I finished Sunday with a mediocre 6-7-1 ATS record (using ScoresandOdds.com closing lines), but yesterday actually proved to be one of my most profitable days of the football season, as my recommended wagers went 4-1 ATS. I completely whiffed on my Cardinals pick, but nailed all four of my 1:00 wagers for a solid 11.6-unit profit.
It’s no surprise that I fared so poorly with the rest of my selections. Other than the five games that I picked (+1 more missed wager on the Giants), I didn’t really feel too confident in any other games. For a second straight week, though, a lot of games were decided late in the fourth quarter, and a number of spreads were affected.
Anyways, without further ado, here’s my recap from each game in Week 14.
Ravens @ Redskins
- Closing odds: Redskins -1.5, total 48
- Predicted outcome: Redskins 27, Ravens 16
- Actual outcome: Redskins 31, Ravens 28 (OT)
Well, the game didn’t play out exactly like I expected it to, but I’ll gladly cash my ticket with the Redskins. Surprisingly, Joe Flacco didn’t play like a steaming pile of garbage until midway through the second half when he proceeded to toss a pick in the red zone and fumble the ball away at midfield. Classic Flacco. A lot of credit has to (shockingly) go to Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron (who was somehow fired today after his best playing calling in a year), who came up with a good gameplan to expose DeAngelo
Fall Hall. Hall is useless and was frequently abused by the 79-year-old Anquan Boldin, but in the end, the Ravens’ Swiss cheese defense let them down. Robert Griffin III was forced to leave the game due to a knee sprain, but Redskins’ fans need not fear because Kirk “Don’t Call Me Scott” Cousins looks to be all that RG3 is… and more! #sarcasm. Cousins was a perfect 2-for-2 and after connecting with Pierre Garcon on an 11-yard touchdown pass, proceeded to convert the two-point conversion on the most obvious quarterback draw in NFL history to tie things up at 28 apiece. Baltimore went three-and-out after winning the coin toss in overtime, and for the first time in a while, their special teams let them down, as they allowed a 64-yard punt return to Richard Crawford. Kai Forbath drilled a game-winning 34-yard field goal to maintain his status as the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history (small sample size, I know). Baltimore returns to the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium next week but they’ll have their hands full with Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Meanwhile, the status of RG3 is up in the air as Washington travels to Cleveland to battle a much-improved Browns team.
Chiefs @ Browns
- Closing odds: Browns -7, total 38
- Predicted outcome: Browns 19, Chiefs 13
- Actual outcome: Browns 30, Chiefs 7
I knew that this would be a bad spot for the Chiefs coming off of their extremely emotional victory last week, but I just couldn’t justify laying a touchdown with the Browns. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ragging on Cleveland. The Browns are a very underrated team, but they came into Week 13 averaging only 19.1 points per game. After scoring on an 80-yard touchdown run by Jamaal Charles just 12 seconds into the game, Kansas City was held scoreless for the remaining 59 minutes and 48 seconds of the game. It didn’t help the Chiefs’ cause that Ryan Succop shanked a 27-yard field goal that would have put Kansas City up 10-0. Cleveland’s defense played fairly well, but Chiefs backers have to feel that they got really unlucky when Dwayne Bowe left the game in at the end of the first quarter with what is being reported as two broken ribs. In the end, Kansas City finished 1-for-11 on third down conversions and a lot of that likely had to do with Bowe not being in the lineup (and the fact that Brady Quinn is useless), so I’m not completely convinced that the Browns were the right side. Cleveland plays host to Washington next week while Kansas City travels to Oakland in what is now being coined as the Orbit Bowl.
