2012 Predictions – Thanksgiving, “Double Dip” Edition

A bonus combo pack of picks for Thanksgiving.
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.

The “Super Contest” picks:

Detroit (+3.5) over Houston – One of the drawbacks of a handicapping contest is that if you want to select a Thursday game, all of your picks for the weekend must be submitted early. That obviously allows an additional 48 hours for a key player from a team you selected to go all “Stanley Wilson” or “Barret Robbins” and end up AWOL a couple nights before a game. Therefore, I generally stay away from the Thursday games unless there is a spot that is too good to pass.

That is the case with the Lions this week. I know, I know coaching is an issue, but isn’t Jim Schwartz Gary Kubiak, before Kubiak became the Kubiak we know laud over? Think about the Texans back before Wade Phillips, loads of talent, a fantasy cornucopia, but unable to finish most game, which left them the poster children for mediocrity. Sounds just like the 2012 Lions.

So, why do I feel so strongly the Lions are the play in this game? Well, for starters the line is 3.5, so unless the Lions are down a point and fail on 4th down deep in their own territory with precisely enough time for the Texans to run three plays, fail to make a first down and kick a covering field goal, we should be ok with the hook. In other words, the 3.5 makes this a value play.

In addition, the Texans fall into gambling rule #872 – never trust a team with a huge division lead, on the road, as a favorite, coming off an emotional overtime win against a team from the opposing conference, on a short week.

San Diego (+1.0) over Baltimore – Speaking of gambling rules, here is another (#409) – never trust a team traveling cross country in between games against a heated division rival when the line looks too good to be true. Oh, and the heated division rival happens to be the Steelers. The Ravens are just 5-10 ATS after Steelers games since 2004.

And if you think I am crazy to back Norv Turner and Jim Schwartz, thats nothing compared to what’s coming up. . .

Carolina (+2.5) over Philadelphia – That’s right fans, let’s throw Ron Rivera into this three team, “I was a great coordinator, but suck ass as a head coach” bad coaching parlay.

The gambling rule for this game is as follows (#95) – never back a soft team, that has clearly quit on their head coach, when said head coach has been spotted checking out real estate on the opposite coast, in any situation, period! The corollary to this rule is as follows, “if the game in question comes after a Thanksgiving feast where the head coach consumes enough food to feed a third world country, then triple the bet.” Poor money management scheme there, but I don’t write the rules, I just follow them.

Tampa Bay (+1.0) over Atlanta – Despite this being a division game, when the Falcons look in the rearview mirror they don’t see the Buccaneers old rusted “Buffalo Bill” beater of a van, they see a brand spanking new black and gold Maserati driven by Drew Bress and the hard charging, Joe Vitt led Saints. Therefore, this game falls into the “huge division lead” rule, as well as the “look ahead” rule (pretty standard top ten rule, #9, that states be wary of the team with a big game looming).

Also, one of my theories that I never have had the resources to prove but seems true is that NFL coaches will gladly accept a loss in a “lose the battle, but win the war” way. Given all the factors mentioned above, I can see Falcons coach Mike Smith and his staff mailing this game in an attempt to bring a good old fashioned swift ass kicking down on his team that they can then use as a re-focusing point of instruction. Sounds logical, right?

NY Giants (-3.0) over Green Bay – Green Bay has revenge on their minds as they travel to New York to face the defending champion Giants! You want to know what happened to the last team that had revenge on their minds when they played the defending Super Bowl champs? Well, it was Last season, when the Falcons took on these same Packers, the Pack romped. And that was in Atlanta.
Gambling rule #645 – “Revenge is over-rated!”

The “Thanksgiving Day” picks:

Dallas (-3.5) over Washington – The rule (#18) – “never, ever back the Cowboys at home as a favorite” is trumped by rule #491 – “No way in hell all three underdogs cover on Thanksgiving.”

RG III is amazing but let’s not get crazy here – he is still a rookie having to go on the road (albeit in the equivalent of a library), on a short week with the rookie wall rapidly approaching.

NY Jets (-7.0) over New England – This game is the equivalent of a younger brother, who almost never is able to beat his older brother in the annual Thanksgiving day game of one-on-one, getting a crack at the elder after recent knee surgery and a battle with the flu (why didn’t he get the mercury laced, population control flu shot that was made mandatory by his employer, you ask? Well, grasshopper, that is an entirely different column). If he can’t get him this time, when will he?

Bonus “Seven Out” Picks:

And here is a Thanksgiving day bonus, my first couple “Seven Out” losers:

Texas (-7.5) over TCU – Given the picks above it just didn’t seem right not to include Mack Brown, who is the college football equivalent of a “great coordinator, horrible head coach”, as he should absolutely be in the NCAA hall of fame, in the recruiter section, but would not sniff the HOF as a head coach, if the criteria went beyond “I won most of my games because my talent was so far superior, I couldn’t lose.” So, yeah, why not, let’s throw him and the perpetually under-achieving Longhorns into the Turkey day selections.

