Under one of the the most poignant moments in NFL history (see photo), your Uncle Spleefy breaks down the games and makes the tough picks each week brings.
My advice to you? Bet hard and bet often. Call DiTech and get that second mortgage for the "remodel". We'll turn that shitbox into a palatial chateau.
Do a paycheck advance, turn that structured settlement for the next 20 years into a quick lump sum, or cash in that trust fund at a deep discount to lay your greedy little hands on the green. Anything of "value" in your house can quickly be liquidated, and remember - got a hunch? Bet a bunch!
If you've got the balls, I've got the picks, baby.
After another sizzling week going 14-2, I'm a crystal clear 36-12 on the year. Somewhere there's a Vegas point maker and a flat nosed shovel french kissing in the trunk of a very dark Cadillac.
I think I'm going to have to adopt my bookie. I've never seen him like this. Yesterday he was a quivering, drooling slob. His complexion has popped seething boils. He had one lanced and it was weeping and bleeding through his sweaty neck bandage. He'd ravenously snap his head down the road seeing if there was anyone coming and his eyes were wild and tired.
He really wasn't excited when I told him I had my picks ready, but you should be. This is the week where a very big set of balls are needed, and I don't know about you, but mine stick to my knees when it's hot. And it's been hot of late my friends, very, very hot.
Quickly to this weeks mailbag before we get to the art of crippling some more book makers:
"Dwer uncl Spleeft =
Thaks for lawst weel's pciks. my thimbs r doinh mich beeter now. YOu tha man!!1"
-Derrick A. in Las Vegas
Without any more fluff -
CHI cover DET (-10)
Detroit is out of their minds with glee for finally winning a game. Cutler is starting to light it up and he can't be stopped three to four drives a game against a good defense. Against this one he might reach the end zone six times. This is going to be a blood bath and I look for a very high score from the Bears.
I like Johnny Knox a ton, and if he turns it up he could out-produce his fellow rookie and higher pedigreed northern rival Percy Harvin. The only thing holding him back is Hester and the looks he'll be naturally be getting from Jay. If this WR corps can play to the level of their QB, this could be a very dangerous passing team.
The Lions are still a long way away from being good. They beat a horrible and ineptly coached team in the Redskins last week, and congratulations to them for that. They rode that psychological edge to victory getting that one for the last twenty, but come Sunday afternoon they'll be one for the last twenty-one...
and by a ton of points. Take the home team, give the big ten points and pay attention to the money on Detroit. Vegas is going to come out on this line.
Money on Detroit: 73 percent (9,000 bets)
IND cover SEA (-10.5)
(Late line came in on this Thursday night after writing, I still stick with the Colts and give the big 10.5)
With the line off as of yet due to Hassleback's injury, I'm obviously taking the Colts. I was wrong on them last week against the Cards, and for that I'm sorry Peyton. I'll never do it again, I promise.
I was having a hard time trying to figure out why Miami had so much success against them running it and thinking the Cardinals would light up their defense again. Arizona stunned the world and chose not to run the ball when but 130 odd hours before, Miami handed the Cards the plans to dismantle them.
Foreman Whisenhut must have somehow not gotten the blueprints from architect Parcells, because he constructed a Mexico City high rise. Warner passed an arm-debilitating 52 times, while they rushed the ball a mere 12 attempts for 24 yards. Amazing.
Meanwhile, Junior Mora was placing blame directly on the back of his kicker on national television, all while not mentioning any of the uninspired play from the other 42 players he was supposed to coach and prepare for the game. Maybe he can get his players to rally around him by using their kicker in some sacrificial ceremony.
Eye searing lime green kool-aid anyone?
Don't drink it. If the line comes out anything under -12.5, give the points and take the Colts at home.
Money on Indianapolis: 92 percent (10,000 bets)
CIN cover CLE (-5.5)
Chump bet alert. As of this writing, Vegas is looking at losing 13,300 of the 14,000 bets placed if the Bengals cover. Cincinnati almost never makes the spread in a game they're favored. They've got the Ravens next week and they've just come off the biggest win since Palmer had his knee cap explode off the helmet of Kimo von Oelhoffen...blah blah blah.
I like this Bengals squad more than most this year and I am very hesitant to import their past trends to this team. TheBrowns are as badly managed as the Redskins, so "sandwich game" my ass. Bet this bastard to the hilt, Vegas is giving money away so get in line.
Mangini got total crap for trading away the rights for Sanchez and Browns nation is in full revolt. Some comments in the local news sites have die hard Dawg Pound members claiming allegiance to the Steelers. It's that bad in Cleveland. Throw in the Derrick Anderson move, and the Mistake by the Lake is in full revolt.
