Season to Date: 82-65 ATS
TSZ Welcome to: Row007
Coffee Thank You's: Beer 'n Brats 4 Breakfast
What a weird week! The Bengals and Titans dominate, the Rams and the Niners tie (time to take those small betting lines more seriously), and the Cowboys score 21 points in less than three minutes. Moreover, four QBs go down with concussions - and one of them is Michael Vick. Okay that's not really shocking, but what about the Atlanta Falcons finally losing and New Orleans continuing to roll? I guess we should have known things were awry when The Tide finally got rolled by Texas A&M on Saturday.
So it's official, thanks to a rally in the late games and both Sunday and Monday Night Football covers, the Spread Zone's now five week winning streak continues. Okay, if you want to be technical, going 7-7 ATS this past weekend actually makes it a five week non-losing streak, but we'll take it, we'll do a little math, and we'll boast our 43-26 ATS during that span to any new readers. You followers know what a rough week if felt like to Marco and me, and we really appreciate you all picking us up when we were down like good, co-dependent gamblers should do. You're the best.
Now let's get to work on what feels like one of the hardest weeks of the season, beginning of course with a thrilling Thursday Night division showdown between the 4-5 Miami Dolphins and the 3-6 Buffalo Bills. What is with these Thursday night games? It's as if they think we're so desperate for football that we'll watch anything.
And they're totally right.
HOME TEAMS in CAPS, favorites in bold. HOME FAVORITES IN CAPS AND BOLD. I know, pretty crazy eh? That "eh" was for our Canadian follower.
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
BUFFALO BILLS (-1.5) over Miami Dolphins: Just a hunch. When Marco and I scouted ahead three weeks ago, we had this game pegged as the first tie in four years. Now that the quota has been used up, we're going with the home team. The Bills aren't far enough out of it not to give a shit and the Titans created a blue print for the league on how to intercept their rookie QB Ryan Tannehill last week. The Dolphins can't stop the pass, while the Bills are helpless against the run. Both teams have negative turnover differentials, the Bills have a better offense, and Miami has a better defense. Miami will be the popular pick because they are given the nod as mere 1.5 point dogs on the road, but we believe the game will come down to experience, weather, and the twelfth man. Advantage Bills.
SUNDAY'S LINE UP
Part 1 - The Hook: For those of you who don't know this, the term "Hook" in sports gambling terminology is the half point added to football and basketball betting lines by odds makers as a means of tempting a gambler to wager on a favorite or an underdog in a given contest. Often the hook comes into play when key numbers are involved, which in football are 3,7, 10, 13, 14, and so on because of assigned values for field goals and touchdowns.
Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) over KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Doesn't it feel like Vegas is begging us, hooking us if you will, to take the Chiefs because they stayed within three of Cincinnati's division cohorts Pittsburgh and Baltimore? And to be honest, Marco and I almost jumped at the opportunity after watching KC stay within a late pick of back-up QB Byron Leftwich and the Steelers. The Chiefs are 5-2 ATS as a home dog the past couple of seasons, so there is a shot - we just have more confidence in Andy Dalton and AJ Green to break a game open than the other passing attacks in their division.
ST LOUIS RAMS (-2.5) over NEW YORK JETS: The Win That Got Away versus The Win That Was Never Going to Happen. Which one feels like momentum? Answer, "Neither. You put bread in a toaster, dumb ass." Sorry, these teams inspire middle school humor. That being said, there's no way we can pick the Jets again, lest we get inundated with exasperated e-mails from our followers. If you're a Jets fan out there, let us know why you might win or cover. I know the hook is pleading with us to take them, but we just can't do it. The Jets are 1-7 SU/ATS in their last 8 against the Rams and 1-10 SU in their last 11 as a dog.
DALLAS COWBOYS (-7.5) over Cleveland Browns: This is a classic Peter Pan-Captain Hook battle where we believe odds makers would love us to ride the young, point covering fools that are the Cleveland Browns. The Cowboys have not covered at home all year a (0-3) and we think they're finally due. Last week was the break through this talented team needed to climb into the wild card conversation. Look for Dallas to stop making stupid mistakes and turning the ball over, finally following up a win with a dominant home performance.
Green Bay Packers (-3.5) over DETROIT LIONS: What's up with this line? It's not Thanksgiving. The Packers aren't going to be drugged up on Tryptophan. The Lions are one of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL and even when they've won this year they've eked out victories against St. Louis, Seattle, and Philly. Jacksonville doesn't count. We would take Green Bay up to a touchdown. The Pack is 7-2-1 ATS coming out of the bye, 9-3 ATS vs. the Lions, and although their not great as a road favorite 1-4 ATS in their last five, this line is ridiculous. Take the points and watch the Lions take a beating.
