NFL 2012 – Week 20, “Conference Championship” Edition

I love being on the opposite end of a two point game where I am laying 2.5 points, it really warms my heart.

Here is the back of the Colin Wynner, Handicapper player card update with 2012 stats:
Career Playoff Record (1995-2012): 105-85-5
Wildcard Round: 40-31-1
Divisional Round: 38-32-2
Championship Round: 19-15
Super Bowl: 8-7-2

Playoff Best: 7-3-1 (2001)

Please note that these picks are made based on several years of experience in handicapping the playoff games, in fact I have developed a list of playoff rules to live by that you can read here.

Note: I use the Las Vegas Hilton Lines from vegasinsider.com.

Baltimore @ New England (-8.0)

Interesting Sub-Plot: The possibility of God intervening on behalf of the Ravens. As Ray Lewis himself told the freezing, “get me the eff out of here” Solomon Wilcots after the Ravens victory over the Broncos, “No weapon forged against you shall prosper. . .” {hugs Peyton Manning}, “No weapon, no weapon, God is amazing and when believe in Him, man believes in possible, God believes in the impossible. . .” I guess, loosely translated, that means that no one thought it was possible for the Ravens to win in Denver and God showed them!

All kidding aside, there might be something to this divine intervention theory. Think about what had to happen for the Ravens to escape with a victory – a. the oldest defense in the NFL playing on short rest and approaching close to a combined 200 plays in two weeks, yet somehow made several key stops in overtime; b. how many times to do see a defensive back with deep responsibility take such a poor route to the ball and then mis-time his jump? Never or rarely. It’s almost as if the ball changed paths at the last second and Rahim Moore got a slight push in the back as he leaped, hmmm; (c.) the fire-able move by John Fox to take a knee with 31 seconds and two timeouts left, as if his mind was suddenly frozen, hmmm; and (d.) the pick by Manning, where the entire left side of the field was vacated, yet P-dog choose to run into the defensive penetration and then throw a pass that in comparison to a throw by an 8-years girl, would have made the girl’s pass look like it was fired by Tom Brady.

Is God on Ray Lewis’ side? Maybe. But I think the better question would be – Is God against the opponent of Ray Lewis? Right, remember “no weapon forged against you will prevail . . .” Maybe God punished the citizens of the Colorado by having their beloved Broncos lose, for their egregious decision to legalize marijuana. And we know that those radical New Englanders have passed many of laws that might not have in alignment with the Big Man upstairs. Advantage Rayvens!

Teenage girl logic: I love the way people from Boston talk. So, in my best Boston accent, here is how I see this game playing out – “Look, ya bastaards, it’s going to be a real pissah for ya come the marnang, when you wake up with banger to find out ya beloved Paats got tha wicked shit kicked out of ’em.”

Trending: The Patriots are 13-5 ATS in their last 18 games when playing a team after losing the previous matchup.

The Ravens will cover if: Their defense has enough left in the tank to play a full four quarters. This is the first time since 1991 that a team will play a game after facing 87 or more plays on consecutive weeks.

The Patriots will cover if: They show up, right, I mean this is the greatest team in the history of the world, with the greatest quarterback on Earth and coached by the best coach, field general since the inception of time. They just need to make it to the field on time.

Colin Wynner, Handicapper! Calls the winner:  We were two plays away from an exhilarating, infinitely more enjoyable conference championship Sunday. Come on, admit it, Manning v. Brady, Broncos v. Patriots was “can’t miss” football. Throw in the intrigue of the Seahawks v. 49ers III and it was a “honey, I don’t think I am going to make it to the kids soccer game” kind of day. Thanks to the divine intervention play and the Seahawks celebrating a little early we now are facing possibly the worst conference championship Sunday since 2005. That year featured the Steelers v. Broncos, a game that had all the excitement of a Lance Armstrong interview, and the Seahawks v. Panthers, a game where the Panthers ran out gas, and were promptly run out of the Qwest field.

I can see this game being a lot like that 2005 Seahawks/Panthers tilt. The 2012 Ravens are a mirror image of those 2005 Panthers in a bunch of ways. Both faltered down the stretch, thus limping into the playoffs, yet both got hot by winning a couple of playoff games, including a huge road upset in the divisional round. If you remember, Steve Smith was un-coverable for those first two playoff games, amassing 4 touchdowns and 22 receptions for 306 yards. While the Ravens have not had a Steve Smith, they have had a receiver step up in each game, against the Colts Anquan Boldin put the team on his shoulders, while Torrey Smith was virtually un-coverable by the ghost of Champ Bailey last weekend.

What’s it all mean? Well, that 2005 Panthers literally ran out of gas against the Seahawks, a rested, focused bunch. The Patriots are in a similar situation as they barely broke a sweat last week in dispatching the over-matched, over-rated, under-achieving Texans.

And guess what? The world is on the Ravens, forcing the odds-makers top drop the line to from 9.5 to 8; that movement is laughable as a drop from 9.5 to 8 is statistically unlikely to factor into the outcome of this game, as just two of out 264 games played in 2012 season ended on a nine point margin. An eight point margin has a slightly higher probability of hitting with 11 games such games ending there. Still, there is less than a 1% chance that getting 9.5 is going to be the difference between cashing or not and just over a 4% chance that an investors will avoid the dreaded push. No that movement is all to get into psyche of the sports investor. I’ve mentioned it before that while all sports investors primary motivation is to win, a secondary motivation is to be on the “sharp” side. This movement reeks of “sharps” hammering the Ravens and the investor doing whatever they can, including but limited to the following blood doping, HGH, testosterone, to get to the top of the “sharp” mountain. And I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the so-called “sharps” are pumping the Ravens early and often in hopes to get a better number to lay on the Patriots. Unless, of course, you believe and trust everything that comes out of a “sharp.”

