So a favorite technique of mine last year in figuring what team to bet on would be to see the game, guess the line, view the Vegas line, and then take the games where the biggest disparity exists. Let’s do it and see how this goes. Actual line will be put in bold using pinnaclesports.
Detroit @ Green Bay
I think the Packers are due for a big game from the offense, let’s put this line at Pack minus 9. (GB -13)
Kansas City @ Washington
Did not see either team play this week or even a single highlight. Both tems are bad, Washington minus 4. Wash (-6.5)
Houston @ Cincinnati
How about them Bengals. Cincy minus 4.5 Cinc (-4)
Carolina @ Tampa Bay
There is every chance that the line on this will end up lower than the number of INTs, I’ll say TB minus 1 (Car -3)
Cleveland @ Pitt
Is Polamalu back? I think that he more than any other defensive player affects the line on a game. Let’s say the line is Pitt minus 11 Pitt (-14)
Giants @ New Orleans
Whether it turns out that way who knows but at the moment this is the game of the year, and I won’t see a moment of it while at work at City Sports. Bummer. Giants minus 1.5 Saints (-3)
Baltimore @ Minnesota
Very tough game. Flacco looked not too hot last week and Minnesota’s D is legitimate. Minn minus 3.5 Minn (-3)
St Louis @ Jax
It is a testament to how awful Lou’s bet earlier in the year on Rams winning the NFC West was when a team that lost 41-0 last week will be minus 8.5 this week Jax (-10)
Arizona @ Seattle
Seattle minus 2, literally any possible score combination at the end of this game cannot be considered surprising. Sea (-3)
Phil @ Oak
Only the second road favorite of the week, let’s call it Phil minus 9 (Phil -14)
Buffalo @ Jets
Jets minus 5 No line yet
Tennessee @ New England
New England minus 6.5 NE (-9.5)
Chicago @ Atlanta
Atlanta minus 3.5 Atl (-3)
Denver @ San Diego
Sexy little match up. San Diego minus 2.5 SD (-4)
So, what does this tell us? This week my picks are Detroit, Tampa, Giants, and Oakland. Pretty nauseating group outside of the Giants (who are playing arguably the hottest team in the league right now). Let’s see how things go.
To start off the week, I give Johnny Knox the DeSean Jackson Award for the most stupid pre-touchdown celebration. He was lucky Detroit, as Lou pointed out, was in the middle of their “worst 2nd half, ever” and didn’t challenge the play (by rule, if Detroit recovers and the whistle is blown, they get the ball at the 1).
The Lions may want to work on their kickoff coverage, maybe they should hire the Bears ball boy.
I have become accustomed to betting (and winning) on SEC division football games over the last year. I usually take SEC home dogs, and also the under. These games are usually intense, full of defenses with players who will play on Sundays, middle-of-the-road teams with an offensive star who usually also gets drafted, and full of football coaches who can recruit, but have no idea how to manage the game or even do simple A-B-C playcalling.
For example, like when Les Miles, on the road in a tough place in Athens and up 6-0, not only decided to go for it on 4th and 1 from the 21 with the most vanilla QB sneak play formation, ever, versus a Georgia team with a strong D-Line (memo to coaches on the road; this means you, Jim Zorn: TAKE THE FUCKING FIELD GOAL), but also decided to kneel on the ball with 11 seconds left and 1 timeout, from the Georgia 33. Instead of trying a TD pass or at least try to steal a long field goal before the half ends, he kneels on it. Instead of it potentially being 12-0, it’s 6-0. This type of coaching is what helps you hit the under.
You must be careful of the referees, however, in college football. They have a way of calling the most ticky-tac unsportsmanlike penalties at the worst times to give bettors a sweat. The unintentional comedy moment of the week was when SEC on CBS analyst Gary Danielson was critiquing the TD “celebration” of an LSU running back in slow motion replay. “Oh, there he is, going to the mouth with his finger, yup, you gotta call that. I guess. He maybe should of went with the Running Man, Verne. It’s more subtle but yet captures the emotion of the moment.”
