I Call Him SON OF GAMBLOR! Week 3 NFL Picks

Written by Football, Sports

Gamblor attempts to extend its hot streak to 3 weeks in a row, and we look at the 5 greatest regular-season collapses in NFL history.

Last week I claimed that it would be a long time before I saw such a great week again.  Well, it looks like the computer decided to go and make a liar out of me, by having yet another magnificent week.  Gamblor went 10-5-1 and managed to prioritize its bets almost perfectly (it hit its top 10 bets, and two of its losses were for no money at all), hitting a weighted win percentage of 89.4%.  Son of Gamblor was even better, going 5-3 on its picks with a weighted win percentage of 99.0% – the three games where it was wrong the total bets added up to just 47 cents versus total wagers of $51.  In all, the computer managed a profit of $206.37.  Barring some sort of legendary losing streak, I should be playing with house money for the remainder of this season.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe for a second that this winning streak is going to carry on any longer, so I’m going to go ahead and jinx it before it jinxes itself.

For this week’s feature – perhaps driven by the hope of preventing a collapse simply by predicting it – we’ll look at 5 of the worst regular season collapses in NFL history:

5.  Miami Dolphins, 1993. The Dolphins 1993 season was already part of NFL legend and lore due to Leon Lett’s hysterically bumbling attempt to recover a blocked field goal in the show and gifting the Dolphins with a 16-14 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day.  The win put them at 9-2, and the Dolphins seemed like they would be able to waltz into the playoffs.  But Dan Marino had fallen during Week 5 with a ruptured Achilles tendon, and the team completely ran out of gas after their victory over Dallas, dropping their next four games in a row.  With a chance at redemption in their final game of the season against the 5-10 New England Patriots, the Dolphins saw their dreams crushed as they lost in overtime on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe.

4.  New York Jets, 2000. Since their historic Superbowl victory in 1967, the New York Jets have had some very hard times.  But 2000 was one of the more memorable crashes for the Jets franchise, as they began their season with a 5-0 surge before sliding downhill to a record of 9-4 with three weeks left to play.  They dropped their next two games, and with a last chance in their final game of the season against the (eventual Superbowl winner) Baltimore Ravens, the Jets blew a 14-0 lead and turned over the ball six times as they were unceremoniously dumped from playoff contention.

3.  Dallas Cowboys, 2008. It’s actually hard to choose which of Dallas’ recent December collapses was the worst – 2005, 2006, or 2008.  In 2005, they started their season with a record of 7-3 but finished by losing four of their last six games, including their finale to the St. Louis Rams, who came into the game with a record of 5-10.  In 2006 they limped into the playoffs by losing 3 out of their last four, embarrassing themselves at home to the Philadelphia Eagles in a game where they could have clinched the division and giving up 39 points to the 2-13 Detroit Lions in their season finale, before losing in the wild-card game to the Seattle Seahawks on Tony Romo’s famous botched hold of a chip shot field goal.  But the worst of Dallas’ recent woes took place in 2008, when they fought their way to an 8-4 record but then closed out their season by losing three of their last four games.  The greatest humiliation came in their final game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles.  With a playoff berth on the line for both teams, the Cowboys surrendered 24 points in the second quarter en route to a 44-6 pounding.

2.  Denver Broncos, 2008. I’m not sure whether this on necessarily qualifies as second place on a historical basis, but it definitely stands out vividly in my mind because I’m remember watching it unfold in real time.  Jay Cutler led the Broncos to a strong start at the beginning of the season, going 4-1 (including a win over San Diego aided by the controversial blown call by official Ed Hochuli).  The team started to fade in the middle of the season, but with three weeks left they held an 8-5 record and a three game lead in the AFC West.  If they had won any of their last three games, the would have clinched the AFC West and guaranteed themselves a playoff spot.  Instead, the hapless Broncos dropped all three, including a home defeat to the Buffalo Bills (who had lost 7 of their previous 8 games).  The toughest loss, of course, came in the finale, when they had their division title and playoff berth forcibly stripped from them by Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers in a 52-21 rout.  Coach Mike Shanahan was immediately fired and replaced with Josh McDaniels, and Jay Cutler was traded to the Chicago Bears shortly thereafter.