With the world on the Ravens, let’s look at the case for the Pats – 1. the aforementioned 174 plays by the Baltimore defense over the last two weeks, that could equate to almost three regular season games. In addition, a high percentage of those plays are high leverage. Oh and have I mentioned that the Ravens defense is one of the oldest in the NFL?; 2. Everyone points to last year’s game as the reason the Ravens will be close, with a chance to pull off the upset in this game. Remember thought that the Ravens had a bye last year and won a home game before traveling to Foxboro. In fact, the last time the Ravens were in this situation was in 2008, they were beaten soundly by the Steelers, a game where the Ravens defense four years younger.; 3. The Pats up tempo offense is tough to stop, and Brady is awesome, but the Pats key to rolling in this game is dynamic duo of Verren and Ridley . Those guys play every play like they are competing for more playing time, and can’t you see Belichick telling each of them, “Well, we will just have to see how things play out today” in terms of their playing time. By kickoff each guy is like a rabid dog; and 4. Flacco is now at “elite” status because Boldin took over the Colts game and he completed three hail-mary passes against the Broncos. Uh, ok. In my book, still shaky, on the road, remember my rules. . .

New England 34 Baltimore 23

San Francisco (-4.0) @ Atlanta

Interesting Sub-Plot: What will Mike Smith do next? Dude looks, and acts, like he is in way over his head. Let’s totally forget about the pathetic, “playing not lose” play-calling late in that game and strictly focus of three egregiously bad decisions. First off, why did Smith choose to kick the extra point not once, but twice with very little time remaining the third quarter? The Seahawks jumped offside twice, which means the Falcons could have tried a two point attempt from the half yard line. I guess Smith adheres to the old adage,”Don’t go for two, until the 4th quarter.” Goodness that type of thinking is so Musbergerian.

The second flub by Mr. Smith was then he decides to burn his final timeout with 13 seconds left, which in and of itself would have been fine if the Falcons were not going to attempt a field goal on the next play, therefore, why leave 13 seconds on the clock? So the Seahawks can run a couple of plays? Great thinking there Mensa boy. The most humorous part of this was the way Smith sprinted down the sideline to get the timeout, he even breathed a sigh of relief, like “whew, I got there, I got the timeout.”

Finally, the onside/squib kick that gave the Seahawks the ball at their own 46 yard line with enough time for two plays. Too bad the Seahawks lost their kicker, Steven Hauschka to a strained calf a week earlier, because he has the leg to connect from well beyond 55. This might not have been Smith’s fault but really isn’t every play ultimately the coach’s responsibility.

Teenage girl logic: San Francisco seems like a cool city, it’s in California, so it has to be somewhat cool, right? Whereas, Atlanta seems really boring to me. Where is Atlanta? In Georgia? Where is Georgia? Is that even in America? I learned about Georgia in world geography class and I think it’s in Eurasia or something. Why on earth would they play this game in Eurasia? That’s just stupid. Anyway, I picked the 49ers to win the Super Bowl before the playoffs began, so duh, this is an easy win for them!

Trending: The team winning the high scoring divisional round game is 1-12-1 ATS in the conference championship game.

The 49ers will cover if: They don’t dig a deep hole like the Seahawks did a week ago. The 49ers are a team built to play from ahead or at least within a score of their opponent. And even though they have been very explosive under Kaepernick, they are not good catch-up team on either side of the ball.

The Falcons will cover if: They get out to a fast start, get the crowd involved and then keep their foot on the pedal. Despite the comeback last week, this team’s psyche is still fragile as is their fans, believe me the first sign of trouble for them and the Georgia Dome will be as silent as Manti Te’o has been this week amid rumors that he concocted a fake girl friend.


Colin Wynner, Handicapper! Calls the winner: The “sharps” are selling the idea that this is just too much “value” to pass on the Falcons. Ok, but you know what else is an extremely good value? The three week old bread rack at your local supermarket. That’s great value for a loaf of bread, in fact, practically free, but good luck choking it down without slathering on the butter mask the moldy, stale taste. But once you’ve used an excess of butter, the value is sucked out. Again this might be another case of the “sharps” either attempting a very tempting middle -3 on SF and +4.5 on Atlanta.

I so agree that the public is over-valuing the 49ers. It’s not all that close either, case in point the Falcons closed last week as 2.5 point favorites, after opening around a point to a point in a half favorites. If we use the low end opening number for a comparison of the Falcons and Seahawks, we would get the Seahawks graded two points better than Atlanta. After the Seahawks took the lead last Sunday, a bookmaker posted their NFC Championship game line at the 49ers -4 over Seattle. Meaning the 49ers grade out a roughly a point better than the ‘Hawks and three points better than Atlanta. That should put this line at a “pick.” Granted, the margin of error in this example is significant, but not four points worth. So, yes, there is great value on the Falcons.

But you go ahead and back the Falcons. And then sit back watching the following – 1. Mike Smith looking constipated. Believe me is hard enough to coach in the NFL playoffs when you’re regular; 2. Matty Ice being Matty Ice. He completed two desperation passes when the Seahawks essentially were thinking about the big celebration they were about to have in the locker room. Sorry, that game was only close because he and Smithy-poo got tight late. So, yeah, he hasn’t proved anything to me yet.; and 3. 70,000 fans thinking, and waiting for, something to go wrong. Let’s face this Atlanta bunch is somewhat apathetic to begin with, but put them through the Braves repeated playoff failures, the Michael Vick fiasco, the Petrino fiasco, the 2008 playoffs (game turned on a Michael Turner fumble that was returned for a touchdown), the 2010 playoffs (the Packers obliterated them with a lasting memory the Tramon Williams pick-6 off a Matty Ice, back footed, weak out pass) and the 2011 playoffs (where they failed a zillion times on fourth and one and were rung up by the Giants) and this group is more uptight, fidgety and pessimistic than Jesse Pinkman. Tell me you couldn’t show up at the Georgia Dome Sunday afternoon to successfully study for the MCAT test if the 49ers take the opening possession for a touchdown, followed by a Falcons three and out that includes a short armed, bounced ball to a wide open receiver by Ryan, then tack on three more points on an another 49ers scoring drive and then top it off with a tipped pass that is picked and returned for six points. 17-0 49ers, Falcons fans will be finding their “happy place.”

San Francisco 27 Atlanta 20
I just threw on my “Joe Public” sweater vest, yup, I am a square! Good luck this weekend!

NFL 2012 – Divisional Playoff Predictions, “Sunday” Edition

I knew I was in trouble in that Packers/49ers game when I ran into one of my kids soccer teammates dad who is a huge Packers fan. Dude was decked out in high end Packers gear and when asked, “How are you feeling about tonight?” His reply, “Totally confident! Kaepernick is very beatable and it’s his first real test.” Uh, how that turn out for you?
So I suck at calling primetime playoff games. Good thing neither of these games are in primetime. On to the Sunday picks.

