You’re in the wrong place – the picks for Week 7 of 2010 will be posted HERE on Thursday morning. You really should go read them because Gamblor is absolutely KILLING it this year. Enjoy!
UPDATE: There were two major moves in the lines since Wednesday. Pittsburgh surrendered another 1.5 points to Minnesota, closing at -5.5. Which means Gamblor really adores Pittsburgh now, even more than it already did. And (in my sportsbook at least) they took Green Bay at Cleveland off the board for a while and when it came back it has moved a full 2 points – from +7 to +9. While that’s not very encouraging (it reeks of panic) on a gut level, Gamblor sees this spread as being a little closer to where it belongs, and thus it upped its bet a little bit. Here’s a revised, printable summary sheet in pdf form. Good luck this week!
UPDATE 2: I’ve got something special lined up for my Halloween feature next week, including an appearance by a very sexy special guest, so be sure to stop by!
Last week turned out to be a mirror image of Week 5, in that the computer put together a winning set of picks (8-6) but prioritized its bets poorly so it lost a little money. Three of its correct picks came in games where it didn’t have any actual money on the line, and it missed its top pick (Giants). The morning session was a disaster, as Minnesota managed to piss away a seventeen point lead in the fourth quarter and I got cheated out of a push on yet another failed goal line stand – this time by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But the afternoon featured a very nice turnaround, as Gamblor hit on its #2, #3, and #4 bets – including a huge upset in Oakland that nobody in their right mind would have predicted. Effectively the computer broke even, coming in with a weighted win percentage of 50.8% and losing $10 due to the effect of the juice. A summary of last week’s performance is here.
Last week, if Tom Brady had injured himself on the first series of the second half, I’d have injured myself from laughing so hard about it. And I wouldn’t have felt ashamed for it, either. Aside for the pain, Tom Brady would have been fine – he’d have to suffer another miserable winter convalescing in Brazil with his supermodel wife, but that’s about it. I’ve got nothing against Tom Brady. No, I’d be laughing because it would be a very fine comeuppance for Bill Belichick, who courted disaster by sending his star player back onto a snowy field to risk injury in a game that the Patriots were leading 45-0. Apologists for Belichick have zeroed in on the fact that the Patriots haven’t really been in sync as a team and suggested that playing more minutes together would help their offense develop a rhythm they haven’t had since 2007. That’s horseshit. With the way Tennessee’s secondary had completely given up, there’s nothing the Patriots could have accomplished at Foxboro Stadium that they couldn’t have accomplished on a practice field running seven-on-seven drills against their second-team defense. It was an incredibly arrogant and stupid coaching move to send Brady back out to pile up points against a defense that had already been thoroughly humiliated and would be looking to lash out. And lash out they did – defensive lineman Tony Brown got flagged for roughing the passer on the very first play of the second half.
Gamblor doesn’t care about injuries. It’s not equipped to deal with them, mainly because tracking down the injury information when I was building the model seemed virtually impossible. You’d think this would turn into a huge handicap, but surprisingly it’s not that big of a deal. In a karmic sense, I’m happy that nothing bad happened to Brady, because my amusement surely would have brought me some bad fortune down the line. But here are five NFL injuries you can laugh at without feeling like too much of a jerk for it.
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The Top 5 NFL Injuries That You Can Laugh At Without Feeling Too Guilty
5. Plaxico Burress. Plaxico had already received enough ridicule for an entire career after he spiked a live ball in the fourth quarter against Jacksonville during his rookie season with Pittsburgh, an incident that caused him to graduate from the predictable nickname “Plexiglass” to the more topical “Spike Lee.” But after moving to the New York Giants and catching the game-winning touchdown against the Patriots in Superbowl XLII, he seemed to have obtained redemption. Unfortunately for Plaxico, less than a year later, he was the victim of a nightclub shooting and his name was splashed across the headlines once again. Although he was shot in the thigh, Plaxico wasn’t seriously hurt and was released from the hospital the following day. The shooter turned himself in to the authorities the following week, claiming it was an accident, but was prosecuted for illegal possession of a firearm and is currently serving a two year sentence at Riker’s Island.
4. Tony Romo. After already facing lots of criticism for his failure to “perform” in front of celebrity girlfriend Jessica Simpson during the playoffs in 2007, Tony suffered further indignity early the following season when he injured his pinky finger during the first series of overtime in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Although it was a legitimate injury for a quarterback to suffer, the unwelcome attention that Jessica and her pink Cowboys jersey brought to their relationship led to widespread mocking of Tony from many directions – including The Onion. It’s okay to laugh, because Tony and his pinky were fully healed and back in action in time to complete their traditional Christmas collapse, losing three of four games in December and missing the playoffs.
