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Posted by on Sep 26, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

2020 NFL: Week #3 Picks


Watch my video “Let’s Talk Football” with this week’s analysis and picks here:



Wins — Losses — Pushes          13 — 13 — 1

Starting Bankroll:   10,000

Current Bankroll:   9,860.

Best Bets:  2 — 0 — 0 (+$700)

Last Week’s Results:          + $910.





Washington @ Cleveland
Cleveland -7  / Total — 44.5

Comments:  On paper, the Browns should easily handle Washington, win the game, and get the cover.  Washington trailed 17-0 and 20-0 in their two games this season.  Now, they go on the road a second consecutive week versus a more rested team coming off a confidence-building win.  CLE, with ten days rest, should be the clear choice here.  They’re more talented at virtually all skill positions and should be able to dominate both yardage and time of possession.  However, one thing concerns me and that’s Washington’s “no-quit” attitude.  In both games, they fought back and won one game and came somewhat close to a cover in the other.  So, while I’m not comfortable laying a full touchdown with the unproven Browns, I am confident they’ll win the game.  Accordingly, a teaser in recommended here, taking CLE and moving the spread down to -1.  The pick:  TEASE CLEVELAND TO -1


Las Vegas @ New England
New England -5.5 / Total — 47.5

Comments:  This is a perfect storm for the Patriots.  A talented, well-coached team coming off a loss, facing a team that may be a little overrated coming off their biggest win in years and now having to travel on the road to the East Coast.  Terrible spot here for the Raiders on a short week (they won the MNF game at home).  Bill Belichick coming off a loss is a cover machine — since 2013, Patriots are 16-8 ATS coming off a loss.  Last 5 years, NWE is 25-13-1 ATS as a home favorite.  There’s compelling reasons to like NWE here — based on trends, personnel, and the situation.  Cam Newton has also looked solid running the offense. Last three years, Raiders are just 9-14 ATS as a road underdog.  I feel good about laying -5.5 with the favourite, but the play here will be to take Patriots on the teaser.  Normally, we don’t tease across the “0,” but given we can take NWE plus a half-point, I’ll make that the play.  The pick:  TEASE NEW ENGLAND TO +.5


Houston @ Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh -4 / Total — 45

Comments:  HOU getting points should be the play here.  Texans dismal showing in their first two games can be partially explained by facing the best two team in the NFL — BAL and KC.  Things don’t get too much easier this week with a road game at PIT.  However, strength of schedule disparity is what leads me to believe the dog is the play.  PIT played two of the weakest offenses in the NFL their first two, which sets them up for a possible letdown here as they step up slightly in class.  I also suspect the PIT defensive rankings could be inflated after facing two inept offenses — tougher test here.  HOU probably needs this game to save their season given divisional rivals TENN and INDY look like playoff teams.  Even with huge concerns the Texans aren’t the same team without WR Hopkins, there’s still enough talent on this team (what’s wrong with QB Watson?) to keep this close.  HOU at +4 is worth a strong look and I expect many solid cappers will take the Texans with their backs against the wall.  But for me, the value is with HOU in the first-half getting +3.  That’s a nice edge for a team that should come out of the locker room with some intensity.  HOU may find PIT an easier foe than their last two opponents, so that’s the play in this game for me.  The Pick:  HOUSTON +3 (FIRST HALF)


Tennessee @ Minnesota
Tennessee – 3 / Total — 49.5

Comments:  These two teams are a combined 0-4 ATS.  Both have underachieved, but TEN is content with a 2-0 start.  Meanwhile, MIN looks like a disaster ward.  This is a critical game for the Vikings, who could fall to 0-3 and essentially be bounced out of the playoff race in September (some picked this team to win the NFC North).  Linesmakers might have overreacted here.  QB Cousins will never be a Top 5 QB, but he’s not as bad as he’s looked the first two games.  One expects a better effort this week.  If JAX posted 30 on the Titans’ defense as they did last week, there’s no excuse for MIN not to produce some points.  Lean strongly to Minnesota in the game based on motivation and some concerns TEN might not be as good a team as I forecasted (I had them challenging BAL and KC in the AFC).  But I’ll skip making any wagers.  NO PLAY 


Chicago @ Atlanta
Atlanta -3 / TOTAL — 47.5

Comments:  An 0-2 team is laying a field goal to a 2-0 team.? This might look odd, but a closer examination of the team strengths and weaknesses shows ATL is the superior team.  Add some extra motivation for this game off the DAL debacle last week (ATL should have won, and would have except for a special teams blunder), and the Falcons should be included in your portfolio of Week #3 wagers.  ATL offense is rocking.  Big concern is on defense.  CHI won its first two games, by four points each, and ran the ball for 149-135 yards in those games.  So, I expect CHI will pound the ball.  My initial lean was to the UNDER based on some expectation CHI will eat lots of clock with that ground attack, and neither team will blow the other out, leading to more conservative play (both ATL games were early blowouts, leading to pass-happy catch-up).  Unfortunately, I missed the 47.5 and now that total is at 47.  That’s just enough to make me skip the total wager, opting instead for ATL -3 which is certainly more talented offensively, playing at home, and will be desperate for a win.  CHI is 2-0 with turnovers and also got to play a cupcake schedule (DET and NYG).  I’ll take ATL which faced SEA and DAL and now gets a much softer opponent, especially with a weak offense.  Even a bad ATL defense won’t be tested versus the Bears.  The Pick:  ATLANTA -3 {BEST BET}


