2018 NFL Playoff Picks – Divisional Round Edition

After blazing through one of the easiest, sweat-free covers to start off the 2018 post-season, Colin was dreaming of hoisting the mythical “11-0!” trophy . . . THUD! What was that? Well, the THUD was the hamstring of SeaBass, better known as “fat turd kicker.” With no kicker, the Seahawks were in 4-down territory and “go for two” mode the entire second half; a 4th&4 touchdown and two two-pointers later I get notched by a half point. That felt a lot like drawing aces against a five, splitting, drawing another ace, splitting again and drawing yet another ace; when all is said and done, I sit with 4x my original bet, A-8 (19), A-7 (18) and two A-10 against a five. Of course, you know the story, dealer turns over a six, draws a 10 to 21. Loss, loss, push and push. Still dazed and confused on Sunday, I was flat for both games and my performance on the field showing as me and my “first-time playoff QB starter” buddies combined for ZERO wins!

I have documented playoff rules that I follow religiously and what did I do? I broke rule #1 – “Never back a shaky quarterback in the playoffs, especially on the road!” I may have to amend this rule add another corollary, “always bet against a first-time starter in playoffs.” Funny thing, it makes perfect sense, or at least it did after the first three possessions in the Ravens/Chargers game, that quarterbacks making their first start in the playoffs struggle mightily. It got me thinking back to one of my favorite “what-ifs” in all of sports – what if the tuck rule is ruled a fumble? Remember that through three quarters, Tommy Terrific played more like Tommy the Tool, leading the Pats to a whopping 3 points and a mere 176 yards passing in a home playoff game. What if the Raiders win that game? Is TB12 more like Peyton Manning? I maintain it is possible that a loss there hurts both Brady and Belichick, despite what we know 17 years later. Also, remember this is long before the city of Boston signed their “new millennium” deal with the Devil. The “chowds” were part of a sad sack of fans with a massive inferiority complex; these are fans stating “wait until next year” after an opening day Red Sox loss. Think about this – would Belichick and Brady been around for the 2003 season if they blew a home playoff game in 2001 and then missed the playoffs the following year?

The point is this – it’s hard to win in the playoffs and, yeah, it does get in the heads of a quarterback or a coach. Think about how much different Marvin Lewis’ career would have been had Kimo von Oelhoffen not taken out Carson Palmer’s knee on the second play of the game? The Bengals might win the Super Bowl that year! Instead, Marvin leaves Cincinnati without a playoff win. That was in Palmer’s head as well. In 2015, he played his worst two games as a Cardinals player in the playoffs.

The thing is with these first-time starting quarters (and coaches for that matter) is they need things to go right for them, they need an early lead. Lamar Jackson was at a disadvantage having played the Chargers three weeks before (side note: I am so scarred by the Norv Turner/Mike McCoy Chargers, that I completely over-looked the fact they have a coach who cares about more than one phase of the game). You tell immediately the moment was way too big for Lamar, but still had the Ravens jumped out to an early lead he probably would have leveled off and been fine. Again, it did not help that he had the toughest first round matchup and a team familiar with the Ravens offense.

For Trubisky, he put his team in position to win so it’s hard to put a large portion of the blame on him but he didn’t play well in the first half and he was a victim of a coach who mid-way through the first was probably wondering why the hell he didn’t tank week 17 and play the Vikings, as opposed to deal with Nick “the jump ball magician” Foles. All that said, if that first Eagles possession goes two-yard rush, incomplete pass and Khalil Mack sack on third down, the Bears probably win by two touchdowns.

Oh well, what do you do? You try to get better and find winners. On to the divisional round, but first let’s look at the futures:

I lost my #2(Ravens), #3(Bears), #9 (Seahawks) and #12 (Texans). I nailed the Texans as the “2008 Dolphins” as non-competitive and Deshaun Watson was exactly what you would expect out of a first-timer. The Seahawks also was a call as they masqueraded as the 2012 Colts, a team that came on strong but was one and done. Ravens and Bears? Well, I was a lot closer for the Ravens (2001 Pats) save the “tuck rule.” I blew it on the Bears, Nagy and company just were not ready.

This week’s ranking of the remaining playoff teams, with Super Bowl odds (beginning of playoffs and current). For fun I dug around and found a historical team each 2018 NFL playoff most closely resembled.

Full disclosure – I am still holding a Saints (20-1) and a Texans (25-1) Super Bowl future. I think I will let the Texans future ride – no hedge.

1.New Orleans Saints (+225, +240)

 

Historical Team: 2009 New Orleans Saints. Oh, the disrespect, they go from +225 t0 +240 because they have to face off with donkey dick Nick Foles. Goodness, this Eagles team is annoying. As I stated last week right here, “I remember that 2009 season, nobody gave them a chance to win the Super Bowl, despite being the #1 seed in the NFC. Everyone was in love the Cardinals . . .” Final Score – Saints 45 Cardinals 14

2.Kansas City Chiefs (+475, +500)

Historical Team: 2001 St. Louis Rams. I was very tempting to move them down as this first-time starter has me second guessing myself worse than Chrissy Moltisanti.

3.Los Angeles Chargers (+600, +1100)

Historical Team: 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers. Based on the win against the Ravens, I changed their historical team from the 2014 Bengals to the 2005 Steelers. They might get on one of those runs where they play well enough and Vince McMahon, er, Paul Tagliabue, will honor Phillip Rivers career with a Super Bowl, just like he did with Jerome Bettis. Keep in mind, Tags was getting ready to retire, so he was showing Goodell how to stage the outcome of playoff games. Man, did Goodell take it to the next level!

