Vina del Mar, Chile (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - Top seeds Juan Monaco and Juan Ignacio Chela were both winners on Friday and advanced to the semifinals at the VTR Open tennis event. Monaco, the No. 1 seed from Argentina, overcame a first-set loss to Albert Montanes, the tournament's fifth seed, to take a 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory.
He also reached the title contest of this clay-court event in 2010 at Santiago, and 2008.
Monaco will face off against Chardy in the semis, while Chela will do battle with Berlocq.
The 2012 Vina del Mar champion will collect $71,900.
Sharapova will again be first up in the reverse singles against Navarro. Kuznetsova is then scheduled to meet Soler-Espinosa, although each captain can make changes. The doubles match is slated to pit Ekaterina Makarova and Nadia Petrova for the Russians against the Spanish tandem of Nuria Llagostera Vives and Arantxa Parra-Santonja.
The Spaniards are playing in the Fed Cup's World Group for the first time since 2009. They have won the title five times, most recently in 1998 with current captain Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario leading the way.
Biella, Italy (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - Italy and the Ukraine are surprisingly even after Saturday's opening singles matches of their Fed Cup quarterfinal. The matchups and home court clearly favored the Italians and Sara Errani gave the hosts the first point with a 6-2, 6-3 thumping of Kateryna Bondarenko. With former French Open champ Francesca Schiavone set for Saturday's second match, it appeared the Italians would have a big edge heading to Sunday.
Enter Lesia Tsurenko.
Italy has won three of the last six Fed Cup titles, including back-to-back crowns in 2009-10. The Italians are also 3-0 all-time against the Ukraine in Fed Cup play.
Stuttgart, Germany (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - Petra Kvitova and Iveta Benesova each won three-set thrillers to give the Czech Republic a commanding 2-0 lead over Germany in its Fed Cup quarterfinal. Benesova gave the defending Fed Cup champions the first point with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Sabine Lisicki before Kvitova outlasted Julia Goerges in a 3-6, 6-3, 10-8 marathon.
It will be a quick turnaround for Kvitova, who will give the Czechs the first chance to close out the best-of-five tie on Sunday against Lisicki in the first reverse singles match.
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The Indianapolis Colts know that winning the Super Bowl last season put a huge target on their backs, and they expect opponents to go all-out to knock them from the top of the mountain.
They’ll get their first test from the New Orleans Saints this Thursday night. The defending champs had nothing but good things to say about the New Orleans defense this past week, praising their opponents’ pass rush and run-stopping abilities.
"They play very aggressively," head coach Tony Dungy told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "They play a lot of man-to-man coverage, and they come after you. They have good pass rushers, and they're going to try to pressure us, I'm sure."
Both center Jeff Saturday and quarterback Peyton Manning gave New Orleans’ front four props, admitting keeping guys like Will Smithand Charles Grant contained would be a tall task for the offensive line.
New Orleans ranked second in total defense during the preseason at a sportsbook, allowing just under 233 yards per game. Last season, the defense finished 11th in the league after giving up 307.3 yards and 20.1 points per contest.
Not so sound on the ground
If Indianapolis' efficient offense has a weakness it has to be its running attack. The Colts one-two-punch of Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai is no longer, leaving the bulk of the carries to Addai, the second-year back out of LSU.
Former Saskatchewan Roughrider Kenton Keith was named Addai’s backup this week after beating out DeDe Dorsey for the second-string position. Indy has only three backs on the roster right now, including fullback Luke Lawton, and coach Dungy is aware of the thinness of his ground game. Sports Betting lines on the game can be found at BettingExpress.com
“We’ll continue to look. Luke Lawton’s done a good job for us too. So probably getting a third true tailback is something that we’d like to do,” Dungy told the Indiana Tribune-Star.
Last season, Addai rushed for over 1,000 yards in his rookie campaign and scored seven touchdowns on the ground.
Brees says bring it on
Opening the season on the road against the defending Super Bowl champions is not the way most teams would like to kick off their year – unless you’re the New Orleans Saints or their quarterback Drew Brees. This internet Sportsbooks had the Saints as the favorites.
Brees told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he is excited to get the regular season started and the Colts are a great challenge for him and his teammates. The 28-year-old QB, entering his second season with the Saints, is expecting a wild environment in the RCA Dome this Thursday when the franchise celebrates its 2007-2007 championship.
Brees said he sees the opening game scheduling as an honor and a testament to how well New Orleans did last season. The Saints missed facing the Colts in the Super Bowl by one game, losing to the Chicago Bearsin the NFC Championship game.
"I mean, people think we can hang with these guys," Brees told reporters. "Even if they didn't, it wouldn't matter what they thought because as a team we're very confident. We know what we can do. We're not satisfied where we finished the season last year. And we've been looking forward to this opportunity for a long time."
SportsBooks ready for a shootout
Oddsmakers are preparing for some fireworks this Thursday when the NFL season kicks off. online Sportsbooks have Thursday’s total set at a whopping 52 points, accounting for two of the league’s most explosive offenses.
“This is like must-see TV,” Saints cornerback and former Colt Jason David told the Baton Rouge Advocate. “It’s two exciting offenses with great players. You’ve got a lot of star power on offense. At any given time a big play can happen. If I was a fan, I wouldn’t miss a snap.”
New Orleans, who ranked No.1 in total offense last season, can go blow-for-blow with the Colts’ attack. Head coach Sean Payton’s offensive schemes will get even better production out of Drew Brees, Reggie Bush and receiver Marques Colston now that they’ve each had a season of playing together under their belts.
The Saints and Colts were the top two passing teams in the NFL last year, but while Indianapolis managed to put up almost 27 points per game, New Orleans struggled to capitalize on their efforts. The Saints ranked fifth in points per game.
“Yards are great,” running backDeuce McAllister told reporters, “but to be able to score more touchdowns would be important for us.”
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