NFL 2012 – Divisional Playoff Predictions, “Saturday” Edition

The Colin Wynner express was rolling toward the 11-0 holy land when out of the blue it was sent caroming into the desert roughage by what I will call the “Joe Webb experience.” And to think, I actually made this comment regarding Webb, “I still love the Vikings with Webb, their game plan doesn’t change with him – play defense and get the ball to Peterson, but now they add the element of the zone read two hours before kickoff.” We all know how that worked out. Maybe Christian Ponder is worth three points.

The “Joe Webb experience” gave me a strong desire to hurl myself off a 700 story building into a pit of fire (the pit of fire is the fallback, just in case the 700 story plunge doesn’t do the trick). But I resisted and rebounded Sunday with a perfect 2-0 record. But the primary reason I refrained, was so I can bring you the 2012 NFL playoffs divisional round winners.

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.


Baltimore @ Denver (-9.5)

Interesting Sub-Plot: Peyton Manning playoff stats in this situation are quite interesting. First, his career record with the temperature below 35 degrees is 0-3, with losses to the Jets and Patriots twice. Game time temperature in Denver – 18 degrees! In fact, at 18 degrees this will be the coldest playoff game Manning has ever started. Of course, many a Denver fan will point out two facts – 1. Manning has never lost a home playoff game where the temperature was below 35 degrees; and 2. Manning played exceptional in two cold weather home games late in the year. Fair enough, Donkey fan, but I will point out that Manning has never won a home playoff game in those frigid conditions and that the final two games of the season were against Cleveland and Kansas City, good luck with that logic. And for the record, the temp was 51 and 35 for those games so – EAAAHHHHH, sorry wrong answer!

Secondly, Manning is just 1-3 in the playoffs when coming off a bye. Guess what? The Broncos had a bye last week. And lastly, it appears that Manning will don a glove on his throwing hand to mitigate the cold weather. Hmmm, very interesting, I guess there will be no glove lost in this game.

Teenage girl logic: I love Colorado, it’s a great place to visit and a better place to live. Yeah, I’ve only been there once but I can tell it’s a perfect place with perfect people. Go Broncos!

Trending: Teams that covered a regular season matchup by 10 or more points are just 4-9 ATS in the playoff matchup.

The Ravens will cover if: Anquan Boldin takes this game over like he did last week against the Colts. “Q” might be at the beginning of a 2008 Fitzgeraldian run through the 2012 playoffs.

The Broncos will cover if: They don’t let the Ravens hang around. The Ravens are a “keep it close, steal it at the end” team. The Donks absolutely cannot let the Ravens jump out to any sort of lead in this game. just ask the Titans about that (2000 and 2008). On the flip side, if the Broncos put up two quick touchdowns, the Ravens are done!

Colin Wynner, Handicapper! Calls the winner: The was a day where you could drop a double digit number in the divisional playoff round and sip on Courvoisier while watching a 44-3 blowout. That doesn’t happen in the current NFL, well unless the team double digit dog is quarterbacked by Tim Tebow coming off a incredibly emotional Wildcard round win (see how I did that). The history of what I will call the “NFL – parity edition” tells us to take the points in these situations. Sure we are roughly 10 years into this edition, but the days of the of #1/#2 seeds laying the hammer in the divisional round is long gone.

So you’ve got that and the following: 1. It’s likely that the week off truncated the momentum for a Broncos team riding an 11 game winning streak; 2. The glove! The glove gives us litany of literary play on words, like the promiscuous young lady telling her boyfriend, “No glove, no love!” Or my personal favorite from the Naked Gun 45: Nordberg found innocent of murder, “if the glove don’t fit, you must acquit!” Well, here is one for this game, “with glove on hand for support, the Broncos shit their shorts!”; 3. The Ravens are in much better shape for the rematch, from the offensive line to the defense; 4. The emotion of Ray Lewis and the corresponding influence on the rest of the Ravens; it can’t hurt, but, I agree, the angle itself is weak, since it was obvious Ray left it on the field last week. Still if the Ravens keep it close, Ray-Ray might make a huge play somewhere late in this game that has a major impact on the outcome or at least the spread; 5. The Broncos have to be looking ahead to the showdown with the Patriots, right? and 6. It bears mentioning again – it’s too many points.

