Against the Spread: Week 11
By Chris, the Impaler - Patriots Insider
If you were asked which method of execution, what would you chose? Sometimes playing with the big boys in Vegas against the spread is similar to the old favorite Chinese torture, Death by 1000 Cuts. While an individual cut is not deadly in this method, a thousand of them will leave you a bloody dead mess. Typically losing an individual bet won't kill the gambler, but a thousand losses will leave them in so much debt that they'll have starting working nights with the other Broadway All-stars or risk donating a thumb as collateral on future weekly payments.
However, this is all avoided by finding a good bookmaker that sets you up with elastic credit. Unlike offshore gambling houses, this is a person who will set you up with a limit for your action. This way you only pay when you lose and not before you gamble.
Depending on who you are and what your level of action is, you might open your "account" and receive a line of 300. This means no payouts or pay-offs until that number has been reached. Once the number is settled, like with instructions on a shampoo bottle, you repeat. If you are a "good" customer you're number is set at anywhere from 10k to 100k depending on the type of action you like.
I am a good customer. So mid-season losses rarely freak me out since my number has not been hit yet. I like to have that large number so that I can weather temporary setbacks like going 0-5 last week. I gauge my wins and losses by the year rather than the week. In the end I always win but getting there can get ugly once in a while. In case you haven't noticed this season has gone beyond ugly!
Anyone can win (especially those new to the sport investment world), it is how you lose that matters. Much like rooting for the Yankees (a hollow choice at best) there is no honor in backing a year in and year out winner. Give me an Expos fan any day of the week (if you can find one). That takes guts.
Many gamblers speak of "money management" when investing in sports. They'll mention that a gambler should press their bets when they are on a winning streak and take them down when they hit a cold streak. Rest assured you'll never hear the Impaler speaking in such platitudes. My fortunes with fate are my own. I understand she can be a fickle, miserable bitch. But that is no reason to bet less. I'd rather take my chances with her than second-guess myself and hedge on a bet.
When I am asked I'll say that my preferred method of execution is the firing squad without a blindfold while smoking a Tarboro Red. It beats the hell out of slowly dying one cut at a time and at least you know you won't take a bullet in the back. Unlike gambling, the Firing Squad is a swift hard target kill.
This week we'll look the Firing Squad in the eye and say, "F.U."
JACKSONVILLE (-3) v Tennessee (36.5 o/u)
Both starting QBs might be out for this one so we have to look at the back-ups when capping this match-up. It is hard to look past Tennessee QB Billy Volek's safety in OT against the defensive minded Chicago Bears, but looking at his numbers he managed to put up decent numbers (27/44 for 334 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) against a taut defense. His numbers are in stark contrast to Bears' QB Craig Krenzel who only threw for 116 yards and 2 interceptions. The question is, was Tennessee playing that well or Chicago's Offense that bad? I'll take the later.
If Jacksonville Jaguar QB Byron Leftwich can't play on Sunday that leaves the job to back-up QB ECU Pirate David Gerrard who managed to hook up with Jimmy Smith in OT for a 36 yard TD. His second TD of the game also equaled the most TDs he has thrown in his previous two years in the NFL.
The Titans will find Jacksonville's defense as similarly stingy as the Bears last week. While the Titans try to avenge their 15-12 week 3 home loss to the Jaguars, they should have a problem scoring on a team that only gave up 16 points at home to the Chiefs.
Impaler Perspective: We're talking Jacksonville and laying the three points for 1100 Voleks.
TAMPA BAY BUCANEERS(-7) v San Francisco 49ers (42.5 o/u)
Tampa Bay sported the Atlanta Flacons 17 points last weekend before they decided to play competitively. The Buccaneers held the nimble Michael Vick to sub-par numbers (8/16 147, 1 TD, 1 INT). Unfortunately a crucial turnover and a missed defensive assignment allowed Vick to hook up with TE Alge Crumpler for a 49-yard TD strike.
In the Bay Area, the San Francisco Forty-Niners were busy snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as they allowed the Panthers to score 17 points in the last half of the fourth quarter for their eighth loss of the season. Chances are slim to none that HC Dennis Erickson will return next year regardless of whether or not he was the victim the Niners' salary cap abuse before he arrived. After losing LB Adrian Peterson and all of their starting CBs to injury this year, I find it difficult to see how the Forty-Niners contain a resurgent Brian Greise and his new two favorite receivers Rookie WR Mark Clayton and veteran TE Ken Dilger.
