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2022 NFL Analysis and Picks — Final Report (Week 3)

Posted by on Sep 23, 2022 in Blog, Sports Betting | 0 comments

 

 

First, here’s a photo taken by my longtime friend Scott Byron, who attended last week’s New York Giants-Carolina Panthers game.

I decided that I’m going to try something new.  Whenever possible, I’ll use photos from my friends who attend NFL games and post pictures directly from their seats (with their permission, of course).

As for my analysis and picks, I hope you’re enjoying the weekly write-ups.

If you enjoy the pre-game report, then please consider following me on Facebook where I always post a weekly wrap-up every Sunday night.  Those are really fun to write, often filled with rants and things to bitch about.  I love to laugh and love to vent.

Fortunately, the season is going very well, so far.  Hence, the venting has been minimal.  But do stick around, since losing weeks are inevitable in sports betting over the long run.  My goal is simply to suffer as few losing weeks as possible, and lose less money when things don’t go our way. Wow, that sounds so easy, but it’s not.

As for my results last week, I ended up with 12 wins and 6 losses, for a nice net gain of $1,560:

 

LAST WEEK’S RESULTS:  

Miami +3.5 (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200 — WON
NY Jets +3.5 (first half) — Risking $220 to win $200 — WON
Detroit -1.5 (-110) — Risking $330 to win $300 — WON
Washington-Detroit OVER 23.5 (first half) — Risking $165 to win $150 — LOST
Washington-Detroit OVER 49.5 (-110) — Risking $165 to win $150 — WON
Jacksonville (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200 — WON
New Orleans +1 (first half) — Risking $165 to win $150 — WON
New Orleans +2.5 (-110) — Risking $165 to win $150 — LOST
New York Giants -1.5 (-110) — Laying $220 to win $200 — WON
New England Patriots -1 (even) — Risking $200 to win $200 — WON
LA Rams -10 (-110) — Laying $110 to win $100 — LOST
Seattle/San Francisco UNDER 42.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 — WON
Denver Broncos -10 (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200 — LOST
Arizona Cardinals +6 (-110) — Laying $165 to win $150 — WON
Arizona/Las Vegas OVER 51.5 — Laying $330 to win $300 — WON
Green Bay Packers -9.5 (-110) — Laying $220 to win $200 — WON
Tennessee Titans +10 (-110) — Risking $110 to win $100 — LOST
Minnesota/Philadelphia OVER 50.5 — Risking $220 to win $200 — LOST

Now, it’s on to NFL Week #3.

 

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2022 NFL WAGERING RECORD

24  Wins

16  Losses

0  Pushes 

Starting Bankroll:     $10,000.

Current Bankroll:     $11,520.

Net Gain/Loss:     +  $1,520.     

Last Week’s Results:     (12-6) + $1,560.

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The guiding principle in NFL Week 3 will be prioritizing road underdogs.

We simply can’t ignore the data on this, which has become as convincing as it is overwhelming.

Dating back to the start of 2018, NFL road underdogs are on fire.  Credit Action Network’s director of research Evan Abrams for digging up the following results.

From his reporting, I see that road underdogs have gone 9-6 against the spread year-to-date.  Blindly betting them in 2022 at $100 per play produced $223 in profit.

This trend remains consistent with data since 2018, with an overall record of 366-293-19 ATS since that watermark year for an impressive 7.4 ROI.  Blindly betting them in every situation since 2018 at $100 per play produced a total profit of $5,004.  Blind betting any angle with nearly 700 trials and producing +50 units is a staggering result, as any professional sports bettor understands.

This season, betting these same plays on the moneyline has returned roughly the same returns as betting them ATS — $234 in profit, which is a 15.6 percent return on investment.

The major takeaway here is that sportsbooks and the betting public continue undervaluing weaker teams on the road and too heavily favor good teams at home.  I’m not sure how much longer this angle will last.  Astute handicappers are catching on now, and that’s certain to gradually impact pointspreads across the board, thus reducing our line value over time.

