All posts tagged: NFL

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Al Davis is Dead / Al Davis Will Live Forever

For years, I’ve been saying to people that the Raiders won’t be great again until Al Davis is dead.  Even though that sounds like it was wish for the man’s death, it most certainly wasn’t.  But given his mental (and physical) deterioration over the last seven or eight years, it was pretty much impossible as a Raiders fan to not hope for some kind of big change within the organization – and we all knew that Al Davis would never step down from his position as an obsessively involved owner of the team with no qualms about meddling in the day-to-day operations.  Despite all of the jokes we made about Al never dying because he was already dead, and how much virgin blood it was going to take for him to survive yet another season, it turns out that Al Davis was indeed very mortal, and now he’s gone. It’s easy to forget how incredibly important Al Davis and his Raiders have been to the game of football as we know it.  The organization has …

Is Anyone Shocked — Shocked! — to Hear That About Brett Favre?

It doesn’t seem possible that Brett Favre could get more national exposure. But here we go … Those of us who work in the mainstream media have been wondering when the Brett Favre sexting allegations would become a mainstream story. That day has arrived. It became OK to run with the story as soon as the NFL said Friday that it was looking into the allegations reported by Deadspin. That’s the Gawker Media sports blog that frequently straddles (and tramples) the fine line between irreverence and bad taste. That story, reported by Deadspin for the first time in early August, hit home on Thursday. There, in my e-mail, was a note from Deadspin editor-in-chief A.J. Daulerio. “Can we have a phone conversation? Por favor.” We’d exchanged e-mails about Favre before. Nothing that salacious, though. In mid-August, one of Deadspin’s tipsters said he’d ridden an elevator with Favre at a hotel in a Twin Cities suburb, after Favre finally reported to the Minnesota Vikings. My wife, who was staying at the same hotel at the same …

I Call Him Gamblor: Season Summary

There’s an ancient roulette scheme that’s probably about two hours older than the game itself. It’s a strategy known as the “martingale system” and was apparently popular in 18th century France, but it’s something that occurs to pretty much everyone who gives any serious thought to a mathematical gambling strategy.  The method is very simple: to begin, you place a bet of a single unit on black.  If you win, you pocket your winnings and place another single unit bet on black.  If you lose, you double your bet.  If this second bet wins, you’ve won back the original unit you lost, plus one unit of profit.  If this second bet loses, you double your bet yet again. You keep on doubling your bet until you win. This system is just fine in theory when you allow yourself infinite wealth as well as an absence of a table limit.  But all roulette tables have maximum limits, typically from 2^7 to 2^10 of the minimum bet value.  Which means that you’d be fine until you hit …

NFL Picks: Superbowl XLIV

Gamblor was correct in both of the games last week, going 2-0, but unfortunately it wasn’t confident enough in either pick to wager any money, so it’s take for the week was absolutely nothing.  Of course, as I keep mentioning, Gamblor’s picks are only theoretical during the postseason.  Which is rather unfortunate because it has done quite well, having put together a record of 7-3 so far for a weighted win percentage of 84.1% and a theoretical profit of $456. However, considering its performance last year during the playoffs (I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but trust me, it was bad) I’m not quite ready to let it off the leash in January just yet. The only true guarantee in sports gambling is that there’s no such thing as a sure thing.  Time and time again this has been proven to us by the casinos, as teams that seem like guaranteed locks somehow find a way to shit the bed and fail to cover – or lose outright.  Unfortunately, that’s the way …

NFL Picks: Conference Championships

Gamblor had a quiet week last week, going 2-2 for a small loss of $31.  The computer, like many bettors, anticipated that Arizona would put up a much bigger fight against the Saints.  As I’ve said before, Gamblor’s gambling season is over – the playoff losses and gains are completely theoretical.  I haven’t filled in any historical data so I have no idea whether the process actually works once the regular season is over.  And with fewer games each week, Gamblor has less to say anyhow. Hopefully some of the readers this week include folks who have found their way over from walterfootball.com courtesy of the Punch-Out video I passed on.  It was submitted by a group called Team Awesome as an entry in the Nintendo Short Cuts Showcase contest, and didn’t even receive so much as an honorable mention.  And now it’s got more than twice as many views as all of the ten original finalists combined.  So in honor of Team Awesome, I thought I’d use their fine work as an inspiration for …