Cincinnati @ Philadelphia
Philadelphia -4.5 / Total — 47

Comments:  Bengals lost their first two games, by 3-5 points.  But their most glaring weakness is defense — allowing 370 rushing yards in their first two games.  This would normally make PHILA an attractive play, but there’s no way to back this team in its current funk.  Eagles lost their first two games, and were outscored 36-3 in 2nd half.  Eagles turned the ball over three times in both games, and is currently -5 in turnovers.  Eagles are just 4-10-1 ATS in last 15 games as a home favorite.  Despite their well-deserved reputation as a horrible franchise, CIN is actually undervalued on the road — Bengals are 15-8-1 ATS as a road underdog last three seasons.  I don’t think we are getting enough points for the game, but the first-half line hooked me in with CIN getting +3.5 with extra juice.  Ten days of prep time (CIN played last Thurs.) and some sparks of optimism, especially with the offense led by QB Burrow puts me on the Bengals in the first half, though we lay some extra vig.  Not sure PHILA deserves to be laying points to anyone until they show they can actually win a game.  The Pick:  CINCINNATI +3.5 (-125) IN FIRST HALF  


LA Rams @ Buffalo
Buffalo -2 / Total — 47

Comments:  LAR are a bit of a surprise at 2-0 in their two games both SU and ATS, running ball for 153-191 yards, converting 16-29 on 3rd downs.  LAR is also 6-2 ATS in their last eight games as a road underdog.  Tempting to play LAR catching points, and I will do exactly that.  Not sure +2 is enough to bite, but in a predicted close game I see some value with LAR, who can run the ball and move the clock, catching +1 in the first half.  BUF has played well, but look who they’ve faced — NYJ and MIA.  We haven’t seen BUF beat good teams yet, and this is their first test.  In what looks to be nearly a toss-up, I’m taking the more proven team getting a point.  The Pick:  LA RAMS +1 IN FIRST HALF   


San Francisco @ NY Giants
San Francisco -4 / Total — 42

Comments:  Injuries for both teams makes this a tough game to handicap.  NYG star RB Barkley (overrated) is out for the season, but what does that matter since this offensive line is so horrid — just 1o4 yards rushing so far in two games?  SFO lost a whopping NINE starters (nine!), including QB Garopollo, which means they’ll likely struggle on both sides of the ball.  Looks like a possible spot for an upset, but given NYG woeful play so far, I can’t back them.  Optimal wager here is probably the UNDER, which is close to league average, despite numerous injuries to players at skill positions.  49ers spending this week practicing in West Virginia, after playing in NY last week, so it’s a rare back to back road trip to the same stadium.  NYG are a dismal 1-11 ATS in last dozen games as a home underdog.  But it wouldn’t shock me to see NYG get their first win here.  I look for heavy running by SFO and NYG offense to continue to struggle, so the UNDER looks to be the play.  The Pick:  SAN FRANCISCO/NY GIANTS UNDER 42


NY Jets @ Indianapolis
Indianapolis -11.5 / Total — 44

Comments:  NYJ are widely considered the NFL’s worst team, with justification.  Jets lost their first two games, by 10-18 points — they trailed both games 21-3 at the half.  That shows a complete lack of preparation.  Oddly enough, NYJ do tend to be a pretty good bet at home when catching points, but as a road underdog, they are a horrid 8-17-1 ATS in their last 26 road games.  So, that’s why NYJ are the biggest underdog on the board this week.  Add INDY’s impressive offensive output in two games, nearly 2-1 in yardage superiority in those contests, and this should be blowout if recent trends continue.  QB Rivers has looked surprisingly efficient in this Colts offense, which is a balanced run and pass threat.  INDY enjoys just about every calculable advantage here, but they’ve also been known to letdown to opponents like this (recall home losses to CIN and OAK last season).  As a general rule, I don’t lay double digits in the NFL, but I can’t fault anyone who does in this situation.  Head coach Adam Gase likely be to be fired soon.  NO PLAY


