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 – Week 13, “Rooting for the House” Edition

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

The “Super Contest” picks:
Cincinnati (-1.5) over San Diego – Even in the midst of this crap season by the Chargers I still had them favored in this game by 2 to 2.5 points. When I noticed the line I immediately thought, oh, Chargers are a great play. Then I thought back to that gutless effort by San Diego on Sunday against a Ravens team that neither wanted to be in San Diego nor attempt to win that game. And fresh in my mind was the Flacco give up 4th and 29 screen pass; though a screen pass carries the implication that there is at least some semblance of blockers out in front of the running back where as this was more of a two yard dump off that Ray Rice essentially willed his way through eight of the 11 Charger defenders for the first down. Did I mention the Chargers were gutless last weekend?

In fairness, I know what I’m get when betting on Norv, but goodness is there a head coach in the NFL who is so below average at every head coaching category? I don’t think there is, but by all means Bolt management, bring him back for another four years. The USA would do it!

Need proof, how about the lack of a timeout before halftime, which likely cost the Chargers points, or at least a chance at points. Norv steadfastly refused to call timeout even though QB Phil Rivers was screaming for one. Even the announcers were at a lost, as Ian Eagle feeble attempt to explain the non-timeout was absurd. Eagle, “Norv’s not calling a timeout here because the Ravens have their offense on the field.” WTF? Are you kidding me, Norv? If the Ravens are going to attempt a 4th and 1 from their 30 in the 2nd quarter of a game they are trailing, why would you stand in their way? Are you really worried about them scoring? Even if you plan nothing more than to run a couple safe plays, you have to call timeout there to force the opposition to punt and give yourself enough time to put some pressure on the defense. Pathetic!

Yeah, I cannot trust this Norv Turner Chargers team ever again.

Baltimore (-7.0) over Pittsburgh – Um, it’s Charlie Batch in Baltimore with the Ravens a win away from nailing the coffin shut on the Steelers in the division. In addition, dealing the Steelers another loss cripples their playoff chances. That is important to the Ravens as they have no desire to see a Roethlisberger led Steelers team that they defeated twice in the regular season, both times without the quarterback. Remember in Die Hard when John McClain didn’t kill the terrorist when he had the chance. That’s a rule in life to live by – never let someone who would should kill, live to haunt you!

San Francisco (-7.0) over St. Louis – This is a contradiction of my belief that when rebuilding a coach will focus from the division outward. The Rams are clearly rebuilding, but Jeff Fisher has the Rams playing at a very high level against the NFC West, as evidence by their 3-0-1 record against divisional foes. But this feels like a “flex their muscles” spot for the 49ers, who were out-played by the Rams in Frisco.

Dallas (-10.0) over Philadelphia – I have to admit that I am shocked by this line, regardless of how poor the Eagles are playing. The Cowboys have trouble covering any spread at home, how can Vegas give money away like this? Exactly, they’re not giving money away, they realize that the Eagles have officially quit after the loss to the Panthers and the Cowboys can throw up a big number to quiet the masses of fans clamoring for changes.

Miami (+7.5) over New England – I have always believed that there are two key spread numbers that tell the story about who to bet, with those numbers being 6.5 and 7.5. Without researching, I have blindly believed that 6.5 was a clear play on the underdog while 7.5 was an indication to make play on the favorite. Basically my logic is that why would the odds-makers not simply make a game a solid seven as opposed to adjusting the line a half point? The adjustment, in my mind, is to entice the action towards the natural comfort of the bettor. Most betters feel more comfortable laying 6.5 on the favorite for the obvious reason – they win with a touchdown margin, conversely, with 7.5, the bettor can afford a loss by a touchdown. In a nutshell, my plays are contrarian which side with the house.
Fortunately, it’s 2012 and we have the technology to research. Since 2002, teams favored by 7.5 are just 40-52 ATS, while teams receiving 6.5 points are 84-61 ATS. So, that actual numbers make logically sense to me but refute my blind theory. A number like 6.5 is frowned upon by the favorite loving general public, who are chalk bettors and can’t get their money to the window fast enough at 6.5.
A 7.5 point number is also hammered by public, chalk bettors with similar results, they don;t care about the .5 point because “the favorite is a better team and will win easily.” So, essentially what these numbers tell me is that betting the favorites will get me beat more often than not. Look at me, I’m a “sharp”!

The “Breaking the Rules” pick:
Jacksonville (+6.5) over Buffalo – I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was done taking the Jaguars and Chiefs. Of course, that was before Chad Henne showed up to save the day in Jacksonville. So, in the interest of fairness, I have amended my rule to “I will no longer pick a team quarterbacked by Blaine Gabbert.”

One more thing on this game, why is that by the end of the year whoever is quarterbacking the Bills has less arm strength than Chad Pennington immediately after his 18th shoulder fusion surgery. Think about it – from Flutie to Van Pelt to Losman to Edwards to Fitzpatrick – each of those guys have below average arms to begin with, but by December they literally cannot throw the ball more than 15 yards. Is there something in the water in Buffalo? Is it the 100 wings or so that the quarterback of Bills is mandated to eat each week? The result of these candy-ass armed quarterbacks is that the Bills become very easy to defend even for the Jaguars.

