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Posted by on Nov 24, 2019 in Blog, Essays | 1 comment

NFL 2019: Week #12

 

 

NFL Season Trends through the end of Week #11:

Road Teams:  90 – 68 – 4  ATS
Home Teams:  68 – 90 – 4  ATS

All Favorites:  69 – 89 – 4  ATS
All Underdogs:  89 – 69 – 4  ATS

Home Favorites:  41 – 62 – 4  ATS
Home Underdogs:  27 – 28  ATS

Road Favorites:  28 – 27  ATS
Road Underdogs:  62 – 41 – 4  ATS

Overs/Unders:  79 – 83

 

In my longevity as a sports gambler, I’ve seen just about everything imaginable, including many highs and lows.  This moment is one of those low points.  But a downswing doesn’t mean surrender, nor even despair.

This week, I’m returning to data-driven handicapping methods.  I’m (mostly) dismissing subjective analysis, which has been the foundation of my methodology for several years.  Subjectivity analysis — anticipating motivation, coaching disparities, scheduling quirks, injuries, recent results, etc. — hasn’t produced any predictive value this season.  So, I’m returning to the core basics of hard data and pure analysis in picking games and totals.  Obviously, all games and betting situations, namely which data and trends to look at, are subject to biases.

Each of this week’s plays is driven by data — including longterm history and more recent results.  The most common data point I’m looking at (and following) is the surprising success of road underdogs.  Road dogs are absolutely killing it this season, so far.  While the 61 percent against-the-spread cover trend can be explained by variance, I’m counting on what we’ve seen in Weeks 1-11 to have some real merit and continue just a while longer.  When looking at this week’s lines, it doesn’t appear oddsmakers/bettors have made adjustments for road dogs performing so well in the regular season.

I’m cutting back on the detailed usual write-ups, but will take a position on each game for those who may be interested.

Note:  Here’s a link to a primer on betting on the NFL for those who may be unfamiliar with spreads, totals, props, and so forth:  BETTING ON NFL GAMES

 

************************************************

2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          27 — 36 — 0

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,398.

Current Bankroll:   $5,376.  (- $3,022.)

Last Week’s Results (Week #11):         1 — 5 — 0  (- $1,500.)

*************************************************

 

THIS WEEK’S WAGERS:  This week, I made 11 wagers.  I’m laying $2440. to win $2,200.  Here are the plays (each listed at -110 unless noted otherwise):

DEN +3.5 at BUF — Laying $220 to win $200
PIT -6 at CIN — Laying $220 to win $200
PIT / CIN UNDER 38 — Laying $220 to win $200
NYG +6 at CHI — Laying $220 to win 200
CAR +9.5 at NOR — Laying $220 to win 200
TB +3.5 at ATL — Laying $220 to win 200
TB / ATL OVER  51.5 — Laying $220 to won 200
1H — DET / WAS UNDER 20 — Laying $220 to win 200
DAL +6 at NWE — Laying $220 to win 200
GB +3.5 at SFO (-120) — Laying $240 to win 200
SEA +1 at PHI — Laying $220 to win 200

 

THOUGHTS ON ALL GAMES:

MIA +10.5 at CLE would normally be a wager on the “bet all road underdogs” angle, but a significant contrary trend keeps me off this game (favorites in the 10-14 range cover blindly 54.7 percent of the time since 2003, based on nearly 500 situations).  So, I’m avoiding dogs in this spread range.  Moreover, MIA is also suffering some alarming defensive injuries.  CLE might use MIA as a punching bag to generate some enthusiasm for a disappointed fan base, that is — if they’re able to dominate.  That could mean a blowout.  MIA was on a roll covering five straight before getting pummeled by BUF at home.  That loss might have deflated what little momentum the Dolphins were building and they could revert to their early-season ineptitude in this meaningless road spot.  It’s CLE or nothing for me in this game, along with the UNDER 46.5 because I don’t think MIA will score many points.

Playing DEN +3.5 at BUF.  Road dog angle is in place, plus DEN has looked much improved offensively since the QB change from Flacco to Allen.  These are two of the better defenses in the NFL, so in what’s projected to be a low-scoring game (total — 37), getting points could be a factor.  I bet DEN and lean slightly OVER 37, which seems a little low given DEN’s improved passing attack the last two games.

PIT is laying -6 at woeful and winless CIN.  Much media attention still focusing on brawl at the end of the CLE-PIT game.  I’m concerned about how focused PIT will be in the game versus a division rival getting zero respect.  CIN, despite being 0-10 SU, has played far better on the road this season than at home, so it would take +7 at a minimum to play the Bengals.  PIT defense has played well and given this is an absolute must-win, I think there’s enough talent on the Steelers roster to lay points here, especially when I saw tonight’s late line drop to -6.  Given the starting QBs and lack of talent at skill positions, I expect this game to be low scoring.  Cincy’s last nine drives — 44 plays, 158 yards, 3 points.  I have two wagers on this game — PIT at -6 and UNDER 38.

