Take It To The Bank, NFL Edition


And here’s those long awaited NFL picks for Sunday’s games.

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t pick last night’s game, and there’s a few reasons: 1) the whole getting out of jail thing. 2) I don’t bet on games where the quarterback is a grandfather, and almost my age. 3) I didn’t feel like it.

Yeah that’s right, I said it, whatcha gonna do about it?

Look, football was meant to be bet on on the weekends, not when people have to go to work the next day. Except for Monday night, because as my good ol’ pal, Scootch Malnoti used to tell me when he was making book, Monday’s the night everyone tries to win back what they lost over the weekend. So they don’t have to pay a guy like Scootch on Tuesday. Or get a visit from any of Scootch’s two sons. Did you know they both walked on to the UNLV football team? Offensive linemen…big kids.

Anyway, that won’t be a problem for you — like I always like to say, I’m Lucky, and you listen to me, you’ll be lucky too. [Read more…]

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! CFB Week 9

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By Paul Schmidt

“I love my Idaho Vandals.  This is a ridiculous line.”

Well…it certainly was.  Should have been about twice as big…that was, however, one of the year’s silliest football games, with Nevada racking up nearly 500 rushing yards, and scoring 70 points in winning a 70-45 score-fest last weekend.

Just an all-around wild game…and also the only game I lost last week.  Although, I have to admit, that one line about loving Idaho…well, it makes me look like an idiot without an explanation.  See, I love EA Sports’ College Football games…and I try to find a really awful team to play with in dynasty mode, to make things more difficult, and I usually can win a national title with them after three or four seasons. So I’ve got a little affinity for the Vandals.

OK…that doesn’t make me sound like any less of an idiot.

This week, there’s some really, really tough games. But you’ve got to stick to what you believe.

As always, these are the lines from the Harrah’s Casinos in Las Vegas.

Central Michigan (+5.5) at Boston College
I believe that Dan Lefevour should be a Heisman Candidate because he is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. I believe that Boston College isn’t that good.  And, finally, I believe that I love my Chippewas. Pick: Central Michigan +5.5

Cincinnati (-15.5) at Syracuse
I believe the Bearcats are the best team in the country you don’t know about.  I believe Greg Paulus is a wang. Pick: Cincy -15.5

Michigan (-7) at Illinois
I believe Illinois is one of the worst teams in the country.  I believe Michigan is pretty good, and that laying only seven points is a terrible insult to them. Pick: Michigan -7

Michigan State (-3.5) at Minnesota
I believe that Minnesota doesn’t have much to play for after losing Eric Decker. I believe that Michigan State’s best football is still in front of them.  I believe that Adam Weber is an overrated QB. Pick: Michigan State -3.5

Last week: 3-1
Season Record: 18-12-2

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 8 CFB!

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By Paul Schmidt

So we’re a little late getting picks up this week, but then, I didn’t like the early games this week anyway.  You have to manage your payroll and part of that is not wagering on games you don’t like.  I mean…who wants to bet on Illinois and Purdue?  No matter what the spread???

Couldn’t continue my undefeated roll, but I did go 2-1-1, and I still maintain I should have been 3-1.  I mean, how in the world does Texas not blow Oklahoma out…WITH BRADFORD ON THE SIDELINES HURT???  Arrrrrgh….

So here’s this week’s picks.  No frills, just go make money!

Texas A&M (+21.5) at Texas Tech
The Aggies got blown out of the water last week against a really very average Kansas State team (we’re talking 63-14).  So I would imagine that an offense that can be as prolific as Texas Tech’s can absolutely blow them away.  That’s the theory anyway…Pick: Texas Tech -21.5

Texas (-13) at Missouri
One of my biggest rules is when the general public flocks to a side, you go the other direction.  All week I’ve been hearing about how Mizzou can and will win this game. That would make me a little bit nervous if I was wagering on the Tigers this weekend…Pick: Texas -13

Idaho (+15.5) at Nevada
As you all know at this point…I love my Central Michigan Chippewas…and I love my Idaho Vandals.  This is a ridiculous line. Pick: Idaho +15.5

Iowa (+1) at Michigan State
Really?  What does Iowa have to do to prove themselves to you people??  Iowa wins this by more than a touchdown. Pick: Iowa +1

Last Week: 2-1-1
Season Record 15-11-2

Take It To The Bank, Week 5 CFB

By Paul Schmidt

Welcome back to week five of my fearless prognostications!  Lots of good last week, and let’s face it, I was due.  Even though my Illini let me down (and by let me down, I mean gave me a swirly for roughly 3 and a half hours), I was able to come up with an over .500 week, and a win against my competitor, Peter Christian. 

