Is the financial crisis getting you down? Try the NFL. How much worse can you do? Brooke Costello and Stefan Tornquist lead the way.
Before getting to this week’s games, it’s only right to give a full recounting of our last two outings. Anyone betting with us in week six probably wants my home address, as I went an astounding 4-11, while Brooke enjoyed a comparatively stellar 6-12. Week seven saw an oh-so-mild rebound for me at 9-7-1 and 9-10-1 for Brooke. With those two whoppers under our belts, your humbled gurus are now 119-98 on the season, or a 55% clip (58% and 52% respectively). As solace for anyone who took a beating, you weren’t alone…you had an army of our Benjamins right there with you.
NY Giants @ Pitt (-3, 43)
ST: Good game with two division leaders at 5-1. So far this year the Steelers have screwed my picks too often while the Gints have been solid, well, 5 out of 6 times. I like them as a dog any old time.
B: The biggest difference between these teams is that the O-line for the Giants can keep the sheets clean for Eli, whereas Big Ben has been getting murdered. I’m still not convinced Mewelde Moore can carry the load against a good run D. I give a big nod to the G men and the over as separate bets.
KC @ NY Jets (-12, 38)
ST: Normally, I’d suggest that you take the Chiefs and the Over. They need to get 13 points to get you one side. Amazingly, in 3 of 5 games the Chiefs haven’t gotten that far – in fact their average in those three was 6 points. Johnson is out, again, and the exorable Thigpen is starting. As badly whipped as big spreads have left me over the last couple of weeks, I’m going with Gang Green.
B: The Gambling Gurus like to watch their football games in a very Jet friendly bar, and I took a secret pleasure in watching some of their fans wince and grimace this past week. The entire game was a truly cruel joke. Not only did the Raiders and Jets play one of the ugliest games I’ve ever seen, but then the Raiders forced the Jets to tie it by icing their kicker as he missed his first field goal attempt with time running out. Jet jubilation filled the room when they tied the Raider. Shouts of “It’s our year,” rung out through the beer hall. And then after almost the maximum possible amount of bad football, Oakland’s kicker drives the knitting needle into the hardened Jet-fan hearts. KC provides the Jets with the opportunity to outdo that effort at home in front of their own fans, fans, who in some cases, the Jet brass are asking to shell out at least 5k per seat in 2010. The Jets won’t cover. They can’t cover. KC just for the fun of it.
Oak @ Balt (-7, 36)
ST: A tease made in heaven; Ravens and the Under, moving the line to 1pt and the total to 42, which might as well be 80pts for these two.
B: Read above. Insert, west coast teams have not won a game on the east coast this year and tease Balt w/ the under.
NO vs SD (London) (-3, 47)
ST: Why pick a winner when there are going to be so many points scored for both sides? Take the Over or tease it with the Skins. Oh wait, this is in London, isn’t it? Bet the house on the Under or tease it with the Skins.
B: How many points are too many in this game? 55.5 would probably scare me off. The point total has been climbing in this one and could cross 50 by game-time. Also don’t forget to do a weather check. They say it rains sometimes in London. Both these teams are 3-4, but only NO is in real trouble. A loss here puts them 2 to 3 games behind everybody in the South halfway through the season. The way everybody else in the AFC West is playing SD probably only needs 9-7 to claim the division. I say the good SD starts showing up right about now. SD and the over for a bundle.
Buff @ Mia (+1.5, 41)
ST: Miami seems able to do one thing; keep the score low at home. They haven’t had a total over 40 so far this season. I think against a good pass rush, they’re going to lose. Give them time and Chad Pennington will undramatically cut you up. Buff proved they can play in the humidity when they choked Jax in September. The Bills will be fired up for an AFC East rival and less than 3 points is a bargain.
B: Baltimore figured out how to stymie the “wildcat”, and that may take the novelty off Miami’s return to the land of the living, but Chad Pennington is turning in a solid season, and the Fins D ain’t bad. My partiality to the Bills has been well documented on these pages by me. But I would say the Bills is one of six squads that has played consistently well this year. The Bills at less than a FG is a bargain. I also like the over as a tease w/ the Giants.
Buc @ Boys (No Line)
ST: Who would have thought that the Bucs looked like the more balanced team going into Sunday? The Cowboys don’t seem to know which way is up, while the Bucs are a good road team, steady on offense and with one of the better Ds in the league…again. I’m so in love with the idea of the Cowboys reeling that this pick should be discounted (much like all the others) but I’m betting on Tampa straight, or mixing them into a tease.
B: The line still hasn’t come out on this one, but I’m going to take my cue from the league I’m writing about and kick a guy when he’s down. Dallas will probably right the ship in time for the playoffs. In fact, I’d say they have a pretty good shot at doing what the Giants did last year, but to get there they have to lose this one. Bucs straight up in a low scoring game.
