The Friday picks. It’s time to rebound from last week. This week I’m looking at the Saints (again), and the Eagles (again). Read on to see why I’m leaning to those sides, and I also do a little reminiscing about The Gold Sheet…
Back in the day (why did I write that? I hate that term), before stats and trends and matchups were available on 5000 websites for free, young wanna be wiseguys like me really only had one way to get handicapping information. We had to go to the news stand.
My local news stand (deep in the bowels of Delco) was a little shotgun shack, and they basically sold 3 things: lottery tickets, porn and gambling tout sheets. No food, no drinks, no cigarettes, nothing else. So every Wednesday or Thursday little Fantasource would walk down to the shop, weave around the copies of Swank and Oui and buy the holy grail of handicapping rags… The Gold Sheet. I think it was like $5 per week, a bargain in my eyes.
The Gold Sheet was a weekly pamphlet that broke down all the games, college and pro, and gave out picks. Wanna know the skinny on Washington State / Cal? The Gold Sheet had you covered. They wrote up an analysis of every game, they highlighted trends for the week and had a power ranking section. What else do you need? It was available for football and basketball, and I read it religiously from August until the NBA finals. I brought it to school in my bookbag, read it during free periods, at the lunch table, on the bus. I loved the info, I loved knowing nuggets about the games that my friends didn’t know, spouting off trends that blew their minds (“Well, did you know that San Diego is 4-12 when they play on the road after a division loss?”) I had a schedule book, I would read every writeup and mark the games I liked. I’d also check Vegas Vic in the Daily News on Fridays, I’d listen to Marc Lawrence and Lenny Stevens every Friday evening at 6pm during football season on Howard Eskin’s WIP show. In the late 80’s and early 90’s I used any and all avenues to get an edge. It felt like a full-time job, and lucky for me I had the free time to do it.
You can still get a physical copy of the Gold Sheet, but they also offer their info online, just like every other handicapping service out there. Once I could get all my info online very easily I stopped reading the Gold Sheet and started doing my own research. But as much as I love the easy access of information now, I do miss the old days of thumbing through the yellow sheet with the tiny black writing trying to dig up anything that would give me an edge.
Onto the picks…
Bet #1: New Orleans Saints (-7) over Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week the Saints put on a show on offense (an a ‘no show’ on defense). 40 points, 370 yards passing, and they came back to win from 9 down at the start of the 4th. Impressive. Meanwhile, the Jaguars played in a swamp vs. Carolina. Not great conditions for any teams to play in, but they only managed 260 yards of total offense. Jacksonville also got smoked by the Jets 32-3 in Week 2, the only ‘good’ team they’ve played so far.
I expect New Orleans to have their way with the Jaguars on Sunday, but the Saints do give up points themselves, so it could be a high scoring match. A combination of Brees passing and Ingram running will be too much. This could finally be the week that rookie Mark Ingram breaks out and puts up big numbers. The Saints have played from behind the first few weeks, so they needed Brees more than Ingram, but that could change this week. Also, Marques Colston should be back, so that adds another weapon to the arsenal for Brees. And let’s be honest, is Blaine Gabbert going to beat the Saints? I don’t think so.
Jacksonville defense has been playing tough early in the season, but they haven’t faced an offense like this. New Orleans has it up the scoreboard in the first 3 weeks and I think they will do it again this Sunday.
If you can, I would be safe and buy a half-point and push this line down to Saints -6′, you’ll probably have to lay -120 juice but that half point could be the difference between a win and a push. Get to -6′ if you can.
How about Saints 31, Jaguars 21
The Line: Saints -7, O/U 46.5
The Pick: Saints -7
Bet #2 (a.k.a. The hometown bandwagon pick): Eagles -9
I’m going to keep picking the Birds until they get me the money. And I think this is the week, the numbers all point to the Eagles. Vick is expected to play, good news. And Alex Smith is still the QB for the 49ers, also good news for Eagles fans.
As bad as the Eagles have looked this season they have still outgained their opponent is every game. The offense is there. It’s the defense that is the problem. Dropping into a 14 point hole to start the Giants game was a killer, but they fought back and they had the lead halfway through the 4th quarter.
The 49ers are the opposite of the Eagles, San Fran has been outgained in every game this season, including a huge 266 yard difference against Dallas. Their offense is only getting 213 yard per game (last in the NFL) and may be without their #1 RB, and the defense is giving up over 300 yard per game. The 49ers rush defense is very good, but that isn’t going to be enough to get it done.
But the big, BIG question is whether Mike Vick can stay healthy. Big unknown for sure. He says he is ready and will play. Vick is a gamer and I believe he will be out there until he can’t walk. And when he’s out there the Eagles are tough to slow down on offense. 49ers RB Frank Gore is still up in the air, and at this point no one knows if he will be ready to go. Jeremy Maclin practiced with the Eagles on Thursday and he says he is expecting to play on Sunday.
I see the Eagles shutting down the 49er offense and taking this one.
I’m saying Eagles 27, San Francisco 10
The Line: Eagles -9; O/U 44
The Pick: Eagles (-9)
What I listened to while writing this post: Lynyrd Skynyrd – Double Trouble. Great album. ‘Am I Losing’ is a hidden gem. Let’s hope that isn’t the theme song after this weekend. Let’s make some money! (for amusement purposes only, of course)
Ok, now that you know who I like, let me know who you like in the comments.
Good luck this weekend! Go Phils!
Questions, comments, links to share, etc… You can get in touch with me multiple ways:
- Follow me on Twitter – @Fantasource
- Email me email@example.com
- Or just let me know your thoughts in the comments.