What’s poppin ya’ll? Remember me? It’s CZ. The guy who promised you mad cash betting the NFL at the beginning of the season on this very column, only to disappear for the past month down 11.5 units. Be honest. You thought I ducktailed and ran. Well I’ve got news for you. I’m back recharged after the new year/finals and ready to deliver. As the Joker said, I’m a man of my word.. So cue the abominable Mase “Welcome Back” cut and welcome me, and by extension, money, back into your lives.
Before moving into this weekends picks you may/should remember I posted my NFL season win total and division winner picks last August. Well, the results are obviously in, so in effort to redeem my swag stature, the following is a brief recap of those picks.
Season Win Totals
1.Saints over 10 wins
Bet: +8 units
Comment: Who Dat! The Saints ATS record (12-4) almost equaled their record SU. Solid season for the passing king and co.
2.SD over 10 wins
Bet: -8 units
Comment: Another disappointing display from the Bolts. Rivers was horrendous for the first 3/4 of the season and the defense regressed significantly. By the time SD somewhat pulled it together for their patented late season run it was too late. The good news though (and by good I mean unfreaking-believable): somehow Norv Turner retained his job. I mean seriously, short of taking a gun into the locker room and shooting his players what the hell does this guy have to do to get fired?
3.Pittsburgh over 10.5 wins
Bet: +6 units
Comment: Despite being decimated with injuries the Steelers easy schedule enabled them to trump the 10.5 mark. Unfortunately it wasn’t good enough to land them the first round bye they desperately needed.
4.Carolina under 4.5 wins
Bet: -6 units
Comment: I tip my hat to Cam Covers for not only back door covering all year but covering up for that atrocity of a defense. I didn’t see this one coming, AT ALL. The under looked like stealing..
5.NE over 11.5 wins
Bet: +4 units
Comment: Speaking of porous defenses, the Pats D is the laughing-stock of the league. The fact the Pats landed at 13 wins is a tribute to Brady and his MVP candidacy.
6.Miami under 7.5 wins
Bet: +4 units
Comment: Miami ended the year better than their record suggests, they just couldn’t overcome a terrible start to the season..
7.KC under 7.5 wins
Bet: +3 units
Comment: The GB win almost destroyed this pick, but KC’s injuries and start to the season provided enough of a cushion to pull it out.
8.SF under 7.5 wins
Bet: -2 units
Comment: I apologize to 49er fans around the world and to Alex Smith. Wow..
9.Chicago under 8.5 wins
Bet: +1 unit
Comment: Thank you, Caleb Hanie. I’ll send flowers eventually..
Division Winner Bets
10.NE AFC East Champs
Bet: +3 units
Comment: The AFC East was a joke this year, with the Bills wagon wheels being set on fire, the Jets self destructing and Miami expectedly underachieving. No brainer pick.
11.SD AFC West Champs
Bet: -3 units
OVERALL: +10 UNITS
All I do is win, win, win no matter what. Every time I’m making picks your cash flow goes UP! Actually, this season it was more like every time I made picks my own alcohol level went up. Crazy year. I’ll take 10 units and run with it..
Onto the Wild Card round..
Season ATS: 27-23-1
Season Over/Unders: 1-3
Season Parlays: 1-3
Season Teasers: 3-9
Season Units: -11.5 units (not including future bets)
3 Team 10 Point Teaser: Hou +7, NO -.5, Pitt +1
Are the Cardiac Cats for real? Methinks not. This is mostly a fade on the Bengals, who backed into the playoffs with their easy schedule. Cinci is 0-7 against playoff teams and are only 1-6 ATS in their past 7 games. Their defense started the year off strong, but since week 10 they’ve allowed 4.7 ypc, highlighted by getting gauged by the Ravens last week. That doesn’t bode well facing off against the Texans ground game with Foster and Tate. TJ Yates is at least competent enough to manage the game, unlike Jake Delhomme’s Ghost. If the latter was starting I’d have strong reservations about picking Houston, but Yates proved himself capable this year, most notably in the comeback win against these very Bengals a few weeks ago. I look for both sides to play a very conservative ground oriented game, which definitely favors the Texans. Houston rode their defense and running game all year, even with Schaub at the helm. The blueprint remains the same. The Texans do have Andre Johnson back which is an added bonus considering the Bengals are without top corner Leon Hall. Johnson should keep Cinci’s defense honest and allow the Texans to take shots off of play-action bootlegs, Yates’s speciality.
I admit, I see slight value on Houston -3, for that line suggests both teams are even, a message I don’t agree with. However, I don’t have the stones to play it. I could easily see Houston winning 20-17 with AJ Green scoring a last second TD to pull Cinci within 3. Houston +7 is just a nice cushion to have, just in case some crazy shit happens (ie Yates getting injured and Delhomme throwing 5 interceptions).
