Friday, November 04, 2005

Holly Crap! What the hell was I thinking, mentioning Minnesota and the SuperBowl in the same sentence?

Cincinnati 6-2 Baltimore 2-5 in the AFC North
New England 4-3 Jets 2-5 in the AFC East
Chicago leading the NFC North (albeit w/ a 4-3 record)
I could go on...

How quickly things change around the NFL. One thing remains the same however, Parity Still Sucks.

Laughable if weren't so hard to wager.

Chicago, Denver, Detriot, Indianapolis & San Diego are all 5-2 ATS. The rest of the group are about a coin flip. Nice huh?!

OK, this was short, just trying to get my feet wet again. Will have something proper up a little later. At least something to let you all know where I'm losing my money this week...

Bullet Tooth Tony: A bookie's got blagged last night.
Avi: Blagged? Do me a favor, Tony, speak English. I thought this country spawned the fucking language, and so far nobody seems to speak it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Peter King, the monday morning QB over at Sports Illustrated put up his pre-season 2005 picks. Let's see what we have here:


I'm not switching my spring predictions very much. I'm still picking New England to beat Minnesota in Super Bowl Extra Large (XL, get it?) in February.

There is a science, a slight science, to my picks. Every year, there's a couple of stunners. Look back and see:

• 2000: Giants and Ravens, a combined 15-17 and playoff-less in 1999, go 24-8 and meet in the Super Bowl.

• 2001: Pats and Bears come from nowhere to play home playoff games.

• 2002: Jon Gruden resuscitates Bucs. Bears crash to earth.

• 2003: Raiders divebomb from 11 wins to four. Carolina, winners of eight games in the previous two years, win 11.

• 2004: Steelers go from 6-12 to 15-1, Chargers from 4-12 to 12-4. With that in mind, here's how I see the order in every division.

AFC East: New England, Buffalo, New York Jets, Miami. I'm tired of picking against a coach as smart and thorough as Bill Belichick with players as mistake-free as New England's. I like Buffalo's defense. The Jets are the best team in football I pick to not make the playoffs, but I think the Bills' running game and defense will trump them. Miami will struggle horribly on offense.

AFC North: Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland. I believe the Steelers' running game will still be good, whatever the fate of Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley. Baltimore's stalwarts are aging; can they be really good for 16 games? I have my doubts. Cleveland is going to have another depressing season.

AFC South: Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Houston. The Jags morph into this era's no-name defense. The Colts are still really good. Tennessee edges Houston because of one reason: a healthy Steve McNair versus David Carr.

AFC West: San Diego, Kansas City, Denver, Oakland. The Chargers start to build New England-type depth. Kansas City improves markedly on defense, but not enough to beat the Schottenheimers. Denver tires of Jake Plummer's streakiness. Oakland plays a dozen 38-31 games, losing eight.

Wild cards: Buffalo, Indianapolis.

AFC Championship, at Foxboro: New England 30, San Diego 13.


NFC East: Philadelphia, Dallas, New York Giants, Washington. The Eagles have to be the deepest team of our time, though a quarterback injury would be a killer. Drew Bledsoe's going to be better than people think -- good enough to get the Cowboys to the playoffs. The Giants could win anywhere between four and nine, depending on Eli Manning; I'll give them seven. Washington will play Jason Campbell at quarterback by Halloween. He's Joe Gibbs' guy.

NFC North: Minnesota, Green Bay, Chicago, Detroit. The Vikings play as well on offense as when Randy Moss roamed the tundra, and they're better on defense with Fred Smoot covering everything that moves. I don't trust Green Bay's defense, period. I like the Bears' D a lot, so much that Chicago could pass Green Bay if Kyle Orton is competent. Detroit will be the best last-place team in football, but that won't count for much when Steve Mariucci is being judged after the season.

