First off, there's something I have to get off my chest, a therapeutic rant if you will. The target of my rant is.....ME!
Week 9 was my first posting of the season, and my head was clear to start, picking SD, Balt, Pit, Dal, NO (4-1). My week wasn't the worst, adding 6.35 units to my roll. However, my week 9 ended on a doubly-sour note which has me feeling like a stupid fuking moron and a loser. First off, I did my picks early in the week, late Mon and early Tues which usually works well for me. I have a fresh perspective of what is, unpolluted by thinking too much on what is actually quite simple. Perhaps from winner's euphoria or too much time on my hands, I spent way too much time thinking about the games after that, all week long, and even committed a cardinal sin, which was to change a pick. I ignored the KISS method (keep it simple stupid) and over-thought the matchups. I had already learned in the past that changing a pick is a bad thing. For me, it results in way more losers than winners and the obvious truth is that if one first picks one way, and then changes to the other side, the fact is that there is clear confusion which should be respected. The correct play then is to PASS (or leave the original pick alone). Show some damn discipline for Pete's sake! I changed my pick from N.O. to Phil.- LOSER!
I added a pick I had already rejected early in the week: Cin. - LOSER!
Part 2 of my stupidity is this. I had great discipline to start the season, consciously deciding to pass on the first month, getting a feel for what's happening and I'm happy with myself about that. I believe my idea had the intended result. When I jumped in a few weeks ago, I had 2 picks which both won, followed the next week with 2 weeks that won, followed the next week with 4 picks that won. Then, I got completely full of myself, revisited my account here on covers and posted my picks for week 9. Had I just left it at that as I intended, I would not be so down on myself going 4-1 on my original picks. But, I then got way too involved, added a loser (Cin), and then changed a winner to a loser. I spent way too much time reading other's opinions and perhaps even confusing myself with too much damn information. After that Phil game, I couldn't even sleep being sick to my stomach at how my last two picks (Dal, Phil) were such horrible, crap picks and that I should have known better. I jumped onto the angle that teams with playoff aspirations and in desperation mode "needing" to win, and therefor... good picks (WRONG!). Hence; Cin, Dal, Phil. The reason these picks were such crap picks IMO is that I was ignoring the reality which I was also fully aware of. The reality is that those teams are CRAP teams (and 2 of them were facing good teams: Den, Atl!). Dal and Phil especially bad due to the fact that they feature 2 idiot coaches who do not have a clue. I shouldn't even have to explain why Jason Garret is an idiot as a HC, he's made quite a few very costly mistakes regarding game planning and game management over the last couple seasons and this last extremely conservative approach at Atlanta was no exception. Reid, although highly respected, is not too bright either. I can point to a few examples. Last year, he promoted J. Castillo, an offensive guy, into the spot of Def Cord. WTF? Look at what happened, was that a "smart" move? Duh, NO! Another example is I heard that Vick thought he was going to be benched, when in fact, Reid had no such ideas at all. The HC is supposed to be the guy who manages games, manages personnel. He should know when and what when it comes to stroking players, or cracking the whip. He's supposed to keep his players prepared, happy, and focused. How is it that he allowed Vick to think he was getting benched, when there was no such intention? Why did he allow a key player to get embroiled in an inner turmoil which could not possibly have had any other effect than remove the focus from where it should be? Vick should have been thinking about how to improve his game, reducing costly errors...not worrying about whether he's getting benched or not. Isn't communication a pretty important part of managing personnel?
Anyway, whatever. I shouldn't care whether a coach is a moron or not. I should instead be happy that I'm aware of it and then take advantage by fading those idiots hard and often.
The fact is that I allowed some somewhat intangible "angles" obscure my knowledge that these teams are shit. Shit rolls downstream as they say. Two teams loaded with talent, yet they are stinking it up, under-performing at nearly every opportunity.
