Conference Championship Week – NFL: Beyond the Numbers Season Two

By , January 17, 2013 12:00 pm

The Conference Championship Week episode of Season 2 of Dave Consolazio and Kevin Taylor’s NFL football podcast, NFL: Beyond the Numbers. In this episode we discuss the our picks for Conference Championship Week.

Visit KT’s webpage over at http://www.sportsinvasion.net

2012 NFL Newsletter: Dave’s Dime Divisional Week

By , January 11, 2013 7:00 pm

Dave’s Dime
“Because Two Cents Just Isn’t Enough”

THE INTRO

Hey, I just met you! And this is crazy! But Twenty Thirteen – I love you, baby!

Ugh. “Call Me Maybe” parodies. SO 2012.

But hey, I’m in a singing kind of mood. Last week was a prettay, prettay, prettay good start to the new year.

After going 1-1 straight up and ATS and 1-1 on Over/Unders, it was looking like a pretty normal weekend for me. But late Saturday night, I went down to the Bicycle Casino and entered a $150 poker tournament with 88 entrants. 85 eliminations later, I was the chip leader, and I struck a deal to take home $2900 in cash.

Shortly after getting home, another deal was struck; this one between the NHL and the NHLPA to end the NHL lockout. Indeed, my beloved Kings will be back in action to defend their Stanley Cup Title!

And then Sunday I went 2-0 SU and ATS and 2-0 on Over/Unders to lock up my first winning week here on the Dime since dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Biggest live poker tourney cash, check. LA Kings return, check. Dime back on track, check.

All systems go. OPPA GANGNAM STYLE!

Gangnam Style?!? SO 2012. What the hell are the kids these days doing here in 2013?

Well, whatever those whippersnappers are up to, they’d better watch out. Today, January 11, I turn 27 years old. And 2013 is my year.

At least, it will be if the last week is any indication! I hope you have all had a wonderful kick-off to the new year as well.

THE RECORD

Last Week
With the spread: 3 – 1 – 0 (.750)
Without the spread: 3 – 1 – 0 (.750)
Over/Under: 3 – 1 – 0 (.750)
$Money Picks$: 0 – 0 – 0 (N/A)

Playoffs
With the spread: 3 – 1 – 0 (.750)
Without the spread: 3 – 1 – 0 (.750)
Over/Under: 3 – 1 – 0 (.750)
$Money Picks$: 0 – 0 – 0 (N/A)

Regular Season (Final)
With the spread: 123 – 126 – 7 (.494)
Without the spread: 162 – 93 – 1 (.640)
^Philosophy Picks^: 12 – 21 – 0 (.363)
$Money Picks$: 34 – 33 – 2 (.507)

QUICK RECAP OF LAST WEEK

THE GOOD

#6 Cincinnati (+4.5) @ #3 Houston (-4.5) UNDER 43
#6 Minnesota (+7.5) @ #3 Green Bay (-7.5)
#5 Indianapolis (+6.5) @ #4 Baltimore (-6.5)
#5 Indianapolis (+6.5) @ #4 Baltimore (-6.5) UNDER 47
#5 Seattle (-3.0) @ #4 Washington (+3.0)
#5 Seattle (-3.0) @ #4 Washington (+3.0) UNDER 46

THE BAD

#6 Cincinnati (+4.5) @ #3 Houston (-4.5)
#6 Minnesota (+7.5) @ #3 Green Bay (-7.5) OVER 46

THE PICKS

* – Indicates Upset Pick
^ – Indicates Philosophy Pick
$ – Indicates Money Pick

SATURDAY

#4 Baltimore (+9.5) @ #1 Denver (-9.5)
Over the final 11 weeks of the season, no team was more consistently dominant than the Denver Broncos. Covering the spread in nine of those 11 games, scoring 30 or more points in nine of them and allowing 17 or fewer points in seven of them, the Broncos took on and demolished any and all comers, including Baltimore (34-17) back in Week 15. Will the return of Ray Lewis this time around spark this defense into a big upset? It isn’t impossible, and I actually do fear a back-door type of cover with a spread this big. But Peyton Manning is 8-0 SU and ATS in his last eight games against the Ravens (including his last seven in Indianapolis) and the Broncos have punished me every time I’ve picked against them, so Broncos it is.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Denver
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Denver
OVER/UNDER 46: Over (31-21 Denver)

#3 Green Bay (+2.5) @ #2 San Francisco (-2.5)
Easily the best game on the board this week in my opinion, and the toughest for me to pick an outright winner in. Both of these teams have the talent to go all the way, and both have a chip on their shoulders after disappointing finishes in last years’ playoffs. I’ve gone back and forth quite a bit on this game, but in the end I keep leaning slightly towards San Francisco. Green Bay has struggled against strong rushing teams, and Frank Gore leads a San Francisco attack averaging 155 rushing yards per game. Sure, Week 1 was a long time ago and both teams have changed quite a bit since then, but the 49ers dominated that game at Lambeau Field and did so with a great ground game. Plus, this defense has had the week off to prepare for Aaron Rodgers, and home field is huge in this game. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rodgers stole this game away in the fourth quarter, but I’ll stick with my gut here and take the 49ers in a great one.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: San Francisco
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: San Francisco
OVER/UNDER 45: Under (24-20 San Francisco)

SUNDAY

#5 Seattle (+2.5) @ #1 Atlanta (-2.5)
Last year, I meant to bet on the New York Giants at 25/1 when I visited Las Vegas in December because they felt like the kind of team that “could get hot and go all the way”, but I forgot to before I left. They were that kind of team, and they did go all the way, and I regretted not betting them every step of the way. This December, I may have made the same exact mistake on not betting the Seattle Seahawks. This team has the perfect make-up to go all the way; an outstanding defense, an elite running back and a quarterback that is developing into a star. Will the Seahawks beat the winner of the Green Bay/San Francisco game AND the eventual winner of the AFC? Maybe, maybe not. But I’m very confident that they’ll beat the Falcons this week. I feel for the Falcons, who have in the past two years been blown out at home in Divisional Week after having amazing regular seasons. They’ll obviously be fired up to make sure it doesn’t happen a third straight time. But fire or not, they match up badly against Seattle; their weak rush defense will have a tough time slowing down Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, and their one-dimensional passing offense plays right into Seattle’s strength on defense. Look for Atlanta’s “curse” to extend one more season as Seattle pulls off the “upset” to advance into the NFC Conference Championship.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: $Seattle
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *Seattle
OVER/UNDER 46: Under (24-14 Seattle)

#3 Houston (+9.5) @ #2 New England (-9.5)
I’m actually not going to spend much time on this one, considering I went 3-13 ATS on New England Patriots picks this season so I clearly don’t have the slightest idea of what to expect from this team. My silly logic for picking them to cover the spread this weekend? Houston’s offense is in a rut (less than 20 points in four of last five games), New England’s defense has played well in December, New England’s offense has played well all year (averaging just under 35 points per game), and the only things that have changed since New England crushed Houston 42-14 a few weeks ago are the Patriots getting Rob Gronkowski back and having a bye week to prepare this time around (both bad for the Texans). Makes sense, doesn’t it? So I’m sure the Pats will find a way to just win by a field goal somehow.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: New England
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: New England
OVER/UNDER 47.5: Over (34-20 New England)

THE COLLEGE NICKEL

FINAL RECORD: 40 – 37 – 1 (.519)

Good luck! Thanks for reading!

———————
Questions? Comments? Love the Dime? Hate it? Should I cut it down to a nickel? EMAIL ME FEEDBACK!

Divisional Week – NFL: Beyond the Numbers Season Two

By , January 10, 2013 12:00 pm

The Divisional Week episode of Season 2 of Dave Consolazio and Kevin Taylor’s NFL football podcast, NFL: Beyond the Numbers. In this episode we discuss the our picks for Divisional Week.

Visit KT’s webpage over at http://www.sportsinvasion.net

2012 NFL Newsletter: Dave’s Dime Wild Card Week

By , January 4, 2013 7:00 pm

Dave’s Dime
“Because Two Cents Just Isn’t Enough”

THE INTRO

I feel you, Tony Romo.