NFC South: Carolina, Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa Bay. I buy the hype on Carolina. Love 'em a lot, though they'll be physically beaten by the six rugged division games. The Falcons will have to play great to match what they did last year, but I need to see an improved passing game to vault them over Carolina. Poor New Orleans. And poor Saints. How can you be great as itinerants? Jon Gruden's going to blow several gaskets this year. His defense, not the offense, will fail him.

NFC West: St. Louis, Seattle, Arizona, San Francisco. The Rams will be as good offensively as they were four years ago. Seattle has its moment of truth with Matt Hasselbeck this year, and it may not be pretty. Arizona might have had the most discouraging offensive preseason of any team in football. I don't think that should be a gigantic factor because the preseason isn't important, but it means something if your offense was pitiful to begin with. The 49ers have two years of rebuilding to go.

Wild cards: Dallas, Atlanta

NFC Championship, at Minneapolis: Minnesota 20, Philadelphia 17

Super Bowl XL, at Detroit: New England 31, Minnesota 15

I can't pick against the Pats. I think they're still hungry or at least motivated to do the little things they have to do to win. They can't afford an injury to Corey Dillon or Brady, and they will miss the leadership and underrated playmaking ability of Bruschi. But what this team does, which is the envy of every NFL team, is play efficiently and wait for the opposition to beat itself. And that's what usually happens. When they struggle, Bill Belichick is not afraid to fire people if that's what he has to do; he did it last year with special-teamer Shawn Mayer after a two-touchdown win at Buffalo. The kicking teams played poorly, and Mayer, a key cog on special teams, got whacked, sending shivers through the locker room. The message: You'll get cut if Beliichick is unhappy with your play, even if we're on an 18-game winning streak -- which they were at the time.

I also have faith the coaches, even without last year's coordinators, will figure it out. Belichick's a nut for continuing education. Last year he spent a day at the Naval Academy -- the Naval Academy, for crying out loud -- studying the running game. He was impressed that a team that was often outmanned physically could run the ball so well. He spent a couple of days with then LSU coach Nick Saban swapping defensive stratagems. This year, he spent an hour or so on the spread offense with Urban Meyer at Florida. The point: When Belichick was a coaching novice, he picked the brains of smart coaches around him. Now that he's won three Super Bowls, why would he change his modus operandi?

The Vikes? Pretty simple. I think they've done enough on defense to win, finally. I think they'll go 5-1 in their division, 3-1 against non-conference AFC North foes and win home-field through the NFC playoffs. That will enough to beat the Eagles and Panthers.


Now I'm gonna sit and read this a few times before I offer up any rebuttals. Lord knows it sure looks easy to pick em on paper, ain't it?

Saturday, February 05, 2005

NFL Against the Spread – Andrea 'Andi' C. Memorial Post

My recent absence was due to the fact that my wife was very ill. This is going to be a completely off subject post that is something that I simply needed to do.

When I began this blog journey, there were many evenings when Andi would come check on me as I poured over notes, deleted and re-wrote lines and in general struggled to write a line that I felt was worth reading. She would rub my back, check to see if I wanted coffee, bring me a fresh Pepsi, and at times bring my dinner to me. She never complained about the long hours that I would spend after work in front of the computer, always understanding that it was something that I truly enjoyed doing.

One of the things that made this blog that much more enjoyable for me was the fact that we were both Football fans. From the earliest days of our dating we reserved Sundays, much to the dismay of her mother sometimes, for spending in front of the TV watching the games together. She would ask before the start of each early and late game who we had money on. She was the one that, last season, pointed out that I was putting too much action in 2-team tesers, and should be paying more attention to the “rules” of handicapping. I heeded her warning, and was rewarded by better payoffs through the rest of that season. We shared the love of this sport, even so far as co-owning our fantasy team, which she put easily as much effort into as I.

The world lost a beautiful women and I lost the love of my life Thursday evening. I will be forever filling the spot that lies empty in me as I write these words. I thought it only fitting that she get praise for her role in this, as I may not have kept it up were it not for her tolerance, helpfulness and encouragement.

