Monthly Archives: October 2013

Week 9 NFL Picks – All Favorites Everything

If you’ve been paying attention to my picks this year, you’d know that things haven’t gone exactly as planned. I’m picking 48% of the games correctly, which isn’t so bad, but I’m at -320 apples, mostly thanks to somehow going 2-6 in my Cook Out Drive-Thru Lock o’ the Week picks.

Now that we’ve reached the halfway point in the season, I thought I’d actually do some analysis. After charting all 120 games this year, here are the trends I’ve found:

Home teams are 69-49 against the spread.

Favorites are 62-55 against the spread.

Home favorites are 47-33 against the spread.

Home underdogs are 22-15 against the spread.

And with that being said, I’ll be picking every favorite this week. You know, to break my bad mojo.

Week 9 NFL Picks. Home teams in CAPS.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games:

PACKERS (-10.5) over Bears
Josh McCown was actually 14-20 for 204 yards and a touchdown that came out to a 94.6 QBR. Although he couldn’t beat Washington, he actually closed the gap by 3 points from when Cutler went out and he went in. Then again, I’m going with all the favorites this week.

COWBOYS (-10.5) over Vikings
What a choker, that Romo is. He let the Lions pick up 299 yards of offense in the fourth quarter, including going 80 yards in 50 seconds without a touchdown for the winning score.

Chargers (-1) over REDSKINS
Is it possible that Philip Rivers is having a career renaissance with Antonio Gates, Keenan Allen, Eddie Royal, and Vincent Brown as his top receivers? Oh, and The Onion killed it again.

RAIDERS (-2.5) over Eagles
Did you know that the powerhouse Eagles offense scored 10 points in the last two minutes of last game? Wait, scratch that, it’s just in the last two games.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games:

PANTHERS (-7.5) over Falcons
I’m sticking to my guns that the Panthers are actually a really good team, and frankly, I’m tired of the Falcons ruining my Cook Out Drive-Thru Lock o’ the Week.

Titans (-3) over RAMS
C’mon, you knew this one was the Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That Game of the Week.

SEAHAWKS (16.5) over Buccaneers
We already know the Jaguars are bad (R.I.P. list of things worst than the Jaguars this week), but the Bucs might not win a game this season. They go at Seattle, home Miami, home Atlanta, at Detroit, at Carolina, home Buffalo, home San Francisco, at St. Louis, at New Orleans. Could we have the elusive double defeated teams this year??

Colts (-2.5) over TEXANS
Sure, Case Keenum fumbled twice in his Texans debut, but at least he didn’t throw a pick six!

How bout this guy, huh?

How bout this guy, huh? 7th-highest scoring fantasy tight end, that #42 is.

KFC Double Down Games

Bengals (-2.5) over DOLPHINS
After starting 3-0, the last five weeks have illustrated that it’s hard to be good when your top skill position players are Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, Bad Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, and Some Guy Named Charles Clay.

Saints (-6.5) over JETS
The Jets are the top team against the rush, so they’ll force the Saints to beat them by making Drew Brees throw the ball.

Ravens (-2.5) over BROWNS
Clearly the Ravens are a shell of their Super Bowl Champion team last year, but if they can’t beat Jason Campbell by more than a field goal, they might end up regretting giving Joe Flacco $120.6 million.

PATRIOTS (-6.5) over Steelers
Will the city of Boston have a hangover after winning the World Series in Boston for the first time in 95 years? That’s the real question.

Cook Out Drive-Thru Lock o’ the Week:

Chiefs (-3.5) over BILLS
Shouldn’t this line be six and a half points higher? I’m scared. How are the 8-0 Chiefs just favored by a field goal in Buffalo. I can’t be this dumb, right? I love Thad Lewis, but geez. Quick, everybody put your life savings on the Bills!

Overall record: 56-61-3

Last week: 6-7

Apple Total: -320

Apple Total Last Week: -40

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Week 8 NFL Picks – The Lock’s Still Broken

You know what? At least I went 10-5 last week. Week 8 NFL Picks. Home teams in CAPS.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games:

EAGLES (-5.5) over Giants
It finally took them playing a team with a quarterback who completed 23-50 passes for the Giants to win a game. Did you know Peyton Hillis was the leading rusher last Monday night with 36 yards on 18 carries?

Bills (+12) over SAINTS
I’m so on board this Thad Lewis train. Dude is completing 64.6% of his passes and, oh yeah, did I mention he went to Duke?

RAIDERS (+2.5) over Steelers
These teams used to be really good. A decade ago. Your Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That Game of the Week.