OK, I made that last part up, but you know what I mean. His main quote that really put the point home was, “the only thing I see excessive is the flags”. Last week, there was not one but two 15 yard unsportsmanlike calls at the end of touchdowns late in the forth quarter that almost resulted in a 6-0 game with 7 minutes to go, turn into a 20-20 game that heads into overtime, killing my under bet of 50. Thankfully, I was betting against Georgia QB Joe Cox, who not only is terrible, but also looks like Fire Marshall Bill from In Living Color. The Tigers held on, 20-13.
One of my SEC plays is Ole Miss +5 at home, versus Alabama. Ole Miss doesn’t play 60 minutes all the time, and Houston Nutt can give bettors a heart attack as evidenced by his “timeout with season on the line, let’s call a screen” debacle. But the Ole Miss Rebels usually pull off one big upset per year in the SEC (most of the middle tier teams do), and Alabama, a team who has limited personnel on offense minus WR Julio Jones, is a prime candidate to put up an offensive stinker on the road. The only worry is Nick Saban is one of the few coaches in the SEC who manages the game properly, but that just means Alabama, if they win, will take it down in a nail biter. I like the Rebels with the points here.
I also have a juicy teaser with South Carolina -4 at home versus Kentucky (by far the worst team in the SEC) and LSU +13.5 at home versus Florida (who may or may not have Tim Tebow). This will be, by far, Florida’s biggest test minus the SEC championship on their title run. LSU has a mediocre offense, but their defense is full of playmakers, including outstanding CB Jordan Jefferson. The under is at 44, which may be a bit low. If Tebow doesn’t play, then I might consider taking that too.
Speaking of South Carolina, if you are ever golfing and hit your ball into the water hazard (I’m talking to you, Allen Gowin), do not, I repeat, DO NOT put your hand in the hazard to get your ball. Although if this does ever happen to you, Allen, I am legally changing your name to Chubbs Peterson.
If you need a reason to dislike the Yankees, this article will give you plenty of reasons to. An article which also touches on the subject of sports slowly creeping away from our culture consciousness thanks to rising ticket prices across the board, and tickets even being used as bribes for business deals, here’s an example of the type of Yankee fan that attends the games today in the best of seats in the Stadium:
Inevitably, one group of equity traders — they worked at Fidelity — got caught. The thing that finally brought the whole thing to a close was a 2003 bachelor party for one of the traders. Everyone heard about it: private jets to Miami, a yacht, a bag of Ecstasy, a warren of rooms at the uber-exclusive Delano Hotel, some hookers, some strippers, some red meat, medium-rare. Oh, and one midget, named Danny Black, to toss off the boat. All told, $160,000 for a weekend at the beach.
“It wasn’t like a three-ring circus,” groused the father-in-law of the groom, disgraced Tyco executive Dennis Kozlowski, to the tabloids at the time. “It was a nice party. There was only one dwarf.”
Now onto the picks for the week:
Cincinnati/Baltimore under 42
Miami +110 Money Line
Seattle Pk versus Jacksonville (if you can find it)
Two 6 point Teasers of the week:
ATL +8 @ SF
NYG -9 vs OAK
CIN +14.5 @ BAL
MIN -4 @ StL
World Cup qualifiers are also this weekend, but probably passing on all of them. Only possible plays are Bolivia at home to Brazil in a meaningless game as Brazil is already qualified and Bolivia is out of the running. Bolivia’s players recently lifted their strike after threatening to not play in the final two qualifiers. They are not a good team, but play their home games high in the mountains and beat Argentina 6-1 a few months back. Hard to guess how motivated each side will be though.
All this is being factored into the price as Bolivia is only +300 to win and +250 to draw.
Italy has a tough game away to Ireland and can qualify with a win (+125). Roughly +200 on the draw or an Ireland win. Leaning towards a draw here as that will suit Italy just fine as they can still wrap up qualifying Wednesday versus Cyprus. Again, this is a pass for now.
Onto the NFL picks…
New England @ Denver +3.5
All kinds of goodness here. This probably means the Pats will win comfortably. Home underdog that no one is betting on who’s probably been as good as their opponent through the first four weeks of the year. Make sure to get 3.5 points though.
