After back-to-back winning weeks, I got taken to the cleaners in Week 12. I finished a measly 3-9 ATS (using ScoresandOdds.com closing lines) and to make matters worse, I whiffed on all three of my recommended wagers. This was probably the most painful week I can remember in a long time. Three years ago, I had a week where I only predicted two games correctly against the spread, but that was far easier to swallow than this Sunday’s debacle.
Obviously, I have plenty of excuses for the games that I lost. I was definitely out to lunch on a bunch of my predictions this week, but there were also some bad beats along the way (pictured above). The worst part about this week was that the public took an absolute beating and it just so happened to be in the only week of the season where I was on more public plays than usual.
That’s the definition of orbit right there. Anyways, let’s get to the airing of grievances.
Raiders @ Bengals
- Closing odds: Bengals -8, total 51
- Predicted outcome: Bengals 27, Raiders 21
- Actual outcome: Bengals 34, Raiders 10
This game falls into the category of “what the fuck was I thinking”? I perceived there to be line value on the Raiders because they were only a 5.5-point dog in this game two weeks ago, but I completely failed to recognize that they’ve thrown in the towel. Oakland couldn’t even get up for Carson Palmer’s return to Cincinnati. In my mind, they’re undoubtedly the worst team in the NFL right now…far worse than the improving Chiefs and Jaguars. Seriously, how in the hell does a team allow BenJarvus Green-Ellis to run for 129 yards on only 19 carries? Green-Ellis has less explosiveness than my brother’s 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue, yet he looked like the second coming of Barry Sanders against the Raiders defense. If Oakland isn’t a home underdog to Cleveland next week, I might consider putting my mortgage down on the Browns. As for Cincinnati, no surprise here. Another shitty team comes to town and the Bengals dispose of them. They travel to San Diego next week to battle the Chargers, who definitely qualify as a shitty team, so you can expect another Bengals victory.
Steelers @ Browns
- Closing odds: Steelers -2, total 33.5
- Predicted outcome: Steelers 17, Browns 9
- Actual outcome: Browns 20, Steelers 14
I loved the Steelers yesterday. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have backed them so heavily with their complete lack of an offense, but I’m still convinced they were the right side. If you look at my predicted outcome above, I never expected them to run away with the game, but I figured their defense would do enough to get the win. Pittsburgh’s defense did their part but the offense turned the ball over a whopping EIGHT times. Every single one of their running backs lost a fumble. Seriously, who the fuck can predict that’s going to happen? At one point in the game, Kevin Harlan suggested that Pittsburgh may be struggling with the cold weather, completely forgetting that the Steelers play in a fucking freezer at Heinz Field. Some NFL broadcasters never cease to amaze me. Honestly, I have no clue how a team can possibly fumble the ball seven times in a game. Charlie Batch tossed three interceptions, but one of the three literally hit Mike Wallace in the numbers and another one came late in the fourth quarter when Batch was trying to lead the Steelers back from behind. But even with Pittsburgh playing like a bunch of shkeefs, the Steelers were still within striking distance for the entire game. In fact, Pittsburgh forced Trent Richardson to fumble the ball away when the Browns were running out the clock, but the incompetent officials ruled that Richardson was down by contact and Pittsburgh was unable to challenge the play because they were out of timeouts. What a fucking travesty. The Steelers better hope that Big Ben is ready to play against Baltimore next week or else they’re going to get run out of the building. Meanwhile, Cleveland continues to cost themselves a high draft pick by winning games. Brandon Weeden stinks and he’ll be turning 47 next season so they may want to consider tanking for the rest of the season to find themselves a franchise quarterback.
