Mythical Picks – NFL – Weekend Of 10/26/08

Last week was another mediocre week for Mythical Picks – - but that sure beats the unmitigated disaster from two weeks ago. For this week, I am making these selections based on early to mid-week lines and without any of the NFL injury reports because I am catching a plane to Las Vegas for an annual gathering there.

The OVER/UNDER picks last week were 3-3-1. Denver/New England pushed at 48. It would be hard for seven picks to be more mediocre. That brings the season total for Over/Under picks to 21-22-2 – - also mediocre.

The Against The Spread picks were 4-5 last week. The only way for nine picks to be more mediocre would have been for one of the losses to have been a push. Oh well… The season record for ATS picks is now 37-32-1.

No one should use anything written here in such a way that it influences said person regarding what side of a wager to support. That would be as dumb as winning a Gold Medal at the Olympics and sending it out to be bronzed.

General Comments:

Here are a few excerpts from last week’s Mythical Picks:

    Re the Bears/Vikings, I said, “Because I think this will be a low scoring game, I’ll take the Vikes with the points.” Final score was a “low scoring” 48-41 in favor of Chicago. Ugh!!

    Re the Pittsburgh/Cincy, I said, “I really do not think there is a good wagering opportunity here but since I promised to make a pick on every game, let me take this game OVER.” Pittsburgh took the game OVER all by itself. Yea!!

    Re Pats/Broncos, I said, “I think the ‘less-than-robust’ Denver defense will allow the Pats’ offense to come alive in this game.” New England won 41-7. Yea !!

    RE Jets/Raiders, I said, “I like this game OVER and I like the Jets to win and cover.” Ugh! And double Ugh!!

In years past, the NFL has faced competition from the WFL and the USFL and the AAFL and the XFL. All of those leagues folded. Now comes the LFL – the Lingerie Football League and everyone knows that Lingerie folds easily. [BaDaBing! BaDaBoom!!] The LFL will be a ten-team league of women playing football in uniforms that will assure that the words “scantily clad” may be used when reporting on the games. The league comes to you through the auspices of those same folks who put on “Lingerie Games” as halftime diversions during the Super Bowl. This will be full contact football with seven women on a side on a field that is 70 yards long and 35 yards wide. The inaugural season starts in September 2009. It will give new meaning to the musical question:

Are you ready for some football?

Cowboys’ safety, Roy Williams, broke his arm in the game last week against the Rams and is out for the rest of the year. That has alleviated concerns on the part of some people who thought that the Cowboys were trying to corner the world market on “Roy Williamses”. Curmudgeon Central has no information that would lead one to believe that Jerry Jones has contacted the UNC basketball coach this week…

Speaking of the Cowboys, Coach Wade Phillips said in a news conference after the teams bed-wetting performance against the Rams that he was “angry, disappointed and embarrassed” by what he saw on the field. I have a prediction here:

    Sometime in the next three months, Wade Phillips will hold another news conference and say that he is “angry, disappointed and embarrassed” about the fact that he is no longer in the employ of the Dallas Cowboys.

One last Cowboys’ note, this team – - the one that had 13 Pro Bowl players last year and was picked by many to be the NFC representative in this year’s Super Bowl – - has now lost 6 of its last 11 games.

It has to be easier to play with a lead than to be fighting to catch up in a game. Now consider that in first quarters of games this year, the Detroit Lions have been outscored 54-0.

After losing miserably to the Carolina Panthers last Sunday, the Saints cut their punter, Steve Weatherford. Just a guess here, but I do not think the game film will show that he was the reason the Saints only scored 7 points in that game; nonetheless, he is now looking for work. What’s interesting about this situation is that the Saints left Carolina and flew directly to London after the game because they play the Chargers there this weekend. Auditioning punters in England is going to cost them a bit more than it would in New Orleans or Miami or Atlanta. That loss dropped the Saints’ road record to 0-3 for the year.

The Tennessee Titans’ offensive line allowed one sack in each of the first two games this year. Since then they have allowed zero sacks. Pretty good…

The Chiefs’ starting QB, Brodie Croyle, was injured in the first game of the season. He returned last weekend to play against the Titans and was injured again – - this time he is out for the rest of the year. Croyle was supposed to be the “QB of the Future” in Kansas City but maybe he will be the “QB of the IR List” if things keep going the way they have been going. By the way, Brodie Croyle – the nominal “QB of the Future” – is 0-8 as a starting QB for the Chiefs.

Just to give you an idea of how dominating the Tampa defense was last weekend, they held the Seahawks to 7 first downs and less than 200 yards of total offense. Seattle was 2-10 on third down conversions and only had the ball for 18 minutes and 20 seconds.

