The Betting Corner: Saturday, April 13th, 2013

385_zysdvuvy_prkjbjmo4-12-13 Recap:

LOSS: 1 Unit – Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (-101)

LOSS: 1 Unit – Atlanta at Washington (-129)

WIN: 1 Unit – Chi White Sox at Cleveland (-135)

WIN: 1 Unit – NY Mets at Minnesota (-102)

WIN: 1 Unit – LA Dodgers at Arizona Under 8 (-110)

LOSS: 1 Unit – Houston at LA Angels (-1.5) (+115)

Season YTD: 17-12 +3.86 Units

MLB Futures Watch:

.5 Units: Pittsburgh Pirates Under 77 (-110) 4-6

1 Unit: Houston Astros Under 59.5 (-110) 4-6

1 Unit: Atlanta Braves Over 87.5 (-110) 9-1

1 Unit: Seattle Mariners Over 77 (-125) 5-7

1.5 Units: Cleveland Indians Over 77 (-110) 4-5

Mets and the Dodgers/Diamondbacks Under we’re never in question. We finally win a close moneyline game with Cleveland.  Would’ve been nice to win just 1 of the remaining three games but Cincinnati’s comeback efforts go for nothing after battling back the whole game only to give up the lead immediately after tying the game.  It’s in those situations you hope your bullpen can come in and get a quick 1-2-3- inning to get you back in the dugout.  And of all bullpens, the Nationals keep us from a winning day blowing a late game against Atlanta.  Oh yeah, and I don’t even know what to say about the Angels.  Yesterday was a perfect scenario for them to make a stand for an early comeback for the season.  Definitely didn’t pan out that way.

Seems like we just can’t get back on track to our winning ways early in the season.  This is how baseball goes, you just hope you can tread water till you can get a couple solid days under your belt and then do it all over again.  Back to the grind over the weekend.

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1 Unit – NY Mets at Minnesota (-125)

Matt Harvey seems to be the real deal.  He’s had to great starts to begin the season (2-0 w/ a 0.64 ERA in 14 IP with 19 Ks) and shouldn’t have to much trouble with the struggling Twins.  His opponent in Scott Diamond hasn’t thrown in a game yet this year due to starting the season on the DL recovering from elbow surgery.  He pitched well last year but has average stats for the most part throughout his young career.  With the depth the Mets have in their lineup, -125 is a solid number to deal with.

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1 Unit – Toronto at Kansas City (-130)

James Shields makes his debut in Kansas City as a Royal facing off against the veteran knuckelballer RA Dickey.  Coming from the AL East contender Rays, Shields has plenty of experience with the Toronto lineup.  The Jays definitely had a few personnel changes this offseason, but with his 11-5 career mark holding an ERA of 3.24, I think he can come out on top of this one.

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2 Units – LA Dodgers at Arizona Under 9 (-120)

We’re rolling out our first step out game of the year today, and it’s a doozy.  This game should probably be close to 7 or 7.5 at the absolute most. 9 seems like a gift.  Hyun-Jin Ryu has proven his worth so far this year.  He’s 1-1 so far with a 2.13 ERA.  I don’t think his first road game should get to him, and I see him rising to the occasion.

Ian Kennedy has faired well against the Dodgers in the past and has great batter/pitcher numbers against roughly the entire team.  Here’s their starting lineup from yesterday, and his numbers against them.

Hairston, J, LF-3B   –   0-5

Ellis, M, 2B   –   0-6

Kemp, CF   –   4-16

Gonzalez, Ad, 1B   –   2-16

Uribe, 3B   –   0-8

b-Crawford, C, PH-LF   –   2-9

Tolleson, P   –   0-0

Howell, P   –   0-0

Ethier, RF   –   5-20

Ellis, A, C   –   2-9

Sellers, SS   –   1-3

a-Punto, PH-SS   –   0-3

Total: 16-95 (.168 AVG)

That’s no small sample size either.  He’s 5-2 in his career with a 3.24 ERA.  He’s also faired slightly better at home in his career which helps us here.

Both bullpens are fresh and ready to go in this one too.  Each has only pitched 7 2/3 innings in their last 3 games.

Nothing really points against us in this game except that maybe Ryu is making his first start on the road.  But let’s be real, he not exactly from here, so every game could be considered a road game to him.  Expect a 3-1 or 4-2 kind of contest in this one.