Bills @ Colts
- Closing odds: Colts -3, total 51.5
- Predicted outcome: Bills 28, Colts 24
- Actual outcome: Colts 20, Bills 13
This is one of the few public plays that resulted in a winner on Sunday but I’m really not sure how the Colts managed to pull this game out. Andrew Luck didn’t really play very well, completing only 54% of the his passes and struggling to find any chemistry with anyone other Reggie Wayne. The Colts couldn’t run the ball either as the combination of Donald Brown and Vick Ballard combined for only 67 total yards on the ground. So how did Indianapolis pull this out? Well, Buffalo’s red zone offense would make Lane Kiffin’s USC red zone offense look like a fucking juggernaut. The Bills scored on only one of their three trips to the red zone when Chan Gailey decided it would be best to abandon the running game and let Ryan Fitzpatrick unleash his massive arm strength on the Colts defense. What the hell does it take to coach in the NFL nowadays? C.J. Spiller ran for 107 yards on only 14 carries, yet somehow, Gailey felt that Spiller wouldn’t help Buffalo put up touchdowns when they got near the endzone. Admittedly though, I should have seen this coming. Gailey pulled the same crap against the Dolphins last Thursday, so why would he have corrected his mistakes for this game? Buffalo will be a home favorite against Jacksonville next week, but it’s going to be really hard to lay points with a team that’s inept in the red zone. As for Indianapolis, I’ll give them credit. They didn’t play their best game and they still managed to win a game that they needed to win. I highly doubt the Colts are capable of winning a playoff game, especially if they play on the road, but the playoffs are definitely becoming more of a probability than a possibility.
Broncos @ Chiefs
- Closing odds: Broncos -10.5, total 42.5
- Predicted outcome: Broncos 24, Chiefs 17
- Actual outcome: Broncos 17, Chiefs 9
Another double-digit underdog strikes again. It’s hard for me to rip anyone for their picks after my three win performance this week, but I have no idea how anyone in their right mind is willing to lay more than ten points with a road team in the NFL. It baffles me. In all honesty, if Romeo Crennel had a pair of nuts, the Chiefs would have even had a possibility of winning this game. Crennel opted to settle for a field goal in the first half when Kansas City had a 4th-and-inches inside the Broncos 10-yard line, which is always a fucking great strategy when you’re playing Peyton Manning. I’m sure Chiefs’ fans everywhere were extremely comfortable with their 6-0 lead, knowing that Brady Quinn was behind center. What a joke. Kansas City hosts Carolina next week but if they knew what was good for them, they’d find a way to lose that game and cement their spot atop the NFL Draft. And for God sakes, why the hell don’t the Chiefs give Ricky Stanzi a shot to start? Brady Quinn and Matt Cassel are both useless, so why not give the fifth-rounder a chance to play and see if he’s a capable quarterback? Romeo Crennel must have naked pictures of a bunch of GMs around the league because that’s the only plausible explanation for how he continues to be employed. As for the Broncos, they’ll face a stiff test at home to the Buccaneers next weekend. Denver has been stout against opposing running backs this year, but gave up 147 yards on the ground to Kansas City’s running back trio this week, so they’ll definitely have their hands full with Doug Martin.
Titans @ Jaguars
- Closing odds: Titans -3.5, total 45
- Predicted outcome: Titans 31, Jaguars 13
- Actual outcome: Jaguars 24, Titans 19
Despite the Titans’ loss here, I really don’t regret picking Tennessee. The final score isn’t really indicative of how the game went down. Don’t get me wrong, Chad Henne definitely exceeded my expectations with his performance, but the Titans really shot themselves in the foot here. Jake Locker was able to move the ball at will for the entire game, but Tennessee just seemed to stall every time they entered the Jaguars red zone, settling for five field goal attempts, one of which was missed by Rob Bironas. Locker didn’t get much help though. In the third quarter, Locker threaded a pass to Nate Washington in the endzone, but Washington didn’t gain complete possession until he stepped out of bounds. Locker also connected with Damian Williams on a touchdown pass that in my opinion was incorrectly ruled incomplete. Titans’ head coach Mike Munchak challenged the play but there wasn’t conclusive evidence that both of Williams’ feet were in bounds because his shadow (no word of a lie) made it too difficult to tell if there was any green between his foot and the white out of bounds line. If the pass had been ruled a touchdown on the field, the Titans may have covered the spread. Tennessee will play host to Houston next weekend in what is definitely a winnable game. The Titans offense is completely different with Jake Locker behind center and should find some success against a Texans defense that’s struggled mightily against the pass in recent weeks. As for Jacksonville, you have to wonder if playing Chad Henne is going to cost them some spots in the NFL Draft. For a team that will be desperately looking to replace Blaine Gabbert on Draft Day, wins like this will have a negative long-term impact.
