Saturday, December 31, 2005


NFL Week 17 Picks

Another dreadful 1-4-1 week makes my season record 38-50-5. If I was betting these picks, I'd be living in a van down by the river at this point. This is a brutal week to pick games, as well. Some teams have nothing to play for, while others have a great deal on the line. That won't stop me from making six more picks. Plus, I plan to pick all the playoff games, just to make my season as miserable as possible.

Baltimore -3 at Cleveland: The Ravens have shown some fight lately, and Kyle Boller is playing like a real live NFL quarterback. The Browns haven't exactly quit, but I suspect they can't keep up.

New York Jets +1.5 vs. Buffalo: Not much to pick from here between two bad teams. I just feel the Jets like their coach a lot more than the Bills like theirs, and will make a bigger effort.

St. Louis +12.5 at Dallas: The Cowboys must win this game, and almost certainly will. But the Rams will make enough plays to cover the generous spread.

Seattle +4.5 at Green Bay: The Seahawks will play their starters only sparingly in a game that means nothing to them. Which means they'll be ahead 17-0 at the end of the first quarter. The subs can probably handle it from there.

Cincinnati +7.5 at Kansas City: The Chiefs are very tough at home, and have far more at stake, but the Bengals are the better team. Unless the weather is just hideous, this game shapes up as a track meet, so I like the over 46 points total too.

Friday, December 23, 2005


NFL Week 16 Picks

A rare winning weekend of 4-2 brings my record to 37-46-4, which leaves me hope that I can at least rise to mediocre. Regular readers (both of you) may notice I am making more and more picks. This is known to degenerate gamblers as "chasing", and it is almost always fatal. However, the holidays have me in a festive mood, so here's seven more picks:

Cincinnati -13.5 vs. Buffalo: Yes, Virginia, it is a lot of points. But with Bengals receiver Chad Johnson promising a touchdown celebration featuring a live deer, how can I resist? The harmlessly insane Johnson and Cincy will romp over the merely harmless Bills.

Houston +6 vs. Jacksonville: The Jaguars could barely eke out a win over the feckless 49ers last week. They have demonstrated a real knack for playing down to their opposition all season. That's going to cost them dearly, maybe even including a playoff berth, if they aren't careful. The Texans will make one more strong effort before settling in to throw the Reggie Bush Bowl next week.

San Francisco +9 at St. Louis: Same logic as above. The Niners will hang around with the Rams, a passing team without a quarterback. In fact, I say this is the week that 49er QB Alex Smith finally throws his first touchdown pass, to go with his standard two interceptions.

New York Giants+3 at Washington: The Redskins are on fire, right? Sure, if you count wins against underachievers like St. Louis and Dallas. The Giants are the better team, period. And getting points. Sign me up.

Green Bay +7 vs. Chicago: This is a contrarian play for the ages. The Packers could not have possibly looked worse than they did last week, while the Bears were lifted by the return of their starting quarterback. That is precisely where one finds value. The weather enters into the calculation here as well, so much so that I like the under 31 points total, even though it is the smallest number on the board this week.

New England -5.5 at New York Jets: The Patriots get their defense and running game back together and in good health as the playoffs loom. Be very afraid.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


NFL Week 15 Picks

Another hideous 1-3-1 week brings my record to 33-44-4. As my season slowly circles the drain, I press on. I will keep firing until I'm out of ammo. After all, I don't have any money on these picks (and you shouldn't either). My pride can take this fearsome beating, but my wallet could not.

Denver -8 at Buffalo: I would normally be all over a home team getting this many points, but nothing is normal this season. Heavy snow will limit both teams' passing ability, which doesn't really hurt the Bills. Unfortunately for them, they can't run the ball either, and the Broncos most certainly can.

Chicago -3.5 vs. Atlanta: On a bitterly cold night in Chicago, I'm pretty sure the dome team will want to go home midway through the second quarter. By halftime, Falcons QB Michael Vick will have three turnovers and a headache, and will start the bus personally.

San Diego +7.5 at Indianapolis: Something tells me the desperate Chargers can hang with the Colts offensively. They can't hang defensively, so they will lose. But they should keep it close. Of course, if that "something" is the same thing that's made me 43.2 percent accurate this season....

Cincinnati at Detroit over 43.5 points: The Bengals will bounce back from their off-form showing last week. The Lions aren't going to bounce back from anything, as they stink out loud, but they should be good for at least ten points. That should be enough.

Seattle -7 at Tennessee: The Titans are they youngest team in the league, and it shows. Unlike previous versions, this Seahawk team tends to take care of its business. Seattle by a bunch.

Dallas +3 at Washington: The Cowboys are clearly the better team at this point of the season, and are motivated by playoff desperation and the desire for revenge. Two late touchdown passes won't be enough this time.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


NFL Week 14 Picks

A disastrous 1-5 week lowers my record to 32-41-3 for the season. I take some solace in the knowledge that many others seeking value in underdogs have also taken it in the shorts from the parade of favorites. How have the oddsmakers responded? By raising pointspreads...a lot. The average spread this week is a staggering 8.0625 points. How will I respond? By avoiding most of those bets and concentrating on totals.

Chicago +6.5 at Pittsburgh: I know what you're thinking. Does this guy even listen to his OWN advice? Well, I think this dog will hunt. These two outfits are going in opposite directions, and right now, I don't think Pittsburgh has the offense to be a 6.5 point favorite over anybody.

Carolina vs. Tampa Bay under 36 points: A tough divisional matchup between two teams with solid defenses and erratic, run-based offenses. Would anyone be surprised if this was under 26 points? I don't think so, which makes the under the play.

Cincinnati vs Cleveland over 43 points: Way, way over. The Bengals are good for 34 or so themselves, which puts relatively little pressure on the Browns to join the party. Reversing my above logic, 53 points would surprise no one, so take the over.

Dallas vs. Kansas City under 43.5 points: The Cowboys' offense is crumbling before our eyes, but the defense is still decent. The Chiefs aren't the same team on the road.

Tennessee vs. Houston over 44 points: The Texans burned me badly in the same situation last week, and here I am flogging them again. The difference this week is the much better offense they are facing.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


NFL Week 13 Picks

A3-4-1 weekend makes my season record 31-36-3, which is miserable. When will the madness end? My guess is, about the same time football season does.

Baltimore vs. Houston over 38 points: Both offenses, MIA for most of the season, have been sighted. More importantly, the Ravens' defense has been ravaged by injury, and the Texans' defense has been ravaged by ineptitude. I would have taken the over at 42 points; at 38, it's a bargain.

Green Bay +7 at Chicago: The Packers have been awful at winning football games this year, but they've been pretty good at covering spreads. I don't think the Bears can score enough to bury them.

Cincinnati +3.5 at Pittsburgh: The Bengals are primed for revenge after getting punked at home in the first matchup. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is dealing with an assortment of injuries, and that will be the difference on Sunday.

New Orleans +3.5 vs Tampa Bay: The Saints have inexplicably owned the Bucs in recent years. Quarterback Chris Simms has a well-documented history of erratic play in the state of Texas, which the Saints are calling home this week. This will be considered an upset, but it shouldn't.

St. Louis +3 vs. Washington: The Rams are not bad at home, offensively at least. The Redskins's defense continues its late-season slide. Two explosive offenses plus two suspect defenses means I like the over 45.5 points total as well.

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