After a terrible 3-9 ATS record in Week 12, I rebounded nicely this week, finishing the week 7-5-2 ATS (using closing lines) and going 3-2-1 ATS with my recommended wagers. Things could have gone a lot differently this week (either good or bad), as there were a number of point spreads that were undecided until late in the game.

Last week, my biggest mistake was trusting teams with poor coaching, and while I lost a play on the Lions this week, I was a miracle touchdown drive away from finishing with a push in that contest. This week, my biggest mistake was shying away from some bets that I felt strongly about early in the week. Oh well, you live an you learn.

Seahawks @ Bears

  • Closing odds: Bears -3.5, total 37
  • Predicted outcome: Seahawks 20, Bears 17
  • Actual outcome: Seahawks 23, Bears 17 (OT)

I’m really glad I went with my gut and took Seattle to pull out the road victory. Ordinarily, I blindly bet against the Seahawks on the road, which has proven to be a successful strategy in years past, but I really liked this matchup for Seattle. As much as I detest Pete Carroll (especially after he celebrates a win prematurely), his team has fought hard on the road all season long and Sunday was no different. Russell Wilson was spectacular down the stretch. Wilson engineered a go-ahead 97-yard touchdown drive late in the game and a game-winning 80-yard touchdown drive in overtime. Even after the Seahawks had a touchdown by Braylon Edwards reversed to an incomplete pass on what appeared to be inconclusive evidence, Seattle wasn’t phased. The Seahawks now improve to 7-5 and get to tee off on whomever the Cardinals decide to put under center next week. Meanwhile, the Bears will look to rebound in a huge divisional matchup against Minnesota. Chicago is still a strong football team, but they’ve suffered through a ton of injuries in the last week. They should be a legitimate contender come January.

Vikings @ Packers

  • Closing odds: Packers -7.5, total 47
  • Predicted outcome: Packers 26, Vikings 23
  • Actual outcome: Packers 23, Vikings 14

This was the first game on Sunday afternoon that sent me into the Orbit Zone. Technically, I was lucky to salvage my Vikings +9 wager because I happened to make it on Saturday instead of Sunday, but in reality, how the fuck didn’t the Vikings beat the spread? They rushed for 240 yards and still managed to lose by nine points! Christian Ponder is terrible. I’d like to pat myself on the back because I was already trying to convey this message when Minnesota was 4-1 on the season and Ponder was being praised as a true franchise signal caller. Ponder has now thrown 11 interceptions since Week 5 including a TERRIBLE pick in the end zone this week that cost Minnesota a minimum of three points. If I were in Adrian Peterson’s shoes, it would have taken a disciplined effort not to shank him in the locker room after the game. And then to make matters worse, when it appeared as though Minnesota was going to pull off the back door cover, Blair Walsh shat himself on a 42-yard field goal with a minute left in the game. What a pissjob. Minnesota returns home next week to battle the Bears with their season basically hinging on that game. As for Green Bay, their offensive line didn’t really hold up all that well but they still managed to pull out the victory. The Packers host the Lions on Sunday Night Football next week.

49ers @ Rams

  • Closing odds: 49ers -8, total 41
  • Predicted outcome: 49ers 24, Rams 20
  • Actual outcome: Rams 16, 49ers 13

LOL. That basically sums up the 49ers’ performance. Up 10-2 late in the fourth quarter, the 49ers decided to run a misdirection toss to Ted Ginn for some God forsaken reason. Colin Kaepernick pitched the ball a good foot over Ginn’s outstretched arms, which Janoris Jenkins promptly scooped up for a touchdown. Earlier in the game, Kaepernick took an inexplicable safety when he dropped back too deep in the pocket and didn’t get the ball past the line of scrimmage when attempting to throw it away. So, in reality, all of St. Louis’ points in regulation came off of Kaepernick mistakes. I could go on and on about how Alex Smith is a better option at quarterback but I’m sure you’ll see it play out that way as the season goes on. San Francisco plays host to Miami next week where they’ll likely be installed as double-digit home favorites, so they should be able to rebound nicely (in spite of a couple of guaranteed turnovers from Kaepernick). As for St. Louis, this is what they do. The Rams proved that their tie against San Francisco earlier this season was no fluke but they’ll have to avoid a big letdown spot when they travel to Buffalo next week.

