Michigan @ Nebraska (-2.5, O/U 57.5) – I have lost complete confidence in Bo Pelini’s ability to coach this Huskers team. Bo is an above average defensive coordinator, but is not a head coaching material. And yes, there are some sour grapes here, I am pissed that this program cannot get back to their mid 90s level, but let’s be honest, that run might never happen again for any program let alone a program on the plains of Nebraska. But the thing is the program right now is nowhere near even the early 90’s, when the Huskers were routinely getting trounced every time they ran into a top five team. The program is a train wreck right now and the reality is, it has been since Solich took over the program in 1998.
In fact, if you showed me a random set of games from each of the last three Husker coaches over the last 14 years, I would probably have a difficult time telling who the head coach was for the particular game. Need proof? Tell me the head coach in these three games:
At first glance, you might be tempted to utter the words “Bill Callahan” for all three and while it is true that the Huskers were especially bad in Callahan’s final season the above are from Solich’s second to last year (Colorado, Game #2), Callahan’s last season (Kansas, Game #1) and Pelini’s, hopefully, final season (Ohio State, Game #3).
The interesting fact about those three games is each opponent was ranked in the top 15 at the time of the game, Colorado (#14), Kansas (#8) and Ohio State (#12). In other words, the Huskers have been stuck in neutral since the end of the Solich era. Ironically, Solich was fired after a 9-2, because the two losses were so egregious that the administration felt like the Huskers were “surrendering the BIG12 to those teams.” The irony is that the Huskers have not had a signature win over a top opponent since Tom Osborne left the sidelines for Washington D.C. sewer.
The translation to the current state of the program is that they are completely irrelevant on the national scene. If I were to make a comparison to the music industry I would call the Huskers Boyz II Men, who dominated the mid-90s but haven’t cracked the Top 100 since the new millennium.
I get that no program stays on top forever, but I guess I feel like the Huskers should be more like Brittney Spears, who went from dominate to complete train wreck to at least holding her own on the national scene. Saturday the Huskers get another chance to take a step towards national respectability, while telling the new athletic director they care about Pelini’s job. All they have to do is beat the 22nd best team in the country. Wow, how times have changed. Get ready for another #EpicFail from the Huskers.
Play: Michigan +2.5
Michigan State @ Wisconsin (-6.5, O/U 41.0) – You remember that old song by Percy Sledge, “When a Man Loves a Woman?” It was such a classic that the song was remade in the 90s by Michael Bolton, the singer not the guy from Office Space. One of the lines from that song sums up my feelings about Michigan State, “If she is bad, he can’t see it, she can do no wrong.” I love this team, despite the spitting the bit effort four times this season, I will steadfastly and blindly will back them when getting points. True, they have a shaky quarterback, but outside of that this Spartan team is solid across the board, in fact, in my mind, they are the most talented team in the BIG10. On defense they’re loaded with William Gholston wreaking havoc and causing opposing offensive tackles to piss themselves at the mere sight of him. Overall, the roster has four of the top 100 draft prospects according to my good friends at Drafttek.
Plus let’s look further at this line, it seems high but I guess beating up on Illinois and Purdue entitles the Badgers to give a better team close to a touchdown. Sure, Wisconsin seemingly has it figured out, but I remember less than a month ago a text message from a smart-aleck Badgers friend of mine, “How you doing?” after Wisconsin went up 17 in Lincoln. My response, “I’m fine, this Wisconsin team is garbage.” Truer wordswere never texted, as the Huskers rallied to handle the “garbage team.”
My buddy told mo last week, “I just wish we could replay that Nebraska game now that we have figured it out.” Uh, news flash, pal, everybody looks good against Illinois.
And if we look at Sparty’s losses, there is only one legit loss the season and that was to the eventual National Champ, Norte Dame – foreshadowing fella, foreshadowing. The other three losses were by two points to Ohio State (complete with horrific game changing call against MSU), two points to Michigan (where the defense gave up a late drive, but held the Wolverines to 4 field goals) and the horrible overtime loss to Iowa, where I firmly believe they slept walked through the second half because well, to be frank, they were playing Iowa. Now if they win those three games, no way in hell is Wisconsin favored by six!
Maybe the Spartans are playing me for a fool . . . and I am the last one to know.
Play: Michigan State +6.5
Texas Tech @ Kansas State (-7.5, O/U 61.0) – Texas Tech is the “third game flat” situation, two weeks ago they wrecked Geno Smith’s Heisman campaign and last week the Red Raiders won a three overtime thriller against TCU. This is my only total of the week, but I would be willing to make this my “Total of the Year,” guaranteed to win or you get the remainder of October absolutely free.
Play: Under 57.54
North Carolina State @ North Carolina (-7.5, 54.5) – I have these two teams equal so at most I would think this number should be Carolina -4, of course that assumes a normal home field advantage. We know that unless the Heels bring out Roy Williams’ boys for a special halftime show Kenan will be half filled with about a quarter of the fans being rabid college football fans. Therefore, this is more like a neutral field game for the Wolfpack. Given that, I feel like I am getting a free 7.5
Play: North Carolina State +7.5
BYU @ Georgia Tech (-2.5, O/U 51.0) – If this past week’s Presidential debate, and a certain candidate’s alma mater, is any indication of the outcome of coming weekend’s games, BYU is in big trouble. It’s almost like Obama was bored in the first couple debates but decided to “squash this annoying little troll” in the most recent debate.
I uncovered this little known fact about a college football in election years – the alma mater of the losing candidate is 6-0 ATS on the second to last weekend prior to the election.
Yeah, I made that up. . .but look for it to be 1-0 after Saturday and next Tuesday.
Play: BYU +2.5
Baylor @ Iowa State (-3.0, O/U 70.0) – Personally, I don’t see how Iowa State can keep up with Baylor. The posted total of 70 is the highest by a wide margin for the Cyclones this season, meaning they will likely need to accumulate many pointalones. Won’t happen.
Play: Baylor +3.0
Syracuse @ South Florida (-3.5, O/U 52.5) – South Florida had played fairly decent football this season, but that has not translated into wins. That’s ok because they need to focus on the process not necessarily the results. Or least that’s the message from the children’s soccer club. So, focusing on the process instead of results can be translated as “we suck, so we can’t use results as a way to measure our success.” Don’t worry I am not going to go off on a 1500 word rant about some arbitrary soccer club but the reality is South Florida has been competitive this season, but lost several close games, meaning they are getting the best of this line.
I made the case today that Syracuse often gets more respect in football simply because of their basketball program. It almost like everyone takes a glance at this game and thinks, “wow, Syracuse should win this game.” That opinion is based on the Orangemen hoop team and not the mediocre football team. Well, I am here to tell you the Orange are garbage.