Oakland at Baltimore – 7 (36): The Ravens have injuries in the secondary and Coach John Harbaugh does not see eye-to-eye with Chris McAllister over some “team issue”. The Raiders won last weekend despite giving up 159 yards rushing (6.6 yards per rushing attempt). This week, the Raiders get to travel across the country to play a game. I do not see a lot of scoring in this game. So, in a low scoring contest, I’ll take a full TD with the Raiders for mythical purposes only.

Arizona at Carolina – 4.5 (43.5): Arizona leads the NFC West by 2 full games; Carolina is tied with Tampa for the lead in the NFC South. Carolina is undefeated at home while Arizona played poorly in its two games on the East Coast this year; so, it is tempting to take the Panthers here. However, I think the better wagering opportunity is to take the game OVER.

Tampa at Dallas “pick’em” (40.5): I think the Cowboys are a mess right now. Do not be surprised if they find themselves arranged in a circular firing squad sometime in the next week or so. Both teams need this game relative to their standings in their divisions and in terms of playoff positioning. I like Tampa to win here.

Washington – 7.5 at Detroit (43): There is no truth to the rumor that Sonny Jurgensen called Matt Millen this week to give him inside information on the Redskins’ game plan for this weekend’s game. It is also true that it would not have mattered if he did. Clinton Portis gained 170 yards rushing against the Browns last week; unless he is exhausted, he should get 150 or more in this game while sharing the RB duties with various others once the outcome of the game is no longer in doubt. I’ll take the Redskins to win and cover here. I see the Skins scoring 30 points; the reason I will not take the game OVER is that Detroit might not score more than 10. If you like the Lions here, shop the line because you can find it as high as 9 points at one Internet sportsbook.

Buffalo – 1.5 at Miami (42): Miami is much improved this year; the Bills are 5-1 and they lead the AFC East by a full game over the Pats. Bottom Line: I do not think the Dolphins are that much improved so I’ll take the Bills to win and cover on the road. I also like this game UNDER.

St. Louis at New England – 7 (43.5): I have a feeling that the Pats’ offense came to life last week against Denver. I do not mean they will be scoring 40+ points a game like last year, but they had it together on offense to a degree that was not evident a few weeks before. The Rams were lucky to beat the Redskins and then they pounced on a flat Cowboys’ team and flattened them; they will not have that opportunity this weekend. I like this game OVER and I like the Pats to win and cover.

San Diego – 3 vs. New Orleans (46.5):
This is the London game. Both teams played on the East Coast last weekend and then flew directly to London to prepare for this game over there. The Weather Channel long-range forecast is for rain (60% chance) in London for Saturday and Sunday. Check that out because we saw what a couple of days of rain does to that soccer field after about a quarter of NFL cleats taking divots out of it. If it does rain, play this game UNDER. In any event, I like the Chargers to win and cover here.

KC at Jets – 13 (39): The Chiefs have Larry Johnson suspended for another week; they have no competent NFL QB on the roster, and Tony Gonzalez is “miffed” that his request for a trade could not be honored. The Jets stunk it up on the road last week in Oakland, but they are back home now and at 3-3 they need this game to stay positioned to move up in the AFC East. The Chiefs are going exactly nowhere in the standings; they are last in their division and they are going to stay last in their division. The Jets have scored more than twice as many points as the Chiefs this season. I think the Jets win and cover here.

Atlanta at Philly – 9 (45.5): Both teams come off a bye week. Maybe the Eagles will have Brian Westbrook back for this game; maybe he will be at something more than 75% if he is back for this game. Surely the Falcons have tried to brief QB, Matt Ryan, about the fact that he will be blitzed in this game from just about every angle except underground. He probably understands that on an intellectual level but I am not sure he understands that at the spinal level. While the Eagles are blitzing, they will need to pay attention to Roddy White who is becoming a big-time playmaker at WR for the Falcons. I think the Eagles can exploit the Falcons’ secondary and that the Eagles will win big here. I like Philly to win and cover.

Cleveland at Jax – 7 (42): Browns’ QB, Derek Anderson, stunk out the joint last week against Washington; he completed only 14 of 37 passes for the day. The Browns are 3 full games behind the Steelers in the AFC North; they really cannot afford to take the risk of falling 4 games back as the season moves into November. Meanwhile, the Jags find themselves in a “really need to win this game” situation. They are three games behind the Titans in the AFC South and tied with the Colts there. With the Colts and Titans playing each other, the Jags can gain important ground on one of them if they win here. I think Jax is the better team but I do not like the spread here. So, I’ll play the game OVER – - with no real conviction.