Jets (+6.5) over BENGALS
In case you haven’t noticed, the Bengals don’t score a lot of points. They’re mostly winning games by 3 and 4 points, and the Jets weirdly play up to their competition this year.

The pushing penalty

The pushing penalty on New England against the Jets was one of the worst I’ve seen in a while. I swear the refs are out to get the Patriots.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games:

PATRIOTS (-6.5) over Dolphins
God what an awful call against the Patriots on that field goal at the end of last game. It’s like Boston sports teams never catch a break.

Cowboys (+3) over LIONS
I hate media narratives (other than the Jaguars being the worst thing ever), so I just want to point out that Tony Romo is not “unclutch.” In the fourth quarter when he is either up or down by 7, he’s completing 63.9% of his passes for 8.6 yards per attempt with a 2.58 TD/INT ratio and a 101.7 passer rating. Compare that to his normal 65.0% completion rate, 7.9 yards per attempt, 2.26 TD/INT ratio, and 94.1 passer rating. And I know your response: “Yeah, but still.” And it’s a quality response.

Redskins (+12.5) over BRONCOS
The Broncos haven’t covered their spread in the past three weeks and are looking particularly vulerable on (pass) defense. Considering the Redskins are 7th in passing, 4th in rushing, and 10th in scoring, this seems like the perfect opportunity for a backdoor cover on a nearly two-touchdown spread at the very least.

Packers (-9) over VIKINGS
Maybe Leslie Frazier thinks he can combine Moshian Freeselder into one semi-competent quarterback? He knows he has Adrian Peterson, the greatest running back alive, on his team, right?

KFC Double Down Games

Panthers (-6) over BUCCANEERS
Biases aside, I think the Panthers are actually a very good team. I’m going to ride out their artificially low spreads that put too much weight on their disappointing record until they inevitably blow a primetime game to a bad team. Wait a minute…

CHIEFS (-7.5) over Browns
Jason Campbell is about to become the 20th quarterback to start for the Browns since 1999. That’s so sad that Jeff Garcia reached out to them saying he’s ready to play. I’m not even making that up. Dude is 43 years old.

SEAHAWKS (-10.5) over Rams
On my Monday radio show with Jackson Martin (shameless plug) I couldn’t remember which former Jets backup is now starting for the Rams. Greg McElroy? Vinny Testaverde? David Garrard? Chad Pennington? Nope. Kellen Clemens.

Niners (-16.5) over JAGUARS
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. A-Rod’s ability to not act like a bridesmaid
2. This kid’s ability to smile for a picture
3. Jonathan Villar’s bunting ability
4. Melky Cabrera’s throwing arm
5. Songs about problems that hot girls have
6. Gana Diop’s free throw shooting
7. Gana Diop’s put-back skills
8. Gana Diop’s car dealership sales pitch
9. Gana Diop raps
10. Gana Diop’s blow-on-Dwight-Howard-and-maybe-he-won’t-embarrass-me defense in the playoffs

Cook Out Drive-Thru Lock o’ the Week:

Falcons (+2.5) over CARDINALS
This makes me so nervous. Why aren’t the Falcons favored? Am I missing something? I keep missing my locks of the week even though they seem so obvious to me. What’s going on? Am I crazy? Isn’t Carson Palmer the quarterback of this team? Haven’t they lost their past two games by 12 points apiece? Isn’t Matt Ryan 3rd in the league in passing? Ahhhhhh.

Overall record: 50-54-3

Last week: 10-5

Apple Total: -280

Apple Total Last Week: -15

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World Series Preview with Jackson Martin

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: October. We have the baseball playoffs, football is in full swing, college football is heating up, and the NBA is about to begin. Oh, and the Red Sox are back in the World Series.

I’ve shared the first two parts to my three-part playoff preview with Jackson Martin of the Dirty South Sports Report, and now we have the third one.

Unfortunately for Jackson, the Red Sox are in the World Series. Fortunately for me, they are. Add those together you get to look forward to a nice clash of excited optimism and snark.

And finally, before I send you off to read the article over on Jackson’s site, how can you not root for the Red Sox after Koji Uehara’s kid Kaz’s interview?

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Week 7 NFL Picks – The Broken Lock

Somehow I’m 2-4 with my Cook Out Drive-Thru Locks o’ the Week. I’d have 135 apples if I just actually got those games right. This will not do for Josiah Wedgwood.

Week 7 NFL Picks. Home teams in CAPS.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games:

I really underestimated Ryan Tannehill coming out of college.

I really underestimated Ryan Tannehill coming out of college. He’s probably the most talented Aggie in a decade, no?