NYG at getting +6 at CHI, which has dropped from the +7 opener.  Given CHI offensive woes, taking the points with the dog seems to be the obvious play.  I’m making the pick based on the road dog angle but also do like the Giants here.  This just seems like too many points to give, and even with a porous defense, NYG should be able to keep the much-maligned CHI QB at bay.  Look for home crowd to turn on Trubisky quick if CHI doesn’t come out of the gate scoring points.   Bears have now lost 5 of their last 6 games.

OAK is laying -3.5 at the NYJ and many respected cappers are taking the home dog plus the points.  I can’t make that wager.  OAK got a real scare last week versus CIN and now riding a three-game win streak and tied for the division lead, I expect Raiders’ (especially Carr’s) experience will show here in a game where NYJ don’t have the weapons to take advantage of the opponent’s weaknesses (namely a passing game versus a bad bad defense).  I have no wager on the game but am inclined to lean OAK, which is on a roll and is used to the road (they played six straight games away from home earlier).

SEA has been on a roll and now plays at desperate PHI, which must have a win here.  SEA seems to get their wins through smoke and mirrors (or let’s just flat out give Russell Wilson his due for carrying this team).  Defense isn’t that good, but somehow they find ways to win.  I’ll play the road dog angle here and wager on SEA off the bye.

CAR is getting +95 at NOR.  Sorry that I couldn’t find +10.  Panthers played their worst game of the season last week, while NOR may have played its best.  CAR looked totally lost.  But based on what we’ve seen in what’s been a strange season, the Panthers should rebound and keep this close.  Had CAR not been blown out last week, I suspect this line would have been only -7 or slightly higher.  I think the public is overreacting to what happened in Week #11.

TAM is an excruciating team to watch and wager on, but the road dog angle says to do it.  I’m holding my nose and pulling the trigger with a barrel aimed squarely at my own head.  I can’t make a case for betting TAM, given they’re a league-worst 2-8 ATS.  Despite this fact, Bucs are getting only +3.5 to ATL, suddenly one of the hottest teams in the league.  Credit ATL for a huge bounce back in two road wins of the bye after being left for dead.  ATL defense has surrendered no touchdowns in the last 10 quarters.  This might be another Winston shit show.  As I said, I’m holding my nose, closing my eyes, and betting Tampa Bay.  Wake me up when the final score gets posted.  I can’t watch.  In just their last five games, TAM is -14 turnover ratio, which would be a horrible number for an entire season.  Also betting the OVER 52.5 — TAM games have gone OVER the number more than any other team and inside a dome versus an offense that can certainly score points, we might see a shootout.  Playing the dog and the OVER.

WAS might be the worst team in the NFL right now, and so getting only +3.5 doesn’t seem like enough points.  Tempting as it is to lay points with whoever plays the Redskins.  WAS lost their last four games and were outscored 52-18….scored just two touchdowns on its last 35 drives.  However, injuries for DET are a concern.  No plays.

TEN is -3.5 hosting JAX, which has been horrendous offensively in the last month.  TEN factors in on a solid angle which is to bet very good rushing teams against opponents that can’t run the ball or control time of possession.  I ran some data on this and it’s a historical moneymaker.  However, road dogs are plays for me this week, which makes this a pass.  It’s also reported RB Fournette will get plenty of carries.  Lean strongly UNDER 41.5 also.  However, I didn’t make any wagers on this game.

NWE is at home -6 vs. DAL in one of the season’s more anticipated games of Eastern division leaders.  DAL is the road dog here, but there are also reports of the flu bug in Dallas hitting some of the Cowboys.  Getting +6 is enough to make me bite and take DAL.  One thing worth considering is the NWE offense hasn’t played well in multiple weeks, so I’m not sure I’d want to lay many points with this team at the moment.  NWE is also playing the toughest part of their schedule at a really easy first two months.  That seems to be showing a few vulnerabilities.  Big coaching mismatch here, but I’m playing the Cowboys.

GBY+3.5 at SFO is the other premier matchup, which is the SNF game.  GB rates as a double play since they’re the road dog and also come up on the rushing angle I wrote about earlier.  Packers should be ready and rested coming off the bye.  Meanwhile, SFO hasn’t covered in their last three games

The other primetime feature is the LAR hosting what’s now the hottest team in the league, BAL favored by -3.5 over the Rams.  Strange, because if you had projected this line back in September, it would have been LAR -3.5 (or higher).  I suspect the Ravens might be getting just a little too much credit here, but I’m not betting on the Rams, which look soft.  This team really has taken a step back from last year’s Super Bowl run.  Some of this may be due to OL injuries, but I’ll pass on this one.  Also of note, after showcasing one of the highest-scoring teams in the league last year, LAR have turned into an UNDER team.  Last five games have gone under the number.  Leaning strongly UNDER 47 here, and might bet it late if that number is still available.

