Take Chiefs’ preseason futility to the bank

Betting on the NFL is always a dicey proposition, particularly in the preseason, and especially in this post-lockout preseason. But sometimes there really is such a thing as a sure thing in sports betting.

The Kansas City Chiefs never win or cover the spread in the preseason — even when they’re getting a lot of points. Exhibit A came Friday when the Chiefs were getting 7 points at Baltimore and carried a 13-10 lead into the fourth quarter. But the Ravens roared back, scoring 21 unanswered points against Kansas City’s second- and third-team defense to both win and cover, 31-13.

Since taking over as coach in 2009, Todd Haley is perfect in the preseason — 0-10 — both straight up and against the spread. There’s a good chance the Chiefs will extend that streak to 11 this Friday when they host the St. Louis Rams, who have gone 7-3 in the preseason against the spread under Steve Spagnuolo and are getting 2½ points.

The Chiefs a favorite in the preseason? That almost looks too good to be true.

■ BACK ON THE COURT — Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade was back playing basketball over the weekend in Miami — at his fantasy camp.

Taking a page from Michael Jordan, the NBA superstar brought in a bunch of big-name coaches and former players, including Indiana’s Tom Crean and Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, to instruct the 100 campers, each of whom paid $12,500 for the right to rub elbows and talk basketball with Wade.

“This is the first year, and we’re going to get better from here,” Wade said. “At the end of the day, like I told all of the campers here, we all have something in common — and it’s the love of the game. Everyone’s here because of the love of the game.”

And, in Wade’s case, the love of cold, hard cash. While he’s locked out by the NBA, he was able to gross $1.25 million on his camp project. Even after expenses, Wade should make enough off his camp that he won’t have to apply for a job at Home Depot, as NBA colleague Delonte West did.

■ SOCCER STRIKE LOOMING? — First there was the threat of no NFL season. Then the NBA locked out its players, putting the upcoming season in jeopardy. Now, fans of Serie A, Italy’s premier soccer league, have to sweat out the possibility of a strike.

The Italian players’ association is standing firm with its threat to strike if a new collective contract is not signed before the start of the season this weekend. The main sticking points are a new tax being imposed by the government and a proposal that would allow clubs to force players no longer wanted to train away from the first team or accept a transfer.

The conflict between the players and the league has been ongoing since the last collective contract expired in June 2010. The players set two strike dates during the first half of last season, both of which were avoided with last-minute verbal agreements.

The ball again is on the league’s side of the pitch.



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