Play: South Florida -3.5
Those are my official “Seven Out”, but here is onemore that didn’t quite make the cut:
Oklahoma -12.0 over Norte Dame – If the Irish fall behind the Sooners 14-7, they will blink and look up at a 35-7 deficit. A few too many points, but I will tell you that I almost always play against an “obvious” point spread that is mis-aligned with current rankings, for example, ND is #5 and catching almost 2 touchdowns, the play is OU.
Best of luck this week.
Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com.
I was prepared to write a 1500 word column with the week seven picks integrated, but then I witnessed a Joe Bugel-esque coaching performance by my kid’s soccer coach. I have been stewing about it all day long and thus, I only have time to explain what happened.
So, here goes. First off, Joe Bugel was a hell of a nice guy, a real charming man that the players adored. As you can imagine he was a “player’s coach”, but not just that, he was more like a buddy to his players. There was no separation between coach and player, they were essentially drinking buddies. Now no one likes to lose friends and have people dislike them, especially coach Bugel, so he went to extremes to make sure everyone loved him.
I give the Bugel background for context, if I merely wanted to point out shitty coaches, I have a plethora of choices, from Romeo Crennel to Bo Pelini to Norv Turner to Jason Garrett to Andy Reid to Scott Linehan to Mike Martz to, well, you get the picture. Bugel is different than these coaches because he didn’t want to hurt anyones feelings, he wanted his players to like him and if they like him, he thought, then they would produce for him. Trouble with that is you don’t put players in a position to fail because you want them to like you.
For the benefit of the reader here is some context around the specific soccer team, this “alleged coach” coaches. First off, they’re one of the more talented teams in the state, possibly the most talented. The team’s has one extraordinary athlete, who is a top five player in the state and two other high-end players. The remaining eight players are more than adequate “role” players. So, it is a good team, but that has not translated into wins. In fact, “the coach” has seen merely a single win on the young season.
But the team has had success this year. They lost in the finals of a very tough tournament earlier in the year. Problem is they weren’t coached by “the coach” but rather a couple non-soccer pedigreed, yet soccer knowledgeable parents. . .
Yeah, you guessed it, one of them is me. And no I never played soccer which means that I cannot be part of this exclusive “soccer guy” club. Which infuriates me, because you can be a successful football coach without ever playing the game, but soccer, if you haven’t played its like, “Oh, my, you never played? Really? Wow! He can’t be in our queer club then.” First off, “soccer coach”, the game isn’t that complicated. I mean, “oooo, wow, soccer coach did you just tell your players to execute an over-lapping run. BRILLANT!” And secondly, in my book if you’re a Gen Xer and you actually played soccer beyond like pee-wee age, it was because either a. you were too big of a pussy to play football; b. you sucked at football and couldn’t make the team or c. both. So, I guess you can say “soccer guy” has been re-born with the onset of the sport’s popularity in this country and he is pulling a Ronald McDonald Miller “now I’m popular” scam. Not buying it!
. . .Anyway, so “the coach” resents the success the parent coaches had and refuses to ask them what went well. But with another tournament looming with similar teams, this gives “the coach” a chance to prove themselves.
This, finally, brings us to the point of this over-stated rant – the Joe Bugel move. After dropping the first game of the tournament to, oh by the way a team that we have beaten soundly three times in a row, “the coach” asks a parent, “why can’t we get a win?” Not sure the parent is qualified to answer the question because they never played a minute of soccer. But nonetheless the question is asked by “the coach.” Now wouldn’t you think that if “the coach” was given the chance to win a game that they would pull out all the stops? Yeah, me too!
Well, maybe not at the expense of a player being upset with her. Fast forward to today, with a spot in the finals depending on a 3-0 win (don’t ask, it’s a screwy points system that awards a point for seemingly every time you head a ball, have a corner, etc.), “the coach” performs well leading the team to a 2-0 halftime lead.
Now raise your hand if you think a 2-0 lead is insurmountable? Hmm, no hands. That is correct, in fact, a 2-0 lead in soccer at halftime is probably the football equivalent of 14-0. We just witnessed, less than a week ago, a team come back from 24-0 at halftime. So clearly a 2-0 lead at halftime of a soccer is not insurmountable!
But let’s say it was, the team still needed to win 3-0, therefore, they still needed to push for that third goal, while tighten down the defense to allow nothing.
Since this is technically a football column, I am going to describe what happened in football terms and I will use the 2012 St. Louis Rams as my example only if they were coached by Joe Bugel:
Kicker Greg Zuerlein: “Coach Bugel, remember when you said I could get some reps at quarterback in a game? Well, please, pretty please can I go in at quarterback to start the second half?”
Coach Bugel: “Sure Gregor, not a problem!”
Missouri Running Back Marcus Murphy (requested to come up by Bugel for depth): “Coach, I haven’t played in this game yet. I am seriously considering not coming out with you for beers after this game.”
Coach Bugel: “Marcus, come on, you’re simply not ready for this level. But if it means your friendship, you start at running back in the second half.”
Coach Bugel: “OK, guys let’s keep up the good work. Here are a couple more changes – (OT) Wayne Hunter, I’ve seen you tackle on Bradford’s interception, very impressive, now let’s see if you can cover, you go to cornerback. (WR) Brandon Gibson, you go to linebacker, remember, plug the middle and make all the calls. (WR) Chris Givens, head to nose tackle, stay low, man, stay low, you’ll be fine. Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson and Chris Long, to the bench. Let’s go get’em guys!”
Yep, that’s effectively what “the coach” did today – put the three best players on the bench, started two players at forward that couldn’t score a goal if the net was empty and placed two players back on defense that had never played the position before. When I saw the lineup, I pissed myself, but before I finished the score was already tied 2-2. Then, and only then, did “the coach” decide to put the best player back in the game at their normal position (Center Mid) but no other subs.
I am sure you can guess what happened next, the best player has a run towards the potential tie-breaking goal, but one of the out of position players gets in the way, actually stealing the ball from the player and then weakly kicking it to nowheresville, which leads directly to a goal for the opposition. 3-2, bye-bye finals! Only now is everyone is back in their normal positions.
The final? 3-3, the best player, only the normal starters on the field, broke through and scored a goal to tie, but such little time remained, that is how it ended in a tie, which essentially ended all hopes of a championship this weekend!
In a life full of bad beats related to sports, I have never been more pissed off than I was today. And that my friends is the reason why you didn’t 1500 words of “why we should put David Wilson in the Hall of Fame right now.”
The “SuperContest” picks:
Dallas (-2.5) over Carolina – There aren’t many times when you can actually get value on “America’s Team”, this is one of those times.
Minnesota (-6.5) over Arizona – On Thursday, I dubbed this weekend, “Favorite’s Revenge”, though I might be tempted to change that to “Shitty Soccer Coaches Revenge.” I cannot call this Arizona team correct, but for some reason this feels like a terrible match-up for the Cards.