 

CONTEST WINNER ONLY/NO POINTSPREAD [$200 entry fee]

Season Record To-Date:  98-65-1

 

BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons Active]

Investor  —- Amount —- Pct. of Total Fund
Heldar $ 211 2.51%
Watanabe $ 100 1.19%
Peter Lucier $ 1,000 11.91%
Kramer $ 302 3.60%
Finbar O’Mahoney $ 200 2.38%
Howler $ 100 1.19%
Linda Keenan $ 500 5.95%
John Pickels $ 100 1.19%
Patrick Kirwan $ 100 1.19%
Sean McGinnis $ 300 3.57%
Jim Anderson $ 252 3.00%
Chad Holloway $ 200 2.38%
Eric Schneller $ 500 5.95%
Randy Collack $ 351 4.18%
Dave Lawful $ 100 1.19%
Paul Harris $ 1,000 11.91%
Dan Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Sharon Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Ken QB $ 102 1.21%
Chuck Weinstock $ 102 1.21%
Peter Taki Caldes $ 102 1.21%
Kenny Shei $ 51 0.61%
Jeff Deitch $ 51 0.61%
Kevin Un $ 128 1.52%
Becca (Kerl?) $ 22 0.26%
Corey Imsdahl $ 102 1.21%
Don Bingo Rieck $ 102 1.21%
Jeff Siegel (pending) $ 1,000 11.91%
Stephen Cohen (pending) $ 100 1.19%  XXX
John Reed $ 114 1.36%
George Wattman $ 51 0.61%
Mickdog Patterson $ 51 0.61%
Larry Lubliner $ 100 1.19%
Grizz Berentsen $ 100 1.19%
Edmund Hack $ 100 1.19%
Bob Feduniak $ 500 5.95%
David “Quick” Horowitz $ 102 1.21%
TOTAL $ 8,398 100.00%

$200 Invested into Pick Contest (see above)

__________

 

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Posted by on Nov 22, 2019 in Blog, Essays, Personal, Politics | 0 comments

Dallas’ Darkest Cloud: Growing Up in the Shadows of the Kennedy Assassination

 

kennedy assassination

 

Writer’s Note:  Today marks the 56th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.  Some 19 months before that tragic day, I was born in Dallas.  My family lived in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, where Lee Harvey Oswald also resided and was ultimately captured.  Today’s column reveals what life was like growing up in the shadows of the Kennedy Assassination.  A similar version of this article first appeared at this site in 2013.

 

I’m one of the few people alive who lived near the two most shocking tragedies in modern American history.  I say this with no sense of pride, but do wish to bear witness.

On September 11, 2001, I lived on the ninth floor of a high-rise condo building in Arlington, VA, across Interstate 395, directly overlooking the Pentagon, which became engulfed in flames that morning after being hit by a jet airliner in the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil.

Ironically, Arlington, VA is where John F. Kennedy’s body now rests.

On November 22, 1963, the Oak Cliff section of Dallas was my home, only a few miles from where President Kennedy was assassinated and an even shorter distance from where Lee Harvey Oswald was later caught by Dallas police at the Texas Theater on Jefferson.

I don’t remember anything about that tragic day in Dallas.  I was too young to have any memories.

But everyone from Dallas around that time developed a deeper sense of awareness than most of what the assassination meant.  Sometime later, we came to our own opinions about what had happened.  We carried around scars, lingering long afterward.  That terrible moment in our nation’s history even gave Dallas an inferiority complex.  It forced some of us to try and go out and prove to the world that we weren’t like the assassin at all (who was actually from New Orleans and even lived in New York City for a short time).  We weren’t “the city of hate,” as many suggested.

 

**********

 

The Oak Cliff section of Dallas lies just to the south of downtown, on the opposite side the Trinity River.  It’s considered the city’s stepchild.

Oak Cliff only a few miles away from the big banks, tall buildings, and giant office towers that eventually became Dallas’ trademark.  It’s only a short ride from far wealthier sections of the city — including Highland Park, University Park, and North Dallas.  But it might as well have been light-years from the rest of Dallas society — the privileged upper class who glanced across the Trinity River and the giant flood plain and looked at Oak Cliff as “the other side of the tracks.”

My mother and father divorced early in my life.  They mostly grew up in and around Oak Cliff.  So did many other famous people you may know.  For example, Stevie Ray Vaughn, the iconic blues guitarist, was from Oak Cliff.  Long before then, the notorious bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde hung out around the far western fringes of Jefferson Avenue.

For me, perhaps the most shocking common ground, however, is my parents’ connection to South Oak Cliff High School.  They were students at the same school where (now retired) NBA star Dennis Rodman later went and played high school basketball.  Pretty amazing to think my mother and father sat in the same classrooms as Dennis Rodman.

Today, Oak Cliff is just about all Black and Latino.  But back during the early 1960s, it was a vast melting pot of all ethnic groups.  Sort of a smaller Brooklyn.  No one seemed to have much money, but everyone got along fine.  We never had racial problems or the kinds of troubles associated with the Old South.  Although I moved away to Chicago and Albuquerque for a time (my father worked an air-traffic controller), we returned back to Oak Cliff again during the 1970s where I attended a half-White, half-Black school (T.W. Browne).  Race just wasn’t a big deal to us kids.  We even had lots of interracial dating.  Maybe the grown-ups thought differently about race than we did.

