Chop Karma

So let’s all relive a recent situation I found myself in.  In my big pay league, there is a 100 dollar entry fee.  The prize breakdown is 400 given to the team that finishes first during the regular season, 100 given to the team that finishes second in the playoffs, and a cool half grand given to the first place playoff team.

Going into the final week, me and another kid were the only ones who could win the regular season.  By the end of the night Sunday, things were pretty close, but did not look good for me.  I was leading the kid I was playing by a bit but he had Rodgers and Driver going Monday night and I only had McGahee.  In the other match-up, it was a similar story, as the kid I needed to lose was only down by a few points and had Ray Rice, Flacco going.  The kid he was playing had the Packer D.

At that point, Lou reviewed my predicament and said something along the lines of, “you know, I bet he would still take a chop at this point if you offered it.”  I thought it over Sunday night and Monday morning decided to test the waters.  I sent him a message telling him to contact me if he was interested in “some sort of chop.”  At this exact moment, I now have CHOP KARMA in my favor.  I know that this kid is going to get the message, and if he either ignores it, or refuses, chop karma swings dramatically in my favor.  This is especially the case given the fact that he was odds-on to take the title down.

Our villain, though, is a crafty one.  Apparently realizing the full implications of such a decision, he almost immediately contacts me noting his desire to work out a chop.  I proposed two primary chops.  250-150 or 300-100, the winner of the reg season getting more money.  I personally preferred the 300-100, but he pushed for the 250-150.  Now, if I had been a prick and insisted on 300-100, chop karma would have swung 180 degrees away from the direction it had been a short while ago and slammed directly in my opponent’s favor, with him easily winning the title.  Knowing this, I of course had to accept the 250-150 proposal or I would have lost in a crushing defeat.  Accepting the 250-150 chop was the only chance I had that the football players I had never met on my team would score more points than the football players I had never met on my opponent’s team.

And so it came to pass.  Flacco threw three interceptions (obviously all to the Packer D), and I wound up winning the regular season by four points.  I hated to do this to Flacco, but I’m pretty poor at the moment and needed some money.


Arizona @ San Fran (under 44.5)

When it comes to over/unders I am a proponent of looking at what type of game style the home team likes to get involved in, and while the 49ers can get frisky with the Smith-Davis combo, I think in his heart, Singletary is a low-scoring, defensive minded type of guy.

Buffalo @ Kansas City (over 37.5)

Two weak defenses and a couple of offenses with a ton of guys who have something to prove.  I definitely like the over here.

Green Bay (-3) @ Chicago

The problem with this line is that the Pack are like -125 or something.  Felt obliged to throw a third pick in, let’s see if I can come across something better in the next couple days.

The Dirty Sanchez List

Since there will be lots of best of lists for the decade coming out in the next month or so and we could use the traffic boost from people who are Googling anything but quarterbacks who throw lots of interceptions, what better to add than a list of Dirty Sanchezes in the NFL since 2000? The “alternate” definition of Dirty Sanchez was coined by our friend Nick while watching Jets QB Mark Sanchez throw 5 interceptions in a 16-13 loss to the Bills in October. Sanchez finished with a quarterback rating of 8.3, completing 10 of 29 attempts for 119 yards.

Mark Dirty Sanchez

You’ll notice none of the other quarterbacks on the list below were quite as poor as Sanchez, but other than Tony Romo’s Monday Night Miracle, everyone was still a loser. One name that is missing from this list is sexy Rex Grossman.  I was sure the Denny Green Game would be on this list, but it turns out Grossman only threw 4 INTs that night to go along with his two fumbles.  Six turnovers, but no DS.  Interesting mixture of good quarterbacks and bad, kind of like baseball’s no-hitter list.  Permalink thanks to the awesome Play Index at Pro Football Reference is here.

The Dirty Sanchez List
The Dirty Sanchez List

NFL Week 14 Early Leans & Stats of the Week

No comments on my continued ability to set money on fire. Doing this week’s stats by team. I was originally feeling ambitious and planned on posting something for every team but only got through half.