And, yes, I know this is the blueprint for playoff disaster by going against probably the single biggest playoff rule, “never back a shaky quarterback in the playoffs, especially on the road”, in the history of the playoffs or rules. Furthermore, there is a better than average that after this week, I will be bitching about not follow my own rules, along with updating the “rules” with this new one called the “never bet against NFL” rule. Yeah, it’s probably only me and like four other guys who know that the NFL would love to see a Brady and Manning matchup up for the AFC championship, in primetime no less. Eff-it all, give me the Ravens and the points

Denver 26 Baltimore 21 (3 Stars out of 5 possible)

Green Bay @ San Francisco (-3.0)

Interesting Sub-Plot: The fact that this is the “all-in” moment for Jim Harbuagh with his decision to hand the starting QB job to Colin Kaepernick. In week one, former starting quarterback, Alex Smith played about as well as one could play in leading the 49ers to a victory in Lambeau. If the 49ers lose this game with Kaepernick playing a key role in the loss, will that become the second strike against Harbuagh? What’s the first strike, you ask? Harbaugh’s charmingly self – yeah, he is so obstinate and generally unlikable that I believe he will start every job with 0-1 count, a little bit like it seems Carl Crawford does every at-bat.

Teenage girl logic: I had no idea that those gaudy “cheesehead” things were so popular, but apparently in addition to the normal “cheesehead” you can get a cheese sombrero, a cheese fireman’s hat, a cheese tie, a cheese cowboy hat, etc. etc. Yikes, with all that crazy cheesehead crap donning the rather large humans in Packer-land , a home game in Green Bay must rival a tattoo convention and most nights on Bourbon street for biggest “freak show” ever. And my goodness, they have cheese earrings as well. How tacky! But I see can totally see this girl named Sarah wearing them. Uh, she is such a slut! I can imagine that guys would be all like, “Oh, Sarah how cute, you have cheesehead earrings.” ARGH, I can’t stand her, she is so ugly and the only reason guys like her is because she is a total whore! ARGH! Oh wait, this is where I am supposed to make a pick, right? OK, OK, enough about sluts, I think the 49ers are going to win the Super Bowl, so DUH, they are going to win this game!

Trending: Home playoffs teams favored by 3 or less points are just 7-13 ATS since 2002.

The Packers will cover if: If, “the most worthless piece of shit in the world” (as a fantasy buddy of mine calls him) a.k.a. Jermichael Finley, shows up ready to be the difference. Look it seems almost impossible for Finley to be a non-factor given that he is 6-4, 240, runs a 4.4 40, posesses amazing balance and athletic giftedness but somehow he does. Yup, most games Finley is invisible. And when not invisible he can be found dropping key third down passes or pointing first down when coming up a half yard short or tweeting “YOTTO.” YOTTO (“Year Of The TakeOver”), is an acronym coined by Finley after his breakout year. Interestingly, I coined the YAYWIGFAL to describe his play the year after his YOTTO year (“Year After YOTTO When I Got Fat And Lazy”). He can be difference in this game for the Packers, if 1. he shows up ready to play; and 2. Rodgers and McCarthy have enough trust left in him.

The 49ers will cover if: Colin Kaepernick plays less like Colin Wynner and more like Colin Kaepernick. I’m not going to lie with me at quarterback in this game, the number is probably close to Packers -7.5, so Kaepernick is worth close to 11 points more than me, but the junior Colin has the potential to lay an egg here, or in other words – there is massive pressure on this kid. So far he has handled the pressure in every spot, but this is the biggest, brightest stage of his career, and one where the 49ers are expected to win.

