Week 1 was horrible, Week 2 was outstanding, and Week 3 was somewhere in between from a betting perspective. I went 7-6-1 ATS in all games, but more importantly 2-1 ATS with my recommended bets, getting up above the .500 mark for the first time this year. I thought the swings that I endured last week were rough, but this week I nearly had an ulcer. I can’t remember a crazier group of 1:00 games than the games from this week.
Anyways, without further ado, here were my thoughts from Week 3.
Rams @ Bears
Closing Odds: Bears -7, total 42
Predicted Outcome: Bears 23, Rams 17
Actual Outcome: Bears 23, Rams 6
This wasn’t exactly the performance the Bears wanted after getting embarrassed by Green Bay last week, but a win is a win. The Rams managed to keep this game within a touchdown for three quarters despite the fact that Sam Bradford was completely useless. St. Louis’ defense kept them in the game until Bradford threw a pick six that ultimately put the game out of reach. The Bears’ defensive line completely overmatched the Rams’ offensive line, so Bradford gets a bit of a break here, but the third-year signal caller looked skittish even when he wasn’t under pressure. Chicago’s defense played great but for the second straight week their offense left much to be desired. Jay Cutler has to get his shit together because this week his offensive line wasn’t all that bad.
Buccaneers @ Cowboys
Closing Odds: Cowboys -7, total 45.5
Predicted Outcome: Cowboys 34, Buccaneers 17
Actual Outcome: Cowboys 16, Buccaneers 10
What a painful way to lose a bet. The Bucs were down 16-7 and facing a 4th and 11 late in the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay sent out their special teams unit to punt the ball away but before they could snap the ball, the clock ran down to the two minute warning. At some point in the commercial break, Tampa Bay’s moronic coaching staff decided that they should actually go for it rather than conceding the game. The Bucs then proceeded to convert the fourth down on an outstanding Vincent Jackson catch and then march down the field, kick a field goal, and in the process, kick anyone who wagered on the Cowboys right in the nuts. Aside from my bitching about my wager, it should be noted that the Buccaneers are a complete joke offensively. The Bucs were actually running the ball late in the fourth quarter when they were down by more than a touchdown. I guess it doesn’t take much to be an offensive coordinator in the NFL these days. As far as the Cowboys are concerned, their offensive line is putrid and they continue to shoot themselves in the foot with needless penalties. Taking 13 penalties for 105 yards is essentially what made this game close because the Bucs couldn’t move the ball at all.
49ers @ Vikings
Closing Odds: 49ers -7, total 42.5
Predicted Outcome: 49ers 19, Vikings 14
Actual Outcome: Vikings 24, 49ers 13
I’m not going to spend too much time on this one. The 49ers are still a great football team and the Vikings are still crap. These games happen. San Francisco was coming off of back-to-back emotional wins in their first couple of games of the season, which very often leads to a letdown game. The 49ers will take their frustration out on the Jets next weekend, while the Vikings are lucky that they get to play the mediocre Lions, or they’d be in for a world of hurt. Get ready for a week on NFL analysts wondering what’s wrong with San Francisco.
Lions @ Titans
Closing Odds: Lions -4, total 47
Predicted Outcome: Titans 27, Lions 24
Actual Outcome: Titans 44, Lions 41 (OT)
I’m glad I cashed my ticket with the Titans, but I feel as though watching this game may have taken 1-2 years off of my life. It looked like one of those games where each head coach bet on the opposing team to win the game. Seriously, who gives up two special teams touchdowns in a game other than any team coached by Norv Turner? And Akeem Ayers, what the hell were you doing on that Hail Mary? The Lions continue to be the most overrated team in football, while the Titans aren’t doing much to change the public perception that they’re garbage. If I could take one good thing out of this game, it was the performance of Jake Locker. He was accurate, made good decisions, and showed signs of being a true franchise quarterback. Of course, you can discard everything I just wrote because it came against the Lions.
