Sunday, October 26, 2008


NFL Week Eight Picks

My picks went 2-3 last week, my first losing effort. The ugly prospect of regression to the mean is alive, and well, and--calling from inside my house! RUN!

OK, deep breath. It's just one week. However, the lines look just as tight this week as they did last. Here are a few angles I have found.

San Diego "at" New Orleans under 46 points total: The Saints are theoretically the home team, but this game is being played in London. Their weather stinks, as you may have heard. No one is forecasting the slog-fest they had last year, but combined with the disruption in schedule, it should be enough to make the under the play.

Buffalo -1 at Miami: The only reason this line isn't bigger is the Bills' historical struggles in Miami. But Dan Marino is retired and doing weight-loss commercials, and Buffalo continues to be under-respected.

Tampa Bay +1.5 at Dallas: The wrong team is favored here, as the Cowboys are in disarray. Injuries and suspensions have weakened team chemistry that was already suspect. They also addressed the problem of an aging diva receiver by trading for a younger diva receiver. Yeah, that'll work. Meanwhile, Bucs QB Jeff Garcia continues to win games with marginal physical talent.

New England -7 vs. St. Louis: The Patriots appear to have found their stride. The Rams beat two teams better than them at home, but now have to leave their dome, and stud RB Steven Jackson is out. Since he was their only legitimate chance to win, this could get ugly.

Cincinnati at Houston under 45 points total: Houston's offense is pretty good, and might get to the mid-30's. The problem is that the Bengals are unlikely to reach double digits. When Dallas and New England lost their QB's, they turned to an effective running game. The Bungles are turning to Cedric Benson, who didn't have a job two weeks ago. Ouch, quit it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


NFL Week Seven Picks

My picks were 4-2 last weekend, which makes my season record 21-8. I am not brimming with confidence over this week's slate, but I will throw them out there and see what sticks.

Dallas at St. Louis over 43.5 points total: Losing Tony Romo doesn't hurt the Cowboys that much, considering they are going against the Rams. On the other hand, changing coaches has helped the Rams' overall outlook on life, if not their talent level. I have no opinion on the seven-point spread, but I like the over here.

New York Giants -10.5 vs San Francisco: If you take out the standard adjustment for home-field advantage, this line is telling us that the defending champs are only about a touchdown better than the Niners. Really? Lay the wood, because that's what the Giants are going to do.

New York Jets -3 at Oakland: There is an exception to the take-the-home-underdogs rule. The exception is when the home dog in question stinks of death. The only thing that makes me nervous is that an astonishing 97% of degenerate gamblers are on the Jets. Following the herd can lead you to the slaughterhouse; but I think this herd is correct. If the Raiders cover, they will probably score some points, so I'll hedge a little by taking the over 41 points total as well.

Denver +3 at New England: Picking against the Patriots, at home on Monday night, with their season in the balance. I must be nuts. But their backup QB has shown no indication that he can actually drive the car, and their defense has suddenly grown old and slow all at once. I will take the Broncos, a young team on the rise.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


NFL Week Six Picks

My picks were 2-2-1 last week, making my season record 17-6. Was it a bump in the road, or am I about to head south like the stock market? I don't have the benefit of a government bailout package, so here's a six-pack of picks to get back on track.

New Orleans -6.5 vs. Oakland: This is just a gut feeling that the Saints will rebound strongly from their Monday night disappointment. The Raiders changed coaches and are coming off a bye, but it's not like they suddenly stopped sucking or anything.

Baltimore +4.5 at Indianapolis: The Colts have yet to win in their new stadium. That can't last forever, but the Ravens are a bad matchup for them. Peyton Manning may figure out how to steal this one at the end, but the Ravens and the points are the play.

Miami +3 at Houston: It certainly appears the wrong team is favored here. The Texans are winless, while the Dolphins have just beaten the teams that played for the AFC Championship last year. I suspect the oddsmakers have laid a trap for us here, but I'm going to walk right in, and hedge my bet by taking the over 44 points total as well.

Denver -3.5 vs Jacksonville: The Jaguars are trying to shake off their injuries and poor start, but a road trip to the high altitude of Denver is not exactly a tonic. The Broncos offense is red-hot, and should have enough to cover.

Green Bay +2 at Seattle: The Seahawks are another team with a historically strong home-field advantage, but it simply isn't enough. They are missing their QB, and wideout Deion Branch came back from injury for a good fifteen minutes before the wind changed direction, and he got hurt again. The Packers are not missing critical players, and they have considerable urgency to stop their three-game losing streak.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


NFL Week Five Picks

A 4-0-1 mark last week raises my season record to 15-4.(We won't be considering the ties; in a casino, you get your money back, so it's like they never happened.) This is now the mother of all hot streaks--shameless touts invent such records. The lines this week look like a minefield to me, but I'll try to tiptoe through it.

Denver -3 vs. Tampa Bay: The Bucs do not travel well. The Broncos' defense is not very good, but Tampa QB Brian Griese is not particularly well-suited to exploit it. Tampa's defense is good, but Denver QB Jay Cutler is well-suited to exploit it.

Arizona -1 vs. Buffalo: Wait a minute. The Cardinals, riddled by 206-year-old Brett Favre last week, are favored against the up-and-coming Bills? What does Vegas know that we don't? I'll let you in on the secret: there is a decided disadvantage for a team coming into a building they've never played in before. The Steelers, a better team, lost there last year. The Cards stadium, now two years old, still hasn't hosted many of the AFC teams. Also, the Bills are overdue for a letdown, and an out-of-conference game, on the road, in a new building, is the perfect place for one.

Indianapolis -3 at Houston: The Texans will be emotionally sky-high, finally getting their home opener after Hurricane Ike ripped parts of the roof from their stadium. It will wear off quickly, though, when they realize that they still can't stop Peyton Manning. This one may be close for a while, but the Colts will pull away.

San Diego at Miami over 45 points: The Chargers' offense is suddenly lethal, and Miami's defense is not what it used to be. San Diego is also last in the league in pass offense, so while I'm not convinced they will cover the 6.5-point spread, I feel pretty good about the over.

New Orleans -3 vs. Minnesota: The Vikings, with their excellent running game and defense, would be dangerous with decent quarterback play. Alas, they have Gus Frerotte. Teams like the Saints, with great offenses and suspect defenses, are much better off at home.

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