Here is the back of the Colin Wynner, Handicapper player card update with 2012 stats:
Career Playoff Record (1995-2012): 103-83-5
Wildcard Round: 40-31-1
Divisional Round: 36-30-2
Championship Round: 19-15
Super Bowl: 8-7-2

Playoff Best: 7-3-1 (2001)

Please note that these picks are made based on several years of experience in handicapping the playoff games, in fact I have developed a list of playoff rules to live by that you can read here.


Note: I use the Las Vegas Hilton Lines from vegasinsider.com

Seattle @ Atlanta (-2.5)

Interesting Sub-Plot: Matty “Ice” Ryan with his 0-3 playoff record facing a team with a monster defense. Guess what Super Bowl winning quarterback was once 0-3 in his playoff career? Yup, you got it, Saturday’s playoff goat, Peyton Manning! Ok, so maybe it’s not the best comparison when attempting to build up Ryan, but still Manning has won a Super Bowl, Matty has a chance this year. Slim, slim chance but nonetheless a chance.

Teenage girl logic: Seahawks are like a evolutionary freak, a sea creature that can fly. That’s weird. While the Falcons are a normal bird in the sense that they fly and live in the normal atmosphere not underwater. The Seahawks are creepers, I hate creepers that stare at you and your privates – oooohhhh, gross, go Falcons!

Trending:  1. Home playoffs teams favored by 3 or less points are just 8-13* ATS since 2002 (updated as of 1/12/2013); and 2. The Seahawks are 4-11 ATS since 2002 after a game where they covered the spread by a touchdown after trailing at the end of the first quarter; just 1-4 ATS in the Pete Carroll era.

The Seahawks will cover if: They can weather the Falcons crowd and storm early in the game. Believe me, it won’t take much to take this Atlanta crowd out of the game, in fact at the first sign of trouble the Georgia Dome will sound like a library.

The Falcons will cover if: The Falcons defense can keep Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch in check. It would be easy to put this game on Matty Ice, but the Falcons defense is really the key here, they have to be able to get off the field on third downs.

Colin Wynner, Handicapper! Calls the winner: Here is an interesting fact about falcons – they are able to fly at heights well above their prey but when ready to pursue they go into an amazing dive. Hmmm, interesting that the falcon and the Falcons seem to be the same. Both are able to fly high above their prey (regular season), but when they are ready to pursue (the Lombardi) they go into an amazing dive. Very interesting!

Up until this week, I fully expected them to take a dive again, in fact, I stated more than a few times that “I couldn’t wait to bet against this team in the playoffs,” but for this week, this one game, this specific moment in time I believe the Falcons will find a way to win this game. I cannot deny that on paper the Seahawks are a significantly better team, that they present matchup problems for the Falcons, in a league all about matchups and have a significant special teams advantage.

But here is my logic on the Falcons – 1. It feels like the spot for them and if they have any pride at all, they have to be ready to explode after hearing about how they cannot win a playoff game, they are the weakest 13 win team since their 2010 team and that the Seahawks are that much better than them; 2. On the flip side, it feels like the spot for the Seahawks to be a little flat, they have had an amazing run of domination mixed in with highly emotional performances. At some point doesn’t that have to catch up with a team and they lay a stinker?; and 3. It’s a 10AM PDT kickoff for the Seahawks on back-to-back east coast trips. Uh, that’s not good.

Bottom line – The best bet in this game is the Falcons -0.5 in the first quarter. Really that first quarter is going to tell us all we need to know about this game, if the Falcons don’t jump the Seahawks early, get a lead and get the crowd fully engaged, then they will allow ghosts of playoff past to creep into the building. If that happens, we can hang a nice “0-4” on Matty Ice’s resume. Not. Going. To. Happen. Not. Today. Not. This. Time.

Atlanta 31 Seattle 14 (4 Stars)

Houston @ New England (-9.5)

Interesting Sub-Plot: If you happen to be born into a Patriots family and by default you are a Patriots fan but your year of birth was, let’s say, 2002 or later, you most likely have known nothing but football heartache. I mean unless at the age of one you were some child prodigy who was banging out musical compositions that would make Mozart look like he was playing on a PlaySkool mini-piano, then you have no recollection of the Pats winning their last Super Bowl in 2004. Actually, it’s quite the contrary for those poor souls, who have a yearly ritual of asking pops, while sobbing profusely, “when dad, when will the Patriots finally win a Super Bowl?”

Teenage girl logic: I really despise the Texans because I hate Cowboys and I hate people who have that ridiculous “Don’t mess with Texas” bumper sticker. What does that even mean – “Don’t mess with Texas?” You can’t mess with a state anyway. That is so stupid. Screw the “don’t mess with the Texans,” the Patriots are going to mess with you big time!

Trending: Teams that covered a regular season matchup by 10 or more points are just 4-10* ATS in the playoff matchup (updated as of 1/12/2013).

The Texans will cover if: Matt Schaub can avoid the back breaking mistakes that he seems so adept at making. Think about how the game looks last week if Schaub doesn’t keep the Bengals around with that horrible pick-6 or if he can find a way to convert in the red zone. Blowout city, right? And let’s flash back to the 1st Patriots game when the Texans were driving, down at the time just 7-0, and Schaub is baited into a horrible end zone interception. Five plays after that pick, game ovah!

The Patriots will cover if: They don’t miss kickoff! Right, I mean this is team has really, really shown the world that not only can they put up big numbers but they can play great defense as well. Well, with the exception of that total statistical anomaly in the San Francisco game, where the 49ers hung 41 on them. But that doesn’t count when evaluating this juggernaut. Their mere presence should be enough to cover this spread.


