Tag Archive | "handicapping"

The Degenerate: Week 17, The Friday Pick (On Thursday): Getting Exotic

So, we can finally put the 2011 Eagles season to bed. It’s over. They did all they could down the stretch, but it was too little, too late. The Eagles ended the season with a nice winning streak but their problems went all the way back to the beginning of the season.

Eagle fans all have their own opinion about when it fell apart. Some people say Week 2 at Atlanta, when Vick got hurt and the Eagles blew a lead and went to 1-1. Others might say the Giants game, where the pass defense was exposed by Eli Manning (Victor Cruz??). But the moment that sticks out for me is Week 4, they have the 49ers on the ropes, leading 20-3 at halftime. But the 49ers come out in the 2nd half and thanks to a series of miscues by the Eagles, San Francisco pulls out a 24-23 win. We didn’t know at the time that the 49ers were actually a pretty good team, but that loss dropped the Eagles to 1-3 and the panic started to overtake the fan base.

We can look back at the 2011 season and dissect it 100 different ways, but bottom line it was a disappointment. High expectations and nothing to show for it. Ending the season on a four game winning streak is a nice consolation prize, but who really cares if they finish 8-8? I don’t.

Fire Andy? Probably not, we'll have him back in 2012.

Week 17 is always a crazy week for NFL gambling. You have some teams who are playing for division titles or playoff seeding, while a bunch of teams are just playing out their season and hoping to escape in one piece. So how can you handicap a game when both teams have nothing to play for? The short answer is you can’t.

The marquee game this week is the 8pm Sunday night game, Dallas v. NY Giants. Winner will win the NFC East, loser goes home. It can’t get more dramatic than that. On the opposite side we have our hometown Eagles hosting the Redskins. Both teams are eliminated from the playoff race, so neither has any real reason to give 100%. Will Washington come in and try to get some revenge against the Eagles? After all, it was their Week 6 loss to the Eagles that started the Redskins free fall from NFC East leaders to NFC East basement. But honestly if it wasn’t the Eagles then someone else would have done it. This Redskins team is not very good, and if you have to look to John Beck halfway through the season to jump start your offense, then you are in trouble.

The Eagles could have some motivation this week. Yes, it’s been a disappointing season (to put it mildly) but a win on Sunday will move them to 8-8 and also give them a 5-1 record against NFC East division teams.

Stephen McGee helped us hit our 'Christmas Eve Parlay'

But you know what? I have no idea what will happen. It looks like LeSean McCoy will be sitting, Asante Samuel is already OUT. What about Mike Vick? He’s been banged up this season, will he play 4 quarters of a meaningless game? Or will we see what Mike Kafka can do? Does DeSean Jackson put out 100%, or is he saving his body for free-agency? Will Jason Babin play the whole game and try to get the sack record? Will his over-aggressive play hurt, or help, the defense as a whole?

I don’t know the answer to any of those questions, and I’m not going to lay 10 points to find out. There are alot of other good matchups on the card this week, so we can look past the Eagles / Redskins game and find value elsewhere.

In Week 17 I only like to bet on motivated teams. Teams that know a win will mean something, and if they are playing a team who has already been eliminated then that makes it even more enticing.

At Thanksgiving we gave out the “Thanksgiving Threesome” (we went 2-1), last week we gave out the “Christmas Eve Parlay” (Eagles and UNDER – winner), and this week we are keeping the holiday theme alive with another exotic bet the “New Years Teaser”. I know Spike hates teasers, even more than he hates parlays but hey, this is a special occasion. So let’s close out the 2011 regular season with a winner.

Bet #1: (a.k.a. The “not a tease, more like a sure thing” pick)

Three Team Teaser:
Atlanta Falcons -2 over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
San Francisco 49ers -.5 over St Louis Rams
New England Patriots -1 over Buffalo Bills

So I’m looking at three teams that still have a reason to play to win on Sunday, and they are playing against teams who are already eliminated from the playoff race. These motivated teams are laying high numbers (10+ in all cases) but with a 10 point swing on a 3 team team teaser these line will all drop below a field goal, so basically we are looking for just three winners. I think we will get it.

In case you didn’t already know, a teaser is a type of bet that gives you points to use in your favor. For this 3 team teaser, we are getting 10 points on each game. Since we are going with all favorites, we are getting 10 points taken off of the line. Sounds great, right? The downside is that it usually has higher juice (lose $60 for every $50 bet). So a $100 bet will lose $120. And all 3 teams have to cover the new spread in order for you to win your bet. Oh, and if any of the games push (or tie), then you lose the whole bet. So all those points come at a price.

Atlanta Falcons -2 over Tampa Bay Buccaneers

We all saw that beating that the Falcons took on Monday night against the Saints, Drew Brees was out to set a passing record and he didn’t let the Falcons pass defense get in the way. But this week Atlanta gets a whole different animal, the 4-11 Tampa Bay Bucs.

This is probably Raheem Morris’ last game as Bucs head coach, his team has lost 9 in a row, and they are 1-8 ATS in that span. That’s not a good resume to have to explain at annual review time.

Matt Ryan and the Falcons are looking to end the season on a high note.

The Bucs offense is 25th overall, and the defense is even worse at 31st. I don’t see how Tampa can hang with the Falcons who are coming off a bad loss to the Saints and who are looking for a positive end to their regular season.

I don’t think the Falcons want to limp into the playoffs on a two game losing streak. They are still playing for seeding, if Atlanta wins and Detroit loses then Atlanta moves to the #5 seed and plays the NFC East winner. If they end up as #6 seed they will either make a return trip to New Orleans where they just got slapped around, or take a trip out west to play the 49ers. So they need help to get that #5 seed and play the NFC East winner, but the first step would be to get a win on Sunday.

I expect the combination of “we need to bounce back  from an ugly loss” + homefield advantage will get them a win. HC Mike Smith could start resting starters if Detroit pulls out to a big lead against Green Bay but even if they cycle out some first stringers I still think they can get it done.

Let’s say Atlanta gets some revenge from a Week 3 loss and knocks off the Buccaneers. Atlanta wins 30-14.

San Francisco 49ers -.5 over St Louis Rams

Whenever you are one of the teams in the Week 17 “what team is the worst in the NFL” argument, you know you are bad.

Kellen Clemens vs. the 49ers Defense? I'll take the Niners.

St Louis is the worst team in the NFL (in my opinion). It took them a while to steal the title from the Colts, but coming into Week 17 they have taken over the  (not really) coveted #32 Overall Team Efficiency ranking at FootballOutsiders.com. St Louis has lost six games in a row, they’ve been shut out twice in their last four games, they are only averaging 11 points per game this season, and QB Sam Bradford is probably not playing this weekend. Besides that, they’re golden.

All you need to know about this game is that the Rams are #32 in offensive efficiency, and they are going against the 49ers, who come in at #2 in defensive efficiency. So, there is a very good chance that the Rams get shut out. I mean, the 49ers shut them out in Week 13, 26-0, why can’t they do it again?

The 49ers are also playing to secure a bye week. If they win they get a week off to rest up. If they lose they could be hosting a game next weekend.

That is some good motivation.

The line is 10.5, and the game is in St Louis. I’m not comfortable laying that many points on the road, but when we tease it down to basically a pick ‘em game, I’m all over the 49ers.

I think the 49ers defense will continue to dominate and shut down the Rams. I’m saying 49ers win 24-6.

New England Patriots -1 over Buffalo Bills

Remember back in Week 3 when the Bills were riding high? They were 3-0 and they were coming off a huge win over New England. My how times have changed. Fast forward to Week 17, the Bills are 6-9, and 1-6 in their last 7 games. And now they travel to Foxboro for a rematch with the Patriots.

