Paul was my stepfather. He was a huge part of my life since he’d been with my mother (pictured above) since 1976. That’s 45 incredible years.
I can’t even begin to list all the “Paul stories.” They’re legendary. But his most lasting legacy will be in the hundreds of building projects and skyscrapers all over the country he helped to make happen. Paul was a builder and a man of action, not just words. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of union workers directly benefited from contracts and deals Paul personally made with union bosses, billion-dollar construction companies, and even organized crime figures in New Orleans, Philadelphia, Dallas, and other big cities. Construction can be a dirty business, but Paul was the most honest person inside any boardroom. That’s why he was so trusted — by everyone.
A high-school dropout, Paul was entirely a self-made man who began working in construction at age 14. But he had the best street smarts of anyone I’ve ever met. He was a lifetime member in the Sheet Metal Workers International Union (Local #68), then worked as a major executive who negotiated huge contracts when things were at an impasse. It was almost unheard of for a former sheet metal worker to also wear a suit and negotiate the contracts, but Paul did that. Paul came in and rescued many skyscraper-related construction projects because he was one of the few if only parties who worked both sides — a loyal union member and the Vice President of construction for one of the biggest firms in commercial construction. To say he was an amazing negotiator would be an understatement.
This past weekend, I had the great honor of speaking at Paul’s funeral and delivering a eulogy. To be asked to speak for Paul, the man, the builder, and companion to my mother for so many years will be a cherished memory, forever.
I created this video which was shown at the service, held at Calvery Cemetary in northwest Dallas. Thanks to Larry and Stephanie Basinger (his daughter) for scanning all the photos which appear in this 8-minute video.
TEASER: Tampa Bay teased to -2 with San Francisco teased to -1.5 ($240/$200) — PUSH
TEASER: San Francisco teased to -1.5 with Miami +8.5 ($240/$200) — WON
MONEYLINE: San Francisco -385 vs. Detroit (BEST BET) ($1,140/$300) — WON
SIDE BET: Seattle -2 vs. Indianapolis ($220/$200) — WON
GAME TOTAL: Seattle/Indianapolis UNDER 50.5 ($220/$200) — WON
SIDE BET: Houston +3 vs. Jacksonville ($220/$200) –WON
FIRST HALF TOTAL: Pittsburgh/Buffalo UNDER 24.5 ($220/$200) — WON
SIDE BET: Arizona +3 vs. Tennessee ($220/$200) — WON
SIDE BET: NY Giants +3 vs. Denver ($220/$200) — LOST
FIRST HALF SIDE: NY Giants +1.5 vs. Denver ($220/$200) — LOST
SIDE BET: New Orleans +3.5 vs. Green Bay ($220/$200) — WON
FIRST HALF SIDE: Cleveland +3.5 vs. Kansas City ($220/$20 — WON
SIDE BET: Baltimore -4 vs. Las Vegas ($220/$200) — LOST
GAME TOTAL: Baltimore/Las Vegas UNDER 51 ($220/$200) — LOST
Betting-wise, the big news from last week was the success of underdogs. They went 12-4 and won 7 games outright.
Note: This week, I encountered some personal issues — a death in the family. This caused me some interruption in my research, handicapping, and betting. So, what you will read here this week will be a shortened version. I’ll be back to a full schedule and analysis of every game next week.
2021 NFL WAGERING RECORD
9 Wins — 4 Losses — 1 Push
Starting Bankroll: $10,000.
Current Bankroll: $11,020.
Best Bets: 1 — 0 — 0 (- $ 0.)
Last Week’s Results: + $1.040.
WEEK 2 PREDICTIONS AND PICKS
(all games are Sunday daytime unless otherwise noted):
GAME SIDE BET: New Orleans -3 vs. Carolina
I’ve been touting the Saints are underrated since August. Way too many bettors overreacted to the Saints’ preparation ritual being upset in the season opener — they hammered Green Bay on a neutral field by 5 TDs. My prediction on QB Winston possibly being an improvement from Drew Brees injury-plagued last season also fell into place, as he looked solid (credit outstanding offensive line play from the Saints, which will be critical this season to their success). I’m a little wary of laying points now with New Orleans, especially in their second game away from home. However, the Saints have dominated Carolina in recent games, winning the last 8/9 contests — including the last 4 tries. Is New Orleans as good as they showed last week? Probably not. But they have better personnel at every skill position, and the defense really looks solid. Meanwhile, it’s hard to gauge how meaningful the Panthers’ win was versus the inept Jets, last week. This will be a major step up in class for Carolina. This line opened at -3.5. I grabbed it on Monday (see ticket below), since I expect this line to close at NOR -4 or perhaps even higher. I bought the hook at -135 on New Orleans just in case something wacky happens. But New Orleans appears to be the play here at -3.