 

**********

 

I don’t remember ever seeing the actual house where Lee Harvey Oswald lived, nor do I know the exact spot where he senselessly gunned down a Dallas police officer named J.D. Tippet.  Oh, I probably rode my bike down those streets and later drove my car across the pavement where Oswald walked many times over the years.  But the passage of time is a giant eraser.  It tends to wipe out the things we don’t see.  Most memories fade slowly.

When I was a kid, I watched a number of movies that played at the Texas Theater.  One seat in the center of the auditorium was different than the others.  It was painted black.  That was the infamous seat where Lee Harvey Oswald was sitting when he was captured by police and tried to resist arrest.

Growing up, I also remember the tasty barbecue joint located next door.  It was called “Po’ Boys.”  That local dive served the tastiest sliced beef-brisket in the city, topped off with a spicy sauce, washed down by an ice-cold mug of root beer.  That was the best-tasting thing in the world when you’re 12-years-old, or 57-years-old.

Years later, I worked as a bartender at a restaurant downtown.  A husband-wife team waited tables where I worked and somehow managed to save enough money to lease the storefront where the old Po’ Boys had been and open up their own Mexican restaurant.  Their last name was — and I swear I’m not making this up — “Kennedy.”  Oh, the irony.

Whether it was watching movies or eating barbecue, no one ever brought up the name Lee Harvey Oswald, nor did we give much thought to the things that happened that awful day back in 1963.  No one that I around knew him, nor remembered him.  It was like he never existed.

 

**********

 

Some people think sports receives far too much attention in our society.  Perhaps they’re right.

But unless you’re around my age, or perhaps a little older, you will never be able to understand the significance of what the Dallas Cowboys football team meant to our city, and it’s people.  To most out there reading this who are from other cities and the fans of other teams, you have to try and imagine the terrible black eye Dallas suffered because of the Kennedy Assassination.

The worldwide anger directed at the city was (and is) completely unwarranted.  After all, the actual crowds that welcomed the President on that November day were friendly, even wildly enthusiastic.  Moreover, Kennedy wasn’t killed by a local right-winger.  He was murdered by an avowed Marxist who lived most of his life elsewhere.  The assassin also had no long-term links to Dallas, other than living in the city and its suburbs on two separate occasions.  At the time he killed Kennedy, Oswald had been living in Oak Cliff for about seven weeks’ time.

Yet, Dallas and its citizens were largely blamed as a whole for the crime of the century.

What happened in the aftermath of the Kennedy Assassination certainly didn’t help the city’s image in the larger court of public opinion.  Although the Dallas Police Department did a remarkable job at capturing Oswald quickly and linking the assassin directly to the crime with evidence that was overwhelming (within just hours), his shocking murder on national television only a few days later in the basement of the city jail by Jack Ruby, a strip club owner with ties to organized crime, made the world think of Dallas as an outpost in the wild west.

Fortunately, without intention, the NFL’s Cowboys came to deflect that image over the years.  They became good, very good in fact, at just the right time.  In 1965, the Cowboys began a record-setting string of consecutive playoff appearances.  To outsiders, they became a new symbol of a more modern city and a source of pride for everyone.  Much later, they even became known as “America’s Team.”  I think the adoration many people have for the Cowboys stems from people needing some sense of relief from the pain of those darkest days in the city’s history.  Back then, they were the shining star that allowed the city to heal from what happened.

 

**********

 

Growing up around where the Kennedy Assassination took place gives me a more sentimental attachment to the events of that day and the people who were witnesses of history.  But it doesn’t provide me with any special advantages as to suspecting who was really responsible.

After the Warren Commission Report was released, a cottage industry of conspiracies sprung up.  Some of the authors and investigators who penned various theories were well-intended, and even thought-provoking.  Others were total quacks.  In some cases, important questions were brought to light for the first time that needed to be asked, specifically about facts that weren’t covered in the Warren Commission Report.  Of course, the links between Oswald and Ruby to Pandora’s Box of possibilities — ranging from organized crime to the Central Intelligence Agency, to Fidel Castro, to the Russians — made for some entertaining speculation.

Now 55 years later, I think the evidence is overwhelming that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone — as did Jack Ruby when he shot his target in a moment of passion.  While plenty of other theories were worthy of consideration at one time, we’ve now reached the point when no additional information, nor final conclusive answers, are likely to be forthcoming.  Perhaps the real story of what happened in Dallas that day was just as it was initially reported.  That’s not the answer many people want to hear.  But the truth isn’t always the most interesting of possibilities.

That’s probably the saddest tragedy of all, that the leader of a nation could be gunned down and history could be forever changed — not by the hand of a grand conspiracy — but rather from a simple inexplicable act from a loner.