Bill Belechik remembers that loss. You know he does. And his team is playing Week 17 to lock up the #1 seed in the AFC, homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

Brady has the #1 seed, a model wife and he is working towards an NFL passing record. What about you?

Yeah I know, the Patriots defense sucks, #32 overall. Wow, and they’re still 12-3? Yeah, because they have the #2 ranked offense, Tom Brady is putting up yards like no one else (except Drew Brees) and the Patriots have found a way to win without having to rely on a shutdown defense.

Add into this equation that Tom Brady is still in the hunt to break Dan Marino’s single season passing record. Drew Brees may have gotten the headlines on Monday night by being the first to break Marino’s record, but Brady is only 190 yards behind him. And I think if it takes Brady throwing for 500 yards to break the record, then he will try to do it.

Buffalo is coming off a nice win over Denver last week, they shut down Tebow and broke a 6 game losing streak. But a win over Tebow isn’t as impressive as it may have been a few weeks ago. And don’t forget, the Patriots beat them the week before, so let’s call that a draw.

I hate the Patriots but this is the type of game where I love to bet on them. Similar to the “what about us?” motivation when they played Tebow two weeks ago, Belechik and the boys are probably sitting back saying “yo, we’re the #1 team in the AFC, Brady is close to the single season passing record, and all everyone is talking about is Drew Brees?”

I think they come out big and prove that they are a team to be reckoned with. I’ll say the Patriots get fired up, lock up the #1 seed in the AFC, get revenge for Week 3 and knock off the Bills. Pats win 34-24.

Enjoy your New Years Eve and the Mummers Parade. And let’s get a winner to end the regular season!

Fantasource

 

 

 

We’ll be back next week with a breakdown of the NFL playoffs, maybe some playoff prop bets and some Wildcard weekend picks!

Season Record: 22-17. You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.

Questions, comments, links to share, etc… You can get in touch with me multiple ways:

Follow me on Twitter: @Fantasource
Email me: fantasource@gmail.com
Or just let me know your thoughts in the comments

 

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The Degenerate: Week 16, The Friday Pick: Merry Christmas and Dallas Sucks!

“And so this is Christmas Cowboys week, I hope you have fun. The near and the dear ones, the old and the young.”
Yeah, not quite how John Lennon wrote it, but fitting nonetheless.

Another big week for Shady?

So it’s Cowboys week, and it’s ‘Win or Go Home’ version 4.0 for the Eagles. But for real this time. The Eagles are on the ropes and not only do they have to win at Dallas but they have to cheer for a Jets win over the Giants, if both of those things happen, we are still alive. Yes, I think the Jets will win, and I think the Eagles will win and I think we will be riding this thing out until the last minutes of Week 17. We’re not dead yet.

#ALLIN

I wanted to take a minute to say thanks to everyone for reading the posts this year and for listening to my Twitter nonsense. Hopefully we all made a little money this season. Not just on the picks here but on some of the games I put out myself or re-tweeted on Twitter.

We had a loser last night with the Texans -6.5 and I think we can officially write off the Texans. They could end up with a #2 seed and I’d still bet against them at home in the playoffs. What a bad showing last night. Arian Foster did all he could, but TJ Yates is not a big game QB. How can you lose to the Colts? Oh well, we dropped to 21-17 on the season with the loss.

I’m going to keep it short this week, because I know that we all have alot on our plate this week trying to wrap up Christmas week. I won’t be putting out a Monday Night Football pick this week, so this is the last post for the week.

Onto the Week 16 pick…

Bet #1: (a.k.a. The “what’s better than beating the Cowboys on Christmas Eve?” pick)

Parlay: Eagles +1.5 AND Eagles / Cowboys UNDER 50.5

Oh, for the love of God. Are you kidding me?

I love Cowboys fans, they sure are loyal to a fault. I was looking into this game trying to get a feel for how it will go, so I was perusing some Cowboys blogs to try to take the pulse of the Dallas fans and uncover some local angle that I missed, and let me tell you something about the Cowboys fans this week… they sure are confident that Santa Romo will be delivering them a win (I’m really not one to talk, I always pick the Eagles. Bleed Green, and all that).

Over at TheLandryHat.com (great name, BTW), all seven of the contributors picked the Cowboys to win. Fancy that. Here are some nuggets:

‘[Eagles] are riding high off two straight wins (against the Dolphins and Jets) and they might just be starting to buy into the “dream team” hype’ – Dream Team reference? That is so Week 4.

‘The Boys are coming off a stellar win against the Buccaneers’ – Um, buddy, you beat Tampa Bay not the 1975 Steelers.

One guy says: “Rob Ryan better think of something to stop Vick”. You mean, unlike the last time they played? But he still picks the Boys to win by 3.

I love this one: “Michael Vick will probably get hurt.” So this cat is basing his prediction on Vick getting hurt? Ha ha. Stay classy, Dallas.

Jason Babin is closing in on the sack record.

And to a man, they all are predicting a big offensive game from the Cowboys, 34/31/34/38/30 points? Did I miss something, did RB Felix Jones get miraculously healed this week, or did the Cowboys sign 1997 Barry Sanders? They have Tony Romo, a decent slew of WR’s and at RB they have either a very banged up Felix Jones, or newly-signed Sammy Morris (or some dude named Chauncey Washington).

So Dallas fans are coming in all pumped up and ready for revenge. Ok, I get that. We whooped their ass in Week 8 and they probably couldn’t live with themselves if they got slapped around at home on Christmas Eve. That Week 8 win was probably the most fun game to watch all season. Sunday night national TV beatdown of the Cowboys. Good stuff.

This week I am going to say the Eagles win and game stays under 50.5, yup it’s a Christmas Eve parlay. Why not? Hey it’s Saturday night, it’s Christmas Eve, and you know you’ll be watching the game. You’ll probably be drinking a few beers, hanging with your Uncle Dave who can’t stop telling you about the time he beat up a Cowboys fan in the 700 Level in 1979 (“He had the balls to wear a Tony Dorsett jersey in the Vet, what was I supposed to do?”). I love the holidays.

And in case you don’t know, a parlay is a bet where you make two (or more) bets and if they all win then you win your bet, in this case you would parlay the Eagles +1.5 and UNDER 50.5 and this bet will get you a payout of around 2.5 times your bet (payout depends on the individual wager odds). But if either end of the parlay loses, you lose your bet, so there is a risk associated with the reward.  Here’s a good parlay calculator if you want to find out more.

Let's hope the Eagles give us a Merry Christmas.

The big unknown this week is if the Giants win in the early game then the Eagles will be eliminated from the playoff picture. But I think in either case (Giants win or lose) the Eagles will come to play in Dallas.

These teams are very similar, Eagles are 11th in offense, 12th in defense, Dallas is 9th in offense, 15th in defense. But I think the X factor in this game is the running game. Dallas is without rookie sensation DeMarco Murray (OUT) and Felix Jones is banged up pretty good with a hamstring injury. Jones missed practice this week and is a game-time decision (the Cowboys say he will play, but who knows how healthy he will be). Sammy Morris is on stand-by to handle the rushing duties in case Jones can’t go.

That plays into the Eagles favor, it lets them put more focus on Romo and the passing game. The Eagles do ok with Romo, in eight career games vs. the Eagles he has 11 TD’s and 11 INT’s. Yeah, Tony is playing great ball the past two weeks, and is having a pretty good season. But the Eagles are 11th vs. the pass, and #1 pass rushing team in the NFL (Dallas has the #10 ranked pass protection). If Babin and the boys can pressure Romo, I don’t see him having a very productive day. And with no running game to fall back on, it could be trouble for the Cowboys. Asante Samuel is out and that could hurt, but I think the Eagles will be ok in the defensive backfield (DRC gets the start in place of Asante? Oh boy).