Carolina @ LA Chargers
LA Chargers -6.5 / Total — 44

Comments:  LAC played a much better game than were expected in the nail-biting loss to KC last week and now get a massive step down in class, versus CAR.  Thing is, LAC just aren’t a team that blows out its opponents, even dating back to the Rivers era.  Last week, KC was caught off guard by the gametime change at Qb (a freak injury to Taylor mandated that Herbert got the surprise start).  These were very two different styles of QB and now CAR will have time to prepare for the young rookie.  Trouble is, CAR defense is horrible.  So, while I’d be inclined to take the points here, I can’t bite.  For those thinking LAC are the easy money here, consider this sobering stat:  QB Teddy Bridgewater (CAR) is 17-8 1 ATS on the road in his career starts.  And Bridgewater is now GETTING +6.5 versus a rookie starting QB?  Really?  If anything, it’s CAR on this game that deserves the money.  But I’m going to skip it for better opportunities elsewhere.  The Pick:  NO PLAY


Tampa Bay @ Denver
Tampa Bay -5.5 / Total — 43

Comments:  Since when does Tampa deserve to be laying close to a TD on the road against anyone?  DEN is a very quiet 2-0 ATS in two losses.  DEN lost its first two games, by 2 and 5 points, respectively.  Meanwhile, TB nearly got backdoored at home versus CAR last week.  DEN QB Lock is out for two weeks with injury, so backup Driskel gets the start — just 1-7 as a starter for the Bengals/Lions the last few years.  He’s on a better team here, especially on defense, so I’m not sure the drop off is really significant.  It’s not like QB Lock was successful moving the ball.  DEN is 7-3-1 ATS in its last 11 games as a home underdog and has historically been a very solid early season team at home.  TB has no business laying this number since DEN showed they can slow down PIT and TEN offenses, so even with the QB change I’m fading the public misperception on TB here (still unproven IMHO) and taking generous points in both the first half and the game.  The Pick:  DENVER +5.5 IN GAME and DENVER +3.5 (-120) IN FIRST HALF


Dallas @ Seattle
Seattle -5 / Total — 57

Comments:  Seahawks won their first two games, scoring 38-35 points (10 TD’s in 20 drives — which is NFL best percentage).  DAL scored 40 points last week, though that was due to a crazed catch-up desperation mode offense.  Points won’t be nearly as easy to come by, this week.  SEA-NWE game on SNF produced 64 points, so all those factors have driven the total up to a whopping 57 points, the highest in the NFL so far this season.  I’m fading that movement, which I think is an overreaction.  Total is too high here, perhaps by 3-4 points.  A closer game is expected, and since both teams can run the ball, that may eat up some clock.  Both defenses are certainly capable of better performances than they’ve shown through two weeks, and if one of them shows up, this game should fall UNDER the number.  The Pick:  DALLAS/SEATTLE UNDER 57


Detroit @ Arizona
Arizona -6 / Total — 55.5

Comments:  I don’t like laying lots of points in the NFL but I don’t understand why ARZ isn’t getting more credit.  They should be laying at least -7 in this spot, especially given the offense is improving and arguably may be right up there alongside BAL and KC.  They get another woeful defense in the Lions this week, so given the high game total, they should get into the 30s.  Credit DET for playing pretty well in first half of games, but in the second half, they’ve been dismal — Lions have been outscored 46-17 in 2nd half.  Is it a lack of conditioning, or coaches failing to make adjustments?  I don’t know.  But ARZ should be able to take advantage of the glaring pass defense lapses on the Lions side of the ball.  Also worth noting — Cardinals pounded the ball for 180-160 yards in first two wins, so that’s a balance this team didn’t have in years past (I know it’s early, but I”m very bullish on the Cardinals as the next possible dominant team in the NFC).  I’m laying -6 with confidence.  DET was destroyed by GB pass attack last week.  It’s not any easier here with ARZ’s multiple weapons.  The Pick:  ARIZONA -6


SNF: Green Bay @ New Orleans
New Orleans -3 / Total — 52.5

Comments:  Green Bay won its first two games, scoring 43-42 points (9 TD’s on 18 drives). Packers also ran ball for a staggering 417 yards, threw for 593.  NOR defense got shredded in last week’s game, and will be put to the test here in a game that suddenly has some urgency for the Saints.  Some concerns in NOR and NFL circles that QB Brees could be showing some signs of age, losing some velocity with passes.  I’m not ready to bench him just yet (joking), but I don’t want to lay points on the Saints in their current situation.  NOR is also a really bad early-season home favorite dating back last 5-6 seasons, so I’m not laying a FG to the Packers.  Saints are 5-11 ATS in last 16 games as a home favorite.  Some issues with injuries at well for the Saints.  GB probably deserves a wager, but I’m going to wait until gametime since the line is (inexplicably) moving to -115 and -120 in some places on the Saints at -3.  The Pick:  NO PLAY


