Sunday, September 30, 2007

This Is the Worst Vikings Team Ever

Two notes from Sunday's Vikings-Packers game:

1) The Vikings have clearly demonstrated themselves to be one of the worst four or five teams in the NFL, which isn't easy to do when you've got one of the best defenses in the last ten years. I was excited about the head coaching reign of Vice Principal Brad Childress for about five minutes, but now, clearly, the sooner the Childress era comes to an end, the better. Luckily, I don't think we'll have to worry about him winning just enough games to save his job, the way Mike Tice and Dennis Green always used to do. I can't support a coach who punts on 4th and 2 on the opponent's 40 yard line. That's just inexcusable (unless maybe there are fewer than two minutes left in the half, and the opponent has no time outs. But we're talking ten minutes left in the second quarter, people).

2) The Vikings wore gorgeous throwback uniforms which, by comparison, made their new uniforms look even worse (something I'd have wagered was absolutely impossible).

Just so we're completely clear: if you prefer this... to this... it means you're stupid. I'm sorry, but you are. Or, you're a little kid. You can't really blame little kids; they don't know any better. But, if you're in your early teens or beyond, and you prefer this... to this... you are stupid. You just are.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

NFL 2007 - Week 4

Lots of home teams are underdogs this week. This should be interesting. Let's get to it.

[note: my picks will now be in caps instead of in bold. Deal with it]

TEXANS @ Falcons +3

Have the Texans ever been a three-point favorite on the road? Ever? Atlanta has to win at some point, you'd think, but, I'm not sure this is the week. I'll go with the ol' When In Doubt, Pick AFC Over NFC philosophy.

Jets @ BILLS +3.5

Buffalo's got to be sick of getting blown out, and the Jets really aren't that good (they barely held off a Dolphins team whose players have taken to freely admitting that they suck). I don't care who plays quarterback for the Bills (or the Jets, for that matter); these Jets aren't good enough to be favored by 3.5 on the road in a division game.

Ravens @ BROWNS +4

Recently, I heard someone say, "When in doubt, take the points." So I am. The Ravens haven't beaten anybody good yet. Not that the Browns are good. But still.

Rams @ COWBOYS -13

Why do they always have to do this? 13 points? Can anybody feel good about giving away 13 points to the Rams, even if they aren't really the Rams anymore? Steven Jackson is out for St. Louis, but won't that mean the Rams have to throw more? And isn't pass defense supposed to be Dallas's big weakness? Then again, isn't Rams quarterback Marc Bulger banged up? So many questions. Let's stick with the best team in the NFC over the 0-3 Rams, 13-point spread or no 13-point spread.

Bears @ LIONS +3

Yikes. The Bears can't score. They can change starting quarterbacks all they want, but they can't score. That's what I'm telling myself in order to talk myself into going with the Detroit Lions -- the Detroit Lions, people! -- over the defending NFC champs. At least if the Lions lose bad, we'll know they're not any good and we'll be able to go back to treating them like the Lions for the rest of the year.

Raiders @ DOLPHINS -4

I don't have a clue. You shouldn't even be reading this right now. Just go to the next one.

Packers @ VIKINGS +1.5

Once people get an idea in their heads, it can be incredibly tough to get it out. For instance, whenever Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers come to the Metrodome, you'll hear about how Favre always loses there (he's 5-10 in the building over the course of his career).

Of course, the Packers have won three of their last four in Minnesota (not coincidentally, the Vikings have stunk for about four years now). So that's out the window.

Still, won't the Vikings' offense have to score a few points eventually, even by accident? Last week in Kansas City they did everything a team could possibly do to avoid capitalizing on scoring chances, and they still managed to get 10. If anything -- anything -- goes right for them, shouldn't they be good for 21 or more? And their defense is really good, right?

(it's sad, I know. Try being a Vikings fan your entire life. It's always like this)

Anyway, I said I'd pick the Vikings every week, and I'm going to. At least until their offense becomes so inept that there's no excuse to pick them under any circumstances. The Vikes may get Chester Taylor, Troy Williamson and Tony Richardson all back on Sunday, so their offense could be at full strength. Or, more accurately, full "strength."