I really like the Bengals here, yet our common sense says this is a Vegas booby trap.
Most experts point towards the Bengals hitsory of not covering the spread in games they're favored. They're also blabbing on about a sandwich game where they pulled off a very emotional win against the Steelers and are looking ahead to the Ravens.
I'm not buying it. Cleveland is this bad, and the Bengals defense is better than their 12th overall ranking last year. Don't fall for it, it's a gimme this early in the year.
Take the visitors and give the points.
Money on Bengals: 95 percent (14,000 bets)
NYG cover KC (-9)
The Giants covered an easy 6.5 point spread against Tampa last week, and they continue their patsie tour in Kansas City. I'd take them if they were 15 point favorites. The Chiefs are a very bad team and don't look to be competitive against one of the top three teams in the NFL in week four.
Jacobs is getting oiled up and the Giants have their power running game greased. The Chiefs are going to get slicked down in this game. Last week the Chiefs had a chance with Westbrook hampered and McNabb out. They responded by letting Kevin Kolb pass over them to Desean Jackson and Brent Celek - hitting them both for over a hundred yards. The Eagles also ran the ball well, rushing 27 times for 93 yards.
More alarmingly, the Chiefs were 0-11 on third downs and had ten penalties for 90 yards. They allowed Philly 420 total net yards to their back up quarterback and running back.
Kansas is going to be seeing the Giants starters this week. Expect it to get ugly. Give the points and bet against the home dogs, it won't be a contest.
Money on New York: 92 percent (34,000 bets)
BAL cover NE (+2)
How New England is the favorite on this game perplexes me. Moreover, 45% of the bettors waging their hard earned cash on New England in this game shocks and dismays me. I'm not sure which game they were watching to place their money on that side.
Brady is not the Brady of two years ago. Like Peyton Manning last year coming off his injury, he's just serviceable. He'll be back in Hall of Fame form soon enough, just not immediately. He struggled mightily against the Jets, and the Ravens have a better offense, and possibly a better defense.
The Pats dominated Atlanta last week in time of possession, rushing yards, and shut them out in the second half. The Ravens absolutely smashed the Browns heads in and lead in every statistical category. I don't see how the Patriots are planning on running the ball and controlling the clock against this team like they did against the Falcons.
They also have the Ravens offense to deal with, and I doubt they're going to be successful in doing that either. If the bettors are thinking the Pats faced Matt Ryan last week and therefore Flacco will be handled in a similar fashion this week, I think they're going to be very wrong.
Take the two points, they should be given to the visiting team here.
Money on Baltimore: 59 percent (14,000 bets)
TB cover WAS (+7)
Seven points? Who the hell is setting this? Attention Las Vegas: after you've dug a deep enough hole for your current book makers, give me a call. You need me.
Washington should get three points for being at home, and then you start adding up the handicaps. I don't see a four point difference between these teams.
While Tampa Bay is in essense a piece of shit in pewter jerseys, you've got to take into consideration who has the head phones on across the field - Zorn.
Washington's last victory was against an equally shitty team in St Louis. They were a 10 point favorite - at home - and cruised to an embarrassing 9-7 victory while not scoring a touchdown. We don't need to go into detail how stupid the coaching staff has been for Washington as of late. Losing to a team that had gone 0-19 says almost anything you need to say.
Why the seven points? The only thing I can think of is they are setting us up to take Tampa and know the Skins are going to cover plus. Sucker bet? Perhaps. Later in the year I'm going to slide my money to the other side of the 50 percent of the bets placed and go with Vegas. This week, I still think they need to house clean a little bit in who they are hiring to set these points.
They will. Take the ridiculous point spread and the visitors.
Money on Tampa Bay: 76 percent (15,000 bets)
TEN cover JAC (-3.0)
The Titans get off the schneid this week. They've had a very hard early schedule and played poorly with it. They are not as good as the teams they lost to, but certainly better than the Jacksonville Jaguars. With David Garrard hosting a radio show on Friday nights and Del-Rio cancelling it for him there isn't going to be a lot of team cohesion between the QB and the HC.
The Jags only chance at this game is to get Mitey Mite running early and often. Throw him the ball, hand him the ball, hell - let him pass the ball. The problem with that is stopping the run is about the only thing Tennessee has been doing well lately.