The Eagles on offense should just be Shady all day, he got 185 yards rushing in the first meeting. Why change what works. Dallas is middle of the league in rush defense (16th overall). Brandon Jacobs got 101 yards and 2 TD’s in the Giants win in Dallas two weeks ago. Just give the ball to Shady!

Shady as a running threat will open up the game for Mike Vick. I think Vick will have a good game (250 yards passing, 2 TDs?), DeMarcus Ware is hurting but should play but anything less than 100% of DeMarcus Ware is a good thing for opponents.

It’s Christmas Eve and I think the fat man will give you something to smile about, no not Santa Claus, Andy Reid. How about the Eagles continue where they left off in Week 8 and knock off the Cowboys 24-20.

Injuries:
Eagles: CB Asante Samuel is  OUT.
Cowboys: RB Felix Jones is game time decision but should play. LB DeMarcus Ware is probable and should play.

The Line: Cowboys -1.5, O/U 50.5
The Pick: Parlay: Eagles +1.5 / UNDER 50.5

Merry Christmas!!

Fantasource

 

 

 

Season Record: 21-17. You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.

Questions, comments, links to share, etc… You can get in touch with me multiple ways:

Follow me on Twitter: @Fantasource
Email me: fantasource@gmail.com
Or just let me know your thoughts in the comments

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The Degenerate: Week 16 Preview and Thursday Pick; #ALLIN

It’s Week 16, this crazy season is almost over, but not until the Eagles make us sweat it out a little longer.

2011 has been quite a ride for Eagles fans

This is it, another week where the Eagles can be eliminated from playoff contention before they even kickoff their game. Let’s break down the scenarios (not like you haven’t already heard this a hundred times this week):

Eagles are eliminated if:

  • Giants beat Jets in the 1pm game OR Eagles lose to Cowboys

Eagles stay alive if:

  • Jets beat Giants AND Eagles beat Cowboys

And if we stay alive, then it all comes down to Week 17, Giants at Dallas and we will be cheering for the Giants like we’ve never cheered for the Giants before. I was thinking the other day, have Eagles fans ever cheered for the Giants? Maybe in that Super Bowl against the undefeated Patriots, but that’s probably it.

Jets are three point favorites this week, so Vegas thinks that they can pull it off. Let’s hope the bookies are right this time.

#ALLIN

Let’s check on the Week 15 picks, take a first look at the Eagles / Dallas game and make a pick in the Thursday night Colts/Texans matchup…

Week 15 Revisited

3-0, how about that! We had a good weekend. Thursday was a pretty easy win. We were on Atlanta -12.5, they came out and blew the doors off Jacksonville 41-14. No sweat. That’s the kind of game I like. Over by halftime.

3-0? I can get used to that.

Sunday was the big match up of the week, Tebow vs. Brady. I had a feeling that the Patriots would be able to score on the Broncos, and they sure did. But Tebow was able to draw first blood and jump out to a 17-6 but the Patriots were able to pull ahead and take a 27-16 lead into halftime.

A few more scores in the 2nd half and the Patriots cruised to a 41-23 win. Another easy winner, 18 point win laying seven. Nice.

Monday night was just us playing the statistics. We had two of the top defenses, an injured QB and another QB who was not the guy to light up the scoreboard.

Ben Roethlisberger played, but he didn’t look healthy. Hobbling around, he threw a couple of early interceptions to kill Steeler drives.

But the 49ers couldn’t get into the endzone either. Alex Smith turned two touchdown drives into two fieldgoal drives, and I couldn’t be happier. 6-0 at half, 13-3 after three quarters, this one never even sniffed 30 points. And the UNDER 38 got there easy.

Let’s hope we can keep the momentum going this week and take a hot streak into the postseason.

Week 15 Hometown Preview: Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Opening Line: Cowboys -3, O/U 50.5
Current Line: Cowboys -2, O/U 50.5
Game Trends (via Covers.com): Eagles: 10-3 OVER in last 13 road games; Cowboys: 12-4 OVER in last 16 home games.

No caption needed, the picture speaks for itself.

This line is what you would expect. Opened as Dallas -3, so pretty much a pick ‘em with Dallas getting a bump for homefield. The early money came in on the Eagles, I guess a 45-19 beatdown of the Jets is more impressive than the Cowboys 31-15 win at Tampa Bay.

We all know what happened last time these guys played in Week 6. It was one of the first ‘do-or-die’ weeks if the Eagles season. The Eagles were a 3 point favorite at home and came away with an impressive 34-7 win. Oh by the way, we had the UNDER in that one (winner).

Dallas is 5-2 ATS at home this season, but 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall this season. The Eagles are 2-0 ATS and SU as road dogs this season. And this game is the definition of ‘must win’ for them this week.

The total really sticks out to me on this one, 50.5? That seems high. Two top 15 defenses, neither team really known to put up many points (I know the Eagles scored 45 last week, but that was out of the ordinary).

I expect the Eagles to play it conservative, and use LeSean McCoy as much as possible. and with Brent Celek coming on strong the past few weeks, we could continue to see him used in a short passing game. Dallas could be without RB Felix Jones, so that takes away a big part of their offense. Can Romo put up points against the reborn Eagles defense? I don’t think so.

Right now, I’m leaning Eagles plus the points and UNDER. Well come back tomorrow and break it all down and make a pick. But for now, let’s move on to the Thursday night game…

Thursday Night Football

TNF Bet #1: (a.k.a the “Yeah, the Colts won, but they still stink” pick): Texans -6.5 over Colts

What a crappy season for the Colts. They finally got win #1 last week, and it only took them 14 games. Their one potent offense has turned impotent (#29th overall), #32 (last) in overall team efficiency and #32 in defensive efficiency. To put it bluntly, the Colts suck this season.

It's been a rough season for Colts fans

We’ve had to handicap some bad teams this year (Rams, Jaguars, Vikings) but the Colts might take the prize.

I think the Jaguars are worse on offense (but not by much), and maybe you can argue that the Tampa or Minnesota is worse on defense, but the Colts have the unique combination of a crappy offense and a crappy defense.

The Indy offense is managing a paltry 283 total yards per game, and only putting up 15.1 points per game. That’s not going to win many games (as they’ve proven this year). The Texans are 10-4 and still jockeying for position in the playoffs, so they aren’t on cruise control yet. They had a bad loss last week at home against Carolina, after running off 7 straight wins. I don’t think the Texans will have any problems moving the ball tonight and that’s why I’m going with Houston -6.5.

Houston doesn’t have Matt Schaub, and they won’t have Andre Johnson, but they do have a pretty fierce combination of running backs, so expect to see alot of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. The Colts are giving up 138 rushing yards per game, and Houston is anked #2 in rushing yards per game at 151. So yeah, expect a big day from Foster. Congratulations to you if you are starting him in fantasy this week.

The only question mark for the Texans is QB TJ Yates. He’s had 3 starts so far, one good, one bad, and one so-so. I think this week he will be able to take advantage of the weak Colts defense and move the ball. I still expect the Texans to rely mainly on the run, but Yates should be able to move the ball when he needs to. As long as he doesn’t try to do too much, we should be ok laying 6.5.

Arian Foster should have a big night

The Colts offense is pathetic. Yeah, there is no other word to describe it. 15 points per game? 283 yards of total offense. Not good. Dan Orlovsky is in at QB now, he replaced Curtis Painter a few weeks ago. Last week in the big win over Tennessee he managed… 115 yard passing. So I think the Colts have decided to not let him throw the ball. Could be a smart move. Like with the Texans, I think on the Indy side of the ball we will see alot of running plays as well. Donald Brown had a breakout game last week, 161 yard rushing and a TD. But that was his only game with over 80 yard rushing this season.