Who’s ready for the alleged shootout of the century? The Saints have been worldbeaters at home this year, posting an undefeated 8-0 mark. Even more impressively, they’ve averaged 42.5 points. Simply put NO has perhaps the greatest home field advantage in football. Their aerial attack can’t be stopped on that turf, and there’s no reason to think Detroit can contain them Saturday night. The Lions are also 30th against the run this year, so the Saints should be able to keep a balanced attack.
On the other side of the ball the Lions should be able to put up points as well. When these two teams met in Week 13 Detroit was without Kevin Smith for the second half, thus they had to abandon their gameplan down the stretch. The Saints are susceptible to the run, and it is paramount the Lions keep a balanced attack. If Stafford just drops back and throws every time Greg William’s blitz schemes will lead to numerous hits on Stafford, something Detroit obviously can’t afford. However, if the Lions maintain some balance they should be able to score on the Saints with Megatron and Pettigrew garnering the majority of the workload.
Pretty layman analysis right? Well, what the hell am I supposed to say? These are two great offenses that will generate a ton of points. The public is pounding the Saints at -10.5. I just can’t do it. The Lions are the king of the backdoor cover (no offense Cam), so even if the Saints are ahead a garbage time TD from Detroit is definitely in play. No shot Detroit wins this game though with the Saints coming off that embarrassing playoff loss to the Seahawks last year, thus I love having NO essentially to win.
I’LL BE GOOD, I PROMISE! I’ll never drink again. I’ll never get another technical. Hell, I’ll never go out with Madonna again (kudos to whoever knows what movie the latter two saying are from). I’m going to church Sunday morning for the first time ever so I don’t get struck by lightning for picking against the Messiah. Have mercy, lord Tebow..
Moving on in terrified fashion, this game comes down to whether or not the Steelers turn the ball over. If Pittsburgh plays mistake free football no way in hell can Tebow generate enough points to win here. The Broncos probably wont even score a touchdown on Sunday. Give Dick LeBeau a week to scheme for arguably the most simplistic offense we’ve seen in years and the results wont be good for the opposition. Pittsburgh will stack the box with 8 guys, play press man coverage on the outside, and force Tebow to beat them throwing the ball. The Broncos will likely stay conservative and pound the ball on first and second down to no avail, and be left with the Steelers’ elaborate blitz packages to deal with on third down, a recipe for disaster. Basically, if the Broncos don’t have a short field to work with off turnovers they wont score. Pittsburgh is banged up in the secondary with Clark, Lewis, Allen and Brown all out or banged up, but the Broncos don’t have the personnel to exploit this.
Similarly, the Steelers offense will struggle. Big Ben clearly isn’t 100% and can’t extend plays to the extent we’re used to seeing. He’ll be a sitting duck in the pocket, and even though Denver’s pass rush with Miller and Dumerville has dropped off of late they should find success against Pitt’s below average line. On the ground the Mendenhall loss is being overexaggerated. The dropoff from Mendy to Redman is marginal. Plus the Steelers live and die by the pass anyway. Mike Wallace should draw Champ Bailey, Denver’s only good corner, so it will be up to Brown and Sanders to carry the load, a task they’re well equipped to handle. Pitt should be able to hit on enough big plays in the passing game to win.
The square position here would be to take Pitt -9 based solely on how inept Tebow has been the past couple weeks. However, people forget how anemic the Steelers have been on the road this year against subpar competition and more importantly, how out of sync their offense has been of late. I could easily see a 13-6 game here. This will be a lot closer than most think, but even saying that 9 points still isn’t enough for me to consider Denver.
Bet: 10 units
I’m raking in mega cash betting the Association so I’m going for the jugular. Also, I’ve clearly lost my mind..
As you’ve probably derived from the above content I don’t see a ton of value on the sides. Thus, I’m resorting to totals this week where I think the value is..
Cin/Hou Under 38.5
Houston hasn’t scored over 22 points in the Yates era (6 games). Similarly, Cinci hasn’t scored more than 23 over the same duration. Both teams are conservative, low scoring offenses with pretty stingy defenses. I see both teams playing not to lose, leading to a hard fought game in the teens.
Bet: 2 units
Det/NO Over 59
As noted above the Saints average just over 42 points per game at home. Thus, if they meet their average the Lions only have to score close to 20 to eclipse the 59 point mark. Not impossible to see at all, despite the fact it’s the highest total ever in Wild Card Weekend. That fact alone is enough incentive to place a bet here..
Bet: 2 units
Pitt/Den Under 34.5
The Broncos scoring ceiling is 10-13, while Pittsburgh’s is probably 20. Either way it’s under the threshold. The sharps are hammering this number..
Bet: 3 units
It’s good to be back, and hopefully we enjoy a lucrative weekend. Good luck all.