For those that are still reading, if you are lucky enough to have a significant other in your life, take a moment now, go hug them and let them know how much they mean to you.

In honor and remembrance of Andi:

The New England Patriots (16-2) Versus The Philadelphia Eagles (15-3)
Against the Spread:  Patriots 13-3-2 | Eagles 11-7-0
Game Time: 6:30 PM ET
Current High NFL Betting Line: Patriots -7.5 -110
Current Low NFL Betting Line: Patriots -7 -103 to -120
Over/Under 47u to 47.5u -107 to -111

My Online Betting Action: The Patriots -7

Her favorite picture, and mine too...

Andi C. Loves The Patriots

Sunday, January 30, 2005

NFL Against the Spread – Online Betting Super Bowl Lines

The New England Patriots (16-2) versus The Philadelphia Eagles (15-3)
Against the Spread:  Patriots 13-3-2 | Eagles 11-7-0
Game Time: 6:30 PM ET
Current High NFL Betting Line: Patriots -7.5 -110
Current Low NFL Betting Line: Patriots -7 -103 to -120
Over/Under 47.5u to 48u -105 to -115

Everyone has said since before the Patriots V Steelers game, that the winner would be the next NFL Champions. But, it seems that the Eagles are not listening, and to some degree are relishing the fact that they are the underdogs. Defeats in 2002 against Tampa and again last year against the Panthers has not become a black cloud. For whatever reason, it was these losses that allowed them to play a confident, loose game against the Falcons. They have become hardened, not haunted.

The Eagles are looking to become the first Champions in over 20 years for the City of Philadelphia and the first NFL Championship ever.

The Patriots, and more to the point head coach Bill Belichick, are going at this game with the same “they're going to be a tough team to beat” attitude that has been with them all year. In reality, the Patriots have made almost every opponent look very beatable. Take a look at their ATS, that speaks volumes.

The Patriots have all the right stuff this season and have made the most of it. Great coaching, a solid running game and players that have stepped up when needed. Despite the numerous injuries and non-stop speculation and rumor about their inability to stop the passing game, they ended the regular season with good numbers. Since then they have bolstered that with an impressive 7/0 takeaway/giveaway ratio in post-season play, five via interception.

Will another Ring qualify them for Dynasty status?

No action yet, waiting a bit to see if the Pats' can be had for under a touchdown.

Now, because I can:

Anna Kournikova Loves The Patriots
Anna Loves NFL Online Betting

Sunday, January 23, 2005

NFL Against the Spread – Online Betting AFC NFC Title Games

AFC Title Game

NFC Title Game

The New England Patriots (15-2) at The Pittsburgh Steelers (16-1)
Against the Spread:  Falcons 8-8-1 | Eagles 10-5-1
Game Time: 6:00 PM ET
Current High NFL Betting Line: Patriots -3 -110
Current Low NFL Betting Line: Patriots -3 EVEN
Over/Under 34.5u -105 to -113

The Patriots seem to be to Peyton Manning and the Colts, what Florida was to him in his college days with the Vols. He just can't beat them. Manning didn't make the big mistakes that he did in their last post-season meeting, and the Pat's secondary didn't mug the receivers as was the case a year ago. Yet the outcome was still the same. Manning was kept from throwing a touchdown, and was never able to get into his “zone”.

Despite having a very depleted pass cover squad the Patriots stood their ground against, arguably, the best receiving corp in the NFL today. Even with names like Tyrone Poole, Ty Law and Richard Seymour on the sidelines, the defense was able to hold the extremely explosive Colts offense to very ordinary numbers.

When New England did have the ball, they kept it. Using the powerful legs of RB Corey Dillon to continuously pound on the Colts D line. Then when things were good for it a quick slant, play action or screen had Indy's secondary wondering what was going on. With QB Tom Brady hitting 10 different guys with passes, it was little wonder why. When all was said and done the Pats' had 200+ yards on the ground, 140+ in the air and maintained control of the ball for nearly 40 minutes of play.