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Finding the Upset Specials

artis

After one of the most unpredictable college basketball seasons in recent history, filling out your bracket will be one tough and exciting task. Let’s admit it: anything can happen in March on a neutral floor with college kids playing in the biggest games of their life.

Two 15 seeds knocked off 2 seeds in their first game last year, so naturally everyone is looking for similar upset specials as the chaos of Thursday and Friday draws closer and closer. No matter how much research and analysis you do, it seems like you always miss that one X-factor that leads an unheralded mid-major over a national powerhouse. So for your informational benefit, here is a region-by-region look at some upsets that you can expect, and why.

Midwest

(12) Oregon vs (5) Oklahoma State

You all know the statistic about 12s beating 5s, and this game will continue that trend (for the record, Oregon was originally an 11, but was moved down in the bracketing process). No doubt the selection committee rewarded Oregon for winning the Pac-12 tournament by slotting them in San Jose for the first weekend, which should provide a decent crowd advantage for the Ducks. Before Dominic Artis went down with an injury earlier this season with a foot injury, Oregon was a top-10 team. With him back in the line-up, expect them to return to that form as they did in the Pac-12 tournament and take down Freshman of the Year candidate Marcus Smart and the Cowboys. If this game was at a more neutral location it would be a coin flip, but it’s hard to ignore the close proximity Eugene (8 hour drive). The Ducks are a much better team than their seed indicates now that Artis is back and will pull off the upset.

(10) Cincinnati vs (7) Creighton

This is an upset only when it comes to seeding, not in pure talent. Creighton won the Missouri Valley in a down year with Doug McDermott having another Player of the Year caliber season. Cincinnati lost to Georgetown in the Big East Tournament. So what makes this upset so clear? Creighton has one huge problem: no balance on the offensive end. McDermott is the only player averaging double figures. Additionally, the Blue Jays lost at home earlier this year to Boise State, a team who relies heavily on its guards. Cincinnati is a more physical version of Boise in that they also rely heavily on guards in Sean Kilpatrick, Cashmere Wright, and JaQuon Parker. McDermott can’t do it all by himself, and the Bearcats will be a matchup nightmare for their mid-major counterparts. Ultimately Cincinnati is the best team on the floor in this match-up regardless of what the seeds say.

West

(10) Iowa State vs (7) Notre Dame

If you saw the game earlier this year when Iowa State got hosed at home by the officials against Kansas, you know they can play ball. Fred Hoiberg’s Cyclones play hard all 40 minutes and have a ton of talent in the backcourt with senior guards Korie Lucious and dynamic scorer Will Clyburn. Notre Dame is a rare breed in college basketball starting two true big men in Jack Cooley and Tom Knight. The Fighting Irish get consistent play out of their guards, but have some startling losses to teams like Connecticut, St. Johns, and Providence in conference. The Cyclones will spread out the Irish and contain their big men enough inside to pull off the victory.

belmont

(11) Belmont vs (6) Arizona

One of the more popular upset picks in this year’s field, Ohio Valley champion Belmont brings an exciting small-ball style out to Salt Lake City to face sputtering Arizona. The Wildcats were ranked in the top 5 for much of the season, but fell off track as they entered Pac-12 play. They have tons of talent in Mark Lyons, Nick Johnson, and Brandon Ashley. If they can take advantage of their size, they can avoid the upset. However, their track record this year shows they struggle against quicker teams like Belmont with losses to UCLA and Oregon, as well as to California who is very guard-heavy. Belmont scores a lot of points (rank 15th in the country) and shoots a high percentage (4th best in the country) presenting a huge challenge for the Arizona defense. Look for a balanced Bruins attack to take down the Wildcats in what should be an exciting game.

South


(11) Minnesota vs (6) UCLA

It’s hard to trust a team to win when a coach (UCLA’s Ben Howland) admits their best player (Shabazz Muhammad) has one foot out the door. UCLA has a short but talented rotation that has shown flashes of brilliance this year through the Wear twins, Kyle Anderson, and Larry Drew II. The major question is whether or not they will be completely focused coming into this game, and how much will their stars with one eye on the NBA really care if they win or lose? Minnesota lost a heartbreaker to Illinois on a buzzer-beater in the Big Ten tournament and will be highly motivated to get past their first game in the Big Dance. They have struggled since their win over #1 Indiana on February 26, but Trevor Mbakwe has a lot to prove as a senior who has not played up to his potential and should step up and lead the Gophers along with guards Andre and Austin Hollins (no relation).