THE PLAY: New Orleans -3 (buying the half-point)
GAME TOTAL BET: LA Rams / Indianapolis UNDER 47.5
I’ve touted the Colts as an UNDER team until the market adjusts to this good defense and a more conservative offense run by QB Carson Wentz. The total stayed UNDER easily last week, and now the Colts host another home game versus a tough NFC West opponent. So, let’s go back to the well again and make a similar wager. The Rams defense is certainly above average and if the Colts are frustrated again offensively, this number should stay below 47.5. Do be careful, as I bet this early in the week anticipating a decline to 47. There’s some value with that half-point (we want a win on 47, not a push).
THE PLAY: UNDER 47.5
GAME TOTAL BET: Denver / Jacksonville UNDER 45.5
Jacksonville looked dreadful in the season opener last week at Houston. Losing by 16 points in a game that wasn’t even that close. Now, they face one of the NFL’s toughest defenses. It’s way too early to start leveling shots at JAX and its young players and new staff. But this team is going to struggle for a while. Meanwhile, Denver won at NYG in typical Broncos’ fashion, with ball control and solid defense. I don’t see the Jaguars reaching the 21 point mark here (most of their points and yardage came in garbage time, last week). And Denver grinds lots of clock and wins with time of possession. Accordingly, I made two wagers on this game. First, is the total to go UNDER 45.5, which is dropping to 45 in some spots. Try and get good numbers. I’m also on Denver just to win the game as a pick, on a teaser. Broncos are -6 early in the week and this looks to be a good spot to tease. Jacksonville looks like the worst team in the NFL. Maybe they will improve, but early in the season fade a market that apparently hasn’t adjusted to how weak this team is.
THE PLAYS: UNDER 45.5 and teaser on Denver pick (with Cleveland).
TEASER BET: Cleveland -6.5 / Denver pick
Browns off a loss (a game they probably should have won) should take it out here on Houston, which looked deceptively fantastic last week versus awful Jacksonville. Cleveland teased to within a TD has value. Meanwhile, Houston will have to go from facing one of the NFL’s worst offenses to one of the best. I don’t want to lay -12.5 here, but I see why the betting public may be tempted to wager on a rout happening.
THE PLAY: Teaser on Cleveland -6.5 (with Denver)
GAME TOTAL BET: MNF: Detroit / Green Bay OVER 48
Detroit played easily the highest-scoring game last week. Though the score was not indicative of the Lions’ offense, Detroit’s defense looked porous allowing 41 last week, and now gets to face Aaron Rodgers coming off one of his worst career games. Green Bay should rebound offensively here on MNF, while Jared Goff gets enough passes off to help push the total OVER 48. Note this total likely goes up closer to game time. Try to get 48 (not 48.5 or higher) if you can.
THE PLAY: OVER 48
THIS WEEK’S FINAL BETS (Lay amount/win amount):
GAME SIDE BET: New Orleans -3 vs. Carolina — Risking $540 to win $400 (BEST BET)
GAME TOTAL BET: LA Rams / Indianapolis UNDER 47.5 — Risking $330 to win $300
GAME TOTAL BET: Denver / Jacksonville UNDER 45.5 — Risking $330 to win $300
I’m taking a break from writing and social media over the next week. I’ve just received some terrible news that my Stepfather passed away from a heart attack. He had been with my mother since 1976 and was a big part of my life and had a tremendous impact on everyone who knew him.
At present, I’m making preparations to go to Dallas to be with my mother in this time of need for the family.
Thank you for your understanding. I bid all of you a good week.
This year will make my 10th season to make predictions and picks on my personal website. In over 2,000 picks, all posted here, I’ve enjoyed 7 winning seasons, and 2 losing seasons. I went broke one year, in 2015. Last year, my return-on-investment was about 30 percent of my original bankroll. Everything is documented — all the old reports dating back to 2012 are still here in the archives. Final report for 2020: READ IN FULL HERE
This preseason, I made my picks and finished with 17 wins and 13 losses. That doesn’t count middling on a monster teaser wheel, which crushed Week 3 with a +10 unit profit. That’s a great way to begin this season.
