WEEK 15 AGAINST THE PROS, THE GAIRZO STACKS UP THE WINS
NFL WEEK FIFTEEN
AFTER WEEK FOURTEEN
Week Twelve Picks: 11 – 4 – 1 2019 Overall Tally: 111 – 93 – 4 .544
Weekly Totals Picks: 7 – 1 Cumulative Totals: 48 – 40 – 1 .545
Weekly Specials 3– 1 Cumulative Specials: 27 – 28 – 1 .490
GAME OF THE WEEK 5 – 9 LOCK OF THE WEEK 9 – 5
UPSET SPECIAL 7 – 6 – 1 O/U OF THE WEEK 6 – 8
Last week brought the Gairzo up from a so-so season to a good one.
My formula the last two NFL campaigns a has been simple:
· Keep it to only one awful week—this year, 4-11 in Week Four—in September…
· Maybe squeeze in a couple 9 or10 win Weeks and try to stay afloat with eight or nine .500 Weeks through Thanksgiving…
· Then pull out a couple of big Weekends in late November into December…
· Hold on for the last month…
Definitely, you want to be in the .520 range before the last two slates of games, because both could feature counter-intuitive spreads, especially Week 17. Teams vying for a top five draft pick, others desperate for help to make the playoffs, some great teams who have a 1st or 3rd seed wrapped up and still others vying for a bye or a home game may force Vegas to adjust spreads--and drive bettors crazy.
For example, if Cincy wins this weekend and the Dolphins lose to the Giants, how hard are the 2-12 Bengals going claw and battle to get a win against the 3-11 Dolphins?
The decision could make the difference between drafting a franchise QB or reaching on a pass rusher…
With one more win the Magpies and Lamar Jackson clinch home field until the Super Bowl. If Baltimore earns that perk, what does Harbaugh do in Week 17 against archrival Pittsburgh—who might need a win to squeak into the post-season?
Does he lay his dogs down and watch the Hated Steelers piss all over M & T Bank Stadium?
What if the Steelers have already clinched all they can and the Ravens need a win to secure a first round bye? Does Mike Tomlin sit his fourth string QB, Duck Hodges, and let the Birds of Death rip his Steelers apart?
You can easily envision scenarios with a 3-10 point spread where either team could be a favorite.
Even scarier for Vegas and the betting public, assume the Ravens have nothing to play for; and Harbaugh decides to sit his starters—then changes his mind!
The Steelers would head to Baltimore to face the Corpse Sucking Scavengers—with the best football player on earth, the NFL’s best offense and Special Teams—as a 7- point Road Favorite—when they would normally be 3-5 point Underdogs.
So, it does get wacky trying to handicap the last two weeks of any NFL season---a lot of fun though.
A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE
Very few handicappers pick ATS for every game. All I can do is measure my performance against people willing to make their results public for every game.
The most famous guy to do it is Vinnie Iyer—it’s a law, he must be named Vinnie—at Sporting News.com, longtime Vegas Insider. Here’s the tale of his tape:
Week 14 record against the spread: 7-8
Season record straight up: 138-69 Season record against the spread: 112-88 .560
Upsets of the Week: 7-7 Locks of the Week: 7-7 Combined % .500
Week 14 record against the spread: 11-4
Season record straight up: NA Although I do indeed, have a local tavern pool I bet every week--and have won one week per year, every year--I don't put the effort into picking SU. I don 't care about the stat. The Challenge is beating the Vegas Books and competing against guys who do it professionally.
Season record against the spread: 111-93-4 .544
Upsets of the Week: 7-6-1
Locks of the Week: 9-5 Combined% = 593
Vinnie being nine games less on his ATS numbers means, like me, he doesn’t calculate Pushes into his numbers. I display my pushes just so the reader knows I am up to date on my game count.
Will Brinson at CBS.com is percentage points behind yours truly at .537 110-95-4
Three other guys at CBS.com are 2-3 above the Mendoza line for ‘Cappers, .500; the four others are not having good years.
In summary, Vinnie is out performing me by .015 % on the Weekly slate picks, but I'm smoking him on our Specials .593 to .500--and I'm beating Will Brinson by .003--no one else is even close.
Just wanted to let the reader know, I know I over analyzed that pick. Sometimes I hate giving any team no matter how bad or banged up—and the Jets are both—over 15 points.
Let’s see the Gairzo learn, yet again, from that recurring mistake.
GAME OF THE WEEK
HOUSTON TEXANS @ TENNESSEE TITANS -3 50 [O]
DeShaun Watson has shown consistency in his three-year career, improving his rating each year, improving his completion percentage and averaging 5.7 yards rushing.
Too many of us have argued the guy’s looks inconsistent from game to game. In fact, if you revisit the Shit Kickers two losses games against the Ravens and Broncos, Watson is inconsistent depending on the opponent. His receiving trio is outstanding; Kendall Fuller, DeAndre Hopkins, and Kenny Stills are as good as there is.
The top ten running game, led by Duke Johnson tells us offense, and OL blocking, isn’t really Houston’s problem—unless you count giving up too many sacks.
The reason for Watsons stunted growth and week-to-week erratic performances are Houston’s lack of talent in the trenches-especially on defense.