Kansas City (+3.5) over Carolina – Yeah, I am supposed to believe the Panthers are back because they beat the Eagles on Monday. Not buying it. First off, the two touchdown passes for the Panthers last weekend looked like they were in pre-game warm-ups without a defense. And let’s look at that defense of the Panthers that allowed a rookie, making his first start, to look like Walter Payton, imagine what Jamaal Charles will do to them. Without the turnovers, they probably lose that game. Just sayin’ they aren’t good and they certainly should not be giving points to any team.

 Edit: Wow, I just heard the news on ESPN about Chiefs linebacker Javon Belcher. Terribly sad news for all parties involved. I will tell you can never understand the depths of where people will go when they lose hope. To say that this type behavior is not in everyone of us, is to say that not everyone of us has been pushed to the brink, made a terrible mistake, lost hope and completely bottomed out. Being a fan, handicapper, sports investor, soccer dad should prepare us well for bleak situations since things are never as bad nor as good as they seem. It’s important to remember that in all facets of life.

My prayers go out to the families of those involved in this tragedy.

The “PED Bowl” pick:

Chicago (-3.0) over Seattle – The big question is how much impact will not being on PEDs have on Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner? I guess we now we know why these guys are big, physical corners.
The funniest part of this story is that Brandon Marshall jumped in with the “guys are on Viagra” statement. That’s hilarious. And opens up a plethora of bad puns, “He hits you hard. . .” and “Oh no, an offside penalty on the Bears, that’s quite a boner. . .” But the reality is Viagra could in fact help an athlete. The drug is designed to expand the blood vessels, thus allowing more oxygen carried to the muscles, which might help an athlete with bursts of speed and strength. In addition to being ready immediately after the final whistle for the groupies.
I am sure the NFL is already putting together the “eunuch policy”, where a player has to prove they truly have erectile dysfunction by putting them through a series provocative tests.

The “Kick on the Balls” pick:
Detroit (-6.0) over Indianapolis – Look I have three kids, so I have seen plenty of my share of “turning of the head while sticking the foot out to trip your sibling” acts in my time. “What did I do,” is the typical response. I might even consider myself an expert. Given that there is no way Suh’s kick Matt Schuab’s balls was unintentional. I virtually guarantee Suh is a middle child.

Honestly, the Lions are a dumb team, but I don’t trust this Colts team on the road against any semi-competent team. Personally, I think Andrew Luck has hit the rookie wall, coincidentally right after I traded for him in fantasy (reason #2130 why I am not playing fantasy ever again).

And this line is way too high, I have no choice but to back the house.

The “though logic generally fails in the NFL, I will try, try again” pick:
Minnesota (+7.5) over Green Bay – Green Bay cannot protect the passer, Minnesota can rush the passer, therefore Green Bay cannot protect Rodgers from Minnesota.

The “we will make the playoffs” pick:
NY Jets (-5.0) over Arizona – What is there to like about the Cardinals this week? Sure the Jets looked bad against the Pats, but a lot teams look bad against them. Here is the deal with the Jets, they went to St. Louis a couple weeks back and spanked the Rams right after an embarrassing home loss to the Dolphins. Aren’t we essentially in the same spot for them this week? And guess what, let’s assume the Bengals, Steelers, Dolphins and Colts all lose this week, the 5-7 Jets would be just one game out of the playoffs with an upcoming schedule that includes the Bills, Chargers, Titans and Jags. I can absolutely see this team finishing 9-7 and making the playoffs.

Bottom line – the only way you can play the Cardinals in this game is if you believe the Jets have quit. I think the above contradicts that notion.

The “so what” pick:
Tampa Bay (+7.5) over Denver – I have to admit that I am very surprised by this Broncos team. I mean not as surprised as I was when I found out that Dustin from the Battle of the Seasons has done “a few gay porn movies.” Uh, wait, rewind that, what did he say? Quoting Dustin, “Frank is bringing up that I have done a few gay porn movies. So what?” So what? Wow, that was the day I realized that I am old, really old, like Methuselah old because I’m like that would be the last thing I would say if I did “a few gay porn movies.”

Not that there is anything wrong with that, but there was a day when once you’re in porn, your options were either porn or more porn. All of a sudden it’s socially accepted to be in porn? Are you telling me banks are now willing to give loans to porn actors trying to start a store named “Buck’s Super Stereo World”? Yeah, I’m old.

Anyway, this Tampa team will find a way to keep it close and if you’re so inclined maybe throw a few nickels down on the money line.

The “when do the playoffs start” pick:
Tennessee (+6.5) over Houston – I give you eight reasons why the Titans will cover – 1. Houston is bored with the regular season; 2. Matt Schuab’s balls still hurt; 3. Wade Phillips is more concerned with all goodies associated with the holiday season than he is with designing defenses to shut down mediocre offenses; 4. Tennessee is in the same boat as the Jets, except they’re thinking if we win this we have the Colts, Jags, Packers and Jets left, all winnable; 5. There is a new offensive coordinator in Tennessee, “it’s probably that pederast Loggains”, but nonetheless there’s new blood and a new system that an over-eating Phillips hasn’t thought about; 6. The Titans are 7-3 lifetime at home against the Texans; 7. Jake Locker has a 102.7 rating in his last two starts at home; and 8. The Texans are just 1-3 when giving 6.5 or more points on the road.