Granted, I received a luck-of-the-Irish push from the Houston Cougars, but a little luck never hurt anyone. 

So coming off a solid 2-1-1 week, I’ve decided to bring in someone special for this week’s competition, someone who…well, if I don’t win this week, I think that I’ll just let her make the picks the rest of the season.  That’s right, her…this week’s guest is my Mom.

As for her gambling resume, she doesn’t really have one outside of NCAA bracket pools and participating in a weekly NFL confidence pool. In fact, I explained point spreads to her prior to her making her picks — though to her credit she pretty much knew what was going on there.

On to this week’s games!

Penn St.(-7) at Illinois
 (MOM) The pundits, with good reason, have all picked Penn St.  I will go out on a short skinny limb and say Illinois will win or at least fall within their 7 point spread on Sat.  I’m of the opinion Penn St. is overrated and Illinois and their coaching staff will come out of hibernation this weekend.  Plus, I NEVER bet against “My Team”!  ILL!  Pick: Illinois +7
(Paul Schmidt)
Sigh…I-N-I.  Is Penn St. overrated?  I don’t know…Iowa’s defense was just unbelievable last Saturday, so I don’t know that that is an accurate measure.  However, after last week’s debacle, there’s no way I’ll be able to pick them ever again.  Personally, I think an angry, angry Penn State team rolls this week. Pick: PSU -7

Northwestern at Purdue(-7)
(MOM)
I like Northwestern.  I’m not sure why except I think they have the better personnel.  They can win this game easily if they just stop with all the mistakes. That’s the real question, whether they can get it all together. Pick: Northwestern +7
(PS)
Northwestern is quickly moving into Illinois territory with the inconsistency they are playing.  How one of the nations’ best defenses returns almost everyone and then plays as badly as they have this season is mystifying to me.  Make no mistake, this is a must-win for the Wildcats, but Purdue isn’t as bad as people think.  They looked really good against Notre Dame last week, and while that might not be a glowing review, I think it will be enough to cover at home. Pick: Purdue -7

Central Michigan (-8) at Buffalo
(MOM)
DAH!  Central Michigan all the way. A great “D”  that wins games add a prolific quarterback and you’ve got the Central Michigan Chippewas. Pick: Central Michigan -8
(PS)
I love my Chippewas.  I love Dan LeFevour.  And one thing my mom didn’t add, Buffalo is awful.  Temple routed them last week.  ‘Nuff said.  Pick: Central Michigan -8

Toledo(-4.5) at Ball St.
(MOM)
 Ball State will be desperate to win their first game this weekend. But their inexperienced cornerbacks will not be able to contain Toledo’s quarterback. It looks like Toledo will come out on top of this contest as Ball State is no match….what a difference a year makes. Pick: Toledo -4.5
(PS)
That right there might have been the most in depth, and best, analysis of a MAC team ever posted on this website.  Ball St. is really, really bad this season.  And let’s not make Toledo sound like world-beaters, either.  But they’ve got a really good offense that can put up points, and in a worst-case scenario will simply outscore the Cardinals to cover the way-too-small spread here. My thought is they win by 20 at least. Also, with Ball State’s most famous alumnus in hot water this week, you know that’s not a good sign…Pick: Toledo -4.5

Last Week: 2-1-1
For the Season: 7-8-1

You Can Take It to The Bank!

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By Paul Schmidt

Welcome to the new feature on The Sports Bank, where I tell you how to make money in a completely legitimate and accepted way!

You know, as long as you live in one of the states that approves of gambling on sporting events.