Vikings @ Bears
- Closing odds: Bears -6.5, total 39
- Predicted outcome: No prediction made. Sided with Vikings +6.5.
- Actual outcome: Bears 28, Vikings 10
I’m a moron. It’s as simple as that. Check out what I tweeted during the Bears-49ers Monday Night Football game last week:
Yet, for some inexplicable reason, I convinced myself that the Vikings were the right side. Big mistake. Christian Ponder is about as useful as a previously owned fleshlight. In fairness, Ponder was without his best weapon in Percy Harvin and was victimized by some drops by Jerome Simpson, but ultimately, he just wasn’t very effective. Meanwhile, the Bears gained a huge boost with the return of Jay Cutler at quarterback. There’s no need to spend much more time here. Minnesota is a fraud–everyone knew that, and Chicago is a damn good team–everyone knew that as well. The Vikings travel to Lambeau Field to battle the Packers next weekend, while Chicago plays host to Seattle.
Falcons @ Buccaneers
- Closing odds: Falcons -1.5, total 51.5
- Predicted outcome: Falcons 26, Buccaneers 23
- Actual outcome: Falcons 24, Buccaneers 23
I was bang-on with this game in literally all aspects of my preview, but somehow I managed to lose on the Falcons on the closing line. If you played the Bucs, consider yourself extremely fortunate because Atlanta was DEFINITELY the right side here. Aside from the fact that Matt Bryant missed two field goals, a 22-yarder in which he literally iced himself by calling a timeout before the kick and a 48-yarder in the dying seconds of the game (why Mike Smith even attempted a field goal is another question in itself), Asante Samuel dropped two interceptions that were literally thrown directly into his hands. And I almost forgot about the Julio Jones dropped touchdown that was an easily catchable ball. Even with this comedy of errors, the Falcons were able to pull out the victory, which officially cements the Buccaneers as a fraud in my books. Tampa Bay has been beating up on the dredges of the league in the last couple of months, but the have fallen at home to the only quality teams that they’ve played, the Falcons and the Saints. And since I’ve crowned the Bucs as a fraud, I’d have to officially crown Atlanta as a fraud as well. Aside from a victory over Denver in Week 2, check out who Atlanta’s beaten in their other games: the Chiefs, Chargers, Panthers, Redskins, Raiders, Eagles, Cowboys, Cardinals, and now the Bucs. What’s the common theme? All of those teams blow chunks. The Falcons take on the Saints on Thursday Night Football this week and will look to avenge their loss to New Orleans from a couple weeks ago. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay travels to Denver where Peyton Manning will probably torch them for 400+ yards and three touchdowns.
Seahawks @ Dolphins
- Closing odds: Seahawks -3, total 38
- Predicted outcome: Seahawks 21, Dolphins 13
- Actual outcome: Dolphins 24, Seahawks 21
This is my biggest regret of the week. Normally I would have pounded the Dolphins in this situation, but I was hesitant because Seattle was coming off of their bye. The Seahawks are more talented than Miami but in reality, they shouldn’t be favored over anyone on the road. Seattle simply doesn’t travel well and they proved it again this week. I was quick to shit on both starting quarterbacks when they struggled in the first half, but both were solid in the second half and either team could have won this game. The difference was that Seattle was surprisingly unable to run the ball effectively, while Miami was able to pound the rock consistently with Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas, both of whom scored a touchdown. The Dolphins welcome the Patriots to town next weekend, and will be catching the Patriots at the worst possible time after back-to-back shellackings of the Colts and Jets. Maybe they can have their sprinkler system turn on mid-game again to swing momentum in their favor. Am I the only one that noticed the crowd got significantly louder after that happened? Meanwhile, Seattle travels to Chicago in what’s destined to be a loss, especially if starting cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are suspended for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. I don’t like 89-year-old Marcus Trufant’s chances of shutting down Brandon Marshall.