Stats of the Week

Cincinnati: The Bungles have had a different player rush for over 100 yards in each of their last three games (Bernard Scott, Larry Johnson, Cedric Benson).

Pittsburgh: The Steelers have lost four games in a row for the first time since 2003. In all six of their losses this season, the Steelers have led in the fourth quarter. S Troy Polamalu did not play in five of the six losses and was removed in the first quarter in a loss against Cincinnati.

Kansas City: The Chiefs have allowed 87 points in the last two weeks.

New England: Miami has allowed 134 points in the fourth quarter of games this season. Tom Brady went 1-7 for 11 yards and 2 INTs in the 4th quarter Sunday.

San Francisco: QB Alex Smith had the first 300 yard passing game of his career Sunday. Mike Singletary & His Stopwatch managed to called three timeouts in this game in the first eight minutes of the first quarter.

Chicago: The Bears are 20-23 since their Super Bowl appearance in 2006, having failed to make the playoffs each season. At 5-7, they are two games back of the last playoff place and trailing in tiebreakers. Bears GM Jerry Angelo:

I have been in this league a long, long time. Believe me, I will never live without hope,” he said. “There might be situations that look hopeless but it certainly is not that way internally. We will come out of this better for it. I promise you that. Sometimes things don’t work out according to plan. Doesn’t mean the plan was bad. The plan was solid. It just didn’t work. We’ll go back and we’ll re-visit the things that didn’t work, fix the things that didn’t work, and when you do that you will be better for it.

Minnesota: Brett Favre’s 2 interceptions Sunday night put him up to 5 for the season. Offensive turnovers by team for the season:

Team     G       TO
GB          11      10
SD          12      12
MIN      12      13
BAL       11      13
NE          12      15

Houston: Rex Grossman, subbing for an injured Matt Schaub, threw an interception on his first pass attempt.

San Diego: Antonio Gates caught eight passes for 167 yards in the Chargers 20-23 win over Cleveland. Gates and the Chargers have been quietly awesome. Gates has 67 receptions for 994 yards on the season and the Chargers have won 7 straight.

Dallas: The Cowboys haven’t had a winning December since 1996, which happens to be when they last won a playoff game.

Denver: DE/LB Elvis Dumervil has 14 sacks on the season, leading the NFL.

New Orleans: The Saints first lead on Sunday came with 8:31 remaining in overtime.

Washington: At one point in the 4th quarter, the Saints were estimated to have a 1% chance of winning against the Redskins. The Redskins had 455 yards of offense on the day, easily their highest total of the season. Their 30 points (which should have been 33 if not for the FG miss below) was also a season high.

Tampa: Tampa also rolled up a season high in yards with 469 in Carolina Sunday. Thanks to Josh Freeman pulling a Dirty Sanchez (5 INTs in a game for the uninitiated), the Bucs scored all of six points.

Carolina: Matt Moore is now 3-1 for his career as a starter. Shockingly, Vegas is ignoring this tidbit as Carolina is a 2 TD underdog @ New England this week.

Oakland: The 21 points Oakland scored in the 4th quarter against the Steelers is more than they’ve scored in any single game this season. Not that Kevin Harlan is bad, but the only thing missing in the Raider comeback was a little Gus Johnson.

Early Leans

None. By now, you shouldn’t be following my picks anyway.

NFL Week 13 Picks

Just the one… Philadelphia @ Atlanta (-6). Good luck out there.

Week 13 NFL Ramble Drill

Some thoughts on last week:

When this happens in a game, I think that means it’s time for Bobby Bowden to retire.  The play is almost Longest Yard-esque, I wonder if the QB banged his girl or didn’t pay for that lineman’s dinner the night before.

Who would of thought the Miracle of the Year would have came from the CFL?

The Chinese News version on what REALLY happened with Tiger on his adventure of a Thanksgiving.

Ron Artest used to drink at halftime when he was with the Bulls. Thanks to the article on ESPN, I now know that, “Hennessy is a French cognac.”

