The Odds-On Favorite: 2011 Week 9 Picks

I’m hoping for some birthday luck this week with the picks.  Today (Friday) is my 30th birthday, meaning two things.  First, as you’re reading this, I’m almost certainly still sleeping.  It’s kind of my own personal tradition that on my birthday, I refuse to do anything at all unless I absolutely have to.  I skipped school on my birthday every year right through college, and when I was working I skipped work every year unless something was happening that couldn’t be postponed. (I’ll save you all the easy joke… no, it has not been my birthday for the past 28 months.)

Second, I’m now officially too old to keep screwing around with life anymore.  Time to get down to business, and get some picks right.  I’m sick and tired of all this under .500 BS.  Time to sack up and start getting it done.  I’m 49-60-7 on the season, but I’m feeling a perfect 14-0 week coming on…

Disclaimer: Gambling on sports is illegal unless you are in Las Vegas, Delaware or Atlantic City. Also, if I’m horribly incorrect with these picks – as I have occasionally been in the past – I’m sorry in advance. If you can’t afford to lose, don’t play. John Anthony – “The Million Dollar Man with the Billion Dollar Plan” – is not a real person. All lines from Bodog or **SBRForum** are accurate as of the time this was typed – 9pm Thursday. Home teams in CAPS. That about covers it.)

Bye Weeks: Panthers / Lions / Jaguars / Vikings

Falcons (-7.5) over COLTS: I’m done with the Colts this year.  Although, I suppose after an 0-8 start to the season, I might be the last person in America who wasn’t done with them yet.  Atlanta has officially reached the point in their schedule where they can suddenly get hot and go on a run to the top of the NFC South – Of their final nine games, they’ll likely be favored in six or seven.  I’ll admit, the whole “coming off the bye week in 2011 = loss” phenomenon kind of worries me here, especially with a road game.  But I’m willing to overlook that because, ya know, Indy sucks.

SAINTS (-8.5) over Bucs: I have no idea how to pick evenly-matched games involving the Saints anymore, so from now on I’m flipping a coin for them – heads for the home team.  This week, it came up heads.  So, there you have it – in depth research on how to pick football games against the spread; “Just flip a coin.”

** Browns (+11.5) over TEXANS **: Seems like there are only a couple teams in the NFL that should be giving up double-digit points, and a Houston team missing its best defensive player and best wide receiver is not one of them.

BILLS (-1.5) over Jets: Bills don’t lose at home.  Simple strategy.  Plus, if ever there was a trap game for the Jets with New England coming to town next week, this is it.

** CHIEFS (-3.5) over Dolphins **: Don’t look now, but the Chiefs are suddenly making a push for the division.  Philip Rivers’ Teflon palms didn’t hurt their cause either.  Meanwhile, the Dolphins already have the look of a team just showing up to collect a paycheck and then go blow it on South Beach – I don’t think they’ll keep any road game within seven points the rest of the season.

49ers (-4) over REDSKINS: You won’t often see me taking the West Coast team coming East for the 1pm game, but the Skins are in freefall right now, while the Niners have almost clinched their division already.

Seahawks (+11) over COWBOYS: Dallas should not be favored by this much over anyone that has a win on the season.  And especially not over a team that has already proven that they can actually put up points, on the road, against suspect defenses.

RAIDERS (-9) over Broncos: You mean I get to bet against Tim Tebow, on the road, in one of the most hostile environments in the NFL, and I don’t even have to give up ten points?  Where do I sign up?

Bengals (+3) over TITANS: Is it just me, or does Chris Johnson remind anyone else of Barry Sanders?  Amazingly talented, dominated the league on terrible teams, wasted the best years of his career, fought like hell to get paid, then decided he just wasn’t that interested in football anymore?  I know that’s not entirely accurate to Barry’s career arc (I’m sure Watsonian will blast me here – it’s OK Nathan, I know Barry fought to get traded to a winning team instead of just quitting), but it’s at least similar, isn’t it?

** CARDINALS (-3) over RAMS **: Holy hell… if ever a game was going to set records for the Bad Quarterback League, it’s going to be this one.  We are likely looking at AJ Feeley starting opposite of John Skelton.  At what point do Brandon Lloyd and Larry Fitzgerald start taking hostages?  I’m guessing sometime in the third quarter.

