PHONE TO MY BOOKIESVILLE – It’s a beautiful, crisp and clear Saturday. Perfect for football… Let’s talk about the best ways to throw away some money! I’ve got derelict musings on all four games of the NFL’s Divisional Round; Home teams in CAPS.
HOUSTON 4 Cincinnati O/U 38.5
Both teams have pretty good Defenses: Houston is ranked second overall in total yardage and Cincinnati is the 7th. Of course, those of you who read sites like Football Outsiders know that the NFL’s official stats are simplistic relics from the early 20th century, and there are much better metics out there. But no matter how you slice it, these units bring it; they’re also both top ten in passing yards, rushing yards, receiving yards, and number of downs defended (in other words, they get off the field). Interestingly, however, they’re both in the bottom half of the league in generating turnovers, which means it’s about the long game of field position, not creating quick-strike opportunities for the Offenses.
Speaking of those offenses, both teams now feature a rookie quartberack, one of whom (Houston’s T.J. Yates) barely played during the team’s meaningless finale, held out as if he were the “franchise.” Gary Kubiak probably wanted to get his new backup and everyone’s favorite muppet Jake Delhomme some reps, but Yates has hardly any experience after recently taking over for an injured Matt Schaub, so really he’s the one who needed the live practice. On the other side, red-headed stepchild Andy Dalton has looked as good as any rookie quarterback not named Cam Newton. That being said, after having watched a number of Dalton’s games this year (living in Baltimore means you get some juicy AFC North action), he’s nothing more that a promising rookie right now.
In the end, these teams are very evenly matched and both are quite vulnerable. I would take the points for either if it were a FG or more, and certainly the Under, as I expect both field generals to get stripped of their rank by the lockstep defenses they’ll be facing. I like Cincinnati and the Under.
NEW YORK/Atlanta under 47.5
While New York and Atlanta both boast pretty good Offenses, the truth is they’re at the top of the second tier; neither is elite a la Green Bay, New England, or New Orleans. Likewise, both teams have impressive Defenses that should help keep this game reasonable. I’d like to see crappier whether for Jersey in January, but regardless, this line is way out of whack to my thinking, even after dropping during the week. I’d be surprised if the total goes over 42. I like the Under.
Pittsburgh 8 DENVER O/U 33.5
Believe me, nobody wants to see Pittsburgh hammer the sh!t out of Tim Tebow more than I do. This thing is so real that MtM’s resident Broncos fan, the one and only Cookie, is threatening not to leave her husband and kids for me because of my rabid loyalty to the Steelers. Can you believe that? For my part, I’m adamantly refusing to flirt with her until the game’s over, and for the duration of the post-season should the Steelers somehow lose.
If Pittsburgh were healthy, this the spread would probably be two TDs. But they’re banged up worse than anyone this side of Houston. The loss of Rashard Mendenhall certainly hurts, but Pitt’s mostly a passing team these days. The temporary loss of hard-hitting safety Ryan Clark to sickle-cell is also a problem until you remember Tebow can’t actually pass the ball. The real problem for the Steelers is a gimpy Ben Roethlisberger,who aggravated his sprained ankle last week and can’t seem to step into his throws. The team’s recent offensive woes against San Francisco and Cleveland are a sign of real trouble. And since Denver’s Defense is the real story on that team, not Tebow, this game will probably be very ugly. I have absolutely no doubt that Pittsburgh will win and make Cookie cry, probably holding Denver to 13 points or less; hell, a shoutout, normally unheard of in the playoffs, is actually possible if the Pittsburgh D gets up a head of steam. But the 8 points are just too much to give in this situation. I like Denver against the spread (bite my toungue). Maybe put it on top of If bet with the Under, and think about taking Pittsburgh on an easy money line call if you can afford to lay those kind of odds.
NEW ORLEANS 10.5 Detroit O/U 59
Betting wise, I want no part of this game. They’re probably gonna shoot the lights out, but 59 is a simply ludicrous number; that’s more than eight TDs. And in a game likely to be this high scoring on both sides, I want no part of the line. So instead, I’m just gonna grab a beer, sit back, relax, and watch what should be a great game tonight.
You can sit back and relax tomorrow right here with Cheesy Bruin. And remember kids, don’t bet the house – just the farm – because none of us actually know what the hell’s going on.