The Houston defense is pretty good. #7 in overall defensive efficiency (#4 v. pass, #12 v. rush) and I think they will be able to shut down the Colts offense, not that it’s a big challenge.

Houston is finally in a position to control it’s own destiny, and after years of playing second fiddle to the Colts in the AFC South they can finally bully them around and move closer to the chance at a bye week in the first round.

The Texans won the first matchup in Week 1, 34-7, and they will be rady for a season sweep.

How about both teams keep it on the ground, but only the Texans have success moving the ball. Houston finally gets revenge on big brother and comes away with a win, Texans 27-10.

The Line: Texans -6.5 O/U 40.5
The Pick: Texans -6.5
Game trends (via Covers.com): 10-3 OVER in the last 13 meetings. HOU 6-1-1 ATS last 8 games this season.

 

Fantasource

 

 

 

Season Record: 21-16. You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.

Questions, comments, links to share, etc… You can get in touch with me multiple ways:

Follow me on Twitter: @Fantasource
Email me: fantasource@gmail.com
Or just let me know your thoughts in the comments

 

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The Degenerate: Week 15, Monday Night – This One is Worth Watching

So yeah, the Patriots.

New England -7 was our pick yesterday, and once Tebow and the Broncos scored on that opening drive I thought I would be in trouble. Twitter exploded with TEBOW! tweets, everyone was throwing dirt on the Patriots, and I have to admit I was a little nervous. Even the boss had a case of Tebow Fever…

https://twitter.com/#!/your_activity

But I’ve learned in my long life of gambling that there are a few quarterbacks who are never out of a game. And Tom Brady is definitely on that list.

And like I expected, the Patriots turned it on, got themselves a 27-13 halftime lead and never looked back. It got tight in the 4th, with a score of 34-23 with around 9 minutes left. Was I looking at a backdoor cover from Denver? I sure was feeling like it would happen…

https://twitter.com/#!/fantasource

But Gisele’s husband took his guys down the field for a TD to seal the win and the cover. That win moved us to 2-0 on the weekend and 20-16 overall.

And yes, It was kind of awkward when I ran into Spike in the breakroom this morning at SpikeEskin.com headquarters, he didn’t even make eye contact with me. Poor guy, Tebow broke his heart.

Mark Sanchez had a rough day

All in all it was a great game. Sure, the Broncos lost but they lost to a better team. Denver definitely has talent, and they could do some damage early in the playoffs. Keep an eye on them.

And how about those Birds! Damn, 44-19. Who saw that coming? Shady with 3 TD’s and another 100 yards, 17 TD’s on the season. For all of the Eagles flaws this season, LeSean McCoy was one of the few consistent bright spots.

So, the Eagles are still alive for the division (thanks, Redskins). Next week they go to Dallas and the opening line is Dallas -3. It’s gonna be a fight, but does Tony Romo scare you? He doesn’t scare me. The Giants are playing the Jets (Jets are 3 point favorites), and that one will be a battle too.

But we’ve survived to fight another week and that’s all that matters.

#ALLIN

Now onto the Monday Night pick…

As MNF matchups go this is one of the best we could ask for. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3) head out west to play the San Francisco 49ers (10-3). Two great teams, both still fighting for playoff seeding, primed and ready to bang heads.

The line right now is 49ers -1.5, O/U 38.

LaMarr Woodley has 9 sacks to lead the Steelers

The status of Ben Roethlisberger is unknown right now, but I’m writing this assuming he plays but it really doesn’t matter to my pick, I like the UNDER 38 tonight.

This is a matchup of two very good defenses, but if you follow football at all you already knew that. Pittsburgh comes in as the 9th ranked defense, San Francisco is 3rd ranked.

With or without Roethlisberger I think the Steelers offense will have trouble moving the ball on a very good San Francisco defense. And when the 49ers have the ball, Pittsburgh should be able to contain Frank Gore and Alex Smith and keep them out of the end zone.

James Harrison is out for the Steelers, serving his one game suspension for hitting Colt McCoy in the head. And for San Francisco, Patrick Willis is out with a hamstring injury. So both teams are missing a top defensive player, but there are still enough defensive weapons on both teams to still keep this game low scoring.

When the 49ers played Baltimore on Thanksgiving night it was another matchup of two great defensive teams, that game ended with the Ravens winning 16-6. And this game could play out the same way. Long, sustained drives, and teams settling for field goals. Whoever gets into the end zone will win.

The 49ers have not given up a 100 yards rushing in 35 straight games, they only allow 70 rushing yards per game, and they haven’t allowed a rushing TD this season. Wow. So don’t expect much from Rashard Mendenhall.

Both teams still have incentive to win. The 49ers need a win get to 11-3 and stay on pace with New Orleans for the #2 seed in the playoffs. The Steelers came into this weekend tied with Baltimore atop the AFC East at 10-3, and with the Ravens losing last night this is a chance for them to open up a one game lead that could be enough to get them the division title.

Our old friend David Akers could be the difference tonight

I’m thinking both teams play conservative and try not to make mistakes, and that game plan points to the UNDER. That is also the most obvious play statistically, considering that both teams rank #1 and #2 in points allowed per game, (49ers – 14.0, Steelers – 15.2). Both teams are averaging low 20’s in offensive points scored per game. So both teams being under 20 points tonight is a definite possibility.

The Steelers are a very good team, and Ben will probably play and keep the gameplan conservative. But I don’t think they can break through the 49ers rushing defense, and a hobbled Roethlisberger may have trouble making things happen with that 49ers d-line breathing down his neck all night.

But Pittsburgh has a solid defense as well, even without Harrison, and they should be able to shut down the 49ers. Frank Gore has had a rough stretch lately, he hasn’t broken 100 yards in his past 5 games. Alex Smith has a decent passer rating (91.5) but he only has 15 passing TD’s on the season and I don’t expect him to light up a good Steelers pass defense (6th ranked v. pass).

In this pretty even matchup I think the 49ers are a little better on defense and they will find a way to build off of the home field advantage and squeak out a win. But regardless of the outcome, this one should be a real battle and a fun game to watch.

I’ll say that the 49ers win a low scoring game, San Francisco 17-13.

The Line: 49ers -1.5, O/U 38
The Pick: UNDER 38
Game trends (via Covers.com): Steelers: 6-2 UNDER last 8 games as an underdog; 49ers: 6-2 UNDER in their last 8 games

Fantasource

 

 

 

Season Record: 20-16. You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.

Questions, comments, links to share, etc… You can get in touch with me multiple ways:

Follow me on Twitter: @Fantasource
Email me: fantasource@gmail.com
Or just let me know your thoughts in the comments

 

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The Degenerate: Week 15 The Friday Pick: The Hype Machine

We had an easy winner last night on the Falcons -12, they smoked the Jaguars 41-14. After watching that game I’ve come to the following conclusions: the Jaguars stink, their offense is terrible, and their once vaunted defense has been shredded in two of the past three games. Something to remember for the final two games of the season. Atlanta looked pretty good, they could really make some noise in the playoffs. Maybe a sleeper team, like Green Bay was last season.

BREAKING: Some people like Tebow

Enough about last night,  let’s get to the pick. I’m not making a pick in the Eagles / Jets game this week. Everything in me wants to say the Eagles will cover the three point spread but I am not sure which Eagles team will show up on Sunday. Will we see the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarter Eagles from last week, or will we see the team that stunk up Seattle two weeks ago. I don’t know and I’m not going to put any money on it to find out (jk, for amusement purposes only). But you know they’ll win, and keep us sucked in for one more week of false hope.