4.Los Angeles Rams (+600, +500)

Historical Team: 2001 Chicago Bears. I still don’t trust Goff, but the path just got infinitely easier with the DD-Nick and the Eagles pulling off the upset.

5.New England Patriots (+600, +600)

Historical Team: 1992 Buffalo Bills. Just like last week, I think we all agree “just fking go away already.”

6.Indianapolis Colts (+2800)

Historical Team: 1994 Green Bay Packers. I certainly can see them winning in Kansas City but this run in going to come to an abrupt end with a Lombardi – this year! Look out next year.

7.Dallas Cowboys (+3000, +2050)

Historical Team: 2015 Minnesota Vikings. Here is something I find hilarious – the Cowboys are one of the final eight teams in the NFL and are currently 20.5-1 to win Super Bowl. The 4-8 Nebraska Cornhuskers are 25-1 to win the CFP title next year. I will let you decide where the value lies. I said it last week – “Dak simply cannot do enough to make a deep playoff run.”

8.Philadelphia Eagles (+3500, +1600)

Historical Team: 2000 St. Louis Rams. The Eagles are still the 2000 Rams, Az Hakim still fumbled that punt, the Eagles just got lucky and recovered it (blocked FG). Now go get your ass beating in Nawlins, get back to booing Santa and throwing batteries at opponents.

Geaux Saints!

 

Some Divisional Round weekend notes (since 2002):

  • All four home teams are favored by 4 or more points, last time that happened was 2014, home teams went 3-1 SU but just 1-3 ATS
  • Saturday divisional games – home teams 28-6 SU, 20-14 ATS and the over is 23-11; the Patriots have had 8 of those games – 8-0 SU, 5-3 ATS and over is 7-1
  • Sunday divisional games – home teams just 18-16 SU, 10-23-1 ATS and the over is 14-20; the Pats are 2-1/2-1/2-1 on Sunday’s at home
  • Home teams have swept the four games but never finished 4-0 ATS
  • All four games have gone over the total twice but never under the total
  • The “pick the winner” system in the playoffs breaks down as 16 times a SU winner has failed to cover; wildcard round just 4 times has the SU winner failed to cover or push the spread

My playoff rules (you know the ones I didn’t bother following last week) can be read them here.

The back of Colin’s player card:

 

Note: Lines are courtesy of 5dimes.eu

Colts @ Chiefs (-5.5, 57)

Hmm, let’s see we have a quarterback making his first playoff start and a coach who is well known for playoff failure. Uh, ok, count me in!

There is this theory about dome team failure when going on the road playing a non-dome team due to the dome team being “soft.” The numbers do back that up to some extent – in 28 instances, dome teams 7-21 SU, 10-18 ATS and 10-18 to the Over. Compare that with instances of non-dome road teams – 115 instances, 50-65 SU, 66-45-4 ATS, 58-56-1 to the Over. As a potential Colts backer this had me curious – like am I on the wrong side – until I looked over the 28 instances. The Texans appeared 3 times, at Ravens and twice at Patriots, average line was Texans +11. Maybe not as much being soft as just simply not as good. The Cardinals also appeared three times, once with Ryan Lindley starting a playoff and the other with Palmer/Arians playoff duo. The Falcons/Saints combine for nine appearances, with a combined record of 2-7, I guess Matty Ice and Breezy might be a little soft. But the meat on the bone of this “theory” is the Colts, nine times they have played outdoors in the playoffs since 2002 but have been favored in just one game compiling a 3-6 record. Then it donned on me where this theory started, I am sure this is some moron “chowd” fan who based this entire theory on the 2003/2004 games between the Manning-led Colts and the tough as nails, Brady-led Patriots. Those two games earned Manning the reputation as a playoff choker and the Colts as soft because they play in a dome.

Fair enough, though I witnessed the Colts on the road at night in a must-win game in an open-air stadium open a can of whoop-ass on the Titans. Just saying not sure “soft” is how I would describe this Colts team. Yeah, so “chowd” take dumbass theory and stick down Southie where the sun don’t shine.

That weak sauce theory is not enough to overcome the first-time QB and “shaky” coach. Just picture that stadium if the Colts receive the opening kickoff, go 10 plays and go up 7-0, that stadium and sideline will be TIGHT!

Chiefs 34 Colts 31

 

Prop Bets:

 

  • Marlon Mack Over 74.5 Rushing Yards (-114)
  • Longest Completion by Patrick Mahomes Over 44.5 (-110)
  • Longest Reception by Tyreek Hill Over 32.5 (-110)
  • Chester Rogers Over 29.5 Receiving Yards (-114)

Cowboys @ Rams (-7, 49.5)

 

Here is the deal with the Rams – it all comes down to Goff as I have no doubt the Rams defense will be ready to play as will the offensive line and the skill positions. The Rams are the better team on all levels except at linebacker, but that doesn’t matter if Goff looks like he did the last five weeks of this season and in the playoff game last year – against Falcons, the defense forced two punts out of the box, but Goff could not capitalize on great field position, then Pharaoh Cooper happened. Next thing you know 10-0 Falcons and Goff had the “Peyton Manning face.” Unfortunately, I have zero confidence in Goff, meaning I am willing pay to see him prove me wrong.