1.  Washington Redskins, 1978. It was the debut season for the Redskins head coach Jack Pardee, a former linebacker who took over for the team after George Allen was fired after a pretty respectable tenure as leader of the team.  Pardee’s Redskins opened up to a 6-0 record, and then proceeded to lose eight of their next ten games (scoring more than 17 points only once in those ten games) and finish third in the NFC East behind the Giants and the Cowboys.  Their skid was punctuated by a five-game losing streak to close the season.

All right, let’s see if we can avoid starting my own collapse here.  Like most of the public, the computer is very excited about the prospect of betting against Jimmy Clausen in his first game as an NFL starter.  I’ve got nothing against the kid…but I sure would love to see him fail.

TENNESSEE TITANS
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NEW YORK GIANTS
Gamblor’s Pick: Tennessee (+3)
Bet Amount: $12.15 (Hedge)
COMMENTS: I’m fine with this – this game seems like a bit of a toss-up, so when in doubt, take the points.  Son of Gamblor doesn’t like that Tennessee has to travel for this game, and prefers the Giants for a meager $3.41.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS
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TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Gamblor’s Pick: Tampa Bay (+2.5)
Bet Amount: None
COMMENTS: No bet here for Gamblor, but Son of Gamblor is actually pretty vocal about this game, putting in a bet of $16.16 on the Buccaneers.  I’m in full agreement; I think the Steelers are going to grant themselves a week off after pulling off two strong wins to open the season without Ben Roethlisberger.
CINCINNATI BENGALS
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CAROLINA PANTHERS
Gamblor’s Pick: Cincinnati (-3)
Bet Amount: $76.70 (Flip – 90%)
COMMENTS: This line doesn’t feel like a trap, but considering the fact that 90% of gamblers are betting on the Bengals and it hasn’t budged, I have some concerns.  It’s hard to imagine that Jimmy Clausen can turn this Carolina team around, and it’s even harder to imagine his team putting forth 110% effort for him at this point in his career.  Then again, Carolina is only one year removed from going undefeated at home for the regular season, so we might be in for a surprise.  I sort of get the feeling that Vegas is playing for the push on this one.  Son of Gamblor is jumping on board the Bengal bandwagon, wagering a hefty $78.30 on the visitor, its largest bet of the week. I’m comfortable with the computer’s bets – at least as comfortable as I’m capable of being with $155 on the line.
CLEVELAND BROWNS
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BALTIMORE RAVENS
Gamblor’s Pick: Cleveland (+10.5)
Bet Amount: $18.23 (Flip)
COMMENTS: Baltimore has had trouble putting up points on anyone so far this season, but I think this is the game where they’ll turn it around.  It wouldn’t even surprise me all that much if Cleveland were shut out here.  I’m not thrilled with Gamblor’s choice here (or Son of Gamblor, who is chipping in with a $5.65 bet of its own on Cleveland), but both of them agree that the Browns are indeed terrible – both models see this spread as lower than it should be.
DALLAS COWBOYS
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HOUSTON TEXANS
Gamblor’s Pick: Dallas (+3)
Bet Amount: $19.49 (Hedge)
COMMENTS: Pretty classic hedge bet.  Tough to tell whether Dallas’ offense will finally show up, or whether their defense will have any luck containing the Texans.  I’m in favor of Dallas here, but it’s much more of a guess than a prediction.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
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KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Gamblor’s Pick: Kansas City (+2.5)
Bet Amount: $52.60 (Hedge)
COMMENTS: Very large hedge bet here for Gamblor.  I’ve been going crazy watching the Chiefs this year because I’ve got Jamaal Charles on my fantasy team and he’s only seeing the ball about 10 times per game.  That’s like designing an offensive scheme for the Lakers where you keep the ball out of Kobe Bryant’s hands as much as possible because…hell, I don’t know.  Because Todd Haley is a goddamned moron, I guess. The Chiefs have been very fortunate to open up at 2-0; I’m convinced their luck will run out here.
DETROIT LIONS
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MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Gamblor’s Pick: Detroit (+11)
Bet Amount: $32.06 (Flip)
COMMENTS: Eleven points is a lot…but Gamblor thinks the Lions should be getting even more.  It’s a bit bizarre to see an 0-2 team – one that really hasn’t shown any offensive capability beyond Adrian Petersen – favored by such a large spread, but I also think it’s pretty much where it should be.  The Vikings are headed into a bye, so they’ll be focused.  I think they’ll cover this spread with relative ease.  Son of Gamblor disagrees with me and agrees wholeheartedly with his sire, putting in a bet of $66.50 on the Lions.