BUCCANEERS @ Panthers -3

You've got two 2-1 teams, neither of which have beaten anybody good, in an early battle for first place in the NFC South. How do you pick a team? Well, I'm picking the one that won't, under any circumstances, be starting David Carr at quarterback.

Maybe that's not entirely fair; Carr isn't that bad. Plus, he looks more like Superman than the guy who actually plays Superman. So there's that.

Still, let's take the Buccaneers.

SEAHAWKS @ 49ers +2

Two points? Do the oddsmakers think that the Seahawks are kind of bad, or that the 49ers are kind of good? Because I don't think either of those things.

STEELERS @ Cardinals +6

The Steelers haven't played a close game yet, and you figure they will eventually. Also, all three of Arizona's games have been won or lost by exactly three points.

But the Steelers look like one of the two or three elite teams in the NFL, so I'll wait until they actually do play a close one before I pick against them.

Broncos @ COLTS -9.5

You guys? The Broncos might be bad. And if they are, do you think the Colts won't beat a bad team at home by at least ten?

Chiefs @ CHARGERS -11.5

This is the week that the Chargers finally say, "Wait a minute... we're the Chargers." And LaDainian Tomlinson finally says, "Wait a minute... I'm LaDainian Tomlinson." Big, big, big win coming for San Diego.

Eagles @ GIANTS +3

The Eagles are going to think they're good now, what with the 56 points they scored last week. And maybe they are; we'll see. I still think the Giants are solid, and I'll take three points for a big Sunday night, national TV game. Even if you hate your coach, you can get up for a big Sunday night, national TV game.

PATRIOTS @ Bengals +7

The Patriots favored by only a touchdown? Yes please!

The five I feel good (or, if not good, better than the others) about:

SEAHAWKS @ 49ers +2
STEELERS @ Cardinals +6
Broncos @ COLTS -9.5
Chiefs @ CHARGERS -11.5
PATRIOTS @ Bengals +7

Suicide pick: Chargers


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Chavez Watch, Part 2

Welcome back to Chavez watch, in which we keep an eye on would-be Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

Apparently, Chavez has spoken out against the Venezuelan trend of cosmetic surgery in general, and the trend of giving breast enhancements as a gift to 15-year-old girls in particular.

Surely, even the most left-leaning readers of The Athletic Reporter blog must find themselves unable to support a man who isn't fully in favor of giving teenage girls bigger boobs. I mean, really. Socialism is one thing; this is insanity.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Week 3 Wrap-up

Well, there we go. If I'd picked a single one of the Sunday late games correctly, I'd have had a winning week. And, I finally won more Games I Felt Good About than I lost. I look for big things in Week 4. Big, big things.

Week 3: 7-7-2

Overall: 18-25-5

Games I Felt Good About in Week 3: 3-2

Games I've Felt Good About Overall: 6-8-1

The Smartest Thing I Said Last Week (tie):

[T]he Patriots are going to want to crush everybody this year, in an "it doesn't make any difference if we're cheating or not when we win by this many points" sort of way. They're going to be like a top-tier college football team back when margin of victory was factored in.

and

Stick a fork in the Rams.

The Dumbest Thing I Said Last Week:

[favored by 6] Seems like too many points for an Eagles team that has shown no indication it's any good.

To be fair to me, though, prior to their 56-point outburst on Sunday, the Eagles hadn't given much indication that they were any good. Still, when you say 6 points is too much for a team to be favored by, then they score 56, it qualifies as dumb.

In unrelated news, check out "Chuck" on Monday nights on NBC. "Chuck" was the only show of the new season I gave myself a realistic chance of watching more than once or twice, and I thought last night's pilot was exceptional. Also, it has Adam Baldwin and a hot chick.

And, if television history has taught us anything, it's that a show with Adam Baldwin and a hot chick should be watched early and often, because it'll be really, really good and it might not last very long.