I guess you and I are just destined to suck good sir. No one can question our motivation going into Week 17, but everyone can question our results.

You throw a brutal game-losing interception to miss the playoffs in a Week 17 play in game for the second straight year. I go 6-10 ATS to complete a brutal 30-48-2 ATS skid over five straight losing weeks in December.

The nice thing is, unlike you, I get to continue into the playoffs despite my losing record. Zing.

What’s that? You are entering the sixth year of your $67.4 million contract next season while I get paid nothing to do the Dime? Touche. Double Zing.

All joking aside, I am quite disappointed with my results this season. But as I watched the afternoon games unfold while one 16-point underdog (the one I picked) got destroyed and another 16-point underdog (the one I picked against) backdoor covered, I couldn’t help but think… why the hell am I even picking these games?

I think I’ve established at this point that I’m no good at picking every game. Moving forward into future seasons, I’m going to focus on just breaking down games that I actually have a strong opinion on… and maybe just listing my leans on other games for those still interested. I don’t know, I’ll work out the details… but I do know that I can’t keep having games I’d never touch like Kansas City +16.0 at Denver affecting my mood on Sundays.

And speaking of changes, I’m going through some major ones in 2013. For those of you interested in following along with my departure from sports journalism into some new ventures, feel free to join me on my journey over on my blog as I preview my goals for January and 2013.

But enough of that life-sorting stuff, let’s get to the playoffs!

THE RECORD

Last Week
With the spread: 6 – 10 – 0 (.375)
Without the spread: 9 – 7 – 0 (.563)
^Philosophy Picks^: 2 – 1 – 0 (.667)
$Money Picks$: 2 – 1 – 0 (.667)

Season (Final)
With the spread: 123 – 126 – 7 (.494)
Without the spread: 162 – 93 – 1 (.640)
^Philosophy Picks^: 12 – 21 – 0 (.363)
$Money Picks$: 34 – 33 – 2 (.507)

QUICK RECAP OF LAST WEEK

THE GOOD

Tampa Bay (+3.5) @ Atlanta (-3.5)
NY Jets (+3.5) @ Buffalo (-3.5)
Jacksonville (+4.0) @ Tennessee (-4.0)
Carolina (+4.5) @ New Orleans (-4.5)
Philadelphia (+7.0) @ NY Giants (-7.0)
St. Louis (+11.0) @ Seattle (-11.0)

THE BAD

Baltimore (+2.5) @ Cincinnati (-2.5)
Chicago (-3.0) @ $^Detroit (+3.0)
Houston (-7.0) @ $^Indianapolis (+7.0)
Cleveland (+7.0) @ Pittsburgh (-7.0)
Miami (+10.0) @ New England (-10.0)
Oakland (+10.0) @ San Diego (-10.0)
Arizona (+16.5) @ San Francisco (-16.5)
Green Bay (-3.5) @ Minnesota (+3.5)
Kansas City (+16.0) @ Denver (-16.0)
$^Dallas (+3.5) @ Washington (-3.5)

THE PICKS

* – Indicates Upset Pick
^ – Indicates Philosophy Pick
$ – Indicates Money Pick

SATURDAY

#6 Cincinnati (+4.5) @ #3 Houston (-4.5)
In a rematch of last year’s AFC #6 vs. #3 Saturday morning Wild Card matchup, the Bengals and Texans are at it again this year. Last time around, Houston rolled to a 31-10 victory, but I’m expecting much different results this time around. It’s quite possible that the Texans will turn it on and re-find the form that led them to an 11-1 start, but over the last four games the team has not looked sharp at all (1-3 SU and ATS), especially on offense. Cincinnati, meanwhile, has been exceptional on defense and has amassed a 7-1 SU and ATS record over the second half of the season. The Bengals are not only in much better form heading into this game, but also have the revenge factor of being able to return the favor of being knocked out by Houston last year. I think they will do just that.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Cincinnati
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *Cincinnati
OVER/UNDER 43: Under (23-17 Cincinnati)

#6 Minnesota (+7.5) @ #3 Green Bay (-7.5)
Saturday’s second rematch, but instead of being a rematch of last season’s playoffs, it is a rematch of last week’s action. Minnesota scraped out a 37-34 win over Green Bay last week to not only earn itself a playoff spot but to force the Packers to play this Sunday instead of resting. It is tempting to take the points on the Vikings here, as Green Bay clearly doesn’t have an answer for Adrian Peterson (409 rushing yards in two games against the Packers this year). But on the flip side, do the Vikings have an answer for Aaron Rodgers? It didn’t look like it in the second half. The change in venue is huge here as the Packers have won seven straight at Lambeau and after falling short in last year’s playoffs they’ll want to do right by the fans (and themselves) this time around. Christian Ponder will likely struggle on this stage, and the Packers should be able to score enough to stay ahead of Peterson.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Green Bay
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Green Bay
OVER/UNDER 46: Over (34-17 Green Bay)

SUNDAY

#5 Indianapolis (+6.5) @ #4 Baltimore (-6.5)
Ray Lewis is a smart man. By announcing his retirement before this game, he has taken any emotional edge that Indianapolis may have had going into it and evened the playing field in that department. Lewis is the face, heart and soul of the Baltimore Ravens, and in what will likely be his final home game, the team and crowd should be even more pumped up than they already would have been just heading into the playoffs. Factor in Andrew Luck’s interception proneness on the road, and this looks to me like a big Baltimore victory waiting to happen. Indianapolis has had a sensational run and has been an amazing story this season, and the Ravens aren’t immune to being upset; but with Lewis returning, I just don’t see it.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Baltimore
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Baltimore
OVER/UNDER 47: Under (28-17 Baltimore)

#5 Seattle (-3.0) @ #4 Washington (+3.0)
This is the game I keep going back and forth on, and if Green Bay does end up beating Minnesota, I’m going to have a damn hard time picking Atlanta next week against whichever of these teams wins this one. Inherently, I think that Seattle is the better team, most notably on defense. But Washington’s 7-0 SU and ATS finish to end the season, including five wins over division rivals and an impressive one over Baltimore as well, makes the Redskins extremely hard to pick against, especially at home. Are we sure that Seattle’s road woes (3-5 on the road this season) are a thing of the past after beating a slumping Chicago and Buffalo? Or were those road woes based on early start times, which aren’t a factor here? I’ll probably change my mind 10 more times before kickoff, but right now I lean towards Seattle. The defense is so good, and the fact that it has contained and beaten Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick led offenses leads me to believe it can beat a hobbled RGIII. This should be a really, really good one.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Seattle
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Seattle
OVER/UNDER 46: Under (24-20 Seattle)

THE COLLEGE NICKEL

FINAL RECORD: 40 – 37 – 1 (.519)

For those asking, I am leaning towards Alabama minus the points and the UNDER in the BCS National Championship Game.

Last Week:
GATOR BOWL, Northwestern VS. Mississippi State OVER 52 (WIN)
ROSE BOWL, Stanford -6.0 over Wisconsin (TIE)

Good luck! Thanks for reading!

———————
Questions? Comments? Love the Dime? Hate it? Should I cut it down to a nickel? EMAIL ME FEEDBACK!

Wild Card Week – NFL: Beyond the Numbers Season Two

By , January 3, 2013 12:00 pm

The Wild Card Week episode of Season 2 of Dave Consolazio and Kevin Taylor’s NFL football podcast, NFL: Beyond the Numbers. In this episode we discuss the our picks for Wild Card Week.

Visit KT’s webpage over at http://www.sportsinvasion.net

2012 NFL Newsletter: Dave’s Dime Week 17

By , December 29, 2012 7:00 pm

Dave’s Dime
“Because Two Cents Just Isn’t Enough”

THE INTRO

Well this has been a fantastic month of December for the Dime!

Four straight losing weeks. 24-38-2 against the spread. 0-6 against the spread on my Philosophy Picks.

With stats like these, you have to wonder what on earth would ever inspire me to change my career focus!

But alas, more on changing my life next week. Right now, it is time to man up!

