the year so far, favorites are getting clobbered. Their record
is 21-36-5 overall. Look lopsided to you? Looks lopsided to me.
Heck, over just the past two weeks, favorites have covered in
10 of the 30 games.
not even one out of three.
yet, it would be too easy to tell you to run with the underdogs.
(At least from the information presented here in introduction
so far it would be easy enough to say. Keep in mind… I haven’t
started examining each game yet. There’s a trick though.)
games always seem to avoid the rules and screw things up. And
wouldn’t you know it… they seem to be screwing things up in 2010.
During weeks 3 and 4, almost half of the games featured teams
playing within their division. Last week, New England was favored
by 1 point over Miami, entered the game with questions surrounding
their defense and looking vulnerable, so of course they destroyed
the Dolphins on the scoreboard primarily thanks to special teams
and defense. Yup. Of course they did. New York defeated Buffalo
easily. And in the 8 games featuring divisional pairings in week
4, only the Patriots and Jets managed to win and cover. 2-6 for
the week. (In the other 6 contests from the week, those without
divisional battles, the favorites were 3-3. Yes. Even. Suddenly
a potential trend emerges. Underdogs winning divisional games
and splitting in the rest. But does it last? Well…)
you consider that favorites in division matches were 1-4-1 in
week 3, I think you could say there might be something more to
the theory. The favorites of such battles were 0-3 in week 2 and
1-5-1 in week 1.
those of you scoring at home… with me giving it just a quick glance…
in divisional games, favorites have gone 4-16-2 this season. Even
if someone does the true math and I’m off, that’s enough so that
I think my theory is safe.
the underdog almost without exception in a divisional contest.
week there is only one divisional game… San Diego at Oakland.
And now you know the reason for my marking this divisional thing
as a trend. See… on the surface, favorites are seemingly getting
killed. And that is true. But, even a quick glance reveals that
one potential factor is when the favorite is facing a divisional
week there aren’t divisional matches scattered across the day.
Just one. The favorites might not be such a bad thing to consider.
(And I’m not ready to pick Oakland, the underdog, in the divisional
for thought. Use it as you will.
is looking great so far. Last week she went 8-6, which didn’t
distance herself from the pack… she maintains a 4-game lead over
second place. But it did solidify her standing, with only me keeping
pace and no one gaining ground.
picks from Mike Jr to list. I’ll get in touch with him on that
and let you know later.
week we take a journey with the Griswolds… National Lampoon’s
at Baltimore (7)
– “Hey, hey, easy kids. Everybody
in the car. Boat leaves in two minutes. Or perhaps you don’t want
to see the second largest ball of twine on the face of the earth,
which is only four short hours away.” I’m sure
it’s just me… but every time I see an interesting game with a
non-division or non-conference opponent preparing for the Ravens,
the game always seems to be in Baltimore. Obviously, that’s got
to be me, right? The Ravens play 8 road games every year… 3 in
the division, 3 in the conference, 2 non-conference… just like
everyone else. But here we are, with Denver heading in to Baltimore
for a game. (Guess where they played last year? Yeah. Baltimore.)
Ok. Three quick things. (1) Much as I would like to pick Denver,
they are traveling a ton recently. After playing Indianapolis
at home, they traveled to Tennessee for a big game… flew home…
then will fly back east for this game. Travel that fast sucks.
(2) This could be a big game for Ray Rice. I just don’t see how
the Denver defense shuts him down unless he’s hurt. (3) While
declaring the best team in the AFC is still a tough thing to do…
Baltimore is a candidate, Denver is not.
at Buffalo (Pick)
– “Roy… can I call you Roy? Have
you even driven cross-country?” “Oh, hell yes. Drove the whole
family to Florida. Worst 2 weeks I ever spent in my life. The
smell from the back seat was terrible.” “Ooooh. Ooooh, I know
that smell. Roy, could you imagine if you had driven all the way
to Florida and it was closed?” “Closed? Uh, they don’t close Florida.”
