Gambling Gurus: NFL Week 4

Last week Stefan was 3-2-1 and Brooke went 5-4. (It felt like a sweep after weeks 1 & 2,” Stefan says).

We’ve decided to take a new approach this week, where we choose the games we want to forecast before the lines come out, and then independently reach a conclusion. After each of the lines, you’ll see a note about whether we agree partially or completely or think the other has rocks in his head. Either way, he does.

Notes from week 3

  • The NFC East may now rival the West for unpredictability. The Giants defense finally performed last week, and Joe Gibbs’s predictable and slow offensive scheme played right into their hands. Meanwhile, who can guess what the Eagles traded the point faerie.
  • The great thing for a bettor is a team that doesn’t get blown out, and I believe the Titans will be that kind of team. They won’t crush everyone like they did the Saints, but they won’t get crushed either. As Brooke said, “Let’s ride this horse till it keels over in the salt flats south of Reno” (I may be taking liberties with the quote). I’m with him, but unfortunately the Titans have a bye this week.
  • The Bills have forced 3 punts in 3 games. Sorry Brooke.
  • The Saints now have to be counted with St. Louis, Kansas City, and Buffalo as the worst teams in the league. Meaning they will all beat a contender soon, and cost me money.

Houston (-3.5) at Atlanta (39) – Full Agreement

Stefan: Atlanta managed to keep Carolina’s defensive line away from Joey Harrington last week. That doesn’t mean what it used to, since Carolina just has two sacks this season. Houston has been playing well and aggressively at the line, and I see them driving Joey-shaped divots all afternoon.

Pick #1: Houston straight up

Pick #2: A low scoring game probably goes to Houston, because it’s unlikely that Atlanta can keep them off the board, but not at all unlikely that the Texans can blank the Falcons. Meanwhile, an Atlanta win has the over written all over it. Therefore, a “safe” set of bets would be Houston and the Over. One of those is likely, and both are possible.

Brooke: It feels more than a little funny to put money on the Texans to win. But as my pops always says “Brooke, when there is butter on the table put it on your toast.” Houston. I’ll take the AFC South over its NFC counterpart any day.

Jets (-3.5) at Buff (37) Partial Agreement

Stefan: This looks like an easy Jets win, and maybe it will be, with Buffalo turning to the rookie and with their defense in tatters. But Buffalo plays tough at home, and the kid was composed last week under severe pressure from New England. My temptation is to tease Buffalo and the Under, giving Buff 9.5 points and moving the Under up to 43. If you don’t like teases, and I’m disillusioned myself, take the Jets.

Brooke: I coached a grade school soccer team here in Brooklyn for one year. We held tryouts and 8 kids showed up. The school blackmailed 4 more kids into playing so that we would have a full team on the field and a fat kid to hold my clipboard. Then we went out and lost each of our first four games. More importantly we lost at least 1 player to injury in each of those games. So when game 5 rolled around we had 8 players to start the game. Halfway through the first half of game 5 we were losing 6-0 and 2 of my players got upset at an opposing player. They kicked him and then a bit of melee broke out, and both of the players from my team were ejected, forcing us to forfeit. The next morning I got a call from the school athletic director. He told me I would be paid the balance of my contract, but that the season was over, and that they did not foresee fielding a team in the future.
Half the Bills D is on IR, but if the Bills running backs (Henry, Magahee) over the last few years played 16 games against the Jets, they would have surpassed 2000 yards and 16 TDs each year. This is Marshawn Lynch’s first opportunity to gain 150 and a couple TDs, Lee Evans will get away for a long one and a punt return is not out of the question. I can’t say I think the Bills will win a game this year, but I’ll be putting my money on the over.

St. Louis at Dallas (-14, 46) Full Agreement

Stefan: St. Louis looked god-awful at Tampa, and Dallas moved the ball well in Chicago. The danger here is that the spread moves above two touchdowns. Like Houston at Atlanta, there’s a “safe” way to go here, where you play Dallas and the Over as separate bets. Dallas probably romps, but if St. Louis keeps it close, the Over may get there. If you want the single bet, you’ve got to like Dallas at two touchdowns or less (won’t go down) since they’re the only NFC team to show any consistent success scoring.

Brooke: The odd thing about the Rams before they played Tampa was that they went up and down the field without putting any points (and I mean no points) on the board. Now Orlando Pace is gone, and so is Stephen Jackson. On the flip side Terrell Owens loves to rub people’s nose in it (and we all know what “it” is), and Tony Romo can’t stop smiling. I would stay away from this over, but even though fourteen points seem like a lot, it’s really only 2 measly scores and I think 28 to 10 is very likely. Take Big D.

Denver at Indy (-10.5, 46) Full Agreeement
Indy is good and they own Denver at home. In fact they simply own Denver. The under wouldn’t shock me, since Denver has been weak on the run, and if Indy puts up a lead (if?!) they may slow the whole thing down with Addai. But Indy straight is the pick.