Cincinnati (+2.5) over Pittsburgh – I cannot pick the Bengals correctly, either, so it makes sense to make them one of my top five picks this week, right? Look, next time you go 10-4 in a week you can question my methods!
St. Louis (+5.5) over Green Bay – This is based solely on the idea that Greg Zuerlein take exactly zero snaps at quarterback.
Tampa Bay (+2.0) over New Orleans – Please, why are the Saints favored? Because they beat a team that just blew a 24 point halftime lead? Plus, they won’t have Jimmy Graham to trot out as a decoy this week because of a badly sprained vagina, ankle.
The “Rest of the Winners” picks:
Tennessee (+3.5) over Buffalo – Two bad teams, give me the points.
Indianapolis (-2.5) over Cleveland – Yeah, Cleveland is better than Indianapolis. And that second lineup “the coach” put out there today gave us the best chance to win.
NY Giants (-5.5) over Washington – If I didn’t already “survive” with the 49ers this week, this would be my survivor pick. There is way, way too much being made of the Skins owning the Giants last season.
Baltimore(+7.0) over Houston – Unless Ray Lewis’ pre-game cheer is worth four points, I don’t see how the Ravens are getting seven here. Bottom line is most defensive players are Plug and Play ready.
New England (-10.5) over NY Jets – It’s either a Jets out-right win or a Patriots swift ass-kicking. I will go with the latter.
Oakland (-6) over Jacksonville – Dumbest line of the week, but since I know “Sharps” move the line and this line moved, I am left no choice but to jump of the bandwagon.
Chicago (-6.5) over Detroit – “Favorite’s Revenge” finishes the week with a win and manages to clear .500 for the first time this year.
Colin Wynner does, in fact, call winners!
Nebraska (-6.5, O/U 61.5) @ Northwestern – Usually this is the spot where I take what is rightfully mine – an easy winner by fading the Huskers on the road against a competent opponent. It’s practically my birth right as a Husker fan since I know this team very well. They have been extremely profitable since 1998 going against them in these spots. But this is not the spot. First off, while the Wildcats are 6-1, it’s an incredibly soft 6-1.
Secondly, the public will obviously over-react to the Huskers implosion in Columbus, while Vegas will stay the course by sticking to their guns, and not wavering, therefore the line is exactly where the power rankings dictate regardless of recent results.
Lastly, while the Huskers have been nothing short of hideous on the road they have traditionally performed well after a bye week regardless of the venue. Why? Well, they have time to adequately prepare for an opponent. One of the problems with this Bo Pelini-led coaching staff is the schemes are too complicated for college kids, therefore, instead of athletes making plays by being athletes, most of the Huskers players are thinking about their assignment and thus slowing down their natural athleticism. But when given time to prepare the players are comfortable with their assignments and play closer to their potential. Yeah, I figured that out, yet the “blue hair” Husker fans want to give Bo another decade.
So, those three reasons are plenty to turn my support to the Huskers, but this quote by Bo Pelini made it a “no-brainer”:
“As I just told the football team, we need to win out,” Pelini said after the 63-38 loss at No. 12 Ohio State.
Perfect! Bo is now out on the line, pretty much win out or get out, pal. The path to Indianapolis starts in Evanston Saturday, Git Er Dun!
Play: Nebraska -6.5
Michigan State @ Michigan (-10.0, O/U 43.0) – I have Michigan as even with Sparty, so something smells fishy here. Let’s not forget the following facts as well: (a). Michigan State is on a six game ATS losing streak, sure they’re due but this is the third week “they’re due”; (b). The Spartans lost to Iowa last week, which is the equivalent of the democratic presidential candidate losing Oregon, meanwhile the Wolverines spanked Illinois; (c). Michigan has lost four straight to MSU, so payback is on their minds, especially those fifth year seniors; and (d). Michigan State seemingly has not recovered from the tough loss to Ohio State.
Adding those facts together is what has given us the inflated line, that and the fact that Vegas has been taking in the shorts on Michigan State, so they finally have reacted. Normally this type of game would be a stay away for me, but this particular game is about personnel and matchups, not about over-thinking the spread. Not only does MSU have the personnel to hang with Michigan, but they match-up well on both sides of the ball with enough talent to force Denard Robinson into throwing and enough discipline to play conservative while featuring their best player, LeVeon Bell. Therefore, I am calling the outright upset here – Spartans 23 Wolverines 20
Play: Michigan State +10.0
Virginia Tech @ Clemson (-7.5, 62.0) – This game reeks of a Clemson blowout, with the Tigers well rested after a bye week and the Hokie being very, well, un-Hokie like this season. Plus, everyone is hammering the Tigers in this game. So, I should too, right? Sure, but first I just need someone to explain to me why the line has moved from -11 to -7.5, despite 70% of the bets being made on Clemson. Something stinks and it’s more than the Yankees ALCS cumulative batting average.
For just one Saturday this season, can we have “Beamer Ball”? Please Hokies! Let’s block a punt for a touchdown, return a fumble off a sack for another six and let’s run the ball to setup a couple of huge plays down the field. Just once in 2012, Frankie!
Play: Virginia Tech +7.5
Penn State @ Iowa (-2.5, O/U 42.0) – Game should be a pick’em at best for Iowa. I would have made Penn State a small favorite if I were a SportsBook Manager.
Look I can’t explain it, but the Nittany Lions are playing hard, despite having nothing to play other than pride. In addition, they continue fighting, which is uncharacteristic of a team that the grim reaper delivered the living death penalty to a couple months ago. And they’re a fairly efficient team on both sides of the ball. On the flip side, I am not sure I’m buying Iowa, in fact, I am certain that I’m not buying Iowa.
The only that scares me about Penn State is they have zero, ziltch confidence in the place kicker and as a result they refuse to attempt field goals. But all that means is that they are a 21st century advanced football stat geek’s wet dream.
Play: Penn State +2.5
BYU @ Norte Dame (-13.0, O/U 40.0) – Speaking of teams I am not buying, yep, Norte Dame is a pretender – chant with me for a moment, “OVER-RATED, OVER-RATED, OVER-RATED.” With a trip to Norman to play the Sooners next week it’s only natural for them to forget about the school that produced the country’s next president.
And give me the over. That’s right, damn the 2-10 record in totals, I refuse to give up. Plus, guess what, 40 points in college is like nothing. I mean two mediocre offensive teams, with staunch defenses, could potentially post a 40 spot in overtime. Imagine this game being a hard fought defensive game that is tied at 13-13, but it’s heading into overtime. They could trade field goals for the first two overtimes – sure BYU won’t kick a field goal because they don’t trust their kicker either, hey wait can we get a bowl game with them and Penn State? – and viola, game is guaranteed to go over. In a lot of ways, it’s crazy to invest anything real money on CFB. . .
