AGAINST THE SPREAD Week 5
By Chris, the Impaler, Patriots Insider
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-14) vs. Miami Dolphins (O/U 34.5)
Last Sunday as the Patriots scored their first TD against the Buffalo Bills I was on the phone with my brother and his wife. They were asking me the line on when Mount St. Helens will blow her top? I told them I didn't know but I would look into it. If possible they wanted me to lay a few units on Monday, October 4 for the volcanoes eruption.
Look, the seismologists got the biggest skew yesterday and with the recent earthquake in Cali, you should see it explode tomorrow.He said.
Ok, Ill watch out for it, but I don't think it will blow for another month! I retorted. Let me call Frankie on the North Shore see if he'll take the action.
Mt. St. Helens, the volcano, last erupted at 8:32 Sunday morning, May 18, 1980. Initially it was coerced into action by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale.
Monday came and my brother called me again to let me know he hit on his SportsAction, Oregon's version of legalized sports betting which unfortunately has not made its way to the East Coast. He nailed a 4-teamer and a 5-teamer, he told me happily thanks to St. Louis'drubbing of the hapless 49ers.
"Yeah, but you are down a few units on the volcano eruption,"I reminded him.
"You found someone to take the action?"
"Well, do a double or nothing on it blowing the north face. I am telling you that nearly 230 square miles of forest will be blown over or left dead by this weekend."
"Sure it will. But you gotta send me the cash if you lose." That's the thing about gambling, even when you are so sure you are right you usually end up holding a bunch of worthless paper.
Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened this game with the Patriots giving 13 points at the Razor, but was quickly net up to 14 at some stores and sports bars as local money looked to take advantage of a 3-0 ATS 2004 season. The total has been set at 34.5 and is dropping for you total players; both teams are averaging 16 points per game allowed and we see this game shaping up much like last year's 12-0 game in Foxborough or the 19-13 game in Miami.
Last week against a good Buffalo Bills Defense, the Patriots made a lot of mistakes from special teams, to fumbling in the red zone to mental errors and blown assignments could have proven costly. However, it was fortunate for the Patriots they were playing the Bills.
The Patriots allowed Buffalo to keep hanging around. A minute into the 2nd quarter the Bills' McGee returned a 68-yard Adam Vinatieri kick for a touchdown. Obviously, this special teams lapse put the road warrior Patriots at a disadvantage. They got burned on defense a few times in the second quarter; once on a botched Bills punt that resulted in a 49 yard gain and on the ensuing play the secondary collapsed and allowed a perfect 41 yard TD strike from Drew Bledsoe to Etic Moulds. This gave the Bills a quick lead, but Brady rallied a few plays later with his own 30 yard TD pass to David Patten to even the score 17-17 at the half.
It was the fourth quarter when more points were scored. After a penalty on a FG attempt by Vinatieri, Belichick took the three points off the board and scored the go ahead TD which was all they would need to win and cover the spread.
This week the Miami Dolphins won't have to worry about snow (or fighting for a spot in the playoffs) as they travel north to play the Patriots on Sunday. They do, however, find themselves a significant two-touchdown underdog. And with Miami's porous OL it is hard to imagine that this team will score any points this weekend.
But before we go to deep into the many ways that Miami is not the team we are used to seeing, let's look at Miami's performance last week against the high flying NY Jets. The statistic that is too in your face to ignore is that Miami held the Jets to one third down conversion in 11 attempts and forced 8 punts! Moreover, the Dolphins also managed to give new meaning to the impotent as their anemic offense, now re-led by the enormous forehead of Jay Fiedler, was 0-3 inside the red zone. The rust of not playing in a regular season game in the NFL in a year was apparent as the Jets picked off 2 Fiedler passes at crucial moments of the game.
While Miami lost at home to their AFC nemesis by the tune of 16-9, the score was 10-9 in favor of the Jets at the half. However, this game could have gone to the Dolphins as easily as it went to the Jets. A 66-yard interception return for a TD was the game breaker when Donnie Abraham took it to the house to secure the victory. The danger is that this game gave Miami some positives they could take away from the game and use the same success against the Patriots this week.
Big game hunters will tell you an animal is at its most dangerous when they are wounded, that is why when given the opportunity you must deliver the kill shot like an assassin. The Dolphins are wounded, but not dead yet. Word on the wires all the way from the mysterious Far East regions of Shanghai, the NFL's version of Col. Kurtz, Ricky Williams, wants back in this year! I guess his version of Chairman Mao's Long March will probably end up back at his swell condo in South Beach.
For our purposes, though, Williams's memory is a smoky fog much like the atmosphere of the dens he's habituated since fleeing the country like Roman Polanski. Williams is a non-factor this year.
Quite simply if both sides eliminate costly errors and mental mistakes as well as limiting turnovers this has the ear marks for a defensive, low scoring game. Fourteen points is a lot in the NFL and with parity crowned king we know that any team can win on any given Sunday.
This game, as we who follow football are all aware, is all about beating the streak (whether Belichick wants to acknowledge this or not). Coincidently, or not, the team they're playing is none-other than the current holder of the only undefeated season in NFL history.
Impaler Perspective: 13.5 points? Wow if that doesn't say sucker line I am not sure what does? So call me a Mr. Sucker Line. I'm laying a dime (1100 units) on the Dolphins on the road grabbing the 13.5 points. While the patriots should win their 19th consecutive game, I am not sure the Patriots will be able to cover against a garbage score in the waning minutes of the game.
Week 4 Recrap
Last week wagered a dime on the Patriots' ability this game and preserve the cover due to Belichick's uncanny ability to outmaneuver Buffalo QB Drew Beldsoe on defense. With less than three minutes in regulation play the Bills marched down field looking to even the score at 24 when DE Richard Seymour plucked Bledsoe's fumble off the carpet and rumbled his way into the end zone. When the Bills got the ball after the defensive touchdown, Bledsoe was sacked three consecutive times! The 14 points margin of victory were more than enough to cover the 5.5 pt spread on the game. As I warned readers last week, As for the under play this one at your own risk because something tells me this is going over. Indeed the 48 points launched over the 35-point total.
After four weeks prognosticating in Mr. Tagliabue's house, we notice that as hurricane season winds down the Impaler's record to date stands at a paltry 1-3, but like Alice in Chains we're down in a hole, but only to the tune of 100 units.
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