Greetings! We left off last season in the middle of the season. Last November we changed blogging software which to many readers was a blessing. Your prognosticator got off to a horrible start that produced a hole too big to overcome. Call it the internet version of “the mercy rule.”
Week 1 is always an anything goes sort of day, mostly because the line is set off the preseason. Preseason is usually spent giving rookies work under the guise of real games so season ticket holders are forced to buy more than they want. Coaches don’t game plan, preferring not to tip their hand for the upcoming season. Games are decided by vanilla base plays executed by recent college grads whom are going to get cut. Often coaches will be content wth a preseason loss than extend the game into overtime. It’s not reality.
Remember the point spread isn’t a prediction of the game; it’s a prediction of how people bet. A quick refresher: the book maker wants the same amount of money wagered on each team. One wagers $6 to win $5. The extra dollar is called “the vig” or vinegar. At the end of the game the book maker returns the $6 to the winner, plus $5, the winning share. Left over is one dollar from the loser which the book maker keeps. If $12,000 were wagered on each side the house would keep $2000 no matter who wins. The spread, or line, moves to encourage the same amount wagered on each team. For example: the Eagles opened as 6 point favorites against the Browns. Too much money was wagered on Philadelphia, and the line moved 5 points to make the Eagles an 11 point favorite.
What will make this week interesting is there are many large point swings. If someone bought the Eagles as 6 point favorites, then bought the browns at the end of the week as 11 point underdogs, and the Eagles only win by 10 points, That person won both sides of the bet, and the house loses money.
This week will also include replacement refs. The real refs are on strike. Most of these replacements are pretty good college refs. Of course the pro game is much faster, and this preseason we’ve seen nothing short of confusion from the replacements. Here’s your first prediction: the real refs will be back next week.
Rule changes for this year include an automatic replay for turnovers, knee and thigh pads are mandatory, the playoff over time procedure is now good for the regular season, and a crack back block two yards outside the tackle box is illegal. Expect the real refs to have trouble with the last one. Expect the new refs to bullocks it good.
Remember this is a discussion meant for entertainment only. Any losses incurred from relying on the following advice is not the responsibility of me, The Mountain, Entercom Northeast, Entercom Communications, it’s properties or it’s subsidiaries. Let’s look at some games!
Eagles (-11) over BROWNS. The Eagles blew an NFL record 5 fourth quarter leads last year. The Eagles feel they’ve addressed their defensive short comings, including backs coach Todd Bowles who was brought in to sure up a questionable coaching staff. The Browns are offering a rookie QB and a rookie Tailback against a team that tallied 50 sacks and looks like it got even better. Add to it the fact that the Brownies have covered only one opening day in the past 13 years. It looks like an Eagle kind of day. EAGLES
Bears (-10) over COLTS. The Colts found something out last year; Payton was the team. Now Payton’s in Denver and the Colts ripped up the old team. They let Dallas Clark, Jeff Saturday and Pierre Garson walk. At Quarterback is Andrew Luck, who may be pretty good eventually. Remember Payton Manning had a 3 – 13 rookie year on a team with Marshall Faulk and Marvin Harrison. In other words, if you’re in a survivor pool picking against the Colts every week is a good strategy. I sense impending doom. BEARS in a blow out.
Patriots (-5) over TITANS. There’s a new coach in Tennessee. Rookie Jeff Locker is the new QB. Here’s the Titan’s problem: The Patriots are always good. You have to be very good to beat them. Most teams are good enough. The Titans are like most teams. Patriots big!
Steelers ( - 1 ½) over BRONCOS. See above. Even with Payton Manning the Broncos are like everyone else. Steelers.
RAVENS (-6 ½) over the Bengals. The Ravens are like the Steelers and the Patriots. Crabcakes all around!