I will continue with this tradition. Most weekends, I’ll post my predictions and picks on Saturday, sometimes earlier, if possible. Feel free to check back, but I will have all of my selections, with analysis, posted by kickoff on Sunday. You may also wish to follow my commentary on Facebook.
Finally, I will ALWAYS post my true record and results here, after every week. Note that if you read and follow other handicappers, I suggest looking to make sure they post a season-long record. If they don’t — beware. If someone isn’t tracking their record and making it public, those picks are pretty much worthless. READ MORE HERE
Here’s to what I hope will be a great (and profitable) season.
Watch video picks here, or read below….
2021 NFL WAGERING RECORD
0 Wins — 0 Losses — 0 Pushes
Starting Bankroll: $10,000.
Current Bankroll: $10,000.
Best Bets: 0 — 0 — 0 (- $ 0.)
Last Week’s Results: +/- $ 0.
WEEK 1 PREDICTIONS AND PICKS
(all games are Sunday daytime unless otherwise noted):
Minnesota at Cincinnati
Both teams come off disappointing seasons in 2020. At least the Bengals had an excuse with promising young QB Burrow missing half the season to injury. Meanwhile, the Vikings for whatever reason – regressed. One problem with Minnesota is the lack of continuity. Klint Kubiak enters 2021 as Minnesota’s 6th offensive coordinator in six years. Hmm, that might be part of the problem. I’d like to bet the Bengals in this game at home catching points, but head coach Zac Taylor’s dreadful 6-25-1 SU record in two seasons gives me pause about backing this team until I see definite progress being made. I’m passing on this game.
San Francisco at Detroit
The 49ers are healthy again after one of the most injury-plagued seasons any NFL team has ever faced in 2020. I think that creates some added excitement for San Francisco in this game to make a statement facing one of the league’s worst teams which are now in a complete rebuilding phase. New QB, new coach and staff, new GM; supposedly, they’re going to run the ball more. Jared Goff is now under center for the Lions. If he struggled on a talented Rams’ team, then just imagine how he’s going to fare in Detroit. I’m somewhat concerned about the 49ers losing their excellent defensive coordinator (Robert Saleh now with NY Jets) but the talent disparity when the Lions have the ball is overwhelming. Detroit is going to struggle – big time. I’m not sure how long it will be before Trey Lance takes over at QB for San Francisco. But Garappolo has no excuses not to use this game as a confidence builder and solidify the trust of his teammates. I won’t lay more than a touchdown on the road, but I feel good about teasing the 49ers down to -1.5. I also see value in San Francisco on the moneyline. The Play: San Francisco teased to -1.5 on two teasers ( with Tampa Bay teased to -2 and Miami +8.5). Moneyline–San Francisco -385.
Philadelphia at Atlanta
This game is a mud pig. Two awful teams line up with new unproven head coaches after major off-season shakeups. Both coaches in this game are first-time head coaches, with new staffs. Preseason games are painful to watch anyway, but these two teams showed nothing in the summer, which typically wouldn’t be a concern but when a new regime is in charge, usually teams will produce something positive. Neither team did that, so it’s hard to foresee which of these dreadful units will win and cover. Typically, we’d jump on the dog and take points. The Eagles are getting +3. I’m hesitant to do that in this game however, because — as brutally bad Matt Ryan is in must-win games, he’s actually solid statistically in games like this he should win. The numbers: Eagles’ QB is 2nd year QB–Jason Hurts (1-3 as starter); Falcons’ QB is longtime vet Matt Ryan (113-92 SU). Ryan lacks the weapons on offense of previous season (WR Julio Jones is gone). I’m also wary of backing anything associated with the Falcons’ defense, which has been an abomination in recent years. No wagers.