Nate Wolters

(13) South Dakota State vs (4) Michigan

South Dakota State’s win at New Mexico earlier this year may have been a fluke, but it did show something important: They can win in a hostile environment against a good team. The crowd at The Pit was exponentially louder than whatever they will face in Auburn Hills on Friday, not to mention the altitude factor. They have a star guard in senior Nate Wolters (look up his stats, they are insane) with three other upperclassmen averaging double-figure scoring. Based on talent, location, and conference affiliation, Michigan should win this game. However, as good as Trey Burke has been this season, he disappeared at times when they needed him the most and that can’t happen when you run the show for your team. It’s not a lock, but don’t be surprised if the Wolverines get caught looking ahead to a potential match-up against Virginia Commonwealth and exit the tournament early.

East

 

(13) Montana vs (4) Syracuse

The Montana Grizzlies are an interesting match-up for Syracuse. They are a small team that relies on three guards for the majority of their points, and lacks an established inside scoring presence. If this game wasn’t a cross-country trip away from New York, the Orange would be the obvious choice, but it’s in San Jose. Montana has played a lot of tough teams this year, coming up short several times, but may have the proper formula to crack Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone. More importantly, their guards have the potential to wreak havoc on Michael Carter-Williams and the Syracuse backcourt. However, if the Cuse can lock down the Grizzlies’ guards and they get caught settling for too many outside shots, this game could be ugly the other way as well. The main factor will be how the travel impacts the Orange and how they handle playing in the Pacific Time zone.

Mike Muscala, Darryl Shazier

(11) Bucknell vs (6) Butler

The last time Butler had a seed this good, they made it to the Final Four as a 5 seed. They are used to being on the Cinderella end of March upsets, but this time they may be the victims. Bucknell’s star player is center Mike Muscala, the best big man you’ve probably never heard of. He dominates both ends of the floor with his inside scoring and shot-blocking abilities that are as good as anyone not named Nerlins Noel. He’s not a one man show though with three other players averaging double-figures. Their schedule has some impressive victories and close losses on the road at Missouri and Penn State. Butler also has some big wins, but they have not been the same down the stretch as they were earlier this season when they beat Indiana and Gonzaga. Senior center Andrew Smith is back after missing some time with an injury, and will be a key part of trying to slow down Muscala on both ends. He has to stay out of foul trouble if Butler has any chance of winning. In the end, Muscala patrolling the paint on defense and the balanced Bison offense will be too much for the Bulldogs who won’t have any March magic this time around.

 

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Your Quarterback is Which Actor?

Your Quarterback is Which Actor?

There are always comparisons between quarterbacks, ranging from Andrew Luck to Peyton Manning or RG3 to Cam Newton. It is quite popular to compare an incumbent to their contemporaries to paint a picture to the public for the future.

Are we going to do that here?  Nope.  In lieu of comparing current NFL quarterbacks to their predecessors, we are going to compare them to actors.  Yes, actors.

For a little appetizer, think of Jamarcus Russell like Lindsay Lohan with all the potential and tools, but caught up in out-of-work trouble. Purple Drink!

Here we go:

NFC East

Eli Manning – Joaquin Phoenix

Both are extremely eclectic people that find ways to put on great performances in crucial times.  They are recognized as the most important person in their biggest career moments.  In Gladiator, Phoenix supported the role of Russell Crowe, much like Manning managed the Giants to their first Super Bowl win.  Next, each person rose to the starring role with Manning guiding the Giants over the Patriots for a second time and Phoenix presenting a remarkable performance in Walk the Line.

Tony Romo – Mark Wahlberg

Ever see someone begin from nothing but, when given their first shot, show such immense potential? Much like Romo, Wahlberg began great with the Italian Job, and continued to show prominence in Invincible and Shooter, but follows up with Ted and The Other Guys.  It is head scratching as much as Tony Romo, but it is undeniable that both men expose themselves to seriously low moments in their career that make you question them.

