2012 CFB – Week 14 “Seven Out”

I have a close friend who tells a story about a buddy of his who was a Vegas blackjack dealer, who, as the story goes, would become ice cold 10 minutes prior to going on his break . He would simply announce to the table, “everybody, it’s winning time.” I witnessed this once myself, it was truly remarkable. He broke at least eight straight hands, he would show a six, with a five under, then buy an ace, king. It does need mentioning, but we need more guys like him. Not necessarily the giving money away, but a guy who knew his status and could accurately convey to the players.

I am thinking that the same is true for yours truly with college football, as I finally got over on the “house” last week with a stellar 6-1 record. Not to say that I have everything figured out, but last week was the first week this season where I felt like I was reading English, as opposed to some undeveloped language from a third world country.

Much like the dealer, I am about to go on break, so I look to continue my assault on the odds-makers during Championship week and on into the bowl season.


Wisconsin vs. Nebraska (-3.5, O/U 49.0) – Ok, so I was ready to hammer the crap out of the Badgers in this game for the obvious reasons – a. Taylor Martinez in a big game, away from Lincoln; b. Bo Pelini in a big game, away from home; c. the abysmal performance by the Huskers in the fight for the “Heroes Trophy”; and d. the Huskers recent history in championship games. But then I read this column about how the Huskers spent 18 hours undergoing extreme military training in the spring of 2012.

Now those refuse to quit, play to the final whistle crazy comebacks make sense to me. The funny part is that in the column the players admit to being borderline lazy, self serving, essentially horrible team-mates. Yeah, essentially the reasons I played against them in virtually every game where I felt like they would need each other backs.

Anyway, they learned to dig deep, find strength where they though none existed, trust each other, help each other and most of all love each other. Yeah, whatever, good for them, I am only concerned about what I can use to my advantage over my adversary, the bookie! Also, I would file all that “feel good” crap under #ThingsIWouldHaveLikedToHaveKnown prior to picking against in every big game this season.

Well, now I know. Early Sunday morning, when an admin at the B1G conference office edits the list of conference champions, I expect the 2012 entry to look like the following:

2012 – Nebraska *

Play: Nebraska -3.5

UCLA @ Stanford (-9.0, O/U 46.0) – The Bruins had absolutely nothing to play for last week against the Cardinal and the result showed as much. Think about it, win and they head to Eugene to face an angry Ducks team or, lose, play a Stanford team that will likely be, based on a little something called human nature, over-confident. It was a no brainer then, it’s a no brainer now, even if coach Mora won’t admit it.

Here are three points to make my case for the Bruins this week – 1. The line has moved in Stanford’s favor, despite almost 2 to 1 bets on Stanford. That’s “sharp” money, which is worth about as much as “dull” money, but still someone, in some sports book thought enough of a “sharp” bet on the Bruins to move the number against the public action; 2. The Bruins have essentially had two weeks to prepare, they showed nothing last week, yet were able to absorb everything Stanford did. While the flip side, Stanford has had a short week to prepare a complete new game plan or hope that UCLA doesn’t make adjustments to the existing game plan; and 3. Never in the history of the NCAA has a team covered one week against an opponent, then cover the next week against the same opponent. Ok, you got me it’s 0-0, it’s never happened. Until this week.

Play: UCLA +9.0

Northern Illinois (-7.0, O/U 58.0) vs. Kent State – Kent State is the higher ranked team, yet they’re getting seven points, in a championship game no less. Lines like this are for the suckers, suckers who look at such things like rankings and determine how to bet based on some overweight, constipated mediot’s vote.

Rankings systems are so flawed, that they should be abolished and college football should play an 128 team triple elimination tournament for the season. Now that would be awesome!

Here is my case for NIU, there has been a significant amount of hoopla surrounding the possibility of Kent State bouncing an “AQ” conference school from a BCS bowl game. Now, I admit I don’t know everything, but I know when a power conference is in danger of losing a BCS payday there is a good chance that the referees for this game will be alums of NIU, including the guy with the Michael Turner calf tat and the guy with the cat named “Novak.”

Play: Northern Illinois -7.0

Georgia vs. Alabama (-7.5, O/U 50.5) – Doesn’t it feel like everybody is backing the Bulldogs this week? I haven’t heard one good thing about Bama. It’s Bama’s defense struggles with dynamic offenses, Bama should’ve lost to LSU and not even be in this game, Bama can’t rush the passer, the Tide’s defense is well below past versions and Bama’s offense lacks explosiveness. Ya da da!