So, we’ll get on this train while we can, knowing it won’t last forever.

 

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
Ravens -2.5 (-110) O43.5 (-110) -165
Patriots +2.5 (-110) U43.5 (-110) +135

Analysis:  Two 1-1 teams face off in New England’s home opener.  The Ravens must be reeling after wasting such a strong effort and blowing a three-touchdown 4th quarter lead versus Miami last week. However, what gets totally lost in the Dolphins’ dramatic comeback shocker is just how spectacularly Baltimore’s multi-dimensional offense played, creating a healthy balance of pass and run that’s produced 62 points in their first two games.  I expect the Ravens’ offensive success to continue this week and be the tipping point to a win and cover here on the road.  / Meanwhile, New England’s offense has been lackluster at best, scoring just 24 points through two weeks.  While the Ravens have given up plenty of yards this season–463 per game, to be exact–the majority of that damage has come through the air to two opponents playing in catch-up mode. Given the Patriots don’t have much of a passing attack and QB Mac Jones reportedly isn’t at 100 percent (back injury), I’ll gladly fade New England outscoring Baltimore. / To win, the Patriots’ defense will need to come up with a big day.  But after the Ravens blew a very winnable game last week, I expect there will be no let-up on the relentless pressure and duel threats from Lamar Jackson (39-16 SU as an NFL starter) both as a passer and runner.
The Pick: Baltimore -2.5 (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200 (this is a non-play at -3)

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Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
Bills -5 (-115) O53 (-110) -225
Dolphins +5 (-105) U53 (-110) +180

Analysis: Two of the NFL’s most hyped teams will kickoff when the Buffalo Bills visit Miami for an early-season AFC East showdown against the Dolphins. Both teams come in at 2-0 and remain undefeated. So, something’s gotta give here. The Bills rank #1 atop virtually all power rankings at the moment, earning well-deserved frontrunner status the “September Super Bowl” favorites. / Meanwhile, the upstart Dolphins are inching closer to entering the realm of NFL elites with each victory. Miami fields a dangerous offense loaded with confidence, right now. Miami’s epic 4th-quarter comeback from a 21-point deficit against a solid Baltimore team in Week 2 could be the launching pad that Dolphins fans and bettors have long been waiting for. The challenge won’t be easy this week, however. / Buffalo looks utterly unstoppable at the moment, embarrassing the LA Rams in the season opener by three touchdowns, and then destroying last year’s AFC top-seed Tennessee by five touchdowns on MNF this past week. That’s why the mighty Bills are road favorites. / The Bills are laying -5, down slightly from the opener at -6. So, a bit of love and money has flowed towards the underdog Dolphins. The trend to consider here is how well the Bills have played against the Dolphins in recent years. Buffalo has won seven straight games in this rivalry and those wins have come by an average of 19 points per game. While Miami is undoubtedly a better team this season than before, the problem is — so is Buffalo. We’ll take the Bills and lay -4, foreseeing the domination to continue. Buffalo has gone 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 division games. / Two more key stats: Buffalo outgained its first two opponents in yardage, 827-430. Bills also outscored its first two opponents 45-0 in the second half, so this team is doing something right at making halftime adjustments. That could be a wager to consider if you can catch a low number with the Bills in the second half.
The Pick: Buffalo -5 (115) — Risking $230 to win $200

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Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets
Bengals -5 (-110) O45.5 (-110) -225
Jets +5 (-110) U45.5 (-110) +180

