- The Season's Over -

Degenerate Gambler Weekly: Week 14 NFL Picks Against the Spread

December 9, 2011

Team hug

By Brian Spencer

How We Did Last Week: Rough week at 3-4. Not a total disaster, but the problem is that we got our bottom three picks correct and top four incorrect, which hurts us in our weekly pool (first pick counts for 7 points, second pick for 6 points, and so on).

We’re running a bit behind schedule this week–and I’m flying out to Bangkok tomorrow–so we’re giving you the quick-and-dirty version of this week’s picks. Choose, but choose wisely, my degenerate friends: we’re in the final month of regular-season betting, so make it count.

Best Bet

San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) at Arizona Cardinals: The last three previews I’ve read for this game either predict the Cards to win outright or to cover. I can see where that line of thinking comes from: the 49ers field a somewhat stale offense, the Cards are actually somehow on a mini-roll and at home, and most of the Arizona’s losses have been close ones. Honestly, we’re a bit nervous about this one, but in the end, we feel more comfortable betting on the more talented team. 49ers will find a way to cover this one, but it’ll be close.
PICK: 49ers Cover

Strong Bets

New Orleans Saints (-3.5) at Tennessee Titans: This one screams “trap game” and “trap spread”, and I’m loathe betting for or against either one of these teams since they always seem to fuck us one way or the other. The Saints are one of the hottest (and best) teams in the NFL right now, while the Titans are solidly in middle-of-the-pack territory. Again, hesitant to take what looks like a slam dunk double-digit win for the Saints on paper, but, well, we’re taking ‘em anyway. PICK: Saints Cover

New England Patriots (-7.5) at Washington Redskins: Last week the Pats were 21.5 point favorites at home against the winless Indianapolis Colts. Final score: Patriots 31, Colts 24. That’s one truly horrendous pass defense in New England, but we see at least a 10-point win here. PICK: Patriots Cover

Just Trust Us

Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) vs. St. Louis Rams: With A.J. Feeley and Sam Bradford both highly questionable at best to be under center on Sunday, the Rams will likely trot Tom Brandstater out as their starting quarterback on the road in one of the toughest environments in the NFL. Those will be the first snaps of his career; if he falters, recently signed Kellen Clemens would be the next in line. Uh, yeah. PICK: Seahawks Cover

Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) at Carolina Panthers: Another potential trap game, and we think the Panthers offense are going to hang some points on the board here, but it’s that Panthers defense that’s the problem: they can’t stop anybody right now. Atlanta needs this one.
PICK: Falcons Cover

Denver Broncos (-3.5) vs. Chicago Bears:Overheard in the Lord’s Favorite Watering Hole in South Heaven: “What time is it? Tebow time!” PICK: Broncos Cover

Houston Texans (+3.5) at Cincinnati Bengals: The Texans seem to have team-wide faith in rookie QB T.J. Yates, and why not? He’s obviously a work in progress, but hasn’t been the season-killer some may have thought he’d be after Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart both suffered season-ending injuries. The Texans ride Arian Foster, Ben Tate, and one of the league’s best and most underrated defenses to a road win over the reeling Bengals.
PICK: Texans Cover

San Francisco 49ers Photo Credit: Icon SMI

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Dec. 9, 2011 at 11:36am in NFL

Degenerate Gambler Weekly: Week 13 NFL Picks Against the Spread

December 1, 2011

Laurent Robinson

By Brian Spencer

How We Did Last Week

We stuffed ourselves silly on Thanksgiving and couldn’t recover in time to get last week’s picks up, but of course still turned them into the weekly pool. A strong 5-2 week looked like a surefire 6-1 week, but then the Steelers offense happened on MNF and they failed to cover 9.5 at the Chiefs, despite an anemic showing from Tyler Palko & Co. As for Week 11, it was our worst showing of the season by far: 1-6. Oops.

Best Bet

Dallas Cowboys (-4.5) at Arizona Cardinals: We usually feel really good about at least one game every week, if not two or three, but nothing really jumped out at us as a lock. This is the closest thing to it, with a streaking Cowboys team heading to the desert to take on a Cardinals team that’s represented themselves well enough as of late, but one we still have very little confidence in against a team that’s clicking like Dallas is.

Look for Laurent Robinson to extend his incredible touchdown streak to six games in a row, and for studly rookie RB DeMarco Murray to help salt away a double-digit win in the fourth quarter. PICK: Cowboys Cover

Strong Bets

Green Bay Packers (-6.5) at New York Giants: At first glance this feels like somewhat of a trap game and spread, but can’t overlook just how dismal the Giants have looked since their 24-20 upset of the New England Patriots a month ago. The loss to the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago was embarassing, but the blowout loss to the Saints was somehow even worse: the Giants defense basically packed it in midway through the third quarter. I’m also sore about that garbage touchdown they gifted to Mark Ingram, which handed Mr. Thell an inexplicable two-point win over me in fantasy football.