Michael Vick & Nick Foles – Jackie Chan & Chris Tucker

We have a flashy stunt man, who really does not know how to hone or master his craft (whether it be either acting or quarterbacking).  Their counterpart is serviceable, by carrying the traditional acting techniques, and although either are unproven or average, both Tucker and Foles show flashes of having potential.  Ultimately, neither actor nor quarterback is taken seriously in their profession.

Robert Griffin III – Justin Timberlake

Each person was successful in the early phase of their career, and transferred that into the next level of exposure and immediately succeeded.  RG3 won the Heisman at Baylor and JT went from the front man of Nsync to a prominent solo music career.  At their transition phases, RG3 led his Redskins to the playoffs in his rookie year, and Justin hit the big screen with a splash in The Social Network.  Great things are still to come from these two.

NFC North

Aaron Rodgers – Leonardo DiCaprio

Both of these men are at the top of their respective profession right now and are a must see on the big screen or the football field.  Rodgers continues to get better and better playing the position at such a consistent high level.  Concurrently, Leo manages to remain in elevated form by rolling out Catch Me If You Can, The Departed and Inception just to name a few.

Jay Cutler – Robert Downey Jr.

The overall “I don’t give a $h*!” attitude resemblance between these two is very uncanny.  At the same time, when focused and motivated, Downey and Cutler can put together stretches of absolute brilliance that remind you they are formidable in their respective fields.

Christian Ponder – Josh Hartnett

Essentially, both of these men peaked way too early.  Ponder was drafted well before he should have ever been considered and Hartnett has been on a steady decline since Black Hawk Down.  However, they both have capabilities to present manageable performances with Ponder being efficient and Hartnett with 40 Days and 40 Nights.

Matthew Stafford – Ben Affleck

Affleck and Stafford flourish with talent around them and in the right setting.  Stafford has been fortunate to have Calvin Johnson and numerous weapons to generate his massive yardage seasons.  As much as Affleck has captured us with Good Will Hunting and The Town, he has released some big flops like Gigli and Daredevil, resembling the disgusting sidearm sling Matthew Stafford continually resorts to.

 NFC South

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Matt Ryan – Jeremy Renner

Matt Ryan revitalized a struggling franchise with his first NFL pass going for a touchdown and he has not looked back since.  The same can be said for Jeremy Renner, who really hit us with The Hurt Locker and continued to get better with The Town.  Each of these men is on the rise and aimed for greatness with their professions.

Cam Newton – Gerard Butler

Utterly mind-blowing physical specimens from their initial roles from 300 or Cam’s rookie year, but their dropoff cannot be argued.  It seems both get complacent with their initial success, and relies on their physical tools rather than developing their craft.

Drew Brees – Brad Pitt

Brees’ career began very prominent and flashy in San Diego, which is very reminiscent of Brad Pitt in Fight Club.  Although, each of them went through a dry spell or injury span, they both developed their potential into either a Super Bowl winner or hits with Benjamin Button and Inglorious Bastards.

Josh Freeman – Chris Hemsworth

The physical traits of both men naturally set them above the rest from the beginning. Additionally, they have displayed moments of brilliance in key moments.  Hemsworth separated himself from the bottom feeders of the comic remake world, and lined up multiple runs of Thor.  Freeman has shown to be more than clutch in critical moments leading the volatile Bucs to come from behind wins and fourth quarter drives.

 NFC West

Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 12.44.04 AM

Alex Smith & Colin Kaepernick – Tobey Maguire & Jesse Eisenberg

Smith came in as a number one overall pick with the expectations to revive a franchise, but failed to do so.  The same result can be seen from Tobey Maguire’s attempt at the Spiderman series; an utter disaster.  Maguire was capable of carrying a movie throughout with Pleasantville or Seabiscuit, but failed to present anything spectacular.  Conversely, Colin Kaepernick has come in a thrived as an absolute star much like Eisenberg in The Social Network.  Look for both Kaepernick and Eisenberg to entertain us for the next generation of professionals.

Russell Wilson – Joseph Gordon Levitt

Levitt’s respectable beginning in TV started with 3rd Rock from the Sun and that can be comparable to Wilson’s stint in minor league baseball, but their adaptation to the professional level has better utterly amazing.  Whether it be Inception, Looper, or leading a Seahawks franchise to the playoffs with utter poise and composure; both of these future stars will be around for a long time to come.