Analysis: Cincinnati once again is proving the power of the Super Bowl letdown factor. For decades, last year’s Super Bowl loser has struggled in its following season. So far, the Bengals are winless and 0-2 ATS. Can they break out this week and get back on the winning track? A few weeks ago, playing against the NY Jets looked like an automatic win, especially for as talented a team as the Bengals. However, after last week’s stunning comeback victory in Cleveland, let’s not count out the Jets as a possible upset play. / Prior to the season starting, I suggested Cincinnati would be a great fade, especially given their offensive line problems. That’s been the Achilles Heel of the team, as the rest of the Bengals, especially on defense, have performed pretty well. The question here is — is the Jets’ defense good enough to take advantage of holes in the Bengals line? I don’t think so. NYJ has surrendered 7 TDs in two games and doesn’t force turnovers. This unit is also one of the worst on 3rd down — Jets’ opponents have converted 13-25 third-down plays. / Typically, I shy away from laying points on the road, but the Jets have never enjoyed much of a HFA. I think Cincinnati puts things together this week. Let’s also keep in mind the Bengals lost their first two games, both on FG on the final play. Not that the Bengals can dictate the last quarter, but if Cincy gets out in front, I expect they keep pressing the gas. / Historically, 0-2 teams perform well across the board as winless teams have gone 55-40-1 ATS (58 percent covers) in Week 3. If we toss out winless underdogs in this situation (Cincy is favored here), which are often some really bad teams, in that same timeframe teams starting the season 0-2 both SU and against-the-spread are 37-23 ATS (62 percent covers) in Week 3. The Bengals also do well in this situation under Zac Taylor. Last two years, Cincy is 11-6 ATS coming off a loss.
The Pick: Cincinnati -5 (-110) — Risking $200 to win $200

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Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Lions +6 (-110) O53 (-110) +220
Vikings -6 (-110) U53 (-110) -250

Analysis:  This line seems a little high given the awful performance by the Vikings offense last week. Minnesota once again proves to be frauds, mailing in a dismal effort at Philadelphia on MNF the week after fooling betting markets when they upset Green Bay in the season opener which mistakenly overreacted to one good game. What Vikings offense will we see this Sunday in Week 3? Which Cousin Kirk will show up — the one that resembled Fran Tarkenton in the first week, or the lifeless wobbler who tossed three stupid balls up for grabs in the second half resulting in easy interceptions for the opponent, killing his team’s chances? Flip a coin — that seems more unpredictable. What’s far more predictable has been the surprising Lions, who look fabulous on offense, but also surrender lots of yards and points. Detroit games look to be solid OVERs with 35+ points in 3 straight dating back to last season, and the total reflects some adjustment, up from the high 40s to 53 this week. Given there might be defensive adjustments made and oddsmakers may have overreacted to the Lions’ recent outcomes, I lean contrarian here with an UNDER. This is also the first time the Lions go on the road, adding to the uncertainties. Let’s also agree Vikings games can play to the UNDER when the defense shows up. The betting world is still likely to be on the OVER, but I say at least one offense struggles and/or a defense excels. This is purely an instinctual play and contrarian approach to betting markets, that we’re getting a bit of value by taking the opposite side of popular perceptions.
The Pick: Detroit/Minnesota UNDER 53 (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200

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Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Commanders
Eagles -6 (-110) O47.5 (-110) -275
Commanders +6 (-110) U47.5 (-110) +235

Analysis:  Philadelphia is one of 9 road favorites out of 14 games played on Sunday. This number at -6 does look inflated, especially for a division rivalry game. Add in the short week (Philadelphia played on MNF) and some possible overreaction to the Eagles’ demolition of the no-show Vikings, and Washington could be a live dog in this game. Credit the Commanders for looking much better on offense than we expected. With Carson Wentz at the helm, they’re moving the ball well, scoring 55 points in two games. What’s been problematic, however, has been the frazzled defense, which was supposed to be the strength of this team. The Commanders’ D has been thrashed for 58 points and now faces yet another explosive offense, scoring 31 points per game. That causes me to look more closely at the O/U. It’s interesting that the Lions-Vikings game adjusted the total up 5 points or so based on recent performances, but the Eagles’ games haven’t yet moved the totals, despite similar stats. Accordingly, I have a slight lean to the OVER in this game, but I”m going to skip it since UNDERs have been hitting at such a high percentage in the NFL this season.
The Pick: No plays.