Cincinnati/Baltimore under 42
Having a hard time believing there will be 5-6 touchdowns scored in this one. The Bengals defense is underrated and very good.
Minnesota @ St. Louis +11
Pittsburgh @ Detroit + 11
Indianapolis @ Tennessee +4
New York Jets @ Miami +2
11, 18, 17, 19. That’s the percentage of money on each of the home teams listed above, all getting points. At some point, this is going to become the National Football League again where these become almost automatic plays again right? Right?
1. Jamarcus Russell now has 43 completions through four games. Tom Brady completed 39 passes in week 1 versus the Bills.
2. The Bears average drive versus the Lions started at the Detroit 46 yard line. The Lions averaged starting on their own 18. Said Lions coach Jim Schwarz:
We were poor on special teams. We were poor on offense. We were poor on defense. We were out-coached. We were out-played. Their trainers were probably better than ours in the second half.
3. The 49ers scored 35 points versus the Rams while only gaining 228 yards of total offense.
4. Aaron Rodgers trails only David Garrard in rushing yards for a QB this season (108-104). Rodgers’ 384 yards passing versus Minnesota was by far the highest single game total of his career. His previous high was 328 versus the Lions last year.
5. Houston’s defense entered week 4 allowing an average of 205 yards per game rushing. Oakland only gained 45 “led” by Justin Fargas with 10 carries for 24 yards and a Darius Heyward-Bey reverse for 20. 4th overall draft pick Darren McFadden had 6 carries for -3 yards.
Carolina – 3.5 v Washington
Giants -16 v Oakland
Teaser with Baltimore -9 v Cincinnati
At least he’ll be up to score 25 points for my fantasy team tonight.
Bengals -4.5 @ Cleveland
Giants -8.5 @ Kansas City
Oakland/Houston Over 42
Houston is allowing over 200 yards on the ground which just so happens to be the one thing the Raiders do well. Unrelated, looking at the box score from the 49er-Vikings game last week, San Francisco failed to move the ball with any sort of consistency. 250 yards a game of total offense is not going to be good enough unless your defense is a clone of the 2000 Ravens.
We almost had a miracle cover last week, but it was Jake Delhomme and the Panthers trying to cover the 6.5 as they drove down the field, trying for a meaningless touchdown late in their 21-7 loss to the Cowboys. This was maybe one of the worst games, if not only the year, but also the century, and I was not a better man for watching it (although I somehow faded F.Jones, S.Smith, and D.Williams in my fantasy games. Thank you, shitty football teams).
Speaking of mediocrity, Lou suggested this week during a Kelly’s Roast Beef run, wouldn’t it be fun if Sports Illustrated, as they do for champion teams, offered a video package for losing teams as well? Imagine the hilarity that would ensue! You are watching the MNF on ESPN, and suddenly a commercial comes on: “Mets fans! Subscribe or renew your SI package now, and get for free, “Epic Fail: The Story of the 2009 New York Mets! Call within the next 30 minutes, and get an autographed picture of Mets’ 2B Luis Castillo dropping a fly ball 3rd out at second base versus the Yankees!”
Some other suggestions include:
“Oh Butters!: The Story of the 2009 Cleveland Indians. Call within 25 minutes, and get a glove signed by Jhonny Peralta that has a large hole in it.”
“What the Fuck is Going On?: The Story of the 2009 Kansas City Chiefs/Oakland Raiders. Two crappy teams for one low price (although video is the same length due to lack of highlights)! Call now and get a ticket to attend sensitivity training with Raiders’ coach Tom Cable and Chiefs’ coach Todd Haley!”
“Different Coach, Same Ole’ Shit: The Story of the 2009 Cleveland Browns. Call within 30 minutes, and not only will you get an autographed picture of Braylon Edwards welcoming you to the locker room, one lucky caller will get a chance to coach the Browns for the final game of the season after Eric Mangini gets fired! Call today!”
We did have a miracle cover in football land, however it wasn’t in Pro or College football. In an epic high school football tilt in Vermont between Mt.Mansfield and Otter Valley (+3) ended in a last second touchdown for Mt.Mansfield, securing the win and the miracle cover. Somewhere out there, DeSean Jackson feels a little better about himself. So does Jake Delhomme; at least when he throws the ball away, he’s throwing it forward.