But if you follow the NFL you may have heard about this other game out in Denver that is getting as some buzz. Some guy named Tebow is playing against the Patriots. This is pretty much the NFL’s dream match-up. The two most polarizing stars (Tebow and Brady) playing head to head. The Patriots are in first place in the AFC East, they are in the midst of a 10-3 season and a five game winning streak. The Broncos are riding a six game winning streak and they lead the AFC West at 8-5. Game of the year? In terms of hype, it probably is.

I broke down the match-ups and made a pick in this one…

Bet #1: (a.k.a. the “Tom > Tim” pick) – New England Patriots -7 over Denver Broncos

Brady and Belechik always find a way.

I know, you’re all saying “you’re picking against Tebow? You’ll be sorry.” You don’t have to tell me about the legend of Tebow. I picked the Jets four weeks ago against the Broncos in Denver when Tebow pulled a “Tebow” (it used to be called an “Elway”) and led a 4th quarter rally to win 17-13. I watched as he floundered for three quarters and then did a 180 in the 4th quarter and played like a man possessed.

But it’s not going to happen this week. Not against the Patriots.

You may hear the stat that Brady is 1-7 vs. Denver. But that was against a different Denver team, a different Denver coach, B.T. (before Tebow). That stat is meaningless this weekend.

This line has moved up all week, it opened at New England -5 and has been bet up to New England -7, even hitting -7.5 in some places today. Everyone is on the Patriots; wiseguys, marbles (squares), that guy in accounting who always corners you at the coffee machine and asks you who you like, etc. As of Friday morning 85% of bets are coming on on the Patriots. Wow. And you know what, I still like New England.

Yes, Tim Tebow and the Broncos have been winning, no question, the proof is right there in black and white. The 4th quarter comebacks, the overtime wins, the “how the hell did that happen” fumbles from the opposing teams in crunch time. Heck, ESPN did a whole Tebow special this week. The guy is everywhere, you can’t escape him. It kind of reminds me of another QB who burst on the scene and started winning games and turning heads….. Tom Brady.

Now this one goes a little overboard

Tim Tebow is Tom Brady 2.0, with a healthy dose of Jesus thrown in. I’m an Eagles fan, so ever since the Super Bowl in 2005 I have had a personal dislike for Tom Brady, but you have to respect his record. He wins, and he has been doing it for 10 years. And I’m banking on him to do it again this week.

Here’s how I think it will happen… the pattern since Tebow started this hot streak has been that the Broncos manage to keep the game close through three quarters, and then let Tebow do his thing in the 4th quarter (please don’t call it ‘Tebow time’, I might have to smack you). This week I expect the Patriots to do all they can to jump out to a big lead early and take ‘4th quarter Tebow’ out of the mix.

If you look at the Denver final scores it makes you think that they are a defensive juggernaut that can shut down teams and keep the score low. But they’re coming in with the 18th ranked defense, 23rd v. pass, 12th v. rush. They are allowing 23.3 points per game. Two weeks ago they got lit up by Christian Ponder for 381 yards and three TD’s, but the Broncos still managed a 35-32 4th quarter win. So they can get scored on.

I see Tom Brady throwing on Sunday, and throwing alot. Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez should get plenty of looks this week. If you have any Pats receivers in fantasy, they should give you some good stats. Denver comes in with the 23rd ranked pass defense, New England has the 2nd ranked passing offense. That adds up to Brady having a big day (I’ll say 300+ yards and 3 TD’s). New England is putting up 30 points per game, and I think they continue that trend this week by putting up a good number of points against Denver.

Gronk has been on fire lately.

And knowing that Tebow has a history of 4th quarter comebacks I expect Brady and Belechik to keep their foot on the pedal and not give the Broncos a chance to pull out a last minute win.

Yeah, I know all about the Patriots bad defense, (29th overall, 28th v. pass, 21st v. rush) but I trust that Belechik can put together a scheme to shut down Tebow. I’m not sure what that scheme will be (spy Tebow with a LB? rush him alot to throw off his rhythm? play contain and not let him run?). You know Belechik and his staff have been thinking about it for a few weeks. They’ll have something up their sleeves.

The Pats defense is below average, but Tebow does not have great passing stats. His 83.9 QB rating is right around the league average. But 48.5% completion rate? Worst in the NFL for starters. 117 yards passing per game? Another one where he ranks at the bottom. He’s been sacked 23 times in 11 games, and has eight fumbles (three fumbles lost). If you send in the pressure, he can be beaten.

Tebow is a running QB, his rushing stats are similar to Mike Vick and Cam Newton. But when he is contained and not allowed out of the pocket that will take away his ability to scramble and get yards. He’ll get his 50/60 yards, but limiting his ability to make something out of nothing will go along way to beating the Broncos.

I think the Patriots will mimic the gameplan of the Lions when they played the Broncos in week and came away with a 45-10 win.

Lions DB Chris Houston said this after that game, “We sent the rush and we were out there on an island most of the time and the D-line just got to him, got a lot of sacks and made him throw the ball up.” And that’s what going to happen on Sunday. Bring the heat to Tebow, make him beat you with his arm. Now the Patriots DB’s are not world-beaters but I think they are capable enough to contain the Broncos receivers. Denver is 26th is pass protection, so even though the Patriots D-line is sub-par this season, they could bring the pressure to Tebow.

How about Belichick figures out how to contain Tebow, Brady slices up the Broncos defense and the Patriots come away with an impressive win. I’m saying Patriots 31-20.

This line cold get over 7 by Sunday, I would only bet this at 7 or less. It’s not worth it at 7.5, that hook on the 7 is huge. Buy a half point if you need to get it down to 7.

The Line: New England -7, O/U 46
The Pick: New England -7
Game Trends (via Covers.com): Patriots: 5-12 ATS against the Broncos since 1988.

Fantasource

 

 

 

Season Record: 19-16. You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.

Questions, comments, links to share, etc… You can get in touch with me multiple ways:

Follow me on Twitter: @Fantasource
Email me: fantasource@gmail.com
Or just let me know your thoughts in the comments

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The Degenerate: Week 15 Preview and Thursday Pick; Ice, Ice Baby

OK, let’s get this out of the way… the Eagles are still alive for the NFC East division title.

They need to sweep their last three games (v. NY Jets, @Dallas, v. Washington) and the Giants and Dallas both have to go 1-2. Dallas and the Giants play each other in Week 17, so this thing could go down to the final weekend. Which would be a fitting way to end the season, Andy and the boys will drag us all back in for Week 17 after we’ve already cashed out three times already (maybe more) and then force us to cheer for either the Cowboys or Giants in order for the Eagles to win the division. Yeah, I could totally see it happening.

Of course, if the Cowboys and Giants both win this weekend then it’s all over for 2011. Again. But for real this time. Mathematically eliminated. DOA.

But let’s hope we can live to dream another week about sneaking into the postseason against all odds. This season won’t be complete until we all get sucked back in for one last heartbreak.

#ALLIN.

Week 14 Revisited

2-1? Duh, winning. (except that Steelers pick)

We did ok last week. 2-1, I’ll take it. Thursday night was a bad loss. Steelers had the better team, and they looked pretty good on defense, holding Cleveland to only three points. But the Pittsburgh offense couldn’t get the ball in the end zone. They had the ball 1st and goal on the one, going against the Browns’ 30th ranked rushing defense, and the Steelers got stuffed on four straight run plays. Pittsburgh got out a 14-3 win, but they didn’t cover the 13 point number.

On Sunday, the Eagles got us our first winner. After a slow start they turned it around and opened up a 24-7 lead at halftime and never looked back. The defense played pretty good, Vick played well, Shady scored on two short runs and the Eagles kept their playoff hopes alive, winning 26-10, and they didn’t even need the three points Vegas was giving them.