Cardinals @ Jets

  • Closing odds: Jets -6.5, total 37
  • Predicted outcome: Jets 24, Cardinals 10
  • Actual outcome: Jets 7, Cardinals 6

Mark Sanchez is useless. Ryan Lindley is somehow more useless. Ken Whishenhunt is a moron. That basically sums things up. Next.

Panthers @ Chiefs

  • Closing odds: Panthers -6, total 41
  • Predicted outcome: Chiefs 23, Panthers 21*
  • Actual outcome: Chiefs 27, Panthers 21

There’s an asterisk next to my predicted outcome on this game because that came prior to the tragic events that unfolded on Saturday morning. The Chiefs might have actually made it as one of my top plays this week, but I really didn’t think they’d be able to get up for this game after losing a teammate on Saturday. I was wrong. Kansas City played very well and for the first time in a long time, they actually benefited from strong quarterback play. If you’re a player in the Carolina secondary and you just allowed Brady Quinn to go 19-for-23 with two touchdowns, you should strongly consider hanging them up. Kansas City will likely suffer the most epic letdown in the history of the NFL when they travel to Cleveland next weekend. I just don’t see them getting up for the game after such an emotional victory this week. As for Carolina, they’re terrible and need to continue losing games like this so that they can land a higher pick in the NFL Draft. Cam Newton is really starting to make me wonder whether or not he can ever be a true franchise quarterback.

Colts @ Lions:

  • Closing odds: Lions -7, total 52
  • Predicted outcome: Lions 35, Colts 21
  • Actual outcome: Colts 35, Lions 33

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know where I’m going with this. I was understandably upset with Andrew Luck’s game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. Luck played like a sack of trash for most of the game but was able to engineer back-to-back touchdown drives when the game was on the line. If Jim Schwartz and Scott Linehan weren’t epic failures, Luck wouldn’t have had any time left on the clock to lead the Colts to victory.

With just over four minutes left in the game and a 33-21 lead, the Lions’ coaching staff decided it would be a great idea to continue throwing the ball. After all, what’s the worst that can happen when you continuously stop the clock with a lead late in the game? If you’re a Colts’ fan, you should really cherish every moment of this season because Indianapolis is going to get obliterated by a legitimate AFC team in the playoffs. #BelichickStrong. As for the Lions, I’m just going to avoid writing about them anymore because it’s going to lead to a stroke.

Jaguars @ Bills

  • Closing odds: Bills -6, total 41.5
  • Predicted outcome: Jaguars 24, Bills 19
  • Actual outcome: Bills 34, Jaguars 18

You may be thinking that there’s a typo in my predicted outcome, but I regret to inform you that there isn’t. I picked the Jags. Big mistake. Chad Henne looked like he downed a bottle of Smirnoff before the game and the rest is history. Shame on me for thinking that Henne may have turned things around. That’s about all I can write about these two pathetic franchises.

Patriots @ Dolphins

  • Closing odds: Patriots -9, total 52
  • Predicted outcome: Patriots 31, Dolphins 20
  • Actual outcome: Patriots 23, Dolphins 16

Most people will look at the final score and the fact that the Dolphins needed a late field goal to cover the spread and think that New England ran away with this game. That wasn’t the case. Miami was extremely competitive in this game and might have even been able to win outright if their special teams play wasn’t atrocious. Dolphins’ punter Brandon Fields fumbled a snap in the first quarter, and despite having literally five seconds to pick up the ball and punt it away, he couldn’t manage to do so. That led to a Patriots touchdown. Later in the game, Miami was called for a roughing the punter penalty which led to another Patriots touchdown. Stupid mistakes led to a New England victory but the Dolphins were always the right side here. I just got too caught up in New England’s beatdown of the epically bad Jets and missed a prime opportunity to bet on a home dog of more than a touchdown. Oh well. We’ll be treated to a great Monday Night Football game next week when the Patriots play host to the Texans in what could be an AFC Championship preview. Meanwhile, Miami travels to San Francisco where they’ll likely force two turnovers and lose by two touchdowns. Sound about right?