Now I would think that type of disrespect would make Alabama players madder than an “actor” playing Winnie the Pooh at Disneyland repeatedly getting kicked in the nuts by a crying toddler while the proud papa tries to figure out how use the new digital camera.

I tell you these situations where everyone is on the same side and that side happens to be the worse of the two teams, are golden. Roll Tide! Alabama big time!

Play: Alabama -7.5

Oklahoma State (-5.0 O/U 87.5) @ Baylor – Whoa, the total is 87.5? Most reasonable bettors would think to themselves, “Hey, all I need is maybe two turnovers and two stops for this game to go under.” That’s logical until you look at the following: (a). This is the highest posted total in history of college football. Now I don’t know that for a fact, but I do know that, since 2006, the highest posted total was 83; just guessing here but I highly doubt any of those “three yards and a cloud of dust” games bak in teh day were touching the 80s. It’s so high that I side with the odds-maker here even if it seems unrelaistic.; (b). The three 80+ totals since 2006 have gone over the total in regulation. See trust the odds-makers!; (c). The arrogance of both offenses dictate that neither would consider a style of play to “keep the opposing offense off the field.”; (d). weather will not be a factor; (e). These teams are ranked #1 and #3 in yards per play; (f). Both teams are in the upper tier (#26 and #33 in the NCAA) of “yards per point”, an offensive efficiency stat. One of the main reasons they’re are not higher is that both defenses are so bad that the offenses rarely start with great field position, therefore, 80 yard drive for seven points is deemed less efficient than a 50 yard drive for seven points.; and (g). The tempo of this game figures to be in the 170-180 play range, which calculates on the low end to 90.5 points and 96.5 points on the high end.

Good enough for me.

Play: Over 87.5

Cincinnati (-5.0 O/U 40.5) @ Connecticut – The “third game flat” rule applies here as UCONN has won back-to-back games against Pittsburgh and Louisville. The latter was a emotional, overtime win, therefore, the Huskies are spent. Let’s throw in the fact that I think Cincinnati is the best in the Big East and it makes this game a no-brainer.

Play: Cincinnati -5.0

Oklahoma (-6.0 O/U 60.0) @ TCU– How disgusted do you think former OU greats like Dewey Selmon, Lee Roy Selmon, the Boz, Tommie Harris and Roy Williams are with this watered down, sissy version of the Sooners defense? And is there anything better than curmudgeonly old former players bitching about how “if they were playing, this type of thing would never happen!” I love to drop the 2012 Oregon Ducks back in the 70s or 80s and watch them run circles around those slow footed, smallish defenders. Now that would be entertaining.

Anyway somehow the Sooners, with the great defensive minds of the Stoops’ brothers, have allowed 97 points in the previous two games. The last time that happened was during the very forgettable John Blake era when they accomplished the feat in back-to-back seasons. The biggest difference between then and now, is the Sooners were expected to lose big in those games. Now they’re still winning but getting gashed worse than an emo with a fresh supply of razor blades.

Now I ask you – can you trust a team that allows points by the bushel? No, you can’t. Because just when you exhale after OU takes a 10 point lead, that seems like you’re in the clear, TCU will take four plays to cut the margin back to three.

Plus, two more points for TCU – 1. The number seems light to me, so again I will side, and root, with the house; and 2. I can TCU springing an upset here because the most recent bowl projections have OU playing Oregon. Not one player on that starting defense wants any part of the Ducks.

Play: TCU +6.0

Best of luck this week, it’s 10 minutes until the bookies “break time”!

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

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 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.

CFB Week Seven “Seven Out”

North Carolina (-7.5, O/U 69.0) @ Miami – My first though on this game was “Wow, that is a low total for a college basketball game.” Because there is no way the Canes are getting that many points at home from the UNC football team, right? This is the same Tar Heel team that hasn’t won a road game and was beaten by Wake Forest earlier this season. That team is favored by 7.5 against the Canes, in Miami, no less? Yikes, that is way too many points, but after looking to see if the entire Canes offense was hit by a bus I uncovered this nugget – the line opened at 3.5. So a four point movement, over a key number like 7 means there is some serious sharp money on this game. And even though my numbers tell me the sharps are getting spanked this season, I prefer to side with the proven handicappers over the “bet my entire bankroll on this lock” fly by night guys.

Give me the Heels and the Over. . .

Play: North Carolina -7.5 & Over 69.0

Wisconsin @ Purdue (-1.0, O/U 50.0) – It would like Christmas every week if the Huskers would play road games against ranked opponents. Unfortunately, I have to look elsewhere this week. I know the Big Ten fairly well, at least enough to know that both of these teams are garbage. But Purdue is less garbage. Plus, the Boilermakers are celebrating their most famous alum Drew Brees’ consecutive touchdown pass record.

