Saturday, 22 December 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Last Week: 1-4
Season: 44-36 (55%)

My dear readers, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holidays. I appreciate the times we've had together in the past several weeks and I look forward to keep the good times going after the holidays.

Unfortunately, I will not be making any picks this week. I needed a week off to take my mind off of football and enjoy this festive time. I am headed to Detroit to watch the Lions vs. Falcons game tonight @ 8:30 pm. It's safe to say that I am excited about this. I have a little dilemma though for tonight. I own a Falcons jersey and a New Era Falcons hat and I am not sure whether I should wear them at the game or not. This is only my 3rd NFL game, I heard fans can get pretty nasty sometimes to opposing fans.

I hope you enjoy the break and tell your loved ones that you love them. That's it for me for this week, hope to see you back here next week.

Happy Winnings,



Friday, 14 December 2012

Week 15 Tossing Horseshoes: Land Down Under

Last Week: 3-3
Season: 43-32 (57%)

G'Day mates, last week, I held a contest to celebrate my readers outside of the US and Canada by honoring my largest audience beyond those regions. It is with great pleasure that I announce the winner of the contest: Australia! Lots of other countries battled hard but the Aussies prevailed. I will use some Australian slang this week, so if you fail to comprehend something, feel free to ask. Thank you to everyone who participated.

Here is a little something for you from my dear friend and graphic designer Jordan Karkoulas. (@JordanKarkoulas) It's an Ace! Let us know if you like the poster.

Australia; so much culture and beauty to offer

And here's my favorite songs I associate with Australia, Land Down Under by Men at Work

When you go 1-4 one week and get humbled like I did, you actually feel grateful for a 3-3 week. The results could have been better (Texans, Patriots 'Under') or worse, (Redskins not covering) so I will accept the outcome and work to improve them this week. Seems like donkey's years since I've had a big winning week so a reversal of fortune is due. Let's make some bikkies this week!

Jets +1.5 @ Titans

Fact: The teams the NY Jets have beaten this season have a combined record of 31-46-1. The teams the Jets have lost to have a combined record of 50-27. The Jets have only lost to one sub 500 team this year, the Dolphins. Conclusion: the Jets have prayed against the weak and have been roughhoused by the powerful. Fortunately for the Jets, the Tennessee Titans are anything but powerful. With a 4-9 ATS record, they hardly instill fear on their opponent. Conversely, the Jets have played well on the road with a 4-2 ATS record away from MetLife.

Titans have been inefficient on offense averaging 15.9 yards per point. When you rush for 44 yards in 19 carries against the porous Colts D, you know something is not right. The Titans have been hit by the injury bug on their O line and Chris Johnson has been erratic.

Jake Locker has looked ordinary so far in his young career with a 9/9 TD/INT ratio and a QB rating of 76.2. Locker has a tough match up against the Jets pass D allowing 6.3 YPA and a 54.2 completion rate to opposing QBs, top five in the NFL respectively. The Jets secondary won’t allow Locker to get in a rhythm and will curtail Titans’ drives.

Mark Sanchez has played uninspiring football this season and he is clearly not a franchise QB. If provided protection however, he will have mild success against the Titans secondary conceding 7.2 passing YPA. Sanchez has a whopping 19 giveaways so far this season, so the key for him will be to protect the ball and let his defense give him good field position.
In terms of numbers, I don’t see a glaring advantage for either team. However, the trends are clearly in favor of the Jets; Jets are 6-0 ATS, 5-1 SU in their past 6 vs. the Titans. The Jets are 4-1 ATS in their past 5 road games. The Titans are 1-6 ATS past 7 December games. In this spot, I’ll take the desperate team making a final push for the playoffs over the miserable Titans.