Texans @ Titans

  • Closing odds: Texans -7, total 48
  • Predicted outcome: Texans 34, Titans 18
  • Actual outcome: Texans 24, Titans 10

I watched a total of four minutes of this game so I’m not really equipped to recap it. The Texans predictably led from start to finish. No surprise.

Buccaneers @ Broncos

  • Closing odds: Broncos -8, total 50
  • Predicted outcome: Broncos 34, Buccaneers 20
  • Actual outcome: Broncos 31, Buccaneers 23

It’s a good thing I didn’t bet the Broncos -8 because I wouldn’t have been able to deal with another heartbreaking push. Here’s what I wrote early on Sunday morning:

I was pretty accurate in predicting the back door cover potential here and I’m glad I factored in that angle. Denver is a really good football team. They often start slowly and they were actually trailing 10-7 at the half here, but they’ve been unstoppable late in games. I’m starting to come around on Tampa Bay as well but they just don’t have the secondary to compete with efficient passing offenses. The Buccaneers desperately need to beat the Eagles at home next weekend to remain in the playoff hunt. As for the Broncos, they just need to literally show up in Oakland on Thursday night to improve to 10-3.

Steelers @ Ravens

  • Closing odds: Ravens -7, total 37
  • Predicted outcome: Ravens 17, Steelers 13
  • Actual outcome: Steelers 23, Ravens 20

I missed a large wager on the Steelers here.

If I hadn’t lost with the Steelers against the Browns last week, I probably would have backed Pittsburgh for at least four units, but unfortunately I couldn’t pull the trigger. I’m still extremely satisfied with Pittsburgh’s win though. I hate the Steelers with all of my soul (my father and best friend are both Steelers’ fans), but I love being right more than anything, and I’ve been calling the Ravens a fraud for a long time now. I can’t tell you how satisfying it was to see Charlie Batch outplay Joe Flacco. I’d give up my first born child to see it again. Take some money out of your bank account and put it on the Steelers to win the Super Bowl immediately. Pittsburgh is the best 7-5 team in the history of the NFL and when they’re fully healthy come playoff time, they can beat anyone. As for the Ravens, they’re going to win the AFC North but that’s about it. It’ll be interesting to see if they can bounce back against Washington next week after this crushing defeat.

Browns @ Raiders

  • Closing odds: Browns -3, total 40
  • Predicted outcome: Browns 27, Raiders 10
  • Actual outcome: Browns 20, Raiders 17

Thank God I added a play on the Browns yesterday morning. The Raiders are an atrocity. I feel bad for anyone that bet Cleveland -3 and had to push on a late Carson Palmer touchdown because the Browns were the better team all afternoon. Rather than focusing on what happened in this game, I’d like to focus on what it takes to become a meteorologist nowadays. Every weather report in Oakland said there was an 80% chance of heavy rain, but come game time, it looked like fucking summer. We live in the year 2012. We can put a man on the moon, we can play games on a smartphone while we’re taking a dump, but we can’t even fucking predict if it’s going to be sunny or if it’s going to rain? Jesus. Cleveland hosts Kansas City next weekend in the second most unwatchable game on the board (Jets-Jaguars is a clear #1), while Oakland will try to not get embarrassed at home by Peyton Manning on Thursday night.