MNF: Kansas City @ Baltimore
Baltimore -3.5 / Total — 54.5

Comments:  Another high total makes me go UNDER the number.  This looks to be the best MNF game in a long while, so many fans will expect fireworks.  But I also see two very good defenses.  I expect one of them to step it up here and keep this total under the number.  A close game would also help the cause for the UNDER here, as these two powerhouse teams typically build big leads, wear out opponents, and the games fly over the number as opposing offenses have to throw every down.  But here, we may see a different outcome.  Similar to last season’s 20-17 epic defensive battle (SFO at BAL), we could see something similar here if things break right and linebackers on both teams are able to pass defend (that’s the key to stopping both offenses IMHO).  Looks like a game that could go 27-24 either way, so I’m going to bite on the UNDER.  Also, tempting to play BAL here which I think has something more to prove, but the hook keeps me off them for now.  The Pick:  KANSAS CITY/BALTIMORE UNDER 54.5




TEASER:  CLEVELAND -1 / NEW ENGLAND +.5 — $480 to win $400

BEST BET:  ATLANTA -3 vs. Chicago — $550 to win $500

HOUSTON +3 (FIRST HALF) vs. Pittsburgh — $220 to win $200

CINCINNATI +3.5 (-125) IN FIRST HALF vs Phila. – $220 to win $200  

LA RAMS +1 IN FIRST HALF  vs. Buffalo — $22o to win $200

SAN FRANCISCO/NY GIANTS UNDER 42 — $275 to win $250

DENVER +5.5 vs. Tampa Bay — $220 to win $200

DENVER +3.5 (-120) IN FIRST HALF vs. Tampa Bay — $360 to win $300

DALLAS/SEATTLE UNDER 57 — $275 to win $250

ARIZONA -6 vs. Detroit — $330 to win $300

KANSAS CITY/BALTIMORE UNDER 54.5 — $220 to win $200


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Posted by on Sep 26, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

The most famous casino games played in all casino large halls


People worldwide are much more interested in taking part in casino games when they are in need of extreme entertainment and a lot of earnings. For the best performance, they like to play online casino more than offline. Depending upon the benefits, different gamblers come to show their interest in separate casino games. Some bettors like to get in touch when they are in need of the best entertainment, and some come to play casinos depending on the games’ preferences for earning. But most gamblers like to perform in casino games designed for extreme amusement with more earning preference. Take a look at some of the most popular games below.


Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games, and it provides extreme entertainment and a lot of earnings for gamblers. But one thing you need to remember for an excellent performance is that you should know the basic rules of it. Take a look below.


How do you beat the dealer?

If the dealer hand value comes more than 21, then the dealer has to pay an equal amount of betting to all players playing at the same time.

Then your drawing hand value comes to 21 on your first two cards

How do you lose to the dealer?

If your hand value comes to more than 21. Also, at the end of the round, if the dealer’s hand value is more than yours.

Video Poker

Video Poker is one of the best casino games used by 52 or 53 cards under the jokers’ wild machines. The machine shows the frequency of the combinations controlled by the playing strategy. But, you need to know that only the best poker machines provide the extreme benefits of offering multiple winning situations. The best poker games, such as full-pay jacks or better, provide a payback of more than 99 percent when you come to play online casinos.  



Craps is one of the most intimidating games in the casino. Around the table, there can be lots of people. The negative point of the gameplay is that it is a bit hard to grasp it, especially if you have no previous experience. Another drawback of the game is that you can quickly lose hundreds of dollars at the table.  The craps casino game provides you with an opportunity to avoid high edge bets. It seems to prevent top house edge bets. You will not have any gaming-related ideas during craps play.



If you have a formidable understanding of sure winnings, a banker wins, and a tie, then you can play baccarat positively. The players bet either on the side of the player or the banker even for a link. The Jack, Queen and King card all have a value of zero.  


Slot Machines

A slot machine is one of the gambling devices that uses one or more coins. In this particular game, many traditional symbols such as stars, card suits, bars, and numbers are used, including the number seven.



Roulette is one of the most thrilling casino games, and it has satisfied gamblers for hundreds of years. It is much more popular, especially in France, Europe and other countries around the globe.


European Blackjack

European Blackjack is the same as classic blackjack. The professional players are perfect for playing this type of blackjack. The rules of this type of game are accessible to all. The most important thing in the online casino is that there is no hole card in the game. The dealer gets a single face-up card in the form of the original.


Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is a combined form of American poker and Chinese Pai Gow. In this particular game, you have to play against the casino but not with the players. According to the system of this game, you need to make the best 5 and 2 poker hands with the seven cards.



The Keno game comes to run with a card numbered from 1 to 80, and your job is to select 20 numbers in need of placing a bet. The casino representative needs to pick and call out 20 numbers randomly.



In bingo, you will get cards measured in a 5×5 matrix, and every column comes with a design with the letters B-I-N-G-O. It will be your job to match numbers selected automatically for your tickets.


Caribbean Stud Poker 

Caribbean Stud Poker is the best one played against the house. It is better to practice well before you bet money. 


Lottery Games

These also depend on luck. Most people play these games when they feel like the chance is high. For lottery games, players select numbers and hope that the randomly picked numbers will match the ones on the tickets they hold. 

