. 1. "In the past, voters just kind of automatically moved teams up and kept teams where they were if they won."
Georgia beat Georgia Southern 45-21 on Saturday and Ohio State opened with a 43-0 win over Youngstown State.
"There's a bit of a growing backlash for the amount of teams that open with I-AA cupcakes," said Mandel, whose book "Bowls, Polls and Tattered Souls" chronicles college football's controversies. "To see a team [USC] go on the road and play a New Year's Day bowl team from last season, and not only play them but destroy them, how could you not reward that team?"
USC also jumped past Georgia to No. 1 in the USA Today coaches' poll, which has the same top five as the AP poll.
"It's definitely a privilege to be No. 1. But it's not heartbreaking to me if we drop," Georgia offensive lineman Josh Davis said. "It doesn't matter right now what we're ranked. What matters is our next game and right now, that's Central Michigan. The only time the polls matter is in December. That's when the polls matter."
While the Bulldogs opened easy, their schedule ultimately should be as difficult as any team's. Georgia's big nonconference test is at No. 15 Arizona State on Sept. 20. The Bulldogs also face six Southeastern Conference rivals that've been ranked in the first two polls.
As for Ohio State, the Buckeyes play at USC on Sept. 13 before getting into the Big Ten schedule.
But of the teams in this week's top 10, USC and Texas are the only ones that don't play an FCS opponent, and the Trojans are the only team that doesn't play a team from a non-BCS conference.
Get the latest 2009 BCS Championship odds at MySportsbook.com.
The last team to drop from No. 1 after a victory was USC last season. LSU jumped from No. 2 to No. 1 when it beat Tulane 34-9, the same week the Trojans edged Washington 27-24 on the road.
The last preseason No. 1 team to lose the top spot after winning its opening game was Florida in 2001. The Gators beat Marshall 49-14, but preseason No. 2 Miami opened with a 33-7 victory over Penn State and the Hurricanes jumped to No. 1 with Florida slipping to second.
The next four teams in the new Top 25 stayed the same: No. 4 Oklahoma (two first-place votes), No. 5 Florida (five first-place votes), No. 6 Missouri (one first-place vote), No. 7 LSU (one first-place vote) and No. 8 West Virginia.
No. 9 Auburn and No. 10 Texas each moved up a spot, taking advantage of Clemson's big drop. Clemson, ninth in the preseason, fell out after losing 34-10 to Alabama on Saturday.
Also falling out after losses were Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and Tennessee.
Moving into the rankings were No. 21 Fresno State, No. 22 Utah, No. 23 UCLA and No. 24 South Carolina.
Alabama moved up 11 spots after its big victory over Clemson.
The second 10 started with No. 11 Wisconsin, followed by Texas Tech, Alabama and Kansas. BYU and Arizona State were tied for 15th. Rivals BYU and Utah are both ranked for the first time since 1996.
South Florida was No. 17, ahead of Oregon, Penn State and Wake Forest at No. 20.
The final five were all the teams to move into the ranking, except for Illinois, which dropped four spots and tied South Carolina for No. 24.
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