The “I only pick real teams” pick:

Oakland (+2.5) over Cleveland – I’ve got some balls picking the Raiders when they just suspended starting LB Rolando McClain. I mean we’ve already seen a rookie running back run for roughly 1000 yards against them with McClain, how many yards will Richardson have?

The disgruntled McCalin took to social media to vent with the following, “I can’t wait to play for a real team.” Hmm, Rolando, let’s hope that the “real team” has a need for an inside linebacker who can’t cover, runs himself into blocks, is not physical unless he holds a clear size advantage, is not a leader despite manning the “play calling” defensive position and is a cancer in the locker room. I am sure your agent’s phone will be ringing off the hook as every team in the NFL wants an ILB just like that. Don’t hold your breath Rolando!

Trust me, as I have it on good authority from my Raiders fan buddy, this suspension is a positive move for the Raiders. Plus, how pissed do you think the Raiders have to be at getting 2.5 at home against the Browns. They have to be madder than cat hater swerving in an attempt to hit a cat but narrowly missing.

The “eff the spread and pile up fantasy points or else” pick:
Washington (+3.0) over NY Giants – Look I am quitting fantasy football next season, that’s a given, but I am still playing this year and this game most likely will decide my fate in one of my leagues. Therefore, I need Manning, Nicks and Garcon to pile up fantasy points like it’s 1999. I don’t know what that means, but it seems like back in 1999 I could count on some sort of fantasy consistency.

Good luck this week.

2012 Predictions – Thanksgiving, “Double Dip” Edition

A bonus combo pack of picks for Thanksgiving.
Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com. The Super Contest lines are not live, but instead are set and held the entire week.

The “Super Contest” picks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “Thanksgiving Day” picks:

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

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

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

Bonus “Seven Out” Picks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pathetic!

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

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

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

Good luck this week, and Happy Thanksgiving!

NFL 2012 – Week 12 Predictions, “Not Buying it” Edition

Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com. The Super Contest lines are not live, but instead are set and held the entire week.
The “Super Contest” picks:

Oakland (+4.5) over New Orleans – What does it take to be a road favorite by more than a field goal in the 2012 NFL? Well, it takes beating a “circling the drain” team and putting up a miraculous goal-line stand where the opposing team totally butchered not only the play calling but also the execution. NFL fans, I give you the 2012 New Orleans Saints.

What’s interesting is the Saints were -3.0 over Oakland in the preseason, when everyone thought the Raiders would be atrocious and the Saints were a Super Bowl contender, now the Saints are a shell of the preseason image and, true, the Raiders are atrocious, but somehow that warrants a 1.5 movement toward the Saints? Not buying it odds-makers.

San Diego (+7.5) over Denver – So, I am not 100% convinced on this Denver team quite yet, as I think they are the leading candidates for the annual “Winston Wolf, Let’s not start sucking each other’s [BEEP] yet” team. You know the team that looks too good to be true to start the season, has the fan base all-in on them but then falls off a cliff around week 12 taking the overzealous, un-realistic fans with them.

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I thought last week was the spot for the Broncos to lose and they destroyed Carolina. So, this week is the spot, right? Well besides that, here are two more reasons why I like the Chargers this week:

  1. Every week there is at least one game that I will call the “teaser killer” game of the week, well every week except two weeks ago when every favorite, public loving team won and covered (goodness Vegas quit whining about it, I am pretty sure you get it all back and then some). Well, 0this week we have four “teaser” plays where you can essentially get the favorites down to a field goal or less. Play all four of those teams on a teaser and you can get roughly 2.5-1. Not bad considering you get a clearly better team in what amounts to a pick’em. Here are some quick stats to back-up that statement – only 7% of the overall games in the last three years have ended on either one or two points; furthermore, only 6% of favorites of more than a touchdown have landed less than a three point margin; and 86% of those teams have won outright.
  2. This is an absolute must-win for the Chargers. A loss here means the Bolts are, for all intents and purposes, doen for 2012 as they would be down four games with six to play. Factor in the Broncos have Northwest Montana twice (Kansas City) and the University of Maine (Oakland) as three of their remaining six games and the Chargers cannot lose this game if they have any designs on winning the division. The wildcard seems unlikely as well.

Cleveland (+7.5) over Dallas – What would be more “Dallas” than the Cowboys losing to Cleveland at home after a huge victory over the Eagles on the road? Yeah, that pretty much seems like the script for this team, especially with the big “Cowboys and Indians” Thanksgiving day game on the horizon. Personally, I think the Cowboys and Redskins game should be a Thanksgiving staple. And what would be better if in every one of those games there was some egregious call against the Redskins at the end of the game that cost them a win. That’s the Thanksgiving story from the Indians perspective, Pale Face!

This game also has the potential to be a “teaser killer” game and when you throw in the Cowboys are starting a three game home stand, the big national game mentioned above and the fact the Giants are circling the drain, the Boys have some hope at the division. It is conceivable that they will completely over-look this AFC team looking ahead to the two division match-ups on the horizon. So, give me that plus the fact the Browns have been competitive in just about every game this season and I believe the Browns are the right side.