Last week’s epic Oakland @ Dallas tilt featured both teams having NO turnovers.  I think this is proof that God doesn’t exist.

Here are the lines:


Texas -14 vs Nebraska Big12 Championship


Minnesota -3.5 @ Arizona

Detroit @ Cincy Under 42

6pt Teaser

SD -7.5 @ Cleveland

NYG +8.5 vs Dallas

Thursday Links

“Henry’s handball, Tiger Wood’s Car Crash, Roger Federer losing … That’s it….I’m throwing my Gillete away” – TFLN

According to the NY Times, pro athletes are having a hard time selling their houses after changing teams so now they’re leasing to one another.

“I’ll never buy again,” said the veteran Nets guard Keyon Dooling, who rents the downtown Orlando condominium he bought in 2005 to a Magic player. “That was a learning experience. I’ll never buy again as far as where I’m playing. It’s not a good idea because you can never predict how long you’re going to be in a situation. You could be stuck with a piece of property that you never go to.”

Dooling’s teammate Courtney Lee, a rookie with the Magic last season, considered buying in the same condominium building before Dooling advised him against it. Good thing, since Lee is now with the Nets, where he rents on a month-to-month basis from the former Net Bostjan Nachbar, who is playing in Turkey.

I think that’s the first Bostjan Nachbar reference on this blog.

Tony Dungy getting some props.

Tony Dungy continues to provide understated excellence on Sunday Night Football. Somehow, he’s able to illustrate and tactfully disapprove better than any of the more animated commentators filling the airwaves. Instead of openly criticizing Bears QB Jay Cutler, he said, “I didn’t think anyone could overthrow Devin Hester.

Someone should do a study on why people do obvious studies.

Good stuff from the Football Outsiders game charting project. Some highlights:

Believe it or not, there was someone who played worse than Mr. Russell on offense, and his name is Chris Morris. While subbing for Samson Satele at center in the first three weeks, I nearly JaMarcussed my pants charting all his blown blocks and inability to handle a simple stunt. Either he’s getting bowled over on passes, or whiffing linebackers on runs. While he has returned to his natural position as a guard, every once in a while I’ll see him diving around in on my TV, only to fall to the ground while his man wraps up the running back.

Chris Spencer has pretty much proven that he’s not a starting-caliber NFL center. He’s a detriment as a run blocker on almost every play. The bad news is that Max Unger, drafted to be Spencer’s replacement, has started every game at guard and has looked even worse. The pinnacle of this duo was a play against Dallas when Unger and Spencer tried to double-team Jay Ratliff. Ratliff not only pushed the pair into the backfield, he actually put Spencer on his back.

When Jamarcus Russell isn’t being used a part of the English language, he’s busy being compared to an airplane.

Jamarcused, Jamarcian?
Jamarcused? Jamarcian?

Some good stories on recently passed Wizards owner Abe Pollin.

The online dating site OKCupid has started a blog that delves into the statistics of online daters. I read the whole thing in one sitting. Captivating for a superdork like me.

Site-wide, two-thirds of male messages go to the best-looking third of women. So basically, guys are fighting each other 2-for-1 for the absolute best-rated females, while plenty of potentially charming, even cute, girls go unwritten.

The medical term for this is male pattern madness.

As you can see from the gray line, women rate an incredible 80% of guys as worse-looking than medium. Very harsh. On the other hand, when it comes to actual messaging, women shift their expectations only just slightly ahead of the curve, which is a healthier pattern than guys’ pursuing the all-but-unattainable. But with the basic ratings so out-of-whack, the two curves together suggest some strange possibilities for the female thought process, the most salient of which is that the average-looking woman has convinced herself that the vast majority of males aren’t good enough for her, but she then goes right out and messages them anyway.

Moving on…

Old data on NFL home underdogs late in the season, but interesting.

Lastly, the World Cup draw is tomorrow and the US, along with Mexico, basically got screwed.

EDIT: AWESOME draw for us.

Random NFL Notes

Some NFL goodness this Wednesday…

What’s wrong with Jay Cutler & the Bears?