Colin Wynner, Handicapper! Calls the winner: There is a great temptation on my part to bang the Pats given that we have already seen the “major divisional round” upset with the Ravens taking out the Broncos. But let’s try to make a case for the Texans – 1. The Patriots were probably looking ahead to the matchup with the Broncos, but now with Denver soiling themselves, they will be fully focused on — New Orleans and a rematch with the 49ers. Yup, I think they’re looking ahead and preparing themselves for another painful Super Bowl loss; 2. Think about the playoff games the Patriots have played in since the game that I say officially ended their run (2006 Colts game where they blew the 21-3 lead). Since that point, the Pats are just 4-4, with only the 2011 game against Broncos game being a dominate performance and honestly who didn’t see that coming. They have either struggled mightily or been beaten in the other seven games. This Texans team is not 2011 Broncos; and 3. This is eerily similar to the 2010 season. In each season, we had the late season Monday night Patriots ass whipping, that was followed by the whipped team playing the rest of the season in a funk and both the 2010 Jets and 2012 Texans rallied to win ugly playoff games. Sure we have heard from the Pats that they remember that game and are taking the Texans seriously, but are they? Come on, the Pats didn’t have the amazing Gronkowski for that game and still laid down the smack on Bum’s Son’s defense.

Yeah, that’s too thin to put hard earned money on. Plus, the biggest difference between the 2010 Jets and the 2012 Texans is the secondary, that was a strength of the Jets while the Texans are quite mediocre in the back seven. The Jets could matchup with the Patriots on the outside, the Texans cannot, meaning there will be an intense amount of pressure on the Texans D-Line to disrupt Brady up the middle. Too much pressure for them to live up to.

Bottom line – Believe me I have 10,125 reasons to back the Texans in this game, but smart money is sticking with my most important playoff rule – “Don’t back a shaky quarterback, especially on the road.” Matt Schaub is about as shaky as you get.

New England 34 Houston 17 (4 Stars)
Good luck!


2011 NFL – Divisional Playoff Picks, Saturday Edition

New Orleans (-3.5) @ San Francisco

Interesting Sub-Plot: Jim Harbaugh thinks Sean Payton sucks at running up the score! Remember when super-coach was the head-man for the Stanford Cardinal? Harbaugh made quite a name for himself by “running it up” on several opponents. So much so that I believe he should be considered the master of “rubbing salt in the wound”, for example, he went for two up by 32 against USC late in the game, in Los Angeles no less (of course most of the “LA” crowd was already on to something bigger and better). Harbaugh had no excuse in that game other than the “EFF YOU, Petey, I would have still been throwing if we were up 100!” So you can see why Harbaugh laughs at the passive, aggressive Payton. Who began running up the score in week 12 against the Giants with seemingly no “eff-U” moments, but he had several excuses – 1. “We wanted Drew to get the record”; 2. We wanted Jimmy Graham to get the record; 3. “We were scared of Quarterback X or Team X and their ability to score”; and 4. “We wanted to screw the f*%$ face Colin Wynner, who consistently picked against us.” It’s safe to assume that if the 49ers are up 55-3, I will be rooting for an 80 yard touchdown pass from Smith to Vernon Davis as time expires.

Teenage girl logic:
Train’s song Save Me, San Francisco is one of my favorite songs, so I’ll say I’ve been high, I’ve been low, I’ve been yes and I’ve been oh hell no! Won’t you save me San Francisco! Who-Hoo! Plus, the Saints play in New Orleans and though I never been there, I hear that girls show their boobs on Bourbon Street for a beaded necklace!?! Seriously? I mean if I show my tatas to some old fart, he better give me something better than a beaded necklace. I could purchase that for .50! Yeah, New Orleans sucks!

Gambling Over-Thought: In week 10 the 49ers were favored by 3.5 over the Giants at home; in week 12 the Saints were favored by 7.5 over the Giants at home. Those two comparative spreads yield us a four point true ranking difference between these two teams, meaning that this game should have a point spread of Saints by one. Yet the number is 3.5! Or 2.5 points of value on the 49ers.

Popular Trend: The Saints are 0-4 ATS and SU on the road in the playoffs. Of course, that includes one game that was coached by Jim Mora Sr, who owns an 0-6 career playoff record (side note: I cannot wait to bet against Junior’s UCLA Bruins in their next bowl game, in fact even Junior’s presence on the sideline in the San Francisco Bowl was enough to get the cover for the Fighting Illini). Still, they have never won a road playoff game!

The Saints will cover if: Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles win their match-ups against NaVarro Bowman and Patrick Willis. It’s pretty simple – Graham and Sproles have been going nuts over the past few weeks but they haven’t faced a duo like Bowman and Willis. If those win are successful, the Saints will have their way with the 49ers.

The 49ers will cover if: Alex Smith plays like Alex Smith the quarterback and not Alex Smith the Tight End. The Saints defense is below average at best and Jim Harbuagh undoubtedly will put Smith in position to make plays, the question is – can he make them? The 49ers playoff lives depend on Smith making plays in the passing game. We know the 49ers will be able to run the ball.

Colin Wynner, Handicapper! Calls the winner: Top play of the week, the 49ers, straight-up! Look I promised myself not to let my hatred for Sean Payton’s “Vote for Brees for MVP” campaign to end the season influence my picks in the playoffs, but I can’t help it, I hate that bastard, in fact during their week 17 game against the Panthers I told my buddy, “if I ever see Sean Payton, we’re dropping gloves” (Some quick odds on that fight: Colin -255 to end fight in less than 30 seconds by knockout, +10000 Payton lands a lucky punch that staggers Colin enough for Payton to run away, -1200 Colin beats Payton like a Florida A&M drum major during hazing).

But, believe it or not, this isn’t a biased pick or based on my white hot hatred of Saints. Nope, this is a logic/feel pick, you see, I have good friend is who a huge 49ers fan who tipped me off to something this week. Most weeks when I ask him about the 49ers, he kind of sheepishly shrugs and tells me, “Yeah, it was a good win, but we can’t win in the playoffs with Alex Smith as our quarterback.” So this week, I figured he would be more fidgety than Luther from 48 Hrs, but he was surprisingly clam. I wrote it off thinking he probably thought the Saints were a terrible match-up for the 49ers and they were guaranteed losers, but I asked him anyway, “Hey, how you feeling about this week?” “Great! We got it!”, he replied. “Really? I mean not a doubt in your mind?” I asked. “None at all. Easy win.”, he emphatically responded. That nailed it for me – a reasonable guy with his finger on the pulse of his team is like having insider telling me a company is about to go belly-up because of a significant lawsuit, allowing me to short the piss out of the stock. Hey, you know what, don’t tell the SEC, but you can use this information as well!

