Each week our gambling gurus, Stefan Tornquist and Brooke Costello, look over the NFL schedule and make some bets.
NYG @ NO (-3,47)
Brooke: Jeremy Shockey reminds me of a sheriff in a Jim Thompson novel. The kind of guy who pulls you over for speeding in a small town and then twists your words around until you have admitted to all sorts of perversions against nature. Before you know it your standing trial for murders he committed and he is the sole witness at the trial. But instead of being a misanthropic small town sheriff he has sick athletic ability, and instead of taking his bitterness out on some random passerby who happens to be going 115 MPH in a school zone in his county he will be out to take revenge on the Giants. Not going to happen. At plus 3 the Gints are a very cheap date. (Giants ATS, Over)
ST: A little pressure from Buffalo earlier this season had the Saints playing tough, possession ball and scratching out a win. A lot of people took that to mean that the Saints have matured into the kind of team that ‘finds a way to win.’ I think Brooke will back me up that Dick Jauron took care of that side of the equation. My take on the game was that some tough bump and cover can still disrupt Breezy McMullet and that any Gints as underdog line is a must take heavy. Take the Over on the other side to balance out the bet if you’re watching for entertainment.
Zona @ Sea (-3,47)
Brooke: The first thing that strikes me every time I visit my family on the West Coast is how beautiful the whole region is. The second thing that strikes me is that I do not understand the culture. They are kind of flaky out there and this makes me feel like a stranger in a strange land. I like this feeling of dislocation in my own country, but I don’t like how that culture affects the teams in the NFC West. Seattle seemed dead in the water before last week’s game and their opponent Jacksonville seemed like they were regaining their 2007 form. The final in that contest? Sea 41-Jax 0. Meanwhile front runner SF gets whacked 45-10 at home by Atlanta and Arizona pulls out a tease busting 28-21 win against the honorary NFC West team Houston. St. Louis has been the only predictable performer which means stay away from the Rams this week. (Zona in a defensive battle teased with the Under)
ST: Whoever takes the lead writing this column (Birthday Boy Brooke these days) gets to choose the games about which we wax idiophic. It would be bad form to second guess on this, so let’s just assume some sort of stroke or other temporary brain cloud struck our man, and move on. For the record, I’m against featuring any inter-divisional play from the NFC West. Tease the Over with something that’s on at the same time and more watchable, like how long the rain delay will last in golf.
Chiefs @ Redskins (-6.5, 37.5)
Brooke: The Cultural Insensitivity Bowl takes place near the nation’s capital this year, and it seems fitting that it should double as this week’s Turd Bowl as well. The Skins boast a 2-3 record but have yet to play a team that has won a game. The Chiefs have something like a 2-30 record over the last couple years. If it were possible to bet on a negative point spread this would be the game to bet big. (Maybe we can get the league to count points scored by the defense as minus points. I’d sign the petition.) (Skins ATS, Under)
ST: Dan Snyder is licking his chops to fire Commander Zorn. He’s the kind of owner who will wait until it’s been long obvious a guy should go, and then wait some more, so he can really get his martyr on. He’s a prick and probably the second most loathsome owner after the Crypt Keeper of Oakland. Karma will punish Snyder with a solid, two touchdown Skins victory that holds out a modest and misleading morsel of hope. Skins ATS
Den@SD (-3.5, 44)
Brooke: Normally the team coming off the bye has a big advantage over an opponent that played the week before. It gives the coaches from the bye week team an extra week to compose a game plan and to prepare the players to execute that game plan, but with Norv Turner doing the coaching an extra week might work against the Bolts. My feeling is if the NFL played twice a week (Giving Norv only half the time he normally has to mess things up.) the Chargers would have won the Super Bowl three years running. (Den ATS and the Over as a separate hedge.)
ST: I was at the Big Pretzel to watch my Pats let Denver do that Voodoo that they do just well enough and I’m torn between two equally true points. First, if Tom Brady was throwing as well as, oh, Tavaris Jackson, the Pats would have won that game by at least 4 pts, probably more. Denver is susceptible to a QB that’s feeling it, and maybe Phil Rivers will be that guy, but I don’t think so, which brings us to the second equally true point: Denver is for real, playing hard in every aspect of the game, and coached to take advantage of strengths while downplaying weaknesses. The contrast doesn’t get any sharper than the guy they’re facing Sunday. Norv Turner has a near mutant ability to bring out the B game in A players, Phil Rivers notwithstanding. I don’t think the SD O line is going to give him enough time to win it by himself. Denver ATS
Hou @ Cin (-4, 45)
Brooke: Cincinnati is having a football Renaissance and it makes me warm and fuzzy. As a Buffalo guy Cinci might be as good as it gets for me for a while. I have adopted Cinci so closely to my heart that I am starting to feel fan paranoia for them and something tells me good Houston will show up this week, but it says here it won’t be enough to sink the Cats, just enough to beat the spread. (Hou ATS, Under)
ST: I’m going to have to disagree on this one. Houston doesn’t spoil. Sure, they put up some points, but they don’t do anything crazy and cover a spread unless it’s a full on upset. Not this week. The Cincy D line is ‘playing mental’ as we Rhode Islanders liked to say in 1982, and it’s going to be very hard for Houston to sustain a drive. Cincy ATS, Under
The Delaware Parlay Of The Week: Car, GB, NYJets
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