Since starting the Dime off with four straight winning seasons, I have had losing seasons in two of the last three years. I must avoid another!

All I have to do is go 8-8.

My old friend 8-8. Friend? Nay, more like a sidekick. A co-captain. A brother.

Without you, 8-8, I’d probably be 7-9. But no, with you, I am ordinary. With you, I am the same, after hundreds of hours of writing and research and stat-crunching all season, as a monkey flipping a coin.

Join me, dear 8-8, on this fateful Winter day. Let us sing and dance in the most ordinary voice with the most ordinary steps!

Let us show the world just how overwhelmingly underwhelming I truly am at picking NFL football games!

8 wins. 8 losses. Zero point five zero zero. We can do this. Together.

.500 OR BUST!

Attttaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

THE RECORD

Last Week
With the spread: 6 – 9 – 1 (.400)
Without the spread: 9 – 7 – 0 (.563)
^Philosophy Picks^: 0 – 3 – 0 (.000)
$Money Picks$: 0 – 2 – 0 (.000)

Season
With the spread: 117 – 116 – 7 (.502)
Without the spread: 153 – 86 – 1 (.640)
^Philosophy Picks^: 10 – 20 – 0 (.333)
$Money Picks$: 32 – 32 – 2 (.500)

QUICK RECAP OF LAST WEEK

THE GOOD

Tennessee (+12.5) @ Green Bay (-12.5)
Oakland (+8.5) @ Carolina (-8.5)
Minnesota (+9.0) @ Houston (-9.0)
Chicago (-6.0) @ Arizona (+6.0)
NY Giants (-2.5) @ Baltimore (+2.5)
San Francisco (+1.0) @ Seattle (-1.0)
Indianapolis (-7.0) @ Kansas City (+7.0) TIE

THE BAD

Atlanta (-3.5) @ $^Detroit (+3.5)
New Orleans (+1.0) @ Dallas (-1.0)
$^Buffalo (+4.5) @ Miami (-4.5)
San Diego (+2.5) @ NY Jets (-2.5)
Washington (-6.5) @ ^Philadelphia (+6.5)
Cincinnati (+3.0) @ Pittsburgh (-3.0)
St. Louis (+3.0) @ Tampa Bay (-3.0)
New England (-14.0) @ Jacksonville (+14.0)
Cleveland (+12.5) @ Denver (-12.5)

THE PICKS

* – Indicates Upset Pick
^ – Indicates Philosophy Pick
$ – Indicates Money Pick

SUNDAY

Tampa Bay (+3.5) @ Atlanta (-3.5)
Atlanta is the only team on the board this Sunday with absolutely nothing to gain from playing with the NFC’s top seed already locked up. Still, reports indicate that the Falcons’ intention is to play to win, likely in part due to their lack of playoff success in recent years and wanting to end the season on a high note. Considering that Tampa Bay’s play has fallen off the face of the Earth, if Atlanta intends to try in this game, it should have no trouble scooping up the win at home.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Atlanta
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Atlanta

NY Jets (+3.5) @ Buffalo (-3.5)
Remember back in Week One when the Jets crushed Buffalo? Those were better times for Sanchez, who is back under center, and this abysmal Jets team. Sure, Buffalo might use that big loss as motivation, but this looks to me like a team that has mailed it in for the season. And as bad as the Jets are, the defense is still there, and shouldn’t have any trouble against this one-dimensional offense. Sanchez is likely playing for 31 other teams this week, and if he can keep his bone-headed plays to a minimum the Jets should be able to squeak out a meaningless win to end another disastrous season.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: NY Jets
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *NY Jets

Baltimore (+2.5) @ Cincinnati (-2.5)
The Bengals are red-hot, and while this game doesn’t mean much to either of these teams, I think from a psyche perspective it means a lot more to the Bengals. The Ravens are a veteran group that already has a home game locked up next week, and they got their wings back last week in stomping the Giants. Cincinnati is 6-1 SU and ATS over its last seven games, and as a young team without any recent playoff success, going into the playoffs on a roll would be great. All of that, and honestly, you could easily argue that the Bengals are the better team right now anyway.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Cincinnati
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Cincinnati

Chicago (-3.0) @ Detroit (+3.0)
Any sane and rational person would have scrapped Philosophy Picks by now, but I’ll continue to go down with the ship. Here you have a slumping home underdog in a division rivalry game with nothing to lose going up against a team that needs a win to keep its playoff hopes alive. After weeks upon weeks of frustration, this is Detroit’s chance to end the season on a high note by ruining a hated rival’s playoff chances. And as bad as the Lions have been, the Bears haven’t been much better of late. Maybe the Lions, like me this week, can man up and come out on top.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: $^Detroit
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *Detroit

Jacksonville (+4.0) @ Tennessee (-4.0)
I actually have no idea on this game. I lean slightly towards Tennessee coming off of that humiliating loss to Green Bay while Jacksonville put up a nice fight on New England, but four points? I’m not ready to lay that between what appears to be two somewhat evenly matched bad teams. My model says Jacksonville 17 – Tennessee 14. I think the Titans get the win, but I can’t lay the points. I’m thinking 17-14 the other way.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Jacksonville
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Tennessee

Houston (-7.0) @ Indianapolis (+7.0)
I actually really like Indianapolis and the points here. Sure, what I said a few weeks ago still holds true, that this is a good (not great) team that gets exposed by superior opponents. But this team has been playing all season long for Chuck Pagano during his recovery process, and now he is actually back in the locker room and on the sideline. The atmosphere at Lucas Oil Stadium is going to be electric as the fans send their team into the playoffs with a ton of positive energy. On the other side, Houston hasn’t looked sharp at all over the last few weeks. I like the Texans to win, but not that much; they either lose outright or win in a close one.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: $^Indianapolis
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Houston

Carolina (+4.5) @ New Orleans (-4.5)
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers have actually looked really good over the last month and change, and logic dictates that this will be a shootout that Carolina can win. But Drew Brees is back in form over the last two weeks, and at home I just don’t see him letting this disappointing season end on a down note. Another blowout victory, along with Sean Peyton’s signing this week, will send the following message to the league: “We’ll see you in 2013.” I’m clearing out my inbox and awaiting its arrival.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: New Orleans
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: New Orleans

Philadelphia (+7.0) @ NY Giants (-7.0)
My model actually has Philadelphia winning this one outright, 30-24. As laughable as that may be, it is based strictly on recent form; and the Giants have been dreadful. Considering big games against big teams with the playoffs and division on the line hasn’t motivated this team, why should we expect an amazing performance this week? The Giants always have trouble with the Eagles, and while I’m not quite ready to pick this turnover-prone disaster of a team outright, I’ll gladly take the points.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Philadelphia
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: NY Giants

Cleveland (+7.0) @ Pittsburgh (-7.0)
Haven’t seen a spread on this game as I “go to print”, and this was one that I saw a spread contest website using, so it’s better than nothing. Anyway, I guess I have to go with the Steelers here. Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson are both out for Cleveland, making it hard for me to find any source of offense for the Browns. And while the Steelers’ play hasn’t been very inspiring of late, they should be angry enough at home to stomp a team that they always stomp, especially considering that the Browns beat them in Cleveland which set this whole collapse in motion. Pittsburgh, reluctantly.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Pittsburgh
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Pittsburgh

Oakland (+10.0) @ San Diego (-10.0)
Terrelle Pryor is starting, that’s cool. Actually gives me some reason to watch my team get annihilated. San Diego is bad, but not remotely as bad as the Raiders/ Sure, Pryor could spark the offense and sure, Philip Rivers could blow a late lead with a pick-six to give Oakland a backdoor cover. Or, the Chargers could expose Oakland’s pitiful defense like they always do, and force a rookie QB making his first start into some rookie mistakes. I’ll go with that one.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: San Diego
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: San Diego

Arizona (+16.5) @ San Francisco (-16.5)
Wow, what a spread. Normally, I’d happily take the points on Arizona, especially against a team like San Francisco that doesn’t have an exceptional offense. But coming off of that humiliating loss to Seattle, you knoe that Jim Harbaugh is going to have his team chomping at the bits to destroy the Cardinals this week to get some mojo back heading into the playoffs. I’d feel bad for any opposing offense coming in this week… it being one of the league’s most pathetic just makes matters even worse for the 49ers’ opposition.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: San Francisco
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: San Francisco