Colin Wynner, Handicapper! Calls the winner: This is tough, really tough, man! On one hand you have the “Lindsay Lohan doing porn” inevitable factors, like Rodgers is going to be harassed all day long by that 49er defense line and David Akers will miss a bushel of field goals, while Billy Cundiff sticks pins in an Akers voo-doo doll. Those are the gimmies, but that’s not going to get me the much sought after W. I firmly believe to have a winning week this week, I need this game. Sure when I interviewed before the game, I will tell the world, “they all count the same in the standings.” But this game, this game is a game I need, a game I want badly.

Therefore, I have to dig deeper for this one. Truth be told I loved the Packers from the start of the week. But that’s three parts of “the public would be all over 49ers” (thus giving me the playoff rule “it’s never a bad idea to be on the same side as the house”) and one part “revenge for week one.” The revenge card is an over-played, never truly works like you think it will.  Plus, from my rudimentary “bet metrics” the money appears to be fairly well divided, therefore, we can totally throw out the “it’s never a bad idea to side with the house” rule.

Desperate situations call for desperate measures, so I went go to the biggest 49er fan I know “Da Carz”, who has always had an unrealistic view of his team. So, I asked him how nervous he was on a scale of 1=already booked my flights to New Orleans to 10=I am wearing Depends just to be safe. His response, “I am about a five. I believe in my team, but Aaron Rodgers is the wildcard. If they did not have a good quarterback, I would not be worried.” Hmm, a five, huh? Thanks for nothing!

Despite his middling response, he gave me exactly what I needed. Here is the deal – last year in a similar spot “Da Carz” told me that the 49ers were about to visit “Lock” city against the Saints, so reading his comments this year, he’s not a five, he’s a 9.9999, meaning he’s probably played the game out in his mind which caused him to shart himself.

So here we go, I jumping off the building here holding my balls and screaming “Geronimo” (wait, is that insensitive?). I think Kaepernick is shaky, at least shaky enough that if the Packers put up the first points of this game the pressure will go from, in terms of the aforementioned Lohan, “if this B-Movie, and my over-acting, work for me, I might be able to claw my way back into fringe blockbuster movies, plus I will be able to continue pay rent, always a bonus” to “only one option left – hard-core porn. And rent is now a 50/50 prop each month.” I also am not buying that Justin Smith is back to anywhere near 100%, something the Packers will figure out on the first series and make adjustments to aid their one liability in this game, the offensive line.

Bottom line – the Packers have been there, done that in hostile road playoff game environments. The 49ers needed five turnovers and two miracle drives from their backup quarterback to pull off a win against a “good quarterback” last year. All cheese, all the time!

Green Bay 24 San Francisco 20 (2 Stars)

Coming up – the Sunday divisional round picks!

Good luck this weekend!


2012 NFL Predictions – Week 05 Picks, “Soccer Induced Quick Picks” Edition

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.

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 “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. . .!”


 

NFL 2012 – Week #1 Predictions

Football is back. My over/under on weeks before I utter the words, “I hate this league” has settled at 2.5. I am leaning toward the under.

Here are week one picks. Remember, the NFL is my specialty.

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 “SuperContest” picks:

Seattle (-2.5) @ Arizona – I find it ironic that immediately after Marshawn Lynch gets a huge contract, he is all of sudden down with “back spasms” so bad that it might prevent him from playing in the opener. Wasn’t that the whole issue with Lynch to begin with? It’s like Marshawn plays in “beast” mode when he needs a contract but once he has a deal he plays in “bitch” mode. Nevertheless, this game won’t be close, as this Cardinals team is complete garbage.

Picks: Seattle -2.5

Atlanta (-2.5) @ Kansas City – Remember last year the week one matchup between the Faclons and Besrs in Chicago? Well, the “sharps” were all over the Falcons in that, so much that the line moved from Bears -1.0 for Falcons -3.0. Well, those crazy “sharps” are back at – all over the Falcons again this year in the opener, in arguable a more difficult place to play, Arrowhead. In five weeks, we will look a back on this game with amazement that Falcons were favored. And that’s more because the Chiefs will be that impressive.