Ravens @ Chargers
- Closing odds: Ravens -1.5, total 47
- Predicted outcome: Chargers 30, Ravens 17
- Actual outcome: Ravens 16, Chargers 13 (OT)
This is literally the most painful loss I’ve ever suffered in my life. I’ve been betting long enough to have had some terrible losses before, but this one takes the cake. Facing a 4th-and-29 down by a field goal in the fourth quarter, Joe Flacco dumped the ball off to Ray Rice, who proceeded to avoid 63 tackles en route to picking up what appeared to be a first down. We can argue if it was a first down until we’re blue in the face but I’m of the opinion that it was not. If you watch the replay, it appears as though the shadow of the ball is at the 34.5-yard line when Rice’s knee hits the ground, which would have left the Ravens a half yard short of the first down marker. Instead, Gene Steratore spotted the ball at the 33.5-yard line for a first down, and the rest is history. I won’t even get into the fact that Anquan Boldin obliterated a San Diego defensive back from behind. The Chargers are the Chargers and they would inevitably lose the game after Baltimore picked up the first down. No word of a lie, I was actually a click away from placing 8-units on the Ravens money line after the conversion, but the line was taken down before my wager could be accepted. The worst part of the loss was that Joe Flacco is so incredibly fucking stupid that he threw to his checkdown receiver on a 4th-and-29 and still managed to come out looking like a hero. What a fucking joke. Seriously, why not take a shot downfield? There’s always the chance of a pass interference against the defense or a great catch by a receiver, but throwing the ball to a player that’s 28 yards short of a first down is almost a guaranteed failure. Jesus H. Christ. The Chargers were never trailing in this game until Justin Tucker’s game-winning kick in overtime, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbled yesterday. If you’re wondering if I have any regrets, I do. I don’t regret betting against the Ravens at all–they’re fucking terrible on the road as evidenced by the first 3.9 quarters of the game–but I do regret betting against a team coached by Norv Turner. A loss like this could only happen to the Chargers and I deserve it. I could go on and on here but it’s taking years off of my life, so I’ll just end it with a tweet that sums things up.
49ers @ Saints
- Closing odds: 49ers -1.5, total 50
- Predicted outcome: Saints 27, 49ers 24
- Actual outcome: 49ers 31, Saints 21
I really wish people would stop overreacting to the play of Colin Kaepernick. I think Kaepernick is definitely an upgrade over Alex Smith and winning in the SuperDome is no easy task (even though Robert Griffin III did it earlier this season), but the 49ers defense won them this game, not Kaepernick. Without San Francisco’s two pick-sixes, they lose this game 21-17. Kaepernick actually threw a horrid interception late in the first half that could have completely swung the momentum of the game had Drew Brees not tossed a pick-six on the next play. The 49ers defense has been unbelieveable in the last two weeks. After destroying the Bears on Monday Night Football, the 49ers were in the face of Drew Brees all afternoon and forced one of the best quarterbacks of the last decade to single-handedly lose this game. San Francisco will be a touchdown favorite in St. Louis next week and will look to avenge their tie game from a couple of weeks ago. As for the Saints, I thought they were extremely overrated early in the season but I actually think they’re a little bit underrated now. Their defense has drastically improved over the past month and limited the 49ers offense to just 17 points this week. New Orleans will look for the season sweep of the Falcons when they head to the Georgia Dome on Thursday night.