St. Louis (+11.0) @ Seattle (-11.0)
I will almost certainly regret this, but I’m actually taking the points on the Rams. The Rams have very quietly put together a strong finish to the season, and they are built in a way (physical on defense, versatile on offense) to match up well against Seattle. The Seahawks are on an incredible roll on both sides of the ball, and this is a team that is 7-0 SU and ATS at home with 10 straight ATS wins at home… Seattle at home is as clear-cut as it comes. But I think all of that is being factored into this line, and that in reality it should be closer to six or seven points. Feels like a damned if I do, damned if I don’t kind of game, but St. Louis and the points it is.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: St. Louis
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Seattle

Green Bay (-3.5) @ Minnesota (+3.5)
This is one of the most intriguing games on the board with plenty on the line for both teams. Both teams are hot, but I think Green Bay gets the job done here. The Packers have been in playoff mode for months, have dominated the NFC North (5-0 SU and ATS), and as good as Adrian Peterson is, he is Minnesota’s only threat on offense. If this game comes down to the quarterbacks in the fourth quarter, who do you like, Aaron Rodgers or Christian Ponder? The hook to 3.5 makes this a bit scarier, but I’m expecting a 24-17 type of win for the Pack.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Green Bay
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Green Bay

Miami (+10.0) @ New England (-10.0)
No team has tortured me more than the New England Patriots this season. I am an astounding 2-13 ATS in the 15 games featuring the New England Patriots. That is pretty damn remarkable. My model says “you are on your own” in this one, giving me a score of 24-14 New England. So with zero confidence, I’m taking the Patriots; New England always plays to win in Week 17, and after losing its last home game to San Francisco and looking out-of-whack last week against the Jags, I think (or hope) that a two-touchdown win against the Fins is in order.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: New England
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: New England

Kansas City (+16.0) @ Denver (-16.0)
This is another pick and spread that I hate, but I’ve talked myself into the Chiefs. Denver is a well-oiled machine, and there is little to no doubt that the Broncos can win this game and pick their score. But unlike San Francisco who needs a punching bag, the Broncos have been comfortably steamrolling the league for weeks. There shouldn’t be any great desire to pound the Chiefs into submission; simply winning and getting into the playoffs healthy should be the priority. Would it surprise anyone to see Peyton Manning and some key defensive starters removed from the game with a 21-point lead? I’m sure Denver will win 31-10 and bury me for my stupidity, but the Chiefs have shown some fight in big games this season, and this is the kind of spread that should embarrass and motivate them into a strong effort and cover.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Kansas City
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Denver

Dallas (+3.5) @ Washington (-3.5)
I can’t think of a more fitting final pick of the season, for me, than a team that everyone else has already ruled out. The Washington Redskins are 6-0 SU and ATS over their last six games, and it seems that everyone and their mother is penciling them into the NFC East Champion slot and not giving Dallas a snowball’s chance this Sunday. But you know what? Dallas isn’t so bad either. And back in Week One, the Cowboys took their pent up frustration from falling a game short last year out on the Giants in beating New York in their stadium. Now, back in that same situation again, feeling the sting of last year all over again, you think they are going to let that happen again? I say no. Both teams want it, and both teams are motivated. But this is Washington’s first go at it in a while, and I think that the Cowboys are sick and tired of being everyone else’s stepping stool. “RGIII for MVP” be damned, “Romo is a choke” be damned, “Jerry Jones is a joke” be damned, Dallas mans up Sunday night and stuns the world. The world, but not Dave’s Dime.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: $^Dallas
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: ^*Dallas

THE COLLEGE NICKEL

FINAL RECORD: 39 – 37 – 0 (.513)

I was thinking about doing a video, but realized I only have two strong opinions on the remaining bowl games. Therefore, might as well just write them up here instead.

GATOR BOWL, Northwestern VS. Mississippi State OVER 52:
I honestly think that this total is off by about 10 points. This is a classical case of strength vs. weakness when both teams’ offenses are on the field. Mississippi State has an outstanding passing attack and NW has been torched all season long by quality passing games, and Northwestern is one of the nation’s leading rushing teams going up against a Mississippi State team that had no answer for the run this year. I’d actually be quite surprised if either team failed to score into the high 20’s, and expect both to score into the 30’s. Even if I’m wrong about it being a total shootout, a score like 31-23 is enough at this low total.

ROSE BOWL, Stanford -6.0 over Wisconsin:
Both of these teams play similar, smash-mouth brands of football. The thing is, I like Stanford’s defense and front seven a lot better. The Cardinal are built to stop the run, and Wisconsin doesn’t have the passing game to keep Stanford honest, either. Furthermore, Wisconsin’s coach ditched the team for the Arkansas job; historically, teams that lose their coach leading up to a bowl game tend not to perform well in that bowl game. I expect the Badgers to compete and put up a fight, and this is actually a lot of points for a game that should be low scoring. But in the end, I only see Wisconsin scoring in the neighborhood of 10 to 17 points, and think Stanford can get into the 24 to 27 range for a win and cover.

Good luck! Thanks for reading!

———————
Questions? Comments? Love the Dime? Hate it? Should I cut it down to a nickel? EMAIL ME FEEDBACK!

2012 NFL Newsletter: Dave’s Dime Week 16

By , December 21, 2012 7:00 pm

Dave’s Dime
“Because Two Cents Just Isn’t Enough”

THE INTRO

Sigh.

For a split second there, I let myself believe.

I let myself believe that this was my year. Not to be the greatest in the world or anything silly like that, but just to finish comfortably over .500 for a change. In the past, December was when I clawed my way back UP to .500 after digging a huge hole for myself. But this year, I actually had a huge buffer zone coming into December.

“HAD” being the key word in that sentence.

16-16 straight up, 11-21 against the spread over the last two weeks… fantastic. Back to clawing, only this time to stay above .500 instead of to reach it.

Then Thursday I send out my pick for a Thursday night game that doesn’t exist. Oops. Well at least I was reminded that some of you actually still read this thing! I got everything from polite reminders “It’s a Saturday game, not a Thursday game”, to “cut back on the alcohol” to the one character response, “?”. Thank you all for emailing, that was good for some laughs.

Whatever “confidence” I have is shot. This is usually my favorite part of the year to pick games with Philosophy Picks galore, but those are under 40% this year, so what’s to get excited about?

Alas, I must press on and take my beating. Last week I took a bunch of underdogs and got destroyed, now that I like a bunch of favorites this week I’m sure it will be Dog City.

Such is life at Dave’s Dime.

Merry Christmas!

THE RECORD

Last Week
With the spread: 5 – 11 – 0 (.313)
Without the spread: 7 – 9 – 0 (.438)
^Philosophy Picks^: 0 – 2 – 0 (.000)
$Money Picks$: 1 – 2 – 0 (.333)

Season
With the spread: 111 – 107 – 6 (.509)
Without the spread: 144 – 79 – 1 (.646)
^Philosophy Picks^: 10 – 17 – 0 (.370)
$Money Picks$: 32 – 30 – 2 (.516)

QUICK RECAP OF LAST WEEK

THE GOOD

NY Giants (+1.0) @ Atlanta (-1.0)
Washington (+3.5) @ Cleveland (-3.5)
Indianapolis (+10.0) @ Houston (-10.0)
Carolina (+3.0) @ San Diego (-3.0)
$Seattle (-4.5) @ Buffalo (+4.5)

THE BAD

Cincinnati (-4.5) @ $^Philadelphia (+4.5)
Minnesota (+2.5) @ St. Louis (-2.5)
Jacksonville (+8.0) @ Miami (-8.0)
Green Bay (-2.5) @ $^Chicago (+2.5)
Denver (-3.0) @ Baltimore (+3.0)
Tampa Bay (+3.5) @ New Orleans (-3.5)
Detroit (-6.5) @ Arizona (+6.5)
Pittsburgh (+1.0) @ Dallas (-1.0)
Kansas City (+4.0) @ Oakland (-4.0)
San Francisco (+4.5) @ New England (-4.5)
NY Jets (+1.0) @ Tennessee (-1.0)