We closed out the week with a winner on Monday night. Honestly, it was a crappy game that made even other crappy games look good. Seattle hosted St Louis. Sam Bradford was playing on an injured ankle and it showed. We said “How about Marshawn Lynch leads the Seattle offense, the Rams continue to struggle on offense and the Seahawks win 24-10”. We were almost spot on, Seattle won it 30-13, Lynch had 115 yard rushing and a TD. Rams got 281 yards of total offense, and Sam Bradfrod looked like he shouldn’t have even suited up. Anyway, it’s nice to watch a game play out pretty much just like you handicapped it.

Let’s hope we can do it again in Week 15.

We’ll take a first look at the Eagles/Jets game and break down the Falcons/Jaguars Thursday night game. So keep reading…

Week 15 Hometown Preview: Eagles vs. New York Jets

Opening Line: Eagles -1, O/U 37
Current Line: Eagles -2.5, O/U 37.5
Game Trends (via Covers.com): Eagles: 1-8 ATS in last nine home games; Jets: 13-3-1 OVER when they are an underdog.

This line is right about where I expected. Eagles laying 2.5 points at home to the Jets.

Rex, don't talk crap about their offense. They burned me for 34 points.

Eagles are 5-8 on the season, and a disappointing 1-5 at home. Jets are 8-5 and 2-4 on the road.

The Eagles have an interesting trend happening this season, when they win game outright, they cover. When they lose games, they don’t cover. They have been favorites in all but 3 games this season. Last week they were getting 3 points from Miami and ended up winning 26-10.

The Jets have had back-to-back 34+ point outings, winning 37-10 over Kansas City last week as a 10.5 point favorite at home. The Jets have only been held to under 21 points three times this season, so they can score.

No real injuries to speak of for the Eagles. Mike Vick is still banged up a little, but should be playing this week. Jeremy Maclin seems to be healthy again after missing 3 games with a hamstring injury.

The Jets also come in pretty healthy, with no big players expected to miss the game.

New York is still in the mix for both the division title (a longshot) and a wildcard spot. They are holding on the last wildcard spot, so they really need this win and should come in plenty motivated.

The Eagles are playing with house money at this point, no pressure, and no one expects much from them. And that is what makes them dangerous.

At first glance I’m liking the Eagles and UNDER, but we’ll break this game down further in tomorrows post.

Thursday Night Football

TNF Bet #1: (a.k.a the “Hey look, it’s the Jaguars again” pick): Falcons -12 over Jaguars

The Jaguars are on national TV again! Good for us, we don’t see enough of Blaine Gabbert and his 65.3 passer rating (yeah, that’s the worst rating for starters in the NFL this season).

How do the Jags manage that many national TV games? I don’t know, but please make this the last time.

The Falcons could use another 2 TD's from Julio tonight

When you first look at this line it looks like a trap. You have the Jaguars coming in with the #4 rated defense (#3 vs. pass, #9 vs. run) and they just whupped up the Buccaneers 41-14 last week. They are playing for pride and nothing more. They really have nothing to lose. At this point they are rallying for the new head coach, who is also the defensive coordinator. They just got a new owner, too. So the coaches and players are all pretty much playing for their jobs (every game is a ‘playing for your job’ situation in the NFL but with a new regime coming in, these guys know changes are coming to Jacksonville next season). All these points make you think that they are a live dog, and not to be messed with. Getting 12 points? A team that only scores 14 points per game and only gives up 19 points per game is getting 12 points? Sounds like a low scoring game. Gotta take the points, right?

But you know what, I’m going with the Falcons -12 in this one. Here’s my theory, the Jaguars will not score (at least not much). When you think Falcons you think offense, Matty Ice, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Michael Turner. Yup, Atlanta does have the 11th ranked offense (9th passing, 26th rushing) but they are also pretty good on defense and they should be able to shut down the weak Jaguars offense.

I know the Jags put up 41 points last week but that was just the 2nd time all season that they’ve scored over 17 points in a game. They’re averaging a paltry 14.8 points per game, their QB is terrible and the Falcons come in with a pretty good defense. The only way the Jags will have a chance is if Maurice Jones-Drew gets it done on the ground. Good luck with that, Atlanta has the #2 rush defense this season.

The Falcons are fighting for the last NFC wildcard spot (and they’re still mathematically alive for the NFC South division title) and will be plenty motivated to get it done in front of the home crowd. I think the combination of Matt Ryan ‘s passing and Michael Turner’s running will give the Falcons all they need to win this comfortably.

How about Jacksonville can’t find the end zone, the Falcons mix up the run and pass, the home crowd becomes the X factor, and Falcons win 27-10.

Injuries: Jacksonville WR Mike Thomas is OUT, he leads the team with 40 catches for 391 yards. Atlanta RB Michael Turner is PROBABLE with a groin injury, Turner hasn’t missed a game all season and word is that he is expected to play.

The Line: Falcons -12, O/U 42.5
The Pick: Falcons -12
Game trends (via Covers.com): Falcons: 20-8-1 ATS last 29 vs. teams with losing record. Jaguars: 4-11-1 ATS vs. teams with winning records

 

Fantasource

 

 

 

Season Record: 18-16. You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.

Questions, comments, links to share, etc… You can get in touch with me multiple ways:

Follow me on Twitter: @Fantasource
Email me: fantasource@gmail.com
Or just let me know your thoughts in the comments

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The Degenerate: Week 14, Monday Night – Are You Really Going to Watch This Game?

So we finally got ourselves a winner on Sunday. The Eagles looked pretty good. Yeah, they put up 24 of their 26 points in a big 2nd quarter burst, but they looked pretty good on defense with nine sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception. And Shady was able to find the end zone twice (but only managed 38 yards rushing). But really the Dolphins showed that they just aren’t that good, and Matt Moore isn’t a big game QB. Besides that nice TD pass to Brandon Marshall he really didn’t do too much before he left with an injury.

The Eagles defense was swarming on Sunday

So yeah, the Eagles are still alive for the division title. We still need a ton of help and alot of breaks have to go our way, but it’s not over (yet). Actually it probably is, but I’m #ALLIN and I’m not giving up hope until we are mathematically eliminated.  We get the Jets at the Linc next week. Rex Ryan comes into town, so hide your daughters… and lock up your refrigerators.

But let’s put away the pipe dreams for one more week. Tonight is Monday Night, so you know what that means: Jaws, Jon Gruden, Mike Tirico and quite possibly the worst Monday Night Football matchup all season.

5-7 Seattle is hosting 2-10 St Louis. Rams QB Sam Bradford is hurting and backup AJ Feeley is already declared OUT, so the Rams could be playing some guy named Tom Brandstater at QB (no shit, I’m not making that up). They also claimed Kellen Clemons off of waivers, so he could get some action too. So your starter could be an injured Sam Bradford,  Tom Brandstater, or some guy they signed last Wednesday.

We’ve already had to sit through Tyler Palko and the Chiefs at New England. And Jacksonville hosted San Diego last week and that wasn’t that great either. But this one is a crappy matchup of epic proportions. But no worries, I’ll break it down and pick a winner for us (para la única diversión).

Marshawn should have another big game

Seattle is a -9 point favorite in this one, the Over/Under is 38. Vegas was hesitant to make a line on this game without knowing the status of Sam Bradford. The Hilton Supercontest put the line as Seattle -7.5, and people jumped all over it. 109 contestants picked Seattle -7.5, while only 22 went with St. Louis. (The Supercontest is an open invitation contest where entrants pony up $1500 to try to prove they are the best handicapper in the country, picking five games against the spread every week. Winner takes all.) We know that the Supercontest 7.5 point spread was low because the true “opening number” for this game was Seattle -9.5 (at least the ones I saw). The line has settled on -9 this morning after being bet up to -10 over the weekend. Seems like the news this morning that Bradford should be playing brought in some Rams money.