Let It Ride: Let It Ride is another fruitful poker-based casino game. Players need to have three cards in hand and two community cards. Undoubtedly, it is the most popular casino game among gamblers. Often, young adventurers like to play this particular game from their depth of hearts.  


Joker Poker

If you are a regular visitor in a casino, you can try to play online casino poker. It is almost the same as other poker games. It has an additional card called a joker card. In this game, the success rate is very high. 


Wheel of Fortune

Wheel of Fortune is a table game. You come to bet on the symbols of the table. The logo usually comes 6. At the initial stage, somebody spins the wheel, and when it stops, it indicates either right or wrong according to the previous selection.


Classic Slot Games

Classic slot games are the same as a video slot game. It is the best fun-oriented casino game, needs a small investment and gives you maximum chances to win the prize with minor effort. So, please select the best table game to play online casino and enjoy it and earn money as well!



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Posted by on Sep 25, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

New Podcast Episode — An Intelligent Conversation: Two Atheists Talking



Two Atheists Talking

Few belief systems are as incendiary and misunderstood as atheism. Even as the number of people who self-identify as “Nones” (non-affiliated with any religion) has become the fastest-growing group in recent years, outpacing all other organized faiths, atheism remains controversial, and for some, alienating.

In this 90-minute discussion, we explore the essence of non-belief in the supernatural and venture off onto several related tangents about how religion remains an unavoidable social influence, even for those who call themselves atheists.

Matt Lessinger and Nolan Dalla are the participants in this unscripted episode of “An Intelligent Conversation.”

0:02 – How have our religious views evolved over the course of our lives?

9:47 – Just because we avoid organized religion doesn’t mean we had a bad experience with it.

16:34 – Most atheists understand they don’t have all the answers.

24:06 – Have people become more accepting of atheism over time?

28:26 – How many “Nones” are there really?

37:17 – Do the “Unaffiliateds” have a voice?

44:30 – Could “Unaffiliateds” be intimidated into self-identifying as Christian?

48:49 – Nolan identifies Putin as the head of the modern global Christian state.

55:29 – Atheists don’t have to be one-size-fits-all.

1:03:44 – Nolan discusses the Skeptic Movement.

1:06:58 – Is science incompatible with religion?

1:13:45 – Maintaining civility around believers.

1:17:41 – Matt is fascinated by the Jerry Falwell Jr. situation.

1:24:45 – Do we have free will?

Recorded: 19 September 2020




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Posted by on Sep 20, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 2 comments

Remembering Darvin



Darvin Moon was as real as it gets.

No illusions. No pretense. The real deal.

The mirror may have two faces, but Darvin had just one, and it was freckled, usually decorated with an innocent smile and the confident look of being fully content, comfortable in his own skin with who he was and the proud man he came to be, particularly those who were lucky enough to know him.

I was lucky to know him. And the more time I spent with Darvin, the more humble I became merely by his presence and the more impressed I became with the sincerity and honesty of his character when such redeeming attributes have become increasingly scarce in a bravado world.

Darvin didn’t speak much but when he did, we listened. Less was more.

The first time I met Darvin I was sticking a microphone into his exhausted face at 2 am on a sizzling Las Vegas night at the World Series of Poker inside the Rio when no one in a tournament room filled with thousands was hotter than the unknown “lumberjack” from the Maryland panhandle who annihilated everyone in his path en route to the most unlikely Main Event chip leader in a decade.

Darvin, who I’d never met before and never heard of prior to that year’s world poker championship, seemed like he’d just fallen off a turnip truck into a pumpkin patch. The man could have been an extra in “Lil Abner.” It was hard to believe he was real.

“Is this your first time in Las Vegas, Darvin?” I asked.

“Yes Sir (he called everyone “Sir” or “Ma’am”). I flew here on a great big plane and got to the airport and all these people treated me really nice. It’s was the first time I’ve ever been on a plane.”

Wait. This guy can’t be serious, I thought. He’s got the chip lead in the WSOP and he’s never flown before this trip?

“I’ve never played out here before. This is my first tournament, other than the ones at Wheeling (West Virginia).”

Turns out, Darvin won his seat via some small buy-in satellite tourney at a casino near his home, that’s if memory serves (i’m writing this at past midnight from memory). Now, he was sitting at the center of the poker universe competing for nearly $10 million first prize and would be the star on national television.

“What are you going to do if you win it?” I asked Darvin, wondering where this past midnight conversation was headed and if my subject would ever be heard from again once this tournament ended.

“Oh, I’ll stay the same. I might buy myself a new pickup and get something nice for Wendy (his wife), but that’s it.”

Darvin went on to finish second to Joe Cada, the winner.

Someone else might correct me here, but I believe that’s Darvin’s only major cash in a tournament. Unlike most players who made the final table that year, Darvin didn’t bring a cheering section. He didn’t enjoy the roars of the gallery. His cheerleader was Wendy and she was right there, just as she always accompanied Darvin to every poker event. A delightful lady. A partner of life. An anchor of support. They seemed made for each other.