Bengals @ Redskins
Closing Odds: Redskins -3, total 49.5
Predicted Outcome: Bengals 27, Redskins 21
Actual Outcome: Bengals 38, Redskins 31
I should just bet on every Bengals game for the rest of the season. I’m pretty sure I’ve accurately predicted every one of their game outcomes for the last calendar year. No surprise here—the Bengals played a crappy team and they won. They’ll continue to win against the lemons of the NFL, but they’ll get their asses handed to them by playoff teams in due course. As for the Redskins, their defense was pillaged for a third straight week. I’d say that they’ll have their hands full with the Bucs’ offense next week but that would be a blatant lie. By the way, Robert Griffin III is pretty good.
Jets @ Dolphins
Closing Odds: Jets -3, total 40.5
Predicted Outcome: Dolphins 17, Jets 10
Actual Outcome: Jets 23, Dolphins 20 (OT)
Watching this game was akin to getting a Prince Albert piercing. Sorry for not picking the Jets to win, but it’s not exactly that easy to pick the exact game when a kicker is going to shit himself (thanks Dan Carpenter). This outcome is also particularly disappointing because it means I’ll have to watch another game with Mark Sanchez under center. Anyways, no need to spend any more time here. Neither team is going anywhere this season.
Chiefs @ Saints
Closing Odds: Saints -8.5, total 51.5
Predicted Outcome: Chiefs 31, Saints 27
Actual Outcome: Chiefs 27, Saints 24 (OT)
This one probably comes as a shocker to most people, but obviously not to me. The Saints just aren’t a very good football team. They’re poorly coached, their offense has become far too predictable, and their defense wouldn’t be able to stop Massachusetts Minutemen right now. Kansas City may have rolled over in their first couple of games this season, but now that their defense is back to full strength, they should be competitive going forward. They’ll have a big test against the Chargers next weekend. On a side note, Dexter McCluster sent me into a pure rage when he injured his arm making a catch and proceeded to put the ball down on the ground and surrender possession to the Saints. If the Chiefs hadn’t come back to cover this game, I probably would have changed every one of my fantasy team names to “McCluster Fuck” out of pure spite.
Bills @ Browns
Closing Odds: Bills -3, total 45
Predicted Outcome: Browns 17, Bills 16
Actual Outcome: Bills 24, Browns 14
Sometimes I do some pretty stupid things. In hindsight, picking a team that may be picking first overall in the next NFL Draft to beat a probable playoff team was pretty idiotic. The Browns fell behind 14 points early and never really gave themselves a chance. They worked their way back to a three point deficit at one point, but in the end, the Browns aren’t a team that’s built to play from behind. Looking ahead to next week, who’s idea was it to put the Browns @ Ravens on Thursday Night Football? I’d get it if Cleveland was the home team because they’d at least stand a chance to win the game, but putting them on the road in Baltimore is a catastrophe. As for the Bills, I’m really starting to believe that they’re cursed. They lost C.J. Spiller to injury this week, and have to take on the Patriots next weekend after New England’s second straight loss.
Jaguars @ Colts
Closing Odds: Colts -3, total 42
Predicted Outcome: Colts 26, Jaguars 17
Actual Outcome: Jaguars 22, Colts 17
I also should have seen this one coming. Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 283 yards in two games last season against the Colts, but I was blinded by Indianapolis’ ability to contain Adrian Peterson last week. I made a fundamental betting mistake by overreacting to the week before. Usually when two pitiful teams go up against each other, I like to bet the underdog, but I convinced myself that Indianapolis is closer to mediocre than pitiful. Big mistake. The 80-yard touchdown pass from Blaine Gabbert to Cecil Shorts made up 52% of the Jaguars’ passing attack for the day, and they still somehow won the game. What a scam.
Eagles @ Cardinals
Closing Odds: Eagles -3, total 42
Predicted Outcome: Cardinals 13, Eagles 12
Actual Outcome: Cardinals 27, Eagles 6
In my first draft of my betting preview I had the Cardinals winning this game 21-3. For some reason, as the week wore on, I convinced myself that I was probably being a little too harsh on Michael Vick, so I made my predicted outcome a little bit closer. Again, I come out looking like an idiot. It’s clear as day that karma is finally catching up to Vick and he’s being punished by some supreme being for his days of killing dogs. It doesn’t help that his head coach, Andy Reid, thinks that it’s prudent to pass the ball 75% of the time. What does Reid think is going to happen if Vick drops back to pass 40 times a game? As for Arizona, they’re a good football team. I knew this going into the season, but for the next week I’ll be stuck watching segments on NFL Network proclaiming the Cardinals to be the “biggest surprise so far this season”. It’s no surprise. They have a boatload of talent on both sides of the ball.