San Francisco 24 New Orleans 20

Denver @ New England (-13.5)

Interesting Sub-Plot: Uh, say hello to Captain Obvious! CO tells us that the most interesting sub-plot is the fact that the Patriots brought Josh McDaniels back this week. Part of me feels like he wants to stick it to the Broncos badly, but there is a also a part that thinks he wouldn’t mind seeing a close game where his picks, Tebow and Demaryius Thomas, do well. Yeah, that doesn’t make sense, does it – he definitiely wants to stick it to Elway and Company.

Teenage girl logic:
Tom Brady is sooooo hot! I mean Tebow is hot too, but Tebow is a guy you want to marry, while Brady, well Brady, is the guy I want to meet on Spring Break after a few too many drinks, where I can let my inhibitions run wild. Yeah, he’s hot like that! Oh my, I hope my dad isn’t reading this!

Gambling Over-Thought: I get not over-reacting to games scores and fluctuating outcomes each week. But how is it possible that the Saints can move two points in favor of them based on “running up the score”, yet this game is basically where it should be? Remember when these teams played in week 15 in Denver, the Pats favored by 7, which equates to 13 in Foxboro (3 point standard home field). But we forget that in week 15, “Tebow-Mania” was in full-force, which the betting market was adjusting for because of the Broncos bettors. The Pats won that game by 18 points and the Broncos proceeded to lay back-to-back eggs in weeks 16 and 17. And that they beat a shell of the Steelers last week, so how is it that we have not seen an adjustment that would move this number closer to 15 or 16?

I will tell you why the books want no part of the two touchdown action on Tebow. Plus, they realize that they will get plenty of Tebow action at 13.5, so give up the value to the chalk side and make it easier for themselves.

Popular Trend: Did you know the Patriots have lost their last six playoff games against the spread? The great Belichick? No Way, right? Can you say “due”? I bet you can!

The Broncos will cover if: Jesus descends on the field and plays quarterback. Imagine the scene, especially in Boston, where the mere mention of Jesus makes hair of the backs of the intellectuals stand straight, when all of a sudden Jesus throws an 80 yard pass that hovers 30 feet above the end zone as Demeryius Thomas long jumps an unheard of 100 feet to make the catch in the right corner of the end zone. Or, Jesus as a 160 lb defensive repeatedly sacks Brady because he knows exactly when the snap of the ball will occur.

Of course, at the end of the day, Jesus being Jesus will lay down in this game thus giving the Patriots the win (and cover). In short, I give the Broncos no chance to win this game!

The Patriots will cover if: Tom Brady makes it to the stadium, dresses and takes every snap. Look the difference at quarterback between what the Broncos faced last week (that so-called version of Ben Roethlisberger) and this week is like the difference between the McRib and a full slab of baby backs at Famous Dave’s. Both items have “rib” in their title, but that’s where the similarities end.

Colin Wynner, Handicapper! Calls the winner: I was on the Patriots the second Dereryius Thomas crossed the goal-line with the winning touchdown in overtime, but then the following happen to further solidify my pick – 1. The Broncos have 0% chance of winning this game, and that’s not a rounded down .49% number or something, that’s 0.00000000% chance in this game and though the spread is prohibitive, I cannot in good conscience take the Broncos knowing that they have zero chance to win #playoffrules; 2. I heard former Broncos linebacker Tom Jackson on the radio talking himself into the Broncos having a chance to win. His logic – “you know last time the game was decided in the last six minutes of the second quarter, take that away and the game would have been different” (really, Thomas? My guess is you could take six minutes away from most every game and come out with a different result); and this barely coherent statement “I figure the Patriots will get seven possessions (7? Is there a prop bet on that? Hello, early retirement! Do not worry, even if I was retired, I will still write the weekly NFL picks column), the Broncos need to stop them twice, in the remaining five scoring drives, they cannot all be touchdowns, two must be field goals, which would give the Patriots, uh, let’s see, uh, twenty, uh, twenty-seven or so points. The Broncos only need to score 30 to win.” Now that was funny!; and 3. The public betting is on Denver pretty heavily.

New England 38 Denver 13

I am holding off on the Sunday picks until Saturday after the games because Sunday’s picks are dependent on the Saturday games. For example, had I done this last week, I would have switched from Pittsburgh to Denver, based on Detroit failing to cover. Don’t ask me to explain – just trust me it has nothing to do with how is better, it has everything to do with the cyclical nature of the NFL.

Good luck this weekend!

NFL 2011 – Week Two Picks

Oh man, was it great to have football back or what? I ask you on any other day of the week would it take a person 8.5 hours to take out the garbage or vacuum the house? Nope, but that is the case on an NFL Sunday? So, if you happen to have a significant other who loves football as much as you do, then you’re very, very lucky. They understand how hard it is to walk away from a game and accomplish the task. They even share in the procrastination with comments like “we can vacuum tomorrow” and “until the garbage starts to smell, I’m ok with compressing it with a boot”.

But if you’re on the other end of that stick and you have a significant other who is either indifferent to football or completely hates it, well then you have quite a problem on your hands when Sunday rolls around. The easiest choice is send significant other shopping for the day. That works for a single week, but that can become pricey for more than a few weeks. It really adds up when you’re getting tag-teamed by the inept quarterback play of Orton and Hasselbeck, or getting rammed by the St. Louis receivers dropping the ball.

The solution – pick your spots, man. For example, this week offers very few great games, especially early. So, my suggestion would be get up and take your SO out for a late breakfast, with full attention devoted to them, leave your phone at home. By the time the late games roll around SO will be such great mood that they will be willing to sit down and watch the Pats/Chargers with you.

Ugly, ugly start for the “professional” handicapper in the “Super Wynner” contest, as Colin picks up a mere 7.5 wins which puts him in two-way tie for last place (with G-DUB), while Juana had an amazing week at 11.5 and Megan eked out a one win victory over Colin.

Contestant 

Record 

Juana Wynner 

11-4-1 (.719) 

Megan Wynner 

8-7-1 (.531) 

Colin Wynner 

7-8-1 (.469) 

G-DUB 

7-8-1 (.469) 

 

SuperContest Week 1 Recap

Easy money calls on Chicago and Washington. A minor sweat on the Pats, when they decided to throw to a copy of a copy of a copy of Mike Vrabel (meaning #50 will have a tough time catching a touchdown pass if he is on the move or in other words he is a three-toed sloth) from the 1. Really, Belichick? Why try that pass in a game that the outcome was not in doubt. Isn’t a bit more important to try to establish that you can get a tough yard by running the football? I know how dare I question the great Belichick, who undoubtedly has forgotten more about football than I have ever known, but come Billy boy, you haven’t won a playoff game since 2007, which is exactly when you decided you didn’t need to worry about running the football between tackles. Coincidence? I think not.

