Take It To The Bank, Week 11 NFL Edition!

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By Paul Schmidt

Yes, yes, it’s the triumphant return of Take It To The Bank!  I know you all missed me.  But this is what happens when you get married and then have a baby. Time is no longer yours.  Just don’t have kids!  They scream and poop and you can’t watch football.  Or gamble.  Does that sound like fun???

Ahem.  No no…being a dad is great.  It really is.  I promise. 

But now, yes…I’m back. Picking all the games.  And I’m here for you. 

Detroit -3 over Cleveland – The worst game of the year. I’m not convinced either of these teams can win by three points…or even 1 point…but I said I was picking all the games, didn’t I?

Jacksonville -8.5 over Buffalo – Well, suddenly Jacksonville is knocking the door of the playoffs.  And Buffalo is knocking on the door of the top five.  This game gets both of them closer to their goals.

Pittsburgh -10 at Kansas City – I’m actually making these picks while the baby is screaming, and I’m still not distracted enough to pick Kansas City.  Even if they are at home.

Baltimore +1.5 over Indianapolis – Baltimore’s defense isn’t their strength anymore.  Won’t a diverse offense featuring Joe Flacco and Ray Rice be able to pick the Colts apart like the Patriots did last Sunday night?

New York Giants -7 over Atlanta – Suddenly the Falcons are reeling and the 50 times I’ve said Matt Ryan is an overrated QB finally pays dividends…

Green Bay -6.5 over San Francisco – After watching the Bears crap out against the Niners last week, it occurred to me that despite 4 picks, Jay Cutler STILL almost led the team to victory.

Minnesota -11 over Seattle – My drive to pick all the favorites as much as I can goes on. Seattle is pretty good at home with the advantage that Qwest Field provides…but they have been abysmal on the road.

Dallas -11 over Washington – Banged up Washington team, and it looks like Dallas has finally tured a corner.

Tampa Bay +10.5 over New Orleans – The Saints have struggled to cover the last couple of weeks, and Tampa looks frisky with Josh Freeman at QB. 

Arizona -9 at St. Louis –  I know that the Rams have been a little tough lately, and that Stephen Jackson has been running out of his mind. But the Cards seem like they really are back and, deep down, the Rams still really suck.

Patriots -10 over NY Jets – The Jets are floundering and the Pats are looking to kill someone this week after last week’s…umm…let’s go with debacle.

Cincinnati -9 over Oakland – This probably could have been twice as high and I would have gone for it.

San Diego -4 at Denver – With Orton most likely out, I like this line a bunch. Chris Simms is not, nor has he really ever been, ready for prime time.

Philadelphia -3 at Chicago – Mark down November 22nd, 2009 as the time when I turned violently against the Bears.

Tennessee +4.5 over Houston – This looks like a great football game now, but three or four weeks ago it looked terrible.  If Vince Young wants to prove he is back, this is the place to prove it.

Take It To The Bank, Express Week 8 Special Edition

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By Paul Schmidt

OK, I’m running late today…I am a victim of the daylight savings.  Sort of.  My alarm didn’t actually go off…I can blame it all on daylight savings still, right?

Yeah….I know, probably not.

Anyway, as an extra added bonus, here’s EVERY GAME for this week, with lines courtesy of Harrah’s Casinos in Las Vegas.

Denver +4 at Baltimore
Cleveland at Chicago -12
Houston -3.5
at Buffalo
Minnesota +3.5 at Green Bay
San Francisco +13 at Indy
Miami +3.5 at New York Jets
St. Louis at Detroit -3.5
Seattle at Dallas -10
Oakland at San Diego -16.5
Jacksonville +3
at Tennessee
Carolina at Arizona -10
New York Giants -2.5
at Philadelphia
Atlanta at New Orleans -11

Last Week: 2-2
Season Record: 15-13

Take It To The Bank! Week 7 NFL!

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By Paul Schmidt

So, let’s forget what happened last week.  That’s right, we’ll just forget it.  0-4?  Oh and Four????  What????  Three of my picks outright lost, and the fourth, Jacksonville, barely snuck out a win.  EPIC FAIL.