The Steelers win was not nearly as impressive. QB Ben Roethlisberger struggled yet again against the Jets. He was 17-30 for about 180 yards, got picked twice and if it wasn't for the RB Jerome Bettis' superb effort and the outstanding job of the defensive squad, Big Ben would have gotten his first loss.

The Pittsburgh D did do an outstanding job and Bettis did have another superb game and the end result was another win for Roethlisberger and the Steelers. Pittsburgh gained almost 200 yards on the ground and kept the ball better than half the game. This enabled the D to stay somewhat fresh and keep them out of harms way in OT. The 1-10 holding penalty against Becht didn't help the Jets cause any.

But did the Steelers win this game or did the Jets lose it? From the sidline perspective it seemed the latter was more true than the former. An interception returned for a touchdown by SS Troy Polamalu gave the Steelers an early 10-0 lead.
The Jets D did their job late, rattling Roethlisberger, and getting an interception with just 1:58 left in regulation. Then, with the game knotted up at 17 each, K Doug Brien missed two field goal attempts (47 and 43 yards), the second set up by that INT, that could have ended the day for the Steelers.

The key here was the fact that Big Ben showed his rookie side again. He was pressured and made mistakes that could/should have cost Pittsburgh the win. That happens against a team with the skill level of the Patriots and it could be the end of the road for the Steelers.

It is without saying that the Patriots have the advantage going into this game. They have been here before and know what the deal is. They have a running game that they have not had in the past, and that is proving to be an outstanding asset to them. Tom Brady may not be the best QB out there, but he is level headed and for the most part, makes good on field decisions. He has a fantastic receiving group to go to when he needs/wants to throw the ball, but with the addition of Dillon to the roster, is no longer in a situation where he has to rely on the passing game for drives to be sustained.

Romeo Crennel has done an incredible job of rebuilding a secondary that was as good as gone, and making them into something that is a bother to offenses. Bill Belichick's constant scheming always has opponents trying to second guess the defense, even when they don't come out with different looks.

All in all, it should be a tight game with two good D's on the field as well as good coaching on both sidelines. But in the end, the experience of the Patriots in conjunction with the talent that they have should give them the victory.

My Online Betting Action: The Patriots -3

Saturday, January 22, 2005

NFL Against the Spread – Online Betting AFC NFC Title Games

First my sincerest apologies to my loyal readers reader for my disappearing act over the last 2 weeks. “Real Life” reared it's ugly, and rather obtuse, head leaving me with little to no extra time (not even for sleep). I actually missed action on last weekends games, something that I rarely do...

But, I have returned and further promise to never let it happen again. In an attempt to win back the hearts of those who have put up with my long winded ramblings all season, I will have a special, “Not Safe For Work” Anna pic posted following this match-up analysis. This will be one that I would not have shared but for my deplorable actions over the last couple of weeks.

Now on to the only reason you are still reading...

NFL NFC Title Game

The Atlanta Falcons (12-5) at The Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)
Against the Spread:  Falcons 8-8-1 | Eagles 10-5-1
Game Time: 3:00 PM ET
Current High NFL Betting Line: Eagles -6 -107
Current Low NFL Betting Line: Eagles -4.5 -120
Over/Under 37u to 37.5u -105 to -116

Anyone who was concerned about there being a little rust on the Eagles wheels breathed a collective sigh of relief almost from the start of the Minnesota game. In what could only be described as methodical, the Eagles shut-down the scoring ability of the Vikings and used a well balanced offensive approach when it was their turn to carry the rock.

RB Brian Westbrook showed his versatlitly, rushing for 70 yards and receiving for another 47, including a touchdown. WR Greg Lewis stepped up when called into action, grabbing a 52 yards pass from McNabb that set up the 7 yard TD for Westbrook.

