The Play Pen
Slack Lines III, Week 8
Betting advice by morons, for morons
Current Slack Lines standings:
Rory “Monkey See, Monkey” Duyon: 17-11
The Improper’s Nick Altschuller: 16-11-1
Matt “Cops ’n’” Roberts: 14-14
Green St. Grill’s Greg Reeves: 13-15
Parlor Sports/Trina’s Beau Sturm: 13-15
Silvertone’s Cedric Adams: 12-16
Beau is our official Ambassador for College Football. It’s a title he’s earned with his enthusiasm, experience and general good nature.
For gambling purposes, however, good lord, the man is awful.
Last week he picked South Carolina (+3.5). The Gamecocks were slaughtered by 33 points. The week before, Beau picked his beloved Mountaineers, who were giving four points to Texas Tech. WVU was steamrolled by 35. Before that, the Auburn Tigers were giving a whopping 9.5 points to Arkansas. They lost by 17, at home. The esteemed Mr. Sturm is 0-5 on college games.
In response, our A.C.F. is delivering three college picks this week! Slow down, big fella! You’re like the Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs. Sure, you’re eggs are diseased, but the key is they’re profitable. We know the gift we have, so we can’t over work you.
In related news, the rest of the Slack Lines team went 15-5 last week, so bet heavy. I’ll be here next week to answer all your angry emails (firstname.lastname@example.org) once things go off the rails.
On to the picks!
Rory on: New England vs. St. Louis (+7)
I apologize to the readers in advance. I’m in Tampa at a job-training event, and I’m in a horrible mood. This might be the worst city I’ve ever been to in my life. The people are total jackasses, and the cab drivers refuse to turn the meter on and then charge you $18 for a half-mile ride. I’m fuming. Karma is going to see to it that I go 0-4 this week for whining and then shortchanging the readers of any kind of funny anecdotes or “real” analysis. This is where my solid season falls off the tracks.
[Editor’s note: Sweet! And you’ve obviously never been to Houston.]
While I’m feeling surly, I want to take a minute to single out a player from a team I’m not covering because I find him and his organization to be completely despicable. I’ve seen LeBron James, the Montreal Canadians and a countless number of professional soccer players pull some gloriously heinous flops, but I’ve never seen anything as embarrassing as the shenanigans pulled by Emmanuel Sanders last Monday night against the Bengals…shameful.[Editor’s note: Beau, Rory is at the Tampa Ramada, room 317.]
The Patriots defense sucks; they can’t close, and they’re 0-2 against the NFC West. Somehow, my buddy, Matt, talked me into counting on them to win by more than a touchdown. The Pats find a way to get it done, but if they don’t, I picked up Sam Bradford on one of my fantasy teams just to start this week. Hedge your bets, kids. Rory’s Pick: Patriots
Cedric on: Jacksonville @ Green Bay (-15)
Check the light bulbs on the scoreboard, as Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers end this one early. The Jags have major problems: no Maurice Jones-Drew to run the ball and an injured Blaine Gabbert (with Chad “INT” Henne as his back-up). The Packers losing Woodson won’t be a factor this week because no matter who’s starting for Jacksonville, their offensive line can’t keep their QB upright. Expect some Lambeau Leaps for Nelson and Cobb this week.
It’s a lot of points to give, but I can’t figure out how the Jaguars will score. Cedric’s Pick: Packers
Redskins (+4.5) over the Steelers. I’m a RGIII believer! Steelers win 28-27, the Redskins cover, Beau’s happy!
Chargers(-3) No Richardson for Cleveland, no chance!
Atlanta (+3) The dream continues for Matt Ryan. The nightmare continues for Vick, compliments of Asante Samuel.
Beau on: Washington @ Pittsburgh (-4.5)
RGIII is sooooo cool. He can run; he can pass; he won a Heisman Trophy; he says all the right things; his coaches and teammates love him, and he has great socks. Big Ben is hated by most people (including his fellow teammates and his new offensive coordinator); he’s ugly; he has a sexual criminal history, and he may be just plain dumb. Here’s the rub though: Robert Griffin III has done nothing but earn a 3-4 record and BIG MEAN BEN is 10-4 in the postseason, has two Super Bowl rings, has been to the AFC Championship four times in his eight-year career and has never had a losing record as a starting QB in the NFL.
However, there are 21 other guys on the field besides the one behind center. It’s for that reason that the Steelers will win this matchup by more than five points. Try this: Name two defensive players on the Redskins. Nobody can, outside of his family.
The Steelers are just a better team, position for position. They get Pouncy back at center. They’re moving Doug Legursky back to guard. This means that our fearless editor, Nick, could run for almost 100 yards against a very poor Washington D line. On the other side of the ball, the Steelers can’t do much, but they can stop the run, even if it’s a QB on the run.
I will say this though, of Washington’s four losses, none have been blowouts, and all have been to good teams. I like the Skins. They play hard. It won’t be easy, but the Steelers make a statement this week. Beau’s Pick: Steelers
Locks of the Week*:
Sweep the leg Giants (-2)! The Lone Star Losers are mentally frail. Put the nail in the Cowboys’ coffin. (Greg, LT don’t ID! Know what I mean?)