Bengals @ Chargers

  • Closing odds: Chargers pk, total 46
  • Predicted outcome: Bengals 28, Chargers 17
  • Actual outcome: Bengals 20, Chargers 13

Man, it feels good to finally be on the right side of a Chargers’ meltdown. The Bengals trailed for the majority of the game, but in all honesty, I never had any doubt that they would win. Philip Rivers stinks, his offensive line is even worse, and Norv Turner is the NFL equivalent of Lane Kiffin. Rivers actually drove the field late in the fourth quarter to get his team into a position to tie the game, but their drive predictably stalled on some of the worst play calling I’ve ever seen. This team is a travesty. Have fun in Pittsburgh next weekend Norv. As for the Bengals, they once again find a way to beat another crappy team. Dallas comes to town next weekend which means that Cincinnati should be able to improve their record to 8-5.

Eagles @ Cowboys

  • Closing odds: Cowboys -10.5, total 45
  • Predicted outcome: Cowboys 24, Eagles 16
  • Actual outcome: Cowboys 38, Eagles 33

Somehow the Cowboys made Nick Foles and Bryce Brown look like Joe Montana and Barry Sanders. And somehow they still won. Dallas’ backers will be extremely disappointed that the Cowboys gave up a 98-yard punt return touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the game, but the truth is that the Eagles were the right side here. Philadelphia had Dallas on the ropes for the majority of the game and the Cowboys were only in a position to cover when Morris Claiborne returned a Bryce Brown fumble for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Believe me, I watch enough Cowboys’ games to know that defensive touchdowns aren’t the norm. It sucks to lose in that fashion, but you deserve it if you’re willing to lay double-digits with Dallas. Both of these teams suck (yes, I’m a Cowboys fan and I can admit it), so I’m not going to waste any more of my life providing a recap that no one gives a flying fuck about.


Monday Night Football pick

In my opinion, this is an extremely difficult game to handicap. I missed out on betting the Panthers against the Eagles last week, and I may miss out on another winner tonight because I’m not willing to bet against the Giants, even though I think that Washington is the right side.

The Giants looked great last weekend against the Packers. The word ‘great’ may actually be an understatement. Eli Manning proved all of his critics wrong as he was able to shred a vulnerable Packers’ secondary. Manning will have all of those opportunities AND MORE against a terrible Washington secondary tonight. So how can I pick against the Giants you ask?

Well, for starters, I think that the injury to Giants’ running back Andre Brown is much bigger than most people believe. Ahmad Bradshaw isn’t equipped to handle the entire workload and Brown’s 5.3 yards per carry and eight touchdowns will sorely be missed. David Wilson figures to see more action with Brown sidelined, but I don’t trust Wilson to hold onto the ball, and I don’t think he’s as effective a runner as Brown. All of this though could be a moot point if Manning goes off again tonight.

On the other side of things, there’s no reason to believe that Robert Griffin III can’t be as effective as Eli. The Redskins are coming off of extra rest and RGIII now has a fully healthy Pierre Garcon back in the lineup. The Giants’ secondary has a ton of holes, and their linebackers are awful in coverage as well, so RGIII figures to be able to move the ball effectively through the air.

The biggest deciding factor for me was the Giants-Redskins meeting from Week 7. I watched a lot of that game and was able to catch the replay on NFL Replay. New York had no answer for RGIII and took advantage of a blown coverage to score a late (inexcusable) winning touchdown on a bomb to Victor Cruz. This smells like it will be a tightly contested battle from start to finish, and for that reason, I’d rather take the points than lay them. Redskins 24, Giants 23


Week 14 Early Lines

Broncos @ Raiders +10.5 — There is no chance in hell I would ever lay double-digit points with a road team, but that won’t deter the public. “Peyton Manning against Carson Palmer and all I have to do is lay 10.5-ponts?”. Don’t forget that the Broncos failed to cover the same number in Kansas City two weeks ago and that game wasn’t on a short week.

Ravens @ Redskins pk — This line will move depending on what happens in tonight’s game. The Ravens are still perceived to be an elite team because of their record, so I’m secretly hoping the Redskins get obliterated tonight so that we can get them as a home dog next week.