Friday, September 21, 2007

NFL 2007 - Week 3

I got all of my Bill Belichick ranting out of the way on Tuesday, so we won't have to worry about that again. Now it looks like everybody cheats, the Patriots don't do it any more than any other team, and no one really wants to turn over that rock because everyone's afraid of what might be discovered.

So we'll see.

CARDINALS @ RAVENS -8

This Ravens team doesn't exactly look like they should ever be favored by 8 over anybody. Tough game to pick, though. You never know with the Cardinals. I think that, for the most part, you'll generally be able to go with AFC Team over NFC Team, but, I can't give away 8 points with this Ravens team. Not right now, anyway.

CHARGERS @ PACKERS +5

So, that AFC Team over NFC Team thing I just said? Yeah; not in this game either. I'll take the Pack in Lambeau field, just in case the Chargers aren't actually that good and just in case this season turns into a sort of a last hurrah sort of thing for Brett Favre.

COLTS @ TEXANS +6

I'm not sure if I can see this Colts team playing two close games in a row. The Texans will be all, "Hey, there was an article about is in Sports Illustrated this week! I know! Us! The Houston Texans! We finally -- oh, crap. There goes Reggie Wayne."

VIKINGS @ CHIEFS -3

I couldn't take it last week. I picked against the Vikings, and even though the game was a push I became ashamed of myself for even thinking about the possibility of taking the slightest bit of solace in the fact that if the Vikings had lost by more than 3 then at least I'd have picked the game correctly.

So, unless it becomes obvious that they are very, very bad (instead of very, very slightly below average), I won't be picking against the Vikings again this year. I might be picking them this week even without that pledge, though, because the Chiefs look bad. Also, I think these Vikings are too boring to get rattled by another team's home crowd (or to soak up any advantage from their own). I don't think it matters much whether they play at home or on the road.

BILLS @ PATRIOTS -16.5

I don't think I'd ever pick a team to win by 17 points or more under normal circumstances, but the Patriots are going to want to crush everybody this year, in an "it doesn't make any difference if we're cheating or not when we win by this many points" sort of way. They're going to be like a top-tier college football team back when margin of victory was factored in. One of those insecure Southern teams who talk trash about the Pac-10, and then think that running up the score on Troy State proves something.

DOLPHINS @ JETS -3

If I don't think either of these teams is any good, why am I picking the road team? I don't know. I just don't know. There are some teams I always think are good no matter what, and I guess the Dolphins are one of those teams. The Dolphins and the Rams. At least I'm learning about the Rams (see below).

LIONS @ EAGLES -6

The oddsmakers have saved me some work, because I can just cut-and-paste what I wrote about Philadelphia last week:
Seems like too many points for an Eagles team that has shown no indication it's any good.
49ERS @ STEELERS -9

Very recent conventional wisdom holds that the three elite teams in the AFC are now the Patriots, Colts and Steelers; not the Patriots, Colts and Chargers.

RAMS @ BUCCANEERS -3.5

Stick a fork in the Rams.

JAGUARS @ BRONCOS -3

I figured it'll be tied this week when Jason Elam makes his last-second, game-winning field goal, so at least I can get myself a push in this game.

BROWNS @ RAIDERS -3

I'm not sure I'd count on the Browns to score another 51 points this week. And the Raiders have to win at least one game this season. Everybody does.

BENGALS @ SEAHAWKS -3.5

What a horrible game to pick. I wouldn't touch this one of I wasn't picking every game. Seattle's a tough place to play, the Seahawks are relatively healthy and coming off a stupid loss, and the Bengals defense... well, they gave up 51 points last week. To the Browns.

PANTHERS @ FALCONS +3.5

The Falcons defense, on the other hand, has looked solid, and my research has indicated that Atlanta's offense is made up largely of professional football players, so I figure they'll have to get it together at some point. This is their home opener, so maybe that will help.

GIANTS @ REDSKINS -3.5

I've never liked Giants coach Tom Coughlin, so this season promises to be an enjoyable one, Giants-wise.