Texans (+6.5) over CHIEFS
The teams Kansas City has played have a combined 9-25 record, and the Chiefs are 26th in the NFL in passing and 23rd in run defense. They’re clearly not 6-0 good.

Bills (+8) over DOLPHINS
I’m 1-0 picking for teams with a Duke quarterback, so let’s keep this train a-rollin’.

FALCONS (-7) over Buccaneers
It’s a good thing Greg Schiano dumped Josh Freeman for Mike Glennon because now Tampa’s only 32nd in the league in passing.

PANTHERS (-6.5) over Rams
The Panthers are 6th in the NFL in point differential, and the five better teams have four combined losses. Get ready for some progression to the mean. You know, unless Ron Rivera keeps coaching the way he coaches.

PACKERS (-10) over Browns
Your weekly reminder that Brandon Weeden, who celebrated his 30th birthday on Monday, is 50 days older than Aaron Rodgers.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games:

Bengals (+3) over LIONS
Two boring Midwestern teams? Ladies and gentlemen, your Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That Game of the Week.

Cowboys (+2.5) over EAGLES
Look, the NFC East is just really bad; they’re 3-15 in interdivision play. At this point, unless the Giants are playing, I’m probably just going to take the points and call it a day.

Vikings (+3) over GIANTS
I think picking up Peyton Hillis is considered rock bottom.

Ravens (+2) over STEELERS
This game makes really sad. Remember when this game meant deadly hits and a fierce rivalry? Remember when Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco were half-way decent quarterbacks? Remember when Ray Rice was good and Pittsburgh had a running back?

Broncos (-6.5) over COLTS
I’m confused who the Colts are. Are they the team that beat Seattle and San Francisco by 26 or the team that lost to San Diego and Miami by 14? Well I know who the Broncos are, and with Von Miller back, they’re really good.

KFC Double Down Games

Chargers (-7.5) over JAGUARS
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. Mike Green’s checking ability
2. A two-man team of MJD and Justin Blackmon
3. Songs about Chinese Food
4. The Marlins’ innovative baserunning strategy
5. The Astros’ innovative baserunning strategy
6. JaVale McGee’s ability to hurdle opposing players
7. JaVale McGee’s three-point shooting
8. JaVale McGee’s ability to run a fast break
9. JaVale McGee’s final play as a Wizard
10. JaVale McGee’s ability to tell whether he should be on offense or defense

Patriots (-4) over JETS
I’m just going to take this time to point out how awesome Sunday night was. Tom Brady 18-yard touchdown pass with 5 seconds left. David Ortiz game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning. Yankees still owing $250 million to Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and CC Sabathia. Boy it’s good to be from Boston.

Seahawks (-6.5) over CARDINALS
Fun fact: Tyrann Mathieu is second on the Cards in tackles (40), tied for second in interceptions (1), first in forced fumbles (1), and tied for first in tackles for a loss (4). Fun fact: Carson Palmer is still the Cardinals’ quarterback.

Niners (-4) over TITANS
There’s a good chance I’ll be working the FOX broadcast for this game, so watch out for terrible technical difficulties.

Cook Out Drive-Thru Lock o’ the Week:

Bears (+1) over REDSKINS
I’m sure I’ll get this game wrong too, but what am I missing here? Washington isn’t that good, Chicago isn’t bad at all, and Chicago is getting points. The Bears have a less polarizing name, so people are less likely to bet on them? Nobody outside of Vanderbilt likes Jay Cutler? Washington lawmakers have nothing better to do that bet on the home team since they don’t have work?

Overall record: 40-49-3

Last week: 6-9

Apple Total: -265

Apple Total Last Week: -95

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All The Articles I Forgot To Post

I write about sports a lot, and I occasionally forget to post my articles. Here’s your place to find all the articles I didn’t post from the past two months.


Friday, October 11

Previewing the MLB Playoffs with Jackson Martin: League Championship Series

Jackson and I go head-to-head in round two of our baseball playoffs preview. I don’t brag too much about beating him 4-0 last week.


Tuesday, October 8

COLUMN: Why Franklin should leave Vanderbilt

I write a column that Vanderbilt fans won’t like about why James Franklin should go to USC if he gets a job offer. I got a nice endorsement from commenter bill cherry: “What a great article from a Vandy STUDENT news source….a bunch of big freaking nerds.”


Tuesday, October 1

Explaining the Vanderbilt running back rotation

Without Zac Stacy, the Commodores don’t have one feature back and are instead going with a three-headed running attack. Here’s your guide to what is going on in Nashville.


Tuesday, October 1

Commodores heat up against Blazers

I covered my first Vanderbilt football game from the press box, and the Commodores won 52-24 against UAB. That bodes well for the Georgia game I’m covering next week, right?


