Against the Spread: Week 10
By Chris, the Impaler - Patriots Insider
I'm on the cell phone commiserating with the B-man from Easton about Northern Illinois tanking to the Rockets in my favorite college conference the MAC. The Huskies made a sucker out of both of us.
But the B-man is no stranger to the radio listening public. You've probably heard him on the local whiner line doing his hilarious three stooges impression. Then he tells me he loves the under in the Jets - Baltimore game. I'm thinking, that's a great pick, perhaps even one I'm going to use in the column this week. But he's already claimed it by telling me he loves the play.
They say there is no honor among thieves and most cappers I know have the thieving spirit, but I am an honorable gent and know that I can't in good conscience give this play. But I agree with him. It is a great play. With the nutcase Quincy Carter running the show against a stifling Baltimore team (under cashing in 6-0 on the road in the Ravens' last six games) I couldn't agree more.
Meanwhile, as we are talking I read the news that Miami Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt has cashed in his chips and quit as head coach. This gets the old gray cells moving. Hmm.
Then two words flash across my mind, Charlie Weiss. Yeah, the Patriots offensive coordinator has been looking for a head coaching job in the past, why not him to take over the fish? He's got the credentials. He's got the rings. He's got the, er, well, he's got the Motts!
And then I get a bit depressed because I know in my heart of hearts that if he's offered the position by Dolphin owner Wayne Huizenga he'll take it. You can only live in the shadow for so long. So speaking of so long, unless my NFL radar is compromised, that's whom we'll see next year on the sideline and we'll hate him just like we hate Parcells.
So if you hear boring broadsheet scribes or the tell-tale tabloid give you the scoop, tell 'em you heard it on the Insiders first and that the Impaler was the low life who brought you the scoop. Eat your heart out Mannix.
The B-man interrupts my reverie by exclaiming that this year the NFL has been lousy. I agree. I can't seem to get a bead on this parity business, but I tell him that I think the Steelers are going to run the table. I can't see them losing.
B-man says, whoa buddy that's why it's the NFL, cause you never know what is going to happen even if you got a name like the Impaler. I disagree with B-man. I know that by Thursday night during football season every game looks like a winner.
Buffalo (+9) v NEW ENGLAND (37.5 o/u)
The next time I bet against the New England Patriots I hope someone shoots me in my telephone dialing hand before I can call in the wager. The nine points makes me queasy so I am looking at the total in this Sunday night game. NFL players, if memory serves, hate late games. There is nothing worse than having your family hanging around the house all day getting messed up watching every game on the Sunday Ticket and you, as the player, have to hang out sober and wait all day until it is your turn to go to the stadium and play the damn game.
Sunday night on a cold New England evening is a great place to play if you are hosting the Dolphins, but when you have cold hogging Buffalo, a place that by game time probably has already weathered their share of inches of snow, stinks. The advantage is minimal.
Add the sideshow of former Patriots QB Bledsoe being owned by his former coach and you have a relatively, well lets say, very, cold game. At last, the Patriots come home to the friendly confines of the Razor after two weeks on the road and they'll show how happy they are to be there.
Impaler Perspective: This number will be coming down due to the fact that the under has cashed 10-11 times in Patriots - Bills tilts. So we are going over for 220 bratwursts.
ST. LOUIS (-1) v Seattle (48 o/u)
I wonder how it feels to consistently lose to Bill Belichick? Wait a second. As a gambler, I know. I lost again last week going against the master. I get the feeling that Belichick could coach Peabody High and beat a lot of teams. Almost.
Last week we again lost on both of these teams. Earlier this year we played Seattle at home as a seven point favorite against these same Rams and lost as the Hawks gave up 17 points in the last six minutes of the game. Unbelievable. Well not really in today's NFL where parity rules. What is more incredible is that I have the balls to play this game again in a different setting.
Insanity, defined by alcoholics, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. This weekend we have a reversal play in effect that dictates if Seattle lost at home then they should win this week. Is that insane? Probably.
Impaler Perspective: Check me into McLean Hospital because I am grabbing Seattle and 1 point for 440 shots of Thorazine.
GREEN BAY (-4) v Minnesota (50.5 o/u)
If you don't love what Brett Favre stands for then you don't love football. I can't remember another player (other than Rodney Peete and Orlando Brown-but he has a wicked bad attitude) having to go through more than the Packers QB. Even if you hate the Packers (as most self-respecting Patriots fans do) you have to admire his work ethic, stamina and love for the game.
The bye week could not have come at a better time for the Packers as Sherman regroups his troops. While he might not be burning a hundred mile wide swath to Atlanta, getting the Packers to 4-4 is close to a miracle after their woeful start to the 2004 campaign.
Minnesota almost won last week in Indianapolis against a Colts team not noted for their defense and they played without standout WR Randy Moss. The Vikings' road woes won't get much easier this week as Moss most likely won't play this week either. Without the best receiver in the NFL, Minnesota will be hard pressed to beat Green Bay's shored up cornerbacks. Two weeks ago the Giants, who play a similar type of Defense came to the Metrodome and smoked the Vikings. Imagine what will happen in Wisconsin where the average mean temperature in November is colder than a witch's ___.