Seattle at Indianapolis
Two playoff contenders with glaring weaknesses in key areas matchup in one of the most intriguing games of Week 1. Seattle is currently the 3rd betting choice in NFC West, which is a first to be so disrespected in the Pete Carroll era. So, the Seahawks could be a little bit undervalued. For me, this is a strong BET AGAINST situation fading anything associated with the Colts’ offense. That means betting on Seattle -2 and playing the game UNDER the total 50.5. Fragile Carson Wentz who has steadily been declining in performance (acquired in a crapshoot deal with the Eagles) will be Colts’ 4th starting QB in the last four years–and that’s IF he’s healthy. Wentz held a clipboard the entire Colts’ training camp. Given the unproven new QB and offensive system, look for the Colts to run the ball more than usual. Indy does field a solid defense. In what I hope will be a close, low-scoring affair, I’ll bet on MVP candidate Russell Wilson to be the difference and win a rare two-bet combo on both the side and the total. The Play: Seattle -2 and UNDER 50.5
Jacksonville at Houston
Wait. Did I already use the phrase “mud pig?” Well, let’s recycle that term and stamp it onto this game, as well. All eyes are on college convert Urban Meyer making his NFL debut. Rookie QB Trevor Lawrence will face his easiest test — the Jags couldn’t possibly open up against a weaker opponent. Still, I’m not buying the hype. I want to see some results first. Sure–the Texans offseason was a train wreck. They’re at the bottom of everyone’s expectations. So, that might make them a good buy at +3. Seriously, should the Jaguars really be laying -3 on the road in their first game? I see this as a clear case of the betting public will be on the Jaguars but a contrarian like myself will back the Texans. Houston will start Tyrod Taylor for the first game of the season as scandal-plagued Deshaun Watson will not see action. Taylor isn’t anyone’s ideal starter. But he’s taken snaps and understands what it’s like to play in the NFL. In a game with many question marks, I like the home team getting points. I love fading hype. Also note that even though Houston has been awful the last few years, they have defeated the Jags six straight times, so they are winning in the trenches where it counts. The Play: Houston +3.
Pittsburgh at Buffalo
One look at Buffalo and the instant reaction is — this team is loaded. Bills are laying -6.5 in the season opener versus Pittsburgh, coming off a 12-4 season that ended in terrible disappointment (a wipeout loss to the Browns in the playoffs). We know Buffalo will be good, really good. The Steelers are a question mark. The offensive line looks to be a mess. This was one of the worst rushing teams in the NFL last season–that problem must be fixed, which I predict plays into Pittsburgh running the ball more in this game. That’s enough to keep me off the OVER 49. But do think it plays into a good opportunity to bet the first half to go UNDER 24.5. The Bills might wear down their opponent and the Steelers revert to a 55-pass attempt game. Early on, however, the game plans for both teams will be different. Bills solid defense should frustrate the Steelers, and I hope for a little rust from the Bills in the opening half. So, the play is 1H UNDER. The Play: First Half UNDER 24.5
NY Jets at Carolina
Typically, a new head coach, a rookie QB, combined with an opener on the road is not a positive scenario for a win or a cover (see Jacksonville game). Carolina QB and former Jet Sam Darnold faces his old team in this game, but that’s not much of a positive. I have no interest in laying -4 with the Panthers, who have just as many unknowns. As tempting as the Jets are grabbing +4, I’m not going to spend much time on this game. I see nothing that tempts me other than a lean to the Jets. Pass.
Arizona at Tennessee
The key here is possible Titan’s lack of game preparation. No team was hit as severely by COVID during training camp (head coach, 9 players, 2 assistances — missed extended time the last few weeks). I think all of this likely created a more cautious camp than usual, and the one thing the Titans really needed was work on upgrading a really bad defense. Titans have become one of the NFL’s best OVER teams, boosted by a powerful running game and better-than-expected results from QB Ryan Tannahill. I do look for some regression this season. Titans might still have talent to win a pathetically-weak division, however the Cardinals provide a real test. This is a make it/break it year for coach Kingsbury and his staff, who are expected to score points and at least be competitive if they don’t make the playoffs. They’ll surely have a hard time making a move in the brual AFC West so these games out of vision become critical. I look for a high-scoring game but that’s reflected in the O/U (52), so I can’t pull the trigger on the OVER . The optimal play given Arizona’s obvious offensive talent, the Titans’ bad defense, and some prep questions is taking the Cardinals with the points. I’m also hoping JJ Watt will spark some improvement on the Cardinals’ defense. Arizona is inconsistent, but credit them for being good under Kingsbury in this spot–last 2 years, Arizona is 6-3-1 ATS as road underdogs. The Play: Arizona +3
LA Chargers at Washington
A strange betting stat few may be aware off — backing rookie coaches ATS on the road in their first game is a significant winner the past 20 seasons and is on a 19-9-1 ATS run since the start of the 2014 season. With more betting markets open, fueling misperception on the favorites and lines that will be even more inflated, this becomes a great contrarian betting opportunity (see 7 such situations the first 2 weeks of this season). However, looky here: The Chargers (new head coach) are favored. Huh? Will Brandon Staley’s highly-touted defense be as sturdy now that he’s a head coach? Of course, everyone is high on the Chargers QB Justin Herbert, with good reason. He’s looked spectacular. But he also faces a tough Washington defense on the road, where he was just 1-3 SU last season. For Washington, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, in his 17th season, will be starting for an NFL-record 9th team. If he can play as well in 2021 as last season, Washington could be a force. Fitz looked horrible in the preseason, which should be a concern. I’m also a believer in Ron Rivera in these types of games, which he seems to win more often than not. Way too many conflicting signals here, so I’m going to pass on the side. With two solid defenses, UNDER 44 is tempting. That’s a lean, not a bet. I’ll pass on this game.