Darvin won millions of dollars, I don’t recall the amount exactly, but he went back to the rolling green hills of western Maryland and he bought that new pickup truck and he got something nice for Wendy and by the time I saw him again a few years later, he was back on his “farm” chopping wood. His farm consisted of something like 600 acres, which was his land before the big poker paycheck. 600 acres, hell that’s practically the size of a county.

That’s where Darvin was at home, most at ease. He was a real lumberjack — precisely what you expected when you heard that word LUMBERJACK — who chopped wood and had the Popeye-muscled forearms to prove it. He later told me he spent days at a time in the wilderness, connected to the earth, his spirit guided by the stars and the wind.

We saw each other on several occasions around that time, as Darvin was a popular fixture on the set of the TV show “Poker Night in America.” Darvin liked to come around the production and talk to the crew even when he wasn’t playing. Todd Anderson, the show’s creator came to be good friends with Darvin. His genuine kindness and perpetual good cheer were infectious. I think that’s why everyone loved being around Darvin, and Wendy, too.

One time, Darvin gave me a lecture on the most common body injuries of being a lumberjack. He broke his arm multiple times, cut through his flesh, and had scars up and down both arms.

“Those trees don’t mess around,” he said. “If I tree is falling, get out of the way — it’s gonna’ fall where it wants.”

You had to love it. Just listening to Darvin was a treat. It was like being given the wisdom of Yoggi Berra dressed up like a woodsman. Simple. But real. Always real.

With Darvin, the more you got to know him, the more you wanted to know. He spoke a simple language but with profound depth. I don’t think Darvin was capable of telling a lie, which makes me wonder if he ever successfully bluffed anyone in poker.

As for poker, Darvin never pretended to be anything other than Darvin, and that was fine. He could easily afford to play in big cash games with his millions and could have played in far more tournaments. But Darvin never wanted that lifestyle. It would have kept him out of the hills, away from his trees, and required too much flying on great big planes.

That wasn’t for Darvin. What was for Darvin was living with nature. Making his own moonshine, which he did and I sampled (more than once). Being loyal to Wendy. Being Darvin Moon.

Tonight, I learned Darvin passed away. I’m really sad. I could not sleep, especially after all we’ve been through. A shitty year just got shittier.

But hey the good news is at least I got to meet Darvin, and interview him, and eventually be his friend. How cool that is.

Next time I am in a forest, and I hope that day is soon, I will look around and observe the tall trees, and try to absorb the connection to the sacred land that Darvin must as felt and experienced hundreds of times in his joyously fulfilling life. I shall close my eyes and take it all in and listen for the sound of the wind. I am sure I will hear Darvin’s voice.


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Posted by on Sep 19, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

2020 NFL: Week #2 Picks



Note:  In a previous report, I listed a betting angle that was not properly been fact-checked.  I have since removed this inaccurate text.  I regret not checking the numbers before publishing them here and will strive to verify the accuracy of all numbers in the future.  




Wins — Losses — Pushes          5 — 9 — 1

Starting Bankroll:   10,000

Current Bankroll:   8,950.

Best Bets:  1 — 0 — 0 (+$400)

Last Week’s Results:          – $1,050.



Jacksonville @ Tennessee
Tennessee by 7.5
Total — 42

Comments:   JAX got a false win last week where they were badly outgained and mostly outplayed, but won outright as 8-point underdogs.  Now, they go on the road and play a better opponent, which likely won’t take them lightly.  TEN played poorly in the MNF opener at DEN last week, and was lucky to win the game with a late FG.  But had TEN’s kicker done his job (he missed three FGs and an XP), let’s remember TEN would have won that game by double-digits.  The mark of a good team is when it plays below its capability and still wins.  That applies to TEN here, which will now face a much softer defense.  TEN should roll here also based on history — last two years Jaguars are just 4-8-1 ATS as a road underdog.  JAX also lost their last six visits to Nashville, with three of their last four losses here by 19+ points.  TEN should play a better game this week, while outclassed JAX folds mid-game and is content to go to 1-1.  Also lean OVER in this game, as TEN might roll up the score after a poor offensive showing in Week 1.  No official play for me in this game, but my lean is to TEN and OVER.


Detroit @ Green Bay
Green Bay by 6
Total — 50

Comments:  GB looks easy here, laying less than a touchdown.  But DET has played GB tough in recent years.  Packers won both games in the series last season by a total of 4 points, and the Lions were really banged up then.  In fact, DET has beat GB 3 of the last 5 at Lambeau Field, so that’s going to keep me off the favorite.  DET is tempting.  They’ve crumbled late in games under Patricia, but do seem to come into games well prepared, evidence by a 23-6 fourth-quarter lead last week (which they squandered).  DET comes in with more urgency here, and I suspect they’ll keep this close for a while.  DET getting+3.5 will be my official pick here, although I’m fearful of GB’s potent offensive attack which decimated MIN last week.  DET does have enough weapons to stay in the game, and it’s hard to argue with their impressive results against the Packers the last 2-3 seasons.  So, let’s play the dog in the first half.


