Saturday, September 30, 2006


Fear and Losing in Las Vegas/NFL Week 4 Picks

Things did not go as planned on my trip to Vegas, mainly due to my own stupidity. I started off with a four-team parlay on the Packers, Colts, Bengals and Bears. If all four had covered, it would have been a cool thousand bucks in my pocket. But the Bears did not, and I was down a hundy by 1 PM on Sunday. This started a death-spiral from which I was unable to recover. I was battered in the sports book, abused by the slots, garroted on the blackjack table and utterly eviscerated at video poker. The lone bright spot: I had the nuts, in the midst of all this losing, to bet a hundred on the Saints on Monday night. A good gambler must have the ability to keep firing, even when taking on water from all directions. A cynic might say I was chasing my losses, and just got lucky. I will leave that to the reader to decide.

My picks on this blog were 2-2-1 last week, making me 8-5-2 for the season. I offer a whopping eight picks this week. Enjoy; I probably won't make this many calls in a week again all year.

New York Jets +8.5 vs. Indianapolis: Clearly, the Colts are the better team. But the Jets appear to be better than anyone expected, and at home, I think they can stay within shouting distance. I also like the over 47 points total.

San Francisco +7 at Kansas City: OK, the Niners aren't very good. However, they do have their starting quarterback, which is more than the Chiefs can say. Like the Jets, I expect them to lose, but cover.

Arizona at Atlanta under 40.5 points: Last week, the Falcons were the victim of a perfect emotional storm. Back at home this week, they will fare better, particularly their defense. Moreover, their run-based offense somewhat limits their scoring upside.

Miami -4 at Houston: Normally, I like home underdogs. Just not when they are actual dogs. The Dolphins finally find their mojo.

New Orleans +7 at Carolina: This might be the week that Cinderella's carriage turns back into a pumpkin. The Panthers, a chic Super Bowl pick for many, have yet to hit their stride. Put these two contrary thoughts together and you get a squeaker for Carolina, which is fine for those who have the Saints and the points.

Detroit at St. Louis under 43.5 points: Both of these teams have defenses that are somewhat underrated. Both of these teams have offenses that are somewhat overrated. I'll take the under, thanks.

Cleveland -3 at Oakland: See my above comment about the Texans. The Browns are not very good, which makes them two orders of magnitude better than the Raiders.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


NFL Week 3 Picks

I went 3-2 last week, making my season record 6-3-1. It would appear I have shaken off last year's funk.

But now things get serious. I will be on the first flight to Las Vegas on Sunday, making an OJ-like run (minus the white Bronco) through the airport to reach the Stardust sportsbook before the early games start. Because my actual money will be on the line, I cannot guarantee that I will play the picks listed here. I will report fully on my results, but for the purposes of this blog, only these picks will count.

Indianapolis -7 vs. Jacksonville: The Jaguars are getting some respect, as this line opened at nine. I think the Colts can put up 30 on anybody at home, and I don't think the Jags can get past 20 in the Hoosierdome.

Green Bay+7 at Detroit: I know, I know. Two of my three losses are due to the Packers, and Brett Favre's history in domed stadiums is well documented. So what's wrong with me? Nothing; there's something terribly wrong with this line. Detoilet shouldn't be seven-point favorites to the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Chicago -4 at Minnesota: The Vikings are doing it with smoke and mirrors. The Bears are doing it with brutish, violent defense. This line has moved from three to four this week, which changes absolutely nothing in my mind.

Baltimore -7 at Cleveland: The Ravens are very similar to the Bears, but Cleveland is far worse than the Vikings. The Browns will be fortunate indeed if they don't get shut out.

Philadelphia at San Francisco over 42 points: Both these teams have much-improved offenses from last year. Both teams have question marks on defense, the Eagles due to injury, the Niners due to being bad. Gimme the over.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


NFL Week Two Picks

I am off to a good start, going 3-1-1 the first week. The second week is traditionally difficult, as the tendency is to overreact to the first week's results. For example, there are five double-digit spreads this week. I will challenge a couple of them.

Green Bay +3 vs. New Orleans: I must be out of my mind. The Packers were beyond dreadful at home, and the Saints won on the road. But this is a real value opportunity. The Saints won at Cleveland, not exactly a powerhouse themselves. A resurgent Ahman Green will balance out Reggie Bush, and Brett Favre (who is way overdue) will have a big week.

Baltimore -13 vs. Oakland: On the other hand, the Raiders really are as bad as they look. I seriously think they could get pushed around by their own shadows. What the Ravens will do to them is a felony in 37 states.

San Diego -12 vs. Tennessee: The Chargers put 27 points on the board last week with only 11 pass attempts. In their home opener, I think Coach Marty Schottenheimer will take the diapers off his new QB, Philip Rivers. Chargers in a romp.

Washington +7 at Dallas: This will be a physical, merciless struggle between divisional rivals, each desperate to avoid an 0-2 start. I want the points in this situation. I think the Cowboys will win with a late kick...but it would be fun to see Mount Parcells explode this early in the season.

Jacksonville +3 vs. Pittsburgh: It's tough to pick against the champs, who are among the few teams to understand that winning ugly is still winning. But the Jags are another such team, and Monday night appearances have been rare in Jacksonville. QB Byron Leftwich is large and slow, and he has a languid delivery; but he also possesses that ineffable quality of leadership, which makes his teammates want to run through walls for him.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


NFL Week 1 Picks

This post begins another season of picks against the spread. It should be fairly easy to improve on last year's horrific performance. One change: the source for the spread will be Bodog Sports, one of the offshore books our government is so zealously persecuting instead of, I don't know, securing the ports or finding Osama bin Laden.

Green Bay +4 vs. Chicago: The Bears' offense is bad and their defense is good. This will be a low-scoring game, where one should always take the points. In fact, I am so confident this will be a punting contest that I will also take the under 35 points total.

Indianapolis at New York Giants under 48 points: This is a pure contrarian play. Far too much hype out there about the Manning brothers and the offenses at their command. Guess what? Both defenses are pretty good too.

Minnesota at Washington over 35 points: The number just looks low to me. No insightful analysis here; it's allowed to listen to your gut occasionally.

San Diego -3 at Oakland: The Chargers have approximately twice the team the Raiders do. Which is appropriate, since I would have laid six points just as fast. This thing will be over in the third quarter, and Raiderfan will get ugly. Get ugly? How can you tell?

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