On the plus side, I’m still over .500, and that’s a good thing…

On to this week’s picks, with lines courtesy of Harrah’s casinos in Las Vegas…

Indianapolis (-14) at St. Louis
The Rams proved they could be frisky last week.  Don’t look for that to continue this week. Pick: Indy -14

Chicago (PICK) at Cincinnati
I don’t put a lot of stock in Ced Benson as a premier NFL running back, but I do believe that a lot of the Bears want to smack him in the mouth this week.  Also, this is a pretty good value pick here, as Cincy’s secondary isn’t all that good, and Cutler should be able to pick this team apart. Pick: Chicago (PK)

Green Bay (-9) at Cleveland
I don’t particularly like this Packers’ offensive line.  I don’t know that Cleveland can necessarily take advantage of that, but if they can contain Ryan Grant even a little today, I think that Derek Anderson can keep this team in the game. Pick: Cleveland +9

Philadelphia (-7) at Washington
Well, let’s sum up Washington: They’re starting Jason Campbell again this week after benching him last week, playcalling on offense has been taken away from Jim Zorn by the team’s owner, everyone on the team has the flu, and then there’s that awful chlamydia outbreak. 

And here’s the kicker: Only ONE of those things isn’t true…I’ll lay the points, please! Pick: Philly -7

Last week: 0-4
Season Record: 13-11

Take It To The Bank, Week 6 NFL!

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By Paul Schmidt

The first five weeks of the NFL season…I won’t say they have been a gambler’s paradise, but I will say that Vegas has been taking a bath. The biggest reason is how bad some of these NFL teams are.

To wit: Jacksonville is one of the worst teams in the NFL this season. Last week, they got blown out on the road, 44-0.  This week, they come home, and they are favored by 9.5 points at home against the Rams. 

This is a Jaguars team that might win only 5 games this year, and they could be picking around 8th, 9th or 10th.  That many teams are worse than them, and might win less than 5 games.

That’s just the kind of season it is in the NFL this season: Just a ton of terrible, terrible teams means that there will be a ton of teams winning a lot of games.  Sort of a haves-and-have-nots situation.

That’s led to a situation where the Vegas just can’t make the lines high enough to keep people from betting on the favorites. That’s how you have a situation where awful Jacksonville is laying 9.5 points at home against the putrid Rams…

My point?  Let’s be careful out there this week.

St. Louis (+9.5) at Jacksonville
And yes, given all of that…the Rams still are really, really bad. Really bad.  Pick: Jacksonville -9.5

Baltimore (+3) at Minnesota
Thoroughly enjoying the Brett Favre experience (vomit). Being able to gamble on him and win is great (gag).  I can’t wait to do it again this week (barf). I hope Ray Lewis hits him so hard his legs fall off and he can’t play football again. Pick: Minnesota -3

Philadelphia (-14.5) at Oakland
One of these times these big underdogs is gonna finally get enough points that they can cover…I just don’t think it’s Oakland this week. Pick: Philadelphia -14.5

Buffalo (+9.5) at New York Jets
Buffalo is just as bad…except no one seems to know. I’m not sure why no one knows this, but they don’t.  Trent Edwards is horrible, T. O. doesn’t give a crap (BEARS, PLEASE DON’T TRADE FOR HIM) and the offensive line isn’t very good, so they can’t open up holes for two pretty talented running backs.

The Jets, meanwhile, are pretty good.  Not convinced about Sanchez’s diety yet, but I really do like their defense.  They’re going to make it too hard for the Bills to score any points and keep this one close. Pick New York Jets -9.5

Last week: 2-2
Season Record: 13-7

Take It To The Bank! Week 5, NFL Edition!

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By Paul Schmidt

Last week, I bragged about how well I was doing with my NFL picks.  I said EVERYONE should listen to me.  I even went so far as to demand from my wife that she should start betting all of my games if I went 4-0 again.

If you read that last paragraph and didn’t understand that I probably REALLY pissed off the gambling gods, well, then you haven’t gambled enough. 

I went 2-2, which was respectable, but it wasn’t real good, regardless. I made the indefensible move of wagering on a TERRIBLE Washington team laying a ton of points…and I guess not knowing that Buffalo was awful, despite every Buffalo fan I know telling me how bad they were.  Just dumb.

So coming into this week, I realized I’d have to just go with what I knew from the first four weeks, and I do feel like, I, and really all of us, know quite a bit at this point.  Hopefully…it will be reflected in my picks.

This week’s lines seem a little goofy.  I actually had trouble picking the 4 games I officially wanted to bet, because I really didn’t mind almost every single game.  I can’t remember that happening in the last few seasons. Also, you’re going to see some of the highest lines that I’ve seen in a few seasons, which should make for some fun wagering.