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New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
Saints -3 (-105) O40.5 (-110) -160
Panthers +3 (-115) U40.5 (-110) +130

Analysis: I’m leaning strongly toward the home underdog here, which is more of a “bet-against” situation with the Saints. Anyone who’s watched this lousy offense the first two games sees a unit in disarray, with little confidence inside the huddle led by the interception machine Jameis Winston (34-45 as an NFL starter). Last week’s home loss to Tampa Bay was a perfect example of a one-legged team with a solid defense but some major question marks on the offensive side of the ball (and coaching on the sidelines). Aside from 10 minutes in the 4th quarter at Atlanta, New Orleans has done nothing in 7 other quarters. / Saints are just 8/26 on 3rd down conversions so far this season, one of the NFL’s lowest percentages. After playing two dome games on carpet, heading outside onto grass probably doesn’t help either. / I faded Carolina and each of its first two games (winning both bets), and now it’s time to jump on the other side. The Panthers played both games tough, losing by a combined total of just 5 points. Back home versus a division rival that’s struggling, the Panthers likely see a winnable game here. Getting +3 is icing on the cake. / Saints have impressive trends favoring them on the road, especially as an underdog. But let’s not be fooled by numbers from the Sean Payton and Drew Brees era. This is a different team now. / I normally would stay away from any team that’s lost eight straight games (Carolina), but we have to credit them for playing close games in the first two weeks and as a live dog ready to get its first win. We also have the “bet the 0-2 teams” angle one our side [55-40-1 ATS (58 percent covers) since 2010]. / Key Trend: Underdogs during games with totals lower than 42 are 89-55-4 ATS (60 percent covers) since 2018. And underdogs in games with low totals do especially well over the season’s first eight weeks. During the first eight games of the regular season, these underdogs are a staggering 43-22-1 ATS (66 percent covers).
The Pick: Carolina +3 (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200

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Las Vegas Raiders at Tennessee Titans
Raiders -2.5 (-110) O46.5 (-110) –140
Titans +2.5(-110) U46.5 (-110) +115

Analysis: Speaking of 0-2 teams, here’s a couple of stinkers. But the Raiders have looked so much better than the Titans (a 5-point loss to the Chargers, and an OT loss to the Cardinals), which makes them a very compelling wager. Tennessee got destroyed in a no-show on MNF, and now returns home on a short week to face another above-average offense that will challenge the Titans’ defense all over the field. But it’s the one-dimensional Tennessee offense that’s about as exciting as a dead car battery. Tennessee ranks 25th in yards per play, 26th in yardage, and 28th in scoring. RB Derrick Henry looks to be going through the motions (I’ve written about this in every report since their playoff loss last season). Who would have guessed the Titans running game would be averaging 3.3 yards per carry (ranking #25th in the NFL). / Tennessee should improve this week versus a vulnerable Las Vegas defense, but the Raiders’ offensive weapons should make the difference and get coach Josh McDaniels his first career win. / Titans have been outscored 62-14 since halftime of their first game. Titans have converted only 7/23 third-down plays. Titans have been outgained 808-546 in two games.
The Pick: Las Vegas -2.5 (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200

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Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts
Chiefs -6 (-120) O49.5 (-110) -275
Colts +6 (+100) U49.5 (-110) +220