“At the end of the day, every single thing that’s going on with Chicago’s offense, and I haven’t even mentioned a running game that is probably also the worst in the NFL, everything is conspiring against Cutler. So now you’ve got a decision to make as an offense. Do you try to play the game to throw four yard passes, three-step drops, five-step drops, just so he doesn’t throw interceptions?”

It was difficult to know what to make of Cutler’s mechanics early on [versus the Vikings Sunday]– the guy’s obviously talented enough to complete quick outs — but I was astonished to see Pace get no help with Allen on any of those plays. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner managed to combine the protection leakage of wide sets with the inflexible non-production of a quick-screen-only offense. It was mind-blowing.

The one good thing to come out of Bobby Petrino’s “tenure” with the Falcons was bringing in Louisville alum Chris Redman at QB.

“I remember walking into a machinery company, CSS, and trying to sell them insurance,” Redman recalled Monday. “I was wearing a suit, and I walked into the lobby hoping they’d recognize me – sometimes people would, and sometimes they wouldn’t, which made it even more awkward. I remember thinking, ‘Wow. What am I doing?’ Talk about a humbling feeling. As many times as I’d complained about football practice, this was a real job and a real complaint.”

Thanks to an unlikely opportunity and his ability to parlay it into a shocking renaissance, Redman, 32, is back in a far more comfortable environment. Two years after signing with the Falcons following the short and ill-fated pro stint by Bobby Petrino, Redman’s offensive coordinator at Louisville in ’98, the quarterback is playing a key role in the team’s push for a second consecutive playoff berth.

Some fantastic breakdown of the Saints Monday night game by NFP’s Matt Bowen. (Click both links)

New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is known as a pressure coach, but he called this game with coverage principles in mind — often rushing only three and dropping eight into coverage when the Pats put Brady in the shotgun on passing situations. And that’s a standard against Tom Brady and the Patriots, but what Williams played on the back end usually isn’t. Instead of dropping eight and playing Cover 2 — which most teams do against New England to play a safety over the top of Randy Moss on the numbers — Williams used man coverage principles. Most often, the Saints played a version of “Cover 1 Robber,” where FS Darren Sharper played the deep middle of the field, and either a linebacker or an extra defensive back played a “rover” position — sitting 10 yards deep in between the hashes. What this did was allow the Saints to play man coverage with outside leverage — forcing everything to the middle of the field — and allowing Mike McKenzie to pick off Brady by jumping the underneath route. Because he had the help to do it with the “rover” sitting 10 yards off of the ball.

In Gregg Williams’ defense down in New Orleans, or any defense in this league that plays man-to-man coverage in the backend, the corners are taught, instructed and expected to play with the techniques that allow this defense to work.

In McKenzie’s case on Monday, he played a lot of “off-man” coverage, where he aligned at a depth of 7-yards, aligned on the receiver’s outside shoulder, with his feet planted in a football position. The reason for the outside leverage is due to the safety help in the middle of the field. To give you a different perspective, in any type of Cover 0 alignment (no safety help) McKenzie would align in the inside shoulder of the receiver, using the sideline, or the boundary, as his extra defender.

Playing “off-man” coverage is the toughest thing for any defender in the NFL, much harder than aligned in a press position, where the corner can get his hands on the receiver and mirror his hips off of the line of scrimmage.

But, in both cases on Monday night, McKenzie used his flat-foot techniques and his pre-snap keys to make two big plays in the game on a slant route and on the fourth-down out route he broke up while defending Randy Moss.

NFL Week 13 Early Leans & Stats of the Week

0-0 last week for 0.00 units which makes week 12 my 4th best of the season. Sad but true. Back to the usual posting schedule this week.

Stats of the Week

1) The New Orleans Saints are averaging 37 points/game this season and are on pace to barely exceed New England’s 2007 record of 589 points. They lead the NFL with 22 interceptions; FS Darren Sharper got his 8th Monday night.

2) Drew Brees is averaging over 9 yards per pass attempt this season. Only 23 other quarterbacks have ever averaged 9 yards or more per attempt in a season, and half of them are in the Hall of Fame.

