With the start of the NFL Playoffs we have a very intriguing Wildcard Weekend ahead. 4 Home underdogs, not something you would expect to see. As we have discussed in previous blogs, the home dog can be very profitable. Especially in playoff games where points are at a premium, I like to grab 3+ where ever I can. Having been an Eagles fan in the 2000's I was accustomed to seeing meaningful playoff games (soul crushing losses) just about every year. Weather and refs change the way games are played, but every year some 2nd tier talent has a breakout game. Usually a wide receiver. Joe Jurevicius ripped out Philly's heart that year. My point being the playoffs are a different animal all together.
One of the key factors I use in making a bet in the playoffs also holds true for the regular season, but not to the same extent...the quarterback. If you are having trouble picking the side, think of which QB you'd rather have. Since there are few other headlines in the sports world this week, Wildcard Weekend is the talk. I've heard more about the weather in Minnesota and how bad Cincy sucks in the playoffs in the last 48 hours than anything else sports related. Don't let the talking heads and barrage of opinions sway you on a game.
Houston +3.5 vs Kansas City - I just talked about QB being a huge factor and you likely read this pick and said "Hoyer is terrible!" Look into the numbers...he has 1 touchdown less than Alex Smith in 100 less attempts. Not just that, but the Texans have a better Defense and the game is at home. Watch SportsCenter between now and game time and you will hear about how its been 22 years since KC won a playoff game. Does that really matter? If you watch ESPN it sure seems to, but if you wager based on a team being "due", your kidding yourself. Yes KC is coming in hot, Big Red and the gang have rattled off a nice win streak. The 2nd half of the season the Texans have been allowing about 14 points per game. That's how you get shit done in the playoffs. I'll take the home team with a competent QB and getting 3.5 all day. Mix in the Andy Reid factor and this game is lost on the inability to gain 1 yard on 3rd down somewhere during the game.
Green Bay -1 @ Washington - do you believe in Kirk Cousins? Do you believe a team that lost to Miami, Atlanta, NY Jets, NY Giants, Dallas, a team that was 5-7 a month ago, is that good? The NFC East was for a long time the strongest division in football. That isn't the case right now. Green Bay has really been crushed by injuries and stumbled to a 10-6 finish. However, they haven't lost a game to a non divisional opponent in 2 months. Sure going on the road to Washington might not be easy, but Rodgers and the Pack have beaten better teams and played in bigger games. We have seen this game before. Washington comes out on Defense, gets a 3 & Out...then they score. The stadium is nuts...7-0 Redskins with 10 minutes left in the first quarter. The next 50 minutes turn into a reminder of bad draft picks, poor management, predictable play calling and below average coaching. Packers win this game 31-13.
Clemson Team Total OVER 22.5 - you hear it all the time...bet with your head, not your heart. For me to make a play on the side wouldn't be fair. I HATE ALABAMA. Part of the reason I hate them is the success, I'm jealous of that and want it for Penn State. The other reason I hate them is that their history gets them a free pass time and time again. Now I'm not here to say they aren't a good team...obviously they are. I'm still salty they didn't get punished for what I think was a bad loss at home vs. Ole Miss. For that reason I'm not just going to pick Clemson +6.5 because I can't stand the Tide.
Uncle Radar and I would wait each year for Clemson to screw us over. It was our running joke. Every bet after week 4 on Clemson was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I actually think they are beyond that now. The change became clear on October 24th. I had the Clemson Miami game OVER 56.5. Miami didn't score. This was sure to be the Clemson game I get shaved, but instead they covered the total own their own. The offense hums, they move the ball, they have speed and tempo, and perhaps most importantly...they LOVE being the underdog. Dabo has this team amped up with the "no one respects us" mentality. You saw it mid season when he freaked out about "Clemsoning" and now the number 1 seed is a touchdown underdog? Perfect for them. I recognize Bama has a great front 4, and their secondary is solid. But they haven't played a QB with this level of athleticism since last years loss to Ohio State. Deshaun Watson might score 3 touchys on his own. 3 and a field goal, counting your money by the start of the 4th quarter.
Gonna Miss You Red Nose
"He's gone and there's nothing we can do about it." Chilling words told to Jimmy Conway in Goodfellas, only we're not talking about Tommy D getting zotzed, we're talking about Tommy C , Giants Head Coach getting rubbed out. Red Nose, I for one am gonna miss you. Getting to listen to the FAN up here in southern New England I'm hearing Giant fans wanting to put Red Nose in the Hall Of Fame, me not so much. His numbers are not great (170-150 in 20 seasons), but their quick to point out he won 2 Super Bowls and I get it. Although on 2 of the most improbable plays in Super Bowl history, but a win is a win. I'll miss Red Nose because he was pure NFC East: Gruff, Tuff, and No Nonsense. I'll miss seeing his pasty face on the cold December game days, when his cheeks would get redder and redder as the game wore on, and his nose so red you could feel the cold. I'll miss him for spiking a clipboard as Desean goes by him to win a game Red Nose fucked up by punting to him instead of punting out of bounds (he did the same thing this year in New Orleans) or looking up to the heavens for an answer when Eli threw another pick 6. What I won't miss is his punting on fourth and a half yard at the opponents 36 and getting a 16 yard net when I need the over like I need oxygen. But whats a few bucks when you get to see him screaming, cussing, and throwing his headset away in disgust. Here's to Red Nose, he was fun to beat, fun to watch go crazy. Let's hope he gets another job in a very cold weather city.
Rust Belt Classic
DATELINE CLEVELAND: Uncle Radar took it on the road in week 17 of the NFL season, I went to Cleveland to check out the Steelers /Browns game. If you don't know anything about this Rust Belt Rivalry just think Cowboys /Eagles with a heavy Eastern Block look. These two cities and teams have a real hate for each other, and I wanted to feel it first hand. Separated by 135 miles up I-76, Browns and Steelers are like 2 brothers in a 70 year sibling rivalry. I flew in on Friday afternoon and was holed up 30 miles away in Youngstown. Youngstown is like K and A without the EL. I was shocked to notice Steelers bars in this Browns stronghold. Cosmos, Tiffany's, and Downtown Draught House were the joints I stopped in and had many boilermakers. As I sat and drank with the enemy I could feel the tension building.The rest of my stay in Youngstown is a bit hazy except if your ever in Youngstown and need a $600 belt or a pair of $120 socks I know where to send you. Sunday's weather was pure football. Steeler fans travel well and Sunday was no exception. Between both fan bases I realized I was surrounded by 72,000 Pollocks with no future. The game itself was a snoozer and the Terrible Towels came out late when the Jets woke up and became the Jets and lost in Buffalo. The weekend was great and I became a better football fan and person.With that said I like the Pitt/Cincy game over 45.5
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