The Sports Book Hustle is a look at the latest lines ... for entertainment purposes only. THN does not advocate gambling. That industry is naughty.
By Kid Vegas
Greetings all, sorry I took last week, it was a mixture of traveling and no appetizing games with all the eliminations and clinching. So I’m back to finish off the regular season and take a look at some bowl games, and finish my playoff previews, though my NFC preview is already a little skewed due to an unpredictable Giant rollover to the Panthers, at least I was the first one on the Saints are in no way the favorites bandwagon though (before they lost to the Cowboys), all right let’s take a look at the AFC picture, which was cleared up a little last week:
Denver – Vegas Odds 100/1 - actual chances 0 precent - Man, everyone is having a grand old time ripping on the G-men, but the Broncos also started 5-0, I guess just because everyone saw their tumble coming, and they were always mediocre, whereas the Giants just got decimated by injuries and a tough schedule, still I mean these guys did lose to the Raiders (with JaMarcus Russell at the helm, nonetheless) at least that flukey 5-0 start drove up the lines and made us all some money.
NY Jets – Vegas Odds 80/1 – actual chances 0.5 percent - All in all a pretty successful season for the Jets, they’ll win and get into the playoffs, Mark Sanchez has been coasting on a great defense, but that is a good way to develop a young QB, they don’t stand a chance in the playoffs of course, but their season is already a success and they could get lucky and catch the Bengals napping in Round 1.
Pittsburgh – Vegas Odds 75/1 - actual chances 0 percent - At least we all now know that it was Troy Polamalu that made this team good, not Little Ben, I mean I always knew it, but maybe it will finally dawn on some of those slow ESPN reporters.
Baltimore – Vegas Odds 28/1 – actual chances 4 percent – John Harbaugh has been saying all the right things, so I don’t think they’ll get caught napping by the Raiders like so many other teams have, this team matches up real well with the Pats in Round 1 (despite their regular season loss), so if they make it to raound 2, who knows what could happen.
Cincinnati – Vegas Odds 16/1 – actual chances 2 percent - How has this team been winning, they play strong defense, and they’ve finally stumbled upon some sort of team chemistry after all their disastrous talented implosions, but what happened to Carson Palmer, didn’t this guy used to be good? They play hard though, and they might have some ghosts out there rooting for them, but they don’t have the weapons to knock off the big boys of the AFC this year, it was fun to see them go undefeated in a down AFC North this year, I mean who doesn’t hate the Steelers and Ravens?
New England – Vegas Odds 10/1 – actual chances 3 percent - I’m sure everyone is saying, “the Patriots made it to the playoffs, here is where their experience winning will come into play”, well c’mon they haven’t won since 2004, and it turns out their winning was a result of a lot of cheating, an insane streak of luck, and the worst reffing call in the history of sports (on a review, nonetheless, with all their cheating now uncovered, maybe we should make sure that ref wasn’t paid off…). Nowadays all they have is a porous defense, an interception prone QB, an over the hill stud WR, and a coach who looks scared and confused in clutch situations now that he isn’t allowed to cheat anymore.
San Diego – Vegas Odds 4/1 – actual chances 15 percent -The Charger fans must think of postseason as some kind of wacky game of rock, paper, scissors, with their Chargers always beating the Colts, but always losing to the Patriots. It’s safe to say that Peyton and his gang are hoping Tom Brady and his merry band of butt-pirates will do the dirty work again and knock off the Chargers, clearing the Colts path for another Super Bowl. But if everything goes according to plan and the Chargers do meet up with the Colts, it’s a safe bet these guys won’t be too scared going to Indy. They’re finally healthy in the postseason, they’ve got a bye, they’re scorching hot, but c’mon guys their coach is still Norv Turner, and Philip Rivers is still just a rich man’s Ryan Leaf, if it comes down to it, I’d take Indy in the dome, but then again, like Bart Simpson, I always go with good old rock in rock, paper, scissors… nothing beats it!
Indianapolis – Vegas odds 9/5 – actual chances 36 percent - The clear favorites going into postseason, despite their San Diego mindblock, a lot of hullabaloo about that loss last weekend, and while I thought this team (unlike the Saints) could handle the pressure, and seeing them all pissed on the sideline made me question the call, we’ve still got to back the winning horse, Peyton and his boys have been doing it for too long, seems like there are more elite teams than ever this year, but this squad just knows how to win, and with all the late game heroics they’ve mustered this season, I would hate to have money against them.
All right here are some quick picks, then I’ll be back next week to post my final regular season musings, and the playoff bets…
Alabama (-4) over Texas – I don’t know how Texas plans to score on that Alabama defense, Nebraska gave them fits, and Bama seems to be a souped up version of Nebraska’s defense, as long as their rookie QB can keep from making too many game-crippling mistakes they should be in fine shape.
Over 54.4 in Fiesta Bowl – TCU is an unstoppable juggernaut, and Boise State is one of the best coached teams in the league, I see some offensive fireworks primed for this baby, I just hope we can get some more fancy tricks from Boise like a fumbleroosky or something.
DALLAS (-3) over Philly – One of the few NFL games that we have assurances will be played like an actual NFL game, I think Dallas at home, coming off a few good games takes this one from Philadelphia. I am still not sold on this Eagle team, Donovan McNabb is still Donovan McNabb, and Wade Phillips has been doing some good things with his defensive schemes, I think he finds a way to contain DeSean Jackson. Dallas should take down the NFC East at home.