BUFFALO BILLS
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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Gamblor’s Pick: Buffalo (+14.5)
Bet Amount: $24.10 (Hedge)
COMMENTS: I get the feeling that the extra half-point is there to screw bettors.  I predict a nasty backdoor cover that disappoints a lot of New England’s supporters who put their money where their mouth was.
ATLANTA FALCONS
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NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Gamblor’s Pick: Atlanta (+4)
Bet Amount: $2.93 (Hedge)
COMMENTS: Drew Brees hasn’t really gotten it in gear yet this season, but this is where he’ll get started.  This is a really tough call – Atlanta will definitely want to make a statement in this game, but New Orleans will potentially be hitting their stride here.  Maybe the absence of Reggie Bush will make a difference in this game; as such I’ll go with the Falcons and the points.  Son of Gamblor also likes the Falcons – but only for eleven cents.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS
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SAINT LOUIS RAMS
Gamblor’s Pick: St. Louis (+3.5)
Bet Amount: $1.05 (Hedge)
COMMENTS: Somehow it’s entered the conventional wisdom that the Redskins are actually a decent team this year.  They’re not.  But they’re definitely better than the pathetic Rams.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
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JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Gamblor’s Pick: Jacksonville (+3)
Bet Amount: $30.39 (Hedge)
COMMENTS: I never read Jacksonville properly, probably because I have absolutely zero interest in the franchise.  They always seem to perform better than I expect them to, so I’ll try to learn a lesson from that and predict that they’ll somehow find an answer to Michael Vick and bait him into throwing some stupid interceptions.  Plus, I can’t imagine the Eagles players are impressed with how Andy Reid handled the quarterback situation, so it’s not likely they’ll be playing their hearts out for the team the way they did last week.
OAKLAND RAIDERS
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ARIZONA CARDINALS
Gamblor’s Pick: Oakland (+4.5)
Bet Amount: $16.35 (Hedge)
COMMENTS: Silly hedge bet on the Raiders.  Glad it’s not more – Arizona is looking as bad as I expected this year, but the Raiders need to lose a lot more games if they’re going to finish with more than 10 losses again this year, so I expect them to make some good headway against the Cardinals here.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
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SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Gamblor’s Pick: Seattle (+5.5)
Bet Amount: $19.07 (Hedge)
COMMENTS: The Seahawks cost Gamblor a lot of money last year on hedge bets.  I have the feeling they’ll be getting back into gear here.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
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DENVER BRONCOS
Gamblor’s Pick: Indianapolis (-5.5)
Bet Amount: $2.51 (Flip)
COMMENTS: It’s always nice to have the opportunity to bet on Peyton Manning.  Denver’s offense has been surprisingly efficient this year, but their defense is porous enough that the Colts should be able to put up 30 points or more on them, and Orton simply doesn’t have enough weapons to keep up.  Son of Gamblor is happy to join the party, wagering $2.51 on the Colts.
NEW YORK JETS
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MIAMI DOLPHINS
Gamblor’s Pick: New York Jets (+2)
Bet Amount: $0.42 (Hedge)
COMMENTS: I guess it all depends on which Sanchez shows up.  Son of Gamblor likes the Dolphins for $3.70, so the two bets are going to offset enough that I probably won’t bet on this game at all unless the line changes.  Personally, I’ll pick the Jets, but that’s because I watched Hard Knocks and am a huge fan of the Rex Ryan posts over at kissingsuzykolber.com – not necessarily because I think the Jets will actually win.  But I sort of do think that.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
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CHICAGO BEARS
Gamblor’s Pick: Chicago (+3)
Bet Amount: $7.54 (Flip)
COMMENTS: The computer thinks that Chicago ought to be getting more points here, and I agree completely.  Green Bay was able to beat the Bears in both games last season, and they’re more polished this year.  Last week’s adjustments saved Cutler last week, but Green Bay is a better team and it won’t be quite so easy this time around.  Son of Gamblor also likes the Bears in this game, for $26.68. I wish it weren’t so – from a gambling perspective, I’m terrified of Green Bay.