Rams 24 Cowboys 20

 

Prop Bets:

 

  • Todd Gurley Over 38.5 Receiving Yards (+100)
  • Todd Gurley Under 87.5 Rushing Yards (-114)
  • Michael Gallup scores a TD (+200)
  • Gerald Everett scores a TD (+380)
  • Gerald Everett over 2.5 receptions (-135)
  • Gerald Everett over 25.5 receiving yards (-115)

Chargers @ Patriots (-4, 47.5)

BREAKING NEWS: Rob Gronkowski told the world today that playoff Brady is “hyper focused, because he knows if you lose you go home!” I am sure the ESPN cannot wait to pair him with Jason Witten next year for Monday nights.

Did you get that – “next year?” Yep, everyone wave bye-bye to Gronk, this is his last NFL game! In fact, anyone remember the 1998-99 Chicago Bulls? The Bulls finished off the Jazz for their second three-peat in eight years that season, then everyone left in the off-season – Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and Jackson. That’s the Pats except without the title and the affectionate hugs for each other. Belichick, Brady, Gronk all gone next year. Thank you, Chargers, you have done America a major service. We should give them a Purple Heart or something.

Chargers 23 Patriots 17

Prop Bets:

 

  • James White Over 44.5 Receiving Yards (+120)
  • Sony Michel Over 66.5 Rushing Yards (-110)
  • Rob Gronkowski Under 49.5 Receiving Yards (-130)

Eagles @ Saints (-8, 51.5)

Remember last year when everyone in America was waiting for Nick Foles to have that clunker you knew was coming? Me too, well it did happen but Matty Ice’s red zone woes and the WWE decision to ignore the pass interference when Jaylen Mills pushed Julio Jones to the ground, then tried to hump him while he was down – yeah, nothing to see here – just deciding a game is all. This miracle ride is O V E R and it ends with an ugly beating in the Superdome. Look thanks Eagles for beating the Pats, for that reason, the 2017 team will have special spot in the hearts of most Americans but now you are in over your heads, and the inevitable blowout loss is coming.

I have noticed a lot of people like the Eagles this week, the most common reason – “the Eagles have revenge on their minds in the re-match!” Oh Lord, of course, a city like Philly has been brought up to think all re-matches of a previous one-sided match will fall their way. Look Eagles fans, I hate to break it to you but if the Rocky movies remotely resembled reality, Clubber Lang would have beaten Rocko worse in the second fight. In fact, if we sat two operators using CompuBox to track the first fight between Lang and Balboa and the second as well, I think you be surprised that Rocky took twice the beating in the re-match but he didn’t go down and at least he “wasn’t breathing heavy. . .”

But I was curious about these re-matches and maybe a couple of these Eagles backers were onto something. I ran two queries – both queries had criteria of previous matchup in the same season, non-division game and at the same site; the first query was where the home team won by 21 or more points, or in layman’s terms – a curb stomp; and the second query the home team won by double digits, or in layman’s terms – a good swift ass kicking. The results for the first query, 9-0 SU/4-5 ATS but an average margin of victory of 10.6 points (that’ll do). The second query presented an opportunity on Eagles – 16-4 SU/7-12-1 ATS, average margin of victory just 6.8 points. Hmm, I needed a third query, a scenario where the previous matchup was a 40+ point win. The third query results are 1-0/1-0 with a margin of victory of . . .

Saints 41 Eagles 20 (21!)

Prop Bets:

 

  • Drew Brees Most Passing Yards in Divisional Round (+500)
  • Ted Ginn Jr Over 49.5 Receiving Yards (+115)
  • Golden Tate Over 39.5 Receiving Yards (-115)
  • Saints -14.5 (+200)

Good luck to all!

 

2012 NFL Season Predictions

The long awaited 2012 NFL season predictions, with one game already in, Colin is pushing the deadline, but no worries fearless fans you can still get down on some of the juicer season wins and future bets.

I follow the “NFL Season Prediction Rules to live by” found here.

Step 1:

Determine the teams with the potential to fall into a +/- 4 victories category. (Greyed cells indicate a team cannot fall into that bucket)

Team

Div

2011 WINS

Plus 4

Minus 4

Team

Div

2011 WINS

Plus 4

Minus 4

Bills AFCE

6

    Bears NFCN

8

   
Dolphins AFCE

6

    Cowboys NFCE

8

   
Jets AFCE

8

    Eagles NFCE

8

   
Patriots AFCE

13

    Giants NFCE

9

   
Bengals AFCN

9

    Lions NFCN

10

   
Browns AFCN

4

    Packers NFCN

15

   
Ravens AFCN

12

    Redskins NFCE

5

   
Steelers AFCN

12

    Vikings NFCN

3

   
Colts AFCS

2

    Buccaneers NFCS

4

   
Jaguars AFCS

5

    Falcons NFCS

10

   
Texans AFCS

10

    Panthers NFCS

6

   
Titans AFCS

9

    Saints NFCS

13

   
Broncos AFCW

8

    49ers NFCW

13

   
Chargers AFCW

8

    Cardinals NFCW

8

   
Chiefs AFCW

7

    Rams NFCW

2

   
Raiders AFCW

8

    Seahawks NFCW

7

   

The above thins the available teams from 64 options to a more reasonable 42. Using the above, we can see that they are eight teams that finished 8-8 last year, so based on that I am going to estimate the number of overall +/- 4 teams will be slightly lower than normal years. The reason, it’s pretty hard to go 4-12 and 12-4, those records seem like the lower and upper boundaries that are difficult to achieve. Now in a year where 6 of those 8 teams were either 7-9 or 9-7, it’s a bit more reasonable to expect 11-5 or 5-11. So, I am settling on 11 teams in this group. And here they are, in order of confidence:

  1. Buffalo – 10-6, up 4 wins; the hype machine is on over-load and I don’t trust their QB, especially late in the year. But the division is easier (NYJ likely down, Dolphins likely horrible), the schedule is easier (NFC West and AFC South) and the defense added a pro bowler in Mario Williams, so you have to figure that the Bills are candidates to post 10 wins and earn a playoff berth.
  2. Indianapolis – 6-10 up 4 wins; Things could not have gone worse last year for the Colts. And just when you thought they were going to screw the entire season by winning their last three, thus avoiding the number 1 overall, they rallied to a resounding defeat in week 17, giving them the rights to Andrew Luck. Imagine the renewed energy Reggie Wayne will have this season; he has to be so thankful to have a moderately competent quarterback that he might put up numbers like it was 2007 again. That should be enough to get the Colts four additional wins.
  3. San Francisco – 8-8, down 5 wins; this is purely based on facts. Fact 1 – the 49ers Pythagorean formula of expected wins last season was a little of 12, so they outperformed their expect by a game. But upon closer examination of their schedule we see they caught the Buccaneers at the beginning of the “mailing it in” tour in a 48-3 win and they also got the Steelers, 20-3, with a very gimpy Big Ben. Normalized those two games and it brings us down to 11 wins. Fact 2 – the 49ers had three ridiculously lucky wins last season, the Eagles, Lions and 2nd Seahawks games. Fact 3 – perhaps the biggest reason I see this taking a step back is the turnover margin from a year ago. Not only the 49ers protect the ball giving up just 10 turnovers, they forced 38 turnovers, for a mind-blowing +28. How much is a turnover worth in points? Well, it obviously varies based upon where the turnover occurs, but in general, turnovers are worth around 4 points. Meaning that if the 49ers post a very nice +12 turnover margin this season, they will lose roughly 64 net points, which translates, in Pythagorean terms, to about 3 wins. Good enough for me!
  4. Kansas City – 11-5, up 4 wins; The Chiefs lost their 2nd best receiver, best defensive player and best offensive player in a three week span, starting with the pre-season finale and ending with the second regular season game. And despite the fact they hated Todd Haley about as much as Red Sox players hate Bobby Valentine and you have to wonder how the Chiefs managed to win 7 games last season. Well, they’re extremely young and talented, that’s how. And as much grief as I have given Romeo Crennel over the years, “clueless, stares at the play-sheet like it’s a menu, deer in the headlights, his dog ate the card listing the times a coach should go for two, etc.”, the last time a former Browns head coach was given a second chance it worked out fairly well. The point? We simply don’t know about Romeo, because all we have to go on is his failure in Cleveland. The moral of the story? Nobody can be held responsible for failing in Cleveland!
  5. Tampa Bay – 8-8, up 4 wins; Honestly, I had to hold back in picking them to win the division with 11 wins. New coach, new Josh Freeman, new receivers, renewed receivers and a focus that generally translates into a positive upswing. The downside? The schedule is rough (NFC East and AFC West), the division is rough, even if the Saints fall back and there are still a ton of questions on defense. But this team won 10 games two years ago. They are closer to that team, than the poster boys for “mailing it in” like last year.
  6. Minnesota – 7-9, up 4 wins; since 1989 they have been 24 teams that won 3 games in a season, the next year 10 of those teams won seven or more games. Yeah, 42% success rate is a recipe to end up on welfare, but consider this subset of three win teams since 2000 – seven of nine have won seven or more games the next year. And one of teams that failed was the Rams, so really it’s like 7/8. Plus, the Vikings started 0-4 last year by a combined 19 points, with each game being decided by a touchdown or less. They also had an excruciating loss to the Broncos, where one of their DBs got red-carded early in the game, forcing the Vikings to play a man down. That had to be the reason they forgot to cover D. Thomas for almost the entire second half, right? So, flip a play or two in those first four, give then the Broncos game and turn one more close loss into a win and viola – a seven win team.
  7. Green Bay – 11-5, down 4 wins; Easy call here. Even coach Mike McCarthy admitted halfway through the 2011 season that the Packers were four plays away from being 4-4 last year, as opposed to 8-0. Let’s add that the Packers have now experienced both ends of capricious nature of the NFL playoffs – in 2010 barely made it in, ran the table; in 2011 dominated the regular season, laid an egg in the playoff opener. Based on their experience last season, my guess is the Pack realize home field advantage is slightly over-rated in the playoffs, and therefore, they will have a few of those games where they’re lackadaisical and flat out bored.
  8. New Orleans – 8-8, down 5 wins; I know my personal bias is getting in the way of making a logical decision on the Saints, but screw it, I hate this Saints team with the white hot intensity of a googol suns. Why? Well, for starters, I am not fond of their, now estranged, head coach Sean Payton. He strikes me as a sissy version of Jim Harbaugh, translation, he invokes the same “I want to plant one right on your kisser” feelings except without the fear that he might fight back. I hate the way the Saints ran up the scores at the end of last season and kept their starters in far too long, just to make sure Brees broke Marino’s passing records. In a similar situation back in 09 with little or nothing to play for, the Saints rested their starters in the final regular season game, last year the Saints kept Brees in virtually the entire game despite the facts that – 1. The 49ers were cruising against the Rams, thus rendering the Saints game meaningless; and 2. The Saints has a comfortable lead late in the game. But they left Brees in to throw, throw, and throw some more. Add in the bounty-gate crap, the reality that the Saints are coached by Gomer Pyle, with Sean Payton out for the year and it feels a lot like it is about to come around on this team. I won’t be a bit surprised if in successive weeks a blitzing safety drives Brees throwing shoulder into the Superdome turf so hard that when Brees gets up it appears as though his arm is attached to his shoulder by a single, thin line of dental floss, then the following Jimmy Graham goes down with an ACL tear and finally Darren Sproles blows out his achilles in week three. “The New Orleans Saints are on the clock. . .”
  9. Chicago – 12-4, up 4 wins; This is where it gets tough. Man, I really wish the Bears didn’t rise up last January 1st, by knocking off the Vikings, thus securing a .500 record. This would have been much more palatable to select the Bears at 11-5, but the “Rules” are the rules and I have to play by them. Look the Bears were 7-3 last season, headed for the playoffs when injuries Forte and Cutler derailed their season. Their defense will be good enough, it always is. But they have significantly upgraded their offense by adding two new toys for Cutler in WR Brandon Marshall and WR Alshon Jeffrey. Plus, I think they sweep the Packers this season. They get them in week two, on a short week and after the Packers play a physical game against the 49ers, the Bears meanwhile have a glorified scrimmage against the Colts in week one. That week two game is the difference in the division!
  10. Detroit – 6-10, down 4 wins; Zero, and I mean zero, running game means that Matthew Stafford and company will have to throw, throw and throw. So what, right? We all know that the NFL has become a passing league, but such a reliance on the passing means the quarterback is vulnerable to injury, as are the receivers. The defense is nothing to get excited about. And the division figures to be better with Chicago and Minnesota improved. And with all that, I still can only slot then in my 10th confidence spot because overall they have more talent than a 6 win team and they also get the worst divisions in each conference as their opponents (NFC West and AFC South). But call it a “Tampa Bay 2011” hunch, I this team catches the wrong end of some breaks early, which leads to the proverbial “circling of the drain” late.
  11. Washington – 9-7 up 4 wins; I love me some of RG III. Isn’t RG III a freakishly great nickname? I mean that just rolls off the tongue, it so natural, hell I wanted to draft him way too high in fantasy just to announce his name. And, yeah, RG III is a rookie, but come on he is certainly better than the bag of diarrhea the ‘Skins were throwing out there last year. I figure they get off to a hot start (4-2) and then play .500 the rest of the way, sneak into the playoffs as the #6 seed and then we all retire after betting against them in the Wildcard round.