Philadelphia (+3.5) over Washington – Washington is in a similar position to the Cowboys, big game looming on a short week. Here is a trend for you from one of the best sites on the web for a sports investor, sportdatabase.com – teams favored by more than 3, with a Thursday road game the following week playing at home are just 22-36 since 1989.

Perfect, so the Eagles have that going for them. In addition, the loss of Vick helps this team because it will (a), force Andy Reid to prepare and coach; (b). change the focus from the quarterback to the best player on the team, Shady McCoy; and (c). unify the team around the oldie, but seemingly insurmountable, mantra of “us against the world.”

Green Bay (-3.5) over Detroit – Hmm, ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth called Ndamakong Suh the third best DT on the Lions. Yeah, I bet Schlereth would have had no problem blocking him with that little weasel 260 lb body of his. Mark, leave the bashing of NFL players to the guys like me who never played in the NFL. Suh couldn’t give two craps about me talking junk about him, but with you, he is apt to hunt you down so he can deliver the patented “Suh Stomp” to your steroid enlarged head.

The Packers situation coming off a bye week and playing on the road as a favorite, this week has been a very profitable 76-46-2 or 62.3%. And since 2010, when the new practice rules for bye weeks went into effect, this situation is 10-3-1 or 76.9%. So, let me get this straight, I get a 75% trend and I get to bet against the Lions? Sign me up.


The “Apathy has set in” pick:

Arizona (+9.5) over Atlanta – The Falcons can go one of the following two ways – 1. Come out pissed off and drill the Cardinals; or 2. Realize that the division is practically wrapped up and now that the undefeated season cannot happen, come out flat and barely win. Three straight division games are up after this battle with the Cardinals, including a re-match with the Saints means the Falcons will likely come out flat. The Cardinals have some value on the money line as well.

The “Loser is out, uh, so is the winner” pick:

St. Louis (-3.5) over NY Jets – Let’s be honest neither of these teams is going anywhere this season, but you have to like the direction the Rams are headed as opposed to the Jets. In fact, this game is like two cars passing on the road, the Jets headed to “the Arena”, while the Rams are headed towards “the Power team.”
The reality for the Jets is they are much closer to Jack ‘Cap’ Rooney than Willie Beamen (Any Given Sunday), nevertheless they still collectively act like Beamen. In other words, Maverick, their ego’s are writing checks their talent level cannot cancel. This team is a complete train wreck.

So, what can the Jets do? Well, for starters they have to address the GM and coach, both need to be relieved of their duties. And for the naysayers who will point out the Jets are just two years removed from the second of two consecutive trips to the AFC championship, I will remind everyone of how they got there in the first place – a lot of good fortune.
Need proff? In 2009, the Colts laid down at halftime of a game they had well in hand essentially handing the Jets a victory that kept their playoff hopes alive. The following week Cincinnati no-showed as the Jets clinched a playoff berth.

The Jets were extremely fortunate to make the playoffs again in 2010, though the 2010 edition of the Jets was the best of the Ryan era by far. Remember the three game stretch of extreme luck for the Jets in that season? Let me remind you, beat the Lions in overtime when a Lions penalty keeps a drive alive and rallied from down 10 with less than five minutes to play; the following week the Jets beat Cleveland in overtime, when again the football gods smiled upon them as Chansi Stuckey fumbled after picking up a first down at the Jets 32; and the following week the Texans were up four with less than a minute to play but decided to give up the one thing the Jets needed to win the game, a deep pass, down the sideline no less.

The “I’ll have the turd a sandwich with a glass of urine” picks:

Houston (-14.5) over Jacksonville, Cincinnati (-3.5) over Kansas City – The first question you have to be asking is “Which team is the turd sandwich?” I am glad you asked. The Jags are definitely the turd sandwich. I know that might be surprisingly, considering I picked the Chiefs to win the division with 11 wins. One would think I would be madder than a “bobcat caught in a piss fire”, but shockingly I still believe there are more redeemable parts on the Chiefs. And we know that, while vile and disgusting, “It’s no slurpee” urine can at least sustain the body’s need for hydration. Outside of the bread, what value is a turd sandwich? The body has already considered it waste once, plus you don’t even get the digestive calorie burn because your intestines are like, “Wait, is that sh.., yeah it is! Boys we’ve got a day off!”

There is very little to like about the Jags. For starters, Gabbert is not the answer at quarterback, despite his comment stating that the Jags are, “. . .happy with their quarterback situation.” Uh, Blaine, get ready for the Tebow circus in 2013. Also, remember when every fantasy geek couldn’t get to the computer fast enough to pick up Rashard Jennings? And yet, four weeks in and the Jags steadfastly refuse to let anyone else carry the load despite Jennings yards per carry barely out-doing the collective GPA of the Kentucky Wildcats starting five. Therefore, either the backup to Jennings is the running back equivalent to Russ Bellomy (Michigan’s worthless back quarterback) or the Jags are determined to pay off those fantasy owners that blew their FAAB budget on Jennings. Even “can’t miss” rookie Justin Blackmon looks lost (I remember ripping the Rams for not only passing on RGIII but also allowing Blackmon to get away from them, glad I know less than Bill Polian’s mailman about talent evaluation).