My two losers – Denver and Tennessee. To me both those games were bad beats, not inside straight on “the river” bad beats, but “river” flush draw bad.

The Titans need a field goal to win and they’re roughly 15 yards away from reasonable field goal range, but instead of playing for the field goal Matthew Hasselbeck decides to go for the win by throwing a ball deep that ironically looked at lot most of Survivor’s Semhar’s coconut shots, weak, wobbly and off-target. Off-target is a bit harsh since Hasselbeck’s ball happen to find a target, a Jacksonville DB. Game over on what was a terrible, terrible decision by Hasselbeck. Jake Locker’s going to get his shot sooner than expected.

As for Denver, just a bad call, the Raiders have more talent or maybe the reality is the Broncos are void of talent. I have like to see what would have happened if Kyle Orton didn’t drop the ball, but rather hit the wide open receiver for an easy touchdown.

LHSC: 3-2-0 (Tied for 75th)

Note: I use the Las Vegas Hilton Lines from vegasinsider.com. The Super Contest lines are not live, but instead are set and held the entire week.

Kansas City @ Detroit (-7.5) – Detroit -7.5? Wow, this is an over-reaction perfect storm. The proof – the Chiefs look like they would have a tough time beating Kansas State, the Lions are now the favorite to win the Super Bowl after beating the Bucs on the road (ok, that is an exaggeration), the Stafford to Megatron combo is set to supplant Young to Rice, the Chiefs lost their best defender on a defense that was already leaky. Further, ingrained in the minds of all bettors is the gang-rape the Bills gave Chiefs last week. Believe me that is a tough image wipe from your memory. All signs point to the Lions huge in this game, right?

 

At this point, everyone is waiting for the resounding WRONG, but when I tried to make a case for the Chiefs keeping the game close, I ended strengthening the argument for the Lions. Here’s a list of reasons to back the Chiefs:

 

  • Point: Play conservatively by running Jamaal Charles – Counter: the Lions run defense is the strength of their defense
  • Point: Burn clock and wait for the Lions to make a mistake – Counter: The Chiefs lost their difference maker on defense in Berry, the Lions would utterly have to implode for this strategy to work.
  • Point: The Lions will let down and the Chiefs will be hungry – Counter: The Chiefs won the AFC West last season, I can’t see the Lions letting down or coming in overconfident.

 

Uh, yeah, this has Lions cover all over of it.

 

Pick: Detroit -7.5

 

Oakland @ Buffalo (-3.0) – There are several compelling reasons to take the Bills in this game. The most compelling is that the Raiders play the late Monday game and have to travel across the country to an play early Sunday game in a hostile environment. That is reason enough to play this game, but here are three more compelling reasons:

  • I whole heartedly believe the Broncos suck, therefore the Raiders narrow win over them is virtually worthless. Granted the Chiefs are horrible as well, but the Bills pounded them. Big difference.
  • The Bills run defense is much better than the Broncos; meaning the Raiders will be forced to throw. Not good for a team that relies heavily on the run.
  • Jason Campbell is the starting quarterback for the Raiders – see note above about Raiders needing to throw.

Pick: Buffalo -3.0

Juana Wynner’s Week Two Picks

Chicago @ New Orleans (-7.0) – The Bears will win this one because Ditka, when he was coaching, gave them inspiration to win. I think they still have the inspiration even though he retired.

Pick: Chicago +7.0

Oakland @ Buffalo (-3.0) – On Thursdays Bold and the Beautiful soap opera, Bill Spencer got mad at his son because he didn’t have his work done on time. He then fell behind schedule. I think the Bill S will fall behind schedule as well.

Pick: Oakland +3.0

Seattle @ Pittsburgh (-14.0) – It’s so hard to win by more than 15 points unless you just get really lucky.

Pick: Seattle +14.0

San Diego @ New England (-6.5) – I really want to live in California some day! I would also love to go to SDSU so therefore the Chargers will win.

Pick: San Diego +6.5

St. Louis @ New York Giants (-6.0) – Even though I’ve grown up liking the Rams because my dad likes them, I have a feeling that they are going to get crushed like a juice box.

Pick: New York Giants -6.0

The Rest:

Kansas City +8.5, Jacksonville +9.0, Arizona +4.0, Baltimore -5.5, Carolina +10, Minnesota -3.0, Cleveland -2.0, San Francisco +3.0, Houston -3.0, Denver -3.0, Philadelphia -2.0

 

Chicago @ New Orleans (-7.0) – Despite what they did to the Falcons last week, I still think Bears are headed towards mediocrity-ville. And the Saints have had 10 days to prepare. You just can’t give Sean Payton 10 days to prepare for anyone.

Yeah, that’s a little tongue-in-check poke at Payton, who for some reason I do not consider him to be an upper echelon coach. But the fact remains the Bears caught the attention of the Saints by whipping the Falcons last week. With this the home opener for New Orleans, I see them rolling the Bears.

Pick: New Orleans -7.0

 

Jacksonville @ NY Jets (-9.0) – Remember in my NFL 2011 Season wins column how I stated that the Jets “good fortune couldn’t possibly continue”, yeah, I was pretty much dead wrong as again the Jets came up from a fresh, steaming pile smelling like roses last week against Dallas. Think back to Sunday night, do the Cowboys win that game if Jason Garret runs Felix Jones into the line three times from the three instead of running the following plays:

 

  • 1-3-NYJ3; F.Jones right tackle to NYJ 2 for 1 yard (57-B.Scott)
    • Solid play call; with the Cowboys needing a field goal to push the lead to two possessions, no need to get cute
  • 2-2-NYJ2; T.Romo pass incomplete short right to 19-M.Austin
    • This play was a mess, Austin couldn’t get off the corner, Romo’s throw was almost picked. Again run Jones into the middle and play for a field goal
  • 3-2-NYJ 2; T.Romo sacked at NYJ 3 for -1 yards FUMBLES, RECOVERED by NYJ
    • Ugh! Still a one possession game.

