Quickly with the NFL picks. All 2 units unless noted.
Cleveland/Denver Over 37 4u
Big bet of the week as mentioned earlier. This is 38 or 38.5 everywhere I’ve looked this morning.
New Orleans Minny @ Detroit +10
New York Giants +3 @ Dallas
Managed to get this at -112 as opposed to the -120/125 that’s commonly available.
Pittsburgh @ Chicago +3
Happy to take the home underdog here.
Carolina +6.5 @ Atlanta 1u
Simmons talked me into it.
Good luck out there today.
Few thoughts about last week’s games:
We had 2 miracle covers on Sunday. First was by the Baltimore Ravens (-13), who decided to run it in from 4th an inches from the goal line versus Kansas City on Sunday. The meaningless TD helped them cover, 38-24. Thanks John Harbaugh (who had to know the line!), I owe you a beer.
The second was bad for the site, as the Washington Redskins, who seem to only find offense when they need to cover the spread, amazingly covered versus the New York Giants (+6.5). Down 17-3, they decide their first TD of the year needs to be scored by the punter, Hunter Smith, on a fake FG attempt. Deion Sanders called Hunter Smith the whitest guy to ever score a TD in the NFL; Cap Boso must be pissed. Then, down 23-10, the Redskins drive down the field versus a prevent Giants defense and Chris Cooley scores a semi-meaningless TD with 1.34 left, covering the 6.5 points. What a cooler, sorry Lou.
I also owe a beer to both the Bills’ Dick Jauron and Leodis McKelvin, who some how found a way to give the Patriots that game on Monday night. Where was Dick Jauron on the sidelines telling him NOT to run right into the Patriots defense, especially when the Bills have their hands team up awaiting an onsides kick? Having Leodis just down the ball in the endzone wasn’t the optimal play, either (although better than what happened). The Pats had 3 timeouts and a 2 minute warning stoppage as there was 2:06 left on the clock. The smart football play would be to catch the ball, run around for 6 seconds, and get down. That way, the Bills only need 10 yards to win the game, even if they have the ball on their own 10 yard line. The Pats will use the 3 timeouts, and at worst, the Pats at best get the ball back with about :57 seconds left. How do professionals getting paid millions not know this? I know this from my extensive Madden experience; and I’m high most of the time doing it!
Either way, I feel that if the Bills lose another close game, Dick Jauron is going to react like Cathy Pondexter of the Phoenix Mercury (video on the right).
I really hope the Brandon Stokely miracle TD versus the Bengals on Sunday doesn’t affect my season under bet. At least I got another fantastic Gus Johnson call out of it. Gus, btw, is in the works to be calling The 1st Annual Wii Golf tournament, The Castle Open at Everett St, later this year.
Drinking game of the week: Watch this Sunday’s game between the Eagles and the Saints. What you do is every time Eagles QB Kevin Kobb throws an incompletion, you drink. If it’s an interception, then 2 drinks. A TAINT (INT returned for a TD)? 6 drinks. You can also do a pool where you get 4 buddies and everyone picks a quarter, and the quarter that Kobb gets taken out of, everyone who didn’t pick that quarter has to drink a beer. If he actually by the miracle of God finishes the game, every one has a social beer. Fun for the entire family!
Onto the Picks:
San Francisco (Pick’em) at home versus Seattle
Home opener, coming off a big win versus the Cardinals in Week 1. Mike Singletary and his stopwatch know it’s time to take a hold of the division. Plus Seattle, coming off a preseason win in Week 1 versus the Rams (who are that bad), is banged up even more with Seattle WRs T.J. Houshmanzadeh (back spasms) and Deion Branch (vagina) questionable. I see the Niners playing mistake free football again and winning a tight one at home. I mean, you better run your ass off if you are on the 49ers……Mike Singletary IS timing you.
NYG +2.5/+120 Money Line
Take the points or the spread, either way, the Giants are going to win. They have played well there under Coughlin during his tenure, and the Cowboys have a bandwagon following again after destroying a weak Buccanneers team in Week 1.
Cleveland/Denver Over 37
Both teams’ QBs did not play as bad, or as good, as their stats indicated last week. Both teams have enough offensive talent to score 24 a piece on each other. Do not let the Broncos’ defense fool you; they are still terrible when they don’t play Cincinnati, just look at Jay Culter, who sucked in Week 1 versus Green Bay, tearing them up in the preseason game 3 weeks ago. The Browns have a long way to go, and are still tired after Adrian Peterson stiff-armed their entire team last Sunday.
Teaser of the Week:
Green Bay -3.5 vs Cincinnati/ Detroit +16 vs Minnesota
If this post title doesn’t have you fired up I don’t know what to say. For those of you wondering what exactly the CONCACAF Champions League is, I’m happy to tell you it’s the North American version of the Champions League in Europe that’s contested by teams you’ve heard of, such as Milan, Barcelona and Liverpool. Unfortunately, anyone reading this won’t be able to name any teams in this competition, but I’m happy to help out with a tip for one of tonight’s games.