Here’s my four Week 5 games:

Minnesota  (-10.5) at St. Louis
This line is what really got my toes a-tappin’.  I thought this would be the biggest line of the week, and it’s not close.  Look, I think Brett Favre is just as overrated as everyone else…but he’s absolutely in the zone now.  And while I typically HATE teams coming off the short week (one less day to heal and prepare for the next game), but this is the Rams.  They are the worst team in the NFL.

And when you think about it…that’s saying something with a team like Oakland out there on the board to say that about…Pick: Minnesota -10.5

Oakland (+15.5) at New York Giants
I’m not all that sure I can remember seeing a line higher than 15.5…perhaps during the crazy New England run two years ago, but I can’t be sure.  I think I remember a 17 point one then…but the fog of old age is setting in…

Look, this Giants team does nothing spectactular, but they find ways to blow you out.  They’ve won every game this year by double-digits, and that certainly won’t stop this week.  And this week, it’ll be cold and miserable in New York, and that great Giants defense has GOT to be licking their chops to take on JaMarcus Russell this week. 

Russell is closing in on being historically bad, and this might be the week that gets him there. Trust me, I know that this is a lot of points to lay, but I think we’ll get there with room to spare with New York pitching a shutout. Pick: Giants -15.5

Tampa Bay +15.5 at Philadelphia
This Philly team is just a little bit scary. I think they are really good, but I think at this point they might be starting the wrong QB.  McNabb, if not 100% healthy, just isn’t better than Kevin Kolb.  It’s a sad thing to say, but I think it’s true. 

Westbrook looks like he is going to play for Philadelphia, which is good for them, but he’ll be spltting time with LeSean McCoy, so, once again, I think they just might be keeping their best option on the bench part of the time to assuage the veteran. 

See, the above is my problem with the Eagles…their young guys might be the best guys they have, and they aren’t getting them the proper amount of PT.  For that reason, and for the friskiness of the Bucs last week with Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson at QB…well…

And yes, I’m ignoring how horrible the Bucs run defense is.  It’s awful.  I am going on a limb and saying that it won’t matter this week. Pick: Bucs +15.5

Atlanta +2 at San Francisco
Apparently folks aren’t down with the 49ers yet. 

I was sold after they should have beaten the VIkings on the road.  That was a flukey loss.  I’m not really convinced on the Falcons and Matt Ryan yet…and I know, I know, I have a season and a third of evidence saying Matt Ryan is one helluva QB.

But something keeps nagging at me. I think he has a propensity for laying a stinkbomb, and this is a really good Niners defense, helmed by Patrick Willis — my darkhorse pick for Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL.  He is just a beast. And with that defense and an offense that just doesn’t make mistakes, especially at home…well, I just think this is the strangest line of the day.  Niners roll. Pick: San Francisco -2

Last Week: 2-2
Season Record: 11-5

Take It To The Bank, NFL Week 4

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By Paul Schmidt

Another week, another winning week.  I’m on a roll with these picks, although I did only go 3-1 last week.  What the heck is wrong with the Titans??  Or is Kerry Collins just remembering he’s Kerry Collins?  Or drinking again? 

Now we’re getting into where the books and oddsmakers really should have a pretty good handle of what’s going on, so this week it’s even more important to be very careful about which games you wager on.  Look at all those lines this week — there’s literally only one line that jumps out as insane, and you better believe that we’re going to lead off the picks with that game….

Dallas -3 at Denver
So…let me get this straight.  Dallas has a good week one, loses at home to the Giants, and then squeak by a terrible Carolina team, again at home…and that leads to them laying three points on the road?  To ANYONE??  I don’t think Denver is as good as their 3-0 record, but that Cincinnati win is looking a lot better now, even if it was a fluke.

Don’t ever, ever forget that Denver is one of the toughest places to go on the road, either…the altitude, that crowd and the way the stadium was built to shake when the crowd gets loud…it’s intimidating.  And Denver wins this game outright.
Pick Denver +3

St. Louis +9.5 at San Francisco
The Rams are just terrible. Although they might be a little bit better wiith Kyle Boller at quarterback. That right there might be the most telling thing you can say about the Rams though, that Kyle Boller makes them a better team…yikes.  Plus you’re putting them on the road against a good 49er squad that won’t miss Frank Gore, then you’ve got to feel good about San Fran’s chances. 

