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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Commodore Cash Cow

I apologize for failing to get the 'Ship Picks out last week. Hopefully you were reasonably successful in your gambling endeavors without my input. This weekend, The Battleship is under the command of the Commodores from Vanderbilt, who are +4 at home against Auburn.

Vandy is 4-0 ATS and outright this year, has wins over South Carolina and Ole Miss and is coming off a bye. Auburn is 1-4 ATS and coming off three straight games that were decided by less than a touchdown. The Tigers' two wins in that span were decided by a grand total of 3 points and came over the miserable likes of Mississippi State and Tennessee. Auburn is averaging 12.6 points against SEC competition and yet they are laying 4 on the road against an undefeated SEC team with two wins in conference play.

The only real question is whether to take Vandy and the points or the moneyline (+155). Two weeks ago I counseled taking the LSU moneyline rather than laying two points against these same Auburn Tigers. LSU won by 5, but only because they managed to score a late touchdown after one of those drives where the cameras keep cutting away after every play to show the field goal kicker warming up. I guess it comes down to what type of gambler you are. This game is like a hand of blackjack in which you have two kings and the dealer is showing a six. Do you split your kings to try to make a really big score or do you sit on your 20, which is almost a sure thing? I'd take the sure thing, personally.

Did you know that Miami and Florida State are playing this weekend? Me either, until I looked over the college lines. Remember when this game was such a big deal that ESPN would cut into whatever game you were watching every 10 minutes to show you the latest sack/punt block/field goal?

As for my NFL picks, well, since that is supposed to be the point of this whole exercise, I guess
I'll list them below. If you like money do not take my NFL picks seriously unless you are betting against them.

Indianapolis -3 at Houston: This used to be an AC special where he'd put a ton of $$$ on Indy moneyline. The teams may be closer this year but I still have trouble taking the Texans over the Colts.

Baltimore +3 vs Tennessee: These are the only teams in the NFL that are undefeated ATS this year. That is kind of like if the Lions and the Rams were playing, only its the exact opposite. I expect a low scoring game so I'll take the home team and the points.

San Diego -6.5 at Miami: I think Miami's win over New England was a fluke and because they started out 0-2 San Diego is a little underrated right now.

Carolina -9.5 vs Kansas City: This is kind of a homer pick because I have Jake Delhomme in both of my fantasy leagues and he is, in my opinion, due for a breakout game.

Philadelphia +6 vs Washington: The Redskins are not good enough to beat the Cowboys and Eagles in back-to-back games on the road. I like Philly by a touchdown.

Chicago -3.5 at Detroit: Unless they are playing the Rams, the Lions should always get at least a touchdown no matter where the game is.

Last Sunday Steve Schrader had an article in the Detroit Free Press in which he quoted from an interview that Mike Ditka gave on the "JJ and Lynne Morning Show" on WCSX FM (94.7) sort of defending Matt Millen. Essentially, his point was that Matt Millen doesn't play so he doesn't deserve all of the blame. I'm not even going into his take on Millen. What I found even more laughable was this quote from the interview:

"I'm just saying you better be careful what you wish for, because there's no guarantee that it's going to get better until you change the whole mentality of that organization and you go back to what the Lions used to stand for; they were a tough hard-nosed football team."

Mike Ditka is really old. This reminds me of Republicans that reference their party's legacy of freeing the slaves when addressing the NAACP. Yes, it is true that the Republican party began as a bunch of disgruntled Whigs who broke away from that party to form a new, explicitly pro-emancipation party, just as I'm sure that the Lions were a "tough hard-nosed football team" during Ditka's playing days when face masks and foward passing were new-fangled. All technically true but hardly relevant with the 14th amendment and the West Coast Offense firm fixtures in modern society.

New York Giants -7 vs. Seattle: The Seahawks have Branch and Engram back for this one, and I think Burress is out. I'm still taking the Giants because they are a much better football team.

Since I don't want to appear partisan, let me use this game as an opportunity to make an analogy poking fun at the Democrats, who try to woo evangelical voters by claiming that Jesus would approve of their social welfare programs. That may be true, but evangelical voters believe that abortion is literally infanticide. It takes a lot more than Head Start and universal health care to tip the scales against perceived baby killing, and it will take a lot more than a few wide receivers for the Seahawks to compete against the Giants.

Denver -3 vs. Tampa Bay: I'm not sure what to make of Denver after last week's debacle. I do think they are good enough to beat Tampa at home by more than 3 points.

New England -3 at San Francisco: Don't think too much on this one. New England is still pretty good despite last week and San Francisco stinks.

Buffalo +1.5 at Arizona: Why is Arizona favored in this game? Buffalo is 4-0 because they've been able to beat crappy teams like Arizona. This line doesn't make any sense to me, which probably means that I'm missing something big, which probably means that Arizona is going to win by 10 points. I'm still taking the Bills.

Cincinnatti +16 at Dallas: 16 is a lot of points for an NFL line.

Jacksonville -4 vs Pittsburgh: My coworker is a Steelers fan and insists that they never have success at Jacksonville. Plus, the Steelers are dipping into their practice squad for running backs.

Minnesota +3 at New Orleans: Games like this make me depressed that I traded Adrian Peterson to Dr. BS for Darren McFadden and Kellen Winslow. Peterson is the one who was supposed to get injured, damnit!


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