 

It was at that point, I knew the Jets were heading for victory, despite their anemic offense. The Jets offense managed to gain a massive 62 yards after that Romo fumble, but scored 10 points to win the game. A field goal right there was all the Cowboys needed to secure a very big week one win!

 

And that’s just how it goes for the Jets, to the point that I am starting to believe, somehow, this isn’t about good fortune, it’s about incompetent opposing coaches, who consistently leave the back door open. And when you leave your back door open the next thing you know money is missing, your daughter is knocked up and your son is addicted to meth! In other words, a lot of bad things!

 

Pick: NY Jets -9.0

 

Megan Wynner’s Week Two Picks

Chicago @ New Orleans (-7.0)- I think that the Chicago Bears will win because I like the team colors. Also I think they play faster as a team. Therefore, that might affect how the team plays.

Pick: Chicago +7

Kansas @ Detroit (-7.5) – I think that the Detroit Lions will win because I like their colors. Also I think that lions are really strong. Therefore, they will outplay the other team.

Pick: Detroit -7.5

Jacksonville @ N.Y. Jets (-9.0) – I think that the Jacksonville Jaguars will win because I like their team colors. I also like their mascot. Therefore, I think that they can beat the Jets by communicating more.

Pick: Jacksonville +9

Arizona @ Washington – I think that Arizona Cardinals will win because they are my states team! Also they made it to the super bowl in 2008. I also like their team colors.

Pick: Arizona +3.5

Seattle @ Pittsburgh (-14) – I think that the Pittsburgh Steelers will win because they won the super bowl in 2008. Also because I like their team colors! In addition, I think they will be able to outplay san Francisco.

Pick: Pittsburgh -14

Green Bay @ Carolina (-10) – I think the Green Bay Packers will win because they won the super bowl this past year. Therefore the Packers will be able to out play the Panthers! Also the Packers team colors and uniforms are cool.

Pick: Green Bay -10

Tampa bay @ Minnesota (-3)- I think that the Minnesota Vikings will win I like their colors. Also I think that they can outplay and communicate more than Tampa Bay! Lastly they have cool uniforms.

Pick: Minnesota -3

The rest:

Buffalo +3, Baltimore -5.5, Indianapolis +2.0, Dallas -3, Miami +3, New England +6.5, Denver -3.5, Philadelphia -2.0, St. Louis +6

 

Houston (-3.0) @ Miami – Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall called QB Chad Henne the “White Vick” this week, which is surprising since at the end of last season Marshall called out Henne for being unwilling to improvise, essentially throwing him under the bus. Marshall was also quoted as saying, “Tyler Thigpen is a better fit for this offense.” Now, after one game Henne is the “White Vick”. Hmm, something is smells fishy here. Maybe what Marshall was really trying to say is that since white is the opposite of black, that Henne is the opposite of Vick, as in, he really, really sucks.

 

The Dolphins have lost 10 of their last 11 home games, so they’re due. Ahh, one week in and we have the first “due” theory play.

 

Pick: Miami +3.0

 

The NFC WORST:

Arizona @ Washington (-3.5)

Seattle @ Pittsburgh (-14.0)

Dallas (-3.0) @ San Francisco

St. Louis @ NY Giants (-6.0)

 

OK, last season we had a 7-9 team win a division (NFC West), host and win a playoff game. That was awesome! But this year, we can do better; we can get a 10-10 Super Bowl champion! For that to happen, we first need a division winner to finish 6-10. Sound impossible? Not with the NFC West’s collection of craptastic teams. Here are the pararmeters:

 

  • All teams beat each other once within the division (3 wins for each)
  • Each NFC West team is allotted two wins against the NFC East/AFC North opponents (2 wins)
  • The max an NFC west team can win against the other NFC opponents is 1 game

 

Unfortunately, the Cardinals are already pushing the bounds of these parameters by holding on to clip the Panthers. We absolutely need them to rise the occasion this week against the Redskins by getting behind early and mailing in the rest of the game.

 

If St. Louis or Seattle were to break through on the road this week that would certainly throw a wrench in this tight plan as well. However, the Seahawks are standing on the train tracks with a train quickly approaching (the Steelers). While the Rams are still suffering from the pre-season championship hangover, which is 100% of the reason they lacked focus against the Eagles. Raising the pre-season championship banner in the pre-game ceremony never works out well for the home team.

 

That leaves us with the 49ers against a very beatable Cowboys team. At this point, we really cannot trust the Cowboys in any game where Romo is taking snaps. Of course, on the other side is Alex Smith, who is not exactly “retirement score” material. The Boys can’t possible go to 0-2, can they?

 

Picks:

Washington -3.5

Pittsburgh -14.0

Dallas -3.0

NY Giants -6.0

 

Cincinnati @ Denver (-3.5) – Donkey fans are clamoring for a quarterback change, they want Tebow! So much so that eight huge Bronco fans decided to pull together 10K to rent two billboards imploring coach John Fox and the Broncos to bench Kyle Orton in favor of Tim Tebow. I have to admit, I think this will work. When Fox realizes that these guys essentially are giving up a down payment on a tractor with an air conditioned cab, he will be forced to acknowledge their passion, not to mention their obvious high football acumen and give Tebow the starting job.

My guess is 10K for a billboard is just a start, if Tebow doesn’t the start soon, the next step will be one of these guys telling Fox, “that’s a beautiful wife you have there, it be shame for something to happen to her.” If that doesn’t work, we will graduate to full-fledged kidnapping with a ransom demand of Tebow starts ever game from now until he retires.

I will translate for Broncos fan – “We would rather go 4-12 with a Christian quarterback than 8-8 with that devil worshiping, sinner Kyle Orton.”

As for the game, this is week two “pair” games, where we logically place the paired sides of week one opponents. For example, maybe Oakland is really good this season, therefore, the Broncos are maybe a slightly above average team. Of course, I still have very little respect for the Raiders. Meaning the Broncos are terrible.

The is no reason to believe that Cincinnati, who is practically a mirror image of the Raiders, with a slightly better defense, won’t be able to do exactly what the Raiders did to the Broncos, only without the 900 penalties and special teams breakdown.

Pick: Cincinnati +3.5

 

Green Bay (-10) @ Carolina – Here is a little known fact for you – the defending Super Bowl champion never cover a 10 point spread on the road, against a rookie quarterback with the first name Cam. That trend is 1-0 for the home team underdog, as of Sunday night.