Falcons @ Chargers
Closing Odds: Chargers -3, total 47.5
Predicted Outcome: Falcons 28, Chargers 24
Actual Outcome: Falcons 27, Chargers 3
Now those are the Chargers I’m used to seeing in September. It looks like Norv Turner is up to his old tricks again. The Falcons were coming off of a short week and had to travel out west, but still managed to make San Diego look like a high school football team. It looks like the Falcons have finally learned how to win games on the road, so this truly may be their year. The Chargers, on the other hand, finally faced a good team after beating up on the Raiders and Titans in their first couple of games. I’ll try not to overreact too much to this one game because every team is capable of putting up a stinker in any given week, but Philip Rivers looked exactly like the average quarterback that he was last season. He telegraphed a ton of passes and tried to fit balls into double coverage when other receivers were wide open. That’s not a good sign if you’re a Chargers’ fan.
Texans @ Broncos
Closing Odds: Texans -1.5, total 43.5
Predicted Outcome: Broncos 23, Texans 20
Actual Outcome: Texans 31, Broncos 25
This score line is pretty flattering for the Broncos because they were absolutely dominated by the Texans. The “One-Eared Wonder” Matt Schaub capitalized on a number of mistakes from Denver cornerback Tracy Porter, and was ultimately able to generate a bunch of big plays. That was really the difference in the game. Houston’s defense is solid and isn’t really susceptible to the big play. They forced Peyton Manning to try to methodically work his way down the field in the early going, but once the Broncos fell behind, Manning tried to get it all back quickly. Houston looks like one of the favorites for the Super Bowl, while Denver looks like the .500 team that I pegged them for at the beginning of the season. Then why did I pick the Broncos you ask? They were a 2.5-point favorite in this game before Week 2, but after their loss to the Falcons, they went to a 1.5-point underdog. That was too much line value to pass up on.
Steelers @ Raiders
Closing Odds: Steelers -4, total 45
Predicted Outcome: Steelers 27, Raiders 14
Actual Outcome: Raiders 34, Steelers 31
I really should have seen this one coming. Everyone was betting the Steelers as a 5-point favorite and this line dropped down to four points despite all the action coming in on Pittsburgh. That’s the surefire sign of a trap, and I fell right into it. This was mostly due to the fact that I have absolutely no respect for Carson Palmer. In my mind I couldn’t envision any scenario in which Palmer is able to match points with Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben played outstanding, throwing for 384 yards and four touchdowns, but in the end, a pair of untimely lost fumbles from Antonio Brown and Jonathan Dwyer allowed the Raiders to stay in the game. I’m really starting to question the Steelers. They seem to lay an egg on the road far too often—far more than any elite team should. As for the Raiders, my opinion hasn’t changed much. Congratulations Oakland, you just worsened your draft position by a couple of spots.
Patriots @ Ravens
Closing Odds: Ravens -2.5, total 48.5
Predicted Outcome: Patriots 31, Ravens 24
Actual Outcome: Ravens 31, Patriots 30
Let me preface this by saying that although it may not seem like I have a heart, I actually do. My condolences go out to Torrey Smith for the loss of his younger brother prior to Sunday’s game. With that being said, Smith could have shanked someone on the field and got away with it on Sunday night. His second touchdown of the game came on the most blatant push-off I’ve seen this season, but of course, the incompetent officials missed it. All in all, the Patriots got hosed. This game never should have been within reach for the Ravens, but because of one huge blown call, it was. And then there was the game winning kick. The ball went directly over the right upright, but for some strange and borderline retarded reason, any kick that goes over an upright is considered good. I don’t blame Belichick for wanting to punch out a ref after the game. The Patriots are 1-2 but they’re probably the best 1-2 team in the history of football, while the Ravens look like they’ll be winning the AFC North despite their brutal schedule.
