Each week our gambling gurus, Stefan Tornquist & Brooke Costello bet on the NFL.
In the real world, Brooke and I enjoyed five straight weeks in the black, slowly and steadily erasing the losses of mid-season and getting into fighting trim for the playoffs. Then Sunday happened with only Carolina doing what we wanted. Rough stuff. Most galling was that my picks in the column did just fine (11-8-3) though Brooke had a setback week (5-14-3). With one week to go, we’re 147-105-6 and 139-143-6 respectively.
Cards @ NE (-8, 45)
ST: Let’s see…1pm…check…east coast…check…snowy and windy…check…Bill Bela…check. Tease NE with the Over and have a nice day or if you’re tease averse, take the Pats straight.
B: National coverage of this game cites the Cards’ problems on the East Coast (big losses at Jets 35-56, and at Philly 20-48). And the line has already shifted 1 full point towards NE. Zona hasn’t been a division champ in a very long time and I it seems like they are a little too proud of their achievement. 8-8 is a real possibility. The main obstacle to this being an easy NE win and over is the weather. If the winds are low take an over with your Pats.
Denver (-6.5, 45) Det (7, 51)
ST: These are bundled because Brooke snuck a ‘pick only’ game (Bills) into our full coverage schedule. Fair enough. I like his thinking here, except for the Bills part, which I’d skip. I’m very much afraid Detroit is going to win this game, but they’re almost sure to keep it close, so take them Lions in a tease with the Over, if not each separately.
B: Stefan didn’t want to write about them this week, but I like to finish what I start. There was some talk on ESPN about the Bills getting up to play the spoiler role. One piece of insight about the spoiler role in sports, a spoiler does not have to win to be a spoiler. Win, lose or draw the spoiler spoils someone’s season. As a matter of fact if the Bills lose to Denver (heh heh heh) they will have permanently spoiled SD’s season, assuming the Chargers have not already spoiled it for the 9th time this year by losing to TB. The only true potential spoilers this week are the Saints who have the opportunity to prematurely conclude a glorious run by the Detroit Lions. Never has a city and a major sports team been so in synch. Take a tease of the Bills and the over and a tease of Det and the over for 17.5 billion.
Atl @ Min (-3, 43)
ST: I’m half way to believing that Minnesota has lucked into a bizarro version of Tavaris Jackson who keeps his cool. If they have, Gus Ferotte is going to be glad they play in a dome, since tt gets cold on the bench in the NFC North. Gimme a tease of Atlanta and the Under, or Minny straight, or both.
B: Did Minnesota destroy the Fightin’ Cards last week or did the Cardinals analysis of the cost/benefit ratio of playing their best game when they had already clinched whatever they were going to clinch determine playing dead was the way to go. I think the latter. Atl had the much harder task of driving the last cutlass into the body of a fiercely struggling foe. I think the experience will pay off for the Falcs and I also believe T-Jac is ready to give up some pick 6s. Give me Atl ATS.
Philly @ Wash (5, 38)
ST: The collective concussion suffers by the Skins in Baltimore isn’t clearing until the off season, possibly of 2010. Meanwhile Philly has some steam building that’s good through the second round of the playoffs. Take Philly straight or a tease of Philly and the Under.
B: More talk of the spoiler winds swirls around Washington’s role in this game. But Philly dropped putrid Bengal scat all over their gym bags when they tied Cinci. The football goddess Demetria demands a sacrifice and she will get it this week. Skins ATS.
Car @ Gints (-3, 37.5)
ST: The Giants need to win this game, no matter what the standings say. The Giants have looked feeble with little ability to move the ball and less in stopping it, but if they can’t beat a team from the South with top seed on the line to stop the string of losses, I’d be surprised. The best news for them is the return of Brandon Jacobs, the bruiser whose absence has been sorely felt. Giants straight or a tease of Carolina and anything else on the board. This doesn’t feel like a Giants blowout.
B: I’m the first to say that I am slow to adjust. The Giants have looked terrible the last couple of weeks and Carolina has had two solid wins against two OK teams. Both those Panther victories were at home where they are a very formidable team. The Giants lost to a very talented and incredibly motivated Dallas team and to the “who the hell are you anyway Eagles”. After getting popped in the head twice I think the Giants are fully awake and maybe even looking forward to putting the fear back into the NFC. Gints and the Under separately.
GB @ Chi (-4, 41)
ST: Chicago at home with a chance to actually win the division (Minny can certainly lost to Atlanta or the Giants) sounds a lot better than Green Bay on the road to prove they’re not that bad. Chicago
B: I never thought I would be writing this season but the Bears have become a semi-clutch ATS home team. They seem to win by just enough to keep the money at their backs. I’m sure the Bears remember what happened last time they played GB and I expect a turnaround in this one. 24-10 seems about right.
Chi ATS and the Under.
Mia @ KC (4, 40)
B: Smack Down Mia ATS
Cin @ Cle (-3, 31.5)
S: T Cincy and Under
B: Tease Cle and Over
SF @ STL (5.5, 43)
S: T SF & Over
B: Tease SF & Under
Jets @ Sea (5, 44)
S: Tease Seattle and Over
Hou @ Oak (7, 44)
B: Hou Large
SD @ Tampa (-3.5, 42.5)
S: T SD/Under
B: Tease SD and Under
Before I posted, they wrote this, though they’d probably be happier if I cut it (Sorry, guys):
Balt @ Dal (-4,39.5)
ST: Much as I like Baltimore, they’re just not the kind of team that’s going to excel at Texas Stadium in a big game. Tony Romo hasn’t convinced me in the big game sweeps either, but this only kinds sorta qualifies, and his ability to get the ball out quickly should keep him upright long enough to score the 24 points that will be 10 points more than they need. I like Dallas and the Under as separate bets and the tease of both.
B: I have strong memories of a 31-3 beat down the Ravens took at the hands of a different quick read strong armed QB. At that point I thought Indy and Manning were putting it into high gear and Baltimore’s aging D was beginning to fade. It took Indy a few more weeks to get it right and the Raven’s D still has the goods. The difference is that the Ravens cannot move the ball against solid D. I like Dallas to bring the wood in an old fashioned beat down. Dallas and the Under as separate fairly confident bets.
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