Denver at NY Giants
I’m high on the NY Giants this season. I think they eclipse the projected 7-game win total. Why? First, they’re much healthier this season and get star RB back. If nothing else, Barkley keeps defenses honest. Moreover, the Giants are in the second year of everything –coaching, OC, DC, starting QB, and with a bad season behind them, NYG will surprise a few teams. What really make me pull the trigger on Giants at home here is the gross lack of respect bettors are showing for the dog. Denver is talented, especially on defense, but this is a league based on QBs and passing the ball. And Denver is starting yet another retread. I like Teddy Bridgewater in the backup role and it’s hard to argue with his record as a starter (now on his fourth team). But should he and his teammates be laying a FG here? I don’t think so. Give me the home dog and the upset-minded Giants. I’ll also grab the points in the first half, since both teams might play a bit more conservatively in the opening few frames. The Play: NY Giants +3 and First Half: NY Giants +1.5
Green Bay at New Orleans (Note: Game moved to Jacksonville)
The intangible here is Hurricane Ida last week, which caused the Saints to lose a home game and may have upset their preparations. I heard many serious bettors in Las Vegas ran to the windows (or online) and hammered the Packers. So, the line is now up to Green Bay -3.5. Okay, so – I’ll bite the contrarian apple. New Orleans is a veteran, deep, talented, well-coached team. They also have protocols in place that didn’t exist back in 2005 when a similar thing happened with Katrina. I think the market is way overreacting here. So, I’m betting the Saints. Many bettors forget New Orleans was 12-4 last season and won the division despite a falloff in play from now-retired Drew Brees. New starter Jameis Winston is derided for his interceptions and it will be interesting to watch him transition to a Sean Peyton system. I’ve written elsewhere I think the Saints are very dangerous and will easily surpass their 9-win projection. Admittedly, the Saints have been a horrid team ATS in September, but I’m still backing the dog. Surprising Stat: New Orleans is thought of as a finesse dome team, but the Saints are a fabulous 17-6 ATS in last 23 games on natural grass (Jacksonville is a real field, not the rubber grass shit). Green Bay is a one-dimensional team — all passing offense and Aaron Rogers’ struggles in Florida heat have been well documented. I think bettors are overthinking this. In a toss-up game, grab the +3.5 points. The Play: New Orleans +3.5
Cleveland at Kansas City
Here’s another big “Game of the Week.” The Browns haven’t won a season opener since 2004 (3-5-1 the last nine openers)….while QB Patrick Mahomes and coach Andy Reid have both been unbeatable in openers. Not only are they 3-0 together in Week 1, but they’ve averaged 37 points per game in those three wins. Oh, and Patrick Mahomes has never lost a game in the month of September in his career (10-0). I can’t fade those numbers. But I do like the Browns +3.5 in the first half which is lots of points to give a solid team. The Chiefs started out slow in many games last season and eventually wear down defenses with all their multi-threats. Early on in games, however it’s been a different story. I look for the loaded Browns to be in this game at halftime. I’m not sure what to expect on a game lined at KC -6. Super Bowl losers from the previous season have a hangover effect, losers ATS of 14 of 18 against the number in Week 1. So, the play here is taking the points early on, and hoping the Browns play up their their potential at least for the first few quarters. The Play: First Half: Cleveland +3.5
Miami at New England
Obviously, the storyline here is the first NFL start for rookie QB Mac Jones. How long will it take him to blossom and is he the real deal? Josh McDaniels (Pats OC) is perhaps the real key here. He’s placed his faith in Jones (no doubt, McDaniels was likely the catalyst for the dump Newton-start Jones decision) but probably sees this as a long-term prospect. I’m not sure if this decision was made to win right here and now. Fact is, Miami is the better team coming into a new season. Second-year QB Tua Tagovailoa (6-3 as a starter) should improve, but there’s also some concerns about his long-term prospects Miami comes off 10-6 record. What they do in this game could tell us a lot about what to expect from them this season. Miami should win it, and taking +2.5 is tempting. That would be my play on a side. The stronger lean here is to tease Miami up to +8.5. I think there’s enough supporting evidence to do exactly that. The Play: Tease Miami to +8.5 (with San Francisco -1.5)