The Jags have a don’t have simple path back from the abyss, but here is an option that might help – sell the team to the Magic Johnson led group, move the team to LA and, most importantly, change the nickname from Jaguars. You want to rid yourself of all that suck!

The path back for the Chiefs is much easier – fire GM Pioli, Crennel, his staff and start over at quarterback with either Geno Smith or Matt Barkley. The defense, when disciplined, can still play at a high level.

Remember, last week I swore to never, ever, ever, pick either the Chiefs or the Jags again this season.

The “Fool me once, your bad, fool 8 times . . .” picks:

Carolina (+1.5) over Tampa Bay – See New Orleans above. I am just not quite ready to buy Tampa as a road favorite; in fact since 1989 the Bucs are just 18-27-1 as road chalk. Therefore, I am giving Carolina one final shot with this ultimatum – win this week or I cast you into the Chiefs/Jags smorgasbord, they will be the “puke soup.”

The “Reason 1302 why I will not be playing fantasy football in 2013” pick:

New England (-9.5) over Indianapolis – So I heard all week how New England beats Indianapolis, but look for a back door cover by the Colts. OK, so if I logic this out based on that premise being true, then I have the following – the Patriots are going win and the Patriots are going to have the game covered at some point late in the game. I’m always nervous about a late game, backdoor cover against me, but I never play it that way. In fact since 1989, there have only been 35 games where a team favored 7.5 to 10 points has had a game covered after three quarters, failed to cover the final but won the game. So, it’s a bad bet if you don’t believe 1. That a team can win outright; or 2. A team will be within a single score the entire game.

I don’t believe Indy can win this game outright, plus the Pats need a great performance and Indy is due for a stinker. And I truly believe the Pats are up two scores for most of the game.

And I just traded for Andrew Luck this week, so you got that going for the Pats this week.

The “Backup quarterback bowls” picks:

Pittsburgh (+3.5) over Baltimore – If you happen to be a player on the Steelers not named Ben Roethlisberger would you have a chip on your shoulder since this line moved seven points once word came out that Big Ben was sitting out? I certainly would. And don’t rule out the impact of Roethlisberger being out in terms of the Ravens, there will be a certain amount of letdown by them and when coupled with the added focus by the Steelers, this is stealing money.

Look this game is always a battle, a la, “Zach v. C.J,” from the Battle of the Seasons in the “physical” challenge in the Arena this week. Side tangent – that was as good of a battle as you can get in reality TV. First off, I was overly impressed by the grittiness of C.J., until Zach mentioned that C.J. was a MMA fighter. After that it didn’t seem like as big of a deal, despite the fact Zach is like twice as big. Anyway, props to Zach, who once he out-thought C.J., he really had him at his mercy.

One more thing on C.J,, I love that he has the bible verses like Tebow on his eye black, but that had to create some serious conflicts for MTV, right? Like I can imagine prior to bringing C.J. on the show, they had him in and told him, “Look, we are fine with you putting the bible verses on your eye black and you can talk mention God a half dozen times or so, but one mention of Jesus and you’re done, we will erase you from all episodes.”

I think the Steelers show up with a gritty, C.J.-esque performance.

Chicago (+6.0) over San Francisco – This is way too many points for a team that relies on defense, special teams and is balancesd on offense, Cutler or no Cutler. It’s not like the Bears are handing the reins over to Caleb Hanie, this is a proven, moderately successful quarterback in Jason Campbell. It’s not fair to judge Campbell on the performance against the Texans where the weather was a joke, he had to come in off the bench and it was the Texans defense after all. With a full week of reps, he will be much better and give the Bears an opportunity to win.

Good luck this week.

CFB – Week 12 “Seven Out”

Northwestern @ Michigan State (-7.5, O/U 45.0) – It’s official, Sparty and me are done. Yup, I woke up one day to the realization they had really let themselves go, coupled that with the fact they never reciprocated my love for them and that was that. In hindsight, we were doomed to fail from beginning with countless letdowns leading the burning of cash.

The reality for the Spartans is their high end talent is no longer in “let’s leave it on the field and win the Big Ten” mode, instead they’re in “let’s not get hurt prior to the end of the season, so we are ready for the combine” mode. The rest of the team simply isn’t very good or at very best is average for the conference. Plus, they haven’t played a game outside of four point margin of victory since beginning of Big Ten play, why should I trust them giving more than a touchdown.

The only concern over Northwestern covering is how they have been unable to finish games. In their three losses lead late in the 4th quarter, yet in each of those games they went into “come one Northwestern get off your knees, you are blowing the game” mode. Against Penn State they blew a 10 point 4th quarter lead in Happy Valley, at home against Nebraska they lost by one point on virtually the final play.

And last week they Wildcats found a way to lose a game where they had possession of the ball with 23 seconds remaining and the ball at the Michigan 49. Somehow, the managed to merely net 11 yards on the punt, which was seemingly a great play compared to giving up 53 pass completion on the next play. Of course, they lost in overtime.