COWBOYS @ BEARS -3

The Cowboys might well be the best team in the NFC. This game should help sort that out.

TITANS @ SAINTS -4

This Saints team is starting to look like the old New Orleans Saints we all know and love.

The five I feel good (or, if not good, better than the others) about:

CHARGERS @ PACKERS +5
LIONS @ EAGLES -6
49ERS @ STEELERS -9
PANTHERS @ FALCONS +3.5
COWBOYS @ BEARS -3

Suicide pick: Steelers

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chavez Watch, Part 1

I've been meaning to institute a Hugo Chavez watch for a while now. For those of you who don't know (and I don't bet that's many of you), Chavez is, for all intents and purposes, the dictator of Venezuela.

Now, I know it's tempting to think of crazy Latin dictators as quaint and even adorable, but, there's almost no scenario I can foresee in which Chavez's reign doesn't result in the deaths of at least tens of thousands of innocent Venezuelans. He's effectively taken control of the nation's media and banks, and he's forcing his rubber-stamp legislature to end presidential term limits. Like many of the 20th century's most powerful and successful socialists, he displays the willingness and determination to threaten, ruin and imprison countless actual people as part of his plan to help "the people."

He's like a smarter Castro, with oil.

Anyway, since I can't really do anything about it except hope that Chavez ends up more like this than this, I figured I'd just keep tabs on Chavez, just so we know what he's up to.

And what is he up to? Well, Chavez has apparently decided that all of Venezuela will set its clocks back by half an hour... by next Monday.

I try to resist the temptation to find Chavez hilarious, but, I just wonder how long it will be before he's proclaiming that all Venezuelan children under 16 years old are now... 16 years old.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Week 2 Wrap-up, Part II

I forgot about a new feature that will be a weekly part of the Wrap-up. I'll be bringing you the Smartest Thing I Said Last Week, as well as the Dumbest Thing I Said Last Week.

The Smartest Thing I Said Last Week:
[favored by 6.5] Seems like too many points for an Eagles team that has shown no indication it's any good.
The Dumbest Thing I Said Last Week (tie):
I don't think the Packers are good, and I don't think the Giants are bad.
and
I don't share the prevailing opinion that last year's Saints were something of a fluke and are due for a letdown. I think they're fine...

Week 2 Wrap-up

I always said that if I were ever to make a habit of betting on football games (something I never do unless I'm in Vegas, where you sort of have to or else what's the point), I would never bet a game in the first four weeks. I don't know who's good and who's bad until Week 5, at least.

I proved my point in Week 2, going 5-10-1, which is almost impossible. I look at it this way, though: what are the odds that a person could go 5-10-1 picking football games? Someone flipping a coin could hardly go 5-10-1, right? Obviously, I must have some sort of knowledge on which I'm basing my picks; it's just that all the knowledge I have happens to be outdated and wrong. That's my excuse, anyway. If I consistently go 5-10-1 after Week 5, why don't we all just agree that it's a really good thing that have little to no interest in betting on football games.

Week 2: 5-10-1

Overall: 11-18-3

Games I Felt Good About in Week 2: 1-4

Games I've Felt Good About Overall: 3-6-1

All that said, let's talk about the Patriots, who were caught on the sidelines videotaping the Jets' defensive coaches' signals during Week 1's game at New York.

[the following is the author's opinion, and is no way based on fact or of any personal knowledge of those individuals involved, whom the author has never ever met]

I don't think we've heard that last of this Bill Belichick cheating business; Belichick seems to assume this will go away because he, The Great Bill Belichick, will cause it to go away by the force of his awesome will. I suppose that's a major obstacle for tyrants (which Belichick surely is, at least in all things pertaining to the New England Patriots); the inability to recognize a situation over which you can't possibly maintain control (or to acknowledge the existence of such situations in the first place).