NFL Picks: Divisional Playoffs

Gamblor finally scored a big victory against Green Bay last week and had an incredible week overall, going 3-1 with a truly amazing weighted win percentage of 97.0%.  Sadly, its profit of $487 was completely theoretical – as I mentioned last week, Gamblor isn’t designed to run during the playoffs.  It’s just as well; I lost my voice cheering at the end of the Cardinals game – if I’d actually put down the $470 that Gamblor was angling for I probably would have had a heart attack – especially when Rackers missed that 34-yard field goal at the end of regulation. He didn’t even have the courtesy to at least hit the post! (To watch this video, right-click and hit play)

I’m very excited about my feature this week because it’s inspired by one of the playoff games we’ll be watching.  I’ve actually been saving this countdown all season in hopes that we’d see this matchup, and soon enough you’ll understand why I consider our number one entry …

NFL Picks: Wild Card Weekend

Gamblor finished its season in style, making the second-largest number of weighted picks in its entire 14-year (theoretical) history and finishing with a weighted win percentage of 57.5% and a profit of $153.  Its overall record was actually terrible at 5-11, but it hit its number 1, 3, and 4 picks, including its biggest bet of the season of $524 on the Buffalo Bills, who closed their season by routing a completely disinterested Colts team.  I am now a permanent enemy of the Green Bay Packers, who beat Gamblor yet again by putting in 110% effort against the Arizona Cardinals in a completely meaningless game they’ll be playing again this weekend.  As it turns out, I didn’t have the stones to let Gamblor bet as much money as it wanted to risk ($1200 total) so my take from the week wasn’t quite so high.  But it was a nice end to an otherwise disappointing season. Gamblor is all done gambling for the year.  The spreads during the playoffs are completely different from the regular season …

NFL Picks: Week 17 (updated)

The spread for the Buffalo game is -8.5.  Yeah.  A 5-10 team is an 8.5 point favorite over a 14-1 one.  So of course Gamblor thinks this spread is about the most ridiculous thing it’s ever seen and wants to bet the farm on the Bills.  Due to all the strange spreads, Week 17 is usually Gamblor’s most active week of the season, and this year is no exception.  Between this game, the Arizona game, and the Jets game, this is the second-most weighted picks Gamblor has ever made.  And I’m afraid to say it, but I don’t have the guts to follow through.  All told, Gamblor wants to put over $1200 on the line this week, and that’s a bit too rich for my blood.  I’ve scaled things down so the total money I’ve actually got on the line is just under $800.  But the bets below reflect what Gamblor would do if it had an unlimited budget.  I’ll be adding things up at the end of the week as though I had the …

NFL Picks: Week 16

The computer had a nice week last week, going 9-6-1 against the spread.  Well, it was almost nice.  If I hadn’t dropped $340 on Pittsburgh, I’d have been up $40.  Yeah, Gamblor’s biggest bet of the year missed.  It was pretty brutal to watch the end of that game and see Pittsburgh pull out victory by a single point – one point too few to cover the two point spread.  It’s tough because I can’t even complain too much about the decisions that were made – Green Bay’s two point conversion was the right thing to do (a six point lead is infinitesimally more valuable than a five point lead) and Tomlin’s decision to go for an onsides kick to make sure his team had enough time for a drive of their own turned out to be right as well.  Overall, the week ended with a weighted win percentage of 21.5% and a loss of $301.  And I don’t even mind so much.  I’m in this for the long haul, and if the program works …