Determine 2011 playoff teams that will not return, in order of confidence:

  1. Denver – It doesn’t get much easier than going opposite of the “hype” pick in any given season. Let’s also add the Broncos should’ve been, at best, 6-10 last season and you have the makings for gross under-achievement. Did I mention that the Broncos schedule is brutal the first two months? Odds are 50/50 that Peyton Manning makes it out of that stretch with his neck still fused.
  2. Cincinnati – One very good reason – the Bengals have made the playoffs five times in the last 24 years, the year after they failed to make the playoffs. Head Marvin Lewis has been around for three of those five seasons, meaning Marvin isn’t the perpetual disappointment just when expectations reach anything above the “just don’t embarrass yourself” level.
  3. San Francisco – See above. And throw in this – isn’t Jim Harbaugh due for some bad karma? Think about the piles of crap this guy has left for someone else to clean – whether it’s blatantly running up the score or going all “crazy handshake” on another coach or simply his arrogant approach to his profession. At some point this has to come around, my guess is the stars are aligning for it to come around in a big way this year.
  4. Detroit – See above. And I am much more confident the Lions miss the playoffs than I am that they win 6 or less. So you got that going for you.
  5. New Orleans – See above, but one more thing about the Saints. Their backup quarterback is a known booger eater, yep that’s right Chase Daniel eats boogers. I ask you, football fans, would you trust a team that is one injury away from having a booger eating, butt-plug taking first team snaps at QB? Me neither!
  6. New York Giants – It’s amazing that this team has triumphantly hoisted the Lombardi twice in the past 4 seasons when you consider that they were two plays away from not making the playoffs in either year. The schedule is brutal, the division is brutal and, most importantly, this team won’t be hungry this year. In addition, I get the sense they think they can turn it on whenever they want. This year, as opposed to last year, Romo completes that easy pitch and catch to Miles Austin and viola, the Giants are missing from the 2012 playoffs.

That means the six new teams to the post-season party in 2012 will be: Buffalo, Kansas City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington.

In summary, I followed the “rules” to the letter on selecting six new playoff teams. I limited the +/- 4 games teams to eleven based on the number of returning 8-8 teams. I selected the Kansas City Chiefs as my “worst to first” team for 2012. And finally, I used 145 as my total of home team wins.