Chargers @ Steelers
- Closing odds: Steelers -7.5, total 38
- Predicted outcome: Steelers 28, Chargers 10
- Actual outcome: Chargers 34, Steelers 24
I can’t say that I saw this coming. In all honesty, there was a part of me that thought that Pittsburgh could suffer a huge letdown after last week’s emotional win over Baltimore and Big Ben could be rusty in his return, but I figured that they’d still be able to beat the Chargers by more than a touchdown. My predicted outcome was more of an anti-Chargers pick than a pro-Steelers pick (even though I’m still high on the Steelers), but I admittedly should have just went with the ugly dog. Pittsburgh was just plain awful. Roethlisberger looked out of sorts (despite salvaging a good day for his fantasy owners), the Steelers couldn’t get anything going on the ground, and their secondary looked inept with Ike Taylor watching the game on the sidelines. San Diego registered only 294 total yards and Philip Rivers was HORRIBLY inaccurate, but inexplicably, the Chargers converted 12 of their 22 third down opportunities. One of those third down conversions came when the Steelers committed back-to-back offsides penalties on 3rd-and-9 and 3rd-and-4. That basically sums up Pittsburgh’s day. I’d chalk this one up to a fluke. The Steelers were in a horrible spot and these things happen to even the best of teams. Pittsburgh travels to Dallas to improve to 8-6 next week while the Chargers will likely drop to 5-8 when they shit the bed at home against the Panthers.
Titans @ Colts
- Closing odds: Colts -4, total 47
- Predicted outcome: Colts 24, Titans 23
- Actual outcome: Colts 27, Titans 23
Tennessee +6 was my top play on Sunday afternoon and they didn’t disappoint. I was reluctant to pick the Titans to win outright because they have a propensity to blow games and Andrew Luck is a comeback machine, but I knew that this was too many points to lay with a poor Colts defense. Indy’s defense was brutal in the first half as they fell behind 20-7, but they picked things up later in the game and capitalized on a TERRIBLE decision by Jake Locker that resulted in the shortest pick six of all-time. Locker is undoubtedly better than Matt Hasselbeck, but he’s by no means a franchise quarterback. On the other side of things, Andrew Luck’s stat line–16/34, 196 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT–looks uglier than it actually was. Neither of Luck’s interceptions were actually legitimate as one came on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half, and the other came on a pick six that was incorrectly ruled a touchdown because Luck’s knee had touched the ground prior to throwing the ball. Oh well, I’m not complaining. The Colts have now won seven of their last eight games, beating the Titans (twice), Lions, Bills, Jaguars, Dolphins, and Browns by a total of 43 points. In Week 11, they were blown out 59-24 by the Patriots, making them the only team in the history of the NFL to win seven of eight games with a total margin of victory of 8 points (I didn’t fact check that but I’m going to assume it’s true). Good luck in January. Indianapolis travels to Houston next week to get the ball pounded down their throat about 45 times, while the Titans will attempt to not embarrass themselves in front of the three viewers watching their Monday Night Football game against the Jets (sadly, I’ll be one of those three viewers).
Jets @ Jaguars
- Closing odds: Jets -3, total 39
- Predicted outcome: Jaguars 20, Jets 16
- Actual outcome: Jets 17, Jaguars 10
Rather than focusing on the Jets’ victory here, I’d like to focus on how much of an ass clown Rex Ryan is. Mark Sanchez sucks. A week after getting benched, he was able to muster only 111 yards passing against the Jaguars, but for some God forsaken reason, Ryan decided to stick with him for the entire game. Tim Tebow was active for the game and would have instantaneously given the Jets home-field advantage if he was inserted into the game, but instead he was forced to watch from the sidelines. I just don’t get it. The Jets ultimately won the game by running the ball down Jacksonville’s throat with Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell, so why not put Tebow into the game if that was the strategy? The worst part of this whole shitfest is that the Jets are now 6-7 on the season with the Titans, Chargers, and Bills remaining on their schedule. It would take a miracle for New York to win all three of those games but 9-7 could possibly be good enough for a Wild Card spot in the AFC. Yuck. As for the Jaguars, it looks like they officially suck balls again. After a couple of solid outings, Chad Henne has regressed back into the drunken buffoon that stunk it up in Miami for four seasons. Henne returns to Miami next weekend to show Dolphins fans exactly what they’re missing out on–a turnover per game and a 50% completion percentage.
