Friday, September 15, 2006

Cocktails and Parlay Cards

I'm continuing my tour of crappy sportsbooks with week 2 of the football season. Last week, I found myself in San Diego, just a few turnstiles away from the Caliente sportbook in Tijuana. Now this weekend, I'll be flying out to Reno for a bachelor party. Why Reno instead of Vegas? I can only assume that the bachelor has a fetish for gap-toothed, 40 year-old prostitutes. If my football picks go well this season, I might even be able to get him one with her real hair.

Notre Dame -4.5 vs Michigan. This is a huge game for Michigan. They've been in Ohio State's shadow for a few years now and are in danger of falling even further behind OSU and Notre Dame in the midwest recruiting wars. So the pressure is on. Unfortunately, we've seen how Chad Henne performs under pressure, and it isn't pretty. Michigan will rely on Mike Hart early, but once ND puts a few TDs on the board, it will be up to Henne to keep Michigan in the game. That's not where I want to put my money. Really, the Wolverines only chance is that Brady Quinn starts to realize that he's on a path towards becoming the #1 overall pick for the Raiders, so he starts tanking games to avoid wearing the silver and black.

Miami +4 at Louisville. Miami is involved in the exact same situation as Michigan. They need this game, or they'll be relegated to second class citizens in the national picture. Much like Lloyd Carr's job may be in jeopardy, so is Larry Coker if the Hurricanes lose at Papa John's Stadium. Unlike Carr, I think Larry Coker's team will actually rally around him. The Hurricanes can't win a shootout, so their defense will have to step it up against a Louisville offense that looked great against Kentucky, Temple, and Northeast Lexington Community College, or whoever the other soft competition is the Cards have faced leading up to this game.

Cincinnati +29 at Ohio State. There should be a little bit of a let down for Ohio State after beating Texas last week. The Buckeyes will be in cruise control all game, and while they'll still win easily, it won't be that big of a route. Cincinnati is coached by Mark Dantonio, who was an assistant with Jim Tressel when the Buckeyes beat Miami to win the National Championship. Tressel won't want to humiliate his old coach, so he'll call off the dogs before things get out of hand.

Fresno State -3 at Washington. Somewhere down the road, the Huskies will be good again. But those days won't come while Isaiah Stanbeck is their quarterback. The Bulldogs hung tough with the Oregon Ducks so they are well seasoned for this game. Dwayne Wright had 154 yards rushing against the Ducks defense. He'll get 20+ carries against Washington and should find enough room to move the chains.

Texas Tech at TCU OVER 54.5. I'm a little reluctant to take the over until college teams start adapting to the new clock rules, but if anyone can still put points on the board, it's the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Jeff Ballard and the spread offense will be good for at least 5 TDs, so it will be up to TCU to keep up. I also like Texas Tech -1.5 to win by at least a TD. Predicted score: Texas Tech 38, TCU 28.

...As for the NFL, whatever happened to the parity throughout the league? It used to be that at the start of the season, there was reason for optimism in all cities. It's only week 2, and there are five double digit spreads on the board this week.

New York Giants +3 at Philly. I've never seen people jump on the bandwagon as quickly as they did when the Eagles beat the Houston Texans. The Houston freaking Texans?? Unfortunately for Philly fans, the Eagles are facing some actual competition this week. The Giants front four has a bit more impact than Mario Williams and co., and will make it a lot tougher on McNabb. Also unlike the Texans D, I don't expect the Giants DBs to bite on as many run fakes from a team that throws the ball 60% of the time. Also complicating matters for Philly is Brian Westbrook is dinged up this week. He'll play, but I'd expect him to be limited in his effectiveness.

Baltimore -12.5 vs Oakland. If the Ravens score 2 tds, that might be enough to cover. It's been one week, and the Raiders already look like a team that's just playing out the season. Steve McNair should lead the offense for a couple scores, and the Ravens D might be good for another. If there is any source of optimism for the Raiders it's that Sebastian Janikowski might be able to end the Raiders scoreless streak. Baltimore 24, Oakland 3.

New Orleans at Green Bay UNDER 38. Brett, I need you to do me a favor and only throw your INTs in New Orleans territory. I know it's asking a lot, but I think you can do it. Just remember: when in doubt, throw it deep.

Detroit +9 at Chicago. I think the Lions defense is for real. If nothing else, they showed they can stop the run; and the Bears are a run-first team. I think both coaches will have a conservative game plan and the resulting final score will be low and close.

Dallas -6.5 vs Washington. I was going to stay away from this game, but now that Portis has been ruled out, I just don't see anyway the Redskins stay close. Well, other than another Bledsoe implosion and the Cowboys forgetting to cover Chris Cooley again. Ok, so maybe that isn't all that far-fetched. Still, I think the Cowboys just have too many weapons and will be able to control all 4 quarters this time around.

Minnesota Pk vs Carolina. Another injury-related game. Without a healthy Steve Smith, the Panthers are a very average team. Cornerbacks aren't going to be worried about Keyshawn Johnson and Drew Carter getting away from them, so stopping DeShaun Foster will be the primary focus for the Minn D which acquitted themselves well against Washington. As for the Vikings offense, expect the same deliberate, run-first style with the occasional bomb to Troy Williamson. If Williamson can just learn to catch the freakin' ball, then Minn should be a winner.

YTD: 8-9-1


At Fri Sep 15, 08:23:00 PM PDT , Anonymous The Big Picture said...

Why the hell are the Huskies only a field goal underdog?!?! has anyone seen them play?

so, yeah, ugh, Go Dawgs!

At Sat Sep 16, 01:48:00 AM PDT , Anonymous insomniac said...

I was surprised by the 3 point line myself. I know that Husky Stadium is traditionally a tough place to play, but that was when U-Dub actually had a decent team that could feed off of the crowd's energy. Do they even sell out anymore?

At Sat Sep 16, 01:42:00 PM PDT , Anonymous House of Sports Blab said...

Word of warning about the Detroit-Chicago game: Roy Williams not only guranteed a victory in Chicago, but he also said that the Lions were "stupid close" to scoring 40 against Seattle. Of course, they scored six. I don't think the Bears will take too kindly to bulletin board material from a division rival.


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