FRIDAY FIVE SEASON TO DATE: 21-10 ATS
FRIDAY FIVE LAST WEEK: 2-3 ATS (First losing week of the season)
Let me be the first to say that I'm glad we picked the New Orleans Saints to cover last night's disappointing loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Would we have loved a garbage time touchdown and the back door cover rather than the fifth (yellow flagged) and sixth Drew Brees interceptions? Absolutely. Five uncharacteristic turnovers, a streak of 54 consecutive games with a touchdown pass ending, and a ten point loss - that we can live with. Taking Atlanta and trying to explain to anyone that it had anything to do with genius or football handicapping IQ - we'd rather lose.
And if anyone tells you they knew the Atlanta defense was going to give Drew Brees those kinds of fits, not only are they lying - they're delusional. Even my mother-in-law said she had a vision of a Falcon being impaled on a Saints logo.
Coffee Donation Thank You: Just so you know, Texas Todd - a second serving of Just Because Coffee is one of the best things we've ever experienced. You are a generous man. Thank you very much from the bottom of our caffeinated hearts. Seriously.
Before we get to the Friday Five, I want to share a little story.
A few years ago I had the privilege of coaching high school basketball for a few years. In my first season, I had a roster of seven girls on the JV team. I knew very little about the sport, but I loved it, and I loved finding ways to inspire the same enthusiasm in my players. With a short bench, those kids played their tails off all year. It was an unforgettable run which culminated in a league championship clinched on the final day of the season.
During the season, parents were incredibly supportive - thanking me for being so positive and encouraging. For Christmas I got Starbucks gift cards and at the end of the year, the kids all pitched in and bought me a guitar. One parent, however, - and there's always one - felt as though I was treating his kid unfairly, withholding high fives that I was freely giving to the other kids.
I was taken aback. Who counts that shit, right? Well, apparently this guy. Human nature and my own dysfunctional family system dictated that I filter out all the praise and focus on the single criticism. I suddenly found myself ultra-conscious of my encouragement distribution during time-outs, likely leaving my players confused as to why I made them high five me on the way into and out of huddles. It was ridiculous and it mercifully passed quickly when I realized that parent was just plain crazy. Along the way, however, it made me an even more conscientious coach.
Last week we decided to privatize our Friday Five in hopes of earning some coffee donations to put towards our vision of TSZ's future. Many donated, and even though we had our first bad week, no one complained. Except, of course, for one "parent." He was tactful and polite enough, although he did suggest that karma might have had something to do with our losing record last week.
Unless Karma is Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant's nickname or is a wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars, we're going to politely disagree. But we always appreciate diplomatic feedback.
We love what we're doing here at The Spread Zone. We love that we have readers who appreciate our enthusiasm for writing, football, gambling, community, and dialogue. We love that we're decent at those things, and we want to grow The Spread Zone into something bigger, better, and more enduring than a seasonal blog, so we decided to use our Friday Five success as a donation-based commodity.
What that means: Value is in the eye of the beholder.
All of our picks are still free on Wednesday, so you might do just as well to pick your own Friday Five. Follow your heart. If you're on our e-mail list already, you get Friday Fives and Thursday Threes and just plain good mornings from Marco and me all the time. You know who you are.
Reminder: If you're a follower and we don't have your e-mail, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can put you in our address book. Without you we would be nothing.
Man, that took a long time didn't it?
FRIDAY FIVE FOR FRAPPUCCINOS: How it Works
For the rest of you, we're not asking for much - just absolute loyalty, intelligent feedback, community participation, and your first born. Or just a warm, delicious coffee donation. For non-followers who are interested in our Friday Five picks, here are some suggestions we have before you commit.
1. Read earlier posts about The Friday Five to check out our track record. We take a lot of favorites, but in some ways that makes our 19-7 ATS record even more impressive because this has been the year of the underdog. Our worst Friday Five so far has landed us at 3-2 ATS. Have a look at all of our Week 12 picks to decide whether you even care what we have confidence in.
2. Check the comments section below the posts and we believe you will find some of the most well-informed NFL handicapping fans/gamblers on the Internet. Just look at their original Thursday Three fan picks -3-0 ATS. Get in now, because they might start asking for coffee, too.
3. Ask yourself if you really need help with this. A radio analyst recently described NFL handicapping as "throwing darts at a dart board." Are we that good, or have we just been lucky enough to hit the bulls eye 19 out of 26 times? We honestly don't know for sure yet, but we're gaining confidence every week.
4. If you decide to join TSZ, this is all we're asking for:
Step 1: Make a coffee donation by clicking on the DONATE button that says "Coffee for Vinny and Marco."
Step 2: Become a Follower of The Spread Zone. This isn't mandatory, but it's encouraged. Once you donate and let us know, we'll have your e-mail and if that's good enough for you it's good enough for us.
Step 3: Send us an e-mail at email@example.com letting us know you donated. Include a confirmation number in case your moniker isn't easily recognized.
Step 4: Reap the benefits of not only our successful Friday Five, but also the supportive, intelligent dialogue of everyone who has made The Spread Zone what it is today.
It's all in good fun. We make no guarantees, but we've made a lot of dollars for a few people, or a few dollars for a lot of people. We're sure at least one of those things is true.
Peace out fellow gamblers.
May the Spread Be with You,
Vinny and Marco