Good morning everyone. Unfortunately I had to go and work last night, and I left my place when Washington and Baylor were tied 21-21 in the Alamo Bowl. Later on, I learned that the Huskies were ahead of the Bears 42-24. My next update had the Bears trailing 49-46. Then Baylor was ahead 53-49. When I asked for a final score, I was told Baylor 67 Washington 56... :) Do you think today that there are some BCS Bowls that are regretting passing on the Bears for their own bowl game??? Speaking of bowl games, as much as my NFL picks have recently been missing as often as an Alamo Bowl tackler, I went on a nice little run during the past week. After going 20-4 on my bowl picks for the last 8 bowl games (no, that is not a misprint), I am now 27-15 overall. I am 10-4 straight up (losing only the Air Force game this week), I am 10-4 against the spread (8-0 this past week), and I am 7-7 on my over/under selections (5-3 this past week). For those of you who are new to the blog, these bowl selections can be found in my 'Comprehensive Bowl Predictions (2011-12)' entry. I think that I have stated here before that I usually do well during the bowl season, and it's a good thing, because if you've been following my NFL picks recently...
As I am typing away right now, I am predictably watching ESPN, and although you may not agree with them, there is a certain amusement factor to watching Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless barking at each other... Okay, enough stalling... Last week I once again went 3-7 on my NFL selections, and for the season I am now sitting at 25-34-1. If you have been following the blog for a while, you know that I had a winning NFL record before I jumped from selecting 3 to 10 picks a week when college football's regular season ended. Using last week's poor performance here as a teaching tool, that is one of the things that I can take from it. In a sports-betting book that I have been reading in anticipation of my eventual return to Las Vegas, the book instructs to go with the picks that you feel most strongly about. During the season I have been typing my NFL picks for this blog in order of strength. I skim through the games, find my strongest pick, type it, then go on. Well, if I would have stopped at 3 last week, I would have gone 3-0 (next thing you know, I will be writing an article here on why the college football season should be extended...). ;) The other thing that I can caution you on about betting is that you can come really close and still lose. In the Miami/New England game, I took the Patriots to win (- 9 1/2), and I picked the under (under 49). After trailing the whole day, the Pats came back and took a 27-17 lead with about 2 minutes to go. The Dolphins get stopped on that drive, I win both picks. Low and behold, Miami scores a touchdown, the final is 27-24, and I lose both picks... The most important lesson to convey is that you should only bet what you can afford to lose. My recent NFL run has made me feel pretty thankful that I am just betting air here in San Marcos, America, and not losing my bankroll in the desert. I am going to once again make 10 NFL picks this week, but I am going to use this week as a tune-up for my NFL playoff game predictions that I will be making for the next month. I am going to give you my score predictions on five of this weekend's most meaningful games, and by virtue of doing that, I will be picking each game against the spread and in regard to the over/under (picking the toughest college games throughout the year worked out well for me, and what do I have to lose at this point?...). ;)
Baltimore @ Cincinnati: Ravens (- 2 1/2) Over/Under 38
The Ravens lock up the AFC North and a high playoff seed if they win, and the Bengals lock up a playoff spot if they win. Let it be noted here that I am a Steelers fan, but I am not picking the Steelers/Browns game because if we don't win the game, then we deserve to be a wild-card team. However, if we do win, and the Ravens lose... :) The Ravens won the first meeting in Baltimore 31-24. I am trying to keep my heart out of this, but I honestly believe that the Bengals and their home-field will show up for this game. The number 38 is so low, that just like in the first game, I think that points will come from somewhere... Will the Bengals pull off the upset?
My Prediction: Bengals 24 Ravens 17 ----- Cincinnati (+ 2 1/2) Over 38
Kansas City @ Denver: Broncos (-3) Over/Under 37
The Broncos lock up the AFC West with a win, and the Chiefs probably win a coaching job for Romeo Crennel if they win. The Broncos won the first meeting 17-10 in Kansas City. This is the game where Tim Tebow completed 2 passes (he went 2 for 8). Kyle Orton gets some revenge if he can win in Denver. This number is also temptingly low, but there is less offensive firepower on the field in this game. Can 'Tebow Mania' extend into the playoffs???
My Prediction: Broncos 20 Chiefs 13 ----- Denver (- 3) Under 37
San Diego @ Oakland: Raiders (-3) Over/Under 47
Let's assume that the Raiders don't trust my Broncos' prediction and believe that they can win the AFC West with a win and a Denver loss. The Raiders won the first meeting 24-17 in San Diego. This is the third straight game where there ought to be an absolutely crazy home crowd in the stadium. Oakland and San Diego have been involved in a lot of high-scoring games this season, and this is the game in this first group of three that I can see turning into a track meet. Will the Raiders do their part?
My Prediction: Chargers 31 Raiders 20 ----- San Diego (+ 3) Over 47
Carolina @ New Orleans: Saints (- 7 1/2) Over/Under 54
The Saints are playing for a first-round bye in the NFC if the Rams can beat the 49ers. For our purposes, let's pretend that the Rams can beat the 49ers... The Saints won the first meeting 30-27 in Carolina. 54 is a high number, but these teams just play so much offense. How many yards will Drew Brees tack onto the record?
My Prediction: Saints 38 Panthers 28 ----- New Orleans (- 7 1/2) Over 54
Dallas @ New York Giants: Giants (- 3) Over/Under 46
The winner of this game takes the NFC East - the loser is watching football on t.v. next week. The Giants won the first meeting 37-34 in Dallas. The Cowboys have let so many games slip away this year. The Giants are capable of playing great and then losing to the Redskins twice. The Cowboys are probably already a victim of this game's magnitude, as the move to primetime will likely provide colder and nastier weather for this matchup. Tony Romo's hand is bruised and Dallas doesn't have DeMarco Murray. The Giants now have both Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs and are playing at home. Barring a blizzard, points will be scored. Can the Cowboys take a bite out of the Big Apple?
My Prediction: Giants 27 Cowboys 21 ----- New York (- 3) Over 46
If my friends who are Cowboys fans don't execute me on the Square in San Marcos, America, I will be back on Monday with my ramble. On the other hand, with my recent lack of success picking NFL games, Dallas fans must be feeling pretty good right now. I hope that you have a great weekend, one that promises to bring you some very meaningful football games. Happy New Year!