Sushi’s Week 2 Picks

Well that didn’t go well. In the inaugural version of “Sushi’s Picks” I pretty much crashed and burned. I went 7-8-1. *braces for cries of “You said you knew sports!”* *wipes rotten tomato off face*

Yeah, I know I did pretty badly, but maybe I’ll do better this week. Maybe…

By the way, the threshold for betting to make a profit gambling is making 55% of your bets. Why not 51%? Well, on bet the casino takes a vig, generally of 10% that ensures that it makes money on every bet. Generally any bet with a line is at -110 odds (for a long explanation of what that means along with other betting terms read https://sushionsports.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/the-nfl-gambling-preview/) meaning that you’ve got to bet 110$ to win 100$. The casino’s goal is to make the betting come down evenly on each bet so that for every 100$ they shell out to a winning better, they win 110$ from an unlucky loser, for a 10$ profit. That means that if you win 51% of your bets, then you’d lose money, because every 100 bets you’d win 5100$ (51 wins multiplied by 100$) but lose 5390$ (49 losses multiplied by 110$). To come out ahead you have to win 55% of the time.

Anyways, that long explanation was pretty much just to say that I’m aiming to get 55% of my picks right, because that means that I’ll be better than average because average people are why bookies drive around in Ferraris.

Anyways, let’s get to the Week 2 picks.

(Home team in caps)

Pittsburgh +2.5 over BALTIMORE

This section was written on Wednesday

Honestly, I have no idea to make of these two teams. Pittsburgh has historically been an elite defense (for those of you over 40, remember the Steel Curtain?) supported by an offense that does just enough to win. Now, the elite defenders behind Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl wins in 2005 and 2009 and their runner-up finish in 2011, such as Troy Polamalu, James Farrior, Larry Foote, James Harrison, and Ike Taylor, are all either ineffective or gone. Now, the offense is the strength of the team, led by Ben Roethlisberger, LeVeon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Markus Wheaton. Indicative of this new reality, the Steelers won last week’s game in a shootout, 30-27.

The Ravens’ vaunted defense is also no longer elite, but unlike Pittsburgh, their offense is still pretty bad. Between Ray Rice being released and Bernard Pierce being benched for fumbling, their running game is left in the hands of Justin Forsett (who’s the namesake of my fantasy team) and Lorenzo Taliaferro. Their passing offense is awful, led by Joe Flacco who continues to throw deep despite sucking.

Anyways, although I don’t like either of these teams this year, I think Pittsburgh is less bad so I suppose I’ll take them.

Miami PK over BUFFALO

This line was a PK a couple of days ago before it moved to one. I’ll explain what that means in the Giants-Cardinals section later on, but it’s very interesting.

Miami is superior to Buffalo in every facet of the game from QB to DB, save the lone exception of pass rushing. I’m happy to go with the Dolphins here.

Jacksonville +6 over WASHINGTON

Is it possible that we’ve all been severely underrating the Jaguars? I mean, they were frisky last week against the Eagles, taking a 17-0 lead at the half before Philadelphia ÅWcontender for the number one overall pick next year any more and they might even be just a regular run of the mill bad team (baby steps, people). Anyways, I like them a lot more than the WPFT (Washington Professional Football Team as I’m not calling them the R*dskins) and I’m more than willing to grab the points.

Dallas +3.5 over TENNESSEE

I don’t like Tennessee at all. I feel like they took advantage of a dumb Andy Reid who decided to give Jamaal Charles, his only good offensive player, only SEVEN carries (along with four receptions). That’s absolutely crazy!!!! I suppose you can’t expect much better from Reid though. However, the Cowboys don’t have the same coaching catastrophe as the Chiefs… Well, actually, Jason Garrett’s probably worse.

Here’s a better reason to bet on Dallas: they’ve got a couple of offensive superstars and Tony Romo bounces back after bad games. I suppose I can’t really explain why I kind of like Dallas this year. I mean, by any reasonable calculation, Dallas has a horrendous defense and a very good offense, but that generally results in a bad finish. I suppose I like them to keep things close nearly every week which makes it good for me to take the points when betting on them.

I’ve got this gut feeling about the Cowboys this year and I’ll keep going with them until I finally make it a rule to never bet on the trio of Jerry Jones, Garrett, and Romo.

Arizona -2.5 over NEW YORK GIANTS

Interestingly enough, this line started out at New York -2 before moving all the way to Cards -2.5. What does this mean? It means that the Arizona side was bet so heavily that the casinos had to move the line to try and make the bets come down 50-50 on each side. Lines will often move a half point or so throughout the week, but I’ve never seen a line move as much as this one.

Anyways, I like the Cardinals a bit this year, but I don’t think the Giants will be good at all making this a bet I like this week.

New England -3 over MINNESOTA

Minnesota is a sneaky-good team this year. They’ll stay competitive in many games with their defense headed by Mike Zimmer and the offense led by Norv Turner. Of course, New England lost last week. Under the Belichick-Brady duo, after a loss, the Pats almost always win. I’ve got to go with New England this week as there’s no way they’re starting off 0-2.