Bears @ Vikings
- Closing odds: Bears -1.5, total 40.5
- Predicted outcome: Bears 24, Vikings 13
- Actual outcome: Vikings 21, Bears 14
I wavered back and forth on this game all week, and ultimately decided to go with the Bears, who I deemed to be a safer pick. As bad as the Bears played all afternoon, they probably would have won the game if Jay Cutler wasn’t working on his Mark Sanchez impression. Cutler tossed two interceptions; one which was returned to the Bears 5-yard line and another that was returned for a touchdown. Even with Adrian Peterson running the ball at will, the Vikings are completely useless in the red zone, so Cutler really gifted Minnesota a win here. It didn’t help Chicago’s cause that their kicker, Robbie Gould, injured himself in pre-game warmups. Somehow, Gould was still able to kick extra points in the game, but wasn’t available to kick any field goals. How does this make any sense whatsoever? Chicago really could have used Gould because they only managed to score two touchdowns on seven trips into Vikings’ territory. If I had any money on Chicago yesterday, I would have vomited all over myself. As for the Vikings, they’re pathetic. Christian Ponder has thrown for 369 total yards in his last three games which essentially amounts to one Drew Brees start. It’s no secret that Adrian Peterson carries the Vikings offense on his back, but the lack of any sort of aerial threat will ensure that the Vikings are watching the playoffs from home in January. And by the way, the argument for AP to win Comeback Player of the Year over Peyton Manning is fucking asinine. Peterson is amazing and his season has been remarkable but players come back from torn ACL’s all the time (Logan Mankins even played a whole season WITH a torn ACL). When have you ever seen a quarterback come back from FOUR NECK SURGERIES (!!!) and post a quarterback rating of 104? And because this is a gambling blog, I’ll use the gambling argument as well. According to Chad Millman’s “Millman Rankings“, Peyton Manning’s absence from the Broncos’ lineup would shift the point spread 8.5-points. Adrian Peterson’s absence? 2.5 points. That’s the way you debate!
Falcons @ Panthers
- Closing odds: Falcons -3.5, total 47
- Predicted outcome: Panthers 23, Falcons 20
- Actual outcome: Panthers 30, Falcons 20
The Falcons are a fraud, but this isn’t the game to judge them on their fraudulence. In all reality, this was a terrible spot for them and that’s why I placed 4-units on the Panthers yesterday. Atlanta was riding high off their emotional win over New Orleans last Thursday and have a huge game against the Giants on deck next week, so it’s no shock that they overlooked Carolina. It’s still extremely concerning that Mike Smith continues to give Michael Turner more carries than Jacquizz Rodgers though. Turner runs like an 80-year old grandpa and needs to be relegated to the role of cheerleader. Until this transpires, opposing defenses will continue to defend the Falcons offense with their base defense and drop extra players in coverage. Make the change Smith! As for Carolina, I’ll give them credit. The Panthers should have swept the season series with the Falcons this season if it weren’t for a monstrous fuck up by Head Coach Ron Rivera and the worst defensive play in the history of the NFL by Haruki Nakamura in their first matchup. Cam Newton was awesome this week and this win will surely do a lot to boost his confidence. Another winnable game is on deck for the Panthers as they travel to San Diego next weekend.
Eagles @ Buccaneers
- Closing odds: Buccaneers -7, total 48
- Predicted outcome: Eagles 30, Buccaneers 28
- Actual outcome: Eagles 23, Buccaneers 21
I’m a diehard Cowboys fan and cheering for the Eagles makes me sick, but nailing this upset was extremely rewarding. I’ve been preaching the Bucs’ fraudulence for weeks and I finally found a great spot to bet against them. Tampa Bay’s wins this season have come against the Panthers (twice), Chiefs, Vikings, Raiders, and Chargers, yet for some reason, the public views this team as a legit contender. They’re not. Their secondary is an abomination and their “franchise quarterback”, Josh Freeman, is a mediocre quarterback at best. The Eagles needed to engineer a late comeback to win this game, but they really outplayed the Bucs for the majority of the contest. Philadelphia’s Damaris Johnson muffed a punt at his own 6-yard line leading to a Vincent Jackson touchdown, but even that huge mistake wasn’t enough for the Bucs to overcome their deficiencies. Nick Foles was superb and has quietly been putting together some solid performances. At this point, the Eagles may feel comfortable with Foles manning the ship next season. If there’s any bad news for the Eagles here, it’s that Andy Reid may have saved his job. Watching Reid and Duce Staley hug each other at the end of the game was truly one of the worst things my eyes have ever seen, but the body language of the entire team made it seem like they wanted to win this one for Andy. Eagles’ fans better get used to another year of a 4:1 pass to run ratio. Philadelphia has a quick turnaround this week as they host the Bengals on Thursday Night Football. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay travels to New Orleans to play in the Horrible Secondary Bowl.