NFL Picks: Week 15

Fucking hell.  I need to keep reminding myself that in the long run this program has actually still made money for me.  But another weekend like the last one and that won’t be true anymore.  Gamblor went 7-9 and dropped $90, missing its biggest bet on Oakland and suffering its fifth losing week in a row.  It’s not the worst stretch in the computer’s history, but it certainly is disheartening.  I was in Vegas last weekend, so I put down a $10 “disaster parlay” against three of my biggest bets last week (Oakland, Seattle, and Kansas City) and it obviously paid off, so ultimately my losses for the week were actually only $30 – though the parlay won’t be reflected in the summary table below.  But that trend of small bleeding is guaranteed to change in a big way this week, as Gamblor finally is ready to put a 95% bet on the line. It’s been a rough year second half of the year for Gamblor.  Just five weeks ago, back when Gamblor was still …

NFL Picks: Week 14 (updated)

UPDATE:  Hooray!  Gamblor got off to a great start this week, nailing its second-largest bet as Cleveland dropped Pittsburgh last night.  The 10.5 points that Atlanta is getting against the Saints has tempted it into a moderate hedge bet on the Falcons, and the drift in the spread in the Kansas City game means it has flipped its bet to Kansas City – for a pretty sizeable amount.  It no longer has any interest in Detroit, and the extra half-point has convinced it to throw away a little more money on the Seahawks.  Son of Gamblor, which will be getting an off-book test run in Vegas this week, likes Dallas, Chicago, Tampa, Detroit, and Jacksonville in that order.  Good luck to everyone this week! Sigh.  For the fourth week in a row, and the sixth out of seven, Gamblor lost money.  It only dropped $21 on a weighted win percentage of 46.5%, but this losing streak is seriously getting old.  What’s worse is that Gamblor hasn’t bet money on a single favorite since Jacksonville in …

NFL Picks: Week 13 (updated)

UPDATE:  The line in the Arizona game finally got posted – the Vikings are favorites by 3 points.  Whisenhunt says that who’s starting at quarterback will be a game-time decision, but it seems pretty clear from this line that Vegas doesn’t believe Warner will be playing.  I don’t either, frankly – it would be a very hard game to win even with him, and it’s certainly not one that they need.  The computer has become a big fan of Miami now that the line moved down, so that’s now it’s biggest bet of the week (gulp).  But overall it’s a pretty quiet week, with just $200 on the line and almost exclusively underdogs (yet again).  For what it’s worth, the new model (I call him SON OF GAMBLOR!) is finished and while I won’t be making any bets on it this year, its favorite plays this week are Tennessee, Arizona (even with the new spread), Cleveland, Jacksonville, and Detroit. Last week started off pretty well, as the computer won money on Thanksgiving and in the …

NFL Picks: Week 12 (updated x2)

UPDATE:  Both Gamblor and I are off to a good start this week, as my own picks are 2-1 and Gamblor hit the bigger of its two bets (on Denver).  I was way off on my prediction for the line of the Tennessee game (I had it at +1.5, when it’s actually -3), so Gamblor now has a hefty bet of $32 on the Cardinals.  The Patriots line also moved quite a bit, from +1.5 to +3, so Gamblor has essentially doubled down with a bet of $32.  Very minor line movement elsewhere.  And finally, my book still hasn’t posted a line in the Pittsburgh game and there are conflicting reports as to whether Roethlisberger will play, but I’m expecting the line to be a bit bigger than the +3 I had forecast so it’s likely that Gamblor won’t be quite so gung-ho about betting on the Steelers once a line finally does get posted.  Oh, and I did end up seeing The Blind Side this week and it was everything I expected it to …

NFL Picks: Week 10 (updated x2)

UPDATE 2:  The half-point movement in the Monday night game has convinced Gamblor to put down a small ($5.12) hedge bet on the Cleveland Browns. UPDATE:  The biggest news is that the  line in the San Diego game has slid all the way down from -2.5 to -1, which means Gamblor is slightly more enthusiastic about Philadelphia and makes it feel like this game is a trap – the majority of money was already on San Diego, so why would the books move the line down and entice more?  The Tennessee and Carolina lines have each moved a half point, but it hasn’t affected things much or made any major impression on me.  I was spot-on in my assessment of last night’s game – and so was Gamblor, actually (who thought the spread was just about perfect) but unfortunately it came out on the wrong side of the coin toss this time.  It’s a lot easier to relax about comparatively minor losses like this, of course, when you’ve got such a huge bet to worry …