But really, the question here isn’t if the Seahawks can win, it is can they cover the 9 point line? And we might see this line go up even more, I mean if you’re betting on the game you aren’t going to put your money on the 2-10 Rams and their shaky QB situation, are you?

One saying I learned early in my gambling life was “never rely on a bad team to do good things.” And tonight you’re going to rely on the Rams (and whomever their QB is tonight) to get motivated and go into a hostile stadium and hang with a Seattle team that is still (barely) alive for a wildcard playoff berth.

Hey look, it's the last four Rams fans.

Seattle had an impressive win at home last week over the Eagles, and they’ve won three of their last four games and covered the spread in four of their last five. To say St Louis has struggled would be an understatement. They’re 2-10 straight up and against the spread, and they got shutout last week at San Francisco.

I don’t see how the Rams can stay in this game. They have the #31 ranked team in overall efficiency (thankfully for them the Colts are playing even worse), and the 32nd (worst) ranked offense. Seattle counters with the #11 defense. The Rams will have a tough time moving the ball. With all the problems at QB lately, opposing teams really only have to key on Steven Jackson, you stop him, you stop the Rams offense. Seattle should be able to do that, they come in with the #9 rush defense.

Seattle has owned the Rams lately. Since 2005 the Seahawks are 12-1 SU and 10-3 ATS in this series. These two teams met back in Week 10, and the Seahawks won that one 24-7, holding the Rams (with Sam Bradford at QB) to 210 yards total offense.

The combination of the Seattle defense, Seattle home field advantage and the Rams inept offense means that I’m taking Seattle -9 in this one.

I don’t expect alot of points, I could see the Seahawks playing a conservative game, alot of Marshawn Lynch on the ground (remember him, Eagles fans?) and Tarvaris Jackson trying not to lose the game and sticking with short passes. Even if Sam Bradford sucks it up and plays, I don’t see him being effective with his injured ankle.

I see Seahawks getting it done in a low scoring game, boring game. Good luck if you’re going to watch it. How about Marshawn Lynch leads the Seattle offense, the Rams continue to struggle on offense and the Seahawks win 24-10.

The Line: Seattle -9, O/U 38
The Pick: Seattle -9
Game trends (via Covers.com): St. Louis: 1-7 ATS in their last 8 road games; Seattle: 6-2 ATS in their last 8 home games.

The Over/Under on ‘Skittles’ mentions tonight? I’m setting it a 5. And I’m going OVER.

Fantasource

 

 

 

Season Record: 17-16. You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.

Questions, comments, links to share, etc… You can get in touch with me multiple ways:

Follow me on Twitter: @Fantasource
Email me fantasource@gmail.com
Or just let me know your thoughts in the comments

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The Degenerate: Week 15, The Friday Pick (on Saturday)… He’s Baaaack!

Ok, enough of this losing crap. Can’t the gambling gods throw me a bone and give me some holiday cheer? On Thursday night we had the Steelers -14.

Ben, I know how you feel.

And just our luck, Big Ben goes down with a leg injury in the 2nd quarter. We’re doomed! But wait, here comes Ben after halftime taking warmups. He’s gonna play!

Steelers were up 7-3 with 11 minutes left in the game, they moved the ball down to the tw0 yard line, but they got stuffed by the Browns four straight downs. Yes, the 30th ranked Browns rushing defense stuffed the Steelers 8th ranked rushing game. That’s when I knew we weren’t going to cover.

Steelers managed to get a 14-3 win, but not the cover. So that dropped us to 0-5 in our last five picks. Not good. And now we’re at 16-16 on the season. But let’s keep on taking shots and see what happens.

I looked over the card this week and I really only found one game I liked, Eagles at Dolphins. Yeah, and it’s not even just a hometown pick, I actually like a side in this one.

I also liked the Saints -3.5 at Tennessee, but not enough to put it out as a pick. And Carolina at home getting 3 over Atlanta looks like a possible money line play. But let’s focus in on the one play this week.

Bet #1: (a.k.a. “The Mike Vick Experience, Part 2” pick) Eagles +3 over Miami Dolphins.

I know, I know the Eagles suck. They’re 4-8, they’ve lost four of their last five games straight up. They looked terrible against the Seahawks. I know, I’ve watched every game.

The Dolphins aren't playing too bad

And Miami, on the other hand, has won of four of their last five and have covered 6 in a row. Miami is the new hot team in the NFL (excluding Tebow, who is on another level of bandwagon jumping right now). I think they stole the title from Detroit. Everyone loves the Dolphins. They started slow at 0-7, now they’re rolling at 4-8.

The big news for the Eagles this week is that Mike Vick is back. He should be ready to play and he is the reason I am betting the Eagles this week. When Vick plays, the Eagles are a different team, bottom line.

And I’m not sold on the Dolphins. Not as a three point favorites against the Eagles. I know the Eagles have had a rough season, but they have better players than the Dolphins. Matt Moore at QB for Miami? In 9 games he’s putting up 193 yard per game, Vick is getting 243 in the air. Dolphins are relying on Reggie Bush at RB. Bush has had a rough few season, really not living up to his potential. He has four TD’s in his last four games, but is only gaining 60 yard per game on the ground.

Four of Miami’s recent wins have been againt Kansas City, Washington, Buffalo and Oakland. Only that Raiders win sticks out as a decent win. Buffalo is falling apart, and KC and Washington aren’t that good. So their recent ‘hot streak’ hasn’t been against top competition. They did play Dallas tight on Thanksgiving Day, so that is a nice effort (even though they lost).

Just give the ball to Shady.

I know, the Eagles are losing too. Against bad teams and good teams. Sort of an equal opportunity failure this season. But despite being 4-8 they have only been underdogs in two other games, Week 11 against the Giants (+6) and Week 12 at home against New England (+3).  Now they are getting three on the road at Miami with Vick returning? I don’t get it.

If the Eagles are going to win this game they are going to have to rely on Shady and the running game (I say this every week, maybe this week will be the time they actually do it). I really think this week Andy will design a gameplan to use Vick and Shady on the ground as much as possible. I mean, why not? Shady is the leading rushing RB (tied with MJD), and Vick is the leading rushing QB (he’s getting 8.2 yard per carry). Why mess with success? Even without Vick keeping the defense honest we were able to put up 132 yards vs. Seattle last week. The Eagles come in fully rested, it’s been 10 days since their last game, and for a team that has been banged up lately that has to help a little too.

It’s a pretty meaningless game for both teams, but I’m going to say that the better team wins. And the Eagles are the better team. I saw this Tweet on Friday about this game… “The Miami Dolphins look like a big Choc Cake this week, Dont eat it.. Bad Carbs will hurt your pockets.” I think he is saying the Dolphins are a mirage. Sometime gamblers make no sense when they talk in code, but this one was pretty clear and it confirmed what I was already thinking.

How about Andy gets a “too little, too late” win on the road, Eagles 24-20.

The Line: Miami -3, O/U 45
The Pick: Eagles +3
Game Trends (via Covers.com): Miami: 3-0 ATS as a home favorite this season; Eagles: 0-2 ATS vs. AFC East this season.

I need this win. I don’t want to drop to under .500 for the season.

Fantasource

 

 

 

Season Record: 16-16. You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.