If the Jags had any players in the WR postition this would be more of a battle. The only hesitation I have in not jumping all the way in is the 94% of the bets taken on the Titans to cover. Jacksonville's defense has been very inept, totalling a measley three sacks in the first three games. Some teams have more sacks in each game played. The lack of pass rush will give Kerry Collins ample time to work off the play action, and make deep connections.
The Titans are 0-3 after starting the season with a very competetive game against the Steelers. Jeff Fischer is better than this. He will get his win, and I have to believe cover this three pointer.
Damn the money percentage given our early stage of the season, give the points and take the visitors.
Money on Tennessee: 94 percent (22,000 bets)
OAK cover HOU (+9.5)
Oakland has two servicable backs they drafted way too high, along with an absolutely horrible QB they drafted first overall, and a 4th-5th round WR they drafted seventh overall.
They also have a coach under investigation for 3rd degree assault, a rift with their former starting Superbowl QB, and their past employee Michael Lombardi loving every minute of the dysfunction on live NFL Network TV.
Maybe Tom the Cable Guy will be able to get out on work release on Sundays. Or maybe he could phone in the plays from the visiting room, assuming Al Davis would take the collect calls. I say this because I guarantee you Cable is going to see jail time on this charge. I tried to find if there was a line somewhere to be had on this bet but couldn't find one. If anyone comes across some action, send it my way, I'm a taker.
Only in Raider Nation could a very well respected and decent offensively minded coach in Randy Hanson end up getting his jaw broken and the perpetrator still remains employed.
There really is no other team in the NFL so completely fucked up. Yes Virginia, the Redskins are trying to be as loathsome, the Lions don't win, and St Louis sucks balls, but from ownership to coaching staff to player personell, no one compares to the Raiders.
So why would I take them to cover? 9.5 points handed to a team that in essence is still an expansion team is just too great. Even for the Oakland Raiders.
Yeah, Houston pulled one off against the Titans, but they sure layed an egg against Jacksonville last week. They are an offensive team with defensive limitations. The Raiders best player, Nnamdi Asomugha will do a good job against Andre Johnson and Schaub will have a hard time adapting. I'm not saying the Texans won't win, just not cover.
Take the points and the visitors.
Money on Houston: 52 percent (19,000 bets)
NO cover NYJ (-7)
The Saints defense ranks seventh against the run and eigth against the pass. They've played against Detroit, a McNabb-less Philadelphia and Buffalo. While not the Steelers '08 schedule here, those teams aren't complete pushovers aside from Detroit.
What's going to happen in this game is as obvious as a bad toupee.
The Jets are going to blitz. They are going to line up opposite of where the Saints place their RB, and overload that side. If you watch the Jets play the Titans last week, that's exactly what they did from the start of the game to the last play. Why the Titans didn't throw a screen, I have no idea.
I have a feeling Sean Peyton is going to notice that. Also, Brees has been pretty good against the blitz. I couldn't find the exact stats on this, but some sites are claiming lines like 30 td's to 6 ints and a 100 qb rating while being pressured. I don't doubt it.
General consensus is the best defense to use against Brees would be a Tampa Two. If you could get good pressure on him with only four, then a team would stand a chance putting their CB's in the right postion to pick him off. He's not immune to being intercepted, and the Saints aren't going to go undefeated this year, I just don't think a 3-4 utilizing an overload to one side is going to work against Drew.
Give the points and take the home team. After the home field advantage, Vegas is really only giving them a four point spot.
Money on New Orleans: 58 percent (24,000 bets)
BUF cover MIA (-2)
Marshawn Lynch returns, Trent Green is playing well, and T.O. is starting a new streak. This seems like an easy line to me. While Miami employs the most copied and creative run offense seen in years, they don't have the defensive playmakers to slow the opponent down.
This is a no-brainer to me, and I'm putting a lot of faith in this one. Buffalo is bitter from last week and they make Miami pay here. The only psychological edge the Fish have is they haven't won a game yet, and they aren't going to start this week. Losing Pennington hurts, and Henne is a long way from starting caliber.
How much Miami can hide the inexperience with starting Henne in the Wild Cat will be interesting to watch, but this is a re-building year in deep south FLA now, and everyone in the organization knows it. They just won't tell you they are like I am.
Buffalo wins easily here, give the points and take the visitors.
Money on Buffalo:
73 percent (18,000 bets)
DAL cover DEN (-3)
Wow, Denver is 3-0! Woohoo! Josh McDaniels is a genius! Giving away Cutler was a great move!
Denver has one good win against the Bengals. Beating Oakland and the Browns are nothing to be proud of. Denver is a product of their early easy schedule and while they did what they should have, think nothing more about it than that.