In every category, both sides of the ball Tennessee has the better numbers, an elite back in Derrick Henry, and the quintessential game manager at QB—yes, ladies and gentlemen, Ryan Tannehill is becoming what we thought he should become. He takes care of the ball, has worked on his accuracy, and doesn’t take too many sacks. Even though his receiving corps stats aren’t on the first page of the NFL sheet, he gets the ball to them when he has to and is quite content to hand the ball off to 245 pound back Derek Henry and let him wear down defenses.
It might be a different result in two weeks when these two squads most likely will play for the division title—in Houston—this week, Tennessee will out-muscle the Texans; Henry will run them over.
Take the home team and bet the Over.
Titans 29 Texans 24
LOCK OF THE WEEK
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS @ OAKLAND RAIDERS -6.5 45.5 [U]
The last game in Oakland for one of the most hated and iconic teams in football, can you believe it?
The Raiders were equivalent to pro wrestling’s “Heels” under owner Al Davis and head coach John Madden. Their fans as loyal and passionate as any in sports—and as much as I’ve always hated Oakland, I always respected their fans, and believed Al Davis twice disrespected Raiders them—they deserved better.
If the Rooney’s ever move the Steelers out of Pittsburgh, I’ll burn every piece of gear I own; it wouldn’t be a small fire.
With a bevy of draft picks Mike Mayock and John Gruden have stockpiled for their impending move to that gorgeous stadium in Las Vegas, the Raiders have, perhaps, the brightest future in the NFL.
Forget, if you can, the 2019 edition of the Silver & Black yields 28+ PPG; over 12 yards per pass play and over 6.1 YPP. They’ll be facing an equally inept Jaguars defense that proved me wrong about Doug Marrone who inherited a good “D” and drove it off the cliff of disaster.
Things are nearly as bad on offense; Marrone will be fired at season’s end.
For Oakland, I just get the feeling John Gruden does not think Derek Carr is worth the gamble for the Vegas move and might move Carr to a team like Jacksonville. Gruden wants to start with his guys in every position.
The Jags are tanking, have lost eight straight on the West Coast, (2-12 overall).
The Raiders will be playing for pride and their great fans, who will probably remain faithful to the team as it moves to the desert. Jacksonville is playing out a tattered string and won’t make it close. Play the Under.
Raiders 33 Jaguars 16
DENVER BRONCOS @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS -10.5 45.5 [O]
Last time the Broncos were a ten-point dog to a division leader, they sandblasted Houston for a straight up smack down, only one week ago.
Looks like Drew Lock is cooling John Elway’s seat to room temperature.
Chiefs are banged up—Maholmes has a hand and a foot—but they still can beat anybody due to an upstart defense that is making their already potent offense that much better.
However, the “KC now has a good defense” narrative doesn’t ring true to me. Denver now having a legit franchise QB story has a lot more reality to it.
I’m thinking the Wild Horses have been under-rated for much of the year. The Chiefs 30-6 thrashing of the Broncs at Denver, in Week Seven was the only game Denver wasn’t in. Their problem has been offense and last week they looked well on the way to solving it.
10 points are too many to lay against Denver. Mahomes can make me look like a fool here, but even if the Chiefs win it won’t be by more than a touchdown.
We’re playing the Over
Chiefs 27 Broncos 23
O/U OF THE WEEK
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS -9 46 [O]
I pegged this baby for my Totals Special last Sunday night. New Orleans is banged up on defense and Indy has been ravaged by injuries. These guys, NFL players across the board, are tired.
Great players like Drew Brees love to exploit injured tired teams, that, like the Horseshoes, are banged up, tired and have lost five out of their last six, but NO is injury plagued on defense—meaning Indy will stay within the Chalk even if they don’t win outright.
Brees will score early and often. Indy is game, but without TY Hilton, (calf), and Eric Ebron, IR, the natural upset is unlikely.
We’re going with the Over.
27 Colts 22
NFL Lines For Week 15 - 12/12 - 12/16, 2019
Date & Time Favorite Line Underdog Total
12/12 8:20 ET At Baltimore -14.5 At NY Jets 45
12/15 1:00 ET Tampa Bay -3.5 At Detroit 47.5
12/15 1:00 ET Philadelphia -4.5 At Washington 40
12/15 1:00 ET At Green Bay -4.5 Chicago 41
12/15 1:00 ET New England -9.5 At Cincinnati 40.5
12/15 1:00 ET At Tennessee GW -3 [O] Houston 50
12/15 1:00 ET Seattle -6 At Carolina 48.5
12/15 1:00 ET At Kansas City US -10.5 [O] Denver 45.5
12/15 1:00 ET At NY Giants -3.5 Miami 46.5
12/15 8:20 ETAt Pittsburgh GW -2 [U] Buffalo 36.5
12/15 4:05 ETAt Oakland LW -6.5 [U ] Jacksonville 45.5
12/15 4:05 ET Cleveland -2.5 At Arizona 48
12/15 4:25 ET At San Francisco -11 Atlanta 47
12/15 4:25 ET LA Rams -1 [U] At Dallas 49
12/15 4:05 ET Minnesota -2.5At LA Chargers44.5
Monday Night Football Line
12/16 8:15 ET At New Orleans O/U -9 Indianapolis 46