Rams @ Cardinals
- Closing odds: Cardinals -1, total 36
- Predicted outcome: Rams 17, Cardinals 16
- Actual outcome: Rams 31, Cardinals 17
I’m not going to spend too much time on this game. Truth is, I watched approximately 15 minutes of this contest so I’m not qualified to talk about it anyways. In the end, this was a pretty simple selection if you looked at it from the perspective that Ryan fucking Lindley was favored. If you bet the Cardinals, shame on you. If you’ve ever supported Ken Whisenhunt at any point in your life, shame on you as well. How in the hell could Whisenhunt turn to Lindley with a wildcard spot still within reach in the NFC? I know Skelton is bad, but Lindley is fucking atrocious. The Cardinals are so terrible that they’re 4.5-point underdogs to the Jets next week. Enough said. As for the Rams, they somehow managed to win this game by 14 points with Sam Bradford completing only eight passes. Yeah, that’s right, eight completions. Good luck against San Francisco next week.
Packers @ Giants
- Closing odds: Giants -2, total 51
- Predicted outcome: Giants 31, Packers 24
- Actual outcome: Giants 38, Packers 10
Here’s another huge regret. I really liked the Giants in this game but a lot of people that I really respect were big on the Packers this weekend so I laid off. Lesson learned, trust your gut. The Giants were coming off of their bye and have had to listen to the national media talk about how bad they are for two straight weeks. “Eli Manning is done”, “Eli Manning’s arm strength has diminished”, “the Giants can’t rely on their defense anymore”, etc. ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown literally spent a half hour ripping Eli Manning and that’s when I officially knew that the Giants were the right side. New York was epically good and handed Aaron Rodgers his first ever loss by 22+ points. The Giants play the Redskins on Monday Night Football next weekend which should be a highly entertaining game. As for the Packers, I don’t know why they even try to run the ball anymore. Watching James Starks and Alex Green try to pick up yardage is worse than clicking on a fake link that sends you to lemonparty.org (…and believe me, that’s terrible). I won’t read too much into one Green Bay loss but they desperately need to get some bodies back in their lineup. They’re really wearing thin on offense and defense, and can’t be considered an elite team with the roster that just suited up against New York. A divisional home game is on deck next week as Green Bay looks to put an end to Minnesota’s Cinderella run.
Monday Night Football pick
Honestly, I could care less about the game tonight. Carolina is taking in 74% of the action and based on the way things have gone this week with public plays, you’d assume that Philadelphia is the right side at +3, but it’s just impossible to bet on them right now. Nick Foles looks like the rookie that he is, LeSean McCoy is out, their defense is brutal, and they may have given up on their head coach. No one in the world could talk me into putting a cent on Philadelphia tonight.
So, Carolina’s the play then, right? Well, I’m definitely more likely to take the Panthers than the Eagles but how can I really trust a team as bad as Carolina? They’re 2-8, they can’t protect their quarterback, they’re coming off of a heartbreaking loss to the Bucs, and somehow they’re favored on the road. Not to mention, they got skull fucked by the Giants in their only other primetime game this season. And don’t even get me started with Ron Rivera. If there’s anything that this week has taught me, it’s not to put my money down on terrible coaches, and Rivera fits that profile.
If I had to recommend anything in this game, I’d go with the OVER 41 points. This just smells like a sloppy game filled with horrible turnovers and offenses working with short fields. Carolina’s defense has been much better as of late but they’re still not a very good overall unit. Gun to my head, I’d go Panthers and the over, but I’ll be spending my Monday night watching Big Wreck at Massey Hall. Panthers 27, Eagles 20
Week 13 Early Lines
Last but not least, here are my thoughts on the early posted numbers for next week’s games.
Saints @ Falcons -3.5 — I have to imagine the Saints will be a publicly backed underdog here. Atlanta continues to grind out tight wins so it’s difficult to lay more than a field goal with them with any confidence. A lot of line value with New Orleans has been lost though. They probably would have been 4.5 to 6-point dogs in this game a couple of weeks ago.