Picks: Kansas City +2.5

Carolina (-2.5) @ Tampa Bay – Have you noticed the pattern here? My first three games are all road favorites of exactly -2.5. In these cases, history tells us that one of those will cover, Seattle, and two will not. . .

Side note – enough is enough, it’s time to stop laughing at the “NFL is my specialty” comment above, focus man, focus!

Picks: Tampa Bay +2.5

Buffalo @ NY Jets (-3.0) – The Bills are getting a little too much love here. Yeah, I like them to win 10 games this season but this line and line movement is disrespectful to the Jets, who were 5 point favorites when the week one lines were released back in August. Look the Jets can still play great defense and they have a secret weapon, the Bills are clueless about the Jets “wildcat” package. This might be is the lock of the week!

Picks: NY Jets -3.0

San Diego @ Oakland (-1.0) – What is there to like about the Charger this season? They look like a mess to me. Their quarterback, Phillip Rivers, was forced to play the final pre-season game because he looked so pathetic in the first three pre-season games. The defense is weak, their receivers are a collection of #2’s (and no I don’t mean turds, though that fits) and their coach is over-matched is just about every game. It seems like they’re depending on an oft-injured Antonio Gates to stay healthy and be the Gates of 2007. That’s pretty risky.

Plus, this Oakland team is for real on offense, at home and hungry!


Pick: Oakland -1.0

The “how many Rams does it take to change a flat tire? Just one, unless it’s a blowout, then they all show up.” picks

Indianapolis @ Chicago (-10.0) – The Bears play the Packers week two on a Thursday night. In other words, they have a short week coming up against their arch-rival and primary competition in the NFC North. Now, I really believe the Bears can go into Lambeau and come away with a win. They’d have the entire offseason to prepare for this game, you have to think they will come up with a few new wrinkles to make Aaron Rodgers uncomfortable, plus the Packers are coming off a physical game with the 49ers on a short week, as well.

You see how I did that? I completely discounted this week’s game against the Colts. Don’t think the Bears aren’t doing the exact same thing.

Pick: Indianapolis +10.0

Philadelphia (-9.5) @ Cleveland – Poor Cleveland! I cannot imagine growing up in a city where perpetual losing is a way of life. There are 9.5 point underdogs, at home on week one! And if you gave the bookies the chance to re-post this line immediately after the final gun, they would post a 13.5. Yeah, it’s going to be that bad.

Pick: Philadelphia -9.5

Washington @ New Orleans (-8.0) – Buyer beware – I hate the Saints, so I cannot make logical decisions with regard to their games. However, even with that I fully expect to hit at least 8 of their games correctly this season. I think New Orleans got their big victory on Friday when some liberal judge ruled in the favor of the Saints players in the bounty-gate case. Therefore, this game is meaningless to them – like “They (Saints) won because Smith and Vilma were able to play.”

Pick: Washington +8.0

Miami @ Houston (-12.5) – I will let you in on a little secret, I bet the Texans at -7.5 way back at the beginning of August. I know what you’re thinking, “where the eff was that inside information, Colin?” There are some things I just have to keep to myself. Look if this game isn’t a 34-7 blowout by the Texans, I will chop off lefty, self stitch my sack and send the teste to the “Center for Research on Abnormally Large Body Parts”. Fair enough?

Pick: Houston -12.5

St. Louis @ Detroit (-8.5) – Am I crazy to think that the Rams actually have a chance in this game? I enter the follow exhibits as to why – 1. The Lions are one dimensional and despite the reality that the Rams have no one that can keep Calvin Johnson from going all “Flipper Anderson v the Saints, circa 1989” on them, I think they find a way to exploit the Lions inability to run the ball; 2. We don’t really know what we have with Sam Bradford, right? I mean this guy was the number one overall pick. He has two years under his belt, meaning the game has to be slowing down for him. He has a coach that wants to and will be able to protect him. Why can’t this guy lead the Rams to an upset?; 3. The lack of a Lions running game means the Rams front four, which believe it or not is a strength, can pin their ears back and attack Stafford; 4, The lions best defender, Ndomakong Suh, is mourning the reality that his mentor and butt buddy, Bo Pelini, is on his out at Nebraska. Don’t get me started!; and 5. Jeff Fisher > Jim Schwartz; remember Schwartz worked under Fisher for quite some time in Tennessee, now it’s time for Obi-Wan to leave Anakin legless in a smoldering pile of lava.