Analysis: Betting against Kansas City right now may be stepping in front of a roaring freight train. I might go splat, but I think the stars line up for a Kansas City letdown combined with Indianapolis finally rising to its potential following two horrible games against sub-par teams. The home opener helps the Colts, too. / There’s nothing statistically-speaking to inspire confidence in the Colts. Most everything on their chart looks ugly. But let’s also agree this is a well-coached team that’s far better than they’ve shown, so far. Coming off a shutout loss and facing one of the NFL’s best teams this week is sometimes the perfect recipe for an upset. Combine this with Kansas City coming off a huge home win versus the Chargers, which turned on a defensive TD, and the Chiefs could be a little flat. / Indy is 8-4-1 ATS in the last 13 games coming off a loss under coach Frank Reich. The NFL can be tough to predict, but we often see games like this where the outcome won’t make any sense. The better team simply has a bad day, and loses. I’m counting on an all-out effort by Indy this week, and even if they don’t get the win, it should be close enough to get the cover.
The Pick: Indianapolis +6 (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200

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Houston Texans at Chicago Bears
Texans +2.5 (-105) O40.5 (-110) +120
Bears -2.5 (-115) U40.5 (-110) -145

Analysis: Let’s credit the underrated Texans (2-0 ATS) for being one of the best defenses in the NFL, at least through 3 quarters. They led the Colts 20-3 at end of the 3rd frame, and also led the Broncos 9-6. So, this unit is coming into games very well-prepared. Now, facing a soft-as-butter Bears O unit that is coming off a road loss to rival Green Bay, Houston should be in this game provided they maintain that same intensity. / I’d sure love to catch +3 on the game line, but since I can’t find that, instead will back the Texans in the first half, getting +1.5. Houston has covered the 1H Spread in 8 of their last 10 games — obviously including both this season. I’ll also gladly fade the ineffective Chicago offense, which has dismal stats in almost every category. Chicago has gained just 204 and 228 yards respectively in their first two games (vs. opponents 745 combined yards). But the key stat I’m looking at is the Bears having been outscored 31-7 in the first half this season. Give me Houston plus the points here, which even with an inept offense should keep this one close through halftime.
The Pick: Houston +1.5 [first half] (-115) — Risking $230 to win $200

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Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers
Jaguars +7 (-110) O47.5 (-110) +260
Chargers -7 (-110) U47.5 (-110) -350

Analysis: Everything swings on Bolts’ QB Justin Herbert, who at the time of this writeup is listed “day to day.” Even if he starts, who knows if he’s 100 percent? That probably keeps me off either side, though the feisty Jaguars could be worth a look getting a full TD. / The more compelling wager looks to be the UNDER. First, we have a Charger’s D that’s definitely improved over last season. They held the Raiders to 19 and Chiefs to 20, and those are two of the best offenses in the NFL. So, let’s presume LAC coming off ten-days rest and comfortably at home looks to be in a good spot to shut down Jacksonville. / Meanwhile, the Jags are coming off their best game in years, a 24-0 shellacking of Indy at home, and now fly west. We must also credit the Jags D for the ass whipping they put on Indy. Not sure if that unit if for real, or not, but assuming Herbert isn’t at 100 percent, that probably plays into fewer points than average coming from the Chargers. LAC rushing game is also underperforming. The Chargers are averaging just 3.0 yards per carry, this season — tied for third-worst in NFL. / Key Stat: UNDERs have been solid this season overall, 21-10-1 (good for 66 percent covers). Something is favoring defenses early in the season (more on that in next week’s write-up), but oddsmakers haven’t made the adjustment. The total here at 47.5 looks way too high.
The Pick: Jaguars-Chargers UNDER 47.5 (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200

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Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Packers +1.5 (-110) O41 (-110) +110
Buccaneers -1.5 (-110) U41 (-110) -130