Taking away the Penn State 4th quarter and the last few seconds against Nebraska and Michigan leaves the Wildcats undefeated. If that were true, what’s the spread in this game? Nowhere near 7.5. Which means there is value on Wildcats.

Play: Northwestern +7.5


Stanford @ Oregon (-20.5, O/U 66.0) – In last week’s Oregon/Cal, I dozed off for about 15 minutes right after Cal scored a touchdown to close within seven points of the Ducks. When I awoke, I was like “Is that a, a 52? No way, you are still sleeping; you are having a nightmare, wake up and look again! WTF happened? 52 points, only 17 points!” At that point, I was holding out hope for a backdoor cover, but I literally could not believe how fast the Ducks play, run, score and run. Goodness, they’re scary! Did I mention that the Ducks can run really fast?

For this game we have comparative recent odds that suggest Oregon should be a 30-34 point favorite. While that is outrageous and would never be posted without the Cardinal getting hit harder than “Little Bill’s wife in Boogie Nights, the posted line seems too low. This tells me that odds makers, who have been taking in the backside the past couple of weeks, are taking a position on this game. Essentially what that means is that the odds-makers like their side (Stanford) and are willing gamble on the game.

Being on the side of the odds-makers in a game with significant lopsided action means either one of two things – 1. The bookies are really, really smart and they know something the rest of us don’t; or 2. They simply fix the game. Either way, I think I will side with the house.

Play: Stanford +20.5

Minnesota @ Nebraska (-20.5, O/U 53) – So, I got dropped by a half point last week when the Huskers kicked a field goal with 18 seconds left in the game, which sparked a heated debate between me and a buddy of mine. Of course, I was biased, but I maintain that there is a better chance of losing the game by kicking the field goal, than merely going for the first down on 4th and 1. Here is my logic:

  1. Do you really want to put the game in the hands of a kicker, long snapper and some snot nosed kid whose main job is to tutor the “athletes” on the team and for that he also gets to be the holder on field goals? Or do you put the game in the hands of your best player, Taylor Martinez? Read that again, I just called Taylor Martinez the best player on the team, yikes!
  2. The Huskers had already successfully converted three straight first downs with one yard to go. Now I am no sabermetrician but I think 100% is pretty good. Ballgame if they covert.
  3. Not only is there a chance that the field goal is blocked and returned for a touchdown, but also kicker could simply miss the kick, which leaves you in a worse position than simply going for the one yard. Even if the FG has an 80% chance of being good and only a 1% chance of being blocked, I would rather not take that chance, when I have 100% chance (same sample size, but still) on converting the first down via power run.
  4. And if you felt like the Penn State defense was due for a stop, why not roll out Martinez, after a fake dive to the tailback, have him run for the first down. If he feels he can’t make the first down then throw the ball a mile in the air and out of bounds. Sure that is risky, but dammit Bo, we didn’t want to cover that spread!

I stared in disbelief at how this Husker team continues to fall behind, yet finds a way to not only win but also cover the spread. And what a way to cover, down 14, rally to take a 4 point lead, get a gift call that eliminates a Penn State touchdown, a safety and the ill fated field goal. I am snake-bit when picking this team.

Therefore, let’s go with the total this week – expect the Huskers to be somewhat flat, especially on defense this week and Minnesota has some talent on offense. Oh and I’ve seen the Gophers play defense. Ovah!

Play: Over 53.0

BYU (-3.0, O/U47.0) @ San Jose State – BYU failed to cover the first game after their alum Mitt Romney blew the presidential election. And yeah he blew it, given where Obama’s approval rating two years ago, he had a cake walk and pulled an Alabama. So, doom on you BYU for not preparing Romney to close the deal.

Play: San Jose State +3.0

USC (-3.5, 66.5) @ UCLA – My employer – yeah, believe it or not I do not make my living from these college plays – has finally decided that the cost of operating six different buildings to house employees is outweighed by the chance an employee might take a lunch hour to pick up groceries for the week and decided to institute a full-time work from home program. Welcome to the 21st century, fellas! Also we should welcome the managers to a whole new process called “managing”! You see a properly managed employee should be able to work on the moon, right? Right!

Anyway, the name of the program is aptly called “inTouch” which has three tracks – 1. inMotion (no set workspace, but remote office work four times a week and one from home); 2. inOffice (in the office five days a week, no exceptions!); and 3. inHome (full time at home, with office visits only when customer meetings require you to have a face-to-face or you need to sneak in a quickie with an inOffice co-worker). I have proposed a fourth track called “the Trojan” named after the USC Trojans, where you essentially show up when you feel like it.

I think this is a week they decide to show up.

Play: USC -3.5

Central Florida @ Tulsa (-1.5, O/U 56.0) – As I yo-yo back and forth each week from 3-4 and 4-3 it occurred to me that I need to implement some of the same rules I have for the NFL. One such example would be “don’t back a quarterback who thinks the world is against his college, on the road with nothing to play for when the opposing team is fighting for the conference championship.” In other words, don’t back a shaky quarterback on the road. I feel into that trap last weekend with Penn State’s quarterback Matt McGloin, who took to the microphone after the game to deliver one of the whiniest, bitchiest, most victimized post-game interviews I ever heard in my life. Now that is a sure sign that a QB is shaky and cannot be trusted. Oh and listen up, Matty , you had the opportunity to leave but you chose to stay, if you failed to realize during decision making process that there would be some, understandable, backlash at what was essentially an entire cultish community supporting a monster, well then you’re not very smart and you deserve to have the refs biased against the Lions. And if you did realize there would be “hell to pay”, then STFU and play for your dream college, then get job as a grad assistant, where can walk in on a child being sodomized and do nothing about it.