Without further ado, here are Colin’s official 2012 NFL Standings complete with record, division/conference/Super Bowl odds, season win total:

2012 AFC Predictions

AFC East
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 NewEngland 14 2 (500) 250 700 12.0 100 (120)
2 Buffalo 10 6 600 2,000 5,000 7.5 (200) 170
3 NY Jets 8 8 550 2,000 2,000 8.5 150 (180)
4 Miami 4 12 3,000 5,000 5,000 6.5 120 (140)
AFC North
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 Pittsburgh 11 5 100 600 1,200 10.0 (145) 125
2 Baltimore 9 7 125 700 1,200 10.0 145 (170)
3 Cincinnati 7 9 450 2,300 4,000 8.0 150 (180)
4 Cleveland 4 12 2,500 5,000 10,000 5.0 100 (120)
AFC South
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 Houston 10 6 (600) 500 1,200 10.0 (170) 145
2 Tennessee 7 9 500 2,500 5,000 7.5 115 (135)
3 Indianapolis 6 10 1,200 4,500 4,000 5.5 (110) (110)
4 Jacksonville 3 13 1,200 5,000 10,000 6.5 100 (120)
AFC West
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 Kansas City 11 5 350 2,000 5,000 8.0 140 (160)
2 Oakland 8 8 450 2,000 5,000 7.5 130 (150)
3 San Diego 7 9 200 1,200 1,500 9.0 140 (160)
4 Denver 6 10 125 450 1,000 8.5 (170) 145

A couple interesting notes on the AFC futures

  • The Colts are 45-1 to win the AFC but 40-1 to win the Super Bowl. I think that is a strong indicator that the book has received too many SB bets on the Colts.
  • There is zero value on the AFC West champion – 4.5-1 on the Raiders. The book is clueless when it comes to this division, so they simply bury the odds so they can’t get burnt. That’s easy to do on future bets where you don’t have to offer the opposite side. Think about it if I had to lay -145 that the Broncos won’t win the West, I would drain a retirement account to make that bet.
  • I love the Bills over 7.5 but not at that -200 number way too heavy.

AFC Future Bets:

  • Kansas City Over 8.0 wins – 2.0 units at +140
  • Jacksonville Under 6.5 wins – 3.0 units at -120
  • Miami Under 6.5 wins – 2.0 units at -140
  • New England to win AFC East – 5.0 units at -500

AFC Playoff predictions:

Wildcard RoundBaltimore over Kansas City and Houston over Buffalo

Divisional RoundNew England over Baltimore and Houston over Pittsburgh

AFC ChampionshipNew England over Houston

2012 NFC Predictions

NFC East
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 Philadelphia 10 6 120 600 1,200 10.0 115 (135)
2 Washington 9 7 1,000 4,000 10,000 6.0 (150) 130
3 NY Giants 8 8 180 700 2,000 9.0 (125) 105
4 Dallas 7 9 200 1,200 2,000 8.5 (185) 155
NFC North
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 Chicago 12 4 250 700 3,000 9.5 100 (120)
2 Green Bay 11 5 (230) 300 500 11.5 (110) (110)
3 Minnesota 7 9 2,500 5,000 10,000 6.0 100 (120)
4 Detroit 6 10 450 1,200 2,000 9.0 100 (120)
NFC South
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 Atlanta 10 6 140 1,200 2,000 9.0 (140) 120
2 New Orleans 8 8 120 1,000 600 9.5 (120) 100
3 Tampa Bay 8 8 1000 5,000 10,000 6.0 (130) 110
4 Carolina 7 9 350 2,000 5,000 7.5 (140) 120
NFC West
Colin’s Prediction

sportsbook.com odds

Rank

Team

W

L

Div

Conf

SB

Wins

Ov

Un

1 Seattle 10 6 200 1,800 6,000 7.5 (160) 140
2 San Francisco 8 8 (240) 400 2,000 9.5 (160) 140
3 Arizona 6 10 1,200 5,000 3,000 6.5 100 (120)
4 St. Louis 4 12 1,000 5,000 10,000 6.0 (110) (110)

Interesting notes on the NFC futures

  • The Saints are 6-1 to win the Super Bowl, which is a total joke; again books wouldn’t post crap numbers like this if they had to take it on the other side. Give me -1000 on the Saints not to win the Super Bowl and I will put those pricks out of business.
  • I am shocked that the Cardinals are actually the least likely team to win the NFC West; also shocked that I can’t get better than 2-1 on the Seahawks to win the division. At 5-1, I would hammer them, but 2-1 feels a little bit like I would be better waiting for a couple key games and playing a normal money line bet.
  • The 49ers are sitting at 9.5 wins after opening at 10.5, proving that sometimes, especially when you know what to expect from a team, you have to play it early.
  • The best value on the board in terms of division winner is Tampa Bay, who could very well sneak in and surprise in the South.

NFC Future Bets:

  • Seattle Over 7.5 wins – 3.0 units at -160
  • Detroit Under 9.0 wins – 2.0 units at -120
  • Washington Over 6.0 wins – 3.0 units at -150
  • Chicago Over 9.5 wins – 3.0 units at even
  • Chicago to WIN Super Bowl – .5 unit at +3000

NFC Playoff predictions:

Wildcard Round Philadelphia over Washington and Green Bay over Atlanta

Divisional Round Philadelphia over Seattle and Green Bay over Chicago

NFC ChampionshipGreen Bay over Philadelphia

And Colin Wynner calls the Super Bowl XLVII winner: Green Bay over New England

Enjoy the season!

2011 NFL – Super Bowl Prop Edition

Super Bowl props are little like fantasy football in that they can enhance the excitement of the game and in a lot cases even make a boring game worth watching. On the flip side, just like the typical fantasy football Sunday, one might be in a situation where they want team A to win, but need player X to score a touchdown but definitely cannot have player Y get more than 20 yards on the drive. It’s the stuff that brings on early stages of dementia!