** Giants (+10) over PATRIOTS **: Don’t worry.  New England should win this game outright. Tom Brady just doesn’t lose in Gillette anymore.  But at the very least, this should be a relatively close game.  I’m interested to see if the Patriots change up a lot on defense from last week’s debacle in Pittsburgh, or if they stay the course and hope the offense can exploit a Giants team that is far worse than the Steelers.  Random fantasy side note:  See the below photo for my current starting lineup in the TVF fantasy league.  I wasn’t kidding when I Tweeted about my new fantasy football strategy of “Whoever is playing against the Patriots”.  Last week across my four leagues I picked up Heath Miller, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and made trades for Big Ben (Thanks again, Nathan!) and Mendenhall.  And went 4-0.

**CHARGERS (+5.5) over Packers **: Alright… two weeks ago, in this “Regrets” post, I wrote that the Packers would not get to 8-0 with the state of their defense.  So, even though the Chargers are a mess right now, I’m sticking with my original instinct, and hoping the 2011 post-bye week curse continues to do its thing.  Upset of the week: Chargers 23, Packers 20. Roughly 47 combined turnovers.

STEELERS (-3.5) over Ravens: Steelers looking like a juggernaut right now, especially at home where they’ve outscored opponents by 57 points in four games.  If they get the win in this game, they’ve got a great shot to run the table and finish the regular season on a twelve-game winning streak.  Meanwhile, Baltimore is playing Jekyl and Hyde football right now.  I have no idea which team is showing up this week, and that’s not a formula for betting success.

Bears (+8) over EAGLES:  Doesn’t this game seem like the perfect time for the Iggles to lull everyone into a false sense of security?  Two good wins against division opponents sandwiching a bye week, and suddenly people forget the four consecutive horrible, horrible losses that had people writing Philly off as complete flukefrauds.

RECAP: Falcons / SAINTS / **Browns** / BILLS / **CHIEFS** / 49ers / Seahawks / RAIDERS / Bengals / **CARDINALS** / **Giants** / **CHARGERS** / STEELERS / Bears

Best Multi-Team Bet: I love the Bills, 49ers and Falcons all teased down by six points, which means they’ll all probably lose.  Also, a crazy five-team moneyline parlay on Atlanta/Buffalo/Kansas City/Dallas/New England looks like it could pay off, though you’ll probably have trouble getting money lines on at least two of those.

Bonus Bet of the Week:  Let’s face it – the best game of the week is happening in college.  LSU/Alabama is going to be a slugfest, even if I’m unbelievably tired of hearing “Game of the Century!!!!!1!!1!!” hyperbole.  It’s gonna be great, and it’s gonna be fun to watch.  Right now, Alabama is hovering between -4 and -5.5, which seems like it’s going to be tough to bet.  This just feels like it’s a three-to-six point win, either way.  Personally, I’d recommend staying away from it entirely, but if you really want to hammer it, I’m thinking that Alabama takes the game outright, but not by much.  I’m going to put it at Bama 27, LSU 23.  So if you can tease LSU up to +10 or so, and the Over (currently at O/U 41, so a tease takes it down to 35), I’d feel pretty good about that.

  • knightwhosaysni

    Happy Birthday D! I got you a shitty Colts season as your present.

  • Johnny

    When I was working I skipped work every year

    I call in sick on my birthday too

  • cabbage
  • knightwhosaysni

    I Tweeted about my new fantasy football strategy of “Whoever is playing against the Patriots

    I look forward to playing you and the craptastic Jets offense next week.

  • Johnny

    Also happy birthday good sir of gamblingness

  • knightwhosaysni

    The Packers secondary isn’t good. This is the week Rivers lights it up and gets on a roll and the Chargers rattle off 7 wins in a row to take the division.

  • Trey

    Yeah the whole Rivers sucks is overrated. I bring exhibit A…Chris Johnson

  • http://www.thevictoryformation.com Mark Mizerle06

    how’s it feel to be 30, D? I wouldn’t know.

  • Johnny

    but it’s at least similar, isn’t it?

    not ever close…

  • cabbage

    Is it just me, or does Chris Johnson remind anyone else of Barry Sanders? Amazingly talented, dominated the league on terrible teams, wasted the best years of his career, fought like hell to get paid, then decided he just wasn’t that interested in football anymore? I know that’s not entirely accurate to Barry’s career arc (I’m sure Watsonian will blast me here – it’s OK Nathan, I know Barry fought to get traded to a winning team instead of just quitting), but it’s at least similar, isn’t it?

    It’s just you. I don’t ever remember Barry tanking like CJ0K.

  • Trey

    Don’t look now, but the Chiefs are suddenly making a push for the division.  Philip Rivers’ Teflon palms didn’t hurt their cause either.  Meanwhile, the Dolphins already have the look of a team just showing up to collect a paycheck and then go blow it on South Beach – I don’t think they’ll keep any road game within seven points the rest of the season.