 

Pick: Carolina +10

 

Tampa Bay @ Minnesota (-3.0) – Do you think Mike Shanahan watched the replay of the Vikings/Chargers game and simply smiled every time McNabb threw a pass like the rules of the game dictate that the ball has to bounce once? Me too. And by the end of that game he was probably in hysterical laughing, like “damn, I nailed that.”

 

Tampa Bay has the feel to me of a team that we will keep saying every, “This is the week they get it together” and then at the end of the season they’re 6-10. They’re so young that they can afford a season where they just failed to meet expectations. But watch out for this team in 2012!

 

Pick: Minnesota -3.0

 

Cleveland (-2.0) @ Indianapolis – Pre-season line had the Colts favored by 7.5 points but that was under the assumption that the Browns would handle the Bengals, so we can safely adjust that number to 9.0, which means that if Manning is worth 9.5 points (established last week) and Kerry Collins is worth -1.5 points. It’s never a good thing if a starting quarterback is considered a liability.

 

The Colts can’t be this bad, can they? I believe this is all a pre-planned ploy to be able to draft Andrew Luck and allow with Payton a couple seasons to groom him. But according to Robert Mathis that is not true. Mathis tweeted this week – “Luck is not our quarterback and we’re not tanking to get him”. Quick, someone let Robert in on the plan!

 

Pick: Indianapolis +2.0

 

Baltimore (-5.5) @ Tennessee – Chris Johnson told reporters this week that in the Titans playoff loss to the Ravens in 2008 the Ravens tried to hurt him. Wow, really, CJ, they tried to take out the best player on the opposing team in a playoff game. No way! We have to remember, that was CJ2K, not the 2011 version better known as CJ200, so it makes total sense that the Ravens wanted him out of the game. However, after watching film this week, the Ravens allegedly agreed to try to NOT hurt CJ200.

 

Anyway, I would think CJ would come out pissed off and ready for vengeance in this. We certainly shouldn’t see any of the week one, “Franco Harris”-esque, two yards and fall down crap, right CJ? We shall see. Fantasy owners need to be very cautious of this guy.

 

Another interesting point on this game is that the Ravens are currently drawing 89% of the side action, with the second highest number of overall bets (numbers courtesy of pregame.com).

 

Now, I am no advanced mathematician, but my guess is the Book’s might have trouble making their “quota” if they lose too many games where 89% of the money is backing one side. And back in the old days, I would’ve blindly taken the Titans just for that reason alone, ignoring obvious facts like – a. Already established, but I like to harp, CJ is not CJ, and it’s not close; b. Matt Hasselbeck is not 2006 Super Bowl Matt Hasselbeck. That’s true with every one as they age, but generally while the physical skills deteriorate, the mental skills sharpen. Uh, not with hASSelbeck, as evidenced by the decision to throw that game ending wobbly, inaccurate pass. In addition, Hasselbeck spent most of the day doing his best John Lackey impersonation, screaming at his receivers because they couldn’t catch balls thrown at their feet; c. Mike Munchak looks to be a poor-mans, Mike Tice. That’s not a compliment; d. Much to my surprise the Ravens under Harbaugh don’t suffer the post-Steelers week hang-over; e. MJD ran wild against the Titans, imagine what a guy with healthy knees, like Ray Rice will do to them; and f. Flacco is no Luke McCown. And that is a compliment.

 

Add it all up and this is a no-brainer. Damn be the action. Plus, my theory on the books is they will get theirs, just not this one.

 

Further, let’s imagine the following scenario; you’re heading the Vegas, with a pre-defined “loss” limit of $500. Once there you sit down a Blackjack table and proceed to lose the entire $500. You’re more likely to stop gambling, because you tasted no success whatsoever.

 

Now, imagine that instead of losing $500, you win $500. You just doubled your money, your riding high, feeling invincible, ready to go for “the kill”. But then you start to lose, albeit slowly, first a $100, then $200 more, you keep trying to right the ship, but now you’ve given back all of your winnings plus $200. Frustrated you keep going, but to no avail and you lose $300 more. Now you’re down the original $500.

 

Now, tell me, which scenario is more likely to see the individual described above dig for beyond the $500? I say it’s a no-brainer, the second scenario. Homey had success, so they know it can be done, just a $200 more can get me back to even. Just $200 more, I can limit my losses. Just $200 more, I know I can win.

 

The odds-makers have no problem giving away a few freebies early in the season, just to lock in people beyond their “limit”. They don’t want the $500, they want the $1500 and they know you have to spend money to make money. Therefore. . .

 

Pick: Baltimore -5.5

 

San Diego @ New England (-6.5) – Here’s a meaningless, but coincidental fact – the Patriots blew out the Bengals last year 38-24 in week one, then laid an egg, at the hands of the Jets, in week two. Last week the Pats blew out the Dolphins, 38-24. Coincidence? I think not!

 

I am not afraid of a mere 6.5 points with Norv Turner coaching. Repeat I am not afraid . . .

 

Pick: San Diego +6.5

 

Philadelphia (-2.0) @ Atlanta – This is my five star NFL game of the century! In fact, I am so confident that this game is a winner that if it loses I will give you the rest of the season for free!

 

Quick hitting facts about this game:

 

  • The Eagles should be 0-1, but thanks to the Rams utter incompetence they escaped with the narrowest 18 point win in NFL history
  • The Falcons are much better than what we witnessed last week
  • The Eagles are still getting a ton of action from the betting public; we don’t have to look far for proof of this – they’re favored in Atlanta
  • The crowd will be wild, there is nothing like rabid Atlanta fans on a Sunday night; hang on scratch that, I just made a point for the Eagles.
  • This will be the game where Julio Jones becomes Wholio instead of Jewelio; i.e. this is his breakout game.
  • Those playing fantasy football against Michael Turner this week will get a call Monday morning from their opponent, who will state, “Man, I am sorry, but Michael Turner just scored again!”
  • Sunday nights are always tough on Andy Reid, who by the middle of the third quarter the is so famished that the play sheet looks like a menu.

 

Unfortunately, I couldn’t talk my alter ego into making this one of my SuperContest picks of the week.

 

Pick: Atlanta +2.0

 

Colin Wynner calls the winners, no really this week, Colin really calls the winners!

 

Good Luck to all!