Play: BYU +13.0 & Over 40.0
South Carolina @ Florida (-3.5, O/U 41.5) – Attention, attention, the “third game flat” rule is in play for this game. South Carolina is playing their third consecutive huge SEC game, on the road, in a hostile environment; they simply cannot get up for this game. That poor visor. . .
Play: Florida -3.5
Those are my official “Seven Out”, but here are a few more that didn’t quite make the cut:
Kansas State +2.5 & Under 73.5 – At West Virginia. Ok, so I admit, I fell for WVA after they beat down the Longhorns, but then when OU beat down the Horns, I realized they aren’t special, they’re whores. And ss there any other way to play this game – KSU and Under? There is no way KSU wins a shootout.
Utah +10 over Oregon St. – A few too many points.
TCU +1.5 over Texas Tech – Give it a few years Tech fans, you will figure out that every year a Tommy Tuberville coached team will have one of those “WOW” games, followed by several “R U EFFING KDDING” games. This is the latter.
Texas -8.5 over Baylor – I promised myself that I wouldn’t invest in the Longhorns ever again after they burnt me for the seemingly millionth time earlier this season, but come on, everyone is down on this team, no one believes in them, the line has moved from 13 to 8.5, I cannot resist.
Best of luck.
Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com.
4-10? How does a great handicapper like Colin Wynner manage to go 4-10? Well, by catching a lucky Willis McGahee fumble as the Broncos were about to close to within three points of the Patriots last week, that’s how!
It was a bad, bad week. It has left me well below the Mendoza line overall, I dropped 150 places in the SuperContest and my confidence has taken a beating. That’s right my confidence is not busting out of my head with a harmonica, it’s sheepishly peering out to see if the “bad man” is still around.
And I started out this week 0-1, because I let myself get talked out of the Titans Thursday. When it is going bad, it is going bad. But just as easily I can be back over the Mendoza line with an eye on the penthouse suite at the Bellagio by the end of this week.
The “SuperContest” picks:
Indianapolis @ NY Jets (-3.0) – The hype on the Colts is a little much. So what, they rallied to beat the Packers, who are much more like the 2009 Packers than the 2011 Packers. They’ve also beaten the Vikings at home. But this is a road game after an emotional comeback win. Call it the “come out flat after you leave everything on the field for your coach, who was just diagnosed with Leukemia” angle. Pick: NY Jets -3.0
Oakland @ Atlanta (-9.0) – Three straight weeks the Falcons have flirted with a loss. As my wife tells me, there is no such thing as innocent flirtation. This might be the week the Falcons give into the temptation and just lose. Plus, that will take down roughly 80% of the remaining entries in Survivor pools, good times, this NFL is. Pick: Oakland +9.0
Green Bay @ Houston (-3.5) – The 2012 Packers might be closer to the 2009 version than the 2011 version but I like them getting points in any situation. Do you realize the Packers haven’t lost a game as an underdog since December 12th, 2010? Pick: Green Bay +3.5
Minnesota (-2.5) @ Washington (-1.5) – Yeah, the contest line is Washington +2.5, while the actual betting line is Washington -1.5. I am predicting a Washington one point victory! Not really, it the Vikings time, come on this team is not going to be 5-1. Pick: Washington +2.5
Dallas @ Baltimore (-3.5) – Love the Cowboys in this spot because the Ravens seem to be so concerned with making sure the world knows that Joe Flacco is an elite quarterback that they have gotten away from what they do best – run the ball to setup the pass. Well, the Cowboys strength on defense happens to be the secondary, therefore, when those stubborn Ravens have Flacco throwing all over the place like they’re coached by Mike Martz, they probably will struggle to win. Pick: Dallas +3.5
The “Free Money” pick:
Cincinnati (-2.5) @ Cleveland – Sucker bet, I know, but you know what suckers win sometimes. Pick: Cincinnati -2.5
The “Movable Object vs. Resistible Force” pick:
St. Louis @ Miami (-4.5) – I cannot see this Rams team moving to 4-2, but I cannot see the Dolphins winning two in a row, especially when one of those games is at home. Uh, uh, give me the points. . . Pick: St. Louis +4.5
The “Suicide Watch” pick:
Detroit @ Philadelphia (-3.5) – One of my buddies is a diehard Eagles fan, who when I saw him after loss to the Steelers, I asked him what he thought. His reply, “I won’t watch another Eagles game until Michael Vick is no longer the quarterback and Andy Reid is no longer the coach.” Wow, that’s harsh, even for the most pessimistic Philly fan, goodness this team is 3-2 after all. But what he knows, and what all Eagles fans know, is that the Eagles are three plays away from being 0-5. And that the Eagles simply aren’t very good. But the football gods need to have some mercy on these Philly fans, I am not saying Super Bowl necessarily, but give them a week reprieve, allow Vick to play well and the Iggles to win big. Done and done! Pick: Philadelphia -3.5
The “In Over their Head” pick:
New England (-3.5) @ Seattle – The Seahawks have a legit defense, great special teams, but their rookie quarterback is limiting what they can do, and thus truncating how far they can go this season. In other words, he is killing them! I get it, Petey, you effed up by naming Wilson the starter in the first place. And now you’re screwed, if you go to Flynn, Wilson’s confidence will be a little like mine right now, constantly looking over his shoulder and afraid to bend over. Then if Flynn sucks, you are trapped, you’ve got no options! Dammit, why, oh why, did the Seahawks trade Tavaris Jackson! That aside the Seabags need to figure out a way to win at least one of their next three games: Pats, @49ers and @Lions. No way, Russell Wilson wins in SF and Detroit may have things figured out by then. Therefore, this is the game. Look for craziness to ensue, maybe along the lines of an onside kick to open the game, a couple extra long field goals, a return TD and an amazing goal line stand to end the game. Pick: Seattle +3.5
The “Sunday Night Hangover” pick:
Denver @ San Diego (-1.5) – I am sure it sucks to lose any time in the NFL, but to have the game literally stolen away because of Goodell’s hidden agenda, must really, really suck. It is obvious that Goodell wanted to soften the blow of the bounty suspensions by giving the Saints a win last week. It was painfully obvious to some of us. Now the question is – will he repay the Chargers this week or sometime later in the season? It would be far too obvious if were to happen this week. Pick: Denver +1.5
The “Ass Kickin” pick:
Buffalo @ Arizona (-4.5) – Since 1989 three teams have given up more than 96 points in consecutive weeks. Last week the 2012 Bills joined the 1989 Bucs, 2004 Browns and 2004 Titans in that illustrious group. The combined ATS record of those teams the following week is 0-3. Uh, make that 0-4 after this week. Oh, if the Cardinals lay 44 points on the Bills, the Bills will have the record for most points given up in a three game stretch. Imagine, if they didn’t throw all that money Mario Williams way. Pick: Arizona -4.5
The “Brady Quinn Era Begins” pick:
Kansas City @ Tampa Bay (-4.0) – Here is something incredibly bizarre about the psychology of point spreads – if this line is 3.5, I love the Chiefs, but at 4.0 I will take the Bucs. I know it’s nuts, but the best I can explain it is like this, at 3.5, I feel like the teams are equal but I get the gift hook; at 4.0 I feel like the favored team is superior, therefore, give me the better team. Oh, that AND BRADY EFFING QUINN is starting on the road in a hostile environment. Pick: Tampa Bay -4.0
The “Sure, I will cheer for the house” pick:
NY Giants @ San Francisco (-6.5) – The road warriors are getting 6.5 points? Ok, here is the deal, if this was the posted number, I take the 49ers because that would be out of line by the odds-makers therefore, I would assume they know something and have posted a number to attract as much Giants action as possible. But this game was bet up to 6.5 by the public. And spare me the line about, “Only Sharp money moves lines.” You’re right unless everyone from San Francisco to Manhattan is playing the 49ers. That’s the case here, as the books are heavily exposed on the 49ers. And guess what it’s never a bad idea to jump in bed with the house. Well, unless the house has syphilis of course. Pick: NY Giants +6.5
Colin Wynner makes prank calls!