Questions, comments, links to share, etc… You can get in touch with me multiple ways:

Follow me on Twitter: @Fantasource
Email me fantasource@gmail.com
Or just let me know your thoughts in the comments

 

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The Degenerate: Week 14 Preview and Thursday Pick, Cleveland Rocks! (not really)

Ugly. There’s no other way to describe the picks last week. 0-3, loser on the Eagles/Seahawks UNDER 43.5, loser on the Bears -7 and loser on the Chargers/Jaguars UNDER 39. Ouch.

The NBA is here! And so is Phil E. Moose!

Well, I guess the good news is that the NBA lockout is over. I finally get to see some basketball again. Yes, I actually am one of the few (the proud) Sixers season ticket holders. I only have a 10 game plan, mainly because I have a wife and kids and trying to squeeze in a full season of games probably wouldn’t be a good thing for my marriage.

I don’t personally write about hoops but if you’re looking for Sixers coverage, podcasts, fan reactions (and over-reactions) and just general goofiness about the Sixers and the NBA, then SpikeEskin.com is your spot. In fact, check these recent posts out to whet your appetite:

And Spike is hosting a #EndOfLockout party on Friday night at Chickie’s and Pete’s. Details here…The (Un)Official NBA End Of Lockout Party For Sixers Fans

So please come back and visit us during the NBA season here at SpikeEskin.com, I’m sure you’ll find something to make you laugh or teach you something about the Sixers or the NBA that you didn’t already know.

Ok, enough about the round ball, back to football… we did pretty good in Week 12 going 3-1, but last week was a mess, unlucky 13. Our picks went 0-3. And we dropped to 16-15 for the season, still barely above .500. But we’re back this week looking ahead to the Eagles at Dolphins and breaking down and making a pick in the Thursday Night matchup between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Let’s get it on! (do people still say that?)

Week 13 Revisited

0-3? I gotta do a better job.

Last week couldn’t have gone worse. We had a late 4th quarter pick-six in the Eagles/Seahawks game to kill the UNDER, a huge early injury to Matt Forte that torpedoed the Bears pick, and the Jaguars, well the Jaguars forgot that they had the #2 defense in the NFL and they got blasted by the Chargers 38-14, putting the game well over 39 points (we had UNDER).

Not a good week by any stretch, and in fact it was our worst week of the season. But you have hot streaks (like our 8-2 run earlier this season), and you have cold streaks (like this one). The only remedy is to plug away and keep going.

Thankfully this is all for amusement purposes only, so we aren’t really losing any money, right? Right. Good, now let’s move on to the Eagles preview and Thursday pick.

Week 14 Hometown Preview: Eagles @ Miami Dolphins

Opening Line: Eagles -3, O/U 44
Current Line: Eagles -3, O/U 45
Game Trends (via Covers.com): Eagles: UNDER is 7-3 last 10 games on grass; Dolphins: UNDER is 9-1-1 last 11 overall.

Both teams come into this game at 4-8. Eagles are 3-3 on the road, Dolphins are 3-3 at home. Miami has covered their last 6 games, and have won 3 of their last 4. The Eagles, well we know about them. They’ve lost 4 of the last 5, both straight up and against the spread.

Is this season over yet?

But Mike Vick is back! Mike Vick is back? Should we be happy? I guess he’s a better option than Vince Young, but the way the offense is playing lately, anything other than Shady carrying the ball 50 times would not make me confident in our chances of winning.

The Dolphins have really turned it around after starting 0-7, they’ve won 4 of their last 5. Not really in playoff contention, but a huge improvement.

This game opened at Eagles -3 and hasn’t moved. The total did go up a point to 45. That is interesting, considering the Miami defense is pretty good. I guess that is a reaction to the Vick news. But the Dolphins have only given up more than 14 points once in their last five games. That’s not good news for the Eagles who have had trouble getting the ball in the endzone in recent weeks.

Will Vick’s return help? Maybe. Are the Dolphins only winning because they’ve played weak teams the past 5 weeks? I don’t know about that, they played Dallas tight on the road and knocked off the Raiders in the past two weeks.

At first glance, I’m thinking the Eagles laying 3 or less could be a nice play, and maybe lean to the UNDER. But in Friday’s post I’ll break the game down further and make a pick.

Thursday Night Football

TNF Bet #1: (a.k.a the “I think it’s pronounced Cleve-LOL-and” pick): Steelers -14 over Browns

We see you, Mike Tomlin.

I realize that we’re all busy voting for the new Sixers mascot (Phil E. Moose FTW, by the way) so let’s get right to the point… the Cleveland Browns are not a good football team. They come into this game at 4-8, 1-4 on the road, 3-7-2 against the spread. And their QB is Colt McCoy. Well, it might be Colt McCoy. McCoy has a knee injury, but still looks to be starting on Thursday night. But no matter who is behind center tonight, I think the Steelers are going to win, and win big.

Last week against the Ravens the Browns gave up 290 yards rushing. Yes, you read it right 290 yards rushing. So I think RB Rashard Mendenhall is a safe start in fantasy this week.

The Steelers are running on all cylinders lately, 9-3 on the season, winners of seven of their last eight games and in a fight for the top seed in the AFC. So they have no reason to take their foot off the pedal in this one. Big Ben dominates the Browns, 13-1 lifetime against Cleveland. And Pittsburgh is winning games at home by an average of 19 points this season.

It could be a long night for Colt McCoy

Cleveland is struggling lately, only averaging 12 points a game over their last seven games. I mean, last week their top receiver was Peyton Hillis, with 52 yards receiving on one catch. I really don’t see how the Browns will move the ball enough to stay in the game. Steelers LB James Harrison is probably licking his lips right now. He got 3 sacks last week, and this week could be more of the same.

From a handicapping perspective, this game could play out like the Seattle game in Week 2, where Pittsburgh was laying 13.5. In that one, the Steelers dominated from the start and didn’t let the Seahawks do anything on offense (31 yards rushing? 133 yards passing?). They jumped out to a 17-0 halftime lead and never looked back. They knocked off Seattle 24-0 in that one, and this one could be the same blueprint. Get an early lead, clamp down on defense, and cruise to a comfortable win.

One team is motivated, is at home and needs a win to stay in the race for homefield advantage in the playoffs, while the other is just riding out the final weeks of a disappointing season.

Here are some trends that I found that really jumped out at me. I don’t usually bet based on trends, but these look pretty good for the Steelers:

Cleveland:

  • 1-7 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
  • 4-16-2 ATS in their last 22 games on grass.
  • 3-11-2 ATS in their last 16 games overall.

Pittsburgh:

  • 10-4-1 ATS in the last 15 vs. Cleveland
  • 8-2 ATS in their last 10 vs. AFC North.
  • 7-2 ATS in their last 9 home games.

Harrison will be ready to roll

I think Big Ben and the passing game will be able to move the ball, but the real action will come when RB Rashard Mendenhall gets the ball. I don’t see any reason why  James Harrison and the Steelers D can’t shut down, possibly shut out, the struggling Browns offense. Colt McCoy is banged up with a bad knee, so that makes his job of eluding the Steelers pass rush even harder tonight. The Pittsburgh running game and defense will do their thing and the Steelers should win this one without a problem.

How about Pittsburgh wins 34-10.

The line is 14 right now, you need to try to get this at -14 or less, even if that means buying a half point or a point. Laying 14.5 could open you up for a backdoor cover. So watch that hook!

The Line: Steelers -14, O/U 39.5
The Pick: Steelers -14
Game trends (via Covers.com): Steelers: 10-4-1 ATS last 15 vs. Browns.

Let’s get this one and keep our head above .500.

 

Fantasource

 

 

 

Season Record: 16-15. You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.

Questions, comments, links to share, etc… You can get in touch with me multiple ways:

Follow me on Twitter: @Fantasource
Email me: fantasource@gmail.com
Or just let me know your thoughts in the comments

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