Impaler Perspective: Only when it starts getting butt cold in Green Bay do we play heavy on a dome team going to the frozen tundra that is Lambeau Field. We're laying the four points for 550 Lombardi's.
Houston (+9.5) v INDIANAPOLIS (53 o/u)
Last Monday the Manning to Harrison duo connected for a devil of a record for their 666th pitch and catch, setting a record that was previously held by Buffalo's Jim Kelly and Andre Reed at 664. Wow. And they did it by two fewer years. And to think it is quite possible that due to salary cap considerations next year they might be playing on different teams. Double wow.
The system is in place again for another Monday night play. So with no further analysis we're going against the winner of the Monday night game and taking the points. When you play systems, you have to play them blindly otherwise they're not a system are they?
Impaler Perspective: This is my play of the year to date. We've done well with the Texans and considering the short week after a tougher than anticipated Monday night game, I love Houston grabbing the 9.5 points for a dime (1100).
Monday Night Bonus
DALLAS (+7) v Philadelphia (42 o/u)
Looking to improve on our Monday Night Bonus that now stands at 3-1 against the spread, we notice that seven point spreads have been deadly for teams, specifically the Eagles. In fact, this year seven point favorites are a 2-8 against the spread. A number that always interests the likes of the Impaler. Granted our last play on the Miami Dolphins as a seven-point road dog killed us, but that was a speed bump in today's NFL.
The Eagles (held to 23 yards rushing, McNabb held to 108 yards passing) are coming off a loss to Pittsburgh and a much televised TO tantrum on the sideline where he mercilessly berated Orange QB Donovan McNabb. Now the high-flying Eagles travel to Irving, Texas to play a Cowboys team that was embarrassed last week on the road at the Cincinnati Bengals. Add a little salt to the wounds with the memory of the TO mid-field dance last year at the Cowboys and you have the makings of another dramatic showdown with DRAMA as the operative word. If the Cowboys' Keyshawn Johnson catches a TD from Vincenzo you might expect the outspoken WR to imitate Pittsburgh WR Hines Ward and flap his wings in celebration.
Philadelphia TE Chad Lewis, considered by most analysts as one of the most intelligent players in the NFL (he is also the only NFL player who speaks Chinese) said before last weekend's game that players in the locker room love TO's energy and really like the guy. I am not sure if there is still the warm fuzzies after last weekend's loss. Players generally get along when they're 7-0. We'll have to see if that synergy still exists after snapping their undefeated season.
Dallas has a split personality much like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is a tale of two different teams; Mr. Hyde at home and Dr. Jekyll on the road. At home the Cowboys play much better than they do on the road. This Monday with an extra day to rest at home after a miserable loss they'll look to put on their best face in front of a national audience on Monday Night. The Cowboys have been awful recently, but if you remember back to when they hosted Pittsburgh, the Cowboys had the game well in hand until a fumble within the waning minutes of the game was returned to the Dallas 24 by DE Kimo von Oelhoffen (easy for you to say) to set up the winning score. Dallas allowed 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and lost the game.
Impaler Perspective: While I like the Eagles to win this game, I think the TD spread is too many points to cover for an Eagles team that is still searching for an identity in their post Staley days. Dallas grabbing the seven for 220 bearded clams is the play.
WEEK 9 RECRAP
For the second consecutive week we have seen our motley five picks go 2-3 against the number. Proving once again that the odds men in Vegas know more than us we stumbled in a major way (as did the rest of the betting public outside New England) as we lost 330 units on the Patriots. We watched the line go from 2.5 points on the home dog St. Louis Rams to +2.5 by game time, A five point swing that had Jonahs playing the middle all over the country. Earlier in the day, Buffalo won at home outright as a 3-point home dog against the JETS cashing our 330 unit ticket. We lost 220 units in Cincinnati as the Bengals D managed to hold an ineffective Cowboy's offense to 3 points. The 29 total points never challenged the 43.5 over play. Another loser came courtesy of the 49ers as they couldn't trade scores with Seattle and that cost us 110 units. Monday night we gave a spectacular play on the Moss-less Vikings for 220 units that helped offset what could have been substantial losses for our Week 9 sports investment.
While chasing the white rabbit down the bunny hole to an unpalatable -960 units and an 11-14-1 record against the spread at half-time in the NFL season might spell doom for amateur gamblers, a look to earlier this season tells us that we have been down by greater numbers and bounced back easily. Looking for that bounce in the second half of the season we are confident that like Weiss, Crennel, and Belichick we have made the appropriate half-time adjustments.
You can find The Impaler's weekly column here each week as he contemplates the odds and provides perspective for the top 5 picks for the week. Have a bone to pick, want some more insights, just want to talk football odds? You can reach Chris in the forums, under the screenname: christheimpaler.
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