MLS team Columbus Crew are in Costa Rica tonight to face Costa Rican champions Deportivo Saprissa. Don’t let the fact that the entire country of Costa Rica could fit inside Lake Michigan lead you to believe that Columbus is favored tonight. They aren’t. In fact, Columbus is missing their entire back line and only dressing 16 players for the game tonight.
We are only bringing 16 of 23 players down, so I don’t know if it will be worth watching for a neutral. Chicago on Sunday is a big match, and we [Columbus] could almost put them to sleep in terms of the #1 seed out east with an away win.
Here’s who is out for us:
1. D Eric Brunner (starting CB) is suspended.
2. D Chad Marshall (starting CB) got hurt in practice Monday (knee sprain), could miss Chicago game or possibly more depending on severity.
3. D Gino Padula (starting LB) was ill Sunday but played through it. He won’t make the trip.
4. D Frankie Hejduk (starting RB) will be rested.
5. F Alejandro Moreno (starting F) will be rested (played midweek and Sunday).
6. F Emelio Renteria (visa issues) won’t make the trip.
7. GK Andy Gruenebaum (hip) won’t make the trip.
So, 5 starters out, including the entire backline. Ouch.
Include the fact that Columbus is away from home and playing on what’s described as 1980s astroturf, and it’s almost assured that Columbus will be “playing for the draw” which in soccer terms means they’ll be trying not to get their ass kicked.
A hard place to go? Estadio Saprissa, near the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, is a soccer apocalypse, said Crew captain Frankie Hejduk, who did not make the trip in order to rest.
“It’s a little bit like Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” said Hejduk, recalling the bottle-chucking hostility he has faced on previous visits with the U.S. national team.
Costa Rica has beaten the United States six consecutive times in “the Monster’s Cave,” a venue former U.S. coach Bruce Arena referred to as “borderline dangerous.”
“I don’t think (tonight) will be quite what it’s like when the U.S. plays there, but it is one of the most hostile environments I’ve ever been in,” Hejduk said.
Unconfirmed reports also have Saprissa resting players in their domestic league in preparation for tonight’s game. -200 on Bookmaker. Max play on the Costa Ricans.
Still cleaning up after myself thanks to an ugly week 1. -10u. I would take all four of those bets again, though admittedly the Lions bet was probably too ambitious.
Early plays this week:
Cleveland/Denver Over 37 4u
Sticking with my preseason assessment that both of these defenses are below average at best. Line may be up to 37.5 across the board by now.
Minnesota @ Detroit +10 2u
I’m going to continue betting on Detroit and against Minnesota for the foreseeable future. At least this week I only need to bet one game.
WTF is going on with the Pats/Jets line? It opened in some places as high as +6.5 NYJ and has been bet down as low as 3. This has to be an overreaction by NY money based on week 1 games. Clearly, the Pats are the better team here, right?
Pittsburgh @ Chicago +3
If Cutler plays well last week, this is Chicago +1
NYG +3 @ Dallas
Giants getting 3 points vs. Dallas? Yes, please.
Indy @ Miami +3
I like Miami but can’t yet articulate why.
All three of you comment away.
Here are my NFL plays:
Miami/Atlanta Over 44
I just think this will be a shootout and the most exciting game of the day. Someone is going to win 41-38.
The real question is whether Baltimore’s offense can cover. KC scoring more than 14 points would be a shock.
SF +6/+215 Money Line @ Arizona
San Francisco is the most boring team in the league…..which I think helps them vs a high scoring offense. They’ll hold the ball and win the turnover and time possession battle and keep things close. I expect the true Arizona to shine through (the one who struggled this preseason, especially on defense) and make enough mistakes to keep this divisional tilt close. You can make a small play at the money line too; this is a winnable game early in the season for Singletary’s crew.
StL +14 @ Seattle/NO -8 vs Detroit
Seattle is at home, where they play strong, but banged up. They will be missing their best offensive (OL W.Jones) and defensive (CB M.Trufant) players. The Rams now actually have a coach in Steve Spagnolo, and these two always play close games in their short NFC West history.
Detroit still has a bad secondary, but the Saints sometimes keep teams hanging around closer than they should because their defense is average.
Just three games for me in week 1
Minnesota @ Cleveland +4
This game represents everything that is good about NFL gambling.
First, we have a home underdog. Read everything here about why these are good to bet on.
Second, the public is all over the Vikings by as much as a 4:1 ratio, yet the line, which started at 3, hasn’t moved past 3.5 at some books. Probably because of this new QB playing for Minnesota
Third, even though Browns coach Eric Mangini fails at communicating, the man can game plan with anyone in the league and he’ll have his team ready on week 1.
Detroit +13.5 @ New Orleans
Two unit play here. Taking a non-public team and 13.5 is too many points for any NFL game in week 1.
Washington @ New York Giants -6.5
Feeler play here. I have nothing rational that would justify action on a game with a proper line.