Analysis: Some handicappers have pointed to QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers underperforming in games played in Florida, and perhaps there’s something to that as a factor. A cold weather team has problems outside in the heat and humidity–yada yada yada. What might be even more convincing isn’t Green Bay struggling so much as Tampa Bay excelling in these same conditions. The Bucs were 8-1 when playing in warm weather last season (80 degrees or higher at KO) — the best record in the NFL. / The big problem with betting the Bucs, however, is injuries and the suspension of their best WR (in fact, three WRs are out for the Bucs in this game). The lack of targets and some serious OL concerns moved the line 2-3 points. Nonetheless, Tampa Bay remains favored. They managed to win a defensive struggle last week at New Orleans, also with several key injuries. Nonetheless, the defense played absolutely spectacular — forcing five turnovers. We doubt Green Bay will be so generous. The Bucs’ defense leads the NFL in sacks this season — with 10. All the betting numbers have now adjusted to these factors, unfortunately. So, it’s tough to find value with confidence. This total might be ~48 if both teams were healthy. But they’re not. The Packers are just 2-5 ATS in their past seven games against the Buccaneers. Despite all this, I understand why Green Bay could be tempting with so many holes in the Bucs’ offense, this week. Provided you can get +1.5, the Packers could be worth teasing. Since Tampa Bay has so many offensive issues, it’s hard to see them winning by more than a touchdown. Accordingly, I’m teasing the Packers up to +7.5 and combining that wager with a similar play in the Atlanta-Seattle game. / Key Trend [Repeating from Above]: Underdogs during games with totals lower than 42 are 89-55-4 ATS (60 percent covers) since 2018. And underdogs in games with low totals do especially well over the season’s first eight weeks. During the first eight games of the regular season, these underdogs are 43-22-1 ATS (66 percent covers).
The Pick: TEASER — Green Bay +7.5 / Atlanta +7.5 (-120) — Risking $240 to win $200

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Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks
Falcons +1.5 (-110) O42 (-110) +105
Seahawks -1.5 (-110) U42 (-110) -125

Analysis: This week, I heard someone say (sorry, I forgot who it was), “who would have ever guessed the Atlanta Falcons have the best offense in the NFC South?” So far this season, that’s probably true, even though the Falcons are winless (and banged up Tampa Bay is 2-0). Atlanta (26 and 27 points respectively in the first two weeks) has been feisty, losing two games but easily covering in both. The Falcons’ impressive comeback from a 28-3 deficit at the Rams should spark continued confidence in Marcus Mariota at QB, who’s clearly exceeded all expectations. After facing the far tougher Saints and Rams, two of the better defenses in the league, now Atlanta gets a much easier task against a team that’s really struggling badly on both sides of the ball. / Key Stat: The Seahawks defense has not forced a three-and-out this season — the worst in the NFL. / Since halftime of Week 1, Seattle has been outscored 30-7 (and their lone TD was a blocked punt). In the last three halves, the Seahawks have run 65 plays for 263 yards, and zero points. It’s tempting to play Atlanta plus 1.5 here for the game, but I’ll take the extra insurance points and tease this up using the Wong strategy, to +7.5. If this game is close and Seattle wins it, it’s hard to see them rolling up lots of points and winning by more than a score. Seahawks QB Geno Smith is 14-22 as an NFL starter.
The Pick: TEASER — Green Bay +7.5 / Atlanta +7.5 (-120) — Risking $240 to win $200 [duplicated above]

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Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals
Rams -4 (-110) O50.5 (-110) -200
Cardinals +4 (-110) U50.5 (-110) +165

Analysis: I don’t like this game at all. So, I’m passing on it completely. Two wildly unpredictable teams, capable of scoring points, but also maddeningly inconsistent, combined with a high total. This game is a crapshoot. / Cardinals come in following a huge win at Las Vegas, but so much of that dramatic comeback was QB Kyler Murray making plays with his legs. Cardinals also got some gifts, particularly the OT fumble by the Raiders that — had it not happened — would have put the Cards into a deep hole at 0-2 both SU and ATS. So, let’s not be fooled by the fallout from one play. Fact: Arizona’s preparation and play-calling have been dreadful, so far. Evidence: Arizona has been outscored 43-7 in the first half this season. / The trouble with the Rams is, they’re division road favorites here, typically a situation I avoid. That Ram’s meltdown against Atlanta last week at home remains a shitstain I can’t look past. I mean, what the fuck was that??? Blowing the cover on a game they’re ahead 28-3 keeps me off the fave. I see far better plays on the board, so this game is a pass.
The Pick: No plays.