THE PICKS

* – Indicates Upset Pick
^ – Indicates Philosophy Pick
$ – Indicates Money Pick

SATURDAY

Atlanta (-3.5) @ Detroit (+3.5)
You should all bet/pick the Atlanta Falcons, immediately. Why? Because I love the Lions today. And what do we know about me over the last three weeks and philosophy picks over the course of 2012? They suck, miserably. You’ve heard it all before; one team coming in very high (Atlanta beating New York 34-0), one team coming in very low (Detroit losing to ARIZONA 38-10). This is even more pronounced by the fact that Atlanta was virtually a pick’em and Detroit was a big favorite. Then you’ve also got the fact that the line has moved down from 4.5 to 3.5 despite the fact that EVERYONE is betting on Atlanta. What the hell? Sportsbooks have been giving money away all season long despite the fact that I’ve been saying they don’t do so. Well, I’m here in Las Vegas on vacation and I, for one, will continue to stubbornly sink with my ship (like Rex Ryan did with Mark Sanchez) and bet my hard earned money on Detroit. Will you sink with me, or do the wise thing and ignore me? My girlfriend says 30-17 Atlanta… she’s probably the smart one here.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: $^Detroit
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: ^*Detroit

SUNDAY

New Orleans (+1.0) @ Dallas (-1.0)
This one has the potential to be a very fun game, especially if Drew Brees is as sharp as he was last week. I like Dallas for two reasons in this one; the Cowboys have been playing very well, and defensively they have been sharp against the pass all season. I’m still not sold on New Orleans’ defense, and think that the Cowboys at home will make more plays on the defensive side of the ball to eke out another close victory, potentially setting the stage for an epic showdown in Week 17 with the Washington Redskins.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Dallas
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Dallas

Tennessee (+12.5) @ Green Bay (-12.5)
This is one of those “it’s up to Green Bay” games that are pretty impossible to break down logically or statistically. Considering how much of a roll the Packers are on, and the fact that Tennessee’s appetite for a win should be subdued by that ugly mess on Monday night, I’ll take Green Bay… but coin flips haven’t been my friend over the last two weeks.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Green Bay
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Green Bay

Indianapolis (-7.0) @ Kansas City (+7.0)
So over the last two months, we’ve seen a very clear trend with the Indianapolis Colts; they crush bad teams and cover the spread against them (7-0 SU and ATS) and they lose to elite teams big (0-2 SU and ATS). Coming off of a 15-0 loss to the Oakland Raiders, which category would you put Kansas City in, “bad” or “elite”? Exactly.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Indianapolis
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Indianapolis

Buffalo (+4.5) @ Miami (-4.5)
This is a pretty standard philosophy pick, and one I actually don’t disagree with myself on for a change. Buffalo is coming in off of a 33-point loss while Miami is coming in off of a 21-point win. Furthermore, it is a division rivalry game in December, and it isn’t that hard to see CJ Spiller having a big day against the Fins. Miami is the better team, but this Sunday I think the Bills can find a win down in warmer climates.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: $^Buffalo
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: ^*Buffalo

San Diego (+2.5) @ NY Jets (-2.5)
LOL. That’s really all you can do with this game, laugh at it. It’s not just that these two teams are bad, they are laughably bad, always finding cool and exciting ways to embarrass themselves and lose. But, since they can’t both lose, we need to pick a winner. At home looking to bounce back from another national television humiliation, and with a new quarterback under center, I think the Jets can rally together and win this game. Or have it handed to them by the Chargers in some odd fashion, but you know what I mean.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: NY Jets
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: NY Jets

Washington (-6.5) @ Philadelphia (+6.5)
Considering the fact that I just lost on a philosophy pick taking Philadelphia for the exact same reasons I’m about to last week, and the fact that I’m just 37% on these this year, I’m finally taking the “money pick” out of philosophy pick on this one. Having said that, I am still making the pick. Not only are the Eagles coming in off of a blowout loss and the Redskins on a blowout win (and five straight wins to boot), but all of the pressure is on Washington here while Philadelphia can play loose. The Eagles also disappointed their home crowd last week and would love to get redemption and play spoiler this week. Sadly, the Eagles are so awful at protecting the football and making opponents pay for mistakes that they will probably lose this one too… but I’m still picking them to cover.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: ^Philadelphia
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Washington

Cincinnati (+3.0) @ Pittsburgh (-3.0)
Recent play points entirely to Cincinnati. The Bengals are 5-1 SU and ATS over their last six games and could easily be 6-0 if not for a late collapse against Dallas. Pittsburgh meanwhile hasn’t looked sharp at all and has lost two straight overall and at home. History points clearly to Pittsburgh though, as the Steelers have dominated the Bengals in recent years and have also dominated at home in recent years, and also seem to kick in to another gear in December. So what prevails, history or recent play? As much as I tend to ignore trends, my gut tells me history, and that the Steelers will make the playoffs with a win this week and next week.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Pittsburgh
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Pittsburgh

St. Louis (+3.0) @ Tampa Bay (-3.0)
This is a very interesting game between two teams that are very close in terms of where they are at right now. Both teams lost in blowouts last week and have coaches that should have them fired up to perform much better this week. I’m taking Tampa Bay strictly due to home field advantage in this one. Another coin flip in my opinion, so here goes nothing.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Tampa Bay
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Tampa Bay

Oakland (+8.5) @ Carolina (-8.5)
Good job, bookmakers! They are not fooled by Oakland’s silly “shutout win” last week over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders’ defense isn’t magically all better, it just got a fantastic matchup against a truly pitiful offense last week. This week, the Raiders will have no answer for Cam Newton, who has been surging over the last few weeks. Can Oakland do enough on offense to cover the spread? Possibly… but I’m not banking on it.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Carolina
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Carolina

New England (-14.0) @ Jacksonville (+14.0)
Another “It’s up to New England” game that can’t really be broken down. I’d love to make a case for taking a home underdog in the NFL of 14 points, but 14 points is nothing if New England comes out as angry as I expect them to after last week’s December loss at home. But who knows? Not only have coin flips been bad to me recently, but New England has been consistently bad to me all season long. Damned if I do, Damned if I don’t, I guess I’ll take the stupid Patriots.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: New England
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: New England

Minnesota (+9.0) @ Houston (-9.0)
Maybe I’m just caught up in the Adrian Peterson hype (which may end after this week going up against Houston’s stout rushing defense), but nine points feels like too many for a team fighting for its playoff life and coming off of a very strong performance. Houston has home field throughout the playoffs all but locked up needing only one win this week or next week, and while I think they get that win this week it may be by only a touchdown or so.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Minnesota
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Houston

Cleveland (+12.5) @ Denver (-12.5)
Denver has been a well-oiled machine over the last two months, and I fully expect the Broncos to win their last two games and earn their first-round bye. But after stomping Baltimore last week, I wouldn’t be surprised if they took their foot off the gas a little this week against a team they should easily beat. And as bad as Cleveland looked last week, the Browns are a team that fights hard week in and week out. I see a final score of around 27-17 Denver, with Cleveland sneaking in a cover with this big spread.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Cleveland
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Denver

Chicago (-6.0) @ Arizona (+6.0)
Chicago feasts on bad teams, and Arizona is a bad team. Granted, the Bears are playing terribly right now and the Cardinals just found a way to win big against Detroit, but the Bears should be able to manage around 20 points in this one, and that should really be more than enough.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Chicago
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Chicago

NY Giants (-2.5) @ Baltimore (+2.5)
It’s hard for me to imagine either of these teams losing this game at this time of the year, but one of them has to. My gut says that Baltimore wins it. Neither team has looked all that great recently, and in a game like this I actually think that home field could be very relevant. The Ravens haven’t been themselves at home lately, but after last week’s disappointing performance at home against the Broncos, I think they bounce back and find a way in this one, even if that means the end of the line for the Giants.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Baltimore
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *Baltimore

San Francisco (+1.0) @ Seattle (-1.0)
Seattle’s home dominance is well documented (6-0 SU and ATS at home this season, 14-2 ATS in its last 16 home games), but then San Francisco is pretty damn good on the road to as evidenced in last Sunday night’s win over New England. While I think San Francisco is the slightly better team, this game comes down to timing for me. Seattle has won two straight games in blowout fashion without really needing to break a sweat. The 49ers, meanwhile, are coming in off of a grueling game on the other side of the country in which they left everything on the field. I think the Seahawks will be a little fresher, and at home, that will be enough to make the difference in what should be a very physical game.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Seattle
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Seattle

THE COLLEGE NICKEL

FINAL RECORD: 39 – 37 – 0 (.513)

(Bowl Video Coming Soon!)