The text of Belichick's statement can be found here; the man who wrote this is clearly a man used to slavish loyalty from underlings and insulated by power, so much so that he seems to think this statement will actually be believed. Belichick's claim that "My interpretation of a rule... was incorrect" is an obvious lie (NFL rules state that "No video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches’ booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game," and in a Sept. 6 memo to coaches and general managers the NFL's head of football operations stated clearly that "videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches’ booth, in the locker room, or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game"), and Belichick's apparent belief that his statement "resolves" the issue is delusional.

"I, the Great Bill Belichick, say that this was a mere misinterpretation of a rule, and I, the Great Bill Belichick, now proclaim the issue closed."

I think Belichick is so obsessed with winning that he doesn't care if he does it legitimately or not. He reminds me of an alcoholic who lies to his friends and family about his drinking and deep down doesn't even really consider it lying, because he's only doing it to get them off his back about his drinking, which they shouldn't be on his back about in the first place because he's an adult and he can drink if he wants. To be an alcoholic is necessarily to be a narcissist (go to an AA meeting if you don't believe me), and I think it's also safe to assume that it takes a special kind of narcissist to cheat and then be condescending when caught, as if it's nobody's business what I, the Great Bill Belichick, do in order to secure wins for my football team.

I think Belichick could pass a lie-detector test with his patently ridiculous claim that he simply misinterpreted a rule, because I think Belichick is arrogant enough to convince himself that if the Great Bill Belichick did something, it must be justifiable. In Belichick's mind the fans, the league, the commissioner and certainly the media (for whom Belichick has demonstrated the kind of contempt befitting someone who desperately wants to prove that he's better than other people) don't deserve an explanation. Not from the Great Bill Belichick.

The problem with Belichick's dismissive attitude is that if more evidence of more Patriots' cheating comes to light -- if, indeed, a franchise-wide culture of cheating instituted and run by Belichick is exposed -- Belichick's initial prevarication and dismissal of the issue will almost certainly cause him and his team to be judged far more harshly. It's not hard to envision a future in which Belichick is forced out of his job, disgraced, and the Patriots' three Super Bowl titles all carry Barry Bonds-sized asterisks in the minds of most sports fans.

It's also not hard to envision a future in which that doesn't happen; I'm just saying. He's a dick.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

NFL 2007 - Week 2

TEXANS @ PANTHERS -6.5

I didn't really see any of the Panthers-Rams game last week, but it looked like the Panthers won handily. And the Texans won at home against a Chiefs team that was supposed to be bad, and turned out to be worse. Still, if the Texans are good -- like some people suspect they are -- 6.5 seems like a lot.

BENGALS @ BROWNS +6.5

For those of you who don't get Sports Illustrated, they have something in their opening pages called the Pop Culture Grid. They pick four sports "stars" -- they usually throw in a WNBA player or a soccer guy for what I'm convinced is the sole purpose of pissing me off -- and ask them to respond to the same six or seven quick little questions. This week, for example, it was, like, Last DVD Purchased; Favorite Summer Celeb Scandal; Now That Summer's Over, I Can...

Now, one thing that has absolutely nothing to do with this weekend's Browns-Bengals game but that must be mentioned here is the greatest response in Pop Culture Grid history. In response to "If I Were a TransFormer, I Would...", Braves catcher Brian McCann said "...transform into not being so fat." It goes without saying that I am now a big, big Brian McCann fan.

Anyway, this week, one of the featured athletes was Browns quarterback Charlie Frye, who, by the time the issue hit newsstands, had been traded to the Seahawks after entering the season as the Browns' starting quarterback and lasting less than 30 minutes in that job. This is all an unnecessarily complicated way of telling you that I don't like the Browns this week.

FALCONS @ JAGUARS -10

Ten? Really? Didn't the Jaguars just crap the bed in their home opener? I think the Jaguars are developing a reputation for playing up or down to the level of their opponents. As bad as the Falcons looked last week in Minnesota, I'm not so much picking them to beat the spread as I'm picking Jacksonville not to cover the spread against Lousy Team X.

PACKERS @ GIANTS pk

I don't think the Packers are good, and I don't think the Giants are bad. I'm pretty surprised by this line (by way of explanation, for the uninitiated, "pk" is just short for "pick," which means "just pick a winner, because the point spread is that each team is favored by zero points).