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SNF: San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos
49ers -1.5 (-110) O45 (-110) -120
Broncos +1.5 (-110) U45 (-110) +100

Analysis: The UNDER here looks like the play. I’ve already noted that 2/3rds of NFL games this season have gone UNDER the number so far in 2022. Also, the UNDER is 11-3 in Denver’s last 14 games played in September. The UNDER is 9-2 in San Francisco’s last 11 games. / Neither offense looks ready to light up the scoreboard. Backup QB Jimmy Garappolo filled in nicely last week, but that was versus Seattle’s soft D off a short week. Not sure 27 points by SFO is really something to celebrate, though the 49ers sure have to be pleased with the result. Let’s also note that SFO is a run-heavy team, which burns the clock. The 49ers have run the ball on 63 percent of plays this season — the second-highest in the NFL. / Major confusion has been happening on the Broncos’ sideline and in the huddle and locker room. This offense — especially the passing game — looks like a mess. The Red Zone stats are downright scary. Denver has scored only 12 points in six Red Zone drives. I won’t spend any more time than necessary to continue questioning Denver’s head coach Hackett for some bizarre decisions. All the attention on Hackett could play into a more timid approach to the game, precisely what Denver does NOT need at this point. So, given Denver faces a Top-5 NFL defense, the Russell Wilson experiment might continue to fizzle, at least for another week. The 49ers allowed just 420 total yards in the first two games. Let’s also credit Denver’s solid defense, which has allowed just 9 points in the last six quarters. This Sunday night game looks like a solid UNDER.
The Pick: San Franciso-Denver UNDER 45 — Risking $220 to win $200

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MNF: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Cowboys +2.5 (-110) O39.5 (-110) +120
Giants -2.5 (-110) U39.5 (-110) +145

Analysis: I understand bettors want a prediction, but this is another game where I’m very likely to pass (as the game approaches, something might tempt me, but I doubt it). Neither offense inspires much confidence, and I’m uncertain how the 2-0 Giants will react to hosting their first MNF game in quite a long time. I do lean slightly to NYG here based on RB S. Barkley’s production, who’s largely carried this weak offense with his legs and on his shoulders. I’ll take Barkley over the wasted money pit, E. Elliott, all night long, running behind a band-aided Cowboys’ offensive line. Dallas has only two touchdowns on 21 drives this season.  The trouble with taking NYG as a fave is, Dallas’ defense could step up again here in a big way just like they did versus the Bengals. And, backup QB Couper Rush’s two career starts weren’t pretty, but he won them both. Slight lean in the Giants’ direction, but it’s not enough to make me want to bet money on it. There are just too many contradicting angles here, such as Dallas winning nine of the last ten games in this series.
The Pick: No plays.

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The Mystery of Anthony Bourdain

Posted by on Sep 20, 2022 in Blog, Essays | 1 comment

 

Anthony Bourdain

 

 

Four years after Anthony Bourdain’s suicide, we still ask ourselves a one-word question — why?

 

I finished watching Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain.

The bio-documentary delves into the esoteric life and bountiful career of world-famous chef, author, and travel documentarian Anthony Bourdain.  He died by suicide on June 8, 2018, at age 61, while filming on location in France’s Alsace region for his popular CNN show Parts Unknown.

Four years after his death, more questions remain than have been answered.  Instead — friends, family, and a loyal legion of fans who have been seeking some elusive destination of closure remain beleaguered by confusion and contradiction.

Why would someone who seemingly had it all — wealth, fame, family, friends, respect, and creative freedom, a genuine artisan and self-professed “seeker” — take his own life?  Why would someone with as much innate curiosity and uncommon insight commit such a terribly senseless act at the very zenith of a deeply intertwined personal and professional adventure lived very much in the public eye?  If life is an ongoing stage play, this final act made no sense whatsoever.