Chiefs @ Browns -5 — The Browns are quietly putting together some impressive performances, but will the public be willing to lay five points with them? Probably. After all, the public loves betting favorites and they probably think that the Chiefs’ performance this week was an aberration.

Chargers @ Steelers (OFF) — I’m going to venture a guess that the Steelers are -3.5 if Charlie Batch starts and -9.5 if Ben Roethlisberger starts. Either way, I can’t imagine anyone putting their money on the Chargers. We’re at the point in the season where Pittsburgh needs to win these games and the Chargers have cost everybody money at some point.

Titans @ Colts -5 — The Colts will likely be the most heavily bet team this week. “All I have to do is lay five points with the second coming of God, Andrew Luck?”. This line was Colts -3.5 prior to this week’s games, so it’s been inflated heavily. Also, Indianapolis stinks and people haven’t caught on because they keep winning with smoke and mirrors.

Jets @ Jaguars +2 — Who the hell is going to lay points with the Jets right now? I know that the Jags are bad and just got blown out by a subpar Bills squad, but laying points with New York is just wrong. Jacksonville will be a publicly backed underdog no matter who starts at quarterback for the Jets.

Bears @ Vikings +3 — The Bears will be another heavily bet side this week. Minnesota was in a similar spot a few weeks ago and was able to pull out a victory as a home dog to Detroit, but Chicago is in a different class. If the Bears can get some bodies back they should be able to win this game, but I’ll be monitoring the injury report all week.

Falcons @ Panthers +3.5 — Here comes another massive public wager. The Falcons are 11-1 and the Panthers just lost to the Chiefs. EVERYONE will be wagering on Atlanta this week. Carolina almost beat Atlanta in the Georgia Dome earlier this year, and the Falcons are probably the most overrated squad in football, so I’m pretty sure I know where my money will be.

Eagles @ Buccaneers -8.5 — The public loves favorites. The Eagles blow chunks. Ergo, the public will be betting on the Bucs, even as favorites of more than a touchdown. Tampa Bay’s secondary is atrocious so I’m not sure I can trust them to cover this many points.

Rams @ Bills -3 — You can make a legitimate case for both teams here, so I think this will be one of few games where we see 50/50 action. The Rams have been great in the underdog role this season but Buffalo has been quietly stringing together some wins in recent weeks. I like one of these sides a lot right now but you’ll have to wait until next Saturday to find out who.

Cowboys @ Bengals -3 — I also think you’ll see 50/50 action here. Dallas is another team that thrives in the underdog role, but Cincinnati has been very strong against inferior opponents in the last couple of seasons. I personally would have set the line at Cincinnati -1.5 now that DeMarco Murray is back for the Cowboys.

Dolphins @ 49ers -10.5 — A third straight game where the consensus will be close to 50/50. The 49ers have historically rebounded very well after a loss under Jim Harbaugh, but this seems like a lot of points with a struggling offense. San Francisco also has back-to-back games with New England and Seattle on deck.

Saints @ Giants -6 — Again, we’ll have to wait to see what happens tonight to make any prediction on where the money will go in this game. The Saints are always enticing as an underdog, especially against a Giants squad that typically shits the bed at home. But if New York routs Washington tonight, we could see this line jump up to a touchdown.

Cardinals @ Seahawks -10 — It’s really hard to back the Cardinals right now. If Kevin Kolb is back for Arizona then the Cardinals +10 is a no-brainer, but other than that scenario, I can’t see anyone putting money down on Arizona here, especially with Seattle’s strong home-field advantage.

Lions @ Packers -6.5 — People are done with the Lions. Detroit has burned bettors far too often this season, so you’ll see heavy money backing Green Bay. I’m not sold on the Packers just yet. They’re still mired by injuries and Detroit has been remaining competitive on a week-to-week basis.

Texans @ Patriots -4.5 — The Texans will be a publicly backed underdog. This seems like Houston is getting too many points, but I wouldn’t be so sure. If the Texans don’t have Johnathan Joseph back in the lineup, they’ll really struggle to contain the Patriots’ passing attack.