And about that Frank Gore injury, really, don’t worry about it.  Glen Coffee is more than capable of filling his spot.
Pick: San Francisco -9.5

Buffalo (PICK) at Miami
In case you haven’t figured out this week’s theme, it’s that “We Heart Injured Quarterbacks!”  Now, to be fair, if Chad Pennington had been playing and this line was, say, -6 in facor of Miami…I think I still like Buffalo. 

Instead, we’ve got Tyler Thigpen maybe, Chad “Don’t call me Sonja” Henne.  It’s just not a good situation in Miami this week, and it looks like they will fall off a lot from last year.
Pick: Buffalo (PICK)

Tampa Bay +8 at Washington
How awful are the Buccanneers?  REALLY awful.  REALLY REALLY awful.  And you know what?  I liked the Redskins laying 8 BEFORE Tampa Bay coach Rahim Morris announced that Florida Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson was going to start at QB for them. Apparently he doesn’t have much going on after this weekend with the Marlins.

What?  It’s a different Josh Johnson?  That I’ve never heard of before this week?  And now he’s ACTUALLY a starting QB in the NFL?  Seriously???  And I can wager actual money against him?

Even the Redskins, as bad and dysfunctional as they are, can’t screw this up.
Pick: Washington -8

Last Week: 3-1
For the Season: 9-3

Take It To The Bank!! Week 3, NFL Picks!

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By Paul Schmidt

Welcome back to the most exciting part of the weekend!  Actually, I wrote these earlier, and I thought I posted it.  But I didn’t.  Everyone come see how smart I am!!

Last week was a GREAT week…4-0 for the week!  I was due to pick something right eventually, right? 

In all seriousness, I do hope that the last couple of weeks, that you got out and made a little money yourself, because these first couple of weeks of the NFL season are typically the easiest to work with.  The books don’t REALLY have a feel for the teams yet, and that provides all of us with opportunities!

Of course that means that this week there will be LESS opportunity right?  That this week, the powers that be will be getting a handle on things?

Well, not so fast, my friends (channelling my inner Lee Corso!)…This week’s lines present a whole lot of opportunity, which is somewhat surprising.  Usually, when a line looks too good to be true, it probably is and should be sending off gambling alarms that yell, “Danger!  Danger!” in your head.

But this week…maybe we’re getting just one more week of value before the other foot drops.  As always, these are lines from the Harrah’s Casinos in Las Vegas.

Chicago -2.5 at Seattle
Ladies and gentlemen, the Seneca Wallace era!  Look, I don’t typically advocate wagering on the team you pull for, but any time you have a chance to bet against Seneca Wallace, even at home Qwest Field where the Seahawks have an insane home field advantage, you have to do it.
Pick: Chicago -2.5 

Tennessee +2 at New York Jets
I’mabigfan of the Titans.  They’re typically my go-to team after the Bears go away for the season, mainly because…I like the uniforms.  Yes, I’m a woman.

But the greater force at work here is that this is a better football team than we’ve seen this season.  Their defense is better than this (though not as good as last season, it should be mentioned).  Their offense is, as we saw last week, extremely capable.  And this is absolutely a must-win game for them.  This should be an outright win for the Titans.
Pick: Tennessee +2

San Francisco at Minnesota -6.5
I’ve seen this line as high as 7 points, which seems odd for a team that is playing as well as the 49ers are.  The Niners defense has been outstanding, and the offense in the hands of Shaun King has been far better than anticipated.

Meanwhile, Minnesota has not been tested yet, playing two of the worst teams in the NFL in the first two weeks of the season (Lions and Browns) and we still don’t really know what Brett Favre is going to do against a legitimate NFL offense.  This week we get to find out.  And herein is my upset special of the week.  Go nuts on the Niners, bet that money line!!
Pick: San Francisco +6.5

New Orleans at Buffalo +6
The #1 gambling rule of the 2009-2010 NFL season stays in effect:  Do not ever, ever bet against Drew Brees.  In fact, if you’re not wagering on him, you’re missing out. 

I’m not impressed with Buffalo’s defense at all — it’s at least on par with New Orleans’. And therein lies the rub – No one’s offense is as good as the Saints’ and Buffalo is going to be forced to play catch up this week.  The only hope for the Bills is that Fred Jackson goes off early and often, and even if he does, it may not be enough.
Pick: New Orleans -6

Last Week: 4-0
Overall: 6-2