Philadelphia Eagles (+2.5) over WASHINGTON REDSKINS: The fans who have been carrying the "We Want Nick Foles" signs will finally be redeemed. Foles is another West Lake High School graduate, where he started three years, won MVP twice, and broke records previously held by alum, Drew Brees. The kid can flat out play. Now the question becomes, can the Eagles vaunted defense stop the Redskins enough to give him the opportunity to win the game. If any team is prepared for an RG3-type QB, its the one that watches his prototype every day at practice. The Redskins are 2-8-1 ATS at home recently while Philly is 9-4 ATS when visiting Washington.
DENVER BRONCOS (-7.5) over San Diego Chargers: Initially we wanted to jump on the Chargers because of their 5-1 SU record in Denver the past three seasons. Those, however, were the hay days of Chris Simms, Kyle Orton, and Timothy Richard "The Dick" Tebow. We do not see Denver spotting San Diego 24 points in this game, and they should continue rolling quite easily at Mile High.
Part 2: The Beat Downs: This is a non-gambling term for one team pummeling another team. This is what we believe is going to happen in the following two games. Friday Five preview anyone?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5) over CAROLINA PANTHERS: The Bucs are scoring almost 30 points/game this year, while the sophomore slumping Cam Newton and Co. are barely breaking 18. Conversely, Tampa Bay is almost dead last in the defensive ranks, while Carolina holds par in the middle of the pack. This game will come down to offense and the Bucs have a lot more weapons, which is why they've covered four straight road games and will continue that trend. Josh Freeman and Doug Martin will continue their fantasy dominance in a reality game in Carolina.
New Orleans Saints (-4.5) over OAKLAND RAIDERS: We were a little worried about the fact that New Orleans is actually a mediocre team on grass (10-10 ATS in their last 20), but then we remembered that Oakland is a very bad team no matter what surface they're playing on. Drew Brees and company, 6-1 ATS in their last 7 against Oakland, are scratching their way back into the playoff picture while the Raiders are sinking their way into this year's "Suck for Whoever is #1" campaign. No, the Saints aren't perfect on defense, and yes Palmer will get his fantasy points, but the Saints should run away with this one kind of like the Bucs did two week ago.
Part 3. Jimmy the Weasel Style: Okay they aren't all double digit lines, but they're close enough to reference Jimmy the Weasel, three-time winner of our pool this year (asshole), whom we anxiously anticipate a guest appearance by on this week's Thursday Three at The Spread Zone. With big lines, Jimmy always likes to remind us that one quick score and 10 becomes 17, 15 becomes 22, and anything else plus seven equals seven more than that original number. You get the idea.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+15.5) over HOUSTON TEXANS: The only reason we're taking the Jags is the fact that Houston is coming off a short week in Chicago and going into one Thanksgiving day in Detroit. If they get a comfortable lead, which they should, good coaching - which they have - will get their starters some rest. Just enough to let the Jags back into the game. Upset alert? Probably not, but the line is too big to lay the points. Although the Texans are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 against the AFC South, the UNDER is 8-1 in the Jags last 9 division games. That last stat, coupled with an almost 16 point line makes us think they'll cover this one.
Arizona Cardinals (+9.5) over ATLANTA FALCONS: One time I took my niece and I built a make-shift fishing pole with a stick, dental floss, and a hook. We didn't catch any fish, but we landed a duck by accident. Which bird hooks us this week? The Cardinals. Atlanta hasn't shown that they can cover at home - let alone a 9.5 spread. Arizona is rested, the have the second ranked pass defense in the NFL, and they still have a shot to make the playoffs if they can get healthy. The Falcons haven't been dominating teams at home this year, and unlike the rest of the analysis world, we expect them to come out a little flat this week.
Indianapolis Colts (+9.5) over NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Really? Do the Pats just get reputation points now. Have odds makers seen the Colts play? New England definitely has the better offense, but their secondary will give up almost as many points on defense to rookie Andrew Luck who is taking the NFL by storm. Have you looked at the top five QBRs this year: Manning, Brady, Ryan, Luck, Rogers. Nice company. And who leads the league in receptions? Reggie Wayne, that's who. Take the points and look for the upset.
Paleolithic vs Neanderthal: Advantage Colts
Sunday Night Football
Baltimore Ravens (+3.5) over PITTSBURGH STEELERS: No Big Ben. No chance. We know the line has move about six points, and we don't care at all. The Ravens will win this game handily, so take them even if you have to give up a field goal.
Monday Night Football
Chicago Bears (+4.5) over SAN FRANCISCO FORTY NINERS: Before the lines came out on this game, Marco and I looked at each other and said, "We'll take the points." We might have reconsidered if it were 2.5 or if either or both quarterbacks were healthy, but as it is this game will come down to the top TO differential defense against the third ranked overall defense in the league. Good money takes the under in a game that promises to be about 17-13 Niners. So grab the points, sit back, and enjoy the punt formations.
That's it for Week 11. As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts - especially for our new Thursday Three. If you haven't submitted your picks, click below and get to work.
Happy betting everyone. And remember, "Luck favors the prepared," so do your research and share your thoughts.
Vinny and Marco
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