LA Rams @ Philadelphia
Phila by 1.5
Total — 45.5

Comments:   Here’s the first of the five games where the betting angle applies.  I like LAR anyway, especially given PHI injury concerns.  Something is wrong with a team that blows a 17-0 to Washington and if the Eagles couldn’t handle that challenge, they may be in for an even longer afternoon at home against a much better team.  LAR were a surprise in the opener, beating DAL as a home dog.  LAR defense rose to the occasion in the red zone and the offense did just enough to get the win.  I’m also starting to suspect there’s less pressure now on LAR, especially after two seasons when they’ve been under the spotlight.  Now, factored at the third-best team in the division based on season win projections, LAR might be on a bit of a mission.  To return to contender status they need to beat banged-up teams like PHI, and I suspect they will do exactly that.  Last two seasons, PHI is just 5-11 ATS at home.  Last three seasons, LAR are 15-9 ATS on the road.  LAR +1 is the play.  Note:  I’ll also tease LAR up to +7.5 on the 6-point tease.


Carolina @ Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay by 8.5
Total — 47.5

Comments:  CAR offense looked pretty good last week, but the defense was dismal.  That sets up a possible breakout game for Brady, who had a poor game in his TB debut in NOR last week.  That’s the storyline here, and all eyes will be on Brady and the TB offense.  Indeed, this is a perfect setup for a confidence builder.  But it seems foolish to lay this many points with an unproven commodity.  We have no idea how Brady will perform with his new team, and if last week is any indication, there are reasons for concern.  I expect CAR with veteran Bridgewater at QB will keep this close, and within the margin.  Brady could light it up, but TB defense might also allow some yards and points.  Since 2014, TB is just 4-15-2 ATS as a home favorite.  This is the second game where the betting angle applies, and since I like CAR plus the points anyway, this is an easy wager for me.  Taking CAR +8.5


Buffalo at Miami
Buffalo by 3
Total — 41

Comments:  I got a good number here on the total at 41.  I like the OVER.  But it’s now 42.  Tough to know where to score it, so I’ll post this officially at 41.5.  OVER is 14-3 in MIA last 17 home openers.  The heat and humidity wears down defenses, and here’s a good spot to take advantage.  BUF look pretty good last week versus miserable NYJ, and will gain confidence on offense with another sub-par opponent.  MIA has to be disappointed as hell with the weak effort at NWE last week.  MIA should have covered, but an interception in the end zone late killed that prospect.  MIA had been on of the surprising hot teams ATS since last mid-season, going 9-4 versus the number, and winning 5 of those games outright.  I think MIA will play a better game here, especially on offense.  Ancient journeyman Fitzpatrick played a horrible game last week but should perform better.  He tends to play his best when least expected.  Low total here, let’s look for the number to fly OVER.


NY Giants @ Chicago
Chicago by 5.5
Total — 42

Comments:  Both these teams looked dismal much of their openers, although CHI staged an unexpected comeback win.  NYG looked weak on both sides of the ball, especially along the OL and defensive secondary.  OL missed several assignments and was badly outmatched versus PIT.  They now draw another tough chore, facing CHI defensive front.  I expect a long day for NYG.  Also not much impressed with RB Barkley, who admittedly gets little help but so far shows nothing of the star qualities that were expected of him.  Not a fan.  Defensive backs were horrific last week, especially Love who apparently doesn’t know what the word “tackle” means.  This is a bad team, in for a long season.  I can’t trust CHI after being stuck by 17 on the road at DET at one point.  Who knows what to expect from the Bears offense.  UNDER 42 looks to be the play here, for a small bet.


Minnesota @ Indianapolis
Indianapolis by 3
Total — 47.5

Comments:  Another angle play, betting against the winless favorite.  That means taking MIN which was ambushed versus GB last week.  That’s not nearly as humiliating as losing to JAX, however.  Not sure how or why IND is laying a FG.  Favored by 1 or 2…maybe.  But a FG seems like a gift.  I expect both teams to make major adjustments here and the outcome to be close.  Give me the +3 in a game with lots of uncertainty.


Atlanta @ Dallas:
Dallas by 4
Total — 53.5

Comments:  Fourth of the 5 angle plays, betting ATL +4.  DAL was expected to win division and still might simply by default.  Hell, 8-8 might win the NFC East this season.  DAL should bounce back after failing to make big plays when needed in loss at LAR last week.  Much easier foe with weak ATL defense that was destroyed versus SEA last week.  But I still don’t trust DAL, especially laying points.  Most indicators like DAL as the favorite, but I’ll still with the system and play ATL.  They did roll up 500+ yards of offense in Week 1, but lots of those chunks were in garbage time.   Line has dropped to DAL -3.5 in some places.  Not sure why.