BILLS @ STEELERS -9.5

Who knows how the Bills will react to Kevin Everett's horrendous injury last week? I'm going to play it safe and go with the recent Super Bowl champion home team that just destroyed a divisional opponent on the road last week, even if 9.5 points is more than I'd like to give away.

49ERS @ RAMS -3

I feel like both the Niners and the Rams may as well have not played at all last week, for how much I was able to learn about them. I'm taking the Rams, but I'm just guessing. If the Niners were the home team I'd take them.

SAINTS @ BUCCANEERS +3.5

The Buccaneers are really bad, and I don't share the prevailing opinion that last year's Saints were something of a fluke and are due for a letdown. I think they're fine, I just think last year's Colts would have beaten last year's Saints 41-10, too.

COLTS @ TITANS +7

The Titans have quite a bit of momentum dating back to last year. They're coming off a nice road win over the certainly-not-worse-than-average Jaguars, and they beat the Colts in Tennessee last year; I think they're capable of losing by less than a touchdown. Plus, the last four defending Super Bowl champions are 1-3 in the subsequent season's Week 2 game.

Still, the Colts started 9-0 last year and 13-0 the year before that. Also, they're the defending Super Bowl champs and they won 41-10 last Thursday, so they'll be nice and rested. This is a game where, if you lose it, you have a great excuse. "I took the Colts; what was I supposed to do? Not?"

SEAHAWKS @ CARDINALS +3

Seahawks good, Cardinals bad.

VIKINGS @ LIONS -3

Sure, the Vikings dominated the Falcons last year, but, their offense made one -- one -- play, and even on that play Adrian Peterson came dangerously close to batting the ball into any defender's waiting arms before hauling it in and taking it 60 yards to the end zone.

I realized this week that, as a lifelong Minnesota fan, I feel about second-year Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackon the way certain people feel about God: even though I'm desperate to believe in him because the ramifications of believing otherwise are terrifying, I've not yet been able to force myself to do it.

And I don't believe that you can count on the Vikings defense, as good as it is, to score 14 points every week.

COWBOYS @ DOLPHINS +3.5

Just because I don't like the Cowboys, and I've already picked too many road teams.

(by the way: not that you were going to anyway, but, I'd really advise strongly against running out and placing a bunch of bets on this weekend's NFL action based on this column. Because, I'm not kidding. I don't like the Cowboys, and I've already picked too many road teams. That's my real reason)

JETS @ RAVENS -10

The Ravens played really badly, on the road, and still almost won. I think the Jets, not the Saints, are this year's letdown team.

CHIEFS @ BEARS -12

A lot of folks seem to be regarding this game as the Lock of the Century. Who am I to disagree?

RAIDERS @ BRONCOS -10

Double-digit point spreads almost always scare me. Luckily, this one involves the Raiders.

CHARGERS @ PATRIOTS -3.5

Will this "cheating" "scandal" be a distraction for the Patriots? Well, has anything, ever?

REDSKINS @ EAGLES -6.5

Seems like too many points for an Eagles team that has shown no indication it's any good.

The five I feel good (or, if not good, better than the others) about:
BENGALS @ BROWNS +6.5
PACKERS @ GIANTS pk
SEAHAWKS @ CARDINALS +3
CHIEFS @ BEARS -12
CHARGERS @ PATRIOTS -3.5

Suicide pick: Bears


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Week 1 Wrap-up, Part II

I don't like picking games in Week 1, because nobody knows anything yet, but I decided to do it anyway.

Week 1: 6-8-2

Overall: 6-8-2

Games I Felt Good About: 2-2-1



Monday, September 10, 2007

Week 1 Wrap-up, Part I

It has come to my attention that some readers of this blog may or may not understand how the betting lines work...

I'll start with the basics. The very basics. Vegas can't very well take bets on whether, say, the Seahawks will beat the Buccaneers in Seattle. The Buccaneers suck and the Seahawks are good, so, everyone would bet on the Seahawks and Vegas would lose tons of money.