Rams @ Bills
- Closing odds: Bills -3.5, total 42.5
- Predicted outcome: Rams 17, Bills 14
- Actual outcome: Rams 15, Bills 12
That basically sums things up. Chan Gailey is an idiot who refuses to use C.J. Spiller. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a lemon. And the best thing about the Bills-Seahawks game in Toronto next week will be watching Psy perform Gangnam Style at halftime. OK, that was a joke, I hate that fucking song. As for the Rams, Sam Bradford stinks, but fortunately Ryan Fitzpatrick stinks more. The Rams host the Vikings next weekend which means that they’ll somehow have the edge at quarterback for a second consecutive week.
Cowboys @ Bengals
- Closing odds: Bengals -3.5, total 46
- Predicted outcome: Cowboys 26, Bengals 21
- Actual outcome: Cowboys 20, Bengals 19
Bengals Fan posted this in the comments section of my betting preview this week: I’m not posting this to make an example of Bengals Fan. This single comment haunted three quarters of my afternoon because I was kicking myself for not picking Cincinnati to cover. Rob Ryan was throwing flags from the sideline, Jason Garrett was getting in his play calls with 10 seconds left on the play clock, and the Cowboys were picking up needless penalties. This wasn’t the usual Cowboys shitshow… this one was over the top. I was already writing my Cowboys postmortem when A.J. Green miraculously forgot how to catch the ball. Green was dropping passes left and right, and somehow the Cowboys stayed within striking distance. It’s no secret (except to Jason Garrett) that the Cowboys offense is much better when Tony Romo is running the hurry-up, and Romo rewarded Cowboys’ backers with 118 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Dallas should cherish this win while they can because chances are they’re going to get steamrolled at home by Pittsburgh next week. As for Cincinnati, Andy Dalton blows. As long as Dalton is under center, the Bengals will continue to be as mediocre as it gets. The Bengals have a must win game in Philadelphia on Thursday night.
Dolphins @ 49ers
- Closing odds: 49ers -11, total 38.5
- Predicted outcome: 49ers 20, Dolphins 13
- Actual outcome: 49ers 27, Dolphins 13
Colin Kaepernick, spread killer. Dolphins’ backers were laughing when the 49ers needed to convert a single first down to seal their victory, but it was the 49ers’ backers who were laughing when Kaepernick took the ball 50 yards for a touchdown on an option play with just over two minutes remaining. Ouch. I don’t know what to make of Kaepernick anymore. At times, he looks completely inept, but he’s always capable of making a big play to swing things in the ’9ers favor. I still think Alex Smith is a better option but I don’t necessarily think that Kaepernick is a bad option. San Fran has a huge game in New England on Sunday Night Football next week. Meanwhile, I’ve wavered on my opinion of Ryan Tannehill all season long, but I’m ready to anoint him as a bust. Tannehill is a tough kid who isn’t scared to stand in the pocket and make a throw under pressure, but his accuracy is putrid. There’s a reason he was considered a second round talent in the NFL Draft, but Miami felt so much pressure to find themselves a new quarterback that they took him 8th overall. Big mistake. I know that Tannehill’s receiving core is terrible but he just seems to miss too many easy throws. The Dolphins defense had a pretty good outing and things will only get easier with Chad Henne and the Jags coming to town next week.