What does that have to do with this game, you ask? Well, two things, first off, I don’t feel I have taken enough shots at Penn State and secondly, I backed a shaky quarterback from UCF earlier in the year on an under bet and he single handedly killed the prospect of the game going over. So, the pick is Tulsa, right? Nope. I’ve seen massive growth in Bortles.

Well, I’ve seen enough growth to know he is slightly above shaky and his UCF supporting cast is much better than that of Tulsa. This is a great matchup for UCF, plus they have revenge from a home loss to Tulsa last season.

Play: Central Florida +1.5

Arkansas @ Mississippi State (-5.5, O/U 55.5) – It seems as though when a team starts strong, they tend to get a longer leash on line adjustment when things go south. The opposite is true of a team that is up and down throughout the early part of the season. And even though both example teams have the same record, the edge still goes to the strong start team.

The Bulldogs are an example of this, as the 7-0 promising start to the season has gone up in flames with a three game losing streak, yet they’re still giving Arkansas points. Albeit the Bulldogs have played LSU, A&M and Alabama, but they weren’t competitive in any of those games.

The Razorbacks have a significant edge in overall talent, but they have been terribly inefficient causing the inconsistencies in their results. Though you can’t trust teams like that when giving points, they can be good when getting points. You know the whole “disrespect” thing.

Here is a story that I will tell from personal experience – I was on a team that started the season 7-1, however, it was a bit of a mirage as our final three games were against the top three teams in a very competitive conference. The morale on the team was high going into the first of the three games, but we lost, and we lost again. Then we got drilled 34-7. We never recovered and ended up losing in the playoffs to a team we had beaten soundly earlier in the year. To this day, I still believe had we mixed those three games into our schedule at various non-consecutive points, we would have gone further.

There you have it – Arkansas outright winner!

Play: Arkansas +5.5

Best of luck this week, Colin is calling a winning week this week of no less than 5-2 or your money back!

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

CFB 2012 – Week 11 “Seven Out”

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

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

Them Cats going to raise some Kain on Saturday!

Play: Northwestern +10.0

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

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

Play: Indiana +7.0

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

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

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

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

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

Play: Penn State +8.5

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

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

Play: Over 60.0

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

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

Play: California +28.5

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

Play: Tulsa -3.5

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

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

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

Play: Texas Tech -26.5

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

Kansas State/TCU – Kansas State -6.5

Wyoming/New Mexico – New Mexico +2.0

Louisiana Lafayette/Florida – Louisiana Lafayette +27.0

Colorado/Arizona – Colorado +29.0

Oklahoma State/West Virginia – Under 77.0
 

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

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

CFB – Week Ten “Seven Out”

Nebraska (-1.5, O/U 44.5) @ Michigan State – I admit that it’s tough to go against a team that completely dominated a Michigan team that was down to their 8th string quarterback last Saturday, but I am going back to the well once again this weekend on Michigan State. To be honest, the next road win over a quality opponent for the dynamic duo of Taylor Martinez and Bo Pelini will be their first. Sorry Northwestern, I don’t consider you a quality opponent. But even that soft one point win over the Wildcats stresses the shortcomings the have on the road.

Plus, my man-crush on the Spartans has reached stalker level proportions after that “ballsy” performance against the Badgers last week.

For grins, let’s list the “true” reasons why Sparty emerges with a victory Saturday afternoon:

  • Talent, Michigan State is more talented that Nebraska, period!
  • Blue chip players, in addition to having overall more talent, Michigan State’s high end talent is much better than that of the Huskers
  • You tell me who you trust in a big game – Bo Pelini or Mark Dantonio? Let me remind you that this is not a nostril size competition, it’s big time college football.
  • LeVeon Bell, give this kid 30 carries between the tackles and I guarantee carries 21 through 30 feature at least seven yards a pop and one long, back-breaking gainer.
  • Revenge – the Huskers stomped Michigan State last year in one of those classic “third game flat” situations. You think maybe the Spartans want revenge?

And I get a point and a half? Ok, where do I sign! Thanks to the “sharps” who either have a metric that completely dismisses turnovers or were so impressed by Taylor Martinez’ 4th quarter against Northwestern that they have hammered this game from Michigan State -2. Fair enough, now I can root for the Huskers to win by a point.

Play: Michigan State +1.5

Iowa @ Indiana (-2.0, O/U 56.0) – This Halloween I fortunately got the job of handing out the candy to some very poor costumed kids. Look, little punks, grabbing a mask at the store and throwing it on is not a costume.