You've got 2 shit coaches, polluting the teams with shit rolling downstream resulting in shit play from players who are loaded with talent. Putting talented players in positions to lose is how "good" team lose. That does not correct itself. It can only be corrected by shit-canning these coaches, and trying to replace a losing culture with a winning one (want an example? - looks @ SF and what Harbaugh did in ONE season with basically the same personnel!!!!!). If the situation persists uncorrected, the obvious play from a bettor's perspective is just take it for what it is, and bet accordingly! Hence, Atl and N.O. were OBVIOUS picks. So was Den for that matter. I allowed myself to be blinded by some ethereal angles, grabbing on to smoke and mirrors and ignored the flat-out obvious reality.
THAT IS WHY I AM SOOO PISSED AT MYSELF!
Anyway, I had to get that out of my system. Now I feel I've got my head screwed on straight again and I plan on getting back to where I was before I got blinded by my own success. Thankfully as well, before there's much damage as well!
Next post coming up is my week 10 thoughts and picks. Coming up in a few......
S.D. needs this game badly. Who better to pound than their personal doormat team, the Chiefs? S.D. has problems, but K.C. has just way more too many to even list, from the Coach on down. (I'm not a fan of coaches who can't delegate...ie Def Cord and HC - too much too handle). I think S.D. gets a feel-good win here.
Balt -3 1/2
Normally, I shy away from going against the HD divison rival, but Balt is coming off their bye and total embarrassment at the hands of Hou. Cleve, in spite of their feel-good win over S.D., is a crap team and Balt will show what's what in this game.
I have a rule about Pit. If you can have them getting points, take the points. The bonus is that NYG are due for a let-down after their big win in Dal, and they typically don't perform well as a favorite at home. Also, NYG have a comfortable lead in their division, there is no sense of urgency for this game unlike Pit who can't afford to drop another game back of Balt.
I went against Dal vs the NYG because I know Dal is an underachiever at home and it also seems that the bigger the game, the bigger the choke. Conversely, they are a great value on the road as an underdog. They play better on the road and here's a game they need badly. Atlanta is a good team but not a great team (look at the quality of their opponents so far). They will want to win this, but they won't need to win. I look for Dal to make a game of this contest so I'll be happy with the points. At this point, I view Dal as in desperation mode. They really need this game and a desperate team is a dangerous team.
I have 2 rules regarding N.O. 1) Stay away from them when they are on the road. 2) Don't bet against them at home in Prime Time games (SN, MN). It's one of the toughest venues for opposing teams, and N.O. feeds off of the electric atmosphere, they will not be the same team you just saw Den crush....
I like Hou as well but I won't lay DD points. I have them teased:
SD - 1/2
Balt +3 1/2
Pit +10 7pt teaser
I don't make plays in the first weeks of the season, I like to see what's going on first and get the lay of the land so to speak. Also, although I haven't posted yet this season until now, I've been betting 2-3 plays a week for 3 weeks, and I have no complaints. I won't say how well I'm doing because I didn't post and you wouldn't believe it anyway.
Finally, I try to find only a couple of games each card. The more I narrow down my picks, the better I do. This week will feature the greatest number of picks with 4 (not counting Hou as a teaser pick) but that's because there are 4 I like, not because I kept digging until I found that many....
I wish everyone good capping and BOL.
Feel free to disagree, whatever. It's a free country.....
To begin, I would like to take a stroll down memory lane and take a peek at the past 5 wild card rounds, to get a feel and flavor for the type of action (dogs, favs, home, road) we can anticipate.