The streets in Dealey Plaza and around Oak Cliff where the assassination and its aftermath took place remain virtually identical today, just as they were 50 years ago.  But for all those who were around during that time and who remember, nothing is quite the same as it was, nor will things ever be the same again.

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Posted by on Nov 18, 2019 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 2 comments

My Thoughts on the Latest Colin Kaepernick Controversy

 

My Thoughts on the Latest Colin Kaepernick Controversy

Would-Be NFL Player/Activist Fumbles at the Worst Possible Moment

 

I tried. I really tried.

I tried to support and defend Colin Kaepernick, the unemployed multi-millionaire quarterback-turned-activist who was clearly the victim of disproportionate backlash from NFL fans and teams.  Please, mark me down as a supporter and a defender.

Here’s some perspective:  Women-beaters, drug abusers, accused rapists, and dog killers have signed and re-signed with teams. Those clearly guilty of serious crimes are cheered by fans, their despicable acts all but ignored by tribal mobs. But Kaepernick, an activist making a peaceful display of protest against racial injustice in America becomes an outcast and a pariah. Shame on the fans and teams for losing all sense of perspective and for their grotesque hypocrisy. Cheering for women beaters and dog killers while blasting Kaepernick makes you look like a joke.

That said, the NFL held a so-called “workout” this past weekend, which was likely Kaepernick’s one and last chance to prove he belongs in a uniform under contract. Not only did Kaepernick blow this opportunity in the worst way, but he also embarrassed himself and harmed the noble causes he supposedly espouses:

Here’s my perspective:

(1) There are approximately 96 NFL quarterbacks on 32 team rosters, and even more with practice squads and on injured reserve. Question — Is Kaepernick a “top 96” quarterback? The answer is yes, or at least *was* yes. Kaepernick took his last snap three years ago, in 2016. Nonetheless, given the current dregs of NFL quarterbacking (Chicago Bears, are you listening), Kaepernick would likely be, at worst, a capable backup who deserves a chance at playing.

(2) I was never of a fan of Kaepernick’s skill set, even when he was successful as a starter. He’s not the quarterback I’d want to build a team around. However, he was a winner, albeit on a very good team at the time.  Given the older retreads, mostly losing quarterbacks, who continue getting plenty of opportunities (Derek Anderson, Matt Cassel), and even start games (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Schaub), Kaepernick should be on a team somewhere.

(3) Kaepernick handled the initial controversy terribly (back in 2016). Showing up to team practice in socks portraying police officers as pigs was disgraceful and stupid. His public comments about there being no difference between then-candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton showed appalling ignorance. His admission that he didn’t even bother to vote in the 2016 election reveals the downright stupidity of a social influencer and bad example for others to follow.

(4) I, and many others inclined to support Kaepernick, chalked up those dumb comments in 2016 to simple immaturity, and perhaps not understanding the gravity of his actions. Over time, we expected the activist to understand his cause has become much bigger than any individual. Given Kaepernick had three years to learn more, develop better understanding, and explain himself, we thought he’d mature and perhaps even admit he was wrong in the way he handled the scrutiny.

(5) Kaepernick’s opportunity to show his skills and demonstrate he was still in football shape was a unique chance not given to any previous player. He should have agreed essentially to do whatever it took to sign with a team and contribute. Prospective teams were reportedly not looking so much at Kaepernick’s arm or legs of physicality but wanted to see if he really wanted to play. Unfortunately, he answered these questions before the workout by getting into a pointless legal spat about liabilities and waivers, demanding that cameras be allowed onto the field when NFL rules forbid such media attention, and then moved the location at the last minute. Nothing was gained by this idiotic last-minute dispute.

(6) Showing up in a t-shirt with the letters “KUNTA KINTE” on the front of his shirt was football suicide. Anyone, including supporters, who thought Kaepernick would be focused on his game and wouldn’t be a distraction was shown to be foolish. This ridiculous optic of self-comparison to the slave from “Roots,” was mind-bogglingly stupid.

(7) Lest there remain any doubt about Kaepernick’s confusion and mixed intentions over the weekend, he also made a huge deal out of a new line of shoes being released by Nike. This was nothing but a media sideshow intended to cash a paycheck. No one should care what Kaepernick, the prospective NFL player, is wearing or promoting. But he made an embarrassing spectacle of himself in pimping his shoes. This wasn’t the first time Kaepernick has created a sideshow that detracted from his message.

(8) Kaepernick is finished as an NFL quarterback. He will never take another snap. Prior to this weekend, that was the NFL’s fault, in an obvious case of collective bias and collusion. Now, Kaepernick’s fate is his own doing. It’s his own fault, likely shared by some idiotic agents and personal advisors.

My main takeaway from this mess is that we can and should separate the message from the messenger. Indeed, the justice system in this country is biased. Protests are justified. Kneeling for the National Anthem is an act of patriotism. Speaking out for one’s personal beliefs is very American. Kaepernick is not only worth defending *on* the football field. He should be hailed as a hero and a role model.