Packers -3 @ Bears

The Packers were able to weather the storm (pun intended) and gain steam in the second half of their previous game. They will continue to build on this momentum this week against the reeling Bears losing four of their past five games. The Packers were able to establish the running game last week combining to rush for 140 yards in 25 attempts. A stout running game lessens the load on Aaron Rodgers and makes the offense more varied. Additionally, the Bears have looked vulnerable against the run allowing a sloppy 5.2 rushing yards per attempt (YPA) over their past three games. The Bears are banged up on defense and they might be missing some key players for this game. Look for Rodgers to settle the running game early and go to the play action as the game wears on.

Although Jay Cutler did not finish last week's game, he should be ready to go this week. Looking at Cutler's numbers closely, Cutler has bullied bad teams while struggling against good ones. (Seattle being the lone exception) Unfortunately for Cutler, the Packers are getting healthier on defense and looked good last game. Sam Shields made an immediate impact picking off a Stafford pass in the red zone. The Packers pass defense is conceding an impressive 6.1 passing YPA over their past three games. Moreover, Clay Mathews has a chance to get back on the field this week, only making life more difficult for Cutler.

From WalterFootball, Jay Cutler is 29-49 ATS if you exclude Monday Night Football. Aaron Rodgers is 21-10 ATS on the road as long as he's not favored by 6.5 or more points. The Packers are 11-3 ATS at Soldier Field since 1999.

Give me the surging team with a better QB and I'll take them straight to the bank!

Colts +9 @ Texans

Houston has played its last three games on the road and will now be playing on short rest. Although they will look to move past last week's embarrassing MNF loss to the Patriots, look for the Texans to start off a little flat. With TE Garrett Graham missing the game due to a concussion, the Texans were not as successful running the ball nor were they able to protect their QB. Graham's status for this week is still uncertain but the Texans will get ample opportunity to run the ball against a penetrable Colts defense conceding 4.7 rushing YPA.

According to TeamRankings, Indianapolis has had one of the lightest schedules in the NFL this year. Nevertheless, unlike many teams, the Colts have taken full advantage of their schedule and used the adversity they have faced to inspire them. Andrew Luck, a Houston native, is playing his first game in front of his hometown and will look to impress his friends and family. The last time the Texans faced a good scrambling QB, Jake Locker rushed for 38 yards. Andrew Luck, who is one of the smartest running QBs in the league, will be able to extend drives with his running ability and keep the Texans linebackers guessing.

Andre Luck will keep his team in the game against the Texans

According to Joe Freda at SBR Forum, the Texans are 0-4 ATS in their last four Sunday games following a MNF affair. This selection is more of a gut play than numbers. With such a large spread, the Colts can cover back door (with a late score) or keep the game close throughout. The Colts have Buckley's chance to win the game, but they will cover with the points.

Rams -2 vs. Vikings

The key for St. Louis to win this game will be to contain the spectacular Adrian Peterson. I learned the hard way last week (betting against the Vikings) that it is easier said than done. Unlike the Bears, the Rams are relatively healthy on defense and get a ton of pressure on the QB, 2nd in the NFL with 39 sacks. For two straight weeks, the Rams have shut a very good ground game. The Rams surrendered just 53 yards on 23 carries against Frank Gore and 51 yards on 16 carries to C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson combined. The Rams will load the box with 8 defenders and force Christian Ponder to beat them. My assessment of Ponder has not changed since last week. He shows poor judgement on the field and makes costly errors.

Sam Bradford has shown flashes of talent, yet he has been highly inconsistent. With the emergence of Chris Givens, Bradford will finally have a potent one-two combo at WR when Danny Amendola returns from injury, possibly this week. However, Bradford does have a better QB  rating (81.9) and passing YPA (6.7) than Christian Ponder. Here's a great stat I found on CHFF, teams that enter the game with a higher passer rating have a record of 108-54 in 2012, 35-9 since week 9. If you wonder which stats you should examine before handicapping, the passer rating is one of the better simple ones at predicting winners.

The Rams have played good football under the tutelage of Jeff Fisher and they are about to turn the corner as a franchise. With a 9-4 ATS record and playing at home, I'll put my faith and money on the Rams to stop Adrian Peterson and prevail in this game.