Play: Purdue -1.0

South Carolina @ LSU (-3.0, 39.5) – My “third game flat” rule will apply to both of these teams next week when the ‘Cocks head to the Swamp to play the Gators and LSU plays Texas A&M. This week though I expect both teams to come out as normal.

Though I am having trouble figuring out why the Tigers are favored. Here are some the reasons I think the Tigers are favored in this game – 1. It’s a night game in Baton Rouge, meaning the normal home field advantage of 4 points is like a 7; 2. Les Miles doesn’t lose back-to-back games; 3. The Tigers are mad about losing last week to Florida and will take it out on South Carolina; and 4. South Carolina is not road tested.

True those are valid reasons, but give me South Carolina; they simply are the better team. Plus, check out this total. In a year where a typical week features numerous totals in the 60s and a handful in the 70s, it’s refreshing to see an old school total. This game figures to be like an old school Ravens v. Steelers game, you know before both defenses got old and couldn’t cover mediocre receivers.

USC-East will play defense, run the ball and win a close game.

Play: South Carolina +3.0 & under 39.5

Utah State @ San Jose State (-3.0, 50.5) – With conference play underway, it makes it very easy to do comparative lines amongst conference opponents. My opinion is that Vegas will make adjustments to a power ranking but generally they are slower to react, while the public is quick to over-react. Therefore, from week to week, barring injuries, we should see fairly consistent numbers that line up with previous weeks. The public over-reacts to a previous week result and hammers accordingly and viola, billions dollar casinos are built!

Well the consistency is not there in this game. And we have a recent compare as both teams just played Colorado State. San Jose State was favored by 11.5 at home, translating to true advantage of 7.5 when removing the standard HFA. Utah State, a week later, was a 12 point favorite in Fort Collins, translating to a true advantage of Utah State +16. Comparing the two teams yields a Utah State advantage of 8.5, or on the road they should be favored by 4-4.5. Yet they’re getting points. Hmm, ok, I feel a trap coming, but give me the 7.5 points of value.

Play: Utah State +3.0

Alabama (-21.5, 44) @ Missouri – Projected score for this game – Alabama 32.75 Missouri 11.25. How the hell is Missouri going to score 11.25? The answer is obvious, they can’t, but you get the point, they will be extremely lucky to score 10 points against a well rested, hungry Bama team. Plus, my guess is the SEC “old man” teams want to destroy the Tigers this season.

As you can probably tell, I hate laying big numbers, but this is a mismatch.

Play: Alabama -21.5

Good luck this week.

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

2012 NFL Predictions – Week 6, “Thursday” Edition

Most years about this time, I start to whisper, “Wow, it’s already week six, this year is going by too fast!” This year, however, it’s more like, “Is it over yet?” Translation – it is getting tougher with each passing year to enjoy the NFL. The several reasons for this, but at the forefront is the reality that the league is watered down with essentially random results week in and week out. That makes it tough to be successful handicapper, fantasy player or pool participant.

Sunday afternoon I texted a buddy this message, “If I go 0-5 this week, I think I’m be done with football.” Turns out, I went 1-4, but the fact remains, I almost called it a career before finding some fire to help me move forward this week. Still, I was close. Someday, I envision myself running a rehab center for addicted fans of football – the name of the center “One Game At A Time.”

And by “calling it a career”, I mean freaking going “cold turkey” without any peripheral football – no Sunday Ticket, no NFL rewind, no football related subscriptions, no picks columns, no picks, no bets, no pools and no fantasy. Well to be honest I have about 278 reasons why fantasy football is gone after this year regardless of whether I retire or not, but you get the idea, I would watch occasionally, but watch for the purity of the game, which would put all the power back in my hands.

I no longer sit through a crappy performance by my team just because they are the final play on a three team teaser. It wouldn’t take me nince hours to vacuum a house that normally takes 1.5 hours (humble brag, right! Yeah, I live in a mansion that normally takes 90 minutes to vacuum), I wouldn’t have to watch an otherwise unwatchable Monday night game because I have fantasy player X going against fantasy player Y. And I wouldn’t have to spend the time I spend on this freaking sport!

Some day very soon, you might show up on this site to see what teams you want to fade for the week and see the following:

I’M OUT THIS BITCH!