Good luck! Thanks for reading!

———————
Questions? Comments? Love the Dime? Hate it? Should I cut it down to a nickel? EMAIL ME FEEDBACK!

2012 NFL Newsletter: Dave’s Dime Week 15

By , December 15, 2012 7:00 pm

Dave’s Dime
“Because Two Cents Just Isn’t Enough”

THE INTRO

Make some picks and hope they’re winners!

Fa la la la la la la la la

Get fat on holiday dinners!

Fa la la la la la la la la

Try to write a song for intro!

Fa la la la la la la la la

Looks like I’ve sunk to a new low.

Fa la la la la la la la la

Man I love this time of year.

Heading to Vegas for a couple of days with the girlfriend this week, having a Holiday party with friends this Saturday, then plenty of time with the family for good food, presents, and laughs.

Maybe, just maybe, the Raiders will actually win a game this week going up against the equally pathetic Kansas City Chiefs.

Maybe I’ll have my first winning week of December.

Hmm, those are some big maybes. At least the Raiders and my awful picks can’t ruin the entire holiday season for me. Only the Sundays.

THE RECORD

Last Week
With the spread: 6 – 10 – 0 (.600)
Without the spread: 9 – 7 – 0 (.625)
^Philosophy Picks^: 0 – 1 – 0 (.000)
$Money Picks$: 3 – 2 – 0 (.600)

Season
With the spread: 106 – 96 – 6 (.525)
Without the spread: 137 – 70 – 1 (.662)
^Philosophy Picks^: 10 – 15 – 0 (.400)
$Money Picks$: 31 – 28 – 2 (.525)

QUICK RECAP OF LAST WEEK

THE GOOD

$Denver (-10.0) @ Oakland (+10.0)
Kansas City (+7.0) @ Cleveland (-7.0) $UNDER 38
Philadelphia (+7.5) @ Tampa Bay (-7.5)
Atlanta (-3.0) @ Carolina (+3.0)
NY Jets (-3.0) @ Jacksonville (+3.0)
Miami (+10.5) @ San Francisco (-10.5)
Detroit (+6.5) @ $Green Bay (-6.5)

THE BAD

St. Louis (+3.0) @ Buffalo (-3.0)
Dallas (+3.5) @ Cincinnati (-3.5)
Kansas City (+7.0) @ Cleveland (-7.0)
Tennessee (+5.0) @ Indianapolis (-5.0)
Chicago (-2.5) @ Minnesota (+2.5)
Philadelphia (+7.5) @ Tampa Bay (-7.5) $OVER 48
$^Baltimore (+2.5) @ Washington (-2.5)
San Diego (+8.0) @ Pittsburgh (-8.0)
Arizona (+10.0) @ Seattle (-10.0)
New Orleans (+5.0) @ NY Giants (-5.0)
Houston (+3.5) @ New England (-3.5)

THE PICKS

* – Indicates Upset Pick
^ – Indicates Philosophy Pick
$ – Indicates Money Pick

THURSDAY

Cincinnati (-4.5) @ Philadelphia (+4.5)
Didn’t send out an email this week but took the Eagles on my Twitter account as a Philosophy Pick… shocking, another Philosophy Pick loss.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: $^Philadelphia (LOSS)
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *Philadelphia (LOSS)

SUNDAY

NY Giants (+1.0) @ Atlanta (-1.0)
Like just about everyone, I’m torn on this one, and it should be a great game. All of the little things point to Atlanta for me though; the Falcons are coming off of an ugly loss while the Giants are coming off of a pretty win, Atlanta is at home, and there could be a lingering revenge factor from last year’s embarrassing blowout loss in the playoffs. So, Atlanta it is.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Atlanta
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Atlanta

Minnesota (+2.5) @ St. Louis (-2.5)
The Rams have quietly put together a solid season, especially on defense, and have won three straight. They have the ability to at least contain Adrian Peterson as they did CJ Spiller last week, and at home the Rams have been getting the job done this year. This should be another good game, but I like Sam Bradford to make more plays than Christian Ponder in a winning effort.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: St. Louis
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: St. Louis

Jacksonville (+8.0) @ Miami (-8.0)
This spread is a bit silly in my opinion. I have been a proponent of Miami all year, but what exactly has this offense done over the last month or so that we should expect a blowout victory in this one? My model actually has Jacksonville winning the game outright. I won’t go that far, but I do think the Dolphins win it by three or four, not in a landslide.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Jacksonville
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Miami

Green Bay (-2.5) @ Chicago (+2.5)
Isn’t Green Bay EVERYONE’S top play this week? I mean I know I can’t hit one of these to save my life this year, but I’ll say for the millionth time, SPORTBOOKS DO NOT GIVE AWAY MONEY. At least, they didn’t used to. Green Bay is 7-1 straight up and 6-2 against the spread over its last eight games and is on a tear. Chicago is 1-4 SU and ATS over its last five games and is fading fast with Brian Urlacher out and Jay Cutler beat up. The Packers are 4-0 SU and ATS in their last four games against the Bears and 8-2 SU and ATS over their last 10. In what world does them being such a tiny favorite make sense? Then it moves from -3.0 to -2.5? This used to be about as automatic of a Philosphy win as they came; this year I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: $^Chicago
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *Chicago

Washington (+3.5) @ Cleveland (-3.5)
The Washington Redskins are not a one man team. Well, they kind of are, but let me re-phrase; this team believes in itself, as it showed in its gutsy win over Baltimore even after RGIII went down. Kirk Cousins gets the start this week, and he should do fine. Cleveland is playing great football right now and deserves to be the favorite at home. But I feel like RGIII is going to ask his team to go get this win for him and that he’ll be back next week and they’ll make a legitimate run at this thing… and I think everyone is going to step up and do just that.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Washington
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *Washington

Denver (-3.0) @ Baltimore (+3.0)
Baltimore is 16-1 in its last 17 games in Baltimore, and the idea of this team losing three straight games (in December no less) just doesn’t sit right with me. Denver has been arguably the best team in football over the last two months, but I think it is fair to ask; who have they beaten? The Broncos lost early-season tests to Atlanta, Houston, and New England and have since rung off eight straight wins against non-playoff teams, with the potential exception of Cincinnati. I’m not arguing that the Broncos aren’t legit, as I believe that they are. But facing a hungry, angry Baltimore team on the road this week just doesn’t seem like a favorable spot to me.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Baltimore
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *Baltimore

Indianapolis (+10.0) @ Houston (-10.0)
Now above I just mentioned that the Broncos haven’t beaten anyone, but I think they are legit. Indy I don’t think is a legit contender. I think the Colts are a good team performing to the best of their ability every week, which is a feat in and of itself. But over the course of their current 7-1 SU and ATS run, the Colts haven’t beaten a single team with a record over 5-8. In their one real test, they were demolished 59-24 by the Patriots. Houston enters this game coming off of a terrible performance in prime time and should be plenty fired up to lock up the AFC South this week to avoid a potential showdown in Indianapolis for the division in a few weeks. I think Houston will score into the 30’s, and Luck will throw multiple interceptions trying to keep his team close.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Houston
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Houston