Yup, things can get out of control quickly. And with 12 pages worth of prop bets, a hard core prop bettor could easily be overwhelmed trying to calculate Michael Boley tackles, Rob Gronkowski’s receptions, LeBron James’ points+rebounds+assists and Tom Brady attempts. Whew! To help cope with the hysteria, I offer a few tips on prop betting:

  1. Play the game out in your mind; then write down every stat, for every player before you every see a prop. This is a huge help in determining if you’re figuring the stats too high or too low. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen fantasy projections, from well known fantasy sites, for a week look completely ridiculous – let’s use the Giants as an example of the “projections” I’ve seen – Nicks 25.0 FP, Cruz 21.0 FP, Manningham 18 FP and Bradshaaw 18.0 FP. Hmmm, that’s like every guy at least scoring and hitting 100 yards. With Nicks and Cruz both adding either a second touchdown or 60 yards. So, if you add up just those guys we get something like 450 yards and 5 TDs. Geesh, what do these guys think that every team is coached by Sean Payton and every opponent is Kansas? It’s okay if you think the Giants are going to throw all over the Pats just be careful not to have each receiver over 150 yards.
  2. Look at most recent meeting. Luckily the Giants and Pats played this season, which gives us a glimpse of what we might see in the Super Bowl. Though coaches will change the game plan, you can bet the things that worked in the previous meeting will be in new game plan.
  3. Do fear the juice. Odds-makers are not stupid, if they’re placing a premium on a play there is a good reason. Don’t get sucked into the “plus” money bets unless there is value.

OK, time to unveil Colin’s winning Super Bowl XLVI props:

Note: I called the game 28-24 Giants – that’s what these numbers are based on.

Longest Touchdown of the Game: Under 49.5 (-115)

The Pats don’t have a deep threat nor do they have a player who can take a short pass to the house. In fact, the previous meeting between these two teams, the longest play was just 30 yards by the Giants. The Pats longest play was a paltry 28 yards. Sure, the Giants have Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, players who have a history of taking a short passes a long, long way. But let’s to be fair, Nicks did it against the Falcons with James Sanders taking a terrible angle and Cruz did it against the Jets, nuff said! Both of those defenses have serious speed challenges. Still I feel fairly confident that we will not see an offensive touchdown over 49.5.

However, my biggest fear – a defensive or special team touchdown. Still that is unlikely, given that neither team is overly potent in return game and both offenses will play it close to the vest trying to avoid a devastating turnover.

Number of Times the camera flashes a shot of Peyton Manning (first three quarters only): Over 1.5

I am trying to find out if this is a legit prop or not. But at 1.5, goodness, hello early retirement – this will be over by the middle of the first quarter. Especially if Peyton tries to highjack the Super Bowl, a la Alex Rodriguez, with some breaking announcement. Sure it would be classless, but hey if the Giants fall down big early it’s a great PR move by Peyton and the Manning family.

Will either team score three straight times:
No (+140)

This is.500 in the last 10 Super Bowls, so I get the value (+140 opposed to -115) on the inflated number. Plus, since I believe the game will a close game, with mostly touchdowns, I have to play the “No”. The obvious hedge would be to take the Largest Lead of the Game Over 13.5, except those sneaky odds-makers put that number at -160, meaning that while you certainly have a middle opportunity, you have to hit that middle to make money. I will stick with the “No”.

Total Field Goals by both teams:
Under 3.5 (-170)

I have pay significant juice here, but these are not grind it out, “three yards and a cloud of dust” teams. Both coaches are smart enough to know they need touchdowns to win this game, so I doubt we will see too many attempts outside of 45 yards and that obviously will help convert this prop into cash.

Total Sacks by Both Teams:
Under 4 -105

For several reasons – neither quarterback is sacked very often, both quarterbacks get rid of the ball in a hurry, the hype on the defensive line of the Giants which is virtually expected to be in the Pats backfield all day and the prediction that the running games will be what the defense gives up, so expect more running than anticipated. Oh and this nugget – the previous meeting featured two sacks.

Total Kickoff Returns by Both Teams:
Under 6.5 -160

Here is one where the juice is making the call for us. First off, even if this game goes over by a wide margin, there is no guarantee that there will be any kickoff return. But because I am only predicting eight score plus the two kickoffs to start each half, there will be 10 kickoffs, in perfect conditions – translation – there will be plenty of drives starting on the 20.

Will the game be decided by exactly three points:
No -450

This might be the biggest sucker of all sucker bets! And sure it is certainly a possibility that this game ends on three points but that juicy number of +325 is nothing more than a temptress waiting to lure you in the pit of hell, man!

Let’s look at the 2011 where roughly 14% of the games landed on three points or 1 out of every 7. And it’s widely publicized that this is the margin of victory that occurs most frequently, so I guess that gives the odds-makers free reign to gang rape the bettor.

In order to make money at +325, the Yes would have to hit a little over 19% of the time. Now I am no mathematician, but I believe 14 < 19 = “Will Work For Food, lost a bad bet”. Of course, I would hate to have my win potential on these props killed by the fact I laid -450, so it’s probably a no play.

Will Victor Cruz break every receiving record known to man if Julian Edelman is covering him the entire game?
Yes -100,000

If Edelman plays a significant role in the defensive backfield for the Patriots this game, look for Eli Manning to crack that strangle-hold Kurt Warner has on the individual game Super Bowl passing yardage rankings (currently Warner holds positions 1,2 and 3). Offensive coordinator Kevin Gillbride should have an over-ride call that is always available to Manning and is based on whomever Edelman is covering. Yeah, I don’t think Edelman can cover JC wide receiver, let alone a top thirty wide receiver in the NFL.