Chicago at LA Rams (Sunday Night)
The Rams should roll here. The line jumped from -6.5 to -7.5 upon the announcement Andy Dalton will be starting for the Bears. QB Fields is already on the sidelines warming up. Keep your helmet on, Justin. It won’t be long. I can’t imagine a worse spot for Dalton. He had plenty of helpful tools around him in Dallas last year and certainly should have performed better than the dismal showing he posted. This is a warm body QB on what’s an even worse team now. Look for the Chicago offense to continue struggling Meanwhile, the Rams appear loaded just about everywhere. New Rams QB Matt Stafford never really got the chance to shine in Detroit and now he’ll have a chance to show he belongs in the elite class of QBs. I expect Stafford will rise to the occasion. LA Rams laying -7.5 is enough to make me skip the play, but that’s probably the correct side. Add the first real home game in the new stadium for the Rams and that’s probably worth a point or two, also The total at 46.5 also looks about where it should be though I lean slightly to the UNDER. No pick in this game.
Baltimore at Las Vegas (Monday Night)
Baltimore won/covered its last five season openers. Maybe their preseason success (19 straight wins) carries over. Ravens beat up on the Raiders their last meeting, so this matchup certainly favors the birds for many reasons. What about emotions? This is the first game at Las Vegas Stadium with real fans. Should be rockin’ atmosphere but will that be enough with Raiders’ numerous deficiencies? This is a really bad defense that failed to improve in the offseason. The offensive can score points but Las Vegas will also start 3/5 new players on the offensive line in Week 1. I think that’s the key. Baltimore can frustrate teams with their defense and between a clear advantage on that side of ball, QB Lamar Jackson’s skills, and (yes I must mention this) the best kicker in the NFL, I’m laying points with the road dog. Note that you must get -4 to make this play. Not -4.5. I also lean strongly to the UNDER, which is 51. I’ll take that for a small play. The Play: Baltimore -4 and UNDER 51.
THIS WEEK’S FINAL BETS (Lay amount/win amount):
TEASER: Tampa Bay teased to -2 with San Francisco teased to -1.5 ($240/$200)
TEASER: San Francisco teased to -1.5 with Miami +8.5 ($240/$200)
MONEYLINE: San Francisco -385 vs. Detroit (BEST BET) ($1,140/$300)
SIDE BET: Seattle -2 vs. Indianapolis ($220/$200)
GAME TOTAL: Seattle/Indianapolis UNDER 50.5 ($220/$200)
SIDE BET: Houston +3 vs. Jacksonville ($220/$200)
FIRST HALF TOTAL: Pittsburgh/Buffalo UNDER 24.5 ($220/$200)
SIDE BET: Arizona +3 vs. Tennessee ($220/$200)
SIDE BET: NY Giants +3 vs. Denver ($220/$200)
FIRST HALF SIDE: NY Giants +1.5 vs. Denver ($220/$200)
SIDE BET: New Orleans +3.5 vs. Green Bay ($220/$200)
FIRST HALF SIDE: Cleveland +3.5 vs. Kansas City ($220/$200)
SIDE BET: Baltimore -4 vs. Las Vegas ($220/$200)
GAME TOTAL: Baltimore/Las Vegas UNDER 51 ($220/$200)
= 14 wagers. (screen shown for some online wagers, some bets are made with live tickets)
NOTE–Thursday game writeup was here (posted to FB). Got a push in the teaser number:
Dallas at Tampa Bay (Thursday Night)
The main question for Dallas is the health of QB Dak Prescott’s shoulder. Prescott is coming off two serious injuries. He hasn’t taken a game snap in 11 months (went out of the season due to injury early last year). Now, in his first game back, he has to face against one of the best defenses in football. According to late reports, he will likely have to do that with one of his best offensive lineman out (Zack Martin). Preseason games might not matter, but Dallas’ 0-3 record and lackluster showing this summer also didn’t inspire much confidence. Is it too early to call the Mike McCarthy hire another dumb Jerry Jones’ mistake? On the other side of the ball, Tampa Bay looks loaded. They also get to possibly feast on a terrible Cowboys’ defense that surrendered a whopping 473 points last season, worst in franchise history (60 years). History is also on the Bucs’ side. In the last 18 years, the defending Super Bowl champs are 12-4-2 ATS in Week 1 the following year. The Bucs laying -8 is probably the right side if you must bet this. But for me, that number is a little too high. Just in case Dallas makes a game of this, and/or Brady starts showing some rust at his age, I’ll instead opt to tease Tampa Bay from -8 to -2. That requires -120 in vig. The Play: Tampa Bay teased to -2 (with San Francisco teased to -1.5).