Atl @ Phi (-9,46.5)
ST: Is it time to take a risk on the Falcons? At 9 points, it might be – until Brian Westbrook is firing on all cylinders, the Eagles won’t be the same team that soared and scored. They are coming off the bye, which they desperately needed. The Falcons have lost twice, both times to teams with strong pass defenses – Tampa and Carolina – and the Eagles are strong in that regard. Nine still seems high – tease it either way with the Under.
B: Don’t believe the hype Part I. Andy Reid’s record after the bye is second to none. Philly is getting healthy on offense, and the Eagles want to keep the World Series joy ride going for the City of “Who the fuck do you think you’re looking at?” Love going. The Falcs are still a bit away from being able to handle what they are going to get at the Link. Give me the Eagles. I also like a tease of the Eagles w/ the over.
StL @ NE (-7, 43)
ST: The Pats had themselves some fun on Monday and I doubt the short week will hamper them. Ease that spread down to 1 and the Over down to 37 (or the Under to 49 I’d guess) and you’re sitting pretty.
B: Part of the reason the Bills are 5-1 is they have already played the Rams, twice, the first time being the Seahawks. NE still has blood in their mouths from the mauling they gave the Bro-cons. We, the betting public, are the beneficiaries of the Ram’s recent surge, and the No Brady NE hangover. NE should be giving at least 4 more points. NE and the over on separate accounts.
Zona @ Car (-4.5, 43.5)
ST: A week ago the Panthers shut down Drew Brees, so it’s hard to make an argument for the Cards, who haven’t liked the east coast this season. Panthers.
B: If Arizona wins the rest of their home games they will almost definitely make the playoffs. They don’t need this game, and therefore they do not want this game. Carolina has those pesky Falcs, Bucs, and Saints pushing them from all sides and they aren’t so proud that they won’t take a gift. Load up on Carolina this week.
Wash @ Det (+7.5, 43.5)
ST: This is a clash between a good team that doesn’t typically blow out the loser and a dreadful team that likes to lose big. Tough call since the Lions are at home, where they really like to give up points – the differential is 20 points per game. How about this – it looks like this is the first Sunday since 2002 that the Lions won’t sell out, so I’m going to say they get blown out. Skins straight or as a tease with anything else on the board.
B: Every dog must have his day, but there really is only one dog in this fight. The other critter limply lying in the corner is a stuffed lion with a fresh oozing steak sewn into it’s under belly. Clinton Portis may break several records this Sunday. Take Wash, and take Wash in a tasty tease. Perhaps Wash and NE. Yes, I like that!
Cleve @ Jags (-7, 41)
ST: After watching Clinton Portis run 127 times for the Skins last week, we’ll see lots more from Jax. Tease them with the Under and whatever you do, don’t watch.
B: This is one of those feel picks. The Jags are rested and at 3-3 still very much in contention. Cleveland is this years Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hide , and for some reason I think the Dr. will be in the house. Cleveland to cover if not win.
Sea @ SF (-4.5, 42)
ST: If you are forced by loyalty or voodoo to wager on this game, take the only team that can be even vaguely excited about this game, the 49ers.
B: The Holmgren Bowl. It says a lot about the state of the NFC west the coach of a 1-5 team is seen as a savior for a 2-5 team. When will the party stop out west. Take the over and hope for some mirthful calamities.
Cin @ Houston (-9,5, 44)
ST: The Texans will get up on the Bengals, and sit on a slowly diminishing lead, just like they did with Detroit. Take the Tiger cubs to lose by 8.
B: I urged Stefan to take Houston last week giving ten points to Detroit. It started well. 21-0 in the first quarter or so, and then Houston for some miraculous reason (No doubt linked tightly with their paltry record), started sitting on the ball. Detroit roared back to cover and lose. So to quote our dearly departing Prez, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, um, I won’t be fooled again.” Cincy and a Cincy tease w/ the over.
Colts @ Titans: (-4, 42)
ST: I just don’t know what’s up with the Colts, and I just don’t care. The Titans have been rock stars of the spread, and there’s no getting off this train. The Colts can’t stop the run, and the Titans can stop most everything.
B: One of the year’s great failures against one of the year’s great successes. Stefan and I really went for the resurgent Colts theme last week. They lost 34-14 but w/ 14 Packer points coming on Peyton Manning miscues (one a tipped pass) that game could have and should have been closer. This one will be less than a TD. The one thing we saw for sure was the No Run Defense Colts are back, and the Titans can run against anyone. Take the Titans, take the Under, and Take Indy and the Over.
Super Duper Three way Tease. Tenn, NE, Bills