Dallas is an overrated team. There I said it. If they can run more than pass they'll be okay, but there is going to be times late in the season where they are going to be forced to pass and they are going to fall short.
Romo to Witten is a great combination. Romo to Crayton? Romo to Williams? Eh.
Getting Roy Williams last year was fine, but not for what they gave up. Can you imagine Percy Harvin wearing the star? They could have had him instead of Roy, and I'd take the rook every time, positive test or not.
Regardless of all that, the Pokes win this one by more than a field goal. Give the points and take the visitors.
Money on Dallas: 80 percent (18,000 bets)
SF cover STL (-9.5)
This is a tough pick. San Francisco is not a big point scoring team. But St Louis is one of the three worst teams in the league. The only thing they do well....well, half ass anyway, is run the ball with Jackson.
Last week against the Vikings the Niners held Peterson to 85 yards, and 35 of those came on one broken play. Do you really think St Louis has a chance to get anything done on the ground this week? I don't. a 9.5 spread seems like a lot, but not when you're this bad.
I see a redeemer week from a tough last second loss. Niners pull away early and never look back.
Give the points, take the home team.
Money on San Francisco: 82 percent (19,000 bets)
SD cover PIT (+6.5)
Another tough pick. 6.5 points seems like a lot to me. Give Pittsburgh the obligatory 3 from being at home, and I just don't see where they warrant the extra 3.5. The Steelers could come out punching San Diego in the head and cover this, but it seems like too much.
Where's Merriman? That's the big question. Is he still hurt? Well, he's on the field which is more than you can say for Troy Polamalu. This pick is nothing more than taking advantage of Vegas handing the Chargers 3.5 points. It's the type of bet you look for when you're first handed the line ups.
One of the best addition by subtraction examples I can give you is LT not playing. Every time I've seen him get the ball in the last couple years he's gone down early and often without much of a fight. He's been a great back for many years, just not the last two.
The last time he had a mike in front of him, he was saying how gosh I'd like to play, but at the same time we have to do what's best for the team and myself, and ah jeez I'm just not sure if I can go, but I sure would like to and I'm such a warrior and - that's the point I take the mike away from LT and sit him down and tell him he needs to hang it up.
If I'm Norm, I get rid of him, or try to put him in the front office as a mascot. The day he sat on the sidelines in the playoffs watching his team lose with an "injury" is the day I get on the horn and see if I can get a second rounder. According to Parcells, you're not allowed to be injured. If you spend a lot of time nursing injuries and aren't on the filed, you can't help your team. It's time to move on, and good teams don't coddle their players, future HOF'ers or not.
But I'm getting away from the point here -
Sticking with the free 3.5 handed to Chargers, I'm taking the visitors and the points.
Money on San Diego: 81 percent (24,000 bets)
MIN cover GB (-3.5)
I think my head is going to explode come 8:15 Monday night. I've been a hard to kill Vikings fan since I was a wee lad. Not that the franchise hasn't tried to kill me off numerous times.
My parents went to New Orleans when they lost to the Steelers. I remember them being very disappointed coming home. The big joke back then was "Did you hear the Vikings are moving to the Phillipines? They are going to re-name themselves the Manilla Folders." Ahh, the seventies was such a witty decade.
I blacked out at the end of the Falcons '98 game. I came to when my Filipino g/f at the time was tugging on my elbow, asking why I was cradling a shoe in my closet and horribly sobbing. She just didn't understand.
Like every Vikings game, I expect them to win by five touchdowns. Last week was a game that propels a team to greatness. You can go back to every Superbowl champion and point to one game where they pulled out a victory when everyone else was changing the channel. Was this for the Vikings? We'll see. They'll have to shore up things in the defenseive side - namely cover tight ends in the red zone. They haven't been able to do that for the last ten years.
Green Bay was 6-10 last year. Hiring Dom Capers might pay off some time, but not right away. The Packers were early darlings in the year after going undefeated in the preseason, only to be brought back down to reality in losing to a good team in the Bengals at home.
Take the home team and give the measley 3.5.
Final score - Vikings 55, Pack 10. Bwahahaha!!!!
Money on Minnesota: 68 percent (23,000 bets)
This is no time to be a girl here ladies. It's time to dig those eye-popping hairy danglers out and put 'em on the table. We've been absolutely slapping the dogshit out of our bookies through the first three weeks, and it's time to suffocate them with an accurate and arduous tea-bagging.
Send all questions, responses and comments to be featured on next weeks mailbag to : firstname.lastname@example.org