That’s right, each week I’ll be advising you of the four best lines I see on the Big Board every week in college football (and professional, starting next week), and give all of us a chance to line our pockets with a little bit of scratch!

So quick housekeeping notes:

1) If I place a bet against your team, it’s nothing against them, I just want to make money, and I don’t think they will cover/beat the spread.

2) Just because you think a team will win does NOT make them a good bet.

3) Betting on your own team is never a good idea, and I’ve only bet on the Illini one time — which happened to be in 2007 against Ohio State (-13).  I only wish I’d teased it with the under and put a bet on the money line…

4) Betting on the big name teams and games is not always the way to go — the books don’t pay a lot of attention to the smaller conferences (and that will CERTAINLY be reflected in my week 1 picks here), and generally, if you know a little about the teams, you can make some money on the lesser schools (I watch a lot of WAC football late on Saturday nights…trust me on this).

5) If a line looks too good to be true, it probably is — even with point 4 in place, the people who do this job are still very good at what they do.  Be careful out there! 6) For record-keeping purposes, I’m looking at the Harrah’s Casino’s lines, which will be current when I type the pick in. Why Harrah’s?  I generally stay at one of their casinos while in Vegas, and I like most of them.  So there.

And with all that in mind, the best week of the gambling year is here, week one of college football!  The lines are a little goofy, you can play your sleepers without a ton of danger, and some big conference teams are oooooover-rated!!

As a quick bonus pick, generally, books will not take action on a Division 1-A football team taking on a 1-AA team.  I’ve heard a couple rumors of bets being taken on Florida and Charleston Southern.  While I’d never suggest betting the house on them, Charleston Southern is reportedly +62.  That’s a whoooole lot of points for a team that probably won’t have their first team on the field for more than the first half.  Again, I’m not saying bet the house there, but there’s probably value.

Now on to my picks (which, oddly enough, are all underdogs for week 1):

Western Michigan (+13) over Michigan (@ Michigan)
Since all we have to go on is last year’s games, Michigan seems to be getting too many points here. Western Michigan popped Illinois pretty good in Detroit last year, and Illinois routed Michigan in the Big House.  I’m not saying that I used that to make this pick completely…but the Broncos do return Tim Hiller, and he’s probably the second best QB that you’ve never heard of.  Again…not saying Michigan will lose, but I really, really don’t think they win this game by two TDs (the amount needed to win the bet).

Georgia (+5) over Oklahoma State (at OK State)
I like this Georgia team. No one seems to be talking about them and I think they are just as talented as anyone else in the SEC this season. I also think Oklahoma State is one of the nation’s most overrated teams — that’s right Mike Gundy, I said it.  I’M A MAN!!! I’M 31!!!!  The SEC has something of a history of stifling high-powered Big 12 offenses recently (last year’s national title game), and I like Georgia to win this one outright.

Northern Illinois (+16.5) over Wisconsin (at Wisconsin)
I don’t know a ton about Northern, but they seem to return a lot on defense (though they lost their best player to graduation and the NFL in defensive end/linebacker Larry English). This wouldn’t seem to bode very well for a Wisconsin team that should struggle mightily to score points on offense.  I don’t think Wisconsin puts up 17 total in this game, honestly.  That still might be enough to win the game, but not come close to covering.

Central Michigan (+13.5) over Arizona (at Arizona)
Remember when I said, just a little earlier, that Tim Hiller was the best player you’ve never heard of?  The best is playing in this game.  Quick…who has the most yards from scrimmage of any player in college football the last three years?  I’ll even tell you, he’s got an insane 11,702 yards from scrimmage.  Give up?

The answer is Dan LeFevour, an extreme dark-horse Heisman Trophy candidate (at least he should be). He’ll pace a very, VERY good Chippewas offense this season, and could go a long way towards improving his Heisman candidacy with a road win against a Pac Ten team. Look here as well for the Chippewas to win outright (and if you’re of a mind, place a bet on the money line!! I’m seeing +450 or thereabouts, meaning you have to wager 100 dollars to win 450).

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to comment on how obnoxious I am, how good/bad my picks are, any questions you might have, and, most especially, how wonderful and praise-worthy I am…

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