Why doing the right thing will sadly but surely backfire on the President
Remember the classic Twilight Zone episode with William Shatner on the plane? It’s a twist on the old “Boy Who Cried ‘Wolf” tale
Shatner is a passenger on an overnight transatlantic flight at 20,000 feet. Shatner looks out the window at the wing and sees a monster tearing apart the aircraft’s engine. Terrified by the prospect of the plane crashing into the sea and everyone dying, Shatner desperately tries to warn everyone about the monster. When the other passengers look out at the wing, it disappears. This happens a few times and everyone thinks Shatner is crazy. There’s no monster, they say.
Well, that’s Joe Biden on Thursday in his speech to the nation desperately trying to warn the holdouts, the deniers, and the deadbeats that the deadly virus that’s already killed 640,000 Americans is very real. And, it’s still out there. Just like the monster on the wing.
If Biden is right, and the science is correct — and just for the record, Biden is right and the science is correct despite an avalanche of politically charged conspiracy quackery from tens of millions on the other side of the vaccination debate blinded by fear and hatred — a much worse pandemic can be avoided.
If he’s persuasive enough — a prospect far less certain — and vaccinations continue to succeed, the monster we know as COVID will disappear. And, if that happens, you can be certain all the cranks and crackpots and meme morons will claim there never really was a virus. See, we didn’t need vaccines, they will insist. We didn’t need masks. It was all a hoax. Like the flu. Sound familiar?
In a bizarre twist of repartee, like Shatner and his monster, the only way to be proven absolutely correct is to let the vaccine kill far more people. That is to say, let the plane crash. Disregard the dolts who sleepwalk through a global threat, and ignore the world’s top scientists. Then, when bodies are stacked up in morgues like cordwood, we learn the truth. But don’t expect apologies. Morons never apologize.
Let’s agree, President Biden has his faults. And I do have my concerns about his administration and leadership, at times. I would be remiss were I not to express worry, and even some discontentment. Yet, self-reflection and nonpartisan evaluation is a positive thing. On most issues, Biden is doing a fine job and President, and an especially good job with COVID. Patience worn thin, his speech was about as stern a lecture as Biden will ever give in a speech. Finally, he’s fed up — coddling idiots is over. It’s mandate time. Ditch the carrots. It’s time for the stick. Swing it.
I also admit that Biden is a much better humanitarian than me. Hey, I lost my compassion for imbeciles a long time ago. What happens to them with vaccines readily available no longer concerns me, so long as they don’t harm innocents. Yes, I know we’re all connected here in a pandemic. That’s why I and other crass blogger-writers and activists wouldn’t make good presidents. We don’t have Biden’s finer qualities. He’s a president for all the people, even those who despise him. To me, that higher calling shows leadership. I say — fuck ’em. Biden says — save ’em. Well, try anyway.
In the final scene, the flight back on the ground, Shatner is dragged away in a straightjacket. No one else saw the monster. He must be crazy. Then, the plane is shown once more. We see the plane’s engine ripped open. Viola! The monster was real.
