ST: One of these days we’re going to actually bet our own picks. Last week we collectively went 22 and 11, on paper. But in the real world, after a mediocre 1 o’clock slate and a total bust at 4, our stake was only saved by Aaron Rogers on Monday night. That brings up a classic mistake that most bettors make: After mulling your picks all week, in the rush at 12:45, you bet your second thoughts.
Brooke: Heroes/Villains (Against-the-spread superstars): Every year there are one or two teams that are against-the-spread heroes and villains. The villains are the teams with heightened expectations or the teams who performed well last year but are distinctly over-valued this year. The heroes are the opposite; undervalued teams that play superior teams tight and take it to the weaklings on their schedule. Latch on to any of these squads and bet them blindly every week and watch your mattress rise.
Possible Heroes: Buffalo, Tenn, GB, Carolina
Possible Villains: Cincy, Minny, Jags, Cleve
Tennessee at Cincy (-1,37)
ST: I like Kerry Collins and that D over a bunch of guys that just made bail and can’t stand each other. Tennessee.
Brooke: I think Marvin Lewis will be looking for work by the season’s midway point. Cincy’s O makes them classic Villain material but when Vegas sets the O/U @ 37 they let the world know they have major problems with this formerly elite unit. Tenn and use this result as a base tease for another bet.
Indy (-1) at Minnesota (43.5)
ST: One point for Indy would have been inconceivable last Sunday at 7:59pm. But even with that total beating under our belts, I’m not ready to throw in the towel on yet. Chances are pretty good we’ll laugh at getting Indy by a point. Or not.
Brooke: The Vike’s strengths matchup perfectly against Indy’s shortcomings. Banged up O-Line vs dominant D-Line. Bad run D vs Peterson. Add to that: Peyton still does not look right and I think the Purples pull one off, thus furthering their Villain status. But far more fun is the Over which is where my nuggets will be.
GB (-3)at DET (45.5)
ST: I owe Aaron Rogers for saving our bacon on Monday. Sure, Green Bay has been bad in Detroit. Maybe that was just Bret’s problem with turf. Detroit got killed by Atlanta last week. That’s pretty much the fat lady singing in the shower on her way to rehearsals. The Under also appeals, but definitely second to the straight GB pick.
Brooke: The other 52 players on the GB roster were overlooked last year. And they are out to prove that they had something to do with going 13-3 and then taking the Gints to OT in the Conference Final. Now Brett is gone and while -3 away is no insult this spread should be a -7. How bad is Atlanta? Detroit is that much worse. GB.
NYG (-8.5) at STL (41.5)
ST: I’d stay away from this one. Here’s why. STL is the inferior team, but they’re at home and embarrassed. The Giants will win, but they don’t care by how much, and they’re not really in the blowing people out business. I might take the two way on this one – STL and the Over as separate bets. Get 17 out of STL and you’ve got to win one side. It might seem like a lot, but if they’re going to play better offense at all, it’ll be this week. On the flip side, I love any tease that includes the Champs, maybe give the Pats six for a bit of irony.
Brooke: Eli will only need to throw the ball 15 times in this one. That’s 3.75 throws per quarter. That’s the game plan, but at half time Plax tells Eli and the coaches he can get a years worth of stats in 1 game and to please hook him up. Plax goes sick in the 3rd. Giants management, sensing contract issues, puts the breaks on the air show but the damage is done. Giants and the Over separate bets.
Buffalo at Jax (-5, 37)
ST: I’m required to write about Buff because of Brooke’s die-hard interest, but stay away from this game. If you must, take Buffalo to keep it close by forcing a fumble or two against that beat-up offensive line.
Brooke: Last year the Bills were down on the JAX 10 yd line or so, trailing 22-14 . This was half way through the 4th. Losman threw a pick, sealed the game for the Jags, and secured his own destiny as a quality NFL back-up. The Bills are better this year and the Jags have taken a step back. The Bills also picked up Marcus Stroud, the best defender in Jax history. I’ll take the Bills.
Chicago at Carolina (-3, 37)
ST: Early in the season you’re forced to go with feelings over statistics. In my mind’s eye I can see the stories about the Carolina Panther’s return to the upper echelon. Sure, it’ll only last as long as Jake Delholme’s frayed tendon or Steve Smith’s sanity, but those should be good for six weeks or so. Chicago did well last week, but their running game isn’t a secret any more. Indy was surprised, but the Panthers won’t be.
Brooke: Steve Smith is out for another week. The Bears have that going for them, which is good. They got by Indy on Peyton Manning’s one and only preseason outing. People have forgotten that Delhomme is good, and he is on a mission to prove it. Sweet home Carolina!
Pats at Jets (-1.5, 37)
ST: I’m buying the ‘they’ll pull together’ thing about the Pats. I like NE to win this game, but love them to not lose by more than a touchdown. Include them in tease with NYG or something else you’re fond of.
Brooke: Brett Favre is a country boy and I’m sure he spent many hours on his back in some fecund Mississippi field looking up at the sky dreaming about being a NFL star. This time around he will spend all afternoon on his back seeing stars on the highly irradiated field of the Meadowlands dreaming of his youth when this crap didn’t hurt so much. Ouch! Pats and the Under as separate bets.
Miami at Arizona (-6.5, 38)
ST: Another bit of tease fodder. Arizona should win, but by how much? They famously underachieve, so give them 6, maybe from the Giants or the NE Under.
BR: Miami lost its Super Bowl last week and now they have 16 weeks until the off-season starts. I like Stefan’s Giant tease. I also like Zona ATS.
SD at Denver (PK, 45.5)
ST: I like Denver given the turf toe epidemic that’s hitting the Bolts. I don’t like them much, though. Stay away until the Chargers sort themselves out.
BR: Denver has won 8 straight home openers. I like this over as long as the number stays under 47.
Pitt (-6) at Cleveland (44.5)
ST: Pitt is good and they like to beat up on teams, especially teams from Ohio, divisional rivals and media darlings. I think the trifecta will motivate them to play well. Maybe this is the week that Cleveland lives up the hype, but I’m betting it isn’t.
BR: Half-way through each season all the national sports media types have a “what were we thinking” moment. This year the Browns are the team at the center of these apologies. Sorry you lost your home, your car, your wife, and your schnauzer. So get off the wagon now. Cleveland will score some points but they will also lose a lot of games by large margins. Romeo, Romeo, where for art thou Romeo. At less than a TD Pitt is a bargain.
Philly at Dallas (-7, 46.5)
ST: If you can find a bookie that will let you tease with a Sunday game, knock the Over down to 40.5 and enjoy the show without concern for whose celebrations are drawing fines. If you must pick a team, go with the underdog, just for fun.
BR: TO stands for “Take the Over,” and history tells us to tease Philly with the Over.
Tease of the week:
Who doesn’t like a three way as long as it’s going the right way? Tease the SD/DEN, PITT/CLEVE, Over w/ Pats/Jets Under and hope no one gets jealous.