But “off” the field, Kaepernick has fumbled at the worst possible moment. He turned over any advantage to his haters and detractors with a series of preposterous blunders. He lost the undecided and made a mockery out of those who were adamant in supporting him publically.

Surely, a decade from now, perhaps sooner, there will be an ESPN “30 for 30” when Kaepernick will be celebrated and remembered as a brave person of principle. In some respects, that praise shall be deserved. However, in the meantime, all Kaepernick has done is stupidly waste two opportunities — his chance to play in the NFL again, and our chance to evolve into a nation with a better understanding of social activism and the things worth defending.

Mr. Kaepernick — you’ve got your shoe company money. You got your media attention. Now, please — go away. I don’t want to hear from you again.

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Posted by on Nov 16, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

NFL 2019: Week #11

 

 

Spread and total numbers heading into NFL Week #11:

Road Teams:  81 — 64 — 3  ATS
Home Teams:  64 — 81 — 3  ATS

All Favorites:  60 – 85 — 3 A TS
All Underdogs:  85 — 60 — 3  ATS

Home Favorites:  37 — 58 — 3  ATS
Home Underdogs:  27 — 23 — 0  ATS

Road Favorites:  23 — 27 — 0  ATS
Road Underdogs:  58 — 37 — 3  ATS

OVERS/UNDERS:  72 — 76 — 0

 

************************************************

2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          26 — 31 — 0

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,198.

Current Bankroll:   $6,158.  (- $1,435.)

Last Week’s Results (Week #9):         2 — 1 — 0  (+ $225.)

*************************************************

 

THIS WEEK’S WAGERS:  This week, I’ve made 6 wagers.  I’m laying $2,360. to win $2,100.  Here are the plays (listed at -110 unless noted otherwise):

Tampa Bay +5.5 vs. New Orleans — Laying $440 to win $400

Carolina -4 vs. Atlanta — Laying $440 to win $400

Dallas -6.5 vs. Detroit (-115) — Laying $460 to win $400

Teaser:  Jacksonville +8 / Oakland -6.5 (-120) — Laying $360 to win $300

First Half:  Miami +3.5 vs. Buffalo — Laying $330 to win $300

Kansas City / LA Chargers OVER 52 — Laying $330 to win $300

 

THOUGHTS ON ALL GAMES:

DAL -7 at DET (Total–47):   I got this number at DAL -6.5 which is nice to be inside a touchdown.  However, I did lay -115.  Lions are starting backup QB Driskell since Stafford is not fully recovered.  Stafford might not produce many quality wins, but the dropoff at QB here is huge for the Lions, and probably worth 4 points to the spread.  If DET has any strengths it’s with their passing game and that should take a serious downturn in the game.  DAL is never a bargain and an even worse prospect for betting when they desperately need the win.  But on paper, the Cowboys are the far superior team and coming off a loss in which they were dominated against Vikings a week ago, should be focused.  Meanwhile, Lions’ season is probably over with the loss to Chicago last week.  Not only are Lions likely deflated, but they’re outclassed in just about every phase of this matchup, other than coaching.  The DAL line at -6.5 (-115) was enough to make me pull the trigger with a wager.

NOR – 5.5 at TAM (Total–50):  I like the feisty Bucs getting points here not just because they’re a home division dog, but also as a fade against the Saints, who aren’t the dominant offense lately we’re used to seeing during the Payton-Brees era.  NOR was humiliated at home last week, which may have exposed some inconsistencies with the offense.  After a tough stretch of opponents in September, NOR has faced the last five foes with a combined 15-27 record.  TAM is just 3-6 SU, but has been competitive in most games, keeping things close.  Coming off a win and riding some much-needed confidence, look for TAM to be focused in their biggest game of the season at home against a division rival.  Bucs have no problem scoring points, with (scoring-wise) one of the best units in the NFL.  Obviously, the Bucs defense is a reason for grave concern.  But NOR isn’t in synch at the moment and outdoors on natural grass probably isn’t the ideal setting for a blowout road win.  In what should be a close game, I’ll take a too-generous number of points.

ATL +4.5 at CAR (Total–49.5):  Another NFC South rivalry game that’s critical to the home team Panthers.  After losing the first two games of the season, CAR has gone 6-2 SU, with the two defeats to 49ers and Packers on the road (no shame in that).  CAR tends to beat the teams it should, and ATL qualifies as a team with multiple disadvantages.  ATL’s stunning upset at Saints last week was a shocker, but that also takes off some pressure this week and bad teams off a win don’t usually fare well in back-to-back road games.  Dismissing the inexplicable win at New Orleans, ATL defense has been horrid.  I expect we’ll see the “real” Falcons back in action this week, that gave up 34 to the Cardinals, 53 to the Texans, and 37 to the Rams.  Falcons are a woeful 5-16 ATS on the road since the Super Bowl meltdown three years ago.  Panthers could be just a bit undervalued here, and that Falcons’ win last week probably pushed this number at least 2 points.  I’ll take the 5-4 team in the playoff hunt laying well under a TD against a 2-7 team that’s perhaps just another loss or two from axing the head coach.  Also lean UNDER the total as 9 of last 11 in this series have gone beneath the number.

