NFL Picks, Week 10


Bengals (+7.5) @ Colts
Titans (pk) @ Dolphins
Cowboys (+12) @ Giants
Patriots (+5) @ Steelers
Rams (+4) @ Niners
Lions (+7.5) & Patriots (+11) Teaser (6 pts)

Overall:  31-31

Cowboys Coaching Gig

Clearly in between botox sessions.It’s probably best that I start out by stating the obvious: the Cowboys pitiful season is beautiful and awesome.  The Cowboys being this bad — in a season with such high expectations — it’s one of those wonderful things that makes life worth living.

With that said, we can move onto the less obvious:  who Jerry Jones needs to hire to coach his football team.

And to make an educated choice, one needs to understand the dynamics of this team.  This starts at the top.  Jerry Jones is as public an owner as anyone in the NFL.  He wants it this way.  He makes personnel decisions despite not having a scouting background (or much of a football background at all).

He speaks in public despite a penchant for making statements his fellow owners and quite often members of his own organization wishes he wouldn’t.

In short, he’s not your typical hands off owner.  As the coach, you’ll be operating under his constantly looming personality.  Then you can add to that the media dynamic.  Eyes are always on the Cowboys.  Local and national media.  The never ending news cycle.

It’s not for the weak minded or those prone to being overcome by emotion.  And it’s not for those who want total control of the organization.

You need a strong voice in the locker room.  And someone who’ll need to show discipline not only there but when facing the media.  For the Cowboys problems have often been aired to the public.  It’s been a recipe for disaster and Jones should seek someone who gets the players’ respect and can keep it by not making mistakes in front of the press that embarrasses them.

Mike Florio says it shouldn’t be Jon Fox.  I disagree.  Let me explain why.

Florio claims the Cowboys need someone who will take full control.

Jones needs someone who wants full control, because Jones doesn’t know how to exercise full control.

That’s fine to say, but Jerry Jones isn’t going to let that happen.  And in the long run, Jones as the final decision maker on personnel is bad for the Cowboys.  But in the short-term this team has talent.  It’s shallow — they need line depth, particularly — but there’s no reason this team isn’t competing for a playoff spot in 2011.

Florio also claims Fox “ran the Panthers into the ground.”

And while you can take a look at the recent history of the Panthers and draw that conclusion, keep in mind this team was a steamroller in 2008.  Fox’s fall mirrors that of Jake Delhomme.  When Delhomme’s play dropped off a cliff, the Panthers were not ready to replace him.  You may claim that to be partially Fox’s fault too, but many good coaches have had their seasons ruined by poor quarterback play.

And the Cowboys already have a good quarterback.

Fox had this team in a Super Bowl.   Fox ran a disciplined ship in Carolina.  Fox knows how to deal with the media, and any coach that lasts as long as he did with one team is someone who gets the respect of his players.

As an Eagles fan, I hope Jerry Jones sticks with Jason Garrett and he fizzles.  But as a non-partisan observer, I’d advise him to interview John Fox this winter.

SportsDork Weekend NCAA and NFL Picks

Looking to rebound after last week’s awfulness.  I can’t believe the Boise line, at home no less.  Hawaii may be the best of the WAC fodder, but this is a mistake.

College Football:
UCF (-2.5) @ Houston
Baylor (+8.5) @ OK St
Kansas (+8.5) vs Colorado
Boise St (-21) vs Hawaii

Teaser — Dolphins +11.5, Bucs +15
Teaser — Lions +12.5, Giants -1

Overall Record:  25-26

SportsDork Smart* Bets Heading Into the Weekend

North Carolina CheerleaderIt’s been tough to keep everything logged here.  During the week with the job and family, it’s been a real struggle.  Hopefully I get better at it.

There’s quite a bit of action on the board that I like this weekend.  NFL lines are really tight with a couple of notable exceptions.  That can make some uncomfortable, but also gives opportunities.

Cleveland (+14) at New Orleans
The Saints are coming off a big road win, which pushed this line up huge.  Any time you are getting two touchdowns in the NFL, you should consider taking the points.  I’m going to with the Browns this week.

San Diego (-2.5) vs New England
One team is coming off a surprising road loss as the favorite.  The other is coming off a big win at home against a rival.  I love the Chargers here, especially with tons of action coming in on the Patriots.  The Chargers are excellent at home, but have been a terrible road team.  The Patriots are traveling all the way across the country, always a good reason to think about the home team.  Take the Bolts.

Redskins (+10) @ Chicago and Miami (+10) vs Pittsburgh
NFL lines are so tight and so well researched, it’s the reason I love two team teasers.  This week I like giving these two teams double-digit cushions.

College FB
West Virginia -14 vs Syracuse
WVU can put up points and Syracuse does not have the speed to stay with them.  Syracuse has gotten better, but they don’t have the players to keep this thing close.

Nebraska vs Oklahoma St UNDER 60
The Cowboys have been scoring a ton of points — but against mediocre competition.  Nebraska keeps the scoring reasonable here with their running game and their defense.