A pick ‘em? Really? The Bills stink on ice and the Jaguars defeat
the Colts and we’ve got a pick ‘em? Wow. Even if emotionally the
Jaguars are spent, they should easily have enough to win this
City at Indianapolis (8)
– “Ed, this is not the car I ordered.
I distinctly ordered the Antartic Blue Super Sports Wagon with
C.B. and optional rally fun pack.” “You didn’t order the Metallic
Pee?” This is one of those games that fits the
introduction… consider the favorite and not the record of favorite’s
this season. It’s not a divisional contest, and the favorite looks
solid. People are talking about teams like the Chiefs and the
Bucs (unexpected treats… with Kansas City actually undefeated).
I trust Tampa against Cincy, because the Bengals aren’t solid.
I don’t like Kansas City in Indianapolis, because the Colts are.
Terry: Kansas City
Mike: Kansas City
Louis at Detroit (3)
– “Roll ‘em
up!” Would you believe St. Louis has won (3 times)
or tied (once) their games so far against the spread? No losses
for gamblers picking the Rams. That ends this week. The Lions
are such an unknown commodity, I think they’re going to catch
the Rams flatfooted and win easily. (Seriously… don’t look it
up. You tell me are they more dangerous running or passing this
Molly: St. Louis
Gus: St. Louis
Sam: St. Louis
(3) at Cleveland –
“Despite all the little problems,
it’s fun, isn’t it?” “No. But with every new day there’s fresh
hope.” For me this is another clear-cut favorite.
Not much else to say.
Bay at Cincinnati (7)
– “I’m making out a check for $1,000.
All you have to do is give me $300 in cash and keep the $700.
All for doing nothing more than acting like a total creep.”
I don’t think there is another team in the NFL that wins by low
margins the way the Bengals do. The Jets, maybe. But without doing
the research it sure seems like if they win 8…9… 10 games in a
season, the Bengals will only have one or two by more than 3 points.
In this match, I like what Tampa has shown this year and honestly
think the Bucs can take the game with the outright victory. The
favorite is shaky.
Bob: Tampa Bay
Terry: Tampa Bay
Molly: Tampa Bay
(3) at Carolina
– “Get out of the car!” “I don’t
think I was speeding. Was I weaving or something?” “Shut your
mouth, sir! You know, if I weren’t in uniform, I’d split your
skull with the butt of this revolver faster than you can say ‘police
brutality!’” I know what you’re thinking… Jay
Cutler on the road. Danger! And normally, you’d be exactly right.
I’m expecting a brutally horrible game. But this time, when it
comes to betting against Cutler on the road and counting your
winnings, don’t do it. See… in our introduction we established
that when non-divisional teams play, at best we’re looking at
50-50 for the favorites. In the last game I used a good word for
a favorite… shaky. I thought you had a solid underdog against
an iffy favorite. Here I think the reverse is true. While I would
never tell you Cutler on the road is awesome… the Panthers are
just not reliable at all. They’re going to lose this game… the
only question is by how much.
Bay (2½) at Washington
– “How do you like yours, Clark?”
“Oh, medium rare, a little pink inside.” “No, I mean your bun.”
And then we have this… pesky underdog playing a decent favorite
that has… even as potentially one of the best NFC teams… turned
in some shaky moments. The Redskins actually look like they will
be one of those “with a win this week, and some other games playing
out just right, this team finds itself moving into playoff position”
teams that you debate in weeks 12 and 13 and 14 while heading
to the finish line. You never want to count them out… but you
never really believe they’re that good. I’m taking Green Bay because
I expect them to win. But I’m not that confident in this pick.