JAX +2.5 at IND (Total–43):  Colts are in the final stretch of the 4 out of last 5 games at home, which included last week’s disastrous loss to Miami.  Colts will apparently return to Brissett at QB, which certainly helps prospects.  However, IND has simply been too inconsistent at home — with losses to Dolphins and Raiders, a false win over Broncos, a 3-point win over Falcons and a solid win over Texans.  That’s just one quality win in five home games.  Now, with QB coming off an injury and facing an opponent that was embarrassed its previous outing,  I predict the Colts will have their hands full.  JAX comes off the bye with two weeks to prepare, so I’m betting the underdog here, which has gone 3-1 ATS on the road this season.  JAX has also dominated this series lately, going 7-0-1 ATS vs. Colts.  Note that since I couldn’t find +3 earlier (it’s now available in some places juiced to -120), I opted to tease the Jaguars to +8 (got that number at reduced juice).  Hence, I have JAX in the teaser (along with Oakland).

DEN +10 at MIN (Total–40.5):  I wanted to bet the dog here, figuring Vikings could be fat and happy (and ripe for a possible upset) after the Dallas win last week.  But MIN is on a roll now, on both sides of the ball and this isn’t a team I want to bet against at the moment, especially since DEN is starting an unproven QB with one NFL start.  DEN is also giving up alarming number of QB sacks — 15 in the last three games, which doesn’t help prospects for young QB in a road game.  Vikings also enjoy a solid home edge and are a perfect 4-0 this season, 3-1 ATS.  Total at 40.5 is tempting to bet UNDER since these are two of the better units in the NFL  DEN defense, in particular, has been stellar considering they’ve had so little help from offense in time of possession, etc.  I suspect DEN defense will catch MIN napping in this game, keep things close, and the game falls under the total.  But no wager for me.

NYJ +2.5 at WAS (Total–38.5):  I wanted to jump on NYJ early and almost make the bet.  Line moved up to +2.5 from +1 early, and I couldn’t figure out why.  WAS offense has been horrendous under interim coach Callahan, setting near-records for futility.  Aside from their 17-point outburst vs. Miami, Redskins have put up 3, 7, 0, 9, and 9 their last six games.  That’s vomit worthy.  So, I’m not sure what Redskins’ backers are seeing.  Meanwhile, it’s hard to sell the idea the Jets are a team worth betting on, but they did beat the crosstown Giants last week and at least show some signs of being able to score points.  Perhaps there’s some notion the bye will help Washington here, but I don’t see it.  Jets are probably worth a wager, but I didn’t bet it (so far) with some other attractive bets on the board.  I may come to regret my caution.  Lowest total on the board this week, at 38 in some places.

BUF -6.5 at MIA (Total–40.5):  Guess which team in the hottest pick against the spread over the past five weeks?  Try this:  Miami.  They’re 5-0, with two outright wins as underdogs (Greg Dinkin, please order some wine tonight to go along with your special helping of crow).  Explaining why I’m betting the Dolphins doesn’t take a lot of words.  I’m just sticking with the hot hand here, and am glad to take the home dog against a division rival coming off a road loss.  Miami kept things close and actually led the Bills much of the game in the first meeting (before losing by 10).  If anything, MIA is probably a better team now than then, so I’ll take the Dolphins riding an unforeseen two-game winning streak.  However, since I couldn’t capture the +7 anywhere, I opted instead to go with the Dolphins getting +3.5 in the first half.  Certainly, Dolphins will be charged up for this contest and hopefully can keep it close going into halftime.

HOU +4.5 at BAL (Total–51.5):  This looks to be one of the best games of the week, with two exciting playoff contenders who can score points.  I lean towards the Ravens here based on a little more consistency.  Coaching edge also to the Ravens.  But HOU does come in off the bye with some extra rest in a laugher of a win two weeks ago.  So, that keeps me off the game.  Very solid lean on BAL at -4,  which no longer appears to be available.  Also, lean UNDER purely as a contrarian.  Figuring one of these defenses will step up this week and be the difference.

ARZ +9.5 at SFO (Total–44):  Line dropped off the +10, which tells me Cardinals are attracting some late money.  I’ve been bullish on ARZ much of the season and they certainly deserve a solid look with a 7-3 ATS record overall, including a 4-1 ATS record on the road.  What makes me pass is not knowing how SFO will react off a loss in the best game of the year, an overtime thriller on MNF.  We’re unaccustomed to seeing the 49ers in this spot.  Might there be some hangover effect coming off the loss?  Or, could SFO absolutely shut down the visitor and win easily by double digits.  Both scenarios play equally in my head, so this game is a pass.  However, I do lean OVER this total.  Arizona is 6-4 to the OVER and SFO has exceeded the number in three straight.