    To be fair, we’ve kept some games close this year…

  • Johnny

    To be fair, we’ve kept some games close this year…

    Taking the Broncos to OT doesn’t count Trey…

  • http://www.thevictoryformation.com Mark Mizerle06

    Yeah the whole Rivers sucks is overrated. I bring exhibit A…Chris Johnson

    I’m not sure what you mean here, but if you’re saying that Chris Johnson does in fact suck, then as a Titans fan, I agree.

  • rekcalsa

    Plus, if ever there was a trap game for the Jets with New England coming to town next week, this is it.

    Not sure the Jets will be overlooking the Bills, even with the Patriots on the horizon…this is a better Bills team than years past.

    Doesn’t this game seem like the perfect time for the Iggles to lull everyone into a false sense of security?

    Shut yo mouf! Eagles by 40!

  • rekcalsa

    how’s it feel to be 30, D? I wouldn’t know.

    Yea, what’s it like? Still a few years til I can see for myself.

    /Happy Birthday, D!

  • rekcalsa

    On a different note (would’ve posted in TMA, but it’s not Monday)…local soccer team had their season cancelled because the parents of the losing team complained to the principal about the celebration after the victory (link) and the principal overreacted. What a crock.

  • knightwhosaysni

    how’s it feel to be 30

    Pretty close to 25 except the hangovers suddenly become a near death experience.

  • http://www.thevictoryformation.com Mark Mizerle06

    I heard about that, rek. that’s truly awful. set an example for the kids…an example that sometimes it’s ok to tell someone else to stop being a pussy and grow up but also to learn from their own mistakes and be more respectful.

    if the parents of the losing team thought it was an unsportsmanlike gesture, they should have been mature about it and used it as a learning experience to teach their own kids what not to do. they pussed out and complained to the principal though.

    then, the principal had an opportunity to tell the losing parents to get over it and stop being pussies about it, but he would talk to the team about sportsmanship though. instead, he pussed out too and just cancelled the season!?

    what we have here is a bunch of adults acting like spoiled kids and failing to impart valuable life lessons on impressionable kids. it’s revolting to me.

  • Trey

    Pretty close to 25 except the hangovers suddenly become a near death experience.

    +1

  • Trey

    what we have here is a bunch of adults acting like spoiled kids and failing to impart valuable life lessons on impressionable kids. it’s revolting to me

    I think they should go to every game of that losing team, and celebrate on the sidelines from here on out.

  • http://www.thevictoryformation.com Mark Mizerle06

    I think they should go to every game of that losing team, and celebrate on the sidelines from here on out.

    I think a third party should be employed to punch all of the parents and the administrators in their throats.

  • http://cbhsports.blogspot.com cbh49er

    The Chargers miss Darren Sproles a lot, believing in them is fools good.

  • Trey

    Occupy…

    Nevermind, that joke is old.

  • http://twitter.com/HawkEye_19 HawkEye

    Pretty close to 25 except the hangovers suddenly become a near death experience.

    And they only get worse

  • http://cbhsports.blogspot.com cbh49er

    Oh and Happy Birthday D!

  • http://enjoyorhire.blogspot.com/ Vez

    hb bigd

  • Trey

    The Chargers miss Darren Sproles a lot, believing in them is fools good.

    Please. Quit listening to talking heads. Their backfield has been banged up, they get healthy they’ll be fine.

  • http://www.thevictoryformation.com Mark Mizerle06

    you old folks need to chug less and sip more. I thought wisdom came with age, no?

  • knightwhosaysni

    I thought wisdom came with age, no?

    No, wisdom comes with wisdom. Plenty of old people are dumbasses.

  • http://cbhsports.blogspot.com cbh49er

    Ryan Mathews probably isn’t playing this weekend, so they won’t be healthy in the backfield and they will lose. Oh yeah, and their coach is a dipshit. Keep riding the Chargers though, I mean they always live up to their expectations right?

    Rivers has sucked through seven games, I don’t see him flipping a switch, especially agains the defending champs.

  • knightwhosaysni

    Have a glass of water between drinks. Not only are you rehydrating but it cuts your alcohol consumption in half.

    /an ounce of prevention

  • knightwhosaysni

    Running backs are a dime a dozen, stick anyone behind a good offensive line and they’ll rip off 5 yards a pop. What really is killing the Chargers is turnovers, fix that and they’ll be fine.

  • Trey

    Ryan Mathews probably isn’t playing this weekend, so they won’t be healthy in the backfield and they will lose. Oh yeah, and their coach is a dipshit. Keep riding the Chargers though, I mean they always live up to their expectations right?

    Rivers has sucked through seven games, I don’t see him flipping a switch, especially agains the defending champs.