So, what they do, is they set a betting line, the goal of which is to get 50% of people to bet on one side, and 50% of people to bet on the other. So, you don't bet on whether the Seahawks will win the game (you can, but, you barely win enough money to make it worth your while), you bet on whether the Seahawks will win by more than six or less than six. That's why it's:

BUCCANEERS @ SEAHAWKS -6

The Seahawks are favored to win by six. That's why it's "minus 6;" think of simple math: the Seahawks minus six points equals the Buccaneers. The Seahawks, as a team, are assumed to be able to score exactly six points more than the Buccaneers. So that's what you bet on; presumably, 50% of people will bet that the Seahawks will win the game by more than six, and 50% of people will be that the Seahawks will win the game by less than six (or will lose the game outright).

That's called the point spread, or, colloquially, the "spread."

So, since the Seahawks won 20-6, if you'd taken the Seahawks -6 you'd have won. The Seahawks will have "covered" the spread. If the Buccaneers had lost by less than six, or had won the game, they would have "beaten" the spread.

When it's something like:

PATRIOTS @ JETS +6.5

That just means that the Patriots are favored by 6 1/2 points (sometimes they'll involve half-points in the point spread). Sometimes they'll put it like this:

-6.5 PATRIOTS @ JETS

It's the same difference; the Patriots are assumed to be 6.5 points better than the Jets.

You can also "push" (like in blackjack); if a game's line ("line" means "point spread," as far as I understand it) was:

DOLPHINS @ REDSKINS -3

And the Redskins in fact won by 3, that game would be a push. You don't win money, you don't lose money.

Anyway, suicide pool picks are not against the point spread, they're straight up. You just pick a team to win a game that week.

So, I debated whether even to make picks for Week 1, since it's bound to be a train wreck, and so far, pending the Monday Night games, I'm 6-7-1 (if my quick count is right; I'll double-check later). But, in my five "I fell good about these games" games -- i.e., the five games I'd bet on if I were going to bet on games -- I'm 2-1. If the Monday Nighters go my way, I should be fine.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

NFL 2007 - Week 1

I don't want this blog to die, so, I figured if I made NFL picks every week, at least I'd stop by from time to time to post something once in a while. I'll pick every game out of morbid curiosity (we'll see if I can flirt with .500 over the course of the year), and then I'll pick out the five games I feel best about, and we'll see if I have a better winning percentage with those than I do in general.

Week 1 you may as well flip a coin, I figure, but, there a couple of games (Falcons/Vikings, Dolphins/Redskins) where I really wish I didn't have to pick anybody at all.

Also, since I absolutely rule at suicide pools, I'll give you a suicide pool pick every week.

[for those of you who don't know how suicide pools work, they're incredibly simple. Every week, you pick a team. If that team wins that week, you move on. If they lose, you're done, and your chances of winning the suicide pool are over. And once you've picked a team, you can't pick them again. Last man standing wins]

My picks are in bold:

SAINTS @ COLTS -6
GIANTS @ COWBOYS -5.5
BRONCOS @ BILLS +3
CHIEFS @ TEXANS -3
TITANS @ JAGUARS -6.5
FALCONS @ VIKINGS -3
PATRIOTS @ JETS +6.5
LIONS @ RAIDERS -1.5
EAGLES @ PACKERS +3
STEELERS @ BROWNS +4.5
BEARS @ CHARGERS -5.5
BUCCANEERS @ SEAHAWKS -6
PANTHERS @ RAMS -1
DOLPHINS @ REDSKINS -3
RAVENS @ BENGALS -2.5
CARDINALS @ 49ERS -3

The five I feel good (or, if not good, better than the others) about:
LIONS @ RAIDERS -1.5
BUCCANEERS @ SEAHAWKS -6
PANTHERS @ RAMS -1
RAVENS @ BENGALS -2.5
CARDINALS @ 49ERS -3

Suicide pick: Seahawks

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