Yes, the pandemic is real. And, vaccines work. And, Biden’s blinded critics think he’s the one who’s incompetent. On the contrary, he’s the one saving the plane at his own political peril.
What happened to you? You’ve changed. We don’t even recognize you anymore.
We watch what you’re doing. We hear what you’re saying. And, we follow what’s happening. We can hardly believe it.
You were once such a prideful state. You could take great pride in calling yourself a real “Texan.” People around the country and all over the world envied you. Yes, they even wanted to be like you.
When we thought of Texans, positive qualities came to mind — including virtues like honesty, courage, ambition, and most of all — receptivity. You welcomed everyone, usually with a smile. You sought out new ideas. You were a giant as a state and as a people. You thought big.
But now, you think small. People around the world don’t envy you anymore. Now, they pity you. In a majority of states and nations, you’ve become a laughingstock.
This pains me to say all this because I was born in Texas. I spent many years growing up, living, and working in Texas. I attended two Texas universities. When I moved out of state and later lived abroad, many of those I met used to ask me about Texas. They always wanted to know more. I have to admit, being from Texas was a bragging right.
But things are different now.
You don’t believe me? Just take a look at your leaders. You went from Lyndon B. Johnson and John Tower and Lloyd Bentson and Ann Richards and Barbara Jordan….to Ted Cruz, Greg Abbott, Ken Paxton, and Louie Gohmert. And that doesn’t even touch on the disaster of the George W. Bush years. Your image morphed from the words penned by the late great Texas novelist Larry McMurtry into the voice of Alex Jones, who now spews his bile from within your state borders. Starting to get the picture?
Each time I return to Texas the air is a little dirtier. Despite your wide-open spaces, your air ranks as the third-worst in the nation. Your water is running out, exacerbated by drought, and poisoned by polluters who took full advantage of your obsession with slashing regulations and limiting the role of government. Last winter many of you nearly froze to death because you didn’t want to interfere with “the free market” when it came to energy. And let’s not even get started on Texas catastrophic record on health insurance coverage (50th), percentage of high school graduates (50th), aid to single women and children (49th), SAT scores (49th), amount of welfare and food stamps paid out (49th), per capita spending on mental health (46th), the home ownership rate (45th), and income inequality (43rd). Oh, and that’s just a shortlist. It’s much uglier.
But rejoice Texas! You aren’t at the bottom of every category. Here’s an abbreviated countdown. You’re 5th in overall crime rate. You’re 4th in percentage of children living in poverty. You’re 3rd in percentage of population that is malnourished. And, you’re either Number 1 or Number 2 in all of these categories:
Percentage of population that goes hungry
Teenage birth rate
Amount of exposure to ozone pollution
Number of hazardous-chemical spills
Number of inmates per 100,000 people
Number of highway fatalities
Number of adults diagnosed with diabetes
Percentage of uninsured children
Percentage of home refinance loans that are sub-prime mortgage loans
Amount of toxic and cancerous manufacturing emissions
Number of clean-water permit violations
Number of environmental civil rights complaints
Per capita consumption of electricity
Number of job discrimination lawsuits filed
Oh, and you are #1 in executions.
Let’s hear it Texans! All together now! We’re number 1! No–I’m not talking about your lousy football teams.
But hey, your Republican leaders are dancing the two-step when it comes to restricting women’s reproduction and the right to control their own bodies, railing against Critical Race Theory which seeks to teach an accurate portrayal of history, and making damn sure everyone in the state has enough guns and ammunition to invade California, if necessary.
If you’re a Texan, you shouldn’t be proud of this. You should be embarrassed.
And this brings me to the final painful truth. Texans, I hate to break this to you. When people outside your state think of you, they don’t see cowboys riding across the open range. They look at your leaders, they see many of your inane posts on social media, and they think of braggadocious dirt dumb dullards, impervious to logic, facts, and even science. They see the Lone Star State’s great legacy tarnished and twisted.
It’s up to you Texas. It’s not too late. Do better. Be better. Let’s hope this intervention is the start of a recovery. We’re rooting for you. Gee, we’d love to have our old Texas back.
Happy 80th birthday to an honest leader who has always fought for all of us and worked exhaustively to make America live up to its highest potential as well as its promise of being a truly democratic society in which we are treated as equals within a fair system where opportunity and justice aren’t just aspirations, but reality.
We need many more public officials and people like Bernie Sanders.