North Carolina (-7.5, O/U 69.0) @ Miami – My first though on this game was “Wow, that is a low total for a college basketball game.” Because there is no way the Canes are getting that many points at home from the UNC football team, right? This is the same Tar Heel team that hasn’t won a road game and was beaten by Wake Forest earlier this season. That team is favored by 7.5 against the Canes, in Miami, no less? Yikes, that is way too many points, but after looking to see if the entire Canes offense was hit by a bus I uncovered this nugget – the line opened at 3.5. So a four point movement, over a key number like 7 means there is some serious sharp money on this game. And even though my numbers tell me the sharps are getting spanked this season, I prefer to side with the proven handicappers over the “bet my entire bankroll on this lock” fly by night guys.
Give me the Heels and the Over. . .
Play: North Carolina -7.5 & Over 69.0
Wisconsin @ Purdue (-1.0, O/U 50.0) – It would like Christmas every week if the Huskers would play road games against ranked opponents. Unfortunately, I have to look elsewhere this week. I know the Big Ten fairly well, at least enough to know that both of these teams are garbage. But Purdue is less garbage. Plus, the Boilermakers are celebrating their most famous alum Drew Brees’ consecutive touchdown pass record.
Play: Purdue -1.0
South Carolina @ LSU (-3.0, 39.5) – My “third game flat” rule will apply to both of these teams next week when the ‘Cocks head to the Swamp to play the Gators and LSU plays Texas A&M. This week though I expect both teams to come out as normal.
Though I am having trouble figuring out why the Tigers are favored. Here are some the reasons I think the Tigers are favored in this game – 1. It’s a night game in Baton Rouge, meaning the normal home field advantage of 4 points is like a 7; 2. Les Miles doesn’t lose back-to-back games; 3. The Tigers are mad about losing last week to Florida and will take it out on South Carolina; and 4. South Carolina is not road tested.
True those are valid reasons, but give me South Carolina; they simply are the better team. Plus, check out this total. In a year where a typical week features numerous totals in the 60s and a handful in the 70s, it’s refreshing to see an old school total. This game figures to be like an old school Ravens v. Steelers game, you know before both defenses got old and couldn’t cover mediocre receivers.
USC-East will play defense, run the ball and win a close game.
Play: South Carolina +3.0 & under 39.5
Utah State @ San Jose State (-3.0, 50.5) – With conference play underway, it makes it very easy to do comparative lines amongst conference opponents. My opinion is that Vegas will make adjustments to a power ranking but generally they are slower to react, while the public is quick to over-react. Therefore, from week to week, barring injuries, we should see fairly consistent numbers that line up with previous weeks. The public over-reacts to a previous week result and hammers accordingly and viola, billions dollar casinos are built!
Well the consistency is not there in this game. And we have a recent compare as both teams just played Colorado State. San Jose State was favored by 11.5 at home, translating to true advantage of 7.5 when removing the standard HFA. Utah State, a week later, was a 12 point favorite in Fort Collins, translating to a true advantage of Utah State +16. Comparing the two teams yields a Utah State advantage of 8.5, or on the road they should be favored by 4-4.5. Yet they’re getting points. Hmm, ok, I feel a trap coming, but give me the 7.5 points of value.
Play: Utah State +3.0
Alabama (-21.5, 44) @ Missouri – Projected score for this game – Alabama 32.75 Missouri 11.25. How the hell is Missouri going to score 11.25? The answer is obvious, they can’t, but you get the point, they will be extremely lucky to score 10 points against a well rested, hungry Bama team. Plus, my guess is the SEC “old man” teams want to destroy the Tigers this season.
As you can probably tell, I hate laying big numbers, but this is a mismatch.
Play: Alabama -21.5
Good luck this week.
Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com.
Most years about this time, I start to whisper, “Wow, it’s already week six, this year is going by too fast!” This year, however, it’s more like, “Is it over yet?” Translation – it is getting tougher with each passing year to enjoy the NFL. The several reasons for this, but at the forefront is the reality that the league is watered down with essentially random results week in and week out. That makes it tough to be successful handicapper, fantasy player or pool participant.
Sunday afternoon I texted a buddy this message, “If I go 0-5 this week, I think I’m be done with football.” Turns out, I went 1-4, but the fact remains, I almost called it a career before finding some fire to help me move forward this week. Still, I was close. Someday, I envision myself running a rehab center for addicted fans of football – the name of the center “One Game At A Time.”
And by “calling it a career”, I mean freaking going “cold turkey” without any peripheral football – no Sunday Ticket, no NFL rewind, no football related subscriptions, no picks columns, no picks, no bets, no pools and no fantasy. Well to be honest I have about 278 reasons why fantasy football is gone after this year regardless of whether I retire or not, but you get the idea, I would watch occasionally, but watch for the purity of the game, which would put all the power back in my hands.
I no longer sit through a crappy performance by my team just because they are the final play on a three team teaser. It wouldn’t take me nince hours to vacuum a house that normally takes 1.5 hours (humble brag, right! Yeah, I live in a mansion that normally takes 90 minutes to vacuum), I wouldn’t have to watch an otherwise unwatchable Monday night game because I have fantasy player X going against fantasy player Y. And I wouldn’t have to spend the time I spend on this freaking sport!
Some day very soon, you might show up on this site to see what teams you want to fade for the week and see the following:
I’M OUT THIS BITCH!