Sam Bradford – Chris Pine Can

Chris Pine showed he was capable of supporting Denzel Washington in Unstoppable and left the public wanting more for the recreated Star Trek franchise.  Similar to Pine, when Bradford gets comfortable and gains weapons around him, the Rams will continue their positive direction to a reputable franchise again.

Kevin Kolb & Crew – Jon Heder, Jon Gries, Aaron Ruell

Coach put Uncle Rico in and we saw how that went….

 AFC East

Tom Brady – Denzel Washington

Thriving in roles with good looks and masterful performances symbolizes these two dynamic personalities perfectly.  Denzel began his career being acclaimed in a supporting role and prospered into a top leading man for an extended duration from Training Day to recently released Flight.  Brady stepped in for an injured Drew Bledsoe and never looked back creating a decade of dominance for the New England Patriots.

Ryan

Ryan Tannehill – Zac Efron

With a limited sample size with one year in college and a rookie NFL year, Ryan Tannehill has shown to have immense potential with absolutely no talent around him.  Looking past Efron’s High School Musical days, he has displayed some notable performances with 17 Again and Charlie St. Cloud by showing he can exceed expectations and carry a movie throughout.  It is early, but both Tannehill and Efron have shown glimpses of having a reputable future in their industries.  Plus have you seen their girl friends or wife?  Bonus points!

Ryan Fitzpatrick – Vince Vaughn

Vince Vaughn’s natural sarcastic humor resembles the intelligence of a Harvard graduate like Fitzpatrick.  Essentially both are serviceable in their industry with spotty high moments, but won’t produce anything award winning.

Mark Sanchez – Colin Farrell

They try so hard but it does not work.  We can equate SWAT to Sanchez’s early years with nice playoffs runs, but it has been a steep decline ever since.  Sanchez tried to be an efficient manager but failed.  Farrell tried to match Brad Pitt’s Troy with Alexander, but that was a disaster.  They will remain in their industries, but will never prevail to anything special.

 AFC North

JoeJoe Flacco – Matt Damon

Damon’s character in the Ocean’s Eleven series represents Flacco beyond a reasonable doubt.  Damon struggled to be acknowledged as a main contributor, but gradually was given more respect as each movie continued.  At the same time, Damon carried an entertaining Bourne series for almost a decade and, although it wasn’t award winning, it was very entertaining.  Flacco has shown utter moments of brilliance in big moments, much like Damon in Good Will Hunting and The Departed.

Andy

Andy Dalton – John Cho

You may know Cho has Harold from the Harold and Kumar series, but he quietly has strung together a few noteworthy performances with American Beauty and Star Trek.  He looks to still be a constant within the revitalized Star Trek series, resembling Dalton’s potential lengthy and serviceable NFL career.  It is hard to tell what each person will ultimately become, but each has shown potential that they can be taken seriously looking forward in their future.

Ben Roethlisberger – Christian Bale

Bale and Big Ben can cause some controversy outside the office, but when focused, they compete to be the best in their fields.  Bale transformed the Batman series and was outstanding in The Fighter, while Roethlisberger led the Steelers to Super Bowl appearances and a victories after years of Tommy Maddox and Kordell Stewart.

Brandon Weeden – David Caruso

This one may be self explanatory.  Both were given a shot at an older age and it may work out for Weeden, but if it does expect nothing more than a Lieutenant Horatio Caine performance in CSI: Miami.

AFC South

Matt Schaub – Alec Baldwin

Neither was intended to take on a leading role at the highest level.  Baldwin is perfect at 30 Rock and Schaub was an effective back-up for an injury prone Michael Vick in Atlanta.  Schaub has never quite lived up to a franchise starting quarterback, much like Baldwin in the main character role of a major motion picture.  Both have had memorable moments from big games to priceless lines in The Departed.

Andrew Luck – Tom Hardy

Luck and Hardy came in with all of the physical and mental tools to be successful from the beginning, and lived up to the hype.  Luck led a 2-14 Colts team to the playoffs and Hardy thrived inInception, Warrior and The Dark Knight Rises.  Future success exudes from both of these professionals in such a short sample size already.