The Eagles defense stood tall with Jevon Kearse doing his thing at DE and Jeremiah Trotter his at MLB. Although it allowed 385 yards, it kept up the pressure and never let Daunte Culpepper get into a rhythm. They picked him twice and kept his star receivers from making many big plays, a 40 yard reception by Marcus Robinson was the deepest Culpepper was able to complete. Randy Moss, the biggest of those stars, was almost completely held in check, gaining only 51 yards on 3 grabs. The fact the Mike Tice was holding the clipboard didn't hurt the Eagles any either.

The Falcons put on a show for the home team crowd. Vick wowed them with a pair of TD passes and 100+ yard rushing game. RB Warrick Dunn ran for 113 yards and broke off a 62 yard blast to pay dirt.

But the real hero in that game was Allen Rossum, who finished the night with over 150 yards (152, NFL Playoff Record) on 3 punt returns including a 68 yarder for a touchdown.

Atlanta, as a whole, ended the night with a staggering 327 yards rushing. The flip side of that coin is that they only got about 70 yards total through the air. Keep in mind that they were playing against a tired and banged up St. Louis Rams squad that finished the season 8-8. Not exactly a stellar opponent by any stretch of the imagination.

Moving along...

The Eagles showed that they can win without Terrell Owens.

The Falcons showed that they are what they are.

The Eagles are good for a couple of reasons:

The Falcons are not a good passing team. If even moderately contained and forced to pass, Vick is as apt to throw the ball to his opposition as he is to own receivers.

The Eagles have a balanced offense and (despite a very questionable series at the end of the half) a good coaching staff that is aware of what it can and can't do.

Furthermore, the Phili D is tougher than the Atlanta D. The Falcons come with a lot of blitz packages, but then again they ended the season with just one more sack than the Eagles. Add into that a better offensive line and a more well rounded game and the Eagles have it in spades over Atlanta.

My Online Betting Action: The Eagles -5

As Promised:

Anna Kournikova Loves The Eagles
Anna Checks for Scrambling Vicks

Saturday, January 15, 2005

NFL Against the Spread – Online Betting Picks of the Week

The St. Louis Rams (9-8) at The Atlanta Falcons (11-5)
Against the Spread:  Rams 6-10-1 | Falcons 7-8-1
Game Time: 8:00 PM ET
Opening NFL Betting Lines: The Falcons -7 -103 Over/Under 48u -113
Current High NFL Betting Line: Falcons -7.5 +110
Current Low NFL Betting Line: Falcons -7 -101 to -110
Over/Under 48u to 48.5u -103 to -110
The Rams bailed this gambler out of a losing weekend (I took them on the Money Line) and looked good doing it. Say what you want about Martz, but him and Bulger seem to have gotten a knack for this. Liking the Rams again, but nothing yet.

The Rams will be facing off against an Atlanta pass rush that saw 48 sacks in regular season. Match this with an offensive line that has allowed 41 sacks and QB Marc Bulger is looking at a long day. His saving grace could be the use of a more than decent ground package with RB's Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson. But with Martz doing the play calling, who knows. If it ends up as a pass first run second scenario (as it has most of the season) then the Rams banged up O line is going to have a tough time keeping the Falcon's D at bay.

The Falcons have a record that just doesn't fit their team. They are a lot worse than their 11-5 standing would have you believe. If QB Michael Vick is not on the run they have little to no offense. Containing him is much easier said than done, however.

A repeat of the week two meeting is certainly not out of the question, particularly with the make-shift O-line that St. Louis will be starting. Then again, the Rams beat Seattle last week to get to Atlanta, proving that anything is possible.

Personally, this game is frightening either way, Rams +6 to 7 or Atlanta -6 to 7. But the Under is not a horrible wager.

My Online Betting Action: None

Possible wager:

The Under @ 49.5