The Packers can’t keep this up forever (right?), but injuries are really taking a toll on the Giants right now, as is the losing and dimming playoff hopes. We can see this being close, but also see the Pack winning by at least a touchdown. PICK: Packers Cover


Cincinnati Bengals (+7.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers: The season-ending (career-threatening?) injury to top CB Leon Hall is such a shame: this Bengals team has proven they’re legitimate playoff contenders, but the loss of Hall obviously hurts.

How about that A.J. Green? Head coach Marvin Lewis recently called him “the most impressive first-round pick he’s ever been around”, and it seems he leaps his way to big, acrobatic plays every week; if the guy had any basketball goals, I’m sure some NBA team would invite him to camp. He leads the team in receptions (44), receiving yards (745), and TDs (6), and pairs nicely with his rookie classmate QB Andy Dalton. This offense is going to give teams fits for years, especially once they find a young stud running back.

Anyway, with Troy Polamalu looking questionable (concussion symptoms), we’ll take the points in a key divisional matchup that could come down to the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh won the previous matchup by 7 points; we woudn’t be shocked if that margin of victory is reversed in Cincy’s favor. PICK: Bengals Cover

Just Trust Us

St. Louis Rams (+13.5) at San Francisco 49ers: The Rams are terrible and the 49ers are cruising on their backs of their imposing defense and serviceable offense. Still, 13.5 points seems rich for a 49ers offense near the bottom of the league in total yards per with 308. This is basically Colts/Pats Jr. (see below): it’s tough covering spreads like this. PICK: Rams Cover

San Diego Chargers (-2.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars: I know–we just refuse to learn our lesson with the Chargers. Classic Norvball on display in that last week’s overtime loss to the Broncos, wherein the Chargers, as usual, played not to lose, not to win. Nothing new on that front. It’s a small wonder that Norv wasn’t fired on Monday morning, especially since that loss, their sixth in a row, basically killed the season. I guess it’s just business as usual in San Diego.

The Jaguars, on the other hand, endured the exact opposite this week after their 20-13 loss to the Texans pushed their record to 3-8. Head coach Jack Del Rio was canned, a number of players were benched or cut (including WR Jason Hill), and their owner cut bait on this lifeless franchise and sold the team. Sadly, we’re still not sure which team is in more disarray, but like the Chargers to cover because… well… honestly, I have no fucking clue why we think they’ll cover. We just do. PICK: Chargers Cover

Indianapolis Colts (+21.5) at New England Patriots: We’ve only seen a small handful of 20+ point spreads in the last 11 years, so we had to get this one on here one way or the other just for fun. Look, the Pats should cover this, easily… but the margin of error on spreads like this is thin. An ill-timed, wacky turnover here, a fumble there, a dropped touchdown pass–it won’t take much.

Plus, as woeful as the Colts are in nearly every aspect of the game on both sides of the ball, let’s not forget the Pats defense has issues too. We expect a ball-control plan of attack by Indy to try, probably fruitlessly, to keep Brady & Co. off the field, so you never know. Oh, fuck, it’s probably a Pats blowout, but can’t resist what might be our only opportunity to root for the Colts all year. You just know this game (with the spread considered) will come down to one play with under 2 minutes to go. PICK: Colts Cover

New Orleans Saints (-7.5) vs. Detroit Lions: I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this, but our weekly picks are the result of intense discussions of all the games on the docket between me, my ETB colleague Andrew Thell, and our friend Chris. What’s my point? I’m the only reason the Saints are this low on the list: Andrew and Chris liked this game a lot more than I did, mostly because they aren’t hopeless lifelong Lions fans who can’t bear to bet against his team to lose in such a big game.

I actually like the Lions’ chances in this one, not only to cover but also to win. They could just as easily get blown out, which would make sense if you compare the Saints’ Week 12 demolition of the New York Giants with the Lions’ whimper of an effort against the Packers on Thanksgiving. Remember, however, that the NFL is wildly inconsistent from week to week, and if you’re betting with spreads I know you remember the Saints laying their fair share of puzzling clunkers (the Week 8 loss to the Rams stands out).

Still, the Saints are rolling and the Lions are reeling. The Saints are our pick, but go Lions! PICK: Saints Cover

Laurent Robinson & Norv Turner Photo Credits: Icon SMI

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Dec. 1, 2011 at 8:29pm in ETB Articles, NFL


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