Steelers -1.5 @ Cowboys

The Steelers will look to put on a show in Dallas after their embarrassing effort last week against the Chargers. Dallas is returning home on a high after their impressive come from behind win in Cincinnati. This is a recipe for disaster for the Cowboys who are 0-6 ATS at home this season.

Although Ben Roethlerberger did not play a great game coming off his injury, he showed no ill effects rushing for 31 yards. Big Ben did not receive much help from his receivers when it mattered as there were too many drops in the early part of this game. Nevertheless, the Steelers offense will have a chance to be successful against a mediocre Cowboys D allowing 4.5 rushing YPA and 7.5 passing YPA, landing them both in the NFL's bottom 7 respectively. If Big Ben gets some protection, he will be able to torch this Dallas secondary.

As tough as I am on Tony Romo, he has played very well of late, amassing a 11/3 TD/INT ratio and a QB rating of 105.6 over his past six games. Romo has also been sacked 18 times during that span so the Steelers will be able to put some pressure on Romo. Despite all their injuries on defense, the Steelers are 2nd in the NFL allowing a miniscule 5.4 passing YPA. This is a battle Tony Romo is not expected to win. The proceeding will only get more difficult if Dez Bryant (fractured index finger) misses the game.

Tony Romo won't be in a good mood after the beating he will take against the Steelers

Demarco Murray has yet to discover his explosiveness returning from his injury three weeks ago. Since his return, Murray has rushed for 136 yards in 41 carries, averaging a measly 3.3 yards per carry. The Steelers also excel in stopping the run conceding 3.7 rushing YPA. Murray will be kept quiet on Sunday.

From WalterFootball, Mike Tomlin is 11-6 ATS coming off a loss as a favorite. Coach Tomlin will motivate his troops and you will see a focused effort from the Steelers. Conversely, the Cowboys are coached by Jason Garrett who manages to lose games he should win. The Cowboys are 1-6 ATS in their past 7 December home games. My money is going on the team with a better track record in December and a knack to win clutch games.

Random WAG Photo:Kristin Cavallari (Jay Cutler's fiancee)

I look forward to your feedback and comments. Make sure to check out the comments section to see the interesting picks my friends and readers have posted here. My MNF pick will be added prior to the Sunday Night game. I will also add my additional plays and teasers in the comments section.

Thanks very much for reading. Good luck with your bets mates! Hooroo.

Happy Winnings, 


Friday, 7 December 2012

Week 14 Tossing Horseshoes: International Love

Last Week: 1-4
Season: 40-29 (58%)

I just had my worst week of football handicapping so let's turn things around quickly. Following mediocre week 12 results, I made some minor adjustments to my handicapping methods and it did not yield the results I was expecting. I am returning to the process that brought me much success in the early parts of the season. I truly appreciate the support during these times.

As you may expect, my largest audience comes from the United States and Canada. But you may be surprised to hear that my third largest audience is from Australia with Mexico and New Zealand close behind. To celebrate the international flavor of my audience, I have decided to have a fun contest. I will dedicate next week's blog and its theme based on the country of my largest audience (outside of Canada and US) during this week. Share with your friends and pass the word and watch your country be represented in here. May the best country win :)


Patriots -4 vs. Texans

Both teams match up fairly evenly in this MNF tilt. The Patriots are scoring at a league best clip of 11.9 yards per point (YPP).  The Texans trail nearby scoring at 13.2 YPP (4th in the NFL). A reminder that a low number is best for offense, as the fewer yards the team needs to travel before scoring, the better.

However, you may be surprised to hear that the Patriots and the Texans are practically dead even on defense, in terms of YPP. The Patriots are conceding 17.6 YPP to the Texans 17.5 YPP, 7th and 8th in the NFL respectively.  Therefore, no real edge can be found on defense between the teams in terms of YPP.

The Texans bread and butter on offense is their running game. They attempt a league high 34.4 rushing attempts per game as it helps Matt Schaub set up the potent play action pass. Nonetheless, despite all the passing yards the Pats surrender, they are quite adept at stopping the run allowing merely 3.9 rushing YPA. The Patriots will be able to restrict Arian Foster to a modest rushing total, making life more difficult for the rigid Matt Schaub.