Seahawks @ Bears -3.5 — Not many sportsbooks have posted a line here due to Matt Forte’s ankle injury, but the ones that have posted lines have set it a 3.5. That’s a bargain in my opinion. I’ll be cheering for Forte to miss this game so that we can get a cheap price with Chicago at home. Seattle is terrible on the road.
Vikings @ Packers -9.5 — This line seems a little bit high so the action won’t be overwhelming in the Packers favor. Both teams are coming off of blowout losses so I could see this being a tightly contested battle. I could also see Green Bay tearing Minnesota a new asshole so I really don’t know where I’ll go with this one.
49ers @ Rams +7 — Who’s going to bet on the Rams here? Does that sound familiar? No one expected the Rams to hang with the 49ers a couple of weeks ago but they looked pretty solid in that contest. Can they do it again? I’m not sure, but the public will definitely look at that game as a fluke.
Cardinals @ Jets -4.5 — Both of these teams are epically bad, but I just can’t see people being willing to back Arizona here. New York has at least played a couple of quality games in the past couple of months, but the Cardinals have just been brutal. The Jets will also be coming in on extra rest.
Panthers @ Chiefs +2 — This spread could obviously change after tonight’s result, but it’s interesting that the Panthers are a smaller favorite in Kansas City than they are in Philadelphia. Vegas has literally no faith in the Eagles at this point. Kansas City seems to play up and down to their level of competition, so they could be in line for a stinker here.
Colts @ Lions -4.5 — I think this line will generate close to 50/50 action. The public loves Andrew Luck and continue to bet the Colts week in and week out, even as dogs in New England a couple of weeks ago. Meanwhile, some will view this as a short price for the Lions coming off of extra rest against a Colts team that struggles on the road.
Jaguars @ Bills -6 — I’d imagine the Jaguars will be publicly backed underdogs here. The public is sold on Chad Henne being a drastic improvement over Blaine Gabbert, and the Jags have played much better on the road this season. It’s really hard for people to lay more than a field goal with the Bills right now.
Patriots @ Dolphins +7.5 — Where do you think the money is going here? New England has been unstoppable in the last two weeks and despite the fact that they’re laying more than a touchdown on the road, a lot of people will be going back to the well. Miami could catch New England in a look ahead spot with the Texans and 49ers on deck.
Texans @ Titans +4.5 — Tennessee just lost to Jacksonville so who’s going to bet them against Houston? No one. The Texans were laying 5.5-points in the advanced line, so there may be some slight line value with them. That all depends on whether or not you believe Houston is for real.
Bucs @ Broncos -6.5 — People love betting on Peyton Manning at home, so I can’t imagine this game will be any different. Historically, the Bucs have been very good road dogs, but how will they rebound after a tight loss to Atlanta? I really thought Denver would be laying more than a touchdown here.
Steelers @ Ravens (OFF) — This line is off the board until the status of Ben Roethlisberger is determined. I’m guessing that Baltimore is -3 with Big Ben IN and somewhere around -9.5 with Big Ben OUT. The Ravens are a really good home team and the Steelers are reeling so you’d have to imagine most people’s money will be on Baltimore.
Browns @ Raiders +1 — The Raiders have been so terrible in recent weeks that Cleveland might just be backed heavily as a road favorite. It feels really weird to type that. I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do with this game.
Bengals @ Chargers +1 — The Chargers were 3-point favorites here in the advanced line, but this spread has swung all the way around to Cincinnati being favored. Even with the switch, people will be lining up to bet on the Bengals. I can’t make a case for the Chargers here.
Eagles @ Cowboys -7.5 — It’s impossible to say where the public will bet until waiting for the result of tonight’s game. I want no piece of Dallas as a favorite, especially of more than a touchdown, but I also wouldn’t put a cent on the Eagles right now.
Giants @ Redskins +2 — I think you’ll see the Giants see more of the action here, but it won’t be a landslide. Both teams are coming off of impressive wins, and the Redskins have the allure of Robert Griffin III. Personally, I think the Giants should be 3-point favorites here.