NO 36 NO -10
Sea 41 home dog
Indy 16 Indy -2 road dog
KC 7 Balf -3 road fav
Phil 16 Phil -1.5 road dog home 1-3, fav 1-3
NYJ 24 Jets -2.5
Cin 14 road fav
Dal 34 Dal -4 home fav
NE 14 NE -3 road dog
GB 45 GB -1
Ari 51 home dog home 2-2, fav 2-2
Ari 30 Ari -2 home fav
Ind 17 Ind -2
SD 23 home dog
Balt 27 Balt -3.5
Mia 9 road fav
Min 14 Phil -3.5 road fav home 2-2, fav 3-1
Sea 35 Sea -3.5 home fav
Pit 29 Jack -3 home dog
TB 14 TB -3 road dog
SD 17 SD -10.5 home fav home 3-1, fav 2-2
Indy 23 Indy -7 home fav
Sea 21 Sea -2 road dog
NE 37 NE -9.5 home fav
Phil 23 Phil -6.5 road dog home 2-2, fav 2-2
Home Dog 4, Home Fav 6, Road Dog 6, Road Fav 4
Home 10/20 Road 10/20
Fav 10/20 Dog 10/20
My point in this exercise is to show that in the Wild Card round, it is pretty much a toss up as to how Home, Road, Fav, Dog come out. The implication is that if you go with all favs, or dogs, or home, or road teams...you will likely go 50%
Part 2 next.....
In this final week of the reg season, I will be looking at match ups which have huge import regarding the playoffs, and games in which the playoff team has little to play vs the team playing their final game of the season and approaching their season finale as their own personal Super Bowl.
SF -10.5 @ SL. SF dominated SL earlier to the tune of a 26-0 shutout. SF is 11-3 ATS overall and 8-2 ATS as a fav. SL is 2-12 ATS overall and 2-10 as a dog. I like SF to take care of business in this mismatch and clinch #2 seed. I know SL will play their best in this season finale but honestly, they don't have what it takes to beat a motivated SF team which has been pretty darn good on the road as well. I give SF a pass for losing @ Ari after SF clinched their division and losing @ Balt on 3 days rest.
Det -3.5 @ GB. GB has HFA and should be resting starters as early as possible in this game with nothing to gain by playing for a win. Det needs this game to clinch #5 seed. I don't think Det would want Atl to take over the #5 seed as if I am not mistaken, the #6 seed would have to go to NO and that would be terrible for the road team. NO is 4-0 all by blowouts at home in Prime Time games. Det already was beat convincingly in NO in a Prime Time game this season, as was Atl MN. I think it would be much better for Det to have to play @NYG or Dal. I like Det -3.5 with something to play for vs GB with nothing to play for.
Car @ NO -9. I'm probably going to catch some shit for this pick, but I like Car +9. Car is 9-6 ATS this season, catching 9 pts looks really good to me in this spot. Aside from this being a divisional rivalry, Car usually plays NO tough and the fact is that since this is Car's last game of this season, this IS their Super Bowl and I expect them to play like it. On the other hand, I do know NO would like to win #2 seed but since that completely depends on SF losing @ SL which I think is very unlikely, I think it would be really smart of NO to use this game to rest. I know they won't at first unless they can see on the scoreboard that SF is taking care of business. In either case, I like Car to play a fired up game with an opportunity to show what they've got vs a playoff-bound team.
Ten -3 @ Hou. Another "Super Bowl" game for a non playoff bound team. Ten will be looking to avenge their home loss to Hou. Hou having thrown away their opportunity to battle for #2 seed has nothing to play for at this point, and much to gain by resting and preparing to host a wild card game. Also, I was startled by Hou's conservative game planning and play calling @ Indy which I was able to watch on TV. What struck me most is that Hou was playing "not to lose"...they were NOT playing to win. They were run, run, pass and run, run, run which is what I call "dinosaur mentality" football. That is the most predictable style of football and IMO hands the advantage over to the defense. The dinosaurs went extinct and that conservative style of football in most cases dooms that team's win chances to extinction too, lol. It's like that old adage regarding "prevent defense" which pretty much only serves to prevent teams from winning....LOL. What the Hou/Indy game showed me besides a less than innovative and talented play calling/game planning staff, is how much Hou distrusts their QB Yates and their unwillingness to use the QB position to it's fullest. That's unfortunate for Hou because I think Yates has the ability to get the job done. With nothing to play for, they will lose to Ten and I don't even like their chances to win a playoff game either for that matter if they continue their current offensive strategy. It would be a huge and really smart surprise if Hou came out aggressive in the playoffs throwing on 1st downs, but I think it's unlikely.