OK, enough about me, on to the game:
Pittsburgh (-6.0) @ Tennessee – The NFL changed the Rashard Mendenhall rushing touchdown to a receiving touchdown this week. Real nice, thanks, NFL. The effects of this monumental change will be felt for years to come as all fantasy league commissioners scurry to update the week 5 stat changes. In one of my leagues a two games will be affected where both winning teams will see a win snatched from their helpless hands. Great, I already had to sweat the Sunday and Monday night games, now I have to wait out the NFL until Thursday to make sure I get the win.
The ridiculous part of this change is that it was obvious that it was a touchdown pass in live action and even more apparent on the replay, how did it get by the officials? I thought the “real” refs were back. Honestly, the real ref vs. scab ref is a little like trying to tell the difference between New Coke and Classic Coke. If I am a ardent Classic Coke drinker and you put a can of New Coke in front of me, I would rather go thirsty than drink that crap. But if you blindfold me and give it to me, I couldn’t tell the difference. That’s pretty much how I feel about the scabs and the regular refs, don’t tell me and, for goodness sake, don’t let them speak and I probably couldn’t tell the difference.
- Rashard Mendenhall looked fantastic last weekend, so much that I actually might recommend suffering a torn ACL in week 16 of the previous season. Kidding, kidding, but he looks faster and shifter than ever. Of course, that might be the Jonathon Dwyer and Isaac Redman effect as well.
- We know the weapons the Steelers have on the outside, but don’t forget about Heath Miller tonight. In fact if you have a chance to play a few props, I would strongly recommend Miller for 1st touchdown, over 45 yards and “Yes” he will score a touchdown. The Titans can’t cover anyone, but they are atrocious against the tight end.
The Titans might be the worst team in the NFL, but their emotionally leader, Chris Johnson, commented this week:
“We need somebody in this locker room to make plays and give us a spark.”
Uh, you mean somebody like you? I mean CJ_K the Titans have all that money tied up in you, I think they expect you to make plays and give them a spark. Wow, totally clueless. If I am Titans ownership, I would be willing to give Titans coach Mike Munchak another year sans CJ_K. I have to believe CJ_K is impacting the morale and chemistry of a very young team. In fact, the Titans would be better off just cutting his lousy ass right now.
- Matt Hasselbeck has been a solid quarterback to back as the starter for a home team underdog over his career, but this is not the Seattle Hasselbeck, this is the “I am hanging on for a paycheck while trying to mentor a young guy into a great quarterback, so I can someday land a head coaching job and continue to be the favorite son over my d-bag brother who is a self proclaimed fantasy football expert, yet somehow pops is favoring him because he gave him Alfred Morris as a sleeper this year” Hasselbeck. Remember, when Michael Jordan went to the Wizards? Albeit smaller scale, but just as big of a drop-off.
- The only way the Steelers don’t cover this number is if they come out flat. I don’t see that happening. Why? Well, while it might be might be thin, I checked out Roethlisberger’s biorhythm chart for 10/12/2012. Here it is:
The above shows Roethlisberger is ready to peak physically, which is good news. He is also very high emotionally, which will allow him to withstand the numerous “you’re a raper” taunts. Unfortunately, Big Ben’s intellect is so far down that if given the Wonderlich test before the game tonight, Vince Young might look like a genius. I have a solution for that – don’t let Ben call the plays or audible. Ben never calls the plays, so that part is a non factor. In terms of audibling, the Titans won’t present anything overly complicated nor present much resistance, therefore, even poor decisions by Big Ben likely won’t cost the Steelers.
Pick: Pittsburgh -6.0
Disclaimer: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com. The Super Contest lines are not live, but instead are set and held the entire week. In cases where I’ve made a contest pick, I will use that line, as opposed to the current line. Yeah, it’s a bit of a cheat and you wouldn’t be able to get that line once you’ve printed out my picks to head to the betting window but in the rare event that I win a contest bet but caught in the middle on a live play, rest assured I will adjust my record.
I have spent the last two days at the soccer fields, so you get quick picks for NFL week #5. Mind you though, I put the same effort into each and every pick. But I must inform you that I feel this is the week where the odds-makers have caught on – very, very tough! Upon making my picks, I just about pulled out the UNO
Reverse card and reversed every one of them.
The “SuperContest” picks:
Arizona (-1.0) @ St. Louis – I feel like the Cardinals are who I thought they were. Shame me for thinking otherwise and making them a top 5 play this week. Pick: Arizona -1.0
San Diego @ New Orleans (-3.5) – Why are the Saints favored in this game? And by 3.5, no less, wow!! – “Free Money”. Pick: San Diego +3.5
Tennessee @ Minnesota (-5.5) – Game was a pick’em in the pre-season, now it’s 5.5. So this Vikings team is good because they’ve beaten the Jags, a sleep-walking 49ers team and the Lions? Uh, ok. They might win but the line of 5.5 is way, way too many points. Pick: Minnesota -5.5
Seattle @ Carolina (-3.0) – I don’t completely trust Panthers safety Haruki Nakamura and his band of incompetent brothers roaming the defensive backfield, but I trust Russell Wilson on the road less. In fact, Russell might be the only quarterback capable of making Haruki look like a competent NFL safety. The Hawks really, really need to go to Matt Flynn, Wilson will be the guy long term but he is killing an otherwise very good team. Pick: Carolina -3.0
Baltimore (-5.5) @ Kansas City – How is this not a repeat of the 2010 playoff game between these teams? Oh and the Ravens just had their early season “mail it in” game against the Browns last week. It’s going to be a long day for the Chiefs. Pick: Baltimore -5.5
The “Good Bad Team” pick:
Miami @ Cincinnati (-3.0) – The Bengals beat bad teams badly, though Miami is pesky, I wouldn’t consider them good. Pick: Cincinnati -3.0
The “Final Destination” pick:
Atlanta (-3.0) @ Washington – The Falcons should have lost last week. You can only cheat death so long. . . Pick: Washington +3.0
The “Look Ahead” picks:
Green Bay (-6.5) @ Indianapolis – With a showdown against the Texans on deck, look for the Packers to get caught sleeping against the Colts. Pick: Indianapolis +6.5
Cleveland @ NY Giants (-8.5) – Come on, it’s the Giants, they’re giving more than a touchdown at home. I think we’ve seen how this ends multiple times over the last five seasons? And the G-Men have the 49ers on deck. Pick: Cleveland +8.5
The “Livin a lie” pick:
Philadelphia @ Pittsburgh (-3.5) – The Eagles are 3-1, yet have been out-scored by 17 points. Look for the “regression” to begin this week. Also, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t lose back-to-back games. Pick: Pittsburgh -3.5
The “Monday Night Hangover” pick:
Chicago (-5.5) @ Jacksonville – This feels way too easy. And I’ve already taken advantage of the “Free Money” offer from the books with the Chargers. This feels like a late Bears rally to win by a field goal. Pick: Jacksonville +5.5
The “Ass Kickin” picks:
Denver @ New England (-6.5) – Sorry, Peyton, still not buying. . . Pick: New England -6.5
Buffalo @ San Francisco (-9.5) – The 49ers are back home, re-focused and ready to take control of the NFC West. How do the Bills cover this game if the 49ers go up 17-0? Answer: they don’t! Pick: San Francisco -9.5
Houston (-8.0) @ NY Jets – How do the Jets cover this game if the Texans go up 17-0? Same answer from above. Pick: Houston -8.0
Colin Wynner calls the winners. “Rever. . .Revers. . .!”
