Tag Archive | "New England Patriots"

The Degenerate: Championship Week! – Joe Flacco? Yup, Joe Flacco.

Championship week! Two great matchups, and some storylines are already being prepared for the Super Bowl:

  • Pats v. Giants? – this is the Revenge for 2008, when the Giants knocked off the undefeated Patriots
  • Ravens v. 49ers? – Harbaugh Bowl! They met on Thanksgiving night and it was a tight 16-6 Ravens win.
  • Pats v. 49ers? – Brady playing his hometown team trying. East Coat/West Coast.
  • Giants v. Ravens? – Um… a rematch of a boring Super Bowl 10 years ago where I lost money betting on the Giants +3

And you know the media is salivating for the Pats/Giants. That David Tyree catch will be replayed ad nauseum, we’ll hear about how the Giants pulled the biggest upset in NFL history. Hearing the hype for matchup will kill me for 2 weeks. I hate the Giants. I hate the Patriots. And I might have to go on a sports blackout for 2 weeks if that happens.

I felt the same way as Aaron Rogers on Sunday.

Last weekend we really took it on the chin. I was all over the Packers -7′, even putting Aaron Rogers in my ‘Most Passing Yards’ prop bet. Well, if you watched the game you know what happened. It was pretty much the worst scenario possible. Not only did the Packers get their heads kicked in, they got beat by the Giants. If there is one team I hate above all others, it’s the Giants. Eli Manning? Please. This guy is in my nightmares. That Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half? Seriously? At that point I knew it was over. You just can’t recover from being down 10 points at half when you are laying 7′. The loss dropped us to 24-18 on the season. We’re still above .500, and we’ve hit 8 out of our last 10 picks. So despite the loss last week it’s been a good run at the end of the season.

Anyway, let’s move onto the games this week. I do like the 49ers to win and cover the 2.5 points, but I’m not going against Eli again (did I just write that?). I see better value in the Patriots/Ravens game, and there are some props that look interesting. So here we go…

Bet #1: (a.k.a the “Seriously? Joe Flacco on the road?” pick) Baltimore Ravens +7 over New England Patriots

Hi, I’m Fantasource. You may know me from such gems like this one from Week 15, “You have to respect [Tom Brady’s] record. He wins, and he has been doing it for 10 years.

You might also remember me from proclamations like this from Week 12, “I said I’d never put my money on Joe Flaccid. But in this one, I’m putting my money on Joe Flaccid (but never again, I swear)“.

Flacco with the 'D-Day from Animal House' look

But this week I’m throwing emotions out the window, and going completely against everything I’ve said in the past (hey, it’s campaign season, I’m not the only one breaking promises). I’m betting on the team who I think not only has a chance to win, but is also getting 7 points, the Baltimore Ravens.

When you talk about the Patriots everyone talks about the offense, and yes, they are pretty potent. They have the best pair of tight ends since the Barbi Twins (80’s reference). Their QB is in the prime of his Hall of Fame career, their coach is a emotionless, robot who dresses like a homeless person. And all they do is win, win, win.

But the Patriots have a dirty little secret, their defense stinks. They’re ranked 30th at Footballoutsiders.com in defensive efficiency, 28th v. Pass, 28th v. Rush. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Joe Flacco will turn into Joe Montana this week, but I think he can put up decent numbers. They’ll use Ray Rice and sometimes Ricky Williams (yup, that Ricky Williams) to move the ball and keep the Patriots offense off the field.

Last week vs. Denver was not even close to the matchup the Patriots will see this week when they play the Ravens. Denver has a bad offense, no matter how many come from behind wins they pull out of their butts, that Broncos offense is bad. Tim Tebow is not a good QB. Let’s put away the hype and do some #RealTalk for a second, when you can’t move the ball against the Patriots, there is something wrong with you.

The quarterback must go down, and he must go down hard.

The Ravens should be able to move the ball. I’m not saying that they will put up 40 points, but I think they can control the ball with a combination of rushing and short passes. Ray Rice should be able to get 100 yards this week (we have a prop play on that down below). If he can do that, and Flacco can limit turnovers and bad throws, the Ravens have a chance to pull the upset.

Tom Brady and the Patriots offense are playing well, you can’t argue with that. They’ve put up 37+ points in 8 of the past 9 weeks. They rolled over Denver last week in a very impressive display of passing, Gronkowski and Brady had that game locked up by halftime. But Denver was #24 v. the pass, so you had to see that coming.

But now in come the Ravens. They have the #1 defense in the NFL, #1 v. pass and #7 v. run. They shut down TJ Yates last week (I know, that’s not saying much). The Pats schedule seems pretty light, and their losses have been to good teams. They lost to both the Giants (at home) and the Steelers (in Pittsburgh). Baltimore beat the Steelers twice this season,

I think the Ravens defense will try to pressure Brady and hit him hard every chance they get. That’s the formula that teams have used to beat the Pats. Knock Brady around, let him know you’re there and keep coming back for more. There is also a rumor going around that the Ravens are offering $50k to the guy who knocks out Brady. Who knows if it’s true, but it wouldn’t surprise me to hear Ray Lewis and Ed Reed were scheming something like that.


I see this as a tight game. The total is 50.5, I would lean UNDER but I’m not giving a play on that, I’m going with the Ravens plus points. Right now the line is Patriots -7, I see that line going up to -7’ by gametime. So if you wait long enough, when the public money comes in on the Pats you could see a 7’, that’s when you grab it.

The line opened at -9 and the sharps came in early in the week, bet the Ravens and pounded this line down to -7.  I expect Patriots money to come in at -7,  hopefully the line will move up for us and we can get -7’. If I don’t see 7’ then I’ll be buying a half point and getting it myself (at higher juice).

Let’s say Flacco is good enough not to lose, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed shut down the high-powered Patriots offense and the Ravens hang in there. Ravens lose, but they cover? I can see that. Patriots 24-23.

The Line: Patriots -7 over Ravens
The Pick: Ravens +7
Game Trends (via Covers.com): New England: 1-5 ATS in their last 6 playoff games as a favorite. Baltimore: 5-1-1 ATS vs. teams with a winning record.

Championship Week Props

I looked over some props at Sportsbook.com, and not just “Most rushing yards”, etc., these individual props can offer some value if you look hard enough, and here’s what I like this week:

Ravens vs Patriots – Shortest Touchdown of the Game
Shortest TD: over 1.5 yards (-105), under 1.5 yards (-125)

I really like the ‘OVER 1.5 yards’. The only way you’ll lose if someone scores a TD from the 1 yard line. I’ll take my chances that it won’t happen.

Ray Rice (Ravens) Total Rushing Yards
Rushing Yards: over 87.5 yards (-115); under 87.5 yards (-115)

I’m going OVER. 87.5 yards? Ray could get that by halftime. I gotta think the Ravens will use him alot. They aren’t letting Flacco throw it 40 times, so Ray should be able to get 88 yards no problem. Patriots are 28th vs. the rush. McGahee got 76 yards last week in a blowout, so Rice should get 88 yards. Rice only got 60 yards last week, but the Texans had the #6 rush defense.

Tom Brady (Patriots) Total Completions
Completions: over 25.5 (-115), under 25.5 (-115)

I like UNDER 25.5. Brady had a HUGE week last week vs. Denver and only had 26 completions vs. 24th ranked pass defense. Now he goes against the #1 pass defense. I’ll take the UNDER.

Good luck!!





Season Record: 24-18. 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 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!





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 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.





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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