Finally before the picks, me, Lou, and the Degen Boys headed out for some Friday Night Football in Cambridge to see the Brown Bears (+3, as set by our own crew, although Darts argued that it should of been +4. We also had the over/under line move 2 and half points in 1.5 seconds; that’s what happens when degens are riding dirty (#6) to a college football game) take on the Harvard Crimson.
Harvard ended up holding on at the end of the game, 24-21, as Brown, who (I guess) had a shitty field goal kicker, decided to throw a Hail Mary instead of kicking a 42 yard field goal in the waning seconds. Brown’s main problem was they could only run it with consistency, not throw it, with their “White Cat” attack: a WildCat formation that featured all 11 players being white. A Rams fan at the bar suggested we call this personnel package: “The Snow Leopard”. Done and done.
Here are my picks for the week:
Indianapolis +10.5 vs Seattle
The Colts will destroy this team at home. Their offense is playing great, and Seattle is led by Seneca Wallace and Jim Mora Jr. After reading Lou’s blurb on the Seahawks, that’s all you need to know to put money down.
Oakland @ Houston Over 42
Oakland has a shitty offense, but both teams have shittier defenses. I see the Texans winning, 40-17.
6 point Tease of the Week:
Miami +8 vs Buffalo
NYG -3 @ KC Chiefs
Going to stroll though my picks…
Oakland (+9.5) @ Houston
Houston will win this game. I think that is about a 95% certainty. I am pretty sure one of the reasons the line on this has to be 9.5 at minimum is because it gets teased down to a field goal if otherwise, and Houston must win this game.
Titans (-3) @ Jacksonville
Very tough game. Who the hell knows.
Baltimore (+1) @ New England
I did not see one moment of the Atl/NE game which I really wish I did to be commenting on/picking this game. With that said the Patriots looked bad in the Jets game and horrific for the Bills game while I have been nothing but floored by the Ravens thus far.
Bengals (5.5) @ Browns
Imagine this line at the beginning of the season if this was a Week 1 game. I say it’s the exact opposite with the Browns favored by 6 or so. At the moment, though, Cleveland looks like a train wreck.
Giants (-9) @ KC
Let’s see how many road favorites I take this week. I really don’t see Cassel doing much of anything in this game and to beat the Giants, or even to stay competitive you need a legit qb to handle the rush. If this game was in NY the spread may be plus 2 tds. At any rate, this is your two team teaser for the early games, bringing the giants and texans down to about field goal favorites.
Lions (+10) @ Chicago
In my opinion this spread line is at least two points off, probably 2.5.
Tampa Bay (+7) @ Washington
Both of these teams seem absolutely horrible at this point. I could see this as being the Redskin game that gets highlighted in their 2009 season video, beating up on a really awful Tampa team at home.
Seahawks (+10.5) @ Colts
Look for Peyton to have a huge day.
Jets (+7) @ Saints
No genuine confidence in Mark Sanchez at this point, but I can see the Jets D keeping Breeze from exploding all over the field. Do not see the Jets winning, but losing by between 4-8.
Bills (+1) @ Miami
The Bill running back situation is going to be a clusterfuck as they try to get Lynch back in the swing. I know Pennington is out but I don’t see that as being the worst thing in the world as it will force the Dolphins to open up the ground game which seems their strong suit anyway. Dolphins hit a field goal with 50 seconds to play to make it 24-20.
Rams (+9.5) @ Niners
Niners win by two scores easy.
Dallas (-3) @ Denver
If this game were to be played at any time after Thanksgiving I would be all over Denver. But it aint, so Tony gets the benefit of the doubt.
San Diego (+6.5) @ Pitt
I could see the Chargers winning this game, I could not see the Steelers winning this game by +14. Therefore, Chargers is the pick.
Green Bay (+3.5) @ Vikings
I really like Green Bay in this game, especially with points. Couldn’t you see Rodger’s going down the field first possession and throwing a 26 yard strike to Driver or Jennings? If that happens you are well on your way to a non-miraculous cover.