    That’s fine, but a stupid comment like, “they miss Sproles” suggests that they’d be somewhere different with him. They wouldn’t

    Rivers was fine after he shook off a bad start at KC. Their playmakers at RB, WR, and TE have all been on the skids.

    There aren’t too many teams out there that would look all great with their #1 and 2 RBs limping, their best WR hurt, and their all-world TE out.

  • rekcalsa

    miz–The parents are just a bunch of sore losers and the principal is a wuss for not standing up for his team. They were talking about it on the radio and wanted to get the principal to call in so they could bitch him out. They were in the playoffs and were excited to win the game so they did the “Bernie” which is something the Ravens players have done before. The opposing parents claimed it was lewd and everything. I don’t think the principal even saw what happened so he’s basing it on hearsay from the losers. It’s a total crock.

    I think they should go to every game of that losing team, and celebrate on the sidelines from here on out.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think they have any games left.

  • http://cbhsports.blogspot.com cbh49er

    I think its a stupid opinion to believe that Sproles makes no difference whatsoever.

    Yeah, Rivers was great, you know except when he fumbled the snap when all they had to do was take a knee.

    Your last point is correct, but they still have injuries at the running back position, Jackson is still hurting and we have almost half the season where Rivers has played like dick. If they had a half decent coach, or maybe hadn’t played like ass last season, and blown games the last two weeks maybe I would share your faith in them being a real contender.

  • Trey

    I think its a stupid opinion to believe that Sproles makes no difference whatsoever

    He makes some plays, but he doesn’t overcome the INTs or shitty defense they’ve played the last two weeks.

    Again…there is not ONE team in the league that could look all that great with the number of injuries the CHargers have had. With ot without Sproles they’re 4-3

    If they had a half decent coach, or maybe hadn’t played like ass last season, and blown games the last two weeks maybe I would share your faith in them being a real contender.

    I agree with this. I don’t agree with some mountain out of a molehill analysis saying Sproles would make a difference…he’s not a gamechanger. Goodman and Crayton are actually doing about the same when it comes to what Sproles did in the return game last year.

  • http://cbhsports.blogspot.com cbh49er

    there is not ONE team in the league that could look all that great with the number of injuries the CHargers have had

    The 2010 Packers completely disagree with this. Wasn’t going to point it out you said not one team.

  • Trey

    Yes..and the Packers needed to go until the final week of the season to make the damn playoffs.

    Even then it was Ryan Grant (who is the suck, and still plays second fiddle to Ryan Greant) and Jermichael Finely (a fine tight end, but not so great they couldn’t work around him).

    The Chargers are without their best player, and have struggled to keep the crux of their offense (the running game) healthy…

  • Trey

    Opps. Mean Starks, not Grant.

  • Johnny

    I agree with the lawyer

  • knightwhosaysni

    I want to see Ryan Greant play. He sounds good.

  • http://cbhsports.blogspot.com cbh49er

    Gates is their best player right? He has been back for two weeks.

  • http://cbhsports.blogspot.com cbh49er

    Two weeks from now will be fun, Chargers at Bears, River/Cutler rivarly renewed.

  • http://www.thevictoryformation.com patphish

    Plus, if ever there was a trap game for the Jets with New England coming to town next week, this is it.

    So playing the first place team is a trap game before playing the second place team?
    Interesting take.

  • Trey

    Gates is their best player right? He has been back for two weeks.

    Yeah, but he ain’t 100%. When he gets back in the swing of things, they’ll be fine.

    Unless you want to play the doom and gloom angle of a team who lost three road games; two to teams who are likely playoff bound.

    Again, they’ll be fine…your remark about missing Sproles is dumb. You’d make a great talking head on ESPN with analysis like that.

  • knightwhosaysni

    I think it’s pretty hard to call any divisional games trap games. Too much at stake in divisional games for players to take them lightly, plus they’re rivalry games.

  • http://cbhsports.blogspot.com cbh49er

    Agree to disagree.

    FWIW, attempting to decipher your spelling has made me dumber.

  • Trey

    Agree to disagree.

    FWIW, attempting to decipher your spelling has made me dumber.

    You’re right, just like the idea of Darren Sproles leading the Chargers to glory has made me dumber.

  • http://www.thevictoryformation.com patphish

    FWIW, attempting to decipher your spelling has made me dumber.

    You win.

  • http://www.thevictoryformation.com Mark Mizerle06

    FWIW, attempting to decipher your spelling has made me dumber.

    effing a, that’s hilarious.

  • cycledan

    Not sure about your Giants pick. They have a lot of injuries.