From, ‘The Texans are 0-4 ATS in their past 4 MNF games… The Patriots are 4-0 ATS in their past 4 MNF games.’ Tom Brady and Bill Belichick thrive under the spotlight but the same cannot be said about Matt Schaub and the Texans. Another advantage for the Patriots, according to Jason Lake at SBR ForumIn special teams, the Pats are ranked #2 and the Texans #32’.
Give me the Patriots, and I'll give you the four points!

Texans, Patriots 'Under' 52.5

3 angles for taking the 'Under'

  • The weather forecast is predicting a 90% chance of precipitation in Foxboro from 8 pm to midnight. We all know that teams take a conservative approach on offense during inclement weather. Both teams will run more often to protect the ball, grinding down the game clock.
  • I get the sense that the Texans will emphasize their running game not only for the weather, but to also limit the Patriots time of possession on offense. The Giants used a similar ploy against the Redskins last week to limit RG3's firepower and the 'Under' cashed in comfortably. Look for a similar tactic from the Texans tonight.
  • From, the 'Under’ is posting a 27-14 (66%) record in games played under the lights this season. With an elevated total of 52, and the match up and weather conditions, I'm taking the 'Under'!

Eagles +8 @ Buccaneers

Coming off consecutive tough losses, look for the Buccaneers to be flat to start the game. Doug Martin seems to be fatiguing as he has rushed for a paltry 2.7 YPC (yards per carry) in his last two games. Martin has attempted 236 rushes, 3rd most in the NFL, which is taxing for any running back, let alone a rookie. The Eagles run defense has stepped up of late allowing only 3.9 rushing YPA (yards per attempt) in their last three games. The key for the Eagles D will be to limit big yardage plays.

Josh Freeman will not be restrained versus the Eagles secondary allowing 7.8 passing YPA with just 7 interceptions and 20 sacks. The Eagles have been torched by opposition QBs, allowing an average passer rating of 98.8 (28th in the NFL) against them. However, if the Eagles are able slow the 'Muscle Hamster', they will have better success against the pass.

Nick Foles will be on a mission to silence his critics on Sunday

Andy Reid has decided to stick with Nick Foles as his starting QB for the remainder of the season. Foles showed glimpses of promise last week, and the vote of confidence from his coach will do wonders for the rookie's self-esteem. Foles who threw for 251 yards with a QB rating of 96.6 in his last game against the Cowboys should be able to repeat his performance against a Buccaneers defense allowing 8.2 passing YPA (30th in the NFL).

The most intriguing factor in this match up will be Bryce Brown vs. the Bucs run defense. One of NFL's hottest rusher is facing the NFL's toughest run D, surrendering a league best 3.4 rushing YPA. Nevertheless, against two of the better RBs in the NFL, Alfred Morris and Adrian Peterson, the Bucs allowed 266 rushing yards in 36 attempts, averaging a whopping 7.8 YPA. Although I am not comparing Bryce Brown to those two, he has the skill set to be successful against the Buccaneers.

The coolest trend I encountered this week applies to the Eagles and Cardinals and comes from WalterFootball, "Underdogs that have lost five or more games in a row are 102-58 against the spread dating back to 1989, if they lost their previous game by eight points or fewer." Additionally, according to, The Eagles are 10-2 ATS as dog of 8+ points since 1999'. Although I foresee the Buccaneers winning this contest, the Eagles offense will keep it close and cover.

Redskins -2.5 vs. Ravens

It's hard not to get excited by what Robert Griffin III is doing for the Redskins and the city of Washington. Ever since their bye week, the Redskins have won three straight games, beating two quality opponents in the process. During this streak, the offense has been flourishing averaging a mammoth 10.2 passing YPA and 5.4 rushing YPA, both top 3 in the NFL respectively. The return of Pierre Garcon has added another dimension to this offense led by RGIII. Terrell Suggs will likely miss the game with torn biceps, meaning more time and space for RGIII and Alfred Morris to work their magic.