3. Gus Frerotte. Gus Frerotte has seemingly played for every single team in the league – here’s a list: Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, and the St. Louis Rams. These days he’s retired, having been passed over in order to pave the way for Brett Farve’s return to the Vikings. It’s a pretty undistinguished career, with a single trip the Pro Bowl (after the 1996 season) and only one playoff appearance (a loss to the Redskins in 1999 while filling in for an injured Charlie Batch). But his most memorable career highlight occurred in front of a gleefully amused nation when he injured himself in a 1997 Sunday Night Football appearance against the New York Giants. Frerotte scored a touchdown on a 1-yard scramble, and then took his celebration one step too far by headbutting the padded wall behind the corner of the end zone. He ended up spraining his neck. The game ended as a rare tie, and Frerotte went on to play a full eleven seasons afterwards, so it’s okay to see the humor in this one.
2. Bill Gramatica. Every time viewers watched excitable Bill Gramatica kick, they were bemused at his propensity to celebrate every single event that could be called a success, no matter how insignificant. Every field goal was a game-winner. Gramatica would jump around after making extra points in blowouts. The man would even get a visible thrill if his opponent was forced to take a touchback on kickoffs. It’s hard to mock someone for taking such obvious joy in their work, but the irrepressible Gramatica really had the ability to drive you crazy. Then against the Giants in 2001, Gramatica nailed an important field goal to help his Cardinals pull into the lead. It wasn’t so much that it was a long field goal (it was from 40 yards) or that it produced a huge difference in the score (it put the Cardinals up 3-0) or that it was late in the game (it was in the first quarter), it’s that…wait, why was this field goal such a huge triumph? Gramatica go so excited about this kick (as he did for every single other kick he ever made) that he leaped up in the air, came down wrong and tore a knee ligament. He ended up missing the remainder of his rookie season as punishment for his overenthusiasm.
1. Kellen Winslow Jr. The Cleveland Browns were initially cagey about Kellen Winslow Jr.’s mystery ailment, which threatened to keep him out of a Monday night contest against the Giants in 2008. They referred to it as an “undisclosed illness” and their coach Romeo Crennell attempted to dismiss any curiosity, saying that “his legs and arms aren’t falling off or anything like that.” But eventually it was leaked that Winslow’s testicles had swollen “to the size of grapefruits.” It turned out he was suffering from a condition known as hydrocele, a condition where fluid accumulates between the two membranes that cover the testicles. Although probably quite terrifying, it’s usually painless. Unfortunately in Winslow’s case, they swelled to the point where it was necessary to drain them with a scalpel and a year later he described it as “the most painful thing I’ve ever been through.”
It might seem like all Gamblor does is bet on underdogs, but unfortunately for my nerves, this is pretty much normal. The favorites/underdogs ration has evened out considerably after last week (favorites are up 45-44) so I’d like to see fewer underdogs show up, but I don’t have any control over that. At this point in the season the computer’s flip bets are looking terrific, so it’s safe to assume they’ll cool off a bit before the season is over, while hopefully hedge bets will turn the corner and get back to where they belong. In a few weeks I’ll have a mid-season status report. In the meantime, here are the week’s picks.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Gamblor’s Pick: Tampa Bay (+15)
Bet Amount: $12.15 (Hedge)
|WHY I AGREE: The Patriots are back! I’m not convinced. Oh wait, yes I am. No, I’m not. Tom looked fine, but Tennessee gave up. And this game is in Lon-freaking-don. In England. Neither team is going to show up sharp for this game, the field will be wet, and there won’t be many points scored here. Expect an upset. In terms of the spread, I mean. Tampa Bay beat New England? Please. When’s the last time you saw a fourteen point underdog pull of a straight-up victory?|
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Gamblor’s Pick: Cleveland (+9)
Bet Amount: $23.94 (Hedge)
|WHY IT’S WRONG: Green Bay will play much like they did against Detroit, but they won’t make the same clumsy mistakes that kept them from breaking forty points. Aside from their battle with teh Bengals a couple weeks ago, Cleveland hasn’t posed a serious challenge to anyone this year, and that won’t change here.|
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Gamblor’s Pick: Kansas City (+5)
Bet Amount: $24.31 (Hedge)
|WHY IT’S WRONG: Kansas City will try to imitate Denver’s extremely successful game plan against the Chargers, but their coaching staff isn’t smart enough to make the same adjustments at halftime that sealed the deal for the Broncos. Also, although Matt Cassel and Kyle Orton can operate at a similar level, the Chiefs don’t have a receiving corps to match Denver’s. And they don’t have enough of a running game to keep San Diego’s defense honest. Expect lots of three-and-outs from Kansas City and lots of lobs from Phil Rivers. The line for this game seems a bit shady – lower than it should be – and most bettors are still making too many allowances for an underachieving Chargers squad, but that most likely won’t matter here.|