EDIT: Adding a teaser for 4u Carolina +8.5 and Seattle -1.5
Atlanta Falcons Under 8.5 EVEN
Atlanta and Miami were the biggest surprises in the NFL last season and both teams will look to continue their winning ways this season. While Miami’s been given a much more achievable target of 7 or 7.5 wins, Atlanta is higher at 8.5 across the board. That’s strictly a reflection of the very good play from Matt Ryan and the acquisition of Tony Gonzalez. I have few doubts regarding this team’s ability to score points. Their problems are entirely on the defensive side.
Atlanta’s defense benefited from an easy schedule, the offense often jumping out to an early lead and the outstanding play of John Abraham at DE last season. Otherwise, they failed to cover and tackle well and the defense is still a work in progress, most notably at corner where the Falcons just traded for Rams castoff and former 1st round pick Tye Hill to play nickel.
If Abraham plays in all 16 games and gets some help from anyone else on the D-Line, and the offense performs as expected, 9-11 wins is possible. More likely, Abraham fails to play in 16 games and/or isn’t quite as effective, the offense is forced to play from behind more often, and this team reverts back to .500 or worse. The Falcons face the AFC East and NFC West on their out of conference schedule, starting this week at home to Miami.
Minnesota Vikings Under 10 EVEN
This bet was made against the local resident Vikings fan, but I’d still take the action at 9.5, though obviously much happier getting a push at 10. The Vikings are essentially the exact same team as last year, but their division rivals have all visibly improved. Where did Minnesota get better? I don’t see how a 39 year old QB who’s had all of 3 weeks of practice time with his receivers is a better option than Sage ‘Helicopter‘ Rosenfels or Tavaris Jackson, who was excellent the last 4 games of last season.
Brad Childress is definitely the worst coach in the division, and one of the worst in the league. 6 unit play here.
Buffalo Bills u7 +110
My bet of the year. The line posted is from Bookmaker and better than u8 -200 or worse and marginally better than u7.5 -150 at The Greek. Buffalo not only plays two well coached and more talented teams twice (NE and MIA), they also face the AFC & NFC South on their out of conference schedule. The more I look at this team, the more I wonder if they’ll even win 5 or 6, much less 7 or 8. Their offense is a mess (click the Bills links) and their defense, while competent lacks depth leaving only their special teams as a strength. Dick Jauron has to be the favorite to be first coach fired this season.
Again, this proves the point that most problems within organizations lie in their inability to self-evaluate. The Bills had no passing game last year, and although they had some talented players, their production never matched the talent. Keeping the status quo has made this season very challenging, and the hope for success is just that — hope. I would love to know who made the design for the Bills of 2009.
Now they go to New England with three-fifths of their offensive line gone from last year. All the money paid to Walker and Derrick Dockery in free agency two years ago has been wasted. The design of this team has been bad, and at some point the Bills have to get someone in their building who can build a team that can compete with the Dolphins, the Patriots and even the Jets on and (most critically) off the field. The Bills are going nowhere until they admit their planning and design has been flawed. They need one person in the building, a coach or personnel man, who can make the right choices and design the right plan because the level of competition in the AFC East is and will remain very fierce and intellectually challenging.
Dallas Cowboys u9.5 -125
Oakland Raiders u5.5 +110
Small plays here, see Sean‘s writeup.
Detroit Lions Over 4.5 -130
This is an “I believe in Jim Schwarz” bet as Detroit has kept only 22 players from last year’s 0-16 team. They should be OK on offense and they play the AFC North and NFC West which, combined with a professional coaching staff (See Atlanta 2007 vs. 2008) should be plenty to get them to 5 wins.
Atlanta u8.5 4 units
Minnesota u10 6 units
Buffalo u7 10 units
Dallas u9.5 2 units
Oakland u5.5 2 units
Detroit o4.5 3 units
As I myself am on tilt after Chile gives up two goals…….while UP A MAN (WTF!)……..there is an interesting teaser opportunity if you are itching for some action tonight. I am generally not a big fan of teasers, although I am 1-1 so far with last week’s South Carolina (+5.5 @ NC State) and Notre Dame (-10.5, Nevada). I was able to get SC at +1 and ND -6.5 on a 6 point teaser which was not only highly successful, but also opportunistic as I felt the bookies had made slight mistakes with both lines BEFORE I teased it down at the same -110 price.
Pittsburgh is -6.5 tonight at home to the Titans. I felt that was a bit too much, although they will definitely win the game (I think no ring team has yet to lose the Thursday opener) and I really like a close battle in the ACC tonight between Clemson and GA Tech, as both teams know that this is a big game tonight in a very wide open ACC. Clemson also has a new coach in Dabo Sweeney (whose teams covered the last 4 games of the year in ’08), who actually has a pulse and can motivate and coach during games…..unlike the last coach, Tommy Bowden, who was great at recruiting, but not good at game planning (or keeping his daughter’s nude spread eagle pic off of the interweb). Paul Johnson leads and GT squad who can run that football, with arguably the best running back in the country in Jonathan Dwyer; their defense is vulnerable in the secondary, and Clemson usually has some of the best WR recruits in the nation.
So, I took a 6-point tease with Pittsburgh now at +0.5 and Clemson +11.5 @ -110. 15.48 to win 30, why not?