Bills @ NE -11.5. NE has locked up #1 seed already. I expect them to start preparing for the playoffs by resting this game. NE has not been so good at home this year, an unimpressive 3-4 ATS and laying dd points here where they are 1-5 ATS laying 10-5 to 14 points at home in the last 3 seasons. Here's a great opportunity for Buf to end their disappointing season on a positive note. I like Buf plus all those points. Having already beat NE earlier on when it mattered doesn't hurt their confidence either going into this game.
TB @ Atl -12. I love TB here which I know sounds insane. I am anticipating that Det will have beat GB in the early game, and Atl with nothing to play for in the late game. If they are smart, they will rest and prepare for the next week @ NO. Here's a chance for crap team TB to put a smile on their collective faces going into the off season. 12 points is a bunch if Atl has no motivation and rests key players! Of course, if Det loses @ GB, that would change everything as Atl would benefit greatly not being doomed to revisit the Superdome. In that case, Atl would be the pick to thrash a lousy TB team. I'm thinking that by waiting to see what happens in the early games, this line could drop dramatically if Det beats GB earlier because I could then see people betting TB knowing Atl should have no motivation. I will likely take a shot with TB plus the 12 expecting Det to win in GB and if Det loses, I could still hedge later.
Balt @ Cin -2.5. I'm not overly enthused about this game but I have to lean Cin since it's a win and you're in or a lose and you're done game. Also, Balt has been less than impressive on the road and not too impressive lately allowing 2 backdoor covers against crap teams: Clev and Indy and getting smashed on the road at SD in between. Balt is playing for an all important #2 seed but Cin is playing for their collective playoff lives.
Pit @ Cleve. No line. I expect Pt has to realize that Balt has a chance to lose @ Cin and since they both play in the late games, I have to think they will be playing to win so they can be the division winner and Balt the wild card team. That being the case, I like Pit depending on the spread. A road game against a division rival in their season finale I would expect a low point spread, but...? However, if Balt is crushing Cin early on which I would find surprising, then I could see scoreboard watching Pit to pull starters and start resting up for the next week.
SD @ Oak -3. Will SD be deflated having flubbed their playoff hopes @ Det? Of course Oak will be pumped to win and have a chance to make the playoffs...divisional title if they win and Den loses and Wild Card hopes if Balt knocks off Cin... Normally, I like Oak as a dog and not so much as a fav but Oak has owned SD of late (Oak swept the entire division last season and beat SD in SD already this season 24-17. I have to pick Oak here at home to beat them again.
KC @ Den -3. Den 1-3 ATS as a fav and KC 8-3 as a dog. Orton with a chance to make a statement about who is the better QB with a win and spoil Den's playoff aspirations. I'll go with the ATS trends....KC as a good dog. Not even going to discuss the wheels having come off of the Tebow wagon train.
Dal @ NYG -3. What have I been saying week after week about NYG? They win when you expect them to lose, and lose when you expect them to win. Will this week be different? Dal is 2-2 ATS as a dog, 3-3 on the road. NYG is 2-5 ATS as a fav, and 2-4 at home. I can see this game going either way, I may pass or I may have to not so much bet on Dal as much as bet against NYG anticipating them to continue their schizo ways....
NO -.5 3 team teaser 1 unit to win 1.8 units
GB -3 -115 1 unit
With 1st Seed at stake, I expect GB to play fired up out of the gate
and coming off their loss @ KC, I also think they'll be particularly motivated early. Later in the game, I can see them going into kill the clock mode and sitting starters. It's going to be cold, and I don't see Chi suddenly being effective putting points on the board, so it looks to me that Unders is also a reasonable idea, hence my teaser.