Tuesday, September 17

Vanderbilt men’s basketball lands four-star guard

Vanderbilt landed its second four-star recruit in shooting guard Matthew Fisher-Davis, who went to my rival high school, Charlotte Christian. They’re on pace to have their strongest recruiting class since 2011.


Tuesday, September 3

FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: News and notes from Monday’s football press conference: Week 2

Ah, the first in a series of weekly news and notes from the Monday football press conferences. A series that lasted one week.

Categories: College Basketball, College Football, MLB | Leave a comment

Week 6 NFL Picks – Destined For Failure

I’m back like an Atlanta first-round playoff exit. Week 5 NFL Picks. Home teams in CAPS.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games:

SEAHAWKS (-13.5) over Titans
I was looking really hard for a reason to pick the Titans +13.5, but they’re just not very good.

Saints (+2.5) over PATRIOTS
I tried looking up how often I pick against the Patriots, but my search and tag features on this website are too annoying, and I don’t feel like taking an hour to figure it out. But I’m pretty sure I’ve picked against the Pats about three times in the past year. So taking the Saints here is big.

You know your team is going places when people are clamoring for you to play T.J. Yates.

You know your team is going places when people are clamoring for you to play T.J. Yates.

Rams (+7.5) over TEXANS
Your Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That Game of the Week!

BILLS (+7.5) over Bengals
Fun fact: the Bills haven’t lost a game by more than 7 points, and the Bengals average winning margin is 7 points. Hooray for the half point!

NINERS (-11) over Cardinals
Half the games this week have a line higher than a touchdown, and I hate it.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games:

Eagles (-1) over BUCCANEERS
I’d just like to note that the Bucs signed Jordan Rodgers to their practice squad. Mike Glennon is their starting quarterback. Rodgers beat Glennon in the Music City Bowl last year. Go Dores.

Panthers (+2.5) over VIKINGS
The Panthers are a talented team that is poorly coached. The Vikings are an untalented team (save for AD, who apparently doesn’t like being called Purple Jesus) that is poorly coached.

Raiders (+8.5) over CHIEFS
After picking the Raiders two weeks in a row and losing, I picked against the Raiders and lost the game. #NeverForget

BROWNS (+2.5) over Lions
Does the Ewing Theory count if the player who was traded is just bad?

JETS (-2.5) over Steelers
Geno Smith is now destined for failure now, but that’s better than the Steelers, who are just currently a failure.

KFC Double Down Games

BEARS (-7.5) over Giants
At this point, there’s just no reason to pick the Giants unless the line is above 10 points. It’s almost as if Eli Manning is personally gunning for the number one pick. He’s literally on pace to set the NFL record for turnovers and only has 9 more seasons before he breaks Brett Favre’s all-time interception record!

Packers (-3) over RAVENS
Fun fact: the Packers are 5th in the NFL in rushing despite having three equally mediocre backs. Also fun fact: Aaron Rodgers is slightly better than Joe Flacco.

BRONCOS (-27.5) over Jaguars
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. This dude’s ability to name Pokemon
2. Craig Sager’s acid trip
3. E.J. Manuel’s And-1 football skills
4. Geno Smith’s And-1 football skills
5. The effect of rain on drunkards
6. Matt Schaub’s ability to hear
7. Matt Schaub’s jersey’s flamability
8. Matt Schaub’s fan appreciation
9. Matt Schaub’s ability to analyze plays
10. Matt Schaub’s ability to not be so bad that he gets honored with a food named after him with a negative name

COWBOYS (-5.5) over Redskins
I like The Onion.

Cook Out Drive-Thru Lock o’ the Week:

Colts (-1.5) over CHARGERS
Turns out the Colts are pretty good. They beat the Seahawks, Niners, and even the Jaguars (!!!!!). Also, the Chargers are 0-3 against non-NFC East teams.

Overall record: 34-40-3

Last week: 6-8

Apple Total: -170

Apple Total Last Week: -75

Categories: NFL | Leave a comment

Previewing the MLB playoffs with Jackson Martin of the Dirty South Sports Report

Playoff beard? Playoff beard.

Playoff beard? Playoff beard.

It’s a day late, but I wrote a preview of the first round of the MLB playoffs with good friend and fellow Russell-Rice scholar Jackson Martin of the Dirty South Sports Report. As you’ll see in the intro, we would’ve gotten the article out earlier, but some school-related issues came up.

If you’re a fan of one of the playoff teams, you’ll be happy to see that we disagree on every single series. That tends to happen when we talk sports.

Instead of copying the whole thing here and editing the introduction, I’ll just send you to his site, which has some great stuff that I haven’t helped with.