Nebraska @ Ohio State (-3.5, O/U 56) – Here’s a name for you all to remember – Cardale Jones. First off, you have to love anyone named Cardale, but especially this Cardale, who simply asked the question that most student-athletes have asked for ages: “Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain’t come to play SCHOOL classes are POINTLESS.” For the record that Jones tweet lasted about as long as, the now jettisoned, Angie stayed underwater in this week’s episode of Survivor.
Who is Cardale Jones, you ask? Well, he is THE OHIO STAE Buckeyes third team quarterback. There is nothing I like more than when a guy, who doesn’t see the field, causes a stir right before a huge game. And, while I get that you only have 140 characters to tell everyone what’s on your mind, judging by Cardale’s grammar, he might want to take college a little more seriously. Of course, the world needs ditch diggers as well!
On to the game, here is my logic:
- A bookmaker one week ago tweeted his advanced lines for next week’s big games:
Todd Fuhrman is the former director of the Caesars Palace Sportsbook, so he’s literally done this for a living. He had OSU at 7.5 last week, prior to the Buckeyes win at Michigan State. I am not sure how that win doesn’t at least keep the Buckeyes, in terms of power rating, right where they were. And I don’t know how that shitshow by the Huskers would warrant them getting a four point advantage this week but that’s what happened. Sure, the Husker won, but come on Wisconsin is garbage.
- Quick, tell me the Huskers last signature road win? Even those suffering from short term memory loss can tell you it hasn’t happened in the Bo Pelini era, unless you consider beating #21 Missouri on the road a signature win. I don’t! Therefore, you have to go back to 1997 when the Huskers went to Seattle and waxed the then #2 Washington Huskies. That was Tom Osborne’s last season as the head coach. I will take the 14 years of failure in this spot and pray that the Huskers don’t find a way to lose by 1 or 2.
- Nebraska struggles against teams with athletes. Ohio State has athletes. Therefore, Nebraska, will struggle. I love the transitive property.
- I don’t trust Taylor Martinez in any big road game. Sure, his throwing motion is better and he appears to be more confident leading the team, but at some point during this game, Husker fans worldwide will collectively say to themselves, ‘Welcome back, Taylor.” That reference is to the Taylor that Huskers fans have become accustomed to seeing in big games, when he routinely comes up small in games, especially those on the road.
- The coaching match-up is heavily in favor of Ohio State. It’s not really about Urban Meyer, it’s more that I don’t trust Bo Pelini in this spot. Again if this was a blowing snot out of your unusually large nostrails, Bo is your guy, but not when you need this guy to come up big on the road in a hostile environment.
Don’t get me wrong I would love to see the Huskers defecate on the “O” at midfield after slapping the Buckeyes silly; I just don’t see it happening.
Play: Ohio State -3.5
Northwestern @ Penn State (-3.0, O/U 47.0) – If Penn State had a field goal kicker they might be undefeated right now, at the very least they would certainly be 3-1. Last week they played their best game in quite a while by ass-raping – too soon, yeah too soon – severely beating down Illinois. But let’s not get too excited about beating a horrible Fighting Illini team that might be the worst team in the Big Ten. Somewhere Ron Zook is laughing his ass off.
Northwestern is by far the best team the Nittany Lions have faced this season. And at some isn’t the “rah, rah” nature of Bill O’Brien going to wear thin? Look the Lions wanted to beat Illinois badly because the Illini sent their entire staff to State College to lure players to transfer after the NCAA brought down the hammer. I hear it was like a bus load of pedophiles getting off at the elementary school stop right at the beginning of recess. Therefore, it makes sense that Penn State played great, those players who stayed, stayed because they’re loyal, so they would want a piece of the “Outlanders” trying to break up the cult.
Oh, and remember if it’s close and comes down to a field goal by Penn State, I like my chances.
Play: Northwestern -3.0
LSU (-2.5, 42) @ Florida – Florida has been an underdog at home just 16 times since 1980. They’re 8-8 ATS in those games, but last year they went 0-2 ATS and 0-4 overall the last four times. What those numbers tell me is that the Gators are due!
Color me very unimpressed by LSU this season; this number is all about the ranking and pre-2012 reputation. Plus, I’ve just little hidden gem for you – it’s possible that LSU wants to lose this game to take a bit of the hype of the Alabama game, knowing that Bama is going to destroy them, if they lose this game maybe they can catch Bama sleeping on them. Yeah, that doesn’t make any sense, but trust me the Tigers are in trouble here.
Play: Florida +2.5
Washington State @ Oregon State (-15.5, 58.5) – One of the “plays” that has worked well for me this season is what I call the “third game flat” play – basically, my theory is that teams can get up two consecutive weeks for big games, but they will fall flat the third week, generally against a team they should beat handedly. This is the third week game for OSU and they should handle WSU with relative ease. And while they are 3-0, they have a point differential of only 13 points, which is less than what they’re favored by this week.
Honestly, this is a leap of faith given the Cougars ineptitude but I offer two points that serve as a parachute if you choose to take the leap: 1. The more time Mike Leach has with this team the more comfortable they will become with his proven effective system; and 2. No system play is 100%, there will be losses, but sports investing rule #65 – “you don’t cherry-pick games from a system, you play them all.”
Play: Washington State +15.5
West Virginia @ Texas (-6.5, 73.5) – Goodness, have you seen Mack Brown lately, dude has aged like he’s been the president of the US of over the last four years. I guess that’s what happens when you start pissing off the alums by losing to Oklahoma and finishing with less than 10 wins. The problem is they can’t fire a guy who brought them their only championship in the last 40 years (yeah, mother effing Texas fans, you have one lousy effing championship in 40 years), so instead they start making his life miserable which has caused the affable Brown to age like a dog. I can imagine the alums inviting him to dinner but the only allow him half of a meal, and giving him the friendly “pat on the back”, you know the one where they put the “kick me” sign. Those Texans can be so cruel!