Cincy at Houston – 10 (44): Houston is 2-4 and they are in last place in their division. Nonetheless, they are 2-0 at home. The Bengals are winless this year and only score an average of 14 points per game. That is the reason they are winless because that defense needs lots more support than that. The Texans rushing defense is very good so if the Bengals are forced to rely on throwing the ball, it would behoove them to have Carson Palmer healthy and able to play this weekend. Obviously, you should wait to hear about Palmer’s status for the weekend before deciding to play this game at all. I assume he will play and therefore I will take the Bengals with the points here.

Giants at Pittsburgh – 3 (42.5): Clearly, this is the best game of the week. Both teams lead their divisions with records of 5-1. The Giants have the Redskins a half game behind in the NFC East; the Steelers have a two-game cushion in the AFC North. The Steelers 5 wins came at the expense of teams with a cumulative record of 10 – 21; the Giants represent a higher class of opponent. The Eagles used a lot of blitzes to get to Ben Roethlisberger; the Giants will likely do much of the same. I like the Giants with the points here. Purely on a hunch, I also like this game to go OVER.

Seattle at SF – 5 (41): Here is a game between a team that does not do well on the road against a team that is not all that good playing at home. Oh joy… Obviously, Seattle is a different team with a healthy Matt Hasselbeck at QB; so will he be able to play on Sunday? This line says he will not. The 49ers’ problems did not begin and end with now fired head coach Mike Nolan but the team did look dispirited when I saw them play Philly a couple of weeks ago. The Seahawks defense has no pass rush and if a QB in the “Mike Martz System” has time to sit back and survey the field, he will do damage. Do not bet on this game for real money even though there are only 3 late afternoon NFL games on the card this weekend. For mythical purposes, I like the Niners to win and cover.

Indy at Tennessee – 4 (41): Tennessee loves to run the ball and Indy just is not all that good at stopping a power running team. I think that will allow the Titans to control the clock to an extent. However, what it will do is to force Indy to do is throw the ball a lot because Indy will not be able to run and will not have a commanding lead. I think this game goes OVER.

Good luck.

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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  • Rich  On October 24, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Curmudgeon: Some things to do this weekend here in Las Vegas:
    Rio Hotel: You may be able to watch the big boys play poker for real money in the World Series, if it is taping while you’re in town. I have never felt compelled to do such a thing, but it is here. Watch out for the cocktail waitresses at the main bar. They are severely undressed, and the sight of them may be offensive to some.
    Friday night: Watch the Phillies and the Rays go at each other in something else called the World Series in one of the big sports books. You can legally bet on these baseball games.
    Saturday: Go to a sports book to catch (and legally wager on) college football. This can be done all day long, Miles Brand be damned.
    Saturday afternoon: Bonanza High School Stadium. No, not a high school football game, and no, not another cross country meet for my teenage son, but you can see Barack Obama campaign live and in person for what may be an important battleground state. No wagering allowed. Much bigger crowd than in sports book; no underdressed waitresses. Many Nevadans like Obama, partly because his opponent is in favor of banning legal gambling on college ball games!
    All day Sunday: Back to your sports book of choice for some legal NFL betting action and nutty crowd reaction (when guys have money on games they get good and lathered up). Pockets of rabid fans break out in screams during the games. You will have to look up at the giant t.v. screens to see which games make them so happy, or so disappointed.
    Off the beaten path, the J.W. Marriott in Summerlin has a very good Italian restaurant called Speidini’s (my daughter can seat you).
    You may also just want to stop in at one the many sports books to ‘play the horses’ running, or trotting at many tracks across the country. This form of gambling is a dying art, and many of the proponents of this branch of the humanities come here exclusively for this activity. Probably the most interesting of what used to be called the ‘sporting crowd’.
    If you are, or happen to be with, a former Heisman Trophy winner and/or record setting NFL running back, don’t encourage your friends to hold anyone at gunpoint at the Palace Station casino, as you may literally learn that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. For a long time. And not in a posh hotel. And sans sports book.
    Did I mention that you should go to some of the sports books?
    Unfortunately, Celine Dion’s show has closed, so you won’t be able to enjoy her shrieking. Instead, you can hear some shrieking in the sports books and save the four hundred dollar ticket price. This can be applied to your wagering budget. You don’t have to thank me now for this valuable tip.
    Have fun, and make a lot of money.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On October 28, 2008 at 10:15 am


    Thank you for your advice on local culture and custom.

    I passed on a trip to Rio to see the undresed waitresses and the WSOP. Poker is not a spectator sport.

    I did notice that the waitresses at The Mirage no longer wear referee shirts in the sportsbook but now wear outfits designed specifically to reveal ample cleavage – - if indeed the Good Lord and/or a gentle surgeon had provided same.

    I managed to find myself in various sportsbooks about 32 hours between Friday evening and Sunday night. And it never occurred to me to take in any of the shows gaudily advertised everywhere in town.

    By the way, hasn’t Blue Man Group worn out their welcome yet?

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