Saints @ Giants
- Closing odds: Giants -4, total 42.5
- Predicted outcome: Giants 38, Saints 27
- Actual outcome: Giants 52, Saints 27
My biggest regret of the day wasn’t taking the Cardinals to cover… It was missing out on betting the Giants -4. In my mind, I couldn’t think of any conceivable way that the Saints defense would slow down Eli Manning, and I was bang on. After throwing a horrible interception in the first quarter, Manning proceeded to carve up the Saints’ secondary for 259 yards and four touchdowns. Aside from Manning’s solid day, the Giants’ special teams play was unbelievable. New York set a franchise record for kick return yardage in a day which allowed Manning to work with short fields all afternoon. It also helped that the Saints were putting the ball on the turf on seemingly every possession. It’s not too often that you get a Super Bowl contender -4 at home against the worst defense of the last decade. I can’t believe I missed out. The Giants travel to Atlanta next week in a possible postseason preview, while New Orleans hosts Tampa Bay with nothing to play for.
Cardinals @ Seahawks
- Closing odds: Seahawks -10, total 36
- Predicted outcome: Seahawks 19, Cardinals 14
- Actual outcome: Seahawks 1074, Cardinals 0
This may sound dumb, but I don’t regret betting on the Cardinals. I tend to bet more underdogs than favorites and there’s always the possibility of looking stupid when you bet on bad teams, but I still vehemently believe that there was good line value with Arizona. In the end, things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. Arizona fumbled the ball away four times and tossed four interceptions for a whopping eight turnovers. Patrick Peterson, who is normally a reliable punt returner, muffed two separate punts, one of which resulted in a touchdown. John Skelton and Ryan Lindley were both atrocious and couldn’t muster anything against a secondary that was without a top playmaker in Brandon Browner. Things got so bad for Arizona that Seattle was able to take Russell Wilson out of the game midway through the third quarter. I’m a glutton for punishment so I’ll probably end up betting Arizona at home to Detroit next weekend after the media overreacts and crowns the Cardinals as the worst team of all-time. As for Seattle, this is a pretty damn good team. I despise Pete Carroll with every fiber of my being, but I’ll admit that he’s done a fantastic job with this team. The Seahawks hit the road to battle the Bills in Toronto next Sunday but they could be in a horrible spot coming off of a blowout win and having a divisional game with the 49ers on deck. Even so, they should be able to win.
Lions @ Packers
- Closing odds: Packers -6.5, total 49.5
- Predicted outcome: Packers 28, Lions 27 in a devastating, heartbreaking, come from behind victory
- Actual outcome: Packers 27, Lions 20 in classic Lions’ collapse fashion
If you had the Lions +6.5 last night, my heart goes out to you. There’s no way that Detroit shouldn’t have beat the spread in this game. Chalk it up to the Lions being the Lions. Detroit dominated Green Bay for the entire first half, but a 14-3 lead quickly shrunk to a 14-10 lead when Matt Stafford fumbled the ball away and Packers’ defensive end Mike Daniels returned it for a touchdown. The ball just squirted out of Stafford’s hands as if God wanted the Lions to lose. From that point on, the Packers dominated. Brandon Pettigrew left the game due to injury which left Stafford throwing to Calvin Johnson and some guy named Kris Durham, who is fucking terrible. I was so close to pulling the trigger with Detroit last night (I would have took them +7, not +6.5) and I would have lost my mind if I had any money on that game. The Lions will be favored in Arizona next weekend even though I’m not sure they should be favored over any team right now because they’ll always find a way to lose. As for Green Bay, a big divisional road game against the Bears awaits them in Week 15.
Monday Night Football pick
I’m going to get right to the point. I really like the Patriots tonight.
New England certainly ranks as an elite passing team, and that’s the type of opponent that has given Houston fits all season. Aaron Rodgers picked apart this Houston secondary in prime time, and Matthew Stafford did the same on Turkey Day. Even the “Wisest Wizard” Chad Henne got in on the fun. They’ll likely get Johnathan Joseph back for this game, but he was limited in practice all week, so he’ll have issues keeping up with the shifty Wes Welker at less than 100%.
This game features the two highest scoring teams in football, but the last thing Houston wants to do is get into a shootout with New England. The Texans rely heavily on Arian Foster and the ground game to move the ball, but the Patriots have been surprisingly effective at stopping the run with the trio of Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, and Brandon Spikes playing big roles in limiting opponents to 3.9 yards per carry, the eighth best mark in football. Bill Belichick likes to take away an opponent’s top offensive weapon, and he has Foster in his crosshairs this week.