OK, enough about me, on to the game:

Pittsburgh (-6.0) @ Tennessee – The NFL changed the Rashard Mendenhall rushing touchdown to a receiving touchdown this week. Real nice, thanks, NFL. The effects of this monumental change will be felt for years to come as all fantasy league commissioners scurry to update the week 5 stat changes. In one of my leagues a two games will be affected where both winning teams will see a win snatched from their helpless hands. Great, I already had to sweat the Sunday and Monday night games, now I have to wait out the NFL until Thursday to make sure I get the win.

The ridiculous part of this change is that it was obvious that it was a touchdown pass in live action and even more apparent on the replay, how did it get by the officials? I thought the “real” refs were back. Honestly, the real ref vs. scab ref is a little like trying to tell the difference between New Coke and Classic Coke. If I am a ardent Classic Coke drinker and you put a can of New Coke in front of me, I would rather go thirsty than drink that crap. But if you blindfold me and give it to me, I couldn’t tell the difference. That’s pretty much how I feel about the scabs and the regular refs, don’t tell me and, for goodness sake, don’t let them speak and I probably couldn’t tell the difference.

  1. Rashard Mendenhall looked fantastic last weekend, so much that I actually might recommend suffering a torn ACL in week 16 of the previous season. Kidding, kidding, but he looks faster and shifter than ever. Of course, that might be the Jonathon Dwyer and Isaac Redman effect as well.
  2. We know the weapons the Steelers have on the outside, but don’t forget about Heath Miller tonight. In fact if you have a chance to play a few props, I would strongly recommend Miller for 1st touchdown, over 45 yards and “Yes” he will score a touchdown. The Titans can’t cover anyone, but they are atrocious against the tight end.

  3. The Titans might be the worst team in the NFL, but their emotionally leader, Chris Johnson, commented this week:

    “We need somebody in this locker room to make plays and give us a spark.”

    Uh, you mean somebody like you? I mean CJ_K the Titans have all that money tied up in you, I think they expect you to make plays and give them a spark. Wow, totally clueless. If I am Titans ownership, I would be willing to give Titans coach Mike Munchak another year sans CJ_K. I have to believe CJ_K is impacting the morale and chemistry of a very young team. In fact, the Titans would be better off just cutting his lousy ass right now.

  4. Matt Hasselbeck has been a solid quarterback to back as the starter for a home team underdog over his career, but this is not the Seattle Hasselbeck, this is the “I am hanging on for a paycheck while trying to mentor a young guy into a great quarterback, so I can someday land a head coaching job and continue to be the favorite son over my d-bag brother who is a self proclaimed fantasy football expert, yet somehow pops is favoring him because he gave him Alfred Morris as a sleeper this year” Hasselbeck. Remember, when Michael Jordan went to the Wizards? Albeit smaller scale, but just as big of a drop-off.
  5. The only way the Steelers don’t cover this number is if they come out flat. I don’t see that happening. Why? Well, while it might be might be thin, I checked out Roethlisberger’s biorhythm chart for 10/12/2012. Here it is:

The above shows Roethlisberger is ready to peak physically, which is good news. He is also very high emotionally, which will allow him to withstand the numerous “you’re a raper” taunts. Unfortunately, Big Ben’s intellect is so far down that if given the Wonderlich test before the game tonight, Vince Young might look like a genius. I have a solution for that – don’t let Ben call the plays or audible. Ben never calls the plays, so that part is a non factor. In terms of audibling, the Titans won’t present anything overly complicated nor present much resistance, therefore, even poor decisions by Big Ben likely won’t cost the Steelers.

Pick: Pittsburgh -6.0

Disclaimer: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com. The Super Contest lines are not live, but instead are set and held the entire week. In cases where I’ve made a contest pick, I will use that line, as opposed to the current line. Yeah, it’s a bit of a cheat and you wouldn’t be able to get that line once you’ve printed out my picks to head to the betting window but in the rare event that I win a contest bet but caught in the middle on a live play, rest assured I will adjust my record.

2012 NFL Predictions – Week 02, “I suck at this” edition

After a brutal week one, I came back strong with the Bears on Thursday night. Oh wait, the Bears didn’t cover? Really?  And you say, Cutler looked like a little bitch out there by not only sucking donkey scrotum, but he also pulled a total bitch move by blaming his offensive line, coaches, receivers, defense, clubhouse attendants, God (for his diabetes), equipment managers, uh, I think you get the point. And how the hell do you give up a 4th and 26 fake field goal for a touchdown?