Is there anyone in Football more exciting than RG3 at the moment?

Joe Flacco wants to be considered an elite QB but his numbers suggest otherwise. Flacco has notable home stats averaging a QB rating 100.7 with a 11/4 TD/INT ratio. On the other hand, Flacco's road numbers are downright ugly with a 70.2 QB rating and a 4/4 TD/INT ratio. Additionally, the Redskins pass defense has been much improved over their past three games conceding 6.2 passing YPA. With Flacco's road struggles, the Redskins defense will be able to focus their efforts on Ray Rice and reduce his effectiveness. Unfortunately for the Ravens, their inept offensive coordinator Cam Cameron still has not figured out how to properly utilize Ray Rice. It is inexcusable for a talent like Ray Rice to average only 16.5 rushing attempts per game.

Look for the Redskins to move the chains with ease on offense while restricting the Ravens offense and cover for the 4th straight week.

Bears -2.5 @ Vikings

The wheels seem to be coming off Christian Ponder and the Vikings. They have lost four of their past five games since their hot start. They get to play a motivated Bears team that usually plays them tough. The Bears are 6-0 SU and ATS vs. the Vikings over their past six meetings.

Despite Adrian Peterson's dominating play over his past five games, averaging a gigantic 8.1 YPC  and 158.8 yards per game, the Vikings have scored only 19 PPG while conceding 28.2 PPG over that span. Christian Ponder has regressed since the start of the season and has a knack of making costly, untimely errors. The Vikings sorely miss Percy Harvin's play making abilities as their offense has become one dimensional. The Bears defense, which labors stopping the run allowing 4.5 rushing YPA, will set their sights on slowing Peterson and force Ponder to beat them. Unfortunately for Ponder, the Bears lead the league with 20 interceptions and despite last week's injuries to Brian Urlacher and Tim Jennings, the Bears D will create havoc for Ponder.

Chicago has also been in a rut losing three of its past four games. Jay Cutler's injury clearly had something to do with it. Cutler has played very well since his return from injury, reestablishing the chemistry he has shown with Brandon Marshall. Look for this duo to strive against the Vikings secondary allowing 7.2 passing YPA over their past three games.

Expect the Bears D to force Ponder into making errors and Cutler and company to cease their opportunities and cover.

Cardinals +10.5 @ Seahawks

I am aware of Seattle's 5-0 ATS home record and I am certain that they are the superior team in this match up. However, the elevated spread makes the Cardinals a solid value selection.

According to, John Skelton will return as the Cardinals starting QB, a clear improvement over the woeful Ryan Lindley. Skelton has kept his team in majority of the games he started. Moreover, the suspension to Seahawks CB Brandon Browner will be a detriment to Seattle's secondary, making them slightly more vulnerable.

Arizona's defense has been one of their lone bright spots this season totaling 19 interceptions and 33 sacks, both top 8 in the NFL respectively. The Cardinals rank 4th in the NFL with 2.4 takeaways per game. Arizona's defense is adept in the red zone allowing opponents to score a touchdown at a lowly rate of 42%, 3rd in the NFL. They will put pressure on the Seahawks offense and they will not surrender any cheap points to a surging Russell Wilson and company.

The above mentioned trend, "Underdogs that have lost five or more games in a row are 102-58 against the spread dating back to 1989, if they lost their previous game by eight points or fewer", also applies to the Cardinals. In a divisional match up, the Cardinals will be able to keep it close enough to cover the large spread.

Larry Fitzgerald should be relieved to have John Skelton back as his starting QB.

I look forward to your feedback and comments. Make sure to check out the comments section to see the interesting picks my friends and readers have posted here. I will also add my additional plays and teasers in the comments section.

Thanks very much for reading. Good luck with your bets amigos!

Random WAG photo: Eric Decker's fiancee and country singer Jessie James

Happy Winnings,