All in all, Week 3 was average, but a number of games were so close that I could have been staring at a really great week or a really poor week. Hopefully I can end this week with a bang after whiffing on last week’s Monday Nighter.
Monday Night Football pick
The first couple weeks of the season haven’t gone the way the Packers would have hoped. Green Bay has looked out of sync offensively, and worst of all, their struggles have come at home where they have been an offensive juggernaut in recent years. I really feel as though the league has finally figured this offense out. Dating back to the end of last season, the Packers’ first team offense has looked rather ordinary. Greg Jennings returns from injury tonight and should provide a boost to Green Bay’s offense, especially since the likes of James Jones and Jermichael Finley couldn’t catch a beach ball right now.
The problem for the Packers is that they’re too one-dimensional. Cedric Benson picked up 81 yards on the ground last week against the Bears and that was considered a good rushing performance for the Packers. That’s how bad the running game has been in Green Bay. Unfortunately for the Packers, Seattle’s defensive front is huge and they possess some of the best run stoppers in the league. Seattle will be able to drop a number of players into coverage downfield because their defensive line can hold their own against Green Bay’s front five. This is precisely why the Seahawks had so much success against the Cowboys last week.
On the other side of the ball, I particularly like the Seahawks to win this game because of their ability to run the ball. Green Bay’s defense was able to limit the Bears’ rushing attack last week, but that’s because Chicago’s offensive line sucks. In Week 1, the Packers stacked the box to stop the 49ers rushing attack, but were getting manhandled at the line of scrimmage. The Seahawks will have left tackle Russell Okung back from injury for tonight’s game, so there should be no issues opening up holes for Marshawn Lynch. If the Seahawks are able to get the running game going like I expect them to, Russell Wilson will be able to work the play action pass down the field.
This game will probably be close from start to finish, but I really think that Seattle’s physicality is going to be the difference in this game. Green Bay isn’t as good as people think they are, and Qwest Field is one of the worst places imaginable to have to play a primetime road game. I’ll be on the Seahawks +3.5 -105 at SportsInteracion. Seahawks 23, Packers 20
Week 4 Early Lines
Last but not least, the early lines for Week 4 have been posted. Here are my thoughts:
Cleveland @ Baltimore -12 – This is a big number, so Cleveland will probably see some action. It will be a tough spot for Baltimore after an emotional Sunday night win.
New England @ Buffalo +3.5 – I don’t know which way people will be betting this one. New England’s public value is as low as I can remember it being.
Minnesota @ Detroit -4 – This is another tough one to call. I can’t imagine people will be lining up to bet on Shaun Hill if he starts, but people still seem to be in love with the mediocre Lions.
Carolina @ Atlanta -7 – Atlanta will probably see most of the action here. They’re considered one of the Super Bowl favorites at this point.
San Francisco @ NY Jets +3.5 – People will probably overreact to San Francisco’s loss so this won’t be a huge one-sided game, but San Fran will still see a good percentage of the action.
San Diego @ Kansas City +1.5 – Despite getting blown out at home, the public will probably be thinking the Chargers will redeem themselves.
Tennessee @ Houston -11.5 – This will be close to 50/50 action. Houston is great but this is a big line.
Miami @ Arizona -6.5 – No one will be betting on Miami here. Arizona has now beaten three good football teams to start the season.
Oakland @ Denver -5.5 – I think Oakland will be a publicly backed dog. The public perception of Peyton Manning has plummeted in the last couple of weeks.
Cincinnati @ Jacksonville +1.5 – Cincinnati will be bet heavily here. They tend to beat up on bad teams and I think the public has caught on.
Washington @ Tampa Bay -3 – This has 50/50 action written all over it. You can make a case for both teams rather easily.
NY Giants @ Philadelphia -2.5 – The Eagles stock couldn’t be any lower right now with Michael Vick playing like a steaming pile of crap. The Giants will see a LOT of action.
Chicago @ Dallas -3 – All aboard the Bears. Dallas has looked awful in back-to-back weeks and their opening week win over the Giants seems like it was ages ago.