Uh, on second thought, yeah, I am crazy, the Rams have no shot!

Pick: Detroit -8.5

Cincinnati @ Baltimore (-7.0) – I’m down on both teams this season, however, seven points seems a bit too much for a couple of good defensive teams with spotty offenses. Give me the points on Monday night!

Pick: Cincinnati +7.0

The “Toss-up” picks:

New England (-5.5) @ Tennessee – I cannot wait to see Chris Johnson this season, who somehow despite killing a majority of the fantasy teams last season was still highly regarded this season to be taken in the top 10 in most fantasy drafts. My hatred of him is well documented, so it is difficult for me to be objective, but I watched him in the pre-season and I see nothing different from last year. He doesn’t want to get hit, period! He plays a position where one gets hit and hit often, so there is a huge conflict and unless he can find huge chunks of yardage around the end without getting touched he is going to be useless.

As for this game, something tells me the Pats aren’t going to be the Pats for a few weeks.

Pick: Tennessee +5.5

San Francisco @ Green Bay (-5.0) – This will be the first in a series of “payback” games for the 49ers. What’s a 49er “payback” game? A game where the 49ers lose because of either a combination of or one of the following: a. bad turnover; b. missed assignment that leads to a big play; c. a key dropped pass; d. a bad call that goes against the them; e. missed field goal in a big spot; or f. A boneheaded coaching decision that when called out in the post-game causes Harbaugh to blow a gasket and attack the reporter leading to a suspension. Too much went right for that team last season, to not have it turn against them this year.

That aside the 49ers will keep this game close.

Pick: San Francisco +5.0

Jacksonville @ Minnesota (-3.5) – I wish DirecTV would provide subscribers to the NFL Sunday Ticket a count of TV’s tuned to each game. My guess is, if you excluded Minnesota fans and the handful of Jaguars fans, this game might never top out at more than 100. This game won’t be make DirecTV’s “game mix” channel. And even the “Red Zone” channel will likely delay any scoring in this game for maybe a quarter or so – like, “OK, it’s halftime now in Minnesota, but we want to take you back to early first quarter action to show you this score by the Vikings. . . ”

For the pick – it’s simple – the Vikings have some promise, the Jags are garbage.

Pick: Minnesota -3.5

Pittsburgh @ Denver (-1.5) – Dumbest line of the week! Why? Well, the 2011 season ended for the Steelers right there in Denver. Anyone remember what the line was in that game? Steelers by 7.5! So, essentially with everything else being the same, you’re telling me that a 35-year old quarterback, coming off one year layoff due to major neck surgery is worth 9 points? Did I mention that Manning has a fused neck? And one blind-side, whiplash hit could easily un-fuse his neck. I will take the value on Pittsburgh.

Pick: Pittsburgh +1.5

2012 Season Record: 1-0-0

Colin Wynner calls the winners! Good Luck to all!

2011 NFL – Super Bowl Prop Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total Sacks by Both Teams:
Under 4 -105

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

Total Kickoff Returns by Both Teams:
Under 6.5 -160

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Player Props:

Ahmad Bradshaw, Over 62.5 Yards Rushing (-115)

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

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

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

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

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

Kenny PhillipsOver 5 Tackles (Even)

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

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

Tom BradyUnder 39.5 Pass attempts (-115)

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

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

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

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

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

Touchdown passesEli Manning +.5 over Tom Brady

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

Most Rushing YardsDanny Woodhead +10.5 over Brandon Jacobs

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

Most Receiving YardsMario Manningham -5.5 over Deion Branch

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

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

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

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