Stay tuned as the playoffs progress, where there definitely won’t be any gloating about who picked series better.

(Ha, the Red Sox won Game 1 by 10.)

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Week 5 NFL Picks – The Hot Streak

To be perfectly honest, it hasn’t been the strongest start of the season making picks. But have no fear, we’ve been here before!

Think back to last year, when I was at -150 apples after three weeks. I was only at -145 apples after three weeks this year. I’m no mathematician, but that’s progress. Furthermore, I didn’t get out of apple debt until Week 9 last year, and I still finished with 365 apples, mostly thanks to earning 490 apples between Weeks 7 and 12.

The point of the story is don’t get worried by my tough beginning to the year. I’m on a hot streak. I got 50 apples last week.

Week 5 NFL Picks. Home teams in CAPS.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games:

Lions (+7) over PACKERS
I feel like every Packers line gets boosted a point or two because wow Aaron Rodgers is the number one fantasy QB!! Their defense is porous (5th-worst in yards per game and 6th-worst in points per game) and the offensive line is shoddy at best with Brian Bulaga out for the year. The Lions just put up 40 points on the Bears, I think they’ll be able to cover a touchdown spread.

FALCONS (-10) over Jets
For all the high hopes the Falcons had this year–I picked them to go 12-4–they’re 1-3 to start the year. No way they blow this one on Monday Night Football. Unless, you know, this game comes down to a seven-point deficit with a minute left and the Falcons have the final drive.

Saints (PK) over BEARS
The Bears are 3-15 when Jay Cutler throws multiple interceptions and 34-9 when he doesn’t. That’s not even considering his 26 fumbles in Chicago. The Saints are 5th in the NFL with 10 takeaways.

Texans (+6.5) over NINERS
San Francisco safety Donte Whitner has filed paperwork to change his last name to “Hitner” by dropping the letter W. This is not okay. Texans it is.

RAMS (-11.5) over Jaguars
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. Wilbur Hackett Jr.’s unbiased refereeing
2. Tyson Jackson’s belt
3. The Ravens’ special teams communication
4. Nic Cage on a wrecking ball
5. Cory Booker’s classy twitter friends
6. Jose Fernandez’s baserunning speed
7. Jose Fernandez’s ability to make batters think he’s throwing a strike
8. Jose Fernandez’s ability to not talk back to the batter
9. Jose Fernandez’s ability to stay calm
10. Jose Fernandez’s transition from Cuba to America… seriously you need to read this article right now

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games:

Ravens (+3) over DOLPHINS
Ray Rice hasn’t had a game with more than 36 yards. I know that well as his fantasy owner. But you can’t bench him at this point; you just have to ride out playing him like I’m riding out picking these sad, sad Ravens week after week.

Chiefs (-2.5) over TITANS
I think the Alex Smith perfectly fits this Chiefs team. He’s pretty good, and you could definitely do better, but, hey, he won’t make any terrible, self-destructive mistakes.

BROWNS (-4) over Bills
The Bills aren’t beating a semi-competent team unless they get five interceptions. Brian Hoyer is more of a three-interception quarterback in my mind.

I can't believe I might regret associating with these fans.

I can’t believe I might regret associating with these fans.

Chargers (-4.5) over RAIDERS
I took the Raiders +15.5 and they lost to the Broncos by 16. I took the Raiders +3, and after going up 14-0 on the Redskins, they lost 24-14. I’m starting to question jumping on the Raiders bandwagon.

KFC Double Down Games:

Seahawks (-3) over COLTS
Is it possible that Russell Wilson could be the best QB from the 2012 draft? Nope, but his team is leagues better than Andrew Luck’s Colts.

Eagles (+2) over GIANTS
What a great excuse to post this video.

Panthers (-2) over CARDINALS
The Panthers have the 6th best DVOA in the league this year–better than the New England Patriots. That sounds crazy, but they were a DeAngelo Williams fumble away from beating the Seahawks and a terribly coached drive away from beating the Bills. They deserve a better spread than two points in Carson Palmer’s home.

Broncos (-7.5) over COWBOYS
At this point, I’m not really hesitating on Broncos lines in the single-digits. Somehow I’ve managed to pick against them three times this year and lost every one of those picks.

Cook Out Drive-Thru Lock o’ the Week:

Patriots (+1.5) over BENGALS
It’s an early Eggsmas Miracle!  Two straight Patriots games where I get points and this time they’re playing a team that couldn’t handle the Browns!

Overall record: 28-32-3

Last week: 7-7-1

Apple Total: -95

Apple Total Last Week: 50

Categories: NFL | Leave a comment

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