San Francisco @ NY Jets
San Francisco by 7
Total — 43.5

Comments:  I must be insane.  Give me the NYJ +7.  It would take a madman to make a case for the Jets, so instead let me explain why the 49ers shouldn’t be laying this number.  SFO scored only 10 points in four trips to red zone, converting just 2/11 on 3rd down, and that was at home versus ARZ.  Also some injury issues at WR and DB could be a concern for the road favorites.  NYJ last three years are 10-6-1 ATS as a home underdog, so they tend to play well when not expected.  This might be another good spot.  Few people will touch the Jets, and the reason is understandable.  But I’ll go with the home dog getting the TD versus offense that may struggle and hasn’t dominated an opponent in quite a while.


Washington @ Arizona
Arizona by 7
Total — 46.5

Comments:  WAS gained only 239 yards, but were +3 in turnovers in upset win vs. PHI.  Similar to JAX situation where a bad team pulled off an unexpected victory at home and might be in for a letdown, especially with little proven talent.  ARZ is the real deal on offense as evidenced by their strong showing at SFO, one of league’s best defenses.  They get a much softer opponent here.  ARZ is tempting to lay points, but better wager might be the teaser down to -1.  If for some reason ARZ has an off day and last week’s win was a fluke, I’m more comfortable with the prospect of them just winning, so the teaser here has appeal.  In fact, I’m pounding ARZ on three teasers this week — with TEN, LAR, and KC.


Baltimore @ Houston
Baltimore by 7.5
Total — 51 1/2

Comments:  BAL virtually got a bye last week with cakewalk win versus CLE, but should be in for a tougher time here.  I suspect HOU will play a better game than they showed at KC and with extra time to prepare off Thurs. loss, HOU finds itself in a game where they have no excuses for at least an improved effort.  Linesmakers might be overreacting just a bit here to BAL looking so impressive and HOU showing little flash in Week 1.  Looks like a classic case of oddsmaker and public overreaction.  Serious concerns about HOU offense with bad playing calling and their best WR traded in offseason.  However, all teams have off weeks and BAL could be in for a trap here.  A full TD is enough to make be bite the forbidden fruit of betting against the Ravens.


Kansas City @ LA Chargers
Kansas City by 8.5
Total — 47

Comments:  For years, I avoided betting on popular favorites like KC in this spot.  A road favorite, playing division foe, yada yada, yada.  I did the contrarian thing all the way to the poorhouse and now I’ve learned my lesson.  At least on this game.  Tyrod Taylor at QB for LAC is reason I’m fading them this week.  He struggled in his start at woeful CIN last week, posting just 16 measly points.  Now, he’s got to compete against Patrick Mahomes who now also has a running game.  Looks scary for Chargers in their home opener.  I won’t lay -8.5 but I do feel confident teasing the champions under a FG and look for them to take care of business.  Extra rest also helps KC and coach Andy Ried is the all-time best with extra prep time, going 17-2 in games off the bye or on Thurs.  Last four years, KC is 15-8-1 ATS as a road favorite.


SNF:  New England @ Seattle
Seattle by 4
Total — 45

Comments:  Sorry to disappoint, but I have no opinion on this game.  NWE getting +4 is tempting but SEA just looks so strong right now.  I’d nip at NWE if I can find +4.5, but this isn’t enough points.  Moreover, NWE offense ran the ball well last week but might not be quite ready versus a SEA team that steamrolled over its opponent and looked unstoppable, at times.  Pass.


MNF:  New Orleans @ Las Vegas
New Orleans by 5.5
Total — 49

Comments:  I’ve already decided I’m not betting this game, so spent no time on it.  Last four years, the Saints are 12-3 ATS as a road favorite.  New stadium and a new city for Raiders, which will be an unusual spot in the sense this isn’t a home field or game yet, with no fans nor any experience in this venue.  NOR has some advantages playing in domes, and the road record ATS being impressive but I’m not laying this number.  Slight lean to the OVER.  Pass.



First Half:  Detroit +3.5 (-115) vs. Green Bay — $230 to win $200

LA Rams +1.5 vs. Philadelphia — $330 to win $300

Carolina +8.5 vs. Tampa Bay — $330 to win $300

Buffalo / Miami OVER 41.5 — $220 to win $200

NY Giants / Chicago UNDER 42 — $110 to win $100

Minnesota +3 vs. Indianapolis — $220 to win $200

Atlanta +4 vs. Dallas — $220 to win $200

NY Jets +7.5 vs. San Francisco — $220 to win $200

Houston + 7 vs. Baltimore — $220 to win $200

Teaser:  ARZ -1 and LAR +7.5 — $360 to win $300

Teaser:  ARZ -1 and TEN -2.5 — $360 to win $300

Teaser:  ARZ -1 and KC -2.5 — $360 to win $300


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