Iowa (+14.0) over Nebraska – Remember last week I wrote that I am snake-bit when picking the Huskers? So, I went with the total instead. I lost by a single point!

Why do it again? Well, the most important factor is motivation. For the Huskers it’s the “bigger fish to fry” syndrome. Yeah, they have to win, but one look at the Hawkeyes and the Huskers are like, “next!”

For the Hawkeyes, however, this is a self-created rivalry, their “big game”, their “season saver”, their “bowl game” and this is for the “Heroes Trophy.” Little hayseeds in Iowa grow up dreaming about hoisting the “Heroes Trophy” triumphantly above their heads after a stunning victory over the far superior rivals to the west.

Side note – effing “Heroes Trophy!” Really? Now if I was tasked with creating a cheesy B1G trophy for this annual pillow fight, I would have done much better than this meaningless “Heroes Trophy.” This is a conference that has games with trophies such as “Pual Bunyan’s Axe” and “Floyd of Rosedale.” Despite being hokey, those trophies are freaking sweet. It’s almost like Iowa decided on the whole “Heroes Trophy” thing because they were like, “we’ll never have it anyway, so let’s stick them with this hunk of junk.”

Pathetic!

I mean shouldn’t the Iowa/Nebraska trophy have something to do with beef? What about a gigantic wooden butchers knife, simply called “The Butchers Knife.” Think about it, Husker players could then, legally, do the throat slitting gesture. Or what about a giant golden cow, wait that’s already been, unsuccessfully, done. You could also go with the “Our Beef is Bigger than yours” trophy.

It would have even been more creative to simply lift the Iowa/Iowa State trophy name, “CyHawk” and go with “CornHole” or “CornHawk” or “CornEye.” If they choose that cheap way out, my favorite would be “Husker Hawk”, with the trophy being a mythological half Hawk, half Human dressed in overalls and sporting the gayest grin in history.

I half expect when Nebraska wins, but fails to cover, they accidentally leave the trophy in Iowa City. And when Iowa calls to inform them, Nebraska responds with, “ahh, you know what we will pick it up next time we come to Iowa City, in two years.”

Good luck this week, and Happy Thanksgiving!

CFB 2012 – Week 11 “Seven Out”

Michigan (-10.0, O/U 52.0) @ Northwestern – Though it’s a long shot, Northwestern can still represent the Legends Division in the BIG10 championship game. So they got that going for them. For Michigan they will again be without Denard Robinson and while I must admit Devin Gardner is roughly a billion times better than Russ Bellamy, we are still a rolled up ankle, an unfortunate helmet-to-helmet concussing hit, a stray knee to the balls or pile driver sack which leaves Gardner’s arm looking like silly putty away from seeing an investors best friend, Russ Bellamy.

And yeah, yeah I know, Devin Gardner had a big game last weekend, but 1. It was Minnesota; 2. It was Minnesota’s secondary, meaning Gardner accuracy had to be the equivalent of throwing a football into a cruise ship’s swimming pool from the Lido deck; and 3. Minnesota’s coaching staff was completely clueless with their play calling. See failed fake field goal that wouldn’t work if they had 100 tries!

Them Cats going to raise some Kain on Saturday!

Play: Northwestern +10.0

Wisconsin (-7.0, O/U 55.0) @ Indiana – This game represents the Hoosiers chance to become relevant in the Big 10; in fact with half of their division ineligible for the division title Indiana could take a giant step towards that goal by winning on Saturday. I am sure that when the BIG 10 enticed Nebraska to join BIG10 commissioner Jim Delany envisioned an Iowa v. Indiana championship game matchup for the chance to be a 49 point underdog to Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

I have to admit, I’ve been impressed with the Hoosiers effort this season. And Wisky’s starting quarterback is some guy name Curt Phillips, which, in terms of individual names is great – Curt like Curt Schilling or Curt Warner and Phillips like Wade or Lawrence, but together the names just don’t mesh. So, if that is the case can we really trust this guy to cover road BIG10 game? Answer – No.

Play: Indiana +7.0

Penn State @ Nebraska (-8.5, O/U 51.5) – So, I am going back to the well once more, and though it’s dried up, you just never know when your bucket will suddenly be full of water. You might be thinking, what an idiot. I would disagree as a true idiot is a person that, for example, reveals that they have a hidden immunity idol for no reason other than they were asked, and at tribal council no less. Goodness if Abi wins Survivor I promise that I will shit-can that show forever. Now that is an idiot. I would argue that Nebraska cannot continue this run of improbable covers, therefore, natural attrition is on my side.