New Orleans -6.5 over CLEVELAND

I love New Orleans this year. I love their defense under Rob Ryan. I love their offense with a ton of playmakers under Sean Payton and Drew Brees. They’re good enough in my eyes that I picked them to emerge from the NFC gauntlet.

I’m also higher than most on the Browns. I think they’re an underrated team that could do well this year. However, against the Saints? I don’t think so.

Atlanta +5.5 over CINCINNATI

I have no idea what to pick with this game. I think the Bengals are better than the Falcons but I can’t put my finger on exactly how much. I suppose I’m hoping for a competitive game that the Bengals win with a last second field goal or else a Cincinnati domination that Atlanta barely manages to cover with a garbage time TD.

Detroit +3 over CAROLINA

Gee, do I want the team with a nonexistent offensive line against the fearsome defensive line of the Lions? Do I want the team who’ll either start a banged-up QB or Derek Anderson? Do I want the team that lost 75% of last year’s starting secondary going up against Megatron and Co.?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

In the Taco Bell upset of the week (named for what Taco Bell’s food will do to your stomach) I think Detroit will prevail against Carolina. By the way, last week’s Taco Bell upset pick was correct—I picked the Bengals to beat the Ravens despite being a two point underdog. Maybe I’m not so bad after all!

TAMPA BAY -5.5 over St. Louis

…Or yes I am. I picked St. Louis to smash the Vikings, saying that picking Matt Cassel on the road against a good D-line was incredibly stupid, although I DID say that there was a 79.3% chance that those words would come back to haunt me.

Anyways, St. Louis’ first QB, Sam Bradford, went down with an injury before the season. Then Bradford’s backup, Shaun Hill, went down with an injury in Week 1. Now they’re starting Austin Davis. That automatically disqualifies me from betting on them (especially this week) unless the spread is over 35. That’s one of my rules of betting: never bet on a backup’s backup’s backup playing on the road against a good defense. Even Josh McCown is better than… Well, maybe not. But Tampa Bay has enough of an advantage elsewhere, especially at the skill positions, that they should be able to win this game.

Side note: My bet in the Sushi on Sports NFL Gambling Preview (https://sushionsports.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/the-nfl-gambling-preview/) on St. Louis under 7.5 wins is looking better and better.

Second side note: This is somehow the first home team that I’ve picked this week. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Seattle -6 over SAN DIEGO

Seattle beat a bona fide Super Bowl contender by twenty points. Translation: I’m not going against the defending champions until they play Denver. At that point, all that matters is the line.

San Diego played sloppily last week against Arizona and were lucky to only lose by a point. San Diego is a pretty good team and I think they’ll win nine to eleven games this year, but they’ve got no shot against the Seahawks.

Houston -3 over OAKLAND

Let’s try this week for a more successful version of everybody’s favorite gambling game (outside of the betting itself): Would You Bet Your Life On? *cue audience cheering and game show music*

Would you bet your life on…

  1. Derek Carr and his ramshackle line or…
  2. JJ Watt

I’m not going to make a joke insulting Carr because we all saw what happened last week when I insulted Matt Cassel.

GREEN BAY -8.5 over New York Jets

They could not make this line too high for me. In fact, let’s make this game this week’s Derrick Rose Blowout of the Week, named for what Derrick Rose did to his knee. We could also name it for Adrian Peterson, but that would imply that this game recovers in half the expected time before having a completely unprecedented career season. I’m not sure how to apply that to this game but you get the gist.

DENVER -12 over Kansas City

I don’t know about this game. Denver is a ton better than Kansas City but I’m concerned about the huge nature of this line and the risk of a garbage time cover is looming. Still, as with the Seahawks, I’m riding with the Broncos until they prove me wrong.

Chicago +6.5 over SAN FRANCISCO

This is a classic overreaction game in which everyone goes crazy because of an amazing (San Fran) or crappy (Chicago) performance the week before. Keep in mind that the Niners faced a self-destructing Tony Romo (who also destroyed my fantasy team—he scored 12 points for me after I started him over Matt Ryan who scored 31 and I lost my matchup by 1 point with the third highest score in my twelve team league) and the Bears lost Alshon Jeffery and to a Bills team that might be better than we all think. Also, there’s a 43.9% chance that Jay Cutler goes crazy and wins the game for the Bears. Of course, there’s also a decent chance that Cutler cutlers and throws the game away but let’s not think about that.

Philadelphia +3 over INDIANAPOLIS

I like the Eagles a lot this year. (Get ready for a crazy-long run-on sentence) I think that Chip Kelly is a great coach and that he can mold his scheme to fit his personnel and that injuries won’t affect his teams so much because if someone gets injured then he can just plug the next guy into the injured player’s spot and get the same results. *takes deep breath*

Also, other than Andrew the Giant, the Colts have got nothing. I think that Indy’s gonna be a lot worse this year than people think. I’m pleased to take the Eagles along with three points and, in fact, I think they’ll win outright.

By the way, I’ve only picked three home teams out of sixteen to cover. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Actually, knowing me, it’s probably the latter. I can’t wait for Sunday to see exactly how badly I did. Enjoy football this Sunday folks.

This Week: 0-1-0

Last Week: 7-8-1

Overall: 7-9-1

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