3) Cleveland’s Brady Quinn was 15/34 for 100 yards against the Bengals on Sunday. 2.94 yards/pass attempt.

4) St. Louis’s Steven Jackson leads the NFL with 238 carries. Since 1970, the league’s leading ball carrier has played for a team with a losing record just six times.

5) The Jacksonville Jaguars lost their two west coast games this season by a combined score of 61-3. No team does close wins and blowout losses quite like the Jaguars.

6) New England’s Wes Welker leads the league with 98.4 receiving yards per game.

7) Prior toVince Young’s drive, Tennessee had gained 433 yards of offense on the day. They moved the ball effectively all game and have averaged 29 points since the bye week/Vince Young took over. Sadly, their odds of making the playoffs are not very good.

8) Tennessee has covered every game in their 5 game win streak. They visit Indy(-6.5) Sunday.

9) In the who cares department, Peyton Manning leads the NFL in Pro-Bowl balloting through week 12. The Colts set an NFL record Sunday, winning 11 games for the 7th season in a row.

10) Denver(-4.5) is in Kansas City on Sunday where they have won 7 of their last 8 games. The one loss was last season when the Chiefs were 2-14.

Early Leans

Phhiladelphia @ Atlanta (+6)

Site Name Change

Van Tran while visiting the site and viewing Lou’s most recent picks

“Lou should change the name to ‘Miracle Covers: Losing at Sports.'”

Pastability, let’s take a look at some things…

It was over the Thanksgiving holiday when I remembered one of my favored forms of NFL gambling, which is to parlay the money line on two or three heavily favored teams.  Unfortunately it seems that Allen Gowin’s bookie does not really do money line bets which is a shame, but here is an idea for Sunday if you have such capabilities.

Cincinnati, Philadelphia, San Diego

With the help of our friends at, you are getting essentially a 2/3 return on bets (one hundred nets you 163 and change).  A couple of thoughts on this.

*  This may seem obvious as this is a bet centered entirely on winning the game and not covering a spread, but you want teams involved where you say to yourself, “I’m not sure on what’s going to happen, but I simply do not see X losing this game.”  Going to the example of this Thanksgiving, Green Bay and Dallas looked very strong to win the game.  Some may at that point may have felt like getting a better return on their money by throwing in a Giant addition, but do you really want to bank on an essentially .500 team on the road against a team with a winning record?  This may wreak of hindsight but whatever.  People might object here that I did not include two heavy home favorites, Minn and Atlanta, in the parlay.  But the problem is I could see the Bears and/or the Bucs winning.  If you don’t, throw the fuckers in, but for me, it doesn’t pass the crucial test.

*  I am not a huge fan of this strategy for college games.  The NFL is crazy enough, but when you add nineteen year old qbs and kickers, football can escalate to a new level of weird.  Just see some of USC’s recent games in the last few years.  However, if you are looking for some recommendations I would stick with proven programs like Boise State (not when they’re 40 pt favorites).  Right now  on television I am watching Pitt/W Va.  How shocking was that a few years ago when Pitt won in West Virginia with W Va playing for the BCS championship?  I would have bet my house on that money line.

Some thoughts on the lines this weekend…

I am not guaranteeing I am putting money on any of these games, just some thoughts.

Clemson and Tennessee only giving up three points to South Carolina and Kentucky respectively seems a bit outrageous to me.  I might have to parlay that.

I do not have any figures in front of me but I bet there is a decent amount of unbiased money going on the Panthers against the Jets.  Carolina is playing very well and 5 Ints are quickly becoming known as “The Dirty Sanchez.”  But I like the Jets this week.  The Jets are giving three points at home to a hot Carolina team, but the Jets have a very solid defense and Jake Delhomme is due to lay an atomic bomb this week after a month of very good football.

WK 12 Quick Picks


Alabama @ Auburn Under 48


Indy @ Houston Over 47

Teaser 6pt

Philadelphia -3 vs Washington

Cincy -8 vs Browns