Blaine Gabbert & Jake Locker – Taylor Lautner & Robert Pattinson

Gabbert & Locker have proved they are products of the combine hype and beneficiaries of tremendous arm strength, as their on-field product has not been worthy of first-round draft picks.  Translate the aforementioned sentence to motion pictures, and you have Twilight.  The CFL and ABC Family cannot wait for these guys.

AFC West

Peyton Manning – Tom Hanks

Starting as the number one pick in the NFL draft and winning best actor in a children’s movie just conveys the early success of the methodical and surgical (Trent Dilfer talk) careers for Peyton Manning and Tom Hanks.  Both men bring extremely dedicated and intellectual approaches to their roles transcending generations that made up for any physical deficiencies.

Phillip Rivers – Sam Worthington

Has anyone hit the big screen faster and harder than Sam Worthington?  In the blink of an eye, he starred in Terminator and Avatar, but then dramatically took steps down with Clash of the Titans and Man on a Ledge.  This sounds eerily similar to Chargers’ quarterback Phillip Rivers, with his tremendous start under Marty Schottenheimer to his most recent two season decline.  Both began to enter the “elite” conversation, but have quickly entered the above average.

Carson Palmer – Nicholas Cage

This is one of my favorites.  Cage showed some flashes of brilliance when next to Sean Connery in The Rock similar to Carson Palmer surrounded with weapons in Cincinnati.  Both of them believed themselves to be far more talented than what they really are, but show their true worth either in Oakland or anything Nicholas Cage does.  Cage is veteran garbage like Palmer.

Matt Cassel – Seann William Scott

Do you remember Steve Stiffler from the American Pie series?  He was barely in the first one, but his roles progressively grew in an entertaining fashion.  Unfortunately, Seann William Scott cannot be a lead actor. He was amazing in Role Models because he fed off of Paul Rudd.  The Chiefs gave Cassel the keys to the car and how did that turn out?

 Note from the Chief : I believe this to be one of the coolest and funniest articles I have ever seen. I would appreciate it if you would help us spread the word on this article more-so than others. With the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl upon us, this is a perfect time to bring some excitement to the game. Thank you

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Our Final Installment: Week 17 NFL Predictions

Like it or not, all eyes are on Tony Romo this week.

Like it or not, all eyes are on Tony Romo this week.

Can you believe it? We are already in week 17 of the NFL season and the new year is right around the corner. The smell of playoff football is in the air; who will be peaking at the right time to make it to the Super Bowl?

I will commend the NFL on doing the scheduling changes a few years ago, I love watching meaningful games in the last week of the season. Dallas v Washington for the division?! Two years in a row Cowboy fans. Is this year going to be different?

For fantasy reasons, I love watching players play meaningful games in week 15, 16 & 17 because it allows me to win my fantasy football league. Won 1 of 4 – not bad. Pay me Long Island Sound!

From the Cover 4 to our readers, thank you for following along this season; it has had its ups and downs and plenty of changes to meet the demands of our fans but we have enjoyed every minute of it.

THE COVER 4: PHI, CHI, GB, WAS

We hope that you continue to read our website and follow along for some of the best, and most interesting, sports articles out there right now. We aren’t your typical mainstream sports website ; we are for the fans, by the fans. Period!

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New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills (-3) 

Jesse – NYJ –  Both teams are terrible, so I’ll take the points.

Long Island Sound – NYJ – Sanchez will provide a good performance versus a below average defense to prove his worth.

Plumb – NYJ – With McElroy out and Sanchez back, this may be Sanchez’s last time to prove he can play in the big leagues.

James – NYJ – Mark Sanchez is going to play the best game of his life…… maybe?

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Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots (-10)

Jesse – MIA – I expect Miami to play New England tough and cover the 10 points.

Long Island Sound – NE – Hate big lines, but Miami going to NE never works out well for them.

Plumb – MIA – Well last time around New England overlooked Miami and division games are always tough to win, let alone cover. Dolphins make one last push to cap off a decent season.

James – NE – I like Coach Billy in this matchup; coach always wants to send a message.

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Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals (-2½)

Jesse – BAL – Baltimore destroyed the Bengals back in their Week 1 meeting, and they should be playing for playoff momentum after their drudging of the Giants last week. Baltimore’s the better team & getting points.

Long Island Sound – CIN –  Baltimore is a pretender that faced a Giants team that has been rolling over for the last 2 weeks.