Bourdain’s suicide wasn’t just a jolt to the collective consciousness of his family, friends, and millions of fans.  It was the demolition of a dream.  It was in a sense the cruel unmasking of a grand illusion.  Most of us dearly wanted to be Bourdain, or at least be more like Bourdain, that swashbuckling world-traveler who jet-setted through his life always with his feet propped up in first-class, perpetually devouring the best booze, feasting on Chateaubriand basted in truffle butter, always the life of any party, free to spew whatever crazy thoughts came to his mind, blessed with a voice we listened to, and gifted with a personality that everyone–from cooks to writers to former presidents–wanted to be around.  Bourdain wasn’t just a celebrity.  Bourdain wasn’t merely an inspiration.  Rather, he was an aspiration.

 

 

We may reach some capacity to empathize with those who succumb to the ultimate surrender.  For some sufferers, suicide makes sense.  Suicide might even be justifiable in extreme circumstances of illness or intolerable pain.  Anyone who has dealt with devastating loss, or known someone who endured a personal tragedy, likely understands why victims carrying these unbearable burdens might lose the most basic human desire — which is the will to live.

Other famous people who shared some of Bourdain’s same gifts have taken their own lives.  From Ernest Hemingway to Robin Williams, some of the most beloved icons in our recent history have succumbed to a final temptation.  However, Hemingway and Williams were also burdened with chronic health problems and suffered bouts of severe depression.  Bourdain, a devoted practitioner of ju-jitsu in his final years (he reportedly exercised 3 to 4 hours daily), and with his well-documented drug addiction long behind him, appeared finally to have his life together.  For a 61-year-old man and public figure with rigid demands on his time, he looked to be in tip-top shape.

Yet, things are rarely as clear or as simple as they seem.

 

 

Bourdain may have agreed strongly with the axiom from The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma that, to wit, “To seek is to suffer.”

Those who check out of life’s luxury hotel tend to be seekers and seers.  Disproportionately, so.  They’re often popular well-known public figures, such as artists and creative people.  They’re smart.  If some people go through life dumb and happy, and many do, the paradox is that knowledge can be a curse.

Perhaps it’s just that pondering life’s incessant bombardment of challenges does take a toll. Spending much of our time and energy as observers and puzzle-solvers comes at a cost.  Like the withering rock that wears down over the crest of a waterfall, social burdens are the constant force of nature overwhelming the ballast.  Sometimes, the rock can’t take it anymore and breaks off and falls into the abyss.

One night in an Alsatian hotel four years ago probably seemed like any other, except for one thing — Bourdain broke off.

The final two decades of Bourdain’s life had been entirely rooted in discovery and shaped by adventure.  Those discoveries and adventures weren’t always external.  Sometimes the most satisfying journies are internal.  Self-discovery can be the most satisfying adventure of all, that is, when the trip goes right.  But not every trip goes well, and we end up in places we didn’t plan.

Aptly, his show on CNN was called Parts Unknown.  How ironic that the lingering unknown part of the journey that ends up being the most mystifying is Bourdain himself, and the unsolved conundrum of trying to understand why he did what he did.

The final lesson of Bourdain’s life and death is that every one of us has parts unknown.

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A Video Tour of Downtown Summerlin

Posted by on Sep 19, 2022 in Las Vegas, Video 1 | 0 comments

 

 

JOIN ME ON A DOWNTOWN SUMMERLIN TOUR

It was 20 years ago this month that I moved to Las Vegas.

As a tribute to my hometown, over the next few weeks, I’ll be visiting several of Las Vegas’s most interesting neighborhoods and hotspots while escorting you on a guided video tour.

Today’s excursion is to Downtown Summerlin.

 

Coming Later:

— Henderson and Green Valley

— Downtown Las Vegas

— The Lakes

— Desert Shores

— The Las Vegas Strip

— North Las Vegas

— Red Rock Canyon

….and more.

 

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