NFL Picks: Week 9

You’re in the wrong place – the picks for Week 9 of 2010 will be posted HERE on Thursday morning. You really should go read them because Gamblor is absolutely KILLING it this year. Enjoy! GET THE CURRENT PICKS HERE! Gamblor had another lackluster performance last week, going 6-7 and dropping $34 in the process, which means it has now fallen just below fifty-one percent for the season (weighted win percentage of 50.9%) and is now dipping into last season’s winnings to support its incorrigible habit of betting on underdogs, who are thus far 54-60-1 for the year.  My own picks were terrible, going 3-10.  The most thrilling part of my football weekend wasn’t actually until Tuesday, when I learned the results of Monday night’s game – I had changed the channel with a minute and a half remaining expecting that New Orleans would be able to kill the clock with ease.  What a pleasant surprise! I saw it suggested (plausibly) last week that New Orleans’ kicker John Carney was shaving points at the behest …

NFL Picks Week 8 (updated)

UPDATE:  The Giants line continues to see wild movement – it has shifted all the way to +1 and now the Eagles are considered underdogs.  Gamblor now likes the Giants well enough to bet above the $5.00 minimum on them.  I’d have rounded up anyhow, but somehow this makes me feel vindicated.  The juice on the Buffalo game was very heavy (-120) so Gamblor doesn’t stand to win all that much on its second-largest bet of the week.  Apologies to those who have seen their comments disappear – the old post was giving me formatting issues so I put it on waivers – DON’T THINK YOU WON’T GET CUT FROM THIS TEAM, WORDPRESS!  An updated summary sheet is here for those who want to follow along at home. Last week was an absolute nightmare for the computer, as favorites covered the spread in all but two instances (plus a push) and my season’s winnings so far went up in smoke. It was particularly heartbreaking to see Miami blow a lead of 21 points (especially considering …

NFL Picks: Week 6

– WELCOME!  If you’re here looking for the picks from Week 6 in 2009, you’ve come to the right place.  But you’re probably not.  So instead, go see my 2010 Week 5 picks here. What are you waiting for?  Go.  Now! – UPDATE:  Some minor changes, but nothing worth writing about.  Updated summary of wagers is here. After two disappointing weeks in a row, the computer found its footing again and had a decent week. Although Gamblor’s picks were 6-8, it prioritized very well – hitting its #1, #3, and #4 picks. This was strong enough to finish with a weighted win percentage of 53.8% and turn a small profit of $15 (a summary sheet is here). If either of the two games that ended with goal-line stands (one that succeeded by the Arizona Cardinals and one that failed by the New York Jets) had turned out the other way, it would have been much better. Having Detroit cover through the back door against Pittsburgh was a nice treat, and instead of regretting the fact …

Film Review: “Big Fan”

As the financial divide between fan and athlete grows with each year, our superstitions are becoming all that we have to identify with our favorite teams. We rarely get to the stadium these days, because we can’t afford tickets. And when we do, too often we find ourselves sitting next to some polo shirt-wearing bozo who arrives late, yaps on his cell phone, and leaves early to avoid traffic. So we hold fast to our lucky jerseys, rally caps, and gameday superstitions, because we know that the slightest deviation from the rituals will, through a macabre act of synchronicity, cause our team to lose, crush our dreams and bring shame upon our community. We want – no, need – to think that, in some way, we have a positive impact on their team’s performance. But what happens when an average fan’s actions genuinely hurt the team? This is the heart of Big Fan, the new dark film by Robert Siegel (The Wrestler). It stars comedian Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille) as Paul Aufiero, a 36-year old parking …