Plumb – CIN – After coming off impressive wins and clinching playoff berths, Cincy is the only team in this matchup that has something to play for.

James – BAL – Maybe its my perception, and familiarity, with the AFC North but I know that when it matters Baltimore will beat the Bungals. I like AJ Green a lot but I think the Ravens cover in this one.

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Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers (No Line)

Jesse – PIT – Pittsburgh is out of the playoff hunt, but I don’t expect Tomlin’s team to quit. They should cover whatever number the casinos put up with Cleveland starting Thaddeus Lewis (who?) at QB & Montario Hardesty at RB.

Long Island Sound – PIT – Cleveland’s 3rd string QB versus a disgruntled Mike Tomlin.

Plumb – PIT – Tomlin will have the team ready for this week after last week disappointing loss. Expect Steelers blowout.

James – PIT – Steelers rarely lose to the Browns; it won’t happen twice in one year….

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Houston Texans (-7) @ Indianapolis Colts

Jesse – HOU – Houston NEEDS this win to lock up #1 in the AFC while Indy is locked into the 5th-seed no matter what. On top of that, Houston was flat-out embarrassed by the Vikings at home last week. If they want to prove to the nation that they’re a true contender, it starts this Sunday.

Long Island Sound – IND – Andrew Luck at home.

Plumb – IND – Both are jocking for seeding but Indy is tough at home and getting points makes it even more enticing. The Colts have Luck on their side.

James – HOU – I like Indy but I think Houston takes care of business this week and gets things rolling into the playoffs. If Houston doesn’t cover, it will be because the Colts get a garbage td or two.

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Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans (-4½)

Jesse – JAC – Jacksonville showed life last week vs. Patriots, while Tennessee wet the bed at Green Bay. I refuse to lay more than 4 points with this Tennessee squad after last week’s performance.

Long Island Sound – JAC – Henne has this team playing hard.

Plumb – JAC – Well the worst game on the schedule this week and someone’s gotta win. I’ll take the points just because Henne is showing he can still play and will be fighting for a job next season.

James – JAC – Toilet Bowl of Week 17.

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Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants (-7½)

Jesse – PHI – One of Philly’s 4 wins this season was against these NY Giants and came with Vick at the helm & McCoy in the backfield. Well, they’re back & there’s no reason they can’t keep this game close and cover the TD+ or even perhaps win.

Long Island Sound – PHI – Giants at home against a divisional opponent. Vick gives the Giants trouble.

Plumb – PHI – After Philly lost Nick Foles last week to injury, Vick is back which means two things: unpredictability and dog fighting (j/k PETA). Tough division matchup and the ½ is always a favorites kryptonite. This is a dog’s game (Corny Mike Vick humor). Eagles cover and Vick proves he is still a starter in the League.

James – PHI – This game scares me because the Giants are so unpredictable. I think Vick comes out and takes care of business in his last game in Phili.

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Chicago Bears (-3) @ Detroit Lions

Jesse – CHI – Chicago needs this win +MINN loss to make the playoffs as the 6th-seed, so they’ll be ready for this contest. Pro-bowl CB Tim Jennings (shoulder) should be back & RB Forte (ankle) is optimistic about playing while Detroit is reeling having lost 7-straight.

Long Island Sound – CHI – Cutler and Marshall are in a groove that will not be stopped by the Lions D.

Plumb – CHI – Tough defense, must win game, and Brandon Marshall. Too many factors against the home team in this one.

James – CHI – MUST WIN. Time to put up or shut up Chicago.

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Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Minnesota Vikings

Jesse – GB – Green Bay is ready for their playoff run & earning a 1st round bye would bode well for them. Since starting the season 2-3, Packers have only lost 1 game. They’ll get Minnesota’s best efforts, but they won’t be enough. Green Bay will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Long Island Sound – GB – Finally healthy and Rodgers is back to his unreal form.

Plumb – GB – A very important game for both teams in this matchup. Minnesota fighting for the last playoff berth alongside AP attempting to break the single season rushing record, and Green Bay attempting to clinch a first round bye with a W. Expect this to be a hard nose and close game. Deciding factor: Aaron Rodgers dominant play in domes.