But still I feel the need to justify the Husker plays over the past two weeks like the degenerate gambler asking Nicky Santoro for money so he could “turn on the heat.” Simply put, Michigan wins that game if Devin Gardner plays. And, really Michigan coaching staff after Bellomy stunk up the joint the first three possessions, why wasn’t Gardner at least given a chance. He wasn’t prepared, you say. Fine then put him in the game, run wildcat (which was already in the playbook) or four verticals on every play. Essentially that’s what Michigan did, successfully, last week against Minnesota.

Last week, I admit I over-valued the Spartans, but even at that the Huskers needed a miracle 4th down conversion to, of all players, a tight end (and how does the tight end get that open and then turn and leave the db for an additional 25 yards?) to pull that game out in the final 4 seconds.0

So, why do I like Penn State this week? Three reasons: 1. At 8.5, I merely need Penn State to keep the game close, essentially they can’t get blown out. One thing about this PSU team is that they play 60 minutes; 2. Penn State is well coached, Nebraska is not. That should be enough for the Lions to be in this game late; and 3. The HTM. What is the HTM, you ask? The “Human Turnover Machine”, aka Taylor Martinez. Three picks last week, along with two fumbles that Nebraska was to retain. It’s almost like Martinez and Michael Vick are having a contest to see how can turn over the ball more and keep their starting job. After this week – Advantage, Martinez!

Here is exactly how this game will play out – Martinez turns it over early, Penn State jumps out to the double digit lead, Huskers claw back furiously, Huskers take the lead and Penn State’s rally fall short. Nebraska 34-30.

Play: Penn State +8.5

Missouri @ Tennessee (-3.0, O/U 60.0) – Can Tennessee stop anyone? Now if the answer to that question on Sunday morning is “Turns out they can stop Missouri,” then this prediction went very, very wrong.

Hey, I haven’t lost a total prediction in almost two weeks (1-0 in that time). I am on a roll!

Play: Over 60.0

Oregon (-28.5, 67.5) @ California – There are so many angles supporting the Bears here that this game has to be my “Guaranteed LOCK of the CENTURY!” Ok, maybe I am not quite that confident, but here are four reasons why the Bears are a solid play this week – 1. The Ducks figure to be flat after the emotional win against USC last week. Even though it seems like the Ducks only expended about 5% of their usable energy, I still believe they have to have a bit of a letdown after that near perfect performance; 2. It is sandwich city for the Ducks, last week SC, next week Stanford, then Oregon State and then Alabama in the BCS title game. Wait, I am forgetting an opponent? See how I did that; 3. The former Oregon AD and head coach, Mike Bellotti, said this week that Chip Kelly would “inevitably leave Oregon for the NFL.” Huh? Chipper’s offense is not going to work in the NFL, Mike! And e tu, Mikey! What are you trying to sabotage the entire Ducks season? The players need to be focused on the task at hand, not whether this fast break style of football is going to leave for the NFL; and 4. The Golden Bears actually play the Ducks very tough in Berkley or at least they have the last two meetings. Sure they’ve been free falling the last three weeks, but their ceiling is a blowout victory over UCLA and a narrow lost i Columbus. I like them to play closer to their ceiling than their basement.

Of course I reserve the right to call this bet off if Oregon goes up 35-0 seven minutes into the game.

Play: California +28.5

Tulsa (-3.5, O/U 67.0) @ Houston – This game is a little like one of those “stock alerter” programs – I know very little about the company, but the metrics tell me to buy, so I buy. Tulsa took an SEC to the wire last week, while Houston was crapping themselves against a mediocre East Carolina team. Imaplay.com tells me it’s all Tulsa.

Play: Tulsa -3.5

Kansas @ Texas Tech (-26.5, O/U 56.5) – Once hoop season starts the Jayhawks fan focus shifts from Women’s soccer to Men’s Basketball, therefore no one in Kansas gives a rat’s ass about the Jayhawk football team.

Not that it matters with this game being played in Lubbock, but still think about it when no one gives a crap about what you’re doing, what do you do? Very little, right?

But the reason I am on the Red Raiders is the fact that they are 16-4 ATS the last 20 times they have played the second of a back-to-back home game. Book it!

Play: Texas Tech -26.5

Those are my official “Seven Out”, but here are five more that didn’t quite make the cut:

Kansas State/TCU – Kansas State -6.5

Wyoming/New Mexico – New Mexico +2.0

Louisiana Lafayette/Florida – Louisiana Lafayette +27.0

Colorado/Arizona – Colorado +29.0

Oklahoma State/West Virginia – Under 77.0
 

Best of luck this week, may none of your games end in the first quarter or in the final seconds!

Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com.