Tampa Bay (+3.5) @ New Orleans (-3.5)
Quite simply, I think Tampa Bay is the better team in this game. I also think that Drew Brees is trying to do way too much and has had one of the worst months of his career. Can the Saints get it all turned around this week, at home, with suspended players returning? Sure. But I think the alternative is a possibility as well, that Brees’s struggles continue and that the Bucs, backed by a big day on offense, pick up an upset win.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Tampa Bay
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *Tampa Bay

Detroit (-6.5) @ Arizona (+6.5)
All of the emotional factors of wanting to bounce back that come from a long losing streak likely would have kicked in by now for the Arizona Cardinals if they were going to at all. I could make a case for coming off of such a historically bad performance with a big game, but the Lions are also mired in a big losing streak so both teams have pride to play for. Except that the Lions actually have an offense, and have actually been showing some fight. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arizona put up a fight, but I won’t pick it.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Detroit
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Detroit

Carolina (+3.0) @ San Diego (-3.0)
Both of these teams have been playing better lately than their record would indicate, though both still have their share of problems as well obviously. This one is very tough to call, so I’m just going to go with the Panthers because I think that Cam Newton will be able to rise to the occasion and outduel Philip Rivers; not that that is a particularly exciting occasion to rise to.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Carolina
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *Carolina

Seattle (-4.5) @ Buffalo (+4.5)
I actually LOVE the Seahawks today. Their bad road play is well-documented, but they are playing very well right now and are coming off of a win at Soldier Field in their last road game. Buffalo is 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS going up against teams with winning records, and CJ Spiller will have a tough task against Seattle’s stout rushing defense. On the other side, Marshawn Lynch should have a field day against one of the worst rushing defenses in the league. Buffalo is 1-3 all-time in its four games at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, and I expect that to fall to 1-4 after today.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: $Seattle
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Seattle

Pittsburgh (+1.0) @ Dallas (-1.0)
Two 7-6 teams both needing a win to make a late playoff push; doesn’t get a whole lot more interesting than this. Dallas actually needs the win more as Pittsburgh will get the chance to take Cincinnati on head-to-head next week. Still, I like the Steelers to win. Dallas hasn’t been a strong home team lately (0-9 ATS, 4-5 SU over their last nine games), and historically this is the time of year the Pittsburgh ramps it up and Dallas crumbles. On a heavier note, the team was able to earn a huge win last week in the wake of their team tragedy, but this is the week that we may see the effects of it, much like Kansas City won against Carolina and then was blown out by Cleveland. This one won’t be a blowout, but I do think it’ll be a Dallas loss.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Pittsburgh
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *Pittsburgh

Kansas City (+4.0) @ Oakland (-4.0)
The Raiders are a four point favorite? Don’t make me laugh. Sure, Oakland had a solid-ish game in last week’s loss to Denver. And sure, the Raiders are better than the Chiefs, and beat them in Kansas City. But since then, the Raiders have given up on the season while the Chiefs have actually shown fight in a lot of games, last week’s not included of course. Oakland should be able to beat this team of all teams, but I think it’ll go right down to the wire in a game that I already regret that I’ll be watching.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Kansas City
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Oakland

San Francisco (+4.5) @ New England (+4.5)
After last week’s blowout win over Houston, I officially give up when it comes to Patriots games. I mean what the hell? Struggle with teams like Miami and Buffalo, destroy teams like Houston? Who knows what to think anymore. Actually, the Patriots defense looks like it is coming around, which could spell doom for the rest of the league. Normally, I’d say take the elite defense here against the high-powered offense, especially considering San Francisco’s ability to get to the quarterback. But Brady and Belichick are about as close to invincible as it gets in December at Gillette Stadium, and the way this team is playing right now, I don’t want to take my chances on a kid making his fifth career start.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: New England
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: New England

MONDAY

NY Jets (+1.0) @ Tennessee (-1.0)
How’s this for a primetime Monday Night Football game? Yuck. Two bad teams here, but the Jets have actually been playing some great defense of late and have won three of their last four games. The loss, of course, being that humiliating dismantling on Thanksgiving Day via the Patriots. New York will want to make a better impression on prime time this time around, and despite their offensive woes, the Jets can handle a team like the Titans.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: NY Jets
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *NY Jets

THE COLLEGE NICKEL

FINAL RECORD: 39 – 37 – 0 (.513)

(Bowl Video Coming Soon!)

Good luck! Thanks for reading!

———————
Questions? Comments? Love the Dime? Hate it? Should I cut it down to a nickel? EMAIL ME FEEDBACK!

2012 NFL Newsletter: Dave’s Dime Week 14

By , December 8, 2012 7:00 pm

Dave’s Dime
“Because Two Cents Just Isn’t Enough”

THE INTRO

Man, the Raiders suck.

I mean really suck.

Granted, they played as well as you could possibly hope for last week, making Peyton Manning settle for four field goals in the red zone.

But they still lost by double digits. At home. Again.

Over the last two 8-8 seasons, Oakland hasn’t really been a threat to do any damage in the playoffs, but at least it was sporadically entertaining and fun to watch. This year’s team has been a nightmare, and has made every week as a fan a chore.

Fortunately my Alma mater, preseason No. 1 USC, will be playing for a National Championship next month!

Er, wait, that’s playing for the Sun Bowl this month. Against a 6-7 team. In El Paso. Hmm.

Oh well, at least I have my DEFENDING STANLEY CUP CHAMPION LOS ANGELES KINGS to watch!

Oh, right, no I don’t. Because the gasbags in charge of the NHL and NHLPA are so caught up in their egos that they are willing to lose the entire season (and maybe more!) over it.

I did say that the Kings winning the cup last year was the pinnacle for me as a sports fan, and that anything else from that point on would just be icing on the cake.

So… I guess I’ll just go have a slice of my icingless cake.

(To all of my Jewish readers, Happy Hanukkah! Enjoy your eight crazy nights!)

THE RECORD

Last Week
With the spread: 7 – 8 – 1 (.600)
Without the spread: 9 – 7 – 0 (.625)
^Philosophy Picks^: 0 – 0 – 0 (N/A)
$Money Picks$: 0 – 1 – 0 (.000)

Season
With the spread: 100 – 86 – 6 (.538)
Without the spread: 128 – 63 – 1 (.670)
^Philosophy Picks^: 10 – 14 – 0 (.416)
$Money Picks$: 28 – 26 – 2 (.519)

QUICK RECAP OF LAST WEEK

THE GOOD

Indianapolis (+6.0) @ Detroit (-6.0)
Minnesota (+7.5) @ Green Bay (-7.5)
Houston (-6.5) @ Tennessee (+6.5)
Carolina (-4.0) @ Kansas City (+4.0)
Cleveland (-2.0) @ Oakland (+2.0)
Pittsburgh (+7.5) @ Baltimore (-7.5)
Philadelphia (+10.5) @ Dallas (-10.5)
New England (-7.0) @ Miami (+7.0) TIE

THE BAD

New Orleans (+3.5) @ Atlanta (-3.5)
Jacksonville (+6.0) @ Buffalo (-6.0)
Seattle (+3.0) @ Chicago (-3.0)
San Francisco (-7.0) @ St. Louis (+7.0)
Arizona (+6.0) @ NY Jets (-6.0)
Tampa Bay (+7.5) @ Denver (-7.5)
Cincinnati (-1.0) @ San Diego (+1.0)
NY Giants (-3.0) @ Washington (+3.0)

THE PICKS

* – Indicates Upset Pick
^ – Indicates Philosophy Pick
$ – Indicates Money Pick

THURSDAY

Denver (-10.0) @ Oakland (+10.0)
As any long-time reader of the Dime would tell you, a double-digit home underdog in a division rivalry game in December should be about as clear cut of a philosophy pick as you can get. But contrary to what you may expect, I’m going with the Broncos, and doing so confidently. Over the last four games, while the Raiders have shown how bad they are talent-wise, they haven’t shown so much as a grain of passion or effort. Denver, on the other hand, has been a model of consistency over the course of its current seven-game winning streak on both sides of the ball. The idea of philosophy picks is to see a team will its way into a game even when the X’s and O’s aren’t there… the problem for the Raiders is that they don’t have that will. Look for another humiliating loss as the Broncos win this one by 20 or more.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: $Denver
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Denver