James – GB – I really hope AP can break this record but my PRESEASON Super Bowl pick is looking pretty good right now. I think Rodgers gives the Viking defense his discount double check.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons (No Line)

Jesse – TB – There’s no line on this game because Atlanta might rest their starters. They’ve locked up home-field in the NFC and have no reason to play for anything. I’ll take Tampa, especially if they’re getting points.

Long Island Sound – ATL – Ryan and the Falcons at home. Don’t believe they will sit starts much based on previous playoff woes.

Plumb – ATL – Atlanta is tough at home as they are undefeated in the Georgia Dome.

James – ATL – I don’t care if Chris Chandler is going to be playing quarterback this week, I can’t take the shaky and free-falling Buccs. ATL will play its players for the majority of this one as they aren’t going to rest for two weeks.

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Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints (-5)

Jesse – CAR (ML +205) – I personally think these two teams are relatively even. Carolina’s actually been playing better of late –winners of 3-straight — so I’m getting value with the Panthers, as the spread should be NO -3. Carolina will win this game outright saving Ron Rivera’s job.

Long Island Sound – NO – Should be a shoot-out, but Brees should cover here.

Plumb – CAR – Panthers defense > Saints defense. Plus Carolina has won 3 straight.

James – CAR – Carolina may not get the W but they cover in this one.

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Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos (-16)

Jesse – KC – I cannot get myself to lay 16 points, even if it’s with the perceived “best team in the NFL.”

Long Island Sound – KC – Too big of a spread.

Plumb – KC – Wow this spread is high. I expect Peyton and Co. to play till halftime and call it a day. If this happens, expect KC to capitalize.

James – KC – I know the Chiefs are bad, and I mean bad. I realize the Broncos are really good. I just don’t wanna put 16 on this game. I’ll stay conservative and take KC.

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Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers (No Line)

Jesse – SD – Oakland has quit. Before beating KC two weeks ago, Oakland was losers of 6-straight. They didn’t score a single TD in their 15-0 win over KC in that aforementioned meeting & failed to score a TD last week vs. Panthers. To add insult to injury, Terrelle Pryor will be starting for the injured Palmer (ribs).

Long Island Sound – SD – Just a bad game with a bad team and a very undisciplined team. I’ll take the potential versus the bad.

Plumb – SD – Are you putting your hard earned money on the Oakland Raiders? Yeah, neither am I because I can’t trust them.

James – SD – Norv Turner and AJ Smith get a W in their last game with the organization; Turner has already said he is okay with being an OC again after this year. Smell Yah.

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Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers (-16½)

Jesse – SF – Ok, I lied; I will lay -16 in certain situations. Maybe this is me betting with my heart; maybe not. This season following a loss or tie, the 49ers have beaten their opponents by a combined score of 106-26.

Long Island Sound – ARI – Not taking that line in the NFL out of principle.

Plumb – ARI – This is probably the hardest game to pick this week. On one hand you have the Niners who must win to clinch the division as well as a potential second seed in the conference. My only question is how hard are they going to play the Cards without risking injury? Then you have the Cards who may or may not show up at home let alone score a point. The gut wants the Niners but the numbers say Cards.

James – ARI – 16+? What? Luckily its week 17 and this will be the first, and last, time I think the Cardinals will do something good.

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St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks (-10½)

Jesse – SEA – If Seattle wins this game and 49ers somehow slip up and lose vs. Cardinals, then Seattle wins the NFC West and the #3 seed in the NFC. They have everything to play for, and are playing extremely well especially down in the trenches.

Long Island Sound – STL – This team finds ways to cover.

Plumb – SEA – I made this mistake last week and it burned me. SEAHAWKS AT HOME = WIN.

James – SEA – I don’t think I can go any other way with the way this team has been playing.

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Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins (-3)

Jesse – WAS – Stop me when you’ve heard this before: Dallas in a must-win? I’ll take the other side.

Long Island Sound – WAS – Washington looking to capture a division title will be ready to play.

Plumb – WAS – Dallas Cowboys! Big Games! Tony Romo fumbling meaningful snaps! Means one thing: Choke artists. Skins win and take the Division.

James – WAS – Maybe this is the year the Cowboys finally win a meaningful game at the end of the season? Naw, I’m going RGIII.

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James Kaikis
Chief Sports Activist for The Cover 4
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