Brooke: Mike Shanahan knows how to get his teams to run the ball, but ever since ushering in the era of AFC domination, he has forgotten how to win the important ones. You could team up Champ Bailey, Deon Sanders, Ronnie Lott, and Ed Reed in the secondary, and if you do not get a push against the Indy O-Line, Peyton and Co. will still eat you alive. After two close Division games away from home, Indy makes Mr. Shanahan stop smiling.

KC at SD (11.5, 38) Agree to Disagree

Stefan: San Diego has been a disappointment, but at least they figured out how to score in Green Bay. They already knew how to play good defense against bad teams (See Week 1 vs. Chicago). Put the two together and the Chargers finally put the hurt on someone. At press time, the lines are disparate, ranging from 11 to 13.5. I like the Chargers to finally put a licking on someone.

Brooke: At the start of the season I thought KC had the weakest roster in the league, and that SD had one of the two strongest. But I knew that Herm Edwards could get blood from a stone and that they would go 6-10 with a couple surprises along the way. I also knew Norv Turner could turn wine into bilge water. But I felt that SD would, for one year, be able to go on Marty Memory and that Turner would be wise enough to get out of the way. I think that Turner may be the worst coach in the NFL, but there is more to it than that: Wade Phillips (Top five Coach) is in Dallas, Cam Cameron (Could be good coach) is in Miami, and their replacements are not nearly as good. (Sorry Ted Cotrell fans, but he hasn’t put together a good D since Sam Cowart got hurt playing for 1999 Bills, and Wade Phillips was his head coach.) I know it is taking me a long tome to get there, but until I see LT getting out into space, and Phillip Rivers hitting anyone between the numbers I cannot go with the Chargers. I like KC straight up or KC and the Under.

Pitt (-6) at Ariz (42) Agree to Disagree

Stefan: If the line doesn’t creep above 7, Pitt would be the logical choice here. But Hines Ward is doubtful, and Arizona can train their defensive Micronaut ™ against Willie Parker. The Steelers will win, but by how much? The Cardinals are going with a new concept; to use Leinhart as the regular QB and Kurt ‘I didn’t hand the ball off for a 4 yard gain. Jesus did’ Warner as a stunt pilot of their no-huddle offense. Kinky. Arizona adds 17 to the pot, and Pitt does the rest.

Brooke: This one is easy for Pitt, unless it isn’t. I think this is the game that happens once a year in the desert. Zona wins, everybody starts talking about Leinart and how the team that never gets off the bus has finally arrived, but like so many gold rushes out West, the big vein runs dry after one week and at the end of the year the Cards are still somewhere between 5-11 and 7-9. Take the Cards straight up.

Eagles (-3) at Giants (48) Partial Agreement (except the part about not betting on this game – we fully agree on that…but will still bet on it.)

Stefan: God damned NFC. How can you people enjoy this conference? Philly wins this, unless the Giants do. No…Philly, or maybe, the Over? For reals, Philly is only favored by 3, and if Plaxico Buress is really out on Sunday, you got to go with the Birds. I know the Over seems tasty with Philly putting it up themselves last week and the Giants having no discerable secondary, but these teams have gone Under 8 times in their last 10 meetings. Yes, yes, I’m just parroting another site. As if.

Brooke: Misery loves company, and that’s what this year’s NFC East (Dallas excepted) is all about. My official advice is to leave this completely alone, but after hitting the Apple Schnapps and the peach tobacco in my hookah I am sure Stefan will let me convince him that the Eagles will cover the three and start their march to a wild card duel with Washington. Eagles by 10 and the over by 7.

New England (-8) at Cincy (53) Utter agreement

Stefan: One of these games, New England will fail to score 38 points, and another team will beat them, or at least the spread. Will it be Cincinnati? Uh, no. Cincy is allowing 403 yards per game, compared to 207 allowed by the Pats. They face an offense that has teed off on the Jets, Chargers, and Bills, all of whom have arguably better defenses than Los Tigres. Add to that last year’s game, where New England, again on the road, beat this same team 38 to 13. In the interim New England has gotten markedly better.

Often when things seem obvious, one looks for the hidden truth, the upset, the David and Goliath storyline. The good thing for the Pats is that Cincinatti isn’t David, they’re Goliath’s special nephew with orthopedic shoes. They’re good enough to respect, but not good enough to win. If this line stays under 10, enjoy. If you’re worried about the Pats covering, add the Over which would take some help from Cincy. Since 53 is over than a touchdown more than 38 points, I’m not going near it.

Brooke: My pops told me if I ever had a worthwhile endeavor that I needed a few thousand dollars to help get going I should call our neighbor Bernie so Bernie could hear firsthand what he has had to deal with over the last 35 years. My wife has a hunk of cash in her 401 K from the job she had and hated. I have another friend who just got bought out of a small and successful business he helped get started. What I would like to do is get each and everyone of these lovely people I just mentioned to give me all the money they have and then fly to Vegas with it and put it on NE.

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