Total Number of Different Giants to have a rushing attempt:
Over 3.5 (-260)

Ouch, I have to pay some serious “bookie” juice here. But again the juice gives me comfort that the books are enticing the betting public with that tasty +230 and the reality that only Jacobs, Bradshaw and Manning are locks to get carries. Of course, those same bettors will shat themselves when the Giants give Henry Hynoski a third and short fullback dive carry.

Total Number of Different Patriots to have a rushing attempt:
Under 5 (-120)

OK, so it takes six different players have to have a rushing attempt for me to lose this prop – hmm, I think that’s an “OK” like what a group of sharks would think when a scientist decides to jump into open waters to do some “research” or like what Anquan Boldin was saying last week when he saw Julian Edelman covering him, like “really? OK!” Brady, BJGE, Woodhead and Hernandez re locks to get rushes. Beyond that who carries the ball? Ridley and Vereen likely will be inactive. Welker? Maybe, but that is a stretch to think both he and Hernandez get a carry. The only way this doesn’t push at the very worst is if BGJE gets hurt and one of Ridley or Vereen is active.

Player Props:

Ahmad Bradshaw, Over 62.5 Yards Rushing (-115)

I think the Pats will protect themselves against the potential passing barrage of the Giants, so there will be more running lanes for Bradshaw. As long as those running lanes don’t produce a 63 yard touchdown we’re good!

Henry Hynoski, Over 4.5 yards from scrimmage (-130)

Henry Hynoski, who the hell is Henry Hynoski? Look, I admit, I am a sucker for Polish fullbacks playing in the Super Bowl who only need to muster 5 yards to make me money! Five yards, I crap more than that! One swing pass to my main man Double H and we have a winner!

Mario Manningham,
All props – Over 3.5 Receptions (+140), Over 45.5 Yards (-115), Yes, he score a touchdown (+170) and gets a BJ offer from Madonna (-800)

I got a feeling Mr. Edelman will be on Manningham, cha-ching! And goodness sake, Mario, please decline the offer from Madonna!

Kenny PhillipsOver 5 Tackles (Even)

Hmmm, not sure why this number is this low since Phillips recorded 8 tackles in the November game between these two teams. But whatever the reason, I will take the free mon. . . uh, hang on there is no such thing as free money! Well, I am banking on a couple things here – 1. The odds-makers put this prop up to throw a bone to well liked “sharps”; and 2. That Kenny attended a James Laurinaitis, “Get Rich by jumping on the pile” seminar.

Plus, I have never had any money on a defensive player and I imagine it has to be one of the more exciting props. Imagine late in the game, with Phillips sitting on 5 tackles in a game that is already decided, the Super Bowl party lacks excitement until Brady swings a pass to Woodhead who is tackled by Phillips which leads to you erupting like you won the Lotto or you’ve been depraved sex for a month. The party would go silent trying to figure out what why you were cheering! See the fantasy parallel

Tom BradyUnder 39.5 Pass attempts (-115)

I am already on record that I believe the Pats will run more than normal, so this is a no-brainer. Throw the fact that Brady threw 40 or more passes three times in his last 13 games and we have a winner!

Danny WoodheadOver 23.5 yards rushing (-115) and Over 12.5 Yards receiving (-115)

Just a hunch but I think Woodhead is in for a big game. Side tangent – how does one get the name Woodhead? Is that ancient “trash talk”? It has to be, right? The “Woodheads” originated from England set of carpenters that were too stupid to be carpenters, thus the name Wood, as in no brain, head, came to be.

Deion BranchWill he score a touchdown? Hell, YES he will! (175)

I would have thought I could have gotten better odds from this prop, but the odds-makers must be thinking along the lines that Deion will turn back the clock to 2004, at least for a single reception in the back of the end zone. I just want to be “that” guy at the party who is wearing the Hakeem Nicks jersey who is otherwise a passionate Giants fan, but when Branch scores screams like a teenage girl when she finds out there is a sale at American Eagle.

Touchdown passesEli Manning +.5 over Tom Brady

Working within my prediction, I’ve got an extra touchdown to work with – 4-3, plus I get the hook. Let’s take a minute to remember something that we have all forgotten – Eli was the number one overall pick, while Brady was drafted during most teams piss break. Sure Brady has been great and most, if not all, male Patriots fans would fellatiate on command but take away the tuck rule game and I will post odds that Brady is bagging groceries right now at even money! Eli is a blue blood, man!

Most Rushing YardsDanny Woodhead +10.5 over Brandon Jacobs

I suppose I could hedge this bet with Jacobs over 30.5 but why throw money way when I think Woodhead is going over 23.5 and Jacobs isn’t.

Most Receiving YardsMario Manningham -5.5 over Deion Branch

So, you give me the #3 target for the Giants over the fifth option for the Patriots and I only have to lay 5.5 yards? OhhhKay! Plus, I am pretty sure that Ramses Barden won’t be covering Branch at any point during this game. Yeah, that’s another shot at the reality that the Patriots rely on a guy who is listed as a wide receiver to cover other wide receivers.

Tom Brady +63.5 Passing Yards over 2/5/2012 Big Ten Team points

Have you seen the scores of the Big Ten games? 42-41, 50-49, 55-51. . . Ugly, really ugly. There are three games on Sunday – Michigan @ Michigan State, Minnesota @ Nebraska and Northwestern @ Illinois. The sum of posted totals for those games is 379, minus the 63.5 yields 315.5. Brady’s “total passing yards” prop is 320.5, so I get an extra five yards and the bonus that these three games might barely muster 100 each (or lower), in which case I will only need 240 or so from Brady. OhhhKay!

Enjoy the game and best of luck to each of you!