The 49ers (-7) destroy the hopes and dreams of Arizona.
Raiders (+1.5) against Brady Quinn. The defense rests.
College Football Extras:
Northwestern (-5) over Iowa at home
Duke (+27.5) keeps it close-ish with Florida State
Mississippi State (+24) will scare the invincible Crimson Tide!
*If you put $100 on this seven-team parlay, you will lose $100.
Greg on: GMen @ Cowgirls (+2)
Here’s the second Dallas meeting between these two rivals, as the Cowboys try to beat the Giants for the first time since Jerry Jones spent a billion on that crazy stadium.
This is a must win for Big D, but they’re limping into this one. Murray is probably out, and Lee is gone for the year. Eli is rolling, and Dallas has a hard time getting to the QB, with only 12 sacks this year. That doesn’t bode well when you have a rookie cornerback. Plus, Romo picked the wrong season to be in a contract year, as he’s got more INTs than TDs.
The Giants running game has been rejuvenated the past couple of weeks, and look for Victor Cruz to Salsa dance in Dallas. Greg’s Pick: Giants
Rams (+7) Last week, the Patriots really showed the talentless Jets who was boss. Jeff Fisher is turning this defense around, just like Big Bill is doing in New England. (Those statements are half true.) Look for the Rams secondary to shut down the Pat’s wide receivers.
Falcons (+3) Philthy is undefeated after bye weeks, but they just lost their D coordinator, and Mike Vick is the one QB that has more turnovers than Romo. Hotlanta is off a bye, too, so look for Matty Ice to get back at it against the Iggles secondary.
Titans (-3.5) The Colts defense gave up 161 yards to Shonn Greene, so look for CJ2K to double that with the roll he’s on. Luck is on his way, but maybe next time.
Matt on: New Orleans @ Denver (-6)
Peyton Manning walks into a stable and John Elway says, “Why the long face?” They then share a bag of oats and a few apples (core and all). Ladies and gentleman, Peyton Manning and John Elway resemble horses! (Thunderous applause)
Watching Elway golf-clap and grin through gritted teeth as Tim Tebow led the Broncos to a series of improbable comebacks last season was the real life embodiment of the movie Major League. Only instead of wanting the team to fail in order to move the franchise, the brass wanted their popular QB to fail so they could bring in their own guy. There was also no way John Fox and the lads were peeling a section off of an Elway Fat-head with every win, and at no point was old horsey-face revealed in all his glory.
Regardless of the manner in which it was done, the Broncos offseason acquisition of Peyton has gone extremely well, much to the chagrin of non-Broncos fans, and anyone not having the last name Manning.
This game has the making of the shootout of the year. Both the Saints and Broncos score at will, but they can’t stop anyone. The over/under for this game (55.5) is the highest of any game of the docket this weekend, and I’m still hammering the over, and Denver to cover. At home, they’ll be able to get the one or two key stops that the Saints defensive unit won’t be able to match. Matt’s Pick: Denver
Quick aside: Jonathan Vilma ﬁling a defamation suit against the current league commish (the Ginger Hammer) is the ballsiest move I’ve ever seen, and it doesn’t get enough play.
Locks of the Century of the Week:
Colts (+3.5) How the Titans are giving more than three points to any professional football team is beyond me.
Jaguars (+15): Henne is an upgrade over Gabbert. Gotta take the points.
Oakland (+1.5) Betting the wife’s ring on this one. You wait so long for the day to bet against Brady Quinn, and when it ﬁnally comes, you don’t know what to say.
Nick on: San Francisco @ Arizona (+6.5)
They’ve lost three in a row, but the Cardinals D remains rock solid. Last week, Arizona held Minnesota to just 209 total yards, with QB Christian Ponder throwing for just 58.
Beau threw out the joke notion that I could run for 100 yards behind the Steelers O-line, but I think 58 yards is actually a fair over/under for the bet: How many yards could an amateur gain if he was named the starting QB on an NFL team?
I mean, 58 yards? I’m pretty sure I could handle taking a snap, defecting in my spandex, then throwing a weak dump-off to Adrian Peterson. I couple quarters and a couple wardrobe changes, and I think I could cover that bet.
Of course, in reality, every play would look like this. After one possession, my spine would be snapped and shoved through my sternum. I’d look like John Hurt in Alien. (I won’t link to that scene. Far too gruesome.)
The problem for Arizona is they can stop an air attack, but they’re D is 20th against the run. The 49ers success is predicated on Alex Smith just being adequate. If he doesn’t throw up big numbers, so what? Running back Frank Gore, on the other hand, is on a tear. Just look at this play for last week. Nick’s Pick: 49ers
If This Van’s a Lockin’, Don’t Come a Knockin’:
Patriots (-7) No game played in London has been even the least bit interesting. The Pats continue the sad tradition with a blowout win.
Falcons (+3) An undefeated team getting three points against a team in turmoil. Done.
Chargers (-3) It’s put up or shut up time for Philip Rivers.
Until next week.
Email Nick at email@example.com
Follow the Slack Lines team on Twitter: @altschuller, @beausturm, @CedricAdams, @KidRob21 and @roryduyon