NWE -4 at PHI (Total–44.5):  Lots of respected handicappers tout the Eagles in this game, reported to be fully healthy for the first time all season.  Clearly, this is a perfect spot for PHI back to full strength.  However, NWE rarely loses back-to-back games and the Patriots should be in a sour mood coming off the Baltimore loss a few weeks ago, followed by a bye.  Also, NWE is 10-4 ATS dating back to last December, and 13-1 SU.  Those aren’t numbers I want to fade.  I do think this is too many points to give a pretty solid Eagles team that should be fully prepared.  Laying -3 seems to be the max line here, tops.  But this game should also be volatile, with two excellent QBs and plenty of receiving targets.  Lean to the OVER.

CIN +12.5 at OAK (Total–48.5):  Raiders will be a team to fade at some point, but not this week.  A few weeks ago, when OAK was 3-4, I predicted they would be in first place by end of November.  If they win here, they’re 6-4, in first place, tied with KC.  No way Raiders don’t roll up points here in third consecutive home game against a vastly outmatched opponent.  I do think this line is just a little high, so I’m not touching the Raiders in the highly unusual spot of laying nearly two touchdowns.  But I do see such a disparity in talent and motivation that laying -6.5 on the teaser is worth a bet.  It’s critical to get beneath a TD, so laying -6.5 was the perfect number to draw me in.  OAK offense has continuously improved and should tag plenty of points on the Bengals.  Raiders’ main vulnerability is pass defense, but CIN appears incapable of taking advantage of this with QB Ryan Finley starting in what will be his fourth NFL start.

CHI  +6.5 at LAR (Total–40):  Rams have regressed and look nothing like the NFC champions from last season.  I’ve burned enough money with this team, which is now 5-4 SU.  Offense is struggling.   Offensive line is reportedly in shambles.  Rams running game is terrible, ranks 27th in the NFL at just 3.2 YPP.  Defense looks to be back in form, and gets an easy opponent with the punchless Bears this week.  Lowest home total on a Rams game since they’ve been back in Los Angeles, justified since CHI doesn’t score and the LAR defense has allowed just 16 PPG on average in past four contests. Rams have gone 6-3 to the UNDER.  Bears have gone 6-3 to the UNDER, a combined 66 pct. to the low side of totals.  Number has adjusted here but perhaps still isn’t quite low enough.  Lean UNDER based on these recent trends.

KC-4 at LAC (Total–52):  Rare for me to bet OVER a high total like this, but I think it’s well worth a play on a MNF game in perfect conditions with two prolific QBs able to produce points in the annual showcase game in Mexico City.  Chiefs have gone 7-3 to the OVER this season, but totals don’t appear to be adjusting any higher.  Should be a do or die game for the Chargers, which spanked GB in last game and then followed that up with a heartbreaking loss to OAK in final minute.  I think this game turns into a shootout once either team take any significant lead.  More of feeling here, than anything that’s data-driven.  This is only the third-game NFL game in Mexico, which is at 7,200 alt.  Thinking the defenses may tire more quickly in a game with two teams having legit passing threats.

 

CONTEST WINNER ONLY/NO POINTSPREAD [$200 entry fee]

Season Record To-Date:  87-62-1

 

BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [38 persons]

211. — David Heldar
100. — Steve Watanabe
1,000. — Peter Lucier
302. — Bruce Kramer
200. — Finbarr O’Mahony
100. — Howler
500. — Linda Keenan
100. — John Pickels
100. — Patrick Kirwan
300. — Sean McGuiness
252. — Jim Anderson
200. — Chad Holloway
500. — Eric Schneller
351. — Randy Collack
100. — David Lawless Lawful
1,000. — Paul Harris
51. — Dan Goldman
51. — Sharon Goldman
102. — Ken QB
102. — Chuck Weinstock
102. — Peter Taki Caldes
51. — Kenny Shei (cashed out — paid 10-27-19)
51. — Jeff Dietch
128. — Kevin Un
22. — Becca
102. — Corey Imsdahl
102. — Don Bingo Reick
1,000. — Jeff Siegel (payment pending)
100. — Stephen Cohen (payment pending)
51.  — John Reed
51. — George Wattman
51. — Mickdog Patterson
100. — Larry Lubliner
100. — Guy Grizz Berentsen
100. — Edmund Hack
500. — Bob Feduniak
63. — John Reed

102. — David “Quick” Horowitz

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Posted by on Nov 11, 2019 in Blog | 1 comment

NFL 2019: Week #10

 

 

This past weekend, we remembered the late great Monte Christensen, a brother to many, who was memorialized in a beautiful ceremony with family and friends in Seattle, which I was fortunate to attend.

I opted to make Monte’s memory my focus these past several days.  Accordingly, there were no plays nor analysis for NFL Week #10.

Then on Sunday night, a faint voice swirled in my head which sounded just like Monte.  “You idiot — you should have bet the Dolphins plus the points,” he said.

I’ll be back next Sunday for Week #11.

R.I.P. Monte Christensen.  Thanks for the winners.

 

 

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