Anyway there were a few good costumes, like the group of three little girls dressed as cheerleaders, with a boy as the football captain. That group happens to live next door to me, and since they’re die-hard Iowa fans, the kids were, shockingly in black and gold Iowa Hawkeye gear. Cute nonetheless, but after I give them candy and had a short conversation with mama, the girls do a little “Let’s go Hawks” cheer on my doorstep. Mama, looks at me with glossy eyes that could only come from two too many wine coolers, and states, “we had nothing to do with that!” However, I guess Iowan women don’t learn to lie until their thighs look like they just caught 180 straight innings, because the little girls tell me, “Our dad told us to do that cheer!” Meanwhile, mama waddles off with a sheepish look on her face like, “OMG, he knows I lied!”

That’s precious, the Iowa fans getting so excited about the potential of beating Nebraska three weeks from now so they can finish 4th in the “Legends” division and head to the Poulan WeedEater bowl to play some 3rd place team from the Mountain West. Honestly, I could give a flip about a loss to Iowa, other than probably having to cleanup black and gold toilet paper from lawn. The reality is Iowa is less relevant than Nebraska, so if you want to celebrate becoming bowl eligible by beating the Huskers, hell, who am I to stand in their way, go for it!

But you don’t send your kids to talk junk, especially on Halloween. It’s poor etiquette. And my guess is homie single handedly angered the football gods. That’s pal, this loss is on you!

Play: Indiana -2.0

Penn State (-3.5, O/U 51.0) @ Purdue –Purdue is like the college version of the Arizona Cardinals, I can’t win when picking their games. The obvious question is – in that case, why are you picking this game? Well, here you go – I think the life went out of Penn State last week in that loss to Ohio State. Especially considering how ugly it got at the end. Yep, it has finally caught up with Penn State, but kudos to Bill O’Brien he got about as much mileage out of that team as he could.

Plus, the Boilers play much better against higher end competition.

Play: Purdue +3.5

Vanderbilt (-7.0, 46.0) @ Kentucky – I’ve got Kentucky winning this game out-right, so the points are just a bonus. The balls play here is to take the Wildcats +230 on the money line. Done.

Play: Kentucky +7.0

Alabama (-8.0, O/U 41.0) @ LSU – Steve Spurrier claimed that the Crimson Tide could hang with, and possibly beat, an NFL team. I guess Stev-o is on prescribed medical marijuana, because the worst NFL team of all-time would destroy the best college team of all-time.

But, let’s think about it for a minute – the best college team might send eight players to the NFL a year, which means that they might have 32 NFL players on the current roster. Of course, at least half those players haven’t fully developed. So, even the optimistic estimates would have the NFL with 45 NFL players and the college team with maybe 24 players. Now if you told the 2012 Jaguars that they had to skim their roster to 24 players and then fill in with guys bagging groceries, what do you think the spread would be? Yeah, at least 30, right? Spurrier is insane, and this isn’t even a Lou Holtz tactic as the Gamecocks don’t play Alabama this year. Of course, maybe Steve is jealous of the Tide’s success so he decided to rile up the Tigers.

Either way, I get it, Bama is good, but come on, eight and a half points at night, in Death Valley? That’s too many points!
Play: LSU +8.5

“If the Trojans crap the bed Saturday, I’m going to kill someone . . .”

Oregon (-8.5, O/U 70.0) @ USC – Please tell me that I am not about to back Lane Kiffin.

Ok, here is the case for USC – 1. The Trojans have the speed to handle the Ducks offense; 2. The athletes on the outside for USC are better than anything Oregon has seen this year; 3. USC was looking ahead to this matchup when the Wildcats kicked them in the balls last week. Therefore, we can completely dismiss that game; 4. The Trojans are home, which means the ghosts of Marcus Allen, Reggie Bush, Ronnie Lott, Mike Garrett, Charles White and the double-murderer, aka OJ Simpson will have a presence on the sideline (side note- if you Orenthal on the sidelines with a knife – RUN). Think that doesn’t matter, think back to the 1985 Bears, when they played the Dolphins in Miami and those 1972 Dolphin players roamed the sidelines. It matters; 5. You don’t get into the hottest clubs in LA unless you win games like this. Barkley knows that and so does the rest of the Trojans!; 6. Back in 1997 Nebraska needed to run up the score to impress the voters in an effort to overcome Michigan’s stranglehold atop the polls. That actually created a weird pressure that adversely affected the Huskers, who barely escaped 27-24. Oregon is in a similar position, they need to impress and what better way than to whack the Trojans, of course a funny thing happen on the way to the Coliseum; and 7. Oregon’s quarterback is unproven in big sport and on the road against a quality opponent for the first time in his career.

Play: USC +8.5

Florida Atlantic @ Navy (-16.5, O/U 51.0) – What would the “SevenOut” college football picks be without the “weekly total loser?” I am here to serve. I don’t know much, but I know that the Pelini brothers are terrific at shutting down teams that are one dimensional, even teams with a dark ages “that’s still around?” offense, like Navy. Give me the under in a grind it out, 70s style game.

Play: Under 51.0

Those are my official “Seven Out”, but here are three more totals that you can take to the bank if you reverse them:

Houston/East Carolina Under 68
UAB/Southern Mississippi Under 63
Texas Tech/Texas Under 68

Best of luck this week.

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