SUNDAY

St. Louis (+3.0) @ Buffalo (-3.0)
I honestly don’t have much of an opinion at all on this game. Two bad teams with bad defenses and solid offenses, could be a shootout-type of game. I’ll defer to my model on this one, which says Buffalo by a touchdown; and considering how bad St. Louis has been on the road throughout most of the season, I guess that would make sense.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Buffalo
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Buffalo

Dallas (+3.5) @ Cincinnati (-3.5)
Both of these teams have been playing very well lately, especially on offense. But while Dallas’s offense has been on fire, the defense has been really bad; Cinci has been very sharp on both sides of the ball in four straight games. At home, playing a more well-rounded game, the Bengals should be able to earn a 4-point win.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Cincinnati
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Cincinnati

Kansas City (+7.0) @ Cleveland (-7.0)
This one is really tough. On the one hand, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kansas City have a letdown game after all of last week’s emotion. On the other, Cleveland isn’t built to blow anyone out, and seven points is an awful lot to give up to a team that has played some great teams tough in recent weeks. Since this is striking me as a 14-10 type of a game, I think the points are too valuable to pass up on.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Kansas City
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Cleveland
OVER/UNDER 38: $UNDER 38

Tennessee (+5.0) @ Indianapolis (-5.0)
As mentioned last week, you never know what you are going to get out of Tennessee. You do know what you are going to get out of Indianapolis and Andrew Luck at home though, and that’s wins. Don’t love giving up the points, but the Cols are certainly capable of handling it.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Indianapolis
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Indianapolis

Chicago (-2.5) @ Minnesota (+2.5)
Brian Urlacher’s injury makes this game a lot harder to pick than it was going to be originally, for if anyone can make the Bears pay for any weakness up the middle it would be Adrian Peterson. Not that I am a big trends guy, but the Bears are 6-0 straight up and against the spread in their last six games against the Vikings and easily dispatched of them earlier this season 28-10; and did so twice without Urlacher last year. I wouldn’t be surprised at all with a Vikings upset, but I’m sticking with the Bears, especially coming off of last week’s ugly loss at home.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Chicago
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Chicago

Philadelphia (+7.5) @ Tampa Bay (-7.5)
Offense, offense, offense. The OVER is 7-1-1 in Tampa Bay’s last nine games thanks in large part to the Buccaneers’ mediocre defense and excellent offense. Against the porous defense of the turnover-happy Eagles, Tampa Bay should easily score into the 30’s; and I actually think Philadelphia can hang. Look for both teams to score plenty as this one sails over 48 points, regardless of whether I’m right about the Eagles covering or not.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Philadelphia
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Tampa Bay
OVER/UNDER 48: $OVER 48

Baltimore (+2.5) @ Washington (-2.5)
Okay, this is it. This is the Philosophy Pick that finally turns things around and gets everything back on track. In one corner, you have a team that should have absolutely nothing left in the tank after playing three straight divisional opponents including the most recent one on Monday night in a bruising, physical game. In the other corner you have a team coming off of an unbelievably ugly loss at home to a Ben Roethlisberger-less Pittsburgh Steelers. Motivation isn’t an issue as both teams are fighting for playoff spots; but Washington SHOULD show signs of fatigue in this one and the angry Ravens should take it. Look for a big day on offense for Ravens.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: $^Baltimore
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: ^*Baltimore

Atlanta (-3.0) @ Carolina (+3.0)
Not only did Atlanta’s win over New Orleans last week clinch the NFC South for the Falcons, it did so in the most perfect way over their hated rivals and the previous kings of the division. In prime time, while ending Drew Brees’s touchdown record, no less. With three more wins than any other team in the NFC, Atlanta, is quite likely to finish with the conference’s top seed, and the players have to know that. They’ll try to stay focused this week, but I think subconsciously they let up a bit, and a Carolina team that fought them hard last time finishes the job this time around for the upset.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Carolina
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *Carolina

NY Jets (-3.0) @ Jacksonville (+3.0)
I was going to take the Jaguars because the Jets offense really is that bad, but as I said last week, the Jets have shown all season long that they can handle the bad teams. They didn’t do a great job of it last week, but Arizona’s defense is leaps and bounds better than the Jags. Furthermore, the Jags are a terrible home team that actually seem to play worse in front of their home crowd. Hard to believe I’m actually laying points on the Jets on the road, but I think Sanchez will bounce back with a rare good game and lead the Jets to a comfortable win.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: NY Jets
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: NY Jets

San Diego (+8.0) @ Pittsburgh (-8.0)
Eight points feels like way too many, but Pittsburgh is such a tough home team and the Steelers get Ben Roethlisberger back this week. Like Detroit, San Diego may finally be done fighting after another heart-breaker last week and a long losing streak; where is the motivation and energy coming from to go across the country into the cold weather for this one? The Steelers should be able to handle this one without too much difficulty.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Pittsburgh
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Pittsburgh

Miami (+10.5) @ San Francisco (-10.5)
For whatever reason this season, the San Francisco 49ers can not handle the St. Loius Rams. But against just about everyone else, they look quite good. Ryan Tannehill is an accident waiting to happen against a team like the 9ers, and the running game will have trouble mustering up anything against this defensive unit. Miami’s defense is solid, but turnovers will likely once again do the Dolphins in and lead San Francisco to a win and cover.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: San Francisco
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: San Francisco

Arizona (+10.0) @ Seattle (-10.0)
Tough one to gauge. Seattle ALWAYS covers the spread at home, and my model projects a comforable blowout win for the Seahawks around 31-14. But I’m actually thinking more along the lines of 21 or 23 to 14. This spread is clearly at its absolute highest with Seattle’s home reputation, Arizona’s 6-point effort last week and Seattle’s impressive road win over Chicago. Arizona’s defense is solid, and in a division rivalry game I think the Cardinals can muster up enough points to cover. They feel like the “right” side to me at this spread.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Arizona
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Seattle

New Orleans (+5.0) @ NY Giants (-5.0)
Both teams are coming off of tough losses to division rivals in prime time, so the anger desire to bounce back strong should be even across the board. But which team will? Many are tempted to go with the Giants at home, and against New Orleans’ awful defense, it may not be a bad idea. But I have a good feeling that New Orleans wins this one. The Giants really look out of sync at the moment, all of the pressure is on them (New Orleans has fallen into the nothing-to-lose category), and Drew Brees just had one of the worst games of his career. New Orleans wins, and the New York press loses its collective mind even further.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: New Orleans
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *New Orleans

Detroit (+6.5) @ Green Bay (-6.5)
The statistics on this rivalry are staggering. Not only are the Packers 13-1 straight up and 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games against the Lions, they are also an astounding 21-0 SU and 14-5-2 ATS in their last 21 games at home against the Lions. TWENTY-ONE YEARS STRAIGHT. In the NFL, how is this even possible? Detroit has fought teams hard recently, but I think Indy’s last-second touchdown might have been the emotional nail in the coffin. The Packers have been playing great lately (with the exception of that New York Giants game), and should win this one by around 10 to 14.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: $Green Bay
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Green Bay

MONDAY

Houston (+3.5) @ New England (-3.5)
This should be an outstanding game, and obviously a potential playoff (or AFC Championship) preview. New England’s home field is nullified by Houston’s excellent road play. I like Houston’s defense better, but I like New England’s offense better. This game looks about as even as they come to me, so I have to take the points. And when in doubt on which side to take, going with the better defense is usually not a bad idea.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Houston
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *Houston

THE COLLEGE NICKEL

FINAL RECORD: 39 – 37 – 0 (.513)

(Bowl Video Coming Soon!)

Good luck! Thanks for reading!

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Week 14 – NFL: Beyond the Numbers Season Two

By , December 6, 2012 12:00 pm

The 14th episode of Season 2 of Dave Consolazio and Kevin Taylor’s NFL football podcast, NFL: Beyond the Numbers. In this episode we discuss the NFL MVP candidates and go over our picks and some fantasy football advice.

Visit KT’s webpage over at http://www.sportsinvasion.net

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