The Patriots have won 28 of their last 30 home games, while the Texans will play their third consecutive road game. It’s not often we get the opportunity to back the Patriots at such a short price at home, so I’m comfortable laying 3-units down on New England at -4. If the line were to get down to Patriots -3 again, I’d up this to a 5-unit wager. Patriots 34, Texans 24
Week 15 Early Lines
Bengals @ Eagles +3 — I don’t think that one victory by the Eagles is going to change the public’s perception of them. Cincinnati is still considered to be an above average team, so they’ll likely see 60-70% of the action here. I wouldn’t trust Cincinnati on the road on a short week.
Packers @ Bears +2 — The Packers will be a heavily backed road favorite. The Bears have lost four of five and are banged up on both sides of the ball, so there’s not a lot of appeal in taking them as a home dog right now. Green Bay really didn’t play all that well against Detroit this week though.
Giants @ Falcons -1.5 — The Giants are going to be a publicly backed underdog. New York dismantled New Orleans, who most people consider to be a good team (I have no idea why), while the Falcons were busy getting steamrolled by the Panthers. Remember, the public loves to react to what they saw last week.
Buccaneers @ Saints -3 — I think the Saints will see the majority of the action here. Most people will blindly bet New Orleans -3 at home against anyone. The Saints’ season is over now so they could be flat here, but I have trouble seeing the Bucs’ secondary slowing down Drew Brees.
Vikings @ Rams -3 –- The Vikings will be a publicly backed underdog. All it took was a victory over the beat up Bears to get people back on the Minnesota bandwagon. I’ll have trouble backing a team on the road that isn’t capable of throwing the ball.
Redskins @ Browns +3 — Assuming Robert Griffin III is out, I could see this being an equal action game. Kirk Cousins performed admirably in relief of RG3, but the Browns are quietly stringing together some strong performances. I’m not sure Cleveland should be a dog here.
Jaguars @ Dolphins -7.5 — People will be betting Miami here but I’m not sure why. Laying more than a touchdown with the Dolphins is like playing a game of roshambo–it’s a bad idea. It’s hard to wager on Jacksonville but they’ve been much better on the road than at home this season.
Broncos @ Ravens +2.5 — The Broncos will get the majority of the action here but it won’t be a landslide. Baltimore is awfully good at home so a lot of people will see the Ravens +2.5 as a must-wager. I’m torn on this one right now.
Colts @ Texans -8.5 — The betting action depends on the outcome of tonight’s game. I’m hoping for a Patriots blowout win over Houston so that I can get the Texans somewhere around -7 in this game.
Panthers @ Chargers -3 — I think Carolina will be a publicly backed dog. The allure of Cam Newton is much greater than the allure of Philip Rivers, that’s for sure. It’s hard to make a solid case for either of these teams.
Seahawks @ Bills +4 (in Toronto) — Who doesn’t want to bet the Seahawks coming off of a 58-0 win? There’s some solid line value with Buffalo but I’m not sure I can stomach backing the Bills again at any point this season. Maybe I’ll change my opinion by next weekend.
Lions @ Cardinals +6 — The Lions suck but the public believes Arizona is the worst team in the league right now. I’d imagine that Detroit takes in more action here.
Steelers @ Cowboys pk — Both of these teams are huge public teams but I think Pittsburgh gets more action as a pick’em. It won’t be a landslide but I think most people have caught on to the fact that Dallas stinks at home.
Chiefs @ Raiders -2.5 — The Raiders are favored? Who in the hell is willing to bet on the Raiders as a favorite? The Chiefs are going to be a publicly backed dog here. Brady Quinn may actually be the best quarterback in this game.
49ers @ Patriots -3 — Again, the public will be heavily influenced by the outcome of tonight’s game. If New England plays well, people will be lining up to bet them at -3. If the Patriots lay an egg, the 49ers will look like a pretty attractive underdog.
Jets @ Titans -1 — Ummm, how in the hell is this the Monday nighter? There wasn’t anything appealing about either of these two teams before the year so who’s the fuck up who put this game in prime time in Week 15? The Jets are coming off of a win and the Titans are coming off of a loss, so the public will probably side with New York.