UNC (+7) @ Miami
Love the Heels here, who have been playing much better.  Hold out on this one as long as possible to see if late money comes in the Hurricanes.  You might get +7.5. Record To Date:  23-18

*May or may not actually be smart

What a Weekend

A red hot gambling day is a fantastic feeling.  This weekend was a tremendous 48 hours.  Not only did I hit the three picks I posted here, I kept it rolling the whole weekend — and managed to control the urge to let it ride on Sunday night adventures.

So first were the three that I posted here.  While the noon games were going, I decided to also ride Michigan State at +4.5.  Ding.  That made for a 4-0 college football day.  I made one bad bet on NFL Sunday, mistakenly teasing Buffalo and Atlanta together.  Stupid.

I hit on Tennessee +7 at Dallas and the Philly/SF Over.  That made for a 6-1 weekend.

Tonight I’m making two bets on the MNF game.  Taking the Vikes +4.5, and under 39.5.

Record:  19-14

SportsDork Gambling Update

Had a great 10 days in Hawaii.  Being that far removed from the daytime news cycle really makes for a real vacation for a guy like (and probably you) who spends their day in an office and surrounded by the ceaseless news/sports chatter.

I was able to keep up with bets a bit, anyway.  Unfortunately, the flights out to Honolulu covered virtually the entire NFL slate in Week 3.  So not only did I miss the most dominating performance by the Eagles this season, I missed out on gambling altogether that day.  But here’s how the rest of my work played out.

Texas A&M (+3.5) @ Oklahoma State
This one really had me sweating it out, but A&M managed to cover in in the end.

Colorado State (+34.5) versus TCU
TCU kept the Rams off the board completely, but the offense never really kicked it into high gear here.  I thought this line was too high for a road game and it paid off.

Alabama (ML) and Iowa (ML) Parlay
In retrospect, should have just taken them individually rather than make the gambling n00b play.  But this bet paid, so no worries.

New England @ Miami (Under 48.5)
Got burned by the Dolphins awful special teams here.  Even with the kickoff return for a TD and the field goal block TD, this game only got to 55.  Dammit.

Record Last Weekend: 3-1
Overall:  13-13  (yuck, but staying afloat)


To get rolling this weekend, I’m taking a little baseball action today (Rangers ML).  Love the CJ Wilson versus James Shields matchup for the Rangers.

I’m also leaning towards taking Arkansas against A&M (neutral site game) on Saturday, but no finality yet.

Some Gambling Success, Finally

Completely avoided the NFL on Sunday.  And it wasn’t because I didn’t look hard for a mark.  I stared at the numbers for at least a half an hour before I realized if nothing stood out to me it was a damn good idea to just close things up for the weekend.

That decision left me with a prosperous weekend.  I took Ohio State -8.5 and Washington -13 on Saturday.  Which gets me to 2-5 overall on the year and still a lot of ground to make up.

Trying to keep it rolling tonight, taking KC +5.5 (@bodog).  Hate the Chargers this season, love a home dog getting a fairly decent number.  The public is hitting the Chargers hard as well, and the line is much lower at other places (as low as 4.5).  Go Chiefs.

The Weekend, SportsBook Betting Trends

Last night felt like an unsatisfying nibble of the big meal to come this weekend.  Some fun college football matchups tomorrow, followed by Man Christmas on Sunday.

One note about last night’s game.  According to the folks who operate this site, sports books in Vegas were getting over 75% of their action on Saints -5/-5.5/-6.  And over 80% on the over.  Lots of losers last night (this guy included on the over).  It looks like they plan on keeping their service free for a time.

Pretty excited (foolishly, for certain) for Syracuse’s trip to Washington.  Gametime is 7.  This is the sort of game where you might be able to find a sign the team is turning a corner, even in defeat.  Cuse are 14 point dogs, and that number is likely to go up.

And to give you some perspective on just how unlikely a victory is for this weekend… since 1964 Syracuse is 1-11-2 when they make road trips to the Pacific Time Zone (and that includes some teams that are obviously much better than this one).  Washington is 23-2 at home against east coast teams in that same time frame.

So let’s hope for more improvement, and delight if a miracle should happen.

In related football news, it looks like the Big East will be adding Villanova to its football group very soon.  Pretty exciting for Philadelphia are college football fans.

NFL Betting… Can’t Be Any Worse

The line has been moving slightly on this game.  It started at either Saints -4.5 or Saints -5, and it’s now at -6 on Bodog.

There are competing thoughts as to who’s got the upper hand on this one.  Many smart observers remember how much the Vikings dominated the NFC Championship last season.  That their repeated fumbles are what cost them the victory, and that the teams are returning in much the same form.

On the other hand, the Vikings are extremely thin in the secondary — which is obviously bad news against Drew Brees.  They’re looking at an inexperienced safety as their nickel corner.  Not a good situation when you’re playing a Saints’ offense that knows how to exploit weaknesses.

So I’m avoiding that line and going for the over/under.  Saints games made it to 49 in ten of their sixteen regular season contests in 2009.

I think we see more big plays all over the field tonight and both teams light up the scoreboard , so I’m taking OVER 49.

Season Record (only NCAA so far):  0-4  (yikes).