Impaler Perspective: 1-8 doesn't get better on the road. Lay the seven and take the Buccaneers for 1100 Seeds of Chucky.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (-8) v Dallas Cowboys (36.5 o/u)
Jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter was obviously not enough points as the Carrion Crows ate the heart out of the NY Jets on the road last week scoring 17 unanswered points and winning the game on a Matt Stover FG in overtime. The win put them in second place in the NFC North behind the seemingly unstoppable 8-1 Pittsburgh Steelers.
At the half the Jets had a chance to go up 21-0 when Jets QB Quincy Carter threw and interception. This allowed the Ravens to score a TD before the half an inexorably altered the momentum in the game. While the Jets were not the same after Carter's INT, they did hold the Ravens' Jamal Lewis to only 71 yard on 30 carries. Raven's QB Kyle Boller was held to 275 yards through the air, but he did through two TDs without an interception. He did so without his primary target TE Todd Heap.
This weekend the Ravens host the stumbling, bumbling Geritol nourished Dallas Cowboys who looked awful against the Eagles losing on Monday Night 49-21. Now the Cowboys must travel to Baltimore where the fortunes won't get any easier. The jury is out on whether Parcells' team will still play for him this year after he called them stupid two weeks ago. However, if they wanted to add more age to the team they should have went for Jerry Rice when he was available at the beginning of the season. But maybe it is time for Parcells' to find players who have not been in the league for as long as he has.
Impaler Perspective: We'll take the Ravens and lay the big number over a lame Cowboy any day for 1100 Parcells.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5) v CINCINNATI BENGALS(40.5 o/u)
Steeler rookie phenom QB Ben Roethlisberger is 7-0 as a starter in the NFL (as well as 7-0 ATS) and has a 20-0 record as a starter if you included his last 13 games at Miami of Ohio. I am pleased to say that I have bet on every single game he has started and have notched a respectable 17-3 mark against the number. I see no reason why this will change in Cincinnati.
Impaler Perspective: Bengals play tough at home, but Pittsburgh is on a mission. I'm laying the 4.5 points with the Steelers for 1100 medium rare Roethlisbergers.
Monday Night Bonus
New England Patriots (-3) v KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (52 o/u)
When these two teams played in 2002 at New England, the Patriots were a 9-point home "chalk" and won the game in overtime 41-38, winning but failing to cover the spread. While past performance is not indicative of future results, we see this game ending in a similar result, a field goal.
Last Sunday night the Patriots improved their record to 8-1 and share the best record in the AFC with the Pittsburgh Steelers. As has become the norm when the Patriots play the Bledsoe led Bills (can you imagine what the Patriots' record would be if they had kept Bledsoe as their starting QB?) the Patriots won and covered (Bills have lost eight of last nine to the Patriots). Bledsoe was held to 76 yards passing and was benched in the fourth quarter by HC Mike Mularkey. The Bills ground game ground to a halt as Willis Magahee was held to 37 yard on 14 carries.
On the other side of the ball, Patriots RB Corey Dillon ran for 151 yards on 26 carries again showing what a valuable contributor he is to this Patriots team. Troy Brown had another good game subbing in as defensive cornerback intercepting an errant Bledsoe pass. While he'll have a tougher time defending against the KC receivers in this game at Arrowhead, we expect similar results.
Impaler Perspective: This game will come down to a push, but we'll take the Patriots laying three points for 100 Troy Browns.
WEEK 10 RECRAP
What was it German philosopher Nietzsche said about the abyss? Going a perfect 0-5 against the spread last week we hope the faithful have faded the Impaler so that they went 5-0. In case you did not you realized the painful truth losing a whopping 2350 George Washington's last weekend. Actually, Monday night I was considering betting the mortgage on Philadelphia since my picks were so off the mark that the Eagles were a foregone conclusion to win. While I am not one to offer excuses, I will note that in all my years handicapping I have never gone 0-5 in a weekend. Never. I understand that explanation offers little solis as we look into a gaping 3290 dead president abyss and an almost insurmountable 11-19-1 after ten weeks playing in Tagliabue's 2004 HMD (house of masochism and domination).
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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