Here is the key to the game for the Longhorns – hit Geno Smith in the mouth early. It’s that simple, hit him and he starts thinking about getting and not throwing to wide open receivers running all over the field. This might be a big enough game where the Longhorn defensive coaches install a bounty an incentive program, where the first player who gets a hit on Smith gets the 50K summer security job, where the primary function is watching an oil field to make sure it doesn’t get stolen.
Play: Texas -6.5 and Under 73.5
Washington @ Oregon (-24.5, O/U 63.0) – Washington has had 10 days to hear how great they are after upsetting the Stanford Cardinal. By the time they realize they’re not that good, the Ducks will be up 38-0.
I believe I have the right side on this game – but I will make this concession – if the Ducks don’t cover the spread this game goes way, way under the total. There is no way Washington wins a shootout with the Ducks. So, it’s up to you loyal follower, either the side or the parlay, one of them is a guarantee.
Play: Oregon -24.5
Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com.
Week 05 NFL Thursday Night Football pick from the world renowned handicapper, Colin Wynner.
Arizona (-1.0) @ St. Louis – The odds-makers still aren’t buying the Cardinals. It’s as if they don’t think the Cardinals can continue the 15 consecutive fumble recovery streak. Still, just a single point? (Grown to 2.5 since Wednesday [insert your personal favorite lewd joke here]) One lousy point for a 4-0 team that has beaten the best team in the AFC (Patriots) and the current leader of the toughest division, allegedly, in the NFL (NFC East). As Cris Carter would say, “Come on, Man! You gotta give this Cardinals team some love.”
If you’re looking for further confirmation that the odds-makers believe that this Cardinals team is a desert mirage, look no further than the Super Bowl odds – still +2200. Anyone who follows futures knows that the days of being to hammer out a bet with reasonably high odds on a fringe, under the radar team are long gone. In fact, the bookies are more skittish about the futures than Jesse Pinkman on the day long “buried cash digging” adventure with Mike, the one where he had to stay clean for an entire day. A mere sign of life from a team will cause an immediate unprovoked reaction to drop the odds like Lindsay Lohan at the end of a Hollywood party.
But what doesn’t make sense here is that at the highest, odds for playoff teams would be around 15-1, but more like 8-1. And take a look at what these criminals do to the NFL division odds where there are 4 teams, and the worst of the worst, the no shot in hell teams are roughly 18-1 at the beginning of the season. In the interest of a fair comparison, let’s say the Browns were 22-1 to the AFC North prior to the year. For the same price, would you want the Browns in AFC North prior to the season or the Cardinals now at 4-0?
The point here is that in the futures world bookies don’t have to be accountable. They can make every team 2-1 and call it a day. Of course, the counter to that is “well, if every team was 2-1, their handle would go way down.” Puh-lease! Most gamblers are going to gamble regardless of how high the odds are stacked against them. Don’t believe me! Remember when Indian Casinos only offered Blackjack Machines? There were packed even though they only paid out at 97%. Wait, those machines are paying out 97%, wow that means I will only lose 3% of the time. I need to get over there. See what I mean.
How ridiculous is the normal protocol for lowering odds? Well, for example, the “American League Wild Card Play-In Game” participants (Can we get some shirts made up for this major accomplishment?), the Orioles were 150-1 to win the World Series prior to the season. After starting out a very mediocre 9-7, the Orioles dropped to 100-1, like, oh shit this team actually team has a pulse and the corresponding immediate drop.
With roughly a third of the season in the books, the O’s that sat atop the AL East with a 29-20 record. Every team in the division was within 4.5 games of first place. Now mind you, this isn’t the AL Central, it’s the AL East, where you have, with special thanks to Super Punch Out, King Hippo or the Toronto Blue Jays, Bald Bull, better known as the Tampa Bay Rays, what we thought was going to be Mr. Sandman in the Boston Red Sox, of course they turned out to be Glass Joe and Mike Tyson, pre-Miss America rape, jail sentence, losing contract with Nintendo. Translation, no one was scared of the Orioles, well nobody was scared of the O’s except for the books who over-reacted by lowering them to 30-1.
The interesting thing is one would think that if the Orioles odds dropped, another team, specifically one within the division would rise. Not the case. As when the O’s were 150-1, the Yanks were 13-2, Sox 10-1, Rays 18-1 and Jays 40-1. The drop to 100-1, saw the Yanks at 7-1 (slight increase), Red Sox 18-1 (on the heels of another wretched start), Rays at 18-1 and the Jays at 22-1. When the O’s went to 30-1, the rest of the division look like this: Yanks 9-1, Sox 20-1, Rays 9-1 and Jays 20-1. The ultimate squeeze!
Now if the books had to offer the opposite side of every future bet, that would make a big difference. For example, I might have no problem laughing my ass off at the books while betting the Red Sox not to win the WS at, let’s say -3000. You see once they started getting pounded in the ass like the future lifer, Jerry Sandusky, they might consider setting a more reasonable line or give up a major pay day to all those “nots”. Of course, they also have your money for 4 months of interest earning and the heavy juice between the “yea” and “nay” bets. But there is a reason they don’t offer that, its value for bettor!
Now consider that over-reaction to the O’s, doesn’t it make sense that the books should be reacting to the Cardinals the same way? There are even similarities between the O’s and the Cardinals, (a). Both teams have a dominate team in the division that one would likely see as very difficult to over-come; and (b). Both teams have been, at least according to basic stats, lucky to be where they are. The O’s were almost out-scored by their opponents on the year, despite posting 93 wins. The Cardinals are literally three plays away from being a very Cardinal-esque 1-3. Yet, the odds-makers completely over-reacted to the O’s and not so much the Cards.
So, why the long odds? Very simply it appears that the odds-makers aren’t worried about this team winning the Super Bowl or even coming close for that matter. Fair enough, but if the Cardinals take care of business in the next three games, all games they figure to be favored in, they will be 7-0 and heading to the playoffs even if they experience a 2011 Buffalo Bill collapse. Hmm, the time might be right to throw down some “future” coin on this team. Just saying, you heard it here first!
As for tonight’s game, the Rams have been extremely fortunate to win their two home games. Therefore, I believe they have created a false illusion that they are a good home team, one that is capable of continuing to beat better teams at home, despite not being favored to do so. The biggest question I have for this game is what happens when “luck” meets “luck”? Well, then you have to go to talent. The Cardinals have a big advantage in overall talent.
My guess is not all that close, something like Arizona 31 St. Louis 13. I am making it a Contest pick.
Pick: Arizona -1.0 (-2.5)
Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com. The Super Contest lines are not live, but instead are set and held the entire week. In cases where I’ve made a contest pick, I will use that line, as opposed to the current line. Yeah, it’s a bit of a cheat and you wouldn’t be able to get that line once you’ve printed out my picks to head to the betting window but in the rare event that I win a contest bet but caught in the middle on a live play, rest assured I will adjust my record.