Argh! Seventeen games in to the 2012 season, I am sitting at a welfareesque 6-11. I was this was a singing competition, like X-Factor, Simon Cowell would tell me, “Colin, seriously you should never sing again. You’re just not good at it.” Or translated, while there is a ton of entertainment in reading Colin’s selections, that’s not the point, if Colin isn’t calling winners, then Colin is out of business. It’s that simple. Excluding a nice 7-4 playoff run last year, Colin has been pretty miserable with all picks over the last 13 months. These next couple of weeks will determine whether Colin sent out to stud (actually, what do they do with horses that suck in the first place, oh yeah, the glue factory. Let’s hear it Animal Rights Activists) or whether he is allowed to continue racing.

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:

Dallas (-3.0) @ Seattle – The pre-season line on this game was Seattle -1.5. So, we have a 4.5 point movement because of the Cowboys impressive win and the Seahawks surprising loss in Arizona. My big question is what would this line be if the Giants VictorCruz hadn’t dropped a bushel full of balls and if Doug Baldwin or Braylon Edwards hang onto a ball in the end zone. I think we the answer – Seattle -1.5. I am still on the “Seahawks are winning the NFC West” bandwagon.

Picks: Seattle +3.0

Cleveland @ Cincinnati (-7.0) – This game is the opposite of the Dallas/Seattle, as the pre-season line was 7 and the actual line is 7, despite the obvious differences in these two teams performances in week one. Cleveland took the Eagles to the wire and if L. J. Fort doesn’t drop a ball that hit him square in the hands, the Browns upset the Eagles. Meanwhile, a day later the Bengals get hammered by the suddenly Super Bowl bound, Ravens. So, following the logic above shouldn’t this line be closer to Bengals -4.5?

Now, I might be in the minority, but I came away from the Bengals/Ravens thinking it was much closer than 31 points. I would have like to see that game played out if the Bengals had a competent head coach. You know the kind of coach that has the balls to go for a 4th and 1 on opponent’s one yard line. Oh, that Marvin Lewis, so in over his head, yet this is his 10th year as the head man in Cincinnati. The reasons go to for it in that situation have been statistically proven but there is also the situation, which would can throw in a very subjective category we will call “common sense”. So, let’s look closer at the situation – the Bengals were down by seven, but had momentum. Kicking a field goal there stops the momentum because you still need a touchdown. Plus, by kicking a field goal there, you send a message to your team that you don’t trust the offense or the defense; the Ravens offense had not seen the field for roughly an hour of real-time, would you rather have their first play on the field from their own 30 or their own 1?

Marvin opted for the field goal, the Ravens promptly marched the length of the field for a touchdown, effectively ending the game.

So, it wasn’t that bad of an effort for the Bengals and the odds-makers know all about Marvin Lewis, so that is already built into the line.

This looks like a rebound, whoop-some-ass game for the Bengals

Picks: Cincinnati -7.0

NY Jets @ Pittsburgh (-5.0) – No Revis, an overly impressive opening week win and a desperate Steelers team. Add it up . . .

Picks: Pittsburgh -5.0

Kansas City @ Buffalo (-3.0) – Both these teams were extremely disappointing in week one. For the Chiefs they simply ran into a buzzsaw with the Falcons, but they also were without key defensive players, Hali and Flowers. They get those guys back this week. The Bills just look bad. Much like the Chiefs, the Bills problems last week are due to missing key players, namely their quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Seriously, if you have seen Ryan Fitzpatrick, please contact the Bills. Actually, I think Ryan Fitzpatrick is pretty much what everyone but the Bills thought he was – a serviceable backup. Unfortunately for the Bills they’re stuck Fitz, at least in the foreseeable future.

Oh, and don’t forget this is a payback game for last year’s season opening 41-7 drubbing the Bills gave the Chiefs in Arrowhead.

Picks: Kansas City +3.0

Washington (-3.5) @ St. Louis – There is way, way too much hype on this Redskins team. The pre-season line was a pick’em in this game and the Rams looked impressive in their loss to the Lions last week, so this is a 3.5 point movement all on the RG III hype.

Picks: St. Louis +3.5

The “Contrarian Hype” picks:

Detroit +7.0, Miami +2.5 and Philadelphia +2.5

The “I just flipped a coin” picks:

Minnesota -3.0, Carolina +2.5, New England -13.5, Atlanta -3.5, Tennessee +6.5, Houston -7.0

Last Week: 6-10-0

This Week: 0-1-0

2012 Season Record: 6-11-0

2012 SuperContest Record: 2-3 (Tied for 279th place)

Colin Wynner calls the winners, picks games, a skill that virtually everyone possesses. Good Luck to all, but mostly to me!