SAINT LOUIS RAMS
Gamblor’s Pick: St. Louis (+13.5)
Bet Amount: $5.71 (Hedge)
|WHY IT’S WRONG: No trap line here – it’s already moved half a panic point and will probably slip even more by the end of the week. As I said last week, I’m going with the Colts until someone makes me regret it.|
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Gamblor’s Pick: San Francisco (+3)
Bet Amount: $23.02 (Hedge)
|WHY I AGREE: Houston is like a box of chocolates. Sometimes they’re crunchy and tasty, and sometimes they’re runny and brown and leave nasty stains on the furniture. Samurai Mike has had two full weeks to berate his Niners, and you’d better believe they paid in blood and sweat for the drubbing they took at Atlanta’s hands. They should have it back together this week.|
Gamblor’s Pick: Pittsburgh (-5.5)
Bet Amount: $37.56 (Flip – 90%)
|WHY I AGREE: This is the only game this week where Gamblor likes a favorite, and it likes Pittsburgh a lot. I do too. It’s a great spot for them. Minnesota’s defense completely fell to pieces at the end of the game against Baltimore, and Mike Tomlin is smart enough to study the film and learn how to exploit their suddenly visible weaknesses. Pittsburgh’s running game has finally found their teeth, and this game against a non-conference, non-divisional opponent means nothing to the Vikings. The home field advantage should be enough to put Pittsburgh on top in this one.|
Gamblor’s Pick: Chicago (+1)
Bet Amount: $23.02 (Hedge)
|WHY I AGREE: Both Chicago and Cincinnati have been slipping lately, but they’re still both good teams. I expect a very tough game between these two teams, but Cincinnati has slipped through in too many tight games and will finally falter at the end.|
Gamblor’s Pick: Buffalo (+7)
Bet Amount: $4.42 (Hedge)
|WHY IT’S WRONG: Buffalo somehow managed to put together a great comeback against the Jets last week. I know that Carolina is nowhere near as good as they were last season, but I don’t think their fans are convinced of that yet. The Panthers will have the same success running against the Bills that the Jets did, but despite his reputation, Delhomme won’t serve up interceptions the way that Sanchez did. Carolina can handle the Bills (regardless of who plays quarterback) and should win this one fairly casually.|
NEW YORK JETS
Gamblor’s Pick: Oakland (+6.5)
Bet Amount: $40.88 (Hedge)
|WHY IT’S WRONG: Gamblor and I just can’t see eye to eye this week. I don’t think Oakland is any better than they were two weeks ago – a single strong defensive performance isn’t enough to solve all their problems. It’s not a question of whether Jamarcus will be horribly inaccurate with his throws in this contest, it’s a question of whether or not anyone will be standing close enough to where the ball lands to intercept it. Rex Ryan is a lot smarter than Andy Reid and will be wise enough to utilize his running game to full capacity – delivering the beatdown everyone expected last week in the process.|
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Gamblor’s Pick: Miami (+6.5)
Bet Amount: $24.67 (Hedge)
|WHY IT’S WRONG: How could I possibly pick against New Orleans at this point? Drew Brees couldn’t deliver the ball more accurately if he stopped time and walked the ball out there himself. I simply can’t pick against the Saints here.|
Gamblor’s Pick: Atlanta (+4)
Bet Amount: $0.18 (Hedge)
|WHY IT’S WRONG: Given how good Atlanta has been lately, this line feels like a bit of a trap. Mathematically it’s not, but Dallas is still very overrated and definitely outmatched here. Will Atlanta finally run out of gas once they get to Cowboys Stadium? I think they will.|
NEW YORK GIANTS
Gamblor’s Pick: Arizona (+7)
Bet Amount: $3.31 (Hedge)
|WHY I AGREE: Arizona looked incredible in Seattle – I thoroughly enjoyed their victory, particularly since it was my second-largest bet of the week. But are they really that good? The Giants were a joke compared to the Saints in what should have been a marquee matchup. I hated seeing them lose my largest bet of the week. But are they really that bad? I have a hard time deciding what’s going to happen in this game – I still think Arizona has a lot of vulnerabilities, but I also don’t feel like the Giants are resilient enough to bounce back with much energy from their loss to New Orleans. I’m taking the points here, but the outcome of this game is guaranteed to be a surprise for me.|
Gamblor’s Pick: Washington (+7)
Bet Amount: $16.13 (Hedge)
|WHY I AGREE: It’s pretty incredible how helpless the Washington Redskins look right now. They should be the perfect tonic for a damaged Philadelphia team that just blew what should have been a very easy victory. But Philadelphia’s failure primarily stemmed from Andy Reid, who somehow convinced himself that handing the ball off to Brian Westbrook, who was averaging 8.3 yards per carry, was a bad idea. Most strippers have better decision-making abilities than the feeble-minded Reid, and it’s likely that his ineptitude will cost the Eagles yet again.|
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