Bob: Green Bay
Terry: Green Bay
Mike: Green Bay
Molly: Green Bay
York (Giants) at Houston (3)
– “I got laid off when they closed
that asbestos factory, and wouldn’t you know it, the army cuts
my disability pension because they said that the plate in my head
wasn’t big enough.” Houston has been pulling things
off so far. 2-1-1 against the spread, and not really looking awful
in those games that you lock up as victories. Won big against
Indy. All of that scares me to death here, because I expect them
to throttle the Giants this week. Don’t bet this game for the
Texans… even as I pick them.
Molly: New York
Orleans (6½) at Arizona –
“Clark, let’s just skip the house
of mud. I think Dodge City was enough fun for one day. Besides,
Catherine and Eddie are expecting us.” “It’s living history Ellen.
But if you’d rather see your cousins. Personally I’d rather see
a pile of mud than Eddie.” The only thing that
worries me about this game is that I don’t believe we’ve seen
the Saints show anything offensively this year. Last season they
were dominating opponents… smashing them into the turf and doing
whatever they wanted. This year, they’re surviving. Some times
happens to defending champions… but it doesn’t inspire confidence
when big spreads are involved. Trick is… the Cardinals are a bad
football team. If they make the playoffs, it will be because the
NFC West sucks, not because they’re good.
Bob: New Orleans
Terry: New Orleans
Molly: New Orleans
Gus: New Orleans
Sam: New Orleans
Diego (5½) at Oakland
– “We watch his program. We buy
his toys. We go to his movies. He owes us! Doesn’t he owe us?
He owes the Griswolds, right? F**king-A right he owes us!”
Divisional game… so nothing would surprise me here. But, the reality
is that Oakland is a bad football team. Not only do they have
no quarterback, but with limited draft options, they are years
away from having one. You have to take the Chargers. (Norv Turner…
worst head coach in the NFL… you’re going to make me regret this,
Bob: San Diego
Mike: San Diego
Molly: San Diego
Sam: San Diego
at Dallas (6½)
– “That’s not a real gun, is it
Clark?” “Are you kidding? This is a Magnum, P.I.”
And again… shaky favorite with a big spread. I’ll take the underdog.
at San Francisco (3)
– “Sorry folks, park’s closed. Moose
out front shoulda told ya.” Interesting. I was
absolutely 100% ready to take the 49ers in this game. Figured
the Eagles would be favored and that would be that. Perhaps this
is one of those wonderful examples of the world of gambling though…
the line is set to get you to bet, and not as a prediction of
the outcome. Philly with quarterback questions… 49ers quite possibly
due, if such a thing is worth considering… I couldn’t have been
the only one feeling like San Francisco would be a nice underdog
selection. I’m very worried by the offense in San Francisco. It
hasn’t seemed balanced. And the defense… well… let’s just say
they haven’t exactly been holding everyone down. Enter Philly…
a team that to my mind doesn’t seem to go coast-to-coast that
well when they travel. They are a quarter of the way into their
season, and they haven’t even come close to answering questions
that became issues when they traded McNabb. Stats tell you Eagles
in this one. I’m still believing the 49ers are better than they’ve
Bob: San Francisco
Molly: San Francisco
Gus: San Francisco
Sam: San Francisco
at New York (Jets) (4½)
– “I think you’re all f**ked in
the head. We’re ten hours from the f**king fun park and you want
to bail out. Well I’ll tell you something. This is no longer a
vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. I’m gonna have fun
and you’re gonna have fun. We’re all gonna have so much f**king
fun we’ll need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles. You’ll
be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of you’re a**holes! I gotta
be crazy! I’m on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose!
Holy S**t!” I haven’t seen anything from Minnesota
yet this year to justify picking them in this game.
Bob: New York
Terry: New York
Gus: New York
Sam: New York
~ ~ ~
Last week 8-6, currently 33-24-5
Bob: Last week 8-6, currently 29-28-5
Terry: Last week 7-7, currently 28-29-5
Mike Jr: Last week 7-7, currently 27-30-5
Gus: Last week 7-7, currently 25-32-5
Sam: Last week 5-9, currently 24-33-5
Mike: Last week 6-8, currently 24-33-5